Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Summary of Neocon Mistakes

I am a bit busy this week, but here is a link to some discussion of the various mistakes the neocons have made with regard to Iraq.


Monday, May 30, 2005

Aluminum Tubes and Bonuses

I will summarize later, but this is a very good commentary on the "Tubes for Bonus" story that just came out.

Be sure to read the comments.

Saturday, May 28, 2005

100,000 Signatures Wanted

Would you like to get some answers to the "Downing Street Memo?" Here is a good place to start.

Anti-AIPAC Ad in New York Times

Today's New York Times (print edition) has a full-page advertisement on page 5 from the Council for the National Interest.

A copy of the ad is here.

Very impressive, but I don't really like the cartoon.

The ad is signed by two former Congressmen, Paul Findley (R-Illinois), Paul “Pete”
McCloskey (R-California), and former Senator James Abourezk (D-South Dakota).

The ad in sponsored by Council for the National Interest Foundation (to which I link at the side of the page). If you support this activity you should make a contribution.

Friday, May 27, 2005

Jedi Mugged by Reality

This is the best Star Wars to neocon/Iraq war analogy article I have read so far. Link.

Some highlights:

"We see a once liberal warrior seduced by the promise of power and order, and fed up with the bumbling bureaucrats in the Galactic Senate – to paraphrase Irving Kristol, a Sith lord is a Jedi mugged by reality."


If past has been prologue in viewing Star Wars as a prophetic guide to the neocon advent, we can see frightening premonitions of what lies ahead. At the very beginning of Revenge of the Sith, we see the unrestrained ideological ruthlessness with which the Sith turn against the Trade Federation that was so crucial to their advancement in the previous Attack of the Clones. This could turn out to be a perfect allegory for the old ideologues crushing their "free-market conservative" allies when advancing the revolution calls for it.


The more solid analogy, however, lies in the parallel between Palpatine's purge of the Jedi and the Bush/neocon purge of the CIA and career military [Like Karen K]. Like the CIA, the Jedi were an institution that perfectly illustrated what was deeply flawed about the system they represented, but in the end were an independent source of power that had to be eliminated.

Good Stuff. I will have to admit, the way the neocons manipulate all aspects of the information chain is impressive, in an evil empire sort of way. Must be "The Schwartz".

Lynn Woolsey Amendment

Kevin Zeese reports othe the Lynn Woolsey (D-CA) Amendment, which simply states:

"It is the sense of Congress that the president should—
(1) develop a plan as soon as practicable after the date of the enactment of this Act to provide for the withdrawal of United States Armed Forces from Iraq; and
(2) transmit to the congressional defense committees a report that contains the plan described in paragraph (1)."

That is, the amendment asks that the President start to discuss a time table for withdrawing from Iraq.

Keven explains that:

[T]he amendment failed—by a vote of 300 to 128 with 5 not voting. Because Rep. Woolsey insisted on a roll call vote we now know who needs to be convinced. There were some disappointing votes including the Democratic leader, Nancy Pelosi, as well as members generally seen as liberals, including Rep. Cardin (D-MD), Rep. Stenny Hoyer (D-MD), Rep. Sanchez (D-CA) and Rep. Udall (D-CO). Five Republicans voted for the amendment, most notably Rep. Walter Jones (R-NC) who is well known for insisting that the french fries sold in the Capitol be re-named "Freedom Fries."


Perhaps the most important speech in favor of an exit strategy came from Rep. Walter Jones (R-NC). [...]

" . . . all this amendment does is just say that it is time for the Congress to meet its responsibility. The responsibility of Congress is to make decisions whether we should send our men and women to war or not send them to war. What we are saying here tonight is we think it is time for the Congress to begin, to start the debate and discussion of what the exit strategy is of this government . ."

While 300 to 128 is certainly lopsided, a switch of 90 votes would be enough to pass the measure. As elections come closer I think many of these Reps will start to vote as their constituents want them to. For example, I am sure if you polled Pelosi's district they would have wanted her to vote yes.

Here is a roll call. See how you Rep voted and give them a call if you don't approve.


Thursday, May 26, 2005

Karen Kwiatkowski Interview

I have added a link to a video of Karen Kwiatkowski discussing her experiences at the Pentagon while working around some key neocon players during the build up to invade Iraq. She has been highly critical of the information gathering (or should I say production?) that took place at that time.

The great thing about the video interview is that it gives you a good chance to evaluate her demeanor. Does she seem like someone prone to exaggeration, or worse? Does she seem like someone with an agenda?

To me she comes accross as a very honest person who saw things take place that she knew were wrong. Someone who had no interest whatsoever in "the spotlight", but who was compelled to speak out when she found herself in the middle of something very disturbing.

Here is a quote from an interview with LA Weekly:

[LA Weekly:]There you were, a career military officer, a Pentagon analyst, a conservative who had given two decades to this work. What provoked you to become first a covert and later a public dissident?

[KK]Like most people, I’ve always thought there should be honesty in government. Working 20 years in the military, I’m sure I saw some things that were less than honest or accountable. But nothing to the degree that I saw when I joined Near East South Asia.

This was creatively produced propaganda spread not only through the Pentagon, but across a network of policymakers — the State Department, with John Bolton; the Vice President’s Office, the very close relationship the OSP had with that office. That is not normal, that is a bypassing of normal processes. Then there was the National Security Council, with certain people who had neoconservative views; Scooter Libby, the vice president’s chief of staff; a network of think tanks who advocated neoconservative views — the American Enterprise Institute, the Center for Security Policy with Frank Gaffney, the columnist Charles Krauthammer — was very reliable. So there was just not a process inside the Pentagon that should have developed good honest policy, but it was instead pushing a particular agenda; this group worked in a coordinated manner, across media and parts of the government, with their neoconservative compadres.

If you have time, this video is a good way to get a feel for what was going on at the Pentagon during the buildup towards war with Iraq. It is not pretty.

Seeing the Light (Updated)

Walter Jones was a staunch supporter of the Iraq war. He is the man who came up with the "Freedom Fries" idea. More recently he has come to the conclusion that he, and the American people, were sold a false bill of goods.

It was a culinary rebuke that echoed around the world, heightening the sense of tension between Washington and Paris in the run-up to the invasion of Iraq. But now the US politician who led the campaign to change the name of french fries to "freedom fries" has turned against the war.

Walter Jones, the Republican congressman for North Carolina who was also the brains behind french toast becoming freedom toast in Capitol Hill restaurants, told a local newspaper the US went to war "with no justification".


Now Mr Jones appears to agree. Asked by a reporter for the North Carolina News and Observer about the name-change campaign - an idea Mr Jones said at the time came to him by a combination of God's hand and a constituent's request - he replied: "I wish it had never happened."

Although he voted for the war, he has since become one of its most vociferous opponents on Capitol Hill, where the hallway outside his office is lined with photographs of the "faces of the fallen".

"If we were given misinformation intentionally by people in this administration, to commit the authority to send boys, and in some instances girls, to go into Iraq, that is wrong," he told the newspaper. "Congress must be told the truth."

Better late than never. You should send an e-mail to Rep. Jones thanking him for seeing the light. (UPDATE: use BELHAVEN and 27810 as city and zip code.)

It will be interesting to see if a "well financed candidate" decides to make a run for his seat.

I also note that I had to read about this in the English press.



I forgot that Walter Jones was the congressman who, along with Wes Clark, asked Richard Perle some touch questions at the Armed Services Committee. This was reported on by GIR I here.

A link to the audio of the exchange is provided along with the times of the key exchanges. Very interesting.

Hat Tip: Truthseeker.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Forcast for Iraq

Juan Cole paints a dire picture of Iraq:

The US military cannot defeat the Sunni Arab guerrilla movement any time soon for so many reasons that they cannot all be listed.

The guerrillas have widespread popular support in the Sunni Arab areas of Iraq, an area with some 4 million persons. [...]

The guerrillas are mainly Iraqi Sunnis with an intelligence or military background, who know where secret weapons depots are containing some 250,000 tons of missing munitions, and who know how to use military strategy and tactics to good effect. They are well-funded and can easily get further funding from Gulf millionnaires any time they like.

The Iraqi guerrillas are given tactical support by foreign jihadi fighters. [...]

There are simply too few US troops to fight the guerrillas. [...]

The guerillas have enormous advantages, of knowing the local clans and terrain and urban quarters, of knowing Arabic, and of being local Muslims who are sympathetic figures for other Muslims. American audiences often forget that the US troops in Iraq are mostly clueless about what is going on around them, and do not have the knowledge base or skills to conduct effective counter-insurgency.

What is amazing is that anyone with any knowledge of the Mideast should have known this would be the outcome. Israel could not hold, or settle, Lebanon after fifteen years. This was a much smaller area and population. Israel had much more motivation to succeed, and far better intelligence than the US will ever have in Iraq.

There is no way Iraq will settle anytime soon. Meanwhile, we spend money and lives.

Juan Cole has shown that a number of predictions from neocons such as Paul Wolfowitz have been completely off the mark. At some point I will blog on them as well. The key point to understand, however, is that while the neocons understand how to work the back rooms of Washington, they are in way over their heads when it comes to implementing sucessful (from a US perspective) policies in the Middle East.


Quick Hits

First, pictures of the AIPAC protest. I will go next year, and I don't live close to DC.

Protest Pictures

Second, finding humor in this stuff is pretty hard, so enjoy this from Jewish Women Watching:

Jewish Speak

Hat Tip: Anti-Zionist Notes

Zogby on AIPAC Power

Despite the great showing this week, James Zogby finds that AIPAC is not all powerful:

But with all this, the power of AIPAC is still quite real and will be in evidence this week. Part of this power rests in the assumption that the group speaks for all American Jews (which it does not) and the carefully cultivated perception that the lobby can influence (indirectly, they maintain) substantial sums of campaign contributions to defeat those who oppose their positions or to assist those who embrace their agenda.

The recent defeat in the 2002 Congressional elections of Representatives Earl Hilliard (Alabama) and Cynthia McKinney (Georgia) are pointed to as evidence of this power. But, here, too, the picture is less than clear. After all, McKinney returned this year and won back her old House seat and a Virginia Congressman, James Moran, targeted for defeat by a well-funded opponent, won reelection.

We know that Earl Hiliard was corrupt and ready to be booted from office, so I don't think it is a good example. The other examples show, however, that you can go against AIPAC and stay in office if your constituents feel you represent them well.


Raimondo: Much More to Come

Justin Raimondo is convinced that there is much more to come in the AIPAC spy scandal. I am a little skeptical, but if true the FBI is doing a great job of hiding it cards until the time comes to play them.

He extracts this information from an artcile in the NY Sun:

According to a report by Eli Lake, while AIPAC is still paying the legal fees of Rosen and Weissman, they fired them on the advice of AIPAC's legal counsel, Nathan Lewin, when he discovered what the FBI had on their two erstwhile employees:

"The charges against Messrs. Rosen and Weissman, which have yet to be made publicly, were so secret that Mr. Lewin needed security clearance just to hear them."

That doesn't sound as if Rosen and Weissman were merely trying to sound the alarm that Israeli lives were in imminent danger. Apparently Paul McNulty of the Eastern district of Virginia and his fellow prosecutors do indeed have more evidence in this case than the sharing of a few policy papers and the passing on of a few tidbits of lifesaving intelligence to the Israelis. The crime of the AIPAC spies involves stealing secrets so highly classified that to even describe what they did involves a major breach of our national security. What more do we need to know?

We can only watch and wait.


Tuesday, May 24, 2005

New Charges for Franklin

Franklin will face additional changes of keeping classified documents.

A former Pentagon analyst, already accused of illegally disclosing military secrets, will be charged as early as Tuesday with illegally keeping classified documents at his home in West Virginia, his lawyer said on Monday.

He is taking quite a beating. How does he expect to take care of his family when he is in jail?

He must have a good deal in hand to take this kind of fall.


Perle Calls for Invasion of Iran

During a debate between Richard Perle and Jane Harman (D-Calf) the following was reported:

But after half an hour of this, Harman could not keep up. Perle provoked cheers from the crowd when he favored a military raid on Iran, saying that "if Iran is on the verge of a nuclear weapon, I think we will have no choice but to take decisive action." When Harman said the "best short-term option" is the U.N. Security Council, the crowd reacted with boos.

Unless I am reading this incorrectly, he is calling for US military action in Iran.

Iran has three times the population of Iraq. Its people are far more united than the people of Iraq. In fact, Iraq had an oppressed majority that we could turn to to help run the country, so Iraq presented an ideal case. Nonetheless, we continue to have problems in Iraq despite these advantages.

Furthermore, the US currently has many more military obligations than when we first entered Iraq.

An invasion of Iran would be a military disaster.


Monday, May 23, 2005

Israeli Safety, Christian Danger

As bad as the Iraq war is, more people certainly died during the ten years of sanctions before the war, than have died during the war itself. Can anyone forget Madeline Albright saying "it was worth it" when presented with the fact that 500,000 deaths resulted from US sanctions against Iraq. I can't.

(Of course, none of these deaths were American, which is an important consideration when making American policy.)

Beyond these deaths, however, it seems that the Christian minority in the Mideast take the brunt of the backlash for US actions. We all know that Iraqi Christians are being targeted by the insurgents because they are (wrongly) associated with the western forces. Many have fled to Syria.

Now the US is taking steps to make sure this safe haven is eliminated. In our effort for regime change in Syria, a country that poses absolutely zero threat to the US, the resulting unrest is sure to create instability that will adversely affect Syria's minority Christian population, including those that just fled from Iraq.

In a panel discussion at the World Economic Forum we hear this:

The audience member, who described herself as a Syrian lawyer, said Syria is a tolerant country with a large Christian population. The country has become a safe haven for Iraqi’s fleeing a grinding guerrilla war, especially Christians escaping anti-Christian violence that has wracked Iraq in the wake of the US-led invasion.

The Syrian woman said the US sanctions were a rash escalation of a dispute that had not seen sufficient diplomacy. She said the Syrian people were suffering as a result. “In any policy there is carrot and stick,” the woman said. “But between the United States and Syria there is only the stick.”

I would go further as say the US must demonstrate a compelling need to impose sanctions, however, the point is still valid. Our actions continue to inflict substantial pain on the Christian community in the Middle East, and we don't hear enough about that.


UPDATE: The point of this post is not that Christians and Israelis should not get along. The point is that that the Israeli extremists don't take the cost(s) of their actions into account and that those costs are not only borne by Muslims, but also Christians.

AIPAC Strikes Back

In what seems to be AIPAC's answer to the latest Star Wars theme, an interactive display on Iran's nuclear program has been set up this week in our nation's capital.

The description of the display is breathtaking to say the least:

In the "nuclear power plant" room, dominated by a replica fuel rod with blue lights sparking on and off and coloured tubes, voiceovers from different rooms start to overlap. There is a steady echo of the phrases "make an atomic bomb," "uranium enrichment" and "the threat is real". [Emphasis added]

The penultimate room asks: "When will Iran get the bomb?" The display says: "Iran is known to have carried out experiments with a substance called polonium whose only purpose is to trigger and intensify nuclear explosions." [] With a range of 1,200 miles, AIPAC warns that 250,000 US servicemen are "directly within range of Iranian missiles". [Who were placed their by AIPAC and their friends.]

AIPAC's display ends with a sombre caution. "Iran is seeking nuclear weapons. Iran already has the means to deliver them. The world can still act. The threat is real. The clock is ticking."

This is stunning. That such schlock would be used to persuade anyone, much less congress and their staff, is embarrassing. That it probably works is even more embarrassing.

The second odd thing is that to learn about this, and other AIPAC related activities, you must almost always go the foreign press - Israeli, English and Arab mostly.

US citizens are interested in how their government is being influenced.

See full story here.

Neocon Desperation

According to Laura Rozen:

I was struck at the jampacked AIPAC policy Iran presentation today how much the outlyer position of democratic revolution being the solution to US concerns about a nuclear Iran has become a mainstream position, advocated by all on the panel today. Interesting and brilliant work by the idea's policy entrepreneuers to move this front and center, whether you agree it can be realized on a speedy timeframe or not.[Emphasis Added]

This is desperation. They are not going to overthrow the Iranian regime anytime soon. It is clear they are running out of cards to play.

It also means they don't think bombing is likely to derail Iran's nuclear program or they would be pushing that agenda. There may also be a feeling that the price the US will pay for bombing Iran will be to high.

Hidden Costs

The world does not stand still. Our rivals see that America has an irrational policy towards Israel and the Middle East. A policy that often goes against its own strategic and financial interests. They are more than willing to use this irrationality to their advantage.

China sees that America is alienating more than one billion people and is moving to fill in the void. As part of its push to make trade agreements and strategic alliances, it has just picked some very low hanging fruit.


Visiting Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas received the pledge from Chinese leaders to provide economic aid health care and housing by the signing of five bilateral agreements yesterday in Beijing.


President Hu said the Chinese Government and its people supports the "just cause" of Palestinians, saying the way to establish an independent Palestinian state is to conduct political negotiations on UN resolutions, and resume the Road Map peace plan.

These "negotiations" could include bringing Palestinian political demands directly to the UN Security Council. The irony of this communist nation with a poor human right record providing the voice of reason in the Israel-Palestinian conflict is hard to ignore.

Nonetheless, China is clearly seeking to establish another trading partner and create good will in the Arab and Muslim communities. This effort seems likely to succeed. It is like shooting fish in a barrel.

These ties present another obstacle for US corporations doing business oversees. You won't see these costs on the balance sheet of our support for Israel, but they is there. A more balanced policy would not only bring about peace more quickly, it would help US financial interests as well.

In the meantime I am sure China, and our other rivals, will waste no time taking advantage of every one of our political miscalculations.

Hat Tip:Culture of Life

Friday, May 20, 2005

The Never Ending WW II Analogy

Some comments on this blog have suggested that, like Iraq, deception was used to get the US involved in WWII.

While that subject is too large for this forum, there is an excellent article about "WW II worship" in the Seattle Times.


The first [lesson] is that some political leaders and movements, like Hitler and his National Socialists, are so evil that to try to understand them or deal with them is futile and morally contemptible. Essentially, every time we hear the term "appeasement" — Rush Limbaugh said yesterday morning that Europe is "appeasing Iran" — we connect to this.

That is, all circumstances are viewed through either the WW II or Viet Nam box, it seems.

Clearly the American people think war should be reserved for critical US interests and security. Otherwise, Bush (read neocons) would not have bothered making up the WMD story; he would have just said - we are going into Iraq to make the Middle East safe for Israel, whose supporters make huge campaign contributions to both parties. (OK, he wouldn't have said that last part).

There is nothing horrible about limiting war efforts to causes that are in your countries best interests. You should never feel guilty about taking that position.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Prescient George (Lucas)

Although I have not seen the movie yet, there is lots of talk that the new Star Wars movie contains many relevant political messages.

Best as I can gather, they have something to do with destroying a republic through empire building, and/or using ruthless means to achieve dubious ends.

Regardless of the exact nature of the message, it is clear that George Lucas understood the general dangers our country faces and that he tried to tell us about them in his blockbuster films.

For example, could the fact that this:

looks so much like this:

be anything but the result of careful planning? I think not. Many lives could have been saved if we understood his message earlier.

Of course, maybe the message was more along these lines:

I will investigate further this weekend.

UPDATE: Here are some quotes from George Lucas on the movie:

''In terms of evil, one of the original concepts was how does a democracy turn itself into a dictatorship,'' Lucas told a news conference at Cannes, where his final episode had its world premiere.


''On the personal level it was how does a good person turn into a bad person, and part of the observation of that is that most bad people think they are good people, they are doing it for the right reasons,'' he added.

While I wouldn't go so far as to say the parties who pushed us to invade Iraq were ever good, or had good intentions, I think the US as a whole was once good, but is slowly slipping into something not so good.


UPDATE 2: Best quote on the movie and politics:

In other words, it is not George Lucas' fault that George W. Bush is acting just like the evil Sith Lords of the story, destroying forever what was once a limited republic in the name of protecting it. Perhaps Bush is a Star Wars fan, and truly believing that power denied is power wasted, he is deliberately following the example of the Sith.

See the rest here.

Recent AIPAC History

Nice summary of AIPAC activity over the last ten years here.

Lost Ark

And we pay over 3 billion a year to fund this type of stuff, at least indirectly.

Throughout the many years of his quest, Jones has been in close contact and under the tutelage of numerous Rabbis and Kabbalists. Extremely knowledgeable in Torah, Talmud and Kabbalah sources dealing with Holy Temple issues, Jones has now received permission from both known and secret Kabbalists to finally uncover the lost ark.

Heh. But [Indiana] Jones goes on to say:

Dr. Jones, wearing an orange anti-disengagement bracelet, dismisses the current Israeli government's plan to uproot the Jews of Gaza and northern Samaria from their homes. "There will not be any disengagement, nor will there be any Palestinian State,” he says.

If I was to bet, I would put my money on Dr. Jones (regarding Gaza, not the Ark).


Wednesday, May 18, 2005

What the Neocons Really Think

Not much time to blog today, however, here are some thoughts on whether the neocons really believe the "Koran in the toilet" story was false and the resulting implications for the media.

Also, Matt Welch also has some thoughts on what calls for the media to be more resonsable really mean.

Finally, the dreaded David Frum has interesting information regarding the real causes for the riots in Afghanistan (hint - Newsweek was just an excuse).

Looking for "r"


If you are the person who comments under the name "r", I would be interested in exchanging e-mails with you off-line. I you are open to this please contact me at the above e-mail address (without the _remove).


More Indictment Rumors

A report from the JTA claims "[T]here is mounting evidence that the government plans to indict Steve Rosen, AIPAC’s former policy director, and Keith Weissman, its former senior Iran analyst."

However, the article doesn't provide any of this "mounting evidence".

Most of the reports of pending indictments against Rosen and Weissman come from Jewish issue focused media outlets. It is interested they are pumping up this issue. Are they trying to limit the shock value if/when the indictments are finally handed out?


Galloway Senate Video

The complete testimony of George Galloway to Senators Norm Coleman and Carl Levin can be found here. Galloway has a great scottish accent.

The idea that, with so much else on their plate, these Senators would be concerned with a UK member of parliament is somewhat odd and certainly arrogant. Some claim that AIPAC is pushing the buttons here.

These two Senators were the only ones to show up to the hearing and, C-SPAN elected not to broadcast it. Apparently the effort was not very popular.

Galloway does more than hold his own against the accusations, and, whether his charity received money via the oil for food program or not, his summary of the US record in Iraq is stinging.

UPDATE:Someone pointed out the the video linked to above is incomplete. I did not notice. Here is a link to another video as well as transcript.


Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Vacation in DC

If you have thinking about visiting Washington DC now may be a good time. You can see the sites and also get involved in a little politics. Much more fun than some boring museum.

Jet Blue has cheap flights to DC from many US cities.

Rewriting History

The new "spin" is that the invasion of Iraq was always about implementing democracy. That is, the talk of WMD was just a side note to the plan to bring democracy to Iraq.

Anyone who was alive and awake during the build up to the invasion knows that this view is pure BS.

But, just in case you had any doubt, this review of Bush's March 17, 2003 speech to the nation should set you right. In a key passage the reviewer finds that:

Bush’s key March 17 address, in printed form (available at www.whitehouse.gov), runs 27 paragraphs. For those keeping score at home, exactly 18 of those paragraphs mention or emphasize the WMD threat. Five raise the “freedom” issue.

And the WMD warnings receive much higher priority; Bush does not “bury the lead.” The first four paragraphs discuss nothing but WMDs, in 10 separate sentences. Only after that, in one short paragraph, does Bush mention that Saddam’s regime “has a history of reckless aggression in the Middle East” and has “deep hatred” of America. He then linked Saddam to al-Qaeda, another charge now widely discredited.

Then it was back to WMDs for eight more paragraphs, before mentioning a “new Iraq that is prosperous and free.”

Don't let them rewrite history like this.

Here is the link to the entire story.

UPDATE: Here is a link to the March 17, 2003 speech.

Is the US on the Side of Justice?

The current Bush administration has decided to allow Israel to virtually set our policy in the mid-east going forward, regardless of the cost or consequences to the US. Many view that as unwise. However, is it also immoral?

If you are an American who gets most of his news from American news sources, the only answer you can give is that "you don't know". You don't know because the US news sources have stopped reporting on Israeli persecution of Palestinians.

There are many small website deticated to reporting on the problems faces by the Palestinians including Stand for Justice and If Americans Knew.

Acts committed by Israeli settlers range from harassment to property destruction and physical violence.

Based on this report, however, we are not informed about Palestinian deaths at anything near the rate we are informed about Israeli deaths. No doubt this disparity trickles down to others acts against Palestinians.

The implication is that Americans must make their decisions regarding middle east policy in the dark. The US may be pushing the absolutely wrong buttons when trying to solve the conflict, and thereby contributing to escalation rather than peace. Said another way, the US may, at least in the short term, be backing the party that is morally in the wrong.

It is obvious that we need to find out why so much of the world is opposed to our policies in the Mideast. It is also obvious that you can't do that when you obtain your news from major American media sources.

[UPDATE: I will say that Israel proper does not set US policy in the Mideast, but rather pro-Israeli Americans (and dual citizens) including self identified neocons, who push policy according to their own vision of what benefits Israel, and who no doubt consult well connected Israeli to make sure they are not making gross mistakes.]

Monday, May 16, 2005

AIPAC Pushes Sanctions on Iran

Interesting comparison of coverage regarding the Iran econmoic sanctions bill being promoted by AIPAC.

The US story only mentions AIPAC at the very end, and does not expressly mention that they are the ones pushing the Bill.

While the story from the Jerusalem Post headlines AIPAC involvement.

It would be nice to get coverage here in the US that was at least as open as that available in Israel.

Bombing Bushehr

Jude Wanniski explains some the urgency of the Bolton nomination as well as some of the geopolitical background.

From the NYT:

"Republicans are hoping to shame Democrats into a quick vote on Mr. Bolton. They argue that he needs to be in place by June so that the United States will have the latitude it needs to press its concerns about Iran's suspected nuclear weapons program before the Security Council."

And Wanniski comments:

Why the big rush? My reliable sources tell me it is because there is a timetable that makes it urgent for Bolton to be ready for action in June in order to cripple the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) as part of the plan to bomb the Iranian nuclear power plant at Bushehr. That's because Bushehr, under construction with Russian supervision, will soon be ready to receive the Russian fissionable material enabling it to produce power.

Barbara Boxer's attempts to delay the nomination should be applauded. Also note that this article agrees with the statements made by Scott Ritter.

Read entire article here.

Premature Invasion

From The Times, this discussion of the Suez Crisis shows that there was a time when US interests were maintained when formulating mid-east policy. Unfortunatly, you have to go back to Ike to find those times, but at least we know they existed once.

From the article:

I have immersed myself in the Suez crisis — such being the above — through reading the remarkable 1955-56 correspondence between Anthony Eden and Dwight Eisenhower [...]

Eden pleads with Eisenhower to understand the threat represented by the Egyptian, Abdel Nasser, who has just nationalised the Anglo-French Suez Canal Company (albeit with compensation). To Eden Nasser is Saddam and al-Qaeda in one, “active wherever Muslims can be found . . . from the Persian Gulf to Nigeria”.

[Edan claims that] Nasser is out to dominate the region, unseat friendly sheikhs and threaten Israel “to the point where the whole position in the Middle East will be lost beyond recall”. Nasser is the “greatest hazard facing the Free World since 1940”.

Eisenhower is incredulous. [Eisenhower] chides Eden for grossly overstating Egypt’s importance. War is not acceptable just “to protect national or individual investors”. There can be no question of the “legal rights of sovereign nations being ruthlessly flouted”. Nasser was not threatening oil supplies or ships in the canal. Britain’s sabre-rattling was rallying support for him across the Middle East, which was far more destabilising. Eden, in other words, was behaving like an old imperialist out to prove his virility. As for Eden’s constant references to Hitler and appeasement, Eisenhower clearly felt they insulted his intelligence.

Israel made it through those far more difficult times just fine without unthinking US support. And on the flip side the US did not suffer any finacial or human costs.

Sounds like a win-win deal to me. Can we go back to it?



Friday, May 13, 2005

Classic GIR Posts

I have been back filling the old posts and would like to take the time to highlight a few that are worth reading, months after their first publication.

First is the Serving two Flags post. This post exposes how lax the US when it comes to obvious security threats if those threats are from Israel or Israeli sympathizers.

Second is the Neocons and Oil post. This post highlights the ignorance of the neocons when it comes to another policy matter - oil. (Their ignorance is this area, however, should not be confused with their apparent mastery of Washington power politics.)

And finally, the web traffic post where GIR I predicts that Steve Rosen and Keith Weissman were going to be featured prominately in the news. He made that prediction when many others thought the whole matter would die quietly.

Take some time and read these posts again.

Help Spread the Word

If you think the content on this site is useful, and would like it to get wider readership, please consider the following steps to help spread the word: 1) syndicating the site via the XML feed below, 2) adding a link to this site, 3) mentioning it on other blogs and discussion groups.

My goal in starting this blog is to start a national conversation on this important topic, and to inform the debate.



Update: 3/28/05 -- If you put the term "AIPAC" in your link, it will help push up the search engine rank for that term. Thanks.

Update: 3/29/05 -- Traffic is off from the spike after I posted on the AIPAC investigation last weekend, but it seems to be stabilizing at a new plateau of 500-600 visitors per day.

OC Register on Spy Scandal

I have always liked the Orange Country Register (Southern California Newspaper). They are the first, and currently only, major daily to call for bringing home the troops. They are conservative, but have a strong libertarian tilt.

Alan Bock is an OC Register columnist I also like.

Here is today's op-ed (you must sign up, so I have copied it below).

A spy story worth watching

It will be fascinating to see just how tangled a can of worms is opened up with the arrest of Larry Franklin, a Pentagon analyst specializing in Iran. Mr. Franklin, who spent much of his government career at the Defense Intelligence Agency, is accused of passing along classified documents to two employees of the American Israeli Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC).

It is unclear whether the U.S. government believes that these AIPAC employees subsequently passed the documents along to the government of Israel. The affidavit in support of his arrest warrant only claims "the information could be used to the injury of the United States or to the advantage of a foreign nation."

What is significant about the case is that Mr. Franklin worked in the Office of Special Plans, run by then-Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Douglas Feith, who reported to then-Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz. The OSP is said to have functioned as a "shadow" intelligence service on Iraq, and to have provided much of the information to the White House that seemed to justify the American invasion of Iraq. Some wags have called it "Feith-based intelligence."

Will the Franklin case unravel a larger pattern of sloppy handling of intelligence, perhaps related to the ongoing case of Valerie Plame, the CIA officer who was "outed" in some news stories during the controversy about Saddam possibly seeking uranium in Niger?

Stay tuned.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Feith Interview

Some of you may have read the Goldberg article in the New Yorker discussing his interview with Douglas Feith.

It is not a very hard hitting peice. But, this review of this article in Counterpunch by Gary Leupp does a good job of filling in the gaps. The article provides more background informatoin, and exposes Feith for the paranoid personality that he is.


In Feith's fevered, confused mind, war on Iraq---a Third World country that never attacked the U.S.---is the moral equivalent to the U.S.'s response to Pearl Harbor, to resistance to Nazism. It's an "answer to the Holocaust," in which for all I know he may genuinely feel that Iraqis were somehow deeply implicated. What should it matter to such a mind that 1600 Americans and up to 100,000 Iraqis have died in a war based on lies---lies that he himself as a main operative of the (still not investigated) "Office of Special Plans" systematically collected and foisted on the public to justify?


I also like:

Individual neocons themselves have conceded, with the smug casualness of those who think they're immune from judgment, that this was the case. Paul Wolfowitz told Vanity Fair in May 2003 that, "For bureaucratic reasons [the administration] settled on one issue, weapons of mass destruction," as the justification for war on Iraq, "because it was the one reason everyone could agree on."

It was all just a pretext. And sadly they do seem to be immune from judgement.

See the rest here

UK War Memo Gets Some Coverage

Would like to see more of this:

Eighty-nine Democratic members of the U.S. Congress last week sent President George W. Bush a letter asking for explanation of a secret British memo that said "intelligence and facts were being fixed" to support the Iraq war in mid-2002.

If you ever find yourself wondering if maybe, just maybe, the Bush administration made an honest mistake regarding WMD in Iraq, don't think about it anymore.

Link to complete article.

Voinovich on Bolton

We are heading into very strange territory. It looks like the Bolton nomination will be allowed to go to the floor without a recommendation from the committee.

Voinovich, who is allowing the floor vote, has issued a memo that basically says Bolton is unfit for the position. Here is the last paragraph:

Lastly, Mr. Chairman, I would like to say this. I have met with Mr. Bolton on two occasions, spent almost two hours with him. I like Mr. Bolton. I think he's a decent man. Our conversations have been candid and cordial. But, Mr. Chairman, I really don't believe he's the best man that we can send to the United Nations.

So he will vote to allow the nomination to go the floor, but he may then vote against the nomination.

Remember, if the Senate approves Bolton, he will be the UN representatve that will try to get approval for some sort of action in Iran. This will obviously be a difficult task, as the US credibility has been hurt by the failure to find WMD in Iraq.

FBI Investigation Questions

Some questions, but few answers, on the FBI probe in The Forward (link below).

Couple of interesting quotes:

According to Jacobs, a former State Department official with broad contacts in Washington's bureaucracy, the notion that American Jews and Pentagon neoconservatives conspired to push the United States into war against Iraq, and possibly also against Iran, is pervasive in Washington's intelligence community. "I strongly believe that this is what's behind the investigation," Jacobs said.

Well Mr. Jacobs, although you try to cloud the issue by changing the details here and there, there is a paper trail a mile long pointing to bias towards Israel by the neocons. You, on the other hand, provide exactly zero evidence to substantiate your conspiracy theory.

Here is a more interesting, and slightly more honest, quote:

"I think that all of us in the Jewish community in general mess up a lot when it comes to Israel advocacy," said one activist with a major Jewish group, speaking on condition of anonymity.

"No one ever gets caught in a criminal mess, because no one intends to do anything criminally," the official said, "but it is routine for us to say: This is our policy on a certain issue, but we must check what the Israelis think. We as a community do it all the time."

Fine. I have no doubt this understates the case, but at least he or she admits that AIPAC skirts the line on a regular basis.

Also, the intent of the person does not matter. If they share classified information or act on behalf of a foreign country they are voilating the law

I would also ask does anyone at AIPAC consider whether the policies they are advocating are good for the United States? Or do you they assume that what is good for Israel is good for the US?

Perhaps we should ask the wounded troops in Iraq about that. We can't, or course, ask the dead ones.

See the article here.



I figured out that I must maintain the original posting dates of the old entries to preserve existing links. Fortunately, it is fairly easy to back date new entries so I should be able to do that. If you have a link that is not working send me e-mail at girtips(remove)@yahoo.com and I will be sure to post those entries first.

Traffic is holding steady at ~300 per day.

I have not heard from GIR I, but he is free to contact me at the e-mail above. Since I have not heard from him, however, I have no additional insight as to why he deleted his blog. If I hear anything I will post it immediately. I am very curious about this, and I imagine almost everyone else is as well.

If you are in the DC area and have any information relevant to the topic of the blog please feel free to e-mail me as well. For example, information as simple as the latest AIPAC lobbying points would be of interest to those of us outside the beltway.

You should be able to keep your name confidential through various internet tools, however, even if you can't I assure you that I will not dislose your name unless under court order, and even then I would fight it. I note that I might have get protection from the "shield laws" that are out there, but I need to do a little more research.

I also note that am licensed to practice law (although I not active right now) so I will put up a good and long fight. In any event, the publicity from such an event would be tremendous.

Thanks everyone for your patience.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Mark Shields on the Neocons and Iraq

Someone pointed out that Mark Sheilds also made statements on Capital Gang last weekend that are of interest to this group. These statements are related to Douglas Feith and the neocons.

I think this the relevent quote:

No. I think -- the question -- I don't have the answer to it, but why did AIPAC have the need to classified information on proposed U.S. -- attacks on U.S. troops in Iraq, let alone why did they have any right to it? But I mean, that just -- that confuses me and confounds me.

This thing takes on a subtext in the war in Iraq. Let's be very frank about it. Franklin worked for Doug Feith. Doug Feith was a neocon. He worked for Paul Wolfowitz. The speculation has been that the -- one of the reasons the neocons wanted to go to war against Saddam was to -- Iraq -- was to remove Saddam Hussein, to make Iraq into a democracy, then Israel would be safer.

Yes, Mark, there is speculation that we went to war to "secure the realm."

Keep trying to get the message out. Every little bit helps.

Bolton Update

The only place covering the Bolton nomination in deatail is Laura Rozen's war and peice. Check it out.

The corruption that comes out of these circles is breathtaking to say the least.

If you really want to poke a stick in the eye of the neocons in general, and George Bush in particular, stopping the Bolton nomination would be a great way to do it. You should call your Senator, even if they are not on the committee, and let them know what you think.

UPDATE: A reader notes that the washington note has blow-by-blow coverage of the Bolton nomination. I agree that coverage is excellent.

Seems like the nomination is still in play. Start faxing now!

UPDATE 2: Chafee will back Bolton. Not looking good.

Former AIPAC Official Expects to be Indicted

The web site is down for now, but when it comes back you can find the article here.

Rosen expects that a trial could begin as early as January 2006 and already is preparing for a long defense, according to multiple sources.

Along with AIPAC’s former senior Iran analyst, Keith Weissman, and former Pentagon Iran analyst Larry Franklin, Rosen has been targeted by the FBI’s counterintelligence division for allegedly verbally passing classified information to Israel.

We can only hope that this story is accurate.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

The Moral Hazard

The US send billions in aid to Israel each year. The amount of this aid is an order of magnitude greater than the amount of aid given to any other country, on a per person basis. The "subsidy" is necessary, we are told, becuase Israel is under constant attack.

This may be ture, but we should be award that there is a moral hazzard associated with such aid in that, if the conflict ends, so does the money.

The result is predictable. When economics dictate that the conflict can't stop, steps will be taken to ensure that the conflict continues.

For example, during a peaceful protest of the wall in Israel the following took place:

During the clashes, undercover security forces mingled with the demonstrators and began to throw stones at the soldiers and police, demonstrators said. The undercover security forces had provoked the police and soldiers into opening fire with rubber bullets and tear gas. The demonstrators said they had not thrown stones at the soldiers and police.

That is, Israeli agents went into the Palestinian crowd and started throwing rocks at the Israeli police. You may need to read that two or three times.

The IDF admits this took place. They only contend that they were not the first people in the crowd to throw rocks. Yeah, right.

And if it happened this one time you can be sure it is normal procedure. It is what the Israeli agents are trained to do.

So, it is not correct to simply say that Israel is not committed to peace. They are, in fact, committed to prolonging the conflict. The US subsidy of the conflict virtually ensures this outcome.

While our policy has always been one sided, the Bush administration has taken it to a new level of unaccountability. He is owned lock, stock and barrel, by the neocons. We will see no efforts by Israel to come to peace until America exerts a more firm hand.

The incident is covered more thoroughly here.

Little Progess with Iran on Nuclear Program

Not much to add to this except that I have seen nothing to disprove Scott Ritter's prediction of US/Israeli action in Iran by June.


Bob Novak on AIPAC

Bob Novak is hard to peg sometimes, particularly on Iraq. He has connections into neocon bastions such as National Review, however, he often goes against the party line.

He also played a role in the Plame affair which was related to the Niger-Yellow-Cake story.

After reading a transcript of Capital Gang he does seem to have US interests in mind.


NOVAK: I think it had a lot to do with it. You know, the Israelis claim this -- this is AIPAC. Well, AIPAC is a -- is a function of the Israeli government. It's a lobbying function. And to have a mole inside the Pentagon giving them classified information -- but the point is that all the information out -- and this is put out by U.S. officials -- this information was going from AIPAC to the Israeli government. And they were -- Franklin was cooperating with them until one of the television networks broke -- broke the story and stopped the investigation.

You can't say it more straightforwardly than that.


The Gorilla Mystery and the FBI

Someone suggested that the potential FBI questioning of reporters and bloggers in relation to the Larry Franklin case could be the reason for the mysterious destruction of the Gorilla in the Room blog.

While this sounds somewhat plausable I don't think it is the reason. The FBI only wishes to question reporters and bloggers who may have received confidential information from Larry Franklin.

Somehow I don't think Larry Franklin was leaking secrets to GIR.

Then again, how did he know so much about the Franklin case? Hmmm...

Blair Administration Memo

Always remember that the invasion of Iraq had nothing to do with the war on terror or protecting the US from WMD. The Bush admin knew that Iraq posed little real threat.

For example, here is the 2002 secret memo from the Tony Blair administration that describes the legal problems with the invasion of Iraq.

Most important paragraphs:

The Foreign Secretary said he would discuss this with Colin Powell this week. It seemed clear that Bush had made up his mind to take military action, even if the timing was not yet decided. But the case was thin. Saddam was not threatening his neighbors, and his WMD capability was less than that of Libya, North Korea or Iran. We should work up a plan for an ultimatum to Saddam to allow back in the UN weapons inspectors. This would also help with the legal justification for the use of force.

The Attorney-General said that the desire for regime change was not a legal base for military action. There were three possible legal bases: self-defence, humanitarian intervention, or UNSC authorisation. The first and second could not be the base in this case. Relying on UNSCR 1205 of three years ago would be difficult. The situation might of course change.

If we knew their was no WMD then why did we invade? Why spend hundreds of billions of dollars and thousands of US lives invading a country that posed no threat to the US?

Monday, May 09, 2005

Why you should oppose John Bolton

It is bad enough that the neocons did not have the best interests of the United States in mind when pushing for the invasion of Iraq. Far worse, however, is their general incompetence in foreign affairs.

This can be seen in the countless miscalculations they made with regard to the Iraq war -- how difficult it would be and its likely outcome. These miscalculations continue to consume American money, lives and credibility.

In fact, Juan Cole explains here why our current troubles in Iraq virtually ensure that Iran will achieve nuclear capability. We have not secured the Middle East. In fact, it is more dangerous than ever.

If we want to prevent further incompetence, you should oppose John Bolton as US Ambassador to the UN.

If you are from Ohio call your Senator and tell him your position. If you have a Democratic Senator, call and request that they filibuster the nomination.

Cached Pages

As I noted blow, I am trying to rebuild this website.

If you know of any cached pages please put a link in the comments section.

Goal for Gorilla in the Room

It appears that the original "Gorilla" has deleted his blog. This is a tremendous loss. He was obviously very smart and well connected. He certainly predicted that Franklin would face charges long before such an outcome was certain.

I created this blog to prevent anyone else from using the name. My immediate goal is a) to reconstruct the old blog using cached google files, and b) continue to provide links that are on topic.

Unfortunately, I will not have anything close to the insight of the real Gorilla. If he can contact me I will happily give the blog back to him.

Why did he delete the blog? My guess is that his identity was discovered and the blog created problems for him at work.

If you have other suggestions or thoughts let me know.

Scorecard on John Bolton

If you are looking for a summary of John Bolton's offenses, many of which are related to the war in Iraq, you can find one here.

The Larry Franklin / AIPAC Case -- A Memo to the Media

I'm sure all of my regular readers have heard about Pentagon analyst Larry Franklin surrendering to the FBI today to face charges of illegal disclosure of classified information to AIPAC. This post is some background for members of the media, since I'm starting to get a decent amount of traffic from media-linked domains via Google, and want to clue you in to the questions you should be asking to get to the bottom of this story and not fall victim to AIPAC's attempts to "spin" this.

Here's what you should be aware of, and some questions you should be asking over the next few weeks:

1) The charges made public today are just the tip of the iceberg. Franklin was only charged with one count of improper disclosure of classified information, apparently related to potential dangers to U.S. forces in Iraq. A much larger issue relates to Iran, since it's already come out that Franklin also gave senior AIPAC officials Steve Rosen and Keith Weissman a draft presidential decision directive which would have (if approved) made regime change rather than negotiation official U.S. policy toward Iran.

2) The "big picture" in this case is much more about what intelligence types call an "agents of influence" operation rather than just espionage. The reason Franklin (and possibly whoever at a higher level sent him) wanted AIPAC to know about the draft directive was to coordinate pressure on Congress and the Bush Administration to back military strikes on Iran, a major policy goal of the Israeli government.

3) The draft presidential directive was written by Michael Rubin, a former mid-level Pentagon official in Doug Feith's office who is now at the American Enterprise Institute, a neoconservative think-tank. One of the big questions is: Did anyone "send" Franklin to leak this, or did he just do it on his own?

4) Franklin was cooperating with the FBI's investigation in mid-2004, then stopped, and retained the services of Washington superlawyer Plato Cacheris. The obvious question is who approached Franklin to get him to stop cooperating? And who is paying for his legal defense? Franklin has been working for a government salary his entire life, and he's not a rich man. Did pro-Israel interests or donors offer to finance his defense in order to secure his non-cooperation with the FBI?

5) Apart from the charges, what else does the FBI have on AIPAC? If they have wiretaps of years of conversations, they probably know a lot about what the pro-Israel lobby did to help support the push for war in Iraq. After all, the Office of Special Plans at the Pentagon was very heavily staffed with political appointees with very close personal ties to Israel. (This is the truth that dare not speak its name, but it's critical to understanding how the U.S. got snookered into invading Iraq.) AIPAC never had an overt policy of pushing for a U.S. invasion of Iraq, but anyone with friends on Capitol Hill knows that AIPAC's members were buttonholing congressmen in 2002 to secure their votes for the war resulution "unofficially." If the wiretrap transcripts become available in the trial, that should shed some light on this. AIPAC is going to try to spin this as being about two individuals, that's why Steve Rosen and Keith Weissman were fired in April. Don't buy it. Steve Rosen is one of the main people who built the lobbyibg powerhouse into what it is. Their Board of Directors dumped him in a last ditch attempt to avoid the storm that is coming, adopting the "couple of bad apples" defense for the organization.

6) Larry Franklin also was on the trip to Europe in December 2001 that included Harold Rhode and Michael Ledeen, the purpose of which was to meet with Manucher Ghorbanifar about the sales pitch for a war with Iran. This trip also just happens to have happened at the same time the Italian military intelligence service (SISMI) started circulating the bogus Niger uranium document which was instrumental in misleading the U.S. into war in Iraq. Clearly, that document came from somewhere. Who was trying to feed disinformation to us? Does Larry Franklin know?

I know that these questions lead in directions where the media generally doesn't go -- did we really invade Iraq at least in part as a result of the influence of the Israel lobby? Are we being pushed into a confrontation with Iran the same way? That's the real question raised by this case. AIPAC and its defenders are going to try to spin this investigation as motivated by antisemitism. I would urge you not to buy into that without carefully evaluating such charges yourself. They've been caught receiving classified information illegally so that they could lobby for war with Iran, and now they're trying to change the subject.

To the regular readers of my blog: Please forward this to news outlets if you have a chance, especially your local newspapers. Use the email button at the bottom right corner of this post, so that they get the full text with all the links.

John Bolton a Force for Darkness

John Bolton, a force for darkness.

Unfortunatly, the oddsmakers say he is likely to be confirmed.
What happened to gorilla in the room?

Please make comments.