Ahmed Chalabi Redux

The once disgraced intel fabricator Ahmed Chalabi wined and dined with the likes of Cheney and Rumsfeld. Why?

He’s hoping to change the way U.S. troops operate in Iraq, according to Arianna Huffington.

From Reuters:

Democratic lawmakers have demanded to know why Chalabi was meeting top U.S. officials after allegations he had passed American secrets to Iran and they urged congressional committees to subpoena him for testimony.
A senior U.S. defense official said Rumsfeld and Chalabi discussed the importance of protecting Iraq’s oil and electric power grids from insurgent attacks and improving intelligence-gathering by U.S.-led military forces in Iraq.

Perhaps, now that he is Deputy Prime Minister of Iraq, perhaps he is just hoping to get a better handle on using Coalition troops for his own purposes.

Or, perhaps, as National Review’s Byron York told Hardball’s Chris Matthews (HT: Think Progress):

CHRIS MATTHEWS: Why is the Vice President and other administration officials like Rumsfeld seeming to reject the notion that this guy [Chalabi] is full of it?

BYRON YORK: A couple of reasons. One, he is now a high ranking Iraqi official…. And the other thing is, look, I think there are a lot of people in the administration who still believe that there were weapons of mass destruction somewhere that they were spirited away or in some way not found.

Christopher Hitchens breaks down why the gov’t has to accept being fooled as such:
It was, of course, the sinuous and dastardly forces of Ahmad Chalabi’s Iraqi National Congress who persuaded the entire Senate to take leave of its senses in 1998…. The INC was able to manipulate the combined intelligence services of Britain, France, Germany, and Italy, as well as the CIA, the DIA, and the NSA, who between them employ perhaps 1.4 million people, and who in the American case dispose of an intelligence budget of $44 billion, with only a handful of Iraqi defectors and an operating budget of $320,000 per month. That’s what you have to believe.

Rep. Henry Waxman writes that he thinks Chalabi should be questioned under oath while he’s in town: Now four years later, Mr. Chalabi has stated that his objective in Iraq ?has been achieved.? Now installed as Deputy Prime Minister of Iraq, Mr. Chalabi says that ?what was said before,? his half-truths and false statements, ?is not important.?

Who exactly is after them?

Now, Saddam’s former right-hand man has been slain. Or, perhaps, he just died. On CBC Radio’s “As it Happens,” an advisor to Saddam Hussein was incredibly forceful and defensive with host Mary Lou Lindsay, claiming that the US and Chalabi’s men are after Saddam’s lawyers so that NOBODY will be willing to stand witness for the defense.

Listen to the broadcast from Thursday, 10 November. Abdul Haq al-Ami is a legal advisor to the Hussein family.

At the very least, a red flag is raised by these meetings and the fact that they are being shielded from the press. David Corn of the Nation wonders what else is being covered up in his blog.

Chalabi himself, claims that its a big urban myth that he’s to blame for false WMD intel in thisi week’s TIME: The Robb-Silberman report said we had minimum impact on WMD intelligence as it related to the U.S. decision to go to war.

The Race is On

John Edwards barrels ahead in his quest for presidential candidacy with an essay in this Sunday’s Washington Post:

I was wrong…. It was a mistake to vote for this war in 2002…. A key part of restoring America’s moral leadership is acknowledging when we’ve made mistakes or been proven wrong — and showing that we have the creativity and guts to make it right.

He or she who wins in ’08,  may very well be the one that emerges as a leader in bringing this country off its knees as one. It is impossible to even consider campaign tactics three years out when the future is so heavily contingent on the very real and very dire issues requiring immediate attention before they envelop our national and foreign policies like a virus.

Edwards’ essay, “The Right Way in Iraq,” spends little time criticizing the Bush Administration and instead outlines a multi-point plan to “fix” Iraq.

When Hillary Clinton was asked how she felt about her vote for the Iraq war on the Oct. 25 NPR All Thing’s Considered, she declined to respond, insisting it was too important a question to give a quick, hasty answer. (Listen).

A Pew Foundation poll released in late October shows Edwards as not just a solid contender, but with the highest approval ratings of potential candidates at this early stage.

Most importantly, Edwards’ editorial breaks down the wall for other Congressmen to shamelessly admit they were mistaken and now must come up with a solution.

Peering into the crystal ball, I anticipate heroes in the near term.

BONUS: Bob Moser writes a compelling profile of “candidate” Edwards in the November 28, 2005 Nation, available online now for your reading pleasure.

FOX News – Biased? or Just Ignorant?

fair and balanced
On any given day, Fox News Channel has more unique viewers than CNN, MSNBC, and CNBC combined.

More people rack their brains with a steady stream of misinformation from the too-ugly for radio pundits and “anchors” at Fox than skim the headlines of the Sunday L.A. Times.

Bias and partisanship is more or less irrelevant when such a large percentage of the populous is exposed to downright misinformed pundits who speak from a “no-spin zone.”

The latest example comes from Bill O’Reilly, who not only proclaimed this week on his “Radio Factor” that “the war in Iraq is all about Chirac,” he later insisted on “O’Reilly Factor” that if al-Qaeda attacked the U.S., nobody would care if they hit San Francisco:

“[I]f Al Qaeda comes in here and blows you up, we’re not going to do anything about it. We’re going to say, look, every other place in America is off-limits to you, except San Francisco.

Media Matters for America has a deluge of further examples (with video), not limited to O’Reilly or the Fox News Channel.

It is not worth noting the incredulously ill-informed yammering and wankering that occurs on a daily basis across the cable and local news spectrum without pointing out the long-term harm this has on American culture.

The image of the United States in the eyes of the world is repeatedly harmed by the promotion and amplification of such absurd ideas as Scooter Libby’s indictment for perjury, among other things, proved that “no underlying crime” was committed. This was repeated in several news broadcasts.

Simply put, our nation’s comfort with consumer-driven news programs and networks is a serious threat to democracy.

This CAN be remedied. Most visitors or immigrants to the U.S. are completely surprised by the lack of pertinent local or international information in any American news broadcast. Most shocking of all, is that there are actually commercials!

A poll conducted by the Public Relations Society of America and released Thursday found that 61% of the general public generally trusted news on PBS and NPR, while 56% trusted papers like the Washington Post, Wall Street Journal or New York Times, and 53% trusted the commercial broadcast and cable news operations.

Considering this, how is it that the federal government is threatening to cut funding to the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and divert those funds for Gulf Coast restoration and recovery efforts?

As it stands, without applying further cuts, Public Broadcating (radio & TV) gets a whopping $1.30 per capita in federal funding. Compare this to upwards of $100 in the UK and Germany, even $27 in Canada and Australia.

Clearly, something must be done.

Fox News

After Numerous Foiled Plots, Terrorists Have their Way in Amman, Jordan Attacks

(Reuters) - Amman Terror Attacks
At least 60 are dead and over 150 injured following near-simultaneous suicide bombings at three international hotels in Amman.

The explosions occurred around 9 p.m. at the five-star Grand Hyatt, Radisson SAS, and Days Inn hotels in the commercial Jebel Amman district. The hotels are popular with American, European and Israeli businessmen and diplomats and had been the target of foiled terrorist plots in the past.

Jordanian police spokesman Captain Bashir al-Da’jeh told Al Jazeera television: “At 9 this evening, there were three terrorist explosions in three hotels in Amman. There are a number of dead and wounded. They are believed to have been carried out by suicide bombers.”

Photos from Yahoo.

Jordanian authorities thwarted an al-Zarqawi / Abu Zubaydah organized plot to bomb the Radisson SAS in Amman during the 1999 millennium celebrations (part of a dual operation that planned to bomb Los Angeles International Airport on the same night). Four Iraqis were arrested in 2003 for trying to blow up hotels on the same Amman strip.

In July, five Jordanians were indicted on conspiracy charges for planning to attack intelligence agents, tourists and hotels in Amman. Al-Zarqawi has not been linked to this alleged plot.

This is the third major terrorist attack by Islamic militants since the summer. Islamic militants living in the UK killed 56 with suicide bombs in the 7/7 London Underground terror attack. Jemaah Islamiya has claimed responsibility for The October 1, 2005 Bali suicide bombing that killed 27.