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Press The Press
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Gay & Lesbian Community Notes
Herbert P. Bix
European Union News
Eleanor J. Bader
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Presidents Will Break Laws To Achieve Goals
T he recent revelation that W. Mark Felt, the former number two person at the FBI, was the anonymous source known as Deep Throat who helped Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein unravel the Watergate scandal in the pages of the Washington Post 30 years ago, should be seen as an important reminder that the leader of the “free world” can be devious, corrupt, and dishonest.
The parallels between the Bush and Nixon administrations are eerily familiar. Both bullied the press, were highly secretive, obsessed over leaks, engaged in massive cover-ups, and quickly brand- ed aides as disloyal if they dared to raise questions about the president’s policies.
The Washington Post , the paper credited with forcing Nixon’s resignation, summed it up in a November 25, 2003 story on the similarities between the two Administrations: “Bush…structures his White House much as Nixon did. Nixon governed largely with four other men: Henry A. Kissinger, H.R. Haldeman, John D. Ehrlichman, and Charles Colson. This is not unlike the ‘iron triangle’ of aides who led Bush’s campaign and the handful of underlings now—Cheney, chief of staff Andrew H. Card Jr., National Security Adviser Condo- leezza Rice, and communications director Dan Bartlett—who are in on most top decisions. Nixon essentially ended the tradition of powerful Cabinets in favor of a few powerful White House aides—a model Bush has followed.
“The most striking similarity is in the area of secrecy and what Nixon staffers called ‘managing the news.’ Nixon created the White House Office of Communications, the office that has become the center of Bush’s vaunted ‘message discipline.’”
Unfortunately, neither the Washington Post nor any other mainstream newspaper or magazine in this country will likely ever be credited with exposing another Watergate. For one, mainstream reporters don’t want to put their careers on the line to sniff around, ask tough questions, and, perhaps, find sources like W. Mark Felt. Worse, editors at large papers don’t encourage reporters to practice that kind of reporting anymore because they don’t want to rock the boat or risk losing their jobs or be seen as liberal.
The sad reality these days is that it takes a scandal such as a president receiving oral sex in the Oval Office by an intern to qualify for above-the-fold headlines and impeachment. Leading the country into a war under false pretenses? Sorry, not juicy enough.
The Downing Street memo unearthed by the Times of London this May should have been the smoking gun that resulted in Bush being brought up on High Crimes and Misdemeanor charges under the United States Constitution’s impeachment clause. The memo— written eight months before the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq by Matthew Rycroft, a British national security official—was based on notes he took during a July 2002 meeting of British Prime Minister Tony Blair and his advisers, including Richard Dearlove, the head of Britain’s MI-6, who had recently visited the White House to meet with Bush administration officials.
Among other things, the memo said:
- “Bush wanted to remove Saddam, through military action, justified by the conjunction of terrorism and WMD. But the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy. The [National Security Council] had no patience with the UN route.... There was little discussion in Washington of the aftermath after military action.”
- “It seemed clear that Bush had made up his mind to take military action, even if the timing was not yet decided. But the case was thin. Saddam was not threatening his neighbors, and his WMD capability was less than that of Libya, North Korea, or Iran.”
These are some of the public statements that President Bush made after the memo:
- “We have sources that tell us that Saddam Hussein recently authorized Iraqi field commanders to use chemical weapons—the very weapons the dictator tells us he does not have” (radio address, October 5, 2002).
- “The evidence indicates that Iraq is reconstituting its nuclear weapons program. Saddam Hussein has held numerous meetings with Iraqi nuclear scientists, a group he calls his ‘nuclear mujahideen’ —his nuclear holy warriors. Satellite photographs reveal that Iraq is rebuilding facilities at sites that have been part of its nuclear program in the past. Iraq has attempted to purchase high- strength aluminum tubes and other equipment needed for gas centrifuges, which are used to enrich uranium for nuclear weapons” (Cincinnati, Ohio speech, October 7, 2002).
- “Our intelligence officials estimate that Saddam Hussein had the materials to produce as much as 500 tons of sarin, mustard, and VX nerve agent” (State of the Union address, January 28, 2003).
Jason Leopold is the author of a memoir, News Junkie , to be released in early 2006 by Process/Feral House Books.
Z Magazine Archive
CUBAN 5 - From May 30 to June 5, supporters of the Cuban 5 will gather in Washington DC to raise awareness about the case and to demand a humanitarian solution that will allow the return of these men to their homeland.
Contact: email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org.
BIKES - Bikes Not Bombs is holding its 24th annual Bike- A-Thon and Green Roots Festival in Boston, MA on June 3, with several bike rides, music, exhibitors, and more.
Contact: Bikes Not Bombs, 284 Amory St., Jamaica Plain, MA 02130; 617-522-0222; mailbikesnotbombs.org; www.bikesnotbombs.org.
LEFT FORUM - The 2013 Left Forum will be held June 7-9, at Pace University in NYC.
Contact: 365 Fifth Avenue, CUNY Graduate Center, Sociology Dept., New York, NY 10016; http://www.leftforum.org/.
VEGAN FEST - Mad City Vegan Fest will be held in Madison, WI, June 8. The annual event features food, speakers, and exhibitors.
Contact: 122 State Street, Suite 405 B, Madison, WI 53701; email@example.com; http://veganfest.org/.
ADC CONFERENCE - The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) holds its annual conference June 13-16 in Washington, DC, with panel discussions and workshops.
Contact: 1990 M Street, Suite 610, Washington, DC, 20036; 202-244-2990; convention @adc. org http://convention.adc.org/.
CUBA/SOCIALISM - A Cuban-North American Dialog on Socialist Renewal and Global Capitalist Crisis will be held in Havana, Cuba, June 16-30. There will be a 5-day Seminar at the University of Havana, plus visits to a co-op and educational and medical institutions.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.globaljustice center.org/.
NETROOTS - The 8th Annual Netroots Nation conference will take place June 20-23 in San Jose, CA. The event features panels, trainings, networking, screenings, and keynotes.
Contact: 164 Robles Way, #276, Vallejo, CA 94591; email@example.com; http://www.netrootsnation.org/.
MEDIA - The 15th annual Allied Media Conference will be held June 20-23, in Detroit.
Contact: 4126 Third Street, Detroit, MI 48201; http://alliedmedia.org/.
GRASSROOTS - The United We Stand Festival will be hosted by Free & Equal, June 22 in Little Rock, Arkansas. The festival aims to reform the electoral process in the U.S.
LITERACY - The National Association for Media Literacy Education (NAMLE) will hold its conference July 12-13 in Los Angeles.
Contact: 10 Laurel Hill Drive, Cherry Hill, NJ 08003; http://namle.net/conference/.
IWW - The North American Work People’s College will take place July 12-16 at Mesaba Co-op Park in northern Minnesota. The event will bring together Wobblies from across the continent to learn skills and build one big union.
PEACESTOCK - On July 13, the 11th Annual Peacestock will take place at Windbeam Farm in Hager City, WI. The event is a mixture of music, speakers, and community for peace. Sponsored by Veterans for Peace.
Contact: Bill Habedank, 1913 Grandview Ave., Red Wing, MN 55066; 651-388-7733; firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www. peacestockvfp.org.
LA RAZA - The annual National Council of La Raza (NCLR) Conference is scheduled for July 18-19 in New Orleans, with workshops, presentations, and panel discussions.
Contact: NCLR Headquarters Office, Raul Yzaguirre Building, 1126 16th Street, NW, Washington, DC 20036; 202-785-1670; www.nclr.org.
ACTIVIST CAMP - Youth Empowered Action (YEA) Camp will have sessions in July and August in Ben Lomond, CA; Portland, OR; Charlton, MA. YEA Camp is designed for activists 12-17 years old who want to make a difference.
Contact: email@example.com; http://yeacamp.org/.