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Newsbriefs: KSM Tells All, Sanctions for Iran, Senate Rejects Iraq Pullout

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KSM Takes the Credit

According to a written and oral testimony provided to a military tribunal at Guantanamo Bay, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed takes responsibility for far more al Qaeda activity than he was previously credited with, including more than 30 major acts of terrorism only a few of which he was known to be associated with in advance of the confession. These include the 1993 World Trade Center bombing which first brought him to international attention, the attack on the USS Cole and a number of failed plans, such as the attempt to assassinate Pope John Paul II, and a plot to attack Wall Street.

The confession paints a picture of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed's role as the hands-on supervisor of widespread terror cells and as the director of As-Sahab, the media and propaganda wing of al Qaeda. Some of his claims may be exaggerated or even disinformation, but enough of what he admitted to fits with what is known about his activities from other sources to make it fairly convincing. Not everything he admitted to is entirely flattering, as far more of his plans failed than succeeded, usually because of his overly complex and flashy style. His ambition and desire for publicity led him to go for the dramatic over the practical, leading to the failure of many plans because they were unrealistically ambitious.

KSM's most interesting claim is that he was "responsible for the 9/11 operation, from A-Z." The attack certainly fits his flamboyant style and is similar to another plan he is known to have proposed after the original World Trade Center bombing. He also took credit for oversight of biological and chemical weapons development and deployment, including having contact with Jose Padilla, the 'dirty bomb' terrorist, as well as claiming to have personally beheaded kidnapped journalist Daniel Pearl.

Some skepticism has been voiced about the confessions because it is known that KSM was subjected to 'waterboarding' during the course of his interrogation. Al Qaeda are also encouraged to lie and fabricate information during interrogation. Concerns are to some degree offset by the fact that much of what he confessed to can be confirmed by outside sources. Experts believe that the capture of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed may have resulted in a significant decrease in al Qaeda activity and effectiveness.

For more information see National Post, USA Today and Stratfor

Major Powers Approve Iran Sanctions

This week the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council and Germany agreed to impose sanctions against Iran. The sanctions include freezing the assets of 28 companies and individuals associated with Iran's nuclear program and an embargo on arms exports to Iran. The sanctions are expected to be voted on next week.

This marks a significant change of course for the major European nations who have been reluctant to be directly involved in the problems in the region. Reluctant participants like Russia and Germany were brought on board by the relatively moderate nature of the sanctions. A review of the need for stronger sanctions is planned for 60 days after these sanctions are imposed.

Iranian President Ahmadinejad responded by declaring the UNSC to have 'no legitimacy' and then requesting an opportunity to speak before the UN prior to any final vote on the sanctions by the full security council next week. Iran's response to previous sanctions passed in December was to react aggessively with hostile rhetoric and an expansion of their nuclear research and missile development programs.

At a rally in Tehran on Thursday Ahmadinejad said "These threats won't have one iota of effect on the strong will of the Iranian nation…You cannot force the Iranian nation to retreat."

For more see The Irish Examiner and The Houston Chronicle

Senate Rejects Iraq Pullout Plan

With the situation in Iraq improving dramatically in response to recent changes in strategy and deployment of additional troops in Baghdad, the Senate voted to reject a Democrat sponsored bill to set a timetable for a pullout from Iraq by the Spring of 2008.

This proposal had passed the House, but was defeated by a narrow margin in the Senate as a small number of Democrats voted with Republicans against the bill. At the same time the House Appropriations Committee passed a new emergency war funding bill which also sets a timeline for withdrawal from Iraq which is full of specific goalposts and would lead to a pullout by the end of next year. This bill is expected to run into more problems and a threatened presidential veto. It basically attempts to trade off funding the President has requested for agreement to a scheduled withdrawal. It also includes almost $30 billion of earmark spending above the President's requests, largely directed at home district projects of powerful Democrats.

These bills have also been accompanied by a variety of non-binding resolutions from both political parties in the House and Senate declaring support for the troops and promising not to leave them without financial support, and expressing the intent of the Congress to encourage a timely resolution of US involvement in Iraq.

For more see ABC News and The International Herald Tribune

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About Dave Nalle

  • moonraven

    “Experts believe that the capture of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed may have resulted in a significant decrease in al Qaeda activity and effectiveness.”

    Just who might those “experts” be, Dave?

    It’s obvious to anyone with an IQ in double digits that this guy is just admitting to everything–whether he did ANY of it or not–to make a mockery of the whole Torture to Get the Truth process.

    He has been successful, too.

  • http://www.elitebloggers.com Dave Nalle

    I did make note of the views of the sceptics, MR. Which doesn’t make them right

    As for the experts who think capturing him reduced al Qaeda’s effectiveness they would be just about every strategic analyst who’s looked at the situation. You can start by following the link in the article to Stratfor.com – they’re one of the leading strategic analysis houses.

    What the testimony also does is prove that your silly belief that 9/11 was the work of the US governmet is a load of crap.

    Dave

  • moonraven

    Utter nonsense, Dave.

    Stratfor does about as much strategy research as my pet goat does.

    From Sourcewatch:

    Stratfor – which is also known as Strategic Forecasting, Inc. – is a private company that provides strategic and issues management intelligence anlaysis to corporations and governments.

    The company, founded in 1996, is based in Austin, Texas and boasts that it has “an intelligence network located throughout the world.”

    “Stratfor is the world’s leading private intelligence firm providing corporations, governments and individuals with geopolitical analysis and forecasts that enable them to manage risk and to anticipate political, economic and security issues vital to their interests,” it states on its website. [1]

    Al Giordano [2], details what he calls “20 Stratfor Lies about Latin America”:

    Stratfor is one of these snake-oil disinfo sales firms that traffics in “intelligence briefings” for people gullible enough to pay for them. Imagine that: you can get lied to for free all over this great land, but some people actually pay to be deceived!
    Stratfor’s track record in Latin America is abhorrent (how many years in a row did it predict that Hugo Chavez would not survive that year as Venezuela’s president?). It’s “spin” is ideological: pro-corporate, which is no surprise, given that it’s undisclosed clientele purchases something called “Business Intelligence Services.”

    In my opinion, Stratfor engages in circulating disinformation into the datasphere through its free and paid email memos in ways that seem aimed to help the agendas of that very same corporate world that contracts its services.
    In March 2004, Bart Mongoven from Stratfor’s Washington D.C. office appeared on a panel – Strategies for Dealing with Environmental Litigation – at the National Petrochemical and Refiners Association annual meeting in San Antonio, Texas. (Also appearing on the panel were Marc Sisk, Dorsey & Whitney, Washington, DC and Stephen Brown from The Dutko Group LLC). [3]

    Mongoven warned industry leaders about the increasing collaboration between environmental groups and patients groups on the issue of exposure to chemicals. Washington D.C. trade magazine, Inside EPA, reported Mongoven told the NPRA that “in five years, the environmental community would like to see all debates [be about] the environment and health.” Mongoven nominated Collaborative on Health and the Environment as an example of the new approach.[4]

    According to Inside EPA, Mongoven said that the collaboration was broadening the debate beyond exposure to pesticides to the health impacts of industrial emissions. According to Inside EPA, he suggested that one option for industry to counter this development was to dismiss advocates stated public health goal and instead portray them as being “anti-chemical”.

    You can google the rest. We know all about those jerkoffs here in Latin America.

    We are not as gullible as you gringos.

  • moonraven

    NOTHING proves that the US government did not do 9/11.

    I have some great swampland I can sell you here in central Mexico, oh gullible shitkicker….

  • Clavos

    Key phrase in comment #3:

    In my opinion

  • moonraven

    Uhuh. And what evidence do you have that his opinion is not correct?

    Don’t bother to tell us that The Miami Herald is dictated by God, either, gusano.

    Skepticism is the ONLY sensible position to take in regard to ANYTHING that happens in the US–or anyplace else, for that matter.

  • http://www.elitebloggers.com Dave Nalle

    MR, the entire first section of your comment about Stratfor – you know, the relatively objective part – described it as exactly what I described it as, a global strategy research firm. The second part from some leftist whacko is typical biased smear tactics. Stratfor must be evil because they work for the diabolical corporate master for payment in the evil gringo dollar. Give me a break.

    NOTHING proves that the US government did not do 9/11.

    True, if you can overlook the videos, every bit of evidence AND the confessions of those involved why then indeed, there’s no proof at all. Me, I have a little more faith in the actual evidence than I do in the paranoid fantasies of tinfoil hat wearing loonies sitting in their basements or hiding out in third world countries.

    Dave

  • Clavos

    Can you buy tinfoil in your pueblito, MR, or do you have to go to Cuautla; maybe even the D.F.?

  • http://www.elitebloggers.com Dave Nalle

    Since all of the comments on these news items so far have been entirely off topic, I’m going to resume my tradition of offering my own opinions on them, since that seems to be the only way to get meaningful discussion going.

    KSM Takes the Credit

    The two issues here are obviously the waterboarding and KSM’s ego. Waterboarding obviously gets people to confess to stuff, even if it’s a reprehensible practice. The question is how much of it is true. The amount of stuff KSM confessed to makes him sound like an egomaniac, but then what else would you expect from a terrorist mastermind? The interesting thing to me is how many failed plots he took credit for. IMO that lends some legitimacy. When blowing your own horn do you want to take credit for getting scores of minions arrested and not managing to destroy numerous targets?

    Major Powers Approve Iran Sanctions

    Somehow I just don’t see this pathetic set of sanctions bringing Iran to its knees or hammering any sense into Pres. Ahmagonastartajihad’s rocklike head. Where are the crippling economic sanctions and embargo that actually worked against Libya? Surely by now the European nations have untangled their panties enough to do something real.

    Senate Rejects Iraq Pullout Plan

    The big story here is what’s not said, which is, of course that the Bush plan is working in Iraq, civilian and coalition deaths are down enormously, and the terrorists and insurgents are fleeing the country, making deals and getting desperate. They will be beaten if we can outlast them. But of course this news gets zero press coverage, while the posturing on the Hill gets lots.

    Dave

  • moonraven

    Tinfoil???????? You guys must be antdeluvian.

    It’s ALUMINUM foil–and it’s available in any tiny store here.

    Dave–the FIRST PART of what I quoted was labeled as propaganda from the Strafor website. But I guess that doesn’t bother you–you just plagiarize from those guys’ site.

    If you want to believe drivel, and continue shoveling shit–adelante.

    There is no evidence whatsoever that clears the US government on 9/11–much less a “confession” they tortured some poor bastard to get!

    We know all about those kinds of confessions here in Mexico–where the tehuacanazo and the toques are SOP.

    Only rednecks hiding out in their basement in Texas are dumb enough to believe they are valid.

  • moonraven

    Dave:

    1. Let’s see the evidence that Bush’s plan is working in Iraq. The daily photo of the dead that we see every day here in Latin America are not a montage.

    2. Iran has every right to have a nuclear program. The biggest nuclear threat on the planet is, after all, the US.

    Let’s see you lie your way out of that one, redneck.

  • http://www.elitebloggers.com Dave Nalle

    Dave–the FIRST PART of what I quoted was labeled as propaganda from the Strafor website. But I guess that doesn’t bother you–you just plagiarize from those guys’ site.

    You can call anything you like propaganda. That doesn’t actually MAKE it propaganda. If what Stratfor was selling was that biased they’d be out of business in no time. And what, exactly did I plagiarize from their site, btw?

    There is no evidence whatsoever that clears the US government on 9/11–much less a “confession” they tortured some poor bastard to get!

    Show me some real evidence that proves the US government was behind the attack. And not some conspiratorial bullshit Alex Jones drivel, please.

    As for the confession, since a lot of it is corroborated by other sources, it’s got a certain amount of crediblity.

    We know all about those kinds of confessions here in Mexico–where the tehuacanazo and the toques are SOP.

    And yet you’d rather live there than in the US?

    Only rednecks hiding out in their basement in Texas are dumb enough to believe they are valid.

    If you knew anything about Texas you’d know we don’t have basements.

    1. Let’s see the evidence that Bush’s plan is working in Iraq. The daily photo of the dead that we see every day here in Latin America are not a montage.

    I didn’t say people weren’t dying. But violence is down 80% in Baghdad and success abounds on other fronts. The MSM does finally seem to be picking up on it, though. There’s a nice little piece on some of the positive changes in the Milwaukee Journal Standard and another nice factual article in the Detroit Free Press.

    2. Iran has every right to have a nuclear program.

    No argument from me there. They should be allowed to develop nuclear energy and even nuclear bombs. I don’t see how we can deny them that given the other countries which have been allowed to do the same. Then if they use them we should sterilize every inch of their territory with our increasingly obsolete arsenal – a good way to get rid of those old bombs and missiles.

    The biggest nuclear threat on the planet is, after all, the US.

    A threat? In what way? The US is far less likely to use nuclear weapons than other countries because we have no need to use them, unlike Pakistan or Iran who feel threatened by hostile neighbors.

    Dave

  • MCH

    Honor the Fallen
    http://www.militarycity.com/valor/

    “Army Staff Sgt. Darrel D. Kasson
    43, of Florence, Ariz.; assigned to the 259th Engineer Company, Arizona National Guard; died March 4 in Tikrit, Iraq, of wounds sustained when an improvised explosive device detonated near his vehicle at Bayji, Iraq.”

    ————————————-

    By TriValley Central:

    “Staff Sgt. E6 Darrel Kasson, 43, was driving back to base from a mission when his Humvee was hit by an improvised explosive device (IED), according his wife, Lori. A memorial service were scheduled at 1 p.m. today in the Florence High School gym.

    Darrel Kasson was born and raised in Tucson, and he and his family had lived in Florence for almost 14 years. He worked for the Arizona Department of Corrections in Florence for 17 years. The Kassons have three children – ages 22, 19 and 15 – and two grandchildren.

    Two weeks ago, Darrel achieved 20 years with the Arizona Army National Guard, where he worked in field artillery and drove tanks. He had asked to retire last fall, but the National Guard declined and sent him to Iraq in October to work as an MP.
    Kasson served at Camp Anaconda in Balad, which is some 50 miles north of Baghdad in an area known as the Sunni Triangle. His weekend mission was to transport contractors to a work site.

    Lori said she spoke with her husband by phone for about 20 minutes Friday, and he expressed worry about the mission. “He just felt funny about this one,” she said, and the couple prayed together over the phone.

    “Darrel enjoyed helping other people,” said his church pastor, Dale Storm. “And he enjoyed working with kids.” Darrel led all of the church’s youth programs for four years. He was
    also an active leader in a softball league for state prison employees.

    In a written statement, the family thanked all those who’ve been praying for Darrel during his months in Iraq. “Darrel passed on doing one of his greatest passions, and that was serving his country,” the statement said.”

    http://www.pigstye.net/

  • moonraven

    Uh, Dave, I think Alzheimers is right on your heels.

    What is the ONLY country that has dropped nuclear bombs on another country?

    I seem to remember something about Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

    I repeat: the biggest nucear threat on the planet is the US.

    THE EVIDENCE mentioned above indicates that.

  • http://www.elitebloggers.com Dave Nalle

    So, you’re suggesting that there’s some sort of bizarre ongoing threat from nuclear bombs dropped 60 years ago? Do tell.

    Dave