Boston Herald Court turns down New York Times in leak investigation
The Justice Department says the reporters’ calls tipped off the charities of upcoming government raids. A federal judge who ruled in the Times’ favor said there is no evidence in the case even suggesting that the reporters tipped off the charities about the raids or that the reporters even knew the government would raid either charity.
In August, the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled 2-1 that federal prosecutors could see the two reporters’ phone records.
The government says the fact that the reporters relayed disclosures from a government source to “targets of an imminent law enforcement action substantially weakens any claim of freedom of the press.”
At issue are 11 days of phone records the government plans to review from 2001 - for the dates Sept. 27-30, Dec. 1-3 and Dec. 10-13. In a declaration this month, Fitzgerald said the statute of limitations “on certain substantive offenses that the grand jury is investigating” will expire on Dec. 3 and Dec. 13 of this year.
" 'According to some estimates we cannot track $2.3 trillion in transactions,' Rumsfeld admitted. $2.3 trillion — that's $8,000 for every man, woman and child in America."-- CBS News, 1/29/02, U.S. Secretary of Defense raises evidence of government, military corruption
"A GAO report found Defense inventory systems so lax that the U.S. Army lost track of 56 airplanes, 32 tanks, and 36 Javelin missile command launch-units. When military leaders were scrambling to find enough chemical and biological warfare suits to protect U.S. troops, the department was caught selling these suits as surplus on the Internet 'for pennies on the dollar.' " -- San Francisco Chronicle, 5/18/03
"The Defense Department spent an estimated $100 million for airline tickets that were not used over a six-year period and failed to seek refunds even though the tickets were reimbursable." -- New York Times, 6/9/04
Amid a growing barrage of front-page headlines, U.S. embassy officials "strongly suggested" President Bush's twin daughters, Jenna and Barbara Bush, cut short their trip to Buenos Aires because of security issues, U.S. diplomatic and security sources tell ABC News.
But the girls have stayed on, celebrating their 25th birthday over the weekend and producing even more headlines about their activities.
Howard also said the government would review the system granting AWB a monopoly over Australia‘s wheat exports. The system has been criticized as unfairly protective by Australia‘s competitors on world grain markets.
Critics say the government was negligent for failing to respond to a string of diplomatic cables sent by Australian officials at the U.N. and in the Middle East warning that AWB may have been violating the sanctions imposed on Baghdad after its 1990 Kuwait invasion.
"What people expect of their political leadership is competence when they are handling national security matters and foreign policy matters," Beazley told Australian Broadcasting Corp. radio. "And what they‘ve had from this government is gross incompetence."
Among the executives facing possible charges was AWB‘s former chairman, Trevor Flugge, who became widely known after a photograph became public of him, shirtless, brandishing a revolver during a trip to Iraq in 2003.
Sydney Morning Herald flashback Defence redefined means securing cheap energy December 26 2002
As troops and equipment pour into the Gulf for a looming war with Iraq, United States military thinkers admit that "defence" means protecting the circumstances of "daily life" - and in the US daily life runs on cheap oil.
As far back as 1975, Henry Kissinger, then secretary of state, said America was prepared to wage war over oil. Separate plans advocating US conquest of Saudi oilfields were published in the '70s. So it should come as little surprise that in May last year - four months before the terrorist attacks on Washington and New York - a battle plan for Afghanistan was already being reviewed by the US Command that would carry it out after September 11. Military strategists were highlighting the energy wealth of the Caspian Sea and Central Asia and its importance to America's "security".
The Indian media and Jane's Intelligence Review reported that the US was fighting covert battles against the Taliban, months before the "war on terrorism" was declared.
And...Also early last year, the security expert Michael Klare warned that US military action to secure oil "could emerge as the favoured response to future [oil] crises". In the months preceding September 11, US governmental and military policymakers increasingly built military frameworks around energy questions.
Earlier on Sunday, Iraq ‘s leaders promised to track down those responsible for the war‘s deadliest attack by insurgents, and urged the country‘s Shiite, Sunni and Kurdish politicians to stop fanning sectarian violence by arguing with one another.
Government spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh read the statement on national television as Shiite Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, Sunni Parliament speaker Mahmoud al-Mashhadani and Kurdish President Jalal Talabani stood around him.
"The crisis is political, and it is the politicians who must try to prevent more violence and bloodletting. The terrorist acts are a reflection of the lack of political accord," he said, after meeting with al-Mashhadani, Talabani and other members of Iraq‘s Political Council for National Security for a third day to discuss Iraq‘s crisis.
Al-Maliki is facing strong criticism from top Shiite and Sunni Arab leaders alike as he prepares for a summit meeting in neighboring Jordan with President Bush next week.
Finance My WayAP Analysis: Firms Crimping Oil Supplies
BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (AP) — You'd think it was Texas. Dusty roads course the scrubland toward oil tanks and warehouses. Beefy men talk oil over burritos at lunch. Like grazing herds, oil wells dip nonstop amid the tumbleweed — or even into the asphalt of a parking lot.
That's why the rumor sounded so wrong here in California's lower San Joaquin Valley, where petroleum has gushed up more riches than the whole gold rush. Why would Shell Oil Co. simply close its Bakersfield refinery? Why scrap a profit maker?
The rumor seemed to make no sense. Yet it was true.
The company says it could make more money on other projects. It denies it intended to squeeze the market, as its critics would claim, to drive up gasoline profits at its other refineries in the region.
Reuters UK-more trouble for Dubya. Prissy doesn't think this week is getting off to a good start for the cabal.UK to cut Iraq troops by "thousands" by end-2007
Britain's Defense Minister Des Browne refused to give specific numbers, but said: "By the end of next year I expect numbers for British forces in Iraq to be significantly lower by a matter of thousands."
Military planners have been working on a possible troop reduction for some months, Browne said a speech in London.
He also called on neighbors Iran and Syria to give Iraq their "full and undivided support".
Alert Net Basra airport, port to close Friday
Basra's airport and port will close on Friday in protest after car bombs in a Shi'ite stronghold of Baghdad killed 160 people, an official in the southern Iraqi city said.
It was not clear how long the closure would last.
Authorities imposed a curfew in Baghdad after the bombings, the largest single attack of the war, fearing sectarian reprisals.
Iraq's transport ministry is controlled by the political faction of Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, whose Baghdad stronghold was hit by the car bombs on Thursday.
Prissy read that anti-american forces were digging a trench around the Baghdad. Not a good sign at all. And now the airport is shut down. Watch for U.S. forces to end up pulling out from sheer neccesity. Watch Bush order the people ducking in their homes to be punished for not accepting Bush democracy with humility. The darkness of this cabal and their equally ugly global band of brothers, makes Prissy shudder though sunshine is on her back...
ABC Wire Woman Faces Fines for Wreath Peace Sign Colorado Subdivision Bans Christmas Wreath With Peace Sign, Says It Could Be 'Divisive'
ABC wire story Ex-KBR Employee Pleads Guilty to Kickbacks
Heaton said Seamans, whose job at KBR involved negotiating with subcontractors, agreed to cooperate in "rooting out corruption in the military procurement supply chain." Seamans' plea agreement also said he agreed to take a kickback from another company in Kuwait, which was not identified.
Seamans, 44, is to be sentenced Aug. 4 and faces up to 20 years in prison on each of two counts, and fines of $750,000. If convicted, Khan, 49, a naturalized U.S. citizen, faces up to five years and a $250,000 fine.
"We do not tolerate this kind of behavior by anyone at any level," Norcross said in a statement.
Last month, federal prosecutors said an executive for a subcontractor hired by KBR to fly cargo into Iraq pleaded guilty to inflating invoices by $1.14 million. Halliburton was formerly headed by Vice President Cheney.
What KBR meant to say is they don't tolerate employees being caught stealing money from the government...
Boston Globe Court urged to stay out of Times source case
The Justice Department yesterday asked the Supreme Court to refrain from stepping into another First Amendment battle involving federal prosecutor Patrick J. Fitzgerald and The New York Times.
The case involves Fitzgerald's attempt to track down the confidential sources of Times reporters Judith Miller and Philip Shenon for stories in 2001. Miller, who spent 85 days in jail in 2005 in connection with Fitzgerald's separate CIA leak inquiry in the Valerie Plame case, retired from the newspaper a year ago.
And...In its filing, the government cites a Nov. 13 declaration by Fitzgerald that says the time for filing criminal charges would expire in three weeks. Temporarily blocking the government from reviewing the phone records would cause "irreparable harm to a significant criminal investigation," the Justice Department told the court.
Three weeks? So you can see it's definately not over, even if Prissy got the expiration date wrong. Never was very good remembering exact dates;-)A helpful reminder would have been lovely, Professor Fitzgerald...More Plamegate see belowComing soon
Shining Light, sept 2006 flashback Plamegate Is Not Over
The WaPo led the charge on Friday with an editorial calling the conspiracy proven wrong and blaming Wilson himself for Plame's outing. Hours later Media Matters refutes WaPo's assertion using very pages of the Post! More at Next Hurrah.
Saturday, the Weekly Standard released it's broadside against Plame and Wilson. But as emptywheel at the Next Hurrah points out, the Weekly Standard has been a mouthpiece for the Administration by repackaging Feith lies about the now debunched connection between Al Qaeda and Sadaam.
The fact is that all this is window dressing in preparation for the election. While Armitage may have leaked it first, the White House's Rove and Libby picked it up from there useing the information to destroy the career of an undercover agent working on weapons of Iraqi mass destruction whom they thought failed in her mission. Her unit could find no WMDs in Iraq. Worse yet, they destroyed one of our only sources of intelligence on Iranian nuclear ambitions by outing the entire cover company she was working for, Brewster Jennings & Associates. Iran has emerged as the second most dangerous threats to world peace. To date there has been no formal criminal investigation for what surely appears to be traitous behavior for political gain.
Fitzgerald had plenty to investigate from FBI reports of suspicious behavior by Rove and Libby. Hopefully, more will come of this. Spin doctor Rove's silence suggests he's still worried.
Great new book: Attorney Elizabeth del la Vega, United States v. Bush. She lays out her case to charge Bushco with committing fraud against the U.S.
In United States v. George W. Bush et. al.,former federal prosecutor Elizabeth de la Vega brings her twenty years of experience and her passion for justice to the most important case of her career. The defendants are George W Bush, Richard Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Condoleezza Rice, and Colin Powell. The crime is tricking the nation into war, or, in legal terms, conspiracy to defraud the United States.
Ms. de la Vega has reviewed the evidence, researched the law, drafted an indictment, and in this lively, accessible book, presented it to a grand jury. If the indictment and grand jury are both hypothetical, the facts are tragically real: Over half of all Americans believe the President misled the country into a war that has left 2,500 hundred American soldiers and countless Iraqis dead. The cost is $350 billion -- and counting.
The legal question is: Did the president and his team use the same techniques as those used by Enron’s Ken Lay, Jeffrey Skilling, and fraudsters everywhere -- false pretenses, half-truths, deliberate omissions -- in order to deceive Congress and the American public?
News Day Woes for Baker group
A source who spoke recently to a leader of the Iraq Study Group said he complained bitterly about internal dissension and partisanship among members of the supposedly bipartisan group, and was worried about reaching consensus on the key issues.
Former Secretary of State James Baker and former Rep. Lee Hamilton, study group co-chairmen, have said they want their recommendations, due next month, to come from a consensus of the prominent Republicans and Democrats in the group.
Baker and Hamilton have made it clear they favor a U.S. dialogue with Iraq's neighbors, particularly Iran and Syria, as one way out of the Iraq crisis. This thinking reflects hopes that Iran could use its strong influence on Iraqi Shia and Syria its control over Iraq's most porous border to alleviate insurrection against the U.S. occupation and the fighting between Shia and Sunnis.
Some of the president's advisers, including incoming Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Director of National Intelligence John Negroponte, are said to be supportive of the idea of negotiations with the two countries, though a spokesman for Negroponte said recently the intelligence chief had raised, but not endorsed, the idea in recent meetings overseas. Vice President Dick Cheney is expected to oppose any such move.
San Francisco Chronicle ASSAULT ON PRESS FREEDOM
But U.S. press freedom has been slipping away since Sept. 11, 2001. Now that we are in a seemingly permanent "war" on terrorism, the government claims wartime powers that result in restricting press freedom.
The Bush administration has multiplied exponentially the number of documents it classifies as secret, shielding them from public view. It has classified literally millions of documents "top secret," according to reports filed with the National Archives; and the office of Vice President Dick Cheney claims to be exempt from reporting even the numbers of records it brands with the "classified" stamp. (The administration has also tried to retrieve antique classified documents from columnist Jack Anderson's estate, contending that only the government may possess such documents, however old.) Within weeks after 9/11, President Bush issued Executive Order 13233, allowing him to veto public release not only of his own presidential papers but those of former President Ronald Reagan, Bush's father and former President Bill Clinton.
The administration also is aggressively pursuing leaks, not with a Nixonian Plumbers unit but by threatening criminal prosecution. Some Republicans in Congress have called for Espionage Act prosecution of the New York Times for publishing revelations about the National Security Agency's monitoring of communications by U.S. citizens and tracking international financial transactions. Bush himself said it was "disgraceful" for the Times to reveal these government activities and publishing the security agency's leak was "helping the enemy."
Pursuing leaks inevitably means pursuing the reporters who received and published the leaks, forcing them to give up confidential sources or telephone records or go to jail. Whatever Judith Miller's motivation and however questionable her arrangement with "Scooter" Libby, she went to jail solely because she refused to reveal communications with her source to the federal grand jury.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Is it a civil war in Iraq right now?
KING ABDULLAH: Well, George, the difficulty that we're tackling with here is, we're juggling with the strong potential of three civil wars in the region, whether it's the Palestinians, that of Lebanon or of Iraq...
... And we could possibly imagine going into 2007 and having three civil wars on our hands. And therefore, it is time that we really take a strong step forward as part of the international community and make sure we avert the Middle East from a tremendous crisis that I fear, and I see could possibly happen in 2007
Reuters gives us one more reason to can Dubya...Calls for calm as crowd stones Iraqi PM
Angry fellow Shi'ites stoned Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki's motorcade in a Shi'ite stronghold of Baghdad on Sunday in a display of fury over a devastating car bomb that tore through their area.
Maliki was visiting the Sadr City slum to pay respects to some of the 202 victims of last week's devastating bombing.
"It's all your fault!" one man shouted as, in unprecedented scenes, a hostile crowd began to surge around the premier and then jeered as his armored convoy edged through the throng away from a mourning ceremony.
"A divided Iraq would also threaten regional stability. Even without that division Iraq is vulnerable to becoming a crucible for wider regional tensions."
"It is vital now that Iraq's neighbours give it full support and undivided support," he said.
"Even Syria, whose motives the international community has often had cause to question, has shown signs of constructive engagement."
Foreign Secretary Margaret Beckett said last week that Britain might be able to hand over security responsibility in Basra in southern Iraq by the spring.
Here's a novel idea...how about we just get out and let them rebuild their country to their own liking?
Bob Herbert NYT Select: Herbert's Heroes -The Empty Chair at the Table
The gatherings are more subdued now. Ms. Zappala can still remember almost every detail of the April evening in 2004 when the man in the dress uniform with the medals on his chest showed up on her porch with the bad news.
“He had a notebook in his hand,” she said. “I could see him very clearly even though it was dark and kind of raining. So I came out on the porch and I looked at him. And I knew, but I didn’t want to know.”
Sgt. Sherwood Baker of the Pennsylvania National Guard had been in Baghdad only six weeks when he was killed. The bitter irony that will always surround his death was the fact that he was helping to provide security for the Iraq Survey Group, which was hunting for the weapons of mass destruction. He died on April 26, 2004, in an explosion at a factory that was being inspected.
Grief is magnified during the holidays, and with the toll in Iraq steadily mounting, there are now thousands of families across the U.S. who are faced, like Sergeant Baker’s relatives, with an awful empty space at their Thanksgiving tables.
Bob is a press hero to military families nationwide.
Switching gears...the Journal 'Dominatrix' alleges bizarre sexcapade with cop
In X-rated testimony as graphic as a porno flick, a former dominatrix yesterday described a bizarre sexual encounter in the woods she claims to have had with a town police officer.
Only mentioned because a police officer was involved...very weird deviants. Cannot help but wonder if they vote republican.
Some analysts say he may use the visit to urge Iran not to use Iraq as a tool in its conflict with the US while Iran may try to exert its diplomatic muscle ahead of any future negotiations with the US on Iraq,
The US has accused Iran of funding Shia militants in Baghdad and southern Iraq.
Mr Bush will meet Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Maliki in Jordan this week while Vice-President Dick Cheney has just been in Saudi Arabia.
Our correspondent says the Bush administration clearly remains dubious about engaging Iran but adds that US influence on events in Iraq may be becoming more limited just when the need for a clearer exit strategy is becoming politically more acute.
DEBKAfile’s intelligence sources add that the Russian ex-spy is believed to have been a double agent, who sold trade secrets to different parties in and outside Russia, among them some of the Russian oligarchs living in exile in the West. Livinenko served as a colonel in a Russian Federal Security Services unit which investigated and carried out special operations against businessmen.
British police found traces of the radioactive Polonium 210 in Litvinenko’s urine
Dearest Readers, the suspicion of who killed the spy is rampant. The evidence strongly supports that this was a state-sponsored "hit". The question is ordered by whom?
"His success in binding what is a disintegrating nation together with an economy which was collapsing into Mafioso-style chaos ... must be balanced against the fact there have been huge attacks on individual liberty and on democracy, and it's important he retakes the democratic road."
But Alexander Lebedev, a former KGB spy who is a member of the Russian parliament, said the Putin government played no part in the 43-year-old's death.
"I completely rule out the possibility of that being done on official orders from anyone in the authorities," he told Sky News yesterday.
Tony Blair and Mr Putin famously came to verbal blows over the Iraq war, when the Prime Minister's stance on Iraq's missing weapons of mass destruction was ridiculed by the president.
Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage.--Anais Nin (1903 - 1977), The Diary of Anais Nin, volume 3, 1939-1944
When you meet your antagonist, do everything in a mild and agreeable manner. Let your courage be as keen, but at the same time as polished, as your sword.-- Richard Brinsley Sheridan (1751 - 1816)
Keep your fears to yourself, but share your courage with others.--Robert Louis Stevenson (1850 - 1894)
Fortune favors the brave.--Virgil (70 BC - 19 BC), Aeneid
It takes a long time to bring excellence to maturity.--Publilius Syrus (~100 BC), Maxims