John Bolton has long been referred to as the Bush administration's "point man confronting Iran's nuclear program," (Washington Post, Jun. 20, 2005) and on Aug. 1 President George W. Bush used a controversial recess appointment to install John Bolton as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations. -- So it is interesting that the New York Times now consistently refrains from mentioning John Bolton's name in connection with U.S. diplomatic efforts to have Iran hauled before the Security Council for its nuclear program. -- An article published Saturday in the Times and reproduced below reporting that these efforts have failed, is another example of this systematic silence. -- (Another systematic omission in coverage by the Times: any mention of Israel in connection with the U.S. diplomatic campaign (and, a fortiori, any mention of Israel's own nuclear program. As a JTA piece noted earlier in the week, "Israel prefers to maintain a low profile when it comes to Iran.") -- Among other things we expect not to see in the New York Times: the news John Bolton was among the 99 people who visited jailed New York Times reporter Judith Miller in the period between early July and Labor Day. -- This interesting news was reported by the Washington Post on Saturday. -- But the capital's leading daily, too, has its complicitous silences: the Post is not inclined to mention that another reason Judith Miller receives so many visits is that her husband is none other than highly influential Jason Epstein, a legendary giant of the New York intelligentsia, or that many believe the source that Judith Miller is refusing to reveal is none other than... herself....
A FRUSTRATING WEEK AT THE U.N. FOR THE WHITE HOUSE TEAM
By Steven R. Weisman
New York Times
September 17, 2005
WASHINGTON -- After weeks of trying to rally international support to confront Iran over its nuclear program and to reform the United Nations, the Bush administration has had an unusually frustrating week, rebuffed by crucial partners and also by a coalition of poor countries increasingly resentful of American power.
The result is that the drive to press Tehran over its suspected nuclear weapons program has stalled, as have efforts to introduce sweeping budgetary changes at the United Nations and to scrap the United Nations Human Rights Commission.
"The work of diplomacy doesn't always proceed at the pace you would hope," a senior State Department official said, saying he could be more candid if not quoted by name. "Do we wish the results of a week of diplomacy would be more clear-cut? Yes. But at least everybody feels we're moving in the right direction."
The Iranian situation has been at an impasse for weeks, as the United States and its European partners have sent envoys to countries around the world to rally support for a vote at the International Atomic Energy Agency's board meeting next week to refer Iran to the United Nations Security Council for possible condemnation or sanctions.
But India and Russia have balked, despite personal appeals by President Bush. At the White House on Friday, President Vladimir V. Putin again expressed misgivings about rushing things with Iran.
"I'd like to point out that the potential of diplomatic solutions to all these questions is far from exhausted," Mr. Putin said, adding that it was necessary to take steps "to settle all these problems and issues, not to aggravate them, not to bring them to extremities."
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh of India, who met with Mr. Bush at the United Nations earlier in the week, made the same point in an interview on Friday morning. "I don't think we should rush to the Security Council," he said. "I think more efforts could be made to evolve a consensus."
In light of these and other rebuffs, European and American diplomats said Friday that they thought they had about 20 votes out of 35 on the nuclear agency's board to refer Iran to the Security Council. While that would be enough to accomplish the goal, they were not sure whether to proceed with such a slim majority. "At this point our options are still open," the senior State Department official said. Echoing European officials, he said that a final decision would be made after a speech on Saturday by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran at the United Nations, where he is expected to offer his own proposals for breaking the impasse with the West.
The tactical concern among Americans and Europeans is that, in the absence of a broad consensus, a vote sending Iran to the Security Council could embarrass the West, guarantee that the Council would not act quickly and possibly embolden the Iranians themselves.
"If we get a narrow majority at the I.A.E.A., the likelihood of doing anything reasonable in New York is not great," said a top European diplomat involved in the Iran talks. "It's probably a smart idea to take a little more time to pressure the Iranians."
Since the beginning of President Bush's second term, and since an early incantation from Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice that "the time for diplomacy is now," a main priority has been to align American and European strategies on Iran.
By all accounts, that effort has been successful, and Washington has worked with Britain, France, Germany, and the European Union to let the Europeans offer economic and political incentives for Iran to suspend its uranium activities and to discuss a permanent end to its suspected nuclear weapons programs.
That phase appears to have reached an end, especially now that Iran has rejected the European incentives and resumed conversion of raw uranium into a gas that Western experts say is a precursor to making weapons-grade fuel.
What the Europeans and Americans failed to count on are the views of other countries, especially in the developing world, who have not rallied to their side.
These countries are swayed by Iran's contention that it has done nothing that violates any international treaties on nuclear energy, except by failing to disclose elements of its program, and that inspections have failed to turn up any proof that Iran is pursuing nuclear weapons.
Six weeks ago, a European official said, Europe and the United States felt that these countries would line up with the West on the atomic energy board. Now, they are not so sure.
A similar rebellion by countries outside the ambit of Europe and the United States appears to have thwarted some of the changes sought at the United Nations.
There, Bush administration officials insist that they are pleased with some of the changes adopted by the United Nations General Assembly this week, notably a broad definition of terrorism. They say they tried to address the wishes of the developing world by agreeing at the last minute to endorse specific goals to increase foreign aid.
But when it came time to adopt stringent budgetary changes at the United Nations, cementing fiscal and personnel authority with the Secretariat under Kofi Annan and taking some of it away from the General Assembly, the votes were not there.
Neither were there enough votes to scrap the United Nations Human Rights Commission and replace it with a council that would not be led by countries like Sudan or Cuba, which the United States and its allies consider bad actors in the human rights sphere.
The scandals of the last couple of years in the oil-for-food problem in Iraq, with favoritism and corruption in the awarding of contracts, might have been avoided if the secretary general's office had exercised greater control over the budget and personnel, now in the hands of a committee made up of all members of the General Assembly.
"The way the United Nations is run, the vast number of less developed countries sitting in the General Assembly hold the power of the purse," a diplomat at the United Nations said. "A lot of developing countries see giving more authority to the secretary general as a ploy by the U.S. and the Europeans to take more control of the U.N."
--Joel Brinkley contributed from the United Nations for this article.
JUDITH MILLER'S VISITOR LIST REVEALED; BOLTON'S NAME 'RAISES EYEBROWS'
By E&P Staff
Editor & Publisher
September 17, 2005
NEW YORK -- Increasingly overlooked or forgotten by the media in recent weeks, jailed New York Times reporter Judith Miler has still received plenty of upclose and personal support. According to a document, exactly 99 friends or supporters (or former sources) visited her between her July 6 detention and Labor Day. Among them, confirming earlier rumors, was John R. Bolton, the new U.S. ambassador to the United Nations.
Others on the list: Tom Brokaw, film director Irwin Winkler, Richard Clarke and two of his former aides, Iraqi weapons hunter Charles Duelfer, Bob Dole, publisher Mort Zuckerman, Sen. Arlen Spector, and famed book editor Alice Mayhew. Many more are turned away, as Miller and an assistant to her lawyer manage the flood of requests.
"She's very popular, and it's kind of hard to get on the schedule," longtime friend Ellen Chesler, who visited Miller in July but has not been able to get back in since, told the Washington Post, which obtained the document.
One court official familiar with her schedule told the Post: "She's running an office down there."
The Post reported that as a low-risk prisoner, Miller, 57, is generally allowed as many as three visitors a day for a total of 30 minutes.
Miller's attorney, Robert S. Bennett, said jail authorities give his client no special treatment.
Bolton's visit raised some eyebrows in Washington, the Post said. A vocal defender of administration claims in 2003 that Iraq was seeking weapons of mass destruction, he could have had access to a State Department memo, parts of which were classified, that detailed Wilson's trip to Niger to determine whether Iraq was seeking uranium there and identified his wife as a covert CIA operative. Who saw or discussed the memo has been a central question for Fitzgerald.
Bolton declined through a spokesman to discuss his visit to Miller or his reasons for going. This has nothing to do with his job here,' the spokesman said. 'He doesn't want to talk about it.
Miller will remain jailed for another month or more, when the grand jury investigating the Plame/CIA leak will probably disband.
"Well, she's not the most famous person we have here," one employee at the detention center, which also houses convicted al Qaeda terrorist Zacarias Moussaoui, told the Post. "But she does have some visitors."
JAILED REPORTER IS DISTANCED FROM NEWS, NOT ELITE VISITORS
By Carol D. Leonnig
September 17, 2005
[PHOTO CAPTION: The New York Times's Judith Miller talked to 99 visitors between July and Labor Day.]
Locked in the Alexandria Detention Center for the past 11 weeks, New York Times reporter Judith Miller is cut off from the world. She has no Internet access and precious little opportunity to view CNN. Her phone calls are limited, friends say. Her daily newspaper arrives a day late.
But for 30 minutes nearly every day, the world comes to her: A parade of prominent government and media officials, 99 in all, visited Miller between early July, when she was jailed for refusing to be questioned by a federal prosecutor, and Labor Day, according to a document obtained by the Washington Post.
The who's who of friends, supporters, and Washington and New York luminaries includes John R. Bolton, President Bush's new ambassador to the United Nations, former "NBC Nightly News" anchor Tom Brokaw and former senator Robert J. Dole (R-Kan.). Gonzalo Marroquin, president of the Inter-American Press Society and director of the Guatemalan daily Prensa Libre has been by.
Most say they want to rally her spirits and show support for what they believe is the right of a free press to protect confidential sources.
"Judy Miller is the most innocent person in this case," Brokaw said in an interview yesterday. "I really thought that was outrageous that she was jailed and we needed as journalists to draw a line in the sand in a strong but thoughtful way."
Miller was jailed July 6 after a federal judge found her in contempt of court for repeatedly refusing to cooperate with special counsel Patrick J. Fitzgerald in the Valerie Plame leak case. Fitzgerald has been investigating whether Bush administration officials broke the law by leaking the name of Plame, then an undercover CIA operative, to the media in retaliation for criticism of the administration leveled by Plame's husband, former ambassador Joseph C. Wilson IV.
Miller did some reporting on Wilson's claims that the government had twisted intelligence on Iraq's attempt to obtain weapons of mass destruction in the run-up to the war, but never wrote a story. Fitzgerald has questioned other reporters, including two from the Post who provided limited depositions with the consent of their sources, and maintains that it is crucial to his investigation to talk to Miller.
As a low-risk prisoner, Miller, 57, is generally allowed as many as three visitors a day for a total of 30 minutes. An assistant to Miller's lawyer manages the visitation list, and many who have tried to see the Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist have been turned away because of the crush of requests. Miller receives advice from her lawyers about prospective visitors, but she has the final say on whom she will see, friends say.
"She's very popular, and it's kind of hard to get on the schedule," said longtime friend Ellen Chesler, who visited Miller in early July but has not been able to get back in since. "She has to turn people away."
Said one court official familiar with her schedule: "She's running an office down there."
Miller could walk out of jail today, leaving behind her green jumpsuit and her job at the jail laundry, by breaking her silence. She has vowed she will not, which means she can expect to remain jailed at least until the end of October, when the term of the current grand jury is scheduled to end. Fitzgerald could seek to extend her detention.
Authorities at the Alexandria Detention Center say it is not unheard-of for some prisoners to receive a visit every day from a spouse or mother. What distinguishes Miller, detention officials concede privately, is the volume and celebrity of the people who have come to talk to her through the plexiglass partition of the tiny visitor center.
"Well, she's not the most famous person we have here," said one employee at the detention center, which also houses convicted al Qaeda terrorist Zacarias Moussaoui. "But she does have some visitors."
Miller's criminal attorney, Robert S. Bennett, said jail authorities show Miller no special treatment and handle her visitation rights "appropriately and professionally."
"There are lot of people, like Senator Dole, that are concerned about her as a friend and as a reporter," Bennett said. "And Judy has a lot of friends."
Those friends include billionaire publisher Mort Zuckerman, blockbuster book editor Alice Mayhew, and prolific film director Irwin Winkler and his wife, actress Margo Winkler.
Judiciary Committee Chairman Arlen Specter (R-Pa.) and Sen. Christopher J. Dodd (D-Conn.) have visited to discuss a federal shield law for reporters protecting their sources. Dole, an old friend, came by before Labor Day with an aide, and later wrote an opinion piece in the New York Times urging her release.
The visitor list also includes people who might be key sources for a reporter who covered terrorism and weapons of mass destruction: Richard Clarke, former White House terrorism adviser under Clinton and Bush and his former aides, Roger Cressey, and Lisa Gordon-Haggerty.
Miller also hosted Charles Duelfer, who concluded in 2005 that Iraq had no weapons of mass destruction but uncovered bribes in the United Nations' oil-for-food program. Even a former secretary of the navy, Richard Danzig, who now works as a bioterrorism consultant to the Pentagon, came through.
Bolton's visit raised some eyebrows in Washington. A vocal defender of administration claims in 2003 that Iraq was seeking weapons of mass destruction, he could have had access to a State Department memo, parts of which were classified, that detailed Wilson's trip to Niger to determine whether Iraq was seeking uranium there and identified his wife as a covert CIA operative. Who saw or discussed the memo has been a central question for Fitzgerald.
Bolton declined through a spokesman to discuss his visit to Miller or his reasons for going. "This has nothing to do with his job here," the spokesman said. "He doesn't want to talk about it."
Times officials have been mainstays on the visitor list, including chairman of the New York Times company Arthur Sulzberger Jr., columnist William Safire, Editor Bill Keller, and Managing Editor Jill Abramson.
But friends say the volume of visits does not make up for Miller being largely cut off from the world. Out of respect for her fellow inmates, mostly Spanish-speaking women more interested in entertainment than news, Miller does not push to watch CNN on the shared television.
"This is the toughest aspect of this for a woman who makes her living engaging the world -- to be taken away from the world," Chesler said.