Thursday, December 18, 2014

First Amendment Hypocrisy

Dean Obeidallah has his shorts in a bunch over at CNN calling out conservatives for hypocrisy because some have criticized Sony over pulling "the Interview" (a comedy that allegedly ends with NorK leader Lil Kim Jong Un's head catching fire and exploding) but the same people called for pulling a 2006 movie his girlfriend starred in called "Death of a President", which featured the assassination of Dubya.

So let's get his outrage straight.  A comedy featuring the current NK leader's death is the same as a docu-drama about the death of the US president.   Just imagine his reaction had Dinesh D'Souza's last movie ended with Obama getting shot by a firing squad or something.  Hell, D'Souza was sent to jail for investigating the president's anti-imperialist background alone.  Oh sorry, for a campaign violation, ahem.

And of course Hollywood would only make such a movie if the firing squad was a band of rogue Teabaggers wearing don't tread on me t-shirts.  But Hollywood and the Obama State Department were all-in on blowing off Kim's head.  Hey, the administration made a point today to vigorously defend Hollywood and creative people everywhere in exercising their first amendment rights.

Which is odd, because the same people have completely forgotten what they said caused Benghazi and the other uprisings on Sept 11, 2012--an ugly video about Mohammed.  The same people even made a TV commercial at taxpayer expense to be shown in Pakistan begging forgiveness and separating the US from that ugly Mohammed film from Nakoula, who was tossed in jail.  Oh right, for a previous warrant, ahem.  The president even told the UN that the future doesn't belong to those who slander the Prophet of Islam.  He was right, Nakoula's future certainly got worse.

The administration even took the unprecedented step of asking You Tube to take his video down

So Dean, if you're looking for some hypocrisy, whoops there it is. 

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Executive Actions on Cuba...

Today the president announced a plan to reward Cuba with US recognition in return for doing... well, nothing:
“This is being done because we believe the policy of the past has not worked and we believe the best way to bring democracy and prosperity to Cuba is through a different kind of policy,” a senior administration official told reporters on a conference call under White House ground rules that did not permit the official to be identified.
Outraged right wing hacks immediately weighed in with their displeasure, like Democratic Senator Menendez:
“Let’s be clear, this was not a ‘humanitarian’ act by the Castro regime. It was a swap of convicted spies for an innocent American,” said Senator Robert Menendez, Democrat of New Jersey and the chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee. “President Obama’s actions have vindicated the brutal behavior of the Cuban government.”
So, when do we normalize relations with the North Koreans and set up an embassy? And if not, why not?

OBAMA LIBRE!  12/18/14

Politico paints a picture of the true portrait of an emerging president, finally unencumbered by the messiness of posturing (lying) before elections.

So maybe it's worth throwing this out there.   There were interactions between the Weathermen and Cuban intelliegence (back when Obama was 7), the same Cuban intelligence running the 3 spies Obama just released in exchange for Alan Gross (he's already released the other 2 members of the Cuban 5, and we can all believe in this mystery US asset hostage held for 20 years when we see him).  Ayers is still proudly a "small-c communist" and openly advocated for Hugo Chavez only a few years back.  Of course it's probably racist to even mention their names in the same paragraph.  Viva, and onward to our new progressive future!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Have they learned nothing?

This was the large font headline glaring on CNN that triggered this post..


Why does any reputable news organization even need to ask after everything that has occurred since 9/11?

And yet here they are, blasting such a lame ass question on the web page as if this action was somehow beneath the Talibani warriors, our noble trading partners for Beau Bergdahl.   All while the Democrats give the bastards who drew up the 9/11 attack a report on how they were interrogated.  Which mainstream media anchors will probably refer to as upholding American values.   Hands up, don't shoot, I can't breathe, indeed.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Cheney on MTP

He simply didn't come off looking good, appearing to defend the indefensible.  Of course this was NBC's goal.

But let's face it, rigidly defending some of the things they did to 'the bastards' who pulled off 9/11 cannot be open-ended.  Where Cheney goes wrong is the idea that enhanced interrogation methods should be forever etched into our usual and customary interrogation tool box.  It has been proven that most terrorists can be broken down through the usual methods when given time.  Besides, some actually believe in American exceptionalism (as opposed to Democrats who are conveniently using it for political reasons now).

But therein lies the issue--time.  After 9/11 the powers-that-be, including her holiness Nancy Pelosi and his majesty Jay Rockefeller, were all for thinking outside the box to get what we could out of these barbarians before another mass casualty attack occurred.  Now in the comfort of time (and no major attacks) it's safe to play the torture card to get themselves on the right side of history for future political use. Yes, they are craven.

But as long as Cheney continues to remain unflinchable when discussing 'the program' the Democrats will keep playing the card with their willing buddies in the media.  The NY Times has had the terror report on its front pages since it came out Tuesday.   

Not to mention playing it also gives the media and Democrats a diversion from Obama's own hypocritical (and possible unconstitutional ) memos on immigration, the possibility that the IRS gave records of conservative groups to the White House and Justice Department before the 2012 election, the Benghazi hearings, or Obama's recent announcement of sending more troops to the war he ended in Iraq while retaining more in the war he was going to responsibly end in Afghanistan in less than a month.

They've succeeded in moving the news from the GOP shellacking over Obama's failures to GOP torture and black civil rights, neither of which are really deserving of headline news right now.
But the odd thing is, while the talk has shifted back to terrorism vis a vis torture none of the media talking heads have mentioned the few major terrorists captured in the Obama era, such as Ahmed Warsame and Anas al-Liby who were both interrogated for weeks on Navy vessels, or Abu Khatalah of Benghazi fame who was put on a slow boat from Africa.  Hopefully there was no stress involved.  Was Red Cross or consular access allowed?  Nobody cares enough to make it a story. 

The talking heads were also not talking about Adnan Shukrijumah, called a Saudi citizen by some, who reportedly died during a raid in Pakistan last week, pulled off without any US help. Does it signal better US-Pakistani relations?  Josh Earnest had no clue when asked on Friday.  They also seem uninterested in whether the terrorist crossed the Mexican border several times in discussing with AQ terrorists a plot to attack Oprah Winfrey's studios and the Willis Tower on Obama's hometown, an attack evidently thwarted by authorities before it could occur.  Sounds like huge news, eh?  And how did the authorities thwart it? At least something to run down.  But the administration and press appear to be running away from it.  Why?

Legitimate reasons of security?  Or is it something as simple as a focus on it would negatively impact a president who recently allowed illegal aliens to get green cards and benefits?  Oh well, back to NY Times saturation coverage of Dick Cheney's torture era.     

Friday, December 12, 2014

Somebody finally asked...

...the White House to clarify whether top tier core-AQ terrorist Adnan Shukrijumah was killed in a raid by the Pakistanis last weekend or not:  

It's pretty amazing the White House spokesman would have to 'take the question' to get Major Garrett some 'clarity' on whether the guy is dead or not.  Don't they know by now?  Why wouldn't they be heralding it as a major blow in the GWoT?  Garrett was saying that CBS News was getting their confirmation from senior government officials.  But both the Rewards for Justice and FBI most-wanted terrorist sites show no change.

I don't pretend to know what's going on here.  I do know that many terrorists have "died" and come back to life--the most recent being the Khorasan (Core-AQ) bomb maker supposedly killed by US air strikes in Syria last month but now reportedly still alive.  So proclaiming AQ leaders dead, especially when the Pakistanis are involved, is probably risky.     


Here's another clip of a US Government official being asked to confirm the death of Shukrijumah..

She's fumbling around over details about the death of a major Core-AQ terrorist?   Hmmm.

Why is the administration downplaying this?   Most believe he was killed.  Could it be something to do with the Pakistan-US relationship?  As Garrett pointed out, it sounds like a positive development. Yet the spokespeople are giving nothing.  It's been a week, they clearly have no intention of using this as PR.  So why not?   

Could it be because Shukrijumah allegedly crossed the US-Mexico border several times--even possibly flying an aircraft into a US airport--before his demise?  And that the administration would rather lose the PR value from the killing of a major AQ kingpin than admit that said kingpin was crossing the 'secure' southern border?  And targeting Oprah, of all people!  Yeah, must be the latter.

Notice also how no US journalists smell a story here.  None of them followed up on Garrett's question to Earnest; none followed up on the Arab journalist's question to Psaki.  So the story about the takeout of a major Core-AQ terrorist is just going to vaporize into the ether.  

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Speaking of Waterboarding

This was a brief blip in the Brit press in 2009:
Dick Cheney, the former US vice-president, suggested waterboarding an Iraqi prisoner whom White House officials suspected might possess knowledge of a potential connection between Saddam Hussein and al-Qaeda, it has emerged.
Two senior intelligence officials said that the April 2003 request was made regarding Muhammed Khudayr al-Dulaymi, head of the M-14 section of the Mukhabarat secret police, whose responsibilities included chemical weapons and contacts with terrorist groups.
There's that al-Dulaimi name again.

This story was covered here at the time. There wasn't much on the web on Khudair Dulaimi then--nothing has changed today, although the Emptywheel did a "what happened to.." story on him back in August.  They don't know much either. 

An earlier Telegraph story from 2003 suggested he was an important thug in Saddam's crime family and perhaps an outreach link between the regime and terrorists, which is no doubt why Cheney's office had interest.
He also worked closely with the Saddam Fedayeen and foreign fighters in the run-up to war, building the contacts vital for the resistance.
Of course the notion that Saddam would even allow an AQ-like figure in his country is preposterous!  We all know he had no use for terrorists.  Curiously the Telegraph piece mentions the following:
His name is on a second, unpublished, list of most-wanted Iraqis who do not appear in the original deck of cards of 55 former regime leaders, although no photograph has been circulated.
Hmm, that's news.  Who else was on the second secret list?  Was it people involved in this?  Here's the final sentence, rather prescient:
Documents found in the suitcase of Saddam's vice-president, Taha Yassin Ramadan, when he was captured last month detailed plans by Ba'athist cells for establishing links with radical Islamic leaders and reorganising the party.
And that's exactly what Izzat al-Duri and friends have done.

Anyway, despite a lack of reporting we have a few scraps to puzzle over. The 2003 Telegraph article dated September gives no indication Dulaimi was in captivity, matter of fact quite the opposite, but the 2009 Telegraph story on Cheney's alleged request says he was in captivity in April 2003, or at least that's when the request was received.  So one of them, at least, is wrong. 

One can imagine that since he was also on some kind of double secret most-wanted list and no picture was ever distributed it's possible he never actually existed.  Maybe he was made up by Iraqis interested in selling information.  We could say the CIA made him up to justify the war and be right, according to most Democrats at least.  Or maybe someone at Langley was trying to snooker Cheney.  April 2003....that was about the same time Joe Plame Wilson was starting to whisper "Bush lied, people died" to Nicholas Kristof at the Times after his colleague Judy Miller found nothing much in Iraq. We all know what happened next.

If he did exist and was what they said he was, surely he was non-harshly interrogated and jailed, but it seems likely that had they found anything such as a link between Saddam and AQ other than that visit by Egyptian Islamic Jihad members to Baghdad before the invasion it would have been made public long ago.   But it's hard to say.   Maybe somebody can ask Cheney.  Or maybe we can get George Ramos to ask Obama, since he's the only one with balls enough to ask real questions anymore.

IS THE GWOT OVER?  12/12/14

Listening to the screed from Feinstein announcing her release of the CIA hit job report (a remarkable journey into the world of hypocrisy and denial) the question should be asked--do these Democrats think the threats are over?  Do they really believe Obama 2012?   If another massive 9/11 scale attack were to happen tomorrow what would DiFi say about belly slapping KSM?   It's as if some Democrats have gone bonkers since the mid-term shellacking.

Speaking of which, CNN had a top headline today about a gripping story that everyone is talking about-- Mohammed Atta in Prague.
A recently released CIA cable casts heavy doubt on a key claim used by the Bush administration to justify the 2003 U.S.-led invasion of Iraq. It discounts intelligence that said Mohammed Atta, one of the 9/11 ringleaders, met with an Iraqi official in the Czech Republic a few months before the attacks.
The Bush administration -- which maintained that Atta had met with Iraqi agent Ahmad al-Anian in Prague in April 2001 -- had used the report to link the September 11 attacks to Iraq. CIA Director John Brennan included a portion of the cable in a letter to Sen. Carl Levin, D-Michigan. Levin, the retiring chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, made the letter public on Thursday.
Well, it's nice to see Brennan included a "portion" of the cable in his release.  Fact is Carl Levin has been pressing this for a long time and probably wants Cheney locked up. The thing is, the story was pretty much debunked a long time ago. 

These Democrats and their sycophants in the media are so desirous for stories bashing Republicans they've resorted to re-hashing old bashes.  At the same time they've almost completely ignored the Gruber hearing on Tuesday, the Benghazi hearing on Wednesday, and the latest revelations from Lerner's emails, Obama increasing troops in Iraq, Iran cheating on their nuke framework agreement, and the lies told about immigration.   Utterly amazing.  But it's worse--it's dangerous for America.