Thursday, May 10, 2007

Posada and Moore.

More terrorism plots and . . . and political prosecutions!!!!!!!

AP reports:

"Academy Award-winning filmmaker Michael Moore is under investigation by the U.S. Treasury Department for taking ailing Sept. 11 rescue workers to Cuba for a segment in his upcoming health-care documentary 'Sicko,' The Associated Press has learned. The Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control notified Moore in a letter dated May 2 that it was conducting a civil investigation for possible violations of the U.S. trade embargo restricting travel to Cuba. A copy of the letter was obtained Tuesday by the AP. "

Boy, that's pretty weak!

Moore, obvioulsy, commited one of the worst crimes known to our legal system; he went to Cuba! With "ailing Sept. 11 rescue workers" no less! Has this man no shame!!!!

This is what happens, though, when you take on the health care industry. Moore says that he's moved a copy of the film out of the country to a "safe house," which is probably a good idea. There's no telling the lengths this administration will go to these days.

Now, of course, if Moore was going over ot Cuba to blow up hotels that would be a different matter. Luis Posada Carriles did that and he's living a free man in Miami. Posada also blew up a Cuban passenger plane killing 78 and had a hand in the car-bombing and murder of Orlando Letelier and Ronnie Moffet in Washington DC, both incidents within days of each other in 1976 but he's a hero.

[Just a note for my good anti-Castro freinds who think Posada is a great man:

From the CIA files on Posada.

"Cubana Airlines flight 455, DC-8 aircraft leased by Cubana from Air Canada, crashed in the Caribbean sea off the coast of Barbados at about 1:45 pm on October 6, 1976, shortly after takeoff from Seavell Airport, Barbados, en route to Havana, Cuba, via Kingston, Jamaica. No survivors reported among the 78 persons aboard the plane.

On October 7, 1976, the confidential source further advised that in view of the arrest of Vazquez and Lugo in Trinidad, the [excised] was arranging for Luis Posada and Orlando Bosch Avila to leave Venezuela as soon as possible. The source all but admitted that Posada and Bosch had engineered the bombing of the airline, and he promised to furnish further details on October 8, 1976."


Pre and post 9/11 indiocy:

Gosh, after a 16-month investigation of these bozos in Cherry Hill, the Justice Department decides that yesterday was the best time to come out with the story. I wonder why?

Oh, I know why: Alberto "waterboard" Gonzales is testiying, as I write, in front of the House Judiciary Committee where he's going to be bombarded with tough questions he won't be able to remember the answers to. "'My feelings and recollections about this matter have not changed," he just told the committee.

Not to imply that this Justice Department would go ahead with a prosecution just for political avantage. Something tells me the US Attorney for New Jersey saw what happened to those 8 fired US Attorneys and thought this was just the perfect time to go public.

What a nice feather in Al's cap, though, to be able to say he thwarted a domestic terrorism plot. It wasn't much of one, just a couple of braggrds with a map of Fort Dix and a bunch of videos, but this is the nature of post 9/11 terrorism threats, I guess. Al-Qaeda 3.0, or in this situation, Al-Qlueless 3.0.

If it hadn't been for that alert Circuit City clerk, something might have happened at some point. If those guys had been able to purchase weapons form someone other than the paid informant and if they had been able to get a Fatwa from someone, there might have been trouble.

My question is; what is the difference between pre and post 9/11 terrorism plots? In the case of Mohammed Atta & Co., they also didn't exactly go about their business in the most stealthy way. Atta once abandonded a plane on the tarmac of Miami International Airport, got traffic tickets, got into altercations in bars, was learning to fly but not land . . . if the FBI had had computers that could search "flight" and "school" and if W. hadn't been on vacation and AG Ashcroft hadn't told his subordinate that he didn't want to hear anything about terrorism threats, maybe 9/11 wouldn't have happened.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Another plot foiled! Pizza store clerk new OBL!!!!

Oh boy, finally some good news for the administration and the DOJ -- all in one fell swoop! McGonzales the crime fighting lapdog may not know what's going on right under his nose inside his own office, but he's on the job when it comes to busting major terrorism plots like this! This wasn't any Sear's Tower-type plot where the suspects couldn't even get boots without the help of a paid FBI informant -- no siree, Bob -- these pizza store jihadis were going to take down Fort Dix with an RPG and an assault rifle! In the words of Jody Weis, a special agent in the Philadelphia FBI office, "Today we dodged a bullet. They were forming a platoon to take out an army." [Inquirer] Yeah, go FBI! [Ok, just a thought: How successful could these guys have been; a platoon against an army?]

In this case it turns out that the crime of the century, so far, was thwarted by an "unsung" employee at Circuit City in Mount Laurel, New Jersey, who got suspicious when he saw a video of the "7-11 Six" on a firing range yelling "Allahu Akbar!" Yes, the one big mistake these Whahabi -wannabes made was taking their jihadi VHS home movies to Circuit City to be transferred to DVD. Man, didn't you just feel that bullet whiz by?

Don't get the idea that these pizza store kamikazes weren't hardened criminals, perish the thought! According to the Inquirer, the alleged ringleader, Mohamed Ibrahim Shnewer, was a taxi driver who "had roosters that escaped and broken-down vehicles parked on the street" in front of his house. Shain Duka and his brother Eljvir (aka "Elvis"), both illegal immigrants (you know what that means!), had 19 points for moving violations on their driving records. Serdar Tatar, a Turk ( you know what that means!) had his driver's license "suspended many times and has 24 active points, records show." The FBI obviously just nabbed these guys in a nick of time.

The Inquirer reports that in recorded conversations Eljvir told the FBI's paid informant that the plotters would need a "fatwa" before they could "carry out the attack on Fort Dix." I'm sure that would have been forthcoming at any time. The worst thing of all, though, was that the plotters participated in paint ball games and played terrorist video games "in which U.S. military vehicles were attacked and the image of a Marine had his arm blown off." US Attorney for New Jersey, Christopher J. Christie, described this video session, recorded by the informant, as "despicable," recounting that the "room burst out in laughter" when the Marine was hit. Obviously, Mr. Christie has never seen 15-year old boys playing America’s Army.

The Inquirer reports also that the plotters practiced at a gun range with: "An SKS semiautomatic rifle, a Mossberg 12-guage pump shotgun, and a 9mm Beretta handgun." None of these weapons were theirs, of course, they were trying to obtain their weapons from the "cooperating witness," who told them he'd hook them up. What I'm wondering about, is why the US Attorney's office from New Jersey isn't concerned that these types of weapons are readily available in his state and that anyone can go to a firing range and use them? That's not an issue, I guess, especially in light of what happened in Blacksburg VA.

Shain Duka, according to the FBI's timeline, told the informant on March 10th, that "as far as people we have enough, seven people. And we are all crazy. That's what is needed:" And, naturally, tons of deadly weapons, which are easier to get a hold of than a clean needle or a condom in New Jersey.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Whole lot of trouble coming down the pike in Kurdistan:

While we all sit around and discuss timelines and benchmarks for Iraq and debate plan B, there's a whole heap o' trouble brewing in Northern Iraq. As the WaPo belatedly points out:

"The long dispute between Turkey and Iraq over renegade Kurdish fighters camped on the Iraqi side of their shared border reached new heights last month. When the head of Iraq's Kurdish regional government threatened to provoke an uprising among Turkish Kurds, Turkey responded with warnings of direct military action and an angry complaint to Washington.
Ankara has massed thousands of soldiers on its side of the border and has warned it will dismantle the camps in Iraq if the U.S. military will not use some of its nearly 150,000 troops in Iraq to do it."

Actually, according to PanARMENIAN.Net , the Turks have already moved into Iraq:


"The Turkish army invaded bordering regions of Nothern Iraq preparing a large scale operation against Kurdish gorillas, one of Iraqi internet web-sites close to Patriotic Union of Kurdistan reported on Thursday. 'The Turkish army with large forces invaded Haftanin, Sineht and Pirbila districts in Northern Iraq, where armored equipment and 'commandos' of Special Forces are stationed, Iraqi media reports. The Turkish general staff has not made any comments concerning this message, RIA “Novosti” reports."

Looks like USAF General Joseph Ralston, W.'s Special Envoy for Countering the PKK, isn't having much luck keeping the two sides apart. Last August, W. decided to send Ralston over to Iraq to placate the Turks while he focuced on bringing victory to the rest of Iraq. As usual, the administtration has seriously miscalculated about the extent to which the Turks are willing to go to deal with the Kurds and doom is impending.

If you can recall, the first big mistake the US made was pissing off the Turks back in 2002. Keep in the mind, the Turks have always been our best friends in the world. During the Cold War, they were one of our closest allies; not after Rummy and Wolfowitz got done with them, though. Remember, Rummy was insisting that he needed the 4th ID to move through Turkey to invade Iraq from the north. According to the military genius' at the Pentagon, this was crucial. Colin Powell, typically, thought the plan was crazy. He said:

"I think they can handle the through-put. I think they can handle the air piece. It’s when you talk about moving an armored division or mechanized division overland through the length of Anatolia with a long huge train behind it, huge numbers of vehicles, going to invade another Muslim country. I will go for that, but that may well be one too many bricks on the scale for the Turks. I don’t think we can get it and we’re taking a risk at losing it all by going for that

James E. Kapsis in MERIA writes:

"Powell ultimately lost the argument to Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, and Franks. The Pentagon’s optimistic outlook was reinforced by unofficial backchannels of communications from some of Erdogan’s political advisers signaling that Turkey would ultimately come through. . . Rather than listening to officials at the Turkish Embassy in Washington who, like Powell, were sending warning signals to U.S. officials about the chances for success, Wolfowitz and his advisors put more faith in the rosy communications coming from Zapsu and other unofficial interlocutors. In short, the Americans heard what they wanted to hear and blocked out the rest. "

When it ultimatly turned out that the Turkish parliament voted down permission for the US to use its territory, the US shunned the Turks. In fact, Rummy had the audacity to blame Turkey in 2005 for the insurgency. He told ABC:

"Had we been successful in getting the 4th Infantry Division to come in through Turkey. . . I believe that a considerably smaller number of the Baathists and the regime elements would have escaped. And as a result the insurgency would have been at a lesser intensity than it is today." []

Now, we're making more mistakes by ignoring Turkey's anger over losing 600 soldiers to the PKK in the past year. If the Turks really do go whole hog into Iraqi Kurdistan the Peshmerga fighers mascarading as Iraqi soldiers will drop what they're doing in Baghdad and make a beeline for the border. The Peshmerga element sof the Iraqi Army are the only ones who can actually fight, so we'd be in a bunch of trouble right away as far as the Surge goes.

Another problem is that we've been using elements of the Kurdish rebels to try and destabilize Iran, who is to say they don't turn right around and start fighting the Turkish invaders. Things are so convoluted over there I can't even begin to figure out what that might mean. Whatever happens, it ain't good for us.

But maybe for General Roston who has a lot of stock in Lockheed Martin, whcih provides fighter jets to Turkey's airforce. Perhaps, that's why he can't get any traction with Barzani & Co?

Monday, May 07, 2007

Blue skies and Iraqis gone fishin'.

You know, in 2002 we heard neocons like Kenneth Adelman, Richard Perle and William Kristal predict what a "cakewalk" Iraq was going to be. Their bylines were plastered all over the editorial pages of the NYT and the WaPo expounding on their rosy scenarios of chocolates and nylons, as if those papers had become merely subsidiaries of the Weekly Standard. Voices opposing the war, particularly Scott Ritter, who were shouting that that there were no WMD and that a war in Iraq would be a boon to al-Qaeda were mentioned, if at all, only as examples of the crackpot fringe who would cause another 9/11 if they were listened to. Four years later, we now know that Scott Ritter and the others were right and that everything Kristal & Co. said was completely and utterly wrong from A to Z, yet they're still getting gallons of ink in the major newspapers of record, why?

A case in point is in this Sunday's NYT: Frederick Kagan, the author of the Surge, defends this latest neocon/Strangelovian scheme by writing that the debate about a Plan B, "shows only how little the critics of the war understand about military operations." Luckily, we have military experts like Kagan to patiently explain to all of us numbskulls out here that, "The strategy now under way in Iraq will change the situation in Iraq significantly, whether or not it succeeds in its aims." (Man, talk about CYA!)

There's no point in planning for what happens if things get dramatically worse, because no matter what happens, things will change, and that's a success in itself. What we do know is that at this "early stage," of the Surge: "Sectarian killings in Baghdad in April were about one-third of the level in December." McClatchy papers reported today that "sectarian violence is on the rise again, 25 bodies, often attributed to Shiite death squads, were found throughout the city," but that's to be expected, as Maj. General Rick Lynch of the 3rd ID told reporters yesterday, "It may get harder before it gets easier for the Iraqis." [Especially now, that we know that half of our Army has no respect for them.]

We lost 104 US troops in April, too, the highest number of deaths since last October, but this is the "dynamic nature of war." As Maj. General Lynch says, "There are going to be increased casualties during this surge because we're taking the fight to the enemy." Funny, with all this complicated military talk in Kagan's op-ed -- which any of us can barely understand -- I don't see any reference to higher US casualties.

In any case, Muqtada al-Sadr is on the run and "American forces have killed or captured 700 key leaders and allies of his Mahdi Army, causing the movement to fragment." That five hour gun battle between US forces and the Mahdi Army in Sadr City on Sunday is just a sign of their weakness, I guess. This is just a mopping up operation, I expect. Sure we lost 13 GIs the past two days, but that's just the "nature of war," I keep forgetting.

Meanwhile, on the political front, we've got those Sunni Sheiks in Anbar on our side now. In fact, Kagan points out, so many young Iraqis have joined up to fight al-Qaeda that, "police forces in Ramadi and Fallujah are considered to be at 'overstrength.'" Just imagine, the same people we dropped Willy Pete on in Fallujah back in November of '05 are on our side now! [Judging by what happened in Afghanistan yesterday, with two US soldiers killed by an Afghan soldier outside of Pul-e-Charki prison, I'd say our guys should probably watch their backs.]

For all his talk about the impending success of this new Surge "strategy" Kagan brings up Nuri al-Maliki's name only once in the entire piece, he is kind of the linchpin to this whole thing isn’t he? Kagan writes that al-Maliki and the mysterious Iraqi Lt. General Aboud have in "an 180-degree turnaround . . . permitted repeated strikes against senior Shiite leaders and Shiite neighborhoods;" nothing in there about parliament fixing the de-Bathification law or signing on the dotted line with Exxon/Mobil to share the oil wealth, which is, I thought, what this whole security operation was supposed to make easier to accomplish.

What Kagan has also neglects to mention is that while our troops will be sweating it out this summer dodging IEDs and sniper's bullets, the NYT reported on April 28 that Def Sec Robert Gates "found himself pressing Mr. al-Maliki last week to keep Parliament from taking a two-month summer break." You really get that the Iraqis are sensing the urgency of the situation. We wouldn't want Congress micro-managing the situation by legislating firm benchmarks or setting a "date for surrender" or anything like that.

According to the NYT: "If lawmakers remain in Baghdad, said one senior American official . . . 'we'll have some outputs then.' He added, 'that's different from having outcomes,' drawing a distinction between a sign of activity and a sign of success, which could take considerably longer." How much longer you might ask? "The timelines they are now discussing suggests that the White House may maintain the increased number of troops in Iraq well into next year." If Parliament takes a two month break it could be even longer than that, is that a problem?

Not to Frederick Kagan who reminds us, "Military plans of this magnitude take months to work, General Petraeus is right to say that we will not know if this one is working until the fall at the earliest." And if nothing of any significance has been accomplished by then? Well, of course, we all know that it's only Democrats who know nothing about military strategy -- like John Murtha and Joe Sestak, for instance -- who are calling for a Plan B... Well yeah, them and House minority leader Republican John Boner, who says, "By the time we get to September or October, members are going to want to know how well this is working, and if it isn't, what's Plan B?" [Bloomberg]

But let us not dwell on the negative, let's give this new plan a chance to work. So we lose another 500 GIs killed and 5000 or so wounded (the VA will be fixed by then) between now and September or October, it's all worth it right? Kagan and his ilk have been totally correct about everything else, haven't they? As Kagan sums up; "It is time, however, to consider the possibility that any Plan B in Iraq will focus on exploiting the success of the current surge rather than mitigating a failure."

"Blue skies, nothing but blue skies, do I see. Where's Al Jolson when you need him?
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