Anthony Browne's London Times guest-column is causing quite a stir amongst bloggers in the UK because of his warm collegiality with V-Dare and his comparing Islamic fundamentalism to Nazism. V-Dare is well known for opposing immigration and multiculturalism.
Level of Blog Credibility Depends Upon Independence
Editor and Publisher reminds the world of what makes a credible and successful blogger, and I follow their quote with the slogan I've used since I started the IDDYBUD blog.
An independent blogger's greatest asset, besides wit, energy, bravery, and doggedness, is sincerity. We read them to hear a credible independent voice -- not the shills of a corporation, lobbying group, a government agency, or a party. But now it seems that every auto company, PR firm, and politician is taking up blogging -- to sell us the same old pitches in a sleek new package. Some bloggers, unfortunately, are selling out and jumping on the payroll of corporations and political parties.
Jesse J. Holland has an AP report in which we see former Vice Presidential candidate John Edwards' informed criticism of Supreme Court nominee John Roberts. Because we all know so little about Roberts, I look to respected sources in the legal and political field, such as John Edwards, for information and opinion. When Sen. Edwards calls Roberts "a partisan for conservative causes" and questions Roberts' commitment to civil rights. it gives me cause for serious concern.
Edwards recently gave a speech to the American Constitutional Society, and you can see the video at the ACS website. In the speech, he discusses a number of topics, including the nomination of John Roberts to the Supreme Court.
In case you missed John Edwards' recent speech in Oklahoma, you can listen to the speech here.
"During the ratification vote in October, all it takes is a two-thirds majority of negative votes in three of Iraq’s 18 provinces, and the constitutional process goes back to square one: elections for another interim government for a second attempt at drafting a constitution.
The prospect of that clearly concerns the Bush administration and no small number of military commanders who fear that if Iraq loses its political momentum now, it will collapse into sectarian violence."
Here's to all the Marines coming home safely...and soon.
Plame leak - Niger Forgery - AIPAC Espionage - linked Even Bob Novak has a special place in this hellish tangled web.
With the knowledge that an unnamed recent appointee to the Bush administration was involved, even though not indicted in the AIPAC espionage case, I don't think we can state, with assuredness, that the Lawrence Franklin case wasn't all about the ugly production-line process by which US/Middle East policy has been created in Washington D.C. and, particularly in the Bush administration. Neocons, with their fevered verve to destabilize Iran, rolled over our CIA and chose to ally with non-American forces, namely Ahmad Chalabi's INC. The INC's lies and double-crossings have done irreparable damage to America. Judith Miller was smack dab in the middle of the neocon fever, and wittingly or not, she contributed to a great lie, perpetrated from within the White House, which has been one of the gravest insults and disservices to American citizens in the history of the United States.
The indictments? Steve Rosen, former AIPAC policy director and Keith Weismann, an Iran analyst for AIPAC, were indicted and further criminal charges were brought against former Pentagon and Defense Intelligence Agency employee Larry Franklin, a Colonel in the Air Force Reserve. Rosen and Weismann were charged with illegally receiving classified material. Franklin was charged with illegally passing classified information to Rosen.
The indictment lists charges involving incidents dating back to 1999, four years before the AIPAC staffers met Franklin. The charges are related to information on Iran and terrorist attacks in central Asia and Saudi Arabia that was allegedly exchanged with three U.S. government officials and three staffers at Israel´s Embassy in Washington.
A source close to the defense said that one of the U.S. officials involved, who has not been indicted, was recently appointed to a senior Bush administration post. The source, who asked not to be identified, would not name the official.
Larry Franklin had been a mid-level civil service employee who'd worked for many years at the Defense Intelligence Agency and worked in OSP Douglas Feith's office (Feith was under secretary of defense for policy). In Feith's office, Franklin worked under William J. Luti, deputy undersecretary for defense for Near Eastern and South Asian affairs, whose office was a part of the operation under Feith.
The recent indictment, for the first time, publically acknowledges the fact that Time magazine has previously reported, which is that Franklin had been enlisted by the FBI to place a series of monitored telephone calls (scripted by the FBI) to get possible evidence on allies of Ahmad Chalabi, a favorite of Pentagon neocons.
Chalabi was alleged to have told his Iranian intelligence contacts that the US had broken their communications codes -- a breach that prompted a break in U.S. support for Chalabi last spring -- and the FBI wanted to know who had shared that highly classified information with Chalabi. -- An FBI counterintelligence investigation of who had leaked this information to Chalabi was reportedly under way by spring 2004, and many of Chalabi’s neocon allies were incredibly anxious: Misjudgment about Chalabi’s virtues or postwar Iraq planning was one thing; passing secrets to another nation would be an accusation of an altogether graver magnitude.[American Prospect - Laura Rozen/Jason Vest]
The classified document that Franklin allegedly passed to AIPAC concerned a controversial proposal by Pentagon hard-liners to destabilize Iran. What was in the draft that neocon Michael Rubin had written and Lawrence Franklin allegedly shared with AIPAC? [Rubin, by the way, was furious at the leak about the AIPAC espionage, saying that the White House "rewarded the June 15, 2003, FBI leak" by canceling consideration of the draft altogether].
There are speculations that the destabilization plan pushed by neocons were in the draft in question - and that it advocated that the US (or its "proxies") should arm the Iranian opposition, including the Kurds, as part of its efforts to pursue regime change.
There have also been alleged leaks from former U.S. diplomatic officials who have visited Iraq and told journalists that there are Israeli intelligence officials operating in Kurdish Iraq as political advisers, and others under the guise of businessmen. [source - American Prospect]
Visions of the ugly politics of the 1980s in Latin America resurface when we acknowlege what the neocons have been trying to do in Iraq, with an obvious nod from the White House:
The public statements by the neoconservatives emphasize that regime change in Iran would not require U.S. military force. Then again, the neoconservatives’ inspiration for the Iran plan has its roots in Reagan-era NSPDs that, while providing nonmilitary support to Poland’s Solidary Movement, also had the CIA aggressively arming and training the Afghan mujahideen, the Nicaraguan Contras, and other anti-communist rebels. There’s also no denying that some of the chief advocates of the Iran regime plot come out of the Pentagon, America’s military command center. And some of those same Iran hawks have discussed the Iran regime-change issue, for instance, with Parisian-based Iran Contra arms dealer Manucher Ghorbanifar -- not exactly the kind of go-to guy for a nonviolent regime change plan, one might think.
THE NIGER FORGERY LINK
Franklin also participated in secret meetings with Manucher Ghorbanifar, the Iranian arms dealer who acted as a middleman in the Iran-Contra affair during the Reagan administration. The secret meetings, first held in Rome in December 2001, were brokered by Michael Ledeen, a leading neocon and long-time supporter of Israel. Ledeen said he arranged the meetings to put the Bush administration in closer contact with Iranian dissidents who could provide information on the war on terrorism. But he said that Franklin was always skeptical about the usefulness of the back-channel meetings. LINK - WRMEA
Bob Novak spilled classified information here:
From A Daily Kos diary entry:
Bob Novak's greatest harm to national security didn't come from outing Valerie Plame and her front company. His greatest harm came when he made the following statement in his July 14, 2003 article:
Wilson's mission was created after an early 2002 report by the Italian intelligence service about attempted uranium purchases from Niger, derived from forged documents prepared by what the CIA calls a "con man." This misinformation, peddled by Italian journalists, spread through the U.S. government. The White House, State Department and Pentagon, and not just Vice President Dick Cheney, asked the CIA to look into it.
Up until that time, the name of the country involved was classified. Check out EmptyWheels great diary...How could Novak have known SISMI was involved? Either someone with clearance told him, or a conspirator to the forgeries told him. Who would those conspirators be? Those with links to P-2 and the parallel Italian intelligence network. I think I've pretty much spelled out who's on that list.
WHICH BRINGS IT ALL DOWN TO THE OUTING OF VALERIE PLAME
Why? Because her husband was getting too close to the truth.
It isn't hard to see how are these cases are related.
My question is this - and this is only speculation. When embedded in Iraq, it's been reported that Judith Miller used to throw Douglas Feith's name (and negative press) around as a threat to hang over the Military's heads (to get them to do what she wanted). It's clear she was a close contact of Feith's (and Franklin's) office. It is said that there are clues about who it was in the news media whom AIPAC used to "launder" classified information after AIPAC acquired it from recently-indicted Larry Franklin. An article says:
Rosen and Weissman disclosed sensitive information as far back as 1999 on a variety of topics that included terrorist activities in Central Asia, the bombing of the Khobar Towers in Saudi Arabia, al-Qaida and US policy in Iran, the indictment said. Among their contacts were foreign government officials and reporters..
The FBI doesn't offer names of media sources, but it does provide dates and specific themes of stories. It is probably worth investigating.
On the right side of the blogosphere, a 'tongue-in-cheek' Scott at Powerline is using a Washington Post story about stolen Girl Scout funds to remind readers about the recent Air America story which has generated a lot of right-blogosphere chatter. Scott refers readers to Michelle Malkin, who, in turn refers readers to Bob Johnson, who is talking about a possible 'Gloria Wise - Progress Media - Piquant' connection and has prepared questions for Righties to start asking. Interesting - because the Right is taking a non-story and, in the new Blog-era journalism fashion, attempting to generate a story from conjecture. The result of this experiment remains to be seen, but I certainly don't believe that anyone should jump to uninformed conclusions just yet.
On the left side, Barbara O'Brien discusses the story at a post titled "How to Fake News: A Primer." She avers that the Right has gotten way ahead of any meaningful investigation and have declared Air America to be guilty based on one anonymously sourced news story in a rinky-dink local newspaper. By means of unsourced allegations and indiscriminate linking, the Right has created the appearance that there is much movement in the story and copious corroboration, but that is not true. And that’s why the story, as being reported by the Right, is fake. Even if it is found out, eventually, that Air America is guilty of anything whatsoever, the story - as reported by the Right AT THIS TIME - is fake and misleading.
So - is this a Jeff-Gannon-style Bashfest against the Progressives - or does the Right have anything material and substantial to back up their seeingly wild-eyed and politically-motivated accusations? The story goes on...and we see this story on the major Right-blogs for what it is, which is an attempt to do damage to Air America. I don't think the Righties are actually weeping or losing sleep over the possibility of a social organization's mismanagement of funding.
Update - Here's some news I can guarantee is "real." See the Headlines section of the Saturday edition of Iddybud. Atty General Eliot Spitzer will look into the matter.
EmptyWheel has begun a series about Judy Miller's sordid history regarding the Iraq war and the WMD farce. The first installment is at The Next Hurrah. The second installment is at the blog and can also be found at Daily Kos. It's good reading for anyone interested in knowing how Miller was led..and how she misled the public. It also causes you to wonder how this woman was able to wield such excessive power (even for a top-notch journalist) and how much her employer, the NYT, might know about her activities and her sources of information.