Seen the arrows on the doorpost, saying "This land is condemned,
All the way from New Orleans to Jerusalem." - Bob Dylan
"A corpse lies draped over a fence in the Ninth Ward Tuesday, Sept. 20, 2005, in New Orleans," says the Associated Press caption. Three weeks after Katrina and one week before Rita, the poor and the black and the dead of America have become its scarecrows, warning those with eyes to see what time it is, and to save themselves.
But that's not to say it's all bad, everywhere. Here's another snapshot of New Orleans, the same day:
Exotic dancer "Alex" entertains patrons at Deja Vu Showgirls during the strip club's second day of business in the French Quarter of New Orleans, September 20, 2005...entertaining the city's hoard of police, rescue and fire workers.
And progress is being made, at least on the accounting ledgers. For instance , "Officials Lower Tally Of 'Missing' Children." Not that they've been found, merely recategorized.
Authorities trying to track down more than 2,600 children in Louisiana, Mississippi, Georgia and Alabama still missing three weeks after Hurricane Katrina believe that most of them are not really "missing."
Rather, authorities said, the vast majority of these children are "lost" -- separated from a parent or guardian during the rush to rescue hurricane victims from rooftops and shelters, when families were divided because of lack of space on a bus or helicopter.
Last January, following the South Asian tsunami, there was a different spin on the story of missing children:
An untold number of children of all nationalities have disappeared in the chaos of the tsunami disaster. Their whereabouts are unknown and there are fears that they may have been seized upon by those who traffic in sex...
"I'm sure it's happening," said Birgithe Lund-Henriksen, child protection chief in UNICEF's Indonesia office. "It's a perfect opportunity for these guys to move in."
But those were predatory foreigners, and this is the United States, where thousands of children aren't really "missing," merely "lost," and the mass trafficking of children for sex is as unimaginable as nearly everything else about the last five years. And I'm sure there's a perfectly innocent explanation why "President Bush decided Wednesday to waive any financial sanctions on Saudi Arabia... for failing to do enough to stop the modern-day slave trade in prostitutes and child sex workers."
Meanwhile, in another perfect storm, the Pentagon has "blocked a group of military officers and intelligence analysts from testifying at an open Congressional hearing about a highly classified military intelligence program that, the officers have said, identified a ringleader of the Sept. 11 attacks as a potential terrorist more than a year before the attacks." Fortunately for the cryptocracy, Able Danger is still being ignored by the Democrats who don't get it and never will, who see no further than the political shallows of the story. Because Able Danger ran during the Clinton years and its files on Mohammed Atta were destroyed by the Pentagon under his presidency they leap instinctively into "Protect the Big Dawg!" mode. It's left largely to Republicans to press on Able Danger, and for the same reason: they don't get it, either.
From today's Washington Times:
Mr. Weldon said he thinks Able Danger was shut down after a "profile" of Chinese weapons proliferation linked two Americans to Chinese students at Stanford University engaged in technology acquisition for China.
During the profile, the names of Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, at the time the Stanford University provost, and former Defense Secretary William Perry were mentioned in the data and created "a wave of controversy," he said.
After Congress sought the data, "tremendous pressure was placed on the Army, because this was a prototype operation, and they shut down the Able Danger operation," Mr. Weldon said.
Paul Thompson saw this and realized "why Able Danger was shut down in Feb. 2001, one month after Condi Rice becomes National Security Advisor." As reported Sept 1 by WTOP, the unit incidentally "uncovered the names of prominent American citizens and their questionable connections to China." Able Danger team member JD Smith suggests that the China issue remains open: "In my personal opinion, the stovepipes are alive and well. And for those of us in the contractor world, we're very much aware of that."
I also happened to catch Able Danger whistleblower Anthony Shaffer on MSNBC's The Big Idea on Aug. 23rd, and he speculated that the reason Able Danger was shut down was because it had accidentally brought up ties between prominent Americans and overseas criminal activity. He didn't get any more specific except to say it wasn't connected to al-Qaeda. So this is undoubtedly another reference to Condi Rice and William Perry.
No wonder the Pentagon specifically refused to let Anthony Shaffer and J.D. Smith testify before Congress today! They sat in the room but were not allowed to speak. I hope the DUers who have seen Able Danger as merely some kind of Curt Weldon smear campaign against Clinton can see now that there's much more to it. If the full story gets out, its probably going to slam the Bush administration hard. No wonder, for instance, when Weldon says he gave the Able Danger chart showing Atta's photograph to Condi Rice's assistant Steve Hadley just after 9/11, the chart was "lost" and the whole story was buried. Hadley and Rice are very close, and Hadley has since taken over Rice's job as National Security Advisor.
Everyone's a meteorologist these days, because everything's a hurricane. The professionals are described as "puzzled" and "baffled" by hurricanes that "just aren't acting like they used to." This year, "major storms are bucking traditional patterns by forming in the western, rather than eastern, Atlantic Ocean. Instead of taunting worried residents for days, they materialize, it seems, overnight." But to suggest something unnatural may be going on is to invite scorn and further marginalization.
I seem to be reading that a lot lately - so much news is described as "puzzling" and "baffling." The Basra incident "just doesn't make sense," and there's "no explanation" for refusing aid and leaving bodies to rot in the streets. It must be nice.