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Save the First Amendment--from Karl Rove

From Editor & Publisher, July 5, 2005
By Bill Israel

In 99.9 percent of cases I know, journalists must not break the bonds of appropriate confidentiality, to protect their ability to report, and to defend the First Amendment. I’ve testified in court to that end, and would do so again.

But the Valerie Plame-CIA case that threatens jail time for reporters from Time and The New York Times this week is the exception that shatters the rule. In this case, journalists as a community have been played for patsies by the president’s chief strategist, Karl Rove, and are enabling him to abuse the First Amendment, by their invoking it.

Is Robert Novak an Agency "Asset"?

By Tom Hayden

I am distracted from the trials of Judith Miller and Matt Cooper because of the larger shadow of Robert Novak, whose apparent immunity from prosecution is unexplainable. Is Novak the protected asset of one of our intelligence agencies?

It may be that his musings over the past 45 years merely parallels the inner world of the intelligence community, but his present protected status is eerie.

He's not really a journalist, nor is he a party liner. But over the years there has been a pattern.

I remember in the civil rights movement when he wrote 1963 columns alleging infiltration of the movement by "far left" elements (as recalled in his own recollections, May 15, 2003). Who were his sources?

The Washington Post's Online Version Acknowledges Poll on Impeachment

The Impeachment Question
By Dan Froomkin
Special to washingtonpost.com
Wednesday, July 6, 2005; 1:24 PM

More than four in 10 Americans, according to a recent Zogby poll, say that if President Bush did not tell the truth about his reasons for going to war with Iraq, Congress should consider holding him accountable through impeachment.

But you wouldn't know it from following the news. Only three mainstream outlets that I can find made even cursory mention of the poll last week when it came out.

You also wouldn't know it judging from the political discourse in Washington, but that makes a little more sense. After all, impeachment is for all practical purposes a political act, not a legal one. So with a Republican-controlled Congress that doesn't even like to perform basic White House oversight, it's basically a moot point.

Fourth of July Parade in Maine Features Downing Street Memo Float

"One float was the Downing Street Memo-mobile, complete with three dummies in the back seat eating Doritos that represented Tony Blair, George Bush and Saddam Hussein."

***

Tuesday, July 05, 2005 - Bangor Daily News

West Athens celebrates alternative 4th
'Heaven' theme makes for eclectic town parade

WEST ATHENS - It was heaven Monday in West Athens, albeit a wacky, irreverent, alternative version.

More than 500 people poured into this tiny town for the 32nd or 33rd (no one can really remember) annual Fourth of July parade and play, which this year was titled "Knockin' on Heaven's Door," a who-gets-in and who-doesn't kind of story.

White House smear campaign

By GENE LYONS

Ask Karl Rove for an apology? Not me. Apologies are appropriate for foolish remarks made in the heat of argument. Rove read from a script. The White House handed out copies. Besides, what would an apology from that flabby little apparatchik be worth? He's the human equivalent of a fear-biting dog: His Master's Voice.

"Conservatives," Rove said, "saw the savagery of 9/11 and the attacks and prepared for war; liberals saw the savagery of the 9/11 attacks and wanted to prepare indictments and offer therapy and understanding for our attackers. In the wake of 9/11, conservatives believed it was time to unleash the might and power of the United States military against the Taliban; in the wake of 9/11, liberals believed it was time to submit a petition. I am not joking."

Mom, Who Lost Son In Iraq, Talks About 'Disgusting' White House Private Meeting With Bush

Greg Szymanski

Mom, Who Lost Son In Iraq, Talks About 'Disgusting' White House Private Meeting With Bush; Claims He Was Arrogant, 'Totally Detached From Humanity' And Didn't Even Know Her Name
Founder of peace group to stop senseless murder of our children, Cindy Sheehan wants parents to 'wake up' to the illegal nature of the war and Bush's corrupt motives meriting impeachment. She tells parents to advise their children not to fight, saying it's better 'to spend a year in jail instead of an eternity in a coffin.'

July 5, 2005

Cindy Sheehan has already had her heart ripped into a million pieces by the illegal Iraqi war, losing the son she loved more than life itself only five days after he arrived in Baghdad in April 2004.

What Would Independent World Television Do for Downing Street Minutes Coverage?

An interview with the creator of Independent World Television

BuzzFlash: I want the BuzzFlash readers to know what you anticipate doing is not just news, but a full-fledged broadcast schedule. The news is one part of it, but there's so much more going on. But I want to get your response as to just how you would see your network handling the Downing Street memo, as compared to what has happened. As soon as it appeared in the Times of London, we had it up on BuzzFlash. Several readers sent that to us, and it was our headline story all that Sunday. The Washington Post didn't run a story for twelve days on the Downing Street memo. Walter Pincus, one of their writers, wrote a piece, which ran on page 18 of the front section, almost two weeks after it appeared in Britain. And most papers in the United States just didn't cover it. The Minneapolis Star-Tribune recently ran a piece by their ombudsman that tried to explain why they didn't cover it. He said we didn't know about it until about a few days later, when a reader of BuzzFlash -- and they mentioned BuzzFlash by name -- wrote to him, the ombudsman, and said I'm reading all these stories about the Downing Street Memo on BuzzFlash.com. How come you're not covering it? And so the guy went to BuzzFlash.com. And the ombudsman for the Minneapolis Star-Tribune said, oh, gee, you know, how come we don't know about this?

I Wrote Bush's War Words -- in 1965

By Daniel Ellsberg

President Bush's explanation Tuesday night for staying the course in Iraq evoked in me a sense of familiarity, but not nostalgia. I had heard virtually all of his themes before, almost word for word, in speeches delivered by three presidents I worked for: John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson and Richard M. Nixon. Not with pride, I recognized that I had proposed some of those very words myself.

Drafting a speech on the Vietnam War for Defense Secretary Robert S. McNamara in July 1965, I had the same task as Bush's speechwriters in June 2005: how to rationalize and motivate continued public support for a hopelessly stalemated, unnecessary war our president had lied us into.

Bush 'Down And Out' on Downing Street Memo

Caught Between Rock And Hard Place With No Answers

A majority of Americans believe President misled country into war. Congress one step closer to formal investigation as 52 members file Freedom of Information Act request, seeking needed documents and witnesses. Further complicating a White House response, Tony Blair confirmed authenticity of minutes of Downing Street war meeting.

July 4, 2005

By Greg Szymanski

The infamous Downing Street Memo has suddenly grown wings in Washington, slowly floating through town like a feather in the wind during a two month media blackout but finally landing like a lead balloon on President Bush’s desk.

Support Our Troops

By David Michael Green

One thing you can say about us Americans, we support our troops. Or do we?

It seems like we must, since there are magnetic ribbons saying so affixed to the back of every other SUV tooling down the highway. But what does it really mean - we might ask ourselves on this Fourth of July - to support our troops?

It doesn't seem to mean signing up to go fight along side them and relieving them of the burden they're carrying. Despite our saying that these 130,000-some Americans are fighting in Iraq for the freedom and security of our country, the remaining 300 million of us seem fairly content to let them do all the heavy lifting. Nor does the president dare institute a draft for his unpopular war, though doing so would spread out its costs far more equitably.

Washington Post Mentions Zogby Poll

Zogby Polls on the I Word

Even the pollster couldn't believe his eyes. "It was much higher than I expected," John Zogby said of the 42 percent of voters who said they would support impeaching President Bush if it were established that he lied about his reasons for the Iraq war. The Zogby International poll was released Thursday and showed Bush's job approval rating at 43 percent.

By comparison, in October 1998, as the House moved to impeach President Bill Clinton over the Monica S. Lewinsky scandal, a Zogby poll found that 39 percent of voters supported the House action, while 56 percent opposed it.

So What's the Story on Bob Novak?

His decision to play it cagey in the Plame case is helping no one.
Los Angeles Times
By Jonathan Turley
Jonathan Turley is a professor at George Washington University Law School and has represented individuals asserting the journalistic privilege.
July 1, 2005

Columnist Robert Novak has made a career for himself as a human flamethrower for conservative causes. Yet, even Novak appears surprised at the mounting cost of his disclosure in 2003 of the identity of CIA operative Valerie Plame.

It was classic Novak: a hatchet job directed not at Plame, but at her husband, former Ambassador Joseph C. Wilson IV. The firestorm that erupted has consumed millions of dollars in investigation and litigation costs and has wreaked havoc with the career not just of Plame (who had to leave the CIA) but of two reporters who were hauled into court and threatened with prison.

Linda McQuaig says pliant American press behaving like Pravda in coverage of the U.S. president

Toronto Star, Canada

If clear evidence emerged showing George W. Bush had written in his diary that he had lied to the American people to justify his invasion of Iraq, would the U.S. media even consider that a story?

I'm not sure any more. To an astonishing extent, the U.S. media have avoided scrutinizing this U.S. president, even after it became clear he'd launched a war in the name of disarming Iraq of weapons that didn't exist.

The Bush administration and the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee blamed this on "faulty intelligence," an explanation the media have largely parroted.

Downing Street Memo coverage a matter for debate

The Baltimore Sun
Public Editor: Paul Moore
June 26, 2005

On June 15, The Sun's Opinion/Commentary page published a two-part package on the Downing Street Memo, a British government document that suggests the Bush administration was not forthcoming about the timing and circumstance of its decision to invade Iraq.
Reports on the memo in the British media - including its publication in the Sunday Times of London on May 1 - cost Prime Minister Tony Blair political support in recent parliamentary elections and have fueled a journalistic debate in this country.

The first Sun op-ed piece maintained that the memo, the official minutes of a secret July 23, 2002, meeting about Iraq with Blair and his inner circle, contradicts the Bush administration claims that it invaded as a last resort and that intelligence about weapons of mass destruction was honestly presented.

The Immoral Relativists of the Bush Administration

Tomgram: The Immoral Relativists of the Bush Administration
TomDispatch
a project of the Nation Institute
compiled and edited by Tom Engelhardt
This post can be found at http://www.tomdispatch.com/index.mhtml?pid=4027

Immoral Relativism
And Other Distractions of the Age of Bush
By Tom Engelhardt

"At a breakfast meeting with reporters, Wolfowitz said he hasn't read the [Downing Street] memos because he doesn't want to be ‘distracted' by ‘history' from his new job as head of the world's leading development bank. He returned this weekend from a tour of four African nations.

Unbelievable...

Baghdad Burning
By Riverbend

“Not only can they not find WMD in Iraq,

Bush speech flies in the face of reality in Iraq

Iraq Combat Veterans describe occupation of Iraq as a “runaway train.

Activists scout anti-war referendum

State Green Party officials hope to put question on local ballots
By GRAEME ZIELINSKI
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
gzielinski@journalsentinel.com

As President Bush encourages support for the Iraq war, Wisconsin activists and elected officials are in the midst of their own efforts to hasten the withdrawal of American troops there, in opposition to administration policy and in the face of continuing bloodshed.

The state Green Party and allied peace groups have begun a campaign to have the question of the Iraq war placed as an advisory referendum on local ballots in spring elections.

At its convention June 11 in Oshkosh, the state Democratic Party became the second state party nationally to call for the impeachment of the president and Vice President Cheney because of what the party views as mishandling of the war.

So What's New?

The Downing Street Memo
By DAVID MODEL

After the leak of the Downing Street memo, the smoke has been wafting through the air from the barrel of the proverbial incriminating gun obliterating any remaining doubts that President Bush committed premeditated murder. The contents of the Downing Street memo should squelch all doubts about whether President Bush was determined to go to war against Iraq now that the highest members of the British government have acknowledged the authenticity of the memo although the debate over its content rages on. There is nothing shocking or surprising about the contents of the "Downing Street memo". That is not to say that it doesn't reveal that President Bush was planning to execute a plan for regime change long before his administration undertook any thoughtful analysis based on accurate intelligence. My contention is that President Bush's conduct is not an aberration but part of a foreign policy paradigm which applies to the conduct of all presidents at least since World War II

Where's the Washington Post?

Public pressure forced the Washington Post to run a front page article after editorializing that the Downing Street Minutes weren't news. But since that article, the Post has done no follow up.

Send a polite note to National editor Michael Abramowitz: abramowitz@washpost.com

And to Assistant managing editor, reporter Bob Woodward: woodwardb@washpost.com

The Post's Ombudsman, Michael Getler, is the readers' representative within the newspaper. E-mail him at ombudsman@washpost.com or call 202-334-7582.

Media Ignoring Zogby Poll

A Zogby poll released on June 30 finds 42 percent of Americans — including 25 percent of Republicans - say that "if it is found that President Bush did not tell the truth about his reasons for going to war with Iraq, Congress should hold him accountable through impeachment." According to Zogby, in Eastern and Western states supporters of impeachment outnumber opponents.
http://www.afterdowningstreet.org/?q=node/592

The only mention of this by a major media outlet was by Keith Olbermann on MSNBC.

Where is the rest of the media?

Contact the other networks:
http://www.afterdowningstreet.org/?q=node/310

Speakers Available

David Swanson is the author of "When the World Outlawed War," "War Is A Lie" and "Daybreak: Undoing the Imperial Presidency and Forming a More Perfect Union." He blogs at http://davidswanson.org and http://warisacrime.org and works for the online activist organization http://rootsaction.org. Contact him at david at davidswanson.org

Support for Bush Impeachment Now Higher Than Was for Clinton Impeachment

This poll finding 42 percent of Americans favoring impeachment of Bush if he did not tell the truth about the reasons for war, puts support significantly higher than it was for impeachment of President Clinton.

average support for impeachment and removal was 27% (11 polls)
average support for impeachment hearings was 36% (6 polls)
http://www.democrats.com/clinton-impeachment-polls

Implausible denial

By Evan Derkacz
Posted on June 30, 2005, Printed on July 1, 2005
http://www.alternet.org/bloggers/evan/23282/

Conservatives are loathe to accept the information contained within the Downing Street Memo's brief contents and I don't blame them. It would change things and they would no longer be good conservatives. It's right there in the word, see.

But I am entertained.

Cries of a hoax didn't take and the ho-hum response -- standard in more sophisticated circles -- that "everybody already knew this stuff," was quickly abandoned by all but the frontal lobe challenged.

Two things happened Wednesday, both concerning Tony Blair.

A record of deception

The Boston Globe
By Scot Lehigh | July 1, 2005

HERE'S THE question President Bush's Tuesday address to the nation raises.

Having framed the Iraq war in a dishonest way, can the president really expect the informed public to believe his presentation about how the stabilization effort is going?

Certainly Bush's speech started on a highly deceptive note, portraying the grinding conflict in Iraq as a necessary response to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

More than a year ago, the 9/11 Commission reported that there was no "collaborative relationship" between Iraq and Al Qaeda.

Still, implications that Iraq was complicit in Sept. 11 and claims that Saddam had ties to Al Qaeda worked well for the Republicans in the 2004 campaign. They used the former tactic to deftly duplicitous effect at their national convention. In other venues, both Bush and Vice President Cheney insisted there was a relationship -- ''a whole series of contacts, high-level contacts," Cheney claimed -- between Al Qaeda and Saddam's regime.

Web Special: A Story At Last

How public pressure helped propel the long-ignored Downing Street memo into the news
American Journalism Review
By Kim Hart
Hart is an AJR editorial assistant.

Foreign news outlets jumped on it, bloggers ate it up and half a dozen liberal Web sites campaigned to get it prominent coverage. But until the past few weeks, the Downing Street memo managed to keep a low profile in the media, getting more attention for being ignored by American journalists than for existing in the first place.

Editors, reporters and producers have been deluged with hundreds--even thousands--of e-mails and phone calls from readers and partisan activists demanding more exposure for the secret memo, which recounts a July 2002 meeting between British Prime Minister Tony Blair and his top aides. The memo, first reported by the London Sunday Times on May 1, reflects the view of Britain's top intelligence official that the Bush administration was intent on going to war in Iraq nearly eight months before doing so, and that the administration was manipulating intelligence information to support that decision.

Occupation Watch

Occupation Watch June 29-30 News Bulletin

Contrary to the notions of those who might have thought that the crafting of the Bush administration PR strategy on Iraq involved heavy use of a ouija board and frequent calls to psychic hotlines, Peter Baker and Dan Balz report in the Post that it is, in fact, being shaped by "one of the nation's top academic experts on public opinion during wartime." Duke political scientist Peter Feaver and his colleague Christopher Gelpi have concluded, on the basis of focus group polling, that the most important issue in determining public support is not the level of American casualties but perception on whether the war is winnable.

Deja vu in Iraq

Boston Globe
By Derrick Z. Jackson | July 1, 2005

AT FORT BRAGG, in front of soldiers and their generals, the president of the United States said, ''Terrorists can strike and can kill without warning before the forces of order can throw them back. And now he has struck again. At this very hour, a second wave of terrorists is striking the cities. Our forces are ready. I know they will acquit themselves, as they always have, however tough the battle becomes. There has never been a finer fighting force wearing the American uniform than you."

The president reasserted that each soldier represents America's will and commitment at a time that our nation's security and the freedom of an oppressed nation ''is facing a deadly challenge. Men who have never been elected to anything are threatening an elected government and the painfully achieved institutions of democracy."

They Died for Their Country

By Paul Rogat Loeb

"They died for their country," read the white granite memorial in the Concord, Massachusetts town square, honoring local men who died in the Civil War. Newer headstones mourned Concord men who gave their lives in other wars -- practically every war America has fought -- belying the recent baiting of quintessentially blue-state Massachusetts as a place whose citizens lack patriotism. I was in town, on the first anniversary of Sept 11, speaking at a local church that had lost one of its most active members on a hijacked plane, a man named Al Filipov. It was clear then -- and clearer now -- that these honored dead would not be our nation's last. I thought of Concord when George Bush urged us, this past Memorial Day, to redeem the sacrifices of our soldiers in Iraq by "completing the mission for which they gave their lives." But what if this mission (which will, of course, claim more lives) itself is questionable, and founded on a basis of lies? Forty-eight Concord men died in the Civil War, which the memorial called "the War of the Rebellion." They indeed died for their country, turning the tide at battles like Gettysburg and helping end the brutal oppression of slavery. The World War II vets, listed on a nearby plaque, helped preserve the freedom of America -- and the world. We owe a profound debt to the farmers and artisans who won our freedom in America's Revolution, and whose sacrifices were marked, a few miles away, with an exhibit on the battles of Lexington and Concord. It's easy for those who have lived through too many dubious wars to forget the power of their sacrifices.

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