Abu Ghraib: Suing for Info

Civil-rights and veterans groups have filed a complaint against the U.S. for information on the abuses at Abu Ghraib and other foreign military prisons where abuse may have occured. The groups — The American Civil Liberties Union, The Center For Constitutional Rights, Physicians for Human Rights, Veterans for Common Sense and Veterans for Peace — claim that U.S. departments of Defense, Homeland Security, Justice and State (the CIA and FBI are also named) have failed to comply with a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request filed by the groups last year. Reuters has the details in “U.S. is sued over records of military prisoner abuse”:

They said that the only information that has been released since their FOIA request was a set of guidelines that State Department employees are to use when answering questions from reporters about the treatment of detainees. An ACLU lawyers said the guidelines emphasized that prisoners were being treated humanely.

The groups are asking the court to order the immediate release of records about the abuse of prisoners held at Abu Ghraib and other overseas detention facilities, the deaths of detainees in United States custody and the policies governing the interrogation of detainees in United States custody.

[…]

“The administration’s refusal to release these records in light of all we now know about rampant abuses at Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo and elsewhere is simply outrageous,” said Jeffrey Fogel, director of the Center for Constitutional Rights. “The American public has a right to know what was condoned, by whom, and how far up the chain of command it went.”

I doubt that any Federal judge is going to have much sympathy for agencies that appear to be trying to cover information up, but I also doubt that Powell and the State Dept are complicit in any of this. Remember that he handed in his resignation (pre-resignation, he won’t be returning in 2005 if Bush does) very close to the time that memos were being passed around that warned of war crimes, presidential culpability and the obsolecence of Geneva Conventions.

U.S. is sued over records of military prisoner abuse [Reuters]

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Tenet Resigning

Tenet ResignsOne line item right now, I’ll post an update as more details emerge. Reuters has a placeholder at “CIA Chief Tenet Resigning, Bush Says”:

CIA Director George Tenet is resigning for personal reasons, President Bush said Thursday.

Reuters now has another article with the full details in “Tenet Resigns as Head of CIA”.

Wonkette questions the timing of the announcement — invoking Karl Rove as the possible initiator in “Tenet Resigns: Has Rove Risen Again?” The announcement comes at a time when “all the varsity league White House correspondents are already in Rome”, she goes on to note that it won’t really help deflect attention: “Of course, you don’t always need to rig things so that you’re playing the B team. Sometimes the B team is already playing.”

MSNBC has slightly more information on the events surrounding the resignation as well as a bio in “George Tenet resigns as CIA director”. It also cites that his last day is July 11th.

CIA Chief Tenet Resigning, Bush Says [Reuters]
Tenet Resigns as Head of CIA [Reuters]
Tenet Resigns: Has Rove Risen Again? [Wonkette]
George Tenet resigns as CIA director [MSNBC]

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Interview with Wonkette

The Politburo Diktat has an interesting (*cough* satirical *cough*) interview with Wonkette, aptly named “Does This Font Make My Blog Look Fat?”:

KGB: I’m really honored, being just a small blogger and all, that you would spend some time on this.
Wonkette: Book deal!
KGB: Uh … gee thanks, but my blog is just a faux Commie schtick, satirical, mostly about politics and war and news, with an occasional picture of a pretty girl thrown in. It wouldn’t have a large audience.
Wonkette: Book deal!
KGB: I don’t think so.
Wonkette: Do you write a lot about anal sex?
KGB: No.
Wonkette: K-Y Jelly?
KGB: Nope.
Wonkette: Godiva Chocolate balls?
KGB: Godiva Chocolate balls???
Wonkette: Don’t ask. … Look, I could get you fired, and we could take it from there. How does that sound?
KGB: No, no, no. I kinda wanted to interview about your blog, blogging in general, its relationship to established media, and so forth ..
Wonkette: Bush is gay.

Do I sense a backlash against the establishment?

Does This Font Make My Blog Look Fat? [Politburo Diktat]

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On How I Posted Anonymously in Order to Make a Name for Myself

Pardon my language, but nobody seems to be getting this shit-stain story right. Polier came closer than anyone else due to her tenacity, but of course her analysis — The Education of Alexandra Polier — is one of victim retribution upon those who raped her unblemished name. She completely disses on damn near everyone who had anything to do with this story. Going so far as to omit things from my interview with Bob Kolker in order to paint me as an opportunist looking to make a name for myself. Let me qoute the article and see if you can figure out what’s wrong with this:

…an obscure political Website called Watchblog.com ran a commentary by someone calling himself Son of Liberty … VanDyke says now that he was merely trying to make a name for himself by posting the rumor.

Know what? I didn’t fucking say I was trying to make a name for myself. How the fuck could I have been? I was using a pseudonym in order to be able to post things that might have inflamed people. It got to the point where I was getting death threats from Kerry supporters. Then you have the conspiracy retards who thought that “Son of Liberty” was actually Cam Barrett. Well guess what?

Even Cam Barrett himself fucking gets it wrong, and he is the owner of WatchBlog, where I initially broke this god-forsaken story. Here’s what Cam had to say about me in a recent post — Political Rumors — on his website:

It is complete coincidence that the story was broken on WatchBlog by an anonymous editor who wanted to make a name for himself.

I mean, it had to be true right? I was posting anonymously in order to make a name for myself.

Wait a fucking minute… is anyone reading the same damn qoutes as me? How are these people drawing a parallel between posting anonymously or using a pseudonym and trying to make a name for myself? I don’t get it.

Now, this probably leads to the ultimate question, which is: “Why did you expose yourself for the article?” Good question, and I’ll tell you the same reason that I told Bob Kolker in our phone interview: I wanted to clear Cam Barrett’s name from any of the conspiracies that had surfaced.

Is Cam thankful? Is any of this even reported accurately now that I’m on the receiving end of misinformation? Apparently not, but I guess that’s the irony of getting involved in this journalistic abortion tripe in the first place. That’s why I stick to truth and facts now and could care the fuck less about rumors. But hey, maybe I’m just “making a name for myself”.

The gall of these people, I swear.

The Education of Alexandra Polier [NY Metro]
Political Rumors [Camworld]
Related Entry: Alexandra Polier: “How I Got Smeared?”

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U.S.: Even After Complying, Iran not Complying

Jeez, I didn’t even report on this a day ago and already they are pouncing on Iran. Remember when I said that Iran promised to sue the IAEA if they disclosed anything in the 1000-page report they submitted? Well, apparently someone must have already leaked it, because surely they have left something out if the U.S. already knows that they are hiding facts about their nuclear programs. Reuters has the full story in “U.S. Says Iran Hiding Nuke Bomb Program from UN”:

The United States accuses Iran of running a secret nuclear weapons program that is parallel to its declared atomic energy program. Iran denies this, insisting its ambitions are limited to the peaceful generation of electricity.

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said on Tuesday in a confidential report on Iran, obtained by Reuters, there were two major issues it must resolve. First is the origin of enriched uranium traces found at sites in Iran, which some diplomats on the IAEA board say had raised concerns Iran was secretly enriching uranium for use in weapons.

Granted, I am fully aware that Iran should not be pursuing nuclear weapons programs, but is anyone under the illusion that Iran is going to try and play a game of nuclear hide-and-seek after the results of Iraq? This whole ordeal smacks of chest-thumping where it’s clear that the IAEA already has a grip on the situation (and is reporting it as it sees it).

U.S. Says Iran Hiding Nuke Bomb Program from UN [Reuters]


Related Entry:
Remainders: 99 Problems and 12 Easy Questions

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Drumbeat to the Draft

It seems that every day something new comes out that puts us closer to needing a draft. Today’s article from Reuters is no exception, and it outlines just how desperate the government is. There’s a quest here to police the world, something that every candidate says they won’t do, but end up doing anyways. Well, now they are stretching the current forces so thin that it’s going to require a draft if they keep up this pace. It’s foreshadowed in the article “Army Issues Order to Stop U.S. Soldiers from Leaving”:

The move to extend the service of some soldiers involuntarily was the latest sign of increasing stress on the Army as the Pentagon strives to maintain adequate troop levels in the two conflicts.

Lt. Gen. Franklin Hagenbeck, the Army’s personnel chief, denied that the move was a sign of desperation for the Army, although he did acknowledge that the Army was “stretched.”

Remember, both of the major candidates are willing to institute this ignorant draft in the name of vainglory and “changing the world”. If they do, the backlash with be worse than anything the draft-card burning that the 1960’s had to offer.

Army Issues Order to Stop U.S. Soldiers from Leaving [Reuters]

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Enron Tapes: Euphemistically Arbitraging California

Enron tapesThe Enron energy trading tapes have surfaced, shedding new light on a systemically corrupt company. What it doesn’t do is pin much blame on Ken Lay or Jeffrey Skilling, other than to show that their employees salute them in any effort to undermine the legality of energy brokering. The tapes, which were acquired by CBS News, speak volumes about the sinking level of principles in the company. Full story in “Enron Traders Caught On Tape”:

“He just f—s California,” says one Enron employee. “He steals money from California to the tune of about a million.”

“Will you rephrase that?” asks a second employee.

“OK, he, um, he arbitrages the California market to the tune of a million bucks or two a day,” replies the first.

[…]

“They’re f——g taking all the money back from you guys?” complains an Enron employee on the tapes. “All the money you guys stole from those poor grandmothers in California?”

“Yeah, grandma Millie, man”

“Yeah, now she wants her f——g money back for all the power you’ve charged right up, jammed right up her a—— for f——g $250 a megawatt hour.”

If he would rephrase that, grandma would understand that they were only arbitraging her.

Enron Traders Caught On Tape [CBS News]

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High Sulfur in Gas Shuts Down 500 Stations

Gas high sulfur levelsOver the Memorial Day weekend, I ran across an AP article — buried in page six of the AJC business section — about 500 stations that had shut down across the South due to gasoline that contained high levels of sulfur. I’ve covered this before with the same problem in Loiusville, but it seems the problem just kept getting worse. Stations are opening back up now, but the damage may have already been done:

About 400 Shell and Texaco stations are open again across Florida after getting fresh fuel supplies.

The stations or some of their pumps were shut down heading into the Memorial Day weekend when the fuel turned up with high sulfur levels. The gas can break fuel gauges and make empty gas tanks read full.

I don’t think this is restricted to Florida since I’ve posted on this same item in Louisville, so for anyone who thinks their gas gauge is suddenly wrong (or you run out of gas and it says full), here’s the info:

The Shell Oil Co. has added additional ways for customers to contact the company if they suspect their car?Äôs fuel gauge has been damaged by substandard gasoline distributed last week.

Florida customers may still dial 1 (866) 562-6690, but that line has been difficult to reach due to the amount of calls being made, spokesman Johan Zaayman said.

Customers may also dial 1-(888) 502-7323 or log on to: http://www.interactclaims.com/shell.

High sulfur levels force some 400 S. Florida gas stations to suspend sales [AP]
Shell, Texaco Stations Reopen With Low-Sulfur Fuel [WKMG]
Something in Gas Fouling Fuel Sensors [Hammer of Truth]
Shell Oil overwhelmed with calls after high-sulfur gas error [THE NEWS-PRESS]

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Remainders: 99 Problems and 12 Easy Questions

Via American Dynamics, this great little ditty for George Bush called “Dubya’s 99 Problems (But Iraq Ain’t One)”. To the tune of Jay-Z and Rick Rubin’s 99 Problems: If you’re havin’ human rights problems I feel bad for you son, I got 99 problems but Iraq ain’t one.

TomDispatch has 12 easy questions for the President. “If you are determined to start new wars, or if the Iraq war drags on and not enough soldiers re-enlist, will you reinstate the draft?” And will he draft gays, because I’m pretty damn sure a lot of people are going to use that card.

CNN seems to think that John Ashcroft is on his way out before the elections. Could this mean we’ll soon be replacing the modestly draped statue with Ron Jeremy’s likeness? No, but you can probably stop building the secret porn vault in your basement.

Iran turned over a 1000-paged document on it’s nuclear program and said it would sue if the IAEA leaked the report. Get ready for round three of Axis of Yeehaw when that report gets leaked.

Investigators are hitting the dictionary: Jose Padilla was trying to blow up apartments (not airplanes). So maybe his next plot was to blow up the Apollo, next week… Padilla plotting to blow up art galleries. We still have 26 letters to get through

Before I forget: Michael Badnarick won the Libertarian convention nomination this weekend, but you shouldn’t believe me because according to the Libertarian Party Director of Communications, George Getz: “blogs and online publications are not media” but “Matt Drudge would be ok”. But I’m sure you heard all about it on the news and radio. Right? Because they don’t need independent media attention. Fucking ingrates.

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NRO Reveals Medicare Scam

Here’s an almost unexpected article from National Review Online. They are exposing the ballooning costs of the Medicare prescription-drug benefit that was originally slated at $395 billion for ten years and exploded to over $534 billion after the facts came out. In the article — Cover-Up Costs — Deroy Murdock contends that “The Bush administration may have broken the law on Medicare”:

Had market-oriented congressmen, policy analysts, and pundits seen this sum, this entire project would have died more suddenly than HillaryCare. So, the Bush administration got busy suppressing these numbers.

According to Foster, when members of Congress and their staffers requested his drug-benefit cost estimates, Scully threatened to sack him if he complied.

[…]

“I’m not surprised,” Ways and Means chairman Bill Thomas (R., Calif.) said. “I knew this would cost more.”

In a February 3 letter, top House Democrats told Secretary Thompson, “While we have no knowledge of what you communicated to Republican staff, we can say categorically that this information was not communicated to us or our staff.”

This shifty and dishonest behavior now also looks criminal.

An April 26 Congressional Research Service memorandum determined that the Bush Administration’s cover-up of Foster’s estimates may have violated at least five federal laws:

This is a hard-line conservative site calling for a criminal investigation into the Bush administration over something as mundane as a fiscal over-run, but it shows that Bush is increasingly out of touch with the values of Republicans. The old mantra of fiscal conservative/social conservative is being torn apart on both sides as more investigative journalists come to realize that the true focus is fiscal irresponsibility (A.K.A. liberal) and social conservative (in show only, and only for the voter bloc of the religious right).

Will the Republicans be able to reel Bush’s policy flubs in before November? Will the left realize that Kerry is moving closer to advocating the same path?

Cover-Up Costs [NRO]

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Bill Cosby: Speaking in their Best Interest

Bill CosbyBill Cosby recently received some harsh criticism for some remarks he made at a gala commemorating the 50th anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education. The Boston Globe has the full story in “This Cosby show is undeserved”:

“These people are not parenting. They are buying things for kids – $500 sneakers for what? And won’t spend $200 for `Hooked on Phonics,”’ Cosby said. “They’re standing on the corner, and they can’t speak English. I can’t even talk the way these people talk: `Why you ain’t, why you is. ‘… And I blamed the kid until I heard the mother talk. And then I heard the father talk. Everybody knows it’s important to speak English except these knuckleheads.”

[…]

Though Cosby’s comments were harsh, they are also right on target. And if some blacks are upset with the comedian, it’s probably more for telling tales out of school – airing the community’s dirty laundry – than for launching an unjust diatribe. Nothing Cosby said hasn’t been uttered by other black people, but usually only among ourselves at dinner parties, on back porches, and in barbershops. Some might not be so bent out of shape if his remarks hadn’t found their way into the mainstream media.

I think the root of the problem is that people expect Cosby to impart stoic wisdom combined with family-oriented humor. When he broke from that principle, it shocked people that he was not as jejune as before in his experience with black culture and was succinct and apt in his lamentation.

This Cosby show is undeserved [Boston Globe] [via Mefi]

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Aside: Today’sPapers Launches

Today'sPapers logo

I’m not sure if I’m allowed to name names here (let’s just say the company name: Blog Labs), but a nifty little site launched today called Today’sPapers. The concept is akin to Google News, but also covers blog editorials and has the ability to comment and trackback (useful if the site mentioned does not do that). It feels a lot like a cross between GNews and Technorati and will probably be a good one to watch.

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WaPo: Bush and Kerry Both Liars; Bush Moreso

The Washington Post has compiled an article based on studies from various scholars which contends that both Kerry and Bush are habitual campaign misrepresenters. From the article “From Bush, Unprecedented Negativity”:

Kerry, too, has made his own misleading statements and exaggerations. For example, he said in a speech last week about Iraq: “They have gone it alone when they should have assembled a whole team.” That is not true. There are about 25,000 allied troops from several nations, particularly Britain, in Iraq. Likewise, Kerry said several times last week that Bush has spent $80 million on negative and misleading ads — a significant overstatement. Kerry also suggested several times last week that Bush opposed increasing spending on several homeland defense programs; in fact, Bush has proposed big increases in homeland security but opposed some Democratic attempts to increase spending even more in some areas. Kerry’s rhetoric at rallies is also often much harsher and more personal than Bush’s.

But Bush has outdone Kerry in the number of untruths, in part because Bush has leveled so many specific charges (and Kerry has such a lengthy voting record), but also because Kerry has learned from the troubles caused by Al Gore’s misstatements in 2000. “The balance of misleading claims tips to Bush,” Jamieson said, “in part because the Kerry team has been more careful.”

Good to see we’re back to voting for a lesser of two evils. You’d think people would learn than they should be more concerned about moral clarity and straightforward-ness instead of terms like “electability”.

From Bush, Unprecedented Negativity [Washington Post]

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Pentagon Issues Apology to MilitaryCorruption.com

An apology has been issued to the website Military Corruption for the actions of a member of the Pentagon staff who sent an email to the website with abusive and incendiary language:

?ÄúI could hardly believe my eyes, even after his threatening e-mail of last week [see related stories],?Äù MacDonald said. ?ÄúUsually when an officer ?Äòflips out,?Äô like that, or is extremely offensive, he (or she) does it verbally over the telephone so as to cover their behind.

?ÄúThis time – the offender, LCDR Dan Hetlage ?Äì sent us a series of profanity-laced e-mails that only confirmed how unsuitable he is for the job he currently holds. Maybe he can be sent to a combat zone like Iraq or Afghanistan for more than a few days in a luxury hotel so he can really risk his life like our editor-in-chief did (from 1966 – to – 1969) in the bloody war in Vietnam.

In addition to an earlier e-mail, where the out-of-control PAO threateningly told us to ?Äúbe prepared for the consequences?Äù of our news articles and declared that all the contents on MilitaryCorruption.com are against ?Äúall that this county stands for,?Äù Hetlage attacked our editor, a multi-tour combat veteran, as a ?Äúpussy-wimp,?Äù claimed we ?Äúsupport terrorists,?Äù and said MAJ MacDonald is considered a ?Äúf – – king joke?Äù in Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld?Äôs office.

The Department of Defense has said it regrets the action and has reprimanded the officer with counseling. Yeah, counseling. You can read the original article which prompted the explosive tirade: “Fire Rumsfeld now”.

Apology Issued to MilitaryCorruption.com from DoD Press Office [Military Corruption]
Pentago PAO Attacks MilitaryCorruption.com [Military Corruption]
Fire Rumsfeld now [Military Corruption]

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Alexandra Polier: “How I Got Smeared”

Alexandra PolierAlexandra Polier, the the woman fingered in the Kerry scandal that wasn’t a scandal (but instead was just a load of tripe), has written her own account of an extensive investigation into the rumor. Her story unfolds in “How I Got Smeared”:

Our conversation was unsettling, but it was hardly conclusive. I tried to understand the chronology of events, and then discovered that Drudge’s “exclusive” wasn’t even an exclusive. On February 6, six days before Drudge, an obscure political Website called Watchblog.com ran a commentary by someone calling himself Son of Liberty. “Rumor has it that John Kerry is going to be outed by Time magazine next week for having an affair with a 20-year-old woman who remains unknown,” Son had confidently predicted.

Watchblog was the creation of Cameron Barrett, who–as it happened–went on to work for the Clark campaign. I enlisted some reporting help from Robert Kolker, a more seasoned political journalist who works for this magazine. He reached Barrett by instant message.

Without even being asked, Barrett declared that Son’s story had nothing to do with himself, Lehane, or Clark. A day later, Son himself e-mailed, saying that he was willing to be unmasked as Stephen VanDyke, a 25-year-old computer programmer in Atlanta. Claiming to be inspired by James Thomson Callender, the original American muckraker who chronicled the scandals of Alexander Hamilton and Thomas Jefferson, VanDyke says now that he was merely trying to make a name for himself by posting the rumor. “What I tried to break,” he explains, “was that the rumor did exist. I didn’t know whether it was true or not.

I know now it’s not.

“It looks as though someone may have been just passing out disinformation,” he continued. “And I may have become part of that cycle.” Kolker asked him if he knew why I had been named. “She may have just been convenient,” VanDyke suggested. “Someone who ran off to, where did she go, Kenya? It made an excellent opportunity for someone to finger-point at her.”

It was becoming clearer: No single person had to have engineered this. First came a rumor about Kerry, then a small-time blogger wrote about it, and his posting was read by journalists.

I must say, I was duped: I was interviewed by Bob Kolker, yet she is the one writing the article. [correction] I would much rather have spoken directly to Polier to let her know that my intention was not malicious, but just informing. James Thomson Callender was actually the originator of the term “hammer of truth”, meaning the truth is not partisan. I felt it was my duty to inform of a rumor and I did it in a manner that examined political rumors, not in the context of scandalmongering. But I think there is a lot of unleashed rage — some of it deserved, and some of it vented at me — in this article that people will be buzzing about for a while.

For anyone who is interested in the way in which I had broken this, it is not summarized in that sentence. Please read my piece that I had written under the pseudonym SoL (Son of Liberty) entitled “Rumor: A Kerry Affair & Push Polling”, the second line of which acted as the leveller:

At present, this is nothing more than a rumor; and after such sordid tactics as the “push polling” that took place in South Carolina in the 2000 elections, can such rumors be credible during campaign cycles?

You can also read the other commentary articles that I wrote for WatchBlog covering the purported scandal: Rumor Machinations: Who gains from it? Woman Denies Rumors of Kerry Affair. If you compare Polier’s article and how I covered the alleged rumor, you will find some striking similarities in trying to discern truth from fiction, as well as investigating motive and who would best gain from it.

How I Got Smeared [New York Metro]
Rumor: A Kerry Affair & Push Polling [Watchblog]
Rumor Machinations: Who gains from it? [Watchblog]
Woman Denies Rumors of Kerry Affair [Watchblog]

Correction: Apparently I was made aware that Polier was writing the article (honestly, I probably wasn’t paying attention if that was said, but it was a recorded interview and I don’t doubt Bob’s word on the matter), I have of course posted a full retraction and apology on this at “Polier Article Correction: Yeah, I Make Mistakes”

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Weekenders: Have a Great Memorial Day!

If you have to work on Monday, then hang out on Newgrounds instead of coming here, because I’m not posting anything until Tuesday.

Either way, remember why you have this day off: it’s a solemn day to commemorate our fallen soldiers of wars past and present, just and unjust alike.

Iwo Jima Flag
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Wonkette gets a Peek at Next Week’s Big Story

New York Magazine is running a story on the much-ballyhooed Internet rumor from early February concerning an affair between Senator John Kerry and Alex Pollier. Of course, Wonkette’s new angle is to “out” Pollier’s close friend who somehow remained anonymous while spreading the rumor. I’m pretty sure Wonkette already knows this one, it’s not that hard.

It looks like Wonkette has a very rough edit of the story (or just a part of it) based on the attrocious grammatical and punctuation errors from Pollier’s interview:

…of course, i still remained unsure how it was that I got dragged into this thing. My relationship with Peter [Maroney, Kerry’s Finance Director] had put me close to the senator,

My guess would be that the interview was conducted via email; And Pollier was supposed to have a journalism degree? Pffft.

Cookie to anyone who can put two and two together on my “Related Entry” below.

Kerry’s Non-Ex-Lover Speaks! [Wonkette]

see more…

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Homeland Security to Justice Dept: “Terror Whuh?”

Ridge Homeland SecurityIt’s finally making the rounds that the Department of Homeland Security was mostly clued-out as to the recent warning that Al-Qaida was ready to strike. DHS is supposed to be responsible for issuing warnings and acts as a clearinghouse and conduit between intelligence agencies, however something seems to be misfiring in the communication between agencies. Newsday has the full story in “Terror warning surprises Homeland Security Dept.”:

Officials said the Homeland Security Department knew in advance about the news conference but expected it to focus on seven suspects with ties to al-Qaida who were wanted for arrest or questioning. Department officials were caught off guard when Ashcroft went further and warned that al-Qaida “is ready to attack the United States.”

[…]

Earlier on Wednesday, Ridge spoke on morning television shows and appeared to downplay the threat that Ashcroft would later trumpet, officials said. He told ABC’s “Good Morning America” that the threats are “not the most disturbing that I have personally seen during the past couple of years.”

So what happened? Did Ashcroft get a little overzealous in his press conference? Are these mixed signals part of an ingenious plot to make terrorists think our intelligence agencies are little more than Keystone cops tripping over each other? What gives?

Terror warning surprises Homeland Security Dept. [Newsday]

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Calls for War Crimes Tribunal Growing

The Independent Institute has an excellent analysis of the current prisoner interrogation and handling fiasco that is besetting the White House and Pentagon. From their article “Has the U.S. Government Committed War Crimes in Afghanistan and Iraq?”:

If today the U.S. government were to put itself on trial, on the same basis it employed to try the Nazis at Nuremberg, for actions taken in Afghanistan and Iraq in recent years, it might have to convict itself–if only for the sake of consistency. Justice is no respecter of person. Can anyone sincerely maintain that what was a crime for Hermann Goering and Alfred Jodl is not equally a crime for Donald Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney?

Evidently, leaders of the Bush administration have given serious consideration to the possibility that their actions might lead to an indictment for war crimes, and they have taken legal measures to minimize their exposure to such prosecution. In a January 25, 2002, memorandum obtained and publicized recently by Newsweek, Alberto R. Gonzales, counsel to the president, outlined the pros and cons of the government?Äôs decisions about the treatment of prisoners in the so-called war on terrorism.

The argument isn’t your typical liberal rant on prosecuting administration officials for war crimes, in fact the institute is highly regarded as a bastion of reason. This one is actually very well thought out and argues mostly for the case of consistency and judicial equality on the part of the United States. We’ll see if this has any legs, but the story may already be dying down as other news developments take it’s place.

Has the U.S. Government Committed War Crimes in Afghanistan and Iraq? [The Independent Institute]

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Kerry: 40,000 More Troops, Pulled from his Ass

Kerry campaignJohn Kerry is floating a plan to um… get out of Iraq, by adding 40,000 more troops to the fray. The plan calls for half to be those specializing as military police and for civil affairs, and the other 20,000 would be combat troops. Bloomberg has the full story in “Kerry Calls for More Troops to Bolster U.S. Military”:

Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry called for increasing the U.S. military by 40,000 troops, probably for a decade, in order “to match its new missions” in the war on terror and homeland security.

“Kerry has to be careful in the campaign not to be perceived as too eager to change the course of U.S. policy toward Iraq,” said Mark Rozell, head of Catholic University’s politics department in Washington. “His policy options are limited by what Bush decides and he cannot say too much in a critical way or else he risks being perceived as undermining the U.S. war effort. It is a delicate balancing act for him.”

You have admit though, it doesn’t sound too different from the Bush doctrine. But funny enough, in the run-up to the June 30th handover, the Pentagon has been pulling more troops out of Iraqi cities and handing the security over to local militias — such as Al Sadr loyalists in Najjaf.

What strikes me as funny is that the Bush administration has had high attrition since the Iraq war began, and has been actively calling up dormant reservists. Which could make anyone ask: Where the heck does Kerry think these 40,000 troops are going to come from?

Kerry Calls for More Troops to Bolster U.S. Military [Bloomberg]

see more…

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Terror Warnings: A Case of Crying Wolf?

Terror WarningTODAYonline is running an article that speculates on the timing of the most recent terror alert. Full story in “Is the US govt crying ‘wolf’?”:

Mr Ashcroft said several upcoming events – which include two major American holidays, a Group of Eight summit, political party conventions and US elections in November – could be attractive targets for Al Qaeda.

Observers say that the vague new warning might not be just a call for heightened vigilance.

One thing they missed is that Attorney General John Ashcroft never contacted the Department of Homeland Security on the latest warning. However, Ashcroft notified the nation of the warning along-side FBI Director Robert Mueller. Tom Ridge, the director of DHS, is said to be fuming at the White House for being left out of the loop. Which begs the question: Why have a Department of Homeland Security if no one is going to tell them anything?

Is the US govt crying ‘wolf’? [TODAYonline]

see more…

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Memory Hole Banned in Iraq

It’s kinda ironic in a sad way when you read about stuff like this on the Memory Hole Blog:

I’ve received email from a person with an [army.mil] address. This person is stationed in Iraq, and he/she tells me that The Memory Hole is blocked on military computers. Trying to get to the site results in the following message:

Access Denied (content_filter_denied)

Your request was denied because of its content categorization: “Extreme;Politics/Religion”

For assistance, contact your network support team.

How interesting. I post raw documents created by the government, military, and corporations. These days, that apparently amounts to “political extremism.”

Naturally, I’ve filed a FOIA request about this blocking.

The Memory Hole Banned in Iraq [MemoryBlog]

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Andy Rooney: “Our Darkest Days Are Here”

Abu Ghraib prisonAndy Rooney, the octogenarian voice of CBS’s 60 Minutes, has written an excellent analysis of how the Abu Ghraib scandal will haunt us in the books of history:

The day the world learned that American soldiers had tortured Iraqi prisoners belongs high on the list of worst things that ever happened to our country. It’s a black mark that will be in the history books in a hundred languages for as long as there are history books. I hate to think of it.

[…]

In the history of the world, several great civilizations that seemed immortal have deteriorated and died. I don’t want to seem dramatic tonight, but I’ve lived a long while, and for the first time in my life, I have this faint, faraway fear that it could happen to us here in America as it happened to the Greek and Roman civilizations.

Sadly, the Bush administrastion and its allies have labeled far-sighted men like Rooney: “chucklehead” and “an old liberal” and “retarded“. I like to think he’s insightful.

Our Darkest Days Are Here [60 Minutes]

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