Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Other Items

Stepping up a confrontation with the Senate over the handling of detainees, the White House is insisting that the Central Intelligence Agency be exempted from a proposed ban on abusive treatment of suspected Qaeda militants and other terrorists.
The Senate defied a presidential veto threat nearly three weeks ago and approved, 90 to 9, an amendment to a $440 billion military spending bill that would ban the use of "cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment" of any detainee held by the United States government. This could bar some techniques that the C.I.A. has used in some interrogations overseas.
But in a 45-minute meeting last Thursday, Vice President Dick Cheney and the C.I.A. director, Porter J. Goss, urged Senator John McCain, the Arizona Republican who wrote the amendment, to support an exemption for the agency, arguing that the president needed maximum flexibility in dealing with the global war on terrorism, said two government officials who were briefed on the meeting. They spoke on condition of anonymity because of the confidential nature of the discussions.

The above is from Eric Schmitt's "Exception Sought in Detainee Abuse Ban" in this morning New York Times and Ned wonders why, online, the Times hyperlinks Cheney, Iraq, etc., but provides no hyperlink (to other stories on) the CIA? I have no idea. They do the same thing with the FBI today, which is the topic of the next highlight.

Hank e-mails to note Eric Lichtblau's "Tighter Oversight of F.B.I. Is Urged After Investigation Lapses:"

Civil rights advocates called on Monday for Congress to increase its oversight of the Federal Bureau of Investigation's surveillance of suspects in intelligence investigations, in light of newly disclosed records indicating that the F.B.I. had violated the law.
But the bureau defended its record, saying it had been diligent in policing itself and in correcting lapses that it considered to be largely technical and procedural.
The debate was prompted by a set of internal F.B.I. documents made public on Monday that disclosed at least a dozen violations of federal law or bureau policy from 2002 to 2004 in the handling of surveillance and investigative matters.
Expanding on that data, the bureau said on Monday that internal reviews had identified 113 violations since last year that were referred to a federal intelligence board.

End Zone e-mails to note Joel Bleifuss' "Lies Judith Miller Told Us" (In These Times):

Yes it makes for good drama, but in a perverse way the Plame case obscures the larger story. The media understandably finds it more interesting to ferret out the specific crimes of a Karl Rove than to reflect on the larger, more profound crime: how we were misled into invading Iraq. First, the Bush administration created a catalogue of lies and misinformation in order to justify invasion. Second, some prominent members of the national media parroted those lies.
And no one squawked louder than the New York Times' Miller. As a former CIA analyst told Salon's James C. Moore: "The White House had a perfect deal with Miller. [U.S.-funded Iraqi dissident Ahmed] Chalabi is providing the Bush people with the information they need to support their political objectives with Iraq, and he is supplying the same material to Judy Miller. Chalabi tips her on something and then she goes to the White House, which has already heard the same thing from Chalabi, and she gets it corroborated by some insider she always describes as a 'senior administration official.' "
For example, on September 8, 2002, Miller reported on the front page of the Times that intercepted aluminum tubes indicated that Saddam was developing a nuclear bomb. That day, Colin Powell, Condoleezza Rice and Dick Cheney all appeared on Sunday morning talk shows, citing Miller's sensational exposé, which was debunked, with much less fanfare, five days later.
On May 26, 2004, Times Executive Editor Bill Keller explained that an internal audit "found a number of instances of coverage that was not as rigorous as it should have been." He cited six faulty stories about the threat posed by Iraq, all but one of which was written or co-written by Miller, who was not mentioned by name.

Lloyd e-mails to note Matthew Rothschild's "When Will the Times Apologize?" (This Just In, The Progressive):

I expected an apology from the editor and the publisher of The New York Times on Sunday.
But I didn't get it, and neither did you.
It's been more than a week now since the Times began to air out Judith Miller's dirty laundry.
To its credit, last Sunday, October 16, it ran a long investigative piece on what went wrong (though the story never appeared in the edition I read in Wisconsin since Miller missed her deadline on the early run).
And to his credit, Bill Keller, the editor of The Times, expressed his regrets to his colleagues at the newspaper for mishandling the Miller case, and the Times ran a news story on that last week.
Maureen Dowd wielded her usual rapier style on Saturday, and the Times's public editor, Byron Calame, also made some good points this Sunday.
But why haven't Keller and Publisher Arthur Sulzberger Jr. apologized directly to the readers in an editorial?
After all, the Times wrote about 15 editorials championing Judith Miller as a paragon of press freedom when she decided to go to jail.
But as it came out that Judith Miller had not played straight with her editors, Keller and Sulzberger have managed not to say word one on their editorial page.
In the lead up to the war in Iraq, the Times let Judith Miller peddle five of its six inaccurate articles about Saddam's weapons of mass destruction, and when it apologized for that, it didn't have the courage or the sense of journalistic responsibility to cite Miller by name. (By contrast, Jayson Blair, who had committed much less momentous blunders, got ridden out on a rail.)
Now the Times has discovered that she was not straight with the paper on her involvement in this story. Keller said Miller "seems to have misled" the paper's Washington bureau chief, Philip Taubman, when she denied having been told by White House officials about Plame. Miller said, "I did not mislead him."
Miller told the Times that she had "made a strong recommendation to my editor" to write a piece on Wilson or his wife, but her editor at the time, Jill Abramson, denies that.

Melinda e-mails to note Dave Lindorff's "Revoke Miller's Pulitzer" (CounterPunch):

Now that the New York Times' own ombudsman has weighed in with a scathing critique of Judith Miller's lies and deceptions about her WMD and Al Qaeda reporting, including a recommendation that the paper not allow her back in its newsroom, it's time to call for an independent investigation into her much trumpeted Pulitzer Prize, which she won jointly in 2002 with several other Times reporters for her articles in 2001 about Al Qaeda.
Clearly, Miller was no independent journalist looking for truth in her incarnation as "Ms. Run Amok," pushing the Bush Administration line for war with Iraq in the post 9/11 run-up to the invasion of that country. Her breathless and terrifying stories claiming that Saddam Hussein was sitting on masses of WMDs--biological and chemical weapons and perhaps even nuclear bombs--and that his regime was tight with Osama Bin Laden and his merry band of bombers and terrorists--were at best single-sourced propaganda, and at worst deliberate fabrications.
Not that this is new information. As early as August 2003, Alex Cockburn,
in Counterpunch, laid out the ongoing scandal of Miller's and the Times' war-mongering reporting in detail, showing how disinformation about WMDs and Al Qaeda was routinely passed off as fact, and how promised verification was never forthcoming. It's just taken the Times over two years to finally admit (at least some of) what was going on.
As a 2004 article in Salon magazine explained her modus operandi, Miller would go to Iraq con-man and convicted embezzler Ahmad Chalabi, who would give her his latest wild fabrications about WMDs and Al Qaeda links, Chalabi would also go to the White House with the same information, which would be assimilated by the White House Iraq Group, a war marketing enterprise set up and run by Andrew Card and Karl Rove, and then Miller, who knew all this, would go to WHIG for "confirmation" of the information she'd gotten from Chalabi, which she would then portray, to Times editors and readers, as "confirmed" by White House sources.

Rebecca notes "Miller's TaleCan the reporter--or the New York Times--be trusted?" (Media Advisory, FAIR):

When the Times published a report on how the Jayson Blair fiasco was allowed to happen, much of the article discussed the personal contacts that Blair had developed that allowed him to get away with errors and eventual fabrications. The fact that the piece on Miller did not examine the office culture that allowed her to escape supervision suggests a disturbing double standard.
Once Miller went off to jail, it became clear that Keller and others at the Times were able to exercise control over what was written about Miller and her case.
"Some reporters said editors seemed reluctant to publish articles about other aspects of the case as well, like how it was being investigated by Mr. Fitzgerald," the Times reported.
When one such article was not published, one Times reporter said, "It was taken pretty clearly among us as a signal that we were cutting too close to the bone, that we were getting into an area that could complicate Judy's situation."
Two other Times reporters were rebuffed after offering potential story ideas about the case. According to Washington bureau chief Philip Taubman, "Mr. Keller did not want them pursued because of the risk of provoking Mr. Fitzgerald or exposing Mr. Libby while Ms. Miller was in jail."
The fact that the Times would make journalistic decisions based on how they might affect Miller's legal status--putting her personal interests above the public interest--is unconscionable.
After her release from jail, Miller told CNN's Lou Dobbs (10/4/05), "I didn't want to be in jail, but I knew that the principle of confidentiality was so important that I had to, because if people can't trust us to come to us to tell us the things that government and powerful corporations don't want us to know, we're dead in the water. The public won't know. That's why I was sitting in jail. For the public's right to know."
But neither the Times or Miller has offered the public any explanation of how her conduct lives up to such lofty rhetoric. In this case, Miller seems to have worked to opposite ends--to shield the public from things that a powerful government didn't want us to know.

In his piece, Matthew Rothschild offers an apology for his defense of Judith Miller. For the record, I offer no such apology. (I personally don't think Rothschild needed to offer an apology but he's a nicer and bigger soul than I am.) I defended Miller's right to protect a source. I stand by that. I did not defend Miller. I spoke of the legal argument and noted "mock, mock freely" throughout. Miller has popped up repeatedly at this site. "Rudith Miller" and her UN reporting. She'll pop up again. (Possibly this evening.) Her writing has never been defended here.

She's named Scooter Libby (who's long been a source for Miller) to the grand jury. She's yet to name Karl Rove. Whether she's covering for him or not, I will again note that Matthew Cooper elected to cover for Karl Rove for two years. It's too bad that he couldn't get honest prior to November of 2004 when it might have really made a difference. And it's really too bad that with all the time exploring Miller (whose writing and sources should be explored), that Matthew Cooper's own behavior isn't being addressed in a similar manner.

Democracy Now!'s Amy Goodman continues the Un-Embed the Media tour:

* Amy Goodman in New Paltz, NY:
Thur, Oct 27
Money in Politics: The Root of All Evil
Coming Together to Find Common Ground
Keynote Speech
SUNY New Paltz
Lecture Center 100
Free and open to the public
For more information, contact democracymatt@yahoo.com
or call 845-853-4387

* Amy Goodman in Cortland, NY:
Wed, Nov 2
SUNY college at Cortland
Brown Auditorium
Event is free and open to the public

* Amy Goodman in Stonybrook, NY:
Thur, Nov 3
7th Annual George Goodman Symposium
Provost Lecture by Phil Donahue and Michael Ratner
Stony Brook University
Student Activities Center Auditorium
Amy Goodman will attend, but will not be speaking
For more information, visit http://www.stonybrook.edu/sb/provlec

* Amy Goodman in Keene, NH:
Fri, Nov 4
World Affairs Symposium on Globalization
Keene State University
Event is free and open to the public
For more information, visit www.keene.edu

* Amy Goodman in San Francisco, CA:
Sat, Nov 5
*TIME: NoonGreen Festival
San Francisco Concourse
8th & Brannan St
San Francisco, CA 94123
Day Pass: $11 each ($15 at the door) good for either Sat or Sun
For more information, visit http://greenfestivals.com

* Amy Goodman in Redding, CA:
Sat, Nov 5
*TIME: 7:30 PM
$10 reserved seating in advance,
$15 at the door
Available for sale at:
Bogbean Books & Music
1740 California Street
Graphic Emporium
1965 Pine St.
(530) 241-4278
Pre-show reception: $50--includes admission to event and Goodman's book, The Exception to the Rulers.
For more information, call (530) 245-3488, or visit www.peaceredding.org/TicketsforAmyGoodmanevent.htm

The e-mail address for this site is common_ills@yahoo.com.