This is the website of Abulsme Noibatno Itramne (also known as Sam Minter). Comments here or emails to me at abulsme@abulsme.com are encouraged... or follow me on Twitter as @abulsme.

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October 2003
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Slings and Arrows

Byron Scott, on Slings and Arrows, as part of a “Primate Promotion Project” has linked to me and thus promoted me on the Ecosystem from a Insignificant Microbe to a Wiggly Worm. Actually on the 19th I had TWO links into me, which is a new record for me, and ranked me even higher. (That based on my Ecosystem History.) But the other person dropped their link on the 20th it seems, and I didn’t notice in time to find who it was.

Anyway, thanks to Byron. Just thought I’d link back before I devolved back to an Insignificant Microbe again in a few days.

Primate Promotion project
(Bryon Scott, Slings and Arrows)

Sam Minter (aka Abulsme Noibatno Itramne) laments the fate of the Reform party. Sam could learn to use permanent links for his posts.

Oh. And in fact I did always have permalinks, they just were not labeled well and were hidden in the “Comment” link. I have changed the wording on the link to clearly indicate it is a Permalink too. Hope that helps. :-) Just one of the defaults on my blog program I hadn’t changed yet.

Addition: Found the other person who linked to me through my logs… John Quiggan. So here’s a link back to him as well. Thanks John!

Follow the Forger

The linked article below is a really good one on the whole debacle that represented the administration’s use (or non-use) of intelligence running up to the invasion of Iraq. It is all about how the top officials knew what they wanted to believe, and intentionally set things up to prevent themselves from hearing anything that would contradict their opinion. It is the exact same effect of sticking your fingers in your ears and saying “Na Na Na!! I can’t hear you! Na Na Na!”. What a joke. I’m not sure if any of what happened is actually criminal. Probably not. But it is certainly incompetant and dispicable. What a complete bunch of clowns. And dangerous clowns. They have caused so much damage in the last few years it is unbelieveable.

Anyway, the article is a must read. Read it.

However, I want to point out a specific part near the end. I remember when I was reading about the forged Italian papers when that thing came out screaming to the TV “Follow the forger!!!” but I don’t think I ever blogged about it. It may even have been before I started the blog. But in any case, the quick summary is that an Italian reporter got handed to her (for cash) some documents claiming to back up the Niger Yellowcake connection, just in the nick of time for some of the discussions of the Iraq threat. She did some rudimentary research and quickly determined they were fake. But not before they got handed over to the Americans, and got up to the highest levels, where they were accepted as true.

I was seeing a lot written on who the US believed these, or what the failures were that led them to be accepted, etc… but I thought this was all missing a big point…

Who forged the documents in the first place, and why????

Knowing this would tell a lot. It would either document just who was “playing” us and was so successful into manipulating us (Chalabi anyone?) or perhaps it would lead back to someone in the Administration itself, which would be even more damning. Who knows.

Maybe I wasn’t looking hard enough, but I saw very little coverage of that aspect of the forged documents. But there is a decent bit about it here in this article. There is “no general consensus” on the origin of the documents, but several possibilities are cited and talked about. Other possibilities are not discussed, but are clearly possible. I quote a bit of that section below. But read the whole article, and pay special attention to that section.

Finding the true source of these documents should be SOMEONES priority right now. At worst there are serious criminal acts here. At best increadibly stupid intelligence failures. This needs to be followed up.

The FBI is looking, and is quoted in the article as saying “somebody’s hiding something, and they’re hiding it pretty well.”

The press should be all over this too. Much more so than they have been so far.

The Stovepipe
(Seymour M. Hersh, The New Yorker)

Who produced the fake Niger papers? There is nothing approaching a consensus on this question within the intelligence community. There has been published speculation about the intelligence services of several different countries. One theory, favored by some journalists in Rome, is that sismi produced the false documents and passed them to Panorama for publication.

Another explanation was provided by a former senior C.I.A. officer. He had begun talking to me about the Niger papers in March, when I first wrote about the forgery, and said, “Somebody deliberately let something false get in there.” He became more forthcoming in subsequent months, eventually saying that a small group of disgruntled retired C.I.A. clandestine operators had banded together in the late summer of last year and drafted the fraudulent documents themselves.

“The agency guys were so pissed at Cheney,” the former officer said. “They said, ‘O.K, we’re going to put the bite on these guys.'” My source said that he was first told of the fabrication late last year, at one of the many holiday gatherings in the Washington area of past and present C.I.A. officials. “Everyone was bragging about it—’Here’s what we did. It was cool, cool, cool.'” These retirees, he said, had superb contacts among current officers in the agency and were informed in detail of the sismi intelligence.

“They thought that, with this crowd, it was the only way to go—to nail these guys who were not practicing good tradecraft and vetting intelligence,” my source said. “They thought it’d be bought at lower levels—a big bluff.” The thinking, he said, was that the documents would be endorsed by Iraq hawks at the top of the Bush Administration, who would be unable to resist flaunting them at a press conference or an interagency government meeting. They would then look foolish when intelligence officials pointed out that they were obvious fakes. But the tactic backfired, he said, when the papers won widespread acceptance within the Administration. “It got out of control.”

(via Just One Minute)

Of course, I should have written about this back in July when I was first thinking “Follow the Forger”, but I think it was before the blog. Speculation is starting to bubble up in the Blogosphere now prompted by the New Yorker article. Lets see it hit the mainstream press in a few days… I hope. It really needs more attention. The whole intelligence mess in general, but this forger link specifically. I think it is potentially very important.

Brain’s Leg

On Sunday morning when Chris and Rebecca were visiting, Chris saw Brain (the younger of my two parakeets) on one foot. He asked what was up with that. Not thinking or really looking too hard, I just said that’s how they sleep, on one foot and all. At least a bunch of the time. I didn’t think much of it.

Later that evening though, I moved the cage into the other room to get it away from a drafty window, and noticed that Brain was having trouble staying perched. The right foot clearly had something wrong with it. It was stuck out to the side and splayed out, and Brain did not seem to be able to use it at all, and was balancing on one foot, and using his beak to help him climb and move around. It looked broken, and looked aweful. The only thing I could figure is maybe Brain got his foot stuck somewhere on the cage and then struggled and broke his foot trying to escape.

There was no emergency vet that handled birds open, so I had to wait until morning to make an appointment. Plus, I had an appointment I could not break in NYC in the middle of the day. Brandy once again became a life saver, and said she would take Brain to the bird vet she used. She had been planning on taking her bird Nicki in later in the week, but moved it up because of this.

So Brandy took Brain in for the apointment at 2 PM, just after I was finishing up in NYC. So she called me on the cell for updates and decisions as they were needed. After getting my permission, the vet took X-rays.

It was not a broken leg. It was worse. Brain has a large tumor, the vet thinks probably in the kidney. The tumor is so large it is pressing on the psyatic nerve, and causing paralysis in the leg. The tumor is too large to be operable. He gave me some steroid drops that I need to give Brain daily. But basically, it is incurable. The medicine *might* be able to reduce the tumor some, but tends not to be effective indefinately, and often is not effective at all. Sort of a 50/50 chance of it helping at all, and even if it helps, it will not cure, at best it will make Brain more comfortable.

When I got home Brandy showed me how to catch Brain and give him the drops. Doing this stresses both me and Brain out. I hope it will help. I need to learn to do it twice a day going forward. Brain’s prognosis is not good. But I will do everything I can to do whatever I can to help him out.

Sigh! :-(

Not a happy day.