Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Other Items

European and American officials say Ms. Rice is beginning to realize that the issue has become so inflamed that she will probably have to prepare a more lengthy response before traveling to Europe next week.
"It's becoming one of the public issues she's going to have to address on her next trip," said a European official, asking not to be identified in discussing the delicate matter of pressures on the United States. "The mood in Europe is one of increasing concern over what people call the American 'gulag' and the reports of all these stopovers in Europe for prisoners."
European and administration officials, speaking on condition of anonymity both out of protocol and because they are legally barred from discussing intelligence matters, say that no matter what has occurred, the standard practice of not commenting on clandestine operations has made the United States vulnerable to harsh, even potentially debilitating criticism.

The above is from Steven R. Weisman and Ian Fischer's "U.S. to Respond to Inquiries Over Detentions in Europe" in this morning's New York Times. Condi Rice is just now beinning to realize this is a problem? Possibly that "soft side" Barbara Walters couldn't shut up about was Rice's brain? I belive Rice already has the beginning of her explantory sentence, "No one could have guessed . . ." Let's help her out: "that other countries would be outraged by our secret prisons and our utilizing them for torture since we can't do it on our own soils." Barbara Walters pronounced Condi Rice "fascinating." America may pronounce Barbara Walters "addle brained."

Carl e-mails to note the Associated Press' "Hoping for More Soldiers, Army Adjusts Re-enlistment Policy:"

For former soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines who may be toying with the idea of getting back into uniform, the Army has a new offer: Join us and regain your old rank without repeating basic training.
It is the latest twist in the Army's pitch for recruits at a time when the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are making it increasingly difficult to enlist young people and meet the Army's need for 80,000 new soldiers a year.
"It's common sense," said Lt. Col. Bryan Hilferty, a spokesman for the Army.

It's something. I don't know that anyone would label it any kind of "sense," but it's something alright. "Say what? I can skip six weeks in basic? Count me in!" Not seeing it as reward enough to boost enlistment for an illegal war.

Marci notes an article. First, note her comments, "It's true. Elected Republicans do eat their own!" The story accompanying her call is John M. Broder and Carl Hulse's "Republicans Denounce Ex-Lawmaker:"

Concerned that the stain of former Representative Randy Cunningham's admission that he took bribes and evaded taxes could damage the party's prospects, President Bush and other Republican leaders issued strong denunciations of Mr. Cunningham's actions on Tuesday.
With several investigations focusing on top Republican officials and growing public unease over the war in Iraq and economic policy at home, party leaders moved to distance themselves and their party from Mr. Cunningham's felony plea. Though some Republican officials said Democrats in Congress were equally guilty of questionable behavior, including lobbyist-paid trips and underreporting of campaign contributions, they acknowledged that Republicans, because they control the White House and Congress, are being held to a higher standard by many voters. They also expressed shock and embarrassment at the extent of Mr. Cunningham's wrongdoing, which the president described on Tuesday as "outrageous."

I don't think they're surprised that they're being held to a "higher standard," I think they're just surprised that they're being held to any standard at all. After Dixie Chick-ing America for four years, it must come as harsh surprise to learn that, although magical, you're not the great and all powerful Oz. (Sidebar: Check out the cover of the latest issue of The Progressive. It's incredible. It's not online yet but will be soon. Dorothy peeks behind the curtain and sees . . . Dick Cheney.)

Four years of bullying, intimidation, screaming "up" when it was "down" (like the economy), their fall must be very shocking. Apparently they don't know the Gerry Goffin & Carole King songbook. All together now:

The view from the cliffs must have been exciting
And up to the peaks you were bound
Now you're stranded alone
And the path is unknown
And there is no easy way down
No, it isn't very easy
When you're left on your own
No, it isn't very easy
When each road you take
Is one more mistake
And there's no one to break your fall
And lead you back home

No, it isn't very easy. (Song tile is "No Easy Way Down." Carole King does her version on the album Writer.) (Dusty Springfield recorded it for Dusty in Memphis.)

They're landing in the real world and egos will break. In the real world is where you have four members of the Christian Peacemaker Team apparently abducted. Brian Conley has a piece ("Christian Peacemaker Teams Release Statement About Hostages") on them at Alive in Baghdad and notes this from their press release:

We can confirm the identities of those who are being held as follows:
Tom Fox, age 54, is from Clearbrook, Virginia and is a dedicated father of two children. For the past two years, Mr. Fox has worked with CPT in partnership with Iraqi human rights organizations to promote peace. Mr. Fox has been faithful in the observance of Quaker practice for 22 years. While in Iraq, he sought a more complete understanding of Islamic cultural richness. He is committed to telling the truth to U.S. citizens about the horrors of war and its effects on ordinary Iraqi civilians and families as a result of U.S. policies and practices. Mr. Fox is an accomplished musician. He plays the bass clarinet and the recorder and he loves to cook. He has also worked as a professional grocer. Mr. Fox devotes much of his time to working with children. He has served as an adult leader of youth programs and worked at a Quaker camp for youth. He has facilitated young people’s participation in opposing war and violence. Mr. Fox is a quiet and peaceful man, respectful of everyone, who believes that “there is that of God in every person” which is why work for peace is so important to him.
Norman Kember, age 74, is from London, England. He and his wife of 45 years have two married daughters and a 3-year old grandson. He has been a pacifist all his life beginning with his work in a hospital instead of National Service at age 18. Before his retirement he was a professor teaching medical students at St Bartholemew’s Hospital in London. He is well-known as a peace activist, and has been involved inseveral peace groups. For the past 10 years he has volunteered with a local program providing free food to the homeless. He likes walking, birdwatching, and writing humorous songs and sketches. In his younger days he enjoyed mountaineering.
James Loney, 41, is a community worker from Toronto, Canada. He has been a member of Christian Peacemaker Teams since August 2000, and is currently the Program Coordinator for CPT Canada. On previous visits to Iraq, his work focused on taking testimonies from families of detainees for CPT’s report on detainee abuse, and making recommendations for securing basic legal rights. James was leading the November 2005 delegation in Iraq when he went missing. James is a peace activist, writer, trained mediator, and works actively with two Toronto community conflict resolution services. He has spent many years working to provide housing and support for homeless people. In a personal statement from James to CPT, he writes: “I believe that our actions as a people of peace must be an expression of hope for everyone. My hope in practising non-violence is that I can be a conduit for the transformative power of God’s love acting upon me as much as I hope it will act upon others around me.”
Harmeet Singh Sooden, 32 is a Canadian electrical engineer. He is studying for a masters degree in English literature in Auckland University in New Zealand to prepare for a teaching career. He enjoys art, is active in squash and worked part time as a local squash coach. His family describes him as peaceful and fun-loving and he is known to be passionate about the plight of the underprivileged around the globe. He works tirelessly in his spare time to educate and help others.
Christian Peacemaker Teams has been present in Iraq since October 2002, providing first-hand, independent reports from the region, working with detainees of both United States and Iraqi forces, and training others in non-violent intervention and human rights documentation. Christian Peacemaker Teams is a violence reduction program. Teams of trained peacemakers work in areas of lethal conflict around the world.Photos on

Brendan e-mails to note Dahr Jamail's "CPT" (Iraq Dispatches):

Back in November of 2003, while sitting in Amman, Jordan waiting to go into Iraq, I met a member of CPT who had been working in Palestine. He told me he was walking with Palestinian children as they went to school, in order to prevent them from being attacked by Israeli settlers.
Later I would learn that this same individual had returned to Palestine and was beaten so severely by Israeli settlers that he was hospitalized for several weeks.
Last Thanksgiving, November 24, 2004 I shared a meal with members of their team in Baghdad, along with several of our Iraqi friends. We gave thanks together for being in Baghdad in solidarity with our Iraqi brothers and sisters. All of us -- the CPT members and myself -- were then and remain fully committed to getting out the truth about the illegal and immoral occupation of Iraq.
On the website of CPT is a quote of scriptural reference which reads, "No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one's friends."
This is what the members of CPT do in Baghdad. I've seen them do this first-hand. They graciously opened their files of documents to me when I was working on stories about Iraqis who have been in US military detention centers inside Iraq. They have worked extensively on fighting for the rights of Iraqi detainees and supporting their families. The team documents home raids conducted by the US military, and have worked to assist internally displaced people (refugees) inside of Iraq who are left homeless by heavy-handed US military operations such as those in Fallujah and Al-Qa'im.

Also in the real world is history, though Bob Woodward might wish that history was as malleable as some see the facts in a book by Woody. Joey notes Len Colodny's "Woodwardgate: Still Protecting the Right Wing" (CounterPunch) on Thomas Moorer's espionage ring:

Woodward did not write another word on the subject until the day after the Squires and Thomasson story broke. Then Woodward wrote a front page story, complete with a photo of Admiral Welander--a story that downplayed the espionage as no big deal. There is no mention in this story of the fact that Woodward had worked for Welander. Keeping such information from the public is a violation of the public's right to know.
The story continued in the headlines, but not in pieces by Woodward; he yielded that beat on his paper to Michael Getler. The Chicago papers and Seymour Hersh of The New York Times continued to press the issue.

Woodward suggested to Welander that Ehrlichman had been his source. Ehrlichman told me he that he wasn't the source. Moreover, only someone with inside knowledge of the affair could have detected a hint of it in Ehrlichman's testimony to the Senate in mid-1973, when he invoked executive privilege in regards to a partially-blacked-out document that was presented to him for review. Ehrlichman would not publicly mention the issue again until he was preparing for his trial in 1974. This all took place after Woodward's meeting with Welander.It seems that Woodward was protecting his past, and I believe his future military associates by first withholding the news of Moorer-Radford, then down playing it when it did surface, and finally by distancing himself from further investigation of it--all of this while not disclosing to his readers his conflict of interest occasioned by a close relationship with Admirals Moorer and Welander.
Withhold the news, then downplay it when it appears elsewhere, and not disclose his inherent conflict of interest--even, supposedly, to his editors at the Washington Post. In the recent Valerie Plame identity leak story, the circumstances are somewhat different than they were with Moorer-Radford, but Woodward's methods and those he is trying to protect by these methods, his right-wing and militaristic sources in the government, remain the same.
For more information see:

(As noted in the article, see for information on this specific incident.)

Speaking of Woody, Cindy notes that the Theodore White explanation re: Nora Ephron's "What About Bob?" was "appreciated." She further notes that a lot of people "don't seem to realize that she's not praising Woody." They may not grasp how devastating (and true) the comparison she's making is. For the record, "The Making of Theodore H. White" was the title of the essay she wrote for Esquire's August, 1975 issue. (White's "books" were entitled The Making of the President with the year after such as 1960, 1964, 1968, 1972.) From that essay, this is on the change, after "success" has provided White with access:

The first was the national press, which began to out-report him. The second was White himself. [. . .] He wrote a book about a new Nixon, an easier, more relaxed, more affable Nixon. He missed the point. He missed the point about Vietnam; he missed the point about the demonstrations. Larry O'Brien used to be important; now it was these kids; who the hell were these kids to come along and take politics away from Theodore H. White? He missed the point about the Nixon campaign too. And so, in 1969, came the first great humiliation. A young man named Joe McGinniss, a young man who had gone to low- and mid-level meetings of the Nixon campaign, where the participants had paid him scant attention, produced the campaign book of the year, The Selling of the President, and even knocked off Theodore H. White's title in the process. Then, before he knew it, it was 1972, another campaign, another election, and White went through it, like so many other reporters, ignoring Watergate; months later, as he was finishing the 1972 book, he was forced to deal with the escalating scandal; he stuck it in, a paragraph here, a paragraph there, a chapter to wrap it all up, all this sticking out like sore thumbs throughout the manuscript.

If people are missing the point of Ephron's essay, Cindy thinks some are, they may be missing the context (and the history). Ephron comparing Woody to White is not her playing nice with Woody. (Nor should she.) She sets up some truths about Woody (in what reads like a parody of his style and "purpose"), then delivers the ultimate blow in the final paragraph. If the context is still unclear, her comparison to Woody of White, would be like comparing a singer ("singer") thirty years from now to Britney Spears. Without the context, they may be missing the critique she's making. (Someone gains fame and becomes so drunk with fame -- and the access it provides -- that they miss all the stories around them.) (Friends at the Post say Woody got the point and didn't find it amusing. Well, he's never been known for his sense of humor.)

Rod passes on a heads up for today's Democracy Now!:

Tune in to Democracy Now! on Wednesday 11/30 for interviews with Stanley Tookie Williams and Lori Berenson
See Democracy Now! for full audio, video and transcripts
A Conversation with Death Row Prisoner Stanley Tookie Williams
Two weeks from the date of his scheduled execution, Williams speaks from death row with Democracy Now! about his case, his life and his redemption. Williams helped start the Crips street gang. But behind bars he has become a leading advocate for the end of gang violence. He has written nine books and has been nominated several times for the Nobel Peace Prize. He is scheduled to die on Dec. 13.
Lori Berenson Commentary from Prison Marks 10th Anniversary of her Arrest
On the 10th anniversary of the arrest of U.S. citizen Lori Berenson, her father, Mark Berenson, reads a commentary she released from prison. She was convicted in 1995 in Peru by hooded military judges of collaborating with the Tupac Amaru Revolutionary Movement. She is scheduled for release in November 2015.
To find a station near you that broadcasts Democracy Now!, see:

I'm pressed for time but I know we've linked to stories recently on Stanley Tookie Williams (including an open letter by Tom Hayden) but for newer members who aren't famailiar with Lori Berenson, you can check out "'U.S. Drops Crimingal Investigation of CIA Antidrug Effort in Peru' and NYT sits on the story since 'late January'" which has links to past Democracy Now! coverage (as well as links to Danny Schechter and others on the topic.)

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