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This page features brief excerpts of news stories published by the mainstream media and, less frequently, blogs, alternative media, and even obviously biased sources. The excerpts are taken directly from the websites cited in each source note. Quotation marks are not used.
This page features brief excerpts of news stories published by the mainstream media and, less frequently, blogs, alternative media, and even obviously biased sources. The excerpts are taken directly from the websites cited in each source note. Quotation marks are not used. Because most of our readers read the NYT we usually do not include the paper's stories in HIGHLIGHTS.
Name of source: Yahoo
SOURCE: Yahoo (1-9-07)
Released by Britain's National Archives, the passenger manifests give an insight into all long-distance trips made by 30 million travelers from the country's ports between 1890 and 1960, including that of the Titanic which sank in 1912.
Name of source: John Steele Gordon in Am Heritage
SOURCE: John Steele Gordon in Am Heritage (1-11-07)
Name of source: AP
SOURCE: AP (1-11-07)
Isabel Peron is sought in connection with three decrees she signed calling on the armed forces to crack down on "subversive elements," a judge's spokesman said.
Judge Raul Acosta also ordered her detained for questioning into the disappearance of leftist Hector Aldo Fagetti Gallego in early 1976, a turbulent period leading up to the Latin nation's "Dirty War" that came during a 1976-83 military dictatorship, the judge's spokesman said on condition of anonymity because he wasn't authorized to address the media.
[She was Peron's second wife. Eva Peron, about whom the musical was made, died decades ago.]
SOURCE: AP (1-10-07)
The Secret Service stopped the routine destruction of its White House visitor logs in October 2004 at the request of the National Archives.
Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington is suing over the National Archives and Records Administration’s refusal to disclose why it asked the Secret Service to start retaining its own copies of the White House visitor records.
The issue is important to the efforts of CREW and other private organizations to obtain logs of who visits the White House and who they see. Those efforts began a year ago amid the Jack Abramoff lobbying scandal.
CREW and other organizations argue that the White House visitor logs are agency records of the Secret Service and are subject to public disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act.
SOURCE: AP (1-10-07)
Many in this little peanut-growing town of 640 people believe his decision to be laid to rest here rather than 120 miles away in Atlanta, home of his presidential library, or Arlington National Cemetery will help maintain the prosperity he brought to Plains.
SOURCE: AP (1-9-07)
Now, a new licensing system designed by the European Union threatens to sweep away centuries of tradition and, the boatmen say, undermine safety.
The system abolishes apprenticeships -- completed by generations of London boatmen -- which last as long as seven years. In its place comes a license that can be obtained in less than half the time.
"After all these centuries, the government has changed a perfectly good system without asking us," said Gary Hancock, as he maneuvered his 400-seat Thames riverboat "Sarpedon" under an arch of Charing Cross Bridge. "We are very angry."
SOURCE: AP (1-8-07)
And despite being turned back in lawsuit after lawsuit for decades, the Western Shoshone leader says he won't rest until the U.S. government honors a 19th-century treaty that, according to the tribe, entitles it to reclaim ancestral lands extending from California through Nevada and Utah to Idaho.
The lands include much of the Las Vegas area. The Shoshones say they are not interested in Sin City -- too many people, too many problems. But they want the rugged desert hills that have yielded tens billions of dollars worth of gold over decades.
At issue is the 1863 Treaty of Ruby Valley, which the Shoshone say gave the tribe -- not the federal government -- royalties and final say over water, mineral and property rights for land covering 93,750 square miles, an area roughly the size of Maine.
SOURCE: AP (1-8-07)
Tuesday marks the 150th anniversary of the magnitude-7.9 Fort Tejon quake, which was blamed for just two deaths in what was then sparsely populated California.
No museum exhibits or musical tributes will mark the 1857 event, sometimes referred to as the forgotten quake. There will be no public gatherings or bells tolling to mark the moment the ground split open, as there were for the 1906 centennial of the San Francisco quake, a catastrophe that left 3,000 people dead and reduced much of the city to ash and rubble.
"It'll never have the same hold on the public's imagination as the 1906 earthquake," said Sean Malis, an interpreter at Fort Tejon State Historic Park, a 70-mile drive high into mountains north of Los Angeles. "It'll continue to be a footnote in history."
Name of source: Guardian
SOURCE: Guardian (1-11-07)
Authorities in Italy suspect that up to 100 treasures from ancient Rome were looted and have asked the Japanese government to help secure their return, the Yomiuri Shimbun newspaper reported.
SOURCE: Guardian (1-10-07)
Mr Cook died suddenly, aged 59, in August 2005 in the Scottish Highlands on a hill walk with his second wife Gaynor, more than two years after he resigned as leader of the Commons in protest at Tony Blair's decision to invade Iraq.
SOURCE: Guardian (1-9-07)
The dispute over a slew of charges against the leader of the Lord's Resistance Army, Joseph Kony, who is accused of mass murder, rape, mutilations and abducting children to become soldiers, has opened a rift between African governments, which believe trials should be subordinated to local peace deals and reconciliation, and countries such as Britain which strongly back the ICC as establishing international justice.
Name of source: Reuters
SOURCE: Reuters (1-10-07)
Italy's culture minister gave his go-ahead on Wednesday to explore behind a wall in Florence's renaissance town hall to see if it is hiding the 500-year-old "Battle of Anghiari," sometimes known as the "lost Leonardo."
SOURCE: Reuters (1-10-07)
Advertisements appearing this week in British, U.S., Australian, German and Norwegian newspapers will ask "Can you trace your family tree back to 1066? Might your ancestors have claimed the English throne?"
Edgar Aetheling was named heir apparent by his great-uncle King Edward the Confessor but was not crowned when the King died in 1066 because he was too young. Harold II was crowned instead.
William the Conqueror crossed over from Normandy, defeating Harold at the Battle of Hastings. The teenage Aetheling later submitted to William.
English Heritage, which seeks to protect the country's historical environment, asks in its advertisements: "Are you of Edgar the Aetheling's lineage and believe you have a legitimate claim?"
SOURCE: Reuters (1-7-07)
The plan, backed by the Ministry of Culture, is part of a drive by the United Arab Emirates to create a luxury tourist destination and the contract to bring the Louvre to the Gulf is reported by French newspapers to be worth over 500 million euros ($655.2 million).
But the project to create a "Louvre in the Sands" has triggered opposition from experts in France, who fear it will distort the museum's true function as center of scholarship and home to some of Western art's greatest treasures from the Mona Lisa to the Venus de Milo.
Name of source: PRnewswire
SOURCE: PRnewswire (1-10-07)
This non-exclusive agreement, beginning with the sizeable collection of materials currently on microfilm, will enable researchers and the general public to access millions of newly-digitized images of the National Archives historic records on a subscription basis from the Footnote website. By February 6, the digitized materials will also be available at no charge in National Archives research rooms in Washington D.C. and regional facilities across the country. After an interval of five years, all images digitized through this agreement will be available at no charge through the National Archives website.
Name of source: Independent (UK)
SOURCE: Independent (UK) (1-11-07)
Not that many, it seems. Animal geneticists have determined that, because of a long history of ranchers cross-breeding cattle with bison in search of a better beef animal, fewer than 3 per cent of the roughly 300,000 bison now in the United States can be considered uncontaminated by the genes of cattle.
SOURCE: Independent (UK) (1-8-07)
The fortress, which William the Conqueror started building in 1078 to dominate London, would be the only building in the developed world on the endangered list.
The Department for Culture, Media and Sport has got until the end of the month to demonstrate to the UN agency's World Heritage Committee why the Tower of London should not be included on the list. It is expected to say that the correct planning procedures were followed for the proposed developments.
SOURCE: Independent (UK) (1-7-07)
But now there is new evidence that human beings may not have been responsible for the destruction after all. Although Easter Island has long been held to be the most important example of a traditional society destroying itself, it appears that the real culprits were rats - up to three million of them.
This contradicts the belief that the native population's obsession with carving, constructing, and transporting its famous statues around the island led it to deplete its own natural resources, going into what has been called "a downward spiral of cultural regression".
Name of source: NYT
SOURCE: NYT (1-11-07)
Indeed, Kristian Hall, an environmental consultant with a Norwegian engineering firm, said the corroding canisters could produce a threat comparable to the disaster at Minamata, Japan, where some 27 tons of industrial mercury compounds were released into a bay between 1932 and 1968, causing nerve and brain damage to hundreds of townspeople whose diet consisted in large part of local seafood.
SOURCE: NYT (1-12-07)
The migrants appeared to have arrived at their new homes in Asia and Europe with the distinct and unmodified heads of Africans.
An international team of researchers reported yesterday that the age of the South African skull, which they dated at about 36,000 years old, coincided with the age of the skulls of humans then living in Europe and the far eastern parts of Asia, even Australia. The skull also closely resembled skulls of those humans.
In a meeting Tuesday, faculty members complained of a lack of consultation over the emerging agreement and all but demanded answers from the university’s president, R. Gerald Turner, on the relationship that would develop between the university and the library....
Thomas J. Knock, a professor of history, said the public might have trouble differentiating between the library, museum and the university.
James K. Hopkins, chairman of the history department who was co-chairman of the meeting with Ms. Blair, a professor of theater, said he had asked Dr. Turner under what circumstances the university would “walk away” from a deal with the library.
“There was this very indirect response to that,” Dr. Hopkins said.
History vs. Hagiography
It is the same here as elsewhere, but the controversy being avoided is the vicious, 15-year civil war that started in 1975 in which Lebanon kidnapped, killed and bombed itself nearly into oblivion.
The bizarre results are evident in any schoolbook here — history seems simply to come to a halt in the early 1970s, Lebanon’s heyday. With sectarian tensions once again boiling here, some educators fear that the failure to forge a common version of the events is dooming the young to repeat the past, with most of them learning contemporary history from their families, on the streets or from political leaders who may have their own agendas.
“America used the school to create a melting pot; we used it to reinforce sectarian identity at the expense of the national identity,” said Nemer Frayha, the former director of the Education Center for Research and Development, a research organization that develops Lebanon’s curriculum. “From the start, I am forming the student as a sectarian person, not as a citizen. And what’s worse is that the people who are encouraging this are the intellectuals themselves.”
The crumbling, almost vanished remains of such structures, archaeologists say, attest to the political hierarchy and religion of the newly unified Egyptian state, beginning more than 5,000 years ago. As symbols of the early power of kings and their roles in the cosmic order, these mysterious funerary centers are considered ancestral in purpose to the classic pyramids of Giza.
The last and largest of the cult centers — the only major one still standing in clearly recognizable form — was erected for King Khasekhemwy, who ruled in the second dynasty around 2780 B.C. Known today as Shunet el-Zebib, the two-acre enclosure stands on a desert plain at Abydos, 300 miles south of Cairo near the burial grounds of early Egyptian rulers.
Now, in an ambitious effort to preserve this ruin, archaeologists, engineers and teams of artisans and laborers are shoring up the walls and gates of Shunet el-Zebib, ravaged by time and the elements and in danger of imminent collapse.
For local people, though, they also present a problem: what should be done about the hundreds of other stone icons scattered around the island, many of them damaged or still embedded in the ground?
Commercial and political interests, as well as some archaeologists, would like nothing better than to restore more — or perhaps eventually all — of the moai, as the statues are known. But many residents of Rapa Nui, the Polynesian name for Easter Island that is favored here, regard that possibility with a mixture of suspicion and dread.
“We don’t want to become an archaeological theme park, a Disney World of moai,” Pedro Edmunds Paoa, the mayor of Hanga Roa, the island’s largest settlement, said in an interview. “If we are going to keep on restoring moai there has to be a good reason to do so.”
Questions spread about just how broad and deep a stain secret-police collaboration has left on a church long regarded as a beacon of faith and freedom during the Communist era. Many people also have asked how or why the Vatican could have invited the storm by appointing a man to such a sensitive post despite knowing that he had a clouded past.
“The people responsible for the procedure of appointing such candidates applied the traditional way of doing it, which means it was without an investigation and was based on their confidence in the truthfulness of the candidate,” said the Rev. Dariusz Kowalczyk, head of the Jesuits in Warsaw.
In short, church officials from Warsaw to Rome suggested that the archbishop, Stanislaw Wielgus, alone was to blame.
But many people here worry that a mishandling of the affair could permanently damage the last major bastion of Roman Catholic faithful in Europe at a time when the Polish church is already facing the secularizing trend that has emptied churches in Italy, France and Spain.
Name of source: WaPo
SOURCE: WaPo (1-10-07)
Three 400-year-old tobacco seeds recovered recently from the ooze of a colonial well in Jamestown appear to be the first and earliest-known evidence of cultivation by English colonists of a plant that would become the cash crop of a New World empire, a form of living gold that would eventually be shunned as a cancer-causing scourge.
SOURCE: WaPo (1-8-07)
Resolving, however, is a much trickier proposition.
The windblown archipelago is once again claiming headlines here, climbing back near the top of Argentina's international agenda a quarter-century after its military surrendered the territory to Britain.
Last week Argentina aimed yet another rhetorical dart at Britain, publicly reasserting its claim to islands it says were stolen by the English in 1833. The British should be getting the message by now: President Nestor Kirchner's government in the past year has issued official complaints concerning rights to the islands at a rate of more than one per month.
Name of source: International Herald Tribune
SOURCE: International Herald Tribune (1-12-07)
The country's justice minister, Brigitte Zypries, said Thursday night that Germany's commitment to combating racism and xenophobia — and keeping the memory of the Holocaust alive — was both an enduring historical obligation and a present-day political necessity.
"We have always said that it can't be the case that it should still be acceptable in Europe to say the Holocaust never existed and that six million Jews were never killed," she said. Under the German proposal, she said, those who deny the Nazi slaughter of Jews during World War II could face up to three years in prison.
Zypries said the proposal, which will be debated by the bloc's justice ministers in the next six months, would also seek to criminalize racist declarations that are an incitement to violence against a specific person or group. The aim, she said, was to harmonize national legal systems in their approach to combating racism and xenophobia.
Unifying hate crime rules in countries with vastly different legal cultures could prove difficult, analysts said. European leaders have been unanimous in condemning those who deny the Holocaust, and have sharply criticized the Iranian government for sponsoring a recent conference that cast doubt on it.
But the question of whether to criminalize such acts has divided Europe between countries like Germany that view a common EU law as a moral imperative and other countries, like Britain, Italy and Denmark, that have resisted common rules as infringing on free speech and civil liberties.
Two years ago, Luxembourg tried to use its EU presidency to push through legislation to unify legal standards for Holocaust denial, but was blocked by Italy on the grounds that the legislation breached freedom of speech. At the time, several countries rejected attempts to ban Nazi symbols, which gained force after the release of photos of Prince Harry of Britain wearing a swastika armband at a costume party.
Zypries said she was confident Germany could now succeed in overcoming such resistance since Italy, under a left- of-center prime minister, Romano Prodi, had dropped its opposition. But she cautioned that the legislation would need to be sufficiently narrow in scope if it were to gain support.
The Luxembourg proposal, which Germany is studying with a view toward emulating it, states that racist declarations or Holocaust denial will not be prosecuted if they are expressed in a way that does not incite hatred against an individual or group of people.
Laws against denying the Holocaust already exist in Austria, Belgium, France, Germany and Spain. In a recent high-profile case, the British historian David Irving spent 13 months in jail in Austria for challenging the Holocaust before being released last month.
The debate about how to reconcile freedom of speech with the fight against racism gained added momentum recently when the French National Assembly passed a law making it a criminal offense to deny that the massacre of Armenians by Turks during World War I was a case of genocide. While the Armenian community applauded the law, Turkey accused France of restricting the freedom of expression and rewriting history for political ends.
The publication last year of Danish cartoons satirizing the Prophet Muhammad, which provoked fury in the Muslim world, has prompted some Muslims to accuse the EU of double standards in its fight against racism.
Abdullah Gul, the Turkish foreign minister, last March called on European nations to review laws to ensure they outlaw defamation of all religions. He told a meeting of EU foreign ministers that many Muslims believed European laws protected established Christian religions, and banned anti- Semitism, while doing nothing to defend Muslims who felt offended.
Emine Bozkurt, a Dutch socialist of Turkish descent, who is president of a European Parliament working group aimed at combating racism, said the scope of the German proposal should be expanded. But she acknowledged that this could prove difficult. "We have seen increasing xenophobia and racism in Europe, so the German proposal is a good idea," she said. "But member states have different legal cultures and different laws, and this is a difficult issue."
Name of source: David Swanson in a column emailed around the Internet
SOURCE: David Swanson in a column emailed around the Internet (1-12-07)
There is a decent chance that within the next month or two the New Mexico State Legislature will ask the U.S. House of Representatives to begin impeachment proceedings against President Bush and Vice President Cheney. And there is the definite possibility that a Congress Member from New Mexico will take up the matter when it gets to Washington. The Jefferson Manual, rules used by the U.S. House, allows for impeachment to be begun in this manner. It only takes one state legislature. No governor is needed. One Congress Member, from the same state or any other, is needed to essentially acknowledge receipt of the state's petition. Then impeachment begins.
Last year the state legislatures of California, Minnesota, Illinois, and Vermont introduced but did not pass resolutions to send impeachment to the U.S. House. The State Senator who introduced the bill in Minnesota is now a member of Congress, Keith Ellison. He is one of many Congress Members waiting for the right moment to impeach Bush and Cheney. The state of New Jersey has a strong activist movement working to introduce and pass impeachment this year. There's a race now to see which state can do it first, which state can redeem these United States in the eyes of the world. New Mexico is jumping into the contest in a big way, with a terrific leading sponsor of the bill, strong Democatic majorities in both houses, and a citizens' movement ready to hold its government to account.
Of course, it is cities, not states, that have really taken the lead on impeachment, as on ending the war. Dozens of cities have already passed resolutions for impeachment. Dozens more have introduced them, and they are pending. [ http://www.afterdowningstreet.org/resourcecenter ] A handful have introduced them and voted them down. On March 6th about 100 towns in Vermont will vote at public meetings for impeachment. But by March 6th, impeachment may already be underway.
There is a conflict brewing between Congress and the White House over the war and over the division of powers created by the U.S. Constitution and eliminated by this administration. If Bush attacks Iran and/or Syria without approval from Congress, or escalates the war in Iraq without approval from Congress, we may finally see Congress fight back. This President has rendered Congress almost meaningless. He reverses laws with "signing statements." He disregards laws at his whim, openly bragging about doing so. And he makes many operations secret, hidden even from Congress, refusing requests for information, including those filed under the Freedom of Information Act. When this President does communicate with Congress, he often provides false or misleading information, most notably in making the case for the current war.
Vice President Cheney has already said that he will likely refuse to appear before Congress if subpoenaed. The White House will likely refuse subpoenas of any sort, and openly professes to believe the President is a "unitary executive." White House spokesperson Tony Snow said on January 8th:
"The President has the ability to exercise his own authority if he thinks Congress has voted the wrong way."
Americans voted in November for Congress to stand up to this assault on our democracy. We voted against the war, but we even voted out Republicans who were opposing the war. We threw out candidates who allowed Bush to campaign for them, and left in office those who refused.
While it is public knowledge that Bush launched the opening stages of the Iraq War in secret, without Congress's approval or awareness, illegally using funds appropriated for Afghanistan and elsewhere, it has not always been as clear as it is at this moment that Bush will not end the war even if required by Congress to do so. Growing awareness of this fact is leading the peace movement to join the impeachment movement.
Daniel Ellsberg, who released the Pentagon Papers so many years ago, recently argued that it was only the pressure of the peace movement that allowed the impeachment of President Nixon to proceed, and that it was only the exposures and threat of impeachment that persuaded Nixon not to veto the bill that finally cut off the funding for the Vietnam War. As Congress exposes the crimes of Bush and Cheney to public view, it will move us closer to impeachment. As Congress Members begin to object to their powerless role of court jesters, they will move us closer to impeachment and also to bringing our troops home.
We should be encouraging our Congress Members to proceed immediately with key investigations [ http://www.afterdowningstreet.org/investigations ] and to not be afraid to use subpoenas. We should also be encouraging state legislators in our own and other states who take up the cause of democracy. We need them to do so from their positions as elected officials closer to the people and further from the big dollars.
In New Mexico, a leading light of that state's politics, State Senator Gerald Ortiz y Pino of Albuquerque, will be leading the way on impeachment. He deserves the support of all the world, and you can thank him at email@example.com or 505-986-4380. Let's help him make New Mexico the land of enchantment and impeachment.
Name of source: Times-Dispatch
SOURCE: Times-Dispatch (1-10-07)
In a speech that stressed themes of religious faith, sacrifice and personal courage, Cheney helped open the Virginia General Assembly's winter session on the site where the first English settlement in North America was established 400 years ago.
"It's striking to realize how much of America's story begins with a little three-sided fort raised on the banks of the James River four centuries ago," Cheney told legislators who packed into the Historic Jamestowne Memorial Church.
The first meeting of Virginia's legislative body in nearly 350 years at Jamestown was held to mark the start of the anniversary year. The highlight of the commemoration is a scheduled visit in May by Queen Elizabeth _ retracing the steps she made to Jamestown in 1957 when she visited the site on its 350th anniversary.
Name of source: http://www.aftenposten (Norway)
SOURCE: http://www.aftenposten (Norway) (1-8-07)
In one of the graves, belonging to a woman, archaeologists found jewellery, many pearls, glass beads, scissors, a knife and other household utensils.
"The size, quality and design of the jewellery is highly unusual," said archaeologist Olle Hemdorff. "She took with her many things."
Name of source: Telegraph (UK)
SOURCE: Telegraph (UK) (1-10-07)
Scholars have argued for centuries over the whereabouts of Ithaca, the lost kingdom of the hero of the Trojan war. But Robert Bittlestone, a management consultant from Kingston-on-Thames, Surrey, and two professors of classics and geology have suggested the location is not the Greek island of Ithaki, but Paliki — a peninsula of Kefalonia.
SOURCE: Telegraph (UK) (1-7-07)
The 15ft 1939 Auto Union D-type is expected to fetch about £6 million when it goes under the hammer at Christie's in Paris, surpassing the record £5.5 million paid for a 1931 Bugatti Royale at the Royal Albert Hall 20 years ago.
Its arrival in the auction room is thanks only to a dogged collector who tracked down two of the fabled cars in Russia, where they had been taken after the war, and a specialist British car restorer in sleepy Sussex.
The car's genesis dates back to the 1930s when Adolf Hitler provided the funds for two companies, Auto Union and Mercedes-Benz, to start producing racing cars that came to be known as Silver Arrows. The revolutionary cars were designed by the Austrian automotive engineer Ferdinand Porsche.
Name of source: Atlanta Journal-Constitution
SOURCE: Atlanta Journal-Constitution (1-11-07)
In a letter to Carter, the members of the Board of Councilors wrote that the former president had "clearly abandoned your historic role of broker, in favor of becoming an advocate for one side."
"I wish the Carter Center continued success, but they they also have to traffic in truth and fact," said developer Steve Berman, one of the 14.
Carter's latest book, "Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid," has drawn fire from Jewish groups because of its pro-Palestinian stance and the blame Carter places on Israel for the ongoing conflict.
Carter Center Executive Director John Hardman said Thursday in a written statement that the board's members "are not engaged in implementing work of the Center."
Name of source: Center for American Progress
SOURCE: Center for American Progress (1-9-07)
In sharp contrast to the 109th Congress, this new Congress will do more to exercise its powers and responsibility as a co-equal branch of government in shaping the future direction of the country’s Iraq policy. Such a policy will be successful only if it enjoys the informed consent of the American people. Unlike the previous Congress, the 110th seems to recognize the awesome responsibility they have to perform due diligence on our policy and on the president’s request for ever more resources to pursue that policy.
This memorandum outlines way in which previous Congresses have acted to ensure that whatever steps the president has sought to take are executed in a way that maximizes opportunities to strengthen American national security and reflects the concerns and will of the American people.
As the examples below demonstrate, past Congresses have chosen among several different policy levers to guide U.S. national security policy as it relates to the deployment of American troops. Broadly speaking, the Congress can:
Condition, limit, or shape the timing and nature of troop deployments and the missions they are authorized to undertake;
Cap the size of military deployments; and
Prohibit funding for existing or prospective deployments.
Since 1970, there have been several instances in which these powers were exercised and passed into law by Congress. Several of these are detailed below. Each of these provisions reflects the basic fact that the Founding Fathers deliberately created a system of government containing branches that were both interdependent and competitive. Each has a specific role to play and each needs to respect the role of the other branches. While the president is commander-in-chief, Congress retains the power (with the consent of the president) to establish the laws by which the United States conducts foreign policy and more importantly, to decide whether the activities in which the president is engaged are deserving of the resources from the American people he requests to conduct those policies.
Additionally, there have been hundreds of amendments—which did not ultimately become law—where members of Congress sought to shape overseas deployments. These amendments reflect modern congressional understanding of Congress’s power and authority. In particular, there were a series of attempts by Republicans and Democrats throughout the 1990s to influence deployments in the Balkans. Though largely unsuccessful on policy grounds, the provisions—an illustrative list of which appear at the back of this document—were attempted by prominent Republicans and Democrats, many of whom remain involved in today’s debate on Congress’s role in national security policy. What was true then remains true now: Congress has an obligation to remain engaged on shaping national security policy....
Name of source: CBS 4 Boston
SOURCE: CBS 4 Boston (1-10-07)
Officer Kevin Leonpacher said if anything, "I used an excessive amount of discretion," in the encounter that landed Felipe Fernandez-Armesto in jail.
Fernandez-Armesto, 56, who was arrested Jan. 4, said earlier in an interview that he was assaulted while crossing the street by a man he did not realize was a police officer.
"Where I'm from, you don't associate young gentlemen in bomber jackets with the police. But he was extremely upset I had questioned his bona fides," recalled Fernandez-Armesto, a prominent British historian and former professor at Oxford. He was visiting Atlanta for a history convention.
But Leonpacher said he asked Fernandez-Armesto why he didn't follow the instructions of a uniformed officer, and the author shrugged him off and walked away.
"I told him, it's gonna be awful silly if I have to take you to jail for jaywalking," said Leonpacher, 28. He said he could not handcuff the professor by himself.
"He was swinging, kicking wildly," Leonpacher said, adding that backup officers arrived almost immediately. In the incident report, he quoted the professor as saying, "Well now I believe that you are the police."
Atlanta police had said that the disorderly conduct charge against Fernandez-Armesto was subsequently dropped.
Later they said charge wasn't officially dropped, and could be brought again, but that would be unlikely. For now, his record will show only an arrest.
Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin said she has asked police chief Richard Pennington to look into the incident.
Leonpacher says he was a good representative for the city. He was working a part-time job that day -- with police consent, his superiors confirmed -- for the Hilton Hotel, trying to direct pedestrians to use crosswalks.
Name of source: Globe and Mail (Canada)
SOURCE: Globe and Mail (Canada) (1-10-07)
Vets charge that the panel implies that they performed a cruel deed with little strategic value. The disputed text reads: "The value and morality of the strategic bombing offensive against Germany remains contested. Bomber Command's aim was to crush civilian morale and force Germany to surrender by destroying its cities and industrial installations. Although Bomber Command and the American attacks left 600,000 Germans dead and more than five million homeless, the raids resulted in only a small reduction in German war production until late in the war."
Art Smith, a vet leading the attack, insists, "Ten thousand crewmen didn't make it back. It really distresses me that people want to knock their memory." A former MP, he is lobbying for a private member's bill to force a rewrite of the text.
In December, military historian Jack Granatstein commented, "I'd hate to see a private member's bill. You shouldn't have political interference in a reputable museum, one where every exhibit is weighed in a scholarly way." However, he has since joined the museum board and is no longer in a position to comment.
"The museum has asked for independent expert advice on the panel in question," said Mark O'Neill, museum vice-president of public affairs. "We'll have their analysis within the next few months. Then we'll assess the situation."
Yesterday, Oda said, "The museum has been in discussion with Art Smith. But I have not decided to take further action at this point and we await their report."
Name of source: Inside Higher Ed
SOURCE: Inside Higher Ed (1-8-07)
But there was fairly intense debate on how to express those ideals. In the end, the association’s members at its business meeting backed a resolution calling on members to “do whatever they can to bring the Iraq war to a speedy conclusion.” Supporters said that the war is a national crisis that calls for a response from historians, but critics said that the association was risking its political stock by taking a stance that could appear to be dictating what professors should think about a controversial issue.
In an unusual move, however, the AHA’s Council, which reviews and typically accepts resolutions passed by the members, on Sunday ordered an e-mail vote of all members on the topic.
On speech codes, the association debated with some skepticism a resolution that would have put the historians on record against speech codes. Proponents of the measure said that the codes infringe on academic freedom, while critics said that the resolution oversimplified the issue. The association ended up stripping most of the resolution, leaving a measure (passed unanimously) that criticized “free speech zones” — in which some colleges limit some forms of protest to specific areas on campus.
Name of source: JTA--Global news service of the Jewish people
SOURCE: JTA--Global news service of the Jewish people (11-29-06)
Car wars: Doing business with the NazisGermany’s glorious militaristic destiny, according to Hitler, was dependent on a mass, four-wheeled mobilization. General Motors was eager to help put that dream into motion.
What did GM know – and when?General Motors’ coldly calculating and elitist president Alfred P. Sloan hated FDR and admired Hitler, who happened to be a favored customer. Why did Sloan continue to embrace the Nazi regime as its true nature became apparent?
The two faces of GMGeneral Motors was playing both ends to the middle in the 1930s and 1940s. While GM was busy getting the Third Reich rolling, the company was hatching a lucrative criminal conspiracy to undermine electric mass transit in dozens of American cities.
A carmaker’s legacyThe concluding chapter of the General Motors saga is still being written. GM’s historian says the company never willingly contributed to the Nazi war effort. But the full story will not be known until a collection of critical in-house documents is made “public” in the truest sense of the word.
Name of source: Atlantic Monthly
SOURCE: Atlantic Monthly (1-9-07)
A look through the Atlantic Monthly's archives makes clear that parsing presidential assertions into clear-cut categories of True versus False is not always the most illuminating way to proceed. A lie, we might rather say, is only one method—albeit a time-honored one—of playing fast and loose with the truth.
In 1872, an anonymously written piece entitled “Politics” focused on one much-favored alternative to lying: deploying political tautologies so obvious and mind-numbingly uncontroversial, that one manages to avoid saying anything at all—thereby diverting attention from one’s real position. Reviewing a recent speech by Ulysses Grant, the author wrote:
To the rule that Presidential messages are usually excellent studies in the art of saying nothing unforeseen or unexpected we have not found the late message of General Grant an exception. Every one is in favor of amnesty; so is the President…Nobody doubts the necessity of a reduction of taxation; neither does the President….nothing puzzles the country at large so much as the question of free-trade and protection; it is exactly so with the President.
Grant’s statements are nothing but the truth, but they aren’t the whole truth. As the author pointed out, “though the President’s enemies say that he is still intent upon his scheme for the annexation of San Domingo, the message indicates nothing of the kind.” Nor in this case does Grant’s avoidance of any trace of controversy mean that he has expunged the dark stain of prevarication. Although the same enemies of the President “maintain also that he cares nothing for a reformed civil service,” the address “says the exact reverse.” What would a political speech be, after all, without at least one outright lie?
Grant is certainly not the only president to combine lies with lesser forms of not-quite-truth. In his article, Carl Cannon touches on a lie JFK told about his health—a denial that he had Addison’s disease. In his 2002 article “The Medical Ordeals of JFK,” Robert Dallek showed how this particular lie was in fact just one small part of a careful orchestration of additional lies, strategic omissions, and misrepresentations. The Kennedy administration had gone out of its way, Dallek made clear, to paint a picture of a robust president. And sometimes a picture, as everybody knows, is worth a thousand false words.
Dallek’s article catalogued, in gruesome detail, JFK’s lifelong health problems, which included—in addition to Addison’s disease—colitis, osteoporosis, urinary tract problems, and constant, severe back pain. JFK essentially classified all information regarding his health top secret, and relied on a cocktail of drugs and steroid injections to keep him functioning. The cover-up of his health issues involved both outright lying and strategic omissions. But more complicated from a moral standpoint was the spin that surrounded him. Surely Kennedy’s P.R. people were not lying, to take one example, when they touted his service in WWII, even if they said nothing about the health problems he suffered in the Navy. Dallek argued that Kennedy’s silent suffering made him more courageous. Whether or not one buys that, however, there is no doubt that JFK’s assault on the truth—or at least on the likelihood that voters might become aware of it—was prolonged and many-faceted.
Certain statements by some presidents have become infamous examples of dishonesty. Nixon’s declaration, “I am not a crook,” comes to mind. But these statements, if anything, only help to demarcate the line between truth and fiction. It is more interesting to consider how presidents have obscured or muddied that line. Nixon did his fair share of that, as well. In a 1973 article “The President and the Press,” David Wise detailed the ways in which Nixon manipulated the press in order to manipulate the truth.
One of the press’s jobs, of course, is to make sure that a president is being honest and forthcoming, and to fill in the gaps when he doesn’t. Nixon tried to prevent the press from doing so. Wise quoted Tom Wicker, then associate editor and columnist for the New York Times:
We feel the general pressure…No administration in history has turned loose as high an official as the Vice President to level a constant fusillade of criticism at the press. The Pentagon Papers case [in which Nixon had attempted to prevent the Times and the Washington Post from publishing an internal report on America’s involvement in Vietnam] was pressure of the most immense kind…There is a constant pattern of pressure intended to inhibit us.
Nixon’s administration attacked network news in general and Dan Rather, the anchorman of CBS, in particular. John Ehrlichman, Nixon’s “chief assistant for domestic affairs,” even encouraged the president of CBS news to give Rather “a year’s vacation.” Three of Nixon’s top aides told Rather to tone down his rigorous criticism of the Administration. Then, when another CBS newsman, Daniel Schorr, exposed a Nixon lie about supporting parochial schools, the administration opened an FBI investigation on Schorr. Despite his hostility to television news, Nixon did welcome television coverage of his speeches. “At every opportunity,” wrote Wise, “Nixon solemnly addresses the nation” on TV. “It is this concept of television-as-conduit that has won Nixon’s praise, not television as a form of electronic journalism.” Thus Nixon exploited the media to broadcast his version of the truth, at the same time discouraging the media from vetting, qualifying, or contradicting him. “By applying constant pressure, in ways seen and unseen,” concluded Wise, “the leaders of the government have attempted to shape the news to resemble the images seen through the prism of their own power.”
If one president other than Nixon will be remembered for being less than aboveboard, it may be Bill Clinton (though our current president seems to be applying for membership in that club). Christopher Hitchens, in his book review of Sidney Blumenthal’s The Clinton Wars (“Thinking Like an Apparatchik,” July/August 2003), shed light on yet another method by which presidents can mislead without lying: sinking the truth in a sea of literalisms and circumlocutions. “I always thought that it was very clever of Clinton,” wrote Hitchens, “to make a mystery where none existed about when, and even where, he had touched Monica Lewinsky. Since his denial was made partly under oath, and involved a legalistic definition even of certain orifices and appendages, it necessitated a minute inquiry.” Clinton fortified himself in an equivocation, taking refuge in the space between the commonly understood meaning of “sex” and a legalistic definition. “It comes down to this:” wrote Hitchens, “Clinton asserts…that he was innocent of perjury because although he did ejaculate in the intimate presence of Monical Lewinsky, she derived no pleasure or excitement from the moment.”
Last to be considered is George W. Bush, who seems to have employed, and perhaps improved upon, every available means of obfuscating the truth. In “Spies, Lies, and Weapons: What Went Wrong” (January/February 2004), Kenneth Pollack chronicled the lead-up to the second Iraq War. On the one hand, the intelligence community had overestimated Iraq’s “WMD capability.” On the other hand, the Bush administration had mishandled what information was available.
The problem began long before the Administration’s public campaign for war. Bush and his aides pressured the intelligence community to tell them what they wanted to hear. “Many Administration officials,” wrote Pollack,
reacted strongly, negatively, and aggressively when presented with information or analysis that contradicted what they already believed about Iraq. Many of these officials believed that Saddam…was an imminent danger to the United States because of his perceived possession of weapons of mass destruction and support of terrorism…They believed that the Agency, not the Administration, was biased, and that they were acting simply to correct that bias.
The Administration “also took some actions that arguably crossed the line between…oversight of the intelligence community and an attempt to manipulate intelligence.” They set up their own office in the Pentagon and “‘cherry-picked’ the intelligence they passed on, selecting reports that supported the Administration’s pre-existing position and ignoring all the rest,” even when intelligence officers considered those reports to be “unreliable or downright false.”
But the truth was distorted at every link in the chain. While publicly campaigning for war, Bush officials “were guilty not of lying but of creative omission. They discussed only those elements of intelligence estimates that served their cause.” Pollack continued: “time after time senior Administration officials discussed only the worst-case, and least likely, scenario.” Still, if the administration officials were successful, their success seems due, in large part, to the fact that they convinced themselves. Bush’s top aides manipulated the public’s understanding of the truth by manipulating their own.
Finally, in a humorous review of 2004 stump speeches, P.J. O’Rourke wrote that “The relationship of political speaking to truth is complex, although not close.” He conceded, however, that “candidates do not tell outright lies. Except when they do.”
Carl Cannon, quoting Winston Churchill, offers one explanation for the ongoing prevalence of presidential lying: “In wartime, truth is so precious that she should always be attended by a bodyguard of lies.” But perhaps the truth of the matter—if there can be said to be any—is less noble: in politics, the lie is so precious that she must always be attended by a bodyguard of half-truths.
Name of source: FrontpageMag.com
SOURCE: FrontpageMag.com (1-9-07)
Objectionable material? Damaging? I confess it: they’re right. There is plenty of objectionable material in this book. Here’s a small sampling:
1. The Truth About Muhammad details the triple choice that Muhammad directed his followers to offer to non-Muslims: conversion to Islam, subjugation without equality of rights with Muslims under the rule of Islamic law, or war. Did I fabricate this? No, it can be found in, among many other places, Sahih Muslim, a collection of hadith – traditions of Muhammad and the early Muslims – that Muslims generally consider reliable. In it, Muhammad says ....
Name of source: NPR (audio)
SOURCE: NPR (audio) (1-7-07)
ERIC WESTERVELT: The Arab Institute for Holocaust Research and Education sits on a hilltop in a residential neighborhood overlooking the Jezreel Valley in the predominantly Arab city of Nazareth. Attorney Khaled Mahamed used thousands of dollars of his own money to turn his law office into a kind of makeshift museum, with some 50 pictures of the Holocaust.
Mr. KHALED MAHAMED (Attorney): We see prisoners here.
WESTERVELT: Where is this?
Mr. MAHAMED: Mauthausen. Escorting an inmate to his death.
WESTERVELT: This 44-year-old Muslim says that if more Arabs studied and understood the devastation the Jews of Europe faced under the Nazis, it would help foster nonviolence and perhaps even peace between Arabs and Jews.
Mr. MAHAMED: I'm very sure if Palestinians would be exposed to pictures of the Holocaust, then they would come to the conclusion there's no benefit for the Palestinian national rights to use violence against the Israelis. And by this we have a circle here; when the Israelis see that the Palestinians are choosing nonviolent (unintelligible) methods, then they will act accordingly.
Name of source: The Real News Project
SOURCE: The Real News Project (1-8-07)
Bush has long denied allegations that he had connections to the intelligence community prior to 1976, when he became Central Intelligence Agency director under President Gerald Ford. At the time, he described his appointment as a 'real shocker.'
But the freshly uncovered memos contend that Bush maintained a close personal and business relationship for decades with a CIA staff employee who, according to those CIA documents, was instrumental in the establishment of Bush's oil venture, Zapata, in the early 1950s, and who would later accompany Bush to Vietnam as a “cleared and witting commercial asset” of the agency.
According to a CIA internal memo dated November 29, 1975, Bush's original oil company, Zapata Petroleum, began in 1953 through joint efforts with Thomas J. Devine, a CIA staffer who had resigned his agency position that same year to go into private business. The '75 memo describes Devine as an “oil wild-catting associate of Mr. Bush.” The memo is attached to an earlier memo written in 1968, which lays out how Devine resumed work for the secret agency under commercial cover beginning in 1963.
Name of source: BBC
SOURCE: BBC (1-8-07)
Colonel Tharcisse Renzaho, former prefect of the Rwandan capital, Kigali, faces charges of genocide and complicity in genocide.
Some 800,000 people, most of them Tutsis, were killed by Hutu extremists during the massacres in 1994.
Name of source: Times Online (UK)
SOURCE: Times Online (UK) (1-8-07)
After 40 years, the owners of the Principality of Sealand have put it on the market. They hope that investors will be lured by the island’s setting and its status as a tax haven.
But it is not exactly a dream hideaway. Sealand, which was built as a wartime fort called Roughs Tower in 1941, is a 550 sq m (5,920 sq ft) steel platform perched on two concrete towers. Accessible only by helicopter and boat, it sits seven miles (11km) off the coast of Harwich in Essex.
Its living accommodation is less than palatial — long, low buildings made of steel through which the sound of generators reverberates constantly. One American visitor described it as “unbelievably ugly”.
Name of source: Christian Science Monitor
SOURCE: Christian Science Monitor (1-7-07)
Mr. Wielgus, who for weeks denied working for the hated communist secret service, stepped down after evidence against him grew too extensive, outstripping even what many church colleagues assumed: Over 20 years, Wielgus met with secret police more than 50 times, took three days of secret agent training, and signed at least two documents promising to spy for secret police on trips abroad, according to the well-respected Polish newspaper Rzeczpospolita.
Revelations of such participation - especially inside a Polish nation governed by the ardently patriotic twins, Jaroslaw and Lech Kaczynski, who have made it a mission to ferret out communist collaborators - threatened to split the influential Polish church, as well as the mainly Catholic citizenry.
How to deal with informers or spies continues to roil Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic and other former Soviet states, 17 years after the fall of the Berlin Wall. Two key issues are the type and severity of laws and methods designed to determine the degree to which individuals collaborated, and such individuals' fitness for current jobs.
Name of source: Chicago Tribune
SOURCE: Chicago Tribune (1-7-07)
And, as he contends with growing opposition to the war at home and in Congress, Bush is reaching back to the 20th Century for a parallel with his struggle today. The president has found his precedent in a leader who faced the first years of the Cold War and the Korean War--Harry Truman.
With references to Truman's challenges several decades ago, and with repeated warnings about what future historians could make of today's leaders for failing to face the threat of the day, Bush is asking Americans to consider a bigger picture than the one they see on their television screens.
Name of source: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
SOURCE: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (1-5-07)
The plan, unveiled at a morning news conference yesterday at the Hilton Pittsburgh hotel across the street from the 18-acre park, would preserve more than two-thirds of the moat and wall in its current configuration except for a 100-to-150-foot section at the north end that would be filled in.
It also proposes a pedestrian drawbridge and walkway over the moat, at the original location of the fort's main gate, that would help facilitate pedestrian movement, a stated goal of the existing renovation plan for the 35-year-old park.
Name of source: Observer (UK)
SOURCE: Observer (UK) (1-7-07)
While environmental change is generally held responsible for the damage to British wildlife, new research has revealed that the Tudors were actually responsible for reducing many native creatures to a critically endangered level. Species ranging from hedgehogs and water voles to choughs and dippers were systematically slaughtered.
'The impact has been catastrophic,' said Roger Lovegrove, former director of the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, who has spent six years researching Britain's sustained and deliberate persecution of wildlife since the Middle Ages. In his book Silent Fields: The Long Decline of a Nation's Wildlife, Lovegrove draws up detailed, species-by-species accounts of the devastating impact humans have had on huge swaths of fauna from as far back as Tudor times.