Saturday, August 06, 2005

Dahr Jamail, Elaine & Billie address Dallas Morning News, Kara reports as all hell breaks out at the BuzzFlash GOP Hypocrite of the Week Awards . . .

As the blood of US soldiers continues to drain into the hot sands of Iraq over the last several days with at least 27 US soldiers killed and the approval rating for his handling of the debacle in Iraq dropping to an all-time low of 38%, Mr. Bush commented from the comforts of his ranch in Crawford, Texas today, "We will stay the course, we will complete the job in Iraq."
Just a two hour drive away in Dallas, at the Veterans for Peace National Convention in Dallas, I'm sitting with a roomful of veterans from the current quagmire.
When asked what he would say to Mr. Bush if he had the chance to speak to him, Abdul Henderson, a corporal in the Marines who served in Iraq from March until May, 2003, took a deep breath and said, "It would be two hits-me hitting him and him hitting the floor. I see this guy in the most prestigious office in the world, and this guy says 'bring it on.' A guy who ain't never been shot at, never seen anyone suffering, saying 'bring it on?' He gets to act like a cowboy in a western movie…it’s sickening to me."
The other vets with him nod in agreement as he speaks somberly…his anger seething.

The above is from Dahr Jamail's latest, "What Have We Done?" -- and apologies to Billie, Dallas, In Dallas, Ted and other members in the DFW area, I didn't realize Jamail was coming to your area or I would've given a heads up. (Hopefully some of you knew about it in spite of my lack of heads up.)

While we're mentioning Billie, let's note that she's mentioned in Elaine's "Amy Goodman and David Goodman on the lies of the Times as well as Billie on the attacks from The Dallas Morning News" at Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude:

But if anyone doesn't get why it's important, Billie wrote a lengthy e-mail after hearing Democracy Now! today. In her area, Filkin's "award winning" reporting, even after smarter minds should know better, still appears to carry weight.
Which is why Steve Blow (I'm not making that name up nor is Billie, I checked) can rave over Falluja last month and reveal himself to be a "bigger dope" (Billie's term) "than when he accused peace activists at a local gathering of being treasonous." Billie notes that Blow later did another column where he wondered if maybe treason wasn't a bit harsh.
The paper of record has a lot to answer for. I've not weighed in Judith Miller here and don't intend to because I think it's a complex issue that goes beyond my area and scope (of course if Miller had testified, we might know what happened). But as reports from the unit attest, Miller bullied those guys over in Iraq. She wasn't hiding out in the Green Zone. She was basically overriding the squad she was stationed with and bound and determined to find WMD. Of course she didn't. It didn't exist. But when you read remarks on her actions (a mild term) when she was commandeering the unit, it suggests to me that she honestly believed the "facts" that the administration was feeding her. Dexter Filkins was in Falluja. He actually left the Green Zone to be there. With his own eyes, he saw what was going on. But it didn't make his article. His much delayed article, as C.I. has noted, which would suggest that either his obsession with nailing down every "fact" was so great that it took him days and days to write up his report or it suggests that before it made it into the paper, it had been cleared and approved by the military.
Billie has a hilarious e-mail. The reality is sad but she's got a great sense of humor. She explains how Blow and the other "local columnists" (who are supposed to cover the DFW area) never missed an opportunity to beat up on Michael Moore, the Dixie Chicks and assorted others. Billie says it's hard to believe the whole thing wasn't handed down by management (the paper is the Dallas Morning News) so "on message" was everyone. Including trashing Sheryl Crow in what was supposed to be a discussion of the Grammys. But it even infected the sports pages of the paper. Tim Cowlinshaw (again, I'm not making these names up) wrote a "sports" column in March of 2003 that Billie steered me to. I ended up reading several columns. It was interested to see Cowlinshaw condemn, among others, Steve Nash for speaking out against the war and using Thomas Friedman (of all people, no offense to Betty) who isn't, according to Cowlinshaw, "exactly" a tool of the right. (Cowlinshaw may be correct, but Friedman is certainly a tool.)
As for Nash and the other athletes who were voicing their opposition to the war, Cowlinshaw didn't feel they had that right since there wasn't a draft.
It's amazing how on target, from the "local" columnists (covering Michael Moore) to the sports page, how "on message" the Dallas Morning News was. I really want to thank Billie for bringing the coverage to my attention because, a point C.I.'s made, one person didn't push this war in the press. There are a lot of guilty parties.
As for Jaqueline Floyd, I agree with you Billie, to have a hair style one must have some sense of style. I'm not sure if she suffers from dandruff, but I agree with you that it's a hideous photo.
Perhaps her attack on Moore and the Oscars was her way of saying she's not a "glamor gal." (Her hair conveys that message.) Obviously she's not a "freedom of speech gal" either.
And in the Democracy Now! story today, one thing to remember is that the reporter lying for the Times didn't just do that by himself. His Pulitzer should be stripped. But people chose to follow his reporting and echo it. He's far from the only guilty party.
With one paper in her area, Billie is able to pinpoint all the war cheerleaders who attacked people who spoke out against the war. I'm pretty sure many of you would find that in your own papers.
That's been the point C.I.'s made repeatedly about Judith Miller. She didn't anchor the news on a network (which has a larger audience than the New York Times). Hold her accountable, but don't do so in a way that lets others off the hook.
Floyd, Blow, Cowlinshaw and others should be held accountable by the readers of the Dallas Morning News. You can be sure that when lies about Hiroshima were being printed in the Times, all over the country fools elected to run with them. I hope the people Billie wrote about were fools. It seems like there's a pattern and that suggests that the topics and stances didn't "just happen." But I'll leave the second guessing to others. (Except with regard to Floyd's hair "style." It's hair. It's not style. And don't they get any sun in Texas?)

Now we go to Kara reporting at the aftermath of the BuzzFlash Gop Hypocrite of the Week Award. Kara?

Kara: C.I., the only word to describe last night's event is "riot." Police are still questioning witneses and attempting to determine all the details but riot is the word authorities are now using.

C.I.: It's been reported, Kara, that things got so out of hand that Katherine Harris ended up with a black eye.

Kara: Yes, that has been reported. I belive it was by Dexter Filkins in the New York Times. That report is, in fact, false. One of the dangers of reporting from the Green Zone. Katherine Harris did not receive a black eye. What happened is when the winner was announced and her name wasn't called, she burst into tears. Within three minutes, her heavy mascara had run to the point that it appeared she had two black eyes. Dexter Filkins' reporting was based on faulty information.

C.I.: Shocking. Thanks for clarifying that point, Kara, now was anyone hurt?

Kara: A lot of people's pride. Not just Katherine Harris'. Karen Hughes, apparently drunk on wine coolers, wandered around screaming, "Doesn't anyone love me! Doesn't anyone love me!" over and over. She had flown in from Texas to be at the event. She was part of a song and dance organized and choreographed by PBS' Gwen Ifill. She and Donald Rumsfeld did a lively opening number of "It's Only a Summer Scandal." Hughes was apparently convinced that they wouldn't fly her in just to perform a song and, considering her singing and dancing abilities, I'd say that was sound assumption on her part. So she was expecting that she would be the winner of the GOP Hypocrite of the Week, notching up her third win. As you know this a highly competitive award and as a three time winner Hughes would have accomplished something few can ever do. So when the envelope was opened and the winner was someone else, she hit the wine coolers while cursing at John Ashcroft for drinking all the Zimas.

C.I.: J-Ass was there?

Kara: Yes, hoping to be part of the ceremonies, J-Ass emerged from his semi-retirement. Attending with "just friends" Ken Starr, J-Ass was accompanied by a posse of twenty cleverly costumed in all white.

C.I.: Well Labor Day's not passed.

Kara: Yes, but white sheets over the heads may have sent a message J-Ass didn't intend. Then again, it may have been just the message he wanted to send. The winner tonight, if we can call it that, was Robert Novak. Though he refused to come on camera with me, he did agree to speak with me prior to the ceremonies on double chocolate brownie, Cherry Garcia background. I can report that Novak seemed giddy and apparently knew he was a shoe-in. He had prepared a lengthy list -- not a thank you list, but an enemies list.

C.I.: That sounds in keeping with Novak. What happened when he delivered the list?

Kara: He never did. This is where it got ugly. Former GOP Hypocrite of the Week award winner Bill Keller was supposed to present the award to Novak but at the last minute Karl Rove was brought in as a surprise. When Novak saw Rove walk across the stage, he sunk into his chair and took deep sips on his Sex On the Beach which he had insisted be served in a sippy cup.
When Karl Rove, looking dashing in only tuxedo pants and a bow tie, announced Robert Novak's name, Bob Novak exploded. The sippy cup he threw flew into William Pryor's mouth and ended up chipping one of Pryor's teeth. But the rampage didn't end there. Novak began overturning tables and screaming he wasn't putting up with this "bull [bleep]" as Davey Brooks and Tucker Carlson rushed over to restrain him.

C.I.: Were they able to?

Kara: From all reports, they didn't try to. Davey launched into a discussion over what the Bobos would do and Tucker was too busy checking his hair in a serving spoon. So the rampage continued and before the police arrived, William Safire would be down on the floor screaming in pain that Novak had "capped" him, a bruised and battered Ann Coulter would be in a boxing stance screaming, "Bring it back on, Nova-hack! I'm ready for you now!", Armstrong Williams, nursing a broken arm, would be heard to say, "No one pays me enough money for this!" and NPR's Mara Liasson would be giggling as she surveyed the damage. Reports that she was the one who set the drapes on fire while cackling, "Burn, baby, burn" are as yet uncomfirmed.

C.I.: What do the police know?

Kara: Last night, not much. Eye witness Scooter Libby refused to talk and, even though he had a busted lip, he kept insisting he'd speak only to a grand jury. Paul Bremer insisted to the police that he had seen no violence and that, in fact, the ceremonies had moved along peacefully. The investigation was being stone walled and most thought it had reached a dead end. This morning, however, a witness came forward, Linda Tripp. Tripp not only attended the ceremonies, she taped them. Indictments will be forth coming as a result -- although Alberto Gonzales has assured everyone there will be presidential pardons. When Novak's attorney, Ted Olson, asked Tripp why she had come forward she replied that she just missed the limelight and being the butt of jokes.

C.I.: It sounds incredibly violent. What has the reaction been?

Kara: Well CNN has stated that they are putting the ceremonies "on vacation" but no one assumes that they will cancel them because, frankly, CNN's lack of backbone since merging with AOL Time Warner is a widely known fact. However, C-Murder did issue a call for peace and Lil' Kim did hold a press conference to ask, "Who are the real gangsters?"

C.I.: Shocking. Thank you for that report Kara.

[As always, Kara's on the scene reporting from the BuzzFlash GOP Hypocrite of the Week awards is a parody and not fact based -- as far as we know.]

We'll close by noting Betty's latest on "her husband" Thomas Friedman:

"Too Much Pork and Too Little Sugar" is my husband Thomas Friedman's latest. He wants to be "with it" and "happening," he told me. He wants to be "in the mix." He wants to be "relevant, you know, like Jess."
See the thing is that our upstairs neighbors Jess and Ty are having another Friday night bash. Thomas Friedman's been dropping hints all week that he wants to go. Yesterday, he cornered Ty in the elevator practically begging for an invite. Ty looked at Thomas Friedman, then over at me.
"Bettina's always welcome," Ty said nodding to me, "but you really stink the joint up."
"'Stink the joint up?'" Thomas Friedman quoted back. "Is that good?"
The doors opened to our floor. I rolled my eyes at Ty and grabbed Thomas Friedman by the elbow to prod him on out of the elevator. Still trying desperately to be cool, Thomas Friedman was tossing out anything that popped into his mind, not unlike one of his op-eds actually.
"Catch you on the flipper, fro," Thomas Friedman offered trying desperately to be cool.
"Fro!" Ty hollered as the elevator doors started to close, "What the f-"
As the doors closed and the hum told us that the elevator was moving upwards, Thomas Friedman kept punching the button repeatedly.
"Wait!" he screamed.
Finally giving up, Thomas Friedman looked near tears.
"We were connecting, Bettina," Thomas Friedman whined. "Me and the housey were connecting!"
"Homey," I corrected as I unlocked the front door.
Thomas Friedman hates to be corrected because, of course, Thomas Friedman is never wrong.
"Fine," he huffed. "Me and my perps were connecting."
"Peeps," I corrected and then thought maybe "perps" was the correct term for guys who choose to hang out with Thomas Friedman.
All through dinner, Thomas Friedman kept bragging about how he "stinks up the joint." He was sure that we'd be attending the party tonight. I finally had to set him straight. I could've let him continue to be confused but, to be honest, some days my only joy comes from popping his inflated ego and watching the gas fly out of the old bag.
Thomas Friedman refused to believe me.
"Bettina, I know you think that because it's 'your people' that you know everything, but you don't. 'Stink the joint up' is like when a Fro tells another 'Dude, you are b-b-a-a-a-a-d-d!'"
"First thing," I informed Thomas Friedman, "it's 'bro,' not 'fro' which could be seen as racist. Second of all, bros are not generally surfers and don't tend to refer to one another as 'dude.' Third, 'stink the joint up' means just what it says."
Thomas Friedman pushed the peas around on his plate for a few minutes then complained that he was tired of 'soul food.' They were green peas. We ate them with broiled halibut and arugula salad. This was hardly salt pork and molasses, as I informed Thomas Friedman.

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The Laura Flanders Show Sat: Harry Belafonte, Mark Crispin Miller, Jeff Chang ... Sun: Sister Carol Gilbert, Barbara Meade, Betsey Housten


On The Laura Flanders Show Saturday, the line up is:

Forty years after the passage of the Voting Rights Act the fight for US democracy's not past history. We'll talk with journalist MARK CRISPIN MILLER and we'll get an update from the Keep the Vote Alive! march and rally in Atlanta from LINDA BURNHAM of the Women of Color Resource Center.
Then, music to vote by -- from 1965 to 2005. With actor and activist, HARRY BELAFONTE, Freedom Singer, MATT JONES and JEFF CHANG, author of Can't Stop, Won't Stop: A History of the Hip Hop Generation. Hear the tunes of then and now.

That's Saturday's line up. The Laura Flanders Show broadcasts Saturdays and Sundays on Air America Radio. If you don't have an Air America station in your area (and you don't have XM satellite radio), remember that you can listen online via Real Player or Windows Media Player. (And in answer to the question Cindy once asked, there's no charge to listen online.) The show airs from seven to ten p.m. eastern time Saturdays and Sundays. It's a huge favorite with the community so if you haven't yet checked out the show, please do so.

The line up for Sunday's show (from the Air America Radio home page):

Sunday: The nuclear threat-- not Iran's but ours. On the anniversary of the bombing of Japan, Laura talks to Sister Carol Gilbert. Then, Barbara Meade, co-owner of Politics and Prose in Washington DC and Betsey Housten from Bluestockings bookstore in NYC discuss this month's most controvertial books.

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Air America weekend line up Jane Mayer, Dar Williams, Ani DiFranco, Mark Crispin Miller, Jeff Chang, Paul Krugman, Sheila Keuhl, Harry Belafonte ...

Weekend line up for Air America radio programs (from the Air America Radio home page):

Liberal Arts • Saturday 1-2pm ET
Join Katherine Lanpher for the first in our summer series of "Liberal Arts." Singer-songwriter Dar Williams talks about her work and sings selections from her new cd "My Better Self" and rock-n-roll writer Chuck Klosterman reads from his new memoir "Killing Myself To Live: Eighty-five Percent of a True Story." Be an audience member: Wednesday, Aug. 10th, at 8 p.m. at HousingWorks Books Café (directions) with authors Walter Mosley and Helen Oyeyemi, and Jamaican musician Abdel Wright.

So What Else is News • Saturdays 3pm-5pm ET
This weekend on the Best of So What Else Is News, hear Marty’s interview with singer/songwriter Ani Difranco, indie hipsters TV On The Radio and filmmaking god Jim Jarmusch.

Ring of Fire • Sat 5pm-7pm ET. Rebroadcast Sun 3pm-5pm
Guests: Matt Taibbi, author of "Spanking the Donkey: Dispatches from the Dumb Season" on what’s wrong with Democratic politicians and the so-called Washington "press corps; Jane Mayer, staff writer for The New Yorker and author of a recent article, "The Experiment," on the U.S. militaries use of psychological torture at Guantanamo; and Jackie Rion, a top trial lawyer and expert on cover-ups, on the latest developments in the Rove scandal.

The Laura Flanders Show • Saturdays and Sundays 7pm-10pm ET
Saturday: Forty years after the passage of the Voting Rights Act, the fight for US democracy is still going. Laura talks with journalist Mark Crispin Miller and gets an update from the 'Keep the Vote Alive!' march and rally in Atlanta from Linda Burnham of the Women of Color Resource Center.
Then, music to vote by -- from 1965 to 2005. With actor and activist,
Harry Belafonte, Freedom Singer, Matt Jones and Jeff Chang, author of Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop: A History of the Hip Hop Generation. Hear the tunes of then and now.
Sunday: The nuclear threat-- not Iran's but ours. On the anniversary of the bombing of Japan, Laura talks to
Sister Carol Gilbert. Then, Barbara Meade, co-owner of Politics and Prose in Washington DC and Betsey Housten from Bluestockings bookstore in NYC discuss this month's most controvertial books.

The Kyle Jason Show • Saturdays 10pm-Midnight ET
Kyle continues to spread his message of positivity, soul and music.

Ecotalk • Sundays 7-8 am ET
Betsy delivers a preview of the first ever Sierra Summit.
Guests: Lisa Renstrom, the newly inducted 51st president of the Sierra Club; Chad Pegracke discusses how he went from pulling garbage from the Missipippi River ten years ago to creating a model for cleaning up rivers across America; and Sarah Craven, Washington Representative of the UN Population Fund (a dept. defunded by Bush Jr.) on the "population balm."

Mother Jones Radio • Sundays 1pm-2pm ET
New York Times columnist Paul Krugman, political cartoonist Mark Fiore, and Laura Penny, the author of "Your Call is Important to Us: The Truth About Bullsh*t."

Politically Direct • Sundays 2pm-3pm ET
David welcomes actor/activist Robert Gant , star of the groundbreaking television series "Queer as Folk" and State Senator Sheila Kuehl, the first openly gay member of the California legislature (who, as actress Sheila James, also immortalized the nose-crinkling character of Zelda Gilroy on TV's "The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis").

The Laura Flanders Show • Saturdays and Sundays 7pm-10pm ET
Sunday: The nuclear threat-- not Iran's but ours. On the anniversary of the bombing of Japan, Laura talks to Sister Carol Gilbert. Then, Barbara Meade, co-owner of Politics and Prose in Washington DC and Betsey Housten from Bluestockings bookstore in NYC discuss this month's most controvertial books.

The Revolution Starts...Now • Sundays 10pm-11pm ET
Steve chats with actor and musician Jeff Daniels, who recently released an unplugged album to benefit his theater company in Michigan.

On the Real • Sundays 11pm -1 am ET
Chuck D and Giana Garel talk with regular guest comedian Corey "Zooman" Miller and deliver their latest thoughts on the world.

If you don't have an Air America station in your area (and you don't have XM satellite radio), remember that you can listen online via Real Player or Windows Media Player. (And in answer to the question Cindy once asked, there's no charge to listen online.)

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NYT: "Use of Espionage Law in Secrets Case Troubles Analysts" (Eric Lichtblau & David Johnston)

In the other big leak case, the REO Speedwagon "Heard it from a friend who/ heard it from a friend*" one, the non-Judy Miller one, the New York Times offers, this morning, Eric Lichtblau and David Johnston's "Use of Espionage Law in Secrets Case Troubles Analysts."

Since it's not getting anywhere near the attention that the Miller case is, let's review. Defense Department analyst Lawrence (Larry) Franklin is alleged to have passed on classified information to two "staff members" of AIPAC (members when allegedy the information was passed on, they've since been dismissed) who in turn allegedly passed the information onto the government of Israel. (Guilt will be determined by a court. These are allegations.)

From the article:

"I think this has an absolute chilling effect," said Lucy Dalglish, executive director of the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press. The group has been monitoring the case and others related to government leaks, including the jailing of a New York Times reporter, Judith Miller, who refused to disclose a source in connection with a government investigation into the leaking of a C.I.A. officer's name.
"The government appears to be going very aggressively after these types of leak cases," Ms. Dalglish said, "and when reporters are involved, I'm just gritting my teeth."

I think Dalglish is correct about the chilling effect and the aggression; however, we aren't talking about something that was published or reported by the media in the allegations around Franklin, we're instead talking about classified information that allegedly was passed on to lobbyists for a foreign government (Israel) and then allegedly passed on to that government. The article notes that Glen Kessler of the Washington Post was "approached by the Justice Department in May about the case but declined to be interviewed. " And it does appear that the Justice Department is once again expecting reporters to waive their promises to sources (and do the work for the Justice Department -- strange since Justice does have wiretaps). But the case, by itself, is not an issue having to do with reporters and sources.

As the article notes, ". . . no reporters have been subpoenaed, a process that requires the approval of the attorney general. " Justice is being lazy (what, only Bully Boy's allowed to be lazy?) but at present the overtures to reporters in this instance appear to be the routine ones that have been going on for years. Dalglish is making a point that needs to be heard but as this case is being reported we're dealing with a "state secrets passed on to a foreign government via back channels" type case.

The allegations (nothing has yet been proven in court against Franklin or anyone else) are serious ones. Kara e-mailed her feelings that Dalglish's comments go to a side issue that's not currently pertinent and wondered if the caution when reporting this case had less to do with learning from past mistakes (Wen Ho Lee most recently) and more to do with a desire not to report fully on a case that involves AIPAC?

I have no idea. I'm glad that the hysteria generally operating when similar charges are made is absent from coverage of allegations and I'll hope that this is because the media (and the Times in particular) has learned something from past reporting. But it's certainly a question worth pondering.

Johnston reported on this issue yesterday. The most indepth coverage that I've seen on the allegations was in The New Yorker, Jeffrey Goldberg's "REAL INSIDERS: A pro-Israel lobby and an F.B.I. sting." From that article:

But in December four AIPAC officials, including Kohr, were subpoenaed to testify before a grand jury in Alexandria, Virginia. In March, AIPAC's principal lawyer, Nathan Lewin, met with the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, Paul McNulty, who agreed to let Lewin see some of the evidence of the Pentagon City sting.
According to an AIPAC source, an eleven-second portion of the telephone conversation between Rosen, Weissman, and the Post's Glenn Kessler, which the F.B.I. had recorded, was played for Lewin. In that conversation, Rosen is alleged to have told Kessler about Iranian agents in southern Iraq--information that Weissman had received from Franklin. In the part of the conversation that Lewin heard, Rosen jokes about "not getting in trouble" over the information. He also notes, "At least we have no Official Secrets Act"--the British law that makes journalists liable to prosecution if they publish classified material.
Prosecutors argued to Lewin that this statement proved that Rosen and Weissman were aware that the information Franklin had given them was classified, and that Rosen must therefore have known that he was passing classified information to Gilon, a foreign official. Lewin, who declined to comment on the case, recommended that AIPAC fire Rosen and Weissman. He also told the board that McNulty had promised that AIPAC itself would not be a target of the espionage investigation. An AIPAC spokesman, Patrick Dorton, said of the firing, "Rosen and Weissman were dismissed because they engaged in conduct that was not part of their jobs, and because this conduct did not comport with the standards that AIPAC expects and requires of its employees."

The Times article echoes most of these points (should Goldberg and The New Yorker have been credited?). Though the Times notes that the Washington Post has noted that Rosen and Weissman "relayed" information to Kessler and though it quotes from the phone call to Kessler (identified in that section of the article as "a reporter"), it doesn't explain that the reporter on the wire tap is Kessler. Johnston and Lichtblau may feel it's implied (it isn't). And that might be why issues of reporters and the administration overwhelm the larger issue of the allegations. Otherwise, the issue may well be that once again the press makes itself the lead story.

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(*"Heard it from a friend . . ." from the REO Speedwagon song "Take It On The Run" written by Gary Richrath, originally appeared on the album Hi Infidelity.)

NYT: Nary a skeptical voice shall be heard . . . until paragraph eleven

The New York Times has twice reviewed (in the wake of Jayson Miller and Judith Miller controversies) their policies regarding anonymous sources. Recommendations and policy changes don't appear to have been implemented.

In Eric Schmitt's "Some Bombs Used in Iraq Are Made in Iran, U.S. Says" -- aka "Nary a Skeptical Voice Will Be Heard"), we're left with an article that doesn't go great deel deeper than it's headline but, more troubling, presents "sources" for the allegations (see headline) who are anonymous and presented in a manner that gives readers little indication of their qualifications (or bonafides) for their claims.

The claim (headlined) is sourced to:

United States military and intelligence officials said . . .

American commanders say . . .

. . . one senior miliary officer said . . .

Pentagon and intelligence officials say . . .

The only on the record source regarding the claim ("Kenneth Katzman, a Persian Gulf expert at the Congressional Research Service and a former Middle East analyst at the Central Intelligence Agency") refutes it.

Let's reiterate. Every source backing up the argument (which is summed up in the headline) is anonymous.

The Times especially should be aware of their pre invasion/occupation reporting with regards to Iraq (including, but not limited to, articles penned by Judith Miller). Now we've got anonymous claims against Iran (which war noises are being made at and Scott Ritter has stated we have plans to go to war with). Yet anonymous sourced claims are reported for ten paragraphs without question. In the eleventh paragraph, skepticism pops up. (Schmitt's a cut and dry type of reporter, I'm not sure many readers will get to paragraph eleven.) (There's nothing wrong with being a cut and dry reporter. We highlight Schmitt often here. This isn't a story, however, we'd highlight as a must read.) Adding to the problem is the headline (Schmitt didn't write it the headline) which backs up the anonymous claims. "'U.S. Says!'" some would holler. (Save the e-mails nonmembers.) "U.S. Alleges" and "U.S. Claims" would be more indicative of the type of allegations contained in this article. "Says" carries more weight than the Times wants to acknowledge.

Considering the topic, and the Times' recent past, possibly it would be wiser, when presenting anonymous claims, to make the dispute (between anonymice and on the record sources) in the opening paragraph? Some might argue this results from the pyramid structure of reporting, but that's simply not true. The issue of the article is a dispute. Not a claim. The dispute is the news and should be contained/acknowledged in the opening paragraph.

Considering that Bill Keller wants shorter articles, considering the Times pre-invasion reporting, offering dissenting voices in the eleventh paragraph (they're actually referred to in the eleventh paragraph, the twelth paragraph contains an on the record source and the eight paragraphs* that follow return to the claim of Iranian involvement) doesn't cut it.

The criticism I'm making isn't new and isn't something the Times hasn't heard before. The problems with the article were addressed most recently by the panel. Vague crediting for anonymous sources was supposed to be at an end as well which, at the very least, should mean we know if these "commanders" are stationed in Iraq. Instead they (and the military intelligence officials) are free floating anonymice.

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[*Note: As always, check my math.]

Other stories in this morning's New York Times and Democracy Now! special tonight broadcast on Pacifica Radio

"It's all good" Eduardo Porter tells us on the front page* of this morning's New York Times in "Employers In U.S. Add 207,000 Jobs to July Payroll." The "findings" were released Friday. The story is in this morning's paper. Porter has spoken to a few people who back up the claim. There's no indication that he's poured over the report. Considering that government announcements (on the economy, on recruiting figures) seem to be "elastic" at best (they're wide when announced and they snap to a smaller claim when they're examined closely) one wonders if this is reporting or a daily affirmation for the economy? For a reporter, Porter's a bit too "bullish" on early claims by the administration for my taste.

*This is a front page story of the main section. While it is continued inside the business pages, the story itself makes the front page. But let's hop over to the business section for a moment.

Stephen Labaton's "F.C.C. Eases High-Speed Access Rules" and Vikas Bajaj's
"New Rules on Net Service May Hurt Some Providers" inform readers of another victory for the the big players/corporations in the telecommunications industry and another blow to citizens. (As well as small business.) And on a "by the way note," let's note that Simon Rosenberg (remember he wanted to be the DNC chair but grassroots dialed in and voted him off) fought that battle on the side of . . . the telecommunications industry as friend of corporations. Well ain't it good to know, ain't it good to know, ain't it good to know, you've got a . . . different person as DNC chair. (Borrowing from Carole King's "You've Got A Friend" which is on the Tapesty album among others.)

Neil A. Lewis' "Guantanamo Detention Site Is Being Transformed, U.S. Says" caught Eli's attention and he highlights the following:

Amnesty International, a group that presses human rights concerns on behalf of prisoners throughout the world, sharply criticized the Pentagon's plans to transfer custody of many detainees to Afghanistan.
The group said on Friday that the detainees might face torture and other human rights abuses at the hands of the Afghan government.

That would be 110 Afghan detainees, held this entire time and never tried despite the Bully Boy's claim of a fair hearing. Considering recent reports in the Times of allegations that the hearings themselves would be show trials, rigged before they ever began, that may not be a bad thing. But the alternative (as Eli notes) doesn't seem all that much bettter.

Wally e-mails to note that Elisabeth Bumiller is "singing along with Gwen [Ifill] on 'It's Only a Summer Scandal.'" From her "C.I.A. Leak Case Recalls Texas Incident in '92 Race:"

These hot months here will be remembered as the summer of the leak, a time when the political class obsessed on a central question: did Karl Rove, President Bush's powerful adviser, commit a crime when he spoke about a C.I.A. officer with the columnist Robert D. Novak?

(Again, note, Bumiller personalizes her reporting. The first four words of her opening paragraph personalize the story -- this isn't a White House Letter, by the way -- and that may be a strong reason why the criticisms of her are so personal.) (On my end, I just think she's the supreme fluffer and squad leader of The Elite Fluff Patrol.)

As a columnist, Bumiller might be on stronger ground (personally, I'd have preferred her being added to the op-ed pages instead of John Tierney). Intentionally or not, she writes like a columnist or a feature writer. That's not a bad thing but it's also not what most readers expect in the hard news section. (Though maybe we should all give up on expecting hard news from the Times since it occurs rarely in each day's edition?)

"But the episode, part of the bad-boy lore of Mr. Rove, is a telling chapter in the 20-year friendship between the presidential adviser and the columnist." "Bad-boy lore" really isn't up to many people's idea of "hard news" though it would work well in a column. (However, I can't picture Maureen Dowd, Paul Krugman or Bob Herbert using it at this late date -- too obvious and over done. For that matter, not even Safire the Right Wing Pacifier -- probably Thomas Friedman would do cartwheels over the phrase).

Bumiller addresses the issue of Robert Novak and Karl Rove's contact in the following:

. . . even though Mr. Novak has said on CNN, "I can't tell you anything I ever talked to Karl Rove about, because I don't think I ever talked to him about any subject, even the time of day, on the record."
Whether Mr. Novak forgot about the 1999 mentions is unclear. What is clear is that Mr. Rove has made frequent appearances in Mr. Novak's column in a positive light, often in paragraphs that imparted information about the inner workings of Mr. Bush's operation, feeding perceptions here that Mr. Rove is one of the columnist's most important anonymous sources.

[. . .]
These days, friends of the two men say they have not seen Mr. Rove and Mr. Novak at dinner together and note that there is little the two would have to celebrate. But in June 2003, The Chicago Sun-Times gave a party for Mr. Novak at the Army and Navy Club here to salute 40 years of his columns.
The biggest political celebrity guest, to no one's surprise, was Mr. Rove.

If most people miss that part of the article (it's way down in the article) that may result from the fact that Bumiller continues to turn in news reporting that reads like feature reporting. Ava and I noted one Sunday that there's really not a great deal of difference between Bumiller's White House Letter (today Bumiller's clearly written an article, not a White House Letter, just FYI) and the White House Memo done by others in terms of "news." The only difference we can see (Ava and I spoke about this earlier on the phone when I saw Wally's e-mail) is in the execution and Bumiller writes like a feature writer.

Wally also notes that Adam Nagourney turns a GOP claim into a "full fledged article" but a Democratic claim is "less important so it results in coverage in a small AP article." The two run side by side. (No Nagourney link, I'm trying to ensure everyone has a pleasant Saturday morning.) Six paragraphs to cover a Dem assertion (in an AP article). Fourteen paragraphs to cover a Repube assertion. The fact that the two articles run side-by-side only makes it all the more noticeable.

Lastly, Kara, Rob and Jonah all e-mail to note Laurie Goodstein's "Threat to Divest Is Church Tool in Israeli Fight:"

The Presbyterian Church U.S.A. announced Friday that it would press four American corporations to stop providing military equipment and technology to Israel for use in the occupation of the Palestinian territories, and that if the companies did not comply, the church would take a vote to divest its stock in them.
The companies - Caterpillar, Motorola, ITT Industries and United Technologies - were selected from a list of several dozen possibilities by a church investment committee that met Friday in Seattle. The Presbyterians accused these companies of selling helicopters, cellphones, night vision equipment and other items Israel uses to enforce its occupation.
In an effort to appear even-handed in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the church committee also included Citigroup on its list of targets, alleging it had a connection to a bank accused of having a role in funneling money from Islamic charities to the families of Palestinian suicide bombers. The church said it included Citigroup because it was mentioned in an article in The Wall Street Journal.

Remember today brings a Democracy Now! special that will be carried on Pacifica:

On Saturday, August 6th, join Democracy Now! and Amy Goodman for a live broadcast celebrating local community media.
During this public event--part of Prometheus Radio’s Grassroots Radio Conference and Radio Barnraising -- Amy Goodman will interview:
* Martin Espada, the Poet Laureate of Northampton, Massachusetts
* Former SNCC field secretary, Ekwueme Michael Thelwell
* Sut Jhally, founder of the Media Education Foundation
* Long-time war tax resister and civil rights activist, Juanita Nelson
* John Nichols, co-founder of the media reform group, Free Press and other local writers and activists.
Democracy Now! Live, at John M. Greene Hall, Smith College, begins at 8 pm on Saturday, August 6th. Doors open at 7 pm. Tickets available at the door.

More information can be found here and here. Online streaming of the event will broadcast from 8:00 pm EST - 10:00 pm EST tonight.

And remember to check out Amy Goodman and her brother (and co-author of The Exception to the Rulers) David Goodman's "The Hiroshima Cover-Up" (originally run in Friday's Baltimore Sun):

Three days after publication of Mr. Burchett's shocking dispatch, Mr. Laurence had a front-page story in the Times disputing the notion that radiation sickness was killing people. His news story included this remarkable commentary: "The Japanese are still continuing their propaganda aimed at creating the impression that we won the war unfairly, and thus attempting to create sympathy for themselves and milder terms. ... Thus, at the beginning, the Japanese described 'symptoms' that did not ring true."
Mr. Laurence won a Pulitzer Prize for his reporting on the atomic bomb, and his faithful parroting of the government line was crucial in launching a half-century of silence about the deadly lingering effects of the bomb. It is time for the Pulitzer board to strip Hiroshima's apologist and his newspaper of this undeserved prize.
Sixty years late, Mr. Weller's censored account stands as a searing indictment not only of the inhumanity of the atomic bomb but also of the danger of journalists embedding with the government to deceive the world.

At Wally's request, we'll go out with "It's Only a Summer Scandal" (Gwen Ifill's "informed" view on the Valerie Plame outing) (badly based upon Harold Arlen & Ted Koehler's "It's Only a Paper Moon.") :

Say, it's only a summer scandal
Bully Boy will soon have the handle
He's the king of the make-believe
Do you believe in me?

Yes, it's only a scandal de sum
Reporters move on if we play mum
King George of the make believe
Do you believe in me?

. . .

It's a Bully and Cheney world
Just as phony as it can be
But it wouldn't be make-believe
If you believed in me

The e-mail address for this site is

Friday, August 05, 2005

Bajas de la coalición que ocupa Irak ya son más de 2.000 (Democracy Now!)

Francisco: Hola mi amigos. De parte de "Democracy Now!" catorce cosas que vale hacer notar este fin de semana.

Bajas de la coalición que ocupa Irak ya son más de 2.000
El número total de víctimas del ejército estadounidense en Irak llegó a 1.800 y la cifra total de bajas de las tropas de la coalición que ocupa ese país es más de 2.000.

Atentado en Irak mata a 14 infantes de marina
En Irak, funcionarios del Pentágono concluyeron que una bomba de alto poder fue la causa de que murieran 14 infantes de marina el miércoles, en la ciudad occidental de Hadita. Los soldados viajaban en un vehículo anfibio blindado de transporte de tropas, que no fue diseñado para soportar ese tipo de ataques. Fue el atentado más cruento en una carretera desde el comienzo de la guerra, y ataques similares han matado a por lo menos 31 militares estadounidenses en las últimas dos semanas. Según la agencia de noticias Knight Ridder, las bombas mataron más efectivos de las fuerzas de ocupación en julio que en cualquier mes anterior de la guerra. Funcionarios estadounidenses admitieron el miércoles que actualmente las tropas son atacadas con explosivos más poderosos y eficaces. Los 14 muertos en Hadita integraban el Tercer Batallón de la Vigésimoquinta División del cuerpo de infantes de marina de Brook Park, Ohio. Otros seis miembros de ese batallón murieron el lunes.

Estados Unidos sufrió 68 ataques diarios durante el mes de julio
En Irak, la agencia de noticias Associated Press informa que Estados Unidos y las fuerzas aliadas recibieron en promedio unos 68 ataques diarios durante el mes de julio. Esto representa un aumento de casi el 50 % en el número de ataques perpetrados durante ese mes. En tanto, asciende a 2100 el número de iraquíes muertos desde la asunción del nuevo gobierno en abril.

Funcionario británico reconoce que Estados Unidos y Reino Unido son "parte del problema" en Irak
El ministro británico de Asuntos Exteriores Jack Straw admitió que la presencia de tropas británicas y estadounidenses en Irak está provocando levantamientos en ese país. Straw señaló al diario Financial Times que, "a pesar de que contribuimos a la seguridad en ese país, también somos parte del problema". Atacante británico justifica su acción como "una protesta contra la guerra en Irak" Continúa la investigación sobre los atentados del mes pasado en Londres. La abogada de uno de los detenidos por participar en los atentados fallidos del 21 de julio afirmó que su cliente justificó los atentados fallidos como "una protesta pacífica contra la guerra de Irak". La abogada de Hussain Osman, Antonietta Sonnessa expresó que, "mi cliente justificó sus actos como una forma de protesta contra el hecho de que los civiles sufren en las guerras en la actualidad. No es una persona violenta y aseguró que no provocaría ningún daño, ni dejaría heridos o muertos". A diferencia de los atentados que el 7 de julio dejaron 50 muertos, los explosivos de los atentados del 21 de julio no detonaron y no dejaron heridos. La abogada negó que su cliente tuviera alguna vinculación con organizaciones terroristas. Ahora Gran Bretaña pretende extraditar a Osman para que enfrente acusaciones.

Ex funcionario de la CIA demanda a la agencia por despido tras acusaciones de ADM en Irak
Volvemos a Estados Unidos, donde un ex funcionario de la CIA demandó a la agencia por haberlo despedido por error por cuestionar la opinión de la agencia de que Irak tenía armas de destrucción masiva.
En 2001, un año antes de la invasión a Irak, el funcionario manifestó que se enteró a través de un informante que Irak había abandonado el programa de enriquecimiento de uranio. Sin embargo, el funcionario de la CIA sostiene que la agencia nunca compartió la información con otros órganos o con los funcionarios que llevan a cabo las políticas.
El funcionario, que había trabajado en la CIA durante 20 años, fue despedido el año pasado. Su abogado comparó el caso con el de Valerie Plame, la agente encubierta de la CIA, cuya identidad fue revelada luego de que su esposo Joseph Wilson cuestionara la afirmación del gobierno de Bush de que Irak pretendía comprar óxido de uranio llamado "yellowcake" a Níger.
El abogado del ex agente de la CIA, Roy Krieger dijo "En ambos casos, los funcionarios proporcionaron información no deseada acerca de las armas de destrucción masiva en el período anterior a la invasión de Irak, por lo que fueron castigados".

Jimmy Carter: La guerra de Irak fue "innecesaria e injusta"
El ex presidente Jimmy Carter dijo que la guerra de Irak fue "innecesaria e injusta" y criticó al gobierno de Bush por el maltrato a los detenidos en la Bahía de Guantánamo.
En un discurso ofrecido en la convención Bautista internacional en Gran Bretaña Carter dijo "Yo no diría que es la causa del terrorismo, pero impulsó y le dio razones a potenciales terroristas para atacar a nuestro país y justificar sus actos despreciables".

Funcionarios del gobierno alegan manipulación en tribunales militares
En otras noticias de Guantánamo, The New York Times informa que dos fiscales del gobierno presentaron quejas el año pasado, de que los tribunales militares que se estaban conformando para juzgar a los detenidos, eran algo parecido a los procedimientos sumarísimos. Los fiscales afirmaron que el sistema de juicios se había arreglado en forma secreta para aumentar la probabilidad de procesamiento y para privar a los acusados de material que pudiera probar su inocencia. Según el Times, los fiscales alegaron que el fiscal general había dicho a sus subordinados que los primeros cuatro acusados que serían juzgados por los tribunales militares serían cuidadosamente seleccionados para asegurarse de que todos fueran procesados.

Agente del FBI cuestiona legalidad del programa de "rendición extraordinaria"
Mientras tanto, Newsweek obtuvo un documento filtrado del FBI que cuestiona la legalidad de la política de "rendición extraordinaria" del gobierno de Bush, por la cual el gobierno secuestra prisioneros y los envía a países que admiten prácticas de tortura. El informe fue redactado hace tres años por el asesor del FBI asignado en ese momento a Guantánamo. En dicho informe, el agente del FBI afirma que enviar detenidos a países que aplican prácticas de tortura violaría la ley de tortura de Estados Unidos. Newsweek informa que funcionarios de inteligencia estiman que desde el 11 de septiembre la CIA ha enviado más de 100 individuos al extranjero.

Primer Ministro polaco afirma que la construcción de Irak como nación ha sido un completo fracaso
Mientras tanto, el Primer Ministro polaco Marek Belka criticó públicamente la actuación de Estados Unidos en Irak, y afirmó que los esfuerzos realizados para la reconstrucción de ese país han sido un completo fracaso. Belka dijo que Estados Unidos y sus aliados cometieron un error al basar su plan de post-guerra en Irak en el mismo modelo utilizado en Alemania luego de la segunda guerra mundial. "Fracasó totalmente. Se cometieron muchos errores graves", aseveró.

Sargento acusada de homicidio por negligencia
Volvemos a Estados Unidos, donde una sargenta de la infantería de marina fue acusada de homicidio por negligencia y de otros cargos relacionados con la muerte de Jason Tharp, un recluta de 19 años. Tharp murió a principios de este año mientras realizaba un ejercicio de natación en la isla de Parris, en Carolina del Sur. El día antes de su muerte, un canal de televisión local filmó por casualidad al recluta mientras era golpeado por la sargenta Nadya López, instructora de ejercicios de la infantería de marina. Es posible que otros tres militares de la base afronten sanciones disciplinarias.

Estados Unidos avanza en la producción de nuevas minas terrestres
El Pentágono toma medidas tendientes a reanudar la producción de minas terrestres antipersonales por primera vez desde la firma del tratado internacional para prohibirlas, en 1997 , según un informe de Human Rights Watch. De acuerdo con ese informe, ya se decidió destinar 1.300 millones de dólares a dos nuevos sistemas de minas terrestres. La última vez que Estados Unidos utilizó minas terrestres antipersonales fue durante la guerra del Golfo de 1991, cuando esparció 100.000 de esos artefactos en Irak desde aviones. En 1997, 145 países suscribieron el tratado internacional de prohibición del empleo, la producción, la exportación y el almacenamiento de minas terrestres antipersonales. Estados Unidos nunca suscribió ese tratado, pero suspendió la producción de este tipo de minas en 1997. Según Human Rights Watch, las minas terrestres aún matan o dejan lisiadas a unas 500 personas por semana, en su mayoría civiles.

Dos yemeníes informan que fueron recluidos en cárceles clandestinas estadounidenses
Amnistía Internacional pide al gobierno de Bush que revele la ubicación de las cárceles secretas que estableció en todo el mundo tras los atentados del 11 de septiembre. El reclamo surge luego de que dos hombres yemeníes denunciaron públicamente que habían sido detenidos durante más de 18 meses en cárceles subterráneas secretas de Estados Unidos. Los dos fueron arrestados por separado, uno en Jordania y el otro en Indonesia, pero las historias de ambos son casi idénticas, con un período de cárcel en Jordania, torturas, traslado en avión a una cárcel subterránea no identificada, aislamiento durante por lo menos seis meses, y luego traslado a otra cárcel subterránea. Sharon Critoph, de Amnistía, manifestó: "Hacer 'desaparecer' a alguien de la faz de la tierra, sin que sepa por qué ni por cuánto tiempo, es un delito según el derecho internacional, y nadie debería ser víctima de esa práctica". "Tememos que los testimonios de estas dos personas muestren sólo una pequeña parte de de la política de detenciones clandestinas que aplica Estados Unidos en el mundo".

Portavoz republicano de la Cámara de Representantes acusado de recibir soborno
Un artículo publicado en la revista Vanity Fair sostiene que es posible que turco-estadounidenses hayan intentado sobornar a un grupo de legisladores de Estados Unidos, entre ellos al portavoz republicano de la Cámara de Representantes, Dennis Hastert. La acusación fue publicada en una extensa nota acerca de un informante del FBI llamada Sibel Edmonds. Según la revista, Edmonds ayudaba al FBI a traducir cintas en una investigación sobre ciudadanos turcos, pero fue separada de su cargo luego de expresar su rechazo ante la corrupción que veía en la agencia. La informante tiene orden federal de no hablar públicamente sobre el contenido de las cintas que escuchó, pero según fuentes de Vanity Fair, el testimonio de Edmonds indica que ella escuchó llamadas telefónicas de individuos que se jactaban de mantener relaciones encubiertas con el portavoz Hastert. De acuerdo con esas versiones, intereses turcos habrían entregado al legislador republicano decenas de miles de dólares en pequeñas donaciones, mientras la Cámara de Representantes discutía un proyecto de condena del genocidio de armenios cometido por el gobierno turco en 1915. Hastert apoyó al principio ese proyecto, pero más tarde le quitó su apoyo minutos antes de se votara. La oficina de Hastert negó que el legislador haya recibido sobornos, y Vanity Fair informó que no hay pruebas de que ese haya ocurrido. Edmonds demandó al gobierno por su despido, pero las autoridades alegan que el juicio no debe realizarse porque revelaría secretos de Estado.

Gobierno inicia investigación penal por interrogatorios en la frontera
Mientras tanto, Newsday informa que el Departamento de Seguridad Nacional inició una investigación penal a partir de acusaciones de que funcionarios de la frontera interrogaron en forma ilegal a un grupo de estadounidenses musulmanes que regresaban de una conferencia religiosa en Toronto. Los musulmanes presentaron una demanda ante un tribunal federal de Brooklyn a principios de este año para denunciar las prácticas del gobierno de detenerlos, interrogarlos, tomar sus huellas dactilares y fotografiarlos.

Francisco: Hello friends. Here are fourteen stories from Democracy Now! this week. Tell a friend, at least one, that Democracy Now! is providing their headlines in Spanish and English, in text and audio. Help get the word out.

Coalition Death Toll in Iraq Tops 2,000
The overall U.S. military death toll in Iraq has now topped eighteen hundred and the total number of coalition troops killed has passed 2,000.

14 Marines Killed in Deadliest Roadside Bombing Of War
In Iraq, Pentagon officials have concluded it was a massive bomb that killed 14 Marines on Wednesday in the western city of Haditha. The Marines were driving in a 25-ton lightly-armored amphibious troop carrier that was not designed for coming under such attacks. It was the deadliest roadside bombing since the war began. In the past two weeks, at least 31 U.S. soldiers and Marines have died in roadside bombings. According to the Knight Ridder news agency, bombs killed more coalition troops in July than in any previous month of the war. U.S. officials admitted on Wednesday that troops are now being targeted with more powerful and more effective bombs. The 14 Marines were all members of the 3rd Battalion, 25th Marines, based in Brook Park, Ohio. Six more Marines from that Batallion died on Monday.

U.S. Faced 68 Attacks Per Day in Iraq During July
In Iraq, the Associated Press is reporting that U.S. and coalition forces were attacked on average 68 times a day during the month of July. This marks a near 50 percent increase over the number of attacks that took place last July. Meanwhile the number of Iraqis killed since the new Iraqi government took power in April has now topped twenty one hundred.

UK Official Admits U.S. & UK "part of the problem" in Iraq
Meanwhile British foreign secretary Jack Straw has admitted that the presence of British and US troops in Iraq is fuelling the uprising there. Straw told the Financial Times QUOTE "although we are part of the security solution there, we are also part of the problem."

Ex-CIA Officer Agency For Firing Him Over Iraq WMD Claims
Meanwhile back in this country, a former CIA officer has sued the agency claiming that he was wrongly fired for questioning the agency's view that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. In 2001 - a year before the Iraq invasion -- the officer reported that an informant told him that Iraq had abandoned its uranium enrichment program. However, the CIA officer charges that the agency never shared the information with other agencies or with senior policy makers. The officer - who had worked for 20 years at the agency - was fired last year. His attorney compared his case to that of Valerie Plame - the CIA agent who was outed after her husband Joseph Wilson questioned the Bush administration's claim that Iraq was trying to buy yellowcake uranium from the African nation of Niger. The former CIA agent's lawyer, Roy Krieger, said, "In both cases, officials brought unwelcome information on W.M.D. in the period prior to the Iraq invasion, and retribution followed."

Jimmy Carter: Iraq War Was "Unnecessary and Unjust"
Former President Jimmy Carter has called the Iraq war "unnecessary and unjust" and criticized the Bush administration for its handling of detainees at Guantanamo Bay. Speaking at an international Baptist convention in Britain, Carter said, "I think what's going on in Guantanamo Bay and other places is a disgrace to the U.S.A." He went on to say "I wouldn't say it's the cause of terrorism, but it has given impetus and excuses to potential terrorists to lash out at our country and justify their despicable acts."

Gov't Officials Claim Military Tribunals Were Rigged
In other news on Guantanamo, the New York Times is reporting that two government prosecutors complained last year that the military commissions being set up to try detainees were little more than kangaroo courts. The prosecutors complained that the trial system was being secretly arranged to improve the chance of conviction and to deprive defendants of material that could prove their innocence. According to the Times, the prosecutors alleged that the chief prosecutor had told his subordinates that the first four defendants members tried by the military commission would be "handpicked" to ensure that all would be convicted.

FBI Agent Questioned Legality of Extraordinary Rendition
Meanwhile Newsweek has obtained a leaked FBI memo that questions the legality of the Bush's administration policy of extraordinary rendition where the government transports seized individuals and sends them to foreign countries that practice torture. The memo was written three years ago by the FBI supervisor then assigned to Guantanamo. In the memo, the FBI agent wrote that sending detainees to such countries that practice torture would be in violation of the U.S. torture statute. Newsweek reports that intelligence officials are now estimating that more than 100 individuals have been rendered to foreign countries by the CIA since Sept. 11.

Polish PM: Nation Building in Iraq Has "Failed Totally"
Meanwhile Polish Prime Minister Marek Belka has publicly criticized the U.S.-led efforts in Iraq. Belka said post-war nation-building efforts in Iraq have failed totally. Belka said the US and its allies made a mistake by basing its post-war plan for Iraq on the same model used for Germany after World War II. Belka said "It failed totally. Many mistakes, major mistakes, have been committed."

Marine Sgt. Charged w/ Negligent Homicide
Here in this country... A Marine sergeant has been charged with negligent homicide and other charges following the death of a Marine recruit. The recruit, 19-year-old Jason Tharp, died while taking part in a swimming exercise at Parris Island in South Carolina earlier this year. The day before he died a local TV station happened to have videotaped the recruit being struck and grabbed by a Marine drill instructor, Staff Sergeant Nadya Lopez. Three other Marines at the base face possible disciplinary action as well.

U.S. Moves Toward Making New Landmines
The Pentagon is moving ahead towards resuming production of antipersonnel landmines for the first time since the signing of the international Mine Ban Treaty in 1997. This according to a report by Human Rights Watch. $1.3 billion dollars has already been earmarked for two new landmine systems. The U.S. last used antipersonnel landmines in the 1991 Gulf War, when it scattered over 100,000 landmines from planes in Iraq. In 1997 145 nations signed the international Mine Ban Treaty that banned the use, production, exporting, and stockpiling of antipersonnel landmines. The U.S. never signed the pact but it stopped production of antipersonnel landmines in 1997. According to Human Rights Watch, landmines continue to kill and maim an estimated 500 people -- mostly civilians -- each week.

Two Ex-Detainees Report Being Held in Secret U.S. Jails
Amnesty International is calling on the Bush administration to disclose the locations of the government’s secret jails that were set up around the world after the Sept. 11 attacks. This comes after two Yemini men publicly claimed that they were held in secret underground U.S. jails for more than 18 months. The two men were arrested separately but reported being held in almost identical conditions. One of the men was arrested in Jordan, the other in Indonesia. Both were jailed in Jordan where they were reportedly tortured. Each says he was then flown to an unnamed underground jail where he was held in solitary confinement for at least six months. Then they were taken to a second underground jail. Amnesty's Sharon Critoph said "To be 'disappeared' from the face of the earth without knowing why or for how long is a crime under international law and an experience no-one should have to go through. Critoph went on to say "We fear that what we have heard from these two men is just one small part of the much broader picture of US secret detentions around the world."

Speaker of House Hastert Allegedly Bribed
A new story in Vanity Fair is alleging that Turkish-Americans may have attempted to bribe a group of U.S. lawmakers including Republican Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert. The allegation appears in an extended piece in the magazine about FBI whistleblower Sibel Edmonds. According to the magazine, Edmonds was helping the FBI translate tapes surrounding an investigation of Turkish nationals. She was fired from her job after she complained about corruption at the agency. Edmonds is under a federal gag order not to publicly discuss what she heard on the wiretaps. But sources told the magazine that Edmonds has testified that she heard wiretaps of individuals boasting that they had covert relationships with Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert and that Turkish interests had given tens of thousands of dollars in small donations to Hastert. The donations were reportedly given around the time that the House was considering passing a resolution condemning the Turkish genocide of Armenians. Hastert originally backed the resolution but then withdrew it minutes before it was scheduled to go up for a House vote. Hastert’s office has denied receiving any such payments and Vanity Fair reports that there is no evidence that any payments were made. Edmonds is suing the government over his dismissal but the Bush administration is attempting to have the lawsuit quashed claiming it would reveal state secrets.

Gov't Launches Criminal Investigation Over Border Interrogations
Meanwhile Newsday is reporting that the Department of Homeland Security has launched a criminal investigation into allegations that border officials illegally interrogated a group of Muslim Americans that were returning from a religious conference in Toronto. The Muslims filed suit earlier this year in federal court in Brooklyn to challenge the government's practices after they were detained, interrogated, fingerprinted and photographed.

Saturday line up for The Laura Flanders Show

On The Laura Flanders Show Saturday, the line up is:

Forty years after the passage of the Voting Rights Act the fight for US democracy's not past history. We'll talk with journalist MARK CRISPIN MILLER and we’ll get an update from the Keep the Vote Alive! march and rally in Atlanta from LINDA BURNHAM of the Women of Color Resource Center.
Then, music to vote by -- from 1965 to 2005. With actor and activist,
HARRY BELAFONTE, Freedom Singer, MATT JONES and JEFF CHANG, author of Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop: A History of the Hip Hop Generation. Hear the tunes of then and now.

That's Saturday's line up. The Laura Flanders Show broadcasts Saturdays and Sundays on Air America Radio. If you don't have an Air America station in your area (and you don't have XM satellite radio), remember that you can listen online via Real Player or Windows Media Player. (And in answer to the question Cindy once asked, there's no charge to listen online.) The show airs from seven to ten p.m. eastern time Saturdays and Sundays. It's a huge favorite with the community so if you haven't yet checked out the show, please do so.

The e-mail address for this site is

(By the way, "Don't leave politics to the politicians." That's Laura Flanders' motto that I blanked on Wednesday night. Mike didn't blank and noted it in an e-mail as well as in an entry at his site. Thank you, Mike.)

Sunday Chat & Chews

It's Friday, the Sunday Chat & Chews loom on the horizon. (All shows air Sunday. Check your local listings for air times.)

ABC's This Week offers up Dennis Kucinich (among others) which makes it worth watching more than anything else that's been offered in sometime. Here's the line up:

Terry Moran, Chief White House Correspondent, ABC News
Linda Douglass, Congressional Correspondent, ABC News
Rep. Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio
Jim Boskovitch, Father of Cpl. Jeff Boskovitch
Rosemary Palmer, Mother of Lance Cpl. Edward "Augie" Schroeder, II

But just when you're thinking it may score high marks, here comes the roundtable:

Finally, Sam Donaldson, Cokie Roberts and George Will will join me for a classic roundtable. We'll discuss the politics of Iraq, steroids and baseball, and John Roberts.

Dragging Cokie Roberts out of moth balls is frightening enough. Teaming her with George Will and Sam Donaldson is positively frightening. Can nothing stop this unholy trinity?

Over at NBC, Meet the Press has the following guests:

Former Governor, D - New York
Professor of Constitutional Law, Pepperdine University
Former Dean, Catholic University School of Law
"Evidence of Harm: Mercury in Vaccines and the Autism Epidemic"
President, The Institute Of Medicine

As a bonus (and a strong bonus) they offer:

And in honor of the 40th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act, our "Meet The Press Minute" will feature Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. discussing that very legislation in our studio on August 21, 1966.

Finally, there's CBS' Face the Nation:

CBS Evening News Anchor Bob Schieffer
Fighting The Insurgency In Iraq
Sen. Jack Reed
Senate Armed Services Committee
Democrat - Rhode Island
Rep. Duncan Hunter
Chairman, House Armed Services Committee
Republican - California
Francis "Bing" West
Former Assistant Secretary of Defense
Author, No True Glory: a Frontline Account of the Battle of Fallujah

Somehow all three managed to avoid overlap in guests. If you're a fan of the chats and chews, you'll have a lot to watch.

The e-mail address for this site is

Democracy Now: Hiroshima, David Goodman, Anthony Weller; Bob Somerby, Katrina vanden Heuvel, Salim Muwakkil, Matthew Rothschild . . .

London Mayor Calls for Iraq Withdrawal, Galloway Praises Iraq Resistance
As Bush exchanges words with Zawahiri, two of the most vocal critics in Britain of the Iraq occupation are speaking out once again. Rebel Member of Parliament George Galloway has been on a tour of the Middle East where he said the resistance in Iraq was made up of ordinary Iraqis defending their country against "foreign invaders." Galloway said, "It can be said, truly said, that the Iraqi resistance is not just defending Iraq. They are defending all the Arabs and they are defending all the people of the world against American hegemony." Galloway was expelled from the Labour Party over his outspoken remarks about the Iraq war. Meanwhile, London Mayor Ken Livingstone on Thursday called on the British Government to withdraw troops from Iraq to prevent further attacks against Britain. In an op-Ed in The Guardian newspaper, Livingstone wrote "The London bombings demand clear thinking, not rhetoric. People's lives depend on the decisions made. These must be for every community to aid the police; to treat Britain's Muslim community with respect... And for Britain to withdraw from Iraq."
UN Team: New Israel Barrier Violates Int'l Law
A team of experts from the United Nations Human Rights Commission said Thursday that the massive barrier Israel is building to seal off the West Bank is a violation of Israel's human rights obligations. The eight rights experts called on Israel "to stop construction of the wall" and to pay compensation to Palestinians for damage caused by work on the barrier – a series of fences, walls, watchtowers and trenches along the West Bank. Israel also plans to install remote controlled weapons systems as well. The UN team said in a statement, "The wall violates important norms of international humanitarian law prohibiting the annexation of occupied territory, the establishment of settlements, the confiscation of private land and the forcible transfer of people." The UN statement also reminded the international community that "they are under an obligation not to recognize the illegal situation resulting from the construction of the wall and not to render aid or assistance in maintaining the situation."
The two items above are from Democracy Now!'s Headlines and they were selected by Denise and RobDemocracy Now! ("always worth watching," as Marcia says):
Headlines for August 5, 2005
-al Qaeda's No. 2 Warns of Future Attacks
-London Mayor Calls for Iraq Withdrawal, Galloway Praises Iraq Resistance
-Iran's New President Assumes Power
-Two AIPAC Employees Charged in Intel Scandal
-UN Team: New Israel Barrier Violates Int'l Law
-Chevron Pays Nigerian Soldiers Alleged to Have Killed Villagers
-Bob Novak Swears on CNN, Storms Off Set On Live TV
-Hiroshima Anniversary
-10th Anniversary of 'Single Greatest' Ethnic Cleansing of Yugoslav War
Hiroshima Cover-up: Stripping the War Department's Timesman of His Pulitzer

This weekend marks the sixtieth anniversary of the U.S. bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. William Laurence, the New York Times reporter who covered the bombings was also on the US government payroll. Journalists Amy Goodman and David Goodman call for the Pulitzer Board to strip Laurence and his paper, The New York Times, of the undeserved prize. [includes rush transcript]
The Atomic Bombers Speak

Colonel Paul Tibbets named his plane the Enola Gay after his mother. He bombed Hiroshima. Captain Kermit Beahan describes the bombing of Nagasaki. [includes rush transcript]
Long-Suppressed Nagasaki Article Discovered

Defying US occupation forces, George Weller was the first reporter into Nagasaki after the US dropped the atomic bomb. His 25,000 word report did not get past the US military censors. Now dead, we speak with Weller's son who has just discovered the carbon copy of the long-suppressed article.
Film Suppressed; The US Government Classifies Hiroshima Nagasaki Footage For Decades

Footage of the devastation after the U.S. bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki that was commissioned by the US occupying forces was suppressed for decades. Erik Barnouw reads the words of the Japanese filmmaker Akiro Iwasaki.
From Oak Ridge to Lawrence Livermore to Los Alamos: Hiroshima and Nagasaki Remembered

Activists around the nation are commemorating the 60th anniversary of the U.S. bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Grass-roots organizers speak about the ongoing nuclear weapons activity and community resistance.
Hiroshima Survivor: No More Hiroshimas, No More Nagasakis, No More War

Sunao Tsuboi survived the bombing of Hiroshima. Speaking at an anti-nuclear weapons rally in New York, he said, "Even if you luckily survive you...suffer from psychological and physical disruption...until your life ends."
At The Daily Howler today, Bob Somerby's addressing a number of issues (Red Sox, Times' editorial . . .) we'll focus on this, from a discussion of Paul Krugman's latest op-ed:
We haven't studied "intelligent design," and we don't want to weigh in on the evolution debate. But note the larger process described here. When standard intellectual procedures are undermined, those who have "political muscle" can step in and rule the roost. So it will go if libs become freepers--if we too make up quotes; invent pleasing "facts;" indulge in weird logic; and demonize wildly. When any damn fool can say any damn thing, the damn fools with power will win every time. Over the course of the past several centuries, the traditions known as "fact" and "logic" have served as brakes on desires of the powerful. The king could no longer simply say it. He now had to show it was true.

In our view, standard intellectual rigor will typically serve progressive interests. Libs would be foolish to adopt the gong-show behaviors which have defined the talk-show right all these years. Given the hapless conduct of liberal elites in the dozen years, it's easy to see why progressives and libs might find themselves drawn to these gong-show behaviors. But this would be a path straight to hell. In our view, accurate facts clearly explained will normally favor progressive interests. We've been sad to see some on the liberal web starting to ape the gong-show pseudo-right--and praying for prosecution of the bad men we’re too inept to defeat on our own. (And too lazy; and too undisciplined; and too riddled with conflict of interest.)

This morning, Krugman describes an instructive process. Those who have "political muscle" will typically welcome intellectual chaos. If they can simply spread doubt and confusion--if they can undermine normal intellectual methods--then their muscle will start to take hold. So it will be in the wider discourse if we--like those whom we have long ridiculed--start to take our daily pleasure in the methods of gong-show discussion.

Funny, isn't it? When we got into this business, we thought it would be a way of expanding and, in some sense, reifying the ephemeral daily conversation that humans engage in. Now, we think we might see something else developing--something less noble, less fine.

Lori e-mails to note Katrina vanden Heuvel's latest, "Sweet Victory: MM at 25" (The Nation):
In 1980, Multinational Monitor was founded by Ralph Nader and a rag-tag band of socially conscious reporters who felt that corporate power was "undergoing a transformation, mutating into something more fundamentally global in scope and profoundly more dangerous." Published nine times a year, the Monitor is not glamorous or immediately recognizable outside of activist and political media circles. But its hard-hitting stories on corporate environmental abuse, health and safety violations, and exploitation of developing nations have long held the feet of executives to the fire.

The Monitor's most widely publicized feature in recent years has been its annual list of the "Top Ten Worst Corporations," compiled by Robert Weissman (who also serves as editor) and Russell Mokhiber of Corporate Crime Reporter. This past year, Coca-Cola, Merck, and--you guessed it--Wal-Mart all made the list, which spread through the blogosphere like wildfire and caused migraines for corporate PR firms.

We're also big fans of the Monitor's bi-monthly Lawrence Summers Memorial Award--named after the loose-lipped Harvard president and former Treasury Secretary, who once suggested that polluting developing nations was a fiscally responsible strategy (among other ridiculous things). A recent recipient was SeaCode: a company, according to the Monitor, "which plans on locating a cruise ship in international waters, just off of the California coast, and out of reach of US labor, employment and immigration law, to house a software development company."

Eric e-mails to note Salim Muwakkil's "Keep the Voting Rights Act Alive" (In These Times): 

A major march is on tap for August 6 in Atlanta to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act and to mobilize support for extension of some of the Act's provisions. Although conceived and convened by the Rev. Jesse Jackson’s Rainbow/PUSH Coalition, the march has been enthusiastically endorsed and applauded by a wide array of civil rights, voting rights and civil liberties groups.

"We see schemes to undermine voting growing and the silence from the Department of Justice is deafening," Jackson said at a news conference last month announcing the march. "The Voting Rights Act is a sacred act and it should not be tampered with."

The Voting Rights Act was passed in 1965 during the administration of President Lyndon B. Johnson after a decade of civil rights activism revealed the deep roots of opposition to black enfranchisement. The Act has been hailed as the most successful civil rights legislation ever passed by Congress. Many experts credit it directly for the emergence of a distinct black electorate and for more than 9,000 black elected officials. What's more, the legislation helped not just black voters in the South, but Latinos, Native Americans and other minorities.

Key provisions of the Act are set to expire in August 2007 and the "Keep the Vote Alive" march in Atlanta also is a demand for President George W. Bush and Congress to extend those provisions.

Lloyd e-mails to note Matthew Rothschild's "Unhappy Anniversary of the Bomb" (The Progressive):
This week marks the 60th anniversary of the U.S. bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and it's not an anniversary to celebrate.

From the historical record, it's becoming increasingly clear that these atomic bombs--which killed more than 200,000 people immediately--were unnecessary.

Now I know a lot of old vets will tell you that the bombs saved hundreds of thousands of lives by forestalling a bloody invasion of the island.

My uncle was a commander in the Pacific, and he always made that argument.

But the argument is no longer holding.

First of all, if the United States had detonated a demonstration bomb on an unpopulated island and proved to Japan how lethal these weapons were, it's possible that the Japanese government would have surrendered.

And secondly, the event that had the most to do with that ultimate surrender was the Soviet Union declaring war on Japan on August 8, two days after the Hiroshima blast, argues Professor Tsuyoshi Hasegawa in a new book entitled Racing the Enemy.

Matthew Rothschild also weighs in on the Romer issue in "Roberts and Romer:"
This has gotten the right all apoplectic.

It's "not welcome news to those of us who advocate for traditional values," said James Dobson of Focus on the Family, who had initially praised the Roberts pick.

Actually, just about every voice on the right except the fire-breather Ann Coulter had hailed Roberts as a gift from on high.

But now Bush finds himself having to placate the right for Roberts’s lawyerly duties in this one case.

On our side of the fence, Roberts's role in Romer is bolstering those who have been secretly sighing, "He could be worse."

That's kind of like saying you prefer Orrin Hatch to Jesse Helms, but the fingers-crossed crowd says this case shows Roberts can at least perceive the legal merits of gay rights.

AMY GOODMAN: David, I think it's instructive, the effects of this reporting. I mean, on the one hand, you had someone like Wilfred Burchett on the ground, talking about -- he didn't even have the words to describe. He talked about “bomb sickness.” He talked about “atomic plague.” And then you have Laurence's front page story, September 12, 1945, “U.S. Atom Bomb Site Belies Tokyo Tales: Tests on New Mexico Range Confirm that Blast and Not Radiation Took Toll.” This, after William Laurence, while he didn't go to Hiroshima, was taken by Leslie Groves, the general in charge of the Manhattan Project, that was responsible for the bomb, took Laurence and other reporters to New Mexico to counter what the War Department, what Groves was calling Japanese propaganda of the effects, the deadly effects of radiation.

DAVID GOODMAN: And, in fact, Laurence knew better, because having observed the Trinity test, the first explosion of the atomic bomb in the deserts of New Mexico, he knew that Geiger counters had spiked around the area of the bombing long after the actual bomb itself. In fact, an interesting footnote to this whole encounter is that when Laurence was brought by Groves in this effort, as Amy describes, after Burchett's article came out, which was a total public relations fiasco for the U.S. government, having Burchett talk about this atomic plague, the General Groves's driver stood in the center of the crater where the Trinity tests went off as a way to kind of boast that there was nothing wrong there. He later died of cancer, and the War Department gave him a pension, a military disability pension, as a recognition of the fact that he was, in fact, poisoned with atomic radiation on that trip where he brought Bill Laurence to dispute Burchett's claims.

JUAN GONZALEZ: David, also, this whole issue of whether civilians died of the blast or radiation, the military knew well ahead of time the dangers of radiation because there was a 1943 memo to Leslie Groves from scientists in the Manhattan Project that's been used often by the anti-depleted uranium activists. It was declassified 30 years later, where it specifically talked about the memo, titled “Use of Radioactive Materials as a Military Weapon,” talking about the use of even low-level radiation. Just quoting from the memo, it says, “In order to deny terrain to either side at the expense of exposing personnel to harmful radiation,” and it goes on to say, “areas so contaminated by radioactive material would be dangerous until the natural decay of the material took place, which could take weeks or even months.” Of course, we now know it could take hundreds of years. And it goes on to say that ‘no effective protective clothing for personnel seems possible, but the average -- and no decontaminating methods are known.’ So, that the army was well aware in 1943 of the enormous potential for radiation dangers to civilians and military personnel as a result of the use of radioactive weapons, not just the power of the blast itself.

DAVID GOODMAN: Well, that's right. And this debate has had ongoing significance that far outlasted World War II. Laurence was essentially putting out the official government narrative, which is that atomic radiation is not harmful, is not a major byproduct of the nuclear weapons program. You know, it's only the blast that has essentially a very short impact. The reason that this has importance is that for really a half century, this narrative became the government's response to all protests against nuclear power, the nuclear weapons programs of the 1950s and 1960s and the Cold War. So, Laurence essentially set the table that the government was to occupy for the next half century as they disputed any attempt to rein in, you know, the rapid acceleration of nuclear weapons and power programs.

As Marcia notes in her e-mail,  "Long time coming.  And there are a lot of others who should be concerned.  I don't mean the obvious - Judy Miller - but people like Dexter Filkins who gave 'eye-witness' reporting from the occupation that read like propaganda."
Amy and David Goodman have written an op-ed on the need for the Pulitzer to be stripped and you can access it at the Democracy Now! main page.  (It's on a right side bar.)
Marcia wanted a link to an earlier entry here ("Amy Goodman warned us about 'The Lies of the Times") but I'll also note you can read "Hiroshima Cover-up: How the War Department's Timesman Won a Pulitzer" (an excerpt from the Goodman's The Exception to the Rulers).
The e-mail address for this site is (Kara and I will do a thing on BuzzFlash's GOP Hypocrite of the Week later this evening, for those wondering.)

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