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"Operation Swift" Was No Secret

Let's try this again. As New York Times editor Bill Keller said on Face the Nation yesterday, and the Boston Globe reported last week, Operation Swift and the Administration's war on terror financing was no secret. From the Globe:

Victor D. Comras , a former US diplomat who oversaw efforts at the United Nations to improve international measures to combat terror financing, said it was common knowledge that worldwide financial transactions were being closely monitored for links to terrorists. ``A lot of people were aware that this was going on," said Comras, one of a half-dozen financial experts UN Secretary General Kofi Annan recruited for the task.....

Indeed, a report that Comras co-authored in 2002 for the UN Security Council specifically mentioned SWIFT as a source of financial information that the United States had tapped into. The system, which handles trillions of dollars in worldwide transactions each day, serves as a main hub for banks and other financial institutions that move money around the world. According to The New York Times, SWIFT executives agreed to give the Treasury Department and the CIA broad access to its database.

Here is the U.N. report. Check out Paragraph 31: [Add: Link may not be operational this morning, it was fine last night.]

31. The settlement of international transactions is usually handled through
correspondent banking relationships or large-value message and payment systems,
such as the SWIFT, Fedwire or CHIPS systems in the United States of America.
Such international clearance centres are critical to processing international banking
transactions and are rich with payment information. The United States has begun to apply new monitoring techniques to spot and verify suspicious transactions. The
Group recommends the adoption of similar mechanisms by other countries.

Could there be any clearer evidence that Operation Swift was no secret?

Comras has more on his counterrorism blog. So does Glenn Greenwald.

This entire brouhaha is a sham on the public to make them believe we would be winning the war on terror but for the "liberal media."

On a related note, do you remember the Administration's claims that terrorists were funding their efforts through drug-trafficking? Check out Paragraph 65 of the same U.N. Committee's latest report:

Based on information provided by States, the Team believes that Al-Qaida
raises at least as much money from non-criminal sources as it does from criminal
ones. Although local cells are known to engage in small-time criminal activity, such
as credit card fraud or drug peddling, and the United Nations Office on Drugs and
Crime (UNODC) reports that groups straddling the borders between Afghanistan
and Pakistan, the Islamic Republic of Iran and Uzbekistan collect transit fees from
drug transporters, thus benefiting the Taliban, there is as yet little consistent
evidence of large-scale terrorist involvement in drug trafficking or other organized
crime.

Think about that when Congressmen like James Sensenbrenner (R-WI) and his cronies want to push the latest and greatest version of a Narco-terrorist act, that will increase drug penalties, which instead of applying to Afghan heroin traffickers, will end up applying to some home-grown pot dealer in Beloit.

A "narco-terrorism" conviction would draw a mandatory minimum 20-year prison sentence, with the possibility of a life sentence. Under the provision, "the government need not prove that the defendant knew that an organization is a designated foreign terrorist organization,'" according to the House floor summary.

....Who comes under the provision? It's not entirely clear, but it could be your corner street dealer who has no ties at all to terrorism.

Bush is headed deeper and deeper into lame-duck status. His maestro, Karl Rove, has his work cut out for him. Only if Rove can keep Bush's mo-jo alive by convincing their base that we, the people, and we, the press are the devil incarnate, do they stand a chance of keeping their majority rule in Congress.

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  • Re: "Operation Swift" Was No Secret (none / 0) (#2)
    by lilybart on Mon Jul 03, 2006 at 06:09:39 AM EST
    The problem with this program, AGAIN. is the lack of judicial oversight. All we are asking for is a warrent and judicial oversight, and congressional oversight, if necessary. Sigh.

    Re: "Operation Swift" Was No Secret (none / 0) (#3)
    by scribe on Mon Jul 03, 2006 at 06:33:59 AM EST
    Re: beating up on the NYT - well, duh. The only question about that is whether Keller is working pursuant to Rover's directions, or not. He's sure helping him rouse the rabble, regardless. re: not a secret - I posted last Wednesday, the Times was quite explicit about the story being not-a-secret and I even did some digging and found more info on the SWIFT program being not-a-secret. And Olbermann even waved a copy of SWIFT's own glossy magazine telling how it cooperates with the government.

    Re: "Operation Swift" Was No Secret (none / 0) (#4)
    by Punchy on Mon Jul 03, 2006 at 06:36:42 AM EST
    This is all a pre-emptive ploy to discredit the media. I think the Republicans either know they stole the 2004 elections, and/or are planning on doing likewise in 2006. If the media were to uncover the deeds, they'd be the "liberal" media and easily discredited. Shorter: this has little to do with SWIFT and all to do with sewing seeds of mistrust with newsprint media.

    Re: "Operation Swift" Was No Secret (none / 0) (#5)
    by jimakaPPJ on Mon Jul 03, 2006 at 07:08:32 AM EST
    Et al - What the paragraph says:
    31. The settlement of international transactions is usually handled through correspondent banking relationships or large-value message and payment systems, such as the SWIFT, Fedwire or CHIPS systems in the United States of America. Such international clearance centres are critical to processing international banking transactions and are rich with payment information. The United States has begun to apply new monitoring techniques to spot and verify suspicious transactions. The Group recommends the adoption of similar mechanisms by other countries.
    Sorry folks, what we have here is an obscure UN report in which the authors list three banking institutions that might be used. It cannot be, by any means, considered to be a "source" for the world to know about SWIFT. This report certainly wasn't widely known - witness the time frame required for it to be found despite what must have been a desperate search by the NYT and cohorts. This report also does not actually name SWIFT as the institution, but rather one of three that might be. So the fact remains that the NYT with worldwide readership in the millions chose to publicize the program, including the actual institution, SWIFT. Since the NYT itself called for such a system shortly after 9/11 their current actions is a great puzzle. The only conclusion I can come to is the NYT has decided that their opposition to the war should be expanded and pressure brought against the administration in every way possible. Certainly their leaks re NSA and data mining point in that direction. Beyond the damage wrought by the highlighting and actual identification of the use of SWIFT in a publication read world wide by millions, Belgium is investigating SWIFT as is Ireland. The arrogance of the NYT is almost unbelievable. They appear to desire a fight with the government. Bush should give it to them. Nothing like a constitutional crisis to spice up a long hot summer. Before then, however, someone should tell Kellor that free speech is not absolute, and that for freedom to work our citizens and our newspapers must act responsibly.

    Re: "Operation Swift" Was No Secret (none / 0) (#6)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Mon Jul 03, 2006 at 07:11:28 AM EST
    I think the Republicans either know they stole the 2004 elections, and/or are planning on doing likewise in 2006.
    That's a pretty strong allegation to make based upon gut instinct, don't you think? I agree the Republican response to the Times article is overwrought. Even though, personally, I think the SWIFT program was better unreported, I don't think doing so watonly threatened our national security. Nevertheless, I'm not exactly comfortable with the idea that disgruntled leakers and anti-administration media outlets can independently decide when to expose classified (or secret) programs. The reflects an arrogance roughly equal to the Bush administration itself. The major difference is, like it or not, President Bush was elected twice and elections are held regularly to ensure accountability. The press refuses to submit itself to any similar degree of accountability in asserting they are above laws designed to protect national security interests.

    Re: "Operation Swift" Was No Secret (none / 0) (#7)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Mon Jul 03, 2006 at 07:13:56 AM EST
    PPJ brings up a good point that is being glossed over: SWIFT as a banking institution was no secret. That the US was working closely with them, was granted access to the transaction data and the (somewhat) specific mechanics of this access was unknown to the wider world.

    Re: "Operation Swift" Was No Secret (none / 0) (#8)
    by Che's Lounge on Mon Jul 03, 2006 at 07:33:19 AM EST
    Rove got so used to manipulating the media in the pre war months that he's all PO'd that they showed some journalistic chutzpa. BTW Jim you forgot to mention the WaPO and the LAT. But of course, Ken said not to. Markos made me write this.

    Re: "Operation Swift" Was No Secret (none / 0) (#9)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Mon Jul 03, 2006 at 07:37:30 AM EST
    The fact that the government was doing monitoring was no secret. The specific methods were not well known. The fact that local police set up speed traps and sobriety check points is well known as well - but their locations aren't. I suppose you think that it would be just fine for a bar to broadcast to all patrons the location of all sobriety check points within a 10 mile radius of the bar too? Or of all known speed traps?

    Re: "Operation Swift" Was No Secret (none / 0) (#10)
    by roy on Mon Jul 03, 2006 at 07:52:20 AM EST
    It's uncomfortable to be on the same side as Jim and JR, but I think they've got something this time. Search Instapundit or Patterico's Pontifications for "Swift" to flesh out the talking points; they're rather good. My favorite, this, argues persuasively that at least some bad guys didn't know the details, regardless of whether those details were out there somewhere in the ether. Do you suppose more know now? (Just to fend off substanceless partisan responses, let me point out that I'm on-record as wanting to impeach Bush for something that was probably actually illegal)

    Re: "Operation Swift" Was No Secret (none / 0) (#11)
    by Repack Rider on Mon Jul 03, 2006 at 08:00:07 AM EST
    PPJ: The only conclusion I can come to is the NYT has decided that their opposition to the war should be expanded and pressure brought against the administration in every way possible. Not sayin' it's true, but if it is, it would be a refreshing policy, even if it is about three years too late. They ganged up on Bill Clinton (70% approval after impeachment) for a couple of year for stuff that wasn't even any of the public's business, but the war in Iraq sure is, and it's about time the press took the lead from the people on this (Bush at 35% approval).

    Re: "Operation Swift" Was No Secret (none / 0) (#12)
    by Jlvngstn on Mon Jul 03, 2006 at 08:03:39 AM EST
    Valerie Plame, not secret, financial monitoring secret. Or was it the other way around?

    Re: "Operation Swift" Was No Secret (none / 0) (#13)
    by Repack Rider on Mon Jul 03, 2006 at 08:05:18 AM EST
    JR: I suppose you think that it would be just fine for a bar to broadcast to all patrons the location of all sobriety check points within a 10 mile radius of the bar too It wouldn't be illegal, so what's your beef? Truckers have been advising each other for decades via CB about the locations of scales and police. Where I live, it would be redundant, because the locations are published in the newspapers the day before.

    Re: "Operation Swift" Was No Secret (none / 0) (#14)
    by cpinva on Mon Jul 03, 2006 at 08:08:11 AM EST
    hogwasho jim, et al. not even a very good try. SWIFT has been known, for years, by the terrorists, by the people, around the world, that matter, in a very public way. they have their own website, their own glossy magazine, etc, touting their work and cooperation with the united states, in monitoring transactions. exactly how did you think they were doing it, hand reviewing each individual transaction, out of the millions processed daily? right, and i have a bridge in brooklyn to sell you. please, only the world's stupidest terrorists didn't have a clue, until the NYT "broke" the story. of course, those terrorists are all either dead or in jail, because they are the stupidest. as it is, you now know what pretty much anyone who'd been paying attention has known for years, no more or less. you don't know details. what you do know is that there is a complete lack of either judicial or congressional oversight. that is a problem. and that is what very few people knew, and why the adminstration is really bent. first this, then hamden, what's a wannabe monarch to do?

    Re: "Operation Swift" Was No Secret (none / 0) (#15)
    by Punchy on Mon Jul 03, 2006 at 08:25:59 AM EST
    That's a pretty strong allegation to make based upon gut instinct, don't you think?
    Not really

    Re: "Operation Swift" Was No Secret (none / 0) (#1)
    by Edger on Mon Jul 03, 2006 at 08:34:19 AM EST
    I can't open your link to the U.N. Report - it may be broken.

    Re: "Operation Swift" Was No Secret (none / 0) (#16)
    by soccerdad on Mon Jul 03, 2006 at 08:38:12 AM EST
    Once again the rethugs have blown a non-story into an indictment of a supposed evil institution that is out to destroy America. As everyone knows this is designed to distract us from more evidence of the power grab that the executive branch has attemtped. It is also aimed directly at intimidating anyone from criticizing the regime. The same people here who parse every word in an attempt to lynch the Times are the same ones who parsed every word trying to convince us that the release of secret information by the adminstration for the purpose of punishing whistle blowers was ok. So its the same tired old story of them defending the present regime no matter what their excesses or lies.

    Re: "Operation Swift" Was No Secret (none / 0) (#17)
    by jimakaPPJ on Mon Jul 03, 2006 at 08:40:12 AM EST
    cpinva - Nice claim, but so far you have no proof. These are just desperate attempts to protect the NYT. And then there is the fact that countries will probably withdraw, crippling the effort. But hey, all's fair in the War On The War On Terror, eh? Repack writes:
    It wouldn't be illegal, so what's your beef?
    Uh, I think you know this but JR was using that as an example. Or do you think that anything that is not illegal is also acceptable? Do you, and the NYT, really want a 500 page carefully worded law that will require each article to be carefully scanned before it is published?? Can you, or the NYT, spell "responsibility?"

    Re: "Operation Swift" Was No Secret (none / 0) (#18)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Mon Jul 03, 2006 at 08:44:21 AM EST
    Punchy, thanks for the link. I'm personally interested in the Verified Voting project and would probably agree with most of the proposed changes to the DRE machines and vote-count procedures discussed on that site. However, I am completely unconvinced there was any sort of widespread, systematic vote fraud effort in any of our recent federal elections. As a former poll worker myself, I have seen first-hand the dedication, honor and propriety with which election site workers and watchers conduct themselves. Without exception every single person involved in the process sought a fair and accurate outcome, regardless of the winner. I further feel the machines are lacking an audit trail. I don't believe, though, that this current lacking means results from DREs are laden with fraud. Finally, I have no respect whatsoever for the argument centered on the exit poll/vote count discrepancies. As someone who works on a daily basis with Census demographics, I see the fallibility of sampling. Depending on the techniques and the underlying models, the result could be spot on or terrifically wrong. Just because a sampled estimate doesn't match the final, actual count, one cannot immediately claim the result is fraudulent. It might suggest explanation is appropriate (and in this case, no widespread vote switching, on the order of millions and millions of vote, has been uncovered). I understand the desire to attribute both the President's initial election and his subsequent re-election to fraud and impropriety. After all, we live in a culture where nothing is our own fault - all blame can be deflected elsewhere.

    Re: "Operation Swift" Was No Secret (none / 0) (#19)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Mon Jul 03, 2006 at 08:45:42 AM EST
    Let's not forget that before we had the War on Terror, we had the War Against Drugs which War targeted financial transactions internationally. There's a large history here of methodology of tracking the bad guys - similar means used for both. Afghan as the largest world-wide supplier historically of opium has a long historical understanding of how the US tracks and/or wants to track funds. They are experts, probably knew more than Snow & Tenet combined. And look at Sebastian Junger's book about S. American nexis of terrorists and drug lords. Face it, the NYT article told the US, not the terrorists what was going on. The NYT article told us that our pres had once again not allowed Congress oversight (according to Feinstein she wasn't briefed until JUST before the story broke, not on an ongoing, lawful basis). Just because the UN memo is new to us and doesn't specifically outline SWIFT's methodology doesn't mean that the terrorists weren't smart enough to investigate it themselves BECAUSE THIS IS HOW THEY SURVIVE. The NYT article didn't weaken the war on terror, it brought it under the lens of the rule of law. And since when should we be assuming that warrantless wiretapping negates the need for good international policy?

    Re: "Operation Swift" Was No Secret (none / 0) (#20)
    by jondee on Mon Jul 03, 2006 at 08:54:28 AM EST
    As others have pointed out, "terror" is a tactic, not an entity. And "War On Terror" is a bumpersticker; created no doubt by one of the Priznit's p.r flunkies and wielded by those whose scope of thought is resticted to whatever they said on Fox last night.

    Re: "Operation Swift" Was No Secret (none / 0) (#21)
    by Repack Rider on Mon Jul 03, 2006 at 09:11:46 AM EST
    PPJ: do you think that anything that is not illegal is also acceptable? Tell me which acts you had in mind, and I'll give you an answer. Pretty much anything that is legal is acceptable. Adultery is legal, and I certainly don't care who else commits it, although it would be "unacceptable" within my family. Is that what you had in mind?

    Re: "Operation Swift" Was No Secret (none / 0) (#22)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Mon Jul 03, 2006 at 09:18:32 AM EST
    Just a few general questions here. If the problem with what the admin was doing with SWIFT is the broad illegal, warrantless search, why is it such a big deal to require the admin to get warrants and have oversight? If that broad warrantless search is acceptable, hasn't the NYTimes done a great service in disclosing it? Now, all that needs to be done is review all transactions and scrutinize the ones that have altered since the disclosure.

    Re: "Operation Swift" Was No Secret (none / 0) (#23)
    by Repack Rider on Mon Jul 03, 2006 at 09:19:11 AM EST
    PPJ: Do you, and the NYT, really want a 500 page carefully worded law that will require each article to be carefully scanned before it is published?? That would be unnecessary and unconstitutional, since the First Amendment says that "the Congress shall make no [such] law..." You do accept the Constitution as a legal instrument, don't you? See also: Pentagon Papers, where the Supreme Court decided that the public interest outweighed any desire for secrecy on the part of the government.

    Re: "Operation Swift" Was No Secret (none / 0) (#24)
    by roy on Mon Jul 03, 2006 at 09:31:30 AM EST
    Pentagon Papers, where the Supreme Court decided that the public interest outweighed any desire for secrecy on the part of the government.
    It wasn't quite that broad. It wasn't so much about the "desire for secrecy" as about threatening security. The decision hinged on the fact that the government couldn't substantiate it's claims that security was threatened by the publishing. They didn't decide whether publishing could be banned when the information really does endanger security. (I'm not really this smart, I just happened to read a book)

    Re: "Operation Swift" Was No Secret (none / 0) (#25)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Mon Jul 03, 2006 at 09:39:01 AM EST
    Repack, I have a couple of issues with your comment. First, free speech is not absolute. Take, for instance, obscenity laws, "time, place and manner" regulations, and the like. Would the "500-page law" mentioned pass judicial scrutiny? No, given that it would be unapologetically a measure of prior restraint. But to say Congress absolutely cannot restrict speech is incorrect. Second, your characterization of US v. Nixon is incorrect. The SCOTUS decided that secrecy of presidental consultation or communciation, absent a need more urgent than the public interest, is not absolute. See Nixon v. US (1974) (418 U.S. 683, at 706)
    Absent a claim of need to protect military, diplomatic, or sensitive national security secrets, we find it difficult to accept the argument that even the very important interest in confidentiality of Presidential communications is significantly diminished by production of such material for in camera inspection with all the protection that a district court will be obliged to provide.


    Re: "Operation Swift" Was No Secret (none / 0) (#26)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Mon Jul 03, 2006 at 09:41:46 AM EST
    PPJ: I think there's a conflation here. If millions of people learn about SWIFT, then that's putting the program in peril. But terrorism is a non-random phenomena -- not just anybody becomes a terrorist, and terrorist organizations don't read the papers or scan the media the way you or I do. Therefore, millions of people being alerted to SWIFT is, I would surmise, not going to make a significant difference in recognition or thwarting the system by terrorists. Here's analogous point: I run the SNORT intrusion detection system at a gig where I'm systems adaministrator. This means nothing to most of the people who will read this, and judging from the number of attempts at exploiting old SNORT vulnerabilities against my servers, the bad guys already are acting under the assumption that I'm running SNORT or something similar.

    Re: "Operation Swift" Was No Secret (none / 0) (#27)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Mon Jul 03, 2006 at 10:07:03 AM EST
    Full article at Mom & Pop War Profiteering Team - Woolseys James is a shining example of how the revolving door policy works in Washington. Although he left his position as director of the CIA in 1995, he remained a senior advisor on intelligence and national security policies. .... And he also now works for several private firms that do business in Iraq. According to Citizens for Public Integrity, in July, 2002, James joined Booz Allen Hamilton, a consulting firm that "had contracts worth more than $680 million" that year. ..... In May, 2003, in his capacity as a vice president of Booz Allen Hamilton, James was a featured speaker at a seminar entitled "Companies on the Ground: The Challenge for Business in Rebuilding Iraq." He spoke of the potential business opportunities in the reconstruction of Iraq and how Bush planned to steer the contracts to US companies. Approximately 80 corporate executives paid $1100 to listen to what he had to say. ..... May, 2003 was only 2 months after the war began. If not for his advisory positions in the Bush administration, how would James possibly be able to put together a investor seminar with information on how to make money in Iraq? ..... In addition, �Booz Allen is a subcontractor for a $75-million telecommunications project in Iraq. The company does extensive work for the Defense Department as well. Recently, the Navy awarded it $14 million in contracts,� according to the Aug 15, 2004 LA Times. In true Dick Cheney style, James said in an interview that �he had not been involved in Booz Allen's Iraq contracts," the Times reports. But then it really doesn't matter whether he was involved in a particular contract or not, because as a Vice President of the firm, he benefits from profits resulting from all contracts.
    The potential for abuse needs to be checked by oversight from the public.

    Re: "Operation Swift" Was No Secret (none / 0) (#28)
    by chupetin on Mon Jul 03, 2006 at 10:14:59 AM EST
    Media Matters has a pretty good write-up on this. Mainsailset's comments are also reflected:
    If this sounds familiar, it should. When the NSA domestic spying scandal broke, the administration and its defenders argued -- just as absurdly -- that Al Qaeda terrorists now knew we were trying to listen in on their phone calls. But of course, they had known that for years. What that story revealed was not that the government was monitoring phone calls, but that it was doing so in violation of the law and without the proper warrants. When he was confronted with the obvious fact that Al Qaeda terrorists were quite well aware they were being monitored during testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales replied, "If they're not reminded about it all the time, in the newspapers and in stories, they sometimes forget."


    Re: "Operation Swift" Was No Secret (none / 0) (#29)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Mon Jul 03, 2006 at 10:57:09 AM EST
    Got any links to support your contention that this UN report was "obscure", PPJ? Don't forget that even if the report had been limited to 100 copies in Esperanto, the terrorists had already been 'warned' by GWB shortly after 9/11/2001:
    I also find that because of the pervasiveness and expansiveness of the financial foundation of foreign terrorists, financial sanctions may be appropriate for those foreign persons that support or otherwise associate with these foreign terrorists. I also find that a need exists for further consultation and cooperation with, and sharing of information by, United States and foreign financial institutions as an additional tool to enable the United States to combat the financing of terrorism.
    and
    Sec. 6. The Secretary of State, the Secretary of the Treasury, and other appropriate agencies shall make all relevant efforts to cooperate and coordinate with other countries, including through technical assistance, as well as bilateral and multilateral agreements and arrangements, to achieve the objectives of this order, including the prevention and suppression of acts of terrorism, the denial of financing and financial services to terrorists and terrorist organizations, and the sharing of intelligence about funding activities in support of terrorism.
    Link

    Re: "Operation Swift" Was No Secret (none / 0) (#30)
    by soccerdad on Mon Jul 03, 2006 at 11:16:33 AM EST
    The Conservatives has long waged a fight for the strength of the central government at the expense of individual freedoms. As William F Buckley wrote in 1952: "we have to accept Big Government for the duration - for neither an offensive nor defensive war can be waged given our present government skills, except through the instrument of a totalitarian bureaucracy within our shores... [Thus we] will have to support large armies and air forces, atomic energy, central intelligence, war production boards, and the attendant of centralization of power in Washington...." (

    Re: "Operation Swift" Was No Secret (none / 0) (#31)
    by Dadler on Mon Jul 03, 2006 at 11:34:11 AM EST
    "Imagination is more important than knowledge." Einstein had it right. These "attacks" were/are carried out for relative pennies. And they'll take more than sifting through relatively random numbers to end. They'll take imaginative vision and a clear message to the world, carried out with generosity of action, and not completely clouded in our own self-interested stinky sh*t, from which we steadfastly refuse to acknowledge odor. Convincing people in other countries to root out this kind of extremism in their own societies, convincing as many extremists as possible themSELVES to evolve and change, is NOT going to be accomplished with anything other than an America as fully evolved, engaged and humane and generous as we can be. And I'll say it again, if the President believed for a second his own B.S. about how evil the NT Times is, and how they've helped terrorists in effect, then he'd have done much more than complain. With all the powers he's claiming in "war"time, it makes no sense for him to not assert them with a paper which, according to his rhetoric, has aided and abetted the enemy. What's he afraid of? That he can't bully Americans at home like he can foreigners abroad? Blow. Hard. Miserable. Failure. Without a cell of imagination in his body. 'Tis a pity, since we need an artist at the healm now more than ever. But artists in America are like intellectuals, they're considered not normal or too serious, or just not like the rest of "us".

    Re: "Operation Swift" Was No Secret (none / 0) (#33)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Mon Jul 03, 2006 at 12:23:29 PM EST
    Direct-linking UN documents doesn't work. Apparently you can only access the docs if you go thru the "front door" and a search page and get a cookie. Go to UN Docs and click "Welcome." This takes you to a search page. Do an advanced search for- Third report of the Monitoring Group established pursuant to Security Council resolution 1363 (2001) and extended by resolution 1390 (2002) That will get you to the document. What makes things confusing is that when you have the cookie you can get there with a direct link, so when you check the link, it seems to work.

    Re: "Operation Swift" Was No Secret (none / 0) (#34)
    by jimakaPPJ on Mon Jul 03, 2006 at 12:24:33 PM EST
    Dark Avenger - Any UN report is "obscure." Of course it meant nothing after the NYT made its claims to millions world wide. And then we have the fact it took over a week for someone on the Left to find it and publicize it. And even then we find that the report merely says that there are three institutions that might be used. Grasping at straws becomes you. Repack - I think we already knew.

    Re: "Operation Swift" Was No Secret (none / 0) (#35)
    by cpinva on Mon Jul 03, 2006 at 12:33:17 PM EST
    cpinva - Nice claim, but so far you have no proof. These are just desperate attempts to protect the NYT. And then there is the fact that countries will probably withdraw, crippling the effort. But hey, all's fair in the War On The War On Terror, eh?
    jim, you can't possibly be the total moron you play on tv, can you? here, let me repeat this for the terminally stupid: SWIFT has a web site and a glossy magazine, available to anyone, where they provided essentially the same information that the NYT's did. let's also not forgot that the prez himself cited this very program, in speeches, to various and sundry groups. just how f'ing secret was this? hint: not very. what did you miss here jim?

    Re: "Operation Swift" Was No Secret (none / 0) (#36)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Mon Jul 03, 2006 at 01:07:10 PM EST
    Dark Avenger - Any UN report is "obscure." Anything that doesn't make your point is obscure, judging from your past attempts to spin things around to your POV. I found a fellow who calls himself Tankrail who likes to consider UN reports 'obscure'. He a card playing buddy of yours or something? And then we have the fact it took over a week for someone on the Left to find it and publicize it. Nah, I think it was someone in the pay of Karl Rove to make the Left look bad. Grasping at straws becomes you I guess you didn't read my remark about Esperanto and everything afterwards wherein I essentially agreed with you that the UN report wouldn't have necessarily have tipped off the terrorists. I should've thought that of all the commentators here, you'd appreciate my hyperbole. I'm crying in my beer because you've disappointed me again, PPJ. Shame on you.

    Re: "Operation Swift" Was No Secret (none / 0) (#37)
    by roger on Mon Jul 03, 2006 at 01:18:26 PM EST
    Sounds like PBRman should be banned at this point. Jim- come on, you are not that dense

    Re: "Operation Swift" Was No Secret (none / 0) (#38)
    by jimakaPPJ on Mon Jul 03, 2006 at 01:36:57 PM EST
    cpinva - And you also, at times, appear smarter than a moron who would make such a claim as you just made. The SWIFT website says nothing about a direct connection between it and the US. BTW - Did you even bother to read the comments above yours? If you will, you can't help but notice that the issue is the NYT publicizing and identifying SWIFT. Can you provide us a link with the President talking about SWIFT? croc_choda said this:
    PPJ brings up a good point that is being glossed over: SWIFT as a banking institution was no secret. That the US was working closely with them, was granted access to the transaction data and the (somewhat) specific mechanics of this access was unknown to the wider world.
    JR wrote this:
    The fact that local police set up speed traps and sobriety check points is well known as well - but their locations aren't.
    David Eaads writes:
    and terrorist organizations don't read the papers or scan the media the way you or I do.
    First that is an unprovable claim, and I would submit that they do read and listen and learn. I would also say that what you are really saying is that the NYT's activities have put us into a situation where we have to rely on the stupidity of our enemies. Do you really find that a tenable position? Dadler - David thinks the terrorists are too dumb and you think they are too smart. Perhaps you guys need to talk.

    Re: "Operation Swift" Was No Secret (none / 0) (#39)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Mon Jul 03, 2006 at 02:02:27 PM EST
    It does not matter what we called it or what we were doing the world and the terrorists knew we were doing it. The government said:
    With international cooperation on asset-freezes (as well as travel bans and arms embargoes under UN resolutions), we force terrorists into less reliable and more costly means of moving money.
    This is on the same government website:
    5) Concerted international action through multilateral organizations and groups, notably the Financial Action Task Force on Money Laundering (FATF) and the United Nations.
    This on SWIFT:
    2. Cooperation - SWIFT has a history of cooperating in good faith with authorities such as central banks, treasury departments, law enforcement agencies and appropriate international organisations, such as the Financial Action Task Force (FATF*), in their efforts to combat abuse of the financial system for illegal activities.
    Jim, I can spell "incompetent" - Bush.

    Re: "Operation Swift" Was No Secret (none / 0) (#40)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Mon Jul 03, 2006 at 05:40:29 PM EST
    Jim, I was not late. I was factual. The government admitted that the terrorist knew - thus we force terrorists into less reliable and more costly means of moving money. Can't you read? The government website and the Swift website was very specific. Stop spinning then maybe things will clear up for you.

    Re: "Operation Swift" Was No Secret (none / 0) (#41)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Mon Jul 03, 2006 at 07:31:21 PM EST
    And you also, at times, appear smarter than a moron who would make such a claim as you just made. The SWIFT website says nothing about a direct connection between it and the US. Don't tell him he's smarter than you, PPJ, he doesn't respond well to flattery :>) This is the paradox: The AQ types are such a threat to our way of life, so clever and destructive that any measures deemed necessary by aWol are all that keeps them from destroying America and our freedoms, but it never occured to any of them that banking transactions might be subject or scrutiny, despite GWB mentioning it in public speeches soon after 9/11(see the transcript of the Olbermann program about the SWIFT website and magazine) until it hit the NY Times. BTW, et al, I have to disagree with PPJ:
    and terrorist organizations don't read the papers or scan the media the way you or I do.
    First that is an unprovable claim, and I would submit that they do read and listen and learn. I would say that the terrorists involved in strategy would read the papers and scan for information about us more thoroughly than we do because we are the enemy, and one of the things a good strategist does is study his enemy for weaknesses or responses that he/she can exploit and take advantage of for his/her own purposes. Logically, that would lead to the conclusion that the terrorists already knew that there were programs in place long before the NYT report. Didn't you watch war movies in the '70s, PPJ?

    [Outmaneuvering Rommel]

    Patton: Rommel, you magnificent bastard. I read your book.

    or this:
    Patton: Thirty years from now, when you're sitting around your fireside with your grandson on your knee and he asks you, "What did you do in the great World War II," you won't have to say, "Well... I shoveled s*** in Louisiana."
    Link I'd quote from Sun Tzu at this point, but PPJ's only experience has been with the deadwood who worked for his company who perhaps didn't understand it, so I gotta be prudent here.

    Re: "Operation Swift" Was No Secret (none / 0) (#42)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Mon Jul 03, 2006 at 07:37:57 PM EST
    tap....tap...hello? tap-tap.....is this thing on? Can I at least get an 'oh,...yeah' on the fact that the company (Booz Allen Hamilton) that is the acting external auditor on Swift (advises the investigations) is making huge amounts of money based on the GWoT? The financial dealings/info from the global markets are crucial to their businesses of consulting, defense contracting, intelligence, security....and could provide an unfair advantage. Isn't this, at the least, a conflict of interest?

    Re: "Operation Swift" Was No Secret (none / 0) (#43)
    by Edger on Wed Jul 05, 2006 at 08:06:58 PM EST
    "If those pinko, liberal, man-on-dog, flag burning, traitors at the NY Times keep telling people what's really going on inside my administration, the American people, sooner or later, are going to start wondering why we haven't found any that Saudi Arabian money or arrested any of those princes, yet."


    Re: "Operation Swift" Was No Secret (none / 0) (#44)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Wed Jul 05, 2006 at 09:08:06 PM EST
    I said:
    ...and terrorist organizations don't read the papers or scan the media the way you or I do.
    Then PPJ said:
    First that is an unprovable claim, and I would submit that they do read and listen and learn.
    How is it an unprovable claim? Were someone to get into a terrorist facility, monitor terrorist Internet traffic, etc., one could easily prove or disprove my claim. Then you could use a variety of statistical measures to determine just how different those media search and consumption patterns are. Second, somehow you got my point 100% backwards. My comment was meant to point out that people engaging in certain activities at a certain level of skill (such as inflicting malware on unsuspecting computer users or trying to fly lots of money under the radar) are doing it in intelligent, non-random ways, which you then go on to echo. But what I'm arguing, as my point about running Snort made very clearly, is that the watching and listening and learning with respect to something like SWIFT happens, if the terrorist is to be successful, long before it hits millions of people in the NYT. So lots of people now know about SWIFT that didn't before. It's kind of irrelevant, given the certain point of many comments here: that SWIFT wasn't a big secret at all, and that anyone who cared about such things would have noticed it and researched it much earlier. Also, if the system is well-designed, its existence and a qualitative description of its workings do not make or break the effectiveness of said system. Some of the best intrusion detection and prevention systems in the tech world are free/open source software, meaning not only do the bad guys get a chance to hear a description of how it works, they get to inspect the source code that makes it work. Just because you know the workings of the mechanism doesn't mean you can circumvent it; and sometimes, that transparency can make the mechanism better.