Monday, May 08, 2006

Other Items

Iran's leader has written to President Bush proposing ''new solutions'' to their differences in the first letter from an Iranian head of state to an American president in 27 years, a government spokesman said Monday.
Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki delivered the letter to the Swiss ambassador on Monday, ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi told The Associated Press. The Swiss Embassy in Tehran houses a U.S. interests section.
In the letter, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad proposes ''new solutions for getting out of international problems and the current fragile situation of the world,'' spokesman Gholam-Hossein Elham told a news conference.

Ned noted the above from the Associated Press' "Iranian President Writes Letter to Bush to Suggest 'New Solutions'" which is available online at the New York Times. A good thing because otherwise people might have to really probe into Lydia Polgreen's article which reads like an attempt to do a karaoke version of Nancy Sinatra's "Sugar Town." It also leads us into "Did Bush Force British Minister Out?" (CBS News):

Two London papers have speculated this weekend that complaints by President George W. Bush forced a British minister from his post because of his opposition to the use of nuclear force against Iran. The Independent suggests that a phone call from the U.S. president to British Prime Minister Tony Blair led to the removal of Foreign Secretary Jack Straw Friday.
The newspaper reports that friends of Straw believe Mr. Bush was extremely upset when Straw pronounced any use of nuclear weapons against Iran "nuts."
Both The Independent and the Guardian write that Straw's "fate was sealed" after a White House phone call to Blair.

Which ties in (along with the Goss reporting from the mainstream media) with the whole, to quote George Michael, "little things that you tell, and little things that you don't." On the same topic, Martha notes Katherine Shaver's "Truth and Lies: Did Navy pilot James Deane die during a top-secret mission, as the Navy told her?" (Washington Post, and the title's longer that):

On her way to the gym one afternoon in 1992, my mother stopped by a Phoenix bookstore to check out a new book titled Soldiers of Misfortune: Washington's Secret Betrayal of American POWs in the Soviet Union. Perched in an aisle, she scanned the index under "China" and, upon flipping to page 185, read two paragraphs that almost brought her to her knees.
They were an account of a U.S. Navy plane that had been shot down off the coast of Shanghai during a Cold War spy mission in 1956. My mother already knew plenty about the incident. Of the 16 men aboard, the Navy said, only four mangled bodies had been recovered. The other 12 crew members were never found. One year later, the Navy declared them dead. No one, it concluded, could have survived such a crash.

The crew's families believed their government. They included my mother, then named Beverly Billinger Deane. Her college sweetheart, Lt. j.g. James Brayton Deane Jr., 24, had been one of the lost plane's pilots. At the age of 24 and married just three months, my mother had suddenly found herself a widow.
Yet, here she was, nearly four decades later, reading a far different story.
"American intelligence knew that two of the crewmen had survived the shoot-down," my mother read, feeling the shock pour over her. The two Americans had been rescued by a Chinese patrol boat, the book said, and were taken to an army hospital.
The book -- by journalists James D. Sanders, Mark A. Sauter and R. Cort Kirkwood -- quoted a declassified U.S. Navy report dated almost two months after the crash. The unnamed crewmen had recovered and were being imprisoned in China, the report said. Their existence was so secret, the book said, "that the U.S. government never asked the Chinese to return the Americans."
My mother bought the book, slipped it into her purse and continued on to the gym. After working out in stunned disbelief, she read over the two paragraphs again, then stepped into a locker room shower and cried.
It had been 36 years since the morning she had awakened to another Navy wife tapping urgently on the screen of her open bedroom window. She was living in a cramped rental house near Iwakuni Naval Air Station in Japan. "There's been a little trouble with the plane," her friend said. My mother searched for her robe. The squadron's executive officer and a chaplain were at her front door.

Over the next several days, my mother would learn only that the crew of her husband's Martin Mercator P4M-1Q had sent one emergency message saying it was under attack. Then the radio cut out. Nothing had been heard from the crew since.

Read the piece (if you haven't already). Remember to listen, watch or read Democracy Now! today. The e-mail address for this site is