Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Morning News Roundup (03 October)

State of Denial
  • Condi Rice from Monday morning:
    "What I am quite certain of, however, is that I would remember if I was told--as this account apparently says--that there was about to be an attack in the United States. The idea that I would somehow have ignored that I find incomprehensible."

  • A review of White House records has determined that George J. Tenet, then the director of central intelligence, did brief Condoleezza Rice and other top officials on July 10, 2001, about the looming threat from Al Qaeda, a State Department spokesman said Monday. [NYTimes]

  • Former CIA director George Tenet told the 9/11 Commission that he had warned of an imminent threat from al-Qaeda in a July 2001 meeting with Condoleezza Rice, adding that he believed Rice took the warning seriously, according to a transcript of the interview and the recollection of a commissioner who was there.
    [I]t turns out that the panel was, in fact, told about the meeting, according to the interview transcript and Democratic commission member Richard Ben-Veniste, who sat in on the interview with Tenet. The meeting was not identified by the July 10 date in the commission's best-selling report.

    Rice added to the confusion yesterday by strongly suggesting that the meeting may never have occurred at all -- even though administration officials had conceded for several days that it had. A State Department spokesman said later that while the meeting definitely happened, Rice and Tenet disputed Woodward's characterization of her response.[WaPo]

  • Donald Rumsfeld and John Ashcroft “received the same CIA briefing about an imminent al-Qaida strike on an American target that was given to the White House two months before the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.” The presentation was described as a “10 on a scale of 1 to 10” warning that al Qaeda “was poised to strike again.” [ThinkProgress' ThinkFast]

BushCo's Wars
  • Iraq's prime minister announced a new plan Monday aimed at ending the deepening crisis between Shiite and Sunni parties. The four-point plan aims to resolve disputes by giving every party a voice in how security forces operate against violence on a neighborhood-by-neighborhood basis.

    Local committees will be formed in each Baghdad district -- made up of representatives of every party, religious and tribal leaders and security officials -- to consult on security efforts. A Sunni representative, for example, could raise a complaint if he thinks police are not pursuing a Shiite militia after an attack. A central committee, also comprising all the parties, will coordinate with the armed forces.

    In a possible boost to the effort to rein in the violence, a radical cleric who leads one of the most powerful Shiite militias, Moqtada al-Sadr, has ordered his followers to put aside their weapons temporarily. [WaPo]

  • Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist said Monday that the Afghan war against Taliban guerrillas can never be won militarily and urged support for efforts to bring "people who call themselves Taliban" and their allies into the government.

    Afghanistan is suffering its heaviest insurgent attacks since a U.S.-led military force toppled the Taliban in late 2001 for harboring al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden.

    According to an Associated Press count, based on reports from U.S., NATO and Afghan officials, at least 2,800 people have been killed nationwide so far this year. The count, which includes militants and civilians, is about 1,300 more than the toll for all of 2005. [WaPo]

  • Reaction from the right (via Daily Kos diarist Geekesque):
    Goodbye GOP. Perhaps we should make peace with Zawahiri as well? Let's negotiate, and see what terms we can get as good dhimmis. The hell with the lot of them. [Ace of Space]

    I have decided to vote Democratic this fall. [The Commissar]

Climate Crisis
  • The world would have to give up only one year's economic growth over the next four decades to reduce carbon emissions sufficiently to stave off the threat of global warming. Consultants at PricewaterhouseCoopers offer a "green growth plus" strategy, combining energy efficiency, greater use of renewables and carbon capture to cut emissions by 60% by 2050 from the level reached by doing nothing.

    This scenario, which involves little real sacrifice in terms of economic growth, could be achieved only if embarked upon without delay, the report warns. "If countries adopt a 'business as usual' approach, the result could be a more than doubling of global carbon emissions by 2050," said John Hawksworth, head of macroeconomics at PwC.

    "Our analysis suggests that there are technologically feasible and relatively low cost options for controlling carbon emissions to the atmosphere. Estimates suggest that the level of GDP might be reduced by no more than 2-3% in 2050 if this strategy is followed." [The Guardian]

Domestic Potpourri
  • While the stock market and corporate profits have rebounded, many Americans’ paychecks haven’t grown fast enough to keep up with rising prices. A recent WSJ/NBC poll found the “gap between rich and poor” ranked as the No. 2 economic issue — after gas prices and energy costs. [ThinkProgress' ThinkFast]

Big Blue Marble
  • North Korea today said it would conduct a nuclear test as part of measures to bolster its self-defence amid what it calls increasing US hostility toward the communist regime. "The US extreme threat of a nuclear war and sanctions and pressure compel the DPRK to conduct a nuclear test, an essential process for bolstering nuclear deterrent, as a corresponding measure for defence," said the statement carried by the North's official Korean Central News Agency. [The Independent]

And one more thing... some commentary from the Seattle P-I's Robert Jamieson:
Thursday's "Drive Out The Bush Regime" event is being held in more than 150 cities across the country. In Seattle, the day calls for school walkouts and includes a morning rally at the University of Washington, a noon gathering at Cal Anderson Park and an afternoon march to the downtown Federal Building. (More information is available at the Web site worldcantwait.org)

The event has its heart in the right place, but one has to wonder if Seattle -- or the nation -- cares. An Iraq war with no end in sight has beat people into silence and paralysis. The way the federal government bungled its response to Katrina did make Americans angry, but they quickly returned to regular programming -- new episodes of "Grey's Anatomy" and "Lost."

It would be inspiring to see crowds turn out Thursday the way people did this year to support undocumented Latino workers.

But this being a land of amnesia and apathy, it seems as if people have forgotten the lost art of the war protest, which begs a question.

What good is freedom of speech or freedom of assembly when people seem unwilling to use it at this crucial juncture in history?

[ posted with ecto ]


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