June 01, 2005

LNS Oceania Review June 2005 Part III

LNS Oceania Review June 2005 Part III

8. Illegitimate, Incompetent, Corrupt...
9. John O'Neill Wall of Heroes
10. Kulchur War, Defense of Science, Separation of Church & State

Illegitimate, Incompetent, Corrupt…

Josh White, Tillman's Parents Are Critical of Army, Washington Post , 5/23/05: Former NFL player Pat Tillman's family is lashing out against the Army, saying that the military's investigations into Tillman's friendly-fire death in Afghanistan last year were a sham and that Army efforts to cover up the truth have made it harder for them to deal with their loss.
More than a year after their son was shot several times by his fellow Army Rangers on a craggy hillside near the Pakistani border, Tillman's mother and father said in interviews that they believe the military and the government created a heroic tale about how their son died to foster a patriotic response across the country. They say the Army's "lies" about what happened have made them suspicious, and that they are certain they will never get the full story.
"Pat had high ideals about the country; that's why he did what he did," Mary Tillman said in her first lengthy interview since her son's death. "The military let him down. The administration let him down. It was a sign of disrespect. The fact that he was the ultimate team player and he watched his own men kill him is absolutely heartbreaking and tragic. The fact that they lied about it afterward is disgusting."
…Patrick Tillman Sr., a San Jose lawyer, said he is furious about what he found in the volumes of witness statements and investigative documents the Army has given to the family. He decried what he calls a "botched homicide investigation" and blames high-ranking Army officers for presenting "outright lies" to the family and to the public.
"After it happened, all the people in positions of authority went out of their way to script this," Patrick Tillman said. "They purposely interfered with the investigation, they covered it up. I think they thought they could control it, and they realized that their recruiting efforts were going to go to hell in a handbasket if the truth about his death got out. They blew up their poster boy."

AYELISH MCGARVEY, Dr. Hager's Family Values, The Nation, 5/30/05 ate last October Dr. W. David Hager, a prominent obstetrician-gynecologist and Bush Administration appointee to the Advisory Committee for Reproductive Health Drugs in the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), took to the pulpit as the featured speaker at a morning service. He stood in the campus chapel at Asbury College, a small evangelical Christian school nestled among picturesque horse farms in the small town of Wilmore in Kentucky's bluegrass region. Hager is an Asburian nabob; his elderly father is a past president of the college, and Hager himself currently sits on his alma mater's board of trustees. Even the school's administrative building, Hager Hall, bears the family name.
That day, a mostly friendly audience of 1,500 students and faculty packed into the seats in front of him. With the autumn sunlight streaming through the stained-glass windows, Hager opened his Bible to the Old Testament Book of Ezekiel and looked out into the audience. "I want to share with you some information about how...God has called me to stand in the gap," he declared. "Not only for others, but regarding ethical and moral issues in our country."
For Hager, those moral and ethical issues all appear to revolve around sex: In both his medical practice and his advisory role at the FDA, his ardent evangelical piety anchors his staunch opposition to emergency contraception, abortion and premarital sex. Through his six books--which include such titles as Stress and the Woman's Body and As Jesus Cared for Women, self-help tomes that interweave syrupy Christian spirituality with paternalistic advice on women's health and relationships--he has established himself as a leading conservative Christian voice on women's health and sexuality.
And because of his warm relationship with the Bush Administration, Hager has had the opportunity to see his ideas influence federal policy…
Up on the dais, several men seated behind Hager nodded solemnly in agreement. But out in the audience, Linda Carruth Davis--co-author with Hager of Stress and the Woman's Body, and, more saliently, his former wife of thirty-two years--was enraged. "It was the most disgusting thing I've ever heard," she recalled months later, through clenched teeth.
According to Davis, Hager's public moralizing on sexual matters clashed with his deplorable treatment of her during their marriage. Davis alleges that between 1995 and their divorce in 2002, Hager repeatedly sodomized her without her consent. Several sources on and off the record confirmed that she had told them it was the sexual and emotional abuse within their marriage that eventually forced her out. "I probably wouldn't have objected so much, or felt it was so abusive if he had just wanted normal [vaginal] sex all the time," she explained to me. "But it was the painful, invasive, totally nonconsensual nature of the [anal] sex that was so horrible."
Not once during the uproar over Hager's FDA appointment did any reporter solicit the opinion of the woman now known as Linda Davis--she remarried in November 2002 to James Davis, a Methodist minister, and relocated to southern Georgia--on her husband's record, even though she contributed to much of his self-help work in the Christian arena (she remains a religious and political conservative). She intermittently thought of telling her story but refrained, she says, out of respect for her adult children. It was Hager's sermon at Asbury last October that finally changed her mind. Davis was there to hear her middle son give a vocal performance; she was prepared to hear her ex-husband inveigh against secular liberals, but she was shocked to hear him speak about their divorce when he took to the pulpit.
"In early 2002," Hager told the churchgoers that day, "my world fell apart.... After thirty-two years of marriage, I was suddenly alone in a new home that we had built as our dream home. Time spent 'doing God's will' had kept me from spending the time I needed to nourish my marriage." Hager noted with pride that in his darkest hour, Focus on the Family estimated that 50 million people worldwide were praying for him.
Linda Davis quietly fumed in her chair. "He had the gall to stand under the banner of holiness of the Lord and lie, by the sin of omission," she told me…
Sex was always a source of conflict in the marriage. Though it wasn't emotionally satisfying for her, Davis says she soon learned that sex could "buy" peace with Hager after a long day of arguing, or insure his forgiveness after she spent too much money. "Sex was coinage; it was a commodity," she said. Sometimes Hager would blithely shift from vaginal to anal sex. Davis protested. "He would say, 'Oh, I didn't mean to have anal sex with you; I can't feel the difference,'" Davis recalls incredulously. "And I would say, 'Well then, you're in the wrong business.'"
By the 1980s, according to Davis, Hager was pressuring her to let him videotape and photograph them having sex. She consented, and eventually she even let Hager pay her for sex that she wouldn't have otherwise engaged in--for example, $2,000 for oral sex, "though that didn't happen very often because I hated doing it so much. So though it was more painful, I would let him sodomize me, and he would leave a check on the dresser," Davis admitted to me with some embarrassment. This exchange took place almost weekly for several years.
Money was an explosive issue in their household. Hager kept an iron grip on the family purse strings. Initially the couple's single checking account was in Hager's name only, which meant that Davis had to appeal to her husband for cash, she says. Eventually he relented and opened a dual account. Davis recalls that Hager would return home every evening and make a beeline for his office to balance the checkbook, often angrily summoning her to account for the money she'd spent that day. Brenda Bartella Peterson, Davis's friend of twenty-five years and her neighbor at the time, witnessed Hager berate his wife in their kitchen after one such episode. For her part, Davis set out to subvert Hager's financial dominance with profligate spending on credit cards opened in her own name. "I was not willing to face reality about money," she admits. "I thought, 'Well, money can't buy happiness, but it buys the kind of misery you can learn to live with.'"
These financial atmospherics undoubtedly figured into Linda's willingness to accept payment for sex. But eventually her conscience caught up with her. "Finally...I said, 'You know, David, this is like being a prostitute. I just can't do this anymore; I don't think it's healthy for our relationship,'" she recalls.
By 1995, according to Davis's account, Hager's treatment of his wife had moved beyond morally reprehensible to potentially felonious. It was a uniquely stressful year for Davis. Her mother, dying of cancer, had moved in with the family and was in need of constant care. At the same time, Davis was suffering from a seemingly inexplicable exhaustion during the day. She began exhibiting a series of strange behaviors, like falling asleep in such curious places as the mall and her closet. Occasionally she would--as she describes it--"zone out" in midsentence in a conversation, and her legs would buckle. Eventually, Davis was diagnosed as having narcolepsy, a neurological disorder that affects the brain's ability to regulate normal sleep-wake cycles.
For Davis, the diagnosis spelled relief, and a physician placed her on several medications to attain "sleep hygiene," or a consistent sleep pattern. But Davis says it was after the diagnosis that the period of the most severe abuse began. For the next seven years Hager sodomized Davis without her consent while she slept roughly once a month until their divorce in 2002, she claims.

Ray McGovern , Confirmation of Bolton Would Shatter Intelligence Analysts' Morale, www.truthout.org, 5/25/05: Few have more at stake in the expected Senate approval of John Bolton to be US representative at the U.N. than the remnant group of demoralized intelligence analysts trained and still willing to speak truth to power. What would be the point in continuing, they ask, when - like so many other policymakers - Bolton reserves the right to "state his own reading of the intelligence" (as he wrote to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee)?
Given his well-earned reputation for stretching intelligence beyond the breaking point to "justify" his own policy preferences, Bolton’s confirmation would loose a hemorrhage of honest analysts, while the kind of malleable careerists who cooked intelligence to "justify" the administration’s prior decision for war on Iraq will prosper. I refer to those who saluted obediently when former CIA director George Tenet told them, as he told his British counterpart in July 2002, that the facts needed to be "fixed around the policy" of regime change in Iraq.

www.rawstory.com, Larry Flynt: Bush UN nominee won't answer questions about troubled marriage, 5/11/05: The records show that Bolton's wife left him during a trip to Vienna in two weeks in 1982 and never returned. The records further show that she took most of the couple’s furniture…Corroborated allegations that Mr. Bolton’s first wife, Christina Bolton, was forced to engage in group sex have not been refuted by the State Department despite inquires posed by Hustler magazine publisher Larry Flynt concerning the allegations. Mr. Flynt has obtained information from numerous sources that Mr. Bolton participated in paid visits to Plato’s Retreat, the popular swingers club that operated in New York City in the late 1970s and early 1980s.
“The first Mrs. Bolton’s conduct raises the presumption that she fled out of fear for her safety or, at a minimum, it demonstrates that Mr. Bolton’s established inability to communicate or work respectfully with others extended to his intimate family relations,” said Mr. Flynt. “The court records alone provide sufficient basis for further investigation of nominee Bolton by the Senate.” These court records are enclosed here as an attachment. Mr. Flynt continued, “The U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations must be free of any potential source of disrepute or blackmail.”
Mr. Flynt has contacted the State Department asking that they confirm or deny the allegations of Mr. Bolton’s prior conduct concerning his wife and the alleged paid visits to Plato’s Retreat. He has also called upon the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to conduct an inquiry into the very serious evidence concerning his first wife’s fear of him.
Neither the State Department nor the Senate Foreign Relations Committee has yet responded to Mr. Flynt’s inquiries.
The Hustler magazine publisher demanded an immediate response from Mr. Bolton. Mr. Flynt has personal knowledge about sources corroborating the allegations of nominee Bolton’s misconduct, and he has called upon these persons to publicly come forward with their information.

JOHN W. DEAN, A New Chapter In The Valerie Plame Case:
Insights Gained From The New Edition of The Book by Former Ambassador Joseph Wilson, www.findlaw.com, 5/20,05: Could the Supreme Court Become Complicit In Bush Administration Misdeeds?
Though few believe the Supreme Court will rule for the reporters, as Hoyle note, the High Court might place the case "on its docket, which conceivably could push the resolution into 2006." It would take only four Justices' votes to do so.
If the Court declines to grant review, Special Counsel Fitzgerald can go ahead and force Cooper and Miller to testify, or face jail. But if it takes the case - and further delays it - the Special Counsel can do nothing.
For this reason, a Court decision to docket the case should raise deep suspicions. This, after all, is the Court that installed Bush and Cheney in the White House with its dubious Bush v. Gore ruling. Delaying this case until the backside of Bush's second term could give the White House a pass through the mid-term elections as well.
Such delay, then, would suggest complicity by the conservative bloc (those most likely to take the case) of the Court in Administration crimes. Imagine, by comparison, if conservatives on the Court had managed to delay the Court's ruling forcing Richard Nixon to turn over his tapes to the Watergate Special Prosecutor until after the 1974 mid-term elections. That would not only have helped Republicans in the mid-term elections, it would also have enabled Nixon to survive an impeachment conviction -- for there was no smokings gun until the Court acted.
The Plame leak is a very serious one. It is an especially nasty case of revenge for truth-telling: To go after Wilson's wife, for his Op Ed, is dirty business indeed. Even more important, for Valerie Plame (and possibly others who covertly associated with her abroad, and were outed when she was outed) this leak could be life-threatening.
It is way past time to get to the bottom of the Plame leak. It deserves both the pitiless light of publicity, and the laser focus of prosecution. One can only hope that the paperback edition of Joe Wilson's book, with its new material, will create more public pressure to uncover the truth.

John P. O’Neill Wall of Heroes

Sibel Edmonds, Gagged, But Not Dead, www.buzzflash.com, 5/15/05: In the past three years, I have been threatened; I have been gagged several times; I have continuously been prevented from pursuing my due process; all reports and investigations looking into my case have been classified; and every governmental or investigative authority dealing with my case has been shut up. According to legal experts familiar with my case, the level of secrecy and classification in my court case and the attitudes and handling of the court system in dealing with my case is unprecedented in the entire U.S. court history. According to other experts I am one of the most, if not the most, gagged woman anybody knows of or has heard of. Why?
Those of you who still think this case, my case, is about covering up some administrative blunder or bureaucratic mismanagement, please think again.
Those of you who may think that my Kafkaesque case, the unprecedented secrecy, is due to some justified and official higher reasons, please think again.
Those of you who may think that our government, our entrusted leaders, may have an ongoing investigation of criminals involved, please think again.
The Office of Inspector General for the Department of Justice, in its ‘unclassified report,’ has confirmed my core allegations. What were those core allegations, and who did they involve? Not only some low-level terrorist or terrorist organization; not only some ‘maybe’ critical foreign entities. No; trust me; they would not go to this length to protect some nobody criminal or terrorist.
It is way past time for a little bit of critical thinking. The Attorney General cites two reasons to justify the unconstitutional and panic driven assault on me and my case. Reason one: To protect certain diplomatic relations - not named since obviously our officials are ashamed of admitting to these relations. Reason two: To protect certain U.S. foreign business relations. Let’s take each one and dissect it (I have given up on our mass media to do that for us!). For reason one, since when is the Department of Justice, the FBI, in the business of protecting ‘US sensitive diplomatic relations?’ They appear to be acting as a mouthpiece for the Department of State. Now, that’s one entity that has strong reasons to cover up, for its own self, what will end up being a blunder of mammoth scale. Not internationally; not really; it is the American people and their outrage they must be worried about; they wouldn’t want to have a few of their widely recognized officials being held criminally liable; would they?
As for reason two, I can assure you that the U.S. foreign business relations they may be referring to are not among those that benefit the majority of the American people; a handful of MIC entities and their lobbying arms can by no means be considered that, can they? In fact, the American people, their national safety and security, and their best interests are being sacrificed for a handful of those with their foreign business interest. Also, since when are nuclear black market related underground activities considered official U.S. foreign business; one may wonder? If you want to have the answers to these questions, please approach your Congress and ask your representatives for hearings - not behind closed doors quasi hearings - but open, public hearings where these questions can be asked and answered.
And lastly, for those of you who may think that since I have been gagged and stopped by almost all available official channels, I must be ready to vaporize into thin air, please think again. I am gagged, but not dead; not yet.

Patrick O'Driscoll, Academy critic says she was fired, USA TODAY, 5/11/05: An Air Force Academy chaplain who co-wrote a report last year that criticized "strident" evangelizing of cadets by Christian officers said Wednesday that she was fired by the academy's head chaplain.
The chaplain, Capt. Melinda Morton, spoke out as a Pentagon task force began a three-day visit to the academy here to examine complaints of Christian religious bias on campus. It is to report back to the Pentagon by May 23.
Morton, a Lutheran minister and executive officer to the chief chaplain, Col. Michael Whittington, said in an interview that he dismissed her from that job last week. She said it happened after he pressured her to deny details of what happened at a religious service that was held during last summer's training for new cadets…
Morton, however, said the transition is an excuse. "This isn't about me and getting fired. It's about malfeasance in the chaplaincy here," she said…
In a two-page memo last July, Morton and Yale Divinity School professor Kristen Leslie summarized the findings of a weeklong visit to cadet basic training. Academy officials had invited Leslie and six Yale graduate students to observe how the chaplains minister to the cadets…
Leslie reported that an academy chaplain urged cadets to pray for those who didn't attend, to try to convert them and "remind them of the consequences ... (that) those not 'born again will burn in the fires of hell.' "
"When we saw this kind of predominant, pervasive evangelical conservative Christian message putting itself forward as pastoral care, we noted it," Leslie said in an interview.

Galloway vs. the US Senate: Transcript of Statement, Times of London, 5/18/05: George Galloway, Respect MP for Bethnal Green and Bow, delivered this statement to US Senators today who have accused him of corruption.
"Now, Senator, I gave my heart and soul to oppose the policy that you promoted. I gave my political life's blood to try to stop the mass killing of Iraqis by the sanctions on Iraq which killed one million Iraqis, most of them children, most of them died before they even knew that they were Iraqis, but they died for no other reason other than that they were Iraqis with the misfortune to born at that time. I gave my heart and soul to stop you committing the disaster that you did commit in invading Iraq. And I told the world that your case for the war was a pack of lies.
"I told the world that Iraq, contrary to your claims did not have weapons of mass destruction. I told the world, contrary to your claims, that Iraq had no connection to al-Qaeda. I told the world, contrary to your claims, that Iraq had no connection to the atrocity on 9/11 2001. I told the world, contrary to your claims, that the Iraqi people would resist a British and American invasion of their country and that the fall of Baghdad would not be the beginning of the end, but merely the end of the beginning.
"Senator, in everything I said about Iraq, I turned out to be right and you turned out to be wrong and 100,000 people paid with their lives; 1600 of them American soldiers sent to their deaths on a pack of lies; 15,000 of them wounded, many of them disabled forever on a pack of lies.
If the world had listened to Kofi Annan, whose dismissal you demanded, if the world had listened to President Chirac who you want to paint as some kind of corrupt traitor, if the world had listened to me and the anti-war movement in Britain, we would not be in the disaster that we are in today. Senator, this is the mother of all smokescreens. You are trying to divert attention from the crimes that you supported, from the theft of billions of dollars of Iraq's wealth.
"Have a look at the real Oil-for-Food scandal. Have a look at the 14 months you were in charge of Baghdad, the first 14 months when $8.8 billion of Iraq's wealth went missing on your watch. Have a look at Haliburton and other American corporations that stole not only Iraq's money, but the money of the American taxpayer.
"Have a look at the oil that you didn't even meter, that you were shipping out of the country and selling, the proceeds of which went who knows where? Have a look at the $800 million you gave to American military commanders to hand out around the country without even counting it or weighing it.
"Have a look at the real scandal breaking in the newspapers today, revealed in the earlier testimony in this committee. That the biggest sanctions busters were not me or Russian politicians or French politicians. The real sanctions busters were your own companies with the connivance of your own Government."

Concerned faculty, staff, and emeriti of Calvin College, An Open Letter to the President of the United States of America, George W. Bush:
On May 21, 2005, you will give the commencement address at Calvin College. We, the undersigned, respect your office, and we join the college in welcoming you to our campus. Like you, we recognize the importance of religious commitment in American political life.
We seek open and honest dialogue about the Christian faith and how it is best expressed in the political sphere. While recognizing God as sovereign over individuals and institutions alike, we understand that no single political position should be identified with God's will, and we are conscious that this applies to our own views as well as those of others. At the same time we see conflicts between our understanding of what Christians are called to do and many of the policies of your administration.
As Christians we are called to be peacemakers and to initiate war only as a last resort. We believe your administration has launched an unjust and unjustified war in Iraq.
As Christians we are called to lift up the hungry and impoverished. We believe your administration has taken actions that favor the wealthy of our society and burden the poor.
As Christians we are called to actions characterized by love, gentleness, and concern for the most vulnerable among us. We believe your administration has fostered intolerance and divisiveness and has often failed to listen to those with whom it disagrees.
As Christians we are called to be caretakers of God's good creation. We believe your environmental policies have harmed creation and have not promoted long-term stewardship of our natural environment.
Our passion for these matters arises out of the Christian faith that we share with you. We ask you, Mr. President, to re-examine your policies in light of our God-given duty to pursue justice with mercy, and we pray for wisdom for you and all world leaders.
--Concerned faculty, staff, and emeriti of Calvin College

Reuters, Rice Interrupted by Enactment of Abu Ghraib Abuse, 5/28/05: Demonstrators interrupted a speech by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on Friday by recreating an image of the Abu Ghraib prison abuse scandal in which a hooded prisoner stood with his arms outstretched attached to electric wires.
Amid tight security at San Francisco's Davies Symphony Hall, three women and one man pulled on black hoods and cloaks and stood on their seats, acting out the scene caught in one of the photographs of abuse that undermined US prestige abroad.
Rice initially continued her speech on American foreign policy under President Bush but paused when the protesters shouted "Stop the torture. Stop the killing. US out of Iraq," as police led them out of the auditorium.
Medea Benjamin, one of the protesters, said they were kept in police custody for about an hour and a half and then released with a misdemeanor citation. "We feel we made our point," said Benjamin, a founding director of the human rights group Global Exchange.

Kulchur War, Defense of Science, Separation of Church & State

Andre A. Rodriguez, Members Say Church Ousts Kerry Supporters, Asheville Citizen-Times (North Carolina), 5/7/05: — Nine members of a local church had their membership revoked and 40 others left in protest after tension over political views recently came to a head, church members say.
About 20 members of the 400-member East Waynesville Baptist Church voted the nine members out at a recent deacon meeting, which turned into an impromptu business meeting, according to congregants.
Chan Chandler, pastor of East Waynesville Baptist, had been exhorting his congregation since October to support his political views or leave, said Selma Morris, a 30-year member of the church.
“He preached a sermon on abortion and homosexuality, then said if anyone there was planning on voting for John Kerry, they should leave,” she said. “That’s the first time I’ve ever heard something like that. Ministers are supposed to bring people in.”
Repeated phone calls to Chandler went unanswered Friday, and he was not available at the church or his home to comment. Those members supposedly voted out also could not be contacted Friday.

Andrew Gumbel, Fundamental Questions: America Debates the Place of Darwin and God in Schools, lndependent/UK, 5/7/05: The chair of the Board of Education, Steve Abrams, is a Young Earth creationist, which is to say he believes the world was created by the Almighty no more than 6,000 years ago. The two other board members selected to attend the hearings are also Christian conservatives, who won election to their posts by pledging to insert prayer and religious principles into America's ruggedly secular public education system.
Together, the threesome is charged with approving a new set of science standards for Kansas schools. To call it a contentious issue would be a vast understatement. As far as secular groups like Kansas Citizens for Science are concerned, it is like handing control of a blood bank over to a cabal of vampires.
It has been only six years since Kansas covered itself in ridicule by giving schoolteachers the green light to teach the Genesis creation story as a serious scientific alternative to Darwin. That decision was hastily reversed, and the Christian fundamentalist majority on the Board of Education overturned, following a hue and cry from scientists and educators from around the world.
Now, though, the Christian conservatives are back in the ascendant - as indeed they are in every area of Kansas politics, and in much of the United States…
The way the evangelicals moved in on the board of education was a masterpiece of political stealth. The board seemed too insignificant for the state's major media and political pundits to pay much attention at first. Creationist candidates were promoted through aggressive radio advertisement and direct mail shots, as well as Sunday sermons in the state's many Southern Baptist churches.
One longstanding board member was booted out when a last-minute ad said she had been endorsed by an atheists" association and must therefore be a godless bane for all Kansas children - a blitz that caught her off-guard and left her no time to respond.
The Christian right now controls six of the board's ten seats, which means it can change the science standards more or less at will. When the standards changed in 1999 to allow the teaching of creationism, Kansas received an F-minus grade from the conservative but still mainstream education thinktank, the Fordham Foundation.
That, and the rest of the outcry, was enough to embarrass the state into paying greater attention at the next education board election. The big unanswered question is whether there will be a fresh wave of embarrassment if, as seems inevitable, the science standards change once more. The right has made tremendous political hay out of depicting itself as the underdog, in thrall to an arrogant liberal intellectual elite, and this issue could end up fitting right into that pattern.
"I am definitely in the minority," Jonathan Wells proclaimed proudly at one point. "I enjoy being in the minority." Someone shouted out: "More than being right"" The good student of Sun Myung Moon chose not to answer.
© Copyright 2005 Independent News & Media (UK) Ltd.

Posted by richard at June 1, 2005 02:05 AM