Saturday, September 06, 2003

And Just How Surprised Would Everyone Be?

Sometime in the week before September 11, 2001, someone decided that on September 11 the President and much of the cabinet would be out of Washington "reading to children." Whilst he was doing so, President Bush was informed that the second World Trade Center tower had been attacked and that the US was now clearly at war. What did Dubya do? Look unsurprised and keep reading. Now a British Labour MP, Michael Meacher, who was a minister in the Blair government from 1997 to last June suggests what a lot of people have quietly suspected for some time:

First, it is clear the US authorities did little or nothing to pre-empt the events of 9/11. It is known that at least 11 countries provided advance warning to the US of the 9/11 attacks. Two senior Mossad experts were sent to Washington in August 2001 to alert the CIA and FBI to a cell of 200 terrorists said to be preparing a big operation (Daily Telegraph, September 16 2001). The list they provided included the names of four of the 9/11 hijackers, none of whom was arrested.

It had been known as early as 1996 that there were plans to hit Washington targets with aeroplanes. Then in 1999 a US national intelligence council report noted that "al-Qaida suicide bombers could crash-land an aircraft packed with high explosives into the Pentagon, the headquarters of the CIA, or the White House".

Indeed, and President Stupid apparently slept through a briefing during one of his egregious month-long vacations at his ranch in August 2001 on just this topic.

Instructive leads prior to 9/11 were not followed up. French Moroccan flight student Zacarias Moussaoui (now thought to be the 20th hijacker) was arrested in August 2001 after an instructor reported he showed a suspicious interest in learning how to steer large airliners. When US agents learned from French intelligence he had radical Islamist ties, they sought a warrant to search his computer, which contained clues to the September 11 mission (Times, November 3 2001). But they were turned down by the FBI. One agent wrote, a month before 9/11, that Moussaoui might be planning to crash into the Twin Towers (Newsweek, May 20 2002).

All of this makes it all the more astonishing - on the war on terrorism perspective - that there was such slow reaction on September 11 itself. The first hijacking was suspected at not later than 8.20am, and the last hijacked aircraft crashed in Pennsylvania at 10.06am. Not a single fighter plane was scrambled to investigate from the US Andrews airforce base, just 10 miles from Washington DC, until after the third plane had hit the Pentagon at 9.38 am. Why not? There were standard FAA intercept procedures for hijacked aircraft before 9/11. Between September 2000 and June 2001 the US military launched fighter aircraft on 67 occasions to chase suspicious aircraft (AP, August 13 2002). It is a US legal requirement that once an aircraft has moved significantly off its flight plan, fighter planes are sent up to investigate.

Also true. Most of you will remember that when golfer Payne Stewart's private jet went off course, F-16s were sent to intercept it and, if necessary, shoot it down.

There's a lot more there, some of it true, some rumor, some who knows. Read it and judge for yourself. I suspect myself that there is a lot about 9/11 that remains to be learned, and much of it will damn Dubya and the neocons.

Alabama Residents - Just as Dumb as Their Reputation

On Tuesday, citizens in Alabama will have the unique chance to reform their state taxation system to lower taxes on the poor and increase taxes on wealthy parasites and undertaxed business interests, the funds going to improve the states' worst-in-the-US schools and worst-in-the-US infrastructure. So what do the citizens in Alabama say? According to polls, these cretins are going to throw away this once-in-a-lifetime chance and continue living in the shittiest state in the union.

The latest poll, taken by the University of South Alabama, shows 26 percent in favor of the referendum, 57 percent against.

What is especially ironic is that Governor Bob Riley, a Republican and dedicated conservative, is probably throwing away his political career over this, as his own party have turned on him like the junkyard dogs they are:

Indeed, national conservative groups are crossing their fingers that the Alabama measure goes down in flames to teach a lesson: Jettison a core element of Republican orthodoxy — tax cuts — and you are history.

"I want the whole Republican Party to watch this guy fall on his face," said Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform in Washington. "He lied to his voters. He's been a disaster. He'll never be elected to anything again in his life."

Of course what I really want to see is people like Grover getting tarred and feathered when the American people wake up and realize that Republican tax cuts have in reality been the biggest fiscal giveaway to well off parasites in the history of the world and were intended as a secondary effect to bankrupt the federal government. We'll see how people react when they realize there's no money for their favorite programs, like social security and medicare, thanks to these "tax cutting" pests.

Bob Riley, as a Christian, expects to find his reward in heaven, but he must be suspecting that his own state is Hell. And the not over-bright people who live there apparently want it to stay that way.

Smoking Dope at the NYT

The inane idiots in the NYT editorial office are whining this morning that the Constitution should be changed to permit non-American born citizens to become President. This is an idea that needs to be slapped down as quickly and as firmly as possible. They refer to it as a "lingering wrong." I think it's a great idea. We're already flooded with immigrants; can you imagine what an immigrant president might do? This is not a right wing or left wing issue: this is a defend America issue, and this one is worth writing your congressmen about, friends.

Gray Davis Panders Away

Just as Californians thought that Gray Davis couldn't get more disgusting, he panders to the state's mobs of illegal immigrants and signs a bill giving them the right to get California driver's licenses. What next? Send out the Welcome Wagon to the border?

"The only purpose of it is to place valid state identification documents in the hands of illegal immigrants, undermining enforcement of immigration laws," he said.

The Bush administration's homeland security officials have not spoken out on the law, but some terrorism experts have said that making licenses available to people who are in the country illegally could aid potential terrorists. A driver's license is the most indispensable piece of plastic in America -- making it possible to open bank accounts, cash checks, rent cars and hotel rooms and fly on airplanes.

While a dozen other states make it possible for illegal immigrants to obtain a license, the large number of undocumented workers in California makes the law here a significant policy change in the contentious debate over how to treat the estimated 8 million people who live in the nation without valid visas and permits.

Some of the 9/11 murderers were helped by obtaining, illegally in their case, legal Virginia driver's licenses. California may as well put a sign out: TERRORISTS WELCOME!

Will someone - anyone - defend our borders and rid us of this continuing job stealing and potentially terroristic pestilence?

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