Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Iran, Jack Anderson, Dave Zirin

Good evening. Starting late due to Blogger being down for fixing. Let's kick things off with Democracy Now!

Bush Refuses To Rule Out Nuclear Strikes on Iran
At the White House Tuesday, President Bush refused to rule out the use of nuclear weapons in the impasse over Iran's nuclear program. "All options are on the table," Bush said. "We want to solve this issue diplomatically and we're working hard to do so. The best way to do so is there for (sic) to be a united effort with countries who recognize the danger of Iran having a nuclear weapon. And that's why we're working very closely with countries like France and Germany and Great Britain. I intend, of course, to bring the subject up of Iranian ambitions to have a nuclear weapon with Hu Jintao this Thursday. We'll continue to work diplomatically to get this problem solved."

Diplomatically. Bully Boy can sound out the word but he has no idea of what it means. If you missed it Scotty McClellan is out and Karl Rove's being shuffled around. No real changes being made. And Rumsfeld remains, as does Condi, Dick and, of course, Bully Boy. News of Scotty came out while I was at work this morning. I don't know how the corporate press organs will play it tomorrow but I can tell you how it played to all the people talking about (over fifty): means nothing. Some noted Ari left and nothing changed, some noted that Scotty really didn't do anything about policy. Everyone agreed (and easily close to half of them were Republicans) that it was meaningless. That's the Bully Boy, meaningless.

So when he says diplomacy is an option, everyone knows it is empty talk. On Iran, this woman, about forty, had a good point at the end of her bit on Scotty. Her point was on Iran and it was that Bully Boy says, "You can't have nukes. They're bad. You can't have them. If you try to have them, we'll . . . nuke you!" She said it real funny and I bet she's used to cracking everyone up. Everyone who heard her was laughing.

FBI Seeks Files of Deceased Investigative Journalist Jack Anderson
The Chronicle of Higher Education has revealed the FBI is seeking to search through the files of the late investigative journalist Jack Anderson. Anderson, whose legendary career included exposes of the Iran-contra scandal and the CIA's attempts to kill Cuban leader Fidel Castro, died in December at the age of 83. Federal investigators say they want to access Anderson's files to recover classifed documents and seek out evidence that could be used in the current prosecution of two pro-Israel lobbyists. Anderson's family has turned down the FBI's request. During his lifetime Anderson was viewed with derision by several administrations. He earned a spot on President Nixon’s infamous "enemies list", and was reportedly the subject of a poisoning operation ordered by a White House aide.

C.I. wrote about this with "What Shane leaves out" and there are good points throughout. One is asking whether this is the pattern of law enforcement trying to get convictions from the work of journalists when they can't get them on their own? Another point was about how Anderson's files cover Bully Boy's father. Poppy Bush was involved in Iran-Contra. In addition, Anderson's got stuff on the CIA from when Poppy was the head and trying to clamp down. So is this another effort by the Bully Boy to keep the public from knowing the truth about his father?

FBI needs to leave it alone. They argue, "Our papers!" and that's crap. The Pentagon Papers could have been pulled back and reclassified based on that nonsense. Your papers until you lose them. You lost them. Tough.

I told Nina we'd go to the movies tonight before I realized that Blogger would be down so I'm wrapping up quickly. I may try to write about things tomorrow night that I was hoping to have time for tonight. Check out Like Maria Said Paz tonight because Elaine's got at least one topic she's going to address. She may not comment on the news items above because we're both way behind due to Blogger going down. Give your props to Rebecca. She posted in less than ten minutes this evening to be sure there was something up for the community. Also check out Cedric's "Law and Disorder addressed PBS and Armenia" from last night if you missed it.

I'll go out with sports. From Kevin Prosen and Dave Zirin's "Privelege Meets Protest at Duke:"

In Durham North Carolina, a scant three miles separate Duke from historically black North Carolina Central University (NCCU), but the divide more resembles a canyon. The seismic shock of the recent and now notorious rape charges levied against the Duke Lacrosse team has upturned this complex cultural cocktail of a city, occupied by an aloof and narcissistic private school catering mainly to wealthy students rarely seen outside the gothic cloister of their campus. Tuition at Duke is $43,000 per year, more than four times the cost of NCCU and about $3,000 more than the median joint family income in Durham.
The case in question is by now widely known; Lacrosse players at an elite campus hired two young African-American women as exotic dancers, one a student at NCCU. While details aren't yet clear, the woman has injuries consistent with being raped and sodomized. Lawyers for the team have gone on a remorseless counter-offensive. A new well-heeled booster club called the Committee for Fairness to Duke Families hired the ultimate authority in smearing women who "cry rape: Bill Clinton,s former attorney Bob Bennett. Bennett has already begun, saying, "A lot of innocent young people and the families are being hurt, and unfortunately this situation is being abused by people with separate agendas. It is grossly unfair, and cool heads must prevail."
Bennett and his team have also released personal details about the assault victim. This gets the spotlight off the confirmed squalidness of the case. 911 calls report racist epithets being screamed by men in the party house. Ryan McFayden, a sophomore on the Lacrosse squad, sent an e-mail dated the night of the party describing in morbid detail his fantasy of torturing the exotic dancers, saying, "I plan on killing the bitches as soon as they walk in and proceeding to cut their skin off while cumming in my Duke issue spandex." The same McFayden had the unholy arrogance to show up at the Take Back the Night Rally on campus and while sexual assault survivors gathered in a circle, he stood on the sidelines giving interviews with the Chronicle, Duke's odious student paper. The racial climate on campus is utterly appalling and this isn,t isolated in the world of Lacrosse. Others on campus have noted parties with vile themes, like the "Viva Mexico" bash where students handed out "Green Cards" for invitations. Danielle Terrazas Williams, a grad student at Duke, told the Independent, a local weekly "This [the rape] is not a different experience for us [African-Americans] here at Duke University. We go to class with racist classmates, we go to gym with people who are racists. That's not special for us." Commenting on the persistent sexual harassment faced by black women at Duke, Williams continued, "[it's] as if they're re-enacting a rap video or something. [. . .]"

Nina just said, "Wait!" I forgot to note C.I.'s thing on Iraq today:

The Australian reports that since the start of this year (reminder: we're now in the fourth month), 19,548 people have been kidnapped. This number includes as many as 2350 children and 4959 women. In Kuwait City, the American military is looking into allegations that three military contractors (American) have been smuggling marijuana into the city. Still on American contractors in Iraq, Al Jazeera reports that Philip Bloom has entered a plea of guilty to charges of "conspiracy, bribery and money laundering in Iraq." While participating in the conspiracy, Bloom used over 2 million dollars to bribe the "US officials who directed more than $8.6 million in contracts to companies he controlled." Combine the two items and you've apparently got: "Money to be made in Iraq!" Apparently that's how the World Bank sees it since the BBC is reporting that it is pondering returning to Iraq. Associated Press notes that Iraq's Prime Minister (Ibrahim al-Jaafari) is refusing calls to step down (calls have come from the US government as well as some in Iraq). Earlier this week a Shia cleric was killed by gunmen in a drive-by shooting. Now Deusche Presse-Agentur reports that Sheikh Saad Jaber Yassin has also been killed (both the death earlier this week and the more current one took place in Baghdad). Yassan was killed by a car bomb set to dentonate when the car started. Ireland's notes that, in Baghdad, two bombs have gone off and at least 15 have been wounded while at least 2 have been killed. AFP is estimating that "[a]t least 19 people" have been killed in Iraq today. In Baquba gunmen killed three Diyala college professors and wounded another. Also in Baquba, the AFP notes that a police officer was killed. In al-Ramadi, Deutsche Presse-Agentur reports that at least four civilians were killed and six wounded when "[c]ivilian houses were struck by rockets." Back to Baghdad, two people were killed at the elementary schools of Amna and Shaheed Hamdi. The AP reports that the National Security Ministry has changed details (originally stated that two teachers were beheaded in front of students -- now backed off that claim and state a school guard was stabbed in front of students and a teacher was shot enroute to the classroom).