Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Other Items

Sarah Kershaw writes what the paper seems to think is the final word on Stanley Tookie Williams, executed early Tuesday morning, with "Execution Ignites New Fire in Death Penalty Debate" in this morning's New York Times. In an article that finds time to quote pro and anti death penalty people -- as well as one who seems to zig-zag. Currently, he's in favor of the death penalty and we must know that, apparently, more than anything else in this story.

Must know of more than knowing of the jail informant whose testimony is now questioned? Apparently so.

Barbara Becnel is mentioned in the article and quoted. She speaks of how she will continue to attempt to prove Williams innocent. Now was Kershaw blanking when Becnel said that? Was she doing her daily affirmations? Because it seems there's an obvious follow up to that. In fact, Amy Goodman knew the question to ask this week on Democracy Now!:

AMY GOODMAN: Can you talk about the last-minute filing that you did just before the weekend?
BARBARA BECNEL: Well, we actually -- part of the fight was not something that we could have imagined. The fight, part of that fight, was a fight to prove his innocence that came out of a call, an unsolicited call that we received from a total stranger, who had read in the newspaper about one of the jailhouse informants that had been used, their testimony had been used against him, and this guy in reading that realized that this was one of his former cell mates in the L.A. County Jail at the same time Stan was there, and he realized that this guy, who had promised to lie and perjure himself on the witness stand in order to lower his own sentence -- he was facing the death penalty for kidnapping, rape, murder and mutilaton -- and because this guy wanted to lower, get off of death row himself, or the potential of landing on death row -- he had not been tried yet -- he had told his cell mate that he was going to make up some lies, and to lower his sentence in order to make up lies against Stan, with the help of representatives of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, feeding him information from Stan's police files.
And then this guy -- all of these [inaudible] -- his cell mate reads the newspaper, that this guy testified against Stan and contributed to Stan facing execution now. And he was just shocked that the guy had made good his threat almost three decades before, and he called to tell us, come talk to him, because he could give us vital information that really spoke to Stan's innocence. So, we rushed -- we sent an investigator there. He signed an affidavit. He is extremely credible, and now we are hoping that Stan can live long enough to be able to really investigate this guy's -- his story, his testimony, and prove his innocence --

It seems like a question worth asking. I'm having a hard time believing that Kershaw didn't ask it. Did it make it into her article? If so, who cut it? Since the ones in favor of the execution of Williams (quoted in Kershaw's article) speak of his guilt, isn't the issue worth raising? It was on Democracy Now!

Meanwhile Condi plays the hokey pokey on the issue of torture. You put your stale spin in, you take your stale spin out, you land on domestic soil and really give the allies something to scream about . . . From Eric Schmitt's "New Army Rules May Snarl Talks With McCain on Detainee Issue:"

During her trip through Europe, she made several statements about the administration's policy on torture, culminating with one in Kiev Wednesday when she said the United States prohibits "cruel and inhumane and degrading treatment" of suspects, "whether they are in the United States or outside of the United States."
She reiterated that in a truncated form on Tuesday but added that "we should be prepared to do anything that is legal to prevent another terrorist attack."
The statement in Kiev, which went a long way to placating skeptical Europeans, was based on policy, not legality. So her statement Tuesday could be seen as an effort to scale back from her remarks last week. But some officials dismissed any suggestion of major policy shifts.

Oh well, it's not like many in Europe appeared to believe her last week any way. The article addresses new procedures that run right up to the line, in a red-rover-red-rover-let-torture-win-over kind of way, that the army wants to put in place.

Dexter Filkins does love what he's told. (Spoonfed in the Green Zone?) "Police Seize Forged Ballots Headed to Iraq From Iran" relies on "official said" four times. Sometimes, to spice up the single source for his story, an anonymice one, he will add a subclause between "official" and "said." Maybe you'll count more. For fun, go through the article and find named sources and note if they spoke to Filkins or not? (I think you already know the answer to that one.)

Worth noting (that's our transition, "award winning" Filkins isn't worth noting, this is). Anthee Carasssava's "Greece Is Urged to Examine Questioning of Pakistanis:"

A prominent lawyer called on Parliament on Tuesday to investigate accusations that a group of Pakistanis had been kidnapped and psychologically tortured in questioning here linked to the July 7 bombings in London.
The lawyer, Frangiscos Ragoussis, representing Pakistanis here, said his petition included a "detailed dossier" of torture methods used on seven Pakistanis who, he said, were hooded, detained and threatened with injury to themselves and their families on July 15 at an undisclosed location near here.
The petition follows a BBC report broadcast Tuesday indicating that British MI6 agents were involved in a covert operation in Greece, where they detained 28 foreign suspects - all Pakistani men.

Kara e-mailed to note the above. Rod advises of a scheduled topic for today's Democracy Now!:

* Wednesday marks the 1,000th day since the U.S. invasion of Iraq. We'll take a look at the ongoing occupation.

Also today, note this event:

* Amy Goodman in New York, NY: Wed, Dec 14
Wakeup Call Holiday Party!
Brooklyn Lyceum
227 4th Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11215
featuring Wakeup Call's Deepa Fernandes,
Democracy Now's Amy Goodman,
and WBAI's Bernard White
a performance of The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict: A Romantic Comedy by Madame Funnypants, the comedic duo Time Out has described as "unconventionaland inventive with the added bonus of actually being funny!"
Tickets: $20
(scroll down to the Wakeup Call event and clickTickets)
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