Thursday, January 31, 2008

Convictions Without Evidence: Federal Prosecutors Try To Establish Dangerous Precedent In Weak Anti-Terror Case

(UPDATED below)

John Christoffersen for the AP via Newsday:
A federal judge ruled Thursday that prosecutors trying a former Navy sailor charged with supporting terrorism can tell a jury about his coded speech and admissions that he communicated with suspected terrorism supporters and destroyed videos that promoted violent jihad.

Authorities allege that Hassan Abu-Jihaad leaked a document describing the location and vulnerabilities of a Navy battle group to suspected terrorism supporters in London. His trial starts Feb. 25.

The ruling by U.S. District Court Judge Mark Kravitz is a boost to prosecutors, who have acknowledged that they don't have direct proof that Abu-Jihaad leaked details of ship movements.
The case against Hassan Abu-Jihaad (aka Abujihaad) gets weirder and thinner by the month. George Smith (aka Dick Destiny) has written an excellent article on the topic for the UK's Register and I urge you to read it: "FBI's 'idiot dude' fails to boost US Navy terror emails: Wiretap excerpts hint at rich vein of pointless tedium". Here's the beginning:
We now return readers to the case of alleged terrorist Hassan Abu-jihaad, the former US Navy signalman banged up for sending Babar Ahmad and Azzam Publications information on when his surface action group was transiting the Strait of Hormuz in 2001. Another alleged crime was buying a few Chechen jihadi videos and tipping the web company five dollars in overpayment.

These actions eventually resulted in Abu-jihaad's arrest and indictment in 2006 on charges of materially aiding terrorists and disclosing information said to be of use to terrorists. However, it has now become plain that the US government has been nursing its case against Abu-jihaad. It had started running surveillance on him in 2004, employing wiretapping and an informant. The government accumulated as much talk as possible, coming up with a thirty-three page list of excerpts which the prosecution has submitted for consideration as further evidence in advance of the defendant's trial.

The FBI informant, known as William Chrisman, was many things: a former convicted armed robber, car thief and gang member who converted to Islam and claimed to be patriotically moved to help protect the nation against terror after 9/11. He has nine children by three wives - apparently a harem - in some type of ill-defined common law arrangement and was angling for a fourth, according the Associated Press, when the proposed new addition was apparently scared off by the size of the Chrisman stable.

Normally, one does not expect FBI informants to be model citizens. But increasingly in the war on terror, the government seems to have been employing individuals of extremely dubious quality, people looking for a payday while trolling for potential patsies.

In a twist of fate, Chrisman's future career as an FBI informant was scotched when the New Haven Independent, an on-line local news organization covering pre-trial maneuvering in the Abu-jihaad case, published his picture.

The Independent portrayed Chrisman as a "terrorist buster," then busted his days as a clandestine operative with the photo. Although the publication quickly yanked it, the WinterPatriot blog plastered a copy of Chrisman's mug all through its coverage of the informant, where it indelibly remains.

Chrisman's testimony in court, assembled in the FBI proffer, is an attempt to further indict Abu-jihaad by implication. While the affidavit is lengthy, it adds little of hard substance - and we'll get to this in a bit - to the original emails to Azzam which resulted in the terror complaint against him.
As the case gets weirder, and thinner, the government gets more desperate, of course, so it gets even more chilling, as John Christoffersen reported (same link as above):
In court papers, prosecutors cite Abu-Jihaad's "obsession with operation security," his use of codes and his suspicion of government surveillance to "explain why there is no forensic footprint that directly links the defendant" to the leaked document.
If this argument is accepted, it will set a precedent effectively eliminating the notion that the prosecution must provide proof of guilt, or a reasonable facsimile thereof. If they really want to put you away, federal prosecutors won't have fabricate evidence, or lie about what their genuine evidence really means. They won't even have to give the impression that they have incriminating evidence against you.

They will only have to say, "We don't have any proof because the suspect is too sneaky."

And that will be the end of that.

see also: Burned! Meet William Chrisman, FBI Entrapment Specialist

and don't forget the rest of : FBI's 'idiot dude' fails to boost US Navy terror emails: Wiretap excerpts hint at rich vein of pointless tedium

UPDATE: two new posts from George Smith for your consideration:

at The Register: Email trail from navy man to London 'terror' site goes fuzzy
In pre-trial maneuvering this month the US government's case against ex-Navy signalman Hassan Abu-jihaad became more moth-eaten. Prosecutors filed an interesting brief indicating they had no evidence against the defendant of a terror plot modus operandi.

Abu-jihaad has been charged with e-mailing information on the transit of his naval battle group through the Straits of Hormuz to Babar Ahmad and Azzam Publications in London in 2001. At the time he was serving on the destroyer Benfold. For the purpose of the case, Babar Ahmad - now awaiting a court decision in February on whether or not he is to be extradited to the States - is considered by the US government to be a terrorist. The government alleges Abu-jihaad's communications with Ahmad and the purchase of Chechen resistance videotapes from the Azzam website to be aiding terror, with the defendant an agent of a foreign power.

A glaring problem with the government's case against Abu-jihaad is that the evidence against him is thin. Although the US has submitted e-mails to Azzam which they have claimed are from Abu-jihaad, prosecutors admitted in pre-trial filings this month that "the Government had no recorded statements or testimony personally linking Abu-jihaad to the e-mail account from which [the communications to Azzam in question] were sent."
and there's more at his blog, "Dick Destiny": SHIFTY ATTITUDE INDICATES TERROR AIM: Main prosecution plank against Hassan Abu-jihaad

Click. Read. Learn. Then what?


seventh in a series

Ebb Tide II: Watching The Tide Roll Away

In "Ebb Tide: Political Analysis Reaches Astonishing New Lows", we were looking at a column from the International Herald Tribune by Alan Cowell which amounted to one lie after another, with a grain of truth thrown in here and there.

I mentioned that those grains of truth would disqualify Alan Cowell from consideration for The Stupidest or Most Deceitful Political Analysis of the Year Award, if there were any other qualified candidates.

In my view, Ronald Brownstein [photo] is worthy of serious consideration.

Reviews of his 2007 book, "The Second Civil War: How Extreme Partisanship Has Paralyzed Washington", show quite clearly that Brownstein's analysis of American politics is based on three false premises: [1] that the federal government is "gridlocked" because [2] the two parties are more or less equally powerful, and [3] the two parties are poles apart. Neither party will cooperate; neither party will compromise; neither party can gain the upper hand; we're stuck in neutral. That's Brownstein's argument.

In a review of Brownstein's book, Art Winslow wrote in the L. A. Times:
Voting along party lines in George W. Bush's first term ran at 90% among House Republicans, almost 86% among House Democrats, 89% among Senate Republicans and 85% among Senate Democrats, according to a recent Congressional Quarterly Weekly Report. This may be compared with levels averaging 71% or less through the Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, Ford and Carter years...
What do these numbers tell us? Nothing! The national political landscape has been changing so fast that it is virtually unrecognizable compared to the one we lived in just eight years ago. Back then our president was already a scoundrel and a war criminal, but the Bill of Rights was still more or less intact, we didn't consider torture "normal", and none of us had ever heard of a "free speech zone". Telecom providers weren't archiving our calls and emails to hand over to the feds; libraries weren't required to tell anyone what books we were reading; we didn't have to take off our shoes to get on an airplane; on and on it goes.

The Democrats didn't stop any of it; they claimed they were powerless because the Republicans controlled both houses of Congress.

But having "regained control" of the Congress in 2006, the Democrats have done nothing in the way of recovery; there's been no attempt to claw back any of our civil rights, no attempt to restore habeas corpus, no attempt to follow up on the extraordinary and very well-supported allegations of Sibel Edmonds, nothing even remotely resembling resistance to any of the most evil administration policies -- with a few noteworthy exceptions, some of which, like Pete Stark's one-man truth-telling campaign about the war, or Dick Durbin's accidental utterance of the words "torture" and "gulag", lasted only a day or two! But according to Brownstein, we're stuck because the difference between the parties is too extreme! It makes no sense. None at all.

Brownstein's analysis is so shallow that even the New York Times has no trouble publishing a cogent refutation:
Brownstein skillfully and convincingly recounts the process by which the conservative movement gained control of the Republican Party and its Congressional delegation. He is especially deft at identifying the institutional and procedural tools that the most conservative wing of the party used after 2000 both to vanquish Republican moderates and to limit the ability of the Democratic minority to participate meaningfully in the legislative process. He is less successful (and somewhat halfhearted) in making the case for a comparable ideological homogeneity among the Democrats, as becomes clear in the book’s opening passage. Brownstein appropriately cites the former House Republican leader Tom DeLay’s farewell speech in 2006 as a sign of his party’s recent strategy. DeLay ridiculed those who complained about “bitter, divisive partisan rancor.” Partisanship, he stated, “is not a symptom of democracy’s weakness but of its health and its strength.”

But making the same argument about a similar dogmatism and zealotry among Democrats is a considerable stretch. To make this case, Brownstein cites not an elected official (let alone a Congressional leader), but the readers of the Daily Kos, a popular left-wing/libertarian Web site that promotes what Brownstein calls “a scorched-earth opposition to the G.O.P.” According to him, “DeLay and the Democratic Internet activists ... each sought to reconfigure their political party to the same specifications — as a warrior party that would commit to opposing the other side with every conceivable means at its disposal.” The Kos is a significant force, and some leading Democrats have attended its yearly conventions. But few party leaders share the most extreme views of Kos supporters, and even fewer embrace their “passionate partisanship.” Many Democrats might wish that their party leaders would emulate the aggressively partisan style of the Republican right. But it would be hard to argue that they have come even remotely close to the ideological purity of their conservative counterparts. More often, they have seemed cowed and timorous in the face of Republican discipline, and have over time themselves moved increasingly rightward; their recapture of Congress has so far appeared to have emboldened them only modestly.
It's pretty sad when Kos is considered "scorched-earth". But the whole thing is pretty sad. The so-called "hyperpartisanship" which forms the central thesis of Brownstein's book is not a fact of political life but quite the opposite -- a false story first floated by the Bush-Rove-Cheney White House.

The obvious purposes of this lie were two-fold: First, it gave certain congressional Democrats the cover they needed to "go along with the program" while pretending they didn't support it. Amidst Republican claims of "hyperpartisanship" and "obstructionism", complicit Democrats could link "bipartisanship" and "patriotism" to "justify" something they wanted to do all along.

And on the other hand it gave the media a club with which to hammer those Democrats who did oppose the radical Republican agenda. We used to have a few of those, as some readers may remember. But they're mostly invisible now -- ignored if not ridiculed by the mainstream press, denied any support from the national Democratic party "leadership", and left to fend off the hate and smear machine on their own dime.

And now we've got a bunch of Democrats in Congress who talk and walk and dress and smell like Democrats, but whenever the chips are down they vote like Republicans.

The penetrating questions, it seems to me, start with: How did the Democrats manage to give away so much so fast?

Next comes: How did the Democrats manage to give away so much so fast while only voting with the Republicans 14% of the time?

Instead Brownstein writes about "paralysis" and "hyperpartisanship". Who else but a mainstream "reporter" could pick up such a transparent lie and make a whole book out of it?

Brownstein's explanation of American politics is much, much worse than Alan Cowell's mess, which was simply one lie after another with a bit of truth thrown into the mix.

Brownstein's novel isn't simply one lie after another after another. It's layer upon layer of lies, all woven together. This is not a little bit of spin. It's a craftily constructed web.

Can we set aside The Stupidest or Most Deceitful Political Analysis of the Year Award for Ronald Brownstein, then?

Unfortunately, no. There's still a ways to go before the tide runs all the way out.

Vintage Patriot For A Winter Day In Prague

I've been thinking about "Bob in Prague" a lot lately. I think of all my online friends now and then, but especially when somebody close to one of them passes away.

I was recalling how and where and when we "met": at the bradblog, around the time of the 2004 "election". Bob was watching it all -- aghast -- from Eastern Europe, and I was watching it all -- aghast -- from my undisclosed location. And we had the same sorts of reactions to virtually all of it, and we soon became friends, in an online way. In fact, Bob is one of the very few bradblog readers who has continued to read me, even after my services were no longer ... um ... anyway ...

In late 2004, as you may recall, there were huge crowds in the streets of Ukraine, and the American media were making a big deal about how the exit polls didn't match the announced results of the Ukranian election. But they wouldn't say a word about how the exit polls here in the US hadn't matched our announced results. The only nationally known reporter who even mentioned allegations of election fraud was Keith Olbermann, and it seemed all he wanted to do was smear the "conspiracy theorists".

In the only non-war news pertaining to Iraq, the oil-for-food scandal was breaking, and American oilmen were deeply complicit. So they were blaming Kofi Annan and the UN.

On December 27, 2004, "Freebird" posted a comment at bradblog, saying, among other things, "And you right-wingers are after Kofi Annan for oil scandals...shame...shame!" That got me going: I hammered on my keyboard for quite a while and then posted a long comment, excerpts from which you will find below.

It was my first stab at putting 2 and 2 and 2 and 2 together, and putting my thoughts into writing -- or to be more accurate, it was my first stab at doing this with geopolitics. I'd done it with math, but that was different, because everything was either clearly right or clearly wrong, and I could go back and verify every step. But in this case, I had no way to check my work, so to speak. I didn't know whether it was good or bad or what, and after I posted it, I forgot all about it for a while.

Then the memory of it came back to me one day, and I wanted to see it again, so I used the Google, and I found the comment. But it was in a different form, and a different place. Much to my surprise, my comment from the bradblog had been re-posted on a forum hosted in the Czech Republic, where it anchored a heavily commented thread of its own! And guess who had put it there?

I've always appreciated the vote of confidence, but I've never thanked Bob for it. Well, better late than never.

Not to be too self-referential or anything, but most of my current readers were not around at the time, and I thought you might like to see some "vintage WP". So here's a link to the comment in its original context, and the relevant excerpts follow:
Kofi Annan is getting raked over the coals based on entirely unproven allegations. Supposedly in America you are considered innocent until proven guilty. But in some quarters Annan is considered guilty based on discredited allegations, and charges that cannot possibly be proven. [...]

This is the newest example of a very old tactic. They've been doing it for decades. And they just keep getting better at it. By now it's so well-refined that it's almost an art form. A black art to be sure. "Shame" is right.

Here's how it works: They do something awful, make a big mess and blame it on somebody else -- usually the political opponent they fear the most. Then they use the inevitable backlash as a pretext to attack, without ever doing a proper investigation into what caused the mess in the first place. Of course they can't do a proper investigation -- they can't possibly allow a proper investigation -- because if the truth ever came out in a timely way, there would be royal hell to pay.

I'm reminded of this because I've recently been re-reading some of the best books written about the JFK assassination, and the parallels are all there, in spades, just sitting there waiting to be noticed. For those who are too young to remember the story, JFK was surely the most liberal President ever elected; he wanted to stop the Cold War and work toward 'peaceful coexistence' with the Soviet Union. In November of 1963, he was murdered in Dallas, one of the most conservative -- i.e. oil-soaked -- cities in the country. And the 'official' story -- issued on the day of the assassination and never retracted -- was that he was killed by a dememted communist named Lee Harvey Oswald.

The communists had no grudge with Kennedy. He was -- by their measure -- the most reasonable President ever to sit in the Oval Office. But there were some very powerful internal forces who hated him with a passion, such as CIA and organized crime, who were both ticked because JFK refused to assist CIA in their plan to overthrow Castro and give Havana back to the gamblers.

Virtually every detail of the official story has since been shown to be too absurd for any honest thinking person to believe. But this hasn't stopped the establishment echo-chamber from repeating it endlessly.

And like the official stories of so many other national tragedies, this story is absurd even on the face of it. You don't have to do any digging at all to see it as the farce that it is; all you have to do is think about it a bit. As if a communist would ever want to kill a President who was loved by the left and reviled by the right. As if a communist would prefer to see an oil-soaked Texan -- LBJ -- in the Oval Office, rather than a 'Massachusetts liberal' like JFK. As if you could even find a communist in Dallas in 1963. Yeah, right. Spin me another yarn, boys.

The deeper you dig the more absurd it gets. Kennedy wanted to disengage from Vietnam. Immediately after the assassination we were told that no national policies would be changed. But within three days LBJ had signed an executive order rescinding Kennedy's planned withdrawal. And the US was plunged into a foreign war of aggression, based entirely on transparent lies, without any realistic or reasonable reason or plan or exit strategy. Does any of this sound familiar? That war lasted for another 12 years!

Most of the so-called evidence against Oswald was very obviously fabricated. But the oil-soaked corporate media whores of the day bought it all up, and fed it into the establishment echo chamber, and the echoes still reverberate to this day. [...] These things are all connected. And very deeply so.

The official story of 9/11 has numerous and important parallels to the official story of the JFK assassination. Again the official story is absurd on the face of it, and even more ludicrous the deeper you dig into it. Again we're looking at a national tragedy that somehow happened to benefit an oil-soaked Texan. Again we're looking at a case where the official story came out on the day of the event, long before any reasonable investigation could possibly have been conducted. Again it's a case where no reasonable investigation was ever conducted -- just another oil-soaked whitewash or two.

In this case we are supposed to believe that 19 Islamic fundamentalists armed with cell phones and box cutters somehow managed to outfox the most sophisticated intelligence establishment ever built. Yeah, right. As if jet fuel burning near the 80th story of a 100-story tower could generate enough heat to produce pools of molten steel in the sub-basement. Yeah, right. As if these fires could reduce thousands of tons of concrete to toxic gray dust, while leaving the passport of the supposed ringleader [sic] not only virtually undamaged but just lying there in plain sight. As if a commercial airliner could slam into the Pentagon leaving a hole about 30 feet in diameter, while leaving no trace of its wings or tail or engines outside the building. Yeah, right. Spin me another yarn, boys.

Dig even deeper and the story gets even more ludicrous. But again the oil-soaked corporate media whores bought it hook line and sinker, and fed it to the world through the echo chamber. We were told that no national policies would be changed, because changing our way of life would be admitting that the 'terrorists' had won. But within seven weeks the so-called PATRIOT act was passed, and the shredding of the Bill of Rights had begun. Within a month the US was involved in another foreign war of aggression, against a country which had really never done anything to us, but this time they told us right from the start that the war may not end in our lifetimes. As if we need endless war with the rest of the world. Who does this help? Not us. Not the rest of the world. The only people it helps are a certain oil-soaked Texan and his obscenely wealthy backers. Excuse me for a moment while I puke. Spin me another yarn while I'm gone, will you, boys?

Back to the present national tragedy: an election so obviously fixed that a full 20% of Americans can see that it's rotten to the core, without any publicity from the current generation of oil-soaked media whores. As if the majority of Americans would vote for an oil-soaked Texan whose policies clearly work to their detriment. As if nobody notices, or cares, that we're in another foreign war without any plan or any exit strategy, nor any good reason for being there. As if we approve of a regime that seeks to 'legitimize' torture, and commit cold-blooded murder on an enormous scale, and turn our once-great nation into a pariah in the eyes of the world. As if the majority of Americans would ever want that. Give me a break. Spin me another yarn, boys.

How stupid do they think we are? How stupid are you? How stupid are your neighbors? How many of us do you think really bought into all that Bush-Cheney bullshit? Do we really think we're safer now, that we're waging war on a country that never did anything to us? Do you really think we're less likely to suffer a terrorist attack now, considering that we have the same so-called leadership in place that allowed the 9/11 attacks to succeed? How many Americans do you REALLY think are that stupid? [...]

Again it comes down to the organized criminals and the gamblers and an oil-soaked Texan and his obscenely wealthy friends. Again the country is in the hands of people who have shown quite clearly that they don't give a damn about the voice of the people, nor about policies that would help the people. All they care about is amassing as much power as possible, by any means possible, so they can use it to impoverish America while demolishing foreign countries and enriching their obscenely wealthy oil-soaked backers.

Follow the money; follow the oil; follow the electronic voting machines; follow the corrupt politicians -- they all lead to the same place. It's a place the oil-soaked corporate media whores will never even admit exists, but it's there, and we know about it, and this is one genie that can never be put back in the bottle. Too much is at stake.

No more dreaming. No more waiting for the miracle that never comes. No more hoping that Keith Olbermann will finally decide to stop smearing the people who are trying to tell the truth about these national tragedies. The oil-soaked corporate media whores are enemies of our democracy, as they have always been, and if we are going to do anything for the future of our country then we will have to do it without them.

Since 9/11 too many people have been too frightened to talk about anything that matters. That has to stop and it has to stop right now. We need to keep talking about all this stuff, not only here [...] but everywhere. Bring your friends up to speed; get your family there too. Spread the word in every way you can and don't stop. We the people have enormous untapped power, and most of it is economic. We hardly even have any idea how to use it. So we need to learn how velvet revolutions work in other countries. Look at what happened to Slobodan Milosevic. Look at what happened to Ferdinand Marcos. Look at what's happening in the Ukraine. Could we do something similar? Of course we could.
Thanks, Bob. And hang tough, too. Mysterious ways, my friend.

Pakistan: Rallies, Strikes And Protests Planned For "Iftikhar Day"

The pro-democracy movement in Pakistan may be beaten down but they certainly haven't given up.

The nation's lawyers, who have been leading an increasingly popular movement in support of true democracy and the rule of law, have been organizing nationwide protests, strikes and rallies for Thursday, marking 90 days since the imposition of Pakistan's national state of emergency.

The emergency, announced by then-General, still-President Pervez Musharraf, was supposed to allow him to crack down on terrorists, but he used his considerably enhanced powers to crack down on legitimate political opposition, including opposition party activists, human rights activists, lawyers and judges.

Musharraf sacked all the Supreme Court justices who didn't support his "inside coup", and placed them under house arrest. The day of protest is named in honor of the suddenly-former Chief Justice, Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, seen in happier times in this photo.

When the emergency was declared, Pakistan's Supreme Court, led by Chief Justice Chaudhry, was about to rule on the legitimacy of Musharraf's "re-election" (not to be confused with the upcoming parliamentary election).

Musharraf's "re-election" was in clear violation of two laws and arguably violated a third. The question before the Supreme Court was not one of interpreting the law, but of deciding whether to enforce it.

This is not exactly a constitutional argument in Pakistan but a cultural one, which falls under the rubric of "doctrine of necessity". In other words, some people say the security and stability of the nation can be more important than strict adherence to an arbitrary law. Others, of whom you are reading one at the moment, say the nation is more secure if its politicians are required to abide by the law.

And apparently the court had decided to rule against the still-President, then-General. We don't know for sure, because all the justices who would have made that ruling are still under house arrest.

This is not the first time Musharraf has tried to rid himself of the Chief Justice. The photo at the top of this page was taken when the previous episode -- which gave the pro-democracy movement an enormous boost -- was decided in favor of the Chief Justice. Musharraf had tried to get rid of Chaudhry on trumped-up, trivial charges that didn't stick; this time he got rid of them all for trying to uphold the rule of law.

The "emergency" has been declared "over", but the judges are still under house arrest, and the people of Pakistan -- led by their lawyers and journalists -- are getting ready to make some noise about it.

This is not a trivial matter; there's a good chance that people will get killed by "security" forces today.

Whose security? That's a very good question!

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Evil In Your In-Box? Thank The Pentagon

The Pentagon's new internet propaganda campaign is in full swing, and wow! Is it ever vicious!!

It comes in the form of an anonymous viral email. I got it from a close relative.

He wasn't saying "Wow, is this ever screwed up!" And he wasn't saying "Hey this is cool, pass it on."

But, as you can see from the text of the message, his passing it on indicates his approval.

Here's the text of the message. Hold your nose and grab a barf bag before continuing:
Subject: Fwd: She tells it like it is!

I don't know who wrote it but they should have signed it. Some powerful words. This woman should run for president.

Written by a housewife from New Jersey and sounds like it! This is one ticked off lady.

Are we fighting a war on terror or aren't we? Was it or was it not started by Islamic people who brought it to our shores on September 11, 2001?

Were people from all over the world, mostly Americans, not brutally murdered that day, in downtown Manhattan, across the Potomac from our nation's capitol and in a field in Pennsylvania?

Did nearly three thousand men, women and children die a horrible, burning or crushing death that day, or didn't they?

And I'm supposed to care that a copy of the Koran was "desecrated" when an overworked American soldier kicked it or got it wet? Well, I don't. I don't care at all.

I'll start caring when Osama bin Laden turns himself in and repents for incinerating all those innocent people on 9/11.

I'll care about the Koran when the fanatics in the Middle East start caring about the Holy Bible, the mere possession of which is a crime in Saudi Arabia.

I'll care when these thugs tell the world they are sorry for hacking off Nick Berg's head while Berg screamed through his gurgling slashed throat.

I'll care when the cowardly so-called "insurgents" in Iraq come out and fight like men instead of disrespecting their own religion by hiding in mosques.

I'll care when the mindless zealots who blow themselves up in search of nirvana care about the innocent children within range of their suicide bombs.

I'll care when the American media stops pretending that their First Amendment liberties are somehow derived from international law instead of the United States Constitution's Bill of Rights.

In the meantime, when I hear a story about a brave marine roughing up an Iraqi terrorist to obtain information, know this: I don't care.

When I see a fuzzy photo of a pile of naked Iraqi prisoners who have been humiliated in what amounts to a college-hazing incident, rest assured: I don't care.

When I see a wounded terrorist get shot in the head when he is told not to move because he might be booby-trapped, you can take it to the bank: I don't care.

When I hear that a prisoner, who was issued a Koran and a prayer mat, and fed "special" food that is paid for by my tax dollars, is complaining that his holy book is being "mishandled," you can absolutely believe in your heart of hearts: I don't care.

And oh, by the way, I've noticed that sometimes it's spelled "Koran" and other times "Quran." Well, Jimmy Crack Corn and -- you guessed it -- I don't care!!

If you agree with this viewpoint, pass this on to all your E-mail friends. Sooner or later, it'll get to the people responsible for this ridiculous behavior!

If you don't agree, then by all means hit the delete button. Should you choose the latter, then please don't complain when more atrocities committed by radical Muslims happen here in our great Country! And may I add:

"Some people spend an entire lifetime wondering if they made a difference in the world. But, the Marines don't have that problem" -- Ronald Reagan

I have another quote that I would like to add AND......I hope you forward all this.

"If we ever forget that we're One Nation Under God, then we will be a nation gone under." Also by Ronald Reagan

One last thought for the day:

In case we find ourselves starting to believe all the Anti-American sentiment and negativity, we should remember England's Prime Minister Tony Blair's words during a recent interview. When asked by one of his Parliament members why he believes so much in America, he said: "A simple way to take measure of a country is to look at how many want in... And how many want out."

Only two defining forces have ever offered to die for you:
1. Jesus Christ
2. The American G. I.

One died for your soul, the other for your freedom.

No kidding.

I kept reading the message and reading it again and checking who it came from and checking it again and after a while I thought I was going to puke.

Eventually I settled down and started trying to formulate a proper response.

A good one came to mind almost immediately.
But that wouldn't have been very wise, considering the circumstances.

It expressed my emotional reaction precisely, but lacked educational value.

So I tried again:
OMG! One MF lie after another! GFY!!
This was more educational but insufficiently spiritual, I thought.

So I gave it another whirl.
How dare you? How dare you??

Your country has killed at least a million people in Iraq. None of them ever did anything to you. None of them ever did anything to any of you until you bombed their cities to smithereens, invaded their country and destroyed everything except the oil fields. And now your government is trying to steal oil worth at least a hundred trillion dollars from the survivors of your invasion. How dare you?

How dare you use the Holy name of Jesus Christ while trying to make mass murder and grand larceny seem righteous?

The leaders of your country have told hundreds and hundreds of lies in order to "justify" that war, so they could implement a plan they published even before Bush even became president! This war has nothing to do with 9/11; it is murder and torture for profit and power and nothing more. And you, and everyone else who forwarded that email, are expressing your approval of mass murder, wanton destruction, and vicious torture -- by sending out this rant about how little you care!

Thou shalt not kill. Do you remember this? Thou shalt not steal. Thou shalt not covet. Thou shalt not bear false witness. Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain. Did they forget to teach you these things in your "church"? Well guess what? I don't care!

I have news for you. Jesus Christ did not die for people like you. He died for those who would follow Him, who would love their neighbors as themselves, who would repent their sins and ask for forgiveness, who would make restitution for their wrongs, who would bow down before their Holy Father and beg for mercy.

But not this! Surely, the Sinless One did not suffer and die to absolve you from this.

May God have mercy upon your mortal soul.
It seemed I was moving in the right direction, and another draft might be in order.

So I tried again:
Dear Dad,

We never talk about politics anymore, at your insistence, so I guess you must have been thinking of somebody else yesterday when you forwarded me the email from an "Angry Woman". But now that you have injected politics into our relationship, I feel bound to speak honestly.

That email was the vilest propaganda I have ever seen, and I was profoundly saddened to see it -- let alone to see that it had come from you.

For the record, the FBI has no hard evidence against Osama bin Laden pertaining to the attacks of 9/11, nor do they list him as a suspect in those attacks. On the contrary: all the official allegations about 9/11 remain unproven. The official investigation was an obvious whitewash, undeniable signs of inside complicity are everywhere, and fresh ones keep popping up. The official story of 9/11 holds no water at all. We talked about this once and I thought you understood.

But that doesn't even matter in this case because nobody anywhere has any evidence connecting Saddam Hussein or Iraq with the 9/11 attacks. Indeed, we now know that all the reasons given for the invasion and continuing occupation of Iraq were lies -- crafted by consultants who were paid millions of dollars of our money for their services, and told by people who have been coveting Iraq's oil for decades.

Lies! All lies!! I am not in the mood for any more lies. So let me tell you a few more truths:

The United States has invaded and occupied a defenseless country that never harmed us and never even threatened us. Our actions there have caused the deaths of at least a million people (so far), most of whom were only trying to live their lives -- many of them in desperate conditions -- when we arrived. We have destroyed their hospitals, ruined all their infrastructure, kidnapped innocent people and taken them away to be tortured. We've started up death squads; we've fomented a civil war; and even though the "surge" is supposedly "working", we're still bombing residential neighborhoods in the middle of the night.

Can you imagine? How would you feel if Mexico attacked Canada and Canada retaliated by invading the United States? Suppose the Canadians mounted a campaign of "Shock and Awe", bombed our cities to smithereens, then invaded and decided to stay forever. What would you do? How would you feel?

I'd like to think you'd at least sympathize with the resistance. I'd like to think that as a younger man you'd have been a leader of the resistance. But then I guess all sons like to think heroic thoughts about their dads.

Most Iraqis want us out. For this, they are called terrorists; for this they are shot and bombed and kidnapped and tortured; without reason, without remorse, without recourse, and seemingly without end.

Why? Because Iraq has at least a trillion barrels of oil, and the Bushes and their backers want it. It's that simple. They've "invested" hundreds of billions of our dollars and thousands of our lives trying to pull off the grandest larceny ever -- not for our profit but for theirs. They have told countless lies to do it and ruined countless innocent lives in the process. Do you really support this?

The email you forwarded -- to me and (apparently) all your other family and friends -- even invoked the Holy names of God and Jesus Christ in an attempt to make mass murder for profit and power appear righteous! Talk about disrespecting your religion!!

You still go to church, right? What do they talk about every Sunday? Do they ever mention glorifying God the Creator? Do they ever talk about following in the righteous ways of the Prince of Peace? Do they ever say "Love your neighbor"?

Thou shalt not kill, Dad. Thou shalt not steal. Thou shalt not covet. Thou shalt not bear false witness. Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain. Have we forgotten all that?

I do not believe torture and murder please our Creator, and I do not believe Jesus Christ died on the cross so we could commit horrific crimes on Earth, rant about how we don't care about them, and still go to Heaven.

In my church we are taught that the only way to Heaven is to follow Jesus Christ: to repent your sins, to make restitution to those you have wronged, to humble yourself before God and pray for mercy. Apparently in your church they do things differently.

But enough about the Church; let's talk about the State.

The email claims to have been written by an angry woman from New Jersey, but it bears all the fingerprints of cold and calculating men from the Pentagon. Several months ago, they announced their plans to use the internet to spread their "version" of reality, and the writing is exactly their style, so it looks like this is one of the ways they decided to do it.

They want you to forward it; they want to start fights; they want to tear the country apart. And they are relentless.

So I expect you will receive similar messages in the future. That's how the propaganda merchants work. That's how they always work. They are spending our money to spread vicious lies, and they are tricking you into helping them -- for free!

It causes me immense pain to know that you and some of your friends have been used to transmit such a hideous message, and, with all possible respect, I ask you to think carefully about deleting such messages in the future, rather than forwarding them.
I still can't decide which one to send, if any. But I've posted all four responses in the hope that one or more of them may be useful to you, if and when somebody you love sends you the Pentagon's newest mind-control virus...

... and to get the evil out of my system!

Imran Khan On DN!

Please watch this clip and listen to Imran Khan, the only Pakistani politician who makes any sense at all.

Imran Khan is a former captain of Pakistan's national cricket team, and the only Pakistani to lead his team to a World Cup championship. He did it with impressive skill, and even more impressive leadership; then he used the same qualities as a philanthropist when he retired from cricket, raising enough money to found a hospital for cancer patients -- the first and only one in his country.

Then Imran turned to politics, here he could have joined an established party as a famous face, winning a guaranteed seat and enjoying a long turn at the trough. Instead he started his own party, "Movement for Justice". As its leader, he rejects the corruption of all the other ("major") parties, and stands -- alone if need be -- for justice and democracy.

In this interview, he doesn't get everything right; for instance he still thinks the US is trying to "win" the War on Terror. So he tries to explain how to stop the terrorists -- as if the US government would ever do such a thing.

But you'll never find a more honest politician, here or elsewhere. He's boycotting the coming election -- passing up a chance to enhance his personal status in favor of trying to bring democracy to his country.

Imagine if we had a politician like Imran Khan! We should be so lucky -- we don't even have an athlete like him.

Democracy Now! : Pakistani Opposition Leader Imran Khan on Musharraf, Bhutto, and How the U.S. Has Undermined Pakistani Democracy

Visions Of Endless War

USA Today: Fla. win cements McCain's front-runner status
Republican John McCain completed an improbable journey from written off to front-runner Tuesday by winning Florida's presidential primary.

The Arizona senator's third win in the four primaries so far, political analysts say, makes him the favorite for the nomination as the candidates head into a 22-state national primary on Feb. 5.

Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney had the most at stake in Florida from a momentum standpoint. He has delegates from wins in the Michigan primary and the Wyoming and Nevada caucuses, and his deep pockets — a legacy of his years as a venture capitalist — will allow him to keep fighting.

"It's not completely over, so long as Romney has a big bank account," said former House GOP aide John Pitney, a political scientist at Claremont McKenna College. But he said McCain will be difficult to stop.

Though McCain's campaign was broke and in disarray last year, he returned to the underdog approach he used in 2000 and, town meeting by town meeting, scrapped his way back into contention.
Sure, he did. Sure, he did. Town hall meetings it is, then.

All you have to do in this country is start talking about staying in Iraq for a hundred years and you can miraculously start winning elections!

Of course it doesn't hurt if you're a former torture victim who supports torture.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Tom Toles: The Splurge

Wanna Get This Picture On The Cover! The Photo Rolling Stone Should Have Published With "The Fear Factory"

(UPDATED twice, below and belower)

Rolling Stone has just published a long and fairly good article called "The Fear Factory", which focuses on the FBI's so-called Joint Terrorism Task Forces and their apparent history of fomenting bogus terror -- creating false "terror cells" which they can then bust.

The author, Guy Lawson, shines a spotlight on the shady dealings of FBI entrapment specialist William "Jameel" Chrisman, whose story graced these pages some time ago.

Unfortunately, Rolling Stone didn't publish Chrisman's photo, even though it is readily available. Nor did Lawson link to any corroborating evidence, even though plenty of that is available, too.

I have been working on a review of Lawson's piece and I hope to have it ready shortly. But in the meantime, since Lawson has sparked some interest in the case, it makes sense to post a photo of the rat and links to more information.

For a closer (and annotated) look at William "Jameel" Chrisman, how he entrapped Derrick Shareef, and how he tried to entrap Hassan Abujihaad:

Burned! Meet William Chrisman, FBI Entrapment Specialist

And for another glimpse behind the scenes of bogus terror:

Inadequate Deception: The Impossible Plots Of The Terror War

I'll be back with more on Lawson's piece and some related matters as soon as possible. In the meantime, and especially if you're new to all this, please click some links and learn about the terrorist threat we face, where it comes from, and how serious it really is!


The Register-Star, hometown paper of Rockford, Illinois, was none too thrilled with the coverage Rolling Stone provided their fair city, and had this to say about it:
Rolling Stone takes aim at Rockford: Says city not worthy of terrorist attack

Jan 30, 2008 @ 07:22 PM | RRSTAR.COM

ROCKFORD - Rolling Stone, the venerable anti-establishment pop-culture magazine, took notice of Rockford in its latest issue.

In "The Fear Factory," a piece that suggests the federal government is "manufacturing" terror threats, author Guy Lawson examines the strange case of would-be mall bomber Derrick Shareef.

In the process, he takes a few swipes at Rockford, "a Midwestern city of 150,000, with a minuscule Muslim population and the lone claim to fame of being the hometown of Cheap Trick."

Later, Lawson opines, "Finding a meaningful target to blow up in Rockford isn't easy. A hardscrabble town in the middle of America, the place is not much more than an intersection of interstates and railway lines, with little of note that might attract the attention of terrorists."

What are your thoughts on this? Send us an e-mail at
So I sent them my thoughts:
In "Rolling Stone takes aim at Rockford", I see the following:
"The Fear Factory," ... suggests the federal government is "manufacturing" terror threats
I hate to break it to you, but you can go without the quotes.

The article describes some of the bogus terror threats that the federal government has been manufacturing! Period.

It is very clear and all the author's assertions are very well-documented elsewhere. But you won't report on that, will you?

Why not? Doesn't the truth matter to the newspapers anymore?

I think you're not only upset that Rolling Stone took a swipe at your thriving metropolis.

I think you're also ticked because they showed up your shitty little paper.

You should have been reporting on this more than a year ago.

I wrote to Mike Wiser -- the "Star" reporter who covered this story extensively at the time -- and pointed out that the evidence of entrapment was enormous.

Indeed, the scent of entrapment was all over this case from the beginning.

But apparently he wasn't interested. And apparently you still aren't.

Are your revenues declining, just like all the other shitty newspapers in this country?

Maybe you should start printing the truth for a change and see whether that makes a difference in your sales.

Because right now the bloggers have your ass beat from here to hell and back, chump.

I've been looking and looking for a good piece on this story and I've finally found one.

William N. Grigg: Federal Provocateurs: The "One Percent Solution"
Draped across the throat of our nation like a lank noose about to be pulled taut is a system of 102 Joint Terrorism Task Forces (JTTFs). These entities, which could properly be called homeland security soviets, combine state and local police with FBI Special Agents, covert operatives from the CIA, personnel from various directorates of the Department of Homeland Security, and investigators from the IRS.

FBI Special Agent Lundgren told Rolling Stone that the JTTFs are governed by “the Dick Cheney one percent solution”: If there is just a one percent chance that a terrorist incident can occur, “then we have to treat our response as if there were a 100 percent chance.”

Of course, where no evidence of a plot exists, the Feds stack the odds by employing provocateurs who supply the missing “one percent chance.”
Right on, William!

Who Switched Off America's Security Alarm On 9/11? And How Did They Do It?

In December, 2001, Eckehardt Werthebach, former president of the German intelligence service Verfassungsschutz, spoke with American journalist Christopher Bollyn about the sophistication and complexity of the 9-11 attacks and said they "would have required years of planning".
Such a sophisticated operation would require the fixed frame of a state intelligence organization; something not found in a loose group, like the one led by the student Mohammed Atta in Hamburg.
This remains one of the great unanswered questions about 9/11: How was it done? How did nineteen outsiders manage to outwit and outmaneuver America's entire national security system? How could men on planes armed with box-cutters have possibly done that?

Or was America's security alarm switched off somehow? Otherwise, how could they have hit the Pentagon, for crying out loud?

Most so-called journalists pretend this riddle has already been solved -- or that it never existed in the first place. But Christopher Bollyn is still trying to solve it. And it seems like he's getting close; the piece he posted yesterday makes a lot of sense to me:
9-11 was a computer crime. Apart from being a monstrous crime of mass murder and false flag terrorism, 9-11 was also a sophisticated computer crime, carried out through long-term foreign infiltration of the most sensitive U.S. military and government computer networks.

This infiltration, carried out by a foreign intelligence agency, gave the perpetrators of 9-11 "real-time" access to all the data on the computers of the U.S. government and military. On 9-11, this "super-user" access to the data of the most critical government computer networks gave the terrorists the ability to thwart the military response to the emergency as it developed.

Most importantly, the terrorists who committed 9-11 through their "super-user" access to the most critical computer networks of the U.S. government still have that access. The evidence indicates that this infiltration was carried out by the military intelligence agency of the State of Israel.
What? Listen:
The subject of computer sabotage in relation to the aerial attacks of 9-11 was brought to the fore by Indira Singh, who spoke at early 9-11 truth events organized by Kyle Hence.

During these early 9-11 "truth" events, a small Massachusetts-based software company called Ptech was brought up by Singh, who sought to link it to Arab terrorists.

Ptech was said to be a start-up company from Quincy, Mass. whose software was loaded onto the most sensitive computer systems across the U.S. government, including those of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the U.S. Air Force, two agencies whose systems failed miserably on 9-11.

Singh, a senior consultant with JP Morgan Chase on 9-11, is described as a "whistle-blower" because of her revelations about Ptech's involvement with the critical computer systems that failed on 9-11.

"Ptech was with MITRE Corporation in the basement of the FAA for two years prior to 9/11," Singh said. "Their specific job is to look at interoperability issues the FAA had with NORAD and the Air Force in the case of an emergency. If anyone was in a position to know that the FAA -- that there was a window of opportunity or to insert software or to change anything -- it would have been Ptech along with MITRE."
So ... who are Ptech and MITRE? What do you know about these companies?
Singh has spoken extensively about Ptech's alleged connections with Saudi Arabia, for example with Pacifica Radio in 2005:

Ptech software "is utilized at the highest levels of almost every government and military and defense organization in this country," Singh said, "including the Secret Service, the FBI, the Department of Defense, the House of Representatives, the Treasury Department, the IRS, the U.S. Navy, the U.S. Air Force, and, last but not least, the Federal Aviation Administration."

I found it hard to believe that the most sensitive government and military computers would run enterprise software from a Lebanese-owned start-up company called Ptech from Quincy, Mass. All the talk about the Saudi-financier behind Ptech being linked to Osama bin Laden smelled like a "cut out" to me.

It simply did not make sense that the most secure computer systems of the U.S. government would be running software written by a Lebanese Muslim financed by a Saudi who happened to be on the most-wanted list of global terrorists.
It doesn't make any sense to me, either. But it looks like a gun, and it smells like smoke. And the powers that are really behind Ptech and MITRE are tightly connected to Israeli intelligence.

No more excerpts. Go read the rest:

How Did Israeli Spy Software Get Onto Critical FAA Computers?


see this, too:

9-11 - Bush Was Behind Silencing of Dr. Steven E. Jones on Thermite

Monday, January 28, 2008

SOTU 2K8: The Worst Is Yet To Come

Bush has big plans for the next year, and USA Today has some details. It's sanitized, of course, but nonetheless, this is what millions of Americans are reading:
In one new announcement, Bush will try to reduce the use of earmarks, a common Capitol Hill practice of slipping pet projects into spending bills.

He will pledge to veto any spending bill that does not cut earmarks in half from levels spelled out in the current budget.

Bush also plans to sign an executive order on Tuesday directing agencies to ignore any future earmarks that are not actually written into law, but rather tucked into obscure "report" language.

The White House says the move will force Congress to make its spending more transparent.

However, that plan leaves untouched the more than 11,700 earmarks totaling $16.9 billion that Congress approved last year.
The most secretive administration in history -- which has defied every court in the land rather than turn over documents that rightfully belong to the American taxpayers -- wants to force somebody else to be more transparent! The irony couldn't possibly be richer.

And all for only 16.9 billion? Compared to the $700 billion they dropped on just one earmark, all the fuss hardly seems worth it.

And it isn't, except as a diversion.
In many ways, Bush will be using a page from Ronald Reagan's playbook.

Two decades ago, Reagan, in his last address to Congress, focused on legislation, not legacy.

"If anyone expects just a proud recitation of the accomplishments of my administration, I say let's leave that to history," he said. "We're not finished yet."

Bush also does not plan to turn the speech into a retrospective look at his time in office.

"I can understand how many people, especially those that cover the president in the press, could see that the president would approach this as his legacy speech," Perino said. "But no, not at all. This is a very forward-looking speech."
How could this president even contemplate a legacy speech? He's ruled over one disaster after another, and he hasn't even seemed to care.

For Bush -- as, in truth, for many presidents before him -- the truth of his legacy is something he will run away from, for the rest of his life.

And his fellow politicians -- on both sides of the aisle -- and the mainstream media (of course!) will assist him every step of the way.

For a lucid case study on how they do that, please see Chris Floyd's newest post, "Singing For Suharto: The Lasting Values of the Great and Good", and pay heed to Floyd's closing lines:
When it comes to the great and the good, never forget this one fact: they hate you, and they don't care if you suffer and die, just as long as they can keep gorging on the perks of loot and power.
And for a look back at last year's pre-SOTU festivities (and one of my all-time favorite cold posts), click here.

Why Pervez Musharraf Can't Tolerate Questions About Rashid Rauf

Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf, in Europe last week for a Schmooze Cruise on behalf of himself and the GWOT, was asked a very simple question about a very complex and dangerous subject -- and promptly blew a gasket!

From David Blair, Diplomatic Editor of The Telegraph : President Pervez Musharraf's many faces
Whatever you might think of President Pervez Musharraf, you have to admit he’s a good performer. Whenever I have seen him deliver a speech or stage a press conference, I have been struck by his self confidence and easy, jocular manner.

But very occasionally, the mask slips. I have just come from the Royal United Services Institute on Whitehall, where Musharraf was speaking earlier this afternoon. For almost the entire occasion, he was his usual charming self.

Then a Pakistani journalist, Mohammed Ziauddin, asked a perfectly reasonable question about how a prominent suspected terrorist, Rashid Rauf, had somehow escaped the custody of Musharraf’s security forces.

As soon as Ziauddin, the Islamabad editor of Dawn, a Pakistani daily, rose to ask his question, Musharraf visibly bristled.

Instantly, his demeanour changed from being relaxed and confident to tense and hostile.

Musharraf promptly accused Ziauddin of “casting aspersions” and “undermining our forces and your own country”. In a brief but furious tirade, he questioned Ziauddin’s patriotism and professionalism.
It doesn't seem like such an outrageous question, considering that it's been less than two weeks since nine Pakistani policemen were sacked for their alleged complicity in the "escape" of the supposed "mastermind" of the so-called "Liquid Bombers".

The Pakistani daily Dawn, still under heavy government restrictions, reported it this way: Foreign troops must not enter Pakistan, says Musharraf
He was seemingly rattled when Dawn asked for his comments on suggestions that Pakistan’s ability to safeguard its nuclear assets and conduct a competent inquiry into Benazir Bhutto’s assassination came under suspicion when suspected terrorists like Rashid Rauf give the slip to Pakistani police and escaped.

He said: “It is people like you that cast such aspersions and then such aspersions get around and are picked up by the foreign media.”

He said he believed in human rights and freedom of the press, but implied that he would not permit people to attack police or the press to promote violence.
Pakistan Politics noted the outburst this way: Musharraf Insults Journalist
Musharraf lost temper and bashed Dawn UK correspondent Ziauddin on the question of escaping of Rashid Rauf from the hands of law enforcement agencies.

Later while addressing Pakistani community in Hilton, Musharraf further expressed his anger on the Journalist.
Armed And Stupid has an audio clip: Musharraf Loses It
Listen to this audio from a Musharraf speech where he blasts Dawn News correspondent Ziauddin for questioning the official version of Rashid Rauf's escape from prison. He ends by asking the audience to confront such unpatriotic elements and "agar us ko do teen tika bhi dain to acha hai" (if you slap him around two or three times that would be good)
Sure, slap him around two or three times. That would be excellent!

Pak1stanfirst dot com has a different take on it: Will Pakistani Journalists Ever Learn, National Interest?
In a room full of international audience where international journalists where trying to undermine Pakistan’s interest and its capacities (being misinformed?), A Pakistani Journalist asked the most illogical and in efficient question he could ask bearing the responsibility of being the only Pakistani Journalist present on the occasion.

He connected the run away of Rashid Rauf a militant suspect of British Nationality from Rawalpindi police, with Pakistan Army and Intelligence agencies. In Ziaudin’s own (Listen here) words this question was already answered by President in Pakistan.

In some opinions, The President made him an example so that when ever any body asks what is National interest, he could refer to.

Ziaudin claims in an interview to BBCurdu that he has asked more tougher and difficult questions from President and President has never replied in such way and this answer was not anticipated at all. While giving this interview he claims that connecting Rawalpindi police with Pakistan Army and Intelligence and safe guard of Pakistan ’s nuclear assets is logical. Failing again to recognize what a 40 years experienced Pakistani journalists is suppose to do when foreign media is trying to undermine Pakistani Interest.

While understanding the intention of this gentleman expressed in the same interview to BBCurdu, it could be recommended that another question might have done the job, e.g. How Pakistani Police managed to Capture more than 684 (approx) international wanted terrorist. Out of these almost 16 are found connected with Benazir Bhutto assassination.

President on another occasion, in a lighter tone, talks about the journalist (Listen here).

Keeping National Interest First!
Yes, indeed! Let's keep the national interest first, second, and third, and the truth be damned!


What's the truth?

It's nothing like what David Blair, Diplomatic Editor of The Telegraph, implies:
This disgraceful response to an entirely reasonable query spoke volumes about Musharraf. He will question the patriotism of any Pakistani critic – betraying his essential intolerance of dissent.

I wonder whether Musharraf would have responded with such rage had a British journalist asked precisely the same question?

I suspect he would have answered firmly but politely. Musharraf treats his fellow Pakistanis with contempt while oozing charm for the benefit of foreigners.
No, David. It wasn't the source. It was the question! Nobody in the mainstream media gets this. But it's not surprising, because the essential truth about Rashid Rauf and the alleged plot with which he was allegedly connected has been hidden by (and from) the very same media.

The plot was impossible. There was never any threat. The story bears all the signs of a Terror Game and if the truth about it ever comes out, it could ruin everything: not just Musharraf's government in Pakistan but the British and American governments as well as the entire bogus Global War On Terror.

Are you ready for some of that truth? It's all in plain sight:

Inadequate Deception: The Impossible Plots Of The Terror War

UPDATE: Now come the threats!

Journalists stage protest rally against threat calls given to Zia ud Din
ISLAMABAD: Hundreds of journalists and civil societies members of twin cities staged a protest rally outside the Islamabad Press Club against threats given to Senior Journalist Ziauddin by President Musharraf in London.

The participants of the rally were holding banners and placards inscribed with anti-government and anti Musharraf slogans.

They also chanted pitched slogans and strongly condemned the mistreatment of President with Zia ud Din in London.

On the occasion, renowned journalists and Anchor person of Geo TV’s programme "Capital Talk", Hamid Mir while addressing the rally said that today’s protest rally has been organized in connection with the threats calls given to the Zia ud Din.

Hamid Mir accused that President uttered the name of Zia ud Din twice in London and call him in bad words. Furthermore, during the press conference Zia ud Din raised question that how President Musharraf could talk about improving the image of Pakistan when a high profile convict Rashid Rauf escaped right from under the nose of law enforcing agencies. Upon this the president got infuriated and said that people like you want to destroy the country for their own vested interests.

The aides of President present on the occasion also demanded from the President to cancel the nationality of Zia ud Din.

Hamid Mir said President Musharraf by meeting out such treatment to a senior journalist proved how he wants to treat the media. This proves, he added, that President Musharraf is behind every atrocity that has been committed against Journalists.

He said that today we announce that if anything ever happens to any journalist than only President Musharraf would be responsible for that.

President RIUJ, Afzal Butt in his address also strongly condemned this act of President. He said that it is common practice that when a minister threatens senior journalist blatantly then intelligence agencies make the life of that journalists and his whole family miserable.

Senior Voice President RIUJ also strongly condemned the incident on behalf of the South Asian Free Media Association (SAFMA).

thirty-third in a series

Ebb Tide I: Political Analysis Reaches Astonishing New Lows

As the 2008 presidential "election" process grinds on, we can expect the quality of the reporting to keep getting worse, especially if the "liberal media" have anything to do with it:
If you look at the reams of coverage in newspapers outside the United States or follow the hours of television news broadcasts, you might conclude that foreigners had a vote in selecting an American presidential candidate -- or, at least, deserved one, so great is America's influence on their lives.
To the questionable extent to which the 2008 presidential election will have anything to do with the future course of American policy, it is perhaps fair to say that this election will determine whose lives the United States will ruin next. You might conclude that the victims should have some say in it.

And why not? They're the ones paying for our "way of life".
From Berlin to London to Jakarta, the destinies of Democratic and Republican contenders in Iowa or New Hampshire, or Nevada or South Carolina, have become news in a way that most political commentators cannot recall. It is as if outsiders are pining for change in America as much as some American presidential candidates are promising it.
Outsiders couldn't really be pining for a change in American direction, could they? But for some mysterious reason, they act as if they did!
The personalities of the Democratic contest in particular -- the potential harbinger of America's first African-American or female president -- have fascinated outsiders as much as, if not more than, the candidates' policies on Iraq, immigration or global finances.
Of course, outsiders are fascinated on whatever the media focuses on -- just like the locals! only worse. And the coverage always focuses on anything but the issues, especially the personalities. So how is this news?

It isn't, of course. It's pure spin. And there's lots more where that came from.

We've been reading Alan Cowell from Davos, Switzerland, in the International Herald Tribune:
And there is a palpable sense that, while democratic systems seem clunky and uninspiring to voters in many parts of the Western world, America offers a potential model for reinvigoration.
Ha! America offers a case study of a murderous post-democratic industrial society going down the tubes fast, and taking the rest of humanity with it! But of course the IHT cannot say that.
"It is in many ways an uplifting sight to see a great democracy functioning at that most basic of levels," said Lord McNally, the leader of the small opposition Liberal Democrats in Britain's House of Lords. "Even with all the money, the publicity, the power of television, the person who wants to be the most powerful man or woman in the world still has to get down and talk in small town halls and stop people on the street and stand on soapboxes."
Doesn't it just warm your broken heart to see all the warmongering zillionaires standing on their soapboxes?

Here's my favorite bit:
There is skepticism in some places that an African-American can actually win the presidency. "Can he win?" an Afro-Cuban cabdriver asked an American visitor in Havana. "I mean, can he win?" he asked, wondering if a black man could be elected in a land that Cubans are taught to see as riven with racism.
You see? America is not actually riven with racism. That's just a myth that the Cubans believe, because that's what they are taught.

And it kind of makes you wonder: Do we believe anything that's false about any foreign countries, just because of what we're taught?

I have to give Alan Cowell some credit, though. He did get himself to Davos, whereas I am still here. And he also managed to sneak a few morsels of truth into his article:
There is deep interest in the campaign in the West African nation of Senegal, fueled in large part by a dislike of President George W. Bush and a hope that a new president will be more open to immigration and less hostile to Islam.

"I think President Bush is anti-Islamic," said Mouhamed Souleymane Seydi, 24, a hotel-management student at the University of Dakar. "It's become much harder for Muslims to immigrate to America or even to visit. If you show up at the airport with a beard and look Arab, you're going to come under intense scrutiny."
This, too:
In the Philippines some displayed less concern, even with the Obama-Clinton race. "In the past we always have two white men talking about strange policies," said Alex Magno, 53, a political science professor at the University of the Philippines. "But probably if they get elected it will be the same as the old white men who contested the elections before."
... which could knock Alan Cowell out of the running for The Stupidest or Most Deceitful Political Analysis of The Year Award ... if there are any other qualified candidates.

And -- so sorry, Alan -- there are some!


to be continued...

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Why Saddam Hussein Didn't Use His WMD

In the spring of 2003, shortly after the United States had invaded Iraq, a couple of my friends asked me, "Why hasn't Saddam Hussein used his weapons?"

"What weapons?" I would ask.

"His weapons of mass destruction," they would say. Haven't you heard about Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction?"

"Saddam doesn't have any weapons of mass destruction," I would say. "That's why Hans Blix couldn't find them."

"Sure he does," they would counter, "or else we wouldn't have invaded. But why hasn't he used them?"

60 Minutes finally gets an answer to that question and it comes from the FBI agent who interrogated Saddam: He didn't know we were coming.

That's right! Everybody in the entire world who could read or watch TV or listen to the radio knew we were coming. Everybody but Saddam Hussein.

It's lucky for us that we keep getting into wars with backward countries whose leaders have no point of contact with reality. Otherwise we might get bogged down and lose momentum in our glorious quest to bring democracy to the world.

Defense Bill Aims To Help Victims Of Terrorist Attacks

False-flag terrorism will get a boost from the Defense Appropriations Bill passed by Congress, thanks to a deeply buried provision that will allow the victims (and families of victims) to obtain extensive damages from the scapegoats.

Thus, having blamed a foreign country for some "terrorist atrocity", we can now bomb the snot out of them and take their best stuff.

It seems like a double-whammy. But it's not.

It's a triple-whammy, with the first two shots as noted and the third sure to manifest itself on the domestic political front, in mass-mailings such as the following:
Dear Hoodwinked Constituent,

I voted for the Defense Appropriations Bill despite my well-known opposition to the war, not only because I love the brave and glorious troops, but also because the bill allows victims of terrorist attacks and their families to be generously compensated by the foreign government deemed responsible -- something no previous Defense Appropriations Bill has ever done!

As you know, the probability that you and/or all your loved ones will be killed or horribly injured in a terrorist attack is so enormous that it must consume all our budget and drive all our policies. And even at that, we cannot guarantee your absolute safety. But under the new Defense Appropriations Bill, each of your bereaved loved ones will be entitled to 800 tons of sand from some godforsaken Middle Eastern country, plus a lifetime supply of pistachios from Iran and a relic from an ancient Persian collection.

So (Please) Vote For Me (Again) (Or Else!!)

Your Corrupt Congressman

OOPS: American Woman Kidnapped In Kandahar

Somebody's made a big mistake, and we don't even know who it was. To make a long story short, it looks like we're more or less forced to start bombing Afghanistan pretty soon.

Carlotta Gall and Taimoor Shah in the New York Times:
KANDAHAR, Afghanistan, — An American woman and her Afghan driver were kidnapped by gunmen in this southern town Saturday morning on her way to work, the provincial governor said.

No one has claimed responsibility for the abduction, he said.

The woman, Sidney Misal, 49, was working for a nongovernmental organization, the Asian Rural Life Development Foundation, and had been living in southern Kandahar since 2002, the governor, Asadullah Khalid, said.

The governor blamed those who were against Afghanistan and its reconstruction for the abduction. “Whoever they are, they’re the enemies of the country, the enemy of Islam and the enemy of Afghanistan,” he said.

The police were searching for Ms. Misal, who was wearing the all-enveloping burqa on her way to work at 8 a.m., Mr. Khalid said.

“This is against Afghan culture to abduct a woman,” Mr. Khalid said. “She trusted the Afghan nation and respected them, that’s why she was traveling without security guards and actually she didn’t ask for security.

“This kind of incident is rare in Kandahar.”
Kidnapping is rare in Kandahar? Well, then, maybe we should invade instead.

R.I.P. Anna In Prague

I invite you to join me in extending condolences to long-time reader and occasional commenter "Bob in Prague", whose wife Anna has passed away after a long and miserable battle.

I've lost friends and relatives to long and miserable battles, and it's always tough to know what to say. They're fighting a horrible disease and half the time you're pulling for them to keep on going, and feeling like a heel because you know how badly they're suffering and you also know you're pulling for a selfish reason -- but you love 'em so much you can't stand the thought of missing them. And the other half of the time you hope they'll go soon, and that their suffering will finally be over, but you feel like a heel for that too.

No words are ever appropriate. And I guess that's why we have moments of silence.

I intend to observe such a moment on Monday morning at 9:20 am ET, as friends and relatives of Bob and his late wife join together in solidarity, to honor her life, and mourn her loss, and send her into eternity on the wings of song, as it were.

Anna's suffering is over. Her pain is finished. I wish I could say the same for my country.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Damned: The Bloody Lies That Condemn Us All

The Center for Public Integrity has compiled an infinitely searchable catalog of the 935 lies told by the president and seven other top administration officials in order to instigate war between the United States and Iraq.

These deliberate (and in most cases, scripted) lies were told over a two-year period and were built on two basic fictional building blocks: [1] that Iraq threatened us with weapons of mass destruction, and [2] that Iraq supported al Qaeda and therefore bore responsibility for the attacks of September 11, 2001.

In the intelligence community, and in the well-informed segment of the general populace, both claims were widely known to be false, yet they were used and re-used and denied and debunked and embroidered and pasted together and used and re-used again, until the Mission was Accomplished and the United States was involved in a foreign war it couldn't get out of.

The eight administration officials indicted by this compilation are: the twice unelected President George W. Bush, the twice unelected Vice President Dick Cheney, current Secretary of State and former National Security Adviser Condoleeza Rice, former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, former Secretary of State Colin Powell, former Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz, former White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer, and former White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan.

The deliberately deceitful actions of these eight people (and the many others who followed their lead) have resulted directly and immediately in the unwarranted deaths of at least a million people, and the unnecessary destruction of the lives of millions more. And it will kill and ruin many more, no matter how or when it ends.

By any civilized standard, all eight officials listed above are obviously guilty of mass murder, war crimes, and crimes against humanity.

By any civilized standard, all eight should be arrested immediately and given speedy trials, which if fair would surely result in their convictions and public executions.

People of goodwill everywhere could only hope for the executions to be as slow and as painful as possible -- and seen and understood by billions.

But we all know that will never happen. We all know nothing even remotely like that will ever happen. And by failing to make that happen -- by failing to stop everything for as long as necessary in order to force that to happen -- We The People of the United States hereby forfeit any claim to being a civilized nation.

The lies in the database condemn the eight individuals listed above, and all their sycophants. But the failure to oppose them in any meaningful way condemns the rest of us.

We could stand shoulder-to-shoulder by the millions and shut down every big city. We could sit bumper-to-bumper in far smaller numbers and shut down the whole country.

We could. But we won't. And why not? Because we don't know enough? Or because we don't care enough?

It seems to me we know more than we ever did, so we must care less than ever. And the current political races seem to bear me out.

In the Democratic party there is one presidential candidate who would stop the war in Iraq immediately and whose platform is based on letting the people make the laws of the land. And he can't get into a debate and he can't get on TV and he can't raise any money and he can't get his poll numbers above 1%.

And that's in the so-called opposition party! Damn!