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In case anyone else is watching too… ;) 25 February 2007

Posted by marisacat in California / Pacific Coast, Divertissements, Inconvenient Voice of the Voter, la vie en rose.
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  Sunset Boulevard, 1950

I just HAD to add this news report – from Australia, because of the title… ;)

Tension grips Hollywood as Oscars loom

26th February 2007, 4:17 WST

Hollywood was nervously bracing for a cliffhanger Oscars ceremony in Los Angeles, with four films jostling for the best picture at a 79th Academy Awards show striking for its international flavour.

The red carpet has been laid out, limousine chauffeurs are on standby and the world’s movie stars are undergoing last-minute pampering and preening ahead of Tinseltown’s biggest social event of the year.

About 3,400 guests will start arriving at Hollywood’s Kodak Theatre from about 2pm (0800 AEDT Monday), where they will be greeted by a blizzard of flash bulbs from photographers shooting the world’s most star-studded fashion show.

A massive security operation is under way, with streets surrounding the Oscars venue closed down and several hundred police manning checkpoints and conducting searches to ward off potential terrorist threats. [snip]

Always something loominggripping tension!… the endless threat of the pending

******************************************************

Rounding toward the end… I am a sucker for cinema montages (there were two) and a real sucker for Ennio Moriconne… sigh.  And still, a bit of a flat souffle it ws tonight… not sure why. I had not watched for several years, then fell back in last year…

 
18sunset by Jean-Francois Brulotte of barraclou.com

Shall see how the finale goes… ;)

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Comments»

1. missdevore - 25 February 2007

They hate us because of our movies!

Will I have to slap my tv into shape? What network is it on? Is Joan Rivers already braying on the index channel?

I guess I would like to see Degeneres. Her American Express commercial with the animals is cool. Not that I have or endorse American Express.

I actually can recognize more congresspeople than current movie stars–though the latter’s wardrobe consists mostly of old hairshirts. Accessorized with excuses.

Draft Elizabeth Holtzman/Dick Gregory!

2. marisacat - 25 February 2007

oops sorry! On ABC 8:30 ET I think. Not sure what time the pre-game is on ‘E’… probably any minute… ;)

3. marisacat - 25 February 2007

well I AM slow. The red carpet section is ongoing on ABC

4. earth to meg - 25 February 2007

Is that a female reporter in that photograph up top? Cool. :)

5. marisacat - 25 February 2007

in the little brimed crownless hat? Yes… Girl Reporter. LOL When probably some dragon like Hedda Hopper/Louella Parsons should have been pictured

6. moiv - 25 February 2007

How many times tonight would Louella have gotten to say, “You never looked lovelier?”

7. moiv - 25 February 2007

And who else, as a small child, used to be scared of Hedda’s hats?

8. marisacat - 25 February 2007

those were scary dames… ;)

9. Madman in the Marketplace - 25 February 2007

Ugh, the cutesy little vignette at the beginning. I’m so fucking sick of anthropomorphic penguins.

10. missdevore - 25 February 2007

Frank Sinatra. He went all DD/Luscious Vagina on her. “Two-bit whore” or something like that.

11. marisacat - 25 February 2007

two bit whore… I had forgotten who he pulled that on.

I remember he stuffed two singles into a glas “she” was holding.

LOL down and dirty! LV take a lesson!

12. ms_xeno - 25 February 2007

The only Oscar film I saw this year was “The Departed,” which I frankly wasn’t impressed with.

Got roped into watching last year, for the first time since 1978. Saw Clooney. Almost barfed on my shoes. I think I’ll wait another 28 years before bothering again. :p

13. Madman in the Marketplace - 25 February 2007

the only one I saw that is up for a major award was “Inconvenient Truth”. The two best movies I saw this year, “Pan’s Labyrinth” and “Children of Men”, both of which only ended up w/ minor noms.

14. missdevore - 25 February 2007

Next year in teh South Bay:

Emir Kusturicka and Pedro Almovador.

One can dream, no?

15. marisacat - 25 February 2007

ellen is making me laugh!

16. missdevore - 25 February 2007

best american movie most relevant to today:

The Deer Hunter.

hands down.

17. JJB - 25 February 2007

earth to meg and MCat,

I don’t know who that female reporter is in that photo but Hedda Hopper (who was an actress prior to becoming a loathsome gargoyle/vampire gossip columnist) does appear in Sunset Boulevard‘s final scene, playing herself. She does not appear to be in that still, but she is prominently (though briefly) featured.

18. marisacat - 25 February 2007

yeah I would agree…

Did Christopher Walken win his Oscar for that?

I just rmemeber his story of when he did win, when the actual oscar arrived he plunked it down ont he kitchen table and said to his wife, that is a house!

19. marisacat - 25 February 2007

JJB I had completely forgotten that!

20. liberalcatnip - 25 February 2007

I haven’t seen any of the nominated movies. What else is new?? :) Love Helen Mirren though…

21. JJB - 25 February 2007

miss devore,

The Sinatra incident you refer to was with a WaPo gossip columnist named Maxine Cheshire. It happened during the festivities surrounding Nixon’s second inaugural (and what a truly festive time that was!). Here’s the story as TIME reported it in 1973.

Hedda was once booted in the rear end by Joseph Cotten, of all people. I believe Hedda had published or broadcast some scurilous rumor about a lady friend of Cotten’s. He saw her at some Hollywood nightspot, and kicked her in the butt, sending her sprawling. According to one version I read, onlookers applauded Cotten for having done what so many of them would loved to have done.

22. marisacat - 25 February 2007

ooo JJB thanks… I was trying to remember if it Sheila Graham… but had forgotten Maxine Cheshire

23. missdevore - 25 February 2007

Hand me the purity award!

I didn’t see a single movie in 2006.

but watch out–I have dvd now.

So next year, it will be all about Emir Kusturica & the Spanish dude of

24. JJB - 25 February 2007

And as long as we’re in such a show biz mood, this seems like the place to post this concerning director James Cameron’s claim to have discovered the tomb of Jesus Christ. And his mother. And Mary Magdalene. It seems the latter was buried in the family ossuary because she was Mrs. Christ. Or so someone is claiming in a piece Cameron is doing for The Discovery Channel:

This week the Discovery Channel, together with HarperSanFrancisco, announces the release of “The Jesus Family Tomb,” a television documentary and a book that aim to show that the tomb next door to Tova Bracha’s apartment, located in a nondescript suburb called East Talpiot, is, well, the family plot of Jesus Christ. Spearheaded by a well-known TV director named Simcha Jacobovici, and produced by “Titanic” director James Cameron, “The Jesus Family Tomb” is—both in book and movie form—a slick and suspenseful narrative about the 1980 discovery of a first-century Jewish burial cave and the 10 bone boxes, or ossuaries, found therein.

With the help of statisticians, archeologists, historians, DNA experts, robot-camera technicians, epigraphers and a CSI expert from New York’s Long Island, Jacobovici puts together a case in which he argues that the bones of Jesus, Mary and Mary Magdalene, along with some of their lesser-known relatives, were once entombed in this cave. James Charlesworth of the Princeton Theological Seminary consulted with Jacobovici on the project and is intrigued: “A very good claim could be made that this was Jesus’ clan.” Faced with the controversial theological and historical implications of what he calls his “rediscovery,” Jacobovici is sanguine. “People will have to believe what they want to believe,” he says.

His critics are arming themselves for battle. “Simcha has no credibility whatsoever,” says Joe Zias, who was the curator for anthropology and archeology at the Rockefeller Museum in Jerusalem from 1972 to 1997 and personally numbered the Talpiot ossuaries. “He’s pimping off the Bible … He got this guy Cameron, who made ‘Titanic’ or something like that—what does this guy know about archeology? I am an archeologist, but if I were to write a book about brain surgery, you would say, ‘Who is this guy?’ People want signs and wonders. Projects like these make a mockery of the archeological profession.” Cameron’s reply: “I don’t profess to be an archeologist or a Biblical scholar. I’m a film producer. I found it compelling. I think we’re on firm ground to say that much.”

[snip]

Here is what we know. One Friday afternoon in 1980, a construction crew unearthed an ancient tomb. This was not unusual. The 1980s marked a construction boom in Jerusalem; hundreds of tombs were uncovered and, with them, thousands of ossuaries. In the first century C.E., in the time of Jesus of Nazareth, Jewish families with means built tombs in the hills throughout Judea and stored the remains of their loved ones in those caves, in ossuaries. A newly dead body would be laid out on a rock shelf. When that body decomposed, family members would stack the bones inside a box and tuck the box into a niche. Over generations the caves grew crowded with boxes, and families, eager to conserve space, often put two or three—or even six—skeletons in one box. In Israel today, first-century ossuaries are so ubiquitous they are used in gardens and living rooms, as planters.. . . Here are the names the archeologists found carved on ossuaries in the Talpiot tomb, the names that Jacobovici found so powerful: Jesus, son of Joseph; Maria; Mariamene; Matthew; Judas, son of Jesus; and Jose, a diminutive of Joseph.

Can’t wait to hear what pastordan will make of this. I suppose we can expect dKos to start spewing a lot of hot air about the Evils Of Hollywood Mocking Persons Of Faith. Of course, as one skeptic quoted in the article notes “‘[i]t’s a typical Jewish burial cave of a large size[.] The names on the ossuaries are very common names or derivatives of names.’ The echo of the names of the members of the Holy Family, he says, ‘is just a coincidence.'”

25. liberalcatnip - 25 February 2007

w00t! It’s edjucatin’ time at the Oscars with Al Gore. Leo should have called him “President” Gore instead of “Mr”.

26. missdevore - 25 February 2007

gwine to bed. pulling a Brando, etc.

27. marisacat - 25 February 2007

I remember when Discovery Channel was REALLY wondeful.

N ow it seems vaguely like immaculate conception thoughts… or something.

28. marisacat - 25 February 2007

valium just got a nod… ;)

29. JJB - 25 February 2007

MCat,

Yes, it seems like Discovery Channel is becoming like one long rerun of those cheapo 70s movies like The Late, Great Planet Earth, or other such things about the Shroud of Turin, et al. Cinematic religious kitsch used to be so much subtler and entertaining. For some reason Song of Bernadette comes to mind, maybe because I’ve always thought Jennifer Jones was a much underrated actress. Still, this Cameron piece threatens to engender an extremely angry reaction, especially if it suggests that JC did not in fact rise from the dead the third day after his execution. All this sturn und drang over someone for whose existence there is no proof. And of course, if you could prove he existed through this tomb, you’re almost certainly going to prove that both the Resurrection and the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin didn’t happen, and that JC may very well have been married.

At any rate, in the interests of preventing conflagrations that will cause slaughter even greater than that of WWII, I hope Cameron never takes it upon himself to find Muhammed’s tomb.

30. moiv - 25 February 2007

From the Globe and Mail:”

“There are really only two possibilities,” says director Jacobovici. “Either this cluster of names represents the tomb of Jesus of Nazareth and his family. Or some other family, with this very same constellation of names, existed at precisely the same time in history in Jerusalem.”

To calculate the odds, Mr. Jacobovici took the data to University of Toronto mathematician Dr. Andrey Feuerverger. Factoring in the commonality of these names in first-Century Israel, Dr. Feuerverger puts the odds of this tomb not belonging to Jesus and his family at one in 600.

Another estimate, commissioned by Dr. James Tabor, chair of the department of religion studies at the University of North Carolina, puts the odds at one in 42 million. “If you took the entire population of Jerusalem at the time,” says Dr. Taber, “and put it in a stadium, and asked everyone named Jesus to stand up, you’d have about 2,700 men. Then you’d ask only those with a father named Joseph and a mother named Mary to remain standing. And then those with a brother named Yose and a brother named James. Statistically, you end up with one person.”

Not that statstical probabilities will have anything to do with the way this plays out . . .

31. marisacat - 25 February 2007

Well… the pope won’t be conflicted, since we can rest assured none of them have ever believed in that great doctrine of the faith, the virgin birth.

LOL.

32. ms_xeno - 25 February 2007

If he finds Muhammed’s tomb, it should be in someplace like Iowa, or suburban NJ. They need the excitement. :p

33. liberalcatnip - 25 February 2007

Well there ya go! Al Gore gets his statue and even the supremes can’t take that away from him.

34. marisacat - 25 February 2007

but earlier the music man cut him off. That did seem a tad rude… ;)

35. Madman in the Marketplace - 25 February 2007

didn’t the council of something or other settle this question centuries or go … I mean, who are you going to believe, a bunch of dead bishops or some effin’ mathematicians and guys with brushes and pick-axes?

36. Sabrina Ballerina - 25 February 2007

Well, I’m glad Gore’s movie won. Wonder how those Exxon would-be bribers feel tonight.

37. liberalcatnip - 25 February 2007

Hope you don’t mind if I post this here. Truth is stranger than fiction, as they say:

WaPo:

NEW YORK, Feb. 25 — The Rev. Al Sharpton, the prominent civil rights activist, is descended from a slave owned by relatives of the late senator and one-time segregationist Strom Thurmond, a genealogical study released Sunday reported.

“It was probably the most shocking thing of my life,” Sharpton said of learning the findings, which were requested and published Sunday by the New York Daily News. He called a news conference to respond publicly to the report. “I couldn’t describe to you the emotions I have had . . . everything from anger to outrage to reflection to some pride and glory.”…

It’s a small, small world…

38. marisacat - 25 February 2007

oh no post what you like. I had noticed taht as the day wore on they (not Wapo, the earlier reports) amended the title. Early on it said they were connected… then it morphed to explanation: “thru slavery”.

Probably a necessary amendment as Sharpton is so up for whomever comes callin’.

39. marisacat - 25 February 2007

… actually, FOUR cinema montages… I spoke too soon…

40. Sabrina Ballerina - 25 February 2007

A nice picture of the Gore family.

41. Sabrina Ballerina - 25 February 2007

Sorry, forgot the url. Tipper looks pretty glamorous.

Link to the pic

42. Ezekiel - 25 February 2007

Re: Yugoslavia–

The perspective of some here is that post-Tito, the old fascists, the Ustase and the Chetniks, were allowed to come back to Yugoslavia. They resorted to the usual stirring up of ethnic hatreds to cover the theft of Yugoslavia’s economic resources as those were being handed to pals of the new rulers. That new oligarchy suffered setbacks in elections beginning in 2000, and now there is a fairly even balance between moderate socialists and neoliberals, at least in Croatia. The right-wing nationalists have lost out.

As far as the U. S. role, if the goal was to create allies, it hasn’t been too successful. Slovenia and Croatia are keeping their distance from the Americans. Both countries are much more oriented toward Germany and Austria than the U. S. There are 150 Croatian troops in Afghanistan, but none in Iraq, and Croatia continues to have good relations with Iran (they took heat for playing the Iranian soccer team in a warm-up for the World Cup.) Croatia is trying to get into NATO, but that policy is more of a piece with its efforts to gain EU accession. So far, they have refused to take the step that would probably gain them admission–signing a bilateral treaty with the U. S. agreeing not to prosecute and extradite Americans accused of war crimes.

Of the former Yugoslav republics, the Bosnians and the Macedonians each have about 40 soldiers in Iraq. None of these countries are behaving like the Poles.

One cautionary note: I read some of the writing of the Serbs about this topic. While I wouldn’t defend the U. S. bombing, a lot of their stuff is bitter bullshit. Last week, I read an attack on Croatia from a Serb living in the U. S. She even claimed that Zagreb was the one place in the world that would welcome a statue of Hitler. Absurd. A strong anti-Muslim strain runs through a lot of that writing too. Meanwhile, in the Balkans, the Croats and Serbs are trying to work things out, build trade and ease tensions.

Europe is no different from the U. S. Politicians will use ethnic, racial and religious tensions to distract people from their efforts to rob the nation. It works some places better than others.

43. liberalcatnip - 25 February 2007

Looks like all the wheels are in motion:

Three Arab states in the Persian Gulf would be willing to allow the Israel Air force to enter their airspace in order to reach Iran in case of an attack on its nuclear facilities, the Kuwaiti newspaper Al-Siyasa reported on Sunday.

According to the report, a diplomat from one of the gulf states visiting Washington on Saturday said the three states, Qatar, Oman and the United Arab Emirates, have told the United States that they would not object to Israel using their airspace, despite their fear of an Iranian response.

Al-Siyasa further reported that NATO leaders are urging Turkey to open its airspace for an Attack on Iran as well and to also open its airports and borders in case of a ground attack.

44. D. Throat - 26 February 2007

Looking at the clip from C&L you could see all the right wing librul’s butt clenching like Spielberg (putting on hs game face)…

2004 was decided in Ohio … I think 2008 will be decided in Hollywood. I think that the Oscars finally opening up since Hallie Berry is inversely proportional to the slow creep of right wing ideologues beneath the surface… some of the shows that have come out of Hollywood like 24 and the millions of “Turrorist gonna get us” belie the lie that Hollywood is the bastion of liberalization.

This ideology has slipped into every US motion film… I didn’t read the Devil wears Prada but was discussing the movie with colleagues to find out that the end was changed where the upitty boss woman (as Luscious Vagina would call her cunt bitch whore)… destroys her marriage because she works… where that is not the case in the book. Why did Hollywood seem to think that the meme woman works therefore woman loses husband… is more marketable.

If anything…what Gore won tonight was not needing an invitation by the Hollywood power elite of the likes od Spielberg and the other assholes who backed Arnold for Gov… Yet another door welded shut by Hilliary and co that Gore just picked open.

Out of the mouth of non politician… Charles Barkley ( who better to quote… Kos??… there is slim pickens out there) made a very astute observation… Although he likes Obama he is under no illusion that Obama can win… and as a matter of fact neither can Hilliary… which leaves only the white dude… Edwards… who may win the primary like Kerry but will be trottled in the general for lack of everything besides hair condiditioner.

If Gore is strategerizing… I think it is best to let the American people come to that conclusion themselves while staying out of the firing line. I thought Carter was very telling… last time he dragged his feet (playing by the rulz) giving Dean a non endorsement endorsement… this time Carter has come out before Gore has even announced… my guess in a demonstration that those who are willing to put there head in the lions mouth… will this time have adequate back up.

I am glad that Obama made 1 million at one event in Hollywood… but I do recall a certain unknown governor did the same by eating a turkey sandwhich on screen….

Let’s just say things … got way more interesting….all quiet on the thread thug front …. mebbe MB is polishing up his piece on Chevron…

45. Ezekiel - 26 February 2007

DT:

Spielberg irritates me with his fixation on the “Greatest Generation” and WWII. There had been several good antiwar movies in the 70s and 80s, then came “Private Ryan” which really was a return to the John Wayne genre as far as I’m concerned. The whole “good war’ meme invites the grim reapers to sell the next one as “good.”

Spielberg has helped prepare the ground for the sowing of permawar.

46. Ezekiel - 26 February 2007

I saw this scrolling down the diaries list at dKos and found it interesting (the link is to the author’s site):

From the constant drumbeat on Democratic Party affiliated websites like Atrios, Jesus’ General, and Operation Yellow Elephant to get Bush’s daughters into the military, to the bills in front of Congress by liberal Democrats like Charles Rangel calling for a reintroduction of the draft, to grassroots leftist support for old Vietnam era reactionaries like Jim Webb, to the recommendations that anti-war protesters wear suits and ties, the opposition to the war in Iraq is politically liberal, but culturally conservative. It values the hard, the masculine. It looks back to the rugged blue-collar authenticity of the old urban Democratic Party machines, not to the visionary and the lyrical politics of the new left.. Just count the number of diaries on the left Democratic web community Daily Kos that express the sentiment that “my Democratic Party daddy can beat up your Republican Party Daddy”. Obama “smacks down” Dick Cheney. Al Gore “schools” George Bush. Howard Dean “bitch slaps” Joe George Allen. The air is thick with testosterone poisoning.

“Why Liberals Have No Answer for Pat Dollard”

47. JJB - 26 February 2007

Ezekiel,

Yes, set it down in gold on lasting pillars:

Europe is no different from the U. S. Politicians will use ethnic, racial and religious tensions to distract people from their efforts to rob the nation. It works some places better than others.

It’s always easier to blame The Other for your problems than to educate yourself about your situation, and take responsibility for changing it.

48. JJB - 26 February 2007

liberalcatnip,

I guess this can be considered an addendum to your Haaretz story:

Vice President Dick Cheney made an unannounced trip to Pakistan on Monday to deliver what officials in Washington described as an unusually tough message to Gen. Pervez Musharraf of Pakistan, warning him that the newly Democratic Congress could cut aid to his country unless his forces become far more aggressive in hunting down operatives with Al Qaeda.

Mr. Cheney’s trip was shrouded in secrecy, and he was on the ground for only a few hours, sharing a private lunch with the Pakistani leader at his palace. Notably, Mr. Cheney traveled with the deputy director of the Central Intelligence Agency, Steve Kappes, an indication that the conversation with the Pakistani president likely included discussion of American intelligence agency contentions that Al Qaeda camps have been reconstituted along the border of Afghanistan.

The decision to send Mr. Cheney secretly to Pakistan came after the White House concluded that General Musharraf is failing to live up to commitments he made to Mr. Bush during a visit here in September. General Musharraf insisted then, both in private and public, that a peace deal he struck with tribal leaders in one of the country’s most lawless border areas would not diminish the hunt for the leaders of Al Qaeda and the Taliban.

Now, American intelligence officials have concluded that the terrorist infrastructure is being rebuilt, and that while Pakistan has attacked some camps, its overall effort has flagged.

“He’s made a number of assurances over the past few months, but the bottom line is that what they are doing now is not working,” one senior administration official who deals often with South Asian issues said late last week. “The message we’re sending to him now is that the only thing that matters is results.”

Yeah, BushCo. certainly does know all about getting results.

49. JJB - 26 February 2007

On reading further in that story I linked to above, I came across this passage, which really ought to have been either pushed further up, or incorporated into the lede somehow:

The vice president’s office asked news organizations that knew of Mr. Cheney’s upcoming trip, and the small number of reporters traveling with him, to withhold any mention of his travels until after he had left the country. That request went far beyond the usual precautions as American officials travel into and out of Pakistan. President Bush’s visit there last year was announced in advance, and a recent trip by Secretary of Defense Robert Gates was announced after he had landed in the country.

It was unclear if the request reflected Mr. Cheney’s well-known penchant for secrecy — he said nothing in public during his visit — or an increasing unease by the Secret Service about how freely Al Qaeda and Taliban operatives are moving in Pakistan. There have long been doubts about the loyalties of some members of Mr. Musharaff’s intelligence service, and assassination attempts against him have been linked to Al Qaeda.

I’m not sure if the real story here isn’t that the VPOTUS has to sneak in and out of a country which is allegedly one of our closest allies in the GWOT because said country’s military/security infrastructure is working hand in hand with the enemy.

50. Sabrina Ballerina - 26 February 2007

JJB #48. Sy Hersch (and others) have written about AQ Khan, the inventor of Pakistan’s nuclear bomb. Khan more or less confessed to having dealings re nuclear secrets, with Iran:

Profile: Abdul Qadeer Khan

Khan had an espionage conviction in the Netherlands quashed
Abdul Qadeer Khan, who has confessed to transferring nuclear technology to Iran and Libya, is regarded as a national hero for helping Pakistan become a nuclear state.
Dr Khan played the key role in developing Pakistan’s nuclear military capability, which culminated in successful tests in May 1998.

Coming shortly after similar tests by India, Dr Khan’s work helped seal Pakistan’s place as the world’s seventh nuclear power and sparked national jubilation.

In March 2001 he was promoted to the inner circle of the country’s military leadership as special science and technology adviser to President Pervez Musharraf.

He was sacked from the position unceremoniously in January 2004 during the investigation.

But revelations that he has passed on nuclear secrets to other countries have shocked and traumatised Pakistan.

In a televised address, Mr Khan offered his “deepest regrets and unqualified apologies”.

“I take full responsibility for my actions and seek your pardon,” he said.

And from Sy Hersch, who asks the questions a lot of people were asking about AQ Khan, Pakistan and maybe, the Outing of Valerie Plame:

THE DEAL
Why is Washington going easy on Pakistan’s nuclear black marketers?
by SEYMOUR M. HERSH
Issue of 2004-03-08
Posted 2004-03-01

On February 4th, Dr. Abdul Qadeer Khan, who is revered in Pakistan as the father of the country’s nuclear bomb, appeared on a state-run television network in Islamabad and confessed that he had been solely responsible for operating an international black market in nuclear-weapons materials. His confession was accepted by a stony-faced Pervez Musharraf, Pakistan’s President, who is a former Army general, and who dressed for the occasion in commando fatigues. The next day, on television again, Musharraf, who claimed to be shocked by Khan’s misdeeds, nonetheless pardoned him, citing his service to Pakistan (he called Khan “my hero”). Musharraf told the Times that he had received a specific accounting of Khan’s activities in Iran, North Korea, and Malaysia from the United States only last October. “If they knew earlier, they should have told us,” he said. “Maybe a lot of things would not have happened.”

It was a make-believe performance in a make-believe capital. In interviews last month in Islamabad, a planned city built four decades ago, politicians, diplomats, and nuclear experts dismissed the Khan confession and the Musharraf pardon with expressions of scorn and disbelief. For two decades, journalists and American and European intelligence agencies have linked Khan and the Pakistani intelligence service, the I.S.I. (Inter-Service Intelligence), to nuclear-technology transfers, and it was hard to credit the idea that the government Khan served had been oblivious. “It is state propaganda,” Samina Ahmed, the director of the Islamabad office of the International Crisis Group, a nongovernmental organization that studies conflict resolution, told me. “The deal is that Khan doesn’t tell what he knows. Everybody is lying. The tragedy of this whole affair is that it doesn’t serve anybody’s needs.” Mushahid Hussain Sayed, who is a member of the Pakistani senate, said with a laugh, “America needed an offering to the gods—blood on the floor. Musharraf told A.Q., ‘Bend over for a spanking.’ ”

A Bush Administration intelligence officer with years of experience in nonproliferation issues told me last month, “One thing we do know is that this was not a rogue operation. Suppose Edward Teller had suddenly decided to spread nuclear technology and equipment around the world. Do you really think he could do that without the government knowing? How do you get missiles from North Korea to Pakistan? Do you think A.Q. shipped all the centrifuges by Federal Express? The military has to be involved, at high levels.” The intelligence officer went on, “We had every opportunity to put a stop to the A. Q. Khan network fifteen years ago. Some of those involved today in the smuggling are the children of those we knew about in the eighties

I remember this and on many of the online forums at the time, people were asking why Cheney, Bush et al were okay with letting Pakistan basically hide Khan and protect him from questioning.

Also, it was said that Khan was freely involved in nuclear arms dealing and was accomodated by the UAE (used their ports) – don’t know how true all this is, but it was never investigated nor the msm cover it much. And Cheney and Khan were said to be ‘friends’.

Then there was the fact that Valerie Plame/Brewster Jennings were supposedly on the trail of WMDs going to Iran/Iraq. Once their cover was blown, that was the end of the mission.

So, I’m wondering why Cheney is visiting Musharraff now. I doubt it’s out of concern for our national security. Could he be asking for cooperation from Khan to say that it was true, that he, Khan, did passed nuclear secrets to Iran?

I don’t know but I still wonder why no one cares about AQ Khan, not even enough to find out who he sold his secrets to.

51. anonym - 26 February 2007

Why do I think Cheney did not volunteer to go to Pakistan, but is doing penance.

52. marisacat - 26 February 2007
53. New Fake Name - 26 February 2007

Another weird aspect about that AQ Khan affair, where everyone involved seemed to get just wrist-slaps or walk free is the matter of the Israeli citizen and South African businessman Asher Karni, who was caught while trying to obtain 200 high speed electronic ‘nuclear triggers’ and redirect them illegally/clandestinely to AQ Khan’s people.

Karni was convicted in US courts in 2005, and sentenced to 3 yrs, but his lawyers were working on getting it whittled down. He may even be out by now.

Frontline and this blog had good reports on the strange case.

54. liberalcatnip - 26 February 2007

Pakistan’s government was among a few other Muslim countries calling for a diplomatic solution to the Iran standoff this weekend. I don’t think Cheney’s visit had anything to do with getting tough with the Taliban. He could have done that with a phone call. I think it was all about Iran.

I think this quote is highly relevant, considering Hersh’s revelations about Cheney’s office funding Sunni groups:

Pakistani Foreign Minister Khursheed Kasuri spoke with his Syrian and Iranian counterparts about the gathering on Friday, the official said.

He gave no additional details.

The official denied suggestions in pan-Arab media that Pakistan was forming a Sunni bloc opposed to Iran.
[…]
Yesterday’s meeting was supposed to lay the groundwork for a summit of Muslim leaders to be held in the holy city of Mecca, Saudi Arabia.

No dates have been announced for that meeting.

55. ms_xeno - 26 February 2007

RAZZIES !
:D

(Thanks for the reminder, Smithee.)

…”Basic Instinct 2″ won four Razzies on Saturday, including worst picture and worst actress for Stone.

The Wayans brothers comedy “Little Man” placed second with three Razzies, including shared prizes by Shawn and Marlon Wayans for worst actor and worst screen couple.

A follow-up to Stone’s career-making 1992 hit, “Basic Instinct 2″ revived her femme-fatale predator for a murder thriller set in London, with relatively unknown British actor David Morrissey inheriting the victim’s mantle from Michael Douglas, the star of the first film who did not return for the sequel… –David Germain at WA Spokesman-Review


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