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    13 August 2005

    Did we just attack a Mosque?

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    Juan Cole asks the question...
    It is so hard to tell what is really going on in Iraq now. A lot of Western reporters have left because of the poor security. So what do we make of this report in Al-Zaman (which is by no means anti-American)?--

    Ahmad Hamzah, reporting from Ramadi: "6 civilians were killed and more than 30 wounded, among them 3 children, when US forces attacked a mosque on the outskirts of Ramadi. Eyewitnesses told al-Zaman yesterday that 'American tanks fired on the Ibn al-Jawzi Mosque between the cities of Khalidiyah and Ramadi during Friday prayers, killing 6 and wounding 30, who were ttansported to the hospital. The six most severely wounded of them were taken to Baghdad for treatment.' The eyewitnesses also said that 'The US forces had notbe subjected to any armed attack and no one opened fire on them, so that their action was greeted with amazement."

    Al-Zaman maintains that the US had in fact been attacked.

    Reuters on the subject.

    11 August 2005

    Tin foil indictments?

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    This is my first post on my new MAC!

    Consider this just speculation, but (via Drum at Wash. Monthly) people are talking about potential indictments coming
    Sources close to the Chicago federal grand jury probe into perjury and obstruction charges against President Bush and others said indictments were handed down this week, but a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney's Office of the Northern District of Illinois refused to comment.

    "We are not talking about any aspect of this case and our office is not commenting on anything regarding the investigation at this time," said Randall Sanborn from the office of U.S. federal prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald, the attorney conducting the grand jury probe into whether Bush and others in his administration violated federal law in a number of sensitive areas, including the Valerie Plame CIA leak case, involvement in 9/11 and the illegal nature of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

    ...sources close to the federal grade jury probe also allegedly told Heneghen a host of administration figures besides Bush were also indicted, including Vice-President Richard Cheney, Chief of Staff Andrew Card, Cheney Chief of Staff I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez, former Attorney General John Ashcroft, imprisoned New York Times reporter Judith Miller and former Senior Cheney advisor Mary Matalin.

    Again, probably nothing... but sure would be sweet.

    [UPDATE] If you believe this your nuts!

    Senate Intelligence Committee fixing the intel

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    Up at RAW STORY now. Pat Roberts is an SOB.

    Cheney to run for president?

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    Bob Woodward thinks so...
    Speaking as part of the Aspen Institute's McCloskey Speaker Series, Woodward explained why it is "highly likely" President Bush might implore Cheney to seek the Oval Office.

    "He would be 67 if he ran and was elected," Woodward said, according to a Denver Post account. "Reagan was 69. Republicans always like the old warhorse ... both parties like to nominate vice presidents. ... Cheney would do it, and I think it's highly likely, so stay tuned."

    I'd imagine that a Cheney vs. Anybody race would be good for us. But the ignorance of America has stunned me before.

    Iraq pullout backtracking

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    U.S. military official joins reality and casts doubt on any pullout, anytime soon.
    Iraq's leaders and military will be unable to lead the fight against insurgents until next summer at the earliest, a top U.S. military official said Wednesday, trying to temper any hopes that a full-scale American troop withdrawal was imminent as Iraq moves toward elections scheduled for December.

    Both Americans and Iraqis need "to start thinking about and talking about what it's really going to be like in Iraq after elections," said the military official, who spoke in an interview on the condition he not be named. "I think the important point is there's not going to be a fundamental change."

    The official stressed that it was "important to calibrate expectations post-elections. I've been saying to folks: You're still going to have an insurgency, you're still going to have a dilapidated infrastructure, you're still going to have decades of developmental problems both on the economic and the political side."

    U.S. military officials in Iraq said last month that it might be possible to withdraw 20,000 to 30,000 of the 138,000 American troops by next spring if Iraqi civilian leaders managed to meet deadlines for drafting a new constitution and holding elections.

    On Wednesday, the military official said a significant spring withdrawal was "still possible." But while primary military responsibility for some parts of Iraq could likely be handed over even before the elections, the official said, U.S. forces would have to play a lead role in fighting the insurgency for at least a year. Even if a new government is elected on time in December, "the earliest they're going to be capable of running a counterinsurgency campaign is . . . next summer," the official said.

    Again, why people think this constitution will fix the problems in Iraq is beyond me. I don't know where they get it; conservative talking heads I suppose. So how often have they been right WRT to the war on Iraq?

    Anyway, this U.S. military official is a breath of fresh air...

    Pincus corrects popular Plame mistakes

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    Walter Pincus takes care of a lot of talking points.

    the CIA has maintained that Wilson was chosen for the trip by senior officials in the Directorate of Operations counterproliferation division (CPD) -- not by his wife -- largely because he had handled a similar agency inquiry in Niger in 1999. On that trip, Plame, who worked in that division, had suggested him because he was planning to go there, according to Wilson and the Senate committee report.

    The 2002 mission grew out of a request by Vice President Cheney on Feb. 12 for more information about a Defense Intelligence Agency report he had received that day, according to a 2004 report of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. An aide to Cheney would later say he did not realize at the time that this request would generate such a trip.

    Wilson maintains that his wife was asked that day by one of her bosses to write a memo about his credentials for the mission--after they had selected him. That memo apparently was included in a cable to officials in Africa seeking concurrence with the choice of Wilson, the Senate report said.

    Valerie Wilson's other role, according to intelligence officials, was to tell Wilson he had been selected, and then to introduce him at a meeting at the CIA on Feb. 19, 2002, in which analysts from different agencies discussed the Niger trip. She told the Senate committee she left the session after her introduction.

    Senior Bush administration officials told a different story about the trip's origin in the days between July 8 and July 12, 2003. They said that Wilson's wife was working at the CIA dealing with weapons of mass destruction and that she suggested him for the Niger trip, according to three reporters.

    The Bush officials passing on this version were apparently attempting to undercut the credibility of Wilson, who on Sunday, July 6, 2003, said on NBC's "Meet the Press" and in The Washington Post and the New York Times that he had checked out the allegation in Niger and found it to be wrong. He criticized President Bush for misrepresenting the facts in his January 2003 State of the Union address when he said Iraq had attempted to purchase uranium from Africa.
    Harlow has said that he told Novak that if he wrote about the trip, he should not mention Wilson's wife's name. Novak, who published her maiden name -- Valerie Plame -- has written that Harlow's request was "meaningless" because "once it was determined that Wilson's wife suggested the mission, she could be identified as 'Valerie Plame' by reading her husband's entry in 'Who's Who in America.' "

    In the July 14, 2003, column, Novak wrote that Plame was an "agency operative" and that "two senior administration officials" told him that she "suggested sending him to Niger." He also wrote that "CIA officials did not regard Wilson's intelligence as definitive" because they would expect the Niger officials to deny the allegation. Although Novak cited the two officials' version of events, he also included the CIA's opposing view: that "its counterproliferation officials selected Wilson and asked his wife to contact him."

    Two other sources appear to support the view that Wilson's wife suggested her husband's trip. One is a June 2003 memo by the State Department's Bureau of Intelligence and Research (INR). The other, which depends in good part on the INR document, is a statement of the views of Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kan.), chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, and two other Republican members. That statement was attached to the full committee report on its 2004 inquiry into the intelligence on weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.

    The INR document's reference to the Wilson trip is contained in two sentences in a three-page memo on why the State Department disagreed with the idea that Iraq was seeking uranium from Africa -- a view that would ultimately be endorsed after the Iraq invasion by the U.S. weapons hunter David Kay. The notes supporting those two sentences in the INR document say that the Feb. 19, 2002, meeting at the CIA was "apparently convened by [the former ambassador's] wife who had the idea to dispatch [him] to use his contacts to sort out the Iraq-Niger uranium issue," according to the Senate intelligence committee report. But one Senate Democratic staff member said, "That was speculation, that was not true."

    Quick! To the drawing board, righties.

    10 August 2005

    Chuck-town Drinking Liberally

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    In the stripmall (sort of) across the street from Gene's.

    Voodoo Lounge
    15 Magnolia Road
    West Ashley
    Every Thursday
    5:30 pm

    We will talk. We will drink. We will talk liberally. We will drink
    liberally. We hope you can join us tomorrow for our weekly round of Drinking
    Liberally Charleston. Look for us in the big room off VooDoo Lounge.


    Promoting Democracy One Pint at a Time! Join us.

    Liberally yours,
    Marilyn, Leslie, Mandi & Lane

    >>>>>The Charleston County Democratic Party is casting the net for a
    chair. Any recommendations?<<<<<

    Oil $65..., Meh.

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    Oil prices surged nearly two dollars on Wednesday after a U.S. government report rekindled fears that resilient demand from summer drivers and a spate of refinery outages could trigger a gasoline supply crunch.

    The gains came against the backdrop of rising tensions in the Middle East after the United States temporarily closed its diplomatic missions in Saudi Arabia this week due to the threat of attacks by militants.

    U.S. light sweet crude futures soared $1.93 to hit $65.00 a barrel, the highest on record, before settling at $64.90. London Brent jumped $2.08 to new peak of $64.06 a barrel, before settling at $63.99.

    One big hurricane and those prices will be at $70+!


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    London Financial Area May Be Terror Target


    Troops in Iraq

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    [UPDATE] From a few days ago
    Seems that the Pentagon is now taking what they said (below) and adding a slice of reality to the equation.

    Iraqi army and police forces now have the lead security role in eight to 10 areas of
    Iraq, but it remains unclear when they'll be prepared to take over security for the entire country, the Pentagon's top military officer said Tuesday.

    "It's going to take time; nobody knows," Gen. Richard Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said during a Pentagon news conference. "It's event-driven. It's going to be driven by a lot of events."
    Last March, Gen. John Abizaid, of U.S. Central Command, told Congress that he believed Iraqi forces would be able to take the lead role this year, but Gen. Peter Pace, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs, told Congress two months later that only a "small number" of Iraq's 173,000 army and police troops were capable of battling terrorists on their own.

    Myers named only two areas where Iraqis police and army had taken the lead in security - a portion of Baghdad and Diyala province in the south, a majority Shiite area where attacks on coalition forces have been rare since an uprising by radical cleric Muqtada al-Sadr was put down last year.

    So were waiting for events, positive events... Meanwhile, Rummy says

    "I think it's reasonable to expect that violence could, again, increase for a time, as it did during the last elections," Mr Rumsfeld said, looking ahead to a referendum on a new constitution in October and elections in December.
    "As long as the Iraqi people persevere, the terrorists cannot win," he said.

    Heh, how about providing some security? Hold your end of the bargain.

    [original post: 8 Aug 2005]I'll clear this up. We will raise the level of troops for an "October referendum and a December election" in Iraq this fall. Then we will begin a withdrawal in the middle of next year (if things calm down... A lot). Why this is the milestone that brings peace, I don't know. But I hope...

    Image hosted by Photobucket.com
    (click to enlarge)
    Graph from Iraq Coalition Casualty Count

    This is a moving average of US KiA in Iraq March 2005 through July 2005. Nothing here indicates any calming in Iraq; possibly the situation is slowly getting worse if you look at the trend.

    Jagger has thoughts

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    "You call yourself a Christian, I call you a hypocrite
    You call yourself a patriot.
    Well, I think you are full of sh*t!...
    How come you're so wrong, my sweet neo-con."

    Off of the new single.

    09 August 2005

    Pre-911 dialogue resumes

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    The question of what was taking place as far as intelligence within our government before 11 September 2001 is slowly being answered by our media. After the attack, carried out from within America by suspected, al Qaeda operatives no one wanted to really discuss who, knew, what, when, and why.

    This is a huge revelation

    More than a year before the Sept. 11 attacks, a small, highly classified military intelligence unit identified Mohammed Atta and three other future hijackers as likely members of a cell of Al Qaeda operating in the United States, according to a former defense intelligence official and a Republican member of Congress.

    So the CIA, FBI, and Military intelligence was aware. Bush and his administration knew
    Image hosted by Photobucket.com
    (Presidential Daily Brief, 6 August 2001)
    Image hosted by Photobucket.com

    What a complete failure! Not of one party, but of our entire government.

    BooMan thinks there's a cover-up afoot.


    The account is the first assertion that Mr. Atta, an Egyptian who became the lead hijacker in the plot, was identified by any American government agency as a potential threat before the Sept. 11 attacks. Among the 19 hijackers, only Khalid al-Mihdhar and Nawaf al-Hazmi had been identified as potential threats by the Central Intelligence Agency before the summer of 2000, and information about them was not provided to the F.B.I. until the spring of 2001.

    Mr. Weldon has long been a champion of the kind of data-mining analysis that was the basis for the work of the Able Danger team.

    The former intelligence official spoke on the condition of anonymity, saying he did not want to jeopardize political support and the possible financing for future data-mining operations by speaking publicly. He said the team had been established by the Special Operations Command in 1999, under a classified directive issued by Gen. Hugh Shelton, then the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, to assemble information about Al Qaeda networks around the world.

    IMHO, I think it was the FBI that messed up the most here, but the biggest failure was in communication and networking; which is unbelievable this day in age. I base that on empirical evidence, along with this new evidence.

    This guy though is putting his berries out there, he fears the political wrath of the current Administration, and I would too.

    07 August 2005

    War profiteer = Halliburton

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    Image hosted by Photobucket.com

    Clearly the Iraq war had an impact on Halliburton's stocks. So what have they been up to lately?
    Scandal-plagued Halliburton -- the oil services company once headed by Vice President Cheney -- sold an Iranian oil development company key components for a nuclear reactor, say Halliburton sources with intimate knowledge into both companies' business dealings.

    Halliburton was secretly working at the time with one of Iran's top nuclear program officials on natural gas related projects and sold the components in April to the official's oil development company, the sources said.

    Just last week, a National Security Council report said Iran was a decade away from acquiring a nuclear bomb. That time frame could arguably have been significantly longer if Halliburton, whose miltary unit just reported a 284 percent increase in its second quarter profits due to its Iraq reconstruction contracts, was not actively providing the Iranian government with the means to build a nuclear weapon.


    Libby told Miller about Plame

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    Murray Waas reports that Lewis "Scooter" Libby, the chief of staff to Vice President Dick Cheney, was the source for Judith Miller. He told her on 8 July 2005; 2 days after Joe Wilson's Op-Ed on the Iraq-Niger-Uranium connection in this administrations rational for the war on Iraq and 3 days before Novak printed the administrations response (which was outing Wilson's wife and CIA operative/employee). This is "according to legal sources familiar with Libby's account."

    The chorus should now be, "LIBBY, RELEASE MILLER! FREE JUDITH MILLER!"

    The investigation is going great right now, and it looks like Fitzgerald has his sights looked on the proper traitors. However, the fix is in. Fitzgerald's boss is soon to be replaced with fellow Skull and Bones member and classmate at Yale, Robert McCallum. (scooped by RAW STORY)

    Iraq talking points

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    Does anyone really believe that Syria is the reason Iraq is such a mess? If you do please comment below. Rumsfeld, after a speech, blasted Damascus on aiding the Iraqi resistance, he then threatened them. It would take one brain washed American to believe that if Syria just vanished, Iraq would be 'flowers and candy'.
    "The United States and the world obviously has to create a better clarity in the minds of leaders of Syria that what they are doing is harmful ultimately to themselves," Rumsfeld said after a speech in Beverly Hills at which he was twice heckled.

    Heckled! :)
    He said Syria was also "undoubtedly financing" some of the Iraqi insurgency.

    "(Syria is) going to have to live in that neighbourhood and Iraq doesn't like what Syria's doing,"
    "Iraq is going to be in that neighbourhood for a very long time. It's a bigger country and a richer country and will be a more powerful country," he said. "(In my view) the Syrians are not behaving in a wise manner at the present time."
    "other countries and the United States are simply going to have to continue to try and put pressure on them so that they understand the disadvantages that accrue to them by their behaviour."

    So some people in Syria are providing 'aid and comfort' to the resistance. That is not surprising, we are a nation of different culture who attacked an Islamic or Arab nation. Of course some are going to aid the resistance. People who aid the insurgency also live in Saudi Arabia, Jordan, U.A.E., Kuwait, Bahrain, Pakistan, Qatar, et cetera. But our leaders never mention them, why?


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