Mercury Rising 鳯女

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Archive for October, 2015

Newsflash: Ambassadors Use Cables, Not E-Mails, To Communicate With State

Posted by Phoenix Woman on October 23, 2015

How big of a farce was the 11-hour Benghazi hearing?

This big:

The Republican members of the committee demonstrated their ignorance on two issues repeatedly over the day’s duration. Many seemed totally unaware of the contents of previous Benghazi reports and testimony. If this had been a conventional courtroom, Clinton’s attorneys could have objected with “asked and answered” and turned the proceedings into 11 hours of tape hiss.

Many of the Republicans also seemed ignorant of how the State Department even functions. Republican Rep. Susan Brooks of Indiana showed off a pile of Hillary’s emails pertaining to Libya from 2011 and another from 2012, then insinuated that the much smaller 2012 pile indicated her administrative indifference to the issue. Her case of the piles signaled an unawareness of the face that the State Department conducts the majority of its communications through cables, and that things like telephones exist, and that one of the unfortunate byproducts of conducting business on the telephone is that it doesn’t generate an email afterward. Even the most generous interpretation of her questions can’t elide the fact that the disparity in emails could easily have indicated general conversational traffic about Libya that eventually shifted to the official cable system as the maintenance of the Benghazi compound became more urgent.

Res ipsa loquiter.

Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments »

Canada’s Liberals Crush Tories, NDP: US Media Studiously Ignore This

Posted by Phoenix Woman on October 19, 2015

Know how I knew the Liberals were greatly outperforming the polls in Canada tonight?

The US media didn’t have Word One on it.  A historic defeat for the Tories, and crickets in our press next door.

Of course, if Harper had managed to pull it out, that’d be the top story on every website.  Instead, the Top Five on AOL right now has Oscar Pistorius as the Top Story.  Canada is nowhere to be found.

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment »

Cue Gomer Pyle

Posted by Charles II on October 15, 2015

Media Matters:

Wayne Simmons has been arrested after a federal grand jury indicted him on “charges of major fraud against the United States, wire fraud, and making false statements to the government,” including allegedly falsely claiming he worked for the CIA. Simmons was a frequent and favorite guest on Fox News, and was one of the conservative media’s purported experts on the 2012 Benghazi attacks [he also wrote for Human Events and served on an Accuracy in Media “Citizens Commission”]. Simmons joined several prominent conservative activists and media figures in calling for the House to convene a Benghazi Select Committee.

At last an arrest! Maybe they could arrest the entire Fox New network for impersonating a news channel.

Posted in Fox Noise, Republicans as cancer | 1 Comment »

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is rapidly becoming a clear and present danger

Posted by Charles II on October 14, 2015


AMY GOODMAN: As many as 128 people died in Ankara, Turkey, on Saturday when nearly simultaneous explosions ripped through a peace rally in the capital. More than 245 people were injured. The bombs went off just as a large group of Kurdish groups, trade unions and leftist organizations were preparing to begin a march protesting the resumption of fighting between the Turkish state and Kurdish militants. Video from the rally shows activists peacefully chanting and holding signs in the moments before the explosions. It’s the deadliest terrorist attack in the history of the Turkish Republic. Eyewitnesses described the horrific aftermath of the bombings.

AMY GOODMAN: Selahattin Demirtas, leader of the opposition HDP, or Peoples’ Democratic Party, which organized the march, described—blamed the government for failing to stop the attack.

SELAHATTIN DEMIRTAS: [translated] It is Ankara, the capital of Turkey. Even if a bird flies in the air, the state knows about it. “A bird!” This is the intelligence agency’s stronghold. There’s a rally of 100,000 people, yet there is not a single security measure—not in alleyways, not in major streets. There is not even one security measure. Let’s take a look at their rallies. Security measures start taking place from 10 streets away. Today, it’s as if they purposely let two suicide bombers inside the crowd, who wanted peace—no checking, no security. There was nothing, not enough. The suicide bomber exploded himself. There were wounded people on the ground, 500 people almost. They are not in a position to breathe. The police was given orders to throw gas bombs. The wounded are close to death. They had to fight against tear gas, too. Those who carried the wounded struggled with tear gas. They fought against the pressurized water thrown from police tactical units. One hundred dead, 500 wounded on the ground, and people had to struggle with tear gas and water. Is this your understanding of justice?

Graham E. Fuller (formerly with CIA), Consortium News:

even if Erdoğan’s intimate circle had nothing directly to do with this bombing, there is little doubt that the president has worked to create an atmosphere of xenophobia, fear, instability and anti-Kurdish sentiment that has created an ugly and violent political atmosphere not seen in decades. I worry that he might now even be tempted to create armed confrontation with Russia over Syria as a further distraction — an exceptionally dangerous move.

James Carden, The Nation:

Still worse, Erdogan, unlike Putin, is acting as a defender of the radical Islamist forces that attacked lower Manhattan on 9/11, while Russia, which our political establishment insists on seeing as enemy number one, is fighting them.

And so, Russia’s air war over Syria has, among other things, helped to make clear the continuing absurdity of our policy in the Middle East, in which Erdogan is our “ally” and Putin is our “enemy.”

President Erdogan is more and more looking like the nail sticking up, someone so focused on retaining power that he can’t see that defeating one’s enemy is sometimes less important than not destroying one’s nation.

I hope the Turks vote him out.

Posted in Conflict in the Middle East, crimes, terrorism | 1 Comment »

Dutch Safety Board report on Malaysian Airliner MH-17

Posted by Charles II on October 14, 2015

Link here. I haven’t read it. However, they have ruled out anything except a “9N314M-model warhead carried on the 9M38-series of missiles, as installed on the Buk surface-to-air missile system.”


The dog still not barking is the absence of evidence from U.S. spy satellites and other intelligence sources that Secretary of State John Kerry insisted just three days after the shoot-down pinpointed where the missile was fired, an obviously important point in determining who fired it.

Posted in crimes, Russia | 2 Comments »

The opposite of Pro-gress is Con-gress, Paul Ryan edition

Posted by Charles II on October 11, 2015

With right-wing media anointing Paul Ryan the next Speaker, it falls to Paul Krugman to remind us who Paul Ryan is:

As the Paul Ryan clamor gets louder, a public service reminder: he’s a con man.

I don’t mean that I disagree with his policy ideas, although I do. I mean that his reputation as a serious thinker is based on deception, both about what he has actually proposed and how it has or hasn’t been vetted.

Take, for example, the famous “fiscally responsible” budget plan. As I explained way back when, what Ryan did was to present a sort of vague fiscal outline to the Congressional Budget Office that envisioned implausibly large cuts in spending and mysterious increases in revenue, and stipulated for the purpose of the exercise that CBO take those numbers as given.

…as I’ve said, Ryan is to budget analysis as Carly Fiorina is to corporate leadership: he’s brilliant at self-promotion, but there’s no hint that he’s actually able to do the job.

In short, Paul Ryan is the image of the sensible conservative that the Republican Party wants to project. Behind the image, there is nothing beyond a grasping nature and a lust for power. Conservatism died long ago, and left a formaldehyde-saturated lump of meat whose face is someone, perhaps Paul Ryan.

Posted in conservativism, Republicans acting badly | Comments Off on The opposite of Pro-gress is Con-gress, Paul Ryan edition

What? The Benghazi investigation was political?

Posted by Charles II on October 11, 2015

Poor Kevin McCarthy. Blamed for giving away the game that the Benghazi investigation was purely political. Now an investigator of the committee, Major Bradley F. Podliska, has filed a complaint over his firing, alleging that he was actually trying to investigate what happened and the committee impeded him.

But it gets stranger. Podliska is a Republican and plans to vote for the GOP nominee.

Even though he’s a witness to one of the most serious abuses of power that can be done by a political faction, the misuse of the investigative power of a committee to prevent finding out how Americans were killed.

Posted in Conflict in the Middle East, Republicans as cancer | 2 Comments »

The dirtiest war/corrected

Posted by Charles II on October 7, 2015

One step closer to outright war between US and Russia. Kareem Shaheen, The Guardian:

The row threatens to further escalate tensions over Moscow’s airstrikes to support the regime of Syria’s president, Bashar al-Assad. The Turkish president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, said his country could not endure Russian violations of its airspace in its campaign in Syria and said Russia risked “losing” Turkey.

“Nato has issued a stern ultimatum,” Erdoğan was quoted as saying ….

Nato’s secretary-general, Jens Stoltenberg, had said earlier on Tuesday that the Russian incursions into Turkish airspace did not appear to be an accident, because the incursions had happened twice and lasted for a long time.

If Turkey shoots at Russia and Russia shoots back, Turkey can invoke the NATO mutual defense clause.

Meanwhile, ISIS is trying to score the components of a dirty bomb. Maybe they already have. Adam Johnson of FAIR analyzes the AP report and points out that the FBI states that there is no known connection to ISIS. AP just headlined it that way to sell newspapers at the expense of honesty. Jerks.

Posted in Conflict in the Middle East, Russia, terrorism | 11 Comments »

US wiretap of Greece may have led to death of Vodafone technician who discovered it

Posted by Charles II on October 3, 2015

James Bamford, The Intercept (excerpts, not necessarily in order):

According to previously undisclosed documents from the Snowden archive, NSA has a long history of tapping into Olympic Games, both overseas and within the U.S.

The key to the operation was hijacking a particular piece of software, the “lawful intercept” program. Installed in most modern telecom systems, it gave a telecom company the technical capability to respond to a legal warrant from the local government to monitor a suspect’s communications. Vodafone’s central switching equipment was made by Ericsson, the large Swedish company, and on January 31, 2002, Ericsson delivered to Vodafone an upgrade containing the lawful intercept program, a piece of software known as the Remote Control Equipment Subsystem (RES).

On March 4, after weeks of investigation, Ericsson notified Vodafone that it had discovered a sophisticated piece of malware, containing a hefty 6,500 lines of code — evidence of a large bugging operation. The company also turned up the target phone numbers of the prime minister and his wife, the mayor of Athens, members of the Ministerial Cabinet, and scores of high officials, as well as the numbers for the shadow phones and the metadata describing when the calls were made.

In his testimony, Ericsson’s managing director for Greece, Bill Zikou, laid out the “how,” describing the method by which the bugging was accomplished. “What happened in this incident,” he said, “is that a complex, sophisticated, non-Ericsson intruder piece of software was planted into the Vodafone Greece network,” which by activating the RES function “thus made illegal interceptions possible.”

Sitting in his apartment overlooking Athens’ Plaka, John Brady Kiesling could make little sense of it all. “I don’t see a shred of evidence that this wiretapping did the U.S. government any good,” he said. “I think it’s just important to underscore that intelligence gathering is never free. It always comes at a human and political cost to someone. In this case it was paid by an innocent Vodafone technician [Costas Tsalikidis, who apparently uncovered the mass wiretap].”

Posted in crimes, international, NSA eavesdropping | Comments Off on US wiretap of Greece may have led to death of Vodafone technician who discovered it

US blasts Russians for bombing al Qaeda

Posted by Charles II on October 1, 2015

OK. Parry is on the story:

The key sentence in The New York Times’ lead article about Russian airstrikes against Syrian rebel targets fell to the bottom of the story, five paragraphs from the end, where the Times noted in passing that the area north of Homs where the attacks occurred had been the site of an offensive by a coalition “including Nusra Front.”

What the Times didn’t say in that context was that Nusra Front is Al Qaeda’s affiliate in Syria, an omission perhaps explained because this additional information would disrupt the righteous tone of the article, accusing Russia of bad faith in attacking rebel groups other than the Islamic State.

Where was I when this country became an al Qaeda ally?

Posted in Russia, terrorism | 5 Comments »

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