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‘Turboing’:

The How and Why: “I first learned the term ‘turboing’ when I worked second-level telephone technical support at Xerox. It refers to the actions of a customer who goes around the normal technical support process by contacting a senior person in the chain of command.

In this article, I’ll describe the Art of Turboing: why you should do it, what it will do for you, and how to do it successfully.”

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Did the Saudis know about 9/11?

This account of the revelations in a new book by Gerald Posner alleging that our ‘allies’ Pakistan and Saudi Arabia were working with Osama bin Laden in the leadup to the Sept. 11 attacks extends the impression of many critics of the Wot® that we are ‘sleeping with the enemy’. While much has been written about the interrogation techniques used on captured top al-Qaida operative Abu Zubaydah (including withholding medical treatment for wounds he suffered when captured, drugging him, and creating the charade that he was being turned over to Saudi interrogators), Posner is the first to report what Zubaydah revealed — essentially that four Saudi princes and the chief of the Pakistani air force were deeply involved in supporting bin Laden’s efforts and knew in advance of the planned attacks. Four of these five have since mysteriously died. Posner has reportedly received independent support for these details from sources inside the CIA and the Bush administration, even though they are denied by the Saudi and Pakistani governments and Zubaydah has recanted, claiming his confessions were coerced. Posner speculates that the surviving accused conspirator, a senior Saudi prince and longtime head of their intelligence services, may have had the others killed as part of a coverup.

The evolving relationship between al Qaeda and the Saudi regime has turned hostile since the May 2003 al Qaeda bombings in Riyadh, which gave the Saudi government the political capital to defend itself against the militant Islamic elements to whom it had long perceived itself as vulnerable. Even as the House of Saud had distanced themselves from bin Laden as his horrific tactics became clearer, they may have felt they needed to continue to conceal their prior involvement, even including foreknowledge of the Sept. 11 plans. Are prior sympathy and complicity, however, necessarily the same thing?

On the other hand, I have found appeal in the assertion that a covert element of the strategic interest in Iraq in the neo-con grand design is that it would allow the US to extricate itself from elements of its strategic investment in Saudi Arabia, which they see as increasingly a liability. If this is the case, one might suspect that the Zubaydah insinuations about the House of Saud suit their purposes of portraying the Saudis as no longer our allies and placing them in our gunsights. Sources, thus, conclude that the administration confirmation of Zubaydah’s insinuations represent a disinformation campaign. It is asserted that they are contradicted by data emerging from the interrogation of Khalid Sheik Mohammed, now in US custody and more instrumental in planning the Sept. 11 attacks.

In short, it seems more plausible to some administration observers that the leak of classified material is a smear campaign against the Saudis than an accurate leak from CIA sources. On the other hand, there is that matter of the censorship of the pages in the 9/11 report ostensibly bearing on the extent of Saudi support for al Qaeda. The 9/11 commission was clearly not a neo-con front with an interest in a smear campaign. (It strikes me, as well, that this controversy has to be seen in light of the recent tension between the White House and Langley over the Valerie Plame leak.) The Saudis apparently feel their image in the US bears rehabilitating. They are making a major PR effort to ‘spin’ their cooperation with anti-Islamist terrorism efforts dating back long before Sept. 11, indeed back to 1997, although some of their claims are dubious. —Salon

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Moguls battle to film story from the ‘new J.K. Rowling’

“The forces that brought you the Harry Potter films are locked in a titanic struggle with the powers behind the Lord of the Rings series for the services of a woman hailed as the new J.K. Rowling.


Her name is Cornelia Funke, a 44-year-old German mother of two, who is taking children’s literature by storm. Championed by Barry Cunningham, the man who ‘discovered’ Rowling, Funke has sold half a million copies of her detective story, The Thief Lord, which spent 25 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list and won several awards.


Her new book, Inkheart, the first part of a trilogy, promises to be even bigger. So big that Heyday Films, which produced the Harry Potter movies, is slugging it out with New Line Cinema, the company behind the Lord of the Rings series, for the rights to the big-screen version of Funke’s stories.” —Guardian.UK

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Leo Strauss, the neo-cons, and Iraq

Noble lies and perpetual war: “Shadia Drury, professor of political theory at the University of Regina in Saskatchewan, argues that the use of deception and manipulation in current US policy flow directly from the doctrines of the political philosopher Leo Strauss (1899-1973). His disciples include Paul Wolfowitz and other neo-conservatives who have driven much of the political agenda of the Bush administration.

…Perhaps no scholar has done as much to illuminate the Strauss phenomenon as Shadia Drury. For fifteen years she has been shining a heat lamp on the Straussians with such books as The Political Ideas of Leo Strauss (1988) and Leo Strauss and the American Right (1997). She is also the author of Alexandre Kojève: the Roots of Postmodern Politics (1994) and Terror and Civilization (forthcoming).

She argues that the central claims of Straussian thought wield a crucial influence on men of power in the contemporary United States. She elaborates her argument in this interview. ” —opendemocracy

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U.S. Prescription Drug System Under Attack

“In the past few years, middlemen have siphoned off growing numbers of popular and lifesaving drugs and diverted them into a multibillion-dollar shadow market. Crooks have introduced counterfeit pharmaceuticals into the mainstream drug chain. Fast-moving operators have hawked millions of doses of narcotics over the Internet.


The result too often is pharmaceutical roulette for millions of unsuspecting Americans. Cancer patients receive watered-down drugs. Teenagers overdose on narcotics ordered online. AIDS clinics get fake HIV medicines.” —Washington Post

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State Dept. Study Foresaw Trouble Now Plaguing Iraq

“Their findings included a much more dire assessment of Iraq’s dilapidated electrical and water systems than many Pentagon officials assumed. They warned of a society so brutalized by Saddam Hussein’s rule that many Iraqis might react coolly to Americans’ notion of quickly rebuilding civil society.

Several officials said that many of the findings in the $5 million study were ignored by Pentagon officials until recently, although the Pentagon said they took the findings into account. The work is now being relied on heavily as occupation forces struggle to impose stability in Iraq.” —New York Times

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Blaine counts down final hours

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“The countdown to freedom has begun for the illusionist David Blaine, who is due to leave his Perspex box on Sunday night.


Tens of thousands of spectators are expected to watch the 30-year-old American be lowered to the ground, placed on a stretcher and rushed to a private hospital.


He has apparently spent the last 43 days in the box, which is suspended next to London’s Tower Bridge, apparently surviving on nothing but water.


A nutritional expert has warned that Blaine risks sudden death if extreme care is not taken when he begins eating again.


The magician has described suffering severe heart palpitations, blurred vision and breathing difficulties as his fast neared its end.” —BBC

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Moguls battle to film story from the ‘new J.K. Rowling’

“The forces that brought you the Harry Potter films are locked in a titanic struggle with the powers behind the Lord of the Rings series for the services of a woman hailed as the new J.K. Rowling.


Her name is Cornelia Funke, a 44-year-old German mother of two, who is taking children’s literature by storm. Championed by Barry Cunningham, the man who ‘discovered’ Rowling, Funke has sold half a million copies of her detective story, The Thief Lord, which spent 25 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list and won several awards.


Her new book, Inkheart, the first part of a trilogy, promises to be even bigger. So big that Heyday Films, which produced the Harry Potter movies, is slugging it out with New Line Cinema, the company behind the Lord of the Rings series, for the rights to the big-screen version of Funke’s stories.” —Guardian.UK