:: The Fred Willard Fan Site ::
:: Saturday, August 31, 2002 ::
:: COINTELPRO Tool 11:52 PM [+] ::
No Dateline Soldiers from the 769th Engineer Battalion clear dangerous areas at Bagram Air Base, Afghanistan. Photo by Spc. Eric Hughes, USA
:: COINTELPRO Tool 11:29 PM [+] ::
Arlington, Va. (Sep. 12, 2001) -- A piece of debris is embedded in a tree close to the site where a hijacked commercial airliner crashed into the Pentagon. American Airlines FLT 77 was bound for Los Angeles from Washington Dulles with 58 passengers and 6 crew. All aboard the aircraft were killed, along with 125 people in the Pentagon. U.S. Naval photo by Photographer?s Mate 1st Class Michael W. Pendergrass.
:: COINTELPRO Tool 9:45 PM [+] ::
You Don't Say! " 'America's Army' Targets Youth"
Only Three more days until Taranto returns. Don't know if I can make it.
:: COINTELPRO Tool 9:43 PM [+] ::
:: Friday, August 30, 2002 ::
Sorry, But You Just Don't Fit the Profile of Our Political Refugees This outrage brought to you by our, uh, staunchest allies:
Britain has infuriated human rights campaigners by deciding to begin extradition proceedings against a Zimbabwean opposition figure who says he was tortured by President Robert Mugabe's secret police.
Supporters say that if Michael Dube is returned to his country, his life will be in danger and he cannot hope to have a fair trial.
Dube, 29, has described to The Observer how members of Mugabe's feared Central Intelligence Organisation beat him, kept him awake for days and applied pliers to his testicles. He was repeatedly urged to inform on fellow opponents of Mugabe's brutal rule but he refused to do so.
After two weeks of torture Dube's resistance evaporated and he told his captors he was ready to sign anything. 'I thought I was going to die,' he said.
Eventually, he signed a confession admitting involvement in a demonstration against the seizure of a white-owned farm, which led to clashes with Mugabe's supporters, one of whom died.
Released on bail, Dube fled Zimbabwe and reached Britain two years ago. He was forced to leave his wife behind. As a fellow activist with the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), she was also arrested and tortured. She claims she was raped in front of the couple's two small children.
I don't know what's more shocking: that the Brits would be so callous, or that human rights activists would actually notice -- though no specific organizations are mentioned as voicing their outrage. They do have reputations to uphold, you see, and they can't be seen defending those who engage in such subversive activities as ...
In response to the famine gripping Zimbabwe, the MDC this weekend announced the formation of the Feed Zimbabwe Trust to import maize, the staple food, writes Andrew Meldrum in Harare .
The party has bought 28 tonnes of maize in South Africa, which was expected to reach the border yesterday, said the MDC's Shadow Agriculture Minister, Renson Gasela.
The attempt to import the food is a challenge to the Mugabe government, which has decreed that only the state-owned Grain Marketing Board can bring in maize. 'If they refuse to allow it in, they are condemning people to die of hunger,' Gasela said.
Ant to think, if this fool had just spent his time in Semtex labs instead of trying to feed people, he could be in a four-star hotel overlooking the Mediterranean right now.
:: COINTELPRO Tool 9:06 PM [+] ::
The Pentagon’s America’s Heroes Memorial is dedicated to the 184 people killed in the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attack on the Pentagon. The names of the victims are engraved on black acrylic panels inside the horseshoe-shaped memorial. A book containing photographs and biographies of each of the victims is at the center of the memorial under the "United in Memory" seal. DoD photo by Helene C. Stikkel. (Released)
:: COINTELPRO Tool 10:57 AM [+] ::
Those Rabid Jingoists at the LA Times From today's editorial:
As the world debates whether to topple Iraq's Saddam Hussein and, at the environmental summit in Johannesburg, how to lift the poorest nations, it should not forget the immense risks and needs in Afghanistan. The United States is living up to its promise of aiding the Kabul government, but too many nations are not.
Keep it up, and you may lose the visionary talents of Robert Scheer.
:: COINTELPRO Tool 10:46 AM [+] ::
:: Thursday, August 29, 2002 ::
The Headline Says It All Should you still have any credence in the Daily Fisk ...
"Submarine could prove US started Pearl Harbor"
What's left to say about this putrescent fish-wrapper?
:: COINTELPRO Tool 10:28 AM [+] ::
Finally, Some Recognition For Their Contributions This is a real no-shitter:
Johannesburg - African and Asian farmers, and hawkers from across South Africa handed over a "Bullshit Trophy" (yes, that is the trophy's real name) to Greenpeace, the Third World Network and BioWatch for their contribution to the "preservation of poverty" in developing countries.
The trophy comprises of a piece of wood on which two heaps of dried cow-dung - "unfortunately not elephant dung" - are mounted.
Barun Mitra of the Sustainable Development Network (SDN), a coalition of non-governmental organisations which believes, among other things, that sustainable development is attainable only through free trade, officiated at the symbolic handing-over in Johannesburg on Wednesday.
(Via Cracker Barrel Philosopher)
:: COINTELPRO Tool 4:23 PM [+] ::
New York, N.Y. (Sept. 15, 2001) -- Baby strollers are found abandoned in Battery Park, as a U.S. Coast Guard cutter patrols the south side of Manhattan after the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center days earlier. U.S. Navy photo by Journalist 1st Class Preston Keres.
:: COINTELPRO Tool 10:15 AM [+] ::
:: Wednesday, August 28, 2002 ::
Murawiec Update One of my, er, fellow operatives, Jack Shafer, has the latest on estranged LaRouchie and Rand Corporation briefer who "rocked the Pentagon" (actually, it was the media who were "rocked." I don't think DoD was moved very much at all). The whole thing has taken a turn for the macabre, and Shafer's reporting has caused him to be outed by LaRouche's publication.
Agent Shafer to neoconservative controls Perle, Kristol, Wolfowitz, Pipes, Ikle: Send instructions for next covert op. And, please, more money.
He's tuned into the right frequency.
:: COINTELPRO Tool 10:10 AM [+] ::
Human Being First, Journalist Second Milosevic Trades Courtroom Blows with War Reporter
THE HAGUE (Reuters) - Slobodan Milosevic clashed on Wednesday with a war reporter who questioned Serb assertions that NATO bombs killed Kosovo prison inmates, as a wider debate escalated over journalists testifying at war crimes trials.
Milosevic challenged the objectivity of the BBC after its former Belgrade correspondent, Jacky Rowland, gave evidence at the ex-Yugoslav president's trial amid mounting concerns over war reporters' safety if they are seen as potential witnesses.
The British reporter told of two visits she paid to Dubrava Prison in May 1999, where she saw dead bodies and was told they were victims of the NATO raids launched in response to a Serb crackdown on the majority-Albanian Serbian province of Kosovo.
"I have strong doubts that all those prisoners were killed as a direct result of the NATO bombing," Rowland told the U.N. International Criminal Tribunal for former Yugoslavia, where Milosevic has been on trial since February accused of genocide and crimes against humanity in the Balkans in the 1990s.
Under cross-examination by Milosevic, who has refused to appoint counsel and is defending himself, Rowland said her doubt about the prisoners' deaths sprang from how the corpses looked.
When Milosevic said most bombing victims were killed by the blast effect, and were not dismembered, Rowland retorted: "If you were hit by a bomb -- heaven forbid -- I think I'd be able to tell by looking at your body whether that was the manner of death."
Don't worry, Fiskie. I seriously doubt you'd ever be called upon to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth anyway.
:: COINTELPRO Tool 5:54 PM [+] ::
By Popular Demand ...
Our old friend is taking on another Target of Opportunity.
:: COINTELPRO Tool 5:42 PM [+] ::
Your Civics Lesson For Today Why is it always those who are the most ignorant about all things military who always howl the loudest about Generals Who Are Against The War?
Maj. Gen. Anthony General Zinni, Bush’s not-so-busy envoy for the administration’s Middle East war process, is also making sense. But why would the Bush Administration bother to listen to anyone who happens to be a general when it comes to war?
Hmm. How's this for an answer ...
Because it's not a general's fucking decision to make, asshole! The U.S. has a rich tradition of miltary subservience to civilian masters -- even Draft Dodging Wimps get to say jump, and the grunts ask how high. That's what separates us from the little brutal dictatorships men like Alterman claim to despise so much.
Would Zinni have insight in how to conduct a war? Of course. Does that make him an authority in whether a particular situation warrants a war? No. As I learned in my Public Administration theory courses (have pity on me) from nearly a decade ago, those how know how always take orders from those who know why. This applies to decisions of national security at least as much as it does in public sanitation.
Retired Generals can be wrong. Very wrong. I seem to remember some very dire predictions before Desert Storm, from many current and former military commanders, with better credentials than Zinni (I certainly respect Zinni, but the guy did make some, er, miscalculations).
This is not to say that we need a robust, open debate on Iraq. But just make your arguments, already, and stop trying to hide behind retired flag officers and geriatrics like Scowcroft, in lieu of having a point. Especially when you would never, ever agree with anything else they had to say.
:: COINTELPRO Tool 3:30 PM [+] ::
Be Afraid. Be Very Afraid
This man appears to be our last hope of averting yet another MLB player strike. The season was nice while it lasted, wasn't it?
Of course, I cannot deny that I will accept these crybaby millionaires with open arms when they agree to yet another stop-gap labor contract that resolves pretty much nothing.
Why? When you love the sport, it's like looking at a supermodel. She may be cold, inhuman, and have the personality of soggy Wonder bread, but you still lust after her. I mean, when I see a thing of beauty I'm not about to let something like a complete lack of a soul cloud my judgement.
:: COINTELPRO Tool 1:15 PM [+] ::
"Coast Guard watches ports while other missions suffer"
So, the Coast Guard spent 9 percent fewer operational hours on search and rescue missions this spring than last year, along with 15 percent less time on drug interdiction and a whopping 53 percent less time on environmental protection. Port security, however, rose 800 percent.
Screw homeland security! What about protecting the pristine quality of our jetties???
:: COINTELPRO Tool 11:15 AM [+] ::
:: Tuesday, August 27, 2002 ::
I Think I'm Going To Vomit Now
WASHINGTON -- A Senate committee has quietly informed the Navy that it will need extra time to review a recommendation that Cmdr. Kirk S. Lippold, skipper of the destroyer Cole when terrorists blew a hole in the side of the ship in October 2000, be promoted to captain.
This is nothing short of shameful.
:: COINTELPRO Tool 9:44 AM [+] ::
Arlington, Va. (Sep. 12, 2001) -- The air was thick with smoke in the driveway between the outer ring and the next ring at the Pentagon on the second day after the terrorist attack of Sep. 11. U.S. Navy photo by Photographer’s Mate 1st Class Michael W. Pendergrass.
:: COINTELPRO Tool 4:37 PM [+] ::
:: Sunday, August 25, 2002 ::
It's Like He's Trying To Suck! Phil donahue just held a love fest with Louis Farrakhan. You'd be hard-pressed to find a more egregious display of sycophancy, with Phil even giving Farrakhan credit for things he never did, like fill Yankee stadium.
Playing Larry King to Farrakhan's Ross Perot, Donahue didn't even take exception to his bragging of his close relationship with Muammar Qaddafi, nor did he ...
Ah, what's the friggin' point? The guy's a clown. Why do I even bother? Someone wake me up when his ass is sent back to obscurity.
:: COINTELPRO Tool 12:00 AM [+] ::
Speaking of Left-wing "Enlightment" Here's another reason why the Indymidiots should never be confused with neo-nazis:
I think it's a great idea for everyone to take a close look at the 9-11 victims. I've been through much of the list, and it's an eye opener. Although, having said what I did above, about not treating one victim differently than another, I must confess hypocrisy .. because I do indeed see some victims as being very different than others.
Here are a couple of links ..
some stats ..
2824 victims .. down from an estimated high of wha.. 8000?
76% of the victims were caucasian
658 of them were bond traders at Cantor Fitzgerald
295 of them were employed at Marsh & McLennan insurance
You can look at them individually, or in the statistics... either way you get a very good idea of who the victims were from those links. One thing I have not been able to determine is how many victims were under the age of 20.
Everyone should ask themselves how they feel about this group of people, on an individual level, not as an 'American', or any other damn 'thing'... as a person that has seen a lot of body counts being pumped into their homes via the boob tube, from all over the planet, since they were old enough to be exposed to it.
Ask yourselves what you feel about the physical loss of the WTC buildings themselves. When I think of the towers I do see a loss, but not of capital or any such bullshit, I see the loss of physical manpower invested in the construction, and the resources extracted from the Earth. I don't give a shit about 'office space', and not being a New Yorker, I have no sentimental attachment.
:: COINTELPRO Tool 12:31 PM [+] ::
"I Know Better Than You What's Good For Your People."
Classic. Hundreds of white supremacists around the mall and this self-righteous asshole is castigating an African-American cop. Their own reporting of the event confirms that this was more a riot than a counter-demonstration.
That makes perfect sense to me. How can these "anti-fascists" counter the neo-nazis through rhetoric, when their messages are essentially the same? There is a lot of whimpering among the Nazimedia crowd about their cause being "hijacked" by white fascists. They should be allowed to promote their own brand of hatred and intolerance without a bunch of skinheads showing up to steal the limelight.
Oh, I forgot: these Leftists aren't preaching hatred against Jews; it's the "Zionists" they're after. I'm sure that's what Billy McKinney meant. He just used the word "Jews" because it was easier to spell.
:: COINTELPRO Tool 11:35 AM [+] ::
Never let it be said that Tim Russert gave anyone a free pass.
He just grilled Al Sharpton on both the Jewish "meddling" in black Congressional races as well as his support for Louis Farrakhan. Shown a brief clip in which Farrakhan stated unequivocally that Saddam Hussein was no worse than George Bush "or his father," Sharpton yammered about not knowing the "context" of the remarks.
As if such a context existed in which such a remark would be either accurate or acceptable.
:: COINTELPRO Tool 11:14 AM [+] ::
:: Saturday, August 24, 2002 ::
Re-Calibrate Your Irony-Meters
Rep. Unaware of FBI Records Request
"I know of no such request of House members," said Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif. "I just want to say that checking on the leaks, wherever they are, is important because some of this information leaked out ... is a distorted view of what may have happened on Sept. 11."
Way to be on the ball, Nancy. Makes you wonder why we have elections in the first place, if staffers are able to run amok without the knowledge or approval of their members.
:: COINTELPRO Tool 11:05 AM [+] ::
:: Friday, August 23, 2002 ::
Furnish The Truth This is one of the best letters to the editor I've read in a long time.
:: COINTELPRO Tool 11:46 AM [+] ::
:: Tuesday, August 20, 2002 ::
Hate The Law, Love The Bureaucrat Redux I wonder what Kaus and Stuart Taylor will have to say about this.
:: COINTELPRO Tool 4:37 PM [+] ::
"You Want Paper or Plastic?"
I'M SO HAPPY!!!
:: COINTELPRO Tool 5:56 AM [+] ::
:: Monday, August 19, 2002 ::
Meet Me In St. Louie Off to the Gateway to the West for business. Posting will be light through Thursday, but not nonexistent.
Te lo juro.
:: COINTELPRO Tool 5:52 AM [+] ::
One Last Post on the McKinney Race I wasn't going to comment anymore on the McKinney-Majette race, agreeing with Scott Koenig's assessment that this was now in the hands of the voters in Georgia's 4th congressional district.
But then I read this latest update from GoodbyeCynthia.com: the McKinney campaign has borrowed yet another page from the Jesse Helms book of dirty tricks, trying to intimidate Republican voters from crossing over to the Democratic primary by lying to them about what their rights are:
Here's an example sent in by a goodbyecynthia.com viewer:
location: North DeKalb
comments: I just received a recorded phone message that
started with "Warning for Republican Voters"... it
went on to WARN Republican voters that it is
illegal for a Republican voter to vote for a
Democrat "without proper documentation"? There was
no mention of who was providing this important
information... By the way I wonder if they realize
it's illegal to vote for anyone without proper
I sincerely hope the Atlanta Journal-Constitution knows about this and will publish something to set the record straight, informing its readers of their rights, as well as these reprehensible tactics by the McKinney campaign!
:: COINTELPRO Tool 9:30 PM [+] ::
Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Those Who Would Threaten Them
:: COINTELPRO Tool 5:36 PM [+] ::
:: Sunday, August 18, 2002 ::
McKinney Update Relations between McKinney and Nation of Islam run deeper than a mere stump speech, according to WashTimes:
An article in the Nation of Islam's weekly newspaper, Final Call, notes that Mrs. McKinney is being assisted in her volunteer coordination by Steve Cokely.
Mr. Cokely gained notoriety in the late 1980s when he said that Jewish doctors had injected black babies with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.
Max Sawicky is still an ignorant jackass.
:: COINTELPRO Tool 8:44 AM [+] ::
:: Saturday, August 17, 2002 ::
Nothing Irrational About This Gathering
Michael Moynihan has done the most thorough reporting on yesterday's rally for reparations on the Mall in the blogosphere, or anywhere else.
In addition to Charles Barron's "mental health" remark, Moynihan has assembled an entire page of audio files of the social
ist event of the season, including the "comic stylings" of Pam Africa (what do you mean, "who?"). The sound quality is so good, you can actually hear the spittle flying!
Or, if frothing idiots aren't your bag, baby, the Heritage Foundation held this panel discussion on the reparations issue, featuring Linda Chavez, Gregory Kane, and Joseph Hicks. But for those of you who prefer "Free Mumia" rantings and eulogies to Khalid Muhammed to reasoned debate, you're sure to be disappointed.
:: COINTELPRO Tool 5:52 PM [+] ::
Could Be Worse. A Lot Worse.
|You are 36% geek|
|You are a geek liaison, which means you go both ways. You can hang out with normal people or you can hang out with geeks which means you often have geeks as friends and/or have a job where you have to mediate between geeks and normal people. This is an important role and one of which you should be proud. In fact, you can make a good deal of money as a translator.
Normal: Tell our geek we need him to work this weekend.
You [to Geek]: We need more than that, Scotty. You'll have to stay until you can squeeze more outta them engines!
Geek [to You]: I'm givin' her all she's got, Captain, but we need more dilithium crystals!
You [to Normal]: He wants to know if he gets overtime.
Take the Polygeek Quiz at Thudfactor.com
:: COINTELPRO Tool 10:37 PM [+] ::
:: Friday, August 16, 2002 ::
AJC has picked up on their follow-the-money item.
Telephone calls on Friday to the McKinney campaign were not returned.
Yeah, you'll have that.
:: COINTELPRO Tool 7:21 AM [+] ::
For Those of You Who Haven't Seen It C-SPAN has finally posted video of the McKinney-Majette debate from last Friday.
:: COINTELPRO Tool 11:21 PM [+] ::
Speaking of Conspiracy Drivel ... Part IV of Mike Ruppert's cavalcade of lies is up on The Enchanted Kingdom. Should be only one more to go.
:: COINTELPRO Tool 10:26 PM [+] ::
Another Gem From the Good Folks at GoodbyeCynthia.com At least some of the infamous 9/11 McKinney campaign donors have also been named in the 9/11 victims' lawsuit:
1. Mohamed S. Omeish (Vice-President of the American Muslim Foundation) gave $500 on 9/11
2. Abdurahman Alamoudi (President of the American Muslim Foundation) gave $2000 on 9/11
3. Ahmed Totonji of Herndon, Virginia gave $1000 on 9/11
4. Jamal Barzinji (Marjac Investments, Manager--Herndon, Virginia) gave $500 on 9/26/0
I hope Majette floods the airwaves with this over the weekend.
:: COINTELPRO Tool 5:19 PM [+] ::
More Donahue Nonsense TV's Henry sent me this WashTimes story on the newfound notoriety of Donahue's languishing show:
"Thank you, Donahue I can already see a number of prominent news people tinkering with the biggest news story to ever not happen in the history of mankind — and the media wants to expose the truth, but the truth is often the first casualty in war," read one missive.
"From the beginning, Phil Donahue said he wanted to give a voice to those who have not been heard," said MSNBC spokeswoman Cheryl Daly. "That must be what happened last night."
The sudden alliance between Mr. Donahue and the alternative news media may be unpredictable, though.
"This idea did not originate with my Web site. And the big media e-mail list didn't start here either," said Michael Rivero of Whatreallyhappened.com, a Web site that featured the Rumor Mill directives.
"I only urge my readers to contact their elected officials, not the media," Mr. Rivero said. "And while I think the intentions behind the e-mail campaign were honorable, this buzz may actually cause more harm than good for MSNBC. Reporters don't like getting bombarded with messages, particularly from alternative sources. This may actually alienate Donahue from the rest of the media."
What a lovely new fan base the putz has created for himself. The story does not attempt to predict whether this will help Donahue in the long run, or mortally wound him. It merely lays out the possibilities.
I believe that's where we come in.
:: COINTELPRO Tool 4:18 PM [+] ::
:: Thursday, August 15, 2002 ::
I Saw This Coming ...
Louis Farrakhan is coming to Georgia's 4th this weekend to stump for Cynthia McKinney:
The site of the rally had not been announced Thursday. Steven Muhammad, a Nation of Islam member who heads the metro group Muslims Active Politically, would say only, "He's here to ensure that money does not interfere with a race, that the people's voice is heard in the 4th District, not the money of political lobbies."
According to the online version of Final Call, the Nation of Islam's newspaper, Farrakhan told McKinney during a July meeting, "We are going to fight like hell for you."
McKinney's campaign manager, Bill Banks, said he knew little about the visit or why Farrakhan is coming.
"We have a lot of people coming in. They saw what happened to [U.S. Rep. Earl] Hilliard in Alabama," Banks said, referring to a black congressman who was beaten in a Democratic primary by an opponent who raised more than $1 million, much of it from pro-Israel donors concerned about his relations with American Muslims.
Majette has raised more than $1.1 million, more than half of that in the past six weeks and much of it coming from out-of-state Jewish donors.
McKinney has raised about $640,000. More than half of McKinney's donors have Arabic names and live out of state.
The story goes on to note that Majette has been endorsed by (wait for it) Hank Aaron. I see a great last-minute campaign spot here: split-screen, Aaron on one side, Mr. Gutter Religion on the other.
Damn, I should become a consultant.
UPDATE: Max Sawicky is not impressed:
Sounds like Ms. McKinney has incorporated Calypso Joe into her campaign, doesn't it? Follow the link, however, and you read that LF is doing a rally in Georgia to support McKinney, and there is zero evidence that this rally has any connection to McKinney's campaign. So would it be ungentlemanly to say that Professor Reynolds has told a fibby?
Would it be ungentlemanly to say that Max Sawicky is a flaming twit?
:: COINTELPRO Tool 8:04 AM [+] ::
:: Wednesday, August 14, 2002 ::
Huh? The best defense I've heard of the Justice Department's post-September 11 detentions (and refutation of Human Rights Watch's latest hysteria) was on NPR today.
:: COINTELPRO Tool 11:32 PM [+] ::
:: Tuesday, August 13, 2002 ::
Phil Donahue Recycles Lies About 9/11 I'm sure I was asking for it for watching this clown to begin with, but I can't remember when I've seen something so shameless outside the murky world of Nazimedia.
Last night's show featured Kristen Breitweiser, whose husband was killed at the World Trade Center, and is now leading the charge for an independent investigation.
I'm not sure which is more disgusting: Donahue's exploitation of this woman's grief, or the fact that she has quite obviously been taken in by the conspiracy idiots. She repeated several of the lies common to the more popular theories, specifically those dealing with the response from NORAD and the FAA.
She even repeated the oft-repeated lie about NORAD's response to Payne Stewart's doomed flight, which is as clear a signal as any that these ideas are not her own.
It's bad enough that charlatans like Mike Ruppert and Barry Zwicker are able to make money hawking their books and videos. But I never had much sympathy for those foolish enough to believe their unmitigated bullshit.
:: COINTELPRO Tool 12:16 AM [+] ::
Life Imitating a Monty Python Sketch No, they don't contain lark's vomit. But Bertie Bott's Harry Potter Jelly Beans do come in vomit, dirt, earwax, and booger flavors.
Someone actually brought these to my office this morning.
:: COINTELPRO Tool 3:19 PM [+] ::
Cynthia McKinney Campaign Dispatch I just received this opinion piece via e-mail, from the Office of Cynthia McKinney (email@example.com). More conspiracy drivel, originally published back in June, and contains no information that I haven't already dealt with over at the Conspiracy Blog. (Advantage: Me!)
Methinks she's getting desperate!
UPDATE: Discussing today's WaPo story on McKinney's unsavory campaign contributors (which is a rehash of the ten-day old Atlanta Journal-Constitution story, which was a rehash of the Indepundit's reporting) on CNN's Crossfire, Paul Begala has, mere moments ago, predicted a Majette victory.
:: COINTELPRO Tool 1:52 PM [+] ::
Beware Claims of Bias From The Daily Wanker Here's one for the Pot & Kettle Files: Brian Whitaker has a problem with the apparent slant in the translations of Arab Media by MEMRI. He even goes so far as to accuse MEMRI of ... wait for it ... intentionally trying to portray the Arab world in a negative light.
Well, duh! I've never doubted for a second that MEMRI's primary agenda is to expose the ugliness that passes for news in the Middle East. And it doesn't surprise me that several pro-Israel hawks sit on MEMRI's board. But this following passage underscores why this is really not a problem:
Nobody, so far as I know, disputes the general accuracy of Memri's translations but there are other reasons to be concerned about its output.
Well, there you have it. Frankly, I don't expect a "balanced" view of the Arab media from MEMRI any more than I expect Morris Dees' SPLC to produce positive stories about white people. I am quite capable of reading MEMRI's translations without drawing the conclusion that all Arabs share the virulent bigotry of some of their imams.
Secondly, Whitaker might want to compare MEMRI's work with the English translations done by some of the Arab media themselves. Does MEMRI really paint a more negative picture of the Arab media than, say, Arab News? I certainly don't think so. Come to think of it, if Mr. John R. Bradley expended a mere fraction of the venom he reserves for James Taranto and other "White Trash bigots" on the same objects of MEMRI's wrath (and still gets to keep his job), my view of the Arab world would greatly improve.
Finally, one has to ask whether it is even possible for MEMRI to provide a more balanced view of Arab media, unless it resorted to censoring itself. Read this latest dispatch and tell me what could possibly be offered as a countervailing weight, to make the Arab world appear more cosmopolitan.
UPDATE: Taranto offers this cut on Whitaker's technicolor hypocrisy:
Now, everyone makes mistakes, even Whitaker and his colleagues. But we feel confident in saying that at the Guardian, most of the errors are not of the same magnitude as Memri's.
:: COINTELPRO Tool 12:56 PM [+] ::
:: Monday, August 12, 2002 ::
Idgit Rabbit! It takes something like this to avert my attention from the McKinney race:
A video clip circulating Monday shows a protester dressed as Yosemite Sam in a crowd listening to Barr speak in Canton Saturday. The costumed man, John Harris, 35, of Marietta was making light of a recent Barr mishap -- a gun that accidentally fired at a supporter's home. Harris wore an oversized foam cowboy hat and a button with the words, "Bob Barr's Official Gun Safety Trainer."
Harris is approached by man in a light blue shirt identified by the online newsletter politicalvine.com as a Barr staffer. He appears to shove Harris, sending the rootin', tootin' protester reeling backwards.
It could have been far worse. The Barr campaign could have rigged a large castle drawbridge to flatten Harris.
The video is available here.
:: COINTELPRO Tool 9:50 AM [+] ::
The Trick To Reading Fisk I've discovered a way to read a piece of Robert Fisk's reporting without taking away the sensation that you've just experienced the most heinous bullshit imaginable.
You just have to completely forget everything else you've ever read by him. While you're at it, it wouldn't hurt to just forget everything you've ever read period.
That's pretty much what Fisk is banking on anyway, or else he couldn't possibly have penned his latest dollup of nonsense. Remember, it was barely a week ago that he wrote of U.S. Special Forces raids as if they were against Cervantine windmills, and its victims were all innocent goat farmers. It was simply inconceivable that there were Taliban or al-Qaeda in these villages.
Now, he's changed his tune once again, elevating the al-Qaeda foreigners to the status of demigods in the country from which they had to flee for their lives.
A second, older man had travelled from Uruzgan with his mother. "My mother had leg and back pains and I brought her to Kandahar so she could see the doctors. But when I heard the stories about these martyrs' graves – and that they might cure her – I also brought my mother here. She is happier here than going to the doctor's." I watched his elderly mother on her knees, scraping dust from the mud tombs, praying and crying.
The two soldiers at the graveyard appear to have succumbed to the same visionary trance as the worshippers. "I've seen for myself people who get healed here," a young, unbearded man with a Kalashnikov rifle on his shoulder told me with a smile. "It's true. People get well after visiting the graves. I've seen deaf men who could hear again and I've seen the dumb speak. They were cured."
This is not the time – and definitely not the place – to contradict such conviction. The sand blasts over this graveyard with a ruthlessness worthy of Osama bin Laden. The city cemetery is much larger – there are square miles of tribal graveyards within the perimeter. But it is the al-Qa'ida dead who attract most mourners. Attracted by what, the foreigner wonders? By the rumours and legend of healing? By the idea that these men resisted the foreigners to the end, preferred to die rather than surrender, that the non-Afghan "martyrs" had fought like Afghans?
Perhaps it's as well the American special forces boys don't drop by for a visit. They might see something that would – and should – worry them.
But don't you dare go into their villages with stun grenades, uh, flashing and, er, handcuffing these poor people.
There you have it: two diametrically-opposed, contradictory views of the Afghan political terrain, with the same byline, and within the space of a week. Somewhere between these two hyperbolized fantasies, you'll find reality.
:: COINTELPRO Tool 9:03 PM [+] ::
:: Sunday, August 11, 2002 ::
Hey, I Resemble That Remark! Good thing I spent the better part of yesterday afternoon revamping the color scheme for this blog. You can imagine the lump I felt in my throat after I read this bit at Tapped:
WHO IS A BLOG? Demosthenes has an excellent (but long) post on the difference between pseudonymity and anonymity as it relates to bloggers. But staring at Demosthenes' difficult-to-read white-letters-on-dark-background site for several minutes has almost blinded us. Be warned!
That template looks vaguely familiar. Where have I seen it before?
:: COINTELPRO Tool 5:50 PM [+] ::
:: Saturday, August 10, 2002 ::
He Wuz Robbed The line-up card from Friday night's Giants-Pirates game, in which Barry Bonds hit his 600th home run, has been reported stolen.
Fortunately for Ruben Rivera, he has a pretty tight alibi.
:: COINTELPRO Tool 12:03 AM [+] ::
:: Friday, August 09, 2002 ::
In addition to the professor, I'm getting a cubic Butt Ton (avoirdupois, not metric, of course) of links from Charles Johnson.
I'm not worthy!
:: COINTELPRO Tool 12:01 AM [+] ::
THAT WAS QUICK
After three days and just four bylines, Robert Fisk’s triumphant return to Afghanistan has come to an end. After thoroughly disabusing us all from the thought that conditions may have improved in any way under the U.S.-imposed reign of terror – good show, mate! – Fisk has now made his triumphant return to … Pakistan.
He now turns his attention to "the disappeared." Leftist dissidents in Chile? Not exactly …
They came for Hussain Abdul Qadir on 25 May. According to his wife, there were three American agents from the FBI and 25 men from the local Pakistani CID. The Palestinian family had lived in the Pakistani city of Peshawar for years and had even applied for naturalisation.
But this was not a friendly visit to their home in Hayatabad Street. "They broke our main gate and came into the house without any respect," Mrs Abdul Qadir was to report later to the director of human rights at Pakistan's Ministry of Law and Justice in Islamabad.
"They blindfolded my husband and tied his hands behind his back. They searched everything in the house – they took our computer, mobile phone and even our land-line phone. They took video and audio cassettes. They took all our important documents – our passports and other certificates – and they took our money too," she said.
Abdul Qadir was "kidnapped – there appears to be no other word for it." Except maybe, I don’t know, "arrested?" Pakistani authorities, after all, participated in his apprehension, consented to turning him over to the Big Bad Americans, who, after spiriting him away to their lair at Bagram, allowed him to be interviewed by ICRC officials – as kidnappers are wont to do.
He offers other stories of such horror, involving a Syrian and an Algerian, and the notion that they were in Peshawar for ill purposes is not to be considered. These men wanted nothing more than to help build a brave new world in the Western frontier of Pakistan.
"I have the right to ask where my husband is and to know where they have taken him," [Fatima Youssef] has written to the Pakistani authorities. "I have the right to ask for an appeal to release him now, after an interrogation, I have the right to ask for the return of the things which they took from my house."
Spoken like a true native of (wait for it) Syria.
I’m not saying that these three should be considered guilty until proven innocent. But the ridicule with which Fisk treats the possibility that they are terrorists is truly contemptible, especially given the most recent spate of terrorist acts.
They could be tried in secret U.S. military tribunals, and still be afforded far more in the way of civil liberties and due process than they would ever receive in Pakistan or their home countries.
:: COINTELPRO Tool 11:11 PM [+] ::
WHY ISN’T DENNIS ROSS OUR SECRETARY OF STATE?
Watch his remarks in this ABA forum before you answer.
Oh yeah, and Charles Krauthammer was also a participant.
He’s good, too.
:: COINTELPRO Tool 9:38 PM [+] ::
GOP SPOILERS IN GEORGIA'S 4TH
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports on efforts to get registered Republicans in McKinney's district to vote Democratic in the Aug. 20 primary.
Mark Davis, a Gwinnett County Republican voter and one of the effort's leaders, said the organization has raised about $15,000 through www.goodbyecynthia.com.
It plans to set up a phone bank that will put out calls to about 15,000 Republican primary and other voters encouraging them to vote for Majette in the Democratic primary. The group also plans to send out 30,000 to 40,000 flyers in the district next week.
The numbers may make their task difficult. In the 2000 primary, just 8,689 votes were cast for the two Republicans running in the 4th District, though the DeKalb-centered district has been reconfigured a bit. McKinney, running unopposed, drew 40,629 votes in the Democratic primary that year.
Actually, 8,000 votes - or even half that, could well make the difference, as Denise Majette holds a two-point lead in the latest poll (with 20 percent still undecided).
But Majette will have to abandon her low-key style and take off the gloves, or I fear she'll lose ground during this final week of the campaign. She has an opportunity to do just that tonight, in a televised debate for which McKinney may not even show up. McKinney has already resorted to vicious attacks, and I expect more next week. Majette has to do something memorable tonight, or she could find herself trailing the final weekend, after an 11th Hour dirty trick.
:: COINTELPRO Tool 3:21 PM [+] ::
AN AFFRONT TO THE TRUTH
:: Thursday, August 08, 2002 ::
Marc Herold, having been bludgeoned in the blogosphere for his farcical accounting of Afghan civilian casualties, has finally surfaced to defend himself, appropriately enough in the Daily Wanker. His answer to his critics begins with the following exposition:
The public was assured that American and British military planners would go to great lengths to avoid civilian casualties. The combination of newer, precision-guided munitions and the fact that bombing would take place in remote areas would mean that, in this war, only the "bad guys" would get killed. Subsequent events have proved these claims wrong.
Well, glad we cleared that up. With a strawman table-setting like this, one would think Herold would have no trouble proving his case. But unfortunately, this stacking of the deck wasn’t good enough, and he actually expends very little space to defending his own funny numbers, preferring instead to engage in spurious ad hominem attacks against the multitude of casualty estimates that are far lower than his own.
Herold does admit to double-counting in his original estimates, and revises his total down to 2,650-2,970 accordingly. But he completely ignores the more important criticism of his work – that he accepted shaky press accounts by pro-Taliban press services in the interest of multiculturalism. He makes no mention at all of the Feb. 12 AP report that confirmed that “Taliban officials systematically doctored reports of civilian deaths,” and he even has the audacity to repeat his faith in those reports, by criticizing a Project for Defense Alternatives study for relying “exclusively on western sources.” The PDA study, it should be noted, placed emphasis on non-U.S. media (such as Reuters, AFP, BBC, etc.) specifically because those “sources seemed more attuned to the issue of civilian casualties than were US newspapers, while also being disinclined to accept on face value official Taliban reports or accounts from the Pakistani press.”
According to an assessment of Herold’s work by STATS, his blanket acceptance of Taliban propaganda renders only 650 of his tally as reliable.
After blithely dismissing the first hand reports of various news services as “incomplete,” Herold attacks Human Rights Watch as a stooge of the Pentagon, claiming its envoy, Bill Arkin is “a supporter of the war” (a statement as baseless as it is irrelevant), and accused it of “severe undercounting in the 1999 NATO campaign in Yugoslavia.” He then resorts to more sophistry in attacking the Associated Press accounting:
Its astonishingly low figure of 500-600 was reached "by examining hospital records, visiting bomb sites and interviewing eyewitnesses and officials." The report was beset by methodological problems. Most Afghan deaths are not recorded in hospital records because people are buried immediately; no details were given of interview methods or which bombing incidents were included; many bomb attacks were not reported; and Afghan officials have been shown often to seriously underestimate civilian casualties.[Emphasis mine]
Apart from the technicolor idiocy of the last statement, it is indeed hypocritical for Herold, whose own accounting eschewed first-hand methodology, to attack AP’s ability to assess facts on the ground.
The worst part of Herold’s diatribe is that he goes far beyond intellectual disagreement with these other independent observers, and actually accuses them of being part of the U.S. government’s nefarious plot to “hide the number of Afghan civilians killed.” He of course, offers absolutely nothing to support the notion that groups such as HRW, Reuters, and even Global Exchange would actively participate in this “affront to justice,” nor any evidence that the U.S. government had a hand in controlling the information to which they had access.
Not only are the assessments of these nine independent organizations inferior to his own facile research, they are tools of American “military and political elites” attempting to cover up violations of the rules of war. Their inaccuracies are not described as mistakes so much as intentional disinformation “for political reasons.”
Given Herold’s own obvious political agenda, expecting him to truly own up to his egregious errors would have been unrealistic. But had he any shame whatsoever, he would have simply gone away, hoping his peers would just forget his definitive research. His latest empirical abortion proves that he has none.
:: COINTELPRO Tool 12:49 PM [+] ::
DAMN, IT FEELS GOOD TO BE A TAXPAYER
:: Wednesday, August 07, 2002 ::
You have to take the good with the bad.
:: COINTELPRO Tool 11:33 AM [+] ::
LEARNING THE WRONG LESSONS FROM SOMALIA
The “Blackhawk Down” blame game has been resurrected first by WSJ, then by Kaus. To his credit, Kaus corrects the Journal for attributing the minute tactical decisions on the ground to “the Clinton administration,” but challenges the editorial’s central argument that we should have stayed to “finish the job.”
There has been a remarkable realignment on the issue of Somalia. Back in 1993, Conservatives were crying louder than anyone else to get our troops out of Somalia. Now, they routinely criticize Clinton’s decisoin to do just that as weak-kneed. But Kaus at least remains consistent, saying that Clinton morphed the mission from a humanitarian one into an exercise in nation-building. For good measure, Josh Marshall weighs in, arguing that once Bush I dedicated our forces, we were pretty much stuck there.
The premise of this argument could not be more wrong. Kaus buys into the notion that there were two distinct “phases” of the Somalia operation. But this is the same kind of delusion that lead to that other, more protracted “quagmire” in Vietnam. The truth about Somalia, as in so many other African tribal lands, is that hunger is a weapon. So once we sent troops there to ensure that everyone was fed, we were hip-deep in the internal politics of the country, whether we liked it or not.
Our “disastrous manhunt” for Mohammed Farah Aidid wasn’t something we, or even the UN, decided to do on a whim. Aidid made it necessary. The idea that we could have stayed there, in the face of his brutality, saying “don’t mind us, we’re just here to give out food” is ridiculous.
Secondly, and more importantly, pursuing Aidid hardly constituted nation-building. We were upsetting the existing social order, but we offered absolutely nothing to replace it. What institutions did we make an attempt at building to replace warlords? None. So, while some continue to see Somalia as proof that nation-building is folly, the real lesson it provides is how not to do nation-building.
For the record, I think Marshall is wrong about the Clinton administration being somehow obligated to stay once Bush made the commitment (even though his assessment that "forcing a degree of peace" was inherent to the operation from the outset hits the bullseye). He could have withdrawn our forces at any time – which is pretty much what he did.
Or he could have stuck around and tried to do things the right way, as I hope we’ll continue to do in Afghanistan.
:: COINTELPRO Tool 12:43 PM [+] ::
"VOTE FOR ME OR THE LOBBYIST GETS IT!"
Pistol fires accidentally at reception for Georgia's Rep. Bob Barr; no one injured
Georgia lobbyist Bruce Widener said Tuesday that he had removed the magazine from his 1908 Colt but did not clear the chamber before handing the weapon to Barr, a board member of the National Rifle Association.
Widener said "one of us hit the trigger" just as he gave Barr the gun during Friday's reception at Widener's home.
"Nobody was in any danger. We were handling it safely, except that it was loaded," said Widener, an independent lobbyist. "I am thankful Bob was careful to always keep the weapon pointed in a safe direction."
I'm not saying we need more laws to prevent this sort of thing. It's just a call to keep firearms out of the hands of people like Bob Barr.
:: COINTELPRO Tool 11:18 AM [+] ::
"FAIR AND BALANCED - DON'T REALLY KNOW WHAT THAT MEANS, BUT WHAT EVER IT IS, WE'RE IT!"
Tapped provides still more proof that Fox News is an experiment in self-parody.
I've noticed that their cloying "Fair and Balanced" drumbeat keeps picking up extra qualifiers, as if repeating it at the beginning and end of each segment didn't drive the point home. First, I noticed that it morphed into "Fair, Balanced, and Unafraid" (Brit Hume seems to be praticularly fond of this iteration).
Now, they've added "real news" to the front end. I'm predicting that before long, it will look something like this:
"Fox News: Real News, Fair & Balanced ... What? You Don't Believe Us? Stop That Snickering! I Said Knock It Off!"
:: COINTELPRO Tool 11:04 AM [+] ::
I meant to devote a post on this earlier, but for those of you who didn't catch the latest CNN Presents documentary on the Mazar-i-Sharif uprising ("House of War"), you definitely want to catch it when it runs again.
I like most of those features, primarily because they commit the sacrilege of devoting a whole hour to one story. But this one was particularly well done, and not just for its "massacre" debunking value.
:: COINTELPRO Tool 10:50 AM [+] ::
ROBERT FISK FINALLY COVERS THE AFGHAN WAR FIRST-HAND
:: Tuesday, August 06, 2002 ::
"Like the British who came later, like the Russians who were to arrive more than a century afterwards, General William Elphinstone's campaign was surrounded with rhetoric and high principles and ended in disaster. George Bush Junior and Nato, please note. Indeed, if there is one country - calling it a nation would be a misnomer - that the West should avoid militarily, it is the tribal land in which Osama Bin Laden maintains his obscure sanctuary. Just over two decades ago, I found out what it was like to be on an invasion army in that breathlessly beautiful, wild, proud plateau. Arrested by the Russian Parachute Regiment near the Salang Tunnel, I was sent with a Soviet convoy back to Kabul. We were ambushed, and out of the snowdrifts came the Afghans, carrying knives. An air strike and the arrival of Soviet Tadjik troops saved us. But the mighty Red Army had been humbled before men who could not write their own names and whose politics were so remote that a mujahid fighter would later insist to me that London was occupied by Russian troops."
Robert Fisk, "The Lesson Of History: Afghanistan Always Beats Its Invaders," The Independent, September 14, 2001
Last fall, Robert Fisk undoubtedly believed these words, as evidenced by the fact that he spent the remainder of 2001 "covering" the U.S. war from a such a safe distance.
Not counting the 17 commentary pieces he filed after October 7 (which contained no datelines and no first-hand reporting), Fisk wrote 12 pieces from Pakistan, where he confidently reported on the wholesale "slaughter" of civilians by American bombs. It was only in mid-November that he actually ventured into Afghanistan itself, but even then remained well within Taliban-controlled areas in Kandahar province.
From there, he filed four stories, but none of them reported on the same carnage from the air campaign that he described so eloquently from the other side of the Pakistan border. They all dealt with the "atrocities" being committed by the Northern Alliance forces in the north, such as the "massacre" at Mazar-i-Sharif (which by now has been thoroughly debunked) as well as the following grim passage (from Nov. 14):
IT WASN'T meant to be like this. The nice, friendly Northern Alliance, our very own foot-soldiers in Afghanistan, is in Kabul. It promised - didn't it? - not to enter the Afghan capital. It was supposed to capture, at most, Mazar-i -Sharif and perhaps Herat, to demonstrate the weakness of the Taliban, to show the West that its war aims - the destruction of the Taliban and thus of Osama bin Laden's al -Qa'ida movement - were inevitable.
Oh, the horror!
After the Northern Alliance made it to Kandahar, Fisk quickly returned to the Pakistan border towns, where he continued to report on the war in Afghanistan, and received his now-infamous thrashing.
Now, Fisk has finally returned to Afghanistan (now that things have finally cooled down enough for him), and has begun to chronicle the unspeakable atrocities committed by the American forces against the Afghan people, who – far from the description he gave them back in September of last year – have been transformed into peaceful goat herders, and any reports of Taliban or al-Qaeda presence or sympathy are to be rejected out of hand.
His report from yesterday focuses on a May 22 raid on a village in Southwest Afghanistan, and he mocks U.S. allegations that their forces "had ‘come under fire’" in the peaceful hamlet. He also scoffed at other claims made by American forces:
A US military spokesman claimed that American forces had found "items of intelligence value", weapons and a large amount of cash in the village. What the "items" were was never clarified. The guns were almost certainly for personal protection against robbers.
"Almost certainly?" The sheer arrogance of such a statement, based on absolutely nothing, is only intensified by the fact that he makes it nearly two and a half months after the incident.
While he refuses to entertain the possibility that anything the Americans said about the incident could be true, he accepts the accounts of the villagers without question, even when they make such outlandish statements as …
They asked: 'Were the Taliban good or bad?' I replied that the Taliban never came to our village so I had no information about them.
Even if all these accounts were true, and the raid was indeed a complete mistake, the facts hardly merit the seething rhetoric he uses to describe it.
"The Americans were throwing stun grenades at us and smoke grenades," Mohamedin recalls. "They were throwing dozens of them at us and they were shouting and screaming all the time. We didn't understand their language, but there were Afghan gunmen with them, too, Afghans with blackened faces. Several began to tie up our women – our own women – and the Americans were lifting their burqas, their covering, to look at their faces.
They used stun grenades, arrested over 50 suspected Taliban, and killed two in the melee.
"They made us lie down and put cuffs on our wrists, sort of plastic cuffs. The more we pulled on them, the tighter they got and the more they hurt. Then they blindfolded us. Then they started pushing us towards the planes, punching us as we tried to walk."
Appalling. Fisk also makes a complete assessment of the Afghan forces who aided the Americans in the raid, describing them as "brutish and ill-disciplined," also baseless, and implies their depravity with the completely meaningless reference to their being based "from Kabul’s former Khad secret police headquarters."
They actually used the same building as the tyrants from whom they were supposed to liberate the country. The bastards!
Given the feeble substantiation he provides for his latest diatribe, his even more hysterical accusations and predictions made last fall are worth reading again. Our invasion of Afghanistan was supposed to have been a "trap" that would bring untold mayhem to the Islamic world and give bin Laden exactly what he wanted.
Having been proven a complete fraud, Fisk is now reduced to trying to spin what has clearly been caution and restraint on the part of the allied forces there into unbridled violence. This is rendered all the more pathetic given what he claimed would happen last year.
:: COINTELPRO Tool 12:25 AM [+] ::
A BAD YEAR FOR CARDINAL HEROES
The catcher who carried St. Louis to its last championship in 1982 died of a heart attack today, at age 50. Kicking a drug habit before the 1982 season, his drive and inexplicable humility made him a rare role model for kids everywhere.
Especially those who were stuck wearing big, goofy glasses like his.
:: COINTELPRO Tool 2:38 PM [+] ::
AND HE WAS SO CLOSE THIS TIME
Atlanta Braves Cleveland Indians Texas Rangers pitcher has had another unfortunate failed attempt at finally coming out of the closet episode of intolerance against gays, this time in a trendy Dallas restaurant:
Rocker said he was with his girlfriend eating at Breadwinners Cafe & Bakery when some customers at other tables began badgering and pestering him.
"It seemed as if they were trying to bait me with suggestive comments," Rocker said in the statement. Breadwinners, a breakfast, lunch and brunch spot, is located in a predominantly gay Dallas neighborhood.
Richard Garcia, who waited on Rocker and his girlfriend, said the ballplayer was not provoked by other patrons. Garcia said Rocker called a male couple sitting at a nearby table "fruitcakes" as he got up and left.
"That's nothing someone should hear from somebody who's supposed to be a role model," Garcia said in a story in The Dallas Morning News' Tuesday edition. "Just because you're a superstar, that still does not license you to say that."
Rocker said after he finished his meal and got up to leave, the unidentified patrons followed him out of the restaurant and made an obscene gesture.
"At that point, I admit I was angry and said some things I probably should not have said, but I wanted to make it clear their attentions were unwelcome," he said.
Ah well, at least one could view this excursion, which I'm sure was inadvertant, as progress.
:: COINTELPRO Tool 1:56 PM [+] ::
THAT'S MY GIRL!
:: Monday, August 05, 2002 ::
Meryl Yourish takes down yet another moral equividiot on Middle East violence, which is, as the professor observes is becoming quite like barrel-fishing.
She certainly doesn't need any help from me. But in the spirit of the season -- Turkey season, that is! -- I would be remiss if I didn't respond to the goofy charge that malnutrition among Palestinian children has any bearing whatsoever on their ability to revel until all hours of the night whenever Jews are murdered. It all seems a bit counter-intuitive to me, if you know what I mean.
As I've said before, it is indeed tragic that no one has come up with a decent Semtex recipe. I suppose you could granulate it and put it in tabouleh, but if you try that, don't skimp on the parsley!
:: COINTELPRO Tool 11:02 AM [+] ::
WHAT A DIFFERENCE TWO YEARS (AND A MAJOR TERRORIST ATTACK) MAKE
Seattle recently wrapped up its annual Seafair celebration, with U.S. Navy ships and planes playing a major part. By most accounts, the arrival of the Navy warships was a very welcome and much-anticipated event (hey Seattle, got any spare training ranges?), with the only visible complaints being about the heightened security around the ships. And even those were muted:
Bristow said the new security measures were implemented with success in New York during a visit by a fleet of more than 20 ships over the Memorial Day weekend.
Given the Navy's heightened responsibilities after Sept. 11, Seafair organizers said they are simply glad the fleet could come at all.
But just two years ago, prior to the 2000 Seafair, a very loud minority tried to ban a Navy Trident SSBN from participating, and the Seattle City Council evaded the issue by tabling a resolution that would have done just that:
A 12-foot, yellow-and-green vinyl banner hung in the back of the room. A gag papier-mache missile pierced one man's head. And a group of senior citizens, known as the Raging Grannies, sang "We don't want no Trident Submarine" to the Beatles' song "Yellow Submarine."
City Council members said it's too late to block the submarine from taking part in this year's festivities. They won't vote on the resolution, which will apply to future Seafair celebrations, for a while.
Navy and Seafair representatives did not participate in last night's forum.
At one point, about 10 VFW members, angered at the proposal, stormed out of the council meeting.
"I felt like we fought World War II for nothing," said Tom Asaif, a 75-year-old Army veteran.
"It's a kangaroo court in there," said Terry Lund, a 68-year-old Korean War veteran. "They don't want our opinion."
Residents and council members alike said that Navy personnel are welcome at Seafair. But they should take the ferry - not a nuclear submarine to get here.
To my knowledge, the council never resurrected the resolution, but the Navy did not send any SSBN's to the last two Seafairs. Nor has this year's coverage even mentioned the embarrassing spectacles that marred past events.
:: COINTELPRO Tool 9:49 PM [+] ::
WRONG AGAIN, LONGSHANKS!
George Will, on the FBI investigation into leaks on Capitol Hill, from yesterday's This Week:
WILL: The machine melts, I suppose. A leak, the last time I checked, is not a crime except in rare cases when it's called espionage, I suppose. But whatever we're investigating here is not a crime. It's bad citizenship. But to bring in the full apparatus of investigating criminal affairs seems to me misplaced.
Kramer was right about him.
:: COINTELPRO Tool 4:09 PM [+] ::
MEMO TO SPECIAL FORCES: PLAY NICE!
:: Saturday, August 03, 2002 ::
Bill Arkin's piece in the LA Times is further proof that no matter what kind of strides the military achieves in making it's weapons and tactics more surgical and noncombatant-friendly, they will never meet the expectations placed on them.
Employing all of this technology, of course, is the super-soldier himself. These soldiers, SOCOM stresses, need to operate covertly in austere and extreme environments and even in the presence of nuclear, biological or chemical weapons. The report urges industry to examine "all physiological, physical, mental, psychological and intellectual means to identify and counter the degradation of the [special forces troops] caused by the demands of sustained operations and extreme environments." This is where the future vision is most ambitious, mentioning food, drugs, implants, vaccines and genetic engineering as areas of research. "The ultimate goal for [special forces] is to be able to operate in an environment [contaminated by nuclear, biological or chemical weapons] without any special equipment/clothing," the document concludes.
What is missing from this vision of future combat is any acknowledgment that the weapons must also be in accordance with a 1995 American commitment not to develop blinding lasers and with other U.S. obligations under international law to ensure that our weapons do not indiscriminately affect civilians or cause "unnecessary suffering."
As the U.S. continues its campaign against Al Qaeda and prepares for full-scale war with Iraq, special forces and CIA paramilitary capabilities will be an active covert counterpart to the highly visible conventional air, ground and naval forces. We know these forces are capable, but we also need to consider how they accomplish their goals.
In the end, a country must answer for its tactics--even if it wins militarily. Secret operations conducted outside the law can come with a high political cost. Composing a wish list for future weaponry certainly has its place, but the ultimate goal of military planning has to be victory both on the battlefield and in the political arena. We have to hope someone is doing equally meticulous planning on the political end. Otherwise, our omnipotent fighting force might just provoke terrorists to find new and exotic ways to harm Americans--both on and off the battlefield.
It is inexplicable that we should have such a debate on stealth technologies and nonlethal weapons, rather than, say, JDAMs. The notion that these tactics could bring about more unintended harm to civilians is silly. What they do bring is an unfair advantage on the battlefield, which is really what upsets these critics the most.
:: COINTELPRO Tool 9:00 AM [+] ::
Frivolous Lawsuit Watch
:: Friday, August 02, 2002 ::
The president of the World Boxing Council has filed a $56m lawsuit against Mike Tyson and Lennox Lewis for injuries he says he received in a pre-fight brawl.
You'd think such an unsavory business would have insurance for this sort of thing.
:: COINTELPRO Tool 8:46 AM [+] ::
A Very Positive development.
A judge has decided that Russell weston, Jr., the deranged man who killed two Capitol Police officers over four years ago, must continue to take anti-psychotic medication (against his "will") so that he may one day be mentally competent to stand trial. His lawyers - the poster boys for legal malpractice - have been arguing for Weston's right to refuse such medication, so that their resumes contain one less convicted client.
How would Reston benefit from not having to take the drugs that could one day land him in prison? He wouldn't. In all probability, he will never be a free man again, regardless of whether he ever stands trial. The choice has been whether his confinement includes the treatment he obviously needs, or spends the rest of his life tormented by unabated delusions - in addition to being locked up physically.
The position of his own lawyers has been one of unimaginable cruelty. Their loss is a victory for Reston.
:: COINTELPRO Tool 10:07 PM [+] ::
You Heard The Man. No more Good-Natured Ribbing. Why is this even news? "Capture or kill" ... is there a third option I hadn't considered?
:: Thursday, August 01, 2002 ::
:: COINTELPRO Tool 3:11 PM [+] ::
Nothing Suggestive In This Headline! AFP's (that's "Abject Factual Poverty" to you and me, Rusty) story on the UN report on Jenin has the following headline:
"Israelis relieved at UN Jenin report, Palestinians dismiss it"
Relieved, eh? Kind of conjures an image of O.J.'s reaction to his own Not Guilty verdict, doesn't it? Which is, I think, precisely the point. Nonetheless, AFP's offering does have its unintentionally-informative portions ...
But Palestinian officials still insisted Israel committed a massacre in the camp, with chief negotiator Saeb Erakat accusing the Jewish state of "war crimes".
"The UN should have used the word 'massacre' or 'war crime,' especially because the Jenin camp is managed by the UN," Erakat said.
Yeah, Kofi! You're supposed to be on our side! What the fuck?
:: COINTELPRO Tool 9:51 PM [+] ::
I Can Quit Anytime I Want ...
My weblog owns 18.75 % of me.
Does your weblog own you?
:: COINTELPRO Tool 1:51 PM [+] ::
Fred Thompson Good Riddance Watch. Only a former lobbyist and actor could pull off this bit of shameless arrogance, responding to the FBI investigation into leaks of classified information by Intelligence Committee members and staffers:
Sen. Fred Thompson (R-Tenn.), another member of Intelligence panel, was one of several Senators unhappy with the idea of an FBIinvestigation of sitting lawmakers.
"The whole process concerns me,"said Thompson, who is retiring this year. "At a time when were investigating the FBIthey're investigating us?It really bothers me."
Don't let the door hit you in ass, Fred. But the once and future Die Hard extra is not alone in his insistence that, despite what you may have heard, Justice department scrutiny into Congressional behavior is entirely unwarranted ...
Charles Tiefer, a former House deputy general counsel and University of Baltimore law professor, said that "calling in the Justice Department is absurd because Congress itself would mete out any punishment, and this just undermines the intelligence committees' vital independence from those who are supposed to be under its scrutiny.
"The power to investigate leak allegations is the power to control," Tiefer added. "You seriously undermine the Intelligence committees' ability, at a critical historic moment, to look independently and critically at the intelligence agencies."
Leaks to the New York Times, however, do not undermine the executive branch's ability to fulfill its own Constitutional responsibilities.
:: COINTELPRO Tool 1:30 PM [+] ::
This Is Really Getting Old. Another day, another accusation of an attack against civilians by the U.S. military in Afghanistan:
KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) - Afghan officials Thursday said a U.S. helicopter attacked a village 75 miles south of Kabul, killing one civilian and wounding two others. The U.S. military denied the report.
The Afghans said there were no Taliban or al-Qaida targets in the area that was hit by the Americans late Wednesday. They also said the U.S. military had promised to check with local authorities before launching such attacks, but failed to do so in this case.
No Taliban or al-Qaeda here, no sir! Are there ever? Apparently, the Taliban were able to subjugate most of the country for five years, and al-Qaeda were able to plan and launch terrorist attacks from Afghan bases despite being nothing more than apparitions.
Yeah, I can see us entering into such an agreement, to notify these locals before conducting any military operations.
The victim was an unidentified man, said Faiz Mohammad, the secretary to Raz Mohammad Dalili, Paktia governor. Husainkhil said the two wounded were not seriously hurt and were recovering at home.
Mohammad, said the attack was prompted by "a wrong report to the Americans." He suggested that someone involved in a local feud had falsely reported Taliban or al-Qaida in the targeted location to draw American fire.
He said the provincial council, or shura, had previously been told by Americans — whom he did not identify — that they would check with local authorities before any bombing in the area. "I don't know why they didn't say anything to the Shura or governor before doing this," said Faiz Mohammad.
Paktia was the site of the 1998 Tomahawk strikes against al-Qaeda camps, as well as the Operation Snipe cave demolitions earlier this year.
:: COINTELPRO Tool 11:38 AM [+] ::