Patterico's Pontifications


New York Times Publishes Classified Details of Legal and (Formerly) Effective Anti-Terrorism Program (UPDATE: So Does LAT)

Filed under: Dog Trainer,Scum,Terrorism — Patterico @ 9:31 pm

The New York Times has a lengthy article revealing classified details about an anti-terrorist program that has, among other things, caught the mastermind of the 2002 Bali nightclub bombing. The publication of the article may spell the end of the program. (H/t Allah.)

Stephen Spruiell has the postcard version. Jeff Goldstein has further thoughts.

I am biting down on my rage right now. I’ll resist the temptation to say Ann Coulter was right about where Timothy McVeigh should have gone with his truck bomb. I’ll say only this: it’s becoming increasingly clear to me that the people at the New York Times are not just biased media folks whose antics can be laughed off. They are actually dangerous.

[UPDATE: I have learned (again from Allah) that the L.A. Times has published basically the exact same article. See UPDATE below.]

More details in the extended entry.


Battle of the Hundred-Percenters

Filed under: Terrorism — Patterico @ 7:27 pm

In my view, the key issue as to whether there is any real significance to the recent chemical weapon disclosures is whether the weapons are still usable and dangerous.

The L.A. Times finally gets around to mentioning the story this evening (it didn’t make today’s dead trees edition), by reprinting an AP story on its web site, which you can read here. I call this story the “battle of the hundred-percenters.” First, David Kay:

[Kay] said experts on Iraq’s chemical weapons are in “almost 100 percent agreement” that sarin nerve agent produced from the 1980s would no longer be dangerous.

“It is less toxic than most things that Americans have under their kitchen sink at this point,” Kay said.

And any of Iraq’s 1980s-era mustard would produce burns, but it is unlikely to be lethal, Kay said.

Meanwhile, Rumsfeld says they are WMD; they are “harmful to human beings.” Of course, so are those things under the kitchen sink. Then we have House Intelligence Chairman Peter Hoekstra:

“David Kay says anything produced prior to 1991 is not lethal anymore, so what is the discrepancy here?” Hoekstra said. “I am 100 percent sure if David Kay had the opportunity to look at the reports that describe these things, he would agree with the finding that … these things are lethal and deadly,” Hoekstra said.

I don’t understand why Hoekstra doesn’t understand what the discrepancy is.

There’s an awful lot of certainty floating around on this, but the actual facts are emerging very, very slowly.

Meanwhile, another tidbit emerges: this group of 500 shells was not found all in the same place:

Intelligence officials said the munitions were found in ones, twos and maybe slightly larger collections over the past couple of years.

So much for the mental image many have had of a pile of hundreds of gas-filled shells, piled up one on top of the other.

I’d like to see these intelligence officials going on record with this information. Where is the need for anonymity? The public has a right to know what the significance of these materials is, and who is saying so.

Terror Plot to Bomb Sears Tower Busted

Filed under: Terrorism — Patterico @ 6:59 pm

As always, Allah has the details.

I question the timing. Why would this happen now, just when: evidence is coming to light that WMD (or perhaps former WMD) have been found in Iraq; Karl Rove is not being indicted; a report has found no evidence of a deliberate cover-up at Haditha; and Zarqawi has been killed?

A Kos commenter puts it all in perspective:

The sad thing . . .

Is I’m sure some poor kid with brown skin, who maybe once mouthed off at his local falafel stand will end up stuck in a brig in guantanamo for the rest of his youth in order to prop this up.

Indeed. Couldn’t have said it better myself. Soldier on, my psychotically paranoid brother!

L.A. Times Prints Not One Word of Yesterday’s Reports That Chemical Weapons Were Found in Iraq

Filed under: Dog Trainer,General,Terrorism,War — Patterico @ 11:05 am

Do you know there’s not one word in today’s Los Angeles Times about the 500 shells with degraded sarin and mustard gas found in Iraq?

Not one word.

Just to confirm what I learned by leafing through the actual paper, I ran a search on the word “sarin.” As of the time of this post, the last mention of that word in the paper was on May 22, 2006, in a story about master’s degrees in homeland security.

As I said yesterday, I am still dubious about the significance of this story. The more I learn, the more it sounds like these are forgotten weapons from before the first war, that were unusable and didn’t pose a significant danger.

But I don’t think any of this has been conclusively established. Last I heard, we were still relying on portions of a declassified report and statements from anonymous Pentagon officials. And, as I observed yesterday, this certainly provides another nail in the coffin to the statements of those morons who maintained that Saddam never had WMD.

Let’s put it this way: isn’t this at least as important as, say, whether Mitt Romney will get “veto power over a proposed Nantucket Sound wind farm”? That story made it into Section A today.

I’m not saying the chemical weapons story is necessarily a blockbuster story; indeed, I suspect it’s not. But maybe the editors could at least tell us about it, and let us make up our own minds?

UPDATE: Apparently nothing in the New York Times either, though I don’t subscribe to the dead trees edition and can’t confirm it that way. The Washington Post, which is a much better paper than either of the coast Timeses, has an AP article that largely downplays it, which appears appropriate based on what we know.

AOL Cretin Won’t Let Guy Cancel Account

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 10:27 am

Here’s an amusing story about a guy trying to cancel his AOL account. Surprise! they didn’t want him to, and tried for over 3 minutes to talk him out of it. Unfortunately for AOL, the caller was recording the conversation and has posted it on the Web.

Hat tip to Ace, who has a good parody.

The linked story has an edited recording of the call. I think you get a better flavor from the whole call, which you can listen to here. I especially like the bit at the end, where the customer service rep gets on a power trip, and tells the account holder that unless the account holder listens to the paragraph the rep is supposed to read (about some free services the company will continue to offer), he won’t cancel the account:

CUSTOMER SERVICE REP: If you want to cancel this account, you’re gonna let me speak, and give this paragraph. ‘Cause if not, we can star you all day, okay? I really don’t care, to be honest with you. But, you’re gonna listen to me, if you want this turned off. So, can I speak now?

CANCELLING CUSTOMER: [with frustration] Go right ahead.

CUSTOMER SERVICE REP: [with sarcasm] Thank you! I appreciate that.

Can I post this all over the Web and make you sound like a cretin? Thank you! I appreciate that.

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