Tuesday, April 27, 2004

Have We Found Iraq's WMDs?

An interesting article by Kenneth Timmerman entitled “Iraq’s WMD Have Been Found” has certainly been under-reported in the press. In the article, he mentions, for example, that while former weapons inspector David Kay reported that they had failed to find the WMD “stockpiles” this was front-page news. On the other hand, when Kay presented the Iraq Survey Group’s findings to the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence last October the media was silent. As Timmerman writes, among Kay’s findings where the following:

· A prison laboratory complex that may have been used for human testing of BW agents and "that Iraqi officials working to prepare the U.N. inspections were explicitly ordered not to declare to the U.N." Why was Saddam interested in testing biological-warfare agents on humans if he didn't have a biological-weapons program?
· "Reference strains" of a wide variety of biological-weapons agents were found beneath the sink in the home of a prominent Iraqi BW scientist. "We thought it was a big deal," a senior administration official said. "But it has been written off [by the press] as a sort of 'starter set.'"
· New research on BW-applicable agents, brucella and Congo-Crimean hemorrhagic fever, and continuing work on ricin and aflatoxin that were not declared to the United Nations.
· A line of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), or drones, "not fully declared at an undeclared production facility and an admission that they had tested one of their declared UAVs out to a range of 500 kilometers [311 miles], 350 kilometers [217 miles] beyond the permissible limit."
· "Continuing covert capability to manufacture fuel propellant useful only for prohibited Scud-variant missiles, a capability that was maintained at least until the end of 2001 and that cooperating Iraqi scientists have said they were told to conceal from the U.N."
· "Plans and advanced design work for new long-range missiles with ranges up to at least 1,000 kilometers [621 miles] - well beyond the 150-kilometer-range limit [93 miles] imposed by the U.N. Missiles of a 1,000-kilometer range would have allowed Iraq to threaten targets throughout the Middle East, including Ankara [Turkey], Cairo [Egypt] and Abu Dhabi [United Arab Emirates]."
· In addition, through interviews with Iraqi scientists, seized documents and other evidence, the ISG learned the Iraqi government had made "clandestine attempts between late 1999 and 2002 to obtain from North Korea technology related to 1,300-kilometer-range [807 miles] ballistic missiles - probably the No Dong - 300-kilometer-range [186 miles] antiship cruise missiles and other prohibited military equipment," Kay reported.

I may be a hopeless idealist, but it seems to me that this sort of stuff should not be refused by the mass media as un-newsworthy.Read Mr. Timmerman’s full article here.

Wednesday, April 21, 2004

Hamas, Next Leader Please

Directly after the March 22 extermination of Hamas spiritual leader Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, Abdel Aziz Rantisi was appointed to take his place. Unfortunately for Rantisi, he said that he was not afraid to die for his cause at the hands of the Israelis; the Israelis were happy to oblige him, and fired two missiles into his car.

“We will all die one day,” Rantisi had said, “Nothing will change. If by Apache [attack helicopter] or by cardiac arrest, I prefer Apache.” What a lucky guy – he got his wish. One of the many morals you can find in this story is that it’s better not to ask for things you’d rather not get (like a pair of AGM-114 Hellfire missiles with shaped-charge anti-armor warheads).

Hamas, which apparently contains at least one quick study, is refusing to publicly announce the name of its new leader.Certain people, who are apparently pro-life in regard to terrorists, have spoken out against the Israeli attack. UK Foreign Secretary Jack Straw, for example, called the Israeli policy of targeted terrorist elimination, “unlawful, unjustified, and counterproductive.”

The Israelis who live with the threat of daily terror attacks see the picture more realistically. Said Israeli Vice Premier Ehud Olmert, “No terrorist can go home to sleep at night thinking he is immune.” One would think that even Jack Straw could understand that that is a good thing. Read a full article at Foxnews.com

Monday, April 19, 2004

Who Built The Wall Between Intelligence and Law Enforcement?

In Attorney General Ashcroft’s April 6 testimony before the 9/11 Commission, he revealed a declassified memo, written during the Clinton administration, which was responsible for strengthening the wall between the intelligence services and the crime-fighters that prevented us from preventing 9/11. As a vitally interesting extra, Ashcroft revealed that the memo was written by an actual 9/11 commissioner – Democratic appointee Jamie Gorelick.

The “wall” that, according to Ashcroft, government both created and was blinded by, was invented during the Carter administration and strengthened during the Clinton years. It hampered the FBI and kept them from adequately investigating people like Zacarias Moussaoui and two of the Pentagon hijackers. The wall continued to hinder government investigations until recently, when the Patriot Act tore it down.In the Gorelick memo, which is entitled “Instructions on Separation of Certain Foreign Counterintelligence and Criminal Investigations” and which contains orders to former director of FBI Louis Freeh and other high-ups, she writes:

We believe that it is prudent to establish a set of instructions that will more clearly separate the counterintelligence investigation from the more limited, but continued, criminal investigations. These procedures, which go beyond what is legally required, will prevent any risk of creating an unwarranted appearance that FISA is being used to avoid procedural safeguards which would apply in a criminal investigation.

It would appear that Miss Gorelick would have a bias in handling the commission. In repeating the call of many others in recent times, she should be testifying for the Commission, not hearing testimony. Read a full article on the subject here.

Sunday, April 11, 2004

Rice Faces the Obnoxious People

On April 8, Condoleezza Rice testified under oath in front of the 9/11 Commission, which treated Rice like a criminal, and did its very best to place the blame on the Bush Administration and to embarrass Bush and his government as mush as possible. The way the Commission was set up, and the way in which certain Commissioners used their session with Rice, made it clear that the investigation is nothing but a political farce.The room where Rice testified was packed with 9/11 families who applauded whenever the Bush Administration was accused of being responsible for the attacks. The applause of these handpicked, “grief-stricken” families was so inappropriate, and so ill timed, that even Bob Kerrey, one of the two worst Commissioners, was forced to ask them to cease in their applause (which they did not). These people applauded after the following sentence of Kerrey’s: “…let me say that I don't think we understand how the Muslim world views us, and I'm terribly worried that the military tactics in Iraq are going to do a number of things, and they're all bad.” The people in the room who clapped at that sentence were showing their solidarity with the terrorist effort to drive us out of Iraq.

Of all the Commissioners, the two who were by far the worst were the appalling Left-wingers Ben-Veniste and Bob Kerrey. Ben-Veniste is a so-called journalist, who showed with his insinuations an unveiled hatred of the Bush administration. He used the questions he asked in a rhetorical manner, and then tried to prevent Rice from giving him the answers. Consider the following exchange about the August 6th Presidential Daily Briefing (PDB):

BEN-VENISTE: Isn't it a fact, Dr. Rice, that the August 6th PDB warned against possible attacks in this country? And I ask you whether you recall the title of that PDB?

RICE: I believe the title was, "Bin Laden Determined to Attack Inside the United States."Now, the...

BEN-VENISTE: Thank you.

RICE: No, Mr. Ben-Veniste...

BEN-VENISTE: I will get into the...

RICE: I would like to finish my point here.

BEN-VENISTE: I didn't know there was a point.

RICE: Given that -- you asked me whether or not it warned of attacks.

BEN-VENISTE: I asked you what the title was.

RICE: You said, did it not warn of attacks. It did not warn of attacks inside the United States. It was historical information based on old reporting. There was no new threat information. And it did not, in fact, warn of any coming attacks inside the United States.
You will notice that Ben-Veniste did not expect Dr. Rice to address his first question, and that he instead wanted to focus on the misleading title of the memo. He does, by the way, already know that the title of the memo is misleading, since he has read it. Ben-Veniste continued to badger Rice about the irrelevant. He could not bring himself to drop the subject of the memo. The following exchange starts with Rice attempting to answer Ben-Veniste’s question as to whether or not the memo warned that Al-Qaeda was making preparations for hijackings:

RICE: What the August 6th PDB said, and perhaps I should read to you...

BEN-VENISTE: We would be happy to have it declassified in full at this time, including its title.

RICE: I believe, Mr. Ben-Veniste, that you've had access to this PDB. But let me just...

BEN-VENISTE: But we have not had it declassified so that it can be shown publicly, as you know.

RICE: I believe you've had access to this PDB -- exceptional access. But let me address your question.

BEN-VENISTE: Nor could we, prior to today, reveal the title of that PDB.

RICE: May I address the question, sir?

It doesn’t sound like Ben-Veniste is really concentrating on essentials, does it? You can tell that he came into room already knowing all he cared to about the situation.Then of course there was the abominable Bob Kerrey. He said for example, “I think we're going to end up with civil war if we continue [with] the military operation strategies that we have in place…And I wanted to make that declaration. You needn't comment on it, but as I said, I'm not going to have an opportunity to talk to you [about] this closely.” In other words, Sen. Kerrey wanted his question time to make political statements, as opposed to asking important questions. Another example of Kerrey’s making himself look foolish:

KERREY: You said the president was tired of swatting flies. Can you tell me one example where the president swatted a fly when it came to Al Qaida prior to 9/11?

RICE: I think what the president was speaking to was...

KERREY: No, no. What fly had he swatted?

RICE: Well, the disruptions abroad was what he was really focusing on...

KERREY: No, no...

RICE: ... when the CIA would go after Abu Zubaydah...

KERREY: He hadn't swatted...

RICE: ... or go after this guy...

KERREY: Dr. Rice, we didn't...

RICE: That was what was meant.

KERREY: We only swatted a fly once on the 20th of August 1998. We didn't swat any flies afterwards. How the hell could he be tired?

RICE: We swatted at -- I think he felt that what the agency was doing was going after individual terrorists here and there, and that's what he meant by swatting flies. It was simply a figure of speech.

KERREY: Well, I think it's an unfortunate figure of speech because I think, especially after the attack on the Cole on the 12th of October, 2000, it would not have been swatting a fly. It would not have been -- we did not need to wait to get a strategic plan.

Kerrey then went on to question why the Bush administration did nothing to hunt down the bombers of the USS Cole. Has he forgotten that the Cole was attacked during the Clinton administration? In the face of these attacks on Bush Policy, however, Rice pulled an interesting move on Kerrey – she brought up one of his own speeches, in which Kerrey said that the best way to address the Cole issue was “to do something about the threat of Saddam Hussein.” This was the only time that the room’s applause was directed against the panel of Commissioners.

Despite all of the trivia that the Commission brought up, and all of its circus-like tactics, Condoleezza Rice kept her cool, and very smartly addressed the questions put to her as best as she could (and as often as the Commissioners would let her). But was her testimony necessary when she had already testified for the Congressional 9/11 Investigation? Did the Commissioners really need Dr. Rice to break precedent by appearing before them while still an active National Security Advisor? Of course not. And if there was any doubt about that, the actual scene of her testimony removed it.

Thursday, April 08, 2004

Sen. Dodd in "Lotts" of Trouble?

The press and the liberals may need a refresher course on some recent history. Just last year, Senator Leader Trent Lott was forced to step down from his position as Majority Leader after he made some “racially insensitive” remarks at a retirement party for former Senator Strom Thurmond.

What Lott actually said was that he voted for him, and that we wouldn’t have all the problems we have now if Sen. Thurmond had been elected. Thurmond, however, had campaigned as a segregationalist. The media and the Washington Democrats attacked Lott viciously for making these remarks to the hundred-year-old Senator, saying that he had indicated his secret preference for discrimination and segregation.Now, however, the same case is being repeated on the other side of the aisle, and the silence is deafening. In commemoration of Senator Robert C. Byrd’s 17,000th Senate vote, Senator Chris Dodd gave him a glowing testimonial, saying, among other things, that “he would have been right at the founding of this country. He would have been in the leadership crafting this Constitution. He would have been right during the great conflict of Civil War in this nation.” Dodd went on to say that there wasn’t any point during this country’s “220-plus year history” where Byrd would have been wrong. The problem is that Senator Byrd is a former Ku Klux Klan “Grand Kleagle.”

This time there is no outrage from Washington Democrats, and leading media outlets like the New York Times haven’t touched the story.Now, I do not think that either Trent Lott or Chris Dodd is a racist. Dodd’s comments, just like Lott’s, were just a little praise in the vain of making an older man happy. I furthermore don’t think that either Thurmond (now dead) or Byrd is a racist in the modern day (even though, in another under-reported story, Sen. Byrd used the phrase “white n-ggers” in an interview). This is merely another sad example of the heavy bias that is crushing the mass media. You could also ask why Dodd’s comment didn’t outrage Sen. Minority Leader Daschle the way Lott’s did last year. Dare I say “double-standard”?

Sunday, April 04, 2004

Jobs, Jobs, Jobs

The Bush domestic situation is getting better fast and leaving Democrats with fewer and fewer things to complain about. The economy has been growing very quickly for some time now, consumer confidence is up, productivity is up. The one thing this left Democrats to complain about is the slow pace at which the US was generating jobs (despite the fact that any economist will tell you that the job market is a lagging indicator – the last thing to recover from a recession). Now, though, the democrats can’t even legitimately complain about jobs.The totals are in for the month of March, and the Bush administration has created 308,000 jobs. In addition, the figures for January and February of this year were revised upwards by a total of 87,000 jobs.

The Democrats will continue to complain of course. Senator Kerry has already said, “After three years of punishing job losses, the one-month job creation announced today is welcome news for America's workers; but for too many families, living through the worst job recovery since the Great Depression has been, and continues to be, far too painful.” Is he scraping the bottom of the barrel or what?You can rest assured that the Democrats are hoping for far worse job creation numbers in the following months; if the numbers are good, it’s just another nail in Kerry’s coffin.