"Pay close attention to that man behind the curtain!"

Tuesday, September 30, 2003

Frog-marching time?

There are all sorts of things I'm interested in and concerned about which I don't write about in this blog, and there are just as many reasons for not writing about 'em. Not least among those reasons is that everybody else is writing about certain subjects, and I don't feel I have anything special knowledge, insight, or opinions to contribute.

Today's subject, however -- the outing by someone in the Bush administration of an undercover CIA agent and especially the subsequent inaction of the White House when confronted by the Justice Department and a de-zombified press corps -- is one which has been written about by all of the following (and more -- hang your cursor over the links to see more info):
* Atrios
* Tom Tomorrow
* Tom Tomorrow recaps
* ABC News
* Timothy Noah in Slate
* MSNBC.com's Alex Johnson with NBC's Andrea Mitchell
* SciScoop
* Joshua Marshall's Talking Points Memo
* Josh Marshall's TPM
* Josh's TPM
* Mr. Marshall's TPM
* Josh again
* JM's TPM
* TPM again
* Once more, it's TPM
* JM again
* One more time, Josh Marshall
* Let's hear a big round of applause for Josh Marshall
* Josh Marshall!
* Josh, by gosh
* The Talking Points Memo guy
* Ladies and gentlemen, here he is -- Josh Marshall!
* Back by popular demand, Josh Marshall
* Even Fox News
Yet, I've still jumped into the fray on this one. Why? Well, I've known since at least the last presidential election that Bush and those around him are incapable of telling the truth, so lots of the news simply seems redundant to me, and I have little hope that anything will come of the slight glimmers of hope one occasionally sees. But this one feels different. It's like a real fire has been lit under the media's ass -- a fire that it cannot ignore, a fire that won't go out. I keep hoping that these recurring fires will stir the zombies in the press corps and get them to ask some real questions, but I've been disappointed so many times I can't tell you.

Joe Wilson has finally pointed a finger at "Bush's Brain," and gotten this fire started with the provocative statement that "It's of keen interest to me to see whether or not we can get Karl Rove frog-marched out of the White House in handcuffs. And trust me, when I use that name, I measure my words."

Those are some pretty strong words! I'm sure you all remember Joe Wilson who kindly pointed out that the "16 words" from Bush's State of the Union address suggesting that Iraq tried to obtain uranium from Africa had already been proven to be blatantly false. If you read Talking Points Memo, you'll have just about read it all. Joshua Marshall seems to be writing about two hours' worth of material on the subject every thirty minutes or so. You don't have to read it all, but if you do, you'll certainly be armed with lots of valuable information.

What are you going to do with all that info? You're going to verify the facts for yourself, of course. Then you're going to spread it around. It's about time this fire finally got lit. Fan the flames, and set that fire under a few more asses so it doesn't go out. (You can even go troll some "Freeper" boards if you've got the stomach for it!) In other words, "this cannot be overstated." Let's make sure that in 2004 we "won't get fooled again."

Afterthought: Maybe Scott McClellan has valid reasons for his "evasive" answers (and I probably shouldn't speculate about what those might be), and maybe we will all be surprised when the originally stated reasons for going to war in Iraq once again become the current reasons, and maybe Bush really is a "compassionate conservative" after all. Naaaaaaaaaaah!

Saturday, September 27, 2003

Closing statements from the counsel for the Kelly family

Here are the key points of Jeremy Gompertz, counsel for the family of David Kelly, as I interpret his closing arguments before the Hutton Inquiry Thursday [transcript page numbers in brackets]:
* "The principal aims of the [Kelly] family in this Inquiry are:
(1) that the duplicity of the Government in their handling of Dr Kelly should be exposed; and
(2) that the systemic failures at the Ministry of Defence should be identified and remedied so as to ensure, as far as is humanly possible, that no-one else should suffer the ordeal endured by Dr Kelly." [0, 1]
* "With the exception of the Walter Mitty slur, the Government and the MoD do not accept that any criticism should be made of any Government action or that any blame should attach to any individual involved in the events leading up to Dr Kelly's death. This should be contrasted with the approach of the BBC in being prepared to make admissions and accept criticism." [1]
* "[W]ere the matter not so serious," the so-called "excellent" support given to Dr. Kelly by the Ministry of Defense would be "risible." [2, 21-4]
* There was a "huge failure" in the manner in which Dr. Kelly's name was released to the public. [2]
* The media needs to "raise its game" (i.e., improve its standards of behavior) regarding people's privacy. [3 - 4]
* Richard Hatfield failed to clearly describe where Dr. Kelly had done anything inappropriate regarding his contacts with the media. [4 - 7]
* For the following 4 reasons, "[Andrew] Gilligan is unreliable and ... no credence should be given to his evidence save where it is corroborated from an independent source." [9]
* "[His] account of the chronology and progress of the [May 22] meeting is irreconcilable with the physical evidence disclosed by expert examination of his Sharp organiser." [9]
* "[H]is account of the meeting, as given in evidence, is in many respects inconsistent." [10]
* "[H]e has lost his manuscript note made after the meeting with Dr Kelly." [10]
* "[He] has proved himself to be an unreliable historian in other respects. For example, the changes in his account of the number of meetings he had with Dr Kelly and when they took place." [10]
* "[T]he Government made a deliberate decision to use Dr Kelly as part of its strategy in its battle with the BBC." [11]
* After Geoff Hoon had already been cross-examined (and therefore, couldn't be recalled to the witness stand), evidence from Alastair Campbell's diary came to light "indicat[ing], with clarity ... that the Secretary of State's [Geoff Hoon] denials of the Government's strategy put to [Dr. Kelly] in cross-examination were false," and therefore hypocritical. [12, 13]
* The behavior described above "was a cynical abuse of power which deserves the strongest possible condemnation." [13]
* Dr Kelly should have been informed about three areas of the process [18 - 20]:
*"[T]he decision to make a press statement and the content of that press statement, together with the timing of its release."
* "[T]he content of the question and answer material."
* "[T]he confirmation of his name to journalists."
* Alastair Campbell himself said that his own appearance before the Foreign Affairs Committee was a "gruelling experience. How much more so must it have been for Dr Kelly?" [26]
* Even after "faithfully" serving his country "all his life" and "achiev[ing] great eminence, ... [Dr. Kelly] remained a modest, retiring man who never sought the limelight." [27]
* Despite all this, "[Dr. Kelly] was characterised by his employers to suit their needs of the hour as a middle ranking official and used as a pawn." [27]
* Dr. Kelly "felt betrayed, ... was broken hearted and, ... had shrunk into himself. In his despair he seems to have taken his own life." [27-8]
Despite my own disagreement with the comments about Andrew Gilligan, I think Mr. Gompertz has laid out the case rather clearly.

Friday, September 26, 2003

"Get" Gilligan

Heather Rogers, counsel for Andrew Gilligan, made her closing remarks to the Hutton Inquiry Thursday afternoon. The emphasis seemed to be on these items [transcript page numbers in brackets]:
* Andrew Gilligan was right to meet with and interview Dr. Kelly [125, 126, 127, 145]
* Gilligan was right to report what he learned [125, 128, 133, 145]
* Dr. Kelly knew that what he told Gilligan would be reported [129, 131-2, 145]
* Gilligan has acknowledged his mistakes [124, 131, 135, 145]
* These mistakes were "made inadvertantly and in good faith" [124, 131]
* Other reporters followed up the story and made similar allegations [138]
* Gilligan's reporting "fitted with other evidence ... from other sources" [138]
* Although the government "responded to Andrew Gilligan's story swiftly and as fully as it wanted," these particular mistakes were not questioned by the British government in either their May 29 or June 5 complaints [137, 143-4]
* The government's initial response was instead "a wholesale refutation of what he had reported." [136, 139, 145]
* The government later subjected "a small part of one broadcast," the "Today Programme" report of 6:07 AM May 29 to "elaborate forensic analysis" which "pick[ed] over a few words that were used once and were not repeated." [139]
* The process described above "is artificial and it is unreal. It diverts attention from the real issues of substance." [139]
* The response of Alastair Campbell to "get" Gilligan [Ms. Rogers' word] was "like that of a playground bully." [140]
Ms. Rogers' statement begins on p. 124 of the transcript and continues on through p. 145 if you'd care to go over it for yourself. More analysis to come later.

Closing arguments, part 2: court is adjourned, kind of...

Thursday afternoon's session ends phase two of the Hutton Inquiry's "investigation into the circumstances surrounding the death of Dr David Kelly," and the afternoon transcript is now online.

But, wait! Lord Hutton still hasn't heard the testimony of Sir Kevin Tebbit of the Ministry of Defense, who was unable to attend the hearings last Thursday (Sept. 18) due to recent emergency eye surgery, and he hopes to reconvene next Tuesday, September 30 at 10:15 AM.

Here's Thursday afternoon's lineup:
Jonathan Sumption QC, Counsel for the Government
Andrew Caldecott QC, Counsel for the BBC
Heather Rogers QC, Counsel for Andrew Gilligan
James Dingemans QC, Counsel for the Inquiry
Closing statement by Lord Hutton
Analysis to come later. Oh, yeah. One more thing. Now Hutton says his report may not be out until December.

Thursday, September 25, 2003

Closing arguments

Just after posting today's earlier blog, I watched Jeremy Gumpertz live on television delivering some of his closing arguments to the Hutton Inquiry, and he appeared to be doing one hell of a job. Although I only saw a short bit before they cut away to "regular programming," the transcript of his arguments is now available online. Mr. Gumpertz' section comprises the first 27+ pages and is followed by the beginning of closing remarks of Jonathan Sumption QC, counsel for the British Government.

News reports have already come out highlighting Gumpertz' emphasis of Andrew Gilligan's unreliability while simultaneously crediting the BBC for making admissions and accepting criticism (which Andrew Gilligan also most certainly did -- I'm not sure if he's distinguishing here between Gilligan and the BBC's governors). If Gilligan's organizer notes alone were being used to convict someone, I wouldn't discount Gumpertz' assertion toward the unreliability of the evidence. But on this point, I have one big question: if Dr. Kelly didn't tell Gilligan these things, where did he get the information?

Fuck the fucking fuckers (or, Diary of a mad man)

Excerpts from Alastair Campbell's diary have recently come to light during the Hutton Inquiry where Campbell writes that confirming that David Kelly was Andrew Gilligan's source "would fuck Gilligan." Here's more context:
Spoke to Hoon who said that a man had come forward who felt he was possibly Gilligan's source, had come forward and was being interviewed today. GH [Geoff Hoon] said his initial instinct was to throw the book at him, but in fact there was a case for trying to get some kind of plea bargain. Says that he'd come forward and he was saying yes to speak to AG [Andrew Gilligan], yes he said intel went in late, but he never said the other stuff. It was double-edged but GH and I agreed it would fuck Gilligan if that was his source. He said he was an expert rather than a spy or full-time MOD official. [Emphasis mine]
That's not just "damning" evidence -- it's fucking damning evidence, if you ask me. "[D]ouble-edged," eh? "[P]lea bargain," huh? It sounds like Downing St. had a little something to hide.

Closing statements will be presented today at the Hutton Inquiry by Jeremy Gompertz (counsel for the Kelly family), Jonathan Sumption (counsel for the Government), Andrew Caldecott (counsel for the BBC), Heather Rogers (counsel for Andrew Gilligan), and James Dingemans (counsel for the inquiry), bringing a seemingly abrupt end to stage two. Lord Hutton is expected to submit his final report in late October or early November.

Meanwhile back at the UN, George Bush was pissing off the world with more talk about weapons of mass destruction and "mov[ing] forward" while no WMDs have been found, and the quagmire is ever-deepening. The buck stops elsewhere.

Other sources:
The treatment of David Kelly
46-second call told Kelly his fate
Latest Guardian news from the Hutton Inquiry

Friday, September 19, 2003

Grilling Gilligan

I've finished reading all 106 pages of Andrew Gilligan's testimony given Wednesday morning before the Hutton Inquiry, and I've once again come to the undeniable conclusion that the media is teeming with illiterate and/or lazy idiots. However, since that time, Andrew Gilligan has appeared again before the inquiry. I'll have to deal with that later, and I hope that it doesn't affect the validity of anything in this post. (See update at the bottom of this post.)

In comparing what I highlighted in my own copy of Wednesday's transcript with what the papers reported in the 2 days afterward, I noticed that the papers failed to even touch upon approximately 85% of what I noted -- just like when I read Tony Blair's testimony and decided it was too big a job to handle by myself.

Here's a quick rundown of the events of Wednesday morning. First, Mr. Gilligan's own counsel asks several questions to set him up in a good light and brush away some of the "dirt" thrown onto him by his previous appearance before the inquiry. Then two attorneys grill Gilligan in succession (the Kelly family lawyer less so) before his own barrister finally powders the reporter's nose at the end of all the pummeling [pp. 104 - 106 of the transcript].

During a break I took in the middle of reading the transcript I told my wife, "I'm not especially trying to take Andrew Gilligan's side -- I'm just trying to get to the truth -- but come on!" There were way too many instances of "Is there an echo in the courtroom, in the courtroom, in the courtroom?" coming from QC Sumption. In contrast with the first phase of the testimony, I would have expected to hear the defense (or should I say "defence"?) shouting objections about "badgering the witness."

The news stories of the past 2 days have mostly focused on Gilligan's apologies and his admission of errors. I don't recall any of the articles going into the why and wherefore and just how irrelevant those errors eventually were.

The biggest deal, according to my reading of the testimony, was Gilligan's "slip of the tongue" when he gave the then-unnamed source (Dr. David Kelly) a rank/position which sounded higher than what most people might call him [pp. 32 - 33]. (Also, see below, where Gilligan's lawyer does a pretty decent job of negating the effect of that slip.) I can't recall a single news story yesterday explaining that while Gilligan did his best (in reports subsequent to the 5 Live report in which he referred to Dr. Kelly as his "Intelligence Service source") to correct possible incorrect "impression[s]" he felt he may have made [p. 32], he couldn't undo his "slip of the tongue" any further without narrowing down -- and perhaps inadvertantly REVEALING -- who his source could have been. It seems to me that he did a DAMN good job of NOT revealing his source, even when the Foreign Affairs Committee dogs were at his heels! [Then again, I don't know WTF Gilligan was thinking when he supposedly NAMED David Kelly to the Foreign Affairs Committee as Susan Watts' source in an e-mail!]

Here are some of the related articles I read Wednesday night:
Gilligan: my mistakes
Sambrook: my regrets over Gilligan story
Gilligan: Times briefed on Kelly
Gilligan 'lied about warning MoD of dossier story'
Gilligan apologises to Hutton inquiry
BBC news chief quizzed
Reporter Admits BBC Report on Iraqi Arms Had Errors
The New York Times article ("Reporter admits...") says this:
He [Gilligan] accepted that he had erred in identifying Dr. Kelly, a scientist attached to the Ministry of Defense, as an "intelligence source," explaining: "It was a mistake. It was the kind of mistake that does arise in live broadcasts." [Emphasis mine]
That's simply wrong! The real thing went like this:
[p. 32]
20 Q. Could we have up, please, BBC/1/18? This is
21 a transcript of your Radio 5 Live broadcast on 29th May,
22 shortly after the Today broadcast. If you look about
23 eight lines up from the bottom of the page you say:
24 "... what my Intelligence Service source says is
25 that essentially they were always suspicious about this

1 claim..."
2 Why did you describe him as your Intelligence
3 Service source?
4 A. I do not know, it was a mistake. It was the kind of
5 mistake that does arise in live broadcasting.
6 Q. Is that right? [Can't you just imagine the snotty tone?!]
7 A. It is ex tempore. That was the only time in all my
8 broadcasts, and there were 19 of them on this subject,
9 that I described him in this way. That is a mistake
10 that I have already admitted to.
11 Q. Did you realise if you described him as an Intelligence
12 Service source people would find your report both more
13 exciting and more credible?

. . .

[and much later, from p. 104]
24 MS ROGERS [Gilligan's personal counsel]: I just wanted to draw attention to the opening
25 words of this broadcast. Is your source described at

1 the start of that broadcast?
2 A. Yes. He is described as a senior official involved in
3 preparing the Government's dossier
4 Q. Not obviously there as a member of the Intelligence
5 Services
6 Can we go over to, I think it is the top of the next
7 page? Do you describe Dr Kelly there as a member of the
8 Intelligence Services
9 A. Well, I describe him as my Intelligence Service source.
10 Q. Do you describe him as a member of the Intelligence
11 Services
12 A. No, not in terms. [British for "not in those exact words"]
13 Q. The final point I have is this: this is the question of
14 how you described Dr Kelly in your evidence. I just
15 want it to be made clear. [Emphasis mine]
Obviously, it was not clear enough for the writers at the New York Times to read it all or even to get their words right, I guess!!! CNN was even still picking on Gilligan the next day

The Guardian tells us about all the papers that are attacking Gilligan:
The pressure is mounting on Andrew Gilligan to resign after the press turned up the heat on the BBC reporter after his appearance before the Hutton Inquiry yesterday.

Scenting blood, those sections of the press that have taken the government's side in the row over the Iraq dossier, including the Sun and the Times, reported yesterday's contrite but assured performance from Gilligan as an admission of guilt. [Emphasis mine]
Well, well, well! I actually found one article praising Andrew Gilligan. Ananova somehow seems to pick up a non-bloody scent in all of this which the "bloodhounds" above have completely missed: Tories claim Gilligan is 'national hero'
Roger Gale, MP for Thanet North and a vice-chairman of the party believes the journalist is being set up as a scapegoat.

He said: "We should remember that before we rush to crucify him. People seem to have overlooked the fact that the story was right.

"What Gilligan did, although it was perhaps rather heavy-handed, was to expose a situation which has shown up the devious nature of the Government.

"What we know now would not have emerged had it not been for Gilligan, who has now been very straight with the Hutton Inquiry about things he may have done wrongly."

Mr Gale said: "A lot of people - and I am one of them - were very uneasy about voting for the war. It is my view that had we known then what we know now, the vote might have been very different. [Emphasis mine]
On the other hand, this one (from the BBC!) says Gilligan will be questioned yet AGAIN. (Update: this refers to his Thursday afternoon testimony which I have subsequently read -- see below). If so, that means I'm gonna be a busy little bugger.

UPDATE: Grilling Gilligan Again
It's almost 2 hours later, and I've just finished reading the 73 pages of Andrew Gilligan's Thursday testimony. There isn't a whole lot there to talk about. QC Dingemans basically just picks at the details of what was in Gilligan's "organiser" regarding his meeting at the Charing Cross Hotel with Dr. Kelly, so it doesn't seem to affect anything above in the least.

Tuesday, September 16, 2003

Good morning, ladies and gentlemen

Thus began the second stage of the Hutton Inquiry into the death of Dr. David Kelly yesterday morning, and it will continue until September 25, when closing statements by counsel are scheduled. According to James Dingemans, Senior Counsel to the Inquiry, "some or all of the following issues" may be examined during this stage of the inquiry:
1. How was the dossier of 24th September 2002 prepared and who was responsible for drafting it?
2. What part did Dr Kelly play in the preparation of the dossier?
3. What knowledge did Dr Kelly have of the contents of the dossier and of earlier drafts of the dossier?
4. Were the Prime Minister and Mr Alastair Campbell and other officials in No. 10 Downing Street responsible for intelligence being set out in the dossier which was incorrect or misleading or to which improper emphasis was given?
5. What was said by Dr Kelly to Mr Gilligan on 22nd May 2003?
6. Whether or not Mr Gilligan accurately reported what was said by Dr Kelly to him in his broadcasts on 29th May and in his Mail on Sunday article on 1st June 2003.
7. Whether or not the matters reported by Mr Gilligan on 29th May and in his Mail on Sunday article on 1st June were in fact true. ...
8. The response and complaints made by the Government to the BBC relating to the broadcast on 29th May 2003.
9. The BBC reaction to those complaints.
10. The decisions and the steps taken by the Ministry of Defence and the Government after Dr Kelly informed his line manager in the Ministry of Defence that he had spoken to Mr Gilligan on 22nd May.
11. The circumstances in which a press statement was released by the Ministry of Defence on 8th July 2003 and the question and answer material that came to be deployed in support of it. This also involves identifying what Dr Kelly was told about this process and determining whether or not he agreed to it.
12. Whether or not there was an attempt in Government dealings with the media to downplay Dr Kelly's importance as a civil servant and his role in the production of the dossier which did not reflect the reality and which was designed to assist in the dispute with the BBC. ...
13. The circumstances leading up to Dr Kelly's giving of evidence to the Foreign Affairs Committee and the Intelligence and Security Committee and the hearings before those Committees.
14. How Dr Kelly died, and is it clear that Dr Kelly died by his own hand?
15. If Dr Kelly died by his own hand, the matters which, so far as it is possible to tell these things, were likely to have led him to take his own life. This is of course judged with the benefit of hindsight and expert psychiatric evidence which was not available to the parties at the time. Professor Hawton has already made it clear that those in contact with and who had dealings with Dr Kelly at the time could not reasonably have foreseen that Dr Kelly might take his own life.
The first day's testimony has already gone into numbers 8 and 9 of the above list, and it has me under the impression that BBC director general Greg Dyke may have been "gotten to" by some dark actors.

MI6 director Sir Richard Dearlove also testified yesterday "via an audio link to maintain his anonymity," pulling a "what-we-meant-was" out of his ass with the ridiculous assertion that "the original intelligence report had referred to chemical and biological weapons - which intelligence assessment staff had taken to refer to battlefield weapons. But what had happened with the dossier was that it was thought by readers that the 45 minutes claim was taken to refer to long range weapons."

Yeah! That's the ticket -- the same one that had Blair and Bush doing their "mushroom cloud" gigue by which they promoted their case for going to war. Note: this just in via the BuzzFlash headlines in the sidebar:
The United States and Britain invaded Iraq because they believed Saddam's regime was developing nuclear arms as well as chemical and biological weapons. So far, no weapons of mass destruction have turned up in Iraq, nor has any solid new evidence for them been reported by Washington or London.
I'm also still anxiously awaiting Andrew Gilligan's second appearance before the Hutton Inquiry which is scheduled for this Wednesday. Many people turned into rabid dogs in their recent attacks on Gilligan, but the case he made in his reports seems to be holding up much better than Blair and Bush's case. I somehow suspect that he's still holding onto some cards that he hasn't yet played. I could be wrong, but I'll have to wait until at least Wednesday to find out.

Hutton Inquiry Links:
List of witnesses to be called from now to September 25 (Scroll down to the bottom of that page for the list.)
Daily transcripts
All the documents used as evidence

Thursday, September 11, 2003

The vapor trails of 9/11

9/11 is going to have a history murkier than anything that came before. Two years and two wars after the events of September 11, 2001, we're no safer as human beings, no more peaceful. It could be that it's quite the opposite.

The senselessness of it, and all that followed will not be made any more sensible by silly theories about what you get with Windows dingbat fonts when typing various words, city names, flight numbers, and so on. Stick with the facts, dispense with the lies, figure out the truth (it's there among all the lies), and see what we can do to create a world where this kind of thing could never happen again.

The following links, generally in chronological order (except when pointing out jarring juxtapositions), will help you to locate well-annotated information about the events of September 11, 2001.

General information:
An incredibly detailed timeline of the events of 9/11
20 Unanswered Questions About 9/11
What Really Happened
The aim of this navbar is to connect the dots of 9/11 and its aftermath. Why did it happen, how did it happen, who did it, and who benefits from the 'New World Order'? Go through the articles and work it out for yourself. The truth isn't a conspiracy theory, and it often poses a threat to power.
September 11, 2001:
Two passenger jets crash into the two WTC towers in downtown Manhattan. Another passenger plane crashes into the Pentagon. One more, supposedly headed for the White House, goes down in a field in rural Pennsylvania. Fighter jets scramble like constipated snails. Aboard the plane which crashed into the Pentagon was Barbara Olson, the wife of U.S. Solicitor General Theodore Olson. She called him as the plane was being hijacked.
Bush sits in a classroom for 20 minutes after the second plane crashed into the WTC:
The Memory Hole
What Really Happened
What else Bush did and didn't do on 9/11/2001

Was Flight 93 shot down? You decide:
Google search results
Sometime between September 11 and 16, 2001:
Guess what! Somebody "stumbled upon" the passport of hijacker Satam M. A. Al Suqami near the WTC:
Giuliani holds on to hope
About those Black Boxes: Something's Up...
ABC News: The Sept. 11 Hijackers
Strange Case Of The Black Box And The Indestructible Passport
CNN: Ashcroft says more attacks may be planned
Leaders urge 'normal' Monday after week of terror
(BEWARE: Some of the above links, while containing good info and links, may also contain other "questionable" data related to things like numerology, etc.)

Early to mid-October, 2001:
Envelopes containing anthrax are mailed to US Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle (Democrat), NBC news anchor Tom Brokaw, and several other media offices.

Sometime between July and September, 2002:
FBI names Steven Hatfill as a "person of interest" in anthrax investigation. Hatfill is subsequently fired from his new job at Louisiana State University after moving his possessions to his new home in Baton Rouge. Even if he is guilty, the approach to the investigation is wrong.

October 24, 2001:
Patriot Act I is swiftly thrust upon an unsuspecting public, destroying Constitutional rights protecting against unreasonable searches and more.
Here's the full text of Patriot Act I.

October 31, 2001
EFF Analysis Of Provisions Of PATRIOT Act Related To Online Activities

January 2, 2003:
Draft of Patriot Act II (PDF file)

April 2, 2003:
Get Ready for PATRIOT II By Matt Welch, AlterNet

September 8 - 11, 2003:
What's really in the USA Patriot Act (First of a 4-part series).
Read parts 2, 3, and 4 via these links.
Now you demonize him, now you don't...
September 17, 2001:
Bush says of Osama bin Laden, Wanted: dead or alive.

March 13, 2002:
Bush says of Osama bin Laden, "I truly am not that concerned about him."
Highlights [sic] of Bush news conference (CNN)
Osama bin Laden: Now You See Him, Now You Don't (AlterNet)
Irrelevant? (BartCop)
October 7, 2001:
U.S. and allied forces invade Afghanistan. Media echoes stories of Afghan fighters on horseback, living in caves.

November - December, 2001:
Guess what else! Somebody (not U.S. troops, but Ari's not saying who) just happened to find the Osama party videotape! Said to have been shot November 9, it was released to the media on December 13, 2001.
Bin Laden tape released; U.S. calls it 'smoking gun': Saudi gleeful over N.Y. deaths
January 11, 2002:
First prisoners sent to "Camp X-Ray" at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, so they can be dealt with outside the prescriptions of the Geneva Convention
BBC: Inside Camp X-Ray
Wikipedia: Camp X-Ray
November 25, 2002:
The Department of Homeland Security is formed in order to tell us how high our panic level should be on any given day. A parody of the DHS website is created shortly thereafter.

November 28, 2002:
Bush appoints Henry Kissinger to head the 9/11 Commission
Bush Creates 9/11 Panel, Led by Kissinger (NewsMax)
December 13, 2002:
Kissinger resigns as head of 9/11 commission
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Facing questions about potential conflicts of interest, Henry Kissinger resigned Friday as chairman of the September 11 commission.
(Coincident with release of bin Laden tape, above.)
The Congressional 9/11 Report:
Searchable HTML format
Downloadable in separate PDF files
Sunday, September 7, 2003:
TV movie shows Bush rising to September 11 challenge
The docudrama "DC 9/11: Time of Crisis," which will be shown on the Showtime cable channel, has already come in for some preview criticism, including accusations of serving as a propaganda vehicle for the president.

Monday, September 8, 2003
September 11 emergency grants snapped up by brokers, lawyers: report

September 11, 1973
Look at that date again. It's exactly 30 years ago. That's not quite within recent memory, but with a bit of prodding, it may come flying back like a bat out of hell for some people.

In today's Guardian, Roger Burbach writes:
On the morning of September 11 I watched aircraft flying overhead. Minutes later I heard explosions and saw fireballs of smoke fill the sky. As a result of these attacks thousands died, including two good friends.

I am not writing about September 11 2001 in New York City. I am writing about another September 11 - an equally horrible one - in 1973. The planes I saw were warplanes and their target was the presidential palace in Santiago, Chile. These two September 11s are related in many ways, and both help us understand why George Bush has led the US into a quagmire in Iraq.
In 1982, a movie called Missing was made by Constantin Costa-Gavras about the story in Chile. Henry Kissinger was involved in the 9/11 of 1973, too. Is it just a coincidence? Read the articles below, and decide for yourself.
June 12, 2002:
Kissinger may face extradition to Chile: Judge investigating US role in 1973 coup considers forcing former secretary of state to give evidence
September 1, 2003:
Last chance to clear the slate of the Pinochet era: The first of three articles introduces Chile's debate on proposals by two victims - the president and his adviser - to heal the dictatorship's wounds
On September 11 a sudden and violent aerial attack on a symbolic building left many dead and the country in a state of fear and panic. This was September 11 1973, the year of the coup in Chile which led to 17 years of military dictatorship, the violent death of nearly 4,000 people, the torturing of an estimated 50,000, and the imprisonment and exile of hundreds of thousands.
September 11, 2003 (back to the present)
Two 9/11s, one story (Note: this link and the quote from today's Guardian article were added after publishing the original post.)
Lies about Saddam/al Qaeda connections:
Allies Find No Links Between Iraq, Al Qaeda (Nov. 4, 2002)
US Renews Claims of Hussein-Al Qaeda Link (January 30, 2003)
Clean air? Yeah, right! Maybe Bush will die an early death from standing atop that asbestos pile to pose with the fire chief and pretend to be a great leader!
Sen. Clinton Calls On Bush To Explain After WTC Air Report: Report Alleges White House Concealed Info On Potential Air Quality Risks After 9-11
NEW YORK -- Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton on Tuesday asked President Bush to explain a government report's charges that the White House concealed information about potential air quality risks after the World Trade Center attack two years ago.
Michael Moore vs. Snopes (RE: bin Laden's family gets to fly during the "lockdown")

That's just the "tip of the iceberg" as far as the information that's out there. Like the "What Really Happened" site suggests, you should "work it out for yourself," and see if you can convince yourself that there's nothing more to it than "freedom lovers" vs. "evildoers."

N.B.: This has been an especially complicated post and will most certainly require repairs. (Some have already been made, but I'm sure there are still more.) If you find any errors -- regarding either formatting (including sequencing), facts, or bad links -- please e-mail me.

Friday, September 05, 2003

Kill, kill, kill (for inner peace and mental health)

Paul Jennings Hill was a man who opposed abortion. But he wasn't just your average lunatic. He was extra loony. Kinda like the "Muslim extremists" from Saudi Arabia who plowed into the World Trade Center towers -- except he was a former Presbyterian minister (like Fred McFeely Rogers) and an American (like Timothy McVeigh). He told reporters Tuesday, "I'm willing and I feel very honored that they are most likely going to kill me for what I did." Well, he got his wish.

Hill was executed by lethal injection this past Wednesday for shooting abortion provider Dr. John Bayard Britton in the head with a 12-gauge shotgun, killing him. He also killed Dr. Britton's volunteer escort and injured the doctor's wife in the same incident.

The decision in this case tells us this. Some people think it's okay to kill doctors who "kill babies." The state of Florida thinks it's okay to kill the people who kill doctors who "kill babies." I'd bet there's even somebody who wants to drop a nuke on Florida right about now. Just hold on a freakin' minute!

For the record, I'm against killing babies. But I don't think abortion is the same thing. On the other hand, I don't think that abortion should be treated like "birth control," but ultimately, it's the woman's decision and hers alone. I'm also against capital punishment, but if Hill had been pointing a shotgun in my general direction, I would have shot him in an instant. I'm all for self-defense. And while I don't believe in capital punishment, I wouldn't shoot the executioner in the head. I might stand outside with a sign, write letters to the editor of my local papers or to my state representatives, and/or start a blog on the topic. Finally, I'm planning to rent Bowling for Columbine as soon as I can get my hands on a copy.

Oh, yeah. There's one little thing all the stories about the execution seem to have left out. The governor of Florida is none other than Jeb Bush, whose own Untitled "bio" page fails to mention that he is the brother of the guy in the White House. No need to point out the obvious, right?

As Phil deGruy once intoned to a Louie Armstrong melody: "And I say to myself -- goddammit -- what a sick twisted world."

Wednesday, September 03, 2003

The limb is at least as strong as this headline and post are long

Just over three weeks ago, I said I was "going out on a limb" by making 4 predictions about the David Kelly case:
1) The tape will vindicate the BBC.
2) The things David Kelly said on the tape will not conflict with what he told the Commons Inquiry before his death when he is said to have "cast doubt on [Gilligan's] version of events." (i.e., I think Kelly chose his words very carefully in that Commons Inquiry)
3) The British government may come out with more blood on its hands than it possibly imagined. (See #1, and imagine what else he might have said about the "dark actors." He may have also named more names than just Campbell "off the record.")
4) Heads will roll, perhaps in the streets of London.
The "tape" referred to above was that of the surreptitiously recorded telephone conversation between BBC science reporter Susan Watts and David Kelly. It took much longer than I expected, but I believe that all 4 of my predictions can now be considered to have come true, though perhaps not to the degree that I originally stated.

I have to admit -- I still haven't finished reading all of Tony Blair's testimony before the Hutton Inquiry, but the reading I was doing last night kept me so intrigued, it was 5 AM before I realized it!

What was I reading? It was the testimony of Dr. Kelly's wife, Mrs. Janice Kelly, his sister, Mrs. Sarah Pape, and two of the ambulance attendants who were called to the scene when Dr. Kelly's dead body was found.

Here are some notable quotes from Mrs. Kelly's testimony (page and line numbers left intact):
5 Q. And were you aware that anyone else was there?
6 A. I suddenly looked up and there was David talking to
7 somebody. I had not got my glasses on so I moved
8 a little bit closer with the hosepipe to see who it was
9 and I recognised it as Nick Rufford. Nick had been to
10 our house before but only by arrangement, he never just
11 turned up before this. No journalist just turned up
12 before this, so I was extremely alarmed about that.
13 Q. Do you know what was said between Mr Rufford and
14 Dr Kelly?
15 A. To be absolutely fair I am not sure now what I heard.
16 David confirmed what I thought I had heard afterwards.
17 I heard him say -- I heard Nick say, I think,
18 "Rupert Murdoch" and I heard David say, "Please leave
19 now". The conversation only took place over about four
20 or five minutes maximum.
21 Q. And did you speak with Dr Kelly after the conversation?
22 A. Yes, I did. He came over to me and said that Nick had
23 said that Murdoch had offered hotel accommodation for
24 both of us away from the media spotlight in return for
25 an article by David. He, David, was to be named that
1 night and that the press were on their way in droves.
2 That was the language David used, I am not sure Nick
3 used that. He also added -- he was very upset and his
4 voice had a break in it at this stage. He got the
5 impression from Nick that the gloves were off now, that
6 Nick would use David's name in any article that he wrote
7 and he was extremely upset.
22 Q. We have heard about the circumstances of Dr Kelly's
23 death and the fact that a knife was used. Were you
24 shown the knife at all?
25 A. We were not shown the knife; we were shown a photocopy
1 of I presume the knife which we recognised as a knife he
2 had had for many years and kept in his drawer.
3 Q. It was a knife he had had what, from childhood?
4 A. From childhood I believe. I think probably from the
5 Boy Scouts.
I sure hope Rupert Murdoch gets called to testify at the Hutton Inquiry. I can't imagine why he'd want to protect David Kelly. I can only assume he wanted to protect himself in case other media outlets got ahold of the story. And now the kitchen knife has morphed into a "Boy Scout" knife. There's more morphing below.

Here are some notable quotes from Sarah Pape:
19 Q. Did he say anything about the atmosphere at the Foreign
20 Affairs Committee hearing?
21 A. He said that it was extremely hot; that many people took
22 their jackets off but he did not want to because he was
23 sweating so much. He was a man who would often stay in
24 a jacket in a formal situation like that. I have seen
25 him lecture at scientific meetings and he would normally
1 keep his jacket on. He said that it was very noisy
2 because there were fans, not air conditioning but just
3 room fans and that he found it quite difficult to hear
4 some of the questions and he was asked more than once to
5 speak up because he could not be heard.
6 Q. Did he say anything to you about the questions that had
7 been asked of him?
8 A. I asked him about the questions. He said he really
9 could not remember an awful lot about many of the
10 questions; but there were one or two questions in
11 particular that he did recall. One -- and bearing in
12 mind I do not know what has been said, I am very much
13 just listening and not really understanding everything
14 he is saying at this stage. He said that one of the
15 questions that really threw him was about a conversation
16 he was supposed to have had with Susan Watts; and he
17 really could not understand where the quotes were coming
18 from that were supposed to have been made by him. At
19 that stage, I did not understand what he meant by that.
4 Q. Can I just ask you to look at FAC/1/65, which I think
5 might be what you are referring to?
6 A. It is question 22, which was asked him by Mr Chidgey.
7 Q. I think that is right.
8 A. I will just find it myself because I think it is quite
9 important to actually see the exact words.
10 Q. At the foot of the page.
11 A. Yes. Mr Chidgey says:
12 "I just want to move on to the section of our
13 inquiry dealing with contacts with Andrew Gilligan and
14 journalists, but before we talk about Andrew Gilligan
15 can I just confirm that you have also met Susan Watts?"
16 My brother replies:
17 "I have met her on one occasion."
18 Mr Chidgey then quotes, at some length, a quote that
19 he believes my brother made.
20 Q. This is FAC/1/66. You see the quote at question 23 and
21 then the question in the final sentence:
22 "I understand from Miss Watts that is the record of
23 a meeting that you had with her. Do you still agree
24 with those comments?"
25 A. My brother replies:
1 "First of all, I do not recognise those comments,
2 I have to say. The meeting I had with her was on
3 November 5 last year [that would have been 2002] and
4 I remember that precisely because I gave a presentation
5 in the Foreign Office on Iraq's weapons of mass
6 destruction. I cannot believe that on that occasion
7 I made that statement."
8 He is obviously remembering a face to face meeting,
9 I think the only face to face meeting he had with
10 Susan Watts.
18 Then the next question, question 24, Mr Chidgey does
19 say:
20 "That is very helpful. Can I just be clear on this:
21 I understand that those notes refer to meetings that
22 took place shortly before the Newsnight broadcasts that
23 would have been on 2 and 4 June."
24 My brother replies:
25 "I have only met Susan Watts on one occasion, which
1 was not on a one-to-one basis, it was at the end of
2 a public presentation."
3 I know from conversations that we have had in the
4 past that he very much used the word to mean what it
5 meant.
15 I believe that when he is thinking about meetings he
16 is thinking about face to face meetings; so although
17 Mr Chidgey is trying to push him towards thinking that
18 this happened more recently, there was not a more recent
19 face to face meeting, so he really does not recall it.
20 I understand that the quotations came from the
21 recorded telephone conversation --
22 Q. That is what you now understand?
23 A. -- which of course he did not know was being recorded.
24 Susan Watts said that in her evidence. So I just
25 believe he has not triggered that conversation in his
1 memory. So he really feels that this is not him that is
2 being quoted, or certainly not at that time.
3 Q. How did he explain to you his reaction when he heard
4 this?
5 A. He was just perplexed and he did not have an
6 explanation. He just said he could not understand how
7 that could have been him.
As it is plain to see, the reason that David Kelly denied the charge was that Mr. Chidgey had used the word "meeting" in his question. A telephone call is not a meeting, and Dr. Kelly didn't know he was being recorded.

Here are some of the things which caught my attention in Tuesday afternoon's testimony. The first section below is from the testimony given by the paramedic from the ambulance called to attend to the body of David Kelly:
18 Q. Can you tell his Lordship your full name?
19 A. Vanessa Elizabeth Hunt.
20 Q. What is your occupation?
21 A. I am a paramedic.
1 ... I initially placed the heart monitor paddles
2 on to the chest over the top of his shirt.
3 Q. Did you get any reading at all?
4 A. There was some artefact reading I believed to be from
5 myself as opposed to the body, so we said to the police
6 officers would it be possible to place four sticky
7 electrodes on to the chest, to verify that life was
8 extinct.
8 Q. And is there anything else that you know of about the
9 circumstances of Dr Kelly's death that you can assist
10 his Lordship with?
11 A. Only that the amount of blood that was around the scene
12 seemed relatively minimal and there was a small patch on
13 his right knee, but no obvious arterial bleeding. There
14 was no spraying of blood or huge blood loss or any
15 obvious loss on the clothing.
It took this long for the information about the "mysterious" electrodes to be revealed to the public. Any hack reporter could have simply asked a random ambulance attendant, morgue attendant, coroner, or homicide investigator to get this information, but they didn't do it. Just by reading the transcript (more than what you see above), I figured out this much: It's SOP -- Standard Operating Procedure.

Particularly note the lack of blood around the body. We've been told repeatedly that David Kelly died from loss of blood, and blood doesn't just "evaporate" like that. There was only a small stain of blood on his clothing, too. These are the types of forensic evidence I'd be looking at if I were doing the physical investigation.

This next section is the testimony of the second ambulance attendant.
1 A. David Ian Bartlett.
2 Q. And what is your occupation?
3 A. Ambulance technician.
2 Q. What about the face? Did you notice anything about the
3 face?
4 A. Yes, going from the corners of the mouth were two
5 stains, one slightly longer than the other.
6 Q. Where did the stains go to from the mouth?
7 A. Towards the bottom of the ears.
11 Q. What type of a knife was it?
12 A. I think it was one of those silver quite flat ones with
13 like a curved blade, more like a pruning knife.
9 Q. Is there anything else you would like to say about the
10 circumstances leading to Dr Kelly's death?
11 A. Just the same as my colleague actually, we was surprised
12 there was not more blood on the body if it was an
13 arterial bleed.
If the body was slumped against a tree, whatever it was that was oozing from his mouth (blood, saliva, vomit?) would not have flowed upward. It seems he would have had to be lying on his back. The knife has morphed once again. First it was a kitchen knife, then a "Boy Scout" knife, but the ambulance technician saw a "pruning knife." At another time, it has even been reported as having been a "pen knife."

To wrap it up for today, the e-mail which David Kelly sent to New York Times reporter Judith Miller referring to "dark actors" is now online at this link. Here's the entire content:
From: David Kelly [followed probably by his e-mail address, which was redacted]
Sent: 17 July 2003 11.18
To: Judith Miller
Subject: RE:you


I will wait until the end of the week before judging - many dark actors playing games.

Thanks for your support. I appreciate your friendship at this time.



- - - - - Original message - - - - -
From: Judith Miller [followed probably by her e-mail address, which was redacted]
Sent: 16 July 2003 00 30 [?]
To: [Redacted. Most likely David Kelly's e-mail address.]
Subject: you

I heard from another member of your fan club that things went well for you today. Hope it's true J.
There's not too much new information in there, but to see him mentioning "wait[ing] until the end of the week" mere hours before going on his last walk is a bit disconcerting.
eXTReMe Tracker
This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?