"America is often portrayed as an ignorant, unsophisticated sort of place, full of bible bashers and ruled to a dangerous extent by trashy television, superstition and religious bigotry, a place lacking in respect for evidence based knowledge. I know that is how it is portrayed because I have done my bit to paint that picture..." BBC's Washington correspondent Justin Webb, in a remarkably frank admission of his role in misinforming the British public about America and Americans
Compelling, no? Well, not quite. In fact, not even close. It turns out that Douglas Feith gave an interview to The Washington Post, and said things like:
Pentagon hawk admits Iraq doubts
The outgoing Pentagon number three has admitted holding doubts over key areas of US military policy in Iraq.
Our apologies for being so slow to reply to your message. We take your point that it has yet to be established whether the leak was indeed a federal offence. In recent stories, we have been more careful with our wording. We have, for instance, said: "The wilful disclosure of a covert CIA agent's name can be a federal offence."
Even before yesterday's news, Muslim communities across Britain were suffering from mindless and irrational attacks. The police, once again, were in the forefront of reminding the public that the bombings were not committed by Islamist terrorists but by extremist criminals.Not Islamic terrorists, but “extremist criminals”? So, what, are we now being asked to believe that suicide bombers are just taking ordinary tube crime to a new, extreme level? Bored with jumping the turnstiles, they’re now turning to blowing up trains? What a load of rubbish.
Indeed, more than two years after the Iraqi regime of Saddam Hussein wasIt's a long article, but worth the effort.
ousted, there is much we do not know about the relationship between Iraq and al
Qaeda. We do know, however, that there was one. We know about this relationship
not from Bush administration assertions but from internal Iraqi Intelligence
Service (IIS) documents recovered in Iraq after the war--documents that have
been authenticated by a U.S. intelligence community long hostile to the very
idea that any such relationship exists.
We know from these IIS documents that beginning in 1992 the former Iraqi
regime regarded bin Laden as an Iraqi Intelligence asset. We know from IIS
documents that the former Iraqi regime provided safe haven and financial support
to an Iraqi who has admitted to mixing the chemicals for the 1993 attack on the
World Trade Center. We know from IIS documents that Saddam Hussein agreed to
Osama bin Laden's request to broadcast anti-Saudi propaganda on Iraqi state-run
television. We know from IIS documents that a "trusted confidante" of bin Laden
stayed for more than two weeks at a posh Baghdad hotel as the guest of the Iraqi
Except that Rove didn’t contact the journalist, about Plame or any other matter. The journalist contacted Rove. The Washington Post has the details that the BBC leaves out.
US Democrats have urged the White House to give a full account of senior aide Karl Rove's alleged role in disclosing the name of an undercover CIA officer.
The calls came after revelations that Mr Rove contacted journalist Matthew Cooper about the agent days before her identity was revealed in the press.
A small detail, to be sure, but an important one. The controversy revolves around allegations that someone in the White House deliberately revealed Plame’s role as a CIA agent as payback for her husband’s criticisms of Bush. The suggestion that Rove went out of his way to contact a reporter specifically about Plame lends much more credence to the allegation than if the reporter contacted Rove about a separate matter, and the Plame issue came up as an aside.
Instead, Luskin said, Rove discussed the matter -- under the cloak of secrecy -- with Cooper at the tail end of a conversation about a different issue. Cooper had called Rove to discuss other matters on a Friday before deadline, and the topic of Wilson came up briefly. Luskin said Cooper raised the question.
"Rove did not mention her name to Cooper," Luskin said. "This was not an effort to encourage Time to disclose her identity. What he was doing was discouraging Time from perpetuating some statements that had been made publicly and weren't true."
On Thursday, the US servicemen and women were told not to go within the M25 until further notice, except on official business.The statement of the military spokesman, which was quoted by the BBC, was given on Friday, the day after the bombs. The spokesman also said that he did not know how long the order would be in place, but that “"I can't see it being a permanent thing."
My thoughts exactly. Most people I know here in London were relatively ambivalent about the Olympic bid until it turned into a contest between London and Paris, at which point beating the Frogs turned into an occassion for euphoria. No one I know listens to me when I tell them they lost. Maybe it's the New Yorker in me.
I was in New York when the city lost the Olympics. I hate to break it to you, but the people I've talked to are relieved. New York to London: "You can have 'em."
I've always been disconcerted as to why cities fall all over themselves trying to win the burden of the Olympics. Given the dodgy economic prospects, the bother and inconvenience of it all, surely the Olympics should be passed frantically around like the Old Maid.
Now, personally, I think the invasion of Iraq is the most calamitous US foreign policy mistake of my lifetime. Yet to discourage tube bombers in future, surely Britons are better off broadcasting, "Actually, we were thinking of leaving Iraq lock, stock, and barrel next week, but now that we realise that would make you wankers happy, we've decided to dig into Baghdad for the next 50 years."Now that's a response.
The US military is hardly doing itself any favors by handing this kind of story on a silver platter to an already contemptuous British press.
Details of the travel ban, enforced on Friday, emerged as US President George W Bush said the US would "not retreat in the face of terrorists" .
He said: "In this difficult hour, the people of Great Britain can know the American people stand with you."
When President Bush visited London last year, his security people insisted that the threat was so great he would have to drive in an armoured limousine from his apartments at the back of Buckingham Palace to a formal meeting with the Queen at the front of the building.What’s wrong with a little stroll around the outside of the palace? Afterall, it's not that easy to shoot between the bars of the perimeter fence. The Queen wouldn't take such measures. Those paranoid Yanks.
Yes it is. One can only hope that Cohen's fellow Guardian writers start looking at the same record.
But it's a parochial line of reasoning to suppose that all bad, or all good, comes from the West - and a racist one to boot. The unavoidable consequence is that you must refuse to support democrats, liberals, feminists and socialists in the Arab world and Iran who are the victims of Islamism in its Sunni and Shia guises because you are too compromised to condemn their persecutors. Islamism stops being an ideology intent on building an empire from Andalusia to Indonesia, destroying democracy and subjugating women and becomes, by the magic of parochial reasoning, a protest movement on a par with Make Poverty History or the TUC.
Again, I understand the appeal. Whether you are brown or white, Muslim, Christian, Jew or atheist, it is uncomfortable to face the fact that there is a messianic cult of death which, like European fascism and communism before it, will send you to your grave whatever you do. But I'm afraid that's what the record shows.
Most bombings since 9/11 have been the work of local, dysfunctional gangs with at best tenuous links to a fundamentalist Mr Big. Combating these gangs demands assiduous neighbourhood intelligence.This is true, although the significance of the lack of any central organization since 9/11 is apparently lost on Jenkins, who elsewhere in his article makes the dubious (and ultimately unknowable) claim that the removal of the Taliban and OBL's training camps in Afghanistan "failed to...supress terrorism". While the work and plans of local, dysfunctional gangs is certainly more difficult to track, they are also far less able to mount big attacks such as that on 9/11.
Like a number of MPs in the Commons on Thursday, he implies that Britain fighting to bring democracy to the Arabs is a noble war, but their fighting to bring Islam to London is mere terror. I know there is a difference, but it was Blair who gave terrorism the status of a war. He can hardly complain when his enemy treats it as such.Amazingly, Jenkins has gotten it exactly backward, and demonstrates quite well the parochial line of reasoning the Cohen spoke about in The Guardian. It is not Blair or Bush who have compelled the terrorists to act as though they are in a war. Bin Laden and Al Qaeda have been treating this like a war since well before 9/11. In a May 1998 interview with ABC reporter John Miller, Bin Laden spoke of the "call to wage war against America" as well as against those "Western regimes" that support the US. Yet the US and the West ignored him, repeatedly treating the terrorist acts being committed in the name of OBL's war as criminal acts rather than acts of war; the WTC bomb in '93, the bombing of the Cole, the bombing of US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, to name a few.
The breeding grounds of terrorism are to be found in the poverty of back streets, where fundamentalism offers a false, easy sense of pride and identity to young men who feel denied of any hope or any economic opportunity for themselves. A war on world poverty may well do more for the security of the west than a war on terror.Today, from the lead story in The Sunday Times, we learn:
The breeding grounds of terrorism are to be found in the mosques which preach radical Islam, the attraction of which is not economic in nature. The sooner we accept that, the better off we will be.
AL-QAEDA is secretly recruiting affluent, middle-class Muslims in British universities and colleges to carry out terrorist attacks in this country, leaked Whitehall documents reveal.
A network of “extremist recruiters” is circulating on campuses targeting people with “technical and professional qualifications”, particularly engineering and IT degrees.