Comments and e-mails are welcome, but all such communication is to be assumed to be 1) the original work of any who initiate said communication and 2) in the public domain, with free use granted for publication in electronic or written form. If you do NOT wish to have your message posted, write "CONFIDENTIAL" in the subject line of your email.
Original content copyright © 2006 - 2008 by the respective authors. Fair, not-for-profit use of said material by others is encouraged, as long as acknowledgement and credit is given, to include the url of the original source post. Other arrangements can be made as needed.
Site contact: greyhawk at mudvillegazette dot com
Lots of folks seem surprised to learn that a group of Minnesota Guard members who served 15 months in Iraq don't qualify for full education benefits under the GI Bill. But those troops are hardly unique - even many Active Duty members will never see a penny of GI Bill education benefits. While it seems like it should be simple - serve your country, get money for college - it is anything but. Among other complexities, you must buy the benefit - you don't get it free - and you must pay for it at the beginning of your career, when your pay is already at it's lowest. Those who can't afford it are then forced to sign a statement that they decline it and understand they will never have another opportunity to get it. In fact, while it's undeniably a great benefit, the system is designed to deny that benefit to as many people as possible.
There are numerous other complexities built into the system. Want to see if you qualify for education benefits under the GI Bill? Try and figure it out using this 51-page official pamphlet from the Department of Veterans Affairs. Good luck - and as you attempt to navigate it bear in mind the warning label it contains:
Caution: Don’t rely on this pamphlet to determine if you’re eligible for education benefits. To receive a formal decision from VA, you must file a claim for benefits.Oh by the way, that's for the Active Duty version that some Guard and Reserve troops qualify for - there's another version for Selected Reserves and another big pamphlet on that...
Like I said, it should be simple - serve your country, get money for college (ironically that's what so many people claim forces so many poor folks to join the military in the first place) - but it's anything but.
One thing should be made clear - it's not the Pentagon that runs this program, it's the VA. And like all other departments it's controlled by congressional budgets and rules. If this is ever going to be changed, it's going to be done by congress. Various actual non-partisan veterans groups have been lobbying for reform for years, to little avail.
Looks like one of the IVAW sh!tb@gs tried to fake a hate crime at George Washington University.
Even if (as he and his fellows claim) they were "misunderstood", their motives are clear.
Here's a copy of the poster
And here's how Kokesh's stunt is being covered in the Middle East:
CAIRO — University campuses across the United States are becoming the stage for an anti-Islam campaign that includes hate posters and a series of activities to rally students against the alleged threat Islam poses to the US and the world.
George Washington University administration, faculty and students came back from the weekend to find the campus painted with posters and fliers with the message: "HATE MUSLIMS? SO DO WE!!!"
The fliers, posted even on kiosks and mailboxes on standard letter-sized paper, featured a picture of a man next to a diagram describing a "typical Muslim."
Fifteen student organizations led by the GW Muslim Student Association, the Islamic Alliance for Justice and the Jewish Student Association issued a statement expressing that they were "appalled at this incidence of hate and Islamophobia."
Earlier Kokesh (who had a career-ending bust from Sergeant to Corporal for smuggling a pistol home from Iraq) was warned about wearing his uniform to protests...
I have been assigned as Investigating Officer to look into your possible violation(s) of DoDI 1334.01 "Wearing of the Uniform" and MCO P1020.34 "Marine Corps Uniform Regulations". Specifically, you may have violated the law while wearing all or part of your Marine Corps uniform while engaged in political demonstrations or activities.To which, at the end of a lenghty reply extolling his personal virtues Kokesh responded:
I know this matter pales in comparison with recent geopolitical events of which you have shown an interest but, nonetheless, I am obligated to investigate this matter and I have a desire to let a fellow Marine know about his obligations and duty. As a member of the Reserve Component, until 18 JUN 2007, the law restricts your wearing of the uniform at certain events.
Go fuck yourself.
The more I read about this, the weirder it gets:
In a story first reported by The Washington Post on Tuesday, Katz said that on Sept. 7 she contacted White House counsel Fred Fielding, whom she had met before and trusted, and offered the video and a transcript, long before anyone else had a copy.
The Washington Post reported this took place "around 10 a.m."
.... Katz said Fielding referred her to Joel Bagnal, deputy assistant to the president for homeland security. Bagnal asked her to pass the transcript and video on to Michael Leiter at the National Counterterrorism Center. Katz said she also copied Fielding in on the e-mail.
By 10:12 the Pentagon was downloading the video from SITE's servers. Pretty fast, huh?
About an hour and a half after sending her e-mail, she saw news outlets reporting that the government had obtained the video. And soon after that, a transcript appeared on the ABC News Web site and later on the Fox News site.
Katz said both of these transcripts were hers, and they bear the same date - Sept. 6, the day SITE prepared the document - and file numbers as the copy SITE passed to Leiter.
An hour and a half after 10 am is 11:30. But to buy SITE's version of events - that someone in the administration leaked news of Katz's email - requires one to ignore the fact ABC reported at 9:23 that "government intelligence sources" had the video and a transcript.
It takes time to write an article, even if all the information is spoon fed to you. Let's say it took only 20 minutes (hard to believe, but possible). ABC still had to have been tipped off before that. So we have to back this up to 9 am to begin writing and, what? 8:30 at the very latest for ABC to have been contacted and decide to write the article?
Also, now we know ABC posted the video before FoxNews. Sounds like they may have been the first to do so.
How likely is it that TWO leakers leaked the same story, on the same day, involving TWO copies of the video and TWO transcripts (one some time before 9:23 and one after Katz contacted Dan Fielding "around 10 am")?
That is the time of the original leak. And isn't it interesting that ABC had a link to the transcript up before Fox? That is what I couldn't establish yesterday.
Reading Mrs. G's post got me thinking.
Let's walk through this again. Rusty thinks we had access to the tape at least 24 hours ahead of time because of the date stamps on the bottom of the transcripts.
The ABC article posted at 9:23 a.m. cites "intelligence sources" who have already had time to analyze the video:
Intelligence sources tell ABC News they believe the video message from Osama bin Laden is authentic, recently produced and evidence the al Qaeda leader is still alive.
According to government sources, an initial analysis of the tape indicates "a lot of chest thumping" and of course historical references "alluding" to the successful attack on New York.
And a CIA spokesman told ABC News, "It's quite possible this is a new video."
...U.S. authorities earlier this morning said the tape's transcript is aimed at potential suicide bombers who he urges to carry out missions against the West.
But this is half an hour before SITE director Rita Katz says she gave the White House access to the video:
A small private intelligence company that monitors Islamic terrorist groups obtained a new Osama bin Laden video ahead of its official release last month, and around 10 a.m. on Sept. 7, it notified the Bush administration of its secret acquisition. It gave two senior officials access on the condition that the officials not reveal they had it until the al-Qaeda release.
Within 20 minutes, a range of intelligence agencies had begun downloading it from the company's Web site. By midafternoon that day, the video and a transcript of its audio track had been leaked from within the Bush administration to cable television news and broadcast worldwide.
According to the WaPo, the first download from SITE's server takes place at 10:12, unless they, too want to back up the chain of events to before SITE turned it over... which I doubt.
So what do we know from this, assuming it is correct?
1. From ABC at 9:23 a.m., we know government intelligence sources had a transcript of the video before SITE talked to the White House, and these government intelligence sources leaked news about the video and transcript to ABC *before* SITE talked to the White House.
2. Starting just a few minutes after SITE talked to the White House (10:12 am) various government agencies began downloading material from SITE's server.
3. From the WaPo: At 3 p.m., a transcript copy posted around on Fox News's Web site referred to SITE and included page markers identical to those used by the group.
ABC's copy of the transcript matched Fox's except for a deleted paragraph with a link to the site at the beginning.
Connect the dots: ABC quoted "government sources" at 9:23 who'd already had time to transcribe and analyze the video (or perhaps Rusty is right and they had access to SITE's transcription), then leak their findings (illegally, one presumes) to ABC. So we already have one leak: from the intelligence community.
From 10:12 to 1:00, the Pentagon, CIA, Army, and DoD's Network Information Center are busy downloading the video. Question: didn't a "CIA spokesman already tell ABC that morning that "It's quite possible this is a new video?" So someone from the CIA (a spokesman, according to ABC) knew about the video already. Why download it again? For comparison purposes?
At 3 pm, a copy of the transcript matching that on SITE's servers shows up on FoxNews.
At 5 pm, Katz claims this "proves" the government was the source of the leak.
A copy posted around 3 p.m. on Fox News's Web site referred to SITE and included page markers identical to those used by the group. ..."This confirms that the U.S. government was responsible for the leak of this document," Katz wrote in an e-mail to Leiter at 5 p.m.
Maybe, maybe not.
Who knew SITE would be meeting with the White House at around 10 am - 12 minutes before the first download?
We already know there was one leak from the intelligence community to ABC at 9:23 am - just before SITE and the White House met. And we know that at that time they already had the video and a transcript and had had time to analyze them.
I'm not sure what the 9/6 on the bottom of the SITE transcript proves. If SITE claims it was their transcript:
A copy posted around 3 p.m. on Fox News's Web site referred to SITE and included page markers identical to those used by the group.
...then it's hardly surprising it would have been translated BEFORE 9/7.
What we don't know is whether the SITE transcript that showed up at at 3 pm on Fox and other news outlets and the transcript referred to by ABC at 9:23 am are one and the same, do we? We do know that someone in the intel community leaked to ABC well before the White House met with SITE.
Possibility 1: There is only one transcript, which implies that either some intelligence agency had already hacked SITE's server OR someone at SITE gave them the information, which they then gave to ABC. Having leaked once, is there really any reason to presume this person wouldn't leak again to the media? And if indeed they were working in concert with someone at SITE, they'd have knowledge of the White House visit at 10 am, allowing them to leak to various intel agencies, thus creating the appearance of a White House leak.
Possibility 2: There are two transcripts: one of our intel agencies independently intercepted the video, transcribed and analyzed it, then leaked to ABC at 9:23 am.
Then, just by coincidence, a second leaker from the White House (acting independently and incredibly quickly, don't you think, to alert the Pentagon in time to begin downloading by 10:12 am?) leaked news of the SITE video and transcript to various news agencies.
Now which theory do you find more plausible? And isn't it interesting how quickly many on the right side of the blogosphere ascribe all of this to White House incompetence?
Again, I must ask: on what evidence? The events of the day seem very tightly orchestrated for "incompetence" to carry much weight as an explanation.