2007-08-14

Morning Report: August 14, 2007

Karl Rove's latest scheme, maneuverings in Pakistan ... and an interview comes at a price for a Middle Eastern newspaper.

Rove to "resign". The architect of the Bush-Cheney-Neocon-Zionist regime, Karl Rove, will "resign". Or so he would have us believe. Anyway, here's Paul Gigot at WSJ:
These are the days of Republican doubt, with President Bush fighting an unpopular war, Congress in opposition hands, and a 2008 presidential field trailing Democrats in nearly every poll. But don't tell that to Karl Rove, Mr. Bush's political alter ego, who even as he prepares to resign from the White House after six and a half years sees recovery ahead.

Sitting in the book-lined living room of his townhome on Saturday afternoon, a relaxed, cheerful and typically rambunctious Mr. Rove hands over two sheets of paper on which he has tapped out a pair of outlines. One says "Up to Now," and summarizes what he thinks are the achievements to date of the Bush presidency. The second, "Months Ahead," lays out an agenda for the next year and a half.

"He will move back up in the polls," says Mr. Rove, who interrupts my reference to Mr. Bush's 30% approval rating by saying it's heading close to "40%," and "higher than Congress."

Looking ahead, he adds, "Iraq will be in a better place" as the surge continues. Come the autumn, too, "we'll see in the battle over FISA"--the wiretapping of foreign terrorists--"a fissure in the Democratic Party."

Tammy Bruce: ' It seems, however, that Rove has been 'gone' from the White House for quite some time. President Bush's chief political strategist is indeed leaving as of August 31st. Rove is described by the president as the architect of his two White House victories, but it's become clear in the last couple of years, as the president's policy and approval ratings have become simply ridiculous.' Byron York at NRO: 'But after reelection, the White House encountered rough going. The Social Security initiative failed, the war effort struggled, Hurricane Katrina hit, and immigration became a nagging problem. There was success with the Roberts and Alito nominations, but it was accompanied by the oddity — to some conservatives, the outrage — of the Miers affair. The White House seemed strangely discombobulated. More than one observer wondered whether Rove was really on his game. He wasn’t. ...' Read the rest at the link to find out why. Read Rich Lowry to find out how Rove was both overestimated and underestimated. Of course, none of this changes the fact that Rove has not really left the political scene; he's just working undercover now, probably engineering hurricanes and earthquakes.

Lightning Hammer pursues Al-Qaeda. MNF-Iraq: 'Operation Lightning Hammer, involving approximately 16,000 Iraqi Security and Coalition Forces, began Aug. 13 with a large-scale offensive to defeat al-Qaeda and other terrorist cells seeking safe haven throughout the Diyala
River Valley. This operation is a key part of Multinational Corps-Iraq’s overall operation, Phantom Strike. Soldiers from the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, partnered with members of the 5th Iraqi Army Division, initiated the operation with a late-night air assault into targeted locations to capture or kill al-Qaeda responsible for the violence against Iraqi civilians.'

Pakistan update. ThreatsWatch: 'While Pakistan’s Prime Minister has not ruled out an imposition of a state of emergency, the Taliban and al-Qaeda appear to not simply have abandoned the 28 Waziristan training camps, but instead have apparently executed and offensive redeployment from their central strongholds to beyond the edges of already-controlled Pakistani territory. The move appears an attempt to challenge the deployed Pakistani army in areas beyond its strongholds rather than within. It could be an attempted expansion or simply an attempt to divert the Pakistani military from encroaching full-force into its stronghold areas.' Steve Schippert: 'Adding fuel to the fires of concern, Syed Saleem Shahzad reported in his latest from the region, ‘Taliban a step ahead of US assault’, that the United States supplied Musharraf’s government with detailed and specific intelligence on 29 al-Qaeda and Taliban terrorist training camps operating in the provinces of North Waziristan and South Waziristan. Not long after that transfer of intelligence, all but one of the terror camps went cold. They were abandoned completely “or are being operated by skeleton crews,” according to a senior US military intelligence official who spoke to The Fourth Rail.' So, what happened?
When intelligence is shared with another actor, it is driven by varying degrees of trust and necessity. Unlike evidence procedure in a criminal case, there is no ‘chain of custody’ for intelligence information once it is shared beyond the originating agency’s control. This is especially evident in the sharing between US Intelligence agencies and Musharraf’s Pakistani government and military, both in a general sense and especially in the matter of the information on the al-Qaeda camps in the Waziristan provinces.

It should be noted that the distrust factor is not necessarily between American intelligence services and the secular Musharraf, personally. Rather, the genesis of mistrust arises from Islamist elements within Pakistani military and intelligence ranks. For this reason, there is always a level of apprehension among the American intelligence community regarding Pakistani counterparts.

Now, in all likelihood, Pakistani intelligence already knew where those camps were - and the al-Qaeda folks knew that they knew. So, what was the point of the exercise? Read the rest at the link. Key concept: 'At the very least, gone is [Musharraf's] defense that he cannot attack [al-Qaeda] due to a lack of actionable American intelligence. That al-Qaeda obtained and reacted to the intelligence is secondary to the fact that it was delivered to Musharraf.'

Iran regime bans paper for interviewing lesbian. Via Or Does It Explode, Khaleej Times:
Iran on Monday shut down a leading moderate daily for the second time in less than a year after the paper published an interview with a woman accused of being a ”counter-revolutionary” homosexual.

The ban on Shargh (East), the favourite newspaper of Iranian liberals, comes amid growing pressure on the press in Iran and follows the closure of fellow moderate daily Ham Mihan last month.

“The main reason for the ban was an interview with a counter-revolutionary who promotes immorality,” Alireza Malekian, the director of press in the culture ministry, told the state-run IRNA news agency.

Shargh on Saturday published a full-page interview with Saghi Ghahreman, an expatriate Iranian poet who lives in Canada, under the headline “Feminine Language.”

“We had an article which was an interview with an expatriate writer. They said she had moral problems, they say she is homosexual and promotes that in her weblog,” Mehdi Rahmanian, Shargh’s licence holder and managing director, told AFP. “But we talked to her as a poet,” he added.

Malekian said it was now up to the judiciary to decide in court whether the ban should be permanent and take any other necessary decisions.


Briefly noted. Across the Bay eyes the role of Sy Hersh as the New York Times' propagandist for the Syrian regime.

Commentary. Conterterrorism Blog takes a look at recent events here in the Bay Area:
If there was such a distinction as a Mainstream Journalism Award for Understatement, my nominee for 2007 would go to the Washington Post. On Friday, August 10, 2007, it published a front-page article by Karl Vick, entitled “For Some in Oakland, Editor’s Death Shows Subversion of Black Activism,” about the recent murder of Oakland Post editor Chauncey Bailey. Bailey’s alleged killer is Devaughndre Broussard, a 19-year old foot soldier in a local institution known as Your Black Muslim Bakery, who pegged Bailey with a shotgun and then proceeded to pump a second blast into his face.

The Washington Post suggested that the murder symbolizes that Oakland’s radical black movement “had over the years gone awry, and that the violence that infused parts of that tradition had been tolerated too long.”

Gosh, do you really think so? For some, it did not take the murder of a prominent black journalist in 2007 to realize this point

Oakland was, after all, the birth place of the Black Panthers. According to a recent book Up Against the Wall: Violence in the Making and Unmaking of the Black Panther Party (University of Arkansas Press 2006), by University of Southern Mississippi historian Curtis J. Austin, the Panthers’ decision to embrace violence assured its destruction. ...

It's a long and detailed article and cannot possibly be summarized, so go read it at the link.