Saturday, November 26, 2005
Today on The Laura Flanders Show
On Air America Radio, 7-10 PM EST
Truth, consequences and OUR family values.
REV. NANCY WILSON of Metropolitan Community Churches on the Vatican's anti-gay decrees.
REV. ALTA GARCIA PEREZ
and ROBERT GREENWALD on his Wal-Mart documentary, The High Cost of Low Price.
Plus our take on the latest news and YOU DID win those political spats at the big meal, right?
You can listen to shows you missed: Download archived shows HERE or Subscribe to the Free PODCAST through the iTunes Music Store
Go to the Laura Flanders Blog
In addition to the new Wal-Mart movie, Greenwald has directed many others. I know Kat's wanting to cross post, so I'll just list two of my favorites: The Burning Bed (starring Farrah Fawcett, of course) and Unconstitutional: The War On Our Civil Liberties (which was sponsored by the ACLU). (I'm sure Kat's planning to list at least one movie besides Greenwald's latest.)
By the way, to pick on a case (to go before the Court November 30th) mentioned yesterday, the ACLU has a page on it up at their website. Here's an excerpt:
Reviewing the legal standard by which courts consider abortion restrictions and whether laws regulating abortion must protect women's health.
Ayotte v. Planned Parenthood et al. began in 2003 as a challenge to a New Hampshire law restricting teenagers' access to abortion. The law requires doctors to notify a parent at least 48 hours before performing an abortion for a teenager. The law includes no exception for medical emergencies.
In reviewing this case, the Supreme Court will consider two questions: one, must an abortion restriction, not just New Hampshire's, include a medical emergency exception, and two, can doctors and women continue to challenge dangerous abortion restrictions and ask the courts to strike them down before they can harm women?
At that page, there are a number of links their, timeline, legal briefs, a video with Jennifer Dalven discussing the case and more.
Back to The Laura Flanders Show which you can listen to via podcast (as noted above) but you can also listen to it via broadcast radio (if there's an AAR in your area), via XM Satellite Radio (channel 167) or listen online.
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La CIA dijo a Bush que no había vínculos entre Irak y Al-Qaeda 10 días después del 11/9
Un nuevo artículo del periodista de investigación Murray Waas, publicado en el "National Journal", dice que se notificó al presidente Bush diez días después de los atentados del 11/9 que la inteligencia de Estados Unidos no tenía pruebas que vincularan a Irak con al Qaeda o con los atentados. Según varios funcionarios y ex funcionarios del gobierno, desde entonces es escasa la evidencia que contradiga aquella evaluación. Un ex funcionario de alta jerarquía dijo: "Lo que se le dijo al Presidente el 21 de septiembre (de 2001), era coherente con todo lo que se le dijo desde entonces, simplemente no había evidencia". El gobierno de Bush se ha negado publicar el informe, ni siquiera como documento revisado. A continuación, los funcionarios del gobierno ignoraron las evaluaciones de inteligencia, en beneficio de quienes sostenían que Saddam Hussein tenía armas químicas y vínculos con Al Qaeda. Uno de los principales promotores de esa teoría fue el entonces subsecretario de defensa Douglas Feith. En el margen de uno de los informes de Feith, el vicepresidente Dick Cheney escribió: "Esto es de verdad muy bueno... alentador... no como la basura que estamos acostumbrados a recibir de la CIA".
Estados Unidos ignoró advertencias sobre informante iraquí
En otra noticia sobre Irak, cinco funcionarios de alto rango del Servicio de Inteligencia Federal de Alemania dijeron al "Los Angeles Times" que advirtieron a las autoridades de la inteligencia estadounidense de que la información provista por un importante informante iraquí apodado Curveball ("Bola Curva") no era confiable y no podía ser comprobada. A pesar de los cuestionamientos sobre la veracidad de las afirmaciones de Curveball, el gobierno de Bush realizó serias advertencias sobre programas de armas biológicas de Irak basándose en dichas afirmaciones. El Presidente Bush dijo reiteradas veces que Irak tenía fabricas móviles que elaboraban venenos biológicos. Colin Powell, que en aquel entonces era el Secretario de Estado, dijo a la Organización de las Naciones Unidas en febrero de 2003 que estos laboratorios podían producir un número de microbios "en un sólo mes como para matar a miles y miles de personas". Los alemanes se sorprendieron al escuchar el discurso de Powell. Un funcionario dijo: "Nosotros siempre les dijimos que no había pruebas... Era información que no podía ser comprobada". Un mes después del discurso de Powell, el jefe de inspectores de armas de la ONU, Hans Blix, anunció que los inspectores en Irak no encontraron "ninguna evidencia" de instalaciones móviles para la producción de armas biológicas en Irak. Pero el anunció de Blix no fue tomado en cuenta y dos semanas después comenzó la invasión a Irak dirigida por Estados Unidos. Curveball era un exiliado iraquí que se fue a vivir a Alemania en 1999. El "LA Times" informa que la CIA corroboró la historia de Curveball con tres fuentes, dos de las cuales tenían vínculos con Ahamed Chalabi, del Congreso Nacional iraquí. Las tres resultaron ser un fraude. Curveball dijo que su hermano era el guardaespaldas de Chalabi.
Documentos del Pentágono: El fósforo blanco es un arma química
Surgió nueva evidencia de que las Fuerzas Armadas estadounidenses utilizaron armas químicas durante el ataque a Fallujah del año pasado. La semana pasada el Pentágono confirmó por primera vez que utilizó fósforo blanco como un arma para atacar a combatientes iraquíes. Pero el Pentágono rechazó las afirmaciones de que el fósforo blanco es un arma química. El fósforo blanco es frecuentemente comparado con el NAPALM, porque se vuelve combustible espontáneamente cundo se expone al oxígeno, y puede quemar la piel hasta los huesos. Mientras que el Pentágono niega que el fósforo blanco sea un arma química, un documento descubierto recientemente del Departamento de Defensa revela que así fue, exactamente, cómo los militares lo describieron cuando Saddam Hussein presuntamente lo utilizó hace una década. Un documento desclasificado de Inteligencia del Pentágono, de 1995, dice: "Las fuerzas iraquíes leales al presidente Saddam podrían haber utilizado armas químicas de fósforo blanco contra los rebeldes kurdos". Mientras tanto, un comandante británico admitió que entrenó a sus soldados para utilizar el fósforo blanco como un arma. Hasta ahora, el gobierno británico sostuvo que sólo utilizó fósforo blanco con propósitos tácticos.
Líderes iraquíes piden fijar fecha de retirada de soldados
En Irak, líderes chiitas, kurdos y sunitas presentaron un comunicado conjunto pidiendo fijar un cronograma para la retirada de los soldados estadounidenses. El "New York Times" informa que es la primera vez que las facciones políticas piden conjuntamente que se establezcan plazos para la retirada. El comunicado se dio a conocer durante una conferencia de reconciliación que fue auspiciada por la Liga Árabe. Entre las personas que asistieron estuvo el presidente de Irak, Jalal Talaban. Los líderes también censuraron los ataques iraquíes a civiles, instituciones gubernamentales e instalaciones petroleras, y pidieron la liberación de todos los prisioneros detenidos sin ser enjuiciados. Dijeron que la oposición de Irak tiene "derecho legítimo" a la resistencia, pero censuraron el terrorismo y los actos de violencia, asesinatos y secuestros.
Fiscal del caso de filtración de la CIA acudirá al Nuevo Gran Jurado
Y esta noticia es sobre el caso de filtración de la CIA... El fiscal especial Patrick Fitzgerald dijo el viernes que planifica presentar nuevas pruebas a otro gran jurado federal. El anuncio fue realizado tres semanas después de que un gran jurado anterior acusara al jefe de personal del vicepresidente Cheney, Lewis 'Scooter' Libby. La semana pasada, los investigadores interrogaron al editor asistente del "Washington Post", Bob Woodward, durante dos horas, luego de enterarse de que un alto funcionario del gobierno le reveló a Woodward que Valerie Plame era agente encubierta de la CIA, a mediados de junio de 2003. Hubo mucha especulación con respecto a quién, dentro del gobierno de Bush, pudo haber sido la fuente de Woodward. El Times de Londres afirma que se trata de Stephen Hadley, el actual Asesor de Seguridad Nacional de Bush. En aquel momento Hadley era el viceasesor de seguridad nacional, bajo el mando de Condoleeza Rice. La revista "Newsweek" sugirió que podría ser el ex subsecretario de estado Richard Armitage.
Ex colaborador de Tom Delay se declararía culpable
Se espera que un ex colaborador del congresista Tom Delay se declare hoy culpable de conspirar con el lobbista republicano Jack Abramoff para sobornar a funcionarios del gobierno, entre ellos a un congresista, y de cometer fraude por millones de dólares en perjuicio de tribus indígenas estadounidenses. El funcionario, Michael Scanlon, trabajaba como colaborador de prensa de Delay y luego se convirtió en un destacado ejecutivo de relaciones públicas. Aparentemente habría accedido a trabajar con fiscales federales en la investigación de Abramoff. Scanlon es acusado de trabajar con Abramoff en una estratagema mediante la cual el lobbista lograba que las tribus contrataran a la empresa de relaciones públicas de Scanlon, sin decirles que Scanlon había accedido a entregar un soborno a Abramoff por la mitad de las ganancias. Ambos recibieron 82 millones de dólares por concepto de lobby y relaciones públicas, de una docena de tribus. Fiscales acusan a Scanlon y Abramoff de conspirar para sobornar al Congresista republicano Robert Ney de Ohio, quien es nombrado en el documento de la acusación como "Representante nº 1". Thomas Mann, un experto en el Congreso que trabaja en la Brookings Institution, dijo: "Creo que esto puede ser el mayor escándalo del Congreso en un siglo". Mientras tanto, documentos recientemente revelados demuestran que Abramoff solicitó 9 millones de dólares al presidente de Gabón, en África occidental, para concertar una reunión con el presidente Bush en la Casa Blanca.
Informe: Bush quería bombardear Al Jazeera el año pasado
El periódico británico "Daily Mirror" informa que el Presidente Bush consideró la posibilidad de bombardear la emisora de televisión árabe Al Jazeera el año pasado. El periódico basó su informe en un memorando secreto de Dowing Street, que revela que Bush dijo al Primer Ministro británico Tony Blair, en abril de 2004, que quería atacar las oficinas de Al Jazeera en Doha, la capital de Qatar. Blair presuntamente temía que tal atentado provocara ataques en venganza. El "Mirror" citó una fuente que dijo: "El documento es explosivo y sumamente dañino para Bush. No hay duda de lo que Bush quería hacer, y sin duda Blair no quería que él lo hiciera". Otra fuente británica dijo que la amenaza de Bush fue humorística y no en serio. En 2001, Estados Unidos bombardeó la oficina de Al Jazeera en Kabul, Afganistán, pero afirmó que fue un accidente.
Periódicos británicos amenazados en relación con el caso del memorando sobre Al Jazeera
El gobierno británico amenazó con demandar a los periódicos que publiquen el contenido de un memorando filtrado en el que presuntamente se registra que el Presidente Bush discutió la posibilidad de bombardear la cadena satelital de televisión árabe Al Jazeera. El gobierno dice que tomará medidas en el marco de la Ley de Secretos Oficiales, que establece que es ilegal poseer información del gobierno sin potestades legales para ello. El periódico británico "Daily Mirror" dio a conocer el memorando el martes. El diario basó su informe en un memorando confidencial de Dowing Street que sostenía que Bush dijo al Primer Ministro Tony Blair, en abril de 2004, que quería atacar las oficinas de Al Jazeera en Qatar. Blair presuntamente convenció a Bush de no efectuar el bombardeo, porque temía que se realizaran ataques en venganza. El "Daily Mirror" dice que respetará la amenaza del gobierno en contra de la publicación. Pero el editor de "Daily Mirror", Richard Wallace, señaló: “Dimos a conocer (al gobierno) nuestra intención de publicar y la respuesta fue un ‘Sin comentarios’, oficial o extraoficial. De pronto, 24 horas después, nos amenazan con el articulo 5 (de la Ley de Secretos)”. Dos civiles británicos fueron acusados en relación con la filtración.
Estados Unidos reanuda vínculos con las Fuerzas Armadas indonesias
El gobierno de Bush anunció que reanudará relaciones con las Fuerzas Armadas indonesias y levantará un embargo de seis años que impide venderles armas. El Departamento de Estado dijo que brindará ayuda para "modernizar las Fuerzas Armadas indonesias, proporcionar más incentivos para reformar las Fuerzas Armadas indonesias, y apoyar los objetivos de seguridad estadounidenses e indonesios, entre ellos el combate al terrorismo, la seguridad marítima y la ayuda en casos de desastre". Los lazos militares con Indonesia se debilitaron tras una masacre de civiles en Timor Oriental en 1991. Indonesia ocupó por más de 25 años Timor Oriental, donde fue acusada de matar a más de 200.000 personas. También mató a miles de personas en la última década en la provincia de Aceh. La Red de Acción de Timor Oriental afirmó en una declaración: "El apoyo de Estados Unidos a unas Fuerzas Armadas no reformadas, que permanecen por encima de la ley, no es bueno para Estados Unidos ni para Indonesia. Este es un día profundamente decepcionante y triste para la protección de los derechos humanos en todas partes, pero especialmente en Indonesia, Timor Oriental y Estados Unidos".
Maria: In English, here are nine headlines fom Democracy Now! Remember that the headlines are provided daily in English and Spanish and please pass on to your friends. Peace.
CIA Told Bush of No Iraq-Al Qaeda Links Ten Days After 9/11
A new article by investigative journalist Murray Waas in the National Journal says President Bush was notified ten days after the 9/11 attacks U.S. intelligence had no evidence linking Iraq to al Qaeda or the attacks. According to several current and former government officials, little evidence has emerged to contradict the assessment. One former high-level official said : "What the President was told on September 21 , was consistent with everything he has been told since -- the evidence was just not there." The Bush administration has so far refused to release the briefing, not even as a redacted document. Administration officials subsequently ignored the intelligence assessments in favor of those that alleged Saddam Hussein had chemical weapons and ties to Al Qaeda. One of the key proponents of this theory was then-undersecretary of Defense Douglas Feith. In the margin of one of Feith's reports, Vice President Dick Cheney wrote: "This is very good indeed ... Encouraging ... Not like the crap we are all so used to getting out of CIA."
Pentagon Docs: White Phosphorous Is A Chemical Weapon
New evidence has emerged that the U.S. military used chemical weapons during the assault on Fallujah a year ago. Last week the Pentagon confirmed for the first time that it used white phosphorous as a weapon to attack Iraqi fighters. But the Pentagon rejected claims that white phosphorous is a chemical weapon. White Phosphorous is often compared to napalm because it combusts spontaneously when exposed to oxygen and can burn right through skin to the bone. While the Pentagon is denying white phosphorous is a chemical weapon, a newly uncovered Defense Department document, reveals that is just how the military described it when Saddam Hussein allegedly used it a decade ago. A declassified 1995 Pentagon intelligence document reads QUOTE "Iraqi forces loyal to president Saddam may have possibly used white phosphorous chemical weapons against Kurdish rebels." Meanwhile a British commander has admitted that he trained his troops in using white phosphorus as a weapon. Until now the British government has maintained it used white phosphorous but only for tactical purposes.
Iraqi Leaders Call for Troop Withdrawal Timetable
In Iraq, Shiite, Kurdish and Sunni leaders have issued a joint communiqué calling for a timetable for the withdrawal of U.S troops. The New York Times reports this marks the first time Iraq's political factions collectively called for a withdrawal timetable. The communiqué was released during a reconciliation conference held under the auspices of the Arab League. Attendees included Iraqi president Jalal Talabani. The leaders also condemned attacks on Iraqi civilians, government institutions and oil installations, and called for the release of all detainees held without trial. They said Iraq's opposition had a "legitimate right" of resistance but condemned terrorism and acts of violence, murder and kidnapping.
U.S. Ignored Warnings About Iraqi Informant Curveball
In other Iraq news -- five senior officials from Germany's Federal Intelligence Service have told the Los Angeles Times that they warned U.S. intelligence authorities that information provided by a top Iraqi informant codenamed Curveball could not be trusted or confirmed. Despite the questions about Curveball's veracity, the Bush administration issued dire warnings about Iraq's biological weapons program based on his claims. President Bush repeatedly said Iraq had mobile factories brewing biological poisons. Then-Secretary of State Colin Powell told the United Nations in February 2003 that these labs could brew enough weapons-grade microbes "in a single month to kill thousands upon thousands of people." The Germans were shocked to hear Powell's speech. One official said "We had always told them it was not proven.... It was not hard intelligence." A month after Powell's speech, chief UN weapons inspector, Hans Blix, announced inspectors in Iraq had found "no evidence" of mobile biological production facilities in Iraq. But Blix's announcement drew little notice at the time and the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq began two weeks later. Curveball was an Iraqi exile who moved to Germany in 1999. The LA Times reports the CIA corroborated Curveball's story with three sources: Two had ties to Ahmed Chalabi of the Iraqi National Congress. All three turned out to be frauds. Curveball claimed his brother was Chalabi's bodyguard.
CIA Leak Prosecutor to Go to New Grand Jury
And this update on the CIA leak case... Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald said Friday that he plans to present new evidence to another federal grand jury. The announcement came three weeks after an earlier grand jury indicted Vice President Cheney's chief of staff Lewis "Scooter" Libby. Last week investigators questioned Washington Post Assistant Managing Editor Bob Woodward for two hours after learning that a senior administration official revealed Valerie Plame's identity to him in mid-June 2003. There has been great speculation over who within the Bush administration might have been Woodward's source. The Times of London claims it is Stephen Hadley who is now Bush's National Security Advisor. At the time Hadley was deputy National Security Advisor under Condoleeza Rice. Newsweek magazine has suggested it might be former deputy secretary of State Richard Armitage.
Former Aide of Tom Delay Expected to Plead Guilty
A former aide of Congressman Tom Delay is expected to plead guilty today to conspiring with Republican lobbyist Jack Abramoff to bribe government officials, including a congressman, and bilk millions of dollars from Native American tribes. The official, Michael Scanlon, worked as a press aide to Delay and later became a prominent public relations executive. He has reportedly agreed to work with federal prosecutors investigating Abramoff. Scalon is accused of working with Abramoff in a scheme in which the lobbyist would direct tribes to hire Scanlon's public relations firm without telling them Scanlon had agreed to kick back half of the profits to Abramoff. The pair received $82 million in lobbying and public relations fees from half a dozen tribes. Prosecutors charge that Scanlon and Abramoff conspired to bribe Republican Congressman Robert Ney of Ohio who is referred to in the charging document as "Representative #1." Thomas Mann, a Congressional specialist at the Brookings Institution said "I think this has the potential to be the biggest scandal in Congress in over a century. Meanwhile newly disclosed documents show that Abramoff asked the president of the West African nation of Gabon for $9 million in order to set up a White House meeting with President Bush.
Report: Bush Wanted to Bomb Al Jazeera Last Year
The British newspaper the Daily Mirror is reporting that President Bush considered bombing the Arabic tv station Al Jazeera last year. The paper based its report on a top secret Downing Street Memo that reveals Bush told British Prime Minister Tony Blair in April 2004 that he wanted to attack Al Jazeera's headquarters in Doha, the capital of Qatar. Blair allegedly feared such a strike would spark revenge attacks. The Mirror quoted one source saying "The memo is explosive and hugely damaging to Bush. There's no doubt what Bush wanted to do -- and no doubt Blair didn't want him to do it." Another British source said Bush's threat was humorous and not serious. In 2001 the U.S. bombed Al Jazeera's office in Kabul Afghanistan but claimed it was done by accident.
British Newspapers Threatened in Al Jazeerah Memo Case
The British government has threatened to sue newspapers that publish contents of a leaked memo in which President Bush allegedly discusses bombing the Arabic satellite network Al Jazeerah. The government says it would take action under the Official Secrets Act, which makes it illegal come into the possession of government information without lawful authority. The British newspaper Daily Mirror disclosed the memo Tuesday. The paper based its a report on a confidential Downing Street memo that claimed Bush told British Prime Minister Tony Blair in April 2004 that he wanted to attack Al Jazeera's headquarters in Qatar. Blair allegedly talked Bush out of the strike, fearing revenge attacks. The Daily Mirror says it will comply with the government's threat against publication. But Daily Mirror editor Richard Wallace said : "We made [the government] fully aware of the intention to publish and were given 'no comment' officially or unofficially. Suddenly 24 hours later we are threatened under section 5 [of the secrets act]." Two British civil servants have been charged in connection with the leak.
US Resumes Ties with Indonesian Military
The Bush administration has announced it will lift a six-year arms embargo and resume full relations with the Indonesian military. The State Department said it will provide aid to "help modernise the Indonesian military, provide further incentives for reform of the Indonesian military, and support US and Indonesian security objectives, including counterterrorism, maritime security and disaster relief." Military ties with Indonesia were scaled back following a massacre of civilians in East Timor in 1991. Indonesia occupied East Timor for over 25 years, where it was accused of killing over 200,000 people. It has also killed thousands in the embattled Aceh province over the last decade. In a statement, the East Timor Action Network said : "US support for an unreformed military which remains above the law is not in the interest of the United States or Indonesia. This is a profoundly disappointing and sad day for human rights protections everywhere but especially in Indonesia, East Timor, and the US."
Sarah Vaughn informed us that "The Time for Love is Anytime" (lyrics by Cynthia Weil, music by Quincy Jones), but when is the time for the New York Times?
Judging by the very vocal reactions of house guests to this morning's Times, it's not today.
Here's another question, when is the time (for the Times) for the voices against the war?
It sure wasn't during the lead up. We've noted repeated articles, often of the survey sort, that have "addressed" the war without ever being able to find a voice opposed to the war.
The Times did their infamous mea culpa which pinned the problems as "institutional" (at the paper and the mea culpa was correct about that). But during the lead up to the war, the voices of opposition to the war were nowhere to be found and that's not really changed at the paper.
Today we get an article on Bully Boy supporters who may or may not be turning against Bully Boy for the war or for the outing of Valerie Plame or for the non-leadership with regards to Hurricane Katrina or for . . .
Exactly when does the paper recognize the voices opposed to the war and how about something on those that were opposed from the start?
The "hook" on the latest survey article (Kate Zernike's "Even Supporters Doubt President As Issues Pile Up") is the turning against the Bully Boy. So here's the question, should peace activists begin rallying for the Bully Boy's next war of choice? Is that the only way the Times (and other media, but we'll focus on the Times) is going to ever recognize them?
Does Medea Benjamin need to carry a banner saying "Bomb the hell out of 'em" in the lead up to get in the paper then and then, months and months later, announce she's turned against the Bully Boy to get more coverage from the Times?
Because that's honestly what it's looking like.
I'm all for survey articles by their very nature. Anytime the paper can get one more voice in the paper that's not an "official source" -- often unnamed -- it's a good thing. And I personally usually enjoy Zernike's survey pieces.
I can even enjoy this one.
But it goes back to the question of when does the paper cover the people who opposed the war from the start?
In the midst of this discussion this morning, a friend called, who works at another paper, and gave the knee jerk response. I called him on the fallacy of that argument (and to his credit, he owned up to it).
Fallacy: This is "newsworthy" (today's piece) because it's about people who have "doubts."
That's probably how the pitch for this went too. If that's a selling point, it's hardly a timely one. Regardless of the poll or the insitution, polls have consistently indicated an erosion of support for the occupation of Iraq. When polls consistently arrive at the same finding over time, it's a real trend. (As opposed to a media created one.)
This might have been "newsworthy" in September (or before). In September, we did a piece for The Third Estate Sunday Review, "'Why Are You Here' and 'What's Changed.'" ("We" was credited as The Third Estate Sunday Review's Dona, Jess, Ty, Ava and Jim, Rebecca of Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude, Betty of Thomas Friedman Is a Great Man, C.I. of The Common Ills and The Third Estate Sunday Review, Kat of Kat's Korner (of The Common Ills), Cedric of Cedric's Big Mix, Mike of Mikey Likes It!, Elaine of Like Maria Said Paz, Ruth of Ruth's Morning Edition Report and her granddaughter Tracey.)
There were many problems in pulling that piece together. There was the original completed version which no one (including me) thought to save a copy of before posting and it was lost during posting. There were Blogger problems repeatedly. And it was a hassle and a pain to finish it (even the first version that was lost). There were enough problems going on that I didn't need to add to them. But I did and freely cop to it.
There was a value (news and otherwise) in including the voices that had started out with some sort of support for the war and had changed their position, no question. But my issue (and I wasn't the only one who argued this point, but I'll let other's name themselves) was always, "Let's not make it about that." They are a part of the story of the DC protest events of the weekend of September 23rd; they are not the whole story. And with the mainstream media having ignored the voices who were against the war from the start, I wanted no part in a piece that once again sidelined those voices.
So whenever anyone pushed a voice telling the story of how they had recently come to the decision that the war was wrong, I questioned everyone of those inclusions. What this person is saying is unique because? This voice is a better inclusion than others that you spoke to because?
Few, if any, of us had any sleep as we tried to redo the lost piece in spare moments (we were participating in Sunday's activities) and complete it. We were all tired. I know my eyes were running and all I wanted to do was to go to sleep. (I believe the last of us still participating before it posted logged 42 hours without sleep when the piece finally was completed -- which is probably why we accidentally left out one person's statement and had to add that mid-week.) But to do a piece, for the record, and not give voice to the voices who had been silenced by the mainstream media for two years was not something that I would go along with. (Again, I wasn't the only one who felt that way and Elaine just said I could note that she was another one making that point.)
Obviously, the Times (as an insititution) grapples with no such issues.
They're perfectly content to still cover the same group of people who supported the war then. Sometimes, as with today, they'll include a few from that group who've now started to have some doubts. But it's still the same group.
The ones who cheerleaded then are still given a platform. The ones who were opposed are still ignored.
Here's a survey pitch for the Times: a group who was opposed then and is opposed now. Here are your "hooks:"
1) In the face of nonquestioning media and a Bully Boy who was going to have his war regardless of the costs or the opposition, how were you able to speak out then?
2) When every news program and newspaper in the mainstream media were running cooked intel as "fact" and people were being arrested at malls for just wearing a t-shirt that said "Give Peace A Chance," how were you able to come out against the war?
3) With the mainstream media silencing voices of dissent, where were you able to get your information?
4) While papers were hailing Colin Powell's UN presentation (what he now refers to as "a blot" and others call "a lie"), how is it that you knew a college student's paper (from the early nineties!) and other questionable assertions ("lies") had made into it into his speech?
Those are your hooks. How was it that some people (a significant number actually, though you'd never know it from the mainstream media) weren't fooled despite the Judith Miller & Michael Gordon reporting?
'The Times should have been more skepitcal' was the tone of the infamous mea culpa. Here's another thought, the Times could have just done what it prides itself on (and what, historically in this country, they're largely responsible for): presented two sides. Two sides to war are not "We should go to war with Iraq this way!" and "No, we should go to war with Iraq this way!"
The institution's position on the war was quite clear, they were for it. That shouldn't have effected the "balance" in reporting that the Times is largely credited for creating.
Today's survey piece could have been written in September. It's not "timely."
And it once again pushes the myth that "everyone" supported the war, that "everyone" was wrong. Everyone wasn't wrong.
The administration's attempts to hide behind that lie are assisted by pieces like today's when voices opposed to the war from the start are still unheard by the paper.
We weren't all wrong and the intel wasn't wrong, it was fixed and it was slanted by an administration eager to have their war of choice at any cost. That cost includes the lives lost (for example, 2106 American troop fatalities) but there are other costs as well and they go beyond the voices found in the survey piece in the paper today.
The career diplomats who resigned ahead of the war understood the long term costs to the nation. The Times wasn't interested in that story in real time and, post mea culpa, they apparently still aren't.
There are long term costs to Bully Boy's actions and ignoring them won't make them go away. But maybe the Times figures that when those costs surface they can just pen another weak mea culpa?
The paper was quite happy to run with every assertion (no matter how questionable, sourced or unsourced) supporting a war. With the exception of the op-ed pages (especially Bob Herbert and Paul Krugman) and the occasional editorial the lies aren't acknowledged, they're dimissed or offered up as "we were all wrong." There's another part of this story and the Times is unwilling or unable to cover it. (I criticized a reporter -- Stevenson? Purdum? -- for using that phrase in a report. I've long used it here. It's a way to "fair.")
If the mea culpa means anything, if the sacrificial departure of Judith Miller means anything, if we're supposed to pretend that she was the only one abandoning journalism at the paper, then the Times needs to be striving towards covering what they refused to cover in the lead up to the war, in the invasion and in the occupation to this day.
I slammed a piece by Scott Shane on Monday (and stand by that slam) but I also noted that at least it gave credit to Democracy Now!* I stand by that. It's the only mainstream article to note that a Pentagon spokesperson admitted to the use of white phosphorus on America radio and television. That's part of the story and I'll give credit to the Times for acknowledging it. That's the sort of approach that the Times needs to be taking now, going beyond the obvious sources (who have too often burned them -- but the paper wanted to play with fire) and making an effort to to dig a little deeper than they have in the past. If the mea culpa meant anything on their end, other than an attempt to cover their own asses, that's the sort of thing they need to be consistently doing.
The focus of Zernike's article (in the absence of other voices) doesn't do that.
Benedict Carey has a front page article as well (Zernike's runs on the front page) entitled "The Struggle to Gauge a War's Psychological Cost." There are a number of problems wrong with that article. One huge problem is the assertion quoted by Captain Willilam Nash who's billed as "a Navy psychiatrist" but, as Elaine pointed out, appears confused as to his profession. There's more I could say on the Times approach but everyone's sitting in here ranting and listening to me rant. Elaine's got a point worth making, so I'll close here so she can stop being a good friend and get to work on her entry. But the story of this war includes more than "official sources" and people who now have a few doubt (maybe have a few doubts).
Closing thought, though the policy implications and strategic implications of what we've done may go beyond the areas of knowledge for many reporters at the Times, the editors (if only due to the positions they hold) should be well aware of them and the paper needs to cover those issues.
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[*Note: Many times here I make a point to say "Smith or 'Smith' writes. . ." to indicate that articles, despite their byline, are often reworked by someone other than the credited author or authors. E-mails to this site, which I take with a grain of salt, from people at the paper as well as conversations with friends at the paper, which I take more seriously, indicate that Scott Shane's Monday article had some reworking by someone other than Scott Shane. It should always be remembered that this does happen but I honestly don't have the time to note it everytime. Nor do I always remember to. This has been the largest criticism from people at the paper who've e-mailed -- that they take the fall for something that does not reflect what they wrote. Due to conversations, which I do take more seriously, I'll note that the word is Shane's story was reworked by someone other than Shane. I'll also add this note to Monday's entry due to the amount of e-mails on this, from people at the paper, and due to the conversations with friends at the paper. However, noted or not, criticism here should always factor in the "Shane or 'Shane' writes . . ." issue.]
the new york times
like maria said paz
the third estate sunday review
[Note: Typos noted by Shirley have been corrected.]
Friday, November 25, 2005
First, already 15 members have weighed in that they have found the Technorati tags useful.
Technorati has been "manually pinged" repeatedly today (Elaine estimates seven times) re: entries here. The site has been published and republished many more times than that.
If there's a problem, it's up to them advise. I've e-mailed them and received an automated reply:
Dear Technorati User,
Thank you for taking the time to drop us a line. If you are reporting a problem you may be having you will be contacted by a support technician once we have had a chance to review your message. If you don't hear back from anyone within a few business days then please let us know
[. . .]
It's the same reply that Elaine received on October 25, 2005. She contacted them twice since then and has still not been "contacted by a support technician."
If there's any word from Technorati, I'll note it here.
Unless the problem's addressed the only tags that will be used are these two "New York Times" and "Democracy Now." No other tags. No publishing and republishing, no manually pinging.
That's annoying, it takes forever and, now, it is worthless.
We all discussed this when we worked on the Headlines earlier today. Some have never wanted to tag (I haven't wanted to but I've been willing). All feel it's worthless if Technorati isn't going to read them.
While the sudden failure to read tags at Mikey Likes It!, Kat's Korner, Thomas Friedman Is a Good Man, and this site might have something to do with something switched when they were updating, the fact remains that there are ten sites in this community (check my math) and either all that use tags are read or I'm not using tags. That's me, that's for this site.
If the issue can be resolved, I'll return to tagging.
To those that enjoy tagging, I'd suggest doing it sometime. Only don't do it like I've done, do it like Rebecca's done. Where she's tagged every post for over two months, where she's registered with Technorati and put the code they say to in her template (which is why it shows up on her page and not just in an entry). Do all that and do it for two months (actually over two for Rebecca) and still not be recognized by Technorati. Then figure out if you "enjoy" tagging.
Here, it's been a problem while every entry has had to be published and republished and published again over and over while manully pinging over and over. I don't have that kind of time. One Saturday, I was desperate to get two entries up (one was a heads up to Laura Flanders) and it was just too much frustration. Both entries were written. They would normally go up one after the other, no hassle. Instead it was constant publish, republish, manually ping, publish, republish manually ping, publish, republish, manually ping, over and over.
Now let's note Joe Strupp's "Former Ombudsman Criticizes Woodward Arrangement" (Editor & Publisher):
Former Washington Post Ombudsman Geneva Overholser criticized her former newspaper, saying it should either sever its ties with Bob Woodward or require the legendary Watergate scribe to work solely for the paper, not pen his best-selling books on the side.
"It isn't an arrangement that can really work at the Post," said Overholser, who served as ombudsman from 1995 to 1998 and later as a Post columnist for three years. "If I were editor, I would say, 'Bob, you've got to pick.'"
Overholser's comments come one week after Woodward revealed that he had testified before special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald about a confidential conversation he had in 2003 with a White House aide about Valerie Plame's identity as a CIA analyst. He also disclosed that he had kept that conversation from Post editors for more than two years, revealing it to Executive Editor Leonard Downie Jr., just last month.
Overholser, who also served as editor of the Des Moines Register from 1988 to 1995, holds an endowed chair at the Washington bureau of the University of Missouri School of Journalism. While she praised Downie as an editor with great strengths, she also said his response to the Woodward situation -- allowing the writer's dual roles to continue, but with a demand for more communication on outside projects -- does not go far enough.
"I don't think he is acknowledging the degree to which this poses a problem for the Post," Overholser said. "To have Woodward operate this way."
From Media Matters we'll note "Matalin: 'Everybody in town knew' that Plame was at the CIA:"
On the November 21 edition of MSNBC's Imus in the Morning, Mary Matalin, a former assistant to President Bush and counselor to Vice President Dick Cheney, was the latest among many defenders of the administration to repeat the unsupported claim that former ambassador Joseph C. Wilson IV himself disclosed the identity of his wife, CIA operative Valerie Plame. Criticizing special counsel Patrick J. Fitzgerald's investigation into the leak, Matalin asked, "What's the crime here?" She contended that "[e]verybody in town knew that, and who outed her was her husband -- 'my wife, the CIA wife' and all this stuff." Matalin offered no evidence to support her assertion that Wilson himself had introduced his wife in public settings as a CIA employee.
Media Matters for America has previously debunked several iterations of this rumor (here, here, and here). Purveyors of this rumor include former CIA operative Wayne Simmons, who claimed that Plame was "traipsed" and "waltz[ed]" around Washington by Wilson, who introduced her as "my CIA wife"; and Fox News legal analyst Andrew P. Napolitano, who reported that "at least one" of his Fox News associates heard Wilson present Plame as "my CIA operative wife."
The October 28 indictment of Cheney's former chief of staff, I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby -- charging him with perjury, false statements, and obstruction of justice in the course of the leak investigation -- explains: "At all relevant times from January 1, 2002 through July 2003, Valerie [Plame] Wilson was employed by the CIA, and her employment status was classified. Prior to July 14, 2003, Valerie Wilson's affiliation with the CIA was not common knowledge outside the intelligence community."
Russ Feingold sits down for an interview with George Steph on ABC's This Week Sunday. That's your heads up. (In other news, Tales From the Crypt's David Broder leaves the crypt to haunt Tim Russert's roundtable on Meet the Press. As always, Broder will be attempting to pose as someone on the left.) CBS' Face The Nation features:
Presidential Historians Roundtable
Author, History's Memory, Writing America's Past
Author, His Excellency: George Washington
James Reson, Jr.
Author, Dogs of God: Columbus, the Inquisition & the Defeat of the Moors
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Democracy Now: Yip Harburg; Leigh Saavedra, Jeremy Scahill, Danny Schechter, Dahr Jamail, Medea Benjamin, community headlines
We've composed the following twelve headlines dealing with Iraq, peace, global warming, reproductive rights,
Bob Woodward, Judith Miller, prisons, the Patriot Act, the media, fatalities and other topics.
1) From Dahr Jamail's MidEast Wire (Iraq Dispatches):
Monday in Iraq, US troops fired on a car in Ba'qubah, killing five, two adults and three children. The US military states that they feared the car "booby-trapped." The family had been returning from visiting relatives when a US convoy approached. The car was fired on from the front and the back. One Iraqi was quoted as saying, "The ones who brought in the Americans are at fault. Those who support them are at fault. All of them are at fault. Look at these. They are all children. All of them of are children. They killed them. They killed my entire family."
2) In the United States the Associated Press reports that Cindy Sheehan returned to Crawford, Texas Thursday and joined what some estimates say were 100 protestors and other estimates say as many as 200.
Cindy Sheehan stated, "I feel happy to be back here with all my friends ... but I'm heartbroken that we have to be here again," said Sheehan, who hoped to arrive earlier in the week, but was delayed by a family emergency. "We will keep pressing and we won't give up until our troops are brought home."
3) Since Sheehan and others last gathered at Camp Casey I and Camp Casey II, laws have been passed to prevent further gatherings in Crawford -- "local bans on roadside camping and parking." As protestors returned this week, they were advised they could be arrested. Among those arrested Wednesday were Daniel Ellsberg and US diplomat Ann Wright. Democratic Underground has a report from Carl who was also arrested Wendesday. Carl reports that "The entire [arrest & booking] process took 3.5 hours." Carl advises that the vigils will also take place on Christmas and New Year's Eve as well as that "Donations to the Crawford Veterans For Peace can be mailed to P. O. Box 252, Crawford, Texas, 76638-9998."
4) As the participation of psychologists and psychiatrists in the "BISQUIT" program and other 'interrogation' work raises ethical and professional questions today, CounterPunch is reporting that in WWII, United States anthropologists participated with the Office of Strategic Services in attempts to determine means to destroy the Japanese. David Price reports, in what is a clear betrayal of the profession, anthropologists were instructed "to try to conceive ways that any detectable differences could be used in the development of weapons, but they were cautioned to consider this issue 'in a-moral and non-ethical terms'." Price notes "Ralph Linton and Harry Shapiro, objected to even considering the OSS' request but they were the exceptions."
5) In legal news, as the prison industry has switched to a profit making business, prisoners have found themselves located far from relatives. The distance has proved profitable for long distance companies. The Center for Constitutional Rights argued in court Monday on behalf of "New York family members who pay a grossly inflated rate to receive a phone call from their loved ones in state prisons." CCR notes:
The lawsuit, Walton v. NYSDOCS and MCI, seeks an order prohibiting the State and MCI from charging exorbitant rates to the family members of prisoners to finance a 57.5% kickback to the State. MCI charges these family members a 630% markup over regular consumer rates to receive a collect call from their loved ones, the only way possible to speak with them. Judge George Ceresia of the Supreme Court of New York, Albany County, dismissed the suit last fall, citing issues of timeliness.
6) In other legal news, Cynthia L. Cooper reports for Women's enews that November 30th the Supreme Court will hear arguments in Ayotte v. Planned Parenthood of Northern New England. At issue in this case, is whether or not bans on reproductive freedom enacted by state legislatures must take effect before they can be legally challenged or whether they can be challenged as soon as they are passed. The standard up to now has been that laws can be challenged as soon as they are passed. Cooper notes:
By changing the legal standard for when an abortion restriction can be challenged in court, anti-abortion laws could quickly entangle women across the country, without directly overturning Roe v. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court case that held that states could not criminalize abortion in all circumstances.
7) The Guardian of London reports on a Rutgers University study that has found "[g]lobal warming is doubling the rate of sea level rise around the world, but attempts to stop it by cutting back on greenhouse gas emissions are likely to be futile." Professor Kenneth Miller tells The Guardian's Ashraf Khalil, "This is going to cause more beach erosion. Beaches are going to move back and houses will be destroyed." This comes as the Climate Conference is gearing up to take place in Montreal from November 28th to December 9th. United for Peace and Justice
is issuing a call for action:
This fall let's mobilize a nationwide, grassroots education and action campaign leading up to mass demonstrations in Montreal and throughout the U.S. on Saturday, December 3rd. Help gather signatures for the Peoples Ratification of the Kyoto Global Warming Treaty (http://www.unitedforpeace.org/www.kyotoandbeyond.org), which will be presented in Montreal. Join Climate Crisis: USA Join the World! (http://www.unitedforpeace.org/www.climatecrisis.us) as we call for:
USA Join the World by Ratifying the Kyoto Protocol
Support and Export Clean, Safe, Non-Nuclear Energy Alternatives
End Government Subsidies for Oil and Coal Corporations
Dramatically Strengthen Energy Conservation and Fuel Efficiency Standards
A Just Transition for Workers, Indigenous and Other Communities Affected by a Change to Clean Energy
Defend the World's Forests; Support Community-Run Tree Planting Campaigns
8) With Congress out of session due to the holidays, a number of organizations are attempting to inform the public of pending legislation. The Bill of Rights Defense Center warns to "[e]xpect a vote [on the renewal of the Patriot Act]after Congress returns on December 12th." Of the bill, Lisa Graves of the ACLU states:
The Patriot Act was bad in 2001, and despite bipartisan calls for reform, it's still bad in 2005. Instead of addressing the real concerns that millions of Americans have about the Patriot Act, the Republican majority in Congress buckled to White House pressure, stripping the bill of modest yet meaningful reforms. Congress must reject this bill.
Both the ACLU and the Bill of Rights of Defense Center are calling for grass roots action.
Also asking for action is NOW. Congress failed to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act.
You can make your voice heard via NOW's take action page. On their page, you have the option of e-mailing your representatives and/or signing a petition that NOW will present to Congress on December 5th.
9) Meanwhile, as November winds down, American military fatalities have reached 76 for the month, with the Department of Defense reporting 50 Americans wounded thus far this month. The total number of American military killed in Iraq, official count, has reached 2105. Scripps Howard News Service reports that, "U.S. commanders on the ground have already launched plans to close bases and withdraw troops in the coming year, according to two congressmen who returned from Iraq this week." The two congress members are John Kline and Mark Kennedy (Republicans, Minn.).
10) In other Congressional news, Ari Berman reports for The Nation that John McCain is in the midst of makeover. Meeting with The Arizona Republican Assembly in August, McCain slapped some new war paint on as McCain supported the teaching of so-called "intelligent design" side by side with evolution, the state's "ban on gay marriage that denies government benefits to any unmarried couple," hailed Ronald Reagan as "my hero" and was observed "strenuously defending . . . Bush's Iraq policy."
For those who have forgotten, McCain attended Mark Bingham's funeral. Bingham was one of the passengers of Flight 93 on 9/11 hailed in immediate media reports. As the days wore on, Bingham appeared to disappear from many reports. Mark Bingham was gay. Whether that resulted in a "downgrading" by some in the media has been a source of speculation for some time.
11) Focusing on the media, at The Black Commentator, Margaret Kimberly addresses the issue of Bob Woodward, tying him and his editor to the journalistic behaviors of Judith Miller and her editors:
Miller, Sulzberger, Woodward and Bradlee are at the top of the corporate media food chain, and their behavior tells us why Americans aren't being told anything they ought to be told. Woodward uses his access to make a fortune writing about the Supreme Court or various presidential administrations. If a journalist's priority is writing best selling books based on the amount of access gained with the powerful, then truth telling goes out the window.
12) Also addressing the very similar behaviors of Miller and Woodward are Steven C. Day at Pop Politics, Ron Brynaert at Why Are We Back In Iraq?, and Arianna Huffington at The Huffington Post. Though still vocal on Judith Miller and weighing in with the "latest," CJR Daily still can't find a connection between the "journalistic" styles of Judith Miller and Bob Woodward. In their most recent 'Judy report', CJR Daily ponders the question of why did Miller go to jail when Scooter Libby and his people maintain that they released her from confidentiality claims. Covering old news and working themselves into another lather over Miller, CJR Daily wonders
"Why did Ms. Miller go to jail?" and maintains the question "has never been fully answered." The question has indeed been answered.
Whether CJR Daily approves of or believes the argument of Miller, Floyd Abrams, et al, is beside the point. For the record, the answer has been given many times. The argument was that Miller needed more than a form signed possibly under duress. Abrams and others have long been on the record explaining that they sought a release other than the form. In the [New York Times] front page report, Sunday October 16, 2005, Don Van Natta Jr., Adam Liptak and Clifford J. Levy reported:
She said she began thinking about whether she should reach out
to Mr. Libby for "a personal, voluntary waiver."
[. . .]
While she mulled over over her options, Mr. Bennett was urging
her to allow him to approach Mr. Tate, Mr. Libby's lawyer, to try to
negotiate a deal that would get her out of jail. Mr. Bennet wanted
to revive the question of the waivers that Mr. Libby and other
administration officials signed the previous year authorizing
reporters to disclose their confidential discussions.
The other reporters subpoenaed in the case said such waivers
were coerced. They said administration officials signed them only
because they feared retribution from the prosecutor or the White
House. Reporters for at least three news organizations had then
gone back to their sources and obtained additional assurances that
convinced them the waivers were genunie.
But Ms. Miller said she had not gotten an assurance that she
felt would allow her to testify.
Again, from the front page New York Times story on . . . October 16, 2005. Though this was not the first reporting on Miller's position, this front page story of the Times was commented in great detail including at CJR Daily here and here. The latter time by the same writer who now wonders "Why did Ms. Miller go to jail?" Repeatedly hitting the designated pinata with articles focusing on her conduct while reducing the conduct of Bob Woodward to asides (whispered asides?) doesn't appear to make for brave "watchdoggery."
Democracy Now! has a special presentation today. The headlines above were composed by The Third Estate Sunday Review's Dona, Jess, Ty, Ava and Jim, Rebecca of Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude, C.I. of The Common Ills and The Third Estate Sunday Review, Kat of Kat's Korner (of The Common Ills), Mike of Mikey Likes It!, Elaine of Like Maria Said Paz, Betty Thomas Friedman Is a Great Man, Wally of The Daily Jot and Cedric of Cedric's Big Mix. Thanks to Dallas for his help with links and tags. The above will be reposted at The Third Estate Sunday Review and may also be reposted at the sites of members participating.
Today Democracy Now! devotes the hour to:
A Tribute to Yip Harburg: The Man Who Put the Rainbow in the Wizard of Oz
His name might not be familiar to many, but his songs are sung by millions around the world. Today a journey through the life and work of Yip Harburg, the Broadway lyricist who wrote such hits as "Brother Can You Spare a Dime" and who put the music into the Wizard of Oz. Born into poverty on the Lower East Side of Manhattan, Yip always included a strong social and political component to his work, fighting racism and poverty. A lifelong socialist, Yip was blacklisted and hounded throughout much of his life.
Taking us on today's trip through the music and politics of Yip is his son, Ernie Harburg. First, we're going to go through Yip's early life, his collaboration with the Gershwin's, through "Brother Can You Spare A Dime." Then we're going to take an in-depth look at the Wizard of Oz. And finally, we'll hear a medley of Yip Harburg's Broadway songs and the politics of the times in which they were created. [includes rush transcript]
Mia e-mails to note Leigh Saavedra's "Thanksgiving at Camp Casey" (CounterPunch):
I don't know if Casey learned any parts of the big lie while he was in Iraq, but I look at his youthful face and am overcome with the knowledge of all that he never knew. He never knew that it was pointless to search for weapons of mass destruction, because such weapons didn't exist. He never knew that some reputable people would later say that the Bush crowd NEVER believed such weapons existed but used the threat only to force the American people to support the conquest. He never knew that even after some of Bush's "evidence" was disproved and reported to Bush as false that he would still go on to use it in a State of the Union Address fifteen months before Casey's life would be extinguished. He couldn't have known that one leak after another would finally bring two-thirds of the United States, now with a large number of its leaders, to admit that it had been wrong to invade Iraq. Probably he never for a moment knew that much of the world today considers George Bush to be the most dangerous person on earth, many calling him the greatest of all terrorists.
The saddest thing about Cindy's question, for what noble cause did Casy die, is that there never WAS an answer. There never WAS a noble cause. Casey was used, along with well over 2,000 other young people who believed what they were told, who listened to a corporate-controlled media that reported what Power wanted them to report and withheld what Power wanted withheld, all exacerbated by a gullible public with a short memory, narrow minds, and a great lack of research inclination.
And he never knew of course that it would take a single person, his mother, to take a stand watched all around the world, to become the child who questions the emperor's new clothes.
Today, our battle is far from over, but we have leaped mountains since the worldwide protests in February, 2003, when most of the American people refused to accept that we could be making a mistake to invade Iraq. At that time, the majority of Americans believed that there was a connection between Iraq and 9-ll, or Iraq and al-Qaeda. Today we can say that many in our country have awakened. Whether it is in shock at the discoveries that our country does indeed support torture and whether it is the photos of such horrible lawlessness as seen in Abu Ghraib or whether it is the slow, sometimes barely audible whistleblowing that is coming to us weekly now, we won't know for some time. But what we do know is that a short time ago, Americans in general believed their president. That is no longer the case.
Jeremy Scahill's "Did Bush Really Want to Bomb Al Jazeera?" (The Nation):
Is the allegation "outlandish," as the White House claims? Or was it a deadly serious option? Until a news organization or British official defies the Official Secrets Act and publishes the five-page memo, we have no way of knowing. But what we do know is that at the time of Bush's White House meeting with Blair, the Bush Administration was in the throes of a very public, high-level temper tantrum directed against Al Jazeera. The Bush-Blair summit took place on April 16, at the peak of the first US siege of Falluja, and Al Jazeera was there to witness the assault and the fierce resistance.
A day before Bush's meeting with Blair, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld slammed Al Jazeera in distinctly undiplomatic terms:
REPORTER: Can you definitively say that hundreds of women and children and innocent civilians have not been killed?
RUMSFELD: I can definitively say that what Al Jazeera is doing is vicious, inaccurate and inexcusable.
REPORTER: Do you have a civilian casualty count?
RUMSFELD: Of course not, we're not in the city. But you know what our forces do; they don't go around killing hundreds of civilians. That's just outrageous nonsense. It's disgraceful what that station is doing.
What Al Jazeera was doing in Falluja is exactly what it was doing when the United States bombed its offices in Afghanistan in 2001 and when US forces killed Al Jazeera's Baghdad correspondent, Tareq Ayoub, during the April 2003 occupation of Baghdad. Al Jazeera was witnessing and reporting on events Washington did not want the world to see.
On the same subject, Martha e-mails to note this from Danny Schechter's latest News Dissector:
Most wars "blow back" into the countries that start them. They lead to repressive policies, a redirection of funding into the military, and, of course. deaths and casualties that will be with us for decades to come. Ask the veterans from Vietnam if you doubt me. The War for Iraqi Freedom has now become a war on our freedom. Witness Tony Blair's efforts in England to suppress news flowing from a newly leaked Downing Street memo by threatening to jail editors.
More significantly, the story that is being censored in the press is about the press itself. I am talking about reports that Blair intervened to dissuade President Bush from bombing Al Jazeera’s headquarters. Its being treated like a joke in some quarters. I actually had people tell me that if he said it, he didn’t mean it. Such a joker, that Bush. Ha. Ha.
Only the people who work at Al Jazeera and other journalists in the Arab world are not laughing. They take it personally and politically. They are demanding the truth and so far I haven’t seen many journalists here joining them in solidarity. For us at Mediachannel, this is one more reason why we need a Tell The Truth About The War campaign.
I fully support Al Jazeera's demands and so should you.
Martha wonders if this might not be a topic worthy of attention from CJR Daily's media desk instead of "constant speculation solely about Judith Miller"?
Kyle e-mails to highlight Dahr Jamail's latest "Life Goes On in Fallujah's Rubble" (IPS):
A year after the U.S.-led "Operation Phantom Fury" damaged or destroyed 36,000 homes, 60 schools and 65 mosques in Fallujah, Iraq, residents inside the city continue to suffer from lack of compensation, slow reconstruction and high rates of illness. The Study Centre for Human Rights and Democracy based in Fallujah (SCHRD) estimates the number of people killed in the city during the U.S.-led operation in October and November 2004 at 4,000 to 6,000, most of them civilians. Mass graves were dug on the outskirts of the city for thousands of the bodies.
Last week, the Pentagon confirmed that it had used white phosphorus, a chemical that bursts into flame upon contact with air, inside Fallujah as an "incendiary weapon" against insurgents. Washington denies that it is a chemical weapon, as charged by some critics, and that it was used against civilians. Compensation payments promised by Iyad Allawi, the U.S.-backed interim prime minister at the time of the operation, have failed to materialise for many residents in the city, who lack potable water and suffer electricity cuts on a daily basis.
Finally, Cindy notes Medea Benjamin's "10 Reasons to Give Thanks" (Common Dreams):
This Thanksgiving, we who yearn for peace and justice have a lot to be thankful for. For starters…
We're thankful that Congressman John Murtha has joined us in calling for an end to the occupation of Iraq.
We’re thankful that the majority of Americans now agree with us that this war in Iraq was a mistake and the troops should come home as soon as possible.
We’re thankful that Lewis Libby has been indicted, that Karl Rove has become a liability for the Bush administration, and that Tom DeLay has fallen from grace.
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In an unpublished report presented to European Union foreign ministers, the representatives recommend a more aggressive European stance toward Israeli policies in East Jerusalem, whose annexation by Israel has not been recognized by the European Union or the United States.
The above is from Steven Erlanger's "Europeans Rebuke Israeli Jerusalem Policy" which Kara e-mailed to note.
Brad notes the Associated Press' "Nixon Was Torn by Prospect of Nuclear War, Papers Show:"
The picture was pieced together by William Burr, a researcher at the National Security Archive at George Washington University, from papers released by the National Archives as well as documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act.
The documents reveal Mr. Kissinger's chilling insight that government budget-crunchers would prefer complete nuclear warfare because it was already planned for and would be cheaper than recasting American capabilities to permit limited strikes.
"They believe in assured destruction because it guarantees the smallest expenditure," he said in August 1973 at a National Security Council meeting in the White House Situation Room. "To have the only option that of killing 80 million people is the height of immorality."
The papers show Mr. Kissinger struggling with a reluctant military and intelligence apparatus to sell them on the idea of limited nuclear strikes. Many doubted that the Soviet Union would settle for a tidy little nuclear war. They feared that a conflagration would quickly follow, devouring cities and killing millions.
The selections in this entry and the previous one are based on members' e-mails and it truly is a case of the early bird. Elaine wants to watch The Apartment (I prefer Some Like It Hot) and it's so late as it is. She sold me on the idea of truly sleeping late by doing the posts early. So there's no critique of the Times here. There are excerpts members provided to stories they noted. After staying up all night on Wednesday (to cook) and having only an hour nap Thursday, I'll grab the chance to sleep in. (While also grabbing the chance to enjoy time with a lifelong friend I rarely get to see.)
If any member is bothered by this, there's no plan to make this a regular routine. But to not have to get up at the crack of dawn is too tempting to me. (So is eating popcorn and laughing at the movie with Elaine.) There may be more in the paper. If there's anything major, I'll try to note it in an entry much, much later today. (Though I may also take a break and just avoid it since member's have covered it, my opinion, this morning.)
My argument for not doing this was what about the heads up to Democracy Now! But Elaine pointed out that we already knew it was Yip Harburg. This is an episode I think you'll enjoy. (I'll be listening again.) With Harold Arlen he wrote (among other things) the songs to The Wizard of Oz. It's arts, it's politics (the blacklist is addressed) and it's a wonderful program so please check it out today. (I listen, you can also watch it on TV or watch, listen, or read online at Democracy Now!) (You'll also get to hear various versions of "Brother Can You Spare A Dime." My favorite is Judy Collins. Listen -- or watch -- and you can decide which is your favorite.)
Be sure to check out Marcia's highlight, Steven C. Day's "Embedding and the Road to Disgrace: The Bob and Judy Show" (Pop Politics):
When the Pentagon first announced its plan to "embed" reporters into military units, back in those heady days shortly before the beginning of the War in Iraq, when visions of weapons of mass destruction and flower throwing Iraqis were still dancing in Neocon heads, the idea was widely described in the press as a major innovation; it wasn't, of course. It was merely the next logical step in a process that had long since become standard operating procedure in the Bush Administration’s relationship with the media.
Judith Miller, for example, became embedded in the Bush Administration's war machine beginning almost immediately following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. Bob Woodward signed on somewhat later. From its inception, the relationship between the White House and these two Alpha journalists was a symbiotic one: To the aging media luminaries, the relationship offered the insider access that is the most coveted of all prizes in today’s lazier-than-a-pig-wallowing-in-mud-non-investigative-journalism. And with access came goodies: Front page stories in The Times for Miller; rich book deals for Woodward.
To constitute true symbiosis, of course, a relationship should be beneficial for both sides, and Bush & Co. received more than a fair exchange for the access it granted, as these two powerful journalists assumed the role of largely unquestioning pamphleteers for the administration line.
And now that this chummy engagement has gone South for both Miller and Woodward (except for the money part, of course), all I can say is that I wish they had talked to me about it before getting in too deep. Because I could have told them what was coming; I've seen it happen scores of times in a different context.
It has to do with embedding.
As Marcia points out, Pop Politics is a wonderfully eclectic site and you never know what you'll find there. It's also the site where you can find Christine's writing. (A number of members have written to say that they miss Ms. Musing. I do as well.) You'll find provocative writing on every topic you can imagine, TV shows, sports, politics, you name it. We've highlighted Bernie, Jaclyn and (of course) Christine, but if you haven't checked it out, please do.
Betsy asks if we've already highlighted Matthew Rothschild's "Bush Targets Al Jazeera? CNN Head Should Get Job Back" (This Just In, The Progressive) and I don't believe we have:
Remember Eason Jordan, the CNN news chief who was forced to resign back in February because he dared to say, at a private conference, that theUnited States had killed about a dozen journalists in Iraq?
Well, he's looking a lot better today, one day after the Daily Mirror reported that George W. Bush wanted to bomb Al-Jazeera headquarters in Doha, the capital city of Qatar. "He was talked out of it at a White House summit by Tony Blair," the Daily Mirror said.
The paper said it had a new "top secret" Downing Street Memo that contains a transcript of the Bush-Blair conversation of April 16, 2004.
It has the ring of truth to it.
After all, Donald Rumsfeld has harped on Al Jazeera in none too subtle ways. "We are dealing with people who are willing to lie to the world to make their case," Rumsfeld said. (He's one to talk.) And he said Al Jazeera is "Johnny-on-the-spot a little too often for my taste."
The Daily Mirror story also has the ring of truth to it because the United States bombarded Al Jazeera's Baghdad office when the war started. Al Jazeera reporter Tareq Ayyoub died in that assault.
If we've have highlighted it already, I'm too sleep deprived to remember. But it's worth noting.
(Lloyd usually highlight Matthew Rothschild before anyone else can grab the time to. The date on Rothschild's piece is November 23rd and Lloyd was already traveling at that point. I know that because he wanted to participate in the roundtable for the latest gina & krista round-robin but couldn't due to the time -- he was on a plane. However, Jim, Dona and Ty of The Third Estate Sunday Review, Wally of The Daily Jot, Elaine of Like Maria Said Paz, Keesha, Liang, Jonah, Beth, Charlie, myself and Gina and Krista -- of course -- were able to participate. Which is a long way of saying, remember to check your inboxes this morning if you're signed up for the gina & krista round-robin. I haven't seen a drawing Isaiah's done for them yet but Gina says it's hilarious and you also have a poem from Shirley and an interview with Micah. As well as Beth's latest ombudsperson column and Gina and Krista's activism alerts and writings.)
The e-mail address for this site is firstname.lastname@example.org. I'll also note that I'm not in the mood for tags. (See Elaine's entry.) By not including a wealth of them, I'm saving a huge amount of time. I also won't be publishing and republishing and repeatedly "pinging" Technorati. You can e-mail me if you enjoy the tags (or take the issue to Beth -- who will curse me for suggesting that, it's a holiday weekend, so if you do want tags, leave Beth alone on this topic until next week at least). I did them to help raise the profile of other sites. They're a pain in the butt and I don't like them. (I've stated that here before.) Since Technorati isn't reading all sites (and everyone's manually pinging them although, according to Technorati's directions, they shouldn't have to do that since they've set up for Blogger to ping them) in the community, I'm really in no mood for tags. I'm also tired of wasting time on it. (It's nonsense if the tags aren't read.)
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And Elaine just reminded me I haven't noted Mike's motto: "The Common Ills community is important and the Common Ills community is important to me. So I'll do my part for the Common Ills community." Let me add tags for Mike and Rebecca now.
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The prosecutors say that among the criminal activities of Michael Scanlon, a former House leadership aide who pleaded guilty on Monday to bribery conspiracy, were efforts to influence a lawmaker identified in court papers only as Representative No. 1 with gifts that included $4,000 to his campaign account and $10,000 to a Republican Party fund on his behalf.
Lawyers and others who follow such issues say the case against Mr. Scanlon amounted to a shift by the Justice Department, which, they say, has generally steered clear of trying to build corruption cases around political donations because the charges can be hard to prove.
"The department has rarely charged campaign contribution cases," said Joseph E. diGenova, a defense lawyer and former federal prosecutor. "It would be a surprise that a contribution that has been lawfully reported" would lead to a criminal charge.
The case against Mr. Scanlon, who became wealthy in a partnership with the lobbyist Jack Abramoff, reaches far beyond the contributions to Representative No. 1. Court documents filed by prosecutors lay out an extensive conspiracy in which Mr. Scanlon and Mr. Abramoff, identified in the documents only as Lobbyist A, sought to defraud clients - mainly Indian tribes with gambling interests - and win legislative help from lawmakers in exchange for campaign donations, trips, dinners, greens fees and jobs.
Watchdog groups and some lawmakers say the emerging details of how at least one set of well-connected lobbyists operated should help build momentum for changes in lobbying rules. And, they say, the case demonstrates that the Justice Department shares their longstanding contention that campaign contributions can be used to game the system.
The above is from Carl Hulse's "Political Donations, Bribery and the Portrayal of a Nexus" in this morning's New York Times. It's our spotlight entry selected by Liang, Micah and Durham Gal.
Tad e-mailed (Wednesday, sorry for the delay) to note Juan Gonzalez's "Oil For Bronx Poor is a Foreign Gift: Santa Claus, make way for Santa Chavez" (New York Daily News via Common Dreams):
Poor residents and nonprofit groups in the South Bronx are about to receive a huge Christmas gift from Venezuela's firebrand President Hugo Chavez: Eight-million gallons of heating oil at bargain-basement prices.
Two months ago, in an interview with the Daily News during his visit to the United Nations, Chavez first made the startling offer of cheap fuel for this winter from his oil-rich country to a handful of poor communities in the United States.
At the time, critics of the radical populist Chavez, the Bush administration's biggest nemesis in South America, scoffed at his proposal.
But the Venezuelan leader is about to deliver.
"The first shipments of low-cost fuel from CITGO will begin arriving in my district by late next week," U.S. Rep. Jose Serrano (D-South Bronx) said yesterday.
CITGO, the Houston-based subsidiary of Venezuela's national oil company, owns 14,000 gas stations and eight refineries in the U.S. Because of that, Chavez has a ready-made distribution system and doesn't need any special approvals from the White House for his project.
"My constituents are facing some of the highest energy bills in recent history, even as oil companies are reporting the largest profits in recent memory," Serrano said. "I'm very pleased to have helped broker this historic agreement."
Juan Gonzalez is also the co-host of Democracy Now! and today's program is about Yip Yip Harburg and deals with the topics of art (Harburg wrote songs with Harold Arlen including the songs to The Wizard of Oz) and politics. Want to know the story behind "Over the Rainbow"? check out today's program of Democracy Now!
We'll also note Joey's highlight, also from Common Dreams, Norman Solomon's "Thanksgiving and More Taking:"
When Thanksgiving arrives, the media coverage is mostly predictable. Feature stories tell of turkeys and food drives for the needy. We hear about why some people, famous and unknown, say they feel thankful. And, of course, holiday advertising campaigns launch via TV, radio and print outlets.
Like our own responses to Thanksgiving, the repeated media messages are apt to be contradictory. Answers to basic questions run the gamut: How much time and money should we spend on the holiday dinner compared to helping the less fortunate? Is this really the time to count our blessings -- or yield to ads that tell us how satisfied we'll be after buying the latest brand-new products and services?
Under the surface, some familiar media themes are at cross purposes this time of year. Holiday celebrations that speak to the need for compassion and spiritual connection are frequently marked by efforts and expenditures that point in opposite directions. Within the media echo chambers, a lot of the wallpaper is the color of money.
In its unadorned state, the idea of being thankful is on a collision course with "Thanksgiving" the commercialized media phenomenon. To explore the genuine realms of giving thanks is to pause and mull over good fortune -- dwelling on it while hopefully mustering at least a bit of humility and gratitude for life along the way. But the prevalent emphasis on goodies for dinner-table consumption and the big-hype kickoff of the holiday buying season are media cues with widespread effects.
As a practical matter, in the media world, late November brings a ritualized frenzy that makes cash registers ring (or whatever they do these digital days). Anyone who takes thanksgiving seriously as a potential activity for reflection is likely to sense a disconnect with profuse media content that seems to be unclear on the concept.
And we'll give a heads up. CounterSpin will have Norman Solomon on the new episode. On some stations that will air today (such as Pacifica's WBAI), on others it will air over the weekend. You can also catch it be going to CounterSpin and listening online. (And the link will also assist you in finding out whether CounterSpin is broadcast in your area, if you're unsure.)
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