Zebra 3 Report by Joe Anybody
Wednesday, 31 October 2007
Congress passes 7-year Net tax ban
Now Playing: NO TAX ON INTERNET USE - for at least 7 more years
Posted by Richard Koman @ October 30, 2007 @ 2:09 PM
The House unanimously passed a seven-year extension of a ban on Internet taxes, in harmony with a bill passed by the Senate last week. The bill goes to President Bush for approval, just two days before the existing tax moratorium is scheduled to expire, Computerworld reports.
While many Republicans and Bush had supported a permanent ban, Bush is expected to sign the seven-year plan.
It’s great to see Congress act on time for a change and take an enormous step for Internet tax freedom — banning access taxes and protecting e-mails and instant messaging for the next seven years,” Sen. John Sununu (R-NH) said in a statement. “I will continue to fight for a permanent ban on access taxes, but this is a strong step forward. Taxing the Internet is wrong for consumers and wrong for the economy.”
Washington politicians and lobbyists alike spoke enthusiastically about the extension. “Americans will not face a toll road when they get on the information superhighway” if Bush signs the bill, Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said. The extension “will ensure continued investment and growth in the broadband marketplace,” Verizon lobbyist Peter Davidson said, according to Bloomberg.
Even governors agreed the bill is `reasonable” and will “close tax loopholes, promote Internet usages and protect states,” in the words of Raymond Scheppach, executive director of the National Governors Association in Washington.
One key issue: The original House bill failed to exempt email services not bought as part of an access package. The final version continues the exemption for independent email and IM services.
Posted by Joe Anybody
at 11:56 AM PDT
Tuesday, 30 October 2007
War on Drugs is a "FAILURE & TOTAL DISASTER"
Now Playing: da Texas Judge is "Right On"
War on Drugs a ‘failure, ‘total disaster’
By: Stephen Webster
Denton Co. Judge Jake Collier, a Flower Mound resident, takes top honors in poll of peers, calls for drug policy reform, regulation, control, rehabilitation
Jake Collier, 67, of the 158th District Court in Denton, Texas, is riding the only tidal wave of fame afforded to judges outside of the rising insanity of celebrity justice. Since being named “Best Judge in Denton” by the Denton County Bar Association for his conservative viewpoints, efficient use of court time and strict interpretations of the law, Judge Collier has been the toast of the county’s legal community.
When this reporter called for an interview about bench time, legal philosophy and the dark humor one acquires from a life in legal practice, it was more than a little surprising when Collier began to solicit his views on America’s Drug War.
To begin, however, the judge reinforced the principal requirement of his job.
“It does not matter whether a judge agrees or disagrees with the law,” he said. “We must know it and uphold it, and that’s what I do.”
In the state of Texas, election to District Court Judge requires at least five years as bar-certified attorney. Judge Collier, currently serving in his fifth year with the court, has been a legal professional since 1969, when he first moved to Lewisville. A graduate of the University of Texas, Collier has worked in almost every sector of the legal world, from corporate and real estate law to family law to criminal defense. The father of two children, and grandfather to three, Judge Collier feels his service to the county and the court reflects his respect for the American system of justice and his philosophy of civic duty.
However, he said, there is one frequented issue in his court that causes him a great deal of moral turmoil.
“My experience is the War on Drugs that has been waged by America for all these years is an absolute, total disaster … A failure,” he said. “We’re putting people in jail for possession, and we seldom if ever really run across a dealer. I don’t think, since I’ve been in office, we have not had more than four or five dealers come through my court.”
Judge Collier said he looks at countries such as England and the Netherlands as having a more intelligent approach to substance abuse, especially pertaining to the dangerous and addictive drug heroin.
“[Regulation and control] seems to work in countries that regulate the dangerous drugs,” said Judge Collier. “They do not have the criminal problem with heroin that the Untied States has. I believe Texas is one of just four or five states that do not have a free needle exchange program. In almost every other state, if someone is going to shoot up, they can get a clean needle. Now, we know they’re going to shoot up, and nothing we’ve ever done has made a bit of difference with that, but at least we’re going to help prevent a disease such as AIDS. But Texas doesn’t do that. We’re hell bent; by God, that’s a crime and we ain’t gonna help you do it.”
As for America’s number one cash crop, Judge Collier does even go as far as batting an eye at marijuana.
“Marijuana is well on its way, even in the state of Texas, to not being much of a crime,” he said. “I don’t hear marijuana cases. The only marijuana cases I hear is when somebody has four ounces or more. In other words, they’ve already reduced possession of a couple of joints to the level of a throw-away misdemeanor. I would not be surprised to see it be treated more like a parking violation, where you’d have to pay a fine for being caught with it in public.”
Judge Collier reinforced his belief in incarceration as a tool for reform, or to protect society at large, but continued his insistence that drug policy must be reformed.
“I don’t believe in violent crime,” he said. “Give me a chance and I’ll put you in jail for the rest of your life if you’re violent. But I truly do think we’re making a terrible mistake, locking up all these people for possession of drugs, even serious drugs, especially if they’ve only physically hurt themselves. There’s a philosophical point that says it is not the government’s business what someone puts in their body. Everybody says, ‘Oh, but it ruins lives.’ Well, hell, so does liquor! Liquor is the worst drug in the world. There are more people’s lives and family’s lives that have been ruined and more deaths each year from drinking alcohol than from all the drugs combined.”
However, just because he opines a progressive stance on drug policy does not mean he is somehow soft on crime. This is especially true when confronted with intoxicated drivers, for whom the judge has zero tolerance.
“Within six months of me taking the bench, word was out in the legal community that you do not want Judge Collier to set the penalty in a DWI case,” he said. “By the time I see them, they’re on their third DWI, making it a felony. And to be perfectly honest, at that point, I just do not know what to do other than put them away for their entire lives. You can do what you want to with your body in your own home, but when you drive without clarity of mind, you risk others’ lives and that is unacceptable.”
Finally, Collier concluded: “We’re getting our butts kicked. That’s all there is to it. The Mexican drug mafia is about to move across the Rio Grande into Texas. It’s real simple. If I can buy a pencil for a penny, walk across the street and sell it for a dollar, there’s no way in hell you’re going to prevent me from buying a bunch of pencils and walking across the street. The money is too good. The same is true in the drug trade. There’s no way we’re going to prevent all these people from growing all these drugs and manufacturing methamphetamine and all these things. There’s too much profit. We’ll only reduce drug use if we take away that profit from the bad guys, and put funding into really educating our children that you ought not to do this. That’s the only way we’ll ever stop being a user nation.”
Posted by Joe Anybody
at 4:54 PM PDT
Updated: Tuesday, 30 October 2007 4:59 PM PDT
1961 - biggest bomb ever was dropped
Now Playing: 58 megaton bomb from Russia
|On This Day|
October 30, 1961 - The Soviet Union detonated a 58 megaton yield hydrogen bomb over Novaya Zemlya, which is still the largest nuclear device to ever be detonated.
Posted by Joe Anybody
at 11:01 AM PDT
Monday, 29 October 2007
FEMA & FAKE NEWS - THIS IS NOT NEW
Now Playing: SCAM, LIES, FORGERY, MISUSE, nothing new here
Topic: FAILURE by the GOVERNMENT
FEMA PR chief loses new job after fake news briefing
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The man who oversaw public affairs at the Federal Emergency Management Agency when it held a fake news conference last week will no longer be taking over as head of public relations for the director of national intelligence.
Pat Philbin, FEMA's external affairs director, was scheduled to become director of public affairs for National Intelligence Director Mike McConnell on Monday. It was not immediately clear whether he offered his resignation or was fired just as he was set to begin the job.
As of Sunday, officials only said that they were aware of concerns.
But Monday, the director of national intelligence office issued this statement: "We do not normally comment on personnel matters. However, we can confirm that Mr. Philbin is not, nor is he scheduled to be, the director of public affairs for the office of the director of national intelligence."
FEMA Director David Paulison said Philbin sent him an e-mail in which he took full responsibility for last week's staging of the news conference.
FEMA, part of the Department of Homeland Security, called a news conference Tuesday in Washington on the agency's handling of the California wildfires.
The agency said no media representatives showed up because the conference was announced at the last minute. Instead, reporters called in on a phone line but couldn't ask questions
The agency released a video of the conference with FEMA employees asking less than hard-hitting questions.
Deputy Director Harvey Johnson, who was fielding questions, gave no indication at the time that staff members were asking the questions. Watch what happened at FEMA's fake news conference »
He later apologized, calling the fake briefing an "error in judgment."
"I am calling to apologize and say it will not happen again," Paulison said in a phone call to CNN.
He said rules are changing to prevent any reoccurrence. Reporters will be given at least an hour's warning before a press conference and those calling in will be able to ask questions in the future, he said.
Paulison said he is continuing to investigate. He said he understands that FEMA officials did not plan to ask questions and did so only when reporters failed to appear.
Disciplinary action is being taken against some FEMA employees, he said.
Another official said that reprimands have been issued and more may be coming.
Johnson "really didn't have an awareness" of what was taking place, according to Paulison. The FEMA director said Johnson wasn't familiar with everyone in the press office and did not recognize staffers asking questions.
"He just feels sick about it," Paulison said. "He feels his credibility has been hurt."
However, reporters noted that Johnson called on at least one person by name.
FEMA generally received high marks for its response to the California wildfires after fierce criticism over its handling of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, but Paulison said he was sure the conference flap has had a bad effect on morale.
"The last two years of planning for a major disaster fell in place," Paulison said. "Things were working as they were supposed to ... and that just killed everything you tried to have happen."
The head of homeland security also has blasted the fake news briefing and said those behind it showed "extraordinarily poor judgment."
"I think it was one of the dumbest and most inappropriate things I've ever seen since I've been in government," Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff said Saturday.
The White House said it was unaware of the briefing beforehand.
"It is not a practice that we would employ here at the White House," said press secretary Dana Perino. "We certainly don't condone it."
Posted by Joe Anybody
at 4:31 PM PDT
Sunday, 28 October 2007
Good Cop / Grouchy Cop = Seattle - O27 - Peace March
Now Playing: Coffee Shop - Police & Protesters
Posted by Joe Anybody
at 11:15 PM PDT
Updated: Sunday, 28 October 2007 11:16 PM PDT
Friday, 26 October 2007
USA WAR MONGERS RAMPING UP FOR IRAN WAR
Now Playing: Sanctions Against Iran = Good Job America (sic)
World Socialist Web Site www.wsws.org
US imposes unilateral sanctions on Iran:
One step closer to war
By Bill Van Auken
26 October 2007
Back to screen version | Send this link by email | Email the author
In an act unprecedented in the history of international relations, Washington on Thursday unilaterally imposed harsh and potentially crippling economic sanctions against Iran’s main uniformed security force, as well as against more than 20 Iranian companies and the country’s three major banks.
The sanctions, announced by US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, represent a deliberate provocation aimed at precluding any negotiated settlement to the dispute over Iran’s nuclear program and making a US war against the country all but inevitable.
In announcing the measures—which are considerably more punitive than those imposed by Washington during the seizure of the US embassy which followed the 1979 Iranian revolution—Rice said they were designed “to increase the costs to Iran of its irresponsible behavior.”
The sanctions are directed in the first instance against Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps, which the US government has now branded as “proliferators of weapons of mass destruction,” and its Quds Force, which has been labeled a “supporter of terrorism.”
The Revolutionary Guards, a force of some 125,000, is responsible for law enforcement, border patrol and resistance against foreign attack. It also organizes Iran’s people’s militia, providing military training to some 12 million volunteers.
The Quds Force is a special unit within the Revolutionary Guards that handles overseas operations. It has acted in a number of countries with the direct approval of Washington.
In Bosnia, it provided arms to the US-backed Muslim government; in Afghanistan, it aided the forces fighting the Soviet military and then supported those fighting the Taliban; in Iraq, it assisted Kurdish guerrillas against the Baathist regime of Saddam Hussein.
Elsewhere, it has aided organizations opposed by the US, principally those resisting Israeli aggression, such as Hezbollah, the mass Shia movement in Lebanon, and organizations in the occupied Palestinian territories.
By imposing these designations upon the official armed forces of a sovereign state, the Bush administration is carrying out a brazen intervention into the internal affairs of Iran. In so doing, it is setting out a pseudo-legal framework for war, spelling out two alternative pretexts—weapons of mass destruction and terrorism—which are identical to those contrived and propagated in preparation for the unprovoked US invasion of Iraq.
Washington has charged that Iran is pursuing its nuclear program in order to construct a nuclear weapon. Tehran has denied this charge, insisting that it is utilizing the program for peaceful purposes, in particular, the development of an alternative power source.
In regard to the second casus belli, the Bush administration and some senior US military commanders have repeatedly accused Iran and the Quds Force, in particular, of arming, funding and training forces in Iraq responsible for attacks on US occupation troops.
Washington has yet to provide concrete evidence to back these charges and has produced no one that it can credibly claim is an Iranian agent engaged in these alleged activities. Tehran has denied responsibility for the attacks, which it points out are carried out in their great majority by Sunni resistance fighters, not the Shia movements with which the Iranians have enjoyed a longstanding relationship.
The sanctions against the Revolutionary Guards are aimed at inflicting significant damage to the Iranian economy. The Guards’ role in Iran includes far-ranging economic activities.
Its engineering unit, for example is involved in a number of major projects, ranging from a $2 billion contract for the development of the country’s main gas field, to a $1.3 billion contract for a new pipeline directed to Pakistan, to the construction of a Tehran metro extension, a high-speed rail link between the capital and Isfahan, shipping ports and a major dam.
The immediate impact of sanctions allowing the freezing of assets in US banks or barring US businesses from economic ties to the Iranian Guards, as well as the named Iranian bank and other companies, is negligible, given that Washington’s imposition of sanctions in response to the 1979 revolution that overthrew the US-backed dictatorship of the Shah had already largely frozen American banks and corporations out of the Iranian market.Blackmailing foreign banks and corporations
The aim of these measures—which are far more sweeping than anything the US could hope to get passed in the United Nations—is to blackmail foreign banks and corporations with the threat that their continued operations inside Iran could lead to American-imposed penalties and exclusion from the US market.
Treasury Secretary Paulson called upon “responsible banks and companies around the world” to cut off all ties with the named bank, companies and all affiliates of the Revolutionary Guards. US officials have stressed that the Guards’ ties are so widespread that any economic relations whatsoever with Iran carry with them the threat of US retaliation.
The US action won quick endorsement from the British government of Prime Minister Gordon Brown, which, according to some press reports, has also signaled its willingness to go along with eventual US air strikes against Iran. Brown appears prepared to play the same role that Blair played in paving the way for the invasion of Iraq, by pushing for the United Nations Security Council to impose another set of sanctions, a move that is opposed by Russia and China, both of which have substantial interests in Iran and hold veto power on the council. In 2003, Bush invoked the failure of the UN to pass a resolution authorizing military action as the pretext for unilaterally launching the US war.
Other European powers, however, were more cool towards Washington’s diktat. German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeir said Thursday that any decision on further sanctions against Iran should await an evaluation of Iran’s willingness to answer more questions from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). German companies exported $5.7 billion worth of goods to Iran last year, while the German Economics Ministry granted the government in Tehran $1.2 billion in export credit guarantees.
Iran’s new nuclear negotiator, Saeed Jalili, joined by his predecessor, Ali Larijani, held two days of talks this week with the European Union’s foreign policy director, Javier Solana, in Rome to discuss Tehran’s nuclear program. At the end of the talks Wednesday, the Iranian negotiators joined Solana and Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi in a joint press conference in Rome. Both sides described the talks as “constructive,” while Prodi insisted that “dialogue is the only way to find a solution for Iran’s nuclear program in the UN Security Council and Italy encourages this way.”
Russian President Vladimir Putin voiced a harsh reaction to the US sanctions. Meeting with European Union leaders at a summit in Portugal, he insisted that the controversy over Iran’s nuclear program should be resolved through negotiations, along the lines of those pursued with North Korea.
“Why worsen the situation and bring it to a dead end by threatening sanctions or military action?” Putin said. In an obvious characterization of Bush, he continued, “Running around like a madman with a razor blade, waving it around, is not the best way to resolve the situation.”
Iran dismissed the US sanctions. “The hostile policies of America against the respectful Iranian nation and our legal organizations are against international regulations and have no value,” said Foreign Ministry spokesman Mohammad Ali Hosseini. “Such ridiculous measures cannot rescue the Americans from the crisis they themselves have created in Iraq.”
Speaking at a conference on “Privatization in Iran” held in Dubai for foreign investors, the head of Iran’s Chamber of Commerce, Industries and Mines, Mohammad Nahvandian, said that while the sanctions could lead to “an increase in costs,” they could not “disturb or stop Iran’s massive trade relations with other countries.”
The principal aim of the sanctions, however, appears to be not so much economic as political. By increasing tensions, they are designed to slam the door on any negotiated settlement of the nuclear dispute and pave the way for US military action.
In that sense they are of a piece with the steady escalation of threats against Iran, including Bush’s warning last week about “World War III” and Cheney’s threat last Sunday that Iran would face “serious consequences” if it continued on its present course, and that the US would not “stand by as a terror-supporting state fulfills its most aggressive ambitions.”
Fresh evidence of US war preparations against Iran came in the details of the nearly $200 billion budget request sent to Congress last Monday for funding the continuation of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Included was nearly $88 million for fitting “bunker-busting” bombs onto B-2 stealth bombers. Some lawmakers and congressional aides pointed out that there is little use for such weapons in the current counterinsurgency campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan, and that the bombs were in all likelihood intended for attacking Iran’s underground nuclear facilities.
As the Bush administration prepares for yet another war, the Democrats in Congress have once again emerged as willing accomplices. The administration’s imposition of sanctions was actually prefigured by legislation passed in the Democratic-led House—by an overwhelming 397-16 vote—that would impose sanctions on non-US energy companies doing business in Iran.
While Democratic leaders claimed the measure was intended to cut off funding for Iran’s nuclear program, its real intention is evident. American oil conglomerates frozen out of the Iranian market want to deny their competitors any advantage.
In the final analysis, the propaganda about nuclear threats and terrorism notwithstanding, a US war against Iran would be launched to impose American capitalism’s hegemonic control over the strategic oil reserves of the Persian Gulf.
World Socialist Web Site
Posted by Joe Anybody
at 3:21 PM PDT
Updated: Friday, 26 October 2007 3:24 PM PDT
BBC story on young man violating helpless woman on street
Now Playing: ASSHOLE jerk arrested for pissing on helpless lady
Topic: ANYBODY * ANYDAY
Generally there is plenty of sick / shocking news
all over in the media.
This story struck me as one that needed to be exposed "more"
The sick part I want to emphases
is how people stood around laughing and watching
....and did nothing to stop the jerk
who was doing obscene stuff to this helpless woman.
That is the issue that irritates me.
The disturbing concept that....."this will make a good YouTube video"
is demented and speaks of the slippery slope
of reporting or "encouraging" sick twisted actions of stupid people
Here is the BBC story that I copied from::
Man jailed for urinating on woman
A man who urinated on a woman as she lay dying and shouted "this is YouTube material" has been sentenced to three years in prison.
Christine Lakinski had "a difficult life"
Anthony Anderson also covered Christine Lakinski with shaving foam after she collapsed in a Hartlepool street.
The 50-year-old, who suffered from a number of medical conditions, was later pronounced dead at the scene.
Anderson, 27, and from Raby Road in the Teesside town, had earlier admitted outraging public decency.
The court heard how, on 27 July, Miss Lakinski was making her way home with a box of laminate flooring when she fell ill and stumbled into a doorway.
Anderson, a former soldier, had smoked a cannabis joint and been drinking when he and two friends spotted her.
He tried to rouse her by throwing a bucket of water over her, before urinating on her and covering her with shaving foam.
A crowd had gathered around, watching and laughing, and the incident was filmed on a mobile phone.
She was later declared dead at the scene, the cause of death being given as pancreatic failure.
ASSHOLE - Anthony Anderson was filmed urinating on Christine
Magistrates in Hartlepool had referred the case to Teesside Crown Court so a longer jail term could be handed out.
Judge Peter Fox, the recorder of Middlesbrough sitting at Teesside Crown Court, said: "You violated this woman in an incredible way, and the shocking nature of your acts over a prolonged period of time must mean that a prison sentence of greater length is appropriate in this case."
Outside court, Miss Lakinski's family said in a statement: "We remain totally shocked that anyone could behave in such an appalling way.
"The fact that Christine was dying makes this man's actions even more sick and inhumane.
"However, those who stood by and did nothing to stop Anderson are also guilty in our eyes.
"It beggars belief that these people chose not only to condone his cruelty, but also to walk away from a neighbor who was clearly in distress and needed help."
The family statement added that Christine had "faced immense challenges throughout her life", yet still had managed to "forge an independent life for herself".
Posted by Joe Anybody
at 11:13 AM PDT
Wednesday, 24 October 2007
How to use RSS or XML
Now Playing: This is an EASY and Effecient way to read Web-based News
This little orange Icon lets you know the webpage url is ……..supported by an RSS feed (which many news websites are) The orange Icon is usually is on the left side and near the bottom of websites that have this feature.
When ever I read a website I like I then look over the page for this little Icon, if its there I then know this website will work in my RSS reader client You click on the orange icon ….. then a new page will open ….. “Just copy that new page url address” and paste it into “your reader”
And here is the “reader” that I am using its called Sharpreader
(there are many other ones out there – and they all are FREE!!)http://www.sharpreader.net/
Just read the intro and download the installer – that would be “your RSS reader”This instruction on that page – for me …….. I just ignored the NET part reference I didn’t have to mess with NET Framework (But if you need to I think its simple to install) But first just try to install your reader and don’t worry about the NET issue ….. ……..unless you have problems – if you do then come back and install the NET….
Prior to running SharpReader, you will need to install the .NET Framework, version 2.0 or version 1.1 SP1. If you do not currently have the .NET Framework installed, you can get it at windowsupdate, or here. (If you can’t install Sharpreader then come back and do this NET Framework install)
(PS - if your Microsoft window updates are current you probably already have the NET Framework installed already)
Once you have installed the Shapreader client your ready to hunt for url’s that are supporting RSS or XML feeds
Copy past those url’s you find….. into your reader ……….at the top …………and then hit the “subscribe button”
Above in the screenshot / picture is my Sharpreader ….. see the Subscribe button near the top (Pink Arrow)And see the Green Arrow point to where you will paste the url for website you want to put into your reader
By double clicking on any article in your reader you open that original website, other wise scan headlines and read paragraphs all inside your reader client
Using a RSS reader make it easy to skim many sites looking at the article titles then seeing a short paragraph or if you want more just Double Click to go to that website and see the complete page “outside of your reader”
Here is a link to more info on RSS feeds http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RSS_(file_format)
(Which stands for really simple syndication)
Good Luck – Enjoy Reading All That News
If perplexed just drop me an email
Posted by Joe Anybody
at 11:16 AM PDT
Updated: Wednesday, 24 October 2007 11:23 AM PDT
Monday, 22 October 2007
FAIR GAME - an article by Valerie Plame Wilson
Now Playing: My Life as a Spy, My Betrayal by the White House
Telling the (Edited) Inside Story
This was copied for the Zebra3 Report from the link below
By Alan Coopermansenior editor for non-fiction at Book World
Monday, October 22, 2007; Page C01
My Life as a Spy, My Betrayal by the White House
By Valerie Plame Wilson
Simon & Schuster. 411 pp. $26
Mothers who are spies, it turns out, face the same juggling act as other working moms.
After a year at home following the birth of twins, Valerie Plame Wilson returned to work in April 2001 in the Iraq branch of the CIA's Counterproliferation Division. "When I had to deal with pressing operational issues I had no choice but to bring the toddlers into my office on a Saturday," she writes in her memoir, published this week. "Making decisions on how much money to offer a potential asset while handing crayons to my daughter who sat under my desk was strange indeed, but not without humor."
Since senior administration officials whispered "Valerie Plame" and "CIA" in the same breath to half a dozen journalists in 2003, some people have not very subtly suggested that her work couldn't really have been all that hush-hush if she had an office job, not to mention blond hair and little kids. "She was not involved in clandestine activities," Robert D. Novak, the syndicated columnist who first published her name, wrote earlier this year in his dueling memoir. "Instead, each day she went to CIA headquarters in Langley where she worked on arms proliferation."
There are lots of she said-he said moments in the Plame affair, matters on which an impartial observer can only conclude that, well, both sides have a point. But this is not one of them.
Before her retirement in 2006, Wilson spent more than 20 years in the CIA, including six years, one month and 29 days of overseas service. We know this because the agency, in a bureaucratic blunder, put it in an unclassified letter about her pension eligibility that it later tried desperately to recall, and that she has included as an appendix to "Fair Game."
We also know that she worked on the operations side, the part of the CIA that runs agents and covert activities, rather than on the analytical side, which tries to make sense of all the information flowing in. From her former CIA "classmates," we know that she went through the agency's elite Career Trainee program, including paramilitary training at the classified location known as the Farm, and was one of just three in her class of 50 who were chosen to be NOCs (pronounced "knocks"), or non-official cover officers, the most clandestine in the agency. And from her memoir, we now know how deeply secrecy was ingrained in her.
Imagine when, in her mid-20s, after a first CIA tour in Greece under diplomatic cover as a junior State Department official, she gave up her diplomatic passport and any public affiliation with the U.S. government and switched to being a NOC. Part of the transition involved coming home to the United States, ostensibly jobless, and moving back into her parents' house while studying French. How many 20-somethings still living with Mom and Dad fantasize about saying, "Actually, I work for the CIA"? In young Valerie Plame's case, it was true -- and she apparently didn't tell a soul. When she became famous a decade later, her dearest friends were stunned, and she feared they might not forgive her for all those years of lying.
True, the CIA recalled her from Europe in 1997, fearing that her name might have been passed to the Russians by the mole Aldrich Ames. But, she writes, she still took different routes to work each day, "traveled domestically and abroad using a variety of aliases" and continued to hope for another foreign posting.
There is no reason to doubt that Wilson wrote "Fair Game" herself. To put it kindly, the memoir lacks the sheen of a ghostwriter's work and has the voice of an ordinary person caught up in extraordinary events. It doesn't help that the CIA redacted the manuscript heavily before approving it for publication. Each time she is about to launch into a juicy anecdote, it seems, lines are blacked out, sometimes for pages on end.
The book is, however, greatly assisted by an afterword by Laura Rozen, a reporter for the American Prospect. Rozen faithfully echoes Wilson's point of view but fills in many of the censored dates, places and other details from published sources. Readers would be smart to turn to the afterword first, before tackling Wilson's disjointed narrative.
The outlines of the story are familiar: In 2002, the CIA sent her husband, former U.S. ambassador Joseph C. Wilson IV, on an unpaid, eight-day fact-finding trip to Niger. Within hours of his return, he told eager CIA debriefers (while Valerie Wilson was ordering takeout Chinese food for them) that there was no evidence that Iraq had tried to buy yellowcake uranium from the African nation.
When President Bush nevertheless included the uranium allegation in a State of the Union address, Joe Wilson wrote an op-ed for the New York Times accusing the administration of misleading the American people. Both of the Wilsons firmly believe that she was outed, in retaliation, by White House officials who sought to discredit him by telling reporters that his trip was arranged by his wife, who worked for the CIA. Tapped to investigate the leak of her name, special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald put that theory before a jury, which never got to the heart of the matter but did convict the vice president's chief of staff, I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, of perjury and obstruction of justice. Bush then commuted Libby's 30-month prison sentence.
The question remains: Was she behind her husband's trip to Niger? "Fair Game" gives a nuanced answer that is largely, but not entirely, in her favor.
She says that when the vice president's office asked the CIA about the uranium allegation, a "midlevel reports officer" suggested in a hallway conversation that the agency could send Joe Wilson to investigate. The suggestion made sense because Wilson had served as an ambassador in Africa, was the top Africa expert on the National Security Council in the Clinton administration and made a previous trip to Niger at the CIA's request in 1999. She and the midlevel officer brought the idea to their boss, who liked it and asked her to send an e-mail up the chain of command. "My husband has good relations with both the PM [prime minister] and the former Minister of Mines (not to mention lots of French contacts), both of whom could possibly shed light on this sort of activity," she wrote.
Thus, by her own account, Valerie Wilson neither came up with the idea nor approved it. But she did participate in the process and flogged her husband's credentials. When Joe Wilson learned about her e-mail years later, she says, he was "too upset to listen" to her explanations.
"Fair Game" reveals some intimate details of the Wilsons' lives, including her battle with postpartum depression. Sudden fame and withering political attacks made Washington so "toxic" to them that they began fantasizing about moving to New Zealand and ultimately decamped to New Mexico. Relatives came forward, and, like Madeleine Albright, Valerie Wilson discovered she was part Jewish. But the book is less forthcoming about her politics; she does not mention, for example, that she made a $1,000 contribution to Al Gore's campaign in 1999.
One other matter begs clarification. As Rozen notes in the afterword, there is "an undeniable irony to Valerie Wilson later being exposed by the White House in a subterranean tussle" over prewar intelligence because "Valerie was not one of the intelligence community dissidents arguing against the threat posed by Saddam Hussein."
Quite the contrary: Wilson makes clear in "Fair Game" that she and her colleagues in the Counterproliferation Division were very worried that Iraq would use chemical or biological weapons on U.S. forces. They were dumbfounded when no weapons of mass destruction were found, and, in a telling passage, she says their spirits were "briefly buoyed" when coalition forces in northern Iraq discovered curious flatbed trailers that the CIA thought, at first, might be mobile bio-weapons labs.
Yet, in one of the memoir's deeper insights, "Fair Game" suggests that if you knew what she knew at the time, you would have feared both that Saddam Hussein had WMDs and that the Bush administration was overstating the case for war. In the bowels of the CIA, she and her colleagues clustered around a TV as Secretary of State Colin Powell laid the evidence before the United Nations on Feb. 5, 2003. "It was a powerful presentation," she writes, "but I knew key parts of it were wrong."
Posted by Joe Anybody
at 12:06 PM PDT
Sunday, 21 October 2007
OCT 27 the March Route and Driving Directions - in Seattle
Now Playing: heading to Seattle this next week end - this info will help
THE MARCH ROUTE IS:
from Judkins to Occidental
From the west side of Judkins Park - west onto Nye Place;
From Nye Place turn right onto 20th Ave, heading north;
From 20th turn right onto Jackson, heading east;
From Jackson turn left onto 23rd, heading north;
From 23rd turn left onto Yesler, heading west;
From Yesler turn left onto 14th, heading south;
From 14th turn right onto Jackson, heading west;
From Jackson turn right onto Occidental heading into Occidental Park.
For a larger Google Map of The March Route Click Here:
Directions from the Interstate Freeways to the Judkins Park NOON Rally:
From I-5 North: IF DRIVING FROM PORTLAND:
1. Head north on I-5 N -
2. Take exit 164A for Dearborn St/James St toward Madison St - 0.4 mi
3. Follow signs for Dearborn St - 0.1 mi
4. Turn right at S Dearborn St - 0.7 mi
5. S Dearborn St turns left and becomes 20th Pl S - 36 ft
Arrive at: Judkins Park
From I-5 South:
1. Head south on I-5 S - 0.1 mi
2. Take exit 164 for I-90 E/Dearborn St/Airport Way toward Bellevue/Spokane/4th Ave S - 0.8 mi
3. Keep right at the fork, follow signs for Dearborn St - 0.2 mi
4. Turn left at S Dearborn St - 0.8 mi
5. S Dearborn St turns left and becomes 20th Pl S - 36 ft
Arrive at: Judkins Park
From I-90 East:
1. Head west on I-90 W toward Exit 3B - 1.0 mi
2. Take exit 3B for Rainier Ave N - 0.3 mi
3. Merge onto Rainier Ave S - 0.3 mi
4. Turn right at S Dearborn St - 0.3 mi
5. S Dearborn St turns left and becomes 20th Pl S - 36 ft
After the Demonstration there will be 8 buses an hour leaving Occidental Park (from 3rd Ave S & S MAIN) back to Judkins Park.
Regular Fare: $ 1.25 Senior/Disabled Fare with Permit: $ 0.25
:: MORE INFO ON BUS SHUTTLES and THE MARCH ROUTE ::
Posted by Joe Anybody
at 4:30 AM PDT
Updated: Sunday, 21 October 2007 4:32 AM PDT
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