Watching the Shadows
The Bush administration decided to charge designated "enemy combatant" Jose Padilla, a US citizen who was initially said to have been preparing a radioactive "dirty bomb" attack on US soil, with less serious crimes because it was unwilling to allow testimony from two senior al-Qaeda members, government officials said.
Well, after three years in Pentagon custody, José Padilla has finally been indicted. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, announcing the indictment, tried to be as lurid as possible, charging that Padilla was part of a "North American support cell" to send "money, physical assets and new recruits" overseas to engage in acts of terrorism, and that he had traveled abroad himself to become "a violent jihadist." (NYT, Nov. 22) But several paragraphs down in the NY Times' coverage we get the straight dope:
Spain has joined Italy in launching an investigation of claims the CIA is operating a "rendition fleet" to transfer detainees to facilities in a secret gulag maintained in various host countries. From the AP, Nov. 15:
MADRID, Spain — The interior minister said Tuesday a judge is investigating alleged CIA use of a Spanish airport as part of a covert program for transporting suspected Islamic terrorists.
The pending indictments in the Plame affair are providing interesting fodder for those intent on analyzing internal splits within the ruling elites. OK, all you domestic Kremlinologists out there—who is really runnning the show at the White House? Has Dubya fallen out with Poppy, as this interview with longtime Poppy buddy Brent Scowcroft might indicate? Has Dick really betrayed Poppy's crowd of old-fashioned multilateralists and sold out to the brave new neocons? Sound off...
On Oct. 26, John D. Negroponte, the first director of national intelligence, released a detailed National Intelligence Strategy for coordinating the nation's 15 spy agencies. It calls for building up the ranks of intelligence operatives and analysts and delineates new global missions. One of the top three key missions cited is to "bolster the growth of democracy and sustain democratic states." Reads the 20-page document: "We have learned to our peril that the lack of freedom in one state endangers the peace and freedom of others and that failed states are a refuge and breeding ground of extremism. Self-sustaining democratic states are essential to world peace and development." The other missions outlined in the document are "defeating terrorists at home and abroad" and "preventing and countering the spread of Weapons of Mass Destruction."
U.S. District Court Judge John Koeltl in New York Oct. 25 upheld activist attorney Lynne Stewart's conviction on terrorist conspiracy charges, finding that allegations by her lawyers were unfounded that a juror on the case feared for her life and was coerced. Koeltl denied Stewart's request for a new trial or a hearing to investigate charges that jurors were either intimidated or prejudiced against Stewart to begin with.
The persistently irritating John Tierney has done it again. In a typically smarmy column in the Oct. 25 New York Times, "And Your Point Is?", he dismisses the Plame affair as a bunch of empty hot air, asserting that "no one deserves to go to jail for leaking information to reporters without criminal intent." He also concludes: "No one deserves to be indicted on conspiracy charges for belonging to a group that believed Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. Foreign policy mistakes are not against the law."
Condoleeza Rice spilled the beans in Congressional testimony: there really is (as we always suspected) a White House plan to redesign the Middle East! Capitol Hill liberals like Barbara Boxer squawk about the administration's "unbelievable rewriting of history" in changing the justification for the Iraq invasion after the fact. But Republicans are unrepentant: its a new world war, deal with it. From the Washington Times, Oct. 20: