Monday, October 31, 2005

Streisand: Bush = Worst. President. Ever.

People. People who need Barbra (and her political views). Are the luckiest people, in the world.

Posted last week on her site:

If there was ever a time in history to impeach a President of the United States, it would be now. In my opinion, it is two years too late. [...]

When does it stop? It stops with the indictment and impeachment of this corrupt, power-hungry, greedy group of incompetent leaders. How many more have to die before this happens? [...]

This President will go down as the worst president in American history. [...]

Just a reminder; Streisand loves her cutie-pie openly gay son, Jason Gould.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

FT: Damning Iraq Inspector General Report Issued

The October 30 edition of the Financial Times reports the following awful news (Is there any other kind out of Iraq?): "The US government had 'no comprehensive policy or regulatory guidelines' in place for staffing the management of postwar Iraq, according to the top government watchdog overseeing the country’s reconstruction.

"The lack of planning had plagued reconstruction since the US-led invasion, and been exacerbated by a 'general lack of co-ordination' between US government agencies charged with the rebuilding of Iraq, said Stuart Bowen, the special inspector-general for Iraq reconstruction, in a report released on Sunday

Read Bowen's official bio at his site.

From his page explaining his responsibilities: "The Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction is required by law to provide a Quarterly Report to the U.S. Congress not later than 30 days following the end of each fiscal-year quarter to the appropriate committees of the Congress. This report is to summarize the activities of the Inspector General and the activities under the programs and operations funded by the Iraq Relief and Reconstruction Fund."

The 114-page report referenced in the Financial Times
, which I'm in the processing of reading and digesting, is on the Inspector General's site in PDF.

Links to his other reports are also available, if you should be curious about earlier audits revealed.
NY Post Punches Pinch; FEC Files for Rival Golden

Ouch! Pinch sure gets punched, news-wise and pictorially, in Sunday's New York Post business section article by Peter Lauria.

He writes about Sulzberger Jr.'s myriad woes from the news room and the boardroom, and ponders who might replace him, if the extended Sulzberger cousins decide that's necessary.

Lauria reports: "The most frequently mentioned candidate to usurp Sulzberger's power is International Herald Tribune publisher and first cousin Michael Golden."

Now, you know me and I how feel about media names in the news--have to look at their FEC files. This is Golden's file, as listed on





There is one other donation listed for a Michael Golden, but the listing doesn't say who his employer is, so it may not be a contribution from the Timesman, with that caveat, here's the information:

NEW YORK, NY 10024

What can be gleaned from Golden's giving? Two glaring points. He donated only to Democrats, no real surprise there, and the checks were written out more than a decade ago.

So if the Sulzberger cousins tire of Arthur Jr. and his rocky, unprofitable ways, and Golden becomes chairman of the New York Times Company, based on his long-ago political contributions, I'd say he'd continue the liberal slant of the newspaper. Something that should give comfort to the extended family, many stockholders and a big chunk of readers.

Read his bio and check out his photo at his page at the NYTCo site.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

McClellan, WH: "No," Bush Hasn't Read Libby Indictment

Am I missing something in Scotty's dancing around the question of Rove still working at the White House? Why doesn't he just come out and state yes or no about Rove's employment status? A direct answer from Scotty would be most appreciated by the American people.

And what is this about Bush hadn't read the indictment against Scooter Libby? So not only does the president not read newspapers, he also can't be bothered to read indictments? To be fair, maybe he hadn't read the indictment at the time of Scotty's briefing. After all, Bush was busy most of yesterday trying to divert attention away from Fitzgerald and his news conference.

If Bush won't read the indictment, in full, may I suggest someone on the White House staff turn the indictment into a comic book for the president or boil the pertinent points down to flash cards?


October 28, 2005
The White House
Press Office

[...] Q Is Mr. Rove's status the same? I mean, the reports say that he remains under investigation. He was not indicted today. Is there anything --

MR. McCLELLAN: Anything -- go ahead.

Q Any change in his status? Has he talked to the President about the continuing investigation?

MR. McCLELLAN: Are you talking about change in his legal status? Is that what you're -- I mean, it's --

Q Does he still -- he still works here, correct?

MR. McCLELLAN: That would be a question to direct to his personal attorney.

Q No, but he still works here, right?

MR. McCLELLAN: I saw his personal attorney put out a statement earlier today. But, yes, he has been here doing his work.

Q Did the President tell him to stop talking to reporters, or give him a stern talking to, or anything?

MR. McCLELLAN: I'm not going to get into any discussions the President has with any of his senior advisors. [...]


Q Did the President read the indictment?

MR. McCLELLAN: I'm sorry?

Q Did the President read the indictment?

MR. McCLELLAN: No, I don't believe so. I can double-check that, but I don't believe he did.

Q Should we read anything into the fact that Harriet Miers --

MR. McCLELLAN: When he watched the press conference, he was in the private dining room. [...]

Friday, October 28, 2005

Pinch Plagiarizes Pinch! Misspells "Jornalism!"

This is rich. That little talk Sulzberger gave today to the Online News Association was covered by the AP wire:

"[...] In a speech to the Online News Association, Sulzberger defended Miller's decision to go to jail to protect the anonymity of vice-presidential chief of staff I. Lewis 'Scooter Libby. [...]"

What the AP didn't report is that Sulzberger's speech today was a variation of the talk he gave in March to the Inter American Press Association in Panama City.

One huge difference in what he said back then and today, of course, is that Sulzberger today said more about Judy Miller and her mess.

In my opinion, Sulzberger basically plagiarized himself, a fact he didn't tell his Online News Association audience, which included the AP reporter.

This is the link to his March speech.

And here's where you go to read the October version.

By the way, someone should inform Sulzberger about the following misspelled name and words in his March remarks: Jason, requiere, inovative, jornalism, isn, acuracy, commited, diseminate.

And one paragraph is repeated twice.

Paging Jayson Blair!
Pinch: "Info does not yearn to be free;" NYT Text of Talk

Arthur Sulzberger Jr.
The New York Times Company

Dear Mr. Sulzberger,

I've read the Online News Association's story about your talk to the group today and a quote from you stood out, because of its inherent offensive to me, as a news consumer and blogger.

You're quoted saying, "Information does not yearn to be free," which is so outrageous on a basic level my first thought is to question whether you were misquoted.

If you actually said this, and believe it, could you expound a bit more on what leads you to think information doesn't yearn for freedom, without residing behind an expensive moat, say, like what you've done with TimesSelect?

Such a comment can be interpreted at least two ways. One, does it mean information isn't hungering for freedom because it's already free? And two, maybe the point is that information should cost money.

On the other hand, if you weren't quoted accurately, then I'm sure the Online News Association, on whose board of directors sits two of your employees, Len Apcar and Neil Chase, will issue a correction.

By the way, I've read your prepared remarks from your talk and noticed you spelled blogosphere as "bloggosphere." You might want to change that.

Your comments on bloggers intrigued me and left me one question: Where is Arthur Sulzberger's blog? You might want to personally join the blogging revolution. I'm sure you'd attract eyeballs to it.

A prompt reply is requested and appreciated.

Michael Petrelis
NYT shareholder
UK Press Association: Bush Heckled During Terror Speech

Fascinating that the first MSM report on Bush being heckled today in Virginia is from a foreign news outlet. Let's see if any of the American MSM report on the heckling, and if so, if they play it up like the Scotsman does, with headlines like this: Bush Heckled During Terror Speech.


October 28, 2005
The Scotsman
United Kingdom

[...] Outside the Norfolk convention hall, a small group of anti-war protesters greeted him by chanting "Bush lies."

Inside, as the president spoke, a man on the second level interrupted him, yelling "War is terrorism. War is terrorism. Step down now Mr President. Torture is terrorism."

Bush continued speaking as the man left the hall.

Mindful of the public anxiety, the president attempted to underscore the danger the United States faces from terrorists, comparing leaders of al Qaida to Adolf Hitler and Joseph Stalin.[...]
Bush Heckled Today During VA Speech

No surprise here. With all of Washington and much of the nation focused this morning on indictments handed up against White House advisors, Bush hightailed it out of town to make a speech in Virginia. Of course, as is his very annoying habit, he again evoked the tragedy of 9/11, six times, to turn attention away from corrupt politicians.

But this time, according to a White House transcript of his talk, he was heckled about his war policies:

THE PRESIDEnT: [...] On the morning of September the 11, 2001, we saw the destruction that terrorists intend for this nation. We know they want to strike again. And our nation has made a clear choice: We will confront this mortal danger to all humanity. And we will not tire and we will not rest until the war on terror is won. (Applause.)

In the four years since September the 11th, the evil that reached our shores has reappeared on other days, in other places -- in Mombasa and Casablanca and Riyadh and Jakarta and Istanbul and Madrid, in Beslan and Taba and Netanya and Baghdad, and elsewhere. In the past few months, we have seen a new terror offensive with attacks on London, and Sharm el-Sheikh, and a deadly bombing in Bali once again.

AUDIENCE MEMBER: Mr. President, war is terror.


THE PRESIDENT: All these separate images of destruction and suffering that we see on the news can seem like random and isolated acts of madness. Innocent men, women, and children have died simply because they boarded the wrong train, or worked in the wrong building. They have died because they checked into the wrong hotel. Yet while the killers choose their victims indiscriminately, their attacks serve a clear and focused ideology -- a set of beliefs and goals that are evil, but not insane.[...]

It terrifies me to think we have more than three more years of Bush ruining the country.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Italian News Blogger: New Yorker's George Packer's Democratic Donations

I am pleased to report that an Italian journalism blog site picked up on my research about George Packer of the New Yorker donating to Democrats. As far as I know, not a single U.S. news or blog site has noted Packer's contributions, but I can now say that they are of interest to one Italian writer with a blog. The original posting about Packer's donations, in Italian, follows the rough translation into English.

Translation from the AltaVista site:

>They are waked up to me in the heart of the night. I do not have some particular thought, simply I do not succeed to resume sleep.

>I rethink to that one scoop of blogger, Michael Petrelis, that it would be remained probably confined between some hundred of readers if had not been resumed is from Editor & Publisher is from the Drudge Report. Petrelis has written that Sean McManus, passed from the presidency of the section sport to that one news and of the sport to the Cbs, had given a contribution of 250 dollars in order to support the re-election of George W. Bush and Dick Cheney. The year before, writes Petrelis, McManus honestly had given to thousand dollars like contribution for the senator democratic of the Vermont Patrick Lehay.

>All official data, taken from the Federal Election Commission, from which he turns out also that George Packer, journalist of the New Yorker, have distributed to 1,250 dollars towards associations or candidates legacies to the Democratics. I hope indeed that in the United States he does not only become president of the notiziario of one of the tv more famous because he has uncoupled 250 dollars for the electoral campaign of Bush. It would be indeed sad.

>However Petrelis has reason when it proposes that Cbs and New Yorker perceives viewers and readers of The Manifest the political preferences of one and of the other. I me vergognerei if someone wrote on the newspaper that I have voted to the Primary ones of the Union and have not contributed with a euro to the maintenance of the centrosinistra. I have but the feeling that, in this poisoned climate, other colleagues would pull outside an other list of proscrizione.


The original Italian version:

28 ottobre 2005
Liste di proscrizione

Mi sono svegliato nel cuore della notte. Non ho alcun pensiero particolare, semplicemente non riesco a riprender sonno. Ripenso a quello scoop di un blogger, Michael Petrelis, che sarebbe rimasto probabilmente confinato fra qualche centinaio di lettori se non fosse stato ripreso sia da Editor & Publisher sia dal Drudge Report. Petrelis ha scritto che Sean McManus, passato dalla presidenza della sezione sport a quella news e dello sport alla Cbs, aveva dato un contributo di 250 dollari per sostenere la rielezione di George W. Bush e Dick Cheney. L'anno prima, scrive onestamente Petrelis, McManus aveva dato mille dollari come contributo per il senatore democratico del Vermont Patrick Lehay. Tutti dati ufficiali, presi dalla Federal Election Commission, da cui risulta anche che George Packer, giornalista del New Yorker, ha distribuito 1.250 dollari verso associazioni o candidati legati ai Democratici.

Io spero davvero che negli Stati Uniti uno non diventi presidente del notiziario di una delle tv più famose soltanto perché ha sganciato 250 dollari per la campagna elettorale di Bush. Sarebbe davvero triste. Tuttavia Petrelis ha ragione quando propone che Cbs e New Yorker avvertano telespettatori e lettori delle manifeste preferenze politiche dell'uno e dell'altro. Io non mi vergognerei se qualcuno scrivesse sul giornale che ho votato alle Primarie dell'Unione e ho contribuito con un euro al sostentamento del centrosinistra. Ho però la sensazione che, in questo clima avvelenato, altri colleghi tirerebbero fuori un'altra lista di proscrizione.
Rush Limbaugh: CBS News Boss Gave to Bush/Cheney ...

Is Rush still on painkillers and are they influencing his mind and mouth, to say more vastly idiotic things than normal?

The big mouth of the hard-right labels Editor & Publisher a left wing web site, which, of course, it isn't. E&P is a publication for the newspaper industry, and it covers rags of all sorts regardless of the leftist or right-wing or middle political thinking of a given paper's owners, reporting staff or editorial writers.

Rush's mislabeling of E&P aside, I'm happy he's giving attention to the fact that McManus made a donation to Bush/Cheney last year. You can be sure that if McManus had instead donated to the Democratic loser from Boston, Rush's lips would be flapping nonstop about his political leanings and that doom awaits CBS News.

But McManus gives $250 to Bush, the AP wire and E&P report on that and his larger contribution to liberal Patrick Leahy of Vermont, and Rush doesn't like the news. Oh, well. Let him be upset with the word getting out on the McManus donations.

Not that CBS has asked for my advice on how best to explain the McManus donations, but I'd like to suggest to the network brass that they issue a statement making these points: 1) The donations show he's somewhat bipartisan, 2) He was engaging in civic participation, and 3) In spite of his political giving, McManus will deliver equal and balanced news coverage.

The silence of CBS on the donations of their new boss for news is an unnecessary thorn in the eye. C'mon, CBS say something.


The Rush Limbaugh Show
October 27, 2005

But he said, "You know, we need to totally rethink the news and we need to get out there and do a talent search that goes beyond what the norms are," and I've thought about, "If you want to shake things up, here I am," knowing it would (laughing) never happen. Can you imagine? But that's not the story. That's a prelude to the story.

The story is this. This is from Editor and Publisher, which is a left-wing website that chronicles the great left-wing work of the media. "New York -- Conservatives may take heart in a scoop by blogger Michael Petrelis that the new boss of CBS News, Sean McManus, donated $250 to the Bush-Cheney re-election bid in 2004, while shunning John Kerry. Petrelis, who specializes in digging out election contributions from media types, reported the donation on Wednesday by the New Canaan, Conn., resident, found in Federal Election Commission files."

So he gave 250 bucks to Bush-Cheney. How long does he last at CBS, now? How much respect will he have from his colleagues in the CBS News division? He donated to Bush-Cheney, didn't donate anything to Kerry -- and isn't it interesting that this is news? This is news! I mean, it's quite natural and normal for media people to give to Kerry and other causes, but, wow!

When somebody gives to Bush-Cheney, why, Katie, bar the doors! We've got to look into this! Who is this guy? Interesting. I like Sean McManus. He has revamped CBS Sports, and he's done an excellent job with it. [...]
From E&P to Drudge: Blogger Nails Bush Donation from CBS News Boss

Thanks go out to the folks at Editor & Publisher for this fine story, if I do say so myself!

From E&P's site, to the Drudge Report, the story about McManus' donation to Bush and Cheney last year is getting out.
For Serious Judy Miller Watchers Only!

Need a fix of Judy Miller trivia? If your answer is yes, then read on!

A used copy of Miller's latest book, "Germs," is available on for as low as $1.38. Need to read it?

Too much money to spend on such an item? Well, her other book, "God Has Ninety-Nine Names," can be had for the incredibly low price of $0.12. Buy it now!

This undated photo of Miller, with her hands resting on notes and documents, comes from a Russian news site. Have no idea if the image was snapped when and if she visited Russia, or if it was taken when a Russian photojournalist came to America and met her. Find the photo at the Lenta news site.

Miller and her husband had problems with their neighbors, back in July 1998, according to a story in the Sag Harbor Express. An excerpt:

>The fact that Jason Epstein has an elaborate and admittedly beautiful garden in his yard didn't impress two of his neighbors on Tuesday night when an application to convert a garage and carport into a pool house came before the Sag Harbor Zoning Board of Appeals. They wanted it moved further from their homes, even if it meant plopping it in Mr. Epstein's prized garden. [...]

>Attorney Fred Thiele, representing Mr. Epstein and his wife Judith Miller, argued that the proposed renovation would not adversely effect the neighborhood in any way. Observing that the vast majority of properties in the neighborhood had one feature or another that was non-conforming to current zoning standards, Thiele said the renovation would neither change the neighborhood, nor increase any non-conformity on the Epstein property. [...]

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

[It's pledge week here at Petrelis Files and donations are coming in. Thanks to all who've contributed. If you want to make a donation to keep this site and my important blogging alive, please click on the "Make A Donation" icon and give through my PayPal account. Gracias!]

AP: CBS Won't Comment on McManus FEC File

Uh, oh. That's not too smart of CBS to not have a comment about his contributions. He was just exercising his First Amendment rights and giving to the 2004 presidential candidate who best represented his views.

It also would have been nice of the AP to name this blog for breaking news about McManus' donations, and giving credit where to due--to this member of the Pajama Brigade.

In any event, does CBS intend to stay silent for his entire tenure about his FEC file?

October 26, 2005
The Associated Press

[...]Despite the success of the CBS entertainment division, the evening news has lagged far behind NBC and ABC in the ratings. It's the same story in the morning — it has been for decades — although “The Early Show” has shown improvements.

“Maybe it's partially because of my sports background, but I am unbelievably competitive, and so is my boss Leslie Moonves,” McManus said. “Being in third place, whether it's sports, entertainment or news, is not acceptable.”

Only hours after his appointment, a politically oriented Web log reported that McManus had made a $250 (U.S.) contribution to the Bush-Cheney campaign in 2004. A year earlier, he contributed $1,000 to Vermont Democratic Sen. Patrick Leahy. A CBS spokesman confirmed the donations but would not comment about them. [...]
NYT's Calame Posts Letters, Re: Judy Miller

I'm beginning to really, really like what Calame is doing as the New York Times public editor. Go, Barney, go!

bcalame - 1:00 PM ET October 26, 2005 (#20 of 20)

Readers Respond to Miller Column and Postings

An unusually high number of readers have responded to the public editor column in the Sunday issue of The New York Times and to related Web Journal postings with messages from Bill Keller, the executive editor, and Judith Miller, the reporter who went to jail for 85 days to protect her confidential sources. Since the regular Sunday column devoted to reader response is more than two weeks away, I decided to post a selection that reflects several of the different points of view expressed in the messages sent to the public editor so far.

[It's pledge week here at Petrelis Files and donations are coming in. Thanks to all who've contributed. If you want to make a donation to keep this site and my important blogging alive, please click on the "Make A Donation" icon and give through my PayPal account. Gracias!]

McManus, CBS News Exec Gave to Bush; New Yorker's Packer Funds Dems

Supporters of Bush and Cheney must be happy with CBS's announcement this morning that Sean McManus is moving over from the sports division and taking controls of the reins at the network's news division.

According to Federal Election Commission records, McManus has made two donations in the past few years. He gave $1000 to Vermont Democratic Sen. Leahy, which should please liberals.

He also gave $250 last year to Bush and Cheney's campaign to retain the White House. I bet GOP voters and maybe even the administration are pleased that someone who clearly supported the Bush agenda last year, by coughing up some dough for Dubya, is now running CBS News.

These are McManus' donations, on file at NewMeat:

CBS SPORTS [Contribution]


Who else in the media world has made political donations that haven't been widely reported? George Packer of the New Yorker magazine has recently made three donations, all to Democratic Party PACs and one Democatic Ohio candidate for the House.

I have nothing against either McManus or Packer exercising their rights as citizens to contribute bucks to politicians and causes they believe in. However, I think both CBS and the New Yorker, in the name of media transparency, should post information about the donations from McManus and Packer, and all other editorial employees, on their respective web sites.

Here are Packer's donations, as listed on

Packer, George
Brooklyn, NY 11231
New Yorker Magazine/Writer

Packer, George
Brooklyn, NY 11231
New Yorker Magazine/Writer
House (OH 02)

Packer, George
Brooklyn, NY 11231
The New Yorker Magazine/Journalist

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

[It's pledge week here at Petrelis Files and donations are coming in. Thanks to all who've contributed. If you want to make a donation to keep this site and my important blogging alive, please click on the "Make A Donation" icon and give through my PayPal account. Gracias!]

FOIA'ed: Judy Miller's, NYT's Pentagon Papers

These requests were made via DoD's online FOIA request site and also snail mailed.



This is your confirmation that we have received your FOIA request. Please note that it will be date-stamped as "received" on the next official business day.

You provided the following information:

Submitted: [25/Oct/2005:14:18:11]
Name: MIchael Petrelis
Phone number: 415-621-6267

Your Request:

October 25, 2005

FOIA Officer
The Pentagon
U.S. Department of Defense
Washington, DC

Re: FOIA request for NY Times-related materials

Dear Sir of Madam:

Pursuant to provisions of the Freedom of Information Act, I am hereby requesting the following public documents, and this request formally invokes the expedited processing clause of the Act, for the following reasons.

The public records sought are related to vital federal government activity, are of widespread legal and media interest, exactly because they pertain to national security and the public interest, meeting the requirements for expedited processing.

I am requesting all copies of every FOIA request filed with the U.S. Department of Defense by any New York Times reporter, writer, stringer, editor, columnist or any other member of the editorial staff, or the publisher, Mr. Arthur Sulzberger Jr., from January 21, 2001, through October 1, 2005.

Furthermore, I seek copies of any and all of the New York Times’ FOIA requests in whatever form the requested were made; on paper and mailed through the U.S. postal service, fax transmission, emailed as either a text message or an attachment.

Additionally, please furnish me with every shred of documentation DoD sent back to the New York Times and its employees.

Even if every FOIA request from the paper was denied and nothing was released to any New York Times employee, I want copies of the DoD letters sent to the paper stating why the request was rejected.

If DoD released any materials or documents in response to FOIA requests from the New York Times and its agents, in any medium; paper, CD-ROM, DVD, videotape, audiotape or other recording or data device, in email text format, contained as an attachment, photographs, or cell phone text messages, I ask to have DoD release copies to me of whatever was provided to the New York Times employees.

I respectfully request a prompt reply.

Michael Petrelis




This is your confirmation that we have received your FOIA request. Please note that it will be date-stamped as "received" on the next official business day.

You provided the following information:

Submitted: [25/Oct/2005:14:13:33]
Name: MIchael Petrelis
Phone number: 415-621-6267

Your Request:

October 25, 2005

FOIA Officer
The Pentagon
U.S. Department of Defense
Washington, DC

Dear Sir or Madam:

As an American deeply worried about our nation and the state of U.S. journalism, I am filing a Freedom of Information Act request for the following documents, in all media forms and record-keeping, for Ms. Judith Miller, alias Judy Miller, a reporter for the New York Times.

Furthermore, this FOIA request invokes the expedited processing clause of the Act, which states, according the Department of Justice’s FOIA web site:

>The term "compelling need" is defined as (1) involving "an imminent threat to the life or physical safety of an individual," or (2) in the case of a request made by "a person primarily engaged in disseminating information, urgency to inform the public concerning actual or alleged Federal Government activity." <

I cloak my expedited request in Article 2, as stated above. There has most certainly been alleged Federal Government activity between Judith Miller and DoD, and since her legal entanglements are of widespread public and government interest linked to DoD, I must be granted an expedited status for my request.

Additionally, I expect the DoD FOIA office to meet the following provisions of the Act:

>Then "within 10 days after the date of the request" (which as a practical matter may be determined by a postmark in some cases), the agency will be required to decide whether to grant expedited processing and to notify the requester of its decision. If expedited processing is granted, the agency must give priority to that FOIA requester and process the requested records for disclosure "as soon as practicable." If expedited processing is not granted, the agency must likewise give "expeditious consideration" to any administrative appeal of that denial.<

I ask that DoD search from January 21, 2001, through October 1, 2005, for the following records:

1. What unit(s) was she embedded with?

2. What were the dates that she was embedded with this/these unit(s)?

3. What was the name and rank of the unit(s) public relations officer(s) or officer(s) responsible for assigning her to accompany units in the field?

4. Was this/these officer(s) required to vet her stories before filing them with her publisher?

5. If not, who was responsible for vetting her stories prior to submission to her publisher?

6. Was she provided/granted a security clearance while embedded? Did she have access to classified material while embedded?

7. In regards to classified materials, did she sign a non-disclosure agreement? If she did sign a non-disclosure agreement, please provide a copy of that agreement?

8. Copies of all paper documents signed by Miller granting her journalist credentials so she could attend daily press briefings.

9. Copies of Miller’s press pass, for every year she was granted media access to the Pentagon.

10. Copies of documents in which Miller received any sort of security clearance from DoD, higher than the security clearance granted a typical member of the mainstream media covering the Pentagon.

11. Copies of all Miller’s photos on files for her press passes and for all other forms of identification and access.

12. Copies of all documents signed by Miller that allowed her to be embedded as a reporter with U.S. Forces in Iraq in 2003, or at any other time and in any other military operation.

13. Copies of all emails sent by Miller to DoD’s Secretary Donald Rumsfield, the public affairs office, the Joint Chiefs, and replies from the DoD employees to Miller.

14. Copies of all Miller’s written correspondence to the same DoD personnel listed above, that was sent through the U.S. postal service.

15. Copies of all replies from the DoD personnel to Miller.

16. Copies of all FOIA requests made by Miller to DoD.

17. Copies of all documents, in any medium, released to Miller.

18. Copies of all written transcripts of all on-the-record discussions and interviews conducted by Miller with the listed DoD personnel.

19. Copies of all video and audiotapes of discussions and interviews Miller held with DoD leaders that were recorded by DoD.

20. Copies of the logs showing the dates, times when Miller entered the Pentagon, as a reporter, and for what purposes; i.e., daily press briefing, luncheon meeting, man the New York Times desk at DoD.

21. Copies of all telephone logs mentioning Miller, dates and times of her calls, to DoD for military information and interviews with officials.

22. Copies of any notes Miller provided to DoD personnel before sending the notes to editors at the New York Times, or any advance copies of New York Times stories before they were published in the paper.

I respectfully request a prompt reply.

Michael Petrelis

Willing To Pay: $ $250
Mary Cheney's New Job at AOL

That Mary Cheney sure knows how to use her family name to advance her career. She's taken a new job at AOL and has a new book coming out, I believe next year.

Cheney has never done a thing of substance to aid and benefit the gay and lesbian community, because she's either been busy working on her father's campaigns or avoiding interviewers who want to question her about her political leanings.

Maybe she'll explain her silence about the Bush administration's homophobic policies, when her book is published, and she needs to make a profit for the publisher.

October 25
The Advocate

Mary Cheney takes a job at AOL

After stumping for her father’s vice presidential campaign last year, Mary Cheney, the lesbian daughter of Dick Cheney, has returned to the private sector with a marketing position at AOL. Cheney will be working under AOL vice chairman Ted Leonsis, who leads the company’s Audience Business, a marketing division of the internet behemoth that seeks to grow AOL’s Internet audience via Web-based programming and products, sources tell


Monday, October 24, 2005

American Forces Press Service: Journos "Reportedly" Stay at Palestine Hotel

Why is the tax-payer funded American Forces Press Service saying the Palestine Hotel in Baghdad is "Reportedly, [a hotel where] a number of Western journalists stay" when it seems a long, clearly established fact that the hotel under attack on October 24 is the base for foreign journalists.

Seems damn odd that this government news agency can't establish if the hotel houses reporters. Maybe the American Forces Press Service is unaware of the AP wire and the facts it reported about the attack and the hotel?

I'd sure love to know how much the press service costs the tax-payer annually.


By ROBERT H. REID, Associated Press Writer

Published: October 24, 2005 UPDATED 12:53 PM ET

BAGHDAD, Iraq Three enormous bombs, including a cement-mixing truck packed with explosives, blew up near an Iraqi police post outside the Palestine Hotel -- home to many foreign journalists in Iraq. Iraqi officials said 17 people were killed.



Hotels in Baghdad Rocked by Rockets, Car Bombs
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Oct. 24, 2005 – A combination of rockets and car bombs exploded near the outer walls of the Palestine and Sheraton hotels in downtown Baghdad today, military officials reported.

A statement from Multinational Force Iraq said civilian casualties have yet to be determined, but that no coalition forces were injured in the attack. Iraqi security forces and coalition forces are securing the area and bringing order to the bombing site, the statement said.

Reportedly, a number of Western journalists stay at the Palestine Hotel.

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DoD: 2239 = Total U.S. Deaths in Iraq, Enduring Freedom Operations

Does Judith Miller have a comment or two to offer up about these stats from the Department of Defense? After all, several of her misleading stories for the NY Times in the run up to the Iraq war, played a significant role in putting American soldiers in harm's way.

Hey Judy, were these deaths preventable, perhaps through better, more verifiable journalism?


DoD Release, in PDF format:

Number of total deaths from Operation Iraqi Freedom, as of October 24, 2005, at 10:00 am, EDT:


Number of total deaths from Operation Enduring Freedom, as of October 24, 2005, at 10:00 am, EDT:


Total deaths from both Operations:


Sunday, October 23, 2005

Bravo! Calame Posts New Email From Judy Miller!

Well, that was short hiatus! I have to share an amazing and valuable Judy Miller development.

Barney Calame has posted Miller's email to him, in response to his column about her mess. It's so heartening to see Calame using his blog in the past few days to do what the top Times leaders can't: Share with readers the full text of emails from Bill Killer and Miller.

Keep it up, Mr. Calame. At least one reader and shareholder lauds your effort in sharing with readers, Miller's emails. Give us more, please. Include us readers, the bosses, or so it is claimed in the Times' ethical guidelines that the reader is a Times reporter's ultimate employer, in the email loop about and from Judy Miller.

Let's see the Times, through you and the public editor's desk, finally deliver on transparency for the reader.

Read Miller's email to Calame. She's quite a piece of work.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

AOL Stinks; I'm Going on Hiatus

Dear Friends:

First, the good news. I feel I've done much good recently in asking pointed questions of the NY Times related to Judy Miller and persuading the paper's public editor to post Bill Keller's memo to the staff, along with Miller's reply.

This accomplishment comes on top of my work bringing attention to the deplorable situation of gays in Iran, lobbying the State Department to do more to include anti-gay abuses in its annual human rights report; filing FOIA requests for all of FEMA's contract with Michael "Drownie" Brownie and a separate FOIA request for Judy Miller's mug shot; and numerous other worthy projects and causes.

Now, the bad news. AOL has suspended my email accounts for alleged spamming. Losing email access, I feel, makes this an opportune time to take a hiatus from blogging and investigating, so I can focus on addressing my rapidly dwindling low three-digit bank account. I will not be setting up an MSN or HotMail account, which would only distract me from my pressing monetary burdens.

As many of you know, I'm not supported by any corporation, nonprofit group or even banner ads on my blog and being poor ain't fun.

The first of the month is approaching and I've got to pay my bills by finding paying work that will allow me to resume blogging and my special brand of advocacy, hopefully in the near future.

If you want to support me financially, you can do so my making a donation through my PayPal account. Just click on the "Make a Donation" icon. If you can't do that, but still want to send me a contribution, just call me for my snail mail address. The number is 415-621-6267.

As soon as I'm on my feet financially, I'll return to blogging. Till then, take care.



NYT's Public Editor Posts Miller's Memo to Keller on Times' Site

Bravo to Barney Calame for doing what the Times leadership couldn't or wouldn't:
Making Bill Keller's memo and Judy Miller's response available for free on the paper's web site!


bcalame - 7:54 PM ET October 22, 2005 (#18 of 18)

Bill Keller on Lessons Learned And a Judith Miller Response

In preparing the Oct. 23 public editor column about the battle to protect Judith Miller's confidential sources in the Plame leak investigation, I had asked Bill Keller, the executive editor, if he would offer his thoughts on what he would do differently if faced with the same situation again. He responded Wednesday with the e-mail message below, and disseminated much the same message to The Times's staff on Friday. Ms. Miller has responded to Mr. Keller’s note, and her e-mail message follows his here: [snip]

[Memo from Judith Miller]

Bill, I wish you had spoken to me before accusing me of misleading Phil Taubman and of being entangled with Libby in your message to the staff.

Here is what I told Don Van Natta about what I remember telling Phil in the fall of 2003. I told him, as our story on Sunday reported, that I had discussed Wilson and his wife with government officials. But I also told him that I was unaware that there was a deliberate, concerted disinformation campaign to discredit Wilson, and that if there had been, I did not think I was a target of it. After all, Libby and I had talked about many things, as you well know, and he had placed no special emphasis on the Wilson matter.

A special prosecutor has been investigating the existence of such a campaign for two years. Since I could be witness at a future trial, I am reluctant to say more on this subject now.

But I certainly never meant to mislead Phil, nor did I mislead him.

As for your reference to my "entanglement" with Mr. Libby, I had no personal, social, or other relationship with him except as a source, one among many to whom I had pledged confidentiality as a reporter for The New York Times.

I know how important it is for the paper to protect its reputation, but I have my reputation to protect also.
NYT Asked to Release Miller's Memo to Keller & Post on the Web

Catherine Mathis
Communications Director
The New York Times

Dear Catherine,

The Times today reports on Bill Keller's memo to staff about some aspects of his role in the Judy Miller matter. The full text of Keller's memo, which has not been printed in the paper and is not available on your web site, is however posted on the Washington Post's site.

Two requests:

1. Please make Keller's memo available, for free, on the Times' site.

2. Release the full text of Miller's memo to Keller, also for no charge, responding to his statements.

From today's Times: "Ms. Miller said in an interview that Mr. Keller's statements were 'seriously inaccurate.' She also provided The Times with a copy of a memorandum she had sent to Mr. Keller in response."

Help me to better understand what she means by "seriously inaccurate" and share the contents of her memo.

I see no reason why the Times should not post the entire memos from Keller and Miller, especially if the paper is serious about restoring readers' confidence in it.

Wash Post Reporter Risks Arrest to Save S.F. Church

A San Francisco-based writer for the Washington Post is in the news today because he tussled with cops yesterday over the fate of religious artifacts in a Catholic church, recently sold by the archdiocese to an art school.

Joe Dignan, a gay Catholic who's been leading the charge to save St. Brigid's church, reports for gay newspapers in addition to his gig with the Washington Post.

The San Francisco Chronicle today has a photo of Dignan standing his ground, literally, and interfering with cops carrying out their duties in the latest skirmish in the years-long battle over St. Brigid's, which is posted here.

The story about parishioners risking arrest yesterday, can be found at this link.

Care to read one of Dignan's articles for the Washington Post? You'll find one here.

What, if anything, does all of this mean to me as a news consumer? Nothing more than I just imagined the Washington Post wouldn't allow a report to be so active as a political and religious activist, and write for the paper. I was wrong.
Ft Worth Star: Cheney Delivers Eulogy at Funeral

I used to think Dick Cheney avoided all funerals, but after reading about him attending a funeral this week in Texas and delivering a eulogy, I now know he only fears certain funerals, like those for American service men and woman killed in combat in Iraq and Afghanistan.

October 21
Ft. Worth Star Telegram

The mourners gathered beneath the oak trees, and the Texas prairie stretched far away on every side. Hundreds came last week to say goodbye to rancher Tobin Armstrong, 82, the son of pioneers, and friend to presidents and princess, cowboys and Texas Rangers. [...]

The cattleman's work-worn hat and poncho rested on the coffin, and a mariachi band played. Texas Rangers and Secret Servicemen cleared the road as a motorcade approached, carrying first lady Laura Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney and his wife, Lyn. [sic]

U.S. Sens. Kay Bailey Hutchinson and John Cornyn and Gov. Rick Perry attended. Former U.S. Secretary of State James Baker delivered one of the eulogies; the vice president gave the other. [...]

Nice of the Veep to eulogize this rancher, but has he attended a single funeral for our brave soldiers who've died fighting on the battlefields during his time in the White House? Not that I can recall.

Since we're on the topic of Cheney and funeral services for Americans killed in action, read this story about a father who lost his son in Iraq and is complaining about the Bush administration's lack of communication to him over the death of his child.

October 21
Houston Chronicle

A day before his family moved into their new home, Sgt. 1st Class Brandon K. Sneed was killed when an explosive device detonated near his military vehicle in Iraq. He was 33.
The 1990 graduate of Hastings High School in Alief was serving his second tour in Iraq when he was killed Oct. 10.

Alvin Mann, his father, said Sneed had just ordered his men to dismount a M2A2 Bradley Fighting Vehicle in Ar Ramadi and were coming to the aid of wounded soldiers in a firefight when the device exploded, killing him and gunner Sgt. Leon M. Johnson, 28, of Jacksonville, Fla. [...]

Mann praised the Army for its handling of the tragedy, but remains upset that he has heard nothing from President Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney or Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld since his son's death.

He said he also had expected to hear from Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and her predecessor, Colin Powell.

As architects of the war, they should have reached out to the family, he said. [...]

I grieve for you, Mr. Mann, and pray your son's death was not in vain. And I hope White House officials one day find the courage to personally express their condolences to you. It's the least to expect in this time of war.

Yes, the war, and war chests for political allies, is never far from Dick Cheney's thoughts, guiding his public actions.

Did you know he was in St. Louis recently, raising money for Sen. Jim Talent's reelection campaign? You better sit down for this news: Cheney exploited the 9/11 tragedy for political gain.

October 12, 2005
St. Louis Post Dispatch

Vice President Dick Cheney used his appearance in St. Louis County on Friday to make the administration's case for staying the course at home and abroad, including Iraq.

"To give up the fight against terrorists in Iraq would take us back to an old pattern" of appeasement and denial that Cheney said "stimulated the attacks of 9/11."

Cheney didn't mention the controversy swirling in Washington over whether his office was involved in leaking to journalists the name of an undercover CIA operative who is married to former Ambassador Joseph Wilson, a critic of the nation's Iraq policies. Cheney chief of staff Lewis "Scooter" Libby and White House special adviser Karl Rove have testified before a federal grand jury investigating the leak. [...]

Hey, why dwell on the negative and the troubles prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald is investigating? Shift the focus to the evildoers who perpetrated the 9/11 attacks and hope that chanting 9/11, 9/11, 9/11 will get poll numbers to rise.

Like her mate, Mrs. Cheney has also been out shaking a tin cup, oh, not for soldiers and their concerned families, but for her own retirement fund.

She put in an appearance at a Borders book store in Houston on October 21 to peddle her new book, on American freedom and sacrifice, where shoppers were given the chance to purchase her book in an intimate setting. But freedom to snap a picture of her signing books and ringing up the cash register was not on the agenda.

The news release explicitly stated taking photos was prohibited, supposedly for the comfort of all book buyers.

Like mother, like daughter. This is the latest scoop on lesbian daughter Mary's fun activities in the publishing world, and it's from the Conservative Voice:

Having served as Rush Limbaugh's research director from 1994 to 1996, I can't say I ever imagined being invited to James Carville's house. [...]

John Engler, the former Michigan Governor turned president of the National Association of Manufacturers was there, as was Mary Cheney, who is now writing book for Threshold, the new conservative imprint at Simon & Schuster of which Mary Matalin is the Editor-in-Chief. [...]

I can't wait to ignore Mary's book when it hits conservative book stores. Wanna bet she also bars photograph-taking on her book promotion tour?

Friday, October 21, 2005

National Journal: Where is Judy Miller's Mug Shot?

Judith Miller
The New York Times

Dear Ms. Miller:

You claim over and over you went to jail for the public's right to know, a noble right in our precious democracy. I'm most interested in knowing what you look like in your mug shots and have filed a FOIA request for the photos. As you know, FOIA requests can take a long time, so I'm asking a favor of you. Please make my life easy and immediately release copies of your booking photos from July 6, through your attorney. The right to know everything about your jail experience should include public display of your mug shots.

Michael Petrelis


The National Journal
October 21, 2005

Activist/blogger Michael Petrelis asks: "Where is Judy Miller's mug shot? I can't believe one of the world's most famous ex-prisoners, who supposedly went to the slammer for the public's right to know, is enjoying the pleasure of having done time and not having her must broadcast and printed, far and wide." Petrelis posts the text of his just-mailed FOIA request for Miller's mugshots.
UPDATE: The Washington Post's media critic, Howard Kurtz, on Nov. 4 asks why Brown is _still_ on the FEMA payroll. I, for one, sure would like to know what we have to do to put Brown on the unemployment line.

FEMA's Brown Still on Fed Payroll; His Contracts FOIA'ed

[This was faxed and snail mailed today.]

Richard Reback
Department of Homeland Security
FOIA Director
Office of the Inspector General
245 Murray Lane, Bldg. 410, S.W.
Washington, DC 20528

Re: FOIA Request for Michael D. Brown's Contracts with DHS and FEMA

Dear Mr. Reback:

I read in the Chicago Tribune today that former Federal Emergency Management Agency director Michael D. Brown is still on the federal government's payroll.

"[FEMA spokeswoman Nicole] Andrews confirmed that Brown is still on FEMA's payroll as a consultant. She said he works from home, where he is 'pulling all the documentation together' to aid in the investigations into the government's response to Katrina. His original 30-day contract was recently extended for another 30 days, she said," the paper reported

Under the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act for expedited processing, which call for the quick release of documents related to exceptional public and media interest in a federal employee, in this case Brown, I am asking that copies of all of his contracts with FEMA and the Department of Homeland Security, from the start of his employment with the agencies through the end of 2005, be immediately released to me.

I want every full-time and consulting contracting between Brown and DHS made public.

Disclosure of the requested information to me is in the public interest because it is likely to contribute significantly to public understanding of the operations or activities of the government and is not primarily in my commercial interest.

If you have any questions regarding my request, please call me at 415-621-6267.

Michael Petrelis
San Francisco, CA

Cc: Sen. Tom Coburn, R-OK
New Republic, Like Me, Asks: NYT Silent on Salah/Miller/Fitz Nexus. Why?

Catherine Mathis
Communications Director
The New York Times

Dear Catherine:

Your silence continues. I've sent you a few emails and called you once about Judy Miller's link to Mohammed Salah case in Chicago, which pits her against prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald, and have not heard back from you.

More importantly, the Times, three days after being scooped by the Chicago Sun Times on how Miller may be called to testify about Israel's interrogation of Salah, the Times hasn't printed one word about this development.

I want to make you aware of an article posted on the New Republic's web site today that, like me, is asking why the Times has not seen fit to print anything about the Salah/Miller/Fitzgerald nexus.

From the New Republic:

[...] By not including this backstory, the Times made a mistake. Especially since, in the last few days, the story of Miller and Fitzgerald's relationship has acquired yet another chapter: According to a Chicago Sun-Times report earlier this week, Miller may be called to testify by Fitzgerald yet again, in a Chicago terrorism trial. Defense attorneys for a Bridgeview, Illinois man who spent time in an Israeli prison were quoted as anticipating that Miller would soon offer testimony on the nature of their client's interrogation by the Israeli government back in 1993--an interrogation she has reported having personally observed. Will the Times report on this? We'll find out.

What do you say, Catherine? Will the Times get around to covering this?

As always, a prompt reply is requested and very appreciated.


Thursday, October 20, 2005

FOIA Request Files with Feds for Judy Miller's Mug Shots

[This letter was snail mailed today.]

FOIA/PA Officer
Office of General Counsel
Department of Justice
United States Marshals Service
Washington, DC 20530-1000

Re: FOIA Request for Photos of NY Times Reporter Judith Miller

Dear Sir or Madam:

Pursuant to the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act, I am formally requesting release of all photographs taken by the U.S. Marshals Service of New York Times reporter Judith Miller during the booking process.

Ms. Miller was processed into the federal system on July 6, 2005, by the U.S. Marshal Service and assigned prisoner number 45570083.

Also, I wish to invoke the expedited processing clause of FOIA because the subject of my request, Ms. Miller, is of widespread and exceptional media and public interest and therefore meets the standards for expedited processing.

Furthermore, the photographic information sought involves possible questions related to the government’s integrity, which affects public confidence and is a valid cause for granting my expedited processing request.

Disclosure of the requested information to me is in the public interest because it is likely to contribute significantly to public understanding of the operations or activities of the government and is not primarily in my commercial interest.

If you have any questions regarding my request, please call me at 415-621-6267.

Michael Petrelis
San Francisco, CA
Epperly, Bay Windows Slam Blade's Hiring of Guckert/Gannon

From today's Bay Windows up in Boston, written by Jeff Epperly, the former editor:

So there was some trepidation in 2001 when Window Media, owners of a chain of second-tier southern newspapers, decided to buy the Blade, which by then included the New York Blade News. What would happen to the Blade now that the two people most responsible for its shining reputation would be out of the picture?

It took a few years, but we finally got our answer when the Blade started publishing columns by James "Jeff Gannon" Guckert, the paid whore and faux journalist who stupidly outed himself as a fraud at a White House press conference by lobbing a question so soft it must have made the sycophants at Fox News feel superior. [...]

Now you'd think working for an anti-gay Web site might be enough to preclude one from working in the gay press, especially as a columnist. Not at the once proud Blade.

Of course, Guckert's appearance in the paper ruffled a few feathers. And with good reason. We need only look at Guckert's own Web site to see him rail against such evils as the "anti-American, anti-Christian, pro-gay ACLU." [...]

Times are tough for newspapers everywhere, and it would have been admirable for Blade owners to come out and say, "This was purely a marketing decision. We wanted notoriety in our pages and we got it. But we made a mistake in hiring a self-loathing poseur and we regret it." [...]

I don't know what Crain is smoking, but I want some of it.

Crain seems to forget that he runs a gay newspaper. A gay newspaper no more needs to run an op-ed questioning the legitimacy of homosexuality than a Catholic newspaper needs, in order to be fair, to run a piece trashing Catholicism. It's not about whether Guckert support "the goals" of the gay movement, which are too broad to define anyway. What Guckert clearly does not support is gay people. It's a pretty simple difference.

Crain's cowardly effort to defend giving a platform to a less-than-truthful narcissist by painting Guckert simply as an aggrieved gay citizen deserving of equal footing is the worst sort of right-wing doublespeak.

And it shows how far, how fast, the Window Media empire has dragged the Blade and the rest of their newspapers into the gutter as the laughingstock of the gay press. [...]

You can send thank you emails to Epperly at:

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Judy Miller's Mug Shot

Random questions for the MSM, from a queer progressive-leaning blogger and news consumer:

1. Where is Judy Miller's mug shot? I can't believe one of the world's most famous ex-prisoners, who supposedly went to the slammer for the public's right to know, is enjoying the pleasure of having done time and not having her must broadcast and printed, far and wide. Guess in the end no one has the right to know what Miller's mug shot looks like.

Searching various celebrity, mainstream news and government sites turned up nothing for Miller. But this ghoul's ugly face comes up many places and appeared across media outlets, straight and gay. Why is it easier to find Michael Jackson's mug shot on the web than Judy Miller's?

Telegram for Mr. Sulzberger! Message: Print the mug shot of Judy, presumably wearing jailhouse orange, in the Gray Lady.

2. Has Michael D. Brown honestly and finally left FEMA and the federal government's payroll? I'd like to know if he's peddling his resume up and down K Street, or if he's still getting a check from his pals running the government. Did his consulting gig with FEMA come to end?

3. Is now the time to engage in the blame game about the Katrina disaster? Wish I knew what was happening with all those Democratic Party leaders and their calls for an independent commission to look at the atrocious federal response to Katrina and the needs of evacuees.

4. How goes Bush's investigation of his very own actions and those of his administration in the days leading up to Katrina making U.S. land, and the crucial days immediately after the levees gave way in New Orleans? Met with himself lately?

5. Has Karl Rove, in between when he appears at GOP fundraisers around the nation and time talking to prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald and his lawyer, done anything significant lately as head of the Bush administration's effort to rebuild New Orleans and the devastated Gulf Coast. Last I heard, he was the go-to guy for post-Katrina rebuilding.

6. Where's Dick Cheney?

7. How many NY Times shareholders and readers think the silence of Times public editor Barney Calame about the paper's October 16 package on Miller's mess, is curious or odd, and part of the overall problem with the Times about Miller--silence and obfuscation? Considering Calame a week ago grandly said "The Time is Now" for a full explanation from the paper, now is turning out to be a very tardy thing.

8. Did Nancy Pelosi succeed in returning some of the pork she stuffed into the transportation bill, and the money instead sent to New Orleans to assisting in rebuilding the city?

Answers from the MSM, for publication, are very welcome.
NYT Ignores Motion to Suppress Filing Linked to Miller

Catherine Mathis
Communications Director
The New York Times

Dear Catherine:

Just got off the phone with Michael E. Deutsch, the attorney for Mohammed Salah, the Illinois man who filed a motion to suppress on Monday in U.S. District Court, in case that involves Judith Miller, who may be called as a witness in the matter.

Mr. Deutsch provided me with the full text of his motion to suppress and the affidavit from his client, both of which are now posted on my blog.

Reading the details of this motion and Salah's statement, I am truly mystified about how the Times has thus far ignored the filings and their link to Miller.

I repeat my question of yesterday: Why is the Times not writing about this matter?

Michael Petrelis
Motion to Suppress





No. 03 CR 978
Judge Amy J. St. Eve


Now comes Muhammad Salah, through his undersigned counsel, and pursuant to his rights under the Fourth, Fifth, Sixth and Eighth Amendments to the United States Constitution, International Human Rights Law, including the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, Customary International Law (jus cogens), and Rule 12 of Fed. R. Crim. Pro., and moves to suppress all statements or writings, written and oral,1 he is alleged to have made to agents of the Israeli government including the Israeli police, interrogators of the General Security Service (GSS), and others working with the GSS, subsequent to his unlawful arrest by authorities of the government of the State of Israel in January of 1993,2 and the fruits of his illegal arrest3 and interrogation which the prosecution seeks to put in evidence at the trial of this cause.

In support of this motion, Mr. Salah submits the attached affidavit and memorandum of law and states the following:

1. Mr. Salah was arrested without probable cause or legal justification at a Gaza checkpoint at gunpoint on January 25, 1993 by approximately 20 soldiers. Mr. Salah was immediately blindfolded, handcuffed, and thrown into a military jeep. A group of soldiers then drove him around for hours repeatedly kicking him, hitting him with the butts of their rifles, hitting him with their fists, threatening him, and yelling racial and personal insults at him.

2. At some point Mr. Salah was taken to a military interrogation facility in Ramallah, where he was kept hooded and handcuffed, denied access to counsel pursuant to Israeli military law, and immediately placed in total isolation.

3. For more than 80 days, Mr. Salah was subjected to a highly sophisticated and terrifying regime of physical and psychological coercion carried out by a group of interrogators and their agents who were acting pursuant to written interrogation policies of the Israeli General Security Service (GSS) allowing for physical and psychological coercion.4

4. The GSS interrogators involved in this program of coercion to break the will of Mr. Salah were known by the names Abu Hassan; Nadav; Benny; Cohen; Haim (Chaim); Abu Ghazi (Abu Razi); Arik; Itzic; Amir; Majidi; Ilias; Carmel (Carmi); Victor; Dani; and Abu Daoud.

5. In addition, Israeli police officers Meron Suleyman and Hezi Eliyahu were also involved in these interrogations, along with other police officers whose names are not yet known by the defense. Some of these men forced Mr. Salah to sign statements in Hebrew, even though he did not speak, read or understand the language.

6. As part of their regime of coercion, these interrogators and others subjected Mr. Salah to intensive interrogation over long periods during all hours of the day and night. When he was not under active interrogation, he was still not allowed to sleep, but was held in a “waiting” posture, in which he had his head covered with a filthy rancid smelling hood, which severely limited his ability to breathe or see.

7. During much of the time he was held “waiting,” Mr. Salah was handcuffed in a painful fashion behind his back to a tiny, low chair, approximately 20 centimeters in height, which was slanted at a 45 degree angle. This chair is commonly known by the GSS and their victims as a “Shabi” or “Shabach.” It caused Mr. Salah severe pain and stress, including intense circulatory discomfort, intense back pain, severe cramping, and loss of sensation in his arms and legs. The use of this chair was sanctioned by written policies of the GSS and by official Israeli government policy.

8. When he was not under interrogation or hooded and “waiting,” Mr. Salah was held in freezing cold conditions in a tiny dark cell the size of a small closet, in which he could not sit or lie down. During the initial days of his interrogation, he was forced to try to sleep in this freezing tiny cell, referred to by the GSS as the “refrigerator,” without a mattress or blanket. The use of the tiny cell was specifically sanctioned by written GSS policies.

9. In addition, while Mr. Salah was in the refrigerator cell, deafening, loud music was played. Further, Mr. Salah constantly heard the chilling sounds of people crying and screaming in pain. He heard the sounds of punching and kicking. This caused him indescribable stress. Subjecting detainees to these loud and terrifying noises was specifically sanctioned by written GSS policies.

10. During his interrogation, Mr. Salah was repeatedly punched and slapped by a GSS interrogator known as “Haim,” who appeared to be in charge, and other interrogators. He was also repeatedly threatened with further violence and even death, and with harm to his family in the United States, through the FBI, who the interrogators claimed would act upon Israel’s instructions. The use of physical force and threats of violence was specifically sanctioned by written GSS policies.

11. Mr. Salah was also threatened while naked in the interrogation room with having his picture taken with a camera, a very humiliating act in his culture or any culture, and he lived in constant fear of sexual assault.

12. Further, Mr. Salah was told that if he did not provide information, he would be held indefinitely in these conditions, without ever seeing a lawyer or being brought before a judge, and that he was in a military occupation zone and only the interrogators rules and law applied.

13. Mr. Salah was denied the right to be questioned and to respond in English and was required to speak in Arabic and was forced to sign a statement in Hebrew, a language which he did not speak, read, or understand.

14. In addition, Mr. Salah was repeatedly denied his request for a lawyer and did not have access to a lawyer for several weeks. Even after attorney Avigdor Feldman, a noted Israeli defense counsel and human rights advocate, began his representation of Mr. Salah, he was denied access to his client and was unable to obtain legal correspondence which was seized by the interrogators.

15. Mr. Salah also received threats to himself and his family from others working with the GSS, including prison guards, police, and prisoners.

16. Mr. Salah was placed in a cell for days with Palestinian prisoners working with the GSS known as “birds.” These prisoner-agents, directed by the GSS, carried out a brutal and strategic plan to torture Mr. Salah and force him to create a written “statement.” The use of “birds,” “speech elicitors,” or “medovevim” was documented and sanctioned in GSS policy statements and memoranda.

17. These “birds,” agents of the GSS, viciously brutalized and tortured Mr. Salah and threatened his life and the life of family if he did not create a written statement. The GSS interrogators regularly met with the “birds” to direct the physical and psychological terror on Mr. Salah to coerce him to provide information in a written statement. Much of this information was provided to Mr. Salah in written questions and other writings to be included in the statement. If he refused, it was made clear to him that he would be further tortured by the “birds.”

18. The use of “birds” against Mr. Salah is documented in memoranda authored by GSS interrogators.5

19. These GSS interrogators then used the coerced written statement provided by Mr. Salah to continue these interrogations and further coerce Mr. Salah to ratify the information in the written statement.

20. The interrogation practices that the Mr. Salah was subjected to were part of a routine, systematic, policy of the GSS to break the spirit and will of Palestinian prisoners, and at the time of his interrogation, these policies and practices were officially sanctioned by the highest levels of the Israeli government in official policy statements of the Israeli government in the Landau Commission Report and the GSS policy memorandums.

21. These policies and methods, including the use of the small chair (“Shabach”), sleep deprivation, hooding, deafening noise, and physical force were finally condemned by the Israeli Supreme Court in 1999. The Israeli high court found that these practices constituted violations of international treaties prohibiting torture, cruel, inhumane, and degrading treatment to which Israel was a signatory and constituted unreasonable interrogation methods under Israeli domestic law. See Public Committee Against Torture in Israel et al., v. The State of Israel and The General Security Service, et al., (HCJ 5100/94 et al., decided 1999).

22. These GSS practices and policies have also been investigated, documented and condemned by Israeli, Palestinian and International Human Rights Organizations. (See, e.g. Human Rights Watch Report; Torture and Ill-Treatment, Israel’s Interrogation of Palestinians from the Occupied Territories, June 1994; see also Reports of B’Tselem-The Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories, Torture During Interrogations: Testimony of Palestinian Detainees, Testimony of Interrogators, November, 1994; Routine Torture: Interrogation Methods of the General Security Service, February, 1998; The Interrogation of Palestinians During the Intifada, March, 1992.

23. The statements alleged to have been given by Muhammad Salah were not voluntary and were not the product of his free will, but rather, were the result of torture, cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment, extreme physical and psychological coercion, and were in violation of the Fifth and Eighth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution and international law that is binding on the U.S. courts. Consequently, all of the defendant’s statements are involuntary and must be suppressed for all purposes. Additionally, the fruits of any and all such statements must be suppressed.

24. Furthermore, Mr. Salah was denied access to a lawyer and was never brought before an impartial judicial officer, in violation of his Sixth Amendment rights, and the fruits of this violation must also be suppressed.

25. In addition, Mr. Salah was not provided with any admonitions of his right to an attorney or to remain silent as required under Miranda v. Arizona. Since his arrest and interrogation were part of a “joint venture,” and additionally, because the methods employed in the interrogation of Mr. Salah “shock the judicial conscience,” all fruits of this Miranda violation must also be suppressed.

26. Finally, the statements, evidence seized, and other fruits of Mr. Salah’s arrest were the product of a violation of his Fourth Amendment rights and must be suppressed.

Wherefore, the defendant, Muhammad Salah, after the production of all relevant documents, seeks a pre-trial evidentiary hearing with the testimony of all witnesses who were present during the arrest and interrogation or have knowledge of the arrest and interrogation of Muhammad Salah, and after the conclusion of such hearing, Mr. Salah requests that this Court order the suppression of all statements and the fruits such statements which the prosecution seeks to put in evidence for any purpose at any stage of the trial of the above-entitled case.

Respectfully submitted,
People’s Law Office
1180 N. Milwaukee Avenue
3rd Floor
Chicago, Illinois 60622

3355 Richmond Boulevard
Oakland, California 94611
Salah's Statement:





No. 03 CR 978
Judge Amy J. St. Eve


State of Illinois )
County of Cook) SS

Muhammad Salah, being duly sworn deposes and states as follows:

1. I am a United States citizen, a resident of Bridgeview, Illinois, married with five children, and submit this affidavit in support of my Motion to Suppress Statements.

2. On January, 25, 1993, I was arrested by a large group of heavily-armed Israeli soldiers at a Gaza checkpoint in the Palestinian occupied territories. I was immediately handcuffed, blindfolded, and thrown into the back of a jeep where I was forced to lie face down on the floor.

3. A group of soldiers drove me around for many hours, repeatedly stomping on me with their boots and struck me with their rifle butts in my head, my groin, and all over my body while I lay on the floor of their vehicle. They insulted me in English and Arabic, and they were laughing as they stomped on my body, my head, and my groin area. They insulted my mother. They called me a terrorist and constantly threatened me. They used racial slurs toward me and my family. I feared for my life from the moment I was taken into custody.

4. After several hours of this treatment, I was taken to a military interrogation facility in Ramallah where I was held in isolation. I was hooded and kept in handcuffs and leg shackles. I had never been in any jail or prison before, but I was aware of the treatment of many other Palestinians who had been in Israeli custody, including my own mother and step-mother. I was extremely fearful for my life.

5. What happened to me over the following months was an on-going nightmare of unmitigated and unbearable terror, threats, physical and psychological abuse, and sensory and sleep deprivation carried out by numerous Israeli interrogators, soldiers, police officers, jail guards and others working with the Israeli authorities.

6. As a result of the traumatic nature of my protracted interrogation at the hands of Israeli agents and authorities, it is simply too painful for me to articulate everything I experienced.

7. On my first day at the interrogation facility I was put in a room, stripped naked, and threatened by an interrogator calling himself “Haim.” He told me I would be photographed naked with a camera that was placed on top of a file cabinet. Such treatment is particularly degrading in my culture. I was also fearful that my being stripped naked was a prelude to a sexual assault. Once when I began to cry, one of the Israeli agents told me to “stop pretending - we know you like it this way.” I was told that my family and I would be killed or harmed or arrested unless I cooperated. As the agents made these threats, I imagined my wife being arrested and brought to prison in Israel. I thought of her being brought there to face the kind of torture and abuse I was facing. I was beside myself with fear.

8. I asked for a lawyer. Haim and other interrogators laughed at me, and they told me that I had no right to a lawyer in Israel. I was also told that I could be held indefinitely without ever seeing a judge or lawyer or, for that matter, anyone. I was never told that I had the right to remain silent. I was told by “Haim” that I was in a military occupation zone “where no law applies - the only law is what we say,” and that I could be kept hidden for 6 months and nobody would know where I was.

9. Over the next 48 hours, I was forced to stay awake and was interrogated by numerous Israeli agents, including ones who gave me their names as Haim, Nadav, and Benny. When I was not being actively interrogated, I was still forced to remain awake. I was either handcuffed behind my back to a forward slanted child-size chair in a position that caused excruciating pain between my shoulder blades and in my back since I had to balance myself and the chair so I wouldn’t slide off. If I was not shackled to the small chair, I was put in a dark, freezing, closet-sized cell in which I could not stand upright, sit or lie down. This refrigerator cell was about 3 x 2 feet, and I was held there handcuffed to a metal bar behind my back. Most of the time, my head was covered with a filthy, foul-smelling hood reeking of urine, vomit, and other unpleasant substances.

10. Sitting shackled in the small chair caused me great pain and psychological stress, including severe cramping, numbness in my arms and legs, and a feeling of complete helplessness. To this day I still experience pain in my shoulder from being held in this position. During these “waiting” periods I was forced to keep wearing the filthy and rancid hood, which severely limited my ability to breathe normally. I was subjected to deafening music and the sounds of people screaming in pain. Often, while I was sitting hooded in the small chair, someone would come up and hit or slap me on my head and in my face. After a while I recognized Haim by his footsteps, and I came to know the feel of his hand when he hit me. My fear grew each time I heard his footsteps.

11. Throughout my interrogation, I had to beg to use the toilet, and on one occasion urinated on myself because I was not permitted to use the toilet. In my culture, as in any culture, this event was extremely degrading. Prior to my arrest I was suffering from a urinary tract infection and this painful condition was greatly exacerbated by this treatment.

12. Throughout my interrogation I was spoken to in Hebrew and Arabic and was made to speak in Arabic, despite my requests to speak and be spoken to in English, because their Arabic was not native and was colloquial. During this period of interrogation, I was constantly struck and slapped about the head and body many times by interrogator Haim, who appeared to be the one in charge, and by others. I was threatened with more violence, including rape and the murder of myself and my family in the West Bank and the United States. I was told by my interrogators that they knew everything about me, where I lived and even who were my neighbors and friends.

13. At some point during this period, an Israeli agent came into my interrogation room and demanded that I sign a statement in Hebrew. I told him that I did not read or understand Hebrew, and he said that he would read me the statement. I could not comprehend all what he read to me and had great difficulty staying awake because I had been deprived of sleep for so long. Any time an agent observed me nodding off to sleep, he would slap my face and kick me to keep me awake.

14. At first I refused to sign the Hebrew statement, but was told it didn’t matter what the statement said, since it would not be used in court. I was frightened for myself and my family and feeling desperate about more interrogation, violence, hooding, sitting in the tiny chair, and more time in the closet cell. I felt that if I signed they might stop this torture. Any signature of mine that appears on that document was not an act of free will.

15. After some time, I was taken back to the closet-sized freezing cell where I had no blanket or mattress. I was unable to sleep there despite my total exhaustion. My placement in this cell was part of the constant cruelty that I experienced at the hands of these agents.

16. At times I was taken out of the refrigerator cell and subjected to aggressive and threatening interrogation, including threats of blinding me and maiming me, mixed with long periods of waiting while hooded and shackled to the small chair. During this time I was hit, punched and slapped by interrogator “Haim” and others. I could never tell from which direction the blows would be coming. I was threatened with more violence against myself and my family. I was told by “Haim” that they had people working within the FBI and could get the FBI to arrest and to harm my family, including my children in the United States.

17. This pattern of active interrogation, sleep and sensory deprivation, physical abuse, and threats continued without end. I was willing to say anything they wanted me to say.

18. After some point, another Israeli agent demanded that I sign another document written in Hebrew. I had no idea what the document said, and I only signed it to try to end the nightmare I was experiencing. My signing that document was not an act of free will.

19. The interrogations then continued with different interrogators coming in and out. Some would make threats while others would appear calm and promise me that as an American citizen, I would soon go home.

20. Sometimes people would come in the interrogation room and claim they were medical personnel or professors and students from the University who wanted to talk with me. I did not trust or believe any of them. At some point a man came in who claimed he was working with the U.S. Consulate. Given what I had already endured, I did not believe or trust him either at that point.

21. At some point around this time, I refused to sign another document written in Hebrew that Israeli agents threatened me to sign. “Haim” then came into the room and began to hit me and threaten my life. I demanded to see a judge. He laughed and sent me back to the closet-sized refrigeration cell.

22. At some point thereafter, I was told that my interrogation was over, and I was going to be placed in a regular cell with other detainees.

23. I spent a night in a cell with 10 to 15 prisoners who claimed to be high ranking members of various resistance groups who told me that I should write a statement of what had happened to me and why I had come to Israel to prove to them that I was not a “collaborator.” I wrote a 2-3 page statement explaining what had happened and why I had come to the occupied territories. In this statement, I wrote the truth, that I had come to the occupied territories to deliver money that had been raised for humanitarian purposes to support the families of approximately 400 Palestinian men who had been deported by the Israelis, a violation of international law that was condemned by the United Nations and United States.

24. The next day I was taken to a prison in Hebron and placed in a cell with 15-20 Palestinian prisoners who also claimed to be part of resistance movements. They asked me to write a statement of why I had come to Israel. When I explained that I had already written such a statement and refused to write another one, they began to call me a traitor. They held a razor to my face and threatened to kill me.

25. They then tied my hands and my feet to the corner of the two bed posts, covered my head, and proceeded to hit me repeatedly and kicked me in the groin. They threatened to rape me. They showed me a blue bowl with a rounded and pointed bottom, which they then forced me to sit on several times for as long as ten minutes, causing me excruciating pain. They covered my mouth to muffle my screams of anguish. To this day I experience intense pain when I have to move my bowels.

26. Over the course of the next several days, I was forced to remain tied to the corner of the bed. This position is known as a “zawiya,” which describes a treatment that is designed for traitors or collaborators. I was repeatedly threatened in many ways unless I wrote a statement in which I was to state that I was involved with Hamas.

27. I was repeatedly threatened and frightened for my life, and I was forced to comply with their demands. These men would take what I wrote and bring back to me written questions and information that they wanted me to include in additional written statements. I eventually included in a written statement all the information that they provided to me in writing. The written questions and information that they presented to me made it clear what it was they wanted me to say. I knew that the only way to save my life and protect myself from further harm was to do what they wanted me to do.

28. After I completed this statement, I was transferred back to Ramallah where I was again subjected to interrogation, threats and abuse by the Israeli interrogators, particularly by agent “Cohen” this time.

29. I was then interrogated by agent “Nadav” who began asking me about parts of the written statement, which I told him was not information that I had supplied. He ordered me to go along with it and made it clear that if I did not comply, the abuse and deprivations would continue. Faced with this, I had no choice but to submit to his use of the statement to interrogate me and acquiesced to whatever contents of the statement he wished me to agree with.

30. So many horrible things happened to me during those months. In addition to the facts stated above, there were times when I was placed in an overheated room, which made me feel I was about to die, and I screamed for relief. I was fearful that I would be poisoned, and I lost 33 pounds during this period. I wore the same clothing for the entire period, and I was not allowed to take a shower for approximately a month.

31. Discussing these events has been very difficult. It has renewed the extreme pain and humiliation that I endured. I have tried my best to accurately recall the facts, but I believe that there may be things that took place that I am unable to articulate because they are simply too much to bear. Remembering and re-telling what happened to me twelve years ago has made me cry and has brought back the indescribable suffering that was inflicted upon me. It still is difficult for me to believe that any human being could do these things to another human being.

Signed and Sworn to before me
this 17th day of October, 2005.
Mohammad Salah
Notary Public
NYT's Miller's Senate Testimony

>Eventually, when the fuss over my case dies down, I hope journalists and politicians will begin examining the real issues at stake here, especially the question of when and under what circumstances a waiver can be considered voluntary.<

I have to respectfully disagree with Miller. Not sure the "fuss" is ever going to really die, considering the enormous mess, or two, she's created.


Reporter, The New York Times
Before the Senate Judiciary Committee of the U.S. Senate, October 19, 2005

Good morning, I am Judith Miller, a reporter for The New York Times. That statement, in and of itself, is extraordinary. Reporters don’t usually testify at Congressional hearings. But the circumstances that in July forced me to spend 85 days in the Alexandria Detention Center in Virginia highlight the urgent need for a Federal shield law to protect journalists and their sources.

I am here today to urge you to enact the Free Flow of Information Act so that other journalists will not be forced, as I was, to go to jail to protect their sources. I’m here because I hope you will agree that an uncoerced, uncoercable press, though at times irritating, is vital to the perpetuation of the freedom and democracy we so often take for granted.

After almost three months in jail, I managed to secure both a personal letter and a telephone call from my source, I. Lewis Libby, and equally critically, an agreement with the prosecutor to focus his questioning on my main source and the Plame/Wilson affair. Had I not gotten both agreements, I would not have testified. I would still be in jail, as I was during your last hearing on this measure.

Yes, the legal machinations in my case were enormously complex, but the principle I was defending was fairly straightforward: once reporters give a pledge to keep a source’s identity confidential, they must be willing to honor that pledge and not testify unless the source gives explicit, personal permission for them to do so, and they are able ¬toi protect other confidential sources.

Eventually, when the fuss over my case dies down, I hope journalists and politicians will begin examining the real issues at stake here, especially the question of when and under what circumstances a waiver can be considered voluntary. Struggling with such a weighty question alone in jail was hardly ideal. I did the best I could under rather challenging circumstances.