Mass arrests made in Milan swoops
Italian police have arrested 142 people as part of a two-day anti-terror operation in and around Milan.
One and a half kilos (3.3 pounds) of explosive were found, reports say.
Some 2,000 Carabinieri police took part in the raid, aimed at boosting security at sensitive locations such as underground and train stations.
An internet claim of responsibility for the London bombings threatened Italy and Denmark with similar attacks, but its credibility has been questioned.
Gen Antonio Girone, the regional Carabinieri commander, said security forces had concentrated on Milan because it was a "prime target for possible terrorist action".
Some 7,000 people are said to have undergone preventive police checks.
Police reportedly raided several Gypsy camps and other deprived areas.
Of those arrested, 83 are said to be non-EU citizens. Deportation orders have already been issued for 52 of them.
"Charges are mainly related to crimes like burglary, theft, evading home arrest and infringement of drug laws," Col Cosimo Piccinno was reported by daily Corriere della Sera as saying after the arrests.
In a separate development, police evacuated part of Rome's Fiumicino airport after a false alarm sparked by an unattended bag earlier this morning.
Speaking from the G8 meeting in Gleneagles, Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi said Italy would start withdrawing 300 troops from Iraq in September.
But he underlined that the partial pullout had already been announced and that Italy's presence in the region would continue until the Iraqi authorities will be able to replace it with their own security forces.
"Commitments must be met," he said.
Story from BBC NEWS:
Saturday, July 09, 2005
Tube bombs 'almost simultaneous'
The three bombs on London underground trains "exploded almost simultaneously", say police.
Scotland Yard said the attacks took place within 50 seconds of each other despite previously saying they had taken place over a longer time period.
British Transport Police have also warned that the recovery of victims could take "days more."
Meanwhile, the government is to announce a two minute silence for 1200 BST on Thursday.
Technical data from London Underground disproved the earlier wider range of timings between explosions, Scotland Yard Deputy Assistant Commissioner Brian Paddick said at a press conference on Saturday.
And there was still no certainty about the number of people whose bodies remain trapped in wrecked train carriages below King's Cross, it was announced.
This would be a "slow, methodical, meticulous process" in very difficult circumstances, said Deputy Chief Constable Andy Trotter.
It would take "as long it takes", he said later.
There have been 49 confirmed fatalities in the bomb attacks on tube trains and a bus - and concerns remain for a further 25 missing people.
So far no victims have been formally identified - and police warn that the process, due to begin on Saturday, could take weeks to complete.
A 24-hour reception centre has been opened at the Queen Mother Sports Centre in Victoria, central London, to help the families of people not seen since the explosions.
The police say that timings show that the explosions took place at 8.50am - and that the synchronisation could suggest that bombs used in the attack were triggered using timing devices.
High-explosives were used in the attacks and were not home-made, say the police.
Mr Paddick denied reports that investigators were looking "for any specific individual".
Prime Minister Tony Blair warned that security and surveillance will not be enough to stop such attacks - and that there has to be an ideological struggle in which terrorism is "pulled up by the roots".
Speaking on BBC Radio 4's Today programme, Mr Blair commended the "inner resilience" of Londoners - as the capital's transport system began to return to a close-to-normal service. There are now services running on sections of all lines on the London Underground.
A book of condolence has been opened - which was signed by Prince William in Auckland, New Zealand.
Terrorism experts have been arriving from Spain to support the inquiry in London, bringing expertise from the investigation into the train bomb attacks on Madrid.
A claim for the attacks has been made in the name of al-Qaeda - by a group calling itself the Abu Hafs al-Masri brigade.
I saw three bodies on the track - I couldn't look, it was so horrific
But the BBC's security correspondent Gordon Corera has urged caution over the credibility of the claim.
Forensic teams working in Tube tunnels and at the other scenes of the blasts are taking swabs to try to determine the type of explosives used.
The roof of the number 30 bus, which was ripped off in the blast at Tavistock Square, has been removed from the scene for forensic examination.
Police are also involved in one of the UK's biggest searches of CCTV footage to see if there are any clues as to the identity of the bombers.
BBC security correspondent Frank Gardner said there were a number of key questions which investigators were analysing.
"One of the most important is were the bombers home-grown British terrorists or was this a hit team that came in from abroad?" he said.
One possibility being investigated was that the bomb maker was an expert who came and instructed the bombers.
Another area was to see if they were "linked directly" to what was left of the core of al-Qaeda in Afghanistan and Pakistan or acting alone.
Search for missing
Anxious family and friends are continuing their search for loved ones who have not been heard from since the bombings.
Anti-terrorist hotline: 0800 789 321
Missing relatives: 0870 156 6344
The emergency call centre in London has taken more than 120,000 calls from the public.
Those looking for missing people have been contacting hospitals, as well as taking photos and posters to the four blast sites.
Scotland Yard confirmed seven people died in the Liverpool Street explosion, another seven at Edgware Road, a further 13 in the Tavistock Square bus blast and at least 21 at the King's Cross blast. A 49th person died in hospital later.
Some 700 people were hurt, about 69 are being treated in hospital and 15 remain in a critical condition.
Between Aldgate and Liverpool Street tube stations
Between King's Cross and Russell Square tube stations
At Edgware Road tube station
On bus at Tavistock Square
Story from BBC NEWS:
Posted by politicalstuff at 1:14 PM
Friday, July 08, 2005
Army gives $5 bln of work to Halliburton
By Sue Pleming
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. military has signed on Halliburton
Linda Theis, a spokeswoman for U.S. Army Field Support Command in Rock Island, Illinois, said the military signed the work order with Halliburton unit Kellogg Brown and Root in May.
The new deal, worth $4.97 billion over the next year, was not made public when it was signed because the Army did not consider such an announcement necessary, she said.
"We did not announce this task order as this is really not something we ever really thought about doing," said Theis.
Halliburton, which was run by Vice President Dick Cheney from 1995-2000, has been under scrutiny for its contracts in Iraq and several U.S. government agencies are looking into whether it overcharged for some work.
A Halliburton spokeswoman said the new spending package was approved by the Army after the company submitted estimated costs for the year based on services requested.
The $4.97 billion figure represented the maximum under the contract, and the actual amount could be lower since the Army doled out the work on an incremental basis, she said.
The new contract is about $1 billion more than the company earned under last year's services contract.
In March, a former KBR employee and a Kuwaiti citizen were indicted for defrauding the U.S. government of more than $3.5 million by inflating the cost of fuel tankers.
The new work order, called Task Order 89, is valid until April 30, 2006, and went ahead despite critical military audits released last week by Democratic opponents of KBR's Iraq work.
A top U.S. Army procurement official said last week Halliburton's deals in Iraq were the worst example of contract abuse she had ever seen, a claim KBR strongly rejected as "political rhetoric."
KBR was awarded the logistical contract with the military in December 2001, covering tasks from feeding U.S. troops to delivering mail, doing laundry and building barracks.
U.S. Senate critics of Halliburton were quick to denounce the new deal.
"At this point, why don't we just hand Halliburton the keys to the U.S. Treasury and tell them to turn off the lights when they are done," Democratic Senator Frank Lautenberg said in a statement.
Called LOGCAP, KBR had by May 31 been paid $9.1 billion under the deal, which has nine option years that have been renewed three times. They are up for renewal each December.
Of this amount, $8.3 billion was for work in Iraq and the remainder for Afghanistan and elsewhere. Money obligated for future work amounted to $11.4 billion, said Theis, pointing out not all of this money would necessarily be spent.
The Pentagon has been looking into whether to contract out some services done by KBR, but Theis said she had not heard of any decisions to make changes.
Halliburton has received bonuses for some of its work. Theis said a decision on possible further bonuses will likely be announced this month.
Much of Halliburton's work for the U.S. military is on a cost-plus basis, which means the company can earn up to 2 percent extra depending on its performance.
Halliburton shares slipped 1.5 percent, or 75 cents, to $48.87 per share on the New York Stock Exchange, tracking the decline in the energy services sector on Wednesday.
Halliburton shares have rallied 13 percent since the beginning of June, bolstered by high crude oil prices.
Despite the drop in the stock price, analysts said the latest news was positive for the company and indicated "the government has no issue with Halliburton's performance," said Kurt Hallead, analyst with RBC Capital Markets.
(Additional reporting by Matt Daily in Houston)
Posted by politicalstuff at 12:58 AM
Pentagon denies medically abusing detainees
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. military on Thursday denied charges that health workers were broadly complicit in alleged abuse of terrorism suspects by the military in Cuba, Iraq and Afghanistan.
The charges first surfaced in The Lancet, a British medical journal, in an article last year by a University of Minnesota professor that said some U.S. military doctors falsified death certificates to cover up killings and hid evidence of beatings.
It said U.S. military medics revived a detainee who had collapsed after a beating so that abuse could continue.
Defense officials said a study, carried out by the Army's own surgeon general Lt. Gen. Kevin Kiley, did not support the charges.
"The bottom line conclusion is that there was no evidence of systematic problems in detainee medical care," Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman said.
He declined to be more specific or to deny that there might have been isolated cases of improper cooperation between doctors and intelligence personnel questioning prisoners in the war on terror.
"That's not suggesting that he (Kiley) didn't find some things that he wants to make some suggestions on," Whitman said.
Rights groups have charged that military medical workers cooperated with interrogators by revealing physical or psychological problems of their patients and, in some cases, even failed to report knowledge of physical abuse.
But Whitman said the study found no widespread problems "in the way in which medical people, medical professionals, are carrying out their duties in the field with respect to detention operations."
The study is scheduled for release at a Pentagon news conference later on Thursday.
Assistant Defense Secretary for Health Affairs William Winkenwerder in June issued updated guidelines for medical personnel growing out of Pentagon investigations into physical abuse and sexual humiliation of prisoners at Abu Ghraib jail in Iraq.
The four-page Winkenwerder memorandum stressed that health care personnel charged with the medical care of prisoners "have a duty to protect their physical and mental health and provide appropriate treatment for disease."
But the guidelines do not prohibit military medical personnel from helping to shape interrogations by using knowledge of a prisoner's medical or mental condition. Nor do they bar them from helping in interrogations defined by the government as illegal.
The Cambridge, Massachusetts-based Physicians for Human Rights group has charged that the Winkenwerder memo is riddled with loopholes that open the door to possible abuses. It called the guidelines, "a major affront" to the good role that military physicians historically have played.
Dr. Burton Lee III, the physician of former President Bush, said in an article last week in the Washington Post that he was deeply disturbed by "evidence that military medical personnel have planed a role in this abuse" of detainees.
"These new (Winkenwerder) guidelines distort traditional ethical rules beyond recognition to serve the interests of interrogators, not doctors and detainees," wrote Lee, a member of Physicians for Human Rights.
The American Psychological Association says that its members can help in military interrogations, but only to ensure "that such processes are safe and ethical for all participants." It forbids them to hurt patients safety or well-being.
The American Psychiatric Association says it is planning a similar policy statement specifically applying to situations such as Guantanamo.
Posted by politicalstuff at 12:56 AM
London: Bush’s “Flypaper Theory” is Blown to Pieces
Well, there goes that theory...
Odds are we probably won’t be hearing for a while the Bush mantra that the reason we're fighting them over in Iraq is so we don't have to fight them here at home. For the last few months, this ludicrous shibboleth has been the president’s go-to line -- his latest rationale for slogging on in Iraq.
Here he was on July 4th: "We're taking the fight to the terrorists abroad so we do not have to face them here at home."
And during his primetime speech to the nation on June 28th, there he was again, this time quoting the commander on the ground in Iraq: “We either deal with terrorism and this extremism abroad, or we deal with it when it comes to us."
The attacks in London proved how absurd this either/or logic is when fighting this kind of hydra-headed enemy.
Not only was this “flypaper theory" empirically disproved by the London carnage, it directly contradicts the president’s other most often used justification for the war -- that we invaded to liberate the Iraqi people. So let me get this straight: we invaded them to liberate them... and to use them as bait to attract terrorists who we could fight on the streets of Baghdad rather than the streets of London and New York?
Of course, it didn't take the London bombings to reveal this premise as a sham. The presence of American forces in Iraq didn’t keep the enemies of western culture from attacking Madrid. And it didn’t keep them from planting explosives in London’s tubes. And it won’t, in and of itself, keep them from striking here. Indeed, it’s helping terrorists recruit new followers -- and hone their deadly skills.
How pathetic is it to keep arguing that fighting Baathist Sunni insurgents in Iraq is keeping us safe from Al Qaeda terrorists and their offshoots on our soil?
It’s still not clear who was responsible for the London bombings, but let's assume for a moment that the initial reports turn out to be true, and that it was an offshoot of Al Qaeda. No one can seriously argue that if the U.S. and Britain had spent the last 46 months -- and over $200 billion -- focusing on Al Qaeda rather than Iraq these attacks would not have happened. But we can say without a doubt that spending that time and money in Iraq did not prevent them.
If Iraq is like flypaper, it unfortunately looks like we’re the ones who are stuck there. Any predictions of what Bush’s rewrite boys will come up with next?
Posted by politicalstuff at 12:52 AM
Time for Robert Novak to Feel Some Chill
"As the judge said Judy Miller can escape her jail cell by finally choosing to talk, so could Novak restore his column and TV appearances by finally talking about his part in the story. Novak is said to have lots of friends in the press. Friends would let him know the time is here."
Wilson never worked for the CIA, but his wife, Valerie Plame, is an Agency operative on weapons of mass destruction. Two senior administration officials told me Wilson's wife suggested sending him to Niger to investigate the Italian report. The CIA says its counter-proliferation officials selected Wilson and asked his wife to contact him. "I will not answer any question about my wife," Wilson told me. -- Robert Novak, "Mission to Niger," July 14, 2003.
I, for one, have had it with Robert Novak. And if all the journalists who are talking today about "chilling effects" and individual conscience mean what they say, they will, as a matter of conscience and pride, start giving Novak himself the big chill.
That means if you're a Washington columnist maybe you don't go on CNN with him-- until he explains. If you're a newspaper editor you consider suspending his column until he explains. If you're Jonathan Klein, president of CNN/US, you take him off the air until he decides to go on the air and explain. If you're John Barron, editor of the Chicago Sun-Times, you suspend your columnist (with pay, I should think); and if Barron won't do it then publisher John Cruickshank should.
If Novak says he can't talk until the case is over, then he shouldn't be allowed to publish or opine on the air until the case is over. He should know the rage some of his colleagues feel. Claiming to be "baffled" by Novak's behavior may have been plausible for a while. With Miller now sitting in jail, and possibly facing criminal charges later, "baffled" is sounding lame.
After the decision yesterday someone asked Bill Keller, top editor of the New York Times, if this was really a whistle-blowing case. Keller answered: "you go to court with the case you've got." I understood what he meant, but that answer was incomplete.
For in certain ways the case that sent Judith Miller to jail is about a classic whistler blower: diplomat Joseph Wilson. Those "two senior administration officials" in Novak's column had a message for him: stick your neck out and we'll stick it to your wife. (They did: her career as an operative is over.) Might that have some chilling effect?
We're not entirely in the dark about how the conversation might have gone. Yesterday Walter Pincus of the Washington Post posted this recollection:
On July 12, 2003, an administration official, who was talking to me confidentially about a matter involving alleged Iraqi nuclear activities, veered off the precise matter we were discussing and told me that the White House had not paid attention to former Ambassador Joseph Wilson’s CIA-sponsored February 2002 trip to Niger because it was set up as a boondoggle by his wife, an analyst with the agency working on weapons of mass destruction. I didn’t write about that information at that time because I did not believe it true that she had arranged his Niger trip.
Pincus didn't take the "information," Novak did. Why? Did it occur to Novak that this could be retribution against a critic of the White House? Pincus thought the leaker was "practicing damage control by trying to get me to stop writing about Wilson." What did Novak think? The New York Times in an editorial today:
It seemed very possible that someone at the White House had told Mr. Novak about Ms. Plame to undermine Mr. Wilson's credibility and send a chilling signal to other officials who might be inclined to speak out against the administration's Iraq policy. At the time, this page said that if those were indeed the circumstances, the leak had been "an egregious abuse of power." We urged the Justice Department to investigate.
Tell me: how can journalists say with a straight face that they are concerned for future whistle blowers if one of their own, Robert Novak, together with sources made possible an act of retribution against an actual whistle blower?
We do not know enough to say of Novak, "he should be the one in jail." But we do know enough to keep him off the air and the op ed pages until he makes a fuller statement. (Times editorial: "Like almost everyone, we are baffled by his public posture.") It may be that he betrayed the principles for which his colleague Judy Miller is in jail. The editor who decides to drop Novak's column until such time as he explains himself would be listening to the voice of professional conscience, in my view.
As the judge said Judy Miller can escape her jail cell by finally choosing to talk, so could Novak restore his column and TV appearances by finally talking about his part in the story. Novak is said to have lots of friends in the press. Friends would let him know the time is here.
Posted by politicalstuff at 12:50 AM
Secret 'gas' test staged at Grand Central
BY PETE DONOHUE
DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITER
The Federal Department of Homeland Security released gas in Grand Central Terminal last month in a secret study of how dangerous chemicals might flow through the landmark in a terrorist attack.
Nontoxic "tracer gases" were released into the terminal between June 26-30, as scientists from four national laboratories observed, including physicists from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in California.
"If there was some kind of emergency - smoke or who knows what - released in Grand Central Terminal, we want to know how it's going to move around and how best to evacuate it," Metro-North spokeswoman Marjorie Anders said. "Everybody knows that some kind of biological, chemical or radiological threat is something we have to plan for, and this is part of that planning."
The colorless, odorless gas was released at different times to determine, among other things, how the movement of people through the landmark building would affect the path of potentially harmful substances.
The information gathered from the tests was in part designed to improve emergency response planning for the terminal and provide data that could be used when assessing the security of other transportation hubs in the country. It also might be used to make protective alterations to the heating, ventilation and air-conditioning system at Grand Central or lead to the use of technological devices under development, authorities said.
There are several devices in Grand Central that would detect the release of potentially deadly agents.
Approximately 750,000 people pass through Grand Central a day, including commuter rail riders, subway riders, shoppers and tourists.
Officials have long tagged Grand Central as a potential target because of its prominence as a landmark and the number of people who use it.
Police in March revealed that a simplistic drawing of Grand Central was found on the computer of a suspected Madrid train bomber, but officials described it as an amateur sketch and said they didn't believe it was part of a plan to launch an attack.
Posted by politicalstuff at 12:39 AM
Thursday, July 07, 2005
New York Times
Judith Miller Goes to Jail
This is a proud but awful moment for The New York Times and its employees. One of our reporters, Judith Miller, has decided to accept a jail sentence rather than testify before a grand jury about one of her confidential sources. Ms. Miller has taken a path that will be lonely and painful for her and her family and friends. We wish she did not have to choose it, but we are certain she did the right thing.
She is surrendering her liberty in defense of a greater liberty, granted to a free press by the founding fathers so journalists can work on behalf of the public without fear of regulation or retaliation from any branch of government.
The Press and the Law
Some people - including, sadly, some of our colleagues in the news media - have mistakenly assumed that a reporter and a news organization place themselves above the law by rejecting a court order to testify. Nothing could be further from the truth. When another Times reporter, M. A. Farber, went to jail in 1978 rather than release his confidential notes, he declared, "I have no such right and I seek none."
By accepting her sentence, Ms. Miller bowed to the authority of the court. But she acted in the great tradition of civil disobedience that began with this nation's founding, which holds that the common good is best served in some instances by private citizens who are willing to defy a legal, but unjust or unwise, order.
This tradition stretches from the Boston Tea Party to the Underground Railroad, to the Americans who defied the McCarthy inquisitions and to the civil rights movement. It has called forth ordinary citizens, like Rosa Parks; government officials, like Daniel Ellsberg and Mark Felt; and statesmen, like Martin Luther King. Frequently, it falls to news organizations to uphold this tradition. As Justice William O. Douglas wrote in 1972, "The press has a preferred position in our constitutional scheme, not to enable it to make money, not to set newsmen apart as a favored class, but to bring to fulfillment the public's right to know."
Critics point out that even presidents must bow to the Supreme Court. But presidents are agents of the government, sworn to enforce the law. Journalists are private citizens, and Ms. Miller's actions are faithful to the Constitution. She is defending the right of Americans to get vital information from news organizations that need not fear government retaliation - an imperative defended by the 49 states that recognize a reporter's right to protect sources.
A second reporter facing a possible jail term, Matthew Cooper of Time magazine, agreed yesterday to testify before the grand jury. Last week, Time decided, over Mr. Cooper's protests, to release documents demanded by the judge that revealed his confidential sources. We were deeply disappointed by that decision.
We do not see how a newspaper, magazine or television station can support a reporter's decision to protect confidential sources even if the potential price is lost liberty, and then hand over the notes or documents that make the reporter's sacrifice meaningless. The point of this struggle is to make sure that people with critical information can feel confident that if they speak to a reporter on the condition of anonymity, their identities will be protected. No journalist's promise will be worth much if the employer that stands behind him or her is prepared to undercut such a vow of secrecy.
Protecting a Reporter's Sources
Most readers understand a reporter's need to guarantee confidentiality to a source. Before he went to jail, Mr. Farber told the court that if he gave up documents that revealed the names of the people he had promised anonymity, "I will have given notice that the nation's premier newspaper is no longer available to those men and women who would seek it out - or who would respond to it - to talk freely and without fear."
While The Times has gone to great lengths lately to make sure that the use of anonymous sources is limited, there is no way to eliminate them. The most important articles tend to be the ones that upset people in high places, and many could not be reported if those who risked their jobs or even their liberty to talk to reporters knew that they might be identified the next day. In the larger sense, revealing government wrongdoing advances the rule of law, especially at a time of increased government secrecy.
It is for these reasons that most states have shield laws that protect reporters' rights to conceal their sources. Those laws need to be reviewed and strengthened, even as members of Congress continue to work to pass a federal shield law. But at this moment, there is no statute that protects Judith Miller when she defies a federal trial judge's order to reveal who told her what about Valerie Plame Wilson's identity as an undercover C.I.A. operative.
Ms. Miller understands this perfectly, and she accepts the consequences with full respect for the court. We hope that her sacrifice will alert the nation to the need to protect the basic tools reporters use in doing their most critical work.
To be frank, this is far from an ideal case. We would not have wanted our reporter to give up her liberty over a situation whose details are so complicated and muddy. But history is very seldom kind enough to provide the ideal venue for a principled stand. Ms. Miller is going to jail over an article that she never wrote, yet she has been unwavering in her determination to protect the people with whom she had spoken on the promise of confidentiality.
The Plame Story
The case involves an article by the syndicated columnist Robert Novak, who revealed that Joseph Wilson, a retired career diplomat, was married to an undercover C.I.A. officer Mr. Novak identified by using her maiden name, Valerie Plame. Mr. Wilson had been asked by the C.I.A. to investigate whether Saddam Hussein in Iraq was trying to buy uranium from Niger that could be used for making nuclear weapons. Mr. Wilson found no evidence of that, and he later wrote an Op-Ed article for The Times saying he believed that the Bush administration had misrepresented the facts.
It seemed very possible that someone at the White House had told Mr. Novak about Ms. Plame to undermine Mr. Wilson's credibility and send a chilling signal to other officials who might be inclined to speak out against the administration's Iraq policy. At the time, this page said that if those were indeed the circumstances, the leak had been "an egregious abuse of power." We urged the Justice Department to investigate. But we warned then that the inquiry should not degenerate into an attempt to compel journalists to reveal their sources.
We mainly had Mr. Novak in mind then, but Mr. Novak remains both free and mum about what he has or has not told the grand jury looking into the leak. Like almost everyone, we are baffled by his public posture. All we know now is that Mr. Novak - who early on expressed the opinion that no journalists who bowed to court pressure to betray sources could hold up their heads in Washington - has offered no public support to the colleague who is going to jail while he remains at liberty.
Ms. Miller did not write an article about Ms. Plame, but the prosecutor, Patrick Fitzgerald, wants to know whether anyone in government told her about Mr. Wilson's wife and her secret job. The inquiry has been conducted with such secrecy that it is hard to know exactly what Mr. Fitzgerald thinks Ms. Miller can tell him, or what argument he offered to convince the court that his need to hear her testimony outweighs the First Amendment.
What we do know is that if Ms. Miller testifies, it may be immeasurably harder in the future to persuade a frightened government employee to talk about malfeasance in high places, or a worried worker to reveal corporate crimes. The shroud of secrecy thrown over this case by the prosecutor and the judge, an egregious denial of due process, only makes it more urgent to take a stand.
Mr. Fitzgerald drove that point home chillingly when he said the authorities "can't have 50,000 journalists" making decisions about whether to reveal sources' names and that the government had a right to impose its judgment. But that's not what the founders had in mind in writing the First Amendment. In 1971, our colleague James Reston cited James Madison's admonition about a free press in explaining why The Times had first defied the Nixon administration's demand to stop publishing the Pentagon Papers and then fought a court's order to cease publication. "Among those principles deemed sacred in America," Madison wrote, "among those sacred rights considered as forming the bulwark of their liberty, which the government contemplates with awful reverence and would approach only with the most cautious circumspection, there is no one of which the importance is more deeply impressed on the public mind than the liberty of the press."
Mr. Fitzgerald's attempts to interfere with the rights of a free press while refusing to disclose his reasons for doing so, when he can't even say whether a crime has been committed, have exhibited neither reverence nor cautious circumspection. It would compound the tragedy if his actions emboldened more prosecutors to trample on a free press.
Our Bottom Line
Responsible journalists recognize that press freedoms are not absolute and must be exercised responsibly. This newspaper will not, for example, print the details of American troop movements in advance of a battle, because publication would endanger lives and national security. But these limits cannot be dictated by the whim of a branch of government, especially behind a screen of secrecy.
Indeed, the founders warned against any attempt to have the government set limits on a free press, under any conditions. "However desirable those measures might be which might correct without enslaving the press, they have never yet been devised in America," Madison wrote.
Journalists talk about these issues a great deal, and they can seem abstract. The test comes when a colleague is being marched off to jail for doing nothing more than the job our readers expected of her, and of the rest of us. The Times has been in these fights before, beginning in 1857, when a journalist named J. W. Simonton wrote an editorial about bribery in Congress and was held in contempt by the House of Representatives for 19 days when he refused to reveal his sources. In the end, Mr. Simonton kept faith, and the corrupt congressmen resigned. All of our battles have not had equally happy endings. But each time, whether we win or we lose, we remain convinced that the public wins in the long run and that what is at stake is nothing less than our society's perpetual bottom line: the citizens control the government in a democracy.
We stand with Ms. Miller and thank her for taking on that fight for the rest of us.
Posted by politicalstuff at 6:26 PM
Buried in this article you will find various references to Karl Rove being the source that committed a federal crime by divulging the name of a CIA operative.
The New York Times
July 7, 2005
Reporter Jailed After Refusing to Name Source
By ADAM LIPTAK
WASHINGTON, July 6 - Judith Miller, an investigative reporter for The New York Times, was sent to jail on Wednesday after a federal judge declared that she was "defying the law" by refusing to divulge the name of a confidential source.
Another reporter who faced jail in the case, Matthew Cooper of Time magazine, was spared after announcing a last-minute deal with a confidential source that he said would allow him to testify before a grand jury.
Before being taken into custody by three court officers, Ms. Miller said she could not in good conscience violate promises to her sources. "If journalists cannot be trusted to guarantee confidentiality," she told Judge Thomas F. Hogan, "then journalists cannot function and there cannot be a free press."
Judge Hogan held the two reporters in civil contempt in October for refusing to cooperate with a federal prosecutor's investigation into the disclosure of the identity of a covert operative of the Central Intelligence Agency. The prosecutor's efforts produced the most serious confrontation between the government and the press since the Pentagon Papers case in 1971. The Supreme Court refused to hear appeals from the reporters last week.
On hearing Mr. Cooper's statement, Judge Hogan indicated he would lift the contempt sanction against Mr. Cooper after he testified.
After listening to Ms. Miller, the judge ordered her sent to "a suitable jail within the metropolitan area of the District of Columbia" until she decided to talk or until the term of the grand jury expired in October.
"I have a person in front of me," Judge Hogan said, "who is defying the law."
Ms. Miller appeared shaken and scared as she left the courtroom. In a telephone interview later in the evening, she said she had been taken to the Alexandria Detention Center in Virginia.
Ms. Miller, who conducted interviews but never wrote an article about the C.I.A. operative, joins a line of journalists who have accepted jail time rather than betray their sources' confidences. That tradition, according to Judge Hogan, does not deserve respect.
"That's the child saying: 'I'm still going to take that chocolate chip cookie and eat it. I don't care,' " the judge said.
Bill Keller, the executive editor of The Times, disagreed.
"The law presented Judy with the choice between betraying a trust to a confidential source or going to jail," Mr. Keller said after the hearing. "The choice she made is a brave and principled choice, and it reflects a valuing of individual conscience that has been part of this country's tradition since its founding."
On Friday, saying it was obligated to comply with a final court order in the case, Time turned over Mr. Cooper's notes and other documents to the special prosecutor in the case, Patrick J. Fitzgerald.
At the hearing here Wednesday, Theodore J. Boutrous Jr., a lawyer for Time, said Time's move should obviate the need for Mr. Cooper's testimony.
Mr. Fitzgerald opposed that request. "Mr. Cooper's testimony is essential," he said. "We need to get this right one way or the other, and we need Mr. Cooper to testify."
Judge Hogan rejected Time's request that he excuse Mr. Cooper from testifying. Indeed, the judge said, the reporters' failure to cooperate, until now a civil matter, may be considered criminal conduct.
"It could be seen to be obstruction of justice," Judge Hogan said.
Mr. Cooper then spoke directly to the judge, reading from a statement.
He said he had awoken Wednesday morning certain that he would continue to be in contempt and had said goodbye to his 6-year-old son. Time's actions, he said, did not absolve him from a promise he had made to his source. He added that a waiver form that his source had signed months ago did not affect his thinking.
Investigators have presented many government officials with waiver forms instructing journalists to ignore pledges of confidentiality. Mr. Cooper, Ms. Miller and other journalists have said they view such waivers as coerced and ineffective.
Mr. Cooper said his situation had changed earlier in the day.
"A short time ago, in somewhat dramatic fashion, I received an express, personal release from my source," Mr. Cooper said. "It's with a bit of surprise and no small amount of relief that I will comply with this subpoena."
Mr. Cooper's decision to drop his refusal to testify followed discussions on Wednesday morning among lawyers representing Mr. Cooper and Karl Rove, the senior White House political adviser, according to a person who has been officially briefed on the case. Mr. Fitzgerald was also involved in the discussions, the person said.
In his statement in court, Mr. Cooper did not name Mr. Rove as the source about whom he would now testify, but the person who was briefed on the case said that he was referring to Mr. Rove and that Mr. Cooper's decision came after behind-the-scenes maneuvering by his lawyers and others in the case.
Those discussions centered on whether a legal release signed by Mr. Rove last year was meant to apply specifically to Mr. Cooper, who by its terms would be released from any pledge of confidentiality he had made to Mr. Rove, the person said. Mr. Cooper said in court that he had agreed to testify only after he had received an explicit waiver from his source.
Richard A. Sauber, a lawyer for Mr. Cooper, said he would not discuss whether Mr. Cooper was referring to Mr. Rove, nor would he comment on discussions leading up to Mr. Cooper's decision.
Mr. Fitzgerald's policy is to refuse to respond to inquiries about the case.
Mr. Rove declined to comment on Wednesday.
In recent days, a lawyer for Mr. Rove has said that Mr. Cooper and Mr. Rove had a conversation not long before the name of the operative first became public. News articles referred to the operative by her maiden name, Valerie Plame, although she now goes by her married name, Valerie Wilson.
Mr. Cooper's involvement in the matter dates back two years, when he and two other reporters wrote an article for Time.com.
The article said "some administration officials" had told Time and the syndicated columnist Robert Novak that "Valerie Plame is a C.I.A. official who monitors the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction."
The article also noted that she is the wife of Joseph C. Wilson IV, a former diplomat who had recently written an opinion article in The New York Times questioning one of the rationales, concerning Iraq's weapons program, offered by the Bush administration for the Iraq war. Mr. Wilson based his criticism on a trip he had taken to Niger for the C.I.A.
On July 14, 2003, Mr. Novak wrote: "Valerie Plame is an agency operative on weapons of mass destruction. Two senior administration officials told me his wife suggested sending Wilson to Niger."
The Time article, published three days after Mr. Novak's column, suggested that the officials had "declared war" on Mr. Wilson and had released the information about his wife as a form of payback or in an effort to undermine the seriousness of his criticism by suggesting that his trip was a boondoggle.
Mr. Sauber said Mr. Cooper's agreement to testify was limited to a single conversation with a single source.
"It's not open season on Matt's sources," Mr. Sauber said, noting that Mr. Cooper had testified in the investigation on similar terms once before, after receiving the permission from I. Lewis Libby, chief of staff for Vice President Dick Cheney.
Reporters from The Washington Post and NBC testified after similar releases. Mr. Novak has refused on numerous occasions to discuss whether he provided information to Mr. Fitzgerald.
In her statement in court, Ms. Miller said she had received no similar permission from her sources.
"Your Honor," she said, "in this case I cannot break my word just to stay out of jail. The right of civil disobedience based on personal conscience is fundamental to our system and honored throughout our history."
She noted that she had covered the war in Iraq, and had lived and worked all over the world.
"The freest and fairest societies are not only those with independent judiciaries," she said, "but those with an independent press that works every day to keep government accountable by publishing what the government might not want the public to know."
Because Ms. Miller did not write about the Plame matter, it is not known precisely why Mr. Fitzgerald focused on her. But the prosecutor could have learned about her through phone records and the questioning of government officials.
Mr. Keller, The Times's executive editor, acknowledged that the case did not involve classic whistle-blowing.
"To paraphrase Donald Rumsfeld," he said, referring to the secretary of defense, "you go to court with the case you've got. It would be nice if there was absolute clarity about the nature of this case. On the contrary, there's immense mystery about this case."
Mr. Fitzgerald, who has relied on secret evidence in persuading courts to order Ms. Miller jailed, said the law now requires her to testify.
"The law says the grand jury is entitled to every man's evidence," he said. "We're doing our honest best to get to the bottom of whether a crime has been committed."
Mr. Fitzgerald's investigation is based on a 1982 law that made it a crime to disclose the identity of covert agents in some circumstances.
Robert S. Bennett, a lawyer for Ms. Miller, urged Judge Hogan to conclude that Ms. Miller would never talk, making confinement pointless.
Mr. Fitzgerald said no one could be sure that Ms. Miller would not talk until she was actually jailed.
"People change their minds," he said. "We saw here today that a source reached out to Mr. Cooper and caused him to testify. How do we know the same would not happen with Ms. Miller?"
In a statement, Arthur Sulzberger Jr., the publisher of The Times, said Ms. Miller had followed her conscience, with the paper's support. "There are times when the greater good of our democracy demands an act of conscience," Mr. Sulzberger said. "I sincerely hope that now Congress will move forward on federal shield legislation so that other journalists will not have to face imprisonment for doing their jobs."
Ms. Miller, speaking from the Virginia jail, said that her first hours in confinement had struck her as surreal but that the jail's staff had been professional and courteous. Her trip from the courthouse to the jail, she said, had brought home the gravity of her situation.
"They put shackles on my hands and my feet," she said. "They put you in the back of this car. I passed the Capitol and all the office buildings I used to cover. And I thought, 'My God, how did it come to this?' "
David Johnston contributed reporting for this article.
Posted by politicalstuff at 6:14 PM
The PowerPoint That Rocked the Pentagon
The LaRouchie defector who's advising the defense establishment on Saudi Arabia.
By Jack Shafer
Posted Wednesday, Aug. 7, 2002
Diplomatic china rattled in Washington and cracked in Riyadh yesterday when the Washington Post published a story about a briefing given to a Pentagon advisory group last month. The briefing declared Saudi Arabia an enemy of the United States and advocated that the United States invade the country, seize its oil fields, and confiscate its financial assets unless the Saudis stop supporting the anti-Western terror network.
The Page One story, by Thomas E. Ricks ("Briefing Depicted Saudis as Enemies: Ultimatum Urged To Pentagon Board," Aug. 6
), described a 24-slide presentation given by Rand Corp. analyst Laurent Murawiec on July 10, 2002, to the Defense Policy Board, a committee of foreign policy wonks and former government officials that advises the Pentagon on defense issues. Murawiec's PowerPoint scenario, which is reproduced for the first time below, makes him sound like an aspiring Dr. Strangelove.
Just who the hell is Laurent Murawiec? The Post story and its follow-up
, also by Ricks, do not explain. The Pentagon and the administration insist that the presentation does not reflect their views in any way. The Rand Corp. acknowledges its association with Murawiec, but likewise disavows any connection with the briefing. (Neither Murawiec nor Rand received money for the briefing, Rand says.) According to Newsday
, Defense Policy Board Chairman Richard N. Perle, a former Pentagon official and full-time invade-Iraq hawk, invited Murawiec to brief the group, so Perle can't exactly distance himself from the presentation. But he can do the next best thing—duck reporters' questions. Murawiec also declined reporters' inquiries, including one from Slate.
The first half of Murawiec's presentation reads calmly enough, echoing Fareed Zakaria's Oct. 15, 2001, Newsweek essay
about why the Arab world hates the United States. Its tribal, despotic regimes bottle up domestic dissent but indulge the exportation of political anger; intellectually, its people are trapped in the Middle Ages; its institutions lack the tools to deal with 21st-century problems; yadda yadda yadda.
But then Murawiec lights out for the extreme foreign policy territory, recommending that we threaten Medina and Mecca, home to Islam's most holy places, if they don't see it our way. Ultimately, he champions a takeover of Saudi Arabia. The last slide in the deck, titled "Grand strategy for the Middle East," abandons the outrageous for the incomprehensible. It reads:
* Iraq is the tactical pivot
* Saudi Arabia the strategic pivot
* Egypt the prize
Egypt the prize?
Because none of the Defense Policy Board attendees are talking candidly about the session, it's hard to divine what "Egypt the prize" means or if Murawiec's briefing put it into any context. It sounds a tad loopy, even by Dr. Strangelove standards. The Post report does mention a "talking point" attached to the 24-page PowerPoint deck that describes Saudi Arabia as "the kernel of evil, the prime mover, the most dangerous opponent" in the Middle East. That's extreme talk even by the standards of the anti-Saudi editorialists at the Weekly Standard and the rest of the invade-Iraq fellowship.
Who is Laurent Murawiec, and where did he learn to write like this? The George Washington University Elliot School of International Affairs' Web site lists him as a faculty member, but it lists no current or future classes by him. The site's biographical page adds that he's a graduate of the Sorbonne University, that he worked as "A foreign correspondent for a major French business weekly in Germany" (isn't that kind of vague?) and is the co-founder of GeoPol Services SA, "a consulting company in Geneva, Switzerland, which advised major multinational corporations and banks." It also lists him as a former adviser to the French ministry of defense and the translator (into French) of Clausewitz's On War.
A sweep of the Web shows that he lectured on Islamic terrorism in Toronto on March 11, 2002, under the aegis of the Canadian Institute for Strategic Studies. He wrote an article titled "The Wacky World of French Intellectuals"
in the Middle East Quarterly, co-edited a Rand Corp. book, and made these comments
at a Nautilus Institute conference. When he spoke on panel with Richard Perle at the American Enterprise Institute on Dec. 1, 1999, Murawiec was introduced as having just moved to the United States after "a dozen years" of working as managing director of GeoPol in Geneva, "a service that supplies advice to European clients, similar to what Kissinger Associates offers from New York, except without the accent." That is a bit of an overstatement. A Google search of "Murawiec and GeoPol" produces 12 hits. Compare that to the 10,300 hits on Google for "Kissinger Associates."
Murawiec's résumé would predict many Nexis hits, but a search of his name reveals just five bylines: Twice already this year, Murawiec has contributed to the neocon publication the National Interest, on the subject of Russia. [Correction: Murawiec wrote for the National Interest once in 2000 and once in 2002. The topic both times was Russia.] In 1999 he wrote for the Post's "Outlook" section on "internationalism," and in 1996 he contributed a piece to the Journal of Commerce on Russia. His only other Nexis-able byline is a dusty one from the Jan. 23, 1985, edition of the Financial Times, which describes Murawiec as "the European Economics Editor of the New York-based Executive Intelligence Review weekly magazine."
Executive Intelligence Review, as scholars of parapolitics know, is a publication of the political fantasist, convicted felon, and perpetual presidential candidate Lyndon H. LaRouche Jr. It's not clear exactly when Murawiec left the LaRouche orbit. An article by LaRouche
that appeared last year in Executive Intelligence Review calls Murawiec "a real-life 'Beetlebaum' of the legendary mythical horse-race, and a hand-me-down political carcass, currently in the possession of institutions of a peculiar odor." In 1997, LaRouche's wife Helga Zupp LaRouche wrote in Executive Intelligence Review (republished in the LaRouche-affiliated AboutSudan.com Web site) that Murawiec "was once part of our organization and is now on the side of organized crime." The truth value of that statement surely ranks up there with LaRouche's claim that the Queen of England controls the crack trade. To say, zero.
When Murawiec departed LaRouche's company is unclear, but Dennis King, author of 1989's Lyndon LaRouche and the New American Fascism, thinks it came when many followers split as LaRouche's legal problems grew and climaxed with a 1988 conviction for conspiracy and mail fraud. "[Murawiec] was not a political leader," says King, "but a follower who did intelligence-gathering."
Now that Murawiec has assumed such a vocal place in the policy debate, the man who gave him the lectern owes us the complete back-story. Over to you, Richard Perle.
Laurent Murawiec's 24-slide presentation to the Defense Policy Board was obtained by Slate and is presented here in type-treatment that approximates the original.
Taking Saudi Out of Arabia
Defense Policy Board
July 10, 2002
Taking Saudi out of Arabia:
* The Arab Crisis
* "Saudi" Arabia
The Arab Crisis
The systemic crisis of the Arab
* The Arab world has been in a systemic crisis for the last 200 years
* It missed out on the industrial revolution, it is missing out on the digital revolution
* Lack of inner resources to cope with modern world
Shattered Arab self-esteem
* Shattered self-esteem
* Could God be wrong?
* Turn the rage against those who contradict God: the West, object of hatred
* A whole generation of violently anti-Western, anti-American, anti-modern shock-troops
What has the Arab world
* Since independence, wars have been the principal output of the Arab world
* Demographic and economic problems made intractable by failure to establish stable polities aiming at prosperity
* All Arab states are either failing states or threatened to fail
The Crisis of the Arab world
reaches a climax
* The tension between the Arab world and the modern world has reached a climax
* The Arab world's home-made problems overwhelm its ability to cope
* The crisis is consequently being exported to the rest of the world
How does change occur in the
* There is no agora, no public space for debating ideas, interests, policies
* The tribal group in power blocks all avenues of change, represses all advocates of change
* Plot, riot, murder, coup are the only available means to bring about political change
The continuation of politics by other
* In the Arab world, violence is not a continuation of politics by other means -- violence is politics, politics is violence
* This culture of violence is the prime enabler of terrorism
* Terror as an accepted, legitimate means of carrying out politics, has been incubated for 30 years ...
The crisis cannot be contained to the
Arab world alone
* The crisis has irreversibly spilled out of the region
* 9/11 was a symptom of the "overflow"
* The paroxysm is liable to last for several decades
* U.S. response will decisively influence the duration and outcome
The old partnership
* Once upon a time, there was a partnership between the U.S. and Saudi Arabia
* Partnerships, like alliances, are embodied in practices, ideas, policies, institutions, people -- which persist after the alliance has died
* An instable group: Since 1745, 58% of all rulers of the House of Saud have met a violent demise
* Wahhabism loathes modernity, capitalism, human rights, religious freedom, democracy, republics, an open society -- and practices the very opposite
* As long as enmity had no or little consequences outside the kingdom, the bargain between the House of Saud and the U.S. held
Means, motive, opportunity
* 1973: Saudi Arabia unleashes the Oil Shock, absorbs immense flows of resources -- means
* 1978: Khomeiny challenges the Saudis' Islamic credentials, provoking a radicalization and world-wide spread of Wahhabism in response -- motive
* 1979-1989: the anti-Soviet Jihad gives life and strength to the Wahhabi putsch within Sunni Islam -- opportunity. The Taliban are the result
The impact on Saudi policy
* Wahhabism moves from Islam's lunatic fringe to center-stage -- its mission now extends world-wide
* Saudis launch a putsch within Sunni Islam
* Shift from pragmatic oil policy to promotion of radical Islam
* Establish Saudi as "the indispensable State" -- treasurers of radical, fundamentalist, terrorist groups
Saudis see themselves
* God placed the oil in the kingdom as a sign of divine approval
* Spread Wahhabism everywhere, but keep the power of the al-Saud undiminished
* Survive by creating a Wahhabi-friendly environment -- fundamentalist regimes -- throughout the Moslem world and beyond
The House of Saud today
* Saudi Arabia is central to the self-destruction of the Arab world and the chief vector of the Arab crisis and its outwardly-directed aggression
* The Saudis are active at every level of the terror chain, from planners to financiers, from cadre to foot-soldier, from ideologist to cheerleader
* Saudi Arabia supports our enemies and attacks our allies
* A daily outpouring of virulent hatred against the U.S. from Saudi media, "educational" institutions, clerics, officials -- Saudis tell us one thing in private, do the contrary in reality
What is to be done?
* During and after World War I, Britain's India Office backed the House of Saud; the Foreign Office backed the Hashemites. The India Office won
* But the entire post-1917 Middle East settlement designed by the British to replace the Ottoman Empire is fraying
* The role assigned to the House of Saud in that arrangement has become obsolete -- and nefarious
"Saudi Arabia" is not a God-
* The House of Saud was given dominion over Arabia in 1922 by the British
* It wrested the Guardianship of the Holy Places -- Mecca and Medina -- from the Hashemite dynasty
* There is an "Arabia," but it needs not be "Saudi"
An ultimatum to the House of
* Stop any funding and support for any fundamentalist madrasa, mosque, ulama, predicator anywhere in the world
* Stop all anti-U.S., anti-Israeli, anti-Western predication, writings, etc., within Arabia
* Dismantle, ban all the kingdom's "Islamic charities," confiscate their assets
* Prosecute or isolate those involved in the terror chain, including in the Saudi intelligence services
Or else ...
* What the House of Saud holds dear can be targeted:
—Oil: the old fields are defended by U.S. forces, and located in a mostly Shiite area
—Money: the Kingdom is in dire financial straits, its valuable assets invested in dollars, largely in the U.S.
—The Holy Places: let it be known that alternatives are being canvassed
* The Saudis are hated throughout the Arab world: lazy, overbearing, dishonest, corrupt
* If truly moderate regimes arise, the Wahhabi-Saudi nexus is pushed back into its extremist corner
* The Hashemites have greater legitimacy as Guardians of Mecca and Medina
Grand strategy for the Middle
• Iraq is the tactical pivot
• Saudi Arabia the strategic pivot
• Egypt the prize
Jack Shafer is Slate's editor at large.
Article URL: http://slate.msn.com/id/2069119/
Posted by politicalstuff at 11:27 AM
Those Pollyannas on the Potomac
Thursday, July 07, 2005
There must have been a conference of conservative writers a few years ago during which Karl Rove sneaked a lifetime dose of Prozac into the after-dinner drinks. I wasn't invited and I have therefore retained a healthy skepticism about the Bush administration's efforts to remake the Mideast in its image.
The great mass of conservative pundits, however, seem to have lost their critical faculties in this regard. The great William F. Buckley, for example, had a column the other day in which he asked the question "Was it worth it?" about the Iraq war. I expected an analysis in which the usually acerbic Buckley would point out that prior Republican presidents, such as Ronald Reagan, had vanquished much deadlier enemies with negligible American casualties and at minimal expense.
But no, Buckley answered his own question by quoting Charles Krauthammer, the formerly rational inside-the-Beltway pundit who has of late taken on the aspect of a Dr. Strangelove. Krauthammer opines that we should "be doing everything in our power, both overtly and covertly, to encourage a democratic revolution in Iran, a deeply hostile and dangerous state, even while trying carefully to manage democratic evolution in places like Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan."
At the risk of pointing out the obvious, Iran already had a democratic revolution. Back in 1979, the masses arose and ousted the Shah. Iran then held a referendum on the question of whether the country should become an Islamic Republic. Eighty-five percent said yes. The margin of approval is down these days but only slightly. Given a choice between a moderate and an Islamic fundamentalist last month, 62 percent of Iranians chose the fundamentalist. Maybe I need some Prozac, but I can't imagine how things would turn out differently if elections were held in Egypt, Saudi Arabia or Pakistan.
Americans are inherently optimistic, however, even those who call themselves conservatives. A far more realistic view of what is euphemistically called the "developing" world comes from V.S. Naipaul. The Nobel Prize-winning Naipaul is of Indian descent, grew up in Trinidad and is based in London. Shortly after the Iranian revolution in 1979, Naipaul did a tour of Islamic nations that he documented in his 1981 book "Among the Believers."
It was a masterpiece of pessimism, and that pessimism came from his examination of the rise of political Islam, which he described as "rage, anarchy." In a 1981 interview about the book, Naipaul talked about the mistaken Western view that Iranians saw what was happening as a tragedy.
"The tragedy is only in the eyes of the outside beholder," he said. "On the inside, local people are quite happy with the killing. Persians do like blood, blood of martyrs."
You're not supposed to say that sort of thing in polite society, and the proper writers of London were appalled. In a review of the book, one prominent writer took a more optimistic view of the prospects for democracy in the Islamic world. This writer complained that he could find "no hint in these pages that the new Islam there is a good deal more than Khomeinism, or that the mullocracy's hold on the people is actually very fragile."
This writer held out the hope that "moderate" Muslims in exile in Iraq would eventually lead Iran to "a multi-party democratic system of government." Who was that bright-eyed optimist who in 1981 had the same views the Bush administration is propounding in 2005? None other than Salman Rushdie, the writer who a few years later learned that not even the Muslim masses in Britain were moderate in their beliefs. Many of them called for his head after that infamous fatwa from the ayatollah. Rushdie was forced into hiding.
For all his claims to religiosity, President Bush seems to miss a key point here: Some people who claim to believe in absolutes really do believe in absolutes. Bush has predicated the foreign policy of this country on the rather shaky theory that there is a majority -- a silent one, no doubt -- of "moderate" Muslims in the Mideast. Like Rushdie in 1981, Bush believes the rise of these moderates is just around the corner.
Naipaul says the situation is much worse than most Americans can grasp. In a recent interview, he described perfectly the rather naive American view of the 9/11 attacks:
"People could deal with it as an act of terror, but the idea of religious war is too frightening for people to manage. But religious war is so threatening to the rest of us that it cannot be avoided. It will have to be fought ... there are certain countries which foment it, and they probably should be destroyed, actually."
He then listed Saudi Arabia and Iran as among those countries. Somebody should get that guy some Prozac. Or take it away from everyone else.
Paul Mulshine is a Star-Ledger columnist. He may be reached at email@example.com.
Posted by politicalstuff at 11:25 AM
Shhh, Don't Wake the Press
It's been six days since Lawrence O'Donnell went on national TV and reported internal Time magazine emails handed over to the independent prosecutor would show Karl Rove was the source Time reporter Matt Cooper had been protecting. It's been three days since Newsweek confirmed, "The e-mails surrendered by Time Inc., which are largely between Cooper and his editors, show that one of Cooper's sources was White House deputy chief of staff Karl Rove."
The Newsweek article also included confirmation from Rove's attorney that yes, the president's chief political architect did speak to Cooper about his Valerie Plame story, as well as a carefully worded denial that Rove "never knowingly disclosed classified information."
Does any of this sound like news?
Apparently not for reporters covering the White House.
Yes, they're traveling with Bush who's attending the G8 Summit in Scotland. And yes, because of the long holiday weekend they've only had two briefings this week with White House spokesman Scott McClellan.
But during those briefings here's how many questions reporters asked McClellan: 52
And here's how many were about Rove and the Plame investigation: 0.
Let's see if at Thursday's briefing any White House repoters show interest in the unfolding story.
Posted by politicalstuff at 2:02 AM
So, Mr Bremer, where did all the money go?
At the end of the Iraq war, vast sums of money were made available to the US-led provisional authorities, headed by Paul Bremer, to spend on rebuilding the country. By the time Bremer left the post eight months later, $8.8bn of that money had disappeared.
Ed Harriman on the extraordinary scandal of Iraq's missing billions"
When Paul Bremer, the American pro consul in Baghdad until June last year, arrived in Iraq soon after the official end of hostilities, there was $6bn left over from the UN Oil for Food Programme, as well as sequestered and frozen assets, and at least $10bn from resumed Iraqi oil exports. Under Security Council Resolution 1483, passed on May 22 2003, all these funds were transferred into a new account held at the Federal Reserve Bank in New York, called the Development Fund for Iraq (DFI), and intended to be spent by the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) "in a transparent manner ... for the benefit of the Iraqi people".
The US Congress also voted to spend $18.4bn of US taxpayers' money on the redevelopment of Iraq. By June 28 last year, however, when Bremer left Baghdad two days early to avoid possible attack on the way to the airport, his CPA had spent up to $20bn of Iraqi money, compared with $300m of US funds. The "reconstruction" of Iraq is the largest American-led occupation programme since the Marshall Plan - but the US government funded the Marshall Plan. Defence secretary Donald Rumsfeld and Paul Bremer have made sure that the reconstruction of Iraq is paid for by the "liberated" country, by the Iraqis themselves.
The CPA maintained one fund of nearly $600m cash for which there is no paperwork: $200m of it was kept in a room in one of Saddam's former palaces. The US soldier in charge used to keep the key to the room in his backpack, which he left on his desk when he popped out for lunch. Again, this is Iraqi money, not US funds.
The "financial irregularities" described in audit reports carried out by agencies of the American government and auditors working for the international community collectively give a detailed insight into the mentality of the American occupation authorities and the way they operated. Truckloads of dollars were handed out for which neither they nor the recipients felt they had to be accountable.
The auditors have so far referred more than a hundred contracts, involving billions of dollars paid to American personnel and corporations, for investigation and possible criminal prosecution. They have also discovered that $8.8bn that passed through the new Iraqi government ministries in Baghdad while Bremer was in charge is unaccounted for, with little prospect of finding out where it has gone. A further $3.4bn appropriated by Congress for Iraqi development has since been siphoned off to finance "security".
Although Bremer was expected to manage Iraqi funds in a transparent manner, it was only in October 2003, six months after the fall of Saddam, that an International Advisory and Monitoring Board (IAMB) was established to provide independent, international financial oversight of CPA spending. (This board includes representatives from the United Nations, the World Bank, the IMF and the Arab Fund for Economic and Social Development.)
The IAMB first spent months trying to find auditors acceptable to the US. The Bahrain office of KPMG was finally appointed in April 2004. It was stonewalled.
"KPMG has encountered resistance from CPA staff regarding the submission of information required to complete our procedures," they wrote in an interim report. "Staff have indicated ... that cooperation with KPMG's undertakings is given a low priority." KPMG had one meeting at the Iraqi Ministry of Finance; meetings at all the other ministries were repeatedly postponed. The auditors even had trouble getting passes to enter the Green Zone.
There appears to have been good reason for the Americans to stall. At the end of June 2004, the CPA would be disbanded and Bremer would leave Iraq. There was no way the Bush administration would want independent auditors to publish a report into the financial propriety of its Iraqi administration while the CPA was still in existence and Bremer at its head still answerable to the press. So the report was published in July.
The auditors found that the CPA didn't keep accounts of the hundreds of millions of dollars of cash in its vault, had awarded contracts worth billions of dollars to American firms without tender, and had no idea what was happening to the money from the Development Fund for Iraq (DFI), which was being spent by the interim Iraqi government ministries.
This lack of transparency has led to allegations of corruption. An Iraqi hospital administrator told me that when he came to sign a contract, the American army officer representing the CPA had crossed out the original price and doubled it. The Iraqi protested that the original price was enough. The American officer explained that the increase (more than $1m) was his retirement package.
When the Iraqi Governing Council asked Bremer why a contract to repair the Samarah cement factory was costing $60m rather than the agreed $20m, the American representative reportedly told them that they should be grateful the coalition had saved them from Saddam. Iraqis who were close to the Americans, had access to the Green Zone or held prominent posts in the new government ministries were also in a position personally to benefit enormously. Iraqi businessmen complain endlessly that they had to offer substantial bribes to Iraqi middlemen just to be able to bid for CPA contracts. Iraqi ministers' relatives got top jobs and fat contracts.
Further evidence of lack of transparency comes from a series of audits and reports carried out by the CPA's own inspector general's office (CPAIG). Set up in January 2004, it reports to Congress. Its auditors, accountants and criminal investigators often found themselves sitting alone at cafe tables in the Green Zone, shunned by their CPA compatriots. Their audit, published in July 2004, found that the American contracts officers in the CPA and Iraqi ministries "did not ensure that ... contract files contained all the required documents, a fair and reasonable price was paid for the services received, contractors were capable of meeting delivery schedules, or that contractors were paid in accordance with contract requirements".
Pilfering was rife. Millions of dollars in cash went missing from the Iraqi Central Bank. Between $11m and $26m worth of Iraqi property sequestered by the CPA was unaccounted for. The payroll was padded with hundreds of ghost employees. Millions of dollars were paid to contractors for phantom work. Some $3,379,505 was billed, for example, for "personnel not in the field performing work" and "other improper charges" on just one oil pipeline repair contract.
Most of the 69 criminal investigations the CPAIG instigated related to alleged theft, fraud, waste, assault and extortion. It also investigated "a number of other cases that, because of their sensitivity, cannot be included in this report". One such case may have arisen when 19 billion new Iraqi dinars, worth about £6.5m, was found on a plane in Lebanon that had been sent there by the American-appointed Iraqi interior minister.
At the same time, the IAMB discovered that Iraqi oil exports were unmetered. Neither the Iraqi State Oil Marketing Organisation nor the American authorities could give a satisfactory explanation for this. "The only reason you wouldn't monitor them is if you don't want anyone else to know how much is going through," one petroleum executive told me.
Officially, Iraq exported $10bn worth of oil in the first year of the American occupation. Christian Aid has estimated that up to $4bn more may have been exported and is unaccounted for. If so, this would have created an off-the-books fund that both the Americans and their Iraqi allies could use with impunity to cover expenditures they would rather keep secret - among them the occupation costs, which were rising far beyond what the Bush administration could comfortably admit to Congress and the international community.
In the few weeks before Bremer left Iraq, the CPA handed out more than $3bn in new contracts to be paid for with Iraqi funds and managed by the US embassy in Baghdad. The CPA inspector general, now called the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction (Sigir), has just released an audit report on the way the embassy has dealt with that responsibility. The auditors reviewed the files of 225 contracts totalling $327m to see if the embassy "could identify the current value of paid and unpaid contract obligations".
It couldn't. "Our review showed that financial records ... understated payments made by $108,255,875" and "overstated unpaid obligations by $119,361,286". The auditors also reviewed the paperwork of a further 300 contracts worth $332.9m: "Of 198 contract files reviewed, 154 did not contain evidence that goods and services were received, 169 did not contain invoices, and 14 did not contain evidence of payment."
Clearly, the Americans see no need to account for spending Iraqis' national income now any more than they did when Bremer was in charge. Neither the embassy chief of mission nor the US military commander replied to the auditors' invitation to comment. Instead, the US army contracting commander lamely pointed out that "the peaceful conditions envisioned in the early planning continue to elude the reconstruction efforts". This is a remarkable understatement. It's also an admission that Americans can't be expected to do their sums when they are spending other people's money to finance a war.
Lack of accountability does not stop with the Americans. In January this year, the Sigir issued a report detailing evidence of fraud, corruption and waste by the Iraqi Interim Government when Bremer was in charge. They found that $8.8bn - the entire Iraqi Interim Government spending from October 2003 through June 2004 - was not properly accounted for. The Iraqi Office of Budget and Management at one point had only six staff, all of them inexperienced, and most of the ministries had no budget departments. Iraq's newly appointed ministers and their senior officials were free to hand out hundreds of millions of dollars in cash as they pleased, while American "advisers" looked on.
"CPA personnel did not review and compare financial, budgetary and operational performance to planned or expected results," the auditors explained. One ministry gave out $430m in contracts without its CPA advisers seeing any of the paperwork. Another claimed to be paying 8,206 guards, but only 602 could be found. There is simply no way of knowing how much of the $8.8bn has gone to pay for private militias and into private pockets.
"It's remarkable that the inspector general's office could have produced even a draft report with so many misconceptions and inaccuracies," Bremer said in his reply to the Sigir report. "At liberation, the Iraqi economy was dead in the water. So CPA's top priority was to get the economy going."
The Sigir has responded by releasing another audit this April, an investigation into the way Bremer's CPA managed cash payments from Iraqi funds in just one part of Iraq, the region around Hillah: "During the course of the audit, we identified deficiencies in the control of cash ... of such magnitude as to require prompt attention. Those deficiencies were so significant that we were precluded from accomplishing our stated objectives." They found that CPA headquarters in Baghdad "did not maintain full control and accountability for approximately $119.9m", and that agents in the field "cannot properly account for or support over $96.6m in cash and receipts". The agents were mostly Americans in Iraq on short-term contracts. One agent's account balance was "overstated by $2,825,755, and the error went undetected". Another agent was given $25m cash for which Bremer's office "acknowledged not having any supporting documentation". Of more than $23m given to another agent, there are only records for $6,306,836 paid to contractors.
Many of the American agents submitted their paperwork only hours before they headed to the airport. Two left Iraq without accounting for $750,000 each, which has never been found. CPA head office cleared several agents' balances of between $250,000 and $12m without any receipts. One agent who did submit receipts, on being told that he still owed $1,878,870, turned up three days later with exactly that amount. The auditors thought that "this suggests that the agent had a reserve of cash", pointing out that if his original figures had been correct, he would have accounted to the CPA for approximately $3.8m more than he had been given in the first place, which "suggests that the receipt documents provided to the DFI account manager were unreliable".
So where did the money go? You can't see it in Hillah. The schools, hospitals, water supply and electricity, all of which were supposed to benefit from these funds, are in ruins. The inescapable conclusion is that many of the American paying agents grabbed large bundles of cash for themselves and made sweet deals with their Iraqi contacts.
And so it continues. The IAMB's most recent audit of Iraqi government spending talks of "incomplete accounting", "lack of documented justification for limited competition for contracts at the Iraqi ministries", "possible misappropriation of oil revenues", "significant difficulties in ensuring completeness and accuracy of Iraqi budgets and controls over expenditures" and "non-deposit of proceeds of export sales of petroleum products into the appropriate accounts in contravention of UN Security Council Resolution 1483".
In the absence of any meaningful accountability, Iraqis have no way of knowing how much of the nation's wealth is being used for reconstruction and how much is being handed out to ministers' and civil servants' friends and families or funnelled into secret overseas bank accounts. Given that many Ba'athists are now back in government, some of that money may even be financing the insurgents.
Both Saddam and the US profited handsomely during his reign. He controlled Iraq's wealth while most of Iraq's oil went to Californian refineries to provide cheap petrol for American voters. US corporations, like those who enjoyed Saddam's favour, grew rich. Today, the system is much the same: the oil goes to California, and the new Iraqi government spends the national wealth with impunity.
· Bremer maintained one slush fund of nearly $600m in cash for which there is no paperwork: $200m of it was kept in a room in one of Saddam's former palaces
· 19 billion new Iraqi dinars, worth about £6.5m, was found on a plane in Lebanon that had been sent there by the new Iraqi interior minister
· One ministry claimed to be paying 8,206 guards, but only 602 could be found
· One American agent was given $23m to spend on restructuring; only $6m is accounted for
This is an edited version of an article that appears in the current issue of the London Review of Books (lrb).
Posted by politicalstuff at 1:57 AM
Karl Rove is a Busy Guy
If I were Karl Rove, I would worry about going to jail or at least start planning my public contrition for my role in a horrible assault on Valerie Plame and the subsequent events that have two reporters taking the brunt of the fall for my deceit.
But, I am not Karl Rove and the real one is busy. While we are hoping for some humane gestures or god forbid, the truth, on the above story, the real Karl Rove is working hard planting the seeds to secure the nomination of a Supreme Court judge by once again twisting gay and lesbian people's desire for stability and equality into a nasty, divisive political fight.
It is not by accident that the White House definition of an "activist" and therefore unacceptable judiciary revealed in Rove's recent meeting with the editors of the Washington Post centers around decisions that state courts have made to provide equal treatment in marriage rights for gay couples. The Post reported, "Rove said Bush seeks a nominee who will correct what the president sees as a widespread problem of judges who seek to make law rather than narrowly interpret it, citing as an example the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court decision last year permitting same-sex marriage."
The intensity of the debate will heat up around this issue you can be sure. They think this issue helped them in the election and it will help them once again. When all else fails to ignite the American people, gay marriage is still their bogeyman. Steven Fisher, the smart Communication Director of the Human Rights Campaign says that they are alreday getting calls from reporters prompted, he suspects, by a steady drumbeat from the radical right on the impact a new court will have on future decisions about marriage between same sex couples.
Activist judges making new law. That is their polled and tested line? Oh please. The double talk would be comical if real lives - like mine and my family's - weren't involved.
The President, Karl Rove and their friends on the right claim they need an amendment to the United States Constitution to stop same sex marriage. They failed in the Senate last year but they will renew their push again sometime soon. Doesn't that mean that these people believe that the Constitution currently protects the equal rights of same sex couples? Why else would they have to pass a new amendment? If President Bush nominates a jurist who will "strictly interpret the constitution" and not make new law, it is clear that any Bush nominee will determine that such Constitutional protection for gay and lesbian families exists today.
Posted by politicalstuff at 1:54 AM
Wednesday, July 06, 2005
Republicans want to speed up death penalty
Wed Jul 6, 2005
By Alan Elsner
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Republicans in Congress have launched a new effort to speed up executions in the United States by limiting the ability of those sentenced to death to appeal to federal courts.
The "Streamlined Procedures Act of 2005," introduced into the House of Representatives by California Rep. Dan Lungren and in the Senate by Arizona Sen. Jon Kyl, would limit the ability of defendants facing the death sentence to have their cases reviewed by federal courts in what are known as habeas corpus appeals.
"You see delays in death penalty cases where they are allowed to drag on for 15 or even 25 years. Defense attorneys have come to believe the longer they delay, the better it is for their clients," Lungren said in an interview.
"We're trying to ensure that habeas corpus is not used as a reason for interminable delays and that defendants get one bite of the apple and not multiple bites," he said.
Virginia Rep. Bobby Scott, the ranking Democrat on the subcommittee considering the bill, conceded there was little chance of blocking it in the House.
"The House has been very supportive of anything that would strip the innocent of a fair hearing. This bill will ensure that more innocent people will be put to death," he said in a telephone interview.
Death penalty opponents say the law would strip the ability of federal courts to review most claims in capital cases.
"It seeks a radical cutting and slashing of our existing process of habeas corpus reviews of state convictions," University of Chicago law professor Bernard Harcourt said last week in a hearing before the House subcommittee reviewing the legislation. "This new bill would effectively gut habeas corpus review where states have imposed a sentence of death."
Habeas corpus -- the phrase in Latin for "you have the body" -- has been a centerpiece of Anglo-American jurisprudence since it was first developed over 300 years ago in Britain. It gave a defendant the right to have their imprisonment reviewed by a court.
In U.S. death penalty cases, defense lawyers consider the right to have federal courts oversee state court decisions as a vital weapon in their armory.
POORLY FUNDED LAWYERS
"It is critical. Often, the defendant's original lawyers are so poorly funded and so overworked that they cannot do the basic research that the case requires. That's why the error level is so high in death penalty cases," said one California defense lawyer, who asked not to be named.
A study headed by Columbia University statistician and political scientist Andrew Gelman of all 5,826 death sentences imposed in the United States between 1973 and 1995 found that 68 per cent were reversed on appeal.
The most common reasons were "egregiously incompetent lawyering, prosecutorial misconduct or suppression of evidence, misintruction of jurors or biased judges or jurors," said the study published in the Journal of Empirical Legal Studies.
Federal courts examining habeas corpus appeals overturned 40 percent of the cases that had previously been upheld by state appeals courts -- a fact the authors called worrisome.
The number of death sentences handed down in the United States has fallen to around 150 a year from around 300 a year in the late 1990s, according to figures compiled by the Death Penalty Information Center.
Last year, there were 58 executions in the United States and there have been 27 so far this year. The average time a person spends on death row before execution is 11-12 years.
Ronald Eisenberg, a deputy district attorney from Philadelphia, said federal judges often threw out death sentences for frivolous reasons. In Pennsylvania, they have overturned 19 of 20 habeas corpus cases litigated in the past 10 years.
"Whether or not they actually reverse a conviction, federal habeas corpus courts drag litigation out for years of utterly unjustifiable delay, creating exorbitant costs for the state and endless pain for the victims," he told the House subcommittee last week.
Posted by politicalstuff at 12:40 PM
The New York Times
July 6, 2005
So Who Are the Activists?
By PAUL GEWIRTZ and CHAD GOLDER
WHEN Democrats or Republicans seek to criticize judges or judicial nominees, they often resort to the same language. They say that the judge is "activist." But the word "activist" is rarely defined. Often it simply means that the judge makes decisions with which the critic disagrees.
In order to move beyond this labeling game, we've identified one reasonably objective and quantifiable measure of a judge's activism, and we've used it to assess the records of the justices on the current Supreme Court.
Here is the question we asked: How often has each justice voted to strike down a law passed by Congress?
Declaring an act of Congress unconstitutional is the boldest thing a judge can do. That's because Congress, as an elected legislative body representing the entire nation, makes decisions that can be presumed to possess a high degree of democratic legitimacy. In an 1867 decision, the Supreme Court itself described striking down Congressional legislation as an act "of great delicacy, and only to be performed where the repugnancy is clear." Until 1991, the court struck down an average of about one Congressional statute every two years. Between 1791 and 1858, only two such invalidations occurred.
Of course, calling Congressional legislation into question is not necessarily a bad thing. If a law is unconstitutional, the court has a responsibility to strike it down. But a marked pattern of invalidating Congressional laws certainly seems like one reasonable definition of judicial activism.
Since the Supreme Court assumed its current composition in 1994, by our count it has upheld or struck down 64 Congressional provisions. That legislation has concerned Social Security, church and state, and campaign finance, among many other issues. We examined the court's decisions in these cases and looked at how each justice voted, regardless of whether he or she concurred with the majority or dissented.
We found that justices vary widely in their inclination to strike down Congressional laws. Justice Clarence Thomas, appointed by President George H. W. Bush, was the most inclined, voting to invalidate 65.63 percent of those laws; Justice Stephen Breyer, appointed by President Bill Clinton, was the least, voting to invalidate 28.13 percent. The tally for all the justices appears below.
Thomas 65.63 %
Kennedy 64.06 %
Scalia 56.25 %
Rehnquist 46.88 %
O’Connor 46.77 %
Souter 42.19 %
Stevens 39.34 %
Ginsburg 39.06 %
Breyer 28.13 %
One conclusion our data suggests is that those justices often considered more "liberal" - Justices Breyer, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, David Souter and John Paul Stevens - vote least frequently to overturn Congressional statutes, while those often labeled "conservative" vote more frequently to do so. At least by this measure (others are possible, of course), the latter group is the most activist.
To say that a justice is activist under this definition is not itself negative. Because striking down Congressional legislation is sometimes justified, some activism is necessary and proper. We can decide whether a particular degree of activism is appropriate only by assessing the merits of a judge's particular decisions and the judge's underlying constitutional views, which may inspire more or fewer invalidations.
Our data no doubt reflects such differences among the justices' constitutional views. But it even more clearly illustrates the varying degrees to which justices would actually intervene in the democratic work of Congress. And in so doing, the data probably demonstrates differences in temperament regarding intervention or restraint.
These differences in the degree of intervention and in temperament tell us far more about "judicial activism" than we commonly understand from the term's use as a mere epithet. As the discussion of Justice Sandra Day O'Connor's replacement begins, we hope that debates about "activist judges" will include indicators like these.
Paul Gewirtz is a professor at Yale Law School. Chad Golder graduated from Yale Law School in May.
Posted by politicalstuff at 12:36 PM
Watergate-Era FBI Chief Gray Dies at 88
L. Patrick Gray, FBI Acting Director During Watergate Break-In and Ensuing Scandal, Dead at 88
By JOHN PAIN
The Associated Press
Jul. 6, 2005 - L. Patrick Gray, whose yearlong stint as acting FBI director was marked by the Watergate break-in and the ensuing scandal that led to President Nixon's resignation, has died. He was 88.
Gray died at his home in Atlantic Beach from complications from pancreatic cancer, said his son, Ed Gray, of Lyme, N.H.
Just last month, Gray ended 32 years of silence about his role in the Watergate scandal, telling ABC's "This Week" that he had reacted with "total shock, total disbelief" to the revelation that his former deputy, W. Mark Felt, was the secret Watergate source known as Deep Throat.
"He fooled me," said Gray. "It was like I was hit with a tremendous sledgehammer."
Nixon appointed Gray, a former Justice Department official and submarine commander, acting FBI director in May 1972 just weeks before the Watergate break-in after the death of J. Edgar Hoover. Gray was forced to step down in April 1973.
Critics alleged he tried to thwart the Watergate investigation a charge he denied even as Felt was secretly feeding information to Washington Post reporter Bob Woodward.
When Felt was unmasked as Woodward's source more than 30 years later, Gray said he believed the trusted deputy had been unhappy at being passed over for the top job and had talked to the Post in order to sabotage him.
"I think there was a sense of revenge in his heart, and a sense of dumping my candidacy, if you will," he told ABC.
Gray was never indicted for any Watergate-related misdeeds, but descriptions of him as a Nixon loyalist who helped thwart the investigation and as someone the White House thought could be pushed around dogged him in the years following the scandal. He vigorously disputed the depiction.
Born in St. Louis in 1916, Gray left Rice University in 1936 to enter the U.S. Naval Academy. He graduated from the academy in 1940 and was commissioned as a line officer.
Gray served aboard submarines in World War II and the Korean War during a 20-year career in the Navy. He earned a law degree in 1949 from George Washington University.
He retired from the Navy in 1960 with the rank of captain. Before entering private practice in Connecticut, he worked for then-Vice President Nixon in his failed bid for president in 1960.
Gray returned to government service after Nixon was elected president in 1968, serving as executive assistant to the secretary of Health, Education and Welfare and on the president's Cabinet committee on desegregation. In 1970 he was appointed assistant attorney general for the Justice Department's civil division.
After he left the FBI, Gray returned to private law practice in New London and Groton, Conn.
He is survived by his wife, Beatrice Kirk Gray, and four sons.
Posted by politicalstuff at 12:23 PM