blog advertising is good for you

Thursday, February 05, 2015

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres






"A still-classified section of the investigation by congressional intelligence committees into the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks has taken on an almost mythic quality over the past 13 years — 28 pages that examine crucial support given the hijackers and that by all accounts implicate prominent Saudis in financing terrorism. Now new claims by Zacarias Moussaoui, a convicted former member of Al Qaeda, that he had high-level contact with officials of the Saudi Arabian government in the prelude to Sept. 11 have brought renewed attention to the inquiry’s withheld findings, which lawmakers and relatives of those killed in the attacks have tried unsuccessfully to declassify. 'I think it is the right thing to do,' said Representative Stephen F. Lynch, Democrat of Massachusetts and an author of a bipartisan resolution encouraging President Obama to declassify the section. 'Let’s put it out there.' White House officials say the administration has undertaken a review on whether to release the pages but has no timetable for when they might be made public. Mr. Lynch and his allies have been joined by former Senator Bob Graham of Florida, who as chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee was a leader of the inquiry. He has called for the release of the report’s Part 4, which dealt with Saudi Arabia, since President George W. Bush ordered it classified when the rest of the report was released in December 2002. Mr. Graham has repeatedly said it shows that Saudi Arabia was complicit in the Sept. 11 attacks. 'The 28 pages primarily relate to who financed 9/11, and they point a very strong finger at Saudi Arabia as being the principal financier,' Mr. Graham said last month as he pressed for the pages to be made public. Relatives of those killed on Sept. 11 as well as plaintiffs in a federal lawsuit against Saudi Arabia have also demanded that the pages be made public, seeing them as the vital link that they believe connects an important ally of the United States to the deadly attacks. They say the pages, Part 4 of the report, could also help in determining the source of current funding for terrorist activities. 'If we stop funding of terrorism and hold those people accountable, wouldn’t it make a dent in the financing of terrorism today?' asked William Doyle, whose son, Joseph, was killed in the World Trade Center. Mr. Doyle said that President Obama personally assured him after the death of Osama bin Laden that he would declassify that section of the report. Proponents of releasing Part 4, titled “Finding, Discussion and Narrative Regarding Certain National Security Matters,” have suggested that the Bush and Obama administrations have held it back for fear of alienating an influential military and economic partner rather than for any national security consideration. Others familiar with that section of the report say that while it might implicate Saudi Arabia, the suspicions, investigatory leads and other findings it contains did not withstand deeper scrutiny. Philip D. Zelikow, the executive director of the national commission that investigated the Sept. 11 attacks after the congressional panels, said the commission followed up on the allegations, using some of the same personnel who wrote them initially, but reached a different conclusion." (NYT)





Lasting Consequences



"Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner announced Jan. 26 that she would reform her country's civilian intelligence organization, the Intelligence Secretariat (SI). Soon after, the office of the president said it would submit a draft law to reform the SI to the Senate on Feb. 3. In addition to changing the organization's name to the Federal Intelligence Agency, the reform is expected to significantly weaken the SI by limiting its ability to gather signals intelligence, revealing a wider political dispute. Fernandez's motivations for reforming the SI are not completely clear, but concerns that criminal charges could be brought against her and other members of the government once they leave office might have been a factor. Moreover, though the reform appears to be immediately motivated by concerns over the SI's loyalty to Fernandez, it may significantly affect how the Argentine security apparatus functions long after her term in office ends. Although the Fernandez government has not released the details, the reforms would drastically alter the way the SI functions. Previously, the organization could engage in domestic intelligence collection after obtaining a federal judge's approval, but the new reform will likely require more steps and more oversight. A federal judge would have to request a warrant to conduct intelligence gathering from the prosecutor general's office, and the actual collection process would be either conducted or overseen by that office. The president appoints the prosecutor general, and approval of the reform would grant this post, currently filled by Gils Carbo, significant intelligence collection abilities for the remainder of Fernandez's presidency and likely into the next presidency. The planned reform follows a mass reshuffling of the SI's top leadership. On Dec. 16, Fernandez ordered the removal of Secretary of Intelligence Hector Icazuriaga and Deputy Director Fernando Larcher, both longtime ruling-party allies. Icazuriaga and Larcher had been appointed to the positions more than a decade earlier, and according to unconfirmed reports, had worked closely with former President Nestor Kirchner, the late husband of Fernandez. Under the direction of Icazuriaga and Larcher, the SI provided the government with intelligence on political opponents, including labor organizations and members of rival political parties. The reshuffle also claimed Director of Operations Jaime Stiusso, who had served in the organization since 1974. The Argentine government filled the leadership positions with individuals closely tied to the ruling party. ​Oscar Parrilli, Fernandez's former chief of staff, was named the new director of the organization, and Juan Martin Mena, a legal official closely linked to current Justice Minister Julio Alak, was named deputy director. Moreover, unconfirmed reports indicate that Fernando Basanta, an official loyal to Fernandez's son Maximo Kirchner, is now in direct control of the SI's finances. Basanta is part of La Campora, a political patronage network crucial to securing political support within the government for the ruling Front for Victory party. Kirchner has direct control over the network that has significantly increased its presence in state ministries and companies over the past several years." (STRATFOR)


Carol Joynt, DPC and Paxton Quigley; I don't remember when or where this was taken.


"Thursday, February 5, 2015. It warmed up a bit yesterday in New York. Forty degrees, melting the snow and slush which is still covering the travel path on the roads. The curbsides still remain piled with the dirty, grimy white stuff. A little more snow supposedly coming our way. And then some more cold. I went to Michael’s to lunch with Pax Quigley who is an old friend from Los Angeles and now lives here (and in Miami, still unable to withdraw from the Sun). Pax and I met over the phone, introduced by a mutual friend in 1980. We talked for the better part of an hour and that was it; we’re still talking. She was an executive with Playboy at the time. Playboy , namely the lifestyle of Hugh Hefner was always interesting conversation around Hollywood. For a lot of reasons having to do with (male) stars and the Bunnies. The talk of course was mainly about what went on in the Mansion, and there were lots of those stories, wild and crazy and none of which can be repeated in print without the risk of lawsuits, as well as predictable. Mr. Hefner was a philosopher/hedonist, and lived his life thusly. Plus Hollywood has that allure. It’s in the air and it definitely was on South Mapleton Drive in Holmby Hills. He lived the Playboy  fantasy and for all I know, he still does – although he’s getting up there, so to speak. But he always had a lot of acolytes admiring his tastes and surely we haven’t seen the last of those yet.Pax eventually left Playboy and subsequently wrote a book called 'Armed and Female' a kind of how-to-and-why handgun manual written specifically for women. You never hear about it but the book has sold hundreds of thousands of copies and continues to. She then wrote a second book, 'Not an Easy Target; Paxton Quigley’s Self-Protection for Women.' I interviewed her a few years ago (and wrote about it here) about this last book. She gives talks on the “How” part which are quite effective. For years she also conducted seminars and classes in shooting for women. I don’t doubt she’s saved a lot of lives with her teachings.This was back in the 1980s when she first pursued the idea. It came from an aha! moment she had in a sporting goods store in L.A. one day. I never liked the idea. I was never against it because it was none of my business, but guns mean something else to me for personal reasons. Pax’s argument was sensible: women buy guns for self-protection. Therefore they need to know how to use them so they don’t put themselves and their family and friends at any kind of risk. Teaching that was her job. She was quite successful at it.Pax has been out of the seminar business for quite some time. She’s now finishing her first novel. About a dominatrix ... Meanwhile, back at the lunch table.  It was Wednesday and Michael’s was busy, not roaring (thanks to the winter weather). There was Barbara Cirkva, VP Chanel; Don Degoklyer, of Novaris; Tom Goodman of Goodman Media; Cynthia Lewis, VP DuJour, with Diane Clehane; Lesley Jane Seymour and Jeannine Shao Collins of More magazine. Also: Jim Smith of Niche Media; Anthony Cenname, publisher of the WSJ (Wall Street Journal) Magazine; Frank McCourt, former owner of the LA Dodgers at Table One with a group of business people. Right next door was David Zinczenko, author/publisher, restaurateur, TV commentator." (NYSD)





"I have the BRCA gene mutation, the curse of Ashkenazi Jews—and Angelina Jolie. It means I am likely to keep getting cancer if I don't do something to stop it, so instead of having a lumpectomy, I am having a double mastectomy with reconstruction. It is quite amazing. They do both at the same time. You go in with breast cancer and come out with stripper boobs. And by law, insurance pays for the Park Avenue plastic surgeon. Good Lord, even Medicaid must pay for breast reconstruction with someone or other. We have come a long way, baby. All those pink ribbons and half-marathons paid off. We live in quite a world. I always felt I was a 34D trapped in the body of a 34B. At long last. The surgeons all minimize the pain, which is just an occupational hazard. Surgeons think a beheading is no big deal. I disagree. I imagine recovery from a double mastectomy might be quite unpleasant. The surgeons are like, 'Tylenol might be enough, and by week two you will be dancing Swan Lake, just like before.' I expect I will be eating only Vicodin for a while. The BRCA mutation hits 0.25 percent of the population and 2.5 percent of Ashkenazi Jews, so it is ten times as likely to affect the 2.2 percent of people who make up 25 percent of a class at Harvard. That must be why they have figured out what to do about breast cancer. If this mutation disproportionately affected Presbyterians, they would solve it with too many martinis, and women would still be dying of breast cancer. How fortunate that is not the case. I realize I am dealing with cancer, which is complicated and kills people. It may yet kill me. I still don't know if the disease has spread. I still don't know many things." (Elizabeth Wurtzel)

1 comment:

Blogger said...

I've just installed iStripper, so I can have the best virtual strippers on my desktop.