"Verifying" the news

Eli Stephens
Left I on the News

Consider this story from the Los Angeles Times on the fighting in Western
Iraq. The headline, and the lead, are that "Six U.S. Marines were killed by
roadside bombs." As we read further, we are told that "The U.S. military
said Friday that at least 50 suspected insurgents were killed." No mention
of Iraqi civilians, until we get to this: "Sheik Usama Jadaan, a tribal
leader in the city of Karabilah...said the fighting in the west was so
brutal that residents 'are now seeing members of their families being killed
in front of their own eyes by the American bombardment.'" And in response?

War without death

Eli Stephens
Left I on the News

CNN Headline News had a piece on regular rotation yesterday (not online) by
reporter Jennifer Eccleston, embedded with a U.S. Army group seeking out
resistance fighters in Western Iraq. It was an intensely personal piece
called "In Harm's Way," the title referring to the CNN soldiers finding IEDs
on streets that she (and they) had walked down a few minutes before, and one
exploding and nearly killing her videographer. At the end of the piece, the
group she is with has been pinned down by fire on a rooftop. Perfectly
illustrating a point I have made before about why the "exit strategy" is a

Fomer ambassador mashes Bush, GOP

By CHARLES E. BEGGS / Associated Press

Civil war is virtually inevitable in Iraq whenever the United States withdraws its forces from the country and maybe sooner, former Ambassador Joseph Wilson told Oregon Democrats on Saturday.

Wilson, who gained national attention when the identity of his wife as an undercover CIA operative was leaked to the news media in 2003, was keynote speaker at the state Democratic Party's biennial summit conference.

The former American ambassador to Iraq and several African countries lashed the Bush administration, along with Republicans generally, in an hour-long talk to the partisan gathering.

Reuters: Was Libby Waiver That Freed Miller Really Voluntary?

Editor and Publisher
By E&P STaff

NEW YORK Reuters' Adam Entous, who has been on top of developments in the Plame probe all week, reported today that I. Lewis Libby, the top aide to Vice President Dick Cheney, "got a push" from the federal prosecutor before telling New York Times reporter Judith Miller, in a Sept. 15 letter, that he wanted her to testify.

Prosecutor Patrick J. Fitzgerald's encouragement, in a letter obtained by Reuters, "has prompted some lawyers in the case to question whether Cheney‘s aide was acting completely voluntarily when he gave Miller the confidentiality waiver she had insisted on," Entous observes.

Karl Rove Lied to the FBI

Huffington Post
By Jason Leopold

Looks like Karl Rove did break the law, the same federal law that got Martha Stewart sentenced to six months in prison.

It now appears that Rove, President Bush’s chief of staff, may have lied to the FBI in October 2003 - a federal crime - when he was questioned by federal agents investigating who was responsible for leaking information about a covert CIA operative to the media.

During questioning by the FBI about his role in the Plame affair, Rove told federal agents that he only started sharing information about Plame with reporters and White House officials for the first time after conservative columnist Robert Novak identified her covert CIA status in his column on July 14, 2003. This is according to a report in the American Prospect about Rove’s testimony in March 2004, a copy of which can be found here.

The Public's Right to Know All About Judith Miller

Media Monitors Network
By Ahmed Amr

Upon her release from voluntary incarceration, it didn’t take long for Judith Miller to arrange for an appointment with CNN’s Lou Dobbs. After finally conceding that Libby was involved in the Plame scandal, she appeared on Lou’s show and declared that “"If people can't trust us to come to us to tell us the thing the government and powerful corporations don't want us to know, we're dead in the water."

Miller continues to insist on playing the farcical role of a First Amendment martyr. She is now demanding the passage of a federal shield law “so that the public’s right to know can be protected.

Time for Miller to come clean

Full Disclosure
Village Voice
By Sydney H. Schanberg

The press's role in the leak of a CIA operative's identity has made clear that if ever there was a time for transparency by the journalism community, this is it. The case is clouded in secrecy and murk, including the part about the press's involvement. At least two of the reporters involved, protecting sources, have failed to give anything resembling a complete account of their information-gathering.
I am not suggesting in any way that they name confidential sources who are not already known, but if they or their employers are to claim credibility, a full disclosure of their roles is crucial. The public needs to be given details of, among other things, how they conducted their reporting, what their conversations with their sources consisted of, what questions the special federal prosecutor investigating the case posed to them, and what their responses were. They should also bring forward any testimony they gave to the prosecutor's grand jury. Once a person testifies, he or she can make the testimony public.

Rove Assured Bush He Was Not Leaker


By Murray Waas, Washington-based journalist, for National Journal

White House Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove personally assured President Bush in the early fall of 2003 that he had not disclosed to anyone in the press that Valerie Plame, the wife of an administration critic, was a CIA employee, according to legal sources with firsthand knowledge of the accounts that both Rove and Bush independently provided to federal prosecutors.

If Rove purposely misled the president, the FBI, or the White House press secretary, a reasonable prosecutor might construe such acts as 'overt acts in furtherance of a criminal plan.'

Women Opening Up to Baghdad Radio Station

By Mona Mahmoud

They want to be heard.

A woman called to say she had been beaten by her husband so much she feels like killing him. Another woman said she was afraid of her husband at the outset of her marriage, but she has learned to assert herself. Now he is the one who is afraid.

Other women said they never wore a hijab but are now being forced to wear the head covering because of pressures or threats from newly powerful religious groups in their neighborhoods.

Launched earlier this year, al-Mahaba, which means "love" in Arabic, is the first independent women's radio station in Iraq. The format is a mixture of news, music and talk.

ElBaradei Locked Horns with US on Iraq

By Louis Charbonneau

Mohamed ElBaradei and his U.N. nuclear watchdog grabbed the world spotlight in the run-up to the US-led invasion of Iraq by challenging Washington's argument that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction.

By locking horns with the US administration, ElBaradei, a 63-year-old Egyptian lawyer, made powerful enemies but this did not prevent him winning a third term as head of the Vienna-based International Atomic Agency (IAEA).

By awarding the 2005 Nobel Peace Prize to ElBaradei and the IAEA 60 years after two nuclear bombs were dropped on Japan, the Nobel committee gives them a much-needed boost in their efforts to fight the spread of nuclear weapons.

Government Accused of Death Squads in Iraq

By Sinan Salaheddin
The Associated Press

The 22 bodies, lined up in coffins in a mosque courtyard Friday, are as shriveled as ancient mummies after lying a month in the desert where they were dumped, bound and bullet-ridden. They were Sunni Arabs, rounded up from their Baghdad homes one night by men in police uniforms.

Relatives and neighbors in mourning are convinced they were killed by government-linked Shiite death squads they say are behind corpses that turn up nearly every day in and around the capital - two more on Friday. Now some Sunnis are vowing to take action to protect themselves.

AP/Ipsos Poll: Bush's Approval Mired At Lowest levels Of Presidency

Optimism About Nation's Direction Sinks To New Depths

Sometimes numbers can be worth 1,000 words, or maybe 10,000 from our Dear Leader. Check out these poll results:

Judy "Discovers" Her Notes (Fell Behind Cabinet With Libby's Waiver of Confidentiality?)

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - New York Times reporter Judith Miller discovered notes from an earlier conversation she had with Vice President Dick Cheney's chief of staff and turned them over the prosecutor investigating the leak of a covert CIA operative's identity, legal sources said on Friday.

Miller's notes about a June 2003 conversation with Cheney's chief of staff, Lewis "Scooter" Libby, could be important to prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald's case by establishing exactly when Libby and other administration officials first started talking to reporters about CIA operative Valerie Plame and her diplomat husband, Joseph Wilson.

From Despair to Hope

By Cindy Sheehan
t r u t h o u t | Perspective
Friday 07 October 2005

There were many nights after Casey was killed and we buried him that I had to restrain myself from swallowing my entire bottle of sleeping pills. The pain and the deep pit of hopeless despair were almost too much to cope with. How can a person be expected to live in a world that is so full of pain and so devoid of hope? I would think to myself: "It would be so easy to take these pills and go to sleep and never wake up in this awful world again."

The only thing that restrained me from committing the cowardly and selfish act of killing myself was my other three children. How could I put them through something so horrible after what they had already been through? I knew that I had to live and I knew living was going to be (and still is) the hardest thing I have ever had to do. However, I know why some people kill themselves: it is the lack of hope. For me it was the black pit of knowing that I had to wake up every day for the rest of my life with the same pain of knowing that I would never see Casey again: that I had to exist in a world without him, and just existing is no way to live.

Fall of the Rovean Empire?

By Sidney Blumenthal

Thursday 06 October 2005

Drunk on power, the Republican oligarchs overreached. Now their entire project could be doomed.

President Bush departs the White House with his Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove, right, on July 14, 2005.
(Photo: Ron Edmonds / AP Photo)

For 30 years, beginning with the Nixon presidency, advanced under Reagan, stalled with the elder Bush, a new political economy struggled to be born. The idea was pure and simple: centralization of power in the hands of the Republican Party would ensure that it never lost it again. Under George W. Bush, this new system reached its apotheosis. It is a radically novel social, political and economic formation that deserves study alongside capitalism and socialism. Neither Adam Smith nor Vladimir Lenin captures its essence, though it has far more elements of Leninist democratic-centralism than Smithian free markets. Some have referred to this model as crony capitalism; others compare the waste, extravagance and greed to the Gilded Age. Call it 21st century Republicanism.

Pentagon Analyst Pleads Guilty in AIPAC-Israeli Spy Case

Democracy Now!
Friday, October 7th, 2005

Larry Franklin, a top Pentagon analyst, plead guilty to handing over highly classified intelligence to members of the pro-Israeli lobbying group the American Israel Public Affairs Committee or AIPAC. Franklin also admitted for the first time that he handed over top-secret information on Iran directly to an Israeli government official in Washington. We speak with investigative reporter, Robert Dreyfuss. [includes rush transcript]

Earlier this week, a top Pentagon analyst plead guilty to handing over highly classified intelligence to members of the pro-Israeli lobbying group the American Israel Public Affairs Committee or AIPAC. The official, Larry Franklin, also admitted for the first time that he handed over top-secret information on Iran directly to an Israeli government official in Washington. Franklin said he personally met with an official from the Israeli Embassy in Washington eight times. As part of a plea agreement, Franklin pleaded guilty to two counts of conspiracy and a third charge of possessing classified documents. He faces up to 25 years in prison. Franklin has agreed to testify against Steve Rosen and Keith Weissman, the two former AIPAC officials, who are facing trial.

Conyers, Harman and Thompson Seek Specifics on Disruptive Terror Plots

Congressman John Conyers, Jr.
Michigan, 14th District
Ranking Member, U.S. House Judiciary Committee
Dean, Congressional Black Caucus

Congressman John Conyers, Jr., Ranking Member of the House Judiciary Committee, joined by Reps. Jane Harman and Bennie Thompson sent the following letter to White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card requesting information on terror plots:

Conyers Added: "On numerous occasions, the President has claimed successes in the war on terror without specifics to back up his assertions. We hope yesterday's speech is not one of those instances and look forward to learning about the specific details."

16 more words

Eli Stephens
Left I on the News

Do you think the media has learned any lessons from the last famous "16
words" spoken by George Bush: "The British government has learned that
Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from
Africa"? Those words, like so many others spoken by George Bush, were either
lies*, intentionally misleading, or simply mistaken; no such thing had

Yesterday Bush gave us 16 more words: "The United States and our partners
have disrupted at least ten serious al Qaeda terrorist plots." True to form,

Repeat after me: cronyism, corruption, and incompetence

The Mix

Perspectives, insight and news from AlterNet.

Repeat after me: cronyism, corruption, and incompetence
Posted by Rachel Neumann on October 6, 2005 at 11:22 AM.
The perfect talking point about the Bush administration has to be accurate, cut across party and class lines, and stay simple. So here it is:

The Bush administration is corrupt and incompetent. The cronies who run the government are more interested in rewarding their friends and patting themselves on the back then getting a single thing done.

Here's my recipe for putting the last five years behind us:

1. Use these three words "cronyism, corruption, and incompetence" in every paragraph, t-shirt, sign, bumper sticker, and article about the Bush administration.

2. Fight like hell in the 2006 elections.

3. Get us out of Iraq.

Stir, rinse, repeat.


Flim-Flam and Hoo-Hah

Flim-Flam and Hoo-Hah

By Molly Ivins, AlterNet. Posted October 7, 2005.

Everybody and his dog in the political commentating trade now agrees the Bush administration is experiencing hard times -- the going is getting tough, and Bush is getting testy. Tools

Sometimes it helps to draw back from what's going on, to see if any patterns emerge from the chaos of daily events. In the news biz, attempts to see the Big Picture are known as thumbsuckers and regarded with appropriate contempt.

On the famous other hand, it's also sometimes the only way to see the much bigger stories that seep and creep all around us without anyone ever calling a press conference, or issuing talking points, or having gong-show debate over them.

Wal-Mart Turns in Student’s Anti-Bush Photo, Secret Service Investigates Him

Published on Thursday, October 6, 2005 by the Progressive
By Matthew Rothschild

Selina Jarvis is the chair of the social studies department at Currituck County High School in North Carolina, and she is not used to having the Secret Service question her or one of her students.

But that’s what happened on September 20.

Jarvis had assigned her senior civics and economics class “to take photographs to illustrate their rights in the Bill of Rights,

Bush will veto anti-torture law after Senate revolt

Bush will veto anti-torture law after Senate revolt
By Francis Harris in Washington
(Filed: 07/10/2005)

The Bush administration pledged yesterday to veto legislation banning the torture of prisoners by US troops after an overwhelming and almost unprecedented revolt by loyalist congressmen.

The mutiny was the latest setback for an administration facing an increasingly independent and bloody-minded legislature. But it also marked a key moment in Congress's campaign to curtail the huge powers it has granted the White House since 2001 in its war against terrorism.

The late-night Senate vote saw the measure forbidding torture passed by 90 to nine, with most Republicans backing the measure. Most senators said the Abu Ghraib abuse scandal and similar allegations at the Guantanamo Bay prison rendered the result a foregone conclusion.

Analysis: Training Iraqi army a slow process

Analysis: Training Iraqi army a slow process
By Roland Flamini
UPI Chief International Correspondent
Published October 6, 2005
(Editor's note: Similar to the false facts determined to being the war, "How far the Iraqis are from achieving the second depends on who you listen to." The weapons inspectors said, "No WMD." Joe Wilson said, "No Niger..." and General Shinseki, the Army chief of staff, said, "You're going to need several hundred thousand [troops in Iraq]." Yes...definately! Truth does depend on who you listen to, and so far facts prove George Bush isn't the one telling the truth!)

WASHINGTON -- The Bush administration's Iraq exit strategy is that the coming elections will produce a democratic government, and that a sizeable portion of Iraq's security forces reaches Level One, defined as the ability to plan and carry out operations and sustain itself without support from U.S. or allied troops. With enough protection to encourage Iraqis to go to the polls, the parliamentary elections in January should take care of the first part. How far the Iraqis are from achieving the second depends on who you listen to.

U.S. general in Iraq: Growing disconnect with Washington

U.S. general in Iraq: Growing disconnect with Washington
By Pamela Hess
UPI Pentagon Correspondent
Published October 5, 2005

BAGHDAD -- "I don't know if I have the moral authority to send troops into combat anymore," a senior American general recently told United Press International.

He knows what his power means -- that on his word hundreds or thousands of young men would step into danger.

"I'm no longer sure I can look (a soldier or a Marine) in the eye and say: 'This is something worth dying for.'"

He doesn't mean Iraq. There are plenty of bad people here to fight, and plenty of innocents worth protecting.

Feingold says Democrats will announce intentions for Iraq

Feingold says Democrats will announce intentions for Iraq
John Byrne

Democrat takes swipe at Secretary of State Rice

WASHINGTON -- Senator Russ Feingold (D-WI) says Senate Democrats will soon introduce more elements of their party’s plan to resolve foreign policy with regard to Iraq. “You’ll see more evidence of that coming out of the Democratic caucus this week,

Photos from Phoenix

Photos of recent peace vigil in Phoenix.

Poll: Bush Ratings Hit New Low

CBS News
The President's approval ratings are at their lowest point ever. (CBS)

President George W. Bush's overall job approval rating has reached the lowest ever measured in this poll, and evaluations of his handling of Iraq, the economy and even his signature issue, terrorism, are also at all-time lows.

(CBS) This CBS News Poll finds an American public increasingly pessimistic about the economy, the war in Iraq, the overall direction of the country, and the President. Americans' outlook for the economy is the worst it has been in four years. Most expect the price of gas to rise even further in the next few months.

ElBaradei and IAEA win Nobel Prize

OSLO (Reuters) - The U.N. nuclear watchdog and its head, Mohamed ElBaradei, won the 2005 Nobel Peace Prize on Friday for their efforts to limit the spread of atomic weapons.

The Norwegian Nobel Committee picked the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and ElBaradei, an Egyptian, from a record field of 199 candidates.

It praised ElBaradei as an "unafraid advocate" of measures to strengthen non-proliferation efforts.

The two had been among favourites for the award on the 60th anniversary of the U.S. atomic bombings of the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945.

Woman Booted Off Flight For Anti-Bush Shirt

RENO -- A Washington state woman was bounced from a Southwest Airlines flight in Reno for wearing a T-shirt with the pictures of President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney and the F-word.

The shirt was a play on words taken from the movie "Meet the Fockers." It had the title of the movie, with the last word changed to a curse word, according to KRNV-TV in Reno.

Lorrie Heasley said she plans to press a civil-rights complaint against the airline over Tuesday's action at Reno-Tahoe International Airport. Heasley said the airline offered to let her continue her flight if she were to change her shirt, which she refused to do.

Automatic enrollment in ROTC provokes protest at high school

Automatic enrollment in ROTC provokes protest at high school
News Staff Reporter

Wendy Van Scoter, a Lovejoy area resident, says her 14-year-old daughter, Jennifer Brown, was placed in Junior ROTC without her knowledge. She said she never received a letter from the school.

Unless they opted out, freshmen at Hutchinson-Central Technical High School were automatically enrolled this fall in Junior ROTC.
About 300 parents of freshmen received letters in August, informing them their children would be enrolled in the daily, 42-minute program unless they objected before the start of school. About 190 students at the school on South Elmwood Avenue were in the program when classes began. The number dropped to 157 following objections by parents and students, who were reassigned to study hall.


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