April 2006 Archives
April 28, 2006
Is al-Zarqawi video a fake?
Is Abu Musab al-Zarqawi himself a manipulation? As we discussed in a recent post, the Washington Post revealed that the "threat" posed by this alleged Al Qaeda leader was largely the creation of a military PSYOPS unit. The propaganda campaign targeted both the foreign press and the U.S. "home audience." Also targeted were our troops: When they unleashed "Whiskey Pete" on civilians in Fallujah, they did so in the belief that they were fighting Zarqawi.
On the same day the Post story appeared, Bush -- in a speech -- cited as genuine a Zarqawi letter now known to be fake.
Journalist Robert Fisk feels that Zarqawi may have died years ago. The Jordanian has not been seen in years; he did not communicate with his family when his mother died; he has made no attempt to help his wife.
5 Democrats arrested for Darfur Protest
Oh, and Rush Limbaugh was arrested too... of course, he was arrested for drug fraud, not for the rights of human beings.
Five members of Congress were jailed Friday after protesting outside the Sudanese Embassy over atrocities in the embattled Darfur region.
"The slaughter of the people of Darfur must end," Rep. Tom Lantos, D-Calif., a Holocaust survivor who founded the Congressional Human Rights Caucus, said from the embassy steps before his arrest.
Four other Democratic House members Reps. James McGovern and John Olver of Massachusetts, Sheila Jackson Lee of Texas and Jim Moran of Virginia were among 11 protesters arrested on charges of disorderly conduct and unlawful assembly, a misdemeanor subject to a fine.
Rush Limbaugh arrested on prescription drug fraud. Typical.
Link: Rush Limbaugh arrested.
The Palm Beach County, Florida, sheriff's Office says Rush Limbaugh has been arrested on prescription fraud charges.
Limbaugh turned himself into authorities on a warrant issued by the state attorney's office, said agency spokesperson Teri Barbera.
The conservative radio commentator came into the jail about 4 p.m with his attorney, Roy Black, and was released an hour later on $3,000 bail.
The warrant was for fraud to conceal information to obtain prescription. Barbera said.
April 27, 2006
Senate panel: Replace FEMA - Hurricanes' Aftermath - MSNBC.com
This sounds like more B.S. from people in government. The problem is not the department. The problem is the leader.
Hurricane Katrina’s latest fatality should be FEMA, the nation’s disaster response agency, a Senate inquiry concluded in calling for a government overhaul to avoid future failures like those the devastating storm exposed.
Eighty-six recommendations by the bipartisan panel indicate the United States is still woefully unprepared for a storm of Katrina’s scope with the start of the hurricane season little more than a month away.
The new authority would be “better equipped with the tools to prepare for and respond to a disaster,” said Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, who led the inquiry by the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.
Describing FEMA as a “shambles and beyond repair,” she said the reforms “will help ensure that we do not have a repeat of the failures following Hurricane Katrina.”
Though the proposed changes do not place blame on any official or government agency, Sen. Joe Lieberman, D-Conn., will offer “additional views” to the panel’s findings in a statement accusing President Bush of failing “to provide critical leadership when it was most needed.”
April 26, 2006
Bush Taps Snow As New Press Secretary
President Bush on Wednesday named conservative commentator Tony Snow as White House press secretary, putting a new face on a troubled administration.
Snow, a Fox news pundit and former speechwriter in the White House under Bush's father, replaced Scott McClellan who resigned after nearly three yeas on the job in a personnel shuffle intended to re-energize the Bush White House and lift the president's record-low approval ratings.
EU: CIA Executed Over 1,000 Illegal Europe Flights
No word if this was over Rummy's "Old Europe" or "New Europe"...
The CIA has conducted more than 1,000 undeclared flights over European territory since 2001 — a clear violation of an international treaty, European Parliament investigators said Wednesday. ADVERTISEMENT
Lawmakers investigating alleged illegal CIA activities in Europe also said incidents when terror suspects were handed over to U.S. agents did not appear to be isolated, and that the suspects often were transported by the same planes and groups of people.
EU lawmakers presented a first preliminary report on their findings, working off data provided by Eurocontrol, the EU's air safety agency, and information gathered during three months of hearings and more than 50 hours of testimony by individuals who said they were kidnapped and tortured by U.S. agents, EU officials and rights groups.
Data showed that CIA planes made numerous stopovers on European territory that were never declared, violating an international air treaty that requires airlines to declare the route and stopovers for planes with a police mission, said Italian lawmaker Giovanni Claudio Fava, who drafted the report.
"The routes for some of these flights seem to be quite suspect. ... They are rather strange routes for flights to take. It is hard to imagine ... those stopovers were simply for providing fuel," he said.
April 25, 2006
Bush's Slide Deeper Than Any One Poll Shows | Democrats.com
If you ignore the too-little-too-late sadness we are all inclined to feel, it's an amazing sight to see so many of our countrymen getting a clue after all this time. Think about it: Bush has gone from people in 31 states effectively giving him a positive approval rating in November 2004 to only these states giving him the same nod now (with April approval ratings):
* Idaho 53%
* Nebraska 51%
* Utah 55%
* Wyoming 54%
Keep in mind also, that these four states collectively make up barely two percent of the 296.5 million people in the United States based on a July 2005 Census Bureau estimate, so in sheer numbers, it's not quite the same as if people in New York, California or Texas still like him.
What's also interesting is to see which states are abandoning Bush to the greatest degree. When measured by what percentage vote they gave Bush in 2004 compared to the latest approval ratings, here are the states in which the president has lost the most support:
* Kentucky -21%
* Indiana -21%
* North Dakota -20%
* Montana -20%
And there are many other states not far behind, where the unpopular president has lost between 15 and 19 percent of his support.
And, while it’s just a matter of time before Bush goes below 30 percent nationally, here's the states already ahead of the curve in recognizing just what a lousy leader this guy really is (with current approval ratings):
* Connecticut 27%
* Delaware 27%
* Illinois 29%
* Massachusetts 26%
* New Jersey 28%
* New York 24%
* Rhode Island 24%
* Vermont 27%
Finally, in case you're wondering how he's doing back in the Lone Star State, Bush is clinging to a dismal 45 percent approval rating in his home state, with 17 percent loss of support since 2004.
At this rate, he may not even be able to go back home to Crawford after he's impeached.
April 22, 2006
Colleagues Say C.I.A. Analyst Played by Rules - New York Times
Yet another sacrificial lamb for the CIA, Porter Goss and GW Bush.
After an article last November in The Washington Post reported that the C.I.A. was sending terror suspects to clandestine detention centers in several countries, including some in Eastern Europe, Porter J. Goss, the agency's director, ordered polygraphs for intelligence officers who knew about certain "compartmented" programs, including the secret detention centers for terror suspects. Polygraphs are given routinely to agency employees at least every five years, but special ones can be ordered when a security breach is suspected. Government officials said that after Ms. McCarthy's polygraph examination showed the possibility of deception, the examiner confronted her and she disclosed having conversations with reporters. But some former C.I.A. employees who know Ms. McCarthy remain unconvinced, arguing that the pressure from Mr. Goss and others in the Bush administration to plug leaks may have led the agency to focus on an employee on the verge of retirement, whose work at the White House during the Clinton administration had long raised suspicions within the current administration. "It looks to me like Mary is being used as a sacrificial lamb," said Larry Johnson, a former C.I.A. officer who worked for Ms. McCarthy in the agency's Latin America section.
Jeff Klein: Saddam and Me, a True Story
But what none of the stories in the main-stream media seem to mention is that the Iraqi dictator could count on firm US government support when he was committing these crimes. The Reagan Administration went all-out to assist Iraq in its war with Iran after our man, the Shah, was overthrown. US Government and business officials -- many of them recycled in the Bush II administration -- shuttled to Baghdad, offering aid, intelligence support, and trade in "dual-use" civilian-military products, including chemical-biological weapons know-how and pre-cursor ingredients. The US worked tirelessly in the UN to shield Iraq from any condemnation or economic sanctions for its atrocities. Nothing better symbolizes this obscene alliance better than the famous "Handshake" of Donald Rumsfeld with the Iraqi dictator. (The whole sordid history, with key documents, is available in a comprehensive report: SHAKING HANDS WITH SADDAM HUSSEIN: The U.S. Tilts toward Iraq, 1980-1984, National Security Archive, February 25, 2003.)
Wallace Talks With NBC News About Job - Yahoo! News
If Wallace gets this out like this, it's for a purpose. He had this sent out by his publicist.
NBC would be gaining significant talent. While CBS gains zero... again.
Fuck Leslie Moonves.
There's no retiring in Mike Wallace. The "60 Minutes" legend said Friday he's been talking to NBC News about a job.
"They've been talking with me off-and-on for some time about coming over there," Wallace told The Associated Press. "At the moment, I want to stay where I am."
Wallace, who turns 88 on May 9, has been at CBS News since 1963.
Wallace announced in March that he would retire later this spring as a regular "60 Minutes" correspondent. He's been with the newsmagazine since it started in 1968.
An NBC News spokeswoman would not discuss the extent of the network's interest in Wallace.
"He's a legendary newsman and we'd be crazy not to take his call," said Allison Gollust. "Beyond that, we don't comment on negotiations."
Wallace said that NBC has "suggested to me if I might be interested that they would very much like me to come over." But he said, "I'm not having serious talks with them."
CBS News recently landed an NBC News talent — Katie Couric — who has some 40 years less experience than Wallace.