8.20.2005

Bosnia quotes


When Clinton committed troops to Bosnia, republicans were none too thrilled:
"You can support the troops but not the president."

--Rep Tom Delay (R-TX)

"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, 4/6/99

"[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."

--Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA)

"American foreign policy is now one huge big mystery. Simply put, the administration is trying to lead the world with a feel-good foreign policy."

--Rep 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 George W Bush

"I had doubts about the bombing campaign from the beginning . . I didn't think we had done enough in the diplomatic area."

--Senator Trent Lott (R-MS)

"I cannot support a failed foreign policy. History teaches us that it is often easier to make war than peace. This administration is just learning that lesson right now. 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 over-extended 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"

--Rep Tom Delay (R-TX)

"Victory means exit strategy, and it's important for the President to explain to us what the exit strategy is."

--Governor George W. Bush (R-TX)
Someone wake me up when real conservatives are in charge, someone worth supporting instead of these blathering hipocrites.

8.19.2005

Able Danger redux


I was going to post some questions today on Intel-Dump for Lt. Col. Anthony Shaffer but I don't think he's hanging out there anymore. Incidentally, he is not the person who testified to the 911 commission. That was Navy Capt. Scott Phillpott.

Anyway my questions were going to be (and may still be if he pops back up at IntelDump though some of these would probably be better directed at Scott Phillpott):
If you only saw a list of 60 people for a moment 5 years ago, how did you happen to remember the name of Mohammed Atta so well? He was a nobody at the time. It has been reported that the unnamed officer (Shaffer) had only seen the Able Danger information for a moment in 1999 or 2000 (he didn't remember which) and there were 60 people netted in operation Able Danger. What made Atta stick out?

What, if you can speak about it, did you know about the name Mohammed Atta in 1999? Such as, how did you conclude that he was a suspected terrorist. Able Danger was an open source datamining operation, but what had been written about Atta in 1999? Since this is open source information, can't you tell us?

What relevance did the other 56 people have on the investigation? The tone of the articles being written make it seem as if the investigation was quashed because the name Mohammed Atta came up. But why him? What was so special about that name in 1999? Could it be that some of the other 56 people resulted in the operation being shut down?
It's not that I didn't believe him, but things like this just tend to nag on you.

But now it's starting to look like the whole scenario is a bit questionable. The DoD is saying that although they're still looking into it "we're not finding information that substantiates these claims."

Shaffer is now saying that his information is not first hand, it is based on the memories of two other people, Scott Phillpott being one of them, and Phillpott is the one who only briefly saw the names on the chart. He's also saying that all the charts identifying the terrorists have disappeared and that he didn't know much about them at the time, only after 911 was he shown a chart by one of the other people which had the name of Mohammed Atta on it. So did they disappear or did these two other people keep a personal souvenir?

All this started, of course, because Weldon spoke of it in his book "Countdown to Terror." The book itself is ludicrous but it's been assumed that even Weldon can be right once in a while. However, in Weldon's book he writes of being shown the chart by Stephen J. Hadley during a meeting. Now he claims that he may have been mistaken and Atta's name may not have been on the chart at all. Hadley, who is Bush's national security adviser, is declining to comment on the claims. That sends up the red flag right there.

Anyway, what to make of all this? I honestly don't know. The only thing we know for sure is that there was an open cource datamining operation going on in 1999-2000.

There is one thing that sticks out like a sore thumb. Shaffer says he is relying on Phillipot. He says Phillipot showed him a chart with Atta on it after 911 and said "We had them". But Phillipot testified to the 911 commission that he only briefly saw the chart in 1999 or 2000. He said nothing of having a chart after 911.

My personal opinion is that the people involved in Able Danger are wishfully thinking that they could have been able to stop them in 2000 and are looking back and trying hard to remember if anyone named Mohammed Atta was on the list of suspects. But memory is a tricky thing...

8.18.2005

London Tube Shooting


Gosh, it's like contraversial news week here isn't it?

According to reports of leaked documents on the London tube shooting of the Brazilian electrician Jean Charles De Menezes, he wasn't acting suspiciously at all, wasn't wearing a bulky winter coat, wasn't jumping turnstiles and running from the cops. Instead, he was just riding on the train when the police grabbed and shot him. They even have a photo of De Menezes lying on the floor in a denim jacket.

My question is this: where did all the false information that we've been hearing come from? We heard that he was wearing a bulky winter coat (that was out of place in summertime) and the police challenged him, he ran through the station, jumped the turnstiles, got on the train and was shot.

This is a very sad turn of events and, if true, the officer who shot him should face a strict punishment. Not necessarily because he shot the wrong guy -he could have been acting on orders so the person giving the orders should have to answer for them- but because the shooting itself was reckless and unprofessional.

Here is what a member of the surveillance team is quoted as saying:

"I heard shouting which included the word `police' and turned to face the male in the denim jacket. He immediately stood up and advanced towards me and the CO19 officers. I grabbed the male in the denim jacket by wrapping both my arms around his torso, pinning his arms to his side. I then pushed him back on to the seat where he had been previously sitting. I then heard a gun shot very close to my left ear and was dragged away onto the floor of the carriage."

De Menezes was shot seven times in the head and once in the shoulder. Three other bullets were fired but missed. This was all from a distance of only a few feet.

Assuming they thought he was a bomber, a shot to the head from a few feet away should suffice, especially if another member of your team is practically on top of the guy. But in this case, the shooter fired eleven shots, hitting him with only 9. The other three ended up God knows where in that crowded subway car. It's a lucky thing no one else was hit.

This officer hit a target with only 73% of his rounds from maybe a yard away in the middle of a crowded subway car. Anything under 70% is a failing grade in almost anything, but in shooting, a passing grade is usually around 95%. It's bad enough that an innocent man was shot in such a brutal way, but the shooter also put other people's lives in danger.

I assume that he was operating out of fear rather than training and kept pulling the trigger until he realized there was nothing left of De Menezes to aim at.

Able Danger


IntelDump has a great discussion going on about the Able Danger program that's been in the news lately. They are, as can be expected, a lot more sober and professional than trying to decipher Rep Curt Weldon's frantic accusations. Even the whistleblower, LTC Tony Shaffer, has been making posts in the comments section.

8.17.2005

Gasp, another post!


And so here I am. Ready, I think, to begin blogging again.

So where have I been and what have I been doing?

Truthfully, a lot of nowhere and a whole lot of nothing. I simply haven't been interested in doing anything intarweb-wise for several months. But now? Well, I've sorta been missing it I guess.

But why? I don't know why. Don't ask silly questions grasshopper. Just sit back and bask in all the glory that is my return to the internets!

Are you basking? Good, I knew you were.

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