Friday, March 30, 2007

NK Update

After the break off of the 6 party talks last week due to the DPRK's demand that the 25 million in the Macao bank be returned to them, we were assured that it was only a technical glitch, and that soon talks would resume after our Treasury experts visited Beijing and straightened everything out.

So, super T-man Daniel Glaser goes to Beijing with with an entourage of five, including:
...Jim Wilkinson, Treasury's chief of staff, and Jim Freis, Treasury's deputy assistant general counsel and incoming director of the Treasury's financial crimes enforcement network.

Glaser arrives in Beijing (Reuters)

And with all this heavy firepower, and Mr. Glaser's sunglasses, what was the result?
Daniel Glaser, deputy U.S. assistant secretary for terrorist financing and financial crimes, met Chinese and North Korean officials in Beijing earlier this week to discuss the transfer, but no significant progress was reported.
The DPRK as supposed to shut down their reactor within sixty days of the 'agreement'. Since then they have stated, no moola, no shutdown. Treasury waited thirty days (the maximum) before announcing that they had thrown a wrench into the works, now two more weeks have passed. At least the South Koreans remain optimistic, though I can't imagine why.

Thursday, March 29, 2007


The deafening silence in the press and the blogosphere concerning Saudi King Abdullah's condemnation of the US/British occupation of Iraq forces Blog Simple to engage in some reckless and uninformed speculation.

Just three months ago, when VP Cheney went off on one of his world tours, we were assured by most pundits and reporters that the reason for the visit to Saudi Arabia was to ease the fears of the worried King that the admin would follow the recommendations of the ISG, and start to 'draw down' forces in Iraq. If we did reduce or withdraw, the Saudis, we were told, might have to send support to the Sunni insurgents.

Even more recently, we were told that the administration was forming a 'moderate' coalition to counteract Iranian inspired Shiites who were threatening to destabilize the Pax America that reigns outside Iraq.

So what happened?
  1. The Iranians have mollified the fears of the Saudi's if they ever had any.
  2. Abdullah went out on a limb to bring the Palestinians together, obviously a prerequisite for any meaningful peace talks with the Israelis.
  3. Condi was supposed to use this as a basis for some kind of quid pro quo to restart talks. She must have given assurances to the Saudis that she would get results or start to pressure the Israelis.
  4. Condi went to the Israelis and tried to get talks started, the Israelis repeated their demands, and refused any quid pro quo, and when she threatened to apply pressure, the Israelis called on Cheney to stop her.
  5. Condi, as usual, returned to Washington with her tail between her legs.
  6. The Saudis, and especially the King, saw this as a personal betrayal and insult, and responded accordingly. It must be clear to them that there is no one in charge in the traditional sense in Washington, Cheney is still the biggest dog but he doesn't do diplomacy so there is no one to talk to.
What is most striking about the King's speech is that it was made by the King. I've been googling like a fury to try to find some reports with at least unnamed sources speaking, or maybe Bandar, anybody, who can explain this total shipwreck of US policy. What sounds like an earthquake to me is barely on the front web page of the NYT, absent from the WaPo, the LA Times, CNN, or MSNBC. It's like no one knows what to say yet, they're all waiting to get the appropriate spin from Rove or Cheney, but the shipwreck is keeping them too busy bailing out Gonzo or fighting off the Democrats.

What's next? The US has no one left to talk to, has lost its pressure on Syria, and probably any help that the Arabs might have given with Iran. Just our good buds the Israelis are on board, and how! There was some Russian report that the attack on Iran will start on April 6, sounds about right to me.

Update: At least we know why CNN doesn't have room on their front page to cover this. It got shoved aside by this blockbuster: Trump has 50 percent chance of losing hair
I kid you not.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007


Some random thoughts on the state of the country and the world under Feckless Leader.

OK, the bus careening down the hill, it's getting steeper, the driver is unconscious and the passengers in the front are fighting for the wheel that comes off in their hands. The only thing that prevents total pandemonium is the fact that the other passengers are blindfolded.
That's my image of the Cheney administration and the US at this point in time.

  • Abu Gonzo is toast, the National Review just called for his resignation.
  • The Justice Department is in full in-fighting mode, everyone is trying to save their own skin.
  • The FBI breaks the law as a matter of course.
  • Bush is fighting to save a war everyone hates.
  • The housing market is dragging the economy down.
  • The Saudis and the Jordanians, our best friends, won't come to dinner.
  • The N. Korean deal is still blocked by the Treasury Department.
  • Iran is holding hostages again.
  • Nuclear Pakistan is falling apart.
And that's just a few things we know about. Six years of MSM enabled stealing, lying, and secrecy have undoubtedly led to domestic excesses beyond our imagination, and looming international disasters that are not yet on the radar screen. If we make it to May without an attack on Iran I'll start to believe that we might make it without that final insanity, but I'm really edgy about the current moment. Does it show?

Monday, March 26, 2007

Somerby says it

I hadn't heard this before from him (he may have said it, of course), speaking of political reporters :
Let’s explain what you’re getting when you’re handed such insulting blather. You’re surveying the work of a criminal class—a group of overpaid, store-bought clowns who are paid their fantastic salaries precisely because they’re reliably fatuous.
That's an excellent portrait of political reporters working in the MSM. Reporters in other areas, such as world affairs bring another set of skills to their party, the use of anonymous sources in the government to promote the governments talking points, the vision of the public's need to know as something the media should filter in their infinite wisdom, here too the talents of reporters and their fat salaries are based on the ability to mislead, the technique is just different.

On a similar note, Wayne Madsen has a Journalist/Government incest chart, it's good stuff, take a look.

Saturday, March 24, 2007


While researching my last post I ran across this organization chart of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) at Wikipedia. (click to enlarge)

Evidently, the same people who did the propaganda for 'the Surge' made this chart, I mean:
- Want It
- Know It
- Get It
- Build It
does not inspire confidence. No wonder Negroponte ran away as fast as his little legs could carry him.

DPRK on the march!

Many questions have been raised over Blog Simple's continuous posts about the North Korea talks. Why, I'm asked, all the posts on NK when there are so many issues out there, Iran, Iraq, Gonzales, Brittany Spears?

What my trained instincts have told me is that these talks provide an interesting perspective of the following:

1. The ongoing struggle in the administration between the realists and the neo-cons.

2. The way the press is used to either paper over these differences, or to take part on one side or the other.

3. The way the press is used as an instrument of policy.

China Matters has another good post on the Treasury's campaign against the talks. I strongly suggest reading it, but the story of Stuart Levy and his position is new to me:
He came to Treasury in 2004.

He wasn’t just filling an empty seat at Treasury or, for that matter, just a new slot on the organization chart.

According to his confirmation hearings, his mission at Treasury was to create a new counter-terrorist capability—a new office of Terrorism and Financial Intelligence-- inside Treasury.
As well as his views on what it means:
About that intelligence office:

In response to a question from Senator Grassley concerning his vision for the Intelligence Analysis office, Levey responded:

"The first function of the OIA (Office of Intelligence and Analysis—ed.) is to build a robust analytical capability on terrorist finance. The Department of the Treasury needs actionable intelligence that can be used to fulfill its mission and exercise its legal authorities. Analytical products from the intelligence community tend to be based on anecdotal information and are largely intended to inform policymakers rather than provide them with date points that can be a basis for then [sic] taking action. They also tend to be highly classified, whereas Treasury often needs to use the lowest classification possible to be used openly to press foreign governments or in evidentiary packages. While OIA will draw on all-source analytical products from the intelligence community, it willl produce its own intelligence reports tailored to the particular needs of Treasury’s mission."

To me, the money quote is “actionable intelligence”. Just like Stephen Cambone at Defense, Levey would have his own intelligence, his own justification for policy, and his own license to act.
The China Matters has a lot more that points out the likelihood that it was Treasury that spiked the talks in the first place, and then, when told to straighten things out so the 25 million could go to the NPRK, managed to put enough poison pills in the deal that the Chinese said 'Nyet' in Chinese.

Now we are told that:
The Treasury said on Friday that Daniel Glaser, deputy assistant secretary for terrorist financing and financial crimes, will lead a five-person delegation to Beijing to work through details of the $25 million transfer. Delays in the transfer have stalled talks on North Korea's nuclear program.
Glaser was already send to Macao to smooth the transfer, but his efforts were bootless, as we've seen. Let's see what happens when he's backed by (hopefully) competent people.

The closest I can find of any talk of Treasury/State dispute is this:
Still, administration officials sought to dispel any impression on Friday that the departments headed by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Treasury Secretary Henry M. Paulson Jr. were at cross purposes. Top officials made nearly identical statements saying that everyone agreed on the return but that implementation was difficult.
It's pretty clear that the Treasury has been running, with their new found capabilities, operations against the NPRK, not to mention Iran, and the needs of diplomacy are interrupting some cherished plots. That, theoretically, is why we have our new Director of National Intelligence, because with the CIA, the Pentagon, the Treasury, the OVP, and probably the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration all running around covertly and authorized to use deadly force, pretty soon the odds are that some unit is going to die in a hail of gunfire from another branch of the government. But don't worry no one will tell you about that.

Friday, March 23, 2007


WaPo gets all medieval on Shinzo Abe's ass.

Japan better not torpedo the NK talks?

RIP Cassie

Goodbye Cassie, I love you!

Thursday, March 22, 2007

You say North Korea, I say DPRK

Korea talks break off over funds in Macao says the IHT. No date set for restarting them. Hill claims that the previous agreement will move ahead, but the DPRK stated quite clearly that they will not shut down the reactor until the 25 mil is securely in their hands.
But it's still OK, says Hill:
China called a halt to the talks late Thursday without a date being agreed for the next round of negotiations although Hill said a Feb. 13 agreement that the North would shut down its Yongbyon reactor by April 13 in return for economic aid remained on track.
The Russians do not agree:

BEIJING. March 22 (Interfax-China) - The situation at the six-party talks on North Korea's nuclear problem suggests that the plan for freezing North Korea's nuclear facilities within the scheduled 60 days will not be fulfilled, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Losyukov said.

"A recess announced in the talks means two things: the United States has failed to honor its obligations within 30 days and, second, the plan of measures to freeze North Korea's nuclear facilities within the scheduled 60 days will not be fulfilled," Losyukov told the press in Beijing.

"Today's meeting has even failed to start the discussion of this issue," he said. sd

My emphasis above, sabotage?

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

NK talks extended

You have to delve a little deeper than the headline to learn that the main reason for the extension is that North Korea has not been talking at all, as they're still waiting for the 25 mil.

The press had reported that the issue was resolved, but NK wants to see the cash and that hasn't happened.

The visit of the Treasury's Daniel Glaser last weekend seemed strange to me at the time, why do you need a high-ranking treasury official to visit a little Macao bank so that the money can be released?

"The issue has to do with moving money from one bank account to another,'' Hill said. "It involves filling out a lot of forms.'' Envoys had been trying to conclude the current round of discussions today, Hill said yesterday.

Transfer Rejected

The Bank of China refused to accept the transfer, China's official Xinhua News Agency reported yesterday, citing Alexander Losyukov, Russia's envoy to the six-nation talks. The report didn't provide any other details.

Not knowing a lot about these matters, my speculation is dubious, but could Mr. Glaser have somehow put conditions on that the Chinese can't accept? China Matters thought that the Boltonites were behind the whole bank imbroglio from the beginning.

Anyway, tomorrow is another day. Christopher Hill is a patient man, good for him. We too are patient, let's see how it turns out.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Can you say...

Constitutional crisis?
House committee to subpoena top White House officials Wednesday

Good for the Dems. I think this is a clear issue for them, it keeps national security out of the picture and goes to the root of Feckless Leader as the heir of Caesars.

The press reaction will be interesting in the upcoming days.

Iraq and spin

Professor Kahl commented on my post below, I put in a (rather incoherent) comment myself.

I disagree with his analysis of US COIN strategies in Iraq, how they have evolved, and where they are going. I realize that as an academic he doesn't put his personal feelings about the war in his discussions, so I don't really know what he thinks about the war.

I personally feel that it is essentially a criminal enterprise in concept, that many of the actions that the US has followed there are and have been crimes (Abu Ghraib, the under reported air war, the general indifference to and lack of accounting of civilian deaths). I'm also convinced that almost six years of Rumsfeld running the Pentagon has placed people in command that are unsuited for it.

A big feature of the war has been the effort to spin what was happening. Great efforts have been exerted to direct public opinion, discourage objective reporting, and to manage the story, as if that was the road to victory. Professor Kahl says that now the US 'gets it', and is thus able to 'do it'. I can find no reason to believe this, I think the surge is nothing but ongoing spin, and that he's fallen for it.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Japan's turn

Since the strange kabuki over the Macao bank seems to be resolved:
U.S. officials announced earlier Monday an agreement to release $25 million in frozen North Korean funds held in Banco Delta Asia, a bank in Macau. It was a significant reversal of the Treasury's previous position that much of the money had been illicitly laundered by the bank for North Korea and would remain frozen. North Korean officials seemed satisfied and issued no "ultimatums" about how and when the money would be transferred, Hill said.
The WaPo reports that Japan is kicking up their heels: (above quote is from the same article)
But a Japanese official in Beijing complained of a deadlock over questions about North Korea's abduction of Japanese citizens. "At this juncture, we are not ready to extend energy or economic assistance to North Korea, when the abduction issue or the normalization" of relations between Japan and North Korea "do not show progress," the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
Reactor shutdown is supposed to happen in mid-April, what are the odds?

Sunday, March 18, 2007

After four years...

Here we are. Four more will put us at 2011 and the only way the US won't be there is if it's kicked out by the Iraqis. You see, you can talk about withdrawal all you want, but without the political will to make it happen it just remains talk. The only political will that Congress shows is lining their pockets and getting reelected.

I read this really off the wall post at Juan Cole's Informed Comment Saturday night and it's been bugging me ever since. Juan, who says about Kahl's arguments, "I thought them clear, concise and cogent" leaves Professor Colin Kahl of the Political Science Department at the University of Minnesota pretty much on his own then to bless us with his expertise on counter-insurgency.

If you're interested in the Professor Kahl's views in detail read the post. I'll sum it up here , he thinks in Iraq we've passed through the phases of:
1. Denial [Iraqis love us, right?]
2. Learning curve [Funny way to love us.]
3. Getting it [Iraqis don't love us at all.]
4. Doing it - [We'll make you love us, dead or alive, on going, baby, from 1/1/2007]

His analysis of phases 1 - 3 is pretty unremarkable, he loves to throw around the jargon like a real army man, but then he gets down and gets funky with phase 4, doing it:
. . This shift makes sense from the perspective of COIN best practices and the new COIN field manual. There are other successful approaches to COIN, including what the briefing calls "the Roman Strategy" ("make a desert and call it peace"), which was basically the approach Saddam used to prevent sustained insurgency in Iraq. But, as the briefing properly notes, adopting this approach (or even somewhat softer, but still highly coercive COIN practices, such as those used by the Americans effectively in the Philippines between 1899-1902), is incompatible with norms against targeting civilians embraced by the U.S. military and political leadership. So, with the Roman strategy off the table, that leaves the "clear, hold, and build" option. However, as the briefing makes clear, this strategic shift may simply be too little, too late. What the briefing doesn't say is that it is also unclear whether employing COIN best practices will work in the context of not only a raging insurgency (in Baghdad, Anbar, Diyala), but also a sectarian civil war (in Baghdad, Diyala, and increasingly Kirkuk), diffuse criminal anarchy and militia rivalry (in the South), and endemic separatist tendencies (in Kurdistan). . .
Now to me, the Roman Strategy means genocide. Can you read it differently? Can Professor Cole read it differently? Is that the essence of what makes it "clear, concise and cogent"? And why do we need to go back to ancient history for our options? I recall that in the last century there was a great example of 'leaving a desert' practiced by the Wehrmacht.

Well, you don't use the Germans as an example because it sounds bad, but not because they did anything differently than the Romans. We don't do things like that because it "is incompatible with norms against targeting civilians embraced by the U.S. military and political leadership".

Illegal is not mentioned. War crime is not mentioned. It seems that according to Prof. Kahl these thing are no longer important in a discussion of war, just what US military and political leadership 'embrace'. If they decide to embrace genocide and mass destruction in Iraq that is something Prof. Kahl will discuss in his political science world coolly and calmly, probably under the heading 'Doing it righteously'.

It's over?

U.S.: Dispute on N. Korea Funds Resolved

Maybe, I wouldn't call Glaser the final word on anything. (See posts below.)

If NK signs off on this, the only question that remains is 'why'.

Get on it, MSM!

Saturday, March 17, 2007

NK, situation murky

The WaPo has posted this article on the latest NK/US maneuvers:
Peter M. Beck, a Seoul-based analyst with the International Crisis Group, said the situation remained murky.

"It's really not clear if the Treasury and State departments are on the same page yet," Beck said, "and it's not clear what the North Koreans are willing to accept, if they're going to insist on the full amount as they said today, or get roughly half back and declare victory."

North Korea has been very clear so far, they want all the money. The State/Treasury situation is clearly a neo-con/realist conflict, the comment above (however elliptical) is the first reference I have found that mentions it in the MSM.

Friday, March 16, 2007

NK speaks

NK is no longer mum, no deal unless all their funds in the bank are released. There are incredible contradictions in the press on this, rival administration officials are probably calling 'their reporters' non stop. There's a lot of articles out there, but they're not front page material, yet. Some headlines:

N. Korea Sends Mixed Signal on Nuke Plan

North Korea demands money before nuclear closure

North Korea insists US must lift money curbs

N. Korea plans to shut down nuke reactor

North Korea Wants Money Before Shutting Nuclear Plant (Update5)

N Korea refuses to shut down nuke facility

It seems that the Treasury Department has tried to kill the deal despite an audit that found no evidence that the bank was involved in money laundering. U.S. Treasury Deputy Assistant Secretary for Terrorist Financing and Financial Crimes Daniel Glaser essentially kicked the bank out of the US system, and now maintains that it is up to the Macao government to decide what to do. He is in Macao now, so it will be interesting to see if this is just buck passing, letting Macao release the funds, or something still more byzantine.

North Korea deal dead?

China Matters has the skinny on a possible unraveling of the N. Korea agreement. The Treasury Department has evidently scuttled the deal to lift sanctions on the Macao bank that NK uses, the supposition is that the neo-cons have struck back once again.

NK is still mum about it, but China has expressed their displeasure.

I'm curious to know if this would even cross onto Feckless Leader's radar screen. Christopher Hill must be displeased, and I would think he would complain to Condi, but can she put it in the plain and simple terms that FL could understand? Can anyone?

From the outside it appears that such decisions are not made by FL, the realists and the neo-cons run a continual game of gotcha behind the scenes that must make interpreting US policy a difficult matter for friend and foe alike. Despite reports that the realists have the upper hand, the surge and now this episode cast doubt on that.

Friday Cassie Blogging

Olmert's democracy

From Haaretz:
PMO to Balad: We will thwart anti-Israel activity even if legal
The Prime Minister's Office has sent a letter to the editor of the publication of the predominantly Arab party Balad saying it would combat the activity of any group or individual seeking to harm Israel's "Jewish or democratic character," even if that activity was carried out through legal means.

"The Shin Bet security service will thwart the activity of any group or individual seeking to harm the Jewish and democratic character of the State of Israel, even if such activity is sanctioned by the law," read the letter, sent by the Prime Minister's Office on behalf of the Shin Bet to editor Ala Hlehel.
You cannot make this shit up.

Thursday, March 15, 2007


Let's see if this one hits the press hard or not:
BAGHDAD, Iraq - A roadside bomb exploded Thursday in eastern Baghdad, killing four U.S. soldiers and wounding two others, the U.S. military said.

The attack began when a bomb went off as a U.S. unit was returning from a search operation in the mostly Shiite area, the military said. Moments later, a second bomb exploded, killing and wounding the soldiers.

A demolition team that searched the site after the attack found an explosively formed projectile, a type of high-tech bomb that the U.S. military believes comes from Iran. The device was detonated by the team.
Shiite area, check
EFP, check
Iran, check

UPDATE: Almost two hours later, the story is not on the front page of any of the MSM news sites (NYT, WaPo, CNN, MSNBC, LA Times) I check regularly. They're probably still working under the 'surge is working' directive, in other words, no bad news from Baghdad. Let's see if and when things change.

MORNING UPDATE: No front page coverage, the WaPo had a subtitle yesterday night below a 'surge is working' article. That article is still there, the EFP report is gone. The surge rules! Just as well, I don't think I could handle drums of war with Iran today.


The media lockstep on the KSM 'confession' was most impressive. You'd have thought that some actual event had occurred, rather than what was nothing more than a document dump by the government. It must be one of the perks of having an 'free' press that we have hundreds of Pravdas, while the USSR only had one.

And though the Danny Pearl confession kept KSM's photo on top of the headlines this morning, most of the quicker news sites have it well down in the queue now. There's plenty of room at the top for Abu's resignation tomorrow, if it comes down.

I'm proud of my well earned reputation as a terrible prognosticator, so I'm not afraid to predict that tomorrow will not be the day. I still think they're going to try to weather this one out, if only to avoid a round of confirmation hearings.


The death of Col Ted Westhusing in Iraq is getting some recent coverage. Back in Nov. 2005 the LA Times ran an article (behind a pay wall, now) that raised some questions about the verdict of suicide that the military reached.

Now Robert Bryce has written a long piece about Westhusing, made possible because of newly released documents under the Freedom of Information Act, that, without dwelling on any murder speculation, is as damning a piece of reporting as I've ever seen.

Here is Westhusing's suicide note, it was found by his body, written in large block letters:
Thanks for telling me it was a good day until I briefed you. [Redacted name]You are only interested in your career and provide no support to your staff no msn [mission] support and you don’t care. I cannot support a msn that leads to corruption, human right abuses and liars. I am sullied no more. I didn’t volunteer to support corrupt, money grubbing contractors, nor work for commanders only interested in themselves. I came to serve honorably and feel dishonored. I trust no Iraqi. I cannot live this way. All my love to my family, my wife and my precious children. I love you and trust you only. Death before being dishonored any more. Trust is essential I don’t know who trust anymore. [sic] Why serve when you cannot accomplish the mission, when you no longer believe in the cause, when your every effort and breath to succeed meets with lies, lack of support, and selfishness? No more. Reevaluate yourselves, cdrs [commanders]. You are not what you think you are and I know it.

COL Ted Westhusing

Life needs trust. Trust is no more for me here in Iraq.
His commanders were Generals Fil and Petraeus. Read the whole damned article.

At the time, my thought was that if he had been murdered, it would have been done by the contractors. If that were true, I imagined that there would be payback, sooner or later, even if there was a cover-up. That the army (and his comrades) would allow a exemplary officer such as Westhusing to be offed by some thieving contractors without consequences seemed impossible to me.

Now, it's clear that suicide or not, Westhusing's charges highlight the morass that the US military wallows in. His 'suicide' was convenient for people in the military as well. Petraeus's unchallenged testimony before his unanimous approval by the Senate proves that the complicity is unbounded, there are no crimes that we cannot ignore, hide or whitewash.

And as Senator Clinton said today, ain't no way we're leaving Iraq.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007





Nothing to see here...

While on the subject of the press ignoring stories to death, certain quarters are banging their little drums to get people to take some notice of the strange case of Sibel Edmonds. Lukery, of the Wot Is It Good 4 blog has set up a site, Let Sibel Edmonds Speak, dedicated to the strange proposition that it would be a good thing to listen to what Sibel has to say. Unless you are familiar with the case, you might not know that Sibel cannot speak, she has been silenced by the US government. Another good source of information about Sibel is The Stress Blog by Scott Horton.

For background, go to the sites, and if the story impresses you and you want to hear more you might want to call Waxman and Conyers (as Lukery urges) and ask that they ungag Sibel.

But what is really interesting is that, apart from a few relatively lonely bloggers, and some special interest groups, no one will touch this story. Do a Google news search on Sibel Edmonds and you will find that none of MSM has touched this case with a ten foot pole, and correspondingly, none of the big bloggers have touched it either. No interest, no discussion, not even a put down is warranted by the guardians of our discourse, so just move along.

It will be interesting to see if the efforts by Lukery and Horton to involve Congress will have any success. It's clear that unless they do, the press will keep their little heads all firmly turned in other directions.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007


Tom Engelhardt (of TomDispatch) addresses the deafening silence about Sy Hersh’s last NewYorker article The Redirection. I suggest you head on over there and read it (read Hersh’s too if you haven’t) and then come back for a discussion about a theme that is dear to my heart, the censorship of silence. As Tom notes, Hersh makes some startling points:
  • There has been a total shift in the US Mideast policy, Sunni religious fighters are once again our friends, Shiites are the bad guys.
  • The office of the VP is running covert ops funded by funds looted from Iraq.
  • The looted funds allow the operations to be run without the involvement of the CIA, the NSC, the Pentagon, and, naturally Congress.
  • Some of the same players were part of Iran/Contras, they realized that involving the agencies listed above led to their temporary undoing back in the 80’s.
  • The US is conducting covert operations (meddling, you might say) in Iran
And nobody in the media, despite Hersh’s reputation, talks about any of this. It is not approved, discussed or refuted, it is simply ignored. I’ve written before about the office of the VP being a secret government, but my focus has been on the infiltration and corruption of the existing institutions, here we learn that operations are being run wholly outside any government institution (other the the OVP), financed by theft, and dedicated to ends really known only by the participants.

Hersh, in an interview available at, talks about the New York Times, where he worked for nine years:
I always have a mixed feeling about them. It is the most important newspaper in America. It still is. When they report a story, it has enormous influence. They just haven't figured out this presidency. I think that just maybe they don't know how. I mean, it is sort of amazing to me they haven't figured out this presidency.
Here, to my mind, Hersh gets all naïve on our asses, and that fits the general pattern. The critics of the news media in the blogosphere also love to say that the NYT and the WP are not doing their jobs, they fail to ask the tough questions out of laziness, top reporters and pundit eat too many cocktail weenies and live in such an isolated environment that they can’t do their job right.

The NYT is doing what they are supposed to do, the reporters, pundits and editors are all performing splendidly, so the big bloggers ask their questions only as the media has already framed the issues. Within those parameters you can agree or disagree all you want, outside them, even to ask questions, you disappear. That proves that the media is effective, you do not stray from the narrative without the risk of being marginalized.

So it seems that Hersh's story lies outside the defined parameters. He thinks (or says he thinks) it's because the NYT has not 'figured out this presidency'. In time, maybe after an attack on Iran, it might show up in the narrative, the evidence will ooze out about crimes that have led to death, disaster, and destruction. There will be hearings, trials, and pardons. In the meantime, we have to let things run their course in silence. Why worry?

Thump, thump, thump...

The Rude Pundit's take on Cheney at AIPAC.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Diplomacy can be fun, too.

China Matters has a post that reviews continuing US blunders in its Iran sanctions policy, and how that is playing into the hands of China.

I suggest reading the entire post, the Cheney administration clown show is incapable of doing anything with diplomacy other than threaten and bluster (except caving in, as they did with North Korea), the rest of the world must be tired of it, though evidently it is a source of amusement to the Chinese.
Certainly, China’s Ambassador to the UN Wang Guangya, doesn’t seem to be feeling a lot of pressure. Responding to the news that Iranian President Ahmadinejad plans to come to New York to address the Security Council, Wang said:

“Any member had the right to come to the council...It will be fun if he comes, especially if in connection with adoption of this resolution.”

Fun, indeed, especially since Wang can enjoy a front row seat watching the EU ambassadors squirm in their seats as Ahmadinejad scowls at his erstwhile allies and trading partners.

Feel the love...

Cheney at AIPAC, a neo-con wet dream. It seems the VP is not yet ready to go quietly into that good night.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Dangerous times...

It's all unraveling, the Libby trial and the Gonzales 8 are still drawing blood. Feckless Leader is feeling the political heat as much as Cheney who is now widely accepted as the mastermind of the Plame affair. Let's face it, without Cheney there is no semblance of a leader in the White House, Cheney himself made sure of that.

In the East, the surge has bought time, but it can't last. The crumbling of Cheney's foreign policy is on the minds of all of our 'allies', and they are scrambling for a way forward under the threats that the VP handed out on his last world tour.

So internally and externally, the pressure is mounting. Can our 'realists' mount a take down of the VP and his posse? Will that attempt spark a determined response led by Cheney (under Feckless Leader's steely gaze, or without it), or will FL survive by failing once again, dumping the VP, and running home to Daddy?

I'll be surprised if we make it to June without some resolution.


In trying to analyze the occurrences of our world, its disputes and its consensuses, I've been struck lately by the frequency of missing physical evidence, and the lack of comment it inspires in the media, including the fabled blogosphere.

Some of the episodes that come to my mind at present are the following:
  1. The destruction of the air controller tapes of 9/11.
  2. The lack of CCTV tapes from 7/7 released to the public. Do they exist?
  3. The malfunction of the CCTV camera on the 7/7 bus that blew up.
  4. The disappearance of the BBC 9/11 broadcast tapes.
  5. The disappearance of the DVD of the last interrogation of Jose Padilla before he was shuffled over to the criminal justice system.
My favorite is #1, the FAA official that destroyed the tapes cut them into little pieces and scattered them into trash cans all around the building. Talk about initiative!

It's clear that the longer the list gets, the more likely it is that it's all just a coincidence. A single occurrence might excite suspicion, but who can believe all these were done intentionally? Stuff does get lost, and people do chop up tapes into little pieces because just it seems right to them, it's probably going on all the time but we just don't notice. I've got to try to remember this, it makes everything neater.

Been on the road...

Friday, March 02, 2007

Friday Cassie Blogging

Thursday, March 01, 2007


My last post concerned the strange tale of the BBC announcing that the WTC7 building had collapsed 23 minutes before it actually did. This news brought forth a 'non mea culpa' from the BBC that also let out the fact that somehow the tapes from that day had gone missing.

Naturally, this proves nothing, accidents happen, even unlikely combinations of accidents happen and the world goes on spinning with its usual aplomb.

But the episode has shown some curious facts about our world, and how it works. The first point is that the story is completely absent from the news media. Both the broadcast and the loss of the tapes are evidently so unremarkable that it can't shake one story out of the MSM. The second point is the silence of the 'big-time' blogs. The powerful Atrios, faced with the mention of it in a comment thread went so far as to start a new thread with the comment:
Because of the goddamn 9/11 conspiracy noise in the last thread. Bleah.
Certainly, 9/11 discussions usually degenerate almost as quickly as Israel/Palestine discussions and if Atrios doesn't want them on his blog that is his right. But the facts in the episode are not in dispute, and there's no need to believe or disbelieve in any theory to wonder what happened.

There are only two bloggers that I have bookmarked (and I have a lot bookmarked) that have
discussed this. One, Postman Patel, who is British, wrote several posts on it in his own inimitable style (here's one), and he has also written about other strange disappearing tapes such as the CATV tapes of 7/7. The other is Wonkette, who has a typically snarky post that still reports accurately what happened and what it's about.

No one else has even mentioned it in passing as far as I can tell , at least up to now. What can we attribute that to?
  • Lack of interest
  • Fear of being labeled a conspiracy theorist
  • Knee jerk belief that there can be no truth to the matter
  • Automatic deference to the silence of the MSM

Probably all have some influence, but I think the last one is the biggest factor. Silence is the overriding control exercised by the media. As O. Spengler said about press freedom:
And the other side of this belated freedom- it is permitted to everyone to say what he pleases, but the Press is free to take notice of what he says or not. It can condemn any "truth" to death simply by not undertaking its communication to the world- a terrible censorship of silence, which is all the more potent in that the masses of newspaper readers are absolutely unaware that it exists.
Update: Not one of the diaries at dKos mention this, if the search engine works. There must be thousands of diaries, are these people that well trained, or does the evil and omnipotent Kos prevent them?