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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: AP
SOURCE: AP (6-23-08)
In the chaos following the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in 2003, looters snatched some 15,000 priceless artifacts and smuggled them out of the country. In the last few months, Jordanian authorities seized 2,466 items as they were being taken across the border.
Samples of the silver coins, necklaces, ancient Sumerian scrolls, ceramic pots and other artifacts were displayed for journalists during a brief ceremony at the Jordanian Antiquities Department in Amman.
Iraq's acting state minister of tourism and archaeology, Mohammed Abbas al-Oreibi, told reporters the recovered antiquities will be packed and sent back to Iraq in the coming days.
So far, Iraq retrieved a total of 8,500 items — including some from Syria recently — out of the 15,000 antiquities stolen, he said.
Al-Oreibi said contacts were under way with Italy to recover some unspecified stolen antiquities. He declined to elaborate, but said that some of the looted Iraqi treasures were believed to be also in France, Spain, Turkey, Iran and some Persian Gulf states.
He said Iraq was setting up a special police unit to defend the country's numerous archaeological sites and prevent any further theft of its rich cultural heritage.
Widespread looting in Baghdad and other Iraqi cities following Saddam's ouster plundered the country's Babylonian, Sumerian and Assyrian collections spanning some 7,000 years of civilization in ancient Mesopotamia.
Iraqi and world culture officials have struggled to retrieve the treasures with little success because of fears they could be lost again amid the rampant violence and the difficulties in documenting the extent of the damage.
Some of the artifacts stolen from Iraq's National Museum in Baghdad by looters during the invasion have been returned, including in July 2006 a prized statue of an ancient king — the oldest known representation of the King Entemena of ancient Iraq.
SOURCE: AP (6-21-08)
The artifacts were seized over seven years by customs agents in Texas, Arizona and Toronto, said Alfonso de Maria y Campos, the director of Mexico's National Anthropology Institute. It took several years to recover the objects because of the bureaucracy involved in identifying them and proving they came from Mexico, he said.
The 929 artifacts include anthropomorphic figurines, miniature bowls, sculptures and clay jewelry from northern, central and western Mexico.
SOURCE: AP (6-20-08)
British detectives acknowledged Friday that they had questioned suspects in the 1978 death of Bulgarian dissident Georgi Markov. The playwright and broadcaster was a stern critic of his country's communist regime in reports for the British Broadcasting Corp. and Radio Free Europe.
Markov was jabbed in the thigh with an umbrella tip as he waited for a bus on London's Waterloo Bridge. He developed a fever and died three days later. British government scientists later discovered the umbrella had been used to inject a pinhead-sized pellet of the poison ricin into Markov's leg.
Though no one has ever been charged with the killing, many suspected the KGB and Bulgarian secret police of involvement. KGB defector Oleg Gordievsky has previously said Russian authorities offered help to Bulgaria for the murder plot.
The case remained one of the most remarkable espionage-related deaths in London until the killing of ex-Russian security agent Alexander Litvinenko in November 2006. Litvinenko, a fierce Kremlin critic, died after he ingested the radioactive element, polonium-210, most likely from a cup of tea laced with the poison.
Police in London said the Markov case has never been closed, and that officers are following up a raft of new leads.
SOURCE: AP (6-22-08)
Thursday is the 60th anniversary of the start of the Berlin Airlift—the daring American-led operation to feed some 2 million West Berliners under Soviet blockade.
As they celebrate the event with fond reminiscences of American courage and generosity, many Germans are filled with excitement at the possibility of Barack Obama capturing the White House. German media have anointed the Democratic candidate the new John F. Kennedy, and see him as being more in sync with their views on the Iraq war and global warming.
Karsten Voigt, the conservative government's point man on U.S. relations, said this month that many Germans see in Obama a "mixture of Martin Luther King and John F. Kennedy."
SOURCE: AP (6-20-08)
Scott McClellan, Bush's spokesman from 2003-2006, said he had reservations about publicly clearing the name of I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, Cheney's chief of staff at the time. Later, Libby was convicted of obstructing the investigation of the leak of Valerie Plame's CIA identity.
McClellan told the House Judiciary Committee that he doesn't know if a crime was committed. But he had harsh words for the White House, suggesting that the administration is continuing to cover up.
"This White House promised or assured the American people that at some point when this was behind us they would talk publicly about it," he said. "And they have refused to.
"And that's why I think more than any other reason we are here today and the suspicion still remains," McClellan told the panel.
SOURCE: AP (6-19-08)
Kahau and her followers are members of the self-proclaimed Hawaiian Kingdom Government, which is devoted to restoring the Hawaiian monarchy overthrown in 1893. Nearly two months ago, they stormed the gates of the old Iolani Palace, and they have politely occupied the grounds ever since, operating like a government-in-exile.
"We're here to assume and resume what is already ours and what has always been ours," said Kahau, who is a descendant of Hawaii's last king and was elected "head of state" by the group.
SOURCE: AP (6-19-08)
China had long insisted that all POW questions were answered at the conclusion of the war in 1953 and that no Americans were moved to Chinese territory from North Korea. The little-known case of Army Sgt. Richard G. Desautels, of Shoreham, Vt., opens another chapter in this story and raises the possibility that new details concerning the fate of other POWs may eventually surface.
Chinese authorities gave Pentagon officials intriguing new details about Desautels in a March 2003 meeting in Beijing, saying they had found "a complete record of 9-10 pages" in classified archives.
Name of source: Reuters
SOURCE: Reuters (6-23-08)
In a joint declaration marking the 1941 Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union, Medvedev and Belarussian President Alexander Lukashenko denounced a "politicised approach to history".
Their countries "strongly condemn any attempt at rewriting history and revision of the results of World War Two," they said.
Ukraine and the Baltic states Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania have challenged Moscow's view of history, saying their nationals suffered from Soviet as well as Nazi oppression, and a Kremlin spokesman said later the criticism was aimed at them.
Meeting in the Belarussian town of Brest, where Nazi forces first crossed the Soviet border on June 22, 1941, the two leaders said that "a selective, politicised approach to history should be set against honest, scientific debate."
Name of source: Media Matters (liberal watchdog group)
SOURCE: Media Matters (liberal watchdog group) (6-23-08)
Regnery, which describes itself as "the nation's leading conservative publisher" and "central to the conservative movement today," has also published books by Dinesh D'Souza, David Horowitz, Laura Ingraham, Ann Coulter, G. Gordon Liddy, Michelle Malkin, Oliver North, and Newt Gingrich.
From the June 23 Politico article:
The same publisher that distributed the 2004 best-seller that took aim at John Kerry's Vietnam service is planning a summer release of what's scheduled to be the first critical book on Barack Obama.
Conservative journalist David Freddoso's "The Case Against Barack Obama" will offer "a comprehensive, factual look at Obama," according to Regnery Publishing president and publisher Marjory Ross.
But the book's subtitle makes clear its perspective: "The Unlikely Rise and Unexamined Agenda of the Media's Favorite Candidate."
Ross contends that the mainstream media has offered insufficient scrutiny of Obama and likens the goal of Freddoso's book to that of "Unfit for Command," the scathing assessment of Kerry's war record that rocketed to No. 1 on The New York Times best-seller list.
Name of source: USA Today
SOURCE: USA Today (6-22-08)
The classic Maya were part of a Central American civilization best known for stepped pyramids, beautiful carvings and murals and the widespread abandonment of cities around 900 A.D. in southern Mexico, Guatemala, Belize and El Salvador, leaving the Maya only the northern lowlands of the Yucatan peninsula. The conventional wisdom of this upheaval is that many Maya moved north at the time of this collapse, also colonizing the hilly "Puuc" region of the Yucatan for a short while, until those new cities collapsed as well.
But that story of the Maya is wrong, suggests archaeologist George Bey of Millsaps College in Jackson, Miss., who is co-leading an investigation of the abandoned city of Kiuic with Mexican archaeologist Tomas Gallareta of Mexico's National Institute of Archaeology and History. "Our work indicates that instead the Puuc region was occupied for almost 2,000 years before the collapse in the south," says Bey, by e-mail.
Name of source: Independent (UK)
SOURCE: Independent (UK) (6-23-08)
Today, record gold prices, widespread economic turmoil, and the enduring optimism of America's entrepreneurial classes have combined to entice fresh swarms of prospectors to head west in search of hidden riches beneath the picturesque hills and ravines of the Golden State.
The "new 49ers," as today's wave of fortune-seekers are known, are a breed apart from their historic predecessors, driving trucks and SUVs down the dusty tracks first created by trains of horse-drawn wagons nearly 160 years ago. But they share with them a timeless predisposition for what veterans call gold fever. "It's like going to Vegas, except with this, we actually get to win something," said Mike Dunn, clutching almost an ounce of nuggets unearthed from the south fork of the Feather river last Sunday. "We've just hit a halo of gold, and this lot alone must be worth between $500 (£250) and $1,500. I've just about paid for my trip already."
Name of source: http://www.canada.com/montrealgazette
SOURCE: http://www.canada.com/montrealgazette (6-21-08)
It might have been more stressful this year because several history teachers say Monday's provincial exam for the History of Quebec and Canada course was the toughest they've seen in years.
"We're seeing very high failure rates and we're worried about that," said Ken Elliott, director of educational services at the Lester B. Pearson School Board.
"If it's a universal problem and it's because it was too difficult, then we would hope that (the Education Department) would adjust the marks," Elliott said. "But ... that's speculation on my part." They are hearing similar feedback about the exam from other Montreal area boards, Elliott said.
At the Commission scolaire de Montréal - the largest school board in the province - it's the same warning bell, said board spokesperson Alain Perron. Some schools have reported the average mark is 10- to 15-per-cent lower than last year, Perron said.
Name of source: Media Matters
SOURCE: Media Matters (6-23-08)
Appearing on the June 22 edition of Fox News' Hannity's America, host Sean Hannity discussed with Steele Obama's "chances of making it all of the way to the White House," asking, "All right, so he can't win?" Steele responded: "He can win. I regret that subtitle," adding, "It was an afterthought. And I don't argue that in the book. He can definitely win. There is a powerful desire in American society today to see someone like him move to the White House."
From the June 22 edition of Fox News' Hannity's America:
HANNITY: As the first African-American presidential nominee, Democrat Barack Obama is no doubt running an historic campaign. But will that distinction help or hurt his chances of making it all of the way to the White House? Joining us now, author of a brand new book, A Bound Man: Why We Are Excited About Obama and Why He Can't Win, Shelby Steele. Shelby, good to see you, my friend. Thanks for being back with us.
STEELE: Good to be here.
HANNITY: All right, so he can't win?
STEELE: He can win. I regret that subtitle.
STEELE: It was an afterthought. And I don't argue that in the book. He can definitely win. There is a powerful desire in American society today to see someone like him move to the White House.
Name of source: Letter to IraqCrisis newsletter
SOURCE: Letter to IraqCrisis newsletter (6-21-08)
Iraqi National Library & Archives
An Open Letter to the Director of Hoover Institute
I have read Mr. Sousa's letter to Mr. Mark Greene, President of the Society of American Archivists (dated 06-06-08), Mr. Al-Jaberi's statement (dated 27-04-08) and the article published by Stanford University's official site regarding the illegally seized documents of the former Iraqi state and the archive of the Ba'ath Party (dated 18-06-08).
As the national archivist of Iraq, I would like to clarify several points regarding the issue of the illegally seized documents of the former Iraqi state and the archive of the Ba'ath Party.
1. Mr. al-Jaberi does not represent the Ministry of Culture, let alone the current Iraqi government, insofar as the issue of the seized documents is concerned. The statement is written by Mustafa al-Kadhemi, who is the director of IMF and Mr. Makkiya's right-hand man. Al-Kadhemi exploited the good intention of al-Jaberi and persuaded him to sign a statement about a sensitive issue he knows literally nothing about and has no authority to talk about or to deal with.
2. Regarding the retrieval of the seized documents, I have been coordinating my efforts with the Acting Minister of Culture, his deputy Mr. Taher al-Hmud, advisors of the Vice-President, and other important figures inside the Iraqi government as well as a number of Parliamentarians.
3. The Iraqis inside and outside the country have supported my position and disapproved of Makkiya, al-Kadhemi and the IMF's activities, which are considered to be morally wrong and manifest violations of Iraq's sovereignty.
4. Some parts of al-Jaberi's statement contradict the IMF's claims, not mine, regarding the fact that the National Board of Accountability and Justice (NBAJ) will establish an archive for the records of the Ba'ath Party. I informed al-Kadhemi about this in order to tell him that IMF has no right whatsoever to keep these records abroad. Moreover, the INLA is in constant contact with Dr. Ahmed al-Chalabi, who presides over NBAJ, which replaced the former De-Ba'athification National Board. Dr. Chalabi has expressed his support for INLA's campaign to retrieve all the seized documents, including the Ba'ath Party ones. The two sides (INLA and (NBAJ) hope to work together to return all the seized records.
5. I tried through direct negotiations with IMF's representatives including Mr. Makkiya to reach a satisfactory settlement regarding the issue of the seized documents. Unfortunately the IMF's representatives were not interested in making any compromise that would have put an end to the dispute. For instance, I asked IMF to enlarge its agreement with Hoover so that INLA would be included as the representative of the Iraqi state and people.
6. I would like to draw your attention to Iraqi legislation no. 111 for the year 1969. This legislation imposes severe punishment on those who destroys, hides, steal, forge, publish or remove official Iraqi documents. The legislation also imposes severe punishment (10 year-imprisonment) on those individuals who collaborate with and provide foreign states with Iraqi documents. Therefore, the IMF's confiscation, purchases, scanning, declassification and publication of the Ba'ath documents are incontrovertibly illegal. It also means that the IMF has violated the same Iraqi legislation when it decided to provide the American government with copies of its illegally seized records. In light of that one can say that the letters of clearance IMF received from one or two Iraqi high-ranking officials carry no weight because they went against the above mentioned Iraqi legislation.
7. The IMF has not been authorized by the Iraqi government to ask the Pentagon and the CIA to transfer tens of millions of Iraqi documents they both seized to it. The IMF's action goes clearly against current Iraqi legislations. We all know that IMF has no storage rooms inside or outside Iraq. This means that the IMF will keep tens of millions of Iraqi documents in America by making deals similar to the one it made with Hoover. Thus, the Iraqis, including the scholars and the victims of the former regime will be given no access to their own documents, while the Americans (the occupiers) will continue to enjoy such a privilege. .
8. Makiya's claim that his deal with Hoover is legal because he got the approval of the Iraqi government contradicts his refusal to return the documents to Iraq because he says that he does not trust the intention of my 'bosses' as he puts it. Are not my bosses the same people from whom Makiya has claimed to have obtained approval for the shipment of the records to the US and for the deal he made with Hoover? This is pure hypocrisy.
9. The INLA has never claimed that it should alone decide the fate of the seized documents. On the contrary, its director has demanded from the very beginning the establishment of National Archival Committee to include members from the three branches of government (executive, legislative and judiciary). The Committee will be entrusted with the task of making new legislation for all the records of the former regime including the Ba'ath party.
10. The INLA and other governmental agencies have been gathering information on the activities of the IMF since April 2003. Rest assured that this Foundation has violated Iraqi laws and regulations all the way. It violated the principle of the rule of law and the priority of state-based institutions.
11. I would also like to remind you that the IMF came into being within the framework of the American occupation of Iraq, and thus was an integral part of a grand imperial vision for the New Iraq. This explains why IMF has not been accountable politically, administratively, legally, financially or morally to any Iraqi authority since its formation.
12. The IMF's purchases of illegally seized documents from individuals and private organizations has considerably encouraged the black-market phenomenon, and discouraged local Iraqis from handing over seized documents to the proper authorities.
13. The Ba'ath documents are the property of the Iraqis and the institutions that represent them, and so it is arrogant and unethical for one person (an émigré) to decide the destiny of millions of sensitive official documents that have had and will continue to have considerable impact on the private lives of millions of Iraqi citizens. It is not in the interests of Iraqi victims and academic investigation for the IMF to have been using the documents for propaganda, self-aggrandizement and obtaining funding. The Iraqis desperately want to know and confront the realities of their recent past. They need to recognize the suffering of the victims and to identify those who committed crimes, before bringing them to justice. The Iraqis are well aware that any national reconciliation project cannot be successfully implemented without making the seized documents available for both scholars and the public mediated by a responsible agency representative of them..
Last but not least, it should be noted that the Iraqi public, Iraqi intellectuals, and Iraqi media all support the INLA's cause. We also rely on the support of our colleagues abroad, especially in Northern America.
Dr. Saad Eskander,
Iraq National Library & Archives
Name of source: Press Release--David S. Wyman Foundation
SOURCE: Press Release--David S. Wyman Foundation (6-23-08)
The petition was organized by the Washington,D.C.-based David S. Wyman Institute for Holocaust Studies.
The Bergson Group was a maverick political action committee in the United States in the 1940s that used rallies and newspaper ads to pressure the Roosevelt administration to rescue Jews from Hitler. Its efforts played a key role in facilitating the rescue of more than 200,000 Jews during 1944-1945.
The signatories on the petition included former Supreme Court chief justice Meir Shamgar and fellow-justice Mishael Cheshin; political leaders from the left such as Meretz Party leader Yossi Beilin and former Education Minister Shulamit Aloni, as well as political leaders from the right such former Defense Minister Moshe Arens and former Justice Minister Dan Meridor; leading novelists and playwrights, among them A.B. Yehoshua, David Grossman, and Yehoshua Sobol; and senior historians such as Pulitzer Prize winner Saul Friedlander and Mordecai Paldiel, former head of Yad Vashem 's Department of the Righteous.
[For a complete list of the signatories, please contact the Wyman Institute.]
A delegation led by Prof. David S. Wyman and Dr. Rebecca Kook, the daughter of Bergson Group leader Hillel Kook (aka Peter Bergson) delivered the petition to Yad Vashem. Prof. Wyman and Wyman Institute director Dr. Rafael Medoff are visiting Israel this week to speak at a conference about the Bergson Group, in Tel Aviv.
The delegation also met with Dr. Dan Michman, chief historian of Yad Vashem, to discuss the importance of adding the Bergson Group to Yad Vashem's exhibit. Michman told them that "as a matter of principle, Yad Vashem will never change any of its exhibits."
The delegation expressed surprise and disappointment at Yad Vashem's stance, especially in view of the fact that last year, in a response to a petition by the Wyman Institute, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, in Washington, D.C., agreed to add material about the Bergson Group to its permanent exhibit. The Wyman Institute's request to the museum was endorsed former Members of Congress, prominent historians, and Jewish leaders such as Elie Wiesel. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, whose father, Congressman Thomas D'Alesandro, Jr., was a supporter of the Bergson Group, also spoke out about the Bergson Group's achievements.
“This is a truly bipartisan cause,” said Dr. Rebecca Kook, who teaches political science at Ben Gurion University and worked with the Wyman Institute in organizing the petition. “Israeli political and cultural leaders from right to left recognize that the omission of the Bergson Group from Yad Vashem is a terrible injustice which must be rectified.”
Prof. Wyman and Dr. Kook noted that the issue of recognizing the Bergson Group should be of particular interest to Americans, since the group's protests played a central role in pressuring the Roosevelt administration to belatedly create the War Refugee Board in 1944. During the last fifteen months of World War Two, the War Refugee Board helped bring about the rescue of more than 200,000 Jewish refugees. It was the Board which sent Raoul Wallenberg to Nazi-occupied Budapest in 1944 and financed his rescue campaign. (Wallenberg is only one of two non-Americans to ever be granted honorary U.S. citizenship (the other was Winston Churchill). "This crucial chapter in the history of the Holocaust and America's response to the Holocaust will be recognized in the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum; it should be recognized in Yad Vashem as well, " Dr. Kook said.
Name of source: Guardian
SOURCE: Guardian (6-23-08)
Amid unprecedented protests from tour guides, travel companies and tourists irritated by conditions at prime archaeological sites, the ruling conservatives last week rushed hundreds of additional personnel to staff museums and open-air antiquities.
"The situation at museums and sites around the country is bad," the culture minister, Michalis Liapis, conceded in parliament last week. "It has to be corrected."
The move follows embarrassing revelations over the upkeep of Greece's ancient wonders and mounting public disquiet, voiced mostly by foreigners in the local press, over visitor access to them.
Yesterday, the authoritative newspaper Sunday Vima disclosed that the Cycladic isle of Delos - the site of Apollo's mythological sanctuary and one of Greece's most important ancient venues - resembled an "archaeological rubbish dump". Recently, it emerged that many sites, including Delphi, Mycenae and the spectacular Bronze Age settlement of Akrotiri on the popular island of Santorini, were only partially open or permanently closed.
SOURCE: Guardian (6-22-08)
Or so the story was told and sold. But it has now emerged that, far from being unknown, the tribe's existence has been noted since 1910 and the mission to photograph them was undertaken in order to prove that 'uncontacted' tribes still existed in an area endangered by the menace of the logging industry.
The disclosures have been made by the man behind the pictures, José Carlos Meirelles, 61, one of the handful of sertanistas – experts on indigenous tribes – working for the Brazilian Indian Protection Agency, Funai, which is dedicated to searching out remote tribes and protecting them.
In his first interviews since the disclosure of the tribe's existence, Meirelles described how he found the group, detailed how they lived and how he planned the publicity to protect them and other tribes in similar danger of losing the habitat in which they have flourished for hundreds of years.
SOURCE: Guardian (6-16-08)
Quite what George Orwell himself would have made of it we will never know. But the writer of Nineteen Eighty-Four, the satire featuring the all-seeing eye of Big Brother, might perhaps have been amused to discover a security camera keeping watch over a plaza in Barcelona that bears his name.
The camera monitors any ne'er-do-wells in this rundown square in the inner-city Ciutat Vella area. Any Orwell pilgrims paying the plaza a visit might be a little disappointed. Instead of an imposing statue of a 20th-century literary giant, this rather down-at-heel square contains an odd-looking metal sculpture by Spanish surrealist Leandre Cristofol. The square was named after Orwell not because of his literary endeavours, but because he fought on the Republican side in the Spanish civil war.
Name of source: Chicago Sun-Times
SOURCE: Chicago Sun-Times (6-18-08)
Since the 1990s, clusters of Sons members have aligned themselves with "heritage groups" like the League of the South and the Council of Conservative Citizens, both considered hate groups by the Alabama-based Southern Poverty Law Center. The center says the Sons itself may have been taken over by extremists.
"We had this group that looked like it had really radicalized to the right," said the poverty law center's Mark Potok. "But as we looked more closely, we realized that this was really a battle from within."
In response to just such charges, the Sons' Florida commander in 2002 sent interracial pornography to a female researcher at the center. John Adams later apologized, but he remains with the organization.
Today, he is co-chairman of the effort to install Confederate flags across Florida. The Sons say they intend to permanently install a giant one near the junction of Interstates 4 and 75 to counter what they consider increasing slights to Southern heritage.
Name of source: NYT
SOURCE: NYT (6-23-08)
Nine academic, scientific and cultural institutions around the city are holding a Year of Evolution, a series of exhibitions, seminars and lectures to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the birth of Charles Darwin next February, and the 150th anniversary of the publication of his seminal work, “The Origin of Species.”
Events will include a talk by John E. Jones III, a federal judge who ruled in 2005 that teaching intelligent design — the belief that some aspects of nature are so complex that they must be the work of a higher power rather than of evolution — in public school science classes was unconstitutional.
The intent of the citywide event, said Janet M. Monge, one of the organizers, is to increase public understanding of evolution and science in general at a time when polls show that a majority of Americans believe God created man in his present form and that the number of people who accept the evolutionary model of human origins is declining.
The interrogator, Deuce Martinez, a soft-spoken analyst who spoke no Arabic, had turned down a C.I.A. offer to be trained in waterboarding. He chose to leave the infliction of pain and panic to others, the gung-ho paramilitary types whom the more cerebral interrogators called “knuckledraggers.”
Mr. Martinez came in after the rough stuff, the ultimate good cop with the classic skills: an unimposing presence, inexhaustible patience and a willingness to listen to the gripes and musings of a pitiless killer in rambling, imperfect English. He achieved a rapport with Mr. Mohammed that astonished his fellow C.I.A. officers.
A canny opponent, Mr. Mohammed mixed disinformation and braggadocio with details of plots, past and planned. Eventually, he grew loquacious. “They’d have long talks about religion,” comparing notes on Islam and Mr. Martinez’s Catholicism, one C.I.A. officer recalled. And, the officer added, there was one other detail no one could have predicted: “He wrote poems to Deuce’s wife.”
The latter has been true in every presidential election since 1984 with the exception of 1996 (when the running mate was the incumbent vice president, Al Gore). It might have even been true going back to 1976 except that year’s Democratic nominee — Jimmy Carter — was also from Georgia.
And sure enough, as running mate list-making enters its quadrennial high season, Mr. Nunn is being named again as the proverbial “Southern moderate-conservative with foreign policy expertise and gravitas” who could be a complement to a Northern Democratic nominee feared too liberal and inexperienced, in this case, Barack Obama.
But for a group of Vietnam veterans at the center of the attacks, it is still a fresh fight.
On Friday, the group, who served with Mr. Kerry in Vietnam, sent a letter to T. Boone Pickens, the billionaire Texas oilman who helped finance the 2004 attack advertisements, taking him up on a challenge he issued last November: that he would give $1 million to anyone who could disprove a single charge the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth made against Mr. Kerry.
The letter-writers served alongside Mr. Kerry during the events that the Swift boat group insisted he had embellished or made up to win his military decorations.
Identifying themselves as “patriotic, concerned veterans” they say the accusations of the Swift boat group damaged their reputations and deeply affected their families, “tarnished the sacrifices we made, called into question the medals we were awarded and challenged the very authenticity of our service.”
SOURCE: NYT (6-20-08)
SOURCE: NYT (6-17-08)
President Nixon’s first year in office, 1969, was a new day for the American POWs. Their captors scaled back their demands for propaganda statements, stopped torturing them as heavily, fed them better and even allowed them to interact more with each other.
Mr. McCain, like many of his fellow prisoners, credited the Nixon administration with stepping up the pressure on their captors by unleashing new attacks on North Vietnam and publicizing reports about the mistreatment of prisoners.
“The tremendous effort mounted by the Nixon administration and millions of Americans in behalf of the prisoners of war in Vietnam is directly responsible for the radical improvements in the treatment of the Vietnam POWS beginning in late 1969,” Mr. McCain wrote in a paper written at the National War College a year after his release. “Many prisoners of war who returned to the United States in 1973 in all probability would never have survived if that change had not taken place.”
Historians, though, say the 1969 death of the North Vietnamese leader Ho Chi Minh was probably a bigger factor.
“All we know is that the death of Ho Chi Minh that year was fundamental to a kind of reassessment of what they were doing,” said Stuart I. Rochester, a Pentagon historian and co-author of the definitive history of the POWs, “Honor Bound.” But, he said, many prisoners — mostly aviators like Mr. McCain — had faulted President Lyndon Johnson for limiting their bombing raids and leapt to praise Nixon for what they believed was a new determination to win the war. (In a 1999 memoir, Mr. McCain acknowledged that Ho Chi Minh’s death came at the same time, but still mainly credited Nixon.)
Name of source: WaPo
SOURCE: WaPo (6-22-08)
Neo-Nazi, skinhead and segregationist groups have reported gains in numbers of visitors to their Web sites and in membership since the senator from Illinois secured the Democratic nomination June 3. His success has aroused a community of racists, experts said, concerned by the possibility of the country's first black president.
"I haven't seen this much anger in a long, long time," said Billy Roper, a 36-year-old who runs a group called White Revolution in Russellville, Ark. "Nothing has awakened normally complacent white Americans more than the prospect of America having an overtly nonwhite president."
SOURCE: WaPo (6-22-08)
Lingering racial bias affects the public's assessments of the Democrat from Illinois, but offsetting advantages and Sen. John McCain's age could be bigger factors in determining the next occupant of the White House.
Overall, 51 percent call the current state of race relations "excellent" or "good," about the same as said so five years ago. That is a relative thaw from more negative ratings in the 1990s, but the gap between whites and blacks on the issue is now the widest it has been in polls dating to early 1992.
More than six in 10 African Americans now rate race relations as "not so good" or "poor," while 53 percent of whites hold more positive views. Opinions are also divided along racial lines, though less so, on whether blacks face discrimination. There is more similarity on feelings of personal racial prejudice: Thirty percent of whites and 34 percent of blacks admit such sentiments.
At the same time, there is an overwhelming public openness to the idea of electing an African American to the presidency. In a Post-ABC News poll last month, nearly nine in 10 whites said they would be comfortable with a black president. While fewer whites, about two-thirds, said they would be "entirely comfortable" with it, that was more than double the percentage of all adults who said they would be so at ease with someone entering office for the first time at age 72, which McCain (R-Ariz.) would do should he prevail in November.
SOURCE: WaPo (6-20-08)
Since the day the symbol of the country's military might was attacked nearly seven years ago, a great deal of effort has gone into further limiting public access to the site. It has been wrapped in barricades, elaborate security systems and signs prohibiting photography.
But just as the grief and sympathy that came after the Sept. 11 attacks eroded whatever psychological barrier existed between the public and the Pentagon, the memorial attempts to make that relationship a lasting physical reality. The Pentagon Memorial will allow the camera-wielding public free access 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Visitors will find a parklike open space that is intricately beautiful, meticulously crafted and almost entirely at odds with the monolith that serves as its backdrop.
By almost any measure, it is not a good location for a major attraction. The area is tangled with traffic during commuter hours. The public will be barred from parking near the site. And wayward tourists might find themselves in awkward encounters with officers of the Pentagon Force Protection Agency (PFPA), the hyper-vigilant security service that polices the Pentagon Reservation.
In short, said PFPA Director Steven E. Calvery, the Pentagon "was not designed to be a welcoming and nice place to visit, like the Mall."
SOURCE: WaPo (6-19-08)
Banneker, founded in 1948 in the community of St. Louis near Middleburg and named after African American mathematician and astronomer Benjamin Banneker, was racially integrated in 1968. Today it is the only one of Loudoun's historically black elementary schools still operating. The others were demolished, vacated or converted to other purposes.
On Saturday, a few hundred alumni, students, parents and teachers assembled at Banneker to commemorate the school's 60th anniversary in a celebration that included tours, displays of historical photographs and the performance of an original musical about Benjamin Banneker, the man.
Arthur Lloyd, a 1958 graduate who attended the festivities, said the institution has come a long way.
SOURCE: WaPo (6-19-08)
Kucinich tells us he's giving the House Judiciary Committee 30 days to act on his resolution proposing 35 articles of impeachment against President Bush before he raises even more hell on the House floor. This time, he says, he'll go back with perhaps 60 articles of impeachment.
"The minute the leadership said, 'This is dead on arrival,' I said that I hope they believe in life after death, because I'm coming back with it," Kucinich vowed in an interview. "It's not going to die."
Name of source: Times (UK)
SOURCE: Times (UK) (6-22-08)
When Meir became prime minister of Israel in 1969, the Jewish state that she had done so much to bring into existence was barely 20 years old and faced Arab nations committed to its destruction. Already 70 years old and often in poor health, she was widely seen as a stopgap leader who would be shunted aside once the right man came along. For a nation that had already fought three wars and was in thrall to its dashing military commanders, a small, wrinkled grandmother who wore baggy dresses and shuffled around in orthopaedic shoes seemed an unlikely saviour.
Yet in the five years that Golda held office, she would stamp her personality indelibly on a country where fierce political feuding was the norm and any sign of weakness could be fatal. Beyond Israel she became a global celebrity, regularly voted the world’s most admired woman in opinion polls. Chain-smoking her way from the UN to the White House, Downing Street to the Elysée Palace, she became, in the words of one observer, “a symbol of the new Israel, its courage, strength and boundless devotion”.
Much the same was said of Moshe Dayan, the legendary general with the black eye patch who in 1967 had led Israel to a famous victory in the six-day war. He was serving as minister of defence in Golda’s cabinet when Egypt and Syria launched an overwhelming surprise attack in October 1973 that began on Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement and the holiest day in the Jewish calendar. Utterly unprepared, with too few soldiers guarding its borders, Israel was brought almost to its knees and feared another Holocaust as Arab tanks crushed its defences and advanced towards civilian population centres.
So great was the threat to Israel’s survival that Golda reportedly prepared a doomsday scenario: she ordered the country’s nuclear arsenal be made ready. Thirteen small nuclear bombs were strapped to the underbellies of Phantom jets ready to scramble, in case Israel faced defeat.
How these two towering figures coped with the threat to Israel’s survival is examined at length in a new biography of Golda Meir by the distinguished American author Elinor Burkett. Drawing on five years of research, Burkett arrives at an intriguing conclusion: contrary to popular belief, it was the self-described “old lady”, unable to remember how many troops formed an army division, who was the real hero of the war, while Dayan, Israel’s most revered soldier, had buckled and contemplated surrender.
SOURCE: Times (UK) (6-20-08)
In fact, only one of the last five June election-year polling averages has correctly predicted the popular vote winner in November - Bill Clinton in 1996. Even then, the polls missed his win-margin by more than 9 percent.
As hard as it may be to believe, Michael Dukakis (left) was leading the first George Bush by an average of 8.2 percent in June of 1988. Bush went on to win the general election by 7.8 points.
Mr Bush led the relatively unknown Bill Clinton by 4.9 percent In June of '92, but managed to lose in November by 5.6 percent.
June 1996 polls showed the incumbent President Clinton leading by a whopping 17 points, but even Bob Dole managed to close the gap to a more respectable 8.5 percent.
2000 was different only in that George W. Bush led by 4.7 percent in June, won the election, but lost the popular vote to Al Gore by 0.5 percent.
And finally, John Kerry led in the June 2004 polls by an average of 0.9 percent, but lost the popular vote, and the election, to the incumbent Bush by 2.4 points.
Name of source: WSJ
SOURCE: WSJ (6-21-08)
A highly decorated war veteran who opposes the Iraq war, Sen. Webb is considered by many Democrats to be the best person to go into battle against another war hero, expected Republican nominee Sen. John McCain. The ex-Marine, who hails from the important swing state of Virginia, could also become Sen. Barack Obama's go-to person on national security, where the Democratic presidential candidate's résumé is weak compared with rival Sen. McCain's....
Descended from Scottish-Irish settlers who became pioneers in the Virginia mountains, Sen. Webb was born in Missouri into a military family that moved some 20 times during his childhood. He graduated from the Naval Academy in 1968 and went into the Marine Corps, where he served as a rifle platoon and company commander in Vietnam. He earned several medals for valor including the Navy Cross, one of the military's highest honors, in part for using his own body to shield a fellow soldier from an exploding grenade.
After returning to the U.S. due to combat injuries, he became a staffer for then-Navy Secretary John Warner (who's now the senior senator from Virginia).
He graduated from law school, and then cycled through a series of congressional and Defense Department jobs dealing with veterans' issues, culminating in his 1987 appointment as Secretary of the Navy, though he quit in anger in 1988 over funding cutbacks.
SOURCE: WSJ (6-19-08)
In 2006, the Chinese Association of South Africa sued the government, claiming that its members were being discriminated against because they were being treated as whites and thus failed to qualify for business contracts and job promotions reserved for victims of apartheid. The association successfully argued that, since Chinese-South Africans had been treated unequally under apartheid, they should be reclassified in order to redress wrongs of the past.
Name of source: http://www.fwf.ac
SOURCE: http://www.fwf.ac (6-23-08)
The Syrian deserts have long kept an important secret hidden deep beneath their sands – the remains of the pre-Roman Hellenistic settlement of Palmyra. Until now, the only evidence for the existence of such a settlement was to be found in historical writing. As part of an FWF-funded joint project, the Institute of Classical Archaeology at the University of Vienna, the German Archaeological Institute and the Directorate General of Antiquities and Museums in Syria have been the first to track down the location of this early city. Moreover, their findings are now producing a unique insight into the structures of a pre-Roman Hellenistic settlement.
"Although a settlement dating back to the second millennium BC has already been identified as Palmyra, a new settlement was evidently established at another site in the third century BC and was later abandoned in the Roman period. While we know a great deal about the later Roman city, the Hellenistic settlement of Palmyra has never been investigated," explains Project Manager Prof. Andreas Schmidt-Colinet from the Institute of Classical Archaeology at the University of Vienna."The current investigation gives us a unique opportunity to analyse the transition from the Hellenistic period to the time of the Roman Empire by studying the settlement structures that have been uncovered here over a wide area."
CHRONOLOGY OF THE SETTLEMENT & TRADE ROUTES In view of the large size of the area, the project has thus far focussed on small sections of the ancient urban settlement structures. This work is already yielding results, particularly as regards the chronology of the individual phases of construction and the trade and commercial background of the Hellenistic"Sand City". The investigations show that building activities were divided across various major phases stretching from the third century B.C. to the end of the third century A.D. This indicates that the site could have fallen out of use around the time when the city was conquered by the Roman emperor Aurelian or around the construction of the wall under the emperor Diocletian.
Pottery finds are particularly important for helping to determine the trade routes used by the citizens of Palmyra. Overall, the archaeologists have found far larger amounts of local domestic pottery than imported ceramic goods from other areas. Nevertheless, amphorae from Rhodes – large clay containers used to transport wine – and goods imported from Africa show that Palmyra had connections with far flung corners of the world from the late Hellenistic period until the late Roman period. Prof. Schmidt-Colinet comments on the team’s discoveries:"Our pottery finds reveal a continuous progression of Hellenistic-Roman ceramics over a period of 600 years. What’s more, we now have the first ever archaeological evidence for a Hellenistic settlement with continuous habitation over six centuries extending into the Roman period."
ANIMALS ON THE MENU
The team of archaeologists has also uncovered initial evidence for the keeping and usage of domestic animals."Kitchen waste" shows that the inhabitants kept and ate primarily sheep and goats, as well as dromedaries, cattle and pigs. In contrast, gazelles, wildfowl and fish seldom appeared on the menus of the Hellenistic inhabitants of Palmyra.
Looking to the future, the archaeologists aim to completely uncover a monumental courtyard-type structure at the centre of the Hellenistic settlement that has close parallels with Syrian caravan structures. However, the team is not just hoping to reveal how or why the individual rooms were built, it also wants to determine the overall importance of the structure for the city of Palmyra. At the end of the project, the findings from the excavations, which have been made possible by the FWF, will be combined with aerial photographs and structures that are still visible above ground to provide a topographical map of Palmyra.
Name of source: Sam Tanenhaus in the NYT
SOURCE: Sam Tanenhaus in the NYT (6-22-08)
As the cold war raged, conservatives opposed to the centrist policies of President Dwight D. Eisenhower backed a constitutional amendment granting Congress the authority to curtail presidential treaty-making powers. It came within a single vote of passage in the Senate in 1954.
The battle was also fought on the intellectual front. In his book “Congress and the American Tradition,” the conservative thinker James Burnham argued that the Founders had envisioned a government in which “the preponderating share of power was held and exercised by the legislature,” primarily the House, since its members were directly accountable to their local constituents, unlike presidents, who wielded power through Caesarist manipulations of “the mob.”
Name of source: Annenberg Political Fact Check
SOURCE: Annenberg Political Fact Check (6-21-08)
His description of his upbringing and work history are accurate. He describes the "strong values" he says he learned from his mother and her parents. But when Obama discusses his legislative accomplishments, he leaves out some important context.
The ad talks about laws that Obama "passed," but in fact, he sponsored only one of the three bills mentioned and cosponsored another. The third included provisions from some bills he'd sponsored earlier, but his name wasn't attached to the one that passed. And two of the three laws were accomplishments of the Illinois Legislature, not the U.S. Senate.
Name of source: http://www.app.com
SOURCE: http://www.app.com (6-19-08)
A May letter from the state Department of Environmental Protection's Division of Parks and Forestry gave a thumbs down to the Monmouth Junction route's proposed crossing of the famed Revolutionary War battle site.
The letter cites adverse effects from commuter trains on the park — which is crossed by rails where a freight train runs — and from more drivers using Route 522 to reach a proposed station in Manalapan near the park.
Name of source: http://www.tfponline.com
SOURCE: http://www.tfponline.com (6-2-08)
With Gov. Sonny Perdue’s final approval of $3 million in bonds last month, local and state officials believe the development of a Resaca Battlefield park near the Gordon-Whitfield county line is secured.
The facility will become a clearinghouse of Civil War information, and be complete before an influx in heritage tourists expected in 2011, the 150th anniversary of the war’s beginning.
Groundbreaking on the visitors center is expected late this summer.
“The Resaca battle was the beginning of the end of the Confederacy,” said John Culpepper, chairman of the Georgia Civil War Commission and Chickamauga city manager. “The war ended in Georgia.”
Name of source: http://www.examiner.com
SOURCE: http://www.examiner.com (6-19-08)
Researchers extensively photographed and mapped the home of the first major land battle of the Civil War for months, selecting 25 lookouts, including the 10 most pivotal ones to visitors, that they will attempt to preserve from new construction of roads, office parks and apartment buildings.
“When you are trying to visualize the battles, you don’t want to have those distractions,” said Bill Olson, vice chairman of the Prince William Conservation Alliance. “You don’t want to look out on traffic jams or cell phone towers just beyond the fringe of the battlefield.”
Name of source: Fox News
SOURCE: Fox News (6-20-08)
The guided walking tours showcase historical city sites where significant events in Hitler's life took place, many of which most Munich natives today are no longer aware of, including the world-famous Hofbraeuhaus beer hall, where Hitler gave his first public speech in 1918.
Born in Braunau, Austria, Hitler made Munich his home in 1913, before World War I.
Eric Loerke, 57, a U.S. national and longtime Munich resident, conducts the walks in English for tour guide firm Munichwalktours, with a maximum of 25 visitors on each Third Reich Tour.
Name of source: National Geographic News
SOURCE: National Geographic News (6-18-08)
Egyptian archaeologists discovered the two presses with large crosses carved across them near St. Catherine's Monastery, a sixth-century A.D. complex near Mount Sinai on the Sinai Peninsula.
Name of source: http://lohud.com
SOURCE: http://lohud.com (6-19-08)
But some Putnam officials now say the paid post of county historian is expendable. Eliminating it would require a charter change but would save the financially strapped county about $31,000 a year in part-time salary and benefits.
Under a proposal informally presented to the Legislature by the administration, the nine town and village historians would elect one of their own to serve unpaid, rotating stints as county historian.
Opponents say the underlying goal is to remove current County Historian Alan Warnecke, long a thorn in the side of County Executive Robert Bondi and the Legislature for his efforts to preserve and promote the late 18th-century Hill-Agor farm in Mahopac.
"They're trying to push him out and shut him up," said William McCormack of Mahopac Falls, a member of the now-defunct Lake MacGregor advisory board. In 2003, the county purchased the Hill-Agor farm as part of a 375-acre open-space acquisition that included a former airstrip and what is now the 18-hole Putnam National Golf Club.
Name of source: Politico.com
SOURCE: Politico.com (6-19-08)
“Obama said he'd be particularly interested in having high-ranking Republicans advising him on defense and national security. ‘I really admire the way the elder Bush negotiated the end of the cold war—with discipline, tough diplomacy and restraint ... and I'd be very interested in having those sorts of Republicans in my Administration, especially people who can expedite a responsible and orderly conclusion to the Iraq war—and who know how to keep the hammer down on al-Qaeda.’ When I asked him specifically if he would want to retain Robert Gates as Secretary of Defense, Obama said, ‘I'm not going to let you pin me down ... but I'd certainly be interested in the sort of people who served in the first Bush Administration.’ Gates was George H.W. Bush's CIA director—and he has been a superb Secretary of Defense … Associates say Gates might stay if he believed the security of the troops was at stake.”
Name of source: Telegraph (UK)
SOURCE: Telegraph (UK) (6-18-08)
Florence's city council has approved a motion revoking a sentence on Dante from 1302 which stated that he would be executed if he stepped foot in the city again.
The sentence forced Dante into exile and he spent the last 20 years of his life wandering through Italy, finally ending his days in Ravenna in 132
Who Was Dante?
Name of source: Time
SOURCE: Time (6-18-08)
Since then, Juneteenth has been a day of celebration for many African Americans, a de facto second Independence Day commemorating the end of slavery and a first step toward inclusion in the greater American dream. It's a bittersweet holiday, "a time of celebration, but also a time of reflection, healing, and hopefully a time for the country to come together and deal with its slave legacy," says the Rev. Ronald V. Meyers, chairman of the National Juneteenth Observance Foundation. Meyers has worked for almost 15 years to get Juneteenth recognized by state legislatures. Currently, a little more than half of U.S. states acknowledge Juneteenth in some form or another, usually on the third Saturday of June.
Name of source: International Herald Tribune
SOURCE: International Herald Tribune (6-17-08)
Then, in December, Arya finally opened the crates. What he discovered is a remarkable photographic record of modern Indian history, including thousands of images from the last days of the Raj through the 1960s, many of which have never been published. The archive has excited historians who believe it may shed new light on key moments in India's independence movement. It has also attracted attention for the commercial value of its images of historical figures ranging from Mahatma Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru to Jacqueline Kennedy.
"It is a real find," said Raghuraj Sing Chauhan, director of public relations and exhibitions at India's National Museum. "They are historically important for the freedom struggle because many of these are quite rare photos."
Name of source: http://www.wral.com
SOURCE: http://www.wral.com (6-18-08)
The flag was carried by the 18th Regiment North Carolina Troops, which was responsible for the accidental shooting of the Confederate general at Chancellorsville, Va., on May 2, 1863. Severely injured by gunfire, Jackson died a week later of pneumonia.
The regiment's battle flag was captured by Union soldiers during the battle, and the Museum of History never knew of its existence until 1992, when the flag's eventual owner sent museum officials a letter.
Tom Walsh, a New Jersey college professor, loaned the historic banner to the museum in 1993, and it was conserved and appeared in a previous exhibit. Recently, Walsh offered to donate a partial value of the flag to the museum, and the museum purchased the remaining value last month.
Name of source: CIA
SOURCE: CIA (3-25-08)
The tunnel was 1,476 feet in length and consumed 125 tons of steel liner plate and 1,000 cubic yards of grout . . . This was not a small operation!
Name of source: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2008/jun/19/secondworldwar
SOURCE: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2008/jun/19/secondworldwar (6-19-08)
Now, six decades after José Castellanos helped to save 25,000 Jews by granting bogus nationality certificates, the story of the central American nation's consul general to Switzerland during the second world war has been rediscovered.
"The memory of our father is out of the desk, out of the drawers and on the table again," Frieda Garcia, one of the diplomat's daughters, told a news conference at El Salvador's embassy in Washington this week, amid calls for Castellanos to be honoured posthumously by Israel.
Castellanos, an army colonel, served as a diplomat in Liverpool and Hamburg before being posted to Geneva in 1942 where he befriended a Romanian Jew, Gyorgy Mandl.
To protect Mandl he appointed him to the fictitious post of first secretary and amended his name to the more Latino-sounding George Mandel-Mantello.