|July, 2005 link archive
Friday, July 1, 2005A Newsweek report that a radical imam allegedly kidnapped by CIA agents in Italy before the invasion of Iraq, was "a key figure in a jihadi network supplying foreign fighters for Ansar Al-Islam," leads to speculation that "as the Bush administration was leaking its plans for war back in the summer of 2002, planning was equally advanced for a jihadist response..."
Tim Naftali in Slate thinks it's a "safe bet" the Italians were in the loop before the 'Milan Snatch,' which is said to have exposed a "wider clash of cultures between America and Europe when it comes to tackling terrorism."
While Iranian President-elect Mahmoud Ahmadinejad 'may end up being the clerics' bane,' the U.S. State Department says that it's launching an investigation into claims by ex-hostages that he was behind the 1979 U.S. embassy takeover.
"It's impossible to forget a guy like that," said one ex-hostage, "most certainly he was one of the ringleaders." But that's not what the senior mastermind of the takeover says. Earlier: 'The Hostage-takers' Second Act.'
A U.S. commander says a "lucky shot" brought down a Chinook helicopter killing 16 American soldiers in Afghanistan during "one of the bloodiest periods in the past three years," and a small team of soldiers that would have been picked up by the downed helicopter, has reportedly gone missing.
'The Stain of Torture' "It seems as though our government and the military have slipped into Joseph Conrad's 'Heart of Darkness,'" writes the presidential physician to George H.W. Bush. "Why? I fear it is because the military has bowed to errant civilian leadership."
A Zogby Poll found that 42% of all respondents -- and 25% of Republicans -- said they "would favor impeachment proceedings if it is found the President misled the nation about his reasons for going to war with Iraq."
The Capital Times editorializes that President Bush's Iraq speech "was written and delivered with the intent of deceiving the American people into believing things that were never true," and an Arab News commentary asks: 'Are two shadowy characters holding US hostage in Iraq?'
Paul Krugman thinks "America has been taken hostage" by Bush's "martial dreams," and that "it's time to start winding down the war."
Although foreign fighters are said to have a key role in suicide bombings in Iraq, a U.S. congressional adviser tells the Washington Post that "I still think 80 percent of the insurgency, the day to day activity, is Iraqi - the roadside bombings, mortars, direct weapons fire, rifle fire, automatic weapons fire."
Iraq's interior minister says that attacks by "terrorists" have killed more than 8,000 people and wounded another 12,000 since January 2005, as the struggle to survive is reportedly forcing desperate Iraqis to sell their blood.
Knight Ridder reports that June was 'one of the deadliest months for U.S. troops in Iraq,' and Fred Kaplan argues that even with a million service men and women, the U.S. Army isn't big enough to "fulfill the Bush administration's global dreams."
Sen. James Imhofe blamed the U.S. military's recruiting shortfall on "all the negative media that's out there," and Sen. Pat Roberts said that "With the deluge of negative news that we get daily, it's just amazing to me that anybody would want to sign up."
In describing how 'O'Reilly Solves Holloway Case,' CJR Daily reports that according to a TV monitoring service, "over the past week 'Aruba' has been uttered 685 times on Fox News, while, over the same period, CNN and MSNBC combined for only 415 mentions."
The New York Times' David Cay Johnston, who recently reported on America's hyper-rich, crunches the numbers from the Internal Revenue Service's annual report to Congress on "well-to-do Americans who live tax free."
'How the Mighty Have Fallen' Bill Berkowitz reports that as Ralph Reed "is locked in the grip of a scandal focused on his longtime friend, lobbying titan Jack Abramoff," he is also being urged to withdraw his candidacy for Georgia lieutenant governor. More on Reed and 'The lies of lobbygate.'
National Park Service officials sought out footage of "conservative - right-wing demonstrations" to revise the video shown to Lincoln Memorial visitors, according to documents obtained by the AP, "after conservative political groups criticized the current display and organized a campaign of petitions and e-mails demanding changes."
The Los Angeles Times reports on a meth crisis in the Midwest, where deputies who "used to handle calls about stray cattle" are now "being asked to raid booby-trapped labs." The article notes that President Bush has proposed cutting grant programs for rural narcotics teams, but the "meth caucus" isn't buying it.
Warning of a "viral asteroid on a collision course with humanity," Mike Davis says all Americans "have been placed in harm's way by the Bush regime's bizarre skewing of public-health priorities." And a Foreign Affairs analysis predicts that if a flu pandemic struck today, "borders would close, the global economy would shut down ... and panic would reign." Time for a Flu Wiki.
Democracy on the Move The Christian Science Monitor looks at the potential of cell phone text messaging to "puncture holes in societies where free expression is limited." Earlier: 'The real digital divide.'
USA Today scoops the Washington Post by purchasing a copy of Bob Woodward's "The Secret Man" at a Virginia bookstore almost a week before it was supposed to be on sale. Woodward identifies the former Justice Department official who figured out in the mid-70s that Mark Felt had been Deep Throat.
Tuesday, July 5, 2005
With President Bush seen as 'the obstacle to a deal on global warming,' residents of Fairbanks, Alaska, are seeing their houses sink as the permafrost thaws. And despite warnings, the "looming oil crisis" is reportedly "not high up the agenda at this week's G8 meeting."
African activists arriving for the G8 summit say that "This is the moment for the world leaders to think seriously about life and not always to think about profit." But one Tanzanian attending Live8 in South Africa says G8 countries won't know anything about poverty "until they come to Africa and see it."
"The only question that remains," says an Observer report on the 'grim world of new Iraqi torture camps,' is "whether Iraq is stumbling towards a policy of institutionalised torture or whether these are incidents carried out by rogue elements." The first allegations of abuse surfaced last year on day one of the interim government.
"Days after Iraq's new Shiite-led government was announced on April 28, the bodies of Sunni Muslim men began turning up at the capital's central morgue," reports Knight Ridder, quoting the head of the morgue as saying "he now sees 700 to 800 suspicious deaths a month, with some 500 having firearm wounds."
Iraq's Kurdish president says that steps to reverse the arabisation of Kirkuk must start now with the return of Kurdish families and the expulsion of Arabs. And while the fight over Kirkuk's vast oil reserves continues, its residents live in poverty.
The Chicago Tribune reports that according to evidence gathered by prosecutors in Milan, the snatching of an Egyptian imam by the CIA, "was a bold attempt to turn him back into the informer he once was."
After a mission to rescue 4 Navy SEALS in Afghanistan resulted in 17 villagers being killed when precision-guided bombs hit an "enemy compound" housing several families, the U.S. military said through a spokesman that it would seek to explain the incident.
During 'three years of progress' in which Afghanistan has been held up as the "poster-child of U.S.-led nation-building," U.S. casualties have been edging up every year. "The Taliban are good fighters. Much better than the rebels in Iraq," says a U.S. Army Captain, and they're also reported to be learning lessons from the Iraqi training ground.
The Financial Times reports on plans for a "significant withdrawal of British troops from Iraq over the next 18 months and a big deployment to Afghanistan," quoting the British defence secretary as predicting that "within a year we could begin that transition to the Iraqi forces leading the effort themselves."
Three days after the FBI 'raided' Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham's Rancho Santa Fe home, and the "Duke-Stir" yacht that he lives on in Washington DC, Cunningham canceled his annual appearance at a July Fourth event in his district. Read how the knives are out for him.
An Editor & Publisher article headlined "Rove 'Knowingly' Refusing Interviews on Plame Leak," refers to a New York Times report on President Bush's Independence Day address in West Virginia, that took note of a protester's call to "Jail Karl Rove."
While FOXNews.com chose to ignore the Rove controversy, it did air criticism of an upcoming "Truth Tour" of Iraq by some conservative radio talkers, about whom Billmon writes, "these guys are an enormously valuable asset to America's enemies."
As Media Matters demands that Fox remove C. Boyden Gray from his position as a "Supreme Court analyst," the Washington Post reports on how "the conservative movement has within its grasp the prize it has sought for more than 40 years."
After the Post's Howard Kurtz offered up "Dow 36,000" co-author and former colleague, James Glassman, to question the amount and tone of housing bubble coverage, Robert Weissman asked: "Shouldn't this guy be permanently disqualified as a purported expert on bubbles and market predictions?"
Weissman points out that Glassman's Tech Central Station is funded by Freddie Mac. A St. Louis Post-Dispatch Editor's Note explained that Glassman failed to reveal a McDonald's sponsorship in distributing his commentary bashing "Super Size Me," part of an effort being undertaken by what Paul Krugman describes as the "anti-anti-obesity forces..."
An AP article that a Canadian Web site headlines, 'GI fatsos too tubby to fight?,' reports that in the U.S., "nearly two out of 10 men and four out of 10 women of recruiting age weigh too much to be eligible, a record number for that age group."
President Bush "had little choice but to bring back that oldie but goodie, 9/11, as the specter of the doom that awaits us if we don't stay the course - his course - in Iraq.," writes Frank Rich. "By the fifth time he did so, it was hard not to think of that legendary National Lampoon cover..."
July 1 to 4
Wednesday, July 6, 2005
Even though President Bush insists that the Kyoto agreement "would wreck the U.S economy," 94 percent of Americans "said the U.S. should make efforts to limit greenhouse gas emissions, in line with other developed nations," according to a new PIPA poll.
A former Clinton administration official writes of a "rare moment" in which "global poverty reduction is near the top of the international agenda," Mozambique is portrayed as a nation that 'proves aid works,' and a Christian Science Monitor reporter who stayed with a family in Malawi, describes what it's like to 'live on $1 a day.'
A new report by the American Psychological Association, "appears to avoid explicit answers to questions as to whether psychologists may advise interrogators on how to increase stress on detainees," reports the New York Times, quoting the head of Physicians for Human Rights, who says that what's lacking is an "explicit commitment not to participate in coercive interrogations."
Following up on another Times article, the Guardian's Julian Borger writes that "A relatively small group of poorly equipped guerrillas is getting the United States to rethink its military posture" and abandon the Pentagon's long-standing "two-war strategy."
The Washington Post reports on a new Pentagon strategy to expand U.S. military activity inside America, spelled out in a document that was released late last week "without the sort of formal news conference or background briefing that often accompanies major defense policy statements."
A July 11 deadline for the Bush administration to send Congress a "comprehensive set of performance indicators and measures of stability and security" in Iraq, is seen as a test of Defense Secretary Rumsfeld's faith in metrics. Plus: Halliburton gets a new $5 billion order to provide services for the U.S. Army in Iraq.
The Washington Post reports on the "Alliance Base" created by the CIA and French intelligence, that uses France's harsh laws, colonial connections and the CIA's deep "foreign liason" account. And a jailed Moroccan preacher is now being linked to the 9/11 hijackers.
As Afghan intelligence agents arrest three journalists covering the crash of a U.S. Army helicopter, Le Figaro reports that while it's "becoming very difficult to get information on military operations" in Afghanistan from U.S. authorities, the Taliban are "trying to muscle in on ... the war of information."
A call by a six-nation Asian security bloc for the U.S.-led coalition in Afghanistan to set a deadline for withdrawing troops from member states, "appears to reflect increasing concerns that the U.S. is encouraging the overthrow of Central Asia's authoritarian governments," reports the BBC.
In early 2002, then Secretary of State Colin Powell told Congress, "America will have a continuing interest and presence in Central Asia of a kind that we could not have dreamed of before." Plus: 'Democracy or Duplicity?'
As 'America knocks at Syria's nervous door,' one commander laments that "Americans won't control their side" of the Syrian-Iraqi border, and a Syrian official says, "they really want to bring us down." A Damascus-based U.S. professor contends that "If Washington sought to broaden the theater of war ... Americans would never forgive the Bush administration."
Al Qaeda in Iraq claims that it has created a unit whose aim is to "eradicate" the Badr Brigade, the Shiite militia group aligned to SCIRI, Iraq's largest Shiite political party.
Another message attributed to Al Qaeda in Iraq claims responsibility for the recent kidnapping of Egypt's envoy. Attacks on diplomats complicate Iraq's development of foreign relations and are a reminder that when the insurgency first shifted from "hard" to "soft" targets it turned to diplomatic missions.
Red On Red! As President Bush does a phoner with USA Today to defend his attorney general, the New York Times reports on attempts by the GOP leadership "to persuade conservative activists to steer clear of divisive language" over the coming Supreme Court nomination.
'Is Rove It?' David Corn says that "a careful reading of the available facts leads to this unsatisfying conclusion: not so fast," as Lawrence O'Donnell offers up three questions for Rove's lawyer and a journalism professor wants to 'Save the First Amendment' from his one-time colleague, Karl Rove.
The special prosecutor says that if Judith Miller can handle the desert in wartime she can cope with jail, and the Washington Post reports that "Sources close to the investigation say there is evidence in some instances that some reporters may have told government officials -- not the other way around -- that Wilson was married to Plame, a CIA employee."
Signing Off An MSNBC anchor describing the scene as President Bush spoke in West Virginia, said that "There were a couple of protesters we heard with a few signs, but for the most part, looks like a very patriotic crowd there." Earlier: 'Paul Harvey's tribute to slavery, nukes, genocide.'
Asked his opinion about reporters appearing on TV, New York Times Magazine contributor Matt Bai said in an interview with CJR Daily: "I think the cable TV venue is really vapid, and I think it's corrosive. It thrives on conflict and glibness and it almost demands that people talk about things they know nothing about."
Thursday, July 7, 2005
Four London blasts reportedly kill at least 37 and injure 700, with a previously unknown group calling itself the "Secret Organisation Group of al-Qaeda of Jihad Organisation in Europe," claiming responsibility.
The Guardian has eyewitness accounts of the attacks, that according to a Fox News host, "works to ... Western world's advantage, for people to experience something like this together." And President Bush said, "The war on terror goes on."
As Israeli embassies around the world are placed on high alert, a Stratfor analysis details the "massive confusion over a denial made by the Israelis that Scotland Yard had warned the Israeli Embassy in London of possible terrorist attacks 'minutes before' the first bomb went off July 7."
More Terrorism The National Counterterrorism Center changes the State Department's 2004 figure for terrorist incidents worldwide from 651 to 3,129, the Times of London reports on the now '28,000 victims of terrorism' and the "Terrorism Knowledge Base" provides more details.
Responding to an Al-Hayat report, Juan Cole writes: "I repeat: [Iraq's Defense Minister] is discussing with the Iranians their training of Iraqi troops! The Iranian Revolutionary Guards did train the Badr Corps paramilitary, the main militia of the Iraqi Shiite community. But surely the Americans cannot want such strong Iranian influence in the new Iraqi military."
Given al-Qaeda of Iraq's threat to "eradicate" the Badr Brigade, the Independent's Patrick Cockburn sees fighting between the Shiite and Sunni communities in Iraq as likely to escalate. And CNN reports that Egypt's information ministry has confirmed that the country's envoy to Iraq has been killed.
Star Turn New allegations of torture come from a 46-year-old Iraqi housewife, one of the "stars" of Iraqi TV's "Terror in the Grip of Justice," who says Iraqi "security forces put her in solitary confinement for days on end, whipped her with electric cables, and accused her of having sex with a stranger." Humiliated and fearing for her life, she "confessed" to helping insurgents.
An NPR reporter remembers translator and Knight Ridder correspondent, Yasser Salihee, and the New York Times reports on an Iranian-American filmmaker who is one of five U.S. detainees in Iraq, caught up in what an attorney working on his case describes as "a detention policy that was drafted by Kafka."
After being released from a Jordanian jail last week, Islamist ideologue Abu Mohamad al-Maqdissi, former mentor to al-Qaeda's reputed leader in Iraq, "bitterly criticised the deadly attacks against civilians and other Muslims in Iraq." Now he's back in jail and "his supporters accused Washington of pressuring Jordan to imprison him."
President Bush 'launches defence of Guantanamo policy' and "Democracy Now!" interviews The New Yorker's Jane Mayer about her article on "The Gitmo Experiment," which "reveals how methods developed by the U.S. military for withstanding torture are being used against detainees at Guantanamo Bay."
In a New Yorker Q & A, Mayer says that in observing a Saudi detainee at Guantanamo who "demanded to see the evidence that the U.S. had against him ... What came through to me was the complete breakdown of communication and understanding between the U.S. officials and the detainee, and also the utter lack of due process."
As President Bush backs away from a recess appointment of John Bolton, the Washington Post profiles Anne W. Patterson, the current "face of American power" and acting U.S. ambassador to the U.N., "a 5-foot-1 woman who can charm foreign envoys even when she is enforcing policies that infuriate them."
The Christian Science Monitor has a primer on "why the G-8 is exploring debt relief, aid, and trade to ease the plight of impoverished nations, particularly in Africa." But Kofi Annan warns African leaders, "Nobody invests in a bad neighbourhood and if you have just one or two countries behaving that way, that hurts everybody." Plus: Is Somalia on the verge of war?
'Africa Needs an Al-Jazeera' Promoting democracy and permanently establishing open and honest government, Philip Fiske de Gouveia from the Foreign Policy Center says, is inherently linked to a feature which most Africa nations still lack: a free press.
"This is not a case of a whistle-blower," said a federal judge who ordered Judith Miller to begin serving time at a "New Generation" jail. "It's a case in which the information she was given and her potential use of it was a crime... She has a waiver she chooses not to recognize."
The New York Times reports that "Not all journalists have applauded Ms. Miller for her hard-line stance," including the Philadelphia Daily News' Will Bunch, who writes that "We're not happy that Judy Miller is going to jail, but we think ... it's the right thing." Earlier: 'The Judy Miller media hug-fest.'
In New York magazine last year, Franklin Foer wrote about the "qualities that endeared Miller to her editors at the New York Times - her ambition, her aggressiveness, her cultivation of sources by any means necessary." Plus: Slate uncovers Valerie Plame.
The Times employs an anonymous source in reporting that "In his statement in court, Mr. Cooper did not name Mr. Rove as the source about whom he would now testify, but the person who was briefed on the case said that he was referring to Mr. Rove..."
As the White House press corps ignores Karl Rove's role in outing Valerie Plame, Arianna Huffington writes that "This is all the more significant because of the role [Scott] McClellan may eventually play in Rove's fate."
The Washington Post's Dan Froomkin asks: "Could there be anything that 42 percent of Americans agree on that the media care about so little?"
The pharmaceutical industry hired nearly 1,300 lobbyists in the past year, according to a report by the Center for Public Integrity, which has also been monitoring the lobbying activity that led to victory in a U.S. Senate vote on CAFTA. Plus: 'Canada cozies up to Big Pharma.'
As Rush Limbaugh refers to two Supreme Court justices as "socialist wackos," a Washington judge rules that on-air advocacy of an anti-gas-tax initiative by two radio talkers at a Fox News affiliate, "was in effect a political campaign contribution." Plus: Robert F. Kennedy Jr. on the fallout from abolishing the Fairness Doctine.
Friday, July 8, 2005
"This was not a terrorist attack against the mighty and the powerful. It was not aimed at Presidents or Prime Ministers," said London Mayor Ken Livingston. "It was aimed at ordinary, working-class Londoners, black and white, Muslim and Christian, Hindu and Jew, young and old."
Speculating about the perpetrators, Steven Emerson at Counterterrorism Blog notes that the attacks occurred soon after the opening of the trial of Abu Hamza al-Masri, a radical Islamic cleric in London who has also been indicted in the U.S. on charges of trying to set up a jihad training camp in Oregon.
Global Politician interviews Glen Jenvey -- whose "sting" is said to have led to the capture of al-Masri -- about the bombings, and the New York Times reports on forensic evidence that suggests parallels with the 2003 Madrid attacks.
Over Here "President Bush is given to justifying the invasion of Iraq on the grounds that by fighting terrorism abroad, it protects the west from having to fight terrorists at home," writes Robin Cook. "Whatever else can be said in defence of the war in Iraq today, it cannot be claimed that it has protected us from terrorism on our soil." Plus: Tariq Ali on 'The price of occupation.'
In a London Review of Books article, John Upton wrote about wandering the 'Streets of Londonistan' and attending a September 11, 2003 meeting, where he heard the speaker warn, "Do not listen to the liars Bush and Blair who say that al-Qaida is finished. We are not spokespersons for al-Qaida but we pray in the same direction."
"You could say that London has become, for the exponents of radical Islam, the most important city in the Middle East," wrote the Jamestown Foundation's Stephen Ulph, with the "largest and most overt concentration of Islamist political activists since Taliban-ruled Afghanistan."
As Egypt closes its Iraq mission after its envoy is killed, Salman Masood asks, "will the attacks on diplomats open latent fissures between Muslim governments that support the U.S. effort in Iraq and citizens who oppose it?"
Juan Cole passes along a report from al-Hayat that 103 Iraqi parliamentarians are demanding the withdrawal of U.S. troops, and the Los Angeles Times reports that 'It's stop and go for Iraq's charter panel.'
Admitting that there are 'No good options,' Iraq hands offer up the pros and cons of rapid withdrawal, gradual withdrawal, military escalation and staying the course. Plus: 'The Smash of Civilizations.'
'Where has all the money gone?' In a longer version of an article that was excerpted in the Guardian, Ed Harriman followed the auditors into Iraq, where Paul Bremer "kept a slush fund of nearly $600 million" and where "American occupation authorities ... hand[ed] out truckloads of dollars for which neither they nor the recipients felt any need to be accountable."
'Move Over Zarqawi' BAGNews Notes re-examines the imagery accompanying claims that Iran's president-elect was a hostage taker, and Austrian authorities deny probing allegations that he "was involved in the 1989 killings in Vienna of an Iranian Kurdish dissident leader and his two aides."
Iraq and Iran announce "a new chapter" in their relations, including cross-border military co-operation, and Iran's defence minister calls on Iraq to oppose the construction of military bases by foreign powers. Plus: Uzbekistan indicates it is reconsidering the future of a U.S. air base it hosts.
As a post-Soviet "arc of crisis" raises fears "that fresh upheavals and revolutions are on the horizon," a commentary in the Turkish daily, Zaman, looks at the U.S. policy of "politically and militarily penetrating Central Asia."
"Did anybody ever think we could really fight two major wars simultaneously?," asks Slate's Fred Kaplan. "And will a change in doctrine change the way the Pentagon buys weapons or otherwise does business?"
"The G-8 leaders did not agree on a single concrete action to address climate change," said the head of the National Environmental Trust, adding that "President Bush did not budge one inch from the intransigent position he has taken ... and the White House staff worked nonstop for months to water any possible deal down."
The Washington Post reports that Bush's choice to be the "campaign manager" for a Supreme Court nominee, former RNC chairman Ed Gillespie, will "help develop Bush's nomination message" and "may work ... as a 'special government employee,' allowing him to retain his ties to his multimillion-dollar lobbying firm."
Out of Aruba Fox News covers the London bombings with what News Hounds calls "a toxic brew of narcissism & fear-mongering," and a commentator complains about "this liberal bunch of people out there, worrying about these people over here, in Gizmo [sic] prison..." Plus: 'Go Back to Aruba!'
David Corn wonders if there's 'More Trouble for Rove,' and Jay Rosen thinks journalists should make Robert Novak 'Feel Some Chill,' suggesting that "If Novak says he can't talk until the case is over, then he shouldn't be allowed to publish or opine on the air until the case is over."
The Daily Howler finds that "even by the corps' own standards, today's editorials and 'news reports' about Judith Miller are masterworks of self-interest." Plus: On promising "confidentiality to a rat" and "protecting a creep."
Newsday's James Pinkerton describes "the new landscape: The government is bigger and stronger than ever. The media are fragmented. It's a perfect formula for the government's divide-and-conquer strategy."
Monday, July 11, 2005
The author of a book that President Bush claimed to have been reading prior to the invasion of Iraq, which argues that 'war is too important to be left to generals,' has now concluded that "a pundit should not recommend a policy without adequate regard for the ability of those in charge to execute it, and here I stumbled."
Former Iraqi interim prime minister, Iyad Allawi, tells the Times of London that the Bush administration has "no vision and no clear policy" on Iraq, and that "The policy should be of building national unity ... Without this we will most certainly slip into a civil war. We are practically in stage one of a civil war as we speak."
Britain's Mail on Sunday obtains a "leaked document, marked Secret: UK Eyes Only," that "appears to fly in the face of Mr Blair and President Bush's pledges that Allied forces will not quit until Iraq's own forces are strong enough to take control of security." Plus: 'They put us in a cell and forgot us.'
An AP survey of "longtime students of international terrorism" finds them "convinced that the world has entered a long siege in a new kind of war," with al-Qaeda "mutating into a global insurgency," and a British professor argues that it "has mutated into a decentralised, often locally based type of apocalyptic terrorism and, in this new guise, seems to be acquiring a formidable momentum."
'Franchise Terrorism' One intelligence source tells the Independent that "Trying to hit al Qa'ida is like trying to hit jelly. One minute you think you know who is running it, and next minute you feel you have no idea," and the alleged 'Mastermind of Madrid' is said by Spanish investigators to have set up "sleeper" cells in Britain.
A British government dossier leaked to the Times of London that says al-Qaeda is recruiting on British campuses, indentifies the Iraq war as a "key cause of young Britons turning to terrorism," and says that they "perceive a 'double standard’ in the foreign policy of western governments, in particular Britain and the US."
With British Muslim scholars reportedly planning to issue a "fatwa" condemning the London bombers, a Christian Science Monitor reporter talks to some Muslims in Britain who feel that Britain "deserved" the attacks, including on who said that "We are here to bring civilization to the West. England does not belong to the English people, it belongs to God."
As more than 100 are arrested in 'Milan swoops,' Turkish intelligence claims that several al-Qaeda bombing attempts were prevented in Italy in 2003, and an Italian official who says that "Italy represents the most probable and next target of terrorists," calls for re-deploying resources from Iraq to the home front.
After British Prime Minister Blair said that to tackle terrorism "we need to create the circumstances in which some of the critical issues in the Middle East are dealt with," the AP corrected its report that said Blair was referring to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and Israeli Cabinet Ministers rejected Blair's claim that the Middle East conflict is an underlying cause of terrorism.
A Ha'aretz commentator sees "no doubt ... that ending the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories would weaken the motivation or at least the excuse for terror," as a newly approved route for Israel's "separation fence" will reportedly cut off 55,000 Palestinian residents of East Jerusalem from the rest of the city.
The kidnapping and killing of 11 Israelis at the 1972 Olympics is the starting point for a new film by Steven Spielberg, but his focus on the subsequent assassination campaign by Mossad that led to the murder of an innocent man 'provokes fury.'
Reporting that the number of farms on which the estate tax is owed when the owners die is "just 300," a New York Times article notes that while President Bush and others have "asserted that the estate tax is destroying family farms. None, however, have cited a case of a farm lost to estate taxes..."
An article on anonymous sources by the Washington Post's Walter Pincus, leads to the conclusion that the effort to discredit Joseph Wilson "was being done in 2002 in order to discredit his reporting, and 'fix the facts and intelligence' around the policy."
"The Mann report may be one of the strangest documents ever produced by the federal government," writes Max Blumenthal, and "Though it may be botched as an indictment of liberal media bias, it inadvertently offers an unfiltered glimpse into the recesses of the conservative mind."
Tuesday, July 12, 2005
More than 600 victims of Europe's worst atrocity since World War II were buried Monday. Sylvia Poggioli's NPR report captured the outrage of victims' family members attending the ceremony, and their frustration over the fact that Ratko Mladic and Radovan Karadzic remain at large. Plus: 'Serbia's bow to Srebrenica.'
As many as 39,000 Iraqis have died as a result of the conflict in Iraq from May 2003 to October 2004, according to a Geneva-based organization's annual small-arms survey. A Reuters report on the survey cites Iraq Body Count's estimate of between 22,787 and 25,814 civilians killed since the March 2003 invasion.
Supporters of Moqtada al-Sadr go for one million signatures on a petition demanding that "forces of occupation" withdraw from Iraq, and Knight Ridder reports on "another in a growing list of deadly confrontations between Iraq's rival Muslim sects..."
The BBC reports that the U.S. military has lifted a ban imposed after last Thursday's bomb attacks, that prohibited 12,000 U.S. troops stationed in the UK from traveling to London. Plus: 'Bombings show right was right all along, pundits say.'
War in Context notes that "American newspapers and commentators have been quick to suggest that London invited the attacks by being too liberal and allowing the creation of 'Londonistan.' Paradoxically, the city was attacked by people who supposedly 'hate freedom' yet those who would defend it are in effect saying that London suffers from too much of a good thing."
British transit officials try to sort out why it took so long to figure out the emergency was a terrorist attack and not a transportation problem, Prime Minister Blair rejects calls for an examination into whether or not intelligence services could have prevented the attacks, and the Guardian urges MPs to remember civil liberties.
As military sources claim that a four-man Seal strike team in Afghanistan "may have come too close to one of the US-led coalition's highest-priority targets," the newly elected president of Kyrgyzstan says that "now we may begin discussing the necessity of U.S. military forces' presence."
Dana Milbank and David Corn deliver play-by-play of Monday's White House press briefing, with the latter declaring that "After what transpired, no reporter should take McClellan's word at face value (if they ever did)." And, scroll down for pre-outing Googling of "Wilson's wife."
Interviewed on CNN, Newsweek's Michael Isikoff said that Valerie Plame's identity as a CIA operative appeared in a classified State Department report that then Secretary of State Powell took with him on a July 2003 trip to Africa that President Bush and many senior White House aides were on.
Rep. Henry Waxman is calling—yet again—for a congressional hearing examining the matter. He wants Rove to testify under oath and says the intentional disclosure of Plame's identity would be "an act of treason." Plus: 'A parse too far.'
The AP reports that "President Bush, at an Oval Office photo opportunity Tuesday, was asked directly whether he would fire Rove in keeping with a pledge in June, 2004, to dismiss any leakers in the case. The president did not respond."
During a Senate hearing about funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, Knight Ridder reports that CPB chairman Kenneth Tomlinson, "Egged on by Sen. Arlen Specter," agreed to a public debate with Bill Moyers on the issue of alleged political bias in public broadcasting. Plus: Tomlinson 'expands witch hunt' to Voice of America.
Though many reviews of the G8 summit were staunchly sunny, anti-poverty campaigners and environmentalists were widely disappointed. A Ha'aretz columnist called the G8 money pledged for Africa, "too little, too late," and the policy head of the World Development Movement said this "should be the last G8."
Despite a possible tripling of aid by G8 countries, Palestine is said to be 'no easy fix.' In a recent Atlantic Monthly article, Robert Kaplan called the Middle East "just a blip," and predicted that "The American military contest with China in the Pacific will define the twenty-first century." Plus: 'Rural poor aren't sharing in spoils of China's changes.'
South Korea made a "last chance" offer to North Korea that if the latter gives up its nuclear weapons, the South will provide it with electricity to replace nuclear reactors, and the two countries also agreed on a number of projects that will result in North Korea receiving aid in the form of 500,000 tons of rice.
Following an Atlanta TV station's report that former Georgia Governor Zell Miller pocketed $60,000 in taxpayer money when he left office, the Macon Telegraph editorialized: "This is about the Paul Bunyan of Peach State politics - a Georgia giant who in at least three recent books set out to establish himself as an arbiter of moral behavior in public office."
Wednesday, July 13, 2005
Buchanan quotes Robert Pape, author of "Dying to Win," as saying that before the U.S. invasion, "Iraq never had a suicide attack in its history." In an interview, Pape argues that "the presence of American troops," and not Islamic fundamentalism, "is clearly the pivotal factor driving suicide terrorism."
In a new poll published in London's Daily Telegraph, 72 percent of respondents believe that Britain's role in Iraq has made the country more vulnerable to attack by Islamic terrorists.
The Guardian reports that a Pakistani Muslim who was visiting Britain to see friends and family, "has been beaten to death outside a corner shop by a gang of youths who shouted anti-Islamic abuse at him."
Iraqi Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari reportedly announced that "some cities in the country were now secure enough for American-led forces to begin withdrawing," but "did not specify which cities were secure enough."
Reporting on the "at least 10 Sunni Arab men and youths" who suffocated in Iraqi police custody, John Burns quotes an unnamed U.S. military officer as saying, "in the end, this is an Iraqi war, and the Iraqis will fight it in their own way."
An Iraqi humanitarian group puts the Iraqi death toll since the invasion at 128,000, and in an interview with the Washington Post, outgoing undersecretary of defense, Douglas Feith, "said that there were significant missteps in the administration's strategy."
The Boston Globe reports that "the Pentagon failed to meet a 60-day deadline set by Congress to provide a detailed plan for training Iraqis and for likely U.S. troop levels," and that the U.S. Army "also delayed the scheduled release of a study titled "Stretched Thin."
'An Army of (No) One' Nick Turse describes how military recruiters go about "cyberstalking" cash-strapped teens, and employ market research tactics "to target Hispanics, 'drop outs,' and those with criminal records for military service."
Slate's Timothy Noah inaugurates his Karl Rove Death Watch, and the Los Angeles Times reminds that Rove, who has "the broadest portfolio of any presidential aide in history," was fired from George H.W. Bush's second presidential campaign, "because of suspicions that he had leaked information to columnist Robert Novak."
Murray Waas airs investigators' concern "that Novak and his sources might have conceived or co-ordinated a cover story to disguise the nature of their conversations," and Karl Rove's attorney says his client "was trying to warn Cooper off from going out on a limb on [Wilson's] allegations."
ABC's Terry Moran tells Scott McClellan that "Fox News and other surrogates are essentially saying that the ... subject was ostensibly welfare reform. They’re getting that information from here, from Karl Rove."
As Bob Woodward puts an offer on the table, both William E. Jackson, Jr., and Greg Palast wonder, in Palast's words, "What are Miller and the New York Times doing: protecting the name of a source or covering up their conduit to the Bush gang's machinery of deception?"
Arguing that "neither the Democratic Party nor the media itself has sought to make [Miller's jailing] a major issue," the WSWS's Patrick Martin notes that "The New York Times ... made no reference to her imprisonment in its reporting Monday and Tuesday on the Plame case."
Scroll down to read about a father who "believes a man should court his daughters, not date them." It includes an interview with the head of the well-endowed Patrick Henry College, the subject of a recent New Yorker profile and of Andrew Buncombe's, 'The Bible college that leads to the White House.'
The Los Angeles Times ran a correction explaining that it was a copy editor and not critic Robert Hilburn who called Fox's Bill O'Reilly an "ultraconservative."
Thursday, July 14, 2005
The Wall Street Journal reports on its new poll that shows President Bush's credibility slipping, with a plurality rating him "negatively on 'being honest and straightforward' for the first time in his presidency."
With Bush declaring that "our pro-growth policies are working," and the White House budget director proclaiming that the federal deficit "is falling, and it's falling fast," the U.S. Comptroller General is quoted as saying: "Don't be deceived. We face large and growing structural deficits ... that are getting worse every day."
A new report by military investigators is said to offer "the strongest indication yet that the abusive practices seen in photographs at Abu Ghraib were not the invention of a small group of thrill-seeking military police officers," but were approved in advance by Defense Secretary Rumsfeld for use at Guantanamo. Plus: 'Report discredits FBI claims of abuse.'
As pork trumps security, and with a Seattle-area man under arrest for carrying an improvised explosive device on a ferry from the U.S. to Canada, Slate's Bruce Reed writes that "in just two short years, DHS has clearly found its core mission -- reorganization."
ABC News reports that "there are hundreds of people in the United States with suspected ties to al Qaeda," and that "there are plenty of explosives readily available."
Amid rising fear that suicide bombing is 'Spreading Into the West,' the head of Britain's Liberal Democrats says that "those like President Bush and Tony Blair, who have sought to link Iraq with the so-called 'war on terror' can hardly be surprised when members of the public draw the same link."
Calling it 'an insult to the dead to deny the link with Iraq,' a Guardian commentary argues that despite the claim that "the London attacks had nothing to do with Iraq," advanced by supporters of the Blair government, "the only surprise was that the attacks were so long coming."
As suicide bombers strike again, just outside Baghdad's Green Zone, James Wolcott explains "Mr. Media's inclination to avert his eyes," and why some editors "would be much happier if Iraq would resolve itself or, better yet, go away."
Over breakfast, the Army general in charge of National Guard forces tells defense reporters that the media is over-playing "how dangerous it really is" for troops in Iraq, and Norman Solomon takes on 'The Fake Optimism of Washington's Warriors.'
A New York Times article on Iraq Interior Ministry data that shows a 'Faster-rising death toll among Iraqi civilians,' refers to a study published last fall in The Lancet, as well as Iraq Body Count's figures, but makes no mention of two counts released just this week.
A St. Paul Pioneer Press editorial writer drew a scathing response from fellow Knight Ridderites, including Baghdad bureau chief Hannah Allam, for a column criticizing Iraq war coverage: "to judge by the dispatches, all the Iraqis do is stand outside markets and government buildings waiting to be blown up." Earlier: 'Going It Alone'
David Corn says 'Rove Did Leak Classified Information,' Mark Kleiman speculates on Rove's next act, and the Star Tribune editorializes that the "actions by Rove, Bolton, Cheney and others to phony up a case for war .... That's the indictment which should matter most."
Slate's 'Rove Death Watch' becomes an editorial watch, as the nation's major newspapers remain either silent or noncommittal, and Sidney Blumenthal writes that 'Rove's War' is being waged "as though it will be settled in a court of Washington pundits."
As Harry Shearer offers up a theory as to why the White House press corps is suddenly so angry, Think Progress reminds that it "didn't care at all about Karl Rove ... in the nine long days after Newsweek revealed that Rove had indeed spoken to Time reporter Matt Cooper about Valerie Plame." Plus: Ari Fleischer in the soup?
"[T]he comments made on Fox News are beneath contempt," said the head of BBC television news, referring to Steven Emerson saying that "the BBC almost operates as a foreign registered agent of Hezbollah and some of the other jihadist groups," and Bill O'Reilly's commentary on "How Jane Fonda and the BBC put you in danger."
Sean Gonsalves examines why "special interests" and "anti-American" came to be conservative code words for "minorities" and "any utterance that disagrees with the world view of white, conservative Christian men."
I'll Be Backed The Los Angeles Times reports that Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, who vetoed a bill regulating dietary supplements, is being paid $8 million to "further the business objectives" of fitness magazines heavily dependent on ad revenue from the nutritional additives.
Friday, July 15, 2005
The New York Times reports that Karl Rove told investigators he learned Valerie Plame's name from Robert Novak in a July 8, 2003, telephone conversation initiated by Novak, according to a source who "discussed the matter in the belief that Mr. Rove was truthful in saying he did not disclose Ms. Wilson's identity."
Liberal Oasis argues that "it is stupefying that the Times would print this story," which was also fed to the AP by "someone in the legal profession," while a "lawyer involved in the case" talked to the Washington Post.
The effect of the latest Rove/Novak allegations, writes Editor & Publisher's Greg Mitchell, is that "we are suddenly into 'what did the president know and when did he know it' territory."
Asking 'Who Leaked to the Leakers?," Justin Raimondo posits that "Rove is a victim, in an important sense, someone who was used and abused by the real culprits," and Robert Parry looks at a 'Bush Family Tradition.'
After noting that "pretty much every Republican in Washington today works for Karl Rove," Josh Marshall asks, "If Rove et al. didn't do anything wrong, why have they spent two years lying about what they did?" Plus: ABC's Ann Compton on what still trumps treason.
"What Mr. Rove understood, long before the rest of us, is that we're not living in the America of the past," writes Paul Krugman. "Instead, we're living in a country in which there is no longer such a thing as nonpolitical truth."
Alexander Cockburn argues that since the record of the C.I.A.'s covert wing over 60 years "is one of uninterrupted evil ... we should ... clap Rove warmly on the back for his courageous onslaughts on the cult of secrecy. By all means delight in the White House's discomfiture, but spare us the claptrap about national security and treason."
Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham says "the time has come for me to conclude the public chapter of my life ... I will not stand for reelection in 2006."
A new ABC/Ipsos poll puts President Bush's approval rating at 42 percent, while a Pew survey finds that confidence in Osama bin Laden has "fallen to low levels" in most majority-Muslim countries, "with the exception of Jordan and Pakistan."
As the Independent examines 'Why four young men turned to terror,' the Guardian reports that "Football hooligans communicating over the internet have spoken of the need to put aside partisan support for teams and unite against Muslims."
A U.S. announcement of the capture of a "close confidante" of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi was greeted with derision by al-Zarqawi's group, which accused the U.S. of inventing "the positions and ranks" of a dozen or more "top lieutenants." Plus: 'General contradicted his sworn testimony on Pentagon, Abu Ghraib.'
A New York Times reporter visits Fallujah and finds the insurgency "rising from the rubble" in the U.S.-created "police state," formerly known as "the safest city in the country," while residents accuse the Iraqi Army of "shooting people in the head."
U.S. military data reportedly show suicide bombings averaging "at least one per day" under the new Iraqi government, confirming "the increased role that suicide attacks appear to be playing in the Iraq conflict." Plus: 'Massacre of the innocents.'
Patrick Cockburn reports that "the Iraqi armed forces are full of ghost battalions in which officers pocket the pay of soldiers who never existed," and an Iraqi politician says that "during the past two years, people could make money ... on a scale that would astonish a Colombian drug lord."
'Shrapnel From Home' The Army-wide divorce rate has reportedly jumped more than 80 percent since 9/11, with soldiers coming home to "empty houses, squandered bank accounts, divorce papers and restraining orders."
The federal government's chief investigator accuses the Pentagon of "absolutely atrocious financial management" and says that "I can't understand how we're spending $1 billion a week" on the war in Iraq.
Former CIA director John Deutch argues in an op-ed that because the U.S. is not "making progress on any of our key objectives in Iraq ... Our best strategy now is a prompt withdrawal plan."
Iraqi blogger Raed Jarrar reports that his brother and fellow blogger Khalid's abduction by "the new Iraqi mukhabarat" is "happy news" considering the other options.
Monday, July 18, 2005
A weekend of slaughter in Iraq, beginning with 11 suicide bombings on Friday alone, and including a Saturday night massacre of more than 100 people, came "several weeks after the American authorities announced what they said was a successful effort to severely reduce the ability of insurgents to launch attacks."
Reuters reports that Iraqi civilians "have begun barricading themselves in their homes and forming neighborhood militias" in response to "relentless suicide attacks," and that Iraqis 'expect more blood' when Saddam takes the stand.
President Bush's covert 'Get Out the Vote' strategy to manipulate Iraq's elections, as reported by Seymour Hersh, was approved but not carried out, according to sources cited by the Washington Post, which reported on reaction to Hersh's article without naming him. A 'dog bites man' story?
The Post quotes Larry Diamond, recently described as "a deeply conflicted liberal" in a review of his book, "Squandered Victory," as saying that Hersh's article "would likely" cause "significant damage to us and our credibility in Iraq."
A report that Congressional Budget Office projections put the eventual cost of the war in Iraq at $100 billion beyond Vietnam, quotes Michael Scheuer as saying, "Osama doesn't have to win; he will just bleed us to death. He's well on his way to doing it."
Exploring the politics of counting the cost of the war in Iraq, Judith Coburn writes, "Is there a better symbol of how the war for Iraq has already been lost than our ignorance about the cost of the war to Iraqis?"
As fighting flares on Pakistan's NW border with Afghanistan, where troops reportedly killed militants "along with women and children," Pakistan's government identifies a "terrorist breeding ground" to the west.
The Boston Globe reports that new Saudi and Israeli studies, "which painstakingly analyzed the backgrounds and motivations of hundreds of foreigners entering Iraq to fight the U.S. -- have found that the vast majority ... are not former terrorists and became radicalized by the war itself."
U.S. military bases in Romania and Bulgaria would "show the world the nations are a safe place for business," according to a Heritage Foundation economist, and a Colorado congressman says he was just throwing out some ideas when he suggested "taking out" Islam's holy sites.
Although President Bush said in June 2004 that he would fire anyone in his administration shown to have leaked information that exposed the identity of Valerie Plame, On Monday, reports the AP, "he added the qualifier that it would have to be shown that a crime was committed." Reuters described it as "shifting from a broader vow," and the New York Times said Bush "changed his stance."
As Frank Rich issues a call to 'Follow the Uranium,' Truthout liberates Matt Cooper from Time, and Billmon writes that "it seems obvious from Cooper's testimony, and the questions he was asked, that Rove is dead center in Patrick Fitzgerald's gun sights." Plus: 'Now comes Miller time' and 'Hearsted on her own petard.'
Before leakers told the Los Angeles Times that Rove and Lewis "Scooter" Libby had 'Set Sights on Wilson,' Murray Waas pointed out that "The few leaks that constitute public knowledge of the investigation's progress have largely come from one side: the defense attorneys," and that "Their all-too-willing collaborators have been the nation's leading newspapers."
Let's Rollback! "This White House doesn't settle for managing the news ... because it has a larger aim," writes Jay Rosen, "to roll back the press as a player within the executive branch, to make it less important in running the White House and governing the country."
The New York Times unveils the Environmental Protection Agency's $5 million budget "to polish its Web site, organize focus groups on how to buff the office's image and ghostwrite articles 'for publication in scholarly journals and magazines.'"
As the FBI 'warns of terrorism plot at Texas border,' ACLU head Anthony Romero, in response to documents showing that FBI agents monitored Web sites calling for protests against the 2004 political conventions on behalf of the bureau's counterterrorism unit, said that "It raises very serious questions about whether the FBI is back to its old tricks."
Supporters are said to be livid over a recent federal court ruling that Pentagon funding of the Boy Scouts' Jamboree is unconstitutional, because the event "provides a unique training opportunity for troops."
As America's largest church makes the move into what its pastor calls a "Texas-sized" sanctuary, a City Pages columnist recounts a pre-Independence Day service at another megachurch, where the leader of a "Military Ministry" told parishioners that "I'm here today to testify that we have found the weapons of mass destruction."
Tuesday, July 19, 2005
President Bush's decision to share nuclear technology with India, which has not signed the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, was "opposed by nonproliferation officials in Bush's administration, including John R. Bolton," reports the Washington Post.
Norman Solomon finds the presentation of "a fine new saddle to the nuclear horseman of the apocalypse" to be "a gift worthy of hell."
Rep. Tom Tancredo has no apology for his "hypothetical" suggestion that the U.S. could bomb Islam's holy sites, and told a news conference that he "believes government officials already have considered such a scenario."
A mid-June threat assessment by top British intelligence and security officials reportedly "stated that terrorist-related activity in Britain was a direct result of violence in Iraq," but concluded that "at present there is not a group with both the current intent and the capability to attack the U.K." Plus: Two-thirds of Britons make the connection.
A new report from Iraq Body Count calculates that Iraqi civilians have died at a rate of 34 per day since the invasion, and that "despite the media profile given to suicide blasts, just 7.7 percent of the civilian deaths were caused by vehicle bombs."
"I've always been something of an optimist," begins a dispatch from a Newsweek reporter in Iraq, "but everyone has a breaking point." And a former Reuters Iraq bureau chief tells CJR Daily that "For foreign staff in Baghdad, operating independently of U.S.-led forces, mobility has shrunk to almost zero over the past two years."
Editor and Publisher explores why 'Few graphic images from Iraq make it to U.S. papers,' and a Japan Times report says that the most dangerous civilian jobs in Iraq are translators and interpreters, which "are vital in Iraq since the war on terrorism is not only about force but also about information."
Criticism of the failure to restore basic services in Iraq, reports the Los Angeles Times, reflects "a growing belief in Iraq and elsewhere that the Bush administration had bungled the reconstruction by giving billions to private corporations to tackle major infrastructure projects."
Operation Truth places a full-page ad in the Washington Post telling President Bush, "You're either with us or against us," and the AP reports on the House Republican leadership's response to warnings of a shortfall for veterans' health care: "fire the messengers."
'America's Truth Deficit' William Greider urges the news media to start "asking heretical questions" about the "obvious and ominous" impact of globalization on the U.S. economy, rather than "recycle the usual bromides about the benefits of free trade." And Greider on repealing the estate tax: 'Profiles in Cowardice.'
"The message has filtered out to conservative activists" that Attorney General Gonzales is "no longer a threat to their cause," reports The Hill, in an article advancing three women from the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals as possible Supreme Court nominees. Plus: Karl, we hardly knew ye.
An ABC News poll finds that 25% of Americans think the White House is fully cooperating in the CIA leak investigation, and Helen Thomas asks of President Bush: "What is his problem? Two years, and he can't call Rove in and find out what the hell is going on?"
As the 'Rove-Bush Conspiracy Noose Tightens,' the GOP discovers the drawbacks in forming a "human shield" around Rove, and Wonkette concludes that "the only way Democrats can screw this up is by talking about it."
As Danny Schechter tries to "suss out truth from the coverage," Geov Parrish cautions that "in their zeal to nail Rove, liberals and progressives may be missing the real story," which according to Jonathan Alter is about "how easy it was to get into Iraq, and how hard it will be to get out."
Josh Marshall can't decide whether it's "peculiarly tragic or perhaps not-so-peculiarly tragic that Christopher Hitchens ends up an apologist for, among others, Karl Rove." And, Art Buchwald on the art of 'Trickle- Down Journalism.'
A report on Judith Miller's 'Life Behind Bars' says she has been "occupied with reading from the prison library and watching CNN and Fox News when other prisoners do not keep the shared television on hip-hop and rap music videos." See what she missed on "Meet the Press."
Wednesday, July 20, 2005
The Wall Street Journal reports that President "Bush made clear in his brief remarks that he felt he had found a judge in the mold of Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas," and Justice O'Connor says he's "good in every way, except he's not a woman."
As Roberts gets hit from the right, CJR Daily finds that "it's a little disconcerting when the blogosphere provides a more studied, measured take on the nomination than the blow-dried television pundits."
Matt Singer asks, "If I publicly said that I was going to use smoke-and-mirrors to confuse you, wouldn't you put your guard up. And in the age of multiple 24 hour news networks, can't we cover two stories at once?"
Karl Rove did not disclose that he had ever discussed Valerie Plame with Matthew Cooper during his first interview with the FBI, reports Murray Waas, which "created doubt for federal investigators ... as to whether Rove was withholding crucial information from them, and perhaps even misleading or lying to them."
Although a 2003 State Department memo is thought to be a possible source for how White House officials learned that Plame was a CIA agent, Eric Boehlert thinks that "there may be an easier explanation" for how Vice President Cheney's chief of staff found out—"he simply visited her workplace."
The New York Observer profiles 'Rove's Brain,' attorney Robert Luskin, who says he was "blind to the optics of the situation" on the occasion when he "accepted payments in gold bars from a client who was a convicted drug-money launderer." Earlier: 'Word Blossom.'
As the U.S. Justice Department comes out against a federal shield law, and other opponents cite the Plame case, Editor & Publisher reports on an "outpouring of opposition" from some members of the American Society of Journalists and Authors, over its plan to give Judith Miller its "Conscience in the Media" award.
Michael Kinsley and Mark Danner exchange fire on 'The Memo, the Press, and the War.'
Although Sunni Muslim members of the constitution drafting committee suspended their participation, saying they need more security, the head of the committee is still offering assurances that it will meet the early August deadline.
'Bush's Islamic Republic' Peter Galbraith argues that for the Bush administration to "draw the line at allowing a Shiite theocracy to establish control over all of Iraq" would require "a drastic change of strategy."
With Iraq and its neighbors demanding a swift trial for Saddam Hussein, Ahmad Chalabi has reportedly "caused alarm among senior American officials" by attempting to purge the tribunal staff, after making "no secret of his frustration at the dismissal last year of his nephew ... as the tribunal's executive director." Plus: A political show trial?
Norman Solomon writes that the coverage of Gen. William Westmoreland's death "faulted him for being a big loser, not a mass killer," and David Lindorff says 'Add One More to Westmoreland's Body Count.'
"I have no problem about the money," said California's governor, "but my wife has a problem with that. She was worried that means less diamonds every year or something like that."
Following up on a report that major Republican donor Cheryl F. Halpern is in line to replace Kenneth Tomlinson as CPB chair, Rory O'Connor reviews Halpern's "high-profile comments and political connections" that "threaten to make her tenure every bit as controversial as Tomlinson's."
Stephen Colbert says of "The Colbert Report," which will air just after "The Daily Show": "It'll be like O'Reilly segueing into Hannity, Hannity into Greta, Larry King into Aaron Brown. I love that Aaron Brown, the way he sucks the flavor out of every word, and I love the way he mulls. No one mulls the news like Aaron Brown."
Thursday, July 21, 2005
"The people of Baghdad do not need statistics to tell them that they are living through terror unimaginable in the West," begins a Telegraph dispatch. "Every two days for the past two years more civilians have died in Iraq than in the July 7 London bombings."
An officially-ordered moment of silence for suicide bomb victims went unobserved in Mosul, where the deputy provincial governor said that "there are a lot of crimes in Iraq. If we stand silent for three minutes for each one, there will come a day where we will stand for hours."
"Feels like your skin is on fire," reports Reuters, about a microwave ray gun slated to be used for crowd dispersal in Iraq, after a New Scientist article raised questions, such as: "What happens if someone in a crowd is unable ... to move away from the beam?"
As the U.S. 'House Votes Against Early Iraq Withdrawal,' a newly declassified Pentagon assessment finds only a "small number" of Iraqi security forces capable of taking on insurgents without U.S. help, but Defense Secretary Rumsfeld ranks the rebels as "effective, adaptable."
A Christian Science Monitor op-ed argues that setting a withdrawal date should be the 'Next step in helping Iraqis.'
Following a colleague's assassination, Sunni Arabs suspended their participation in the constitutional drafting process, and said they may withdraw altogether, "not just for security reasons but because their ideas were not being heard."
A Washington Post report on the impasse cites "the Americans' 'big role' in keeping the Sunni minority involved," and says that committee members are divided on issues as basic as what to call Iraq.
An Army report, "completed in January, but only now being released," finds morale problems cited by "more than half" of U.S. troops in Iraq, and a U.S. Marine who once appeared on "The West Wing" says that "at least in the 'Nam, they had booze and women."
Juan Cole argues that although "it is difficult to see what real benefits have accrued to the United States from the Iraq war," there does appear to be one big winner, and "all Bush can do is gnash his teeth."
As 'Bush Officials Defend India Nuclear Deal,' India's prime minister tells the National Press Club that the invasion of Iraq "was a mistake," a remark that was virtually ignored by U.S. media outlets.
President Bush commits to "spending unprecedented resources" on domestic security, "in a speech billed as primarily a defense of the Patriot Act," and Congress by unanimous voice vote creates an "Active Response Corps." Earlier: A war financed through "representation without taxation."
With "'Plamegate' Back on Page One," in an article about a 2003 classified State Department memo, Media Matters reports that many articles about the memo have failed to note that CIA officials reportedly disputed the notion that Valerie Plame recommended her husband for the Niger trip. Plus: Former intelligence officers challenge claim that Plame was not undercover.
The American Prospect's Michael Tomasky spotlights Karl 'Rove's Most Telling Words,' adding that "it's a pathetic thing to watch supposedly respectable conservative intellectuals act like they're running for the editorship of Pravda in 1921." And the Seattle Post-Intelligencer editorializes on: 'No Pal Left Behind.'
"The truly monstrous thing about this Rove story is that it was not until Rove became a potential criminal defendant that all of those cutesy Will Rogers descriptions of him vanished from print," writes Matt Taibbi, referring to an article by Elisabeth Bumiller that helped her to win "Wimblehack."
The Daily Howler notes that Bumiller was "safely on-message" concerning Supreme Court nominee John Roberts' "humble, red origins," which she followed up with a report on President Bush's interviewing style.
"Did the Bush team put out misinformation ... to steer reporters away from John Roberts?," asks Howard Kurtz. "We can't answer the question definitively because the journalists involved have a Matt Cooper problem -- they promised their sources anonymity, regardless of motive." Earlier: CNN cues the Mariachis.
Senate Democrats were advised to "rise to the occasion" and "cool their jets" on the nomination of Roberts, rather than act "like biblical Pharisees, you know, who basically are always trying to undermine Jesus Christ."
In an article speculating that Roberts' 'Confirmation Path May Run Through Florida,' the Los Angeles Times reports that he "came to Florida in 2000 at his own expense" and "operated in the shadows."
"Karl Rove and the National Republican Senatorial Committee have been trying to talk Florida Rep. Katherine Harris out of running for the Senate next year," reports the Washington Times, "but have been unsuccessful thus far."
Friday, July 22, 2005
As 'America wrestles with privacy vs. security,' the U.S. House votes to extend permanently virtually all the major antiterrorism provisions of the Patriot Act. Plus: 'Kissing the 4th Amendment Goodbye.'
To Blood & Treasure, the latest attacks in London look like "a severe diminishment in terrorist capacity over the past two weeks," but to those outside the UK, "two terrorist attacks in a fortnight, a matter of some interest to tourists, investors and such like. Make it four attacks in two months and it becomes an issue of concern."
"How could those who preach the absolute revealed truth of every word of a primitive book not be prone to insanity?" asks the Guardian's Polly Toynbee. "Extreme superstition breeds extreme action. Those who believe they alone know the only way, truth and life will always feel justified in doing anything in its name."
In Beeston, the Washington Post's Tamara Jones, discovers a "desperate and potentially dangerous new underclass." But for the Guardian's David Ward, "The paradox of Beeston is that this centre of inner-city deprivation, which harboured fanatical suicidal killers, appears also to be a place of multiracial and multi-religious harmony."
As the CIA abduction of Abu Omar leads to more arrest warrants and wiretap records connect him to "the brother in London," a former Italian prime minister, in reference to American counterterrorism agencies' unwillingness to share intelligence, says "The real problem is with the United States." Plus: 'The Spies Who Came In from the Hot Tub.'
Olivier Roy argues that Britain is not being "punished" for fighting alongside the U.S. in Iraq. Global jihadists in their preferred battlegrounds outside the Middle East are fighting against "a global phenomenon of cultural domination." Earlier: Roy on the 'political imagination of Islam.'
Time's Tony Karon enters the blogosphere as the Rootless Cosmopolitan, and says "It didn't take a bombing wave to convince the Brits that Blair's support for the Iraq war has been a disaster." Plus: remembering 'My Son the Fanatic'
In a commentary on fanaticism,' Christopher Dickey writes that "it has come to be portrayed as fundamentally different if they are Muslims than it is if they are Christian, Jewish, Hindu, Aryan or animal-rights zealots willing to kill innocents to defend their beliefs." And Rep. Tom Tancredo defends his suggestion about bombing Mecca by saying, "Yes, I'm a fanatic."
In Israel, "A fanatical minority with a strong emotional motivation," writes Uri Avnery, "has an advantage over a 'silent majority' that always tends to be passive and weak-willed." And withdrawal from Gaza, says Gwynne Dyer, "cuts the burden on the Israeli Army and saves money, but it also gives Sharon a useful smokescreen - he can claim he is making a major gesture for peace."
Even though their source has already "had two CIA 'burn notices' issued on him," U.S. Reps. Peter Hoekstra and Curt Weldon went to Paris last week for a secret meeting with Iranian exile, Fereidoun Mahdavi, a longtime business associate of Iran-Contra arms dealer Manucher Ghorbanifar. Earlier: 'Weldon's whacky world and the truth about Iran.'
The Old Guard A report that the Pentagon is seeking to increase the maximum age for military recruits to 42, up from the current age of 35 for those seeking active duty, notes that about one in six of the roughly 25,000 members of the Army National Guard now mobilized, mostly in Iraq, is over 50.
Bloomberg reports that Karl Rove and Lewis "Scooter" Libby "have given accounts to the special prosecutor about how reporters told them the identity of a CIA agent that are at odds with what the reporters have said."
A New York Times article on the Rove-Libby management of the Niger uranium story and the guidance they provided to George Tenet, leads Josh Marshall to reflect on the "seamless (or perhaps 'seamy', take your pick) integration of the political and national security staffs at the White House." 'Et Tu, Ari?'
Asking 'Why Was Miller Fit To Print?,' Russ Baker takes the Times to task for an editorial that "failed to clarify the exact role of their controversial colleague, aware as they are of [Judith] Miller's checkered professional record and her seeming disdain for standards the rest of the profession strives to uphold."
Although it's claimed that President Bush didn't settle on his Supreme Court nominee until Monday night, the New York Times reports that "For at least a year before the nomination ... the White House was working behind the scenes to shore up support for him among its social conservative allies." More on the 'well-orchestrated pitch' to sell John Roberts.
E.J. Dionne predicts that the "William Rehnquist for the 21st century" will "grin his way through the confirmation process," but women's rights advocates have "wasted no time in organizing angry opposition."
The "free press" accompanying Secretary of State Rice to Sudan discover why "it's not a free press here," as the Sudanese government is reportedly "still paying regular salaries to key leaders of the militias that continue to attack and kill civilians" in Darfur.
Martin Scorcese's Bob Dylan documentary, "No Direction Home," contains the holy grail of Dylanologists -- actual footage of the moment when an angry fan called him "Judas!" on a 1966 British tour, prompting one of the most bootlegged performances in history. A preview of the documentary asks: "Where are the protest songs of today?"
Monday, July 25, 2005
Despite a 'shooting backlash,' the chief of London's Metropolitan Police "left open the possibility that more people could be shot," and his predecessor explained the Israeli origins of the "shoot them in the head" policy that led to a "public state execution."
A survey portrayed as a "hammer blow to Tony Blair" finds that 85 per cent of Britons blame the Iraq invasion for the London bombings.
The Telegraph reports that 'U.S. Right turns on Blair for being "soft on terror,"' citing a neo-con's 'Letter from Londonistan' and a warning that "there may be more to fear from a mosque in Leeds than a madrassa in the Middle East."
Chronicling 'the rise of a jihadi suicide culture,' the Christian Science Monitor quotes "the 'Doogie Howser' of terrorism" as saying: "'In the US there are young men who look up to sports stars, and in radical Muslim circles the heroes are these guys fighting in Iraq' and carrying out other attacks."
The U.S. government has refused to release photos and videos relating to prisoner abuse at Abu Ghraib, filing court papers on the day it was supposed to show the exhibits to a judge presiding over the case.
The Washington Post reports on the White House's efforts to block legislation supported by Republican senators that includes barring the U.S. military from engaging in "cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment" of detainees. Plus: 'Torture and Lies: Who is Accountable?'
After Frank Rich charged that then-White House Counsel Alberto Gonzales waited 12 hours to instruct staffers to "preserve all materials" relevant to the Justice Department investigation of the Plame leak, the attorney general responded that "he did tell one man that night."
Former CIA analyst Larry Johnson tells a Congressional hearing that "I fear our political debate in this country will degenerate into an argument about what the meaning of 'leak' is."
Despite the appearance of his name in the group's Leadership Directory in the late 90s, the White House and Supreme Court nominee John Roberts insist that he "has no memory" of belonging to the Federalist Society, an issue which "may come down to the meaning of the word 'membership.'"
When asked about the discrepancy during a Monday meeting with Sen. Dianne Feinstein, Roberts reportedly "smiled but didn't reply."
In "one more example of the random slaughter that has become routine in Iraq," a suicide bomber reportedly killed 40 people in Baghdad, some of them "incinerated in their cars." Plus: Two more examples, as insurgents "just keep getting stronger."
The U.S. military says it is "looking into" an "administrative error" through which "virtually identical quotations" describing insurgents as "enemies of humanity" appeared in two news releases about different attacks.
A Scripps Howard poll finds that 49 per cent of respondents believe the U.S. is less safe from a terrorist attack today because of the military action in Iraq, while 36 percent believe the U.S. is safer.
'Shots to the Heart of Iraq' A "growing number of unarmed civilians killed by American troops" is attributed to efforts by soldiers to protect themselves from suicide attacks, and a victim's widow is quoted as saying that "after they killed my husband ... I want to blow them all up."
USA Today reports that women in the Iraqi army face "reprisals by family, neighbors and insurgents."
U.S. military officers and enlisted personnel surveyed by the New York Times, "quietly raise a question for political leaders: if America is truly on a war footing, why is so little sacrifice asked of the nation at large?"
Left I on the News can find only a single newspaper that carried Lance Armstrong's post-victory comment comparing the cost of the war in Iraq to the National Cancer Institute's annual budget.
Tuesday, July 26, 2005
As 'U.S. officials retool slogan for terror war,' GOP Senators defy threats from the White House and push ahead with legislation regulating the treatment and interrogation of terrorism suspects in U.S. custody.
Recalling another September 11, the Washington Post's Pamela Constable writes in 'Torture's Echoes' that America cannot defeat terrorism "by waging a dirty war in the shadows."
While American Muslim leaders worry about homegrown terrorism, Mohammed Junaid Babar, a Pakistani American and longtime resident of Queens NY, who is now in U.S. custody facing terrorism charges, reportedly helped identify at least one of the London suicide bombers.
Tariq Ramadan, a Time magazine innovator of the 21st century who was prevented from taking up a professorship at Notre Dame last year under neocon pressure, spoke in London about the need for young Muslims to break out of an eastward-looking "social and intellectual ghetto," while outside, far-right protesters chanted "Britain for the British."
The Guardian rocked the boat on July 13 when it printed a commentary by Dilpazier Aslam, a trainee reporter who also happens to belong to the Islamic militant group, Hizb ut-Tahrir. After Aslam was 'targeted' by "rightwing bloggers from the US," the Guardian fired him.
Calling Hizb ut-Tahrir "quite rightly a very reviled organisation," the editor of Asians in the Media argues that "The paper acted admirably when it could have just been stubborn in the face of right-wing criticism.'
Although a top Sunni politician has claimed that "militia members with ties to the Iraqi government were involved in the assassinations last week of two Sunnis involved with drafting the nation's constitution," Sunni members have ended their boycott of the committee.
America's new ambassador to Iraq "waded into the debate over its constitution," saying that "You don't want to do things that build the infrastructure for a future civil war," and a Pentagon report finds that Iraq's police force is "recruiting insurgents and former criminals to its ranks."
As a Kurdish proposal for a referendum on self-determination is rejected by the constitution committee, Kurds reportedly unveil an "expanded Kurdish region which they want enshrined as an appendix to the new constitution," that would double the size of Iraqi Kurdistan.
Concerning a Fourth of July party hosted by Kurds for their American allies, that was canceled because the Kurds refused to comply with a demand from their American diplomatic guest that an Iraqi flag be flown, Peter Galbraith writes that "For Iraq's Kurds, the flag episode epitomizes America's ingratitude for their role as an ally in the war."
President Bush has chosen 'Switch Hitter' Roland Arnall as U.S. ambassador to the Netherlands. Longtime Democratic campaign contributor, current member of the Committee on the Present Danger, and owner of "serial settler" Ameriquest Mortgage Co., Arnall and his wife have reportedly been the "single biggest source of financial support for Bush since 2002."
Although the AP reported that the White House "hinted" that Bush may opt for a recess appointment to install John Bolton as a temp at the U.N., Steve Clemmons thinks the hint is being overstated. Clemmons also teases about "new material emerging" that could end an "interesting political drama."
Responding to a report that the Senate Intelligence Committee will review the probe of special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald, Josh Marshall asks: "Can any Senate Democrat not see now that Sen. Roberts only use for his committee is as a tool to defend the political interests of the White House?" Scroll up and down for more on Roberts.
As 'Provisions to curb oil use fall out of energy bill,' the Washington Post reports that "the emerging package does not do what some analysts said would have the greatest impact on reducing U.S. oil demand and cutting imports."
With conservative senators reportedly "threatening to schedule a vote that would repeal the estate tax permanently," CJR Daily identifies editorials in newspapers owned by the Freedom Communications chain, that peddled a version of the bogus claim that the estate tax "often forces the family to sell a farm that has been owned for generations."
With 'Labor's Big Split' coming "just as the AFL-CIO was gearing up a long-term campaign to organize Wal-Mart," The New Republic's Clay Risen reports on "The 'Washington-ization' of Wal-Mart," which he says "is transforming the company into a campaign issue -- one that will likely figure heavily in the national elections in 2006 and 2008."
The executive editor of the Pensacola News Journal responds to Wal-Mart's decision to stop selling the paper after it published a column headlined, 'Wal-Mart mentality keeps us pinching pennies rather than building a future.'
Law of the Land Writing about how Supreme Court justices are "bit players on television news," Howard Kurtz quotes Fox News' Greta Van Susteren as saying: "I would not be so arrogant to think that only the Supreme Court matters. More people now know about Aruban law than they ever did before."
News Hounds reports that Bill O'Reilly, who last week spoke of a Supreme 'Court of the Living Dead,' has announced plans to begin a nightly expose in which he will be "naming all the people and organizations he considers to be helping the terrorists." More on Fox's terror tactics.
The executive director of a Florida arts center said "I think I'm going to pass out," after being fired for participating in a "Daily Show" segment, "Total Eclipse of the Art," about the center's "Controversy" exhibit. Plus: 'Work depicting America in a toilet angers conservatives.'
Wednesday, July 27, 2005
In what a Knight Ridder report calls an "unusual move," Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist "derailed a bipartisan effort to set rules for the treatment of enemy prisoners ... by abruptly stopping debate on a $491 billion defense bill."
Frist moved on to legislation that would protect the gun industry from civil liability lawsuits. David Corn debunks Frist's claim that without the legislation "the Department of Defense faces the real prospect of having to outsource firearms for our soldiers to foreign manufacturers."
Soldiers allowed dogs to bite Abu Ghraib prisoners as they competed to see who could scare detainees into urinating on themselves, according to testimony during a preliminary hearing for two soldiers. Plus: 'Abu Ghraib dog tactics came from Guantanamo.'
As the Pentagon appoints a former lawyer for the ACLU to head the defense team representing Guantanamo detainees, a 'Legal battle erupts over new Abu Ghraib photos.'
In a "Democracy Now!" interview, Bruce Shapiro points out that President Bush interviewed Judge John Roberts one day before a Federal Appeals panel that he sat on issued its ruling that military tribunals of detainees held at Guantanamo could proceed. Shapiro also calls Roberts' "deference to the Executive Branch" the "most consistent thread" of his career.
The Washington Post also deferred to the Executive Branch, reports Media Matters, in publishing an article that "presented the White House's arguments for withholding documents written by [Roberts] during his tenure as the Justice Department's deputy solicitor general under President George H.W. Bush -- without any Democratic rebuttal."
A reporter accuses Prime Minister Blair of "insulting the intelligence of the British people. I mean people can accept everything that you have said, and at the same time they can feel, as indeed 64% did in a Times poll today, that your involvement with George Bush in Iraq ... has increased the risk of terrorist attacks like the ones which took place in London."
Lying Ayes A USA Today/CNN/Gallup Poll finds that "For the first time, a majority of Americans, 51%, say the Bush administration deliberately misled the public about whether Iraq had weapons of mass destruction." Plus: 'Bush In A Word'
Special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald has "interviewed a wider range of administration officials than was previously known," reports the Washington Post, and has asked "how the administration went about shifting responsibility ... to the CIA for having included 16 words in the 2003 State of the Union address about Iraqi efforts to acquire uranium from Africa."
A New York Times article about former White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer being on the 'Periphery of Leak Inquiry,' notes that in an interview on CNN, Robert Novak said, "I can't tell anything I ever talked to Karl Rove about because I don't think I ever talked to him about any subject, even the time of day, on the record."
Garry Trudeau defends his use of "Turd Blossom" in Doonesbury strips: "I felt that Bush's nickname for Rove was illuminating. 'Turd blossom' has so many connotations, none of them flattering. It's a small masterpiece of nastiness." Plus: 'Roe v. Rove'
"The 'war on terror' provides the president with a nonstop set of options for drawing attention away from scandalous stories," writes Norman Solomon, recalling a 2001 op-ed in which Defense Secretary Rumsfeld declared: "Forget about 'exit strategies'; we're looking at a sustained engagement that carries no deadlines."
After "traveling half-way round the world at short notice," Rumsfeld reportedly received assurances from Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan that the U.S. "could continue to use their air bases to support relief and counterterrorism operations in Afghanistan, easing concerns about the possible loss of access to a major air base in Uzbekistan."
About the Bush administration changing its "global war on terrorism" slogan to the "global struggle against violent extremism," Slate's Fred Kaplan asks: "Are these guys really this clueless?"
A Times of London commentary calling on Muslims "to get to grips with a phenomenon that threatens all Muslim countries and Islamic communities in the West," suggests that "Muslim men should consider doing away with Taleban and al-Qaeda-style beards ... the Prophet himself never sported anything more than a vandyke."
'Newspaper editors shoot back' at Nicholas Kristof's charges that the media has not paid enough attention to the genocide in Darfur. Kristof amended his comments to compliment some broadcast journalists, but wrote that "something is wrong with our media coverage when the American public knows more about the runaway bride than about Darfur's genocide."
Members of the California National Guard are reportedly under investigation for mistreating prisoners in Iraq and extorting shopkeepers there. They allegedly took tens of thousands of dollars from Iraqis to protect them from insurgents and used stun guns on detainees. Gov. Schwarzenegger just named a new chief for the state's scandal-plagued Guard.
Rep. Christopher Cox, President Bush's nominee to chair the SEC, pledged during his hearings to "cultivate a respect for the rule of law in our capital markets," but his legislative record indicates he will not protect investors. One former commissioner tells Robert Kuttner that Cox's likely appointment will be "the worst thing to happen in the SEC's 70-year history."
In arguing that "The red states no longer get merely a disproportionate share of our tax money; now, they get to own the news, too," Matthew Wilder recounts what he calls Chis "Matthews's disgraceful display on 'Hardball' at the Two Rivers Baptist Church in Nashville."
The son of Ukranian President Viktor Yushchenko "has caused a stir and considerable resentment in Kiev by ostentatiously driving a rare BMW car around the city and generally conducting a playboy lifestyle," reports the Independent, and he is "now sarcastically referred to in sections of the press as the 'Son of God.'"
Thursday, July 28, 2005
The New York Times reports that the EPA made a last-minute decision to delay the "inopportune" release of an annual report on fuel efficiency, which "would have come on the eve of a final vote" on an energy bill which "largely ignores auto mileage regulations."
After the House first voted to defeat the Central American Free Trade Agreement, GOP leaders "kept the voting open for another 47 minutes," and "told their rank and file that if they wanted anything, now was the time to ask." Plus: "No" vote goes reportedly goes unrecorded.
The New York Sun reports that a bill that would formally "commit United States foreign policy to the challenge of achieving universal democracy," also known as "the foreign policy version of 'Just Say No,'" is predicted to sail through the senate without opposition.
During yet another "surprise" visit to Iraq, Defense Secretary Rumsfeld mentioned "15,000 detainees in American custody in Iraq," apparently not counting the man who told David Enders that 'We regard Falluja as a large prison.'
UPI's Martin Sieff reports that a "crucial tipping point" was passed during Rumsfeld's visit, with U.S. military leaders acknowledging that "they do not realistically hope to break the insurgency or even significantly depress the levels of violence from it over the next year or so."
The Iraqi Special Tribunal, created to try Saddam Hussein and other former regime officials, appears to be "coming apart at the seams," reportedly due to Deputy Prime Minister Ahmed Chalabi's ongoing "obsession with de-Baathification."
"If the topic of permanent bases in Iraq seems unfamiliar," writes Sam Graham-Felsen, "it's because ... there's been barely a whisper about them in the mainstream media," and because "none are willing to condemn them, lest they be accused of failing to 'support the troops.'" Plus: When old news is new news.
The WSWS editorializes that "with recent polls indicating that 60 percent of Americans favor an immediate partial or complete pullout from Iraq -- the Democratic Party responds by calling for an intensification of the war effort." Plus: A 'Cease-Fire Violation."
"Tony Blair appears to be on the brink of a Brechtian moment, in which he will need to dissolve the people who have lost his confidence and elect another," writes Andrew Murray, co-chair of the Stop the War Coalition.
"It's the war, stupid," writes Tom Engelhardt, introducing Jonathan Schell's 'The Bomb and Karl Rove," which finds "the atomic signature ... scrawled all over the scandal," while Roger Morris probes 'The Source Beyond Rove.'
Sen. Joe Biden sends a letter to Secretary of State Rice asking her to clarify whether John Bolton has testified before the Fitzgerald grand jury, and Raw Story posts Karen Hughes' response to questions from Sen. John Kerry about the outing of Valerie Plame. Earlier: 'Excuse me, but do you ENJOY being in the minority?'
A New York Times reporter is rebuffed by higher-ups at his own paper who "declined to address written questions about whether [Judith] Miller was assigned to report about Mr. Wilson's trip, whether she tried to write a story about it, or whether she ever told editors or colleagues at the newspaper that she had obtained information about the role played by Ms. Wilson."
In an interview on "Democracy Now!" about the use of the 'CounterSpy Defense' by Karl Rove's backers, Robert Parry observed that while it has defended Rove, the Washington Times had previously argued that Seymour Hersh "may have violated the Espionage Act" and "pointed out that this could be punishable by death."
Staying the Course Analyzing internal memos written by Judge John Roberts, the New York Times finds that "on almost every issue he dealt with where there were basically two sides, one more conservative than the other ... Judge Roberts ... advocated the more conservative course."
As NASA grounds the fleet, the AP reports that the section of foam that broke off Discovery was "only somewhat smaller" than "the 1.67-pound chunk that smashed into Columbia's left wing during liftoff."
Friday, July 29, 2005
Joshua Frank says that "It's way past due for progressives to hold the Democrats accountable for their failures," after 15 Democrats crossed over to support CAFTA, which Deborah James predicts will "devastate farmers, privatize essential public services, and accelerate the race to the bottom on wages in the U.S. and all over Central America."
As the CAFTA vote outs "Bush Democrats," 'David Sirota argues that "Democrats have only these 15 sellouts within their ranks -- and groups like the DLC that pushed CAFTA -- to blame for the fact that the Democratic Party has been relegated to permanent minority status."
In 'Austin City Limits,' Billmon writes that "Arbusto Boy," in praising the House for voting "to advance America's economic and national security interests," sounded "like Harry Potter's stepmother -- praising her bloated biological son Duddy for his ability to pack away the chow." Earlier: "All hail 'the Great White Father.'"
Some 300 Boy Scouts reportedly fell ill after "standing in the sun about three hours," waiting for President Bush, who, as it turned out, couldn't make it. Plus: Medal of Freedom or recess appointment for John Bolton?
With the president and his Congress "eager to promote" the new energy and highway bills "as among their major achievements for the year," one GOP rep. called the highway bill "kind of an ignominious achievement for Republicans," given that it "will set a record for lawmakers' projects -- more than 5,000 of them."
The energy bill contains a provision reversing the ban on exports of weapons-grade uranium, said to be for the benefit of a Canadian company with "well-wired Washington lobbyists." And House Majority Leader Tom DeLay is said to have been banking after hours.
Charles Burch of the Prairie Writers Circle recounts a big new discovery by the oil companies: the public relations value of "sustainability."
"If the Democrats were an actual opposition party," writes Tom Engelhardt, the nomination of Judge John Roberts "would be an open-and-shut case," by virtue of the judge's "unknown but all-too-real hand in taking the election from them" in Florida in 2000.
Two years and $1.4 billion of safety improvements after the Columbia disaster, the chairman of the Columbia Accident Investigation Board tells the Los Angeles Times that "We had precious little faith that they could stop this stuff from coming off. And lo and behold, they couldn't."
Security costs are said to be eating away "a substantial share" of the $60 billion committed to Iraq's reconstruction, with some security personnel, who are "fired upon by U.S. forces so frequently that incident reports are not always filed," being paid at a monthly rate of $33,000.
AFP reports that a special investigator looking into Iraq reconstruction has "found millions of dollars worth of fraud by U.S. officials and companies."
That "special investigator" is "a Texas lawyer who parlayed a job on George W. Bush's first gubernatorial campaign into senior posts in Austin and Washington," and has now "become one of the most prominent and credible critics of how the administration has handled the occupation" of Iraq, reports the Wall Street Journal.
Raw Story reports on the rude response that a Blue Star mother from Ohio -- whose son almost died in a suicide attack in Iraq -- received when she questioned a local chapter's conflating of 9/11 and Iraq on its Web site, and a former U.S. diplomat writes that Gold Star mother Cindy Sheehan 'has it right on Iraq.'
After U.S. Congressional candidate and Iraq vet Paul Hackett told USA Today, "I've said I don't like the son-of-a-b--- that lives in the White House. But I'd put my life on the line for him," the Cincinnati Enquirer quoted a spokesman for the National Republican Congressional Committee as saying that because Hackett said that, "we decided to bury him."
Although a Pentagon survey found almost a third of returning Iraq vets suffering from mental health problems, a Virginia newspaper ran an American Forces Press Service account under the headline, 'Study shows improved mental health for Soldiers in Iraq.'
The London Times reports from Basra, where Islamic gangs now force women to wear headscarves, and an oil company spokesman is quoted as saying that "Iran is running Iraq, frankly speaking."
After reading Paul Speery's pro-profiling op-ed, Joshua Holland comments that the author of the book, "Infiltration: How Muslim Spies and Subversives Have Penetrated Washington," has "written for WorldNetDaily and David Horowitz's FrontPage Mag. And now the Times."
The Hill profiles conservative commentator Armstrong Williams, said to be 'making a comeback' and crediting the New York Times with "saving his career." Earlier: 'Weather for a price' -- or, "what part of independent didn't EPA understand?"
Two weeks after CPB chairman Kenneth Tomlinson agreed to debate Bill Moyers, he appeared on C-SPAN's "Q & A," where host Brian Lamb staged a "mini-debate" by having Tomlinson react to Moyers' May speech criticizing him.
Will Bunch recounts a "Situation" where "A young, pregnant mother is missing, and MSNBC is laughing at the story."
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