Friday, October 21, 2005

Other Items

Rachel e-mails to note Brian Knowlton's "Former Powell Aide Says Bush Policy Is Run by 'Cabal:"'

The comments came in a speech Wednesday by Lawrence Wilkerson, who worked for Mr. Powell at the State Department from 2001 to early 2005. Speaking to the New America Foundation, an independent public-policy institute in Washington, Mr. Wilkerson suggested that secrecy, arrogance and internal feuding had taken a heavy toll in the Bush administration, skewing its policies and undercutting its ability to handle crises.
"I would say that we have courted disaster, in Iraq, in North Korea, in Iran, generally with regard to domestic crises like Katrina, Rita - and I could go on back," he said. "We haven't done very well on anything like that in a long time."
Mr. Wilkerson suggested that the dysfunction within the administration was so grave that "if something comes along that is truly serious, truly serious, something like a nuclear weapon going off in a major American city, or something like a major pandemic, you are going to see the ineptitude of this government in a way that will take you back to the Declaration of Independence."

We learned of this on Democracy Now! yesterday. Since today is Friday, and Knowlton's summarizing an event that happened Wednesday, why did it take so long to make it into print? And since they're grossly behind on this story, why is the article so run of the mill and brief?

Philip Shenon covers the 911 Public Discourse Project in "9/11 Panel Criticizes Reform Effort at the F.B.I.:"

In criticizing much of the federal government's overall effort to deal with terrorist threats, the 10 former commissioners singled out the F.B.I. and said that "unless there is improvement in a reasonable period of time, Congress will have to look at alternatives" to the bureau in its current form.
The new report did not suggest what the alternatives might be, but commissioners said in releasing the panel's final report last year that they had seriously considered a proposal to strip the bureau of its responsibility for terrorism investigations and hand that authority over to a new domestic spy agency.

Though the FBI is certainly important, so are civil liberties and the 911 Public Discourse Project was very critical in this area but it's not mentioned in the Times. (You can read the report by clicking here -- PDF format.) "What needs to be done" in that area? (According to the report.) "The reauthorization of the PATRIOT Act should include additional transparency on the excercise of the law's provisions, to enable robust and continuing oversight, both within the Executive branch and by the Congress." Maybe it's not included because it struck Shenon as unlikely as it will strike most members?

Eric Lichtblau wants to take up your time with speculation in "White House Nears Choice on No. 2 Justice Position." Apparently he lost all his energy at the OTB which is why he can't tell you a thing about Paul McNulty, rumored to be in the lead as the horses round the corner, that matters. Lichtblau tosses out John Walker Lindh. As though it were an accomplishment? It's not. There are serious problems with that case in terms of the prosecution and in terms of the legal opinion the FBI sought and then ignored. McNulty prosecuted that case and if Lichtblau wants to waste our time with speculation, he might want to at the very least inform us of what sort of case the person in the lead for "No. 2" was involved in. Jane Mayer, as is often the case, offers the rundown in The New Yorker. From "LOST IN THE JIHAD: Why did the government’s case against John Walker Lindh collapse?:"

Two days before Reimann began his interrogation, the Justice Department was notified by the F.B.I. that an agent planned to question Lindh without the presence of counsel. John De Pue, a trial attorney in the Terrorism and Violent Crime section of the Justice Department, was not sure if this was proper, and consulted with the Professional Responsibility Advisory Office, an internal-ethics unit. The legal adviser on duty that Friday to handle such questions was Jesselyn Radack. A thirty-year-old graduate of Brown University and Yale Law School, Radack had recently joined the internal-ethics unit after being selected for the Attorney General's prestigious Honors Program. Ambitious, idealistic, and proud to have graduated from Brown with honors in three majors, she had dreamed about this sort of high-profile case. After researching the matter and discussing it with a superior, she sent an e-mail to De Pue offering advice. "I consulted with a Senior Legal Advisor here," she wrote, "and we don't think you can have the F.B.I. agent question Walker. It would be a pre-indictment, custodial overt interview, which is not authorized by law." Radack pointed out that Lindh’s father had already retained a lawyer for him, which made it improper to approach Lindh without approaching his counsel, too.
"Thanks much," De Pue wrote back, according to copies of the e-mails, which were first published in Newsweek. "I have passed assessment along and will keep you posted."
On December 10th, Radack was surprised to learn that Reimann had questioned Lindh anyway. Alarmed, she advised De Pue that Lindh’s confession might "have to be sealed" and "only used for national security purposes," not in a criminal case against him. She pressed for more information.
"Ugh," De Pue e-mailed back. "We are trying to figure out what actually transpired and what, if anything, Walker said."
Ten days later, Radack learned that the prosecution was ignoring her unit’s advice and intended to use Walker's confession. It argued that, because Lindh had been read his Miranda rights, the confession had been properly obtained. Radack was still troubled. "It was like ethics were out the window," she said during a recent interview at her home, in Washington, D.C. "After 9/11, it was, like, 'anything goes’ in the name of terrorism. It felt like they'd made up their minds to get him, regardless of the process." Radack believed that the role of the ethics office was to "rein in the cowboys" whose zeal to stop criminals sometimes led them to overstep legal boundaries. "But after 9/11 we were bending ethics to fit our needs," she said. "Something wrong was going on. It wasn't just fishy--it stank."
Radack recalled that at her office "I was getting the vibes: Don't take this further. Drop it." On January 15th, when Ashcroft announced the government's complaint against Lindh, it became clear why. Ashcroft stated that the Justice Department had concluded that the F.B.I.’s interrogation of Lindh was legal because "the subject here is entitled to choose his own lawyer, and to our knowledge, has not chosen a lawyer at this time." The lawyer whom Lindh's father had hired to represent him, Ashcroft reasoned, wasn't legitimate, because Lindh hadn't personally retained him. Ashcroft did not mention that Brosnahan's efforts to communicate with Lindh had been blocked.

That's a McNulty case, but Lichtblau's so busy playing The Lemon Drop Kid that he can't report to readers.

Eli suggests that Eddie check out Stephen Labaton's "A Bill Advancing Digital TV Is Approved by Senate Panel." Here's the most important sentence in the article:

More than half of homes now have no digital signal and no intention to get one, according to Stewart Wolpin, an analyst at Points North Group, a research and consulting firm.

Why do I say it's the most important? Because no one wants to comment on it, let alone mention it. That includes a "brave" watchdog that's pissed Eddie off -- we don't link to it -- because they did a rah-rah, "New World Coming" report that forgot to mention that for a significant portion of Americans, the new world isn't coming.

The article is a typical Times' article meaning it sucks up to big business (and doesn't discuss the Times' own interest in the legislation -- maybe Labaton is unaware of the Times' TV division?). But buried deep in the article is a fact that "brave" watchdog took a pass on.

This is going to be a big issue to people in some areas, to the poor and the working poor in all areas. Right now you want to watch Desperate Housewives (I wouldn't recommend it, but to each their own), you turn on the TV. You don't need cable, you don't need satellite. You turn on the TV and watch for free.

As the industry abandons analog and moves to digital, it will be a huge issue for a significant portion of Americans. But no one wants to talk about that. No one wants to acknowledge that even if we had a good economy (we don't, we have a Bully Boy economy) a lot of people would be left out of "the revolution."

(Again, we do not link to them. Members know whom I'm referring to. It's been addressed in the round-robin and in an editorial two or three Sundays ago at The Third Estate Sunday Review. But for any visitor that gets easily lost, on our permalinks, you'll find the watchdog groups FAIR -- including the radio program CounterSpin -- and Media Matters. I'm not referring to either.)

Nicole e-mails to note David Lindorff's "Defiant Saddam Refuses to Recognize Court" (CounterPunch):

While things continue to get hotter in and around the White House and Blair House in Washington, impeachment is in the air in New York City.On Friday, Oct. 21 and Saturday, Oct. 22, a group called Not in Our Name ( will be hosting an International Commission of Inquiry to examine and condemn the actions of the Bush administration in the U.S. and around the globe.
At this event, which is closely modeled on the War Crimes Tribunal of 1967 organized by philosopher Bertrand Russell to air the crimes of the U.S. in Vietnam, President George Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney, Defense Secretary Donald rumsfeld and a number of other key administration officials will be symbolically put on trial for war crimes and crimes against humanity.
This 2005 Commission of Inquiry is being endorsed by a number of prominent human rights activists, including: prominent voices of conscience, including former U.S. Sen. James Abourezk, Edward Asner, Russell Banks, Michael Eric Dyson, Richard Falk, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Rabbi Michael Lerner, the National Lawyers Guild, Michael Ratner, Gore Vidal, Cornel West, and Howard Zinn.

Remember this from Dahr Jamail:

Victims of combat operations in Iraq
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See the trailer and purchase the DVD:
Shot from November 2004 to April 2005 inside the city of Falluja, 'Caught in the Crossfire' details the conditions experienced by civilians as they endured the violent clashes and consequences of Operation Phantom Fury and became refugees outside the eyes and
care of the international community.
A joint production between American and Iraqi filmmakers, 'Caught in the Crossfire' was filmed entirely un-embedded, outside the protection or influence of the military or corporate media, in order to capture the unique and honest perspective of the civilians themselves.
Purchase the DVD:
Proceeds from the sale of this film go directly to aid the innocent civilians and refugees caught in the crossfire of combat areas inside Iraq.
The plight of the civilians is THE unreported story of the Iraq war. The refugees of Falluja risked their lives to bring this story to you.
Help spread their message around the world.
Please forward this on.
"If you want to know what happened inside Fallujah during the November, 2004 assault on the city, this film is a must see. I could not recommend this film more highly." -Dahr Jamail
You may also find a link to view trailer and purchase this film:

E-mail address for this site is We didn't note Mike and we're not doing additional links. For Rebecca, I'll do the tags. But there are computer problems this morning and, in the words of Kat, it is what it is. We'll try to note Mike's interview with Wally (Wally's site is The Daily Jot) later today.