"The FBI appears to have begun using a novel form of electronic surveillance in criminal investigations: remotely activating a mobile phone's microphone and using it to eavesdrop on nearby conversations."incredible. they can presumably do this with any networked device with a microphone, like, say, your computer.
"Saudi King Abdullah's visit to Turkey is, as AP says, a possible sign of a slight shift in foreign policy in Ankara toward the Middle East and away from Europe. But the real power in Turkey is in the hands of the strongly secular, pro-Western officer corps, and this article seems to me to give too much weight to the views of the elected prime minister, who can only go so far without risking a military intervention."
* ken gets letters:
"Take for example the inclusion of the flu vaccine indemnification amendment that was inserted into last December’s Defense Appropriation Conference Report after the conference was closed. This change was made at the behest of Senator Bill Frist and Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert, drafted by K Street lobbyists, and sent to the president without being introduced or reviewed by a committee of jurisdiction. Hastert not only failed to slow efforts to raid the Treasury for personal enrichment, he led the charge. The congressman may have made substantially more on real estate investments as a result of his earmarks on the Prairie Parkway than Randy “Duke” Cunningham did from taking bribes."
"Think about how much money the defense industry, the private military contractors, and the whole phony "security" industry have made since 2001, and you will understand why there is a War on Terror®. Read how the murderers in charge of companies like Lockheed Martin, Boeing, and Northrup Grumman are eager to continue to push the fantasy of War on Terror®. Think about all the people who pass through the revolving door between the government and corporate world and you will find truth.
And the truth shall set you free."
* krauthammer's head explodes. again:
"Look. Harry Truman used to tell derisive Jewish jokes. Richard Nixon said nasty things about Jews in government and elsewhere. Who cares? Truman and Nixon were the two greatest friends of the Jews in the entire postwar period: Truman secured them a refuge in the state of Israel, and Nixon saved it from extinction during the Yom Kippur War.
It is very hard to be a Jew today, particularly in Baron Cohen's Europe, where Jew-baiting is once again becoming acceptable. But it is a sign of the disorientation of a distressed and confused people that we should find it so difficult to distinguish our friends from our enemies."
"George W. Bush’s back-of-the-hand to the Baker-Hamilton commission’s Iraq War troop drawdown plan – and the disclosure that Bush ousted Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld after he sought a major shift in war policy – has given new urgency to the Dec. 5 hearings on Robert M. Gates to be Bush’s new Pentagon chief.
Senators, who were inclined to rubber-stamp Gates’s nomination, may have reason to think twice. Indeed, the evidence now suggests that Washington’s conventional wisdom about Gates as “a realist” clambering onboard to put Bush’s war strategy on a new course was dead wrong. Rather than a sign of a new direction, Bush may have picked Gates as a yes man who will continue the war pretty much as is.
Thus, it makes sense for Bush to push through Gates’s confirmation during the lame-duck session when the Republicans are still in charge. Quick confirmation would deny the Democrats one of their few pressure points – approval of Gates – that they could use to extract some cooperation from the White House in the planned oversight hearings.
Once Bush secures the Senate’s consent on Gates, the only practical moves left to Congress – besides time-consuming subpoena battles fought through the federal courts – will be withholding money from the war effort or impeachment – two drastic steps that the Democrats have signaled they won’t do."
"Britain's biggest defence companies are writing to the Government to warn that tens of thousands of jobs and orders worth billions of pounds are at risk unless a fraud investigation into an arms contract between BAE Systems and Saudi Arabia is resolved soon.
The SFO investigation began two and a half years ago and concerns allegations that a £60m slush fund was used to bribe members of the Saudi royal family involved in the Al Yamamah arms-for-oil deal between Britain and the kingdom which dates back to the 1980s."