Watching the Shadows
We don't know when lefties started cheering on CIA agents. But it's no weirder than the White House blowing their cover. We applaud Valerie Plame for not going along with the journalist-bashing that has infected right and left alike in this bizarre affair. The administration used journalists as mouthpieces for leaks, and then hung them out to dry—using them once again, as scapegoats. And supposed progressives like Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR) played along. Compared to them, (ex-)secret agent Plame is taking the high road. From Editor & Publisher, July 14:
French hypocrisy exposed at last! It seems all the official pomposity and condescension about the barabric American torture state was merely for political show. We are shocked, shocked! From the New York Times, July 6:
PARIS, July 5 — A French terrorism trial was thrown into turmoil on Wednesday by a leaked report that French intelligence agents had secretly interviewed the six defendants during their detention by the United States at Guantánamo Bay in Cuba.
How interesting. The Supremes rule that Congress did not give Bush a "blank check" to tear up the Geneva Conventions when it voted to approve military action after 9-11. Now, Bush uses precisely the same argument to justify the program of warrantless surveillance. Will the courts strike that down as well? Has the revolt of the judiciary finally begun? From the New York Times, June 29 (links added):
Greg Palast risks jeopardizing his wild popularity among the leftoid legions by raining on their increasingly beloved "Jewish Conspiracy" theory. Bashing this bosh is long overdue, but we sure wish Palast had done a better job of it. His arguments here are so weak and garbled that they can be easily shot down by the Judeophobes. They constitute a strawman which actually renders a disservice to the cause of opposing Jewish scapegoating.
From The New Standard, June 22:
Lynne Stewart, a lawyer convicted of terrorism-related charges, has asked a federal court to compel the federal government to disclose whether the National Security Agency’s illegal warrantless domestic-spying program helped the prosecution in its case against her and her co-defendants. Stewart and translator Mohammed Yousry were convicted last year for providing material support for terrorism while representing Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman, convicted of involvement in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing.
Reporters Without Borders is protesting the Pentagon's move to ban journalists from Guantanamo Bay, an ostensibly temporary measure. (Washington Post, June 15) The move comes on the heel of the suicide of three detainees at the prison camp, who the Administration says were "enemy combatants." Rear Admiral Harry Harris, the camp's commander, went so far as to call the suicides an "act of war" against America. Said of Harris: "They are smart, they are creative, they are committed... They have no regard to life, neither ours nor their own. And I believe this was not an act of desperation, rather an act of asymmetric warfare waged against us." (UK Telegraph, June 11) Conservative pundits are echoing the line that the detainees were not driven to suicide through desperation, but were using suicide as a "political weapon" against America—a neat reversal of victims and oppressors. (eg William Buckley, June 16) Now, al-Qaeda training manuals probably do call for using suicide and allegations of torture as a political weapon for captured militants. But it isn't like the Pentagon has not openly admitted to engaging in similar "back propaganda" stunts. (BBC, Feb. 20, 2002) So when the water is this muddy, who ya gonna believe? Meanwhile, one of the fathers of the victims is denying his son killed himself at all—raising the possibility of murder. From al-Jazeera, June 14:
What a breath of fresh air! The website Screw Loose Change reports that Gedeon and Jules Naudet, the French film-makers who captured images of the first plane striking the World Trade Center on 9-11, have sent a "cease and desist" letter to the makers of the all-too-popular (though transparently bogus, to anyone with a modicum of critical reasoning skills) conspiracy video Loose Change, taking the lugubrious vultures to task for appropriating their footage to advance irresponsible claptrap, and threatening litigation if they don't back down. For the moment, the video has been removed from the Loose Change website.
We wish we were joking. What a shame nobody noticed this—the little note in the second section about the Halliburton contract (emphasis added) should have been front-page news in every paper in the country. Back on Feb. 23, Nat Perry of Consortium News wrote for AlterNet: