Ultima Thule

In ancient times the northernmost region of the habitable world - hence, any distant, unknown or mysterious land.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Ignatieff ignites a firestorm in Canadian elections

By Aussiegirl

Check out Cyber Cossack for some good links and a rundown on an interesting firestorm brewing in Canadian politics. It seems that one liberal candidate has had some incredibly prejudiced and ugly things to say about Ukrainians, not a smart move in a country that has lots of Ukrainian voters and where they are very organized. His nomination over the heads of other potential nominees has Ukrainians crying "foul". I'll be back later with some more in depth stuff on this curious character who also writes for - who else - the New York Times. Thanks to the Cyber Cossack for the heads-up.

Here are just a few quotes from Mr. Ignatieff from his 1993 book "Blood and Belonging":

"My difficulty in taking Ukraine seriously goes deeper than just my cosmopolitan suspicion of nationalists everywhere. Somewhere inside I'm also what Ukrainians would call a great Russian and there is just a trace of old Russian disdain for these little Russians. "

"From my childhood, I remember expatriate Ukrainians nationalists demonstrating in the snow outside performances by the Bolshoi Ballet in Tronto. 'Free the captive nations!' they chanted.In 1960, they seemed strange and pathetic, chanting in the snow, haranguing people who just wanted to see ballet and to hell with poltiics. They seemed fanatical, too, unreasonable. Hadn't they looked at the map? How did they think that Ukraine could ever be free?"

In an interview Mr. Ignatieff describes Ukrainian culture as "embroidered peasant shirts, the nasal whine of ethnic instruments, phony Cossacks in cloaks and boots."

Wow -- now THERE's a liberal for ya!

Update: Lubomyr Luciuk, director of research for the Ukrainian Canadian Civil Liberties Association and professor of political geography at The Royal Military College of Canada takes Ignatieff to task. It's such a nuisance when the peasants in embroidered shirts get ideas above their station and actually get the right to vote and speak, instead of bowing their heads to the Russian aristocracy as they make their way to see the glories of the Bolshoi. Ignatieff is descended from Russian aristocracy, explaining his elitist attitudes, I guess. I confess I have several embroidered blouses -- they are beautiful. This is from the Ottowa Citizen

Liberal candidate Michael Ignatieff thought people like my parents were "strange and pathetic" because, in the 1960s, they would gather in protest, even in the snow, "haranguing people" who just wanted to see the Bolshoi ballet, and "to hell with the politics."

He wondered how they thought Ukraine could ever be free. Hadn't these folks bothered to check a map? Didn't they know Ukraine had "been part of Russia for centuries?" And why wouldn't they accept that, "obviously," Kyiv was the "birthplace of Russian national identity?"

When, "unbelievably," that city became the capital of a "new" and independent state, he confessed to having "difficulty in taking Ukraine seriously" because, as a "Great Russian" he held "just a trace of old Russian disdain for these 'little Russians'," meaning Ukrainians. The thought of their independence conjured up only "images of embroidered peasant shirts, the nasal whine of ethnic instruments, phoney Cossacks in cloaks and boots, nasty anti-Semites."

I confess that I have an embroidered Ukrainian shirt, several in fact, which my mother hand-made for me, and which I am proud to wear. I share other kindred, albeit more intellectual, prejudices with Mr. Ignatieff, who probably thinks he is my "elder brother." So I get a laugh when reading about those puffed up White Russian emigres -- with their pro-fascist sentiments and stunted ideas about the rights of other nations to self-determination -- who fittingly ended up as so many Grand-Duke-Such-and-Such taxi cab drivers in Paris, or Princess-This-and-Thats serving tables in Harbin dancing halls. They were the flotsam of the failed Tsarist regime, pretenders and pogromchiks, most of them shovelled into the dustbin of history during the interwar period.

One of their own (and yes he was a count, what else), Vladimir Kokovtsov, described his fellow exiles in 1930 as an admixture of "nostalgia, fatalism, balalaikas, lugubrious songs of the Volga, a crimson shirt [and] frenzied dance."

Of course, some took longer to accept their fates than others. The counts Ignatieff, for example, reportedly held forth in Toronto libraries in the mid-1930s, blustering on about Russia Yesterday, Russia Today.

But there's the rub. Mr. Ignatieff wants to play a role on the floor of the House of Commons. He says he is a Liberal, one of our indigenous brand of Reds. He regards them, and they like to boast of it too, as the only legitimate governing party of Canada, rather like those other party members used to claim in Mother Russia, after they chucked out their Dukes and Dames, those they didn't butcher.

[...]And we checked the map. Ukraine has regained its place in Europe, something we'll wager tsarist Russia never will. That happened, in part, because "strange and pathetic" people, like our parents, stood in the snow and called for the freedom of the captive nations instead of going inside to get warm and gawk at ballerinas.

[...]They wanted nothing to do with those who called them Little, or Russians, nor would they ever vote for anyone who thinks they once were, are now, or ever will be.

Update:Here's some more:

The federal Liberal party clearly wants Michael Ignatieff, the He-Man
of Harvard, to be its candidate in Etobicoke-Lakeshore.

Two others tried to file their papers by the short deadline the party
imposed after the incumbent suddenly bowed out; they had to slip their
documents under a locked office door.
And this:

Dissident Liberals plan to go ahead with a nomination meeting tonight in
Etobicoke-Lakeshore despite the fact the party has already acclaimed Michael Ignatieff.

Borys Wrzesnewskyj, Liberal MP for the next-door riding of
Etobicoke-Centre, questioned the process by which Ignatieff became the candidate.

"Does he deserve to win? There wasn't a nomination process," he said.

And finally -- he can always go back to Harvard where being liberal means never having to say you are sorry and never having to mingle with the peasants. Somehow I think that suits him more, don't you?

Harvard professor and human rights expert Michael G. Ignatieff announced last Friday that he will run for Canadian Parliament as a Liberal candidate, ending the speculation about his political future that began when he took a Canadian visiting professorship this September.

Ignatieff took a leave of absence from his post as director of the Kennedy School of Government’s Carr Center for Human Rights and professor of public policy earlier this year to return as a visiting professor to the University of Toronto, where he completed his undergraduate studies.

Ignatieff also said that he has been associated with the Liberal Party since his youth.

“He comes from an elite Canadian family; his father in particular was very influential in Canadian politics,” Albo said, adding that with this name recognition, Ignatieff has always enjoyed wide coverage in the Canadian media.

“If I am not elected, I imagine that I will ask Harvard to let me back,” Ignatieff said. “I love teaching here, and I hope I’ll be back in some shape or form.”

[...]In his campaign, Ignatieff said he plans to focus on encouraging national unity and multiculturalism.

“I want to do my bit to bring Chinese Canadians, Ukrainian Canadians, Indian Canadians to the top of our political system,” Ignatieff said.

Good luck with the Ukrainians, somehow I don't think they are coming on board the Ignatieff train -- in fact, they've managed to get to the top of the Canadian political system all on their lonesome, without Count Ignatieff's help. As a matter of fact, two such candidates had planned to run, but were ignored by the party in preference for Mr. Ignatieff who, typical of his species, jumped the line because of his elite connections. Some things never change.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

We told you so - the CIA plot to unseat the president thickens

By Aussiegirl

More columnists get on board the CIA conspiracy train -- all aboard!

Media Monitor - Columnist Confirms CIA Plot - November 29, 2005

In a November 3 column in the Washington Post, Jim Hoagland confirmed that the Joseph Wilson affair was a CIA plot against President Bush. Writing his column in the form of a letter to the President, Hoagland wrote that "The hidden management of the criminal justice process and the news media practiced by spooks in Wilson-Rove-Libbygate is nothing short of brilliant. So you were right to fear the agency."

Think about that statement to the President—"you were right to fear the agency."

Here we have a columnist for a major paper saying that the CIA has been acting independently of the elected President of the U.S., and that Bush had reason to fear it. He said the CIA had engaged in "hidden management of the criminal justice system and the news media." In effect, he is saying that the CIA is pulling the strings behind the scenes, and that reporters following the Wilson/Plame storyline are CIA puppets. He went on to say that the CIA also "triggered the investigation" into the CIA leak about Valerie Wilson by itself leaking. That is, the CIA leaked to the press the fact that it had requested an investigation.

An NCS appointment that spells nuance

By Aussiegirl

With this appalling appointment the Bush admistration sends mixed signals on its determination to win the war on terror. Just as the president finally came out and said that we are at war with radical Islam, his administration turns around and appoints a woman to a powerful NSC position who is famed for her policies promoting "understanding" and conciliation towards rogue terrorist regimes. Apparently having failed to appease his democratic enemies in Washington by repeated capitulations, the president is going to try the diplomatic route with Iran and perhaps North Korea. By all means, let's not hurt the bully's feelings and call him a "rogue". Joel Mowbray has the story.

A dubious NSC choice -- Op-ed The Washington Times

While most of Washington was preoccupied with playing the Plame game late last month, the Bush Administration took an apparent turn toward appeasement -- or as its advocates would call it, "nuance" and "realism" -- in Iraq and Afghanistan, with the appointment of a high-level National Security Council official whose worldview more resembles that of the former President Bush than the current one.

As special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald was winding down the investigation that resulted in the indictment of I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, former chief of staff to Vice President Dick Cheney, on Oct. 28, Meghan O'Sullivan was elevated to the lofty position of Deputy National Security Adviser for Iraq and Afghanistan. This makes Miss O'Sullivan equal in rank to fellow NSC staffer Elliott Abrams, and arguably gives her more influence than many assistant secretaries.

The timing of the promotion was particularly curious, as it came just weeks after the president made a bold step in the direction of moral clarity when articulating on Oct. 6 -- for the first time -- that the enemy we face is not just terrorism, but radical Islam. Yet if Miss O'Sullivan's career is defined by anything, it is a worldview colored with thousands of shades of gray, with barely a hint of black and white.

Before the Iraq war, Miss O'Sullivan was the co-creator of the so-called "smart sanctions" that Saddam easily manipulated time and again, and after his regime fell, she was one of the most passionate defenders of senior Ba'athists. At other points in recent years, she has tacitly supported Islamists' attempted takeover of the post-Saddam Iraqi education system, and she is widely seen as a leading advocate for engaging the Iranian mullahs.

[...]At a July 2000 Brookings press conference moderated by Mr. Haass, Miss O'Sullivan noted her sharp distaste for the "rogue regimes" designation because it was "pejorative," and she complained that the rogue label suggested that countries that sponsor terrorism "were beyond rehabilitation and that the policy options (were limited) to only punitive ones.

How true, how true

"Today, states collapse not because of [military] regiments but because they forget their language, culture and traditions."

~~ Viktor Yushchenko

What it takes to win the Iraq war according to Sherman

By Aussiegirl

Absolutely essential reading from Herb Meyer, as usual. Yes, unfortunately we have tried to wage a "kinder, gentler" war, and have suffered a persistent insurgency as a result. Perhaps it is no longer possible for an open democracy to wage the kind of massive, brutal war that is required to achieve overpowering and unquestioned victory in this age of embedded journalists and moralizing second-guessers parsing every action. We should have gone in with real shock and awe, not allowed those troops to go home, and occupied the country with tough martial law. Instead we tried to do it with kind half-measures -- and now we are still coping with the aftereffects. Hopefully it is not too late to win this thing once and for all. Sherman never said "War is heck" after all.

The American Thinker

Like every other business, the business of war has changed.

Centuries ago, a war ended when one army defeated another on the battlefield. But in the modern world of total war , a war isn’t over when one army defeats the other. A war is over when the population of the country whose army has lost abandons all hope; when the people have been crushed so thoroughly – when the daily business of staying alive is so god-awful – that they wish only to clean up the mess and re-start their lives.

This is why no Nazi official was able to stand in the rubble of Dresden or Berlin in April 1945, and urge his fellow Germans to “stay the course.” And it’s why not even the most fanatical Japanese warlord journeyed from Tokyo to Hiroshima or Nagasaki in August of that year to tell survivors that “despite the recent setbacks,” Japan’s chances for victory remained good. It was over, and in both these countries everyone who wasn’t clinically insane knew it. And the business of daily living had become so miserable that what the people wanted more than anything else was for the fighting to stop. However terrifying the post-war future might prove to be, it couldn’t possibly be worse than the present. They would continue to honor their troops, but no longer would support them.

We haven’t won the war in Iraq because too many Sunnis still think they can win, and because the conditions of their daily lives are improving rather than deteriorating. They think they can win because, with the help of al Qaeda, Iran and Syria they are still able to launch attacks throughout Iraq. And because each day they see growing evidence that the United States is tiring of the war and talking more and more about pulling out its troops. And because Saddam Hussein is still alive in Baghdad. And because – thanks to the generosity of the U.S. and a government in Baghdad that is doing everything it can to win over the Sunnis before the upcoming elections – each day the availability grows of food, electric power, clean drinking water, gasoline and heating fuel.

[...]You needn’t take my word for this. One of history’s greatest generals, William Tecumseh Sherman, put it this way:

“We are not fighting armies but a hostile people, and must make young and old, rich and poor, feel the hard hand of war…. I would make this war as severe as possible, and show no symptom of tiring till the South begs for mercy.”

This is precisely what Sherman was talking about when he famously said that “War is hell.” He was a decent, honorable man and he hated doing what he knew must be done to end the war and stop the killing. Here’s one Sherman quote about waging war you won’t see in a New York Times editorial: “The crueler it is, the sooner it will be over.” In other words, to end a war you must crush not only the opposing army but also the population in whose name it fights; that sometimes you must act inhumanely to save humanity

Monday, November 28, 2005

Iran -- when blogging means risking your life and freedom

By Aussiegirl

Iranian bloggers are giving the government a headache, and suffering beatings and imprisonment as a result. Don't forget how many countries in the world find bloggers to be dangerous. That's why we can never let the UN get their hands on the internet. Meantime, our own government is putting the screws to us bloggers by making us subject to the odious and unconsitutional McCain/Feingold campaign finance law. Access to the internet is going to lead to revolutionary changes the world over, and even the politicians in democratic countries are quaking in their boots. Power to the people, indeed!! Let's not forget these bloggers who risk their lives in other countries and let's be grateful for the freedoms we still have in this country. That's why those of us who have families that came from communist countries are more sensitive than many to the fact that it's easier to lose your rights than to try to regain them after they are lost.

Telegraph | News | Iran's war on weblogs - the new voice of dissidents

Iran is fighting a constant battle against dissenters who are using the internet to voice criticism of the Islamic Republic and to push for freedom and democracy.

With the closure of most independent newspapers and magazines in Iran, blogging - publishing an online diary - has become a powerful tool in the dissidents' arsenal by providing individuals with a public voice.

An Iranian blogger known as Saena, wrote recently: "Weblogs are one weapon that even the Islamic Republic cannot beat."

There are an estimated 100,000 active blogs written by Iranians both within the country and across the diaspora. Persian ties with French as the second most common blogging language after English.

Over the last year, however, Iranian authorities have arrested and beaten dozens of bloggers, charged with crimes such as espionage and insulting leaders of the Islamic Republic. Among them is Omid Sheikhan, who last month was sentenced to one year in prison and 124 lashes of the whip for writing a blog that featured satirical cartoons of Iranian politicians.

The press freedom organisation Reporters Without Borders last week named Iran as one of 15 countries who were "enemies of the internet".

"These new measures point to an ideological hardening in the Iranian government and a desire by the new president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, to centralise authority," its report said.

Nevertheless, Iranians are increasingly turning to blogs and those who can publish their words in English hope they will reach a wider international audience and alert them to the problems facing free-thinkers within Iran.

Welcome to readers of The American Thinker

By Aussiegirl

Welcome to readers of The American Thinker and many thanks to Thomas Lifson for kindly posting a link to Ultima Thule. Please scroll down, you may find other articles of interest as well.

Mr. Lifson makes a great point in his blog item:

It is important to remember this crime. North Korea, which probably is the most Stalinist regime in existence, has also deliberately starved its own people, in order to preserve the regime from outside influences. The crimes of communism are diminished in scope with the fall of Soviet and Eastern satellite communist regimes, but they are far from over in North Korea and Cuba.

I would add that we need to bear in mind the growing menace in our own hemisphere of Hugo Chavez, who is bent on spreading this evil throughout Central and South America. And let us not forget that for all its capitalist-seeming commerce, Red China is still red -- and reveres and holds sacred the memory of the sadistic genocidal tyrant Mao as the benevolent father of their country. Sadly, until the Chinese are allowed to learn the truth about their own history, they are in danger of repeating it. We must never forget the victims of communism, as we do not forget the victims of Nazism.

The American Thinker

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Ukrainians remember the victims of the Great Famine-Genocide of 1932-33

By Aussiegirl

Over the weekend, Ukrainians across the globe commemorated and honored the memories of the millions of victims of Stalin’s artificially created Genocide-Famine of the years 1932-33.  In solemn ceremonies from Kyiv to cities across Australia, Canada and the United States, Ukrainians lit candles and held memorial church services for the souls of those who died in those horrible years.  

In Kyiv, in the area between the two great cathedrals of St. Sophia and St. Michael’s, the event was marked by the lighting of 33,000 candles, representing the number of people who died every day at the height of the famine in the spring of 1933.  It had long been a dream of Ukraine’s President Yushchenko to hold such a ceremony, as previous administrations, which were still under the sway of Moscow, marked the occasion with only perfunctory ceremonies.  

Ukrainians call the genocidal famine “Holodomor”, which means “murder by famine”.  At precisely 4 p.m. on Saturday, a national moment of silence was observed followed by the lighting of the candles.

I would like to honor the memories of those who died by publishing my own translation of my mother’s short memoir of those years.  It is her testament to what she saw and experienced -- the death not only of millions of people, but of an entire way of life.

Night - A Memoir of The Great Famine of 1933

By Maria D.

Night -- and sleep has vanished into the darkness.  A light rain falls softly through the leaves of the tree outside my window, gathers in a stream in the gutters, and falls in heavy drops to the ground.  I try counting them, but sleep will not come.  My thoughts are a tangle of memories, long lost dreams and disappointments.
Suddenly, out of the distant and forgotten past a spark of memory flashes across my mind and I fly back through the years to my earliest childhood.  But even here I am lost. Where to begin?

As my mother described it, I was born in March of 1920, "on the first day of Lent" as she liked to put it, in the village of R. in the Kharkiv region of Eastern Ukraine.  My father was still away at war.  Our village, plundered by the frequent waves of "Reds",  "Whites" and other roving and warring factions, was left impoverished and half-starved.
In the village I had two grandfathers, Vasyl and Mykhailo,  but no grandmother.   Both my grandmothers had gone to an early grave, claimed by the heavy work and toil that was a woman's lot.
My grandfather, Vasyl, had four more children in addition to my father, and probably for this reason he married again, to give the children, if not a mother, then at least a stepmother.  No household could survive without the capable and hard working hands of a woman.
My mother always told me that even as a very young child I was fond of singing.  While singing I liked to parade back and forth along a bench that sat by the kitchen table.
And one day it happened that during such a  "recital" I fell off the bench and landed on the floor under the table.  I probably banged my head, but most importantly I smudged my brand new kerchief, that had only just been given to me by my aunt.  There were lots of tears and grief, and later, whenever anyone would ask me to sing, I would always reply,  "Oh, sure!  And fall off that bench again!"  And here my brilliant singing career came to an end.
After a few years our family (there were now three of us children) moved to town and we only visited the village during the summer.
Later, during the years of the NEP, the so-called New Economic Policy that led to a loosening of restrictions on private trade and labor, conditions eased and food and goods became almost plentiful.

I remember our village in those later years. The village had bloomed -- had prospered -- had burst into song in the midst of flowering cherry orchards.  There were times at night, while lying in the hayloft in my grandfather's barn, that I lay awake and strained to hear the magical sounds of the night as the villagers gathered after their day's labor in the fields to join their voices in glorious ancient folksongs.

The night was so beautiful, starry and bright, with a full moon – and the nightingale added his ecstatic song – to my childish heart it was paradise -- and nothing less!

How desperately I wanted then to hurry and grow up to be able to join in this glorious singing -- I think I never again experienced such a night.
But it did not remain this way for long.  In the fearful conversations of my elders, more and more frightening and foreign words began to intrude -- commune, kurkul (kulack), Siberia -- and we became afraid.  Our visits to the village came to an end.
Soon, the terrible, black specter of the Stalin created Famine-Genocide of l932-33 spread throughout the land.  And even though I was still quite young, I remember that frightening apparition of the famine very well.  Images that are seared in my memory forever -- hundreds -- thousands of people, their limbs and bellies grotesquely swollen from starvation -- the walking dead, the half-dead and the dead -- orphaned children wandering homeless and begging for food in the streets -- or simply dying in the gutters.  

In school during class a small boy suddenly pitched forward onto his desk and died -- I shall never forget the sound of his head hitting the desk -- and he wasn't the only one.  And the textbooks, newspapers and so-called "artistic literature" all around us overflowed with the slogan:  "We are grateful to Comrade Stalin for our happy childhood!"  What obscene and monstrous mockery! 
I remember my mother gathered all our relatives from the village where all the food had been confiscated, even from private homes.   They lay about on the floors, many too weak to move as my mother stirred a weak "soup" in large kettles on the stove -- a broth so thin that one little grain of cooked wheat was barely in any danger of knocking into another. And even though we ourselves were hungry, at least my father as a civil servant received a small allotment, and we shared it with those closest to us who had nothing.  I will never forget the image of my little brother coming home from school and opening the doors of the little cupboard where once we had stored bread.  With tears in his eyes he searched the empty shelves, and then wetting his tiny finger he traced it over the naked boards, picking up the few crumbs left over from bread that had once been there.  This memory still burns in my soul.
Many difficult and heavy years had passed since I had seen my native village.  It was not until I had finished high school in town and at the suggestion of my classmate who was also from that same village, that I set out to again visit my relatives -- to see my grandfather whom I loved so very much.  That journey was about 25 kilometers on foot.  And now I too, a grown young woman, would definitely have the chance to go into the streets at night to sing as I had once dreamed of doing. My friend, though, was strangely silent.
As we walked along, I found myself entranced by the flowing fields of grain as the wind bent and lifted them in undulating waves, a lark sang high in the heavens, and with increasing anticipation and impatience I looked for the towering poplars that marked my grandfather’s garden as we approached the village.  But in vain -- there were no more poplars, there was no more village so happy and full of song that I had so long treasured in my heart's memory.  The village was dark and silent and numb.
I opened the door to my grandfather's house.  I saw him, gray and stooped, and greeted him warmly, noticing that he did not recognize me. And it occurred to me to have a little fun with him and not tell him who I was.

I asked him for some water to drink and to wash my hands after my long journey.  My grandfather took a bucket and I followed him out into the yard where he drew cold, fresh water from the well.  He poured the water over my hands as he regarded my face with interest.  He handed me a clean towel and in a hesitant and unsure voice asked:  "Well
then, tell me now, after all -- whose child might you be?"
"Grandfather, it's me, Marika, your first grandchild.  Don't you know me?"  My poor old grandfather began to tremble, clutched me desperately to his breast, and  a cascade of bitter tears rolled down his cheeks into his white beard.
"Oh, most merciful Heaven, what has the world come to when one doesn’t even recognize one's very own flesh and blood!”
My grandfather wept, and I wept too, out of pity for him and also out  of shame for myself, that I had behaved so thoughtlessly.
I went to sleep again in that same barn where once in my childhood I had listened so fervently to the music of the night.  But it was in vain. Long ago now -- very long ago the village had become mute.  The young girls, exhausted from their hard labors on the collective farms, no longer sang.  Only now and then somewhere in the distance a dog barked, and then again -- silence -- until dawn, when again the people were called to work in the new serfdom. 

The memory of this night will stay with me forever.
This night, I will also never forget.


Friday, November 25, 2005

2000 year old seed sprouts and grows

By Aussiegirl

How's THAT for a green thumb? An Israeli researcher has managed to sprout a 2000 year old date palm seed and get it to grow. I just find stories like this enormously exciting. Just think of the tenacity of life -- that something nature created could survive for 2000 years and still be alive. It's a real miracle. Who knows -- Jurassic Park may not be far behind -- although I'm not sure I really want a dino wandering through my garden any time he feels like it, especially not when my cats are out there.

2,000-Year-Old Seed Sprouts, Sapling Is Thriving

A sapling germinated earlier this year from a 2,000-year-old date palm seed is thriving, according to Israeli researchers who are cultivating the historic plant.

"It's 80 centimeters [3 feet] high with nine leaves, and it looks great," said Sarah Sallon, director of the Hadassah Medical Organization's Louis L. Borick Natural Medicine Research Center (NMRC) in Jerusalem.

Sallon's program is dedicated to the study of complementary and alternative medicines. The center is also interested in conserving the heritage of Middle Eastern plants that have been used for thousands of years.

Sallon wants to see if the ancient tree, nicknamed Methuselah after the oldest person named in the Old Testament of the Bible, has any unique medicinal properties no longer found in today's date palm varieties.

"Dates were famous in antiquity for medicinal value," she said. "They were widely used for different kinds of diseases—cancers, TB [tuberculosis]—all kinds of problems."

She and her colleagues are currently comparing the structure of the sapling to modern date palms and examining DNA from one of the sapling's leaves. The team plans to publish preliminary results in a peer-reviewed journal early next year.

Several ancient date seeds were taken from an excavation at Masada, a historic mountainside fortress, in 1973. In A.D. 73 Jewish Zealots took their own lives at the fortress rather than surrender to the Romans at the end of a two-year siege.

Carbon dating indicates the seeds are about 2,000 years old.

Hebrew University archaeologist Ehud Netzer found the seeds and gave them to botanical archaeologist Mordechai Kislev at Bar-Ilan University in Tel Aviv.

The seeds sat untouched in a drawer in Kislev's office until last November, when Sallon asked if she could have a few to pass on to desert agriculture expert Elaine Solowey.

"I said, Thank you. What do you want me to do?" Solowey recalls. Told to germinate them, she said, "You want me to do what?"

New Mao biography angers some true believers

By Aussiegirl

Being a leftist means never having to say you were sorry -- or wrong. In spite of a groundbreaking new biography of Mao that debunks all the glorious myths promulgated by the starry-eyed left over the years, and instead portrays him as an evil, mad despot who delighted in creating violence and chaos, the old die-hards of the left are not amused -- or convinced. Don't confuse them with the facts, their ideological minds are made up. Mao was wonderful. The Cultural Revolution was a necessary evil -- and you can't make an omelette without scrambling a few eggs. That's the quaint way in which the apologists for murder in the guise of leftist ideology describe the deaths of millions of innocent citizens. I don't know about you -- but I'll take the word of two authors who spent 10 exhaustive years interviewing close associates, combing archives and searching through old files (one of whom grew up there and experienced the horror first hand) -- over the no-nothing pronouncements of some "volunteer" in a Berkely bookstore (complete with sandals and beard no doubt). Wake up people -- there is no glorious communist revolution just over the horizon, and all that communism has ever succeeded in doing is creating a hell on earth.

BERKELEY / Mao debunkers defend their book / Critics call it effort to discredit communism

The husband-and-wife team of Chang and Halliday supported their archival research with interviews with 150 former Mao lieutenants, concluding that Mao was not only bloodier than Hitler or Stalin but worse in his destruction of culture. Chang is the author of the best-selling "Wild Swans: Three Daughters in China," a memoir detailing her family's suffering during the period.

"During the 10 years of the Cultural Revolution, he turned China into a cultural desert," she told the crowd at Haas. "He made torture public. My mother went through over a hundred of those denunciation meetings. She was made to kneel on broken glass and so on. China must be the most traumatized nation in the world."

Halliday said Mao appealed to "a large group of fantasists" who gullibly thought he was the real thing. Halliday said Mao also attracted leftists who tolerated violence.

Maoist intellectuals have counterattacked, saying the book negates any historical grounds for the Chinese revolution and positive changes in what had been a corrupt society before Mao's military victory in 1949.

"It's just outrageous," said Gary Miller, a volunteer at Berkeley's Revolution Books, as he leafleted the authors' event on campus. "A lot of people look with a great deal of affection at the Mao years because China's been turned into one giant sweatshop."

In October, the city of Berkeley celebrated Bob Avakian Day in honor of one of the city's most stalwart revolutionary sons. A few weeks later, Raymond Lotta, a Chicago-based Maoist political economist and author, spoke to students at UCLA and UC Berkeley in what he called a bid to set the record straight.

"What sets this apart from other historical studies is that this person Mao, who led an historic revolution and changed the landscape of China and was an inspiration throughout the world -- they're saying this was a scheming, bloodthirsty opportunist who was evil from the day he was born to the day he died and who hijacked a revolution," Lotta said. "I think it's part of a continuing attempt to discredit communism and Maoism and any alternative to the current world order."


By Aussiegirl

On November 16, 2005, the House of Representatives passed H.R. 562, a bill to allow the government of Ukraine to donate a memorial in Washington, DC honoring the victims of the Ukrainian Famine-Genocide of 1932-33. Echoing the sentiments expressed By Borys Potapenko below, I can also add my voice. My own parents survived this famine. Obviously I would not even be here if they hadn't. This is what Walter Duranty and the New York Times covered up to their eternal shame. And that is why Ukrainians still demand that the Times return that blood-stained Pulitzer awarded to the fraud and communist stooge Duranty. May they all rest in peace -- Vichnaya Pamyat!


(Washington D.C.)- The US House of Representatives today passed H.R. 562, a bill introduced by Representative Sander Levin (D-Royal Oak) to allow the Government of Ukraine to donate a memorial in Washington, DC honoring the victims of the Ukrainian Famine-Genocide of 1932-33. Passing by a voice vote, Rep. Levin spoke on the House floor in support of the bill:

“The memorial authorized by this legislation will not only honor the memory of the millions that lost their lives, but serve as a tangible reminder to all of us that we must work together to prevent such tragedies in the future,” said Levin. “This reminder is particularly symbolic given the renewed commitment of Ukraine to freedom and democracy as demonstrated during last year’s Orange Revolution.”

During the Famine-Genocide of 1932-33, 7 to 10 million Ukrainians were deliberately and systematically starved to death by the Soviet Union. The Soviet Government introduced unrealistically high quotas on grain and other agricultural products, which were strictly enforced by Red Army troops.

“This legislation is very important to the 1.5 million Ukrainian-Americans throughout the United States, including the vibrant Ukrainian-American Community in Southeast Michigan,” said Levin, who is Co-Chairman of the Congressional Ukrainian Caucus. “I am extremely proud to have introduced this legislation, and proud that it was so overwhelmingly approved by the House of Representatives.”

H.R. 562 authorizes the memorial as a gift from Ukraine to the people of the United States, and specifies that no federal money will be used to build or maintain the memorial. The goal is for the memorial to be completed by the 75th anniversary of the Famine-Genocide in 2008. The legislation must now be considered by the Senate.

“The Ukrainian community in Michigan and throughout America will be eternally grateful to Representative Levin for his leadership in Congress regarding H.R. 562 and on so many other issues important to U.S.-Ukraine relations,” said Borys Potapenko, Director of the Ukrainian Cultural Center in Warren. “I look forward to taking my young son to Washington for the dedication of this memorial, which will be especially poignant for me as, by the grace of God, both of my parents survived the Great Famine-Genocide.”

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone

George Washington's 1789 Thanksgiving Proclamation

Whereas it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor; and Whereas both Houses of Congress have, by their joint committee, requested me to "recommend to the people of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer, to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness:"

Now, therefore, I do recommend and assign Thursday, the 26th day of November next, to be devoted by the people of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being who is the beneficent author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be; that we may then all unite in rendering unto Him our sincere and humble thanks for His kind care and protection of the people of this country previous to their becoming a nation; for the signal and manifold mercies and the favorable interpositions of His providence in the course and conclusion of the late war; for the great degree of tranquility, union, and plenty which we have since enjoyed; for the peaceable and rational manner in which we have been enable to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national one now lately instituted for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed, and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge; and, in general, for all the great and various favors which He has been pleased to confer upon us.

And also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and beseech Him to pardon our national and other transgressions; to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually; to render our National Government a blessing to all the people by constantly being a Government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed; to protect and guide all sovereigns and nations (especially such as have shown kindness to us), and to bless them with good governments, peace, and concord; to promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the increase of science among them and us; and, generally to grant unto all mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as He alone knows to be best.

Given under my hand, at the city of New York, the 3d day of October, A.D. 1789.

Signed -- George Washington

An open letter to all opponents of the war in Iraq

By Aussiegirl

Herb Meyer makes some excellent arguments in favor of the war even for those who have objections to it. We forget how many setbacks and mistakes were made during WWII, and that there was no way of knowing how it would ultimately turn out. But this is no less important to the future of the world and our nation and civilization itself. I can't imagine how a democrat could read this and not be ashamed of his actions. They may very well cost us the war on terror and all for their petty hatred of one man and their peevishness at having lost a close election. History will judge them very harshly.

The American Thinker

When I first wrote to you, last January, the level of opposition to the war in Iraq was too low to affect the war’s outcome.  President Bush had just been re-elected, and he had the public support he needed to stay the course. But for a combination of reasons – including the continuing violence in Iraq itself, the ever-growing number of American casualties, and the Administration’s appalling inability to explain and defend its policy against the Democrats’ increasingly ferocious attacks on it – opposition to the war has grown steadily during the last few months.

Today opposition to the war is so widespread among Americans that it may force the President to bring our troops home from Iraq sooner than he plans, or believes is prudent.  And if that happens, Iraq will explode into civil war and we will have lost the war.  In this sense, Iraq could turn out to be a replay of Vietnam.  After all, we didn’t lose the Vietnam war in Vietnam; we lost it in Washington.

So I’m taking the liberty of writing a second time, both to reiterate the point I made in my first letter and – more importantly – to reach all those of you who have only recently joined the opposition.

A Question of Attitude

I’m not writing to argue with your judgment about the war in Iraq.  Rather, I am writing to protest your attitude toward the war.  And the point I want to make is this: sometimes, you have to choose between proving yourself to have been right, or helping make a project succeed despite your opposition to it.


Tuesday, November 22, 2005

English should be more English says Britain's first black archbishop.

By Aussiegirl

It takes a man from Uganda to appreciate being British.

BBC NEWS -- English 'should reclaim identity'

Dr Sentamu says he has a passion for the English culture. Multiculturalism has left the English embarrassed about celebrating their true national identity, Britain's first black archbishop has said.

Dr John Sentamu, who will be enthroned as Archbishop of York next week, said a failure to rediscover English culture would fuel greater political extremism.

[...]"The English are somehow embarrassed about some of the good things they have done.

Multiculturalism has seemed to imply, wrongly for me, 'Let other cultures be allowed to express themselves but do not let the majority culture at all tell us its glories, its struggles, its joys, its pains

Dr Sentamu, who fled Ugandan dictator Idi Amin in 1974, praised English culture, saying it had given the world parliamentary democracy.

Happy 80th Birthday to William F. Buckley

By Aussiegirl

Check out Cyber Cossack for a rundown of the birthday bash for William F. Buckley.

Happy Birthday, Mr. Buckley, we who are conservative owe it all to you!

Friday, November 18, 2005

Cyber Cossack covers the protest at the New York Times

By Aussiegirl

Check out Cyber Cossack for a report on today's protest at the New York Times building in Manhattan. Ukrainians demanded that the Times rescind the bloodstained Pulitzer awarded to Walter Duranty, who covered up evidence of the massive genocidal famine engineered by Stalin in Ukraine in l932 - 33.

Anna Yaroslavna -- Ukrainian Queen of France and other interesting facts

By Aussiegirl

Well, don't just take my word for the fact that Ukraine has an ancient and great culture that far exceeds that of Russia. Read this from the wonderful journal called The Ukrainian Observer.

Early European Travels to Ukraine

In the Middle Ages, enlightened Europe regarded Ukraine as part of its social, cultural and economic realm. Commerce depended to no little extent on the benevolence of Ukrainians, who at the time were associated with Kyiv and the country called Rus. The traditionally European Mediterranean Sea had been expropriated by stern Arabs and later Turks. So the main trade route between West and East ran north-south along the Dnieper River. This was the legendary path of the Varangians (which is what the Slavs called the Vikings). There was also a land route: Kyiv - Prague - Krakow - Regensburg (a German trade center on the Danube).

European monarchs were perfectly aware of Rus's natural and human resources from reports by merchants and envoys. In 907, Kyiv Prince Oleh gave an unexpected demonstration of his power, when he appeared beneath the walls of Constantinople leading a fleet of thousands of small ships.

The first mail order bride from Kyiv
And there was other evidence of Rus's growing international rating. In May 1049, King Henry I of France married Princess Anna of Kyiv, the eldest daughter of Grand Prince Yaroslav the Wise. Henry was illiterate, and Anna multilingual. A French monastery chronicler of the time described her as one of "Europe's most educated women," who had come from a country that "has more unity, happiness, power and space than France." After Henry's death, Anna ruled as regent for six years.

An ornament of the Greek world
The best measure of any medieval ruler's wealth and power was always his capital, which would attract visitors from afar, who would in turn spread the word of what they'd seen during their stay. Kyiv was no exception to this rule.

In the summer of 1018, German writer Titmar Merzeburg left the hospitable capital of Rus. His heavy carriage was part of a lengthy trade caravan that had been making its way along a narrow road through a thick Czech forest. Amid the snorting of his beasts of burden and the clatter wagon wheels, he must have worked out how part of his travel book would be dedicated to Kyiv and the land of the East Slavs. The work would astonish Europeans with descriptions of the city's hundreds of domed churches, eight swarming markets and countless population. Kyiv was a northern rival to Constantinople, he wrote.

Merzeburg's book, of course, allows for some inaccuracies. For example, the author most likely exaggerated the number of Kyiv's churches. However, he was obviously impressed by the scale and grandeur of the city, which he describes as "an ornament of the Greek world."

[...]Sitting in his cozy residence in the capital of the Ottoman Empire, British Ambassador Thomas Rowe composed an urgent report to the English crown. In subtle detail, he described a recent attack on Istanbul by Zaporizhzhian Cossacks. It was on 9 June 1624. For an entire day, the Cossacks besieged the gates of the city. Then, at sunset, they rolled up their banners and retired to their ships with their booty. They hadn't achieved a decisive victory; however neither had they suffered a counter attack as they withdrew. This daring military offensive opened Rowe's eyes to two new truths. The Ottoman Empire, which all of Europe had deemed frightfully undefeatable, was entering its decline. And the Ukrainian people, although deprived of a state to represent them, had created a first-class fighting force, the Cossacks, who were not only defending their lands and kin but had gone on the offensive.

Cossacks in Europe
Seventeenth Century Europe was being exhausted by its wars of religion and succession. In the Thirty Years War alone (1618-1648), all the major continental powers and several small principalities took part. These smaller, primarily German, participants were particularly dependent on the arms of mercenaries. Popularly known in Europe as steppe hussars, the Cossacks fought for the side that paid them best. Being Orthodox, the Ukrainians weren't likely to get too involved in the Catholic-Protestant disputes that underlay the conflict.

But their mercantile motives often brought the Ukrainians into reproach. "We fight for our honor but you make war for money," one French general was quoted as telling his Cossack comrade during a campaign in Voltaire's Cossacks under Louis XIV. "Each fights for what he most lacks," the Cossack replied with ease, as he passed a bag of gold coins to his adjutant.

The French general then decides to teach the barbarian warrior a lesson and reports to the French king that the Cossacks are shirking their duties and spend most of their time getting drunk. So Louis XIV ordered a contest between the Ukrainians and other foreign mercenaries, during which the Cossacks showed up both Germans and Swiss recruits.

The first Ukrainian nationalist - an English professor
In 1810, a meeting of European Slavists was held at Cambridge University. The speaker was Professor Eduard Daniel Clark, an avid traveler. The subject of discussion was a travel book he had written, which offended the sensibilities of some of his colleagues. None in attendance denied that the enlightened absolutism of rulers like Catherine the Great was in large part a publicity campaign to mask the military ambitions of the Romanovs. It was argued that the thumping of soldiers' boots had always drowned out whatever poetic verses might be sung in St. Petersburg.

But Clark's work, his opponents contested, bordered on Russophobia, with its panegyrics of Ukrainian honor. In particular, the scholars rejected his view that Ukrainians were an entirely separate ethnic group with their own age-old traditions, unique national character and language that differs from both Polish and Russian. Unfortunately, Clark's views were supported by empirical evidence rather than scholarly analysis. In fact, he wasn't even a Slavicist. His audience couldn't accept his assertions that Ukrainians, with their well-kept houses and neatly hoed gardens, more resembled the Dutch or Norwegians than Russians.

During his travels, Clark was probably one of the last Europeans to see Ukraine as an autonomous agricultural territory on the edge of a vast nomadic steppe. For shortly thereafter, the country was fully absorbed into the poor and slave-like conditions of the Russian empire. Clark was probably also the first to recognize Ukraine's potential to regain that same autonomy, but before that would happen, the country would have to go through the worst throes of Russianization, becoming recognizable only as a province of its bigger brother to the east.

Wes Pruden nails Mortuary Bob and "Big Wind" Fitzgerald

By Aussiegirl

In perhaps the most sensible column on this whole nonsensical Plame business, Wes Pruden gets it right. A lot of fuss about nothing in the long run, and an out-of-control prosecutor desperate to justify the wasting of 20 millions taxpayer dollars to expose a non-crime. There was no crime. Plame was never covert under the governing statute. And then you throw Mortuary Bob into the mix and you have a real headscratching yawnfest. Is there one person in the normal world that gets up in the morning with a burning desire to know who leaked this has-been's name? Fitzgerald has announced that he will seek additional charges with a new grand jury. Looks like he's going to keep grand jury shopping until he indicts that ham sandwich. How else is he to justify his existence? He doesn't seem to understand that his career just went down in flames. From the prosecutor's prosecutor he's morphed in the the chump's chump. Meanwhile, the real story behind this nonsense is the covert CIA operation that tried to discredit and unseat a president during wartime.

Mortuary Bob exposes another cover-up�-�Nation/Politics�-�The Washington Times, America's Newspaper

Somebody even now is writing a play about the Plame game, and it's a musical comedy. It's easy to see why. We can only hope the music will be better than the words. Mortuary Bob wrote the best review of what's happened so far, when he told an interviewer for NPR that "when all the facts come out in this case it's going to be laughable because the consequences are not that great."

The consequences, great or not, are likely to fall hardest on the head of Patrick Fitzgerald. The big wind from Chicago has seen his case against Scooter fall apart over the last 48 hours. Scooter stands charged with perjury, a serious crime that rarely yields a conviction, because he said he learned of Valerie Plame's supposed status as a covert CIA agent from Tim Russert of NBC News, and not from a government official, which would have made it a violation of the law. Mr. Russert says that's not how he remembers it.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Duranty's blood stained Pulitzer prize

By Aussiegirl

My own parents experienced this famine as children. My mother was about 13 years old, and my father was a student of 19. They were lucky to survive. I will have more to say about their memories tomorrow.

FrontPage magazine.com :: A Blood-Stained Pulitzer by Jamie Glazov

Frontpage Interview’s guest today is Volodymyr Kurylo, the President of the United Ukrainian American Organizations of Greater New York. The organization is about 100 years old and is also the local branch of the Ukrainian Congress Committee of America. The group will be gathering in front of The NY Times building, at 229 West 43rd Street between 7th and 8th in Manhattan, tomorrow, on Friday, November 18th at 12 noon , to demand that Arthur Sulzberger, Jr., surrender Walter Duranty's 1932 Pulitzer Prize.

Kurylo: Thank you. I welcome the opportunity to be interviewed about an important issue related to the Ukrainian Famine Genocide of 1932-1933.

FP: Tell us exactly what this protest is about.

Kurylo: We have organized this protest to demand that Arthur Sulzberger, Jr., publisher of The New York Times, finally "do the right thing" and surrender Walter Duranty's 1932 Pulitzer. Its the moral thing to do. After all, the lies that Duranty dispatched and were printed in The New York Times denied that Stalin was intentionally, with impunity, starving between 7 to 10 million innocent Ukrainian men, women & children to death. Didn't Duranty & the Times set the standard for "holocaust denial"? I am honored to announce that our organization has been joined by the Gareth Jones Society for Truth in Journalism. Mr. Nigel Colley, Gareth Jones great nephew will speak at our rally.

FP: Tell us about the Ukraine famine.

Kurylo: We should call it the Ukrainian Famine Genocide of 1932-1933. Ukrainians have known it as the "Holodomor". Stalin needed and wanted to collectivize agriculture in the fledgling Soviet Union. The USSR was a third world country and Stalin needed to industrialize it. He did so rapidly & brutally. Ukraine has been known as "the breadbasket of Europe" because of its rich agricultural region and the crops it produced, primarily grains. Wheat was a valuable commodity to be traded for hard currency. Stalin instituted a policy of forced collectivization. It was easier to seize more produce from the independently-minded peasants if they were forced into large state-controlled farms. Towards the end of 1931, about 70 percent of Ukrainian peasants had been coerced into joining the collectives. During this period grain seizures began to wipe out reserves which had been accumulated from previous harvests. Even though famine was breaking out, nothing was going to stop Stalin.

The peasant-producers had to fulfill their obligations to the State before they could receive their allotment. Quotas were unreasonable and bands of communist zealots, military units and NKVD secret police were sent in to enforce the Stalins decrees. Even seed grain was declared state property and withholding even a few grains was considered a crime against the state punishable death by death.

Early in 1932, the Soviets continued to increase the grain procurement quotas for Ukraine. Stalin, Kaganovich, Molotove et.al. were well aware that extraordinarily high grain quotas would result in grain shortages. They didn't care that Ukrainian peasants would not be able to feed their families. Villages that were emptied by the genocidal famine would be re-populated with ethnic Russians thereby helping to solve the nationalities issue Stalin was facing. Stalin also implemented an internal passport system to restrict peasants from traveling in search of food. In fact, the peasants were the last group to be issued passports decades after anyone else.

The toll was staggering: estimates range from 7 to 10 million dead. At its peak, the genocide was claiming 25,000 peasants a day. We haven't touched upon executions, internal exiling, forced-slave labor etc.

FP: I would recommend Robert Conquest’s Harvest of Sorrow on this tragic topic. Let’s move on to Duranty. He covered up this terror famine, yet he knew all about it. Why do you think?

Kurylo: Yes, Duranty covered up the Ukrainian Famine Genocide of 1932-1933 by denying its very existence. What kind of human being could pen "there is no famine" and "any report of a famine is today an exaggeration or malignant propaganda" when the stench of millions of corpses filled the air?

In her memoir "An American Engineer in Stalin's Russia", Zara Witkin reported a revealing incident. Ralph Barnes, the New York Herald Tribune reporter, asked how Duranty was going to report the story about the Stalin-made famine to which Duranty responded: "What are a few million dead Russians (Ukrainians) in a situation like this? Quite unimportant. This is just an incident in the sweeping historical changes here. I think the entire matter is exaggerated."

The Soviets had instituted a policy of strict censorship. Umansky controlled the correspondents stationed in Moscow. To stray from the party line was to commit professional suicide. There were courageous and honest journalists like Malcom Muggeridge and Gareth Jones who wrote the truth at the expense of their careers in the Moscow press corps. Duranty lacked the honesty & integrity. Duranty covered the Soviet Union for The New York Times from 1922 to 1941. That's quite a feat.

FP: Yes indeed. I would add that Duranty intentionally covered up this whole massacre because he supported it. Just like the despotism he venerated, he wanted millions to die. Like every believer in earthly utopia, he yearned for the destruction of this world, since in his political vision, as in the vision of the Stalins and Maos and Pol Pots, it is only through human blood that this world can be purified. An earthly paradise can only be built on the ashes of millions of human corpses.

In my study of the Left and its romance with death cults, I was not very surprised to learn in Sally J. Taylor’s biography of this monstrous individual, Stalin's Apologist: Walter Duranty: The New York Times Man in Moscow, that Duranty was an outcast in his own society, that he was physically repulsive, a drug abuser with a wooden leg, and an engager in satanic sexual orgies. Take from this what you will.

Louis Freeh wants to know more about Able Danger -- what did the 9/11 Commission know, and when did they know it?

By Aussiegirl

Louis Freeh is asking some tough questions of the 9/11 Commission, which is increasingly showing itself to be a completely useless exercise in cover-up and self-promotion by its members.

OpinionJournal - Extra

It was interesting to hear from the 9/11 Commission again on Tuesday. This self-perpetuating and privately funded group of lobbyists and lawyers has recently opined on hurricanes, nuclear weapons, the Baltimore Harbor Tunnel and even the New York subway system. Now it offers yet another "report card" on the progress of the FBI and CIA in the war against terrorism, along with its "back-seat" take and some further unsolicited narrative about how things ought to be on the "front lines."

Yet this is also a good time for the country to make some assessments of the 9/11 Commission itself. Recent revelations from the military intelligence operation code-named "Able Danger" have cast light on a missed opportunity that could have potentially prevented 9/11. Specifically, Able Danger concluded in February 2000 that military experts had identified Mohamed Atta by name (and maybe photograph) as an al Qaeda agent operating in the U.S. Subsequently, military officers assigned to Able Danger were prevented from sharing this critical information with FBI agents, even though appointments had been made to do so. Why?

There are other questions that need answers. Was Able Danger intelligence provided to the 9/11 Commission prior to the finalization of its report, and, if so, why was it not explored? In sum, what did the 9/11 commissioners and their staff know about Able Danger and when did they know it?

NASA - Space-time vortex to be put to the test

By Aussiegirl
This is simply amazing. Can't wait for the results.

NASA - Space-time Vortex

NASA's Gravity Probe B spacecraft has gathered all the data physicists need to check a bizarre prediction of Einstein's relativity.

Is Earth in a vortex of space-time?

We'll soon know the answer: A NASA/Stanford physics experiment called Gravity Probe B (GP-B) recently finished a year of gathering science data in Earth orbit. The results, which will take another year to analyze, should reveal the shape of space-time around Earth--and, possibly, the vortex.

Time and space, according to Einstein's theories of relativity, are woven together, forming a four-dimensional fabric called "space-time." The tremendous mass of Earth dimples this fabric, much like a heavy person sitting in the middle of a trampoline. Gravity, says Einstein, is simply the motion of objects following the curvaceous lines of the dimple.

If Earth were stationary, that would be the end of the story. But Earth is not stationary. Our planet spins, and the spin should twist the dimple, slightly, pulling it around into a 4-dimensional swirl. This is what GP-B went to space to check.

The idea behind the experiment is simple:

Put a spinning gyroscope into orbit around the Earth, with the spin axis pointed toward some distant star as a fixed reference point. Free from external forces, the gyroscope's axis should continue pointing at the star--forever. But if space is twisted, the direction of the gyroscope's axis should drift over time. By noting this change in direction relative to the star, the twists of space-time could be measured.

In practice, the experiment is tremendously difficult.

The four gyroscopes in GP-B are the most perfect spheres ever made by humans. These ping pong-sized balls of fused quartz and silicon are 1.5 inches across and never vary from a perfect sphere by more than 40 atomic layers. If the gyroscopes weren't so spherical, their spin axes would wobble even without the effects of relativity.

According to calculations, the twisted space-time around Earth should cause the axes of the gyros to drift merely 0.041 arcseconds over a year. An arcsecond is 1/3600th of a degree. To measure this angle reasonably well, GP-B needed a fantastic precision of 0.0005 arcseconds. It's like measuring the thickness of a sheet of paper held edge-on 100 miles away.

GP-B researchers invented whole new technologies to make this possible. They developed a "drag free" satellite that could brush against the outer layers of Earth's atmosphere without disturbing the gyros. They figured out how to keep Earth's penetrating magnetic field out of the spacecraft. And they concocted a device to measure the spin of a gyro--without touching the gyro.

[...]The stakes are high. If they detect the vortex, precisely as expected, it simply means that Einstein was right, again. But what if they don't? There might be a flaw in Einstein's theory, a tiny discrepancy that heralds a revolution in physics.

First, though, there are a lot of data to analyze. Stay tuned.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Getting Spy Reform Wrong -- or did they?

By Aussiegirl

John Lehman claims in today's WaPo op-ed that the administration and congress implemented the exact OPPOSITE of what the 9/11 Commission recommended. He makes the astonishing claim that the commission issued:

[...] 41 hard-hitting recommendations for urgent reform. Priority was given to the need to rebuild the bloated and failed intelligence bureaucracies. The commission had a straightforward vision: We wanted a strong national intelligence director to smash bureaucratic layers, tear down information "stovepipes" and rewrite personnel policy to bring in the best people -- not only from the career bureaucracy but from the private sector -- to act quickly and decisively on the president's priorities.

Oh, yeah? Read the recommendations for yourself. Mostly malarkey about consulting with other countries and exhibiting sensitivity, etc. Only near the end is ONE paragraph devoted to our intelligence services, and the recommendation is one of STRUCTURE, i.e. to create a Director of National Intelligence to oversee all three branches of the intelligence services. In other words, A NEW BUREAUCRACY. One other paragraph briefly refers to boosting analysis, language and human intelligence capabilities in the most general terms. (See recommendations 30 and 31).

But then he goes on to talk about the things that the commission supposedly recommended and what makes intelligence agencies work, and his op-ed began to have a strange sense of deja-vu about it. Where had I read this before? And then it hit me. Herb Meyer had written about this in the American Thinker in an article entitled "A Talent for Intelligence". Read it for yourself and compare.

Lehman has the nerve to say that the commission's recommendations were clearly what they were not. No mention is made in the commission's recommendations of recruiting new people or "smashing bureacuratic layers, or tearing down information "stovepipes", no mention is made of "rewriting personnel policy to bring in the best people...from the private sector -- to act quickly and decisively on the president's priorities."

He can scream as much as he wants, this baby is his -- even if he denies paternity.

You need to read both articles, and take a look at the recommendations too. Another bureacrat tries to rewrite history.

Here's an excerpt from Lehman's article:

Getting Spy Reform Wrong by John Lehman.

Sixteen months ago, after a year and a half of investigation and analysis, the five Republicans and five Democrats of the Sept. 11 commission unanimously approved 41 hard-hitting recommendations for urgent reform. Priority was given to the need to rebuild the bloated and failed intelligence bureaucracies. The commission had a straightforward vision: We wanted a strong national intelligence director to smash bureaucratic layers, tear down information "stovepipes" and rewrite personnel policy to bring in the best people -- not only from the career bureaucracy but from the private sector -- to act quickly and decisively on the president's priorities.

We knew this would not by itself fix U.S. intelligence. The threats we face today require a new culture: new approaches to analysis, espionage, the way we use technology and just about every other aspect of intelligence operations. But we knew that such improvements could not happen without a clean, strong top-level management structure. Congress acted quickly on our recommendations, and passed the Intelligence Reform Act last December.

Nine months ago President Bush appointed John Negroponte to be the first director of national intelligence. Negroponte is perhaps the finest career diplomat in the government. But instead of the lean structure recommended by the commission, with a small but powerful staff based on just three deputies (one each for foreign, domestic and military intelligence), the administration reached all the way back to the McNamara years to create a huge new staff to sit on top of the old and still bloated bureaucracies. The result is that little has changed -- except that a new bureaucracy has been created. And although the Sept. 11 commission identified the urgent need for better people, better collection, better analysis and better information sharing, nearly every person in this new bureaucracy has been drawn from the career services. Far from bringing in outsiders with fresh perspectives, the bureaucracy has, in effect, repelled all boarders.

And here's an excerpt from Herb Meyer's article:

For most organizations, failure or success depends upon the quality of management. But there are some highly-specialized organizations in which failure or success depends not so much on the quality of management, but on talent. For example, a baseball team. You can have the best manager in the history of baseball, but if you don’t put nine ballplayers on the field who can out-hit, out-pitch, and out-hustle every other team in the league you cannot win the World Series. Likewise with a scientific research institute: it isn’t the administrator setting budgets, monitoring grants and assigning parking spaces who will find the cure for cancer. It’s the world-class scientists working in their labs who’ll get the job done.

It’s the same with an intelligence service. Of course you need someone in charge and a bureaucracy to support him. But if you don’t have the world’s best analysts and spies -- you lose.

We used to understand this. As the U.S. geared up for World War II, President Roosevelt set up the Office of Strategic Services (OSS), and chose as its leader a Wall Street lawyer named William J. Donovan. Known as “Wild Bill” – and for good reason – Donovan didn’t tell FDR that he needed ten years to get the new intelligence service up and running. For one thing, Donovan knew that without a first-class intelligence service we would lose the war in less time than that. Besides, he didn’t need ten years to get the OSS into action because Donovan had the one quality leaders of highly-specialized organizations like baseball teams, research labs – and intelligence services -- must have to succeed: a talent for spotting and harnessing talent.

Donovan scrambled to recruit men and women from across the country who all had the very specific combination of qualities you need to make an intelligence service “go”: the brains to figure things out fast, the street-smarts to invent solutions on the fly, an under-developed sense of fear, and the self-confidence (often mistaken for arrogance) to believe you can make things happen that others insist cannot be done. For example, when the intelligence “professionals” in Washington and London told Donovan that infiltrating spies into the Third Reich was impossible, Donovan gave the job to a young New York tax attorney named William J. Casey. By the time Hitler was dead in his Berlin bunker, Casey had organized and run 103 missions behind Nazi lines. Donovan’s search for talent took him into the business community, the academic world, and into the country’s leading scientific and technical establishments. He even recruited some brainy and gutsy debutantes, whose escapades and analytic achievements still haven’t been fully declassified.


Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Join the protest against the New York Times -- demand they give back the Duranty Prize

By Aussiegirl

Please check out the wonderful Ukrainian blog, Cyber Cossack. Attend a protest this Friday demanding that the New York Times return the Pulitzer Prize won by it's lying reporter, Walter Duranty, who conspired with Stalin to cover up the truth about the Ukrainian Genocidal Famine. He won a Pulitzer for his lies. And the New York Times carries on his lying tradition to this day. Also read all the other wonderful posts while you are there, and check it out regularly.

Cyber Cossack

November 10th, 2005 by Blackminorca

NY Times/Duranty Protest - Friday, November 18, 2005 –12:00 noon –opposite the NY Times
building 229 West 43rd Street in Manhattan. Organizer: United Ukrainian American Organizations of Greater New York. Renew our effort to demand that the NY
Times come clean about Duranty lies and the Newspaper of Record’s role in the deliberate
suppression and distortion of the truth about the Ukrainian Genocide or Holodomor of 1932-1933.
Duranty’s 1932 Pulitzer Prize is stained with the blood of millions of innocent Ukrainians.
Your participation in the protest will help keep this issue alive. Let us continue to demand
that the New York Times surrender Duranty’s Pulitzer.

Leave it to beaver -- leave it to BonnieBlueFlag

By Aussiegirl

OK, all you eager beavers, just paddle your canoe on over to BonnieBlueFlag and learn all about the beautiful Beaver Moon that you can see out there tonight.


U.S. remains in charge of internet

By Aussiegirl

In a rare moment of lucidity, the UN has decided to leave the U.S. in charge of the internet. Did they check with Al Gore?

Technology - canada.com

Negotiators from more than 100 countries agreed late Tuesday to leave the United States in charge of the Internet's addressing system, averting a U.S.-EU showdown at this week's UN technology summit.

U.S. officials said early Wednesday that instead of transferring management of the system to an international body such as the United Nations, an international forum would be created to address concerns. The forum, however, would have no binding authority.

U.S. Assistant Secretary of Commerce Michael Gallagher said the deal means the United States will leave day-to-day management to the private sector, through a quasi-independent organization called the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, or ICANN.

"The Internet lives to innovate for another day," he said.

The long and winding road towards democracy in Ukraine

By Aussiegirl

Echoing the ideas expressed here on UT just a day ago, Adrian Karatnycky of the Freedom House expresses optimism at Ukraine's progress towards democracy.

Zigging and Zagging Toward Democracy

Still, not all is as grim as it might appear. A recent Freedom House study on how democracy takes root shows that not all anti-authoritarian revolutions are equal. Those that succeed in building durable democracy have three common characteristics: They maintain the discipline of nonviolent civic action; they are led by cohesive and broadly based civic coalitions; and they force splits within the ruling elite and its security forces, some of which ally with the opposition.

If the evidence of the past is a guide to the future, Ukraine and Georgia have better chances for durable democracy than Lebanon or Kyrgyzstan, where civic coalitions never cohered or where there was some serious opposition violence.

Indeed, one year after the Orange Revolution, Ukraine enjoys a vibrant and diverse political spectrum with three major parties and important minor parties, most with a real chance to influence the shape of the next government. Civic activism is high, with protesters challenging everything from economic policy to environmental degradation to urban development plans. There is an emboldened and free press.

Yushchenko may have lost some revolutionary luster and seen a drop in public support as he moves from revolutionary rhetoric to pragmatic and effective governing. Still, he is deeply committed to democracy and widely regarded as personally incorruptible.

Birdblog expresses our outrage at the traitorous behavior of Rockefeller

By Aussiegirl

Don't miss Birdblog's superb analysis of the treasonous behavior of Sen. Rockefeller!


What we are witnessing is unprecedented; an entire political party has turned traitor in a quest to regain power-with the complicity of the media. TRAITOR. We have to call this what it is. If Rockefeller leaked our military plans to the enemy he committed an act of treason. The endless criticizms of the Commander-in-Chief, the ``Bush lied and people died`` mantra coming not from private citizens but from the ``loyal opposition`` while we are engaged in hostilities encourages and emboldens our enemies while disspirits our own military. Americans are dying because of this treasonous behavior by the Democrats! Their lust for power has become more important than anything to them, even the security of the Nation.

If we lose in Iraq we will have to fight the terrorists here. It is that simple. Whether the Iraqi invasion was a good idea or not will be immaterial after a certain point; we will witness an explosive growth of terrorism overseas as our allies flee from us, we will see Europe desperately making peace with them in return for promises of safety, we will eventually see the use of weapons of mass destruction on American cities. We must win in Iraq!

Eurabian nightmare

By Aussiegirl

If you only read one article on the meaning of the continuing riots and violence in France, read this from the American Thinker today. It's even worse than you thought. Rather than simply being a victim of its own ill-conceived policy of importing cheap labor from Arab countries, France is in a sense reaping the whirlwind that it sowed when it deliberately set out on a policy of creating a Eurabia, a European - Arab alliance which would rival America for world dominance. Instead, having made a pact with the crocodile, France may belatedly be realizing that it may be devoured instead of sharing the meal of American power.

The American Thinker

The flames consuming thousands of automobiles, and the occasional bus, nursery, warehouse, and school across France are the result of tragic – in the original sense of the word – set of decisions made by the leaders of Europe, motivated by greed, jealousy, and hubris. The dream of a Europe restored to preeminence, isolating and vanquishing the upstart Americans, via a rock-solid alliance with the Arab world, has become a nightmare. The French cannot acknowledge their problem precisely because they cannot admit the folly of the policies pursued for the last three decades as the bedrock of their highest diplomatic, political, and economic ambitions.

The intifada raging in France for almost three weeks, has been characterized by overwhelmingly Muslim rioters engaged in acts of wanton destruction, punctuated by claims of “territorial control” over sections of various French cities. In the context of this ongoing havoc, one sees repeated references to the term “Eurabia” by journalists and other media and academic elites, who, almost without exception, have no idea about the concrete origins, or significance of this term.

The use of the term “Eurabia”, as noted by the scholar Bat Ye’or (in her seminal analysis, Eurabia-The Euro-Arab Axis, released earlier this year) was first introduced, triumphally, in the mid-1970s, as the title of a journal edited by the President of the Association for Franco-Arab Solidarity, Lucien Bitterlein, and published collaboratively by the Groupe d’Etudes sur le Moyen-Orient (Geneva), France-Pays Arabes (Paris), and the Middle East International (London).

The articles and editorials in this publication called for common Euro-Arab positions, at every level – social, economic, and commercial – and were contingent upon the fundamental political condition of European support for the Arab (and non-Arab) Muslim umma’s jihad against Israel. These concrete proposals were not the musings of isolated theorists – they in fact represented policy decisions conceived in conjunction with, and actualized by, European state leaders, their ministers of foreign affairs, and European Parliamentarians.

Eurabia, as Bat Ye’or has demonstrated, now represents a geo-political reality, envisioned in 1973 through a system of informal alliances between the countries of the Arab League and the nine countries of the European Community (EC), which became the European Union (EU) in 1992. Various alliances and agreements were elaborated at the top political level of each European Community country with the representative of the European Commission, and their Arab counterparts within the Arab League. This system was synchronized under the rubric of an association called the Euro-Arab Dialogue (EAD), created in July, 1974 in Paris. A working body composed of committees always presided over jointly by a European and an Arab delegate, planned the agendas, and organized and monitored the application of decisions.

The comprehensive Euro-Arab collaboration included both domestic and foreign policy issues, ranging from economic matters to immigration. The joint Euro-Arab foreign policy, advanced at international forums and NGO meetings was characterized by anti-Americanism and anti-Zionism, along with simultaneous efforts towards delegitimation of Israel, and promotion of Arafat’s PLO. The EAD also established close cooperation domestically between the Arab and the European print, television, and radio media, publishing houses, academic and cultural centers, student and youth associations, and the tourism industry. Church interfaith “dialogues” were a major influence on the development of this policy. Eurabia thus represents a strong Euro-Arab network of symbiotic associations which cooperate on political, economic, and cultural issues.

Bush holds Taiwan as example to Red China


President Bush, on the first leg of his Asia trip in Japan, has laid down a bold marker to China in an advance hint of his speech there. He pointed to Taiwan as an example of a democracy where political freedom has led to greater prosperity. Bravo, Mr. President!

Bloomberg.com: Asia

President George W. Bush will say in a speech in Japan later today that China can play a more ``positive role'' in global affairs by making political reforms to match its economic progress over the past three decades.

``As China reforms its economy, its leaders are finding that once the door to freedom is opened even a crack, it cannot be closed,'' Bush will say in a speech in Kyoto, the ancient Japanese capital later today. The text of the address was released by the White House.

[...]The spread of freedom and democracy, helped by free trade and economic growth, is a dominant theme of Bush's foreign policy and that is reflected in his speech today.

``As the people of China grow in prosperity, their demands for political freedom will grow as well,'' Bush will say.

He held up the example of Japan, South Korea and Taiwan as places where economies flourished and international cooperation was enhanced because of political freedoms.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Orange Revolution one year later -- democracy is alive and kicking

By Aussiegirl

Ukraine is preparing to celebrate the first anniversary of the Orange Revolution on November 22nd. Since those heady days in the slush and snow of a chilly November, when Ukrainians in the millions turned out in the streets to demand a fair election, a bit of the bloom has come off the orange, but hope is alive, and so is democracy.

The year has seen many ups and downs, and, like in any democracy, not a little bit of turmoil, infighting, political intrigue and controversy. Yushchenko has probably set some sort of record in the number of foreign trips he has taken in his globe-trotting determination to win support for Ukraine's eventual entry in the WTO and the European Union. An ambitious reform agenda naturally ran into some roadblocks. A wary populace, especially in the eastern regions which voted heavily for his rival, Yanukovych, had to be wooed and won over. Economic reforms and a cleaning out of corrupt practices was instituted, and all these efforts met with mixed success.

In the process Yushchenko fired his Prime Minister, the flamboyant and ambitious Yulia Tymoshenko, and has put in place a new PM and a new cabinet.

The bad news is that democracy is messy -- the good news is -- democracy is working in Ukraine. There have been no assassinations of crusading journalists. People feel free to grumble and complain without fear. Parties squabble, bureaucrats stall, oligarchs and businessment lobby for their interests with government agencies -- in short -- democracy is fully entrenched in Ukraine, with all its warts, faults, shortcomings and foibles. Churchill once famously remarked that democracy is the worst form of government, except for all the rest. And nowhere is this more true than in Ukraine one year after the revolution.

Yulia Tymoshenko has not been assassinated. She has not been exiled. She is not in prison. She has not, most importantly of all, been poisoned. She is happily organizing her own party and preparing for the upcoming elections, and will most likely stand and run against Victor Yushchenko. That is as it should be. Moscow is not running things. Neither Yushchenko nor Tymoshenko is taking orders from Putin. Ukraine is putting its own messy house in order, just like every other democracy in this world. This is a huge step forward for Ukraine. And no one should be unduly disappointed that miraculous reforms have not been instituted. Revolutionary changes can only be instituted by dictators who impose their will on the populace. When you are working within the system, it's a slow and arduous process.

And there's the nub of the matter. It's the process of democracy that won the day in Freedom Square in Kiev in the snows of November, and one year later, democracy is still alive and kicking. For that all Ukrainians can be proud as they head to their one year anniversary.

Fuss over bird flu fears

By Aussiegirl

At last, Michael Fumento tells you everything you ever wanted to know about bird flu, the dangers, the hype, the propaganda. The definitive article to be completely up to date on this subject.

Fuss and Feathers

THE INDICATION IS THAT we will see a return of the 1918 flu virus that is the most virulent form of flu," warns America's top health official. "In 1918, half a million people died. The projections are that this virus will kill one million Americans . . . "

A quotation ripped from today's papers about an impending "bird flu" pandemic? No, the year was 1976 and the prediction of a deadly "swine flu" overshot the mark by 999,999 deaths (although dozens did die from the vaccine campaign). That's something to remember amid the current alarms. Another is that we've been here before with the identical virus over which the feathers are now flying, avian influenza type H5N1, which first hit poultry flocks in 1997. "Race to Prevent World Epidemic of Lethal 'Bird Flu,'" and "Hong Kong 'Bird Flu' Could be the Next Big Outbreak," blared the headlines then. The world death toll from that "wave"? Six. And let's not forget the outbreak of SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) two years ago, which led to 750 stories in the New York Times and Washington Post--one per death worldwide, as it turned out. The 71 U.S. cases of SARS, which resulted in zero deaths, did not "Overwhelm U.S. Health System," as CNN had predicted.

Cure for the common bird flu may turn out to be sauerkraut

By Aussiegirl

Sauerkraut fans of the world unite!! You have nothing to lose but your bird flu! No lie, fermented cabbage has a bacteria which kills the bird flu virus in infected fowl. Calling all Ukrainians -- get out those kapusta (sauerkraut) recipes of your granny's, it turns out that's why grandpa and granma lived to such a ripe old age (that is unless Stalin or famine got them first).

There is really a lot to this health food business, and many foods have great healing properties, especially, it turns out, the foods our ancestors ate.

I can't help but notice that in our own Ukrainian communities it is the old people who adhered to the old ways of eating (plenty of cabbage, sourkraut, potatoes, vegetables, herring and borscht) who live the longest, many into their nineties and even over a hundred. Our small parish in Washington alone has several centenarians, a number of people in their nineties and the ones in their eighties still cook in the kitchen, tend the church and run the bingo hall. Most of the younger generation who are approaching and reaching middle age are dropping like flies from cancer and heart disease in their fifties. Borscht, anyone? Or sauerkraut and bratwurst?

The Sun Online - News: Bird flu: Sauerkraut cure

SAUERKRAUT may cure bird flu, scientists claim.

They believe the German pickled cabbage dish contains a bacteria that fights the disease.

Eleven out of 13 chickens infected with avian flu were fed fermented cabbage — and showed signs of recovery within a week.

Professor Kang Saouk made the discovery in Seoul, South Korea.

He said: “The feed helps the fight against bird flu and other flu viruses.” Experts reckon the vital bacteria is created during the fermenting process — and this gives the dish its health-boosting qualities.

The findings are set to lift sales of sauerkraut, which has been the butt of jokes by Brits for decades.

Sauerkraut’s properties are also thought to help foil cancer.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

The problem of intelligence in a post-9/11 world

By Aussiegirl

Some fruitful weekend reading is in order on the subject of intelligence gathering and analysis. In the wake of so much publicity on the failures of the CIA and other intelligence agencies in the run-up to 9/11, and also the errors contained in the pre-war intelligence regarding Saddam's WMD programs, you won't do better than to read an analysis by Herb Meyer of what went wrong, how Negroponte may be the man to set things right (if he isn't bogged down with bureaucratic infighting and restructuring), and how things should be done to ensure the very best intelligence and analysis to keep this country secure and warn us of impending and gathering dangers. Considering the current state of the world, a must-read for the weekend!

Storm King Press - Will a DNI Do It Right?

It's clear from both the WMD Commission and the 9/11 Commission reports that our intelligence service blew it across the board. But it's also very clear from both reports that at their core the two truly catastrophic failures — the CIA's inaccurate National Intelligence Estimate about Iraq's WMD program and the entire intelligence community's failure to grasp that al Qaeda had for years been planning to hijack airplanes and fly them into buildings — were analytic failures compounded by organizational problems that kept information the collectors had gathered from reaching the analysts.

More precisely, it's clear from both reports that in each of these failures three specific mistakes were made: Dissenting views weren't taken into account, "group-think" kept the leaders of our intelligence service from realizing that they were veering way off track, and "co-ordination" among the dozen or so agencies that comprise our intelligence service — between the collectors and the analysts — was awful.

Nobody gets it right all the time, of course, but these were not the sort of mistakes that were made by previous directors of central intelligence such as Allen Dulles, John McCone, William J. Casey, and James Woolsey. That's because these men knew how to do their jobs, and how to set things up to keep such mistakes from happening.

How Bill Casey Did It

During the Reagan administration, I had the privilege to work closely with Bill Casey. Because Casey had managed Reagan's 1980 campaign, the press often portrayed him as just another pol who's "reward" was the CIA. Well, not quite. During World War II Casey had headed secret operations for the Office of Strategic Services (OSS), which was far and away the most effective intelligence service in history. And he had kept up his interest in intelligence — and his contacts — through the post-war decades while making a fortune in law and venture capital and serving along the way in a range of senior U.S. government positions, including chairman of the Securities and Exchanges Commission. In short, Casey knew his stuff about both sides of the intelligence game — operations and analysis. We'll skip over the operations side and focus now on how he got the analysis pointing in the right direction.