Where, in the week after the Great Newsweek Error, is the comparable outrage in the press, in the blogosphere, and at the White House over the military's outright lying in the cover-up of the death of former NFL star Pat Tillman? Where are the calls for apologies to the public and the firing of those responsible? Who is demanding that the Pentagon's word should never be trusted unless backed up by numerous named and credible sources?
Where is a Scott McClellan lecture on ethics and credibility?
The Tillman scandal is back in the news thanks not to the military coming clean but because of a newspaper account. Ironically, the newspaper in question, The Washington Post -- which has taken the lead on this story since last December -- is corporate big brother to Newsweek .
The Post's Josh White reported last week that Tillman's parents are now ripping the Army, saying that the military's investigations into their son's 2004 "friendly fire" death in Afghanistan was a sham based on "lies" and that the Army cover-up made it harder for them to deal with their loss. They are speaking out now because they have finally had a chance to look at the full records of the military probe.
"Tillman's mother and father said in interviews that they believe the military and the government created a heroic tale about how their son died to foster a patriotic response across the country," White reported.
While military officials' lying to the parents have gained wide publicity in recent days, hardly anyone has mentioned that they also lied to the public and to the press, which dutifully carried one report after another based on the Pentagon's spin. It had happened many times before, as in the Jessica Lynch incident.
Tillman was killed in a barrage of gunfire from his own men, mistaken for the enemy on a hillside near the Pakistan border. "Immediately," the Post reported, "the Army kept the soldiers on the ground quiet and told Tillman's family and the public that he was killed by enemy fire while storming a hill, barking orders to his fellow Rangers." Tillman posthumously received the Silver Star for his "actions."
The above is from "The Tillman Scandal" by Greg Mitchell (of Editor & Publisher) and appears in the Hartford Advocate this week. Thanks to Carl for e-mailing that in.
Yazz e-mails to note Paul Craig Roberts' "The Slave Traders of the Gitmo Gulag" from IMC:
The US government gave the slave trade a boost by offering money for Al Qaida and Talaban fighters. Afghan and Pakistani war lords simply rounded up people who looked Arab or foreign and sold them to the Americans as captured fighters. The "fighters" apparently included relief workers, refugees, and Arab businessmen. The tribunals looking into the classification of Guantanamo prisoners as "enemy combatants" have uncovered numerous examples of hapless victims of a naive US government too flush with money. The Bush administration, of course, denies that it bought its detainees, as it denies everything. However, on May 31, 2005, Michelle Faul of the Associated Press reported that in March, 2002, leaflets and broadcasts from helicopters in Afghanistan enticed Afghans to "Hand over the Arabs and feed your families for a lifetime." One leaflet said: "You can receive millions of dollars. This is enough to take care of your family, your village, your tribe for the rest of your life, pay for livestock and doctors and school books and housing for all your people." Najeeb al-Nauimi, a former Qatar justice minister leads a group of lawyers representing 100 detainees who were sold to the naive Americans. He says a consortium of wealthy Arabs are buying back fellow citizens kidnapped by Pakistani gangs before they can be sold to the Americans.
Beth e-mails Rick Anderson's "A Bug in Windows GOPMicrosoft is ending its relationship with choirboy-lobbyist Ralph Reed, but the company's ties to others in the seemingly infinite loop of the Republican lobbying scandal are deep--in D.C. and Seattle" from the Seattle Weekly:
And as for Reed, if he ever had anything to do with Microsoft's role, or lack thereof, in this state's gay-rights debate, he won't next time. He's being deleted from the Redmond software giant's payroll, and he likely gets his last $20,000 check this month. (Seattle Weekly first reported this fact Thursday, May 26, on the Web, citing two unnamed Microsoft sources. The company initially would not confirm Reed's termination, but after inquiries by other media, company spokesperson Ginny Terzano conceded his firm was "no longer on retainer.")
One company source notes that Reed was on retainer while helping run the George W. Bush presidential campaigns of 2000 and 2004, raising ethical questions. But Reed now has gone a step further and filed to run for public office himself--lieutenant governor of Georgia, thought to be a step toward an eventual White House run. Having a political candidate on the payroll would be a clear ethical conflict for Microsoft. Reed, who did not respond to repeated requests for comment, was on retainer with Microsoft for seven years after quitting his leadership position at the Christian Coalition and launching a private consulting firm in Atlanta.
But there's another potential cause of his deletion from Outlook address books at Microsoft: Reed is now caught up in the influence-peddling scandal in D.C., which includes accusations he worked in concert with two other top Republicans also once engaged by Microsoft. One of them, Jack Abramoff, lobbied for Microsoft in the late 1990s while a member of the Seattle law and lobbying firm Preston Gates Ellis--the firm of Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates' father, William H. Gates II. Abramoff is under investigation for possibly bilking millions of dollars from former Indian tribal clients and improperly using his friendship with House Speaker Tom DeLay, who is facing ethics charges and is the subject of federal investigations. (See "Following the Money," April 6.) Abramoff's questioned activities include a suspected money-laundering scheme that involves both Reed and fellow Microsoft adviser and lobbying superstar Grover Norquist, head of Americans for Tax Reform.
Microsoft has played no known role in the scandal. But the GOP trio, all major fund-raisers and supporters of President Bush, have been some of the company's biggest hired D.C. guns, instrumental in helping Microsoft reach out to the political right the past seven years.
As widely reported, the three operatives go way back. They met during the 1980s as leaders of the College Republicans. Norquist was Abramoff's campaign manager in a successful election as chair of the national campus organization. Later, Reed led the group. Abramoff, a self-described ultraconservative Orthodox Jew, and Norquist began ascending with the 1994 Republican revolution in Congress. They launched what was called the K Street Project to persuade lobbying firms to increase their Republican connections; Abramoff lived across the street from a Preston Gates partner, who quickly hired him. Norquist, a close ally of former House Speaker Newt Gingrich of Georgia, that year helped draw up the GOP's (ultimately voided) "Contract With America." Reed, meanwhile, became a Bush campaign official and private consultant after leaving the Christian Coalition in 1996, which had risen from the ashes of evangelical Pat Robertson's failed 1988 presidential bid.
Maggie e-mails to note this two paragraph item entitled "Political Terrorism" by Alan Pittman which appears in the Euguene Weekly's "News" (a weekly round up of news items):
What is terrorism? The FBI's official definition broadly includes any politically motivated crime. But the Bush administration appears to define it only as any politically motivated crime from the political left, not right.
Congressional Quarterly reported recently that a Department of Homeland Security domestic anti-terrorism planning document focuses on environmental and animal rights activist property destruction to the exclusion of right-wing terrorist groups who have killed or maimed hundreds of Americans. In 1995, 168 people died in the Oklahoma City bombing. In 2003, a Texan white supremacist and anti-government radical was caught with a weapon of mass destruction, enough cyanide bombs to kill hundreds of people, CQ reported. William Krar was also caught with machine guns, 60 pipe bombs and remote-controlled brief case bombs and was sentenced to 11 years in prison. Five years ago, local environmental activist Jeff Luers got double that sentence after burning up a few SUVs.
Lynda notes "my aunt e-mailed this to me and I wanted to pass it on." It's worth passing on.
Bob Burnett's "The Dangers of Messing with Mother Nature" from the Berkeley Daily Planet:
In a recent series of articles in the New Yorker, Elizabeth Kolbert brings the problem of global climate change into sharp focus. Over the last million years the temperature of the world has been remarkably stable. However, since 1769, and the invention of the steam engine by James Watt, the planet has b een getting warmer--the 15 hottest years have occurred since 1980. Pollution is a side effect of the industrialization launched by Watt's invention; transportation and business daily generate "greenhouse gases," notably carbon dioxide and methane, whose in creasing levels drive the rise in temperature. Scientists predict that by 2050, carbon dioxide levels will double, pushing the average global temperature up by 4.9 to 7.7 degrees Fahrenheit. As a consequence, sea levels will rise as much as two feet, glac iers will melt, ocean currents will change, and weather systems will become more savage and unpredictable.
Despite the fact that each year produces more evidence of unstable climactic conditions, the Bush administration pooh-poohs concerns about global climate change. The president's official position is that there is no scientific "consensus" that supports a presumption of global warming. As a result, his administration has refused to sign the Kyoto Accords and to participate, meaningfully, in global ac tion to halt these alarming trends. Bush believes that reducing the level of our carbon-emissions would be "bad for business."
But an overwhelming majority of earth scientists believe that we are steaming towards disaster. Recently, UC San Diego professo r Naomi Oreskes reviewed almost 1,000 scientific papers on the subject of global climate change--roughly 10 percent of the total. She found 75 percent of her sample provided evidence of anthropogenic forcing, i.e. a relationship between human-created green house gas emissions and temperature rise. Amazingly, she found no articles that argued to the contrary.
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