Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Other Items

The lawyer for a Central Intelligence Agency official dismissed last week after being accused of leaking classified information said on Monday that his client denied disclosing any classified information and was not the source for newspaper articles about secret C.I.A. prisons abroad.
Ty Cobb, a Washington lawyer recently retained by the official, Mary O. McCarthy, who was fired last Thursday and escorted out of agency headquarters, said his client had never been granted access to the information she was accused of leaking, referring to material used in Pulitzer Prize-winning articles in The Washington Post about C.I.A. prisons.

The above is from Scott Shane and Mark Mazzetti's "Fired C.I.A. Officer Denies Role in Leak" in this morning's New York Times. Oliver noted it as did a visitor. The visitor noted it with an e-mail that opens "Ha ha." While glad he got his own morning humor (in a non-violent manner), the visitor's incorrect that I said (on Saturday) that McCarthy was guilty. I stated that the CIA's handling of the issue (public firing and leaks) confirms that there are secret prisons. The reasons given (by CIA sources) include a polygraph (and a supposed admission). I place no faith in polygraths because I'd never be able to pass one -- I can't sit still. When they take my blood pressure at the doctor's, I get nervous the minute they start putting on the cuff. So the visitor needs to go back and read the entry Saturday more closely. (Yes, this will be e-mailed out by Ava or Jess later today, for those curious as to the visitor.) Sorry that Oliver's point had to wait for that. Oliver's point is why, since later in the article, the writers credit Dana Priest (who broke the story in the Washington Post on the secret prions), they don't note her upfront? (Oliver's still bothered by the lack of crediting, in the editorials, to Jane Mayer.)

Brenda notes Jeremy Brecher and Brendan Smith's "Attack Iran, Ignore the Constitution" (The Nation):

During the 2004 election, George W. Bush famously proclaimed that he didn't have to ask anyone's permission to defend America. Does that mean he can attack Iran without having to ask Congress? A new Congressional resolution being drafted by Representative Peter DeFazio, a Democrat from Oregon, can be a vehicle to remind Bush that he can't.
Bush is calling news reports of plans to attack Iran "wild speculation" and declaring that the United States is on a "diplomatic" track. But asked this week if his options included planning for a nuclear strike, he repeated that
"all options are on the table."
The President is acting as if the decisions that may get us into another war are his to make and his alone. So the Iran crisis poses not only questions of military feasibility and political wisdom but of Constitutional usurpation.

Heath notes Tom Hayden's "Iraq: Beyond the Horizon, The Storm" (Truthdig.org):

Finally, climactic possibilities, if not the endgame, are ahead in Iraq. The peace movement can shape the outcome by maintaining a pressure role in close political races, blocking military recruiters on campuses, calling for the truth about the President’s impeachable offenses, and not giving up now that the Iraq War is mainstreamed into the center of national debate. Politically, the most significant new development is Sen. John Kerry’s call for military withdrawal by the end of this year. Kerry stands a definite chance of filling the moral void in the present political process. When he steadfastly embraces his record as a young man, the message resonates in several ways. He reminds Americans that moral courage can turn history around, and that we need to listen more carefully today to those who were right ahead of their time. The similarities between then and now -- especially the deaths of American soldiers for draft-dodging politicians who refuse to admit their mistakes -- is a powerful background echo that will not go away.
Kerry follows Feingold, Murtha and John Edwards among national politicians calling for withdrawal in one form or another. Together they are generating expectations from the rank-and-file of the Democratic Party and placing pressure on the party leadership to abandon its commitment to expedient silence. The pressure will only accelerate as the presidential primary season begins, with strong peace caucuses in Iowa and New Hampshire shaping up. Unless Hillary Clinton rapidly repositions herself -- which history reveals is a family trait -- she could face turbulent crosswinds in the primaries just ahead.

Heath wondered if it was okay to suggest that highlight? Yes. I'm not impressed with Kerry's 'plan' but it's more than fine to highlight others who are. (Including, or especially, Hayden.) Stephanie notes Alexander Cockburn's "Obama's Game" (CounterPunch) on the reaction (from the Obama camp) to an earlier piece by Cockburn:

I was harsh about Senator Barack Obama of Illinois here a couple of weeks ago, and the very next morning his press aide, Tommy Vietor, was on the phone howling about inaccuracies. It was an illuminating conversation, indicative of the sort of instinctive reflexes at work in the office of a man already breathlessly touted as a possible vice presidential candidate in 2008 and maybe a presidential candidate somewhere down the road from there.
Obama's man took grave exception to my use of the word "distanced" to describe what his boss had done when Illinois' senior U.S. senator, Dick Durbin, got into trouble for likening conditions at Guantanamo to those in a Nazi or Stalin-era camp. This was one of Durbin's finer moments, as he read an FBI man's eyewitness describing how he had entered interview rooms "to find a detainee chained hand and foot in a fetal position to the floor, with no chair, food or water. Most times they urinated or defecated on themselves, and had been left there for 18-24 hours or more."
"If I read this to you", Durbin told his fellow senators, "and did not tell you that it was an FBI agent describing what Americans had done to prisoners in their control, you would most certainly believe this must have been done by Nazis, Soviets in their gulags, or some mad regime--Pol Pot or others--that had no concern for human beings. Sadly, that is not the case. This was the action of Americans in the treatment of their prisoners. It is not too late. I hope we will learn from history. I hope we will change course."
So Durbin paid the penalty of having to eat crow on the Senate floor. His fellow senator, Obama, did not support him in any way. Obama said, "we have a tendency to demonize and jump on and make mockery of each other across the aisle and that is particularly pronounced when we make mistakes. Each and every one of us is going to make a mistake once in a while... and what we hope is that our track record of service, the scope of how we've operated and interacted with people, will override whatever particular mistake we make."
That's three uses of the word "mistake". This isn't distancing?
Nor did Obama's man like my description of Obama's cheerleading for the nuke Iran crowd. Obama recently declared that when it comes to the U.S. posture on Iran, all options, including military ones, should be on the table. Now, if Obama had any sort of guts in such matters he would have said that if Iraq is to teach America's leaders any lesson, it is that reckless recourse to the military "option" carries a dreadful long-term price tag.

And Cindy notes Isabel Hilton's "Standing Behind the Despot on the Wrong Side of History" (Guardian of London via Common Dreams):

In the rapidly moving crisis in Nepal, a few lines are clear. King Gyanendra, with the desperation of the failing despot, tosses a small concession from his leaking boat. On the streets, the democracy movement reacts with contempt and a renewed determination to be rid of him. In the hills, the Maoists watch, alert for signs of betrayal by the seven political parties with whom they signed an agreement last November to push for a constituent assembly and a democratic constitution. Nepal - the world's only Hindu kingdom, with a population of 28 million people - is on the edge of a collapse, with far-reaching implications for the entire region. And in the shadows, the external powers, India, the US, China and Europe, are pulling strings, trying to exert leverage on this complex situation. So far, their intervention has been inglorious.
In India there is a growing outcry at the part played by the prime minister and his special envoy, Karan Singh. Dr Singh was not an accidental choice. The son of the last maharajah of Kashmir, he had to flee his own royal palace as a boy. His wife is a member of the Rana family, until 1960 Nepal's corrupt and despotic hereditary prime ministers. And her niece, Devyani Rana, is the woman for whom Nepal's crown prince massacred most of his family in 2002.
Dr Singh was sent to talk sense to a king intent on hiding from the anger of his people behind the guns of the Royal Nepal Army. Gyanendra's Friday night statement, in which he offered to hand over some power to a prime minister and council of ministers, was the result. He did not apologise for his power grab last February, or the brutality of his armed forces. Nor did he offer to restore parliament or give up his control of the army, and he made no mention of a constituent assembly. Gyanendra offered, in short, a return to the situation of late last year, when, having dismissed parliament, he ruled through an executive whom he could dismiss at will.

A scheduled topic for today's Democracy Now!:

Author and activist Antonia Juhasz joins us to discuss her new book "The Bush Agenda: Invading the World, One Economy at a Time."

Ruth really enjoyed Juhasz when she was guest on KPFA's Living Room (interviewed by Kris Welch) and the book (which is excellent) contains a blurb of praise from Amy Goodman, so make a point to listen, watch or read (transcripts) today.

Ruth will be attempting to do a brief report that would go up later tonight or tomorrow. If you've been following it, you know that when Saturday rolls around, Ruth covers a huge number of shows in her report. She has a huge number that she's not able to get to. And the report itself becomes something she's working on for several hours. So she's going to attempt to do at least two reports this week to break it up. (She asked me to note it. Please note: Kat often tries to impose a deadline for herself with regards to her CD reviews. If she doesn't meet them that's life. If Ruth's not able to pull together a report by tonight or tomorrow morning, that's life.) I really don't think, my opinion, Ruth needs to knock herself out attempting to cover as much as she does cover. Due to problems with Saturday's report (which went up Sunday), everyone working on The Third Estate Sunday Review was able to really grasp how much work goes into that thing (we all pitched in to help her -- I didn't help with spelling, so typos, for a change are not my fault -- they will be corrected including Sandra Lupien's name which is spelled "Sondra Lupien" currently). For every show that makes the report, Ruth has many more she wants to note but due to time and space is unable to. I think, my opinion, the answer is for everyone -- including me -- to attempt to pick up some coverage so that Ruth's not left doing everything. She can just type, "Check ___ for a report on ___" (and add something if she wants to make an additional report). (Everyone does not include Betty and Wally who are doing humor sites. Betty has to stay in character -- Betinna -- and her plate is already full as it is. I've been amazed when she's been able to work in Democracy Now! from time to time.) Ruth hopes to note Denny Smithson's interview with Jane Fonda on yesterday's Cover to Cover and a few other shows. (Rebecca's also planning on noting that interview and meant to last night but, as she said on the phone last, "Everytime I have something planned, Blogger goes on vacation and screws that up.) Members are doing excellecent highlights of Pacifica Radio programs in the gina & krista round-robin and I hope we'll all continue to follow Ruth's lead in attempting to get the word out on the many programs the stations provide. If there's one you enjoy, write about it and Gina and Krista will happily include it in the round-robin (and Kara's writing a piece on Pacifica Radio for Polly's Brew so check your inboxes Sunday for that -- anyone who wants to highlight here just needs to write it up and note it's meant to go up here and it will, though I know -- and understand why -- members prefer to utilize the round-robin -- that has to do with some slams Billie and others have received for their contributions here). But let's work to take some pressure off Ruth who is currently making a pot of coffee at five am Saturday mornings and then spending four to five hours attempting to cover as much as she can (and, my opinion, beating herself up for all the things that there's either not room for or time for in each week's report). Just to close this out, Ruth's switching to evenings (at least for last week) was my suggestion so that she could "have a morning." If she's able to break it up and/or if the rest of us are able to pick up some of the coverage, she may go back to mornings on Saturday. But I personally didn't like picturing her waking up and spending half her day (her Saturday) writing the report. (Also Tracey and I had spoken after the report the weekend before last and Tracey said she'd be able to help her grandmother if Ruth started later.) (Tracey did help her, but she and Ruth had problems with Blogger repeatedly Saturday evening.) One more note, Ruth has a vacation coming up so one week in May we'll be without the report. (She can take more than one week, she's not paid for the wonderful reports she does and she's welcome to take a week off whenever she wants or needs. We're luck to have her contributions.) Also, Ruth will not be covering KPFA's Living Room this week because we're covering at The Third Estate Sunday Review (in one effort to ease Ruth's workload). (And thanks to Dallas who always hunts down links for the report and to Shirley and Martha who frequently do -- and to Tracey who did Saturday.)

Rachel notes today's Arts Magazine on WBAI (time given is Eastern):

2:00-3:00 pm: Arts Magazine
Band Of Sisters: doc marks the 4/25/04 over one million strong March For Women's Lives; NY African Film Festival: Delwende, a tale of witch rebellion; Havana NY Film Festival: Our America: Sandinista women warriors; NY Downtown Short Film Festival. Gregory Hines Benefit for young tappers.

And Zach notes this on KPFA this morning (time given is Pacific):

7:00 am The Morning Show
Health Insurance Marketplace Modernization and Affordability Act SB 1955, (HIMMA) sponsored by US Senator Michael Enzi of Wyoming -- Carmen Balber, Consumer Advocate with The Foundation for Taxpayers and Consumer rights, consumerwatchdog.org; Jane Loewenson, Directory of Health Policy for the National Partnership for Women and Families, nationalpartnership.org
The 20th Anniversary of the Chernobl Nuclear Disaster -- Ivan Blokov, Chernobl Campaign Director for Greenpeace International; Dr. Robert Gould, Pres. of Physicians for Social Responsibility
Run Off Elections in Peru, Ollanta Humala vs. Alan Garcia -- Daniel Alarcon author of the collection of short stories, "War By Candlelight", Associate Editor of the Peruvian magazine; "Etiqueta Negra", former Fulbright Scholar to Peru
Proposition 82 Universal Preschool -- Wilma Chan, Assemblywoman from the East Bay; Former Senator John Burton

The e-mail address for this site is common_ills@yahoo.com.