|May, 2008 link archive
Thursday, May 1, 2008The U.S. State Department's 2007 report on terrorism found that attacks in Pakistan doubled last year, as Pakistan's prime minister defended his country's new approach, arguing that "Pakistan must fight terrorism for Pakistan's sake."
With the report calling Iran the "most active" state sponsor of terrorism, U.S. officials fanned out to issue warnings, including CIA head Michael Hayden delivering 'The most brazen denunciation of Iran from a U.S. official to date.' Plus: 'Are these Syrian nuclear pictures faked?'
On a banner day for Bush, it's reported that April's death toll in Iraq was the highest since last fall for both Iraqi civilians and U.S. troops, and Defense Secretary Gates is accused of lying about Iraqi politicians' support for the government's crackdown in Sadr City.
As Afghans finger al-Qaeda for involvement in the plot to shoot President Karzai, Barnett Rubin gets in the last word about his "NewsHour" debate with Washington Post columnist David Ignatius, "back from a one-week tour of Afghanistan escorted by the U.S. embassy and military."
"Democracy Now!" interviews the author of CorpWatch's "Outsourcing Intelligence in Iraq," which focuses on L3 Communications and it's Titan Corporation subsidiary, and an L3 shareholder tries to attend the company's annual meeting.
USA Today breaks a story about the Pentagon's foreign news Web sites, Brian Williams defends NBC's military analysts, and when finally asked about the Pentagon's collaboration with pundits, White House spokeswoman Dana Perino falsely claimed that the "DOD has ... decided to stop this program."
As America meets an "Angry Obama," it's reported that the Washington Post and New York Times "published more than 12 times as many articles mentioning Obama and Wright as they did mentioning McCain and Hagee."
A robo-calling non-profit's connections to the Clinton campaign are spelled out, and the Center for Public Integrity assesses the electoral impact of big money advocacy groups, from MoveOn.org to Freedom's Watch, which is said to have found 'Its Inner Mother Theresa.'
'When Democrats Go Post-al' James Wolcott covers the online rift between Clinton and Obama supporters, and it's reported that a health care industry lobbyist introduced Sen. McCain at the event in which 'McCain-Care' was rolled out. Plus: MittCain?
With one 'Right-wing organization paying kids for denying global warming,' some scientists want their name removed from a list of 500 with 'Documented doubts of man-made global warming scares,' compiled by a "fellow" from the well-endowed Heartland Institute. Plus: 'White House blocked rule issued to shield whales.'
'Food scientists say stop biofuels to fight world hunger,' and a U.N. forum on indigenous issues is warned that "if biofuels expansion continued at the current pace, it was likely that at least 60 million native people would lose their lands and livelihood."
As Egypt raises salaries to cover rising food prices, a profile of novelist Alaa Al Aswany, says that his "obsessive urge to understand and explain the physical and moral rot of contemporary Egypt is what drives 'The Yacoubian Building," his international best-seller that became the most expensive Arabic movie ever made.
In reviewing retrospectives on "Godard's 60s," and "1968: An International Perspective," a critic is "amazed at how raw, how urgent, how disarmingly alive these films are." Plus: 'Three films about poverty, murder and Coca-Cola.'
Friday, May 2, 2008
Responding to the unanimous decision by a Senate committee to 'shift costs of war to Iraq,' one exasperated Baghdad official says "America has hardly even begun to repay its debt to Iraq," while Nir Rosen explains, in a Campus Progress video interview, "how the occupation has traumatized a generation of Iraqi youth."
After the APA publishes a study concluding that 'stigma keeps troops from PTSD help,' Defense Secretary Robert 'Gates acknowledges mistakes in the treatment of troops,' and the Pentagon announces that it will no longer consider seeking counseling for combat stress a barrier to a security clearance.
While it appears that Blackwater won't be bought out, "Democracy Now!" talks to activists resisting its latest foray into Southern California, and Project Minerva, the Pentagon's ambitious new initiative to involve universities in the War on Terror, faces scrutiny.
In 'the largest labor strike since the invasion of Iraq', 29,000 dockworkers shut down all 29 West Coast ports on May Day to protest the continuation of the war, retaking the spirit of the day, in Ian Williams' view, from the chickenhawks who turned it into "a symbol of loyalty rather than labor."
With George Bush pioneering new lows, the Washington Post editorial board re-edits its original position on the war, and Harper's Ken Silverstein responds to 'journalism ethics lessons from the war's chief salesman.'
As American officials appear to cross a red line in charges against Iran, and the dangers of a confrontation at sea are considered, Pepe Escobar analyzes the position on 'The Iranian Chessboard,' and a recent documentary is recommended as a window on "aspects of Iranian politics not usually seen in the Western media."
Facing a new trial by military commission, a Supreme Court winner gives up on the system, which even a former prosecutor now concedes is "politicized and unfair," as "a prisoner in the Bush administration's assault on al Jazeera," released after six years in detainment, speaks out against conditions at the prison.
As a final bid is made to hunt down the last of the Nazi war criminals, a legal analysis finds the Nuremberg precedent likely insufficient for prosecuting today's torture lawyers, and one reviewer finds Errol Morris' interpretation inadequate to the truth about Abu Ghraib.
Although there was a substantial rise in wiretaps in 2007 and, according to Glenn Greenwald, 'backroom conniving' is breathing new life into the prospects for telecom immunity, the use of national security letters may be restricted if legislative attempts to power down the Patriot Act prove successful.
The embrace of Fox News by both Democratic candidates elicits dismay from the left, and Eric Alterman finds the very idea of a debate focused on the real social and economic crises confronting America inconceivable, given the current corporate media landscape.
While deploying "issues of race and patriotism as a wedge strategy" may be helping Hillary Clinton line up some white working class Democrats, Obama's enduring edge leaves her with "dwindling options," and McClatchy highlights the risk of losing the Black electorate if Obama loses the nomination.
As critics unite against the McCain-Clinton tax holiday -- now apparently DOA -- the word "pandering" keeps popping up, but Senate Republicans up the ante with an enthusiastic call for opening drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.
A CJR analysis criticizes the media for doing little to illuminate 'McCain's Health-Care Muddle' which, it's argued, "would shift the burden of unaffordable health care costs from the employer onto working families," while it appears that 'McCain's medical records release, put off twice, won't really be a "release."'
A Washington court's injunction against an emergency contraception law appears to sanction a "refuse and refer" system for pharmacists, radical pastor and McCain supporter John Hagee explains what he thinks goes on in public schools, and a new study of delinquency may be the key to 'Unlocking Bush's Chastity Belt.'
Facing an environmental lawsuit, the EPA proposes the first new limits on lead emissions in 30 years, but the standards are weaker than scientists recommended, as a top regulator for the agency, which has been under increasing political pressure, is forced out for pushing too hard on Dow to clean up after a dioxin dump.
Exxon comes under fire from investors for a "disappointing" $10.9 billion profit, and from the Rockefellers for ignoring the planet's future, and with the FTC preparing to investigate oil price manipulation, a Nieman Watchdog commentary lays out key issues for developing a long-term energy policy.
Apparently unimpressed by an open letter to the media from 21 academics urging skepticism about a seized rebel laptop, which got noticed even at the Washington Times, a Miami Herald series continues to trumpet its dramatic "revelations" about Ecuador and Venezuela. Plus: 'The Pope's Holy War Against Liberation Theology.'
Monday, May 5, 2008
Although Iraqi officials, who increasingly find themselves caught in the middle, issue conflicting statements on whether Iran is fanning the flames of conflict, the New York Times' Michael Gordon, citing unnamed sources, reports that 'Hezbollah Trains Iraqis in Iran.'
Among numerous recent rumors of war are a report in the London Times that says that the U.S. is 'drawing up plans to strike' such a camp, and Andrew Cockburn's claim that "President Bush signed a secret finding authorizing a covert offensive against the Iranian regime ... unprecedented in its scope."
As U.S. missile strikes damage a hospital in Sadr City, a pair of reports from the International Crisis Group on 'The New Sunni Landscape' and 'The Need for a New Political Strategy' critique U.S. "divide-and-rule tactics" and urge the peaceful incorporation of the Sadr movement into the political process.
While Tom Engelhardt traces out the contours of 'Endless War' in Iraq and beyond, and a PBS essay looks back at the five year evolution of explaining mission accomplished, Glenn Greenwald annotates 'Fred Hiatt on the noble glories of occupation.' Plus: Richard Perle gets a makeover.
Hints of a Pentagon-backed 5 year and $5 billion vision of a shiny future Green Zone are already driving up real estate prices, and NPR plays it straight with talk of the Magic Kingdom proposed for its outskirts.
Mother Jones' Bruce Falconer sums up testimony from 'contractors gone wild,' reports about ignored warnings of flawed wiring point to KBR negligence in the electrocution of U.S soldiers, and investigations of Blackwater killings appear to be exacerbating cultural conflict. Despite all this, the Pentagon is now looking to outsource training of the Iraqi army.
The Pentagon is reportedly considering a surge of 7,000 more U.S. troops in Afghanistan to make up for a shortfall in contributions from Nato allies, whose citizens, according to recent polls, are "growing impatient with the lack of results."
New documentation of the role of psychologists in military interrogations puts APA plans for further integration into the security establishment in context, a planned speech by bioethicist Steven Miles' on torture is abruptly canceled, and the Daily Mail samples the offerings at the souvenir shop at Guantanamo Bay.
Israel insists that it has "no hidden agenda" about settlements, as the first class of Palestinian security officers, whose training was funded by the U.S., hits the streets in the West Bank without the proper equipment after Israel blocks shipments, and the siege of Gaza generates some unpleasant blowback.
'Obama and Clinton wrangle over whether to obliterate Iran,' with Obama blasting his opponent's threats as "language reflective of George Bush," and Clinton expressing no regrets about her expanding nuclear umbrella.
Scorched earth campaign tactics reminiscent of the right deployed by Hillary Clinton and some of her supporters have raised questions about a possible crippling backlash, as she ditches the economists and champions the gun.
One new poll shows the Wright controversy pulling Obama down but another doesn't, as Bill Moyers looks past the "terrible simplifiers" to the rational roots of racial anger and the role of the pulpit as a safe venue for expressing it, and then for comparative context points to what Frank Rich terms 'the all-white elephant in the room.'
As attempts are made to puzzle out exactly who fired an EPA director in the midst of a battle with Dow Chemical, the Los Angeles Times investigates the surge in uranium claims along the Grand Canyon rim, and the Alaska state legislature shops around for scientists who will deny a threat to polar bears.
A vote for autonomy by a rich Bolivian province, in apparent violation of the constitution and in the face of a boycott by supporters of President Evo Morales, threatens to pull the nation apart. More background on the election from Real News Network analyst Pepe Escobar.
Following an electoral rout capped off by the selection of a Conservative celebrity with some lingering credibility issues as mayor of London, Tariq Ali pronounces New Labour dead, although given the likely follow-up, one commentator suggests that "undead" might be a more accurate description.
'Italy's Rightward Lurch,' which has some talking of a fascist revival, is attended on the cultural front by a proposal for the partial privatization of Pompeii and a campaign initiated by Rome's one-time neo-fascist mayor to blacklist Hollywood stars.
Tuesday, May 6, 2008
As the House holds a Tuesday morning hearing on suicide among veterans, the U.S. government's top psychiatric researcher says that "it's quite possible that the suicides and psychiatric mortality of this war could trump the combat deaths."
With a prediction that there's likely to be a 'Sharp rise in suicide attacks by women in Iraq,' the Committee to Protect Journalists issues a report on attacks against journalists in Kurdistan, audio backstory here, one day after an Iraqi female journalist was shot and killed in Mosul.
'Iran halts talks with U.S. on Iraq,' citing the continued fighting in Sadr City, and Greg Mitchell contrasts articles from McClatchy and the New York Times about claims of 'Iran's link to Iraqi insurgents.'
With the Guantanamo justice system 'Moving at a crawl,' and Senate Republicans blocking torture investigations, it's argued that "the American public, press, and legislature appear to be completely oblivious to the idea that questions of war and military force raise any legal issues at all."
Alleging Abu Ghraib torture, an Iraqi has sued L-3 Communications and CACI International, claiming that a new book by CACI's chairman reveals that the company's "internal investigation failed to include any interviews of detainees or of a former employee whistleblower."
In his new book, retired Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez calls Bernard Kerik's efforts to train Iraqi police in 2003 "a waste of time and effort," saying that Kerik spent more time "conducting raids and liberating prostitutes" than training Iraqis.
As the New York Times returns to the same 'Stale Voices' that weighed in on the fifth anniversary of the Iraq invasion, FAIR wants readers to "Ask ABC, CBS and NBC when they are going to air responses to the Pentagon pundits scandal."
Tim Russert making his first 11 questions to Obama about Rev. Wright -- "as if some impersonal mechanism had tossed him a ball and now it had to be kept in the air" -- is cited as one example of how the race has "descended into the gutter." Plus: Voters obsessed with politicians' sex lives?
Robert Parry reviews the Clinton campaign's "oppo" against Obama, David Brooks contends that a "contrast between combat and composure defines the Democratic race," and Bill Berkowitz finds conservative activists Floyd Brown and David Bossie, 'Back in the Swift Boat captain's chairs.'
Matt Taibbi, who writes about 'Hillary's Bitter Victory' in Pennsylvania, and who just won a National Magazine Award, discusses Sen. John McCain with Keith Olbermann, as McCain denies a claim that he didn't vote for Bush in 2000.
With the British press seizing on a good fight, one tabloid declares that Obama is 'Desperate," and as McClatchy reports that 'Clinton disclosures didn't list $24 million of Bill's income,' a junior high classmate recalls Hillary's first campaign.
In his book "While America Aged," business writer Roger Lowenstein says that the U.S. is sitting on a "retirement time bomb" and it's not Social Security. Lowenstein also assesses the leading presidential candidates' proposals on entitlement programs.
As 'Bernanke gives green light to Frank foreclosure bill,' the Washington Post reports on the "remarkably productive relationship" between Treasury Secretary Paulson and Rep. Barney Frank, who's fresh off of last week's conversation with Paul Krugman about growing economic inequality in the U.S.
Wednesday, May 7, 2008
With Fox News injecting a new shot of William Ayers into the race, 'McCain finds his own radical friend,' and in explaining 'Why No HageeGate?', Tim Russert said that "If there was video of Hagee, it makes all the difference in the world..."
As 'Federal agents arrest illegal immigrants leaving U.S.,' McCain, having "flipped back to his original position" of "comprehensive immigration reform," is thanked for "reminding us Tuesday what this year's presidential race really is about."
In an online chat, John Dean, who contends that 'Contrary to his claims, Senator John McCain is not a Goldwater conservative,' discussed "Pure Goldwater," which he co-authored with Barry Goldwater, Jr., and which reveals that the McCain-Goldwater relationship was 'Not as rosy as once thought.'
McCain gets less than 80% of the Republican vote in both Indiana and North Carolina, and as he suggests that the U.S. should be able to get 80% of its electricity from nuclear power, he, Clinton and Obama are said to be "in favor of raising gasoline prices, not lowering them."
With the 'U.S. presidents-to-be in denial' about Iraq, a commentary on 'The Price of Silence,' points out that the conflict is "eating up more of our money than rising prices at the pump." And with increasing congestion in the Persian Gulf skies, the U.S. Air Force hopes to fly 'Above All.'
The U.S. military has reportedly "tied itself into a verbal knot as it tries to avoid further inflaming tensions" with Muqtada al-Sadr, and as 'Israel turns 60, probe threatens prime minister,' and 'Arabs in Israel are outsiders.'
As Mikhail Gorbachev accuses the U.S. of being on a new Cold War path, the 'White House threatens Swiss over $42b Iran gas deal,' a U.S. State Department official charges Iran with 'seeking to keep Afghanistan unstable,' and it's reported that the 'Pentagon targeted Iran for regime change after 9/11.'
The Department of Defense posts the documents released to the New York Times regarding the Pentagon pundits program, which garnered two follow-up stories in last week's PEJ news coverage index, one more than the latest iteration of the "Larry Craig Scandal."
As 'Lawyers for Guantanamo inmates accuse U.S. of eavesdropping,' the Al-Jazeera cameraman who was freed last week described it as "the most heinous prison mankind has ever known," in a speech that was broadcast live on Sudanese television. Plus: Released detainees face trial in Afghanistan.
William Fisher details the collapse of the "bioterror" case against artist Steve Kurtz, whose story was made into the docudrama, "Strange Culture," and Hendrik Hertzberg offers up three 'Drug-War Bulletins.'
"Violin Man" Los Angeles Times columnist Steve Lopez is interviewed by Tavis Smiley about "The Soloist," which chronicles his friendship with a homeless, schizophrenic classical musician, Nathaniel Ayers.
Thursday, May 8, 2008
As 'Glitches mar debut of Guantanamo war court,' a former detainee is said to have carried out a suicide attack in Iraq, and a British human rights lawyer speculates on how the Bush administration will play election-year politics with Guantanamo. Plus: 'Torture Showdown Coming?'
Cuban terror suspect Luis Posada Carriles 'enjoys a "coming-out" in Miami,' and Secretary of State Rice is branded 'Phony of the Day' for calling on Myanmar to let in more foreign aid workers, after having turned down an offer from Cuba to send some 1,500 doctors to the U.S after Katrina.
As part of its investigation of Special Counsel Scott Bloch, McClatchy reports that the FBI has subpoenaed records concerning Bloch's 2004 ethics probe of Rice, who was cleared of charges that she timed some of her trips to boost President Bush's 2004 reelection campaign.
Advisers claim that 'All is Well in Clinton Land,' during a conference call in which Clinton's chief strategist, writes Greg Sargent, "made the case for her electability in some of the most explicitly race-based terms I've heard yet."
Although Obama is credited with having pushed back against the media wall, three major newspapers let stand the false assertion by an Indiana man that Obama "is Muslim." Plus: 30 new superdelegates for Obama?
Democrats are warned to "be ready for the maelstrom that awaits ... if and when the Clinton campaign calls it quits," since "Someone will fill the void that is left behind when it gets down to two. And somehow, I don't see the media setting their sights on John McCain."
McCain, who is said to be 'Multilateral Like Bush,' repeated the claim that Hamas "endorsed" Obama, during an appearance on "The Daily Show," and Juan Cole looks at "who is endorsing McCain in the Muslim world."
Jim Lobe reports on how Iraq war costs and Afghanistan troop demands are straining the "surge," and as Iraq asks the U.S. and Iran to 'stop accusing and start talking,' John Bolton says that he can "definitely" imagine the U.S. bombing camps in Iran before Bush leaves office. Plus: 'Blacklisted by my bank for living in Iran.'
The notion that Baghdad neighborhoods being walled-off represents a barrier to reconciliation, is dismissed by invoking the existence of gated communities in the U.S., one of which may soon be home to Ron Paul supporters.
Chris Matthews says that his bosses were "basically pro-war during the war," implying that it's over, and NPR Check looks at NPR's explanation for the participation of its analysts in the Pentagon pundits program. Plus: 'Are doctors shilling for drug companies on public radio?'
"Ribbon Culture," described as "a cogent analysis of the ubiquitous 'awareness-raising' ribbon and its more recent offspring, the wristband," follows the publication of "Pink Ribbons, Inc.," whose author noted that many major sponsors "produce products that are linked to breast cancer incidence."
'Suburbia in all its gore and glory,' is the subject of a book and exhibit on the photography of Irwin Norling, a kind of suburban Weegee who shot both crime scenes and community events as a newspaper stringer and "unofficial photographer" for a Minneapolis suburb. Plus: 'Through Weegee's Lens.'
Friday, May 9, 2008
As the U.S. military steps up the air war in Sadr City with daytime strikes, the Iraqi military orders residents to evacuate in advance of "a big offensive" that is expected to exacerbate Iraq's ongoing refugee crisis and has raised concerns about the possibility of "a new Fallujah."
Mark Benjamin and Christopher Weaver examine signs of a "body-count pressure" on elite U.S. snipers reminiscent of Vietnam, a FPIF analysis finds that, despite a promised amnesty, 'the "surge" of Iraqi prisoners' continues, and the attempt to shut Muqtada al-Sadr out of the political process is termed 'the next big mistake in Iraq.'
A Vet Voice analysis points to a little noted but significant rise in U.S. casualties in Anbar province that may signal problems for the U.S. military's awakenings strategy, as 'rockets shatter Basra calm,' in the first such attack to cause casualties there since March.
As the list of American contractors taking advantage of a perfectly legal Cayman Islands loophole to avoid paying millions in taxes grows, British arms giant BAE, facing an ongoing investigation into a corrupt arms deal with Saudi Arabia, promises 'ethical arms sales.'
Following a decision by the Lebanese government to dismantle Hizbollah's communications network, a tactic the group's leader Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah denounced in a televised address as tantamount to "a declaration of war ... on behalf of the United States and Israel," Beirut erupts in deadly clashes.
As the 'U.N. pressures Myanmar to allow aid' in the face of a worsening refugee situation and inadequate government response, Helena Cobban illustrates problems with the "Laura Bush version" of what's been happening with a comparison to problems with humanitarian access to Sadr City.
With the Guantanamo trials already in disarray, and judges "making up the rules as they go," a military judge threatens to suspend the trial of one detainee unless the CIA turns over "a memo specifying brutal interrogation methods for use on prisoners held in U.S. custody overseas" for court review.
As the Politico takes note of the 'deafening silence' on the story of the Pentagon's deployment of military analysts in the media, Glenn Greenwald dissects a Gitmo trip, whose purpose a CNN analyst acknowledges was to "drink the government Kool-Aid," and an audio recording captures analysts hailing Rumsfeld's leadership.
With gas and oil prices jumping to record highs, and no clear ceiling in sight, Michael Klare paints a portrait of a superpower in decline, laid low by its dependence on oil, foreign ownership of key nodes of the economy, and a gas guzzling military machine.
A proposal heavily promoted by the entertainment industry to create a "White House czar" for enforcing intellectual property rights sails through the House, as Los Angeles cracks down on piracy as 'detrimental to public health, safety.' Earlier: Copyright and the public interest.
As bankruptcy filings soar in California despite changes in the law to make them more difficult, a look at the Federal Reserve's 'map of misery' suggests that the housing price bust has a long way to go. But President Bush, looking a little long in the nose, argues against plans to limit foreclosures.
Highlighting a statement Hillary Clinton made to USA Today that suggests that she is positioning herself as a white candidate, a New York Times editorial calls on her to back off, while Gary Sick situates her "obliterate" remark in a historical and foreign policy context.
Despite vehement denials from the candidate, Arianna Huffington maintains her account, now corroborated by other witnesses, that John McCain publicly said that he didn't vote for George Bush in 2000, as one radical pastor problem is amplified on video, and another reignites itself.
The Washington Post digs into one of a string of "McCain-engineered land swaps" that benefits one of his top presidential campaign fundraisers, his campaign's "pecuniary interest" is seen as a factor in a recent about face on FEC nominations, and McCain's wife vows "never" to release her tax returns. Plus: "For John McCain is an honorable man."
The chief exhibit in Katha Pollitt's survey of how the backlash against feminism is "cracking up a storm" is the recent decision by Washington University to give Phyllis Schlafly an honorary doctorate, while House Republicans stage a tactical vote against Mother's Day.
The chief of Mexico's federal police is gunned down in a dramatic escalation of a war between law enforcement and drug gangs that now "engulfs the entire country," amid concerns that the "cops are also starting to lose control." And the violence continues to escalate.
The New Statesman's cover retrospective on 'The Year that Changed Everything' features reflections by Noam Chomsky and Greil Marcus among others, while BBC World Service focuses in on May 68, when philosophy hit the streets and the 'best weapons were made of paper.' And in France today, "a festival of memory."
Monday, May 12, 2008
In Sadr City, fighting ebbs following a tentative ceasefire agreement that was met by escalated U.S. bombardment, while fears of renewed violence persist, with the two sides offering conflicting interpretations of the pact, and a grisly video apparently taunting the Mahdi army making the rounds.
A long-promised offensive in Mosul catches residents off guard and scrambling for food, with Patrick Cockburn describing the city of 1.4 million as a 'ghost town' in which soldiers "shoot at any civilian vehicle on the streets in defiance of a strict curfew." Plus: The state of the surge.
With the actions of a few individual guards rather than the company now the focus of the DOJ's probe of the Nisoor Square massacre and, a New York Times analysis notes, "after an intense public and private lobbying campaign, Blackwater appears to be back to business as usual."
As a judge orders that Jamie Leigh Jones' gang rape claim against Halliburton/KBR be heard in court rather than in "secretive arbitration proceedings," a former Washington Times editor casts aspersions on her lawyer and contends that the company has no responsibility for the actions of a few bad employees.
An AP study finds the 'number of disabled veterans rising,' a piece in the New Yorker follows attempts to help traumatized veterans overcome their psychological wounds using 'Virtual Iraq,' and the U.S. military stops use of a pet cremation service for fallen troops.
From birth pangs to death throes, Nir Rosen takes stock of the collapsing Bush administration agenda across the "new Middle East," with the Iraq war seen as an ongoing 'incubator for terrorism,' and a Daily Star essay predicting that the changes that are coming will likely 'not be pretty.' Nonetheless, the U.S. cans Al-Qaeda/Internet expert.
As violence in Lebanon moves east and flares in the city of Tripoli, one observer interprets Hizbullah's takeover of West Beirut as a blunder that will exacerbate sectarian tensions, while a Daily Star commentator sees the "possible emergence of the first American-Iranian joint political governance system in the Arab world."
The decision of a military judge to disqualify a key Pentagon general from the Guantanamo prosecution, appears to also provide evidence of the Bush administration 'politicizing show trials at the same time as politicizing DOJ,' as Philippe Sands talks to Bill Moyers about the total failure of the architects of torture to accept any responsibility.
Sen. Harry Reid tells bloggers that there will be hearings on the military analyst story, a Los Angeles Times report notes that 'domestic spying far outpaces terrorism prosecutions,' and the Nation's Katrina vanden Heuvel catches up with the latest twists of the Burger King spying scandal.
Although Hillary Clinton's "Southern Strategy" is apparently reaching "across the aisle ... straight to right-wing talk show host Rush Limbaugh," and perhaps playing well for certain audiences in West Virginia, "Saturday Night Live" turns on Clinton, skewering her (video here) as a candidate with "no ethical standards."
Carl Bernstein handicaps Clinton's race for the vice presidency, with one group already pushing for the option 'tied to her campaign,' but critics use her Iraq war stance to poke holes in the notion that she would add foreign policy "cred" to the ticket,
In support of a vision of the 2008 election that bridges the racial divide, Frank Rich cites the "restrained response" of protesters to the "acquittal of three police officers in the 50-bullet shooting death" of Sean Bell, but Max Blumenthal presents video evidence that the protest was "large, brimming with anger, and anything but restrained."
With 'GOP getting crushed in polls, key races,' some in the party begin to consider rebranding Republicans as "agents of change," while McCain's campaign to paint Obama as a favorite of Hamas leads to the stepping down of an adviser who advocated engagement.
McCain also loses a campaign adviser after it's reported that his firm lobbied for the military junta in Myanmar, as Glenn Greenwald makes the case that the GOP candidate is "the ultimate embodiment of America's hoary, Vietnam era 'stabbed-in-the-back' myth," and some extreme views of his neocon advisers are aired.
In 'A Last Chance for Civilization,' Bill McKibben sounds a dire warning about the need to take drastic action to reduce atmospheric CO2 in the face of "six irreversible tipping points," but the results of a recent Pew poll indicate that 'the deniers are winning, especially with the GOP.'
As the role of the Bush administration in promoting secessionist efforts in Bolivia is discussed, the country is poised for another round of "high stakes political poker" over a recall referendum. Plus: 'Never say Evo again?'
Tuesday, May 13, 2008
Cockburn notes that President Bush personally ordered al-Sadr to be captured or killed, according to "Wiser in Battle" by Gen. Ricardo Sanchez, who quotes Bush as having said: "Stay strong! Stay the course! Kill them! Prevail! We are going to wipe them out! We are not blinking!"
As two former State Department officials accuse the Bush administration of ignoring corruption within the Iraqi government, during Senate testimony, the Campaign Against Sanctions and Military Intervention in Iran, follows up on a little-noticed U.S. "confession."
With 'Another D-Day for Pakistan over militants,' the country "lurched into a new political crisis" after the party led by Nawaz Sharif quit the cabinet because of the government's failure to reinstate the Supreme Court justices sacked by President Musharraf.
With the 'Myanmar regime accused of hoarding cyclone aid,' a high-level U.S. delegation gets a 'cool reception' in Rangoon, and as calls go out for the U.S. to intervene militarily in Myanamar, a "NewsHour" segment examines the country's military junta.
The New York Times' public editor describes the Pentagon's efforts to block FOIA requests for the paper's article on military analysts, and a review of the DOD's document dump turns up a request to interview Gen. George Casey that promised "a softball interview." Plus: 'The Pentagon's Toxic Legacy.'
An annotation of Sen. McCain's climate change speech notes that "environmental groups and conservatives expressed guarded grumpiness with the speech," in which he called nuclear energy a "powerful ally" in arresting global warming.
With a watchdog group "now calling for three more McCain staffers to resign because of connections to distasteful foreign regimes," Sen. Joe Lieberman 'takes the cheap shot on Hamas,' and Robert Parry and Jeffrey Toobin consider the implications of McCain Supreme Court.
As Obama is encouraged to "treat rural whites like adults," CJR looks at how West Virginia was depicted in a Financial Times article that failed to correct the false claim that Obama's "wife's an atheist," and the Washington Post reports on the 'Racist incidents' haunting the Obama campaign.
With 'Republicans "sore" at Obama's metaphor,' the contest between him and McCain is characterized as 'Poetry vs. fear,' and as Sen. Clinton's campaign is accused of continuing to push a 'bogus rationale,' George McGovern calls on her and Obama to campaign together.
The GOP takes up the mantle of the Effexor party, a "lifelong Republican" wins MoveOn's "Obama in 30 Seconds" contest, and a spokesman for Ron Paul responds to a report that 'Paul's forces quietly plot GOP convention revolt against McCain.'
Resisting GOP pressure, Bob Barr announced that he will seek the Libertarian Party's presidential endorsement, after telling the Village Voice that "We have to ... start rolling back the government intrusions in a number of different areas." Plus: "GOP Rep. hits Bush on 'signing statements.'"
With a report that "Obama disdains cable-TV talk-show shoutfests as trivial sideshows," Greg Mitchell, reflecting on 'when the media promoted "gutter politics,'" writes that "Obama may be over it (4:35), but the whole 'Bowling-gate' episode still bothers me."
Wednesday, May 14, 2008
"If you want to know what Iraq will look like 25 years from now," writes Newsweek's Christopher Dickey, "look at Lebanon today," which is what Nir Rosen and others do in a 'Briefing on Beirut,' some background here, as Tony Karon surveys the "new Middle East," inaugurated in 2006 by Secretary of State Rice.
The Missing Links In an interview headlined 'Bush warns of Iraq disaster,' the president "revealed a personal way in which he has tried to acknowledge the sacrifice of soldiers and their families," saying: "I think playing golf during a war just sends the wrong signal."
Prior to the invasion of Iraq, the U.S. military listed the Palestine Hotel as a possible target, according to former U.S. military intelligence officer, Adrienne Kinne. Two journalists were killed when the U.S. military shelled the hotel in April 2003.
As the role of torture in the U.S. military's decision to drop charges against the so-called "20th hijacker" is debated, it's argued that none of the likely election-year "proposals to 'fix' Guantanamo ... addresses the stain the prison has left on America's reputation."
The Washington Post reports that 'Some detainees are drugged for deportation,' in the final installment of its series on 'Medical care in immigrant prisons.' The reporters answer questions at noon ET on Wednesday.
Although 'War takes time out for opium windfall,' Taliban fighters are reportedly "looking to their old al-Qaeda allies for inspiration," and promising "new tactics in this spring's Hibrat ('teaching a lesson') offensive."
With 'A Rescue in China, Uncensored,' Phillip Cunningham sees "neo-colonial attitudes at work" in some of the Western coverage of China and Burma, and corrects the record on the BBC's reporting on Tiananmen Square.
As Media Matters counts 4,500 media appearances and citations for the military analysts named in the New York Times article, documents reveal what passed for "thoughtful" views on Guantanamo, and how the Pentagon went about "exploiting imagery of Iraqi and Afghan women."
Only 51 percent of all West Virginia Democratic primary voters said they would support Obama vs. McCain, according to exit polls, and David Corn suggests that "Clinton is setting up the biggest I-told-you-so in recent American political history."
FAIR cries foul over a critique of its work by the Catholic League, which just received an apology from Pastor John Hagee, prompting a suggestion that "Now perhaps Hagee can apologize for his efforts to whip up war with Iran; and for his numerous anti-Jewish, anti-Muslim and anti-gay remarks."
With 'Fox News now trying to paint Obama as Hamas supporter,' he's also found to be 'guilty of insufficient devotion to Israel,' while ABC News' Jake Tapper is lauded for pointing out that "House Republican leader twists Obama statement on Israel."
As part of 'Obama's consolidation of the party,' Politico reports that "major donors have begun to conclude that Obama is serious in trying to cut off funds to the outside groups," such as America Votes, Progressive Media USA, and the Fund for America.
The New York Times interviews the director of "Recount," and the film's screenwriter says that he became inspired to write the script after seeing a Los Angeles production of David Hare's "Stuff Happens."
Thursday, May 15, 2008
Winter Soldier congressional testimony will be broadcast live beginning at 9 a.m. ET on Thursday.
Iraqi politicians describe being 'scolded' on their recent diplomatic mission to Tehran, during which Iran rejected U.S. "evidence" that it was supplying weapons to militias, helping to derail a plan by the Bush administration 'to create a new crescendo of accusations against Iran.'
In one of two suicide bombings in Iraq Wednesday, an Iraqi army lieutenant says that a female bomber was "detonated by remote control," which follows a recent prediction that "you will see more women in Iraq choose suicide terrorism in the next few months."
The ACLU releases new documents focusing on prison deaths in Iraq, and makes public a Bush administration report that the U.S. has detained some 2,500 people younger than 18 as illegal enemy combatants since 2002. Plus: 'Am I being detained?'
Reacting to the endorsement of Sen. Obama by John Edwards, Clinton campaign manager Terry McAuliffe said, "we are ahead in the popular vote," as it's claimed that her West Virginia victory speech "was actually her concession speech."
With Obama said to be facing 'an Appalachia problem, not a white problem,' CJR raises the issue of press coverage of what it calls "para-racial attacks" on Obama, who, it's reminded, is "a biracial candidate."
As it's reported that Obama is likely to be 'targeted by Republican charges he's soft on crime,' the Atlantic looks into his 'Amazing Money Machine,' and while Cindy McCain may be out of Sudan, she's being "targeted on the tax return issue."
Asked about Republican Party fortunes, Rep. Tom Davis stomped on the concrete floor of the Capitol basement and said, "This is the floor. We're below the floor," and wrote in a memo: "the Republican brand is in the trash can ... if we were dog food, they would take us off the shelf."
Even before the polar bear was designated as "threatened," but not "endangered," conservative groups that oppose both designations, including a trade group that's headed by a former Bush administration official, were 'Loaded for Bear.'
As the DOD document dump keeps on giving, bemoaning the "low threat assessment" of the American people in the wake of the 2006 elections, Defense Secretary Rumsfeld said, "The correction for that, I suppose, is an attack." Plus: 'Brian Williams' "Truthiness" in Advertising.'
The author of "Moyers on Democracy" was busted by NewsBusters for appearing on "the radical taxpayer-subsidized Pacifica Radio network's Democracy Now program." NewsBusters' parent organization has raked in more than $5 million of "taxpayer-subsidized" funding.
Tim Robbins wages war on car alarms in "Noise," the second film of what writer and director Henry Bean imagines as a three-part "fanatics trilogy," but one reviewer thinks it would have played better as a documentary.
Friday, May 16, 2008
From a legal standpoint, the most important aspect of the California Supreme Court's decision to overturn the state's same sex marriage ban, according to Marty Lederman, is the holding "that all discrimination against gays and lesbians is constitutionally suspect."
Gay marriage advocates celebrate victory, as opponents explode, denouncing "judicial activism," and readying an initiative to overturn the decision, while Glenn Greenwald, after debunking some myths, underscores "how exaggerated is the significance of gay marriage as a political weapon."
Ushered into Israel with some James Taylor kitsch and succored by a dollop of praise, President Bush speaks of "an ancient battle between good and evil," and one key theme is Iran, although the message doesn't appear to be completely in step with that of his aides.
Contemplating 'Bush and Israel's Alamo,' Tony Karon finds "no policy here, just testosterone," while Bush, lavishing anniversary praise on Israel, turns a blind eye to what the anniversary means to Palestine.
It was Bush's remarks about "appeasement," quickly amplified into a general assault on Obama, however, that stirred the sharpest responses, with Will Bunch accusing the president of "political treason," and some awkward family history and, in McCain's case, a bit of apparent hypocrisy resurfacing.
As Obama continues to get hit over the head with the flag, and McCain attempts to convince voters that he is more American than his elitist opponent, the Illinois senator reaches out with the cross, in what may be a pitch to win over independent/moderate evangelicals.
While Obama is looking forward to a sunny day in Oregon, renewed problems with Women's Voices Women Vote cause election confusion that gets the organization tagged as "Rogue of the Week" by a local paper.
Although U.S. officials insist-- for the fourth time -- that they have cut off Ahmad Chalabi, this time over rivalry with Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki and ties to Iran, the Iraqi government is not yet confirming his ouster, as his connection to "McCain's top foreign lobbyist advisor Charlie Black" is recalled.
VA officials were urged to refrain from diagnosing PTSD because of the number of people and the amount of compensation involved, according to an e-mail memo obtained by watchdog organizations, as a House committee hears testimony on potential insurance fraud by contractors.
With congressional Democrats pushing forward with a new GI bill to be funded by a "patriot tax" on people earning more than $500,000, missionary advocates want to hop on board, while anti-war vets testify to Congress on "systematic abuses in Iraq and Afghanistan."
A top Pentagon legal advisor on the Guantanamo tribunals insists on staying despite questions about his objectivity that led to a trial disqualification, as medical collaboration in the involuntary drugging of deportees calls up analogies to Soviet era abuses.
An FBI terrorism conference on threats to the food supply tackles unknown unknowns and provides a glimpse of 'Big Brother Close Up,' the government's cyber security plan appears to be riddled with new spying programs, and a study touting the crime-fighting virtues of surveillance cameras is critiqued. Plus: "We control the vertical..."
With the Mexican government's reliance on the army to deal with drug gangs "fast taking on an air of permanence," a NACLA analysis looks at threats to the nation's social compact, and John Ross, citing a critical recent human rights report, points to the specter of 'a new dirty war.'
An Interpol report that there was "no tampering" with a seized Colombian rebel laptop gets translated as "Chavez Supports Terrorists," while an extradition of Colombian paramilitary chiefs to the U.S., celebrated by some in the U.S. media, faces criticism as a move to shut them up and cover up the government's "death squad ties."
Linking the responses to the cyclone in Burma and the earthquake in China, Naomi Klein explores how natural disasters threaten to escalate into 'regime quakes' by undermining a government's ability to control what people see and hear.
Monday, May 19, 2008
A record-breaking crowd of 75,000 turns out for Obama in Portland, Oregon, as a state of extremes whose demographics are increasingly favoring the Democrats heads towards Tuesday's primary vote. However, the state's Democratic race for the Senate may upset a hand-picked favorite.
With Obama setting up "a program for signing up millions of Democrats" and highlighting links between Bush and McCain in the run up to the general election, Facing South looks at ways in which he could use high voter turnout to 'put the South in play.'
As the fifth lobbyist in a week resigns from the McCain campaign, and a sixth adviser faces intensified criticism for lobbying "for some of the world's worst tyrants," questions of "judgment" are raised.
Facing increasingly gloomy poll predictions, an inescapable Bush, and perhaps 'The Fall of Conservatism,' the GOP struggles to save the party brand, with old school social issues apparently "airbrushed out" of its "American Families Agenda."
The McCain campaign flip-flops on "appeasement," and as John Nichols puts it, 'denies he was ever reasonable' on the Middle East, while media coverage of the controversy is assailed for missing the obvious context.
Washington Post columns by Kathleen Parker are criticized for taking the election down to the "blood equity" of patriotism -- a theme pioneered a few weeks ago by Peggy Noonan -- and to a type of sexual innuendo long associated with the writing of Maureen Dowd.
Wrapping up 'a five-day Middle East trip with few concrete gains,' President 'Bush lectures Arab world on political reform,' while the irony of his earlier criticisms of the Arab media, and the provenance of a 'Nazi-Iran analogy' are considered. And of his Saudi visit, it's asked: was there 'something serious behind the comic-opera veneer?'
The revelation that a U.S. soldier was using a Quran for target practice prompts a formal apology, as it collides with statements of American principle, while exonerated prisoners discover that 'Iraqi court rulings stop at U.S. detention sites' which, the U.S. military admits, contain a number of juveniles. More on children in detention.
As a sociologist analyzes the "communications victory" achieved by embedding journalists with U.S. troops in Iraq, Jeremy Scahill, reviewing "War, Inc.," celebrates John Cusack's 'battles to un-embed Hollywood,' with what the actor describes in an Alternet interview as his "incendiary political cartoon."
U.S. plans for "new, 40-acre detention complex" in Afghanistan to replace the current "makeshift" facility at Bagram Air Base, are seen as an admission that the U.S is "likely to continue to hold prisoners overseas for years to come," as Anthony Cordesman cobbles together a status report on the war.
The U.S. government is now accepting bids for three new family detention centers to add to the ones already in operation, one of which, the Texas Observer investigative essay 'Children of the State' notes, is a focus of custody fights between state child caseworkers and federal officials. Plus: Suit against the fence.
Andy Worthington surveys the ongoing 'collapse of the Gitmo military commissions,' and talks to FAIR's "Counterspin" about "media silence surrounding the majority of the prisoners' stories, while a British lawyer for detainees charges that the U.S. is 'holding 27,000 in secret overseas prisons.'
After a Gypsy camp in Italy is burned to the ground by youth bragging that they were undertaking "ethnic cleansing," a poll finds that 68% of Italians want all of the country's 150,000 Gypsies expelled, a sentiment that an IPS report finds widespread in Europe.
In Mexico's rapidly escalating drug war, threats to the police from cartels appear "in recruiting banners hung across roadsides and in publicly posted death lists," and to follow what's going on, one reporter is advised to "watch the funerals," as broader implications of the war are considered. Plus: 'The Demise of Mexico's PRD.'
As businesses co-opt the tools of direct democracy to wage war on competitors, Chalmers Johnson weighs growing pressures for "selective abdication of governmental responsibility for the well-being of the citizenry," and Mark Engler compares various strategies for ruling the world after Bush.
Tuesday, May 20, 2008
Tim Shorrock reports on a case of "extrajudicial spying" inside the U.S., and discusses both the Carlyle Group's pending purchase of the government contracting business of Booz Allen Hamilton, and his new book, "Spies for Hire."
As Walter Pincus reports on the new designation of "Controlled Unclassified Information" (CUI), Radar reveals the existence of "Main Core," described as "a database of Americans, who ... are considered unfriendly, and who, in a time of panic, might be incarcerated."
At dispute is NBC's editing of Engel's question about whether Bush's "appeasement" speech was aimed at Obama, as Robert Parry points out that in the speech, "Bush apparently saw no reason to remind the world of a dark chapter from the family history."
Engel is also the author of a forthcoming book described by Publishers Weekly as a 'riveting memoir of the Iraq War,' one of whose architects has landed a new job, while another may be seeing some competition.
With a report that a Gaza cease-fire is expected within days, 'France admits contacts with Hamas in breach of boycott,' House Speaker Pelosi applauds Israel for "resisting weapons of mass destruction," and the 'MSM fumbles Iran narrative again.' Plus: Israeli media float notion that Bush intends to attack Iran before the end of his term.
As 'Iraqi troops pour into Sadr City,' the 'War takes toll on Baghdad psychiatric hospital,' the Houston Chronicle reports on the suicides of an Army recruiter diagnosed with PTSD, and his wife, within days of their marriage, and a Los Angeles Times article asks: 'Sons of Iraq? Or Baghdad's Sopranos?'
Iraq War coverage fails to crack the top ten in every media sector except radio, YouTube refuses a request by Sen. Lieberman to "immediately remove content produced by Islamist terrorist organizations," and as the New York Times editorializes for net neutrality legislation, 'Obama ratchets up his attack on the media.'
With both McCain and Obama vying to be 'the anti-lobbyist,' it's reported that "the GOP is heading into the 2008 election without a single minority candidate with a plausible chance of winning a campaign for the House, the Senate or governor." Plus: 'Obama-McCain family values.'
As he defends "Enron loophole," McCain is said to be "kind of like Jesus on the cross," conservative Christians invoke the poor in opposing climate-change action, and David Sirota describes how the 2005 Energy Policy Act, "once considered a partisan political masterstroke," is now working against Republicans in Western states.
The New York Times is accused of proffering a 'Shoddy strange analysis of the Clinton loss,' and 'Whitewashing Iraq from the 2008 primary,' and as Ezra Klein imagines 'A campaign without the "gotchas,"' Kentuckian Dee Davis asks: 'Why don't those hillbillies like Obama?'
Sen. Clinton again 'Claims lead in popular vote,' and cites an analysis by Karl Rove as a reason to stay in the race, as Salon reports on 'Rove's sly deal with Fox,' which has him "playing a strategic role that he and the network refuse to reveal to viewers."
As Don Siegelman says that he thinks his case "will make Watergate look like child's play," the Watergate break-in was ordered by John Dean, according to "Strong Man," a new biography of John Mitchell by Fox News correspondent, James Rosen, whose "conclusions are pathetic," says Dean.
Hailed as "this election year's most important political book," "Counselor," by Ted Sorensen, is also said to be "peppered with caustic asides about the current administration." Listen to Sorensen set Dennis Miller straight concerning "strange statements" by world leaders.
As a Clinton supporter has 'An inkling about Hillary,' New Zealand is seeing a revival of ta moko -- one of the world's oldest forms of tattooing, and the subject of an exhibit on "Body Politics, Maori Tattoo Today." Plus: 'Under My Skin.'
Wednesday, May 21, 2008
A 438-page DOJ report finding that 'FBI agents objected to military's 9/11 interrogations,' is also the first government report "to identify that then-National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice received complaints of torture."
As the 'Guantanamo trials hit setbacks,' the ACLU convenes a 'Torture and America' symposium, the 'CIA once again buries information on Abu Zubaydah's torture,' and "mental impairment" is cited as a reason why the so-called "20th hijacker" wasn't charged. Plus: 'Why does the Wall Street Journal hate America?'
'McCain now hammers Obama on Cuba,' during a rally in Miami, where, writes Jim Lobe, "he served red meat, hot and steaming, to the hard-liners who have made so much progress in promoting democratic change on the island over the last 48 years."
As McCain is hit with 'Total Ayatollah Recall,' blog readers pony up for an ad campaign against a "Blue Dog" Democrat who sides with President Bush on FISA legislation, and, there's an early contender for "Worst campaign ad of the year."
White House counselor Ed Gillespie wonders why Republicans won't boycott NBC, it's noted that Brian Williams failed to defend his network, and about the "editing" complaint, Dan Froomkin writes: "The White House's outsized reaction instead appears to be about two other things entirely."
A New York Times analysis declares an "Operation in Sadr City ... an Iraqi success, so far,' and the Washington Post reports that "American military and diplomatic officials have rarely mentioned Sadr and his militia when describing their enemy." And an on the ground report assesses progress in Iraq.
Last week's "Democracy Now!" interview with former U.S. military intelligence officer, Sgt. Adrienne Kinne, has prompted Reuters to seek a new inquiry into the 2003 killing of two journalists who died when a U.S. tank shell hit the Palestine Hotel.
As "Nightline" touts "this great distraction from other issues out there," Anne Garrels describes the "most unlikely of partnerships" between NPR and Fox News in Iraq, despite a long-standing partnership between the two. Plus: NPR's "Indiana Jones" jones.
On GRITtv, Laura Flanders interviews Nick Broomfield about his film "Battle for Haditha," which has received glowing reviews across the spectrum, and Nick Turse describes 'The strange reversals of a Pentagon blockbuster.'
As the U.S. is ranked 97th out of 140 countries in this year's "Global Peace Index," it's asked, "Is Russia the 10th most violent country on earth?' Earlier: 'Despite Iraq, America's love affair with war runs deep.'
With some NGOs questioning the Pentagon's motives in providing relief and development work, the Burmese junta has reportedly shunned a proposal for U.S. warships to deliver aid, as Wal-Mart offers 'Cheap help for a cheap-labor country.'
The employee-friendly reputation of Costco is challenged by a report on its 'Caste system biz model,' that leaves about 10% of its workforce shut out of benefits and the opportunity to ever reach the average hourly wage. Plus: The worst company in America?
Thursday, May 22, 2008
As the cases of the thirteen defendants facing military commission trials are reviewed, what is said to be "most revealing" about the DOJ report on the FBI, is "what it shows the U.S. government was actually doing to detainees." And, it's reported that 'Interrogation tactics were challenged at White House.'
The APA is accused of ignoring evidence that a psychologist witnessed the torture of Detainee 063, a.k.a. the "20th hijacker," and a U.S. admiral "pretty much" agrees that the cells at Guantanamo are "like having a single apartment in a fraternity house."
In testimony before Congress, Murat Kurnaz may have revealed a potential torture loophole in saying that he was subjected to "water treatment," as opposed to "waterboarding," during captivity in Afghanistan, where the Taliban are making 'stability a distant goal.'
As Gen. Petraeus claims that 'Troops in Iraq help blunt Iran threat,' the 'U.S. delays report on Iran arms,' Iraq is reportedly "becoming one of the largest customers for U.S. arms," and Iraqi police say that a U.S. helicopter strike killed eight Iraqi civilians.
As the U.S. goes AWOL on cluster bombs, skipping an international conference to ban them, a State Department official claims during a briefing that a proposed treaty could prevent the U.S. military from participating in humanitarian relief work.
Keith Olbermann interviews Sen. Jim Webb, asking about his GI Bill, which the Senate passed on Thursday, but not his statement "That there are people in the administration who would like to see [a military strike on Iran] happen" before Bush leaves office.
As a scheduled 'Bush commencement speech at Furman prompts protest,' war supporters berate protesters as Vice President Cheney tells Coast Guard graduates, "The war on terror is a lengthy enterprise, but it does not have to go on forever."
With Sen. McCain set to release his medical records on Friday, but not his psychological records, which reporters were allowed to see but not copy in 1999, Salon's Mark Benjamin writes that "There are behaviors associated with the candidate that would be consistent with a diagnosis of PTSD."
In a "Countdown" segment about comments by Pastor John Hagee, the New Yorker's Ryan Lizza said that "on the offensive scale of one to ten, claiming that God sent Hitler to hunt down the Jews and force them to Israel, is about a 20."
As a lawyer for the McCain campaign says, 'McCain wouldn't give the Telcos immunity if he were president,' Clinton adviser Sidney Blumenthal doesn't think the public will buy McCain as Bush III, arguing that it's "a hard sell."
Media Matters releases a report on 'Immigration Myths and Cable News,' and Al Jazeera English pushes to extend its reach, particularly in the U.S., where it's "too hot to handle for some cable operators."
Ralph Nader describes his 'Trip Inside Google,' where he answered questions submitted by YouTube users and gave a talk in which he said: ''I've never seen more illiterate writing than young people coming out of Ivy League schools and working on a computer.... Hey, pick up a book.''
The author of the book "Our Daily Meds," talks drug marketing with Bill Moyers, as a study finds that more than half of all insured Americans are now taking prescription medicines regularly for chronic health problems. Plus: 'Selling sleep ... from A to ZZZZZZZs.'
Friday, May 23, 2008
The next update will be on Tuesday, May 27.
'Will Sistani Declare Jihad on U.S.?' asks Juan Cole, surveying reports that Iraq's most influential cleric may be giving the nod to attacks on occupation forces, as a 'surge in U.S. airstikes' draws criticism for killing more civilians. But Bush tells a friendly audience that the U.S. is "on our way to victory."
Looking into 'The Mosul Riddle,' Pepe Escobar argues that the million dollar question is "How come multicultural Mosul -- a non-Kurdish city -- is now being ruled by deputy governor Khoso Goran, a Kurd?," as "Potemkin pubs" get shuttered in Basra.
An audit highlighting the Pentagon's inability to account for almost $15 billion of goods and services earmarked for Iraq reconstruction has Rep. Henry Waxman talking about the "coalition of the willing to be paid," while public access is deleted from a proposed "contractor misconduct database."
Amid signs of a new propaganda push for an attack on Iran, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi denies a Haaretz report that Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert had suggested that the U.S. engage in what amounts to an act of war, and the 'mythmaking for the next war' is cut down to size.
While the House acts to prohibit the Pentagon from planting upbeat news stories about the war, e-mail correspondence from the Pentagon data dump indicates that Gen. Petraeus was "happy to" be deployed as part of such an effort.
In his confirmation hearings, Petraeus dangles the possibility of troop reductions this fall without getting too specific, while Sen. Jim Webb, tries to pin him down on what the "endpoint" for the war might look like, and Sen. John McCain takes time out for fundraising.
In a long distance debate with Sen. Obama, McCain offers a "fiery response" to criticism of his opposition to the GI Bill, which passed with overwhelming and bipartisan support, in what the Washington Independent suggests may be a part of a larger GOP shift away from the White House.
After 'ABC's Brian Ross delivers on McCain's "spiritual guide,"' McCain publicly rejects one radical pastor after another whose support he had earlier trumpeted. Meanwhile, Max Blumenthal asks: 'Does Lieberman still see Hagee as Moses incarnate?'
Confronted on gay marriage, McCain repositions his opposition, while a Los Angeles Times poll finds a "generational schism" behind the "bare majorities" supporting a ban, and Glenn Greenwald offers a 'basic civics lesson' for critics of California's recent Supreme Court decision who ignore the state's constitution.
The McCain campaign organizes a restricted release of some of his medical records on the Friday before Memorial Day, as the candidate attempts to deflect questions about his age by mocking his opponent's youth.
As an 'appeals court invalidates seizure of children at polygamist compound,' criticizing the state's actions as "legally and factually insufficient," a Texas legal blog ponders unanswered questions, and Dahlia Lithwick explores 'sad parallels' with Guantanamo. Plus: Everclear goes to Gitmo.
In 'China's All-Seeing Eye' Naomi Klein surveys the 'prototype for a high-tech police state' that is being built with the help of U.S. defense contractors, and measures to contain the Olympic village are considered, as Britain and Germany mull ramping up their own intelligence gathering activities.
The FBI is "soliciting informants," including someone to attend "vegan potlucks," to keep tabs on local protest groups in preparation for the GOP convention in St. Paul, where a siege has been threatened, but not by vegans.
Although the price of oil has gone up $100 a barrel over the course of the Bush administration, and the broader economic toll is mounting amid fears of a global production crunch, a new report from the Department of Energy concludes that opening up drilling in ANWR would only save about 75 cents a barrel.
A Mother Jones story highlights growing health concerns associated with 'digging up some of the world's dirtiest oil' that now have the Canadian government promising a "comprehensive review" of downstream cancer rates, as the business practices and environmental impact of Canada's mining industry come under fire.
As 'the nuke fight begins,' a court overturns the results of a popular initiative that would have banned dumping more hazardous waste at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation in Washington until the site was cleaned up.
Tuesday, May 27, 2008
As 'Mideast governments increasingly ignore U.S. views,' Jimmy Carter 'crosses the line,' putting a number on what Defense Secretary Gates confirmed in 2006, while the IAEA is 'still seeking answers from Iran on nuclear plans.'
With Iraqis reportedly 'losing patience' with militiamen loyal to Muqtada al-Sadr, the Iraqi army detains six teens that it claims were being 'trained as suicide bombers,' and Baghdad is described as a 'City of Widows.'
Iraqi parliamentarians express concern "that they are being left out of talks between Iraqi and U.S. officials over a strategic deal," and David Sirota examines "The Protest Industry" and "The Players," in explaining 'Why Democrats won't stop the war.'
With 'Burials of vets nonstop at national cemeteries,' Memorial Day brings more coverage of soldiers' suicides, the New York Times reports on the dramatic drop-off in coverage of Iraq, and a Times' correspondent describes the difficulty of 'Fitting In After Iraq.'
With U.S. military censors putting more limits on Guantanamo photos, the Hartford Courant reports on Rep. Rosa DeLauro's efforts to fight Pentagon propaganda, and Mary Tillman tells Alternet, "sure we would like to know what happened to Pat, but this is a public deception."
The White House disputes a New York Times' editorial on 'Mr. Bush and the G.I. Bill,' which conservatives spent Memorial Day weekend explaining their opposition to, including Sen. McCain, who also said that on Iraq, Sen. Obama "has wanted to surrender for a long time."
As VetVoice speculates on why the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff told service members to stay out of politics, Obama told veterans, "I cannot know what it is to walk into battle like so many of you," after telling Miami Cubans, ''I won't pretend to know everything about Cuba.'' Plus: 'The case for Jim Webb as Obama's VP.'
An admission that the Politico traffics in traffic, leads Glenn Greenwald to identify "the defining activity of the modern American political journalist: copy down what political officials and campaigns say."
As HBO airs "Recount," Jeffrey Toobin tells Bill Moyers, that "in watching Democrats respond to that movie, you see the frustration, the anger, the lingering of bitterness about it." Toobin also weighed in on the Supreme Court upholding Indiana's voter ID law.
With Hollywood said to be in the throes of a 'Decency Epidemic,' evidenced in part by the growth of the CAMIE Awards -- Character and Morality in Entertainment -- one commentator examines 'the new fertility-movie genre,' asking, is it 'feminist or conservative?'
Wednesday, May 28, 2008
Karl Rove said McClellan was "out of the loop," in an interview on Fox News, adding, "This doesn't sound like Scotty ... it sounds like a left-wing blogger." And, an anniversary coincidence concerning the book, which also addresses the issue of whether or not Bush used cocaine.
With the 'Pentagon inviting media to Guantanamo 9/11 hearings,' a 'Pentagon shill returns to CNN to talk about Iran,' against which the Bush administration plans to launch an air strike by August, according to an Asia Times article.
Amid reports of dissension among the ranks of al-Qaeda, U.S. officials talk up a push to find bin Laden, and identify a possible successor, and the New York Times profiles a Belgian woman it describes as "one of the most prominent Internet jihadists in Europe."
As a 'Bipartisan consensus grows to curb nuclear weapons,' an analyst who was quoted in an article on McCain's non-proliferation speech, which was interrupted by hecklers, calls McCain's policy 'a wolf in sheep's clothing.'
With 'The Fading of the Mirage Economy,' Bloomberg finds that 'Foreclosures in military towns surge at four times U.S. rate,' and former Sen. Phil Gramm was reportedly being paid by UBS to lobby Congress about the mortgage crisis as he was advising McCain on economic policy, with video here.
As U.S. diplomats are 'eyed for possible forced service in Iraq,' a report that 'Wartime PTSD cases jumped roughly 50 pct. in 2007,' coincides with news that for "the second day in a row," VA Secretary James Peake "has belittled the combat injuries sustained by those fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan."
The American Journalism Review examines 'How the media lost interest in a long-running war with no end in sight,' and a newspaper editor now serving in Iraq identifies "the Journalism 101 mistakes that creep into armed forces pieces."
"What has long represented a substantial hurdle for law enforcement is now increasingly hindering news-media efforts as well," reports Broadcasting & Cable, about the Stop Snitching campaign. The author of "Snitch" recently hosted a Firedoglake forum on his book.
A report on the testimony of Morris Talansky, notes that according to prosecutors, "Olmert wrote a letter to American billionaire casino owner Sheldon Adelson and asked him to speak to Talansky about his struggling mini-bar business." And, Defense Minister Barak is calling for Olmert to step down.
Palestinian governments in both the West Bank and Gaza Strip are "increasingly violating human rights in their territories," according to a Palestinian citizens' rights group, and after Israel banned Norman Finkelstein from entering the country, a Ha'aretz editorial asked: 'Who's afraid of Finkelstein?'
Sen. Lieberman is scheduled to headline Pastor John Hagee's "Washington-Israel Summit," and following one report that 'Jews defend Hagee's words,' and another that Jewish groups won't criticize Hagee, Jim Lobe finds 'Neo-cons silent on Hagee repudiation by McCain.'
With a report that 'Recent racist incidents and security threats become factors in Obama campaign,' right-wing bloggers pounce on Obama confusing Buchenwald and Auschwitz, after reacting to a rumor that there's video of Michelle Obama railing against "Whitey."
As 'Journalism old-timers find campaign coverage disturbing,' a New York Times profile of Sen. Obama's "body man," quotes him as saying, "One cardinal rule of the road is, we don't watch CNN, the news or MSNBC."
The profiling of Roger Stone moves upmarket, from the Weekly Standard to the New Yorker, where he reiterates his claim that a call girl tipped him off about Eliot Spitzer, and is accused of exaggerating his role in the 2000 recount, by former Freedom's Watch head, Brad Blakeman.
Thursday, May 29, 2008
With White House officials reportedly "flat out angry," James Moore said on "Countdown," that "Scott is certainly not someone who they ever thought was smart enough to do this," and a "heartbroken" Ari Fleischer expressed concern that McClellan's "about to make a lot of temporary friends on the left of America, who will ... discard Scott 24 hours later."
McClellan appeared on the "Today Show" Thursday, one day after ABC's Charles Gibson made what Glenn Greenwald called "one of the falsest statements ever uttered on TV," when asked about McClellan's book, during an appearance with Katie Couric and Brian Williams.
"Are these reactions from political reporters for real?" asked CJR, about an online chat with the Washington Post's Anne Kornblut, who apparently missed the sarcasm when confronted with an Elisabeth Bumiller classic about reporters being "very deferential" to President George W. Bush.
In a CNN segment with reporters about McClellan's book, CNN's Jessica Yellin, video here, said, "my own experience at the White House was that the higher the President's approval ratings the more pressure I had from news executives ... to put on positive stories about the President."
The AP looks at McClellan's take on the "permanent campaign,' Dana Milbank examines his treatment of Stephen Hadley, and Robert Parry details the extent to which the press corps has continued to buy Bush's lies about Saddam. Plus: 'Why did the press ignore Ted Kennedy in 2002?'
House Speaker Pelosi finds common ground with McClellan, who was called on to testify under oath before the House Judiciary Committee, by Rep. Robert Wexler. Last week Wexler and Rep. Charles Rangel faced off against Jesse Ventura.
Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz said the House Judiciary Committee would be willing to arrest Karl Rove if he doesn't testify, after the Guardian's George Monbiot failed in his attempted citizen's arrest of John Bolton, while Colin Powell merely drew a few anti-war protesters, as he addressed a Get Motivated! seminar.
With a 'British turnabout key to cluster bomb ban,' the U.S. is the only one not talking in the Middle East, and as 'Murdoch goes after Condi, urges blockade against Iran,' two U.S. Senators deny an Asia Times report that they were briefed on a Bush administration plan to strike Iran.
Sen. McCain misses the mark on Iran, and before speaking in Nevada to audience of "at least 600 ... an unusually large gathering for the McCain campaign," he did what was described as an 'about-face on Yucca,' calling for "an international repository for spent nuclear fuel."
McClellan's "What Happened" is employed by the Obama campaign 'To parry McCain's "Baghdad Stroll" attack,' and with the GOP clocking the days since Obama last visited Iraq, he may travel there this summer.
As ABC teams up with Homeland Security for a new reality show, there's further evidence that ABC News and the FBI fell for a "prank" concerning a Drudge-splashed report that "Al-Qaeda tape to call for use of WMDs," which now has a new headline.
"Events in Iraq" crack the top ten in PEJ's news coverage index, with two percent of the newshole, but are shut out on cable TV, falling short of the one percent afforded the "Stacy Peterson Scandal," which, according to Google News, isn't even a scandal.
As a suicide bomber kills 16 people in Iraq, Fallujahans say that U.S. Marines are trying to convert them to Christianity, and German Chancellor Merkel's party wants to welcome "Iraqis who have suffered religious persecution in Iraq," reports Spiegel, "In particular, that means the Christians."
Dunkin' Donuts, which is owned by the Carlyle Group, canceled an ad in which Rachael Ray wears a kaffiyeh-style scarf, and a California Ford dealer apologized for a radio ad that tells non-Christians to "sit down and shut up."
Friday, May 30, 2008
Updated at 6 a.m. CDT, Tu-Th, and 12 noon M & F.
The U.S. military confirms a McClatchy report on "proselytizing coins" in Fallujah and reassigns the soldier involved, while the New York Times follows up on a day of renewed violence with an account of insurgents who "converted a water tanker into a latter-day Trojan horse."
As 'campaign jousting returns to Iraq war,' Arab states reject Iraq's appeal for unconditional debt relief, and Jonathan Steele contends that, despite a recent critical IAEA report, 'the road to peace runs directly through Tehran.'
In a 'Memo to Scott McClellan,' journalists who covered the Iraq war for McClatchy offer a lesson about the meaning of "news," a blog post by Jeff Gannon raises questions about special access and possible retaliation, and TPM screens a reel of lowlights recalling the former press secretary's career.
Under pressure to respond to McClellan's account of the Iraq wars "complicit enablers," some journalists still defend pre-war coverage as "a pretty good job," the testimony of Jessica Yellin is taken as evidence that 'The media itself IS Real News,' and Michael Hirsh wonders 'Why can't the pundits be more like McClellan?'
As McClellan talks to Keith Olbermann about the White House's "allies" in the media, and conservatives affect boredom, Jay Rosen takes a century long perspective on the confessions of "the jerk at the podium." Plus: 'Who'll Unplug Big Media?'
While an appeals court ruling revives a lawsuit brought against KBR for the deaths of contract truckers in Iraq, and a Truthdig essay profiles 'The Unsung Victims of the Emerald City,' the suspicious origins of a congressional initiative to tackle contractor corruption invite skepticism.
Mulling over a recently disclosed report on how the Pentagon's premier watchdog has been 'outgunned by rising tide of defense spending,' a New York Times editorial weighs the implications of 'sticker shock and awe at the Pentagon.'
As the DHS security chief seeks a new phrase in the global war on terror, it's reported that government press releases could be temporarily marked as "controlled unclassified information" to protect them from premature disclosure.
In a "surprisingly upbeat assessment" of gains against al Qaeda, the CIA Director touts a campaign to destabilize its core leadership, following extended pieces in the New Yorker and the New Republic speculating on a possible al Qaeda civil war, but Michael Scheuer calls all such talk "wishful thinking." Plus: Fighting the wrong war?
The failure of U.S.-Pakistan cooperation in pursuing militants to live up to U.S. expectations is the result, according to an Asia Times analysis, of mounting internal problems that have left the Pakistan government with no option but to retain its peace deals with Taliban.
A compendium of quotations documents how Sen. McCain 'won the war of words in Iraq (again and again and again),' as his proposal for a 'fantasy league' to circumvent the U.N. -- which has been embraced by some key Obama advisers -- is seen as a way of working outside the "existing framework of international law."
Highlighting gaps between rhetoric and policy in the Obama campaign, John Pilger finds echoes of the disappointments of 1968, as Tom Hayden points to what he views as a "dangerous flaw" in the candidate's Latin America policy, and Fidel Castro talks back.
Evidence goes missing after militia leaders accused of human rights crimes in Colombia are extradited to the U.S. on drug charges, and a group critical of Bush administration policy in El Salvador gets an ominous letter from the Justice Department.
Despite a congressional challenge to the DEA's campaign of "paramilitary-style enforcement raids" on medical marijuana in California and the advance of a bill to protect the employment rights of users, the federal government pushes the envelope with an attack on brewers of "legal weed."
With Wall Street reportedly expecting 150 to 300 bank failures in the next two years, and housing prices falling 'through the floor ... even faster than during the Great Depression,' an EPI study confirms 'the rising instability of American family incomes, and David Corn digs into the background of McCain adviser 'Foreclosure Phil.'
La Scala announces plans to complete the journey of "An Inconvenient Truth" from slide show to opera under the wing of a director who once had Silvio Berlusconi navigating a sea of Iraqi oil in his underpants, while global warming denier and Czech President Vaclav Klaus angles to get his voice on stage.
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