Thursday, October 27, 2005

More Odds 'n Ends

For the time being, the plan is to post a bit about everything - nothing in-depth. I've avoided prognosticating about The Plame Affair, simply because it's impossible to tell what will happen. That, and the recollection of a dark day in November 2004 when even the best of soothsayers got it wrong. Please note this, however: brings us the report that Patrick Fitzgerald, Special Prosecutor ---potentially aka "Out of Control Indicter" or "Republican Paid Schill" depending on upcoming events --has leased Washington office space.

Now, on to other matters:

Don't know if you're coming or going? The government WILL:

Against strong opposition, the Bush administration plans to install Radio Frequency ID chips (RFID) that transmit personal information via passports. Highly hackable and an invasion of privacy, the RFID chips will contain "the name, nationality, sex, date of birth, place of birth and digitized photograph of the passport holder. Eventually, the government contemplates adding additional digitized data such as "fingerprints or iris scans."

"Because Privatizing is just soooo efficient. . ."

Our Congress is voting to privatize the food stamp program.Now, by the guys who brought you Enron, comes a fabulous new opportunity not only to lose your pension, but also your lunch.

25 million Americans depend on food stamps to feed their families. The only thing worse than relying on governmental beaurocracy to assist in this matter HAS TO BE the notion of greed, graft and corruption ruling social services formerly performed by mostly benevolent, if slow-working government administrators. Problems? What problems?

For the Reuters' story:

From the "Oh, Hell. I Just Can't Stay Away From It" Department:

More on Fitzgerald...

After reading Worse than Watergateby John Dean, there's a piece of me that buys into the whole progressive meme that perhaps Fitz is working in conjunction with current AIPAC prosecutor McNulty (more on him in a minute)to unearth if laws were broken by this administration in the process of "sexing-up" the intelligence that took us into Iraq. But I'm hesitant - not only due to the too good to be true angle, but also because it seems so far beyond the scope of Fitzgerald's current, albeit expanded, powers.

But there exist intriguing bisecting lines in both cases:

1. Susan Ralston.

Karl Rove's right-hand woman, she was not only called to testify in the Plame affair, but also in AIPAC. For those unaware of what AIPAC is about, you're not alone. I have a basic understanding, and it goes like this - AIPAC stands for the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, a Washington lobby group, currently being investigated by the FBI for "illegal receipt of classified information". Yes, what the less-refined among us refer to as espionage.

2. Larry Franklin

On June 26, 2003, Larry Franklin (a career Pentagon official on Doug Feith's staff) was observed by FBI surveillance disclosing classified information on a proposed policy initiative to destabilize Iran at the Tivoli Restaurant in Arlington, Virginia. The AIPAC investigation apparently had been ongoing for some time, which is why there were FBI agents tailing the AIPAC staffers. Afterwards, as one would expect, the FBI obtained a wiretap warrant to monitor Larry Franklin, and picked him up in May 2004 disclosing classified information to Adam Ciralsky, a CBS News producer who had previously been an attorney with the CIA.

Leaving aside legal considerations for a moment, politically speaking the AIPAC case is about passing along ginned-up intelligence to push America into "regime change" in Iran, but also Iraq.

Are your "theme" senses tingling, yet?

The Plame Affair is also, at its heart, a case about doctored "evidence" from Niger that was used as a rationale by our neo-con national security hawks as a basis for invading Iraq.

Interesting that McNulty and Fitzgerald are cooperating with one another in terms of witnesses and evidence.

Now, the rightwing Bush supporters would have people believe that the Plame Affair is a matter of rogue CIA agents, Clinton administration holdovers (but of course Clinton's to blame!) who plotted to bring down a presidency by planting false intelligence.

Since Franklin was recently found guilty, I'm not sure where the CIA fits. Frankly, though, I'm also not keen on wading through right-wing doctrine to see if he does fit.

3. The time frame

Note the June of 2003 mention above re: Franklin.

If it seems familiar, that might have something to do with the fact that columnist Robert Novak "outed" Valerie Plame as a CIA NOC in July 2003.

Coincidence? I just don't really know. But I'm sure more intersections can be found between the two cases. Where does Cheney fit in, for instance? A career national security guy, Old Sneery was said to be personally pressuring the CIA for a better rationale for the Iraq war in the form of twisting intelligence to suit the agenda.

The same can be said about his desire to head to Iran. But, really, just read the PNAC documents:

They serve as a virtual mapquest of where the neocons want to take America's military might next, and then after that. These are the same people, including Old Sneery, who availed on President Clinton to oust Saddam in 1998.

There's a lot riding on our going to Iraq and Iran, not the least of which is Dick's defense stock dividends. Which, by the way, saw an over 2000 percent increase this year. And who says war isn't worth anything?
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