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Born at the Crest of the Empire

Saturday, July 30, 2005

Sequencing N. Korea

Check this cryptic description in Reuters out of what we want to do to N. Korea.



It turns on what the negotiators call sequencing, the chicken-and-egg debate on which steps should come first.

North Korea wants aid, security gains and diplomatic recognition and an end to U.S. hostility before starting to take apart its nuclear programs. The United States wants it the other way round.

Washington also demands full and verifiable destruction of Pyongyang's weapons programs, which intelligence sources say have produced enough enriched plutonium for up to nine nuclear bombs, before any aid or guarantees materialize.


I heard this expressed more clearly on NPR. Basically, the N. Koreans want us to guarantee that we won't attack the, for whatever that's worth before they get rid of their nukes. Our position is that they should get rid of their nukes and then we'll promise not to attack them.

Think about that for a minute. Didn't we learn anything from Indiana Jones, "Give me the idol and I'll give you the whip."

It's almost like we don't want to come to an agreement with N. Korea.

Quick history. In the run up to the Iraq war, Jimmy Carter was given the Nobel Peace Prize for the agreement reached for monitoring N. Korean nuclear facilities under Clinton. It wasn't by any means foolproof, but the video cameras on the waste pools made removal of large amounts of spent fuel rods nearly impossible. Basically, the N. Koreans would be able to continue research elsewhere, but would not be able to use the spent fuel rods to create bomb fuel.

Now, the politics of the Carter Nobel Prize were seen to be a slap in the face of those in the US who wanted to go to war in Iraq, after all, even in a country with a provable WMD program, a solution could be reached without war. The pro war hawks were pissed by all this.

So, a few weeks after the Nobel award, at a cocktail party in S.Korea, a "drunken" US diplomat let slip some information regarding the N Korean program which caused a rift in the current monitoring regime. Within a few months, the whole monitoring agreement fell apart, the cameras were disabled, and we lost all access to what the North Korean's were doing with their nuke program.

As we now know, they then promptly began processing those now unmonitored fuel rods and rather quickly had a nuclear bomb.

And who was the drunken diplomat who messed up the whole arrangement, well, it has been suggested that he was none other than our next, recess appointment ambassador to the UN John Bolton.

And now you know the rest of the story.

Page two.

More on Recruiting

Just another quick blurb on recruiting. These are tips from a handbook to recruiters. A little slimy perhaps, but nothing too weird here. Until you get to the second to last one. I'm not sure exactly why, but it seems pretty creepy to dress up and pretend you care about black history just to get black recruits. Am I wrong?

  • “Be so helpful and so much a part of the school scene that you are in constant demand.”
  • “Cultivate coaches, librarians, administrative staff and teachers.”
  • “Know your student influencers. Students such as class officers, newspaper and yearbook editors, and athletes can help build interest in the Army among the student body.”
  • “Distribute desk calendars to your assigned schools.”
  • “Attend athletic events at the HS. Make sure you wear your uniform.”
  • “Get involved with the parent-teacher association.”
  • “Coordinate with school officials to eat lunch in the school cafeteria several times each month.”
  • “Deliver donuts and coffee for the faculty once a month.”
  • “Coordinate with the homecoming committee to get involved with the parade.”
  • “Get involved with the local Boy Scouts. ... Many scouts are HS students and potential enlistees or student influencers.”
  • “Order personal presentation items (pens, bags, mousepads, mugs) as needed monthly for special events.”
  • “Attend as many school holiday functions or assemblies as possible.”
  • “Offer to be a timekeeper at football games.”
  • “Martin Luther King, Jr’s birthday is in January. Wear your dress blues and participate in school events commemorating this holiday. ... February … Black History Month. Participate in events as available.”
  • “Contact the HS athletic director and arrange for an exhibition basketball game between the faculty and Army recruiters.”

A red under every bed

Max Boot goes red hunting in a Dallas Morning News oped.

Man, look at how nuts the neocons are going. The Chinese have indeed raised their military spending over the last few years, it now stands at roughly 10-15% of US defense spending. And don't give me that "but that's only their official spending, they hide stuff in other budget items," cause we do it, too. Almost all nuclear spending, maintainance and research on our huge nuclear cache is budgeted under dept of Energy, and look at all the para-combat activities taken on by our myriad intelligence services.

Okay, point made, but just read this crazy s**t that the neocons are laying down, and tell me it doesn't sound like George C. Scott in Dr. Strangelove.


In 1998, an official People's Liberation Army publishing house brought out a treatise called Unrestricted Warfare, written by two senior army colonels, Qiao Liang and Wang Xiangsui. This book, which is available in English translation, is well known to the U.S. national-security establishment but remains practically unheard of among the public.

Unrestricted Warfare recognizes that it is practically impossible to challenge the U.S. on its own terms. No one else can afford to build mega-expensive weapons systems such as the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, which will cost more than $200 billion to develop. "The way to extricate oneself from this predicament," the authors write, "is to develop a different approach."

Their different approaches include financial warfare (subverting banking systems and stock markets), drug warfare (attacking the fabric of society by flooding it with illicit drugs), psychological and media warfare (manipulating perceptions to break down enemy will), international-law warfare (blocking enemy actions using multinational organizations), resource warfare (seizing control of vital natural resources), even ecological warfare (creating man-made earthquakes or other natural disasters). .......

There are signs of this strategy being implemented. The anti-Japanese riots that swept China in April? That's psychological warfare against an Asian rival. The stage-managed protests in 1999, after the United States accidentally bombed the Chinese Embassy in Belgrade, Yugoslavia, fall into the same category.

The bid by China's state-owned CNOOC Ltd. to acquire Unocal? Resource warfare. Attempts by China's spy apparatus to infiltrate U.S. high-tech firms and defense contractors? Technological warfare. China siding against the United States in the U.N. Security Council over the invasion of Iraq? International-law warfare. Gen. Zhu's threat to nuke the United States? Media warfare.

Once you know what to look for, the pieces fall into place with disturbing ease.


For all those people who like Westerns.

For all those people who like Westerns with the good guys and bad guys engaged in combat in a lawless environment, I encourage you to take a trip to Nuevo Laredo. It has truly become that old west town of lawless disorder where the criminals roam the streets, sheriffs are shot, and the townspeople are scared. If you think you're Matt Dillon, or even a member of the posse, please apply at the Nuevo Laredo federales post. I'm sure they'd be glad to have you.

Let's see if you want to dress up like a cowboy after that.


The United States is closing temporarily its consulate in this lawless Mexican border city after rival drug gangs clashed with bazookas, hand grenades and heavy machine-gun fire. ......

The latest battle erupted late on Thursday when about 30 masked gunmen opened fire on a suspected drug-cartel safe house in Nuevo Laredo, across the Rio Grande from Laredo, Texas, blasting off its doors and strafing the facade with bullets.

Police and witnesses said six men trapped in the house returned fire in a gun battle that raged for 20 minutes, littering the street with spent cartridges and sending neighbors diving for cover, although no one was killed.

"I grabbed my daughter tight ... and we hid under the bed until the explosions stopped," said one neighbor, who identified himself as Carlos. ......

Dozens of people, including 18 police officers, have been murdered here this year in a war between well-armed gangs from western Sinaloa state and the local Gulf cartel.

But who will torture the children now?

The Russians and Chinese strike back. They recognize the problems of us living in their backyard, and have pushed back. It's actually a pretty impressive feat in that it appears they started this coordinated pushback only a couple of months ago.

But the critical question is how will this affect the US's ability to conduct effective "renditions?" After all, Uzbekistan has received over one hundred flights from the rendition planes.

With the midieval boil them alive, torture their children in front of them Uzbeks no longer offering their services in the war on terror, the US will only be left with the more traditional electric shocks to the groin, hang them by their hands and beat them Syrains, Egyptians, and Saudis. I do hope that's still enough to end terrorism.


Uzbekistan has told the United States to quit a military base that has served as a hub for missions to Afghanistan since shortly after the September 11, 2001, attacks, a Pentagon spokesman said on Saturday......

Uzbekistan will give the United States 180 days to move aircraft, personnel and equipment, the newspaper said. It said the United States expects Uzbekistan to follow through on the eviction notice........

Just last Monday, however, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld responded to a question about maintaining the base in Uzbekistan by saying "We've had a good relationship. It's a good relationship now."

He was speaking during a visit to Kyrgyzstan, whose defense minister said the United States would not need a military presence in that country once stability had returned to Afghanistan.

Friday, July 29, 2005

Bush v CIA

Here we go again. See the last post to get the real context, but the key point out of this is that with Presidential freedom medal winner Tenet out of the way, it seems that the neocon propaganda may not go unchallenged. (How far off the path have we gone that I am rooting for the CIA to be the one's to tell the truth?)

What with the White house passing off their Iraq lies onto the CIA, the attempt to pin the original torture allegations on the CIA rather than Defense, the turf war over spy budgets, the de facto demotion of the head of the CIA to operate under Negroponte's two man shop, the whole plame thing, and now the Italian magistrate issuing arrest warrants for CIA operatives off information that most certainly came from someone in the know(remember that the Niger forgeries were passed through Italian intelligence,) I would be guessing that Porter Goss will not be getting that invitation to brief the president anytime soon.

I wonder what Bush the elder, a former CIA chief who used the CIA with great frequency would make of this spat. It's so hard when your child falls in with the wrong crowd and all you can do is wait and hope in the end he does the right thing.

Anyhow, the state dept. comes out with a story today demanding that Ahmadinejad prove a negative, and the CIA comes out hours later with the best proof of that negative they have.

I can't believe I'm rooting for the CIA.


Ahmadinejad not man in Tehran embassy photo - CIA

Fri Jul 29, 5:44 PM ET

A CIA analysis has concluded a hostage-taker pictured in an old photo at the U.S. Embassy in Tehran is not Iranian President-elect Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, a U.S. official said on Friday.

The analysis compared photos of Ahmadinejad and an embassy hostage-taker whom former U.S. hostages identified as the newly elected Iranian leader. It found discrepancies serious enough to suggest the two are different men.

"If there's a case to made that Ahmadinejad was one of the hostage-takers, it will not be made on the basis of those photographs," said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of sensitive nature of the subject matter.

Turning up the pressure on Iran.

This is all about pressure. I have found this claim highly dubious, and the early examinations of videos of the hostage taker this guy is supposed to be yielded a pretty fair consensus that "no it's not him." I don't know the bios of all six of the hostages, and I don't want to minimize their experience, but I do remember that two of the original three sources for this story had intelligence ties or background. The guy who went on hardball was ONI for god's sakes.

I dunno, I dunno, but I am greeting this story with some serious skepticism. I mean if the Bush propaganda arm could turn John Kerry into a coward and deserter, and John McCain into the same(and that one still burns me up,) how hard is it gonna be to turn an Iranian into a terror threat.

The linkage goes like this. Ahmadinejad was a hostage taker. Ahmadinejad was the ringleader. Ahmadinejad is therefore a terrorist leader. Ahmadinejad is responsible for the next terror attack. We must attack Iran to stop the great danger of Ahmadinejad.

Wouldn't it have just been easier to catch Bin Laden, if they'd really wanted to, back when they had him trapped.

Watch for the sources of the quotes on this. I would expect Hadley to be out front with some other "top ranking officials," Cheney being foremost to gin this up. On the plus side, I'll bet that "top ranking official" rove and Libby are pretty quite about this.

From AP

The State Department on Friday called on Iran to respond clearly to allegations that its incoming president was a leader of the student movement that orchestrated the takeover of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran in 1979.

"It is the responsibility of the Iranian government to respond to these charges frankly and clearly," said spokesman Sean McCormack.

The White House said Thursday that Iran's incoming president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, was a leader of the student movement during a fundamentalist revolution that overthrew the pro-U.S. Shah and held 52 Americans hostage for 444 days.

Six former hostages have identified the president-elect as one of their captors.

McCormack said those former hostages "have talked very specifically about what they remember as his participation in interrogations."

"I don't think that we have heard definitively from them on that score," he said of Iran's leaders.

An ongoing U.S. investigation has not produced "anything that would contradict what these former hostages have said," McCormack said.

Other ex-hostages have said they have no basis for making such accusations.

McCormack declined to say whether the investigation had corroborated the allegations involving Iran's incoming president.

"I would say that we remain very concerned over charges regarding President-elect Ahmadinejad," the spokesman said. "The taking of the American embassy is something many Americans remember with both outrage and disgust."

Just unbelievable

I'm clipping this in its entirety from Laura Rozen's War and Peace Blog.

It's just an unbelievable statement of the state of affairs in Iraq.

Anonymous US embassy staffer in Baghdad recognized for his/her dedication, Al Kamen reports:

The State Department this week announced the winner of its annual Foreign Service National Employee of the Year award for 2005. And the winner is -- drum roll -- someone "from American Embassy Baghdad," the announcement said, "and for security reasons will remain anonymous."

The announcement explains why the "awardee," let's call him Mr. Anon , was selected from among the many thousands of non-American employees at embassies around the world. For example, "he helped to retain most of the [embassy] staff despite numerous death threats leveled against them." Anon's "life was at risk night and day," he had "many close calls personally and several friends were slain."

If that's not enough, "after a suicide bomber detonated [a] device within five yards of the dining table," the announcement says, Anon "limped in to the embassy and continued working despite suffering from shock and severe hearing loss. When a colleague was assassinated" and his U.S. supervisor sent home the following day, Anon "vowed to work 'even if no one was left.' "

And when the delegates to the Iraqi National Assembly met at a Baghdad hotel, he was "trapped in the elevator when a rocket slammed into the hotel," we're told. "Later that day, a Gurkha security guard standing a few feet away was struck in the head by shrapnel from an exploding mortar round," and Anon provided first aid...

Just a little on military recruiting.

First, I think it just shows how desparate the US military is for recruits that it is collecting information so that it can market to 15 and sixteen year olds.

Published on Friday, June 24, 2005 by Reuters
Privacy Advocates Assail Pentagon Recruit Database
by Will Dunham

The Pentagon has created a database of 12 million Americans as young as age 16, full of personal data such as grades and Social Security numbers, to help find potential military recruits, officials said on Thursday, in a program condemned by privacy advocates.

The database contains information on U.S. high school students ages 16 to 18, college students, and those who have registered with the Selective Service System as required by law in the event a military draft is resumed, the Pentagon said.

The database, created in 2003 but only now being disclosed, includes names, birth dates, addresses, Social Security numbers, individuals' e-mail addresses, ethnicity, telephone numbers, students' grade-point averages, field of academic study and other data, the Pentagon said.

I mean, aren't they already getting all this information from 18 year olds when they are required by law to register with selective service?

I guess the 18 year olds have a too developed decision making process, and that in order to get enough kids to sign up for getting shot at in Afghanistan, Iraq, and wherever next, they need to reach down into the age group that still believes what they're told.

Second, just check out this slimy piece of deception that our goverment is pulling. This is from a Mother Jones piece on the new recruiting methods. The I in the piece is not me.

Just for definition

JAMRS -- the Pentagon's "program for joint marketing communications and market research and studies" --

Another of JAMRS' partners is Mullen Advertising which "works with JAMRS on an array of marketing communications, planning, and strategic initiatives. This work includes public-facing, influencer-focused joint offline and online advertising campaigns." One Mullen effort is the very unmilitary-sounding MyFuture.com. It's a slick website with information on such topics as living on your own, writing a cover letter, or finding a job and includes tips on dressing for success. ("Take extra time to look great.") Without the usual tell-tale ".mil" domain name, MyFuture offers what seems like civilian career advice (albeit with some military images sprinkled throughout). You can, for instance, take its Work Interest Quiz in order to discover if you should "go to college or look for a job." However, the more you explore, the more you see that the site is really about steering youngsters towards the armed forces. For example, when you take that quiz, you are prompted to ask your school guidance counselor "about taking the ASVAB Career Exploration Program if you'd like to know more about your aptitudes, values, and interests?" Not mentioned is that the ASVAB is actually the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery -- a test developed during the Vietnam War as "the admissions and placement test for the US military."

When I took the quiz I was told: "Based on your responses to the activities listed, here are the work styles that may be appropriate for you: Investigative [and] Artistic." To follow up on my investigative aptitude, MyFuture.com offered eight civilian career suggestions, ranging from veterinarian to meteorologist. It also recommended eight military counterparts including Law Enforcement and Security Specialist. For my artistic aptitude, MyFuture suggested that I "may like activities that: ?Allow [me] to be creative [and] Let [me] work according to [my] own rules.'" Apparently, there are eight military jobs that will allow me to stretch my imagination and do just what I want, artistically speaking. Who knew, for example, that the perfect move for an artistic, freethinker would be joining an organization based on authority and conformity -- and then becoming a "Food Service Specialist"?

MyFuture.com claims that its "website is provided as a public service," while the JAMRS site refers to it as a "public site for potential military candidates to discover more about career opportunities appropriate for their interests." Of course, it's really an effort to recruit kids.

Undue Influence?

This just doesn't seem right. That the Bush admin could terminate Fitzgerald from his everyday job, while he is in the midst of investigating, as a special prosecutor, crimes committed by the same administration. Now, the Special prosecutor's grand jury on the Plame case is due to expire in October, so technically, they couldn't fire him before this part of the investigation is over, and I think his special prosecutor status would continue regardless of whether he lost the job from which it spawned. Interesting anyhow.

I wonder what Jim Sharp, Bush's outside criminal defense lawyer would have to say about this.

Like the way Hastert is already distancing himself from this?

Chicago Tribune

Former U.S. Sen. Peter Fitzgerald said Wednesday he believes there is mounting political pressure to oppose the reappointment of U.S. Atty. Patrick Fitzgerald this fall, given his aggressive prosecution of government corruption in Illinois.

The former senator questioned whether House Speaker Dennis Hastert, the state's top Republican, would support the prosecutor when President Bush decides whether to extend his term in Chicago.

But Hastert, who often battled with Sen. Fitzgerald while the two Republicans served together in Congress, quickly shot down the ex-senator's claims. Hastert's office said the decision rests entirely with Bush and that Hastert has no role whatsoever in whether the prosecutor keeps his job. ......

More Bush Admin Hiding of the Truth

They're doing it again.


DETROIT, July 27 - With Congress poised for a final vote on the energy bill, the Environmental Protection Agency made an 11th-hour decision Tuesday to delay the planned release of an annual report on fuel economy.

But a copy of the report, embargoed for publication Wednesday, was sent to The New York Times by a member of the E.P.A. communications staff just minutes before the decision was made to delay it until next week. The contents of the report show that loopholes in American fuel economy regulations have allowed automakers to produce cars and trucks that are significantly less fuel-efficient, on average, than they were in the late 1980's.

Releasing the report this week would have been inopportune for the Bush administration, its critics said, because it would have come on the eve of a final vote in Congress on energy legislation six years in the making. The bill, as it stands, largely ignores auto mileage regulations.

The executive summary of the copy of the report obtained by The Times acknowledges that "fuel economy is directly related to energy security," because consumer cars and trucks account for about 40 percent of the nation's oil consumption. But trends highlighted in the report show that carmakers are not making progress in improving fuel economy, and environmentalists say the energy bill will do little to prod them.

Spreading Freedom

I guess we are spreading the freedom that Reagan spread in Nicaragua. Oh, how fondly I remember the "freedom fighters" and their death squads.

From the American Conservative Magazine (Just below Cheney's new warplan to use "tactical nukes" on Iran if there is another terror attack

There is increasing evidence that the Iraqi police forces, now under Shi’ite control, are carrying out systematic revenge killings against Sunnis in Baghdad. The bodies now showing up at the morgue have obvious signs of handcuffing and blindfolding and evidence of being tortured before death. U.S. sources indicate that the suspicious killings have reached the rate of almost 700 per month. The police are supervised by the Shi’ite-run Ministry of Interior, which claims that the killings are being carried out by insurgents wearing stolen police uniforms. But American intelligence sources disagree, noting that many of the killers appear to be actual policemen carrying the expensive standard-issue Glock automatics and driving official Toyota Land Cruisers.

Philip Giraldi, a former CIA Officer, is a partner in Cannistraro Associates.

Somebody's running for president

Bill Frist, the man, the renowned heart surgeon who had that memorable exchange on This Week with George Stephonopolous(I have no idea how to spell it and am too lazy to look it up) where Frist sat looking guilty as George in disbelief kept asking over and over, "Do you really believe AIDS can be transmitted through tears and sweat?"

Not the first republican to sell out science for the religious right, but he is a freakin' doctor, after all.

Oh, and let's not forget his diagnosis from video tape when he said it was "obvious" that Terry Schiavo wasn't really permanantly debilitated.

This is just a shameless flip flop. I'm not sure if this tells us that the American Taleban are losing their influence, Frist realizes he can't win their primary votes, or what.



Breaking with President Bush, Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist said Friday he will support legislation to remove some of the administration's limitations on embryonic stem cell research.

Frist, who last month said he did not support expanded federal financing of such research, said his decision was consistent with both his experience as a physician and his opposition to abortion.

"Now is the time to expand the president's policy because it's promising research, but it must be done in a way that is ethically considerate, that respects the dignity of human life," said Frist, who also is a heart and lung transplant surgeon.

The Tennessee Republican, who has been said to be eyeing a run for the GOP presidential nomination in 2008, said only stem cells from embryos that "would otherwise be discarded," not implanted in a woman or frozen indefinitely, should be considered for research.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Perjury as "mistakenly"

With an ill advised recess appointment looming (my, haven't these been abused by the Bush admin), it comes out that Bolton's lying to congress, which I'm pretty sure is a pretty big crime, was no more than "mistaken testimony."

Amazing. Admit to perjury before congress, especially as it is regarding the Niger forgeries which were used for the mushroom cloud propaganda to sell the Iraq war, then appoint Bolton around a few Republican senators who find him so distastefully ill qualified that they can't even stomach a yes vote.

Pure balls

I guess after they brought in Elliot Abrams after his Iran Contra conviction, the law no longer applied to the republicans under the Bush administration.

From the AP:

John Bolton, President Bush's nominee for U.N. ambassador, mistakenly told Congress he had not been interviewed or testified in any investigation over the past five years, the State Department said Thursday.

Bolton was interviewed by the State Department inspector general as part of a joint investigation with the Central Intelligence Agency into prewar Iraqi attempts to buy nuclear materials from Niger, State Department spokesman Noel Clay said.

The admission came hours after another State Department official said Bolton had correctly answered a Senate questionnaire when he wrote that he has not testified to a grand jury or been interviewed by investigators in any inquiry over the past five years.

What's the difference between toture and abuse

I guess this would qualify as torture because they asked a question first. Abuse is just hitting 'em cause they're helpless.

Guardsman: CIA beat Iraqis with hammer handles
By Arthur Kane
Denver Post Staff Writer

CIA officials used a sledgehammer handle to beat various prisoners in Iraq, and one official, whose name is classified, would often brag about his abuse of prisoners, according to testimony in a closed session of a military hearing. ........

In the March hearing, Sgt. 1st Class Gerold Pratt of the Utah National Guard said he saw classified personnel use a 15-inch wooden sledgehammer handle to hit prisoners.

"They'd ask you a question, and if they didn't like it, they'd hit you," he said.

"With Chief Welshofer, he'd at least give the detainee a chance to tell the truth," testified Pratt, who was running logistics at the detention facility near Qaim dubbed the Blacksmith Hotel.

Remember that pre 9/11 PDB Rice minimized as a "historical document"

This just burns my butt. Another little ass covering lie by the whitehouse regarding national security. Remember when the "Bin Laden Determined to Strike in the U.S." presidential daily brief came out in the 9-11 hearings and it was denied that it was anything more than a "historical document."(condi Rice) That it didn't represent anything specific, but was just kind of a general impression of the intelligence services. LIAR!!!! The source was an Al-Quaida bomber, the one who got caught trying to bomb the LA airport. How much more f***ing specific information do you need? For god's sake he was the f***ing "strike in the US."

SEATTLE (Reuters) - The "millennium bomber" convicted of plotting to blow up the Los Angeles airport faces sentencing on Wednesday, knowing his decision to stop cooperating with authorities will mean more time in prison.
Ahmed Ressam had made a deal with prosecutors that would have resulted in a 27-year sentence in exchange for his testimony and information about other cases, but U.S. Western District Judge John Coughenour is expected to sentence him to 35 years because he quit cooperating.
The 38-year-old Algerian was caught on the U.S.-Canada border in December 1999 with nitroglycerin in the trunk of his rented car, and he told authorities he planned to blow up Los Angeles International Airport on the eve of the new millennium.

(to the second to last paragraph which is our point)

Ressam was convicted in 2001. He initially provided testimony that was used in the briefing paper "Bin Laden Determined to Strike in the U.S.," which was given to President Bush on Aug. 6, 2001, ahead of the Sept. 11 attacks on New York and Washington.

The directorship of national intelligence is a two man shop

Deep in a NYTimes article on the huge backlog of untranslated Arab info comes this gem

" At the office of John D. Negroponte, the director of national intelligence, a program manager who runs the information sharing environment office - responsible for linking federal, state and local offices to combat terrorism - told the committee that he had only one full-time employee and two contractors, some seven months after the directorate was created. "


Remember that Negropontes is now the Whitehouse's sole intelligence briefer now that Porter Goss and the CIA are no longer briefing the president except by invitation. You might think that maybe Negroponte's listening to policy, not bringing information.

What I believe

I believe that the American empire has crested. Sometime in the sixties when the United States went from being the largest creditor nation to the largest debtor nation, when the United States went from being a net oil exporter to a net oil importer, and when we lost a president for the young and lost the young to a war. And then there was Nixon.

We no longer hope for great things for all of us, only great things for ourselves.

Corruption and abuse of power are two of the signs of decline, and it is these symptoms I will attempt to document here.

Unfortunately, these things are so common that they rarely are the headline in the article anymore, and you have to dig down and read the inferences to get some feel for what's really being said.

This blog will have a viewpoint, although what it is, is not too easily classified, you will just have to read the posts and gather for yourself.