Dafydd: Calling London

When a people are attacked, brutally and without warning, there are two possible responses: they can get up, scamper for safety, and there cower; or they can get up, stand on their own two feet, and hit back with everything they have.
When a people are attacked in their own homes, they can’t run anywhere else, so the only alternative is crawling and begging for mercy, doing what they’re told, and hoping to be spared. Or they can fight.
We will find out in a few days which path the Britons will take: that of Spain under Zapatero — or that of Great Briton under Winston Churchill. The terrorists bet on the first, just as they bet in 2001 that we were the America of Vietnam, Beirut, and Somalia.
But I’m betting on the second. Once again, the butchers have misunderestimated their expected victims. Of all people in the world, the British are most like us, deep down. Yes, they have been hampered by such close propinquity with Europe and Europeanism. But when it comes down to it, the British are not Europeans.
They are Brits.
I am positive that George Bush will offer anything they need — but I’m equally sure that Tony Blair will say no, they’re perfectly capable of taking care of these swine themselves… and they will. This will serve to galvanize the British public like nothing has since, as the Captain said, the blitz.
First will come the grief, then the inchoate rage, then the smouldering fury that leads to a renewed interest, almost obsession, with stamping out this craven, new threat once and for all. We know. We’ve been there.
The militant Islamists miscalculated in America, they miscalculated in Australia, and now they have miscalculated in Great Britain. We, Brit and American, will finish the job. There is a reason that English-speaking people have dominated the world for centuries: there is something noble in our culture that will not allow us to give up or give in, an idealistic fever to “let justice be done, though Heaven should fall.”
Toby Keith wrote, “this big dog will bite if you rattle its cage.” It’s a clear statement, but I actually prefer a pithier version, an older version, one we flew on our Navy ships in 1775 and have recently begun to fly again: the original Navy Jack of the fledgling United States, with its thirteen stripes alternating red and white, a superimposed rattlesnake with thirteen rattles, and the perfect motto for the civilized world in this age of the death-cult of militant Islamism: Don’t Tread On Me. The same symbol was painted onto the drums of the first American Marines, superimposed on a yellow background instead of the stripes and later made into the Gadsden flag.
The rattler was once a symbol of defiance against the British themselves, when they were a tyranny. But they have long since thrown off their own chains and now stand as one of the great bulwarks of liberty throughout the world, just as we do. They have been our closest allies since the Treaty of Ghent ended the War of 1812, probably the oldest alliance in the world today. Here is an anonymous description, possibly by Benjamin Franklin, of the meaning of the rattlesnake:

She never begins an attack, nor, when once engaged, ever surrenders: She is therefore an emblem of magnanimity and true courage. … she never wounds ’till she has generously given notice, even to her enemy, and cautioned him against the danger of treading on her.

And of course, if you ignore the warning and do tread on her, she is deadly.
Rule, Britannia; we’ve got your back.

Dafydd: It Ain’t Even the Quarter

A few days ago, when July was fresh and new, I argued in That Ain’t the Half of It that it really doesn’t matter whether Iran’s new president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, was or was not a leader of the 1979 seizure of the U.S. embassy in Teheran, because the enormity of his undisputed post-revolutionary career as an assassin for the Revolutionary Guard — during which he murdered hundreds of Iranian dissidents living abroad — simply overwhelmed the question of whether he was also a student radical.
The only objection that could reasonably be raised (apart from dredging up some evidence to contradict the biography at GlobalSecurity.org) is that Ahmadinejad’s homidical vocation, as horrific as it was, was not directed at us, and that we should only be concerned with attacks on America — which moves the embassy-seizure question back to front and center.
Now I argue that if that is your standard, then again, there are far more serious attacks that Iran has committed against the United States… including the murder of 2,985 people on American soil (mostly Americans) in the World Trade Centers, the Pentagon, and in Pennsylvania.
Wait — hold on — don’t turn into a mob! Yes, of course I know that the attacks were carried out by al-Qaeda, which is primarily a Sunni organization, not Shi’ite, like Iran. But I thoroughly support the judgment of the president himself when he said:

And we will pursue nations that provide aid or safe haven to terrorism. Every nation, in every region, now has a decision to make. Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists.

Evidence has begun to emerge that the violent and secretive regime in the Islamic Republic of Iran not only applauded the 9/11 attacks, not only gave safe haven to terrorists, but actively collaborated with al-Qaeda on the attacks themselves.
Granted, none of this implicates Mr. Ahmadinejad; but his new boss, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, is involved right up to his turbin.
Some of this evidence is detailed in the new book by Kenneth Timmerman, Countdown to Crisis: the Coming Nuclear Showdown With Iran, which I have just begun reading.

Fair warning: If you are one of those — and I know you’re out there — who reject anything written by Timmerman or any other “right wing” author, then gird yourself; I’m going to be discussing several things from this book in future posts as well. Forwarned is four-armed!

Timmerman begins the bombshells in the very first chapter, in which he discusses the testimony from an Iranian defector, Hamid Reza Zakeri, who says he gave (or tried to give) critical information to the CIA, back in July of 2001, of an impending terrorist attack on the United States in September… an attack in which Iran had been closely involved with al-Qaeda in the planning phase. Timmerman says that the CIA refused to listen and did not pass the intel up the chain.
Now of course, much of this is he-said, she-said; you are either with Timmerman, or you are with the CIA. But given the track record of the latter, as thoroughly deconstructed by the 9/11 Commission Report on the intelligence failures that led up to 9/11, I know where I’m placing my flutter.
Bear one important note in mind: this entire chapter derives from several interviews that Timmerman conducted with Zakeri. Wherever possible, when Zakeri gave specific information — such as the descriptions of various top-secret facilities in Iran, the presence of certain personnel in Iran at specific times, and specific documents that Zakeri claimed to have smuggled out of Iran — Timmerman tested the claims against all publicly available and classified information he was able to obtain, including with American and foreign intelligence agents, with other Iranian defectors, with document examiners, and with prosecutors in Germany who evaluated Zakeri for a terrorism case in which they called him as witness. In each case that Timmerman checked up on Zakeri’s specific claims, they were borne out; not a single claim made to Timmerman by Zakeri was contradicted by any specific counter-evidence.
The central claim of this chapter is, in Timmerman’s words:

The 9/11 hijackers and al-Qaeda planners had been in constant contact with senior Iranian officials and intelligence officers before September 11. It was not a casual relationship or a chance encounter here and there, but a steady stream of contacts.

These “contacts” began in January 2001, when Dr. Ayman al-Zawahiri, who is the founder of Egyptian Islamic Jihad, Osama bin Laden’s personal physician, and widely regarded as the number-two man in al-Qaeda, journeyed from Afghanistan to Iran with several other al-Qaeda capos. Zakeri’s connection was that he was in charge of the security detail protecting the visitors; he picked them up at the airport and conveyed them to the meeting at a “mountain guesthouse near the town of Varamin, just sough of Tehran”, which normally was used by senior officials of Iran.
According to what an Iranian official present at the meeting told his friend Zakeri, Zawahiri was in Iran to seek equipment, forged travel documents, and help in laundering money. I am presuming this meant money collected by various Islamic charities, then laundered to al-Qaeda, a practice we have established, through many successful prosecutions, was the normal way that AQ was funded.
One of Zawahiri’s men present was Saif al-Adel, who had worked in the past with Lebanese-born Imad Fayez Mugniyeh. Mugniyeh was a high-ranking official with the Revolutionary Guard’s Qods Force, which controlled foreign terrorist operations… and a man well-known personally to Zakeri. Al-Adel and eleven other AQ members stayed on after the meeting to continue working with the Iranians.
The Iranians present were not low-level flunkies, either. The Iranian delegation to this conference included Hojjat-ol eslam Ali Akbar Nateq-Nouri, the chief inspector of the Ministry of Information and Security (MOIS), a clandestine intelligence organization that reports directly to the Supreme Leader of Iran, who was at the time (and still is) Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the successor of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini.
Also present, Ali Akbar Parvaresh, one of the top officers in Section 43 of MOIS; Section 43 is in charge of terrorist operations outside the Middle East and also runs the Varamin safe house. Parvaresh was wanted by the Argentinian government for a bombing in 1994 that killed eighty-six people. Mugniyeh was also in attendance, which is how Zakeri found out what was discussed.
A few months later, in May 2001, another delegation arrived from al-Qaeda… this one led by none other than Osama bin Laden’s eldest son, Saad. Saad bin Laden met with all of the members of the Iranian leadership, including Supreme Leader Khamenei, Hashemi Rafsanjani (head of the Expediency Council), Mohammed Yazdi (head of the Guardians Council), Mahmoud Hashemi Shahroudi (chief of Judiciary), and Ali Meshkini (head of the Assembly of Experts).

Zakeri believes it was at this meeting, on May 4, 2001, that Iran’s leaders learned the specifics of bon Laden’s plans for the September 11 attack and decided to provide operational assistance. “Everything changed after this,” he told me.

Nateq-Nouri subsequently sent a memo to Mustafa Pourghanad, the director of Section 43, conveying Khamenei’s orders for “joint operations” with al-Qaeda; this is one of the memos that Zakeri carried with him from Iran when he defected.
Timmerman closes the chapter with the CIA’s reaction to all this information from Zakeri:

A female intelligence officer returned my call with a shaking voice. “This man is a serial fabricator,” she said, more nervous than indignant. “I have to warn you off of this story.”
A few hours later, I received another call, this one from a higher-ranking official. When I asked him to comment on the veracity of Zakeri’s warning, he replied angrily, “We have no record that he made any such claim. And he is a fabricator of monumental proportions.” But when I asked him whether Zaker was lying about meeting with U.S. officials in Baku on July 26, 2001, this senior official pointedly refused to answer.

Now of course, I can certainly understand the CIA refusing to comment upon the specifics of CIA meetings with defectors from hostile powers. But on the other hand, they repeatedly characterized Zakeri as a “fabricator,” yet never once pointed Timmerman to any sources, even public sources, that would tend to discredit Zakeri. So take it for what you will.
But at the very least, the Iranian connection to al-Qaeda and the 9/11 attack — and whether the CIA dropped this particular ball in 2001 — deserves at least as much exploration as that other well-known ball they dropped: the extent of Saddam Hussein’s own interaction with al-Qaeda, which the CIA refused to admit for literally years, but which is now thoroughly documented in the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence’s report on the intelligence failures in Iraq, as well as by recent revelations from Jordan about another high-level Zawahiri meeting, this one in Baghdad.

Dafydd: If It’s Rove…

…Then he’s off the hook legally.
Again, a caution: I’m neither a lawyer, nor a law-school grad, nor a law-school admittee, nor even a wanna-be lawyer. (I was in the Navy once, so you can call me a sea lawyer.) I am, however, reasonably literate; so I will presume to give legal advice, secure in the knowledge that I have, in fact, nothing to lose!
As Himself noted in Creepy Liar Strikes Again, Lawrence “Creepy Liar” O’Donnell now implies (without much credibility, and without explicitly making the claim) that the original leaker of Valerie Plame’s name to Robert Novak was Karl Rove. O’Donnell says that e-mails from Time, Inc. between reporter Matthew Cooper and his editors at Time Magazine will prove this, though he does not claim to have actually seen the e-mail himself.
So far as I can tell, O’Donnell, who is a producer of the NBC series the West Wing and also MSNBC’s “senior political analyst” — though I’m not sure why, as his political credentials are rather scant — has never had any association with Time Magazine, nor does it appear that he is on the e-mail list now. So I can only assume he got his information from the Newsweek article “the Rove Factor?” by Michael Isikoff.
Isikoff claims that two attorneys “who asked not to be identified because they are representing witnesses sympathetic to the White House” claim that Karl Rove is “one of Cooper’s sources.” What this means isn’t clear: if Cooper called Rove to ask him whether Bush wants to find out who leaked the name, and if Rove said yes, then Rove would be one of his sources.
In fact, even Isikoff himself admits he has no idea what Rove did or did not say to Matthew Cooper:

Cooper and a Time spokeswoman declined to comment. But in an interview with NEWSWEEK, Rove’s lawyer, Robert Luskin, confirmed that Rove had been interviewed by Cooper for the article. It is unclear, however, what passed between Cooper and Rove….
But according to Luskin, Rove’s lawyer, Rove spoke to Cooper three or four days before Novak’s column appeared. Luskin told NEWSWEEK that Rove “never knowingly disclosed classified information” and that “he did not tell any reporter that Valerie Plame worked for the CIA.” Luskin declined, however, to discuss any other details. He did say that Rove himself had testified before the grand jury “two or three times” and signed a waiver authorizing reporters to testify about their conversations with him. “He has answered every question that has been put to him about his conversations with Cooper and anybody else,” Luskin said.

So it certainly is by no means clear that Rove was actually the leaker who told Novak (or Cooper) that Plame was the CIA agent who sent her hubby on the little trip to Niger. If he were, then Cooper would have been free (due to the waiver) to tell the world.
It is noteworthy that not even Lawrence O’Donnell claims that Rove was the one who outed Plame: even he says only that “Karl Rove was Matt Cooper’s source” but doesn’t elaborate — source for what? We already knew Rove spoke to Cooper, which means we already knew he was one of Cooper’s sources.
But let’s play a little thoughtgame: suppose it turned out that Karl Rove was actually the person who outed Ms. Plame. Would Rove be “prosecuted,” as a couple of people on the right and a few million people on the left insist? Well… not likely. The reason is the way the law itself is written.
The applicable section of the U.S. Code is “Section 421. Protection of identities of certain United States undercover intelligence officers, agents, informants, and sources.” There are three classes of leaker covered by this law.
Section (c) refers to persons engaged in “a pattern of activities intended to identify and expose covert agents.” Consider this the “Philip Agee” subsection, and it clearly does not apply to Rove.
Sections (a) and (b) differ slightly. The first applies to “whoever, having or having had authorized access to classified information that identifies a covert agent,” while the second applies to “whoever, as a result of having authorized access to classified information, learns the identify of a covert agent.”
Note that bit about having “authorized access to classified information” that discloses the name of a covert agent. Here is the rub: the disclosure occurred in or before July 2003… and at that time, Karl Rove was the Special Advisor to the President. This was a political position; he was Bush’s chief political advisor. But in this position, it is extremely unlikely that Rove had any authorized access to CIA personnel files whatsoever, since those are extremely highly restricted (for reasons that should be obvious), and Rove did not have any kind of a national-security or defense position.
Which means that even if it were to eventuate that Rove was the guy who leaked the Plame name, he would almost certainly not be a “covered person” as far as Section 421 is concerned: however he might have found out about her CIA employment, it would have to have been by means other than “authorized access to classified information that identifies a covert agent.”
This would not stop Bush from firing Rove, if he so chose; but it would stop any sort of prosecution — whether the leaker was Rove or someone else who likewise had no authorized access. Which is probably why nobody has been indicted: likely, the leaker, whoever he was, learned about Plame on the D.C. cocktail circuit, where evidently it was common knowledge.
So however desperately much the Left wants to see Rove “frog-marched out of the White House in handcuffs,” as Joseph Wilson, ambassador and yet another creepy liar, put it, it simply is not going to happen.

Dafydd: Why I Don’t Write “Islamofascist”

First, why is this even important? Because language frames thought. I won’t go as far as George Orwell in the “Newspeak” chapter of Nineteen Eighty-Four; I don’t believe that absent a word for a concept, the concept itself becomes literally unthinkable. But I do believe language structures thought, changing how we think about an idea.
So creating a new word for Islamic terrorism changes how we perceive it, which affects how we fight it. This is especially true when the new word is actually a contraction of two other words, Islamic and fascism, into Islamofascism. The shortening restricts the ability to think critically about the alleged connection, short-circuiting rational thought and heading straight for the emotional centers.
Or as Orwell put it, “Comintern is a word that can be uttered almost without taking thought, whereas Communist International is a phrase over which one is obliged to linger at least momentarily.”
The point here is twofold: first, somewhat trivially, the Islamists who commit acts of terror are not typically Fascists, or even lower-case-f “fascists.” The Muslim Brotherhood allied with Adolf Hitler in the 1930s, but that was primarily because Hitler was such a strident Jew hater.
Most of the militant Islamist groups around today simply have no economic ideas, plans, or principles. Yet the distinguishing characteristic of fascism — what differentiates it from garden-variety socialism, racism, and antisemitism — is intensely economic: fascism is totalitarianism that operates through corporatism. As my pal and co-writer Brad Linaweaver explains it:

The Communists gathered up all the corporate heads and took them out to be shot; the fascists gathered up all the corporate heads and took them out to lunch — where they were told to obey orders or be shot.

Precisely none of the Islamic countries or terrorist organizations who want to destroy us is a corporatist state; none is fascist.
The word “Islamofascist” is just an example of using Nazi or fascist as an all-purpose intensifier to mean anything bad. It cheapens the historicity of the real fascists. What’s next, discussing the Communofascism of North Korea?
But the more important point is that the word “fascism” has a magical power: it overwhelms every other word you connect it to. In the real world, “Islamofascism” transsubstantiates into (islamo)-FASCISM! Kaboom!
The danger we face is Islamism and the willingness to murder hundreds of thousands in the name of jihad. What matters is the religion itself and the militancy by which it’s spread — not some putative connection to Mussolini or Hitler. To understand the jihadi, we need to confront the true source of the danger: the death cult that animates the slayer-of-thousands.
What we don’t need is to hide it behind the big, black shadow of a different boogieman, and one that — unlike Islamism — doesn’t even exist in any signficance anymore. Rather than intensifying our perception of what actually assails us, tacking that silly predicate on the end actually diminishes the intensity, fuzzing up the picture. If we lose focus and forget the real danger, as 9/11 recedes into the past, we will be tempted to just shrug it off and go back to the Clintonian “situation normal, all f—ed up” response.
And a word like Islamofascist pushes us in just that direction. In fact, it sounds exactly like something the Comintern might come up with to attack pro-democracy Moslems, like the brothers who run Iraq the Model.
The proper word that truly describes the enemy to his poisoned core is militant Islamist; and that is the word I will use.