Thursday, March 30, 2006

The mysterious Carroll release

Jill Carroll was released today, and it's great to hear she's in one piece, unlike many other less fortunate souls. But despite the assurances of propriety from the authorities, there's just something weird about this thing.

It might seem to the casual news watcher that Iraqi kidnap groups aren't doing so well of late. The CPT men were freed without a fight, matter of fact the bad guys weren't even home when the troops arrived. Their demands were not met. Carroll was released unharmed and nobody was arrested, and the demands were not met. Like the CPT crew, she came back to freedom but was overly concerned with the slugs that held her against her will for months:
"It's important people know that - that I was not harmed."
Similar statements were made by Norman Kember. The AP was suspicious of all this and kept digging around trying to find someone to fess up about a ransom or other deals. Who can blame them? Here's what American Ambassador to Iraq Khalilzad said:
"No U.S. person entered into any arrangements with anyone. By U.S. person I mean the United States mission," Khalilzad said.
Just for fun here's the definition of a "US Person":
“United States person” means a citizen of the United States, an alien lawfully admitted for permanent residence (as defined in section 1101 (a)(20) of title 8), an unincorporated association a substantial number of members of which are citizens of the United States or aliens lawfully admitted for permanent residence, or a corporation which is incorporated in the United States, but does not include a corporation or an association which is a foreign power, as defined in subsection (a)(1), (2), or (3) of this section.
Since it's doubtful they're playing Bill Clinton games with the law we must assume Khalilzad was leaving the door open to involvment by Iraqis or other Coalition partners. You can find speculation along those lines over at the Jawa Report:
Now the NYT (via Bad Hair Blog) reports that one of the leaders of the Islamic party, Dr. Tariq Al-hashmi, is claiming responsibility for winning Jill Carroll's release. This is very interesting, indeed. Especially after the last few days in which many see a change in the political atmosphere in Iraq, with reports of Sunnis now seeing the Americans as allies to protect them from Shia militias and Shias--the traditional U.S. allies in Iraq--becoming suspect of the Coalition.
It is very interesting. An open question remains of which side America might come down on in the event of a full blown civil war. We'll do our best to take neither, but perhaps allowing the perception of truce between the Sunnis and Coalition serves as a subtle message to al-Sadr and the Iranian-backed militias.

It might also serve as a message to other Arab nations. Wasn't it Saddam who recently called for Arab League members to back the Sunnis in the fight for Iraq? I don't believe that invitation extended to the Coalition itself. Bet such an action might really mess up his thought process.


The kidnappers felt the need to explain themselves:
In a video purportedly from her kidnappers that was posted on the Internet, her abductors said Carroll was released because "the American government met some of our demands by releasing some of our women from prison." The video was found on an Islamic Web site where such material has appeared before.

They are referring to the release of several women prisoners back in January, discussed here, but that officially qualifies as "punting". The kidnappers also told her to watch out, because mujahadeen had infiltrated the green zone. Do they get old reruns of the Untouchables over there?

So far the evidence suggests her captors were either amatuers in way over their heads or extrememly cunning operatives with unknown goals in mind. There's simply no in-between here.


Well, that didn't take long. Compare the LGF version of the MyWay story posted above (actually an AP feed). Notice how the AP reported on the tape but excluded the comments uncovered by LGF, such as this snippet:
Voice: Do you have a message for Mr. Bush?

Carroll: (Laughs)Yeah, he needs to stop this war. He knows this war is wrong. He knows that it was illegal from the very beginning. He knows that it was built on a mountain of lies and I think he needs to finally admit that to the American people and make the troops go home and he doesn’t care about his own people.
Hail to the blogosphere.


"Hail to the Blogosphere", said I. Er, not so fast.

Ms. Carroll's statement describing her role in the video is here, which everyone should read, then ask yourself if we should expect a young lady to spit in the eye of death by refusing to talk trash about her country in exchange for freedom.

So, first things first. If I gave the impression Ms. Carroll was somehow a participant in a conspiracy, I apologize. Bloggers should read this post from Rick Moran, even though it hurts.

I also questioned the AP's refusal to print incendiary comments from what we now know was a coerced video, so in retrospect they made the correct call and deserve props.

However, the question raised by the original post is still valid--ie, why was she released before the kidnappers' stated goals were met? Who benefitted, if anyone? Was there a quid pro quo, or did they just get spooked? These same questions can be asked about the earlier CPT release, and certainly may have a bearing on the treatment of future victims or on how the Coalition policy is changing.

THE PLAN 4/3/06

Glenn Reynolds has a link to the Officer's Club site, which has a well thought-out essay about Jill Carroll's release here. The Officers speculate on the question of why:
Releasing Carroll was an experiment, one that failed from the insurgency's point of view. Carroll was released and immediately disavowed statements she made in captivity. The insurgents were exposed as a cheap propagandists, and their message was blurred in the celebration surrounding Carroll's return home.

Killing a hostage makes a far more drastic statement than releasing one does, which is precisely why we're unlikely to see any more hostages released.

I both agree and disagree. It seems possible the video was a trial balloon--but in my mind it was more a hail mary.

After we called their bluff several times it probably became clear that, A) we weren't going to bargain and, B) Miss Carroll had become a very hot potato. Killing her outright was probably never an option since their initial demands asked for the release of their own women. Besides, the world was against them, including Sunni Muslim clerics. Their only means to success was for us to cave.

Speaking of the clerics, perhaps they had a secret influence from a self-serving perspective. They probably understood how the sight of a brutally murdered young woman might affect the fickle American public, that such a sight could easily produce an unwanted backlash. After all, they should understand martyrs better than anyone.

Between a rock and hard place, they probably decided the video was the only acceptable way to cut their losses and extract some tiny positive out of the deal. For all we know they thought Carroll wasn't acting and figured she might be a true sympathizer, and would go back to the US and join up with Cindy Sheehan.

That's why I think this was a botched kidnapping by a bunch of amatuers rather than some well-designed plot to reach this end. Whichever it turns out to be, it was an unmitigated failure all the way around. It will be interesting to see what if anything Miss Carroll says about her ordeal in the coming months, since she could certainly shine the brightest light on all this conjecture.

All the DOCEX news that's fit to print

That old New York Times moniker was recently strained to include the DOCEX Iraqi document release, even though the information had been in the public domain for two weeks and had been the topic of bloggers and other media outlets for half a year. Reporter Scott Shane was picked to introduce the story, which he seemed to suggest was perhaps just that-- a story.

Shane sprinkled his report with the usual cadre of 'anonymous intelligence sources' to help poo-poo the significance of the project, as if they themselves had personally read each document. Stephen Hayes fired back:
Lost on Shane, it seems, is that these documents were released in large part so that we would no longer have to rely on the opinions of anonymous intelligence officials who, according to the Senate Intelligence Committee's bipartisan report, knew very little about Iraq before the war.
The Times had little choice but to eventually weigh in, since before the war they were in the position the Weekly Standard is now--the champion source of all that's bad about Saddam. Judy Miller was their go-to glamour girl regards Saddam and his weaponry, but the Times probably felt their rather public flogging and dismissal of Miller was the last word on the subject. After all, everyone knows Chalabi was a fraud, right? And Miller used Chalabi as a source.

The Times tried to recoup their rep by printing the NSA leak story over the protestations of Bush, which got them back in the cozy with their base. It's quite understandable they wouldn't want to risk losing those good vibes by having to reverse themselves yet again on Iraq. After all, Miller has presumably disappeared into the Aspen groves.

Scott Shane reported on a sensitive story that Judy Miller also reported on, but his line of thought trended away from a state-sponsored theory, while Miller left the Iraq option open. Shane was writing for the Baltimore Sun at the time, but as Hayes mentions, you'd think he'd be interested in getting to the bottom of the story once and for all, which the documents or tapes might provide.

But we all know there's only one bottom to any story, and most reporters believe that was reached awhile ago regards Iraq. Those folks would seem to have little choice but to portray the DOCEX thing as a sandbox for nutjobs. And, should anything interesting actually turn up, those ubiqitous anonymous intelligence sources are always standing at the ready.


Talk Left is talking about the Moussaoui trial and has provided a link to a WaPo post that directs to a site containing evidentiary documents from the mastermind of 9/11, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. His statement details the 9/11 plot from beginning to end, wherein he indicates his suspicion of Zacarious. For this reason KSM had relegated him to a second wave attack against the west coast following 9/11, which was to use non-middle easterners. This was the Los Angeles attack Bush mentioned a few months ago.

Not sure if KSM is truthful, but I found a few of his statements curious nevertheless. One was that he didn't join al Qaeda until 1998, another that he refused to recite their loyalty oath until after 9/11. He was in many ways a lone wolf. Funny, he made mention of Moussaoui being stubborn and confident, which he blamed on being raised in the west, however he doesn't seem to recognize that same trait within himself.

There was frequent mention of a money-man in the UAE, but no mention of where the money came from. The 9/11 Commission told us we shouldn't worry about it, since it was a relatively small sum. Wonder who provided it?


The Times has a piece this morning about the above-mentioned KSM documents used in the Moussaoui trial. Scott Shane was involved in this story, too, and he makes a good point by contrasting the nimble nature of AQ compared to the lumbering bureaucracy of the American Intelligence apparatus that contributed to 9/11.

However, Mr Shane and his co-writer seem more focused on the FBI's incompetence in this case than anything the enemy said. Not surprising, since that storyline leads toward a finger pointing at Bush. Based on the email traffic and testimony from some of the career agents, such 20/20 hindsight might persuade a Bush-hater there was a conspiracy afoot.

In my view it's simply more proof of bureaucratic incompetence, stove piping, and career protecting. President Bush is certainly not immune from being unaware of certain realities. For example, he appointed the controversial Barbara Bodine to an Iraq position after the war (check out "The Man who Warned America", the story about FBI counter terror agent John O'Neill for details), which suggests his staff might have been ignorant of what occurred in Yemen. She was removed from the position after only one month.

But the point here is not to dwell on past mistakes, it's to learn from them. KSM's cocky attitude regards his ability to hit America should've sent a strong wakeup call to the intel bureacracy. Bush reacted by shuffling the deck, but agents in the field are the ones who git er done. So far they seem to be succeeding, as we've had zero follow-on attacks. By the way, our post 9/11 security impressed KSM, which he alluded to in the statements. Guess the Times didn't think that was fit to print.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

The meaning of indigenous

The nutwagon radicals involved in last weekend's "Constitutional rights for those refusing to take an oath to the constitution" rally seem confused over their own history. Or perhaps not. Consider a statement by "Mexica", a childish little amalgam of the words America and Mexico designed to impress people like Ward Churchill:
The only solution, says the Mexica Movement, is to expel the invaders of the last 500 years, force them to pay reparations and return the continent to its rightful heirs.

The invaders have already been expelled. I thought maybe they meant the Indians or others still unknown who first inhabited the continent.

But their dilemma is clear--it's hard to make an argument that people who descended from Spanish Europeans have more right to the continent than those of English, German or French descent. It's also hard to make the case that Americans who took over the southwest were anymore racist or brutal than their Spanish Conquistador predecessors who took over the southwest.

If nothing else the rally was example of the current mindset of thousands and perhaps millions of Mexicans who are largely ignored while doing the menial jobs Americans wouldn't do for that same wage. They are building themselves into a powder keg and it may be too late for Congress to defuse it, should they actually desire to.

Rahman in Rome, but the case is still open

Afghan Christian Abdul Rahman reappeared in Rome today after his 'persecuted but not prosecuted' experience in Kabul. Freedom is certainly a good thing for Mr. Rahman, especially in light of comments of this nature:
Some 500 Afghans, including Muslim leaders and students, also gathered at a mosque in the southern town of Qalat, in Zabul province, to demand the convert be forced to return to Islam or be killed.

"This is a terrible thing and a major shame for Afghanistan," Zabul's top cleric Abdulrahman Jan said.
But his safe flight also brings up a few interesting and disturbing questions that are yet to be solved, not the least of which are the legal ramifications. Who best to comment on legal issues than a country lawyer:
What it is not good for is the notion of the rule of law. As it is said, Fiat justitia (et ruat caelum) "Let justice be done (though the heavens fall)". If Brother Rahman is to be set free (and he should), it should be because what he did is not a crime, not because the Hamid Karzai got a phone call from the President of the United States. The brutish law that condemns Christians remains on the books, a terror set to bar the way to salvation.
Yes, and that nasty little law will surely catch the next poor Abdul who can't generate as much fanfare.

So, what position should the west take on future incidents or the law itself? We know that Islamic countries seemingly hack off appendages for doing, well, just about everything we Americans do. And we know that persecuting Christians is not the only blood sport practiced by some in the seventh century set--here are a few others of note.

It's a good thing that no harm came to Mr. Rahman, but it's bad thing his case didn't change the world. Bush used some of his paltry political capital with Karzai to move the story off the front pages, but he remains as poor as a church mouse with other Islamic nations and he's getting poorer by the minute. Ironically, if there's any hope of change it might be now, with infant governments rising up in two Muslim countries.

Muzzle management

Oh no, not another danged global warming story. Well, yes. In the midst of several recent mainstream media reports screaming that man-induced warming is close to ending the world, it seems appropriate to talk some about 'the muzzle'.

I'm referring to allegations the administration is keeping some government climate scientists from carrying out what they believe is their primary mission--to warn the population about the evils of Bush-induced, uh, human-induced global warming. This same story was covered a few months ago right here.

But the charges are being refreshed, this time by the Providence Journal (registration required) in a more forceful manner, probably bolstered by the recent MSM stories:
Many climate scientists at the NOAA may no longer take calls from reporters, the story went on to say, unless the interview is approved by administration officials in Washington, D.C., and is conducted with a public-affairs officer present. But where scientists' views on climate change align with those of the administration, The Times said, there are few restrictions on speaking or writing.
There's a difference between muzzling and message control. It may sound like censorship (or nazism if you're on the far left) to suggest government agencies have a right to control their message, but it's a necessary evil.

E.G., on highly charged issues such as global warming's effect on hurricane strength, how is Joe Public supposed to understand an agency’s position if their own scientists contradict each other in the press? They can't, therefore, some level of message control is needed just to reduce confusion. Will that message sometimes swing towards the president in power? You bet.

Yet the Prov Journal article tries to suggest that science and politics have never shared the same bed, and leaves the assertion completely unchallenged:
"I'm all for honest exchanges, but we've got science and politics co-mingled here," Piltz said. "What happens when the world of science collides with the world of politics? I know that world."
Piltz should know--it happened during the previous administration, but in reverse. Clinton had several global warming summits and packed them with human-induced global warming advocates.

Don't forget the touchy subject of personal politics. The scientists barking the loudest certainly have their own political views, if you get my drift.

The story mentions a memo sent to NOAA scientists from their leader, Conrad Lautenbacher, addressing this issue. I've seen it, but will not leak it here. For those who might trust me I'll paraphrase it's contents....Mr. Lautenbacher told his people they were free to discuss peer-reviewed science with the media, and could also provide personal opinion IF they stipulated it was such. There were no references to jack-booted thugs.

This is pretty simple. A group of scientists, probably a fair number being ideologically driven towards the left, have decided their theories about hurricanes and global warming are beyond reproach and therefore anyone disagreeing, including agencies of the government, are intolerant fascists. Speaking of jack-booted thugs.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Izzat, you idiot

Regular readers of this site know how often I've droned on about Saddam's former right hand man, the ex-VP and leader of the Revolutionary Command Council Izzat al-Douri.

My perception is that al-Douri took over the reigns for Saddam after his capture, and has been running the insurgency all along, directing the various jihadi fronts. The Coalition leaders have all but ignored him, choosing instead to focus on Zarqawi's al Qaeda in Iraq and others.

Well, al-Douri is back in the news, but admittedly not in a way I might have expected. MEMRI has released a purported phone interview with an Arab station and Saddam from his prison cell. The Butcher sounds none too happy with his former VP, threatening him with the removal of key body parts over a taped statement he sent to the Arab League summit meeting in Khartoum.

Exactly what did al-Douri say that was so horrific? Essentially the same thing Saddam said in a letter published on a Ba'athist website a few days ago, which was attributed to our Dorito-loving captive. The jist of both messages--back the insurgency or the Americans will divide and conquer Arabia.
Saddam Hussein: I call to punish 'Izzat Al-Duri, because he burned my heart.

Interviewer: Why, because he published a statement without your permission?

Saddam Hussein: He gave a speech without me knowing it. The punishment that I want for him is to cut off his tongue and ears.
First, it's interesting to note that Saddam didn't express any shock that al-Douri was still alive. The last official word was that he'd passed on to Allah due to cancer. Second, if Saddam's heart is truly burned then why announce such a thing publicly? Doing so seems to suggest Izzat is NOT his inside man anymore. So, exactly what the heck is he doing?

The most obvious conclusion would be he thinks al-Douri really is an idiot. There were indications al-Douri might have had something to do with the Golden Mosque attack, and Saddam took a negative view of this attack from the start, which he again made clear in this 'phone call':
He should beware and shut up. Why does he make speeches and exploit state funds? I left the funds under your responsibility. Billions of dollars... I left you the funds and you should use them properly. He goes and blows up mosques, markets, and schools.
It truly appears he's shocked, shocked at such senseless violence, as if the chipper/shredder days never happened.

Strangely, Saddam also babbled something that would seem to incriminate him on many counts:
I know that people who listen to me might think that Saddam Hussein has become apathetic in prison and stopped supporting terrorism. No. I'm not ashamed to tell you that Iraq, without Saddam Hussein, isn't worth two bits. Therefore, it will make me happy if Iraq turns into dust
Are we supposed to believe he threw up his hands as if to say "if you want something done right, ya gotta do it yourself"? Maybe. But the statement, if true, should remove any mystery about who invented the insurgency...Saddam planned it, organized it, set it into motion, funded it, then left al-Douri in charge after he was snatched from his spider hole. The comment about reducing Iraq to dust could also be taken a few ways, but I'll leave that speculation to others.

Certainly if we take the call at face value Saddam appears a tired old dictator coot expressing frustration that his plan isn't coming together. But that just feels too easy. We know Saddam is still a master manipulator, and rebuking al-Douri could be his way of looking heroic to the masses, in effect washing his hands of the Golden Mosque attack and projecting himself as a sympathetic uniter. A machiavellian good cop, bad cop, if you will. For all we know Al-Douri might be safely ensconsed somewhere.

But Saddam is correct about one thing--we ARE trying to split the Arab world, just not the way he thinks. There's good reason--they've just caused too damn much trouble for too long. Saddam knows that if we're successful he'll go down in history as the leader in power who allowed such a thing to happen. No doubt there's a lot on the line, and desperate men do, well, you know..


Click on the MEMRI link and you'll see the interview was a hoax. Should have known better to even consider such a thing was possible with Saddam sitting in US Custody, but stranger things have happened. While I was not entirely convinced of the veracity, I was convinced enough--and issue you this apology.

After the stories we've seen in the past seven months, surely the next one mentioning al-Douri will have him joining the circus or somesuch. Caveat emptor, as the smart people say.

Twin sons of different mothers

Ken Livingstone and Ray Nagin. Proof that shooting from the hip is not always the best way, especially if one is the mayor of a large city.

Monday, March 27, 2006

You're allowed to lie for jihad..

The original angry young jihadi, Zacarious Moussaoui, dropped some bombs in court today, saying he was originally supposed to pilot an aircraft into the White House on 9/11. As Charlie Daniels once said, he "laid it on thicker and heavier as he went", also claiming his teammate was to be shoebomber Richard Reid. It's surprising he didn't say the other teammate was that teenager in Tampa who flew his Cessna into a high-rise.

Don't know about you, but this guy pegs my BS-O-Meter. All evidence so far suggests he was nothing but a wannabee. If KSM actually teamed him with the likes of Richard Reid for an important 9/11 mission we'd have to seriously question AQ's judgment. Reid couldn't even light a match.

One might conclude Zacarious was set up for the fall. For comparison's sake, harken back to the first World Trade Center bombing. A hapless group of Islamofascists were hunkered down in Brooklyn plotting revenge for the arrest of El-Sayid Nosair, who had killed the fiery Rabbi Meir Kahane. Out of the blue appears Ramzi Yousef, who teams with the impressionable Mohammed Salameh to ramp up their flimsy plot into toppling the Trade Towers. After the blast Yousef disappeared before the smoke cleared leaving Salameh wandering around confused, so much so he tried to claim the rental refund for the truck they used to carry the bomb.

In both WTC cases the people left behind to face justice were idiots. Even if Moussaoui wasn't caught in August there's no guarantee he would have accomplished anything in September. Additionally, both attacks featured mysterious handlers, Yousef in 1993 and his Uncle Khalid Mohammed in 2001, which is still a puzzle to many.

He did say one thing that can be believed unequivocally,
"The Prophet says, 'war is deceit,' "Moussaoui later told prosecutor Robert Spencer. "You're allowed to lie for jihad. You're allowed any technique to defeat your enemy."
That is the nature of warfare. Certainly we're not being told everything about the GWoT, probably for good reason.


Both Associated Press and the New York Times have generic stories about the DOCEX documents project. The AP version was run by CNN as well.

Nice of the Times to finally get around the bringing their readers up to speed on this. I thought their effort read a bit condescending with statements such as this:
Less than two weeks into the project, and with only 600 out of possibly a million documents and video and audio files posted, some conservative bloggers are already asserting that the material undermines the official view.
The way I read that is, 'what a bunch of right wing yahoos'. Indeed, there is an insidious overtone throughout the article that the project is nothing more than a fruitless exercise in futility designed for crazed right wingers who can't accept the fact that WMDs weren't found...
"Our view is there's nothing in here that changes what we know today," said a senior intelligence official, who would discuss the program only on condition of anonymity because the director of national intelligence, John D. Negroponte, directed his staff to avoid public debates over the documents. "There is no smoking gun on W.M.D., Al Qaeda, those kinds of issues."
Spoken like a true "senior intelligence official speaking on condition of anonymity" who might just be a little worried that some 'yahoo' in Peoria in his pajamas might find something he didn't. The Times even speculates the administration is leaking the docs to keep the war debate going in an effort to boost Bush's poll numbers. And after all, poll numbers are all that matter, right?

AP's attempt was actually fair and balanced, mentioned both Instapundit and Powerline, and is worth a gander.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Saddam's Camel bombs

The latest document translation
suggests that Saddam was planning to take a page out of Stalin's handbook by using bomb-strapped animals to kill our guys.

The document also details a foreign fighter training program:
In the memo, they are described as "estishehadeyeen", Arabic for suicide martyrs, and would almost certainly have been foreign volunteers.
This should not be news, as defectors and even regime members had been hinting at this for a long time.

On the surface this still doesn't rise to smoking gun justification for invading, since Saddam could say he was using these dupes as ordnance to save his own neck. What this does show, and rather conclusively, is that Saddam wasn't averse to using religious fanatics to do his dirty work. Let's see, religious fanatics--what's their most glorious claim to fame so far??

Let me go back a moment. I posed this question a few months ago:
"In light of the recent foiled terror attack by Algerians against America, and with definitive proof Saddam was facilitating terrorism, weren't we justified in taking out Saddam's regime even without WMDs being present? Remember, no WMDs were present in Afghanistan."
The answer is coming a little bit more into focus with each passing day.


Speaking of links between Iraq and terrorism, the WaPo has a story about Palestinian terrorist Mohammed Rashid, who was on trial for killing a Japanese teenager aboard a Pan Am airliner over the Pacific in 1982. Although he's been in custody since the late 80s, we're just now able to try him locally. The judge in the case is the now familiar Royce Lamberth.

For a quick recap, Rashid boarded the aircraft in Baghdad, placed the bomb under his seat, then disembarked in Toyko. The bomb exploded on the next leg of the flight to Honolulu. Fortunately the plane didn't crash. This same type of MO was used by super terrorist Ramzi Yousef, and was apparently the backbone of the foiled Bojinka plot.

Rashid was associated with the 15 May Organization. Guess where they were based? Yep:
Location/Area of Operation: Baghdad until 1984. Before disbanding, operated in Middle East, Europe, and East Asia. Abu Ibrahim is reportedly in Iraq.
External Aid Probably received logistic and financial support from Iraq until 1984.
Another brick in the wall.


A new letter purportedly from Saddam to a member of the Arab League has been captured, warning that America actually desires the sectarian violence we now see in Iraq because it will allow us to split Iraq into sectors. The letter calls on members to support his insurgency, which is funny because it's already causing all the sectarian violence. Sounds like a 'heeeello, McFly' moment, right?

Not. Saddam cares less about a fractured Middle East than he does about Arabs losing control. If the divide-and-conquer strategy was his true worry then a stronger Iran would be perfectly fine, since they already openly support the Palestinian cause. For that matter, simple logic alone says Iraq could become a stable republlic overnight simply by having the Sunni Ba'athists drop their weapons and embrace the political process. But that would leave a Shi'ite dominated government.

Therefore, his concern is more about Persian control than American hegemony. Saddam still fashions himself in the mold of great Arabian heroes like Saladin or Nebuchadnezzar, and the latest turn of events severely diminishes the legacy he fashions for himself.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Illegals demand their freedom

Illegal aliens and their supporters hit the streets Friday to protest the Senate's new bill, which would make their presence here a felony. For the record, I believe making illegal immigration a felony is pretty ridiculous as well, and probably represents an election year political stunt.

That doesn't mean I agree with Jeralyn Merritt and the like. Actually, their attitude is the reason these protests bother me.

For example, wonder if any of the marching illegals realized they were exercising a Constitutional right of assembly they do not possess in order to protest a legal action against them from the country they've entered illegally? Even if most of the marchers were legal residents it amounts to protesting on behalf of scofflaws.

But no stinkin' Gringo logic crossed this participant's mind:
"They're here for the American Dream," said Malissa Greer, 29, who joined a crowd estimated by police to be at least 10,000 strong. "God created all of us. He's not a God of the United States, he's a God of the world."
Wow, she has a copy of Hillary's Bible. Here's another puzzler:
Hundreds of the students, some carrying Mexican flags, walked down the middle of Los Angeles streets, police cruisers behind them.
Sounds more like the beginning of an insurrection. That sentiment was not confined to places like East LA, though. Over in peanutland (Georgia) the state is considering a bill that would strip away services from illegals and also slap a 5 percent surcharge on their wire transfers. Pretty clever, and sure to tick off Vincente Fox since it reduces his gross national product.

But alas, the press will focus on comments like these:
Jennifer Garcia worried what would the proposal would do to her family. She said her husband is an illegal Mexican immigrant. "If they send him back to Mexico, who's going to take care of them and me?" Garcia said of herself and her four children. "This is the United States. We need to come together and be a whole."
Simple solution, get your husband here legally, Ma'am.

But let's not forget that people like Ms. Garcia are able to make such statements because our system has permitted illegal immigration. Both government and business have looked the other way in the pursuit of their monetary and political goals, so it shouldn't be surprising that some people might be confused when authorities threaten to actually uphold the laws. But the law is just that. Both immigrants and citizens must respect it, or chaos results.

MORE 3/25/06

The protesters were out in force in LA again today. I realize Frist's felony law might ruffle some feathers, but don't these folks realize us gringos are already forced to select our own language when dialing customer service or grabbing cash from a teller machine? It's not like we haven't been somewhat accomodating.

Also, it appears someone reviewed the media coverage from yesterday and realized way too many Mexican flags were in the coverage. Today Old Glory was prominent in the press shots, like the one at the left from CNN. I'm not sure that's going to sway many folks, after all many of the marchers are still breaking the law simply by being there. But it takes some of the insurrectionist edge off the events.

Meanwhile, in his Saturday radio address Bush crystalized the problem when he said, "America is a nation of immigrants, and we're also a nation of laws,". So he drew a line but it was wavy, since he also called for "legislation that does not force America to choose between being a welcoming society and a lawful one." He'll probably use this to push his amnesty plan as a compromise position, forcing the left to speculate on whether Rove had a secret role in orchestrating the protests.


In an interesting piece about AQ and nukes, Arnaud de Borchgrave of the Washington Times speculates on why Bin Laden wants to bring a few kilotons to America:
What interests bin Laden and Zawahri beyond casualty lists is collateral damage to civil liberties, privacy and the world economy.
Therefore, if we juxtapose Bin Laden's goal with this statement from a illegal alien marcher in LA we find a paradox:
"As much as we need this country, we love this country," Salvador said, waving a stick with both the American and Guatemalan flag. "This country gives us opportunities we don't get at home."
Since a large percentage of the world depends on America for their livelihoods (including many Muslims and Arabs) an attack here would be pretty risky. Look at it this way, if 500k are marching in the streets just to stay here illegally, imagine how they might feel if Bin Laden takes their meal tickets away.

ATZLAN 3/27/06

All the illegal aliens toting signs and pointing to the fact they're actually the indigenous peoples in the land of fruits and nuts are proof of a failed education system, either here or in Mexico. Clearly they are unaware of their own Spanish heritage. I believe that would make many of them European by descent, right?

Friday, March 24, 2006

The King's English, y'all

I don't do many of these internet quiz things, but this one intrigued me because I'm somewhat fascinated with regional dialects. Although I was born and currently live in the south, I've lived all over the country and heard lots of accents (from people who swear they don't have one). Here are my personal results:

Here's the linky.

The quiz didn't ask about 'frappes' or 'bubblers', or to explain the regional difference between 'mangos'. I'll give anyone 100 points if they can identify 'liver mush'. Hint, it's a food. Sorta.

ht Steve's Nude Memphis Blog

From Russia with love

Stories keep hitting the press that should make folks question just how much the Russians have changed since the wall was knocked down. First, we had allegations of nefarious dealings between Putin and Ukraine regarding the poisoning of Victor Yushenko. Now we have farce elections in Belarus.

But on top of that, documents keep trickling out suggesting that Moscow was just a bit too cozy with Uncle Saddam.

The latest docs are well-covered by The Captain. In my view they certainly bolster the view that Moscow helped Saddam move his WMDs before the invasion. After all, if they would turn over American war plans they're certainly capable of hiding weapons. Factor in the Oil For Food payola and you have an insta-motive.

Surely the administration knew this, and surely they knew the revelation would hurt Russia's position regards Iran. Fairly crafty fellers, I'd say.

NYET 3/25/06

Based on the manner in which the Iraqi documents are being released to the public, anything emerging of an embarrassing nature to a foreign government will simply be denied. The US Government will probably not take a position on most of this stuff, since they've moved it from intelligence to the public domain.

Therefore it's no surprise the Russians have denied the report about them supplying Saddam our war plans.

It's hard to say whether the Kremlin was involved or just a few of the Oil for Food rascals, but this comment certainly sounds rational:
"The leak about Russian spies in Doha can be interpreted as pressure on Moscow, which has taken a tough, principled position on the Iranian nuclear question," it said.
Nothing of this nature gets released by accident.


Speaking of accidents, remember the 'hapless' lawyer who violated the judge's rules almost ruining the Moussaoui death penalty case? Her time in the spotlight is over. The defense had subpoenaed her,
But Judge Leonie M. Brinkema yesterday quashed the subpoena, according to a brief notation on the court docket, which said a hearing scheduled for 9 a.m. Monday had been canceled. The docket did not offer an explanation. Attorneys for Moussaoui and Martin declined to comment because the matter remains under a court seal.
The woman was literally swept under the courthouse rug, and will now disappear back into the TSA. The lingering question we probably won't get an answer to is-- will she be fired or will her superiors offer their congratulations?

Thursday, March 23, 2006

The Nutwagon Special

Welcome to the Nutwagon express--round trip service to Leftworld and return. First stop, the US Congress. All Aboard!
A letter to Bush, signed by House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi and Rep. Henry Waxman of California and released Thursday, is the latest challenge to a bill that was passed in slightly different forms by the House and Senate before it was sent to Bush.
So, these same new low democrats who've been in a constant state of whiny about deficit spending now want to waste more time and money re-doing a bill over a misplaced digit. Smart thinking, guys. Onward!

Next stop, Blue Jesusland, where the scriptures are often read creatively:
"It is certainly not in keeping with my understanding of the Scriptures," Clinton said, according to the Associated Press, "because this bill would literally criminalize the Good Samaritan and probably even Jesus himself."
Funny, in my version of the scriptures Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey. In Hillary's version, maybe he arrived hidden under some palm fronds in a sled pulled by the donkey. As to the Good Samaritan, my version talks about a traveler helping an unfortunate person along the highway. I guess hers had the Samaritan smuggling the person over the border into Egypt. I'm still trying to confirm, will have an update later. But let's move on, we're almost home...

Our last stop, Berkeley, California. Seems the "conservatives were whiny babies" story has a new twist. [Shameless plug] I touched on this story a few days ago over at Mainstreet Journal [/shameless plug]. Seems the more we hear about it, the funnier it becomes:
In other words, ALL of the children in that study were the offspring of U.C. Berkeley professors, lecturers, and staff members.

The reason the Child Study Center is so popular is that they offer free/cheap child care/nursery schooling in exchange for the parents allowing their kids to be "studied" by psychologists all day every day.
In other words, maybe the little whiny liberal babies grew up and got all better.

We've reached the end of the line. Thank you for your patronage. We now return you to regular blogging.

The CPT hostage ordeal is over

CNN is reporting that Coalition forces have located and freed the remaining three Christian Peacemaker Team members held captive by the "Swords of Righteousness Brigades". Kudos to the special ops guys for getting these guys home safe, but the celebration is certainly marred by the loss of American Tom Fox.

Several items in this story are a bit interesting, such as:
Officials said no kidnappers were in the area when the men were found and there were no casualties in the operation. Doug Pritchard of Christian Peacemaker Teams also told reporters in Toronto the hostages were unguarded. He said no gunshots were fired.
Obviously we need more info on this, since the average person would ask "why didn't they just try to run for it?" Another discrepancy is noted in the CNN story:
The hostages' hands were tied but they were in "relatively good condition" when they were found in a house in western Baghdad, a U.S. military official said.
Meanwhile, an Iraqi spokesman said,
Iraqi police Lt. Col. Falah al-Mohammedawi said it was believed the operation took place in Mishahda, 30 kilometers (20 miles) north of Baghdad, AP reported.
This could be deliberate disinformation-- after all the 'Swords boys' are still at large. But the fact the hostages were left unguarded suggests the possibility it was time for them to 'get found'. Perhaps the reason Mr. Fox didn't fare as well (other than being an American) is that we was sold to a Zarqawi-backed cell who killed him for PR.

As the story noted, the CPT didn't waste any time trashing the war:
...We believe that the illegal occupation of Iraq by Multinational Forces is the root cause of the insecurity which led to this kidnapping and so much pain and suffering in Iraq. The occupation must end...

...We pray that Christians throughout the world will, in the same spirit, call for justice and for respect for the human rights of the thousands of Iraqis who are being detained illegally by the U.S. and British forces occupying Iraq...

...We renew our commitment to work for an end to the war and the occupation of Iraq as a way to continue the witness of Tom Fox. We trust in God’s compassionate love to show us the way...
I suppose Quakers gotta do what Quakers gotta do, and I don't mean to say the team wasn't doing the Lord's work over there (check out the pix on their their web site) or that they didn't oppose Saddam's brutality back in the day.

But where was the condenmation of the actors of brutality themselves--from the Zarqawis to the Saddamists to the al-Sadrs? If the CPT can blame the American occupation for the lack of security leading to the kidnapping, why not blame the malcontents, too? After all, without their actions the country would be fairly stable right now.

MORE 3/23/06

Still something a bit weird about this story, however I would describe the feeling as vague, not overpowering. There is no question Mr. Kember and the others were 'activists' by definition, but that doesn't automatically mean they were up to no good in Iraq. As Mr. Kember's wife described it:
Speaking from her north London home, she said his decision to go to Iraq was "a bit silly," but added "I knew that he felt he must do something and he's getting old, and if he (didn't) do something ... it would be too late."
As to the CPT outfit, when the hostages were first taken they immediately appealed to Congressional Democrats to speak out against the war. Maybe that's what's stuck in my craw. Also, consider the following paragraph:
The Christian Peacemaker Teams volunteers have been in Iraq since October 2002, investigating allegations of abuse against Iraqi detainees by coalition forces. The group says its teams promote peaceful solutions in conflict zones. context with this previous report. Notice today's report makes the ridiculous claim they came to Iraq BEFORE THE WAR to investigate Coalition abuses at Abu Ghraib.


Michelle Malkin points out there are no signs of CPT people rushing to the defense of Mr. Rahman in Afghanistan. Perhaps they'll recommend he convert back to Islam so as to avoid any violence.


LGF links to a story out of Toronto detailing the disgust expressed by the Iraqi Embassy:
"The Christian Peacemaker Teams practises the kind of politics that automatically nominate them as dupes for jihadism and fascism," the embassy's statement said.
The Daily Telegraph in London is reporting today that the Christian activists refused to fully co-operate with an intelligence unit sent to debrief them. Based on an interview with a security source, the newspaper claims the activists said co-operating would contradict their Christian principles.
It's not surprising they wouldn't help the Coalition (who rescued them) shut down these cells, after all violence might ensue. Yet, such round-about logic lands them smack dab on the side of the terrorists, who themselves commit violence, and who themselves will kidnap and harm more innocents. Add it up for yourself. Or if you're too lazy for math, just read this.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

The Sabri files

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The NBC WMD scoop story has apparently blown over like a popcorn summer thunderstorm. Perhaps people are getting overloaded with this stuff, but nevertheless Powerline has a good synopsis of the shenanigans with NBC, warning us to read beyond the headlines. That’s good advice for every MSM story, especially for this one, since the headline could have easily read,

”Top aide to Saddam AGREED WITH CIA that Iraq had WMDs and wanted more”

Instead NBC chose to make the CIA appear derelict for disbelieving what amounted to a disagreement about the bio-weapons program. Sabri agreed that Saddam badly wanted a nuke, but diverged on the run-up time. Perhaps the CIA was remembering the Who song, "Won't Be Fooled Again" in reference to the last time they cockily advised that Saddam wasn't very close to getting a nuke.

The Foreign Minister was by all public accounts a loyal regime member, as much as Tariq Aziz. Yet he wasn’t included in the deck of 55 most-wanted cards, and he survives in the open today. The NBC story talks of a falling out when he failed to defect, but it sounds like in reality he was in good enough stead to get a get out of jail free card.

So it appears the NBC reporters missed the real story. Here we have an inner circle member of Saddam’s team telling the world stuff like this:
Iraqi foreign minister Naji Sabri tells the UN: “I hereby declare before you that Iraq is totally clear of all nuclear, chemical and biological weapons. Our country is ready to receive any scientific experts, accompanied by politicians you choose to represent any one of your countries, to tell us which places and scientific and industrial installations they would wish to see.”
Then telling the CIA another story. Speaking of stories, keep in mind he blabbed to the CIA during a pre-war visit to New York, so one wonders what he might have told Khatami.

But the intrigue is far from over. Just last month Stephen Hayes mentioned Sabri in a story about the fall of the Iraqi Ministry of Foreign Affairs:
One day after the floppy disks from Naji Sabri's office manager were passed to a representative of "another U.S. government agency"--presumably the CIA--the recipient reported back that the find was "a treasure trove." That was the last that any of these officials have heard about the recovered documents.
It sounds as if this treasure trove is not part of the DOCEX release. Can we assume there’s any correlation between the timing of Hayes’ story, the NBC leak, and the document release?

CLOSE, MR. HAYES 3/25/06

Although Hayes might disagree, his latest article purporting to show a link between Saddam and Bin Laden via the Fedayeen doesn't quite connect enough dots:
Beginning in 1994, the Fedayeen Saddam opened its own paramilitary training camps for volunteers, graduating more than 7,200 "good men racing full with courage and enthusiasm" in the first year. Beginning in 1998, these camps began hosting "Arab volunteers from Egypt, Palestine, Jordan, 'the Gulf,' and Syria." It is not clear from available evidence where all of these non-Iraqi volunteers who were "sacrificing for the cause" went to ply their newfound skills.
What I'm getting is that Saddam recruited Arab fools to sacrifice themselves for his the sake of his regime. The 'Heroes Attack' waged later by the Fedayeen could be seen as nothing more than a paramilitary defense of the nation.

But when you tie this with Hayes' previous stories about Saddam's connections to UBL regards a relationship to foment terrorism in the Saudi Kingdom, and the Fedayeen's reported involvement with Malaysian terrorist groups the picture gets a little clearer. After all, the intended goals of both operations could only be outwardly seen as helping Bin Laden's cause.

What would be ultimately persuasive would be to find a link to either Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and/or Ramzi Yousef, which would amount to a smoking howitzer. But short of such a bombshell these documents clearly indicate Saddam was involved in training a paramilitary force to not only protect his regime but to promote regional destablization through his pan-Arabic vision. By itself not grounds for an immediate invasion, but there are too many puzzle pieces still lying on the table to make the final call.

IRS is doing what?

The IRS is working to change some rules on what tax preparers can do with your returns and how we allow for disclosures and consent.

I've received several ominous emails from the one or two liberals in the family warning of yet another Bush sell out, but is it? Judge for yourself and read the proposed changes. I'll give you a cookie if you can get all the way through it (lawyers excepted). I admit to failing miserably, so the below assessment might contain information that is later proven false.

There will continue to be consent required before the tax prep people can sell your data to a third party. If they wish to sell data to overseas companies, they'll need express written consent. What I'm not clear about is whether they can use your data for their own in-house purposes, but it appears they can without consent. If you do taxes yourself on the paper forms nobody can access it, same as before.

Not so ominous as long as I'm reading it correctly. Heck, why not make it a crime to sell our data to third parties without first giving us a cut? No way Block or others should be able to sell my tax return without my consent and without me getting my cut. Make them install a 'bid' button on the forms to allow ALL the marketing companies to bid for our data after filing. Surely the luster would be lost.

Here's my main concern. I've used tax software on the PC for years, but only lately began using e-file. There were several electronic hoops to jump through, and it might be easy to miss a consent box if you rush. Still, it shouldn't be made easy to mess it up--after all, they don't forgive us if we mess up the return. Nobody should have their return end up in the hands of Spam-Is-Us, Inc. or if they don't want it there.

Come to think of it, the Fair Tax is sounding better and better.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

The difference with Hitchens

Christopher Hitchens never fails to provide an entertaining read, and we certainly all know his opinion on the war. He's in his usual rare form in this column.

But while I agree with his casus belli arguments I don't necessarily agree with all his reasons for fighting it. Let's start with his view of what the perfect response from the world should have been to Bush's pre-war speech at the UN:
Mr. President, in principle you are correct. The list of flouted U.N. resolutions is disgracefully long. Law has been broken, genocide has been committed, other member-states have been invaded, and our own weapons inspectors insulted and coerced and cheated.

Let us all collectively decide how to move long-suffering Iraq into the post-Saddam era. We shall need to consider how much to set aside to rebuild the Iraqi economy, how to sponsor free elections, how to recuperate the devastated areas of the marshes and Kurdistan, how to try the war criminals, and how many multinational forces to ready for this task.
Looks ok, but do any of those bullet points single-handedly justify a pre-emptive war? Not in my view, unless they represent a direct threat to America. And such illustrates the difference between the conservative and neosocialist approaches--the former believes in staying out of others' affairs to the extent possible, the latter in meddling in others' affairs as long as the intentions are noble. Our bombing of Serbia to free Kosovo is an example of the liberal vision.

More succinctly put, my argument is we've got no business rolling over Iraq without a direct threat to our own national security or to defend our allies from aggression. Hitchens was in favor of taking out Saddam in the 90s, but largely to stave off the growing humanitarian crisis along with beating down fascist despotism. No doubt he might also be in favor of similar forays in places like Sudan or North Korea, but our meddling there doesn't carry the same national security threat urgency.

Some might say, "AC aren't you one of those neocons who has expressed support for Bush's agenda of democratazation in the Middle East? Aren't you being hypocritical?" I don't think so. After watching terrorism escalate to the point of 9/11, my view was that whacking moles in Afghanistan and elsewhere was like putting a band aid on a broken arm. Since the breeding ground lies within the greater ME, our choice was to attempt social change there or put up the bigger wall here. The bigger the wall, the more vulnerable we become to oil and trade disruptions, and our allies are left twisting in the breeze to boot.

Bush touched on some of this in his press conference today, where he mentioned a nuclear Iran being able to blackmail the west. The only way Iran blackmails anyone is by grabbing a stranglehold on the region's oil in combo with acquiring those nuclear arms. If we leave Iraq the door will be open for this to occur. So in some ways this is a war for oil. Bush has already admitted as much when he said (which no one has denied) we're addicted to oil, and until we can find a viable scientific alternative we've no choice but to take actions to maintain a free-market supply.

Hitchens might not embrace that view, but in the case of Iraq the two philosophies at least temporarily line up as one. Now, can anyone tell me the mainstream democrat philosophy on this thing, other than "reteating to the horizon"?

Flor de luna loco

As a teenager in the late 70s I was caught up in girls and guitars more than politics. The few political opinions I had were mainly anti-republican because we all knew the party of Nixon represented war, not fun. And besides, they wore suits. Even to bed.

Eric Clapton and Duane Allman were mythical characters revered by the garage band set I ran around with. Close behind were Toy Caldwell of the Marshall Tucker Band, Jeff Beck, and later Mark Knopfler, all guys who could make a guitar talk. I could add a few more, but Carlos Santana was always right up there. Like many, Santana was my first exposure to Latin music and I loved Carlos without ever knowing or caring what his politics were.

Fast forward to 2006. The easiest way for an ex-celeb to make news is to trash Bush or the war, and Mr. Santana made news on Monday.
"I have wisdom. I feel love. I live in the present and I try to present a dimension that brings harmony and healing," the 58-year-old rock icon said. "My concept is the opposite of George W. Bush."
Let me see if I can plug that in--Carlos is saying Bush has ignorance and feels hate, lives in the past and presents a dimension of disharmony and pain. That's certainly one way to say Bush sucks without scrambling the universal constant.
"There is more value in placing a flower in a rifle barrel than making war," he said. "As Jimi Hendrix used to say, musical notes have more importance than bullets."
Whoa dude, do you feel any love vibes eminating from Bin Laden, Castro, Saddam or Chavez? I'm not remote-sensing any myself.

Oh well, I'll still occasionally listen to Moonflower, but I do wish some of these aging rock stars would acknowledge the true evil in this world every once in awhile. For example, Santana would not be allowed to play in countries with government systems starting with a "T", ie, totalitarian or Taliban. Yet, he's free to play and say anything in the western democracies, along with cashing those huge checks. Last we checked Bush was still slogging away against the foes of freedom like a wobbly kneed middle weight in the 10th round.

So, peace out, Carlos. Just remember, peace isn't free, amigo.
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Monday, March 20, 2006

How much is that fatwa in the window?

Something in Izzat al-Douri's emotional novella posted below in the docs 101 thread struck a chord. Bin Laden's subsequent fatwa in 1998 also played on the suffering of the Iraqi people under the sanctions. Here's a snippet:
The best proof of this is the Americans' continuing aggression against the Iraqi people using the Peninsula as a staging post, even though all its rulers are against their territories being used to that end, still they are helpless.

Second, despite the great devastation inflicted on the Iraqi people by the crusader-Zionist alliance, and despite the huge number of those killed, in excess of 1 million... despite all this, the Americans are once against trying to repeat the horrific massacres, as though they are not content with the protracted blockade imposed after the ferocious war or the fragmentation and devastation
We should question why Bin Laden, who was vehemently against Saddam's war against Kuwait in 1991 (which led to his falling out with America and Saudi) would come around to Saddam's way of thinking seven years later.

Putting two and two together doesn't always equal four in this convoluted WoT, but so far we have a doc from the mid 90s that features al-Douri crying a river for the Iraqi people to Saddam, followed by Bin Laden's fatwa a few years later mentioning the same thing. That seems to make another document, which speaks of possible "joint operations" with Bin Laden back in 1995, a little more significant:
"We discussed with [bin Laden]his organization. He requested the broadcast of the speeches of Sheikh Sulayman al-Uda [who has influence within Saudi Arabia and outside due to being a well known religious and influential personality] and to designate a program for them through the broadcast directed inside Iraq, and to perform joint operations against the foreign forces in the land of Hijaz [Saudi Arabia]."
Since our forces were the only foreign forces in Saudi at the time, most might deduce we were the target of the joint operations they spoke of. That would seem to bring Saddam into the suspect spotlight along with Bin Laden for the Khobar Towers attack, which occurred in 1996.

We might ask ourselves this--why would Bin Laden be lobbying for the sanctions to end if he knew Saddam was a secular monster who'd probably just pocket the proceeds? The only rational answer is because there was a quid pro quo involved, such as a future donation from Saddam to 'the base'. Perhaps future docs will shine more light.


Louis Freeh was convinced that Iran was behind the Khobar Towers attack, mainly due to the involvement of Saudi Hizballah. But in Stephen Hayes latest column outlining the bin Laden connection he mentions that recordings also indicate that in addition to bin Laden, Iraq was also attempting to forge alliances with other Saudi terrorist groups:
A SECOND internal Iraqi file obtained by The Weekly Standard concerns relations between Iraqi Intelligence and Saudi opposition groups. The document was apparently compiled at some point after January 1997, judging by the most recent date in the text, and discusses four Saudi opposition groups: the Committee for Defense of Legitimate Rights, the Reform and Advice Committee (Osama bin Laden), People of al Jazeera Union Organization, and the Saudi Hezbollah.

MORE 3/20

The hits just keep coming. While the major media has largely ignored documents and links such as the above, they will certainly be all over this story like Paris Hilton on a, well, you know.

MORE MSM !! 3/21/06

They've picked up on some of the comments uttered in the docs suggestive of Iraq's innocence of WMD stockpiles. It's much too lame to say these recordings were deliberate misinformation designed to be heard by NSA snoopers, so I won't. But they do sound quite theatrical. Or perhaps that was SOP for addressing the dictator--tell him what he wants to hear.

Since these recordings were made in the 90s it will be interesting to see if the MSM talking heads take the next step and place blame on Clinton for bombing Iraq and starving it's children for no reason.


Ray Robison has speculation on a document released Sunday that talks of anthrax being delivered on civilians in Iraq before the invasion using American-looking leaflets:
When you think about it, it's very clever. Half the Arabs in the world would be all too eager to believe we used anthrax on Iraq. And the method of transmission would link it straight to us. The Jihad fighters we are facing now would be many times greater, enough to possibly save Saddam's regime.

It also would explain where some of that 17 tons of growth medium went as talked about in a post below
They are starting to release more than just NIV stuff now. Since the MSM has picked up on the "we don't have anything" documents already, they are surely compelled to follow the story with reports on stuff like the above, right? Right?

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Between The Rock and a hard place

Michelle Malkin is highlighting an incredible story this morning about an Afghani man sent to jail for turning his back on Islam. What did he do? He converted to Christianity. Apparently under the new Afghan democracy it's not a crime to be a Christian, Jew, Hindu, etc, just so long as you didn't start out as a Muslim.

Aside from the obvious absurdity, this issue could become a political hot potato for Hamid Karzai, since the sentence for such a crime is death--and Karzai must sign the execution order. Understandably, he's not saying anything yet.

Before babbling into the politics of this matter I'd be remiss by not pointing out this man's incredible courage. How many would face death to maintain a religious belief? Not sure I would be up to the challenge, even though I can easily say "yes" from the safety of my armchair. His dilemma reminds me of the early Christians who were mockingly thrown into the arena to face the lions. It's also more proof Islam has not moved very far out of the eighth century.

But as to politics, this could get nasty if it remains on the front burner. If the case comes to Karzai and he succombs to the pressure from his own constituency to sign the death warrant, he will face an international firestorm from human rights and religious freedom advocates. Refusing to sign would place his own political future into jeopardy.

Even further than that, if Karzai signs and the man is killed, what does Bush say? He's a self-professed born again Christian. If his comment is akin to, 'say la vie, we can't control their democracy' the religious right in America might once-and-for all fold their Bush tents and go home.

If he's vocal against the execution he risks alienating the same Muslim countries he's trying to schmooze to help him in the GWoT. We need only remember the cartoon riots, Koran in the kommode, and Abu Ghraib stories and Paris riots to understand how the Muslim street tends to react to such stuff.

With those eventualities looming, it wouldn't be totally surprising if something 'happens' to this man before things actually happen, if you catch my drift. I certainly hope not, because my wish is for him to become a point of light within the heart of Islam--a beacon in support of religious freedom, if you will. He could change the world.


Michelle Malkin continues to lead the charge on this. A knee-jerk solution might be to find a way to remove this man from Afghanistan, but it certainly wouldn't solve the problem. Mr. President, now's the time to lead.

MORE 3/21

AP photo from CNN. Is this the best picture they had of Mr. Rahman? I'm trying hard not to see an agenda in everything the MSM does, but the thought crossed my mind they might be using this picture intentionally.

Friday, March 17, 2006

Documents 101

Started a new post on the Saddam docs, and have moved the link to Iraq the Model's translation to this post.

Here's the original doc. The DIA has already concluded this wasn't a smoking gun, since it was presumably part of the initial NIV release. I'm also assuming this letter was destined for Saddam from a Mukhabarat asset written on September 15, 2001. With that in mind here's my two centavos, piece by piece:

1-That Usama Bin Ladin and the Taliban group in Afghanistan are in contact with Iraq and that a group from the Taliban and Usama Bin Ladin's group had conducted a visit to Iraq .

This could be brand new information, or it could be someone saying, "they're on to us/you". US intelligence already believed a Ba'ath official made a trip to Afghanistan to meet with Taliban officials in the late 90s, and this would suggest they returned the favor.

Thing is, the doc is not clear whether they met with Saddam, an emmissary, or perhaps a member of AQ operating in Iraq without Saddam's blessing. However, one would think if a Taliban or AQ bigwig visited Iraq Saddam would have known about it.

2-That America possesses evidence that Iraq and Usama Bin Ladin's group had cooperated to strike targets inside America.

This is indeed interesting, since the "evidence" might be the alleged meeting between Iraqi diplomat al-Ani and Mohammed Atta in Prague. The problem is, George Bush didn't announce that publicly until September 18th. Ergo, if this information was scooped in Afghanistan it suggests the Atta-al-Ani meeting DID occur and was known to AQ members there.

3-Incase Taliban and Usama's group are proven involved in those sabotage operations, it will be possible that America directs strikes at Iraq and Afghanistan.

Again, not conclusive (with the same caveats as in number one), but here's the interesting thing. September 15th was the day Saddam read the first of two 'open letters to America'. Were his letters designed to legitimately deflect attention away from Iraq because they were innocent or to hide his own complicity? In Yossef Bodansky's "the Secret History of the Iraq War" he states that some in Israeli intelligence believed Saddam was just plain nuts, and the long and rambling letters do seem to lend support to that idea. Then again, if he was nuts that seems to provide just as much reason to remove him--especially when everyone including his own generals believed he had WMDs.

4-That the Afghani consular had heard about the Iraq connections with Usama Bin Ladin's group during his presence in Iran.

Where in Iran? If it was Baluchistan, an area hostile to the Iranian Ayatollahs and home territory of first WTC bomber Ramzi Yousef, this might be significant.

If it was in Tehran or other Mullah controlled territory, it could be disinformation designed to help push ahead Bush's attack on Saddam, or perhaps it indicates an Iranian hand in the attack. Consider this:
* On July 26, 2001, an Iranian espionage agent told CIA agents in Baku, Azerbaijan, that Osama bin Laden would attack the United States on 9/11 using six men who had already entered the country via Iran. When pressed for his sources, the agent told them that Iranian intelligence knew all about the plot.

5-In the light of what preceded we suggest writing to the Intentions Committee about the above information

This is ambiguous since it either means they considered themselves busted or they were completely innocent but needed to begin emergency mitigation efforts to address a problem not of their own creation.

Without more details this information this isn't a smoking gun, but it could become one. Let's state for the record what we all know--Iraq's intelligence services did what ALL intel services do--they snooped, spied and tried to manipulate others to their ends. Spies just being spies doesn't justify a war.

However, more documents will hopefully be able to shine light on whether Saddam was purposely tied to AQ or whether AQ was just corresponding with subversives inside the Ba'ath regime for the purposes of toppling it. The latter would implicate Iran, and that's actually a more worrisome thing. For example, will the Mullahs sit by and watch while the translated docs gradually tie them to 9/11, or will they decide to play their cards first?


Regarding the document above, ABC tells us it contains "little evidentiary value". While I agree it's inconclusive, Jonathan at Crushliberalism knocks ABC's whiffle ball over the centerfield wall:
Oh, so now we the news-consuming public are supposed to take "unnamed sources" with a grain of salt? The MSM injects information from "unnamed sources" every day, and they expect us to accept their reporting as gospel...often denigrating us for having the temerity to question their "unnamed sources"! Hell, the MSM's "unnamed sources" wind up being partisan hacks who photoshop and forge (using Microsoft Word, no less), yet they tell us how their sources are "unimpeachable", right?

But now that these documents may contain information that shoots their whole "Bush lied" mantra to Hell? Why, it's imperative that we take "unnamed sources" less than seriously! I mean, I'll bet Bushrove McHitlerburton himself pounded these out with Word 2003 (Arabic edition)!
A poster there named Opinionation also makes the great point regarding ABC and Saddam's purported connections to Bin Laden. Remember Sheila MacVicar? I don't recall seeing any disclaimers with her report.


Luigi from the Hatfill Deception provides a link to a CS Monitor story about Iraq's nefarious dealings in the far east, specifically with the Philippines:
Barzan Ibrahim El Hasan al Tikriti, a former head of Iraq's intelligence agency and senior adviser to Saddam Hussein, hatched a plan to dispatch a mole to Indonesia; suicide bombers to Amman, Jordan; and a woman agent to help with planned attacks in the Philippines, according to an Iraqi defector interviewed by US intelligence.
Barzan's name should ring a bell--he's Saddam's half-brother and one of the biggest disrupters at his trial.

Southeast Asia seems to have more than its share of terrorist connections. Some fun could be had by drawing inferences about all the terrorists who've passed through that area, from the WTC one bomber/planner team Ramzi Yousef and his uncle KSM, to 9/11 hijackers Khalid al Midhar and Nawaf al Hazmi who attended the 9/11 planning conference in Kuala Lumpur, all the way to Murrah Federal Building bomb conspirator Terry Nichols, who frequented the Philippines about the time Yousef was there.

But regarding that 9/11 summit, it's generally understood that an Iraqi named Hikmat Shakir greeted the hijackers at the airport. Andrew McCarthy opined about this a few years back:
Shakir is the Iraqi who got his job as an airport greeter through the Iraqi embassy, which controlled his work schedule. He is the man who left that job right after the Malaysia meeting; who was found in Qatar six days after 9/11 with contact information for al Qaeda heavyweights — including bin Laden's aforementioned friend, Salim — and who was later detained in Jordan but released only after special pleading from Saddam's regime, and only after intelligence agents concluded that he seemed to have sophisticated counter-interrogation training. Shakir is also the Iraqi who now appears, based on records seized since the regime's fall, to have been all along an officer in Saddam's Fedayeen.
New York Times reporter Michael Gordon's recent story about the last days of Saddam focused a lot of attention on the Fedayeen:
The unexpected tenacity of the Fedayeen in the battles for Nasiriya, Samawa, Najaf and other towns on the road to Baghdad was an early indication that the adversary was not merely Saddam Hussein's vaunted Republican Guard.
Moreover, American generals admitted to operating in a fog regarding these guys:
"The Baathist insurgency surprised us and we had not developed a comprehensive option for dealing with this possibility, one that would have included more military police, civil affairs units, interrogators, interpreters and Special Operations forces," said Gen. Jack Keane of the Army
If General Keane thought the insurgency was "Ba'athist" in 2003, is there any evidence the players have changed since Saddam's capture?

All of this circumstantial data tied together appears to be enough evidence to believe that Iraq used Islamic terrorists for their own local, regional and international initiatives. Most likely tied to paramilitary forces and handled through intelligence services, these operators were effectively cloaked. Perhaps Saddam didn't plan 9/11, but there's evidence he knew about it (along with Iran and others) and allowed it to happen. In hindsight, pinching the head off such an beast seems rather prudent.

Yet the American public is largely operating under an assumption that Saddam and the WoT have nothing to do with one another. Bush has never seemed gung-ho to push this information despite all the positives that would seemingly accompany it, not the least of which would be improved morale on the homefront. Maybe that's about to change with the document dump, but one could not be faulted for wondering why it took so long.


According to Iraqi officials, a "ringleader" suspected of being involved in the Golden Mosque attack and the murder of an Iraqi TV reporter has been captured during Operation Swarmer. The AP is reporting the arrest but isn't linking him to the Mosque attack. That's probably smart, since a lot of what we hear from Iraqi spokesmen tends to run a little hot and smokey at times, so some caution is needed.

After the attack Iraqi officials announced that 10 suspects had been arrested, but we've heard nothing since. It's quite possible these suspects fingered the Samarra guys, which prompted the raid. And this statement from al-Jaafari suggested the next attack was just around the corner:
Ibrahim al-Jaafari, described the sweep as a necessary "pre-emptive operation."
Since these suspects were grabbed in the Sunni triangle the liklihood of Iranian involvement surely has decreased. The sweep likely produced the usual AQ suspects, with perhaps a few low-level ringleaders.

Speaking of ringleaders, we haven't heard from this thug in awhile. Wonder how he's feeling these days? Bad health does seem to be a problem with Saddam's former pals of late, yet they always seem to get better. A resiliant bunch, no doubt.

MORE 3/19/06

On this the third anniversary of the beginning of Operation Iraqi Freedom the blog world is now immersed in critiquing/analyzing documents and audio recordings purportedly from the inner workings of Saddam's government. The link to DOCEX is here.

Don't know what the expert consensus is yet, but of the few audio transcripts I've read they almost appear more like political speeches than actual conversations. I think it's possible some of this stuff was deliberate misinformation knowing they might be under surveillance, with a means to convince those listening they only wanted sanctions lowered "for the children", etc. Yeah I know how that sounds. The left could have a field day with such comments and rightfully so--we were the ones pushing for the doc release. "Be careful what you wish for" is still in play here.

For example, surely the Michael Moore set is having fun with this utterance from Izzat al-Douri (speaking to Saddam):
This means our fight will be strong -- it is not a fight because we do not want to fight others. We want to express the truth, which is supported by God. We want to express our freedom, which is supported by God. We want to express our personal rights, which are supported by God. We want to express all the principles God supports. God is stronger than America and the entire globe. We do not want to mass armies and go to fight America.
C'mon, that's a little melodramatic, dontcha think?

It's clear they were most concerned with getting the oil embargo lifted, and were counting on France, Russia and China to this end. As we saw later, they had nefarious reasons for this and really didn't help the children very much. As to the 'biological file' Rolf Ekeus had opened (and the main topic of discussion) the recordings didn't make it very clear whether they were covering a program or just trying to manuever the UNSC members into understanding there wasn't one.

Bottom line so far, unimpressive and inconclusive, just as DIA said.