Monday, January 24, 2005


You say "To-may-to," I say "To-mah-to," You say "extra-legal," I say "special authority"

The New York Times had an article yesterday about "a small group of super-secret commandos" operating as counterterrorist forces inside the United States.

This revelation was brought to wide attention by William Arkin, who mentioned the commando group (which operates under the code name Power Geyser) on the website for his forthcoming book, Code Names: Deciphering U.S. Military Plans, Programs and Operation in the 9/11 World. Anyhow, the question that this raises for all of us is: doesn't Power Geyser sound like some kind of pool cleaning equipment? No, actually, the question is: How scared should we all be? (Jeez, am I turning into Dave Barry or something over here? Sorry about that.)
Mr. Arkin, in the online supplement to his book (, says the contingency plan, called JCS Conplan 0300-97, calls for "special-mission units in extra-legal missions to combat terrorism in the United States" based on top-secret orders that are managed by the military's Joint Staff and coordinated with the military's Special Operations Command and Northern Command, which is the lead military headquarters for domestic defense.

Mr. Arkin provided The New York Times with briefing slides prepared by the Northern Command, detailing the plan and outlining the military's preparations for the inauguration.

Three senior Defense Department and Bush administration officials confirmed the existence of the plan and mission, but disputed Mr. Arkin's characterization of the mission as "extra-legal."

One of the officials said the units operated in the United States under "special authority" from either the president or the secretary of defense.
Let's see... "special authority" (starting to get scared) from either the president (ok, I think I'm scared now) or the secretary of defense (whoah, officially scared).

Thanks to Aunt Deb for sending me the article.

It occurred to me, after reading Seymour Hersh's article on this stuff in the latest New Yorker, that Condoleezza Rice has to have known about this. Hersh is saying that the president has been hands-on in setting these units up and empowering the Pentagon and I think it's clear that Rice is Bush's shadow. It's frightening to think of this woman becoming Sec of State. Her one clear talent is for using her tokenism as a defense against criticism of her capabilities. And of course, there's always a Joe Lieberman to come to her defense, saying that "the world knows Rice has the president's trust and confidence". And he doesn't show an iota of awareness of the irony of that...

Aunt Deb
yes. i am reading the hersh piece now (in the middle of it) and am just amazed at how truly truly fucked we all are. as for rice, while joe lieberman is certainly the worst, i just wonder why so many of the democrats simply want to get along and let these people (rice, gonzales, whoever) slide into the highest posts in the US government.
I'm baffled by that,myself. Just as I'm astounded that there hasn't been a huge to-do in the mainstream media about Hersh's article. Do you think it may be that many people who have some idea about this stuff think that the idea of attacking Iran is okay? That having a bunch of covert crazies running around responsible only to Rumsfeld is just fine? I think maybe they do think these things. Or else we would be reading much more about this stuff from outraged citizens and journalists.

And of course there's always the Bob Somerby analysis: too many Senators and Congresscritters are wealthy and want to stay that way. There is really very little incentive for them to buck the agendas of the Republican administration. And for the wealthy, too, I think that the war on terror just isn't a big deal. They aren't dying from it and their kids aren't threatened by it. And you know what else, Alex? Maybe in the deeper dirtier parts of their minds, they recognize that the forces most likely to rise up against them aren't living three thousand miles away -- nope. It's the poor of America that might wise up and that would be really really dangerous!

Code Orange, anyone??
Aunt Deb
and you wonder why the counter-vigil-yellers call you a commie? haha. love you, aunt deb.
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