Saturday, July 31, 2004

There has been a bit of a raruraru in recent times about New Zealand's "anti-nuclear" legislation.

This is about the most factual and objective summary that I can find on the 'Net to the background of that "anti-nuclear" legislation.

"Close defence cooperation with the United States and Australia during the second world war lead to the ANZUS defence pact between the three countries. However, concern about French nuclear testing in the pacific at Mururoa Atoll, and about the presence of nuclear warheads or reactors on US ships visiting New Zealand, contributed to growing antinuclear sentiment in New Zealand. Under the Labour Party government of David Lange, this lead to the passage in New Zealand of antinuclear legislation, preventing visits by ships carrying nuclear weapons or powered by nuclear reactors. In theory, warships that did not fall into this category were not blocked. However, New Zealand insisted on direct confirmation that a ship was not nuclear-armed or nuclear-powered, something which clashed with the United States' security policy of "neither confirming nor denying" nuclear capability on specific ships. Because the United States would not reveal a ship's nuclear status, New Zealand could not determine whether the ship met New Zealand's legal requirements, and so would not grant permission for a visit. This effectively ended visits by United States ships to New Zealand. The US took the position that this legislation effectively prevented practical alliance cooperation. New Zealand, in contrast, claimed that the removal of nuclear weapons from the Pacific was actually beneficial to the alliance's goal of regional security.
After increasingly acrimonious debates, the United States formally suspended its ANZUS security obligations to New Zealand in August 1986. This suspension remains in effect today, although the US no longer carries nuclear weapons aboard its surface naval vessels. In recent years, there has been some debate in New Zealand about removing the antinuclear legislation, with the ACT New Zealand party commenting in favour of doing so and the National Party "considering" it. However, public opinion remains strongly in favour of the ban. "

(Just as a word of explanation here about ACT. The founders of this right wing party were members of the fifth Labour Government (which was left wing), and under David Lange as PM, responsible for the anti-nuclear legislation.)

But there is just a little more to the start of the story.

For me, NZ's anti-nuclear stance has its genesis in the 1950's and early 60's. At that time Britain was testing at Christmas Island, the US was testing further north. I have strong recollections of the continuing reports of scientists testing Strontium 90 levels in both pasture and milk over a period of some 10 to 15 years. The conclusion was that there was clear connection between Sr90 and atmospheric testing. Those soil tests were resumed when the French moved their test programmes from the Sahara to Mururoa.

Why was this so important? Because our major markets had expressed concern and threatened to stop buying dairy product because of the potential Sr90 contamination. What started as a protective (it is not as bad as you think) study, became an early weapon against the atmospheric testing of nuclear weapons. It formed a strong part of the case that NZ took to the World Court in the 1980's against atmospheric testing of nuclear weapons.

When the US started sending nuclear powered and armed ships under the "requirements" of the ANZUS Treaty, it soon became apparent to the ordinary kiwi that the US must have a very small navy of just a few nuclear powered ships. Well, I mean, they were the only ones that ever arrived here. Conventional powered ships from the US Navy NEVER visited a NZ port after 1970.

The "requirement" to accept US Naval visits was justified by a clause of the Treaty setting out the need for "exchange of personnel, joint training, and exercises." The strange thing was, that these ships always arrived (with respectful notice) out of the blue yonder, and left some while later as silently and as rapidly as they came. Exercises? Joint training? We used our P3's to track them until they left our territorial waters...then politely let them go on their way.

Another aspect not satisfactorily covered in the quote above is the fundamental and extreme distrust of nuclear weaponry by the ordinary Nzer. The insanity of the MAD policies (and how apt the name is) of the Cold War was always beyond comprehension.

The third piece of the jigsaw that has not fitted properly in the quotation above is the consequences of NZ protest against French testing at Mururoa.

Understand here that one of the primary clauses of the Treaty stated that an attack on any one of the members would be considered an attack on all.

The French (government) terrorist attack in 1984 that resulted in the sinking of Rainbow Warrior in Auckland Harbour brought a few sniffs and some very firmly turned backs. There was no support from either of the other ANZUS members to NZ's protests. There might have been a quiet "That was a F***** stupid thing to do" in Chirac's ear, but nothing was said in public.

Given that experience, the third piece was the attitude "If NZ gets chucked out of ANZUS, what have we lost?"


Personally, and I think that a majority of Nzers would agree, the anti-nuclear legislation was the best thing that we could have done. It has given NZ a continuing, free and independent voice in international affairs. It has allowed this country to determine for itself when and at what level we involve ourselves in international disputes.

Quite frankly, I believe that this is what has gotten up the collective nose of the US more than anything. The absolute cheek and inexpressable gall of a bunch of uneducated, no-hoper, rugby playing, island farmers to give the US the bird and say "We stand here".

The most outstanding thing, the one thing that ties all of this back to comments about NZ - US relations, is the one that is never mentioned.

When the US expelled NZ from ANZUS they also down-graded their own assessment of NZ's diplomatic standing from "Most Favoured Nation" status to "good friend" (the capital letters are important). That, if I am understanding this correctly, puts us on the same level as Algeria and Yemen, one level above "evil", and two levels below Russia, China, Ukraine, and Saudi Arabia, all of whom hold MFN status.

It was this last point that I was going to tie back to the question of "how to fight terrorism", and the futility of isolationism. I will think on that a little longer...

Finally,  any political party that suggests the weakening or the removal of this legislation is committing political suicide.  That was learned by Donny Brash in very short order.  To his credit he backed off,  helped no doubt by the strong arms of some of the older members of his party. 

ACT,  as I suggested earlier,  is like a toothpaste looking for market distinction.  Good luck to them.  Rodney should go hide...

Wednesday, July 28, 2004

Electioneering and Honesty...

I suppose that it is inescapable.  So much of the world media is going to spend (waste even?,  like I can do something about it?) the next six months heating up the rhetoric,  analysing the rhetoric and then,  post November,  analysing the results of the rhetoric.

Well,  I am going to take just one shot.  Right at the beginning,  and it has less to do with the elections,  and a lot to do with process.  I have mourned the loss of a forum which I inhabited in the past.  It has been resurrected,  given new life,  by the same small group in a new guise.  I have lurked but so far the desire to join the fray has not grabbed me at all.

One of the topics currently under debate is (as anyone could guess) the suitability,  the qualification, of the Democrat candidate for the office of President.  It appears under a topic heading of "JFK Quotes" but has taken up the "call" describing Kerry as a "war criminal" being promoted in the more right-wing media.

Now that brings to the surface all manner of opinion and emotion to which American politics is welcome - but which in the long term adds nothing to the actual debate on the relative merit of the candidates.  I will not follow that path any further as it is not where I want this post to go.

One of the recent posts to the thread is from a gent who I know only by his 'Net handle of "GrnBrt".  I have no reason to doubt his qualification to make the following comment,  and I think that no reasoning person will doubt his sincerity. 


Ok, the 2 things in life I have learned not to debate is politics and religion but I do need to say my piece here as my name was mentioned a couple of times. I do not like Bush and never have and he scares the hell out of me big time but do I like Kerry? Well not to sure of that yet but rest assured I will not vote for Bush.
Now onto the other subject of astrocities in viet-Nam.

Did they ever happen? Yes!
Did I ever participate? No!
Did I see them first hand? Yes!
Did I report them? No!

Why? because I didn't want to get fragged and I really didn't care. I also have 3 purple hearts and could have come home but said no, why? I had no desire to come home as I had received a Dear John from my wife and she was pregnant by someone else so life for me came to a halt and I really didn't care if I got home or not, there you have the reason.
Let me give you an example of one atrocities commited by the other side and beleive me there were 100's more!

We got word of 3 POW's being held in this village so we very quietly went in to get them but were to late. the enemy had dug a pit 12"X10'X6' and filled it with hungry rats and then tied the prisoners up in barbed wire and threw them in the pit, do I need to paint a picture of what we found? So a few days later we have some POW's from that same area and we have them on a Huey and were interrogatting them and this one filthy and stinking Viet cong looked up at the Sgt and said, "Geneva convention, Geneva Convention". the Sgt hit him so hard he went out the side door and the Sgt yelled out to him, "there's your Geneva convention!" We were only human and after awhile you turn cold inside and just don't care anymore. Now in the early 70's the writing was on the wall and it wasn't good. We knew that we would never win and the guys dying over there was for nothing and most of them were more concerned about getting their dope so they could numb out what was going on around them. Now Mr Republican would you send Joe off to war that was only producing a body count and nothing more? I saw the wall (the wandering one) a week ago and got to say goodbye to my bro's and say how sorry that their dying was for nothing and was politically motivated and I feel that's what Kerry was trying to convey back in '71 I believe, he saw the fruitality of it all and knew that it just wasn't right and didn't want to see more good people die for nothing. I don't feel in my heart that he turned against us, he was just trying to wake people up to what was going by that time. Now if you'll excuse me I am going to go sit on my front porch, have a smoke that I shouldn't and shed some more tears for my lost friends and for my country that I feel is lost right now with the current man in the White House!


The full thread can be found at -


What more can I say?

Saturday, July 17, 2004

These past couple of days have been fascinating...especially if one has been trooping around the international news sites following reaction to the Israeli spy case, and Auntie Helen's later comments.
Most of the news reports have been very similar to Granny Herald. Probably that report was lifted (by agreement) by the international agencies and broadcast. Some of the more right wing, particularly one Israeli paper, have had additional local comment principally from the Israeli Foreign Minister.
No, once again the interest has been in the vox pop fora. Regrettably one has disappeared (from Friday) but this is from the same paper, with many of the same contributors (yep that is me post 2)


A lesson


IG, Canada(2004-07-16 11:26:19.937 EST)


To those Israelis who always blame themselves for everything: The bad guys hate you regardless of what you do so you might as well do what needs to be done and ignore the antisemites...


How does New Zealander know??


Brian, Florida, USA(2004-07-16 11:16:25.763 EST)


How does the individual below know that the cemetery vandalism was a result of the "actions of a few"? Did you watch the desecration in progress? Perhaps the anti-Israel remarks by the prime minister unleashed latent anti-semitism in your country. If the war against Iraq is so unpopular around the world, then why aren't American cemeteries ever vandalized? Could it be that the USA is perceived as being strong while the Jews are perceived as being weak? Clark really overreacted in this case.


Will Helen speak out now?


Brian, New York(2004-07-16 09:30:23.75 EST)


Helen Clark was quick to accuse the defendants for working for Mosad, but where is she in speaking out against these attacks? Perhaps her extremist left-leaning politics has gotten in the way? I wonder if Arafat would not be a desirable guest or would he simply be a freedom fighter?


It's a hoax !


Peter, NZ(2004-07-16 08:53:07.607 EST)


Hearing the stories coming out of France of lies about anti-semetic attacks, I wonder if this act is also carried out by Mossad agents in order to divert attention and smear Kiwis. If not, Israel's stupid actions in Palestine and around the world DO provoke resentment to Jews. Israel, wake up and take the path to peace....


New Zealand anti Israeli foreign policy


Semsem, New York, USA(2004-07-16 07:48:52.293 EST)


Let us not forget that New Zealand follows an anti Israeli foreign policy. The Foreign Minister met with Arafat. There is a lovely picture of him shaking Arafat's hand and gleeming with happiness. NZ also strongly blasted Israel in regards to Rafah and sent money to the Palestinians. NZ also historically discouraged Jewish emigration. It's a known fact.




Roberta, London(2004-07-16 06:53:47.45 EST)


Typical behaviour of uncivilised people. They don't even know the guys are spies or Mossad agents. But nevertheless - Let's desecrate the jewish cemetery! These people have no knowledge of anything. Desecrating a cemetery might be an appaling thing to us, but the souls are up there laughing. You can only laugh at small people as they have no idea what awaits them in "the other side". God is watching too.


Why - simple - trade with the Arab world


Sid, Yerushalim(2004-07-16 06:43:00.89 EST)


New Zealand supplies vast quantities of sheep to the Arab countries - they are attempting to show their erstwhile trade partners thier political position.




Mark, Raanana(2004-07-16 04:23:53.077 EST)


So the NZ PM roiled the murky waters a little and all the scum floated to the top. Why am I not surprised?


Wrong country!!


eloise lanum, HMB california(2004-07-16 03:55:35.013 EST)


"OH, OH! I don't think this looks like Jordan!!"




john, australia(2004-07-16 03:39:42.717 EST)


you can buy 10 kiwis passport for a $1 and be able to get change . Iam maried to one. all the kiwis are over here in droves




Peter, SF.USA(2004-07-16 03:38:21.09 EST)


I knew it...I knew it.....that this was not the end


Gross overreaction


Steve, Boston(2004-07-16 03:29:03.42 EST)


So two men who are citizens of another country try to steal passports, and new zealand decides to criticize all of israel for the actions of two random men who may or may not have anything to do with a security agency? ANd then jewish graves get vandalized? So if any citizens from new zealand do something wrong, should people say bad things about all of new zealand and violate the graves of the dead? Of course not, so why is that done to israel?


Israeli spies, Mossad and Justice


the probligo, Auckland, New Zealand(2004-07-16 03:13:37.623 EST)


First, nothing can excuse the actions of a few when they take the form like that of the desecration of the cemetary in Wellington. Second, nothing can excuse the ham-fisted actions of the two Israelis, whether Mossad or not. And for those who would criticise our Prime Minister consider this... There is as much "justification" for her comments about Israel and the possible relationship between these two convicts and Mossad, as there ever was for the war against Iraq.


New Zealand.


David Nigel Braham, 03:00:43.903 EST)


If these two had been citizens from another country not a word would have been said.What they did was wrong and they will pay by going to jail.I find it hard to believe that they represented Israel's inteligence service the Mossad.Trying to obtain documents unlawfully goes on all the time in every country around the world. Madam Prime Minister,I think you over reacted.
I am amazed in some ways that the "actions of a few" - something disputed by "Brian of Florida" - in desecrating a Jewish cemetary can assume far greater importance than the background news item.
I regret the loss of contact with the other news item from the same newspaper as the vox pop debate there was getting into the realms of "what kind of justice system does NZ have?"
So, in the time remaining I want to concentrate on that...
First up, these two men were arrested about four months back.
In that intervening period I imagine that there has been some quite intense "correspondence" between Wellington and Tel Aviv.
Soon after their arrest there was (as is usual in this country) a remand hearing in Court.
Immediately after that hearing, Granny Herald published a lengthy and detailed "investigative reporting" piece on the case, including the now infamous quote "from a high placed government source" that the two were part of a team linked directly with Mossad.
Now to cut through all of the bullshit that has followed...
The two admitted charges that they were "members of an illegal organisation" (in NZ law that covers terrorist, organised crime, and environmentalist associations).
Significant, and unreported other than in direct radio interviews, other matters included the fact that the defence lawyers for the two were unaware of this charge, and the guilty pleas until the Court hearing on Thursday.
What does this mean? My guess is -

The two Israelis were given a choice? They could plead guilty to these much lesser charges or face full hearings on the more serious of document fraud, obtaining passport by deception, and perhaps even moving toward the terrorism charge. This is not a likely scenario, but the one I think the defence lawyers were anticipating.
The Crown Law Office (the top end of the legal prosecution system in this country) took a long hard look at the overall situation and offered the "way out". THIS is where I believe the truth to be found.
OK, why would the CLO take this approach?
The Israeli's strongest defence would have been provided by the Granny Herald article.
Where, in this country, could a jury now be found that had not read or heard at least in part the content of the articles published by the Granny. Absolutely nowhere. So the CLO would have been sitting on a powderkeg of "miscarriage of justice" claims followed in all rpobability by extensive wrongful imprisonment charges.
So to all of those americans who criticise NZ's system of justice (none of whom will likely pass this way) I say this...
Compare this case with the trial of Michael Jackson.
Which of those will receive true justice?

Thursday, July 15, 2004

Public Debate - Virtually

As I have said in a previous post, I used to "inhabit" a bulletin board along with a number of other (in their own unique ways)people. The topics were wide and various; the contributions ranged from blatant troll to the well thought and logical to the downright incoherent. There were oftentimes criticism of individuals for their style of post (I was not immune either).

But really, none of that prepared me for the public forums attached to some of the leading newspapers.

Since the loss of the 'Can, I have been lurking around in the depths of the New York Times, Granny Herald (The NZ ...), Washington Post, trying to find somewhere where there is a level of personal engagement (that does not mean conflict, but rather interest in, and contribution to, the progression of a debate) and honest, objective, and open discussion.

Needless to say, all that I have found thus far has been parochial claptrap, the repetitive chanting of political mantras, selective listening and selective hearing, and continual complaints of personal abuse and "labelling". Again, I do not hold myself above these perceived "faults". There have been times when I have excluded individual contributors from consideration...simply because there was no future in listening.

This being the case, where is the need for public fora such as these?

Is there a better "level of debate" in, for example, some of the more politically inclined blogs out in blogland?

Again, based upon a very small and totally unrepresentative sample, I have to regretfully say that I have yet to find one. The general approach in blogland seems to be "pick a blog you like, link it if you wish, follow their links, leave the occasional comment..."

The pity of this approach is that it tends to leave out any debate.

"Prospectors" in blogland seek commentators and blogs that confirm and support their current beliefs and attitudes.

In the same way, the blog holders are selective in the comments that they accept and publish. Who can blame them when a comment can be as bad as "I think you are a F*****G W******R" and worse.

Only rarely (very rarely) did the 'Can get this bad, but I have seen (for example the "Middle East" thread at NYT) fora closed down or erased in an attempt to get some kind of reason and civility back into their site.

So, the problems of minimal objectivity, minimal logic, and minimal coherency seem to be universal.

Do not get me wrong, there are some very interesting, and thoughtful people publishing through this medium. I wish that I had their time and their dedication to the task of keeping a blog running over a period of time.

Am I sorry that no one leaves comments on my blog? No.

Does anyone visit my blog? Don't know, don't care really.

Wednesday, July 07, 2004

Up until the end of June ( it is suspected that the owner of the site just let it expire ) I was a regular and hopefully honest contributor to a bulletin board in a quiet, distant, off the beaten path corner of the ‘Net.

The overall site was connected with radio control model aircraft (something that fringes interests of mine) but it had within it one board named most appropriately as “The Trash Can”.

Over about three or four years there were a diverse range of contributors representing a wide range of political opinion. Most of those domiciled in the US were very Republican, very patriotic, and mostly with connection of one kind or another to the US armed services. So we had the likes of “papadean”, RONALDEFODGE, stettoman, OHEng, Line Goddess, and many others. Some became personal friends ( as close as one may on the ‘Net.) for the time being. Some are implacable enemies ( in their eyes, at least).

But I want to place on record that I really do miss the ‘Can. Why? Well to be brutally frank, I used to get considerable enjoyment from picking news from (mainly) US sources and posting it out with my own commentary. Well, to be fair it was not always necessary to initiate debate with blatant trolls. Often discussion of matters current and topical became incendiary without any assistance from me. Sometimes just producing a match was enough to get things going. Anything from US foreign policy to US Supreme Court decisions to the place of religion in society were all fair game. All in all it was a very enjoyable place to hang out, to shoot the breeze, to kill a few dragons along the way.

I guess that I am undergoing some form of withdrawal – from the addiction of being able to post various stories if nothing else than “to just see what happens.”

The last post here – the self analysis by New York Times – is a case in point. That would have been a first rate troll if followed by “What impact might this have on George Bush’s chances in Nov?” Not just because of the timeliness of the Time’s navel gazing. It is a primary example of the impact that the media can have on the political climate. That potential immediately raises the quest ion of “Why did the Times report at this time?”. Much of the Time’s comments in that instance reflected interpretations used by the US administration many times to justify their “pre-emptive strike” against Iraq.

But there is no flesh left on those bones – the vultures and the hyenas have all had their fill. But nowhere in the ensuing rush to comment has anyone raised my questions –
Why did the Times do it?
What impact was it intended to have politically?

And so we come to today’s offering, once again courtesy of the NYT.

New York Times

The article is three pages long and essentially deals with the relationships between the US administration and the two (or is it three) ring circus that their intelligence service has turned into over the Iraq war and its “justification”.

I am not one for “I told you so”’s because they lead to healthy helpings of crow whenever predictions are wrong (and I am one of the worst Nostradamus’ in the game).

The “early departure” of George Tenet from the CIA did signal the findings of the investigating committee as clearly as waving a Palestinian flag from the top front balcony of the White House. There will be much soul searching, particularly within the CIA. There will probably be some more heads to roll, enough even for a deck of cards all of their own. Time will tell.

What will be the most interesting of all is whether the administration – Bush, Cheney, Wolfowicz, and Powell – will be strong and brave enough to conduct a review of their words and actions as has been done by the Times.

I say no, it will never happen. The last President to commit political suicide was Clinton. The neo-cons will “believe” that the country can not afford a second strike in succession.

More is the pity?

Saturday, July 03, 2004

The New York Times gets it RIGHT

May 26, 2004
The Times and Iraq

Over the last year this newspaper has shone the bright light of hindsight on decisions that led the United States into Iraq. We have examined the failings of American and allied intelligence, especially on the issue of Iraq's weapons and possible Iraqi connections to international terrorists. We have studied the allegations of official gullibility and hype. It is past time we turned the same light on ourselves.
In doing so — reviewing hundreds of articles written during the prelude to war and into the early stages of the occupation — we found an enormous amount of journalism that we are proud of. In most cases, what we reported was an accurate reflection of the state of our knowledge at the time, much of it painstakingly extracted from intelligence agencies that were themselves dependent on sketchy information. And where those articles included incomplete information or pointed in a wrong direction, they were later overtaken by more and stronger information. That is how news coverage normally unfolds.
But we have found a number of instances of coverage that was not as rigorous as it should have been. In some cases, information that was controversial then, and seems questionable now, was insufficiently qualified or allowed to stand unchallenged. Looking back, we wish we had been more aggressive in re-examining the claims as new evidence emerged — or failed to emerge.
The problematic articles varied in authorship and subject matter, but many shared a common feature. They depended at least in part on information from a circle of Iraqi informants, defectors and exiles bent on "regime change" in Iraq, people whose credibility has come under increasing public debate in recent weeks. (The most prominent of the anti-Saddam campaigners, Ahmad Chalabi, has been named as an occasional source in Times articles since at least 1991, and has introduced reporters to other exiles. He became a favorite of hard-liners within the Bush administration and a paid broker of information from Iraqi exiles, until his payments were cut off last week.) Complicating matters for journalists, the accounts of these exiles were often eagerly confirmed by United States officials convinced of the need to intervene in Iraq.
Administration officials now acknowledge that they sometimes fell for misinformation from these exile sources. So did many news organizations — in particular, this one.
Some critics of our coverage during that time have focused blame on individual reporters. Our examination, however, indicates that the problem was more complicated. Editors at several levels who should have been challenging reporters and pressing for more skepticism were perhaps too intent on rushing scoops into the paper. Accounts of Iraqi defectors were not always weighed against their strong desire to have Saddam Hussein ousted. Articles based on dire claims about Iraq tended to get prominent display, while follow-up articles that called the original ones into question were sometimes buried. In some cases, there was no follow-up at all.
On Oct. 26 and Nov. 8, 2001, for example, Page 1 articles cited Iraqi defectors who described a secret Iraqi camp where Islamic terrorists were trained and biological weapons produced. These accounts have never been independently verified.
On Dec. 20, 2001, another front-page article began, "An Iraqi defector who described himself as a civil engineer said he personally worked on renovations of secret facilities for biological, chemical and nuclear weapons in underground wells, private villas and under the Saddam Hussein Hospital in Baghdad as recently as a year ago." Knight Ridder Newspapers reported last week that American officials took that defector — his name is Adnan Ihsan Saeed al-Haideri — to Iraq earlier this year to point out the sites where he claimed to have worked, and that the officials failed to find evidence of their use for weapons programs. It is still possible that chemical or biological weapons will be unearthed in Iraq, but in this case it looks as if we, along with the administration, were taken in. And until now we have not reported that to our readers.
On Sept. 8, 2002, the lead article of the paper was headlined "U.S. Says Hussein Intensified Quest for A-Bomb Parts." That report concerned the aluminum tubes that the administration advertised insistently as components for the manufacture of nuclear weapons fuel. The claim came not from defectors but from the best American intelligence sources available at the time. Still, it should have been presented more cautiously. There were hints that the usefulness of the tubes in making nuclear fuel was not a sure thing, but the hints were buried deep, 1,700 words into a 3,600-word article. Administration officials were allowed to hold forth at length on why this evidence of Iraq's nuclear intentions demanded that Saddam Hussein be dislodged from power: "The first sign of a `smoking gun,' they argue, may be a mushroom cloud."
Five days later, The Times reporters learned that the tubes were in fact a subject of debate among intelligence agencies. The misgivings appeared deep in an article on Page A13, under a headline that gave no inkling that we were revising our earlier view ("White House Lists Iraq Steps to Build Banned Weapons"). The Times gave voice to skeptics of the tubes on Jan. 9, when the key piece of evidence was challenged by the International Atomic Energy Agency. That challenge was reported on Page A10; it might well have belonged on Page A1.
On April 21, 2003, as American weapons-hunters followed American troops into Iraq, another front-page article declared, "Illicit Arms Kept Till Eve of War, an Iraqi Scientist Is Said to Assert." It began this way: "A scientist who claims to have worked in Iraq's chemical weapons program for more than a decade has told an American military team that Iraq destroyed chemical weapons and biological warfare equipment only days before the war began, members of the team said."
The informant also claimed that Iraq had sent unconventional weapons to Syria and had been cooperating with Al Qaeda — two claims that were then, and remain, highly controversial. But the tone of the article suggested that this Iraqi "scientist" — who in a later article described himself as an official of military intelligence — had provided the justification the Americans had been seeking for the invasion.
The Times never followed up on the veracity of this source or the attempts to verify his claims.
A sample of the coverage, including the articles mentioned here, is online at Readers will also find there a detailed discussion written for The New York Review of Books last month by Michael Gordon, military affairs correspondent of The Times, about the aluminum tubes report. Responding to the review's critique of Iraq coverage, his statement could serve as a primer on the complexities of such intelligence reporting.
We consider the story of Iraq's weapons, and of the pattern of misinformation, to be unfinished business. And we fully intend to continue aggressive reporting aimed at setting the record straight.

Now that, for anyone who cares, is full and public accountability.
My subscription to the NYT will remain in place for a very long time...