Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Weiner, Thomas and a Hack

This whole Weiner thing is pretty much a passing gas cloud in Washington, nevertheless it's significant in pointing out a few things. Yes, there's the old double standard of bad behavior but there's also a timing issue.

According to sources Weiner has been out in front on a campaign to get Justice Clarence Thomas to recuse himself from any future Obamacare challenges in the Supreme Court based on the fact he has a conservative wife who works for a conservative outfit. Lo and behold his financial statement was released Friday evening just as all of this went down. Weiner was apparently unfazed enough by a possible security breach to issue a statement on Thomas today:
Democratic Representative Anthony Weiner of New York issued a statement outlining the accusations. “We knew that Justice Thomas’ family had a financial stake in opposing healthcare reform. Now we know even more. It’s pretty clear the justice has one option here: recusal.”

Weiner also cites Justice Thomas’ income from the Heritage Foundation as enough proof that he is unable to participate in the case regarding the healthcare law.
In other words, Weiner is the Dems' assigned attack weiner dog on the Thomas issue. But that makes the Friday night event all the more puzzling. Why would he want to torpedo all his work at a critical moment with a silly 'stunt'? It leads more towards a conservative dirty trick, and let's face it, Breitbart might not be as partisan as the NY Times but he's fairly partisan and doesn't have the most pristine reputation.

But that doesn't explain Weiner's curious reactions. If he didn't tweet link his underwear boner to a 21 yr old girl--that he was following for some reason--why would be refuse to answer any questions about it? Why secure a lawyer without going to the police? Could it be that he knows he's got friends in low places who'll spare no ink to explain away any embarrassing facts, including the fact that this same kind of nonsense once produced a special election in NY 26, a heavily conservative district the Democrats just won?

MORE 5/31/11

This should give everyone more faith in our major media..



Behold--actual journalists! Good job. And they got a big goose egg for an answer, which in Washington speak is never good for the politico.

MORE 6/1/11

You know it's a slow news week when the media is talking about Palin disrespecting the flag by showing one on the side of her bus and Anthony Weiner's weiner. But onward we press..

Weiner is now flip-flopping from yesterday and answering the question of whether he sent the twit pic--no. Yesterday he called a CNN reporter a "jackass" for even asking, now he's making jokes. Clearly someone has had a talk with him. Probably the internet security lawyers he hired. Maybe they also figured out that a picture could be tweeted out without his permission if a hacker got access to his yfrog address.

Meanwhile, he's still playing major league possum on the question of whether the picture is of him or not:
"I can tell you this, that there are -- I have photographs. I don't know what photographs are out there in the world of me. I don't know what have been manipulated and doctored and we're going to try to find out what happened.
Geez, how many junk photos does he have out there? By the way, just getting access to his yfrog account is not enough--the hacker would also have to have a picture of him to 'drop'. This might explain why Weiner is being so vague on the issue; if such a thing were impossible Weiner would be screaming it from the rooftops but instead he's dancing around like a marionette. He's trying to keep the notion of a prank alive by saying there might be numerous Weinerbonershots out there to 'drop' into his account.

In other words, had he never created a Boehner shot a hacker would need to create one from scratch, which could mean there's something on the photograph in question that could attach to him (sorry, can't help it). He also surely has to know that if a real internet security investigation was to be done they would simply contact Imageshack (yfrog) and ask whether there was any foreign IP access to his account on the day in question, same for Twitter. If not, his account was not hacked and HE sent the pic.

Another question is why he won't even begin to answer the question of why he was following these young girls at all, which could be the real reason he's dancing even if he didn't send the pic--he has no viable explanation for his better half. If there's ANY tragedy in this event it's probably that.

A bigger question is how long the MSM will remain interested. After some early lethargy and friendly explanations they've done their jobs rather well the last two days, but they are still not asking all the right questions yet. But partisan or not they really hate being lied to, so the dice roll here says they will keep going.

PRANK, NOT A HACK? 6/2/11

Maybe the Chinese were just running a prank:
Mrs. Clinton characterized the charges as “very serious” and said that the Obama administration was disturbed by the charges of the attacks, aimed at stealing the passwords and monitoring the e-mail of several hundred people, including senior government officials in the United States, Chinese political activists, officials in several Asian countries, military personnel and journalists.

“We are obviously very concerned about Google’s announcement,” Mrs. Clinton said. “These allegations are very serious, we take them seriously, we’re looking into them.”
How is Weiner going to know if the Chinese were involved in his 'prank hack' unless he permits an investigation?

Monday, May 30, 2011

Memorial Day


Saying thank you is good but doing more is better. Click on pic for info on the Wounded Warriors Project (just to name one).

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Revenge of the Shadows

Amongst the steady stream of dead bin Laden stories comes one today from the AP detailing the secret lives of two CIA operatives killed in the African Embassy bombings in Kenya in 1998:
For a small cadre of CIA veterans, the death of Osama bin Laden was more than just a national moment of relief and closure. It was also a measure of payback, a settling of a score for a pair of deaths, the details of which have remained a secret for 13 years.

Tom Shah and Molly Huckaby Hardy were among the 44 U.S. Embassy employees killed when a truck bomb exploded outside the embassy compound in Kenya in 1998. Though it has never been publicly acknowledged, the two were working undercover for the CIA. In al-Qaida's war on the United States, they are believed to be the first CIA casualties.
Since everyone knows that clandestine CIA officers are usually called "State Dept employees" when posted overseas this story isn't giving away anything, nevertheless it still has an unseemly feel about it. Bin Laden was no dummy--the story claims he was aware the embassy in Nairobi was a CIA hub, evidently a reason he chose it..
Bin Laden said the embassy in Nairobi was targeted because it was a major CIA station. He died never knowing that he had killed two CIA officers there.
He also knew the CIA would never publicly acknowledge the deaths of any agents under cover of the State Dept, so he likely assumed he'd killed a number of agents. After all, as some on the left proclaimed while Bush was in office, bin Laden had a history with the CIA dating back to the Soviet jihad in the 80s. He was practically on the payroll. Granted, such speculation has now died off in the clamor to give Obama full credit for killing the bogeyman but for some, things will never change.

The story goes on to say that Shah was working a sensitive mission before he was murdered by AQ--facilitating the defection of a "senior Iraqi official":
In 1997, he was dispatched to headquarters as part of the Iraq Operations Group, the CIA team that ran spying campaigns against Saddam Hussein's regime. Around that time, the CIA became convinced that a senior Iraqi official was willing to provide intelligence in exchange for a new life in America. Before the U.S. could make that deal, it had to be sure the information was credible and the would-be defector wasn't really a double agent. But even talking to him was a risky move. If a meeting with the CIA was discovered, the Iraqi would be killed for sure.
The CIA followed up and got the Iraqi defected, his information deemed 'extremely valuable'. And just what would that have been? That Saddam had no WMDs? That he DID have programs? That he worked for Halliburton or George Bush? Will anyone bother to ask about this defector or will it get swept away under the fog of the next bin Laden/gutsy call release? Or did they merely want people to guess?

Keep in mind the Nairobi bombing was in 1998. Clinton responded in part by bombing the aspirin factory in Khartoum, suspecting it was a joint bin Laden-Iraqi venture making VX nerve gas. Many Clinton officials have never come down off that assessment but then again, the mainstream media by and large hasn't had enough curiosity to ask them much about it.

Ironically, the CIA also had a history in Iraq:
When Saddam Hussein captured Erbil in September 1996, he also collapsed the CIA operations headquartered in the city of Salahuddin. The CIA effort was carried out by collaborating with such Iraqi opposition groups as the Iraqi National Congress (INC) in Erbil, and later the Iraqi National Accord headquartered in Amman, Jordan.
So perhaps the question is whether the deaths of these heroic shadow warriors might have also been avenged of sorts by Saddam dangling at the end of his rope.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Side Tracks



Kind of has a feel of summer, and with 90s in the forecast for the next five days in Memphis, it's summer.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Aviation Update

The preliminary report on Air France 447 is out and it seems to confirm a stall due to frozen pitot tubes as the aircraft traversed the tops of thunderstorms for long distances at altitude. Many were leaning this direction, as evidenced here. One thing's for sure--it wasn't terrorism or they wouldn't have released all this stuff; the BEA has been sitting on several other crashes for awhile without any reports or conclusions, such as Afriqiyah Airways 771, Yemenia 626, and Ethiopian 409.

While high altitude pitot tube icing is a known hazard, especially in the tropics, it's not something that gets a lot of attention in safety seminars. Icing causing autopilots to disengage has long been a known problem that quite often produces disastrous results, such as in the Roselawn crash, but people tend to think of the phenomenon as more of a mid-low level hazard, not something present at 35,000 feet where temperatures are almost always too cold for icing.

According to earlier speculation from structural experts the tail fin, found floating in the water, was likely ripped from the fuselage at impact and not by aerodynamic forces produced by the 10,000 fpm fall or pilot input during turbulence (which the report suggests they were dealing with before the trouble began). Airbus has had issues with tail fins and rudders before so we'll see if this conclusion is supported in the final report due out this summer.

All in all though a grisly initial finding and one that seems to suggest it didn't have to happen, for a number of reasons, the most prominent being their decision to fly into a thunderstorm in the first place.

So, which one is BS?

Here's CNN reporting on a leak from government sources regarding bin Laden considering a deal with Pockeston:
Osama bin Laden considered seeking a deal with Pakistan under which al Qaeda leaders in the country would be protected and, in return, al Qaeda would refrain from attacking Pakistan, a U.S. official told CNN Friday.
Has AQ ever actually attacked Pakistan? Anyway, sounds almost like the deal UBL offered Saddam years ago, which was poo-poo'd by many on the left (along with other stuff). But it also strongly suggests a scenario where bin Laden and Pakistan were enemies, which would mean he was indeed hiding in plain sight right under their noses. Imagine him contacting Islamabad for a meeting- "by the way brothers, I'm just right up the road. Go almost til you get to your military academy and turn right".

Meanwhile, here's Bill Roggio reporting on Pakistan's military:
The leader of a terrorist alliance that operates in Kashmir and includes groups such as Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Mohammed said the Pakistani military allows it to operate freely and run hundreds of training camps.

Syed Salahuddin, the leader of the Hizbul Mujahideen, admitted that the Pakistani military permits his fighters to move freely and run training camps in the region.

"Our mujahideen can come and go at their own will," Salahuddin told a local news agency, according to The Times of India. "There is no question that the army can stop us."

"And we have hundreds of training camps in the state where we recruit and train the mujahideen," Salahuddin continued. He did not say if the camps were located inside Pakistan or in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.
Or in other words, the military is either supporting terrorists or too afraid to confront them, or this story is BS. If they are too afraid to confront them why would bin Laden need a non-aggression pact? If they are supporting terrorist groups why would bin Laden need a non-aggression pact?

Perhaps Occam's Razor could help. Let's see, Bin Laden, hiding in plain sight in the garrison town of the Pakistani military for years, is said to have been totally invisible to all the military folks there yet the US was afraid to inform the Pakistani government about the raid for fear he would be tipped off by the Pakistanis. In other words, this can only mean the US Govt believed somebody in their government knew where he was. Sounds like he already had a non-aggression pact.

Now we are being told the Pakistani military supports terrorists and allows training camps to exist, which really shouldn't be surprising since they essentially created the Taliban. At the same time our government keeps telling us that Pakistan remains an important ally in the GWoT and actually helped us get bin Laden through all their great cooperation. So which story is BS? If you know please let the rest of us know.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Falling for the Birth Certificate Again?

It's understandable why Jerome Corsi and WND would try to keep the birther story alive--book sales and page hits. Most everyone else has moved on except a few who've taken a closer look at the document on the White House web site and determined that hey, there may be some splainin' to do. The electronic version has layers...



When the BC document was released the official explanation from Hawaii was that the Obama administration had requested special permission to obtain a copy of the original BC (which was impossible only days before) and dispatched a staffer to Hawaii to pick up the copies and pay the fee. This form was subsequently copied and distributed to the press with an electronic copy placed on the White House web site. We were led to believe this document was purportedly a scan of the actual paper copy purchased in Hawaii.

So who made the copy with layers?

Corsi et al believe it's part of the secret Kenyan birth cover-up of course. Noted 9/11 truther Alex Jones has joined the fray by discussing this on his radio show with Corsi, who now claims The Donald recently called and pumped him for information. In other words, maybe Trump was really a Democrat operating under deep cover as a cat's paw for Obama by bringing up the issue. Or maybe he was just shilling for his boss at NBC, owned by GE. That would be a whole new level of sleaze for him, if so.

It's hard to blame the Hawaiians since their official site says they made copies and handed them to the Obama staffer. There was no mention of an electronic file being passed. Which would be suspicious anyway.

Was it the press? Not according to this guy. The AP was handed a copy and scanned it, and ergo, it doesn't have layers. So it was most likely a person in the administration. But why?

Maybe the copied document was hard to read. Maybe a White House IT person tried to avoid more conspiracies by 'cleaning up' the form in Adobe so the data was unambiguous. Of course they should have explained such a thing with the release, although it's understandable why they wouldn't. Besides, they knew anyone who further challenged the document would immediately be called a Fruit Loop racist, so maybe it didn't matter.

After all, if a document expert could determine the layers issue almost immediately the White House surely knew their 'clean up' would be discovered, causing more controversy. Which brings us the most likely explanation--the President of the United States authorized his staff to release a tampered document he knew would keep the birther flame going for the purposes of keeping the birther flame going. One never knows when one might need a convenient political tool or distraction.

Remember, Obama (or was it Ayers?) told us in "Dreams" that he had seen his own birth certificate, so he may still have it at home. Former Health Director Chiyome Fukina told Michael Isikoff she had also seen the form and it was 'half typed, half handwritten'. Were they removing or cleaning up the 'handwritten' part without changing anything? Or is the whole thing just a misunderstanding?

Whatever the case, Corsi and anyone on his bandwagon are possibly setting themselves up for yet another huge embarrassment if Obama indeed has another Trump card up his sleeve. No, that would not be very presidential but hey- he's a tough skinny kid from Chicago and dreams are on the line.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Cain's Blunder

Herman Cain during a speech:



That's from the Declaration, of course. So he made a little boo-boo. The point was good, though.

Then again our current occupant has had his own troubles...as pointed out by the Gateway Pundit last year.

Then there was this..



And he's supposed to be the constitutional law professor.

But there's a larger point. Think Progress, the source of the Cain video, is all over him for the gaffe in a way suggesting he might be pretty stupid. But based on what we've witnessed these last three years against anyone who has criticized Obama, isn't such criticism of Cain also racist by default?

Monday, May 23, 2011

Picture of the Day

During a stopover at a pub while visiting his ancestral home (on the honky side) in Ireland president Obama wolfs down a pint of 30 weight motor oil taken from the Gulf of Mexico during a toast to BP. The patrons all agreed it was pretty gutsy. The president was ahead of schedule on his European trip, again being chased by a menacing volcanic ash cloud.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

FBI Director Follies

Obama's recent announcement about asking Congress to keep FBI Director Robert Mueller on position two more years beyond his current appointment has caused nary a ripple:
President Obama, seeking some stability in the reshuffling of his national security team, has asked Congress to allow FBI Director Robert Mueller to remain at the bureau for two more years, beyond a 10-year term that expires in September.

"Given the ongoing threat facing the United States, as well as the leadership transitions at other agencies (Defense Department and CIA), I believe continuity and stability at the FBI is critical at this time," Obama said Thursday.
The request is a bit strange but few are going to seriously question it especially when the given rationale is national security. But just a short few weeks ago media types were happily discussing the likely candidates to succeed Mueller, including this story from April 27th:
FBI Director Robert Mueller III’s 10-year term is up in September, and it’s about time for President Barack Obama to be announcing a nominee. Here is Main Justice’s look at the possible contenders:
Their top list included quite a few potentially controversial picks, such as....
  • John Pistole, head of TSA
  • Michael Mason, a former deputy director but also a man of color--Holder would be his boss
  • Fran Townsend, a former Bush appointee, and a woman..
  • Patrick Fitzgerald, involved in a lot of cases, such as Scooter Libby and Rod Blagojevich.
  • James Comey, the assistant to John Ashcroft who once refused to reauthorize the 'program' while Ashcroft lay sick in a hospital bed;
  • Michael Garcia, a former Bush official and a Hispanic;
  • Jamie Gorelick, perhaps the most controversial pick possible for so many reasons;
  • Mary Jo White, the SDNY AUSA who was there for all the terror trials of the 90s under Clinton;
  • ..and a guy who used to work for Biden.
That's almost all of them. And almost all of them are controversial. So a cynic might decide that Obama didn't want to pull the trigger before the election due to the political fallout but at the same time didn't want to choose someone more hawkish to appeal to moderates and be stuck with him/her for 10 years. After all, there will be much spreading of wealth and battles with capitalism in the second term. So voila--just extend Mueller beyond the election and pick someone more friendly after the big party, no need to worry about controversy then.

At the same time, Senators like Grassley realize that if Obama loses in 2012--before choosing a permanent successor--the new GOP president will get to appoint someone of their choice who could remain in place for up to 10 years. So it's a win-win for the politicos.

For the rest of us it seems to point out once again that in Washington anything is possible, and the rules are made for the rubes.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Side Tracks

Springing Somewhere

In Obama's recent Bushian-like Cairo II speech (around 28:30) he praised the free speech springing forward from the Arab Spring and vowed to support it even when America doesn't agree with what's being said. He's correct*--already the new freedom in Egypt has allowed heretofore unthinkable scenarios:
Abdel Rahman spoke this week to CNN while attending a protest outside the U.S. Embassy in Cairo. That in itself would have been unthinkable just a few months ago, when Hosni Mubarak was still president of Egypt. No leading Salafist Muslim fundamentalist would have dared attend a public demonstration near one of the country's most closely guarded compounds.

Known among Egypt's jihadist community as the "Lion of Allah," Abdel Rahman is the son of Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman, who is serving a life sentence in the United States after being convicted of conspiracy following the first bombing of the World Trade Center in 1993. He was at the U.S. Embassy demanding his ailing father's release.
For those still scratching their heads, feel free to read about the "Blind Sheikh". Yet there was his son, standing in the street outside the US Embassy in Cairo, demanding that his terrorist father be sent home. Not only that, but doing an interview with a CNN reporter lamenting on the last time he saw the new interim leader of al-Qaeda, Saif al-Adel:
Abdel Rahman told CNN he thinks al-Adl has four children with a woman he married in Kabul. He said he last saw him in 2002 in Pakistan before al-Adl made his way to Iran.

"We played football with a group of fellow jihadists, then had lunch before I left," Abdel Rahman said. "He was a really good football player, sharp and fast.
Or in other words, openly admitting he was a jihadist in Afghanistan who fought against our forces after 9/11. Some might call him an enemy combatant but he's now part of the Arab Spring where everything is sweetness and light, even when it's in darkness.

As to al-Adel, Thomas Joscelyn adds the following:
Throughout 2002 and 2003, the CIA collected disturbing intelligence on al Qaeda's pursuit of lethal weapons while holed up inside Iran. In his autobiography, At the Center of the Storm, former Director of Central Intelligence George Tenet writes:

From the end of 2002 to the spring of 2003, we received a stream of reliable reporting that the senior al Qaeda leadership in Saudi Arabia was negotiating for the purchase of three Russian nuclear devices. Saudi al Qaeda chief Abu Bakr relayed the offer directly to the al Qaeda leadership in Iran, where Saif al Adel and Abdel al Aziz al Masri (described as al Qaeda's "nuclear chief" by Khalid Sheikh Mohammed) were reportedly being held under a loose form of house arrest by the Iranian regime.

Al Adel told Abu Bakr "that no price was too high to pay if they could get their hands on such weapons," according to Tenet. But al Adel "cautioned" against "scams," saying that "Pakistani specialists should be brought to Saudi Arabia to inspect the merchandise prior to purchase."

It is not clear if these were real nuclear devices, or black market knock-offs. Needless to say, however, al Adel's "house arrest" obviously was not too stringent if he was allowed to discuss the acquisition of the world's most dangerous weapons. Tenet says that the CIA passed information about these activities "to the Iranians in the hope that they would recognize our common interest in preventing any attack against US interests."

The message was clear: America was watching the al Qaeda network inside Iran closely.
Sounds like a possible game-changer. If nothing else, certainly a reminder of the lingering threat present without UBL around anymore. BTW, Joscelyn mentioned the elusive Ali Mohammed, heretofore the largest enigma in the GWoT. He's so elusive that even Wiki Leaks hasn't found him yet.

* - unless it involves opinions from Fox News, bloggers, or mainstream print or TV reporters who criticize the administration.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

The Jackal Weighs In

Carlos the Jackal, that is:
In the interview with Swedish national television, the Venezuelan terrorist said the former al-Qaida leader will still be remembered in 100 years’ time because “of what he has done, the example he gave.”
The full interview is tonight. In the meantime some bits of historical background:
Arrested in Sudan in 1994 and flown to France, he is now serving a life sentence in the Clairvaux Prison for the murder of two French agents of the DST (counter-intelligence) and an alleged informant.[2] In 2001, he married his lawyer in a Muslim ceremony. Carlos advocates radical Islamism in his book Revolutionary Islam, which expresses support for the terrorist attacks of Osama bin Laden as well as Saddam Hussein for resisting the United States.
If it seems strange he would tie communism, Islamism, and pan Arabism together then you've overlooked their similarities--a totalitarian command-style government that opposes the west.

For the record, former Arab terrorist Mohammed Rashid of the 15 May Organization (currently serving time in a US prison for placing a seat bomb on a Pan Am 747 in 1982) was married to a woman named Christine Pinter, whom he met as a terrorist intern with the German-based Baader-Meinhof Gang. As the Arabs (and some liberals) say, the enemy of my enemy is my friend.

So there's no surprise Carlos was rumored to be a KGB agent (due to support from a few Eastern Bloc countries) while simultaneously intermingling with Arab terrorists, only to later praise religious revolutionaries such as bin Laden and pan-Arabists like Saddam. It's all about the struggle--white man's greed in a world of need--and the Jews are the most evil of that lot. Such is why Hugo Chavez defends the Jackal--all revolutionaries love the Palestinian cause.

It gets interesting when considering our current president and the misdirection on Bill Ayers alongside current and past events; feel free to connect your own dots there.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Did Hillary Know Something?

Remember this?
VAN SUSTEREN: You said some elements of the Pakistani government know where Usama bin Laden is?

CLINTON: I believe that.

VAN SUSTEREN: Why do you believe that?

CLINTON: I think that's because if I put myself into a position of leadership in our own government, and if there were a terrorist network operating somewhere, even in the most remote place in the United States, some sheriff, some local state policeman, somebody in our collective government would probably know that there was something suspicious going on.

So that's why I assume somebody, somebody in this government, from top to bottom, does know where bin Laden is. And I'd like to know too.

VAN SUSTEREN: Can't we leverage our money or anything to get that information? He's 6'5, not easy to hide.

CLINTON: We are leveraging it.

VAN SUSTEREN: Are we getting closer?

CLINTON: I don't want to put a proximity or timeline on it. As I've said, we have gotten closer because we have been able to kill a number of their trainers, their operational people, their financiers. We've been able to do that, so in that sense we've gotten closer. But I won't be satisfied until we get it done.
The interview was in July 2010, only a month before the dead bin Laden timeline says the CIA first came to Obama with the intel on Abbottobad. Was Hillary dropping a veiled threat on the order of "we are know he's there and we're tired of this double game and if you don't give him up we might just come grab him"? Did someone in the Pakistani government crack, or did we just call their bluff? Guess we'll have to wait for the book.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

AQ Today

The organization announced some housekeeping moves today:
The sources said Adnan al-Kashri had been made in-charge of the general information affairs. Muhammad Nasir al-Washi Abu Nasir has been made in-charge of al-Qaeda Africa affairs, while Muhammad Adam Khan Afghani has been appointed as in-charge of Afghanistan-Waziristan affairs. The sources said Fahad al-Qava had been appointed as the Urgent Operational Commander. The command of al-Qaeda has now been transferred to Egyptians. None of sons of Osama Bin Laden has shown willingness to join any post in the al-Qaeda.
Gee, wonder if their staff meetings are as boring as the ones many of us have to attend? "Mahmoud" how many times do we have to tell you to turn off the Zune during Shura meetings!?"

Anyway, the appointment of al-Adel as interim leader is interesting and probably a bluff to keep the pressure off Zawahiri (whom we're told everyone hates), but it does signify an Egyptian tilt to what's left of AQ. It's also odd in that al-Adel has variously been described as either under "house arrest" in Iran or AQ's liaison to Tehran over the past 10 years. Somehow he ended up in Pakistan and is now the leader of AQ. Just remember--these guys are rootless and stateless.

Meanwhile Thomas Joscelyn is asking why--why did the Pockistonis release a jihadist that tipped them to the notorious courier al-Kuwaiti who tipped them to bin Laden..
Why was Hassan Ghul freed? Did US authorities agree that he should be freed (doubtful), or did the Pakistanis unilaterally decide to free him?

Ghul not only provided key information regarding bin Laden's courier, but also gave up information on other al Qaeda operatives. For instance, the leaked Joint Task Force Guantanamo (JTF-GTMO) threat assessment of Ahmed Ghulam Rabbani - a high-level al Qaeda operative who worked for Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and, along with his brother, ran guesthouses in Pakistan where many of the 9/11 hijackers stayed - refers to Ghul. The file lists Ghul as one of several high-level sources who identified Rabbani as a "member of al Qaeda."
While pondering that, ponder this. In Dalton Fury's book "Kill bin Laden" he notes a strange call for a cease-fire by one of General Ali's eastern alliance subordinate commanders just as our Special Forces were making progress pushing AQ troops (and bin Laden) further into the mountains to their Tora Bora deaths, which caused much consternation because it gave them time to regroup. Or perhaps something else. On page 272 he tells of an Afghani fighter who told a strange story:
The Afghan told a dramatic yarn of a helicopter swooping fast and low to land in a small village down in the Wazir Valley. Although the muhj's memory was admittedly hazy, he told Ski the event happened about eight days earlier, and in his opinion the helicopter had belonged to Pakistan. Ski knew for sure it had not been an American helicopter. Could it have picked up a special passenger and whisked him away?
Fury also noted that Gulbuddin Hekmatyar told a Pakistani TV station his guys helped bin Laden and two of his sons escape, for what it's worth, but he left open the question as to whether that helicopter--if it existed--was toting off bin Laden. If Pakistan actually took him into house arrest to protect their investment in the Taliban then Obama's call to pluck him out of Abbottobad and out from under their noses looks even gutsier.

But that's assuming binny hadn't simply outlived his usefulness. Stories of high level talks with the Taliban are now cropping up while AQ refocuses their organization into an Egyptian-centered outfit just as the Muslim Brotherhood rises over Egypt. Our leaving Afghanistan wouldn't be terrible for Pakistan seeing as how they created the Taliban in the first place and they still proudly have nukes thanks to Al Qaeda Khan, which would probably require us to keep some money flowing. And we know how it would be spun for O right before 2012.

Actually, leaving wouldn't be the worst thing in the world so long as Pakistan could be made to understand their exposed coddling of UBL and other terrorists would leave a huge-ass bullseye on them should anything terrible occur after our departure. That is, if we can depend on certain politicians to make and uphold such threats.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Trumped and Done

So Trump is out. A lot of us predicted it (pounds chest). The question is why. Let's go back to some possibilities laid out in a previous post (pounds chest again):
So maybe Trump is trying to deflate this balloon before it becomes the Hindenberg. Only a birther with his status could crack the big media bubble and be given the time to challenge the narrative without being yanked off the set. They all respect his business acumen too much to go nuclear--yet. So maybe the plan is that by making this an issue now (where was he a few years ago, for instance) it could force Obama to play his own 'trump card' too early--in response to his persistence and threats--thereby removing it from play when the real war begins.

Otherwise, we're left to believe the absurd--that he's really running and is simply rich and powerful enough to get away with challenging the first black president's bona fides, which propels him to the top of the pack. In this day and age that could be called courage--unless of course he's acting for the Democrats under deep cover....
So far all we know is that he's not running and the birther card can no longer be played on legitimate GOP candidates. His cred it trashed, but being a true carnival barker his care-less audience won't hold it against him so long as he goes back to being the Donald, TV CEO.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Speaking of HVTs

This guy is prominently displayed on the Rewards for Justice list. There's even a special audio alert included with his profile.









Yet few here in America have ever heard of him:
Believed to be a master bomb maker and one-time leader of the "15 May" terrorist group, al-Umari also has been indicted by the Government of France for his role in the 1985 bombing of the Marks and Spencer Department store in Paris and the Leumi Bank.

Al-Umari may possess a passport from Lebanon, where his wife reportedly lives. He is the father of two sons and two daughters. He lived for several years in Iraq. While his current whereabouts are unknown, it is possible that he is residing in Lebanon or Iraq. He reportedly travels at all times with a firearm and should be considered armed and dangerous.
The 15 May Organization was formed in late 70s as a Palestinian offshoot of the PLFP. Abu Ibrahim was al-Umari's prime nom de guerre. He was an early inventor of the seat bomb used on airliners, which probably inspired later bombers such as Ramzi Yousef.

He was also behind a much bigger plot than Pan Am 830 as the NY Times described shortly after TWA 800 crashed:
The era of terrorist bomb attacks on airplanes is generally acknowledged to have begun on Aug. 11, 1982, when an explosion went off aboard a Pan Am jet en route to Honolulu from Tokyo. A 16-year-old Japanese boy was blown from his seat and bled to death before the pilots could land the Boeing 747.

Two weeks later, a bomb was discovered inside a small vinyl bag aboard another Pan Am jet. It did not explode and was found after the plane landed in Rio de Janeiro on a flight from Miami.

Comparing the devices, the F.B.I. found that the same plastic explosive, containing PETN -- the same substance found on wreckage from Flight 800 -- was used in both bombs. Federal officers also found that wiring from the unexploded bomb matched a hair-thin sliver retrieved from the body of the young victim, Toru Ozawa. In the following weeks, an informer helped the F.B.I. track down 12 more unexploded bombs aimed at Western interests. Similarities between the explosives and timers led authorities to conclude that the bombs were made by the same person or organization.
Emphasis to point out a similarity to the infamous Operation Bojinka that came later in the mid 90s, which KSM played a major planning role. But al-Umari hasn't been linked to any terrorist acts since the 80s, so why is the RFJ elevating this 70+ year old so prominently? After all, his history sounds a bit inconvenient:
Location/Area of Operation: Baghdad until 1984. Before disbanding, operated in Middle East, Europe, and East Asia, Abu Ibrahim is reportedly in Iraq.
Today is the anniversary of the first attack against the new Israel, which declared independence on May 14, 1948--the reason his murderous organization is called 15 May. Bin Laden issued a tape last year mentioning Israel and threatening us if we executed KSM, and reportedly his next to last tape also mentioned Israel. Ibrahim is from the territories; he worked under the blessing of Saddam probably from Baghdad, and Saddam had a long history working with the PLO (as did Gaddafi). Might perhaps one of the newly acquired thumb drives found in bin Laden's hideout contain anything about al-Umari? And if so, exactly what kind of dot-connection would that represent?

Hail to the Chief

Re the president's visit to Memphis and the way our local paper is covering it:
In explaining why Booker T. Washington High School won the Race To The Top challenge to earn its commencement speech Monday from President Barack Obama, the White House cited statistics of various school achievements.

But anyone who watched the videos submitted by finalists could see elements in BTW's entry that numbers cannot measure -- passion, motivation and, quite clearly, an enthusiasm for Obama.
Surely a little buttery praise always helps, but there's also an historic flood going on in the region.
"He is coming into a community that is proud of his achievements and appreciative of his hard work," Hutchinson said.
It's understandable why communities who supported him at a rate of 99-1 over McCain are supportive of his hard work and achievements, but is he saying they are the only ones?
"He's an iconic figure in American history and an iconic figure in the African-American community," said Cohen, who often refers to the Obama family as the "Kennedys" of the 21st century. "His popularity is unsurpassed."
The Obamas are the new Kennedys? Sounds like a slam considering the notorious party lifestyles of Jack and Teddy compared to the solid family life of the president.
"I do think it's important to say that if this had been a George Bush commencement address, they would have fought just as hard to get it and be just as proud," Hart said. "But it is hard to ignore the historical significance -- the first African-American president coming to the first black high school in this city."
A little honesty never hurts. Of course this is more important than a Bush or even a Kerry visit. Racial pride is OK. Despite all the criticisms there's no denying that Obama is certainly an inspiration to many people who are now proud of their country for the first time.

Whether that same misty inspiration would have been there had the first black president been someone like Condi Rice is unknowable, but we'd like to think they'd have been just as proud and that the local paper would have written their story the same way.

MORE 5/15/11

This, on the other hand, is a much better effort.

Friday, May 13, 2011

If...

...the bin Laden porn stash story is true (and that's impossible to say since dead men tell no tales) then it would explain a lot about radical Islam. The entire structure of AQ and jihad seems to be built around sexual frustration.

Think about it-- the Taliban cuts off the head of a woman because she was unfaithful; Iran stones homosexuals and harasses women if they show any hair; Atta and some of the other 9/11 hijackers went to strip clubs, as did Major Hasan, as did Yousef and KSM back in the day; suicide bombers are almost always lonesome losers and are enticed to blow stuff up with the promise of 72 virgins; Most of Arabia places women in a box so tight that in Saudi they can't even drive. Men aren't even supposed to shake hands with women. And the concept of Muta--temporary marriages so men can essentially engage in one-night stands and keep in good standing with Allah, is still practiced even if the book doesn't really condone it.

The struggle between man, woman and lust goes back to the garden and Eve. Radical Islam's way of dealing with it is to just keep the chicks down, but UBL's long struggle has produced very little aside from senseless deaths over the past 20 years. He died a little worm of a middle aged troll, planning horrible things for innocent people when not flipping channels watching his own tapes and perhaps some porn while living with three wives. So if the great struggle is defined by his way versus creations like Lady Gaga or NOW, the west still wins by a nose.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Crest

Just a few snapshots from the Memphis riverfront at crest..
Looking south over Tom Lee park, which is partially under water.


Looking north towards Mud Island..

This is along interstate 40 several miles west of Memphis..

The long thin line in the background is a railroad trestle. It's up to it's limit..

In West Memphis warning of workers ahead.. apparently frogmen.

The power of nature is truly awesome, as was the authorities' ability to predict the crest. Now the slow fall begins here and the concern moves downstream.

By the way, the mayor wants everyone to know that most of Memphis is open for business. The founders of this city weren't dummies, they built most of the city along a bluff that's well higher than river level. The only areas flooding are directly beside the river and along some of the tributaries, but the flooding doesn't extend very fall inland in this area. Of course that's no consolation for anyone who has lost their home. What's amazing is that in 1937, the last time the water was this high, 500 people died.

Sunday, May 08, 2011

And a few more on UBL

Some on the Bilderberger circuit are making a deal out of the fact that bin Laden actually looked older around 2001 than he did in his 2007 video (the US Govt outtakes were apparently dated to that video).

Obviously he died--the beard, and trimmed it for the 2007 video. It was back to gray for the channel flipping video. These home movies were designed to leave the impression that he was one vain sucker but of course that's why we want everyone to think. But maybe there's more.

For instance, with binny now swimming with the fishes there's lot of speculation on whether Ayman Zawahiri will take the helm of AQ. But any story of that nature also comes with a caveat--everyone in AQ seems to hate Zawahiri. Now, it's doubtful that everyone hates him, more likely he's just not as charismatic as was UBL so by comparison he comes off as a stiff. He's also several years older. That may be the bigger problem.

The "Arab Spring" revolutionary movement is being driven by the younger folks, the "Facebook" crowd. They didn't even want elBaradei leading them. Even before that the Bush-spurred Cedar Revolution was dominated by youngsters--remember the "protest babes". Yet Zawahiri is the very personification of old fart.

This might explain why UBL trimmed the beard and died it and in recent years had been talking about things like global warming and sub-prime mortgages. It was a sign of desperation--he was losing the youth vote so he had somebody get him some Just for Men.

__________________

The administration wasn't the only Democrats to hit the Sunday shows for some end-zone dancing. Here's John Friggin Kerry:
“Even in the getting of Osama bin Laden, the Pakistanis were helpful,” Kerry said on CBS’s “Face the Nation.” “We have people on the ground in Pakistan because they allow us to have them. We actually worked with them on certain parts of the intelligence that helped to lead to him.
Yeah, that's what Hillary said--Pakistan cooperated. If they did it means they knew he was there, yet they never tipped him off, right? Perhaps they didn't because they knew the CIA was watching them? Yet we didn't inform them of the raid in advance because we were afraid they would tip him off. Hmm. It's so great they are on our side in this war.

___________________

Speaking of Pakistan, if the hissy fit they are throwing is just an act to cover the cooperation claimed by Kerry and Hillary then perhaps a Bollywood award nomination is in order:
Amid bitter, recriminatory exchanges between the United States and Pakistan over the Osama bin Laden extermination, planned bilateral visits of President Asif Ali Zardari to Washington DC and a return trip of President Barack Obama to Islamabad are both in jeopardy. Ties between the two sides are expected to slide further following Pakistan's "outing" of the CIA station chief in Islamabad on Saturday.

In a sign of how bad ties are between the two countries, Pakistani media on Saturday once again publicly named the CIA station chief in Islamabad, a breach of both protocol and trust, that is bound to enrage Washington.
It's still hard to fully embrace the idea that Islamabad didn't see several helicopters and possibly a drone flying into their airspace (the drone story was included in original reports but became less certain as the narrative evolved). A drone might show up on air traffic radar, flying higher, and would be harder to explain. Unless it was a stealth drone. Or their controllers were asleep on the job like ours!

Pakistan even claimed to have scrambled a couple of F-16s once everyone woke up. Initial stories said they turned back once it was confirmed a US operation was occurring, which didn't sound too good, so the next version said they didn't, just simply got there too late. The Paks then warned us about "disastrous consequences" should we ever steal another harbored enemy leader from their country without permission, which sounds like something bin Laden might say. Confusing. But what's new.

___________________

Finally, about the reported plan to recruit black American converts to Islam to trigger terror attacks in an effort to sow division and a race war. Bin Laden wasn't stupid. The Soviets also had that goal when they were trying to 'bury' us. Even Saddam might have tried it--here's a shameless plug to a previous post about a white supremacist living in Elohim City, Arkansas around the time of the Murrah bombing who was being sent regular checks by the Iraqi Embassy in Washington. They began after he publicly condemned the first Gulf War. Hmmm go the tinfoilers.

MORE 5/9/11

During the campaign Obama said "if we have actionable intelligence on high value targets in Pakistan and Musharraf won't act, we will". He got a fair amount of heat for saying it at the time--mainly from Hillary--but now it's part of his campaign package. But if the London Guardian is correct then it turns out that Bush could have said the same thing:
The deal was struck between the military leader General Pervez Musharraf and President George Bush after Bin Laden escaped US forces in the mountains of Tora Bora in late 2001, according to serving and retired Pakistani and US officials.

Under its terms, Pakistan would allow US forces to conduct a unilateral raid inside Pakistan in search of Bin Laden, his deputy, Ayman al-Zawahiri, and the al-Qaida No3. Afterwards, both sides agreed, Pakistan would vociferously protest the incursion.
One Pakistani official was quoted as saying that the US is simply executing the agreement. It seems to follow that if an agreement was in place then Pakistan was probably more in the loop than WE have indicated (perhaps told we were coming but not where?) making all this bilge from their leadership about "serious consequences" if it occurs again nothing but kabuki.

It also seems to make things on our end a bit less "gutsy", especially the part about how they were worried the Paks might think the Indians were attacking and the scrambled F-16s. And the stealth helicopters. That is, unless all of THIS is disinformation.

ARCHIVES 5/9/11

Here's a juicy post from Hot Air in 2007 featuring two pertinent items-- 1) Bush saying he would authorize an attack into Pakistan if they got a bead on bin Laden whether Musharraf was on board or not (and Musharraf saying he wouldn't like to allow that), and 2) Musharraf admitting that indeed bin Laden may be in Pakistan between Bajour province near the border and the Kunar province of Afghanistan. As can be seen by looking at the map, bin Laden was a heckuva lot closer to the Indian border than the Afghani border:

Of course Musharraf wasn't going to say "well, he might be 40 miles north of the capital" but with these guys all you get is particles of the truth embedded in multiple lies. The point is Bush said the same thing in 2007 that Obama said in 2008. People hammered Bush all the time; they hammered Obama for saying he would 'invade' Pakistan (guilty here) but in reality this was the government's plan all along.

The Spirit of Tuscon

After years of calling right wingers neocon warmongers over the GWoT, with a few even questioning whether bin Laden was being animated by Rove out of the White House basement or Langley, seems to be a bit of primal screaming coming from the port side of late. And it ain't all about bin Laden. The exuberance seems to be spilling over like a Cairo freedom riot into that age-old pastime involving Bush, Hilter, and death.

A few recent examples:
Yes, these are the usual suspects. The broader question is how our victory might be used politically going forward as domestic showdowns loom over the budget and Obamacare. Grayson mentioned the bin Laden raid was on the very same day Bush gave the infamous "Mission Accomplished" speech on the carrier, something derided ad nauseum by the bulk of the left since it occurred in 2003. Coincidence? Or is it racist to ask?

Whatever the case it's nice to know that as Americans we don't spike the football after big victories over dangerous foreign enemies--no sir--we treat the vanquished with respect even if they don't deserve it. As for domestic enemies? Sounds like a little end zone dancing.

As to the trove, more later on bin Laden's plan to use converted black American Muslims to stage terror attacks here in the homeland to sow racial division. First off, it's already happened. Second, it seems to be a reach-out to the white supremacists, something that also might have already happened.

Finally, the newly released bin Laden outtakes seem to leave America's former most trusted newsman Mr. Cronkite as the real fake behind the camera, don't they? Scream out.

Saturday, May 07, 2011

Side Tracks



Perhaps a bit thematic this week..

One More on Bin Laden

One more thought about the video feed. Woodward seems to suggest they saw the take-down, as the White House itself suggested originally. Then Panetta came out with the tape gap story a few days later after the initial explanations were proffered to the press about a "fire fight" that included UBL hiding behind his wife. In other words if the politicians sitting in the room saw the event go down why did they make up stuff?

RELOAD

Whomever is now in control of AQ has taken the predictable next step by suggesting bin Laden really wasn't much of a player anymore--matter of fact Zawahiri's Egyptian clan actually betrayed him (the courier was one of theirs):
Zawahiri's Egyptian ally Saif Al Adel is said to have moved to Pakistan last autumn as Al Qaeda's 'chief of staff' after a period of house arrest in Iran.

With his return, Al Qaeda's Egyptian faction then hatched a plan to dispose of Saudi-born Bin Laden after irresolvable divisions developed between the terrorist group's top two men.
Zawahiri may not be charismatic but he's one ruthless sucker and has a long history of his own, something the public might not fully understand. Saif al Adel, another Egyptian, is also unknown to the public but not to the counter-terror people, and he's still at large. Not to mention Shukrijumah. So the war is far from over. The administration has made a decent effort to remind folks of this but they need to resist the temptation to recreate Bush's photo-op on the carrier. It was more like a major battle won, say D-Day in the GWoT.

After D-Day there was the Bulge. Thomas Joscelyn just reported a few weeks ago that the WikiLeaks document dump from Gitmo contained detainee statements about the 2001 anthrax attack, pointing towards this or that jihadi connected with Zawahiri's Vanguards of Conquest anthrax program. Terrorists are known for taking credit where not due, so possibly it was confusion or disinformation. But certainly the USG knows via KSM that the Egyptian branch were the ones pursuing the WMDs, including the man who facilitated the notorious 2000 'terror summit' at Kuala Lumpur, who is now free:
The 9/11 Commission report also details Sufaat's efforts to make weapons for Al Qaeda. The terror group's leaders sought Hambali's help in finding a scientist to "take over" Al Qaeda's biological-weapons program. Hambali introduced Sufaat to Osama bin Laden's deputy, Ayman al-Zawahiri. In 2001, the report says, Sufaat spent "several months attempting to cultivate anthrax for Al Qaeda in a laboratory" he helped set up near the Kandahar airport in Afghanistan.
Wonder if anyone recorded Sufaat's reaction to the bin Laden news?

Zawahiri once penned that AQ needed control of a state at some point. Having control is quite different than being coddled by a state, which has no doubt happened along the way with AQ (as with all proxy terror outfits). He must be salivating over the chance to gain control in Egypt about now, even if he never lives to see it.

We Know Where He Is?

There's a lot of jive talk on the net about who should get credit for nabbing UBL (besides the actual people who did the nabbing). Much of it is nonsense--Obama gets credit as CIC regardless of how horribly his administration bungled the end zone dance of information after the fact. And yes, Bush gets some too for setting things up. Even if he once said he wasn't concerned about bin Laden anymore. After all, so did Obama. Just words.

The question is whether the Bush folks could have acted but didn't. Harken back to 2005 when Porter Goss was running the CIA... he was asked about bin Laden:
Mr Goss said it was unlikely Bin Laden would be brought to justice until "we strengthen all the links" in the chain in the US-led hunt for terror suspects..."We have to find a way to work in a conventional world in unconventional ways that are acceptable to the international community."

Asked if he had a good idea where Bin Laden is, he said: "I have an excellent idea of where he is. What's the next question?"
No doubt he was talking about Pakistan. But wonder what he meant by 'weak links'? Michael Moore, Judge Napolitano or Rashard Mendenhall would probably see it another way but others more connected to reality would likely figure it had to do with certain deterrents of the nuclear variety in the hands of an Islamic state who've long played a double game.

Since we've now called their bluff a question arises--have those links been strengthened or have we upset the apple cart? Was that why Brennan referred to it as a 'gutsy call' when a chance to grab bin Laden is more an expected call? Is Obama throwing a terrorist Hail Mary (sorry for the religious and pigskin football references) in hopes of taking out AQ once and for all so we can all focus on domestic issues again?

PREVIOUS ADDRESSES-- The NY Times is reporting the following:
Two Pakistani officials with knowledge of the continuing Pakistani investigation say that Bin Laden’s Yemeni wife, one of three wives now in Pakistani custody since the raid on Monday, told investigators that before moving in 2005 to the mansion in Abbottabad where he was eventually killed, Bin Laden had lived with his family for nearly two and a half years in a small village, Chak Shah Mohammad, a little more than a mile southeast of the town of Haripur, on the main Abbottabad highway.

In retrospect, one of the officials said, this means that Bin Laden left Pakistan’s rugged tribal region sometime in 2003 and had been living in northern urban regions since then. American and Pakistani officials had thought for years that ever since Bin Laden disappeared from Tora Bora in Afghanistan, he had been hiding in the tribal regions straddling the Afghanistan-Pakistan border.
In other words, before he lived in his cushy compound in the heart of Pakistani officer country he lived just down the road the two years previous. Somebody had to know this. Did Goss? Chances are he was just guessing and didn't know exactly where he was because if the Bush folks knew they would have probably tried a take down in 2007 or 08 (and nobody on the left would have believed it without pictures). But wait--they did try. Someone most likely tipped off UBL cough Pakistan because the bombers had to overfly their airspace cough, and nobody showed up. Kind of funny--the Pakistanis could have driven down the street and told bin Laden in person, it turns out. Not this time.

Perhaps the bigger catch was the treasure trove since the US couldn't have interrogated a captured bin Laden with anything but reruns of the Love Boat, so the info is likely producing a thrill a minute for the exploitation team about now. And it's a good bet a lot of people are scrambling for cover too (and not just al Qaeda members).

Ironically, Hollywood Bob Woodward has some backstory on finding the magical courier and quotes a US official on where it all began:
“This is where you start the movie about the hunt for bin Laden,”
Well again, go back to Goss' 2005 cryptic comment, did we know but couldn't act? How much did we know? Hell, Bill Clinton tried harder than anyone to catch him, maybe the movie should start there.

BTW, Woodward provides yet another contradiction as to what the participants were so closely watching in the Situation Room:
In the White House Situation Room on Sunday night, the president and his national security team watched a soundless video feed of the raid.

When bin Laden’s corpse was laid out, one of the Navy SEALs was asked to stretch out next to it to compare heights. The SEAL was 6 feet tall. The body was several inches taller.
Hmm, just the other day Leon Panetta said:
"We had some observation of the approach there, but we did not have direct flow of information as to the actual conduct of the operation itself as they were going through the compound."
And people wonder why we can't trust official statements. For the record the picture likely wasn't a fake--it's hard to manufacture those facial expressions--so they're probably trying to pretend they were watching reruns of the Love Boat due to some silly diplomatic or legal reason. Or maybe since most of them are liberals and believe in a law-enforcement approach to terrorism they're afraid of being harassed on the DC cocktail circuit.

MORE 5/7/11

Re Woodward's last book about Obama:
-- The CIA created, controls and pays for a clandestine 3,000-man paramilitary army of local Afghans, known as Counterterrorism Pursuit Teams. Woodward describes these teams as elite, well-trained units that conduct highly sensitive covert operations into Pakistan as part of a stepped-up campaign against al-Qaeda and Afghan Taliban havens there.

-- Obama has kept in place or expanded 14 intelligence orders, known as findings, issued by his predecessor, George W. Bush. The orders provide the legal basis for the CIA's worldwide covert operations.
For the record Seymour Hersch and others didn't like the CPT thing. As to Woodward, he also scribbled that O was demanding an exit plan. Nothing wrong with that, but it goes back to the Hail Mary question. Time is running out before 2012, was that part of the gutsy move?

Thursday, May 05, 2011

River Rise

Here's what the Mississippi at Memphis normally looks like in early summer, looking out towards the south end of Mud Island:

There is a long bank from Riverside Drive to the area where the paddle boats are boarded. Notice the flags on the end of Mud Island.

Here's what it looked like today:

The boats are at street level now.

Here's another shot from the end of Union Avenue as it intersects Riverside drive, which is closed going southward due to water on the road at the Beale Street light..



Water at 45 feet, heading to 48 feet by next week. Speaking of Beale Street, it's well above the flood (in case you have a trip planned soon)..

The good news is that local rivers feeding the Mississippi are down below flood now that the rain has stopped, which has cut in half the number of homes and businesses they expected to be susceptible to flooding. Here's hoping..

Explaining bin Laden

The only bad thing amidst all the euphoria over the United States sending bin Laden to the ugly truth about the virgins has been the way the United States has tried to explain it. For those scoring at home here's the scorecard, and it ain't pretty. Yesterday they threw up their hands and said "that's all folks". Maybe a good decision.

But shutting the door leaves nothing but a shut door. Aside from the hoopla over the bin Laden death photo there's another photograph that WAS released and might need some explaining--the White House Situation Room photo.

Obama is shown still in his golf shirt (and even his golf spikes according to early reports) as if he just arrived from the clubhouse. He looks neither presidential nor happy. He doesn't have a command seat at the big table. Biden actually looks more presidential. Besides, why did he go to the golf course at all knowing the signature raid of his presidency was about to go down that day? Was it just to fool the press or does AQ keep tabs on his tee times? Very strange.

Hillary has a look of anxiety, as if she was watching Godzilla appearing across the wall of the compound. She came out this morning and explained that her hand to mouth was probably just an attempt to suppress an allergic cough. Interesting. That doesn't comport with this description:
"It demonstrates the intensity and emotion for the nation's key leaders, who carry the burden of these decisions," said Juan Zarate, a top White House counterterrorism official under President George W. Bush and now a senior adviser at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. "This was a very risky operation. And the risk is evident in the eyes of the president and the gestures of the secretary of state."
Why would Hillary be trying to undermine that message?

But wait, Leon Panetta is now saying there was a Nixonian-like gap in the video of about 25 minutes. That might explain why they can't just show a snippet of the raid where bin Laden is on tape just before his head gets blown off (making him much less recognizable). Assuming special ops tape can be screen-capped, that would prove we got him and reduce the number of riots on the Muslim street.

So at what point in the raid was the picture taken? Are they inferring the photo was taken during the tape gap; that Hillary was just kind of bored, trying to suppress a sneeze while Obama just ticked because they lost video? And Gates' look of seasoned bemusement was just a testament to the old cliche "close enough for government work"?

The crisis photo matters because it's not only for the American internet audience, it's being seen all over the world (and picked apart by foreign governments). It will be shown for a long time in conjunction with stories about getting the world's top terrorist. Yet all of the above is probably easily explainable--photos only capture a snapshot of time and can often be misleading. Why release this photo and not others?

Combined with the overall messaging failure it certainly smacks of a regime so concerned about exploiting a victory they threw careful analysis out the window in the name of political expediency, which is now coming back to bite them. Granted, other administrations might have done the exact same thing in a short time frame. And this is not to undermine the outcome--a dead bin Laden. But other administrations have never had such genius at the helm.

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Cat in the Bag

It's interesting that the ISI raided the Hotel bin Laden in 2003 looking for KSM's replacement, al Libi. Earlier this year, the ISI raided another house in Abbottobad to grab a notorious Southeast Asian AQ terrorist:
The run of good luck had ended for Umar Patek, an Al Qaeda-linked Indonesian militant who for 10 years had been on the run from a $1 million American bounty on his head, for allegedly helping build the bombs used in the 2002 bombings of nightclubs in Bali that killed 202 people.

Pakistani officials had kept Patek's detention on Jan. 25 secret until two weeks ago, when the Associated Press first revealed word of it. But until now, where or how one of the biggest terror arrests under the Obama administration went down was not publicly known.
Add to that the Wiki Leak document mentioning Abbottobad and it's clearly evident the place was about to get noticed and Obama's decision time was running out. Whether it required blowing off the last nine holes to do so is anyone's guess (accusatory stories without known sources are often slanderous, such as ones mentioning plastic turkeys and GD pieces of paper, so grain of salt warning).

The more interesting thing about the Hotel bin Laden raid might be the treasure trove of intelligence garnered in the sweep. What would happen if something on those files pointed the wrong way, say towards the 1998 indictment the feds now want to quietly retire?

Turning to a trusted source--Wiki Leaks--(presumably unfiltered), how about this nugget from one of the recent Gitmo leaks:
A former Guantanamo detainee “was identified as an Iraqi intelligence officer who relocated to Afghanistan (AF) in 1998 where he served as a senior Taliban Intelligence Directorate officer in Mazar-E-Sharif,” according to a recently leaked assessment written by American intelligence analysts. The former detainee, an Iraqi named Jawad Jabber Sadkhan, “admittedly forged official documents and reportedly provided liaison between the governments of Afghanistan and Iraq.” Sadkhan’s al Qaeda ties reached all the way to Osama bin Laden, according to the intelligence assessment. He reportedly received money from Osama bin Laden both before and after the September 11 attacks.
Similar to other ex Iraqi military officers working with AQ this guy could have dumped Saddam for the cause. Then again maybe not:
An Uzbek named Oybek Jamoldinivich Jabbarov, told authorities that Sadkhan “admitted working as a liaison between [the] Taliban Intelligence Directorate and Iraqi President, Saddam Hussein.” Jabbarov explained that Sadkhan and another Iraqi once held at Guantanamo, Hassan Abdul Said, “traveled between Iraq and Afghanistan ferrying unidentified supplies from Iraq through Iran on multiple occasions.” Sadkhan “would receive money from the Taliban in exchange for these supplies.”
The 9/11 Commission surely couldn't find any of these ties but surely all involved would have gone to great lengths to hide any if they existed. Including a few commissioners, perhaps.

They also couldn't find any overt ties to Iran but hinted that some might have existed. Apparently that 1998 indictment mentioning an arrangement with Tehran wasn't enough to dispose them of their "rootless, stateless" description of AQ. Wonder what they think about bin Laden spending the past 6 years a hop-skip-and an RPG round away from the Pakistani West Point? Does rootless and stateless also include proxy for hire?

Just imagine some sort of state-sponsor ties getting revealed in the UBL trove, especially to Iraq. Wouldn't it spell big trouble for the One going into 2012? Such a cat would be very hard to walk back, seeing as how the same man rose to power largely on the premise that Iraq was a dumb war and later doubled down on that to beat Hillary. He is of course the man in charge of the classification. But he's not in charge of Wiki Leaks. A certain cat might enjoy watching that.