Thursday, July 31, 2003

Einstein Lied about Weapons of Mass Destruction!!!

Inexcusable intelligence failures!!

Despite the absurd fears and warnings of those "in the know", Nazi's never had an advanced nuclear program!!

Well, that's how it seems that modern journalists would cover the story, anyway.

Some applicable quotes from the above two links:

After a German and an Austrian discovered fission in 1938, almost everyone thought Germany would be the first to build nuclear weapons. In August 1939, Albert Einstein warned President Roosevelt of the threat. Dread of a Nazi A-bomb drove the Manhattan Project. Yet an Allied mission code-named Alsos, following on the heels of troops liberating Europe, found only a primitive program. No working nuclear reactor. No large quantities of separated Uranium-235, a basic bomb ingredient. No credible bomb design. "Sometimes we wondered if our government had not spent more money on our intelligence mission than the Germans spent on their whole project," wrote Alsos scientific director Samuel Goudsmit.


From as early as 1939, those "in the know" in the United States worked under the constant fear that Germany might have as much as a two-year lead in the development of a nuclear weapon. Unless and until the United States had positive knowledge to the contrary, we had to assume that the most competent German scientists and engineers were working on an atomic program with the full capacity of German industry at their disposal. Anything less would have been derelict.


The Alsos III mission entered Germany on February 24, 1945. However, now an additional urgency occupied much of their time. None of Germany's nuclear materials and absolutely none of the German scientists must be allowed to fall into Russia's hands. This new element was the source of much intrigue as the Allies advanced toward Berlin. For instance, one key German facility lay square within the planned Russian zone. There was no way that the Americans could reach the facility first so General Groves made a request to General Marshall to have it destroyed. On March 15th, 612 Flying Fortresses of the 8th Air Force dropped close to 2,000 tons of high explosives on the Auergesellschaft Works in Oranienburg just to the north of Berlin. The plant was totally destroyed.

Further intrigue ensued with a little known tactical Alsos mission labeled Operation Harborage. After France fell to the Allies, it was decided to give the French a "zone of occupation" in Germany when they finally surrendered. The zone given to the French was originally designated as an American zone. A few suspected nuclear research facilities, including the research center reputed to be in the Hechingen area was in the planned French zone. General Groves states: " As I saw it, there could be no question but that American troops must be the first to arrive at this vital installation, for it was of the utmost importance to the United States that we control the entire area that contained the German atomic energy activities...I was forced to initiate some drastic measures to accomplish our purpose."

The strategy behind Operation Harborage was to have a sizeable force, perhaps at the Corps level, cut diagonally across in front of the advancing French army and seize the area long enough to capture the people we wanted, seize and remove all available records, and destroy any remaining facilities. The operation was initiated in April 1945 and Hechingen was captured on April 24th. Col. Pash seized a large atomic physics laboratory and took into custody several sought-after scientists including Otto Hahn, Carl von Weizacker, and Max von Laue. It was learned that Heisenberg, Gerlach, and a few others had left Hechingen two weeks prior and were possibly in Munich or at Urfeld in the Bavarian Alps. On the 27th, the German scientists were transferred to Heidelberg for further questioning, where information on the whereabouts of German atomic research records were revealed by von Weizacker. They were sealed in a metal drum which was stored in a cesspool in back of von Weizacker's house.

Here's another:

Friday, July 25, 2003

I've been following the Valerie Wilson saga pretty much from the beginning, though (as with most things) I haven't commented on it here. I have made a few comments on it (under the SN ENDER) here. I also made comments on an earlier thread, but it seems to be history. They do tend to delete unused threads very quickly there, so don't be surprised if the above link no longer works.

Anyway, the entire matter is extremely troubling and the Bush Administration needs to get on top of it in a hurry. I never thought Ari was very good, but his replacement looks to be even worse. They need to investigate it and charge whoever is responsible if appropriate, fire them if not, or, failing that, explain why neither of those options were best. It seems quite clear to me that whoever did it, did it with malice aforethought - and if they didn't, they need to be fired for stupidity anyway. It seems to me that Mark Kleiman has done the best job keeping abreast of the unfolding story, and although I have historically disagreed with the majority of his positions and conclusions (he is a lefty after all), I have also found him to be quite honest. In fact, I am making this post in something of a response to his noting that the "right" blogosphere hasn't been commenting much. Though let's note that my readership probably hovers between 0 and 1 (and that's only when I'm looking myself).

I myself don't quite know what to think. It's crystal clear to me that whoever Novak's source was tried to smear Joe Wilson, but in possibly the most moronic way possible. It's astounding how short-sighted it was. In fact, it's so obviously a stupid thing to do (even absent the other reasons not to do it) that the whole thing doesn't make sense from the few pieces of the puzzle currently available. The aforementioned Mark Kleiman has thought of a scenario that would seem to resolve the contradictions somewhat, and I think that it may turn out that the real truth of the matter is somewhat similar to what he envisioned. As a bonus, it would put Bush in perhaps the best light of any other scenario I can imagine. Whatever the case may be, Bush & Co. need to do the right thing and clean house.

PS I do have ONE single bit of information that I seem to be the only one to come across. Or maybe it's so insignificant that no one else has bothered. That's me though, dealing in overlooked minutia. The information pertains to what her name really is. Though most people I have seen have decided to call her Valerie Plame, let it be noted that in all of Joe Wilson's online bios it says that he is married to "the former Valerie Plame". It seems pretty clear that she doesn't go by Valerie Plame anymore. This would seem to leave two choices: Valerie Wilson or Valerie Plame-Wilson. If you'll note, I refered to her above with the simpler Valerie Wilson. I chose it because I came across the following website:

This appears to be a geneology list on people investigating certain names from a particular Ukranian city. Someone who identified themself as Valerie Wilson was looking into the background of the name Plame. The E-mail account given would seem to match her husband's name (with her first initial substituted for his middle initial), so I think that Valerie Wilson is the most appropriate name to use at this juncture. Unfortunately, nailing down the right name didn't help me turn up any more information from Google as I had hoped. The E-mail address didn't help either.
Fascinating column on California politics:

So I wondered: who had the recall crowd recruited to speak to Latinos at this well- attended Capitol press conference, just as the story was making national news? Would it be somebody big, like the hip, new vice-chairman of the California Republican Party who is working to open up his party, Mario Rodriguez?

Dave Gilliard returned a blank look to the Latina reporter. Clearly, it hadn't even crossed anyone's mind to have a Spanish speaker on hand.

This is just the sort of gaffe that tells you exactly how people in the California Republican Party still think. It's still as white as snow. It's still as out of it as a comatose patient in an intensive care ward.
I told this story to Pat Caddell, former pollster for Jimmy Carter and George McGovern, and a national Democratic commentator who was probably the first public figure to push the idea of recalling Davis last year. "California Republicans are the dumbest people I have ever met," Caddell harrumphed of the crowd currently overseeing the recall.
So what did Mulholland really say that day?

He attacked the homeless.

"Voters should know the kind of people bused in to do the circulating!" Mulholland boomed. "The Republicans don't want judicial review of the types of people they had circulating petitions! The homeless! And convicted felons!"
Does the Democratic Party condone the idea that these petition-gathering jobs, which require no previous experience, should not be offered to the homeless? Perhaps the homeless are not even worthy of the right to vote?

I called Steve Smith, the well-to-the-left laborista who Davis appointed as California's top labor bureaucrat in order to placate state labor unions.
Smith is now campaign manager of Davis' humorously named Taxpayers Against the Governor's Recall. Smith's spokesman Nick Velasquez assured me they'd call back, but they never did. Was it because their "two felons" allegation has gotten too embarrassing now that the San Francisco Chronicle has reported that the two felons worked at Rescue California just a short time---and were then promptly hired by the Gray Davis side to gather signatures for a non-binding pro-Davis petition?

via Mickey Kaus

Tuesday, July 22, 2003

Foxnews is reporting that we might have gotten dumb and dumber, Saddam's sons! Great news if true.


Monday, July 21, 2003

Interesting Q&A Wilson did for the WAPO on April 03, 2003.

Some highlights:

Boston, Mass.: Mr. Wilson, thank you for taking our questions. What happens if we do not find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq?

Joseph C. Wilson: Whether we find them or not is now immaterial. The liberation is now the rationale. If we don't find them, discussion about them will cease and we will focus on the other reasons the administration has articulated. If we do find them, world public opinion will only change on the margins.

and a follow up:

Bethesda, Md.: I don't understand. In the first answer you say the rational is liberation so WMD do not matter. While I couldn't disagree more, in the second answer you say this isn't a war of liberation. Does this make sense?

Joseph C. Wilson: The administration has offered a menu of reasons for the war. WMD was one of them. The answer was to the question of whether finding WMD would make a difference in how the war is perceived. And the answer is no. Here in the US we have bought off on the other reasons so for us it does not matter. Overseas, they think there are any number of other reasons behind what we are doing so again if we find WMD it wown't change their position as to why we are doing what we are.

This sentiment seems to be in direct contrast to what he wrote in his piece for the NYT, What I didn't find in Africa, when he wrote:

The question now is how that answer was or was not used by our political leadership. If my information was deemed inaccurate, I understand (though I would be very interested to know why). If, however, the information was ignored because it did not fit certain preconceptions about Iraq, then a legitimate argument can be made that we went to war under false pretenses.

Sunday, July 20, 2003

THIS is supposed to be a NEWS story? The title, "White House Tries to Defend Uranium Claim", alone gives it away. The WH didn't 'defend' the claim, because, of course, it is indefensible. Instead they merely 'tried' to defend it. The story is a rather pathetic hack job.
This makes three - THREE - different ways that anti-Bush partisans have attempted to twist what he said. Amazing how much 16 words can be spun. Let me list them:

1. Cut off the first 4 words. Nothing like removing a clarifier to change a sentence's meaning.

2. Change a broad claim - "from Africa" - into a much narrower one - "from Niger".

3. Completely change the base charge, from 'seeking to purchase' to 'actual purchase'. I bet there are people in jail all over the country, convicted on conspiracy charges, who now wish their juries had been comprised soley of journalists and pundits.

Let's set the scene:

Someone is on trial for conspiracy to commit murder. The defense has just called their star witness, a former investigator for the police who did some investigation on the case at his former employer's behest.

Defense attorney: "What evidence did you uncover to substantiate the prosecution's charges?"

Star witness: "Nothing! There was no evidence that the defendant committed a murder. Everyone I spoke with knew that no murder had been committed. Why, the alleged victim is in court, so how could a murder have been committed?"

Defense attorney: "No further questions."

Sounds absurd, doesn't it? It get's worse.

DA: "Did you uncover any evidence that the defendant attempted to hire someone to murder the victim?"

Star Witness: "Well, I did find someone who said that a freind of the defendant approached him about committing the murder."

DA: "Well, doesn't that support the charge?"

Star Witness: "Is that the best evidence you have? Get real. What I uncovered doesn't prove that he conspired to murder anyone."

What is this farce an analogy of? The claims made by Joe Wilson and the various "Bush Lied"TM proponents, of course.

Re-read Wilson's screed printed in the NYT. Some relevant quotes:

I was not surprised when the ambassador told me that she knew about the allegations of uranium sales to Iraq, and that she felt she had already debunked them in her reports to Washington.


It did not take long to conclude that it was highly doubtful that any such transaction had ever taken place.

Now the conflation begins:

Then, in January, President Bush, citing the British dossier, repeated the charges about Iraqi efforts to buy uranium from Africa.

The next day, I reminded a friend at the State Department of my trip and suggested that if the president had been referring to Niger, then his conclusion was not borne out by the facts as I understood them.


The question now is how that answer was or was not used by our political leadership. If my information was deemed inaccurate, I understand (though I would be very interested to know why). If, however, the information was ignored because it did not fit certain preconceptions about Iraq, then a legitimate argument can be made that we went to war under false pretenses.

However Bush never charged that Saddam purchased uranium from Niger, he instead charged (that the British had intelligence which indicated) that he had ATTEMPTED to purchase uranium from Africa. The actual "16 words" from the SOTU:

The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa.

What did Wilson write which contradicted this simple statement? Not a single thing. Yet, as in my analogy, it gets worse.

From Tenet's July 11th statement:

He [Wilson] reported back to us that one of the former Nigerien officials he met stated that he was unaware of any contract being signed between Niger and rogue states for the sale of uranium during his tenure in office. The same former official also said that in June 1999 a businessman approached him and insisted that the former official meet with an Iraqi delegation to discuss "expanding commercial relations" between Iraq and Niger. The former official interpreted the overture as an attempt to discuss uranium sales.

From Condoleeza Rice:

The other thing is that the reporting, at least, of what Ambassador Wilson told the CIA debriefers says that, yes, Niger denied that there had been such a deal made, that they had sold uranium to the Iraqis.

It also apparently says, according to this report, it also apparently says that one of the people who was meeting with the Iraqis thought that they might, in fact, be trying to use commercial activity to talk about yellow cake.
So what the director says in his statement is that they believed, when they looked at what was reported about the Wilson trip, that it was inconclusive. They therefore did not brief it to the president, the vice president or any senior officials.

From British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw:

But, as CNN have reported, Ambassador Wilson's report also noted that in 1999 an Iraqi delegation sought the expansion of trade links with Niger -- and that former Niger government officials believed that this was in connection with the procurement of yellowcake.

"Uranium is Niger's main export. In other words, this element of Ambassador Wilson's report supports the statement in the government's dossier.

So, according to three different officials who had access to Wilson's debriefings, he DID uncover evidence regarding Saddam seeking to purchase uranium. This evidence SUPPORTED Bush's statement. Yet, somehow, the only truly relevant information that Wilson uncovered missed being included in his article. I wonder how that happened.

To make matters even worse, when Wilson was informed that his lie of ommission had been uncovered and exposed, what was his response? In an interview by Time:

Wilson dismissed the suggestion, included in CIA Director George Tenet's own mea culpa last week, that this validates what the President claimed in this State of the Union address: "That then translates into an Iraqi effort to import a significant quantity of uranium as the President alleged? These guys really need to get serious."

Of course, no Administration source has made the claim that his report was the only basis for the claim. In fact, they readily acknowledge that his report in and of itself was 'weak' and 'inconclusive'. What they DO say, a charge that is completely supported (in stark contrast to, say, Wilson's), is that his investigation in fact buttressed the claim Bush made in the SOTU, and did nothing to dimish it.

PS Most of the information here came from:


However, as Mickey Kaus might say, he completely buried the lead (or does Kaus use the pretentious 'lede'?), by instead haring off against one of Josh Marshall's more flagrant inaccuracies.