Wednesday, December 14, 2005

NYT: "Prosecutors in DeLay Case Look Into Ties With Lobbyist" (Philip Shenon & David S. Cloud)

Texas prosecutors in the criminal case against Representative Tom DeLay revealed in subpoenas made public Tuesday that they were investigating ties between Mr. DeLay and a lobbyist who is at the center of a bribery scandal that prompted another House Republican to resign from Congress last month.
The subpoenas sought documents from the lobbyist, Brent Wilkes, a California businessman whose lawyers have confirmed that he is one of four unnamed co-conspirators listed in the criminal charges against former Representative Randy Cunningham, the California Republican who pleaded guilty to taking at least $2.4 million in bribes.
Mr. Wilkes was close to several Republican members of Congress, including Mr. Cunningham and Mr. DeLay, Republican of Texas, who traveled as Mr. Wilkes's guest in a private jet he partly owned. There is no accusation in the subpoenas of any other tie between Mr. DeLay and Mr. Cunningham, who is facing a long prison sentence.

The above is from Philip Shenon and David S. Cloud's "Prosecutors in DeLay Case Look Into Ties With Lobbyist" in this morning's New York Times and is the spotlight story as selected by Billie, Eddie, Roy, Cindy and KeShawn. Keshawn wonders if DeLay could end up with the title of being the target of the most investigations in one year? Seventeen more days left in the year, let's see if DeLay can be an awarded another indictment.

Another article worth noting is noted by Mia, Patrick Cockburn's "1000 Days of Getting It Wrong" (CounterPunch):

The face of Baghdad began to change. The symbol of the new regime was the concrete block, enormous obstacles to car bombs looking like gigantic grey tombstones. Walls of them sealed of the Green Zone in the centre of Baghdad where the US and Britain had established their headquarters.
The suicide bombers began to make their terrifying impact. Nobody was safe. The UN headquarters was reduced to a heap of rubble as was the building housing the Red Cross. Iraqi police stations and US positions were all hastily fortified. On some days there were a dozen attacks. Later they fell in number but became more sophisticated with one bomber trying blast a way through the concrete walls so the second could reach the targeted building.
People in Baghdad and the centre of Iraq lived in perpetual terror of suicide bombers, kidnappers, Iraqi army and US troops. The roads to the capital were all cut by insurgents or bandits. Better-off Iraqis, fearful of kidnappers who preyed on their children, fled to Jordan, Syria and Egypt. In the face of Sunni Arab attack the US relied more and more on the two other great Iraqi communities. The Shia make up 60 per cent of the population and the Kurds 20 per cent. Some Iraqi leaders had an acute perception of the American dilemma in Iraq. "Let them try to run the country without us and they will see what trouble they will be in," said a Kurdish leader in the summer of 2003. "Then they will come running to us for our help."
Last year the US learned that it could contain but could not suppress the Sunni insurrection. This year has seen Iraq slowly coming under the control of a Kurdish-Shia alliance whose authority is likely to be reaffirmed by the election on Thursday. The Kurds and Shia triumphed again at the polls on January 30 and voted for a new constitution on October 15. Iraq at the moment is an extraordinary patch-work with conditions varying in every part of the country. Kurdistan is more prosperous than at any time in its history. The skylines of its cities are crowded with cranes. In Baghdad there is hardly any sign of construction and richer districts are often inhabited only by armed security guards. Their inhabitants have fled. The ethnic and religious complexity of Iraq means opinion polls are peculiarly misleading. For instance a BBC poll yesterday showed that half of those questioned say that Iraq needs a strong leader while only 28 per cent cited democracy as a priority. But it would be a mistake to think that Iraqis could agree on the same strong leader. The Sunni would like a strong man to put the Shia in their place and the Shia feel likewise that the priority for a powerful leader would be dealing with the Sunni. Iraqis have great resilience. They are also cynical about their political leaders. The election results are likely to show that the great majority of Iraqis will vote along ethnic or religious lines as Shia, Sunni or Kurds. The country is turning from a unitary state into a confederation. There is no sign yet of the thousand-day war ending. Every month up to a thousand fresh corpses arrive at the mortuary in Baghdad. A new Iraq is emerging but it is already drenched in blood.

That is also a scheduled topic, the 1,000 days of the invasion/occupation thus far, on today's Democracy Now! (Rod passed that on). Remember the BBC has "The Allies on Trial:"

The program will be broadcast at 2230 UK time, Wednesday, December 14th.

Dahr Jamail will be taking part. That's your heads up.

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