Thursday, July 21, 2005

Partisan bullcrapmanship

Something that's widely practiced in politics is partisanship. This is when someone takes an action soley because of political party affiliation. For example it might be a Republican who is pro-abortion or pro-choice voting to support an anti-abortion measure simply because the Republican party says so. Someone who does that denies their own sense of what's right, and allows someone else to tell them what to do.

Partisanship is the act of drawing artificial lines in the sand, and just because someone is on the other side of the line, you get to beat them up.

The latter especially seems true of the bullying which the Republican party has engaged in since the mid-1990's. For example the incessant sniping at President Clinton was nothing more than the type of bullying done by children on the playground ... not what you'd expect from mature adults. They started with a falsified allegation of small scale investment fraud, and it culminated with an impeachment trial over lies about whether or not he (Bill Clinton) had extramarital sex. All the way it was the worst kind of bullying and "politics of personal destruction" you could imagine.

My father, a lifelong Republican and cheerleader for the Republican causes, has been totally turned off by these activities done by the Republican Party.

Rove's Most Telling Words (By Michael Tomasky, The American Prospect. Posted July 21, 2005, published by

'He's a Democrat' -- with those three words now revealed, Karl Rove's partisanship is a matter of fact. Other Republicans should be ashamed of him -- and themselves.

This article goes over the current scandal - the uproar over Ambassador Joe Wilson's op-ed piece in July 2003, and the subsequent high-level plot to discredit and politically maim him, the subsequent revealing of Joe Wilson's "cover" as a secret agent, and the lies which have gone on since to cover the crime. All that hinges on the same hardline partisanship, with Rove as the chief bully.

I do not understand why some things get this town upset while others don't, but those three words should make any honorable patriot of either party both furious and ashamed. Wilson spent two decades in his country's service -- in diplomatic postings in Africa, chiefly, but also at the National Security Council, and in Baghdad leading up to and during the Gulf War of 1991. Former Secretary of State James Baker once thanked him for his "outstanding service to the nation," and the current president's father was equally effusive in a late-1990 telegram to Wilson in Baghdad.

But to Rove, that service and those testimonials meant nothing. Rove had someone run Wilson's Federal Election Commission sheet and noticed, according to the Los Angeles Times story cited above, that Wilson's campaign donations "leaned toward Democrats." That was true. And that was enough: Nail him. Even though -- get this -- Wilson had donated $1,000 to the Bush campaign in 1999!

And all this, of course, is putting aside Valerie Plame's service to the nation -- another two decades of work, dangerous work, on behalf of administrations Republican and Democratic. And finally, don't forget, there's the question -- little discussed so far, but one on which I trust prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald is gathering information -- of whether any of our human assets overseas whom Plame had cultivated in her years of work were harmed after Robert Novak's column was published.

For years now the right has practiced a partisanship more intense than that practiced by either party in the last 100 years. There's no need to describe it in detail here; everyone reading this knows its basic contours. But this scandal raises the question anew: Exactly what does someone in the Bush administration need to do before some Republican stands up and says enough?


Wednesday, July 20, 2005

'Dirty bomb' detention challenged

Back in 2002 I vaguely recall a plot to unleash a 'dirty bomb'. A dirty bomb is one exploded with "conventional" explosives, but is laced with atomic material. The idea is to spread radioactive material over a wide area, poisining the area and perhaps causing illness or death.

Jose Padilla was arrested at Chicago airport in May 2002 with accusations of just such a plot.

The thing is that ever since, that's over 3 years now, he hasn't been accused of a crime. He's been held by U.S. forces ever since, but without a formal indictment etc. Err.... isn't that illegal?

We don't know whether the guy is guilty or not, and that's not the point. The U.S. believes in fair justice. If you're gonna hold someone in jail, there'd better damn well be a reason to do so. If there are no charges, then how can this guy be rightfully held?

'Dirty bomb' detention challenged

Considering the next Supreme Court Justice

A few weeks ago Justice Sandra Day O'Connor retired.

That's set in motion much wrangling and, on the part of the Conservatives, gleeful chomping of teeth as they relish being able to twist the Supreme Court even further to their ideological extremes.

Last night GW Bush proposed John Roberts.

For your consideration, let me point you here:

The John Roberts dossier Everything you need to know about Bush's nominee, before the battle begins. (By Katharine Mieszkowski, Salon.COM, July 20, 2005)

What does John Roberts believe? Bush's selection looks like a political masterstroke. But if Judge Roberts proves to be an ideologue in the Scalia/Thomas mold, he and the president may run into a Democratic buzz saw. (By Peter Rubin, Salon.COM, July 20, 2005)

"Sterling" judge or "extreme rightist"? Activists and scholars size up Bush's Supreme Court nominee. (Compiled by Page Rockwell and Aaron Kinney, Salon.COM, July 20, 2005)

I want to close by saying there's a principle of truth to consider. Just because GW proposed this guy, and just because we know the Conservatives want to stack the deck in the Supreme Court, a knee-jerk reaction is still knee-jerk. Give the guy consideration before leaping to conclusions.

Monday, July 18, 2005

Review: Bankruptcy 1995

This book Bankruptcy 1995; the Coming Collapse of America and how to stop it is about an event that never happened. Namely, the numbers presented in the book formed a prediction, that in 1995 America's income and expenditures would become unbalanced and head into an exponential debt spiral.

That didn't happen, but the scenario described in the book appears to be well founded, and highly alarming. And, the scenario is even more apropos for consideration today with the tremendous debt GW Bush has saddled America with.

The author of Bankruptcy 1995 is Harry Figge (with ghostwriting assistance, no doubt). He's an engineer turned CEO of a fortune 500 company. One claim to fame beyond that is that in the early 1980's he was co-chairman of President Reagan's Private Sector on Cost Control, also known as the Grace Commission. The Grace Commission is the ones who infamously found the $500 toilet seats and other forms of "waste" in defense spending.

He explains in the book that his motivation for writing the book was to explore an alarming scenario he saw forming in the U.S. At the time several countries, primarily in Latin America, went through throes of hyper-inflation driven by huge debt loads. He witnessed the runup of debt brought on us by Presidents Reagan and GHW Bush and wanted to determine whether the same hyper-inflation scenarios were possible in the U.S. And, if they were possible, how to deal with them in the best way.

He begins by laying the blame at the feet of President Johnson. He claims that before Johnson the country operated on a "pay-as-you-go" basis, that generally meant a balanced budget and little debt. The only time debt would build up is in war-time (a.k.a. "War Bonds") and would be quickly paid off.

From my perspective of having grown up with a country always in debt, that seems a little foreign. However it is an ideal to which I would love for this country to follow. It makes too much sense, because debt involves spending extra $$'s on interest. As I explained in my personal finance recommendations, that extra money spent on interest directly corresponds with our life force.

Johnson's failing was to try and fight two wars at once. The first being Vietnam, and the second being a "war on poverty" that apparently involved lots of aid to poor folk.

But let me remind the reader that the contributions by Presidents Reagan, GHW Bush and GW Bush to our national debt eclipses President Johnson's debt by several orders of magnitude. Where Johnson ran up a few billion in debt, Reagan and both Bushes have added Trillions in debt.

BTW, if you want to view information about the U.S. Public Debt, here's a few web sites: - primarily shows information about the how to buy U.S. bonds and treasury notes. - Office of Public Debt - and - the current debt to the penny. Note that the debt is broken down into two figures, that held by the public and intragovernmental debt. The latter is when a government agency (e.g. Social Security) buys U.S. bonds.

Back to the book ... His charts show that Reagan ran a total deficit in his 8 years of $1.34 trillion. GHW Bush ran a total deficit of $1.04 trillion, in only 4 years in office. His prediction was that the "next president" would run a total deficit of $3.17 trillion in four years. Oofda!

As I said, fortunately Bill Clinton's term did not run that much of a deficit. But, to be fair, we probably can't give Clinton all the credit for not running that much of a debt, just like we can't place all the blame on specific Presidents in the past. The President is only one piece of this game, because it is Congress who creates the budget, and it is the people who create the economic activity from which the government siphons off dollars (taxation).

For example, the debt saddling GW Bush's reign is partly due to the economic downturn that shrank tax receipts. Of course all the stupid tax cuts and the stupid war have a lot to do with it, but if the economy had remained strong then the tax cuts and war would have been more easily handled. See? It's not all GW's fault, much as I like to complain about him.

The part of this book that's alarming is, what does the debt mean in practical terms? To understand that we have to consider a bigger picture than the debt, namely the income and expense structure of the U.S. Government.

Basically when we run a debt it's because income didn't cover the expenses in some year. This is true for a government just as it is for individuals. It's just that the debt a government can run is enourmous, and any problems the government runs into in debt repayment eventually effect us all.

Income comes from taxation and fees the government collects. When the economy does well, there's more money flowing around that can be taxed, and when it's doing badly there's less. Hence income fluctuates with the health of the economy.

It's the expense side of this which was very alarming. The expenses can be divided into three groupings: a) interest on the debt, b) required expenses, and c) semi-optional expenses.

Groups (a) and (b) are really the same thing, because if you don't pay the debt payments then the worlds lenders will get highly pissed off at the U.S. The U.S. debt is highly rated as the safest debt in the world, because it's always paid off. We can't afford to lose that status, can we?

In any case I split them into two groups for a reason. The stuff that falls into (b) are things like defense spending and "entitlement programs". The entitlement programs are (?were?) things like "welfare", and involved government payments that are required by law to be made, and whose amounts are tied to the rate of inflation. There are several other things that fall into required payments but the essential characteristic is that the government must make those expenditures.

The point made in the book is that if the sum of (a) and (b) remain less than the income then it remains possible to run the game simply through raising more debt. But if (a) and (b) were to exceed the income, then that means you're having to raise more debt to pay the required expenses. If the budget were to ever get into that configuration, then it becomes a vicious loop. By borrowing money to pay required expenses, that just expands the debt even more, which then increases the interest payments, making the required expenses even larger the next year. The technical term is "debt spiral".

Let's look at some current debt expense figures:

As we can see, the interest payments have been in the $300-400 billion per year range for a decade. That's a lot of money, and it's our tax money that pays for it. - This site shows the budget split out by department, and how the total budget is swamped by expenditures through the Defense Department, Health and Human Services, and the Interest on the National Debt. Obviously the proprietor of that site has an axe to grind (e.g. "want to kill the IRS") but the information is useful nonetheless.

What would happen if the U.S. were to enter the debt spiral? There's approximately two choices: hyper-inflation, and reneging on the debt. Since the U.S. would never renege on the debt, then it would be hyper-inflation, and the stories I've heard about living in hyper-inflating countries are not pretty.

While this book is hopelessly out of date, the scenario it paints can still happen. This book is worth reading if only to understand the scenario.

Follow the Uranium

There's this growing scandal ... the story is circling around former-Ambassador Joe Wilson's disclosure on July 6, 2003 that he made a trip to Niger to investigate the claims about Iraq buying Uranium from Niger. That led to top administration officials committing treason by disclosing his wife's secret identity, which was part of a broader campaign to discredit Joe Wilson.

In The continuing Rove Watch I point to a news article saying that we need to keep our eyes on that story. If we get distracted then the game will fail, and Karl Rove will continue in his job.

But, really, that's a short-sighted view of the game, isn't it?

Follow the Uranium (By FRANK RICH, Published: July 17, 2005)

This is Mr. Rich's point exactly. In his view Wilson and the rest of the current scandal is a McGuffin, which is a literary tool where an object, person, or thing seems to have supreme importance early in the story but turns out to be inconsequential in the long run. I suppose that Wilson's trip to Niger was only a small part of the evidence gathering that went into justifying this war.

The real story, and I agree with him, is the larger picture of the Administration foisting a false story upon us to justify a war that in truth was more of a distraction from the real problem. The real problem was the al Qaeda holed up in Afghanistan who largely were not captured and were able to continue operating. The Iraqi's had nothing to do with the September 11, 2001 attacks and attacking Iraq has been costly in lives and money, tarnished Americas reputation around the world, and allowed the real culprits to escape.

That is the real crime this administration has done.

Article Reference: 

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Is this what GW meant to create in Iraq?

I've been shaking my head for a long time over the result of the current Iraq war. At first it was just the sheer audacity of attacking a country that hadn't harmed this country (it was Afghani's and Saudi's who attacked America on September 11, 2001), especially as we learned about the lies used to justify the war. But then I researched the background material showing the neocon plan for the Middle East, and I realized just how nutty their plan is. To think you can force, at gunpoint, a country to adopt democracy is sheer lunacy.

An Axis of Cooperation?

Consider the question raised on the Stinkin' Desert Post. The status of the war in Iraq has driven the Iraqi and Iranian governments to cooperate between themselves on a variety of interests. Yup, Iran and Iraq cooperating. Didn't they fight a war, a nasty war, in the 1980's? Yup, they sure did, with America providing arms to both sides of the conflict.

Makes one shake their head in wonder.

Iran was declared to be part of the "Axis of Evil" by our President. Surely their goals for the Iraq war did not include having Iran and Iraq join in cooperation. The neocon plan was to reshape the Middle East by first toppling the government of Iraq, and then moving on to either Iran or Syria. Given the noises the U.S. leaders have been saying about Iran, and their desire for Nuclear weaponry, the designated next target is Iran.

So, why are Iran and Iraq cooperating?

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

About the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, and Jewish conspiracies

Supposedly there's this secret Jewish conspiracy, run by all the Jewish bankers and the rest of them, all Jews are bent on running the world. That there's an international jewish conspiracy of jewish bankers who eat children for breakfast. Therefore we must kill all Jews before they try to subvert our ways and destroy us. Nonsense like that has been distributed for years, right? But is it true, or is it just part of the history of demonizing the jews?

Now, where did that nonsense come from?

This book is a graphic novel by Will Eisner that gives the history of the forgery that created the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, the unmasking of the forgery, and the continued popularity of the book despite it being known as a fraud.

I, myself, had never heard of the Protocols until hearing Dave Emory mention it, and I didn't get an appreciation of what they are until reading this book by Will Eisner. The Protocols are the source material for the entire Jews-taking-over-the-world conspiracy theory. That story and the use of The Protocols to justify that story has been behind so much of the bloodshed and angst piled upon the Jewish people, including its use in Nazi Germany as the justification for the Holocaust.

What Will Eisner shows is the origins. A lesser known French author in the mid-1800's had a mission, he thought, to write novels that would inflame the public to rise up against Napoleon III. Instead he simply got arrested each time he wrote a new novel, Napoleon III stayed popular until his ill-fated war against Germany, and the lesser known author eventually committed suicide.

In 1905, however, some members of the Russian Court wanted to change Tsar Nicholas's attention and thought if they could make the Jews a scapegoat it would work to their advantage. They hired a propagandist who took a book written by a lesser known French author, changed some details, changed the names, and turned it into a screed against the Jews. The work was good enough for their ends, but the book lived well beyond the purpose to which they put it.

Originally it was meant simply to influence opinion in the Russian elite. It however spread, and spread, and spread, the first stop being Nazi Germany. But it went well beyond, being translated into dozens of languages all over the world, spread in many countries, especially in the Islamic world. And, as I said, it was a direct contributing factor to the Holocaust.

Eisner's book tells the story very well. As a graphic novel it tells the story in a way a written book relying on words cannot, especially in the hands of a master of the graphic novel like Eisner.

What strikes me most about this story is a spiritual teaching I've heard.

In a way, hate is hate is hate. Eisner starts the book with this idea:

Whenever one group of people is taught to hate another, a lie is created to inflame the hatred and justify a plot. The target is easy to find because the enemy is always the other.

What these Russian propagandists did was to take a hate-filled screed and change the target. Changing the target meant simply changing a few words here and there, as Eisner shows with a long series of of panels quoting, in parallel, matching sections from each book.

Hate is hate is hate. When you have a new target for hate, you simply change the name of the thing/person/event/etc you're hating. The hate stays the same, it is the target that changes.

Here are a few related books:

The continuing Rove Watch

Let's pick up todays Rove story.

Is Rove a "subject" and other big questions (Salon.COM war room): Maybe this story doesn't need to stop at Rove. The question is, How -- and why -- did Karl Rove know that Joseph Wilson's wife worked for the CIA? Was he told this? By whom? Did someone order him to leak this information? In other words, this story has to spread at least a little to any co-conspirators he worked with.

The second point is that Roves lawyer concedes that Rove is not a target but merely a subject of the Special Investigator Fitzgerald's investigaton. This indicates Fitzgerald has someone else as the target, and Rove is merely a stepping stone to get there.

Code Rove (By Evan Derkacz, AlterNet. Posted July 13, 2005.): This article has a clear agenda, Rove committed a crime, perhaps a Treasonous crime, and he needs to pay. As such the article reminds us to keep our eye on the ball, the task of removing Rove from power.

The Republican talking points about this mess have a strategy to divide the attention into a million little issues. If "we" get involved with all the little issues, we'll lose track of the goal.

But, I ask, in the context of the previous article, isn't keeping attention soley to the task of tackling Rove dangerous in that it would leave the other conspirators in power?

Bush declines comment on Rove Cites ongoing investigation of CIA leak (Wednesday, July 13, 2005; Posted: 11:27 a.m. EDT (15:27 GMT); CNN.COM): Summarizes the whole story fairly well, focusing most on the last 3 days. The main thing it's conveying is the official coverup/distraction story.

"Thank you, Mr. Rove" (Salon.COM war room): The Wall Street Journal editorial staff apparently wants to congradulate Mr. Rove. He is, they claim, a brave whistle-blower exposing nepotism or some kinda other crap story.

Rove Case May Test Bush's Loyalty to His Closest Aides (By DAVID E. SANGER, Published: July 13, 2005; NYTIMES.COM): The President promised to fire "anyone" who was involved in this leak. The question is, if that "anyone" involves his brain, then what will he do? One question asked in the article is: It is impossible to know whether any closed-door conversations have begun in the White House about whether to find a graceful way for Mr. Rove to exit partially, or as one former official said, to "get the benefit of the brain without the proximity of the body."

Monday, July 11, 2005

Alright! Everybody gang up on Rove!

This story goes back to the Summer of 2003. The U.S. had invaded Iraq in the Spring, in the face of massive worldwide disapproval. Yet Colin Powell had gone before the UN Security Council and laid out the 'case' for war (which, unfortunately, later proved to be completely false).

In that context Ambassador Joseph Wilson had published an op-ed piece saying that he had been asked by the Administration to go to Niger and verify or disprove claims about Iraq's interest in buying Uranium ore. One of the core claims was exactly that, and if true it would have been very disturbing. But like everything else it was false, and Joe Wilson's op-ed piece made it clear he'd not found any truth to the allegation and reported that back to Washington. Which made it puzzling why Washington would continue to claim this defunked story as truth that underscored the need to launch a war. A war that at the time had already cost 200 American lives, huge numbers of Iraqi lives, and the American goodwill around the world. Today the American death count is rocketing towards 2000, and we don't have an accurate cost in terms of Iraqi deaths.

Closely following Joe Wilson's op-ed piece it was disclosed that his wife is a CIA agent operating under deep cover, and claimed that his trip to Niger was arranged by her rather than by the administration.

See, it's treason, Treason, to disclose the identity of a secret agent.

The question for the last two years is: whodunnit

Democrats urge Bush to fire Rove in leak scandal (By Adam Entous, July 11, 2005)

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The White House faced mounting Democratic calls for President Bush to sideline or fire his top political aide Karl Rove on Monday over his involvement in a CIA leak scandal.

After publicly defending Rove two years ago, the White House responded to the barrage by saying it would not comment at the request of the prosecutors investigating who leaked the identify of CIA agent Valerie Plame.

"The White House promised if anyone was involved in the Valerie Plame affair, they would no longer be in this administration. I trust they will follow through on this pledge," Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid of Nevada said.

Why Karl Rove must go (July 11, 2005, SALON.COM WAR ROOM)

There are still plenty of questions about Karl Rove's involvement in the Valerie Plame case, and we trust that special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald will eventually get to the bottom of them. But given what we know today, the very best that anyone can say of Karl Rove is that, on July 11, 2003, he broke the cover of a CIA analyst in order to discredit criticism of the way George W. Bush used intelligence in the run-up to the Iraq war.

That's not partisan hyperbole; incredibly, it is Karl Rove's defense.

In order to show that Rove and his colleagues in the White House weren't engaged in a conspiracy to reveal Plame's identity, Rove's lawyer, Robert Luskin, says that Rove had another goal in mind when he told Time's Matthew Cooper that Joseph Wilson's wife was a CIA analyst: It was all about politics.

Rove Needs A Pink Slip (David Corn, July 11, 2005)

But let's put aside the legal issues for a moment. This email demonstrates that Rove committed a firing offense. He leaked national security information as part of a fierce campaign to undermine Wilson, who had criticized the White House on the war on Iraq. Rove's overworked attorney, Robert Luskin, defends his client by arguing that Rove never revealed the name of Valerie Plame/Wilson to Cooper and that he only referred to her as Wilson's wife. This is not much of a defense. If Cooper or any other journalist had written that "Wilson's wife works for the CIA" -- without mentioning her name -- such a disclosure could have been expected to have the same effect as if her name had been used: Valerie Wilson would have been compromised, her anti-WMD work placed at risk, and national security potentially harmed. Either Rove knew that he was revealing an undercover officer to a reporter or he was identifying a CIA officer without bothering to check on her status and without considering the consequences of outing her. Take your pick: in both scenarios Rove is acting in a reckless and cavalier fashion, ignoring the national security interests of the nation to score a political point against a policy foe.

... Apparently, it is how the White House operated -- or at least how Rove operated. If he violated White House rules (and presidential expectations) that prohibit such skullduggery, he should be booted.

McClellan also maintained at the time that "the president knows" that Rove wasn't involved in the leak. And he said that the allegation that Rove was involved in this leak was "a ridiculous suggestion" and "it is simply not true."

McClellan was wrong. Did that mean that Rove had lied to McClellan about his role in this? That Rove had also lied to Bush? Or was McClellan knowingly misinforming the public? If the latter, then there should be two resignations.

White House Press Briefing by Scott McClellan (July 11, 2005)

Q Does the President stand by his pledge to fire anyone involved in the leak of a name of a CIA operative?

MR. McCLELLAN: Terry, I appreciate your question. I think your question is being asked relating to some reports that are in reference to an ongoing criminal investigation. The criminal investigation that you reference is something that continues at this point. And as I've previously stated, while that investigation is ongoing, the White House is not going to comment on it. The President directed the White House to cooperate fully with the investigation, and as part of cooperating fully with the investigation, we made a decision that we weren't going to comment on it while it is ongoing.

Q Excuse me, but I wasn't actually talking about any investigation. But in June of 2004, the President said that he would fire anybody who was involved in this leak, to press of information. And I just want to know, is that still his position?

MR. McCLELLAN: Yes, but this question is coming up in the context of this ongoing investigation, and that's why I said that our policy continues to be that we're not going to get into commenting on an ongoing criminal investigation from this podium. The prosecutors overseeing the investigation had expressed a preference to us that one way to help the investigation is not to be commenting on it from this podium. And so that's why we are not going to get into commenting on it while it is an ongoing investigation, or questions related to it.

Q Scott, if I could -- if I could point out, contradictory to that statement, on September 29th, 2003, while the investigation was ongoing, you clearly commented on it. You were the first one who said, if anybody from the White House was involved, they would be fired. And then on June 10th of 2004, at Sea Island Plantation, in the midst of this investigation is when the President made his comment that, yes, he would fire anybody from the White House who was involved. So why have you commented on this during the process of the investigation in the past, but now you've suddenly drawn a curtain around it under the statement of, "We're not going to comment on an ongoing investigation"?

MR. McCLELLAN: Again, John, I appreciate the question. I know you want to get to the bottom of this. No one wants to get to the bottom of it more than the President of the United States. And I think the way to be most helpful is to not get into commenting on it while it is an ongoing investigation. That's something that the people overseeing the investigation have expressed a preference that we follow. And that's why we're continuing to follow that approach and that policy.

Now, I remember very well what was previously said. And at some point, I will be glad to talk about it, but not until after the investigation is complete.

Q So could I just ask, when did you change your mind to say that it was okay to comment during the course of an investigation before, but now it's not?

MR. McCLELLAN: Well, I think maybe you missed what I was saying in reference to Terry's question at the beginning. There came a point when the investigation got underway when those overseeing the investigation asked that it would be their -- or said that it would be their preference that we not get into discussing it while it is ongoing. I think that's the way to be most helpful to help them advance the investigation and get to the bottom of it.

Q Scott, can I ask you this; did Karl Rove commit a crime?

MR. McCLELLAN: Again, David, this is a question relating to an ongoing investigation, and you have my response related to the investigation. And I don't think you should read anything into it other than we're going to continue not to comment on it while it's ongoing.

Q Do you stand by your statement from the fall of 2003 when you were asked specifically about Karl and Elliott Abrams and Scooter Libby, and you said, "I've gone to each of those gentlemen, and they have told me they are not involved in this" -- do you stand by that statement?

MR. McCLELLAN: And if you will recall, I said that as part of helping the investigators move forward on the investigation we're not going to get into commenting on it. That was something I stated back near that time, as well.

Q Scott, I mean, just -- I mean, this is ridiculous. The notion that you're going to stand before us after having commented with that level of detail and tell people watching this that somehow you decided not to talk. You've got a public record out there. Do you stand by your remarks from that podium, or not?

MR. McCLELLAN: And again, David, I'm well aware, like you, of what was previously said, and I will be glad to talk about it at the appropriate time. The appropriate time is when the investigation --

Q Why are you choosing when it's appropriate and when it's inappropriate?

MR. McCLELLAN: If you'll let me finish --

Q No, you're not finishing -- you're not saying anything. You stood at that podium and said that Karl Rove was not involved. And now we find out that he spoke out about Joseph Wilson's wife. So don't you owe the American public a fuller explanation? Was he involved, or was he not? Because, contrary to what you told the American people, he did, indeed, talk about his wife, didn't he?

MR. McCLELLAN: David, there will be a time to talk about this, but now is not the time to talk about it.

Q Do you think people will accept that, what you're saying today?

MR. McCLELLAN: Again, I've responded to the question.

Go ahead, Terry.

Q Well, you're in a bad spot here, Scott, because after the investigation began, after the criminal investigation was underway, you said -- October 10th, 2003, "I spoke with those individuals, Rove, Abrams and Libby, as I pointed out, those individuals assured me they were not involved in this." From that podium. That's after the criminal investigation began. Now that Rove has essentially been caught red-handed peddling this information, all of a sudden you have respect for the sanctity of the criminal investigation?

MR. McCLELLAN: No, that's not a correct characterization Terry, and I think you are well aware of that. We know each other very well, and it was after that period that the investigators had requested that we not get into commenting on an ongoing criminal investigation. And we want to be helpful so that they can get to the bottom of this, because no one wants to get to the bottom of it more than the President of the United States. I am well aware of what was said previously. I remember well what was said previously. And at some point, I look forward to talking about it. But until the investigation is complete, I'm just not going to do that.

Q Do you recall when you were asked --

Q Wait, wait -- so you're now saying that after you cleared Rove and the others from that podium, then the prosecutors asked you not to speak anymore, and since then, you haven't?

MR. McCLELLAN: Again, you're continuing to ask questions relating to an ongoing criminal investigation, and I'm just not going to respond any further.

Q When did they ask you to stop commenting on it, Scott? Can you peg down a date?

MR. McCLELLAN: Back at that time period.

Q Well, then the President commented on it nine months later. So was he not following the White House plan?

MR. McCLELLAN: John, I appreciate your questions. You can keep asking them, but you have my response.

Go ahead, Dave.

Q We are going to keep asking them. When did the President learn that Karl Rove had had a conversation with the President -- with a news reporter about the involvement of Joseph Wilson's wife and the decision to send --

MR. McCLELLAN: I've responded to the questions.

Q When did the President learn that Karl Rove had --

MR. McCLELLAN: I've responded to the questions, Dick.

Go ahead.

Q After the investigation is completed, will you then be consistent with your word and the President's word that anybody who was involved would be let go?

MR. McCLELLAN: Again, after the investigation is complete, I will be glad to talk about it at that point.

Q And a follow-up. Can you walk us through why, given the fact that Rove's lawyer has spoken publicly about this, it is inconsistent with the investigation, that it compromises the investigation to talk about the involvement of Karl Rove, the Deputy Chief of Staff?

MR. McCLELLAN: Well, those overseeing the investigation expressed a preference to us that we not get into commenting on the investigation while it's ongoing. And that was what they requested of the White House. And so I think in order to be helpful to that investigation, we are following their direction.

Q Scott, there's a difference between commenting on an investigation and taking an action --

MR. McCLELLAN: Go ahead, Goyal.

Q Can I finish, please?

MR. McCLELLAN: You can come -- I'll come back to you in a minute.

... Q Does the President continue to have confidence in Mr. Rove?

MR. McCLELLAN: Again, these are all questions coming up in the context of an ongoing criminal investigation. And you've heard my response on this.

Q So you're not going to respond as to whether or not the President has confidence in his Deputy Chief of Staff?

MR. McCLELLAN: Carl, you're asking this question in the context of an ongoing investigation. And I would not read anything into it other than I'm simply not going to comment on an ongoing --

Q Has there been -- has there been any change --

MR. McCLELLAN: -- investigation.

Q Has there been any change or is there a plan for Mr. Rove's portfolio to be altered in any way?

MR. McCLELLAN: Again, you have my response to these questions.

... Q There's a difference between commenting publicly on an action and taking action in response to it. Newsweek put out a story, an email saying that Karl Rove passed national security information on to a reporter that outed a CIA officer. Now, are you saying that the President is not taking any action in response to that? Because I presume that the prosecutor did not ask you not to take action, and that if he did, you still would not necessarily abide by that; that the President is free to respond to news reports, regardless of whether there's an investigation or not. So are you saying that he's not going to do anything about this until the investigation is fully over and done with?

MR. McCLELLAN: Well, I think the President has previously spoken to this. This continues to be an ongoing criminal investigation. No one wants to get to the bottom of it more than the President of the United States. And we're just not going to have more to say on it until that investigation is complete.

Q But you acknowledge that he is free, as President of the United States, to take whatever action he wants to in response to a credible report that a member of his staff leaked information. He is free to take action if he wants to.

MR. McCLELLAN: Again, you're asking questions relating to an ongoing investigation, and I think I've responded to it.

... Q Who is Karl Rove as it relates to this administration?

MR. McCLELLAN: Do you have questions on another topic?

Q No, no, no, no. Who is Karl Rove as it relates to this current administration?

MR. McCLELLAN: I appreciate the question, April. I think I've responded.

... Q Scott, I think you're barrage today in part because we -- it is now clear that 21 months ago, you were up at this podium saying something that we now know to be demonstratively false. Now, are you concerned that in not setting the record straight today that this could undermine the credibility of the other things you say from the podium?

MR. McCLELLAN: Again, I'm going to be happy to talk about this at the appropriate time. Dana, you all -- you and everybody in this room, or most people in this room, I should say, know me very well and they know the type of person that I am. And I'm confident in our relationship that we have. But I will be glad to talk about this at the appropriate time, and that's once the investigation is complete. I'm not going to get into commenting based on reports or anything of that nature.

Q Scott, at this point, are we to consider what you've said previously, when you were talking about this, that you're still standing by that, or are those all inoperative at this point?

MR. McCLELLAN: Again, you're still trying to come at this from a different angle, and I've responded to it.

Q Are you standing by what you said previously?

MR. McCLELLAN: You've heard my response.

... Q When the leak investigation is concluded, does the President believe it might be important for his credibility, the credibility of the White House, to release all the information voluntarily that was submitted as part of the investigation, so the American public could see what the -- what transpired inside the White House at the time?

MR. McCLELLAN: This is an investigation being overseen by a special prosecutor. And I think those are questions best directed to the special prosecutor. Again, this is an ongoing matter; I'm just not going to get into commenting on it further at this time. At the appropriate time, when it's complete, then I'll be glad to talk about it at that point.

Q Have you in the White House considered whether that would be optimum to release as much information and make it as open a process --

MR. McCLELLAN: It's the same type of question. You're asking me to comment on an ongoing investigation, and I'm not going to do that.

Q I'm actually talking about the communication strategy, which is a little different.

MR. McCLELLAN: Understood. The President directed the White House to cooperate fully with the investigation. And that's what he expects people in the White House to do.

Q And he would like to that when it is concluded, cooperate fully with --

MR. McCLELLAN: Again, I've already responded.

Go ahead.

Q Scott, was it -- who in the investigation made this request of the White House not to comment further about the investigation? Was it Mr. Fitzgerald? Did he make the request of you --

MR. McCLELLAN: I mean, you can ask -- you can direct those questions to the special prosecutors. I think probably more than one individual who's involved in overseeing the investigation had expressed a preference that we not get into commenting on the investigation while it's ongoing. I think we all want to see the prosecutors get to the bottom of this matter. The President wants to see the prosecutors get to the bottom of this matter. And the way to help them do that is to not get into commenting on it while it is ongoing.

Q Was the request made of you, or of whom in the White House?

MR. McCLELLAN: I already responded to these questions.

... Q Yes, in your dealings with the special counsel, have you consulted a personal attorney?

MR. McCLELLAN: Again, I'm just not going to say anything further. I expressed all I'm going to say on this matter from this podium.

Analysis of using the QinetiQ scanner in a mass transit system

Yesterday I posted a small piece (Re: e-mail spying could have stopped London Bombers) about suggested moves by British authorities to leverage the bombings to further their agenda (namely: more spying on the citizens). Along the way I noted an article discussing QinetiQ and a proposal to install their scanners in the Tube stations in London.

Today The Register has published a lengthy analysis of the possible success of that idea:

Could the 'see through clothes' scanner stop London terror bombs? (By John Lettice, TheRegister.CO.UK, Published Monday 11th July 2005 11:44 GMT) Their prior coverage of QinetiQ is here.

The analysis goes like so: forget the tittilation for a moment that the scanner shows peoples naked bodies. Instead look at the practicality and whether the company has truly demonstrated the necessary features.

The typical entryway at a mass transit terminal is wide, allowing several people to enter/exit at once. This is for convenience of the mass transit users. Think of the stereotypical shot of Grand Central Station (NYC) and the thousands of people in that room at any one time. Further, typical mass transit stations in heavily populated areas have multiple entry/exit doors.

This presents a problem - The more people passing through the portal, the more the scanner has to sift through and detect. Say you've got 60 people entering the door each minute (not unreasonable for a busy mass transit station in a large city). You've got one second per person to scan them and recognize any naughty bits like guns or bombs. That's not a job for a human, as evidenced by the slowness of scanning people at airports.

The scanning system at airports also demonstrates the problem with using a scanner at a mass transit terminal. These work best when you scan one person at a time. This means forcing people into an orderly line. It's already painful enough to do that at an airport, but can you imagine what it would be like at a mass transit terminal to do so?

Also, experience in Israel has apparently shown that the bombing target then becomes the line, rather than trying to sneak bombs through the scanner to detonate them inside.

The Register's analysis is pretty thorough and interesting.

Article Reference: 

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Re: e-mail spying could have stopped London Bombers

Okay, there were a series of bombings in London the other day. I closed my previous posting with a warning to watch what the government leaders do ... because surely they're going to leverage the event to further some agenda of their own.

Here we go:

Email spying 'could have stopped killers' (Sunday July 10, 2005, The Observer)

Millions of personal email and mobile phone records could be stored and shared with police and intelligence officials across Europe to help thwart terrorist attacks.

The Home Secretary, Charles Clarke, will propose new measures at an emergency meeting of European Union interior ministers which will discuss the implications of Thursday's London bombings.

He raised the stakes dramatically by claiming they could 'quite possibly' have helped prevent such attacks, by identifying in advance suspicious patterns of behaviour by potential terrorists.

The article goes on to explain Clarke's proposal as tracking 'traffic data' (namely, sender/receiver/time of email transmissions, or other messaging systems). The goal is addressing this scenario:

'Terrorism today is by definition international: the more we can survey the way in which people operate, the way in which they make their phone calls, the better your chance of identifying patterns of behaviour which are a threat,' he said.

Hmmm... "patterns of behavior". Reminds me of the Total Information Awareness system proposed in the U.S. Defense Department.

Clarke also pledged to review draft plans for a crackdown on so-called 'acts preparatory to terrorism' - expected to include new offences of associating with a known terror suspect, targeting terrorist sympathisers - to see whether further measures are required. A new counter-terrorism bill had been almost complete when the bombers struck.

Okay, you can see where he's heading. He wants greater powers of surveillance so they can presumably catch these people before they do their deeds. Hmm.... Do you remember in the 1990's, after every school shooting President Clinton would make a speech demanding more surveillance powers for the FBI?

Clearly the government leaders agenda is to more efficiently track our every movements.

We have to think about this very carefully. Do you really want the government to know your every move? For the government to know who you talk with and when?

UPDATE: Apparently they're not just going to go after conversations (email or otherwise). Additionally they're going to install body scanners at "tube" stations:

Body scan machines to be used on Tube passengers (By Ben Webster, Transport Correspondent, London Times)

TUBE passengers are to have their bodies scanned by machines that see through clothing in an attempt to prevent further terrorist attacks. The millimetre wave imagers will be used to carry out random checks as people enter stations after services resume today.

... The scanners can spot the waistcoat bombs usually worn by suicide bombers and automatically send an alert to nearby officers. Unlike other scanners, they can cover crowded entrances without the need for people to be stopped for individual checks.

... Simon Stringer, managing director of QinetiQ’s security division, said: “We have been asked to deploy some of this equipment.

“It would certainly assist in preventing this sort of thing from happening again.

“After today, I expect the travelling public will be more prepared to put up with a greater level of surveillance.

Saturday, July 9, 2005

Scott Ritter on the U.S. war with Iran

Iran? Is Scott smoking something? Doesn't he mean Iraq?

Nope, read the article, he very clearly means the U.S. war with Iran. But, then, war with Iran was telegraphed by the Neocons over 10 years ago when they called for a war to reshape the middle east, starting with Iraq and then moving on to either Syria or Iran. For the U.S. to attack Iran would simply be to follow through with the plan.

US war with Iran has already begun (By Scott Ritter, June 23, 2005, And, yes, to make this richer, he is writing for Al Jazeera.

Here's the way he reads it ...

Leading up to the Iraq war the U.S. conducted various military operations inside Iraq beginning well over a year prior to the invasion. Specifically in 16 October 2002, President Bush told the American people that "I have not ordered the use of force. I hope that the use of force will not become necessary." But that was yet another lie, because he had already signed such orders, and military operations were already underway in Iraq.

He goes on to claim that

  1. The U.S. military are sending spy aircraft over Iran on a regular schedule.
  2. The U.S. is working with the Mujahadeen el-Khalq to run CIA-backed operations inside Iran.
  3. MEK is an Terrorism organization officially labeled as such by the U.S. State Department, and for U.S. officials to work with an known Terrorist organization goes against everything this war is supposedly about.
  4. The U.S. is working with Azerbaijan to operate "forward bases" that can be used to stage supplies and troops to enter Iran. Also, in the immediate term, those forward bases act as CIA-sponsored training grounds to work with the Azeri of Northern Iran to infiltrate and set up geurilla units inside Iran.
  5. The U.S. of course already has extensive materiel located nearby (Iraq, Afghanistan, Uzbekistan, etc) to apply to Iran should open hostilities begin.
  6. The combination gives a very different invasion strategy than had been considered before. Instead of landing at some towns along Iran's southern coast, they would invade from the North in Azerbaijan and have a relatively short route to reach Tehran.

Corporate blogging & politics

This is an issue that's been rumbling around for awhile - Should bloggers be considered under campaign finance regulations? Should bloggers be regulated?


With 20 million or more blogs out there it'd be hard to say anything concrete about the field, because the field is so diverse. For example, many blogs are there just to allow communication between family members, and have zero political content. Others deal with various other topics. Clearly most of the bloggers ought not be regulated because what they're doing is unrelated to the conduct of the political system.

Just as clearly there are many politically-oriented bloggers, some of whom are very popular. Should they be regulated?

Beware of the "Halli-bloggers"! If bloggers get the same press freedoms as traditional media, what will prevent corporations like Halliburton from using blogs to pour unregulated money into politics? (By Zachary Roth, July 9, 2005,

The Federal Election Commission has been considering this question for awhile, and their deliberations are leading to the above questionable scenario. What if some big corporation (e.g. Halliburton) causes a blog site to be created, and the blog site is given a mission to be Halliburtons mouthpiece. This could be done secretly in a way that makes the blog site appear to be legitimate. But, it would be Halliburton's operation and activisming on whatever cause Halliburon wants to push (e.g. launch another war somewhere, so that Halliburton would get more contracts for reconstruction).

Let me suggest that there are probably already laws which define what a political activist is, and the occasions under which political activists should be regulated. It's merely a matter of extending those laws to cover bloggers.

I say this because there's nothing special about bloggers. All they do is write, and their writing platform exists on a web site. Big deal.

If a political-activist who happens to be a blogger is truly independant, great. If that person is being funded by so-and-so then that should be disclosed.

That might not be enough, however. For example it's relatively easy to put advertising and whatnot on a blog site, and thereby earn an income that way. Done well enough the blogger running the site could be independantly supported, yet they could also be in cahoots with some corporate place, and they wouldn't have to disclose anything.

It's clear though that in politics and political activism that a lot of skulduggery goes on, and it's best for there to be disclosure of support and other connections.

Friday, July 8, 2005

The bombings in London

Criminals, that's what they are. They place bombs in places where unsuspecting people are going about their daily lives. The bombs blow up, and people die. Criminals, pure and simple.

It's a tactic that's been used the world over. The Irish Republican Army, for example, used it widely, even in London. I can imagine French Resistance Fighters might have used this tactic in World War II (e.g. bombing cafe's frequented by Germans). We do know beyond the IRA, that the tactic has been used in lots and lots of countries.

As I think about this, any act of war incites terror. For example think of the scene in Saving Private Ryan where they come across a German family in their bombed out house, and the father is trying to give his daughter to the Americans as if that's the only way to keep his daughter safe. Think of how terrified the peoples of Germany must have been as the Liberating armies destroyed the German army. Past conquering armies have tended to slaughter the population wholesale, or rape and pillage. What would have been the fate of the German peoples? Fortunately we conducted that war with dignity, except for the firebombing of Dresden.

When a "terrorist" group like Al Qaeda uses the means available to it (lacking huge armies) and places bombs in public - of course they mean to incite terror. I remember listening to my friend, a jewish man from Brooklyn, who lives in East Jerusalem. He was in his final year of training in a spiritual healing program, and we were in a class that's a kind of group therapy session of sorts. I started to be aghast at hearing the vitriol he felt towards the Palestinians, and then I remembered where he's coming from, where he lives (in the land the Palestinians want for their capitol), and the depth of terror it must be to live with the constant threat of being bombed.

Organized armies, when they make attacks, also do so in a way that purposely incites terror in their "enemies". It doesn't matter that they do their acts under the approval of their government, and in their perception of the publics best interest. They are still terrorizing the people whom they are attacking.

And watch what the leaders say/do in the wake of these attacks. They mean to leverage the terror incited by the attacks to further their agenda, just as the "terrorist" organizations mean to leverage the terror to achieve a different agenda.

For example - GW Bush and Tony Blair and Donald Rumsfield and the rest of that gang all leveraged the September 11, 2001 attack to attack and subjugate a country which had nothing to do with the September 11, 2001 attack. Why Iraq? Iraq had nothing to do with it, it was the people holed up in Afghanistan, who have now been allowed to get away with murder.

What lies are going to be justified by the attack in London?

Thursday, July 7, 2005

Re: Who's watching the watch list?

In the U.S. the Transportation Security Agency (TSA) has famously taken over security all airports around the country. Ostensibly this was to keep us safe from future terroristical attacks. It was certainly better than stationing National Guard troops with their M-16's (maaan, that was scarey, seeing machine guns in the airport), maybe.

One of the things the TSA has done is compile lists of suspect people, and those lists of suspect people are then used to deny boarding priveleges. Presumably the dangerous people would then be unable to commit their nefariousness.

But ...

Who's Watching the Watch List? (By John Graham, AlterNet. Posted July 7, 2005.)

This is the story of a former Washington insider, who once held an official government top-secret clearance, and was thus highly vetted by the FBI, who has an Anglo-Saxon name, and who conducts his life as an open book. Yet, he found himself denied airplane travel because he's on the TSA list.

I'm embarrassed that it took my own ox being gored for me to see the threat posed by the Administration's current restricting of civil liberties. I'm being accused of a serious--even treasonous--criminal intent by a faceless bureaucracy, with no opportunity (that I can find) to refute any errors or false charges. My ability to earn a living is threatened; I speak on civic action and leadership all over the world, including recently at the US Air Force Academy. Plane travel is key to my livelihood.
He's working the TSA process to be evaluated - but appears that once you're on the list, you can't get off. At the best you'd appear on a section of the list reserved for people who'd been cleared.

This is galling, to have people accused by a secret process of some kind, and no recourse for challenging the accusation.

And, it's that this is happening in America.

Tuesday, July 5, 2005

On the arrival of humans to North America

Ancient history like the question of "When did humans arrive in North America" seemed like a big yawner when I was in High School and College. But I since realized the importance of this question.

e.g. There's the quip that if you can control what people think about the past, you can control the future. Suppose human history contains much more than what we were told? And that by hiding the truth of human history, the ignorance of the people leads them to being more controllable?

But that's kind of far-fetched isn't it? Or is it? Is our current civilization, spanning back to the Babylonians, the only time when creatures on this planet were intelligent tool-using beings? Or was there a previous period of history when the creatures on the planet were just as "advanced" as we are now?

Footprints of 'first Americans' (By Paul Rincon, BBC News science reporter)

This story has nothing to do with the questions I raised above, except that it is documented proof (still to be validated, however) of human arrival well earlier than the currently prevailing theory. The prevailing theory is arrival across a land bridge in Siberia 11,000 years ago. However the article discusses a discovery of a footprint next to an old lakebed in Mexico that predates that by 30,000 years. Hmmm....

Sunday, July 3, 2005

Growing disapproval for President Bush

No Bounce: Bush Job Approval Unchanged by War Speech; Question on Impeachment Shows Polarization of Nation; Americans Tired of Divisivenesimpeachn Congress—Want Bi-Partisan Solutions—New Zogby Poll

In the context of growing anger in the U.S.A. over the abysmal failure this war in Iraq has become, President Bush made speechifying intended to bolster support.

Polling indicates the public isn't buying it, and a growing number want his impeachment.

Just one week ago, President Bush’s job approval stood at a previous low of 44%—but it has now slipped another point to 43%, despite a speech to the nation intended to build support for the Administration and the ongoing Iraq War effort. The Zogby America survey includes calls made both before and after the President’s address, and the results show no discernible “bump” in his job approval, with voter approval of his job performance at 45% in the final day of polling.

In a sign of the continuing partisan division of the nation, more than two-in-five (42%) voters say that, if it is found that President Bush did not tell the truth about his reasons for going to war with Iraq, Congress should hold him accountable through impeachment. While half (50%) of respondents do not hold this view, supporters of impeachment outweigh opponents in some parts of the country.

For the record, I have been calling for President Bush's impeachment since March 2004.

In August 2003, I went through the "case" that had been presented to justify this war in Iraq.  If you remember, in Feb 2003 Colin Powell, then the Secretary of State, appeared before the UN Security Council to present the case for invading Iraq and toppling the head of state.  By August it was clear that every justification he laid out was incorrect, and it appeared that he knew he was lying through his teeth when he made that presentation.

American public, I speak to you.  If you say you support impeachment "if" President Bush lied us into the war, then what are you waiting for?  He lied, Powell lied, Cheney lied, Condy lied, and the whole lot of them lied to create this war.

If lying about sex is impeachable, then what do you do when a President lies to create a war?

The act of going to war means that people will die.  Not only our Sons and Daughters will die, but so will others, from innocent civilians caught in accidental fire incidents, to the combatants we've labeled as enemies.  Going to war ought to be reserved until the most drastic of situations, and not be done lightly.  It's clear this President doesn't understand that, and is cavalier about the cost of war, and the cost to this nation and the world of conducting unjust wars.

My only concern is that if Bush is impeached, that leaves Cheney as President.  I don't know which is scarier.

Mystery planes continue to circle over Lodi, CA

This sounds like a plot for a bad conspiracy movie, but here it is printed in the Lodi CA newspaper:

Mystery planes continue to circle over Lodi (By Layla Bohm, News-Sentinel Staff Writer, Last updated: Wednesday, Jun 29, 2005)

The story is part of a larger one, concerning some locals who tried to get training in "terrorist training camps".  The FBI came to town to interrogate some people, and at the same time these small airplanes began flying in circles all day long.  It's a small enough town that people took notice, and have been investigating on their own.

"He's doing something. He's doing some reconnaissance," said Lodi resident and pilot Arlene Farley, who even got out binoculars to peer up at one of the planes.

What the planes are doing remains a mystery, though most people believe the activity coincides with the FBI investigation that led to the arrests of five Lodi men. In other parts of the country, small planes have flown in circles over cities also under investigation on ties to domestic and international terrorism.

What are their clues?

First is the registry of the mystery plane.  It's registered to a shell company in Delaware, Northwest Aircraft Leasing Corp., with anonymous owners.  If you enter that name in Delaware's Secretary of State Corporate Information lookup, you find the corporation is registered by the THE CORPORATION TRUST COMPANY, a company that specializes in helping out-of-state people register their corporations in Delaware (because Delaware doesn't tax corporations).

The second clue is that further queries about the plane, using the tail number, keep turning up people who refuse to say any more.  On initial contact with the FAA, a spokesman there supposedly suggested the airplane was likely recording cell phone conversations and tracking people with infrared.  The FBI, of course, says they cannot comment on existing investigations.

Recall that the CIA has a history of getting airplanes registered under dummy corporations (e.g. the famous Air America that operated in Vietnam) that it then used for nefarious purposes.  One such story appeared in May 2005 when NY Times reporters investigated airplanes being used for "extraordinary rendition" cases where the CIA is outsourcing torture to countries that have fewer qualms.  The CIA has all sorts of use for airplanes, not just shipping prisoners around, and apparently this is one of them.

So far these two clues aren't much.  The most important clue is the airplanes behavior.

It is flying continuous circles to the left (by which, I think they mean counterclockwise).  This behavior is recommended by FLIR Systems, makers of a thermal camera (infrared) that's meant to be used by law enforcement in conducting aerial searches.  The March 2003 issue of their magazine, Field of View, describes the procedure and recommends using the Cessna 182 because of its low noise signature.

None of which really answers the concern ... it all simply is information that makes one go "hmmm"