Thursday, October 27, 2005

Miers Withdraws

Harriet Miers has withdrawn her name from consideration for Supreme Court justice. President George W. Bush has 'reluctantly' acceded to her request.

I wondered if they had chosen today to do this so as to take the sting out of an announcement from Patrick Fitzgerald, thereby diluting the news impact. Or maybe it was just happenstance. Whatever the case, Miers never gave the impression of one passionate about the Law. There are many people in various professions, who do a reasonable job, but are not really interested in their job. She certainly wasn't suited for the Court, as far as one could tell from what one learned from the papers.

It is really ridiculous that both Republicans and Democrats seem to see only one issue at stake with the Court nomination - abortion. When the country is being stripped of liberties left and right, is abortion the main issue?

Fitzgerald is chewing his way into the administration's gut, on nibble at a time. Tomorrow it should all be out. An interesting prediction on Fitzgerald came out yesterday, written by Richard Sale, with the terse title, "Aides to be indicted, probe to continue".

Another great article, Look Who's Talking Now by Michael Donnelly, provides a clever set of quotes from various personages in relation to perjury, obstruction of justice, etc.

See also Waiting for Fitzgerald by Niranjan Ramakrishnan, which points out the silliness of looking to a prosecutor to find something that is clear to anyone who has watched the administration for the past five years.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

What's going on in Iraq - Robert Fisk interview

Click here to view Amy Goodman's interview with Robert Fisk, one of the clearest expositions of what is happening in Iraq.

You can skip the initial news section. The interview begins around the 30 minute mark.

Must view stuff!

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Plamegate: The Known and the Unknown

I read the New York Times article, I read the other newspapers, and all that's clear is that something is not adding up. What exactly is difficult to say. So I thought I'd tabulate what I understood and what I don't:

Known Facts

January 28 2003
Bush stated in his State of the Union speech that Iraq had been shopping for Uranium in Niger.

July 6, 2003
an op-ed piece by Joseph Wilson, former diplomat to Niger and Charge'd Affairs in Iraq appeared in the New York Times. In it, Wilson revealed that he had been sent (by the CIA) to Niger as early as February 2002 to investigate the Niger connection, which had been aired earlier by Secretary of State Colin Powell. He returned with the conclusion that there was no basis for the Iraq-Niger-Uranium connection.

July 14, 2003
Article by syndicated columnist Robert Novak, "Mission to Niger" mentions Valerie Plame by name, and identifies her as a CIA operative involved in Weapons of Mass Destruction:
"Wilson never worked for the CIA, but his wife, Valerie Plame, is an Agency operative on weapons of mass destruction. Two senior administration officials told me Wilson's wife suggested sending him to Niger to investigate the Italian report. "

September 26, 2003
The Justice Department begins a formal criminal investigation of the leak Sept. 26 following protests from the CIA about such a blatant exposure of one of their clandestine operatives.

Circa October 2, 2003
The New York Times mentions Karl Rove as being involved in the Valerie Plame matter. When asked about this, Scott McClellan, Bush's press secretary, dismissed such speculation and added that anyone involved would be removed from the administration.

December 30, 2003
After some questions of Ashcroft's conflict of interest, because of Rove's connection with him, having been his advisor on three of his campaigns, Ashcroft's Department of Justice appointed Patrick Fitzgerald special prosecutor to investigate the crime of endangering national security.

December 30, 2003 - Now
Following the leaks to various sources, Fitzgerald tracked down several journalists who had received this information, including Tim Russert of NBC, Matt Cooper of Time, Judith Miller of New York Times. The first two cooperated with the investigation, Judith Miller refused on the plea of protecting her source. For this she was sentenced to prison, and spent 85 days there before agreeing to testify before Fitzgerald's grand jury.

  1. A report published recently said that Bush had been furious with Rove (see Bush Whacked Rove on CIA Leak). The report says Bush lost his temper with Rove on the matter 2 years ago! That means, knowing his involvment, he kept Rove around for two years. So what else did Bush know, when did he know it, and what did he do about it?

  2. If Bush knew that Rove was involved and did nothing about it (private admonitions aside, how could such a person -- and certainly Rove from today's account conferred with Libby -- so Libby too -- be kept on the staff without the President being a co-conspirator, at least in spirit? After all, no one said Nixon was the one to break open the door at Watergate? Was his silence and complicity in the silence of others not his crime?

  3. Judith Miller went to jail saying she would not reveal her source. Then she came out, saying her source had said OK for her to reveal his name. The ostensible source, 'Scooter' Libby, Dick Cheney's chief of staff, says he had given her authorization to use his name a year back, refuting her claim of wanting to protect her 'source'. Then it was discovered that there were two or three references in her reporter's notebook to Valerie (F)Plame. After all this, she says the name was not from Libby, but from another source, whose name escapes her! So who was she trying to protect during her 85 day ordeal?
  1. Today's Counterpunch has an excellent article by Ray McGovern, former CIA official, on the Niger yellowcake-Valerie Plame - Joe Wilson - Karl Rove - Scooter Libby story. See 16 Fatal Words
  2. This CBS timeline is also helpful.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Iraq Election Article, Judy Miller, New York Times

An Iraqi doctor has written an article in tomorrow's NY Times. Voting 'Yes' to Chaos by HATEM MUKHLIS is a clear picture of why the balkanization of Iraq is the end-result of the wrong-headed constitution they are trying to push.

Yesterday's Times carried a 6000 word report on what had gone so badly at the paper as to be scooped on stories about its own correspondent -- Judith Miller. Miller herself wrote a rather opaque article which appears to make things more rather than less murky. It fell to Randi Rhodes of Air America to state it succinctly: What do you make of this? A reporter goes to jail for 85 days saying she will not reveal her source. Then she comes out with much fanfare, goes to the grand jury, and tells them she doesn't remember who here source was! No other commentator has put it quite so elegantly. Yahoo had a news headline today that several members of the media felt Judy Miller should have been sacked for the humiliation she brought upon the paper. Not only did the paper toe her line, but it backed up its suckering by spending millions of dollars on her defense.

Meanwhile, Bloomberg News Service reports that Vice-President Cheney may be the one path of Patrick Fitzgerald's inquiries. [Read article]. And just now, the top headline in the Washington Post is: Cheney's Office Is A Focus in Leak Case.

On Sunday, Condoleezza Rice was on several talk shows. Asked about the Fitzgerald inquiry by Chris Wallace of Fox, she took the usual Bush Administration (we don't talk about matters sub-judice) line. Rice, as revealed in a fine article by Frank Rich, was one of the eight members of a secret group called "White House Iraq Group", created in summer 2002 to 'sell the Iraq War' to the American public. Neither Russert nor Wallace asked about it, though.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

What the Media has Wrought

That should be the real title of Paul Krugman's article, "A Question of Character". He says,

"Read the speeches Howard Dean gave before the Iraq war, and compare them with Colin Powell's pro-war presentation to the U.N. Knowing what we know now, it's clear that one man was judicious and realistic, while the other was spinning crazy conspiracy theories. But somehow their labels got switched in the way they were presented to the public by the news media."

The disservice of the American media to the American people during these crucial years will be a standing black mark on its record.

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Training the Iraqi Army

A fine article by Brian Cloughley in Counterpunch Weekend Edition, titled, "Training Soldiers in Iraq". Shows how the lying culture has seeped into the Army top brass, and the despicable performance by Generals Abizaid and Casey last week when the changed their own testimonies ex post-facto to suit the administration.

I am, however, not in favor of the armed forces defying civilian command, so the best thing for Casey and Abizaid would be to resign, if they felt they were being made to tell lies. But, as Cloughley says, whoever resigns on principle?