The Spectacle Blog

Saddam tapes: key words:

By on 2.18.06 | 1:12AM

First read through of material in the Bill Tierney slide show translation for the Saddam Hussein secret tapes at yields dynamic and confounding material.

Saddam and his aides discuss the Iraq nuclear weapon program; they discuss "plasma" (which is part of hydrogen bomb science); they discuss "fission" bombs. These discussions appear to be after the year 2000. The translations are choppy, require much explanation and correlation, which Tierney does with bullet points and cross referencing with inspector material (he was an inspector before the 2003 invasion.)

Saddam and his aides also discuss asking the Russian, Brazilians and French for help with biologicals. They also discuss hidden missiles, hidden warheads. They discuss at length how to deceive the UN inspectors.

Much work to be done. Much to understand.

Remember, these are tapes that Saddam ordered made: they have been in the Coalition hands since April 2003. There may be thousands more hours of tapes.

See the website now for the slide shows, the downloads of the Arabic.

Garbage In, Garbage Out

By on 2.17.06 | 4:41PM

Media Matters says the Sunday shows lean right. The secret to the study: Their data counts a large percentage of guests as "neutrals." Anyone care to guess what that means?

Today on the Hugh Hewitt Show

By on 2.17.06 | 2:37PM

I'm subbing for Hugh Hewitt again today. We're rocking along, with a lot of what the Prez said today, an interview with Attorney General Gonzales, and the Beltway Boys. Hope you can catch it.6-9 pm on the Salem Radio Network.

The Sneering at

By on 2.17.06 | 1:34PM

Source reports profound, long-term interest in the Saddam tapes from several major meda enterprises.  The analysis of the Saddam tapes will go forward in the hands of translators, then in the hands of those who can correlate the tapes with the captured documents associated with DOCEX, then in the hands of the historians.  It will be a long, century long, process; and the results will be relevant to the age and state and language in which the analysis is printed.

For now, it is important to speak to the political noise around the release of the tapes at this weekend.

Stalking the Veep

By on 2.17.06 | 12:20PM

Hotline reports (free) that the White House press corps has learned its lesson from its coverage of the Cheney hunting accident over the weekend and this week. It needs to cover Cheney and his leisure excursions more. While Bush carries an organized press pool with him wherever he goes, Cheney's events are covered on a case-by-case basis and he doesn't suffer from a media watch on his house. Networks and newspapers are now talking about staking out the Naval Observatory and closely monitoring his movements.

That's the ticket. Just when you've gone overboard, turn it up a notch.

Turkey Not Chicken

By on 2.17.06 | 11:29AM

Anyone would be remiss, incidentally, not to praise Turkey up to the moon for coming down against violent Islamism. I've already expressed words to that effect, elsewhere, on the C-Intifada -- but now Zaman Online splashes this gem, front page:

Turkey in efforts to contribute to the Middle East peace process hosted the victor of January 25th Palestinian elections, the Islamic Resistance Movement (HAMAS).

Turkish Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul in line with international pressure made the suggestion "Give up violence, sit at the negotiation table with Israel for peace. Allow the peaceful coexistence of Palestine and Israel side by side as two independent states."

Note to State: re-fax Russia this particular memo.

MoJo News

By on 2.17.06 | 11:07AM

Mother Jones has a story up detailing the political machinations Democrats in Washington undertook to sabotage the Senate primary campaign of Iraqi veteran Paul Hackett. It's an ugly story.

Most interesting, though, is the role Rep. Henry Waxman and his staff played in the destruction of Hackett: essentially killing off fundraising prospects for Hackett's campaign and touting current Rep. Sherrod Brown's candidacy.

Just as compelling is the role that Sens. Harry Reid and Chuck Schumer played. Both heavily recruited Hackett, but then got nervous. It appears what made them sweat was the notion of having a real live Iraq war veteran on the Democrat ballot.

MoJo only hints at what we've reported, which is that Reid and Schumer and their minions inside the Democrat campaign establishment went out of their way to taint Hackett's credentials. They were instrumental in spreading rumors about Hackett's activities, and even after Hackett traveled to Washington and showed Reid photos upon which the rumors were based, Reid and his aides did nothing to tamp down the rumor mill in Ohio.

Fatwah For Dollars

By on 2.17.06 | 10:15AM

Danish cartoonists, this is your life -- worth $25,000 and a car. No indication of whether Pakistani "prayer leader" Mohammed Yousaf Qureshi will spring for an auto fresh off the lot. And why would he, when "a local jewelers' association" goes beyond the call of matching funds with their own blood money donation of a cool million?

This unreal barbarism has no need to sweat the details: the AP reports quite drily that no "representative of the association was available to confirm it had made the offer." Even better, "Qureshi did not name any cartoonist in his announcement. He did not appear aware that 12 different people had drawn the pictures" -- and who, indeed, need draw distinctions between individuals, when an a la carte jihad is at stake?

Noonan’s Noodling

By on 2.17.06 | 9:51AM

This isn't the first time Peggy Noonan has written an odd column. Recall that after the funeral of Ronald Reagan, she used the Wall Street Journal to write a bitter screed that served as payback to former White House and Presidential speechwriting colleagues for real and imagined slights.

Quite a few presidential speechwriters over the years have used media opportunities to burnish their own images, but Noonan is perhaps the most aggressive at it. Word in the White House is that while she may have helped the Bush campaign, she has very little contact with current White House staff, and they question her sources and access.

Saddam tapes; nukes, DNI, patience, much more

By on 2.17.06 | 9:13AM

Best source on translation of Saddam tapes to be played and analyzed at CrystalCity points to parts of the tapes discussing nuclear weapons capability.  No details.  Never before heard material, all new to veteran, experienced, well-traveled weapons inspectors.

DNI Negroponte remarks of the tapes, nothing new: yet DNI does not have a translation of the material to comment upon: DNI is either guessing or spinning or both: and DNI shows a peculiar impatience to reach a conclusion that DNI has not earned.  Regret to observe the lack of translators and focus in USG.

I am recommending patience.  These are early days.  Arabic speakers will now get hold of the first available material and start to pull it apart.

More coming soon, this weekend, in major media.  Transcripts, pull quotes, scary details.

Much more coming.  Do not choose sides.  Wait, listen, study.