Saturday, July 23, 2005
It's all about which way the capital is flowing.
Capital usually flows from mature, developed economies to less-developed economies on their way up. For example, a lot of America's growth in the 19th century was financed by investors from Britain, which was already industrialized.
A decade ago, before the world financial crisis of 1997-1998, capital movements seemed to fit the historic pattern, as funds flowed from Japan and Western nations to "emerging markets" in Asia and Latin America. But these days things are running in reverse: capital is flowing out of emerging markets, especially China, and into the United States.
This uphill flow isn't the result of private-sector decisions; it's the result of official policy. To keep China's currency from rising, the Chinese government has been buying up huge quantities of dollars and investing the proceeds in U.S. bonds.
One way to grasp how weird this policy is would be to think about what a comparable policy would look like in the United States, scaled up to match the size of our economy. It's as if last year the U.S. government invested US$1 trillion of taxpayers' money in low-interest Japanese bonds, and this year looks set to invest an additional US$1.5 trillion the same way.
Copy of my testimony to be presented on Friday, 22 July 2005 before a joint session of Congressional Democrats. / CORRECTING THE RECORD ON VALERIE PLAME / Larry C. Johnson. You can now see a video of Johnson's testimony here.
I submit this statement to the Congress in an effort to correct a malicious and disingenuous smear campaign that has been executed against a friend and former colleague, Valerie (Plame) Wilson. Neither Valerie, nor her husband, Ambassador Joseph Wilson has asked me to do anything on their behalf. I am speaking up because I was raised to stop bullies. In the case of Valerie Plame she is facing a gang of bullies that is being directed by the Republican National Committee.
...We sit here more than two years later and the storm of invective and smear against Ambassador Wilson and his wife, Valerie, continues. I voted for George Bush in November of 2000 because I wanted a President who knew what the meaning of “is” was. I was tired of political operatives who spent endless hours on cable news channels parsing words. I was promised a President who would bring a new tone and new ethical standards to Washington.
So where are we? The President has flip flopped and backed away from his promise to fire anyone at the White House implicated in a leak. We now know from press reports that at least Karl Rove and Scooter Libby are implicated in these leaks. Instead of a President concerned first and foremost with protecting this country and the intelligence officers who serve it, we are confronted with a President who is willing to sit by while political operatives savage the reputations of good Americans like Valerie and Joe Wilson. This is wrong.
Without firm action by President Bush to return to those principles he promised to follow when he came to Washington, I fear our political debate in this country will degenerate into an argument about what the meaning of “leak” is. We deserve people who work in the White House who are committed to protecting classified information, telling the truth to the American people, and living by example the idea that a country at war with Islamic extremists cannot expend its efforts attacking other American citizens who simply tried to tell the truth.
According to an April 29, 2002 report in Britain's Guardian, ARAMCO constitutes 12% of the world's total oil production; a figure which has certainly increased as other countries have progressed deeper into irreversible decline.
ARAMCO is the largest oil group in the world, a state-owned Saudi company in partnership with four major US oil companies. Another one of Aramco’s partners is Chevron-Texaco which gave up one of its board members, Condoleezza Rice, when she became the National Security Advisor to George Bush. All of ARAMCO’s key decisions are made by the Saudi royal family while US oil expertise, personnel and technology keeps the cash coming in and the oil going out. ARAMCO operates, manages, and maintains virtually all Saudi oil fields – 25% of all the oil on the planet.
It gets better.
According to a New York Times report on March 8th of this year, ARAMCO is planning to make a 25% investment in a new and badly needed refinery to produce gasoline. The remaining 75% ownership of the refinery will go to the only nation that is quickly becoming America's major world competitor for ever-diminishing supplies of oil: China.
Almost the entire Bush administration has an interest in ARAMCO.
The Boston Globe reported that in 2001 ARAMCO had signed a $140 million multi-year contract with Halliburton, then chaired by Dick Cheney, to develop a new oil field. Halliburton does a lot of business in Saudi Arabia. Current estimates of Halliburton contracts or joint ventures in the country run into the tens of billions of dollars.
So do the fortunes of some shady figures from the Bush family's past.
As recently as 1991 ARAMCO had Khalid bin Mahfouz sitting on its Supreme Council or board of directors. Mahfouz, Saudi Arabia's former treasurer and the nation's largest banker, has been reported in several places to be Osama bin Laden's brother in law. However, he has denied this and brought intense legal pressure to bear demanding retractions of these allegations. He has major partnership investments with the multi-billion dollar Binladin Group of companies and he is a former director of BCCI, the infamous criminal drug-money laundering bank which performed a number of very useful services for the CIA before its 1991 collapse under criminal investigation by a whole lot of countries.
As Saudi Arabia's largest banker he handles the accounts of the royal family and - no doubt - ARAMCO, while at the same time he is a named defendant in a $1 trillion lawsuit filed by 9/11 victim families against the Saudi government and prominent Saudi officials who, the suit alleges, were complicit in the 9/11 attacks.
Both BCCI and Mahfouz have historical connections to the Bush family dating back to the 1980s. Another bank (one of many) connected to Mahfouz - the InterMaritime Bank - bailed out a cash-starved Harken Energy in 1987 with $25 million. After the rejuvenated Harken got a no-bid oil lease in 1991, CEO George W. Bush promptly sold his shares in a pump-and-dump scheme and made a whole lot of money.
Knowing all of this, there's really no good reason why the CIA should be too upset, is there? It was only a long-term proprietary and deep-cover NOC - well established and consistently producing "take" from ARAMCO (and who knows what else in Saudi Arabia). It was destroyed with a motive of personal vengeance (there may have been other motives) by someone inside the White House.
From the CIA's point of view, at a time when Saudi Arabia is one of the three or four countries of highest interest to the US, the Plame operation was irreplaceable.
Very interesting and intellectually rigorous debate.
Unfortunately, someone identifiable only through their server, "220.127.116.11," is deleting factual information from the page. Whois 18.104.22.168? Someone working through a Department of Defense server in Virginia.
Abram Shulsky and Gary Schmitt credit the teachings of Leo Strauss, a German Jewish émigré philosopher, with helping them conceptualize their understanding of good intelligence. Shulsky received his doctorate from the University of Chicago studying under Strauss, who attracted a cult following of neocons with his theories about politics and human nature. Shadia Drury, author of several books on Straussian political philosophy, said that Leo Strauss believed that “truth is not salutary, but dangerous, and even destructive to society--any society.” 1
In their joint 1999 essay, “Leo Strauss and the World of Intelligence,” Shulsky and Schmitt observed that CIA analysts “were generally reluctant throughout the cold war to believe that they could be deceived about any critical questions by the Soviet Union or other Communist states.” But “history has shown this view to be extremely naïve.” 2 Unlike the Soviet Union, which operated with Machiavellian sophistication, according to Shulsky and Schmitt, the U.S. government was constrained by its democratic and moral principles during the cold war.
A political philosophy more closely hewed to the classic philosophers, particularly Plato, and the realist philosophers, such as Strauss, could provide an “antidote” to the CIA's failings, the authors claimed. Such a philosophy of intelligence would help the U.S. government understand Islamic leaders “whose intellectual world was so different from our own.” To truly grasp a given situation, contend Shulsky and Schmitt, it is necessary to penetrate the surface of information to uncover what Strauss called “the hidden meaning” in political dealings. Such a perspective, they said, “alerts one to the possibility that political life may be closely linked to deception. Indeed, it suggests that deception is the norm in political life, and the hope, to say nothing of the expectation, of establishing a politics that can dispense with it is the exception.”
“There was an absolute theft of funds going on,” Attorney General Jim Petro said.
Mr. Petro said there is evidence that Mr. Noe pocketed nearly $4 million in money invested with the coin fund through the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation since 1998.
Mr. Petro asked a judge to further restrict the former Toledo-area coin dealer from selling personal assets because he believes they may have been purchased with state money.
State officials yesterday laid out a complicated scheme of payments between companies Mr. Noe controlled, which they say resulted in the theft of state money.
According to Philip Giraldi, writing in the new issue (not online) of the American Conservative, it's to nuke Iran:
The Pentagon, acting under instructions from Vice President Dick Cheney's office, has tasked the United States Strategic Command (STRATCOM) with drawing up a contingency plan to be employed in response to another 9/11-type terrorist attack on the United States. The plan includes a large-scale air assault on Iran employing both conventional and tactical nuclear weapons. Within Iran there are more than 450 major strategic targets, including numerous suspected nuclear-weapons-program development sites. Many of the targets are hardened or are deep underground and could not be taken out by conventional weapons, hence the nuclear option. As in the case of Iraq, the response is not conditional on Iran actually being involved in the act of terrorism directed against the United States. Several senior Air Force officers involved in the planning are reportedly appalled at the implications of what they are doing--that Iran is being set up for an unprovoked nuclear attack--but no one is prepared to damage his career by posing any objections.
The source did not have any knowledge on whether Bolton was one of Miller's sources on the Valerie Plame story she was preparing, but argues that he was a regular source otherwise.
It's all "thickening."
Five members of the group -- which is associated with the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom -- are due in court Monday to face trespassing charges after trying to enlist at a military recruitment center last week.
The group has protested every week for the last three years outside the recruitment center.
"We went in asking to be sent to Iraq so our kids and grandchildren can be sent home, but rather than listening to us, they called the police," said 74-year-old Betty Schroeder. "It was their place to tell us the qualifications, but they wouldn't even speak to us. They should've said, `You're too old."'
Schroeder said her group may approach the Pentagon to see if they could be sent to Iraq.
Friday, July 22, 2005
Understandable to all Americans is a simple, incontrovertible, but damning truth: the United States government exposed the identity of a clandestine officer working for the CIA. This is not just another partisan "dust-up" between political parties. This unprecedented act will have far-reaching consequences for covert operations around the world. Equally disastrous is that from the time of that first damning act, we have continued on a course of self-inflicted wounds by government officials who have refused to take any responsibility, have played hide-and-seek with the truth and engaged in semantic parlor games for more than two years, all at the expense of the safety of the American people. No government official has that right.
...There is a very serious message here. Before you shine up your American flag lapel pin and affix your patriotism to your sleeve, think about what the impact your actions will have on the security of the American people. Think about whether your partisan obfuscation is creating confidence in the United States in general and the CIA in particular. If not, a true patriot would shut up.
Those who take pride in their political ability to divert the issue from the fundamental truth ought to be prepared to take their share of the responsibility for the continuing damage done to our national security.
When this unprecedented act first occurred, the president could have immediately demanded the resignation of all persons even tangentially involved. Or, at a minimum, he could have suspended the security clearances of these persons and placed them on administrative leave. Such methods are routine with police forces throughout the country. That would have at least sent the right message around the globe, that we take the security of those risking their lives on behalf of the United States seriously. Instead, we have flooded the foreign airwaves with two years of inaction, political rhetoric, ignorance, and partisan bickering. That's the wrong message. In doing so we have not lessened, but increased the threat to the security and safety of the people of the United States.
Defense Department Refuses to Turn Over Abuse Photographs; Asks to File Secret Brief Justifying Refusal
"I am pretty old, you know," said O'Connor, who is 75 and had served on the court for 24 years when she announced early this month that she would be stepping down. "In all of the years of my life, I don't think I have ever seen relations as strained as they are now between the judiciary and some members of Congress. It makes me very sad to see it."
She went on to say that it is "worrisome" that members of Congress are making efforts to "limit federal court jurisdiction to decide certain issues."
If you take a look at the Austin Police Department's registry, you'll find 80 sex offenders listed as living in zip code 78753. The problem is that you don't know if it's little children that gets a particular offender sexually aroused but the new pilot program will test that.
The guild's board of directors on Wednesday fired executive director Susan Buzzi, who has worked there at least 10 years, after she appeared in a Daily Show spoof on an explicit art piece without consulting them.
"I wouldn't be here this morning if President Bush had done the one thing required of him as commander in chief — protect and defend the Constitution," said Larry Johnson, a former CIA analyst. "The minute that Valerie Plame's identity was outed, he should have delivered a strict and strong message to his employees."
In September 2003, a senior White House official told the Washington Post that at least six reporters had been informed about Plame before Novak’s column appeared on July 14, 2003. The official said the disclosures about Plame were “purely and simply out of revenge.”
When the sea floor off the coast of Sumatra split on the morning of December 26, 2004, it took days to measure the full extent of the rupture. Recently, researchers at Columbia University's Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory analyzed recordings of the underwater sound produced by the magnitude 9.3 earthquake. Their unique approach enabled them to track the rupture as it moved along the Sumatra-Andaman Fault, raising the possibility that scientists could one day use the method to track underwater earthquakes in near real time and opening new avenues in seismologic research. Listen to the December 26th earthquake (mp3)
U.S. Attorney Gregory A. White filed the motion Thursday, the same day The Plain Dealer reported that former Mayor Michael R. White was a target of a federal investigation that began three years ago and that led to the indictment of one of White's friends.
See also: Now Doug Clifton Wishes He Had Kept Quiet
The legislation was first introduced by Congressmen Fred Upton, a Michigan Republican, and Edward Markey, a Massachusetts Democrat.
Ralph Cicerone's views contrasted with Bush administration officials' emphasis on uncertainty about how much carbon dioxide and other industrial gases warm the atmosphere like a greenhouse.
"Carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is now at its highest level in 400,000 years and it continues to rise," said Cicerone, an atmospheric scientist who left as chancellor of University of California-Irvine to become academy president this month. "Nearly all climate scientists today believe that much of Earth's current warming has been caused by increases in the amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, mostly from the burning of fuels."
The court, in a 6-2 decision Thursday, sided with Circuit Judge Ann Lamar in a 2003 case out of Quitman County.
Pentagon's treatment of detainees or sets up a commission to investigate operations at Guantanamo Bay prison and elsewhere.
The Bush administration, under fire for the indefinite detention of enemy combatants at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba and questions over whether its policies led to horrendous abuses at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq, put lawmakers on notice it did not want them legislating on the matter.
In a statement, the White House said such amendments would "interfere with the protection of Americans from terrorism by diverting resources from the war."
"If legislation is presented that would restrict the president's authority to protect Americans effectively from terrorist attack and bring terrorists to justice," the bill could be vetoed, the statement said.
The omission by Rove created doubt for federal investigators, almost from the inception of their criminal probe into who leaked Plame's name to columnist Robert Novak, as to whether Rove was withholding crucial information from them, and perhaps even misleading or lying to them, the sources said.
Suspects will also have to give testimony and allow property to be searched and seized even if what the suspect is accused of is not a crime in Ireland.
Under 'instruments of agreement' signed last week by Justice Minister Michael McDowell, Ireland and the US pledged mutual co-operation in the investigation of criminal activity. It is primarily designed to assist America's so-called 'war on terror' in the wake of the September 11 atrocities.
The deal was condemned yesterday by the Irish Council for Civil Liberties (ICCL) as "an appalling signal of how the rights of Irish citizens are considered by the minister when engaging in international relations".
The ADS fires a 95-gigahertz microwave beam, which is supposed to heat skin and to cause pain but no physical damage (New Scientist, 27 October 2001, p 26). Little information about its effects has been released, but details of tests in 2003 and 2004 were revealed after Edward Hammond, director of the US Sunshine Project - an organisation campaigning against the use of biological and non-lethal weapons - requested them under the Freedom of Information Act.
Thursday, July 21, 2005
I'd rather concentrate on a real scoop -- i.e., what's with the President's jaw? During the announcement remarks, George W. Bush unveiled a (to me, at least) entirely new facial movement, and it was a trimphant debut, since the movement/tic/signal was repeated more than a dozen times. I have no idea what it means, but a new Presidential facial movement, well into the second term, is exciting enough on its own terms. Enjoy it here.
At this point, I don’t have all of the details in terms of specific locations and times. However, I do know there will be a meeting in Detroit, and that several of my colleagues will host meetings across the country as well.
If you would like to sign up to host a house party in conjunction with the town hall meetings, please fill in the form below.
If you would like to submit questions or suggestions for the Town Hall Meetings, please click here.
I will be updating this link frequently, and encourage you to sign up now. Much additional information on these and related events is and will also be available on AfterDowningStreet.org.
While casket prices increased due to the ever increasing demand, it is impossible to find caskets for the bodies of the poor and homeless. The price of a coffin varies from between $35 and $50 in Bagdat (Baghdad), in a city where one person dies every hour. Caskets have become a major necessity of the country due to the increasing number of deaths.
Law enforcement officials say that because the birdwatchers have equipment such as binoculars, telescopes and cameras, they have the potential to commit acts of espionage. The areas they use are sometimes close to military bases, dams and sewage plants.
Sparta police detective Allen Selby said there was no evidence to suggest the arsons were part of a racist hate crime, but authorities were not ruling out anything.
The fires erupted in the middle of the night, and no one was injured. No arrests have been made, but Mayor Tom Pedigo said authorities are pursuing some tips.
They argue that Young Republicans who support the war in Iraq should enlist in the military, especially given recent lags in recruiting.
Their motto: Sign up or shut up.
Activist Karl Olson, a New York resident, said he recently tried to sign up for the Army but was turned away because he's 44 years old. Younger Republicans, however, could help fight their cause, he said.
The shortage is also likely to result in a large number of important training exercises being cancelled or severely restricted.
Monitored through wire taps and ambient listening devices, he was a walking, talking link to a larger threat in Europe and beyond -- who suddenly vanished on Feb. 17, 2003. That's when prosecutors say CIA agents kidnapped Nasr and flew him to Egypt.
The cleric, also known as Abu Omar, says he was tortured in Egypt under questioning and refused to be an informant.
"The kidnapping of Abu Omar was not just illegal, having seriously violated Italian sovereignty, but it was also harmful and corrosive to the effectiveness of the overall fight against terrorism," said Milan Judge Guido Salvini, who has a standing arrest order for Nasr.
Publication of The Costs of War by Sir Jeremy Greenstock, UK ambassador to the UN during the build-up to the 2003 war and the Prime Minister's special envoy to Iraq in its aftermath, has been halted. In an extract seen by The Observer, Greenstock describes the American decision to go to war as 'politically illegitimate' and says that UN negotiations 'never rose over the level of awkward diversion for the US administration'. Although he admits that 'honourable decisions' were made to remove the threat of Saddam, the opportunities of the post-conflict period were 'dissipated in poor policy analysis and narrow-minded execution'.
Regarded as a career diplomat of impeccable integrity, during his time in post-invasion Iraq, Greenstock became disillusioned with the Coalition Provisional Authority, led by Paul Bremer. Their relationship had deteriorated by the time Greenstock returned to Britain.
The decision to block the book until Greenstock removes substantial passages will be interpreted as an attempt by ministers to avoid further embarrassing disclosures over the conduct of the war and its aftermath from a highly credible source.
On the Fox website, there was an opinion piece "How Jane Fonda and the BBC put you in danger".
I am writing this in a building which was bombed by Irish terrorists. My colleagues and I are living in a city recovering from the wounds inflicted last week.
If I may leave our customary impartiality aside for a moment, the comments made on Fox News are beneath contempt.
Susan Tarbet replied, "The government had asked for an extension until July 22 to tell the court how and when they planned to release the photos and videos. We are now waiting for the court to issue an order with a specific date for the release, or for the government to release the images."
But this time, Democrats say it isn't theirs.
A veteran aide told RAW STORY the document was prepared by an "outside group," and declined to elaborate. The aide specifically denied that the document had originated at the Democratic National Committee or their Senate staff.
Dems: Dissenting Views to H.R. 3199, the “USA PATRIOT and Intelligence Reform Reauthorization Act of 2005.”
• It was used against Brandon Mayfield, an innocent Muslim American, to tap his phones, seize his property, copy his computer files, spy on his children, and take his DNA, all without his knowledge.
• It has been used to deny, on account of his political beliefs, the admission to the United States of a Swiss citizen and prominent Muslim Scholar to teach at Notre Dame University.
• It has been used to unconstitutionally coerce an Internet Service Provider to divulge information about e-mail activity and web surfing on its system, and then to gag that Provider from even disclosing the abuse to the public.
• Because of gag restrictions, we will never know how many times it has been used to obtain reading records from library and bookstores, but we do know that libraries have been solicited by the Department of Justice – voluntarily or under threat of the PATRIOT Act – for reader information on more than 200 occasions since September 11.
• It has been used to charge, detain and prosecute a Muslim student in Idaho for posting Internet website links to objectionable materials, even though the same links were available on the U.S. Government’s web site.
The Cook County Board of Commissioners approved the ceremonial proclamation without opposition last month as one of a group of routine measures.
"I must have been out of the room" when the proclamation came up, said Tony Peraica, one of the five Republicans on the 17-commissioner board.
Organizers say the Gay Games, set for July 2006, could pump $50 million to $80 million into Chicago's economy.
Gay Games spokeswoman Tracy Baim said she was not surprised by the commissioners' move and was "actually more surprised" when the proclamation was approved.
They also note a belief that Democrats will request memoranda surrounding Roberts' position on abortion.
Sproul got into a bit of trouble last fall when, in certain states, it came out that the firm was playing dirty tricks in order to suppress the Democratic vote: concealing their partisan agenda, tricking Democrats into registering as Republicans, surreptitiously re-registering Democrats and Independents as Republicans, and shredding Democratic registration forms.
The scandal got a moderate amount of local coverage in some states - and then the election was over. Now anyone who brought up Nathan Sproul, or any of the other massive crimes and improprieties committed on or prior to Election Day, was shrugged off as a dealer in "conspiracy theory."
It seems that Sproul did quite a lot of work for the Republicans. Exactly how much did he do? More specifically, how much did the RNC pay Sproul & Associates?
If you went online last week to look up how much money Sproul received from the Republicans in 2004, you would have found that, according to the party (whose figures had been posted by the Center for Responsive Politics), the firm was paid $488,957.
In fact, the RNC paid Sproul a great deal more than that. From an independent study of the original data filed by the Republicans with the Federal Election Commission, it is clear that Sproul was paid a staggering $8.3 million for its work against the Democrats.
"The host interviewed Peter Power, Managing Director of Visor Consultants, which bills itself as a `crisis management advice company’, better known to you and I as a PR firm.
"Power told the host that at the exact time that the London bombings were taking place, his company was running a 1,000 person strong exercise which drilled the London Underground being bombed at the exact same locations, at the exact times, as happened in real life.
See also: Coincidence of bomb exercises?
It began when Peter Power, one time high ranking employee of Scotland Yard and member of its Anti-Terrorist Branch, reported in two major UK media outlets that his company Visor Consulting had on the morning of 7th of July been conducting 'crisis exercises' whose scenarios uncannily mirrored those of the actual attack.
In interviews on Radio 5 Live and ITV News, Power appeared to claim the exercises involved 'a thousand people' as well as a dedicated crisis team whose number was not specified. The consultant described the simulation of 'simultaneous attacks on a underground and mainline station' and 'bombs going off precisely at the railway stations' at which the actual bombings occurred.
Anyone reading that paragraph should have been aware that it contained secret information, though that designation was not specifically attached to Plame's name and did not describe her status as covert, the sources said. It is a federal crime, punishable by up to 10 years in prison, for a federal official to knowingly disclose the identity of a covert CIA official if the person knows the government is trying to keep it secret.
In a nationwide phone survey between May 4 and June 7, the Pew Internet & American Life Project asked internet users if they knew what certain internet terms meant. The results showed that some terms were well known, but that the terms “podcasting” and “RSS feeds” were not familiar to a majority of internet users and that “phishing” is still a foreign term to many.
Wednesday, July 20, 2005
Under current law, the maximum age to enlist in the active components is 35, while people up to age 39 may enlist in the reserves. By practice, the accepted age for recruits is 27 for the Air Force, 28 for the Marine Corps and 34 for the Navy and Army, although the Army Reserve and Navy Reserve sometimes take people up to age 39 in some specialties.
The Pentagon’s request to raise the maximum recruit age to 42 is part of what defense officials are calling a package of “urgent wartime support initiatives” sent to Congress Monday night prior to a Tuesday hearing of the House Armed Services military personnel subcommittee.
From here the story looked liked it would end quite badly for the shepherd boy, and he certainly would have come to a sticky end were it not for a sudden stroke of genius.
He looked to his sheep, and then to the flock of villagers, who had come running so readily to his aid. He considered the crook in his hand, and the power he wielded with it. He then held that crook aloft and pointed his finger at the nearest villager.
"Are you seriously questioning the existence of wolves?" he cried.
"But there are no wolves h..." began the villager.
"You see? You see? He said it himself! This man would have you think that wolves simply do not exist! Surely you all recall that wolves once attacked a nearby village!"
Indeed they did. There was a sudden murmuring in the crowd.
Tuesday, July 19, 2005
In the letter from Meyer, he indicates that the British had a "need to wrongfoot Saddam on the inspectors and the UN" Security Council Resolutions, possibly suggesting that the British and the United States were coordinating to 'trick' Saddam into starting a war.
Meyer's letter is the third image of the documents to be released. The British Telegraph printed copies of a letter from British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw and another by Manning last fall.
His full letter can be read in PDF format here. This copy has been truncated to hide markings that might indicate their source.
"It helps take Rove off the front pages for a week," one Republican strategist said.
Physicians said the troubles started when soldiers barged into a woman's wing at Yarmouk hospital, opened curtains and conducted searches as patients lay in their beds on Monday.
The figures, compiled from Iraqi and international media reports, found US and coalition military forces were responsible for 37% of the deaths, with anti-occupation forces and insurgents responsible for 9%. A further 36% were blamed on criminal violence.
Civilian deaths attributed to US and coalition military forces peaked in the invasion period from March to May 2003 - which accounts for 30% of all civilian deaths in the two-year period - but the longer-term trend has been for increasing numbers to die at the hands of insurgents.
Figures obtained last week from the Iraqi interior ministry put the average civilian and police officer death toll in insurgent attacks from August 2004 to March 2005 at 800 a month.
John Sloboda of the Iraq Body Count project, which co-authored the report with Oxford Research Group, said the Iraqi civilian death toll was the "forgotten cost" of the decision to go to war in Iraq.
"On average, 34 Iraqis every day have met violent deaths since the invasion of March 2003," he said at the launch of the report in London.
Levi also accepted CIA claims that the two documents are actually an intelligence "method" that the Director of Central Intelligence has authority to keep secret, despite the evidence in the case that the actual methods used by the CIA in the 1960s have been largely declassified. These include more than 800,000 spy satellite photographs taken by the CORONA and KH-5,6,7 and 9 systems, extensive data on signals intercepts including the Gulf of Tonkin (1964) intercepts of North Vietnamese traffic, and thousands of pages of source material produced by CIA agents in the Soviet Union (such as Penkovsky) or operating against Cuba (such as Luis Posada).
Meanwhile, the subjective character of classification policy was highlighted as Democrats turned ostentatiously hawkish on leaks while Republicans all but dismissed the public identification of a covered CIA officer as insignificant.
See "Political Parties Reverse Roles in Debate Over CIA Leak" by Josh Gerstein, New York Sun, July 18:
A Knight-Ridder news story noted that under the prevailing executive order, "appropriate and prompt corrective" administrative action is supposed to be taken against any U.S. government official who "knowingly, willfully or negligently" discloses classified information. But "a White House spokesman declined to respond to questions about the executive order."
See "Bush says he'll fire any aide who committed a crime in leak case" by Jonathan S. Landay, Knight-Ridder Newspapers, July 18:
Two dozen programmers from around the world have signed up to compete in Germany next month in the first computer chess tournament devoted to Chess960, a game variant invented by fugitive chess genius Bobby Fischer that's slowly gaining rank among grandmasters.
The rules of Chess960 are mostly the same as orthodox chess -- but the setup incorporates something once considered anathema to the game: chance. Pawns begin where they always do. However, the pieces behind them on the white side are arranged at random, with the proviso that bishops must end up on opposite colors, and the king dwell somewhere between the two rooks. The black pieces are lined up to mirror the white. See also: Chess vs. Chess960: A PC's View
Therefore, Sullivan said, "We thought if there was more than one person participating in this, it needed to be reported."
"Zach" is real. His name is Zach Stark.
A Google search finds that, until today, Zach had only been identified by full name in one obscure blog.
However, in an interview for Pat Robertson's national CBN TV network, father Joe Stark now defends sending Zach to what critics call an ex-gay boot camp:
"We felt very good about Zach coming here because… to let him see for himself the destructive lifestyle, what he has to face in the future, and to give him some options that society doesn't give him today," Stark said. "Knowing that your son... statistics say that by the age of 30 he could either have AIDS or be dead."
The drama that unfolded after four teenaged girls and a woman were swept away from shore at Blooming Point beach was captured on amateur video.
Only those who invest the accounts in government securities while they are working and in an annuity when they retire can be certain of receiving the full Social Security benefit they are promised, the aides said.
Other investment decisions would expose individuals to the ups and downs of the financial markets. That means their monthly benefit could wind up lower or higher than now envisioned. The aides, who work for the House Ways and Means Committee, described details of the bill to reporters on condition of anonymity.
Creation of personal accounts that give workers a nest egg they can pass along to their heirs has been a major selling point in the GOP drive to overhaul Social Security. [via Rachel Maddow]
"This is a lot of personal information in a single basket," said Chris Hoofnagle, senior counsel with the Electronic Privacy Information Center. "Google is becoming one of the largest privacy risks on the Internet."
Not that Hoofnagle is suggesting that Google has strayed from its mantra of making money "without doing evil."
Rather, some privacy advocates worry about the potential: The data's very existence — conveniently all under a single digital roof — makes Google a prime target for abuse by overzealous law enforcers and criminals alike.
The agreement between Bush and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, which must win the approval of Congress, would create a major exception to the U.S. prohibition of nuclear assistance to any country that doesn't accept international monitoring of all of its nuclear facilities. India has not signed the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, which requires such oversight, and conducted its first nuclear detonation in 1974.
Participants in the discussions said there had been debate within the administration about whether the deal with India -- which built its atomic arsenal in secret -- would undercut U.S. efforts to confront Iran and North Korea over their nuclear programs. There were also concerns about how the agreement would be accepted in Pakistan, India's regional rival and an ally in the U.S. campaign against al Qaeda.
But supporters of the approach said it was an important part of a White House strategy to accelerate New Delhi's rise as a global power and as a regional counterweight to China. As part of the strategy, the administration is also seeking ways to bolster Japan's posture in the region.
Monday, July 18, 2005
Taken together, they chronicled, according to the Pentagon, a "fabulous achievement" and the means to "save thousands of American lives," which would come to be the key official rationale for killing tens of thousands of civilians in Japan.
Newspapers had to rely completely on information from the military. Press coverage amounted to little more than rewrites of War Department documents. But the War Department documents, it turns out, were written not by some military flack, but by a Pulitzer Prize winning journalist, one of the great names in the history of The New York Times -- William L. Laurence.
MR. McCLELLAN: I'll leave it at what the President said.
Q What is his problem? Two years, and he can't call Rove in and find out what the hell is going on? I mean, why is it so difficult to find out the facts? It costs thousands, millions of dollars, two years, it tied up how many lawyers? All he's got to do is call him in.
MR. McCLELLAN: You just heard from the President. He said he doesn't know all the facts. I don't know all the facts.
I was informed by several former military and intelligence officials that the activities were kept, in part, “off the books”—they were conducted by retired C.I.A. officers and other non-government personnel, and used funds that were not necessarily appropriated by Congress. Some in the White House and at the Pentagon believed that keeping an operation off the books eliminated the need to give a formal briefing to the relevant members of Congress and congressional intelligence committees, whose jurisdiction is limited, in their view, to officially sanctioned C.I.A. operations. (The Pentagon is known to be running clandestine operations today in North Africa and Central Asia with little or no official C.I.A. involvement.)
“The Administration wouldn’t take the chance of doing it within the system,” the former senior intelligence official said. “The genius of the operation lies in the behind-the-scenes operatives—we have hired hands that deal with this.” He added that a number of military and intelligence officials were angered by the covert plans. Their feeling was “How could we take such a risk, when we didn’t have to? The Shiites were going to win the election anyway.”
In my reporting for this story, one theme that emerged was the Bush Administration’s increasing tendency to turn to off-the-books covert actions to accomplish its goals. This allowed the Administration to avoid the kind of stumbling blocks it encountered in the debate about how to handle the elections: bureaucratic infighting, congressional second-guessing, complaints from outsiders.
The methods and the scope of the covert effort have been hard to discern. The current and former military and intelligence officials who spoke to me about the election operation were unable, or unwilling, to give precise details about who did what and where on Election Day. These sources said they heard reports of voter intimidation, ballot stuffing, bribery, and the falsification of returns, but the circumstances, and the extent of direct American involvement, could not be confirmed.
When I started this over 18 months ago, I didn't expect 10,000 hits. Of course DailyKos gets that kind of traffic ever twenty minutes. But we still must enjoy our little victories.
Thank you again. -- McLir
That could make the combined campaigns, especially the war in Iraq, the most expensive military effort in the last 60 years, causing even some conservative experts to criticize the open-ended commitment to an elusive goal. The concern is that the soaring costs, given little weight before now, could play a growing role in U.S. strategic decisions because of the fiscal impact.
"Osama (bin Laden) doesn't have to win; he will just bleed us to death," said Michael Scheuer, a former counterterrorism official at the CIA who led the pursuit of bin Laden and recently retired after writing two books critical of the Clinton and Bush administrations. "He's well on his way to doing it."
The studies, which together constitute the most detailed picture available of foreign fighters, cast serious doubt on President Bush's claim that those responsible for some of the worst violence are terrorists who seized on the opportunity to make Iraq the ''central front" in a battle against the United States.
''The terrorists know that the outcome [in Iraq] will leave them emboldened or defeated," Bush said in his nationally televised address on the war at Fort Bragg in North Carolina last month. ''So they are waging a campaign of murder and destruction." The US military is fighting the terrorists in Iraq, he repeated this month, ''so we do not have to face them here at home."
However, interrogations of nearly 300 Saudis captured while trying to sneak into Iraq and case studies of more than three dozen others who blew themselves up in suicide attacks show that most were heeding the calls from clerics and activists to drive infidels out of Arab land, according to a study by Saudi investigator Nawaf Obaid, a US-trained analyst who was commissioned by the Saudi government and given access to Saudi officials and intelligence.
''It will have a historical impact,'' said Akaka, D-Hawaii. ''It affects Hawaii, the Pacific, the nation.''
The measure is tentatively scheduled for debate Monday night and Tuesday, with a vote on Wednesday. Akaka and Hawaii's other Democratic senator, Daniel Inouye, say there are enough votes for approval.
The leaders' response: Fire the messengers.
Now that the Bush administration has acknowledged a shortfall of at least $1.2 billion, embarrassed Republicans are scrambling to fill the gap. Meanwhile, Democrats portray the problem as another example of the GOP and the White House taking a shortsighted approach to the cost of wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and criticize their commitment to the troops.
Rep. Tom Tancredo made his remarks Friday on WFLA-AM in Orlando, Fla. His spokesman stressed he was only speaking hypothetically.
The F.B.I. has in its files 1,173 pages of internal documents on the American Civil Liberties Union, the leading critic of the Bush administration's antiterrorism policies, and 2,383 pages on Greenpeace, an environmental group that has led acts of civil disobedience in protest over the administration's policies, the Justice Department disclosed in a court filing this month in a federal court in Washington.
The filing came as part of a lawsuit under the Freedom of Information Act brought by the A.C.L.U. and other groups that maintain that the F.B.I. has engaged in a pattern of political surveillance against critics of the Bush administration. A smaller batch of documents already turned over by the government sheds light on the interest of F.B.I. counterterrorism officials in protests surrounding the Iraq war and last year's Republican National Convention.
Sunday, July 17, 2005
Bela Lugosi was cast in the role of "Ghoul Man" but passed away before filming really started.
So what happens? The producer's wife's chiropractor (Mr. Reynold's was the executive producer) takes over as "Ghoul Man" and holds his cape in front of his face THE ENTIRE MOVIE.
Add to this numerous plot inconsistencies, horrid acting, and masses of stock footage - some of which we see several times and you have a terrible but funny movie.
A highly advanced alien culture is determined to destroy Earth before our scientists discover a bomb which will explode sunlight, the description Eros gives of this is quite funny.
In order to destroy our world, of several billion people, they raise three zombies from the dead. :-)
...Police and MI5 are probing if the four men were told by their al-Qaeda controller they had time to escape after setting off timers. Instead, the devices exploded immediately.
A security source said: "If the bombers lived and were caught they'd probably have cracked. Would their masters have allowed that to happen? We think not."