Archive for June 25th, 2004
As if determined to prove that their status as the media’s premier wide-eyed gulls has been entirely unaffected by their recent ‘apology’, the NY Times printed a report today on a supposed connection between Iraqi intelligence and Al Qaeda that’s exactly as trustworthy as Judith Miller’s propaganda riffs before the war because it comes from the same source: our old friend, Ahmad Chalabi.
WASHINGTON, June 24 — Contacts between Iraqi intelligence agents and Osama bin Laden when he was in Sudan in the mid-1990′s were part of a broad effort by Baghdad to work with organizations opposing the Saudi ruling family, according to a newly disclosed document obtained by the Americans in Iraq.
That’s the first problem: it wasn’t ‘obtained’ by the US; as the article admits later, it was handed to us on a silver platter.
The Americans confirmed that they had obtained the document from the Iraqi National Congress, as part of a trove that the group gathered after the fall of Saddam Hussein’s government last year. The Defense Intelligence Agency paid the Iraqi National Congress for documents and other information until recently, when the group and its leader, Ahmad Chalabi, fell out of favor in Washington.
This is the second problem: he didn’t ‘fall’ out of favor; he was pushed. Rudely. Over charges that his ‘closest aides’ were corrupt and had been falsifying information. Gives you a lot of confidence in this ‘document’, doesn’t it? The Times does manage to note in passing, later on, that the INC doesn’t have the most wonderful reputation for credibility in the known universe–
Some of the intelligence provided by the group is now wholly discredited, although officials have called some of the documents it helped to obtain useful.
Well, thanks for the bone, guys. But this statement is, of course, then followed by this:
A translation of the new Iraqi document was reviewed by a Pentagon working group in the spring, officials said. It included senior analysts from the military’s Joint Staff, the Defense Intelligence Agency and a joint intelligence task force that specialized in counterterrorism issues, they said.The task force concluded that the document “appeared authentic,” and that it “corroborates and expands on previous reporting” about contacts between Iraqi intelligence and Mr. bin Laden in Sudan, according to the task force’s analysis.
‘Appeared’ to be authentic? A small reminder to our ‘intelligence’ forces: Ahmad Chalabi, a convicted embezzler now know to have fabricated most of the documents he handed off before the war to Doug Feith and his intrepid band of stone-ignorant innocents in order to justify his insistence that the US was in ‘imminent danger’ from Saddam, has had these Iraqi Secret Police files for more than a year–files we gave him–which is more than enough time to make a document ‘appear authentic’.
That these blockheads are giving credence to anything that comes from Chalabi at this point is beyond belief. That the NYT is printing it with a straight face proves only one thing: NOTHING HAS CHANGED. The Times is still sucking the Administration’s tit, and the Administration is still sucking Ahmad’s. He tosses the bait our way and we grab it because–Chalabi’s perrenial MO–it fits the lies the Admninistration has been telling for months. Lo! and a document shall appear from below to smite the unbelievers (of course, we may just have to forge it, but what the hell? When you decide to believe something, you believe it no matter how little sense it makes).
Even if this ‘evidence’ turns out to be genuine, what does it actually say? That Iraqi intelligence was listening to bin Laden’s proposal (Iraqi intelligence, mind, not Saddam himself, who may not even have known about the overtures since they were the work of a single intelligence officer known to have his…differences…with Hussein) and we already know that. We also already know that these tentative explorations went nowhere. We have known it for months. So how does this qualify as ‘news’?
In only one way: it seems to back up the Admin’s position and anything that does that is ‘news’ as far as the NYT is concerned, which then, after token doubt has been cast and rejected, goes into a lengthy description of what the ‘document’ purports to substantiate. Hi-ho, hi-ho, it’s off to work we go, and mind you don’t trip over the wizard’s curtain.
This would be funny if it wasn’t so disgusting.
In a blast of hypocritical irony–or ironic hypocrisy–A Republican National Committee surrogate known as ‘Citizens United’, a hypocritical irony of its own, has filed a complaint with the FEC (Federal Elections Commission) claiming that the ads for Moore’s film, Fahrenheit 9/11, violate campaign laws because–and I’ve been laughing so hard I can hardly type this–they use Junior’s voice and show his face. That, they claim, makes the ads ‘political’.
“My goal is to have Michael Moore’s advertisements, as they are, taken off the air,” said David N. Bossie, president of Citizens United. “If he changes his advertising … if he takes the president’s likeness off the ads, then he can run the ads until he’s blue in the face.”But Bossie faces an uphill battle. For one thing, the FEC normally takes months to process complaints. For another, it appears highly unlikely that the bipartisan six-member panel would rule against Moore, an Oscar-winning producer.
Moore issued a statement Thursday indicating he wasn’t concerned about Bossie’s complaint. “I am deeply concerned about whether or not the FEC will think I paid Citizens United to raise these issues regarding ‘Fahrenheit 9/11,’ ” he said. “How else can you explain the millions of dollars of free publicity this right-wing group has given the movie? I plan on sending them a nice holiday card this year.”
So what has their dry, brittle panties twisted in knots? Simple: Moore has put on-screen all the evidence of Bush’s incompetence, mismanagement, lies, cowardice, stupidity and cronyism that the mainstream media has been ignoring since Junior announced his candidacy and Texan Molly Ivins started trying to tell us what we were in for if we elected this chump. Turns out it–literally–isn’t a pretty picture.
Although Moore’s narration ranges from outrage to sarcasm, the most devastating passage in the film speaks for itself. That’s when Bush, who was reading My Pet Goat to a classroom of Florida children, is notified of the second attack on the World Trade Center, and yet lingers with the kids for almost seven minutes before finally leaving the room. His inexplicable paralysis wasn’t underlined in news reports at the time, and only Moore thought to contact the teacher in that schoolroom — who, as it turned out, had made her own video of the visit. The expression on Bush’s face as he sits there is odd indeed.Bush, here and elsewhere in the film, is characterized as a man who owes a lot to his friends, including those who helped bail him out of business ventures. Moore places particular emphasis on what he sees as a long-term friendship between the Bush family (including both presidents) and powerful Saudi Arabians. More than $1.4 billion in Saudi money has flowed into the coffers of Bush family enterprises, he says, and after 9/11 the White House helped expedite flights out of the country carrying, among others, members of the bin Laden family (which disowns its most famous member).
Moore examines the military records released by Bush to explain his disappearance from the Texas Air National Guard, and finds that the name of another pilot has been blacked out. This pilot, he learns, was Bush’s close friend James R. Bath, who became Texas money manager for the billionaire bin Ladens. Another indication of the closeness of the Bushes and the Saudis: The law firm of James Baker, the secretary of State for Bush’s father, was hired by the Saudis to defend them against a suit by a group of 9/11 victims and survivors, who charged that the Saudis had financed al-Qaida.
Moore–who learned his lesson when he was raked over the coals for inaccuracies in Bowling for Columbine–has warned that he has evidence for every single charge he has made and that if the right-wing’s Mighty Wurlitzer goes into attack mode on his film, he will fight back–with facts.
In a way, I hope they do. Ebert writes in his review, ‘The charges in the film will not come as news to those who pay attention to politics’, but that number is, of course, a fraction of the number of people who will see the film. Most of its eventual audience will be getting exposed to this material for the first time thanks to our boot-licking corporate media; show trials they would be forced to cover because of their high profile would open the material up to millions more who haven’t seen the film. And that could do for Bush’s actual record as President what Moore’s casual ‘deserter’ joke did for his military record: open it to wide scrutiny for the first time.
If this travesty of a ‘president’ is finally humiliated in November, we could have Michael Moore to thank for our release.
Phaedrus has a new song up at his Fat Poppa site. It’s called ‘Thank George!’ and it’s a honey. Not only is the song great social commentary in the tradition of Woody Guthrie and Bob Dylan but his voice and harp-playing are right on the money, sort of like if Tom Waits was channeling Little Walter.
He posted the lyrics here if you want to read them, but I’d suggest using your ears before you use your eyes. This guy’s good and getting better all the time.