11 January 2008: 12:53 am: csloat

Well, it’s January 10th, and it’s not to early to award Capt. Kincy Clark of the U.S. Army the Understatement of the Year Award for his comment about the controversial (nay, criminal) private security (nay, mercenary) firm Blackwater’s most recently revealed outrage. The actual incident, exposed today in a New York Times article, took place in May 2005, when the security firm dropped CS gas from a helicopter on top of a checkpoint in the Green Zone, hitting not only Iraqi civilians, but also American soldiers. If the gas were used by U.S. forces, it would have required approval of top military commanders, which would only be forthcoming if those using the gas were in extreme danger. What danger were the Blackwater mercs in? According to the New York Times:

Officers and noncommissioned officers from the Third Infantry Division who were involved in the episode said there were no signs of violence at the checkpoint. Instead, they said, the Blackwater convoy appeared to be stuck in traffic and may have been trying to use the riot-control agent as a way to clear a path.

Yeah, shades of Michael Douglas; I hope they never think of hiring Blackwater security anywhere near the 405. So back to Capt. Clark; how does he respond to the news that a group of mercenaries who operate completely outside the law threw CS gas at U.S. troops in order to clear a traffic path?

“This was decidedly uncool and very, very dangerous,” Capt. Kincy Clark of the Army, the senior officer at the scene, wrote later that day. “It’s not a good thing to cause soldiers who are standing guard against car bombs, snipers and suicide bombers to cover their faces, choke, cough and otherwise degrade our awareness.”

25 December 2006: 11:07 am: csloat

James Brown is Dead (NY Style Remix)R.I.P. the hardest working man in show business. He was the greatest and his music lives on in the endless varieties of funky dance music that have sampled his beats and built on his genius. And he has accomplished a profound feat, changing the music world once again in his moment of expiration by making a fifteen year-old techno song by a forgotten one-hit wonder band suddenly relevant again.

8 November 2006: 1:28 am: csloat, , , ,

Sadly, it doesn’t look like Democratic challenger Kimon Kotos has much chance of unseating Pete Hoekstra (R-MI), Chair of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (from now on to be known as “Jokestra”). Hoekstra, you may recall, was instrumental in the fight to put the Operation Iraqi Freedom documents online. With the help of Senators Pat Roberts (R-KS) and Rick Santorum (R-PA) — who is far more likely than Jokestra to be unseated this evening — Hoekstra convinced President Bush to override the decision of John Negroponte, the Director of National Intelligence, and release to the public millions of Arabic-language documents seized from Saddam Hussein’s intelligence offices. Hoekstra and Santorum contended that right-wing bloggers would do a better job of finding evidence of Saddam’s elusive WMD and terror ties by combing through the documents than anyone at the CIA, the FBI, or the ONDI. “We’re hoping to unleash the power of the internet, unleash the power of the blogosphere, to get through these documents and give us a better understanding of what was going on in Iraq before the war,” said Hoekstra. And, indeed, the document dump led to some humorous gems, though no “smoking gun” post facto war justification.Well, it turns out Negroponte was right all along, and the Director of National Intelligence has now pulled the documents offline, after the New York Times informed him it was publishing a story about nuclear secrets compromised by the website. No smoking gun, mind you, but documents detailing Iraq’s pre-1991 nuclear program, including “a basic guide to building an atom bomb.” Apparently the International Atomic Energy Agency complained privately about the documents last week, fearing that the Arabic language documents “could help states like Iran develop nuclear arms.” According to the Times:

The documents, roughly a dozen in number, contain charts, diagrams, equations and lengthy narratives about bomb building that nuclear experts who have viewed them say go beyond what is available elsewhere on the Internet and in other public forums. For instance, the papers give detailed information on how to build nuclear firing circuits and triggering explosives, as well as the radioactive cores of atom bombs.

So what does Hoekstra have to say about all of this? Surely Hoekstra — who has vilified on national security grounds leaks of information that is merely embarrassing to the US government — is now wiping the egg off his face and apologizing profusely for having been instrumental in the leaking of information that experts on all sides of the political spectrum agree could be directly harmful to national security, right?Nope. Instead, Hoekstra has blamed the Bush Administration for releasing the sensitive documents: “Well, you know, we have a process in place. It looks like they screwed up.” Gee, Pete, ya think? Even more bizarre, Jokestra told Wolf Blitzer that the documents must prove that Saddam was closer to a nuclear capability than people think; Blitzer, thankfully, shut him up, pointing out that these documents described Iraq’s nuclear program before the 1991 Gulf War, a program that had been dismantled since then. Also check out Keith Olbermann taking the piss out of the Republicans who convinced the Bush Administration to put the documents online in the first place.

25 October 2006: 10:33 am: csloat, ,

Hat tip to Stephen Birmingham over at Your Planet Is Doomed for this important news: it turns out Saddam was behind 9/11 all along! In spite of the conclusions of the 9/11 Commission, the CIA, the DIA, the FBI, and pretty much every intelligence agency and investigative body on earth that has looked into this question, the independent amateur Joseph Shahda has been working tirelessly through the Operation Iraqi Freedom documents trying to find evidence of Saddam’s secret WMD stashes and his al Qaeda connections. Well, he’s finally found something! A “coded” handwritten letter in English from “on or before September 8 2001.” Shahda writes that “The writer of the coded letter is asking Saddam to ‘Nuclear the United States as required and as soon as possible as this is September 2001.’”Well, there you have it — proof positive of the Saddam-9/11 connection that has proved so elusive! And the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence had the temerity to conclude that “there is no evidence that Saddam Hussein had prewar ties to Al Qaeda.” It’s a good thing there are sleuths like Shahda around to show us the truth! Here in this “coded” handwritten letter in English from an unknown “person called Amelia Rovena Guadagno” to Saddam Hussein we finally have proof of Saddam’s plans to “nuclear the United States as required.” The Pentagon thoughtfully included a more legible version of the document so we can read more about Saddam’s evil plans. One thing that is telling is the way the letter is addressed: “Dear President Saddam Hussein (not Gottfried!)” The document also gives a clue to Guadagno’s true identity: “And as of the Commander of the Martians I’m the only one remaining.” There is also important information here about the war in Afghanistan: “Afghanistan is not an Afghan, Patricia Wagner or Curo Martian. Nor is it Antoinette or Annette, Jed Rakoff.” And I’m a little embarrassed to admit that this document reports the following; something I have been telling people myself for a long time:

And just because Arnold S. did a Total Recall based on this article does not mean Naziism of Adolf is the right thing. And just because Sylvester S. did Rocky does not mean the Gottfrieds are Sly’s Salvation of Judge Dredd.

But this part is very significant; it really helps us understand both the terrorist mindset and the true problems America faces:

They finally found the real God and what did they do? They consulted Debra. Now, understand, there are two Debra’s. One is now a blonde still trying to understand who is Commander Shasta, and the other is really Cupid who went on strike even for possibly Macintosh.

Remember, these documents were dumped into the public sphere earlier this year to the cheers of conservatives who believed that they held the secret evidence proving the Bush Administration was right all along about Iraq, even though these documents that have already been searched by the Pentagon and the Office of the National Director of Intelligence for useful information (they apparently believed that career Reaganites like John Negroponte and George Tenet were part of a vast left-wing conspiracy to hide information that vindicated the Bush Administration’s position on Iraq). Joseph Shahda has been working day and night combing through the documents looking for the secret evidence that Negroponte wanted buried in order to further his plans for the ultimate dictatorship of the proletariat. Every time he finds something vaguely suggestive of terrorism or WMDs, he posts it to free republic; his posts have even made right wing rags like the Weakly Standard at times. But this time not even the freepers are biting — the comments are almost unanimously dismissive of the missive, suggesting that the gibberish sounds more like Anne Heche’s space language than a coded letter to Saddam. Better luck next time, Joseph!

24 October 2006: 3:49 pm: csloat

shockandblog was recently taken offline due to security problems with an older version of the software it was running on. We’ve taken the opportunity to switch to software that is more appropriate for the limited needs of a blog like this. While it was fun using php-nuke to run the site and have access to polls and similar items, that software is really intended for larger content management operations. Thus it had a lot of complexities, as well as possibilities for malicious attacks, such as the frequent posting of spam to discussion pages (which required me to ban anonymous posting completely). The new site uses more basic weblog software that will hopefully be more robust and secure for our purposes. Eventually we will start posting to the new site; in the meantime, you can familiarize yourself with the content of the old site by flipping through the archive of older posts. I’ve been keeping this blog since the war began in 2003; you can see the earliest posts over at Schlock and Bla. And, just for historical sake, that page was a continuation of blogging that started in 1998 or 1999 over at nofuncharlie, a site which has long disappeared after the domain name got swiped from us by a domain squatting “service.” (By the way, the squatters refused to even acknowledge emails inquiring about buying it back, so it’s unclear why they swiped it in the first place). You can find old nofuncharlie material by flipping through the wayback machine, though that only goes back to mid-2000. Eventually we may put a more complete archive online for those who want to find such gems as nofuncharlie’s award-winning War Criminal of the Week series or our highly touted coverage of the Y2K bug.

20 March 2006: 11:09 am: csloat, ,

Well, it’s exactly three years since the “cakewalk” began. The great moments of the war for America — photo-ops of a triumphant president sharing Thanksgiving dinner with eager troops, and hopping from a helicopter to an aircraft carrier; of Saddam’s statue being torn down with the help of U.S. Marines; of the miserable dictator crawling out of his dirty hole — have faded into a distant memory as more recent news takes the foreground — American mercenaries slaughtered at Fallujah, their bodies torched; images of humiliation at Abu Ghraib; withdrawal after withdrawal from the national treasury to support a war we were told was over in May 2003; over 2500 coalition soldiers dead and at minimum 33,000 Iraqi civilians dead; scandal after scandal in the Bush Administration; and the allegedly fallen dictator strutting around in designer suits on television in what has become Iraq’s national soap opera.

And just in time for the anniversary, there’s a new torture scandal afoot! Just after Salon.com released brand new photos and videos from Abu Ghraib, we now learn about Camp Nama, a former military base in Baghdad where elite American Special Operations forces (referred to in the New York Times as “the military’s most highly trained counterterrorism unit”) routinely abused prisoners both before and after the original Abu Ghraib photos became stock footage in terrorist recruitment videos. Ignoring repeated warnings that began in August 2003, Task Force 6-26 beat and humiliated prisoners at Camp Nama, often in “the Black Room,” an interrogation cell that served as a torture chamber in Saddam’s Iraq. The abuse was so bad that the CIA would have nothing to do with the camp, ordering its personnel to stay away from Camp Nama after warnings were issued by American officials. Placards around the camp read, in an unwitting parody of a tired antiwar chant, “No Blood No Foul.” One Pentagon official explained the placard: “If you don’t make them bleed, they can’t prosecute for it.” Read the whole NYT article, or this summary in E&P — some of this stuff, you just can’t make up.