Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Democracy Now: Maxine Waters, discussions on Jose Padilla & Al Jazeera; Tom Hayden, Norman Solomon, Linda S. Heard

Amy Goodman will be on Hardball with Chris Matthews on MSNBC tonight (Wed., November 23) at 5 p.m., 7 p.m. and 3 a.m. (Eastern) to debate U.S. troop withdrawal from Iraq.

The above announcement was passed on by Rod. We don't usually open with announcements, true. But I'm not usually able to ever give a heads up to Amy Goodman's appearances on Hardball. Also, consider this an informal post (like we're ever that formal, please -- but you'll understand a third of the way down that we're being especially informal). So you've got three times. If you have cable or satellite, consider checking it out. (Amy Goodman, in case a visitor who's never heard of her happens by, hosts Democracy Now! and is the author of Exceptions to the Rulers with her brother David Goodman.)

CIA Told Bush of No Iraq-Al Qaeda Links Ten Days
After 9/11 A new article by investigative journalist Murray Waas in the National Journal says President Bush was notified ten days after the 9/11 attacks U.S. intelligence had no evidence linking Iraq to al Qaeda or the attacks. According to several current and former government officials, little evidence has emerged to contradict the assessment. One former high-level official said : "What the President was told on September 21 [2001], was consistent with everything he has been told since -- the evidence was just not there." The Bush administration has so far refused to release the briefing, not even as a redacted document. Administration officials subsequently ignored the intelligence assessments in favor of those that alleged Saddam Hussein had chemical weapons and ties to Al Qaeda. One of the key proponents of this theory was then-undersecretary of Defense Douglas Feith. In the margin of one of Feith's reports, Vice President Dick Cheney wrote: "This is very good indeed ... Encouraging ... Not like the crap we are all so used to getting out of CIA."

US Resumes Ties with Indonesian Military
The Bush administration has announced it will lift a six-year arms embargo and resume full relations with the Indonesian military. The State Department said it will provide aid to "help modernise the Indonesian military, provide further incentives for reform of the Indonesian military, and support US and Indonesian security objectives, including counterterrorism, maritime security and disaster relief." Military ties with Indonesia were scaled back following a massacre of civilians in East Timor in 1991. Indonesia occupied East Timor for over 25 years, where it was accused of killing over 200,000 people. It has also killed thousands in the embattled Aceh province over the last decade. In a statement, the East Timor Action Network said : "US support for an unreformed military which remains above the law is not in the interest of the United States or Indonesia. This is a profoundly disappointing and sad day for human rights protections everywhere but especially in Indonesia, East Timor, and the US."

British Newspapers Threatened in Al Jazeerah Memo Case
The British government has threatened to sue newspapers that publish contents of a leaked memo in which President Bush allegedly discusses bombing the Arabic satellite network Al Jazeerah. The government says it would take action under the Official Secrets Act, which makes it illegal come into the possession of government information without lawful authority. The British newspaper Daily Mirror disclosed the memo Tuesday. The paper based its a report on a confidential Downing Street memo that claimed Bush told British Prime Minister Tony Blair in April 2004 that he wanted to attack Al Jazeera's headquarters in Qatar. Blair allegedly talked Bush out of the strike, fearing revenge attacks. The Daily Mirror says it will comply with the government's threat against publication. But Daily Mirror editor Richard Wallace said : "We made [the government] fully aware of the intention to publish and were given 'no comment' officially or unofficially. Suddenly 24 hours later we are threatened under section 5 [of the secrets act]." Two British civil servants have been charged in connection with the leak.

The above three items are from today's Democracy Now! Headlines and were seleted by Zach, Bonita and Valerie. Democracy Now! ("always worth watching," as Marcia says):

Headlines for November 23, 2005
- Justice Dept. Files Charges Against Jose Padilla
- Federal Jury Convicts Abu Ali on Terror Charges
- British Newspapers Threatened in Al Jazeerah Memo Case
- US Resumes Ties with Indonesian Military
- Thousands Flee as Congo Fighting Leaves over 50 Rebels Dead
- Suicide Bomber Kills 21 in Iraq
- CIA Told Bush of No Iraq
-Al Qaeda Links Ten Days After 9/11

Los Titulares de Hoy: Democracy Now!'s daily news summary translated into Spanish

Why did the Bush Administration Hold Jose Padilla for 3 Years as an Enemy Combatant? No Mention of al Qaeda or Plot to Attack U.S. in Indictment
The Justice Department announced Tuesday criminal charges have been filed against Jose Padilla - the U.S. citizen who had been held for over three years in solitary confinement on a military brig in South Carolina. We speak with one of Padilla's attorneys and the legal director of the Center for Constitutional Rights. [includes rush transcript]

Al Jazeera London Bureau Chief Responds to Report of British Memo Alleging Bush Wanted to Bomb Network HQ in Doha
The British government has threatened to use the Official Secrets Act to sue newspapers that publish contents of a leaked memo in which President Bush allegedly discusses bombing the Arabic satellite network Al Jazeera. The British newspaper, the Daily Mirror disclosed the memo Tuesday. We speak with the head of Al Jazeera's London bureau, Yousri Fouda as well as British journalist and filmmaker, John Pilger. [includes rush transcript]

Congressmember Waters Contradicts Col. Wilkerson on U.S. Role in Haiti: "It Was a Coup D'Etat, it Was a Forceful Removal of Aristide"
On Tuesday's Democracy Now!, Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson - Colin Powell's chief of staff from 2002 to 2005 - defended the US role in Haiti during the overthrow of democratically-elected President Jean Bertrand Aristide. We speak with Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) and Brian Concannon of the Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti. [includes transcript - partial]

Beau e-mails to note Linda S. Heard's "Targeting Al Jazeera" (CounterPunch):

On Tuesday, Britain's Daily Mirror published an explosive story riddled with implications concerning the character and intent of the US president when pursuing his so-called 'war on terror', and perhaps, shedding light on the bombing of Al Jazeera's offices in both Kabul and Baghdad.Twenty-four later, the Mirror and all other British papers had been subjected to a "gag order" under Section 5 the Official Secrets Act at pain of prosecution."
The Daily Mirror was yesterday told not to publish further details from a memo marked 'Top Secret', which revealed that President Bush wanted to bomb an Arab TV station," wrote Kevin Maguire in Tuesday's edition of the paper.
"The gag by the Attorney General Lord Goldsmith" the same attorney general who changed his pre-Iraq War legal opinion after being badgered by US government lawyers to do so "came nearly 24 hours after the Mirror informed Downing Street of its intention to reveal how Tony Blair talked Bush out of attacking satellite station Al Jazeera's HQ in friendly Qatar" in the spring of 2004.
The White House has characterized the Mirror's reporting as "outlandish", but if that's the case, one wonders why Downing Street has gone into crisis mode not only prosecuting two of its own civil servants David Keogh and Leo O'Connor under the Official Secrets Act but also threatening editors of British newspapers with prosecution an historical first according to Richard Taylor-Norton of the Guardian.
So while Bush is attempting to brush off the incident, the British government is appearing more as though it has its hand in the cookie jar with damage control its first priority.

Also from CounterPunch, ??? e-mails to note Norman Solomon's "Getting Out of Iraq:"

If the Pentagon had been able to subdue the Iraqi population, few in Congress or on editorial pages would be denouncing the war. As in so many other respects, this is a way that the domestic U.S. political dynamics of the war on Iraq are similar to what unfolded during the Vietnam War. With the underpinnings of war prerogatives unchallenged, a predictable response is that the war must be fought more effectively.
That's what the great journalist I. F. Stone was driving at when he wrote, a few years into the Vietnam War, in mid-February 1968: "It is time to stand back and look at where we are going. And to take a good look at ourselves. A first observation is that we can easily overestimate our national conscience. A major part of the protest against the war springs simply from the fact that we are losing it. If it were not for the heavy cost, politicians like the Kennedys [Robert and Edward] and organizations like ADA [the liberal Americans for Democratic Action] would still be as complacent about the war as they were a few years ago."
In the United States, while the lies behind the Iraq war become evermore obvious and victory seems increasingly unreachable, much of the opposition to the war has focused on the death and suffering among U.S. soldiers. That emphasis has a sharp political edge at home, but it can also cut another way -- defining the war as primarily deplorable because of what it is doing to Americans. One danger is that a process of withdrawing some U.S. troops could be accompanied by even more use of U.S. air power that terrorizes and kills with escalating bombardment (as happened in Vietnam for several years after President Nixon announced his "Guam Doctrine" of Vietnamization in mid-1969). An effective antiwar movement must challenge the jingo-narcissism that defines the war as a problem mainly to the extent that it harms Americans.
Countless pundits and politicians continue to decry the Bush administration's failure to come up with an effective strategy in Iraq. But the war has not gone wrong. It was always wrong. And the basic problem with the current U.S. war effort is that it exists.

Billie e-mails to note Tom Hayden's "What To Do For Peace Now" (Common Dreams):

Congress should call for a peace envoy to begin immediate peace talks with the Iraqi opposition after this week’s historic Cairo summit. The three-day meeting was the first attended by leading Iraqi political parties as well as a delegation linked to the insurgents, organized by former minister Ayham al-Sammarae.
Overcoming the initial opposition of Prime Minister Ibrahim Jafari, the conference ended with a call for American withdrawal and an endorsement of "nationalist resistance" to foreign occupation.
The conference will resume in Baghdad in February, where a stronger call for US withdrawal is likely. The February date is consistent with the four-month period that has been established to re-negotiate the Iraqi constitution to accommodate Sunni demands.
It is clear that US proposals for token Sunni inclusion have failed, and that the peace deal emerging consists of incorporating the opposition into a new power-sharing arrangement.

I said a third in but now it's winding down time. Here's where we get casual. Kick off your shoes.

I've said before that I complain about visitors generally when I should be more specific because many visitors become members and those who do not often still assist the community in some way.

A group of dedicated visitors like to play parlor games. Jess found an e-mail today where someone assumes I'm ____ _____. I'm not but it was flattering. For those interested in parlor games, why not try to figure out who was the "you" in "You're So Vain"? (The secret was known long before Dick Ebersol made his winning bid. Clues were dropped as early as 1972, I don't mean the guessing game, I mean by Carly Simon. A huge clue came out in the nineties, also from Simon.)

That's a good parlor game.

But guessing "C.I." is a rather boring one. (And you won't get a reply.)

Sometimes, it's "I know I went to school/college with you!" I've apparently attended school/college all over the world. And in many decades.

But Jess laughed at the one that came in today (laughed at the guess, not at the e-mailer) and knew I would as well.

The e-mailer also asked if we could note a book by Peter Brock. Sure. Media Cleansing: Dirty Reporting: Journalism and Tragedy in Yugoslavia. (If you're interested and the link doesn't work, do a search.)

Most people offer their reasoning for their guess. This visitor just opens with, "Greetings, ___ ____." It was flattering (it was also not true). And like Jess, I did laugh at the guess.

Don't put on your shoes, we're not done yet.

Beth asks if there will be no evening posts this week?

(Which probably means that she's getting e-mails on it.)

Monday, a post was planned. Then I was alerted to the fact that Tuesday was Koppel's farewell.
That post ended up taking all night. But Mia's link has still not been noted. I e-mailed Mia and told her I'd prefer to post it Thursday night at the earliest. (I have several drafts saved, none of them worth posting.) I'll be done with the big Thanksgiving headache (I always hate it the closer it gets, when everyone's eating, I stop worrying about it and am usually ready for nap).
There was no "plan" not to post an entry last night. Elaine's over and we were both going to post when she did but I made the mistake of sitting too long and dozed off. So Monday, no post due to the fact that I was working on the Koppel thing; Tuesday, no post because I was tired.

This evening begins the marathon cooking. I could post Ruth's entry (which is ready) but I'd prefer to do that Thanksgiving Day.

I'll try to post something this evening. It may be a link-fest. It may be something "trivial." It may be just a general response to some questions that have popped up. So, fingers crossed, there will be a post tonight.

Lastly, Larry asks (about a "piece" that we're not linking to) whether "economics" is non-partisan. Larry found a "blowhard blowwing off at the mouth praising The Economist and slamming The Nation because The Economist looked at an issue from a nonpartisan manner."
I'd already seen the "piece" (a friend had passed it on). All I can say Larry is that a lot of journalists are like general practitioners trying to do a heart transplant. The Economist is a "partisan" magazine. (They argued this fall that the United States should not renew the Voting Rights Act. Surely the most pressing "economic" concern in England today.) (The second sentence was sarcasm.) Economics, broad sense, is a field of study. Within that field you have various branches of thought. The article the "piece" highlighted was not "objective" (the term the author of the "piece" was struggling for but settled on "partisan"). It was first passed on to me by a friend (who's an economics professor) as "joke of the day" so don't take it seriously. (No one with any knowledge of the field would take seriously the breathless pronouncement of the author of the "piece.") Consider it a sign of the sad state of journalism that someone so lacking in the skills to evaluate praised the piece.

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