July 2005 Archives

July 31, 2005

Phyllis Schlafly is Still Alive?

Jo Mannies of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says "Phyllis Schlafly is keeping up the fight." I didn't know the old girl was still alive.

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Scholar: Patronage and Clout Has a Long History in Chicago

Dick Simpson, a former alderman and political science professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago, says in a January 31, 2005 article in the Chicago Sun-Times

Patronage and corruption [in Chicago] are an inevitable part of machine politics. When the first Republican and Democratic Party machines were born after the Chicago Fire of 1871, both patronage and corruption were part of the system. Patronage and corruption were hallmarks of the Richard J. Daley machine of the 1950s.
"And so patronage and corruption continue to flourish today under the new Richard M. Daley machine," Mr. Simpson added. Here's more.

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The Cover Story That Sent a Politician Over the Edge

Here is how the Miami New Times, a weekly, led off the article that is believed to have led former Miami City Commissioner Arthur Teele, Jr. to kill himself in the lobby of the Miami Herald on July 27, 2005:

Art Teele is a man of very big appetites, and because of them he is now in very big trouble. As the investigative report below indicates, the once-powerful politician is possessed of a seemingly insatiable craving for all things illicit -- adulterous sex, illegal drugs, bribery and extortion.
The article by Francisco Alvarado is headlined "Tales of Teele: Sleaze Stories: Male prostitutes and multiple mistresses, drug money in Gucci shopping bags, bribery and extortion conspiracies. And you thought you'd heard it all about Art Teele."

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Columnist Sees 'A Grisly Lesson forJournalists' in Politician's Death

Columnist Leonard Pitts, Jr. sees "A grisly lesson for journalists" in the July 27, 2005 suicide of former Miami City Commissioner Arthur Teele, Jr. in the lobby of the Miami Herald.

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The Herald Describes Relationship With Arthur Teele, Jr.

Here is a Miami Herald article on former Miami City Commissioner Arthur Teele, Jr.'s relationship with the paper. Mr. Teele committed suicide in the Herald's lobby on July 27, 2005. The paper said he criticized and courted the media

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It Could Have Been A Scene From Miami Vice, But It Was Real

In describing the July 27, 2005 suicide of former Miami City Commissioner Arthur Teele, Jr in the lobby of the Miami Herald, David Adams of The Times Online of London said,

"it could have been a scene from Miami Vice, the television series inspired by the city's days as a mecca for drug dealers, organized crime gangs and shady politicians.

Instead, the dead politician on the polished terrazzo floor of the lobby of the Miami Herald was very real. The Herald has feasted on the city's colorful reputation, making it one of the best-known newspapers in the US and earning it more than a dozen Pulitzer Prizes. But no political drama had ever come this close to its own doorstep.

Mr. Adams said, "The dead politician, Arthur Teele, 59, a former Miami city councillor, had walked into the building, put a gun in his mouth and committed suicide in front of a security guard.

"He had been indicted on July 14, [2005] along with a contractor, on federal charges of lying to get more than $20 million (£11.3 million) in contracts at Miami International Airport that were supposed to go to minority-owned businesses." Here's more.

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Herald Editor Sees A tragedy of Multiple Dimensions' in Teele's Death

Miami Herald Executive Editor Tom Fiedler called former Miami City Commissioner Arthur E. Teele, Jr's July 27, 2005 suicide in the Herald's lobby "A tragedy of multiple dimensions." His defense of his decision to fire Herald Metro columnist Jim DeFede for secretly taping Mr. Teele is quite interesting.

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Bolton Will Get His U.N. Post

"President Bush plans to sidestep Democratic opposition to his nomination of John Bolton as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations by making a recess appointment not subject to Senate confirmation, a senior administration official said Friday." July 29, 2005, according to the Los Angeles Times.

It will be without the consent of the Senate but I guess it will work. According to Fox News.Com, "the president is expected to make the appointment before this Tuesday [August 2, 2005] The appointment will last until January 2007, when this Congress ends," Fox said, adding: "Republicans say the Democratic filibuster justifies use of a recess appointment."

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Muslim Leaders Must Be More Connected to Congregations

Abdul Malik Mujahid, chairman of the Chicago-based Council on Islamic Relations, is quoted in Arlington Heights, Illinois Daily Herald as saying:

I think it is the responsibility of the leaderships of mosques to be more connected to the congregations, to make communities safe on an individual basis, and to keep an eye out for people under stress and make sure they channel it in a nonviolent way.
I have heard Mr. Mujahid speak many times at the Downtown Islamic Center in Chicago and have always thought he was sincere. Here's more.

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July 15, 2005

The Rove Controversy Is Really About The Iraq War

Veteran commentator Daniel Schorr told his Christian Science Monitor readers on July 15, 2005, "Let me remind you that the underlying issue in the Karl Rove controversy is not a leak, but a war and how America was misled into that war." I totally agree. See "Rove leak is just part of larger scandal" for more.

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July 13, 2005

The Unintended Consequences Of A Leak

USA Today said in a July 13, 2005 editorial that, "With each new day, the two-year hunt for the person who leaked the identity of CIA operative Valerie Plame seems to spiral deeper into a vortex of irony and unintended consequences." See "Plame probe heats up, but effects are chilling" What a wonderful turn of events.

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July 12, 2005

Kurtz: 'The Liberal Blogosphere Is Aflame' Over Karl Rove

Washington Post media writer Howard Kurtz told his readers on July 12, 2005 that, "The liberal blogosphere is aflame with animosity toward Karl Rove</b>, now that he's been sucked deeper into the Plame probe."

If I recall correctly, there was a time when the conservative blogosphere was aflame over former Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry and former CBS News anchor, Dan Rather and numerous other public officials and issues they didn't like. For more, see "Frog-marching Time For Rove?"

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Karl Rove, America Will Get To Know You

Linda Feldmann, staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor thinks that, "Outside the Beltway, and outside activist circles, President Bush's political mastermind would probably be greeted with blank stares and a reaction of "Karl Who?"

"But here in the capital, where Karl Rove arrived in 2001 already either revered or loathed, the sudden notion that Mr. Bush's right-hand man could be in legal trouble - and that the White House may have been caught misleading the public - has energized Democrats and the media," she opined in a July 13, 2005 article headlined "In CIA leak case, eyes on Rove." It's worth reading.

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Should Bush Fire Karl Rove?

Should President George W. Bush fire Karl Rove, his "political brain." for revealing to Time Magazine reporter Matt Cooper that former Ambassador Joseph C. Wilson's wife, Valerie Plame, worked for the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) on weapons of mass destruction issues?

David Corn at The Nation thinks so. I agree with him. See his "Why Bush Has to Fire Rove" for what I think is a rather persuasive argument.

Also see "What I Didn't Find in Africa," the article that led Mr. Rove and others at the White House to leak Ms. Plame's name in a purported attempt to punish Mr. Wilson for debunking a Bush Administration lie that said former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein had tried to buy uranium yellowcake from Niger for use in wmds.

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Did Matt Cooper Burn Karl Rove?

Byron York, the National Review Online's (NRO) White House correspondent, is reporting that,

The lawyer for top White House adviser Karl Rove says that Time reporter Matthew Cooper "burned" Rove after a conversation between the two men concerning former ambassador Joseph Wilson's fact-finding mission to Niger and the role Wilson's wife, CIA employee Valerie Plame, played in arranging that trip.
"Nevertheless," Mr. York wrote, "attorney Robert Luskin says Rove long ago gave his permission for all reporters, including Cooper, to tell prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald about their conversations with Rove. If that's case, why is he singing the blues? Here's more.

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July 7, 2005

Davids Medienkritik: 'Death To The Terrorists'

Davids Medienkritik, which offers what it calls "politically incorrect observations on reporting in the German media," had this to say about the July 7, 2005 bombings in London:

We want to express our total support for all those affected by the cowardly terrorist attacks today in London, just one day after we felt such great joy over the Olympics. This disgusting act only increases our determination to support the fight on terror and to achieve victory against the terrorists on all fronts. The response to these attacks must not and can not be to ask ourselves "why they hate us" or to back down one millimeter. The hate of the terrorists for our civilization is much like the blind hate of the Nazis for the Jews. "There can be no negotiation or mercy for such terrorists.
Davids Medienkritik said, The only response is to go on the offensive and vigorously seek out and attack those who perpetrate such acts." See "Terror in London: Death To The Terrorists" for more.

Question: What if the attacks were not carried out by Islamic groups?

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The London Bombing And The 2012 Olympics

Petr Bokuvka , reporter and host of the radio program Slovakia Today, wrote on July 7, 2005 in The Daily Czech:

Right now nobody works in the English section of Slovak Radio, as everyone is glued to a row of TV sets, watching the news from London. Is there anyone who does not think the incidents are related to the 2012 Olympics vote results?
Is this a serious question or is it designed just to elicit comments?

The question is buried in an article headlined "Slovak MP's And Their Meaningless Fights."

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Barcepundit Sends "Deepest Sympathies, Dear Londoners'

Franco Aleman at Barcepundit (English) sends "My deepest sympathies, dear Londoners" in the wake of the July 7, 2005 bombings in London. He tells them to "never surrender. The Spanish version of Barcepundit has a longer message.

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John At Inside Europe: Iberian Notes: 'Al Qaeda Must Be Destroyed'

John at Inside Europe: Iberian Notes, one of my favorite European blogs, offers a strong condemnation of the July 7, 2005 bombings in Britain. He wrote:

I suppose you know about the bombings in London. Of course this isn't the place to look for coverage. My heart goes out to the people of London. I hope not too many people were killed, but it looks bad. This is just like New York and Bali and Casablanca and Madrid. Al Qaeda are vicious killers and I hope this convinces some people that they are the enemy and have to be defeated. On all fronts. In Iraq and Afghanistan and Syria and the West Bank and Pakistan and the Philippines and Saudi Arabia and the US and UK and Spain. Guantanamo a gulag? My ass. They haven't killed any of the prisoners there, and as far as I'm concerned that's about the kindest treatment those murderers deserve. Koran abuse? Don't make me sick. Remember when Bush said, "If you aren't with us, you're against us"? He was right.Tony Blair is showing leadership. He's the guy right now. Stand behind him. He and the British people deserve nothing less.
John concluded with: "Al Qaeda must be destroyed."

While John probably won't get much of an argument in the West against this conclusion, it's unlikely that Al-Qaeda will be destroyed anytime soon, if at all.

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Horovitz: 'July 7, 2005 is Britain's September 11'

Jerusalem Post Columnist David Horovitz opined July 7, 2005 that, "Whoever turns out to have been responsible for today's terrorist assault on central London, and however grave the death toll ultimately proves, there is already no mistaking that July 7, 2005 is Britain's September 11."

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A Reuters Report On World Leaders' Views On London Bombings

Reuters Alert Net has reaction from world leaders on the July 7, 2005 London attacks, which resulted in the loss of at least 40 lives. One report said the number is higher. See "World reaction to London attacks" for more.

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Deutsche Welle's Round-up Of Reactions To London Bombings

Deutsche Welle, in a round-up of opinion on the July 7, 2005 "explosions that rocked London," said the blast "also sent shock waves across Europe, with governments stepping up security and offering their condolences to the people of Britain."

See "Europe Reacts to London Bombings" for Deutsche Welle's "round-up of reactions."

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BBC: 'The Political Impact Of London Bombs'

This [July 7, 2005 attack in London] was the terrorist attack [British Prime Minister] Tony Blair has dreaded and the thought of which, he confessed, kept him awake at night," contends Nick Assinder, political correspondent for the BBC News website.

In an analysis headlined "The political impact of London bombs," Mr Assinder wrote:

Time and again, ministers and security chiefs have said an attack on the UK was inevitable - it was a case of when, not if.

And it came at a time when the eyes of the world were on the UK, as Mr Blair hosted the G8 meeting in Gleneagles.
To that extent, the terrorists succeeded in securing the greatest possible global impact.

Mr. Assinder also noted that, "But Tony Blair has also insisted that, when the inevitable attack came it must not succeed in demoralizing or dividing the country. That would be to hand the killers victory."

I recommend the entire analysis. Also see "Blair vows Terrorists Won't Win."

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Muslim, Christian And Jewish Leaders Condemn London Attacks

Muslim, Christian and Jewish leaders have condemned the July 7, 2005 attacks in London, according to Ruth Gledhill, The Times of London's Religion Correspondent. Press reports say at least 40 persons were killed and hundreds injured.

Some reports say the attackers claim the blasts were in retaliation for Britain's role in Iraq and Afghanistan. Unfortunately, there will likely be more such attacks.

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A Comment On Reports Of The Death of Ihab al-Sherif

"Al-Qaida in Iraq says on a website that it killed [Ihab al-Sherif] Egypt's top envoy in Iraq, posting a video of the blindfolded diplomat identifying himself," Al-Jazeera.Net, like many publications around the world, reported July 7, 2005.

Al-Sherif, 51, arrived in Baghdad on June 1, 2005, according to July 4, 2005 Al-Jazeera report, and "had served as charge d'affairs in Syria and Israel before being transferred to Iraq." He "is the second Egyptian diplomat to have been captured in the country. The same report said:

Egypt has been training Iraqi security forces and civil servants under a US-backed international program and on Friday [July 1, 2005] about 140 Iraqi civil servants arrived in Cairo.
Al-Jazeera.Net's July 7 report, which is from Agence France Presse, said, "A written statement, the authenticity of which could not be confirmed, on Thursday read: "We announce in the al-Qaida in Iraq that the verdict of God against the ambassador of the infidels, the ambassador of Egypt, has been carried out. Thank God."

"The video does not show the envoy, Ihab al-Sherif, being killed," according to Al-Jazeera.

If the reports are true, Muslim and Arab governments would be unwise to risk their diplomats' lives to give international legitimacy to a government that wouldn't exist without U.S. military presence. Secondly, as long as the U.S. military is in Iraq, there will be an insurgency and danger to everyone that supports that presence. In addition, there will also continue to be what some of us in the west call "collateral damage." That's our nice way of saying civilians will be killed, and so what?

Finally, once Iraq's social fabric was disturbed by the U.S. invasion, and given the fact that such events attract Muslim warriors from all over the world, the logical outcome is what we see today: Chaos. This means that diplomats, who should be off limits, will be targets as they were in Iran in 1979 and in Lebanon during the Lebanese civil war. Unfortunately, more diplomats will be seized and killed before the Iraq war ends years from now.

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July 6, 2005

Parameters Looks At 'The Conduct of War'

Parameters, the U.S. Army War College quarterly journal, takes a look at what its editor calls "the changing nature of war in the 21st century." The theme is "The Conduct of War"

While all the articles are interesting, The Diplomatic Times Review highly recommends Christopher M. Ford's "Speak No Evil: Targeting a Populations Neutrality to Defeat an Insurgency."

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Gregory Djerejian's Best Case Scenario On Iraq

Gregory Dejerejian at the highly recommended The Belgravia Dispatch offers what he calls "the best case scenario" that could lead to "Sunni nationalist extremists, Baathist restorationists, and assorted fundamentalists/jihadists" becoming "increasingly marginalized" in U.S. occupied Iraq. My opinion is that:

Since the U.S. invasion of Iraq created the situation that resulted in the climate Mr. Dejerejian blames on the aforementioned elements, the best case scenario would be a U.S. withdrawal. And while a withdrawal won't totally solve Iraq's problems, at least it would give internal elements a better opportunity to solve their differences. Admittedly, this may result in more fighting--they are fighting each other anyway-- at least a powerful third party won't be directly involved. Under this circumstance, perhaps the non-Iraqi Muslim fighters could be persuaded or forced to leave.
The bottom line is that as long as the U.S. is in Iraq, foreign Muslims fighters will not leave. In fact, more will make their way to Iraq.

See "Some Good News..." for Mr. Dejerejian's analysis.

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Secretary of State Rice To Visit Asia July 8-13, 2005

"U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice will travel to China, Thailand and the Republic of Korea and Japan from July 8th to July 13th," Sean McCormack, assistant secretary of state for public affairs, announced during the State Department press briefing on July 5, 2005.

"During her stops in each country," he said, "Secretary Rice will meet with senior government officials for discussions of political, economic issues of bilateral concern as well as global and regional matters of mutual interest such as the North Korean nuclear issue, cooperation on fighting terrorism and transnational crimes, and tsunami recovery and reconstruction efforts."

Click here to read questions and answers surrounding the visit.

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Will Africans Take A Beggar's Plan To G8 Summit?

Officials of the 53-nation African Union meeting in Sirte, Libya "unanimously adopted a common position to take to the [31st] G8 meeting," according to David White of the FT.com of London. Writing from London, he said the leaders "called for a sweeping programme of debt write-off throughout the continent, going well beyond the plans agreed by the Group of Eight leading industrialized nations ahead of their summit this week."

The G8 Summit will be held July 6-8, 2005 in Gleneagle Hotel in Perthshire, Scotland.

According to Reuters, the AU leaders said in a resolution:

We request the developed countries and development partners to expedite the process of total debt cancellation for Africa by the year 2007.

We call on the international community to establish a fair and equitable trading system and to facilitate Africa's access to fair markets through ... the elimination of tariff and non-tariff barriers ... and trade distorting subsidies and domestic support, especially in agriculture.

"Seven African government leaders - from South Africa, Algeria, Nigeria, Ghana, Senegal, Tanzania and Ethiopia - are due to attend the G8 meeting, along with the head of the AU commission, Alpha Oumar Konaré," according to F T.com .

See "African Union debt demand set to test G8 plans" for more.

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AU Wants Two Permanent Seats On UN Security Council

Richard Mantu of BuaNews, the South African government news service, reported July 5, 2005, that "African leaders have endorsed the Ezulwini Consensus, which proposes two permanent and five non-permanent seats for Africa in the reformed United Nations Security Council (UNSC)."

The plan is quite ambitious but is unlikely to gather much support outside Africa.

See "AU leaders endorse two African seats on the United Nations Security Council" for more on the AU position.

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Kenya Campaigns For Seat On Security Council

Kenyan Foreign Minister Chirau Ali Mwakwere let it be known at a ministerial meeting of the African Union in Sirte, Libya, that Kenya was a candidate for a permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council if and when it is reformed, reports The Standard of Kenya.

"Our position is that we are a candidate," he told the paper, according to a July 5, 2005 report. "We believe we have the right credentials and we are confident that when the time comes we can get it."

Africa is demanding two seats on a reformed council while some Asian nations want a rotating membership to prevent a new member from being more powerful than non-permanent members.

See "Kenya intensifies bid for UN top seat" for more.

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July 5, 2005

'Diplomats Under The Magnifying Glass'

"Diplomats rarely make it into the media spotlight, unless they represent countries of key interest - or until they are involved in a public scandal," according to The Slovak Spectator.

"For example," the publication said in a July 4, 2005 editorial, "the media virtually ignored the former Greek ambassador to Slovakia until he was temporarily withdrawn after being arrested in Greece for carrying illegal weapon. Understandably, Greece does not relish this kind of attention."

See "Diplomats under the magnifying glass" for more.

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Attacks On Envoys And Iraq's Foreign Relations

Christian Science Monitor staff writer Dan Murphy reports in the July 6, 2005 edition that, "Attacks on senior Arab and Pakistani diplomats in Baghdad over the past week not only underscore the fact that the city remains one of the most dangerous in the world but are likely to complicate Iraq's efforts to enhance foreign relations, especially within the Muslim world."

See "Steady violence threatens Iraq's diplomatic relations" for more.

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Moussa: Attacks On Arab Diplomats In Iraq Harms Relations

"Threatening the security of Arab diplomats ..." in Iraq " serves the interest of those attempting to severe Iraqi-Arab ties or to isolate the country from the Arab world," MENA, the official Egyptian news agency quoted Arab League Secretary General Amr Moussa as saying on July 5, 2005.

Mr. Moussa was referring to the July 3, 2005 abduction in Baghdad of Egyptian Charge dAffaires Ihab al-Sherif and the July 5, 2005 shooting of Bahrain's envoy Hassan al-Ansari in an unsuccessful abduction attempt.. Here's more.

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Pakistan's Ambassador To Iraq Shifted To Amman

Pakistan's ambassador to Iraq, Younis Khan, "will be shifted to the Jordanian capital Amman," according to Agence France Press, citing Pakistani foreign ministry.

He was the target of a July 5, 2005 assassination attempt. It was the third attack in four days on a foreign diplomat in Baghdad. More attacks are expected as Iraqi insurgents try to prevent ambassadors from Muslim countries from taking up residence in U.S. occupied Iraq. Here's more.

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The Seattle Times On 'The Shadowy War"

The Seattle Times, in the second of five editorials on the Iraq war, stated the obvious in its July 5, 2005 editorial.

"America is at war a couple of them, actually," the paper said. "There is the war in Iraq where about 135,000 U.S. troops are on the ground. And the war on terrorism, launched after the stunning 9/11 attacks that killed more than 3,000 people."

"The latter is clearly justified; the former, it has become clear, was not," the paper asserted. "Nevertheless, to even the most astute followers of U.S. policy and world events, the wars seem to blur together."

Until last week, when 16 soldiers died when their helicopter was shot down in Afghanistan, one could be forgiven if he or she thought Afghanistan had been pacified. Fifty-four soldiers have died in Afghanistan during the past six months, according to the Boston Globe.

Fifty-two died in Afghanistan "in all of last year, according to official statistics reviewed by the Globe."

See "Second of five parts: The shadowy war" for more of the Seattle Times editorial..

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The Influence Of The Iraq War On U.S. Society

Paris-based columnist William Pfaff concluded in July 4, 2005 column that, "The outcome of the Iraq war - whether American defeat or victory, or something in between - will have no decisive effect upon the cultural and religious phenomenon of fundamentalist revivalism and radicalism inside Islam. "The international political consequences will be limited," he argued. "The most important influence of the outcome, whatever it may be, will be upon American society. What that will be is very difficult to foresee. Its scale might be estimated by what the war on terror has already done to change America."
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The Media And The Iraq war

KurdishMedia reported July 5, 2002, that, "At the World Tribunal on Iraq, which assembled in Istanbul [Turkey] last week, the international media organizations, especially U.S. and British media organizations, were accused of broadcasting the lie that there are mass destruction weapons in Iraq, without questioning its truthfulness."

For more, see "No self-criticism in media on Iraq war."

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Can Bush Win Iraq War By Mobilizing His Political Base?

E.J. Dionne of The Washington Post opined on July 5, 2005: "President Bush has shown that he can win an election by mobilizing his political base. But can he win a war that way? " See "Selling an unpopular war" for his views on the question.

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Arkansas Mayor, Police Chief Reflect On Iraq War Experiences

Mayor Paul Bunn and Police Chief Josh Chambliss of the small town of Bradford, Arkansas reflect on their tours of duty in Iraq in an interesting article headlined "Towns mayor, police chief reflect on war in Iraq, spotlight." It's very insightful.

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Two Dimensions Of Iraq War Support In The U.S.

"George W. Bush has said there are two tracks in the war in Iraq -- a military track and a political track," notes Gallup News Service's Jeffrey M. Jones in a July 5, 2005 article.

Mr. Jones said, "Americans' views on the war likely have two components as well -- whether or not Americans support the initial decision to go to war in 2003, and whether or not they think the United States should continue its military efforts in Iraq."

"Indeed," he added, "a recent Gallup Poll asking Americans why they supported or opposed the war found the most common reasons given were agreement or disagreement with going to war in the first place and an assessment of the United States' progress (or lack thereof) in the war effort. An analysis of recent Gallup Poll data shows that most Americans are consistent in their views, holding pro- or anti-war opinions on both counts. But a sizable proportion shows evidence of mixed views on the war," Mr. Jones concluded.

See "Special Analysis: Americans Divide Into Four Groups on Iraq War."

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Zogby: 'President George Bush Has A Problem'

James J. Zogby, founder and president of the Arab American Institute (AAI), opined in a July 5, 2005 article in The Jordan Times and MENA FM.com that,

President George Bush has a problem. This war was supposed to have gone so differently. By now it is clear that the infantile fantasy of its architects ("shock and awe", "a cake walk", "flowers at our feet", "six months and out" and "the spreading of democracy throughout the Middle East") did not pan out. Instead, US troops have been transformed into an occupation army fighting an enemy about whom we know too little, with stories and pictures of hideous terrorist attacks and growing tallies of war dead filling the daily press. As a result, strains are beginning to show. US public support for the war is waning, with Bush's job performance in the war effort now down to 40 per cent and a strong majority of 60 per cent saying that the war in Iraq wasn't worth fighting in the first place. More worrisome to the White House are signs that not only Democrats, but some prominent Republicans, are beginning to raise tough questions about the war and how it is being conducted.
Mr. Zogby said, "Add to this the embarrassment created last week by leading administration figures publicly contradicting each other and the military over assessments of how the war is going."

See "Bush fighting the Iraq war at home" for more of Mr. Zogby's analysis.

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Africa's G8 Message: What Will It Be?

In a July 4, 2005 post at the Guardian Unlimited's News Blog at G8*, headlined "Enriching Africa, Mark Tran noted: "Muammar Gadafy, the Libyan president, was in typically defiant mood when he opened an African Union summit in Sirte on the Libyan coast.

"We are not going to beg at the doorsteps to reduce debt .... We are insulted constantly and we deserve it. We don't need assistance and charity," Mr Gadafy told some 50 African leaders. The eccentric Libyan leader received only tepid applause from the audience for he was hardly on message.

"Unlike Gadafy, other African leaders have welcomed the efforts of Tony Blair and Gordon Brown to boost aid and provide debt relief for the continent at this year's G8 summit," Mr. Tran noted.

Question: Is the Libyan leader eccentric because he said, "We are not going to beg at the doorsteps to reduce debt...? Just asking. Also see "Africa prepares G8 message on aid, debt, trade" for speculation on what position African leaders will likely take on aid.

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Central African Republic's Bozize Dislikes AU Rules on Coups

William Maclean of Reuters AlertNet reported June 5, 2005 that Central African Republic President Francois Bozize sees nothing wrong with coming to power in a coup d'etat. According to Reuters he "defended on Tuesday [June 5, 2005] his military takeover, saying it was hard for Africa to lay down strict rules on coups d'etat because each country was different."

Mr. Bozize "was elected president in May 2005, winning a vote to end two years of military rule," according to Reuters, who asked him "if the era of coups d'etat in Africa was indeed over." Mr Bozize replied: "

What should be done? Each country has its problems. It has to solve them its own way. It is difficult to say there is a rigid rule.

The authorities (at that time in 2003) were starting to kill, rape, pillage and burn the institutions of state. They also wanted to loot the central bank.

The regime then in place did not practice good governance. The important thing was that we were able to restore the situation.

Reuters noted that, "Western governments, the United Nations and the AU condemned Bozize's takeover. Nigeria and South Africa also refused to recognize Bozize's legitimacy and he was barred from attending the AU heads of state summits in 2003 and 2004.

According to Reuters, Mr. Bozize "was allowed to attend this year's summit in the Libyan coastal town of Sirte because of his election." See "African leader dislikes rigid rules on coups" for more.

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Gaddafi Urges Fellow Africans to Avoid Past Mistakes

Webster Malido, writing about the African Union (AU) summit in Sirte, Libya, for the Lusaka (Zambia) Post, reported June 5, 2005 that Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi has said, "Africans are today paying the price for having aborted Kwame Nkrumah's ideas."

The late Ghanaian politician and thinker was one of the early proponents of Pan Africanism and a United States of Africa.

Mr. Gaddafi, one of the driving forces behind the AU and the next AU Chairman, told fellow African heads of state and government: "I would like to caution you from falling into the same trap" as the Organization of African Unity, the AU's predecessor. "We must improve our mechanisms and think of those who will be assigned the future assignments. We must avoid repeating the past mistakes."

See "Gaddafi Urges Africans to Avoid Past Mistakes" for more of Mr. Malido's report.

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July 4, 2005

Daily Telegraph Agrees With Gaddafi on Africa: Why?

The Daily Telegraph of London said in its July 5, 2005 issue that,

It is not often that this newspaper finds itself in agreement with Colonel Muammar Gaddafi of Libya, but he spoke sense at the African Union summit yesterday [July 4, 2005]. Addressing representatives of the 53-nation grouping, Colonel Gaddafi told African leaders to stop "begging" the industrialized world for more aid because ultimately it would create a wider gap between the richer and poorer nations.
I agree. Here's more.

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July 3, 2005

CARICOM Summit Underway In St. Lucia

"Critical trade and economic development issues, including rising oil prices, a gloomy future for sugar exports to Europe and relief from the region's debt burden, are expected to dominate the 26th annual Caribbean Community Summit," according to Rickey Singh, Caribbean correspondent for the Jamaica Observer. The summit is underway in St Lucia.

See "Caricom summit begins today: Critical challenges dominate agenda" for more.

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Will Rising Oil Prices Hurt Caribbean Tourism?

Sir Ronald Sanders of Antigua and Barbuda, "a business executive and former Caribbean diplomat who publishes widely on small states in the global community," writes in a July 3, 2005 article in the Jamaica Observer that, "Throughout the last winter season, tourism in most Caribbean countries was sustained by an increased number of visitors from Europe. This is likely to change in the coming months, hurting revenues and employment in the industry."

He said, "There are two factors that will impact the number of visitors from Europe. The first is the rising price of oil, which has now reached US$60 per barrel, and the other is the decline in the value of the European currency, the euro, against the US dollar." Here's more.

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Babs Ajayi's Open Letter To Sir Bob Geldof

In an open letter to Sir Bob Geldof dated July 1, 2005, Babs Ajayi of Nigeria World gave this advice to Mr. Geldof after praising his work on Africa:

Until so much is done to ensure that good governance and democracy is enshrined in Africa, the efforts being put into debt forgiveness will yield very little. The next battle after the G8 debt forgiveness fight should be how to block the steady flow of stolen cash from Africa from finding its way into the West and the Middle East. A major offensive against state-sponsored corruption and graft must also be high on the agenda. There are also multinational companies in Africa who are aiding and abetting corruption by the unethical way in which they do business. The big oil and gas multinationals from France, Italy, Holland and the United States have so much power and influence in deciding who rule most African nations. These companies corrupt the civil service and the armed forces of these nations and they use money to buy their way, to buy oil blocks, buy the rights to explore and exploit crude, diamond, copper, and gold mines. The multinationals encourage coup plots and fund it in Congo, Zaire and other parts of the Cooper Belt.
"However," Ajayi added, "with good governance and responsible/accountable democratic institutions most of the poor nations will be better positioned to build lasting and decent societies where people can build their lives and improve on their lots. The endless cycle of instability must be nipped in the bud if we do not want poverty to continue and the little funds available to African countries to go into weapons procurements and guerrilla wars."

See "An Open Letter to Sir Bob Geldof" for more.

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African Journalist Sees A 'New Dawn' In Africa

TV journalist George Alagiah of Britain, who grew up in Ghana, West Africa, during the sixties, noted in a July 3, 2005 article in the Observer of London that,

The Africa from which I have just returned is very different from the one I left seven years ago. As I travelled from Ghana, the first country in Africa to break free of colonialism, to South Africa, the last to achieve freedom, I realized a new wind of change blowing across the continent.
He chronicled his travels in an article headlined "Dreaming of a new dawn."

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Nigeria's Debt Relief

Emma Ujah analyzes Nigeria's debt in an informative article in the July 3, 2005 issue of the Vanguard of Nigeria headlined "Nigeria's Debt Relief: A News Analysis". I think it's worth reading.

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Who Cares About Africa?

"Who cares about Africa?" asked Dan Chapman in a June 30, 2005 Cox News Service report. "Most Americans, it seems, do not." He added:

They're too worried about war in Iraq, illegal Mexican immigration and an ascendant China to fathom the mind-numbing array of social, economic, military, health and political problems bedeviling a continent half a world away. That, at least, is the opinion of Tejan Muata, a former Peace Corps volunteer in Togo who laments that Africa gets short shrift from Americans whose IIQ-- International Intelligence Quotient-- is already sorely tested.
Mr. Chapman quoted Mr. Muata, an Africa expert with the American Friends Service Committee in Atlanta, as saying: "You can't care about something that you don't know about." See "Who cares about Africa?" for more.

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Africans: Who is Bob Geldof

"Few Africans watched the star-studded Live 8 gigs meant to highlight their plight but many said on Sunday [July 3, 2005] any effort to relieve poverty was welcome - even faraway rock concerts performed for rich whites," reports Reuters Correspondent Rebecca Harrison.

Additional reporting for the report I read in Independent Online of South Africa came from George Obulutsa in Nairobi, Kenya and Helen Nyambura in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.

See "Majority of Africans don't know who Geldof is" for more.

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Newsweek Sees A Leap Forward In Africa

Newsweek says "Forget Tony Blair and Live 8. The really amazing story is that Africa is starting to recover on its own." See "Africa Leaps Forward" for more.

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The African Blogosphere And Live 8

Financial Times.Com (FT.Com) of London reported July 3, 2005 that, "

Online reaction on African news sites [to Live 8] has been limited in comparison to European sites. However, the African blogosphere post Live8 has been ignited by the debate on efforts to put pressure on G8 world leaders to address aid, development and trade issues.
But "some African bloggers were less than convinced" about the efficacy of Live8, FT.Com said. Reporter Liisa Rohumaa cited what she called scathing commentary by African Bullets & Honey." The blog said, in part, on Julu 1, 2005:
This is simply an exercise in white, Western megalomania. Now that the age of empire has passed for these British Isles, now that the economic consensus will brook no extremes of the right or left variety, now that there are no great foes to contend with, there are only two extreme conditions that remain in a world that has moved to the middle. Western self-aggrandisement and African suffering. To the liberals and assorted put Africa right brigades, they exist at the centre of the moral universe.
The blog said, "Africans shall live or die according to their wishes. Now we are to be saved, but it could be just the opposite as it has been in times past."

See "African blogosphere gives vent on Live 8" for more of FT.Com's report.

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July 2, 2005

Was CIA Kidap Victim Once An Informant For The Spy Agency?

Chicago Tribune correspondents John Crewdson and Tom Hundley notes in a July 2, 2005 Tribune exclusive that,

"Among the multiple mysteries swirling around the [CIA's] abduction of Osama Moustafa Hassan Nasr in Italy, one stands out as by far the most perplexing. Why would the U.S. government go to elaborate lengths to seize a 39-year-old Egyptian who, according to former Albanian intelligence officials, was once the CIA's most productive source of information within the tightly knit group of Islamic fundamentalists living in exile in Albania?
One possible answer: The "abduction was a bold attempt to turn him back into the informer he once was," according to Crewdson and Hundley, who have doggedly pursued the story. See "Abducted imam aided CIA ally" for more of their story.

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Judith Miller.Org

Judith Miller.Org has a good round up of mainstream media opinion on the possibility that Judith Miller, a New York Times reporter, and Matthew Cooper of Time may go to jail or prison for refusing to "disclose their sources in the leak of the identity of CIA officer Valerie Plame , according to the Associated Press. A federal judge held them in contempt last October. On June 27, 2005, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear their appeal.

I'm not surprised that Ms. Miller turned to a blog to get her story out.

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What About Robert Novak?

Chicago Sun-Times columnist Carol Marin , in an article headlined "Media lax as feds go on free press attack," raised important questions on the likelihood that New York Times reporter Judith Miller and Time Magazine reporter Matthew Cooper may have to go to jail for contempt for refusing to disclose their sources in the Valerie Plame affair while the man who actually exposed her as a U.S. Central Intelligence Agency operative may get away with not exposing his source.

The back story: Ms. Plame was a NOC or agent under non-official cover when someone in the Bush Administration deliberately blew her cover in an effort to get back at her husband, former Ambassador Joseph C. Wilson IV, for embarrassing the administration by exposing the fraud behind administration claims that former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein had sought to purchase yellow cake uranium from Niger to use in weapons of mass destruction.

Chicago Sun-Times columnist Robert Novak was used to make the revelation. He did so in a July 14, 2003 column that, as Wikipedia notes, caused "a political controversy and eventually led to a Justice Department investigation into possible violation of U.S. criminal law regarding exposure of covert government agents."

Puzzled by Mr. Novak's role, Ms. Marin wrote:

I just can't figure it out. Why in the world is New York Times reporter Judith Miller headed to jail next week while my Sun-Times colleague Robert Novak is not? Why is a reporter who has written not one single word about a CIA operative about to be sent to the federal slammer while another reporter, the one who actually broke the story, isn't in similar trouble?

Don't get me wrong. I like and respect Bob Novak and don't want to ever see him in an orange jump suit. Or think about him being strip-searched upon intake to federal prison. Then again, I never even met Judith Miller, and I don't want that happening to her, either.

I called Novak in Washington Thursday to see if he could help me make sense of all this. "I can't say anything," he said, citing advice of counsel and the pending federal investigation.

See Novak: 'I will reveal all' for what he told CNN about the U.S. Supreme Court's refusal to hear Mr. Cooper and Ms. Miller's appeal.

Question: Has Mr. Novak already revealed his sources to the Federal Grand Jury investigating the leak. If he has, that may explain why there is no obvious government pressure on him.

Meanwhile, over in Milwaukee, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel opined July 1, 2005 that, "The cases of reporters Judith Miller and Matthew Cooper threatened with jail for refusing to disclose a source, have had all the earmarks of a vendetta against journalists generally."

Frank Smyth, the "Washington representative and journalist security coordinator for the Committee to Protect Journalists, writing in the International Herald Tribune, which is owned by The New York Times Company, contends in a June 2, 2005 editorial that "Restrictive regimes around the world came out ahead when the U.S. Supreme Court announced this week that it would not hear an appeal by two journalists in a case involving the leak of a CIA officer's name. The reporters, Matthew Cooper of Time magazine and Judith Miller of The New York Times, face up to 18 months in jail for not revealing their confidential sources," Mr. Smyth said in his article headlined "The Wrong Message."

Out in the Pacific Northwest, the Seattle Times, in an editorial headlined "Prosecuting the messenger, told its readers in a July 1, 2005 editorial:

It's open season on journalists and by extension, information the government doesn't want people to know.
In the nation's capital, The Washington Post opined in an article headlined "A Shield for Journalists":
It was not surprising that the Supreme Court declined on Monday to take up the case of two reporters facing jail time for refusing to testify about the leak of Valerie Plame's status as a covert intelligence operative. But the decision brought to a head a dangerous confrontation between the needs of prosecutors and the ability of the press to do the job the public expects of it. The court left Judith Miller of the New York Times and Matthew Cooper of Time magazine facing a terrible choice between testifying about a confidential source or going to jail for contempt of court. Yesterday, Time Inc. -- which had also been held in contempt for refusing to turn over documents related to Mr. Cooper's source -- announced that it was complying with the court order. This could relieve Mr. Cooper's situation, either by making his testimony unnecessary or by rendering moot his resistance to revealing his source's identity. But Ms. Miller's predicament remains.
Down in Texas, The Houston Chronicle , in an article headlined "Strangling Deep Throat,"said, "Requiring reporters to divulge confidential sources stifles investigative journalism and discourages public-spirited informants." I'm inclined to agree.

On the other hand, the mainstream media set the stage for its current predicament by being so timid with Administration and endorsing almost every asinine proposal put forth in the aftermath of Al-Qaeda's September 11, 2001 attack on the U.S. In fact, many in the mainstream media including Ms. Miller acted as if they were the administration's propaganda channels.

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July 1, 2005

IRNA: Leaders Of Hostage-Takers Say Ahmadinejad Had No Role

"Abbas Abdi, Mohsen Mirdamadi, and Hamid Reza Jalaeipour, the leaders of "Students Following the Path of Imam" who took over the U.S. embassy in Iran in 1979, say "reports on President-elect Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's role in the siege are "not true," according to a July I 1, 2005 report by the Islamic Republic News Agency. See "Ahmadinejad had no role in US Embassy siege: Hostage-takers" for more.

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Italy Refuses Go Along With CIA On Kidnapping Story

Los Angeles Times reporters Tracy Wilkinson and Greg Miller reported June 30, 2005 that, " In a case threatening to explode into a major diplomatic row, the Italian government Thursday [June 30, 2005] denied it authorized or even knew about an operation in which CIA agents allegedly kidnapped a radical Egyptian cleric from the streets of Milan and transported him to Egypt for interrogation and torture."

"Italy's denial flew in the face of assertions by former CIA officials that the agency had obtained the consent of the Italian intelligence service before dispatching a CIA paramilitary team to nab the cleric," they wrote. One thing for sure, somebody is lying. Here's more.

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