Wednesday, February 28, 2007

The Undisclosed White House Source

Still waiting for the Libby verdict. Meanwhile....

Last night, the White House released the transcript of a background interview conducted by reporters aboard Air Force Two with a "senior administration official" who was not identified. Under the guidelines of the interview, the journalists cannot identify the "senior administration official." This is how the transcript starts:


Aboard Air Force Two
En Route Muscat, Oman
3:07 P.M. (Local)

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: The reason the President wanted me to come, obviously, is because of the continuing threat that exists in this part of the world on both sides of the Afghan-Pakistan border -- a threat to Afghanistan, clearly, in our efforts there, the Taliban, cross-border operations; a threat to Musharraf and his government. There were something like seven or eight suicide bombings in the last week or two in Pakistan. And obviously also, the threat to the homeland from the standpoint of operations and activities of al Qaeda in this part of the world -- for example, you go back to the airliner plot last fall, second generation Pakistani militants living in the U.K., but with ties back in al Qaeda areas along the Pakistan-Afghan border. So we've all got an interest, obviously, in trying to address those issues.

Let me just make one editorial comment here. I've seen some press reporting says, "Cheney went in to beat up on them, threaten them." That's not the way I work. I don't know who writes that, or maybe somebody gets it from some source who doesn't know what I'm doing, or isn't involved in it. But the idea that I'd go in and threaten someone is an invalid misreading of the way I do business.

I would describe my sessions both in Pakistan and Afghanistan as very productive. We've had notable successes in both places. I've often said before and I believe it's still true that we've captured and killed more al Qaeda in Pakistan than anyplace else. And I think we're making progress in Afghanistan.

So who's the mystery man? Have enough clues? Air Force Two. The use of the "I" word and "me". The claim of progress in Afghanistan. It can only be Vice President Dick Cheney himself--giving a background briefing to reporters about his own actions and thoughts. Makes you wonder about the geniuses in the White House who refuse to identify this "senior administration official" and then put out this press release. What's happened to the secret-keepers of the Bush White House?

Posted by David Corn at February 28, 2007 11:58 AM


capt said...

Mr. David Corn,

I think these neocons enjoy rubbing our collective noses in their complicity and culpability. It is fun for them.

Thanks for all of your work!


capt said...

Black hole may be 'particle accelerator'

TUCSON, Feb. 28 (UPI) -- U.S. and Australian scientists said they have discovered how a black hole in the center of the galaxy is emitting gamma rays with extraordinary energies.

Scientists said they were startled when they discovered in 2004 that the center of the Milky Way galaxy is emitting gamma rays with energies in the tens of trillions of electronvolts.

But now astrophysicists at The University of Arizona, the Los Alamos National Laboratory and Australia's University of Adelaide said the black hole might be working like a cosmic particle accelerator, revving up protons that smash at incredible speeds into lower energy protons, creating high-energy gamma rays.

University of Arizona astrophysicist David Ballantyne said the procedure is similar to the physics experiments that will be performed when the Large Hadron Collider is completed in Switzerland, accelerating protons to 7 trillion electronvolts.

The researchers said they believe the galaxy's black hole whips protons to energies as much as 100 trillion electronvolts. Ballantyne said that is even more impressive because, "Our black hole is pretty inactive compared to massive black holes sitting in other galaxies."

The research by Ballantyne, Fulvio Melia and colleagues appears in Astrophysical Journal Letters.


*****end of clip*****

Kind of makes sense to me (although my understanding of the subject is pedestrian)


Robert S said...

Let me just make one editorial comment here. I've seen some press reporting says, "Cheney went in to beat up on them, threaten them." That's not the way I work. I don't know who writes that, or maybe somebody gets it from some source who doesn't know what I'm doing, or isn't involved in it. But the idea that I'd go in and threaten someone is an invalid misreading of the way I do business. - An Unidentified Flying Obscenity

I'm reminded of Richard Armitage's comments about "with us or against us" while Musharraf was told "bombed back to the stone age" by his intelligence briefer who spoke to Armitage.

Or, as Frank Luntz would put it:

Words That Work: It's Not What You Say, It's What People Hear...

Robert S said...

U.S. Warns Against EU's CIA Flight Probe
Feb 28, 7:23 AM (ET)

BRUSSELS, Belgium (AP) - A senior U.S. administration official on Wednesday warned that ongoing inquiries into secret CIA activities in the European Union may undermine intelligence cooperation between the United States and European nations.

The European Parliament accused Britain, Poland, Italy and other nations in mid-February of colluding with the CIA to transport terror suspects to clandestine prisons in third countries.

In a report that concluded a yearlong investigation, the parliament identified 1,254 secret CIA flights that entered the European airspace since the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks on the United States.

It said that these flights were against international air traffic rules and suggested some of them may have carried terror suspects on board in violation of human rights principles.

John Bellinger, legal adviser to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, called the European Parliament report "unbalanced, inaccurate and unfair" and called on the EU governments to challenge the suggestion that Europeans need to be concerned about secret CIA flights.

"I can understand concerns about specific incidents but we should not somehow suggest that all intelligence activity is something illegal or suspicious," he said.

Germany, Italy and several other EU countries have been carrying out their own inquiries into secret CIA activities in Europe, probes Bellinger said "have not been helpful with respect to necessary cooperation between the United States and Europe."

"I do think these continuing investigations can harm intelligence cooperation, that's simply a fact of life," Bellinger told reporters after meeting legal advisers to EU governments in Brussels.

EU parliamentarians have rejected Bellinger's criticism and called on the United States to address concerns that some flights have carried kidnapped terror suspects.

"People are imprisoned without being tried first. That is unacceptable. (The U.S.) should open up to us and tell us where they're flying and who they're carrying," said Kathalijne Buitenweg, a Dutch member of the European Parliament.

The EU legislature has given no direct proof that the CIA ran secret prisons in Europe, an accusation that prompted the inquiry in November 2005. Bellinger refused to comment on reports that Poland and Romania housed clandestine detention centers, but said a lot of allegations concerning U.S. intelligence activities have been "just rumors."

Bellinger also said the United States would refuse any Italian extradition request for CIA agents indicted in the alleged abduction of an Egyptian cleric in Milan, one of the cases the European Parliament focused on in its inquiry.

"We've not got an extradition request from Italy. If we got an extradition request from Italy, we would not extradite U.S. officials to Italy," he said.

Milan prosecutors want the Italian government to forward their request for the extradition of the 26 Americans, mostly CIA agents. The previous government in Rome - led by Silvio Berlusconi - refused, and Premier Romano Prodi's center-left government has indicated it would not press Washington on the issue. The Americans all have left Italy, most before prosecutors sought their arrest.

Their trial opens in June. It will be the first criminal trial stemming from the CIA's extraordinary rendition program to secretly transfer terror suspects to third countries, where critics say they may have been tortured.

Bellinger also said the U.S. government was keen on closing the Guantanamo detention center in Cuba but has not yet figured out what to do with the inmates.

The base began receiving terror suspects in 2002, and its treatment of the detainees has come under strong criticism from human rights groups. The EU has repeatedly called for immediate closure of Guantanamo.

"We have not seen Europe has been willing to help. We have seen many statements from European governments saying Guantanamo must be closed immediately. It's not clear how Guantanamo would be immediately closed. Europe has been prepared to criticize ... but has not been prepared to offer a constructive suggestion," Bellinger said.

He added that the United States has been looking to Europe for help with inmates from the Middle East who cannot, for various reasons, return to their home countries, but has not received any offers from European countries to accept these people.


John Bellinger, legal adviser to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, called the European Parliament report "unbalanced, inaccurate and unfair" and called on the EU governments to challenge the suggestion that Europeans need to be concerned about secret CIA flights.

"I can understand concerns about specific incidents but we should not somehow suggest that all intelligence activity is something illegal or suspicious," he said.

As a matter of fact, most covert intelligence work is illegal, otherwise it wouldn't be covert. Espionage is illegal. Shhh!

David B. Benson said...

Elizabeth de la Varga on TomDispatch.

Robert S said...

Pleased to meet you, hope you guessed my name...

Gerald said...

The publishing company has listed my book. I had to say certain things and so I presented my manuscript to a publisher. Information in the book should create some reflection and thought. Names may change but but certain actions, behaviors, and deeds of people who want to enslave us and the world population will never change. What I have said in the book and the sources that I have used in the book will stand the test of time for reflection and thought.

Memoirs of an Internet Poster

capt said...


Congratulations on your new book!

I put a link to it on the main page.

Too cool for school!


capt said...

A Democracy in Crisis: Who is Really in Control?

The February 26 issue of Newsweek however, brought that conversation back to mind. "A Man of Mystery: Richard Hohlt is the heavy hitter you've never heard of," by Michael Isikoff was not a lengthy investigation by any accounts, though it deserved to be so. It introduced a most disturbing twist to the Valerie Plame story: the CIA officer who had her identity revealed by top White House staff to punish her husband, a leading Iraq war critique Joseph Wilson for discounting reports that the Iraqi government was endeavouring to acquire raw materials for nuclear weapons from an African source. The story was later found to be sheer concoction, but Wilson, according to the Bush administration's standards had to pay for his integrity.

The 'scoop' was made public when conservative US columnist Robert Novak revealed it in one of his columns, on July 14, 2003; more recently, according to Novak's court testimony, it was further revealed that the information was passed on to him through two top Bush administration officials: Vice-President Dick Cheney's former chief of staff, I. Lewis (Scooter) Libby and public policy genius — until the recent Republication legislative election's defeat, of course — Karl Rove.

Leaking a name of a CIA agent to the Press is a federal crime; both Libby and Rove knew such a fact well, although the former — now being prosecuted — is still acting as if he cannot recall the exact conversation he had with the columnist during the early stages of the Iraq war. Like faithful soldiers, Libby and his associates shall do their utmost to halt the persecutors' incessant quest of finding out the original source of the leak, suspected of being Cheney himself, or even worse.

As disconcerting as this may be, a new element was adding to the unfolding drama, as delineated by Isikoff's article: "Asked by one of Libby's lawyers if he had talked about Plame with anybody else before outing her in his column, Novak said he'd discussed her with a lobbyist named Richard Hohlt. Who, the lawyer pressed, is Hohlt?"

It turned out that Hohlt is "a very good source" of Novak as both talk "everyday"; A lobbyist and a "powerbroker", Hohlt reportedly seeks little media attention, although represents such influential clients as Bristol Myers, Chevron, JPMorgan Chase and the Nuclear Energy Association (not to mention his status as a 'Super Ranger' for his remarkable fund raising talents for the Republican Party.)

According to some affiliates of the obscure lobbyist, speaking to Newsweek, Hohlt is "known as the person you can go to to try to get stuff in Novak's column." Though Novak denied the suggestion as "ridiculous," nothing else can explain the columnist's daily hunts for scoops from Hohlt. The latter is so influential in fact, that before publishing his column revealing Plame's identity, Novak "did something most journalists rarely do: he gave the lobbyist an advance copy of his column." In turn, Hohlt, passed on the copy to Rove, according to his statement made to Newsweek. The White House clique thus had advanced knowledge of the "bombshell" that was yet to come, three days later. The tripartite scandal: one that revealed, or rather further confirmed, the troubling matrimony between the state, the media and the lobbyists, is hardly an individual account of rogue elements that behaved on its own behest.


capt said...

The Anguish of the Overlords: Bush Brother Stands Up for Saudi Royals

When he's not globetrotting with rightwing bagman and arms-dealing cult godling Sun Myung Moon, or being served with free prostitutes while bagging Red Army cash and insider fixings in China, little presidential brother Neil Bush can often be found in the balmy climes of Saudi Arabia, soaking up the largess of Bush Family business partners like the royal Sauds and the wealthy bin Ladens — and peddling his latest business wheeze, a boondoggle aimed at wringing money from public education systems dependent on government favor to survive.

(The scheme — a computerized "learning system" — goes by the unfortunate acronym of COW: "Cirriculum on Wheels." By a curious coincidence, this is the same acronym employed by his older brother in one of the latter's own boondoggles: the "Coalition of the Willing.")

Thus Arab News, the Saudi English-language paper, finds the peripatetic Neil "building bridges" at the Jeddah Economic Forum this week. While hawking his COW amongst the mega-monied of the Middle East, Neil found time to hold affable court with the paper's reporter. Through most of the softball interview, Bush doled out bland bromides while promoting his pet COW and defending his brother's foreign policy. He only really came to life at the end of the talk, speaking of the "anguish" he feels over the way the Saudi's medieval kingdom of rampant nepotistic corruption, intolerant religious extremism and suffocating social and political repression is portrayed in the outside world.


Saladin said...

Gerald, that is OUTSTANDING! Congratulations!

Saladin said...

"rampant nepotistic corruption, intolerant religious extremism and suffocating social and political repression is portrayed in the outside world."

Now, what other middle east country could be described just that way?

David B. Benson said...

Saladin --- Which could not?

Saladin said...

Mr. Benson, I was referring to those portrayed in a much more positive light, as most are not. In fact, we seem to have a very bad habit of demonizing the very ones we should be helping.

David B. Benson said...

Saladin --- Ah. Lebanon.


Gerald said...

Thank you, capt and saladin!

I encourage many posters to share their thoughts in a book. As I read the comments on both Alternate Reality and Dancing with Fools blogspots, I sense many posters have great information to share. Focus on sharing information and do not be slowed with the thought that the book will not be a best seller! Your effort in writing the book will make you a best seller in improving our world.

O'Reilly said...

I don't get the point of Cheney's groundrules for the interview when it's so obvious that HE is the senior official. Is it just about exercising the power? One thing is for sure, it is completely disfunctional.

Here's an interesting take on Cheney by Joe Conason on the NYObserver Opinion Page. He calls Vice President Cheney out for being the king of duplicity:

Seeking to intimidate the Congressional leaders last week, he recited the misleading old formula conflating war in Iraq with the struggle against Al Qaeda. His theories on that subject have been blown up with the same force and frequency as those daily explosions on Baghdad’s streets. Only a few days ago, the Pentagon Inspector General issued a devastating report describing how Mr. Cheney’s agents in the Defense Department distorted intelligence to “prove” the mythical linkage between Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein.


O'Reilly said...

Cheney's contempt for American public opinion
Glenn Greenwald

Since the smashing repudiation his party suffered at the hands of the American voter in the 2006 midterm elections, Dick Cheney's behavior has become palpably more secretive, combative, and scornful. The embittered interview he gave to Wolf Blitzer was the most vivid, but far from the only, instance. He seems to harbor such scorn for the democratic process that he literally no longer cares whether the answers he gives to reporters' questions even make any sense.


O'Reilly said...

more Gleen Greenwald on Chney's anon presser...

Cheney's petty demand that he not be identified -- like a petty tyrant's demand that his name never pass anyone's lips -- is just an assertion of secrecy and authoriatarian power for its own sake (even under the rule of Emperor Hirohito, "commoners were no longer forbidden to speak his name or look at his face"). But unlike Hirohito, Cheney is an elected public servant of American citizens and this attempt to prohibit journalists from attributing his own words to him is just bizarrely megalomaniacal and contemptuous, particularly in light of how he virtually went out of his way in the very first sentence to make clear that it was him.

But the substance of Cheney's remarks is even more amazing. Towards the beginning of the interview, Cheney was referring to his meetings with Prime Minister Karzai and President Musharraf when, out of the blue, he began arguing that those leaders would somehow be endangered in their fight against terrorism if we withdrew from Iraq:

capt said...

"We [the U.S.] must account sufficiently for the interests of the advanced industrial nations to discourage them from challenging our leadership or seeking to overturn the established political and economic order . . . we must maintain the mechanisms for deterring potential competitors from even aspiring to a larger regional or global role. "-- U.S. Department of Defense Planning Guide for 1994-1999 - Source: Washington Post, March 11, 1992; New York Times, March 8, 1999.

"There are contingency plans in the NATO doctrine to fire a nuclear weapon for demonstrative purposes, to demonstrate to the other side that they are exceeding the limits of toleration in the conventional area." -- Alexander Haig - Secretary of State for President Ronald Reagan
Source: Testimony, Congressional Hearings on NATO, 1983. Cited in Dugger, On Reagan, p. 403

"Only a large-scale popular movement toward decentralization and self-help can arrest the present tendency toward statism... A really efficient totalitarian state would be one in which the all-powerful executive of political bosses and their army of managers control a population of slaves who do not have to be coerced, because they love their servitude. To make them love it is the task assigned, in present-day totalitarian states, to ministries of propaganda, newspaper editors and schoolteachers." - Aldous Huxley - (1894-1963) Author - Source: Forward to 'Brave New World', 1932


Thanks ICH Newsletter!

Saladin said...

Not just Lebanon.

capt said...

new thread!

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Anonymous said...

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