:: The Fred Willard Fan Site ::


:: Tuesday, June 25, 2002 ::

"Pass the dutchy on the lefthand side, I said, pass the dutchy on the lefthand side."

(via Charles Johnson)
:: COINTELPRO Tool 9:45 PM [+] ::
With criticism like this, who needs praise? I'm liking Bush's speech more and more.

UPDATE: Charles Johnson asks how long it will take for a terrorist response to the speech. Actually, the thing I find most interesting about the speech was the incredibly short lead-time the White House gave the press before the president made his remarks, to prevent it from being upstaged by a preemptive act of murder. Like it was the Normandy invasion.

Now that it's already been delivered, I'm not so sure an attack is imminent. I don't expect them to stop, but unless the terrorists think that we will back away from this line in the sand, I won't be surprised if they wane a bit.
:: COINTELPRO Tool 1:22 AM [+] ::
Has his show even started yet? It's never too early to begin Fisking Phil Donahue.


This guy has already amassed quite a collection of gems, including the Stuttering John interview.

:: COINTELPRO Tool 12:27 AM [+] ::
Oh yeah? Well how many Elvis sightings have they had lately? Reuters reports that Roswell is not the UFO capital of the world:
Around 300 "Unidentified Flying Objects" are spotted in Scotland each year, the most per square kilometer and per head of population of anywhere in the world, figures compiled by Scotland's official tourist body found.

VisitScotland said 0.004 UFOs were spotted for every square kilometer of Scotland -- a rate four times as high as in France or Italy, this planet's other UFO hotspots. The 2,000 UFOs are spotted every year in the United States represent just 0.0002 sightings per square kilometer.

"This confirms that Scotland is the nearest thing there is to the Costa del Sol for aliens," a VisitScotland spokesman said, referring to the tourist mecca of southern Spain, which attracts tens of thousands of holidaymakers every year.

There was one UFO sighting per 17,000 inhabitants in Scotland compared to one per 61,200 in Canada, and one per 136,450 in the United States.

Bruce Hill thinks this may have something to do with the whiskey.

Gotta be the haggis.
:: COINTELPRO Tool 12:04 AM [+] ::
:: Monday, June 24, 2002 ::
Damian Penny doesn't like this quiz. Not surprising since it pegged him as a Left-Liberal. Who'da thunk it?

I have to admit, despite its superficiality and brevity (just ten questions!), it called me pretty accurately.

Your Personal Self-Government Score is 60%.
Your Economic Self-Government Score is 30%.

That's me. A squishy moderate and proud of it!
:: COINTELPRO Tool 11:45 PM [+] ::
More McKinney news. The Southeastern Legal Foundation continues to hammer away at another Cynthia McKinney scandal:
More than a year had passed since various non-partisan, independent witnesses (let alone Republican observers) had given statements to Cox's investigators and the media about Cynthia McKinney illegally campaigning inside a polling place and using a bullhorn to urge voters in line to cast a ballot for her. Her father, state Rep. Billy McKinney (D-Atlanta) was also inside the polling place egging her on, and his conduct resulted in accusations of intimidating election officials.

I do have to take issue with their charactization of McKinney as "the demagogue/darling of the state's majority party," when prominent Georgia Democrats have been particularly harsh on her. Come to think of it, I really like this quote in the Dec. 21, 2001 edition of the Atlanta Journal Constitution, by Billy McKinney, the congresswoman's father and most ardent supporter - when he's not embarrassing the shit out of her:
In response to the Board of Elections' decision Thursday, Billy McKinney criticized the state Democratic Party for not coming to their defense.

"Maybe we don't have a party," he said, breaking into a sarcastic half-grin. "I might turn Republican."

That's a recurring dream of mine, actually.
(via Croooow!. Hikeeba!)
:: COINTELPRO Tool 11:16 PM [+] ::
Get a friggin' tape delay already! Thanks to Fox's live coverage of that Texas bus crash, I was able to ascertain that at least one of the dead being removed from the wreckage was no one I know. The cameraman quickly panned away from the poor kid being lifted by the rescue crew, but wasn't quick enough.

Great job, guys. Not that you should have expected your live coverage of something as innocuous bus crash to expose anything that gruesome. And God forbid your viewers be denied the chance to see the bus ripped open like a sardine can for three or four seconds, while you screen the footage for taste.

Too bad it didn't happen during sweeps.
:: COINTELPRO Tool 12:09 PM [+] ::
Now I need to re-upholster my car. I listened to C-SPAN radio's "Washington Journal" call-in show on the way to work this morning; the topic of discussion was Chuck Colson's op-ed (subscription required) arguing that "radical imams" should not be allowed to proselytize and minister.

A woman from Hendersonville, NC called in, protesting that her own son had been in prison, and that a mother should be allowed to visit her son, regardless of what her religion is.

Thank you, C-SPAN!
:: COINTELPRO Tool 8:42 AM [+] ::
:: Sunday, June 23, 2002 ::
Another reason to hate Oasis. Not that you needed one...
LONDON (Reuters) - The British Army has recalled 300 promotional videos featuring music by rock band Oasis after the songs were used without the band's permission, the Ministry of Defense said on Saturday.

The singles "Wonderwall" and "Hello" from the Gallagher brothers' hit 1995 album "What's the Story Morning Glory" were featured on the soundtrack to a video produced for the Highlanders regiment.

So, the British Army will have to replace the soundtracks with (gasp) decent music. What's the problem?

Nothing but a Syd Barrett knock-off band anyway.

:: COINTELPRO Tool 2:41 PM [+] ::
More anti-conspiratorial venom. I just posted the first in a mult-part series dissecting the purported evidence of Mike Ruppert over on the conspiracy page.

:: COINTELPRO Tool 11:00 AM [+] ::
Mmm. Pork Flakes...Now this is just too funny for words:
RIYADH, 23 June — The Commerce Ministry said it was carrying out laboratory tests on a number of American baby food products after reports that they contained pork derivatives.

Humaid Al-Ruwaithy, deputy minister for internal trade, said the tests were planned to establish the veracity of news reports in this regard.

According to the Islamic News and Information Network (ININ), the UAE has already banned Kellog’s products including corn flakes and chocolates after reports that they contained pork gelatin.Ruwaithy said the ministry would soon issue a statement announcing the results of the laboratory tests.

"We don’t want to take a hasty decision on the matter as it will not serve public interest," he told Arab News.

The Islamic network said it sent a letter to Kellog’s stating: "Word is all over the Internet that Kellog’s cornflakes have pork products in it. The idea is catching on in the Muslim community and calls are being made to boycott Kellog’s."

The US company confirmed in its reply that many of its products contained gelatin. "Kellogg brands which contain pork gelatin are Kellogg’s Rice Krispies Squares, Kellogg’s Rice Krispies Chocolate Squares and Kellogg’s Pop Tarts.

In a more somber item, Arab News has used British MP Lynne Jones' belief of its claim that IDF soldiers have raped over 80 women in Nablus to bolster its own internet rumor-mongering.

The ultimate circular argument: you publish a baseless accusation as if it were news, a mindless politician buys it lock, stock, and barrel. And presto, you have "confirmation."
:: COINTELPRO Tool 9:16 AM [+] ::
:: Friday, June 21, 2002 ::
Another CVBG deploys.

NORFOLK, VA. (June 20, 2002) -- Aviation Structural Mechanic Airman Nathaniel Wellman wipes away the tears of a loved one prior to boarding USS George Washington. Washington and her Battle Group prepare to depart on a regularly scheduled deployment in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. U.S. Navy photo by Photographer's Mate 1st Class Tina M. Ackerman.

Here's another...

Norfolk, VA. (Jun. 20, 2002) -- Lieutenant Emily Kochenash, assigned to the "Jolly Rogers" of Fighter Squadron (VF-103), hugs her father prior to boarding USS George Washington (CVN 73). Washington and her Battlegroup are preparing to depart on a regularly scheduled deployment in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. U.S. Navy Photo by Photographer's Mate 1st Class Tina M. Ackerman.

:: COINTELPRO Tool 1:25 PM [+] ::
Gentlemen, welcome to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

:: COINTELPRO Tool 1:22 PM [+] ::
Leaving so soon? Disappointed at the news that Alan Keyes is Making Sense is already being cancelled, William Saletan suggests the nightly gasbagfests all adopt the same "counter-reality" titles...
8 p.m.9 p.m.10 p.m.
CNNPaul Begala Is Off Message!Hardball With Larry KingThinking It Through With Pat Buchanan
MSNBCFinishing the Sentence With Chris MatthewsBrian Williams Is
Looking Caucasian
Phil Donahue is on Television!
FOXThe O'Reilly Fact CheckOllie North Is Telling the TruthHannity & Palatable Alternative

:: COINTELPRO Tool 12:35 AM [+] ::
Hungry? Eat your Semtex.

Palestinian workers hold banners that read in Arabic "We need work, We do not want to beg, We are the victims of the occupation and victims of dereliction" while chanting slogans calling for food during a protest at the Palestinian Legislative Council in Gaza City, Thursday, June 20, 2002. Since violence broke out in Sept. 2000 many Palestinian workers have lost their jobs in Israel because of security restrictions and the unemployment rate is more than 50 percent in Palestinian
areas. (AP Photo/Adel Hana)

:: COINTELPRO Tool 12:13 AM [+] ::
:: Thursday, June 20, 2002 ::
People vs. platitudes.

Read Charles Johnson's post on Gal Aizenman and the linked Jerusalem Post story about her.

Then, if you can stnad to, read this tripe from the Daily Wanker about how yesterday's bus bombing's real casualty was the Bush peace plan.
But US officials said a presidential announcement at this stage would be unlikely to have a positive impact. "It's obvious that the immediate aftermath is not the right time," the White House spokesman, Ari Fleischer, said.

"The president wants to give a speech at a time when it will have the maximum impact to bring the maximum prospects for peace to the region and the president will make that determination about what that time is."

He does have a knack for the understatement, no?
Yesterday Israeli trucks carrying temporary buildings rumbled into Jenin, prompting fears among Palestinians that the army was preparing for a long stay.

:: COINTELPRO Tool 11:40 PM [+] ::
Remember, it's not anti-Semitism. It's just anti-Zionism.

:: COINTELPRO Tool 11:22 PM [+] ::
The truth about the Church Committee. Nat Hentoff wrote a good piece to remind us that due process and other roadblocks are not just vehicles for shady defense attorneys to manipulate for the benefit of their guilty clients. For too long, we've been hearing complaints from low-budget legal scholars about "political correctness" hindering our law enforcement agencies from doing what must be done to catch terrorists before they murder scores of innocent victims, and that this cancer of civil libertarianism can be traced back to Frank Church's hearings in the aftermath of Watergate.

Matt Welch puts it best:
There were many good reasons for the reforms introduced back then on intelligence & law enforcement agencies. If some of those restrictions no longer make sense while obstructing legitimate policing & defense, well, that’s worth talking about (preferably, with a Volokh-level of seriousness). But those who pre-emptively ridicule others who are worried right now about the Bill of Rights are performing an insulting disservice.

This does not mean that we should take an absolutist approach to the 4th and 5th Amendments (nor should we take such an approach to the 2nd). Some adjustments can be made while still maintaining a balance. Truth sera, for example, can be used to extract invaluable information to foil future plots and hunt down their plotters in a humane way (and yes, those who would argue that it would not be humane are indeed batty), while still limiting the admissibility of self-incriminating evidence in trials.

But it's important to remember, while we wring our hands about "climates of fear" (both real and imagined) imposed by civil libertarians, just how we got here. The gunshy reaction of FBI bureacrats to the browbeating of men like Church and Patrick Leahy is nothing more than the mirror image of an equal aversion by civil libertarians to the excesses of men like J. Edgar Hoover. So, if terrorists are able to use our system to their advantage, I don't blame the ACLU. I blame the troglodytes who made the ACLU fashionable, if not necessary.
:: COINTELPRO Tool 5:15 PM [+] ::
More blaming the victims. The pro-Arafat flacks reporters at AP continue to ensure that impertinent information is included in their reporting of terrorist attacks, lest their readers attempt to judge such actions on their own merits.

Damian Penny, who has been sending me a cubic buttload (avoirdupois, not metric) of traffic my way lately, has a great observation about the extraneous data points in their story on today’s attack on the Itamar settlement:
The settlement, where some of the most militant Israeli settlers in the West Bank live, is not fenced in. Settlers insist that the whole West Bank belongs to the Jews.

Out of all the media reports you've read about the "massacre" at Jenin, have you ever seen any of them refer to Jenin as "where some of the deadliest Palestinian suicide bombers were armed and trained"? Whenever Palestinian civilians have been killed, has AP ever written, "Palestinians insist that Israel has no right to exist"?

I've said it before and I'll say it again: the settlements will have to go if there is ever to be a meaningful peace. But a disturbing number of people - the Robert Fisks of the world - seem more outraged by the presence of Israeli towns on Palestinian land than the murder of Israeli civilians by suicide bombers. It's absolutely sickening.

Imagine that: you don’t have to be a shameless apologist for acts of terror just because you question the legitimacy of the West Bank settlements. I wonder where Eric Alterman would put him on his list?

:: COINTELPRO Tool 4:57 PM [+] ::
:: Wednesday, June 19, 2002 ::
A gift for the man who hashad everything (and gave it up to wage war against his countrymeninfidels).

Now that John "Doodoo" Walker Lindh has lost his motion to have his trial moved to Pago Pago, he could probably use some cheering up.

Aesthetics plus utility: it's the perfect gift!
:: COINTELPRO Tool 8:57 PM [+] ::
The World's Most Unnecessary Request Form. NPR requires that you submit this request form before you link to this material. Hopefully, NPR won't sue my ass for linking to the form itself. How's that for an logic problem?

Wow, talk about boneheaded. To a rational humanoid, linking to a person or organization's material on their website doesn't take anything from them, unless the link somehow allows your browser to circumvent subscriber logins. It seems odd that an organization that relies so much on "viewer support" would be averse to increased visibility.

Unless the only people linking to NPR's stories are its critics, and the preponderance of said links are designed to expose certain flaws in their reportage.

Hmm. Maybe there is a method to their madness...

(Link via Nielsen Hayden via Instapundit)

:: COINTELPRO Tool 8:14 PM [+] ::
RIP Jack Buck

The sports broadcasting world has lost one of its best – a gifted announcer and great human being.

His gravelly voice will be missed.

UPDATE: Here is a collection of Buck's most memorable moments, as well as some moving tributes.
:: COINTELPRO Tool 1:55 PM [+] ::
Speaking of things that are impossible to exaggerate or distort. Pat Buchanan has busted the curve on shameless spin...
Then, with both Houses of Congress, the bureaucracy, Big Media, and the cultural and academic elites viscerally opposed, Nixon, by 1972, seemed to have achieved his greatest coup: A U.S. victory in Vietnam.

Then there's this little sour grape...
Like FDR, JFK and LBJ, he crossed the line. But where they had been protected by Democratic Congresses and their media allies, Congress and the media seized on Watergate and colluded to destroy a president who had defeated them and taken the country completely away from them.

Bitter? No, Pat's not bitter. Not at all.

:: COINTELPRO Tool 1:09 PM [+] ::
Coulter Watch.Lloyd Grove has a particularly good review of Ann’s self-parody, Slander -- better than Matt Drudge’s schoolgirl fawning, anyway.
Coulter portrays the "Today" stars as liberal-Democrat shills, and, with typical restraint, compares Couric to Adolf Hitler's mistress, calling her "the affable Eva Braun of morning television." In response, NBC News spokeswoman Allison Gollust told us: "We find it ironic that while Coulter questions the credibility of Matt and Katie throughout her book, she has no problem asking them to promote the book on their program. We look forward to interviewing her on June 26th." It wasn't clear yesterday if "Eva Braun" will do the honors.

Ouch. Coulter’s attack on Howard Kurtz speaks volumes about her real motives:
Kurtz, meanwhile, is lumped with "liberal" journalists who -- the author claims -- regularly distort conservative utterances, which are "paraphrased, unfairly excerpted, summarized or . . . invented out of whole cloth." Kurtz told us that Coulter is apparently still angry about his reporting last fall on her dust-up with National Review Online, whose editors she insulted as "girly-boys." They responded by dropping her weekly column. "I guess I committed the sin of accurately quoting Ann's comments, which got her dumped by National Review, which is not exactly part of the liberal media conspiracy," Kurtz said. "But I still think Ann can be very funny."

Uh, yeah. But not funny "ha ha," if you know what I mean. It’s been over a week since I indulged in my own sin of accurately quoting Ann, so here goes nothing:
Moreover, any Muslim who has attended a mosque in Europe – certainly in England, where Moussaoui lived – has had "affiliations with radical fundamentalist Islamic groups."

Just how does one go about distorting a quote like that?

:: COINTELPRO Tool 12:37 PM [+] ::
:: Tuesday, June 18, 2002 ::
"Good behavior."

My online searches for news and views is always random and often frenetic. But sometimes I just happen to read the right things at the right time.

Yesterday, after being too preoccupied with work to catch many of the details of today's atrocity, I read Laurence Simon's moving post, which attempted to put a human face on the latest statistics. I read it before reading anything else, so my senses hadn’t yet been dullened by the "objective reporting" of the incident. Instead, Simon’s surrogate victims served as a filter when I later read about the details of the bombing – sort of a desensitization in reverse.

After absorbing the cold, inhuman details I found the above photo of a few of the victims. I still haven’t found any biographical info on them, though I now know that the bomber was a graduate student, relatively well-off, and was making his third attempt at mass murder after two previous failures. So, for the time being, I’ll just have to match the above images with Simon’s schoolmates.

Incidentally, I found that photo at Indymedia, of all places. I do check those idiot sites after such an attack, waiting for the day when the shame gene will finally manifest itself among those people, but it hasn’t happened yet.

And speaking of shame, the last thing I watched last night before a thunderstorm took out my cable and internet access for the evening was Chris Hitchens on Hard Ball, explaining how terrorist attacks like the Jerusalem bombing should not impede the drive toward Palestinian "self determination."

"We don’t grant statehood based on good behavior," he said. Apparently, even basic civility isn’t even a prerequisite. Contrast that declaration to Dennis Ross’ view from an interview with Fox News’ Rita Cosby:
But that "when" is critical. The idea that you would have a Palestinian state when there still is not one authority, when there are still independent militias like Hamas, Islamic Jihad, the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade that have their own weapons, their own agenda, their own purpose, and feel free to go ahead and attack Israelis whenever they feel like it - that is not the basis of having a state.
The Palestinians are going to have to demonstrate that they are prepared to assume the responsibilities of statehood, they are prepared to have one authority and not tolerate multiple militias.

I’m certainly not thrilled about Israel re-occupying parts of the West Bank, but I wouldn’t expect them to do otherwise. There isn’t a country on the face of the earth – nor within its historical annals – that would respect the sovereignty of a neighbor that used "self-determination" as a springboard to launch attacks across the border.
Let me leave you with another gem I found at Indymedia. This is Daniel Shefi, the five-year-old "illegal" settler, shot in the head at close range in the April 27 terrorist attack on the Adora settlement. As Eric Alterman would say, her parents have no one to blame but themselves.

:: COINTELPRO Tool 10:09 PM [+] ::
:: Sunday, June 16, 2002 ::
World's worst mother.

"After his death, Naima was still smiling and wearing the headband her son gave her as she greeted fellow mourners on Sunday at home in Gaza City's ramshackle Sheikh Radwan neighborhood, a stronghold of Islamic militant groups.
:: COINTELPRO Tool 4:48 PM [+] ::
:: Friday, June 14, 2002 ::
Funny. She doesn't look "desperate."

This story will not die. Nor should it. After making the rounds at MEMRI and LGF, it's now on Fox News' Web site.

UPDATE: Talk about self-parody. Arab News has this to say about anti-Muslim sentiment in the West:
The campaign against Islam in the West is on the increase. Western newspapers have run recently headlines such as “American male and female announcers attack Islam saying people in the Muslim world teach their children to kill the kafirs.”

Those bastards!

:: COINTELPRO Tool 5:08 PM [+] ::
The only post I'll ever devote to Raimondo. Slobodan Milosevic's favorite flack has a review of the largest "new media sources. As usual, he has very little insight to offer, and it's a downright painful read...
Rating: A-plus (A fun read – the literary equivalent of a glass of champagne).

At least he didn't say Courvosier, but his schlock doesn't get any better from there. When he's not grunting his insults at his enemies, he's making sad attempts at being erudite - like calling Rich Lowry a "pontificating pipsqueak." It's as if he were trying to write poorly!

The "glass of champagne" he referred to was New York Press, which was the only publication he got right. He rates Free Republic.com as one of the better conservative sites, while panning NRO, Andrew Sullivan's Daily Dish and "James 'no talent' Taranto".

Ad hominem would be far too sophisticated a term to describe the pedantic verbal spitwads he hurls at pundits who shit more cleverness than he's ever been able to produce on the online cry for help he calls home.

One more thing: he incorrectly identifies Glenn Reynolds as a "Kentucky law professor," which highlights a very important value of online journalism and punditry that does not serve as a criteria for his judging: accuracy. Predictably, he gives the professor an "F," while granting passing grades to his fellow conspiracy loons over at WorldNetDaily. Whether his "bookmarks" provide information that bounce back within two days doesn't matter. Raimondo judges news and arguments by how well they conform to his own Israeli-spy-behind-every-tree delusions.

So why would I even bring this nonsense up at all? Well, actually, if you completely invert his grading scale, his review is quite useful. If you view it as a Bizarro World Best of the Web, it can help find some insightful arguments and information. And, if you've stumbled onto Raimondo's column at all, you're probably in need of the kind of guidance he tries to give.

:: COINTELPRO Tool 12:41 PM [+] ::
:: Thursday, June 13, 2002 ::
On the road. I'm travelling this weekend, so posting will be between intermittent and nonexistent. I may make it out to the Social Event of the Century of the Week.

Blogapalooza NYC: Click for details!

:: COINTELPRO Tool 8:40 PM [+] ::
Married people suck. Well, not really, but I will go on record as one of the few people who do not think the marriage "penalty" should be repealed.

Frankly, I don't even buy the premise that it is a penalty at all. Being a glass-half-full kind of guy, I prefer to view the difference between income tax rates as a tax benefit for single people. If the living expenses for a married couple were double those for a single adult, they would have a grievance, but that isn't the case.

Just over a year ago, I bought a condo here in the DC area, which for a single person is quite an ordeal - unless you're filthy rich. Buying a townhouse or detached was simply out of the question, unless I wanted to live out in the sticks (no offense, Jason). But had I been married, I could have easily made a far less precarious investment, even if my wife bagged groceries at Harris Teeter.

So I am not about to listen to married people whine about the unfair tax code.
:: COINTELPRO Tool 8:29 PM [+] ::
Gratuitous glamorization of our implements of destruction.

At sea aboard USS George Washington (CVN 73) Apr. 26, 2002 -- An F-14B “Tomcat” assigned to the “Jolly Rogers” of Fighter Squadron One Zero Three (VF-103) assigned to Carrier Air Wing Seventeen (CVW-17) attached to USS George Washington battle group performs a high-speed pass while conducting integrated training exercises in the Caribbean. U.S. Navy photo by Photographer's Mate 3rd Class Ramon Preciado.
:: COINTELPRO Tool 7:39 PM [+] ::
:: Wednesday, June 12, 2002 ::
Huh? Monday, TAPPED posted a casualty breakdown by the International Policy Institute for Counter-Terrorism (ICT – can’t understand why they wouldn’t want to use the true acronym IPICT), via Andrew Northrup, who got it from the Village Voice. ICT’s statistics bolstered the claim that Israeli Defense Forces have done their best to limit noncombatant casualties.

Yesterday, however, TAPPED posted a couple of alternative views. Judah Ariel voiced his skepticism of ICT’s numbers:
The ICT is an idealogically [sic] right-wing/millitaristic [sic]group, their writings opposing Israeli peace initiatives since Yitzhak Rabin. As a sociologist, I wonder how the ICT defined "combatant". I'm pretty sure the numbers could be spun any number of ways.[Emphasis mine]

Indeed they can, Judah, though I think there are some reasonable boundaries one could erect. Also, it’s a bit unfair to cast aspersions on an organization’s factual findings based solely on its ideology.

But the point about defining "combatant" is duly noted, as TAPPED then cites an analysis by the human rights group B’Tselem, whose findings TAPPED deems "very different" from ICT’s, if not contradictory.

But B’Tselem’s findings don’t appear that different to me, except for their liberal use of the term "Palestinian civilian." As in, "At least 68 of the civilians killed were extrajudicially executed by Israel."

Here are some other uses of that term by B’Tselem:
Five foreign citizens were killed by Palestinian civilians.

Three Palestinian civilians were killed by Palestinian civilians after being convicted in the murder of a Palestinian security officer who had killed Palestinians suspected of collaboration with Israel.

Nine foreign citizens were killed by Palestinian civilians. One of them was a minor, age 16.

52 members of the Israeli security forces were killed by Palestinian civilians residents of the Occupied Territories.[Emphasis mine]

I found no real attempt to differentiate between combatants and unarmed civilians at all. B’Tselem seems far less concerned with whether Palestinian victims were armed, but what kind of clothing they were wearing.

:: COINTELPRO Tool 2:26 PM [+] ::
An outbreak of common sense. First, it was CNN Moneyline anchor Lou Dobbs who had the audacity to state the obvious regarding who our enemies our. Despite the howls of political correctness from some quarters, even TAPPED registered its approval.

Now, brother Dobbs gets another amen:
"Terrorism is not an ideology, it is a method of war," Edward N. Luttwak of the Center for Strategic and International Studies said at the opening day of the 52nd Current Strategy Forum at the Naval War College. "You go into war and you're not even willing to name your enemy."

Luttwak was careful to point out that this does certainly does not include all Muslims, and rejected the notion that the religion itself is a source of the jihadist mentality.
Luttwak, who has lectured at many of the top armed forces colleges in the world, said the origin of the threat "is not in factories that make tanks; it comes from schools that make depraved minds."

One of those schools is in a suburb of Washington, D.C., he said, and a journalist who interviewed students there was told the attacks of last Sept. 11 were justified, "but we don't do anything about it."

I’m very happy that the events of 9/11 have not produced the wave of anti-Muslim bigotry that the anti-war Left predicted. But there is such a thing as being too tolerant.

:: COINTELPRO Tool 2:24 PM [+] ::
Desperately seeking validation. Man Without Qualities counts Matthew Iglesias, Jeff Jarvis, and Richard Bennett as fellow Rowley "skeptics." Of the three, only Bennett appears to agree with his absurd take on FISA vs. the FBI bureaucracy. Jarvis merely pokes at her demeanor, confessing, "It's not that I disagree with a thing she's saying..."
With her Fargo drone and her schoolmarm glasses and her willingness to propound her personal recommendations on any topic -- even the structure of the federal government itself -- I have to believe that every single FBI boss over her -- competent or incompenent -- is gritting and grinding teeth right now, unable to say a thing, unable to shout: She's just a midwestern midlevel cog.

Yglesias merely posts this same passage from Jarvis, adding...
On the other hand, the fact that she was right about one thing by no means makes her qualified to set the agenda for the reorganization of a huge slice of the federal government.

And here I thought the discussion was on the merits of her specific arguments on probable cause and FISA, rather than Musil's own Beanie Baby-like obsession with her as a person.

Silly me.
:: COINTELPRO Tool 12:29 AM [+] ::
Disturbing Google Hit of the Week:"What is powerlessness".

Poor guy. I hope he, uh, finds what he's looking for.

Hey, wait a minute! How did my blog turn up on that...?

:: COINTELPRO Tool 12:04 AM [+] ::
:: Tuesday, June 11, 2002 ::
Speaking of Slander. Note to self: stop watching Fox News!

The not-so-rehabilitated Ann Coulter appeared on Hannity & Colmes last night, weighing in on the subject of using the War on Terror for partisan advantage.
COLMES: ... you're misquoting. You're misrepresenting what was said. This statement wasn't about him having advance knowledge of 9/11. The question was what was known, what was done to prevent 9/11. That was the question.
COULTER: What did he know, and when did he know it?
COLMES: No. You're taking it -- you're taking it out of context, and you are misrepresenting it because...
COULTER: No, I'm not.
COLMES: ... you're trying to turn it around to paint Democrats as being treasonous and unpatriotic because that's to your political advantage to do that.
COULTER: Well, I -- you're right. That's what I'm doing because I think it's true.

It gets better.
COULTER: Yeah. Let's talk about something other than the war...
WATTERS: We have no leadership from Bush. We have no leadership from Secretary O'Neill.
COULTER: ... and then you claim that we're saying you're not patriotic.
WATTERS: They have no vision for the country except 9/11. You know, at some point, the country's going the say, "What are you doing for us every day?"
COULTER: You don't want to talk about the war because -- because you're against it. You're secretly rooting or the terrorists, and the American people can see it.

A retort would only clutter the stark ugliness of these remarks, which make the author look worse than any smear I could conjure.

But I will offer this Ramesh Ponnoru sorbet, to clear the bad taste of Coulter from your mouths.

:: COINTELPRO Tool 5:01 PM [+] ::
It’s all about me. Bill Maher, in the early days of Politically Incorrect had a great bit to mock the most self-important, pompous asses of our society. Called the "Get Over Yourself" award, he would give a trophy in the shape of Prince’s unpronounceable symbol to the most shameless self-promoter of the week.

If ever there was an occasion for bringing that award out of retirement, it was comedian David Brenner’s appearance last night on Fox’s On the Record with Greta Van Susteren. I suppose it’s possible that the producers couldn’t find anyone a bit more erudite on the subject of airport security, but I have my suspicions on who is producing Brenner’s stand-up specials.

In any event, he used the appearance to try out new material:
BRENNER: Well, mine -- I have them every time. I was getting searched 50 percent of the time, and even yesterday, I flew in -- the day before yesterday, I flew in from Minneapolis, and I got stopped -- I either get stopped at security or stopped at the gate for the final search, but they pulled me out at the gate.

Usually, it's the first and third person, the last person. But somehow the first three people had some kind of identification they got on. So I became the first. The man pulled me out. I couldn't understand his accent. You know, half of them don't speak English. And he said to me, "Turn the bell." And I said, "What?" He said, "Turn the bell." I said, "Turn a bell. What's a turn a bell?" He said, "Turn a bell."

And I noticed he was pointing to my belt. I said, "Oh, turn the belt." I said, "You have to learn that word has a T at the end. It's belt." He says, "I speak six languages." I said, "One of them is not English."
So he said, "I'm calling security." And he called down to security. They came down.

They harassed me. They knew who I was, too, and I -- you know, the problem with it is -- I wrote Tom Ridge a letter, and "USA Today" picked it up and interviewed him from my letter about what I've seen in airports, how horrendous the situation is. I was getting searched 50 percent of the time. Now I know this is a coincidence, but since then, five weeks ago, six weeks ago, I'm now searched 100 percent of the time.

It isn't the harassment that bothers me as much as the fact that, while they're searching me, the bad guy could be getting on the plane. I have a feeling that the terrorists are saying, "Fly with Brenner," you know.

Well, now that you mention it, I'm sure no one else wants to.

:: COINTELPRO Tool 4:56 PM [+] ::
:: Monday, June 10, 2002 ::
Don't tell Ted Rall. Or Noam Chomsky. News of Afghanistan's rebirth after the fall of the Taliban continues to pour in, much to the chagrin of those who had predicted genocide, quagmire, or simply claimed that nothing has changed since the U.S. victory.

BBC's John Simpson has this impression of post-Taliban Kabul:
The streets are crowded, the shops are full, there are actually traffic jams, and you see so many women with their heads uncovered, and so many men without beards, that you get used to it quite quickly.

No-one strings up television sets and video tape on the street corners; no-one goes crazy and threatens to beat you up if you get out a television camera. Coming here is a pleasure, not a test of nerve.

Contrast this with Rall's view of a regime virtually unchanged: the Taliban with some UNOCAL executives to give it a Western face. Reuters reports that the situation is so dire, over 920,000 Afghan refugees have been repatriated. Since March. I guess these people don't bother to read Rall. What's wrong with them?

Reuters also reports that Kabul property values are "soaring."

Give the likes of Rall, Fisk and Chomsky some time. They'll find a cloud to go with this silver lining yet.

[Thanks to Nick Denton for all three links.]
:: COINTELPRO Tool 11:31 PM [+] ::
More Chomsky bashing. Gene Healy’s fisking of Chomsky’s 9/11 is even better than Matt Welch’s.
"When IRA bombs were set off in London, there was no call to bomb West Belfast…. When a federal building was blown up in Oklahoma City… [and the source of the bombing] was found to be domestic, with links to the ultra-right militias, there was no call to obliterate Montana and Idaho."

Well, yes. That’s because, you see, Northern Ireland is part of the U.K. and the Royal Ulster Constabulary and other local authorities were actively working to locate the perpetrators. Similarly, the state governments of Montana and Idaho did not support terrorism against federal targets and were not engaged in shielding right-wing terrorists. In contrast, the Taliban permitted Al Qaeda to operate terrorist camps on Afghan territory, and shielded Al Qaeda operatives from U.S. authorities after 9/11. The situations are not remotely comparable and it’s patently stupid to compare them.

Healy also slams him for citing manifest destiny conquests over a century old as a reason for the terrorist backlash against the U.S. To be fair, Chomsky has stated that he certainly does not believe that this "comeuppance" is at all justified, but he does allege that there is somehow a causative link between our support of terrorist insurgents in Nicaragua and the actions of those who decry "the tragedy of Andalusia." If there were any validity to this whatsoever, we’d have been besieged by berzerk Chileans, upset not over Pinochet, but rather by our 19th Century raids on the Barbary Coast.

Chomsky doesn’t find it at all peculiar that there has never been a single act of terrorism committed against the U.S. by the victims of U.S. imperialism in Nicaragua, Guatemala, Mexico, or El Salvador. Nor does he acknowledge the undeniable fact that no country on earth has done more than the U.S. to protect Muslims from the kinds of slaughter Chomsky cites.

He focuses on the destruction of a pharmaceutical plant in the Sudan, while ignoring the home-grown slaughter of over 100,000 people that has occurred in that country. And it certainly couldn’t be the gassing of Iraqi and Kurdish civilians by the Hussein regime that has caused so much ire – it must be the U.N.-imposed sanctions.

He also cites the Israeli-Palestine conflict, despite the fact (also undeniable) that no country on earth has done a fraction of what the U.S. has done to end the Israeli occupation of Palestinian lands, and to grant Palestinians self-rule. And I suppose Chomsky would have us believe that those who believe that Muslim "sovereignty" as far away as the Iberian peninsula has been violated by the infidels would be at all placated by a return to Israel’s pre-1967 borders.

If the Why They Hate Us debate wasn’t already won, Chomsky provides the coup de grace – for the other side. [Link via Listen Missy]

:: COINTELPRO Tool 5:05 PM [+] ::
Arguments from Bizarro World. Stuart Taylor’s take on Rowley’s memo and FISA warrant requirements has been posted in its entirety, and it’s clear that he didn’t bother to read Tony Adragna’s rejoinder to his earlier email.

Taylor misinterprets FISA in the same way Kaus and his likeminded supporters have, and his own sloppy verbage makes that clear, without the benefit of having read a an exhaustive explanation of the statute:
The most relevant portion of FISA authorizes a search (or a wiretap) of a suspected foreign terrorist only if there is "probable cause" to believe that he or she is an "agent of a foreign power," defined to included a foreign national who is "a member" of "a group engaged in international or activities in preparation therefor." Evidence of terrorist intent alone is not enough; "membership" in some particular international terrorist "group" must be shown.[Emphasis mine]

Yes, membership – or, more specifically, belief of membership, must be "shown," but not proven beyond a reasonable doubt, Mr. Taylor. He makes a seemless transition from correctly stating the probable cause standard to morphing it into the "substantial…burden of proof" he alleges, all within the same paragraph.

And as I’ve said before, the FBI clearly applied a Descartian standard of proof. FBIHQ did not question the evidence provided by French intelligence, but rather, they quibbled over the possibility that the Zacarias Moussaoui the French knew was a different Moussaoui from the one the Minnesota agents were targetting.

It is also quite peculiar that Taylor would argue that the pre-9/11 standards of probable cause were too restrictive, while he simultaneously (give or take a couple of weeks) argues that the detentions after 9/11 have been unjustified:
Congress should call on Ashcroft to explain and justify the incarceration of so many people, for so long, in such harsh conditions, under such unprecedented secrecy, and with so little apparent progress in finding terrorists. I say this as one who believes that the novel dangers we face may warrant novel governmental powers to detain suspected terrorists (for a few days) even when the initially available evidence is too thin to warrant any criminal or immigration charge.

But the Ashcroft detention regime appears more and more disturbing the more we learn about the meager justifications for the vast majority of these detentions and their apparent ineffectiveness in fighting terrorism. Using alleged immigration violations as pretexts, the attorney general has assumed powers that Congress never gave him to lock up apparently harmless people with no real justification beyond possible links to terrorism -- and to keep them locked up until the FBI satisfies itself that they are harmless.[link via fellow Quasipundit reader Philippe Richards]

Even I would acknowledge that the events of 9/11 warranted the actions taken (which were, it should be noted, a small percentage of Middle Easterners in this country illegally, and an even smaller percentage of all aliens of Middle Eastern origin), but I would not argue that they somehow prove that the probable cause standards were too stringent beforehand. Inexplicably, Taylor takes the opposite view: before 9/11, federal agents were under the chokehold of civil libertarians. But now that the attacks have already taken place, there is simply no justification for these gestapo tactics. WTF?

Tony Adragna has done a far better job than I could at deconstructing the legal arguments. But for a layman like me, the true measure of whether FISA warrants are too difficult to obtain lies in the numbers. Taylor, like Kaus and the rest, makes much ado about the FBI being "savaged" (irony alert!) over its pursuit of Wen Ho Lee. But the facts do not support the contention that this made the FBI gunshy.

Since the passage of FISA over twenty years ago, over 10,000 sub-probable cause warrants have been issued, with only a single rejection by its secretive court. Moreover, the number of FISA warrants issued has doubled since the early 90’s (to over 1,000 granted in 2000), and this trend showed no signs of abating after Leahy’s infamous lynching.

UPDATE: Man Without Qualities makes a valiant effort at refuting Tony Adragna's latest, but succeeds only in engaging in Olympic-class word-mincing:
Granting Mr. Adragna all his premises, it is remarkable that he writes in one sentence that FISA requires a showing that a suspect "probably was" an agent of a terrorist group, where one bracketed sentence earlier he said that "the [FISA] requirement is to show "a fair probability that..." Which one is it that Mr. Adragna believes to be the FISA standard?

Relevance: 6.0
Validity: 5.0
Syruppy Lameness: 10.0!

:: COINTELPRO Tool 11:59 AM [+] ::
:: Saturday, June 08, 2002 ::
The rumble on the Left. The LaRouche Left are going after the non-conspiratorialists like a pack of jackals.

In addition to David Corn's heresy, ZNet's Michael Albert penned his own missive arguing that, yes, the Bush administration is evil, warmongering, and imperialist, but did not have foreknowledge or complicity in the 9/11 attacks.

This has inspired another public stoning by the Nazimedia loonies, in the form of this droning oratory by John McMurtry, philosopher and jurist for the Crimes Against Humanity Tribunal at the Alternative World Summit in Toronto in 1989.
:: COINTELPRO Tool 4:59 PM [+] ::
Lose your hat?


If you've suddenly found yourself unprotected against the mind control RF emitted by government PSYOPS programs, you've got to get one of these: the Aluminum Foil Deflector Beanie (AFDB).

For those of you unafraid of the government plot designed to control your thoughts and give you forced orgasms, check out my NEW BLOG!

Entitled WhatDIDN'Treallyhappen.com, this second blog is devoted entirely to conspiracy theories. I hope you enjoy it.

And just in case you missed the link, here it is again. And again.

:: COINTELPRO Tool 4:31 PM [+] ::
An uncanny resemblance.

Listen to FBI whistleblower/Breck Girl Colleen Rowley here.

Then, listen to South Park character Principal Victoria here.

It's, uh, you know, frightening.
:: COINTELPRO Tool 3:13 PM [+] ::
Kaus has completely lost it. It's bad enough that Mickey just can't let go of his Hate The Law, Love the Incompetent Law Enforcer arguments on the Rowley memo and FISA warrants. But if he's going to continue to harp on the issue, he should at least address the relevant arguments.

He cites a Stuart Taylor piece in National Journal as vindication for his argument that the FISA standards for search warrants are too stringent.
Evidence of terrorist intent alone is not enough;"membership" in some particular international terrorist "group" must be shown.

Once again, the membership clause was met by the Minneapolis branch in their pursuit of a warrant against Moussaoui. Tony Adragna – who bears responsibility for Kaus’ persistence here, having thoroughly trounced him on the issue – provides the best documentation of this.

But Kaus continues to evade that point in his follow-ups, preferring to simply repeat these false statements, as if they haven’t been flatly refuted. Positioning himself to the right of Sen. Arlen Specter, he continues to view FISA as a civil libertarian’s wet dream, despite the fact that it already lowers the standard of probable cause when dealing with foreigners to a level far below Constitutional guarantees.

And while he outflanks Specter to the right on probable cause, he appears to remain a Big Government Liberal when it comes to reforming the law enforcement bureaucracies:
Taylor points out that it's a lot easier to change the law and our thinking about profiling than it is to suddenly make the FBI and CIA bureaucracies vastly more efficient. ...

Well, if that’s the rationale for lowering the standard for probable cause even further, why not repeal the 4th and 5th Amendments entirely? Because that is exactly what it will take, if we are to substitute legislative "reform" for getting the CIA and FBI to act sensibly. Let’s be clear here: FBI headquarters went out of its way to deny that FISA warrant, conjuring up with arguments that rival Kaus’ in their creativity. When Minneapolis provided them with information from French intelligence linking Moussaoui to al-Qaeda (thus meeting the precious foreign agent requirement), FBIHQ claimed that it could not be proven that there wasn’t some other Zacarius Moussaoui out there.

Isn’t it refreshing to know that the FBI bureaucrats in DC are so familiar with Descartes! So much so, that they made it impossible to prove anything, other than their own existence:
Although the Legat in France did not have access to all of the French telephone directories, he was able to quickly ascertain that there was only one listed in the Paris directory. It is not known if this sufficiently answered the question, for the SSA continued to find new reasons to stall.[Emphasis mine]

Just how is amending FISA going to remedy this?

Another glaring omission from this half-assed analysis is the fact, also noted by Adragna that the FBI was required by DOJ directives (plot point!) to notify its Criminal Division, which is did not do. It seems to me that, unless we deal with the CYA culture (which really has nothing to do with civil liberties, except insofar as they pose a threat to careers), bureaucrats will continue to find reasons not to act, just as bureaucrats always have.

There are reasons that these bureaucrats act so timidly, but it has nothing to do with statutory restraints. It's caused by the embarrassment the agency received from past mistakes, when their agents did, in fact, act recklessly. That embarrssment was indeed well-deserved, but should not have caused the FBI to move all the way to the opposite extreme.

But rather than focus on the root causes of that behavior, Kaus prefers to send it lurching back into the other direction yet again, presumably until they are faced with another colossal embarrassment, and then repeat the cycle.

If Kaus writes on this yet again, I hope he will, at the very least, address these points. Not that it really matters. Even the FBI leadership realizes that they cannot simply blame the law, and has opted for the kind of organizational overhaul that Kaus and Stuart Taylor think is impossible.

:: COINTELPRO Tool 12:09 PM [+] ::
:: Thursday, June 06, 2002 ::
An egregious example of sophistry. In These Times weighs in on 9/11 conspiracy theories by way of asking, "has Rep. Cynthia McKinney been vindicated?"

The piece gives a superficial synopsis of the general allegations -- the oil industry connections of Bush administration officials, the debunking attempts by David Corn and Normon Solomon, and purports to sort "fact from fiction in 9/11 conspiracies." But it offers no probative arguments, either by factual evidence or deduction, on whether McKinney's -- or her intellectual cellmate Mike Ruppert's -- allegations hold any water, or whether Occam's razor should be applied to the Massive Intelligence Failure.

But despite offering no reasoning at all, the author draws this conclusion:
The left may gain some tactical points for joining the criticism of the Bush administration’s intelligence failures. But there is some irony in a left critique that derides the Bush administration for not adopting even more draconian surveillance methods. Instead, the left should take McKinney’s suggestion and follow the money. When found, that money is likely to be drenched in oil and politically flammable.[Empphasis mine]

Screw the facts! When you're back's against the wall, resort to guileless cynicism. The anti-war Left cannot afford to validate the arguments of the fascist police state, regardless of the evidence. Leftists must tailor their view of reality to whatever suits their agenda.

Wow. It's not everyday I'm treated to such a brazen call for intellectual dishonesty.
:: COINTELPRO Tool 8:45 PM [+] ::
This time, we really mean it! Justin Weitz emailed Charles Johnson an exhaustive list, of public ultimatums by the State Dept., calling on the Palestinian Authority to reign in the splodeydopes.
:: COINTELPRO Tool 6:15 PM [+] ::
The "doodoo" defense. Happy Fun Pundit reports on the change of venue motion by John Walker Lindh's attorneys, considering how close Alexandria, VA is to the Pentagon, site of one of the 9/11 attacks. Manama, Bahrain already haven been ruled out, defense attorney James Brosnahan is pushing for San Francisco.

HFP also comes up with some other defense strategies, ifwhen the change of venue motion is denied:
If the change-of-venue motion fails, Lindh's defense team is by no means out of ever-more-cunning legal maneuvers. A quick peek at their play book revealed the following:
"Tain't right, he's just a bwah" --- to be read aloud using the voice of "Carl" from "Sling Blade".

Your honour, my client was told that what he needed was to play "hide the salami" and due to an unfortunate bout of dyslexia, what he heard was "hide with Islamists." Are we as a people prepared to sentence a boy to life in prison over a spoonerism?

The Chewbacca Defense

"If the burka fits, you must acquit!"

If freed, Johnny's life will be devoted to a hunt for the real killers of Johnny Spann.

Motion to change the trial's venue to Afghanistan.

The Twinkie Defense

Walker, 21, is accused of being a complete asshole.

No, he was found guilty of that when his "doodoo" online rapper persona was revealed.

:: COINTELPRO Tool 5:54 PM [+] ::
:: Wednesday, June 05, 2002 ::
God bless Dr. Gridlock. For handling the following whiny complaint from one Joshua Stearns of Arlington (I was half-tempted to look for a telephone listing and post it) about as diplomatically as any human could:
Why is it I must look down the barrel of a machine gun every time I drive past the Pentagon on Route 110?

I find the presence of these heavily armed Marines by the side of the road offensive and fail to see what additional safety is being provided by these soldiers, not to mention the dozen or so Virginia State Police vehicles that are parked by the side of the road with their blue lights flashing, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

I have observed dangerous slamming on of brakes by drivers in front of me, startled by all the police activity.

Is there someone I can contact to complain about this disruptive and disrespectful practice?

Gridlock's response:
A person to complain to would be: Donald H. Rumsfield, Secretary of Defense, The Pentagon, Washington, D.C. 20301.

Speaking only for Dr. Gridlock, I'd like to thank the soldiers and troopers from Virginia and North Carolina who have come here to help protect our Defense Department workers. I suspect similar thoughts, also sent to the address above, might find their way to the right people.

I love this town. (Link via James Taranto)
:: COINTELPRO Tool 7:16 PM [+] ::
Sniveling NIMBYism. The military calls it "encroachment," but NIMBYism is a far better turn. Though the most notorious examples of the military being restricted in its ability to effectively train on ranges it has owned for decades have involved environmental regulations, a larger problem appears to be suburban sprawl.

The San Diego Union Tribune reports that, after a brief lull after 9/11, noise complaints from residents surrounding Marine Corps Air Station Miramar have continued to increase. MCAS Miramar’s web site even has an online complaint form. The irony here is that these are helicopters that are supposedly making life so miserable for the community, at an air station that was, until 1996, used to train F/A-18 pilots. The situation is even worse in Oceana, Va., where inverse-condemnation lawsuits have been filed against the Navy facility used to train pilots to land and take off from aircraft carriers.

As in the case of Vieques, the military has gone out of its way to locate these training ranges well clear of commercial and residential developments such activities would admittedly degrade. Part of the allure of Vieques was that it was, in the 1940’s at least, undesirable to tourist interests, making it one of the only areas in the Caribbean Sea with sea traffic low enough to accommodate amphibious assault landings. But yet again, the services are being punished by state and local governments’ failure to manage growth.

How is it that someone can by property in an area used for military training purposes for decades, and then sue the government for degraded quality of life and property values? In Oceana, I believe the argument has been that the range had not been used by the newer, noisier jets, as if an F-14 Tomcat coos like a dove.

Of course, the very same interests scream bloody murder at the prospect of having their beloved military installations "BRAC’ed" – those bases are critical to the local economy, as long as its tenants don’t actually do anything. It’s bewildering that those who want the dollars of young servicemembers to keep flowing into their local coffers would so callously have them deploy to the most dangerous places on earth without the benefit of proper training.

:: COINTELPRO Tool 7:04 PM [+] ::
The mother of all win-win situations. Some guy whose blog used to be called Lakersnation reports that our friends at Nazimedia are calling for a boycott of The Nation, over David Corn’s insolent column daring to question the gospel according to Mike Ruppert.

Excellent. Our fiendish plot to stymie and embarrass the anti-war Left is progressing exactly as planned.

(Cue Evil Laugh)

Actually, Ruppert has made a pitiful attempt at a rejoinder to that savage beating, though he completely evades the arguments concerning his "White Knight" Delmart Vreeland, which were the central focus of Corn’s column. Instead, he merely restates his other idiotic arguments, which Corn, by his own admission, did not have the space to address. Though Corn's assault on his arguments was about as through and well-researched as opinion pieces get, Ruppert brazenly claims that "It deserves only the briefest of responses."


If Ruppert had any shame at all, he’d just pay the man the $1,000 he owes him.

:: COINTELPRO Tool 6:55 PM [+] ::
:: Tuesday, June 04, 2002 ::
How the hell do I follow-up that last post? I guess a gun control musing will have to do. Instapundit points out that there is no gun show loophole to the Brady law. I heard that same argument dozens of times on C-SPAN radio on the way to work this morning, as the Kristof column was the topic du jour.

The real loophole - and there is a loophole - is in gun sales by those who are not licensed dealers, whether they occur at a gun show or from a newspaper want ad.

Fine, close that loophole then. I don't have a problem with regulating such "casual" transactions - whether you buy a car from a dealer or from the guy down the streeet, you still have to go through the same bureaucratic rigors.

But at the same time, this undue focus on gun shows - particularly the moronic characterizations of the gun show "culture" made by people like Kristof - is only going to bite the gun control movement in the ass. As someone interested in sensible laws, rather than "stigmatizing" guns altogether, this worries me.

The NRA has made compelling arguments in the past that the current laws aren't enforced strictly enough, and yet we call for more legislation. By focusing on gun shows, and getting that non-existent loophole closed, we're opening ourselves up to future scorn, when those laws fail to deliver the promised results, just as the original Brady law has.

And yet we will most likely call for still more legislation.
:: COINTELPRO Tool 11:41 PM [+] ::
I'm learning how to read backwards.

:: COINTELPRO Tool 9:37 PM [+] ::
And that was just the first page? Tim Blair has just begun poring over John Pilger’s The New Rulers of the World, and has promised to deconstruct it, page by page, in a feature he calls A Lie On Every Page™ . It’s going to be a long 205 days.
:: COINTELPRO Tool 5:27 PM [+] ::
Bellicose Liberal Blog of the Week. Leave it to Charles Johnson to find these gems. Andrew Northrup has these, uh, accolades for Victor Davis Hanson:
Recognize. If you are going to be a hawk, why be half-assed? Why make some candy-ass proposals about how to assemble a coalition and apply diplomatic pressure and use surgical strikes, when you can bellow from the crenellated walls of your Fortress of Blood that the armies of democracy will wash away all who oppose them like a dark tide? And why talk about modern politics and warfare at all when Perecles or Thermistecles or Triceratops offers a perfect object lesson in why America is the fucking tits, and is going to pound your sorry democracy-hating ass until my fist breaks. I think Mr. Hanson should consider taking some TM classes, and possibly a mild tranquilizer, but I hope he doesn't.

[Note: This is not in any way an attempt to exorcise myself of the nightmare I have where, night after night, I am a novice hoplite, sea-sick and terrified aboard my trireme, as Prof. Hanson screams in my face about the glory of Athens. We are about to attack the evil Persians, when I realize I am naked, and I don't know how to use my sword, and I'm late for a math test that Prof. Pythagoras said was half my grade. Also, all the Persians look like Jimmy Carter. I awake, drenched in sweat, only to find that I am clutching in my hand a piece of my sunken warship, still wet with the Aegean waters of 25 centuries past! Dear God, just give me one night of peace!]

For a Red Sox fan, the guy has a way with words. He’d make an excellent Minister of Information for UNLEFTIST, which unfortunately remains leaderless.

:: COINTELPRO Tool 5:25 PM [+] ::
One big happy family. For those of you who thought the CIA would take the aspersions cast its way yesterday lying down, this story is sure to disappoint you:
The CIA told the FBI in January 2000 that one of the Sept. 11 hijackers was attending a meeting of suspected terrorists in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and had a type of visa that should have drawn suspicion, a senior U.S. intelligence official said yesterday, citing e-mails held by the CIA.

Damn, just when the heat on the FBI was beginning to subside. And how did they react to this reflash?
FBI officials declined to comment last night. "Director [Robert S.] Mueller has every desire to let the congressional review process continue, and no desire to engage in finger-pointing," one law enforcement official said.

Is that a fact? And to think, it was only yesterday we learned…
To bolster their case, FBI officials have now prepared a detailed chart showing how agents could have uncovered the terrorist plot if they had learned about Almihdhar and Alhazmi sooner, given their frequent contact with at least five of the other hijackers. "There’s no question we could have tied all 19 hijackers together," the official said.

This whole inter-agency cooperation thing is going to be a lot harder than we should expect. Right now, we’re still moving in the wrong direction. I’m all for accountability, and there is indeed a time and place for "finger-pointing," but the pages of Newsweek and the Washington Post aren’t the place, and the eve of the Congressional hearings intended to compile this kind of information in a deliberative manner (instead of selective leaking) is not the time.

To hell with firing Mueller and Tenet. Send them to their rooms without dessert.

:: COINTELPRO Tool 12:15 PM [+] ::
:: Monday, June 03, 2002 ::
Suspiciously absent infidels. My first reaction to this Washington Timesstory on the Saudi entity's top cleric ranting about the "worldwide conspiracy of Hindus, Christians, Jews and secularists threatening Islamic moral values" was, well, so what else is new?

But later today, James Taranto pulled this quote out into the open, hitting me with a blinding flash of the obvious:
"Oh God," he said, "support our brother mujahideen in Palestine, Kashmir and Chechnya. Oh God, we ask you to support our Palestinian brothers in Palestine against the aggressor Jews and usurper Zionists."

Let's see: Palestine, Kashmir, Chechnya... yeah, all the fronts in the jihad are represented here, except one: Afghanistan. Why is there no mention of Afghanistan?

Hey, the guy said conspiracy of Jews, Hindus, Christians and seculars - how could our overthrow of this Wahabbist's ideological brethren be excluded, particularly when it was done by infidels who were, by and large, both Christian and secular?

It could have been a mere oversight, but the more probable explanation is that the imam was censored, so as not to offend America. So the Saudi regime is exerting some measure of control over the message that comes from these guys.

That's what makes the rhetoric all the more insidious: the Saudi government sees fit to silence hatred against the U.S. (at least overt hatred), but not against the Hindus and "usurper Zionists."

Am I reading too much into this, or does this quote reek even more upon further inspection?

:: COINTELPRO Tool 9:26 PM [+] ::
Speaking of Leftist twits… As much as I think Bush’s 9/11 fundraising photos were inappropriate, this editorial cartoon is much worse.
:: COINTELPRO Tool 1:32 PM [+] ::
The warmongering liberal’s dilemma. At the tail end of his critique of the self-proclaimed Torquemada of the Left’s new blog, Ken Layne professes (or confesses?) his own liberalism:
Just in case Alterman is reading this and wants to put me on some kind of pro-Isreal or pro-Nazi list or whatever, I will again say for the record that I'm a liberal. Not a leftist, not an anti-American ... just a plain old-fashioned American liberal.

I’ve often had the same sentiments myself, being among the many liberals lumped in with neocons for the heresy of supporting the war on terror (including Israel’s front).

We should form a support group: Unfortunately Not Liberal Enough For These Ignorant Socialist Twits (UNLEFTIST). I nominate Matt Welch as our potentate.

:: COINTELPRO Tool 1:30 PM [+] ::
The best of both worlds. If you go to Kaus' latest quickly, you'll catch a cubic butt ton of typos. Must be nice, to have all the financial and circulatory benefits of an established publication for your blog, without the hassle of editors.

Yeah, I know, I'm the last schmoe to cast a stone, but I'm not getting paid for this, either.
:: COINTELPRO Tool 10:28 AM [+] ::
A brief respite for the FBI. The latest embarrassing revelation on the Massive Intelligence Failure (MIF) is that the CIA had two of the 9/11 hijackers under surveillance in Malaysia way back in early 2000, but never notified INS until after it was too late.

Actually, this is not a new revelation. Europpean press agencies had reported these facts as early as September 17. I don't know why it has taken this long for Newsweek to devote a cover story to it.

I'm sure the punditry will go through another round of partisan finger pointing - particularly against the Clinton administration, since most of the recent embarrassments happened on Bush's watch. Hell, Mickey Kaus may even try to find some obscure civil liberties legislation that prevented the CIA from acting prudently.

I think Clinton is as much to blame as Bush for the bureaucratic state that has caused these failures. But what bothers me is that the charge made against Clinton immediately after 9/11 - that he hamstrung the human intelligence gathering capabilities of the CIA by slashing budgets and restricting them with pollyanna huan rights regulations - has been completely refuted by these developments, and those who made those arguments are simply moving on to something else.

This suggests that most who are chattering about this are far more interested in scoring points against political adversaries (Kaus' posts from last week are proof of this) rather than focusing on what really needs to be done so solve the problem.

The real problems run far deeper than these facile, partisan arguments allege. Major structural changes are in order, not to mention a purge of the bureaucrats who see it as their prime directive to block any interagency cooperation. The recently announced FBI reorganization is a good start, but it why does it take weeks of embarrassing press coverage to get these agencies to do things they should have recognized as necessary back on, say, September 12th?
:: COINTELPRO Tool 12:06 AM [+] ::
:: Sunday, June 02, 2002 ::
The anti-war Left is losing control of its megaphone.

Remarkably, I found this at Indymedia. It's a riot, and even being a liberal, I can't say that I take offense at its sentiments. The comments are funny, too.
:: COINTELPRO Tool 9:19 PM [+] ::
Insomnia. I saw the Christopher Nolan version of one of my favorite movies yesterday. It is an excellent film, and this is coming from someone who went into the theater prepared to hate it.

I was worried it would be a knock-off of the 1997 Erik Skjoldbjaerg version, dumbed down for mainstream audiences. I still don't think Nolan's film was as chilling as the Norwegian version, but it doesn't really try to be. In Skjoldbaerg's film, Stellan Skarsgaard played the leading detective role as a stoic, quietly torn man, which fit in well with the storyline. Al Pacino doesn't do stoic, but his cockier version of the lead role is probably the best acting he's done in a while.

The ending of Nolan's film is also a bit pollyana, falling into a bad stereotype of American movies. But apart from that, comparing the two films is comparing apples and oranges. Insomnia is definitely worth seeing, and while you're at it, you should rent the original as well.
:: COINTELPRO Tool 7:18 PM [+] ::
Why Ted Rall is far superior to all other American journalists Once again, Rall has taken on the subject of Afghanistan, and how the true horrors of the American bombing campaign have been ignored in the U.S. media.

Though he doesn’t adhere to a specific figure as he has done before, but he does mention "thousands." He also claims that nothing has really changed in Afghanistan since the Taliban were overthrown – with no evidence, of course – and concludes that "not only was the War on Terror failing to catch terrorists, it was creating a new generation of Afghans whose logical response to losing their friends and parents and siblings and spouses and children would be to hate America."

Then, he has the audacity to say this:
Why didn't the truth about the extent of civilian casualties get out?

He did not just go there. No he didn’t.

Loyal readers of COINTELPRO Tool may recall an email exchange I had with the tasteless comic strip writer. Claiming that 10,000 was a "conservative" estimate of the bombing casualties (which would put Marc Herold somewhere between fascist apologist and complete fucking denial), which could have been as high as 20,000, he declined to give me a specific source for those figures, other than New York Times and CNN.

I sent him a second email saying that I could find no reference whatsoever to the 10,000 figure in either of those sources, and his response bears repeating…
The stats are out there; just keep hunting and you'll find them. When I complete my column for each week all the citation info gets deleted from my hard drive (my computer is ancient and easily gets too full) and sent to the syndicate. I understand why people want to discuss previous columns, but it's all I can do to work on the next one without getting into the old stuff.

Now, he has the audacity to criticize the ignorance of his peers covering the war in theater, dropping names of ethnic groups and Afghan cities as if he were a tour guide. Even more outrageously, he makes this allegation, concerning the extravagant budgets of the major U.S. media on the ground:
Their unscrupulous conduct turned all journalists, whether from NBC or a Portugese radio station, into fat targets for robbery, rape and murder. Because the TV scum had driven up prices for all reporters, you needed at least $5,000 merely to buy food and a room for a few weeks. And in a nation with an average monthly income of $1.20, anyone who lifted those $5,000 from your bloody money belt would be set for life.

If I had never seen his cartoons expressing contempt for 9/11 widows and American servicemembers killed in Afghanistan, I never would have believed he could say something that idiotic and racist. For someone who claims to be concerned about how many Afghans died in our bombing campaign, he has quite a disdainful view of their humanity.

As for the conditions in Afghanistan today, Rall correctly notes that not all women have shunned the burka since the fall of the Taliban. But he makes it sound as if not a single Afghan woman has been able to remove the shroud since then – that the liberation has been nothing but a lie.

I guess all the photos I’ve seen of uncovered Afghan women since November 2001 were imaginary. And the celebration of the International Women’s Day in Kabul this March, or the opening of schools to Afghan girls for the first time since before the Taliban took over? Or the resurrection of a free press in Afghanistan?

All irrelevant. The only thing that matter is that Ted Rall never personally saw a woman not wearing a burka while he was in Afghanistan.

It’s rather astounding how much information the hack reporters who Rall only generously calls his peers were able to provide the public, while Rall was busy reporting casualty figures that no one on the planet seems to have found but him.

I’m not saying he made the numbers up. I’m just, you know, sayin’.

UPDATE: The LA Times has just given some attention to the civilian dead due to our bombing in Afghanistan, though it's not the kind of attention Rall would appreciate. They put the total death count between 1067 and 1201, barely more that a tenth of Rall's absurd allegation.

(Link via Matt Welch)

:: COINTELPRO Tool 9:01 AM [+] ::
:: Saturday, June 01, 2002 ::
The folks at Indymedia are already starting to foam at the mouth. If there's one thing the Indymedia patients despise more than conservatives and other supporters of the war on terror, it's rational leftists who debunk their pet conspiracy theories.

David Corn (as well as FAIR's Normon Solomon) has devoted more column inches to debunking the "government foreknowledge" theory than anyone on the right, which is understandable. Considering how little opposition there is to the war on terror, it can hardly afford to be undercut by this drivel, while the rest of us sit back and laugh.

Corn's latest column for the Nation is a follow-up to this piece, which focused on the "evidence" compiled by Mike Ruppert. Ruppert, a failed LA police officer who help start the CIA-selling-crack-in-the-inner-cities-to-fund-the-contras-in-Nicaragua theory (his allegations on that are eviscerated here), has attempted to use Delmart Vreeland, a petty criminal (specializing in identity theft) jaile in Canada who claims to be a Naval Intelligence officer, to bolster his theories. Vreeland is using his tall tales about government complicity in his legal fight against extradition back to the U.S., a la Ira Einhorn.

It's particularly baffling how Vreeland could so easily be anointed the "white knight" who proves government complicity in the attacks, when a simple google search turns up stories like this one, documenting his extensive criminal conduct back in April 2000. But because of the avalanche of hate mail he received after he first mocked Vreeland's story, Corn has devoted a second, much more comprehensive, debunking of the enigma that is Delmart. It's a very good read, and I'm not just saying that because I have a vested interest in how this story plays - I have myself fought Vreeland's attempts to dishonor the Department of the Navy, particularly its officer corps, by claiming to have ever been a part of it.

I posted Corn's piece on Indymedia just before writing this, and now that I'm done, I'm going to nuke a bag of popcorn, and go back to Indymedia's comments page to watch the fun ensue.
:: COINTELPRO Tool 9:48 AM [+] ::
:: Friday, May 31, 2002 ::
McKinney trailing in primary polls. Long assumed to be a shoo-in, Cynthia McKinney is now trailing Denise Majette in polls of Democratic voters.
McKinney could not be reached for comment on the poll.

Professor William Boone, a political scientist at Clark Atlanta University, said, "Congresswoman McKinney may have some problems on her hands."

When asked about McKinney’s job performance, 38 percent of those surveyed rated it as positive and 60 percent rated it as negative.

The margin is only four points, with 22% still undecided, and the primary is still nearly three months away. But this should convince a lot of people (i.e., campaign contributors, and the media) that McKinney is by no means invincible.

Stay tuned. I know I will.

(Link via Pejman Pundit)
:: COINTELPRO Tool 11:02 PM [+] ::
I'm not a WorldNetDaily fan, but... this story on the "injured" victims of Palestinian suicide bombings is definitely worth a read. Many bloggers have picked up how deceptively superficial that term is, and this one has X-rays and CAT scans to illustrate the point.

Link via Taranto.
:: COINTELPRO Tool 8:26 PM [+] ::
Sports should remain independent of politics. Usually.

:: COINTELPRO Tool 7:37 PM [+] ::
:: Thursday, May 30, 2002 ::
How worshipable are you? Probably more than I am.


Link via Jason Kenney.
:: COINTELPRO Tool 8:52 PM [+] ::
More on the "Excessively High Standard of Probable Cause." On the argument that statutory constraints - not bureaucratic ineptitude - were behind the failure to obtain search warrants against Moussaoui, Tony Adragna delivers the definitive routing, particularly against the obsession Kaus and one of his supporters have with FISA's "stringent" requirements for probable cause:
Actually, the standard under FISA is lower than "a belief that he's involved in some sort of crime." All you need do for "probable cause" to obtain a FISA electronic surveillance warrant is show that: (A) the target of the electronic surveillance is a foreign power or an agent of a foreign power; and (B) each of the facilities or places at which the electronic surveillance is directed is being used, or is about to be used, by a foreign power or an agent of a foreign power.

It's right there at TITLE 50 , CHAPTER 36 , SUBCHAPTER I , Sec. 1804.. That standard was met vis a vis Zacarias Moussaoui - Sec. 1801. defines "foreign power" to include "a group engaged in international terrorism or activities in preparation therefor;" and we knew from the French that Moussaoui was connected to al Qaeda.

The same standard applies at SUBCHAPTER II , Sec. 1823. for making application for a FISC order to conduct "physical searches".

Kaus objects to the "agent of a foreign power" requirement entirely, arguing that the standard should apply to any foreigner. But to argue that this requirement was the reason the FBI headquarters counsel refused to pursue a warrant under FISA defies reality, as the Rowley memo shows conclusively:
For example, at one point, the Supervisory Special Agent at FBIHQ posited that the French information could be worthless because it only identified Zacarias Moussaoui by name and he, the SSA, didn't know how many people by that name existed in France. A Minneapolis agent attempted to surmount that problem by quickly phoning the FBI's legal Attache (Legat) in Paris, France, so that a check could be made of the French telephone directories. Although the Legat in France did not have access to all of the French telephone directories, he was able to quickly ascertain that there was only one listed in the Paris directory. It is not known if this sufficiently answered the question, for the SSA continued to find new reasons to stall.

I'm not sure what Kaus' obsession with the "foreign agent" requirement is. His preferred standard - that an individual is a) not a citizen, and b)is suspected of criminal activity, would have been met by the same information on Moussaoui provided by the French. I don't see where the beef is, and Kaus' arguments seem like a disingenuous attempt to blame civil libertarians for something that was clearly the fault of inept bureaucrats.

:: COINTELPRO Tool 5:52 PM [+] ::

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