Saturday Links

Saturday, March 15th, 2008
  • The ACLU estimates that by this July the number of people on the federal government’s terror watch list will top 1 million, and adds:

    If there were really that many terrorists running around, we’d all be dead.

    The “watch list” is looking more and more like a “cover our ass” list. With that many people, it’s practically impossible to actually monitor the list. More likely, should there be another attack on U.S. soil it’s a way for the government to say, “Yep, we knew they might be terrorists.”

  • Turning the tables on RIAA.
  • So remember that big Pentagon review of 600,000 documents that showed no real connection between Iraq and al-Qaeda? Seems the higher-ups in DoD have decided not to go through with plans for widespread dissemination.

    The Pentagon on Wednesday canceled plans for broad public release of a study that found no pre-Iraq war link between late Iraqi President Saddam Hussein and the al Qaida terrorist network.

    Rather than posting the report online and making officials available to discuss it, as had been planned, the U.S. Joint Forces Command said it would mail copies of the document to reporters — if they asked for it. The report won’t be posted on the Internet.

    God love the Internets, you can read the report online, anyway, here. Wonder if they’d have put it online if it supported the pre-war propaganda?

  • Forcibly shoving a catheter up a suspect’s penis in the name of the war on drunk driving.
  • U.S. Military attacks Tulsa.
  • U.S. Senate rejects moratorium on earmarks.

    UPDATE/CORRECTION: As noted in the comments section, the Iraq report was misreported by a number of media outlets last week. While the report does say there’s no “smoking gun” linking Iraq to al-Qaeda, it does detail a number of loose connections, mostly driven by shared goals between Saddam’s government and al-Qaeda. There’s no evidence of direct cooperation between Saddam and al-Qaeda in directing attacks on the U.S., though, and his involvement with them seems to have been more in the interest in suppressing internal threats to his regime. Still, it’s not true that the report found no links at all. Just no terribly significant ones.

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  • 19 Responses to “Saturday Links”

    1. #1 |  Mikestermike | 

      I know lawsuits can become expensive and the outcome is not guaranteed, but would someone please force one of these governmental agencies or police departments into admitting wrongdoing!?! With cash settlements, like the $15K weinie skewer, the PD can keep doing such things ad infinitum with absolutely no accountability. Hell, the $15K probably will come from some poor pothead’s seized assets. Hell, the RIAA artice is a good example of the possibilities that a lawsuit could have….

    2. #2 |  Waste | 

      Actually the Pentagon study found a number of links between Iraq and Al-Queda. It was misreported by a number of papers. The links are not full blown support, but there was contact and some links between them.

    3. #3 |  Mike Schneider | 

      > “U.S. Military attacks Tulsa.”

      A FARK-like headline, to be sure.

      The gist: A dummy bomb falls off a National Guard F16 as it flew over the city; the report doesn’t say whether it was malfunction of pilot-error.

    4. #4 |  Mike Schneider | 

      Contrary to Warren P. Strobel’s (McClatchy Newspapers) blatant lying, the Pentagon report found numerous links between Saddam Hussein and Al Qaeda, and an interest, by Hussein, in harming the United States (rather than, as the propaganda goes, quelling internal dissent):


      “….Throughout the early and mid-1990s, Saddam Hussein actively supported an influential terrorist group headed by the man who is now al Qaeda’s second-in-command, according to an exhaustive study issued last week by the Pentagon. “Saddam supported groups that either associated directly with al Qaeda (such as the Egyptian Islamic Jihad, led at one time by bin Laden’s deputy, Ayman al-Zawahiri) or that generally shared al Qaeda’s stated goals and objectives.” According to the Pentagon study, Egyptian Islamic Jihad was one of many jihadist groups that Iraq’s former dictator funded, trained, equipped, and armed.

      The study was commissioned by the Joint Forces Command in Norfolk, Virginia, and produced by analysts at the Institute for Defense Analyses, a federally funded military think tank. It is entitled “Iraqi Perspectives Project: Saddam and Terrorism: Emerging Insights from Captured Iraqi Documents.” The study is based on a review of some 600,000 documents captured in postwar Iraq. Those “documents” include letters, memos, computer files, audiotapes, and videotapes produced by Saddam Hussein’s regime, especially his intelligence services. The analysis section of the study covers 59 pages. The appendices, which include copies of some of the captured documents and translations, put the entire study at approximately 1,600 pages.

      An abstract that describes the study reads, in part:

      Because Saddam’s security organizations and Osama bin Laden’s terrorist network operated with similar aims (at least in the short term), considerable overlap was inevitable when monitoring, contacting, financing, and training the same outside groups. This created both the appearance
      of and, in some way, a ‘de facto’ link between the organizations. At times, these organizations would work together in pursuit of shared goals but still maintain their autonomy and independence because of innate caution and mutual distrust. Though the execution of Iraqi terror plots was not always successful, evidence shows that Saddam’s use of terrorist tactics and his support for terrorist groups remained strong up until the collapse of the regime.”

      Among the study’s other notable findings:

      In 1993, as Osama bin Laden’s fighters battled Americans in Somalia, Saddam Hussein personally ordered the formation of an Iraqi terrorist group to join the battle there.

      For more than two decades, the Iraqi regime trained non-Iraqi jihadists in training camps throughout Iraq.

      According to a 1993 internal Iraqi intelligence memo, the regime was supporting a secret Islamic Palestinian organization dedicated to “armed jihad against the Americans and Western interests.”

      In the 1990s, Iraq’s military intelligence directorate trained and equipped “Sudanese fighters.”

      In 1998, the Iraqi regime offered “financial and moral support” to a new group of jihadists in Kurdish-controlled northern Iraq.

      In 2002, the year before the war began, the Iraqi regime hosted in Iraq a series of 13 conferences for non-Iraqi jihadist groups.

      That same year, a branch of the Iraqi Intelligence Service (IIS) issued hundreds of Iraqi passports for known terrorists….”

    5. #5 |  Mike Schneider | 

      > UPDATE/CORRECTION: As noted in the comments section, the Iraq
      > report was misreported by a number of media outlets last week….

      It wasn’t “misreported”; they deliberately lied to deceive their readers, as the leftist press has been doing over Iraq and any number of other issues for decades going all the way back to Walter Duranty in the ’30s.

      > al-Qaeda. There’s no evidence of direct cooperation between
      > Saddam and al-Qaeda in directing attacks on the U.S.,

      Nonsense — Saddamn Hussein knew what Al Qaeda was up to; consequently any involvement with them constitutes knowingly aiding and abetting attacks upon the U.S.

      > it’s not true that the report found no links at all. Just no
      > terribly significant ones.

      See comment above this one. Those ARE “significant” links to not only Al Qaeda, but terrorism in general.

    6. #6 |  AlfredJSenior | 

      Perhaps the slower folks among us will be able to see the dynamics more clearly in the following historical analogy.

      There were no “Significant links”, no “operational links” between Joseph Stalin and Adolph Hitler when Germany and Russia conjointly invaded and then divided up Poland and most of Eastern Europe in 1939. In fact Joseph and Adolph were more “enemies than friends at the time.” Even greater enemies than Osama and Saddam.

      Of couse all that didn’t change the eventual outcome for Poland or its people. Eventually the two loosely connected but similar anti capitalist, totalitarian and socialist regimes went to war against each other but not soon enough for the Poles and most of Eastern Europe.

      In this case the USA and many other countries like Somalia and Afghanistan were like Poland and Eastern Europe. While Osama bin Laden and Sadam Hussein were like Adolf and Stalin.

      Ya don’t have to like you ally or even shake his hand in order to combine your resources to defeat someone else. Hell when I was a young man I hated my platoon Sgt but that didn’t mean we didn’t effectively destroy “OUR” enemy, while we mulled over our relationship.

      Saddam didn’t plan Osama bin Laden’s attack on the US any more than Stalin planned Hitler’s invasion of Poland on September 1, 1939. But Stalin’s non aggression agreement with Hitler enabled Hitler to invade and opened up an opportunity for Stalin to invade on 17 September 1939 and to regain lands lost to Poland earlier.

      When Osama attacked the Twin Towers Saddam wasn’t his formal ally, but Saddam did know, Saddam did tacitly approve AND support, Saddam was making plans of his own, and Saddam was certainly looking to benefit from the aftermath.

    7. #7 |  Mike Schneider | 

      > There were no “Significant links”, no “operational links” between
      > Joseph Stalin and Adolph Hitler when Germany and Russia
      > conjointly invaded and then divided up Poland and most of Eastern
      > Europe in 1939.

      Actually there were: The Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact specified the division of Eastern Europe between them.

    8. #8 |  Edintally | 

      Stalin did plan with Hitler to invade and divide Poland.

      No proof that Saddam conspired with or planned to take advantage of Osama’s attack on the US. For that matter, please explain how Saddam could have taken advantage of any perceived weakness? He couldn’t.


      BTW: You win for invoking Hitler.

    9. #9 |  Mike Schneider | 

      Edintally? It’s impolite to stick with hokum once it’s been outed.

      Strobel lied (presumably in service of a political agenda), and that is that. The proof is all over the report itself.

    10. #10 |  Jon H | 

      “Still, it’s not true that the report found no links at all. Just no terribly significant ones.”

      And those links were no more significant than the links that surely exist between the Saudis and terrorists.

    11. #11 |  Mike Schneider | 

      The links between the Saudis and terrorism are extensive and very significant.

    12. #12 |  Mike | 

      “Wonder if they’d have put it online if it supported the pre-war propaganda?”

      I know the question was supposed to be rhetorical, but honestly, probably not. No one ever accused the U.S. military of being too friendly towards the internet, so I know it seems like a “coverup” but it’s really probably just the military doing what it does best: be incompetent regarding the internet, regardless of whether it’s positive or negative.

    13. #13 |  Tokin42 | 

      The saudi royal family is enemy #1B of Al-queda, Jews are 1A. Of course, everybody who doesn’t agree with their theology or live up to their standards is enemy #1, it’s just a matter of degree. Make a fruit salad with BOTH apples and bananas and that’s a stoning waiting to happen, pervert.

      There are certainly al-queda sympathizers and out-right supporters in saudi circles but the same can be said for every muslim clique except for GLAM (Gay, Lesbian, and Muslim!).

    14. #14 |  chsw | 

      1. “Surround Everybody” – Graham Chapman/Monty Python
      2. Isn’t what the RIAA’s investigator did – accessing and peeking into the contents of random or suspect hard drives – considered breaking and entering in some states, or a warrantless search? FWIU, a law-enforcement agency would have to get a warrant for this action.
      3. The Pentagon review found no operations link between al-Qaeda and Saddam Hussein’s intel services w/r/t WTC attacks of 1993 and 2001 but did find financial and training support from those services to al-Qaeda, among other terrorist groups. In effect, Hussein bought off any threat these groups may have posed to HIS regime.
      4. The driver must have been drunk to accept a $15K settlement.


    15. #15 |  chsw | 

      Morrissey at HotAir has more info on the Pentagon’s report:

    16. #16 |  Mike Schneider | 

      Here’s some of the second page of the Weekly Standard article (a part of the first page of which I quoted above):

      “…How can a study offering an unprecedented look into the closed regime of a brutal dictator, with over 1,600 pages of “strong evidence that links the regime of Saddam Hussein to regional and global terrorism,” in the words of its authors, receive a wave-of-the-hand dismissal from America’s most prestigious news outlets? All it took was a leak to a gullible reporter, one misleading line in the study’s executive summary, a boneheaded Pentagon press office, an incompetent White House, and widespread journalistic negligence.

      On Monday, March 10, 2008, Warren P. Strobel, a reporter from the McClatchy News Service first reported that the new Pentagon study was coming. “An exhaustive review of more than 600,000 Iraqi documents that were captured after the 2003 U.S. invasion has found no evidence that Saddam Hussein’s regime had any operational links with Osama bin Laden’s al Qaida terrorist network.” McClatchy is a newspaper chain that serves
      many of America’s largest cities. The national security reporters in its Washington bureau have earned a reputation as reliable outlets for anti-Bush administration spin on intelligence. Strobel quoted a “U.S. official familiar with the report” who told him that the search of Iraqi documents yielded no evidence of a “direct operational link” between Iraq and al Qaeda. Strobel used the rest of the article to attempt to demonstrate that this undermined the Bush administration’s prewar claims with regard to Iraq and terrorism.

      With the study not scheduled for release for two more days, this article shaped subsequent coverage, which was no doubt the leaker’s purpose. Stories from other media outlets tracked McClatchy very closely but began to incorporate a highly misleading phrase taken from the executive summary: “This study found no ‘smoking gun’ (i.e. direct connection) between Saddam’s Iraq and al Qaeda.” This is how the Washington Post wrote it up:

      An examination of more than 600,000 Iraqi documents, audio and video records collected by U.S. forces since the March 2003 invasion has concluded that there is ‘no smoking gun’ supporting the Bush administration’s prewar assertion of an ‘operational relationship’ between Saddam Hussein and the al-Qaeda terrorist network, sources familiar with the study said.”

      Much of the confusion might have been avoided if the Bush administration had done anything to promote the study. An early version of the Pentagon study was provided to National Security Adviser Steve Hadley more than a year ago, before November 2006. In recent weeks, as the Pentagon handled the rollout of the study, Hadley was tasked with briefing President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney. It’s unclear whether he shared the study with President Bush, and NSC officials did not respond to repeated requests for comment. But sources close to Cheney say the vice president was blindsided.

      After the erroneous report from McClatchy, two officials involved with the study became very concerned about the misreporting of its contents. One of them said in an interview that he found the media coverage of the study “disappointing.” Another, James Lacey, expressed his concern in an email to Karen Finn in the Pentagon press office, who was handling the rollout of the study. On Tuesday, the day before it was scheduled for release, Lacey wrote: “1. The story has been leaked. 2. ABC News is doing a story based on the executive summary tonight. 3. The Washington Post is doing a story based on rumors they heard from ABC News. The document is being misrepresented. I recommend we put [it] out and on a website immediately.”

      Finn declined, saying that members of Congress had not been told the study was coming. “Despite the leak, there are Congressional notifications and then an official public release. This should not be posted on the web until these actions are complete.”

      Still under the misimpression that the Pentagon study undermined the case for war, McClatchy’s Warren Strobel saw this bureaucratic infighting as a conspiracy to suppress the study:

      The Pentagon on Wednesday canceled plans for broad public release of a study that found no pre-Iraq war link between late Iraqi President Saddam Hussein and the al Qaida terrorist network. . . . The reversal highlighted the politically sensitive nature of its conclusions, which were first reported Monday by McClatchy.

      In making their case for invading Iraq in 2002 and 2003, President Bush and his top national security aides claimed that Saddam’s regime had ties to Osama bin Laden’s al Qaida terrorist network.

      But the study, based on more than 600,000 captured documents, including audio and video files, found that while Saddam sponsored terrorism, particularly against opponents of his regime and against Israel, there was no evidence of an al Qaida link.

      An examination of the rest of the study makes the White House decision to ignore the Pentagon study even more curious. The first section explores “Terror as an Instrument of State Power” and describes documents detailing Fedayeen Saddam terrorist training camps in Iraq. Graduates of the terror training camps would be dispatched to sensitive sites to carry out their assassinations and bombings. In May 1999, the regime plotted an operation code named “Blessed July” in which the top graduates of the terrorist training courses would be sent to London, Iran, and Kurdistan to conduct assassinations and bombings.

      A separate set of documents presents, according to the Pentagon study, “evidence of logistical preparation for terrorist operations in other nations, including those in the West.” In one letter, a director of the Iraqi Intelligence Service (IIS) responds to a request from Saddam for an inventory of weapons stockpiled in Iraqi embassies throughout the world. The terrorist tools include missile launchers and missiles, “American missile launchers,” explosive materials, TNT, plastic explosive charges, Kalashnikov rifles, and “booby-trapped suitcases.”

      The July 2002 Iraqi memo describes how these weapons were distributed to the operatives in embassies.

      Between the year 2000 and 2002?? ??explosive materials were transported to embassies outside Iraq for special work, upon the approval of the Director of the Iraqi Intelligence Service. The responsibility for these materials is in the hands of heads of stations. Some of these materials were transported in the political mail carriers [Diplomatic Pouch]. Some of these materials were transported by car in booby-trapped briefcases.

      Saddam also recruited non-Iraqi jihadists to serve as suicide bombers on behalf of the Iraqi regime. According to the study, captured documents “indicate that as early as January 1998, the scheduling of suicide volunteers was routine enough to warrant not only a national-level policy letter but a formal schedule–during summer vacation–built around maximizing availability of Arab citizens in Iraq on Saddam-funded scholarships.”

      The second section of the Pentagon study concerns “State Relationships with Terrorist Groups.” An IIS document dated March 18, 1993, lists nine terrorist “organizations that our agency [IIS] cooperates with and have relations with various elements in many parts of the Arab world and who also have the expertise to carry out assignments” on behalf of the regime. Several well-known Palestinian terrorist organizations make the list, including Abu Nidal’s Fatah-Revolutionary Council and Abu Abbas’s Palestinian Liberation Front. Another group, the secret “Renewal and Jihad Organization” is described this way in the Iraqi memo:

      It believes in armed jihad against the Americans and Western interests. They also believe our leader [Saddam Hussein], may God protect him, is the true leader in the war against the infidels. The organization’s leaders live in Jordan?? ??when they visited Iraq two months ago they demonstrated a willingness to carry out operations against American interests at any time.”

      Other groups listed in the Iraqi memo include the “Islamic Scholars Group” and the “Pakistan Scholars Group. ”

      There are two terrorist organizations on the Iraqi Intelligence list that deserve special consideration: the Afghani Islamic Party of Gulbuddin Hekmatyar and the Egyptian Islamic Jihad of Ayman al Zawahiri…”


      “…shortly before the war a high-ranking Iraqi diplomat named Hisham Hussein would be expelled from the Philippines after his cell phone number appeared on an Abu Sayyaf cell phone used to detonate a bomb.

      What’s happening here is obvious. Military historians and terrorism analysts are engaged in a good faith effort to review the captured documents from the Iraqi regime and provide a dispassionate, fact-based examination of Saddam Hussein’s long support of jihadist terrorism. Most reporters don’t care. They are trapped in a world where the Bush administration lied to the country about an Iraq-al Qaeda connection, and no amount of evidence to the contrary–not even the words of the fallen Iraqi regime itself–can convince them to reexamine their mistaken assumptions.

      Bush administration officials, meanwhile, tell us that the Iraq war is the central front in the war on terror and that American national security depends on winning there. And yet they are too busy or too tired or too lazy to correct these fundamental misperceptions about the case for war, the most important decision of the Bush presidency.

      What good is the truth if nobody knows it?

      Stephen F. Hayes is a senior writer at THE WEEKLY STANDARD….”

    17. #17 |  markm | 

      The “bombing Tulsa” incident could be an equipment malfunction. When I was in the Air Force, an F111 dropped it’s whole load of practice bombs while taxiing out to the runway. These were cast iron items that bounced around on the pavement and put a bunch of dents in the tail – reparable, but rather costly. I finally found a loose washer near the terminals of the control switch.

      OTOH, pilot errors happen too – a few years ago, a pilot in a much newer fighter got his control switches mixed up and fired a short burst from his gatling gun several miles from the firing range, hitting a (fortunately vacant) school. And finally, there were rumors at the F111 base that some years earlier, at the nearby town (which was about 75% economically dependent on the air base), off-duty troops were being arrested on pretexts – until an “accidentally” released practice bomb landed in Main Street, and the town council and Chamber of Commerce decided they had better get the issues straightened out…

    18. #18 |  Jim Collins | 

      It was probably a malfunction. In order to drop something on purpose the pilot would have to flip on his Master Arm switch. When this switch is in the on position there is a noise that is generated in the on board recorder. An incident board would just have to listen for the noise on the recording, if it appears in the wrong place then it was pilot error, if not then it is a malfunction.

      Things like this happen all of the time. The military has a term for it. TFOA Things Falling Off Aircraft. Most of the time they fall off either in remote areas or on military installations, but some times sombody’s house or car gets hit.

      I knew about the A-10 accidentally strafing the school in New Jersey, but does anyone remember the UPS truck getting shot up outside of Cecil Field in Fl.?

      I also seem to remember 4 cases of beer departing an aircraft at 5000 ft. over Orlando quite awhile back.

    19. #19 |  ad | 

      The “watch list” is looking more and more like a “cover our ass” list. With that many people, it’s practically impossible to actually monitor the list. More likely, should there be another attack on U.S. soil it’s a way for the government to say, “Yep, we knew they might be terrorists.”

      It would allow whoever put them on the list to say “see, WE warned everyone else. It was THEIR fault for not following up on our warning.”

      It would probably make things worse for the government as a whole, because whoever launched the attack would probably turn out to have been on the watch list – and unwatched.