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More Readers' Comments

September 6, 2006

Editor's Note: Here are some readers' comments that followed our publication of "Smearing Joe Wilson, Again" and "How Obtuse Is the U.S. Press?"

Robert Parry's article on the facts surrounding the Plame-
Wilson attacks was much appreciated.

The next article  should investigate why the largest
national newspapers in our country are deliberately
participating in a cover-up of the treasonous disclosure of
Valerie Plame's undercover CIA position.

   Why are the NY Times, the Washington Post and Los
Angles Time so actively obstructing a criminal
investigation?

Bonnie McFadden
Attorney at Law
Makawao, Maui, HI

     --
Obtuse is hardly descriptive!  Cravenly sycophantic so contemptible as to
border on criminal press-whoredom. And that may be more than just a little
euphemistic.

The Skeptical Cynic So Spaketh

     --

I beg to differ with Mr. Parry, who states that "the motives of the
Washington news media [in providing cover for the Bush administration in
the Plame leak scandal] may be ...a mystery." No mystery about it: due
to decades of consolidation under relaxed FCC rules, ownership of the
mainstream media - news and otherwise - is concentrated in the hands of
a half-dozen conservative corporate giants. More bluntly, they're simply
an arm of the Republican party.

Any efforts to maintain credibility and objectivity are token, and when
the mainstream media do allow truths inconvenient to the current power
structure to see the light of day, it's usually because they've been
shamed into it by the internet (Plame is a case in point).  And make no
mistake, those same corporate giants are currently working to gain
control of that last fragment of a "free press."

The Washington news media, indeed the American news media, are not
"obtuse." Nor are they compliant, timid or cowed. They are, in a word,
complicit.

Steven A. Wells
Glendale, CA

    --

I think one plausible answer to Robert Parry's closing statement in the
artice," The motives of the Washington news media may be more of a mystery.
", has to do with the clever way that Bush bought them off early in his
occupation of the Dark House and that is with the tax cut. If the average
annual salary of most of these folkss is close to a million the tax savings
that they have enjoyed over the last six years is enough to want you to
scream "obtuse"!

Dick Nogaj

     --

       as to the wilson/plame matter, there's one
point no one seems to have mentioned namely the
absurdity of "a junket to Niger". "a junket to Niger"
is a phrase as devoid of meaning as "a honeymoon at
Gitmo".  whenever an american travels to sub-saharan
africa, s/he must have a battery of injections called
a 'yellow book'. one has to start taking these
injections about 2 weeks prior to departure. along
with the injections comes a prophylactic round of an
anti-malarial drug called chloroquin  which has nasty
side-effects. one takes the chloroquin during the time
one is 'in-country' and continues to take the drug for
a couple of weeks once one has returned to the states.

        i understand that most of our congressional
solons don't have a passport (and that many of the few
who do conflate their luxury golfing  in the UK with
European travel). but having lived in dc for 15 years
i would come into contact with former peace corps
volunteers and current and former foreign service
officers. those serving in africa receive 'hardship
pay' for a good reason. (in Guinea, for example, all
laundry has to be ironed since a tiny insect (fatal to
humans) will reside in the miniscule places between
stitches in the fabric of one's clothing.)
isn't it the role of the press to point out such
realities of actually going to Niger?  
thank you once again for reporting the news.
jeff orchard
san francisco, california

      --

I sent the following message about the NYT piece on Joe Wilson to my mailing list of 49 people (Microsoft has determined that if I try to contact 50 or more people at the same time, it's spam.)  I used to send these comments to the NYT itself, but I have no reason to think they read anything that comes their way.)   Thank you for your work.    Anne Kass, Albuquerque, NM
 
Good grief!   There's a huge canyon between this FACT, Richard L. Armitage, the former deputy secretary of state, first told the authorities in October 2003 that he had been the primary source, and this CONJECTURE  the prosecutor, knew the identity of the leaker from his very first day in the special counselís chair.    What if Fitzgerald, having heard Armitage's confession, suspected that Armitage was merely falling on his sword for the rest of the creeps.  Armitage's confession might have been (and might still be) as phony as Carr's murder confession has turned out to be.  
 
The NYT can't possibly know what Fitzgerald KNEW. They can only know what information was made available to him and when. 
 
And their lament that that Fitzgerald's decision to prolong the inquiry seriously embarrassed and distracted the Bush regime for nearly two years just infuriated me.  Thank heaven their malevolent energy was somewhat diffused.  And, what about the distraction Kenneth Starr's decisions caused for the Clinton White House--for a lot longer than 2 years--not to mention the millions of tax dollars that jerk wasted. 
 
Damn, the NYT people are sloppy in their analyses. 
 
Anne

     --

Thanks for staying on top of the Plame Wilson stuff--we've got a link to your latest on Media Views.  The most recent View is our own take on the Post edit--attempting to deflate the bizarre idea that because it was Richard Armitage, that must mean nothing untoward was going on.  Take a look:

Despite the collapse of the Soviet Union, the Washington Post continues the proud traditions of Pravda. "It was not the Party that sabotaged the dissident's career, comrades--the dissident sabotaged his own career!"

For those looking for a less party-line understanding of Armitage's role in Plamegate, it's worth taking a look at Slate: Where's My Subpoena? (2/7/06) by John Dickerson--the former Time reporter's account of being not-so-subtly pointed in Valerie Plame Wilson's direction by "two senior administration officials" on a trip to Africa; Dickerson doesn't quite name his sources, but he does helpfully point out that the two senior administration officials along on the trip were Condoleezza Rice and Colin Powell.

Powell, of course, was Armitage's boss. If he was going around telling reporters to "go ask the CIA who sent Wilson" (the message Dickerson got from both "senior administration officials"), what are the chances that Armitage just happened to mention the answer to that question "in an offhand manner, virtually as gossip," as the Washington Post reported (8/29/06)? About the same odds you would have gotten the straight dope on the Kremlin from Pravda.

Jim Naureckas, Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting

     --

Because your focus was to expose the Post's manipulation, you don't spend much time on the Armitage revelation, which in fact seems to me to be merely a pretext for stirring up the kind of hateful article that Hiatt did indeed put forth.  In fact, what change does the Armitage revelation make at all?  None that I can see.  Libby's indictment is still sound, and I do still expect a Rove indictment to be forthcoming because his guilt on perjury and obstruction of justice is just as apparent as Libby's.  That Armitage also spread the story to Novak--perhaps not as vindictively as it appears to have been spread by Libby and Rove, and not as early as spread by Libby and Rove, and evidently not as widely as spread by Libby and Rove--has no importance whatsoever except to support the assertion that there was a planned strategy to spread the story to a number of journalists, starting with the most promising, Woodward, Miller, Cooper, etc., and ending finally with the most sleazy, Novak.
 
Thanks for illuminating this most recent journalistic sleaze.  It's sickening.
 
Bob Locke

     --

 
I laughed and laughed as I read another lame attempt by another hysterical liberal, to present Joe Wilson as a respectable American.
 
At this point, pretty much anyone with a brain knows who and what Joe Wilson and his wife are..LIARS.
 
Why do you consistently underestimate the intelligence of the general public? I bet it really gripes you that you lying Liberals are exposed at every turn now, be it the internet blogs/websites, or in print.
 
As for now I (and so many others much more numerous than you libs can get through your numbskull heads), will keep laughing at you.  The only down side of course, is that it is your ilk that will end up getting us all blown up or beheaded because of your constant betrayals of real America's war on terrorism.
 
Thanks and have another frantic day,
Christy Whitson

     --

Christy Whitson says she is having a good laugh.  I guess that's fine because there really is little to laugh about these days.
I trust she enjoys her duped sense of euphoria while she can.
 
As for me, this manipulation of the media to white-wash the Bush administration's deeds one-more-time just gives me reason to live a little longer.  I'm living to see the Bush "leadership" impeached for their long list of crimes against humanity; and
after that happens (or even if the Congress does not have the spine to make it happen} the next event I'm living for is
their trial in the International Court. 
 
All those people who point fingers at terrorists are right.  They should not have done those murderous deeds.  Yet, it still holds in my old-fashioned book that "two wrongs don't make a right;" and because this administration has wronged so many people, if anyone is laughing about it they surely are in a state of crazed denial.
 
It interests me how conservatives tend to babble-on about how no one has a brain who sees things differently.  Oh, "Wilson and Plame are liars..." vapid comments made with little substantive evidence to support.  That gives me another reason to live.  I want to live to see the day that there is real debate in our government.  Debate that is actually intent on serving the people instead of more of that duping one-ups-man-ship that comes from the mouths of the thoughtless.  Excuse me Ms. Whitson as I step on your wrongful, useless allegations.  Let's grow up to think and write something useful that will actually help humankind rather than trip it up like your beloved Bushnoviks have these past five sad years.
 
Sally Bookwalter

     --

This is to Christy Whitson's rant: I have one question for you...If Joe Wilson and his wife are LIARS, then prove it to the readers(the numbskull liberals), and to the likeminded independents who are still confused by government and press alike?  Give us the truth Christy!!
 
Anthony Alexander

     --

Dear Sir:

In his August 31st piece "Missing the Point on CIA Leak Case," Brent Budowsky is right to say that the revelation that Richard Armitage was a source for Robert Novak's column outing Valerie Plame should not distract us from going after all the other Bush Administration members who were telling reporters about Plame's job with the CIA. But he does not give the Armitage story sufficient weight.

Budowsky assumes that Armitage was "anti-Iraq war." Armitage was the Deputy Secretary of State in the months before we invaded Iraq in March 2003, and he did not leave that post until early 2005. If Armitage were truly "anti-Iraq war," would he not have spoken out publicly against the war and/or resigned in protest of the war? He did neither.

This should come as no surprise to readers of the articles at The Consortium. After all, Armitage's boss and bosom buddy Colin Powell laid out the administration case for attacking Iraq on worldwide TV at the United Nations. And as The Consortium has pointed out in more than one article, Powell has never let morality get in the way of his career's advancement. Armitage is cut from the same cloth.

Budowsky mentions Armitage only in passing in "Missing the Point." But Armitage is well worth writing about. He has been a major shaper of the conservative movement's national security policy for decades. He has held important posts in both the Reagan and George W. Bush administrations. He has been particularly influential on Asia policy, including Middle East policy. To ignore him when discussing the Bush Administration is like writing about Truman's "Wise Men" and ignoring John McCloy or even George Kennan.

I strongly recommend James Mann's 2004 book *Rise of the Vulcans: The History of Bush's War Cabinet*. Mann lays out the lives and thought of Dick Cheney, Don Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz, Condi Rice, Colin Powell, and Rich Armitage in painstaking detail. (Budowsky calls him "Dick Armitage," but the man's friends call him "Rich": for instance, in Powell's autobiography he is always called "Rich.")

To give some highlights of Armitage's career:

1) While serving in Vietnam, Armitage was almost certainly associated with the Phoenix program of mass assassination. He denies it, but friends and associates of his told Mann that he was involved.

2) For most of the Reagan Administration, he was Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs. Basically, Caspar Weinberger made only the biggest decisions. Day-to-day, the Pentagon was run by Armitage, Powell, and Richard Perle. By the way, Armitage worked extremely well with Wolfowitz, who was at State.

3) Armitage was heavily involved in implementing the Reagan Doctrine of providing aid to anti-communist guerrillas. He worked particularly closely with Pakistan's notorious Interservices Intelligence Directorate (ISI) on the Afghan mujahideen's struggle against Soviet forces.

4) He remained skeptical about Mikhail Gorbachev long after Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan had vouched for him. In October 1988, he wrote in *The New York Times* that Gorbachev's proposals to freeze seapower, airpower, and nuclear weapon levels in Northeast Asia were "a transparent attempt to get something for nothing while driving a wedge between the free nations of the Pacific."

5) He was a signer of the notorious 1998 letter to Bill Clinton calling for the overthrow of Saddam Hussein. That letter, from the neoconservative Project for a New American Century, was also signed by Don Rumsfeld and such worthies as Wolfowitz, Perle, Zalmay Khalilzad, John Bolton, William Kristol, and Elliott Abrams.

6) Armitage (and Powell) signed off on George W. Bush's "axis-of-evil" State of the Union address.  Calling the governments of Iraq, Iran and North Korea "evil" struck them as unexceptionable, just as Reagan's calling the Soviet Union an "evil empire" had.

I believe, for what it's worth, that Armitage deliberately let slip Valerie Plame's identity to Robert Novak (and to Bob Woodward). I also believe in Mann's thesis that no one in George W. Bush's war cabinet is truly moderate. Powell and Armitage were the most moderate. But Powell made the case for war at the UN and Armitage treated Plame's identity just as cavalierly as Karl Rove or Scooter Libby, so they are not moderates when compared to the average American.

I could say a great deal more about Armitage, but this e-mail has already gone on quite long enough. I hope you will do a piece on him at some point. He deserves it, just as his friend Powell did.

Sincerely,
Todd Plofker
 


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