Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Democracy Now: As'ad AbuKhalil, Ian Williams, Opheera McDoom; Somerby, Katrina vanden Heuvel, Ruth Conniff, Christine Cupaiuolo

U.S. Intelligence Report: Iran 10 Years From Having Nukes
The Washington Post is reporting that a major U.S. intelligence review on Iran has projected that the country is about a decade away from manufacturing the key ingredient for a nuclear weapon. This new National Intelligence Estimate contrast with public statements by the White House that Tehran is moving determinedly toward a nuclear arsenal. Last year John Bolton said "If we permit Iran's deception to go on much longer, it will be too late. Iran will have nuclear weapons." At the time Bolton was working in the State Department. The classified intelligence estimate report represents the consensus among U.S. intelligence agencies. It marks the first major review of what is known and what is unknown about Iran since 2001.
U.S. Faced 68 Attacks Per Day in Iraq During July
In Iraq, the Associated Press is reporting that U.S. and coalition forces were attacked on average 68 times a day during the month of July. This marks a near 50 percent increase over the number of attacks that took place last July. Meanwhile the number of Iraqis killed since the new Iraqi government took power in April has now topped twenty one hundred.

UK Official Admits U.S. & UK "part of the problem" in Iraq
Meanwhile British foreign secretary Jack Straw has admitted that the presence of British and US troops in Iraq is fuelling the uprising there. Straw told the Financial Times QUOTE "although we are part of the security solution there, we are also part of the problem."

The above are Headlines from Democracy Now! and they were selected by Brandon, Lisa and MikeDemocracy Now! ("always worth watching," as Marcia says):
Headlines for August 2, 2005

- Bypassing Senate, Bush Appoints Bolton to UN
- U.S. Intelligence Report: Iran 10 Years From Having Nukes
- Up to 42 Die in Sudan Following Death of VP
- U.S. Faced 68 Attacks Per Day in Iraq During July
- UK Official Admits U.S. & UK "part of the problem" in Iraq
- Study: Global Warming Leading to More Intense Hurricanes
- Immigration Officials Detain 1,000 "Suspected Gang Members"
Dozens Die in Khartoum Riots Following Death of Sudanese VP Garang

Sudan's Vice President and former leader for the Sudanese People's Liberation Movement, John Garang de Mabior, died Saturday in a helicopter crash, sparking riots between southerners and northerners in the capital. We speak with Reuters correspondent for Sudan Opheera McDoom.
Death in the House of Saud: King Fahd 1921-2005

The death of Saudi Arabia's ruler King Fahd and the recent appointment of Prince Turki as the new Saudi ambassador to the United States highlight long-standing connections to the bin Ladens and the Bush dynasty. We speak with As'ad AbuKhalil of the Angry Arab News Service.
"John Bolton is to Diplomacy as Jack the Ripper was to Surgery"

After a five month deadlock, President Bush used his Presidential powers to appoint John Bolton as the new U.S. ambassador to the United Nations during the first business day of the Congressional recess. Opponents charged Bolton with trying to manipulate intelligence and intimidate intelligence analysts to support his hawkish views as the top State Department diplomat for arms control. We speak with Ian Williams, U.N. correspondent for the Nation Magazine, about the future of the United Nations with Bolton at the helm of the U.S. mission. [includes rush transcript - partial]
Bob Somerby's latest contains a topic that's apparently storming the net -- "bash the Kornblut!"
Since we're often accused of only quoting Somerby when we agree with him (not true), we'll quote him here from a  section of The Daily Howler that I personally find disappointing:
WHAT'S IN A NAME: Good grief! We've told you for years that they just aren't that sharp. But only a New York Times scribe could find such chaff in a hillside of wheat! Discussing Bob Novak's Monday column, Anne Kornblut zeroes on this:
KORNBLUT (8/2/05): One of the most puzzling aspects of the C.I.A. leak case has had to do with the name of the exposed officer. Why did the syndicated columnist Robert D. Novak identify her as Valerie Plame in exposing her link to the C.I.A. in July 2003 when she had been known for years both at the agency and in her personal life by her married name, Valerie Wilson?
Why did Novak use the name "Plame?" We can think of several possibilities (see below). But Kornblut only thinks of one, and her reasoning just ain't that sharp:
KORNBLUT: Mr. Novak offered a possible explanation for the disconnect on Monday, suggesting in his column that he could have obtained Ms. Wilson's maiden name from the directory Who's Who in America, which used that name in identifying her as the wife of Joseph C. Wilson IV, a former ambassador.
Did Novak really "suggest" in his column that he got Plame's name from Who's Who? No, not really, as you'll see if you read Kornblut's full piece. Meanwhile, everyone has always known that Novak could have gotten "Plame" from Who’s Who. (As Kornblut notes, Novak himself noted the use of "Plame" in Wilson's listing back in October 2003.) But is that where Novak got the name? Even if Kornblut's supposition is true, it sheds no light on the ethical questions raised by Novak's role in this case. With inerrant accuracy, Kornblut starts with a matter of no importance. At the Times, they go straight to the chaff.
Somerby's a good moralist and very good at leading; however, he makes a lousy shadow boxer. 
If we're done with the Grammys, hopefully tomorrow he can take the lead and explore things such as Novak's statement:
According to CIA sources, she was brought home from foreign assignments in 1997, when agency officials feared she had been "outed" by the traitor Aldrich Ames.
which would certainly allow for further speculation by Somerby re: Tenet.  
Susan e-mails to note Katrina vanden Heuvel's latest "Bush Meets Mick (Jagger):"
The Rolling Stones' You Can't Always Get What You Want, made it to the top fifty. Now, it seems, the band may be gunning for the top slot with its new single. Britain's New Musical Express reported last week that the next Stones album, slated for release this September, will include a track critical of the Bush gang's foreign policy. Sweet Neo-Con, according to the weekly, "is believed to be an attack on the politics of George Bush and the Republican Administraton." Virgin Records has been telling people the song has "a political message about moralism in the White House."
Susan notes that outside of "Mixed Emotions" it's been hard for her to get too excited about a Stones track "for some time" but she's hopeful about "Sweet Neo-Con."
Lloyd notes Ruth Conniff's latest "Release the Roberts Papers" explaining what the papers should include:

Some of the landmark cases mentioned in the letter, such as Rust v. Sullivan and Planned Parenthood v. Casey, are familiar to anyone who was even vaguely aware of the Supreme Court's work during the last decade. Many concern profound matters of policy on abortion, privacy civil rights, school desegregation, and due process.

Board of Education of Oklahoma City v. Dowell (1991)--Roberts filed an amicus brief opposing African American families who claimed that their local schools were becoming re-segregated.

Bray v. Alexandria Women’s Health Clinic (1993)--Roberts filed an amicus brief and participated in oral arguments asking that the Court hold that anti-abortion activists were not violating women's civil rights by obstructing family planning clinics.

Franklin v. Gwinnett County School Public Schools (1992)--Roberts' argued on the losing side in this landmark case rejecting limits on relief under Title IX for students who suffer even the most severe gender harassment.

Freeman v. Pitts (1992)--Roberts filed a brief urging the Supreme Court to reverse a court of appeals ruling that required a Georgia school district to make further efforts to fully de segregate its public schools.

Herrera v. Collins (1993)--the Solicitor General’s office filed a brief arguing that a Texas man could not seek relief in federal court based on his claim that new evidence showed he was actually innocent of the crime for which he had been sentenced to death.

Let's note Christine (Ms. Musing) here because it fits in, "What Would You Ask Judge Roberts:"
Back at the coffeehouse for a morning bagel and a quick post pointing to Ms.' interview with Frank Susman, an attorney who has argued numerous cases before the Supreme Court, including Webster v. Reproductive Health Services. Susman spoke with Ms. about threats to Roe v. Wade, the underlying notion of privacy and the Supreme Court nomination of Judge John Roberts.
Marcus e-mails to note Robert Parry's latest entitled "Novak Recycles Gannon on 'Plame-gate:'"

Besides taking swipes at Wilson, Novak's Aug. 1 column lambasted supposed "misinformation" from former CIA spokesman Harlow.

Novak wrote that Harlow's "allegation against me is so patently incorrect and so abuses my integrity as a journalist that I feel constrained to reply." But Novak's complaint against Harlow looks like a classic case of splitting hairs.

Novak notes that Harlow told the Washington Post that Plame, who worked as a CIA officer on weapons of mass destruction, "had not authorized" sending her husband on a mission to Niger to investigate suspicions that Iraq was trying to buy processed uranium, called yellowcake. Novak said he never wrote that Plame "authorized" the trip, but only that she "suggested" it.

Harlow also said he warned Novak that if he did write about the Niger issue, he shouldn't reveal Plame's name. Novak said he recalled Harlow saying that identifying Plame would cause "difficulties," but Novak insisted that he wouldn't have exposed Plame if Harlow "or anybody else from the agency had told me that Valerie Plame Wilson's disclosure would endanger her or anybody else."

Novak argued that the fact that Plame had played a role in suggesting her husband for the mission to Niger justified naming her.

"Once it was determined that Wilson's wife suggested the mission, she could be identified as 'Valerie Plame' by reading her husband's entry in 'Who's Who in America,'" Novak wrote.

But the overriding question has been why Plame's role in suggesting her husband for the Niger trip was so important that it justified exposing not only an undercover CIA officer but the company that provided her cover and possibly agents around the world who had assisted her in tracking down sources of WMD.

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