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Saturday, October 15, 2005

Miller Presents Award to 'Deep Throat'

W. Mark Felt appeared on CBS' "Face The Nation" in Washington in 1976.

AP Special Correspondent

October 15, 2005, 7:31 PM EDT

FULLERTON, Calif. -- Judith Miller, the New York Times reporter who was jailed for protecting a confidential source, presented an award Saturday to perhaps the most famous confidential source -- the man known as "Deep Throat."

The award presented by the California First Amendment Coalition was accepted by the grandson of former FBI Associate Director W. Mark Felt because the 92-year-old could not make the trip.

Miller lauded Felt as a courageous man who helped Washington Post reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein uncover the secrets of the Watergate scandal that led to the resignation of President Nixon.

"Without Mark Felt there would have been none of the revelations that showed what began as a third-rate burglary was really a story of corruption and malfeasance," Miller said. Woodward and Bernstein refused to identify "Deep Throat" until after Felt revealed it himself this year.

In remarks dealing with her own case, Miller said that she still would be behind bars if her source, I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, Vice President Dick Cheney's chief of staff, had not personally contacted her in prison and given her permission to testify.

"I am free today only because of a federal prosecutor's agreement to limit his questions to me and because my once confidential source wrote me a letter and called me in jail to say he really, really wanted me to testify," Miller said.

Her lawyer Floyd Abrams, the keynote speaker at the conference at California State University, Fullerton, said Libby had earlier signed a waiver form but Abrams and Miller had suspicions that such forms could be challenged as being coerced.

A journalist should decide to break a confidence only when "the journalist is satisfied that this is a deeply personal decision by the source," Abrams said.

The New York Times on Saturday posted a story on its Web site detailing the accounts of what happened in the case of covert CIA officer Valerie Plame and how it led to Miller spending 85 days behind bars.

Miller never wrote a story about Plame, but she was jailed for civil contempt of court for refusing to testify before the grand jury investigating the Bush administration's disclosure of Plame's identity.

A newspaper column by Robert Novak that identified Plame on July 14, 2003, triggered a criminal investigation that could still result in charges against government officials.

In her remarks Saturday, Miller urged the adoption of a federal shield law to provide reporters protection from being forced to reveal confidential sources.

"I hope that other journalists will not have to make the choice that I did," she said.

Felt's grandson, Nick Jones, said he sees his grandfather as a figure comparable to Batman, "One of those crimefighters that come and go in the night."

"It's not about what he is underneath, but what he did," Jones said.
Copyright 2005 Newsday Inc.

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Former FBI official W. Mark Felt, left, and The Post's Bob Woodward.(Ken Feil/The Washington Post; Howard Moore/AP)
By Bob Woodward
A Chance Encounter, a Date With HistoryAs a friendship -- and the Watergate story -- developed, W. Mark Felt remained a mystery to Bob Woodward. More than three decades later, Woodward tells how he met Felt, and how an inside source helped develop a young reporter and bring down a president.

Exclusive: Miller to take indefinite leave of absence...

Reporter in leak case to take

leave of absence effective


John Byrne and Jason Leopold

New York Times reporter Judith Miller, who spent 85 days in jail protecting her source in the recent CIA leak investigation, will take an indefinite leave of absence effective immediately.

"Judy is going to take some time off until we decide what she is doing next," Times' spokesperson Catherine Mathis told RAW STORY Saturday afternoon.

RAW STORY spoke with Miller by telephone at the New York Times newsroom in Washington Friday evening. She said that she had not previously been questioned about her plans going forward, and deferred extended comment to her publicist.

The Times' Sunday story asserts that Miller has not signed a book deal as previously reported.
"She said she thought she would write a book about her experiences in the leak case, although she added that she did not yet have a book deal," the article says. "She also plans on taking some time off but says she hopes to return to the newsroom."

Two reporters inside the newsroom say they have heard Miller will resign from the paper.

Miller was not cooperative with the Times internal probe, reporters told RAW STORY Thursday. This was confirmed in the New York Times' internal probe.

"In two interviews, Ms. Miller generally would not discuss her interactions with editors, elaborate on the written account of her grand jury testimony or allow reporters to review her notes," the Times reporters wrote.

The paper's executive editor, Bill Keller, says Miller provided a "detailed report."

"The package we are giving readers includes Judy Miller's account of what she told the Special Counsel," Keller said in a statement. "No other reporter drawn into this investigation has provided such a detailed report. We're relieved that we can finally put this story in the hands of our readers, who will draw their own conclusions."

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Marchin' Marchin' Marchin .. Get Dat Froggie Marchin'


NY Times; It's Bush-Cheney, Not Rove-Libby


It's Bush-Cheney,

Not Rove-Libby

Registration Required

NOT the full text. Will Re-Post when we get it all.

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.

That stonewall may start to crumble in a Washington courtroom this week or next. In a sense it already has. Now, as always, what matters most in this case is not whether Mr. Rove and Lewis Libby engaged in a petty conspiracy to seek revenge on a whistle-blower, Joseph Wilson, by unmasking his wife, Valerie, a covert C.I.A. officer. What makes Patrick Fitzgerald's investigation compelling, whatever its outcome, is its illumination of a conspiracy that was not at all petty: the one that took us on false premises into a reckless and wasteful war in Iraq. That conspiracy was instigated by Mr. Rove's boss, George W. Bush, and Mr. Libby's boss, Dick Cheney.


That stonewall may start to crumble in a Washington courtroom this week or next. In a sense it already has. Now, as always, what matters most in this case is not whether Mr. Rove and Lewis Libby engaged in a petty conspiracy to seek revenge on a whistle-blower, Joseph Wilson, by unmasking his wife, Valerie, a covert C.I.A. officer. What makes Patrick Fitzgerald's investigation compelling, whatever its outcome, is its illumination of a conspiracy that was not at all petty: the one that took us on false premises into a reckless and wasteful war in Iraq. That conspiracy was instigated by Mr. Rove's boss, George W. Bush, and Mr. Libby's boss, Dick Cheney.

Mr. Wilson and his wife were trashed to protect that larger plot. Because the personnel in both stories overlap, the bits and pieces we've learned about the leak inquiry over the past two years have gradually helped fill in the über-narrative about the war. Last week was no exception. Deep in a Wall Street Journal account of Judy Miller's grand jury appearance was this crucial sentence: "Lawyers familiar with the investigation believe that at least part of the outcome likely hangs on the inner workings of what has been dubbed the White House Iraq Group."


Very little has been written about the White House Iraq Group, or WHIG. Its inception in August 2002, seven months before the invasion of Iraq, was never announced. Only much later would a newspaper article or two mention it in passing, reporting that it had been set up by Andrew Card, the White House chief of staff. Its eight members included Mr. Rove, Mr. Libby, Condoleezza Rice and the spinmeisters Karen Hughes and Mary Matalin. Its mission: to market a war in Iraq.

Of course, the official Bush history would have us believe that in August 2002 no decision had yet been made on that war. Dates bracketing the formation of WHIG tell us otherwise. On July 23, 2002 - a week or two before WHIG first convened in earnest - a British official told his peers, as recorded in the now famous Downing Street memo, that the Bush administration was ensuring that "the intelligence and facts" about Iraq's W.M.D.'s "were being fixed around the policy" of going to war. And on Sept. 6, 2002 - just a few weeks after WHIG first convened - Mr. Card alluded to his group's existence by telling Elisabeth Bumiller of The New York Times that there was a plan afoot to sell a war against Saddam Hussein: "From a marketing point of view, you don't introduce new products in August."

The official introduction of that product began just two days later. On the Sunday talk shows of Sept. 8, Ms. Rice warned that "we don't want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud," and Mr. Cheney, who had already started the nuclear doomsday drumbeat in three August speeches, described Saddam as "actively and aggressively seeking to acquire nuclear weapons." The vice president cited as evidence a front-page article, later debunked, about supposedly nefarious aluminum tubes co-written by Judy Miller in that morning's Times. The national security journalist James Bamford, in "A Pretext for War," writes that the article was all too perfectly timed to facilitate "exactly the sort of propaganda coup that the White House Iraq Group had been set up to stage-manage."
The Bush-Cheney product rolled out by Card, Rove, Libby & Company had been bought by Congress, the press and the public. The intelligence and facts had been successfully fixed to sell the war, and any memory of Mr. Bush's errant 16 words melted away in Shock and Awe. When, months later, a national security official, Stephen Hadley, took "responsibility" for allowing the president to address the nation about mythical uranium, no one knew that Mr. Hadley, too, had been a member of WHIG.

It was not until the war was supposedly over - with "Mission Accomplished," in May 2003 - that Mr. Wilson started to add his voice to those who were disputing the administration's uranium hype. Members of WHIG had a compelling motive to shut him down. In contrast to other skeptics, like Mohamed ElBaradei of the International Atomic Energy Agency (this year's Nobel Peace Prize winner), Mr. Wilson was an American diplomat; he had reported his findings in Niger to our own government. He was a dagger aimed at the heart of WHIG and its disinformation campaign. Exactly who tried to silence him and how is what Mr. Fitzgerald presumably will tell us.

It's long been my hunch that the WHIG-ites were at their most brazen (and, in legal terms, reckless) during the many months that preceded the appointment of Mr. Fitzgerald as special counsel. When Mr. Rove was asked on camera by ABC News in September 2003 if he had any knowledge of the Valerie Wilson leak and said no, it was only hours before the Justice Department would open its first leak investigation. When Scott McClellan later declared that he had been personally assured by Mr. Rove and Mr. Libby that they were "not involved" with the leak, the case was still in the safe hands of the attorney general then, John Ashcroft, himself a three-time Rove client in past political campaigns. Though Mr. Rove may be known as "Bush's brain," he wasn't smart enough to anticipate that Justice Department career employees would eventually pressure Mr. Ashcroft to recuse himself because of this conflict of interest, clearing the way for an outside prosecutor as independent as Mr. Fitzgerald.

THIS modus operandi was foolproof, shielding the president as well as Mr. Rove from culpability, as long as it was about winning an election. The attack on Mr. Wilson, by contrast, has left them and the Cheney-Libby tag team vulnerable because it's about something far bigger: protecting the lies that took the country into what the Reagan administration National Security Agency director, Lt. Gen. William Odom, recently called "the greatest strategic disaster in United States history."

Whether or not Mr. Fitzgerald uncovers an indictable crime, there is once again a victim, but that victim is not Mr. or Mrs. Wilson; it's the nation. It is surely a joke of history that even as the White House sells this weekend's constitutional referendum as yet another "victory" for democracy in Iraq, we still don't know the whole story of how our own democracy was hijacked on the way to war.

The whole truth

Our Children are not cannon fodder

Welcome To DC Anti-War Network's Counter-Recruiter HQ

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Protest and Pushback on Campus

Ryan Grim

As a campus police officer put Tariq Khan in a chokehold, a lunchtime crowd at George Mason University began egging the officer on. Chants of "Kick his ass! Kick his ass!" were intermingled with cries of "Punch him!" "Kick him!" and "Take him down!" Two students--one had earlier ripped a sign off Khan's chest, the other had repeatedly called him a "pussy"--and a computer-lab staff member assisted the officer in "apprehending" Khan, as university spokesperson Dan Walsch put it, by piling on top of him and twisting his body until he cried out in pain.

Khan, 27, a four-year Air Force veteran and a junior at GMU, had been walking through the Johnson Center on September 29 when he saw a Marine recruiter. He made up a sign, "Recruiters lie. Don't be deceived," and silently stood next to the recruiter's table. Less than thirty minutes later he found himself in the chokehold. Backup police dragged Khan from the building, and one of them pulled out pepper spray. "I'm being nonviolent, and this officer is going to pepper-spray me! If you have a cell phone, please take a picture," Khan says he shouted. Aimee Wells, a junior and a library staffer, says she pulled out her camera-phone and the officer put away the canister, saying, "Don't worry. Nobody's getting pepper-sprayed today."

Khan, a sociology major, was taken to the Fairfax County jail and charged with disorderly conduct and trespassing. While there, he says, one officer told him, "You people are the most dangerous people in the world." Another officer, he says, warned him that if he didn't behave, "They'll hang you up by your feet." Police photographs show a bruised and bloodied Khan. A campus investigation is under way into the actions of the police, the staff member and the students, but no charges have yet been brought. "Buz" Grover, the balding, gray-ponytailed computer lab staffer who jumped on Khan and pulled his arm back, looks about six-foot-six and weighs maybe 280 pounds. "I assisted the officer," he said, "but beyond saying anything else I think I should consult with the university first.... Basically, someone doesn't want to take responsibility for his actions, and I'm not inclined to help them do that."

Last semester, the counterrecruiting protest movement was just getting warmed up. New York's City College; William Paterson University in Wayne, New Jersey; San Francisco State University; and the University of California-Santa Cruz all saw confrontations that resulted in varying degrees of police and/or administrative action against counterrecruitment protesters. Though it's still early in the 2005-06 school year, the counterrecruiting movement has picked up serious steam nationwide, and is being met with angry--sometimes violent--reactions. "It's getting really ugly," says Liz Rivera Goldstein, chair of the National Network Opposing Militarization of Youth and a mother of two draft-age sons.

The same week that Khan was arrested, student protesters in Wisconsin and western Massachusetts were met with similar displays of force. Ultimately, though, it may be Holyoke Community College (HCC), located in one of Massachusetts's poorest towns, the predominantly Puerto Rican Holyoke, that has recruiters the most worried. Protests against military recruitment may not be welcomed by recruiters on campuses in Santa Cruz, San Francisco, Madison or Manhattan, but they're not unexpected. These campuses, based in deeply liberal areas, have a strong sense of community and a proud history of protest. Besides, well-educated liberals don't necessarily make the most fertile soil for recruitment. Says Holyoke sophomore Charles Peterson, "It's OK for Amherst or Hampshire College to have politics, but once working-class students start protesting, then state cops in riot gear get called in."

Community college students tend to be less affluent than their four-year peers, making them easier targets for the low-wage military. "That's why [recruiters] prey on HCC," says Peterson, 24, a student senate vice president, citing the school's large Hispanic and African-American populations. "They're everywhere on campus." Compounding their vulnerability, community colleges are less organized, for the simple reasons that the tenure of students rarely runs past two years and students commute to class instead of living on campus. Mobilizing a fleeting class of impoverished commuters would try a professional organizer's mettle--for 20-year-olds the challenge is daunting. So Army National Guard recruiters may have been a bit disturbed to see fifteen to twenty protesters from the Antiwar Coalition--a chapter of the Campus Antiwar Network--surround their table on September 29 at HCC, the same day Tariq Khan was being dragged out of the George Mason University student center.

The protest had been preannounced; state police in riot gear were waiting for them, say demonstrators. Boxes marked "gas masks" sat on the ground nearby. It was a show of force stronger than the four-year schools have seen. Accounts vary as to what exactly happened, but the chaos ensued when campus police chief Peter Mascaro grabbed a sign from a student. The college claims the sign had a wooden stick taped to it, making it inappropriate for the demonstration. The students say video footage clearly shows there was no stick. Mascaro's reaction, they say, was to the sign's admittedly provocative content: "Cops Are Hypocrites."

Peterson won't comment on what happened because of possible criminal charges, but HCC spokesperson Erica Broman claims he told the college he was trying to help the student whose sign was grabbed from falling. According to Broman, he grabbed and bruised an officer's arm. "The officer gave him pepper spray, which, of course, subdued him," Broman says. Peterson was banned from campus. A student who witnessed the pepper-spraying rejects the university's claim, as do accounts of the incident online. The student asked not to be identified. "They recognized that I was in a leadership position and attacked me when they got the opportunity," says Peterson, who is an outspoken critic of the war on campus. A week later, nearby University of Massachusetts-Amherst students jointly organized a march with their Holyoke counterparts in support of Peterson, who has since been allowed back on campus.

Peterson says he has been told that criminal charges have been filed, but he has not received official notice of them. Khan, who is married, faces a November 14 court date and is being represented by the American Civil Liberties Union. It was during his last year in the military, he says, when he was stationed at Osan Air Base in Korea, that he first became politically aware. "There were a lot of protests outside the base," he says, "and they were always chanting, 'Yankees go home!' " I wondered, Why are we here, if they don't even want us here?" He says he began reading Noam Chomsky, Howard Zinn, Emma Goldman and Alexander Berkman, and began questioning the military system. "I had always known there were a lot of jerks around, but I didn't recognize the whole system behind it, why all these people are jerks." He has since written a pamphlet based on his Air Force experiences--"3 Good Reasons Not to Join the Military."

On September 26, at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, about twenty-five student protesters were threatened with arrest as they peaceably assembled at a CIA/Marine/Air Force recruiting table during a job fair. They were told by police they were violating campus policy, says Ben Ratliffe, a senior and member of the campus Stop the War Coalition, but they wouldn't say which policy. "I'm not going to debate you on this. You have three minutes before you're all arrested," Ratliffe, a cultural anthropology major, says the officer told the group. When he and his partners reached for their handcuffs, the group ran out of the building. The students returned to similarly greet Navy recruiters on October 10, and were met by fifteen to twenty cops. "They were ready," says Ratliffe. He says they were given the same vague threat and left again. Dennis Chaptman, a school spokesperson, says the students violated section 18.06(30) of the code, which covers pretty much anything: "No person may engage in violent, abusive, indecent, profane, boisterous, unreasonably loud or otherwise disorderly conduct under circumstances in which the conduct tends to cause or provoke a disturbance, in university buildings or on university lands."

At UC-Santa Cruz last spring, student protests against the war caused recruiters to leave a job fair. With the momentum from that victory, students set up a tent city at the university's gates; one of its goals was to permanently bar recruiters from campus. Police arrested nineteen people the first night. And at San Francisco State University, two antiwar groups were sanctioned for what members described as petty, trumped-up charges that stemmed from demonstrations they held against Air Force and Army Corps of Engineers recruiters. The groups are still on probation, and had university funding pulled. According to student organizer Kristin Anderson, a junior with Students Against War, three campus leaders--Michael Hoffman, Katrina Yeaw and Pardis Esmali--are currently facing disciplinary action on similarly trumped-up, bureaucratic charges. "When it comes down to it, the university doesn't want us protesting on campus," she says. Plans are already under way to protest Marine recruiters set to hit campus on October 27.

Peterson, Khan and others say their movement won't relent until recruiters are completely banned from the nation's educational campuses. They've got a long way to go. Erica Broman says HCC is unwilling to jeopardize the $7 million it gets annually in federal dollars, which it would lose if it banned recruiters. Spokespersons from GMU, UC-Santa Cruz and Madison--all of them public, perhaps not coincidentally--expressed the same concern.

"It's not just Madison or Mason or Holyoke. It's a national trend," says Madison senior Ben Ratliffe. "They're missing their recruiting numbers. It's a massively unpopular war. They certainly don't want a movement like this to take hold."

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Torture on the Hill

Over a single week in October, the President's entire coalition suddenly seemed in danger of unraveling. There's no doubt about the political import of Republican fratricide over George W. Bush's nominating Harriet Miers to the Supreme Court, perhaps betokening the long-overdue rupture of the patronage bargain between the President and the religious right. But in global terms, the emerging chasm between Congress and the President over the Iraq War in general and war crimes in particular is of the most profound consequence--signaled by the Senate's bracing passage, by a 90-to-9 vote, of John McCain's anti-torture amendment to the defense appropriations bill.

The Senate's passage of the amendment stands as a singular legislative attempt to corral Bush into compliance with international law and human rights standards. McCain's legislation, which would prohibit the use of "cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment" by the military, bears the unmistakable moral authority of Vietnam POW McCain and Vietnam vet Senator Chuck Hagel and the strategic endorsement of more than two dozen retired senior military officers, including former Secretary of State Colin Powell and former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff John Shalikashvili. No longer can the White House pretend that for the sake of national security Congress has acquiesced in torture. The most shocking aspect of the McCain amendment is not the bill's content but the White House's threat of a veto in the face of near-unanimous Senate support. Even if Administration arm-twisting brings a challenge in the House-Senate conference committee, the overwhelming margin of the Senate vote sends an important message to the federal courts about legislative intent--and further isolates the Administration.

The Senate Republicans' bout of conscience is, of course, welcome, but why so late in the war? Explain it in part by simple politics--in particular, GOP leaders' ever more urgent need to establish an identity separate from a White House mired in scandal. But conscience is at work too, starting with an officer who witnessed the abuses and refused to remain silent. When Capt. Ian Fishback's repeated inquiries to superior officers about torture in the 82nd Airborne Division were met with evasion or thinly veiled threats, he turned to Capitol Hill; it was his discussions with Senate aides that finally goaded the Army into ordering an investigation. He also turned to Human Rights Watch, whose subsequent report demonstrates that torture in Iraq "was systematic and was known at varying levels of command" and points out that the abuses "can be traced to the Bush Administration's decision to disregard the Geneva Conventions" in the Afghan war. Credit, too, the cognitive dissonance experienced by Republicans like JAG reservist Senator Lindsey Graham, a bill co-sponsor, and McCain and Hagel, who make a point of quietly visiting veterans at Walter Reed Hospital every week.

Abuses that seemed expedient--or at least comprehensible--to many in the months after 9/11 are now properly understood even by Republicans as part of the Bush Administration's broader pattern of abuse of executive authority, visible from Iraq to Louisiana. (That's why the nomination of Timothy Flanigan--implicated in the Iraq torture memo and the Jack Abramoff lobbying scandal--for the post of deputy attorney general was abruptly withdrawn.)

McCain and his colleagues are attempting nothing less than to extricate the government from direct complicity in crimes of war. War crimes are the deepest and darkest expression of the moral degradation now permeating the White House. The McCain amendment and the President's threat to veto it lay out the crisis facing the White House and the Republicans: a crisis of law and legitimacy.

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DeLay Uses Website to Attack Prosecutor

By JOHN SOLOMON, Associated Press Writer
Saturday, October 15, 2005

(10-15) 03:05 PDT WASHINGTON, (AP) --

Stung by his recent indictment in Texas, Tom Delay is trying to turn his legal woes into a financial boon for his re-election. The former House majority leader is using his congressional campaign to distribute to voters derogatory information about the prosecutor who brought the charges against him and to solicit donations for his re-election.

"Help Tom fight back," reads one of the solicitations on the

Web site that voters are being directed to as part of an Internet-based campaign funded by DeLay's re-election committee.

Contributors, voters and others who sign up can get regular e-mails and an electronic "toolkit" from DeLay's campaign with the latest disparaging information his legal team has dug up on Texas prosecutor Ronnie Earle.

"Join thousands of conservatives across the country in the fight against liberal DA Ronnie Earle," recipients are told.

Recipients are offered a full dossier about the Democratic prosecutor and his "baseless political indictment" with subjects like:

_"Ronnie Earle's previous misuse of his office," which highlights failures in Earle's career such as his unsuccessful case against Republican Texas Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison in the 1990s.

_"Earle asks for a Do-Over," which focuses on the prosecutor's decision to seek a re-indictment of DeLay on different charges after DeLay's lawyers raised technical questions about the first indictment.

_"Coming Soon: The Ronnie Earle Movie," which highlights reports that Earle allowed a film crew to follow him during parts of the DeLay investigation.

Earle apparently hasn't been solicited by the campaign. "I haven't seen it and have no comment," the prosecutor said when reached Friday. Earle, however, has denied politics have anything to do with the prosecution.

Legal experts said DeLay's use of congressional campaign donations to attack Earle likely was permitted under campaign law, though it could lead to legal questions about whether he is trying to influence potential jurors for his trial.

"He clearly is aiming at the jury pool and aiming at voters, hoping to generate as much sympathy as he can," said Larry Noble, the government's former chief election enforcement lawyer. "And it shows DeLay never misses a beat when it comes to fundraising — no matter how dark things get."

Bruce Yannett, a former Iran-Contra prosecutor, said DeLay's campaign effort might raise questions of trying to taint the potential jury pool but the legal standard for making such a case is hard to prove.

Nonetheless, Yannett said he could not imagine President Reagan overtly using his campaign to attack prosecutors during the 1980s investigation of the Iran-Contra affair. "I would not recommend his campaign do it. It does seem a little unusual," Yannett said.

DeLay has been indicted along with several colleagues on charges that he conspired to launder illegal corporate contributions to Texas state candidates. He denies the charges.

Don McGahn, a lawyer for DeLay's campaign, said the use of the campaign for the anti-Earle effort is "perfectly legal" and has nothing to do with trying to sway jurors.

The indictment is "big news in Texas so it is obviously something the campaign should address for the voters whom it affects," McGahn said. "The intent is just for people to understand the truth. There is no other purpose here."

The truth, however, is decidedly DeLay's version on the Web site.

"Ronnie Earle is wrong on the facts. Ronnie Earle is wrong on the law," the Web site states as it analyzes the twists and turns in the case in the most favorable light to the congressman.

The Web site also gives readers tools to send a letter to newspaper editors in support of DeLay, to contact a radio talk show or to e-mail DeLay's carefully crafted "facts" to friends.

And, of course, the Web site wouldn't be complete without one of the oldest pitches in politics. "Make a contribution," it pleads.


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Rice Fails to Win Russian Support on Iran

Saturday October 15, 2005 10:01 AM

AP Photo PAR107


AP Diplomatic Writer

MOSCOW (AP) - Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice failed Saturday to persuade Russia to offer new support for a hard line on Iran's disputed nuclear program, despite making a hastily arranged trip to the Russian capital.

Rice wanted Russian cooperation as the United States and its European allies try either to draw Iran back to diplomatic talks or invoke the threat of punishment from the powerful U.N. Security Council.

Despite lengthy meetings with Russian officials, including a long session alone with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, it was clear Russia had not changed its opposition to using the Security Council.

The Iranian nuclear question can be handled through the U.N. nuclear watchdog agency, which is already monitoring nuclear activities in Iran, Lavrov told reporters afterward.

``We think that the current situation permits us to develop this issue and do everything possible within the means of this organization, without referring this issue to other organizations now,'' Lavrov said.

Rice said the Security Council ``remains an option'' if Iran does not cooperate.

``We've said all along there remains time for negotiations if Iran is prepared to negotiate in good faith,'' Rice told reporters.

The International Atomic Energy Agency last month passed a resolution warning Tehran it would be referred to the Security Council unless it allayed international fears about its nuclear program.

Russia handed the United States a subtle diplomatic victory last month when it abstained, rather than vote against that measure.

Lavrov appeared to dash U.S. hopes for a Russian ``yes'' vote when the IAEA next meets on Nov. 24, but it is not clear whether Russia would actively block the move.

Iran says its nuclear activities, some of which are carried out with Russian cooperation, are intended to produce electricity, not weapons. The United States claims Iran is hiding a bomb making project behind the shield of a legitimate energy program.

Rice also could not sway Russia on the related question of whether Iran has a right, as it insists, to enrich uranium. Enrichment is a possible step toward weapons development and the United States and European allies are determined to keep Iran from having full nuclear know-how.

Under the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, which Iran signed, ``nations have that right,'' Lavrov said.

He added that Iran must not violate the arms pact, which is intended to allow peaceful use of nuclear energy under strict controls but to stop international spread of nuclear weapons and technology.

Rice also met with Russian President Vladimir Putin before flying to Britain for further talks on Iran and other Middle East subjects. She was in Paris on Friday for similar consultations.

France, Britain and Germany have led an effort to offer economic incentives for Iran to drop the disputed portions of its nuclear program. Iran's new hard-line government walked away from talks and has resumed nuclear activities it suspended during negotiations.

The United States is expected to make a strong push to bring Iran before the U.N. Security Council. Russia and China, both allies of Iran and permanent members of the Security Council, could block economic sanctions or other tough punishment, if the case gets that far.

Iran has said it has nothing to fear from the Security Council, presumably out of confidence that Russia and China would veto a tough proposal for punishment from the United States or the Europeans.

Rice's discussions on Iran come at a sensitive time. Iran has indicated a willingness to return to negotiations, but not to drop what it calls its right to full nuclear know-how. Iran's supreme leader also may be trying to undercut the authority of Iran's new hard-line government.

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei recently strengthened the powers of Expediency Council chief Hashemi Rafsanjani, a former president who lost to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in June's elections. He recently criticized the handling of Iran's nuclear issue by Ahmadinejad's government.


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US can't explain Zawahari letter

US cannot explain suspicious Zawahri letter


Do you really wonder if anything that comes out of this administration is the truth?

Remains of Star Trek's 'Scotty' headed for space

Scotty's remains to be 'beamed up'

Late Star Trek actor's ashes will be launched

into space, the 'final frontier.'


Joy at birth of a future king

By Fiona Hudson in Copenhagen
October 16, 2005

WITH husband Frederik by her side, Australian-born Crown Princess Mary yesterday gave birth to the future king of Denmark.

The 3.5kg, 51cm baby arrived after a 10-hour labour in Copenhagen's University Hospital.
The proud father emerged from the hospital several hours later, looking tired but happy as he spoke of his new-born son, who arrived two weeks early.

"It's an indescribable feeling for me and my wife," he said.

"Of course, it is tremendous joy - it's a sort of warmth coming up from deep within you. You discover new sides of warmth and love.

"I am completely overwhelmed and slowly trying to realise what's just happened eight hours ago."

Using his hands to demonstrate the baby's size, Frederik told reporters outside the hospital his healthy new son measured about 50cm.

"He looks like any small, new-born child - he's asleep now. He doesn't know what is awaiting him."

Frederik, who was with his wife throughout the labour and cut the umbilical cord, laughingly described himself as being "a great help".

Chief doctor Morten Hedegaard said both Mary and her husband had been "brave" during the labour and birth.

Dr Hedegaard said the child was very beautiful and the parents were understandably very proud.

Frederik said he and Mary were yet to decide on a name for the baby although he is most likely to be named Christian, because Danish kings have alternately carried either that name or Frederik since 1559.

Mary is the first Australian to join a European royal family, and her child is believed to be the first European royal with Australian blood. Mary's elder sister, Jane Stephens, who lives in Hobart, said the family was excited by the birth.

"We are absolutely thrilled and delighted with the happy addition to our family," she said.

At noon, Copenhagen erupted in a cacophony of sound as cannons rang out across the water.

In the forecourt of the Queen's palace, uniformed guards trilled their way along the cobblestones.

An audience of about 500 broke into applause at the musical performance celebrating the birth of their future king.

Car horns tooted and bells rang out across the city. Children sat atop their parents' shoulders, waving Danish flags and laughing with joy.

Local mother Connie Ahm was at the palace with her two-year-old daughter to take in the spectacle.

"The guns, the royalty, the traditions ... it's just wonderful," Ms Ahm said.

Earlier, several hundred people had gathered outside Frederik and Mary's city apartment. Others stopped briefly to drop off flowers and gifts.

Youngsters Anna-Sophie Svendsen, nine, and Sabine Petersen, eight, carried a single red rose each for the new arrival.

"It's very exciting," Anna-Sophie said. "I want to be a princess too."

At Amalienborg Palace, crowds gathered with flags and gifts, although many admitted being caught unawares by the royal heir's early arrival.

"It was so soon and so quick," Edith Black said. "We didn't expect it yet."

The maternity ward at University Hospital had been cleared of patients earlier in the week in readiness for the princess.

A special "royal birthing suite" had been created, with two rooms reserved for Mary.

She had an elite medical team, including two doctors and two midwives, to assist with the delivery.

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Art For Boys (And McLesbians)


Next move in CIA leak investigation is up to Fitzgerald

Link Here
9:38 a.m. October 15, 2005

WASHINGTON – Now the waiting begins. With the criminal investigation into who leaked the identity of a covert CIA officer apparently nearing an end, Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald could seek indictments of top White House aides or quietly close up shop.

The grand jury that heard several hours of testimony Friday from President Bush's chief political adviser, Karl Rove, is set to expire Oct. 28. Rove's lawyer said Fitzgerald has "affirmed that he has made no decision concerning charges."

Even if Fitzgerald decides not to prosecute anyone, that may not be the end of the matter: The prosecutor could write a final report detailing his investigation. But unlike past special prosecutors, such as Ken Starr in the Monica Lewinsky affair, who operated under the now-expired independent counsel law, Fitzgerald is not required to produce a public report.

Nevertheless, some Democrats on Capitol Hill are pressing him to do so.

"Such a report would ensure Congress and the American people that the investigation of this serious matter has been undertaken with the utmost diligence and has been free of partisan, political influence," wrote Reps. Jane Harman of California, John Conyers of Michigan, Rush Holt of New Jersey and Tom Lantos of California. Fitzgerald has never addressed whether he will make a public report.

At the White House, the waiting has been filled with a string of no comments about Rove and Vice President Dick Cheney's chief of staff, I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, who both were involved in conversations with reporters about covert CIA officer Valerie Plame in 2003, according to evidence that has emerged over the past three months.

Plame's husband is Bush administration critic Joseph Wilson, who became a focus of White House attention when he suggested publicly that intelligence had been twisted before the war to exaggerate the threat that Iraq might be working on nuclear weapons.

All White House spokesman Scott McClellan would say Friday is that his statements in the summer that Rove retained the president's confidence remain true. However, McClellan declined repeatedly to utter words of confidence outright.

"Karl continues to do his duties as deputy chief of staff and senior adviser to the president," McClellan said. "What I said previously still stands."

Prosecutors had warned Rove before his latest grand jury appearance that there is no guarantee he will not be indicted.

Rove spent about four and a half hours inside the federal courthouse, and left without commenting to reporters.

Fitzgerald "has not advised Mr. Rove that he is a target of the investigation and affirmed that he has made no decision concerning charges," Rove's lawyer, Robert D. Luskin, said in a statement. "The special counsel has indicated that he does not anticipate the need for Mr. Rove's further cooperation."

New York Times reporter Judith Miller testified twice in recent days to the same grand jury as Rove. Miller had three conversations with Libby in June and July 2003 regarding Wilson and Plame.

Cheney on Friday was asked about Libby's earlier grand jury testimony and Libby's conversations with Miller.

"I'm simply not at liberty to discuss the issue, I understand you've got to ask those questions but it is an ongoing investigation and we're under instructions not to discuss the matter," Cheney told Fox News Channel.

McClellan told reporters, "The president made it very clear, we're not going to comment on an ongoing investigation. We're aware of all those things. But we've got a lot of work to do and that's where we're focused."

Wilson's public criticism of the Bush administration starting July 6, 2003, came as the U.S. military engaged in an unsuccessful search for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. The existence of such weapons was the primary reason the administration gave to justify going to war.

Eight days after Wilson made his allegations, columnist Robert Novak identified Wilson's wife as a CIA operative, saying she had suggested her husband for a mission to Africa for the agency.

Wilson said his trip to Niger on behalf of the CIA discredited a report that Iraq had bought uranium yellowcake, which can be used in nuclear weapons.

Novak said his sources were two senior administration officials. Rove spoke to Novak about Wilson's wife and is apparently one of Novak's sources. The other is still a public mystery. Novak is believed to have cooperated with Fitzgerald's investigation, though he has declined to comment.



Why in the hell are we in Iraq again...???




'Millions More' March On D.C.

(CBS/AP) Shane Barge watched the Million Man March on television from a hospital bed, under a doctor's care for alcoholism and feeling the burden of not being a father to his two children.

"It showed me how much of a detriment I was to our race and what I was doing to my family," Barge, 45, of Richmond, Va., said Saturday as he and thousands of others gathered at the National Mall for the 10th anniversary commemoration event, the Millions More Movement.

In 1995, the Million Man March and its message urging black men to take responsibility for improving their families and communities spurred Barge to give up drinking and renew his bonds with his children. "I was grateful to them for putting that together and letting me see what I was," he said.

Women, whites and other minorities had not been invited back then, but men and women of all ethnicities were welcome to the new gathering, which intends to build on those principles and push people to act for change locally and nationally. In a last-minute addition to the program, a representative from a black gay group also spoke to the gathering. >>>>cont

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My Four Hours Testifying in the Federal Grand Jury Room

Published: October 16, 2005

In July 2003, Joseph C. Wilson IV, a former ambassador, created a firestorm by publishing an essay in The New York Times that accused the Bush administration of using faulty intelligence to justify the war in Iraq. The administration, he charged, ignored findings of a secret mission he had undertaken for the Central Intelligence Agency - findings, he said, that undermined claims that Iraq was seeking uranium for a nuclear bomb

It was the first time Mr. Wilson had gone public with his criticisms of the White House. Yet he had already become a focus of significant scrutiny at the highest levels of the Bush administration.

Almost two weeks earlier, in an interview with me on June 23, Vice President Dick Cheney's chief of staff, I. Lewis Libby, discussed Mr. Wilson's activities and placed blame for intelligence failures on the C.I.A. In later conversations with me, on July 8 and July 12, Mr. Libby, who is Mr. Cheney's top aide, played down the importance of Mr. Wilson's mission and questioned his performance.

My notes indicate that well before Mr. Wilson published his critique, Mr. Libby told me that Mr. Wilson's wife may have worked on unconventional weapons at the C.I.A.

My notes do not show that Mr. Libby identified Mr. Wilson's wife by name. Nor do they show that he described Valerie Wilson as a covert agent or "operative," as the conservative columnist Robert D. Novak first described her in a syndicated column published on July 14, 2003. (Mr. Novak used her maiden name, Valerie Plame.)

This is what I told a federal grand jury and the special counsel investigating whether administration officials committed a crime by leaking Ms. Plame's identity and the nature of her job to reporters.

During my testimony on Sept. 30 and Oct. 12, the special counsel, Patrick J. Fitzgerald, asked me whether Mr. Libby had shared classified information with me during our several encounters before Mr. Novak's article. He also asked whether I thought Mr. Libby had tried to shape my testimony through a letter he sent to me in jail last month. And Mr. Fitzgerald asked whether Mr. Cheney had known what his chief aide was doing and saying.

My interview notes show that Mr. Libby sought from the beginning, before Mr. Wilson's name became public, to insulate his boss from Mr. Wilson's charges. According to my notes, he told me at our June meeting that Mr. Cheney did not know of Mr. Wilson, much less know that Mr. Wilson had traveled to Niger, in West Africa, to verify reports that Iraq was seeking to acquire uranium for a weapons program.

As I told the grand jury, I recalled Mr. Libby's frustration and anger about what he called "selective leaking" by the C.I.A. and other agencies to distance themselves from what he recalled as their unequivocal prewar intelligence assessments. The selective leaks trying to shift blame to the White House, he told me, were part of a "perverted war" over the war in Iraq. I testified about these conversations after spending 85 days in jail for refusing to cooperate with the grand jury inquiry. Having been summoned to testify before the grand jury, I went to jail instead, to protect my source - Mr. Libby - because he had not communicated to me his personal and voluntary permission to speak.

At the behest of President Bush and Mr. Fitzgerald, Mr. Libby had signed a blanket form waiver, which his lawyer signaled to my counsel was not really voluntary, even though Mr. Libby's lawyer also said it had enabled other reporters to cooperate with the grand jury. But I believed that nothing short of a personal letter and a telephone call would allow me to assess whether Mr. Libby truly wished to free me from the pledge of confidentiality I had given him. The letter and the telephone call came last month.

Equally central to my decision was Mr. Fitzgerald, the prosecutor. He had declined to confine his questioning to the subject of Mr. Libby. This meant I would have been unable to protect other confidential sources who had provided information - unrelated to Mr. Wilson or his wife - for articles published in The Times. Last month, Mr. Fitzgerald agreed to limit his questioning.

Without both agreements, I would not have testified and would still be in jail.

I testified in Washington twice - most recently last Wednesday after finding a notebook in my office at The Times that contained my first interview with Mr. Libby. Mr. Fitzgerald told the grand jury that I was testifying as a witness and not as a subject or target of his inquiry.

This account is based on what I remember of my meetings with Mr. Fitzgerald and my testimony before the grand jury. I testified for almost four hours, much of that time taken by Mr. Fitzgerald asking me to decipher and explain my notes of my interviews with Mr. Libby, which I had provided to him.


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'NY Times' Long-Awaited Judith Miller Story Appears, Raises Serious Questions, Reveals Newsroom Regrets

By Greg Mtichell

Published: October 15, 2005 4:25 PM ET

NEW YORK Shortly after 4:00 pm on Saturday, The New York Times delivered its long-promised article probe of Judith Miler's involvement in the Plame case. It reveals many new details about her experience--and dissent at the newspaper about her role and the paper's handling of her.

Its dramatic lead reveals that in the same notebook that she belatedly turned over to the federal prosecutor last month, chronicling her July 8, 2003, interview with I. Lewis Libby, she wrote the name "Valerie Flame." She surely meant Valerie Plame but when she testified for a second time in the case this week, she could not recall who mentioned that name to her, the Times said. The said she "didn't think" she heard it from Libby, a longtime friend and source.

The Times' article is accompanied by Miller's own first-person account of her grand jury testimony. In it, among other things, she admits, that the federal prosecutor "asked if I could recall discussing the Wilson-Plame connection with other sources. I said I had, though I could not recall any by name or when those conversations occurred."

In this memoir, Miller claims, in regard to the "Valerie Flame" notation, that she testified "I simply could not recall where that came from, when I wrote it or why the name was misspelled."

But her notes from her earlier talk with Libby, on June 23, 2003--belatedly turned over to the prosecutor last week--also "leave open the possibility" that Libby told her that former Ambassador Joseph Wilson's wife worked at the CIA, though perhaps not using the name "Plame."

Somewhat buried in the article is this note: "In two interviews, Ms. Miller generally would not discuss her interactions with editors, elaborate on the written accounts of her grand jury testimony or allow reporters to review her notes." Thus, the article appears to be less than the "full accounting" with full Miller cooperation that the editors promised.

Just as surprising, the article reveals that the Times' publisher, Arthur Sulzberger, and executive editor, Bill Keller, did not review her notes. Keller said he learned about the "Valerie Flame" notation only this month. Sulzberger knew nothing about it until told by his reporters on Thursday.

Meanwhile, newsroom leaders expressed frustration about the Times' coverage (or lack of) during the entire ordeal. Asked what she regretted about the paper's coverage, Jill Abramson, a managing editor, said: "The entire thing."

The main Times story today says that Miller was a "divisive figure" in the newsroom and a "few colleagues refused to work with her."

Doug Frantz, former chief investigations editor at the paper, said that Miller called herself "Miss Run Amok," meaning, she said, "I can do whatever I want."

During the July 8, 2003, talk with Libby, he told her that Plame worked on weapons intelligence and arms control, and Miller allegedly took this to mean that she was not covert.

She talked to Libby again on the phone four days later, and the CIA agent's name shows up in her notes yet again, with her married name this time, "Valerie Wilson." Miller had been by then called other sources about Plame, but she would not talk about them with the Times.

Two days after her third chat with Libby, Robert Novak exposed Plame.

In her first-person account today, Miller writes that when asked by the prosecutor what she thought about the Robert Novak column which outed Plame as a CIA agent, "I told the grand jury I was annoyed at having been beaten on a story."

For the first time this clearly, Miller, in today's article, admits, "WMD--I got it totally wrong," but the goes on to say that "all" of the other journalists, and experts and analysts, also were wrong. "I did the best job I could," she said.

The article reveals, also for the first time, that Keller took her off Iraq and weapons issues after he became editor in July 2003. Nevertheless, he admits, that "she kept drifting on her own back into the national security realm," making one wonder who was in charge of her.

Another mystery the article may solve: Critics have long suggested that Miller was not even working on a story about the Joseph Wilson trip to Niger when she talked to Libby and others in 2003. But today's story reveals that she had been assigned to write a story about the failure to find WMDs in Iraq, but this was her beat so it's hard to understand why she would need an assignment. In any case, in talking to Libby on June 23, 2003, he wanted to talk about Wilson.

[[more to come]]

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Miller Story Breaks WIDE Open

Lotta Goodies...




And Heres The Kicker....

Miller Can't Recall Who Gave

Agent's Name

By PETE YOST, Associated Press Writer
Link here

WASHINGTON - Notes by the New York Times' Judith Miller that were turned over in a criminal investigation contain the name of a covert CIA officer, but the reporter has told prosecutors she cannot recall who disclosed the name, the newspaper reported Saturday.

The prosecutor in the case asked Miller in recent days to explain how Valerie Plame — misspelled in those notes as "Valerie Flame" — appeared in the same notebook the reporter used in interviewing her confidential source, Vice President Dick Cheney's chief of staff, according to the Times.

The prosecutor in the case asked Miller in recent days to explain how Valerie Plame — misspelled in those notes as "Valerie Flame" — appeared in the same notebook the reporter used in interviewing her confidential source, Vice President Dick Cheney's chief of staff, according to the Times.

In response to questioning by Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald, Miller replied that she "didn't think" she heard Plame's name from Cheney's aide, I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby.

"I said I believed the information came

from another source, whom I could not

recall," Miller wrote, recounting her testimony for an article that the newspaper posted on its Web site Saturday afternoon.

"Valerie Flame" actually was the name in the notebook, and the Times said Miller should have written Valerie Plame.

--HOLY SHIT Batman...... That IS news.--

The Miller Case: From a Name on a Pad to Jail, and Back

Published: October 16, 2005

In a notebook belonging to Judith Miller, a reporter for The New York Times, amid notations about Iraq and nuclear weapons, appear two small words: "Valerie Flame."

Ms. Miller should have written Valerie Plame. That name is at the core of a federal grand jury investigation that has reached deep into the White House. At issue is whether Bush administration officials leaked the identity of Ms. Plame, an undercover C.I.A. operative, to reporters as part of an effort to blunt criticism of the president's justification for the war in Iraq.

Ms. Miller spent 85 days in jail for refusing to testify and reveal her confidential source, then relented. On Sept. 30, she told the grand jury that her source was I. Lewis Libby, the vice president's chief of staff. But she said he did not reveal Ms. Plame's name.

And when the prosecutor in the case asked her to explain how "Valerie Flame" appeared in the same notebook she used in interviewing Mr. Libby, Ms. Miller said she "didn't think" she heard it from him. "I said I believed the information came from another source, whom I could not recall," she wrote on Friday, recounting her testimony for an article that appears today.

Whether Ms. Miller's testimony will prove valuable to the prosecution remains unclear, as do its ramifications for press freedom. Yet an examination of Ms. Miller's decision not to testify, and then to do so, offers fresh information about her role in the investigation and how The New York Times turned her case into a cause.

The grand jury investigation centers on whether administration officials leaked the identity of Ms. Plame, whose husband, a former diplomat named Joseph C. Wilson IV, became a public critic of the Iraq war in July 2003. But Ms. Miller said Mr. Libby first raised questions about the diplomat in an interview with her that June, an account suggesting that Mr. Wilson was on the White House's radar before he went public with his criticisms.

Once Ms. Miller was issued a subpoena in August 2004 to testify about her conversations with Mr. Libby, she and The Times vowed to fight it. Behind the scenes, however, her lawyer made inquiries to see if Mr. Libby would release her from their confidentiality agreement. Ms. Miller said she decided not to testify in part because she thought that Mr. Libby's lawyer might be signaling to keep her quiet unless she would exonerate his client. The lawyer denies it, and Mr. Libby did not respond to requests for an interview.

As Ms. Miller, 57, remained resolute and moved closer to going to jail for her silence, the leadership of The Times stood squarely behind her.

"She'd given her pledge of confidentiality," said Arthur Sulzberger Jr., the publisher. "She was prepared to honor that. We were going to support her."

But Mr. Sulzberger and the paper's executive editor, Bill Keller, knew few details about Ms. Miller's conversations with her confidential source other than his name. They did not review Ms. Miller's notes. Mr. Keller said he learned about the "Valerie Flame" notation only this month. Mr. Sulzberger was told about it by Times reporters on Thursday.

Interviews show that the paper's leadership, in taking what they considered to be a principled stand, ultimately left the major decisions in the case up to Ms. Miller, an intrepid reporter whom editors found hard to control.

"This car had her hand on the wheel because she was the one at risk," Mr. Sulzberger said.

Once Ms. Miller was jailed, her lawyers were in open conflict about whether she should stay there. She had refused to reopen communications with Mr. Libby for a year, saying she did not want to pressure a source into waiving his confidentiality. But in the end, saying "I owed it to myself" after two months of jail, she had her lawyer reach out to Mr. Libby. This time, hearing directly from her source, she accepted his permission and was set free.

"We have everything to be proud of and nothing to apologize for," Ms. Miller said in the interview Friday.

Neither The Times nor its cause has emerged unbruised. Three courts, including the Supreme Court, declined to back Ms. Miller. Critics said The Times was protecting not a whistle-blower but an administration campaign intended to squelch dissent. The Times's coverage of itself was under assault: While the editorial page had crusaded on Ms. Miller's behalf, the news department had more than once been scooped on the paper's own story, even including the news of Ms. Miller's release from jail.

Asked what she regretted about The Times's handling of the matter, Jill Abramson, a managing editor, said: "The entire thing."

A Divisive Newsroom Figure


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Friday, October 14, 2005 - FreeMarketNews.com

It's happened again - allied troops being caught with bombs. This time it is the Americans captured in the act of setting off a car bomb in Baghdad. Last time, as FMNN reported only weeks ago, two British soldiers, apparently working for British intelligence, were caught near Baghdad similarly equipped.

According to the Mirror-World, "A number of Iraqis apprehended two Americans disguised in Arab dress as they tried to blow up a booby-trapped car in the middle of a residential area in western Baghdad on Tuesday. … Residents of western Baghdad's al-Ghazaliyah district [said] the people had apprehended the Americans as they left their Caprice car near a residential neighborhood in al-Ghazaliyah on Tuesday afternoon. Local people found they looked suspicious so they detained the men before they could get away. That was when they discovered that they were Americans and called the … police." Just as in the British incident, the Iraq police arrived at approximately the same time as allied military forces - and the two men were removed from Iraq custody and wisked away before any questioning could take place.

The incidents are said to be fueling both puzzlement and animosity among Iraqis. Yet the motivation behind such activities remains formally unknown since in both cases the soldiers involved have been removed with an efficiency that has quashed any attempts at an interrogation.

staff reports - Free-Market News Network

Congratulations Australia!!! ... Dammit georgie

Australia Takes the

Lead over the U.S.

Link Here

The Chronicle of Higher Education has an important story: Australia has become the destination of choice for fee-paying college students. That's surprising news given that the United States has traditionally held this spot by a wide margin, and did so up until the last such survey, five years ago.

Why does this matter?

Several reasons.

First, it's obviously a blow to American universities, which make a lot of money off foreign students.

Second, the United States benefits immensely from the presence of foreign students. Many of them stay here and add their talents and diversity to the workforce and culture of the country. The ones who return home carry with them a greater understanding of the United States that promotes more harmonious international relations.

And third, this shift reflects how the rest of the world views the United States. It's clearly no coincidence that this student exodus has occurred during the unilateralist presidency of George W. Bush and the war in Iraq. The rest of the world doesn't like us very much now, and that's just another example of how a war that was supposed to make us safer has actually weakened our international position.

Art For Girls


A Very Clear Summation Of What The Hell Happened To Us

Bush & Media:

Normalizing the

By Robert Parry
September 21, 2005
Link Here

What’s been so surprising about the U.S. news media’s coverage of George W. Bush’s Katrina debacle is that leading journalists finally have broken with a five-year pattern of protecting both Bush and his presidency.

Until Hurricane Katrina ravaged New Orleans – highlighting Bush’s weakness as a crisis manager, his skewed budget priorities and cronyism at key federal agencies – the national press corps had been held in sway by a mix of White House spinning and the bullying of the occasional critic.

From Election 2000 to the 9/11 terror attacks to the invasion of Iraq, the press corps often acted as if its principal duty to the nation was to normalize Bush’s often abnormal behavior, like the enabling family of a drug addict insisting nothing is wrong. While traditionally journalists play up the unusual, in Bush’s case, the media did the opposite.

This pattern can be traced back to Campaign 2000 when Al Gore became a favorite whipping boy of the national press corps, apparently still annoyed by Bill Clinton’s survival of the impeachment battles of 1998-99.

As a Consortiumnews.com article on Oct. 16, 2000, noted, “the national news media have altered the course of Campaign 2000 – perhaps decisively – by applying two starkly different standards for judging how Texas Gov. George W. Bush and his running mate, Dick Cheney, handle the truth versus how Vice President Al Gore does.

“Bush and Cheney have gotten almost a free pass. They have been allowed to utter misleading statements and even outright falsehoods with little or no notice. By contrast, Gore’s comments have been fly-specked and every inconsistency trumpeted to support the media’s ‘theme’ – reinforced by Republicans – that Gore is an inveterate liar.” [For details, see “Protecting Bush-Cheney.”]

Recount Battle

This media dynamic carried through Election 2000’s recount battle as the national press corps treated Bush as the rightful claimant to the White House even though he lost the national popular vote by more than a half million ballots and was not even the choice of a plurality of voters in the pivotal state of Florida.

During the recount, it was as if Bush could do almost anything without being held accountable by the U.S. news media. Even when Bush dispatched out-of-state thugs to intimidate vote counters in Miami, there was only limited reporting and little outrage.

Bush appeared so confident about his media immunity that his campaign paid for a post-riot celebration that featured Wayne Newton crooning “Danke Schoen” and Bush and Cheney placing a thank-you conference call to the rioters. [See Consortiumnews.com’s “W’s Triumph of the Will” or “Bush’s Conspiracy to Riot.”]

As the recount battle continued, many in the news media began to treat the notion that the votes should be counted and the candidate with the most should be declared the winner as some partisan Democratic idea. Several prominent journalists openly expressed their preference for Bush regardless of what the voters may have wanted.

Washington Post columnist Richard Cohen spoke for many colleagues when he declared that “given the present bitterness, given the angry irresponsible charges being hurled by both camps, the nation will be in dire need of a conciliator, a likable guy who will make things better and not worse. That man is not Al Gore. That man is George W. Bush.”

Cohen and other Washington journalists exhaled a collective sigh of relief when five Republicans on the U.S. Supreme Court issued an unprecedented ruling preventing a statewide recount in Florida, ending the long standoff and effectively handing the presidency to Bush.

Rather than recognizing that the Bush campaign had engineered what had the earmarks of a political coup d’etat (overturning the will of the American voters), the prevailing media view was that the nation must now put the divisive election in the past and unite behind the new leader.

The media started handling Bush’s fragile legitimacy like one might hold a delicate figurine.

In marked contrast to the taunting pre-Inauguration reporting directed at President-elect Bill Clinton in December 1992 and January 1993 – when he was seen as a bumpkin interloper from Arkansas – the elite Washington media fairly radiated with enthusiasm about the supposed “return of the adults” with George W. Bush in 2001.

The suppression of unpleasant images from the Bush transition was so thorough that three years later, when Americans watched Michael Moore’s “Fahrenheit 9/11,” many were stunned to see the dramatic challenge to Bush’s election by the Congressional Black Caucus as well as scenes of angry demonstrators disrupting Bush’s Inaugural parade.

Watergate Legacy

The longer-term explanation for the media’s kid-glove treatment of George W. Bush can be found in the strategy developed by conservatives after Richard Nixon’s ouster over Watergate and the U.S. defeat in Vietnam – both of which the Right blamed on “liberals” in the news media.

The central element of that three-decade-old conservative strategy was to build a pro-
Republican media infrastructure while also financing attack groups that would neutralize mainstream journalists who challenged the Right’s positions. [For details, see Robert Parry’s Secrecy & Privilege: Rise of the Bush Dynasty from Watergate to Iraq.]

By 2001, this Republican media machine had grown into a giant Wurlitzer of magazines, newspapers, commentators, book publishing, radio talk shows, television networks and Internet sites. It rivaled the influence of the mainstream or corporate media, where star journalists grew nervous about the risks to their careers if they got labeled “liberal.”

So, with the Republicans back in the White House in 2001, the media tendency was to praise Bush for “exceeding expectations” or to poke fun at his critics for “consistently underestimating” the President.

There were only a handful of mainstream sources persistently voicing skepticism about Bush and his policies, most notably economist Paul Krugman in the New York Times.

This Bush-friendly media dynamic gained powerful momentum after the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks on New York and Washington. The mass slaughter on U.S. soil generated a rally-‘round-the-President consensus, with conservatives shouting down the few remaining vocal Bush critics as traitors who were aiding and abetting the enemy.

The mainstream press corps joined in wrapping Bush in this protective P.R. cocoon, censoring out information that might raise public doubts about his leadership.

Because of that, millions of Americans also were shocked by the scene in “Fahrenheit 9/11” showing Bush sitting frozen for seven minutes in a second-grade classroom, after being told by chief of staff Andrew Card that a second plane had struck the World Trade Center and that “the nation is under attack.”

Under normal press rules, the commander in chief’s strange – almost disqualifying – behavior would have been a major news story. Certainly, the seven-minute freeze was known to members of the news media since reporters were standing in the Florida classroom as Bush continued reading “My Pet Goat.”

Instead, the excruciating seven-minute image of Bush looking like a deer in the headlights was shielded from the American people. His later stage-managed bravado – vowing revenge and pledging to get Osama bin-Laden “dead or alive” – was spotlighted.

Even today, the New York Times and other major news outlets describe the iconic scene of Bush and Sept. 11 as occurring three days after the attacks when Bush appeared with a bullhorn at Ground Zero. But for many Americans, the true iconic image of Bush on that tragic day was the scene of him sitting in the classroom with a children’s book in his lap.

Recount Results

Another early casualty of the media’s post-Sept. 11 protection of George W. Bush was the unofficial Florida recount that major news organizations had undertaken after the Supreme Court’s ruling, with the goal of judging the actual choice of the voters.

When the recount report was released two months after Sept. 11, the obvious news “lede” – that Gore would have won if all the legally cast votes were counted – was hidden by news executives who focused instead on how Bush might still have won if, hypothetically, some of the legal ballots had been excluded.

Rather than report the shocking result – that the wrong person was in the White House – most news organizations chose to normalize the abnormal with reassuring, albeit misleading, articles declaring that Bush was the rightful winner. The thinking seemed to be that no good would come from undermining the sitting President at a time of crisis. [For details, see Consortiumnews.com’s “So Bush Did Steal the White House" or “Explaining the Bush Cocoon.”]

While the news executives may have congratulated themselves for their patriotic spinning of the recount results, they were, on another level, violating journalistic ethics, which put telling the truth above achieving some pleasant political outcome.

The mis-reporting of the recount results also was not just an innocent white lie without consequence. By publishing stories that falsely enshrined Bush as the legitimate winner of Election 2000, the news executives strengthened Bush’s case for a second term in 2004 and weakened Gore’s argument for a rematch.

Indeed, still hounded in 2003 by pro-Bush activists shouting “Sore Loserman,” Gore decided not to challenge Bush, eliminating the person whom many Democrats saw as their strongest candidate in 2004.

The Iraq War

The U.S. media’s post-Sept. 11 protection of Bush also influenced his sense of invulnerability as he lurched toward a military confrontation in Iraq.

To the national press, this hailing of Bush’s war-time leadership may have been meant as hopeful encouragement to the President. It’s also possible that many well-paid journalists knew the career danger of probing too deeply into Bush’s weaknesses.

Nevertheless, the fawning coverage did more than just boost Bush’s spirits. It seems to have fed an egotism that caused Bush to discard any self-doubts.

The swelling of Bush’s head was apparent in his interview for Bob Woodward’s Bush at War, .which took a largely flattering look at Bush’s “gut” decision-making but also reported some disturbing attitudes within the White House.

“I am the commander, see,” Bush told Woodward. “I do not need to explain why I say things. That’s the interesting thing about being the President. Maybe somebody needs to explain to me why they need to say something, but I don't feel like I owe anybody an explanation.”

In The Right Man, former White House speechwriter David Frum followed a similar pattern of praising Bush’s supposed leadership skills, while acknowledging Bush’s autocratic and anti-intellectual behavior.

Bush is “impatient and quick to anger; sometimes glib, even dogmatic; often uncurious and as a result ill informed; more conventional in his thinking than a leader probably should be,” Frum wrote.

Bush would describe environmentalists as “green-green lima beans” and built a White House staff with a “dearth of really high-powered brains,” Frum wrote. “One seldom heard an unexpected thought in the Bush White House or met someone who possessed unusual knowledge.”

By comparison the TV show, “The West Wing,” with its dialogue imbued with sophisticated political thinking “might as well have been set aboard a Klingon starship for all that it resembled life inside the Bush White House,” Frum said.

Still, these warning signs were largely ignored as the media’s protect-Bush dynamic carried over into his case for war with Iraq.

Many major news organizations, including the Washington Post and the New York Times, published front-page articles accepting – or even promoting – Bush’s claims about Iraqi weapons of mass destruction while shoving the infrequent story expressing skepticism onto the inside pages.

“We were so focused on trying to figure out what the administration was doing that we were not giving the same play to people who said it wouldn’t be a good idea to go to war and were questioning the administration's rationale,” the Post’s Executive Editor Leonard Downie Jr. said in a retrospective on the WMD controversy.

“Not enough of those stories were put on the front page,” Downie said. “That was a mistake on my part.” [Washington Post, Aug. 12, 2004]

Still, Downie and other news executives have argued that it is unlikely that more critical press coverage would have deterred Bush’s determined march toward war.

But the imbalanced news coverage was not without its effects, either. The major media’s broad acceptance of Iraq’s WMD threat contributed to the marginalizing of skeptics and anti-war protesters.

Journalistic Fear

It also appears that some journalists shied away from reporting aggressively about the holes in Bush’s WMD case out of fear that caches of forbidden Iraqi weapons might later be discovered. In that case, anyone who had doubted Bush’s claims would surely be held up to scorn by the powerful conservative news media.

So, there was almost certainly a degree of self-interest – or self-protection – in the media’s acquiescence to the case for war with Iraq.

Over the past two years, the failure to find WMD and the emergence of a fierce Iraqi resistance have caused chagrin within many editorial offices. There also is a sense of guilt about the rising death toll in Iraq.

Slowly, it has dawned on more and more journalists that they fell down on their job of keeping the American people informed. By trying to look patriotic and supportive of the President, journalists had failed their real test of patriotism, telling the American the truth as fairly and fully as possible.

So, when Hurricane Katrina’s flood waters struck the Gulf Coast, not only the New Orleans levees were prepared to break. The dams protecting George W. Bush from press criticism were cracking, too.

Plus, this time when Bush again hesitated in the face of a national crisis, leading newscasters, such as NBC’s Brian Williams and CNN’s Anderson Cooper, were on scene to witness the debacle.

For once, the White House and its allies in the conservative news media couldn’t spin the reality.

I am the spouse of a military recruiter.

From: Jocelyn
Date: Mon, 23 May 2005 15:32:49
To: soldiers@michaelmoore.com
Subject: Army Recruiting

I am at a loss when it comes to finding help. I just stumbled upon this website and thought hey--it cant hurt. I am the spouse of a military recruiter. Army to be exact. I have been writing members of congress and even the President himself and I am not finding help or support. My husband who served in Iraq was selected for recruiting. This life is not his choice. We have been relocated to a city where we have been stripped of all our military customs, commissary and PX and housing, and there is minimal compensation. I do not see my husband until Sundays. He is so exhausted from day to day that I fear something is going to happen to him. The hours are horrid, the pressure on him is outrageous and the mental change that he is going through is unacceptable!!! Iraq changed him to begin with and now the recruiting assignment is changing him even more. We are completely broke living paycheck to paycheck, which we have never done. We are in a town that IS NOT affordable for a military member. We have no family time and the kids and myself are suffering. We have no hope of owning a home anytime in the near future and that is ever if my husband doesn't enter a mental facility. I started writing people long before the whole recruiting scandal. I am yet to find a report that shows how much pure HELL the military recruiter goes through himself. Nothing has been shown on how much the family that is behind him suffers either. The hours are so long and tiring that recently there was an incident where a recruiter was in accident because of lack of sleep. Luckily he or anyone else was not injured but what about next time? I don't want that to be my husband!!! I have not spoke to a spouse yet that is happy with their husbands lifestyle as a recruiter. I just want people to hear a different side to the story. Not to dismiss what the recruiters are doing wrong but to help reform recruiting in general so they don't have to be lying scum. My husband is a wonderful soldier that would rather go back to Iraq than be here recruiting. I am so outraged and at a loss. I am doing my best to be there for my husband but I am ready to give up. He doesn't have a choice in this matter. In fact he was forced to either reenlist indefinitely before this assignment or get out of the military and never be able to enlist again. And flush that 13 years that he has giving to this country down the drain. I am sick of this scandal, I am sick of those head honchos acting like they didn't know what the recruiters were doing when they are the ones putting the pressure on the soldiers to get the contracts. I don't appreciate it AT ALL! The recruiters cannot even speak up in fear of punishment. Even us as spouses should keep our mouths shut in fear that it will be taken out on our spouse. I will not keep my mouth shut. The country needs to know!!!

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Army Pressed on Handling of Casualties

By Gretchen Ruethling / New York Times

CHICAGO, Oct. 12 - Gay Eisenhauer learned about the death of her son in Iraq from an Army officer who read the news to her from a piece of paper at her house. Mrs. Eisenhauer and her husband, who live in Pinckneyville, Ill., later picked up their son's body in the cargo bay at Lambert-St. Louis International Airport, surrounded by boxes, luggage and airport employees.

"It was a very tough place to meet your son," said Mrs. Eisenhauer, the mother of Pfc. Wyatt Eisenhauer, 26, who was killed by an explosive device in May. She said the Army casualty officer who delivered the news was impersonal. "When we bring them home and we call them heroes, let's treat them like heroes all the way," she said.

Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich and Lt. Gov. Pat Quinn of Illinois, both Democrats, met Wednesday with the Eisenhauers and the mother of another dead soldier who complained about what they considered insensitive treatment by the Army.

Mr. Blagojevich said that in a separate meeting Wednesday, Francis J. Harvey, the secretary of the Army, told him and Mr. Quinn that the Army would review its casualty assistance procedures and provide training where needed. Mr. Harvey also said the Army would establish a phone line for families that were unsatisfied with their treatment, according to the governor.

"This is not designed to be pointing fingers of blame," said Mr. Quinn. "Mistakes have been made, and they need to be corrected immediately."

The other parent in the meeting, Joan Neal of Libertyville, Ill., said she had waited more than eight months to receive the belongings of her son, Spc. Wesley Wells, 21, and a year to receive a report on the circumstances of his death in Afghanistan in September 2004. He was killed by crossfire at an observation post. "To get the formal briefing of his death the day before the anniversary of his death doesn't say much on respect to the families," she said.

Paul Boyce, a spokesman for the Army, said Mr. Harvey called for the review last month. Mr. Boyce said that the Army encourages airports to be respectful when soldiers' coffins arrive and that officers are not trying to be insensitive if they use notes when notifying families of a death.

"There are times when the individual is so dedicated to make sure he shares everything he or she knows and relay it to the family that he will refer to notes," Mr. Boyce said.

A family may have to wait for a death investigation to be completed before they get information, he said.

Eric Schuller, a senior policy advisor for Mr. Quinn, said the state has received complaints of insensitivity and lack of communication from at least a dozen families.

Mr. Schuller said Army protocol tells officers not to read from a script when notifying families of deaths. In Mrs. Eisenhauer's case, it was the officer's first visit to a family, he said.

Judith C. Young, national president of American Gold Star Mothers, Inc., an organization for women whose children died in the military, said such problems were uncommon and often stemmed from a lack of training. "Not everyone can handle this kind of assignment," she said.

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