March 13, 2004

The bin Laden Secret Air Lift. "Immediately after 9/11, dozens of Saudi royals and members of the bin Laden family fled the US in a secret airlift authorized by the Bush White House. One passenger was an alleged al-Qaida go-between, who may have known about the terror attacks in advance." An excerpt from "House of Bush, House of Saud" by Craig Unger, which will be published March 16. (Search for September 13-19, 2001 here for some background; a second excerpt; more this week; also.)

John Kerry has challenged George W. Bush to a series of monthly debates. I can't imagine Bush agreeing to this -- even though last month he said: "There is going to be ample time for the American people to assess whether or not I made good calls, whether or not I used good judgment ... and I look forward to that debate" -- but he runs a real risk if he does not accept.

On March 17, 2003, Bush addressed the women of Iraq: "We will deliver the food and medicine you need. We will tear down the apparatus of terror and we will help you to build a new Iraq that is prosperous and free." One year later, Yifat Susskind of MADRE examines how Iraqi women and families are faring under US occupation.

George Bush "marked International Women's Week by paying tribute to women reformers -- but one of those he cited is really a man." Referring to Fathi Jahmi in a speech on Friday, Bush said: "She's a local government official who was imprisoned in 2002 for advocating free speech and democracy." ... By the way, April 1 is National "I'm Embarrassed by My President" Day.

This is interesting: "Over the past few days ... there have been reports that US forces have unloaded a large cargo of parts for constructing long-range missiles and weapons of mass destruction (WMD) in the southern ports of Iraq. A reliable source from the Iraqi Governing Council [said] US forces, with the help of British forces stationed in southern Iraq, had made extensive efforts to conceal their actions."

Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld has kept a piece of Flight 77 on his desk "to remember the terrorist attacks." Sally Regenhard, whose son died in the towers, says the souvenir-taking by officials (and it appears to be widespread) was part of a larger failure to preserve evidence. Most of the WTC steel (I recall reading 80%, but don't have a link) was immediately sold and shipped to China, thus making any investigation into exactly how the two towers collapsed impossible. However, enough steel was saved so that a Georgia company could make commemorative medallions for $30 apiece.

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