"We need to talk to them"A former U.S. ambassador who met with Hamas leaders on a recent Middle East trip says the Bush administration urgently needs more diplomacy.
By Kathleen Haley
Feb. 25, 2006 | Robert Keeley is an outspoken critic of George W. Bush's Middle East policies. He also believes in the importance of diplomacy. That's why the retired U.S. diplomat met with Middle East leaders that the Bush administration condemns.
Keeley, a former U.S. ambassador to Greece, Zimbabwe and Mauritius, was one of seven members of a delegation that observed the Palestinian elections last month and traveled to Israel, the West Bank and Gaza, Egypt, Lebanon, Syria and Jordan. They were the first former American diplomats to meet with Hamas members. They also met with Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad, Lebanese President Emile Lahoud and Amr Moussa, the secretary-general of the Arab League.
The delegation was organized by the Council for the National Interest, a group that is highly critical of U.S. policy in the Middle East, in particular what it regards as America's unbalanced support for Israel. CNI, which contains both a nonprofit lobby and an educational foundation, was founded by Paul Findley, a former Republican congressman from Illinois who lost his seat in 1982 after he was targeted by AIPAC, the powerful pro-Israeli lobby.
Salon talked with Keeley about his visit to the Middle East in a recent telephone interview.
Your delegation met with major Hamas leaders, including Mahmoud al-Zahar, Shaikh Naif Rajoub and Khaled Mashaal. Your group also met with many other leaders in the Middle East, including the presidents of Lebanon and Syria. How was your delegation received by these leaders?
Well, they were, I would say, more than welcoming. They were eager to have Americans they could talk to. We were horrified in a way that we had had such easy access. Because that means that other people did not have access, or are not bothering to try to get access. These people are rather desperate to get their message out, and to talk to Americans. I suppose they thought we might be sympathetic, but they didn't necessarily know exactly what our views were. They gave us lots of time; they were never hurried.( Collapse )
White House 'Discovers' 250 Emails Related to Plame Leak
By Jason Leopold
t r u t h o u t | Report
Friday 24 February 2006
The White House turned over last week 250 pages of emails from
Vice President Dick Cheney's office. Senior aides had sent the emails
in the spring of 2003 related to the leak of covert CIA operative
Valerie Plame Wilson, Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald revealed
during a federal court hearing Friday.
The emails are said to be explosive, and may prove that Cheney
played an active role in the effort to discredit Plame Wilson's
husband, former Ambassador Joseph Wilson, a vocal critic of the Bush
administration's prewar Iraq intelligence, sources close to the
( Collapse )
Will she or won't she? Cate Blanchett as a recovering drug addict who manages a video store in Cabramatta, a suburb of Sydney.
Clean and Dry, for Now, in Australia's Heroin Capital
To sink or to swim: that is the question. In "Little Fish," Cate Blanchett does both. The great Australian actress sinks into the role Tracy Heart, a 32-year-old recovering drug addict who manages a video store in Cabramatta, a Sydney suburb nicknamed Little Saigon for its large Vietnamese population and known as the heroin capital of Australia. As in all her screen performances, Ms. Blanchett immerses herself completely in her character, a damaged, high-strung woman determined to live the straight life while surrounded by temptation.
Recurrent scenes that push the sink-or-swim metaphor too insistently show Tracy doing laps in a pool, treading water and dunking and bobbing to the surface, anxious, watchful, impatient to get on with her life. Will she stay off drugs? To its credit, the thorny, compelling drama, directed by Rowan Woods from a screenplay by Jacquelin Perske, is more concerned with examining the conflicted, complicated relationships among its characters than with exploiting the will-she-or-won't-she aspect of Tracy's perilous situation.( Collapse )