Friday, December 07, 2007

New Music :"Christmas In Fallujah," Video, Lyrics & Links


New Music :"Christmas In Fallujah," Video, Lyrics & Links

About This Video:
Live In Chicago, Billy Joel & Cass Dillon performing "Christmas In Fallujah".
Became Available on iTunes Dec. 4th

Proceeds to Benefit: Homes for our Troops

Billboard Magazine writes: Up-And-Comer Voices New Billy Joel Song

November 30, 2007, 12:50 PM ET
Jeff Vrabel, Savannah, Ga.

Billy Joel has broken his self-imposed retirement from pop for the second time in a year, but he'd almost rather you didn't know that.

The second new Joel-penned single since his last pop album, 1993's "River of Dreams," is called "Christmas in Fallujah" and hits iTunes Dec. 4. There are two major differences between it and the classics that have made him one of the best-selling artists of all time. First, there's no piano on it, and second, there's barely any Billy Joel on it, either.

Instead, for what Joel says is a first, he's written a song expressly for another singer, a 21-year-old Long Island native named Cass Dillon. Joel tells Billboard the inspiration for "Fallujah" was partly born of letters he's received from service personnel overseas, but also simply from years of the realities of war.

The song came to him quickly, Joel says, as did the realization that he wasn't the guy to record it. "I thought someone with a young voice should be singing this, someone just starting out in life," he says. "Plus, you know, I'm 58 years old. My voice isn't the voice I was thinking of when I was writing; I was thinking of a soldier, someone of that age."

Enter Dillon, a young singer/songwriter who'd spent a few years under the wing of Tommy Byrnes, Joel's longtime musical director. Dillon left college two years ago to pursue a musical career, and has spent the intervening years on the coffee-shops-and-bars circuit. Byrnes had played Joel several of Dillon's songs, and when it came time to find a singer for "Fallujah," Joel says Dillon "popped right into my head."

Compare it to Nirvana - In Bloom: Sub Pop Version Very similar music.

Billy Joel introducing Christmas In Fallujah,

The song benefits Homes for our Troops

Homes for our Troops is a non-profit organization that provides specially adapted homes for our nation’s wounded soldiers. We live in a world where “stringent” standards dictate that 60% of donations should be spent on program activities. According to their FAQ, Homes for our Troops spends 84% of donation dollars directly on the program activity it sells.

The Lyrics to Christmas in Fallujah by Billy Joel

"Christmas In Fallujah"
Words & Music By Billy Joel
Preformed By Cass Dillon

It's Evening In the Desert
I'm Tired and I'm cold
But I'm just a solder
I do what I am told

We Came with the Crusaders
to save the holy land
It's Christmas In Fallujah
and no one gives a damn

And I just got your letter
And this is what I read you said

I'm fading from your memory
so I'm just as good as dead

We are the armies of the empire
We are the legionnaires of Rome

It's Christmas In Fallujah
and we ain't never coming home

We came to bring these people freedom
we came to fight the infidel

there is no justice in the desert
Because there is no god in hell

They say osama's in the mountains
deep in a cave near Pakistan

But there's a sea of blood in Baghdad
A sea of oil in the sand

Between the Tigris and Euphrates
another day comes to an end

it's Christmas In Fallujah
Peace on earth goodwill to men

it's Christmas In Fallujah
hallelujah hallelujah

it's Christmas In Fallujah
hallelujah hallelujah

it's Christmas In Fallujah
hallelujah hallelujah

it's Christmas In Fallujah
hallelujah hallelujah

Merry Christmas from Fallujah
hallelujah hallelujah

Merry Christmas from Fallujah
hallelujah hallelujah

hallelujah hallelujah

hallelujah hallelujah

hallelujah hallelujah

hallelujah hallelujah

hallelujah hallelujah

Another artist, Jefferson Pepper, with am CD song by same title:

In general, holiday albums do not get confused with vehicles for social change. If you don't like in-your-face, change-the-world music, then stop reading now. Far removed from the typical bouquet of carols, Jefferson Pepper's Christmas in Fallujah is a holiday music anomaly. This is protest music at its finest, exploring the dark underbelly of America's social and political landscape. As for the artist's unusual name, I'm imagining some cross between Jefferson Airplane and Sgt. Pepper, but I could be wrong.

Jefferson Peppers MySpace :

Christmas in Fallujah
Written by: Jefferson Pepper
c2005 Jefferson Pepper

It's Christmas in Fallujah, to the victors go the spoils
We came to help the people, it's not about the oil
I came here to Fallujah with presents in my sack
I bring the gift of freedom through unprovoked attack

That's not the sound of reindeer up on your roof at night
We're coming down your chimney with guns and blinding lights
We're gonna take your husband, I'd like to tell you why
But I can't speak your language, I'm too overwhelmed to try

But Uncle Sam made a list, he's checking it twice
He's gonna find out who's naughty or nice
But sometimes the names, they get mixed up
If we get it right half the time that's close enough

It's Christmas in Fallujah, children snuggle in their beds
While the corpses of their parents dance around in their heads
Palaces and bridges, we burned them to the ground
'Cause someone got a contract to rebuild the whole damned town

It's Christmas in Fallujah, hear the bells begin to toll
I'm sorry about your mother, she's somewhere down in the hole
We came here to Falujah to win your hearts and minds
But when we bombed your building your family was inside

Don't blame it on us soldiers, we're only doing what we're told
Never had a spoon of silver, now I've got a broken heart of gold
And I'm gonna have to live with all these nightmares that I've seen
Never taught to know the difference between Osama and Hussein

But Uncle Sam made a list, he's checking it twice
He's gonna find out who's naughty or nice
But sometimes the names, they get mixed up
If we get it right half the time that's close enough

Thursday, December 06, 2007

"Uncontrollable Enthusiasm" serving bin Laden


Guantanamo Bay, Dec 07: Osama bin Laden's former driver and bodyguard said he felt an "uncontrollable enthusiasm" when working for the al Qaeda leader and helped him elude US retaliation after the September 11 attacks, a US federal investigator testified on early Friday.

Salim Ahmed Hamdan, a Guantanamo detainee facing war crimes charges, told agents he drove bin Laden and his son Othman when they evacuated their compound near Kandahar, Afghanistan, ahead of the attacks, investigators told a marathon pretrial hearing that lasted about 14 hours with frequent short recesses.

Although not initially with bin Laden on September 11, Hamdan returned to bin Laden's side and continued to drive him for weeks as he moved from city to city and house to house to avoid US efforts to retaliate, said Robert McFadden, a Defense Department special agent who interviewed him.

Hamdan heard bin Laden say he had expected up to 1,500 deaths in the attacks but was pleased to learn there were many more, said FBI agent George Crouch Jr., who interviewed Hamdan separately at the Guantanamo Bay detention center.

McFadden said Hamdan told him he had pledged an ongoing oath of allegiance or "bayat" to bin Laden. Asked if Hamdan had described how he felt while serving bin Laden, the Defense Department agent said, "uncontrollable enthusiasm."

The comments from the agents came as a judge began hearing the first witnesses in a US military war crimes proceeding since the end of World War Two. The Guantanamo war crimes tribunals first convened in August 2004 but no witnesses were called in any previous hearings.

Unlawful enemy combatant

The testimony was part of a pretrial hearing to determine whether Hamdan is an unlawful enemy combatant who can be tried on war crimes charges in a US military tribunal set up to judge prisoners captured in the post-September 11, 2001, war on terrorism.

Army Maj. Henry Smith told the court earlier that Hamdan was wearing civilian clothes with no military markings when he was captured on November 24, 2001, at a checkpoint near Kandahar while driving a car carrying two anti-aircraft rockets without the launching mechanism.

Hamdan arrived at the checkpoint minutes after a white van carrying three Arabs had been stopped, Smith said. He said two of the men offered resistance, including one who tried to detonate a grenade, and were killed in a burst of gunfire.

The third man, Said Boujaadia, is also a Guantanamo detainee and testified under a grant of immunity. He contradicted Smith's testimony on the timing of the arrest and whether Hamdan was detained before or after him.

This is the military's third attempt to prosecute Hamdan on war crimes charges and comes six months after the judge in the case, Navy Capt. Keith Allred, dropped the previous charges against him.

Allred ruled in June that Hamdan had only been declared an enemy combatant and said he had no authority to decide whether the defendant was a lawful or unlawful combatant under a measure passed by Congress in 2006 to provide a legal basis for the war crimes trials formally known as military commissions.

An appeals court ruled in September that commission judges do have the authority to hear evidence and decide whether prisoners are unlawful enemy combatants. That led to a third attempt to prosecute Hamdan, who is charged with conspiracy and providing material support for terrorism.

Only unlawful enemy combatants who are not citizens can be tried by a military commission, the law states. Lawful combatants, such as uniformed soldiers from countries at war with the United States, would have to be tried by court-martial or handled by other means, officials said.

Bureau Report

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Giuliani tries to escape his ties to terrorist and anti-American groups


After the media and bloggers put attention on Rudy Giuliani's actual working ties to terrorist and anti-American groups, Giuliani takes the purely symbolic step of stepping down from the title of Managing Partner. This of course changes nothing.

DES MOINES, Iowa — Republican presidential hopeful Rudy Giuliani has stepped down as head of his consulting firm, Giuliani Partners, after months of refusing to disclose the firm's clients or the role he played.

Giuliani has been replaced as chairman by Peter Powers, a longtime friend and former aide, Giuliani Partners spokeswoman Sunny Mindel said Tuesday. The firm, started by the former New York mayor when he left City Hall, earned Giuliani around $4 million last year. The spokeswoman said he would retain his equity stake in the company.

While insisting the firm's client list was confidential, Giuliani has noted the media have named a number of his clients.

Published reports have identified one client as the Persian Gulf country of Qatar, which was accused of sheltering suspected Sept. 11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, although today it is a U.S. ally.

Also identified as Giuliani clients are airlines, energy companies and communications businesses; one client, Purdue Pharma L.P., makes the controversial painkiller OxyContin. His law firm, Houston-based Bracewell & Giuliani, has represented an American subsidiary of an oil company controlled by Hugo Chavez, the Venezuelan president.

Giuliani aides said he has not been involved in day-to-day operations of the firm since last spring. Yet he never formally announced he had relinquished his titles, despite being asked repeatedly about it. The firm's Web site listed him as chairman as recently as last month.

Critics accuse him of hiding his business dealings because he won't release a client list or describe his work at the firm.

"Given that he still has a financial stake in Giuliani Partners and it's managed by his childhood friend, Rudy is not going to get away with covering up his ties to shady clients like the government of Qatar, the pharmaceutical industry, and Hugo Chavez," Democratic National Committee spokesman Dag Vega said.

Read previous post here

Monday, December 03, 2007

Bloody and barbaric radical Muslim thinking strikes again


Recent news from the Muslim world suggest the obvious: We in the Western world do not think as they do. We consider, for example, recent sentences given to two women, one in Saudi Arabia the other in Sudan, barbaric. Without the core set of values spelled out in our Bill of Rights, true communication and mutual respect between Western nations and Muslim nations will be impossible.

In Saudi Arabia, a woman who was gang-raped was sentenced to 90 lashes. The reason? Before the rape, the woman, who was then 19, had been in a car with a man who was not a family member — a crime under the kingdom’s legal code, which is based on a strict Wahabi reading of Islamic law.

The woman (and her male companion) were raped by seven men who were apprehended. Of the gang prosecuted in the case, four were convicted of kidnapping and sentenced to between one and five years in prison and between 80 and 1,000 lashes, Human Rights Watch said.

Known only as the "Girl from Qatif," the 19-year-old rape victim said she was a newlywed who was meeting a high school friend in his car to retrieve a picture of herself from him when the attack occurred in the eastern city of Qatif. While in a car with him, two men got into the vehicle and drove them to a secluded area where others waited, and then she and her companion were both raped.

Both victims were sentenced to 90 lashes. They were being punished for violating strict gender segregation laws in Saudi Arabia, for riding in the car of a man who was not related to her when they were both attacked, what the court called "illegal mingling".

Abdul Rahman al-Lahem, the woman's lawyer and a human rights campaigner, criticized the court's decision publicly and has subsequently had his license to practice law suspended.He is also facing a hearing by a justice ministry disciplinary committee in December for appearing regularly on television and talking about the case. This was not the first official sanction against Al-Lahem, who has been repeatedly imprisoned and forbidden to travel outside Saudi Arabia. The heavy handed retaliation against this lawyer legitimately defending a client is meant to have a chilling effect on any other attorney who wants to defend a woman’s rights in the Saudi courts. It’s basically shutting the legal door on any woman who is victimized by a crime.

Unfortunately the "Girl from Qatif," the 19-year-old rape victim appealed her sentence and was re-sentenced to 200 lashes and six months in prison. This sentence has raised an outcry from around the world, and now Saudi officials say they will review the case.

And the Girl of Qatif may actually be lucky. Honor killings of rape victims are still not uncommon in much of the Middle East. Though technically against the law, the family members who commit these murders are seldom prosecuted and if they are, sentences amount to a pro forma slap on the wrist.

According to Kurdish Media, 27 women have been killed in Iraqi Kurdistan, allegedly for “honor” in past four months.

In April about 1000 men participated in stoning of a 16 year old girl in city of Mosul, her crime was falling in love with a boy outside her community.

In May 19 year old women was killed by her husband and his family because her mobile phone had number of an unknown male.

And the list goes on. Every month there are Kurdish women in Iraq facing violence, honor killing. Aziz Mohammed, human rights minister in the Kurdish regional government, said 97 women -- 60 in Arbil, 21 in Dohuk and 16 in Sulaimaniyah—had attempted to commit suicide by self-immolation during the four months.

The United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq has regularly highlighted ‘honour killings’ of Kurdish women as among Iraq’s most severe human rights abuses.

Most of such crimes are reported as deaths due to accidental fires in the home.

Aso Kamal, a 42-year-old British Kurdish Iraqi campaigner, says that from 1991 to 2007, 12,500 women were murdered for reasons of ‘honour’ or committed suicide in the three Kurdish provinces.

In Sudan, in the past week, a 54 year old British primary school teacher on contract to teach in a private school, was originally threatened with 40 lashes, a fine, or six months in jail after her class of 7-year-olds voted to name a teddy bear Muhammad. ( She was threatened with death by mobs of rioting Sudanese) The government accused her of insulting the Prophet Muhammad. Muhammad is one of the most common names among Muslims, including the student who suggested it for the teddy bear. On Thursday, the court reduced the teacher’s sentence to 15 days in jail, but found her guilty and ordered her deported.

Saudi Arabia and Sudan have notoriously bad human rights records and the cases have ominous political overtones. The Khartoum government — so willing to punish the crime of naming a teddy bear — is responsible for the genocide in Darfur. The case was widely seen as a warning against Westerners who protest that mass slaughter. In the Saudi case, the girl was a member of the country’s persecuted Shiite minority.

The problems are not confined to Muslim nations. In France, 130 police officers were injured, quite a few seriously, in clashes with armed Muslim youth. A regional police chief, Jean-Francis Illy was severely beaten by a gang of Muslim toughs wielding baseball bats, tire irons, and shotguns. Another officer lost an eye to a shotgun pellet; another was wounded by a bullet that passed through his body armor. The talk of France is “GUERRILLA WAR” by the sizable Muslim minority against the French to seize the country for Allah.

In the U.K., Muslim women have asked for, and received, at public expense from the National Public Health Service, hymen repair operations so that they can be virgins again on their wedding night. At the same time, British police report that 400 to 500 Muslim girls a year in Britain are subjected to GENITAL MUTILATION “to eliminate their sexual desires and protect family honor”.

To the Western mind the `thinking' of much of the Muslim world is outside our grasp. We think the Sunni and Shiite in Iraq can just get along. We think that we all should get along. But it turns out getting along isn't on everybody's agenda.

If we were to look for a focal point of this unusual way of bloody and barbaric thinking we might find that one of it's major bases is in Saudi Arabia. As the Washington Post points out, despite the Bush administration’s embrace of Saudi Arabia and its steadfast friendship of the Saudi royal family, that country is the major source of the spread of radical Islam throughout the world. Fifteen of the 19 September 11th hijackers were Saudis, as is Osama bin Laden. The majority of the suicide bombers in Iraq are Saudis. Furthermore, the Taliban in Afghanistan, which sheltered al Qaeda even after 9/11, was funded and influenced by the radical Wahabi clerics from Saudi Arabia. Indeed, Wahabism, a militantly puritanical and fundamentalist branch of Sunni Islam is the brand of Islam taught in the madarassas – Islamic religious schools – throughout the world. Most of the radical Muslim terrorists have been recruited through those schools and Wahabi- funded mosques, which are heavily financed by wealthy Saudis.

This is worth thinking about for the next President, whoever he or she might be.

-Paul Grant (follower of Basho)

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Paul Wolfowitz invited back to advise Rice

Fallen Neocon offered new Chance


The Bush administration has offered former Deputy Defense secretary Paul Wolfowitz a position as chairman of the International Security Advisory Board, a prestigious State Department panel, according to two department sources who declined to be identified discussing personnel matters. The 18-member panel, which has access to highly classified intelligence, advises Rice on disarmament, nuclear proliferation, WMD issues and other matters. The position doesn't require Senate confirmation.

Why is this a bad idea?

Defense Department's Office of the Inspector General that said Wolfowitz played a key role in the cooking of intelligence related to Iraq's ties to al-Qaeda and its supposed cache of chemical and biological weapons. That effort helped the White House lay the groundwork for a US-led invasion.

Paul Wolfowitz has proven to be a not so intelligent adviser:

His selection has raised more than a few eyebrows within State because he'll be providing advice on some of the same issues that critics say the administration got spectacularly wrong when Wolfowitz was pushing the case for the Iraq War at the Pentagon. (One of the department sources called the appointment "amazing.")(Newsweek)

Wolfowitz said the U.S. would be greeted as liberators, that Iraqi oil money for pay for the reconstruction, and that Gen. Eric Shinseki’s estimate that several hundred thousand troops would be needed was “wildly off the mark.” [Washington Post, 12/8/05]

Wolfowitz judged to have questionable judgment and a preoccupation with self-interest

Wolfowitz forced to step as President of the World Bank after facing an outcry over a pay and promotion deals given to his partner - who also works for the World Bank.

In January 2006, an e-mail was sent to the bank by "John Smith" using a Yahoo address. This appeared to be from a staff insider and it accused Mr Wolfowitz of "important ethical lapses of a corrupt nature".

It complained about the level of Shaha Riza's salary which it said had gone up from $130,000 to the $180,000 mentioned by Mr Wolfowitz. It also said that Mr Wolfowitz had not submitted this increase to the bank's board.

It complained about his appointment of two US nationals (Robin Cleveland and Kevin Kellems) formerly with the Bush administration, whom he appointed as close advisors with $250,000 tax-free contracts.( Another appointee, Juan José Daboub has been criticized by his colleagues and others for attempts to change policies on family planning and climate change towards a conservative line.)

In April 2006, Mr Wolfowitz said he was sorry for the way in which he handled the case. "I made a mistake," he said. He stated that he wished he had followed his first instinct, which had been not to involve himself in the negotiations over Ms Riza's future.

In March 2007 that the Washington Post gave details that generated new public comment. It reported that Ms Riza's salary at the State Department (though she had been transferred in the meantime to a new organisation called Foundation for the Future) had risen to "$193,590, which is $7,000 more than Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice makes". The increase, it was claimed, was more than double what she would have got at the World Bank.

The bank set up a senior "Ad Hoc Group" to make further investigations.

The special panel set up to investigate the issue released its report on 14 May and said that Mr Wolfowitz had violated staff rules and the bank's code of conduct. His actions in determining the terms of Ms Riza's external assignment constituted "a conflict of interest", it said.

The salary he had directed on her behalf was "in excess" of that established and so was the annual increase.

It said that the board would have to consider whether he "will be able to provide the leadership needed" to ensure that the Bank could achieve its mandate.

It accused Mr Wolfowitz of casting himself "in opposition to the established rules of the institution" and of seeking "to negotiate for himself a resolution different from that which would be applied to the staff he was selected to head".

"It evidences questionable judgment and a preoccupation with self-interest over institutional best interest," it stated.

Why did the White House want him back? Target Iran?

Since the 1979 Iranian Revolution Wolfowitz has been a notable advocate for Iranian dissidents, including Azar Nafisi, the bestselling author of Reading Lolita in Tehran.[citation needed] Larry Franklin, who was both a member of his staff and an associate of the American Israel Political Affair Committee (AIPAC), investigated for alleged espionage for Israel on U.S. soil, including leaking information to Israel in order to damage Iranian-US relations, pled guilty to some of those charges, pursuant to a plea agreement in which he would "cooperate in the larger federal investigation" involving "two former employees of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, Steven J. Rosen and Keith Weissman.


Karl Rove Falsley blames Democrats for rush to War


One of the purposes of this blog Iraq News and History is to get the `history' as it happens rather than in hindsight where it often gets distorted.

The republican former adviser to President Bush, Karl Rove, has recently begun his rewriting of the events leading up to the Iraq invasions (book soon to be released)- shifting blame from the administration to the Democrats saying they forced the Presidents hand.

The truth is: Top Democrats asked for delay on the vote to authorize war with Iraq

~Recall, the House and the Senate voted on whether to authorize war against Iraq in October 2002, just a few weeks prior to the 2002 elections.

Rove’s claim is utterly dishonest and flat-out false. In Sept. 2002, Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle (D-SD) asked President Bush to delay the vote on the Iraq war:

“I asked directly if we could delay this so we could depoliticize it. I said: ‘Mr. President, I know this is urgent, but why the rush? Why do we have to do this now?’ He looked at Cheney and he looked at me, and there was a half-smile on his face. And he said: ‘We just have to do this now.’”

While some Democrats — particularly Rep. Dick Gephardt (D-MO) — were arguing that it was “imperative” that Congress vote immediately to authorize war, had the White House wanted to delay the vote until after the 2002 elections, they would have found a great deal of support. Here’s what a few key leaders were saying at the time:

Sen. Richard Durbin (D-IL): “It would be a severe mistake for us to vote on Iraq with as little information as we have. This would be a rash and hasty decision.”

Rep. Tom Lantos (D-CA): “I do not believe the decision should be made in the frenzy of an election year.”

Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA): “I know of no information that the threat is so imminent from Iraq” that Congress cannot wait until January to vote on a resolution.

But Karl Rove and President Bush weren’t interested in delaying the vote. Rather, the administration actively politicized it.

Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld pushed for the vote

Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld said, “Delaying a vote in Congress would send the wrong message.”

President Bush pushed for the vote

President Bush explicitly told Congress to “get the issue done as quickly as possible“:

"My answer to the Congress is, they need to debate this issue and consult with us, and get the issue done as quickly as possible. It’s in our national interests that we do so. I don’t imagine Saddam Hussein sitting around, saying, gosh, I think I’m going to wait for some resolution. "

Then-Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle who says that when he asked Bush in September 2002 why there was such a rush for a vote on Iraq the president "looked at Cheney and he looked at me, and there was a half-smile on his face. And he said: 'We just have to do this now.'"

On Sept. 11, 2002, administration officials briefed Congress on Iraq, with the goal of persuading them to schedule a vote to authorize military action. And the administration’s congressional allies were clear on why they wanted to rush the war vote. “People are going to want to know, before the elections, where their representatives stand,” said Rep. Thomas M. Davis (R-VA.), chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee. “This could be the vote of the decade, so why wait?”

White House chief of staff Andrew Card denies Rove's claim:

Former White House chief of staff at the time, Andrew Card, appeared on MSNBC’s Morning Joe and completely discredited Rove’s argument:

SCARBOROUGH: We have to start with something that we all are talking about a couple of days ago where Karl Rove went on Charlie Rose and he blamed the Democrats for pushing him and the president into war. Is that how it worked?

CARD: No, that’s not the way it worked.

Card went on to explain that sometimes Rove’s “mouth gets ahead of his brain”

Bush & Team wanted to attack Iraq from the beginning:

And there is the insider evidence provided by Richard Clarke, who wrote that within hours of the 9/11 attacks, this administration had its heart set on heading into Iraq. ( See Clarke's Take On Terror What Bush's Ex-Adviser Says About Efforts to Stop War On Terror -60 Minutes)

And from Paul O'Neill, who made it clear that invading Iraq had been Bush's goal before he had even learned where the Oval Office supply closet was.

Rove so far has escaped prosecution for his illeagle involvement in outing a CIA covert operative. He has had his hands slapped for illegally erasing emails. He might think that he can get away with anything.

Transcript of Karl Rove on Charlie Rose:

ROSE: I haven’t heard you be willing to acknowledge any mistakes in eight years.

ROVE: Sure, I’m happy to acknowledge mistakes.

ROSE: Well, tell me one.

ROVE: Social security. We moved too late. We should have moved a heck of a lot earlier.

ROSE: And the war?

ROVE: Uh, the war– I’m– I’m going to be circumspect about this– look, you’re trying to get me to gush my whole book out there. Were there mistakes made in the war, yeah?

ROSE: I’m not trying to make you gush your book.

ROVE: You can make the argument– you can make an argument that we should have done the surge earlier–

ROSE: Go way back. Make the argument perhaps we should have delayed and let the inspections take their–

ROVE: Charlie– Charlie, I’m not going to tell you the answer to this but I want you to remember you asked me about that because one of the untold stories about the war is why did the United States Congress, the United States Senate, vote on the war resolution in the fall of 2002?

ROSE: Why?

ROVE: This administration was opposed to it. I’m going to talk about that in my book.

ROSE: Tell me, give me–

ROVE: No, no.

ROSE: Give me something.


ROSE: Give me something.

ROVE: I just did. I told you the administration was opposed to voting on it in the fall of 2002.

ROSE: Because?

ROVE: Because we didn’t think it belonged in the confines of the election. We thought it made it too political. We wanted it outside the confines of the election. It seemed it make things move too fast. There were things that needed to be done to bring along allies and potential allies abroad and yet–

ROSE: So you didn’t do it because…?

ROVE: There was a vote, and I’m– I’m–

ROSE: But you were opposed to the vote.

ROVE: It happened. we don’t determine when the Congress vote on things. The Congress does.

ROSE: You wish it hadn’t happened at that time. you would have preferred it did not happen at that time.

ROVE: That’s right.

ROSE: Because your argument– your argument is you would have had maybe more inspections. You would have been able to build a broader coalition. You could have done a whole lot other things if you didn’t have to have a vote, right?

ROVE: Right, right, exactly.


Saturday, December 01, 2007


Giuliani Did Business With Sheikh Tied To 9/11 Plot

Since leaving office the self proclaimed America's mayor has formed close ties to a host of unsavory characters - friends of terrorist if not terrorist themselves. He uses his name - and possibly his clout as a leading candidate for president to win security contracts around the world. On choosing his clients he makes choices - many of them very bad indeed. Maybe winning the Presidency is not really that crucial for Rudy- maybe using the run to gain business is all he is really after.

* After the 1993 bombing of the WTC -- when he supposedly knew so much about security and stuff -- Giuliani ignored expert advice and put NYC emergency headquarters in the WTC

* Before 9/11 -- when he was supposedly studying up on terrorism -- Rudy was really breaking up his (2nd) marriage via an affair with Judith Nathan (and hiding the charges in obscure agencies)

* After 9/11 -- when he was supposedly stiff-arming state sponsors of terrorism -- Giuliani was really doing business (big money) with the oil Sheikh who protected and facilitated the 9/11 terrorists

* With the money and contacts and prestige from that and other business, Giuliani runs a presidential campaign claiming he is a big-time pro on fightin' terrorism -- better than everyone else, particularly the Democrats

Kieth Obermann reports on the Rolling Stone article that exposes Giulianis direct ties to business partnerships that have strong relationships not only with the mastermind on 9/11, but also Bin Laden and the current American hating Iranian President.

Rudy's Ties to a Terror Sheikh
Giuliani's business contracts tie him to the man who let 9/11's mastermind escape the FBI

by Wayne Barrett
November 27th, 2007 3:39 PM

Special reporting by Samuel Rubenfeld and additional research by Adrienne Gaffney and Danielle Schiffman

Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifah al-Thani a friend of Giulian

Three weeks after 9/11, when the roar of fighter jets still haunted the city's skyline, the emir of gas-rich Qatar, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifah al-Thani, toured Ground Zero. Although a member of the emir's own royal family had harbored the man who would later be identified as the mastermind of the attack—a man named Khalid Sheikh Muhammad, often referred to in intelligence circles by his initials, KSM—al-Thani rushed to New York in its aftermath, offering to make a $3 million donation, principally to the families of its victims. Rudy Giuliani, apparently unaware of what the FBI and CIA had long known about Qatari links to Al Qaeda, appeared on CNN with al-Thani that night and vouched for the emir when Larry King asked the mayor: "You are a friend of his, are you not?"

"We had a very good meeting yesterday. Very good," said Giuliani, adding that he was "very, very grateful" for al-Thani's generosity. It was no cinch, of course, that Giuliani would take the money: A week later, he famously rejected a $10 million donation from a Saudi prince who advised America that it should "adopt a more balanced stand toward the Palestinian cause." (Giuliani continues to congratulate himself for that snub on the campaign trail.)

Al-Thani not a friend of Isreal

Al-Thani waited a month before expressing essentially the same feelings when he returned to New York for a meeting of the U.N. General Assembly and stressed how important it was to "distinguish" between the "phenomenon" of 9/11 and "the legitimate struggles" of the Palestinians "to get rid of the yoke of illegitimate occupation and subjugation." Al-Thani then accused Israel of "state terrorism" against the Palestinians.

Al-Thani largest shareholder in Al Jazeera, the Arabic news network

But there was another reason to think twice about accepting al-Thani's generosity that Giuliani had to have been aware of, even as he heaped praise on the emir. Al Jazeera, the Arabic news network based in Qatar (pronounced "Cutter"), had been all but created by al-Thani, who was its largest shareholder.

Al Jazeera, the Arabic news network refused Collin Powell's request that he the state-subsidized channel's Islamist footage and rhetoric

The Bush administration was so upset with the coverage of Osama bin Laden's pronouncements and the U.S. threats to bomb Afghanistan that Secretary of State Colin Powell met the emir just hours before Giuliani's on-air endorsement and asked him to tone down the state-subsidized channel's Islamist footage and rhetoric. The six-foot-eight, 350-pound al-Thani, who was pumping about $30 million a year into Al Jazeera at the time, refused Powell's request, citing the need for "a free and credible media." The administration's burgeoning distaste for what it would later brand "Terror TV" was already so palpable that King—hardly a newsman—asked the emir if he would help "spread the word" that the U.S. was "not targeting the average Afghan citizen." Al-Thani ignored the question—right before Giuliani rushed in to praise him again.

In retrospect, Giuliani's embrace of the emir appears peculiar. But it was only a sign of bigger things to come: the launching of a cozy business relationship with terrorist-tolerant Qatar that is inconsistent with the core message of Giuliani's current presidential campaign, namely that his experience and toughness uniquely equip him to protect America from what he tauntingly calls "Islamic terrorists"—an enemy that he always portrays himself as ready to confront, and the Democrats as ready to accommodate.

Giuliani Partners friends and business partners with the terrorist mastermind who wired funds from Qatar to his nephew Ramzi Yousef prior to the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center, and who also sold the idea of a plane attack on the towers to Osama bin Laden

The contradictory and stunning reality is that Giuliani Partners, the consulting company that has made Giuliani rich, feasts at the Qatar trough, doing business with the ministry run by the very member of the royal family identified in news and government reports as having concealed KSM—the terrorist mastermind who wired funds from Qatar to his nephew Ramzi Yousef prior to the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center, and who also sold the idea of a plane attack on the towers to Osama bin Laden—on his Qatar farm in the mid-1990s.

This royal family member is Abdallah bin Khalid al-Thani, Qatar's minister of Islamic affairs at the time, who was later installed at the interior ministry in January 2001 and reappointed by the emir during a government shake-up earlier this year. Abdallah al-Thani is also said to have welcomed Osama bin Laden on two visits to the farm, a charge repeated as recently as October 10, 2007, in a Congressional Research Service study. Abdallah al-Thani's interior ministry or the state-owned company it helps oversee, Qatar Petroleum, has worked with Giuliani Security & Safety LLC, a subsidiary of Giuliani Partners, on an undisclosed number of contracts, the value of which neither the government nor the company will release. But there's little question that a security agreement with Qatar's government, or with Qatar Petroleum, would put a company like Giuliani's in direct contact with the ministry run by Abdallah al-Thani: The website of Qatar's government, and the interior ministry's press office, as well as numerous press stories, all confirm that the ministry controls a 2,500-member police force, the General Administration of Public Security, and the Mubahathat, or secret police. The ministry's charge under law is to "create and institute security in this country." Hassan Sidibe, a public-relations officer for the ministry, says that "a company that does security work, they have to get permission from the interior ministry."

What's most shocking is that Abdallah al-Thani has been widely accused of helping to spirit KSM out of Qatar in 1996, just as the FBI was closing in on him. Robert Baer, a former CIA supervisor in the region, contends in a 2003 memoir that the emir himself actually sanctioned tipping KSM. The staff of the 9/11 Commission, meanwhile, noted that the FBI and CIA "were reluctant to seek help from the Qatari government" in the arrest of KSM, "fearing that he might be tipped off." When Qatar's emir was finally "asked for his help" in January 1996, Qatari authorities "first reported that KSM was under surveillance," then "asked for an alternative plan that would conceal their aid to Americans," and finally "reported that KSM had disappeared."

Giuliani's lifelong friend Louis Freeh, the FBI head who talked to Giuliani periodically about terrorist threats during Giuliani's mayoral years and has endorsed him for president, was so outraged that he wrote a formal letter to Qatar's foreign minister complaining that he'd received "disturbing information" that KSM "has again escaped the surveillance of your Security Services and that he appears to be aware of FBI interest in him."

Giuliani's friend and business associate Abdallah al-Thani remains a named defendant in the 9/11 lawsuits

Abdallah al-Thani remains a named defendant in the 9/11 lawsuits that are still proceeding in Manhattan federal court, but his Washington lawyers declined to address the charges that he shielded KSM, insisting only that he never "supported" any "terrorist acts." Asked if Abdallah al-Thani ever supported any terrorists rather than their acts, his lawyer David Nachman declined to comment further. The Congressional Research Service report summarized the evidence against him: "According to the 9/11 Commission Report and former U.S. government officials, royal family member and current Qatari Interior Minister, Sheikh Abdullah (Abdallah) bin Khalid Al Thani, provided safe harbor and assistance to Al Qaeda leaders during the 1990s," including KSM. While numerous accounts have named Abdallah as the KSM tipster, the report simply says that "a high ranking member of the Qatari government" is believed to have "alerted" KSM "to the impending raid."

Freeh's letter in 1996 highlighted the consequences of this government-orchestrated escape with a prophetic declaration, saying that the "failure to apprehend KSM would allow him and other associates to continue to conduct terrorist operations." Indeed, had KSM, who was even then focused on the use of hijacked planes as weapons, been captured in 1996, 9/11 might well have never happened.

In other words, as incredible as it might seem, Rudy Giuliani—whose presidential candidacy is steeped in 9/11 iconography—has been doing business with a government agency run by the very man who made the attacks on 9/11 possible.

This startling revelation is not a sudden disclosure from new sources. It has, in fact, been staring us in the face for many months.

Giuliani Partners fail to disclose the Government of Qatar as their client

The Wall Street Journal reported on November 7 that one Giuliani Partners client the former mayor hadn't previously disclosed was, in fact, the government of Qatar. Quoting the recently retired Bush envoy to Qatar, Chase Untermeyer, the Journal reported that state-run Qatar Petroleum had signed a contract with Giuliani Security "around 2005" and that the firm (of which Giuliani has a 30 percent equity stake) is offering security advice to a giant natural-gas processing facility called Ras Laffan. While the interior ministry wouldn't confirm individual contracts, it did tell the Voice that Qatar Petroleum and security "purchasing" are part of its portfolio.

(The Journal story was followed by a similar piece in the Chicago Tribune last week, which revealed that Giuliani's firm has also represented a complex casino partnership seeking to build a $3.5 billion Singapore resort. The partnership included "the family of a controversial Hong Kong billionaire who has ties to the regime of North Korea's Kim Jong II and has been linked to international organized crime by the U.S. government.")

The Journal story, however, didn't go into detail about the unsavory connections that Giuliani had made in the Middle East. The Journal wrote that it learned about the Qatar contract after reading a speech that Untermeyer gave in 2006, when he said that Giuliani's firm had "important contracts" in Qatar. In fact, Untermeyer—who returned to Texas when he stepped down as ambassador to join a real-estate firm partnered with the National Bank of Qatar—told the Houston Forum that Giuliani's "security company" has "several" contracts in Qatar, and that Giuliani himself "comes to Doha [Qatar's capital] twice a year." Untermeyer's wife Diana spoke at the same event about their daughter Elly, who she said "makes friends with all she meets—other kids, generals, sheikhs, and even our famous American visitors like former Mayor Rudy Giuliani, whom she deems 'cool.' "

While it is true that Giuliani hasn't disclosed the particulars of his Qatar business, he and others at the firm have been bragging about it for years, presumably on the assumption that mentioning good-paying clients is the best way to generate more of the same. Giuliani told South Africa's Business Times in June 2006, for example, that he'd "recently helped Qatar" to transform Doha in preparation for the Asian Games, an Olympics- sanctioned, 45-country competition that occurred last December. He was in Johannesburg in part to offer to do the same before South Africa hosts the 2010 World Cup. "They had the same concerns as you," he said at the Global Leaders Africa summit, "and I helped them pull things together. You can see not only how they pulled together physical things that were necessary, such as stadiums, but how they used the plan to improve their security."

Richard Bradshaw, a consulting-services manager for an Australian security firm that played a two-and-a-half-year role in planning the Asian Games, says that "the ministry of the interior is essentially the chief ministry in charge of internal security"—for the games and other matters. Bradshaw says that he "heard the name of Giuliani Partners quoted in this town," but that he knew nothing directly about their Asian Games involvement, adding that "maybe they just dealt with high levels in the government." But Hassan Sidibe, the interior ministry's press officer, says that a special organizing committee handled contracts for the Asian Games and that "the minister of interior was part of that committee."

In addition to specific references to the natural-gas and Asian Games deals, Giuliani Partners has hinted at broader ties to Qatar. A New York Post story in January that was filled with quotes about Giuliani Partners' clients from Michael Hess, a managing partner at the firm, reported that Giuliani himself "has given advice from Qatar to Spain." Another Post story in May reported that Giuliani had made lucrative speeches in 30 countries—which he does in addition to his Giuliani Partners business—and named Qatar as one of those locations. A New York Times story in January, also laced with Hess quotes, reported that Pasquale J. D'Amuro, the ex-FBI chief who replaced Bernard Kerik as the head of Giuliani's security division, "has traveled to meet with executives in Japan, Qatar, and other nations, often focusing on clients who seek the firm out for advice on how to protect against a terrorist attack." Any of these dealings in Qatar that involved security would necessarily connect the firm with the interior ministry run by Abdallah al-Thani.

Peter Boyer, whose New Yorker profile of Giuliani appeared this August, quoted D'Amuro and Giuliani about the expertise and work of Ali Soufan, an Arabic-speaking Lebanese-American who also left the FBI to become the international director of Giuliani Security. Both D'Amuro and Giuliani said that Soufan, the lead investigator in the bombing of the U.S.S. Cole in 2000, had been spending "most of his time" in a Persian Gulf country that is a Giuliani client. Boyer didn't identify the country, but another source familiar with Soufan's assignment has confirmed that Soufan has, until recently, been based in Qatar. "The firm has helped the country with training, and with a revamping of its security infrastructure," Boyer wrote. "The locale is an ideal listening post for someone whose expertise is unraveling the tangle of international terror." Soufan was the firm's point man with the royal family, according to another former FBI operative, even providing security advice for Her Highness Sheikha Mozah bint Nasser Al Missned, the emir's favorite of his three wives.

Gulf States Newsletter, a respected news publication in the region, used similar language this October to describe the firm's business in Qatar. Closing a lengthy piece of boosterism that assessed who was getting security contracts in Qatar, the newsletter cited a sole example "in the field of high-end consultancy," namely what it called "well-partnered players like Giuliani Associates." It said the firm had, "through a combination of luck and good positioning, become trusted partners" of the Qatari government. The "key lesson for any security sector incomer," concluded the newsletter, is that "in Qatar it is necessary but not sufficient to be technically competent. As ever, it may be who you know, not what you know, that wins the day."

Despite this ample supply of evidence, Sunny Mindel, the firm's spokeswoman, denied in a November 11 Post story that Giuliani Partners "had any ties to Qatar Petroleum." Mindel may have meant that the company's business in Qatar had come to an end, parsing her verbs carefully, or she may have been denying that the contract came directly from the petroleum entity, suggesting that the government itself paid for this security advice. Mindel's elusive answers are consistent with other efforts by the company to conceal the Qatar deals, even as Giuliani and others have occasionally talked openly about them. These efforts suggest that Giuliani is aware the association could prove disquieting, even without the embarrassing connection to the notorious KSM.

The best example of how Giuliani's Qatar ties could prove disastrous for his presidential candidacy occurred a year ago, at the opening of the Asian Games on December 1, 2006, eleven days after Giuliani registered his presidential exploratory committee. Ben Smith, then of the Daily News and now with, obtained a detailed internal memo from the Giuliani campaign in January, and it contained a travel schedule. Smith wrote that "Giuliani spent the first weekend in December in Doha, Qatar, at the Qatari-government sponsored Asian Games, on which he had reportedly worked as a consultant." Giuliani's calendar indicates that he arrived in Qatar on December 2 and left on December 3, heading to Las Vegas to address the state's GOP. The Qatari government spent $2.8 billion to host the games, building a massive sports complex with security very much in mind. "We have 8,000 well-trained security members and the latest technology that were used in the Olympics," said a security spokesman.

Giuliani was among his friends special guest that included Iranian Prime Minister, Palestinian prime minister and and Syrian president and representitives from Hammas.

On December 1, the day before Giuliani arrived, the emir's special guests at the lavish opening, attended by 55,000, were Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Palestinian prime minister Ismail Haniyeh and Syrian president Bashar Assad, all of whom are Qatar allies and were pictured sitting together on television. Giuliani's presence that weekend wasn't noted in news coverage at the time, even though his firm had apparently provided security advice for an event that included Ahmadinejad, whose country Giuliani has since promised to "set back five years" should it pursue its nuclear program. Ahmadinejad was later assailed by opponents in his own country for watching a female song-and-dance show that was part of the opening extravaganza. The presence of Hamas's Haniyeh, who attended private meetings with the emir while Giuliani was in Qatar, might also have been embarrassing to Giuliani, since Qatar agreed to pay $22.5 million a month to cover the salaries of 40,000 Palestinian teachers, as well as to create a bank in the territories with a $50 million initial deposit. This break in the boycott against Hamas orchestrated by the U.S. and Israel prompted a stern rebuke from the State Department on December 5.

While Qatar's emir has allowed the U.S. to locate its central command and other strategic facilities in the country, including the largest pre-positioning base in the region, his government was also the only member of the U.N. Security Council to oppose the July 2006 resolution that called on Iran to suspend all nuclear research and development activities. Indeed, Iran and Qatar share the North Field/South Pars natural-gas deposit off the Qatari coast, the very one that includes the Giuliani-advised Ras Laffan project. Similarly, the emir praised the Hezbollah resistance in Lebanon during the 2006 war with Israel, calling it "the first Arab victory, something we had longed for," and he visited southern Lebanon after the war, meeting with families and giving away $250 million to rebuild destroyed homes. While Qatar had allowed Israel to open a small trade mission in Doha amid much fanfare in the mid-'90s, it had virtually shut down the office by 2000, and the last of the Israeli envoys left in 2003.

Also Giuliani friends happily host one of Interpol's moist wanted Saddam Hussein's wife, Sajida Khayrallah Tilfa

Also, Saddam Hussein's wife, Sajida Khayrallah Tilfa, lives in Qatar, in defiance of an Interpol arrest warrant and her appearance on the Iraqi government's 2006 most-wanted list for allegedly providing financial support to Iraqi insurgents, according to an October 2007 report by the Congressional Research Service. Invited with her daughter to Qatar by the deputy prime minister, she has not returned to Iraq despite an extradition demand issued months before Giuliani's December visit.

Another potentially uncomfortable Giuliani visit to Doha also stayed under the radar. On January 16, 2006, Giuliani visited the Aspire Academy for Sports Excellence and the Aspire Zone, the largest sports dome in the world, built for the Asian Games as well as future international events (including the Olympic Games, which Qatar hopes to host someday). Giuliani praised the academy, which he called "a fantastic achievement," adding that he was "looking forward to seeing it develop in the coming years." Aspire's communications director says that Giuliani "spent more than an hour and a half" touring its facilities, adding that the former mayor "spoke very eloquently." But even putting his stamp of approval on such apparently benign facilities could come back to bite Giuliani: The academy, a $1.3 billion facility designed to move Qatar into the top ranks of international soccer, has been denounced in unusually blunt terms by Sepp Blatter, the head of world football's governing body, FIFA. Blatter called Qatar's "establishment of recruitment networks"—using 6,000 staff members to assess a half-million young footballers in seven African countries and then moving the best to Qatar—"a good example of exploitation."

The Aspire facilities were part of the Asian Games security preparations that Giuliani told the Business Times his firm had participated in planning, since the dome allowed 10 sports to be staged simultaneously under one roof. But even the notice of Giuliani's January appearance, which was posted on the website of an English newspaper there, made no mention of his consulting work for the government. The ex-FBI source says that Giuliani's secretive security work in Qatar—which also includes vulnerability assessments on port facilities in Doha and pipeline security—would necessarily have involved the interior ministry.

A case officer in the CIA's Directorate of Operations for nearly 19 years, Robert Baer—who calls Qatar "the center of intrigue in the Gulf"—laid out the KSM escape story in his 2003 book, Sleeping with the Devil. His source was Hamad bin Jasim bin Hamad al-Thani, a close relative of the emir who was once the finance minister and chief of police. (An exile living in Beirut in 1997 when Baer began a relationship with him, Hamad al-Thani has since been captured by Qatar and is serving a life sentence for attempting to overthrow the emir.) Hamad told Baer that Abdallah al-Thani, whom he described as "a fanatic Wahhabi," had taken KSM "under his wing" and that the emir had ordered Hamad to help Abdallah. He gave 20 blank Qatari passports to Abdallah, who he said gave them to KSM. "As soon as the FBI showed up in Doha" in 1996, the emir, according to Hamad, ordered Abdallah to move KSM out of his apartment to his beach estate, and eventually out of the country. "Flew the coop. Sayonara," Hamad concluded.

Baer's account of how KSM got away is the most far-reaching, implicating the emir himself. Since KSM "moved his family to Qatar at the suggestion" of Abdallah al-Thani, according to the 9/11 Commission, and held a job at the Ministry of Electricity and Water, Baer's account is hardly implausible. The commission even found that Abdallah ah-Thani "underwrote a 1995 trip KSM took to join the Bosnia jihad." Bill Gertz, the Washington Times reporter whose ties to the Bush White House are well established, affirmed Baer's version in his 2002 book, Breakdown. Another CIA agent, Melissa Boyle Mahle, who was assigned to the KSM probe in Qatar in 1995, said that she tried to convince the FBI to do a snatch operation rather than taking the diplomatic approach, concerned about "certain Qatari officials known for their sympathies for Islamic extremists." Instead, "Muhammad disappeared immediately after the request to the government was made," making it "obvious to me what had happened." Louis Freeh's book says simply: "We believe he was tipped off; but however he got away, it was a slipup with tragic consequences." Neither Mahle nor Freeh named names.

Counter terrorism czar Richard Clarke so mistrusted the Qataris that he plotted an extraordinary rendition, but the FBI, CIA, and Defense Department said they couldn’t pull it off. Then he asked the ambassador to “obtain the Emir’s approval for a snatch, without the word getting to anyone else.” Despite assurances that “only a few senior officials knew about our plan, KSM learned of it and fled the country ahead of the FBI’s arrest team’s arrival,” Clarke concluded in his book, Against All Enemies. “We were of course outraged at Qatari security and assumed the leak came from within the palace.” Clarke noted that “one report” indicated that KSM had evaporated on a passport supplied by Abdallah al-Thani’s Islamic-affairs ministry. When Clarke was told by the Los Angeles Times in 2003 that Abdallah had been elevated to interior minister, he said: “I’m shocked to hear that. You’re telling me that al-Thani is in charge of security inside Qatar. I hope that’s not true.” Having just left the Bush administration, Clarke added that Abdallah “had great sympathy for bin Laden, great sympathy for terrorist groups, [and] was using his personal money and ministry money to transfer to al Qaeda front groups that were allegedly charities.” The Los Angeles Times quoted “several U.S. officials involved in the hunt” for KSM who fingered Abdallah as “the one who learned of the imminent FBI dragnet and tipped off Muhammad.”

Even earlier than the Los Angeles Times report, ABC News' Brian Ross reported that Abdallah had warned KSM, citing American intelligence officials, and added that KSM had left Qatar "with a passport provided by that country's government." Ross didn't limit his broadside to Abdallah, saying that "there were others in the Qatari royal family who were sympathetic and provided safe havens for Al Qaeda." A New York Times story in 2003 said that Abdallah "harbored as many as 100 Arab extremists on his farm." The story also quoted Freeh as saying that KSM had "over 20 false passports at his disposal" and cited American officials who suspected Abdallah of tipping him off. However, the Times story also quoted a Qatari official who claimed that Abdallah "always provided support for Islamic extremists with the knowledge and acceptance of Qatar's emir."

Indeed, the Times reported in another 2003 story that after 9/11, KSM was said by Saudi intelligence officials to have "spent two weeks hiding in Qatar, with the help of prominent patrons." Abdul Karim al-Thani, a royal family member who did not hold a government post, was also accused in the story of operating a safe house for Abu Massab al-Zarqawi, who later became the face of the early Iraqi insurgency but was depicted then as an Al Qaeda operative moving from Baghdad to Afghanistan. Abdul al-Thani, according to a senior coalition official, provided Qatari passports and a million-dollar bank account to finance the network.

Other connections between Qatar and terrorism have been reported in the press. Newsweek identified an Iraqi living in Doha and working at Abdallah's Islamic-affairs ministry as being detained by Qatar police because of the ties he had to 9/11 hijackers—yet he was released even though phone records linked him as well to the 1993 bombers and the so-called "Bojinka" plot hatched in Manila to blow up civilian airlines. A Chechen terrorist financier harbored in Qatar was assassinated there by a Russian hit squad in 2004. Yousef Qardawi, a cleric with a talk show on Al Jazeera and ties to the emir, issued a fatwa against Americans the same year. An engineer at Qatar Petroleum carried out a suicide bomb attack at a theater popular with Westerners in early 2005, killing one and wounding 12.

Finally, the long-smoldering question of whether Osama bin Laden played a role in the 1996 bombing of the American barracks at Khobar Towers—funneling 20 tons of C-4 explosives into Saudi Arabia through Qatar—resurfaced in a story based intelligence reports and endorsed by none other than Dick Cheney. In 2003, Steven Hayes of The Weekly Standard wrote a celebrated story based on a 16-page Defense Department intelligence assessment. The thrust of the story was to advance the administration's thesis about Al Qaeda's ties to Iraq, but Hayes also found that in a January 1996 visit to Qatar, Osama bin Laden "discussed the successful movement of explosives into Saudi Arabia, and operations targeted against U.S. interests" in Khobar and two other locations, "using clandestine al Qaeda cells in Saudi Arabia." The 2007 CRS study says that it is "unclear" if those conversations were "related to the preparations for the June 1996 attack" that killed 19 servicemen, but that the "Qatari individual" who reportedly hosted bin Laden for these discussions was none other than Abdallah al-Thani. Bill Gertz and others have been writing for years that the path to the carnage at Khobar led through Doha.

The Khobar attack closely followed an unsuccessful coup attempt against the emir on February 20, 1996, which Qatar officials, in later criminal prosecutions, formally accused Saudi Arabia of fomenting. Analysts in the region have suggested that any use of Qatar as a launching pad for the Khobar attack so soon after the coup attempt was likely to have been approved at the highest levels of the government. In October 1996, within months of both the KSM escape and the Khobar bombing, Abdallah al-Thani got his first major promotion, elevated by the emir to Minister of State for Interior Affairs, a cabinet position.

All of this evidence of Qatar's role as a facilitator of terrorism—reaching even to the emir himself—was reported well before Giuliani Partners began its business there "around 2005." Yet even the New York Times story, filled with quotes from Giuliani's friend Freeh, didn't deter him. Nor did the firm's retention of D'Amuro and Soufan, two ex-FBI counterterrorism experts who certainly knew the terror landscape of Qatar.

Soufan, in fact, was the primary investigator who assembled the case against the terrorists who bombed American embassies in Africa in 1998. And the testimony in that 2001 trial established that the Qatar Charitable Society, a nongovernmental agency that is said to "draw much of its funding from official sources," helped finance the attack. Daniel Pipes, a foreign-policy adviser to the Giuliani campaign, has branded the Qatar Charitable Society "one of bin Laden's de facto banks." Reached at home and asked about his work in Qatar, Soufan declined to comment.

Even the revelations about Khobar Towers didn't slow Giuliani down, though he's subsequently made the bombing a central feature in his stump-speech litany of the Clinton administration's failings. Giuliani also ignored an official State Department report on terrorism for 2003—released in mid-2004, just before his firm began doing business in Qatar—which said that the country's security services "monitored extremists passively," and that "members of transnational terrorist groups and state sponsors of terror are present in Qatar." The report added that Qatar's government "remains cautious about taking any action that would cause embarrassment or public scrutiny" when nationals from the Gulf countries were involved. (Later reports issued by the new secretary of state, Condoleezza Rice, moderated the department's Qatar assessment.) Also in 2004, Michael Knights, an analyst at the Washington Institute who works with the Defense Department, wrote that a "Wahhabi clique" tied to extremists "is still in charge [in Qatar], and seeded the security establishment with personnel of their choosing." But even this strong, specific warning didn't deter Giuliani Partners' interest in Qatar.

Presumably, Giuliani's rationale for doing business there was that Qatar had become an American ally, hosting up to 40,000 troops. The CRS report put the complexity of the relationship well, noting that American concerns about Qatari support for terrorists "have been balanced over time by Qatar's counterterrorism efforts and its broader, long-term commitment to host and support U.S. military forces." In a footnote, the CRS report adds that the emir may finally be downplaying Abdallah al-Thani's influence, even as he reappointed him this year. The U.S. government may have to be satisfied with that suggestion of progress; it does not have limitless military options in the Middle East. (The emir, for his part, once reportedly explained his willingness to host U.S. forces by saying: "The only way we can be sure the Americans will answer our 911 call is if we have the police at our own house.")

Giuliani Partners, however, has a world of choices, quite literally. Some American companies who do business in Qatar, like Shell and ExxonMobil, have to chase the gas and oil wherever they are. But a consulting company with instant name recognition like Giuliani's—and which claims to carefully vet its clients—can be both profitable and selective. Moreover, it's the only American company known to be providing security advice to Qatar; the rest hail from Singapore, Australia, and France. A company headed by a man who has known that he would make this presidential run for years—and with 9/11 as its rationale—could have chosen to make his millions elsewhere. Especially a candidate who divides the world into good guys and bad guys, claims that this war is a "divine" mission, and shuns complexity. For that kind of a candidate, Qatar may become one Giuliani contradiction too many.

From Publishers Weekly
The terrorist attacks of 9/11 provided Rudy Giuliani with a Churchillian political opportunity: while Bush was whisked away by the Secret Service, Giuliani seized the moment, striding stalwartly along ruined streets, an image which may well propel him to the White House. Barrett and Collins' investigation proves an illuminating counterpoint to Giuliani's unofficial christening as "America's Mayor," highlighting the critical errors Guiliani made before, during and after the attack. According to the authors, that memorable image-Rudy among the ruins-hides a multitude of sins: in the event of a terrorist attack, Giuliani should have been directing police, fire and emergency services from the city's high-tech underground emergency management center; unfortunately, Giuliani had insisted that that secure center be located at the World Trade Center. Political infighting between police and fire departments went unchecked, preventing coordination between first responders, and Giuliani's rush to return New York to business as usual (fearing that Wall Street might relocate) may have seriously impaired the health of returning workers and residents. The Giuliani who emerges from these pages-shrewd, calculating, indomitable-remains an impressive figure, but one that will give voters pause. Barrett and Collins provide a critique of one of the lions of 9/11, proving that serious investigation and old-fashioned muckraking are still powerful and necessary weapons.

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

McCain : We must take the high ground in regards to prisoner treatments

In the YouTube Republican debate Governor Rommney is asked about waterboarding.

Senenetor McCain response is right on. We as Americans must take the high ground. This is a defining issue about what America is about. It is clear that different people have different opinions about this - Cheney, Bush, Rumsfeld and it seems Romney disrespect the Geneva conventions rules that were set up not only to protect the military of foreign nations- but our soldiers too. By disrespecting the Geneva convention- you are disrespecting OUR SOLDIERS AND PUTTING THEM AT GREATER RISK.

"We will never allow torture to take place in the United States of America"

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Bush moves ahead with plans for continued military precense in Iraqma

In brief: President Bush is trying to push foreward his agenda forperminent millitary precence in Iraq through a proposed agreements with Iraq Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki.

Maliki announced in Baghdad on Monday that the United Nations mandate setd 2008 as the final year for US-led forces to operate in Iraq . Malki then said that the UN mandate will be replaced by a new bilateral arrangement with Washington formalising US-Iraq economic, political, and security relations including American military presence in the country beyond 2008.

The nonbinding statement sets out the framework for talks on a formal pact. Those talks will address thorny issues such as what mission U.S. forces in Iraq will pursue, whether they will establish permanent bases, and what kind of immunity, if any, should be granted to private security contractors such as Blackwater Worldwide. Lute said a special negotiating team would seek to craft such an agreement by July 31.

A new agreement would not signal an end to the U.S. mission here. But it could change the rules under which U.S. soldiers operate and give the Iraqis a greater role in determining the troops' mission. Iraqi officials foresee a long-term presence of about 50,000 U.S. troops, down from the current figure of more than 160,000. The statement/pact envisions Iraq emerging from the oversight of the Security Council for the first time since Hussein invaded Kuwait in 1990. Many Iraqi leaders bristle that their country still falls under what is known as a Chapter 7 designation as a threat to international peace and security.

This could provide a windfall for U.S. investors if Iraq could achieve enough stability to exploit its vast oil resources. Such a deal would also enable the United States to maintain leverage against Iranian expansion at a time of growing fears about Tehran's nuclear aspirations.

Hillary Clinton and Nacy Pelosi Speak out against the Pact

Nancy Pelosi, speaker of the Democratic-led House of Representatives on Monday condemned Bush over the pact. "President Bush's agreement with the Iraqi government confirms his willingness to leave office with a US army tied down in Iraq and stretched to the breaking point, with no clear exit strategy from Iraq," she said.

Democratic presidential front-runner Senator Hillary Clinton on Tuesday warned President George W. Bush a proposed pact with Iraq on extending the US troop presence was "dangerous."

Clinton wrote to the president to express her "great concern" about a statement of principles between Bush and Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki made public on Monday.

The letter came as Democrats, who have spent months demanding troop withdrawals from Iraq, face shifting political sands on the war amid signs of US military progress.

Clinton asked Bush to clarify his statement with Maliki, to confirm that there were no plans to permanently station US forces in Iraq.

"To be clear, attempts to establish permanent bases in Iraq would damage US interests in Iraq and the broader region, and I will continue to strongly oppose such efforts."

Clinton also reminded Bush that the purpose of his troop surge strategy announced earlier this year was to provide space for political reconciliation in Iraq.

"By any meaningful measurement, that political reconciliation has not yet occurred," Clinton wrote.

Iraqi leaders blast new US troop pact

Iraqi political and religious leaders on Tuesday blasted Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki’s agreement with Washington to negotiate a possible extension of the US troop presence in Iraq beyond 2008. The country’s hardline Sunni religious body joined MPs in condemning the agreement by Maliki and US President George W. Bush to consider replacing a UN mandate for foreign forces with a bilateral US-Iraq pact after 2008.

“The Muslim Scholars Association denounces the agreement as the occupier will continue to kill, demolish and humiliate Iraqis,” the Sunni body, which allegedly has links with anti-American insurgent groups, said in a statement. “This will provoke our people who will look at those who signed as collaborators with the occupier.”

Sumaysim’s colleague from the Sadr bloc, Falah Shanshal, said the agreement failed to offer a timetable for the withdrawal of American forces from Iraq. “They must set a schedule for the departure of the US forces from Iraq instead of affirming their presence on Iraqi soil,” he told AFP. “We have said that 2008 must be the last extension for the occupation forces and in that year a schedule must be set for the overall leaving of occupation forces from Iraq.”

Sunni lawmaker Dhafir al-Ani from the main National Concord Front, the main Sunni political faction in parliament, said the pact would give US the right to “interfere” in Iraq for a long time.

“We have reservations on the agreement as it is signed between non-equal parties. It will give the US a chance to interfere in different aspects” of Iraq, he said.

Sheikh Ahmed Abdul Ghafour al-Samarraie, head of the Sunni endowment in Iraq – which controls religious shrines across the country, said US forces should leave only after the local forces are fully trained. “The US forces have to build an Iraqi police and army force that is balanced,” he told AFP. Several Sunni leaders are hoping that the thousands of Sunni men who have joined a US programme of training up neighbourhood watch-type guards will be later absorbed in the legitimate Iraqi forces. Around 70,000 Iraqis, mostly Sunni Arabs, have joined the “concerned local citizens” groups formed by the US military to fight al-Qaeda and to guard local infrastructure.

Liwa Sumaysim, an MP from the political group of anti-American Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, insisted that Maliki stick to his pledge that parliament have the final say on any deal reached with the United States. “We have strong reservations on the pact, although it is a non-binding one. The Iraqi parliament must have the final word on it,” he said.

Sumaysim’s colleague from the Sadr bloc, Falah Shanshal, said the agreement failed to offer a timetable for the withdrawal of American forces from Iraq. “They must set a schedule for the departure of the US forces from Iraq instead of affirming their presence on Iraqi soil,” he told AFP. “We have said that 2008 must be the last extension for the occupation forces and in that year a schedule must be set for the overall leaving of occupation forces from Iraq.”

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Bush should not to be blamed for lying

With continual revelations that the Bush administration at best manipulated information, and at worst made up information, as the justification of invading Iraq, it seems to many that the presumptive moral superiority that Bush and Company is out of whack.

But wait, science can explain:

In the new study, detailed in the November issue of the Journal of Applied Psychology, researchers find that when this line between right and wrong is ambiguous among people who think of themselves as having high moral standards, the do-gooders can become the worst of cheaters.

The results recall the seeming disconnect between the words and actions of folks like televangelist and fraud convict Jim Bakker or admitted meth-buyer Ted Haggard, former president of the National Evangelical Association, an umbrella group representing some 45,000 churches.

"The principle we uncovered is that when faced with a moral decision, those with a strong moral identity choose their fate (for good or for bad) and then the moral identity drives them to pursue that fate to the extreme," said researcher Scott Reynolds of the University of Washington Business School in Seattle. "So it makes sense that this principle would help explain what makes the greatest of saints and the foulest of hypocrites." (1)

The President, or rather the person who takes on that role, seems inclined to fall into presumptive moral superiority - and not just George W. Bush. Past Presidents have displayed the disregard for truth on their drive to press their (or the United Sates) moral superiority onto others.

The author Howard Zinn points out:"President Polk lied to the nation about the reason for going to war with Mexico in 1846. It wasn't that Mexico "shed American blood upon the American soil" but that Polk, and the slave-owning aristocracy, coveted half of Mexico.

President McKinley lied in 1898 about the reason for invading Cuba, saying we wanted to liberate the Cubans from Spanish control, but the truth is that he really wanted Spain out of Cuba so that the island could be open to United Fruit and other American corporations. He also lied about the reasons for our war in the Philippines, claiming we only wanted to "civilize" the Filipinos, while the real reason was to own a valuable piece of real estate in the far Pacific, even if we had to kill hundreds of thousands of Filipinos to accomplish that.

President Wilson lied about the reasons for entering the First World War, saying it was a war to "make the world safe for democracy," when it was really a war to make the world safe for the rising American power.

President Truman lied when he said the atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima because it was "a military target."

And everyone lied about Vietnam -- President Kennedy about the extent of our involvement, President Johnson about the Gulf of Tonkin and President Nixon about the secret bombing of Cambodia. They all claimed the war was to keep South Vietnam free of communism, but really wanted to keep South Vietnam as an American outpost at the edge of the Asian continent.

President Reagan lied about the invasion of Grenada, claiming falsely that it was a threat to the United States.

The elder Bush lied about the invasion of Panama, leading to the death of thousands of ordinary citizens in that country. And he lied again about the reason for attacking Iraq in 1991 -- hardly to defend the integrity of Kuwait, rather to assert U.S. power in the oil-rich Middle East.(2)

So in retrospect it was not George W. Bush and his cronies to blame for lying to the nation about Iraq, it was in their human nature.

People almost lie reflexively," University of Massachusetts psychologist Robert Feldman. reports. . "They don't think about it as part of their normal social discourse." But it is, the research showed. "It's tied in with self-esteem," says Feldman. "We find that as soon as people feel that their self-esteem is threatened, they immediately begin to lie at higher levels." (3)

President George W. Bush has low self esteem, for a variety of reasons. So it's not going to be in his nature to tell the truth.

Another problem with low self esteem is that the feeling of being seen as a looser can cause Mr. Bush's reluctance to bring the troops home, to grow. It Mr. Bush and his cronies who are pushing the idea that pulling troops out of Iraq would be conceding "defeat" and would mean that the American blood shed over there was in vain (Iraqi lives don't enter into the equation). Forgetting the fact that the two main reasons we went over there:

* Guaranteed that Iraq does not possess stockpiles of illicit weapons, including those which Donald Rumsfeld said were known to be "in the area around Tikrit and Baghdad and east, west, south and north somewhat"

* Deposed the evil dictator (the one we helped to power and supported for three decades), and killed his devil-spawn sons.

have been achieved.

Unfortunately for Mr. Bush, his stay the course policy, works against him. The majorities of Americans now say that it is no longer possible for the U.S. to "win" in Iraq (whatever that means) and favor a timetable for pulling troops out. And as polls show Bush' popularity decreasing, his self esteem lowers and he falls prey to another consequence of low self esteem -increased materialism.

Researchers have found that low self-esteem and materialism are not just a correlation, but also a causal relationship where low self esteem increases materialism.(4) On the world stage, for Mr. Bush this does not mean products, but countries. It is therefore not truly his fault that he feels the need to attack and occupy another country such as Iran - he can't help himself.

Luckily for the world Mr. Bush's time leading the United States is coming to an end.

And as we face our next election we should consider other findings in the scientific research:"Men lie no more than women, but they tend to lie to make themselves look better, while women are more likely to lie to make the other person feel better." We must realize therefore that we are doomed to be lead by lie-rs and our choice will be what types of lies we would prefer to hear.

If polled and asked of our feelings towards the current President, we should stand on higher moral grounds and lie - saying we love and respect him and think he has done and is doing a great job - in hopes of shifting Mr. Bush's prerogatives during his final days.

by Paul Grant (follower of Basho)


2. Howard Zinn

also referenced:

Recommended Books:

With the Bush administration in permanent crisis, a renowned Washington psychoanalyst updates his portrait of George W.'s public persona—and how it has damaged the presidency.

Insightful and accessible, courageous and controversial, Bush on the Couch sheds startling new light on George W. Bush's psyche and its impact on the way he governs, tackling head-on the question few seem willing to ask: Is our president psychologically fit to run the country? With an eye for the subtleties of human behavior sharpened by thirty years of clinical practice, Dr. Justin A. Frank traces the development of Bush's character from childhood through his presidency, identifying and analyzing his patterns of thought, action, and communication. The result is a troubling portrait filled with important revelations about our nation's leader—including disturbing new insights into:

* How Bush reacted to the 2006 Democratic sweep in Congress with a new surge of troops into Iraq
* His telling habits and coping strategies—from his persistent mangling of English to his tendency to "go blank" in the midst of crisis
* The tearful public breakdown of his father, George H. W. Bush, and what it says about the former president's relationship to his prominent sons
* The debacle of Katrina—the moment when Bush's arrogance finally failed him

With a new introduction and afterword, Bush on the Couch offers the most thorough and candid portrait to date of arguably the most psychologically damaged president since Nixon.

Howard Zinn, who served as a bombardier in the Air Force in World War II, is the author of "A People's History of the United States" (HarperCollins, 1995). He is also the co-author, with Anthony Arnove, of "Voices of a People's History of the United States" (Seven Stories Press, 2004).

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