He Will Still Be Confirmed, Want To Bet?


The sad decline of Michael MukaseyHis reputation for integrity was meant to restore credibility to the Justice Department. Instead, his remarks on waterboarding show that he, like Alberto Gonzales, has let the White House call the shots.

By Sidney Blumenthal

Nov. 01, 2007 When President Bush nominated Michael Mukasey as attorney general his distinguished career was offered as guarantee of his integrity and independence. A former federal district judge, senior partner at a major law firm and former assistant U.S. attorney, well known and widely respected by the New York bar, he appeared to have the experience and balance needed to restore trust to the battered Justice Department. The previous attorney general, Alberto Gonzales, had been an eager plaything of the White House, a factotum from Texas who faithfully followed orders to politicize and purge for partisan purposes. While Mukasey espouses conservative views upholding an expansive interpretation of the executive, and argues that warrantless domestic surveillance is therefore justified, Democratic senators on the Judiciary Committee were still willing to give him the benefit of the doubt.
Then Mukasey was questioned about whether waterboarding — a technique of forced drowning first used in the Spanish Inquisition and by orders of the Bush administration applied to accused terrorist detainees — is torture. At great length, the nominee feigned lack of knowledge: “I think it would be irresponsible of me to discuss particular techniques with which I am not familiar when there are people who are using coercive techniques and who are being authorized to use coercive techniques. And for me to say something that is going to put their careers or freedom at risk simply because I want to be congenial, I don’t think it would be responsible of me to do that.” Questioned further, he said, “If it amounts to torture, it is not constitutional.” But he would not say whether it was torture.
All 10 Democratic senators on the committee sent Mukasey a letter asking him to clarify whether waterboarding is torture. On Oct. 30, the nominee replied in four convoluted pages. He called waterboarding “over the line” and “repugnant” on “a personal basis,” but adopted the lawyerly pose that it was merely an academic issue: “Hypotheticals are different from real life and in any legal opinion the actual facts and circumstances are critical.”
Mukasey’s retreat into abstraction, however, did not shield him from controversy. On the contrary, Democratic senators on the committee now declared that his nomination was in jeopardy. With his deliberately opaque replies, Mukasey had failed to protect himself, but instead in a stroke exposed himself to rejection. He did not suddenly find himself in trouble because he was an outsider to Washington. Nor had he committed a gaffe or a slip of the tongue, or displayed strange behavior. The nominee who was to be the break from Gonzales was acting remarkably like Gonzales.
Mukasey is not a free agent. He had been strictly briefed and in his testimony was following orders. He has avoided calling waterboarding torture because that is consistent with the administration’s position and past practice. Mukasey’s refusal to disavow waterboarding reveals his acceptance of his assignment to a secondary role as attorney general, an inferior agent, not a constitutional officer, to certain political appointees in the White House.
Those who are responsible for waterboarding have defined and dictated Mukasey’s evasions. His acquiescence demonstrates that no one in his position could take a contrary view to that of David Addington, Vice President Cheney’s former counsel and now chief of staff, who directed and coauthored the infamous memos by former deputy assistant director of the Office of Legal Counsel John Yoo justifying torture, and charged the current acting director of OLC, Stephen Bradbury, to issue new memos rationalizing it.
Addington is the reigning legal authority within the administration, presiding over the attorney general no matter who would fill the job. Addington rules by decree and tantrum, intolerant of any alternative opinion, which he suppresses with intimidation and threat. Gonzales, as White House counsel and then attorney general, was the marionette of Karl Rove and Addington. Rove is gone, but Addington remains.
In his confirmation hearings, Mukasey has proved he will dance as the strings are pulled. His positions on waterboarding express precisely the relationship between the Bush White House and its Justice Department. Mukasey’s testimony telegraphs that the White House will continue to call the shots. He has already ceded the essence of his power even before assuming it. His vaunted integrity and independence have been crushed, short work for Addington.
Addington’s dominion over the law — controlling the writing of the president’s executive orders and the memos from OLC, the office of the White House counsel and the carefully placed network of general counsels throughout the federal government’s departments and agencies — is a well-established and central aspect of Cheney’s power. Addington has been indispensable to the vice president since he served as his counsel on the joint congressional committee investigating the Iran-Contra scandal, when Cheney was the ranking minority member. In that capacity, Addington wrote, under Cheney’s signature, the notorious minority report that was an early clarion call for the imperial presidency.
Addington and Cheney’s report decried Congress for its “hysteria” over the Iran-Contra scandal, which involved the selling of missiles to Iran to finance arms for the Nicaraguan Contras against explicit congressional legislation. The Constitution, they argued, “leaves little, if any doubt that the president was expected to have the primary role of conducting the foreign policy of the United States.” They added: “Congressional actions to limit the president in this area therefore should be reviewed with a considerable degree of skepticism. If they interfere with the core presidential foreign policy functions, they should be struck down.”
The Cheney minority report was the doctrinal basis for the Bush presidency: the unitary executive, the commander in chief ruling in wartime by fiat and, ultimately, torture being defined as whatever the president, not the Geneva Conventions, said it was. Addington’s authorship of the Cheney Iran-Contra report was largely overlooked until fairly recently, but his deeper connection to that scandal and its resonance have received little attention.
In the 1980s, Addington, then in his 20s, served as deputy counsel to CIA director William Casey, the moving force behind the Iran-Contra affair and the most powerful figure in the Reagan administration after the president. Along with other hotshots in the counsel’s office, Addington was part of what became known within the agency as the “Lawless Group,” named after Richard Lawless, a CIA operative who was a close assistant to Casey, according to a former senior CIA official. After Casey’s death, Rep. Dick Cheney co-opted the “Lawless Group,” putting its members in key positions when he was secretary of defense during the first Bush administration and vice president in the second. (Lawless, for example, after working as Jeb Bush’s business partner, served as deputy undersecretary of defense, retiring this past April.)
“A lot of the decisions on Iran-Contra were signed off by the counsel’s office,” a longtime senior CIA official told me. “It was not a renegade operation. It had lawyers, just like now. Everything they were doing was run by the general counsel’s office and Addington was deputy. You may draw your own conclusions, as the Russians say.” In fact, the role of the counsel’s office surfaced in the trial of Alan Fiers, the CIA agent in charge of the Central American Task Force, who pleaded guilty to misleading Congress. But that role was never investigated or ever really reported.
“These guys don’t like the mainstream CIA. In fact, they hate it,” the CIA official explained. “They don’t like information unless it fits what they want to hear. They hate the CIA because the CIA tells them what they don’t want to hear. They want assessments that prove ideological points. They are looking for simplistic answers to complicated issues. They inhabit a make-believe world of moving up into perceived areas of expertise. It’s the same guys; they all resurface when Republicans are back in power. It’s the same group. It’s a system. The similarities are amazing in all these wars we’ve been dragged into.”
Casey is the half-forgotten forefather of the radical Bush presidency. A clandestine agent of the Office of Strategic Services during World War II, the intelligence group predating the CIA, Casey became a wealthy and politically influential lawyer. He was among the original godfathers of the conservative movement, serving on the board of the right-wing Regnery publishing house, operating as financier of William F. Buckley Jr.’s National Review and founding conservative think tank the Manhattan Institute.
An avid supporter of Richard Nixon‘s, Casey was appointed chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission and president of the Import-Export Bank. Casey regarded the Watergate scandal as a mere political attack, “political shenanigans,” as he described it to Nixon in a private letter in May 1973. In 1980, Casey was director of Reagan’s campaign. After the election he wanted to be named secretary of state, but settled for CIA director.
“By God, we’ve got to get rid of the lawyers!” he told William Webster, Reagan’s FBI director. Tim Weiner, in his newly published history of the CIA, “Legacy of Ashes,” writes, “Like Nixon, he believed that if it’s secret, it’s legal.” “Casey was an inappropriate choice,” said former CIA director George H.W. Bush.
Casey conducted his own foreign policy, relying on secret methods and men of action. His rival, Reagan Secretary of State George Shultz, remarked, “The CIA’s intelligence was in many cases simply Bill Casey’s ideology.” “Casey had made of himself a clandestine secretary of State,” wrote his biographer Joseph Persico in “The Lives and Secrets of William J. Casey: From the OSS to the CIA.” “His involvements in Afghanistan, China, the Philippines, Iran, and Central America had not been simply those of a spy chief but those of a covert foreign minister.”
Casey chose Lt. Col. Oliver North to run the covert Contra operation and suggested to him plans for illegal supply in violation of the Boland Amendment and how to use a middleman for selling arms to Iran. The final report of the joint congressional committee on the Iran-Contra scandal concluded: “We believe that the late Director of Central Intelligence, William Casey, encouraged North, gave him direction and promoted the concept of an extra-legal covert organization.” “The person who managed this whole affair was Casey,” said Abraham Sofaer, then the State Department’s counsel.
Before congressional committees, Casey falsely testified that the CIA was unaware of the shipment of missiles to Iran. His perjury was exactly the same as that of then National Security Advisor John Poindexter, on the same question, and it is likely he would have been indicted, faced trial and been convicted, like Poindexter. Casey’s then deputy, Robert Gates, now secretary of defense, said, “Casey was guilty of contempt of Congress from the day he was sworn in.” Adm. Bobby Inman, who preceded Gates as deputy, had resigned because, he said, “I caught him lying to me in a number of cases.” Inman’s immediate successor as deputy, John McMahon, quit after opposing the Iranian arms deal. After a week of mumbling appearances before Congress, Casey collapsed from a cancerous brain tumor and died.
Casey’s closest aides — including the Lawless Group — scattered. Cheney promptly hired Addington. As his counsel, Addington attacked the investigation, defended the administration and covered up his own involvement in the Casey operation. One former prominent Democratic Senate staff member who had directed the probe told me that the Democrats were unaware of Addington’s link to Casey. If they had been they would have raised it as a dangerous conflict of interest and demanded that he be removed. “Addington never should have been permitted to work on the committee,” he said. “But no one paid attention to his background. It wasn’t important.”
Cheney’s defense of Casey’s actions as written by Addington in the minority report became the core of the Bush doctrine: The president as commander in chief can do whatever he wants regardless of Congress. There must be no checks and balances, no accountability. There must be no disclosure to other branches of government, whether legislative or judicial. Oral findings, or, if necessary, secret memos, make the illegal legal merely by saying they are legal in the name of presidential authority. The operational need to know determines who knows.
Now Mukasey, who was supposed to restore credibility to the Justice Department, has been transformed overnight into a cog in the machine, another servant to his masters, Addington’s apologist. His brief tragedy is just one small outcome of a long history. The almost instantaneous tainting of his reputation should have been understood from the start as inevitable.


Something to Research in Your Spare Time

clipped from hosted.ap.org

The government said Richard Convertino wanted so badly to win convictions in the case that he broke the law. But Convertino’s lawyers insisted he did nothing wrong and had no reason to hide evidence against four North African men accused of operating a “sleeper” terrorist cell.

“It’s a just end to a politically motivated prosecution,” Convertino said after the verdict was read.

The jury reached its decision after less than a day of deliberations. It also acquitted Harry Smith III, a former State Department investigator.

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clipped from plum.com

Both sides confirmed it Wednesday after the judge lifted the gag order because one of the original prosecutors in the case, Richard Convertino, granted an interview to The Associated Press this week.

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URIST – Paper Chase
JURIST’s legal news weblog, powered by a team of 20 law student reporters and editors led by Professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law.

Former US prosecutor refuses to plead to obstruction charges from botched terror case

By James M Yoch Jr

[JURIST] A US federal judge Friday entered not guilty pleas for former Assistant US Attorney Richard Convertino [Wikipedia profile] and US State Department Regional Secretary Officer Harry Raymond Smith III after they stood mute to charges of conspiracy,

From: “Naveed” flanker12k@yahoo.com
Date: Wed Apr 19, :13pm(PDT)
Subject: US Officials Indicted in Botched Terror Case

US Officials Indicted in Botched Terror Case Thursday, March @ 11:11 AM Eastern Standard Time Dealing a blow to US President George W. Bush’s so-called “war on terror”, two US federal officials were charged with hiding evidence to win conviction in a terrorism case against four Muslim men following the 9/11, The New York Times reported on Thursday, March 30.
Richard Convertino, the former Detroit federal prosecutor, and Harry Raymond Smith, former security official assigned to the US Embassy in Amman, Jordan, were indicted Wednesday, March 29, on charges of conspiracy, obstruction of justice and making false declarations.

The two conspired to withhold photographs of a US military hospital in Jordan they claimed to be a target of a terror attack by four Muslim men who were arrested days after the 9/11 attacks in a dilapidated Detroit apartment.

Federal authorities claimed the men were part of a “sleeper” terrorist cell plotting attacks against Americans overseas.

Two of the men were convicted on terrorism charges after a high-profile trial in 2003.

But later, the case began to unravel amid accusations of concealed evidence and government misconduct.

The conviction was thrown in September 2004 at the request of the US Attorney’s Office, which said Convertino had withheld key evidence from the defendants and allowed witnesses to mislead the jury.


Convertino, 45, who has left the Justice Department, faces 30 years in prison and a $1 million fine if convicted.

Smith, a security officer for the State Department who assisted in the prosecution, faces 20 years in prison and a $750,000 fine.

During the trial in 2003, Convertino said that sketches, with corresponding words in Arabic, represented “casings” of two overseas targets — an American air base in Turkey and a military hospital in Jordan.

Smith also testified that one of the sketch was an “exact” match to the area surrounding the hospital.

He lied under oath after the defense team asked prosecutors to produce photographs of the site for comparison.

Smith claimed he could not take photos of a military site without permission from Jordanian authorities.

The US government agreed in February to pay $300,000 to settle an illegal detention lawsuit brought by an Egyptian man who was among hundreds of Muslims rounded up in New York after the September attacks.

Thousands of Muslim and Arabic men were rounded up and questioned in the weeks and months following the terrorist attacks.

Some of the detainees have sued the US government after their release for inhumane and degrading treatment and a total blackout of communications in detention centers on the US soil.

A May 2004 report released by the US Senate Office Of Research concluded that the Arab Americans and the Muslim community in the United States have taken the brunt of the Patriot Act and other federal powers applied in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks.

Amnesty International also repeatedly said that racial profiling by US law enforcement agencies had grown dramatically in the wake of the 9/11 attacks.

Detroit ‘Sleeper Cell’ Prosecutor Faces Probe

Detroit ‘Sleeper Cell’ Prosecutor Faces ProbeGrand Jury Considering Indictment for Misconduct
By Peter SlevinWashington Post Staff WriterSunday, November 20, 2005; A03
DETROIT — Once trumpeted as one of the Justice Department’s significant triumphs against terrorism, the case targeting the so-called “Detroit sleeper cell” began less than a week after the attack on the World Trade Center. It was only after a jury convicted two men of supporting terrorism that the flimsiness of the government’s case became clear.
As hidden evidence spilled out and the Justice Department abandoned the effort, federal investigators began to wonder whether the true conspiracy in the case was perpetrated by the prosecution.
Now a federal grand jury in Detroit is investigating whether the lead prosecutor, Richard Convertino, or anyone else should be indicted for unfairly tipping the scales.
It is a highly unusual case. No charges have been brought and many details remain secret, but information in public documents and testimony in U.S. District Court in Detroit suggest an effort by federal prosecutors and important witnesses to mislead defense lawyers and deceive the jury. U.S. District Judge Gerald E. Rosen said the government acted “outside the Constitution.”
Rosen and Justice Department investigators concluded last year that the prosecution stuck doggedly to its theory in defiance of plausible explanations and advice from other U.S. government officials. Records suggest prosecutors withheld evidence that cast doubt on their conclusions, even when ordered by superiors to deliver documents to the defense.
Convertino, who resigned from the Justice Department earlier this year to practice law in Michigan, has denied wrongdoing. He sued former Attorney General John D. Ashcroft and other superiors, accusing them of mismanaging anti-terrorism efforts and retaliating against him for testifying to Congress about those efforts. His attorneys contend that Convertino was no renegade and was closely supervised by Washington.
It would be “extremely rare for a prosecutor to face criminal charges for misconduct,” said former D.C. public corruption prosecutor Randall D. Eliason. “The key is going to be showing deliberate and willfully corrupt misconduct, as opposed to somebody who was pushing the envelope and got carried away.”
U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth threw out the retaliation claim in Convertino’s civil lawsuit in October, saying federal court was not the proper venue. He allowed another portion of Convertino’s case to proceed, though he has granted a delay while the Detroit grand jury investigation is underway.
The case of the sleeper cell that wasn’t began on Sept. 17, 2001, when federal agents searching for a suspect named Nabil al-Marabh instead found three men in a Detroit apartment where al-Marabh had once lived. Among their possessions were fake identity documents, Islamic fundamentalist cassette tapes and a videotape with footage of tourist sites.
Prosecutors charged four men — Karim Koubriti, Ahmed Hannan, Farouk Ali-Haimoud and Abdel-Ilah Elmardoudi — with conspiring to help terrorists. Convertino and his principal chief government witness, FBI agent Paul George, believed they had cracked an “operational combat cell” of Islamic terrorists.
Convertino told a jury when the trial began in March 2003 that the men were a “shadowy group” that was “planning, seeking direction, awaiting the call.” The most important piece of evidence was a day planner that included a pair of sketches.
To the prosecution, they were the maps of a terrorist. The defense dismissed them as doodles.
Seeing that one drawing said “Queen Alia Jordan,” Convertino and his team searched for a match in Jordan among an airport, hotel and military hospital that all bore the name of the former queen. FBI agent Michael Thomas and State Department security officer Harry Raymond Smith testified to seeing striking similarities between the sketch and the hospital’s surroundings.
“Every time we turned,” Smith testified, “it was getting more and more like this drawing.”
There was much discussion during the trial about whether the prosecution had photographs that could settle the debate. When Convertino asked Smith under oath whether he had taken photographs, Smith replied that diplomats “never take pictures” of a military installation because “it could cause bigger political implications.”
But Justice investigators said later that U.S. officials had taken photographs and Convertino knew it. E-mails from State Department liaison Ed Seitz reported that the photos had been forwarded to Detroit, where Convertino replied, “Thanks Ed!! We love ya.”
Justice lawyers said the photographs and the e-mails should have been disclosed. They concluded, in remarks unusually critical of a fellow prosecutor, that “misleading testimony was elicited.”
“It is difficult, if not impossible,” the lawyers wrote, “to compare the day planner sketches with the photos and see a correlation between the documents and the hospital site.”
Thomas told investigators after the trial that Jordanian intelligence officers believed the drawing more resembled the airport. But he testified differently, telling the jury: “We presented this document to the Jordanians. They said, ‘We believe this is the military hospital.’ ” Convertino said a second day planner drawing portrayed Incirlik Air Base in Turkey. This time he introduced photographs. Thomas testified that the match was “almost identical,” while Air Force Lt. Col. Mary Peterson described the sketch as “pre-operational surveillance.”
What no one on the prosecution team revealed was that other military analysts thought the drawing was not a bomber’s map of Incirlik, but a doodler’s depiction of a map of the Middle East.
The Justice review team said Peterson had created the “strong inference” that all Air Force personnel agreed that an object in the drawing was a hardened bunker that existed at Incirlik. But undisclosed documents in the Air Force file called the drawing unclear and described any conclusions as “essentially opinion.”
A group of U.S. terrorism specialists in Ramstein, Germany, also studied the drawing and concluded that it might be a Middle East map. That detail took on more importance after the trial when an Air Force investigator described a conversation with FBI agent Thomas.
According to the investigator, Thomas reported that a Yemeni source named Nasser Ahmed told him his mentally unstable brother might have drawn a map of the Middle East while doodling in the day planner. Defense lawyers were never told of the potentially exculpatory evidence, as required by law.
Rosen was so troubled by another piece of hidden evidence that he conducted a December 2003 hearing to find out why the U.S. attorney’s office had failed to disclose it. The subject was a letter written by Milton “Butch” Jones, a Detroit drug gang leader awaiting sentencing on a federal murder charge.
Jones wrote to prosecutors that he had spoken in jail with Youssef Hmimssa, the only witness to tie the Detroit defendants to a terrorist cell. He quoted Hmimssa as saying he had lied to the FBI and fooled the Secret Service. Jones offered to show prosecutors his notes and take a polygraph test.
Federal prosecutor Joseph Allen testified in a post-trial hearing that he showed the letter to Convertino more than a year before Hmimssa took the witness stand. When it became clear during the trial that the letter remained secret, Allen was so upset that he notified the head of the Detroit U.S. attorney’s office criminal division, Alan Gershel.
Gershel told Rosen how, with the letter in front of him, he instructed Convertino’s co-counsel, Keith Corbett, during the trial to release it. Allen said Gershel told him later the same day that the matter had been taken care of.
But Convertino and Corbett did not release the letter. Questioned later by Rosen, Convertino said “it slipped through the cracks” and would not have helped the defense anyway. Corbett admitted a “mistake in judgment on our part,” but added that he did not recall Gershel’s order to surrender the letter.
Rosen ordered the internal Justice Department inquiry in December 2003, six months after the jury convicted Koubriti and Elmardoudi of supporting terrorism. Those two and Hannan were also convicted of document fraud. Ali-Haimoud was acquitted.
The Justice Department took its own case apart, witness by witness, and delivered scores of pages of evidence to defense lawyers. Rosen also traveled to the CIA to review classified documents.
Beyond the evidence about the trial, the Justice Department review quoted witnesses as saying that Convertino instructed an FBI agent not to fill out official reports on the lengthy interviews of Hmimssa, the questionable witness. The FBI reports — standard procedure — would have been accessible to defense lawyers.
Defense lawyers, who had accused the prosecution of concealing evidence and knowingly using false testimony, felt vindicated.
“This was, for lack of a better term, a conspiracy to present a fraudulent case to the court,” said Detroit defense lawyer William Swor, who represented Elmardoudi. “They took what was a reasonable concern under the circumstances and turned it into a witch hunt.”
Staff writer Carol D. Leonnig in Washington contributed to this report.

There is something very curious going on
Justice Disputes Key Terror Case Evidence

Well, it’s not curious really, if you suspect the level to which disinformation is being sent out to terrorize the American public.

For those of you who haven’t been following this, let me explain. The press, (all mass media, newspapers and TV outlets), earlier in the week had been spewing forth the news story that Las Vegas officials were told about terror threats, and those rascals cared more about making money than saving lives. And Las Vegas officials and Casinos suppressed the public’s right to know. Those evil Bastards! You are either for GW Bush, or you are for the Terrorists, and Vegas is for the Terrorists.

Well, now we have evidence that these news stories seem to be a malicious pack of falsehoods.

It seems you don’t need PACs or other organizations to pay for commercials, if you just let the FBI, UPI, and AP do all the heavy lifting.

The posted story above totally under-cuts the idea that the tape in question, showing the alleged casing of Las Vegas, had the slighest relation to any terrorist activity or plans.


Update 10/31/07

Why this matters (to some people)

clipped from groups.yahoo.com
Re: [911TruthAction] 9/11 Video Fakery Prison Planet
What is left to believe in if I can’t trust Prison Planet? What
site can I go to for real inside honest info that is not controlled by
the enemy? Rense? Rumor Mill News?Any suggestions?
TV fakery is
completely banned at the Prison Planet forum. How can that be? Don’t
those nice people want to be informed?
Poor me, I need a new messiah.
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Update 10/30/07

Joseph Cannon adds to the idiocy.

Breakthroughs on the coke jet story

Adnan Khashoggi is the individual who owns Genesis Communications Network, famous for hosting such heavyweight radio personalities as Alex Jones, self proclaimed “Grandfather of the 9/11 Truth Movement,” and Jeff Rense.


Nico Haupt’s work is so shoddy here (as shown below) that it becomes unconsciouable:



This video should be debunked (on both sides).

Yes, AJ is missing key details of 9/11. (The contention that Adnan Khashoggi owns Alex/GCN is not proven. Reporting such is either extremely sloppy or it’s disinfo).

Yes, this video tries to make some “no planer” points that don’t prove the contention, and may be disinfo.

There are Khashoggi connections to 9/11 Truthers as described here:

clipped from www.plum.com

A John Gray Dossier

Brian Salter
questionsquestions.net, 9 September 2004

29 September 2004:

More information continues to circulate among 9/11 researchers
who have been following the John Gray – Ramy el Batrawi – Adnan
Khashoggi connection. The following two articles are examples of
more direct proof from mainstream media sources of the el Batrawi
– Khashoggi partnership extending back years before the Genesis
Intermedia affair. Even more alarmingly, the events in question
involve a company funded by el Batrawi and Khashoggi which was caught
engaging in illegal arms shipments to Iran. (note that the first
article uses an alternate spelling, Ramy El Batrawi = Remy Al Batswani).

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Journalism Update from the University of Texas

Revealing her bias toward belief that she is guided by a higher power, and believing that Rather is an Icon (rather than that the traitor from which Hannity would withhold his “You are a great American” comment), Ms. Page writes a nice column.

A Rather englightening experience
It was 6:45 a.m. and I was boarding the early morning Jet Blue flight from Austin to New York City. My blurry and emotionally drained state had obviously fogged my perception because when I said “excuse me” to the gentleman sitting in the aisle seat of my row and scooted past him, I did not recognize he was Dan Rather. After I gathered my bearings and settled into my window seat, I realized out of the corner of my eye that Dan Rather, remarkably one of the most visible and well-known journalists of the 20th century, was sitting directly next to me reading The New York Times.
I knew that it was no coincidence that I, an aspiring journalist, was sitting next to such an expert. I like to call situations like that a “God thing.” I couldn’t pass up the chance to have a conversation with him.
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White House Withholds Hundreds of Abramoff Documents

clipped from www.yubanet.com
Today Chairman Waxman asks White House Counsel Fred Fielding to turn over more than 600 pages of documents relating to the activities of convicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff that are being withheld because they involve internal White House deliberations.
The text of the letter follows:
Dear Mr. Fielding:
The White House is withholding hundreds of pages of documents about the activities of convicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff on the grounds that these documents involve internal White House deliberations. Unless the President is prepared to assert executive privilege over these documents, they should be turned over to the Oversight Committee without further delay.
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Also noted:

Breaking: FEC tags Cunningham briber Mitchell Wade and his old company MZM with $1 million fine–second largest in FEC history–for campaign finance violations. According to the FEC:

Mr. Wade used MZM corporate funds to reimburse employees and their spouses for contributions to the campaign committees of Representatives Virgil Goode and Katherine Harris.

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