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May 31, 2005

W. Mark Felt is a Criminal

Well, Deep Throat has finally been unveiled - by himself. Today we find stories about the forthcoming Vanity Fair article naming him as Woodward and Bernstein's Watergate source. And, just now, Bob Woodward has confirmed the story. I just saw an interview on a local news station, and the participants were almost giddy. Nixon had tried to bring down the democracy, and he was stopped by this man, they said. But is this man, the Number Two (at the time) FBI employee W. Mark Felt, the hero that everyone on the left points him out to be?

It would have been better if Deep Throat had not been big at the FBI. The FBI was in the process of putting together a criminal complaint against the sitting President of the United States, Richard Nixon. As the main pressure being brought on the FBI was thru the Democrats, it looked as if the investigation was going to result in an inditement. Instead, Felt took documents from an ongoing criminal investigation and leaked them to the Washington Post. While this had immediate impact on President Nixon (he shortly thereafter resigned), it effectively ended the criminal inquiry. Things spun out of control. And many questions remain unanswered about it to this day. Where would the investigation led? Who else would have been incriminated? There seems to be no doubt that Nixon would have been forced to resign, if not have been convicted in a court of law - why mess up an ongoing criminal investigation?

Perhaps Felt was after the Number One position at the FBI - one that he didn't get. What Felt did was a criminal act - intentionally leaking classified documents that were party to an ongoing criminal case. And if he had been uncovered before the five year statute of limitations he could have been prosecuted. Imagine this - if it were found out that the FBI was involved in the taking down of the President of the United States thru illegal means (oddly enough the same means that the FBI was investigating the President for violating) would it be seen not as an act of conscience but a coup?

This was an extremely partisan fight all along. And I feel that we're going to find out much more about that in the days and weeks to come. It was the all-time high point for the media - they had proven that they could control the outcome of a war by intentionally misreporting the facts (Tet Offensive) and manipulating the populous, and that they could bring down a President before the legal process had taken it's course by being party to an act as illegal as the act that they were decrying. I wonder if the country was, or is, better off because of it.

Observe the Awesome Power of Blogging

Just got this in the e-mail from Frank Barnako's Internet Daily feature on Marketwatch:

"WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) - A high school teacher professor from Marseille has become famous across France and the blogosphere thanks to his one-person campaign against approval of the European Union constitution.

Etienne Chouard said as many as 25,000 people a day visited his blog, www.etienne.chouard.free.fr "My text was sent everywhere, photocopied in all the directions and even distributed in the letter-boxes," he told Liberation, a French newspaper (according to a translation by Google).

He argued against the constitution, saying that it was "illegible," not easily amended, and did not provide for a separation of powers between agencies and legislative bodies. After the constitution's defeat, Chouard was applauded by hundreds of Web loggers, a scan of blogs by Technorati.com showed. Here are the links."

Good for him. Good for us.

No Amnesty for Amnesty International

When I was at Boston College, I enrolled in a Communications course for the Spring 1980 semester. It was a pretty good course, held at night. We had several presentations by special guests, and the one that I'll always remember was a presentation by Amnesty International. It was stunning. Although I've misplaced (probably lost during a move) much of the info that was provided along with my notes from the session, I recall being practically inspired by the speaker and some of the atrocities that she was talking about. Inspired enough to wonder whether or not that type of work was in my future (the reporting, not the torture!). For years afterwards I'd attend any local Amnesty event, and donated as much as I could.

My how things have changed. What was the admirable organization in 80s that I wanted to get involved with is now a reactionary, far left wing NGO non-profit that is probably the leader in attempting to smear the United States in the eyes of the world. It is no longer an organization that deserves to take itself seriously. I've always thought that a great idea for an investigative piece would begin with the following supposition: that the leftist enemies of the United States, who found that they were losing the battles with America both policy-wise and public relations-wise, became determined to take over the then respectable mantles of international organizations such as Amnesty International, the International Committee of the Red Cross, and various United Nations entities, and turn those organizations against the US.

As David B. Rivkin and Lee A. Casey explain in an article on NRO this morning, even the Washington Post thinks that Amnesty International has lost its mind with the release of the 2005 Annual Report. Both the NRO article and the Washington Post editorial are must reading, but I think that the Post sums it up best when it says:

"IT'S ALWAYS SAD when a solid, trustworthy institution loses its bearings and joins in the partisan fracas that nowadays passes for political discourse. It's particularly sad when the institution is Amnesty International, which for more than 40 years has been a tough, single-minded defender of political prisoners around the world and a scourge of left- and right-wing dictators alike. True, Amnesty continues to keep track of the world's political prisoners, as it has always done, and its reports remain a vital source of human rights information. But lately the organization has tended to save its most vitriolic condemnations not for the world's dictators but for the United States."

The Despicable New York Times

The New York Times is a truly wretched publication. We're in a war here, and these idiots are pretending that it's still Vietnam! On its front page today, and on the front page of my paper the Providence Journal, is a story entitled "C.I.A. Expanding Terror Battle Under Guise of Charter Flights". It's the very detailed tale of a previously (up until this story) undercover operation involving a company called Aero Contractors Ltd., a charter airline that has been providing operational support for the CIA in the War on Terror. Here's just the beginning of the story:

"Nothing gives away the fact that Aero's pilots are the discreet bus drivers of the battle against terrorism, routinely sent on secret missions to Baghdad, Cairo, Tashkent and Kabul.

When the Central Intelligence Agency wants to grab a suspected member of Al Qaeda overseas and deliver him to interrogators in another country, an Aero Contractors plane often does the job. If agency experts need to fly overseas in a hurry after the capture of a prized prisoner, a plane will depart Johnston County and stop at Dulles Airport outside Washington to pick up the C.I.A. team on the way.

Aero Contractors' planes dropped C.I.A. paramilitary officers into Afghanistan in 2001; carried an American team to Karachi, Pakistan, right after the United States Consulate there was bombed in 2002; and flew from Libya to Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, the day before an American-held prisoner said he was questioned by Libyan intelligence agents last year, according to flight data and other records.

While posing as a private charter outfit - "aircraft rental with pilot" is the listing in Dun and Bradstreet - Aero Contractors is in fact a major domestic hub of the Central Intelligence Agency's secret air service. The company was founded in 1979 by a legendary C.I.A. officer and chief pilot for Air America, the agency's Vietnam-era air company, and it appears to be controlled by the agency, according to former employees."

The New York Times cries foul when Valerie Plame's "cover" is blown by a conservative columnist. But that was an election-centric story used to try to hurt the Bush administration more than anything else. It had been over five years since Plame was undercover - the Wilsons bragged about her past with the cocktail circuit in Washington, her cover company had been disbanded - there was nothing there.

The New York Times, on the other hand, spills the beans on an ongoing covert legal effort in the War on Terror. The story goes as far as identifying the planes used, the airfields used, the names of the business entities, and the names of some of the people involved. The NY Times is going to use as its reason for putting the lives of the people involved in danger the fact that investigations have been opened involving human rights violations involving terror suspects that might have been transported using this method.

Accusations of widespread human rights abuses against the United States is just a technique of lawfare that our enemies, along with accomplices like the New York Times, uses against us. Do some abuses take place? Yes. Are they investigated? Yes, usually before the press finds out about it. Does the reality in any way resemble the portrait that is being painted of this country by the likes of the International Red Cross, Amnesty International, the New York Times, the Washington Post, and Senators Jack Reed and Ted Kennedy? Not in the least.

The New York Times should be ashamed of itself. It won't be.

May 29, 2005

Sorry, putting a lawn in...

I've been away from posting for the past two days because the weather in the Northeast suddenly improved. It went from the upper 40s Thursday to the 60s Friday and the upper 70s yesterday and today. The sun actually came out yesterday! So the veggies are going in, and I'm finally spreading loam and planting grass seed in the front today - about 2 weeks after I originally had planned to. Well, everything else is late this year - so will the veggies and grass! I'll be posting sporadically today and tomorrow. Remember it's Memorial Day weekend - let's pray for all of those who paid the ultimate price so that we can do things like worry about the lawn, tomatoes, and weekend BBQs. God Bless them all!

May 26, 2005

Questions for Larry C. Johnson

The Counterterrorism Blog link is a fascinating site. Pretty insightful and a great source of information. Its masthead shows an impressive list of contributors, all with extensive counterterrorism background. But that doesn't mean that they're always correct, or that some contributors use the site to settle some old scores, either for themselves or others. A post yesterday by Larry C. Johnson is evidence of that. The things that he is whining about (cooking intelligence) has been pretty much debunked. It's the same old story - old guard vs new guard.

The State Department had a different mission during the first 4 years of the Bush Administration - it was not interested in running the President's Foreign Policy, it was interested in running its own. A man whom I once greatly admired, Colin Powell, took over the State Department to implement the President's agenda, but soon Powell was working for the State Department, as opposed to the other way around. And I'm certain that Mr Johnson liked that just fine.

After reading Mr. Johnson's post, I decided to e-mail the site in the hopes of getting a few answers. Here's the text of that e-mail:

"Here's a quick comment and question(s) for Larry Johnson after reading his post on May 25th regarding John Bolton.


Mr. Johnson:

I suggest that you read (or reread) The Commission on the Intelligence Capabilities of the United States Regarding Weapons of Mass Destruction Report. You are quick to dismiss the Silberman Robb Report as a "whitewash", but you are in a small (but vocal) minority. You are good at 'circling the wagon' with your friends and associates in Intelligence, but if it were up to Americans in general, the whole lot of you would have been fired on, say, 9/12/01. I have problems with the Report that you malign as well - I don't think that they were hard enough. We don't have problems with the Intelligence community (and the State Department and the CIA in particular) that can be solved with a few recommendations - we have to perform a full scale enema on those organizations to flush out the dead weight from the past. Face it, you and your friends were wrong on the biggest stories of the past 50 years - Iran, Islamofacism, the Soviet Union, Iraq/Kuwait, Gulf War, Al Qaeda, 9/11, WMD, North Korea - and I can go on and on. Quite honestly, if I was in a position of authority over Intelligence during the past several years I would have made John Bolton look like Mother Theresa. And nobody would have been left standing long enough to whine about it to CNN or the New York Times.

It strikes me that the world of analysts (and the world of State Department and CIA bureaucrats and lifers) is a pretty closed one. When was the last time an analyst was fired for gross incompetence? How many analysts were fired after the fall of the Soviet Union? How many analysts were fired after 9/11? For that matter, how many bureaucrats in the State Department or the CIA were fired recently?

Or do they just leave, join the private sector, and make money off of their old government contacts? Or do they become TV pundits?

Just wondering."

Let's see if I get a response...

This Koran Stuff is Really Getting to Me!

They do protect their own, don't they! I'm referring to the MSM. Today we have front page stories in both the New York Times and the Washington Post about several FBI reports unsealed as part of a Freedom of Information request by the ACLU concerning mistreatment of the Koran by interrogators and soldiers at Guantanamo Bay. And it's treated as a brand new story.

This story is part of the continuing "lawfare" that is being waged against the United States by our enemies and being aided by many within the United States in the media and organizations such as the ACLU. These allegations were all investigated, and they were found to be without merit. Furthermore, I have to once again refer you to the Al-Quada training manual that was found earlier, and posted on the Department of Justice's website. I didn't really want to link to it, or quote from it, but since this crap is still going on here it is link. And here is a particularly relevant part located in Lesson 18 of the manual:

"IF AN INDICTMENT IS ISSUED AND THE TRIAL, BEGINS, THE BROTHER HAS TO PAY ATTENTION TO THE FOLLOWING:

1. At the beginning of the trial, once more the brothers must insist on proving that torture was inflicted on them by State Security [investigators] before the judge.

2. Complain [to the court] of mistreatment while in prison.

3. Make arrangements for the brother’s defense with the attorney, whether he was retained by the brother’s family or court-appointed.

4. The brother has to do his best to know the names of the state security officers, who participated in his torture and mention their names to the judge. [These names may be obtained from brothers who had to deal with those officers in previous cases.]"

In other sections of the manual, the "brothers" (terrorists) are encouraged to make up stories and disseminate them, both by written and verbal means, specifically to incite our citizens against our government. The Koran 'incidents' are perfect examples of this. And the media is getting this out for the terrorists for free.

We live in a free and open society. If there is a credible allegation of abuse, it's important that we know about it. But recognizing that disinformation about torture and abuse is central to our enemy's method of warfare is also important, and must be included in all reports to let the public know what is going on.

There is going to be a presser this afternoon by the Defense Department:

"Joint Task Force – Guantanamo Commander Brig. Gen. Jay W. Hood will
brief media Thursday, May 26, 2005, at 4 p.m. EDT about the inquiry into
allegations of possible mishandling of the Koran."

I would imagine that it is related to this morning's articles. With any luck he'll be insistent on the above.

Thanks to TKS at NRO for much of the above raw data.

Syrian Involvement in Iraq

Also at The Corner, Jonah Goldberg points us all to this story in The Daily Star of Lebanon:

"Daily Star staff
Thursday, May 26, 2005

BEIRUT: A Syrian intelligence officer detained in Baghdad has admitted to launching the missile attack on the late premier Rafik Hariri's Future Television in June 2003, according to Al-Rai al-Aam Kuwaiti newspaper. In an article published on Wednesday, the newspaper said Hussein Ahmad Tah, 32, was arrested by Iraqi police when he was attempting to assassinate employees in an Iraqi public institution. Following his arrest, Tah decided to admit to his previous crimes, among which is the Future TV bombing.

Tah said he worked for Syrian intelligence services, adding that he worked for a long time in Lebanon where he perpetrated several attacks. He then moved to Iraq, where he committed several attacks against mosques and Iraqi civilians. Security sources in Iraq said that Tah recounted the details of the attack on Future TV. The television station, situated near Raouche in Beirut, was attacked on June 15, 2003, resulting in the destruction of one of the newsrooms. No casualties were reported. The attack was considered as a message to then-owner of the station, former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri. Sources said the car used to perpetrate the crime was stolen in 1997 and hidden in a garage until the date of the attack. A previously unknown group called Jamaat Ansar Allah had held itself responsible for the attack in a statement issued the next day. However, Tah told Iraqi police that the group did not exist and that he had written and issued the statement. - The Daily Star"

And Syria is upset with us?

The Tears of a Clown

Last week, I believe, I posted my feelings about Republican Senator George Voinovich when he temporarily derailed the Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearings on John Bolton. I criticized the fact that he publicly complained about the misgivings that he had about Bolton while also admitting that he hadn't even attended the hearings when alot of what he had "misgivings" about was presented. It was obvious that the Dems were against Bolton - and the 'old-line' staffers in the State Department and CIA were pulling out all the stops to block him. It should have been a no-brainer for a Senator who sits on the Committee to realize that this was an important process to be a part of. But Voinovich never even showed! The result was, after an angina producing delay, that Bolton's nomination was sent to the floor with no recommendation.

I had really wanted the Senate to proceed with the Bolton nomination before considering the "nuclear option". I figured that if the trigger was pulled, the Dems would certainly filibuster Bolton. But according to quite a few sources, part of the Agreement struck two days ago with the self-described moderates was that the Bolton nomination could go forward. So, after the successful confirmation vote for Judge Owens yesterday, Bolton moved to the front.

And, once again, Senator Voinovich took center stage. I had heard on news reports that he was near tears when he was decrying John Bolton. And so he was link (courtesy of Radioblogger.com). Good Lord! It's one thing to be passionately involved with a cause - but this? Even in his statements, Voinovich admits that anything against Bolton consists of uncorroborated allegations, not documented facts. But Voinovich 'fears for the lives of his grandchildren' if Bolton is confirmed.

George, this is nothing more than a partisan fight! The old guard wants to protect the UN and Kofi Anan, while the rest of us wants to really try to fix it (as ill advised as I feel that might be). But perhaps Voinovich really doesn't understand this.

John Podhoretz posted the following at The Corner this morning:

"Kathryn, Hugh Hewitt played the actual tape for me on his radio show last night. There he was, Sen. George Voinovich, the Republican from Ohio, choking back tears and then weeping as he spoke against John Bolton in the well of the Senate. I have to tell you, my first response was that he has gone totally crackers. The rhetoric he used was, quite simply, bananas. I mean, he fears for the lives of his grandchildren if Bolton is confirmed?

But then, I remembered -- and we should all remember and keep posting the fact that -- George Voinovich was fined $1,500 by the Federal Aviation Administration when he was governor of Ohio for insisting on his personal plane taking off even though the FAA had declared a no-fly zone at the Cleveland Airport because President Clinton was in town. "Shoot us down!" he screamed at an air-traffic controller. Then he spent six months fighting the FAA fine on the grounds that -- well, he didn't have any grounds. There are numerous interpretations of the incident. 1) He's a jerk. 2) He's a loon. 3) He's a jerk and a loon. 4) He's a loon and a jerk. 5) He's a jerky loon. 6) He's a loony jerk.

For the record, I go with the simple "jerk." And I hope his press secretary calls me to complain about this, which press secretaries of hotheaded, self-indulgent, loudmouth senators often do because their hotheaded, self-indulgent, loudmouth bosses insist they do so. Oh, how I hope."

So there is a track record of somewhat bizarre behavior. But it still is embarrassing. We're trying to send a strong message to the UN to reform, we're sending one of our bluntest representatives to make sure there are no misunderstandings about it, and a Senator is crying in public about it? What kind of message does that send about us? More importantly, what kind of message does this send the world about our Senate?

May 25, 2005

Free Jennifer Wilbanks!

On a lighter note, I see that Jennifer Wilbanks has been charged in Georgia by a Grand Jury with two counts - one count of making false statements, a felony, and one count of falsely reporting a crime, a misdemeanor. While I think that she shouldn't have claimed that she was kidnapped, I think that this is a serious case of CYA by Georgia officials, and an effort to get money out of Wilbanks family. While some restitution seems in order, exactly who blew this thing out of proportion in the first place and why?!

Let's go back to what happened. Big wedding is planned. Comely bride disappears. Families report her missing. It hits local media, then national media. Suddenly there is a huge search going on. News commentators are suggesting that perhaps the future groom "off-ed" her. Lie detector exams are demanded. All concerned gets mega TV air time. But was there a crime?

People leave people at the altar all the time, unfortunately. And this particular girl, Jennifer Wilbanks, had apparently done it at least once before, according to news reports after she was 'found'. Did the police know that? Did the families tell them? There was never any evidence of foul play. She bought a bus ticket locally before she "disappeared". Did anyone check out the bus terminals with her picture? Or did this thing just get so out of control with the media attention that it became to big to back away from?

I'm not excusing her conduct. I'm just saying that shouldn't the media and the police (and by extension we) have dug a little deeper before we declared this a crime? Did the need for an attractive story outweigh common sense. The charges that Wilbanks face involve statements that she made in a three hour or so period when she contacted people days after she went missing. Now that was wrong, but isn't it possible that she saw the national reaction through the media (it was hard to miss it) and panicked - figured she had to make something up to sound good.

I also recall hearing that at least the groom's family was politically very well-connected and powerful in town. I wonder if that had anything to do with the immediate and enormous response? Would just a regular resident, one without 16 bridesmaids and a 600 person wedding and political connections, have received the same police and media response? And yes, I hold the media to blame here as well - I think that they want their 'piece' of Jennifer Wilbanks now, too.

Leaving a groom at the altar is not a crime. Should she have told someone that she was leaving? Yep, but that's not a crime either. She blew it when she lied to the police - but that was after everything had happened - it was not the reason that the search and the media frenzy was started in the first place. And the fact that she had bailed on a groom before would have made me, and should have made them, really reluctant to start anything big until I had evidence that a crime had been committed.

But all of that doesn't matter when you're being interviewed on national TV, now does it...

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