May 11th, 2007

Chris Keeley

Victorian spy camera disguised as a pocket-watch

Victorian spy camera disguised as a pocket-watch
This Victorian "pocket watch" is actually a cunningly disguised spy-camera: 
The Lancaster Ladies Watch Camera was brought into Bonhams by a gentleman whose grandfather had owned it originally. He was a cabinetmaker at the Birmingham-based firm J. Lancaster & Son, probably working on the many wooden cameras sold by the company. The vendor, consigning several watches to one of Bonhams’ sales, noticed that among his collection was what looked like an ordinary nickel-plated pocket watch case when closed – but when he opened it he discovered that it actually contained a tiny camera inside.
Chris Keeley

Judge Orders Lid On Phone Records

Judge Orders Lid On Phone Records
Release Likened to Witness Intimidation

By Carol D. Leonnig
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, May 11, 2007; B03


Deborah Jeane Palfrey, the woman accused of being the D.C. madam, can't release any more phone records that would reveal patrons of her Washington escort service, a federal judge said yesterday.

U.S. District Judge Gladys Kessler placed a temporary restraining order on Palfrey and her civil attorney, prohibiting them from sharing additional phone records with news organizations or the public.

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Chris Keeley

Taming the Yellow Dragon: Climate Change in Western China

Taming the Yellow Dragon: Climate Change in Western China

 Digital Journalist... Taming the Yellow Dragon: Climate Change in Western China by James Whitlow Delano. "...he Chinese call it Taming the Yellow Dragon. It is a battle to halt irresistible yellow Gobi Desert sands that are advancing, filtering into and burying villages.
In the 1950s, during the policies of the Great Leap Forward, Mao Zedong ordered marginal steppe grassland to be ploughed, unleashing massive dust storms reminiscent of America's Dust Bowl years during the 1930s. In spring, sands reach Seoul and sometimes even Tokyo.
Livestock populations in China have tripled to 400 million since 1950. There are 298 million sheep in China versus only 8 million in the United States.
Migrants forced off of desiccated land may eventually number in the tens of millions. Two-and-a-half million 'Okies' fled the American Dust Bowl in a similar-sized country but with a population of only 150 million. With 1.3 billion people, Chinese migrants have far fewer options." More Works by James Whitlow Delano at his personal site.

Chris Keeley

that blunder became a vivid example of Wolfowitz's isolation from the bank's employees — a remotenes,0,7807080.story?coll=la-home-center

Bank workers see Wolfowitz as a world apart

Longtime employees say his cadre of GOP aides have helped limit their access to the organization's already remote president.
By Nicole Gaouette
Times Staff Writer

May 11, 2007

WASHINGTON — In the tense days after World Bank President Paul D. Wolfowitz admitted his mistake in arranging a generous payment package for his girlfriend, angry employees launched an impromptu campaign. Blue ribbons started cropping up on lapels, taped to doors and as an image in e-mails — a symbol of support for the bank's ideals of good governance and transparency.

The curls of fabric were seen by many of the more than 7,000 staffers in Washington as a silent but clear call for their leader to resign.

Then Wolfowitz himself was seen wearing one.

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Chris Keeley

Fuad Siniora Op Ed in NYTimes 5/11/07

This short article by the Prime Minister of Lebanon is a very
important development for a number of reasons: (1) it has been published
in the Times and will be widely read in Washington and elsewhere; (2) it
is by one of the few senior Arab officials who is actually a friend of
the United States (though his enemies call him an American puppet, which
is unfair); (3) it is a strong antidote to the ridiculous op ed by
Thomas Friedman published in the same newspaper two days ago putting all
of the blame for what happened to Lebanon last year on Hassan
Nasrallah's Hezbollah, whereas the most blame falls on Israel's wholly
disproportionate response to the abduction of two Israeli soldiers
intended to trigger a prisoner exchange (Siniora doesn't even mention
Hezbollah); (4) and, most of all, the Arab Peace Initiative is the most
generous offer Israel will ever receive from the united Arab States
including the Palestinians, and the only solution to the Arab-Israeli
conflict likely to bring peace and security to all of the states in the
Middle East, including Israel.
Robert V. Keeley
May 11, 2007
Op-Ed Contributor

 Give the Arab Peace Initiative a Chance



ALMOST a year has passed since Israel’s bombardment of Lebanon, time
enough to draw lessons from the conflict and reflect on its consequences.

Last week, Israel’s Winograd Commission published an interim report
scrutinizing Israel’s conduct during what it called the country’s most
recent military “campaign.” But the report failed to draw the most
essential lesson from the July war and the wars that preceded it:
military action does not give the people of Israel security. On the
contrary, it compromises it. The only way for the people of Israel and
the Arab world to achieve stability and security is through a
comprehensive peace settlement to the overarching Arab-Israeli conflict.

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Chris Keeley

Extremely important article

Ray Close:
Sent to me by Ilene P. Cohen*
*Executive Editor,_ World Politics_, journal of Princeton University's
Institute for International and Regional Studies.

From_ The Forward_   (old and respected Jewish liberal newspaper in New

*Top Bush Adviser Says Rice’s Push For Mideast Peace Is ‘Just Process’**
Nathan Guttman | Fri. May 11, 2007

*Washington* - As Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice presses Israelis
and Palestinians to meet a  new set of policy benchmarks, the White
House is reassuring Jewish groups and conservatives that the president
has no plans to pressure Jerusalem. Deputy National Security Advisor
Elliott Abrams told a group of Jewish communal leaders last week that
the president would ensure that the process does not lead to Israel
being pushed into an agreement with which it is uncomfortable.

Also last week, at a regular gathering of Jewish Republicans, sources
said, Abrams described President Bush as an “emergency brake” who would
prevent Israel from being pressed into a deal; during the breakfast
gathering, the White House official also said that a lot of what is done
during Rice’s frequent trips to the region is “just process” — steps
needed in order to keep the Europeans and moderate Arab countries “on
the team” and to make sure they feel that the United States is promoting
peace in the Middle East.

According to one of the participants in the meeting of Jewish
Republicans, Abrams said that he does not believe that the United States
can make much progress on the Israeli-Palestinian front. The United
States could only see success, Abrams added, on limited issues relating
to freedom of movement for Palestinians in the territories and efforts
to strengthen the presidential guard of Palestinian Authority leader
Mahmoud Abbas.

Abrams offered his skeptical view of the prospects for progress as the
State Department was launching its latest effort to push the process
forward. In general, according to Washington insiders, Rice and her
Middle East team are pushing an increasingly aggressive agenda on the
Israeli-Palestinian front, while the White House policy team, led by
Abrams, is pulling back, viewing any major breakthrough as unlikely.

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Chris Keeley

Blackwater: The Rise of the World’s Most Powerful Mercenary Army.” In his opening remarks, he spoke

They have not been prosecuted under Iraqi law. US contractors in Iraq reportedly have their own motto: “what happens here today stays here today.” That should be chilling to everyone who believes that warfare, above all government functions, must be subject to transparency, accountability and the rule of law. 

Author and DN! Correspondent Jeremy Scahill Testifies in Landmark House Hearing on Defense Contracting

Friday, May 11th, 2007

There are over 120,000 private contractors currently deployed in Iraq and yesterday, a House panel put some of the harshest criticisms of this privatization of war into the congressional record for the first time. Democracy Now! correspondent and The Nation magazine investigative reporter Jeremy Scahill testified before a House Appropriations hearing on defense contracting. Scahill is author of the book “Blackwater: The Rise of the World’s Most Powerful Mercenary Army.” [includes rush transcript]


There are over 120,000 private contractors currently deployed in Iraq and yesterday, a House panel put some of the harshest criticisms of this privatization of war into the congressional record for the first time. The House Appropriations subcommittee on defense held a hearing on Thursday about defense contracting. Testifying before the panel was journalist Jeremy Scahill and filmmaker Robert Greenwald.

Jeremy is a Democracy Now! correspondent and an investigative reporter for The Nation magazine. He is author of the book “Blackwater: The Rise of the World’s Most Powerful Mercenary Army.” In his opening remarks, he spoke about the lack of oversight of the tens of thousands of contractors deployed in Iraq.


  • Jeremy Scahill. Democracy Now! correspondent and an investigative reporter for The Nation magazine. He is author of the book “Blackwater: The Rise of the World’s Most Powerful Mercenary Army.”

JUAN GONZALEZ: There are over 120,000 private contractors currently deployed in Iraq,

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Chris Keeley

Bush Admin Withholds Emails on Rove Role in Arkansas Hiring

Bush Admin Withholds Emails on Rove Role in Arkansas Hiring
More developments in the U.S. attorney scandal -- Investigative journalist Murray Waas is reporting the Bush administration has withheld e-mails showing senior White House and Justice Department officials collaborated to conceal the role of White House strategist Karl Rove in installing his former deputy Timothy Griffin as U.S. Attorney in Arkansas. The emails show Attorney General Alberto Gonzales’ former chief of staff, D. Kyle Sampson, worked with White House officials on two letters that misled Congress on the appointment and Rove’s role.

CBS Fires Iraq General for Anti-War Ad
In media news, CBS has dismissed an Iraq war veteran over his involvement in an ad campaign criticizing the war. General John Batiste appears in an ad from the group VoteVets dot org. Batiste has been working as a CBS News consultant.

Limbaugh Criticized for Racially-Charged Obama Song
The right-wing talk show host Rush Limbaugh is coming under criticism for airing a song about Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama called “Barack the Magic Negro.” The song has played on Limbaugh’s program in recent weeks. Obama was given Secret Service protection last week in part due to threatening messages posted on white supremacist Web sites.

Chris Keeley

Sidney Blumenthal, "The Impertinent Prince" 5/10/07

Sidney Blumenthal, "The Impertinent Prince" 5/10/07
 The impertinent prince

Bush plays naughty boy to the queen at his not-so-royal state dinner.
But all those white ties couldn't hide his low poll numbers.

 *Editor's note:* This story has been corrected
 since it was first published.

By Sidney Blumenthal
May 10, 2007 | President Bush greeted Queen Elizabeth in Washington on
Monday as a royal distraction from polls showing him as the most
unpopular president since Richard Nixon resigned in disgrace. Bush has
held the fewest number of state dinners of recent presidents, only four
previous ones, but for the queen he staged a white-tie affair and even
forced himself to stay up past his usual 9 o'clock bedtime.

The queen's events began with a welcoming ceremony on the South Lawn of
the White House. <> "You've
dined with 10 presidents," Bush read from his speech. "You helped our
nation celebrate its bicentennial in 17 -- in 1976," he said, quickly
recovering. He turned to the queen, smirked, winked, paused and then
said to the crowd, "She gave me a look that only a mother could give a

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