Friday, April 21, 2006

Other Items

But Mr. de Vries came under criticism from some legislators who called the hearing a whitewash. Kathalijne Buitenweg, a Dutch member of Parliament from the Green Party, said that even without definitive proof, "the circumstantial evidence is stunning."
"I'm appalled that we keep calling to uphold human rights while pretending that these rendition centers don't exist and doing nothing about it," she said.
Many European nations were outraged after an article in The Washington Post in November cited unidentified intelligence officials as saying that the C.I.A. had maintained detention centers for terrorism suspects in eight countries, including some in Eastern Europe. A later report by the advocacy group Human Rights Watch cited Poland and Romania as two of the countries.

The above is from Dan Bilefsky's "No Proof of Secret C.I.A. Prisons, European Antiterror Chief Says" in this morning's New York Times. It is a whitewash. The EU was perfectly happy to talk about the events as long as they could use them as a club to clobber those wanting entry into the EU. But as details continued to emerge, especially with regards to Tony Blair, and as Eurpeans began voicing their outrage (see coverage of "Condi takes a nose dive in Europe and rushes to Iraq to change the news cycle" in the maisntream -- and note that it worked as reporters were led by their noses and thought they were being 'daring' with silly little rumors and 'tude about what went on in flight), suddenly we heard statements that it wouldn't happen, couldn't happen. But it did and it continues and a whitewash investigation doesn't change that.

Highlights. Shawn notes John Nichols' "No to Prowar Democrats" (The Nation):

When Los Angeles teacher Marcy Winograd saw her Democratic representative in Congress making excuses for George W. Bush's warrantless wiretapping program on NBC's Meet the Press in February, she decided that someone had to challenge Jane Harman's acquiescence in Bush's reckless agenda. So Winograd, a veteran activist who had been instrumental in getting the California Democratic Party to take a firm stand against the war in Iraq, leapt into the June 6 primary. She quickly found that others shared her frustration with Harman; Winograd's been endorsed by Progressive Democrats of America, Southern California Americans for Democratic Action, the Western Region of the United Auto Workers union and a half-dozen presidents of local Democratic clubs. Recently her supporters blocked an early Harman endorsement by the state party after Winograd told a caucus: "When elected, I will have the courage to cut funding for the war in Iraq, to say no when the imperial George Bush wants to wiretap your home without a warrant and to immediately sign on to legislation for universal single-payer national healthcare."
Winograd is one of a growing number of challengers to Democratic House and Senate incumbents accused of being too supportive of the war in particular, and of the Bush Administration in general. Not since the early 1970s, when anti-Vietnam War insurgents like Ron Dellums in California, Father Robert Drinan in Massachusetts and Elizabeth Holtzman in New York defeated entrenched Democrats in primaries, has there been such ferment over foreign policy within the ranks of the party.
Ironically, a Democrat who helped form the antiwar caucus that in 1970 wrested the US Senate nomination in Connecticut away from a conservative incumbent, Thomas Dodd, was a young lawyer named Joe Lieberman. This year Lieberman, seeking re-election to Dodd's old seat, faces a serious primary challenge from telecommunications executive Ned Lamont, who entered the race after Lieberman emerged as the highest-profile Democratic defender of Bush's "stay the course" line on Iraq. Arguing that Connecticut needs "a Democratic senator," Lamont has attracted more than 7,000 campaign donations (many collected through the Internet, where liberal bloggers are promoting his candidacy) and hundreds of volunteers for a drive to collect 15,000 signatures to secure him a place on the August 8 primary ballot.

Lloyd notes Matthew Rothschild's "Position Available: Head Liar" (This Just In, The Progressive):

Here's the job description for Scott McClellan's vacated post.
Job Description:
Must be able to lie with a straight face on a daily basis.
Must be able to lie with indignation. (See Ari Fleischer.)
Must be able to answer a question by not answering a question. (See Scott McClellan.)

Need more humor? Wally will be doing The Daily Jot today (and hopefully everyone already saw yesterday's "THIS JUST IN! ALBERTO GONZALES IN THE MIDST OF MADONNA UP!") but for any who missed it, Betty has a new chapter up: "When friends are awarded, Thomas Friedman goes fugue." Cedric and I did not write it. We were on the phone with Betty listening as she attempted to condense several planned chapters into one. The plan last week was that she would post three chapters in a row. Only one made it up because, as Mike noted, everyone wanted her to have a break while she was in California. "When friends are awarded, Thomas Friedman goes fugue" is a great chapter and I'd feel that way even if I didn't know the process Betty put herself through to get that written and up last night. So please check it out. (Cedric plans to post tonight. I was working on the "And the war drags on" post last night while I listened and seriously considered dropping it or saving it until today because I was wiped up just listening to Betty go through her process.) The round-robin goes out today and a few members are guessing what's coming up. Betty answers some questions (not all). If you're reading carefully, you've probably sensed something. Check out the gina & krista round-robin (but warning, Betty is very tight lipped). (I do know the outline Betty works from. I picked up on her clues, but I'm not sure I would've if I didn't know the outline.) (ADDED: As soon as I posted, I remembered Kat was on the phone with Betty before I took part in the call. Since there are problems with Blogger and I have to republish, I'm adding that in here. )

Danny Schechter's News Dissector is the topic of a number of e-mails. He's traveling and covering many topics (it also went up later due to the time zone he's in).

One news item he notes is:

On Thursday, intruders broke into Al-Jazeera's Knightsbridge offices and pinched several items of highly sensitive computer equipment.
The haul included a dozen laptops and several hard drives. They belong to the English-language al-Jazeera International, which launches this summer employing Sir David Frost and Rageh Omar, right.
According to insiders, the nature of the burglary, which occurred when staff were celebrating the Easter bank holiday at a nearby restaurant, caused police investigators to suspect foul play.

The thing it reminds me of, actually two things, are the spying on European members of the UN (by the US government) in the lead up to the war on Iraq and the break in at the Brecht Forum.
Ruth covered that in her report two Saturdays ago, so you can read that and, if you have the ability to listen to audio online, you can also check out the April 3rd Law and Disorder broadcast that Ruth was summarizing.

Second most popular item Danny addresses (popular in the e-mails this morning):

Total Access Live is offering videos from the "Bring 'Em Back Home" concert at the Hammerstein Ballroom featuring Moby, Michael Stipe, Rufus Wainwright, Susan Sarandon, Cindy Sheehan, Steve Earle, Fisherspooner, Bright Eyes and Chuck D. Videos can be watched by going to the main video page for the concert found at

Billie notes "A Tomdispatch Interview with Katrina vanden Heuvel" (

You enter the nondescript grey building off a small street just east of Union Square, ride an oh-so-slow elevator up to the 8th floor, and pass into the offices of the Nation magazine, which just turned 141 years old. It is housed in a vast space. Imagine something between an enormous loft and an old press room with a warren of open, half-walled cubicles clustered at its heart and filled with toiling interns, fact-checkers, and assisters of various sorts. Around the rim of the room, the editors have their offices.
Behind a modest expanse of glass, Katrina vanden Heuvel, editor, publisher, and part-owner of the magazine, is at her desk, her phone headset on, deep in conversation. In our speeded-up media world in which reporters are constantly sent onto TV as pundits just to get a little attention for increasingly desperate newspapers, vanden Heuvel -- remarkably composed in any talk-show setting -- has become the branded face of her magazine.
On her desk is a half-full in-box, but only, as it happens, because the rest of the desk is bursting with papers, stacks of them, one of which half-obscures her as she talks. Turning, she spots me at the door. Clad in a black jacket and dark slacks, she rises with a welcoming smile. She's smaller than you might imagine from the television screen and, refreshingly, lacks any evident sense of self-importance.
Her office is neat as a pin, clean as a whistle -- unless you check out the surfaces which are chaos itself: the desk, a riot of paper; the bookshelves, stuffed not only with books but with nesting dolls of every sort, including a Mikhail Gorbachev one, a box of "revolutionary finger puppets," and lots of framed photos. Every inch of the small coffee table near which she seats us is stacked with books, except where a Santa nesting doll ("I did an interview with a Russian journalist and he gave me this") resides near a Talking Clinton doll (with two buttons on its base, one labeled "funny," the other "inspiration").

Remember to listen, watch or read (transcripts) Democracy Now! today:

Democracy Now! broadcasts live from Chicago: Author Stephen Kinzer joins us to discuss his new book, "Overthrow: America's Century of Regime Change From Hawaii to Iraq"

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