January 14th, 2008

Chris Keeley

Jimmy Carter Man From Plains

Jimmy Carter Man From Plains

The DVD won't be released until March 25, says Amazon.

I would like to see it again, or give it, now.

I saw the film this afternoon.

Apparently everyone in Greater KC goes to the movies on Sunday afternoon.

 There were 100s of cars at the 30-screen movieplex I attended – filing in to see sci-fi, war, kiddo animations, etc.

The Jimmy Carter movie at 4:40 pm had exactly 6 customers, counting me.

It is extremely well done, starting with  the usual Plains-rootedness of Jimmy and Rosalyn, and mostly quick cuts covering various stops with JCs publisher's rep on the book tour for Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid. Charlie Rose tries his smart-grad-student approach and is gently brought to heel by JC. Wolf Blitzer spins in the usual CNN directions and he is also straightened out on-air, as is an interviewer from Israeli television. Tavis Smiley is the best prepared and asks proper devil's-advocate questions without being snotty about it.

It's clear that most interviewers and reviewers had not read the book, or came at it with preconceived views. Alan Dershowitz is snotty, of course. But there's a respectful, then warm reception from Harvard students. Skillful intercutting of news video of, the Wall, of Israeli violence against Palestinian olive trees, buildings, and persons, as well as of a Palestinian suicide bombing aftermath.

 I can understand why AIPAC and other Jewish and Christian evangelical partisans of Israel have been noisy and on occasion vitriolic in opposition – no one likes to be shown up as having been a liar or a fool, and JC has his facts straight, speaks indefatigably and equably. His physical and emotional stamina is amazing.


See it at a theater near you if you possibly can.

Chris Keeley

February 26 Empire Salon

Correction: Prof. Polk was appointed to the State Department's Policy Planning Council in 1961 in the Kennedy Administration.

Please join us


for an


Empire Salon


featuring a discussion with


William R. Polk


about his book 


Violent Politics: A History of Insurgency, Terrorism & Guerrilla War from the American Revolution to Iraq  


Tuesday, February 26, 2008


6:30 p.m.


 1785 Massachusetts Avenue, Suite 100 (one block off Dupont Circle) 


Cocktails and Hors D'ouevres served 

 RSVP to Lisa Nitze at lisa@committeefortherepublic.org 
William R. Polk studied at Harvard (BA 1951, PhD 1958) and Oxford (BA 1955, MA 1959). At Harvard he helped establish the Middle Eastern Studies Center and taught history, government and Arabic literature. In 1965 he was appointed a Member of the Policy Planning Council by President Kennedy. In that capacity, he was in charge of planning American policy in most of the Islamic world and also served as director of the interdepartmental task force that helped end the Algerian war, negotiated a ceasefire between Egypt and Israel and was a member of the Crisis Management Committee during the Cuban Missile Crisis.

In 1965, he resigned from government service to become Professor of History at the University of Chicago. There he also established the Center for Middle Eastern Studies and was a founding director of the Middle Eastern Studies Association. In 1967, he also became President of the Adlai Stevenson Institute of International Affairs.

Among his books on history, world affairs and the Middle East are The United States and the Arab World (Harvard 1965, 1969, 1975, 1980, 1991); Neighbors and Strangers: The Fundamentals of Foreign Affairs (University of Chicago Press, 1997); The Elusive Peace: The Middle East in the Twentieth Century (Croom Helm and St. Martins, 1979); Polk's Folly (Doubleday, 1999, 2000); Understanding Iraq (HarperCollins 2005, 2006); The Birth of America (HarperCollins, 2006); Out of Iraq: A Practical Plan for Withdrawal Now (with former Senator George McGovern, Simon and Schuster, 2006) and Violent Politics: A History of Insurgency, Terrorism & Guerrilla War from the American Revolution to Iraq (HarperCollins, 2007).

He has lectured at many universities and at the U.S. National War College, the Council on Foreign Relations, the Royal Institute of International Affairs, the Canadian Institute of International Affairs, the American Foreign Policy Association, and the Soviet Academy of Sciences as well as many civic groups and universities.

Chris Keeley

His involvement with the tax resistance movement may stem from his association with the Nuwaubians,

His involvement with the tax resistance movement may stem from his association with the Nuwaubians, a quasi-religious sect of black Americans who promote antigovernment theories and who set up a headquarters in Georgia in the early 1990s. 

Wesley Snipes to Go on Trial in Tax Case

From 1999 to 2004, the actor Wesley Snipes earned $38 million appearing in more than half a dozen movies, including two sequels to his popular vampire thriller “Blade.”

The taxes he paid in the same period? Zero.

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Chris Keeley

Roger Avary, 42, was driving at 12:54 a.m. when the accident occurred outside the Ojai Lumber

'Pulp Fiction' co-writer arrested after fatal crash

By Tiffany Hsu
Los Angeles Times Staff Writer

January 14, 2008

Roger Avary

The Academy Award-winning co-writer of the film "Pulp Fiction" was arrested after sheriff's deputies said he crashed his car in Ojai early Sunday while driving drunk, injuring his wife and killing a passenger.

Roger Avary, 42, was driving at 12:54 a.m. when the accident occurred outside the Ojai Lumber Co. building at 1900 E. Ojai Ave., said Capt. Monica McGrath of the Ventura County Sheriff's Department.

Avary's wife, Gretchen, 40, was ejected from the back seat and was taken to Ojai Valley Community Hospital with serious injuries, McGrath said.

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Chris Keeley

The Envoy

The United Nations’ doomed mission to Iraq.
by Samantha Power

The U.N. hoped that Sergio Vieira de Mello, with his war-zone experience, could show the Americans what to do and what not to do.

n April 9, 2003, when a U.S. Marine tank helped topple the towering statue of Saddam Hussein in Baghdad’s Firdos Square, many officials at the headquarters of the United Nations, in New York, averted their eyes from the celebratory images unfolding on CNN. A few days later, when a wide-shot photograph revealed that relatively few Iraqis had participated in the statue demolition, U.N. employees rapidly disseminated the image through e-mail. “We didn’t wish bad things for the Iraqis,” a U.N. official recalls. “But we were terrified that if the Bush Administration got away with walking all over international law it would jeopardize everything we stood for.”

The Security Council had withheld support for the invasion, and Secretary-General Kofi Annan and U.N. diplomats had warned of the human suffering that it would cause; they were chastened by the ease with which the American-led Coalition had reached Baghdad, and by the relative bloodlessness of the battle. A swift victory, U.N. officials worried, would establish a dangerous precedent, emboldening member states to go to war even in the face of firm international opposition. Annan, speaking with colleagues, lamented the possibly irreparable loss of U.N. relevance.

French, German, and Russian diplomats cared less about the U.N. charter than about their own national interests. Having opposed the war, these countries had severely strained relations with Washington, and the diplomats feared the economic and political consequences. On May 22nd, the same countries on the Security Council which had refused to condone the invasion ahead of time joined the United States in voting for a resolution giving retroactive legitimacy to the occupation. These countries were eager to signal their support for a stable, democratic Iraq; to insure that they were not shut out of economic opportunities there; and to force the Americans to acknowledge that, under international law, they were formal occupiers, not “liberators.” They also wanted to try to give the U.N.—which they trusted more than the Americans—a significant role in shaping the new Iraq.

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Chris Keeley

Each time that Vieira de Mello visited Bremer in the Green Zone, more sandbags were piled up around

Each time that Vieira de Mello visited Bremer in the Green Zone, more sandbags were piled up around the entrance, and the lines of Iraqis outside seemed longer. On June 18th, some two thousand former Iraqi officers gathered outside the Green Zone to protest the disbanding of the Army. During the demonstration, a small group of officers went to the Canal Hotel to try to persuade Vieira de Mello to help them get reinstated. He promised the men that he would approach Bremer. But Bremer said that the order had expressed Washington’s wishes.

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Chris Keeley

Open Letter to George W. Bush (GULF NEWS EDITORIAL)

O: Distinguished Recipients
FM: John Whitbeck
Transmitted below is an editorial in the form of an open letter to President George W. Bush which was published at the top of the front page of the GULF NEWS (Dubai), the leading English-language newspaper in the United Arab Emirates, shortly before Mr. Bush's arrival in the UAE.
The United Arab Emirates is a "moderate" Arab state. The GULF NEWS is a moderate, mainstream newspaper in the UAE. The views expressed in this editorial open letter reflect the commonly held views of moderate, mainstream people in this relatively pro-American part of the Arab world.
WAKE UP, AMERICA! The "more of the same" (or even worse!) being promised by ALL the presidential candidates (other than the "marginal" Dennis Kucinich and Ron Paul) is simply not good enough.


Gulf News



Letter to George W. Bush

Gulf News

Published: January 11, 2008




Dear Mr. President;


On the occasion of your first official trip to this vital region, it is only appropriate to raise a few points which might also be raised by the leaders you meet. Unfortunately, you landed here with prejudice and pre-formed opinions. By describing Israel, moments after you arrived, as "the land of freedom" and "justice", you have shown total ignorance of the political situation in the Middle East and the issue you claim to want to solve in the remaining 12 months of your presidency. Israel, Mr. President, continues to defy every UN resolution, exercise unprecedented oppression on the occupied Palestinian people and persecute its Muslim and Christian population. We realise that containing Iran, selling more weapons and securing cheap oil supplies are the main issues on your mind as you tour the region. But you need to look beyond the neocon rhetoric and speak directly to the people who have been unjustly thrown out of their land, victimised by your "strong ally" Israel. As for other matters, such as the promise of democracy and human rights, which you are expected to raise in your official talks in the region, we really don't take them seriously. Your dreadful record on both gives you no moral right to lecture others. 


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Chris Keeley



O: Distinguished Recipients
FM: John Whitbeck
Transmitted below is a brief editorial published today in the SAUDI GAZETTE, in anticipation of President George W. Bush's arrival in Riyadh this evening.
Mercifully, since Mr. Bush is not coming to Jeddah, I will be able to go to work tomorrow. In order to enhance the president's chances of survival, the Saudi Arabian authorities will be putting the capital under a virtual lockdown/curfew during his visit. (Dubai was closed down today, with a stay-at-home "holiday" declared by its government.)
Arabs are justly famous for their politeness and hospitality. It says a lot about the cumulative impact of America's Middle East policies that editorials such as the one in the GULF NEWS circulated earlier and this one would greet him.
Editorial -- Monday, 14 January 2008

Bush at it, Again





President Bush chose Abu Dhabi and the midway point of his Middle Eastern sojourn to attack Iran. It was, as usual, a display of the fairly muddled thinking behind the current foreign policy of the United States.


Bush said Iran funds terrorist extremists, undermines peace in Lebanon, sends arms to the Taleban, seeks to intimidate its neighbors with alarming rhetoric, defies the United Nations and destabilizes the entire region by refusing to be open about its nuclear program.


If the part about sending arms to the Taleban were removed, it would be easy to mistake this description of Iran for a description of Israel. The difference is that Iran has just agreed to respond to the unanswered questions about its nuclear program while Israel continues to deny the well-known fact of the existence of its own nuclear arsenal.


The part about intimidating neighbors with alarming rhetoric sounds suspiciously like the US these days, though the Bush Administration uses its alarming rhetoric - followed by invasion - to intimidate countries half a world away.


Bush also said the Iranian government in Tehran needs to make itself accountable to its people. While that may be true, this is a stark case of the pot calling the kettle black.


The Bush Administration has done everything in its power, both legally and illegally, to blur the hallmark transparency of the US government, keeping its own citizens in the dark about policies and actions that have had direct effects on their civil rights - not to mention the lives of their sons and daughters in Iraq.

The recent announcement that US intelligence agencies claimed Iran had halted its nuclear weapons program a few years ago was hopefully a harbinger of a more enlightened approach to relations between the two countries.  Instead, we get a much-hyped confrontation in the Arabian Gulf between US warships and Iranian motor boats followed by Bush's patented attack on Iran.


And, still, despite the heightened rhetoric, accusations and threats, the US refuses to hold direct talks with a country in which it has meddled for more than half a century. If this is the Bush definition of diplomacy, he needs to pick up a dictionary.