The Envoy
  • Former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld recently had positive words for Al Jazeera, the Qatar-based 24/7 cable television channel now widely recognized for the immediacy of its in-depth reporting on this past year's Arab spring uprisings. But back in the aftermath of the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq, Al Jazeera's critical reporting on the war and Iraq's subsequent descent into bloody insurgency was a major source of ire for the Rumsfeld Pentagon.

    Al Jazeera's coverage of Iraq was "vicious, inaccurate and inexcusable," Rumsfeld charged in 2004.

    Rumsfeld, who left the Pentagon chief job in 2006 and is now promoting a memoir, Known and Unknown, showed few signs that he's mellowed over time, in this bristly and combative interview with Al Jazeera Washington bureau chief Abderahhim Foukara Tuesday:

    Rumsfeld's patience quickly frayed as Foukara asked him whether he did not adequately prepare for the Iraq post-war. In particular, Foukara asked if the ensuing civil war would have claimed as many Iraqi lives if Rumsfeld had listened to Pentagon officials who said that the United States would need a much larger military force to stabilize post-Saddam Hussein Iraq.

    Read More »from Rumsfeld vs. Al Jazeera, the post-post Iraq war edition
  • John Demjanjuk. (Lukas Barth/AFP/Getty Images)German prosecutors have opened investigations into hundreds of former Nazi concentration camp guards, the youngest of whom is now in his 80s, the Associated Press reports. The reopened investigations follow the successful prosecution of John Demjanjuk, the retired American auto worker convicted last May by a Munich court on 28,060 counts of accessory to murder for his tenure as a guard at the Sobibor death camp in Poland in 1943.

    Demjanjuk, 91, was sentenced to five years prison, but has appealed his conviction; he currently remains free in southern Germany while awaiting the decision of the appeals court. But German prosecutors believe that his conviction, if it stands, could make way for the establishment of a new legal precedent. They believe Demjajuk's conviction will permit them to prosecute other former Nazi death camp guards on accessory-to-murder charges, rather than specific murder charges based on their tenures at the camps.

    Deported from the United States to Germany in 2009, Demjanjuk, 91, "was convicted in May of 28,060 counts of accessory to murder for serving as a guard at the Sobibor death camp," following an 18-month trial, the Associated Press report states, nothing that the case marked  "the first time prosecutors were able to convict someone in a Nazi-era case without direct evidence that the suspect participated in a specific killing."

    "In bringing Demjanjuk to trial, Munich prosecutors argued that if they could prove he was a guard at a camp like Sobibor, which had been established for the sole purpose of extermination, it would be enough to convict him of being an accessory to murder," the report continued.

    Read More »from Germany reopens probes of hundreds of suspected former Nazi death camp guards
  • Israeli diplomat Dan Arbell at a 2010 event calling for Gilad Shalit's release. (Shmulik Almany/Israeli embassy)Israel's deputy ambassador in Washington has been dismissed for an alleged leak to the Israeli media, news wires and Israeli newspapers reported Wednesday.

    Dan Arbell, the No. 2 Israeli official in Washington, was recalled from the post by the Israeli foreign ministry, allegedly on suspicion of having served more than two years ago as a corroborating source for a reporter with the Israeli newspaper Haaretz. The story in question was reportedly published in the first half of 2009, and concerned a meeting among American and Israeli officials on the subject of Iran.

    Israeli journalists decried the development, criticizing what they called a "witch hunt." Israeli diplomats also expressed support for Arbell.

    "Senior Foreign Ministry officials said Arbell's dismissal is the latest episode in a witch hunt that began two years ago and has escalated since [Rafael] Barak took over as director general, targeting anyone suspected of holding contacts with journalists," Haaretz reported Wednesday. "The officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Barak has endeavored to insulate the ministry from the media and to exclude many high-ranking figures in the ministry from official activities."

    "Regime of Fear," wrote Maariv's Ben Caspit in a column lambasting Israel's General Security Services for going after a well-regarded Israeli diplomat for allegedly admitting to serving as a corroborating source to an Israeli journalist.

    Read More »from Israel’s No. 2 official in Washington recalled in leak probe


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