10/01/06 03:07 - 52ºF - ID#21749
They were Warned
Below in this news article we find out a few things.
Condoleezza Rice was directly warned by the Director of the FBI George Tenet that he was concerned about imminent danger of terrorist attacks inside the US. The meeting happened on July 10, 2001 Months before the attack. they "came away from the meeting feeling that Ms. Rice had not taken the warnings seriously."
The 911 commission had no knowledge of this meeting untill this week when Bob Woodward's new book came out "State of Denial" Commissioners are suggesting a coverup. A serious crime.
Also "Mr. Woodward writes that in the weeks before the Sept. 11 attacks, Mr. Tenet believed that Mr. Rumsfeld was impeding the effort to develop a coherent strategy to capture or kill Osama bin Laden," That's a bad sign.
See the entire article at Raw Story
They keep updating the article at the end as news breaks about this.
a 911 Commissioner speaks out here at Think Progress
State of Denial: Two months before 9/11, Rice gave the 'brush-off' to 'impending terrorist attack' warning
(Update: Former Counsel to the 9/11 Commission suggests that "[v]ery possibly, someone committed a crime" by engaging in a "cover-up" of the warning)
According to a new book written by Washington Post investigative reporter Bob Woodward, two months before the September 11 attacks, then National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice gave the "brush-off" to an "impending terrorist attack" warning by former C.I.A. director George J. Tenet and his counterterrorism coordinator.
An article in Friday's New York Times first mentioned the warning, and a front page book review of Woodward's State of Denial in Saturday's edition provides more details.
"On July 10, 2001, the book says, Mr. Tenet and his counterterrorism chief, J. Cofer Black, met with Ms. Rice at the White House to impress upon her the seriousness of the intelligence the agency was collecting about an impending attack," David E. Sanger reported on Friday. "But both men came away from the meeting feeling that Ms. Rice had not taken the warnings seriously."
Sanger also reported that Tenet told Woodward that before 9/11, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld was "impeding" efforts to catch Osama bin Laden.
"Mr. Woodward writes that in the weeks before the Sept. 11 attacks, Mr. Tenet believed that Mr. Rumsfeld was impeding the effort to develop a coherent strategy to capture or kill Osama bin Laden," wrote Sanger. "Mr. Rumsfeld questioned the electronic signals from terrorism suspects that the National Security Agency had been intercepting, wondering whether they might be part of an elaborate deception plan by Al Qaeda."
Saturday's New York Times review claims that in Woodward's book, Rice "is depicted as a presidential enabler, ineffectual at her job of coordinating interagency strategy and planning."
"For instance, Mr. Woodward writes that on July 10, 2001, Mr. Tenet and his counterterrorism coordinator, J. Cofer Black, met with Ms. Rice to warn her of mounting intelligence about an impending terrorist attack, but came away feeling they'd been given 'the brush-off' - a revealing encounter, given Ms. Rice's recent comments, rebutting former President Bill Clinton's allegations that the Bush administration had failed to pursue counterterrorism measures aggressively before 9/11," writes Michiko Kakutani.
Saturday's Washington Post has more details regarding the meeting.
"The book also reports that then-CIA Director George J. Tenet and his counterterrorism chief, J. Cofer Black, grew so concerned in the summer of 2001 about a possible al-Qaeda attack that they drove straight to the White House to get high-level attention," Peter Baker reports for the Post.
"Tenet called Rice, then the national security adviser, from his car to ask to see her, in hopes that the surprise appearance would make an impression. But the meeting on July 10, 2001, left Tenet and Black frustrated and feeling brushed off, Woodward reported," the article continues. "Rice, they thought, did not seem to feel the same sense of urgency about the threat and was content to wait for an ongoing policy review."
Location: Buffalo, NY
09/30/06 12:54 - 44ºF - ID#21748
9/28/2006 The day America was lost
I'm totally distraught by what is happening in this country. It's getting bad, real fucking bad, real fucking quick. And I'm afraid 90% of America is totally ignorant of what is happening to us.
How many of you know that over the past week America lost it's soul?
No really it's that bad,
Some may think I'm being alarmist, but there are no checks against the executive's power to designate anyone they want as a enemy combatant and hold them forever without trial and torture them. And congress just said that's ok. Why? because the Republicans are foaming at the mouth to call Democrats "Soft on Terrorism" before the November elections.
I'm working on a more thoughtful article about this, here are some of my notes on the topic so far.
Themes of the argument:
War is the biggest test of a democracy.
Populations can be whipped into a fervor when they are in fear of an enemy.
Politicians are manipulating fear of terrorism to win elections.
Those in government are profiting from this war, what incentive do they have to stop it.
Rulers would love to spy on the public and put people in jail without asking for permission or just cause, that's why we are supposed to be ruled by laws, instead of the will of men.
Those in power wish to keep that power, and increase it, this is not good for the survival of the nation or the welfare of its people, that's why we have checks against the power of the government.
It is only logical for a ruler to want more power and more control, America was designed to guard against the lust for power.
The most basic foundation of a justice system is that the accused must be proven guilty.
September 28 2006, was the day that a person in detention has no right to know why they are there or attempt to prove their innocence.
Modern democracies grew out of opposition to Kings and Monarchs who arbitrarily detained anyone they didn't like. Rulers must have a reason to put someone in jail, and that person has a right to prove that they are innocent of that charge. Not in America.
Torture does not work, you get bad intelligence, and interrogators become demoralized, good people will leave, and interrogations are handled by hateful thugs.
And Since I can't find the time or energy to be eloquent here are some people who Have.
Location: Buffalo, NY
09/15/06 08:57 - 63ºF - ID#21747
Bush, international law, and Torture
Bush lobbies Congress on terror suspects
Ok, I need to know, Where does president Bush get off claiming that he alone knows how to interrogate terrorism suspects? He has never been in Combat, neither have any of his close advisers. But now he truly believes, with all the passion he's shown in press conferences, that his way and only his way, will make us safer. With a track record like Bush's? I'd rather trust American Law, International law, and Colon Powell.
Colon Powell was the Secretary of State when 911 happened, he knows everything the president knows, he's been in combat and commanded troops on the battlefield. Unlike the President, Dick Cheney, Don Rumsfeld and everyone else who avoided the Vietnam Draft.
Powell has spoken strongly against this proposal, so has John McCain, John Warner and Lindsey Grahm, all republican senators on the Armed Services Committee.
Powell's letter to McCain:
"The world is beginning to doubt the moral basis of our fight against terrorism. To redefine Common Article 3 would add to those doubts. Furthermore, it would put our own troops at risk."
If our troops are tortured we will have no basis to demand their torturers be punished. We will be breaking the verry law that protects our soldiers.
Bush wants to allow things like "waterboarding" that's where you drown someone until they inhale water and pass out, then they are resuscitated. From testimony, it is excruciating to inhale water into your lungs and sinuses, you pass out from the pain above all else.
That's torture, the United States does not stand for such things, these are evil and sinister acts. just because Bush happens to be president for 6 years doesn't mean he can soil the constitution and remove the honorable standards that make America a proud nation.
Bush's proposal aims to 'clarify' the Geneva conventions. Ooooooh, ok. But the Geneva Conventions were signed by 47 other countries. We agreed upon them at that time, and it has been the bedrock or international legitimacy. Now the US is going to be the first to chip away at it.
Offering our own interpretations of the laws of war. That sounds like a terrible thing for any country to do, offer their own interpretation of the laws of war. Especially during a time of war. Isn't that the whole point of laws in the first place? Isn't that the whole point of checks and balances? This is not a nation ruled by the passions of men, we are ruled by time tested Laws. That's the whole point of the constitution. And it's what makes a democracy last.
International law is the only way that peace can exist today. Without law your only option is violence and war. I do not want to leave my children with a world that has no trust in international standards of law. There will be no peace in such a world.
We follow the law, that's what makes us the good guys and them the bad guys.
Location: Buffalo, NY
09/14/06 11:14 - 63ºF - ID#21746
News, Torture, lies, and Nuclear Bombs
Couple things in the news today, if you're wondering how I find out about all this stuff, you only need to know one website
The Huffington Post
When you can'd read the news, listen to WHLD 1270am
George Bush is on Capital Hill today with Vice President Cheney and Karl Rove Lobbying congress to pass his plan to deal with terror suspects after his whole Enemy Combatant - Military Tribunal system was shot down by the Supreme Court.
The Militaty Tribunal system was invented by the Bush administration for the War on Terrorism. (the executive branch cannot invent a new judicial branch that doesn't comply with American law and the Constitution).
So today Bush is working to get his new system "legalized" by congress (funny, he didn't ask them in the first place).
But Bush's system still doesn't comply with the Constitution. I guess that Bush forgot that his job was to protect and uphold our constitution. Colon Powell and John McCain are opposed to the bill because of how it deals with military detainees. But Bush on the other hand, is stomping around Capital Hill screaming "Subvert the Constitution! This is an American Fascist Revolution!" ok, there I said it. The Bush Agenda is un-American.
That leads me to my point on Torture, because the president is lobbying in support of a law his administration wrote that allows people that they capture to be tortured, furthermore, any 'evidence' obtained under torture should be used in court against them.
The problem is torture doesn't work. You get bad intelligence, you end up with a lot of wild goose chases, and a lot of innocent victims disappeared and tortured, maybe killed for no reason. People will say anything if you torture them enough, whether it's true or not.
any interrogation manual will say you need to develop rapport, a relationship based on trust, so that they will give you credible information
Lastly A house report about Iran's Nuclear Program is filled with fabrication and lies. "U.N. Inspectors Dispute Iran Report By House Panel"
That's right "Among the committee's assertions is that Iran is producing weapons-grade uranium at its facility in the town of Natanz. The IAEA called that "incorrect," noting that weapons-grade uranium is enriched to a level of 90 percent or more. Iran has enriched uranium to 3.5 percent under IAEA monitoring."
The intelligence community says 3.5% and Rumsfeld hears 90% ?!?!?!? no wonder we are in the mess we are today.
Location: Buffalo, NY
09/12/06 09:29 - 58ºF - ID#21745
Politicizing Tragedy -links-
Kieth Olberman gives a great summary. He noted those moments of unity after 911 when everyone followed the presidents lead, and compared that to now. Where has this tragic administration lead us? There isn't even a memorial at ground zero five years later. And we ignited a civil war in Iraq for no reason, and lost international respect.
Here's the video and transcript:
The Path to 9/11 - ABC television's "Docu Drama"?? I call it "intentional propaganda" to put it nicely, or a flagrant manipulation of the truth with some occasions of portraying the exact opposite of what happened. Yea, it's true sorry to say
You can watch clips on Youtube. Here are 9 clips from the user p911sux
More Stuff Here
And the president interrupts our lives for a prime time speech to make excuses for the Iraq War. Good idea Mr President, exploit it like a photo op to advance your failed agenda in the middle east. How moving. . . asshole
Enjoy your dose of News Video.
Read Ajay's post too
Location: Buffalo, NY
09/07/06 11:55 - 62ºF - ID#21744
the thing about TV News
The thing that struck me, is how little information from TV news, they spend all their time trying to get you excited about something. They never seem to get to the point, or give you any context to understand what they are talking about.
The entertainment factor of TV news is absurd. You can tell that the news is created by the entertainment industry, unlike radio news or print.
The only TV News worth anything is the Jim Lehrer news hour at 6:30 on PBS.
TV news is a disaster for democracy and civic discussion.
Location: Buffalo, NY
09/04/06 12:02 - 59ºF - ID#21743
From the Telegraph UK
I no longer have power to save Iraq from civil war, warns Shia leader
By Gethin Chamberlain and Aqeel Hussein in Baghdad
The most influential moderate Shia leader in Iraq has abandoned attempts to restrain his followers, admitting that there is nothing he can do to prevent the country sliding towards civil war.
Aides say Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani is angry and disappointed that Shias are ignoring his calls for calm and are switching their allegiance in their thousands to more militant groups which promise protection from Sunni violence and revenge for attacks.
"I will not be a political leader any more," he told aides. "I am only happy to receive questions about religious matters."
It is a devastating blow to the remaining hopes for a peaceful solution in Iraq and spells trouble for British forces, who are based in and around the Shia stronghold of Basra.
The cleric is regarded as the most important Shia religious leader in Iraq and has been a moderating influence since the invasion of 2003. He ended the fighting in Najaf between Muqtada al-Sadr's Mehdi army and American forces in 2004 and was instrumental in persuading the Shia factions to fight the 2005 elections under the single banner of the United Alliance.
However, the extent to which he has become marginalised was demonstrated last week when fighting broke out in Diwaniya between Iraqi soldiers and al-Sadr's Mehdi army. With dozens dead, al-Sistani's appeals for calm were ignored. Instead, the provincial governor had to travel to Najaf to see al-Sadr, who ended the fighting with one telephone call.
Al-Sistani's aides say that he has chosen to stay silent rather than suffer the ignominy of being ignored. Ali al-Jaberi, a spokesman for the cleric in Khadamiyah, said that he was furious that his followers had turned away from him and ignored his calls for moderation.
Asked whether Ayatollah al-Sistani could prevent a civil war, Mr al-Jaberi replied: "Honestly, I think not. He is very angry, very disappointed."
He said a series of snubs had contributed to Ayatollah al-Sistani's decision. "He asked the politicians to ask the Americans to make a timetable for leaving but they disappointed him," he said. "After the war, the politicians were visiting him every month. If they wanted to do something, they visited him. But no one has visited him for two or three months. He is very angry that this is happening now. He sees this as very bad."
A report from the Pentagon on Friday said that the core conflict in Iraq had changed from a battle against insurgents to an increasingly bloody fight between Shia and Sunni Muslims, creating conditions that could lead to civil war. It noted that attacks rose by 24 per cent to 792 per week - the highest of the war - and daily Iraqi casualties soared by 51 per cent to almost 120, prompting some ordinary Iraqis to look to illegal militias for their safety and sometimes for social needs and welfare.
Hundreds of thousands of people have turned away from al-Sistani to the far more aggressive al-Sadr. Sabah Ali, 22, an engineering student at Baghdad University, said that he had switched allegiance after the murder of his brother by Sunni gunmen. "I went to Sistani asking for revenge for my brother," he said. "They said go to the police, they couldn't do anything.
"But even if the police arrest them, they will release them for money, because the police are bad people. So I went to the al-Sadr office. I told them about the terrorists' family. They said, 'Don't worry, we'll get revenge for your brother'. Two days later, Sadr's people had killed nine of the terrorists, so I felt I had revenge for my brother. I believe Sadr is the only one protecting the Shia against the terrorists."
According to al-Sadr's aides, he owes his success to keeping in touch with the people. "He meets his representatives every week or every day. Sistani only meets his representatives every month," said his spokesman, Sheik Hussein al-Aboudi.
"Muqtada al-Sadr asks them what the situation is on the street, are there any fights against the Shia, he is asking all the time. So the people become close to al-Sadr because he is closer to them than Sistani. Sistani is the ayatollah, he is very expert in Islam, but not as a politician."
Even the Iraqi army seems to have accepted that things have changed. First Lieut Jaffar al-Mayahi, an Iraqi National Guard officer, said many soldiers accepted that al-Sadr's Mehdi army was protecting Shias. "When they go to checkpoints and their vehicles are searched, they say they are Mehdi army and they are allowed through. But if we stop Sistani's people we sometimes arrest them and take away their weapons."
Western diplomats fear that the vacuum will be filled by the more radical Shia clerics, hastening the break-up of the country and an increase in sectarian violence.
Sir Jeremy Greenstock, Britain's former special representative for Iraq, said the decline in Ayatollah al-Sistani's influence was bad news for Iraq.
"It would be a pity if his strong instincts to maintain the unity of Iraq and to forswear violence were removed from influencing the scene," he said.
Location: Buffalo, NY
08/31/06 10:12 - 60ºF - ID#21742
The Cutest thing you've ever seen
My neighbor had kittens. 6 total. all different colors. they're about 2 weeks old, just opening their eyes.
Way too cute
you can see them larger at flickr, along with two other photos.
Location: Buffalo, NY
08/30/06 08:45 - 66ºF - ID#21741
Elmwood Arts Festival Rocks
Allentown Art Festival has none of those things. I'm not saying I don't like the Allentown Art Festival, but I'm not sad that I missed it this year. I'd like to go the the Music is Art festival next year that happens during the Allentown festival.
But anyway, I attended the Elmwood festival on Saturday and Sunday this year, it was great, Molly and I bought pottery on Saturday before I went to work, then Sunday we had lunch with mom, and she bought some pottery.
The artists were all very talented, I noticed 4 painters that had very creative stuff, I give them a lot of credit. The pottery was great too, 3-4 potters really stood out. Some really good photography too. Some great jewelry as well, sometimes makes me wish I could wear all that stuff.
Sorry I didn't take any pictures, we brought molly's camera but never took it out. Here are some photos from Tyler
And here is our fancy pottery, we were looking for a nice snack bowl to use next time we have a get-together at our apartment. And we also bought a sweet coffee cup, it was too good to pass up, especially for $10, we almost bought 2 cause there were so many good ones, and they were the perfect size. We bought both pieces from the same guy, his stuff was the best. He's just a retired artist, you can see that he put some heart into each piece. He had really interesting techniques for using glaze. Anyway here's a plain picture molly took of our fancy goods.
Location: Buffalo, NY
08/18/06 01:07 - 78ºF - ID#21740
Lieberman, Lamont, and the primary
We need a vibrant primary system for our form of democracy to work. Finally we have a primary that energizes people and the looser walks away like a spoiled brat with too many campaign contributions. Lieberman has no cause, his platform is routine election rhetoric. He is simply running because too many special interests have invested money in him.
Why are so many republicans applauding Lieberman? Do they think we need two identical political parties, and a democracy that never disagrees about anything? 60% of Americans think that we need a speedy conclusion to the Iraq War, but somehow the right thing to do is to exclude their opinion from Washington. That is anti-democratic, un-American lunacy.
Primaries are key to the American democratic system. In this country, before TV, primaries were as important as the general election. The vast majority of voters participated in both the primary and the main election. That's the only thing that makes this country's winner take all, plurality election system actually work.
In the general election we can't have 3 candidates, because one of them could be a "spoiler". There is the possibility that an unpopular candidate will win the election with only 38% of the vote. Simply because in a 3 way race the more popular candidate, that would have beaten the others in a 1 on 1 race, can loose the election by having their votes "stolen" by the third candidate. Vibrant primary elections are essential to this type of voting system, because having just 2 candidates to choose from each year just isn't enough.
There are more than 2 types of people in this country. Our winner take all system has failed the people of America, which is why only half of us actually vote. Half of the people in this country stay home because we don't have a candidate that motivates them to get off the couch. Ned Lamont succeeded because he got people off the couch, and the Democratic Party could learn a lot from his strategy.
Instead of competing for a few Republican votes, Democrats need to get more voters off the couch by speaking to their interests. Many people in this country are ignored and disenchanted with the system, but they would vote if anyone actually spoke to their cause.
How can Ned Lamont be a "far left, wacko fringe candidate" when 60% of the country agrees that we should withdraw from Iraq? That is a huge group of voters that agree with him, and we need their perspective to be heard in Washington. What if Ned Lamont wins, do you think we're going to suddenly leave Iraq? No of course not, it just means that we will have a new and essential perspective in Washington.
When we talk about the war, and approving $87 billion for Iraq we will have to reconcile our differences as a nation. We need ALL the varying perspectives in America to participate in this debate, that's democracy. It's the reasonable discussion and reconciliation of different opinions. These discussions need to happen in Washington, if someone is wrong they will be proven wrong during a debate on policy. People agree with Ned Lamont, and their perspective must be heard. All perspectives should be heard, and through the virtue of intelligent discussion the correct answer to our problems will be found.
What's the alternative, having 2 parties that agree about most things before the debate even begins? And what about 30%-60%-80% of people that don't have their voices heard? Twisted logic states that by leaving them out we are doing the right thing for our democracy. Oh maybe in a post 9-11 world we don't want democracy. That's it, we'll be safer and better off without democracy.
This is the first time in many years that the primary system has worked. Usually only 10%-20% of eligible voters even bother with the primaries, this time there was a 40% turnout, double the usual. Primaries tend to be uneventful because the incumbent has so much money and name recognition that they are very difficult to beat. Not this time, the incumbent was so unpopular that the voters kicked him out. That's democratic justice, it's the foundation of our country.
A true patriot does not sacrifice the democratic bedrock of this country, just to promote their own opinion. Joe Lieberman looks like a spoiled brat.
Location: Buffalo, NY