Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wagn'nagl fhtagn ("In his house at R'lyeh dead Cthulhu waits dreaming."). --HP Lovecraft, The Call of Cthulhu

The stars hath turned in the heavens once more: Mighty Cthulhu stirs. His dreams reacheth forth, communing with those with ears to hear. Iä! Shub-Niggurath! His thoughts trample down along the pathways of thy mind; thou knowest His footprints, each of which is a wound...

Friday, May 28, 2004

Are These People Supposed to be Protecting US?

A funny thing happened in my traffic log: I saw a visit from CIFA.mil. Now those of you who pay attention to these things know that a visit from nipr.mil is something to raise an eyebrow over. But what is this CIFA thingy?

Well, after a quick Google search, I found this site:

The Defense Counterintelligence Field Activity (CIFA) is a transformation initiative created to lead the development of a “to-the-edge” counterintelligence system for the Department of Defense...with the ultimate goal of detecting and neutralizing the many different forms of espionage regularly conducted against the United States by terrorists, foreign intelligence services and other covert and clandestine groups

Interesting...but not to worry. After all, there's nothing on this blog that the DoD should be concerned over (although individual members may not like what I say about ShrubCo™). Still, I was more curious about CIFA than they were about me, and looky what I found:

Now there's three interesting things here:
1) The visitor wasn't on for more than a second--just long enough to figure out that they weren't where they wanted to be.
2) They were doing a Google search for "individual ready reserves" chat, and
3) They were sloppy enough to leave both a domain name and an IP address.

The problem with seeking information is that you often give away information at the same time, and usually without even realizing it. For instance, in back-tracking this, I've revealed that I know a little bit about the internet.

And what did my (brief) visitor reveal?

First, they're interested in "chats" involving the "individual ready reserve". It was prolly this post that google tripped over. It's the place on the Clark blog on which I sometimes mirror articles. The original is just below. It's the 24th entry on Google, so this visitor was doing a bit of searching for their "chat".

The second thing I was able to deduce from this was that they were looking for something pretty specific. If they wanted to see what us "dirty librul" bloggers were writing about the IRR, they would've stayed longer. (Of course, I can't track stats on the Clark blog, so perhaps they read their fill there--but I think that if they were that interested, they would have vetted the rest of my blog just in case.)

The third thing I found was the funnest part of all. Look what happens when you do a "whois" on the IP pool:

Oh...why...hellooooo...Look, everyone: It's our old friends at nipr! Wave hello, everyone!

For those of you who are wondering, nipr.mil is the server domain that is supposed to act as a proxy for various gov't intel services when they access the internet. As Bhopal.net says:

"Nipr.mil is not a single domain a but a hush-hush web proxy that acts as a gateway for hundreds of U.S. military domains in order to hide their identities. It was established by the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) in response to a memorandum (CM-5 1099, INFOCOM) issued in March 1999 by the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, calling for "actions to be taken to increase the readiness posture for Information Warfare." "Uncontrolled Internet connections," the document says, "pose a significant and unacceptable threat to all Department of Defense information systems and operations."

There is also this entry at Not Bored:

The "NIPRNET," the Unclassified but Sensitive Internet Protocol Router Network (formerly called the Non-secure Internet Protocol Router Net), is a network of Internet protocol routers owned by the Department of Defense (DOD). Created by the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA), NIPRNET is used to exchange unclassified but sensitive information between "internal" users. It can thus be distinguished from the Secret Internet Protocol Router Network (SIPRNET), which is used by the DOD to exchange classified information in a totally secure environment. NIPRNET is also increasingly used by the DOD to allow its personnel to gain access the Internet without leaving their own computers open to "reverse entry" by hackers, foreign militaries, terrorists, etc etc.

Without donning my tinfoil hat, I think it's safe to say that some DoD employee, one of the only 400 working for CIFA, was curious about current events with the IRR, and that's about it.

But what bothers me is that CIFA shows up when it's supposed to be hidden behind nipr.mil, and that nipr shows up when it's supposed to be a proxy. Haven't these people heard of public proxy servers? It not as if the domain nipr.mil couldn't be hidden from casual view. If I wanted to deal with the lag-times, I could make this site look like it was hosted on a box in Japan, and that I was online via a server in Sweden. A quick Google search for "public proxy servers" is the hardest part of that misdirection.

So how is it that I can find out so much information about various intelligence networks--both conventional and virtual--with nothing more than a glance at my logs and a quick Google search? I'd never heard of CIFA before this morning, and had only heard of nipr a few days ago. Hmmm...

If the people who are running this tax-funded network can't do better than this, then I don't feel too safe. It's like a CIA operative running around with a neon sign that reads "I am a spy!" (And I don't even want to get into what a hacker can do when they have the name of a server on your farm).

Somewhere in Vienna, VA, is a NetAdmin who needs a smack upside the head. Sheesh.

Update 061504
Am told that nipr.mil is not supposed to be invisible, but is supposed to act as a front. Therefore, it should have been seen on my logs, although it should still have acted as a proxy for CIFA.mil. So maybe not a smack for the NetAdmin; perhaps a scathing memo? Then again, maybe the folks at CIFA don't care that they're broadcasting to the world (they dropped by again this morning, btw).

It's Still the Economy, Stupid

The worst Democrat is better than the best Republican. Or, to put some other numbers on that:

All research courtesy of the USG. Dissemination courtesy of Daily Kos.


Thursday, May 27, 2004

Dumbya's Approval Ratings

Kevin Drum, once again, finds the good stuff.


Tuesday, May 25, 2004

Why We Fight

He gets a lot of flak for wanting the national emblem to be the wild turkey (cuz it was wiley and hard to hunt, apparently), but Benjamin Franklin is forever remembered as one of the legendary Founding Fathers. And that is for good reason:

Whoever would overthrow the liberty of a nation must begin by subduing the freeness of speech.

It is in the religion of ignorance that tyranny begins.

They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty or safety.

And my favorite:

Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch. Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote.

When we fight against the (un)Patriot Act, the reinstatement of the Draft, the "zoning" of Free Speech, and all that we hate of this current administration, it is nice to know that, in so struggling, we honor the spirit of this great visionary.


Monday, May 24, 2004

Soldiers for the Truth

The Colonel Weighs In

Colonel David Hackworth takes aim this week at the mass-exodus hitting our military:

“...my husband was supposed to come home from Iraq this week but has just been extended another 120 days. His old unit, 3rd Infantry Division, is already seeing an exodus of junior officers. Since their return from Iraq, 35 captains have left the Army for greener pastures. Several more – read: another 15-20 – are due to leave, but who knows whether or not they’ll manage to do so before more stop losses and stop moves come down prior to their return to the desert. ... Between separation from family, no guarantee of tour lengths, no clear mission and consistent pay problems, folks are pretty fed up. If they can get out, which is no small feat, they seem to be doing so while the getting is good.”

An Apache pilot in Korea says, “It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that the Army is going to be losing a lot of people as soon as they get the chance to vote with their feet.”

Go read his article. Especially if you're of draft age.


Fight for Freedumb® in Iraq...or we'll DRAFT YOU

While we've been focussing on the disaster that is Mess-o'-potamia, the neo-clowns in DC have been quietly trafficking their desperate attempts to shore up troop numbers in the military.

The US Army quietly announced that it was screening inactive veterans for possible reassignment to the Active Reserve:

The Army's Human Resources Command - St. Louis (HRC-STL), is identifying Individual Ready Reserve Soldiers with a statutory Military Service Obligation (MSO) remaining for possible assignment to an Army Reserve unit. These Soldiers may be assigned to position vacancy requirements within designated Reserve units based upon the needs of the Army.

The Individual Ready Reserve (IRR) consists of over 118,000 trained Soldiers who may be called upon to fill vacancies in Army Reserve units and may replace Soldiers in Active and Reserve Units.

Any and all of the estimated 118,000 men and women who have already served in the military within the last eight years are being screened for possible reactivation. These are people who are not currently serving, who have moved on with their lives, have civilian careers, own homes, built families. These people are being screened for possible reactivation. And after they've been ripped from their families, take one guess where they'll be sent...

Of course, that isn't really quite enough, is it? Screening 118,000 case files is a bit of work. Oo oo, how about if we trick them into reenlisting on their own?

CHICAGO -- As part of an aggressive recruiting effort, Army and National Guard officials have warned inactive reservists that they could face being sent back to Iraq unless they re-enlist in the active reserves or join their local Guard units, according to a published report.

MariAnn Curta told the Chicago Tribune in a story published Sunday that a recruiter called her last weekend, saying her 22-year-old son Bill -- who recently completed a nine-month tour of duty in Iraq -- could be headed back there unless he enlisted in the Illinois National Guard.

More than 1,000 inactive reservists signed up for active units in the past week nationwide, also resulting in a larger-than-normal number, Army officials have said. But just how many states were affected was unclear.

"Faulty orders were sent out by the Army, which told people in the Individual Ready Reserves that if they did not re-enlist soon, the military would do so for them," DeFazio, D-Ore., said in Washington, D.C. "I would ask that these enlistments, which were made under a faulty order, be rescinded by the secretary of defense."

The Army claims that this was all a "misunderstanding". A misunderstanding that has occurred in almost every part of the nation, save New England. Note that there is no guarantee that anyone who was suckered into reenlisting will be discharged or relieved of their new obligation to serve.

I suspect that the political cost of keeping these poor souls will be judged too high, and that these 1000+ men and women will be released back to their lives; however, their addresses, post-military education, and new skill sets, have all been updated in their IRR files. See second paragraph above for how well that will work out for them: The reprieve may be temporary at best.

Feeling sorry for the poor slobs who thought they were done with their military service? Don't: You may be joining them soon:

HR 163, a House Resolution calling for the REINSTATEMENT OF THE DRAFT, has been moving quietly through the Congress since January:


(a) OBLIGATION FOR YOUNG PERSONS- It is the obligation of every citizen of the United States, and every other person residing in the United States, who is between the ages of 18 and 26 to perform a period of national service as prescribed in this Act unless exempted under the provisions of this Act.

(b) FORM OF NATIONAL SERVICE- National service under this Act shall be performed either--

(1) as a member of an active or reverse component of the uniformed services; or

(2) in a civilian capacity that, as determined by the President, promotes the national defense, including national or community service and homeland security.

HR 163, and its Senate twin S 89, are currently awaiting a reviews from various Congressional committees.

Are you between the ages of 18 and 26? Have children in that age group? I suspect that anyone who was for the war in Iraq has already enlisted: This draft is aimed at those of us who aren't enthusiastic enough about Iraq to suit ShrubCo's™ taste.

If anyone is thinking that this is just a bit of compicated political posturing, then think again:

The pentagon has quietly begun a public campaign to fill all 10,350 draft board positions and 11,070 appeals board slots nationwide.. Though this is an unpopular election year topic, military experts and influential members of congress are suggesting that if Rumsfeld's prediction of a "long, hard slog" in Iraq and Afghanistan [and a permanent state of war on "terrorism"] proves accurate, the U.S. may have no choice but to raft.

And forget about vacationing in Canada for the duration:

In December 2001, Canada and the U.S. signed a "smart border declaration," which could be used to keep would-be draft dodgers in. Signed by Canada's minister of foreign affairs, John Manley, and U.S. Homeland Security director, Tom Ridge, the declaration involves a 30-point plan which implements, among other things, a "pre-clearance agreement" of people entering and departing each country.

That's right: In the "Land of the Free", we Americans will need "pre-clearance" from Homeland Security to enter or leave our own country.

Freedumb® isn't free...


Saturday, May 22, 2004


Unelectable-Bush has a nice ditty on Safire's take on the infamous "sarin shell". A good read. What are you waiting for? Go go go...

Ritter Debunks "Sarin Shell"

The Christian Science Monitor has printed an article by Scott Ritter, the renegade weapons inspector who was the subject of much smearing by ShrubCo™ and the neo-cons for his insistence that Iraq had no WMD's:

Given the trouble the administration has had in documenting its past allegations about WMD, releasing the news of last week's sarin shell without the key information about the state of the shell itself seems disingenuous.

Ritter has been right about Iraq's WMD's all along, and ShrubCo™ has been wrong all along. So, when he says that this infamous "sarin shell" is no evidence of a WMD stockpile, who is right this time? I'll give you a hint: NOT SHRUBCO™

For those who are wondering, sarin is the deadly nerve agent that first made its fame when the Aum Shinrikyo cult in Japan released it into a crowded subway train. While not quite as easy to process as ricin (which is made from castor beans), any chemistry student can create sarin from readily available materials. It's possible to do in a kitchen, but easier to do with a well-equipped garage lab. How easy? The religious fanatics in Japan stockpiled hundreds of tons of it, enough to kill millions of people if properly dispersed.

Kevin Drum Answers the Question We Forgot to Ask

With a bit of his usual deft research, Kevin found out what the last four CentCom Generals think of Rumskull and his cronies. I won't ruin it for you; go read for yourself. Well, I will give away my favorite:

General Tommy Franks on Douglas Feith: "I have to deal with the fucking stupidest guy on the face of the earth almost every day." --pg 281, Plan of Attack, by Bob Woodward


Friday, May 21, 2004

Rumskull Ordered the Tortures

A recent MSNBC article shines the spotlight on a little-known top secret interrogation center called BIF ("Battlefield Interrogation Facility"), and on the Delta Force commandos that run it:

According to two top U.S. government sources, it is the scene of the most egregious violations of the Geneva Conventions in all of Iraq’s prisons.

These sources say the prisoners there are hooded from the moment they are captured. They are kept in tiny dark cells. And in the BIF’s six interrogation rooms, Delta Force soldiers routinely drug prisoners, hold a prisoner under water until he thinks he’s drowning, or smother them almost to suffocation.

This isn't "abuse"; this is torture, and in its clearest legal meaning. This is not only an abrogation of the Geneva Convention, it is a clear violation of US Law:

According to the Congress of the United States, "'torture' means an act committed by a person acting under the color of law specifically intended to inflict severe physical or mental pain or suffering (other than pain or suffering incidental to lawful sanctions) upon another person within his custody or physical control."

The MSNBC article goes on to a chilling, damning point:

So, does Rumfeld know about the BIF and what goes on there? Several top U.S. military and intelligence sources say yes, and that he, through other top Pentagon officials, directed the U.S. head of intelligence in Iraq, Gen. Barbara Fast, and others to bring some of the methods used at the BIF to prisons like Abu Ghraib, in hopes of getting better intelligence from Iraqi detainees.

That bears repeating: Rumskull directed that the torture techniques used at BIF be used at Abu Ghraib as well.

Can Rumskull be held accountable? Does the law apply to him? What, if anything, would be the penalty?

TITLE 18 > PART I > CHAPTER 113C > Sec. 2340A. - Torture

(a) Offense. -
Whoever outside the United States commits or attempts to commit torture shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than 20 years, or both, and if death results to any person from conduct prohibited by this subsection, shall be punished by death or imprisoned for any term of years or for life.

(b) Jurisdiction. -
There is jurisdiction over the activity prohibited in subsection (a) if -
(1) the alleged offender is a national of the United States; or
(2) the alleged offender is present in the United States, irrespective of the nationality of the victim or alleged offender.

(c) Conspiracy. -
A person who conspires to commit an offense under this section shall be subject to the same penalties (other than the penalty of death) as the penalties prescribed for the offense, the commission of which was the object of the conspiracy.

If the allegations in the MSNBC article are proven true, then Rumskull, Cambone, Boykin, and Miller are all in serious trouble. Perhaps Feith as well. We're talking life in Spandau prison kind of trouble, if they're lucky. A new President might just be tempted to send them all to a court in Baghdad.

For an extremely detailed view of this mess, go to Warblogging: George Paine has placed the gavel firmly in the hands of the War Crimes Tribunal with his research.


Too Disgusted to Comment; See For Yourself

WaPo has new pics and an edited video from Abu Ghraib.

Click here for video.

Click here to see slideshow.

Russ Kick has the latest pics at Memory Hole
This is the same excellent site that has photos from Dover of our men and women returning home in flag-draped coffins. His site gets heavy traffic because of his dedication to preserving hard-to-find photographs. Please feel free to flow him a buck to help-out with his one-man-operation.

Thursday, May 20, 2004

I Couldn't Have Made This Up Myself:

Remember when, while quoting Sy Hersh, I said this:
Senator McCain may have a hard time sticking with his party loyalties while still supporting his beloved military. The seams are certainly starting to crack:

Senator John McCain, of Arizona, said, "If this is true, it certainly increases the dimension of this issue and deserves significant scrutiny. I will do all possible to get to the bottom of this, and all other allegations."

With the evidence mounting, McCain won't be able to hedge on this one. Will he come out swinging at Rumskull and friends? Or will he lose all credibility as he skimpers behind Rove's dress?

Well, it looks like the decision may have been made for him:

The exchange started when a reporter asked: "Can I combine a two issues, Iraq and taxes? I heard a speech from John McCain the other day..."

[Speaker of the House Dennis] Hastert [R-Ill]: "Who?"

Reporter: "John McCain."

Hastert: "Where's he from?"

Reporter: "He's a Republican from Arizona."

Hastert: "A Republican?"

Amid nervous laughter, the reporter continued with his question: "Anyway, his observation was never before when we've been at war have we been worrying about cutting taxes and his question was, 'Where's the sacrifice?' "

Hastert: "If you want to see the sacrifice, John McCain ought to visit our young men and women at Walter Reed and Bethesda. There's the sacrifice in this country. We're trying to make sure they have the ability to fight this war, that they have the wherewithal to be able to do it. And, at the same time, we have to react to keep this country strong."

Well said, Mr Speaker. After all, what would a decorated war hero, wounded in combat and tortured in captivity, know about sympathy? How could McCain ever understand the sacrifices made by our military servicemen and women? How can you respect a fellow party member who says such things as:

"I fondly remember a time when real Republicans stood for fiscal responsibility," he said. "Apparently, those days are long gone for some of those in our party."

When talking about a grotesque $2.3 Trillion budget that calls for more tax-cuts for the wealthy while increasing the monstrous deficit, McCain is just another cheese-eating surrender-monkey. Good call, Hastert: You've finally outed him.

Of course, ShrubCo's™ pep-rally earlier today (the first time he's deigned to visit The Hill in a year) prolly had nothing to do with Hastert's sudden attack. I'm sure nothing unethical went on behind those closed doors.


Danziger on Slate

You Just Can't Keep Up With ShrubCo™

Here I was trying to put together a coherent synopsis of the current state of the Abu Ghraib investigation, when all of a sudden ShruCo™ up and drops three more stupid-bombs on me:

Ashcroft gets his "sailor mongering" persecution of Greenpeace tossed out of Federal court. A law that hadn't been used in 113 years (And that was only meant to keep brothel owners from boarding vessels at sea and enticing young sailors off their ships) was given a little more downtime. Asscrack's Injustice Department said they'll continue to pursue such cases, though: Another example of "steady leadership" being a euphamism for "thick-headed".

The GAO finds that ShrubCo™ violated two federal laws in its Medicare Mendacity propaganda campaign. The money fraudulently spent is insignificant, but the credibility gap has long since turned into a gaping chasm.

And my favorite:

U.S. Troops Raid Chalabi's Headquarters in Iraq
U.S. troops raided a house used by Governing Council member Ahmad Chalabi and searched his party offices in Baghdad on Thursday, piling pressure on the former Pentagon favorite now increasingly shunned by Washington.

from Get Your War On

First they cut his $340,000/month allowance, and then they raid his house. Been a bad week for Chalabi. And it only took a decade for the Pentagon to figure out that he's a dirtbag.

"They think they can do whatever they want. They didn't even have a warrant."

When you set up a puppet state, little things like "due process" get lost. Weren't you at the meetings?

Wednesday, May 19, 2004

found on BartCop

Saturday, May 15, 2004

courtesy of Get Your War On

Sy Hersh Connects The Dots

If you keep stepping in bull-shit, sooner or later you'll find the bull's ass. That's what reading Taguba's report and listening to all the Senate and House hearings does for you. Remember when I posted this? Today's article in the New Yorker shows that I was on the right stink trail, and also adds more fuel to the fire:

The solution, endorsed by Rumsfeld and carried out by Stephen Cambone, was to get tough with those Iraqis in the Army prison system who were suspected of being insurgents. A key player was Major General Geoffrey Miller, the commander of the detention and interrogation center at Guantánamo, who had been summoned to Baghdad in late August to review prison interrogation procedures. The internal Army report on the abuse charges, written by Major General Antonio Taguba in February, revealed that Miller urged that the commanders in Baghdad change policy and place military intelligence in charge of the prison. The report quoted Miller as recommending that "detention operations must act as an enabler for interrogation."

"They weren’t getting anything substantive from the detainees in Iraq," the former intelligence official told me. "No names. Nothing that they could hang their hat on. Cambone says, 'I’ve got to crack this thing and I’m tired of working through the normal chain of command. I’ve got this apparatus set up—the black special-access program—and I’m going in hot.'"

The disaster at Abu Ghraib wasn't the act of a few "bad apples" as the Shrub administration would like you to believe. This came straight from the top. These attrocities were brought to you by Rumsfeld, Cambone, Myers, Boykin, and Miller. Sy Hersh's piece points out that while the end result may not have been what they were looking for, they were very definitely responsible for setting up the conditions that made it possible:

Cambone then made another crucial decision, the former intelligence official told me: not only would he bring the sap's rules into the prisons; he would bring some of the Army military-intelligence officers working inside the Iraqi prisons under the sap's auspices. "So here are fundamentally good soldiers—military-intelligence guys—being told that no rules apply...as far as they’re concerned, this is a covert operation, and it’s to be kept within Defense Department channels."

The military-police prison guards...included "recycled hillbillies from Cumberland, Maryland." He was referring to members of the 372nd Military Police Company..."How are these guys from Cumberland going to know anything? The Army Reserve doesn’t know what it’s doing."

"The White House subcontracted this to the Pentagon, and the Pentagon subcontracted it to Cambone," he said. "This is Cambone’s deal, but Rumsfeld and Myers approved the program." When it came to the interrogation operation at Abu Ghraib, he said, Rumsfeld left the details to Cambone. Rumsfeld may not be personally culpable, the consultant added, "but he’s responsible for the checks and balances. The issue is that, since 9/11, we’ve changed the rules on how we deal with terrorism, and created conditions where the ends justify the means."

Cambone and his superiors..."created the conditions that allowed transgressions to take place. And now we're going to end up with another Church Commission"

And while Sy doesn't get too much into God's Soldier, General Boykin, rest assured that he is very definitely involved:

Cambone’s military assistant, Army Lieutenant General William G. (Jerry) Boykin, was also controversial. Last fall, he generated unwanted headlines after it was reported that, in a speech at an Oregon church, he equated the Muslim world with Satan.

A US Senate committee investigating the abuse of Iraqi prisoners has been told that Lt-Gen Boykin may have been the top general to send the signal to the lower ranks about the acceptability of prisoner abuse to 'soften up' Muslim detainees. If these charges pan out, the consequences will be devastating.

Senator McCain may have a hard time sticking with his party loyalties while still supporting his beloved military. The seams are certainly starting to crack:

Senator John McCain, of Arizona, said, "If this is true, it certainly increases the dimension of this issue and deserves significant scrutiny. I will do all possible to get to the bottom of this, and all other allegations."

With the evidence mounting, McCain won't be able to hedge on this one. Will he come out swinging at Rumskull and friends? Or will he lose all credibility as he skimpers behind Rove's dress?

Answer: McCain has never backed down from a fight.

McCain, Dayton, and Clinton are all starting to connect the cow-pies. And Sy just keeps exposing more and more every week. Strap-in, folks: This is gonna be a fun and wild ride.

Friday, May 14, 2004

Prosaic Mosaics

courtesy of HubLog

Did the White House illegally out CIA operative Valerie Plame? Was the FBI complicit in the murder of Nick Berg? Will Ken Lay ever be tried for his role in ENRON, and does Cheney have anything to do with it?

We may never know, because the Justice Department is just spread too thin with more important tasks, like:

--Trying Greenpeace under an anti-piracy law (as in "avast thar", not "napster") written in 1872 (last used in 1890), and

--Tying up 32 federal agents to persecute the War on Porn.

That having been said, you may find it amusing to know that the mosaic above is made entirely out of little porn pics.

On a more serious note, a mosaic having far more gravitas:

courtesy of American Leftist

This mosaic is composed of American servicemen and women who have died in Shrub's illegal Iraq disaster. Gee, Shrub, must be nice not to have a soul...

Thursday, May 13, 2004

If You Want Something Done...

Mighty Cthulhu hast heard not from Mine other Dear Leader since yonder Yule. Cthulhu doubts ye little stump is willing to drop his nukes just to entertain Mine magnificence, hence Cthulhu hast decided to do a bit of His own eavesdropping:

Laugh. Cthulhu commands thee.

Whatever happened to the other Dear Leader?

Sure wish he'd post again. Until he does, though, go visit the site and read the rest. Much needed humor in these trying times...

Wednesday, May 12, 2004

Update: Boykin under the gun once more...

Remember when I posted this?
Steven Cambone's personal henchman is Lt. Gen. William "Jerry" Boykin, the Deputy Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence. He is the "Holy Warrior" who said:

"...Islamic extremists hate the United States "because we're a Christian nation, because our foundation and our roots are Judeo-Christians. ... And the enemy is a guy named Satan."

Either of these men could have ordered Miller to Abu Ghraib.

Well, it seems the dear crusader has caught the eye of others as well:

A Senate hearing into the abuse of Iraqi prisoners was told on Tuesday that Lieutenant General William Boykin, an evangelical Christian under review for saying his God was superior to that of the Muslims, briefed a top Pentagon civilian official last summer on ways military interrogators could gain more intelligence from Iraqi prisoners.

Cambone "encouraged" Miller to go to Abu Ghraib and give MI "advice" on interrogation techniques. Who sent him? What "advice" was he told to give?

Connect the dots, folks...connect the dots...

Don't Vietnamize My Army

From WaPo comes this little ditty; I wonder if ShrubCo can dance to it?

Army Maj. Gen. Charles H. Swannack Jr., the commander of the 82nd Airborne Division, who spent much of the year in western Iraq, said he believes that at the tactical level at which fighting occurs, the U.S. military is still winning. But when asked whether he believes the United States is losing, he said, "I think strategically, we are."

Seems like the guys on the sharp end are getting a bit frustrated and depressed by this whole Mess-o'-potamia thing. I can't imagine what it must be like to see your commrades and fellow Americans killed on a daily basis, and know that Washington is calling all the shots:

"I lost my brother in Vietnam," added Hughes, a veteran Army strategist who is involved in formulating Iraq policy. "I promised myself, when I came on active duty, that I would do everything in my power to prevent that [sort of strategic loss] from happening again. Here I am, 30 years later, thinking we will win every fight and lose the war, because we don't understand the war we're in."

A senior general at the Pentagon said he believes the United States is already on the road to defeat. "It is doubtful we can go on much longer like this," he said. "The American people may not stand for it -- and they should not."

All they really need is some decent leadership. Unfortunately, all they have is this:

Asked who was to blame, this general pointed directly at Rumsfeld and Deputy Defense Secretary Paul D. Wolfowitz. "I do not believe we had a clearly defined war strategy, end state and exit strategy before we commenced our invasion," he said. "Had someone like Colin Powell been the chairman [of the Joint Chiefs of Staff], he would not have agreed to send troops without a clear exit strategy. The current OSD [Office of the Secretary of Defense] refused to listen or adhere to military advice."

Colonel David Hackworth (whose site--Soldiers for the Truth--played a pivotal role in breaking the Abu Ghraib story) seems to agree:

And now, because Mr. Rumsfeld and too many of his generals are into a fast-fix mode, the Pentagon has been dispatching Reserve and Guard units to combat zones even when they aren’t good to go. For example, I know of two enhanced infantry brigades that were rated as not combat-ready by Training Center commanders but were still sent to Iraq because boots were needed on the ground.

Does this failure of leadership end at the front line? Hardly:

LTG Sanchez cited recent reports of detainee abuse, escapes from confinement facilities, and accountability lapses, which indicated systemic problems within the brigade and suggested a lack of clear standards, proficiency, and leadership.

Our soldiers, active and retired, frontline and rearguard, are all crying out for real leadership and direction. They don't want to see the US Army pay in blood and honor for the ambivalent and wayward policies coming out of DC.

How to fix the problem? Maybe this is a start...


Venting spleen is a noble calling at Unelectable-Bush:

Sarcasm aside, can you believe the cajones on these guys? I mean the $87 billion supplemental for Iraq was scandalous enough. Then Bush submits a budget for Congress that does not allot a single red cent for Iraq because he doesn't want it used against him in the presidential campaign, choosing instead to delay the inevitable until after November. But here's the shocker:

The $87 billion approved back in September won't even last until November!!!

This was my reply to Chuck's justifiable rant:

Ok, so let me get this straight...

--Shrub steals $700 Million from the Afghan allocation so that he can plan his little war in Iraq way back in November 2001:

Bush began preparing for war with Iraq within weeks of the Sept. 11 attacks, was assured by CIA Director George Tenet that there was a "slam-dunk case" that Saddam possessed banned weapons, and spent $700 million on war preparations without Congress' knowledge.

--Shrub gets $87 Billion for war and reconstruction, and then starts stealing from the reconstruction fund:

So far, occupation officials have reassigned $184 million appropriated for drinking-water projects to fund the operations of the U.S. Embassy after the provisional authority is dissolved June 30. An additional $29 million from projects such as "democracy building" were reallocated to fund the U.S. development agency's administrative expenses.

--Shrub forgets to actually spend money on the soldiers who are fighting and dying in Iraq:

The military already has identified unmet funding needs, including initiatives aimed at providing equipment and weapons for troops in Iraq. The Army has publicly identified nearly $6 billion in funding requests that did not make Bush's $402 billion defense budget for 2005, including $132 million for bolt-on vehicle armor; $879 million for combat helmets, silk-weight underwear, boots and other clothing; $21.5 million for M249 squad automatic weapons; and $27 million for ammunition magazines, night sights and ammo packs. Also unfunded: $956 million for repairing desert-damaged equipment and $102 million to replace equipment lost in combat.

--Shrub also saves a few bucks by denying benefits to soldiers, veterans, and their families:

Ryan Kelley, who lost his left leg below the knee, makes about $20,000 a year as a staff sergeant. Once he leaves the army, he will receive about $8,000 a year in benefits.

The charity group "Feed the Children" organized food drives for children whose parents were fighting in Iraq. Between December 2002 and April 2003, the group "delivered 600,000 pounds of food and other necessities to more than 6,200 military families at 12 bases." In April, people "lined up for a half-hour near Fort Bragg to get free boxes of supplies and food, from cereal and spaghetti sauce to baby food and potato chips.

ShrubCo seems pretty determined to screw the people who defend our freedoms, and to do it in the most expensive way possible.

So tell me, why does Shrub hate our freedoms?


Tuesday, May 11, 2004

thx to renato at Liberal Media Conspiracy

Who Gave the Orders at Abu Ghraib?

As I touched on previously, Fragmentary Order #1108 was issued by Lieutenant General Ricardo Sanchez on November 19th, 2003. The order, among other things, placed the 800th Military Police Brigade under TACON (Tactical Control) to the 205th Military Intelligence Brigade. In effect, it placed Brigadier General Janice Karpinski's unit beneath that of Colonel Thomas Pappas' MI detachment.

None of that matters:
--MI personnel who seek to actively engage MP personnel in the interrogation process are in violation of AR 190-8, which prohibits MP's from such actions.
--MP personnel who actively participate in interrogations are in violation of AR 190-8.
--The methodologies used by MI and MP personnel who committed these attrocities were not following orders from Karpinski, nor were they following orders from Pappas.

These thugs were following the "advice" of one Major General Geoffrey Miller.

On October 9th, 2002, Brigadier General Rick Baccus was relieved of command at Guantanamo Bay for being "too nice":
Sources quoted in a number of US newspapers said General Baccus, 50, often clashed with other senior officers at the camp, including Major-General Michael Dunlavey who is in charge of interrogating the prisoners.

The Washington Times said General Baccus irritated General Dunlavey with his decision to allow the Red Cross to put up posters advising detainees they need only provide their name, rank and number during questioning.

MG Miller took command of Guantanamo on November 4th, 2002. And things didn't go smoothly after that:
Under his watch, one interrogator was charged with espionage and is up for court martial this month. Another interrogator was charged with transporting secret documents; his case is pending. A Muslim chaplain - and close adviser to Miller - was charged with mishandling classified information and adultery, though those charges were recently dropped.

Miller also faced steady criticism from human rights groups over the U.S. detention mission itself, which they say is abusive. None of the detainees have been charged yet, and some have been held for more than two years. The U.S. government has yet to agree on a date for tribunals.

In a rare public rebuke, the International Red Cross condemned the prolonged detentions at Guantanamo in October, saying that mental instability and attempted suicides among detainees indicated severe problems with the U.S. operation.

This is the same MG Miller that MG Taguba refers to in his Abu Ghraib report here:
From 31 August to 9 September 2003, MG Miller led a team of personnel experienced in strategic interrogation to HQ, CJTF-7 and the Iraqi Survey Group (ISG) to review current Iraqi Theater ability to rapidly exploit internees for actionable intelligence. MG Miller’s team focused on three areas: intelligence integration, synchronization, and fusion; interrogation operations; and detention operations. MG Miller’s team used JTF-GTMO procedures and interrogation authorities as baselines.

It was Miller who "got tough" in Guantanamo, and it was Miller who changed the interrogation procedures in Abu Ghraib. It was Miller who was selected to replace Baccus, an officer accused of being "too nice".

Who sent Major General Miller to Abu Ghraib last year, where he gave his "advice" on interrogation techniques?
CAMBONE: Yes, sir. My name is Steve Cambone. I'm the Undersecretary for Intelligence, Senator.

The original effort by the major general was done down with respect to Guantanamo and had to do with in fact whether or not we had the proper arrangement in the facilities in order to be able to gain the kind of intelligence we were looking from those prisoners in Guantanamo.

We had then in Iraq a large body of people who had been captured on the battlefield that we had to gain intelligence from for force protection purposes, and he was asked to go over, at my encouragement, to take a look at the situation as it existed there. And he made his recommendations. His recommendations were that.

Cambone's statement is ambiguous. He either sent Miller to Abu Ghraib, or he supported the order sending Miller there.

Steven Cambone's personal henchman is Lt. Gen. William "Jerry" Boykin, the Deputy Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence. He is the "Holy Warrior" who said:
"...Islamic extremists hate the United States "because we're a Christian nation, because our foundation and our roots are Judeo-Christians. ... And the enemy is a guy named Satan."

Either of these men could have ordered Miller to Abu Ghraib.

But there is also one other man who could have issued that order; the same man who appointed both Cambone and Boykin:

Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld.

Saturday, May 08, 2004

Why Rumskull Will Stay
(or, "Heather Wilson Just Handed General Sanchez's Head to Rumskull on a Silver Platter")

While the world watched the Senate Armed Services Committee meeting, few of us stuck around for the subsequent House version of the same. Those of us who did were treated to the following exchange:

HEATHER WILSON (R-NM): I would like to follow up a little on the line of questioning that Mr. Spratt began, and that has to do with command and control, the lines of authority.

It is my understanding that there was an order given on the 19th of November that effectively put the Abu Ghraib prison under the command of military intelligence.

There's a section of that order that is quoted in General Taguba's report. I do not have the complete copy of the order, but the paragraph says, "Effective immediately, commander of 201st [sic: 205th] Military Intelligence Brigade assumes responsibility for the Baghdad confinement facility and is appointed the forward operating base commander. Units currently at the Abu Ghraib are TACON, tactically controlled, to 205 Military Intelligence Brigade for security of detainees and FOB protection, forwarding operating base protection."

That order effectively put all the MPs in that unit under the command or under the control of military intelligence, which, as I understand it, is contrary to Army regulation. [emphasis added]

Is that order still in effect, or has it been rescinded?

RUMSFELD: General Smith?

L. SMITH: It's been rescinded. The organization under General Miller right now is established so that he works for CJTF-7, General Sanchez. And the M.I. brigade and the M.P. brigade, both work directly for him.

H. WILSON: Who signed that order, and did any of you know...

L. SMITH: The November FRAGO?

H. WILSON: Who signed the order, and did any of you here testifying today know of that change?

L. SMITH: I'm not sure what you mean...

H. WILSON: The 19...

L. SMITH: The November order?

H. WILSON: The 19 November 2003 FRAG order changing the lines of command. Who signed it, and did any of you here today know that it had been signed?

L. SMITH: General Sanchez signed the order, as the CJTF-7 commander.

RUMSFELD: I did not know.

MYERS: I didn't know.

RUMSFELD: It's not the kind of thing we would know.

(UNKNOWN): I did not know.

(UNKNOWN): I did not.

L. SMITH: And I didn't know. I was just arriving at CENTCOM at the time.

Representative Wilson raises a red flag here. A couple of them, in fact. 1) Few outside of CentCom know what is going on at the operational level in Iraq, and 2) General Sanchez is responsible for placing the 800th MP Brigade under TACON to the 205th MI Brigade in contravention to US Army regulations. Hmm, time for a little reading...

Digging into my .pdf copy of "Article 15-6 Investigation of the 800th Military Police Brigade" (aka, "The Taguba Report"), I found this:

9. (U) I find that this ambiguous command relationship was exacerbated by a CJTF-7 Fragmentary Order (FRAGO) 1108 issued on 19 November 2003. Paragraph 3.C.8, Assignment of 205th MI Brigade Commander’s Responsibilities for the Baghdad Central Confinement Facility, states as follows:

3.C.8. A. (U) 205 MI BRIGADE.


Although not supported by BG Karpinski, FRAGO 1108 made all of the MP units at Abu Ghraib TACON to the Commander, 205th MI Brigade. This effectively made an MI Officer, rather than an MP Officer, responsible for the MP units conducting detainee operations at that facility. This is not doctrinally sound due to the different missions and agendas assigned to each of these respective specialties.

Ironically, it was General Sanchez who had appointed MG Taguba to investigate Abu Ghraib and other facilities. In addition, Brigadier General Karpinski was either unaware of that FRAG order, or ignored it. It must have been awkward for Taguba to come back and say, "Boss, you really didn't help matters."

But was Sanchez's November 19th FRAG order illegal? Wilson seems to think so, and there is some debate about this point:

RUMSFELD: I would also add that I do not know whether it's against Army regulations or not, or doctrine or procedures, I just simply don't know the answer to that. And I would not want to leave my silence to suggest agreement with your comment.

SCHOOMAKER: I'm told back here, Congresswoman Wilson, that that's a task organization issue, not a regulation.

H. WILSON: According to Major General Taguba's report, he found that the setting of conditions and the lack of separation of military intelligence from M.P.s was contrary to Army Regulation 109-8 [sic: 190-8--cthulhu], and was a contributing factor to the problems in Abu Ghraib. And I think that's an important factor that warrants some further consideration, that I haven't heard discussion of. And, Secretary, I'd like your response and comment.

RUMSFELD: I'm sorry, did you just ask me a question? I couldn't hear a thing.

SCHOOMAKER: I heard what she said. I think we were addressing a different issue. You talked about tactical control, the M.P.s under it. Now you're talking about doctrinal mission business and Army regulation, and I think those are two things.

You could have M.P.s under the tactical control of the M.I. to do the M.P. doctrinal role, which are to provide a safe and secure environment. When you step over the line and say you now have them setting conditions or participating in interrogation, that's a different issue. And I think you're exactly correct. The Army regulation prohibits that.

But I thought we were addressing a different issue when you first said that. I thought you were addressing the TACON issue.

(For those of you who are interested, a .pdf of AR190-8 can be obtained at the National Institute of Military Justice website. It is 86 pages long.)

Oddly, Taguba never mentions the illegality of FRAGO #1108 vis-a-vis AR 190-8. He merely describes the FRAGO as having exacerbated the ambiguity of the command structure at Abu Ghraib.

In fact, directly addressing AR190-8, Taguba states the following:

The recommendations of MG Miller’s team that the "guard force" be actively engaged in setting the conditions for successful exploitation of the internees would appear to be in conflict with the recommendations of MG Ryder’s Team and AR 190-8 that military police "do not participate in military intelligence supervised interrogation sessions."

Military Police...do not participate in Military Intelligence supervised interrogation sessions...The 800th MP Brigade has not been directed to change its facility procedures to set the conditions for MI interrogations, nor participate in those interrogations.

3. (U) I concur fully with MG Ryder’s conclusion regarding the effect of AR 190-8. Military Police...should not participate in Military Intelligence supervised interrogation sessions. Moreover, Military Police should not be involved with setting "favorable conditions" for subsequent interviews.

10. (U) I find that contrary to the provision of AR 190-8, and the findings found in MG Ryder’s Report, Military Intelligence (MI) interrogators and Other US Government Agency’s (OGA) interrogators actively requested that MP guards set physical and mental conditions for favorable interrogation of witnesses. Contrary to the findings of MG Ryder’s Report, I find that personnel assigned to the 372ndMP Company, 800th MP Brigade were directed to change facility procedures to "set the conditions" for MI interrogations.

12. (U) I find that prior to its deployment to Iraq for Operation Iraqi Freedom, the 320th MP Battalion and the 372nd MP Company had received no training in detention/internee operations. I also find that very little instruction or training was provided to MP personnel on the applicable rules of the Geneva Convention Relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War, FM 27-10, AR 190-8, or FM 3-19.40

Almost every witness we interviewed had no familiarity with the provisions of AR 190-8 or FM 3-19.40.

Obviously, Wilson was wrong when she stated that Taguba had found Sanchez's order in violation of AR 190-8. In fact, the only people said to have violated it are the abusers in question, and MG Miller (This is the same Major General Miller that once ruled Gitmo, and is now in charge of Abu Ghraib.).

All FRAGO #1108 did was add to some confusion. BG Karpinski seemed unaware of the order that put her command under TACON to the 205th MI Bgde. Anyone who bothered trying to find out if MI had the authority to order MP personnel to "soften up" detainees would have been confused by this FRAGO. On the one hand, MI did have the authority to give orders to MP's; on the other hand, ordering their direct participation ("softening up") was in violation of AR190-8. Since the 800th MP Bgde never received instruction on AR190-8 prior to deployment to Iraq, MP personnel would have no way of knowing that such MI orders were illegal.

This points to a complicated and systemic problem. It does not, however, exonerate MP personnel from following orders that were obviously immoral. Nor does it lay blame directly on Sanchez's confusing FRAGO #1108. In effect, all that Taguba says on this order is that it made it a bit difficult to know who was in overall charge of the situation.

So why Wilson's pointed accusation?

H. WILSON: Major General Taguba's report says that there was confusion over who was in authority in this prison and that some of the guards may have been taking their direction from the military intelligence interrogators on that unit, and that this order contributed to that confusion, particularly as there were no written standard operating procedures as to how these soldiers should act and what the limits of their authority were.

That seems to me to be a major issue of command and control, and something worthy of further analysis and thought.

SCHOOMAKER: And I think we would agree with that, exactly what you just said.

DUNCAN HUNTER (R-CA) (Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee): (OFF-MIKE) the gentlelady's point, this question. And I think the implication, once again, that what we saw in those pictures may have been directed by the interrogation leadership, which had taken over, which now had a larger role in the prison. I think that's a question that has to be explored and investigated.

Is that question being explored and investigated?

RUMSFELD: It is. The Fay investigation is the one that is looking at military intelligence.

What's it's due date?

MYERS: I think it's several weeks out, if it stays on schedule.

Congresswoman Wilson has obviously read Taguba's report, and read it very thoroughly from the sound of it. She had the same information that I had in compiling this post. In short, she had to have known that what she was charging General Sanchez with, that he had violated AR190-8 and that Taguba had reported as much, was in fact just plain wrong.

It was a lie.

At worst, Geneneral Sanchez is guilty of having made an assumption: That, as per SOE, the 800th MP Bgde had received proper instruction on the handling of POW's as per AR190-8 and the 3rd Geneva Convetion. He was never informed of that ominous ommission in their training until Taguba made him aware of it. In fact, had the 800th MP Bgde been trained on 190-8, they would have known that any order or suggestion to "soften up" detainees was illegal...and we wouldn't be where we are today. But they didn't, and that ambiguity was the green light for those thugs to act out their sick fantasies.

And Wilson knew all of that when she launched into her questioning.

Rumskull had no idea how to handle the accusation because he still hadn't read the Taguba Report. In fact, only Schoomaker had any idea where Wilson was going with her line of questioning, and saw the full implications of her attack (To his credit, only Schoomaker took issue with it.).

What Wilson did was to lay a groundwork for Rumskull to pin this whole tragic affair on to Sanchez. She put General Sanchez squarely into Rumskull's sights. It was Sanchez who gave the confusing FRAG order #1108. He did not consult with the Pentagon first. He never consulted with Rumskull. He wasn't aware that the 800th MP Bgde lacked proper training. He was in command of both the 800th MP and the 205th MI Bgde's. The buck stops on his desk.

Rumskull may have been blindsided by Wilson's allegations, but rest assured: Rumskull will run with this.

Gentlemen, we have found our scapegoat.

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