Also sometimes referred to as secular, modern, or humanistic. This is an umbrella term for Protestant denominations, or churches within denominations, that view the Bible as the witness of God rather than the word of God, to be interpreted in its historical context through critical analysis. Examples include some churches within Anglican/Episcopalian, Lutheran, Methodist, Presbyterian, and United Church of Christ. There are more than 2,000 Protestant denominations offering a wide range of beliefs from extremely liberal to mainline to ultra-conservative and those that include characteristics on both ends.
|•||Belief in Deity |
Trinity of the Father (God), the Son (Christ), and the Holy Spirit that comprises one God Almighty. Many believe God is incorporeal.
Beliefs vary from the literal to the symbolic belief in Jesus Christ as God's incarnation. Some believe we are all sons and daughters of God and that Christ was exemplary, but not God.
|•||Origin of Universe and Life |
The Bible's account is symbolic. God created and controls the processes that account for the universe and life (e.g. evolution), as continually revealed by modern science.
|•||After Death |
Goodness will somehow be rewarded and evil punished after death, but what is most important is how you show your faith and conduct your life on earth.
|•||Why Evil? |
Most do not believe that humanity inherited original sin from Adam and Eve or that Satan actually exists. Most believe that God is good and made people inherently good, but also with free will and imperfect nature, which leads some to immoral behavior.
Various beliefs: Some believe all will go to heaven, as God is loving and forgiving. Others believe salvation lies in doing good works and no harm to others, regardless of faith. Some believe baptism is important. Some believe the concept of salvation after death is symbolic or nonexistent.
|•||Undeserved Suffering |
Most Liberal Christians do not believe that Satan causes suffering. Some believe suffering is part of God's plan, will, or design, even if we don't immediately understand it. Some don't believe in any spiritual reasons for suffering, and most take a humanistic approach to helping those in need.
|•||Contemporary Issues |
Most churches teach that abortion is morally wrong, but many ultimately support a woman's right to choose, usually accompanied by policies to provide counseling on alternatives. Many are accepting of homosexuality and gay rights.
Saturday, July 16, 2005
Friday, July 15, 2005
Almost half of Americans believe God created humans 10,000 years ago
Only about a third of Americans believe that Charles Darwin's theory of evolution is a scientific theory that has been well supported by the evidence, while just as many say that it is just one of many theories and has not been supported by the evidence. The rest say they don't know enough to say. Forty-five percent of Americans also believe that God created human beings pretty much in their present form about 10,000 years ago. A third of Americans are biblical literalists who believe that the Bible is the actual word of God and is to be taken literally, word for word.
Muzzling the Muppets The Bush administration wants to force public broadcasting to toe the Republican line
Ken Tomlinson may be America's most accomplished propagandist. He got his start as an intern for Fulton Lewis Jr., who ruled right-wing radio when Rush Limbaugh was still in diapers. In the early 1980s, Tomlinson ran Voice of America, promoting the policies of Ronald Reagan to the rest of the world. As editor in chief of Reader's Digest in the early 1990s, he published the most reliably reactionary magazine in the country. Now, as President Bush's handpicked chairman of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, Tomlinson is in a position to spread the Republican message to Sesame Street.
As head of the board that doles out $400 million in federal funds for public broadcasting, Tomlinson is actually required by law to provide PBS and NPR with "maximum protection from extraneous influence and control" by meddling politicians. But in recent months, Tomlinson himself has been the one trying to alter PBS programming. A close friend of Karl Rove since they worked together overseeing Voice of America, he hired a right-wing consultant to secretly monitor Bill Moyers for signs of "liberal bias." He collaborated with the White House to hire two "ombudsmen" to keep an eye on Frontline and All Things Considered. And after President Bush was re-elected in November, Tomlinson warned a gathering of PBS executives that the country had moved to the right -- and that their programming should reflect that.
"It was inappropriate," says Pat Mitchell, the president of PBS, recalling the air of disbelief that filled the room. "The role of the CPB is to provide a heat shield against the power of political parties." Moyers, who helped create PBS as a source of independent journalism, had even stronger words about the attempt to tilt the network to the right. "I always knew Nixon would be back," he said in a speech to the National Conference on Media Reform in May. "I just didn't know this time he would ask to be chairman of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting."
Welcome to a new era in the battle over public broadcasting. Instead of simply threatening to cut federal funding for PBS -- as Nixon, Reagan and Newt Gingrich did -- the Bush administration has taken a new approach. Far from standing as a firewall against outside political pressure, Tomlinson is trying to force PBS to toe the Republican line, turning the network into a taxpayer-funded facsimile of Fox News. The GOP coup scored a major victory in late June, when the CPB board quietly confirmed Patricia Harrison -- a former co-chair of the Republican National Committee -- as its new president.
Supporters of public broadcasting were appalled. "You get the sense," says Rep. Ed Markey, D-Mass., "that they want to turn NPR into the RNC."
A ruddy-faced and rolypoly man with a close-cropped white beard, Tomlinson looks a little bit like a Muppet himself. Since he was selected to represent Republicans on the CPB board in 2000, Tomlinson has been determined to stamp out what he sees as "liberal advocacy journalism" at PBS. The only problem with his theory of bias -- widespread among conservatives -- is that there is no proof it actually exists. So Tomlinson commissioned two polls in 2002 and 2003, hoping to confirm that viewers share his distaste for the political tenor of PBS.
Both polls revealed the opposite: Eighty percent of viewers hold a favorable opinion of public broadcasting, and only eight percent consider its coverage of the Iraq War biased. Focus groups in the red-state hotbeds of Louisville, Kentucky, and Salt Lake City proved similarly disappointing. But instead of releasing the results, Tomlinson kept them under wraps until he was required to release them to Congress. "He goes after research that can support his claims of bias," one executive familiar with the polls told Rolling Stone. "He's not able to find much -- so then he suppresses the research to be able to continue arguing that there really is a problem."
Shortly after Bush elevated him to chairman of the CPB board in 2003, Tomlinson began pursuing his anti-bias crusade directly with Mitchell, the head of PBS. He took no issue with timid, gabby snoozefests like the NewsHour With Jim Lehrer -- it was the hard-hitting Now With Bill Moyers that drew his ire. Although CPB is barred by statute from exercising "direction, supervision or control" over program content, Tomlinson complained to Mitchell that the Moyers program "does not contain anything approaching the balance the law requires for public broadcasting." In a contentious meeting, Mitchell told Tomlinson he was overstepping his authority by "engaging with the president of PBS on specific titles." She also flatly rejected his assertion of bias, pointing out that Moyers interviewed guests who represented "many points of view," including Ralph Reed of the Christian Coalition and anti-tax crusader Grover Norquist.
Tomlinson was stunned. "Incredibly, when I brought the problem of Now to the attention of Mitchell," he later wrote in an op-ed, "she declared (with a straight face) the program was balanced." In February 2004, seeking "irrefutable documentation of the program's bias," Tomlinson signed a contract with Fred Mann, who had worked for twenty years at the National Journalism Center, the right-wing organization that spawned the fair and balanced punditry of Ann Coulter. Unbeknownst even to his fellow board members, Tomlinson instructed Mann to secretly monitor Moyers, as well as journalists Diane Rehm and Tavis Smiley on NPR and Tucker Carlson on PBS.
Mann divided guests on the programs into black-and-white categories: pro-Bush or anti-Bush, liberal or conservative. His only criteria seemed to be "if you're not with the president, you're against him." Sen. Chuck Hagel of Nebraska, a conservative Republican who has criticized the war, was tagged as a liberal. Former Rep. Bob Barr, a staunch Republican from Georgia who supports civil liberties, was labeled anti-administration. Enemies of the president were everywhere. Of the 136 Moyers segments reviewed, Mann wrote, ninety-two "clearly opposed administration/government policies."
Journalists who appeared on the programs to discuss their reporting fared even worse. "Every single journalist that I saw in my review of the list got tarred as a liberal simply because they were conveying facts that don't align either with Mr. Tomlinson's or Mr. Mann's view of the world," says Ken Stern, executive vice president of NPR.
Sen. Byron Dorgan, a Democrat from North Dakota who made the results of the surveillance public, says the one-sided monitoring did nothing but confirm Tomlinson's own bias. "He came into that position as chairman of CPB believing there was a liberal bias and lack of balance," Dorgan told Rolling Stone. "He was obviously interested in having someone confirm his suspicions, so he hired a soulmate to do that."
But even if the surveillance was skewed, it sent a warning to journalists. "What Tomlinson hopes to do is fire a shot over the bow of every public-station manager in the country," says Robert McChesney, author of Corporate Media and the Threat to Democracy. "He's saying, 'Look, if you lay off doing investigative journalism like Bill Moyers and Frontline and stick to the antique-car shows...you'll have no problem with me.' The message is clear: 'Hey, guys, we're watching you -- don't screw with us.' "
Tomlinson has close ties to the administration. Last year he and Rove worked together to spike a proposal that would have reserved more than half the seats on the CPB board for people with broadcast experience. In March, Tomlinson asked Mary Catherine Andrews, then director of the White House Office of Global Communications, to develop guidelines for two new ombudsmen he planned to hire to monitor PBS and NPR for evidence of bias. Andrews was soon hired by CPB, at the direction of the White House, as a "senior adviser."
The positions created by Tomlinson are political watchdogs, not journalistic standard-bearers. In their official charter, the ombudsmen -- one conservative, one liberal -- are instructed to respond to program issues "raised by government officials," opening the door to political meddling. "They're not ombudsmen, they're government censors," says Alan Chartock, who runs twelve public radio stations in the Northeast. "These are external people who are auditing what the stations are doing." The Organization of News Ombudsmen, in fact, recently rewrote its bylaws to exclude the CPB monitors from full membership.
"They hide behind this shield of balance, when what they'd like to do is give public broadcasting a rightward tilt," says Christy Carpenter, a former CPB board member who served with Tomlinson. "What's really going on is that they're trying to destroy the independence of public broadcasting."
Tomlinson has taken even more overt steps to skew PBS to the right. Earlier this year, he made CPB's direct funding of the network -- $26.5 million a year -- contingent on adherence to his standard of "balance." He raised $5 million in corporate funds to air a new opinion program put together by the ultraconservative editorial page of the Wall Street Journal. And in mid-June, he stood by when House Republicans tried to slash funding for public broadcasting by $100 million, as well as another $23 million for programs such as Clifford the Big Red Dog and Postcards From Buster. (Buster, the animated bunny, sparked the administration's ire earlier this year when he visited a civilly united lesbian couple in Vermont.) To stop the cuts, the online activist group MoveOn launched one of its largest petition drives ever, helping to persuade Congress to restore the $100 million. But Tomlinson -- the man charged with defending PBS -- did nothing to protect it. "The funding was restored not because of Ken Tomlinson, but in spite of him," says Rep. Markey. "It's dismaying to know that the person most responsible for protecting public broadcasting is aiding and abetting its enemies."
Congressional Democrats have demanded that Tomlinson resign and accuse him of launching a "personal crusade" to "convert public broadcasting into a mouthpiece for the Republican Party." Tomlinson refused to be interviewed for this story, citing an investigation by the CPB inspector general into whether he misused public funds by hiring Fred Mann to monitor PBS programs. But with the Republicans in control of all three branches of government, GOP attacks on independent journalism are likely to continue. In May, when Moyers spoke to media reformers about his show on PBS, he concluded that accusations of bias are inevitable when journalists do their jobs. "We intended to do strong, honest and accurate reporting, telling stories we knew people in high places wouldn't like," he recalled. "The more compelling our journalism, the angrier the radical right of the Republican Party became. That's because the one thing they loathe more than liberals is the truth. And the quickest way to be damned by them as liberal is to tell the truth."
(FindLaw) -- As the scandal over the leak of CIA agent Valerie Plame's identity has continued to unfold, there is a renewed focus on Karl Rove -- the White House deputy chief of staff whom President Bush calls his political "architect."
Newsweek has reported that Matt Cooper, in an e-mail to his bureau chief at Time magazine, wrote that he had spoken "to Rove on double super-secret background for about two min[ute]s before he went on vacation ..." In that conversation, Rove gave Cooper "big warning" that Time should not "get too far out on Wilson."
Rove was referring, of course, to former Ambassador Joe Wilson's acknowledgment of his trip to Africa, where he discovered that Niger had not, in fact, provided uranium to Iraq that might be part of a weapons of mass destruction (WMD) program.
Cooper's email indicates that Rove told Cooper that Wilson's trip had not been authorized by CIA Director George Tenet or Vice President Dick Cheney; rather, Rove claimed, "it was ... [W]ilson's wife, who apparently works at the agency on [WMD] issues who authorized the trip." (Rove was wrong about the authorization.)
Only the special counsel, Patrick Fitzgerald, and his staff have all the facts on their investigation at this point, but there is increasing evidence that Rove (and others) may have violated one or more federal laws. At this time, it would be speculation to predict whether indictments will be forthcoming.
Identities Protection Act
As I pointed out when the Valerie Plame Wilson leak first surfaced, the Intelligence Identities And Protection Act is a complex law. For the law to apply to Rove, a number of requirements must be met.
Rove must have had "authorized access to classified information" under the statute. Plame was an NCO (non-covered officer). White House aides, and even the president, are seldom, if ever, given this information. So it is not likely Rove had "authorized access" to it.
In addition, Rove must have "intentionally" -- not "knowingly" as has been mentioned in the news coverage -- disclosed "any information identifying such a covert agent." Whether or not Rove actually referred to Mrs. Wilson as "Valerie Plame," then, the key would be whether he gave Matt Cooper (or others) information that Joe Wilson's wife was a covert agent.
Also, the statute requires that Rove had to know, as a fact, that the United States was taking, or had taken, "affirmative measures to conceal" Valerie Plame's covert status. Rove's lawyer says he had no such knowledge.
In fact, there is no public evidence that Valerie Wilson had the covert status required by the statute. A covert agent, as defined under this law, is "a present or retired officer or employee" of the CIA, whose identity as such "is classified information," and this person must be serving outside of the United States, or have done so in the last five years.
There is no solid information that Rove, or anyone else, violated this law designed to protect covert CIA agents. There is, however, evidence suggesting that other laws were violated. In particular, I have in mind the laws invoked by the Bush Justice Department in the relatively minor leak case that it vigorously prosecuted, though it involved information that was not nearly as sensitive as that which Rove provided Matt Cooper (and possibly others).
Leak prosecution precedent
I am referring to the prosecution and conviction of Jonathan Randel. Randel was a Drug Enforcement Agency analyst, a Ph.D. in history, working in the Atlanta office of the DEA.
Randel was convinced that British Lord Michael Ashcroft (a major contributor to Britain's Conservative Party, as well as American conservative causes) was being ignored by DEA and its investigation of money laundering. (Lord Ashcroft is based in South Florida and the off-shore tax haven of Belize.)
Randel leaked the fact that Lord Ashcroft's name was in the DEA files, and this fact soon surfaced in the London news media. Ashcroft sued, and learned the source of the information was Randel. Using his clout, soon Ashcroft had the U.S. attorney in pursuit of Randel for his leak.
By late February 2002, the Department of Justice indicted Randel for his leaking of Lord Ashcroft's name. It was an eighteen count "kitchen sink" indictment; they threw everything they could think of at Randel. Most relevant for Karl Rove's situation, count one of Randel's indictment alleged a violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 641. This is a law that prohibits theft (or conversion for one's own use) of government records and information for non-governmental purposes. But its broad language covers leaks, and it has now been used to cover just such actions.
Randel, faced with a life sentence (actually 500 years) if convicted on all counts, on the advice of his attorney, pleaded guilty to violating Section 641. On January 9, 2003, Randel was sentenced to a year in a federal prison, followed by three years probation. This sentence prompted the U.S. attorney to boast that the conviction of Randel made a good example of how the Bush administration would handle leakers.
Precedent bodes ill for Rove
Rove may be able to claim that he did not know he was leaking "classified information" about a "covert agent," but there can be no question he understood that what he was leaking was "sensitive information." The very fact that Matt Cooper called it "double super-secret background" information suggests Rove knew of its sensitivity, if he did not know it was classified information (which by definition is sensitive).
United States District Court Judge Richard Story's statement to Jonathan Randel, at the time of sentencing, might have an unpleasant ring for Rove.
Judge Story told Randel that he surely must have appreciated the risks in leaking DEA information. "Anything that would affect the security of officers and of the operations of the agency would be of tremendous concern, I think, to any law-abiding citizen in this country," the judge observed. Judge Story concluded this leak of sensitive information was "a very serious crime."
"In my view," he explained, "it is a very serious offense because of the risk that comes with it, and part of that risk is because of the position" that Randel held in DEA. But the risk posed by the information Rove leaked is multiplied many times over; it occurred at a time when the nation was considering going to war over weapons of mass destruction. And Rove was risking the identity of, in attempting to discredit, a WMD proliferation expert, Valerie Plame Wilson.
Judge Story acknowledged that Randel's leak did not appear to put lives at risk, nor to jeopardize any DEA investigations. But he also pointed out that Randel "could not have completely and fully known that in the position that [he] held."
Is not the same true of Rove? Rove had no idea what the specific consequences of giving a reporter the name of a CIA agent (about whom he says he knew nothing) would be--he only knew that he wanted to discredit her (incorrectly) for dispatching her husband to determine if the rumors about Niger uranium were true or false.
Given the nature of Valerie Plame Wilson's work, it is unlikely the public will ever know if Rove's leak caused damage, or even loss of life of one of her contracts abroad, because of Rove's actions. Dose anyone know the dangers and risks that she and her family may face because of this leak?
It was just such a risk that convinced Judge Story that "for any person with the agency to take it upon himself to leak information poses a tremendous risk; and that's what, to me, makes this a particularly serious offense." Cannot the same be said about Rove's leak? It dealt with matters related to national security; if the risk Randel was taking was a "tremendous" risk, surely Rove's leak was monumental.
While there are other potential violations of the law that may be involved with the Valerie Plame Wilson case, it would be speculation to consider them. But Karl Rove's leak to Matt Cooper is now an established fact.
First, there is Matt Cooper's e-mail record. And Cooper has now confirmed that he has told the grand jury he spoke with Rove. If Rove's leak fails to fall under the statute that was used to prosecute Randel, I do not understand why.
There are stories circulating that Rove may have been told of Valerie Plame's CIA activity by a journalist, such as Judith Miller, as recently suggested in Editor & Publisher. If so, that doesn't exonerate Rove. Rather, it could make for some interesting pairing under the federal conspiracy statute (which was the statute most commonly employed during Watergate).
Report Shows Karl Rove May Have Lied to Federal Agents, a Federal Crime, During Oct 2003 Testimony Into CIA Agent Leak
by Jason Leopold
Looks like Karl Rove did break the law, the same federal law that got Martha Stewart sentenced to six months in prison.
It now appears that Rove, President Bush’s chief of staff, may have lied to the FBI in October 2003—a federal crime—when he was questioned by federal agents investigating who was responsible for leaking information about a covert CIA operative to the media.
During questioning by the FBI about his role in the Plame affair, Rove told federal agents that he only started sharing information about Plame with reporters and White House officials for the first time after conservative columnist Robert Novak identified her covert CIA status in his column on July 14, 2003, according to a report in the American Prospect about Rove’s testimony in March 2004, a copy of which can be found at Prospect.org
But Rove wasn’t truthful with the FBI what with the recent disclosure of Time magazine reporter Matthew Cooper’s emails, which reveal Rove as the source for Cooper’s own July 2003 story identifying Plame as a CIA operative, and show that Rove spoke to Cooper nearly a week before Novak’s column was published and, according to previously published news reports, spoke to a half-dozen other reporters about Plame as early as June 2003.
“Iit was, KR said, wilson's wife, who apparently works at the agency on wmd [weapons of mass destruction] issues who authorized (Wilson’s) trip," Cooper’s July 11, 2003, email to his editor, obtained by Newsweek, says. “Wilson's wife is Plame, then an undercover agent working as an analyst in the CIA's Directorate of Operations counterproliferation division. (Cooper later included the essence of what Rove told him in an online story.) The e-mail characterizing the conversation continues: "not only the genesis of the trip is flawed an[d] suspect but so is the report. he [Rove] implied strongly there's still plenty to implicate iraqi interest in acquiring uranium fro[m] Niger .. "
Moreover, evidence suggests that President Bush was aware as early as October 2003 that Rove and I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby, Vice President Dick Cheney’s chief of staff, were the sources who leaked Plame’s undercover CIA status to reporters and after the president was briefed about the issue the president said publicly that the source of the leak will never be found.
Furthermore, a few aides to Condoleeza Rice, then head of the National Security Council, may have played a role as well by being the first officials to learn about Plame’s role as a CIA operative and gave that information to Rove, Libby and other senior administration officials.
The disclosure of Plame’s name and CIA status was an attempt by the White House to discredit Plame’s husband, former Ambassador Joseph Wilson, an outspoken critic of the Iraq war who had alleged that President Bush misspoke when he said in his January 2003 State of the Union address that Iraq acquired yellow-cake uranium from Niger.
Wilson was recommended by Plame, his wife, to travel to Niger to investigate the yellow-cake claims but he said publicly that he Cheney’s office sent him there. Cheney did in fact contact the CIA at first to arrange the mission but Plame ultimately recommended Wilson. Still, in February 2002, he went to Niger and reported back to the CIA that there was no truth to those claims.
Here’s the fullest account yet of how the events leading up to the disclosure that Wilson’s wife was a CIA operative unfolded, and how it all leads back to Rove. But first let’s get to the real story behind the leak, the catalyst behind this issue.
Bush and senior administration officials mislead Congress and the public into supporting a war predicated on the fact that Iraq was concealing weapons of mass destruction that threatened its neighbors in the Middle East and posed a grave threat to the United States.
In his State of the Union address in January 2003, two months prior to the Iraq war, Bush said Iraq tried to buy yellow-cake uranium, the key component in designing a nuclear bomb, from Niger, which was the silver bullet in getting Congress to support military action two months later. To date, no weapons of mass destruction have been found in Iraq and the country barely had a weapons program, according to a report from the Iraq Survey Group.
Like other officials, including former Treasury Secretary Paul O’Neill and counterterrorism expert Richard Clarke, both of whom provided evidence that Bush and senior members of his administration of being obsessed with attacking Iraq shortly after 9/11 and manipulating intelligence reports as a way to get Congress and the public to back the war, the White House launched a full-scale attack against Wilson beginning in June 2003, when Wilson was quoted anonymously in various news reports as saying that the 16 words in Bush State of the Union address alleging that Iraq bought yellow-cake uranium from Niger was totally untrue.
On July 14, 2003, Novak first disclosed Plame by name in his column as well as her undercover CIA status, citing two “senior administration officials.” Novak said Wilson wasn’t trustworthy because his wife recommended him for the trip to Niger.
According to a preliminary FBI investigation, White House officials, including Rove and Libby, first learned of Plame’s name and CIA status in June 2003 when questions surrounding Wilson’s Niger trip were first brought to the attention of Cheney’s aides by reporters, according to an Oct 13, 2003 report in the Washington Post.
“One reason investigators are looking back (to June 2003) is that even before Novak's column appeared, government officials had been trying for more than a month to convince journalists that Wilson's mission wasn't as important as it was being portrayed,” the Post reported.
Several CIA officers assigned to the White House and working mainly on the National Security staff may have been the first individuals to have learned that Plame was an undercover operative and that Wilson was her husband. According to Oct. 13, 2003 story in the Post, a “former NSC staff member said one or more of those officers may have been aware of the Plame-Wilson relationship” and briefed Cheney and Rove about her status, that she was married to Wilson and that she recommended him for the fact-finding trip to Niger.
A May 6, 2003, column by Nicholas Kristoff in the New York Times was the first public mention of Wilson's trip to Niger but Kristoff’s column did not identify Wilson by name. Kristoff had been on a panel with Wilson four days earlier and said that Wilson told him that intelligence documents that proved Iraq attempted to buy uranium from Niger were forged and the White House should have known that before allowing Bush to include it in his State of the Union speech.
Wilson told Kristoff he could write about his trip and the forged documents but asked the columnist not to print Wilson’s name as the source behind those statements. The column also mentioned for the first time the alleged role Cheney’s office played in sending Wilson to Niger.
“That was when Cheney aides became aware of Wilson's mission and they began asking questions about him within the government,” the Post reported, citing an unnamed administration official.
Shortly after Kristoff’s column appeared in the Times, a handful of reporters started searching for Kristoff’s anonymous source.
At this time Wilson spoke to two congressional committees that were investigating why Bush had mentioned the uranium allegation in his State of the Union address. Also in early June, Wilson told his story to The Washington Post on the condition that he not be named. On June 12, 2003, the Post published a detailed account of Wilson’s trip and the fact that there was no truth to the claims that Iraq had tried to purchase yellow-cake uranium from Niger.
Beginning that week, officials in the White House, Cheney's office, the CIA and the State Department repeatedly played down the importance of Wilson's trip in interviews with several reporters, and his oral report to the CIA, which was turned into a 1 ½ page CIA intelligence memo for the White House and the National Security Council. By tradition, Wilson’s identity as the source, even though he traveled to Niger on behalf of the CIA, was not disclosed.
As soon as the Post’s story was published a number of officials in the Bush administration became concerned and started questioning who Wilson was and why he was criticizing the president, a senior administration official told the Post.
By Wilson’s own account, he said he ratcheted up the pressure on the White House to come clean about its error in giving credence to the Niger uranium claims by calling some present and former senior administration officials who knew then National Security adviser Condoleezza Rice, asking his colleagues to tell Rice she was flat wrong in saying on NBC's "Meet the Press" on June 8 that there may be some intelligence "in the bowels of the agency" but that there was no doubt the uranium story was true.
Wilson said Rice told him through intermediaries that she was uninterested in what he had to say and urged Wilson to tell his story publicly if he wanted to state his case. So he did.
On July 6, 2003 Wilson was interviewed for a story that appeared in the Washington Post and accused the White House of "misrepresenting the facts on an issue that was a fundamental justification for going to war." That same day he wrote an op-ed in the New York Times which said that "some of the intelligence related to Iraq's nuclear weapons program was twisted to exaggerate the Iraqi threat."
The very next day, July 7, 2003, the White House admitted it had erred in including the references about uranium in Bush's State of the Union speech. Two days later, two top White House officials disclosed Plame's identity to at least six Washington journalists, an administration official told The Post in an article published Sept. 28, 2003.
Those two officials were Karl Rove and Lewis Libby.
“The source elaborated on the conversations last week, saying that officials brought up Plame as part of their broader case against Wilson,” the Post reported in the Sept. 28, 2003 story.
On July 12, 2003, two days before Novak wrote his column, a Washington Post reporter was told by an administration official that the White House had not paid attention to the former ambassador's CIA-sponsored trip to Niger because it was set up as a boondoggle by his wife, an analyst with the agency working on weapons of mass destruction. Plame's name was never mentioned and the purpose of the disclosure did not appear to be to generate an article, but rather to undermine Wilson's report.
That source was Karl Rove and the unidentified reporter was Walter Pincus who covers the White House.
Time magazine reporter Matthew Cooper’s emails show that Rove gave Cooper the same exact information about Plame that he gave to the Post. Moreover, Rove called several other reporters that week in July 2003 and reportedly said that Wilson’s wife was “fair game” because Novak had already blew her undercover status by identifying her in his column.
A few months later, on Oct. 7, 2003, President Bush and his spokesman, Scott McClellan, said during a press conference that the White House ruled out three administration officials—Rove, Libby and Elliot Abrams, a senior official on the National Security Council, as sources of the leak—a day before FBI questioned the three of them—based on questions McClellan said he asked the men.
A day later Rove told FBI investigators that he spoke to journalists about Plame for the first time after Novak’s column was published—a lie, it appears—based on Time reporter Matthew Cooper’s emails, the contents of which were reported by Newsweek earlier this month.
That same day in October 2003, in an unusual move, Bush said he doubted that a Justice Department investigation would ever turn up the source of the leak, suggesting that it was a waste of time for lawmakers to question the administration and for reporters to follow up on the story.
"I mean this is a town full of people who like to leak information," Bush told reporters following a meeting with Cabinet members on Oct. 7, 2003. "And I don't know if we're going to find out the senior administration official. Now, this is a large administration, and there's lots of senior officials. I don't have any idea.”
Sen. Frank Lautenberg, Democrat of New Jersey, responded to the president’s statement in an Oct. 10, 2003, interview with the New York Times.
“If the president says, 'I don't know if we're going to find this person,' what kind of a statement is that for the president of the United States to make?'' Lautenberg asked. “Would he say that about a bank-robbery investigation?”
During this time the White House was facing a deadline on turning over documents, emails and phone logs to Justice Department officials probing whether or not the leak came from the White House. Bush said that the White House could invoke executive privilege and withhold some “sensitive” documents related to the leak case leading many Democrats to believe that the White House had something to hide.
At the same time, the White House first started to lay the groundwork for a defense, specifically related to the role Rove played in the leak and whether he or anyone else in the administration knew Plame was covert CIA operative and intentionally blew her cover in order to undercut Wilson’s credibility.
On Oct. 6, 2003, McClellan, in response to questions about whether Rove was Novak’s source, tried to explain the difference between unauthorized disclosure of classified information and "setting the record straight" about Wilson’s public criticism of the administrations handling of intelligence on Iraq.
“There is a difference between setting the record straight and doing something to punish someone for speaking out,” McClellan said. "There were some statements made (by Wilson) and those statements were not based on facts," McClellan said. "And we pointed out that it was not the vice president's office that sent Mr. Wilson to Niger. (CIA Director George) Tenet made it very clear in his statement that it was people in the counter proliferation area that made that decision on their own initiative."
The difference is crucial in that knowingly making an unauthorized leak of classified information is a federal crime. But repeating the leak when it has already been reported may not be considered a serious offense.
Still, when the Justice Department failed to convict Martha Stewart on insider trading charges, prosecutors had enough evidence to convince a jury that the style maven lied to federal investigators and obstructed justice. She wound up with a felony conviction and six months in jail.
Now that the evidence shows that Karl Rove and others White House officials lied to federal investigators about what they knew and when they knew it maybe they too will meet the same fate.
Jason Leopold is the author of the explosive memoir, News Junkie, to be released in the spring of 2006 by Process/Feral House Books. Visit Leopold's website at www.jasonleopold.com for updates.
Thursday, July 14, 2005
Ronnie Paris Jr. went on trial for his own life this week in a Tampa courtroom. The toddler's mother, Nysheerah Paris, testified that her husband thought the boy might be gay and would force him to box.
Nysheerah Paris told the court that Paris would make the boy fight with him, slapping the child in the head until he cried or wet himself. She said that on one occasion Paris slammed the child against a wall because he was vomiting.
The court was told there had been a history of abuse by Paris. Prosecutor Jalal Harb said that in 2002, the Florida Department of Children & Families placed the child in protective custody after he had been admitted to the hospital several times for vomiting.
He was returned to his parents Dec. 14. A month later he went into a coma and was rushed to hospital. Six days later he was removed from life support and died. An autopsy showed there was swelling on both sides of his brain.
"He was trying to teach him how to fight,'' Nysheerah Paris' sister, Shanita Powell told the court. "He was concerned that the child might be gay.''
Following the child's death Tampa police Detective Anthony Zambito thought there was something suspicious. He testified that he questioned both parents closely at the hospital. But it wasn't until investigators questioned them separately Feb. 1 that the boy's mother talked about the abuse.
Paris was charged with capital murder and Nysheerah Paris was charged with felony child neglect and faces a maximum of 15 years in prison.
By Alexandra Harney in Beijing and Demetri Sevastopulo and Edward Alden in Washington
China is prepared to use nuclear weapons against the US if it is attacked by Washington during a confrontation over Taiwan, a Chinese general said on Thursday.
“If the Americans draw their missiles and position-guided ammunition on to the target zone on China's territory, I think we will have to respond with nuclear weapons,” said General Zhu Chenghu.
Gen Zhu was speaking at a function for foreign journalists organised, in part, by the Chinese government. He added that China's definition of its territory included warships and aircraft.
“If the Americans are determined to interfere [then] we will be determined to respond,” said Gen Zhu, who is also a professor at China's National Defence University.
“We . . . will prepare ourselves for the destruction of all of the cities east of Xian. Of course the Americans will have to be prepared that hundreds . . . of cities will be destroyed by the Chinese.”
Gen Zhu is a self-acknowledged “hawk” who has warned that China could strike the US with long-range missiles. But his threat to use nuclear weapons in a conflict over Taiwan is the most specific by a senior Chinese official in nearly a decade.
However, some US-based China experts cautioned that Gen Zhu probably did not represent the mainstream People's Liberation Army view.
“He is running way beyond his brief on what China might do in relation to the US if push comes to shove,” said one expert with knowledge of Gen Zhu. “Nobody who is cleared for information on Chinese war scenarios is going to talk like this,” he added.
Gen Zhu's comments come as the Pentagon prepares to brief Congress next Monday on its annual report on the Chinese military, which is expected to take a harder line than previous years. They are also likely to fuel the mounting anti-China sentiment on Capitol Hill.
In recent months, a string of US officials, including Donald Rumsfeld, defence secretary, have raised concerns about China's military rise. The Pentagon on Thursday declined to comment on “hypothetical scenarios”.
Rick Fisher, a former senior US congressional official and an authority on the Chinese military, said the specific nature of the threat “is a new addition to China's public discourse”. China's official doctrine has called for no first use of nuclear weapons since its first atomic test in 1964. But Gen Zhu is not the first Chinese official to refer to the possibility of using such weapons first in a conflict over Taiwan.
Chas Freeman, a former US assistant secretary of defence, said in 1996 that a PLA official had told him China could respond in kind to a nuclear strike by the US in the event of a conflict with Taiwan. The official is believed to have been Xiong Guangkai, now the PLA's deputy chief of general staff.
Gen Zhu said his views did not represent official Chinese policy and he did not anticipate war with the US.
China and Russia here Friday issued a joint statement on a new world order in the 21st century, setting forth their common stand on major international issues, such as UN reforms, globalization, North-South cooperation, and world economy and trade.
The statement was signed by Russian President Vladimir Putin and visiting Chinese President Hu Jintao after their talks.
During their talks, the two leaders discussed ways to further enhance the strategic and cooperative partnership between China and Russia, and exchanged views on major regional and international issues.
The joint statement said the two countries are determined to strengthen their strategic coordination in international affairs and promote peace, stability and prosperity of the world.
The joint statement says that UN reforms should be aimed at strengthening the world body's leading role in international affairs, improving its efficiency and increasing its potential for dealing with new challenges and threats.
UN reforms should be based on consensus through consultations, and should fully embody the common interests of the vast number of member countries.
The United Nations is the world's most comprehensive, representative and authoritative organization, and both its role and function are irreplaceable, said the joint statement on a new world order in the 21st century.
The United Nations should play a leading role in global affairs and be the core for establishing and executing basic norms of international law, the statement added.
The statement calls for UN peacekeeping operations to be carried out in accordance with the tenets and principles of the UN charter.
Resolutions of the UN Security Council must be strictly abided by. Cooperation between the UN on the one hand and regional and subregional organizations on the other should be developed, according to the joint statement.
The joint statement also calls on the world body to play a bigger role in the study of global economic and development problems.
The joint statement says that countries must be allowed to decide autonomously on their internal affairs while international issues should be solved through dialogue and consultations on the basis of multilateralism.
The international community should completely renounce the mentality of confrontation and alliance; there should be no pursuit of monopoly or domination of world affairs; and countries of the world should not be divided into a leading camp and a subordinate camp, said the joint statement.
Every country must be assured of the right to choose its own path of development that fits its national realities, the right to participate in international affairs as an equal, and the right to development on an equal footing, it says.
Differences and disputes must be solved through peaceful means rather than through unilateralism or coercion. There should be no use or threatened use of force, says the joint statement.
Only on the basis of universally recognized tenents and norms of international law, and under an impartial and rational world order, can problems facing mankind be solved, says the document.
All countries should strictly observe the principles of mutual respect for each other's sovereignty and territorial integrity, mutual non-aggression, non-interference in each other's internal affairs, equality and mutual benefit, and peaceful coexistence, it says.
The joint statement believes that the world is undergoing a historic change. The establishment of a new world order will be a long and complicated process, it says.
The central task of mankind in the 21st century is to safeguard peace, stability and security for the whole mankind, and to realize full-scale coordinated development on the basis of equality, maintenance of sovereignty, mutual respect, mutual benefit and ensurance of good development prospects for future generations.
Hu arrived here on Thursday for a state visit. He will also visit Kazakhstan and Britain, where he will attend the G8 plus five summit.
NEW SECURITY FRAMEWORK
The joint statement calls on the international community to establish a new security framework on the basis of mutual trust, mutual benefit, equality and cooperation.
The framework should have the universally recognized norms of international relations as its political foundation, and mutually beneficial cooperation and common prosperity as its economic foundation, says the joint statement.
The establishment of this framework should be based on the equal security rights of all nations while dialogue, consultation and negotiation on an equal footing should be the means for settling conflicts and maintaining peace, the joint statement says.
China and Russia support efforts to maintain global strategic stability, and the multilateral process of establishing legal systems on arms control, disarmament and non-proliferation, it says.
The two sides will work together to put the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty into effect as soon as possible and to push for the universality and effectiveness of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (INT), the Biological Weapons Convention and the Convention on the Banning of Chemical Weapons ( CWC).
They also call for the peaceful use of outer space, and voice opposition to weapons deployment and arm races in outer space. They push for relevant international legislation to this end.
The two leaders believe that in face of new threats and challenges, further effective measures should be taken to prevent the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) as well as their carriers and relevant materials, according to the joint statement.
The joint statement says the two sides have decided to cooperate more closely in related international organizations and forums and expand cooperation with other like-minded countries. The issue of proliferation of WMDs should be resolved through political, diplomatic and international cooperation within the framework of international law, says the joint statement.
The two sides think that a UN-led global system should be set up to deal with new threats and challenges on the basis of the UN Charter and international law, it says.
The joint statement says regional integration is an important character in the development of the current international situation.
Open, non-exclusive regional organizations are playing a positive role in shaping a new world order.
The two countries appeal for the promotion of further economic cooperation in regional integration and for the establishment of security cooperation mechanisms.
They also voice support for regional organizations to set up ties with each other and produce an atmosphere of mutual trust and cooperation, the joint statement says.
ATTENTION TO GAP OF DISPARITY
All countries should have an equal opportunity to enjoy the profits of globalization in such fields as economy, society, science, technology, information and culture, said the joint statement, calling for mutually beneficial cooperation and common development.
Developed countries and developing ones should make efforts to eliminate discrimination in economic relations, and narrow the gap of disparity between the rich and the poor, says the joint statement.
The international community should formulate a comprehensive economic and trade regime acceptable to all, through negotiation on an equal footing. Pressure and sanctions should not be used to force a country into unilaterally making economic concessions, it says.
It also calls for respect for the history and traditions of those countries with diverse ethnic groups and their efforts to maintain national unity. Attempts to encourage secession or incite ethnic hatred within a country should not be accepted.
Diversity in cultures and civilizations should not be the source of conflict, but rather resources from which all countries can learn.
Different historic backgrounds, cultures, social and political systems, values and modes of development should not be used as pretext for interference in other countries' internal affairs, says the document.
The Chinese president arrived in Moscow Thursday for a state visit, the first leg of his three-nation tour, which will also take him to Kazakhstan and the United Kingdom.
In Kazakhstan, he will attend a Shanghai Cooperation Organization summit. Then he will fly to Scotland for an informal meeting between leaders of the Group of Eight industrialized countries and five developing nations -- China, India, Brazil, South Africa and Mexico.
The government of Uzbekistan had called first for these actions, and as we can read as reported by the Indian National Newspaper Hindu News Service in its article titled
Uzbekistan Steps Up Pressure On US To Close Base
and which says -
"Uzbekistan is stepping up pressure on the United States to withdraw its air base set up in the Central Asian country for operations in neighbouring Afghanistan. Uzbekistan also said that the United States had not paid takeoff and landing fees, as well as compensation for security services, new infrastructure, ecological damage and inconvenience to the local population.
The statement was issued two days after the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation called for the United States and its coalition allies in Afghanistan to set a date for withdrawing their military bases from Central Asia. Last month Uzbekistan introduced severe restrictions on American flights from the Khanabad base forcing the U.S. command to redeploy some aircraft to Afghanistan. Kyrgyzstan has joined Uzbekistan in calling on Washington to shut down its air base near the Kyrgyz capital Bishkek."
The government of Kyrgyzstan has also called for the Americans to leave their country, and as we can read as reported by the RIA Novosti News Service in their article titled
Kyrgyz Ambassador: US Base Must Go - Russia's Should Stay
and which says,
"The United States' military base near the Manas Airport, in the Central Asian republic of Kyrgyzstan, must go and Russia's, at Kant, should stay, the Kyrgyz Ambassador to Russia said Monday at a press conference here. Apas Jumagulov recalled the recent Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) summit explaining the need for the Manas base's withdrawal by the fact that the situation in the neighboring Afghanistan was returning to normal."
The actions of the United States Military Leaders though to these demands to leave have been met instead with their increasing their combat capabilities in both Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan, and in total disregard to both Russian and Chinese warnings issued to them, and of which can read as reported by the USA Today News Service in their article titled
China, Russia-Led Alliance Wants Date For US Pullout
and which says
"A regional alliance led by China and Russia called Tuesday for the U.S. and its coalition allies in Afghanistan to set a date for withdrawing from several states in Central Asia, reflecting growing unease at America's military presence in the region. The Shanghai Cooperation Organization, which groups Russia, China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan, urged a deadline be set for withdrawal of the foreign forces from its member states in light of what it said was a decline in active fighting in Afghanistan. The alliance's move appeared to be an attempt to push the United States out of a region that Moscow regards as historically part of its sphere of influence and in which China seeks a dominant role because of its extensive energy resources."
Angering President Putin also has been the United States pressuring the European Union to attempt to take away Russia's vast oil resources, and as we can read as reported by the Moscow Times News Service in their article titled
Putin's Aide Warns Of Finno-Ugric Conspiracy To Seize Russia's Oil Assets
and which says
"The deputy head of Russia's presidential administration, Vladislav Surkov, has said that foreigners are accusing Russia of oppressing provinces that are home to Finno-Ugric nations and "strategic resources" of oil..Speaking at a meeting with Russian businessmen, Vladislav Surkov said, "Today, Finland, Estonia and the European Union have become markedly more intense on the topic of Finno-Ugric nations. It turns out that we oppress them somehow. They allegedly have no rights in our country. Regions where those nations are dominant have strategic resources of our oil. I am not a follower of a conspiracy theory. But this is evidently a planned action."
Moscow Officials further report that upon hearing of these latest moves by the United States against Russia President Putin remarked, "Then let's see how well they are prepared when the UN orders them (the Americans) to return California to Mexico."
To the Western peoples it still appears that they believe this American War upon the World is based on 'terrorism', but to the rest of the World it has long been known what the Military Leaders of the United States were planning, and even to as far back as 1998 were the warnings of these wars being reported, and as exampled by one such warning issued by the World Socialist Web Site News Service in their article titled
New Caspian Oil Interests Fuel US War Drive Against Iraq
and which had said
"Powerful geo-political interests are fueling the American war drive. In many respects US policy in the Persian Gulf is driven today by the same considerations that led it to invade Iraq nearly eight years ago. As a "senior American official"--most likely Secretary of State James Baker--told the New York Times within days of the Iraqi occupation of Kuwait in August of 1990: "We are talking about oil. Got it? Oil, vital American interests."
This struggle recalls the protracted conflict between Britain and Russia at the end of the nineteenth century for hegemony in the Middle East and Central Asia that became known as the Great Game. Germany made its own thrust into the region with its decision to build the Berlin to Baghdad railroad. The resulting tensions played a major role in the growth of European militarism that erupted in World War I. This time American imperialism is the major protagonist. Over the past several years, the battle for dominance in the region has come to center on one question: where to build a pipeline to move oil from the Azeri capital of Baku to the West.
"The Caspian region has emerged as the world's newest stage for big power politics. It not only offers oil companies the prospect of great wealth, but provides a stage for high-stakes competition among world powers.... Much depends on the outcome, because these pipelines will not simply carry oil but will also define new corridors of trade and power. The nation or alliance that controls pipeline routes could hold sway over the Caspian region for decades to come."
What is perhaps most insane about these Western peoples reactions to these true things is their not caring to know that both Russia and China are not going to lose Central Asia, or the Middle East, by anything other than Military defeat. The suddenness of this Wars escalation will surprise these Westerners, even as their Military Forces had been the ones who started it, and as we can read as reported by the Washington Post News Service in their article titled
Undeclared Oil War
The and which says
"Asia's undeclared oil war is but the latest reminder that in a global economy dependent largely on a single fuel -- oil -- "energy security" means far more than hardening refineries and pipelines against terrorist attack. At its most basic level, energy security is the ability to keep the global machine humming -- that is, to produce enough fuels and electricity at affordable prices that every nation can keep its economy running, its people fed and its borders defended. A failure of energy security means that the momentum of industrialization and modernity grinds to a halt. And by that measure, we are failing.
In the United States and Europe, new demand for electricity is outpacing the new supply of power and natural gas and raising the specter of more rolling blackouts. In the "emerging" economies, such as Brazil, India and especially China, energy demand is rising so fast it may double by 2020. And this only hints at the energy crisis facing the developing world, where nearly 2 billion people -- a third of the world's population -- have almost no access to electricity or liquid fuels and are thus condemned to a medieval existence that breeds despair, resentment and, ultimately, conflict.
In other words, we are on the cusp of a new kind of war -- between those who have enough energy and those who do not but are increasingly willing to go out and get it. While nations have always competed for oil, it seems more and more likely that the race for a piece of the last big reserves of oil and natural gas will be the dominant geopolitical theme of the 21st century."
To this 'New Kind Of War" the Washington Post speaks of we can already see by the actions of these Western Nations how it is to be waged, by the deliberate terrorizing of their own citizens through continued mass attacks designed to keep them in constant fear against enemies that do not exist for the purpose of creating a War Society built upon the model established by the Nazi Germany Regime of the 1930's, and which led to the last Global War.
For their continued refusal to see the whole truths of the very World they live in, and instead believing only in the repeated lies of propaganda told to them, these Western peoples have now been labeled as the most insane in the world, and as we can read as reported by the Australian News Service in their article titled
People In West Suffer More From Mental Illness
and which says
"People in the West suffer more from mental illness than those in poorer countries, with chances of recovery being higher in places like India than in say New York or London, says an Australian study. Their findings are expected to rewrite international textbooks on the devastating mental illness characterized by symptoms such as hallucinations, delusions, disorganized communication, poor planning and reduced motivation, it reported."
To the shocking devastation of Total Global War these Westerners know only through their movies, soon they will know it by looking out their doorways.
WASHINGTON - Battered by sagging poll numbers, new doubts in the aftermath of the London bombings about the effectiveness of its "war on terror" and no let-up in the bad news out of Iraq, the White House has found itself this week embroiled in yet another controversy, one that threatens the credibility, if not the tenure, of the man widely known as President George W Bush's "brain".
Thanks to the disclosure of email messages from a Time magazine reporter to his editor, it is now known that, contrary to categorical assurances by the White House two years ago, Karl Rove, Bush's deputy chief of staff and top political adviser, leaked the identity of a covert Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) officer, the subject of a criminal investigation by a federal grand jury.
At the time, Bush himself had assured reporters that he would fire anyone in his administration found to be responsible for the "outing" of Valerie Plame, the wife of ambassador Joseph Wilson, a retired diplomat who had published an article in the New York Times debunking Bush's assertions in the run-up to the Iraq war that Baghdad had tried to buy uranium yellowcake from Niger, presumably as part of a nuclear weapons program.
But now, with Rove "outed" as one of the sources of the leak, the White House is refusing to comment about the implications, insisting, in contrast to its assurances about Rove's innocence as recently as 14 months ago, that it would be wrong to say anything about the case while the grand jury investigation continues.
Bush himself stoically ignored questions about Rove's fate that were shouted at him by reporters during a very brief photo-opportunity with a visiting foreign dignitary on Tuesday. At the end of a cabinet meeting in which Rove was discreetly seated in a rear row on Wednesday, he announced, "This is a serious investigation."
Top Democrats, including Senate minority leader Harry Reid and New York Senator Hillary Clinton, are now trying to extract maximum political advantage, demanding that Rove step down for breaching national security and placing the lives of Plame, her associates, and their agents in jeopardy.
While Rove is considered most unlikely to leave, at least in the near term, the stakes are high. Rove, whom Bush has referred to as "the architect" of his electoral successes and, more affectionately, as "boy genius", is widely considered the president's most influential adviser, and not just on political matters.
Neo-conservatives howled, for example, when Rove, who has guided Bush's political career from its outset, reportedly told top cabinet officials in the fall of 2003 that there was to be "no war in 2004", in order to ensure the president's re-election.
"This president does not want to lose Karl Rove," David Gergen, a top political adviser to former presidents Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton, told the Los Angeles Times. "Rove is his right arm."
The controversy began almost exactly two years ago - almost three months after the US invasion of Iraq - when Wilson published a column in the New York Times on July 6, 2003, recounting his 2002 trip to Niger as a CIA consultant precisely to investigate intelligence reports that Iraq had tried to buy a large quantity of yellowcake from the country.
After a week talking to sources in the country, Wilson, who had served a good part of his diplomatic career in Francophone Africa, including Niger, concluded that the reports were untrue and reported his conclusions back to the CIA and the State Department.
Despite his findings, the allegation that "Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa", made its way into Bush's state of the union address in January 2003, less than two months before the invasion.
Noting the apparent anomaly, Wilson, who wrote that he was confident his findings had been communicated to the relevant policymakers, particularly Vice President Dick Cheney's office which, he was told, had expressed particular interest in the Niger reports, argued that, "If ... the information was ignored because it did not fit certain preconceptions about Iraq, then a legitimate argument can be made that we went to war under false pretenses."
The article, which was published at the moment when it first became clear that US forces in Iraq faced a serious and growing insurgency, received considerable attention, and, within days, the White House conceded that the inclusion in Bush's speech of the uranium claim was a mistake.
On July 14, 2003, however, Washington Post columnist Robert Novak published a column in which he reported that Wilson had traveled to Niger at the suggestion of his wife, whom Novak not only identified by name, but also described as "an agency operative on weapons of mass destruction". He cited "two senior administration officials" as his sources.
Several other Washington reporters came forward shortly afterward, saying that they, too, had been called by senior officials regarding Plame's identity, apparently in an effort to discredit Wilson's reporting by suggesting that nepotism had played a role in his selection. None of the reporters, however, identified their sources by name.
Under a 1982 law, it is a crime to knowingly disclose the identity of US citizens working undercover for the CIA. Democrats, the media and indeed some intelligence veterans soon began clamoring for a criminal investigation of the leak, particularly amid evidence that it may have resulted in the agency's closure of a major international counter-proliferation operation that been running for a number of years.
The Justice Department initiated an investigation and, under growing public pressure, reluctantly appointed a special counsel, US Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald, to handle the case. Fitzgerald promptly empanelled a grand jury and began taking testimony from administration officials, including Rove. All grand jury proceedings are secret, and remarkably little has leaked out to date.
Reporters, many of whom initially resisted testifying on the grounds that conversations with sources were confidential, were also subpoenaed to testify by Fitzgerald, who has won a series of court decisions holding that reporters do not have an absolute right to withhold the identity of their sources when a crime has been committed. It was in that context that Time magazine turned over the records of conversations held between its reporter, Matthew Cooper, and White House officials, including Rove.
According to one email message obtained last week by Newsweek, Cooper informed his editor that Rove had told him four days before the Novak column was published that Wilson's wife - whom he did not identify by name - "apparently works" for the CIA and had a role in selecting him for the Niger mission.
Rove's lawyer has since confirmed that such a conversation took place but insisted that his client had not done anything illegal, both because Rove did not provide Plame's name, nor was he aware that she was a covert officer.
In addition, the attorney has also declared that Rove has specifically waived the confidentiality of his conversation with Cooper, thus permitting the Time correspondent, who had been prepared to go to jail rather than disclose his source, to testify before the grand jury in the coming weeks.
While Rove's waiver saved Cooper from going to jail, another reporter, Judith Miller of the New York Times, has been behind bars since last Wednesday for refusing to cooperate with Fitzgerald's investigation.
While her decision has been hailed by many in the media as an act of integrity and courage, others have noted that, in the run-up to the Iraq invasion, Miller, who is considered close to neo-conservative hawks in and out of the administration, was the most consistent purveyor in the elite media of stories about Iraq's alleged weapons of mass destruction (WMD), based on the accounts of sources provided by the Iraqi National Congress and the Pentagon.
Given her close association with the war hawks, her WMD expertise, and the fact that she never wrote about Wilson or his wife, some writers, notably William Jackson Jr of the trade publication, Editor & Publisher, have raised the question of whether she may have been a source for, as well as a witness to, disclosure of Plame's identity.
Another prominent neo-conservative, Clifford May of the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, boasted two years ago that he was told by two "former government officials" of Plame's identity before Novak published his column. May worked as a reporter for the New York Times for 10 years before becoming communications director for the Republican National Committee, a post where he knew Rove quite well.
(Inter Press Service)
Story location: http://www.wired.com/news/privacy/0,1848,68133,00.html
02:00 AM Jul. 14, 2005 PT
Privacy advocate Katherine Albrecht, an opponent of the use of radio tags on consumer goods and in ID documents, is a woman any X-Files fan could love.
She's youthful-looking and attractive, with fair skin and cherry-blonde hair. A former schoolteacher, Albrecht also has a master's degree from Harvard, where she is completing a doctoral degree. Albrecht is suspicious of the government and big business. She's been an electrifying guest on Coast to Coast AM, the cult radio show featuring talk about aliens, ghosts, conspiracies and cryptozoology.
As director of the consumer privacy group Caspian, Albrecht is a darling of the mainstream news media too. In hundreds of interviews, in a list of publications that includes Business Week and Times of London, she has warned of privacy risks posed by RFID tags, the radio devices that retailers plan to use as a replacement for bar-code labels.
Albrecht fears that retailers will match the data emitted by the tags with their customers' information, turning each tag into a potential tracking beacon. She also suspects the government will want access to the retailers' RFID databases.
But one aspect of Albrecht's anti-RFID crusade has been attracting a lot of attention from other privacy groups: her religious beliefs.
Albrecht does not often discuss her religious views with reporters. But she believes that RFID technology may be part of the fulfillment of the Mark of the Beast prophesied in the Book of Revelation.
Other privacy rights advocates want Albrecht to help them connect with Christians who believe that RFID tags -- tiny chips that emit serial numbers -- are the Mark of the Beast. Many of those Christians believe humans one day will be compelled to bear a mark on their heads or wrists, to engage in the buying and selling of goods.
"Sometimes, it's as if they are saying, 'Hooray, we've got one (a Christian) in our midst,'" said Albrecht. "'Maybe she can tell us what to do.'"
Bill Scannell, a privacy advocate, and Lee Tien, senior staff attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, are among those who have talked to Albrecht about reaching out to Christians who take parts of the Bible literally.
"Many of us in the mainstream privacy community," said Tien, "don't know how to reach out to (the Christian community)."
Albrecht is already reaching at least a few of her fellow Christians, through videos produced by Endtime Ministries, that link RFID to the Book of Revelation.
"The Mark of the Beast, 666: a prophesy from 2000 years ago," says Albrecht, at the beginning of her video, On the Brink of the Mark, produced two years ago. "How many people (know that) technological developments of the last 10 to 20 years could be combining to make the Mark of the Beast a reality, and possibly even in our lifetimes?"
Endtime, based in Richmond, Indiana, claims to have sold thousands of copies of On the Brink of the Mark and other videos featuring Albrecht.
Albrecht has been a guest on Endtime's radio program, Politics and Religion, as well as other religious programs. She also has a book deal with Thomas Nelson, the Christian book publisher.
With a Bible-thumper in the White House, and the popular success of the Left Behind series of Christian-themed novels, American culture may be ready to hear Albrecht's message that RFID tags, such as the rather bizarre VeriChip implant, may become the must-have gadget for any servant of Satan.
"The impact Katherine could have on America's Christians is significant," said Politics and Religion co-host Edward Sax. "If she wanted to start a political movement, she could."
Scannell and Tien do not share Albrecht's biblical interpretations.
But there is nothing wrong with people who oppose RFID for theological reasons, said Scannell.
"I have a lot of time for Katherine Albrecht and for the Endtime people, when it comes to this particular issue," said Scannell, who has himself appeared on the Politics and Religion radio program. "I can work with anyone willing to fight this stuff."
The RFID industry must pay attention to the concerns of those who believe RFID may become the Mark of the Beast, said Peter de Jager, an expert on the adoption of new technologies.
"You have to take the social context into account when implementing a technology," said de Jager.
But some companies "are laughing in the face of the opposition, almost daring people to resist them," said de Jager. "And you don't do that to consumers."
But retailers may not have much to fear, as long as Christians don't have to pay more for their goods, said Tim Miller, professor of religious studies at the University of Kansas and chairman of the editorial board of the Religious Movements Homepage at the University of Virginia.
"There may be lots and lots of preaching," said Miller, speaking of potential religious opposition to RFID tags. "But as long as the bargains are there, any boycott will not likely have much adverse effect."
Wednesday, July 13, 2005
recorded a conversation he had with his Russian flatmate: "I will
tell you what Jews are like. Once, in the early months of the war, we
were on the march, and we had halted at a village for the night. A
horrible old Jew, with a red beard like Judas Iscariot, came sneaking
up to my billet. I asked him what he wanted. 'Your honour,' he
said, 'I have brought a girl for you, a beautiful young girl only 17.
It will only be 50 francs.' 'Thank you,' I said, 'you can take her
away again. I don't want to catch any diseases.' 'Diseases!' cried
the Jew, 'mais Monsieur le capitaine, there's no fear of that. It's
my own daughter!' That is the Jewish national character for you."
RIMSTING, Germany, July 13, 2005 (LifeSiteNews.com) - LifeSiteNews.com has obtained and made available online copies of two letters sent by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, who was recently elected Pope, to a German critic of the Harry Potter novels. In March 2003, a month after the English press throughout the world falsely proclaimed that Pope John Paul II approved of Harry Potter, the man who was to become his successor sent a letter to a Gabriele Kuby outlining his agreement with her opposition to J.K. Rowling's offerings. (See below for links to scanned copies of the letters signed by Cardinal Ratzinger.)
As the sixth issue of Rowling's Harry Potter series - Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince - is about to be released, the news that Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger expressed serious reservations about the novels is now finally being revealed to the English-speaking world still under the impression the Vatican approves the Potter novels.
In a letter dated March 7, 2003 Cardinal Ratzinger thanked Kuby for her "instructive" book Harry Potter - gut oder böse (Harry Potter- good or evil?), in which Kuby says the Potter books corrupt the hearts of the young, preventing them from developing a properly ordered sense of good and evil, thus harming their relationship with God while that relationship is still in its infancy.
"It is good, that you enlighten people about Harry Potter, because those are subtle seductions, which act unnoticed and by this deeply distort Christianity in the soul, before it can grow properly," wrote Cardinal Ratzinger.
The letter also encouraged Kuby to send her book on Potter to the Vatican prelate who quipped about Potter during a press briefing which led to the false press about the Vatican support of Potter. At a Vatican press conference to present a study document on the New Age in April 2003, one of the presenters - Fr. Peter Fleedwood - made a positive comment on the Harry Potter books in response to a question from a reporter. Headlines such as "Pope Approves Potter" (Toronto Star), "Pope Sticks Up for Potter Books" (BBC), "Harry Potter Is Ok With The Pontiff" (Chicago Sun Times) and "Vatican: Harry Potter's OK with us" (CNN Asia) littered the mainstream media.
In a second letter sent to Kuby on May 27, 2003, Cardinal Ratzinger "gladly" gave his permission to Kuby to make public "my judgement about Harry Potter."
The most prominent Potter critic in North America, Catholic novelist and painter Michael O'Brien commented to LifeSiteNews.com on the "judgement" of now-Pope Benedict saying, "This discernment on the part of Benedict XVI reveals the Holy Father's depth and wide ranging gifts of spiritual discernment." O'Brien, author of a book dealing with fantasy literature for children added, "it is consistent with many of the statements he's been making since his election to the Chair of Peter, indeed for the past 20 years - a probing accurate read of the massing spiritual warfare that is moving to a new level of struggle in western civilization. He is a man in whom a prodigious intellect is integrated with great spiritual gifts. He is the father of the universal church and we would do well to listen to him."
English translations of the two letters by Cardinal Ratzinger follow:
Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger
March 7, 2003
Esteemed and dear Ms. Kuby!
Many thanks for your kind letter of February 20th and the informative book which you sent me in the same mail. It is good, that you enlighten people about Harry Potter, because those are subtle seductions, which act unnoticed and by this deeply distort Christianity in the soul, before it can grow properly.
I would like to suggest that you write to Mr. Peter Fleedwood, (Pontifical Council of Culture, Piazza S. Calisto 16, I00153 Rome) directly and to send him your book.
Sincere Greetings and Blessings,
+ Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger
Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger
May 27, 2003
Esteemed and dear Ms. Kuby,
Somehow your letter got buried in the large pile of name-day , birthday and Easter mail. Finally this pile is taken care of, so that I can gladly allow you to refer to my judgment about Harry Potter.
Sincere Greetings and Blessings,
+ Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger
Links to the scanned copies of the two signed letters by Cardinal Ratzinger (in German) - In PDF format:
Monday, July 11, 2005
This is land theft on a massive scale. Worse, it is theft on a stage of sacred space that affects the sentiments of over a billion people. Whether Westerners like it or not, Jerusalem is considered by Muslims their third holiest city, and Israeli theft of the whole thing drives a lot of them up the wall. A partitioned Jerusalem where the Arab east is connected to the West Bank is the only route to peace. Sharon in his usual aggressive, grabby way, is trying to make that forever an impossibility.
And, folks, this sort of thing, which the Washington Post didn't even notice, may very well get you and me killed. I think what Sharon is doing is morally and politically wrong to begin with. But I sure as hell resent the possibility that I or my family is going to get blown up because of it.
You want to know what causes terrorism? Well, in part it is caused by deviance, by people so warped that they will take innocent lives in a wicked quest to achieve some political or religious goal. In part, terrorists are like bank robbers. Bank robbers desperatedly want to be rich, but for one reason or another think they are very unlikely to get rich through their ordinary activities. Likewise, terrorists, break the law, both moral and civil, to get what they want. In that sense they are criminals, or, as I say, deviants. But they are not motiveless and do not act out of free-floating generalized hatred for the most part. They have a specific goal in mind.
Terrorism is also caused when one country militarily occupies another country. That is, it is the military occupation that provides a lot of terrorists with their goal (i.e. to free their country from foreign military occupation). Chicago political scientist Robert Pape has shown that the vast majority of suicide bombings in the past 30 years have come in response to foreign military occupation (or what the terorists perceived as such). Back in the late 50s and early 60s, the Algerians and the French were locked in such a struggle. The French killed nearly a million Algerians (in a population of 11 million), and the Algerians blew up a lot of French. When the French recognized Algeria as an independent country in 1962, the struggle quickly subsided and by 1963 Algeria wasn't even a big subject in French newspapers.
The Israeli military occupation of Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza from 1967 has caused an enormous amount of terrorism in the world. It hasn't been the only such source by any means. The Tamil Tigers, a group based in Sri Lanka (used to be called Ceylon), blew up Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi and engaged in many other terrorist operations in Sri Lanka and India. It is a Marxist group and in some ways pioneered the suicide bombing. Because Sri Lanka and its concerns seeem so remote to most Americans, most people here don't even know about the Tamil Tigers. But if the US went in and militarily occupied the Tamil parts of Sri Lanka, all of a sudden we'd be seeing bombs go off against US targets. I guarantee it. That is not to say it would be right. But it is to say that that is how reality works (reality cannot be simply manufactured in the White House, contrary to what Scooter Libby thinks).
The Israeli Jerusalem Barrier project will have similar effects. It keeps inside itself a major Israeli settlement on Palestinian land that Sharon has recently announced he will greatly expand (probably using American money at least in part).
Because al-Qaeda and its fellow travelers do not speak in the language of Palestinian nationalism, it has been possible for certain quarters to obscure to the US public that they are absolutely manically fixated on the Israeli occupation of Jerusalem. This is what Bin Laden meant way back in the 1990s when he denounced the foreign military occupation of "the three holy cities." Here is what Bin Laden wrote in 1998 when he declared war on the US:
' Third, if the Americans' aims behind these wars are religious and economic, the aim is also to serve the Jews' petty state and divert attention from its occupation of Jerusalem and murder of Muslims there. The best proof of this is their eagerness to destroy Iraq, the strongest neighboring Arab state, and their endeavor to fragment all the states of the region such as Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Sudan into paper statelets and through their disunion and weakness to guarantee Israel's survival and the continuation of the brutal crusade occupation of the Peninsula. '
If this is a big part of what is driving the radical Muslim fundamentalists' violence, then Sharon's announcement on Sunday is guaranteed to produce a terrorist strike. If what Sharon is doing were the right thing, morally and politically, then he should do it anyway and we'll just soldier on against the terrorists. But it is wrong in the first place, wrong morally, and wrong in international law and an insult to the United States in completely departing from the roadmap.
How obsessed Bin Laden & company are with what goes on in Palestine is obvious, as I said last week, in the 9/11 commission report:
' According to KSM, Bin Ladin had been urging him to advance the date of the attacks. In 2000, for instance, KSM remembers Bin Ladin pushing him to launch the attacks amid the controversy after then-Israeli opposition party leader Ariel Sharon's visit to the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. KSM claims Bin Ladin told him it would be enough for the hijackers simply to down planes rather than crash them into specific targets. KSM says he resisted the pressure.
KSM claims to have faced similar pressure twice more in 2001.According to him, Bin Ladin wanted the operation carried out on May 12, 2001, seven months to the day after the Cole bombing. KSM adds that the 9/11 attacks had originally been envisioned for May 2001. The second time he was urged to launch the attacks early was in June or July 2001, supposedly after Bin Ladin learned from the media that Sharon would be visiting the White House. On both occasions KSM resisted, asserting that the hijacking teams were not ready. Bin Ladin pressed particularly strongly for the latter date in two letters stressing the need to attack early.The second letter reportedly was delivered by Bin Ladin's son-in-law,Aws al Madani. '
That is why our press and politicians do us an enormous disservice by not putting the Israeli announcement about the Jerusalem Barrier on the front page. This sort of action is a big part of what is driving the terrorists (and of course Sharon himself is a sort of state-backed terrorist anyway). The newspapers and television news departments should be telling us when we are about to be in the cross-fire between the aggressive, expansionist, proto-fascist Likud Coalition and the paranoid, murderous, violent al-Qaeda and its offshoots.
Eisenhower called up DeGaulle and told him to get the hell out of Algeria, on a short timetable, or else. I wish Bush had Eisenhower's spine when it came to dealing with Ariel Sharon.
PS the wonderful folks over at Daily Kos, to whom I am most grateful for defending me, should please do up an oppo research diary on Martin Kramer. Who is he? Where did he come from? When he was head of the Dayan Center in Tel Aviv, to whom did he report in the Israeli intelligence community? Who funded his work on Hizbullah? Was he fired from heading the Dayan Center? How does he suddenly show back up in the US after a 20-year absence with a book that blames unpreparedness for 9/11 on US professors of Middle East Studies instead of on the Israeli Mossad and the US CIA/ FBI? What was his role in getting up the Iraq War and in advising the US on the wrong-headed policies that have gotten so many Americans killed? Who pays his salary, now, exactly? What are his links with AIPAC, and with the shadowy world of far-right Zionist think tanks and dummy organizations? I.e., don't let Kramer tie you up with his salvoes on minutiae.
PPS: I post late at night and sometimes am sleepy and make mistakes. My readers are my editors and correct me. If the corrections come the same morning, I make them directly to the text, as a "second edition." If the posting has been up a few days, I put a footnote when making a correction. That is, I consider the text correctable for the first day or so. That is my editorial policy. Like it or lump it. If someone wants to accuse me of occasionally making minor errors, then sure. I occasionally make minor errors. This is a one-person dog and pony show, with no fact checkers, editors or very much in the way of compensation. That is why I can say like it or lump it. posted by Juan @ 7/11/2005 11:06:00 AM