March 11th, 2007

Chris Keeley

Despite its ubiquity, addiction is often misunderstood, as some of the film’s subjects lament. Paren

Despite its ubiquity, addiction is often misunderstood, as some of the film’s subjects lament. Parents are blamed for a child’s addiction; managed care companies restrict treatment; relapse is seen as a moral failure, rather than a normal stage on the road to recovery from a disease in which the addictive substances themselves distort the brain’s reactions.

Some of the people addicted to drugs or alcohol whose lives are examined in the documentary series “Addiction.

Facing ‘Things That Destroy Your Life’

ADDICTION, whether to drugs or alcohol, doesn’t lack for TV exposure. The likes of “Entertainment Tonight” and “Access Hollywood” seem to exist these days to chronicle various stars’ spins in and out of rehabilitation facilities.

But real-life addiction is distinctly unglamorous, and the goal of HBO’s new “Addiction” project, which makes its debut on Thursday, is to help everyday victims and their friends and families. One of the series’s defining premises is that, celebrities aside, addiction comes with such stigma attached that open conversation about treating it is difficult and even doctors don’t want to deal with some addicted patients.

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Chris Keeley

Why Libby’s Pardon Is a Slam Dunk

Why Libby’s Pardon Is a Slam Dunk

EVEN by Washington’s standards, few debates have been more fatuous or wasted more energy than the frenzied speculation over whether President Bush will or will not pardon Scooter Libby. Of course he will.

A president who tries to void laws he doesn’t like by encumbering them with “signing statements” and who regards the Geneva Conventions as a nonbinding technicality isn’t going to start playing by the rules now. His assertion last week that he is “pretty much going to stay out of” the Libby case is as credible as his pre-election vote of confidence in Donald Rumsfeld. The only real question about the pardon is whether Mr. Bush cares enough about his fellow Republicans’ political fortunes to delay it until after Election Day 2008.

Either way, the pardon is a must for Mr. Bush. He needs Mr. Libby to keep his mouth shut. Cheney’s Cheney knows too much about covert administration schemes far darker than the smearing of Joseph Wilson. Though Mr. Libby wrote a novel that sank without a trace a decade ago, he now has the makings of an explosive Washington tell-all that could be stranger than most fiction and far more salable.

Mr. Libby’s novel was called “The Apprentice.” His memoir could be titled “The Accomplice.” Its first chapter would open in August 2002, when he and a small cadre of administration officials including Karl Rove formed the White House Iraq Group (WHIG), a secret task force to sell the Iraq war to the American people. The climactic chapter of the Libby saga unfolded last week when the guilty verdict in his trial coincided, all too fittingly, with the Congressional appearance of two Iraq veterans, one without an ear and one without an eye, to recount their subhuman treatment at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center. Collapse )

Chris Keeley

Greek-Turkish Crisis of 1987

 A couple of years ago I planned to publish an article about this
event, but never got around to it, even after collecting all the needed
documents through the FOIA. This week a Greek journalist asked some
questions for a 20-year anniversary account in the Greek newspaper
Kathimerini. The attached is my response. It is restrained compared with
what my article would have reported, because it is for publication in
Athens (in translation, of course, over which no one has control). Maybe
risky, but what the hell?
If not interested, just delete.

The Sismik Crisis of 1987

I have refreshed my memory of that time by reviewing a large file of
documents I obtained a couple of years ago from the archives of the U.S.
State Department under our Freedom of Information Act. Of course these
are all American documents. To get a thoroughly accurate picture of that
crisis one would also have to consult the Greek and Turkish government
archives, as well as the British and NATO archives, as all of these
parties were involved in resolving the crisis.
One must first of all understand the underlying contexts. At that time,
and still today I believe, Greece and Turkey were disputing the extent
of their respective territorial waters and continental shelf national
territories in the Aegean Sea. The Greek side had a very strong legal
claim based on international law and the Law of the Sea Treaty and for
that reason hoped to bring the issue to the World Court at the Hague,
where Greece was likely to prevail. Turkey strongly preferred to deal
with the issues in bilateral negotiations, no doubt hoping to obtain
Greek agreement to certain concessions favoring Turkey. The Aegean
issues were very sensitive from both sides.
At that time the North Aegean Petroleum Corporation, a consortium headed
by the Canadian company Denison, had a concession for exploration and
exploitation of oil deposits in the northern Aegean. It needed to
undertake exploratory drilling in an area east of Thassos to maintain
its concession. The Greek government, wishing to maintain control over
such sensitive activity in a possibly disputed area, was in the process
of negotiating and obtaining a larger share in the NAPC so that it could
decide such matters in conformity with the national interest. There were
U.S. investors in the consortium, which is why I got involved and helped
arrange these negotiations.
The crisis arose because the possibility of this new drilling by the
NAPC in a possibly disputed area became public. From the Greek side the
earlier Bern Protocol, by which both the Greek and Turkish sides agreed
to refrain from
certain activities in disputed areas, was no longer “operative,” that
is, would no longer automatically prohibit such activities.
My firm opinion is that the crisis worsened into a near outbreak of war
because of misunderstandings in diplomatic exchanges between the two
sides, particularly in exchanges between Greek Deputy Foreign Minister
Yannis Kapsis and Turkish Ambassador in Athens Nazmi Akiman. We
outsiders—Americans, British, the NATO Council—were able to help resolve
the crisis because we were in direct communication with both sides—in
Athens and Ankara—and discovered that a major misunderstanding had
arisen. We were able “to put the pieces together” and tell each side
what the other side “had meant to say.”
While the Greek side was simply asserting its rights to make decisions
about what it considered its territory in the Aegean (matters such as
drilling) the Turkish side interpreted this as planning to allow
drilling to start in a possibly disputed area. In fact the situation
regarding the NAPC was that the Greek government would not allow such
drilling to start because it could be viewed as a provocation.
Unfortunately diplomats are not always as precise as they ought to be,
for a variety of reasons.
The Turkish reaction was to send the research vessel “Sismik” into the
Aegean to assert Turkish rights, and both sides began mobilizing for
war. That outcome was averted as a result of the outsiders clearing up
the misunderstanding in diplomatic exchanges with both sides at the
highest levels. The result was that the NAPC drilling did not start, and
the “Sismik” departed the Aegean Sea to return home. Turkish Prime
Minister Turgut Ozal made a helpful public statement in London (after
visiting the United States) that served to calm the situation by
returning matters to the status quo ante.
One minor irritant in U.S.-Greek relations during this crisis was a
Greek Government instruction that the American naval base at Nea Makri
“suspend operations” because Greece was about to go to war. This
happened at midnight on the last day of the crisis, did not cause any
important disruptions, and by the morning the instruction was cancelled
and all returned to the normal, pre-crisis atmosphere.
I do not believe that this crisis resulted from a deliberate provocation
by either side. I also believe that both sides have a strong
determination to avoid conflicts that could escalate into armed
confrontation, which would be a tragedy for them and all of their
friends and allies. The lesson of this 1987 crisis in the Aegean is that
we always need as much diplomacy as we can muster in order to resolve
conflicts and avoid resort to violence. This was true in 1987 and it is
true today.
I hesitate to respond to your question about Turkey joining the EU. In
my opinion Greece adopted a wise policy when it decided to support
Turkish entry. And it is obvious that Turkey will have to fulfill all
the prerequisites if it is to achieve such entry.

Robert V. Keeley
Washington, D.C.

Chris Keeley

Uri Avnery on Olmert, Lebanon, Syria, etc.--3/10/07

   This latest report is at turns shocking, depressing, and
encouraging, but in the end very bad news.

Uri Avnery

               Olmert's Truth

IF GOD wills, even a broomstick will shoot. That is an old Yiddish
adage. One could add now: If God wills, even Olmert can sometimes tell
the truth.

The truth, according to the Prime Minister's testimony before the
Inquiry Commission headed by Judge Vinograd that was leaked to the media
yesterday, is that this was not a spontaneous reaction to the capture of
the two soldiers, but a war planned a long time ago. We said so right
from the start.

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