February 22nd, 2008

Chris Keeley

The McCain Article

The McCain Article

A recent New York Times article examined a number of decisions by Senator John McCain that raised questions about his judgment over potential conflicts of interest. The article included reporting on Mr. McCain’s relationship with a female lobbyist whose clients often had business before the Senate committee led by Mr. McCain. Since publication of the article, The Times has received over 2,000 comments, many of them criticizing the handling of the article. Editors and reporters who worked on the article will be answering questions on Friday. Please send yours to askthetimes@nytimes.com.

Chris Keeley

Behind the John McCain Lobbying Scandal: A Look at How McCain Urged the Federal Communications Commi

Behind the John McCain Lobbying Scandal: A Look at How McCain Urged the Federal Communications Commission to Act on Behalf of Paxson Communications

On Thursday, the New York Times revealed McCain repeatedly wrote letters to government regulators on behalf of Paxson Communications and other clients of the telecommunications lobbyist, Vicki Iseman. We speak to Angela Campbell, the attorney for the Alliance for Progressive Action and QED Accountability Project, the community groups that sought to block Paxson’s takeover of a Pittsburgh public television license.

Angela Campbell, director of the Institute for Public Representation at Georgetown University Law Center. She was the attorney for Pittsburgh community group that tried to stop the television station deal backed by Senator McCain.

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Chris Keeley

Report: McCain’s Top Advisors Are D.C.Lobbyists

CIA Admits Used UK Territory For Rendition Flights

The CIA has admitted the United States used the British territory of Diego Garcia during two extraordinary rendition flights in 2002. For years the U.S. had denied ever using any British airspace or territory for the secret flights but a recent US investigation uncovered two flights that stopped in Diego Garcia. The CIA continues to deny allegations that the US maintains a secret prison on the island in the Indian Ocean. British Foreign Secretary David Miliband broke the news to MPs on Thursday.

David Miliband: “Contrary to earlier explicit assurances that Diego Garcia had not been used for rendition flights, recent U.S. investigations have now revealed two occasions, both in 2002, when this had in fact occurred. An error in the earlier U.S. records search meant these cases did not come to light. In both cases, a single U.S. plane, with a single detainee on board, refuelled at the U.S. facility in Diego Garcia.”

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown expressed “disappointment” about the news.

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Chris Keeley

About 724 wolves have been killed in the region since 1987 because of conflicts with livestock, Bang

Gray wolves to lose endangered status
Federal officials act after a 20-year effort to reestablish populations in the northern Rockies. Critics call the decision shortsighted.
By Tami Abdollah
Los Angeles Times Staff Writer

February 22, 2008

Grey Wolf Pup

Gray wolves will be fair game for hunters in parts of the northern Rocky Mountains after federal officials announced Thursday that they would be taken off the endangered species list.

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Chris Keeley

Note: In a later report just posted on the Times website, Steven Erlanger, its regular reporter from

Note: In a later report just posted on the Times website, Steven Erlanger, its regular reporter from Israel, quotes Olmert's spokesman as stating that Olmert responded positively to the Arab League initiative "as a basis for negotiations" with the Arab world and even "praised it." He didn't say where or when this happened, and Erlanger apparently didn't bother to ask him. Another Israeli official criticized the Arab League leaders as "more Nasserite." 

February 22, 2008

Arab Leaders Say the Two-State Proposal Is in Peril

CAIRO — Arab leaders will threaten to rescind their offer of full relations with Israel in exchange for a complete Israeli withdrawal from occupied lands unless Israel gives a positive response to their initiative, indicating the Arab states' growing disillusionment with the prospects of a two-state solution for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

At an Arab League meeting next month in Syria, the leaders are planning to reiterate support for their initiative, first issued in 2002. The initiative promised Israel normalization with the league's 22 members in return for the creation of a Palestinian state on the West Bank and Gaza Strip, with East Jerusalem as the capital, and a resolution of the issue of Palestinian refugees.

But this time, "there will be a message to Israel emphasizing the need to respond to the initiative; otherwise, Arab states will reassess the previous stage of peace," said Muhammad Sobeih, assistant secretary general of the Arab League in charge of the Palestinian issue. "They will withdraw the initiative and look for other options. It makes no sense to insist on something that Israel is rejecting."

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Chris Keeley

Follow up on Arab Ultimatum article in NYTimes

Subject: Follow up on Arab Ultimatum article in NYTimes

I regret to say that my note at the beginning of the piece by Slackman on the Arab League initiative in today's NYTimes was poorly drafted. A correspondent took me to task for repeating what Olmert's spokesman reportedly said, thinking, I guess, that I gave it some credence. He commented that "Olmert is lying every time he opens his mouth." I have been saying for years that neither Israel nor the US has ever responded positively to the Arab League initiative, and it is a plain lie to say that Israel praised it or welcomed it in any way. I suppose the Slackman piece raised the ire of Israel's advocates and they complained to the Times editors, who told Erlanger, their man in Jerusalem, to get a quote from a good Israeli source.  As I noted, Erlanger did not ask his source to tell him where or when Olmert or any other Israeli leader welcomed the Arab League initiative. Bob Keeley