Funny How All Those Peace Negotiations Seem to Fail…

Dexter Filkins confirms today something that had been suggested in earlier reporting: Pakistan cooperated in our capture of Abdul Ghani Baradar in January to disrupt peace talks in Afghanistan.

Now, seven months later, Pakistani officials are telling a very different story. They say they set out to capture Mr. Baradar, and used the C.I.A. to help them do it, because they wanted to shut down secret peace talks that Mr. Baradar had been conducting with the Afghan government that excluded Pakistan, the Taliban’s longtime backer.

In the weeks after Mr. Baradar’s capture, Pakistani security officials detained as many as 23 Taliban leaders, many of whom had been enjoying the protection of the Pakistani government for years. The talks came to an end.


“We picked up Baradar and the others because they were trying to make a deal without us,” said a Pakistani security official, who, like numerous people interviewed about the operation, spoke anonymously because of the delicacy of relations between Pakistan, Afghanistan and the United States. “We protect the Taliban. They are dependent on us. We are not going to allow them to make a deal with Karzai and the Indians.”


“This is a national secret,” he said. “The Americans and the British were going behind our backs, and we couldn’t allow that.” American and British officials denied they were directly involved in talks with the Taliban.

Some of the Americans anonymously quoted in the piece deny Pakistan was driving the capture; elsewhere Filkins repeats suggestions that the CIA got used by Pakistan. So while the ISI seems ready to confirm their reasons for the capture, the US intent in it still remains murky.

But there seems to be a pattern of murky events scuttling peace negotiations of late.

Consider the May 25 drone strike in Yemen that also happened to kill a provincial official, Jabir al-Shabwani, trying to talk al Qaeda into making peace.

At first, the news from Yemen on May 25 sounded like a modest victory in the campaign against terrorists: an airstrike had hit a group suspected of being operatives for Al Qaeda in the remote desert of Marib Province, birthplace of the legendary queen of Sheba.

But the strike, it turned out, had also killed the province’s deputy governor, a respected local leader who Yemeni officials said had been trying to talk Qaeda members into giving up their fight.


The May strike in Yemen, for example, provoked a revenge attack on an oil pipeline by local tribesmen and produced a propaganda bonanza for Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. It also left President Saleh privately furious about the death of the provincial official, Jabir al-Shabwani, and scrambling to prevent an anti-American backlash, according to Yemeni officials.

As with the Baradar capture, it remains unclear whether our partners used us, or whether we intended this outcome.But there does appear to be an emerging pattern of peace negotiations scuttled in one way or another.

(See also Yemen’s arrest of journalists intending to cover a “peace conference” launched by a Yemeni arms dealer today.)

This may just be al Qaeda’s attempts to prevent what happened in Iraq–the payoff of those sympathetic to their cause. Or it may be something else entirely.

But it sure seems like someone–quite possibly our “partners” in the fight against al Qaeda–badly wants to prevent peace from breaking out.

  1. BoxTurtle says:

    I think we can take Pakistan at their word here. They don’t want any kind of peace deal that doesn’t include them and advance their interests. So they killed it.

    ObamaLLP wants no peace with AQ at all, though they’d probably deal with the Taliban.

    Boxturtle (everybody seems to be able to “use” the CIA except us)

    • Mary says:

      Yeah – once they pick him up, they run it up the flagpole for Karzai that he can’t backdoor them and better yet, once they tie the CIA (who acted in ignorance when they gave the assist) to the pick up, then the US pretty much has to come out and tout it – which put the US on the wrong side of the faction that was trying for peace. And the CIA doesn’t even get good access to Baradar out of the deal.

      What’s interesting is that there was a lot of spec about this at the time – so why is it only now that this *story* is coming out? Who decided it was in whose interest to revisit the story but this time with some confirmatory leaks that Pakistan was trying to derail any process that doesn’t keep them central?

      • BoxTurtle says:

        Story is coming from Pakistan so, operating on the assumption that the ISI are the ones who want it public, I’d say it’s coming to light now as a warning to Obama and Karzai that Pakistans interests will be addressed. Regardless of if you like it or not.

        Perhaps Karzai is still trying to backdoor a plan.

        Boxturtle (As often as the CIA comes to the plate, you’d think they could hit a Curveball by now)

          • klynn says:

            and BoxTurtle…

            Hey you two…coming around here and drumming up fantastic insight and snark at the same time. What’s wrong with you two? /s

            I might throw in there:

            It is the only Muslim-majority state that possesses nuclear weapons.

            Many would argue this…

            But there is that nagging need for a large humanitarian response to Pakistan and we seem to be falling short…

            The floods in Pakistan have upended the Obama administration’s carefully honed strategy there, confronting the United States with a vast humanitarian crisis and militant groups determined to exploit the misery, in a country that was already one of its thorniest problems.

            (my bold)

          • Gitcheegumee says:

            Hard to keep your eye on the ball and cover your ass at the same time…whilst simultaneously “doublespeaking “….out of both sides of your mouth.

      • bmaz says:

        Why do you necessarily believe the CIA acted “in ignorance” initially? Just because they say so? I have no idea one way or another whether they did or not, but I see no reason to assume this part of the story is accurate.

        • Mary says:

          Not just because the story says that neither the CIA nor Pakistani intel knew immediately after the raid who they had, but rather bc if the CIA did know who they had at the time of the raid and Pakistani intel was professing to not know, I can’t believe the CIA would have just let him slip through their fingers without making an effort to render him out to Bagram or elsewhere (the right Obama has continued to even openly claim).

          I buy that they didn’t know right away bc they didn’t get care, custody and control and the way the info came out, when Pakistan had already taken him to a safe house under their control, boxed the CIA in a way they should have seen coming if they knew – if they knew, they would have kept him and rendered him, to Bagram if nowhere else.

          IMO, fwiw. But not based solely on the representation in the story. ;)

  2. klynn says:

    Boxturtle (everybody seems to be able to “use” the CIA except us)

    Boxturtle, you know I adore your parenthetical phrases. This one however, this one deserves further adoration in the form of a fully developed diary on the subject, despite your greatly appreciated snark.

    • BoxTurtle says:

      Go for it. It brings back too many childhood memories. It’s MY toy, I have to pick it up and keep it clean…but my miserable sister can play with it whenever she wants. And if she leaves it out in the rain, it’s my fault. If she breaks it, it’s my fault. My solution was to not let her play with it. This solution always got vetoed by one parent or another.

      Boxturtle (parents, in this context, means Obama or Israel)

    • emptywheel says:

      I’m not sure I know enough to have a theory yet. Some possibilities are:

      1) Our partners are unreliable and are misdirecting our counterterrorism efforts bc they benefit from the ability to remain brokers receiving a lot of money.

      2) Al Qaeda affiliates and their friends in powerful positions saw how well paying off al Qaeda in Iraq worked, and they want to prevent that from happening (I’m assuming that any “peace” would come with financial benefit to those who made peace).

      3) Some factions w/in the US government don’t want peace and have made sure to prevent it.

      4) Different things are happening in Pakistan than in Yemen.

      • BoxTurtle says:

        Those theories are NOT mutually exclusive. I believe primarily your #1, but 3 & 4 are also true. Insufficient data on #2.

        Boxturtle (Theory #5: In order to pass legislation, ObamaLLP had to let Beck play with their drones)

  3. dustbunny44 says:

    Agreed that Pakistan apparently is doing away with Taliban who don’t “advance their interests”, and implying that they are husbanding Taliban who do. Not much info re: what exactly their interests might be (my ignorant mind boggles). But very useful nonetheless.

  4. Mary says:

    I thought the lead in to what you quoted above gave some additional flavor:

    both American and Pakistani officials claimed that Mr. Baradar’s capture had been a lucky break. It was only days later, the officials said, that they finally figured out who they had.

    I can beleive that the CIA didn’t know when they picked him up (especially since they had some other guy named Baradar holed up in a hotel in Macedonia being interrogated by Morrocan contractors – /s) but not that the Pakistani intel involved didn’t.

    And the fact that he’s resting comfortably in a Pakistani safehouse (per the article) instead of having been handed over to the US for an all American Obama Doctrine approach of torture then cover up, makes you wonder a bit at the CIA sales pitch. The CIA didn’t know who they were picking up in the grab and once they found out, the guy was “relaxing” in a CIA safehouse?

  5. Leen says:

    What does it say to the people of Pakistan when we are only willing to give them 150 million in funding for victims of the flooding? How many millions are being effected? (Prof Cole over at Informed Comment staying focused on this issue) How much does one drone cost American taxpayers that “accidentally” kills innocent people in Pakistan? How much do we give Israel every year?

    Seems just a bit insincere?

    • BoxTurtle says:

      It says we’re only there to kill AQ and friends. And it says that we’re as much their friends as they are ours.

      People remember when you don’t help them.

      Boxturtle (It’s a shame we don’t have a relief package that’ll fit in a 500lb bombshell)

      • Leen says:

        The Problem With the Predator(unable to link)

        “The total bill to U.S. taxpayers for lost drones in Afghanistan is over $55 million. The Global Hawk is manufactured by Northrup Grumman at Rancho Bernardo, CA, at a cost of $15 million each, while the Predator RQ-1 is made in San Diego, California, by General Atomics, with a unit price tag of $ 4.5 million.4”

        • BoxTurtle says:

          I’d love to see a breakout of “lost”. Shot down? Crashed? Human error? Repair needed but warrenty expired?

          Even so, at $15m or $4.5m per copy, they’re still a bargain compared to manned aircraft.

          Boxturtle (Unless you want to deliver something other than bombs)

    • Mary says:

      How much did Musharef say in his book that we had paid to him for bounties? It was a really big number I remember – it surprised me that he fessed up to it in print.

      • Mary says:

        Ok – maybe he didn’t give an exact number:

        This just says millions (it’s an interesting look back too, complete with Musharraf’s allegations about KSM having been an MI6 asset earlier)

        This story does say that we paid him 500,000 for the Khadr brother that Canada won’t turn over now

        Does that come out of Brennan’s play pocket?

        Guessing not.

        • bmaz says:

          Um, no; that money likely was paid out of the budget that pays defense lawyers, investigators and staff for military commission defendants. Cause giving it to them would be materially assisting terrorists anyway according to out newest Supreme Court Shining Light.

        • bobschacht says:

          it’s an interesting look back too, complete with Musharraf’s allegations about KSM having been an MI6 asset earlier

          Well, at one time Saddam Hussein was considered an American asset. Under an Republican President. He helped us against Iran. Dick Cheney went to confer with him about mutually beneficial activities. They were buddies, back then.

          Oh, yeah. We were also for Noriega before we were against him.

          How many other “assets” have turned into “liabilities”?

          Bob in AZ

          • Jeff Kaye says:

            Saddam Hussein became a U.S. asset when he was paid to be part of the 1963 coup that overthrew then-Prime Minister Abd al-Karim Qasim (or Kassem). (He may have been also working with the CIA when he was part of a failed plot to assassinate Qasim four years earlier. Qasim had earned the ire of the U.S. and British for blocking with the Iraqi Communist Party (he’d taken it out of illegality), and nationalizing the land the British-owned Iraqi Petroleum Company. He also, ironically, wanted to absorb Kuwait into Iraq, and was leery of Nasserite pan-Arabism.

            Hussein was a happy butcher for the CIA-supported Baathists, who slaughtered the Iraqi CP and liberal allies. And this was done with the support of the U.S. government led by then-President John Kennedy (a Democrat, if I remember correctly).

            According to Western scholars, as well as Iraqi refugees and a British human rights organization, the 1963 coup was accompanied by a bloodbath. Using lists of suspected Communists and other leftists provided by the C.I.A., the Baathists systematically murdered untold numbers of Iraq’s educated elite — killings in which Saddam Hussein himself is said to have participated. No one knows the exact toll, but accounts agree that the victims included hundreds of doctors, teachers, technicians, lawyers and other professionals as well as military and political figures….

            Soon, Western corporations like Mobil, Bechtel and British Petroleum were doing business with Baghdad — for American firms, their first major involvement in Iraq.

            See Roger Morris’s 2003 New York Times article, “A Tyrant 40 Years in the Making.”

            One cannot underestimate the perfidy with which U.S. policy has operated in this region. Yemen will follow Afghanistan as another state where the U.S. supported a native Islamist insurgency against a secular, left-leaning government, and now that the secular left has been killed off or emigrated, what’s left are tribal leaders and radical Islamists. See the first part of a very interesting article by Ghaith Abdul-Ahad at the UK Guardian:

            The rise of al-Qaida in Jaar has been a gradual process of radicalisation as generations of volunteer fighters have returned from conflicts abroad: the Afghan war against the Soviets in the 1980s, as well as the Nato-led war against the Taliban and the war in Iraq in 2003. Veterans of these conflicts, as well as jihadis who have never fought abroad, are in the streets of Jaar fighting for influence. In the 1970s and 1980s, Jaar had been predominantly a socialist town. But when the regime in Sana’a fought the socialists in a short civil war in 1994, the Islamists fought alongside them. When the socialists were defeated, the Islamists were encouraged to take control of the area. Quranic centres, the Yemeni equivalent of madrassas, were established with government support.

            Over the next 10 years, the town became a base for the Islamists…

            • Jeff Kaye says:

              Actually, I over-simplified the Yemen history, as there was a civil war between the North and South, with the North based more on Islamic support and the South more (supposedly) socialist and secular. One would have to remember how so many regions were divided between regions of influence between the U.S. and the USSR to get the flavor of the situation. The base for the differences between the region goes back to the more cosmopolitan history of Aden in the South, which was also for some time a British colony.

            • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

              Yes, I thought the Guardian reporting was interesting.
              And particularly the lack of infrastructure or any symptoms of functioning government.

              Probably unrelated, but I kept thinking that it was probably within a month of that double-triple agent killing the US-CIA group in ?Afghanistan around Christmas that the events noted in this post would have occurred. I’ve no idea of the nature of the linkages, if any.

  6. Leen says:

    An Update on the U.S. Response to Pakistan’s Flooding Disaster

    FPC Briefing. State Dept web site

    Dan Feldman

    ” Over 30 countries have now pledged over $150 million.”

    the above was 10 days ago


    U.S. pledges $60 mln more aid for flooded Pakistan 19 Aug 2010 20:15:25 GMT

    Source: Reuters

    UNITED NATIONS, Aug 19 (Reuters) – The United States announced on Thursday a new pledge of $60 million to help Pakistan deal with the massive flooding that has crippled the country.

    “With a new pledge that I am making today of $60 million today, the United States will be contributing more than $150 million toward emergency flood relief,” U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told the U.N. General Assembly.

    About $92 million of that total is in direct support of the U.N. relief plan, she added


    U.S. aide to Israel…$3billion per year…and it’s paid upfront instead of quarterly installments as it is with everyone else.

    • karnak12 says:

      Ya know,what disturbs me about this whole thing is that with $150,000,000.00 you could give $500,000.00 to 300,000,000 people in large chunks of cash (or Gold bullion, or whatever). I think that’s 130,000,000 more people than exists in the entire country of Pakistan. You could use the rest for infrastructure and healthcare. Hell, I’d move there!

      I would love to have somebody walk up to me and give me $500,000.00 in whatever viable currency existed at the moment. I’ll bet I could get my butt out of a flood with that.

      • karnak12 says:

        …and just think, if you had 6 kids, why the mind just boggles!

        (Lesee that’s half a mil for me, half a mil for Janey, her mom gets half a mil, each of the kids – half a mil…) yep – boggles!

  7. bobschacht says:

    But it sure seems like someone–quite possibly our “partners” in the fight against al Qaeda–badly wants to prevent peace from breaking out.

    Well, we’ve hired all those contractors like Blackwater/Xe who are in the War business, and its not in their interest to promote peace. They’ve got security clearances and have access to our Intel, both coming and going.

    This gets back to the whole business of The Trouble with Mercenaries. They have their own bottom line, and just because they’re under contract with us doesn’t mean that they’re loyal.

    Bob in AZ

  8. TarheelDem says:

    My hunches.

    The US as well as Pakistan were excluded from the peace talks that Barader was conducting. Pakistan wanted to teach Taliban leaders a lesson; the US, not aware of the peace talks or wanting those particular ones scuttled were happy to have a Taliban leader killed.

    I think that it is rather obvious that politics ends wars and the political discussion between the Karzai government and the Taliban will eventually have to happen. Which Taliban leaders and what this holds for who holds power in the Afghan government are still up for negotiation. It is fairly clear that the Taliban cannot control the entire country; the Northern Alliance is not going away.

    As for Yemen, it seems the prospect of killing al Quaeda operatives in Yemen was a higher priority that negotiating peace with them. No doubt the death of Jabir al-Shabwani was considered unfortunate collateral damage.

    This makes me wonder who was responsible for making the decisions in these cases. Likely both were seen as operational details and make by officers responsible for the operations in Afghanistan, with Pakistan, and with Yemen.

  9. Hugh says:

    It’s not just our partners. I would remind you of the decision in Holder v. Humanitarian Law Project (item 166 of my Obama scandals list). Individuals and organization are prohibited from giving material aid to terrorist organizations, including helping them move away from violence and terrorist activities.

  10. mattcarmody says:

    Like when I was a kid and we were supposed to have talks with the Soviets under Khrushchev. All of a sudden the Soviets succeed in downing a U-2 spy plane something they hadn’t been able to do until Oswald, who had worked at a U-2 facility in Japan, allegedly defected. The talks were cancelled.

    There are so many reasons why the oligarchs don’t want peace and they all have dead presidents on them.

    • BoxTurtle says:

      There are so many reasons why the oligarchs don’t want peace and they all have dead presidents on them.

      Do not confuse a desire for power with a desire for money. Money is simply a tool for obtaining and using power.

      Boxturtle (The Golden Rule: He who has the gold, makes the rules)

  11. skdadl says:

    The International Crisis Group (among others) will tell you that the main barrier to peace in Somalia for some years now has been the fiddlings of the CIA (and others to be named later). Al-Qaeda is a fairly recent presence there, the way in cleared for them by the turmoil caused by the toppling of the Islamic Courts regime, which was actually a fairly promising government, much more so than the cobbled-together coalition of war lords favoured by the U.S. But, y’know, the Courts had that bad word in their title, Islamic. And thus the West goes on shooting self in foots.

    Graham Greene published The Quiet American in 1955. “The best and the brightest” (ie, the naive frat boys incapable of putting themselves in anyone else’s shoes) haven’t changed a whit since then.

  12. fatster says:


    Blackwater founder gives statements in fraud suit

    “Susan Burke, who represents two self-described whistle-blowers and former employees Brad and Melan Davis, said she questioned Prince for seven hours in a hotel in Abu Dhabi, where he moved earlier this month. She said the questioning related to the “facts underlying the complaint.”

    ‘”Mr. Prince professed a lack of knowledge on a significant number of topics,” Burke said without providing details of the deposition.”


  13. Frank33 says:

    Pakistan created the Taliban with US financing to fight the Soviets, but the Taliban went very rogue. Apparently, the amount of US Aid to Pakistan is at least $1 billion dollars a year, although the actual amount is a secret. There is no real civilian government, it is all controlled by the ISI. Any money given for relief is likely to end up in ISI hands. The ISI are terrorists, and they bombed the Indian Embassy in Kabul and regularly commit mass murder against India such as in Mumbai in 2008.

    US Spy David Headly/Daood Gilani selected the Mumbai targets among others, as he frequently travelled to both india and Pakistan. Gilani is the brother of the press spokesman for their “Prime Minister”, and the PM Yousuf Raza Gilani himself may be a distant relative to Headley. The US “intelligence community” knew about Headley’s involvement with ISI before Mumbai but Headley was not arrested until a year after it happened. The US kept Headley from Indian investigators until just recently. Pakistan is the most unreliable ally possible, and the “intelligence community” has protected their crimes. But that is part of the neo-con long war strategy.

  14. BayStateLibrul says:

    Funny that’s the defense Rusty is using to proclaim Roger’s innocence.

    Shorter Hardin, Clemens must be telling the truth… he denies the allegations so forcefully, with such passion, why would he go to Congress and lie? He must be innocent of all charges. Look all the money he’s paying me… why would he throw away his dirty loot?

    Clemens needs to fire his lawyer, fall on his sword, and tell the truth (grin)

    • BayStateLibrul says:

      Oops. My reply was in refence to Bmaz’s comment @ 14

      Why do you necessarily believe the CIA acted “in ignorance” initially? Just because they say so?

      Funny that’s the defense Rusty is using to proclaim Roger’s innocence.

      Shorter Hardin, Clemens must be telling the truth… he denies the allegations so forcefully, with such passion, why would he go to Congress and lie? He must be innocent of all charges. Look all the money he’s paying me… why would he throw away his dirty loot?

      Clemens needs to fire his lawyer, fall on his sword, and tell the truth (grin)

    • bmaz says:

      The main investigator and the main witness make Clemens look like Honest Abe himself. This case is a trumped up piece of shit being run by people with far bigger issues than Clemens. Clemens, as dirty as he may be, is far better than the people on the other side. In time, you will finally figure out what I have been telling you. Things are very much not what they seem to be. Your hatred of Clemens should also be pointed at very dirty people on the government’s side, because that is a lot bigger threat to the justice system than Clemens. There are people that should be put in prison here, and they are not Clemens.

      • BayStateLibrul says:

        My hatred of Clemens is based on (1) how he left the Sox (2) how he left

        the Sox and (3) how he left the Sox.

        Like a good lawyer, you’re throwing up curveballs to divert the issue.

        Did he lie or didn’t he lie. If you believe that he is innocent then

        your letting your hatred against Novitsky, Mitchell, McNamee etc… rule…

        You should know better.

        • bmaz says:

          Did he lie – I don’t know; probably did, but I find the real evidence a lot less compelling than most. Have Novitsky and the BALCO AUSAs run an abusive and foul stenched investigation and prosecution across the board – absolutely. My concerns for propriety and due process in investigations and prosecutions far outweighs any concerns I have about Clemens or Bonds being prosecuted. And George Mitchell’s report was a pathetic piece of ginned up shit. These factors are now, and always will be, for me far more critical than the players such as Clemens and Bonds. As to Clemens, he is being singled out and persecuted because he called out Mitchell’s report for what it was. I absolutely loathe and despise the type of antics that have been brought to bear here in the form of GJ leaks, coercion of witnesses, leveraging of snitches who are proven perjurers, bad and/or illegal search and seizures, parallel prosecutions and a whole host of other tactics of very questionable propriety. To me, all that is far more important than Clemens.

          • BayStateLibrul says:

            So you didn’t think it was fishy that his wife Debbie took steroids but

            Roger did know how to spell D-O-P-E? Or that Pettite’s testimony holds weight? or maybe that Clemen’s DNA might be on the syringes (this are all

            circumstantial, but gimme a break?)

            Roger Clemens is a lying sack of shit.

            No, I’m being too generous.

            He is an arrogant sack of shit.

            He was stung by the Mitchell Report on doping, and came out with guns blazing.

            He was advised to forego his trip to Congress to discuss steroids.

            But, Roger plays only to his own agenda: to eventually live “Up at the Hall,” as Roger Angell describes Cooperstown, New York.

            So, in another year, he’ll take a room in Washington, D.C. and try to convince 12 jurors that he “never took drugs”.

            Instead of Cooperstown, he may end up in a Minimum Corrections Facility for thieves, liars, and petty criminals.

            He’ll spend plenty of his salary on high-paid, crafty lawyers to convince jurors that old Rog was an innocent bystander from Texas.

            Before, he goes too far, he should fire his current lawyer, Rusty Hardin.

            He’s already given him plenty of bad advice like suing Brian McNamee for defamation of character.

            McNamee, you know, was the most well-known trainer since Angelo Dundee.

            McNamee didn’t defame Clemens, Clemens defamed Clemens.

            McNamee supplied the juice, and Clemens produced the wins, and the occasional “Roid Rage” (see Mike Piazza for details).

            • bmaz says:

              McNamee is a lot lest honest and trustworthy than Clemens and is a proven perjurer. And, yes, those facts will come out. Clemens is a saint compared to Novitsky and McNamee and the BALCO AUSAs. Hardin is a lot smarter than you give him credit for, and I do not think he has given Clemens bad advice; I just think Clemens has not followed all of it. It is interesting that you are more fixated on hammering Clemens than in insuring a fair justice system. That is where we diverge, not on whether Clemens is likely dirty or not.

              • BayStateLibrul says:

                Right, it’s not a debate about the justice “system”… it’s a question

                whether he lied or not.

                Did he take steroids, and is he a good role model for kids?

                My opinion is that he did, and he is not.

                Do we have a fair justice system? That’s a topic for a Doctoral Dissertation…

                • bmaz says:

                  No, it is a matter for courts and the integrity of justice. That is why there are such things as police and prosecutorial misconduct, illegal search and seizures, violations of due process and fundamental fairness etc. All are very much in play here, and it is a very bad and improper prosecution/persecution. To me that is far more of an issue than Clemens and what some anonymous and amorphous “kid” out in the ether may or may not believe. Baseball, a game that knowingly and intentionally made billions on the back of steroids, is nowhere near as important as the justice system that the country is based upon. Selig and his ethically conflicted hired henchman George Mitchell were the ones that should have been being investigated, they are the ones who perpetrated the steroid fraud and then gave it cover through the diversionary and ethically challenged report pointing only to players through hearsay and rote speculation.

                  • BayStateLibrul says:

                    We will have to agree to disagree.

                    That’s your opinion… and what you have alluded to is UNPROVEN.

                  • Jeff Kaye says:

                    Selig and his ethically conflicted hired henchman George Mitchell were the ones that should have been being investigated, they are the ones who perpetrated the steroid fraud and then gave it cover through the diversionary and ethically challenged report pointing only to players through hearsay and rote speculation.

                    Hear, hear! That is the unvarnished truth.

          • Jeff Kaye says:

            A lot more emphasis is aimed at the BALCO and general steroids scandal than Congress or DoJ could muster for those who tortured or assisted or organized the torture against “detainees”. It leaves a bad taste in one’s mouth.

            But of course, they were a bad example for the “kids.” Not like the leaders of the nation who personally ordered and supervised the torture, or the Congressional leaders who countenanced it, and granted amnesty to torturers (though not to ballplayers).

            What a mixed up country we live in!

            • BayStateLibrul says:

              That’s a damn good point and was brought up on the NY Times by a fair amount of commenters.

              I love baseball and for me it’s important (but I’m in a minority)

  15. fatster says:

    Amazing. Just amazing. McClatchy:

    State Department details Blackwater violations of U.S. laws

    “The company formerly known as Blackwater violated U.S. export control laws nearly 300 times, ranging from attempts to do business in Sudan while that country was under U.S. sanctions to training an Afghan border patrol official who was a native of Iran, the State Department said Monday.

    “The alleged violations were spelled out in documents released Monday by the State Department as part of a $42 million settlement with Blackwater that will allow the company, now known as Xe Services LLC, to continue receiving U.S. government contracts.
    . . .
    “Under the agreement with the U.S. government, the Moyock, N.C., company was levied a $42 million fine, but Xe is allowed to use $12 million of that to strengthen the company’s export control compliance programs. Xe won’t be barred from further U.S. government contracts, and a government policy of denying most of the firm’s export control applications, in place since December 2008, will be lifted.”


    • BoxTurtle says:

      Amazing? How about 100% predictable?

      Boxturtle ($42M, actually $30M, is how many hours of revenue for Xe?)

      • BoxTurtle says:

        Revenue roughly $3m per day, so it’s about 10 days worth of cashflow. Just the cost of doing business.

        Boxturtle (Dunno why I computed that out, it only annoyed me)

      • skdadl says:

        I don’t want to put words in fatster’s mouth, but I took it that she thought it was amazing that State would say this. That was the amazing part to me, anyway.

  16. Mary says:

    @48 – and yet Obamaco just can’t quit them. Your torturers and mercenaries end up owning you, real fast.

    OT and not all that helpful, but Aafia Siddiqui’s son has finally been allowed/authorized to provide a public – but very brief and with no Q/A, statement:

    The main thing of note is that they definitely try to leave the impression that the third child, the infant, may have been killed during the pick up of Siddiqui and the children. They don’t flat out say it – but they mention Ahmed looking over and seeing his brother surrounded by blood, and then say that when the American Consular official came to see him in Kabul to tell him his name and that he was an American, the man also told him his brother was dead.

    It doesn’t really answer any/many questions and it raies more, but you put together the approved content and the timing and see what settles.

    Siddiqui’s sentencing was put off from August (when a protest was planned in Pak) to September.

  17. bobschacht says:

    I think this nation would be better served if all the President’s men and women were required to read EmptyWheel, including the comments, every day.

    Bob in AZ

  18. Leen says:


    Juan Cole nails it again

    “Now U.S. should get out of Iraq’s politicsBy Juan Cole, Special to CNNAugust 23, 2010 9:38 a.m. EDT

    Juan Cole says some in U.S. worry leaving Iraq will reignite chaos, but that fear is misplaced

    U.S. meddling has caused the chaos, he says, and Iraq should be left to settle its own affairs

    U.S. presence has muddled politics without improving situation

    Cole: U.S. can best help Iraqis by allowing them to return to being an independent country

    Editor’s note: Juan Cole is the Richard P. Mitchell Collegiate Professor of History and the Middle East scholar at the University of Michigan. He blogs about the contemporary Middle East at Informed Comment. His most recent book is “Engaging the Muslim World.”

    (CNN) — Americans may worry that the end to the U.S. combat mission in Iraq will reignite violence and chaos there. But the fear is misplaced”

    Unable to link. Great clips

  19. MadDog says:

    OT – If a bunch of folks are MIA around the net today, Comcast is having major network problems.

    Can’t get to Greg Sargent’s WaPo blog, the Guardian UK site, etc. Can’t do a Speakeasy – Speed Test to Washington DC, but the other test sites like Seattle, Chicago, New York, etc. work just fine. I wonder about the Washington DC nexus.

    When I called Comcast, their message is that they’re having hold times of 1 1/2 hours to speak to a live person, and that they’re reporting that their users are having e-x-t-r-e-m-e-l-y l-o-n-g wait times to get to lots of websites. Must be affecting tens of thousands of users for call wait times that bad.

    I’m guessing that either some Comcast technogeek fat-fingered some bad updates into their network routers or perhaps Comcast is battling cyberpirates.

    Anyways, lots of places are impossible to get to on the net.

    • BoxTurtle says:

      Considering what he was paid, if he WASN’T juicing he was shortchanging the team.

      Boxturtle (Wish I could remember whom I’m quoting above)

      • BayStateLibrul says:

        It wasn’t Yogi… “The other team could make trouble for us if they win.”

        (Taking a two hour Nap from one to four)

      • bmaz says:

        It is a heck of a lot more established than the accusations against Clemens are. McNamee has flat out admitted he perjured himself. The track record of Novitsky and the AUSAs is actually quite well established in terms of what they have done in the Bonds and Grimsley cases. And there is simply a ton that is just not in the public domain yet.