Saturday, October 15, 2005

NY Times on Judy Miller

NY Times on Judy Miller

The NYT Judith Miller story is out - and there isn't a whole lot new if you've been following the story. Miller recaps her decision not to testify and to go to jail:
"....other reporters subpoenaed in the case said such waivers were coerced. They said administration officials signed them only because they feared retribution from the prosecutor or the White House. Reporters for at least three news organizations had then gone back to their sources and obtained additional assurances that convinced them the waivers were genuine.

But Ms. Miller said she had not gotten an assurance that she felt would allow her to testify. And she said she felt that if Mr. Libby had wanted her to testify, he would have contacted her directly.
It sounds as if Miller was being uber-protective, and I am concerned as to why she waited so long for special permission from Libby when we could see it was customary, by that time, for at least three other reporters to accept their sources' waivers. Legal pundit Jonathan Turley has said,
Other reporters got the same waiver that she got from the attorneys of Mr. Libby, and they accepted that waiver as they should. It was a valid waiver. She was the only one who refused. Most of us assumed that she was protecting somebody other than Libby. Libby's lawyers said they were floored when they found out that she claiming to protect their client. I think now the evidence indicates that she didn't have to go to jail, which has a lot of people are scratching their heads. [Huffington Post]
Miller told the Times she thought Libby's lawyer, Joseph Tate, was sending her a message that Libby did not want her to testify. According to Miller's and her attorney's account, Tate was seeking assurances that she would exonerate Libby. Tate called Miller's interpretation "outrageous." [Reuters]
What was this ultra-privileged relationship between Miller and the powerful war planners (including Libby) in the Bush administration? It seems to have surpassed the boundaries of ethical reason, and I'm not the only one who has noticed.
"Everyone admires our paper's willingness to stand behind us and our work, but most people I talk to have been troubled and puzzled by Judy's seeming ability to operate outside of conventional reportorial channels and managerial controls," said Todd S. Purdum, a Washington reporter for The Times."Partly because of that, many people have worried about whether this was the proper fight to fight."
I find Todd's statement to be in line with my own concern about Judith Miller's involvement in all of this - from the lead-up to the Iraq war to the present. Miller's own words tell us she was very careful to protect Dick Cheney:
"My interview notes show that Mr. Libby sought from the beginning, before Mr. Wilson's name became public, to insulate his boss from Mr. Wilson's charges," Miller wrote.....She said that in her recent testimony, Fitzgerald ``asked me questions about Mr. Cheney. He asked, for example, if Mr. Libby ever indicated whether Mr. Cheney had approved of his interviews with me or was aware of them. The answer was no." [Guardian Unlimited]
To see the Times and some others making a First Amendment heroine out of Miller is what I consider to be a inter-professional knee-jerk reaction. I suspect she was harboring potential criminals, albeit powerful potential criminals, to ensure the status of her future access to the most powerful in government. It's no great 1st Amendment defense of a "whistleblower"'s a revolting thought..and it's certainly not a clear or glorious 1st Amendment defense example.

"If you want to know one big reason why the mainstream media reported so long and so erroneously about Iraq's weapons capabilities, look to Chalabi, who was the main source for New York Times reporter Judy Miller's horribly inaccurate reporting on the matter. Where the Times goes, the others will follow."

- a quote from William Rivers Pitt

Things that make you go "hmmmmmmmm....":

The notebook used by New York Times reporter Judith Miller for an interview with Vice President Dick Cheney's chief of staff contained a name virtually identical to covert operative Valerie Plame's, the Times reported on Saturday. [Reuters]
....when the prosecutor in the case asked her to explain how "Valerie Flame" appeared in the same notebook she used in interviewing Mr. Libby, Ms. Miller said she "didn't think" she heard it from him. "I said I believed the information came from another source, whom I could not recall," she wrote on Friday, recounting her testimony for an article that appears today. [NYT]
Times Managing Editor Jill Abramson, asked what she regretted about the Times' handling of the Miller case, replied simply: "The entire thing." [NYT]

"On the Sunday talk shows of Sept. 8, Ms. Rice warned that "we don't want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud," and Mr. Cheney, who had already started the nuclear doomsday drumbeat in three August speeches, described Saddam as "actively and aggressively seeking to acquire nuclear weapons." The vice president cited as evidence a front-page article, later debunked, about supposedly nefarious aluminum tubes co-written by Judy Miller in that morning's Times. The national security journalist James Bamford, in "A Pretext for War," writes that the article was all too perfectly timed to facilitate "exactly the sort of propaganda coup that the White House Iraq Group had been set up to stage-manage.."
..What makes Patrick Fitzgerald's investigation compelling, whatever its outcome, is its illumination of a conspiracy that was not at all petty: the one that took us on false premises into a reckless and wasteful war in Iraq. That conspiracy was instigated by Mr. Rove's boss, George W. Bush, and Mr. Libby's boss, Dick Cheney.

- Frank Rich, NYT - Truthout

Miller's own statement My Four Hours Testifying in the Federal Grand Jury Room can be read HERE.
My notes indicate that well before Mr. Wilson published his critique, Mr. Libby told me that Mr. Wilson's wife may have worked on unconventional weapons at the CIA.
Miller indicates that Libby shifted leak-blame to the CIA:
I recall that Mr. Libby was displeased with what he described as "selective leaking" by the CIA. He told me that the agency was engaged in a "hedging strategy" to protect itself in case no weapons were found in Iraq. "If we find it, fine, if not, we hedged," is how he described the strategy, my notes show.

Curiously, that's the theme of a Bill Kristol Weekly Standard article today. Make the CIA look like the liberal (chortle) bad guys. Kristol seems to have taken it straight out of the Judith Miller playbook. As an American who values truth very highly, I don't want Judith Miller reporting news to me any longer. She coddles neoconservatives, if she is not one herself. They do not deserve the power they've held with the Bush administration.

Powerline Blog clings to a Stephen Hayes tale from the Weekly Standard about the 2004 Senate Intelligence report on WMD, headed up by super-partisan Sen Pat Roberts and released in 2004. Democrats never should have signed on to this report in 2004. See my post "Democrats far too passive on Senate Intelligence investigation."
Once again (as in the lead-up to the Iraq invasion), our Democratic representatives in the Senate are wimping out on us. They're allowing Senator Pat Roberts and his GOP partners on the Intelligence Committee to blame it all on bad intelligence and delay the next phase ("Phase Two"), which will be examining the administration's decision to invade Iraq (using/abusing the bad intelligence). The Senate Democrats "laid the groundwork for their own political defeat" last February when they agreed to delay the second phase of the investigation until after this November's election.
See my post from July 11, 2004: "I still believe Joseph C. Wilson IV:"
It's clear to me that the report will be
[ab]used by the Bush administration to attempt to legally snake out of its culpability in the treasonous outing of Mr. Wilson's wife.....

.....Would the fact that the Bush administration considered Plame's outing a necessity and an "unintentional" and legal consequence fly in the face of common sense? If it does fly, then I assure you..common sense is dead.. and the rule of law is a passe concept...and I am living in some alternative universe....

....The report throws up a smokescreen to make us wonder about Joseph Wilson's honesty in his prior statements about the Niger case, but in the end, the report is not conclusive and we are left to either believe Joseph Wilson's word or not. I tend to believe him over the others who consciously chose to leak his wife's classified identity and for whose motive I believe could have been nothing other than revenge (regardless of Wilson's role)....

.....Just as I believed there was no imminent threat to America all along based on the information I'd personally collected before the Iraq war, I continue to believe Joseph C. Wilson IV. He has my benefit of doubt.. and I hope he'll have yours, dear readers.

Consider the liars and the powers he's up against.

I went through Stephen Hayes' rehashing of events again and could find no mention of Michael Ledeen. From my own posting from this past summer:
Juan Cole has brought up the topic of Michael Ledeen as recently as yesterday. Mr. Cole tells us to check out Katherine Yurica's posting about Michael Ledeen and understand that Scooter Libby was the liaison to the CIA for the network that ran the Office of Special Plans in the Pentagon - and this is highly significant to this entire story.
Libby's network was in competition with the CIA and many members wanted to permanently weaken the agency in favor of the Pentagon, since they had much more influence there.
The neocons of the Bush administration included members of our own Vice President's offices (if not the Vice President himself). The facts surrounding the creation of (false) justifications for the Iraq invasion has threatened to literally pour out of multiple leak sources, like a decayed old hose that's ready to burst. Judith Miller is an inextricable cog in the wheel of the tangled web of lies. How could she possibly separate herself when her involvement was incestuous?

Democrats - Keep Poverty Out in Front

Democrats - Keep Poverty Out in Front

I hope that Democrats will not take E.J. Dionne's post-Katrina words lightly:
"....the conservatives have moved the conversation to ideas that go back to Calvin Coolidge's low-tax economics from the 1920s. And they say liberals are the folks with the "old" ideas?If it didn't matter, I'd be inclined to salute the agenda-setting genius of the right wing. But since we need a national conversation on poverty, it's worth considering that conservatives were successful in pushing it back in part because of weaknesses on the liberal side.

Right out of the box, conservatives started blaming the persistent poverty unearthed by Katrina on the failure of "liberal programs." If there was a liberal retort, it didn't get much coverage in the supposedly liberal media.
(My emphasis)

It's conservatives, after all, who spent almost a decade touting the genius of the 1996 welfare reform and claiming that because so many people had been driven off the welfare rolls, poverty was no longer a problem.
Risking criticism from those who lean liberal, former Sen. John Edwards came out after Katrina and spoke about one particular connection between poverty and children from fatherless homes - just one of the many social and cultural issues surrounding Poverty. Other Democrats might take Sen Edward's lead and seize the day on the issue of Poverty, speaking frankly, with undiluted conviction, about its social/cultural causes.


Related Note: At Daily Kos, diarist "jasonwhat" is 'digging on' John Edwards' poverty center and 'digging on" Democrats who aren't afraid to stick to their convictions while seeing the big picture...not attacking every Republican move for the sake of the attack. He calls it "the middle ground between the Cindy Sheehans of the world and the Barak Obamas."

On Iraq's Election

Holding a successful election in Iraq today does not equate to "success," other than the success of having no bloodbath incidents. (Hey. Wow.) We can expect isolation of many who speak against the new government (likely seeing them executed.) Measure that against those who view this as just another step toward the "puppet-ization" of Iraq via the U.S. (ie: the many restless Sunnis who voted against the Constitution, knowing it will be passed without their minor representational desire.) In other words, it will not bring the insurgency to an end, and unless we get a hell of a lot more Iraqi troops trained, our troops will continue to be stuck smack dab in the middle of Iraq's civil battles. (Where they've never belonged - and why has it taken over two years to have produced so few trained Iraqi troops?) The Bush adminstration's course has been wrong and when you look at the future of our involvement, it's confusing - nearly meaningless. We're doing much more harm than good by staying after this Constitution is accepted by the people's vote. If we stay on and establish our military bases in Iraq (as we all know is happening), how can we convince the Iraqis interested in their own brand of democracy that they are not our newest playland for our war games in Iraq and Syria? (Here's a clue - we'll never convince them; backlash violence will continue for many, many years; and without the international community behind us and an America whose majority does not support this course, we may well lose the support of surrounding Middle Eastern nations).

Changing domestic policy and changing the course in foreign policy may have to mean changing parties in power. On Iraq, we may have to learn to separate the wheat (a convincing, worthy and attainable goal meant to truly foster democracy and cultural support in Iraq) from the chaff (ie: the many mistakes made by an extremely inept Commander-in-Chief in an unnecessary war of option which has caused thousands of unnecessary deaths).

Bush - Popular with 2%

Bush - Popular with 2%

A whopping 2% of African Americans appreciate the job President Bush is doing in office. At Anonymoses, Rob Urban comments:
1) 45% of white people think he's doing a GOOD job. That's really quite close to a majority. What would it take to constitute a BAD performance? It's just strange.

2) Black voters in America are a distinct group that can often be identified by zip code or neighborhood, and therefore can be disenfranchised in significant enough numbers to swing an election (as seems to have happened in Florida in 2000).
Rob's comments cause me to reflect upon the fact that, by policy, the Bush administration is failing to culturally integrate the poor who are returning to New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, and it may be a design for the political/electoral security of Republicans. Rather than providing housing vouchers to allow them to move into established neighborhoods with thriving public schools, poor blacks will be set up in trailer parks - isolated from the white community as before. Think about it. Keeping them in one zip code is the perfect opportunity to disenfranchise them when Novembers come.

RNC chair Ken Mehlman recently told the NAACP:
It's so fascinating to me that the leaders of the American civil rights movement drew so much strength and courage from the Old Testament....The prophets of the civil rights movement had much in common with the prophets of the Old Testament. They worried about the country they loved...they sought freedom and justice...and they spoke truth to power.
He's fascinated...mystified...bewitched...spellbound. Why? Is it because the far-right GOP leadership uses the Old Testament only for their gay-bashing and anti-women's rights references? It's obvious, by looking at their domestic policy, that social justice has not crossed their minds in any serious way.

It won't be possible for them to win fair and square next time. Too much damage. They'll have to cheat.

Last year, there was another 2% pointing to a major Bush failure.