Updates & Weekly Round Up for January 31

Fethullah Gulen does Tucson Arizona, Giraldi on Stealing Success Tel Aviv Style, Nighttime Terrorization in Afghanistan & More

It seems like I’ve been starting every single round up as ‘a quick one.’ Blame it on a life truly in the fast lane. Now I’ll be in an even faster lane for a couple of weeks, since I’ll be leaving tomorrow for ten days. And yes, I’ll be flying; meaning, I’ll be going through what I’ve been talking about, writing about, and truly dreading. If you don’t read about me on the front page of…let’s say Guardian-UK, since I’ve been a blacked-out person for a long time over here, by Tuesday, consider that as ‘she must have made it.’

I’m almost done with Part VI of my ‘The Makings of a Police State’. I’ll save it as a draft, go over it again, and post it while I’m gone; on or before Wednesday, February 3. There is one caveat, as almost always, I picked a place where high speed internet is a rarity. I’ll do my best to publish the piece, our next Podcast interview (Coleen Rowley), and one or two articles by our team members. We’ll see.

I am counting on you to take care of this site and nurture it with your comments while I’m goneJ

……………..

Fethullah Gulen Movement in Tucson Arizona Charter School?!

GulenThanks to a reader’s tip I became aware of this peculiar and interesting story published by Tucson Weekly. Those of you who’ve followed my case closely and those of you who’ve been following Mizgin’s articles will find this easy-to-miss story interesting. I haven’t had a chance to dig further, but I will. Meanwhile I’ll invite Mizgin to stop by and provide you with her sound analysis and feedback on our infamous Mr. Gulen, his dear protectors and trainers at Langley, Virginia, and his valuable contributions to Brzezinski’s Central Asia Dream. Without these relevant contexts and familiarity with Gulen’s movement the story may not register as of any significance:
 

Hidden Agenda?

Parents raise concerns that a Tucson charter school has ties to a Turkish nationalist movement

No one can knock the numbers. In recent years, students at Tucson's Sonoran Science Academy have secured stellar scores in math, science and other categories. The academy has earned glowing mentions in national magazines such as U.S. News and World Report, and in 2009, was deemed Charter School of the Year by the Arizona Charter School Association.

But some parents of children who attend the academy on West Sunset Road believe it harbors goals reaching far beyond academia. They suspect the Sonoran Academy of being part of a confederation of learning institutions secretly linked to, and advancing, the cause of Turkish scholar and Islamic preacher Fethullah Gülen

While most of those parents have resisted coming forward, fearing reprisal from an organization they say is known to target critics, one parent did agree to speak to the Weekly if we pledged to keep her identity hidden. The parent says she represents others at the academy who've become suspicious about the striking similarities of its educational programs to those of other schools around the United States which are operated by Turkish-born staff members.

According to this parent, all of these ties may lead covertly back to the Gülen movement, named for the scholar, who founded a network of schools around the world and now lives in exile in Pennsylvania. She says several Sonoran Academy parents believe the school has a hidden agenda to promote Gülen's brand of Turkish nationalism, advance sympathy for that country's political goals such as winning acceptance into the European Union, and discourage official acknowledgement of Turkey's genocide against the Armenians during World War I.

Okay, I used up my quote quota limitation again. You can read the rest here.

Phil Giraldi on Stealing Success Tel Aviv Style

Last Wednesday Phil Giraldi had a nicely-done piece on Israel titled Stealing Success Tel Aviv Style. A must read editorial, since it is one of our topics of interest written by a man I respect, and interestingly related to my latest commentary on the New York Times last Wednesday. Here are a few excerpts:

A curious op-ed "The Tel Aviv Cluster" by the reliably neoconnish David Brooks appeared in the New York Times on January 12th. Brooks enthused over the prowess of Israel’s high tech businesses, attributing their success in large part to Jewish exceptionalism and genius, which must have provided the ultimate feel good moment for Brooks, who is himself Jewish. That Israel has a booming technology sector is undeniably true, but Brooks failed to mention other contributing factors such as the $101 billion dollars in US economic and military aid over the course of more than four decades, which does not include the additional $30 billion recently approved by President Barack Obama. American assistance has financed and fueled Israel’s business growth while the open access and even "preferential treatment" afforded to Israeli exporters through the Israel Free Trade Implementation Act of 1985 has provided Israelis with the enormous US market to sell their products and services. By act of Congress, Israeli businesses can even bid on most American Federal and State government contracts just as if they were US companies.

…And there is another aspect of Israel’s growing high tech sector that he understandably chose to ignore because it is extremely sleazy. That is the significant advantage that Israel has gained by systematically stealing American technology with both military and civilian applications. The US developed technology is then reverse engineered and used by the Israelis to support their own exports with considerably reduced research and development costs, giving them a huge advantage against American companies. Sometimes, when the technology is military in nature and winds up in the hands of a US adversary, the consequences can be serious. Israel has sold advanced weapons systems to China that are believed to incorporate technology developed by American companies, including the Python-3 air-to-air missile and the Delilah cruise missile. There is evidence that Israel has also stolen Patriot missile avionics to incorporate into its own Arrow system and that it used US technology obtained in its Lavi fighter development program, which was funded by the US taxpayer to the tune of $1.5 billion, to help the Chinese develop their own J-10 fighter.

You can read the entire piece here at AntiWar.

Night Time Terrorization of Afghans

On Friday Asia Times published a well-written and highly disturbing piece by Anand Gopal titled Terror Comes at Night in Afghanistan:

Sometime in the past few years, Pashtun villagers in Afghanistan's rugged heartland began to lose faith in the American project. Many of them can point to the precise moment of this transformation, and it usually took place in the dead of the night, when most of the country was fast asleep. In the secretive US detentions process, suspects are usually nabbed in the darkness and then sent to one of a number of detention areas on military bases, often on the slightest suspicion and without the knowledge of their families.

This process has become even more feared and hated in Afghanistan than coalition air strikes. The night raids and detentions, little known or understood outside of these Pashtun villages, are slowly turning Afghans against the very forces they greeted as liberators just a few years ago.

Gopal continues with related real life stories too real yet too gruesome to be real. I highly encourage you to read the entire article and share it with others.

EideUN Envoy on Doomed Afghan Strategy

The Australian reports on a damning assessment and warning issued by outgoing UN Special Representative, Kai Eide. As you know, Eide too has been the subject of major controversy. Peter Galbrait accused Eide of colluding with Karzai in vote-rigging elections. So let’s keep that in mind:

He warned that the military focus was at the expense of a "meaningful, Afghan-led political strategy" and that Western troops and governments had left Afghans feeling they faced "cultural invasion". Speaking before last night's conference on Afghanistan, being held in London, he said the international community must stop operating according to "strategies and decisions that are taken far away from Afghanistan".

"Very unfortunately, the political strategy has become an appendix to the military strategy," he said. "The strategy has to be demilitarised - a political strategy with a military component."

He expressed deep concern at the tactical approach of British and other Western troops, which aimed to remove the Taliban from an area, hold it and then develop local infrastructure and security forces."The so-called clear, hold, build, military strategy has serious flaws," Mr Eide said. "First of all, we are not able to `clear' when our opponents are insurgents one day and a normal inhabitant of a village the next day. "We are not able to `hold' because it takes time to train and put in place police and sub-national governance. "And we are not able to `build' because we cannot expect civilian development agencies to come into what they feel is a military campaign."

Former Marine accused of killing 2 Iraqis running for Congress

This was reported by AP on January 28:

Ilario Pantano announced his candidacy Thursday in Wilmington. He is seeking the Republican nomination. The 35-year-old wants to challenge Democratic Rep. Mike McIntyre for North Carolina's 7th Congressional District.

Pantano shot two men in Mahmudiyah, Iraq, in 2004 and hung a warning sign on their corpses. He claimed self defense and a Marine general decided not to bring him to trial.

Here is a photo of Mr. Pantano with G. Gordon Liddy:

Pantano

Needed Dosage of Secrecy for Blair Inquiry?

The following excerpts are from the Independent on the latest involving the Iraq Inquiry of Blair and his government:

Tony Blair's long-awaited appearance at the Iraq inquiry looked set to be hampered last night after the Government refused to declassify crucial documents relating to his decision to take Britain to war.

The failure to release the papers led to calls yesterday for the inquiry to be suspended. While Sir John Chilcot's team have been handed all the documents, they are unable to quote from classified material and may have to restrict questioning.

The missing documents feature prominently in the questions that Mr Blair is expected to face. The inquiry team are planning to ask about a series of secret letters he sent to President Bush in 2002, apparently pledging that British troops would "be there" if military action became necessary.

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  1. Tell me you couldn’t see this coming with Blair and the U.K. Commission. When push comes to shove, it’s “classified” documents that will shut it down.

    The Labour govt. doesn’t have the guts to investigate or prosecute Blair for war crimes. We’ve heard many intl. legal experts say many times that he did violate intl. law. If they’re wrong, all they all incompetent and need to be sacked? With an election, they just want everyone to shut up about it and then it will magically go away. All of Brown’s nice soundbites about “we respect human rights, etc.” are all rubbish.

    The U.K. Commission is just as worthless as the 9/11 one. And now Blair will go on to make millions worldwide with no consequences whatsoever. We all know that Tories would never go after Blair. Which means if Cameron does win, how will anyone be able to take him seriously?

  2. Alistair David Edwards says:

    The UK Iraq Commission epitomises the establishment business as usual insult everybody’s intelligence including their own. Let’s hear all the lies again only this time even more shameless with the addition of hindsight. 2010 & we’re still witnessing the same London Imperialism that has been trashing local communities now for centuries
    What’s most disheartening is attempting to see how anything can change. Our planet sorely afflicted by conscienceless officials governing an unconconscious conscienceless majority seems to be an endless state impossible to escape from.
    Sibel no comments about Davos, another intelligence insulting show where the cunning go to congratulate each other and wiseacre about making changes for the better of their own bank balances.
    Mr & Mrs Gates bless them ensuring that public charity remains in fashion with no regard for Matthew Chapter 6 1-4.

  3. Fethullah Gulen Movement in Tucson Arizona Charter School:

    Sounds like the ATC is hiring AIPAC consultants who advise on how to improve America’s sentiment towards Turkey.

    Phil Giraldi on Stealing Success Tel Aviv Style:

    Allowing Israel to continue stealing technology from us equals giving them the technology while maintaining plausible deniability. Meanwhile, Israel trades the technology to our adversaries who use the technology to counter our advancements, giving the MIC justification for more research-and-development money to develop more expensive, higher-tech money sinks. For example, how much of the Sukhoi T-50/PAK FA program was based on stolen technology? The thing looks like a hybrid of F-22 and F-35.

  4. Kingfisher says:

    WINNETKA’S PORTERS LEAD RIGHTS BATTLE VS. TURKEY
    Chicago Tribune – Friday, July 12, 1996
    Author: David S. Cloud, Washington Bureau.

    On the same day that U.S. Rep. John Porter recently stood on the House floor and accused Turkey of “some of the most egregious human rights abuses in the world,” his wife was lunching across town at the wood-paneled Jockey Club, a guest of the Turkish ambassador.

    The lunch was a get-acquainted session between Ambassador Nuzhet Kandemir and Kathryn Porter, a human rights activist. Insisting that the Porters’ brutal portrait of the Turkish government was mistaken, the ambassador asked if she wanted to be host at a human rights conference on Turkish soil

    It was, in effect, a truce offering from a sovereign government to a couple from Wilmette.

    The story of how John Porter (R-Ill.) and Kathryn Porter came to warrant such treatment from Turkey provides a revealing look at how diplomacy and ethnic politics intertwine. It also shows how two people driven by a cause can affect U.S. foreign policy, pushing it in directions even the State Department would prefer to avoid.

    In recent months, the Turkish government has seen congressional opposition delay a sale of U.S. frigates, has been humiliated by what it deemed anti-Turkish votes in the House of Representatives, and has endured harsh criticism for its military operations against Kurdish separatists and its blocking of humanitarian assistance to Armenia.

    In each case, the Porters have been closely involved, either leading the charge or urging on colleagues with denunciations of Turkey’s treatment of minorities inside its country and of its neighbors, including Armenia, Greece and Cyprus.

    “All the problems we are having with the U.S. Congress have Mr. Porter’s signature on them,” said Turkish embassy spokesman Levent Gumrukcu.

    In an interview with “60 Minutes,” for example, Rep. Porter accused the Turkish military of practicing genocide against the Kurds–an allegation vigorously denied by the Turks, who say their military operations there are rooting out terrorists.

    Turkey has responded with the outrage of a spurned ally, lashing out at what it calls the anti-Turkish lobby in Washington, a loose-knit collection of immigrant and ethnic groups representing Americans of Armenian, Greek and Kurdish descent who lobby to toughen U.S. policy toward Turkey.

    Not surprisingly, Rep. Porter and his wife are favorites of the anti-Turkish lobby. Over the last two years alone, the congressman has received tens of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions from American foes of Turkey. Mrs. Porter, too, is the beneficiary of financial donations from Armenian-, Greek- and Kurdish-Americans eager to help her support their cause.

    “Unfortunately, the Porters are acting much to the detriment of U.S.-Turkish relations . . . based on misinformation from the anti-Turkey lobby,” Gumrukcu said.

    “We are always saying, `Please listen to our side.’ ”

    By no means Turkey’s only critics in Washington, the Porters are arguably the most persistent, best-positioned and, because they work in tandem, the most effective at infuriating Turkey and its own network of lobbyists, public relations firms and other defenders.

    The Porters have also angered the State Department, which cites Turkey’s assistance during the Persian Gulf war and its status as a member of NATO as evidence of its importance to the United States. The State Department concedes Turkey has persistent human rights problems, but says they must be viewed in perspective.

    “It’s tough to go to an ally and charge them with genocide,” a State Department official said in an interview. “The administration’s viewpoint is that it’s pushing the case a little too far.”

    The Porters are unswayed.

    “There are women and children in Turkey who need our support,” says Kathryn Porter, who says she became “radicalized” during a 1984 visit to Cyprus, the Mediterranean island partly occupied by Turkey. “We can’t leave it to the diplomats to explain away” human rights problems.

    With each side leveling conflicting accusations, the truth is sometimes difficult to discern.

    In April, State Department security officers arrested a Kurdish activist, Kani Xulam, accusing him of passport fraud. Xulam heads a Washington-based organization called the American Kurdish Information Network and had worked closely with the Porters.

    The government says Xulam, awaiting trial later this month, entered the U.S. in 1986 from Canada under an assumed name, that of a dead child, and that he changed it twice more. In a news conference after the arrest, the Turkish embassy said Xulam belongs to the Kurdish Workers’ Party, the terrorist organization known as the PKK.

    The soft-spoken Xulam denies any ties with the PKK, declining to discuss the specifics of his case.

    Granting that he is possibly guilty of lying on his passport application, the Porters assert that Xulam was targeted by the State Department to appease Turkey, which wants to stop his work on the Kurds’ behalf.

    “He’s a Ghandi-esque figure,” says Kathryn Porter of Xulam, who has become a close family friend.

    Rep. Porter, a moderate Republican running for his ninth term, is a senior member of the House Appropriations Committee, which doles out Turkey’s annual foreign aid. He is also a founder of the Congressional Human Rights Caucus, which has held numerous hearings critical of Turkey in recent years.

    Kathryn Porter, a one-time Reagan administration official, founded the Human Rights Alliance last year, running it out of her home. She spends much of her time investigating human rights abuses in Turkey, Guatemala and elsewhere, assisting refugees, testifying before Congress, and leading protests.

    She has traveled to Turkey and the surrounding region several times in recent years and regularly speaks to Armenian, Kurdish and Greek groups, raising money for her organization’s activities.

    Turkey’s defenders say simple politics explains the constant attacks it faces in Congress. Many of the lawmakers who zealously favor punishing Turkey comes from places like New Jersey, California and Michigan, where there are large Armenian-American and Greek-American enclaves.

    Turkey does not have sizable immigrant populations with impact on U.S. elections, but its opponents offer inducements that make politicians pliable–votes and campaign contributions.

    The total amount of contributions Rep. Porter has received from Turkey’s foes is difficult to track. But examination of his campaign finance reports and interviews with donors show that he has taken in tens of thousands of dollars in contributions in the last two years because of his criticism of Turkey.

    Many of Turkey’s supporters, searching for explanations for Porter’s outspoken criticism, assert that he is driven by the same narrow political concerns as other Turkish critics.

    “I personally believe he’s driven by domestic politics and perhaps by the counsel and influence of Mrs. Porter,” said Fred Haynes, president of the American-Turkish Council , a group that supports U.S. business investment in Turkey.

    Those who know Porter scoff at those explanations. They note his long involvement in human rights issues and that his district, encompassing some of Chicago’s oldest suburbs, lacks the ethnic voting base to make that a compelling explanation for his positions.

    Porter does not seem particularly active about tapping potential donors. But the money comes in anyway. Donors are eager to give to both Porters, knowing that they form a powerful one-two punch. Last November, Manatos hosted a fundraiser for Kathryn Porter’s Human Rights Alliance at his home in Bethesda, Md. In attendance were a cross section of politically active Armenian-, Greek- and Kurkish-Americans who felt that “pound for pound her organization really makes things happen,” said Manatos.

    Rep. Porter is unfazed by those who attribute his and other lawmakers’ actions to domestic political pressure. “So what?” he asks. “Either the problems exist or they don’t exist . . . People do hear from their constituents. But they’re not hearing false messages.”

    It’s not just the Clinton administration that thinks the Porters go too far, though. Republican leaders, including Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.), support Turkey as well. They take a dim view of Rep. Porter’s efforts to slash Ankara’s foreign aid and have pressured him to ease up.

    In May, Porter tried in subcommittee to eliminate all $49 million in economic aid for Turkey sought by the Clinton administration, but he ran into opposition from fellow Republicans, including Chairman Bob Livingston (R-La.). Porter settled for a compromise that capped development aid to Turkey at $25 million, leaving military assistance intact.

    When the foreign aid bill went to the floor last month, the House adopted two more anti-Turkish amendments, including a further $3 million cut in aid unless Turkey publicly acknowledges a 1923 massacre of Armenians that has great symbolic value in the U.S. Armenian community. Turkey denies the massacre took place.

    The bill has yet to pass the Senate, and its version is unlikely to include the offending provisions. But in response to the House votes, Turkey’s government said it will renounce all of its economic aid for 1997.

  5. Kingfisher says:

    Oil, water and political fireworks – Sparks can fly when Illinois’ Hastert and Emanuel mix
    Chicago Tribune (IL) – Monday, December 12, 2005
    Author: Mike Dorning, Washington Bureau

    When Vanity Fair’s September issue included a sensational and unproven accusation that House Speaker Dennis Hastert accepted a bribe to sideline a measure criticizing the Turkish government, the irate Republican leader and his staff immediately suspected the handiwork of a political enemy.

    The object of their suspicion, according to two close Hastert advisers, is Rahm Emanuel, a Democratic congressman and former Clinton White House operative whose home district lies 14 miles from Hastert ‘s suburban Chicago constituency.

    Emanuel denied involvement in the magazine story, but the fact that his was the first name that came to mind in the Hastert camp is a measure of the relationship between two of the more powerful members of Congress. The savvy, sharp-edged rising power among House Democrats and the old-school, camera-wary Republican leader are locked in a blood-sport competition for control of Congress.

    Just two years after Emanuel, 46, arrived at the Capitol as a lawmaker, he has become chairman of the national Democratic campaign to regain control of Congress and unseat Hastert , 63, as speaker in the 2006 midterm elections.

    Despite mostly cordial public interactions, the two men mix like oil and water. The normally circumspect Hastert has made public digs at Emanuel, calling him “duplicitous.” He has needled Emanuel for accumulating wealth as an investment banker after leaving the Clinton White House. Emanuel made more than $16 million in 2 1/2 years.

    Emanuel, who is Jewish, in turn denounced Hastert ‘s comments about his wealth as anti-Semitic during an emotional, closed-door meeting last winter with Illinois Democratic members of Congress. The congressman had tears in his eyes as he spoke, according to one person present. The charge of anti-Semitism soon made its way back to Hastert and deeply offended the speaker, according to several close Hastert associates.

    Still, in an interview, Emanuel denied any bad feelings: “There is no animosity or tension. He does what he has to do for his party, and I do what I have to do. … We’re both professionals about it.”

    But he added that it was Hastert and not he who had publicly impugned the other.

    “I don’t think I have ever made a personal, public attack on the speaker,” Emanuel said.

    Hastert declined to be interviewed on the subject. His spokesman, Ron Bonjean, instead read a one-sentence statement: “We think he’s a skilled political partisan player trained through years of experience in the Clinton administration.”

    Clinton’s request of Hastert

    In answering the accusation in Vanity Fair, Bonjean said Hastert withdrew the resolution on Turkey , which condemned the Armenian genocide, at the request of then-President Bill Clinton, who cited foreign policy concerns in a letter to the speaker.

    The acrimonious nature of the relationship dates to Hastert ‘s first campaign for Congress in 1986, a bruising race in which Emanuel was a Democratic campaign field organizer. Emanuel’s role stuck in Hastert ‘s memory enough that he mentioned it in a memoir published last year.

    During the Clinton years, they were again adversaries during the face-offs between the White House and then-Speaker Newt Gingrich, with Hastert a junior member of Gingrich’s leadership team and Emanuel a senior political aide to Clinton.

    But in 2003, Hastert stood across from Emanuel and swore him in as a new member of Congress. Emanuel would later point to a photo of the moment and joke that it was the last time they were nice to each other.

    In the House, a junior member of a minority party rarely has much of a profile. But Emanuel has used the institution as a platform for drawing attention to the Bush administration’s vulnerabilities.

    Amid public discontent over drug prices, he has pressed legislation to allow the importation of medicine, highlighting the lower cost of prescription drugs in other countries. Shortly before the 2004 presidential election, he wrote Hastert a public letter proposing to honor soldiers killed in Iraq with a display of their photos in the Capitol Rotunda, a demonstration of casualties that clearly would have embarrassed the administration. When the speaker took no action, Emanuel erected a display outside his Capitol office, where it remains.

    He is regularly on the House floor at its opening, ready to deliver a one-minute attack on Republican policy. And he has sent open letters to the speaker that, while usually couched as policy proposals, are thinly concealed slaps at GOP governance.

    “Those kind of things make the hairs stand up on the back of [ Hastert ‘s] neck,” said Pete Jeffries, a senior vice president with Hill & Knowlton and Hastert ‘s former communications director. “To see some young buck simply trying to throw political grenades all the time, that simply doesn’t wash with him.”

    It was after receiving one such salvo from Emanuel–on Bush’s proposal to divert a portion of Social Security contributions to private investment accounts–that Hastert took a swipe at Emanuel’s time as an investment banker.

    “I would love to have his experience on how to do it, ’cause he has made a lot of money on those types of things, millions of dollars,” Hastert told the Sun-Times in February.

    Shortly afterward, during a meeting with other Illinois Democrats in the office of Rep. Jerry Costello, Emanuel angrily gave his reading of the remark. “He might as well have said I’m a rich Jew,” he is quoted as saying by one person who was present. Emanuel also complained in other conversations that the comment was anti-Semitic, said another political figure.

    As chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee since January, Emanuel has overseen press releases attacking individual Republicans in Congress for connections to figures in recent corruption scandals.

    And, though they offer no proof, Hastert and his top aides see the hand of someone schooled in the dark arts of a political operative in calls they receive from reporters on potential story lines critical of the speaker.

    “We knock down a lot of nonsense that generally we think he’s behind,” a senior Hastert aide said.

    In some ways, it has been easy for Emanuel to goad the speaker because Hastert is unaccustomed to being the target of hardball criticism, said one former Illinois official who has had regular dealings with Hastert .

    Show no quarter

    “Rahm is a take-no-prisoners kind of guy,” the former official said. “He is going to be as hard on Denny as he thinks is worthwhile. Denny’s not accustomed to that.”

    Emanuel’s style irritates many Republicans. “When you talk privately to Republicans, he has really gotten under their skin,” said Amy Walter, senior editor of the Cook Political Report.

    The Illinois congressional delegation has had a long tradition of setting aside partisan differences to concentrate on home-state concerns. In an earlier era, Democratic Rep. Dan Rostenkowski and Republican Rep. Bob Michel would attend Washington Senators games together and share rides back home on the weekends.

    Even with Emanuel and Hastert , there have been times of comity. Aides note that they have collaborated effectively on issues related to O’Hare International Airport and on federal funding for hospitals and public transit projects in Emanuel’s district, which covers the Northwest Side of Chicago and parts of suburban Cook County.

    Others say there is less trust among delegation members.

    Republican Rep. Judy Biggert said that Emanuel has “just ratcheted up in Illinois the differences between Republicans and Democrats, and we used to work with each other. There’s a little bit more of a discontent in the delegation.”

    A chief of staff for an Illinois Democrat cited “increased partisanship and polarization.”

    The quest for federally supported runways, roads and rail lines in Illinois is a rare area of agreement between Hastert and Emanuel, and next year’s congressional elections are likely to test their relationship further.

    “Can you really imagine two congressmen less alike?” said Larry Sabato, director of the University of Virginia Center for Politics. “And in this case, opposites don’t attract.”

  6. Kingfisher says:

    ‘Hakimullah’s likely successor also killed’, The Times of India, 3 February 2010.
    http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/pakistan/Hakimullahs-likely-successor-also-killed/articleshow/5529206.cms
    “PESHAWAR: Pakistani Taliban chief Hakimullah Mehsud’s close aide Qari Hussain, the top trainer of suicide bombers and one of his potential successors, was killed in the same US drone attack that fatally injured him, sources said.

    The sources in Aurakzai tribal region, who did not want to be identified for security reasons, said Qari Hussain died in the attack in North Waziristan on January 14. Wali-ur-Rehman, the chief military strategist of the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan, too has been missing since that drone attack, the sources said.”

    I have said before: drone strikes are a tactic and should not be used as a strategy in and of itself. But these things are awesome.

  7. What do these names mean to anyone?

    A few narcs pull names out of a hat and deliver supposed locations and all of the world is somehow sated by the deaths of the previously unnamed?

    How important can one individual be to an amorphous organization anyways?

    Half of the reason the war is never-ending is because if you never got a chance to fight you can’t surrender.

  8. Kingfisher says:

    “What do these names mean to anyone?”
    The significance is lost on most Westerners. If you live in Pakistan however, you know the name Mehsud.

    “How important can one individual be to an amorphous organization anyways?”
    – The Pakistani Taliban (TTP) has been pushed out of its major sanctuary in recent months. TTP has also been isolated from Mehsud tribal elders who are now negotiating with the government.
    – The Pakistani peoples once strong public opinion in support for TTP has turned. This increases momentum against the organization.
    – Hakimullah death is a symbolic feat, and helps operationally disrupt the organization. It is also likely to spark infighting and possible fragmentation of the organization.
    – Hakimullah was involved in the December CIA base suicide bombing – he needed to die.

    “Half of the reason the war is never-ending is because if you never got a chance to fight you can’t surrender.”
    It is liquid war in that region. Nobody wins. You can just reach an acceptable level of violence and go on with life.

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