Saturday, October 14, 2006

Will be silent till November


Saturday, October 07, 2006

We have been warned?

Taliban official warns of Ramazan attack on US

By our correspondent

PESHAWAR: The head of the Islamabad-based Al-Quds Media Centre has received an audio message from a senior Taliban leader in which he asked Muslims living in the US to leave the country as soon as possible “because God’s punishment would fall on America in the month of Ramazan.”

Jamal Ismail, a senior journalist who once worked for Al-Jazeera television channel and is now head of the Al-Quds Media Centre, told The News that he received a phone call Thursday from Taliban leader Mulla Masoom Afghani. “Afghani said he was speaking from somewhere in Kandahar province. He read out the message in Arabic, which I recorded. In it he advised Muslim residents of America to get out to escape harm because the US could face big attacks in the month of Ramazan,” said Jamal Ismail.

According to Jamal Ismail, it was the first time that Afghani, who is head of the pro-Taliban clerics’ consultative council and the former ambassador of Afghanistan to Pakistan, had conveyed such a message. “Afghani didn’t say that it was a dream. It appeared that he strongly believed that America was going to face punishment at the hands of Allah,” he explained.

Id ul-Fitr is October 24 (in India).

Still fighting the Civil War

Over on Colonel Lang's, there was a discussion of the American Civil War 1861-1865 - it has been taken down and even in google cache it is a fading memory.

The protagonist's argument was the war was because of an unreasonable North. The Constitution was on the side of the South, it allowed slavery. States' Rights meant that the states determined if they wanted slavery or not. Slavery would have been eventually abolished in an Independent South because it would want to stay part of the Western world. And Britain and France had managed to abolish slavery without any war.

There was another side with good arguments too. But what I want to say is that that last bit was too much for me, and I sent in a reply which went approximately like this:

"Britain and France managed to abolish slavery without secession either. Let's see - the slave trade was banned in 1808, the British banned slavery in 1838, the French banned slavery in 1848, and here in 1861, over a dying institution by then generally recognized in the West as morally reprehensible the Southerners wanted to secede? One has to wonder where they kept their brains and their hearts."

Next I check, the whole post has vanished. I cannot say that my comment was the trigger, but I can say that my IP address is banned from making comments on that blog.

I suppose the fact that the Confederacy seems rational only to its descendants and not to any outside observer is unbearable.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Condi shoots self in foot!

Bob Woodward's new book claims that CIA Director Tenet took the initiative to give then-National Security Adviser (and now Secretary of State) Condoleeza Rice an emergency briefing about the terrorist threat on July 10, 2001. According to Woodward, Tenet was brushed off. Woodward also claimed that the 9/11 Commission was not told about this meeting.

The State Department trolls rose to the defense of their boss. Spokesman Sean McCormack said that the records confirmed that the meeting took place, that the 9/11 Commisson was told about the meeting, and most importantly for Rice's reputation that "far from ignoring Mr. Tenet’s warnings, Ms. Rice acted on the intelligence and requested that Mr. Tenet make the same presentation to Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld and John Ashcroft, then the attorney general." (quote from the NYT).

But Ms Rice had already spoken. She did not recall the meeting, and found it incomprehensible that we think she might have ignored the terrorist threat.

""What I am quite certain of is that I would remember if I was told, as this account apparently says, that there was about to be an attack in the United States, and the idea that I would somehow have ignored that I find incomprehensible," Rice said." (quote from Mother Jones).

Added later:

Further, the White House took the stand (see here) that this meeting did not take place, because it is not mentioned in the 9/11 Commission Report.

MYTH #3: Woodward Claims Condoleezza Rice Brushed Off George Tenet And Cofer Black's July 2001 Warning About Al Qaeda. (Bob Woodward, State Of Denial, 2006)

FACT: According To State Department Spokesman Sean McCormack, The Recollections Portrayed By Woodward Do Not Reflect Tenet And Black's 9/11 Commission Testimony. "But Rice and other State Department officials denied [Woodward's claim], noting that the report of the Sept. 11 commission, which had sworn testimony from Tenet and others at the meeting, made no mention of the July 10 encounter. 'The recollections as portrayed in the Woodward book in no way reflect the public and private testimony under oath of those individuals to the 9/11 commission,' said Sean McCormack, the State Department spokesman." (David E. Sanger, "White House Disputes Book's Account Of Rifts On Iraq," The New York Times, 9/30/06