Monday, November 30, 2009

Be Careful About Jumping the Gun

The CRU leaked/hacked emails are certainly eye-opening. And they are certainly being ignored by the American mainstream press for reasons that can only be political. But the smoking gun seems to be mainly the evidence of pressure placed on others by Jones, Mann and a few others and to dismiss and harass the skeptics and squelch their dissent.

Granted it's possible these scientists are maliciously using the recent temperature uptick to further personal needs and ideologies but that doesn't mean the uptick itself isn't occurring.

Some are saying it hasn't warmed since 1998 so that's proof we've stopped warming. Maybe so, but maybe not. Here's the US temperature graph since the late 1880s, with the blue rectangle around the period of great interest right now, 1998-2009:


The more important takeaway is the pronounced warming in the 30s, which rivals today's warming (and takes the steam away from CO2 being the only causative forcing) followed by an unexplained cooling between 1940 and 1980. But care should be taken to garner much meaningful trend out of the last 10 years. Take a look at the graph (crudely retouched by me to make a point) with the years from 1998-2009 erased and a rectangle around the years 1990-1997:



The same could have been said for 1990-1997--it's stopped warming. As we saw that wasn't the case. A strong el Nino hit in 1998 and we had record warmth, followed by several more years of record warmth. Ten years doesn't mean that much when dealing with a 25-50 year trend. None of this says one whit about causation, though.

Rush Limbaugh was going nuts today, saying these emails show that AGW is a complete fraud etc, and they may be, but conservatives should be careful here. There's nothing wrong with acknowledging that the globe is warming or that ice caps are retreating and glaciers are melting. They are. It's been going on since the mid 1800s as measured by a long term trend. The question is why, and that's where the CRU emails show the weak link.

Continuing to argue long term meaning from a ten year trend could come back to bite, and hard if after five or ten years we have several more record warm events and the chart begins to rise again. The warmists will use that to "wipe the grins off smug faces" and claim proof positive that man-made warming is real, and people may finally believe.

The better questions are asking them to explain the cooling period between 1940 and 1980 (when CO2 was rising) or the initial warming coming into the 1930s, or how the urban heat islands around cities might be skewing the overall database due to rising nighttime lows (many rural sites show less overall warming over the last 80 years). These questions seem to have few consensus answers.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Kerry's Afghan Off Ramp

Another new Senate report is out, this one directly from the desk of John F Kerry. Here's how one media outlet is reporting on it:
Although limited to a review of military operations eight years old, the report could also be read as a cautionary note for those resisting an increased troop presence there now.

More pointedly, it seeks to affix a measure of blame for the state of the war today on military leaders under former president George W. Bush, specifically Donald H. Rumsfeld as defense secretary and his top military commander, Tommy Franks.
Yeah, in spades. This thing reads like a college report. Kerry quotes various popular books, including Bob Woodward's "Plan of Attack", in an effort to set up a no-lose situation for Obama as he prepares to increase troops via his upcoming speech at West Point. Oh, and yes, to exact some juicy 20/20 hindsight revenge on Bush.

Short version for press usage (which this was solely designed for)--Bush let UBL escape at Tora Bora because he didn't want everyone thinking the war on terror was over had we killed him (which the report admits would not have been the case) and that allowed the war drums to keep rolling so we could remove Saddam Hussein (which Kerry voted for) and get his oil or something.

In other words, if the war goes badly from here forward it's all Bush's fault because he lost bin Laden. If the war goes well, then it's all on Obama. Does he really think this won't be transparent? Does he really think reporters won't do a little research? Does he really spend the public funds on such stuff?

Then again, the same media isn't currently reporting on the CRU global warming emails or the fact the White House party crashers had ties to a Palestinian advocacy group and have pretended Major Hasan was an unaffiliated nutcase. So maybe he has good reason to hope for the best.

MORE 11/29/09

A quick check of the major web papers on this story reveals that all but the New York Times and LA Times are featuring the report on the front page, with CBS and CNN using bin Laden pictures. Mission accomplished.

Meanwhile, one must venture across the pond to get this huge story:
Climategate: University of East Anglia U-turn in climate change row


AS PREDICTED.. 11/30/09

The Dems sent out some obscure Rep to get on TV and make the accusation. Notice Shuster's feigned outrage, as if other Dems haven't made exactly the same kind of claims over the years, including John Kerry himself. Nope, this was just their way to advance the story before tomorrows speech.

It would be nice to hear Kerry explain how grabbing bin Laden at Tora Bora would have captured Zawahiri, bin Laden's son, Mullah Omar, KSM, or various and sundry other radicals that weren't traveling in the UBL caravan. It certainly would have been a moral victory for our side, other than making him a martyr and all, but the bad guys were dispersed.

HERE'S SOMETHING..

from 2004, presumably written by a person in the Indian government:
Kerry's claims are partly true and partly incorrect. They are true to the extent that the US military did use Afghan warlords and Pakistani and Afghan narcotics barons, who know the topography of the Tora Bora area like the palm of their hands, to help it in its battle against Al Qaeda. The US narcotics control authorities were asked by the Pentagon not to take any action against the narcotics barons till bin Laden was caught and some Pakistani narcotics barons arrested before 9/11 under US pressure and jailed in Pakistan were got released by the Pentagon for being used in Tora Bora. I had referred to this many times in my past articles.
It would certainly make sense for the govt to be glossing over the narcotics angle of international terrorism because they are still doing it to this very day.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

The Tiger Woods thing

Gossip is not the bane of this blog nor is golf (despite the title) but this Tiger Woods thing is too interesting to pass up for a variety of reasons.

No surprise it took 12 hours to get the story out--Woods is not only the world's best golfer but an international corporation based on image. Instapundit pointed to a recent deal with Dubai, for instance. Then there's his standard endorsement package. Part of the image is that he's a trailblazing pioneer in his field of endeavor, much like the current president.

TMZ says they were fighting. Not sure how credible that is but speculation is usually caused by a lack of credible information. Is it common for Woods to zip out at 2:30 AM for anything short of an emergency? He's a dedicated golfer, but c'mon it takes a nut to hit the driving range at that hour. That itself might ruin his image.

So what, then? Most married couples would believe they might have been fighting based on the presented circumstances. Maybe they got into it, he headed for the Escalade, and she followed him out the door with the very thing he loves dearly. Maybe she took a few practice swings on the back window for effect and it startled him enough to slice off the road into the woods for an unplayable lie. After all, they are only human.

But Tiger is also part image. It'll be interesting to see how the media treats this going forward, if they do at all. It's worth noting they never veered away from Daly's peccadilloes, but big John was just a country boy from Arkansas and you know, those razorback rednecks do have a certain image. Daly only has to live down to his image, though. Tiger, and in the same regard the new president, may be dealing with images that are impossible to live up to--for anyone.

Friday, November 27, 2009

The Inconvenient Guests

Let's see, a man and woman not on the guest list (presumably) for a White House state dinner are allowed in despite the man's foreign-sounding name (no profiling allowed!) and the administration is now referring all calls to the Secret Service, who isn't talking.

Some in the media are asking, though. Some even turning to recent history...
During President George W. Bush's administration, it was standard procedure to have someone from the White House social office at the gate for state dinners and other events with large groups of visitors, according to a former senior Bush aide who spoke on condition of anonymity so as not to be seen as criticizing the Obama White House.

The social office is most knowledgeable about the guest list and could have been called in case of any uncertainty, this official said.
That's gonna leave a mark. What about the risks?
However Ronald Kessler, author of a book on the Secret Service, said, "While the couple did pass through a magnetometer to detect weapons, they could have assassinated the president or vice president using other means — anthrax, for example.
So who is this Tareq Salahi? Googling finds him associated with wine (vinyards) and also a group called the "American Task Force on Palestine", an advocacy group for the rights of Palestinians, or maybe not, because access is denied when searching under his name. But the cache is still there, showing his picture and a bio on the site. What happened? Searching the site for his name now produces this:



He had an impressive list of social and philanthropic accomplishments, so maybe he scammed them, too, and they airbrushed him away. What other possibilities exist? Surely the media would have told us by now had there been any need to worry, so all's well that ends well on a holiday weekend.

MORE 11/27/09

Here's the cached page:



Also, LA in comments asks a good question--who originally leaked the story of gate crashers? The first story I saw was this one, which didn't say. Since the happy couple will be on Larry King Monday night to chat, maybe they will say.

One idea going around is that someone either called the gate and vouched for them or they name dropped an official and BS'd their way in. That's exactly what these folks (thanks Debbie) are saying, which if true is rather chilling.

The Salahis seem more like social butterfly slicksters than dangerous characters, but their penetration into the inner ring of security at the White House should certainly call for a few questions to be asked about Secret Service protocol. My fear is that someone was afraid to hassle them due to the name for a politically correct reason. If that turns out to be anywhere close to the case then we've learned absolutely nothing from the Hasan event.

MORE 11/27/09

Here's an Arab-centric web site that says the ATFP airbrushed Mr. Salahi's picture from their board of directors page, saying it was there a week ago. He then goes on to provide insight into his own feelings on the event:
From Tony Rezko to Rashid Khalidi to Major Hasan to the Iraqi resistance and to the Palestinian people — Arabs have been nothing but a sore in the side of a President still accused of being Muslim. Tareq Salahi can be added to the list. I think that’s awesome because it’s not like the man’s doing anything for us anyways.

As an aside: I still think Arab-American activists need to think about our power to hurt politicians by association. We should negotiate with presidential candidates so that we get concessions for backing their opponents. Our negative influence on electoral campaigns is power, too.
Lots of talk about Rashid Khalidi and ATFP; be was evidently a vice-president for one year after its spin off from the American Committee on Jerusalem in 2005 but doesn't appear to be associated with the group now (although if they airbrushed Mr. Salahi, they could have airbrushed others). Wonder if the LA Times might want to consider releasing that tape now? Maybe some interesting people crashed that party, too.

As to significance here, not sure whether the fallout will affect the administration or not because these Washington groups get money from all quarters in the great backscratch game and from reading various sites the ATFP is either a bunch of radical Islamists or a stealth outfit set up to hornswoggle American Palestinians. It's certainly odd, though.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

ABC's Celebrity Politicians

It's always fun to read dumb comments from celebrities, and ABC did a puff piece on some today entitled..

Uh, What? Dumb Celebrity Quotes

The piece featuried 38 quotes taken mainly from typical Hollywood airheads. But maybe they had ulterior motives as well.

Scrolling to number 25 brings a politician--the governor of California. OK, Arnold was the Terminator and a former celeb, so no biggies.

But right behind him at number 26 is the butt of all political jokes, Dan "potatoe" Quayle. Well, he's no longer a politician, but a red flag pops up.

And soon, many more red flags. After a few more airheads we get celebrity Tina Fey doing Sarah Palin, then number 33 features "celebrity" George W. Bush, followed by John McCain and the real Sarah Palin bringing up the rear.

No dumb comments from the human gaffe machine or any variety of liberals, just a less than clever lumping of popular coservatives with the likes of Jessica Simpson, Brittney Spears and Paris Hilton. They just can't help themselves, can they?

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving

Don't know about you all, but we've got a lot to be thankful for down here in Memphis, Tennessee this year. Hope all have a safe, happy holiday and get all the turkey you were hoping for, or can share with someone else. Thanks to the troops in harms way, those who've been there, and those about to be sent there. And thanks to the Lord for all.

For those who like football, no, I have no great explanation for Vince Young high-fiving a Ref after a victory other than it was an embarrassing mistake, but if the Titans were "hooked up" one might think they wouldn't have started 0-6.

Cheers...

Fensterman Follies

Captain Ed had an interesting back and forth with "Fensterman", the lawyer skewered on O'Reilly the other night for refusing to say the 9/11 victims were murdered. Mr. Fenstermaker contacted Ed after he leaked a memo on why he was booted from the attorney group representing the terrorists at Gitmo, which Ed said was tied to the notion that Fenstermaker was a '9/11 Truther'.

Hmm. Well, tooting my horn a moment, here's what I said about the interview yesterday:
4. "You're gonna hear United States government propaganda", as opposed to plain propaganda? O'Reilly seemed to miss the distinction, which made me think of 9/11 trutherism. If not that then it's the basic 'oil for blood' etc. Bush 41 will not be spared, setting up a Bush two-fer.
That came from 'US govt propaganda', which can only be taken as trutherism or generic 'war for oil' stuff. Fenstermaker's reply to Ed was almost cartoonish:
I don’t know what a “9/11 Truther” is. If you explain it to me, I’ll let you know if I’m one.
Which was followed by the explanation, replied to with this:
I have no idea who attacked the WTC, and couldn’t care less.
Having "no idea" might be his way to protect the terror clients, but "couldn't care less" about an attack on our country puts him into asshat territory.

Meanwhile, it's time for the featured Baluchi item of the day.. Fensterman supplied Ed with a document purportedly from Ammar that features excellent English handwriting and a command of the language.


Website notice -

It also seems to suggest these guys have access to the internet. Are they on Twitter perhaps? Not that we wouldn't be watching every click, but that doesn't always ensure success as the past alludes.

Final Baluchi tidbit of the day... according to wiki Ammar married Aafia Siddiqui, currently engaged in making a circus of her trial in the Apple:
In 2002, 'Ammar directed Aafia Siddiqui--a US-educated neuroscientist and al-Qa'ida facilitator--to travel to the United States to prepare paperwork to ease Majid Khan's deployment to the United States. 'Ammar married Siddiqui shortly before his detention.
Maybe that explains Ammar's language skills. As to his wife (ex wife?), many think she's angling to get off on an insanity rap. Of course, many also consider murdering in the name of God insane. Others are curious, curious as to the mystery (Fensterman would approve).

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Meanwhile in Iraq

On the face of it, this story is maddening, as if there must be something more. Looking a bit deeper, it's still maddening. A fat lip on a wanted terrorist now equals discipline and a court marshall yet we can blow them away with Hellfires all day? Color me confused. But this upholding values stuff is confusing, especially when it comes to our military brass.

Googling around on this is particularly frustrating because other than the immortal Kos "Screw 'Em" post most of the other stories link to Blackwater hate posts. But who is the alleged perp Ahmed Hashim Abed? The Fox story is vague:
Intelligence sources identified Abed as the ringleader, but he had evaded capture until September
Scant little exists on the web about this guy, such as whether he's a Ba'athist, AQ, or someone else. Being in Falluja it's likely he was an ex-Saddam goon, as the city was a stronghold for those types.

Changing pace a bit, this story never got the legs it deserved but it seems to keep quietly coming back up. Background--in the 80s a terrorist named "Abu Ibrahim" had a terror outfit called 15th of May and he plotted to blow up numerous US airliners around the world on the same day. They succeeded with one--Pan Am 830, a 747 that exploded en route from Japan to Hawaii, killing a Japanese teenager but not crashing the plane. Sound familiar?

An accomplice, Mohammed Rashid, is chilling right now for that crime at the Supermax alongside another 747 plane bomber Ramzi Yousef. There seem to be similarities between Ibrahim's small airplane bombs and Yousef's, who tested his on a Philippines airline 747 in 1994. Fortunately that plane only killed one person but landed safely, and fortunately Ibrahim's bombs were found and defused after the 830 crash. Otherwise we would have had an operation Bojinka during the Reagan years, the same thing KSM was under indictment for prior to 9/11.

This guy operated from Iraq with blessings from Saddam's Iraqi Intelligence Service and was being given a stipend in Baghdad before the invasion. Gee, another terrorist last seen in Iraq was one who helped mix the first WTC bomb, Abdul Yasin, who was also being coddled by the IIS before 9/11. Evidently they didn't meet the fate of another coddled and notorious terrorist who pumped three bullets into himself around the same time according to IIS. But of course Iraq had never attacked the US.

Now the State Dept has upped the reward on Ibrahim from 200,000 to as much as 5 million. Why they are doing this is unclear, although it might not necessarily be good news if they think he might be actively passing along his bomb expertise, although surely he's passed along a lot already throughout his 70+ years.

IN BRITAIN... 11/25/09

They are still trying to investigate the Iraq war, while others fault Obama for dithering. Sounds like they're just as screwed up as we are. I say the right needs to get behind Obama's troop decision once it's made and forget the dithering comments. We are in this together, just as we were in Iraq (or were supposed to be). Perhaps Obama will show up tomorrow in Kabul to slice some turkey.

Baluchis, Again

Ammar Al-Baluchi's counsel Scott 'the weasel' Fenstermaker was on O'Reilly and dropped some clues about the defense strategies of the murdering terrorists:

1. He wouldn't say the civilians in the towers and airplanes were murdered. What else could that mean other than self-defense? We're sure to hear about all the indiscriminate deaths from cruise missile attacks and other dabblings since 1955. Like a never ending bin Laden tape.

2. "The way these men have been treated", ie, tortured. This will be the leftist pablum part of the trial. The terrorists will use it try to sway at least one juror. The good news is maybe this suggests there will be no attacks during the trial, since the trial itself will be an attack.

3. "Defense won't necessarily be anti-American".. in other words, anti one politician or another, or anti US policy. This may get tricky since most of the 9/11 plot was formulated during the 90s. It's hard to imagine even the terrorists blaming Bill Clinton. Everyone loves Bill Clinton.

4. "You're gonna hear United States government propaganda", as opposed to plain propaganda? O'Reilly seemed to miss the distinction, which made me think of 9/11 trutherism. If not that then it's the basic 'oil for blood' etc. Bush 41 will not be spared, setting up a Bush two-fer.

5. "The people who hate me hate the rule of law". It's true John Adams defended some of the British troops involved in the Boston massacre but I think they were pleading self-defense in a mob. He sounds noble until one considers the fact Holder is trying a bunch of others in military tribunals and holding some others indefinitely. Does Holder hate the rule of law, too?

By the way, Ammar al-Baluchi, the client Fenstermaker spoke of the other day, is an interesting character in that he's part of KSM's familial clan:
Mohammed's entourage also included Aziz's cousins Abd al-Karim Yousef and Abd al-Mun'im Yousef, the older brothers of Ramzi Yousef, now serving a life term in a US prison for the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. One of the Yousefs (U.S. officials won't say which) was captured recently. The other Yousef and Aziz were attempting to carry on the terror plots Mohammed was overseeing at the time of his arrest.
One of those brothers was reportedly a twin to Ramzi but neither are mentioned very often. Some have wondered why one family from Baluchistan would hold such hate for America and be such major players in two major terror attacks on our soil. One of those who has long wondered is Laurie Mylroie, who at one time thought Yousef was an Iraqi agent or proxy. She described one of the 1993 WTC conspirators, Mohammed Salameh, thusly:
Despite this pedigree, Salameh himself is naive and manipulable. When one considers that he was arrested in the process of returning to collect the deposit on the van he had rented to carry the Trade Center bomb, it is not so surprising that on June 10, soon after being recruited into Nosair's plot, Salameh made the first of forty-six calls to Iraq, the vast majority to his terrorist uncle in Baghdad.
And here she is, from the way-back machine, on Charlie Rose Show in 1994 speaking after a Clinton speech on Iraq with none other than infamous Times reporter Judy Miller (it's in the first segment):



As to al-Baluchi's money transfers, perhaps they've traced the money he wired to the hijackers, and perhaps we'll learn its origin amidst all the US Govt propaganda.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Climategate

Not sure they are quite in this category but the leaked climate emails certainly show a new side to the cliqueish group of self-important zealots who want to control the world for the next fifty years or so.

Arrogance in this field is nothing new. We've had hints for awhile now, brought to light by the Weather Channel's Heidi Cullen (herself a former lab researcher) then later from the chief charlatan's appearance on 60 Minutes when he proclaimed that anyone who refuses to believe what he believes is not just wrong, but a clueless nutcase.

One might think that someone with Mr. Gore's history would create more buzz with his recent geothermal meltdown on Conan (imagine Cheney or Palin saying it) but no, it simply exemplified how invested the major media is to risk noticing.

Case in point, most of them recently ignored another story detrimental to cause:
Meteorologists’ climate change survey results:

· When asked about the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) statement that “Most of the warming since 1950 is very likely human-induced,” a full 50% either disagreed or strongly disagreed. 25% were neutral and only 24% said they agreed or strongly agreed;
· 52% of the meteorologists disagreed with the statement that “Global climate models are reliable in their projections for a warming of the planet.” Only 19% agreed with the statement;
· Almost a third of respondents agreed (19%) or strongly agreed (10%) that “global warm­ing is a scam”;
· When the meteorologists were asked to identify the “greatest obstacle to reporting on climate change,” their top answer (41%) was “too much scientific uncertainty.”
One might also think that people look at climate and computer models on a daily basis while laying their professional reputations on the line with each forecast would count for something, but chances are the survey will be mocked and ridiculed by those in the Manns/Jones/Cullen crowd using the same tone.

Now, just exactly where this leaves the president of the United States remains to be seen but it's almost certain he'll never be asked to comment on this story.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Defending Jihad

The spectacle hasn't even begun and yet, it has begun:
A lawyer for one of five men facing trial for the Sept. 11 attacks says the men plan to plead not guilty and use the trial to express their political views.

Attorney Scott Fenstermaker says his client Ali Abd al-Aziz Ali and the others will not deny their role in the 2001 attacks but will tell the jury "why they did it." He says the men will explain "their assessment of American foreign policy."
Meanwhile, the lone nut who used Islam to justify killing 13 soldiers will likely plead not guilty:
Asked if he was considering an insanity plea for his client, who faces 13 counts of premeditated murder, Galligan said, "I'm fairly confident that that's going to have to at least be examined. And that's problematic. But we haven't reached that stage yet."
At least according to his attorney, who was whining about having to conduct a hearing in the ICU (Hasan is paralyzed from the waist/chest down). Don't bet the ranch on this, since an insanity plea would essentially mark all suicide bombers, jihad fighters and even sympathizers such as Aafia Siddiqui as clinically nuts, along with the Imams who encourage them.

In other words, fundamental Islam itself may end up on trial, which could open a huge can of worms. We'll see. Eric Rudolph bombed in the name of Christ, which is pretty nuts, and he's now serving time in the Supermax beside Richard Reid, who was not only nuts but stupid to boot. Who doesn't think all 21 9/11 bombers weren't nuts? Flying planes into buildings is not the mark of an adjusted mind.

Meanwhile the Cole bombers must still be huddling to discuss their media strategy since it hasn't been released yet. Will they also decide to make it about 'foreign policy'? Could be problematic--their crime occurred in 2000 so the judge could limit their rantings to pre-2000 foreign policy. So it's a loser unless they can find a clever way to blame Bush for the Cole when he was running for president. Maybe something he said on the campaign trail? That might get more coverage from the national media.

CHENEY WEIGHS IN 11/23/09

And his response is hardly surprising: Holder wants a dog and pony show. He also opined on Obama's bow--
Obama's recent bow before the Japanese Emperor was "fundamentally harmful" to the United States and indicates that Obama "doesn’t fully understand or have the same perception of the US role in the world that most Americans have." Obama's behavior on foreign trips is "very upsetting," Cheney added.
Wonder if Obama will remain speechless?

For the record, I don't think it was the bow more than the depth and prostrated breadth of it. A short respectful head-up nod while shaking hands would have left a little better impression as to the respect WE deserve, based on history if nothing else. OK, conservatives would have still complained but the image left would have been less, well, grotesque. But that version wouldn't have fit in with the apology mosaic so it's no wonder Cheney took the shot.

Another Saturday Night Special

This Congress and administration seems to like working in the dark. Appropriate, too.

Arkansas Senator Blanche Lambert's impassioned speech earlier in the day against the public option--but in favor of courageously allowing the public option to become a reality-- highlighted the afternoon. Ms. Lincoln vowed not to vote yes on a bill if it contains a public plan, which appears the kind of posturing destined for GOP TV commercial immortality. At last check Huckabee's from Ar-kansas and also has a TV megaphone. Then again, it's Huck.

But the so-called Louisiana Purchase was even more tawdry. Mary Landrieu even had the temerity to revel in her largesse, apparently oblivious to the fact it comes from the taxpayers and not Harry Reid's billfold. Wasn't the stimulus enough? Clarify something here--what's the difference between her shakedown of the taxpayers via Congress and this conversation from another politician:
"If they're not going to offer anything of value, I might just take it." Another quote: "Unless I get some real good expletive, I might just take it myself." "I've got this thing and it's *#$* golden. I'm not going to give it away for nothing."
..other than an indictment?

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Hopenhagen is Coming

I deplore hackers, therefore the hacking of emails from the Hadley CRU has been somewhat of a conundrum so far. Perhaps it can be better rationalized by thinking of it as 'civil disobedience' in the form advocated by various greens and government scientists.

Of course we are all waiting for Mr. "Millions of Degrees" to weigh in with outrage about this but maybe he's laying low thinking they'll award him with an extra Nobel for scientific diversity or something. Anyway, the more interesting aspect of this whole thing is the timing.

Lord Moncton made a splash a few months ago by saying Copenhagen was the beginning of One World Govt, a rallying cry for all kinds of crazies and even a few sane folks who see the handwriting on the global wall. This hacking event occurred just three weeks ahead of what some are calling "Hopenhagen" (ironically starting on Pearl Harbor Day).

Since the Hopenhagen movement is corporate-sponsored it led to a slam on Coke from WND, pointing out their original sponsorship. Perhaps they've forgotten that Coke once tried to teach the world to sing.

A bigger surprise on the sponsorship list might be Newsweek. Just kidding! The bigger surprise might be Major League Baseball. Or the Wall St. Journal. Or Business Week. In other words, this seems to be a consortium interested in something, most likely ways to either grab the reins of a bandwagon or not get stampeded by it. Worthy of further investigation, no doubt. Or as the website says, only sixteen days left---in this case to figure out exactly what's going on here.

Side Tracks

Before everything was so ridiculously politicized...

More from the Holder Testimony

Questions, questions, questions. Tom Maguire's question about whether there are any DOJ lawyers left to prosecute KSM and crew based on their prior pro bono work on behalf of said terrorists is certainly a good one and was not well answered by Holder at the hearings.

From that same testimony, the AG said he will 'consider' giving Senator Grassley the names of all the recused lawyers within DOJ that were formerly trying to obtain civil rights for the terrorists. Considering? What happened to the Obama sunshine?

Here's Senator Hatch asking whether how discovery might work if KSM decides to be his own lawyer. Holder said there were protections. He later called Andy McCarthy, who has made the contention that a list of unindicted co-conspirators ended up in bin Laden's hands as a result of discovery in the Abdel Rahman case, a "polemicist". McCarthy responds.

Senator Coburn asked why the killing of the Arkansas Army recruiter wasn't a hate crime. That begs the question of why all terrorist crimes aren't hate crimes, and whether the hate crime attachment would actually produce a stronger sentence in a standard murder case versus not having it attached during a terrorist case. Surely a lawyer/prosecutor could answer that, it's just a bit perplexing.

Finally, Benedict Specter asked Holder to explain his distinction between choosing civilian courts versus tribunals, to which Holder offered a slightly better answer than he did with Kyl. The AG who once said Americans were race cowards suggested his decisions are based on the level of interrogation (but never torture!), which affects admissibility, along with apparently some magic dust thrown over the right should onto a paper target. OK, the last past was editorial license.

Anyway, a worry over admissibility may answer the question of why al-Nashiri is being tried in a commission since he was already under indictment prior ot 9/11 and before they applied the waterboard. The case is supposedly weaker, presumably relying on evidence gathered during the Clinton (and Holder) years, so perhaps it will struggle to get media coverage with the KSM case blaring on simultaneously. Not that politics would ever factor in, mind you.

Ironically KSM was also under indictment since about 1995, and the government even lost a chance to nab him in Qatar in 1995. Neither of those items sound like a winner on the nightly news, assuming they would make news.

Holder kept going back to explaining his distinctions by mentioning his super top secret evidence on KSM, which will negate the loss of tortured confessions. What is it, Bojinka? Stuff from nephew Ramzi's laptop? Maybe, but that wouldn't necessarily satisfy the public's demand for vengeance over the 9/11 attacks. How about his confession to al-Jazeera:
Summoning every thread of experience and courage, I looked Khalid in the eye and asked: "Did you do it?" The reference to September 11 was implicit. Khalid responded with little fanfare: "I am the head of the al-Qaida military committee," he began, "and Ramzi is the coordinator of the Holy Tuesday operation. And yes, we did it."
Again though, that doesn't have any political bombshell to it. He's already denied some of it. So if this is about politics there has to be something bigger and more damaging to the previous administration with 2010 coming up.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Sign of the Times

From the email..

Look! Over There! It's KSM...

Has the American public been subjected to a crude political ruse this past week? Harry Reid provides some evidence by his scheduling of another Saturday Night Special (this group does everything on Friday and Saturday, apparently) to vote on socialized medicine.

Meanwhile the entire week is almost gone and the buzz has been about a terrorist captured in 2003 instead of the pending take over of 1/6 of the economy, and the cheap and tawdry deals being made to get it done. And through it all the president was on the other side of the world.

As Harry the Loser said, they will get something done by hook or by crook (he didn't quite use those words) so perhaps it's worthless to whine. McCain said it--elections matter. But it would be nice for our republic if the GOP would hold firm on their suggestion to read all 34 hours of the bill's text before it can be voted on. Or maybe three readings. For the people's sake.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

So What's the "Battlefield"?

Holder and his Republican opponents just spent an afternoon splitting hairs over the definition of "battlefield". The AG explained that since al-Nashiri killed sailors overseas in Yemen while KSM killed mostly civilians in America (apart from the Pentagon), they warrant different court proceedings.

The right remains appalled along with Glenn Greenwald:
-- what convincing rationale can anyone offer to justify giving Mohammed and other 9/11 defendants a real trial in New York? If you're taking the position that military commissions and even indefinite detention are perfectly legitimate tools to imprison people -- as Holder has done -- then what is the answer to the Right's objections that Mohammed himself belongs in a military commission?
Holder never gave a compelling answer other than 'trust me'. Deja vu all over again. Of course Greenwald's beef with Holder is that he won't be using trials for ALL captured GWoT suspects (and doing away with tribunals) because we're not really officially at "war". That leaves no battlefield anywhere, which makes our use of troops anywhere legally tenuous.

But to most people this is a war. And if indeed it is a global war on terror, and AQ are "rootless and stateless" as the 9/11 Commission described them, then it seems logical the battlefield consists of the entire world. Surely AQ considers lower Manhattan part of their battlefield as opposed to a few dusty deserts and caves near Kandahar.

Holder was playing coy at the hearings in suggesting the evidence obtained by waterboarding might not be admissible even in a military tribunal, ie, he has no choice but to bring KSM to the media capital of the world to prosecute, presumably using pre-torture evidence (explained for the media every day as in, 'we couldn't use the good evidence due to Bush's torture', etc). But why? Why can't any of that be used in a tribunal?

After all al-Nashiri was also waterboarded, meaning they will most likely also be using pre-torture evidence gained during the Clinton years (during Holder's reign as deputy AG) to prosecute him for the Cole. It's likely that some of that secret stuff Holder is alluding to will include top secret sensitive from NSA or CIA captures, but won't that also be required during the KSM trial? Confusing, all this.

Throwing Dreams Under the Bus?

A strange thing happened in China regarding Obama's brief visit with his half-brother Mark Obama. Background--Mark has a loose auto-biography coming out about growing up with the same father Barack mentioned in "Dreams from my Father" except Mark's version sounds more like "Nightmares from my Father"-- not too many Kodak moments based on the early descriptions.

Obama wrote about meeting Mark in Kenya back in 1988 in "Dreams", but when CNN's Ed Henry asked Barack about their relationship he replied like this:
"Well, you know, I don't know him well. I met him for the first time a couple of years ago. He stopped by with his wife for about five minutes during the trip. I haven't read the book.
Tapper recounts the two meeting in 2008 and again at the inauguration; Obama says a 'couple of years ago'. Does that count for 1988, a mere 21 years ago? If not, does this mean he's throwing his own book under the bus or just Mark?

Obama made it clear his father was no saint, something which CNN's video curiously cut short along with at least one wire service (perhaps that explains why Mark dummied-up and refused interviews before the election along with the rest of the family). But one might think Barack would better remember an encounter from his own expertly written book.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Holder in front of Congress

Some interesting and thought-provoking questions, particularly with respect to catching bin Laden (or Zawahiri)...



Here's Jon Kyl pressing for an answer as to why Holder thinks he has a better chance to get a conviction in federal court than a tribunal after KSM and the others had already expressed an interest to plead guilty at Gitmo. His reply--that he doesn't know what KSM might do today--seemed more like defensive spin on the Senate hot seat than a thoughtful and considered line of reasoning as to the possibility of overturn on appeal.

But if such were his worry why doesn't it pertain to al-Nashiri? If there's no way KSM ever walks why not complete the tribunal already started then proceed to federal court on older charges (Bojinka) if it fails? Or would that open too many old wounds?

Whatever, it's odd both Holder and Obama are trumpeting our values as the big reason for bringing these guys stateside while simultaneously proclaiming their guilt. Holder called KSM a 'murderer' and a 'terrorist' today. It looks more likely this administration has an ulterior motive here, unless they are grossly incompetent.

Finally, Hot Air links to an NPR story about Khalid Mohammad's teacher at Chowdan College in North Carolina and of a friend who attended NC A&T with him in the 80s. Amazingly, we now know almost as much about KSM's college years as we do about the president's.

MORE 11/19/09

After looking at more testimony a common thread runs consistently throughout Holder's answers--the admissibility of evidence. He's suggesting the only reason they are bringing these guys to federal court is because he's not sure evidence gained by enhanced methods wouldn't be tossed even in a military commission, which means they will presumably be using evidence obtained before his capture. Holder made a point to remind Lindsay Graham that bin Laden was under indictment before 9/11, but so was KSM. The public was simply never made aware.

So, what's the evidence they will use to get a death penalty conviction? The only thing that comes to mind is the Bokinka plot, of which his nephew Ramzi Yousef was convicted. There is probably evidence on the laptop that Yousef and Murad were using that connects to KSM, along with other evidence such as NSA or wiretap evidence from the 90s or even before his capture. But the big question is, why can't any of that be used in a military tribunal?

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Fair and Balanced

A previous post attacked the apparent political hypocrisy of Congressman Joe Sestak, so turnabout is fair and balanced play. Here's Rudy Giuliani, a former SDNY prosecutor and mayor of New York, condemning Obama for bringing the Gitmo Five to the Big Apple...



But here's the mayor talking about the trial of Zacarias Moussaoui:
"At the same time, I was in awe of our system," the former mayor continued. "It does demonstrate that we can give people a fair trial, that we are exactly what we say we are. We are a nation of law. . . . I think he's going to be a symbol of American justice."
Can't get there from there. Rudy was challenged about this puzzling dichotomy on the No Longer Fake News Sunday with Chris Wallace, seen here on Obama-approved "Crooks and Liars". Admittedly, the sight of them using Fox News to bash a GOP enemy should warrant alarm from Olbermann or Maddow. More on crooks and liars in a minute.

Aside from the partisan snark, Rudy's answer sounded like a feeble attempt at covering up a consistency goofup. It's hard to strongly argue against bringing KSM to Manhattan using the 'act of war' and 'circus' arguments after saying the Moussaoui trial was a symbol of something good. He was an inspiration during 9/11 but as a national candidate Sarah Palin is more appealing right now.

Many of us down here backed the at times halting Fred Thompson, who seems to have very little on the record about Moussaoui. He did weigh in on the Boumediene Five case, that produced habeas rights for terrorists. But the legalese gets old for most normal people--the first minute of this rambling Red State Update on Zacarias probably sums it up better than any ole pointy head (language warning of course).

Now, not sure if Tom Maguire qualifies as a pointy head (even if he's a Yankee and Yankee fan) but he outdoes Jackie and Dunlap with this quip:
There is no contradiction here: military courts for attacks on the military, civilian courts for attacks on civilians.

OMG. And if the next batch of terrorists are clever enough to attack an elementary school will they be tried in juvenile court?
Which speaks to the entire bizarre flip-flopiness of this whole thing. For instance, Obama was for military tribunals for KSM before he was against them, yet checking with the abovementioned Obama-approved Crooks and Liars--who just used Faux News to rip Guiliani--they don't seem to have much on Obama's equally puzzling inconsistency.

And to make matters more confusing, Major Garrett from the "Major Garrett is the only bastard at Fox News worth our Time" network will be interviewing our Pacific Prez tomorrow from Chiner for a whole 10 minutes. Hopefully he can point out that the Pentagon is indeed a military target and that both Nashiri and bin-Attash allegedly attended the 2000 Kuala Lumpur terror summit where 9/11 was planned. But considering the filibuster factor he'll probably only get about two and a half questions answered.

IT BEGINS 11/17/09

Conservatives are taking a beating for worrying that the Gitmo Five affair will end up being a cheap and tawdry propaganda platform to bash Bush, Cheney and the CIA. Here's a NY Times article about lawyer Lynne Stewart's conviction being upheld (for helping the Blind Sheikh kite messages back to his followers in Egypt in 1999), speaking on current events:
At the news conference, Ms. Stewart sharply criticized the decision, and said its timing, “coming as it does on the eve of the arrival of the tortured men from offshore prison in Guantánamo,” carried a message for any lawyers who might be appointed to represent them.
Emphasis added for obvious reasons. It doesn't always take a bullhorn.

Monday, November 16, 2009

No Wonder the Recovery is Slow

From the yellow brick road to recovery:
Here's a stimulus success story: In Arizona's 9th Congressional District, 30 jobs have been saved or created with just $761,420 in federal stimulus spending. At least that's what the website set up by the Obama Administration to track the $787 billion stimulus says.

There's one problem, though: There is no 9th Congressional District in Arizona; the state has only eight Congressional Districts.
D'oh@! Joe Biden must be shocked, shocked that somebody is messing with Joe.

The question is whether this is bald-faced fraud or a waste of 18 million for web services? Checking locally, the Recovery site shows that the University of Tennessee in Memphis got multiple smaller grants that totaled in the millions with very few saved or created positions. The U of Memphis got 27 million dollars according to the site with nothing showing in either the created or saved department. If not an error..


Googling a bit, this story talks about recovery funds offsetting a state budget cut for the university but doesn't say how much. In early November this story appeared:
According to the Tennessee Board of Regents' competitive grant summary, U of M has applied for more than 50 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act-related research grants from federal departments and national organizations. The school had received nearly $5 million from 11 stimulus grants by early October.
Surely the exact figures are out there somewhere but finding anything on the recovery site is about as easy as surfing in a pool. Overall it's nice to see ABC News...or anybody for that matter...paying attention.

MORE 11/16/09

Was it a coincidence that Joe Biden was in Arizona today?
"Only 12 states have gotten more money obligated that the state of Arizona has," Biden said during the breakfast fundraiser for U.S. Reps. Ann Kirkpatrick of Flagstaff and Harry Mitchell of Tempe.
Well, yeah..

Sestak on Grandstanding

Pennsylvania Congressman Joe Sestak was all over the late week air defending Obama's Holder's decision to bring the Gitmo Five to Manhattan for trial. So what does he think about the Major Hasan investigation? He's worried about grandstanding:



But notice his rather blank pause on O'Reilly when Bill asks whether the former Navy Rear Admiral believes in military tribunals:



KSM to Manhattan? Upholds our values no matter what media grandstanding occurs. Hasan investigated by Congress? Let's not have any political grandstanding. It would be nice to hear him explain how our values are upheld by allowing Cole bomber Nashiri to get a tribunal while Walid bin Attash, who also participated in the planning of the Cole, should come to New York. Of course KSM planned the Pentagon attack, which would seem a military target.

A partisan might deduce that evidence against Nashiri will be limited to the years before Bush arrived and therefore not something Holder would want splashed all over the news. But they wouldn't dare politicize war on contingency trials, would they?

Ironically, Bill Clinton and some of his buddies campaigned hard for Sestak's 2006 victory against Curt Weldon, who was poking around in some rather sensitive (and some say absurd) areas before his political demise. A notable name in the Sestak corner was Sandy Berger. Not to say this is an outright defense of Weldon--that jury is still out. Just sayin'.

By the way, Sestak is one of few Democrats to ever hold that House seat, which might make some wonder how blue dog he might be on health care. In the bigtime affirmative column. Wait, wait, he's running for US Senate now against Specter. No need to grandstand to a bunch of teabaggers to get reelected anymore.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Cheney and the Bow

Obama's presumed bow to the Japanese emperor, and I say presumed because Gibbs hasn't weighed on whether he might have lost a contact lens or something, made the silly news of this slow news weekend.



Here's another compilation showing past protocol. My take is that our first Pacific president is not an idiot--he's doing this purposely to make a statement about how he perceives American exceptionalism. In other words, it's an apology bow.

All this led to some fun by the Fox panel regards Dick Cheney's non bow. But are they sure she wasn't referring to herself?

Speaking of Trials..

Andrew Cohen has a piece in the Sunday WaPo wherein he tries to destroy six myths about bringing KSM to the Big Apple for a show trial. Here's some feedback:

1. .. The fact that the feds are bringing him to New York to stand trial indicates that they have plenty of other evidence that they can use to get their conviction.

Yes, and most of it occurred before Bushitler took office. Does Holder really want to go back to the salad days of the 90s and explain why the Clinton folks--including him--never told us anything about KSM even though he was under indictment for the precursor 9/11 plot?

2. ..Media saturation has made jury selection in America a perversion of what it once was. Judges and lawyers no longer even pretend that they are seating jurors who don't have preconceived notions about a case.

Yes, but lawyers try to stack juries all the time. If the Plame trial was big, this will be even bigger with more scrutiny on the chosen. And surely the defense will stall with change of venue requests, hypothetically speaking.

3. ..No one can determine how big that increased risk would be. But New York has long been able to safely host trials of terrorism suspects -- including the trial that followed the 1993 attack on the World Trade Center -- and its security systems are among the world's finest.

Well yes, except for the Yousef "Roma Corp" debacle (where he was actually communicating with KSM from jail) and Lynne Stewart. Otherwise no, NYC is always under a heightened threat from all kinds of things, including flocks of geese. By the way, Obama needs to make damn sure Air Force One is all done with the photo-ops.

4. ..Fact: The Bush administration tried to prosecute these people in military tribunals but wasn't able to come up with a set of rules that were deemed constitutional. As a result, six years after Mohammed was apprehended, he still hasn't been convicted.

So Obama's continued prosecution of Nashiri via tribunal is unconstitutional? That sounds rather silly. As to six years being a long time, it took four years to try Moussaoui. And what happened to the sentencing of this guy? How many years did he get? Where is he?

5. ,,And even if Mohammed is somehow acquitted, which isn't going to happen, the feds will then immediately pick him up and put him back in the military brig.

In other words, guilty (9/11 commission) until proven guilty in a court of law (New York) and if not, sent back to a GITMO? Is this what he calls 'upholding our values?"

6. ..Mohammed will turn his trial into political theater. Fact: Yes, he will try. But he will mostly fail.

It's not KSM who will succeed in turning the trial into a circus, it's Cohen's colleagues in the mainstream media who'll try to use it as a political instrument to weekly hammer the Bush administration's legacy and by extension all Republicans, which could end up being convenient for the Democrats in many ways.

Now, number six is highly dependent on the evidence used and how deep the media wnats to dig into terrorism in the 90s. In a way Obama is giving the folks who begged him for a new 9/11 Commission investigation exactly what they wanted, becuase this will likely open all the cans left on the table if the media can find their journalism degrees and their can openers.

Finally, LA County Assistant DA Patterico has some interesting points. One, KSM may try to represent himself, at least long enough to make an opening statement declaring jihad, etc, (possible version at link) and Two, the jury and court staff will be afforded tight security. New Yorkers are a tough lot and hard to intimidate, but this is likely to be a very long trial.

MORE 11/15/09

I think conservatives need to at least consider Mike Potemra's "Corner" column on the coming KSM trial:
Wouldn’t having a bunch of coldblooded murderers of 3,000 innocents proclaiming live on TV how proud they are of what they have done, and asserting that what God wants most is for them to get out of prison and murder even more thousands of innocents, be a very effective way of teaching America — and the world — about the true character of our enemies?
That would indeed be a benefit, IF their comments are allowed out of the courtroom (will it be televised?).

But KSM's nephew was once afforded a similar opportunity and it did nothing to stop 9/11. Perhaps times are different now after 9/11, and perhaps the people would be reminded of the dangers again, but again, the megaphone here will not only be the jihadists but the mainstream news media who have their own agendas in regards to why they hate us.

Looking at this move from a strategic view I think it's an effort to shift the paradigm of the GWoT back to what Kerry called a 'nuisance' during the 2004 campaign. In other words, the Obama White House are trying to shift the solution from military back to law enforcement, which probably says something about Obama's coming decision on Afghanistan.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Side Tracks

Here's one of the songs that helped launch Ms. Eileen Twain into 'Shania', but not without controversy, as she explains.



The power of rogue.

Obama's Asian Adventure

Obama's trip to 'Asia' is producing some interesting copy so far. Of course his bow before the Japanese Emperor has made some news as did the dodge of a reporter's question about Fat Man and Little Boy.

The latter was not hard to understand considering the fact he's promoting a world without nukes. As to the bow, just part of the global apology tour.

But some might be surprised by this WaPo story about Chinese racial bigotry:
So nothing prepared Lou, whose father is a black American, for the furor that erupted in late August when she beat out thousands of other young women on "Go! Oriental Angel," a televised talent show. Angry Internet posters called her a "black chimpanzee" and worse. One called for all blacks in China to be deported.
Don't they know it's offensive to use the word "Oriental" in the Orient Asia now?

Ironically, Obama's half-brother lives in the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen. He kept a low profile during the elections, preferring not to be interviewed while the press was recounting Barack's dream of their shared father, a book that mentioned a "Mark" as having a less than rosy recall of the old man.

No wonder we didn't hear from Mark at the time--it appears his view was based more on reality than dreams.

But he's been in the news lately with the launch of a partial biography. Curiously, the Chinese racist angle didn't come up in some recent portrayals, which included mention of a Chinese girlfriend.

Anyway, what's the protocol for greeting a Maoist? Was this it?

Friday, November 13, 2009

KSM and the Grand Plan

What an amazing president. The day after he leaves for Asia (where he refused to defend the dropping of the atomic bombs) he dumps KSM on New York City.

Reactions are predictably heated. My previous thoughts on this construct are here but events call for an addendum.

The basic question is why. What's in it for the Chicago administration? Their stock answer has been something like "upholding our values", a bit strange since they're apparently fine with using a tribunal against the Cole bomber and blowing away terrorists on the battlefield with Predators sans trial.

But the answer is obvious. If trying KSM in New York 'upholds our values' that means Bush was holding them down. Bill O'Reilly bloviated as much this evening and Geraldo immediately confirmed by scolding him over GITMO.

Everyone knows KSM and crew are guilty--they've proudly confessed and have requested death. It appears Obama needs some mileage out of them first as the 2010 elections draw closer and with an economy that ain't coming along as forecast. Not to mention the money outlay issue, probably in the millions after the taxpayers have already spent millions on the 9/11 Commission, who told us KSM was responsible. Now the administration has amended that to "suspects" again. Are they trying to appease the secret truthers, perhaps? Speaking of which, this trial will easily become a sort of conspiracy theory clearinghouse. More distraction.

There would seem to be some political risk, though. If enough voters sense a politicization they might take it out at the polls come November.

Also, Eric Holder was a Clintonista along with Leon Panetta back when they were losing bin Laden and hiding the existence of KSM. Clinton himself has already gone ballistic twice over any historical rendering of his terror-warrior failures, once on Fox News and the other when ABC tried to air "Path to 9/11". Then again, the media ran cover on that story so we never really found out why Sandy stuffed his socks. But the media doesn't love the Clintons as they did before.

Seems like there should be more. Occam's Razor would say this is all about showing up Bush and drawing out Cheney to distract from a lousy economy and a failure to actually close GITMO on time as promised, politics as usual. If that's really the case--if they really are that stupid--then the blowback is going to fun to watch. Trying KSM in the same courthouse we tried his nephew Ramzi means a few journalists might get curious about their relationship and dig up stuff about kites, zoom climbs and weird date stamps on passports and such. Don't forget the dreaded triple agent.

That said, there's a small chance the administration has something up their sleeves so powerful as to overcome any skeletons that might rattle back out during trial and perhaps even muzzle Dick Cheney. Let's see what Darth does next, it could be telling.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Cylinders of Excellence

After 9/11 everybody was talking about stovepiping, meaning federal and state agencies refused to cooperate with each other due to turf or territoriality resulting in unconnected dots and missed attacks. That was supposed to be in the past. Maybe not.

This NPR article sums up many angles in the Hasan case, quoting former co-workers at Walter Reed. Was he crazy? They thought so, claiming he was displaying fundie religious beliefs. Islam connection? Yep, he once told someone "Islam saves", which added more fodder to their nuts theory (which might be an interesting side debate as to how they might view or handle fundie Christians). PC? Roger, they did nothing to remove him because they were afraid of damaging their own careers since it was hard to prove he was insane based simply on being a fundie Muslim.

Dots unconnected? Roger, they claim the FBI never informed them of the intercepted emails with AQ sympathizers (which says something about the terrorist surveillance program and how Aulaqi triggered it). So, what did they do?
And finally, Hasan was about to leave Walter Reed and USUHS for good and transfer to Fort Hood, in Texas. Fort Hood has more psychiatrists and other mental specialists than some other Army bases, so officials figured there would be plenty of co-workers who would support Hasan — and monitor him.
The age-old scourge of bureaucracies is to promote the incompetents so they can be transferred out and become somebody else's problem. Hopefully that's not what occurred here.

But the question is whether any of these leaks can be taken seriously. There have been a series of dueling releases from anonymous sources for several days as the alphabet agencies attempt to cover their rears. But if true, the story shines light on his Islamic radicalism, which makes it harder to call him a lone nut and easier to call him a terrorist. A Congressional investigation seem apropos. What are the chances..

MORE 11/12/09

CNN helps with the lone nut pushback. Said one of their chosen experts:
"A lot of people are jumping to the conclusion because this man spouted violent Islamic ideology that this is a terrorist attack," criminologist Pat Brown said. Brown, who profiles killers, said Hasan's profile is that of a loner.

"He was simply a lone guy who had issues, problems, psychopathic behaviors that escalated to the point where he wanted to get back at society, and he took it out on his workmates like most of them do," he said.
Yet somehow he's NOT jumping to a conclusion--from afar--by suggesting the man's actions were no different than any other run of the mill mass shooting, Islamic component or not?

Well, a lone nut conclusion likely won't trigger a Congressional investigation and it likely keeps the criminal trial a court marshal and within the military. Just sayin'.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Veterans Day and the Road Ahead

This is a day to thank the many men and women who have served this nation in uniform through the years. I'd particularly like to thank those who have signed up during times of ongoing threat, especially any who've signed up since Friday because of Friday. Bloggers can pontificate but they are not going to win any wars (some of us are lower than dogs).

But bloggers can offer their opinions, for what they are worth. On this day of honor the military faces an uncertain road ahead. The public seems to understand the Hasan attack but also seems confused on what to do going forward, just like the Commander-in-Chief. Perhaps that's why the Hasan attack has become controversial--political factions on both sides know it shines more light on the future.

Bush approached Af-Pak with a light footprint, condemned by most but in hindsight perhaps not so foolish. His foray into Iraq diverted attention to a battlefield we could more easily manage and where the people were more capable of affecting a change on the culture of the middle eastern terror swamp. Despite the many tactical and strategic errors made there it was never just about WMDs--the resistance in Iran attests to the basic need for freedom and self-governance inside all decent human beings.

Obama should now understand that gaining the good graces of world opinion is not all it's cracked up to be. The countries he tried to sway with his self-immolating Cairo speech or refusal to use the phrase Islamic terrorism are not now vigorously standing to condemn the Ft. Hood attack and reaffirm their solidarity with the USA to fight extremism. The Euros are not announcing more contributions to the NATO forces in Afghan. In many ways we continue to be the last best hope.

The argument over Hasan's motive exemplifies a sort of brutal truth that brings back the unpleasantries of 9/11--there is a demented set of ideologues unafraid to die who will wantonly slaughter innocents for their barbaric vision of God, which threatens the order of free society. Tools of their trade come right out of horror movies, and just like horror villains they must be killed with prejudice in the end. Appeasement doesn't work.

That said, and while my disagreements with Obama will not change much going forward, we only have one Commander-in-Chief. Regards Af-Pak I can only hope he makes the right call. It's not clear whether adding more troops into that theater will necessarily stop the Hasans of the world, but history suggests a wholesale departure would certainly embolden more of them. It's a legitimately tough call, one far removed from campaign politics and likely the reason this uber-deliberate president is taking so long.

But during the Bush years this blog repeatedly reminded folks that the GWoT was not a political issue. The same holds true today. While Obama used it politically to get elected he's in command now and our fate largely rests with his decisions. That doesn't mean he shouldn't get hammered for politically calculated decisions--he should--but at the same time 'hoping he fails' is not an option here. The memory of the fallen demands it.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

This Blog Now Part of the "Signature Litter"

It's bad enough that Ugo Chavez is trying to shut down golf courses in Venezuela for being a useless bourgeois endeavor, now 'researchers' and various other nuts in Europe have suddenly discovered the hidden evil of the golf ball itself:
The scale of the dilemma was underlined recently in Scotland, where scientists -- who scoured the watery depths in a submarine hoping to discover evidence of the prehistoric Loch Ness monster -- were surprised to find hundreds of thousands of golf balls lining the bed of the loch.
Hey, maybe the locals were just trying to kill the darn thing. By the way, wherever there is water there will soon be a golf ball. That's a corollary invented by the Scots during the dark ages, right after they invented the 'sport' itself. There are already penalties--and pretty stiff ones at that--for dunking your ball in a pond (Rules of Golf pg 894, sec 3, sub 1 part 5s update 2).

One UK lawmaker even quipped that golf balls are our planet's "signature litter". Well yes, but only for those who can't
"Keep your balls on the fairway or invest in a stock of biodegradable balls."
That vaguely reminds me of an old Johnny Carson joke. Never mind.

Of course this poses yet another problem for the first golfer, who must now bring along an EPA submersible crew to fish out any errant duck hooks or topped slices into the drink lest he be compared to a flat earth believer in a faked moon landing...


Or wait, maybe golf ball decontamination is already in the Stimulus.

Monday, November 09, 2009

Dueling Leaks on Hasan

It seems there are competing anonymous leaks between the major papers and networks on Hasan's communication with radical Imam Aulaqi:
A terrorism expert with access to information about the case cautioned against drawing any conclusions from Hasan's communications with Aulaqi. The expert said it appears that Hasan may have reached out to the cleric as part of academic research he was conducting. The correspondence, he said, is "not a smoking gun, but communications that in hindsight raise some concern."
This morning he was tied to AQ, this evening he was just doing some innocent research. What will tomorrow bring?

While waiting it might be useful not to lose focus on the act itself, which bin Laden would/will surely praise highly just as did Aulaqi. Ironically, for years experts warned that al Qaeda had become fragmented into small cells worldwide, many acting without top down direction whatsoever and in many ways just as dangerous. Now experts are telling folks not to worry because Hasan was not connected to anyone.

MORE 11/10/09

It's a day of mourning (Obama's speech was good, btw) but not sure how today is much different than any other bad KIA episode on the front lines largely ignored by the political sea. Hopefully the departed have found the peace that exists beyond our troubled world.

Meanwhile the troubled world takes no breaks:
"I have been told that the individual who had been perhaps even encouraging the major in these violent acts, had previously had contact with three of the terrorists that were involved in the 9/11 attacks, so this may be a widening story, and the major may well have been in touch with those who were known terrorists, and if that is the case, this really opens up this situation to the fact that we need to be very very careful in the future, and we need to perhaps pay more attention to any red flags that may come to our attention."
The only difference is this one wasn't anonymous--it was attributed directly to Mueller, ironically coming the day after Obama told Jake Tapper he was reserving judgment.

FOREST/TREES 11/10/09

Debbie at RT has a link to an Adam Gadahn propaganda tape made in 2006 urging Muslims to attack Marines at Camp Pendleton in retaliation for US actions in Iraq. Which made the light go off in my head.

They say this isn't technically terrorism? Obama says maybe he might have just 'cracked'? Go back and think of some of the biggest attacks prior to 9/11-- we had the bomb at a US barracks in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia in 1995; the Khobar Towers attack in 1996, once again against a US military barracks in Saudi Arabia; and the USS Cole bombing in 2000. The African Embassy attacks were against representatives of the US Government.

Add the fragging in Kuwait after the Iraq war began and there's a fairly uniform pattern of radical Muslims engaging in what they might call a defense of Islam by attacking military and government targets. Once again the public is shocked that it could have occurred here but it's simply part of the ongoing war they've been waging since our troops set foot on Saudi soil in 1990.

Sunday, November 08, 2009

BIF, Hasan, Hassan and Other Strange Things..

The evidence is coming in to suggest that Malik Hasan's barbaric actions were not rooted in a terrorist organization, rather, he acted alone. A lone nut.

While the left and some others might want to jump to the conclusion that his actions meant nothing regards the GWoT they should be reminded that Major Hasan's actions fit right in with the 1998 fatwa commandment of Usama bin Laden to kill Americans wherever they are found. This obviously does not require the involvement of others. Many of the US plots uncovered in the last several years seem to be in that vein yet somehow it's not terrorism if it's not connected to the home of terrorism in Pakistan. Seems overly nuanced, but oh well.

Perhaps it was just a coincidence he attended the same mosque as a few of the 9/11 hijackers but it might be prudent to look back over some of the circumstantial dots connecting various and sundry terrorists or suspected terrorists living in the United States and Canada during the past few years.

The case of Dr. Hassan Faraj is interesting. A Syrian, he was once accused by the feds of working with Benevolence International Fund (since closed down by Patrick Fitzgerald) in the Balkans during the 90s and later for vouching for suspected AQ terrorist Amir Abdulrazzak (perhaps Bill Clinton's foray into that region was more than just stopping genocide, eh?). BIF was founded in part by Mohammed Bayazid with help from Enaam Arnaout of Chicago, who reportedly fought with bin Laden against the Soviets and knew the late Mohammed Atef, who was involved in al Qaeda's WMD procurement efforts through his affiliation with Egyptian Islamic Jihad (EIJ) and Zawahiri.

As to Faraj, the feds were also interested in blueprints for the Capital Avenue overpass in Washington, DC found in his residence. He claimed they belonged to his civil engineer brother who had since moved on from his job as a professor at a local university. A related story about these blueprints in "Tollroads News" contains this reference:
In another incident of apparent target casing, on August 20 an associate of the Palestinian terrorist organization Hamas, Ismail Selim Elbarasse and his family were stopped by police after they were observed videotaping vulnerable points in the Chesapeake Bay Bridge.
The story described Elbarasse as an accountant by trade who lived in northern Virginia, a naturalized citizen of Palestinian descent (Hasan was born on American soil but his parents were Palestinian refugees to Jordan). They accused Elbarasse of having ties with HAMAS. Weak spots, bridges--someone could mention Minneapolis but that would represent a most conspiratorial jump to conclusions.

There's even more circumstantial weirdness regarding Faraj. He was in residence at the Lenox Hills hospital in New York in 2001 when the anthrax letter attacks occurred. One of the victims was Kathy Nguyen, an employee of the affiliated Manhattan Eye Ear and Throat Hospital. They explained her exposure as cross-contamination via the mails. Faraj later contributed a paper about this subject published in JAMA.

Interestingly, another medical technician named Nguyen died mysteriously around the same time in another part of the world along with renowned microbiologist Don Wiley here in Memphis, leading to more conspiracies (being that it was Memphis a more likely explanation would be incompetence by the locals).

As to Bayazid's connection, according to the 9/11 Commission report an Iraqi named Mubarak al-Duri was called AQ's top guy for WMD procurement. He had lived in Arizona then moved to Canada, where he was linked to jihadists in Toronto connected to bin Laden and the EIJ. After 9/11 FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force agent Jack Cloonan traveled to the Sudan to interview both al-Duri and Bayazid, who were conveniently there together (this was the only headline). Both were later interviewed by the CIA but apparently remain at large despite their high level status. Why?

As to the Canadian connection, another jihadi who disappeared shortly after 9/11 was Abderraouf Jdey who, like 1993 WTC bomb mixer Abdul Yasin, remains lost. As to the latter, like Hasan he was American-born but his parents hailed from Iraq, where he had duel citizenship. Here's how he explained the reason for the 93 bomb:
The attack was ''revenge for my Palestinian brothers and my brothers in Saudi Arabia,'' Mr. Yasin said.
It will be interesting to hear Hasan's explanation, should he recover and should the public be privy to it.

Clearly, this is rather shadowy, conspiratorial and circumstantial but what jumps out is the relative innocuous public status of some of these people. They are doctors, engineers, cab drivers and other normal people much like the Fort Hood shooter Hasan. Perhaps that's obvious for a sleeper. BIF fundraiser Yusuf Wells allegedly attended a paint ball game in northern Virginia in early 2001:
They call it 'training' and are very serious about it. I knew at least 4 or 5 of them were ex US military, the rest varied.. Many were confused as to why I had been 'trusted' to join the group so quickly, but were comforted after my brief talk. Some offered to help me get presentations on their respective localities."
Paint ball. Just a bunch of guys out having fun in the woods. But "4 or 5 ex-military"? Sounds interesting in light of recent events.

In the end it might add up to a bunch of nothing. The larger message here is undeniable--the enemy is definitely within our borders. The press never played up the story of Ali Mohammed, another Egyptian who was working both sides but mainly the other during the Clinton years. He did a stint in the US Army, even serving at a high level facility at Fort Bragg while helping the rise of AQ. Jamal Khalifa, UBL's late brother-in-law, was arrested in America in 1994 but was allowed to be extradited back to Jordan on other charges and we lost his intelligence. According to Peter Lance it was Deputy Attorney General Jamie Gorelick, one of the 9/11 Report commissioners, who made that call. Khalifa was allegedly another founding member of BIF.

This tangled web, coupled with the fact of government involvement, suggests less an international conspiracy to control the world and more that we got...as the youngsters say..."punked" in our attempts to target and use intelligence assets before 9/11. The reluctance to pursue those gaffes might explain to some degree the lack of sunshine.

MORE 11/9/09

And the jousting begins. The Times story came out yesterday suggesting no links to anyone, now today other sources report a link. The WaPo report had the following generic paragraph:
The FBI investigated Aulaqi nearly a decade ago, after he briefly served as vice president of the U.S. branch of a Yemeni charity that federal prosecutors later described as a front organization used to support al-Qaeda and Osama bin Laden. The FBI learned that he also may have been contacted by a bin Laden "procurement agent," who served as fundraiser for a charity that the Treasury Department designated a bin Laden financier, and said that Aulaqi's group was its Yemeni partner.
That's taken from the 9/11 Commission Report, footnotes, page 534:
The FBI investigated Auluqi in 1999 and 2000 after learning that he may have been contacted by a possible procurement agent for bin Ladin.
The only 'procurement agents' from the report are from the notes on page 538:
Al Qaeda figures at the university or in Tuscon included Mubarak al-Duri, reportedly bin Ladin's principal procurement agent for weapons of mass destruction; Mohammed Bayazid, an al Qaeda arms producer and trainer
Since the WaPo claimed it was the person associated with the charity they are likely talking about Bayazid, who remains free (perhaps until something else happens). Him and al-Duri were in Tuscon when suicide pilot Hani Hanjour arrived there in the early 90s and became radicalized. By the way, compare this quip about Hanjour with Hasan:
As the years rolled by, Hanjour seemed to wear his religion on his sleeve less and less, Yasser felt. He resumed watching television and listening to music and interacted more with his family and others. Hanjour's family occasionally reminded him that he was getting well past the age when Saudi men traditionally started a family. Hanjour responded that he didn't want to get married. He wanted to wait until his life became more stable
Seems to be a common thread involving problems with women with too many of these guys. Hasan is on record of not wanting his photograph taken with a women yet he visited strip bars. Sounds somewhat like a clue based on a known profile.

At any rate, summing it up the mosque leader Hasan apparently tried to contact had allegedly been contacted by Bayazid in the 90s, himself allegedly a founding member of AQ and alleged to be present when AQ tried to purchase uranium. He was later captured in America in 1994 but released for some reason. Maybe he works for us? Otherwise, it's hard to understand why he's still a free man.