Friday, April 29, 2005

You’d Think Maybe the Name ‘Curveball’ Might Have Given Them a Clue

It seems the CIA was shocked (shocked!) to discover that its sole source for information about Iraq’s reputed biological weapons program—known only by his codename, “Curveball”—was a “fabricator.”

In written statements, former CIA director George Tenet and former deputy director John E. McLaughlin disavowed prior knowledge of Curveball’s penchant for creative fiction, despite testimony from senior CIA officers saying they’d been informed as early as 2002.

"I did not know prior to Secretary Powell's UN speech that some of the information used in the biological weapons section was the product of a likely fabricator," McLaughlin said in an April 1 statement released to the press.

I have to give the CIA credit; who knew the spooks were capable of this much irony? Not only did they name their source “Curveball,” but they released their statements on April Fools Day.

However, The WitList has learned that Curveball was not the only source of spurious intelligence used by the CIA. In response to an FOIA request, the Agency has turned over a heavily redacted memo that reveals other, even more questionable findings. I’ve reproduced the full text of the memo below.


Date: 22 April 2005

The following is a summary of a report commissioned by special agent [REDACTED] regarding the reliability of sources used by the Agency for foreign intelligence gathering.


From December 2001 through March 2003, the Agency relied heavily on reports from “Curveball,” a former Iraqi scientist now living in Germany, as a basis for concluding that Iraq had resumed programs to develop weapons of mass destruction. Over that period Curveball provided more than 100 reports, nearly all of which have been determined to be false or otherwise unreliable.

For example, in February 2002 Curveball provided detailed blueprints for a nuclear centrifuge said to be under construction near Tikrit, as well as aerial photos of a mobile weapons lab outside Baghdad. Upon further inquiry, it was discovered that the blueprints were schematics from a Lady Kenmore washer, and the weapons lab was a Volkswagen bus that had gotten lost enroute to a Grateful Dead concert in 1972.

As a result of these disclosures, the Agency has been tasked to reevaluate intelligence obtained from [REDACTED], [REDACTED], and [REDACTED] (codenamed, respectively, Screwball, Spitball, and Hairball), and to revise its recommendations accordingly.


Contrary to an Agency report issued in December 2004, North Dakota has not acquired nuclear weapons, nor is it regarded as a rogue state. Accordingly, we have urged the Pentagon to scrub the planned carpet bombing of Bismarck.

The Agency no longer stands behind its theory that the surge in obesity among Americans has been caused by a race of super-intelligent aliens. The Top Secret report titled, “They’re Going to Eat Us!” has been officially retracted.

Last year, the Agency reported that foreign agents had obtained photographs of senior administration official [REDACTED] (codename “Doughboy”) in a compromising position with a [REDACTED], including the extremely challenging [REDACTED] position, thus exposing him to potential blackmail. At the time, the Agency urged the White House to revoke his security clearance. The Agency has since determined that the photos were forgeries and that [REDACTED] is not that limber.

The Agency now believes the moon is made primarily from pulverized rock, and not a mixture of Swiss, feta, and gruyere cheeses, as was previously reported.

Respectfully submitted,


cc: GWB, KR, RC, GT

In the interest of full disclosure, I must report that I cannot entirely vouch for the accuracy of this memo, as my source -- the United States government – is a known fabricator.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Roaches Check In, But They Don’t Check Out

Just when we thought he’d taken up permanent residence under a rock, boy prostitute turned GOP-friendly cub reporter Jeff Gannon has resurfaced with a vengeance.

Thanks to an FOIA request by two members of Congress, the US Secret Service has revealed the White House comings and goings of the former male escort better known to his mother as James Dale Guckert and to his clients as Bulldog. The Raw Story has parsed the details and served up a tidy little summary.

It seems Bulldog visited the White House 196 times over a period of two years, which would put him there more often than George W. Bush. In fact, on 30 occasions he was there when Bush was out of town and/or no press briefing was held. This conflicts just a bit with press secretary Scott McClellan’s claims that Gannon/Guckert’s attendance at press briefings was “sporadic.”

On 14 occasions, the Secret Service has a record of Bulldog entering the White House but not leaving, or signing out after having never signed in, or checking in one day, then checking out the next.

In other words, Bulldog may have gone on a few sleepovers at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. (The Secret Service report is mum on whether he packed a toothbrush or wore his bunny pajamas with the feet.)

Who was he visiting and for what purpose? One can only imagine the shenanigans that went on, the romping in the Lincoln Bedroom: “This time, you be Marilyn and I’ll play JFK.”

Or perhaps they took the party to a more private venue. Who in the Bush White House has the juice to get Bulldog past the Secret Service with a smile and a wave? Someone extremely powerful and very doughy (Mr. Rove, your cell phone is vibrating).

It’s delightfully sick. The most homophobic White House in memory allows a male hooker to come and go like his name was on the lease, and the hallelujah chorus takes a collective vow of silence. Terri Schiavo had more to say about Jeff Gannon than the Christian Right. Perhaps they’re all still hoarse from shouting about “judicial activism.”

Republicans in Congress apparently have their hands full covering their asses in the Tom DeLay debacle. Fox News & Co. have discovered reticence, though it’s unlikely they know what that word means. Any day now Powerline will be concocting a theory that Gannon was really a Democrat plant, and Ann Coulter will be writing about Helen Thomas turning tricks in the Roosevelt Room.

But nobody comes out of this looking good. The White House press corps continues to bleat like sheep, afraid to turn on “one of their own.” You could plant a lawn gnome in the front row of the briefing room and they’d defend its right to be there.

A gay prostitute in the White House is apparently too vulgar for the broadcast media, which would much rather spend its airtime on celebrity child molesters and guys who stuff their dead mothers in the fridge so they can collect the social security checks.

What’s most disturbing isn’t the fact that Gannon is a boytoy, a fake, a shill, an arm of the Bush propaganda machine, or a serious nutjob with unfettered access to the highest levels of government. It’s the notion that the Bushzis feel they can do whatever they damned well please, because people are too stupid to notice, too apathetic to care, and too powerless to do anything about it.

This is how fascism starts. We all know how it ends.

Monday, April 25, 2005

Microsoft to Unveil Caste System

Reorganization tied to new ‘Hate Something’ marketing campaign

Special to CNN

REDMOND, WA -- When Microsoft withdrew its long-running support for a Washington state bill banning discrimination against gays, it received widespread criticism for allegedly caving in to demands by African American evangelicals who opposed the legislation.

In a confidential email sent to top Microsoft executives, CEO Steve Ballmer hailed the resulting press coverage as a “public relations coup” that had generated “more exposure for the Microsoft brand than anything since the launch of Windows 95.”

In the memo, obtained from sources who asked to remain anonymous, Ballmer proposes a new “Hate Something” marketing campaign to capitalize on the bigotry craze currently sweeping the nation. The memo also outlines Ballmer’s plans to reorganize the $37 billion software giant into a caste system.

Starting in January 2007, the company will combine its Internet, gaming, consumer, and enterprise software divisions into three groups:

  • Pasty. This group will consist of nearly all of Microsoft’s management team, including all the billionaires and most of the millionaires on payroll. They will now occupy buildings A1 and C26 on the software giant’s sprawling Redmond campus.

  • Harlequin. This smaller caste will consist of any employees claiming or suspected to be of mixed race. To avoid possible confusion, the group will include anyone who maintains a tan in the dreary Northwest climate.

  • Darkies. The largest group at Microsoft includes approximately 20,000 software engineers currently holding H-1B visas. They will be allowed full access to lavatories and public facilities in all buildings (except for A1 and C26) between the hours of 9 pm and 6 am.

In the memo Ballmer denied the company was under pressure from leaders of gay rights organizations to deny equal status to people of color. He emphasized that all groups would be treated the same, though the Pasty group would still receive 98% of Microsoft stock options.

When news of the memo became public, however, local gay activists claimed victory. “Microsoft obviously agrees that there can only be one group of victims in this society, and we are it,” says Rev. Fay Manley, pastor of the Church of Moral Superiority (

Ballmer emphasized that the reorganization would not affect Microsoft’s ability to produce world-class software favored by hackers the world over.

Friday, April 22, 2005

Top 10 Reasons to Renew The Patriot Act

Several of the worst provisions of the Patriot Act—such as those relating to freedom of expression, unlawful search and seizure, and the right to avoid self-incrimination—are scheduled to expire this year. But not if Congressional Republicans and Al “Torture is my Business” Gonzalez have anything to say about it.

Here are their Top 10 reasons to not let these provisions expire (with apologies to David Letterman):

10. Everyone knows suspicion is 9/10ths of the law.

9. Ashcroft was so depressed after losing his Senate seat to a dead guy, gutting the Patriot Act will just kill him.

8. The FBI has just hired Trading Spaces’ Paige Davis to secretly redecorate terror suspect’s homes during sneak-and-peak searches.

7. We haven’t finished rounding up all the members of the deadly Fresno Quilting Bee Gang.

6. It’s cruel to deny lonely librarians visits from hunky G men.

5. Lack of judicial oversight frees up Federal courts to hear more desperate right-to-life appeals.

4. There’s still a handful of Texas Democrats Tom DeLay hasn’t found yet.

3. They’ve just expanded the prison at Guantanamo—and they’re getting the Spice Channel!

2. The new Friends Spy Free program lets suspects’ friends and family members be investigated for one low-low price.

And the number one reason for renewing the Patriot Act is…

1. Only 27 24 more amendments to go!

Wednesday, April 20, 2005 Posted by Hello

Two Small Pieces of Business

I’ve been meaning to bring this up for a while, and I just don’t think I can sit on it any longer. Here we are, five years into the new millennium, and we still don’t have a name for our decade. It’s embarrassing. It’s pathetic. The kids from all the other decades are laughing at us.

So let me humbly propose a name for what has been in many respects a truly miserable semi-decade: The Naughts. It’s short, catchy, and excellent fodder for puns. Our political efforts have largely been for naught. We’ve had some naughty moments (Janet Jackson, Howard Stern). We have a president with naught a clue. And so on.

The other thing we’re desperately missing is a symbol. Something that’s simple and intuitive but still leaves plenty of room for more complicated bumperstickers.

The ‘60s had the peace sign. The ‘70s had the smiley face. The ‘80s had the Anarchist symbol – you know, the A inside the circle? (It didn’t really catch on, Anarchists not generally considered to be masters of marketing, but still.) The ‘90s had…well, I don’t know what the ‘90s had, but they surely had something. A cigar maybe. A blue dress.

Bruce Schneier, a frighteningly lucid and level-headed thinker on all forms of security, has offered up a symbol I think fits the bill perfectly: the individual-i. (Visit to see it in action.)

It stands for information and for individuals, both of which are being heavily suppressed in these dark days. It can stand for inspiration, integrity, intrepidness, or insouciance. It can stand for whatever you want it to stand for. For all we know it could be the Indonesian symbol for toilet. And it’s completely open source, free for the taking, 100% fully customizable. You could print it on T-shirts and sell them for $20 apiece and nobody would sue you.

Best of all, it’s unlikely to be appropriated by The Other Side (though you can be certain if this catches on they will come up with their own symbol, something lethal and fascistic, emblazoned with stars and blood and pointy objects).

I am trying, in my feeble yet endearing way, to start a small movement among blogs to adopt the individual-i and make it universal--unlike, say, health care or respect for civil liberties. If I can ever figure out how to add it to my blog template it will become the permanent symbol-in-residence on The WitList. I urge you to use it, put it on your own blogs, and share it with your friends.

Let 100 million individuals bloom. And then we’ll figure out where to go from there.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Winning the War on Terror, One Report at a Time

It seems Condoleeza Rice’s U.S. State Department has come up with a brilliant new strategy for documenting how the Bush Administration is winning the war on terror: they’ve decided to stop keeping score.

For the first time in its existence, the annual “Patterns of Global Terrorism” report will omit the actual number of terrorist attacks that took place in 2004.

When the State Department issued the report last year, it was widely criticized for underreporting the number of attacks and deaths. The department had to issue a corrected report that showed much higher figures. It won’t be accused of doing that this year.

The revised figures for 2003: 208 attacks, with 175 considered “significant” – the highest figure in 19 years.

In 2004, the number of attacks rose to 655, according to former CIA analyst Larry Johnson, who says he’s seen the raw numbers. That figure does not include attacks on U.S. military personnel in Iraq, or attacks on Iraqis in Iraq. Maybe they simply couldn’t count that high.

But that number won’t appear in the report to be published on April 30. According to State Department spokesmodel Richard Boucher, the report omits the figures because the methodology for counting terrorist attacks was “flawed.” Damned clever of them to notice after 35 years. The job of keeping stats on terror will now fall to the National Counterterrorism Center, which has been equipped with counting sticks and clay tablets for that purpose.

In other news, the Bush Administration has declared that the National Weather Service will no longer be issuing reports on average mean temperatures across the U.S. Apparently the results were considered misleading, due to the fact that some areas of the country are colder than the average, while others are hotter.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics will also stop releasing monthly unemployment figures, effectively immediately. The EPA will no longer issue reports on air or water quality. And President Bush has cancelled any future State of the Union Addresses.

“The state of the union is just fine,” said a White House spokesperson. “We’ll let you know if anything changes.”

Monday, April 18, 2005

Bush Wins Papal Vote

Reuters – 18 April 2005 0953 GMT

VATICAN CITY – In a turn of events that stunned Vatican officials, U.S. President George W. Bush has been named to succeed John Paul II as the next leader of the Catholic Church.

For the first time in history, the College of Cardinals employed electronic voting machines to select the next Supreme Pontiff. Bush won by a margin of 2,528 votes, despite the fact that only 115 Cardinals took part in the process.

The machines, which were last used in the 2004 Ohio presidential election, also registered -27 votes for Democratic candidate John Kerry.

“It’s a miracle!” cried Kenneth Blackwell, spokesperson for voting machine manufacturer Diebold Corporation. “God has spoken.”

Supporters of Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, whom early exit polls had leading by a comfortable margin in the voting, demanded a recount.

But Blackwell said the voting machines, which had been modified to emit a plume of white smoke when a plurality was reached, are unable to produce a paper audit trail, rendering a recount impossible.

When informed of his victory, President Bush expressed surprise. “I was not aware I was running for the popecy,” he said. “I wish people would tell me these things.”

However, he added that he would be “honored and privileged to serve as Supreme Pontoon for the rest of my natural life, or until I die, whichever comes first.”

Thursday, April 07, 2005

Republicans Defend Satan

GOP leaders rally around embattled Prince of Darkness

Thursday, April 7, 2005 Posted: 1351 GMT

WASHINGTON (CNN) – A search of Federal Election Commission records has revealed that Satan donated tens of thousands of dollars to Republican candidates and political action committees in possible violation of campaign finance laws.

FEC officials said contributions were made over several election cycles under a variety of names, including Beelzebub, Lucifer, Mephistopheles, Old Scratch, and Pluto.

Democrats on Capitol Hill called for an immediate investigation into the allegations. House Majority Leader Tom Delay accused the Democrats of engaging in “partisan spirituality” and said no investigation would be forthcoming.

Delay then attacked God, accusing Him of bringing plagues down upon the House of Israel and other atrocities. “Floods, famine, locusts…. these are not Republican values,” Delay said. Though a registered Independent, God was obviously colluding with Democrats in these matters, he added.

In her syndicated column, Ann Coulter mounted a spirited defense of the king of the underworld.

Satan is the single largest user of clean coal, which produces 3% less acid rain than normal coal. Do the tree-hugging liberals mention that? Nooo. Sin is the engine that drives the American economy. Without pride, envy, gluttony, sloth, lust, wrath, and avarice our nation would collapse. It’s time to give the Devil His due.”

At a press conference on the Capitol steps Satan himself appeared, wearing a blue blazer and a Bush-Cheney ’04 pin in the shape of a pentagram. He revealed he’s been a Republican since the early 1960s.

“Never much cared for Eisenhower,” he said. “But the rest of them have been pretty good.” Satan said he was a big supporter of the war in Iraq (“it’s been great for business”) and claimed the Democrats have been making false accusations against him for decades.

“They shouted out, ‘Who killed the Kennedys?’” said the Devil. “Well after all, it was you and me.”

Satan said he was pleased to be out in public among his friends and supporters, and looked forward to working with them for many centuries to come.

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Frist Announces New Educational Initiative


WASHINGTON – In a press conference held earlier today, Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-TN) announced a new “re-education” program aimed at Democratic senators. He said the Bush Administration had reached an agreement with Russian President Vladimir Putin to restore an old facility in Kolyma, formerly the long-time home of artist-in-residence Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, for that purpose.

The new center will be named the Republican Educational Institute for Constitutional Hegemony (REICH). Frist says the administration plans to open two more centers in Leavenworth, Kansas, and Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

The first senators nominated for the prestigious program include Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Russell Feingold (D-WI), and Robert Byrd (D-WV). A new selection of Democrats will rotate in at six-month intervals, unless it is determined that further reeducation is necessary.

“These senators chair no committees, pass no legislation—they can’t even offer amendments we don’t approve of,” said an aide to Senator Frist. “We felt this would be putting their time, and taxpayer’s money, to better use.”

With solid majorities in both houses and the so-called “nuclear option” at his disposal, Frist expressed confidence Congress could ensure unfettered passage of any legislation or nominees the Republicans desired.

Later this week, Frist promised to introduce a measure that would allow passage of Senate bills solely by voice acclamation, followed shortly thereafter by a resolution that banned voting entirely. “Voting really slows down our agenda,” he explained. “Do you know how long it takes to count to 100?”

He also added that, starting immediately, Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) will be required to wear a dress at all times while in Senate chambers. And all Democratic members who wish to speak on the Senate floor must first curtsey and ask ‘Mother may I?’

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Thus Crushing My One True Chance at Lasting Fame

This just in from the folks at Google: The WitList is simply Not Google News Material. Or so they tell me after a long and careful review. Here's their response in its entirety:
Hi Daniel,

Thank you for your note. We apologize for our delayed response.

We have reviewed the site but cannot include it in Google News at this time. We do not include sites that are written and maintained by a single individual. We appreciate your taking the time to contact us and will log your site for consideration should our requirements change.

The Google Team
I had suggested, perhaps immoderately, that if they were going to let white supremacist sites like the National Vanguard wade into their pool of news sources, they could surely help calm the waters by including The WitList. I promised not to wear a hood, goose step, or break into "Springtime for Hitler" at cocktail parties. Apparently that was not quite good enough. Though after the outcry over NV (which apparently is staffed by multiple fascists and thus passed muster initially), Google banned hate sites from its news pool.

Then again, maybe it didn't. A search of Google News for "National Vanguard" lead me to the Official Wire, a wingnut site that picked up a story by a National Vanguard author that has more than a whiff of Final Solution about it:

Zundel's Persecution: By Order of the Jews

by Kevin Alfred Strom

RUSSELLVILLE, AR -- (OfficialWire) -- 03/08/05 -- .... Mr. Ernst Zundel, late of Pigeon Forge, Tennessee and now of Mannheim prison in Germany... was just shipped in chains to Germany after the most shameful imaginable quasi-legal terrorism and sham proceedings by the governments of the United States and Canada. The Star Chamber has returned to North America. Mr. Zundel's "crime" is that of publicly doubting what Jews say about World War II -- nothing more. All else is pretext.

The "missed immigration hearing" was the Bush-neocon administration's pretext to kidnap him and ship him from his home and hearth and wife into Canada, where he was held in solitary confinement for two years without charge and subjected to a secret trial under a "judge" who once headed the secret police agency which knowingly put him in mortal danger, probably hoping to kill him on orders of its Jewish masters.....
Google Uber Alles, mein komrades?

So in this universe the blog Wonkette, which despite its singular title (the dishy Anne Marie Cox) has an editorial staff, qualifies. Talking Points Memo, the policy-oriented blog written by the less dishy but far more wonkish Joshua Micah Marshall, does not. No matter that Wonkette serves up frothy but forgettable tidbits of Beltway gossip and Marshall's blog took down Trent Lott. Rules is rules.

But pity poor Google. In an age where journalists get paid to serve up fake news and governments serve up fake journalists, where armies of partisan bloggers dig under rocks trying to find (and discredit) stories while print and broadcast reporters regurgitate whatever they've been spoon-fed, Google is out there trying to define "legitimate news." Good fucking luck.

Meanwhile, I guess I've got to hire a staff. That, or be doomed to toil in obscurity, far from the cocktail parties at the Mayflower Hotel and guest spots on Bill Maher. Anybody out there want a job?

Sunday, April 03, 2005

Pope John Paul II is Dead at 84

House Speaker Tom Delay vows revenge against those responsible

Sunday, April 3, 2005 Posted: 11:03 AM EST (1603 GMT)

ATLANTA (CNN): Pope John Paul II died on Saturday, April 2, after a lingering illness. The 84-year-old Pontiff had been on a feeding tube for several days prior to succumbing to heart and kidney failure.

In a taped statement, House Speaker Tom Delay (R-TX) vowed to “find and punish the persons responsible” for the Supreme Pontiff’s death.

A preliminary investigation into the Catholic leader’s death has determined the party responsible for the Pope’s demise was God.

“This arrogant, out-of-control Deity makes millions of life or death decisions every day with virtually no accountability,” Delay said. “If the Creator of all things believes He can thumb His Nose at Congress, the President, and millions of Americans, He is sadly mistaken.”

Delay has ordered the Department of Homeland Security to turn over all of God’s travel and immigration records. He plans to provide the information to the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force, so they can use it to ascertain the Supreme Being’s current location.

Delay delivered his statement via a videotape found behind a potted plant at CNN’s corporate headquarters in Atlanta. Delay is currently under investigation by a Texas grand jury and several Congressional committees for alleged ethics violations. He is believed to be hiding out in the Devil’s Sinkhole cave outside San Antonio.

Delay warned others to not stand in the way of his mission to apprehend the Supreme Being and bring Him to justice.

“We will do everything in our power to preserve the sanctity of human life,” Delay said. “If that means killing some people in the process, well so be it.”

Friday, April 01, 2005

Media Sues to Restore Schiavo’s Life

Associated Press

April 1, 2005

ATLANTA -- A consortium of broadcast networks and cable news stations has filed a 13th-hour plea to a Federal judge in Atlanta, seeking a court order to restore Terri Schiavo to a persistent vegetative state.

The plea demands that health care providers at the Pinellas Park Hospice “use heroic measures” to reanimate the 41-year-old former Floridian, who died on Thursday, 13 days after her feeding tube had been removed.

“This is more than a question of life and death, this is a question of ratings,” said one cable executive who declined to be named. “Terri was a blockbuster. We want to renew her for at least another 13 weeks.”

Privately, executives fear that without the Schiavo story, news stations might have to fill their broadcasts with stories about the spiraling Federal deficit, the privatization of Social Security, the Bush administration’s controversial judicial nominations, and House Speaker Tom Delay’s multiple ethics investigations.

“These issues are just too complex for our viewers—and, frankly, our reporters – to comprehend,” bemoaned the executive. “All we want is a good story to tell in as simplistic a way as possible.”

Members of the consortium include the three major networks, CNN, CNBC, and MSNBC. Fox News declined to join the consortium. A Fox spokesperson said the network opted instead to tell its viewers that Schiavo was still alive, and that candlelight vigils were continuing.

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