May, 2005 link archive

Monday, May 2, 2005

The New York Times previews the findings of an upcoming military investigation into the treatment of prisoners at Guantanamo, prompted by FBI e-mails made public by the ACLU, and Physicians for Human Rights releases a report claiming that "psychological torture was systematic and central to the interrogation process of detainees in Iraq, Afghanistan and Guantanamo."

The Times also reports on the Bush administration's post-9/11 cozying up to Uzbekistan, citing "growing evidence" that the U.S. has sent terror suspects there for detention and interrogation. Earlier: 'U.S. scatters bases to control Eurasia.'

"Only the top Republicans and Democrats on the House and Senate intelligence committees are acquainted with the deportation program" known as "extraordinary rendition," writes Helen Thomas, and "Their silence ... is deafening."

As the Los Angeles Times reports on how the war in Iraq is increasingly "pitching Iraqis against Iraqis," Peter Maas profiles a Sunni-led Iraqi counterinsurgency unit drawn from Saddam's elite forces, whose general is said to be the brains behind the TV show, ''Terrorism in the Grip of Justice.''

Maas warns that "In a country as riven as Iraq ... a paramilitary force that is controlled by one faction can be a potent weapon against others." In 'Iraq's Hostage Cabinet,' Pepe Escobar says that with "at least six militias, armed, trained and funded by the Pentagon ... All the elements for civil war are in place." More on the 'Squabble over Iraqi militias.'

The AP reports on allegations that Custer Battles and its employees in Iraq have been 'running wild' in the streets and the suites, CorpWatch examines the 'Contract Quagmire' in Iraq, and the Sydney Morning Herald's Paul McGeough offers evidence to suggest that the country could become a 'nest of corruption.' Plus: Rumsfeld offered to spring Saddam?

With the Tories described as being 'in freefall,' Prime Minister Blair says, "We do say sorry for all those people who have died" in Iraq, Der Spiegel examines how he went "From Blair to 'Bliar'" and Billy Bragg says "you have to, unfortunately, hold your nose and do what you can to stop things sliding back."

As 'Italy hits back over agent's death,' Corriere Della Sera unredacts the U.S. military's report clearing American soldiers.

Two U.S. Army recruiters were suspended following a Denver TV station's report on a sting operation by a high school newspaper editor, who presented himself to recruiters as a dropout with a marijuana problem to see "how desperate they really are."

Air Jesus "There is a clear preference for Christianity ... so that everyone else feels like a second-class citizen," said the head of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, as the group released a report detailing 'Religious Favoritism' at the U.S. Air Force Academy. The WSWS has more on the report.

A Washington Post analysis looks at what happened to the "mandate," and the Boston Globe documents how the Bush administration and the GOP-controlled Congress are "using legislation and the legal system to quash state efforts to regulate industry," while a possible federal energy fix goes 'Unmentioned.'

As Bush delivers what Paul Krugman calls a 'Gut Punch to the Middle,' Billmon argues in 'Social Surrealism' that "the global financial situation -- and the economic train wreck that I think lies just a little further down the tracks," may render the debate "pointless." Plus: 'Bush redefines "Better Off,"' and 'Three Strikes and You're Fox.'

The New York Times reports that Kenneth Y. Tomlinson, the Republican chairman of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, "is aggressively pressing public television to correct what he and other conservatives consider liberal bias."

In addition to hiring a consultant to "track guests' political leanings" on "Now With Bill Moyers," Tomlinson hired the director of the White House Office of Global Communications, who "helped draft guidelines governing the work of two ombudsmen whom the corporation recently appointed," while she still worked at the White House.

Last week CJR Daily reported that "According to two public opinion studies commissioned by CPB itself, Americans appear to like public broadcasting just the way it is."

The FBI has raided the home of Tom Noe, the northwest Ohio chairman of the Bush-Cheney campaign, as part of a federal probe into whether he was illegally funneling money into the campaign, reports the Toledo Blade, which says investigators are focusing on an October 2003 fund-raiser in Columbus which netted $1.4 million.

In April the paper revealed that an Ohio state agency had invested $50 million in rare-coin funds managed by Noe, the only instance it found of a state government investing in rare coins. On Sunday it reported that "The number of missing rare coins purchased with state money controlled by ... Noe now totals 121."

While there has been virtually no coverage of Noe outside of Ohio, CNN went wall-to-wall with the "runaway bride" story, prompting Atrios to observe that "CNN now plans to become the 24 hour local news channel, nationalizing every local interest story."

April 29 - May 1

Tuesday, May 3, 2005

Reporting on an analysis that operations in Iraq and Afghanistan would hinder the Pentagon from getting its war on elsewhere, the Los Angeles Times quotes a Defense official as saying, "we would succeed, but there would be higher casualties and more collateral damage. We would have to win uglier." Plus: 'On Leaving the Superpower Orbit.'

Knight Ridder reports on "a chilling new trend of alleged arrests, beatings and intimidation of Iraqi reporters at the hands of Iraqi security forces." According to Reporters Without Borders, journalist's family members are also being arrested.

With 'Bomb attacks on the rise as "New Baath party" is born,' the Washington Post reports that Iraqi insurgents are using U.S. bombmaking techniques, straight out of a 1965 U.S. Army manual that was translated into Arabic for use by Saddam's military in the 1980s. Plus: 'U.S. back to stage one in Iraq.'

As the Supreme Court agrees to decide if colleges and universities can ban Pentagon recruiters from campus without losing federal funds, the Army and Marines miss recruiting goals, and the story of the Colorado high school newspaper editor who conducted a sting operation on Army recruiters, goes national.

A former military reservist who enlisted on the morning of 9/11 -- before hearing of the terror attacks -- and ended up being stationed at Abu Ghraib, tells Bob Herbert about the gratuitous violence that he says is routinely inflicted by American soldiers on ordinary Iraqis. Plus: 'Private's plea doesn't take higher-ups off the hook.'

David Corn says that the first couple's "non-recognition of the American troops" at the White House Correspondent's Dinner "was not a one-time phenomenon. Two nights earlier ... Bush said nothing about the Americans risking their lives in Iraq and Afghanistan."

Corn also tells of approaching Sen. Pat Roberts about the Phase II investigation of the Bush administration's use of prewar intelligence. Roberts now wants to include statements by Democratic members of Congress, about which Corn writes, "Very clever, Mr. Chairman. But none of these folks launched an invasion."

"Let's start with: the nation's leaders lying to the American people to gain our involvement in the two wars," writes Editor & Publisher's Greg Mitchell, in response to an op-ed by pundit Jonah Goldberg that downplays comparisons between Iraq and Vietnam.

Journalists respond to a letter from Ahmad Chalabi to the Columbia Journalism Review, accusing them of having "published information about the INC that has now been conclusively proven to be false."

"For a candidate who is on course to be reelected to a third straight term Thursday ... Blair is emerging from a grueling campaign as something of a loser," reports the Los Angeles Times. Earlier: "Debating the legality of the war is not the same thing as debating the war."

Rep. John Conyers is reportedly circulating a letter in which he asks for further inquiry into a 2002 secret U.S.-UK agreement to pursue "regime change" in Iraq, writing that "Unfortunately, the mainstream media in the United States was too busy with wall-to-wall coverage of a 'runaway bride' to cover a bombshell report out of the British newspapers."

Howard Kurtz calls the amount of cable coverage "about an unknown woman who got cold feet about her wedding ... almost beyond belief," and CJR Daily observes that CNN "put on a day-long clinic demonstrating just about everything that's wrong with TV news." It continued on Monday, with "NewsNight" devoting its entire hour to "Hoaxes."

Noting the scant coverage afforded the news of an FOIA search revealing James Guckert's numerous White House visits, an editorial suggests that "If reporters aren't worried about imposter journalists, at least they should smell a good story in a possible White House security breach."

O'Reilly Factor The New York Times' executive editor reveals that he actually knows how many times Bill O'Reilly denounced his paper in the last year. Plus: 'Times article omitted key facts about CPB's new ombudsmen,' "PBS Suffers the 'Fox Effect,'" and Rory O'Connor asks: 'Right-wing Coup at PBS?'

Joe Scarborough admits that it was an "embarrassing oversight" to have G. Gordon Liddy appear on a "Scarborough Country" segment on violent talk radio rhetoric, since Liddy, in 1994 on his own radio show, had advocated shooting federal agents.

The Progressive interviews a West Virginia woman who tangled with the mayor over her anti-Bush administration lawn signs and was visited by the Secret Service after "someone had made a statement that I'd ... said I wanted to cut President Bush's head off."

Edward von Kloberg, a lobbyist and PR guy who spun for Saddam, Nicolae Ceausescu and other notorious dictators, "leapt to his death Sunday from 'a castle in Rome,'" reports the Washington Post. And in an interview with the Guardian, Hitler's nurse describes the final days in the bunker.

May 2

Wednesday, May 4, 2005

The Washington Post reports that the U.S. military has released a letter it said "showed morale was low" among followers of Abu Musab Zarqawi, "despite an onslaught of deadly attacks by insurgents this month," including Wednesday's suicide bombing that killed 60. Plus: 'New ways to bedevil U.S. in Iraq' and 'saved by carrots.'

Fifty-seven percent of Americans now say that the war in Iraq was "not worth it," according to a new USA Today/CNN/Gallup poll, up from 50 percent in early February.

An incomplete Iraqi cabinet was sworn in, with Ahmad Chalabi still serving as acting Oil Minister, Sunni Vice President Ghazi al-Yawar boycotting the ceremonies and the new prime minister said to be blaming the Sunnis for the deadlock. Plus: A plea for stability.

Authorities in Pakistan claim to have captured al-Qaeda's number 3 man, Abu Faraj al-Libbi after a gun battle along the northwest frontier. Al-Libbi was previously reported to be running terror cells in Britain and the U.S.

Police in Islamabad marked World Press Freedom Day by baton-charging dozens of journalists at a rally before locking them up. This year's theme: "Media and Good Governance."

Although top Army officials learned days before a nationally televised memorial service for Pat Tillman that he had died from friendly fire, they witheld the information from Tillman's family and the public until weeks after the service, reports the Washington Post. Earlier: "Cease fire! Friendlies!"

TalkLeft ponders evidence that FPC Lynndie England was oxygen-deprived at birth, and Steve Gilliard finds Army recruiters' efforts to send "Private ADD" to Iraq, to serve alongside "Pvt. Asthma, Pvt. Pothead, and Pvt. Sneakthief," reminiscent of Robert McNamara's "Moron Corps."

The judge presiding over England's sentencing hearing threw out her guilty plea after Pvt. Charles Graner testified for the defense that pictures he took of England holding a naked prisoner on a leash were meant to be used as a legitimate training aid for other guards.

NPR's ombudsman says a 'military mistake' that led to widespread unredacting of a report on the shooting death of Nicola Calipari in Iraq, shows that "the blogosphere has proven once again to be an amoral place with few rules."

Big John War In Context finds journalistic accounts positioning the debate over John Bolton's U.N. nomination "exactly where the White House wants it placed: as a debate on strength versus weakness." Plus: 'Bolton's Proudest Moment' and more positioning in This Modern World.

Responding to remarks by Pat Robertson regarding who's fit to serve in the U.S. cabinet and on the Supreme Court, Juan Cole writes that "In Robertson's warped little world, all Muslims are dangerous and all liberal Jews are proto-Communists. And if we don't speak out, his world is about to become our world."

'Tom DeLay's Right Arm' Bill Berkowitz examines the activities of The National Center for Public Policy Research, which sponsored DeLay's 1997 trip to Moscow and recently initiated an Earth Day pushback.

"One of the leaders in the recent uptick in privately funded travel is Sen. Norm Coleman," reports the Star Tribune, ranking "15th in Congress in the number of free trips since 2000, even though he has only been in office since Jan. 2003."

The War On Drug The Washington Post reports on a study by the Sentencing Project, which found that 82% of the national increase in drug arrests between 1990 and 2002 was for marijuana offenses, and nearly all of the growth was for possession.

The article refers to the White House Drug Czar's new warning that "marijuana use, particularly during the teen years, can lead to depression, thoughts of suicide, and schizophrenia," and a recent report from the American Enterprise Institute arguing that "criminal punishment of marijuana use does not appear to be justified."

Beam Me Out, Scotty Jay Rosen writes that "Conspicuous for going unmentioned" in an Editor & Publisher article about D.C. bureau chiefs objecting to White House background briefings, "was one of the most effective ways the press can 'raise objections' to background briefings: don't go to them. Just quit."

May 3

Thursday, May 5, 2005

As new attacks kill another score in Iraq, Knight Ridder reports that the dean of Baghdad University "fled the campus" and classes were canceled due to rioting when sectarian tensions exploded after the murder of a Shiite student.

The Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction reportedly "accused civilian contract managers of 'simply washing accounts' to try to make the books balance" after an audit found that the 'U.S. Can't Account for $100M Spent in Iraq.' Plus: A cut and paste job at the Pentagon and the U.S. is 'seen as unaccountable in Iraqi civilian deaths.'

David Ignatius writes that Pentagon officials are studying similarities between post-invasion Iraq and the American South after the U.S. Civil War, when, as he puts it, "giving up on Reconstruction spawned a social and economic disaster that lasted nearly a century."

"All my friends are doing it," a Sadr City lawyer tells USA Today, referring to "the renaissance of the pleasure marriage," a Shiite institution suppressed under Saddam and condemned by Sunnis as "little more than legalized prostitution."

Telling Pfc. Lynndie England and her lawyers that "if you plead guilty, you can't put on evidence that you're not guilty," a military judge threw out her Abu Ghraib plea bargain and declared a mistrial.

After a mass-mailer from a GOP Congressman states that "we have our military in the Middle East fighting so that we can continue to purchase oil from that region," a Sacramento News and Review writer asks, "was this really a slip in judgment or a sign that Republican leaders are shifting the rhetoric on Iraq one more time?"

As for who's actually writing America's energy policy, Molly Ivins has her suspicions.

An FBI affidavit charges Pentagon analyst Lawrence Franklin with transmitting classified information to members of AIPAC, a pro-Israel lobbying group said to have close ties to "senior policymakers in the Bush administration, among them Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who is expected to appear later this month at the group's annual meeting."

A Haaretz analysis of the Franklin indictment says that it provides 'A rare peek at what really happened in the AIPAC affair' but leaves "significant questions unanswered," including "was Israel involved?"

With the Fatah movement appearing to have beaten back a challenge from Hamas in local Palestinian elections, a consultant to the Palestinian Authority says a spending bill passed by the U.S. Congress that calls for $200 million in Palestinian aid to be funneled either through Israel or NGOs, is a "huge slap in the face to Abu Mazen."

A New York Times report on the arrest of a "senior al-Qaeda leader" cites counterterrorism experts who "immediately raised questions" about the suspect's importance, and even his identity, based on a possible confusion of names and the difference between his before and after look.

And one terrorism analyst told the Los Angeles Times that "There may be some grade inflation going on" regarding the suspect's position in the al-Qaeda hierarchy.

The Mexican government has dropped criminal charges against Mexico City's mayor, clearing the way for his presidential candidacy and prompting the observation that "Lopez Obrador called Fox's bluff."

Jonathan Schell describes the 'Nuclear Renaissance' in which "the gates of unlimited proliferation" threaten to "swing open" despite a recent poll showing that 66 percent in the U.S. believe that "no country should be allowed to have to have nuclear weapons."

They Wiccan Not As a 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruling restricts freedom of religion to "Judeo-Christian monotheism," a Boston Review essay describes 'How evangelical Protestantism came to dominate American religion.'

A Texas Democrat "who once proposed a measure to amputate the fingers of drug dealers" has won state House approval for his bill to clean up high school cheerleading -- which, said one supporter, "was starting to emulate popular culture."

Columbia Journalism Review explores the "alternative universe" of faith-based news, and a disappointed Air America listener complains that "adversaries of the war who call for immediate and total withdrawal ... are not to be found on the Franken frequency." Plus: voice of dissent aired in unlikely venue.

Bagged Man The Guardian reports that a new book on Frank Sinatra cites Jerry Lewis as saying that Ol' Blue Eyes was a money mule for the mob.

May 4

Friday, May 6, 2005

Knight Ridder's Warren Strobel and John Walcott report that the "highly classified British memo, leaked in the midst of Britain's just-concluded election campaign," indicates that 'Bush made intelligence fit Iraq policy.'

More on the memo from Ray McGovern, Greg Palast and Joe Conason, who asks: "are the editors and producers who oversee the American news industry simply too timid to report that proof on the evening broadcasts and front pages?"

As U.S. officials cite satellite photos showing a "burst of activity" at what they say appears to be a North Korean nuclear test site, the Korea Herald details how the U.S. has been beefing up its military presence in the region.

Interviewed on CNN about the reported test site and his column on 'Pyongyang's Bomb,' David Ignatius said: "The notion of building a reviewing stand for a nuclear weapons test strikes me as absurd." (scoll down)

Jane's reports that a new white paper from PricewaterhouseCoopers, aimed at showing defense contractors how to maximize value, says that U.S. defense spending "will equal that of the rest of the world combined within 12 months," and describes a scenario in which the U.S. could "dominate the supply of the world's arms completely."

An election victory from which British Prime Minister Tony Blair's party emerged in "a much weakened position" is said to herald "the end of the Blair era" after "the night of the living dead."

Victorious anti-war candidate George Galloway, who had been kicked out of the Labor Party, delivered a post-election message to Blair: "the best thing the Labor Party can do is sack you tomorrow morning."

Reuters reports that the escalating violence in Iraq -- more than 200 people killed since the cabinet was announced eight days ago -- is "putting pressure on politicians who have promised stability."

A Christian Science Monitor report on 'Abu Ghraib's message for the rank and file' says that the mistrial in the case of Pfc. Lynndie England serves to "refocus attention on who is facing courts-martial and who isn't." Plus: "Stuff happens" and "The whup ass ran like a river."

"It was not clear who the Marines were looking for," reports Reuters, when U.S. forces made a beachhead in Somalia, showing "pictures of suspected 'terrorists'" to fishermen.

The Israeli embassy official who reportedly received classified Pentagon information from two recently-fired AIPAC employees, is said to be leaving his post "for personal reasons," as investigators probe whether "intelligence on Iran made it into the hands of Ahmed Chalabi." Plus: All quiet in the amen corner.

"Leave no tree behind" Environmentalists deplored the Bush administration decision to remove the roadless rule, paving the way for industry to exploit large pristine areas of national forest land, most of it in Western states.

Commenting on a U.S. Forest Service plan to replace "100 of its public information staff with private public relations firms," watch-dog group PEER points out that, unlike PR firms, "civil servants are under a legal obligation to tell the public the truth."

"Free at last!" The CEO of Merck & Co. "abruptly resigned" on the day when congressional investigators showed that company reps were urged to sell Vioxx using the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" speech.

President Bush denounced evil on the National Day of Prayer, while House Majority Leader Tom DeLay sang the praises of humility and urged politicians to spend "less time ducking responsibility." More on DeLay's remarks, from the press release issued by his office.

The congregation at a North Carolina church reportedly "stood up and applauded" as their pastor cast out the Democrats among them, apparently for refusing to repent and vote Republican.

Mike Davis writes that "with a 'Vigilante Man' in the governor's mansion in Sacramento," it would be "a mistake to underestimate the impact" of the "gun freaks and sociopaths" of the Minuteman Project on GOP politics.

Los Angeles Times columnist Steve Lopez asks: "Schwarzenegger is the immigrant governor of the state with the most immigrants, and the best he can do is blow a bugle for the Minutemen?" Plus: Bill Berkowitz on 'The Minutemen and the media.'

Joining Slate's Jack Shafer in arguing that only an end to public funding can free public broadcasting from right-wing control, Jonathan Chait writes that "the hack attack on PBS should come as no surprise. It's President Bush's basic MO." Earlier: PBS head Kenneth Tomlinson's 'Tone Deafness.'

Shape Shifter As The Nation chronicles the transformation of "a scrappy daily radio program" into 'Amy Goodman's "Empire,"' "Democracy Now!" explores 'The Christian Right and the Rising Power of the Evangelical Political Movement' with a look back at "Justice Sunday."

A new Holocaust museum, opened by a Muslim lawyer in Nazareth in the interests of "changing the environment," is reportedly under fire from both the Arabic press and the Anti-Defamation League.

Dead at 74 -- Col. David Hackworth, war hero, peace movement advocate, syndicated columnist, and commander of the helicopter unit depicted in "Apocalypse Now!" Plus: The Washington Post salutes a "poet in newspaperman's clothing."

May 5

Monday, May 9, 2005

As U.S. troop deaths in Iraq climbed past 1,600 over the weekend, Iraq's new president declared that Iraq's insurgency is being funded from abroad, and U.S. commanders repositioned assets, based on "fragmentary information and intuition."

Knight Ridder reports on the U.S.' continuing refusal to hand over control of Iraq's intelligence service, which "is not working for the Iraqi government -- it's working for the CIA," says one Iraqi lawmaker.

A new inspector general's report is said to warn that 'Ability to Track Costs in Iraq May Be Difficult,' and that "the government could be stuck without enough money to pay for reconstruction programs already begun." Plus: Don't ask, don't know.

Jeffrey St. Clair goes 'Straight to Bechtel,' said to be "making tons of money from the war on Iraq that its executives helped orchestrate," and seemingly "more powerful than the U.S. Army," according to "a top official with the new Iraqi government's Ministry of Education."

Insurgents are reportedly car-pooling, and a car-bomb sandwich kills 29, although Iraq's burgeoning TV and film industry is said to be letting the cameras roll.

Just A Bump In The Beltway chews up a sound bite from the new Iraqi oil minister.

The opening paragraph of an Atlantic Monthly profile of Jordanian attorney Ziad al-Khasawneh, head of Saddam Hussein's defense team, which lists some of the things Ziad believes, ignores our own widely-held myths about American power, says Geov Parrish.

Although Time says "Everyone does agree" that the "Pakistanis have reeled in a big fish" in Abu Faraj al-Libbi, the Times of London quotes a "European intelligence expert" who calls al-Libbi "among the flotsam and jetsam" of Al-Qaeda.

The Telegraph reports that according to one "senior intelligence official," al-Libbi "has not told us anything solid that could lead to the high-value targets," and Newsweek reminds that post-9/11, "not a single suspected Qaeda leader has been brought to justice" by the U.S.

Students in Holland had an "opportunity to ask questions that some Americans might want to pose if given the chance," but most of their unscripted questions and President Bush's answers were neither "heard by reporters or included in the White House transcript." Plus: 'Brother-in-law to the world' explains that 'Beating Nazis was like War on Terror.'

Presidents Bush and Putin went for a spin and "papered over the cracks" at a joint press conference in Moscow, as aides shared football duty.

New guidelines for multicandidate elections in Egypt are said to ensure not democracy but a "crude soap opera," by effectively excluding independent candidates.

If Americans Knew releases a study of network TV news coverage of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. In late April the New York Times' ombudsman referred to the group's study of his paper's coverage of the conflict in a column headlined 'The Hottest Button,' in which he concluded that "Journalism itself is inadequate to tell this story."

"On the Media" responds to a Wall Street Journal 'critique' of its program by a writer for David Horowitz's organization, the Center for the Study of Popular Culture.

Resource Wars? Michael Klare, author of "Blood and Oil," surveys the implications of insatiable demand and questionable supply in 'The Intensifying Global Struggle for Energy.'

Paul Krugman unpacks 'The Final Insult,' as "those who would privatize Social Security" now accuse opponents of "coddling the rich and not caring about the poor."

Senator John Kerry reportedly goes outside, while 'Mama Warbucks' is said to be "bringing home the bacon" for defense contractors.

Spokane Mayor Jim West declares that "I didn't masturbate in my office -- never, not ever," as "allegations of his sexual misconduct gripped City Hall."

May 6-8

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

New York Times op-ed columnist John Tierney complains that too much coverage of suicide bombings plays into the "media strategy" of terrorists, arguing that "I suspect the public would welcome a respite from gore."

The Times, reporting from Baghdad, devotes a single sentence to multiple car bombings at the end of a story amplifying the official line of '100 Rebels Killed in U.S. Offensive in Western Iraq,' although a Marine commander on the scene estimated that fewer than 50 had been killed.

Marines in western Iraq complained to the Los Angeles Times of "too few U.S. troops to cover an area with so many trouble spots" and said that some insurgents were wearing body armor.

A Marine Corps Times reporter tells Editor and Publisher that officials tried to steer him away from a story in which he reported that more than 10,000 Marines had been issued body armor known to have "life-threatening flaws."

A new emphasis on gun safety reportedly comes too late in "at least" 16 accidental deaths and 121 self-woundings from "negligent discharges" by U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan since 2001.

'The Turning of Middle America' Intervention's Stewart Nusbaumer finds that "opposition to the Iraq War is crossing the ideological divide" as "non-liberals are getting fed up with this war."

In a New Yorker commentary on 'Iraq's Uncertain Moment,' George Packer writes that "two years ago, there was a moment when the Americans might have molded Iraq after their own desire, for better or worse. Their incompetence surprised no one more than the Iraqis."

In what the Washington Post calls "a rare moment of ceding the limelight," President Bush "spent the day in Moscow without uttering a single word in public," but did allow some media and advocacy groups "a few minutes to address him directly" in private, as "staying on message ... proved more difficult than the White House anticipated." And 'Why Is Georgia on His Mind?'

Arguing that Bush's 'Mendacity Will Shock Historians,' Bill Gallagher laments that the "first draft of history" by "America's big corporate media" under Bush has been devoted for the most part to propagating his "cascading lies and deceptions." Plus: "Supposedly."

The failure of the Washington Post's ombudsman to offer a judgment about the paper giving short shrift to the leaked British memo on the Iraq war "is remarkable" says Media Matters, "not only because he regularly responds in his column to reader criticisms, but because of the explosive content of the memo."

As Luis Posada Carriles, a suspect in the bombing of a Cuban passenger plane, reportedly applies for asylum in the U.S., Robert Parry argues that "the U.S. news media has soft-pedaled both the facts of the Posada case and the hypocrisy over terrorism that tolerating his presence represents."

"We are going to the Supreme Court, that's for sure," said Sibel Edmonds, after a U.S. Court of Appeals upheld a lower court's ruling that dismissed her lawsuit against the Justice Department.

As the Senate Foreign Relations committee hears of tight restrictions that were placed on U.N. nominee John Bolton by angry State Department officials, attention focuses on the three GOP senators who have previously expressed reservations about Bolton.

The AP reports that a new Republican-only poll circulating in the party shows that a majority of GOP voters favor embryonic stem cell research, and see it as more of a research issue than an abortion issue, while a Democratic polling memo reportedly finds 'Women Returning to Democratic Party.'

Writing in Salon, Alan Berlow explains how it came to pass that Texas lawmakers are on the verge of sounding the 'Death knell for the death penalty.'

CounterPunch profiles Steve Nash, the Phoenix Suns star and outspoken opponent of the war in Iraq who apparently can't just 'Win the MVP Award in Peace.'

Spokane Mayor Jim West takes his leave, after reportedly complaining that "being destroyed because I am a gay man," although "no gay rights organization has stepped forward to defend him."

White Like She In a "Note to the news media -- with an emphasis on the cable networks," Douglas MacKinnon writes that "Your continual focus on, and reporting of, missing, young, attractive white women not only demeans your profession but is a televised slap in the face to minority mothers and parents the nation over ..."

"The daily question was all part of Gannon's grand strategy not just to elicit news but to become a journalistic force in his own right," says a Vanity Fair profile, "he had to create and extend what he calls "'the Jeff Gannon brand.'" Plus: Lecturer at Leadership Institute asks: "Jeff Gannon as my star student?"

The North Carolina pastor who reportedly excommunicated nine people for their political beliefs now says it was all a "great misunderstanding," as a member of his congregation calls him "a wonderful, good old country boy."

May 9

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

The Financial Times reports that "real wages in the U.S. are falling at their fastest rate in 14 years," as a federal judge approves "the largest pension default in the three decades that the government has guaranteed pensions."

The Washington Post reports on the findings of a Pew Research poll, suggesting that "the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, helped redraw the political landscape in America, giving President Bush and the Republicans an advantage over the Democrats."

Former Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge says his agency was opposed "more often than not" to raising the terror alert level during debates with presidential security advisers, and that "some people were really aggressive about raising it, and we said, 'For that?'"

An object which "looks like a Soviet-made RPG-5 hand grenade" was reportedly thrown at President Bush, landing without exploding within 100 feet of where he was speaking in Georgia's Freedom Square.

As Bush told a large crowd that "you're making many important contributions to freedom's cause," an official spokesman for the Georgian Interior Ministry initially called the grenade report "an absolute lie."

A "24-hour wave" of suicide attacks and car bombs killed at least 67 people in central Iraq, including some 30 day laborers in Tikrit, as U.S. forces pushed westward in Operation Matador, where in one incident "Marines sent to the rescue needed help themselves" as "pretty much everything went to hell."

Angry Iraqi police reportedly shouted, "It's all because you're here. Get out of our country" at U.S. soldiers after recent suicide car bomb blasts. And calling the press "unaccountably lax in pursuing this question," Gary Hart asks: "Are we, or are we not, building permanent military bases in Iraq?"

The Pentagon says that the Marines are fighting in western Iraq without help from Iraqi forces, who "have simply not extended their reach far enough west to join the U.S. forces there."

A refugee from the fighting in Qaim tells the Washington Post that both the insurgents and the Marines "have to understand that they should fight outside the city," where a hospital administrator said that 21 civilians had been killed.

As Congress approves another $82 billion emergency "supplemental" bill, a retired general calls the process "a hell of a way to do business."

Slate's Fred Kaplan makes a case for spending more 'Over There,' and argues that as 'Iraq Struggles To Rebuild,' "If the United States pulled out now, the Baathists, Zarqawists, and other insurgents would run wild. The country ... would fall apart."

Reuters reports that Halliburton, which has already "earned more than $7 billion under its 2001 logistics contract with the U.S. military," will be awarded $72 million in bonuses by the U.S. Army.

Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Chalabi will reportedly be granted a pardon by Jordan's King Abdullah, relieving him of the need to serve a 22-year prison sentence for bank fraud.

'The Big Catch That Wasn't?' The Christian Science Monitor walks back the trail of "al-Qaeda number 3," while This Modern World solves another case of mistaken identity.

The Village Voice's Sydney Schanberg explains why 'No Noose Is Good News,' and Left I On The News finds editorial writers striking a pose regarding the extradition of accused terrorist Luis Posada Carriles.

Editor and Publisher reports that an obituary error in "the newspaper of record" was deemed hackworthy.

Bill O'Reilly lashes out at do-good actors for not appearing on his show, but fails to follow Fox News' practice of wishing them well. Plus: "a conservative mole in the mainstream media."

Split City East Waynesville Baptist Church pastor Chan Chandler resigned Tuesday and 40 supporters followed him out, with one declaring, "I'm not going to serve with the ungodly."

May 10

Thursday, May 12, 2005

An anti-U.S. riot prompted by a Newsweek report that interrogators at Guantanamo desecrated the Quran, has left four dead in Jalalabad with protests spreading to four Afghan provinces and beyond.

A more-than-50 percent increase in hate crimes against Muslims in the U.S. was reported by The Council on American-Islamic Relations, in what CAIR calls "the only annual study of its kind."

A joint U.N.-Iraqi report calls living conditions in Iraq "tragic," citing "a desperate lack of jobs, housing, health care and electricity." Plus: 'Plenty of oil but no gasoline.'

"At least 14 American soldiers" have been killed in Iraq since Saturday, and the New York Times reports that an "eruption of violence" has "carried the insurgency to levels rarely seen in the 25 months since American troops seized Baghdad," leaving hundreds of Iraqis dead and the new government "looking vulnerable only nine days after it was sworn into office."

In western Iraq, where an amphibious vehicle carrying 18 U.S. Marines plus ammo and explosives hit a roadside bomb, a sergeant told the Los Angeles Times that "We're fighting an invisible enemy. They're like the ... CIA."

U.S. sources denied Iraqi government claims that two U.S. helicopters were shot down near Qaim, as insurgents gunned down Iraqi military and police leaders.

The BBC rounds up regional comment as 'Press ponders rising Iraq violence,' with the Tehran Times arguing that "the Americans' inability to stop these terrorist attacks despite their modern military equipment is suspicious." Plus: U.S. media ignore advice.

NewStandard's Chris Shumway, commenting on an AP dispatch titled 'Iraqi Insurgents Go on Rampage, Kill 61,' says "I don't recall the AP using a similar headline while US forces were attacking Fallujah last November ... Was that not a rampage?"

David Sirota regards an entry on ABC News's "The Note" as a declaration that although "the death and carnage in Iraq is truly staggering," ABC is "simply not interested" in covering it.

"On The Media's" Brooke Gladstone rips CNN head Jonathan Klein for his network's blanket coverage of the "runaway bride" story, asking: "does this fit into the roll up your sleeves storytelling that you have in mind?"

After initially giving short shrift, along with most other U.S. media outlets, to the Iraq war memo leaked to the Times of London, CNN files a report headlined 'Bush asked to explain UK war memo.'

'Reality Gap' William Lind argues that "the real message" of a recent Pentagon risk assessment is that "no matter what happens, no one can defeat the American military." Lind observes that the Spanish army "had not lost a battle in a century until it met the French at Rocroi" in 1643.

Interviewed on "Democracy Now!" Seymour Hersh said that Iraq is moving "towards an open civil war," that a pardon for Iraq's Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Chalabi would be a personal favor to President Bush, and that although "American casualties are back up ... it's not a major story."

The London Sunday Telegraph reports that Chalabi had previously "refused the offer of a pardon" for his fraud conviction in Jordan "because it would have involved admitting guilt."

As Iraqi and U.S. officials play hardball over a building, some Iraqi women reportedly "run a daily gauntlet of car bombings and shootings" to play softball.

A growing number of 'America's Hired Guns' from "an industry that doesn't communicate" are said to be "paying the price in blood" in Iraq.

The U.S. Army will halt its recruiting efforts for one day this month "to allow commanders to emphasize proper conduct," reports the AP, following recent incidents including one where a recruiter allegedly threatened to have a would-be recruit arrested if he backed out. Plus: Recruit alleges bait and switch tactics by National Guard.

USA Today reports that the fairness of a $500,000 federally-funded Taser study is in dispute because an advisor to the study is on Taser's payroll and the study's director said in a written summary that "his premise was that 'Tasers do not kill,' and that he hoped 'to find why these people are dying.'"

Newsweek reports allegations that John Bolton did "almost no diplomatic groundwork" for this month's Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty conference, the Washington Note posts witness interview transcripts concerning his U.N. nomination and Larry Flynt enters the fray.

Editor and Publisher notes that the White House was slow to inform the press that "the President's detail" had been slow to inform a bike-riding Bush that the capitol was under red alert caused by a violation of the no-fly zone.

May 11

Friday, May 13, 2005

Newsweek 'backtracks' on Qur'an story in 'How a Fire Broke Out,' after the Pentagon claimed to have found no credible allegations involving Qur'an desecration. But a person described as a long time researcher in the national security field, writing under the psuedonym Calgacus, argues that 'Newsweek Got Gitmo Right.'

The White House arranges a deal for U.N. ambassador-nominee John Bolton, who "got a C-minus, but it was a pass-fail course," as "just enough support" gives President Bush 'One Slim Win After Another.' Plus: "You really got a hold on me?"

Patrick Cockburn reports that "U.S. influence is on the retreat" in Iraq, but that "the war will go on ... because no community has got what it wants and none has given up hope of getting it." Plus: 'Lawless Iraq' called "key drug route" for heroin from a narco-state.

Iraq civilians reportedly threw stones at American troops and beat an AP reporter after another suicide bomb attack in Baghdad.

As "police fired on hundreds" of protestors in Afghanistan, and U.S. forces denied that American soldiers shot demonstrators in Pakistan, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice "promised a full investigation" into reports that U.S. interrogators "flushed a Qur'an down a toilet" at Guantanamo Bay.

Rice reportedly called Iraq's new Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Chalabi "to congratulate him last week and also to urge the Iraqi government to be more inclusive," but Chalabi is said to have been "extremely unhelpful."

As "the most popular columnist in the United States" invokes Joe Dimaggio while writing that the U.S. reminds him of a basketball team, Mike Whitney recalls that 'the Imperial Chronicler' called the invasion of Iraq "one of the noblest things this country has ever attempted abroad." Earlier: 'A Shake of the Wheel.'

The Syrian government reportedly had no comment as Operation Matador flattened houses but met little resistance within sight of the border.

Responding to "the toughest recruiting climate ever faced," the Army rolls out a new 15-month active-duty enlistment plan, though recruits would still have an eight-year military obligation.

The Air Force Academy cans a chaplain "for reasons of continuity," but she says she was fired for speaking up, after being asked why "Christians never win" in her religious tolerance training program.

An American sailor and anti-war activist gets three months hard labor after being accused of "trying to infect the military" by refusing to board a ship bound for the Persian Gulf.

Helen Thomas "notes with regret" that after "the false rationales for war ... went up in smoke without a public outcry," it now seems that 'Credibility matters little to Brits, Americans,' who appear to have "other priorities." Plus: Reading the NRSV.

The Pentagon drops the bomb on Senators John Thune, Trent Lott and Joe Lieberman with a new list of recommended base closings. The AP reports that 34 bases shut down since 1988 are among the worst toxic waste sites.

After Press Secretary Scott McClellan invoked protocols to explain why President Bush wasn't immediately informed when a red alert caused 30,000 people to be evacuated from homes and offices, a reporter asked, "Might there be something wrong with protocols that render the president unnecessary?"

The WSWS argues that "the essential questions posed by the incident were not even suggested by the media, much less explored," and cites an AP story from 2002, after a similar incident when Bush was also 'Kept In Dark.'

A former White House correspondent was among the celebrity sightings as the faithful turned out to help sing "If I Had A Hammer" for House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, who engaged in no-class warfare. Plus: Joe Tresh chronicles the scene outside.

According to the Boston Globe, "a 1675 law requiring the arrest of Native Americans who enter Boston," still on the books, could prevent the city from being a convention friendly location for minority journalists.


Monday, May 16, 2005

The next complete update will be Tuesday, May 17, as Cursor will be attending the National Conference for Media Reform. Download audio and video of the conference sessions, read blog coverage of the event, and pre-conference commentary on media reform published by

In the conference's closing address, Bill Moyers made his first public response to charges of liberal bias leveled against him and PBS by CPB chairman Kenneth Tomlinson, calling on Tomlinson to release the results of a secret study he commissioned of "Now" and challenging him to an on-air discussion of the controversy. Scroll down for links to audio and video of the speech.

Moyers referred to a commentary by Tomlinson published in the Washington Times, as well as Tomlinson's recent appearance on Fox News, during which he told Bill O'Reilly, "We love your show." Plus: 'A "Right-Wing Coup" at PBS & the CPB?'

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

"Critics are right to damn the magazine for its over-reliance on an anonymous source and for taking the non-denial of a Pentagon source as a kind of confirmation," writes Slate's Jack Shafer. "But Newsweek also made a third blunder worth dissecting: It let its anonymous source predict the contents of a future government document..."

About White House criticism of Newsweek for failing to live up to a "certain journalistic standard," Bill Van Auken writes: "This from an administration whose 'standards' include relentlessly planting false stories in the media, covertly paying columnists to promote its policies and passing off government-funded propaganda as news." Plus: A 'Dear Mr. McClellan' letter and a call for his 'resignation.'

Think Progress flashes back to 'The White House's single, anonymous, unreliable source,' and in a round up of online coverage, Howard Kurtz disputes the claim that Newsweek "was on a crusade to make the military and the U.S. government look bad." More about 'Pinning the Blame on Newsweek.'

A New York Times article on Newsweek's retraction is one of few mainstream media reports to remind that last week the Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman said the senior U.S. commander in Afghanistan believed that protests there were "not at all tied to the article in the magazine."

Introducing Mark Danner's 'Secret Way to War,' Tom Engelhardt writes that "While people often speak of the 'road to war,' in the case of the invasion of Iraq, as this document makes clear, a more accurate phrase might be 'the bum's rush to war.'"

White House press secretary Scott McClellan claims to have not seen the "specific memo," but he said on Monday that its assertion that "the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy" was "flat out wrong."

Although Editor & Publisher reported that the memo "is finally gaining traction in the U.S. press," it noted that the New York Times "has given it little notice." Plus: 'News Over There, but Not Here.'

Paul Krugman addressed the memo in a column headlined 'Staying What Course?', in which he wrote that "the echoes of Vietnam are unmistakable. Reports from the recent offensive near the Syrian border sound just like those from a 1960's search-and-destroy mission, body count and all."

Among the findings of "Vicious Circle," a new report based on an examination of Iraqi public opinion data and interviews, is that the insurgency "is now driven substantially by the occupation, its practices, and policies." Plus: 'Iraq violence taking a sectarian twist,' and 'America has failed to win the war. But has it lost it?'

Taking issue with a New York Times article on 'The Mystery of the Insurgency,' Christopher Hitchens argues that "It's time for respectable outlets to drop the word, to call things by their right names (Baathist or Bin Ladenist or jihadist would all do in this case), and to stop inventing mysteries where none exist."

As 'Refugees put Uzbek dead in thousands,' the Times of London reports that "US officials tip toed around direct criticism of the regime of President Karimov, who has given the US a priceless 'footprint' in Central Asia by allowing the Pentagon to open an airbase in his country." Plus: 'What drives support for this torturer' and 'Uzbekistan, coming home to roost?'

Fueling a Revolution Noting that "Citgo is a U.S. refining and marketing firm that is a wholly owned subsidiary of Venezuela's state-owned oil company," Jeff Cohen advocates for "the opposite of a boycott. Call it a BUYcott."

Reporting on the Corporation for Public Broadcasting's 'unprecedented move to hire competing, "Crossfire"-style ombudsmen,' Eric Boehlert writes that "observers wonder why the CPB, which is largely a funding organization, would get involved in critiquing news programs that it does not create, schedule or broadcast."

Boehlert refers to a report that NPR executives are "increasingly at odds with the Bush appointees" who head the CPB, and an appearance by CPB chairman Ken Tomlinson on "Tucker Carlson: Unfiltered," in which the host concluded by telling his guest that "I think you're great." Plus: 'A million-word march for media reform.'

After a federal appeals panel declared that Nancy Grace "played fast and loose" with her ethical duties as a Fulton County, Ga., prosecutor in 1990, Tim Rutten asks: "How many citations of ethical misconduct will it take before CNN feels some obligation to at least inform its viewers of these facts concerning its star commentator's credentials?"

The Hartfort Courant's reader representative defends columns by Helen Ubinas and Jeff Jacobs against an accusation by the head of a group called the Family Institute of Connecticut, that the writers "breached all standards of fairness and accuracy in their campaign to malign pro-family citizens." Plus: 'Just How Gay Is the Right?'

Turn Out the Lights Returning to "the topic which most directly led us to start the incomparable Daily Howler," Bob Somerby explains why "the outrage that was aimed at Vile Clinton" concerning sleepovers by big fund-raisers, "will not be aimed at Prime Mover Bush."

"The dark underside of the United States has taken center stage in several films at Cannes this year," reports Reuters, including "The Power of Nightmares," which aired on the BBC last January.

May 13-16

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

As debate begins, the Washington Post previews a 'likely script' for the 'nuclear option' and Carpetbagger identifies six different names that Republicans have used to describe the same tactic.

"There were no cameras, not a single microphone, and no evidence of a lawmaker or Bush administration official in the room," writes Dana Milbank. "But what the three spoke about will have greater consequences than the current fuss over filibusters and Tom DeLay's travel."

Stormin' Norman "Senator, I am not now, nor have I ever been, an oil trader," begins British MP George Galloway, who goes on to correct the record about his "many meetings" with Saddam: "As a matter of fact, I have met Saddam Hussein exactly the same number of times as Donald Rumsfeld met him."

Have a look 'n' listen as the 'Briton puts senators on defensive on Iraq.'

A Chicago Tribune report on the leaked British memo reprises former Sen. Bob Graham's claim that on Feb. 19, 2002, he was told by Gen. Tommy Franks: "Senator, we are not engaged in a war in Afghanistan. Military and intelligence personnel are being redeployed to prepare for an action in Iraq." Plus: Could the British doc land Bush in the dock?

The Village Voice's Sydney Schanberg asks, "what is a government's basis for depriving the public of candid press coverage of what war is all about?" And referring to a recent column by John Tierney, Schanberg finds it "very odd to see a journalist ... recommending that information be left out of stories."

Schanberg quotes war and nature photographer David Leeson as saying, "When I considered the readers who would see my photos, I felt I was saying to them: 'If I hurt inside, I want you to hurt too. If something brings me to tears, I want to bring you to tears too.'" Plus: 'The family released a statement...'

FBI memos obtained by the ACLU show that "anti-terrorism agents who questioned antiwar protesters last summer in Denver were conducting 'pretext interviews' that did not lead to any information about criminal activity," reports the Washington Post.

White House press secretary Scott McClellan was asked: "With respect, who made you the editor of Newsweek? Do you think it's appropriate for you, at that podium, speaking with the authority of the President of the United States, to tell an American magazine what they should print?" Plus: CNN takes McClellan off the record.

"There's nothing funny about riots and torture," begins Editor & Publisher's Greg Mitchell, "but it's not hard to find the dark humor in certain aspects of the uproar over Newsweek's regrettable Koran-flushing item." And CJR Daily's Brian Montopoli calls "The media's performance in the wake of Newsweek's blunder ... more disheartening than the original sin."

"Many of the claims made about Guantanamo that end up in the press seem to be second-hand stories," writes Brendan O'Neill, who argues that "It is time to stop obsessing over alleged mistreatments in Guantanamo and focus instead on ... the problem of Western intervention abroad." Plus: 'Desecration of Koran had been reported before.'

Noting the 'curious timing' on the arrests of key Al-Qaeda operatives, Bernard-Henri Levy writes that "It is as if these people were bargaining chips, with the Pakistanis drawing from their reserves of terrorists and cashing them in one by one, depending on the needs of their relationship with the great American 'friend.'"

Uzbek President Karimov 'raises death toll from clashes' to numbers reported to be still far below the estimates of survivors and witnesses.

As Reuters reports that 'Big donors get mixed score card on tsunami aid,' the Department of Homeland Security inspector general finds that ineligible recipients may have received $31 million in disaster relief for Hurricane Frances. Earlier: Florida 'state records show Bush re-election concerns played part in FEMA aid.'

Before being detained by the Department of Homeland Security, Luis Posada Carriles said in an interview that upon arriving in Miami, "At first I hid alot. I thought the [U.S.] government was looking for me. Now I hide a lot less." Plus: Numerous media outlets are 'getting the story wrong.'

Red On Red "The conservative movement has passed into history" says Pat Buchanan in an interview with the Washington Times, adding that conservatism "is at war with itself over foreign policy, over deficit hawks versus supply-siders." Plus: Christianists and Christocrats.

In 'Solving the Media Puzzle,' Robert Parry writes that "there's no realistic way today to stiffen the spine of PBS, at least as long as George W. Bush has the power to appoint right-wing apparatchiks to the Corporation for Public Broadcasting." And Jim Lehrer bridges the political divide with a promise to raise "unshirted hell" if the CPB goes after the "NewsHour."

May 17

Thursday, May 19, 2005

A New York Times report on "a sobering new assessment" by American military commanders of the war in Iraq, quotes one U.S. officer as saying, "It's much more likely to succeed, but it could still fail," and another who suggests that U.S. military involvement could last "many years."

A 10-second commercial is the price of admission to Juan Cole's 'The lies that led to war,' in which he says the argument that U.S. intelligence services exaggerated the Iraq threat and thus misled President Bush into going to war, "was always weak, and it is now revealed as laughable." Plus: 'The Dead and the Undead...'

"Two of Iraq's most prominent Shiite and Sunni Muslim leaders blamed each other for sponsoring terrorism in a heated television exchange Wednesday," reports Knight Ridder, "that many Iraqis interpreted as a call to arms edging the nation closer to civil war."

According to a blog post on Facing South, the Houston Chronicle reported in an article on Halliburton's annual shareholder meeting that CEO Dave Lesar said, "the company is considering whether to withdraw from Iraq," but that language was scrubbed in an updated version of the article. And Al Franken discovers that the story of the missing $8.8 billion has also gone missing.

As White House press secretary Scott McClellan urges Newsweek's editors to appear on Arab television, USA Today editorializes that "The magazine and the administration are guilty of the same sin," and Margaret Carlson writes that "the administration has hatched few strategies as hollow as holding a magazine responsible for its own failings."

A rebel leader who asserts that his forces control a Uzbek border town of 20,000, tells that AP that "We will be building an Islamic state here in accordance with the Quran." And a Russian analyst predicts "that in the coming two to three years, an Islamic revolution and the Islamization of Uzbekistan is unavoidable." Plus: 'Woman receives desecrated Quran through'

A New York Times report headlined 'Tales of Uzbek Violence Suggest Larger Tragedy,' notes that the U.S. has curtailed its operations at the Khanabad air base in Uzbekistan according to Gen. John P. Abizaid, who said, "It's not designed to be a political statement at all."

A report that Senate Intelligence Committee chairman Pat Roberts is drafting a bill that would give the FBI new power to issue administrative subpoenas, follows an ACLU warning that while Congress has "until the end of the year to review and modify the Patriot Act ... some lawmakers hope to steamroll the entire process through Congress in the next few weeks."

With a legal loophole extending the U.S. Border Patrol's jurisdiction a hundred miles from any international boundary, a New Hampshire resident checks out 'Checkpoint America.'

On the same day that Federal Judge Joan Lefkow, whose husband and mother were murdered, testified to a Senate committee about judicial safety, Sen. Majority Leader Bill Frist spoke of the Democratic "leadership-led use of cloture vote to kill, to defeat, to assassinate these nominees."

"This isn't a Constitutional option -- it's a campaign opportunity," said Sen. Mark Dayton. "I respect the Majority Leader's right to run for President. I just wish he wouldn't use the institution of the Senate to do so."

Although Republicans "will find that filibustering judicial nominations is in fact in violation of the constitution ... Nobody believes that," writes Josh Marshall, adding that they will be "quite knowingly invoking a demonstrably false claim of constitutionality to achieve something they couldn't manage by following the rules."

Why Democrats may take a pass on filibustering, the 'Top 10 filibuster falsehoods,' and charting the confirmation rates of presidential judicial appointments.

As Senate Democrats charge U.N. ambassador-designate John Bolton with seeking to punish an intelligence analyst who disagreed with him and then misleading a Senate committee about it, Joe Conason says the most troubling question about the nomination has so far received the least attention.

A Council on Foreign Relations report based on focus groups among college-educated men and women in Egypt, Morocco and Indonesia, contains bad news for brand America. Plus: "Arab allies test U.S. 'freedom' agenda."

Hundreds of students and faculty at Calvin College, a Christian school in Michigan that has received millions of dollars in Amway money, are protesting Saturday's scheduled commencement address by President Bush, which was reportedly engineered by Karl Rove. Two of the school's professors appeared on "Hannity and Colmes."

'The man who took on America' "Congress -- in particular the Senate part of it -- commands a rigid respect," writes the Independent's Rupert Cornwell. "Into this primly arranged china shop crashed George Galloway, to deliver a public broadside against US policy in Iraq, and the US system, unmatched since Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11."

Home of the Hits! Conservative radio talker Glenn Beck reportedly said that "I'm thinking about killing Michael Moore, and I'm wondering if I could kill him myself, or if I would need to hire somebody to do it."

May 18

Friday, May 20, 2005

The New York Times reports on a confidential file it obtained of the U.S. Army's criminal investigation into the deaths of two detainees at Bagram, Afghanistan: "Like a narrative counterpart to the digital images from Abu Ghraib, the Bagram file depicts young, poorly trained soldiers in repeated incidents of abuse." Read all about it.

"If you want to know why we're not winning in Iraq, and why we're not likely to win anytime soon (if ever)," writes Slate's Fred Kaplan, "there is no more brutally illustrative tale" than this Knight Ridder article. Plus: 'An army that learns from its mistakes.'

AFP reports on the mock execution of an Iraqi staged by a U.S. Army captain, as detailed in documents obtained by the ACLU, and the 'Army warns Iraqi forces on abuse of detainees.'

Amid a 'Rift over recruiting at public high schools,' A Cincinnati TV station catches a military recruiter claiming, "You have more chance of dying here in the United States at, what is it, 36-percent die ... people here just dying left and right, you have more chance of dying over here than you do over there."

As Juan Cole's definitive account of 'The Lies That Led to War' is liberated from Salon, FAIR reports that coverage of the leaked British memo "is still completely absent from the nightly news."

FAIR has also identified yet another incident where a magazine "ran a sensational claim based on an anonymous source who turned out to be completely wrong," contributing "to a climate in which many innocent Muslims died." Plus: 'Armageddon: Bringing it on.'

The synergistic publication of photos in two Rupert Murdoch-owned tabloids -- The Sun and the New York Post -- showing an imprisoned Saddam Hussein clad only in his underwear, has prompted "an angry U.S. military to launch an investigation and the Red Cross to say the pictures may violate the Geneva Conventions," reports the AP.

As Palestine makes a 'new powerful friend,' Paul Krugman warns that the U.S. has developed "an addiction to Chinese dollar purchases, and will suffer painful withdrawal symptoms when they come to an end."

An analyst who contributed to a report estimating that China's 2003 military spending totaled roughly one-half of the Defense Department's high-end estimate, tells Reuters that the U.S. government had been using a lot of "wild-assed guesses" about Chinese military spending.

The rebel leader who claimed control of a Uzbek border town of 20,000 and said that "We will be building an Islamic state here in accordance with the Quran," has reportedly been captured by government forces "firing only a single warning shot."

As Sen. Rick Santorum compares Democrats in '05 to Hitler in '42, investigates 'Which Republican is Misleading?' on the issue of asbestos lawsuit legislation.

Robert Pozen, the architect of "progressive indexing," urged President Bush to drop his insistence on private investment accounts funded with payroll taxes, and called talk of an "ownership society" a "weak basis" for arguing that the program be overhauled. Plus: Time for a media culpa on Social Security?

A casting call memo for an upcoming White House Social Security forum reveals 'How Bush makes sure they agree,' and the Washington Post reports that the 'Social Security roadshow' is 'losing its luster.'

Xymphora points out that George Galloway is the only witness of seven who testified before Sen. Norm Coleman's committee on May 17, who doesn't have a pdf of his testimony on the committee's Web site.

A Star Tribune editorial says that "If Coleman and his committee have solid evidence that Galloway is corrupt, now is the time to make it public, because as it stands, the case against him is weak."

Reporting on CPB chairman Kenneth Tomlinson's attempt to bring "balance" to PBS and NPR, the Washington Post's Paul Farhi writes that "Pressed repeatedly for examples of public broadcasting bias, Tomlinson cited only one program that he found objectionable: [Bill] Moyers's show, 'Now.'"

Fahri cites Moyers' comparison of Tomlinson to Richard Nixon in a speech on Sunday, and also a letter to Tomlinson from the head of KCPT-TV, who wrote that "For you and members of the CPB board to go on this sad, ridiculous witch hunt ... You and those board members who support you should be sacked." Plus: What Fahri got wrong and 'The mess so far.'

CJR Daily reports that Tomlinson may be in violation of a section of the Public Broadcasting Act of 1967 that bars federal employees from engaging in any "direction, supervision or control over public telecommunications," given that in his role as chairman of the U.S. Broadcasting Board of Governors, he's also a federal employee.

"Porn star and former gubernatorial candidate Mary Carey will be ... attending a dinner with President Bush in Washington, D.C. on June 14th," according to a press release published by Adult Industry News. The release quotes Carey as saying that she's "especially looking forward to meeting Karl Rove" at the event sponsored by the National Republican Congressional Committee.

May 19

Monday, May 23, 2005

As U.S. and Iraqi forces launched Operation Squeeze Play, Muqtada al-Sadr stepped to the middle, calling on all sides in Iraq to take the pledge and renounce "the killing of all Iraqis," but a deadly car bomb destroyed a Baghdad restaurant where most of the patrons were thought to be followers of al-Sadr.

With key U.S. combat leaders reportedly plotting their own exit strategy from an open-ended war on terror, desertion in the ranks is said to be a 'huge problem for U.S. in Iraq war.'

A Project on Defense Alternatives report that has gone mostly unnoticed, prompts the question: "Is the U.S. military more successful in recruiting for the resistance than it is for the U.S. Army?" Plus: 'The Rumsfeld Stain.'

'How Not to Count in Iraq' Tom Engelhardt urges readers to measure "metrics against reality" and to avoid confusing the "body count" with "the reality on the ground."

Writing for The Age, Gary Hughes reviews 'how we were duped' into 'A War That Cannot Be Won.'

What the U.S. Army calls "mistakes" in reporting the circumstances surrounding Pat Tillman's death, his parents describe as "lies" and "outright lies," with his father telling the Washington Post that "Maybe lying's not a big deal anymore ... these guys should have been held up to scrutiny, right up the chain of command, and no one has."

The Post, which earlier reported on the cover up, quotes Tillman's mother as saying "she was particularly offended when President Bush offered a taped memorial message to Tillman at a Cardinals football game shortly before the presidential election last fall."

TBogg spots a comment posted on Free Republic, which says that Tillman's "parents have no clue," citing "their willingness to join the dark side" as proof that they lack "steel."

Watching Newsweek issue serial mea culpas over the Qu'ran desecration story is "like watching 'Darkness at Noon' in real life," writes Kevin Drum, who calls on "Newsweek and the rest of the media" to "get up off their knees and start fighting back."

TalkLeft labels a follow-up article in Newsweek on 'The Qur'an Question,' a "misleading, biased, government propaganda piece" which fails to mention claims made by released detainees, leading King of Zembla to muse that the magazine may have been made to assume the position by a new editor.

"[D]isrespecting an inmate's Koran got at least one American soldier reprimanded," reports the New York Daily News, "contradicting Bush administration denials of any 'credible and specific allegations' about Koran desecration at Gitmo." And Raw Story finds that the "corroborating press work" on an alleged 2002 incident "has disappeared."

In 'It's All Newsweek's Fault,' Frank Rich writes that "even the administration's touchy-feely proactive outreach to Muslims in the Middle East is baloney: Karen Hughes ... runs a shop with no Muslims at the top -- or would, if she were there."

An Independent article on the heckling of First Lady Laura Bush by both Arabs and Jews in Jerusalem quotes a source identified as "a Palestinian employee of the U.S. consulate-general" as saying that "If the police hadn't stepped in, there would have been a massacre." Plus: 'Is it George's Fault?'

Left I On The News fact checks a Washington Post claim that "Iraqi women went to the polls for the first time in January" against a more accurate statement on the not-yet-defunct Web site of the Coalition Provisional Authority.

With U.S. senators said to be "threatening to vote their consciences, making them poor candidates for logrolling," the Wall Street Journal illustrates how "the White House's pairing of nominees and specific courts helps explain the passion of partisans on both sides in the current battle" over President Bush's judicial nominees.

While there may be 'Drama on the Hill,' a Christian Science Monitor report finds that "The rest of America ... seems to be giving the face-off a collective yawn," as the pattern of "Republican assault and Democratic capitulation repeats itself."

The Washington Post reports that "circumstances have changed" for J.D. Crouch II, the president's new deputy national security adviser, who "no longer publicly agitates for attacking North Korea," and who outlined his views on 'Republican Reponsibility' in a 1995 essay, in which he called for "repealing the trash in the crime bill."

After a U.S. Embassy cable called him "unwilling to assert strong leadership" in anti-drug efforts, Afghan President Hamid Karzai returned fire in an interview on CNN, accusing the U.S. and other countries of failing to deliver economic aid to create "alternative livelihood."

The second of two articles in a Washington Post special report on 'Homeland Security Contracting' quotes the director of research at the Center for Immigration Studies as saying that "there's no question we could end up spending billions of dollars and end up with nothing."

UPI's Arnaud de Borchgrave declares his "reputation recovered" after his name turns up on a terrorist watch list, as the U.S. Border Patrol is said to be considering 'harnessing' "well-motivated" vigilantes.

In a CounterPunch interview, George Galloway recalls how he forged a successful alliance between the left and the Muslim community to win his seat in Parliament, noting that "I've been in three taxi cabs since I've been here. All of them were driven by Muslims. All of them recognized me immediately." Plus: 'Mr. Galloway Evaporates.'

In a commencement address, U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan's chief of staff spoke of an "ungainly giant of a nation that has led the world in advancing freedom, democracy and decency," but "cannot quite accept membership in the global neighborhood association, and the principle of all neighborhoods -- that it must abide by others' rules as well as its own."

May 20-22

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

"We have kept the Republic," said Sen. Robert Byrd, after a bipartisan group of 14 senators was said to have "kicked the can down the road," leading Joshua Zeitz to exclaim, "Gosh, what a great deal!" and TalkLeft to lament that "all this did was pass the buck to the next congress -- yet Democrats are stuck with 3 judges we could have filibustered if we held out."

A New York Times analysis saw a 'Modest Victory for Bush' in the compromise, and Sen. Russ Feingold issued a statement saying that "This is not a good deal for the U.S. Senate or for the American people."

Although 'Bush, Republicans Continue to Sink in Polls,' National Journal's Charlie Cook cautions that "the reality is that incumbents have become more insulated than ever from the push and pull -- good or bad -- of the political environment."

Eight more U.S. soldiers died in bomb blasts and a drive-by shooting in Iraq, as Knight Ridder reports that the number of attacks on American forces there "has climbed back to 70 a day, according to a senior American military official speaking on condition of anonymity." Plus: 'Translators dying by the dozens.'

A car bomb killed six near a girl's school in Baghdad, and female Iraqi Shiite Member of Parliament reportedly survived "the fourth attempt on her life in two years."

The AP reports that al-Qaeda in Iraq has purportedly announced that Abu Musab al-Zarqawi has been wounded and is urging supporters to pray for his recovery.

Juan Cole wonders if international auditors aren't being "delicate and statesmanlike" when they describe Iraq's interim government under Ayad Allawi as having "mishandled" some $100 million in "oil money meant for development in the six months after they took power from the U.S. government."

Brad Blog follows the move of a Washington Post article from page A1 of early Saturday editions of Sunday's paper to page A26 of the actual paper. The original headline, "More Evidence of Bush Aide's Doubts on Iraq," was also changed to 'Prewar Findings Worried Analysts.'

A Los Angeles Times review of six U.S. newspapers and two newsmagazines during a recent six-month period "found almost no pictures from the war zone of Americans killed in action." The article quotes a photographer who says that "if we are going to start a war, we ought to be willing to show the consequences of that war."

Syria's ambassador to Washington says his country has "severed all links" with the U. S. military and the C. I. A., cutting off communications said to have been "helpful in mitigating a number of 'cross-border firings' of artillery" between Syrian and U.S. forces.

Responding to a New York Times editorial, which it says effectively charges U.S. officials, including President Bush, "with sanctioning torture and murder," the WSWS levels its own charge: "In reality, the entire political and media establishment (including the Times itself), which endorsed and supported the invasion of Iraq, is implicated." Plus: Bordering on "treason."

The WSWS also amplifies charges made in the Brazilian daily O Globo, that GM, Chrysler, Volkswagen, Firestone and other corporations "collaborated intimately with Latin American military dictatorships in the 1960s and 1970s," and "routinely handed over lists of suspected union activists to the secret police and clandestine death squads."

A military spokesman describes the 'Camp Delta death chamber plan' to the AP, explaining that "We're getting ready so we won't be starting from scratch" at the U.S. detention camp in Cuba.

As Newsweek's Michael Isikoff 'Says He Dropped the Ball' by "not getting positive corroboration on each point" in his Qu'ran desecration article, a Harper's "Weekly Review" sums up other reports of desecration: "Apparently ... guards have urinated on it, trampled on it, put it in a urine bucket, and allowed a dog to carry Islam's holiest book in its mouth."

Laura Flanders interviews a recently released Gitmo detainee who says MPs threw his Qu'ran on the floor, Time takes a side and Helen Thomas offers her suggestion: "Allow reporters to go to Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib as well as the U.S. prisons in Afghanistan and let them question prisoners about their treatment."

Washington Post columnist Eugene Robinson catches the White House 'Using the Media For a Magic Trick' that had Newsweek, and not the Bush administration, explaining itself, while "we in the media played the role of magician's assistant." Plus: Show me the story?

A Baptist minister in North Carolina is refusing to apologize for a church sign that reads "The Koran needs to be flushed."

'Seriously Missing' Broadcasting and Cable editorializes that a decision to focus NBC's "Dateline" on "mystical religious subjects," driven by "synergy" with its miniseries, "Revelations," illustrates an "escalating trend toward prime time news that flacks for other entertainment programming."

Cautioning that "based on past form, whatever lunacy is going on in Texas will eventually sweep the country," Molly Ivins devotes a column to portions of a speech by Texas State Representative Senfronia Thompson in opposition to a proposed ban on same-sex marriage.

The Christian Science Monitor reports that the death of a Western-style veejay for Afghanistan's Tolo TV, is but one of a string of recent "high-profile killings of women in Afghanistan."

CNN vs. FOX analyzes how the news channel's Web sites covered two stories about Afghan President Karzai, and Media Matters finds Fox News' Jim Angle making a misleading claim about California Supreme Court Justice Janice Rogers Brown's electoral support. Earlier: 'Debunking the "76%" lie.'

As Bill O'Reilly rails against the New York Times for what he calls excessive coverage of the Abu Ghraib torture scandal, CJR Daily documents "Twenty-five separate shows during which O'Reilly covered the story of one misguided college professor as though it were the Watergate hearings."

May 23

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

An unrepentant nun who served 33 months in federal prison with two other nuns -- one of whom remains behind bars -- for painting crosses in blood on a missile silo, says that she was trying to prevent the war in Iraq and would "do it all over again" because "people need to sound an alarm."

U.S. military officials tell the Los Angeles Times that commanders "can't use the word, but we're withdrawing" from Al Anbar province, where "basically, we've got all the toys, but not enough boys." And a Marine Colonel compares a new offensive in western Iraq to "bird hunting ... you rustle it up and see what comes up."

A 'Proposal to divide Iraq into semi-autonomous states gains ground,' and the Guardian cites a new think tank estimate that it may take "at least five years" to impose peace on Iraq, with "no viable exit strategy" for foreign troops.

As "Nightline" prepares again to honor "The Fallen," the AP reports on the rising death rate for reservists in Iraq and Knight Ridder reviews 'a deadly month for U.S. troops.'

Someone claiming to be an aide to Abu Musab Zarqawi tells the Washington Post that the insurgent leader was wounded, as vigilante violence in Tall Afar brought police reports of armed Shiites "walking around looking for Sunnis to kill."

A Human Rights Watch report details the case of 'U.S. Citizens Tortured, Held Illegally' in Pakistan for eight months, where the FBI interrogated two brothers "on at least six occasions" and threatened to send them to Guantanamo, in what one brother called "a very coordinated carrot and stick operation."

On the release of its annual report on human rights, Amnesty International brands the U.S. prison camp at Guantanamo, "the gulag of our time."

The ACLU says that newly-released FBI documents show that bureau interrogators were told in 2002 that guards at Guantanamo had flushed a Qu'ran down the toilet.

Editor & Publisher offers evidence to dispute White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan's claim that he never said Newsweek's retracted story on Qu'ran desecration cost lives in Afghanistan, and The Light Of Reason illustrates "How Propaganda Becomes 'Truth.'"

E&P Editor Greg Mitchell asks: "Where, in the week after the Great Newsweek Error, is the comparable outrage ... over the military's outright lying in the coverup of the death of former NFL star Pat Tillman?" And an Arizona Republic columnist says that 'When it comes to Tillman, we can't handle the truth.'

When a panel discussion of 'How The U.S. Press Has Sanitized The War in Iraq' turned to whether U.S. forces target journalists, Pacifica's Aaron Glantz said, "I don't think they're attacking American press or Western press, as such, but I think that they're indiscriminately shooting at people ... simply because they were so scared and trigger-happy."

'Show of Farce' Glantz's fellow panelist Sydney Schanberg writes that the Washington press corps has finally begun to resist exhortations to help the Bush administration "paper over the war," although the press will have to fight hard "if it doesn't want to become the national pinata."

Edward Herman detects a possible "early step in a termination process" for columnist Paul Krugman in Daniel Okrent's parting shot as Public Editor of the New York Times. Plus: 'Okrent finally leaves -- taking a cheap shot at Krugman.'

Pipelineistan Pepe Escobar reports that the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline from the Caspian to the Mediterranean "is not merely a pipeline: it is a sovereign state," as well as "a designer masterpiece of power politics -- from the point of view of Washington and its corporate allies."

Escobar says the project would have been "impossible without the usual, strategically positioned U.S.-supported dictator," who, according to Sobaka, was "toasted with Texas champagne by the likes of James Baker, Brent Scowcroft, John Sununu and Lloyd Bentsen, all of whom have accepted fat paychecks in return for the surgical amputation of their conscience."

As Pentagon analyst Lawrence Franklin faces new charges, 'AIPAC Meets,' with House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi telling the membership that "those who contend that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is all about Israel's occupation of the West Bank and Gaza" are full of "absolute nonsense."

Echoing his recent article in Foreign Policy, former U.S. Defense Secretary Robert McNamara said that U.S. and NATO nuclear policies "are immoral, illegal, militarily unnecessary, very, very dangerous in terms of the risk of inadvertent or accidental launch and destructive of the non-proliferation regime that has served us so well."

The New York Times reports that Sen. George Voinovich has broken ranks and sent an open letter to his colleagues, urging them to vote against John Bolton, President Bush's nominee for U.N. Ambassador.

After fifty House Republicans ignored a veto threat and broke with party leaders to help pass the Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act, President Bush, surrounded by test-tube babies at the White House, said that "these lives are not raw material to be exploited."

The Nation's John Nichols argues that Senate Democrats made a 'Bad Deal On Judges' and "buckled" when they "simply needed to hold the line," while Dave Lindorff bewails 'The Curse of Bi-partisanship,' calling "fear of political polarization ... nothing but a media creation." Plus: Confirmed.

'Bulworth takes on the Terminator' Hours after delivering a commencement address criticizing California's governor and asking him to "cut down the photo ops, the fake events, the fake issues, the fake crowds," Warren Beatty was branded a "crackpot" by Schwarzenegger's communications director. Earlier: 'An epic tale.'

Bill "O'Reilly should be careful," editorializes the Los Angeles Times. "Any further decapitation fantasies could get him in serious trouble with the Secret Service."

May 24

Thursday, May 26, 2005

'On Denial River' Demonstrators, including women, faced "blatant violence" on voting day in Cairo, as "plainclothes and uniformed security officers helped and sometimes appeared to direct" their pro-regime attackers, days after First Lady Laura Bush "suggested that reform shouldn't come too quickly."

Robert Fisk writes that "yesterday’s disgraceful scenes in Cairo, however, showed only too clearly what the government thinks of democracy -- either the Bush or the Mubarak version."

As the U.S. launches an ad campaign in the West Bank to tout its generosity toward Palestinians, President Bush announces that the U.S. will give $50 million in housing aid for Palestinians in Gaza -- an amount roughly equal to what it spends every five hours in Iraq.

The House of Representatives passed a $491 billion defense bill after voting down an amendment to require the president to develop a plan for withdrawing U.S. forces from Iraq, and Juan Cole says that 'Sometimes You Are just Screwed.'

Sidney Blumenthal argues that Bush is "already plotting his revenge" after being thwarted in his desire to use his "wonder weapon for total victory," the "nuclear option," because "mutiny is broader than is apparent." Plus: "... in my line of work ..." and 'The right cries foul as Bush is foiled.'

Rupert's Royal We Asking Sen. Trent Lott why Republicans had compromised on judicial nominations, Fox News' David Asman said: "Senator, if we should have done it and if we had the votes to do it in the Senate -- if you guys in the Republican Party did -- then why did you need a compromise?"

Tilt! The Washington Post reports that by imposing "top-down" systems in both a White House said to be run as a "virtual oligarchy," and in a "compliant" Congress, together with a "dramatic increase in overall government secrecy," the GOP has been able to "marginalize dissenting voices that would try to impede a conservative agenda."

'Rumsfeld Laments Global Reach of War News' During a speech to the World Affairs Council in Philadelphia, the Secretary of Defense departed from his prepared remarks, in which he complained that the government is "held to peacetime constraints," and endeavored to shoot down a Cessna story.

The Nation's Ari Berman writes that a new report from the Project on Defense Alternatives shows why "public discontent is the medium" in which '20,000 Dead-Enders' who were once "so famously dismissed by Donald Rumsfeld" now swim.

Jonathan Schell discusses the other "nuclear option," a "shocking innovation" whereby "the President can launch a pinpoint strike, including a nuclear strike, anywhere on earth with a few hours' notice."

A hearing chaired by Sen. Susan Collins produces warnings that Americans who buy fake brand-name products, such as pirated DVDs, aren't "just getting a good deal and having some harmless fun," they're financing terrorism.

On the same day that Amnesty International and the ACLU issued reports "recounting the abuse of prisoners captured in the war on terrorism," reports Knight Ridder, "a new coalition of conservatives and liberals urged the creation of a Sept. 11-style commission to investigate the mistreatment."

"Democracy Now!" notes that after Amnesty called Guantanamo "the gulag of our time," an entry on the Wall Street Journal's editorial page said the 'accusations amount to pro-al Qaeda propaganda.'

In a Mother Jones interview, Erik Saar, a former Arabic linguist at Guantanamo Bay, and co-author of the book "Inside the Wire," describes the prison camp as "a horribly-run facility" where "weekly" suicide attempts were regarded as "self-injurious manipulative behavior." Earlier: "'Sex-Up' Tactics At Gitmo?"

Bob Herbert writes that reports of detainee abuse show that "a government headed by men who think all life is sacred" is "fashioning whole new zones of hypocrisy for Americans to inhabit." Plus: 'Marked men.'

"It's funny," writes Matt Taibbi. "The only time anyone thinks to blast the use of 'unnamed sources' is when the mistake occurs in that rarest of phenomena in mainstream journalism: the dissenting piece of investigative journalism." And the answer to "Why do they hate us?"

Iraq's new defense minister vows to lock down Baghdad with 40,000 troops and "a concrete blockade" which "no one will be able to penetrate," as U.S. and Iraqi officials tout the "Haifa template."

Knight Ridder reports that plans appear to be underway for the release of "up to 20 members of Saddam Hussein's former regime, including at least three from the list of the 55 most wanted." Among candidates mentioned for release are the "World's Deadliest Woman" and "a top aide to Saddam's son Odai."

A Reuters/AFP report says that U.S. forces shot and killed a child said to have been used as a human shield in Mosul, adding that "Iraqi civilians often complain that U.S. forces open fire indiscriminately when attacked."

Helen Thomas asks White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan: "The other day -- in fact, this week, you said that we, the United States, is in Afghanistan and Iraq by invitation. Would you like to correct that incredible distortion of American history[?]" And James Wolcott on 'Terry and the Pirates.'

CPB chairman Kenneth Tomlinson's "power play may be short lived," writes CJR Daily's Paul McLeary, reviewing speeches on Tuesday by Bill Moyers and PBS president Pat Mitchell. Plus: 'Limbaugh vs. Moyers' and 'Hannity & Coulter on Moyers.'

May 25

Friday, May 27, 2005

The New York Times acknowledges a study detailing a sharp increase in weapons sales by the U.S. since 9/11, especially to undemocratic regimes, where "all too often, U.S. arms transfers end up fueling conflict, arming human rights abusers, or falling into the hands of U.S. adversaries." Read an interview with one of the study's authors.

Thomas Friedman finds common ground with Amnesty International in calling for the U.S. to shut down its prison camp at Guantanamo, which he says is becoming "the anti-Statue of Liberty."

At a Pentagon briefing, Guantanamo prisoner commander Brig. Gen. Jay Hood said that a military investigation has found "no credible evidence" to support a detainee's claim that U.S. personnel flushed a Qu'ran down the toilet, adding that "the prisoner was never asked about the incident."

No Apologies After Hood mentioned five instances in which the Qu'ran was "mishandled," a reporter asked Pentagon spokesman Lawrence Di Rita, "as the Department of Defense, are you going to present your apologies to the Arab world?" To which he replied, "For what?" Plus: 'Di Rita's disgraceful deception.'

The Toronto Star's Haroon Siddiqui finds the media "busy baiting Muslims" and 'Blaming the victim for Qur'an desecrations.'

In response to President Bush's statement that "the idea of people expressing themselves in opposition in government, then getting a beating is not our view of how a democracy ought to work," War in Context writes that if "Bush has privately offered President Mubarak any advice on handling political opponents, he may have recommended the use of 'free speech areas.'"

As the 'White House Information Flow Is Tested,' a new CBS poll finds that that 60 percent of Americans say President Bush does not share their priorities. Plus: Sen. Hillary Clinton reaches critical mass with public and insiders.

With the current president due for a press conference, USA Today presents an interpretive guide to 'What Bush is saying when he's talking."

Raw Story reports that a coalition of activist groups "will ask Congress to file a Resolution of Inquiry, the first necessary legal step to determine whether President Bush has committed impeachable offenses in misleading the country about his decision to go to war in Iraq."

'The Answer Is Fear' Robert Parry argues that "the major U.S. news outlets didn't shut their eyes about the Downing Street Memo because it lacked news interest" but because "too many journalists had lost jobs ... to take the risk." Rep. John Conyers is taking names.

David Sirota sees evidence of "a concerted blackout by the political Establishment and the media" in non-coverage of 'the most important vote you never heard about.'

Fears that "the bloodshed may be shifting ever more toward crudely sectarian killings" in Iraq lead Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari to acknowledge that "there might be some truth" to the existence of Shiite death squads.

A USA Today report contrasts Al-Jafaari's "slow, holistic, healing approach" to Iraq's problems with the "tough and sometimes arrogant" style of his predecessor, Ayad Allawi. Plus: Dr. Chalabi pitches in.

If Iraqi officials follow through on plans to carry out raids and establish an "impenetrable blockade" around Baghdad -- involving 675 checkpoints and sealing off all 23 major routes into the city -- the "insurgent reaction is predictable."

Although an AP story on the security cordon neglected to mention U.S. troop involvement, the organization has shown a willingness to correct its mistakes.

After "a failed Republican effort to cut off debate," the Senate voted to delay the confirmation of President Bush's nominee for U.N. ambassador, leading one GOP senator to complain that "John Bolton is in extraordinary-circumstance purgatory right now."

Paul Krugman writes that the Federal Reserve may be 'Running Out of Bubbles' to replace what the author of "Irrational Exuberance" says may be "the biggest bubble in U.S. history" -- the housing market.

A report on Wisconsin's tax-supported health care program for the working poor found that Wal-Mart, with a work force of 26,000 in the state, has almost four times as many employees and dependents enrolled in the program as the second largest enrollee, which employees 25,000 people. More on a 'Parasitic host.'

Seattle Weekly reports that although 'Microsoft Deletes Ralph Reed,' the company that says it "learns quick and looks toward the future" retains deep ties in "the seemingly infinite loop of the Republican lobbying scandal."

'Holy Toledo' Editor & Publisher details how the Blade uncovered a scam in reporting on an Ohio state agency's $50 million investment in rare coins with Republican operative and Bush "Pioneer," Tom Noe.

Noe, who faces criminal charges following Thursday's revelation that up to $12 million is unaccounted for, is also under federal investigation for making illegal contributions to the Bush/Cheney campaign. Plus: 'GOP insider becomes outcast.'

A watchdog group is accusing California Gov. Schwarzenegger of rewarding campaign donors PepsiCo and Nestle by placing their products in a TV commercial that rails against spending by state legislators.

A Texas judge rules that the treasurer of House Majority Leader Tom DeLay's TRMPAC violated campaign-finance laws, and DeLay accuses NBC of slurring his name, after a character in a police show episode about the slayings of two judges by right-wing extremists, quipped that "Maybe we should put out an APB for somebody in a Tom DeLay T-shirt."

May 26

Tuesday, May 31, 2005

A statement from U.S. central command says that Coalition forces "regret any inconvenience" caused by the catch-and-release of moderate Sunni leader Mohsen Abdul-Hamid, adding that the former president of the U.S.-appointed Iraqi Governing Council was "detained by mistake."

Reuters quotes Iraqi Prime Minister Ibrahim Jaafari as saying that although "this is the fourth time that a Sunni leader has been arrested," he "did not think the troops who arrested Abdul-Hamid knew his background."

As Vice President Cheney declares the Iraq insurgency to be "in the last throes," Basra's chief of police is quoted as saying that his city is 'out of control' and dominated by militia gangs.

Cheney also said that he was "offended" by a report criticizing conditions at Guantanamo Bay: "For Amnesty International to suggest that somehow the United States is a violator of human rights, I frankly just don't take them seriously."

President Bush weighed in at a press conference, calling the report "absurd," and saying that Amnesty "based some of their decisions on the word of -- and the allegations -- by people ... that had been trained in some instances to disassemble -- that means not tell the truth." Plus: Molly Ivins on 'Catapulting the Propaganda.'

After Gen. Richard Myers -- who called the Amnesty report "absolutely irresponsible" -- said that Guantanamo prisoners "are the people that took four airplanes and drove them into three buildings on September 11th," Time's Viveca Novak reminded that "those people are dead ... And the masterminds behind it are not the people we're keeping down at Guantanamo."

"Some lawyers have said that interrogators at Guantanamo Bay have tried to discourage prisoners from trusting them," reports the New York Times. "They have said that some inmates have been sharply questioned after their lawyers depart and that others have been told they should not trust lawyers who are Jewish."

As a federal judge reportedly rules that the U.S. government will have to release some pictures of detainee abuse at Abu Ghraib, the Star Tribune editorializes that "President Bush and those around him lied," about Iraq, Mark Danner explains how they continue to get away with it, and Bob Herbert suggests a way for the U.S. to "regain some of its own lost dignity."

The New York Times investigates the 'secret fleet' of charter planes run by the CIA as "proprietaries" and used in what a former pilot says were known not as "renditions" but as "snatches." The article focuses on Aero Contractors Ltd, a company "founded in 1979 by a legendary CIA officer and chief pilot for Air America."

With the majority of Americans telling pollsters that the war in Iraq is "not worth it," E&P's Greg Mitchell wonders why "there are few marches in the streets ... and even fewer editorials in major newspapers calling for a phased pullout or setting a deadline for withdrawal." Plus: 'Ground Zero Is So Over.'

In an op-ed, Ralph Nader and Kevin Zeese argue that it's time to debate 'The "I" Word,' and Norman Solomon suggests that it's "not as crazy as it sounds."

Pat Tillman Sr. again unloads on the U.S. Army in a letter about the article, 'Tillman's Parents Are Critical Of Army,' and a letter writer in Arizona says, "we must demand that the military stop lying to 'We the people.'"

The Times of London claims that stepped up bombing of Iraq in 2002 by RAF and U.S. aircraft was "an attempt to provoke Saddam Hussein into giving the allies an excuse for war," but articles written before and after the invasion suggest that the bombing was primarily designed to prepare the battlefield.

Take a tour of the heartland with Iraqi deputy prime minister Ahmad Chalabi, and read how ex-premier Ayad Allawi is plotting a "secular comeback" as a member of the "constructive opposition."

Responding to a report in which Iraqi special forces-in-training boast of eating raw cats, Outside the Beltway's James Joyner is "not sure why they can't just eat regular chow."

The Washington Post cites voices from both major parties as saying that President Bush has already burned through his "political capital," with Republicans urging Bush to "move beyond Social Security" because "We could not have a worse message at a worse time."

The Daily Howler chronicles Sen. Bill Frist's NASCAR pandering and previews the debate between former New York Times' ombudsman Daniel Okrent and Paul Krugman, claiming that the way in which it was announced provides evidence that the paper's "management hates Krugman, too."

The Washington Post confirms that former FBI number two man W. Mark Felt was "Deep Throat."

An amendment buried in an emergency military spending bill allows oil and gas exploration in the Gulf Islands National Seashore, reports the Los Angeles Times, "the first time the federal government has sanctioned seismic exploration on national park property designated as wilderness," which had been afforded "the highest level of protection."

David Sirota finds a silver lining in "bad news for the environment," arguing that the push to drill in sensitive areas is "opening up some very interesting opportunities for progressives in key states."

"Apparently, the image of our president is as offensive to MTV as it is to me," said Nine Inch Nails' Trent Reznor, after the band canceled an appearance at the MTV Movie Awards when the network questioned its plans to perform "The Hand That Feeds" in front of an image of President Bush.

As a poster depicting Bush as Grouch Marx and a painting of him being 'Saudimized' also stir controversy, This Modern World imagines what the media landscape might have looked like 'if Jeffrey Dahmer had been a right-wing pundit.'

May 27-30

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