A Soldiers News Blog
Saturday, May 10, 2003
War Blog Updates
Iraq looters exposed to radioactive yellow cake: "[Asahi.com]
They wanted water containers; they may have killed the village.
Iraq-Villagers looted a nuclear power facility here during the waning days of the war and instead of treasure, may have made off with death-drums filled with radioactive uranium oxide concentrate, also called yellow cake.
According to officials with the Iraq nuclear energy commission, the storage facility at Zafaraniya was guarded by Iraqi troops until April 4. However, they fled in the face of approaching U.S. Marines.

Full story...
In Command Post: Irak

Chinese, Russian FMs Discuss Iraq Issue: "From the People's Daily (China) :
Chinese Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing and Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov held consultations via telephone Friday evening on the Iraq issue ...
... Russia stands ready to keep consulting with China so as to make constructive efforts towards the solution of the Iraq issue, Ivanov said.
Li said the Iraq issue has entered a new stage and China shares quite a few common views with Russia on the issue.
In Command Post: Irak

Death Sentence in Yemen Missionary Deaths: "A Yemeni court sentenced a suspected al-Qaida militant to death Saturday for killing three U.S. missionaries, according to his lawyer."
In Seattle Post-Intelligencer: War on Iraq
  N.Y. Times: Ex-Reporter 'Committed Fraud'
From: Patti Bader

This is sad.

N.Y. Times: Ex-Reporter 'Committed Fraud'

Associated Press Writer

May 10, 2003, 6:19 PM EDT

NEW YORK -- A New York Times reporter "committed frequent acts of journalistic fraud," including stealing material from other newspapers, inventing quotes and lying about his whereabouts, according to an investigation conducted by the paper.

The review found problems in at least 36 of the 73 articles written by Jayson Blair from the time he began receiving national reporting assignments in late October to his May 1 resignation. The Times described the episode as "a low point in the 152-year history of the newspaper."

Blair, 27, "used these techniques to write falsely about emotionally charged moments in recent history, from the deadly sniper attacks in suburban Washington to the anguish of families grieving for loved ones killed in Iraq," according to a story the Times posted on its Web site Saturday before its publication in Sunday's editions.

The 7,500-word story was accompanied by an editor's note apologizing to Times' readers and a detailed accounting of articles in which falsification, plagiarism or other problems were discovered by a team of Times reporters and researchers.

"It's a huge black eye," Arthur Ochs Sulzberger Jr., chairman of The New York Times Company and publisher of the newspaper, said in the article. "It's an abrogation of the trust between the newspaper and its readers."

The inquiry into Blair's work continues, especially on more than 600 articles he wrote before his sniper coverage began in October. The newspaper asked readers to report problems by e-mailing a special address: retrace@nytimes.com.

The Times cited several reasons for not detecting the problems with Blair, including "a failure of communication among senior editors; few complaints from the subjects of (Blair's) articles; his savviness and his ingenious ways of covering his tracks."

Blair attended the University of Maryland, but did not graduate, and joined the Times in 1999 after an internship the previous year. He did not return a call from The Associated Press seeking comment, and the Times said he rejected repeated requests to help the newspaper in its inquiry or comment on his work.

In a letter sent to the Times and read to the AP after his resignation, Blair blamed "personal issues" and apologized for his "lapse of journalistic integrity."

The review began after the editor at the San Antonio Express-News pointed to similarities in an April 26 piece by Blair and a story that appeared in the Texas paper a week earlier.

The story concerned a woman's monthlong wait for news on her son, a soldier missing in Iraq. The Times said at the time it was unable to determine whether Blair had done any original reporting for the piece, and Blair quit within days.

The investigation showed that while he was filing stories from around the country, Blair was often in the New York City borough of Brooklyn, even filing expense receipts from stores and restaurants there.

In other instances:

* On Oct. 30, Blair wrote that John Muhammad, one of the two sniper suspects, had been talking with local investigators for more than an hour when federal authorities forced an end to the interrogation -- perhaps as Muhammed was ready to confess. But law enforcement officials told the Times that the conversation with Muhammad was focused on minor matters, such as arranging for a shower, rather than "explaining the roots of his anger" as Blair reported.

Blair's story was based on the accounts of five unnamed law enforcement sources. Times editors did not ask Blair who those sources were prior to publication.

* On March 27, Blair wrote under a dateline from Palestine, W.Va., about the family of Private Jessica Lynch, a POW rescued in Iraq. He described how Lynch's father "choked up as he stood on his porch here overlooking the tobacco fields and cattle pastures." The porch overlooks no such thing, the Times said, and no member of Lynch's family remembers talking to Blair. The Times said some of the Lynch articles also contained material apparently lifted from the AP.

* On April 6, Blair reported on a Cleveland church service attended by a reverend whose son had been pronounced dead in Iraq the previous day. The Times said there was no evidence Blair was at the service and that his article lifted at least six passages from other news sources, including The Washington Post.

When he joined the paper, Blair was assigned to the metropolitan desk. But because of mistakes and unprofessional behavior, the Times said, Metropolitan Editor Jonathan Landman wrote an April 2002 e-mail message to newsroom administrators saying, "We have to stop Jayson from writing for the Times. Right now."

Blair's performance improved after he took a leave for personal problems and was warned that his job was at risk, according to the paper. But he began pushing for assignments on other desks, and Landman reluctantly signed off on a plan to send Blair to the sports department, with a briefing to the editor there.

Blair had just moved to the sports desk when he was sent to the newspaper's national desk to help cover the sniper shootings in the suburbs of Washington. National editors said they were not informed of Blair's earlier performance problems.

"By the end of that month, public officials and colleagues were beginning to challenge his reporting," the Times said. "By November, the investigation has found, he was fabricating quotations and scenes, undetected.

"By March, he was lying in his articles and to his editors about being at a court hearing in Virginia, in a police chief's home in Maryland and in front of a soldier's home in West Virginia."

The Times said Blair was aided in his deception by the use of laptops and cell phones -- which prevented his editors from knowing where he was -- and his access to databases of news articles and photographs, from which he took details of places he had never been.

The Times said its investigation was "focused on correcting the record and explaining how such fraud could have been sustained within the ranks of The New York Times," and Executive Editor Howell Raines said he would assign a task force of newsroom employees to identify lessons for the newspaper.

The Times article said Raines repeatedly quoted a lesson he learned from A.M. Rosenthal, one of his predecessors as executive editor: "When you're wrong in this profession, there is only one thing to do. And that is get right as fast as you can."

* __

On the Net:

The New York Times: www.nytimes.com

Copyright (c) 2003, The Associated Press


This article originally appeared at:

Visit Newsday online at http://www.newsday.com
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A Second Suspected Weapons Lab Is Found in Northern Iraq
Command Post: Irak: "From the New York Times :
An American military unit found an abandoned trailer outside a missile testing site in northern Iraq today that they suspect was a mobile biological weapons laboratory. It was the second such find in recent weeks, and could potentially bolster the United States' claim that Saddam Hussein's government was producing biological and chemical weapons.
... It was parked, missing its wheels and stripped by looters, about 50 feet from the entrance to Al Kindi, Iraq's largest missile research and testing complex, near Mosul.
  Excerpts of Remarks by Iraqi Ayatollah
From: Newsday.com

Excerpts of Remarks by Iraqi Ayatollah

By The Associated Press

May 10, 2003, 4:31 PM EDT

Quotes from a speech in Basra by Ayatollah Mohammed Baqir al-Hakim, head of the largest anti-Saddam Shiite Muslim organization, after returning to Iraq from more than 20 years of exile in Iran. The comments were made in Arabic and translated by The Associated Press:

"Our Arab and Islamic world is full of dictatorship ... This dictatorship (of Saddam Hussein) confiscated all rights of the Iraqi people, even the simple ones, interfered in all the details of the Iraqi person, even inside his home. ... The Iraqi person became a slave."

"We have some freedom, but it is not complete. When we want to move, we find foreign troops, limitations on our movement to reach our goals ... (A future government) must be a system based on the will of the Iraqi people, elected by the Iraqi people."

"The system must respect the makeup of the Iraqi people. Shiites have their cultural specifics, Kurds, and Turkmens, Sunnis and Christians have theirs which are related to their identities."

"(The new government) will be a modern Islamic regime...to go along with the modern world, today's world ... and it will be able to bring Iraq to its natural place in the Arab and Islamic word."

"We don't want extremist Islam, but an Islam of independence, justice and freedom."

"We have to know that when we say and we make these slogans that people call `religious slogans,' and that we speak apart from life and that we know nothing about this world, tucked away in mosques... That is not true. We also want to build a modern state ... Some people think that women should stay at home. Now, women these days are half of society ... They should be a principal part of this society."

Copyright (c) 2003, The Associated Press


This article originally appeared at:

Visit Newsday online at http://www.newsday.com
Mirror.co.uk: "3am EXCLUSIVE Liza moves bash for 260 ..one day before event"
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France, Russia Question U.S. Postwar Plan: "With the U.N. Security Council looking to avoid the bitter divisions that broke out before the war, France and Russia toned down objections to a new U.S. plan for ruling postwar Iraq, but appeared intent to seek changes to give the United Nations a stronger role. (AP)"
In Yahoo! News: War with Iraq

U.N. council sees plan for U.S.-British control over Iraq in CNN - War in Iraq

Israel Tightens Rules on Foreigners: "Israel is demanding new restrictions on foreigners entering the Gaza strip - a move that could hinder the work of journalists, aid workers and those trying to monitor the fighting between Israelis and Palestinians."
In Seattle Post-Intelligencer: War on Iraq
Prominent Iraqi Shi'ite Leader Returns from Exile: "The leader of Iraq's biggestShi'ite Muslim group returned home on Saturday to the cheers ofthousands of emotional Iraqis after 23 years in exile inneighboring Iran. (Reuters)"
In Yahoo! News: War with Iraq

Top Iraqi Shiite Muslim leader returns home from exile, US watches closely: "The head of Iraq's main Shiite Muslim movement returned home from 23-years of exile in Iran promising to push for an Islamic state, threatening to complicate US efforts to foster a pluralistic society in the country. (AFP)"
In Yahoo! News: War with Iraq
Moore is out after heart op: "ROGER Moore was last night expected to speak at a charity event less than 48 hours after having a pacemaker fitted."
In Mirror.co.uk

eBAY ROW OVER BLAIR 5OTH GIFT: "Party chief accused of pulling rank to rig auction of historic autograph book of political leaders..."
In The Mirror

NYPD Blue's Kim Delaney in rehab: "According to reports, NYPD Blue actress Kim Delaney has checked into a rehab facility in Arizona, seeking treatment for alcohol abuse."
In National Enquirer
War Updates
Iraqi Documents on Israel Surface on a Cultural Hunt: "
In one huge room in the flooded basement of the building, American soldiers from MET Alpha, the "mobile exploitation team" that has been searching for nuclear, biological and chemical weapons in Iraq for the past three months, found maps featuring terrorist strikes against Israel dating to 1991. Another map of Israel highlighted what the Iraqis thought were the locations at which their Scud missiles had struck in the Persian Gulf war of 1991. The strikes were designated by yellow-and-red paper flowers placed atop the pinpointed Israeli neighborhoods.

Continue reading here .
In Command Post: Irak

Fox News: Saddam in Belarus or Russia: "[No link. From live broadcast]
Fox News military analyst Gen Paul Vallely reports intelligence from very high levels in the middle east that Saddam, Qusay and other high leaders left Iraq around April 6 for Damascus, and then flew to Belarus. They are now likely in either Belarus or Russia. Other leaders and families are in Latakia, Damascus and Aleppo.
[This was originally reported several weeks ago at debka.com, except that the method of transport was implausible: flying directly from Baghdad in the middle of the war.]
Vellely also reports that satellite photos [and intelligence?] indicate that Iraqi WMDs were buried in the eastern Bekaa Valley of Lebanon by Syrian engineers. These include chemical weapons and some biological weapons. This activity took place from Jan 26 through early March.
He also reports that information in the hands of military intelligence from Iraqi archives shows close ties between Chirac and his family to Saddam and his family and lots of corruption. In Vallely's opinion this might cause "an earthquake" in French politics and the fall of the Chirac government.
In Command Post: Irak
Friday, May 09, 2003
War Updates
'Occupying Powers' Want A Year In Iraq: "A month after the fall of Baghdad, the U.S. and Britain are asking the United Nations for permission to administer Iraq for a year or more. The issue of ending sanctions could again divide the Security Council."
In CBS News: Iraq Crisis

Pentagon challenged over cluster bomb deaths in IraqWar.ru (English)
War Updates
Witnesses Say U.S. Troops Shoot Dead Iraqi Man in IraqWar.ru (English)

US-Led Coalition Calls Planes to Calm Afghan Clash in IraqWar.ru (English)

Aid Agencies Wary of U.S. Military Control in Iraq in IraqWar.ru (English)

MOD 'considering' Iraq war service: "The Ministry of Defence is "actively considering" a service of thanksgiving to mark the end of the conflict in Iraq."
In Ananova: War In Iraq

US and Britain seek to limit UN role in Iraq in IraqWar.ru (English)

Para, 18, killed in Basra shooting in IraqWar.ru (English)
Tuesday, May 06, 2003
War Updates
Saddam Set Bank Heist Record: Report: "As war approached, he sent his son and a trusted aide to remove $900 million in cash ? enough to fill three tractor-trailers ? from the central bank in the middle of the night, says a newspaper."
In CBS News: Iraq Crisis

Report: France Helped Iraqi Leaders Escape: "
The Washington Times reports:

The French government secretly supplied fleeing Iraqi officials with passports in Syria that allowed them to escape to Europe, The Washington Times has learned.
An unknown number of Iraqis who worked for Saddam Hussein's government were given passports by French officials in Syria, U.S. intelligence officials said.
The passports are regarded as documents of the European Union, because of France's membership in the union, and have helped the Iraqis avoid capture, said officials familiar with intelligence reports.
In Command Post: Irak
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