Thursday, November 03, 2005

Julia in Kenya

Today is the last day of classes for Julia. In the next day or so she heads for Kisumu where she will be working at Covenant Home, an orphanage. Julia finally sent us a couple pictures out of the hundreds she has taken.


Julia talking to people who carry sticks.


Um I'm no expert, but should you really get so close to a rhino? I guess she was with experts when she took this picture, so Ok.


Julia and her classmates near a Baobob tree. I guess the 'lorry' in the background is their major means of transport. Julia is 5th from the left (standing). Only 16 students in this semesters class. Next semester has 30 students.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Forged Yellowcake Documents - How Did We Get Them?

Oct 15, 2001 (shortly after 9/11). Italian Prime minister Berlusconi and SISMI Chief Nicolo Pollari make official visit to Wash. DC

Pollari meets with CIA and provides SISMI dossier containing 'evidence' that Iraq is attempting to purchase yellowcake from Niger. Gave same intel to Great Britain.

The British, the CIA and the US State Department declare the intel to be 'lacking in detail' and 'very limited' in scope.

Feb 2002, the report is resubmitted (description below tells how it got there) to Washington with embellishments. Joe Wilson goes to Niger and then declares the information could not be confirmed.

Sept 2002, Michael Ledeen, Cheney's 'Office of Special Plans' man in Italy sets up secret meeting between SISMI Chief Pollari and Deputy National Security Director Stephan Hadley. (It's not known whether this meeting has anything to do with anything yet, but someone should ask).

Two weeks prior to this meeting Elisabetta Burba of Panorama magazine (owned by Prime Minister Berlusconi) obtained documents from Rocco Martino, a former SISMI officer. He claims to have gotten them from Antonio Nucera, a former SISMI colonel. Nucera had some weird story about a Secretary at the Niger Embassy in Rome being involved.

The documents end up going to the US Embassy instead of the CIA station, thus bypassing agency analysts. They end up directly at the NSC and the Vice Presidents office.

Jan 28, 2003, The famous 16 words about Niger's uranium were used in the Presidents State of the Union address.

What we don't know. Who forged the documents and why? Could SISMI and the Office of Special Plans have been involved? Rocco Martino has stated that Italian and American governments were behind the forgeries.

There is not yet any evidence of an American connection, but there is little doubt that the Office of Special Plans circumvented procedures so that the documents were received by people that wanted to believe them.

Joe Wilson publicly denounced the documents in a New York Times editorial, thus the resulting attack on him and his wife.

I've been following this story closely because this is where the trial of Scooter Libby could eventually lead.

Closed Senate Session Worked!

"U.S. Senators reached an agreement to monitor a congressional investigation into the Bush administration's use of intelligence about Iraq after Democrats forced an unusual closed session on the Senate floor to draw attention to the issue". (Bloomberg)

Are Democrats finally going to start acting like an opposition party? Yesterday was a first step in that direction. Are we getting closer to investigating the cover up of the forging of documents alleging that Iraq attempted to buy yellowcake uranium from Niger? This is what the Plame outing was actually all about.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Senator Harry Reid Rocks!

This afternoon he invoked Rule 21 which had the result of putting the Senate into closed session. He wants the Senate Intelligence Comm. to start doing the oversight it promised it would do. Harry wants answers to the following questions:

o How did the Bush Administration assemble its case for war against Iraq?
o Who did Bush Administration officials listen to and who did they ignore?
o How did senior Administration officials manipulate or manufacture intelligence presented to the Congress and the American people?
o What was the role of the White House Iraq Group or WHIG, a group of senior White House officials tasked with marketing the war and taking down its critics?
o How did the Administration coordinate its efforts to attack individuals who dared to challenge the Administration’s assertions?
o Why has the Administration failed to provide Congress with the documents that will shed light on their misconduct and misstatements?

I'd add, who instigated the fake Italian yellowcake memos?

June 12, 2003

This is the day that Vice President Dick FU Cheney 'advised' Scooter Libby that Joe Wilson's wife, Valerie Plame, worked for the CIA. Shortly thereafter, Libby discussed Joe Wilson and his wife with members of the press. What else did Dick Cheney have to say to Scooter on June 12th? Did Scooter just decide to go ahead and 'out' Plame to the press on his own? If there is a trial I'm pretty sure the Dickster would be called to testify. Will he tell the truth?

Who Are the Judicial Activists?

How often has each justice voted to strike down a law passed by Congress?

Thomas: 65.63%
Kennedy: 64.06%
Scalia: 56.25%
Rehnquist: 46.88%
O'Connor: 46.77%
Souter: 42.19%
Stevens: 39.34%
Ginsburg: 39.06%
Breyer: 28.13%

Hmmmm, let's see. It would appear that the more 'liberal' justices (bottom 3) are less willing to 'legislate from the bench'. Who would have guessed?

The Green Mountains of Vermont

cvac 017

We went to the CVAC cross country meet last Saturday. It was held at the Plattsburgh beach on a beautiful Fall day. The beach is on Plattsburgh Bay where an important War of 1812 battle occurred on Sept 11, 1814. It was actually a land and naval battle. The American naval forces were commanded by 30 yr old Lt. Thomas Macdonough. The land forces were led by 32 yr old Brig. Alexander McComb. 5000 Yankees and Green Mt. Boys put to flight 14,000 British. The battle was a decisive win for the United States even though both land and naval forces were outnumbered by the British. An excellent history of the battle can be found here. Click on the maps.

Pictured are a portion of the Green Mt. Range in VT, still snow covered from our storm last week. You are looking across a penninsula, Cumberland Head, towards VT.

Monday, October 31, 2005

Hunger in America

The USDA report, Household Food Security in the United States, 2004, says that 38.2 million Americans live in households that suffer directly from hunger and food insecurity, including nearly 14 million children. That figure is up from 31 million Americans in 1999.

Are we a wonderful country full of caring people or what?

Close Call in Nairobi

From Julia:

Today during health class a woman was hit by a police car right outside of the ymca, evidently she was crossing the street and not paying attention, the policemen who hit her took her to the hospital… our health teacher told us it was good they got out of there fast because if they hadn’t the mob of people who had formed to view the accident would have burned the police car and beaten the policemen for hitting the woman. It was intense and it made me scared to cross the streets today.

What About Dick Cheney?

Recent Republican talking point is "there was no underlying crime". Well excuse me. It's kind of difficult to determine if there is an "underlying crime" when everybody is LYING. Scooter Libby is being squeezed. We now know he found out about Valerie Plame from Vice President Dick Cheney. He is lying to protect Cheney. Moreover, Cheney knew he was lying all along. I guess we will see if Scooter is willing to go to jail for Cheney. I don't think there will be a trial because that means Cheney would be called to testify, that just won't happen. Scooter will get 6 months followed by a pardon. The real criminals in the White House will get off scott free. I think we will learn a heck of a lot more about Treasongate if the Wilsons bring a civil lawsuit.