Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Life In Canada ...

has begun.

I probably won't be updating this blog very much over the next week or two. Check out wmtc for what I/we are up to.

Monday, August 29, 2005

Goodbye, New York -- Hello, Toronto!

On Tuesday, August 30, 2005 -- 6,814 days since I moved to New York City from Burlington, Vermont -- Laura and I will drive to Mississauga, Ontario.

We will have the dogs and some essentials with us, as most of our stuff was moved out last Friday.

The next ICB post will come from a basement in Port Credit.


Saturday, August 27, 2005

Bubble Boy

Crusader Bunnypants:
Our efforts in Iraq and the broader Middle East will require more time, more sacrifice and continued resolve. ... What is important is that Iraqis are now addressing these issues through debate and discussion -- not at the barrel of a gun.
Three points:

1. "the broader Middle East"? What the hell does that mean? Iran? Syria?

2. "more sacrifice"? Most Americans are not sacrificing a damn thing -- and a clear majority are against the occupation. Asking them to do something more than slap an easily-removed magnet on the back of their cars will only increase that number.

3. "not at the barrel of a gun"? The man is flat-out delusional. Nope, no problem with violence in Iraq. No, siree! Maybe he's kept so shielded from reality -- so far into his own bubble -- that he thinks the American troops are getting rose petals tossed at them in Iraq.


Harsh words from Tom DeLay:
The President began this mission with very vague objectives and lots of unanswered questions. A month later, these questions are still unanswered. There are no clarified rules of engagement. There is no timetable. There is no legitimate definition of victory. There is no contingency plan for mission creep. There is no clear funding program. There is no agenda to bolster our overextended military. There is no explanation defining what vital national interests are at stake. There was no strategic plan for war when the President started this thing, and there still is no plan today.
Has the Bug Man had a change of heart? Nope. He uttered these words about Bill Clinton and Kosovo on April 28, 1999.

Thanks to The Strategery of Life. While trying to find the date for this quote, I found these other gems from the same time period (I guess way more than 2,000 American troops died in Kosovo, because these patriotic men have yet to get as angry and outspoken about the wasted lives and money in Iraq):

"[The President] is once again releasing American military might on a foreign country with an ill-defined objective and no exit strategy. He has yet to tell the Congress how much this operation will cost. And he has not informed our nation's armed forces about how long they will be away from home. These strikes do not make for a sound foreign policy."
Senator Rick Santorum (R-PA)

"No goal, no objective, not until we have those things and a compelling case is made, then I say, back out of it, because innocent people are going to die for nothing. That's why I'm against it."
Sean Hannity, Fox News, April 5, 1999

"Well, I just think it's a bad idea. What's going to happen is they're going to be over there for 10, 15, maybe 20 years."
Joe Scarborough (R-FL)

"Explain to the mothers and fathers of American servicemen that may come home in body bags why their son or daughter have to give up their life?"
Sean Hannity, Fox News, April 6, 1999

"Bombing a sovereign nation for ill-defined reasons with vague objectives undermines the American stature in the world. The international respect and trust for America has diminished every time we casually let the bombs fly."
Representative Tom Delay (R-TX)

"If we are going to commit American troops, we must be certain they have a clear mission, an achievable goal and an exit strategy."
Karen Hughes, speaking on behalf of presidential candidate George W. Bush

Another Reason To Love Fox News

From La Habra, California:
A couple whose home was wrongly identified on national television as belonging to an Islamic radical has faced harassment, and police are providing special protection. ...

John Loftus, a former federal prosecutor who appears on the Fox News segment "Inside Scoop with John Loftus," gave out the house address during the broadcast.

He said the home belonged to Iyad Hilal, whose group, Loftus said, has ties to those responsible for the July 7 bombings in London. But Hilal moved out of the house about three years ago. ...

Loftus also apologized and told the Los Angeles Times last week that "mistakes happen."
The FBI also notes that Hilal -- the guy who hadn't lived in the house for three fucking years -- is not suspected of any terrorist acts.

Some of the vandalism included spraypainting the word "terrist" on the house. ... Hmmm, could the culprit be this man?

Sunday, August 21, 2005

More On The Public Execution Of Jean Charles de Menezes

Everything we have been told about this incident has been a lie.

From Sunday's Observer (emphasis mine):
Police officers from the team involved in the fatal shooting of Brazilian Jean Charles de Menezes did not believe he posed 'an immediate threat'.

Senior sources in the Metropolitan Police have told The Observer that members of the surveillance team who followed de Menezes into Stockwell underground station in London felt that he was not about to detonate a bomb, was not armed and was not acting suspiciously. It was only when they were joined by armed officers that his threat was deemed so great that he was shot seven times.

Sources said that the surveillance officers wanted to detain de Menezes, but were told to hand over the operation to the firearms team. ...

A police source said: 'There is no way those three guys would have been on the train carriage with him [de Menezes] if they believed he was carrying a bomb. Nothing he did gave the surveillance team the impression that he was carrying a device.' ...

The Observer now understands that seconds before the firearms team entered the tube train carriage, a member of the surveillance squad using the codename Hotel 3 moved to the doorway and shouted: 'He's in here.' De Menezes, in all likelihood alarmed by the activity, stood and moved towards the doorway. He was grabbed and pushed back to his seat. The first shots were then fired while Hotel 3 was holding him. ...

For reasons as yet unclear, members of the firearms team have yet to submit their own account of the events to the IPCC. The two members of the team believed to have fired the fatal shots are known to have gone on holiday immediately after the shooting. ...

Meanwhile, questions have been raised about the accuracy of the police intelligence that led to the raid on the block of flats occupied by de Menezes. It was initially suggested that the flat was connected to the man known as Hussein Osman, who was arrested in Italy. On the Saturday after the shooting, officers raided the flat in a high-profile operation watched by the world's media. As a result, a man, identified only as 'C', was arrested 'on suspicion of the commission, instigation or preparation of acts of terrorism'. But he was released on 30 July with no charge, raising the possibility that the flats had no connection with the bombings.

Your Liberal Media At Work

Angela K. Brown, Associated Press:
CRAWFORD, Texas - A patriotic camp with a "God Bless Our President!" banner sprung up downtown Saturday, countering the anti-war demonstration started by a fallen soldier's mother two weeks ago near President Bush's ranch.
"Patriotic" versus "anti-war"? Very nice.

A poster at Mandate, My Ass notes that CNN was the only (?) media outlet to change "patriotic camp" to "pro-Bush camp."

Saturday, August 20, 2005

You're Spreading Something

Bush, in his radio address today:
... we're spreading the hope of freedom across the broader Middle East.
Bush has given up on spreading actual freedom, and has now settled for merely the hope of freedom.

Next month, Bush will combat hunger in America by asking those in need of food to simply imagine a sandwich.

It all sounds a bit like when Fearless Leader downgraded the ominous threat of mushroom clouds over our citites to hand-wringing over some "weapons of mass destruction-related program activities."

Friday, August 19, 2005

The Words Of Missy Comley Beattie

Lexington Herald-Leader:
He is number 1,828, 1,829 or 1,830. We don't know for sure, because so many died last week.

Marine Lance Cpl. Chase Johnson Comley died when his vehicle was hit head on by a suicide bomber. His death admits his family to a club no one wants to join: the grieving, questioning families who have heard the dreaded ring of the doorbell followed by a messenger's words, "We regretfully inform you that your son ..."

You realize that nothing you've thought, done or felt has prepared you for this reality. The feeling is so much worse than a broken heart. It is an evisceration.

As I write, Chase is being flown to Dover Air Force Base. His 6-foot-4 body is in a coffin draped with the American flag. He loved his family, his country, his Sayre classmates and his life, but we don't think he loved his mission in Iraq. ...

For those of you who still trust the Bush administration -- and your percentage diminishes every day -- let me tell you that my nephew Chase Johnson Comley did not die to preserve your freedoms. He was not presented flowers by grateful Iraqis, welcoming him as their liberator.

He died fighting a senseless war for oil and contracts, ensuring the increased wealth of President Bush and his administration's friends.

He died long after Bush, in his testosterone-charged, theatrical, soldier-for-a-day role, announced on an aircraft carrier beneath a "Mission Accomplished" banner that major combat was over.

He died in a country erupting into civil war and turned into a hellhole by Bush, a place where democracy has no chance of prevailing, a country that will become a theocracy like Saudi Arabia. ...

Consider what the money spent on this could have done for health care, our children's education or a true humanitarian intervention in Sudan. And then think about Bush's inauguration. Picture the lavish parties, the couture gown worn by Laura Bush. And imagine the cost of the security for the event.

And then think about Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld when he visits our troops. Picture his heavily armored vehicle, a machine impregnable to almost anything the insurgents toss in its path, while our troops are not provided sufficient armor to survive an improvised explosive device. ...

For many Americans, the war is an abstraction. But it is not an abstraction for the innocent Iraqis whose lives have been devastated by our smart bombs. And it certainly is not an abstraction for those of us who have heard the words that change lives forever.

So think of my family's grief -- grief that will never end. Think of all the families. Think of the wounded, the maimed, the psychologically scarred. ...

And, finally, think about flowers: The flowers for Chase Comley will be presented not by grateful Iraqis but by loved ones honoring him as he's lowered to his grave and buried in our hearts.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

He's A Bust

President Bush is a Leader who has the courage to lead. It is political courage. ... It differs from combat courage in that it is thought oriented not reaction oriented. ... By owning a bust of President Bush, Commander in Chief you will be making a statement and in a politically charged environment, it takes courage.
Only $1,995!

Government: Release Of Abu Ghraib Prison Photos Could Cause Riots

Maybe ya shoulda thought of that before you did all the torturing, raping and murdering.
Releasing pictures and videotapes of detainee abuse at Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison would aid al-Qaida recruitment, weaken Afghanistan and Iraqi governments and incite riots against US troops, the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff says.

The warning by Gen. Richard B. Myers was contained in court papers filed in US District Court in Manhattan and recently unsealed. ... Myers said the release of the pictures "pose a clear and grave risk of inciting violence and riots against American troops and coalition forces." ...

He said the photographs and videos would be used in a propaganda campaign by insurgents in Afghanistan and Iraq who "use any means necessary to incite violence" against innocent civilians to undercut the US mission.
Knowing that the Pentagon has admitted that as many as 90% of the Iraqis being imprisoned and tortured are completely innocent and had been simply grabbed off the street, my irony meter just exploded.

"Shedding Unreality"

Washington Post, August 14, 2005:
The Bush administration is significantly lowering expectations of what can be achieved in Iraq, recognizing that the United States ... no longer expects to see a model new democracy, a self-supporting oil industry or a society in which the majority of people are free from serious security or economic challenges ...

"What we expected to achieve was never realistic given the timetable or what unfolded on the ground," said a senior official involved in policy since the 2003 invasion. "We are in a process of absorbing the factors of the situation we're in and shedding the unreality that dominated at the beginning."

... Many of Baghdad's 6 million people go without electricity for days in 120-degree heat. Parents fearful of kidnapping are keeping children indoors. ...

Last week was the fourth-worst week of the whole war for U.S. military deaths in combat, and August already is the worst month for deaths of members of the National Guard and Reserve. Attacks on U.S. convoys by insurgents using roadside bombs have doubled over the past year ...
George W. Bush, aboard Air Force One, June 4, 2003:
I'm the master of low expectations.

Saturday, August 13, 2005

News Of The Weak

US Struggling to Get Soldiers Improved Armor
For the second time since the Iraq war began, the Pentagon is struggling to replace body armor that is failing to protect American troops from the most lethal attacks by insurgents.

The ceramic plates in vests worn by most personnel cannot withstand certain munitions the insurgents use. But more than a year after military officials initiated an effort to replace the armor with thicker, more resistant plates, tens of thousands of soldiers are still without the stronger protection because of a string of delays in the Pentagon's procurement system.
The troops still do not have proper body armor! Shouldn't someone in the self-proclaimed party of personal responsibility be, you know, like, held accountable for this massive, on-going fuck-up? ... Oh, who am I kidding ...

Bush: Iraqis 'Are Taking Control of Their Country'
As they complete a draft democratic constitution by the Aug. 15 deadline, Iraq's elected leaders are taking "a critical step on the path to Iraqi self-reliance," President Bush said today during his weekly radio address. In so doing, "Iraqis are taking control of their country," he said.
Actually, the Iraqis are taking control of their country by blowing up more and more of the invaders.

Bush refuses to rule out force against Iran
... Bush refused to rule out the use of force against Iran over the Islamic Republic's resumption of nuclear activities, in an interview with Israeli television aired Friday.

When asked if the use of force was an alternative to faltering diplomatic efforts, Bush said: "All options are on the table. The use of force is the last option for any president. You know we have used force in the recent past to secure our country," he said in a clear reference to Iraq ...
Where have we heard those words before? And Chimpy is once again using the utterly false, continually-exposed-as-a-lie connection between 9/11 and Iraq.

London bombings: the truth emerges
The suicide cell that killed 52 people on 7 July is not linked to those alleged to be behind the second London attacks on 21 July, according to the initial findings of the biggest anti-terrorist investigation held in Britain. An investigation into the four suicide bombers from the first attacks and the people alleged to be behind the July 21 plot has found no evidence of any al-Qa'ida "mastermind" or senior organiser. [my emphasis]
Arianna Huffington: It Takes a Village to Smear Cindy Sheehan
The right wing attacks on Cindy Sheehan -- desperate, pathetic, and grasping at straws -- expose much less about their target than about the attackers. ... [T]hey’ve shown absolutely no compunction about turning the sleaze machine on an undercover agent who’d spent her career working to protect us from weapons of mass destruction, a Silver Star/Purple Heart veteran who volunteered to fight in a war the administration chickenhawks gamed the system to avoid, and now the mother of a dead soldier.

9/11: Able Danger

This week:
More than a year before the Sept. 11 attacks, a small, highly classified military intelligence unit identified Mohammed Atta and three other future hijackers as likely members of a cell of Al Qaeda operating in the United States, according to a former defense intelligence official and a Republican member of Congress.

In the summer of 2000, the military team, known as Able Danger, prepared a chart that included visa photographs of the four men and recommended to the military's Special Operations Command that the information be shared with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the congressman, Representative Curt Weldon of Pennsylvania, and the former intelligence official said Monday.

The recommendation was rejected and the information was not shared ... The account is the first assertion that Mr. Atta, an Egyptian who became the lead hijacker in the plot, was identified by any American government agency as a potential threat before the Sept. 11 attacks.
See also this article in the St. Petersburg Times.

Naturally, the Commission's first thought was to deny and try to cover-up the story:
Al Felzenberg, who had been the commission's chief spokesman, said Tuesday the panel was unaware of intelligence specifically naming Atta. But subsequent information provided Wednesday confirmed that the commission had been aware of the intelligence, he said.

However, the Times shows its ignorance (or worse) in stating that this is "the first assertion" that Atta "was identified by any American government agency as a potential threat."

According to
In fact, such assertions date back to German press reports of September 2001 and October 2002, when several German newspapers reported that the CIA had Atta under observation during the first six months of 2000, while he was still living in Germany.

According to the German reports of Sept. 2001, the CIA in 2000 watched as Atta "bought chemicals" in Frankfurt and later tracked him to Berlin, where he received an entry visa from the US consulate in May 2000.

(According to official US timelines of his activities, Atta entered the United States for the first time in June 2000, although witness accounts reported in local papers after 9/11 place him in Florida months earlier.)
The more you read, it becomes increasingly apparent that Atta and many of the 19 hijackers were under surveillance by both US and foreign government agencies, both in the US and abroad. ... And the differences in timelines is also quite common. There is clear evidence, such as signed leases, of some of the hijackers living in the US months before the FBI say they arrived.

Daniel Hopsicker -- whose investigative work in Florida on the hijackers is unmatched -- writes:
The importance of this week's revelation that an Army intelligence unit was tracking Mohamed Atta's movements in the US during 1999 and 2000 is so mind-boggling that it seems nobody quite gets it yet ...

9/11 Commission spokesman Al Felzenberg on Thursday excused the Commission's decision to withhold from their Report any mention of the Army Able Danger intelligence unit in Tampa [because] information provided to them by military officers in the unit did not agree with the FBI's timeline concerning Atta's arrival in the US ...

Here's the big question nobody seems to be ready to ask: Upon what basis did the 9/11 Commission conclude that the FBI's timeline was correct and that an elite Army Intel unit was mistaken in saying they were tracking Mohamed Atta roaming freely across America during 1999 and 2000?
Don't miss Justin Raimondo.

New Airline Regulations Proposed

I would finally be able to bring my icepick with me when I fly.

Sunday, August 07, 2005

CIA Commander In Tora Bora Admits US Allowed Osama Bin Laden To Escape Capture In November 2001

[I]n a forthcoming book, the CIA field commander for the agency's Jawbreaker team at Tora Bora, Gary Berntsen, says he and other U.S. commanders did know that bin Laden was among the hundreds of fleeing Qaeda and Taliban members. Berntsen says he had definitive intelligence that bin Laden was holed up at Tora Bora -- intelligence operatives had tracked him -- and could have been caught. ...

[His account] backs up other recent accounts, including that of military author Sean Naylor, who calls Tora Bora a "strategic disaster" because the Pentagon refused to deploy a cordon of conventional forces to cut off escaping Qaeda and Taliban members. Maj. Todd Vician, a Defense Department spokesman, says the problem at Tora Bora "was not necessarily just the number of troops."
Bernsten's admission confirms several stories that were published back in 2002. Here are snips from three entries from the Complete 9/11 Timeline (with links to the actual articles):

November 16, 2001: Al-Qaeda, Taliban Leaders Reportedly Escape Afghanistan
According to Newsweek, approximately 600 al-Qaeda and Taliban fighters, including many senior leaders, escape Afghanistan on this day. There are two main routes out of the Tora Bora cave complex to Pakistan. The US bombed only one route, so the 600 escaped without being attacked using the other route. Hundreds continue to use the escape route for weeks, generally unbothered by US bombing or Pakistani border guards. US officials later privately admit they lost an excellent opportunity to close a trap. [Newsweek, 8/11/02 (B)] On the same day, the media reports that the US is studying routes bin Laden might use to escape Tora Bora [Los Angeles Times, 11/16/01], but the one escape route is not closed, and apparently bin Laden and others escape into Pakistan using this route several weeks later ...
November 28, 2001: Bin Laden Reportedly Escapes Tora Bora by Helicopter
A US Special Forces soldier stationed in Fayetteville, North Carolina, later (anonymously) claims that the US has bin Laden pinned in a certain Tora Bora cave on this day, but fails to act. Special Forces soldiers allegedly sit by waiting for orders and watch two helicopters fly into the area where bin Laden is believed to be, load up passengers, and fly toward Pakistan. No other soldiers have come forward to corroborate the story, but bin Laden is widely believed to have been in the Tora Bora area at the time. [Fayetteville Observer, 8/2/02] ... Newsweek separately reports that many locals "claim that mysterious black helicopters swept in, flying low over the mountains at night, and scooped up al-Qaeda's top leaders." [Newsweek, 8/11/02 (B)]
Early December 2001: Battle for Tora Bora Is Called Charade
The Daily Telegraph later reports on the battle for Tora Bora around this time: "In retrospect, and with the benefit of dozens of accounts from the participants, the battle for Tora Bora looks more like a grand charade." Eyewitnesses express shock that the US pinned in Taliban and al-Qaeda forces, thought to contain many high leaders, on three sides only, leaving the route to Pakistan open. An intelligence chief in Afghanistan's new government says, “The border with Pakistan was the key, but no one paid any attention to it. In addition, there were plenty of landing areas for helicopters had the Americans acted decisively. Al-Qaeda escaped right out from under their feet.” [Daily Telegraph, 2/23/02] ... An Afghan intelligence officer says he is astounded that Pentagon planners did not consider the most obvious exit routes and put down light US infantry to block them. It is later widely believed that bin Laden escapes along one of these routes on November 30 or December 1, walking out with about four loyal followers. [Christian Science Monitor, 3/4/02; Christian Science Monitor, 3/4/02 (B)] Al-Qaeda's number two leader, Ayman al-Zawahiri, also escapes the area. [Knight Ridder, 10/20/02]
See also: November 14, 2001: Al-Qaeda Convoy Flees to Tora Bora; US Fails to Attack and Mid-November 2001: Afghan Politician Says Mohammed Atef US Policy Prevented bin Laden Capture.

This is big news, but Newsweek makes no mention of it on its cover.

Saturday, August 06, 2005

Sibel Edmonds Speaks

Go buy the current issue of Vanity Fair (Jennifer Aniston cover). There is a lengthy article about Sibel Edmonds, who I have written about before. (There is also what looks like a great article on the darker side of military recruitment.)

In June, Edmonds posted this to her website (emphasis mine):
Over four years ago, more than four months prior to the September 11 terrorist attacks, in April 2001, a long-term FBI informant/asset who had been providing the bureau with information since 1990, provided two FBI agents and a translator with specific information regarding a terrorist attack being planned by Osama Bin Laden.

This asset/informant was previously a high-level intelligence officer in Iran in charge of intelligence from Afghanistan. Through his contacts in Afghanistan he received information that: 1) Osama Bin Laden was planning a major terrorist attack in the United States targeting 4-5 major cities, 2) the attack was going to involve airplanes, 3) some of the individuals in charge of carrying out this attack were already in place in the United States, 4) the attack was going to be carried out soon, in a few months.

The agents who received this information reported it to their superior, Special Agent in Charge of Counterterrorism, Thomas Frields, at the FBI Washington Field Office, by filing "302" forms, and the translator, Mr. Behrooz Sarshar, translated and documented this information. No action was taken by the Special Agent in Charge, Thomas Frields, and after 9/11 the agents and the translators were told to "keep quiet" regarding this issue.

The translator who was present during the session with the FBI informant, Mr. Behrooz Sarshar, reported this incident to Director Mueller in writing, and later to the Department of Justice Inspector General. The press reported this incident, and in fact the report in the Chicago Tribune on July 21, 2004 stated that FBI officials had confirmed that this information was received in April 2001, and further, the Chicago Tribune quoted an aide to Director Mueller that he [Mueller] was surprised that the Commission never raised this particular issue with him during the hearing.

Mr. Sarshar reported this issue to the 9/11 Commission on February 12, 2004, and provided them with specific dates, location, witness names, and the contact information for that particular Iranian asset and the two special agents who received the information. I provided the 9/11 Commission with a detailed and specific account of this issue, the names of other witnesses, and documents I had seen. Mr. Sarshar also provided the Department of Justice Inspector General with specific information regarding this case.
The 9/11 Commission ignored all of this information, and the people currently in power steadfastly refuse to admit that there were specific warnings of any kind before 9/11.

One day, we will be much closer to the truth of what happened on September 11, 2001 than we are right now -- and that will be because of patriots like Sibel Edmonds.

Happy Anniversary!

Think Progress notes that today
marks the four-year anniversary of the day President Bush received a President's Daily Brief (PDB) entitled "Bin Laden Determined to Strike in US." There are many eerie similarities between now and August 6, 2001. Chief among them is that the threat of terrorism remains high, President Bush is at his ranch in Crawford, and Osama bin Laden is on the loose looking to inflict greater terrorist damage.
Click the link for more.

The Cost Of War

Army: Soldier Just Back From Iraq Kills Wife, Self:
On Wednesday, nine days after [Stephen S.] Sherwood Sherwood returned from a tour in Iraq, he apparently shot and killed his wife before turning the gun on himself in their Fort Collins home ... The couple's 8-month-old child was in the care of a neighbor when the couple were killed ... She said Sherwood enlisted in January 2004 ... when his wife became pregnant because it was the only way he could get health insurance.
Two Iraq Veterans Commit Suicide Near Fort Hood:
Two young Fort Hood [Texas] soldiers who served in the Iraq war have killed themselves in separate incidents ... Sgt. Robert Decouteaux, 24, of Rosedale, N.Y., died Saturday from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. ... And on Monday morning, Spc. Robert Hunt, 22, of Houston, was found dead in his apartment ... Hunt's cause of death was listed as asphyxiation.
Meanwhile, Chimpy McShithead enjoys his month-long vacation.

America Hates America

"As US troops endured a deadly week in Iraq, 61 percent of Americans polled say they disapprove of the way President George W. Bush is handling the war in Iraq, according to a new Newsweek poll. Thirty four percent say they approve. This is Bush's lowest rating on Iraq and the first time it has dropped below 40 percent in the Newsweek poll. ... Meanwhile, Bush’s approval ratings have dropped to 42 percent."

That 61% represents a 7% drop in the last month.