April 6th, 2007

Chris Keeley

From Robert E. White

To: Friends

Subject: My Visit to El Salvador

               When I received an invitation to participate in a
conference entitled “El Salvador: Fifteen Years after the Peace
Accords,” I decided to accept.  I had not returned to El Salvador since
I served as ambassador in 1980-81.  Therefore, I thought I would confine
my participation in the conference deliberations to remarks designed to
clarify the historical record of that dreadful time when death squads
roamed the country killing catechists, politicians, priests, labor union
leaders, anyone working to avoid full-scale civil war and begin a
process of healing and reconciliation.

               The conference was held at the University of Central
America on March 24^th , the 27^th anniversary of the assassination of
Archbishop Oscar Romero.

           As this story turns on the assassination of Romero, let me
recall for you the background: The United Nations special commission on
El Salvador examined the evidence and found that ex-major Roberto
D’Aubuisson planned and carried out the plot to kill Archbishop Romero.
A California court tried D’Aubuisson’s chief lieutenant Alvaro Saravia
and named D’Aubuisson as the intellectual author of Romero’s
assassination.  As president of El Salvador, Napoleon Duarte examined
the evidence and requested the extradition of Saravia from the United
States.  The extradition proceedings failed when, under pressure from
D’Aubuisson and ARENA (the right-wing party founded by D’Aubuisson), the
Supreme Court in effect established a statute of limitations on murder,
thereby making the eyewitness testimony of participants in the
Archbishop’s murder null and void.

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Chris Keeley

George Packer: "Betrayed" (NEW YORKER)

TO: Distinguished Recipients
FM: John Whitbeck

Transmitted below is a remarkable piece of reporting, focused on
America's treatment of its own mid-level Iraqi collaborators, which has
been published in the NEW YORKER.

This is a long (11 pages of small print) and relatively painful read. It
is not for everyone, but I strongly recommend it.

In my article entitled "An Elegant Exit from Iraq", published in 2004, I
included the following item in my optimum scenario: "More quietly,
asylum in the United States is offered to all members of the
American-appointed Governing Council and interim government and all
other prominent Iraqis who have cooperated with the Americans and are,
therefore, viewed as collaborators by their fellow Iraqis. This is the
decent and honorable thing to do." I note that I limited the hope of
decent and honorable treatment to "prominent" Iraqis. Either I wasn't
myself concerned about the sort of people who are the subject of this
article (in which case, /mea culpa/) or I did not see any hope that the
U.S. government would be concerned about them.

Collaboration with foreign invaders and occupiers has always been an
ultra-high-risk choice. (Tens of thousands of French men and women who
cooperated with the Germans received terminal "summary justice" at the
hands of their compatriots at the end of World War II.) However, having
read this article, I believe that these mid-level collaborators are far
more deserving of decent and honorable treatment from the United States
than prominent "name" collaborators, who have no doubt been banking much
of what they have been stealing in foreign bank accounts to assure
themselves of a comfortable retirement whenever it's "game over", their
compatriots can get at them and they have to leave.


/New Yorke/r, 26 March 2007

The Iraqis who trusted America the most.
by George Packer

On a cold, wet night in January, I met two young Iraqi men in the lobby
of the Palestine Hotel, in central Baghdad. A few Arabic television
studios had rooms on the upper floors of the building, but the hotel was
otherwise vacant. In the lobby, a bucket collected drips of rainwater;
at the gift shop, which was closed, a shelf displayed film, batteries,
and sheathed daggers covered in dust. A sign from another era read, "We
have great pleasure in announcing the opening of the Internet café 24
hour a day. At the business center on the first floor. The management."
The management consisted of a desk clerk and a few men in black leather
jackets slouched in armchairs and holding two-way radios.

The two Iraqis, Othman and Laith, had asked to meet me at the Palestine
because it was the only place left in Baghdad where they were willing to
be seen with an American. They lived in violent neighborhoods that were
surrounded by militia checkpoints. Entering and leaving the Green Zone,
the fortified heart of the American presence, had become too risky. But
even the Palestine made them nervous. In October, 2005, a suicide bomber
driving a cement mixer had triggered an explosion that nearly brought
down the hotel's eighteen-story tower. An American tank unit that was
guarding the hotel eventually pulled out, leaving security in the hands
of Iraqi civilians. It would now be relatively easy for insurgents to
get inside. The one comforting thought for Othman and Laith was that,
four years into the war, the Palestine was no longer worth attacking.

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Chris Keeley

As a youth, Hussein was an overweight misfit obsessed with Second World

As a youth, Hussein was an overweight misfit obsessed with Second World
War documentaries, and now he felt grateful to the Americans for freeing
him from Saddam's tyranny. He also took a certain pride and pleasure in
carrying off his risky job. "I'm James Bond, without the nice lady or
the famous gadgets," he said. He worked out of a series of rented rooms,
seldom going out in public, relying on his cell phone and his laptop,
keeping a small "runaway bag" with him in case he needed to leave
quickly (a neighbor once informed him that some strangers had asked who
lived there, and Hussein moved out the same day). Every few days, he
brought his laundry to his parents' house. He stopped seeing friends,
and his life winnowed down to his work. "You have to live two separate
lives, one visible and the other one invisible," Hussein told me when we
spoke in Erbil. (He insisted on meeting in Kurdistan, because there was
nowhere else in Iraq that he felt safe being seen with me.) "You have to
always be aware of the car behind you. When you want to park, you make
sure that the car passes you. You're always afraid of a person staring
at you in an abnormal way."

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Chris Keeley

A Disgusting Washington Post Editorial-4/5/07

A Disgusting Washington Post Editorial

I read this only late in the day today, which is why I am late in
circulating it. It says President Assad of Syria is a “corrupt thug.”
That is an amazing statement. If such a statement were made about our
president, a great many people would be upset. On the other hand, I
would wager that a larger percentage of Americans would agree with that
term for our president, than Syrians would agree with that term for
their president. Does that surprise anyone?

What is most embarrassing is that those in charge of the Post editorial
page, and those who own the newspaper (we know who they are, and they
should be doubly ashamed), are so biased that they are a disgrace to
American journalism. I need not tell you what their bias is. It has been
manifest for decades.

Pratfall in Damascus
Nancy Pelosi's foolish shuttle diplomacy

Thursday, April 5, 2007; A16

HOUSE SPEAKER Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) offered an excellent demonstration
yesterday of why members of Congress should not attempt to supplant the
secretary of state when traveling abroad. After a meeting with Syrian
dictator Bashar al-Assad in Damascus, Ms. Pelosi announced that she had
delivered a message from Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert that "Israel
was ready to engage in peace talks" with Syria. What's more, she added,
Mr. Assad was ready to "resume the peace process" as well. Having
announced this seeming diplomatic breakthrough, Ms. Pelosi suggested
that her Kissingerian shuttle diplomacy was just getting started. "We
expressed our interest in using our good offices in promoting peace
between Israel and Syria," she said.

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Chris Keeley

An op-ed by Robert Novak in the Washington Post

From:   Robert Stiver

Robert Novak, who I believe is a pretty decent Christian and
occasionally allows his faith to modify his typically conservative bent,
has written well below.  I particularly noted his characterization of
Cpl. Shalit last summer as "seized," rather than the near-universal
"kidnapped."  (On the other hand:  "...Lebanese /_incursion..._/"?? --
get real, Novak.)

Novak is of course right that Bush's lame-duck status (not to mention
his criminal/impeachable incompetence) precludes any possibility of
movement toward peace and justice in the Holy Land through 2008.  He
might have added that a pattern is thus re-cut -- a pattern I've
observed and agonized through for at least 30 years -- where there is
ALWAYS an excuse to "miss an opportunity" by Israel or The Israel Lobby
in our America.  It's ALWAYS, ALWAYS a US election, or an Israeli
election, or a Jewish holiday, or the convenience of 9-11-01, or an act
of resistance here or there, ad infinitum, which provides an excuse NOT
to face reality and the humanity which is the ever-suffering Palestinian
people.  It's ALL a game, a charade, a sadistic closing of the loop
around the Palestinians' neck.  When the loop finally closes and the
last breath is drawn by the last Palestinian on the ground, the
Palestinians will, of course, be blamed collectively and will be
condemned as having committed mass suicide via their barbaric intransigence.

Novak failed to note that the Saudi Peace Plan was initiated and issued
in Beirut in March 2002 -- 5 years ago.  Bush-Sharon-Olmert fiddled, the
Palestinians suffered....

Finally, Novak (and everyone else) completely ignores the 10,000
Palestinian children, women and men who continue to rot away in Militant
Zionist Israel's prison system, among whom are 36 -- one-third or so
-- of the duly elected democratic representatives of the people of
Palestine, brazenly "arrested" in their homes or on the street and
incarcerated by the brutal, endlessly sadistic occupier.

What shall we do with this people?...Bob

*Subject:* An op-ed by Robert Novak in the Washington Post

April 5, 2007

*Subject: An op-ed by Robert Novak in the Washington Post*

*From: PLO Mission -- Washington, DC*

*Washington Post**
*Missed Opportunity for Peace*
*By Robert D. Novak*
*Thursday, April 5, 2007; A17*

*JERUSALEM -- An overriding melancholy here this Holy Week follows
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's mission to Jerusalem last week. To
Arabs and Jews seeking meaningful peace negotiations, it confirmed that
no progress toward a two-state solution is likely for the remainder of
George W. Bush's presidency.

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Chris Keeley




“Being Wolfie means not having to say you're sorry.”
Washington Post journalist Dana Milbank

Today’s commentary is about Paul Wolfowitz, President of the World Bank and an architect of Bush’s invasion of Iraq. Apparently many bank staffers are upset regarding favoritism shown by the bank and the Bush administration towards the Wolfmeister’s one-time girlfriend, Shaha Riza.


Apparently the Wolfmeister tried to circumvent bank rules to allow him to work alongside his romantic interest. That, according to “the bank's ethics officers…would not be allowable, the problem appeared solved when Riza was detailed to work at the State Department's public diplomacy office in September 2005--even though her salary was still to be paid by the World Bank.”
[source of quotes from Murray Waas at Huffingtopost.com]

Riza received a promotion and payraise that brought her salary to $193,000. “That salary increase not only meant that Riza earned more than Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, but apparently made her the single highest paid State Department official.”.

The Cantankerous Consultant is pleased to be the first to reveal exactly how the Wolfmeister got himself into this mess. Through a confidential source, we have obtained a transcript of a private meeting between Wolfowitz and Riza:

Wolfowitz: “Not to worry, you’ll always be my special little development project. If you know what I mean, heh! Rest assured your salary increase will paid for. After all, we’ll have that revenue from the Iraqi oil fields.”

Riza: “Oh Wolfie, I love you! Ooh, is that your pipeline or are you just happy to see me?”

And now for a special and serious editorial commentary:

It's important to keep in mind that Mr. Wolfowitz has promised to get tough in the fight against corruption. In a speech to the Appeal of Conscience Foundation Awards Dinner, March 27, 2007, he said: “We are seeing many Africans literally putting their lives on the line in the fight for transparency and accountability…One such person is Nuhu Ribadu, Executive Chairman of Nigeria’s Economic and Financial Crimes Commission. He is courageously leading his government’s effort to fight corruption, undeterred by the murder of two of his people.”

It doesn’t seem possible to excuse Wolfie or write this off as merely a personal scandal. What it comes down to is this: Some people dig deep to find the courage to put their lives on the line in the fight against corruption. Wolfie, in stark contrast, has summoned arrogance and gall, mouthing hollow slogans about corruption while at the same time putting his love life ahead of the mission of the Bank. Hardly the way to set an example for the staff he leads. There's a lot of good people at World Bank and they deserve better. Much better
Chris Keeley

Laura Levine: Music Photos

Laura Levine: Music Photos

Joeyfrig Bjorklevine
Laura Levine is showing a selection of her profoundly beautiful photographs of rock artists at L.A.'s Musician Photo Gallery through May 5. From 1980 to 1995, Laura cast her eye and camera on such diverse subjects as Henry Rollins, R.E.M., Grandmaster Flash, Prince, Siouxsie Sioux, Lou Reed, and John Cale. This is Laura's first solo show in a decade. The images are also available on her Web site. At left, Joey Ramone (1982, NYC). At right, Bjork (1991, Woodstock.)
Link to Musician Photo Gallery, Link to Laura's site with the images 


Chris Keeley

Madonna (1982, NYC) - I was assigned to photograph Madonna for Interview Magazine. Her first single

Madonna (1982, NYC) - I was assigned to photograph Madonna for Interview Magazine. Her first single (Everybody) was about to be released and no one really knew what she looked like. She (like most of my subjects back then) arrived alone, sans any kind of entourage. She was incredibly professional and cooperative. Even when I asked her to do seemingly ridiculous things like wrap herself in my curtains. (All in the name of a good photo, of course). 


Chris Keeley

Boy George (1982, London) - I spent the summer of 1982 in England shooting many of the British acts

Boy George (1982, London) - I spent the summer of 1982 in England shooting many of the British acts that had not yet hit the shores of America, as well as working for Sounds. Boy George was just starting to get a lot of press in the UK but was virtually unknown in the US. During the shoot he was handed a test pressing of his first single "Do You Really Want to Hurt Me," which he took back to the record company office and which we both listened to for the first time. I sensed a hit! 


Chris Keeley

Hussein's Prewar Ties To Al-Qaeda Discounted

Hussein's Prewar Ties To Al-Qaeda Discounted
Pentagon Report Says Contacts Were Limited

By R. Jeffrey Smith
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, April 6, 2007; A01


Captured Iraqi documents and intelligence interrogations of Saddam Hussein and two former aides "all confirmed" that Hussein's regime was not directly cooperating with al-Qaeda before the U.S. invasion of Iraq, according to a declassified Defense Department report released yesterday.

The declassified version of the report, by acting Inspector General Thomas F. Gimble, also contains new details about the intelligence community's prewar consensus that the Iraqi government and al-Qaeda figures had only limited contacts, and about its judgments that reports of deeper links were based on dubious or unconfirmed information. The report had been released in summary form in February.

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Chris Keeley

U.S. Admits It Is Working to Undermine Zimbabwean Government

U.S. Admits It Is Working to Undermine Zimbabwean Government
The Guardian newspaper reports the Bush administration has admitted openly for the first time that it is actively working to undermine Robert Mugabe, the president of Zimbabwe. A new US state department report acknowledged that the U.S. is supporting opposition politicians in the country and others critical of Mugabe. The State Department also admitted sponsoring events aimed at "discrediting" statements made by Mugabe's government. Mugabe has led Zimbabwe since 1980 when it became an independent nation. 

Miami Theater Cancels My Name is Rachel Corrie Play

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Chris Keeley

An actor dressed as Jesus Christ reenacting the crucifixion after visiting the stations of the cross

An actor dressed as Jesus Christ reenacting the crucifixion after visiting the stations of the cross near the Church of the Holy Sepulcher during a Good Friday procession today in Jerusalem's Old City

Pilgrims today in the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, where many believe Jesus was crucified and buried.

Chris Keeley

JERUSALEM (AP) -- Some in agony, others in ecstasy, Christians around the world marked Good Friday w

JERUSALEM (AP) -- Some in agony, others in ecstasy, Christians around the world marked Good Friday with prayer, processions and pleas for peace.

Good Friday Observed in Jerusalem

The calendars of five major Christian faiths coincide with one another this year, something that happens only once every four years.


The various groups, who have feuded in the past, put aside their rivalries and the ceremonies passed smoothly. At one point, Catholic and Greek Orthodox worshippers quietly held simultaneous prayers in different parts of the church.

In accordance with tradition, the church's doors were unlocked by a member of a Muslim family that has held the key for centuries.

Easter this year also falls during the weeklong Jewish festival of Passover, which brings thousands of Jews into the cramped Old City to worship at the Western Wall, Judaism's holiest site.

Chris Keeley

Maria Marshall (British, born Bombay, 1966)

Maria Marshall
aria Marshall (British, born Bombay, 1966)
When I Grow Up I Want to Be a Cooker (video sti


Certain pieces, like Darren Almond’s upside-down monorail trip and Maria Marshall’s video of her 2-year-old son coolly puffing on a cigarette, are short, entertaining and technically more complicated than they look. (Ms. Marshall’s piece draws on special-effects technology used in Hollywood films.) Other work connects, directly or indirectly, with art elsewhere in the museum. 
Chris Keeley

What truly grinds in the film "Grindhouse," the Quentin Tarantino-Robert Rodriguez double feature, i

Grindhouse is made up of two full-length feature horror movies written by Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez. Fake movie trailers play between the films.

Watch the Trailer


What truly grinds in the film "Grindhouse," the Quentin Tarantino-Robert Rodriguez double feature, is your butt against the seat.

Checking in at more than three hours, it's one grand self-indulgence that is calibrated exquisitely for an audience that pines for the gory double-feature pleasures of movie forms that petered out in the early '70s. That audience can be counted: Two. Named Tarantino and Rodriguez.

The films (Rodriguez directed the first, "Planet Terror," and Tarantino the second, "Death Proof") are bloody, stupid and buoyant in a kind of infantile way, celebrating mayhem, flesh and gore. "Planet Terror" is by far the livelier, drawing from work by Herschell Gordon Lewis, Italian goremeisters Mario Bava and Dario Argento, and George A. Romero. The situation involves a bunch of people, including a beautiful doctor in high heels, a defrocked deputy, a one-legged go-go dancer, a barbecue chef and a wounded sheriff, trying to escape from a landscape of heavily armed, zombified cannibalistic killers.

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