Grandpa's Grave

Posted by Peter

Last night I tracked down and visited my Grandfather's grave at the Fort Snelling National Cemetary in Bloomington, MN. I was the only one at the cemetary, besides one solitary young woman about 100 yards away. Seeing my grandfather's grave really brought back a lot of memories, and reminded me how much I miss him. He was a wonderful man, always spoiling his grandchildren, not just with material things, but also with love. I'll never forget fishing with him at the family getaway in northern Minnesota, or being at his house on Christmas, and going down the street for the midnight Christmas Eve service. Priceless memories, we miss you Grandpa.

See more pix at Photographica.

French War for Oil

Posted by Peter

The French' motives for not wanting a war in Iraq are becoming more and more clear. It turns out that they had exclusive oil contracts with Iraq that would have been VERY beneficial for them. From Powerline:

Jamie Glazov has a good interview of Kenneth Timmerman on FrontPage regarding the case he makes in his new book The French Betrayal of America: "Chirac's war for oil." Here's one of the points Timmerman makes:

erstwhile foreign minister, Dominique de Villepin, around the world to buy votes against America at the United nations. Chirac was determined to maintain Saddam Hussein in power so that two extraordinarily lucrative oil contracts, negotiated by the French, could go into effect. Very little has been written about this until now.

The deals were negotiated separately by CFP Total and by Elf Aquitaine during the mid to late 1990s. At the time, both companies were state-controlled. They have since been privatized and combined into the world’s second largest oil giant, TotalFinalElf.

Through my sources, I obtained a copy of one of these contracts. It spans 154 pages, and grants the French exclusive right to exploit one of Iraq’s largest oil fields at Nahr al-Umar for a period of twenty years. Under the deal, the French were given 75% of the revenue from every barril of oil they extracted – 75%! That is absolutely stunning. Not even during the pre-OPEC days were foreign oil operators granted such extravagant terms.

The silence that has greeted Timmerman's book is as striking as its revelations.

Posted by Peter

John Kerry Fact Check:

OPINION: Kerry Claims No Nation Sending More Than 1,000 Troops To Iraq Other Than Britain. KERRY: "I believe that as long as you have what is almost solely an American occupation, 135,000 American troops, and no other country there with the exception of Great Britain exceeds a thousand, I believe. Somewhere in that vicinity. Many of them are under 500 many of them and many of them are not in combat." (Sen. John Kerry, Press Conference, 4/14/04)

FACT: In Addition To Britain, Italy, Spain, Poland, Ukraine, And The Netherlands Each Have More Than 1,000 Soldiers Serving In Iraq. As of April 9, troops from Poland (2,400), Ukraine (1,600) and Spain (1,300) serve in the South Central zone of Iraq, including Najaf and Karbala. Troops from Britain (9,000), Italy (3,000) and the Netherlands (1,100) serve in the Southern zone centered on Basra. In total, "coalition troops from 33 countries in Iraq are deployed in three zones under U.S., British and Polish command." ("Coalition Troop Deployment," United Press International, 4/9/04)

Posted by Peter

Via Drudge Report:

Air America Bounces a Check and taken off the air!

Posted by Peter

here is an article talking about the Historical Christ, and the evidence we have for his having walked the earth:

The Historical Christ

April Fools, a day late

Posted by Peter

here is a list of the 100 most popular April Fool's pranks:


Posted by Peter

More "awkard facts" of why Richard Clarke is wrong:

Awkward facts

From Powerline and Wall Street Journal:

Laurie Mylroie has emailed us her column on Richard Clarke from today's Wall Street Journal. She titles it "Very awkward facts" and we submit it for your consideration:

The credibility of Clinton counterterrorism chief Richard Clarke has come under withering fire. He has been caught in error after error, omission after omission. I can attest to one error more: a highly revealing error that tells us a great deal about who Richard Clarke really is.

Mr. Clarke singles me out for special criticism in his book, "Against All Enemies." This is not surprising. He believes that Islamic terrorism is the work of a few individual criminals, many of them relatives. I have for years gathered the evidence that shows that terrorism is something more than a mom-and-pop operation: that it is supported by powerful states, very much including Saddam Hussein's Iraq.

Mr. Clarke is a man famously intolerant of those who disagree with him. When he cannot win the argument, he cheats. And that is what he has done again in the pages of his book. In order to explain why he opposed the war with Iraq, Mr. Clarke mischaracterizes the arguments of those of us who favored it. The key mischaracterization turns on an important intelligence debate about the identity of the mastermind of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. This mastermind goes by the name of "Ramzi Yousef." But who was "Ramzi Yousef"?

The evidence suggests that "Ramzi Yousef" had close connections to the Iraqi security services. This evidence has impressed, among others, former CIA chief James Woolsey, and Richard Perle, former head of the Defense Policy Board. Mr. Clarke calls the Yousef-Saddam connection an "utterly discredited" theory, unworthy of serious debate. He likes the phrase so much, he even uses it on the dust jacket of his book. But let's review the facts:

• Fact #1: "Ramzi Yousef" entered the U.S. in September 1992 on an Iraqi passport, with stamps showing a journey beginning in Baghdad. This fact is attested by the inspector who admitted Yousef into the U.S. Yet Mr. Clarke contends that Yousef entered the U.S. without a passport.

• Fact #2: The sole remaining fugitive from the 1993 bombing, Abdul Rahman Yasin, is an Iraqi. After the attack, Yasin fled to Iraq. The Iraqi regime rewarded Yasin with a house and monthly stipend. Yet Mr. Clarke claims, incredibly, that the Iraqis jailed Yasin.

• Fact #3: Seven men were indicted in the 1993 attack. Two of the seven, Yousef and Yasin, have Iraqi connections. Yet Mr. Clarke inflates the number of participants to 12, so as to create the impression that the presence of one or two men with Iraqi connections was no big deal.

• Fact #4: The truth is, we don't really know much about the prisoner bearing the name "Ramzi Yousef." Judge Kevin Duffy, who presided over Yousef's two trials, observed at sentencing: "We don't even know what your real name is." Yet Mr. Clarke claims to know what the judge did not: Yousef, he writes, "was born Abdul Basit in Pakistan and grew up in Kuwait where his father worked."

To reach this conclusion, Mr. Clarke has to ignore a forest of awkward facts. In late 1992, according to court documents, Yousef went to the Pakistani consulate in New York with photocopies of the 1984 and 1988 passports of Abdul Basit Karim (those documents have Karim born in Kuwait). Yousef claimed to be Karim, saying he had lost his passport and needed a new one to return home. He received a temporary passport, in the name of Abdul Basit Karim, which he used to flee New York the night of the Trade Center bombing.

Karim was, indeed, a real person, a Pakistani reared in Kuwait. After completing high school in Kuwait, Karim studied for three years in Britain. He graduated from the Swansea Institute in June 1989 and returned home, where he got a job in Kuwait's Planning Ministry. He was there a year later, when Iraq invaded.

Kuwait maintained an alien resident file on Mr. Karim. That file appears to have been altered to create a false identity or "legend" for the terrorist Yousef. Above all, the file contains a fingerprint card bearing Yousef's prints. But Yousef is not Karim -- as Judge Duffy implied -- for many reasons, including the fact that Yousef is 6 feet tall, while Karim was significantly shorter, according to his teachers at Swansea. They do not believe their student is the terrorist mastermind. Indeed, according to Britain's Guardian newspaper, latent fingerprints lifted from material Mr. Karim left at Swansea bear "no resemblance" to Yousef's prints. They are two different people.

The fingerprint card in Mr. Karim's file had to have been switched. The original card bearing his prints was replaced with one bearing Yousef's. The only party that reasonably could have done so is Iraq, while it occupied Kuwait, for the evident purpose of creating a "legend" for one of its terrorist agents.

The debate over Yousef's identity has enormous implications for the 9/11 strikes. U.S. authorities now understand that Khalid Sheikh Mohammed masterminded those attacks. But Mohammed's identity, too, is based on Kuwaiti documents that pre-date Kuwait's liberation from Iraq. According to these documents, Mohammed is Ramzi Yousef's "uncle," and two other al Qaeda masterminds are Yousef's "brothers."

A former deputy chief of Israeli Military Intelligence, Amos Gilboa, has observed that "it's obvious" that these identities are fabricated. A family is not at the core of the most ambitious, most lethal series of terrorist assaults in U.S. history. These are Iraqi agents, given "legends," on the basis of Kuwait's files, while Iraq occupied the country.

When Mr. Clarke reported, six days after the 9/11 strikes, that no evidence existed linking them to Iraq, or Iraq to al Qaeda, he was reiterating the position he and others had taken throughout the Clinton years. They systematically turned a blind eye to such evidence and failed to pursue leads that might result in a conclusion of Iraqi culpability. These officials were charged with defending us "against all enemies." Their own prejudices blinded them to at least one of our enemies and left the nation vulnerable.