The Lady Speaks

“The Most Insidious of Traitors”

Evil Incarnate forced himself out of his undisclosed location to give a speech in which he threatens the US will take action against Iran.

Once again, the misAdministration proves that it only goes after o-i-l and countries that do not already have nuclear weapons. North Korea, anyone? China? Israel? Britain? Pakistan, where Mr. Bin Forgotten is getting his groove on and encouraging his Taliban buddies?

From the Associated Press:

The United States and other nations will not allow Iran to obtain a nuclear weapon, Vice President Dick Cheney said Sunday.

[snip]

He said Iran’s efforts to pursue technology that would allow it to build a nuclear weapon are obvious and that “the regime continues to practice delay and deceit in an obvious effort to buy time.” [Not that the Big Dick would know anything about practicing delay and deceit … – Jenn]

If Iran continues on its current course, Cheney said the U.S. and other nations are prepared to take action. The vice president made no specific reference to military action.

“We will not allow Iran to have a nuclear weapon,” he said.

Gee, Mr. Vice-President, wouldn’t that have been easier if you and your minions hadn’t decided that Valerie Plame was “fair game”?

From ThinkProgress:

PLAME: Our mission was to make sure that the bad guys, basically, did not get nuclear weapons.

COURIC: When senior administration officials leaked her name to reporters, they may have exposed other spies and damaged operations targeting Iran. CBS News has learned that she was involved in one highly classified mission to deliver fake nuclear weapons blueprints to Tehran. It was called Operation Merlin, and it was first revealed in a book by investigative reporter James Risen. [my emphasis]

Continue reading

October 22, 2007 Posted by | America, Bush, Cheney, Government, Homeland Security, Intelligence, Iran, Iraq, Nuclear Weapons, Plame case, Politics, Republicans | Leave a comment

How Very…Eenteresting

Since I’m trying to be a good girl who doesn’t refresh too often during the Libby live-blogging going on over at FireDogLake, I’ve been keeping myself distracted by surfing the net.

From Newsweek, via The Blue Herald comes this little tidbit to induce nausea:

But the fact remains that the longstanding war of words between Washington and Tehran is edging toward something more dangerous. A second Navy carrier group is steaming toward the Persian Gulf, and NEWSWEEK has learned that a third carrier will likely follow. Iran shot off a few missiles in those same tense waters last week, in a highly publicized test. With Americans and Iranians jousting on the chaotic battleground of Iraq, the chances of a small incident’s spiraling into a crisis are higher than they’ve been in years.

As Question Girl says, “Someone sneezes, and we’re at war.”

And here’s George Bush, tickling his nose with a feather: Continue reading

February 12, 2007 Posted by | America, Bush, Cheney, Government, Intelligence, Iran, Iraq, Middle East, Pentagon, Politics, US Military, War, White House | 4 Comments

Here we go again….

I was feeling slightly better, but now I’m feeling nauseated and it has nothing to do with the stomach flu.

From Reuters:

U.S.-led coalition forces in Iraq on Sunday presented what officials said was “a growing body” of evidence of Iranian weapons being used to kill coalition soldiers.

A senior defense official from the U.S.-led Multi-National Force in Baghdad, told a briefing that 170 coalition forces had been killed by roadside bombs known as explosively formed penetrators (EFPs) that he said were manufactured in Iran and smuggled into Iraq.

Where have we heard this stuff before? Oh, yeah…

From BushLies.net:

The Bush administration religiously chanted the contention that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction as its basis for a war.

For example, in his address to the nation Bush said the intelligence “leaves no doubt that . . . Iraq . . . continues to possess and conceal some of the most lethal weapons ever devised.” Vice President Cheney also was part of the chorus and declared that “there is no doubt that Saddam Hussein now has weapons of mass destruction.”

Also from BushLies.net:

“No terrorist state poses a greater or more immediate threat to the security of our people and the stability of the world than the regime of Saddam Hussein in Iraq.” Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld (09.19.02)

and Continue reading

February 11, 2007 Posted by | America, Bush, Cheney, Government, Intelligence, Iran, Middle East, Pentagon, War, Whacko Nut Cases | Leave a comment

British Gov’t Lied About WMDs

At a time when nearly everyone is wondering just how the hell we’re going to get out of Iraq, new evidence comes to light that proves, once again, that we never should have gone there.

While American administration officials were using British intelligence claims to back up their war drums, the British knew – and had told the Americans – Saddam had no WMDs.

What a surprise.

From the Independent: [all emphasis mine]

The Government’s case for going to war in Iraq has been torn apart by the publication of previously suppressed evidence that Tony Blair lied over Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction.

A devastating attack on Mr Blair’s justification for military action by Carne Ross, Britain’s key negotiator at the UN, has been kept under wraps until now because he was threatened with being charged with breaching the Official Secrets Act.

In the testimony revealed today Mr Ross, 40, who helped negotiate several UN security resolutions on Iraq, makes it clear that Mr Blair must have known Saddam Hussein possessed no weapons of mass destruction. He said that during his posting to the UN, “at no time did HMG [Her Majesty's Government] assess that Iraq’s WMD (or any other capability) posed a threat to the UK or its interests.”

Mr Ross revealed it was a commonly held view among British officials dealing with Iraq that any threat by Saddam Hussein had been “effectively contained”.

He also reveals that British officials warned US diplomats that bringing down the Iraqi dictator would lead to the chaos the world has since witnessed. “I remember on several occasions the UK team stating this view in terms during our discussions with the US (who agreed),” he said.

“At the same time, we would frequently argue when the US raised the subject, that ‘regime change’ was inadvisable, primarily on the grounds that Iraq would collapse into chaos.”

[...]

Mr Ross says he questioned colleagues at the Foreign Office and the Ministry of Defence working on Iraq and none said that any new evidence had emerged to change their assessment.

“What had changed was the Government’s determination to present available evidence in a different light,” he added.

Read the full article here.

Read more at the Independent:

Full transcript of the evidence given by Carne Ross to the Butler inquiry.

I read the available UK and US intelligence on Iraq every working day for the four and a half years of my posting. This daily briefing would often comprise a thick folder of material, both humint and sigint. I also talked often and at length about Iraq’s WMD to the international experts who comprised the inspectors of UNSCOM/UNMOVIC, whose views I would report to London. In addition, I was on many occasions asked to offer views in contribution to Cabinet Office assessments, including the famous WMD dossier (whose preparation began some time before my departure in June 2002).

During my posting, at no time did HMG assess that Iraq’s WMD (or any other capability) posed a threat to the UK or its interests. On the contrary, it was the commonly-held view among the officials dealing with Iraq that any threat had been effectively contained. I remember on several occasions the UK team stating this view in terms during our discussions with the US (who agreed). (At the same time, we would frequently argue, when the US raised the subject, that “r¿gime change” was inadvisable, primarily on the grounds that Iraq would collapse into chaos.) [...]

More on the UK whistleblower, Carne Ross.

Carne Ross wrestled with his conscience for three more months after he secretly submitted evidence to the Butler committee into the use of pre-war intelligence on Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction.

Beset by long-standing private doubts about the Government’s Iraq policy which he had implemented for four years in New York, he had previously drafted “about six” resignation letters in the past which he never sent.

But after emailing his testimony to the Butler committee from Kosovo where he was on secondment, Mr Ross realised that he had probably jeopardised his 15-year career. After agonising for another three months, he sent another email in September 2004, this time terminating his employment with the Foreign Office. He was 38. [...]

Commentary in the Independent by Anne Penketh: Saddam seen as no threat – then politicians got to work.

We have had the gossipy version on the run-up to the Iraq war from Tony Blair’s ambassador to Washington, Christopher Meyer, aka the “red-socked fop”. We have not, sadly, been able to read the account of Sir Jeremy Greenstock, the former UN ambassador whose memoirs have been blocked by the Foreign Office.

But with the publication of Carne Ross’s statement to the Butler committee we have an insider’s view as to the state of Britain’s Iraq policy before the politicians seized it by the scruff of the neck in 2002.

Mr Ross suggests that the Bush administration was not the only government which changed the intelligence and the facts to fit the policy before the Iraq invasion. Even though he left Britain’s UN mission in mid-2002 he confirms that the prevailing wisdom throughout his four years as first secretary in New York was that Iraq’s WMD did not represent a direct threat, and had been contained by sanctions.

But as we now know, thanks to a secret Downing Street memo dated 23 July 2002, military action was already seen as “inevitable” by Washington which wanted to overthrow Saddam Hussein. “The intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy,” the memo said. [...]

December 15, 2006 Posted by | Blair, Britain, Bush, Cheney, Condoleeza Rice, Congress, Government, Intelligence, Iraq, Pentagon, Politics, Rumsfeld, State Dept, War, White House | Leave a comment

Welcome to BushWorld

“To tell deliberate lies while genuinely believing in them, to forget any fact that has become inconvenient, and then when it becomes necessary again, to draw it back from oblivion for just so long as it is needed…”

“In the end the Party would announce that two and two made five, and you would have to believe it. It was inevitable that they should make that claim sooner or later: the logic of their position demanded it. Not merely the validity of experience, but the very existence of external reality was tacitly denied by their philosophy.”

– George Orwell, 1984

From the Washington Post and Associated Press, in the Seattle Times:

Privacy advocates and business travelers Friday called on the federal government to scrap a Department of Homeland Security data-mining program that creates terrorism-risk assessments for every traveler entering or leaving the United States.

[...]

The Automated Targeting System (ATS), which has evaluated millions of Americans without their knowledge, began as a means of screening cargo but quietly was expanded in recent years to screen travelers and create risk profiles that will be retained for 40 years.

Customs officials say the program is necessary to protect the American public.

Travelers are not allowed to see or directly challenge these risk assessments, and some or all data in the system can be shared with state, local and foreign governments for use in hiring, contracting and licensing decisions. Courts and even private contractors can obtain data under certain circumstances.

[...]

The program, which singles out travelers for extra attention by customs officials, first was revealed days before the Nov. 7 elections in a Washington Post story published by The Seattle Times, after a notice describing it appeared in the Federal Register. Reaction was muted until The Associated Press reported on the issue Thursday.

Air passengers have been scrutinized for risks for 10 years, while assessments of some land-border crossers have been conducted for about two years, a Customs and Border Protection official said.

[...]

Government officials asserted that creating a vast database over time on travelers — including those who are law-abiding — will help analysts build models of normal and suspicious behavior. Ahern said there are 309 million land and sea border crossings and 87 million air border crossings each year — more than 95 percent for lawful reasons.

From the Privacy Impact Assessment for the Automated Targeting System:

Section 7.0 Individual Access, Redress and Correction

The following questions are directed at an individual’s ability to ensure the accuracy of the information collected about them.

7.1 What are the procedures which allow individuals to gain access to their own information?

Procedures for individuals to gain access to data maintained in source systems that provide data used by ATS would be covered by the respective SORNs for the source systems. In addition, the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) (5 U.S.C. 552) provides a means of access to information, including PNR data, for all persons, irrespective of the individual’s status under the Privacy Act.

With respect to data for which ATS is the actual source system (e.g., PNR), the applicable SORN is published at Volume 71, Federal Register 64543 (November 2, 2006). FOIA requests for access to information for which ATS is the source system may be directed to CBP in the manner prescribed by regulations at Title 19, Code of Federal Regulations, Part 103. With respect to the data that ATS creates, i.e., the risk assessment for an individual, the risk assessment is for official law enforcement use only and is not communicated outside of CBP staff, nor is it subject to access under the Privacy Act. ATS is a system that supports CBP law enforcement activities, as such an individual might not be aware of the reason additional scrutiny is taking place, nor should he or she as this may compromise the means and methods of how CBP came to require further scrutiny. Additional screening may occur because of a heightened risk assessment, or because of other concerns by the CBP officer, or on a random basis. If a reviewing officer determines that a person is not a match to a record or the record is determined to not be accurate, CBP has a policy in place which permits the officer to promptly initiate corrective action with regard to that record to avoid that person being identified for examination during future entry or exit processing based on that erroneous information.

7.2 What are the procedures for correcting erroneous information?

CBP has created a Customer Satisfaction Unit in its Office of Field Operations to provide redress with respect to inaccurate information collected or maintained by its electronic systems, which include ATS, TECS, IBIS, and APIS). Inquiries to the Customer Satisfaction Unit should be addressed to: Customer Satisfaction Unit, Office of Field Operations, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Room 5.5C, 1300 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20229. Individuals making inquiries should provide sufficient information to identify the record at issue. [all emphasis mine]

You aren’t allowed to know what your file contains or the “score” you generated – or even whether or not you have a file and/or a score – so just how in the hell are you supposed to write to the “Customer Satisfaction Unit” [I love the Orwellian name] and ask them to correct the erroneous information they have about you???

Face it folks. We’re all in Guantanamo now.

What information is the ATS program collecting about you? Read the list at the Huffington Post.

December 2, 2006 Posted by | America, Books, Bush, Constitution, Domestic Spying, Government, Homeland Security, Intelligence | 4 Comments

Jenn’s Sunday Sermon

Posting early for reasons explained in Sunday Sermon – Part 2.

I want to urge everyone who reads this to visit Bloggers Against Torture and pass the word along to friends. If you're a blogger, join us and be a part of the movement. At my last count, 168 blogs have joined the effort to stop torture around the world.

 

Regardless of your opinions on the Iraq war, or your opinions on the Bush administration, whether you're red or blue, hawk or dove, Christian or atheist or Jew or Hindu or Pagan – we all have to raise our voices and stop the use of torture by our government and governments around the world.

Torture is wrong.

 

It violates against every moral and religious principle. It violates every person's right to humane treatment. Allowing our government to continue the use of torture - in our name – demeans every word of our Declaration of Independence, our Bill of Rights, our Constitution. Using torture makes us no better than any two-bit Third-World dictatorship.

 

 

If you are a person of faith, join the National Religious Campaign Against Torture!!

June 10, 2006 Posted by | Blogs, Government, Intelligence, Politics, Protest, Religion, Torture, War | Leave a comment

Call Verizon!

Veritas78 has started with a bang!

From his first post at DailyKos:

I called their Ethics Line, which is staffed by a 3rd-party ethics investigation firm called Global Compliance. I was impressed by how they handled my complaint.

"Rudi" was respectful, took all my information, and took down my questions word-for-word (along the lines of: Did Verizon sell my private information to NSA as reported in USA Today? Did they do so without a warrant? Why did they not notify me that they had done so? Did they violate the law in doing so?) and took the whole matter very seriously. She asked for the name of the USA Today reporter, the date of the article, and was professional about the whole thing. I also got a sense that she gathered the gravity of my complaint.

So if you call, this is what you can expect. At least Verizon bothered to hire this outside firm to take ethical complaints. I suggest we make use of the service. Have your facts on hand and be concise. The people answering the phone aren't Verizon–but every complaint gets logged with a ID number and Verizon will have to decide how to deal with each one.

Be sure to check out the comments! The commenters have added more contact numbers for Verizon customers that they've either found, or been referred to.

Also, someone added the email address of Verizon CEO, Ivan G. Seidenberg: ivan.g.seidenberg@verizon.com  If you do write, keep concise and to the point, and – above all – polite!

Here's the email I sent him:

Mr. Seidenberg,

I am writing in response to yesterday's article in the USA Today by Leslie Cauley.

1. Did Verizon hand over the call records of its customers voluntarily, without a warrant or authorization from the Justice Department, OR were these records sold to the NSA? What law(s) were violated by doing do?

2. Why were Verizon customers not notified that their call records were being given and/or sold to the National Security Agency?

3. Were Verizon's shareholders notified of the NSA request before the records were handed over?

I am extremely angry that a company I do business with would give or sell my call records to a government agency, with no protection for the customer, no regard to the law (most especially the 4th Amendment of the Constitution).

[snip]

Your time and attention to this matter is greatly appreciated.

ThinkProgress has this up:

This morning, USA Today reported that three telecommunications companies – AT&T, Verizon and BellSouth – provided “phone call records of tens of millions of Americans” to the National Security Agency. Such conduct appears to be illegal and could make the telco firms liable for tens of billions of dollars. Here's why:

1. It violates the Stored Communications Act  [...]

2. The penalty for violating the Stored Communications Act is $1000 per individual violation. [...]

 

3. The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act doesn’t get the telcos off the hook. [...]

 

May 12, 2006 Posted by | Bush, Constitution, Crime, Domestic Spying, Intelligence, NSA, White House | 1 Comment

Hello NSA! F**k you Verizon!

Gee whiz, wouldn't ya know? The NSA has a giant database of phone call records – given to it by AT&T, Verizon, and BellSouth. The only company that didn't cooperate by giving out it's customer database was Qwest.

Not that this is news. We all knew this. It's just that we have proof now.

From Reuters:

The agency in charge of a domestic spying program has been secretly collecting phone call records of tens of millions of Americans, including calls made within the United States, USA Today reported on Thursday.

It said the National Security Agency has been building up the database using records provided by three major phone companies — AT&T Inc., Verizon Communications Inc. and BellSouth Corp. — but that the program “does not involve the NSA listening to or recording conversations.” [Oh, really? You sure about that? --Jenn]

[snip]

Defending the controversial program, President Bush and his administration officials have said it aims to uncover links between international terrorists and their domestic collaborators and only targets communications between a person inside the United States and a person overseas.

[snip]

But USA Today said that calls originating and terminating within the United States have not escaped the NSA’s attention.

“It’s the largest database ever assembled in the world,” the paper quoted one source as saying. The agency’s goal is “to create a database of every call ever made” within U.S. borders, it said the source added.

The NSA has “access to records of billions of domestic calls,” USA Today said. Although customers’ names and addresses are not being handed over, “the phone numbers the NSA collects can easily be cross-checked with other databases to obtain that information,” it said. [emphasis mine]

And here's the kicker:

Air Force Gen. Michael Hayden, who headed the NSA from 1999 to 2005 and was nominated by Bush on Monday as director of the CIA, would have overseen the call-tracking program, the paper said.

And, may I say again – F**k you, Verizon! Bastards! It's not enough that you give me lousy home and cell service at outrageous prices, you just happily hand over my records, too?

* *

Update: ( 2:11pm) Here's the direct link to Leslie Cauley's story in USA Today, which says:

The NSA program reaches into homes and businesses across the nation by amassing information about the calls of ordinary Americans — most of whom aren't suspected of any crime. This program does not involve the NSA listening to or recording conversations. But the spy agency is using the data to analyze calling patterns in an effort to detect terrorist activity, sources said in separate interviews.

[snip]

For the customers of these companies, it means that the government has detailed records of calls they made — across town or across the country — to family members, co-workers, business contacts and others.

[snip]

Sources, however, say that is not the case. With access to records of billions of domestic calls, the NSA has gained a secret window into the communications habits of millions of Americans. Customers' names, street addresses and other personal information are not being handed over as part of NSA's domestic program, the sources said. But the phone numbers the NSA collects can easily be cross-checked with other databases to obtain that information.

[snip]

One major telecommunications company declined to participate in the program: Qwest.

According to sources familiar with the events, Qwest's CEO at the time, Joe Nacchio, was deeply troubled by the NSA's assertion that Qwest didn't need a court order — or approval under FISA — to proceed. Adding to the tension, Qwest was unclear about who, exactly, would have access to its customers' information and how that information might be used.

Financial implications were also a concern, the sources said. Carriers that illegally divulge calling information can be subjected to heavy fines. The NSA was asking Qwest to turn over millions of records. The fines, in the aggregate, could have been substantial.

The NSA told Qwest that other government agencies, including the FBI, CIA and DEA, also might have access to the database, the sources said. As a matter of practice, the NSA regularly shares its information — known as “product” in intelligence circles — with other intelligence groups. Even so, Qwest's lawyers were troubled by the expansiveness of the NSA request, the sources said.

The NSA, which needed Qwest's participation to completely cover the country, pushed back hard.

Trying to put pressure on Qwest, NSA representatives pointedly told Qwest that it was the lone holdout among the big telecommunications companies. It also tried appealing to Qwest's patriotic side: In one meeting, an NSA representative suggested that Qwest's refusal to contribute to the database could compromise national security, one person recalled.

In addition, the agency suggested that Qwest's foot-dragging might affect its ability to get future classified work with the government. Like other big telecommunications companies, Qwest already had classified contracts and hoped to get more.

Unable to get comfortable with what NSA was proposing, Qwest's lawyers asked NSA to take its proposal to the FISA court. According to the sources, the agency refused.

Go Qwest!

And, once more with emotion: F**k you Verizon!

May 11, 2006 Posted by | Bush, Congress, Constitution, Domestic Spying, Government, Homeland Security, Intelligence, Law, NSA, Politics, Republicans | 2 Comments

How Intelligent Are YOU?

If you aren't wandering your home muttering, "3 W on a T?!" or "8 T on an O?!!" then you haven't tried the Intelligence Test yet.

Click to take the tests: Part onePart twoPart three

I'm please to say I'm a freakin' genius on Part One of the test with 25/30 (on my second try) and 15/24 on Part Two. I'm still working on Part two and will hopefully improve my score. 

May 5, 2006 Posted by | Intelligence, Just For Fun, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Iran – The Irrelevency of Intelligence

Arthur has a great post that should be a must-read for everyone in the United States – especially lefty bloggers. He points out the fallacy of making comments like ‘getting the intelligence right’ on Iran, when the intelligence for Iraq was fixed to fit the goals of the Bush administration.

From Once Upon A Time:

I continue to see many references on political blogs to the “importance of getting the intelligence right.” At the moment, such comments obviously come up most often in discussions about “what to do about Iran.” It’s no surprise that this perspective shows up on conservative and rightwing blogs — but I continue to be astounded that so many liberal and progressive bloggers still fall for this line.

People don’t seem to grasp the necessary meaning of this approach. If you contend that it is crucial for the intelligence to be correct and given how the argument is almost always presented, you are assuming that major policy decisions are made on the basis of that intelligence, at least to a significant degree. This is buying into Bush’s defense entirely: “But everyone thought Iraq had WMD and was a serious and growing threat!” Never mind the lie about “everyone” having thought this, which everyone most certainly did not. The crucial point is that Bush is saying that he only launched the war on Iraq because of what the intelligence indicated. And even liberals still repeat this propaganda.

[snip]

In fact, I have thought for a few years that the decision to attack to Iran was made some time ago. I am more convinced of that now than I ever was before. The constant stream of scare stories about Iran is designed only to terrify the American public sufficiently, so that when Bush holds a press conference to announce air strikes against Iran that have already begun, enough people will believe that the strikes were necessary — since Iran was about to launch nuclear weapons against us momentarily.

As with Iraq, all the major points will be lies. All of it will be war propaganda. And given our cowardly, inept, and fatally incompetent media and the lack of any significant political opposition — which opposition, if it existed, ought to be making itself known now and not after the press conference — and provided enough people are scared to the required degree, it will work. Again.

As summer approaches, the administration’s war-drumming will escalate. They’ve already declared a nuclear Iraq a threat to America – never mind the fact that the threat doesn’t exist as yet – and will not exist for ten years.

The incompetence of Bush’s foreign policy is obvious to everyone, and as Arthur says, if the left allows them to get away with it this time, we’re all culpable.

But let no one be heard to say that they were taken by surprise, or that they didn’t see it coming, or that they didn’t believe “they really meant it.” We all see it coming and we all know they do mean it, and almost no one is doing a damned thing to stop it. No one is off the hook this time.

No one.

April 14, 2006 Posted by | Bush, Cheney, Intelligence, Iran, Iraq, National Security, Terrorism, War | Leave a comment

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