Monday, June 30, 2014

Aviation Update

Back to the MH370 mystery. Some interesting things have tumbled out over the past week or so.

One, a story suggesting that Captain Shah is now the prime suspect.  To support this new claim they reference some files evidently erased from his computer hard drive that showed he practiced landing on a remote island the southern Indian Ocean.  Gee, and after the Malaysians and some media outlets made a point to say the FBI had found "nothing sinister" on his hard drive back in March, which tended to shift focus away from the crew.

The new claim:
Investigators have previously refused to “clear” the captain’s flight simulator of suspicious activity, and it now appears they found evidence of routes programmed to take a plane far out into the Indian Ocean and practising landing using a short runway on an island.
So what exactly did the FBI say many moons ago after thoroughly searching the hard drive?  Well, searching their hard drive produces a big fat nothing.  And it's difficult to find anything in print from an official FBI source detailing their analysis of the hard drive(s), despite Director Comey telling Congress in late March that it would be released soon

The closest appears to be this NY Times report where an FBI spokesman was quoted, not as supporting the 'nothing to see here, move along' characterization used by the Malaysians, but basically saying nothing.   The "nothing sinister" appears to have come from an anonymous source.  The FBI spokesman didn't clarify the record and left the door open (bold for emphasis):
As the search in the Indian Ocean continued, the flight simulator and hard drives that the pilots of Flight 370 had at their homes appeared to be a dead end, yielding few clues that shed any light on whether they deliberately diverted the missing jet, according to two people briefed on the investigation.  They spoke on the condition on anonymity because they did not want to jeopardize their access to secret information.
Malaysian authorities seized the devices early in their inquiry and, after initially keeping American officials at a distance, turned to the F.B.I. last week for help in analyzing them.
The Malaysians were particularly interested in learning what it was that the captain of the flight apparently deleted from the simulator. The F.B.I.'s spokesman, Michael Kortan, said the bureau would not discuss what it had found on the hard drives because the investigation was continuing.
Apparently it's still continuing.  But the "nothing sinister" meme overtook the narrative for several months until just recently. Such flim-flams are par for the course on this case but they can be explained perhaps as media misinformation perpetrated by authorities designed NOT to cover up a conspiracy, but to get suspects to act.  Or it's a conspiracy. Or they are covering for something.   

Another possibly weird thing is this claim in a new Daily Beast article on the mystery attributed to the president of Emirates Airlines:
Nobody wants to know the answer to this more than the airlines that operate fleets of Boeing 777s. For example, the largest operator of 777s is Emirates, based in Dubai. Its president, Tim Clark, is not happy with the conduct of the investigation.
He told Aviation Week: “There have been many questions unanswered or dealt with in a manner that is unacceptable to the forensic nature of the inquiry. “Something is not right here, and we need to get to the bottom of it. I need to know how anybody could interdict our systems. This aircraft was disabled in three primary systems. To be able to disable those requires a knowledge of the equipment which even our pilots in Emirates don’t have. Somebody got on board and knew exactly what they were up to.”
Emphasis added again to point out that even some aviation professionals are flummoxed at this investigation and also to point out the return of a theory posed in the earliest stories on the event where it was speculated that somebody would have to physically go down into the comms compartment under the floor of the cabin to turn something off. That added a level of complexity was allowed to gradually disappear over time yet the Emirates guy is still offhand mentioning it.  Is he not keeping up?  Or does he get his information from somebody other than Anderson Cooper? 

Finally--and this may have been answered at some point in the blizzard of expertise--why haven't they taken a similar B777, fueled it up as MH370 was, then retraced the hypothetical flight path. They could turn off the same internal systems and let it go 'dark', then fly west of Thailand into the Indian and take a left southwestward for a few hundred miles and see if the satellite pings match up with Inmarsat's data.

Clearly they would only need a few data points to establish a fit. Maybe they could fly another leg northwest and compare just to make sure.   The NTSB has been known to do this many times.  No need to go very far one way or the other as long as they got a few pings. Just a thought.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Khattala Rendition Complete

Abu Khattala's rendition back to America is now complete. Yes, he was rendered, although the press is timid about calling it such.  No, he was not 'extraordinarily' rendered as during the Bush 43 years, which made a lot of headlines, it was more similar to the renditions that occurred during the Clinton years.

Obama told everyone he would do this in 2009 so it's not any kind of 'gotcha', although Eric Holder did change the rules of how long a suspect could be held on a black site, such as a Navy ship for interrogation (presumably based on the Army Field Manual only) back in 2010. 

All of that aside it's good news they have this guy in custody.  He will be seeing a judge shortly.   Hopefully he gave up some goods while en-route back here such as the location of 'core' AQ operative and former GITMO prisoner bin Qumu so we can go after the network. They probably cross-checked his info with whatever Anas al-Liby told them during his rendition, although with only a few weeks of interrogation it's hard to believe they got very much.

The stand-out thing about this operation was bringing him back to Washington, DC on the USS New York:
The New York left the Mediterranean about a week ago and will eventually return to its home port near Jacksonville, Fla. It had been sent to the Mediterranean expressly to be part of the mission to capture Mr. Abu Khattala.
The ship typically carries four Osprey aircraft and two helicopters, one of which was used for the transfer on Saturday. Its bow was forged with steel from the World Trade Center towers.
As the WaPo alludes, it's unusual to bring a terrorism suspect directly into the Capitol so this was obviously a statement, along with using the New York.  The question is whether the statement was aimed more at our overseas terrorist enemies or the domestic enemies the administration has called terrorists. It really shouldn't be a toss up question.

Side Tracks

RIP, Eli Wallach. He'll be most remembered for his western roles in "The Magnificent Seven" and "The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly".  Here's a memory..

Friday, June 27, 2014

Clinton versus Cheney

Here's Bill Clinton on the developments in Iraq and the recent comments of Dick Cheney on the matter...

Cheney responded by reminding about Clinton's past comments...

So what did Slick actually say?  From 1998....

Specifically, here's what he said we learned in the 20th Century...
..we learned through harsh experience that the only answer to aggression and illegal behavior is firmness, determination, and when necessary, action.
..and on what we must know for the 21st Century: the next century the community of nations may see more and more of the very kind of threat that Iraq poses now; a rogue state with weapons of mass destruction, ready to use them or provide them to terrorists, drug trafficers or organized criminals, who travel the world among us, unnoticed.
If we fail to respond today Saddam and all those who follow in his footsteps will be emboldened tomorrow by the knowledge they can act with impunity, even in the face of a clear message from the United Nations Security Council and the clear evidence of a weapons of mass destruction program...
Sounded a little like Cheney, eh?  In a nutshell those comments were predictive of what might happen with a weak lead-from-behind president like the one we have now.  We all see the results. 

But yeah, in the political arena (and certainly the Kardashian arena) Cheney's viewpoint will not prevail, even if he's right.  Bill Clinton is the last person who should be lecturing anyone about acting on Iraq. Good Lord, will anyone in the media develop a memory? Do bloggers have to do everything for them?  

MORE 6/27/14

Is the Hillary!2016 strategy coming into view? She has three glaring problems to put away before sailing to victory.

One, her (and her husband's) Iraq stance. Bill was relatively silent about Bush going into Iraq in 2003. He largely pulled a Bush43 by remaining silent on the sidelines while his wife was out warning about the menace of Saddam and voted affirmatively on the use of force. Hillary's hawkish stance falls perfectly in line with her husband's speeches, such as the one presented in this post. In 2008 she remained largely silent on the Iraq question, never apologizing, while Obama racked up points with his 'dumb war' rhetoric. The problem now is how to distance her from that history. A lot depends on what Iraq becomes over the next few years and who her opponent might be.

A matchup with Jeb Bush would bring a lot of that history into play, except Jeb will not want to play it. Knowing the Bush's they will not politicize 43's decisions or get into a pissing match about them. That of course would be fine for Hillary, who'd rather talk about domestic issues and other foreign policy actions. However, if Hillary comes up against someone like Rand Paul she'll face the same pressure given her by Obama. Hillary has reportedly already apologized for her vote in the new book nobody is buying, so the strategy may be to get this out in the open and put away now so she can move on to 2016. But it's doubtful a Rand Paul would let her forget it. So under that scenario she'll probably go full tilt lie and start trashing Bush about the intelligence and so forth, which Paul won't necessarily want to defend.

The second thing is Benghazi. We're already seeing the strategy here--blame Obama.

The third item is her competency as Secretary of State, which can also be answered by number two.

There are other issues, but one thing she'll have going for her is the economy, IF it remains in malaise. She will argue that she'll take on the policies of her husband, including his ability to negotiate with the Newt Gingriches of the GOP. She's already hawkish enough to give the impression she'll not hesitate to kick-ass on terrorists.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Recessing with the Times

Today the Supreme Court unanimously rebuked the president for doing something unconstitutional.   Here's CNN:
The Supreme Court sided with Congress on Thursday in the high-stakes power struggle over presidential recess appointments, in which officials are placed in top government jobs temporarily without Senate approval.
But what about America's paper of record, the New York Times?  Well, their report leaves the impression that the ruling was about recess appointments in general, leaving that little thing about Obama's non-recess appointments as an afterthought.  Even the headline tries to frame the decision as limiting recess appointments, when in fact the screaming headline should have been about the high court smacking the executive branch for overstepping their powers.  Even imperial president Bushitler wouldn't go there.  And there was nothing in the story about the impact of this "unlikely ruling", such as the invalidation of past decisions.

Actually Liptak should be given an award for that piece, presented by George Lucas.  One can almost imagine the editorial meeting about how they were going to frame such an in-your-face decision--especially just as Boehner has announced the desire to file a lawsuit over presidential powers--resulting in his column. Perhaps one day media historians will look back on the coverage given the 44th president of the United States and gasp.  Unless such a thing is outlawed by then. 

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

CNN goes to bat for IRS commish

CNN headline: "Top IRS official beats back Republican barrage". 

The story is a glowing portrait of the Democratic fix-it man, who formerly took over Fannie Mae after the financial crash.  Now he's facing the grilling of Congress, mainly from the GOP, over the IRS targeting scandal and CNN frames its coverage as that of a grizzled vet 'beating back' the Republican attack.  

But take a look at Gowdy's questioning of this man, which shows an entire exchange and see if you think the CNN article accurately portrays the situation..

Gowdy is making a solid case that Eric Holder should appoint a special prosecutor to determine whether laws were broken (assuming the FBI is no longer on the case).   This clip also shows what's so great about Gowdy.  Arrogant SOBs come in front of him, hear the southern accent and see the wild haircut and think "what a goofball, I got this guy".  By the time it's over they are left saying "who is this guy and WTF just happened?"  

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Finding a way back to Iraq

Some say the POTUS is dithering on his decision-making on Iraq.  To be fair, it must be a vexing political problem for him, using high level calculus to grind out an entrance strategy that looks like an exit strategy all while blaming Bush, as innocent Arabs continue to drop, sometimes head first.  Let's consider..

1)  Obama called Iraq a dumb war and one of the worst foreign policy mistakes ever.  That sets up a huge conundrum both politically and practically should he go back into Iraq with even a tiny force (his only real option) and it doesn't reverse anything or reduce the terrorists.  As time goes by there's only so far he can go in blaming the previous CinC.

2)  If he goes in with air power people will question why he didn't bomb Syria, although to be fair he would have been bombing Assad, the opponent of ISIS.   He will say this is about protecting national security, therefore we are pinpointing the AQ-related factions only.  But they were in Syria, gaining strength, and he did nothing.   Ignored is a better term.

3)  ISIS is still in Syria.  Some of the military toys we sold Maliki are now on the road into Syria to help fight Assad.  Will Obama now have to applaud Assad if his air force knocks out a few ISIS columns?   Will Obama be compelled to bomb ISIS in Syria after Iraq, especially if they retreat in that direction?  If so, will Assad applaud him? 

4)  If even one American troop gives the ultimate sacrifice in Iraq will Obama be participating in a dumb war?   Or will that sacrifice be about protecting America from the menace of AQ? 

5)  If Obama fails to do anything at all can it be said he's not protecting America from a growing AQ army?  

6)  Since Izzat al-Duri and other former Saddam regime dead enders (Cheney deserves scorn for that) are reportedly participating with ISIS (most likely trying to use them as useful idiots as Saddam always tried to do) does that mean that Baathists are perfectly willing to work with AQ to reach their goals?  It appears yes.  So does that mean the same concept was in force in 2001, before the dumb war?  

7)  If God forbid a terrorist attack occurs in America or one of our interests as this is going on, does Obama then need to escalate the new dumb war in Iraq?  

Good luck to him figuring this out.   Odds are he'll continue playing the waiting game to see if the ISIS people run out of gas while hoping a new story hits the news cycle that takes away attention.  Word is that Wiki Leaks has a bombshell coming out Thursday, so we'll see.   

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Perfect Timing

It's not surprising that a wing nut such as myself would question the timing of anything the Decider Guy might do on terrorism.  But it is a little surprising that the State Dept press secretary was peppered with timing questions right off the bat in her briefing today, and not only by Fox.  One does have to wonder why it took so long seeing as how the indictment against Khattala was sealed almost a year ago amidst rumors he was very easy to find around the Benghazi cafe scene.  Surely it had nothing to do with Hillary's scheduled interview with Fox News tonight.

Aside from the political skepticism this is great.  If the picture released with today's stories was taken after the snatch he looks scared poopless, which is good based on the poop he sold the Times about it being our fault and such.  So it looks like one down about 23 to go.  Don't miss the fact that we're seeing yet another rendition by Obama with a terror suspect whisked away to an unknown location.  Where have we heard that complaint before?   But take heart ideologically consistent liberals, Holder is charging him with gun crimes, too.

Meanwhile you may be asking, what does the Benghazi attack have to do with Iraq?   The answer is maybe nothing, but nobody seems to be asking about this report from CNN issued shortly after the 9/11/12 attack:
U.S. intelligence believes that assailants connected to al Qaeda in Iraq were among the core group that attacked the diplomatic mission in Benghazi, a U.S. government official told CNN. That would represent the second al Qaeda affiliate associated with the deadly September 11 attack that killed U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans.
Previously, intelligence officials said there were signs of connections to al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, the North African wing of the terror group. The revelation that members of al Qaeda in Iraq are suspected of involvement in the Libya attack comes at a time when there is a growing number of fighters from that group also taking part in the Syrian civil war.
For those scoring at home, "al Qaeda in Iraq" is now called either ISIL or ISIS--the same thugs now beheading their way to Baghdad.  Maybe chairman Gowdy can unlock this mystery connection.  And maybe somebody, anybody, can explain why the president is heralding the resolve and determination of the United States in the pursuit and capture of a possible terrorist in Libya two weeks after releasing five known terrorists already in lock up while downplaying their threat?    

Monday, June 16, 2014

I'd Play Golf, Too

It's funny to watch the redheaded spokeswoman at the State Dept try to tamp down what appears to be absolute mass chaos around the world.  They tell em in media training, keep smiling! 

But in reality there's not much to smile about.  Smart Power seems to be running low on solar cells at every turn.  In the north the Russians just put Ukraine on a pre-payment system for gas supply and sent them a bill, which means they're in default because they haven't paid lately.  A Ukrainian transport plane was just shot down and Russian tanks were seen being slipped across the border and given to the 'rebels' there.  But that crisis is over because the media has lost interest. 

In Iraq there's a new crisis with bizarre scenarios that so defy imagination that nobody could have seen them coming except the Long War Journal.  Sunni jihadists, who've been part of the 'rebels' fighting Assad and Iran in Syria with our de facto help, have suddenly hacked and chopped their way towards Baghdad chasing a Shiite-heavy army shedding its uniforms, guns, tanks and perhaps even Stinger missiles on their way south.   They are being helped by some of Cheney's dead-enders we eliminated back in 2003.  Speaking of Assad, he's now launching air strikes in.... Iraq, targeting the terrorists we're helping in Syria to target him. This is blow back on steroids

What to do?  Well, whenever there's a crisis this administration immediately sends out the young smiling faces to tell us everything is fine and that we're giving peace a chance, usually with a fancy diplomatic meeting in a snazzy hotel in Geneva complete with warm croissants and Dom Perignon 56--vegan choices available.  As to those staff seen leaving our embassy at Fort Baghdad, they are only going on sight-seeing trips around the region and will be replaced by other 'staff', sometimes known as US Marines. 

But they are not technically boots on the ground because the embassy is our ground and besides, Iraq was a dumb war and Bush's mistake will never be erased from history even if Hillary and Kerry pretend they never voted for it.  And there's no military solution for this or any problem on earth, that is, unless we lose a military engagement to the bad guys, at which point Bush is right over there, throw a shoe at him.

There must be somewhere to turn for help.  Why yes, eastward, to the people yelling "Death to America!"  When the Ayatollahs start looking friendly enough to qualify as the enemy of our enemy we're in trouble. What next, Mookie al-Sadr in front of the embassy throwing flowers and waving the American flag welcoming us back?  Sheer madness. 

Go west, young man.  Except when you go west you'll see the Palestinians have formed a 'technocratic' unity government that includes HAMAS but doesn't include them because that would be illegal as America designates them as terrorists and we don't deal with terrorists (until we do, at which point the mainstream media will show up to lecture us on the nuances) so we couldn't technically talk to the new government, wink, wink, nod, nod

Meanwhile the Israelis are busy sweeping up the usual suspects all over the Holy Land after the kidnapping of three teenagers, including one with American citizenship.  Word is Obama has already agreed to give up KSM and the Blind Shiekh in return for the teen as soon as he finds out which terrorist organization has them.  After all, those guys are old and washed up like Bill Ayers. 

Further south the American Army captured Joseph Kony in Africa!  Wait, sorry, there was a terrorist attack in Kenya where ali-Shabbob killed about 50 guys committing the crime of watching soccer and failing an Islam quiz.   

Back around to the east the Pakistanis are opening a can on the Taliban after their recent attacks on Karachi.  Guess they couldn't find anyone in Qatar to watch over them.  Even further east they still haven't found MH370.  The way things are going it won't be surprising to hear it's flying AWACs missions for the Chinese Uighurs.

Lost in the shuffle of all this "AQ on the run" news was that the government seemed to know pretty quick that AQ factions were taking credit for Benghazi because they were announcing it over captured State Department cell phones.   It's all phony don't cha know. 

Closer to home the wave of illegal alien children being shipped north to run cover for an influx of sex workers across the secure Mexican border continues with no end in sight.  So let's do comprehensive immigration amnesty and punish those enemies!   Anyone who says otherwise hates children. 

And good Lord, the chaos even extends to Washington, DC of all places.  The IRS just notified Congress that it cannot even handle rudimentary data storage because apparently their Blue Wave email system running on Windows 3.1 failed causing the 20meg hard drive to freeze up, according to the WaPo.  No word on whether they will continue to be responsible for Obamacare compliance.  Maybe they can get some XP systems in there--evidently they are pretty cheap right now.  Anyway, this is serious, perhaps criminal, even if there's not a smidgen of official corruption.  At least one ex-reporter has asked real questions about the emails but she's likely 'one of them'.     

Whew.  So yeah, playing golf is certainly a better choice than keeping focused on all this ticky tack stuff, especially when there are important things like a war on women to be fought and climate change deniers to be denied. That is, unless the law-breaker guy is correct. 

[Ed-  Not trying to be insensitive.   Snark is the only way for some of us to process this insanity.]     

Thursday, June 12, 2014

The Mother of all Battles...

...never seems to end.  Hopefully what's going on in the Middle East is something less than Armageddon because we have a vacation planned later this month.

But there they go again, kaboom. Americans are pulling out, the Kurds and Iranians are coming in. Expensive toys are falling into the hands of the Saddam Fedeyeen, er sorry, ISIS. And the blame game is in full swing--Obama is working on his blame Bush strategy, or maybe his putting grip, while Hillary finally apologized for her vote.  Bad timing there, eh.  Biden is reportedly blaming Churchill for creating Iraq in the first place, which he saw on some old fireside chats of FDR from 1928.

But what about the wily old codger (and the most-wanted regime member on Iraq's wanted list) Izzat Ibrahim al-Duri? Is the old zombie behind any of this from afar or from anear? Well:
The Sunni insurgency that is storming Iraq towards the capital Baghdad reportedly includes Baathist military officers from the era of Saddam Hussein's regime. A former top military commander and vice president in the Hussein government, Izzat Ibrahim al-Douri, has joined forces with the jihadists of the Isis (The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant) with the aim of overthrowing the Shiite-majority government of prime minister Nouri al-Maliki.
A senior Baathist leader told the New York Times that the groups are "unified by the same goal, which is getting rid of this sectarian government, ending this corrupt army and negotiating to form a Sunni Region".
This is a part of why Zawahiri distanced himself from these guys--he knows who they are.  But the old Saddamites have never had a problem pretending to be AQ-aligned, which was part of the original problem considering the arsenal we thought they had.  This also shows that just because a president 'ends a war' doesn't mean the war is over.   That rhetoric is going to make it very hard for this administration to re-engage there--and those guys know it.


Here's the WaPo's Joby Warrick with a history of AQ in Iraq, aka ISIS, aka ISIL, talking about it's founding emir Abu Musab al-Zarqawi:
On the eve of the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003, a 36-year-old Jordanian who called himself “the Stranger” slipped into the suburbs of Baghdad armed with a few weapons, bags of cash and an audacious plan for starting a war he hoped would unite Sunni Muslims across the Middle East. The tattooed ex-convict and high school dropout had few followers and scant ties to the local population.
Warrick goes on to further describe Zarqawi's return from Afghanistan in 2001, admitting he came into Iraq but remained in the Ansar camp near Kurdistan, not reaching the suburbs of Baghdad until 'the eve of' the invasion.  But Warrick completely ignores a major element of his history:
He failed in this attempt and fled to Afghanistan and then entered Iraq via Iran after the overthrow of the Taliban in late 2001. From Iraq he started his terrorist campaign by hiring men to kill Laurence Foley who was a senior U.S. diplomat working for the U.S. Agency for International Development in Jordan. On October 28, 2002, Foley was assassinated outside his home in Amman. Under interrogation by Jordanian authorities, three suspects confessed that they had been armed and paid by Zarqawi to perform the assassination.
U.S. officials believe that the planning and execution of the Foley assassination was led by members of Afghan Jihad, the International Mujaheddin Movement, and al-Qaeda. One of the leaders, Salim Sa'd Salim Bin-Suwayd, was paid over $27,858 for his work in planning assassinations in Jordan against U.S., Israeli, and Jordanian government officials. Suwayd was arrested in Jordan for the murder of Foley.[24] Zarqawi was again sentenced in absentia in Jordan; this time, as before, his sentence was death.
Why leave out the fact he was convicted in absentia of ordering the murder of a US envoy--from his hiding place in Iraq?  Before the invasion?  The only plausible reason is because that was used by Colin Powell as part of the casus belli for removing Hussein.  Even if the Butcher wasn't blessing Zarqawi's presence or even aware of it, an AQ-linked emir was able to operate freely and carry out plots from Saddam's backyard.   

As this ugly, ugly story rears its ugly head again it's likely we'll see the media engage in various revisions or omissions when brandishing the past in their defense of Obama.  So keep an eye out.  That goes for all sides!

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Wow, where did that come from?

Diane Sawyer actually looked pissed during her Hillary interview.  Maybe it was the way Hillary replied to the age question in another segment, but dang..

ABC US News | ABC Celebrity News

Or maybe this was an attempt at getting her out of the witness chair at Gowdy's Select Committee--after all, she couldn't do much worse.   This jaw dropping display of real journalism ironically came around the same time another veteran journalist, Andrea Mitchell, was shooting holes in State Department spokesgal Marie Harf's Bergdahl narrative as a mother would pick apart her child's lie. 

It's easy to say these events herald a new mainstream media, one finally ready to do their jobs.  But their history is known.  Something must be up.    

Sunday, June 08, 2014

Empowering the Terrorists

Despite all the blather about the 21st century coming from the administration and their various cheerleaders nobody seems to have noticed that the Taliban has yet to emerge from the 7th century.  They remain a barbaric pack of fundamental nutcakes who really have no country.  They once acted as Usama bin Laden's personal protection army, which assisted him in pulling off 9/11, and are proud of it.

But we are told the Taliban is different than AQ.  They didn't actually attack us, we invaded them.  We went to Afghanistan to fight AQ, not the Taliban.   Strange though, the de facto leader of AQ, Ayman Zawahiri, sometimes known as Abu Dangerfield, has asked for Taliban figures along with his own jihadists in return for their captured hostage Warren Weinstein (the man most of America has never heard about). Wonder if any of those Taliban guys Zawahiri wanted were included in Obama's swap?

At any rate, Congressman Mike Rogers says the swap elevated the status of this barbaric cult army, and indeed it did.  That's one of the main reasons America had a policy of not negotiating with terrorists--at least publicly--to avoid placing the terrorists on the same level as us.   In truth Bergdahl was no POW, that requires the Taliban being seen as a legitimate government with a legitimate army.  No, he was a captured hostage held by terrorists, just like Weinstein, just like Daniel Pearl, just like Nick Berg.  But the administration has admitted that they want to legitimize these barbarians because they are important as a 'part of any future Afghanistan' in the 'reconciliation' process.   And that's what losing a war in the 21st century looks like.   

By the by, a couple of recent observations.

1.  Did the Taliban guys take up yoga in the big house?  If so, why should anyone believe they actually liked it?  After all, we are being told that anything traitorous that Bergdahl might have done could be dismissed on the account of Stockholm Syndrome and Bee Gees Syndrome (Stayin Alive). So maybe the Talibani headchoppers took up yoga to make themselves look harmless to the various brains running the government so they could go back home.

2.  We are getting leaks about Bergdahl from the VA hospital facility providing him quality affordable health care.   One, he doesn't like being addressed as "Sargeant".  That says something.  Two, he claims to have been kept in a box after trying to escape, which sort of confirms the Fox New James Rosen story from Dewey Clarridge that outraged so many on the left. 

3.  A band of 'militants', also known as 'gunmen', attacked the Karachi International Airport today.  Fortunately these militants, their motives completely unknown and unimaginable, didn't destroy any aircraft, according to the AP.  Except the one they did.  For those in the Kardashian set who've stumbled onto this blog by mistake (and are amazingly still reading), Karachi is in Pakistan--or you may know it as Pockeeston in Obamaspeak.  Evidently these militant gunmen had machine guns and RPGs and at least one suicide bomber.  Hmm, who could they be?  Franciscan Monks?  Maybe Hare Krishnas.  Hey, it was at an airport.   

Friday, June 06, 2014

So who outed the Kabul Chief of Station?

How long does an investigation of such a thing take?  After all, they know who did it.  Any garden variety IT guy could determine such a thing in no time. So what's going to happen to that person?  What's the accountability?  Was it possibly intentional?  Valerie Plame is outraged and wants to know!  

Has anyone checked on Siddiqui lately?

An oldie from 2010:
Now, in the newest twist in the saga of the female terrorist dubbed “Lady al-Qaeda” by the New York press, Siddiqui’s family members have appealed to the Taliban to facilitate her release. Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid declared last week:
Give us Siddiqui and we will give you captured U.S. soldier Bowe Bergdahl.
So apparently there are some terrorists the US would not trade for a man left behind.  For those who've forgotten or never knew, Siddiqui is a US-trained scientist arrested and convicted of terrorism. Her claim to fame is being married to Ammar al-Baluchi, yet another terrorist relative of KSM who is one of the main 9/11 defendants housed at Gitmo (evidently not available for trade but one never knows).  He hails from the Quetta area of Pakistan, a weird origin of hate for the US since the 90s, perhaps seeded by the Saudis.

Why bring this up?   The question now is who the US would consider trading for a captured American. Let's say somehow terrorists managed to capture John Kerry--who might Obama consider giving up to get him back?  He gave the Taliban five high level combatants for an Army private who might have deserted.  Are we going to just hope that never happens?  The 9/11/12 riots in Cairo were in part due to a demand to return the Blind Sheikh.   

Part of the delusion we're seeing now is an administration pulling off this swap as cog of 'ending the war' in Afghanistan, which involves flim-flamming the public into believing the Taliban isn't really a part of the global jihadist movement spearheaded by AQ and can therefore be separated into a single entity we can deal with directly like a legitimate political group.  In reality they know, or should know, the war is not going to be "over" just because we remove our troops from 'armed conflict' somewhere.

Tuesday, June 03, 2014

Success for Holder Already?

Did Eric Holder's new domestic terrorist task force, just announced in the press Tuesday (as his boss was defending his swapping of five terrorists for a US soldier) already score a victory?
Chamberlain was being trailed by a sizeable task force, made up of FBI agents and local cops. He was wanted for allegedly possessing explosive materials, and when FBI spokesman Peter Lee announced the bureau’s call for public assistance in the manhunt, he said Chamberlain should be considered armed and dangerous.
Hmm. Of course the media account of the task force formation contained the following verbiage, so there's a question..
"We must also concern ourselves with the continued danger we face from individuals within our own borders who may be motivated by a variety of other causes from anti-government animus to racial prejudice," Holder said.
It's quite possible Mr. Holder wasn't 'targeting' the Ryan Chamberlains of the world when he revived this squad started up by his old boss Janet Reno after the left blamed Rush Limbaugh for the Oklahoma City bombing.  But it's comforting to know the ACLU has the backs of the Tea Party terrorists undoubtedly in the 'crosshairs' here.

About those Taliban Terrorists... know, the harmless ones traded for the mysterious non-POW prisoner of war who served with honor and distinction by wandering off his base.  It's interesting that an administration that has expressed the importance of trying every AQ terrorist in federal court to show the strength of our American 'democracy' the same does not apply to any Taliban detainees because they are 'prisoners of war'.  This despite their coming from a government the US did not formally recognize when hostilities began in 2001.  Which is why the State Dept yesterday formally called them 'enemy combatants'.  For some reason they will not face any courts despite their complicity in the 9/11 'crime' for which KSM and others will be tried. 

Anyway, consider this from some years ago...
Meeting of Mr. M.O.M. with Sheikh Maulana Fazlur Rahman on Sunday, 11/28, 7:45 PM

Words of welcoming.

Probably M.O.M.: We are aiming to arrange a meeting between you and Mr. President Leader (translator’s note: this is how Iraqi officials refer to Saddam). But in the beginning we were instructed that Mr. Vice-President will meet you. I personally met Hekmatyar (translator’s note: an Afghani warlord fighting the Taliban) and he asked us to interfere for the possibility of closer relations with the Taliban. And he sent us emissaries concerning this issue.
Fazlur Rahman: I am the one who started with this issue, the relation between Taliban and Iraq, and it is our idea. The brothers in Afghanistan are facing the pressure of America, and are struggling against America and aim to have some connections between Afghanistan and Iraq, and it is a good start to establish the relations with Iraq and Libya and our association has taken this responsibility upon her. I already met with Mr. the Vice-President and the previous head of the directorate, may God rest his soul (translator’s note: apparently the head of the directorate passed away) and both proposed that Hekmatyar and the Taliban should get to an agreement. I spoke with the Taliban about this issue and they started meeting with delegations from the Islamic Party, and I met Mullah Omar and his reply was positive.
As a party, our stand is that there should be an agreement between the Taliban and the rest of the opposition, Shah Ahmad Massoud and Rabbani. And Mullah Omar said that we are looking towards this and that (not clear) and (not clear) and Ahmad Al Kilani and Jalal Al Din Hakkani do not oppose us. Therefore, Hekmatyar is on the positive way but we are in a war situation and that needs a lot of trust, and there are hurdles to this because he fought us and killed us and he has problems with the opposition in the North and with us. After repeated contacts we will reach an agreement, but in the form of steps. Concerning the relations with Iraq, he said that they are our brothers and Muslims and are facing pressures from America, like us and like Sudan and Libya. And he (Mullah Omar) desires to get closer relations with Iraq and that Iraq may help us in reducing our problems. Now we are facing America and Russia. He requested the possibility of Iraq intervening to build a friendship with Russia since Russia is no more the number one enemy. And we request Iraq’s help from a brotherly point of view. They are ready for this matter and they prefer that the relation between Iraq and Taliban be an independent relation from Hekmatyar’s relation with the Taliban. We want practical steps concerning this issue and especially the relationship with the Taliban and (not clear, but could be Iraq).
The above was supposedly taken from a notebook carried by an Iraqi Intelligence Service officer, which was captured after the fall of Baghdad.  It covers a time period around 1999, right after Clinton bombed both Iraq and Afghanistan.  Whether it's genuine or not, there were documented contacts between the Saddam government and the Taliban from other sources. One has to figure they weren't talking about the price of chai...
Mr. VINCENT CANNISTRARO (Former Chief of CIA Counterterrorism Operations): Farouk Hijazi, who was the Iraqi ambassador in Turkey, went to Afghanistan in December with the knowledge of the Taliban and met with Osama bin Laden. It's known through a variety of intelligence reports that the US has, but it's also known through sources in Afghanistan, members of Osama's entourage let it be known that the meeting had taken place.
SHUSTER: Iraq's contacts with bin Laden go back some years, to at least 1994, when, according to one US government source, Hijazi met him when bin Laden lived in Sudan. According to Cannistraro, Iraq invited bin Laden to live in Baghdad to be nearer to potential targets of terrorist attack in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. There is a wide gap between bin Laden's fundamentalism and Saddam Hussein's secular dictatorship. But some experts believe bin Laden might be tempted to live in Iraq because of his reported desire to obtain chemical or biological weapons. CIA director George Tenet referred to that in recent testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee when he said bin Laden was planning additional attacks on American targets.

This is where the Clinton aspect comes in.   The 'other half' is running in 2016, so what might spill out about Bubba's actions back in the halcyon 90s before America knew the terrorists really hated us?  You can find things on the net about the UNOCAL oil deals in the 90s in Afghanistan, which implicate both political sides.  Here's one that blames Bubba for allowing the modern Taliban to form in the mid-90s:
According to Rohrabacher, the Clinton administration played a role in creating the Taliban by giving a 'green light' to Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, and other gulf states to fund, direct, and organize the Taliban. Rohrabacher said at one point on the house floor in a Sept. 17th [1999] speech that the Clinton administration promised Pakistan and Saudi Arabia that it wouldnt overthrow the Taliban.
The UPI reported it. Also he made all to familiar accusations during the past eight years. He accused a department; the state department to be exact, of key withholding documents that would show the Clinton administration supported the terrorist Taliban movement and its seizure of power in Afghanistan. The official he blamed specifically was assistant secretary at that time, one Karl Inderfurth.
This past history would not be a problem were Billary not in the mix.  It's been long-forgotten and could stay in that fuzzy place.  The reason it didn't come up in 2008 is because it helped Obama, and McCain wanted nothing to do with dredging up the past.  But if memories get revived things like this may pop back up (it's useful to watch that MacVicar report from 1999 again because it solidifies what bin Laden was really trying to do with 9/11).  All it takes is a rogue candidate to do it during a debate.   

Anyway, clearly there was considerable jockeying for power in South Asia during the late 90s. If Clinton was favoring the Taliban at the behest of getting a pipeline deal for UNOCAL then where did bin Laden fit in?  An agent of Saudi Arabia in stopping it?  An independent agent for the Muslim Ummah?  The cruise missiles launched by Bubba in 1998 at Khost and other places across Afghan were in response to the African Embassy bombings and surely would seem like the end of any relationship.  Indeed the Coll book "Ghost Wars" claims the Taliban stopped playing ball on the pipeline around then, so perhaps they became an enemy at that juncture.  Perhaps the Iraqi contacts explain why the vaunted Richard Clarke would worry that bin Laden might "Boogie to Baghdad" if we missed killing him...
Specifically, in February 1999 Clarke wrote the Deputy National Security Advisor that one reliable source reported Iraqi officials had met with Bin Ladin and may have offered him asylum. Therefore, Clarke advised against surveillance flights to track bin Laden in Afghanistan: Anticipating an attack, “old wily Usama will likely boogie to Baghdad”, where he would be impossible to find.[24]
Clarke also made statements that year to the press linking Hussein and al-Qaeda to an alleged joint-chemical-weapons-development effort at the Al Shifa pharmaceutical plant in Sudan.[25] In Against All Enemies he writes, "It is certainly possible that Iraqi agents dangled the possibility of asylum in Iraq before bin Laden at some point when everyone knew that the U.S. was pressuring the Taliban to arrest him. If that dangle happened, bin Laden's accepting asylum clearly did not," (p. 270).
In an interview on March 21, 2004, Clarke claimed that "there's absolutely no evidence that Iraq was supporting al-Qaeda, ever."[26]

So there's that.  But who the hell knows for sure. The international drug trade surely plays a shadowy role in all of this.  One thing is for sure--Billary cannot afford to have any of their past dredged up before 2016.  Benghazi will be enough.  None of the GOP presidential candidates will likely have any past connections to the politics of Iraq or 9/11, like Obama, who will be bringing the war to a responsible loss around the main campaign season. They'll probably do everything possible to look forward and not 'in the rear view mirror', perhaps to include threats and intimidation. It's worth noting that this time the press will be fully on Billary's side against any Republican. 

Lots of questions.  But nobody is still talking about Shinseki.

Monday, June 02, 2014

More Bergdahl

The stories coming out on the sergeant and his father are pegging the weird-stuff-o-meter.  From CBS News:
"But most of all, I'm proud of how much you wanted to help the Afghan people and what you were willing to do to go to that length," Bob Bergdahl said, choking up as his spoke. "I'll say it again: I'm so proud of how far you were willing to go to help the Afghan people. And I think you have succeeded. He did not explain what he meant by his comments.
Go help the people?  Succeeded?  Well, one explanation could be that he thinks his son deserted to help the Taliban, which would in turn help Afghan children by stopping us from 'air raiding villages and killing civilians' or the like.  Guess it depends on the meaning of "Afghan people".

It's tempting to jump full monty into thinking the worst here, but maybe there's a surprise ending.  Is it possible the father played a role, pretending to have sympathy and talking about getting prisoners out of GTMO or pandering to the "Islamic Emirate" to keep his slim hopes alive for his son's return, while son was playing a role to save his skin?  Yes.  Then again, the stuff coming from some soldiers makes it seem less likely:
"I was pissed off then and I am even more so now with everything going on," said former Sergeant Matt Vierkant, a member of Bergdahl's platoon when he went missing on June 30, 2009. "Bowe Bergdahl deserted during a time of war and his fellow Americans lost their lives searching for him."
It's hard to believe the son was playing a role if he walked off the base in that fashion.  Surely he wasn't acting on behalf of the intel agencies--losing other soldiers in the pursuit of finding him just to keep his cover protected would be outrageous.  It's certainly possible he was just a confused peacenik who realized he was a peacenik when he got to Afghan then checked out, not directly wanting to assist any enemies.  Maybe dad is still playing a role hoping the military will go easy.  But did he really need to open his comments with Arabic (or Pashto)?  

If Bergdahl is indeed a deserter who deliberately turned on America and was exchanged for 5 serious Taliban terrorists then the Saturday photo-op at the White House was one shameful event.  Not that such a thing is surprising-- it fits in with his overall philosophy of outreached hands to our foreign enemies and dovetails with the West Point speech and his overall promise to "end the war responsibly", which requires negotiating with terrorists not named "the GOP".  This, despite past words....
The central front in the war against terror is not Iraq, and it never was. What more could America's enemies ask for than an endless war where they recruit new followers and try out new tactics on a battlefield so far from their base of operations?
That is why my presidency will shift our focus. Rather than fight a war that does not need to be fought, we need to start fighting the battles that need to be won on the central front of the war against al Qaeda in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
....words used to win an election so he could downsize the imperialistic military and transform America into the kind of socialist Utopia his father dreamed about, as discussed in the D'Souza movie.  He previewed what ending a war in the 21st century looks like to the cadets the other day; funny, it looks just like losing.  A new fight lies ahead--battling global warming. 

While it would have been hard to imagine the current state of affairs back in 2001, negotiating with the guys who helped AQ pull off 9/11, at least we got bin Laden and took out the terrorist government of Saddam Hussein.  Mughniyah and Arafat are gone, along with Saleh and Gaddafy.  Gaddafy's nuke program was smashed and some of Assad's WMDs are gone.  All that yellowcake sitting in Iraq has been moved. KSM is in lockup.  So there were some successes.  At the same time Iran is worse and Pakistan is no worse, while AQ has spread out far and wide.  We're considerably deeper in debt and unable to project as much power for good.  The populace is detached and divided.  The mother of all battles has yet to be decided, outside of Washington DC at least.  

At any rate, the questions will continue coming in--not about the VA scandal, which has now largely been erased from the headlines.  Not about the blowing of cover of the Kabul CIA Station Chief--that's under an internal investigation even though they know exactly who did it.  If Bergdahl wasn't a hero that will be bad, but it won't matter that Obama broke the law to get him out because like everything else, nothing will result.  The age of accountability ended on January 21, 2009.   There's still plenty of time left before it starts again.

MORE  6/2/14

Carney is on the air right now being grilled with marshmallow questions about all of this--of course he's rationalizing and saying that there's 'ample precedent' for such a thing in 'armed conflict'.  In other words, these morons somehow consider the war in Afghanistan somehow different than the overall GWoT.  That's a scary thought.

But here's another thought bubble.  If the administration didn't mind sending five Talibanis to Qatar in exchange for a possible deserter, why would they have any problem trading Ramzi Yousef, KSM or the Blind Sheikh if there were other questionable characters to bring back home?   Yousef claims he converted to Christianity, so surely Qatar could assure us he wouldn't go back to war again. 

MORE  6/3/14

This entire event is astounding, jaw dropping, really.  The administration spent the day arguing that this was not a hostage-terrorist situation, but a 'prisoner swap' in an 'armed conflict' and that the law was skirted due to a threat to Bergdahl.  That presumes a few things.

One, that this 'armed conflict' really has nothing to do with terrorism at all, it's just some war over there somewhere.  That's how Obama wants the vast Kardashian middle to see it, therefore he can end it without people feeling like we're still threatened--after all, the Taliban never attacked us!  That's like saying the Italians never attacked us in World War Two.

Two, if this was a 'prisoner' swap that means we just swapped "enemy combatants" (State Dept's designation) for a prisoner of war.  Does that mean the war on terror is actually a war, and are enemy combatants now just like regular combatants?

Three, the administration keeps referring to Sgt Bergdahl "getting the care he needs" at VA/DoD facilities.  How weird, coming only a day after General Shinseki was fired from the VA for allowing a scandal about other veterans (presumably not deserters) not getting the care they needed. 

Sunday, June 01, 2014

Bergdahl Swap

Who isn't happy this soldier is reunited with his family? Who's truly happy with the way Obama did it?

America's official public policy has always been to never negotiate with terrorists. We've done it before, as have most other Western countries, in a back-room kind of way.  But never overtly.  Never celebratory, as Obama press announcement seemed.  This surely signals a policy change.  No matter to the politicians, all they think about are short term gains during a crisis.  Besides,
A U.S. officials stressed that the detainees were transferred after it was assessed that they did not present any threat to U.S.
How comforting.  Like Uncle Saddam--they probably like Doritos, too.  

As to the illegality of doing this, meh. The Commander in Chief should have latitude over such deals, which is why Obama included one of those evil signing statements (that he bashed Bush for doing) saying he had the latitude to ignore what the bill made illegal.  His response now is probably 'bring it on'.  They won't, they'll just make some noise, because they know a CinC should have this power.  It's his use of the power that is at issue.  

As to the timing, that's obvious.  Within a span of 24 hours after General Shinseki was forced to retire due to the VA mess they also fired said goodbye to their best friend Jay Carney, let it leak that golfer mega-star Phil Mickelson was under suspicion (not indictment or anything) of insider-trading, then rescued Bergdahl after five years.  A wee bit too convenient.

Not like they didn't need a diversion from the dead vets and what the VA scandal says about government-run health care in general.  Or the fact that someone known to the administration leaked the name of the Kabul CIA Station Chief last week.  Everything is political for these guys, so discounting their skill at running media diversions is as foolhardy as ignoring the media's predisposition to play along.

Meanwhile, here's some mug shots of the nice fellows released to the protection of Qatar (who once protected KSM before 9/11)..

Surely they are nice to animals, young boys and women.   

So.  We have a president who adamantly refused to negotiate with Republicans (who Biden called terrorists) in his own country over a debt ceiling deal who has now cavalierly changed American policy on dealing with real terrorists.  It's hard to think there's any silver lining.  The only possible hope is that these guys will be spied upon, followed, watched and tracked of their every movements.  Who knows, maybe they were injected with RFID chips during the sleepy time at GTMO.

Chances are Obama doesn't care they were among the group who helped AQ kill 2900+ Americans 13 years ago.  He doesn't mind that they coddled bin Laden allowing him to set up the attack, then refused to hand him over afterwards.  It's possible the administration has issued orders not to obliterate them once freed in order to keep the trust window open for more negotiations with the enemy.  Droning them would be a little tacky for a guy who's trying to lose the war responsibly.  Justice says they deserve to meet Allah sooner than later, like accidentally falling off that big skyscraper in Dubai.  Maybe someone will do the right thing eventually.

MORE  6/1/14

Various and sundry coming in from the bowels of the internets..

1.  Did the Kabul CIA Station Chief that was outed last week when Obama was in town know about this swap?

2.  Did the father grow the beard as a statement on getting his son back or in some kind of sympathy play?

3.  Panetta was offered the deal four years ago and turned it down according to Face the Nation.  That means the deal has variously been on the table for awhile.  That means the urgency mentioned by Hagel this morning was possibly more an urgency to deflect from the Shinseki firing.  Yes, they think we're that stupid.  And yes, they are that craven.