Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Democracy Now: G8, Jane Mayer, Isikoff on Rove; Bob Somerby, Matthew Rothschild, Ruth Conniff, UK Indymedia

New Pentagon Plan Calls For Greater Domestic Role
The Pentagon has adopted a new homeland security plan that calls for the U.S. military to greatly expand its domestic role. The Washington Post reports the new plan expands the military's presence not only in the air and sea at home but also on the ground and in other less traditional areas including intelligence sharing with civilian law enforcement. According to the Post, the document does not ask for new legal authority to use military forces on U.S. soil, but it raises the likelihood that U.S. combat troops will take action in the event that civilian and National Guard forces are overwhelmed. The document also calls for military intelligence analysts to be teamed with civilian law enforcement to identify and track suspected terrorists. And it asserts the president's authority to deploy ground combat forces on U.S. territory to "intercept and defeat threats." The Post reports that in the area of intelligence, the document speaks of developing "a cadre" of Pentagon terrorism specialists and of deploying a number of them domestically to work with the FBI and local police forces. Gene Healy of the Cato Institute said, "The move toward a domestic intelligence capability by the military is troubling. The last time the military got heavily involved in domestic surveillance, during the Vietnam War era, military intelligence kept thousands of files on Americans guilty of nothing more than opposing the war." Healy added, "I don't think we want to go down that road again."
The above is from Democracy Now! ("always worth watching," as Marcia says) and Carl e-mailed to highlight the lead story in today's Headlines.
Headlines for July 6, 2005

- New Pentagon Plan Calls For Greater Domestic Role
- Central Asian Group Calls For U.S. To Withdraw From Region
- Mass Protests Greet G8 Summit In Scotland
- U.S. Moves Toward Creating Nuclear Bunker Buster Bombs
- Justice Dept: "Journalists Not Entitled to Promise Confidentiality"
- United Church of Christ Endorses Same Sex Marriage
- Florida Abortion Clinic Set Ablaze
- Tibetan Leader Dalai Lama Turns 70
Karl Rove Again Linked to Outting of CIA Operative Valerie Plame

Two years after Ambassador Joe Wilson first named Karl Rove in the outting of his wife, CIA operative Valerie Plame, all eyes turn again to the man some say is the most powerful unelected official in the country - Karl Rove. We speak with Newsweek reporter Michael Isikoff.
Newsweek Reporter Michael Isikoff Discusses His Coverage of Koran Desecration at Guantanamo

In a rare interview about his controversial article on Koran desecration at Guantanamo Bay, Newsweek reporter Michael Isikoff says, "[The Pentagon] had a report of five cases of misconduct, including the urination one, Korans being kicked, stepped on, all of which was taken place prior to the entire controversy...None of that was public at the time at the time of the controversy. I think had it been so, the controversy would have been viewed in a different light." [includes rush transcript]
World Leaders Gather in Scotland for G8 Summit; Africa, Climate Change to Top Agenda

Leaders from the world's richest nations are gathering today for the G8 summit at Gleneagles, Scotland. African poverty and global climate change are at the top of the agenda, yet it is unclear how much action will come out of the meetings. We speak with Salih Booker of Africa Action and we go to Scotland to speak with Demba Moussa Dembele, a coordinator of the Forum for African Alternatives.
The Gitmo Experiment: How Methods Developed by the U.S. Military For Withstanding Torture are Being Used Against Detainees at Guantanamo Bay

A major article in this week's issue of The New Yorker magazine reveals how methods developed by the US military for withstanding torture are being used against detainees at Guantanamo Bay. We speak with Jane Mayer, the reporter who wrote the story for The New Yorker.
From The Daily Howler, we'll note Bob Somerby's addressing test scores:
Blah blah blah, etcetera and so on! History is clear: Sitting "experts" are always prepared to credit their bosses for pleasing score gains. And they always seem prepared to rattle off answers like this one:
WINERIP (continuing directly); When Ms. Moskowitz asked how Dr. Mei knew these programs were responsible for test gains--given that Yonkers, Syracuse and Rochester used different programs and improved more than New York City--Dr. Mei said she wasn't familiar with other districts.
Pathetic, isn't it? The most obvious question in the world is greeted with a non-answer answer. But our analysts really came out of their chairs as Winerip reported another Mei comment. Moskowitz challenged score gains on tests in other grades, noting that these city-made tests aren't available for public scrutiny. What was Mei's answer to this? "Trust us," the bureaucrat said:
WINERIP: When Ms. Moskowitz countered that the city tests are hard to monitor since they're not made public, Dr. Mei deferred to representatives from Harcourt Assessment (which does the city English tests) and CTB/McGraw Hill (math), who testified that the city tests were scientifically scaled.

Mr. Tobias suggested that it would be useful for the city to appoint an independent panel to analyze test results, but city officials were not interested. "We have the testing companies, myself, everybody has said that these test scores are O.K.," said Dr. Mei.

Would it be useful to establish a panel? Nonsense! Everyone says that these scores are OK! Even the testing companies say it, the city's prime test expert said. And yes--the two companies had "testified" to the fact that their own tests were well-founded!

Trust us, the test director said. Everyone says that the scores are OK! But as we noted in yesterday's Part 1, every party on whom Mei relied has a personal stake in this matter. Everyone gains when a test hoax occurs--everyone except the urban children whose lives provide the stage for the hoax. And how much faith should we put in test companies? Our thoughts drifted back about twenty-fives years, to the long telephonic discussions we held with our own very-high-placed "Steep Throat."

This is an important issue with Somerby (who was an educator in the public school systems long before he became one online) and one he intends to address tomorrow as well.  It's also a topic that should matter to the community and not just to those who, like Maria, are teachers. Somerby's also addressing the media coverage on judicial nominees. 

Brenda e-mails to note Matthew Rothschild's "Bush Won't Choose Consensus Nominee:"

George Bush is not going to nominate a moderate justice like Sandra Day O’Connor to fill her seat on the Supreme Court. He’s going to pick a hard right ideologue.
Ted Kennedy and Chuck Schumer, you’re wasting your breath by urging Bush to pick a “consensus” replacement.

And People for the American Way, the Alliance for Justice, and Planned Parenthood, you’re wasting your time and money by urging Bush to pick a “consensus” nominee.

Plus, you’re wasting your memberships’ energy by having them send e-mails to Bush with the same message.

Bush doesn’t listen to you, or to your members.

He listens to his conservative base.

What’s more, he doesn’t know what the word “consensus” means.
He thinks it’s a baseball player with a steroid problem--you know, Jose Consensus.

And we'll note Ruth Conniff's "Backing Away From Journalism:"
So now Time has joined Newsweek in backing away from controversy that puts it at odds with the Government. In Newsweek's case, it was the quick capitulation to Administration pressure to retract a story of Koran desecration by U.S. troops. Time's case is different: handing over the notes taken by reporter Matt Cooper to a court that held Cooper in contempt for not revealing a source.
It may be the best immediate result for Cooper--a funny and talented guy who held to principle under pressure and now, through the intervention of his editors, may be off the hook (although prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald is still
calling for Cooper's head).

But in the long term, for journalists and the public, it's a lousy precedent. What new Deep Throat will come forward knowing that reporters cannot credibly guarantee the anonymity of a source?

No one who cares about journalism's role in a democracy can applaud Time's decision. And essentially it is not a journalistic but a business decision anyway. It is the risk-averse strategy of a corporation that sees a possible dent in profits from a legal battle, not the principled stand of editors who believe in getting the news, that made Time decide to squeal.

Now let's move over to UK Indymedia.
We'll start with passerby's "EU Parliament votes against software patents:"
The EU Parlimanet has rejected the software patents directive by 648-14 vote.
There are links but that is the story.  Why are we emphasizing a one line story?  Because no one wants to talk about it.  Because we've talked about it repeatedly.  Because we've said it's an issue.  And it is one. If you read that sentence and don't get it, don't blame yourself, blame your media.  When I first mentioned the issue here months ago, our European members were surprised.  As I told them in private e-mails, credit Frances Moore Lappe who raised the issue of patents and copyrights with regards to India long ago and is the only reason I even thought about it in relation to the EU.  But yes, it is a big issue in Europe.  And it's a big issue to a huge number of international companies.  One would think that since it's such a big issue, we might get a little reporting on it in this country.  Yeah, right.
European politicians have thrown out a controversial bill that could have led to software being patented.

The European Parliament voted 648 to 14 to reject the Computer Implemented Inventions Directive.

The bill was reportedly rejected because, politicians said, it pleased no-one in its current form.

Responding to the rejection the European Commission said it would not draw up or submit any more versions of the original proposal.

[. . .]

Opponents said, if passed, the bill would lead to the patenting of software which would jeopardise the prospects of small firms and open source developers.

It's news.  And better believe it is news to a number of international companies but you probably won't hear much about it. 
We'll note this from UK Indymedia, "G8 Summitt Quicklinks:"
Media Indymedia Scotland | Indymedia G8 Reports Section | IMC G8 Features Archive | G8 Bloggers | radio stream | Indymedia Centre in Edinburgh + Reporting numbers
Why Are People Protesting? [1 | 2] | Planned Protests + Events | Groups and Websites | Dissent! Network | G8Alternatives | Make Poverty History

Practicalities G8 Accommodation in Edinburgh and Glasgow + InfoPoints [Update and Pics] | Rural Eco-Village Campsite Update [2 | 3] | G8 Legal Support + Advice | G8 Medical Support | Activist Trauma Support
IMC Bristol Server Seizure Solidarity page


For those wondering, Jane Mayer's New Yorker article isn't available online yet.  When it is, we'll note it.  (If it's not, I'll note it when the print edition arrives in the mail.)  Here's what it currently states at The New Yorker:

"Coming Later: Jane Mayer on what’s happening at Guantanamo."

 A major article in this week's issue of The New Yorker magazine reveals how methods developed by the US military for withstanding torture are being used against detainees at Guantanamo Bay.

According to the article, titled "The Gitmo Experiment," a number of medical and scientific personnel working at Guantanmo Bay are not at the prison camp to provide care for detainees but rather to use their skills to assist in interrogations. The people working in this capacity are members of what are called Behavioral Science Consultation Teams or BSCT's - in military jargon they are known simply as Biscuits.

After September 11th, interrogators and BSCT's at Guantanamo were advised by psychologists and medical staff versed in techniques employed at a Pentagon-funded program known as SERE or "Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape."

SERE was created by the Air Force, at the end of the Korean War, to teach pilots and other personnel considered at high risk of being captured by enemy forces how to withstand and resist extreme forms of abuse.

The New Yorker writes, "The theory behind the SERE program is that soldiers who are exposed to nightmarish treatment during training will be better equipped to deal with such terrors should they face them in the real world. Accordingly, the program is a storehouse of knowledge about coercive methods of interrogation."

Those methods included desecration of religious texts such as the Bible, waterboarding, sexual embarrassment and humiliation. The New Yorker writes, "Ideas intended to help Americans resist abuse spread to Americans who used them to perpetrate abuse."

Lastly, tomorrow night:
Internationally acclaimed journalist Amy Goodman, host of the national daily, radio/TV program Democracy Now!, is on a national tour to mark the launch of her first book The Exception to the Rulers: Exposing Oily Politicians, War Profiteers, and the Media That Love Them. Join us for this exciting event. Support independent media. Tell your friends about the event:
Monterey, CA:

Thursday, July 7, 7:30 pm

Alliance for Community Media Conference
Monterey Conference Center
Stienbeck Forum

Tickets: $20 in advance, $25 at the door
To purchase, call 831-333-1267
For more information, visit


Second to lastly.  Maria's just e-mailed about Jude's latest.  We'll go over it in an evening post tonight.  But here's the link for anyone who's already impatient over the Jane Mayer article.  (Jude of Iddybud -- as all members know but in case a visitor's confused.)

The e-mail address for this site is

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