December 7, 2007 archive

Iran NIE and the Hall of Mirrors

Crossposted at Invictus

More than one author has described writing about the intelligence world as akin to walking into a hall of mirrors. It’s difficult to know what’s what, who to believe, or even know where you stand. Truths are fungible. Lies are opaque versions of tomorrow’s news.

When the U.S. released its limited version of the latest National Intelligence Estimate on Iran, the revelation that Iran does not have a working nuclear arms program landed with a thud upon the collective heads of the D.C. pundits. Bush’s pugnacious news conference which followed, wherein he repeated ad nauseaum his intention that Iran never get the “knowledge” to construct a nuclear weapon, signalled no real change in direction from the administration that was only weeks before dangling World War III before the glazed eyes of a fearful electorate.

In discussions with colleagues, I was struck by the fact that the authorship of the new NIE was from the same man who wrote the previous NIE, and the same man who assured the administration that there was a nuclear weapons program in Saddam Hussein’s Iraq, CIA stalwart, Robert Walpole, who was (if he in fact is still), according to the Washington Post, “chief CIA officer for nuclear programs”. In other words, I smelled a rat.  

“Here” Is Just As Important As “There”

Firecrow & I stopped watching television over a year ago during which we vowed only to turn it on when

Extreme Makeover:Home Edition played on Sunday nights.

We call it our crying show as he & I spend the entire show passing kleenex to each other.  These individuals are doing some wonderful good in the world.  Obviously, ABC would not continue show this unless it was making a pretty substantial profit; we try not to focus on that.  People must be watching and supporting the project.

 Not viewing TV does not mean we live in a bubble, with no world information. We have the internets:the tubes.  And no commercials:the best part.  The obscene nature of blaring commercials is enough to cause my blood pressure to rise.  Even viewing the one show we do watch, we have to mute the commercials when they come on.  It’s all buy, buy, buy–but that’s a diary in itself.

One of his students asked Buddha, “Are you the messiah?”

“No”, answered Buddha.

“Then are you a healer?”

“No”, Buddha replied.

“Then are you a teacher?” the student persisted.

“No, I am not a teacher.”

“Then what are you?” asked the student, exasperated.

“I am awake”, Buddha replied.

The wealth of information coming at us on a given day can be overwhelming and takes some time to weed through with a healthy dose of skepticism.  This can be time-consuming, but we’re not spending mindless hours in front of the propaganda box, so it balances.  

 I don’t need to point out to the readers at Docudharma all the issues that face our world.  We read and research all of them on a daily basis.  Each of us has our passionate buttons for issues which we share very readily here which allows all of us to become more richly informed.  The value of this site, for me, has truly been immeasurable.  I know Firecrow feels the same.

Go Forward With Courage

When you are in doubt, be still, and wait;

when doubt no longer exists for you, then go forward with courage.

So long as mists envelop you, be still;

be still until the sunlight pours through and dispels the mists

— as it surely will.

Then act with courage.

Ponca Chief White Eagle (1800’s to 1914)

 Because there are so many issues I feel passionately about:addiction, hunger, war, poverty, racism, the environment;  I have found myself overcome by my lack of ability to just get up and go help “there”, wherever “there” may happen to be.  My resources, or lack thereof, limits my get-up-and-go power.  Working in the addiction field, the holiday season brings tighter strings on the money coming in as my clients would like to try to salvage some holiday cheer that does not come in the form of a bottle.

Firecrow–who is a union sheet-metal foreman of a shop–is the main bread winner of the compound and work has been slow these past several weeks.  With gas prices as they are and these circumstances, we are feeling the crunch.  

It does not change our want to help where help is so desparately needed.  This was our dilemma.

“Whenever you become empowered,

you will be tested.”

~ Caroline Myss ~

Difficulties are opportunities to better things,

they are stepping stones to greater experience.

Perhaps some day you will be thankful

for some temporary failure in a particular direction.

When one door closes,

another always opens,

as a natural law it has to be, to balance.

~ Brian Adams (from ‘How to Succeed’) ~

 Follow me over the fold if you’ve ever felt the need to assist somewhere and could not…


Four at Four

Some news and afternoon open thread.

  1. Get ready for more sternly worded letters! The New York Times reports Angry Democrats call for inquiry in destruction of harsh interrogation tapes by the CIA CYA. “Senator Edward M. Kennedy of Massachusetts accused the C.I.A. of ‘a cover-up,’ while Senator Richard J. Durbin of Illinois said it was possible that people at the agency had engaged in obstruction of justice. Both called on Attorney General Michael Mukasey to investigate. ‘We haven’t seen anything like this since the 18½ -minute gap on the tapes of Richard Nixon,’ Mr. Kennedy said in a speech on the Senate floor”. Good ol’ Rep. Jane Harman (D-CA) knew of the tapes back in 2003, but to her knowledge, “the Intelligence Committee was never informed that any videotapes had been destroyed”. My prediction? This will all get swept under the rug to ‘heal’ the nation in January 2009.

  2. The AP reports Senate Republicans filibuster energy bill. “Senators by a 53-42 vote fell short of moving ahead with the legislation passed by the House on Thursday… Senate Republicans have made clear they are strongly opposed to a $21 billion tax package in the House-passed bill, including $13.5 billion in oil industry taxes, as well as a requirement for electric utilities to generate 15 percent of their power by renewable energy such as wind and solar.” Idiots. Of course, the Republicans protect the oil industry! Why won’t Reid actually make these dead-enders actually filibuster around the clock?

  3. The United States has aligned with “developing” nations to thwart any progress in the Bali climate talks. According to the AFP, the US won’t pledge to binding cuts. “A UN conference trying to lay the groundwork for a new climate change pact is unlikely to win any binding pledge by the United States to cut greenhouse gas emissions, its head said Friday. Developing nations are also likely to refuse to commit to mandatory targets on cutting emissions blamed for global warming, said Yvo de Boer, executive secretary of the UN Convention on Climate Change.” I hope America’s idiotic stance changes when Bush leaves.

  4. The Guardian reports Greenpeace calls BP’s oil sands plan an environmental crime. “The Greenpeace warning followed BP’s announcement on Wednesday that it was buying into the tar sands schemes through a deal with Husky Oil, reversing a decision by former chief executive John Browne to stay away from an expensive and environmentally dirty business.”

    “In the tar sands you are looking at the greatest climate crime because not only will these developments produce 100m tonnes of greenhouse gases annually by 2012 but also kill off 147,000 sq km [56,000 sq miles] of forest that is the greatest carbon sink in the world,” said Mike Hudema, a climate campaigner with Greenpeace in Edmonton.

    This truly is eco-terrorism and we’re all too willing to fund it.

One more story below the fold remembering Pearl Harbor.

Impeachment: Kucinich Writes to Conyers! w/poll

This will be a short one, since I’m at work.  Here’s the thing: Dennis has written John Conyers (chair of the House Judiciary Committee) commenting on the fact that the NIE revelations help to cement the charges to be investigated against Dick Cheney!

But oh, how they loved the “sexed up” 2002 Iraq NIE

Much has already been written about the recent NIE and how the United States Intelligence Community is a bunch of lying, terrorist loving conspiracists that don’t have a clue about “real intelligence”.

Yet, these people have such short memories, as they were singing the praises of the NIE back when it was convenient for them to do so.

Let’s start with one similarity, just to dismiss the “Cheney didn’t pressure anyone onthe NIEs and even if he did, they didn’t change. anything” comments that may come.


Pretty Bird Woman House Update: YOU are buying THIS house!

I thought I’d give you an update on what was going on with the fundraiser for this shelter. Georgia Little Shield, the director, has used the money we have raised so far to place a bid on the house you see in the photos below.

We need donations urgently right now since there was only enough money for a really low bid, so that makes things still a bit tenuous. And then there will be closing costs and a security system. But even though we haven’t sealed the deal yet, we’re coming very close!

The amazing part of this project is that the individual efforts of a bunch of bloggers are making such a big difference to a group of women. This is what a community is really about.  And were else can you see donations doing something so huge so fast?  

The Bush years have drained my vitality. I want revenge so I can feel rejuvinated.

I’m feeling just about burned out with progressive activism.

The problem is that there are too many back-stabbers posing as progressives.

We can go all out in our efforts, only to be stepped on by scheming opportunists like a rung on their ladder financial independence.

Look at the big bloggers, how they’ve become beholden to the establishment.

The same guy, Markos Moulitsas, who wrote a book called “Crashing the Gates” is now against impeachment.

Markos lets guys like Dana Houle (DHinMI) – a paid political professional who lives in DC, lecture the real activists in condescending lectures about how dumb we are to expect to impeach Bush.

DHinMI can ban you if you talk back to him after he insults you like you’re a bratty kid and he’s your minder.

That’s what we get for all the time, effort, money we’ve contributed. We get treated like brats.

My message to those arrogant bloggers is this: Fuck you, assholes!

My message to the back-stabbing, Bush Dogs again is: Fuck you, assholes!

I no longer call myself a Democrat, and I probably never will again because some people have insisted on ruining it for the rest of us.

I’m not a Democrat, not a coward, not a torture and war-crime enabler. No, I’m not a Democrat.


Black Gold, Texas Tea, shaper of our world, fuel of all industry, basis of all we know, source of plastic…and our current wars and struggles, the most vital resource of the industrial world, the root of much, if not all of our current woes.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Virtually EVERYTHING we know as ‘civilization’ and the ‘modern world’ we all take for granted is based on it, unless you have gone totally off the grid, your lifestyle is based on it……and it is running out….and the effects of basing OUR life on it are killing the life on our planet…..

And we have no real plan to replace it, no economic or power alternative to turn to in place or really, even on the horizon (in practical terms) as it becomes less available and more expensive and precious. And as the struggle to control of what remains becomes more and more contentious and vicious.

Inside is a series of videos, some funny some serious, one nostalgic…that deals with the impact and consequences that our reliance on this strange black liquid has wrought.

Magic Underwear

People make fun of the prophets.  Here is divine proof that it is not wise:

Turning dirty diapers into diesel fuel

MONTREAL-If a Quebec company has its way, dirty diapers normally destined for landfills will soon be transformed into a cost-effective, synthetic diesel fuel.

It’s not such a stretch, says engineering and project management company AMEC, which is working on behalf of an as yet unnamed client to build a facility in the Montreal area that would use a process known as pyrolysis to convert diapers to diesel.

The concept has been around for ages and is continually changing, says Luciano Piciacchia, an engineer and vice-president with Amec’s Quebec office……

Pony Party, Phone it in Friday

Docudharma Times Friday Dec. 7

This an Open Thread: Please Come In

Headlines for Friday December 7: US says the flow of jihadists into Iraq has been staunched: The Army’s $200 Billion Makeover: C.I.A. Destroyed 2 Tapes Showing Interrogations:Smugglers Build an Underground World: Three prisoners executed in Japan

US says the flow of jihadists into Iraq has been staunched

· Country’s neighbours have taken action, Petraeus says

· Insurgent attacks at 2005 levels since October

Michael Howard in Baghdad

Friday December 7, 2007

The Guardian

The number of foreign jihadists entering Iraq has fallen by nearly half in recent months as a result of tougher action by the country’s neighbours and the rejection of the “al-Qaida brand” by ordinary Iraqis, the commander of US forces in Iraq said yesterday.

General David Petraeus told the Guardian in an interview that attacks in Iraq had fallen to levels not seen since early 2005, and that “ethno-sectarian violence” which had “surged off the charts” following the bombing of the Samara mosque in February 2006 had now “fallen dramatically”.


The Army’s $200 Billion Makeover

March to Modernize Proves Ambitious and Controversial

By Alec Klein

Washington Post Staff Writer

Friday, December 7, 2007; Page A01

EL PASO — A $200 billion plan to remake the largest war machine in history unfolds in one small way on a quiet country road in the Chihuahuan Desert.

Jack Hensley, one of a legion of contractors on the project, is hunkered in a slowly moving SUV, serving as target practice for a baby-faced soldier in a Humvee aiming a laser about 700 yards away. A moment later, another soldier in the Humvee punches commands into a computer transmitting data across an expanse of sand and mesquite to a site 2 1/2 miles away. On an actual battlefield, this is when a precision attack missile would be launched, killing Hensley almost instantly.

C.I.A. Destroyed 2 Tapes Showing Interrogations

WASHINGTON, Dec. 6 – The Central Intelligence Agency in 2005 destroyed at least two videotapes documenting the interrogation of two Qaeda operatives in the agency’s custody, a step it took in the midst of Congressional and legal scrutiny about its secret detention program, according to current and former government officials.

The videotapes showed agency operatives in 2002 subjecting terrorism suspects – including Abu Zubaydah, the first detainee in C.I.A. custody – to severe interrogation techniques. The tapes were destroyed in part because officers were concerned that video showing harsh interrogation methods could expose agency officials to legal risks, several officials said.

What are you reading? Books to give and books to get

It’s the middle of Channukah, Christmas is soon….so, today….books to give and get

If you like to trade books, try BookMooch.

What are you reading? is crossposted to dailykos

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