Saturday, October 29, 2005

The Laura Flanders Show: Larry Johnson, Ayoub Nuri, Jeanne Montross, Karen Kwiatkowsi, Nicolas Rossier, Pierre Labossiere

Kat here. I'm almost done with the Stevie Wonder review. (Which honestly requires a lot of walking, a lot of dancing, a lot of moving as I toss ideas around in my head and when I finally write it, it will probably take about 20 minutes.)

I woke up and logged on the computer to catch up on what I missed and there was nothing at The Common Ills. I reached C.I. by cell and didn't realize this was an out of town weekend.

C.I.'s working still on a thing on the New York Times. I offered to grab The Laura Flanders Show post because that's a show I greatly enjoy.

From the Air America Radio home page:

The Laura Flanders Show
As the White House tends to a wounded presidency, we take stock of what BUSH/ROVISM has cost the nation. First we speak with ex-CIA agenct LARRY JOHNSON about the indictment of Lewis Libby. Then AYOUB NURI, from Iraq, JEANNE MONTROSS, of Addison County Community Action in Vermont, and ex-Pentagon Official KAREN KWIATKOWSKI will weigh in on the damage done, not to the president, but to the people. In our final hour, we look at damage done to democracy beyond U.S. borders, with NICOLAS ROSSIER, director of the new documentary film
Aristide and the Endless Revolution, and PIERRE LABOSSIERE, of the Haiti Action Committee.

Swiping from C.I. last week:

Don't Forget - You can listen to past broadcasts of the Laura Flanders Show: Download archived shows HERE or Subscribe to the Free PODCAST through the iTunes Music Store
Go to the Laura Flanders Blog

In addition to listening to The Laura Flanders Show via iPod, you can also listen to it over broadcast radio (if there's an AAR in your area), via XM Satellite Radio (channel 167) or listen online. It's a program that airs Saturdays and Sundays. (Sundays is not a rebroadcast unless the show is on vacation.)

I'll also include The Kyle Jason Show because I've really grown fond of this show.

The Kyle Jason Show
10PM - Midnight
Tune in this Saturday night as The Kyle Jason Show profiles
Art Blakey's A Night At Birdland, Vol. 1. Originally recorded live at the renowned New York City nightclub in 1954 and recently remastered by legendary recording engineer Rudy Van Gelder, this recording captures one of the earliest incarnations of the much-celebrated ensemble that would come to be known as The Jazz Messengers. Blue Note Records has re-released the album as part of their ongoing RVG Edition series, for which Van Gelder has been converting his original analog recordings into 24-bit digital. Don’t miss this treat for both jazz aficionados and novices alike, and as always, be sure to hook up with your fellow listeners on our blog.

Laura Flanders airs Saturdays and Sundays, The Kyle Jason Show airs Saturday. Public e-mail address for this site is

Ruth's Morning Edition Report

Ruth: One of the things I enjoyed most this week was hearing Amy Goodman, chiefly on WBAI and KPFA, note Pacifica's history. I honestly could have listened to a great deal more of that topic. Monday on Democracy Now!, they provided an exclusive interview from 1956 with civil rights pioneer Rosa Parks and I wondered why, during the pledge drive, there had not been a push to note more of the historical significance of Pacifica?

As was often noted during the pledge drive, Pacifica has been the news outlet committed to providing you with information before the lead up to the war and throughout the occupation. That is historic and certainly reason enough, in my mind, for listeners to support the programming. I did wonder what a longer view of the network's past might have done to pledge efforts?

The pledge drive concluded Friday. It did not conclude on a happy note for two members who e-mailed me to complain that following Patrick Fitzgerald's live statement, instead of staying with questions and answers, the programming returned to a holitistic medicine show. I was listening to KPFA because I am impressed with their news department and on KPFA, they interrupted programming to carry Fitzgerald's live statement and then returned to programming which was a discussion of the indictment with guests John Nichols (of The Nation) and Bruce Shapiro.

I am sure that there are listeners who enjoyed the return of the medical show but I will have to agree with the two members who e-mailed complaining of that decision. As a lifetime news junkie, my own personal priority is the news. My suggestion to the two members (Rachel and Micah) is that, in the future, when there is breaking news that occurs late in the day, switch to KPFA.

Kimba e-mailed me to note a news segment that she felt was worthy of attention:

"Documents Shed Light on Abu Ghraib Death"
by John McChesney
Morning Edition, October 28, 2005 · Nearly two years after the death of an Iraqi man questioned at Abu Ghraib prison was ruled a homicide, no one has been charged. Confidential CIA documents offer further insight into the death of Manadel al-Jamadi, who was in CIA custody when he died.

Kimba writes that report, which she heard Friday on Morning Edition, made up for "a year of nothing special." I agree that it is an important report and I felt that way when I heard it Thursday. I had trouble with KPFA's website and kept getting an error message. C.I. had told me before of the Pacifica sister stations. I went from one to another California station but could not find one carrying the KPFA Evening News. The last station I went to, which carries Pacifica and NPR programming, was broadcasting that story. I agree that it was an excellent move for Morning Edition to broadcast the report the next day but possibly the reason it ranks as one of the best reports from Morning Edition is because it did not originate with Morning Edition?

E-mails have come in asking where is CounterSpin? I usually catch FAIR's CounterSpin on WBAI and due to the pledge drive, it has not aired on Fridays at its regular time. It can be heard online and I will listen to it this weekend but, like many news junkies, I was glued to the live broadcasts all week as I wondered what Patrick Fitzgerald would do with regards to the outing of CIA agent Valerie Plame.

Trina e-mailed to say that she found it difficult to listen during pledge drive because she did not have any money to give. She also noted that she could not listen to NPR during pledge drives without getting furious because "unlike Pacifica, they just come off greedy." Trina listed the following nonsense, Trina's term which I agree with, that she heard during NPR's pledge drive:

1) You can find sixty dollars by cleaning your sofa.

Trina wonders if, since she is on a fixed income herself, she is supposed to invite wealthy strangers into her home with the hope that coins and dollars might fall from their pockets into her sofa cushions?

2) A calender was being given away, an NPR calender, with a forty dollar donations causing the two local anchors to say that they usually did not give premiums with minimal donations and that, since the calender was so nice, they really should reconsider the donation necessary to receive a calender.

Trina wonders how many forty dollar donations they lost over that commentary? I would hope that they lost all of them.

3) NPR wants your money. Read The Third Estate Sunday Review's "Watchdog Daily" for a humorous look at that. But they want your big money.

I listened to all five of the Pacifica stations this week and would hear that twenty dollars, ten dollars, anything would be appreciated. As a listener, I found that more inclusive and more welcoming. One member e-mailed to say he did give twenty dollars which was not an easy gift due to his budget but the fact that Pacifica was welcoming of all amounts did speak to him. I imagine it spoke to others as well.

NPR's uninformed comments contribue to their image of being a "yuppie" news network.

Marci e-mailed to say that pledge drives were necessary for listener supported radio and wondered what I made of the special programming other than the documentaries on Pacifica?
I enjoyed the coverage of last Saturday's conference on the Bully Boy's war crimes. Michael Ratner was a personal favorite speaker. His broadcast remark that "Our job is to keep them running" was one of my favorites of the week. Whether it is providing speeches from a conference or something along the lines of Robert Fisk's speech and questions and answers, pledge drives do provide Pacifica with the chance to to greatly reinforce important themes and issues.

There are three programs that I want to note. The first was the Monday special from Law & Disorder "Beyond the Patriot Act" on WBAI. Along with providing a serious examination of the Patriot Act, the topic of the detainees in Guantanamo Bay was addressed. "A couple of hundred . . . who've been on a hunger strike since August. Several of them are near death."

There is a call for a national day of protest on November 1st:

The Center for Constitutional Rights, in cooperation with organizers and communities across the country, is calling for a Fast for Justice on Tuesday November 1st to demand that the Bush Administration follow the law and provide the detainees at Guantánamo Bay with due process and humane treatment.
To find out more about the Fast for Justice and the hunger strike, click on the links below and join us at one of the Fast for Justice Vigils.
Fast for Justice Vigils
Washington, DC: Join CCR, the Muslim American Society for Freedom, and other faith and community organizations for a Vigil in front of the Department of Justice at 12pm: 950 Pennsylvania Avenue NW (Navy Memorial station on the green line).
New York: Join CCR, the NY Coalition for Civil Liberties, ICNA and other faith and community organizations at 26 Federal Plaza at 1 pm(Broadway between Duane and Worth Streets, Brooklyn Bridge/City Hall on the 4,5,6 or City Hall on the R or W).

More information can be found at the Center for Constitutional Rights. The Center for Constitutional Rights produces Law & Disorder. I have listed the wrong date in an earlier entry for the next airing of Law & Disorder so I'll note that it airs on WBAI "Alternate Mondays, 10:00 to 11:00 a.m" EST.

[C.I. note: Due to the pledge drive, WBAI's archives may be confusing. Dallas found the special "Beyond the Patriot Act." To listen, look for the following on WBAI's archive page:
Expert Witness Monday, October 24, 2005 5:00 pm 85Play
Talk Back! Monday, October 24, 2005 3:00 pm 85
These cover the three hour special.]

Also remember that the latest installment of the Christmas Coup Comedy Players(CCCP) will air this coming Thursday at 11:00 a.m. to 11:55 a.m. EST. This program airs once a month so if you enjoy strong comedy, you've been advised.

The second program I would like to emphasize is KPFA's "APEX Express Fund Drive Special" which featured "The words of Thich Nhat Hanh as he spoke at the Colors of Compassion retreat in Southern California last month." C.I. actually phoned to alert me to that. Friday evening, Elaine called and she had also received an alert from C.I. Elaine found the program provocative and we both felt the main point can be boiled down to Thich Nhat Hanh's message that what the peace movement needs to do now is to look within.

Thirdly, I would like to note Wednesday's Democracy Now! which devoted the program to an interview: "Col. Janis Karpinski, the Former Head of Abu Ghraib, Admits She Broke the Geneva Conventions But Says the Blame 'Goes All the Way to The Top.'" This is an important interview that provides the most in depth look at the culture of Abu Ghraib from any broadcasting source.
If you missed the broadcast, you can listen or watch it online or you can read the transcript.

Lastly, who said "Yes, I do that." Nina Totenberg on today's Weekend Edition. What was she speaking of? The Rush Limbaugh Show. When NPR's legal affairs expert plugs Rush Limbaugh on NPR, you realize how low NPR has sunk.

Hadley, Asesor de Seguridad Nacional, se reunió con jefe de inteligencia italiana poco antes de la afirmación sobre Níger

Francisco: Hola mi amigos y amigas. Scooter Libby, el principal asesor del vicepresidente de Estados Unidos, Dick Cheney, renuncio el viernes, despues de haber sido acusado de obstruir la justicia, formular una declaración falsa, y de perjurio, en el caso de la filtracion del nombre de una agente encubierta de la CIA. Aqui estan 14 noticias de "Democracy Now!". Buen fin de semana.

Hadley, Asesor de Seguridad Nacional, se reunió con jefe de inteligencia italiana poco antes de la afirmación sobre Níger
Una noticia relacionada con la anterior. El periódico italiano La Repubblica reveló nueva información sobre el trasfondo de la falsificación de documentos para indicar que Irak trataba de comprar uranio a Níger. Según el periódico, Stephen Hadley, que en ese entonces era el asesor de Seguridad Nacional del Presidente Bush, se reunió con el jefe de la inteligencia italiana, Nicolo Pollari, en septiembre de 2002. Esto sucedió sólo semanas antes que el gobierno de Bush comenzara a divulgar que el servicio de inteligencia italiano había obtenido documentos que probaban que Irak intentaba comprar uranio a Níger. Esta afirmación jugo un papel clave en el gran esfuerzo que realizó la Casa Blanca para convencer a la población estadounidense de la necesidad de comenzar una guerra contra Irak. Los documentos resultaron ser falsos. El periódico también informó que la reunión entre Hadley y Pollari se llevó a cabo tres días antes de que un semanario perteneciente al Primer Ministro italiano, Silvio Berlusconi, publicara una historia en que se sostenía que Irak había comprado a Nigeria (y no a Níger) 500 toneladas de uranio. Un mes después, los documentos falsos utilizados por el gobierno de Bush, que fueron obtenidos en primer lugar por el mismo semanario, hicieron la misma afirmación, pero sobre Níger.

Brent Scowcroft critica al gobierno de Bush
La semana pasada, el Coronel Laurence Wilkerson, ex jefe de personal de Colin Powell, acusó a Cheney y a Donald Rumsfeld de encabezar una confabulación que debilita la democracia de Estados Unidos. Y ahora Brent Scowcrof, ex asesor de seguridad nacional, criticó al gobierno de Bush en una entrevista con la revista "New Yorker". Gran parte de sus críticas estuvieron dirigidas a los neoconservadores y su manejo de la cuestión iraquí. "Se dijo que esto era parte de la guerra contra el terror, pero Irak alimenta el terrorismo", sostuvo. Scowcroft, que es amigo cercano de George H. W. Bush, admitió que le resultaba difícil criticar al actual presidente. Cuando Jeffrey Coldberg, periodista de la revista New Yorker, le preguntó a Scowcroft si el hijo era distinto al padre, él respondió: "No quiero entrar en eso". Cuando Goldberg le pidió que mencionara asuntos en los que estaba de acuerdo con Bush hijo, Scowcroft dijo: "Afganistán". Luego hizo una pausa de doce segundos, y finalmente dijo: "Pienso que estamos haciendo las cosas bien en Europa". Y agregó: "La verdadera anomalía en el gobierno es Cheney. Lo considero un buen amigo, lo he conocido durante treinta años. Pero a Dick Cheney ya no lo conozco."

El 82% de los iraquíes están en contra de los soldados extranjeros
Mientras tanto, en una nueva encuesta realizada por las Fuerzas Armadas británicas, el 82 por ciento de los iraquíes consultados se opusieron rotundamente a que continúe la presencia de soldados extranjeros en su país. Menos del uno por ciento los entrevistados dijeron que los soldados extranjeros contribuyeron a mejorar la seguridad en Irak. El 45 por ciento de los iraquíes encuestados dijeron que sentían que lo ataques contra soldados estadounidenses están justificados.

Hans Blix: Estados Unidos engañó al mundo sobre las armas de destrucción masiva de Irak
Esta noticia es sobre Estados Unidos. Hans Blix acusó al gobierno de Bush de engañar al mundo sobre las presuntas armas de destrucción masiva de Irak. Blix, ex jefe de los inspectores de armas de la Organización de las Naciones Unidas, hizo esas declaraciones el viernes en Boston.

Casi el 70% de los soldados que murieron en Irak eran menores de 30
MTV compiló algunas nuevas estadísticas sobre los 2.000 soldados estadounidenses que murieron en Irak. Cerca de un tercio de ellos tenían de 20 a 22 años de edad, y el índice de mortalidad más alto, de aproximadamente un 12 por ciento, corresponde a los jóvenes de 21 años de edad. Cerca del 70 por ciento de las bajas estadounidenses fueron de personas menores de 30 años. El 40 por ciento dejó viudas, y el 30 por ciento tenía hijos.

Dibujante escribe nombres de los 2.000 soldados que murieron en Irak
Mientras el número de muertes de soldados estadounidenses en Irak sobrepasó los 2.000 esta semana, el caricaturista editorial Mike Luckovich, del Journal Constitution de Atlanta, marcó el trágico hito escribiendo a mano el nombre de cada uno de los fallecidos en el dibujo que publicó el miércoles. Los nombres formaron la pregunta "¿Por qué?". Luckovich, galardonado con el premio Pulitzer, dijo a la publicación "Editor and Publisher": "Estaba tratando de pensar una manera de trasmitir la idea de que toda esta guerra es un tremendo desperdicio. Pero también quería honrar a los soldados que, según pienso, fueron enviados a Irak debido a un error de nuestro gobierno". Luckovich dice que pasó 12 o 13 horas el fin de semana pasado escribiendo la mayoría de los nombres, en el orden aproximado en que murieron los soldados. Varios responsables periodísticos del Journal Constitution contribuyeron al esfuerzo. Cuando se dieron cuenta de que posiblemente los nombres resultarían ilegibles, los editores autorizaron que el dibujo fuera publicado en un tamaño mucho mayor que el habitual para los trabajos de Luckvich en el Journal-Constitution.

Más de 1.500 actividades marcaron la muerte de 2000 estadounidenses en Irak
El Village Voice informa que ayer se realizaron más de 1.500 actividades en todo el país, para conmemorar la muerte del soldado estadounidense número 2.000 debido a la guerra de Irak. En Washington, la activista contra la guerra Cindy Sheehan y otras 25 personas fueron arrestadas por realizar una manifestación no autorizada frente a la Casa Blanca. Los manifestantes se tiraron al suelo y simularon estar muertos para simbolizar el fallecimiento de soldados estadounidenses en Irak. En Nueva York, varios cientos de personas colmaron la estación de reclutamiento de las Fuerzas Armadas en Times Square gritando "Bush mintió, 2.000 murieron".

Fuerzas Armadas: la cifra 2.000 "no es un hito"
Las Fuerzas Armadas intentaron restarle importancia al significado de la muerte número 2.000. El Coronel Steve Boylan, portavoz militar, dijo que la cifra 2.000 era "una marca artificial en la pared... establecida por individuos o grupos con agendas específicas y motivos ocultos". En un mensaje de correo electrónico enviado a periodistas, Boylan escribió: "La muerte de 2.000 soldados en Irak que apoyaban la Operación Libertad Iraquí no es un hito".

Tres millones sin energía eléctrica debido al huracán Wilma
En Florida, más de tres millones de personas carecen de energía eléctrica mientras comienzan las tareas de recuperación tras el huracán Wilma. Funcionarios estatales dicen que podría llevar semanas lograr que las zonas de Miami, Fort Lauderdale y el oeste de Palm Beach vuelvan a la normalidad. El daño se calculó en más de 10 mil millones de dólares.

Informe: FBI vigila en forma clandestina a residentes en Estados Unidos
El Washington Post informa que el FBI ha llevado a cabo vigilancia clandestina de algunos residentes de Estados Unidos durante 18 meses consecutivos, sin los procedimientos debidos de documentación y supervisión. Los registros del gobierno indican que el FBI investigó cientos de potenciales violaciones de derechos relacionadas con sus operaciones de vigilancia secretas. En un caso, agentes del FBI vigilaron a un objetivo no identificado durante por lo menos cinco años, durante los cuales estuvieron 15 meses sin informar a los abogados del Departamento de Justicia, luego de que el individuo se mudó de Nueva York a Detroit. En otros casos, el Post informa que agentes del FBI obtuvieron mensajes de correo electrónico luego de que la orden correspondiente había expirado, confiscaron registros bancarios sin la debida autorización y dirigieron en forma indebida "registros físicos sin consentimiento".

2,3 millones de personas tras las rejas en Estados Unidos
Estadísticas recientes del Departamento de Justicia muestran que la población carcelaria de Estados Unidos creció alrededor de un 2 por ciento el año pasado, hasta llegar a 2,3 millones de personas. Según el Centro Internacional de Estudios Penitenciarios de Londres, hay más presos en Estados Unidos que en cualquier otro país. La cantidad de reclusos en las prisiones federales del país está 40 por ciento por encima de su capacidad prevista

Pionera de los derechos civiles Rosa Parks, 1913-2005
La pionera de los derechos civiles Rosa Parks murió a los 92 años de edad. Este diciembre se cumplirán 50 años desde que se negó a cederle el asiento de un autobús a un hombre blanco en Montgomery, Alabama. Fue arrestada y declarada culpable de violar las leyes de segregación de ese estado. Su acto de resistencia condujo a un boicot contra el sistema de autobuses de Montgomery, que duró 13 meses y dio inicio al movimiento por los derechos civiles. Ese boicot también ayudó a que un predicador de 26 años de edad, llamado Martin Luther King Jr., ganara notoriedad en el país. En 1958 King escribió: "Nadie puede entender la acción de Parks, a menos que se de cuenta de que el vaso de la capacidad de soportar se desborda, y la personalidad humana grita "ya no aguanto esto". Parks estuvo involucrada en la lucha por la libertad desde los años 40. Era activista de la Asociación Nacional para el Progreso de la Gente de Color (NAACP, por sus siglas en inglés), ayudó a recaudar dinero para defender los acusados de violación en Scottsboro y asistió a cursos de capacitación en la Highlander Folk School de Tennessee. El reverendo Jesse Jackson dijo ayer: "Permaneció sentada para que nosotros nos levantáramos. Paradójicamente, su encarcelamiento abrió las puertas para nuestro largo viaje hacia la libertad". Henry Louis Gates Jr. la llamó: "la Harriet Tubman de nuestro tiempo". Nelson Mandela recordó, luego de ser liberado, cómo Parks había sido una inspiración para él y otros en la lucha sudafricana contra la segregación racial.

Rosa Parks recibirá honores en Rotonda del Capitolio
Rosa Parks podría convertirse en la primera mujer en recibir honores en la Rotonda del Capitolio, en virtud de resoluciones tomadas el jueves por legisladores. Falleció el lunes en Detroit a los 92 años. La resolución solicita que los restos de Parks reciban honores en la Rotonda el domingo y el lunes "para que los ciudadanos de Estados Unidos puedan expresar su respeto a esta gran estadounidense". Históricamente, sólo se ha permitido que los presidentes, integrantes del Congreso y comandantes militares yazgan en la Rotonda. Parks será la primera mujer y la segunda afrodescendiente en recibir este honor. El homenaje en el Capitolio es uno de los muchos planificados para honrar a la pionera defensora de los derechos civiles. A partir de la noche del lunes y hasta la mañana del miércoles, el cuerpo de Parks yacerá en el Museo Charles H. Wright de Historia Afroestadounidense, en Detroit. Su funeral se realizará el miércoles en el Templo de la Iglesia Greater Grace, también en Detroit.

Ex congresista Edward Roybal muere a los 89 años
El ex Congresista Edward Roybal murió en Los Ángeles a los 89 años. Fue un político pionero mexicano-estadounidense, que trabajó en el Congreso durante 30 años. Comenzó su carrera política en 1949 cuando se convirtió en el primer latino en ocupar una banca en el Consejo de la Ciudad de Los Ángeles desde 1881. El alcalde de Los Ángeles, Antonio Villaraigosa, dijo "Un campeón de los derechos civiles y de la justicia social como él no se ve todos los días".

Francisco: Hello friends. Scooter Libby has been indicted for blocking justice, formulating false statements and for perjury in the outing of CIA agent Valerie Plame. Here are fourteen headlines from this week's Democracy Now!

Bush Official Met With Italians Shortly Before Fake Niger Docs Appeared
In related news, the Italian newspaper La Repubblica has revealed new information on the background behind the forged documents that indicated Iraq was trying purchase uranium from Niger. According to the paper President Bush’s then Deputy National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley met with Italian intelligence chief Nicolo Pollari in September 2002. This came just weeks before the Bush administration began claiming Italian intelligence had obtained documents proving Iraqi attempts to buy the uranium from Niger. The claim played a key role in the White House's massive effort to convince the public of the need for war on Iraq. The documents turned out to be fakes. The paper notes further the meeting took place three days before a story in a weekly owned by Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, claimed Iraq had purchased 500 tons of uranium from Nigeria. A month later, the forged documents used by the Bush administration - also first obtained by the same paper - made the same claim, but about Niger.

Brent Scowcroft Slams Bush Administration
Last week, Colin Powell's former chief of staff Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson accused Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld of running a cabal that is undermining the country's democracy. And now former national security advisor Brent Scowcroft has slammed the Bush administration in an interview with the New Yorker magazine. He directed much of his criticism to the neoconservatives and their handling of Iraq. He said, "This was said to be part of the war on terror, but Iraq feeds terrorism." Scowcroft, who is close friends with George H.W. Bush, admitted it was difficult to criticize the sitting president. When New Yorker reporter Jeffrey Goldberg asked Scowcroft if the son was different from the father, he said, "I don't want to go there." When Goldberg asked him to name issues on which he agrees with the younger Bush, Scowcroft said, "Afghanistan." He then paused for twelve seconds. Finally, he said, "I think we're doing well on Europe." Scowcroft went on to say "The real anomaly in the Administration is Cheney. I consider Cheney a good friend - I've known him for thirty years. But Dick Cheney I don't know anymore."

82% Of Iraqis Oppose Foreign Troops
Meanwhile a new poll commissioned by the British military has found that 82 percent of Iraqis strongly oppose the continued presence of foreign troops. Less than 1 percent of the population feels foreign troops have helped improve security in Iraq. The poll also found 45 percent of Iraqis feel attacks against US troops are justified.

Hans Blix: U.S. Mislead World Over Iraq WMD's
Here in this country, Hans Blix accused the Bush administration of misleading the world about Iraq's weapons of mass destruction . Blix, the former chief UN weapons inspector, spoke in Boston on Friday.

Almost 70% of Iraq Deaths Under Age of 30
MTV has compiled some new statistics on the 2,000 US troops killed in Iraq. Nearly a third were between the ages of 20 and 22, with the highest fatality rate--about 12 percent--being among 21-year-olds. Nearly 70 percent of U.S. casualties are under the age of 30. Forty percent left behind spouses and 30 percent were survived by children.

Cartoonist Writes Names of All 2,000 Soldiers Killed in Iraq
As the US military death toll in Iraq surpassed 2,000 dead this week, Atlanta Journal Constitution editorial cartoonist Mike Luckovich marked the tragic milestone by hand-writing the name of each one in his Wednesday editorial cartoon. Together, their names spell out the question: WHY? The Pulitzer Prize-winning Luckovich told Editor and Publisher, "I was trying to think of a way to make the point that this whole war is such a waste. But I also wanted to honor the troops I believe our government wrongly sent to Iraq." Luckovich says he spent 12 or 13 hours this past weekend writing in most of the names -- roughly in the order of when the soldiers died. The paper's publisher and various editors were also involved in the effort. When it looked like the names might not be readable, the editors gave permission for the cartoon to be published much larger than Luckovich's drawings usually appear in the Journal-Constitution.

Over 1500 Events Held To Mark 2,000 U.S. Deaths in Iraq
The Village Voice is reporting over 1500 events took place across the country Wednesday to commemorate the death of 2,000 U.S. soldiers in Iraq. In Washington, anti-war activist Cindy Sheehan and 25 others were arrested for demonstrating without a permit in front of the White House. The protesters lay on the ground in a "die-in" to symbolize the US soldiers killed in Iraq. In New York, several hundred flooded the Armed Forces Recruiting Station in Times Square with shouts of "Bush lied, 2,000 died."

Military: 2,000 Figure "Not a Milestone"
The military has attempted to downplay the significance of the 2000th death. Military spokesperson Lt. Col. Steve Boylan called the 2,000 figure an "artificial mark on the wall… set by individuals or groups with specific agendas and ulterior motives." In an e-mail to reporters, Boylan wrote: "The 2,000 service members killed in Iraq supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom is not a milestone."

3 million Without Electricity in Wilma Aftermath
In Florida, over 3 million people are without electricity as the recovery effort begins in the aftermath of Hurricane Wilma. State officials are saying it could take weeks for the Miami, Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach area to return to normal. Damage is estimated to be at over $10 billion dollars.

Report: FBI Conducting Clandestine Surveillance of U.S. Residents
And the Washington Post is reporting the FBI has conducted clandestine surveillance on some U.S. residents for as long as 18 months at a time without proper paperwork or oversight. Government records indicate that the FBI has investigated hundreds of potential violations related to its use of secret surveillance operations. In one case, FBI agents kept an unidentified target under surveillance for at least five years -- including more than 15 months without notifying Justice Department lawyers after the subject had moved from New York to Detroit. In other cases, the Post reports agents obtained e-mails after a warrant expired, seized bank records without proper authority and conducted an improper "unconsented physical search."

U.S. Prison Population 2.3 Million, Largest in World
And new Justice Department statistics show the U.S. prison population grew by nearly 2 percent last year to nearly 2.3 million. According to the International Center for Prison Studies in London, there are more people behind bars in the United States than in any other country. Federal prisons in this country are now at 40 percent over capacity.

Civil Rights Pioneer Rosa Parks 1913-2005
Civil rights pioneer Rosa Parks has died at the age of 92. It was 50 years ago this December that she refused to relinquish her seat to a white man aboard a city bus in Montgomery, Alabama. She was arrested and convicted of violating the state's segregation laws. Her act of resistance led to a 13-month boycott of the Montgomery bus system that would spark the civil rights movement. The boycott would also help transform a 26-year-old preacher named Martin Luther King Junior to national prominence. In 1958 King wrote "no one can understand the action of Mrs. Parks unless he realizes that eventually the cup of endurance runs over, and the human personality cries out, 'I can take it no longer.''' Parks had been involved in the fight for freedom since the 1940s. She was active in the NAACP, helped raise money to defend the Scottsboro rape case and attended trainings at the Highlander Folk School of Tennessee. The Rev. Jesse Jackson said yesterday ''She sat down in order that we might stand up. Paradoxically, her imprisonment opened the doors for our long journey to freedom.'' Henry Louis Gates Jr called her "the Harriet Tubman of our time." After he was freed from jail Nelson Mandela recalled how Parks had inspired him and others in the South African struggle against apartheid. We'll have more on Rosa Parks in a few minutes.

Rosa Parks May Lie in State in Capitol Rotunda
Rosa Parks may become the first woman to officially lie in state at the Capitol Rotunda under resolutions prepared Thursday by lawmakers. She died Monday in Detroit at the of age 92. The resolution calls for parks to lie in honor in the Rotunda on Sunday and Monday "so that the citizens of the United States may pay their last respects to this great American." Historically, only presidents, members of Congress and military commanders have been permitted to lie in the Rotunda. Parks would be the first woman and the second African-American to receive the accolade. The Capitol event was one of several planned to honor the civil rights pioneer. From Monday night until Wednesday morning, Parks will lie in repose at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History in Detroit. Her funeral will be Wednesday at Greater Grace Temple Church in Detroit.

Former Congressman Edward Roybal dead at 89
And former Congressman Edward Roybal has died in Los Angeles at the age of 89. He was a pioneering Mexican-American politician who served in Congress for 30 years. He started his political career in 1949 when be became the first Latino to sit on the Los Angeles City Council since 1881. Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said QUOTE "A champion for civil rights and social justice like him does not come around every day."

Editorial on Scooter, Judy, Dexy and Matty

Apologies to members expecting Friday evening posts. I'm out of town and intended to do entries as soon as we landed but I couldn't connect to the net last night and it was too late for me to feel comfortable calling someone and asking them to take dictation and post it to the site.

The New York Times this morning is focusing on Scooter Libby. Consider this entry an editorial.

Let's start with Todd S. Purdum ("A Prosecutor's Focus Shifted to a Cover-Up") who apparently decided that instead of washing his dirty jock, he'd turn it inside out and wear it for another six months without washing. That would explain how the fumes got to him yet again and why he feels the need to early on toss out Bill Clinton. Drawing comparisons no sane person would make (Clinton's cover up revolved around a private, consensual sex affair; Libby's cover up revolves around the outing of a CIA agent), you start to wonder if Todd's not only sniffing his own fumes but also chewing on his dirty jock? The after taste of his "news analysis" makes one wonder.

How far into the article before Todd mentions Clinton (for balance, I'm sure)? Fourth paragraph. How far before Nixon is mentioned? Fourteen. (Always check my math.)

And what are we 'assured' when Nixon finally crawls out from under the rock? "The Wilson affair is not Watergate . . ." Really?

The issues involved are not a consensual sex affair either. But Todd didn't have a need to rush to assure there. They may actually go beyond the petty motives of Watergate (original motive: to spy on the Democratic Party during a presidential election) since the outing of Valerie Plame is an attempt to discredit (and silence) her husband Joseph Wilson who was explaining that there was no evidence of "yellow cakes." (Our latter day Dylan, who hopefully gets honest today, splits hairs over "dubious." Will let him do his daily jerk off on that but in the real world we grasp the meaning. And if there's no Saturday coming clean, look for something at The Third Estate Sunday Review tomorrow because, frankly, I'm sick of the latter day Dylan and his psuedo even handed approach.)

Todd's "news analysis" provides a new example for "worthless." (For visitors, Todd S. Purdum is not "the latter day Dylan.")

There was an interesting debate over the transcript excerpts the Times provides of Patrick Fitzgerald's conference yesterday. Interesting debate within the walls of the New York Times.

Worthy of note, among all the stories, is Eric Schmitt's "An Influential Bush Insider Who Is Used to Challenges." It's full of details and worth taking the time to read. Among the details, one sentence worth noting is:

In the White House contellation of advisers, Mr. Libby, 55, was not just any aide. Known by the nickname Scooter, he had the exalted position of being a full member of President Bush's inner circle. In fact, he excercised more influence than senior vice-presidential aides in previous administrations, holding three pivotal jobs at once: assistant to the president, chief of staff to the vice president and Mr. Cheney's national security advisor.

"Assistant to the president." How often is that emphasized in the press coverage that appears to put up a safety wall between Scooter and Bully Boy.

Now we're going to break a policy at this site to comment on the editorial section of the paper. Gail Collins, the presumed author of the editorials on the importance of the free press, is slammed and slammed again for those editorials. I read three of them but I'll say for the record that I agree with all of them, not just the ones I read. The legal issue for the paper was the right of a free press.

Arthur Sulzberger, Jr., gave a speech that I haven't found online (I've been in the air, then speaking, then finally at the hotel where I couldn't connect to the net). As the speech was conveyed to me (by two friends at the paper) he's making the point that you fight for the First Amendment. The editorials that are being lambasted went to the issue of the First Amendment.

The contents of Judith Miller's reporting aren't the issue. (This is an editorial so "my opinion" should be added throughout.) The legal strategy was the First Amendment and that a reporter doesn't roll over on a source. The editorials maintained that committment to a free press. I loathe Jeff Gerth but I'm not thrilled that he may be forced to name a source under a court order. (If Gerth felt burned, I doubt he does, he could willingly name the source.) The editorials were about the freedom of the press.

Has the Times been a brave voice? No. It's really never been a brave voice, though our latter day Dylan thinks that all began in the Clinton era. There have been a few strong investigative reporters over the years (most of whom leave quickly) and some strong columnists but the Times is not a brave paper in print. It's also not all that interested in freedom of speech by its own actions. You can take their refusal to join the efforts of others to protest the restrictions imposed on the first Gulf War. You can go back to their efforts to undermine a reporter in the early seventies (when the government wanted his notes and his sources).

The paper didn't plan the legal strategy or put it in motion. For a number of reasons, once Miller's legal strategy was in place the paper was along for the ride (though there's a dispute over a line by Sulzberger -- we never quoted it here -- about whose hand or hands were steering the wheel). Another reporter likely would have found themselves with weak backing from the paper. (Miller, being a "star" reporter -- as is Gerth, benefitted as much from that as from her relationship with Sulzberger did. Which is why you hear the public objections, having weathered this storm, to Miller continuing to be a spokesperson for the paper.)

Had Gail Collins written an editorial emphasizing Miller's long history of factually based reporting, the slams against Collins would be justified. Collins didn't base the editorials on what Miller got into the paper.

FAIR has offered a counter-opinion that I disagree with but can respect. Their opinion is that a crime was committed with the outing of Valerie Plame and that witnesses (reporters) to that crime must be compelled to testify the same as any other witness to a crime.

I disagree with that principle but it is logical and I can understand where they're coming from. The more popular argument, Judy Miller is a bad reporter and who cares what happens to bad reporters, isn't one I can agree with. To attempt to extract the events involved in this from the larger war against the press isn't something I can go along with.

The editorials were addressing the war on the press and the First Amendment.

Compelling a reporter to testify in a case where national security may or may not have been breached (I believe it was with the outing of Valerie Plame) leaves the door open to forcing a reporter to testify in other cases. (I do not support the federal shield law currently being trumpted by others including the Times. The definition of "journalist" is too narrow and perfectly in keeping with the Times' mindset.) If X comes across a report to Bully Boy on how to lie the country into war and leaks it to the press, will those reporters be compelled to testify?
The Pentagon Papers resulted in attempts to surpress the report and then attempts to discredit the whistle blower (Daniel Ellsberg).

There is a history of erosions to the First Amendment. It's certainly true that the Times has been largely silent on those erosions. It's also true that Miller printed whatever stenography she took down from whatever administration official. The issue wasn't the Times, the issue wasn't Miller. The issue was a free press.

If the issue for others on the other side of this argument is similar to FAIR's (that witnesses to a crime must testify) then the continued focus on Miller with no commentary on Matthew Cooper is suspect. Matt Cooper rolled over on Scooter Libby with only the original signed release. That's all he had from Karl Rove when he rolled over on Rove. But that's not addressed. Matthew Cooper's given a pass for false statements to the public and he's given a pass for keeping silent when it could have mattered (before the election). He gets that pass because of his friends who see him as a Democrat.

I don't know that a Democrat covers for Rove in the midst of an election. A coward does. I'd argue a coward did. At worst, Miller's a liar who lied us into war. At best, she's a really bad excuse for a reporter.

Her position, and this was Cooper's as well, was that she could only testify if she had a release from her source and that a statement signed under duress did not qualify as a release. When facing jail time, Miller stuck to that. Cooper didn't. He invented a new release that didn't exist.

From a journalistic stand point, Miller (a joke) protected her source. Cooper didn't. Faced with jail time, Cooper rolled over. Too scared to speak when it mattered, confronted with his ass sitting in jail, he abandoned his beliefs but didn't have the guts to get honest about that so he invents a mysterious release that just popped up that morning.

That's worth noting. Yes, Miller and Cooper's testimony help "our side." But in terms of journalistic issues, this case is a nightmare. Instead of slamming Gail Collins for editorials defending the rights of the press, people might be better served contemplating the issues at stake.

If all the commentary is about the fact that reporters have an obligation to testify when a crime is committed, the trashing of Judith Miller and Gail Collins while Matt Cooper continues to get a pass is mystifying.

Cooper, who spoke to Rove, had a funny sort of "journalistic" position. In 2004, he would testify against Scooter Libby. In 2004, he would publicly discuss his testimony against Scooter Libby to select audiences. But in 2004, he would not name Karl Rove.

His employer is not a fighter of the First Amendment. They could have turned over his notes prior to the election. They chose not to.

So in all the ridicule (and I have nothing against ridicule, mock and mock freely) the continued pass given to both Matt Cooper and Time magazine is surprising.

Miller's never been seen as being on "our side." Matthew Cooper is getting a pass because he's perceived that way (and because of whom he's married to). His friends have worked so hard to give him a pass that in the early days they slimed Joe Wilson. (Presumably not under orders from Cooper but Cooper knows what went down.) So you'd turn on the TV or the radio or open a magazine or go to a web site and find the most vicious attacks on Joe Wilson. If it was coming from "our side," you might scratch your head and wonder. You should stop wondering and demand accountability.

Judith Miller's paper, the Times, was constrained by their coverage (that's their public position) due to Miller's involvement. What's the reason for others?

Between friends and the pack mentality, Cooper's getting a free pass.

He doesn't deserve one. A standard issue release was enough for him to roll over on Scooter and, when jail time approached, it was suddenly enough to roll over on Karl Rove. It's a real shame the same release wasn't enough when it mattered and it's really a shame that his friends mounted a disinformation campaign on Joe Wilson.

While The Daily Jerk Off tells CJR that the 2004 election coverage was more even handed than the 2000 election, he lies, misinforms or has left the realm of reality. It wasn't. Al Gore didn't have phoney terrorist alerts popping up during his convention. No one said al Qaeda wants Al Gore to win (think of Cheney's public statements on John Kerry). The press didn't trumpet those charges and alerts because they didn't exist. Al Gore had no war injuries to question, but John Kerry had war injuries that were questioned and the press trumpeted that. No one wore band aids with puple hearts on them to the GOP convention in 2000 while the press looked the other way. To imply that the coverage in 2000 was awful but in 2004 it was better is to be uninformed, tired or a liar.

Add in that certain members of the press sat on (Miller and Cooper among them) the news that the White House had outed a CIA agent when their testimony could have mattered and you can't claim, not truthfully, that 2004 saw improved press coverage.

In terms of the outing of a CIA agent or press freedoms, there are a number of issues involved. In terms of "our side" the issue is that "our" Matt Cooper sat on news that could have effected the outcome of the 2004 election. Sat on it until the election was over. Not only did he not write about it, he wouldn't testify to Rove's involvement in 2004. So before the next voice on "our side" goes after Judy Miller, they might want to weigh in on Cooper. No one mistook Judith Miller as serving on "our side." No one familiar with her reporting (predates 2000) would make that claim.

As for Gail Collins, she wrote about press freedom, she defended it. She tied Miller's case into the larger landscape of erosions on the press. In that regard, she has nothing to be ashamed of.

The press has clowned. For years. (Goes way beyond when Clinton was first sworn in.) The editorials may have been laughable coming from the New York Timid, no question. But the arguments in the editorials were founded on a reporter's obligations to their source and to a free press. Collins case was not made on what Judith Miller knew or didn't know because Collins, not part of the legal team, had no way of knowing what was known. The editorials addressed the free press.

Myself, I'd like to see those editorials put into practice at the Timid. (But, as noted before, the editorials largely exist, like Scott Shane, to mop up after all the fluff that's dubbed "reporting.")
Trapped into taking a position, the Timid defended the press. That happens very rarely at the paper. I'm not going to ridicule the editorials for their content (others can do what they want, and obviously are) but I'd like to see the paper try to put those beliefs into practice.

Juan Foero, Jeff Gerth and Dexter Filkins are three who've earned ridicule. It's amazing that only Miller (and Collins) recieve it. Maybe Forero's white washings of deaths doesn't matter since it happens to "them" and not "us"? If Miller got us over there (Iraq) (and she did with plenty of help from other "reporters"), it's been the work of the likes of Dexter Filkins that's kept us immune to the realities on the ground in Iraq.

While Miller was part of the steno pool endorsing the cake walk view, the WMDs and everything that got us over there, Miller wasn't over in Iraq all that long. It's fallen to "reporters" like Filkins (who won an award for his white washing of the slaughter in Falluja) to keep us over there.

The public allegations against Filkins (from reporters) include living a wild life of sex and good times in the safety of the Green Zone and cancelling interviews when the US military registered their disapproval. (Reportedly, all it took was a scowl.) Rumors abound that his award winning piece was turned over to military censors before it appeared in print (over six days after the fact).

So I'm not sure why the focus goes to Miller and only Miller (or Miller and Collins)? If it's a desire to focus on the Times that gives Matt Cooper a pass (from those not take part in the disinformation campaign against Wilson), then you'd think that Forero, Gerth or Filkins (to name but three, want to toss in Hassan?) would be addressed.

Miller's an easy target. She's made herself that. People should feel free to mock her. But is that how it's going to go down? Miller's the fall guy for the war? No other reporter participated in that?

In terms of covering for the administration, Matt Cooper did. It doesn't appear to be out of any desire to fight for journalistic freedom (based on his actions). He covered for Karl Rove for two years. Then he stopped covering. Not because he got a new release (he didn't) but because he didn't want to go to jail. It's too bad he wasn't as scared of jail before the election. When it could have mattered. It's equally too bad that he's not being pressed to explain that "new release" that he's backed off from and that Rove's attorney (Luskin) has denied existed from the moment Cooper announced it.

It's also too bad that a number of people have discredited themselves as they trashed Joe Wilson to protect Matthew Cooper. They've had time to probe every comma in Wilson's public words, to mangle his comments and skew them. But they've never turned that same "analytical" ability to Matt Cooper.

In the meantime, let's close with this from Katharine Q. Seelye and Adam Liptak's "Novel Strategy Pits Journalists Against Source :"

Lucy Dalglish, executive director of the Reporters Committe for Freedom of the Press, said the case was setting a dangerous precedent. "Reading the indictment makes my blood run cold," she said. "This whole thing hinges on Russert."
Basing criminal charges on statements by reporters, she said, "puts us on completely new ground."

The e-mail address for this site is

[At the request of one friend at the Times, I'll note that it wasn't a smart decision to bury Sandra Blakeslee's article on the back page. The issue is one of interest to the ownership and it's thought that the Liberia story should have been moved to make way for Blakeslee's.]

Friday, October 28, 2005

Democracy Now: John Nichols, Ralph Neas, Makan Delrahim, Dennis Halliday; John Nichols, Jeff Cohen, Amitabh Pal ...

US to Install ID Chips in Passports
The State Department announced this week that starting next October all U.S. passports will be implanted with computer chips. Sweeping new regulations say that passports issued after that time will have radio frequency ID chips that can transmit personal information including the name, nationality, sex, date of birth, place of birth and digitized photograph of the passport holder. Eventually, the government may add digitized data such as fingerprints or iris scans. Out of the more than 2,000 comments on the plan that were received by the State Department this year, more than 98 percent were negative.
Lynne Stewart Appeal Rejected
Meanwhile, a federal judge this week upheld the conviction of human rights attorney Lynne Stewart on terror-related charges. In their latest appeal, Stewart's lawyers allege that a juror on the case feared for her life and had been coerced into voting to convict. In a separate opinion upholding the convictions of Stewart and two co-defendants, the judge also ruled separately that they were not protected by the First Amendment. Stewart was convicted February 10 of conspiracy and providing material support to terrorism by releasing a statement by her imprisoned client, Sheik Omar Abdel-Rahman. Stewart is scheduled to be sentenced on December 22.
Cartoonist Writes Names of All 2,000 Soldiers Killed in Iraq
As the US military death toll in Iraq surpassed 2,000 dead this week, Atlanta Journal Constitution editorial cartoonist Mike Luckovich marked the tragic milestone by hand-writing the name of each one in his Wednesday editorial cartoon. Together, their names spell out the question: WHY? The Pulitzer Prize-winning Luckovich told Editor and Publisher, "I was trying to think of a way to make the point that this whole war is such a waste. But I also wanted to honor the troops I believe our government wrongly sent to Iraq." Luckovich says he spent 12 or 13 hours this past weekend writing in most of the names -- roughly in the order of when the soldiers died. The paper's publisher and various editors were also involved in the effort. When it looked like the names might not be readable, the editors gave permission for the cartoon to be published much larger than Luckovich's drawings usually appear in the Journal-Constitution.
Iraq: Sunnis Form New Coalition, as al Sadr Reenters Politics
Iraq's political parties have finalized their coalition lists for the December 15 elections. The lists were due today. Three of Iraq's most powerful Shiite Muslim religious parties have formed a reshuffled alliance. In a surprising move, the political groups of the young cleric Moqtada al Sadr have joined with the two parties that control Iraq's transitional government -- Dawa, led by Prime Minister Ibrahim Jafari, and the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq. Sadr has historically resisted participating in a political process he has denounced as a US-created sham and his forces reportedly joined on the condition that the coalition oppose a normalization of relations with Israel. Meanwhile, the two main Kurdish parties have formed their own coalition, while Sunni Arab leaders formed an alliance. This comes days after fierce Sunni opposition narrowly failed to veto the new, U.S.-backed constitution in a referendum. The new group, called Iraqi Accord Front called on all Iraqis to participate in elections and not to boycott. But what has gotten little attention is the fact that the group says it opposes the US occupation. A prominent Sunni leader, Hussein al Falluji, told Reuters "Our political program will focus more on getting the Americans out of Iraq. Our message to the American administration is clear: get out of Iraq or set a timetable for withdrawal or the resistance will keep slaughtering your soldiers until Judgment Day."
The above four items are from today's Democracy Now! Headlines and were selected by Nick, Kara, Isaiah and RobDemocracy Now! ("always worth watching," as Marcia says):
Headlines for October 28, 2005

- All Eyes on 'Scooter' Libby
- Top Bush Fundraiser Indicted in Ohio
- Iraq: Sunnis Form New Coalition, as al Sadr Reenters Politics
- Attack on Palestine Hotel Aimed at Private Security Firm?
- Cartoonist Writes Names of All 2,000 Soldiers Killed in Iraq
- Almost 70% of Iraq Deaths Under Age of 30
- Padilla Files New Appeal to Supreme Court
- Lynne Stewart Appeal Rejected
- Castro Blasts US Aid Offer
Harriet Miers Withdraws Supreme Court Nomination: A Surrender to “Right Wing Special Interest Groups” or White House Diversion from CIA Leak Case?

Harriet Miers withdrew her nomination Thursday to be a Supreme Court justice. She had come under intense criticism from the Christian Right and many Republican senators. We have a roundtable discussion on Miers’ withdrawal and the political implications, and what may lie ahead in the next nomination. [includes rush transcript]
Suspense Mounts as Indictments for CIA Leak Case Expected Today, Spotlight on VP Chief of Staff Libby Leads to Questions About Cheney’s Role

Suspense is high and the nation is abuzz with speculations about who may be indicted today in the CIA leak case. Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald is expected to announce the results of the 22-month investigation about midday. Rampant speculations that VP Chief of Staff "Scooter" Libby will be indicted leads some to ask questions about VP Dick Cheney’s role in the case.
Former Head of UN Humanitarian Program Denis Halliday: U.S. and Key Allies Facilitated Profiteering in Oil For Food Program

On Thursday, the independent inquiry investigating the United Nations Oil for Food program in Iraq issued its fifth and final report, charging the Hussein regime with collecting billions of dollars in kickbacks from oil sales to over 2,000 companies. We speak with Denis Halliday, former head of the UN Humanitarian Program in Iraq, about the details of the case and questions about U.S. complicity in illicit sales.
NY Civil Liberties Union: U.S. Made "Inappropriate" Allegations of Terrorism Before Sentencing Iraqi-American Doctor Rafil Dhafir to Prison

Iraqi-American doctor Rafil Dhafir is sentenced to 22 years in prison for violating the Iraqi sanctions through his charity “Help the Needy.” We speak with Barrie Gewanter of the NY Civil Liberties Union about the case, who has publicly questioned the fairness of the trial.
We'll note John Nichols' "Just the Start: Where Fitzgerald Looks Next" (The Nation): 

The big news with regard to special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald's investigation of the apparent effort by the Bush-Cheney administration to punish former Ambassador Joe Wilson for revealing how the White House deceived the American people about the threat posed by Iraq is not the anticipated indictment of Vice President Dick Cheney's chief of staff.

Make no mistake, it is exceptionally significant that Cheney's closest aide and political confidante over the past two decades, I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, has been charged with two counts of making false statements to federal agents, two counts of perjury and obstruction of justice for misleading and deceiving the grand jury about how he learned that Wilson's wife, Valerie Plame, was a Central Intelligence Agency operative. But if a Libby indictment is all that came out of Fitzgerald's two-year-long investigation into a case that touches on fundamental questions of government accountability, abuse of power and the dubious "case" that was made for going to war in Iraq, then this whole matter will be no more that a footnote to the sorry history of the Bush-Cheney era.

What matters is that the Libby indictment is not all that will come of this investigation.

Fitzgerald met for close to an hour on Wednesday with U.S. District Judge Thomas Hogan, the chief judge of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. The chief judge has overseen the inquiry into the leaking of the name of Wilson's wife to journalists in an effort to discredit the former ambassador. It is Hogan who has the power to extend the term of the grand jury, which was to expire Friday, or to give Fitzgerald a new grand jury with which to continue the investigation.


We'll note this editorial from The Nation, "Culture of Collusion:"


The Democrats and the media colluded in this awesome deception. Not only did most Democratic leaders vote to support the war; even at this late hour many of them--including Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden and Charles Schumer--refuse to come out clearly against it or to call for an end to the occupation. Echoing John Kerry's disastrous comment during the 2004 campaign, Senator Schumer said recently on Meet the Press that even if he knew then what he knows now, he still would have voted for the war. And the major media joined in the post-9/11 culture of collusion. The New York Times--relying heavily on the inflamed dispatches of Judith Miller, now embroiled in the Plame investigation--was so irresponsible in the run-up to the war that it had to print an apology.

Deceit and misinformation is poison to an open society. We need a much tougher investigation of how the American people were misled on the purpose of this war. We need much tougher, more skeptical media. And we need the Democrats to act like an opposition party. Because without a genuine opposition, the disease of corruption and criminality threatens democracy itself.

It's a strong editorial throughout but, honestly, that section was selected to tweek our online, latter day Dylan (he's already selected for the 2008 primaries).  Dylan?  He's finally discovered Judy Miller as a topic.  Which hopefully means a Saturday installment is planned, one that focuses on her partner in silence Matthew Cooper.
Our latter day Dylan's addressing the issue of Miller allowing Scoots to be identified as he chose (originally "senior administration official," later ""former Hill staffer").  Let's provide the perspective Dylan doesn't have -- everyone dictates what they're called to the paper -- whether they're named or not.  The Times lets everyone do that.  Joe Levy claims a position he doesn't hold at Rolling Stone (check the masthead) to name but one example -- there are many but that's a particular favorite with members and one we addressed back in December. 
Our latter day Dylan's argument re: Miller isn't anything I'm quibbling with, but if he were aware of the Times policy of letting sources (including on the record ones) dictate their titles, he could make a point about that as well.  (As a member pointed out in December -- I'm blanking on whom, sorry -- Levy's citation wasn't a minor one, it appeared in a front page obit on Ray Charles after it had been allowed to stand in report after report of the arts section.)
Lynda e-mails to note Jeff Cohen's "Weaponsgate is a Media Scandal" (Common Dreams) which thinks makes a "larger point:"

Elite journalism is at the center of Weaponsgate, and it can't extricate itself from the scandal. Because, at its core, Weaponsgate (or, if you're in a hurry, "Wargate") is about how the White House and media institutions jointly sold a war based on deception -- and how the White House turned to these media institutions to neutralize a war critic who challenged the deception.

When the Nixon White House went after war critic Dan Ellsberg, it turned to former CIA guys, specialists in break-ins. When the Bush White House went after war critic Joe Wilson (and his wife), it turned to journalists like Bob Novak and Judy Miller.

Today, elite journalists can't pretend to be on the outside looking in at a scandal that doesn't involve them. This scandal is about them -- it's about White House-media cronyism, about journalists on the top rung of the phone trees of Karl Rove and Scooter Libby, two of the dirtiest smear artists in Washington history. It's no accident Rove and Libby didn't turn to Helen Thomas or Seymour Hersh about Joe Wilson. They turned to journalists they could count on -- at news outlets that had dutifully promoted so many pre-war lies


Like Lynda, I read the column and think of Matthew Cooper.

Tim e-mails to note Amitabh Pal's "My Visit to the Dalai Lama's town" (Amitabh Pal's Weekly Column, The Progressive):

I went down to Dharamsala, India, earlier this month to interview the Dalai Lama and ended up meeting a number of interesting people in the process.

Dharamsala, as you may know, is the town in the foothills of the Himalayas where the Dalai Lama lives. And in case you’re interested in visiting there, you have to endure a long bus ride from New Delhi, or take a train-taxi combination, such as I did. Flights to a nearby airport are infrequent, seasonal and quite expensive.

The Tibetan government in exile set up interviews for me. The wonderfully friendly and helpful Jigmey Tsultrim was my escort.

He introduced me to Ngawang Woebar, a monk who was a political prisoner in China and now heads the Gu-Chu Sum Movement (the Tibetan ex-political prisoners’ association). The Chinese imprisoned Woebar for four months in 1987 for taking part in a peaceful protest and subjected him to constant interrogation. He escaped to India through Nepal in 1991 after his monastery was pressured to expel him the previous year. Woebar narrated to me, through a translator, his travails in a very matter-of-fact way without any bitterness or rancor. In fact, he even smiled a number of times, in spite of the grim political conditions he described for people living in Tibet. (His organization estimates that there are currently more than 1,200 political prisoners in Tibet.) Woebar ended our conversation by appealing to Americans, including American athletes, to boycott the Beijing Olympics in 2008 unless there’s dramatic improvement on the Tibetan front.

Natalie e-mails to note Wally's "Bully Boy Comes To Town" (The Daily Jot):
 Bully Boy comes to town . . .

Couple days after the Hurricane hit. Lot like 9/11, lot like Hurricane Katrina, lot like everything else he does. Not the brightest even in his own family. He's the kind of guy who's always handing out belated birthday cards.

Power? We've got the generator. That means standing in the gas lines.

But he was all over the radio yesterday telling us how good we got it.

We got it so good that over 1/2 of us without power when the hurricane hit still don't have power.

We got it so good that "good news" is P&L thinks everyone will have electricity by . . . Thanksgiving.

Bully Boy said something like "Soon more and more houmes will have power. Their life will get back to normal."

But he doesn't seem overly concerned. Hear he got some nice photo ops out of it.

Meanwhile, people stand in line for ice and water.

Guess he has other things on his mind with the whole Harriet thing blowing up in his face and rumors that Patrick Fitzgerald will indict someone today?

He came. He spun. He left.

I think the third thing's the only thing to cheer about.
Martha e-mails to note Alana's "22 Episodes in 48 Hours" (Pop Politics):

How many of us welcomed the start of the new seasons of Lost, Veronica Mars, The Gilmore Girls, or Six Feet Under by reviewing old episodes of each series on DVD? It seems that many of us were engaging in these pre-season watching warm-ups, if we're like the viewers Stephanie Rosenbloom describes in her article in the Fashion & Style section of today's New York Times.

Rosenbloom investigates the phenomenon of marathon TV-on-DVD viewing sessions, and considers how these viewing practices are changing the way we watch our favorite series. She suggests that:

Marathon viewing of series is creating a new breed of television aficionados, some say, people with a sharper eye for narrative twists, suspense techniques and character development. Like film buffs they become familiar with the names of the directors and writers of a series, pick up on nuances others may have missed and acquire a deeper appreciation of plotlines.

Rosenbloom posits that the practice of squeezing a season's-worth of episodes into a weekend can lead viewers to ignore or skip out on "sit-down dinners, party invitations and all manner of social obligations as they revisit a favorite series like 'Lost' or 'Six Feet Under,' or catch up on what all the fuss was about."

On TV, Martha wonders what Ava and I are reviewing for The Third Estate Sunday Review?  A sitcom unless something changes.  And, unless something changes, look for a lot of humor themed pieces. 
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The top two directors of Colombia's secret police were forced out this week as the government investigated allegations that the agency was mounting a money-making operation to sell intelligence and surveillance equipment to right-wing death squads.
The scandal at the agency, the Administrative Department of Security, comes as human rights groups and some legislators have exposed heightened paramilitary activity, including infiltrations of Congress and the attorney general's office. The paramilitaries also continue trafficking in cocaine, despite disarmament talks that underpin President Álvaro Uribe's effort to pacify Colombia with billions in American aid.
The 7,100-member intelligence agency has long been dogged by allegations that its agents have worked with paramilitaries of the United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia, an illegal antiguerrilla organization that the State Department has branded a terrorist group. But the latest scandal has been especially explosive, coming amid international criticism that the government has been overly generous with paramilitaries who disarm by treating them leniently in prosecutions.

The above is from Juan Forero's "Two Top Directors Leave Colombia's Secret Police as Scandal Mounts" in this morning's New York Times. Francisco e-mailed to note that since this is Forero's first time addressing this scandal and should be filed under "things the littlest Judy Miller forgot to tell you."

I think pretty much everything Forero writes (other than his own name) could be filed under "things the littlest Judy Miller forgot to tell you." That includes his article earlier this week where he wrote:

New Tribes, made up of nearly 300 missionaries and their children, works with 12 Indian tribes in southern Venezuela, focusing on Bible translations and literacy training, not collecting information for the C.I.A., said Nita Zelenak, a spokeswoman for the church at its headquarters in Sanford, Fla. Speaking by phone, she said its missionaries remained in Venezuela awaiting a final expulsion order.
"Our goal has been to clarify what we really are doing in Venezuela, so that he understands that we are only there to help Venezuelan citizens," Ms. Zelenak said of Mr. Chavez.

New Tribes Ministries has a history in the area, a public history, a well known one to poli sci people. Again, I heard of them in my college days. But the littlest Judy Miller, writing about them by choice (there was no reason, other than propaganda, to mention them this week in any manner other than in passing since they weren't the focus of Forero's latest bit of stenography), still can't inform readers of the allegations, public allegations made by public officials for over fifty years now, so you have to wonder why that is? And you have to wonder why the littlest Judy Miller continues to get a pass from most media critics. Narco News and FAIR, among others, have not given him a pass. But I'm actually referring to all the people who suddenly figured out Miller's reporting was wrong. The same ones who take a pass on Matthew Cooper but harp over and over on Miller to the point that the net looks like cable news with it's one topic focus. Instead of a missing or dead blond, we're focused on Miller only. It's as though Grace and Greta have taken over the internet. The culture that allowed Miller's writings to go into print exists still and there are a lot of other people practicing the same sort of "reporting."
Maybe Gerth, et al don't result in outrage because there's a feeling of "no one died" but people die in the area Forero covers every day and a strong argument could be made that his "reporting" allows the killing to continue. Add in the Times long history of cover ups in this area and maybe some of the nonstop chatter on Miller should lead to a serious look at Forero's "reporting" or another's but instead it's monologue time with the best bits being recycled over and over.

Kat e-mails to note Stuart Hodkinson's "Bono and Geldoff: 'We Saved Africa!'" (CounterPunch):

Remember Make Poverty History, anyone? It seems a long time ago that some 200,000 people flocked to Edinburgh to rally G8 leaders as part of an unprecedented campaign for global justice. That same day, July 2, Bob Geldof organised free music concerts in nine countries under the Live8 banner.
The demands were straightforward and reasonable: rich countries should boost aid in line with their unmet 35-year-old promises; cancel the debts of the 62 poorest countries; set dates for the abolition of subsidies and other protectionist support to Western farmers, and stop forcing liberalization and privatization on poor countries, whether in trade negotiations or as conditions of aid and debt deals.
Six days later, in the shadow of the July 7 bombs that ripped through central London, the Gleneagles summit ended to rock-star cheers. "This has been the most important summit there ever has been for Africa," Bob Geldof said at the post-summit press conference. "There are no equivocations. Africa and the poor of that continent have got more from the last three days than they have ever got at any previous summit...
"On aid, 10 out of 10. On debt, eight out of 10. On trade ... it is quite clear that this summit, uniquely, decided that enforced liberalisation must no longer take place," he said, before finishing with a flourish. "That is a serious, excellent result on trade."
Bono, his voice cracking with emotion, concurred. "We are talking about $25bn of new money.... The world spoke and the politicians listened."
Journalists and campaigners broke into spontaneous applause; the next day's media coverage led with Geldof's "mission accomplished" verdict. But as the millions who signed up to Make Poverty History (MPH) and Live8 rejoiced, inside the upper echelons of MPH all hell was breaking loose. "They've shafted us," a press officer from a British development organization screamed down the phone.
Indeed they had. Moments earlier, Kumi Naidoo, the veteran South African anti-apartheid campaigner and current chair of MPH's international umbrella, the Global Call to Action against Poverty (G-Cap), had delivered the coalition's official response. "The people have roared but the G8 has whispered. The promise to deliver [more aid] by 2010 is like waiting five years before responding to the tsunami."

[. . .]
Geldof and Bono's endorsement of the G8 deal came as a blow to many within Make Poverty History, ensuring that the issues of Africa, poverty and development disappeared from the spotlight within days of the summit's end. Four months on, MPH's silence is deafening.

Kat: At The Third Estate Sunday Review, I talk about Bono in a roundup or a news review and they end up getting cry baby e-mails. "Bono did more good than bad!" whined one. I asked C.I. if e-mails came in on this here and they don't. I'm going to guess that's because this issue was addressed at length here before Bono and his ego stalked the Live 8 concert stage and continued to pop up after. I'd really appreciate it if community members would talk about the reality of those concerts to their friends because Jim passed on some of the most recent e-mails and there are a lot of people who have apparently not heard one word other than the nonsense praise from rags like the New York Times.

Kat's working on a review of Stevie Wonder's CD (for those who've e-mailed asking when it will be done, she hopes to have it ready to go up here Monday morning) and as such is just holding off from posting at her site until she has it completed. She called last night to ask if it was okay to weigh in on something here and of course it is, she's a member and she can highlight anything she wants here. And let's give credit to our European community members because they highlighted the issue of the concerts being nothing more than a vanity trip so the community has been informed on what the concerts did and what they didn't do.

Keesha e-mails to note Eleanor Smeal's "On the Withdrawal of Harriet Miers" (The Smeal Report, Ms.):

The withdrawal of Harriet Miers illustrates how much is at stake in the appointment and confirmation of the Supreme Court Justice to replace Sandra Day O'Connor, the decisive vote on issues of grave concern to American people, especially women.
The public, on all sides of the political spectrum, was demanding more information on her judicial philosophy and her performance within the White House. The days of the blank slate strategy for stacking the Supreme Court are over.

Sabina e-mails to note Seth's "A Week of Milestones" (Seth in the City):

Now the Democrats need to wake up and realize that continuing to support this war will not do them any good. With so many now opposed to the war, I really wonder what it's going to take to wake them up to this reality. What are they waiting for, a time when the polls show 100% are against it?It's yet another failure of the Democratic party to LEAD on anything. That's largely why we ended up in this mess in the first place, but they don't seem to have learned any lessons.
Which is why I was loudly cheering Cindy Sheehan this week when she called on us all to oppose Hillary Clinton in 2008 if she continues to support the war. That needs to be our stance with all candidates for high office, both next year in the Mid Term elections and in 2008. If they're not in support of bringing our troops home now, they don't get our votes. It's as simple as that.
John Kerry, meanwhile, is finally starting to get the idea, as he called for the withdrawl of 20,000 troops in December after Iraqi elections. Bit late, John, and way too short of the necessary total withdrawl. But at least you're starting down the right path, at long last.
It's sad that a Senator calling for a reduction is such a big new story, though. We should be hearing multiple Senators (and Members of the House, and Governors, and State officials), not just a precious few, joining in the chorus of the American people calling for immediate and total withdrawl. We need to make these people realize that they serve at our pleasure and we'll be holding them accountable on election day.

We'll also note Betty's latest, "Thomas Friedman, Living on the Five Finger Discount" (Thomas Friedman Is a Great Man):

Thomas Friedman is on a China kick. It all started when the new buffet opened up down the street. Thomas Friedman is nothing if not an all you can eat type of man, as any photo of him will attest.
I knew something was up last Thursday when he came strolling into the kitchen in sweat pants and a t-shirt that said "Baby Likes" on it. For Thomas Friedman, it was practically formal wear.
Rare is the day he squeezes into anything other than his silk shorty robe.
Leaping to my feet, I was scrubbing the kitchen floor, I immediately asked who died and what funeral we needed to attend. Thomas Friedman assured me that other than Bill Keller being "brain dead" all was right in the world, that a new establishment had opened up down the street and to grab my purse because we were going.
The hostess' name was Liang though Thomas Friedman insists upon calling her "Soon-Yi" repeatedly. He also insists upon telling the same lame joke each time we go, "Soon-Yi, in America we call this 'Chinese food' but in your country it would just be 'food!'" Between that, his Soon-Yi comments, and just for being Thomas Friedman, Tuesday afternoon, Liang replied, "You know in China you would be called 'American bore' but in this country you are just a 'bore.'"

Democracy Now!'s Amy Goodman continues the Un-Embed the Media tour:

* Amy Goodman in Cortland, NY: Wed, Nov 2
SUNY College at Cortland
Brown Auditorium
Event is free and open to the public

* Amy Goodman in Stonybrook, NY:
Thur, Nov 3 *TIME: 4 PM
7th Annual George Goodman Symposium
Provost Lecture by Phil Donahue and Michael Ratner
Stony Brook University
Student Activities Center Auditorium
Amy Goodman will attend, but will not be speaking
For more information, visit

* Amy Goodman in Keene, NH:
Fri, Nov 4
World Affairs Symposium on Globalization
Keene State University
Event is free and open to the public
For more information, visit

* Amy Goodman in San Francisco, CA:
Sat, Nov 5
*TIME: Noon
Green Festival
San Francisco Concourse
8th & Brannan St
San Francisco, CA 94123
Day Pass: $11 each ($15 at the door) good for either Sat or Sun
For more information, visit

* Amy Goodman in Redding, CA:
Sat, Nov 5
*TIME: 7:30 PM
Tickets:$10 reserved seating in advance,
$15 at the door
Available for sale at:
Bogbean Books & Music1740 California Street
and Graphic Emporium1965 Pine St.
(530) 241-4278
Pre-show reception:
$50--includes admission to event and Goodman's book, The Exception to the Rulers.
For more information, call (530) 245-3488, or visit

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