"Matthias Gebauer and Georg Mascolo interview author Ron Suskind for Der Spiegel online:* amy:"SPIEGEL ONLINE: With all your access to high-level sources, have you come across anyone who still thinks it is a good idea for the U.S. to torture people?
"Suskind: No. Most of the folks involved say that we made mistakes at the start. The president wants to keep all options open because he never wants his hands tied in any fashion, as he says, because he doesn't know what's ahead. But those involved in the interrogation protocol, I think are more or less in concert in saying that, in our panic in the early days, we made some mistakes.
"SPIEGEL ONLINE: Because they could have gotten information through normal interrogations . . . .
"Suskind: . . . yes, and without paying this terrific price, namely: America's moral standing. We poured plenteous gasoline on the fires of jihadist recruitment.
"SPIEGEL ONLINE: So the average interrogator at a Black Site understands more about the mistakes made than the president?
"Suskind: The president understands more about the mistakes than he lets on. He knows what the most-skilled interrogators know too. He gets briefed, and he was deeply involved in this process from the beginning. The president loves to talk to operators.""
"Report: Israel May Have Dropped Uranium-Based Bombs in Lebanon
British journalist Robert Fisk is reporting that Israel may have dropped uranium-based munitions on targets during its war against Lebanon. A leading British scientist has found that soil samples in Lebanon show elevated radiation and the concentration of uranium isotopes. According to the scientist, Dr. Chris Busby, there are two possible reasons for the contamination. Israel might have dropped a small experimental nuclear fission device or Israel used a bunker-busting conventional uranium bomb that employed enriched uranium. Robert Fisk reports that a photograph of one explosion shows large clouds of black smoke that might result from burning uranium. Israel has denied the report. However, last week the Israeli military admitted for the first time that it had dropped phosphorous bombs on Lebanon."
"U.S. Carries Out War Games In Persian Gulf
The United States has begun carrying out a naval exercise in the Persian Gulf near the coast of Iran. The U.S.-led war games are reportedly designed to test the ability of nations to intercept ships carrying weapons of mass destruction. The exercises are being conducted in the waters off of Bahrain. The ships will be within 120 miles of the Iranian coast. Iran called the naval exercise “adventurous.”"
"There is a growing meme developing in the center-left blogosphere over the last several days that goes something like this:Despite the pre-election polls and expert analysis by folks like those at Congressional Quarterly, the GOP steals enough close races through electronic voting fraud to keep the House and Senate. To deal with the immediate backlash from Democrats and the media stemming from these discrepancies and the charges of another stolen election, Bush springs a November surprise to distract the public through an attack on Iran. To suppress the reaction to this Wag the Dog maneuver here at home, he uses newly-granted and just-discovered powers to mobilize the National Guard here at home to implement martial law under the pretense of national security while we are at war with Iran. So Bush steals the election and then ensures that no one can do anything about it."