Archive - August - 2008

Steve Bell cartoon - Bush holding hands with something evil saying, "I'll Always Stand By You RUMMY and DICK."
Steve Bell
British believe Bush more dangerous than Kim Jong-il
November 3 2006: US allies think Washington threat to world peace.

Republicans and Democrats
are Criminals Supporting Illegal Spying on U.S. Citizens
Rumsfeld Spies on Quakers and Grannies
By Matthew Rothschild - December 16, 2005

Dahbud Mensch and Balzac

Steve Bell cartoon on Cheney/Bush bombing Iran
Steve Bell

Republicans and Democrats
are Lying Hypocrites Who Support Selective Terrorism Against U.S. Military
Assault on the Liberty by James Ennes
U.S.S. Liberty Memorial
Remember the U.S.S. Liberty
34 U.S. Military Dead, 171 Wounded

Lavon Affair

The Lavon Affair refers to the scandal over a failed Israeli covert operation in Egypt known as Operation Susannah, in which Israeli military intelligence bombed Egyptian, American and British-owned targets in Egypt in the summer of 1954. It became known as the Lavon Affair after the Israeli defense minister Pinhas Lavon, who was forced to resign because of the incident, or euphemistically as the Unfortunate Affair. Israel admitted responsibility in 2005 when Israeli President Moshe Katzav honored the nine Egyptian Jewish agents who were involved.

It appears there was a pre-written speech ready, in advance,  for the 9/11 Attack


YouTube - BBC Ehud Barak 9/11 Video

Four 9/11 Moms Battle Bush
NY Observer by Gail Sheehy - from Dahbud Mensch's 2003 Archive

In mid-June, F.B.I. director Robert Mueller III and several senior agents in the bureau received a group of about 20 visitors in a briefing room of the J. Edgar Hoover Building in Washington, D.C. The director himself narrated a PowerPoint presentation that summarized the numbers of agents and leads and evidence he and his people had collected in the 18-month course of their ongoing investigation of Penttbom, the clever neologism the bureau had invented to reduce the sites of devastation on 9/11 to one word: Pent for Pentagon, Pen for Pennsylvania, tt for the Twin Towers and bom for the four planes that the government had been forewarned could be used as weapons—even bombs—but chose to ignore.

After the formal meeting, senior agents in the room faced a grilling by Kristen Breitweiser, a 9/11 widow whose cohorts are three other widowed moms from New Jersey.

"I don’t understand, with all the warnings about the possibilities of Al Qaeda using planes as weapons, and the Phoenix Memo from one of your own agents warning that Osama bin Laden was sending operatives to this country for flight-school training, why didn’t you check out flight schools before Sept. 11?"

"Do you know how many flight schools there are in the U.S.? Thousands," a senior agent protested. "We couldn’t have investigated them all and found these few guys."

"Wait, you just told me there were too many flight schools and that prohibited you from investigating them before 9/11," Kristen persisted. "How is it that a few hours after the attacks, the nation is brought to its knees, and miraculously F.B.I. agents showed up at Embry-Riddle flight school in Florida where some of the terrorists trained?"

"We got lucky," was the reply.

Kristen then asked the agent how the F.B.I. had known exactly which A.T.M. in Portland, Me., would yield a videotape of Mohammed Atta, the leader of the attacks. The agent got some facts confused, then changed his story. When Kristen wouldn’t be pacified by evasive answers, the senior agent parried, "What are you getting at?"

"I think you had open investigations before Sept. 11 on some of the people responsible for the terrorist attacks," she said.

"We did not," the agent said unequivocally.

A month later, on the morning of July 24, before the scathing Congressional report on intelligence failures was released, Kristen and the three other moms from New Jersey with whom she’d been in league sat impassively at a briefing by staff director Eleanor Hill: In fact, they learned, the F.B.I. had open investigations on 14 individuals who had contact with the hijackers while they were in the United States. The flush of pride in their own research passed quickly. This was just another confirmation that the federal government continued to obscure the facts about its handling of suspected terrorists leading up to the Sept. 11 attacks.

So afraid is the Bush administration of what could be revealed by inquiries into its failures to protect Americans from terrorist attack, it is unabashedly using Kremlin tactics to muzzle members of Congress and thwart the current federal commission investigating the failures of Sept. 11. But there is at least one force that the administration cannot scare off or shut up. They call themselves "Just Four Moms from New Jersey," or simply "the girls."

Kristen and the three other housewives who also lost their husbands in the attack on the World Trade Center started out knowing virtually nothing about how their government worked. For the last 20 months they have clipped and Googled, rallied and lobbied, charmed and intimidated top officials all the way to the White House. In the process, they have made themselves arguably the most effective force in dancing around the obstacle course by which the administration continues to block a transparent investigation of what went wrong with the country’s defenses on Sept. 11 and what we should be doing about it. They have no political clout, no money, no powerful husbands—no husbands at all since Sept. 11—and they are up against a White House, an Attorney General, a Defense Secretary, a National Security Advisor and an F.B.I. director who have worked out an ingenious bait-and-switch game to thwart their efforts and those of any investigative body.

The Mom Cell

The four moms—Kristen Breitweiser, Patty Casazza, Mindy Kleinberg and Lorie van Auken—use tactics more like those of a leaderless cell. They have learned how to deposit their assorted seven children with select grandmothers before dawn and rocket down the Garden State Parkway to Washington. They have become experts at changing out of pedal-pushers and into proper pantsuits while their S.U.V. is stopped in traffic, so they can hit the Capitol rotunda running. They have talked strategy with Senator John McCain and Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle. They once caught Congressman Porter Goss hiding behind his office door to avoid them. And they maintain an open line of communication with the White House.

But after the razzle-dazzle of their every trip to D.C., the four moms dissolve on the hot seats of Kristen’s S.U.V., balance take-out food containers on their laps and grow quiet. Each then retreats into a private chamber of longing for the men whose lifeless images they wear on tags around their necks. After their first big rally, Patty’s soft voice floated a wish that might have been in the minds of all four moms:

"O.K., we did the rally, now can our husbands come home?"

Last September, Kristen was singled out by the families of 9/11 to testify in the first televised public hearing before the Joint Intelligence Committee Inquiry (JICI) in Washington. She drew high praise from the leadership, made up of members from both the House and Senate. But the JICI, as the moms called it, was mandated to go out of business at the end of 2003, and their questions for the intelligence agencies were consistently blocked: The Justice Department has forbidden intelligence officials to be interviewed without "minders" among their bosses being present, a tactic clearly meant to intimidate witnesses. When the White House and the intelligence agencies held up the Congressional report month after month by demanding that much of it remain classified, the moms’ rallying cry became "Free the JICI!"

They believed the only hope for getting at the truth would be with an independent federal commission with a mandate to build on the findings of the Congressional inquiry and broaden it to include testimony from all the other relevant agencies. Their fight finally overcame the directive by Vice President Dick Cheney to Congressman Goss to "keep negotiating" and, in January 2003, the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States—known as the 9/11 Commission—met for the first time. It is not only for their peace of mind that the four moms continue to fight to reveal the truth, but because they firmly believe that, nearly two years after the attacks, the country is no safer now than it was on Sept. 11.

"O.K., there’s the House and the Senate—which one has the most members?"

Lorie laughed at herself. It was April 2002, seven months after she had lost her husband, Kenneth. "I must have slept through that civics class." Her friend Mindy couldn’t help her; Mindy hadn’t read The New York Times since she stopped commuting to Manhattan, where she’d worked as a C.P.A. until her husband, Alan, took over the family support. Both women’s husbands had worked as securities traders for Cantor Fitzgerald until they were incinerated in the World Trade Center.

Mindy and Lorie had thought themselves exempt from politics, by virtue of the constant emergency of motherhood. Before Sept. 11, Mindy could have been described as a stand-in for Samantha on Sex and the City. But these days she felt more like one of the Golden Girls. Lorie, who was 46 and beautiful when her husband, Kenneth van Auken, was murdered, has acquired a fierceness in her demeanor. The two mothers were driving home to East Brunswick after attending a support group for widows of 9/11. They had been fired up by a veteran survivor of a previous terrorist attack against Americans, Bob Monetti, president of Families of Pan Am 103/Lockerbie. "You can’t sit back and let the government treat you like shit," he had challenged them. That very night they called up Patty Casazza, another Cantor Fitzgerald widow, in Colt’s Neck. "We have to have a rally in Washington."

Patty, a sensitive woman who was struggling to find the right balance of prescriptions to fight off anxiety attacks, groaned, "Oh God, this is huge, and it’s going to be painful." Patty said she would only go along if Kristen was up for it.

Kristen Breitweiser was only 30 years old when her husband, Ron, a vice president at Fiduciary Trust, called her one morning to say he was fine, not to worry. He had seen a huge fireball out his window, but it wasn’t his building. She tuned into the Today show just in time to see the South Tower explode right where she knew he was sitting—on the 94th floor. For months thereafter, finding it impossible to sleep, Kristen went back to the nightly ritual of her married life: She took out her husband’s toothbrush and slowly, lovingly squeezed the toothpaste onto it. Then she would sit down on the toilet and wait for him to come home.

The Investigation

Kristen was somewhat better-informed than the others. The tall, blond former surfer girl had graduated from Seton Hall law school, practiced all of three days, hated it and elected to be a full-time mom. Her first line of defense against despair at the shattering of her life dreams was to revert to thinking like a lawyer.

Lorie was the network’s designated researcher, since she had in her basement what looked like a NASA command module; her husband had been an amateur designer. Kristen had told her to focus on the timeline: Who knew what, when did they know it, and what did they do about it?

Once Lorie began surfing the Web, she couldn’t stop. She found a video of President Bush’s reaction on the morning of Sept. 11. According to the official timeline provided by his press secretary, the President arrived at an elementary school in Sarasota, Fla., at 9 a.m. and was told in the hallway of the school that a plane had crashed into the World Trade Center. This was 14 minutes after the first attack. The President went into a private room and spoke by phone with his National Security Advisor, Condoleezza Rice, and glanced at a TV in the room. "That’s some bad pilot," the President said. Bush then proceeded to a classroom, where he drew up a little stool to listen to second graders read. At 9:04 a.m., his chief of staff, Andrew Card, whispered in his ear that a second plane had struck the towers. "We are under attack," Mr. Card informed the President.

"Bush’s sunny countenance went grim," said the White House account. "After Card’s whisper, Bush looked distracted and somber but continued to listen to the second graders read and soon was smiling again. He joked that they read so well, they must be sixth graders."

Lorie checked the Web site of the Federal Aviation Authority. The F.A.A. and the Secret Service, which had an open phone connection, both knew at 8:20 a.m. that two planes had been hijacked in the New York area and had their transponders turned off. How could they have thought it was an accident when the first plane slammed into the first tower 26 minutes later? How could the President have dismissed this as merely an accident by a "bad pilot"? And how, after he had been specifically told by his chief of staff that "We are under attack," could the Commander in Chief continue sitting with second graders and make a joke? Lorie ran the video over and over.

"I couldn’t stop watching the President sitting there, listening to second graders, while my husband was burning in a building," she said.

Mindy pieced together the actions of Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. He had been in his Washington office engaged in his "usual intelligence briefing." After being informed of the two attacks on the World Trade Center, he proceeded with his briefing until the third hijacked plane struck the Pentagon. Mindy relayed the information to Kristen:

"Can you believe this? Two planes hitting the Twin Towers in New York City did not rise to the level of Rumsfeld’s leaving his office and going to the war room to check out just what the hell went wrong." Mindy sounded scared. "This is my President. This is my Secretary of Defense. You mean to tell me Rumsfeld had to get up from his desk and look out his window at the burning Pentagon before he knew anything was wrong? How can that be?"

"It can’t be," said Kristen ominously. Their network being a continuous loop, Kristen immediately passed on the news to Lorie, who became even more agitated.

Lorie checked out the North American Aerospace Defense Command, whose specific mission includes a response to any form of an air attack on America. It was created to provide a defense of critical command-and-control targets. At 8:40 a.m. on 9/11, the F.A.A. notified NORAD that Flight No. 11 had been hijacked. Three minutes later, the F.A.A. notified NORAD that Flight No. 175 was also hijacked. By 9:02 a.m., both planes had crashed into the World Trade Center, but there had been no action by NORAD. Both agencies also knew there were two other hijacked planes in the air that had been violently diverted from their flight pattern. All other air traffic had been ordered grounded. NORAD operates out of Andrews Air Force Base, which is within sight of the Pentagon. Why didn’t NORAD scramble planes in time to intercept the two other hijacked jetliners headed for command-and-control centers in Washington? Lorie wanted to know. Where was the leadership?

"I can’t look at these timelines anymore," Lorie confessed to Kristen. "When you pull it apart, it just doesn’t reconcile with the official storyline." She hunched down in her husband’s swivel chair and began to tremble, thinking, There’s no way this could be. Somebody is not telling us the whole story.

The Commission

The 9/11 Commission wouldn’t have happened without the four moms. At the end of its first open hearing, held last spring at the U.S. Customs House close to the construction pit of Ground Zero, former Democratic Congressman Tim Roemer said as much and praised them and other activist 9/11 families.

"At a time when many Americans don’t even take the opportunity to cast a ballot, you folks went out and made the legislative system work," he said.

Jamie Gorelick, former Deputy Attorney General of the United States, said at the same hearing, "I’m enormously impressed that laypeople with no powers of subpoena, with no access to insider information of any sort, could put together a very powerful set of questions and set of facts that are a road map for this commission. It is really quite striking. Now, what’s your secret?"

Mindy, who had given a blistering testimony at that day’s hearing, tossed her long corkscrew curls and replied in a voice more Tallulah than termagant, "Eighteen months of doing nothing but grieving and connecting the dots."

Eleanor Hill, the universally respected staff director of the JICI investigation, shares the moms’ point of view.

"One of our biggest concerns is our finding that there were people in this country assisting these hijackers," she said later in an interview with this writer. "Since the F.B.I. was in fact investigating all these people as part of their counterterroism effort, and they knew some of them had ties to Al Qaeda, then how good was their investigation if they didn’t come across the hijackers?"

President Bush, who was notified in the President’s daily briefing on Aug. 6, 2001, that "a group of [Osama] bin Laden supporters was planning attacks in the United States with explosives," insisted after the Congressional report was made public: "My administration has transformed our government to pursue terrorists and prevent terrorist attacks."

Kristen, Mindy, Patty and Lorie are not impressed.

"We were told that, prior to 9/11, the F.B.I. was only responsible for going in after the fact to solve a crime and prepare a criminal case," Kristen said. "Here we are, 22 months after the fact, the F.B.I. has received some 500,000 leads, they have thousands of people in custody, they’re seeking the death penalty for one terrorist, [Zacarias] Moussaoui, but they still haven’t solved the crime and they don’t have any of the other people who supported the hijackers." Ms. Hill echoes their frustration. "Is this support network for Al Qaeda still in the United States? Are they still operating, planning the next attack?"

Civil Defense

The hopes of the four moms that the current 9/11 Commission could broaden the inquiry beyond the intelligence agencies are beginning to fade. As they see it, the administration is using a streamlined version of the tactics they successfully employed to stall and suppress much of the startling information in the JICI report. The gaping hole of 28 pages concerning the Saudi royal family’s financial support for the terrorists of 9/11 was only the tip of the 900-page iceberg.

"We can’t get any information about the Port Authority’s evacuation procedures or the response of the City of New York," complains Kristen. "We’re always told we can’t get answers or documents because the F.B.I. is holding them back as part of an ongoing investigation. But when Director Mueller invited us back for a follow-up meeting—on the very morning before that damning report was released—we were told the F.B.I. isn’t pursuing any investigations based on the information we are blocked from getting. The only thing they are looking at is the hijackers. And they’re all dead."

It’s more than a clever Catch-22. Members of the 9/11 Commission are being denied access even to some of the testimony given to the JICI—on which at least two of its members sat!

This is a stonewalling job of far greater importance than Watergate. This concerns the refusal of the country’s leadership to be held accountable for the failure to execute its most fundamental responsibility: to protect its citizens against foreign attack.

Critical information about two of the hijackers, Khalid al-Mihdhar and Nawaf al-Hazmi, lay dormant within the intelligence community for as long as 18 months, at the very time when plans for the Sept. 11 attacks were being hatched. The JICI confirmed that these same two hijackers had numerous contacts with a longtime F.B.I. counterterrorism informant in California. As the four moms pointed out a year ago, their names were in the San Diego phone book.

What’s more, the F.B.I.’s Minneapolis field office had in custody in August 2001 one Zacarias Moussaoui, a French national who had enrolled in flight training in Minnesota and who F.B.I. agents suspected was involved in a hijacking plot. But nobody at the F.B.I. apparently connected the Moussaoui investigation with intelligence information on the immediacy of the threat level in the spring and summer of 2001, or the illegal entry of al-Mihdhar and al-Hazmi into the United States.

How have these lapses been corrected 24 months later? The F.B.I. is seeking the death penalty for Mr. Moussaoui, and uses the need to protect their case against him as the rationale for refusing to share any of the information they have obtained from him. In fact, when Director Mueller tried to use the same excuse to duck out of testifying before the Joint Committee, the federal judge in the Moussaoui trial dismissed his argument, and he and his agents were compelled to testify.

"At some point, you have to do a cost-benefit analysis," says Kristen. "Which is more important—one fried terrorist, or the safety of the nation?" Patty was even more blunt in their second meeting with the F.B.I. brass. "I don’t give a rat’s ass about Moussaoui," she said. "Why don’t you throw him into Guant´┐Żnamo and squeeze him for all he’s worth, and get on with finding his cohorts?"

The four moms are demanding that the independent commission hold a completely transparent investigation, with open hearings and cross-examination. What it looks like they’ll get is an incomplete and sanitized report, if it’s released in time for the commission’s deadline next May. Or perhaps another fight over declassification of the most potent revelations, which will serve to hold up the report until after the 2004 Presidential election. Some believe that this is the administration’s end game.

Kristen sees the handwriting on the wall: "If we have an executive branch that holds sole discretion over what information is released to the public and what is hidden, the public will never get the full story of why there was an utter failure to protect them that day, and who should be held accountable."

This column ran on page 1 in the 8/25/2003 edition of The New York Observer - .

How Bush Became The New Saddam - from Macleans
Your enemy is not surrounding your country
your enemy is ruling your country

by Balz

Year after year, George W. Bush has gone to elaborate lengths, spent enormous sums of money, taken great risks to build and keep weapons of mass destruction. But why? The only possible explanation, the only possible use he could have for those weapons, is to dominate, intimidate, or attack.

With nuclear arms or a full arsenal of chemical and biological weapons, George W. Bush could resume his ambitions of conquest in the Middle East and create deadly havoc in that region. And this Congress and the America people must recognize another threat. Evidence from intelligence sources, secret communications, and statements by Scooter Libby and others facing indictment reveal that George W. Bush aids and protects terrorists, including Neocons Dick Cheney, Karl Rove, Scott McClellan, et. al. Secretly, and without fingerprints, he could create another 9/11, provide one of his hidden weapons to terrorists, or help them develop their own.

Before September the 11th, many in the world believed that George W. Bush could be contained. But chemical agents, lethal viruses and shadowy terrorist networks are not easily contained. Imagine those Neocon hijackers with other weapons and other plans -- this time armed by George W. Bush. It would take one vial, one canister, one crate slipped into this country to bring a day of horror like none we have ever known. We will do everything in our power to make sure that that day never comes. (Applause.)

Some have said we must not act until the threat is imminent. Since when have terrorists and tyrants announced their intentions, politely putting us on notice before they strike? If this threat is permitted to fully and suddenly emerge, all actions, all words, and all recriminations would come too late. Trusting in the sanity and restraint of George W. Bush is not a strategy, and it is not an option. (Applause.)

The dictator who is assembling the world's most dangerous weapons has already used them on whole villages (Shock, Awe, and MK77) -- leaving thousands of Iraqi citizens dead, blind, or disfigured. Iraqi refugees tell us how forced confessions are obtained -- by torturing children while their parents are made to watch. International human rights groups have catalogued other methods used in the torture chambers of Iraq: electric shock, burning with hot irons, dripping acid on the skin, mutilation with electric drills, cutting out tongues, and rape. If this is not evil, then evil has no meaning. (Applause.)

And tonight I have a message for the brave and oppressed people of the United States: Your enemy is not surrounding your country -- your enemy is ruling your country. (Applause.) And the day he and his regime are removed from power will be the day of your liberation. (Applause.)

Google should defy court order

Posted by Ed Foster

Has it struck anyone else that Google has been rather weak-kneed in its response to the court order requiring it to turn over YouTube viewing logs to Viacom? Google's entire business is built on our trust that the privacy of all that personal information they have about us will be protected. Yet in this situation, one in which legal experts have pointed out that the judge is actually ordering Google to violate existing privacy law to our detriment, the company appears to be rolling over with a feeble plea that Viacom allow them to "anonymize" the data they yield.

As this controversy raged the last few days, Google tried to assure us all that it "will ask Viacom to respect users' privacy and allow us to anonymize the logs before producing them under the court's order." And Viacom apparently is trying to be reassuring as well, saying that "we will not use any of this information to enforce rights against end users" and that they don't really want any personally identifiable information, even though that's what the court in its technical ignorance ordered Google to deliver.

Frankly, I'm not willing to buy the assurances of Google, Viacom, or the court that our privacy rights are going to be honored with any data that changes hands here. For one thing, any anonymizing that Google does will entail at least the possibility of it manipulating the evidence Viacom hopes to find. On the other hand, the whole idea of Viacom screening YouTube viewing records to determine what percentage of it was infringing content is laughable. Is Viacom going to study in detail each and every YouTube posting to make sure the use of a news broadcast clip or any other copyrighted material wasn't fair use in that context? I'm sure if Viacom counts any little snippet of "The Daily Show" posted on YouTube as infringing material, it will also count every snippet Jon Stewart uses from other media outlets' broadcasts as infringements that require reimbursement by Viacom. Right.

Simply put, the judge's order sets up a fishing expedition that will inevitably result in highly-disputable "evidence" from the point of view of both sides. And for this the judge has dismissed the very idea of users having privacy rights as "speculative" and ordered Google to violate the Video Privacy Protection Act? This puts Google in the hat-in-hand position of begging Viacom to respect its users' privacy, while Viacom has no reason not to push for all the data it can get. So even if Google and Viacom publicly agree on some kind of scrubbing mechanism for the database, I'm not sure we can trust either of them that any data turned over won't contain personally identifiable information.

In case anyone had any delusions, we certainly can't trust any of Viacom's promises about not using the information to go after end users. For instance, even if the court order does - as some reports have indicated -- have a secret ban on such use, how would end users accused of copyright infringement at some unknown future point prove that these records weren't used to make the case against them? After all, the RIAA sends out sweeping accusations of copyright infringement by end users all the time without detailing their sources of information. And in my next story we'll look at another outfit that's made a lucrative business out of threatening end users with very dubious copyright claims.

But this case is really all about Google and how much we can trust that company. Since the order does violate existing privacy laws, there's got to be plenty of ways Google can find to defy it. Hey, if you have enough money behind you, you can eventually get the courts or Congress or the Attorney General or somebody to give legal benediction to what you did. Google has enough money.

If this court order is complied with in any non-transparent way, the victims are you and me. Even if they have to risk losing this particular case because of it, Google must realize that there's a lot more at stake here than one measly multibillion-dollar lawsuit. Not one bit of YouTube data should be given to Viacom unless we can all clearly see it contains no personally-identifiable information. The time has come for Google to show us whether it really can be trusted with all the deeply personal stuff it collects and saves about us all.


Viacom, Inc. 1515 Broadway, New York, NY 10036, Ph: 212-258-6000, fax: 212-285-6100

Viacom owns CBS, Infinity broadcasting, Simon & Schuster, Blockbuster, Paramount Pictures, Paramount Home Entertainment, MTV, MTV2, mtvU, Nickelodeon, BET, Nick at Nite, TV Land, NOGGIN, VH1, Spike TV, CMT, Comedy Central, Showtime, The Movie Channel, Flix, Sundance Channel.

Viacom lied to San Francisco residents when they promised ten dollar a month cable television and then 'upped the prices'; making Viacom one of the largest corporate media pigs in the United States.

Viacom has forced Google to reveal all of your YouTube viewing habits; which we believe will be used against you, similar to the way the Bush government lied about the Iraq War in order to make profits for their rich OIL family and friends.

We are planning to cancel all Viacom related channels Monday and perhaps all television service, because it is a known fact Corporate Media lies to the American people (Ask Judith Miller!); when, in reality, they should be protecting the American people by publishing or presenting the truth.

If there is something you do not like about Viacom television programming, you may file a written complaint and mail it to:

Federal Communications Commission, Consumer & Governmental Affairs Bureau, Consumer Inquiries and Complaints Division, 445 12th St., SW, Washington, DC 20554

How America made a mess of Afghanistan

by Shashi Tharoor

In the fall of 2002, the Pakistani journalist Ahmed Rashid could be seen and heard at every significant podium and office in New York and Washington. Ostensibly in the US to promote a book, Rashid spent most of his time making an impassioned plea to every influential American who would listen: don't take your eye off the ball in Afghanistan. It was clear by then that the Bush administration was committed to building up its forces for an impending invasion of Iraq. The attitude to Afghanistan, in the hubristic arrogance of the Rumsfeldians, was "been there, done that". Kabul had fallen; Karzai had been installed as president; the war, as far as Washington was concerned, was over. Nobody paid Ahmed Rashid's arguments the slightest attention.

The irony was that almost everybody who had an opinion to express on Afghanistan, especially in the subcontinent, knew that the greatest danger from Islamic radicalism emanated from there and not from Saddam Hussein's secular autocracy in Iraq. The tragedy of 9/11, orchestrated from Osama bin Laden's command centre in the Taliban-ruled state, made it obvious that the most important strategic objective for the US had to be to ensure that Afghanistan never again became the kind of state that could provide a base for a future bin Laden. But the neo-conservatives around president Bush had long been obsessed with the "unfinished business" of Iraq, and many went around quite deliberately misleading the American public into thinking that Saddam was somehow behind 9/11 and in league with al-Qaida. Iraq's attractive oil reserves, its educated middle class and the potential for the country to become, under American rule, an alternative pro-American "model" for the Arab world, all weighed heavily in Washington's calculations. To the neo-cons, Afghanistan, a hard scrabble land of caves, deserts, poorly-developed infrastructure and warring tribals, looked like yesterday's problem.

Well, yesterday's problem has become tomorrow's threat, and many of us feel, like Ahmed Rashid, that America has only itself to blame. Distracted by its misadventure in Iraq, the US neglected Afghanistan for too long, failing to convert its stunning military success in 2001 into a larger developmental and political triumph. Osama has still not been captured, and he periodically releases mocking messages to the world to taunt his would-be captors and inspire his revived followers. Al-Qaida stays secure in its mountain redoubts, and the Taliban, which Washington thought had been scattered to the winds in 2001, is enjoying a resurgence, harassing the belatedly-augmented NATO forces and regularly killing Afghan civilians and government security personnel. Some reports suggest the insurgents now include some 2,000 local and foreign fighters, trained in the mountains and armed to the teeth. Last month (June 2008), for the first time, more American soldiers were killed in Afghanistan than in Iraq. [Continue Reading At]:

Welcome Back TAP

Yesterday, July 9, 2008, the Bush Administration, Republicans, and Democraps gutted/stomped on the 4th Ammendment. We believe this act was criminal and reeks of TREASON.

NEOCONS, George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Condi Rice, John Ashcroft, Alberto Gonzales, Republicans and Democraps, etc. have destroyed the American Dream.

One Week Government 'YOUR RIGHTS' Fire Sale starting 0000Z July 12th.

Manipulation Accomplished

"If I catch anyone who leaks in my government, I would like to string them up by the thumbs - the same way we do with prisoners in Guantanamo," - George W. Bush -- "Impeachment is off the's a is a waste of time," - Nancy Pelosi

DNS Poisoning

Armed with knowledge of DNS transaction IDs, an attacker could reroute requests for certain Web sites to Web sites of his or her choosing or hijack e-mail.

By Thomas Claburn

US-CERT, the government's cyber security arm, on Tuesday warned of a serious weakness in the Domain Name System (DNS) protocol that could be used to send Internet users to malicious sites.

In an unusual move that reflects the seriousness of the security flaw, news of the vulnerability was delayed for months to allow software vendors like Microsoft (NSDQ: MSFT), Cisco (NSDQ: CSCO), and Sun -- more than 80 are affected -- to release coordinated fixes.

As part of its monthly patch schedule, Microsoft on Tuesday fixed the DNS flaw in Windows with patch MS08-037, "Vulnerabilities in DNS Could Allow Spoofing."

Amol Sarwate, manager of vulnerability labs at Qualys, considers the vulnerability to be significant. "I wouldn't characterize it as an end of the world scenario but it is a very important vulnerability," he said.

While details about the vulnerability and how to exploit it have been deliberately withheld, Sarwate said that the issue appears to be that the transaction ID generated in a DNS request -- querying a DNS server to link an IP address with an Internet domain name -- is insufficiently random to avoid being guessed by a knowledgeable attacker.

Armed with knowledge of DNS transaction IDs, an attacker could reroute requests for certain Web sites to Web sites of his or her choosing or hijack e-mail. The technique is called DNS poisoning. [Continue Reading At]:

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