diumenge, 31 de maig del 2009

IKEA t'ajuda

tot i que hi consti "nanny" sembla més una història de separats.

El Rey preside un homenaje a la Bandera y a los Caídos

El Rey preside un homenaje a la Bandera y a los Caídos 1
El Rey preside un homenaje a la Bandera y a los Caídos
Los Reyes don Juan Carlos y doña Sofía han presidido en Santander un homenaje a la Bandera y a los Caídos, actos con los que se culminó la celebración del Día de las Fuerzas Armadas. El sábado, unas cien mil personas presenciaron una espectacular exhibición aeronaval en la citada ciudad.

No sé si aquesta era la denominació "oficial", però així ho " entitulen" els "amics" de Libertad Digital...

David Byrne (sobre cuina i llistes)


Interessants opinions sobre categories de cuina, llistats, art...
La foto de la cloïssa pornogràfica, imagino que és del David.

(Per enllaçar al article clicar el títol)

dissabte, 30 de maig del 2009

No els acaba d'anar be aquí, ara ataquen a les illes.

La asociación cívica Círculo Balear ha convocado una movilización cívica en defensa de la libertad lingüística para el próximo día 30 de mayo en Palma. El recorrido previsto de la manifestación tendrá su inicio a las 12.00 en el Passeig des Born, hasta la Plaza Mayor.

(Libertad Digital) Según informa Círculo Balear en un comunicado, la actual situación de discriminación lingüística en prácticamente todos los ámbitos públicos, y también privados, debe acabar. El problema creado por nuestros gobernantes, anteriores y actuales, debe ser solucionado mediante la presión ciudadana que venimos ejerciendo.

La escalada nacionalista a la se está sometiendo a Baleares requiere una protesta ciudadana basada en la libertad y la tolerancia, para demostrar que la educación de nuestros hijos, las relaciones con la administración pública, o el ejercicio de una profesión, no entienden de requisitos lingüísticos excluyentes.

El Circulo Balear defiende que no se debe ni puede tolerar más esta situación de vulneración de derechos y libertades. Por ello, la asociación ha decidido convocar una manifestación por la libertad lingüística para reivindicar el derecho a la libre elección de idioma co-oficial por parte de los ciudadanos a la hora de relacionarse con la administración local y autonómica, así como de recibir los servicios públicos, especialmente la enseñanza. Bajo el lema: “NUESTRAS LENGUAS NOS UNEN. VOLEM LLIBERTAT D’ELECCIÓ”.

Esta es una movilización abierta a toda la ciudadanía de Baleares. Sin ideología política. Es de todos, y para todos los ciudadanos, familias, inmigrantes, personas de todos los ámbitos sociales, culturales y políticos, que creen en la libertad y la tolerancia como pilares fundamentales de una sociedad integradora, como siempre ha sido la sociedad balear, exigiendo a la clase política que incluyan en sus programas electorales las reivindicaciones en favor de la libertad lingüística.

China, una imatge que ho diu tot. (de TIME)

dimecres, 27 de maig del 2009

i aixó és el que diu el Guardian

Manchester United fold without a fight as Barcelona claim Champions League

Champions' League Final

Barcelona 2
  • Eto'o 10, 
  • Messi 70
Manchester United 0
Lionel Messi

Barcelona's Lionel Messi celebrates scoring the second goal against Manchester United at Rome's Stadio Olimpico. Photograph: Jasper Juinen/Getty Images

It really did turn out to be an unforgettable final. Manchester United, in particular, may fail to rid their minds of galling memories on the night when the European Cup was taken off them with unwavering technique and flair by Barcelona. Until this United had never lost one, but virtually from kick-off here it looked as if the experience awaited them in Rome.

Perhaps there will be comfort in the knowledge that Pep Guardiola's side had outdone itself. All the reservations about their back-four evaporated on this hot night, because Barcelona simply would not allow themselves to be subjected to sustained pressure. Their midfield could always pass a way into the comfort zone.

United are a side awash with knowledge and confidence, yet those qualities are no protection against the shock that follows the loss of a goal so early on a night of this importance. There was bad news then, wherever Sir Alex Ferguson's players looked. In their own ranks Michael Carrick floundered in midfield, Wayne Rooney was marginalised and a customarily secure defence quaked.

Matters had turned out well for Barcelona, with the marvellous Andrés Iniesta betraying no signs of the injury that had put his participation in question. He, in particular, outclassed United by himself at times, particularly when he was setting up a goal in the 10th minute.

United gasped, because that blow was landed on them just when they must have supposed there was pain to come. The holders' initial assertiveness was exactly as anticipated, particularly since there was an urgent desire to examine a Barcelona defence recast following the suspensions for Eric Abidal and Daniel Alves as well as Rafael Marquez's injury. Yaya Touré, a holding midfielder press-ganged into centre-back, hinted at his shortcomings with an almost comic immediacy as he body-checked Anderson in bewilderment after a minute.

Cristiano Ronaldo's free-kick was blocked tentatively by Victor Valdes and had to be hacked away for a corner. Then, with nine minutes gone, the Portuguese put a shot wide with his left foot. This spell was soon shown to be fraudulent in the promise it made United.

Barcelona were barely disturbed as they crafted a goal. It was elementary for the hypnotic Iniesta to run free of Anderson and Carrick before picking out Samuel Eto'o. The striker's run mesmerised Nemanja Vidic and the Cameroon striker was clear. The angle was unfavourable, but Edwin van der Sar could not keep out the shot at the near post.

It was a moment that showed Barcelona at their finest while revealing an incompetence in United ranks that had not seemed conceivable. In one revealing incident, Rooney rolled a pass that went out of play because Patrice Evra had delayed his run. The synchronicity that comes spontaneously when a team is flourishing had evaporated.

There was little surprise in the half-time replacement of Anderson by the forward Carlos Tevez. United's initial scheme had floundered. Sir Alex Ferguson was as good as his word, with a place in the United starting line-up for Park Ji-sung, who had not even been among the substitutes a year ago, but the South Korean's work rate alone could not unsettle Barcelona. Much more enterprise had to be shown.

Barcelona anticipated that and, if anything, re-emerged with even more desire to demonstrate superiority. There had been a plea for an incident even before Tevez registered his presence by felling Iniesta. From the edge of the area, Xavi then struck a post. Fear alone should have raised United's tempo after that.

Turning the tide was a task that looked beyond Ferguson's side as Barcelona swept over them. Fabio Capello's contention that tiredness would not be a factor was a remark about the weather, but the opposition were a different kind of natural force that does take its toll.

United were, of course, committed to responding and knew that their resourcefulness had rescued many a match in their European history.

On the tactical level, Ferguson sought to have Ronaldo and Tevez as a pairing in central attack. That is a throwback strategy and it goes against the grain of the contemporary United. On the other hand, the team had been markedly inferior when playing the match on the pass-and-move terms of Barcelona.

Work-rate had been devalued as well, with Park removed so that the elegance of Dimitar Berbatov could be applied. Prior to that there had been stirrings, especially when Rooney, now on the right, came close to setting up Ronaldo in front of the posts. This effort, however, was not sufficient to deter Barcelona. With 70 minutes gone, Xavi crossed deep and Messi headed back across the goal to beat Van der Sar. The mockery of the Argentinian for his travails against Premier League clubs had not been wholly quietened here, but that goal cowed critics, much as Barcelona had outclassed United.

Oddly enough, there was a half chance almost immediately for United, but Ronaldo could not force the ball past Valdes and a corner was conceded. Ferguson's team were helpless and Paul Scholes, a substitute, should have seen a red card rather than a yellow for his two-foot leap at Sergio Busquets.

sembla mentida pero és el MARCA

Suena el himno del Barcelona en el Olímpico. Al final, se lo va a aprender toda Europa. Razones tienen para ello. Fiesta barcelonista en Roma y España entera
22:54 El Barcelona disfruta con la Champions en el verde. Fotos protocolarias y éxtasis de todo el barcelonismo en la 'Ciudad Eterna'. EL BARÇA ES EL CAMPEÓN DE EUROPA. ENHORABUENA A TODO EL MUNDO AZULGRANA. Un placer desde MARCA.com

Calcio (de La Reppublica)


Champions League
Per chi tifate nella finale di Champions League?
Manchester United
(3883 voti) 20%
(3883 voti) - 20%
(14057 voti) 71%
(14057 voti) - 71%
Per nessuna
(1968 voti) 10%
(1968 voti) - 10%
19908 voti alle 19:44. Sondaggio aperto alle 12:07 del 26.05.2009
Questo sondaggio non ha, ovviamente, un valore statistico. Si tratta di una rilevazione aperta a tutti, non basata su un campione elaborato scientificamente. Ha quindi l’unico scopo di permettere ai lettori di esprimere la propria opinione su un tema di attualità. Le percentuali non tengono conto dei valori

cada cosa al seu temps... (ora et labora)

dilluns, 25 de maig del 2009

Un gos (espontaniament) s'hà apuntat a fer l'Everest

Il primo cane a tentare l'Everest

KATHMANDU, Nepal -- Scodinzola a tutti gli alpinisti che passano, adora le croste di formaggio e sembra trovarsi a perfetto agio a 6.400 metri di quota. Si chiama Tashi lo splendido cucciolotto nero che stamattina si aggira fra le tende di campo 2, lasciando attoniti tutti gli alpinisti che da diverse ore si domandano come abbia fatto a passare i crepacci e le scalette dell'Icefall.

"C'è un cane qui a campo due! - ha esordito Silvio Mondinelli questa mattina al telefono satellitare - Nessuno sa come abbia fatto ad arrivare qui, a passare le scalette dell'Icefall, ma ormai è diventato la nostra mascotte... l'abbiamo chiamato Tashi, ed è il primo cane che tenta l'Everest! Un vero fenomeno, sembra far dispetto a tutti quelli che salgono con l'ossigeno".

Mondinelli è arrivato a campo due stamattina molto presto, intorno alle nove del mattino. E poco dopo si è trovato davanti il cane scodinzolante, che lo guardava con occhioni spalancati. "Sono rimasto di sasso - racconta l'alpinista - poi gli ho dato qualcosa da mangiare. Le barrette e le vitamine gli fanno schifo, le sputa. Invece gli piace il formaggio: divora le croste in un baleno".

Dopo la colazione da Mondinelli, Tashi è ripartito ed ha ricominciato il giro tra le tende del campo, che in questi giorni di tentativi di vetta brulica di persone. "Appena arrivato sono stato invitato a mangiare il porridge dai miei vicini di tenda - racconta Mondinelli -. Non è molto buono, veramente... Poi un'altra spedizione commerciale mi ha invitato a pranzo. Oggi è così qui a campo 2, in fondo è bello anche per questo! L'unica cosa che non capisco è perchè adesso mi chiamano tutti Silvio, fino all'anno scorso ero solamente "Gnaro". Mah, sarà contenta mia mamma!".

Poi Mondinelli racconta della folla sulla via di salita. "C'è una fila ininterrotta di persone - racconta l'alpinista e finanziere di Alagna - che sale da campo 2 fino allo Speron dei Ginevrini, 7.500 metri, dove si divide il cammino tra Lhotse ed Everest. E' una cosa incredibile da vedere. Gli sherpa delle spedizioni commerciali, scurissimi per il sole che hanno preso, scendono carichi come muli di bombole mentre alcuni clienti, che evidentemente non hanno fatto nessun tipo di preparazione a casa, si muovono con gli scarponi d'alta quota goffi come se indossassero degli scafandri da sub".

Mondinelli, che ora sta aspettando l'arrivo dei tre sherpa che lo assisteranno nel lavoro da compiere sulla stazione meteorolgica di Share Everest, riposerà alcune ore in tenda e poi, nella notte, partirà con loro per gli ottomila metri di Colle Sud. Tutto il team salirà e compierà il lavoro senza ossigeno.

Sara Sottocornola

Related links
Mondinelli ripartito per Colle Sud

Treballar a la RAF gairabé tant perillós com tenir un compte al Facebook!!!

Stolen RAF vice files spark blackmail fear

Vetting data included drug abuse and use of prostitutes by senior officers

Sensitive files detailing the extra marital affairs, drug taking and use of prostitutes by very senior officers in the RAF have been stolen, raising fears within the Ministry of Defence that personnel could be vulnerable to blackmail.

Up to 500 people in the service could be affected by the theft. They have been interviewed individually about the possible consequences to them and to their families.

The potentially damaging information was stored on three computer hard drives that went missing from RAF Innsworth, Gloucestershire, last September. The files were not encrypted, so could be opened easily. The RAF disclosed the loss of the hard drives two weeks after they went missing, revealing only that the bank details and home addresses of 50,000 servicemen and women were on the computers.

It kept secret the fact that the "vetting" information about 500 staff had also disappeared. The defence secretary at the time, Des Browne, was not told, nor was Sir Richard Thomas, the then information commissioner. The details were also withheld from parliament.

But the seriousness of the potential loss, and the nature of the information, were outlined in an internal MoD memo, which was obtained under Freedom of Information legislation.

It said: "This information included details of criminal convictions, investigations, precise details of debt, medical conditions, drug abuse, use of prostitutes, extra-marital affairs including the names of third parties.

"The data is not routine vetting information, but relates to those cases that have been referred to RAF … because the individuals have serious vulnerabilities that affect their suitability to obtain/retain a security clearance. This data provides an excellent target list for foreign intelligence services, investigative journalists and blackmailers. Moreover, if the information relating to the private lives of RAF personnel, especially of some very senior officers, enters the public domain, the reputation of the service will be tarnished.

"The vetting information would be likely to generate further interest and, due to the profile of some individuals, would likely grab front page status."

Details of the ministry's internal memo will be revealed in the BBC2 programme Who's Watching You, to be broadcast at 9pm tonight. The programme will include an interview with an unnamed former serviceman who put the Freedom of Information and Data Protection Acts request to the ministry.

The requests revealed internal concern about the loss from an RAF wing commander. The source, now retired, handled top secret and highly sensitive information, including data on aircraft and ship manoeuvres in Iraq.

At the time of the theft, on 11 September 2008, the MoD took more than a fortnight to publicly disclose the loss of the 50,000 files.

The drives were kept in a secure area of the base at Innsworth, which was regularly patrolled, and they were not encrypted. They were due to be transferred to the RAF's air command headquarters at High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire.

The ministry seems to have been encouraged by Downing Street into making any information available.

A memo on 26 September reveals: "No 10 is insisting that an announcement is made tonight and she thinks this is a fait accompli. SpAds [special advisers] here apparently on side … on principle of better to have announced (not very much) proactively than be accused of an attempted cover-up if it leaks."

The Mail on Sunday reported two days later that the theft involved the loss of personal and career details of pilots, ground staff, maintenance engineers and civil servants. It reported that Des Browne was said to be " furious" and had ordered an inquiry. However, a day later civil servants were already planning to play down the story. An update to Browne said: "Given the relative lack of media attention we do not feel at the moment that parliament will need to be informed about the suspected theft of the hard drives." In the event parliament was never informed.

The internal vetting memo, whose author and recipient have been redacted by the ministry, shows that by 2 October RAF personnel were aware of the loss of the vetting files but had decided not to tell any of the senior people affected.

Yesterday, the ministry said that they had since interviewed all the people whose vetting records were stolen to warn them of the theft – though this was not done until a few months after it occurred.

Browne, who was shown the memo by the Guardian, said he was not aware of the loss before he was replaced by John Hutton as defence secretary on 3 October. Nor do any documents suggest his private office was informed.

The MoD yesterday defended its decision not to acknowledge that the sensitive personal information had been stolen.

In a statement to the programme, the MoD said: "Every data loss incident is extremely regrettable and treated with the utmost seriousness. The response to the incident was at the highest levels of the department. Our two concerns were to ensure that any person affected was made aware as quickly as possible, while at the same time not placing into the public domain unnecessarily detailed information about the nature of the data.

"This would have only served to compound the loss and alert potential criminals to the potential value of the missing data."

He added: "This incident occurred during the summer recess when parliament was not in session. The department have made no secret of this incident. We placed information prominently on the MoD and RAF websites and activated an emergency helpline to assist personnel with concerns."

In a further statement to the Guardian, the ministry added: "All individuals identified as being at risk received personal one-on-one interviews to alert them to the loss of data, to discuss potential threats and to provide them with advice on mitigating action.  

"There is no evidence to suggest that the information held on the hard drive believed to have been stolen from the secure … site at MoD Innsworth has been targeted by criminal or hostile elements."

The spokesman confirmed that the people involved were from the senior ranks who had been vetted at the highest level because they had access to top secret information. The information commissioner's office confirmed that they had not been told about the loss of the vetting files, only that personal details of servicemen and women had been stolen. 

A statement yesterday about the disclosure said: "People's personal information must be properly protected … personal information sometimes has a value on the open market and can be a toxic liability."

diumenge, 24 de maig del 2009

Torna Darth Vader

Dick Cheney: Washington trembles at the return of 'Darth Vader'

Dick Cheney was a formidable backroom operator during his eight years as vice-president in the Bush administration. Having abandoned his short-lived retirement in Wyoming, he is now leading the Republican charge against Obama from the front. Ewen MacAskill reports from Washington on the political resurrection of the last true believer of the neo-con years

Barack Obama, unlike George Bush who wanted to be in bed before 10pm, likes to work late. But even by his standards Wednesday was out of the ordinary, sitting up in a largely empty White House until 2.30am as he edited a speech an adviser later described as one of the most important of his life.

He was still nervous about it when he rose to deliver it eight hours later. Normally Mr Cool, he fluffed his opening, referring to the defence secretary, Robert Gates, as Bill, the Microsoft founder.

Part of the explanation for the bout of jitters is that Obama is struggling to contain an ever-growing row over the future of Guantánamo Bay and the security apparatus created by the Bush administration as part of its "war on terror". But there is another factor: the return of an opponent the Democrats had thought of as politically dead: Dick Cheney. The sinister, reclusive figure at the heart of the Bush administration, who attracted labels such as Darth Vader and Dr Strangelove, has returned to the heart of Washington and is causing havoc.

Obama and Cheney were billed to speak at roughly the same time, though at different Washington venues. The US media described it as the political equivalent of Ali v Frazier.

It was all a long way from 20 January when Cheney had left the White House a seeming broken man ready for retirement. The Republicans were in disarray, still coming to terms with the election losses in November. The policies with which Cheney had been associated, chiefly the invasion of Iraq, had long been discredited. And Cheney himself, as Obama prepared to take over the White House, was in a wheelchair, having put his back out lifting a box in preparation for the removal van.

The next day, back home in Wyoming, the state senate passed a resolution wishing him and his wife a happy retirement in which they could "lay their heavy burdens down and fish and write to their hearts' content". That resolution, along with the hopes of all those Democrats who thought that they had seen the last of him, proved premature.

He has forced Obama on the defensive for the first time since becoming president, giving demoralised Republicans something finally to cheer about.

"Cheney is seriously the only person who's got the White House to change its policy," Dan Senor, a foreign policy adviser in the Bush administration, told the Washington Post

Cheney has rattled Obama over the proposed closure of Guantánamo and the CIA's use of waterboarding. And not only Obama, but the next most prominent Democrat after him, the House speaker, Nancy Pelosi, who on Friday refused to answer any more questions about whether she had been briefed by the CIA about torture six years ago. She denies she was: the CIA says it did.

Obama had been planning to release thousands of pictures showing abuse at US detention centres round the world by the end of the month, but has since decided against. On the campaign trail, he denounced the Bush administration's use of military commissions to try Guantánamo detainees, but has now decided to keep them. He denounced the indefinite detention of people without trial, but is now going to do the same.

Republicans have been applauding. "I would have originally said that Cheney on torture would have been a net negative for the modern Republican party, which is working to put Bush and Cheney behind us," said Grover Norquist, an influential figure in shaping US conservatism over the past two decades. "It has worked out well for the Republicans. Cheney is looking good."

The conservative Weekly Standard is also cheering. Another influential conservative, William Kristol, writing in the current issue, said: "While most senior Bush alumni were in hiding, Dick Cheney - Darth Vader himself, Mr Unpopularity, the last guy you'd supposedly want out there making the case - stepped on to the field. He's made himself the Most Valuable Republican of the first four months of the Obama administration."

Cheney's return has enthralled the liberal media. Maureen Dowd, the acerbic New York Times writer, used her column on Wednesday for a mocking piece under the headline "Cheney grabs a third term", suggesting that he was manipulating Obama from the sidelines. In a dig at Cheney's newfound public face, popping up in television interview after television interview, she described him as "tawny with TV make-up; there's no point taking it off. The gigs are nonstop."

Obama had been scheduled to deliver his speech at 10.10am on Thursday at the National Archives, against the backdrop of original copies of the Declaration of Independence and the US constitution. Cheney was speaking at 10.30 at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), the Washington thinktank that is home to neoconservatives. Such was the interest generated that Cheney delayed his speech until Obama, who started late, had finished. Both speeches, each of about 40 minutes, were shown live.

Cheney's speech had been in the diary before Obama's and AEI officials suggested that the White House had arranged Obama's for the same day. Robert Gibbs, the White House press spokesman, denied this, but acknowledged they had been aware that Cheney's speech was in the diary. Gibbs said on Friday: "I think the president - in terms of yesterday's speeches side by side - I think the president is not going to shy away from the debate on these issues."

Obama and Cheney provided the debate the US should have had after 9/11. Obama argued that US national security is best protected by respect for international law, by closing Guantánamo and being as transparent as possible. Cheney countered it was not as easy as that to close Guantánamo and that transparency - releasing internal Bush administration memos about interrogation techniques - had demoralised the CIA. By calling waterboarding torture, Cheney said Obama has criminalised honourable people working in good faith and has made America less safe.

Michael Barone, a conservative and author of The Almanac of American Politics, who was in the audience for Cheney's speech, said he was impressed by the vice-president: "There was a refreshing lack of ambiguity. He made his case. He sees Obama as a danger to the American people."

The irony of Cheney's publicity burst is that, throughout his eight years in office, he was a reclusive vice-president, seldom out and about in Washington, even refusing to release details to the press of his daily schedule. Even as defence secretary in the 1990-91 Gulf war, unlike his protégé Donald Rumsfeld during the 2003 invasion, he was rarely in front of the cameras.

Why has he come out now? His friends say that he had been settling happily into retirement. Although Wyoming is his home state, he lives in McLean, Virginia, in part to be close to his grandchildren. From an office in McLean, he has been working on his memoirs, much of which are devoted to his part in the US response to 9/11 and the subsequent opening of Guantánamo and the invasion of Iraq. Obama joked earlier this month the memoirs should be called How to Shoot Friends and Interrogate People

Mary Matalin, Cheney's spokeswoman in the early years of his vice-presidency, told the Washington Post last week that he would have remained in retirement, but was incensed by Obama's criticism of Bush and him for setting up Guantánamo.

"If Barack Obama had come in and done what he said he was going to do and look at the stuff and see what is working, then Cheney would have continued to do what he was doing - working on memoirs, finishing his house," she said. "He's got a good life. He's got stuff going on. He doesn't care about being on TV. There's no more politics there. He's not settling any scores. He just wants people to understand."

Aged 68, Cheney has been in politics most of his adult life, serving six terms in Congress. He left politics for a five-year tenure as chairman of Halliburton - the oilfield service company that was to be one of the principal beneficiaries of the Iraq war - before returning as vice-president under Bush in 2001.

He went on to become the most powerful V-P in US history, partly because of Bush's lack of foreign policy experience. The attacks on New York and Washington in their first year in office saw Bush, pushed by Cheney, embrace an aggressive, ideologically driven approach to the world.

Cheney, supported by Rumsfeld, the defence secretary, and by neoconservatives including the deputy defence secretary, Paul Wolfowitz, were behind Afghanistan, Guantánamo, the secret CIA camps round the world and the invasion of Iraq.

In his speech on Thursday, Cheney offered the best insight yet as to why he reacted as he did to 9/11. "I was in my office in that first hour when radar caught sight of an airliner heading towards the White House at 500mph. That was Flight 77, the one that ended up hitting the Pentagon. With the plane still inbound, Secret Service agents came into my office and said we had to leave now. A few moments later, I found myself in a fortified White House command post somewhere down below.

"I've heard occasional speculation that I'm a different man after 9/11. I wouldn't say that. But I'll freely admit that watching a co-ordinated, devastating attack on our country from an underground bunker at the White House can affect how you view your responsibilities." The two had 2,689 days left in office but "on our watch, they never hit this country again".

In the second term, with Iraq going badly, Bush was less in thrall to Cheney. Ignoring protests from Cheney, Bush sacked Rumsfeld and replaced him with Gates, who, together with General David Petraeus, came up with a feasible Iraq exit strategy.

Bush and Cheney fell out badly at the very end. Cheney was incensed that Bush would not use his prerogative in his final days to pardon the vice-president's former chief of staff, Lewis "Scooter" Libby, who was convicted for lying over the outing of a CIA agent. Cheney viewed Libby as a loyal servant - one who may have been covering up for someone higher up - and said a few days after losing office that Libby had been "hung out to dry".

Stephen Hayes, author of a 2007 biography of Cheney, said many people wondered why he had not made the public case for Guantánamo and Iraq while in office. Hayes, who discussed this with him during 30 hours of interviews for the book, thinks he has the answer. "I asked him: 'Why are you not out there making this case? You are making it better than George Bush.' He said: 'That is simply not my role. He [Bush] asks me for advice. If I was out there, it would not be the same."

But free from office, Cheney no longer has any such constraints, especially as Bush appears to have opted for silence, deciding that it would be undignified to criticise his successor.

Thomas Mann, a political scientist at the Brookings Institution, said: "I think Dick Cheney believes Bush will not be a forceful defender of what they did and is damned if he is not going to lead the charge. At a some time an event or another figure will overtake him, but at present there is a vacuum in the Republican party."

The party is in disarray, with no serious contender in sight to provide them with the leadership necessary for Congressional elections next year and to take on Obama in 2012. Is it possible that Cheney, in spite of poor health and poor popularity ratings, might be planning a shot at the presidency? Those who know him rule it out, citing his heart attacks and other health problems.

One of those watching Cheney on Thursday said, in response to the suggestion that he could be a contender: "Are you crazy? Have you seen him trying to work a crowd."

Cheney reinforced the point as he delivered his speech, speaking in a monotone, unsmiling, hunched over, reading his script without the benefit of an autocue. Two thirds of the way through, a room packed with sympathisers began to look for distractions, mainly their mobiles and Blackberries, with one openly reading the Wall Street Journal

The Democrats, including Obama's senior adviser, David Axelrod, argue that having Cheney in such a high-profile role is helpful for them, because he is reminding voters of one of the most disliked administrations in US history. Cheney has high unpopularity ratings, hovering around 60%. The Democrats regard his present prominence as a short-term phenomenon.

Obama's problems, though, are set to last much longer. He is struggling to find a way out of what he describes as the "legal mess" he inherited from Bush and Cheney. The left expressed disappointment that he first agreed to release thousands of pictures of abuse at US detention centres round the world and then refused. Cheney's supporters credit him with the about-turn. The left is unhappy, too, that Obama is to stick with tainted Bush-Cheney policies: the use of military commissions to try some Guantánamo detainees and keeping others in prison indefinitely without trial.

Democrats in Congress, too, are at odds with Obama. They are blocking the transfer of detainees to their states and on Wednesday the Senate voted to refuse Obama the $80m he needs to close the detention centre until he comes up with a detailed plan.

Hayes believes that Cheney, while not enjoying the limelight, is not about to depart the scene any time soon. As long as he is working on his memoirs, the events surrounding Guantánamo will be fresh on his mind and he will be willing to answer questions about them.

Norquist, though cheered by his unexpected return, is among those Republicans hoping he will not hang around too long. A conservative who advocates lower taxation but parts company with Cheney over torture, he said: "Cheney has put Obama on the defensive. He should declare victory and retire from the field."

Dick Cheney: in his own words


"We know he [Saddam Hussein] has been absolutely devoted to trying to acquire nuclear weapons, and we believe he has, in fact, reconstituted nuclear weapons."

"My belief is we will, in fact, be greeted as liberators [in Iraq]."


"Direct threats require decisive action, act with all the urgency that this danger demands. We must be prepared to face our responsibilities and be willing to use force if necessary. The days of looking the other way while despotic regimes trample human rights, rob their nations' wealth, and then excuse their failings by feeding their people a steady diet of anti-western hatred are over."

"Go f*ck yourself." (Overheard while Cheney was speaking to a Democratic senator in a row over his old company, Halliburton.)

22 May 2009

"I was and remain a strong proponent of our enhanced interrogation programme. The interrogations were used on hardened terrorists after other efforts failed. They were legal, essential, justified and the right thing to do."

"The [Obama] administration has found that it's easy to receive applause in Europe for closing Guantánamo. But it's tricky to come up with an alternative that will serve the interests of justice and America's national security."