Sunday, July 17, 2005

Sunday - Late Ed.

I had to think, which is the bigger story? Rumbles of an impending invasion of Syria, or an attempt by the Bush Administration to screw with the Iraqi election.

Another war, probably timed either for the end of the summer or the 06 elections won hands down. Via Rawstory.
The United States has been considering attacking Sunni insurgency centers in Syria.

Western diplomatic sources and analysts said the U.S. Defense Department and Central Command have been warning of the increasing activity of a Sunni insurgency network in northern Syria. They said the Pentagon has been discussing a U.S. strike that could end the network's operation.
Like that won't end up as another war... Will we do the same with Saudi Arabia? Of course not. They have Oil, and are prepared to destroy their production facilities in a spectacular fashion.
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The second biggest piece is the Bush Admin's interest in affecting the Iraqi elections. They didn't get congressional approval, but I would't be surprised if they did it under the radar. Via Blah3, a NYTimes article.
In the months before the Iraqi elections in January, President Bush approved a plan to provide covert support to certain Iraqi candidates and political parties, but rescinded the proposal because of Congressional opposition, current and former government officials said Saturday.

In a statement issued in response to questions about a report in the next issue of The New Yorker, Frederick Jones, the spokesman for the National Security Council, said that "in the final analysis, the president determined and the United States government adopted a policy that we would not try - and did not try - to influence the outcome of the Iraqi election by covertly helping individual candidates for office."

The statement appeared to leave open the question of whether any covert help was provided to parties favored by Washington, an issue about which the White House declined to elaborate.

I bet that Hersh's article will be very interesting.

Any clandestine American effort to influence the Iraqi elections, or to provide particular support to candidates or parties seen as amenable to working with the United States, would have run counter to the Bush administration's assertions that the vote would be free and unfettered.

Mr. Bush, in his public statements, has insisted that the United States will help promote conditions for democracy in the region but will live with whatever governments emerge in free elections.

The article cites unidentified former military and intelligence officials who said the administration went ahead with covert election activities in Iraq that "were conducted by retired C.I.A. officers and other non-government personnel, and used funds that were not necessarily appropriated by Congress." But it does not provide details and says, "the methods and the scope of the covert effort have been hard to discern."

Representative Jane Harman of California, the top Democrat on the House intelligence committee, issued a statement saying that she could not discuss classified information, noting: "Congress was consulted about the administration's posture in the Iraqi election. I was personally consulted. But if the administration did what is alleged, that would be a violation of the covert action requirements, and that would be deeply troubling."

Does this sound like Iran Contra to anybody?

At least some people know how to keep secrets, though.

Mr. Jones, the National Security Council spokesman, in words that echoed a statement the White House issued to Time in October, said in a telephone interview on Saturday, "I cannot in any way comment on classified matters, such as the existence or nonexistence of findings."
Why couldn't Rove have said this to Novakula?
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What else is happening?

Hillary may be in the 08 race, at least a little closer to officially, thanks to Bill. Also via RawStory,

The last Democrat president abandoned his notes to announce that Hillary Clinton was ready to win back America's highest office for their party.
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Mr Clinton's message was that the party has to win back support in "red" (Republican) America. Calling himself "the world's most famous sinner", he spoke of a Pentecostal minister in his home state of Arkansas who had voted for him but then backed Mr Bush because "ever since you left, nobody in your party talks to us any more". But, he said, the pastor added: "I would vote for Hillary. I love her."
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Also, mad props to the NewsHounds for their recognition by BBC's Roger Mosey for taking O'Rielly when he played super-patriot against the BBC.

by Robster @ 7/17/2005 10:46:00 PM PERMALink
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