By Phyllis Bennis
Institute for Policy Studies
Thursday 13 October 2005
The constitutional process culminating in Saturday's referendum is not a sign of Iraqi sovereignty and democracy taking hold, but rather a consolidation of U.S. influence and control. Whether Iraq's draft constitution is approved or rejected, the decision is likely to make the current situation worse.
The ratification process reflects U.S., not Iraqi urgency, and is resulting in a vote in which most Iraqis have not even seen the draft, and amendments are being reopened and negotiated by political parties and elites in Baghdad as late as four days before the planned referendum.
By David Phinney
Saturday 15 October 2005
Companies like Halliburton are importing 'third country nationals' - and putting them to work in horrible conditions - to fulfill their U.S. government contracts.
Jing Soliman left his family in the Philippines for what sounded like a sure thing - a job as a warehouse worker at Camp Anaconda in Iraq. His new employer, Prime Projects International (PPI) of Dubai, is a major, but low-profile, subcontractor to Halliburton's multi-billion-dollar deal with the Pentagon to provide support services to U.S. forces.
But Soliman wouldn't be making anything near the salaries - starting $80,000 a year and often topping $100,000 - that Halliburton's engineering and construction unit, Kellogg, Brown & Root (KBR) pays to the truck drivers, construction workers, office workers, and other laborers it recruits from the United States. Instead, the 35-year-old father of two anticipated $615 a month - including overtime. For a 40-hour work week, that would be just over $3 an hour. But for the 12-hour day, seven-day week that Soliman says was standard for him and many contractor employees in Iraq, he actually earned $1.56 an hour.
By People's Email Network
That's right. There are evil forces still working behind the scenes to try to cut the heart out of the anti-torture provision, which was passed 90-9 by the Senate, in the conference on the defense bill with the House. What part of NO TORTURE don't they get? They want to cut the CIA a blanket "get out of atrocity free" card, in actual effect, by omission, to AUTHORIZE torture by its worst offenders. Please contact all your members of the House and Senate at once and tell them this attempt to subvert the will of the people is a further outrage!
Message from John Bonifaz
What if you could vote to end the war in Iraq? Soon Massachusetts voters will be able to do so.
I am writing to tell you about HomeFromIraqNow.org, an exciting campaign that is getting underway in Massachusetts. The goal of HomeFromIraqNow.org is to place a binding initiative on the Massachusetts ballot to prevent the governor from sending any more National Guard troops to Iraq. A yes vote on this initiative will not only stop future deployments of the National Guard to Iraq, but will also send a very strong message to our elected leaders that we want them to end the war and bring all of our troops home now.
Captain's body is found at barracks
By Chris Hughes Security Correspondent
THE Army officer in charge of investigating abuse of civilians by British forces in Iraq has been found dead, it was revealed yesterday.
Royal Military Police Captain Ken Masters, 40, is believed to have killed himself. His body was found on Saturday evening.
An army colleague is said to have made the grim discovery in Waterloo Lines camp within the main British military base at Basra airport.
Ministry of Defence sources said last night it is not believed Capt Masters had left a suicide note and it is not yet known how he died. No firearms are believed to have been involved.
Ms. Miller Has Written Her Tale
By Madeleine Begun Kane
Ms. Miller has written her tale,
And as tales go, it's rather a whale.
Her memory's convenient,
On Libby she's lenient.
What a shame that she got out of jail!
There Once Was A Writer Named Miller
By Madeleine Begun Kane
There once was a writer named Miller,
Whose war mong'ring stories were killers.
The New York Times backed her,
Despite her detractors,
And now it's no longer a pillar.
There Once Was A News Gal Named Judy
By Madeleine Begun Kane
There once was a news gal named Judy,
Who failed in her journalist duty.
What Cindy Sheehan Said on Yom Kippur at Beyt Tikkun Synagogue in S.F.
By Rabbi Michael Lerner
Beyt Tikkun synagogue traditionally has a break between the Musaf service
and the Mincha service and we invite speakers/teachers to talk about
various social issues for which we in our country need to make atonement.
This year we had Cindy Sheehan talk about the Iraq War and Kevin Danaher
of Global Exchange talk about environmental issues.
Cindy Sheehan's presence caused a bit of a stir in the Jewish community
and I had demands from the local Jewish newspaper to be able to cover the
By Cindy Sheehan
I keep hearing on the news that this past Saturday was a relatively "peaceful" day in Iraq. Despite many reports already of alleged election fraud (shades of Ohio and Florida), George and his cronies are cautiously optimistic that the referendum for the constitution will pass. George Bush says that it looks like Iraq is heading for "peace."
I have two points to make about the referendum vote in Iraq on Saturday. First of all, George told us in his headlong rush to disaster in Iraq that Saddam had WMD's and that Iraq was culpable for 9/11. George and his band of war monsters still despicably say 9/11 in every major speech in defense of the invasion and continued occupation. He never said "regime change" or spreading "freedom and democracy." If the constitution passes, what will be the next devious justification for the occupation?
Arianna Huffington: Russert Watch: Let Me Count the Ways Arianna Huffington
Mon Oct 17, 3:27 AM ET
As I got ready to watch Meet the Press today, the question in my mind was: how will Meet the Press deal with the issue dominating the thoughts of those who care about the press this Sunday? I'm talking of course about the long-awaited "full accounting" by the New York Times of its role in the Miller case and Miller's role in Plamegate.
After all, even though the accounts, one by the Times and one by Miller herself, are full of holes, it's at least obvious that the the Times has taken a big first step in trying to deal with these facts: (a) the Times is a major news outlet, (b) the Plame saga is a huge news story, and (c) one of the Times's own journalists is a participant in the story.
Plame B.S. debunked
Posted by Evan Derkacz at 6:10 AM on October 14, 2005.
But Valerie Plame worked in an office?
When it first became clear that someone fairly high up in the leak of Valerie Plame's identity may actually get caught, a number of disingenuous arguments were deployed in the off chance that they may actually work.
One of these was that Valerie Plame, while technically being an undercover officer, actually worked at a desk job (with whatever subtle misogynistic undertones you want to take from that...), so her outing wasn't a terribly harmful move.
Put aside the fact that it ONLY MAKES SENSE as a retaliatory measure if it is somehow threatening and welcome the facts. Larry Johnson, a former CIA officer himself, pulls no punches in his critique of yesterday's Richard Cohen column in the Washington Post contending that no crime could have been committed because Plame "worked at a desk job" and therefore prosecutor Fitzgerald ought to just close up shop and slink away.
Posted by Evan Derkacz at 6:57 AM on October 14, 2005.
That's totally not my handwriting (Reuters photo)
Al Qaeda is not in the business of being demure. When they kill, they claim it. When they have a goal, they state it. I'm not saying they're standup folks, just that their goal is to telegraph power, not hide it.
So when Al Qaeda denies the legitimacy of a letter urging leaders in Iraq to prepare for an Islamic government upon US withdrawal -- a PR gift to an administration facing soaring opposition to the war at home -- you gotta wonder.
Framing Helen Thomas
Helen Thomas, menace 2 society.
Posted by Evan Derkacz at 9:04 AM on October 14, 2005.
"What does the President mean by 'total victory' -- that we will never leave Iraq until we have 'total victory'? What does that mean?"
Keep your chins up, Karl
Posted by Evan Derkacz at 12:12 PM on October 14, 2005.
Odds of Rove leaving the White House are up... is Bush excited?
As Rove wrapped up a comfortable fourth do-si-do with the Grand Jury and sped off in a Toyota, Jane Hamsher notes that the odds that Bush's Brain will not have to leave have gone from 1-6 to 3-2. Which, of course, ain't good news.
Unless... unless, as Jane writes, Bush is ready to cut him loose.
"There is another camp of people who think Bush is only too ready to cut Turd Blossom loose. People from the Beltway in-crowd who have seen the delight Bush takes in personally taunting and humiliating Rove (which he does publicly and frequently by all accounts) think that this is the inevitable result of the single most damaging blow to Rove's career -- when the meme 'Bush's brain' entered the popular lexicon."
Frank Rich: Plamegate Is About “Protecting The Lies That Took The Country Into 'The Greatest Strategic Disaster In US History'
Frank Rich: Plamegate Is About “Protecting The Lies That Took The Country Into 'The Greatest Strategic Disaster In US History'"...
There hasn't been anything like it since Martha Stewart fended off questions about her stock-trading scandal by manically chopping cabbage on "The Early Show" on CBS. Last week the setting was "Today" on NBC, where the image of President Bush manically hammering nails at a Habitat for Humanity construction site on the Gulf Coast was juggled with the sight of him trying to duck Matt Lauer's questions about Karl Rove.
As with Ms. Stewart, Mr. Bush's paroxysm of panic was must-see TV. "The president was a blur of blinks, taps, jiggles, pivots and shifts," Dana Milbank wrote in The Washington Post. Asked repeatedly about Mr. Rove's serial appearances before a Washington grand jury, the jittery Mr. Bush, for once bereft of a script, improvised a passable impersonation of Norman Bates being quizzed by the detective in "Psycho." Like Norman and Ms. Stewart, he stonewalled.
Explaining Plame, part 2: Judith Miller does Scooter Libby's laundry
Oct 15 2005 - 7:42pm
Okay, in Part I, I promised that Karl Rove would be next, but the new pair of Judith Miller articles in the New York Times dictates that I talk about her and Scooter first. (In a chronological sense, it's more appropriate anyway.)
Let's begin with a previously unheralded passage from the Washington Post two years ago, looking back at the weeks just before Joseph Wilson went public in criticizing the White House:
In early June, Wilson told his story to The Washington Post on the condition that his name be withheld. On June 12, The Post published a more complete account than [Nicholas] Kristof's [in the New York Times] of Wilson's trip. . . .
Sunday, October 16, 2005 · Last updated 5:16 p.m. PT
Miller story shows White House-CIA tension
By PETE YOST
ASSOCIATED PRESS WRITER
WASHINGTON -- A New York Times reporter's accounts of her private conversations with Vice President Dick Cheney's chief of staff capture a behind-the-scenes blame game between the White House and the CIA over the war in Iraq.
Cheney's top aide, I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, complained that the CIA and other agencies were trying to shift responsibility to the White House over the failure to find weapons of mass destruction after the U.S.-led invasion, reporter Judith Miller wrote in a first-person story in Sunday's editions.
White House prepares for possible indictments
By Caroline Daniel in Washington
Published: October 16 2005 20:42 | Last updated: October 16 2005 20:42
The White House is bracing itself for the possible indictment of senior officials as Patrick Fitzgerald, the special prosecutor, prepares to wrap up his two-year inquiry into the leaking of a covert CIA agent's name.
Further details about the role of White House officials were underlined in a report in the New York Times on Sunday.
Judith Miller, the reporter released from jail after 85 days after she agreed to testify before a grand jury, gave an account of her conversations with Scooter Libby, chief of staff to Dick Cheney, vice-president. She also admitted that Mr Fitzgerald had asked whether Mr Cheney had personally authorised Mr Libby to speak.
The Normalization of Treason, the Republicans' gift to America
by John in DC - 10/16/2005 06:52:00 PM
If a senior White House staffer had intentionally outed a CIA agent during World War II, he'd be shot.
We're at war, George Bush keeps reminding us. We cannot continue with business as usual. A pre-9/11 mentality is deadly. Putting the lives of our troops at risk is treason.
Then why is the White House and the Republican party engaged in a concerted campaign to make treason acceptable during a time of war? That's exactly what they're doing. On numerous news shows today, Republican surrogates, their talking points ready, issued variations of the following concerning White House chief of staff Karl Rove's outing of a covert CIA agent as part of a political vendetta:
CIA leak prosecutor asked about any Cheney role
Sat Oct 15, 2005 11:18 PM ET
By Adam Entous
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A federal prosecutor questioned New York Times reporter Judith Miller about whether Vice President Dick Cheney himself was aware or authorized her discussions with his chief of staff, Lewis Libby, about a covert CIA operative, Miller said on Saturday.
Miller also disclosed for the first time that the notebook she used for an interview with Libby in July 2003 contained the name "Valerie Flame," a clear reference to Valerie Plame, the covert operative whose outing triggered a sweeping criminal investigation that has shaken the Bush administration.
Disgrace to Journalism
Sun Oct 16, 2005 at 01:05:37 PM PDT
Judith Miller is clearly a disgrace to journalism - I agree completely with Arianna Huffington, who shamed every member of the Media with her ownership of the NYTimes/Miller story, in this:
The Times articles are inconclusive about a lot of issues, but they are devastatingly conclusive about Miller as a journalist -- including, the confirmation that, within a few weeks of assuming the editorship of the Times, "in one of his first personnel moves, Mr. Keller told Ms. Miller that she could no longer cover Iraq and weapons issues," and including the Times' long-delayed acknowledgement that 5 of the 6 articles in its WMD mea culpa "were written or co-written by Ms. Miller."
Pre-Indictment Plame Analysis (1 x 2 x 6 is the Rosetta Stone)
by pontificator [Subscribe]
Sun Oct 16, 2005 at 01:45:59 PM PDT
I just re-read the most important article published on the Plame affair. No, not this weekend's NYT Magnum Opus, but rather, Mike Allen and Dana Priest's Washington Post Article dated September 28, 2003. The infamous 1 x 2 x 6 scoop (One Senior Administration Official Whistleblower, Two Senior Administration Official Leakers, and Six Journalists).
The most important revelation in that article appears to have survived the test of time:
pontificator's diary :: ::
"...Mr. Bush's paroxysm of panic was must-see TV. "The president was a blur of blinks, taps, jiggles, pivots and shifts," Dana Milbank wrote in The Washington Post. Asked repeatedly about Mr. Rove's serial appearances before a Washington grand jury, the jittery Mr. Bush, for once bereft of a script, improvised a passable impersonation of Norman Bates being quizzed by the detective in "Psycho." Like Norman and Ms. Stewart, he stonewalled."
Check out the video HERE
By RYAN SAGER
October 14, 2005 -- THE campaign-finance-re form lobby is launching a new attack on one of our most basic rights.
For more than 200 years, Americans have had the right to operate printing presses without having to get a license from the government. The First Amendment was written to protect against just such depredations of freedom of speech, hallmarks of monarchical tyranny.
Modern technology has made access to that right even more democratic. With PCs and the Web, virtually anyone can become a publisher. Any citizen — kook, crank or committed grassroots activist — can reach as many readers as...
LINK TO ORIGINAL...REQUIRES FREE REGISTRATION
Sparring Between McClellan and Reporters Escalates
Bush's Press Secretary Says His Role Is To 'Mix It Up a Little Bit' With Media
By Howard Kurtz
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, October 16, 2005; Page A06
When CBS correspondent John Roberts asked about the Supreme Court nomination of Harriet E. Miers at a White House briefing last week, he expected a boilerplate answer.
Instead, press secretary Scott McClellan lectured the reporter: "Let's talk about the way you're approaching things . . . I would encourage you -- I know you don't necessarily want to do this -- but to look at her qualifications and record." Moments later, Roberts accused McClellan of "attacking me."
New Questions Arise in CIA Leak Probe
By PETE YOST, Associated Press Writer
1 hour, 19 minutes ago
WASHINGTON - New details about Judith Miller's decision to cooperate in the CIA leak probe are raising questions about whether Vice President Dick Cheney's chief of staff and his defense lawyer tried to steer the New York Times reporter's testimony.
The dispute arose as the newspaper on Sunday detailed three conversations that Miller had with the Cheney aide, I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, in the summer of 2003 about Bush administration critic Joseph Wilson and Wilson's wife, covert CIA officer Valerie Plame.
Print Reporters: Odd Men Out on White House Plane
By Joe Strupp
Published: October 13, 2005 4:09 PM ET
NEW YORK Restrictions on the number of journalists allowed to tag along on advance trips to foreign countries to be visited by President Bush have raised objections from White House reporters, leading to a formal complaint.
The writers contend that new limits, which have cut in half the number of media people permitted to go, curtails their ability to prepare for the overseas excursions.
In the past, up to six media representatives were given space on the White House plane, said Mark Smith, an AP radio reporter and president of the White House Correspondents Association (WHCA). In most cases, the WHCA would divide up the space among four television people, one radio person, and a print reporter. Following the trip, each representative writes up a report for reporters in their designated news field.
Transcript for October 16
Condoleezza Rice, Carl Levin & Louis Freeh
MEET THE PRESS REPLAY
Updated: 11:05 a.m. ET Oct. 16, 2005
MR. TIM RUSSERT: Our issues this Sunday: Ballots in Iraq are being counted as millions turned out yesterday to vote on a new constitution. What will this mean for violence and bloodshed and U.S. troop levels? With us, the secretary of state, Condoleezza Rice. And for the Democrats, the ranking member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Carl Levin of Michigan.
Then, the former director of the FBI makes very serious allegations about former President Bill Clinton and the Saudis. And the September 11th Commission is very critical of the FBI. Our guest, the author of "My FBI: Bringing Down the Mafia, Investigating Bill Clinton, and Fighting the War on Terror," Louis Freeh.