Wednesday, November 16, 2005

NYT: "Judge Halts Guantanamo Trial" (Neil A. Lewis)

A federal judge has halted for at least several months the military's plan to resume the war crimes trial in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, of David Hicks, an Australian charged with fighting for the Taliban in Afghanistan.
In a ruling issued late Monday evening, Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly of Federal District Court issued an order staying the proceedings in response to a request made by Mr. Hicks's lawyers. Judge Kollar-Kotelly cited the Supreme Court's decision last week to review the legality of the military commissions being used to try Guantanamo detainees with war crimes.

The above is from Neil A. Lewis' "Judge Halts Guantanamo Trial" in this morning's New York Times.

Yesterday was a day for decisions. Note Stephen Labaton's "Broadcast Chief Violated Laws, Inquiry Finds:"

Investigators at the Corporation for Public Broadcasting said on Tuesday that they had uncovered evidence that its former chairman had repeatedly broken federal law and the organization's own regulations in a campaign to combat what he saw as liberal bias.
[. . .]
The inspector general's report is the first official conclusion that Mr. Tomlinson appears to have violated both the law and the corporation's own rules. It is also the first detailed and official inside look at the dynamics of the corporation as some of its career staff members have struggled with conservative Republican appointees seeking to change its direction.
The report said investigators found evidence that Mr. Tomlinson had violated federal law by being heavily involved in getting more than $4 million for a program featuring writers of the conservative editorial page of The Wall Street Journal.
It said he had imposed a "political test" to recruit a new president of the corporation. And it said his decision to hire Republican consultants to defeat legislation violated contracting rules.
The corporation received $400 million from Congress this year to finance an array of programs on public television and radio. Its future financing has come under heavy criticism, particularly from conservative lawmakers. Its board is selected by the president and confirmed by the Senate.

Poor Kenny. After his bizarre testimony to Congress (where he sounded as though he was slurring his words), his ouster from the board, this last bit of news must hit hard. But shame's all he'll have to deal with because the report suggested *[nothing in the way of]* on disciplinary action.

Here's news of a decision that the paper buries in "World Briefing:"

Kofi Annan rescinded the June 1 dismissal of Joseph J. Stephanides, the only United Nations official fired in the oil-for-food scandal, and restored his pay up to his scheduled retirement in September. Mr. Annan acted after a review panel said Mr. Stephanides, a 60-year-old Cypriot, had done nothing wrong. Mr. Annan said that while he now considered dismissal to have been too harsh, he still felt that Mr. Stephanides had violated staff rules by disclosing bidding information related to an oil-for-food contract. Warren Hoge (NYT)

The Times was more than happy to cover the charges against Stephanides at great length. Often as part of Judith Miller's desire to grudge f**k the UN. Two Miller articles were co-written with Hoge. Let's just note the articles (as opposed to the briefings):

1) " U.N. Supply Officer Quits Under a Cloud"
... 's finding that Joseph J. Stephanides, a senior ... procedures. Mr. Stephanides was dismissed by Mr. Annan ... information in the Stephanides case. ''We ...
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June 23, 2005 - By WARREN HOGE and JUDITH MILLER; Warren Hoge reported from the United Nations for this article, and Judith Miller from New York. (NYT) - International - News - 654 words

2) "U.N. Fires Aide Who Was Accused in Iraq Oil-for-Food Program"
... the official, Joseph J. Stephanides, the head ... interview, Mr. Stephanides, a 59-year-old ... , including Mr. Stephanides. Mr. Stephanides was suspended ...
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June 2, 2005 - By JUDITH MILLER (NYT) - International - News - 568 words

3) "U.N. Suspends 2 Officials in Oil-for-Food Scandal"
... 2003, and Joseph J. Stephanides, a senior ... comments about Mr. Stephanides, the report accuses him ... rules, Mr. Stephanides told the panel that he ...
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February 7, 2005 - By JUDITH MILLER (NYT) - International - News - 598 words

4) "Inquiry on Iraqi Oil-for-Food Plan Cites U.N. Diplomat for Conflict"
... senior official, Joseph Stephanides, who oversaw the ... evening. Mr. Stephanides, who oversaw contractor selection ... , said Mr. Stephanides could pay a high price ...
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February 4, 2005 - By JUDITH MILLER and WARREN HOGE (NYT) - International - News - 1954 words

Well as Rudith Miller pointed out, one of the rules is to "slam, slam freely."

Kyle e-mails to note that BuzzFlash is offering Cindy Sheehan's Not One More Mother's Child as premium. (A review can be found here.)

Jonah e-mails to note Media Matters' "NBC's Today portrayed Republicans as authors of Democratic plan for Iraq withdrawal:"

The Today segment consisted of an interview only with Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-TN), whom host Matt Lauer misleadingly introduced as "one of the authors of the plan." The Hill newspaper reported that during a press conference on November 14, Democrats distributed copies of their amendment and told reporters that handwritten changes -- including the excise of the timetable requirement and the replacement of the original co-sponsor names with those of Frist and Sen. John Warner (R-VA) -- were made by the Republicans, who adopted the product as their own amendment. Frist chief of staff Eric Ueland disputed that claim, telling the newspaper, "Our amendment came first."
During the Today interview, Frist repeatedly characterized the Democrats' "version" of the amendment as seeking a "cut and run" policy of withdrawal. In fact, the Democrats' amendment would require that the administration "provide a campaign plan with estimated dates for the phased redeployment of our troops from Iraq as each condition is met, with the understanding that unexpected contingencies may arise."

Lloyd e-mails to note Matthew Rothschild's "Seniors Must Jump Through Hoops for Prescription Drugs" (This Just In, The Progressive):

Bush's prescription drug plan is forcing millions of seniors to become gymnasts.
They're going to have jump through all sorts of hoops to get the benefit, and if they decide it's too much trouble, they'll get socked with penalties if they ever try to join the program again.
Rather than offer free prescription drugs to everyone, and having the government bargain bulk discounts with the pharmaceutical companies for the entire Medicaid and Medicare population, Bush is subsidizing the drug companies and forcing seniors, starting this week, to evaluate a whole range of different private plans.
And none of them is free. In fact, seniors will be shelling out about $3,600 a year, not counting premiums, for the first $5,100 in prescriptions in 2006. These plans will then pick up 95 percent of the costs of any additional drugs. (See
AARP) Drug companies and health insurers love Bush’s plan. "It's a kind of a gold rush," said Jonathan Oberlander, author of "The Political Life of Medicare," in an article on the AARP website.

By the way, Lloyd points out that The Progressive had an editorial on withdrawing the troops ("Bring Them Home") and asks that I link to it. I can't.

I worked with The Third Estate Sunday Review on an editorial that linked to it. That was in the first edition of The Third Estate Sunday Review, "'Bring the Troops Home' argues The Progressive, 'Nah Let 'Em Stay' says the New York Times." But since then The Progressive has redesigned the website so the old link no longer works and currently there is no link to the article.

I think The Nation's editorial is a brave one. ("Democrats and the War") I did not mean to imply that The Progressive editorial wasn't a brave one. I subscribe to both magazines. I enjoy them both for different reasons. Both have maintained an editorial position that the war was the wrong war and that the troops needed to be brought home. Lloyd feels that I should have linked to The Progressive's editorial when I linked, last week, to The Nation's (at the request of Eli).

That thought didn't enter my head (I'm always rushing through the mid-morning entries) at the time. But I would gladly link to The Progressive editorial if it were up now. It's not. You can read an excerpt from it by going to "'Bring the Troops Home' argues The Progressive, 'Nah Let 'Em Stay' says the New York Times."

Susan asks that we skip the Times on a topic (Alito and Feinstein) Elaine covered yesterday and instead spotlight Elaine's comments:

Alito meets with Diane Feinstein today. What does DiFi gush to the press? Alito told her he was seeking a political appointment so his remarks shouldn't be taken too seriously. And DiFi gushes that he seemed sincere.
Let's break it down for DiFi.
1) Leave the "peering into the soul" for the Bully Boy.
2) He's seeking an appointment now. The supreme appointment, one to the Supreme Court. There's no higher appointment.
Wait, that's wrong. Usually that's true. But in 2000, we found that a higher office than Supreme Court Justice could be appointed. That's the year where we found out that the office of president wasn't an elected one necessarily, it could also be an appointed one.
3) What he told you, DiFi, should disturb the hell out of you. He told you that he'd say anything for an appointment.
4) Gee, DiFi, do you think he might trot out that trick again?
She embarrassed herself in the John Roberts confirmation hearings. She needs to get her act together. That doesn't mean saying a lot of pleasing things about how as the only woman on the Judiciary Committee, you feel a special obligation.
Don't give anymore empty words. Show some action.

Wally didn't have anything new up yesterday and a few e-mails came in on that. His laptop battery had run down. He's hoping to post something today but warns it may be late if his isn't fully charged. (We spoke on the phone.)

We only have one Times entry this morning. That's because of "Editorial: Someone explain to Bob Woodward that a reporter reports" which is my excuse for not having made it to sleep for the (last) night yet. I spent over five hours on the phone with several friends at the Washington Post (five and a half hours, I believe) before working on that entry. (The Times would call that "reporting.")

Remember to watch Democracy Now! today. And read "The Pentagon's ever changing story on using white phosphorous in Falluja" if you're not sure why you should be watching (or listening or reading the transcripts).

The e-mail address for this site is

[Note: Post corrected to add: "[nothing in the way of]".]