Monday, July 31, 2006

NYT: Phoning it in

In this morning's New York Times, members can skip Paul von Zielbauer's "Iraqi Officials Ask for Aid for Global War on Terror" -- the only story on Iraq. Skip it. There's no news value there. The headline? Reminds me of a Latin America country that knew how to "win" the Cold War, go from the USSR to the US and picket up buckets of aid from each. (The only true "winner" in the cold war.) So officials want more money. (Officials who may change quickly but von Zielbauer has no mention of that -- that al-Maliki's supposedly about to make some changes) say, "Send more money!" and add, "We are part of the war on terror!" (von Zielbauer does note that the Bully Boy makes the same claim -- and that it became the argument after no WMDs were found -- the "false argument" I'd add.) It's nonsense and it's all the Times provides today. (At this late date, is there really an excuse of "crisis" to have Tavernise, at al, covering Lebanon? Shouldn't the hot spot nature of the Middle East meant things were fully staffed several years ago?) (Decades?)

So that's all the paper of record provides. You know why that is, right? Nothing happened in Iraq on Sunday. Nothing. Just the most peaceful day in the world, nothing going wrong, nothing at all, just nothing . . . Oh, wait:

Gunmen killed at least 23 Iraqis on Sunday on a highway south of Baghdad, commandeering three minibuses and herding their occupants into nearby palm groves, where they were lined up and shot, according to police and a witness.
The ambush occurred about 10 miles south of Baghdad where two major highways intersect near the town of al-Rasheed. The witness, Mohammed Mohan al-Janabi, said at least 15 masked gunmen positioned themselves Sunday morning on both sides of the expressway that links western and southern Iraq.

That's from Andy Mosher and Saad al-Izzi's "At Least 23 Killed in Ambush Near Baghdad:
Gunmen Descend on 3 Minibuses, Shoot Occupants; Military Reports Deaths of 4 Marines in West
" in this morning's Washington Post. Martha highlighted the article.

Another event that Mosher and al-Izzi note is:

Police in Kirkuk said the decapitated bodies of four policemen were found about 30 miles south of the city. The four had been kidnapped while traveling between Kirkuk and Tikrit, said police Col. Firas Mahmoud, and their remains showed signs that they had been tortured and fatally shot before they were beheaded.

(Additional events were noted in last night's entry. And those are only reported events.)

Martha also notes Dafna Linzer's "Report on Prewar Intelligence Lagging: Information Democrats Want Most Might Not Come Out Until After Election" (from Sunday's Post):

When angry Democrats briefly shut down the Senate last year to protest the slow pace of a congressional investigation into prewar intelligence on Iraq, Senate Minority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) claimed a rare victory.
Republicans called it a stunt but promised to quickly wrap up the inquiry. Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kan.), chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, which is overseeing the investigation, said his report was near completion and there was no need for the fuss.

That was nine months ago.
The Republican-led committee, which agreed in February 2004 to write the report, has yet to complete its work.

No need for a fuss? The report, for any who've forgotten, couldn't take place before the 2004 election. That was blocked as well but right after, right after, sleeves would be rolled up and that report would be completed. (By the way, Andrew Tilghman's report from Sunday's Post is a "must read" according to End Zone's e-mail this morning -- we noted it last night.)

Cindy notes Demian Bulwa's "Oakland Police Spies Chosen to Lead War Protest" (San Francisco Chronicle via Common Dreams):

Two Oakland police officers working undercover at an anti-war protest in May 2003 got themselves elected to leadership positions in an effort to influence the demonstration, documents released Thursday show.
The department assigned the officers to join activists protesting the U.S. war in Iraq and the tactics that police had used at a demonstration a month earlier, a police official said last year in a sworn deposition.
At the first demonstration,
police fired nonlethal bullets and bean bags at demonstrators who blocked the Port of Oakland's entrance in a protest against two shipping companies they said were helping the war effort. Dozens of activists and longshoremen on their way to work suffered injuries ranging from welts to broken bones and have won nearly $2 million in legal settlements from the city.
The extent of the officers' involvement in the subsequent march May 12, 2003, led by Direct Action to Stop the War and others, is unclear. But in a deposition related to a lawsuit filed by protesters, Deputy Police Chief Howard Jordan said activists had elected the undercover officers to "plan the route of the march and decide, I guess, where it would end up and some of the places that it would go."
It was revealed later that the California Anti-Terrorism Information Center, which was established by the state attorney general's office to help local police agencies fight terrorism, had posted an alert about the April protest. Oakland police had also monitored online postings by the longshoremen's union regarding its opposition to the war.

And finally, the Giddy and Senseless award goes to Holli Chmela of the New York Times for her "A Language to Air News of America to the World" which is laughable throughout as she takes a "look" at a new Voice of Ameria program -- but not a close look, can't get too close, which must why she sounds sort of peevish when she quickly notes:

A 1948 law prohibits Voice of America from broadcasting in the United States, but audio and text files of Special English are on the Voice of America Web site.

That pesky little law. What's the title of it again? (Smith-Mundt Act of 1948) And why was it passed? (To prevent domestic audiences from being targeted with government propaganda. But delving there might not lead to the rosy story Chmela wants to tell.)

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