May 15 2007

Fly By 05/15/07

Published by at 8:54 am under All General Discussions,Fly By

All day meetings so posting will be sadly light today. So a Fly By is in order! BTW – we will be celebrating our 2 year anniversary this week on Friday – so an early thanks to everyone who has helped this site grow to the success it is today (a special thanks to LJStrata who does all the magic behind the curtain!).

Contrary to the media reports ‘sectarian violence’ is not the source of most of the violence. The violence is being caused by Islamo Fascists trying to ignite sectarian violence. But it might surprise Americans to find some violence is purely within sects – like what is occurring in the Shia dominated South:

In the latest development of a turf war that has all the ingredients of a gangster movie set in 1920s Chicago, rivals of the provincial governor fell one vote short of voting him out of office last month but have pledged to keep up the standoff.

Basra, Iraq’s second largest city, is more or less free of the car bombs and the violence between Shias and Sunni Arabs raging in central Iraq, but it has descended into a chaos of its own. Sporadic militia battles, endemic corruption and death threats now scar the once tranquil port.

I think this turf war will end once control is established and the national government is able to get its breath

But the new dynamic at play continues to be the split between the Sunnis and al Qaeda:

Most observers agree that the Sunni insurgency in Iraq, particularly in the western province of Anbar, is splintering. The ruptures have allowed Iraq’s Shiite-dominated central government and U.S. military forces to make some new friends and allies who can aid in the continuing fight against Al Qaeda and its affiliates in Iraq and against old Baathist stalwarts.

The splits “matter immensely,” said Samir Shakir Mahmoud Sumaidy, the Iraqi ambassador to the United States, who offered one of the more optimistic assessments of the developments. The government is working hard to split the insurgent groups, he said. “I’m sure there will be more splits to come…. This is a process that is gradual.”

Retired U.S. Army Gen. Barry McCaffrey, recently back from Iraq, said, “There are unmistakable signs that [the splintering] is happening.” Optimism over the Sunni splits “is not frippery or [just] positive thinking,” he said. But he pointed out that it could be all for naught if Al Qaeda’s spectacular bomb attacks against Shiites provoke Shiite militias into launching an all-out civil war against Sunni communities.

There is a little more news here on how the Brits are working with Sunnis to progress the shift in the Sunni community.

What I find interesting is the ripples Iraq is causing in the region. For example, in Bahrain the relationship between Shia and Sunni is being reassessed, and the internet is leading the way:

Bahrain Online’s political role grew from its inception in the late nineties in concert with the growth in Bahrain’s internet infrastructure and the cementing of oppositional voices through satellite television. Although always a critic of the authoritarian tendencies within the government, Ali Abdulemam did not found the site as a vehicle for opposition but as a space for Bahrainis of all political persuasions to comment openly on political developments.

The most interesting news of the day is the ‘civil war’ in Palestine, signalling more splits. Have a great day!

13 responses so far

13 Responses to “Fly By 05/15/07”

  1. DubiousD says:

    More on the battle in Basra here:

  2. Soothsayer says:

    Bombshell from the flyover

    In yet another revelation of the sinister and corrupt practices of the Department of Justice , testimony today revealed:

    The former second-in-command at the Justice Department from 2003 through 2005 on Tuesday detailed a March 2004 incident in which top members of the Bush administration, including Alberto Gonzales and members of Vice President Dick Cheney’s staff, worked to subvert a legal certification process for the National Security Agency’s warrantless wiretapping program. [Note to Strataspheristas: subvert in this context means to violate the law]

    While one Republican senator compared the episode to President Richard Nixon’s efforts to disrupt the Watergate investigation . . .most of the hearing focused on a March 2004 incident concerning a deadline for an internal authorization at the Justice Department of the legality of the warrantless domestic spying program of the National Security Agency. The deadline for the legal certification of the domestic spying program, called the ‘Terrorist Surveillance Program’ by the Bush administration, was approaching, and Comey as Acting Attorney General refused to approve it.

    “[The program] went forward without certification from the Department of Justice as to its legality,” Comey told Senator Arlen Specter (R-PA) in explaining his threat to resign over the incident in 2004.

    “I can understand why you would feel compelled to resign in that context, once a decision had been made by the executive branch, presumably by the President…something was going forward that was illegal,” Specter, the Ranking Judiciary Committee Republican, said in response.

    Let me repeat: something was going forward that was illegal

  3. lurker9876 says:

    There is nothing illegal about the NSA terrorist surveillance program.

    There is; however, something else, illegal going on.

    Comey is just lying about the whole story.

  4. Soothsayer says:

    Well, geeze, Lurker – I guess you know more about the law than the ranking Republican on the Judiciary Committee;

    Specter was born in Wichita, Kansas and raised in Russell, Kansas. Specter studied at universities before and after serving in the United States Air Force from 1951 to 1953. He graduated Phi Beta Kappa from the University of Pennsylvania, and from Yale Law School in 1956. He passed the Pennsylvania Bar in 1956. At the recommendation of Rep. Gerald R. Ford, he worked for the Warren Commission investigating the assassination of John F. Kennedy. He eventually became a Republican and scored an upset by winning a 1965 race for District Attorney in heavily Democratic Philadelphia running on an anti-corruption platform against the Democratic machine. In 1980, Specter became the Republican candidate for Senate when Republican incumbent Richard Schweiker announced his retirement. Specter won the election and was reelected in 1986, 1992, 1998 and 2004. He is the longest-serving Senator in Pennsylvania’s history; no one else from the state has been elected to five terms in that body.

    Yeah, who am I going to believe – Arlen Spector of some fool blogger?

  5. scaulen says:

    Or some paid operative?

  6. The Macker says:

    SS is just baiting us.
    But if Chuck Shummer or Pat Leahy suggested something was wrong at the DOJ, I would be worried.

  7. Soothsayer says:

    You guys just don’t get it do you? This is the smoking gun. TITLE 50 > CHAPTER 36 > SUBCHAPTER I > § 1809 says

    A person is guilty of an offense if he intentionally—
    (1) engages in electronic surveillance under color of law except as authorized by statute; . . . An offense described in this section is punishable by a fine of not more than $10,000 or imprisonment for not more than five years, or both.

    We have the sworn testimony of the former Republican Deputy Attorney General of the United States of America (at the time the acting AG) that the Bush Administration conducted illegal warrantless wiretapping. Each wiretap is a separate count with punishment of up to 5 years in prison and $10k fine.

    Ahem: Can we spell h-i-g-h c-r-i-m-e-s????

  8. ordi says:

    SS IS ATTEMPTING TO MISLEADING. He completely leaves out the most important part. Which is where Arlen Spector says it was NOT illegal. SS’s attempt is par for the course so I must correct him.

    Here is the transcript per FireDogLake

    AS Did Gonzales try to pressure you?

    AS Did you have other discussions?

    JC Yessir: the Vice President, Mr. Addington, disagreed with the conclusion. I don’t remember any other WH officials telling me they disagreed.

    AS Did VP, ADD threaten you.

    JC Nossir.

    AS So all these people disagreed with you. Why would you consider resigning? You were acting AG. They could fire you if they wanted. Why consider resigning.

    JC Not because of the way I was treated. I didn’t think I could stay when they went ahead and did something that I did not believe could be certified. A key fact is that they went ahead and did it without my signature and without the DOJ’s approval.

    AS Was the program recertified without the approval of Acting AG? So it went forward illegally?

    JC Question of interpretation.

    AS It was going forward illegally.

    JC I’m not presidential scholar. If a determination was found that said it was lawful, then I was bound by it. I believed I couldn’t stay if it went ahead without our approval.

    AS If the program went forward without your certification, it’s illegal, how could you contest that?

    JC It’s my understanding the DOJ approval was not necessary, but it was customary. It wasn’t going forward in violation of any statutory requirement, as far as I knew.

    AS Didn’t you feel it necessary to find out if there was a statute that required your signature.

    JC I’m quite certain that there was no statutory requirement. I didn’t know and still don’t know the requirement for the DOJ approval.


    JC I couldn’t find a basis for the requirement.

    SS – I expect you to believe Arlen Spector when he says it was NOT illegal. As you did write this earlier .

    Yeah, who am I going to believe – Arlen Spector of some fool blogger?

    (I capitalized the part where Spector say it is not illegal)

  9. scaulen says:

    What SS was cherry picking again???? No way!!! Come on he is the most reliable source for information on the web. heh what a schmuck

  10. Soothsayer says:

    Ordi – you idiot – the illegality does not have anything to do with the AG signature. With our without the signature, a warrantless wiretap is illegal – by statute. But the Bush Adminsitration CLAIMED that a signature by the AG was the OK by which their proceeding without obtaining warrants was made palatable. Now – it turns out that for a two week period – they did not have the authorization they claimed they had.

    Let me repeat for the thick-witted: A warrantless wiretap – by statute – is illegal without a warrant. And the testimony today confirms that warrantless wiretaps were had – even without an opinion from the AG that is was somehow “okay”.

    Specter is attempting to put the best face on it he can by saying that while proceeding without the AG signature was not illegal. And that’s true – the illegal part was proceeding. Period.

  11. ordi says:


    You sure would never win a congeniality contest. LOL
    Your opinion of my intellect or my person means nothing to me.

    Unlike you, I have never attempted to insult you. I know my arguments stand without the added puerile attempt at an insult.

    My post was in DIRECT response to your post that ended with this:

    Let me repeat: something was going forward that was illegal.

    My post merely added the entire conversation, it clarified the conversation you attempted to cherry-picking part of to bolster your misleading, inaccurate and false conclusion.

    Your cherry-picking of that conversation proves you know that your argument can not stand on its own without deception.
    ALL of the Senator’s words prove you are wrong and his words do not suit your little game of deception you disregard his words.

    As note ,

  12. lurker9876 says:

    Yeah, who am I going to believe – Arlen Spector of some fool blogger?

    I have not believe Arlen Specter in the past two years. I wouldn’t believe Arlen…not for one bit.

  13. lurker9876 says:

    Making Sense of Comey

    Scaulen, Ordi, Merlin, etc., Powerline provides a far better summary than this soothie guy did.

    Nothing absolutely wrong with the NSA terrorist surveillance program.