April 23, 2004


Former NFL star Pat Tillman, who walked away from a $3.6 million contract to join the Army and fight the terrorists in Afghanistan, has been killed in combat:

April 23 (Bloomberg) -- Pat Tillman, the former National Football League safety who left the Arizona Cardinals to join the Army after the Sept. 11 terror attacks, was killed in action in Afghanistan, the NFL said.

Tillman, 27, told the Cardinals after returning from his honeymoon in May 2002 that he was joining the Army with his brother in the hopes of becoming a Ranger. Kevin Tillman gave up a minor league baseball career in the Cleveland Indians organization.

The brothers completed basic and advanced infantry training in October 2002 and graduated from the Ranger Indoctrination Program in December 2002. They joined the 75th Ranger Regiment in Fort Benning, Georgia.

U.S. Central Command declined immediate comment and didn't immediately return a telephone message from Bloomberg News seeking comment.

Posted by B. Preston at 11:58 AM | Comments (19) | TrackBack


Byron York asks, "What's this "brother" thing going on among the members of the Sept. 11 investigating commission?

"You had a very interesting exchange with Brother Lehman," said Democratic commissioner Jamie Gorelick to CIA Director George Tenet on April 14, referring to Republican Commissioner John Lehman.

"I'm going to sound like my brother Kerrey, which terrifies me somewhat," said Republican commissioner Jim Thompson on April 8, referring to Democratic Commissioner Bob Kerrey, a former senator from Nebraska.

"As Brother MacGaffin said, this bias...has plagued us for years," said former Deputy Secretary of Defense John Hamre last Dec. 8, testifying alongside former top CIA official John MacGaffin.

And this, last Sunday, from Gorelick, writing in the Washington Post: "I intend — with my brethren on the commission — to finish the job."

Critics better watch how they portray these people, because the commission also seems to be as paranoid as Scientologists. All this "brother" talk they use relates to the now counterproductive unified front they've been putting up. It started with the unanimous clamoring for Dr. Rice to join the group for a discussion about what their narcissistic witness, "honorary leader L. Richard Clark (D-CBS)," had taught them. The commission at that point began to morph into a cult of personality based on Clarke's beliefs and not facts. Then they launched a crusade against those Clarke identified as the enemy. Let's allow Jamie Gorelick to tell the story:

Gorelick said there was “no way we could have gotten the result from the White House” to allow National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice to testify in public and under oath and to get a joint session with President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney “if we hadn’t been so unified.” The commission had expressed unanimously that Rice should testify in public and that Bush should appear before the entire panel.

So she believes unity is a great thing because it makes people testify. OK fine, we'll see if she holds to that belief. It also didn't hurt that Condi Rice was politically blackmailed first.

9/11 commission executive director Philip Zelikow faxed a photograph to the White House counsel's office with a note saying that if the White House didn't allow national-security adviser Condoleezza Rice to testify in public before the commission, the photograph would"...be all over Washington in 24 hours,"

Rice appeared as demanded, but the more Constitutionally-protected President and Vice President decided to appear together in front of the now partisan attack squad. That's always a prudent move whenever attending a meeting with cultists anyhow, and the group was frustrated that they couldn't isolate the two. I'm glad. The last thing I want is Bush emerging glassy-eyed from questioning, going on and on about how Brother Kean and Sister Gorelick are enlightened truth-seekers.

So now fast-forward three weeks, and we see that all of a sudden Jamie Gorelick has self-delusional amnesia about the lesson in her sermon on unity. Meanwhile the commission has erected a unanimous "wall of protection" around their "little sister" Jamie Gorelick.

Republicans curiously leapt to Gorelick's defense, first warning us to stay out of their business (Chairman Kean), and then slandering as "baloney" (John Lehman) and "garbage" (Slade Gorton) good-faith criticism of a delegitimizing process in which a key witness is also a commissioner actively steering the direction of the panel's public hearings and final report.

A final "go to hell for all I'm concerned" attack came from Bob Kerrey.

Isn't it nice to see their thoughts are all coordinated and unanimous? This clearly illuminates that the commission has a double standard. Could they ever objectively question Jamie Gorelick, even if she did decide to leave the group and testify about her notorious wall memo? Lucky for them, it seems there is "no controlling legal authority" to compel her to do so. And since the Washington Post has become the cult newspaper, the mainstream media won't help.

The Democrats who put Jamie Gorelick on that committee so she could shmooze the brethen (There's a video clip of her kissing Tom Kean on the cheek that is more loving than any Heinz-Kerry kiss we've seen) nearly guaranteed she would never be called as a witness. That was one of the slickest political moves in recent history. Republicans completely underestimated the Committee's willingness to politicize the memory of 9/11 -- to honor of the legacy of William Jefferson Clinton.

UPDATE: Maybe I shouldn't make light of the cult similarities. Here's the ten warning signs of a potentially unsafe group/leader.

1. Absolute authoritarianism without meaningful accountability. [check]

2. No tolerance for questions or critical inquiry. [big check]

3. No meaningful financial disclosure regarding budget, expenses such as an independently audited financial statement. [found here]

4. Unreasonable fear about the outside world, such as impending catastrophe, evil conspiracies and persecutions. [check]

5. There is no legitimate reason to leave, former followers are always wrong in leaving, negative or even evil. [check]

6. Former members often relate the same stories of abuse and reflect a similar pattern of grievances. [N/A -- pending]

7. There are records, books, news articles, or television programs that document the abuses of the group/leader. [big check]

8. Followers feel they can never be "good enough". [true for most witnesses]

9. The group/leader is always right. [including the honorary leader, L. Richard Clark -- check]

10. The group/leader is the exclusive means of knowing "truth" or receiving validation, no other process of discovery is really acceptable or credible. [check]

I count 7 of 9 applying to the commission. There are no former members yet that can expose how abusive the internally imposed groupthink tactics were. But we do know that Chairman Thomas Kean is the architect of a commission that has distorted the concepts of unity, bipartisanship and transparency, and still managed to achieve 100% obedience from the group. He has also essentially admitted that blanketing the airwaves with his 9/11 commissioners was a white noise strategy designed to prevent critics from getting time on TV to discuss or criticize the group's activities.

Posted by Chris Regan at 11:49 AM | Comments (8) | TrackBack

April 22, 2004


Here's a great write-up from a letter published in the Weekly Intelligence Notes of the Association of Former Intelligence Officers:

...the writer asks why this troubled city is on the news every night. His answer: "Because it is one of the few places in all of Iraq where trouble exists."

He goes on to note that while Iraq has 25 million people and is the size of California, Falluja and surrounding towns total just 500,000 people. "Do the math: that's not a big percentage of Iraq. How many people were murdered last night in L.A.? Did it make headline news? Why not?"

According to the writer, the Coalition isn't alone in having trouble with Falluja. Saddam, he says "could not and did not control Falluja."

Instead, Saddam "bought off those he could, killed those he couldn't and played all leaders against one another. It was and is a 'difficult' town. Nothing new about that.

"What is new is that outside people have come in to stir up unrest. How many are there is classified, but let me tell you this: there are more people in the northeast Minneapolis gangs than there are causing havoc in Falluja. Surprised?"

In light of all this, why, he asks is Falluja getting such massive media coverage? He goes on to explain that "the major news outlets have camera crews permanently posted in Falluja."

As a result, if terrorists from outside Iraq are looking for air time to promote their cause, where would they go to terrorize, bomb, mutilate and destroy, knowing their atrocities will be broadcast around the world instantly? The answer: "Falluja."

Read the whole thing. Here's the main AFIO website for those interested in the organization. It's a subscription periodical but it's also blogged here as an "unverified email from a source I know and trust." Weird. At least we know this time it's not a bogus seminar e-mail from a fake Bush supporter.

Posted by Chris Regan at 02:51 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack


I couldn't help but think of Andrew Sullivan's constant bashing of conservative Christians after watching this disgusting display of "gay tolerance":

Masked members of a group called the "Gay Militia" stormed into a meeting of Christians discussing a bill that would criminalize certain opposition to homosexual behavior in Canada. . . .

"Right-wing bigots go away, Gay Militia is here to stay," the intruders chanted.

. . . The female Gay Militia members unfurled a banner that read: "Liberation: Queer Invasion."

. . . Jim Blake, a member of the Christian group, told the paper he was "dumbfounded at the fact that the Gay Militia would storm into a private meeting where we were praying and discussing Bill C-250, a bill that will affect our freedom as Christians to discuss certain beliefs."

The controversial bill, which passed the House of Commons last September, adds sexual orientation as a protected category in Canada's genocide and hate-crimes legislation, which carries a penalty of up to five years in prison.

It's about time anti-Christian gay bigots out themselves and face the same charges for hate-speech crimes as Christians in Canada. Strange to see a country like Canada go down this path though. I imagine we'll be seeing even more Canadian comedians moving to the U.S. to work. I hope Andrew Sullivan isn't, like Michael Moore, outsourcing and hosting his blog in Canada.

UPDATE: Here's a helpful hint for decoding Andrew Sullivan's feelings about conservative Christians when he's not simply attacking them outright. When he says things like, "theo-fascist dictator of Iran, Mohammad Khatami" he will specifically avoid calling him an Islamofascist. There's a reason for that. Sullivan also religiously uses the term "theocons" as well as "theocrats" for the hated Christian right-wingers:

...the Republican Party clearly has a dilemma on its hands. It's deeply split and he just made the split deeper. It wants to be taken seriously in the modern suburbs of America. It wants us to believe that it isn't controlled by theocrats...

...the intellectual basis on which their politics is built is a radically theocratic reinterpretation of the Constitution itself.

It's a radical theocratic theocon revolution, dontcha know?. I guess George Bush and John Ashcroft are our ayatollahs.

Sullivan isn't striving for accuracy with his language. He's trying to get his readers to associate what he has already grouped together in his own mind as the two most dangerous groups of people in the world -- evil murderous totalitarian Islamofascists and those Bible-believing evangelicals who don't like judges changing the Constitution for us.

Given the single issue that has driven Sullivan to the point of delusion, you now can see why a group called the "Gay Militia" might actually invade a Christian prayer meeting. While some go so far as to actually say Bush=Hitler and the religious right=theofascists, I don't expect Sulli to unless voters pass a Marriage Amendment. That will finally send him over the deep end on the far left.

MORE: A Christian student was silenced so he would not interfere with the homosexual Day of Silence, which in turn interfered with classes in recognition of the supposed "silence" imposed on sexual minorities. Confused? So am I. I think the kids should have also been forced to watch Queer Eye and other gay-themed shows to "enjoy the silence."

Posted by Chris Regan at 02:26 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack


It's unfortunate that President Bush has days when he just doesn't feel like being in front of people answering questions. It shows. But let's be realistic about it. I and others say, "Welcome to the club of real people Mr. President."

We all know Bill Clinton, Al Gore and John Kerry -- and he's no Clinton, Gore or Kerry. Thank God. Imagine 4 years of John Kerry lecturing us and arrogantly sounding off in press conferences. American's don't want a President that talks down to us anyhow. Bill Clinton was the rare animal that blended the slick charismatic good ol' country boy (Troy from The Apprentice) with the educated, lying, selfish, egotistical elitist (Omarosa Manigault-Stallworth). Many became spoiled with how uniquely "talented" Clinton was.

Anyhow, Bush was having one of his excellent up days yesterday. He was on his game, looking and sounding great. Here's a direct link to the video stream on C-SPAN:

Pres. Bush Address at the Newspaper Assn. of America's Annual Convention

Posted by Chris Regan at 02:02 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack


In Nov. 1971, two weeks before John Kerry's radical Vietnam Veterans Against the War group met in Kansas City and discussed/voted on a more violent tactic of assassinating U.S. Senators, Kerry talked to students about those elected representatives:

"Our democracy is a farce; it is not the best in the world."

"The soldier went to Vietnam to defend the country from aggressive communism in the tradition of World War II," Kerry reportedly said. "But the soldier learned he was not fighting communism. Communism was not a threat to our country and the war was not moral."

...The college newspaper also reported that Kerry was critical of the federal government's power.

"The government can kick people around," Kerry told students. "We have allowed public officials to exercise too much power."

Note that he considers public officials in the US a bigger threat than foreign leaders during a war. George Bush would not be surprised at all to hear that. Kerry's VVAW buddies definitely agreed, and some wanted to take direct action. After pointing out U.S. public officials as the real threat during wartime, he warns:

"There will be a confrontation, but it must be a non-violent effort," Kerry was quoted as saying. "If we are interested in overall change, we must demobilize society in the direction it is headed. We can't sit around and support this kind of society."

If he was at the K.C. meeting as it seems he was, it sounds like Kerry probably would have voted yes on aggressively confronting U.S. government officials, but no on actually assassinating them.

Posted by Chris Regan at 09:38 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

April 21, 2004


Yeah, I'll be back posting shortly myself too. I've been pursuing some leads on Americans (other than Scott Ritter) that may have been getting kickbacks from the UN Oil-for-FoodTerror program. Not much now, but I'm looking for big players that were nicely protected behind Jamie Gorelick's Wall of Confusion before the Patriot Act and the fall of Baghdad. I'm having to catch up on the scandal. Lots of reading and absorbing to do. Talking with an international money laundering expert on it as well. These things are messy and convoluted, and it's tough to nail people down for crimes.

There's a new blog called Friends of Saddam that's covering UNSCAM now. I think this scandal will blow up huge, but it needs a lot of public pressure to keep it expanding. It's unfortunate that we can't conduct a major document raid on UN headquarters, because that's exactly what we need to do. I hear that unaccountable totalitarian-style governments keep lots of records, so I wouldn't expect the UN archives to disappoint. I wish Rudy Giuliani was still the mayor of NYC. He might be talked into chaining the doors and putting up police tape. It needs to be replaced with something that really works anyhow.

As for Bush's biggest mistake after 9/11? ... That would be trusting that our UN Security Council "partners" weren't in bed with Saddam. Well, he probably knew they were in bed with Saddam -- he just couldn't conceive that Kofi, Sevan, Chirac and their UN friends were actually being turned out and working hard for the oil. I forget, does the UN concern itself with financial atrocities? They may want to consider doing so now that they've actually perfected the concept.

Posted by Chris Regan at 09:48 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack


Your humble blogger has been busy lately with non-blog projects. I'm hip deep in a documentary, am working on a software review for an obscure but useful animation gizmo called PatchMaker and am starting work on a set of bios and press material for a local jazz band, the James Stewart Trio. Between all that and leading normal life, I will blog again soon. I just don't know when.

Oh, and if you're anywhere near Maryland and like jazz, drop me a line and I'll let you know where the trio is playing. They're amazing--the guitarist is one of those guys you'd swear has a third hand, and the drummer and bassist are right there with him. Smooth stuff.

The documentary is about a certain telescope in space, and since it's due for its first showing next week I'll be out from under it in a few days. It'll be coming soon to a science museum or planeterium near you (seriously).

As for PatchMaker, well, I could bore you with the details but basically it's a motion tracker that works with a graphics app called AfterEffects (think Photoshop, but with a timeline and some serious special effects capabilities). Say you shoot video of a guy walking down the street but for some reason you don't like some word or logo on his shirt. If it does what it claims, PatchMaker will track that logo so that you can either blur it out or replace it with something better. Motion tracking is one of the more difficult things to pull off convincingly, so if PM is good it will become a must-have for animation geeks like me, but it's pretty new so nobody's heard of it (I hadn't until today, as a matter of fact). In my life outside the blog I do a ton of work with AfterEffects and have written a bit about it. Apparently the PatchMaker people saw one of my older articles and wanted me to work up a review of their gizmo. So there you have it.

I'm not on haitus, and Chris will probably be posting up a storm shortly, and I'll pop in when I can--so don't go anywhere.

Posted by B. Preston at 09:02 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

April 19, 2004


He ran for office as a "reformer with results" and a "compassionate conservative," but President George W. Bush's destiny is to become the most controversial chief executive in American history.

In life there are certain immutable facts. The Sun rises in the East and sets in the West. Gravity results from the mutual attraction of matter collected in bodies. Nations rise and fall, empires come and go, and Caesar collects his taxes. Along with these unchangable facts we have lived with another for the past century: The Arab nations have been impossible to get along with and impossible to ignore.

Whether they were ruled by the Ottomans or the British or allied to the Nazis or the Soviets, the Arabs have been the world's most consistent losers over the past 100 years. They have consistently sided with the world's bad actors, lined up on the wrong side of history, adhered to the most poisonous and vitriolic ideologies, and lost war after war defending it all, yet they have always survived not only to tell the tale but to fight like the devil another day. The more they lose, in personal freedoms, in economic and military might and in worldwide influence, the more Araby has tenaciously held to its beliefs, no matter how crazy it all might seem to outsiders.

Today, it would be difficult to find a more backward and self-destructive region of the world than the Arab states. They pick fights with tiny neighbors and lose in humiliating fashion, then turn and pick fights with superpowers and lose with a surprising swiftness. Yet it would be hard to find a place full of people more loyal to the very culture and traditions that keep them mired in tyranny and poverty, even while they sit on vast underground stores of incredible wealth.

And the things Araby is loyal to are puzzling, to say the least. I'm generalizing here, but Arabs tend to be loyal to strongmen who stamp out their natural human inclination toward liberty. Arabs tend to be loyal to any imam or mullah preaching hatred for the Jews and anger toward America, even though thousands of Arabs emigrate to America and the West every year searching for a better life. Arabs tend to be loyal to a culture that hasn't progressed since the days of Saladin, while the rest of the world has been to the moon, put telescopes into space, cured most diseases, invented supercomputers and hydroponics, sits on the cusp of a brave new world that will probably include human cloning and has already split the atom.

It's that last item--the atom--that is most worrisome to those of us who watch Araby with detached curiosity. What if a 12th Century ideology and its view of the value of human life gets its hands on the capability to wield a weapon based on the splitting of atomic nuclei? It would mean the end of an American or Western city, and in turn the end of Araby itself, because the victims of such an attack could not be expected to let the situation that spawned the attack left standing. One nuclear weapon detonated on American soil would invite the detonation of many nuclear weapons on Arab soil.

And that is where George W. Bush comes in, and why he will be so controversial in the future. He is trying to keep all of that from happening. He doesn't want to see one of our cities destroyed, and doesn't want to be forced to destroy anyone else's cities, either. So he is acting now to prevent such horrific destruction later, and gets almost nothing but abuse for his efforts.

Prior to 9-11, Mr. Bush campaigned as a moderate to conservative Republican and narrowly won the presidency. He started off governing as a moderate to conservative Republican, cutting taxes on the one hand while allowing liberals such as Sen. Ted Kennedy to write his education bill on the other. He allowed hundreds of officials appointed by his Democrat predecessor to remain in government, though his own supporters were calling for a purge of those same officials. He tried reaching across the aisles on a number of occassions in those final months of peace, and mostly met resistance. Washington can be a savage town, as the former Texas governor was learning.

Then came 9-11, an attack that killed 3,000 and exposed what may turn out to be America's fatal weakness. We let politics trump all else including our response to external and existential threats. We let the sound of our own voices outpace the usefulness and prudence of speaking. We let petty differences divide us even in the face of a wanton enemy who has already demonstrated the cravenness of his character. Our states are not united, but divided along mostly ideological lines.

President Bush did what he had to do after 9-11, and most of the government and people followed. He toppled the Taliban in Afghanistan and routed al Qaeda. He sent American troops into Africa, the Philippines and other places around the globe to advise local troops in tactics and techniques for hunting terrorists. He worked through whatever international bodies would allow it, all the while reserving the right to act alone if necessary. He and Congress worked to change the laws so that catching terrorists would be easier, and he and Congress reorganized the government so that it could better face the threat.

Then he turned his eyes toward Iraq, a country with a long history of aggression, terror sponsorship and pursuit of nuclear and other terrifying weapons. Remembering the destruction wrought by a few airplanes well-aimed by suicide pilots, he vowed to rein in the menace that was Saddam Hussein no matter what it took. His reasoning was simple and straightforward--Saddam had long been a menace and threat, he was a brute whose actions fostered terrorism and whose money paid for it, and he was the author of two wars against his neighbors. He had to go.

And so he went. America and a few of its friends toppled the tyrant. What replaces him is in some ways irrelevant as long as it isn't worse than Saddam, and how could it be? Iraq was filled with mass graves that offer mute testament to the bloody decades of Saddam's evil rule.

Yet George W. Bush is controversial, and will be for decades to come, for toppling and ultimately jailing the Butcher of Baghdad. He reacted to a threat that manifested itself and took it down, but he knew merely hitting the Taliban and al Qaeda directly was not enough. To end the cataclysmic threat of terrorism, a whole culture must undergo radical change. So Bush has, in rearranging the political situation in Iraq, set America on a course to change the whole Middle East, land of intractable problems. All in the name of keeping terrorists and the world's worst weapons as far apart as possible. For that, Mr. Bush is controversial. He is controversial because events have forced him to become a radical exporter of democracy abroad in the name of protecting it at home.

He is controversial because for many in the West it is just easier to attack the enemy within rather than contemplate the enemy without. They can pretend that Bush is a dictator in waiting as long as it helps them ignore the actual murderer at the door. They will build up false parallels between Bush and Hitler, while ignoring the very real Hitlers that Bush has driven from power. They will call him a threat to humanity, while ignoring the real threats he has helped contain.

To take one case in point, two Bush initiatives helped end three major nuclear threats. In 2002, the Bush administration undertook two major efforts to curb the spread of weapons of mass destruction. The first was the drive to come to a final reckoning with Saddam Hussein. The second was a floating alliance constructed to contain another dangerous weapons proliferator, North Korea's Kim Jong-Il. That second effort--the Proliferation Security Initiative--is a working blockade that interdicts ships suspected of trafficking in Kim's weapons or components, and last year it caught a shipment of components from North Korea bound for Libya, a long-time state terror sponsor with a robust WMD program. That bust, combined with the war to destroy Saddam's regime in Iraq, convinced Libya's strongman Muammar Gaddhafi that the end for regimes such as his was near. So he turned states evidence. Soon we learned of the AQ Khan nuclear weapons network and rolled it up, ending a decade-long clandestine nuclear smuggling ring that operated throughout the Middle East.

Without either initiative--the war or the PSI--the three threats--Saddam, Gaddhafi and the AQ Khan proliferation network--would not have been rolled up. No war, no reason for Gaddhafi to become nervous about his own demise. No PSI, no patrols to catch proliferators. Either one without the other would not have succeeded. What will it take to end the three known threats--al Qaeda, Iran and North Korea--that remain? Probably a combination of warfare, alliances, intelligence, threats and incentives--the PSI and the Coalition of the Willing, not either/or. The West will need all of the tools at its disposal to win this war. Unilaterally taking any tool off the table almost guarantees failure.

Yet it is George W. Bush, not the mullahs and madmen he is fighting, who is and will be controversial. Whether he wins or loses in November, and whether America ultimately wins or loses its war with terrorism, George W. Bush will remain for many in the West the ultimate target of hatred, derision and suspicion. The terrorists who started this war will either be forgotten or given power depending on the war's outcome. But George W. Bush's place is secure--he will be no less a debated figure than Napoleon Bonaparte, Adolf Hitler, Henry VIII, Queen Elizabeth or Abraham Lincoln. Opinion of Mr. Bush will not settle down to any kind of consensus in our lifetime. The consensus on Mr. Bush is that there will be no consensus, and likely will never be.

Posted by B. Preston at 10:14 PM | Comments (10) | TrackBack


Dodd apologized, sort of.

When will Kos? The Powell item he has posted is nothing more or less than racist hate speech. Following his "screw 'em" screed against Americans killed in Iraq, I'd say he hasn't learned a thing about decorous public speech. And I'd say that if he represents the Democrat mainstream, this country is in serious trouble.

Democrats, where's your outrage over this nonsense? You know good and well that if I posted something like that about a black politician, you'd be calling for my head. So where are you when one of your own does it?

I for one won't listen to a single thing any Democrat says about racial issues as long as filth like Kos remain in good standing with your party's rank and file.

(via Cold Fury)

Posted by B. Preston at 07:10 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

April 18, 2004


Someone is spinning furiously to keep Jamie Gorelick on the 9-11 Commission. That someone lacks the courage, or senses the danger, of actually attaching their name to the spin. This spinner is trying to discredit senior members of the Bush administration from behind a shield of anonymity.

The anonymous attack comes in a UPI report from Friday, a report that is is one of the more shocking displays of press bias of the year. Titled "Ascroft Strikes Back at 9-11 Critics," you can get the slant immediately: Ascroft is leading the evil empire as it "strikes back" against its plucky Democrat foes. Here comes the first screwball:

In a move that one GOP commissioner called "tactically brilliant," Justice Department officials surprised a public hearing of the commission by handing out copies of a newly declassified top secret memo written during the Clinton presidency by then-deputy attorney general and current commission member Jamie Gorelick. Ashcroft said the memo provided the "basic architecture" for a "debilitating" wall separating intelligence gathering from law enforcement, which has been roundly and widely criticized as an impediment to effective counter-terrorist strategy.

But a senior commission official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said that the memo related to only one particular case and was quickly superceded by a set of guidelines issued in 1995 by Attorney General Janet Reno.

Asked what relevance to the broad picture of policy the memo might have, the official replied "almost none."

Last time I checked, the 9-11 Commission is supposed to be transparently conducting the people's business in getting to the bottom of that terrible day, yet when the chips are down a "senior commission official" deems it necessary to offer anonymous background to a pliant reporter, and that background just happens to downplay the commission's most dramatic moment since Richard Clarke apologized for Osama bin Laden's crime--Attorney General John Ashcroft's release of a highly relevant memo written by commission member Jamie Gorelick in 1995, when she was Deputy Attorney General. If the anonymous source's take is true, it would effectively defend Gorelick from charges of conflict of interest and also make Attorney General John Ashcroft's characterization of that 1995 memo at best erroneous and at worst a lie--under oath. He would therefore be subject to charges of perjury.

And last time I checked, reporters aren't supposed to just take the spin from either side in an ongoing dispute at face value while at the same time treating everything the opposite side says as nothing more or less than spin. But the UPI's Shaun Waterman, identified not as an opinion journalist but as UPI's National and Homeland Security Editor, apparently doesn't subscribe to that standard of journalism. Witness:

Asked for his reaction to the surprise release of the document, which commission members had to ask for copies of after Ashcroft referred to it in his testimony, GOP commissioner and Reagan-era Navy Secretary John F. Lehman said, "We used to say in the Navy, 'Offense is the best defense,'" adding that he thought the manner of the memo's release was "tactically brilliant."

Indeed, although the memo is unlikely to persuade anyone not already convinced of Gorelick's alleged culpable negligence, it did succeed in focusing the attention of the news media on one of the messages about Sept. 11 that the administration has tried repeatedly to get across. Both Ashcroft, and national security adviser Condoleezza Rice in her testimony last week, pounded home the same basic idea: Structural and legal impediments to effective investigation and disruption of terrorist threats were much more significant than any failures of leadership or attention in the White House or Justice Department in allowing the Sept. 11 plot to succeed.

Ashcroft's spin offensive -- he was also the first of the commission's many witnesses to accompany his written testimony with a release trumpeting his and the president's achievements in the war on terror -- capped a weekend during which Democrats and other critics of the administration sought to suggest that the attorney general would face tough questioning about the disconnect between his public statement to a May 2001 congressional hearing that there was no greater priority for the Justice Department than fighting terrorism, and guidelines issued the following day by his office to help officials develop their budget requests for 2003, which concentrated on drugs and gun violence and did not mention terrorism at all.

Note the heavy editorializing in that passage--Lehman, identified as a Republican, offers a justification for Ashcroft's actions ("offense is the best defense"). The memo is "unlikely to persuade anyone not already convinced of Gorelick's alleged culpable negligence"--as though Shaun Waterman can reliably pronounce what effect that memo will have as the nation becomes aware of it or has any business doing so. Note the framing, in which Ashcroft and Rice are depicted as parrotting White House-blessed talking points, not clarifying or setting the record straight as might be the case. And note what the reporter calls Ashcroft's Tuesday memo disclosure--a "spin offensive." Waterman's story is worthy of the LA Times on a bad day.

Now, see how Waterman treats the anonymous "senior commission official":

The principles underlying the so-called wall between intelligence and law enforcement are simple: In the absence of a probable cause requirement and other constitutional safeguards in intelligence gathering inquiries, it was considered important that they be separated from criminal investigations to make sure that they were not run merely as a way to get around legal and constitutional restrictions on the latter.

"The origins and facts about the wall are not disputed," said the official, pointing out that both administrations had followed essentially the same policy on this matter prior to Sept. 11. The 1995 guidelines were "restated and clarified" by the new Bush administration in August 2001. In his testimony, Ashcroft argued that the August 2001 policy had been "a step in the direction of lowering the wall," but the official said the commission had concluded that any "modifications (of the policy in 2001) were modest."

The official said the commission had neither been advised of the Justice Department's declassification, nor known about the memo prior to its release. But he added that he was not surprised to learn that Gorelick had been involved in looking at such issues when she was in the Justice Department. "We knew that as deputy attorney general she was involved in all of the intelligence and national security issues," the official said.

The "senior commission official," who for some reason is motivated to cloak his or her identity behind anonymity while attacking the credibility of public officials, is treated as someone relaying official and factual history, but any reporter worth his salt should immediately ask himself why the source is keeping his or her name off the record. If their take on the 1995 Gorelick memo is gospel and can be verified, why not go on the record personally? What is this source hiding? It's not as though the commission has gagged its members--they show up on cable yell fests just about every night to give the nation a dose of their delphic wisdom. The commission emphatically states that it wants to be transparent--until someone asks uncomfortable questions. Then the commission circles the wagons, telling outsiders (that would be you and me, the people) to "go to hell" and stay out of the commission's business. And then one of its "senior officials" goes on anonymous background to tell us things about a very important memo that we cannot independently varify.

There is a dirty game afoot on this Gorelick memo, and UPI's Shaun Waterman is playing along. He is allowing this anonymous source--who is very likely either Jamie Gorelick herself (she did write the book on 'destruction of evidence') or a commission staffer loyal to her--to spin that memo as nothing more than a recapitulation of existing policy pertaining to a specific case (which if true, would be another worthy line of inquiry that Waterman fails to pursue), when the truth seems to be that it was a recreation and buttressing of existing policy dating back to the late 1970s, a time when the left held all levers of power in Washington and effectively gutted America's intel agencies. Waterman further casts the scene with white hats and black hats, identifies the black hats as "spinners" with agendas and his white hat Deep Throat as the arbiter of truth.

My conclusion thus far: Someone on the 9-11 Commission has something big to hide. That someone is Jamie Gorelick, and whatever she has to hide relates directly to that 1995 memo and its purpose. Either Gorelick or a loyal staffer or ally is working behind the scenes to control the damage from Ashcroft's timely release of that memo, and if that means discrediting him to the point of accusing him of perjury, so be it. This person needed an outlet to begin the counterattack, and UPI's Shaun Waterman proved cooperative.

All of this brings to mind a series of questions. If the Gorelick directive as outlined in that memo pertained only to one case as the anonymous voice says, what was that case? Given the anonymous nature of this person's comments, it's not at all unfair to surmise that there is a story here beneath the surface that the memo's exposure threatens to bring to light. Does it have anything to do with any of President Clinton's myriad scandals? Did Jamie Gorelick act in her capacity at the US Department of Justice to issue a directive that effectively shut down a line of inquiry that had the potential to get someone above her in serious trouble? Or does it have something to do with the April 1995 Oklahoma City bombing, in which Gorelick played a key role? According to page 135 of Stephen Jones' Others Unknown, she hand-picked the lead prosecutor in Timothy McVeigh's federal trial (for the record, the memo apparently came out on Saturday, March 4, 1995, a month before the OKC attack, so it probably doesn't relate directly to that case as such but its exposure might highlight some aspect of the case's pursuit that it made more difficult). A journalist worthy of the title would find his curiosity piqued, not satiated, when a "senior official" of the body investigating 9-11 chooses to spin him on condition of anonymity. A journalist worthy of the title might also wonder why the released version of the memo doesn't contain a date. Perhaps the March 1995 dating--which I've only seen on Free Republic (and no, "Bryan24" isn't yours truly)--is incorrect? If the memo actually came out after some major event, that would be big clue as to its true purpose.

On this story, I took the unusual step of contacting the reporter and asking him directly about this piece. I hadn't yet fully digested the story and all its possible ramifications, so my initial inquiry was limited to fewer points than this post contains. Waterman wrote back promptly that he was giving my criticisms serious attention. I'll update you here if and when he chooses to clarify anything.

UPDATE: Gorelick has written an op-ed for the Washington Post about the memo, directly rebutting Ashcroft's statements. So she's on the record now--just not under oath.

Which leaves us with the remaining question--who spun the UPI reporter, and why? I no longer think it was Gorelick, unless she did it in a fit of desperation before deciding to use the press to spin the country on offer her version of events more directly.

And why isn't she saying all the things in her op-ed under oath before the commission? Her testimony is highly relevant, as her own editorial demonstrates.

Posted by B. Preston at 08:44 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack


With the recent passing of a prominent "spiritual leader" and his "pediatrician" associate, I thought I might take a moment to reflect on some of their last words and actions:

Hamas leader to Muslims: Attack Americans the moment war starts

In a letter to Muslims, Yassin urged them to attack Western interests the moment the regime of President Saddam Hussein is struck.

Yassin termed any U.S. attack as a war by the Crusaders against Islam, Middle East Newsline reported. He said any method of attack was permitted.

"As they fight us, we have to fight them," Yassin, who lives in Gaza City, said in the letter.

"Muslims should threaten Western interests and strike them everywhere," Yassin said in the letter.

That Hamas "spiritual leader" was obliterated last month after Hamas started to play it's deadly games in Iraq with the help of Iran.

Israel killed Hamas founder Ahmed Yassin in a helicopter missile strike outside a Gaza City mosque today, prompting threats of unprecedented revenge by Palestinian militants against Israel and the United States. . . .

"Yassin is a man in a nation, and a nation in a man. And the retaliation of this nation will be of the size of this man," said Abdel Aziz Rantisi, a prominent Hamas leader in Gaza who himself escaped an Israeli assassination attempt last June.

For the first time, Hamas also threatened the United States, saying America's backing of Israel made the assassination possible. "All the Muslims of the world will be honored to join in on the retaliation for this crime," Hamas said in a statement.

How many "first times" does Hamas get to threaten us anyhow? And what was that name again -- Rantisi? Ah, thank you. And who did you say you were supporting Dr Rantisi?

Hamas leader Abdel Aziz Rantisi told a rally in Gaza he supports Sheikh Muqtada al-Sadr, the radical Shi'ite cleric who ordered his militia to attack coalition troops, Reuters reported.

"We are with you as you fight the enemies of Islam. You will achieve victory against U.S. terrorism," Rantisi proclaimed antagonistically adding, "I want to greet Sheikh Moqtada al-Sadr and tell him we are here with you. In Hamas we support you."

OK, that's all we needed to know -- you now have a hand in killing U.S. troops as Yassin promised. We're up for the challenge again. Enjoy those 70 white raisins because you're now a dead man talking.

An Israeli missile strike killed Hamas leader Abdel Aziz Rantisi as he rode in his car Saturday evening, hospital officials said. Rantisi's son Mohammed and a bodyguard were also killed in the attack.

The militant Hamas leader was one of Israel's top targets after it assassinated Hamas founder Sheik Ahmed Yassin in an airstrike last month.

Rantisi's car was hit with missiles Saturday evening on the road outside his home, leaving only the burned, destroyed vehicle.

. . .During the mourning period for Yassin, Rantisi was defiant about Israel's threats against him.

"We will all die one day. Nothing will change. If by Apache or by cardiac arrest, I prefer Apache," he said.

No problem. Our ally took care of that for you. Anything else you want to say now Hamas?

"It was Bush."

The verdict was near unanimous amid the tears and rage on Palestinian streets after Israel killed Hamas leader Abdel-Aziz al-Rantissi in an air strike Saturday that many Arabs felt President Bush must have approved.

Hey, I guess the Arab street is smarter than people give them credit for sometimes. Terrorists always figure out who the real badass is the hard way though.

On the streets of Gaza, there were many calls for Hamas to change its longstanding strategy of attacking only Israelis and to start killing Americans too.

A Hamas leader did not go that far, but allied the Palestinian cause with that of insurgents fighting the U.S. occupation of Iraq.

"Sharon and Bush will see more blood coming from their noses in Palestine and Iraq," said Mahmoud al-Zahar.

The Hamas military wing, Izz al-Deen al-Qassam, vowed "100 retaliations," but all against Israel rather than the United States.

Well, it seems Hamas leaders may be learning even faster than the punks on the street do. It's crazy how many people "misunderestimate" George W. Bush and chuckle at his cowboy image. The true joke of a tough guy, John Kerry, and his fans might still do that, but as for terrorists and the rest of the Hamas leadership...don't even think about it. The cost is too great.

Cut to 2003 State of the Union speech:

All told, more than 3,000 suspected terrorists have been arrested in many countries. Many others have met a different fate. Let's put it this way -- they are no longer a problem to the United States and our friends and allies. (Applause.)

Terrorists should really take us more seriously. The buck stops here boys. There's a reason quotes like that and, "Speak softly and carry a big stick" are deeply ingrained in our culture. Excluding Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter, U.S. Presidents don't play around with threats to our security. Bush is about to bring the big stick down one way or another on Syria and Iran. The terror puppetmasters will have to be be taken out soon.

Tehran is now spending some $70 million a month on its Iraq operations. The money pays off friendly Iraqi clerics, who provide indoctrination and religious legitimacy for a ready cadre of radical young Shi'a, and maintains an extensive network of safe-houses and bases for Iranian agents throughout the country.

The Al-Sharq al-Awsat interview was a blockbuster, but its claims - with the exception of the $70 million figure and the Hakim killing - are confirmed by other sources.

Iraq's political vacuum has also drawn other undesirable characters. Iraqis say both Hezbollah (the Iranian-backed, Lebanon-based Shi'ite militia) and Hamas (the Palestinian terrorist group) have begun to put down roots in post-Saddam Iraq through the establishment of recruitment bases and offices in urban centers like Nasariah, Basra and Safwan.

Syria, meanwhile, has played an important supporting role, expanding the capabilities of both groups through ongoing financial and political assistance. U.S. officials also suspect that, despite its public denials (and mounting pressure from Washington), Damascus is still permitting foreign fighters to enter Iraq via the Syrian-Iraqi border.

There is no way this can continue, and I think giving the go-ahead for the elimination of Yassin and Rantisi was clearly the first loud message Bush just sent to Syria and Iran (along with Arafat). Don't mess with Texas or Iraq.

UPDATE:Administration says it wants Hamas "put out of business"

Boucher said Hamas was a terrorist organization and Abdel Aziz Rantisi, who was killed in an Israeli helicopter strike on Saturday, was a leader of the group.

Rantisi had assumed the post less thn a month ago after a similar Israeli attack killed Sheik Ahmed Yassin, who founded Hamas with Rantisi.

"We especially consider groups that are actively blowing up people to be terrorist organizations,'' Boucher said. ``We are looking for people to put Hamas out of business.''

And: U.S. Marines engaged in 'silent war' near Syrian border.

Posted by Chris Regan at 03:51 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack


It appears that still not a single newswire or paper in the world has picked up the original NY Times report where Bob Kerrey responded to a critic of the 9/11 Commission's partisanship parade with, "He can go to hell for all I'm concerned." The Times buried it at the end of the piece of course, but at least it was fit to print. Shouldn't it have been picked up and highlighted by others though, right along with Tom Kean telling people to stay out of their business? Doesn't the combination make for greater insight into their arrogant mindset and the real story about a 9/11 commission credibility collapse and implosion? Yes, and yes.

But no, not even conservative outlets are reporting it -- and a measly four blogs have seen it as "fit to print" in proper context. Two more blogs covered the "go to hell" quote by itself. Come on people, let's get in their business. These commissioners are living in their own private 9/11.

UPDATE: Matt Drudge covered the quote tonight on his radio show. Yeah, that was me who called to thank him and see if my email prompted his coverage. He gave me credit for digging it up, though he's not impressed by blogs in general. Too bad he didn't link the blog and crash our server.

That most likely led to this mention in the Cincinnati Enquirer -- the first news sighting outside the Times after almost a week.

Posted by Chris Regan at 09:49 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack