Sunday, July 31, 2005


Word is MLB is going to announce that a MAJOR player has tested positive for steroids. Look for the announcement over the next couple days. MLB didn't want to announce it on Friday, and ruin Hall of Fame weekend. Who is it? Larry Walker? Thome? cough Sosa cough?

Update 8/1 4PM: It's Palmeiro! Legacy tainted. Does this keep him out of the Hall? I'm not sure, but some voters won't be happy. I wouldn't vote McGwire or Sosa in, so why vote for Palmeiro? I remember hearing back in April(?) that MLB was sitting on a name of someone big, who tested positive for steroids. Were they keeping it quiet until after Palmeiro had his 3000 hit?


Friday, July 29, 2005

IRA Announcement Day 2 

Ed Moloney's take on the latest IRA announcement to "dump arms"-Don't count your chickens...
Evidence that ambiguity lives on and that this is probably deliberate comes in the apparent fact that there has been no IRA Convention, no attempt by the leadership to refashion republicanism for a new order. No Convention means no changes to the IRA constitution. The IRA’s legally binding commitment to “wage revolutionary armed struggle” when possible thus survives and sits uneasily besides P O’Neill’s new, non-binding public pledge to use only political methods in the future.

The fact that there has been no Convention also means that legally speaking the IRA has not ended its war, no matter what yesterday's statement said. Only a Convention can end the war with Britain and that has not happened. Ending the armed campaign - #150; notice the statement did not say "armed struggle" - #150; means this move is similar to the ending of the 1956-62 campaign. An important event for sure, even historic but the option of returning to armed struggle survives, as it did in 1962.


Thursday, July 28, 2005

IRA Statement 

"The leadership of Oglaigh na hEireann has formally ordered an end to the armed campaign."

Some early analysis of the statement, via Slugger O'Toole.

Update (7/18 12:57PM)
: Now, it's the Loyalist's turn to give up their weapons.
But they were puzzled and frustrated by the decision to get rid of all the guns when loyalists remain fully armed.
Widower Jimmy McAley, 50, urged republicans to store their huge arsenal rather than destroy them.

"Give all the weapons up and the swines on the other side will come in and wipe us out like they did in `69," (which gave birth to the Provisional IRA) he claimed.

Mr McAley, admitted the conflict had left him a bitter and committed republican.


Wednesday, July 27, 2005

War on Slogans 

These guys are protecting us?
One question comes to mind while reading the New York Times' report today that the Bush administration has decided to change the name of its counterterrorist campaign from "the global war on terrorism" to "the global struggle against violent extremism": Are these guys really this clueless?

What else to make of the story's opening sentence:

The Bush administration is retooling its slogan for the fight against Al Qaeda and other terrorist groups, pushing the idea that the long-term struggle is as much an ideological battle as a military mission, senior administration and military officials said Monday.

Three subquestions arise just from the lead. First, this is the administration's solution to the spike in terrorist incidents, the Taliban's resurgence in Afghanistan, and the politico-military deterioration in Iraq to retool the slogan?

Second, the White House and the Pentagon are just now coming around to the idea that the struggle is as much ideological as military? This wasn't obvious, say, three or four years ago?

Apparently not. Eric Schmitt and Thom Shanker, the Times reporters who co-authored the article, note:

Administration and Pentagon officials say the revamped campaign has grown out of meetings of President Bush's senior national security advisers that began in January, and it reflects the evolution in Mr. Bush's own thinking nearly four years after the Sept. 11 attacks.

It took four years for the president of the United States to realize that fighting terrorism has a political component? It took six months for his senior advisers to retool a slogan? We are witnessing that rare occasion when the phrase "I don't know whether to laugh or cry" can be uttered without lapsing into cliche.

But the shallowness gets deeper still. The Times story doesn't notice what appears to be the driving force behind the new slogan a desire for a happier acronym.

Look at the first letters of Global War on Terrorism. GWOT. What does that mean; how is it pronounced? Gwot? Too frivolously rowdy, like a fight scene in a Marvel comic book (Bam! Pfooff! Gwot!). Gee-wot? Sounds like a garbled question (Gee what?).

Then look at Global Struggle Against Violent Extremism. Its acronym is GSAVE i.e., gee-save. We're out to save the world, see, not wage war on it. Or, as national security adviser Stephen Hadley puts it in the Times piece, "We need to dispute both the gloomy vision and offer a positive alternative."

Unbelievableable! I can just picture Bush and Rumsfeld sitting in the Oval Office, bouncing slogan acronyms off each other, and crossing off names of terrorists that have been caught, thinking this battle will be over with a few more bad guys caught, and a nifty catch phrase in use.

Oh, and John Kerry was right!

Update 7/27 4:15PM: Now that there's a new slogan, does the War in Iraq still qualify as the main front in the Global Struggle Against Violent Extremism? Hussein was a terrible and brutal dictator, but wouldn't we call the Mullah's in Iran the real extremists? Or perhaps, is the resurging Taliban in Afghanistan the main front?


IRA to Give up Armed Struggle 

Expect the official annoucement as soon as tomorrow:
The Irish Republican Army has given up its armed struggle for a united Ireland, agreeing to turn solely to political methods, an American businessman said yesterday after being briefed on a statement expected from the guerrilla group later this week.

The agreement, if borne out, would be a historic turning point in the violent history of Ireland and Northern Ireland. But there is still widespread official skepticism about I.R.A. promises, particularly when it comes to the issue of disarmament.

Indeed, it was not immediately clear whether the I.R.A. would address how several tons of arms, hidden in bunkers across Ireland, would be disposed of, according to the businessman, Niall O'Dowd, who brokered talks between the I.R.A. and American officials that helped lead to a cease-fire in 1994. The continued existence of those weapons, which were to have been destroyed under an agreement reached after the cease-fire, contributed to the collapse of the Northern Ireland government in 2003.

If Nial O'Dowd says it's going to happen, than that's a good sign. Typically, when a major IRA annoucement is about to be made, Irish American supporters get tipped off.

More from the Guardian:
Speculation has been ebbing and flowing since April, when the Sinn Féin leader, Gerry Adams, made a groundbreaking speech challenging the IRA to abandon its armed struggle and embrace politics, discarding the old strategy of the Armalite in one hand and the ballot box in the other...

But Sinn Féin says the IRA has spent months in an intense internal debate over abandoning guns for pure politics. It is thought that the organisation could issue a statement this week saying members are to end "active service" and transform themselves into an old boys' network of republican clubs.

But timing is everything and many remain cautious. The republican machine prides itself on news management. It would not want to make its historic announcement when it was not guaranteed to top the news agenda. Having often bombed London, the IRA does not now want to be associated with Islamist suicide bombers or risk seeing its groundbreaking announcement relegated to a paragraph on the wider terrorist threat...

Mr Adams and Mr McGuinness were in talks at Downing Street this week, and General John de Chastelain, the disarmament chief who would oversee any decommissioning that followed an IRA statement, is on standby in Dublin.

Last night Sinn Féin announced that Mr McGuinness and party colleague Rita O'Hare would head to the US today, heightening speculation that an announcement is imminent. A party spokesman said: "The purpose of the visit is to brief political opinion and Irish America on the political situation."

Let's see what happens next, but through the last 80 years, whenever the IRA issues a cease fire, or changes their goal, splinter groups break away, and often prove to be more deadly than the previous.

Frankly, I think the IRA won this battle, and possibly the "war". The 32 Counties will probably be united sooner than we think. Loyalists seee their rule slipping away, and are now attacking themselves. I expect to see some anti-Catholic violence next, possibly as an attempt to get the IRA to strike back at them, and give up the "political struggle" for an armed one. Thus, allowing Loyalist to say that the IRA can't be trusted. Whatever happens, it should be interesting.


Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Hackett for Congress 

I like this guy:
Schmidt commends Hackett for his service, but believes Hackett should "stand with the president" by "supporting the Iraqi war effort and our troops that are over there," her campaign manager Joe Braun said. (Through Braun, Schmidt declined to speak with Salon.) When asked to answer that charge, Hackett is blunt: "The only way I know how to support the troops is by going over there." He doesn't hesitate to criticize Schmidt's support of the war: "All the chicken hawks back here who said, 'Oh, Iraq is talking bad about us. They're going to threaten us' -- look, if you really believe that, you leave your wife and three kids and go sign up for the Army or Marines and go over there and fight. Otherwise, shut your mouth."


Saturday, July 23, 2005

Zarqawi's New Offensive 

REALLY SCARY, if true. From Debka:
Exerpts from DEBKA-Net-Weekly July 15.

While the Bush administrations prepares a troop buildup in Iraq, al Qaeda is engaged in the elaborate logistic process of shifting 1,000-1,200 terror combatants out of Iraq and getting them ready to fight on new warfronts. Everything is done in total secrecy. The terrorists are first repatriated to their countries of origin and provided with new passports and identities, before going on to join networks in Europe and the Middle East.

Reporting exclusively on these surreptitious movements, DEBKA-Net-Weekly’s Al Qaeda and counter-terror experts estimate that the terror group has already kicked off its new offensive. The coordinated bomb blasts on three London Tube trains and a bus on July 7 was one of its initial strikes – although not the only one - and there are more are to come.

At least two major attacks already carried out in London and Damascus herald the new terror offensive:

The Syrian authorities have never released any figures or details of this attack. Scores are believed to have died and hundreds injured, including holidaymakers from Gulf Arab states, when a busload of armed men opened fire on the teeming cafes and restaurants of the Mount Qassioun resort overlooking the Syrian capital. DEBKA-Net-Weekly reveals here for the first time that it was the work of a Jordanian crime mob known as the Semadi Gang. They were aided by several al Qaeda adherents who were resting in Syria from their terrorist activity in Iraq

And to think Bush could've taken Zarqawi before the invasion, but needed him alive to support the WMD lie. I want Bin Laden dead, but I think Zarqawi (if he's real) is the bigger threat.


Friday, July 22, 2005

Out to Sea 

Spending the weekend at the Jersey Shore! Back to regular posting on Monday. Enjoy the links on the left.


Thursday, July 21, 2005

London "Incidents" 

Get your up-to-the-minute updates on the goings on in London here. Luckily, it appears to have been amateur hour. Rumors of a caucasian person, wearing a backpack, fleeing the scene, and arrests at Downing St, and the Ministry of Defense.


Wednesday, July 20, 2005

The Roberts Pick 

Great analysis of the pick on Andrew Sullivan's blog. Is the Roberts pick a sign of a weakened President? Sounds completely plausible to me:
Last night, I saw Howard Fineman call Roberts a 'brilliant' pick on one of the cable shows because he is the most conservative candidate Bush could appoint without sparking a battle with Democrats. As usual, Fineman is astonishingly wrong. A better way to characterize Roberts is: the most moderate and uncontroversial candidate Bush could appoint without sparking a battle with James Dobson and the Christianists.

Three months ago the President would have delighted in jamming an untra conservative like Janice Rogers Brown down the Senate's throat while invoking the nuclear option and spitting in each Democratic senator's eye. Fast forward to this week, when he was forced to accept a late night visit from Arlen Spector, who had the audacity to demand that Bush replace O'Conner with a "moderate justice" in order to "maintain the balance." This the same Spector who was on his knees vowing fealty to the President just last year.

The Roberts nomination is not a sign that Bush is finally getting "sensible" on judicial matters. It's an indication of just how politically weak he's become. Roberts is just conservative enough to squeeze by the Dobson crowd without howls of anger. He is arguably the least conservative of Bush's "short list" of nominees. Clearly, Bush and Rove were terrified about losing this battle to the Democrats and moderate Republican senators. Having lost already social security and with the Rove scandal boiling, such a loss would be too devastating to contemplate.

Roberts may turn out to be an extremely conservative justice who votes to strike down Roe v. Wade and many other liberal favorites. The fact that we're not certain about this must be a bitter pill for Dobson and friends, however."


Tuesday, July 19, 2005


I guess when Republican Congressman Tom Tancredo mentions nuking Mecca, it won't incite more hatred and mistrust of the United States, by Muslims, and be used by Islamic terrorists as an excuse to attack us, but when Senator Durbin quotes an FBI official, he's committing treason and putting U.S. soldiers lives at risk. Clearly, different rules apply for Republicans.


Battle of Britain Looming? 

Hopefully it doesn't turn into a long, hot summer over there:
In fresh interrogations carried out by Pakistani intelligence after the London bomb blasts, Nazir admitted having met Shehzad Tanweer in 2004. Osama has further claimed that Shehzad stayed with him at the Jumia for religious and spiritual inspiration from its head Qari Ahlullah Raheemi. When questioned, Nazir estimated that over 300 British Muslims of Pakistani origin have been to Pakistan since the 9/11 terror attacks, received training at Jaish-e-Mohammad and Harkatul Mujahideen camps and signed up with al-Qaeda for suicide missions.

That conflicts with a June report that all was clear:
LONDON, July 18 - Less than a month before the London bombings, Britain's top intelligence and law enforcement officials concluded that "at present there is not a group with both the current intent and the capability to attack the U.K.," according to a confidential terror threat assessment report.

The previously undisclosed report was sent to British government agencies, foreign governments and corporations in mid-June, about three weeks before a team of four British suicide bombers mounted their July 7 attack on London's public transportation system.

It sounds like the British had a lot of wishful thinking that they were secure, and not a target of the Islamic terrorists. To think that all was clear from any attack surprises me. I've recently read that some extreme members of the Provisional IRA wanted to explode some bombs in London (Or elsewhere in England), as a reminder to Tony Blair that they're still a force to worry about (the article also stated that the IRA decided to rob the Northern Bank instead.). If that is true, how could the Brits think that all was clear? Hmm...there was an election recently.


Westmoreland Dead 

For some reason, despite my love for U.S. history, I thought Westmoreland died a long time ago. He had a very interesting life:
William Childs Westmoreland was born near Spartanburg, South Carolina, on March 26, 1914, into a banking and textile family.

He was an Eagle Scout and attended The Citadel for a year before transferring to the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. He graduated in 1936 and, during his senior year, held the highest command position in the cadet corps.

Westmoreland saw action in North Africa, Sicily and Europe during World War II. He attained the rank of colonel by the time he was 30.

As commander of the 34th Field Artillery Battalion fighting German Field Marshal Erwin Rommel, he earned the loyalty and respect of his troops for joining in the thick of battle rather than remaining behind the lines at a command post.

He was promoted to brigadier general during service in the Korean War and later served in the Pentagon under Army Chief of Staff Maxwell Taylor.

Westmoreland became the superintendent of West Point in 1960 and, by 1964, was a three-star general commanding American troops in Vietnam.

It doesn't even mention that he found time to go to Harvard Business School. To sum it up: Interesting guy who's sunny optimism on the Vietnam War may have helped lead us to our doom there. Rest in Peace.


Back from Hiatus 

...I took an unannounced break from FPN last weekend to recharge, thanks for your patience.


Friday, July 15, 2005


According to my sources with CNN, Novak did in fact spill his guts to the grand jury, way back at the beginning of the Plame leak investigation.

For all the Rove-Plame information you'd want, check out the great AMERICAblog.


Thursday, July 14, 2005

Blue States Unprotected 

At least Al Qaeda won't be able to hit all those ripe targets in Wyoming:
This was a sad week for the war on terror. The Senate voted, disgracefully, to shift homeland security money from high-risk areas to low-risk ones—a step that is likely to mean less money to defend New York and California against terrorism and more for states like Wyoming. Before the vote, Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff made a powerful appeal to the senators to distribute the money based on risk. But the Senate, led by Susan Collins, a Maine Republican, and other small-state representatives, put political pork ahead of national security...

Senators had a chance to fix next year's formula, but they voted to make it worse. The original homeland security budget would have allocated 70 percent of the money according to relative risks. Senators from the highest-risk states, led by Dianne Feinstein, a California Democrat, introduced an amendment to raise that number to 87 percent. Ms. Collins, supported by Joseph Lieberman, a Connecticut Democrat, introduced an amendment to lower to 60 percent the amount given out according to risk...

Financing formulas are technical, and there is no way to know precisely how much any state will wind up receiving. But at bottom, the senators had a choice between accepting the recommendation of the Homeland Security Department or the preference of senators from states with sparse populations that are highly unlikely targets for terrorism. They chose wrong. It is telling that the senators from the states most at risk - New York, California, New Jersey, Texas and Illinois - unanimously voted against the Collins amendment



I noticed this during the game, and because of how obvious the banter was, knew something was up.
Fox Sports and Chevy teamed yesterday to deceive millions of people during the Major League Baseball All-Star game. They did such a good job of it that many of you viewing probably didn't even notice.

As Fox came back from a commercial break in the bottom half of the third inning, many viewers caught sight of a very long, flashy banner draped over an equally ostentatious advertisement picturing a yellow Corvette. The banner read HHRYA.com with the letters done in pseudo Asian design - clearly the work of professionals. However, the Fox Sports broadcasters Joe Buck and Tim McCarver played off the ad like it was the work of a goofy sports fan, dangling his banner in the hopes of securing a moment of TV glory.

The "best" part was how bad Buck and McCarver's attempt at making it seem real was. (I'll leave in The Register's snarky remarks for your enjoyment):
"Welcome back to Detroit," Buck said. "A lot of banners and signs around the ballpark. No surprise there. Somebody just unfurled a big banner behind left field."

You'll love the next bit, as Buck devolves into a second grader.

"H-H-R-Y-A. Tim, you'll have to tell me what that means. I am not sure, but someone went to a lot of trouble, obviously, to put it up out in left center field."

You'd think that would be the end of the stunt, but no. Fox returned to the action to see baseball's best pitcher Roy Oswalt face off against Johnny Damon. After one pitch, McCarver brought all the weight of his formidable intellect to bear on the puzzle:

"I don't know what that sign means, but 'hooray' is the first thing that comes to my mind."

Funny you should mention that, Tim. Hooray is exactly the sound Fox executives made as they cashed their checks from the largest advertiser of the day. Chevy, the sponsor, must have been disappointed as it failed to prepare its HHRYA.com website for the traffic it expected to receive. Visitors to the site were unable to reach the page for about thirty minutes after the "I don't know what that is" ad appeared.

Sporting events are already littered with advertisements, do we now have to deal with deceptions like this on a regular basis? I assume Buck and McCarver were being compensated by Chevy, but how do they feel about selling themselves out even more?


Wednesday, July 13, 2005


just can't fathom that their hero was the leaker:
Yesterday, I heard that the rumor being spread in GOP circles on the Hill was that the leaker of Plame's name to Judy Miller was Joe Wilson himself, in an attempt to create the impression that the administration was trying to destroy him -- a kind of double super-secret double cross.

Unfortunately for that rumor, it didn't make a bit of sense. So to develop Version 2.0 of this theory, they decided to go open source: You can see the alpha design over at Redstate.org (still the best conservative blog, because at least they have comments). After you sort through a bunch of "six-sigma" management consulting mumbo jumbo that probably came from Matthew Freedman, the theory goes something like this:

First, since the New York Times is liberal, and also called for a special prosecutor on the Plame case, it doesn't make sense that they would be defending Miller's refusal to testify if Miller were protecting Rove or another White House official, so perhaps she's protecting a Democrat. Second, Wilson made several media appearances the week of his New York Times op-ed, as the redstate writer notes, "things like that usually happen because someone is out there 'pitching the story' to the media. In this case, that person is most likely a very partisan Democrat." Fiollowing on these premises, "Can it be that the person [Miller] talked to wasn't an 'Administration Official' at all, but a Democratic political operative setting up a 'media hit' on Bush?"

I love the old "Can it be...?" method of empirical inquiry. Especially when the answer is, "Ummmm, No."

The writer, who goes by the name "Nick Danger," doesn't name the Democratic operative, but several of the commentors suggest James Carville or Paul Begala as the culprits

I can't wait to hear some more theories. I'm sure we'll be hearing one soon about Bill and/or Hillary Clinton masterminding this whole thing.


Monday, July 11, 2005

F'n Idiot 

I assume fighting terror abroad so not having to face them at home, doesn't work for the British.
"The war on terror goes on," Bush told reporters hours after the explosions.

Some have questioned whether Bush's strategy to fight the terrorists abroad so "we do not have to face them at home" is working when terrorists are planting bombs on London's public transportation. Great Britain is a key member of the U.S.-led coalition in Iraq.

Bush's homeland security adviser, Fran Townsend, defended the strategy during an interview on "Fox News Sunday."

The war in Iraq, she said, attracts terrorists there "where we have a fighting military and a coalition that can take them on and not have the sort of civilian casualties that you saw in London."

Does that mean our troops (and Iraqi Civilians) in Iraq are only there to be targets?


Untitled 1972 Munich Olympics Project 

I give Spielberg a lot of credit for making this movie. There's been a lot of talk about whether the movie will hurt or harm Israel's image, which is already damaged in some places, because of their use of "targeted killings" in counter-terror operations. I think with the "targeted killings" still continuing, and someone as high-profile and pro-Israel as Spielberg involved, Israel's use of "targeted killings" will become a major issue, once again. Cast members can't even agree on the tactic:
JERUSALEM (Reuters) - An Israeli actress cast in Steven Spielberg's controversial new film about her country's counter-terrorism tactics said on Monday the Hollywood director intended to improve the image of the Jewish state.

Gila Almagor, the grande dame of Israeli drama, confirmed reports that the thriller is based on "Vengeance," a book about the Mossad intelligence service's assassination of Palestinian guerrilla chiefs in the 1970s that has been widely discredited.

That mission was mounted to avenge 11 Israeli athletes seized by Palestinian gunmen at the 1972 Munich Olympics and killed during a botched rescue effort. Several Mossad veterans have come out of the cold to question Spielberg's research....

At least one of Almagor's fellow cast members has disagreed with her take on the screenplay for Spielberg's film.

"It's about how vengeance doesn't ... work -- blood breeds blood," actor Daniel Craig told entertainment magazine Empire.

I'm looking forward to seeing this movie. It doesn't look like it'll be another wishy-washy Spielberg movie.


Sunday, July 10, 2005

Hunt for Osama 

Were the downed Navy Seals close to Bin Laden?
Yet whatever the final death toll from the worst incident in the history of the Seals — the Sea Air Land Commandos — there were tantalising hints that the original mission had been far from routine.

According to former special forces officers and other military sources, the four-man Seal strike team may have come too close to one of the US-led coalition’s highest-priority targets — perhaps Mullah Muhammad Omar, the former Taliban leader, or even Osama Bin Laden, the leader of Al-Qaeda. Other military sources suggested the target was a regional Taliban commander suspected of links with Al-Qaeda.


Friday, July 08, 2005


Baseball and softball have been dropped from the Olympics. Obviously baseball isn't as popular worldwide as soccer, but it does have a major foothold in the Americas, and much of the Far East, which makes up a large portion of the globe. A venue such as the Olympics can only help build its popularity. As a baseball nut It's sad to see this lost opportunity. Of course badminton is safe. Does anyone not attending a graduation party actually play it?

In addition, now how are the Cuban players going to defect?


Activist Judges 

Aren't the ones who'd you think:
We found that justices vary widely in their inclination to strike down Congressional laws. Justice Clarence Thomas, appointed by President George H. W. Bush, was the most inclined, voting to invalidate 65.63 percent of those laws; Justice Stephen Breyer, appointed by President Bill Clinton, was the least, voting to invalidate 28.13 percent. The tally for all the justices appears below.

Thomas 65.63 %
Kennedy 64.06 %
Scalia 56.25 %
Rehnquist 46.88 %
O’Connor 46.77 %
Souter 42.19 %
Stevens 39.34 %
Ginsburg 39.06 %
Breyer 28.13 %

One conclusion our data suggests is that those justices often considered more "liberal" - Justices Breyer, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, David Souter and John Paul Stevens - vote least frequently to overturn Congressional statutes, while those often labeled "conservative" vote more frequently to do so. At least by this measure (others are possible, of course), the latter group is the most activist.

"Activist Judges", like "Pro-Life", is just another term that the Right-Wing has beat over the "liberal"(oops, there's another one!) media's head to use as a label in the culture wars.


The New Al Qaeda 

Peter Taylor has some scary insight into Al Qaeda's new strategy:
Al-Qaida's new modus operandi is a combination of strategy and necessity. After the US coalition destroyed its training bases in Afghanistan, word went out, allegedly from Bin Laden himself, that jihadi veterans should return home to their countries of origin, recruit locally and prepare to attack domestic targets. The attacks in Casablanca and Madrid were illustrations of this. What made the Madrid bombers so difficult to detect was that some members of the cell were takfiris, Islamist militants committed to jihad while continuing to live a western lifestyle, drinking, smoking and taking drugs. The leaders of the cell deliberately set out to radicalise and recruit street criminals so they could bring their expertise to the cause. Jamal Ahmidan, the Madrid takfiri who got hold of the explosives, was a drug dealer. One of the critical questions to be answered is: where did the London bombers come from? Were they British jihadis, some of whom, Peter Clarke admits, have gone to fight in Iraq?

I'm not sure how you figure out who's a terrorist and who's not, with Al Qaeda actively recruiting drinkers and drug dealers. They seem quite flexible, but sticking to their goals. AND, they mean what they say:
...The former head of the CIA's Bin Laden unit, Mike Scheuer, tellingly told me that al-Qaida's policy was to launch warning attacks against countries helping America in Iraq and Afghanistan: "At one point Bin Laden and Zawahiri [his number two] named 23 countries that deserved to be punished. All 23 have been hit. It's a pretty good record of consistency."
And now London. It seemed only a matter of time. Yesterday was the day the nightmare came true.

Look for Taylor on a new BBC series-The New Al Qaeda


Thursday, July 07, 2005

London Bomber a Gitmo Release? 

7 July 2005; 12:54 ET: Preliminary reports from a source inside the Pentagon indicate that one of the operatives involved in this morning's bombings in London was recently released from the prison at Guantanamo. DEVELOPING

Stay Tuned...


Wednesday, July 06, 2005

General Wallace Gregson is Right 

But in this Administration, he'll probably end up losing his job for telling it like it is.

This war has a popular label and a political label, but it’s not accurate,” said Gregson. “Terrorism is a means of power projection, it’s a weapon, it’s a tool of war. Think of it as our enemy’s stealth bomber. This is no more a war on terrorism than World War II was a war on submarines. It’s not just semantics . . . Words have meaning. And these words are leading us down to the wrong concept.”

Gregson added, “What we’re fighting is an insurgency defined as a popular movement that seeks to change the status quo through violence, subversion, propaganda, terrorism or other military action. But it’s different from other national insurgencies that we’ve known in the past. This one is networked thanks to the wonders of technology. It’s primarily ideologically driven, fundamentalist and extremist.”


“It’s a collection or a confederation of movements empowered by regional and global fundamentalist extremist insurgents,” Gregson said. “You can borrow an old phrase and say they think globally and act locally.”

[...] “The center of gravity, the decisive terrain in this war is the vast majority of people who are not directly involved but whose support, willing or coerced, is necessary to insurgent operations around the world,” he said. “Hearts and minds are more important than capturing and killing people.”

“The main thrust of my remarks was that we know we’re stuck with the name, it’s going to be the global war on terrorism. . . . But even though we’ve got that name out there, we’ve got to at least in the security community and then further on through the greater world . . . explain what we’re about here and get it into something that is properly categorized and puts us on the side of the angels in various areas.”

We have a chance to start winning this war here and walk it back into the Middle East, but we can’t just continue to admire the problem,” Gregson said. “We have to start doing something and we have to start walking the propaganda back in the other direction and get ourselves on the right side of this issue.”

Providing doctors, engineers, dentists, veterinarians and other aid to enhance the lives of people living in very troubled parts of the world is “often far more important than projecting some type of force,” Gregson said.


On The Turning Away 

Pink Floyd reportedly have turned down $175 million to tour the U.S.



Maryland's Governor Ehrlich has a fundraiser in an all white Country Club, and his African-American Lt. Governor doesn't care:
Lt. Gov. Michael S. Steele, who is African-American, said he hadn't talked to the governor about the event and wasn't concerned by it.

"I don't know that much about the club, the membership, nor do I care, quite frankly, because I don't play golf. It's not an issue with me," Steele told the Associated Press yesterday.

I guess Steele's saying that if you're African American, and you don't golf, a race-exclusive Country Club shouldn't be an issue. I also guess that he'd think if you were in the South during the 50's, and you didn't eat in restaurants, segregated lunch counters weren't an issue either. I'm sure that the 27.9 % of Maryland's population that are African-American might care.


Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Filmmaker or Terrorist? 

I think Cyrus Kar has a new idea for a movie.



Interesting piece in the Chicago Tribune, on the Islamic cleric who was abducted by the CIA, and his past as a valuable informer.


Friday, July 01, 2005

Sandra Day O'Goner 

Uh oh, the fight begins. Look for Bush to follow his tradition, and nominate a divisive person to fill her spot. I was expecting Rehnquist to go first. If Rehnquist and O'Connor are both replaced with conservatives, and if Clarence Thomas is appointed as Chief Justice, look for this country to resemble America circa 1850. F'n great.

Update (7/1 1:51PM) I wouldn't be surprised if Bush nominates Judge Rogers to fill O'Connor's slot. Therefore, he can force the Dems to reject her, and can say that the Democrats are racist, and the GOP is the party of African Americans (b/c of the Powell and Rice nominations).


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