December 23rd, 2007

Chris Keeley

A First in Washington Journalism

A First in Washington Journalism

Comment (on WashPost article quoted below):
    Ever since the outing of Valerie Plame as a CIA employee under
cover--a despicable act involving Rove, Libby, Novak, Armitage and
Woodward--reporters have been careful to offer an explanation as to why
one of their sources insisted on being kept anonymous. This was no doubt
under pressure from their editors and employers but not customarily
because these sources might be under threat of legal jeopardy. The usual
explanations have been "because the matter is sensitive," or "because
the source was not authorized to speak with the press," or "because the
source was not authorized to discuss this subject," or some such hollow
evasion. Now we have, in the eighth paragraph of the following article
by Thomas Ricks, an outstanding and astonishing resort to candor: the
source "spoke on the condition of anonymity because he wants to keep his
job"! That should become the standard explanation for these anonymities,
because it is likely to be true in almost all cases. Stay anonymous and
keep your job! What isn't said is that anonymity also prevents the
reader from questioning the accuracy of the report, and/or the hidden
ulterior motives of the source, and/or the reliability of the source.
What also isn't addressed is whether the source is using the reporter to
"spin" the story, or whether the reporter is using the anonymous source
to promote his own argument or agenda. Anyway, let's all keep our jobs.

Gates: Pakistan an Al-Qaeda Target

By Thomas E. Ricks
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, December 22, 2007; A09

A resurgent al-Qaeda terrorist network has shifted the focus of its
attacks to Pakistan, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates said yesterday.

"Al-Qaeda right now seems to have turned its face toward Pakistan and
attacks on the Pakistani government and Pakistan people," Gates told

The Pentagon chief did not specify the nature or location of the group's
operations in the South Asian nation, but he went on say that al-Qaeda
has "reestablished itself" along Pakistan's ungoverned area along its
border with Afghanistan.

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Chris Keeley

Book on Israel's Settlements in the Occupied Territories

Book on Israel's Settlements in the Occupied Territories

The December issue of "Washington Monthly" magazine contains a review
(on pages 55 to 57) by Daniel Levy of a new book: "Lords of the Land:
The War for Israel's Settlements in the Occupied Territories, 1967-2007"
by Idith Zertal and Akiva Eldar, translated by Vivian Eden, published by
Nation Books, 576 pages. The review, which is highly favorable, is not
(at least not yet) available on the Washington Monthly website, which is
regrettable. The book was a best-seller in Israel, where it was
originally published in Hebrew. Zertal is a leading Israeli historian
and Eldar is a political columnist and former Washington correspondent
for the Israeli daily Ha'aretz. Here is an excerpt from the Levy review:
  Quote: It is a detailed history of Israel's nearly forty-year
occupation of Gaza and the West Bank with a painful contention at its
core. The occupation, say Zertal and Eldar, has wounded Israel's very
psyche, damaging both its sense of self and its moral standing in the
world. "The prolonged military occupation and the Jewish settlements
that are perpetuating it have toppled Israeli governments," write the
authors, "and have brought Israel's democracy and its political culture
to the brink of an abyss."
  The Hebrew version of this book was a best-seller in Israel, and
sparked a debate there on the devastating realities and consequences of
Israeli settlement policy. It would be useful to replicate that debate
here in the United States--in the belly, as it were, of the enabler. The
book's unflinchingly provocative title is matched by a narrative that
pulls no punches, and the cast of villains (there are precious few
heroes) runs the gamut  from Jewish militia terrorists and their
supporters in the Rabbinate to Labor Party apologists for the settlers
and feckless judges who looked the other way as settlers created illegal
outposts within Palestinian territory. End Quote.
Chris Keeley

PLO Mission

PLO Mission
 Washington, DC

'Absence of Courage'

/ /

/A Palestinian official argues that international donors are pledging
millions to Gaza and the West Bank because they hope their generosity
will compensate for their lack of political will./

By Vivian Salama

Newsweek Web Exclusive

Updated: 6:32 PM ET Dec 18, 2007

Amid international skepticism and ongoing regional tensions, 87
countries and international organizations have pledged $7.4 billion in
aid to help build a Palestinian state. Monday's Paris meeting of the
donors comes on the heels of last month's Annapolis talks, a White House
effort to revitalize Israeli-Palestinian negotiations before the Bush
administration leaves office. The money, which is expected to pass
through various channels, including international aid organizations and
the Palestinian government-that is, the government of Mahmoud Abbas and
not the now-defunct Hamas-led government in Gaza-was donated in response
to this week's World Bank report, which noted that "even under the most
optimistic scenarios significant aid will continue to be required" to
ensure the economic stability of the West Bank and Gaza. Afif Safieh, a
Palestinian diplomat who heads the Palestine Liberation Organization
Mission in Washington, spoke to Vivian Salama about the likely impact of
the aid package and the latest political developments in the Palestinian
territories. Excerpts:

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