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War Blog
By: FrontPage Magazine
Monday, May 29, 2006


Iran shifts to war footing, twenty terror plots revealed in Britain, and the return of John Kerry's magic hat...

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MEMORIAL DAY 2006

06.06.26.Memorialday06-X.gif

www.coxandforkum.com

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IRAN SHIFTING TO WAR FOOTING

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad made it clear that he sees European opposition to his nuclear program a threat, and returned one in kind. Speaking to the German magazine Der Spiegel, the Iranian president warned Europe that they will "suffer the consequences" if they did not capitulate:

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad warned Europe that it should support his country's nuclear program or "suffer the consequences."

In an interview to be published in the German Der Spiegel on Sunday, Ahmadinejad also expressed his doubt regarding the Holocaust, saying that even if it had occurred, the Jewish state should have been established in Europe, not in Palestine.

The article in DS has not yet been released, but the Jerusalem Post blurb indicates that Iran's president has not yet tired of following the playbook of Adolf Hitler in dealing with the West. Alternating between veiled threats and offers of diplomacy, Ahmadinejad has attempted to split the coalition of nations opposing its development of nuclear weapons. In this case, it looks like Ahmadinejad wants to stress the reach of Iranian weapons and the fact that most of Europe falls within their range.

Nor is that the only parallel between Hitler and Ahmadinejad these days. The messianic Shi'ite has conducted a purge of high-level political opponents from national offices, seemingly with the blessing of the Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khameini. The New York Times reports on the "consolidation" underway in Teheran:

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is trying to consolidate power in the office of the presidency in a way never before seen in the 27-year history of the Islamic Republic, apparently with the tacit approval of Iran's supreme leader, according to government officials and political analysts here. ...

Mr. Ahmadinejad is pressing far beyond the boundaries set by other presidents. For the first time since the revolution, a president has overshadowed the nation's chief cleric, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, on both domestic and international affairs.

He has evicted the former president, Mohammad Khatami, from his offices, taken control of a crucial research organization away from another former president, Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, challenged high-ranking clerics on the treatment of women and forced prominent academics out of the university system.

"Parliament and government should fight against wealthy officials," Mr. Ahmadinejad said in a speech before Parliament on Saturday that again appeared aimed at upending pillars of the status quo. "Wealthy people should not have influence over senior officials because of their wealth. They should not impose their demands on the needs of the poor people."

In this theocratic system, where appointed religious leaders hold ultimate power, the presidency is a relatively weak position. In the multiple layers of power that obscure the governance of Iran, no one knows for certain where the ultimate decisions are being made. But many of those watching in near disbelief at the speed and aggression with which the president is seeking to accumulate power assume that he is operating with the full support of Ayatollah Khamenei.

The Times notes that the elimination of the fog surrounding the exercise of power in Iran gives the US an opportunity for meaningful direct talks for the first time since the revolution 27 years ago. However, what the Times fails to comprehend is that, much like the Nazi "consolidation" in the early days of their rule, the accumulation of power to one man allows for streamlined internal decisionmaking, not external, where Khameini always held the power. That kind of structure lends itself to one purpose: war.

Ahmadinejad, working under Khameini's approval, is stripping all of the potential elements of opposition to war from his government. Arrests have not yet come, but this is certainly a politicial purge, attempting to guarantee a political purity in the government under Ahmadinejad. Nor is this limited to the secular government. Khameini appears to be using Ahmadinejad to bypass the rest of the Guardian Council and establish himself as the only cleric whose opinion matters. It reduces the amount of time needed for decisions and eliminates any potential for time-wasting dissension.

Why else would all decision-making power get concentrated in the hands of two men, and all mechanisms for dissent eliminated?

Other warning signs exist as well. Iran, like Germany in the late 20s and early 30s, has a restive population wishing for a sharp improvement in their standard of living. Ahmadinejad has to either deliver that or explain why he cannot. For this purpose, he has turned to Islamic anti-Semitism and as the Times reports, he has started to raise up a new intellectual elite that uses Jews as a scapegoat for the domestic woes Iranians suffer. They quote an unnamed political-science professor in Teheran as saying, "He is reshaping the identity of the elite. Being against Jews and Zionists is an essential part of this new identity." He has also started large government-works programs and promised all sorts of welfare to garner a populist following.

We have seen this path before. The world should recognize the signs, and the West had better start looking for Churchills rather than Chamberlains, and quickly.  Sunday, May 28, 2006

www.captainsquartersblog.com

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IRANIAN-BACKED MILITIA GROUPS TAKE CONTROL OF MUCH OF SOUTHERN IRAQ

We Won! Alert from Knight Ridder Newspapers, with thanks to Mackie:

BASRA, Iraq - Southern Iraq, long touted as a peaceful region that's likely to be among the first areas returned to Iraqi control, is now dominated by Shiite Muslim warlords and militiamen who are laying the groundwork for an Islamic fundamentalist government, say senior British and Iraqi officials in the area.

The militias appear to be supported by Iranian intelligence or military units that are shipping weapons to the militias in Iraq and providing training for them in Iran.

Some British officials believe the Iranians want to hasten the withdrawal of U.S.-backed coalition forces to pave the way for Iran-friendly clerical rule.

Iranian influence is evident throughout the area. In one government office, an aide approached a Knight Ridder reporter and, mistaking him for an Iranian, said, "Don't be afraid to speak Farsi in Basra. We are a branch of Iran."

"We get an idea that (military training) courses are being run" in Iran, said Lt. Col. David Labouchere, who commands British units in the province of Maysan, north of Basra. "People are training on the other side of the border and then coming back."  Saturday, May 27, 2006

http://jihadwatch.org

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AHMADINEJAD: "GERMANS ARE PRISONERS OF THE HOLOCAUST"

More details are emerging about the evil statements made by Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in his interview with Germany’s Der Spiegel: Germans should stop feeling Holocaust guilt: Ahmadinejad.

BERLIN (Reuters) - Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad told Germans they should no longer allow themselves to be held prisoner by a sense of guilt over the Holocaust and reiterated doubts that the Holocaust even happened.

In an interview with Germany’s Der Spiegel magazine, Ahmadinejad said he doubted Germans were allowed to write “the truth” about the Holocaust and said he was still considering traveling to Germany for the World Cup soccer tournament.

“I believe the German people are prisoners of the Holocaust. More than 60 million were killed in World War Two ... The question is: Why is it that only Jews are at the center of attention?,” he said in the interview published on Sunday.

“How long is this going to go on?” he added. “How long will the German people be held hostage to the Zionists?... Why should you feel obligated to the Zionists? You’ve paid reparations for 60 years and will have to pay for another 100 years.”  Sunday, May 28, 2006

http://littlegreenfootballs.com/weblog

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20 JIHAD PLOTS REVEALED

The Tiny Minority of Extremists has been Extremely busy in Britain. Yet no one seems to get the bright idea to start checking for jihadist sentiments among those wishing to enter the country. "MI5 at full stretch as 20 Islamist terror plots revealed," from the TimesOnline, with thanks to DP:

TWENTY “major conspiracies” by Islamist terrorists in Britain have been uncovered by the security services, John Reid, the home secretary, has disclosed.

Reid said that the existence of so many plots means that the police and MI5 are fully stretched and cannot divert their precious counter-terrorism resources to a lengthy public inquiry into last year’s London suicide bombings.

Reid revealed the existence of the plots — far more than have previously been reported — at a meeting with some of the victims’ relatives and survivors of the attacks last week.

He failed to give further details but the claim appears to fit in with briefings by MI5 which suggest that as many as 1,200 potential terrorist suspects may now be in the UK.  Sunday, May 28, 2006

http://jihadwatch.org

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UK MUSLIM LEADER: PREACHING JIHAD IS OUR RIGHT

A fascinating admission in an article at The Muslim News, a British Muslim paper, reporting a speech by Union of Muslim Organisations (UMO) official Syed Aziz Pasha—who is seething over a new addition to Britain’s anti-terror laws that would prevent them from preaching jihad.

Uh. I think that’s supposed to be the idea.

The Government was condemned last month on its glorification antiterrorism legislation at an event to celebrate Prophet Muhammad (p)’s birthday held on April 18. “The Government is spending more time on anti terror legislation and is taking away Muslims’ civil liberties and freedom,” said Secretary General of Union of Muslim Organisations (UMO), Syed Aziz Pasha. He was responding to Home Office Minister, Fiona Mactaggart, who told the guests that the anti terror legislation was meant “to make us safer” and that the outlawing of glorification of terrorism “does not prevent reasonable speeches.”

Mactaggart said the Government was “looking forward to continuing collaboration with the Muslim community.” It is “this relationship that helps policing work,” she said. But Pasha said anti terror legislation was targeted at the Muslims and the new addition of glorification would prevent them from speaking about jihad as this would be considered as terrorism.

WHAT MEDIA BIAS?

Terrorists in Lebanon launched a rocket attack into Israel today.

But the BBC’s headline could not possibly be more ridiculous: Lebanon border clash breaks out.

In fact, get a load of all these wire services headlines for the story, almost every one of them focused on or emphasizing the Israeli response instead of the attack that prompted it: Yahoo! News Search Results for lebanon.

UPDATE: Ha’aretz reports that Hizballah launched a large scale attack along the length of the northern border.

United Nations peace-keepers brokered a cease-fire early Sunday evening between Israel and Hezbollah in southern Lebanon, ending a day of cross-border clashes in which an Israel Defense Forces soldier was moderately wounded and two militants in Lebanon were killed.

The soldier, from an anti-aircraft unit, was airlifted to Rambam Hospital in Haifa in stable condition.

IDF troops and guerillas from Hezbollah traded heavy fire across the length of the Israel-Lebanon border Sunday, in clashes which began when militants fired Katyusha rockets at an IDF base in northern Israel, in a pre-dawn strike.

HAMAS BOASTS: HITLER LIKED US

The Hamas newspaper Al-Rissala proudly lists foreign leaders who have expressed support for the Palestinians—leaders such as Adolf Hitler. (Hat tip: LGF readers.)

The Hamas newspaper this week chronicled with pride the ways in which different foreign leaders singled out the Palestinians as examples of ideal revolutionaries. The first leader cited by the Hamas weekly, Al-Rissala, for praising the Palestinians was Adolf Hitler:

“Adolf Hitler, while exciting the Germans of the Sudetenland - the Sudetenland is a German province that the Allies had annexed to Czechoslovakia after the First World War - told them in his broadcasts: Look at what the Palestinian revolutionaries are doing to Great Britain!!”
[Al-Rissala (Hamas Weekly), May 18, 2006]

It may be surprising to Western observers to see Palestinians taking pride in having been praised by Hitler. But it is important to understand that the utter revulsion of Hitler expected in the West is not true in Palestinian society. Palestinians can be found who are named “Hitler” as a first name: Hitler Salah [Al Hayat Al Jadida, Sept. 28, 2005], Hitler Abu-Alrab [Al Hayat Al Jadida, Jan. 27, 2005], Hitler Mahmud Abu-Libda [Al Hayat Al Jadida, Dec.18, 2000].

This phenomenon of Palestinians being named after Hitler was explained in an article in the official PA daily praising the rewriting of history and the doing of “justice” to Hitler:

“Even Adolf Hitler, who after the fall of Nazi Germany turned into a political horror for most of the writers and artists, during the last decades has started to return himself to his part of the picture. There are some in Britain who defended Hitler and tried to do justice for him. There are elderly people, among them Arabs, who still carry the name Hitler since their fathers, who were charmed by him, linked them [their children] with his name.”
[Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, April 13, 2000]

One article explained the phenomenon of naming Palestinians after admired foreign leaders - such as Napoleon and the Nazi General Rommel:

“Sometimes parents name their children with foreign names, due to the father’s admiration to a foreign personality. This is the source of the names: Rommel [famous Nazi General] and Napoleon.”
[Al-Ayyam, November 15, 2001 “Woman’s Voice” supplement].

The admiration for Hitler is consistent with the status of Mein Kampf, which a PA daily cited as a book on the best sellers’ list.
[Al Hayat Al Jadida, Sept. 2, 1999].

ROP DRESS CODE

Islamists kill tennis players in Baghdad for wearing shorts. (Hat tip: LGF readers.)

BAGHDAD — An Iraqi tennis coach and two of his players were fatally shot last week in Baghdad because they were wearing shorts, authorities said yesterday, reporting the latest in a series of recent attacks attributed to Islamic extremists. ...

In the Baghdad incident, gunmen stopped a car carrying the Sunni Arab coach and two Shi’ite players, asked them to step out and then shot them, said Manham Kubba, secretary-general of the Iraqi Tennis Union.

Extremists had distributed leaflets warning people in the mostly Sunni neighborhoods of Saidiyah and Ghazaliyah not to wear shorts, police said.

“Wearing shorts by youth are prohibited because it violates the principles of Islamic religion when showing forbidden parts of the body. Also women should wear the veil,” the leaflets said.

Wearing shorts “violates the principles of Islamic religion” — but murdering athletes apparently doesn’t.  Sunday, May 28, 2006

FBI INVESTIGATIONS IN ORANGE COUNTY

At the Orange County Register, columnist Frank Mickadeit writes about a meeting with FBI officials in which they revealed that the FBI is ramping up their investigations in Orange County, creating three new anti-terrorist units focusing on Al Qaeda, non-Al Qaeda foreigners and domestic suspects—and they appear to be very interested in the University of California Irvine: Feds warn O.C. of terror lurking ‘down the street’. (Hat tip: oldengr.)

Were this a straight news story, I might lead with, “The FBI appears to be actively studying Muslim student groups at UCI as part of an intense surveillance program to detect potential terrorists.”

But I’m not as surprised that the FBI is doing this - as well as other aggressive anti-terrorist activities in Orange County - as I am that the FBI would tell us.

As secretive as local cops are about ongoing investigations, they’ve got nothing on the feds. They are, as Churchill once said of Russia, “a riddle wrapped in a mystery cloaked in an enigma.”

What I heard Wednesday at the Pacific Club was as revealing as anything I’ve ever heard or read about terrorist activity in O.C. Two feds – Wayne Gross, chief of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Orange County, and Pat Rose, head of the FBI’s Orange County al-Qaida squad - didn’t offer many details to the group of about 25 club members, but they said enough to shock.  Saturday, May 27, 2006

http://littlegreenfootballs.com/weblog

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RETURN OF THE MAGIC HAT

Preparing for another grab at the brass ring, John Kerry seeks to engage the claims of the Swift Boat veterans. In today's New York Times, the "magic hat" -- the hat that Kerry claims was tossed to him by the "special forces" (apparently Navy SEALS) he dropped off on his journey to Cambodia (formerly dated to Christmas Eve 1968, now to February 1969) -- magically reappears. The story by Kate Zernike is "Kerry pressing Swift Boat case long after loss."

The "magic hat" made its last appearance in Laura Blumenfeld's June 2003 Washington Post profile of Kerry. In Blumenfeld's piece, Kerry stated it was his "good luck hat" and that it had been given to him by "a CIA guy as we went in for a special mission to Cambodia." Does Kerry save it to impress the lady reporters? I'd like to see him pull it on Tom Lipscomb.

The Times article is accompanied by a graphic on "Kerry's new evidence" (below).

newevidence.jpg

Zernike doesn't say it, but the new evidence on the mission to Cambodia almost gets Kerry there! No mention of being shot at by the Khmer Rouge, but what the heck. Over at the Democracy Project, Bruce Kesler takes an initial whack: "New York Times is full of Kerry." Readers wanting to refresh their memory of the Christmas in Cambodia story and related contortions may usefully consult Joshua Muravchik's "Kerry's Cambodia whopper."  Sunday, May 28, 2006

www.powerlineblog.com

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WHY KERRY IS THE DEMOCRAT'S NIGHTMARE

The New York Times reports that John Kerry wants to re-fight the Swift Boat debate, two years after his serial exaggerations and outright lies about his military service cost him the presidential election. The only possible reason for raising this issue would be to clear the decks for another presidential run in 2008, but like 2004, it shows that Kerry's only strategy for elections is to live in a refashioned past:

Three decades after the Vietnam War and nearly two years after Mr. Kerry's failed presidential bid, most Americans have probably forgotten why it ever mattered whether he went to Cambodia or that the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth accused him of making it all up, saying he was dishonest and lacked patriotism.

But among those who were on the front lines of the 2004 campaign, the battle over Mr. Kerry's wartime service continues, out of the limelight but in some ways more heatedly — because unlike then, Mr. Kerry has fully engaged in the fight. Only those on Mr. Kerry's side, however, have gathered new evidence to support their case. ...

His supporters are compiling a dossier that they say will expose every one of the Swift boat group's charges as a lie and put to rest any question about Mr. Kerry's valor in combat. While it would be easy to see this as part of Mr. Kerry's exploration of another presidential run, his friends say the Swift boat charges struck at an experience so central to his identity that he would want to correct the record even if he were retiring from public life.

Mr. Kerry portrays himself as a wary participant in his own defense, insisting in the two-hour interview that he does not want to dwell on the accusations or the mistakes of his 2004 campaign. "I'm moving on," he says several times.

Obviously, he's not moving on, and that was the problem with his whole presidential run. It would be inaccurate, to put it mildly, to say that the Swift boat veterans cost Kerry the presidency. What defeated Kerry was his insistence on focusing his campaign on his valor in Viet Nam and the repetition of stories like Christmas in Cambodia that failed the smell test. Instead of offering coherent policies on foreign and domestic issues, but especially about the war in Iraq, Kerry insisted on talking about his service in Viet Nam as opposed to Bush's National Guard service and Cheney's deferments. When the opposition engaged on those topics, seeing as how Kerry didn't want to talk about much else, he seemed shocked that people would question his assertions.

Had Kerry developed a coherent message on policy and left Viet Nam in the past where it belonged, he would never have had to deal with the Swift Boat vets at all. They only organized because Kerry stupidly put their photos on his campaign material and implied that these veterans supported him. When they angrily demanded a retraction, the Kerry campaign refused -- and they set about telling their stories instead.

Interestingly, the Times never addresses the central Kerry fib that allowed the opposition to get a toehold on this issue. Kerry had pontificated during the 1986 debate over funding the Nicaraguan contras that he knew what it was like to be behind enemy lines, and told a story that he had often related regarding how he spent Christmas 1968 in Cambodia (March 27, 1986 CR 3594):

Mr. President, I remember Christmas of 1968 sitting on a gunboat in Cambodia. I remember what it was like to be shot at by Vietnamese and Khmer Rouge and Cambodians, and have the President of the United States telling the American people that I was not there; the troops were not in Cambodia.

I have that memory which is seared -- seared -- in me ....

In an article for the Boston Herald written on October 14, 1979, Kerry wrote about this experience:

"I remember spending Christmas Eve of 1968 five miles across the Cambodian border being shot at by our South Vietnamese allies who were drunk and celebrating Christmas. The absurdity of almost killed by our own allies in a country in which President Nixon claimed there were no American troops was very real."

As has been pointed out time and time again, President Nixon took office a month after this incident supposedly occurred. Nixon was elected in 1968, but took office on January 20, 1969. Moreover, one of Kerry's crew has always insisted that the closest their boat came to Cambodia at Christmas was Sa Dec, about 50 miles away. That testimony comes from Stephen Gardner, who served with Kerry until mid-January 1969, when Kerry transferred to another boat. Trying to address Kerry's complaints without mentioning this obvious lie indicates a serious amount of bias in the reporter and leaves the story incomplete.

The Times reports that Kerry's supporters are gathering evidence that will prove the Swift Boat vets liars. The report contains no evidence supporting this conclusion except Kerry's assertion that William Schachte lied about his recollections of Kerry's service. In this case, the article seems rather premature. Why not wait until Kerry and his supporters actually have the proof?

My coverage of the Swift Boat controversy can be found in the category I created especially for it. I have not posted on this topic for eighteen months, believing that the story had been thoroughly told. If Kerry really wants to open the topic for debate again, there are plenty of questions contained within the category that have never been answered. Here are just a few:

1. Why did Kerry appropriate Tedd Peck's battle record into his own record?

2. Why did Kerry allow David Alston to appear at numerous campaign events and misrepresent himself as an eyewitness to Kerry's Silver Star engagement?

3. Why did Alston disappear from the campaign after this became public, and why didn't the Kerry campaign explain his absence?

4. If Kerry came under fire on the December 2, 1968 incident for which he requested and eventually received his first Purple Heart, why then did Kerry write in his journal on December 11 that he had not yet been shot at?

If he can explain all this with new evidence, I'll be glad to post it. Until then, this looks like the same bluster that his supporters have used all along -- to claim that the Swift Boat veterans have been thoroughly debunked and that Kerry had been vindicated without producing a single piece of supporting evidence for either conclusion. It also proves that Kerry will never get past Viet Nam, and as long as he occupies a leadership position in the Democratic Party, neither will the Democrats.

And once again, let's point out that it's Kerry who's making this an issue -- again.

UPDATE: Tom Maguire has more:

And just to be clear - I have no interest in beating on Kerry like a rented mule (again). I am much more curious to see whether we can demonstrate that the MSM was horribly deficient in their coverage of this story. My recollection, which may be colored by hyperbole, is that the entire NY Times coverage amounted to one story saying "The Swift Boat Veterans are lying because Kerry says they are". That does not count the snide and ignorant asides in seemingly unrelated stories or misleading columns by Nick Kristof or the rest of the stable.

The New England Republican says the media is still in pro-Kerry spin mode. And the Confederate Yankee shows that geography must be part of the Swift Boat conspiracy against Kerry as well.

UPDATE II: Jon Henke says this should occupy about as much of the public debate as the 1972 Olympic basketball final, and has no idea why Kerry still insists on living in the past. Could it be that he has nothing to say about the present or the future?  Sunday, May 28, 2006

HASTERT GRABS THE LIFESAVER

George Bush has successfully quelled the Congressional grab for perpetual immunity from criminal prosecution as well as a potential rebellion at Justice, deftly using a cooling-off period to allow both sides to climb down from their hard-line positions. House Speaker Denny Hastert, having presumably checked his In box and re-read the Constitution, now agrees that the FBI can conduct searches of Congressional offices when armed with a valid search warrant:

House leaders acknowledged Friday that FBI agents with a court-issued warrant can legally search a congressman's office, but they said they want procedures established after agents with a court warrant took over a lawmaker's office last week.

"I want to know exactly what would happen if there is a similar sort of thing" in the Senate, Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn., said Friday, shortly after summoning Attorney General Alberto Gonzales to his office.

House Speaker Dennis Hastert, R-Ill., concurred: "I am confident that in the next 45 days, the lawyers will figure out how to do it right."

Gonzales was similarly optimistic. "We've been working hard already and we'll continue to do so pursuant to the president's order," he told The Associated Press.

That apparently comes as a change in tone for the Attorney General. According to the New York Times, Gonzalez, FBI director Robert Mueller, and some of their staffs threatened to walk off the job if the President ordered the return of the seized materials to Jefferson:

Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales, the F.B.I. director, Robert S. Mueller III, and senior officials and career prosecutors at the Justice Department told associates this week that they were prepared to quit if the White House directed them to relinquish evidence seized in a bitterly disputed search of a House member's office, government officials said Friday.

Mr. Gonzales was joined in raising the possibility of resignation by the deputy attorney general, Paul J. McNulty, the officials said. Mr. Gonzales and Mr. McNulty told associates that they had an obligation to protect evidence in a criminal case and would be unwilling to carry out any White House order to return the material to Congress. ...

It is not clear precisely what message Mr. Gonzales delivered to Mr. Bush when they met Thursday morning at the White House, or whether he informed the president of the resignation talk. But hours later, the White House announced that the evidence would be sealed for 45 days in the custody of the solicitor general, the Justice Department official who represents the government before the Supreme Court. That arrangement ended the talk of resignations.

Until now, Gonzalez has always appeared to be a moderate, get-along-to-go-along political appointee. However, this shows that the AG has serious backbone and integrity to spare. He and Mueller both understood the stakes involved in this standoff and refused to participate in creating a political class insulated from law enforcement. Without the power to enforce and execute duly authorized subpoenas and search warrants, members of Congress could hide evidence of corruption in their offices with no fear of exposure or prosecution. It would create a taxpayer-funded sanctuary for crooks, and the top officials at Justice sent the message that they would not become accessories to that system.

Bush already knew this but wanted Hastert to come to that conclusion on his own, or at least allow Hastert the opportunity to appear to have done so. Before anyone made the kind of bold public gesture Gonzalez threatened, he simply froze the status quo for six weeks, giving time for everyone to reach their own conclusions rather than get embarrassed by a Supreme Court decision that would undoubtedly have painted Hastert and Pelosi as obstructors of justice.

Given this time out for his obstinacy, Hastert and his colleagues have busied themselves with goalpost-moving and backtracking. Before, they claimed a Constitutional privilege of freedom from search warrants and subpoenas from the executive branch, even though Congress regularly issues subpoenas without judicial approval against members of the executive branch. Now Hastert has acknowledged that Congressmen are subject to the same laws as everyone else, but have modified their complaint; now they say the issue is that Jefferson and his attorney were not allowed to be present at the search. That's a far cry from the phony Constitutional crisis they declared earlier this week, perhaps a more reasonable issue and certainly one that didn't require Hastert's intercession. He could have kept his mouth shut and let Jefferson's attorney raise that question when the evidence got submitted for trial -- just like any other defendant in a criminal case.

The denouement of this kerfuffle demonstrates two very important points. George Bush still holds the power in Washington and in the GOP, and this controversy shows that he and the people at Justice remain the adults in charge of the day care center. Hastert has severely damaged himself politically in two ways. No one in the GOP will ever give Hastert the same level of trust again after this attempt to pervert the Constitution, and Republicans will remain furious with him for taking the focus off of William Jefferson and his cash-cow business in selling his vote.  Saturday, May 27, 2006

www.captainsquartersblog.com

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WISHFUL THINKING

The media would love to help the Democrats with their "culture of corruption" campaign theme; unfortunately, the facts aren't cooperating very well. Which didn't stop CBS News from doing its best, in this story about the Justice Department standing firm on the documents seized from Congressman William Jefferson:

Top law enforcement officials at the Justice Department and the FBI indicated to their counterparts at the White House that they could not, and were unwilling to, return documents to the Louisiana Republican which were seized as part of a bribery investigation.

Jefferson is, of course, a Democrat. It's common for news stories about scandals involving Congressional Democrats to omit any reference to their party, but this really is going too far!

Thanks to reader Greg Roth.  Sunday, May 28, 2006

www.powerlineblog.com

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CANADA'S LARGEST UNION JOINS ISRAEL BOYCOTT

My contempt for the people and groups pushing this abhorrent boycott of Israel knows no bounds. The latest left-wing organization to join the chorus of hatred of Israel and delusional sympathy for terrorists is the Canadian Union of Public Employees, Canada’s largest union: CUPE in Ontario votes to boycott Israel. (Hat tip: Judeoscope.ca.)

The Ontario divison of Canada’s largest union has voted to support an international campaign that is boycotting Israel over its treatment of Palestinians.

Delegates to the Canadian Union of Public Employees Ontario convention in Ottawa voted overwhelmingly Saturday to support the campaign until it sees Israel recognizing the Palestinians’ right to self-determination. The Ontario group represents more than 200,000 workers.

The global campaign started last July and has been supported by many North American churches, 20 Quebec organizations, and others, Canadian Press said.

CUPE also condemned what they called Israel’s “apartheid wall,” saying it is illegal under international law.

“Boycott, divestment and sanction worked to end apartheid in South Africa,” said Katherine Nastovski, chairwoman of the CUPE Ontario international solidarity committee.

“We believe the same strategy will work to enforce the rights of Palestinian people, including the right of refugees to return to their homes and properties.”

The “right of return” is a code phrase, meaning the demographic annihilation of the state of Israel, and its inclusion in this statement tells you everything about the sick mindset controlling the CUPE.  Sunday, May 28, 2006

http://littlegreenfootballs.com/weblog

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