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Politics : War -- Ignore unavailable to you. Want to Upgrade?

To: alan w who wrote (2940)8/26/2001 8:43:19 AM
From: Andy Thomas  Read Replies (2) | Respond to of 23718
intelesting condit article:

Almost all observers and pundits agree that Thursday night’s interview with Connie Chung on ABC was a public relations disaster for Gary Condit. How could that have happened to a seasoned campaigner who has been in politics for thirty years and had the benefit of expert (and expensive) advice from legal and public relations professionals?

Panelists on both network and cable outlet television shows, from across the political spectrum, seem to have arrived at a consensus explanation. First, they postulate (some from alleged "inside" information), there was a conflict between advice from the lawyers and the PR people and the lawyers prevailed. With this the author can agree.

Secondly, they give us two options. Either Condit’s legal team (headed by lead attorney Abbe Lowell) was grossly incompetent, or Condit ignored their advice and tried to do it "his way." This writer rejects both of those choices.

Abbe Lowell is regarded among his peers in elite Washington legal circles as one of the premiere attorneys at combining legal strategy with PR "spin," one of the reasons he was chosen to defend Bill Clinton at the former president’s Senate impeachment trial.

From Condit’s mechanical and repetitive "non-answers" to some of Chung’s questions, it was obvious he was regurgitating memorized statements from a script. It is reasonable to assume that script was prepared by the legal team, which had advised him not to admit to anything.

Following that advice, Condit appeared to be calling a number of people liars including the D.C. police, Mrs. Levy, Chandra’s aunt, Anne Marie Smith, Joline McKay and Chandra herself. The result may have been a nearly complete destruction of Condit’s credibility in the public’s perception casting doubt on his clear and unequivocal denials of having anything to do with Chandra’s disappearance. That may have been the exact result Condit’s legal team desired.

In the author’s article of August 18th entitled "Levy/Condit – Amazing Coincidences" the following statement was made, "This writer does not believe that Condit and his staff requested these lawyers. They were most likely assigned there as a team with a containment strategy to ensure that no mention is made of the CIA/drug and OKC bombing (Timothy McVeigh) subjects in connection with Chandra Levy’s disappearance."

That statement was prompted by the author’s belief that Chandra’s disappearance likely has nothing to do with her affair with the congressman but with "dangerous knowledge" she acquired on her intern job at the Bureau of Prisons.

For this writer, that theory was given added credence with the presence of attorney Beth Wilkinson on the Condit legal team. Wilkinson was involved with the prosecution in both the Noreiga (CIA/drug connection) and Timothy McVeigh (OKC bombing) trials. Her apparent assignment was to keep any reference to government involvement in both subjects out of the public record, at which she was eminently successful. (See the aforementioned article for particulars.)

Chandra Levy was no ordinary intern as developed by this writer in a series of articles. (See list of related articles below available on request to By education, training, temperament and resulting from her duties at the Bureau of Prisons, she was in a position to have gained knowledge on one or both of these subjects that made her dangerous to powerful people resulting in her abduction and presumed death.

In this writer’s opinion, Condit’s political career was already irretrievable before the Chung interview, which may explain why Condit went along with such an obvious trashing of his credibility. On the other hand, he may have been made an offer he "couldn’t refuse," either join in the misdirection of public attention or join Chandra.

The day after the ABC interview, Democrat support for Condit started to crumble beginning with the statement of the House Minority leader made Friday morning. That was followed by criticism from Democrat Rep. Cooley from Condit’s neighboring district in California. The minority leader implied that Condit would be removed from his sensitive position on the House Permanent Select House Committee on Intelligence. Expect calls for his resignation from congress to increase from both sides of the aisle.

So what is the likely result of the Condit interviews on TV and in magazines? As counter-attacks are mounted by those maligned by Condit in the interviews, his credibility will sink to even lower depths. The public will suspect (without any evidence) that he was somehow involved in Chandra’s disappearance. A search for such evidence (which may not exist) will divert the public’s attention from what this writer believes should be the focus of investigation. That is Chandra’s contacts and activities at the Bureau of Prisons.

Chandra was involved in making arrangements for journalists covering the execution of Timothy McVeigh. To this writer’s knowledge, none of those journalists have been interviewed by authorities.

Chandra had applied for a permanent full-time job at the FBI before she was unceremoniously fired from her intern job. What was the status of that application at the time of her disappearance? Who did she list as references on her application and who, if anyone gave her letters of recommendation to supply with the application?

What is the real reason for Chandra’s early release from her internship? There is some dissembling going on in the Bureau on that question.

There is little reason to believe the FBI will pursue this avenue with any vigor, particularly in view of the person in charge who also headed the "investigation" of Vince Foster’s mysterious death and labeled it a suicide.

Unfortunately (in the absence of new and startling evidence) the likely ending to the tragedy of Chandra Levy will be a gradually fading from the news until the next sensational scandal hits the headlines when it will then join the ranks of other unsolved Washington mysteries.

Related Articles (in chronological order)

Condit’s Rock and a Hard Place

Condit: The Circling of the Wagons

Chandra’s Dangerous Knowledge

Chandra: Unraveling Government Cover-ups?

Levy/Condit – Amazing coincidences

Permission is granted to reproduce this article in its entirety.

The author is a free lance writer based in Romulus, Michigan. He is a former newspaper editor and investigative reporter, a retired customs administrator and accountant, and a student of history and the U.S. Constitution.

If you would like to receive Medium Rare articles directly, please contact us at

Although not necessary, we would appreciate an indication of the city and/or state or country (If outside the USA) in which you are located to give us an idea as to where our articles are being received.

To: alan w who wrote (2940)8/29/2001 12:49:53 PM
From: GUSTAVE JAEGER  Respond to of 23718
Just a whiff of Neo-Fascist Europe....

Born in France, Reared in France, but Not 'French' / Questions of colour

June 11th 2000, Charles Trueheart, Washington Post Foreign Service

-- It was always Ferid Gourar's dream to become a police officer. Now he's training at the French police academy here and is only a few months away from wearing a uniform. His immigrant parents back home on the outskirts of Nice are thrilled. But not all of his friends approve.

"They don't like the police. They've had troubles with the police. Some are just jealous," said Gourar, 24. "But to me as a North African, as a foreigner in France, this means I can have a job like any other French person. And it means France has a police force that represents everyone--black, blanc, beur." That is, black, white and the common shorthand here for North African.

Gourar was born in France. He holds French citizenship, speaks unaccented French and is about to become an official agent of the French state. But still, he calls himself a "foreigner."

To many French people, he is.

Throughout the 20th century, France was a magnet for immigrants. Generations of Spaniards, Poles, Italians and Portuguese flocked here in search of once abundant jobs and have long since been absorbed, culturally and economically, into French society.

But for people of color, who make up 10 to 15 percent of France's 60 million people, the path to Frenchness has been more problematic. Many of them feel like exceptions to France's professed commitment to human and individual rights, its cosmopolitan openness and its belief in egalitarianism and the power of the state to eliminate social inequality.

Racial discrimination, even racism itself, remains a persistent fact of life in France--and the French themselves admit it under the anonymity of a pollster's survey. According to a Louis Harris opinion poll released in March, only 29 percent of those surveyed declared themselves "not racist." More than 6 in 10 said there were too many people of "foreign origin" in France, and they were specific about it: 63 percent said there were too many Arabs, and 38 percent said there were too many blacks.

An estimated 4 million to 5 million black people live in France, most of whom trace their roots, if not their birthplaces, to former French colonies in Africa and the West Indies. The number of Muslims is between 5 million and 6 million, the vast majority of them from what is called the Maghreb--the three North African nations of Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia.

Such numbers are only educated guesses. Unlike the United States, which asks residents about their race and ethnicity at each census, counting by race is illegal under France's strict color-blind policies.

It is not just counting that the French object to. What Americans call affirmative action, the French reject as "positive discrimination," and they resist other deliberate efforts to propel disadvantaged minorities up the socioeconomic ladder. The French often cite the divisions created by busing and race-based gerrymandering in the United States as reasons to avoid such social experiments.

Such efforts, many French say, run against the traditions of the centralized French state and violate the melting-pot ideal that many Americans have abandoned. List-keeping, or ethnic branding, still carries the waft of France's ugliest modern period, Vichy, when French authorities under Nazi occupation assisted zealously in the identification and deportation of more than 70,000 French Jews who were made to wear Stars of David sewn to their clothing.

By adhering strictly to its color-blind policies, France has not violated its national creed of egalitarianism. But another consequence is that "France is 30 years behind the United States" in its efforts to become the multicultural, integrated, tolerant society that it claims to be, said prize-winning author Calixthe Beyala, an African immigrant who is known for her uncompromising views on institutionalized French racism and is active in the uphill fight here to promote affirmative action.

The government is showing new signs that it is determined to help root out racism; this month it opened its first anti-discrimination hot line to field complaints about hiring bias. But simultaneously, there are clear indications of how far France has to go: The French Senate last month blocked government legislation to give tax-paying immigrants the vote in municipal elections--a right that citizens of other European Union countries who live here enjoy automatically.

The distance France has to travel is visible. Garbage collectors, street cleaners and dishwashers come in all colors--but not usually white. Move up the economic scale, and the number of black and brown faces drops significantly.

There are few non-Caucasian workers visible in hotels, banks, restaurants or department stores frequented by mostly white clienteles. A retired Air France flight attendant, who is white, said few black or brown-skinned hostesses ever flew with her--and she said, matter-of-factly, that that had to do with their looks not being in conformity with the airline's appearance standards.

Among corporate executives, business leaders and government officials, a black or a brown face is still a novelty. A non-European diplomat said he has never met anyone at any level at the Quai d'Orsay, the French Foreign Affairs Ministry, who is not white.

Of France's 577 National Assembly members, there is only one nonwhite--a black man from a Brittany district--who does not represent one of France's overwhelmingly black overseas territories.

A French insurance company investment manager who has worked in the Paris financial world for 30 years has to think hard to come up with someone in his profession who isn't white--not, he added with conviction, that his line of work is closed to a black or a beur with the right qualifications.

Abdelwahed Ben Hamida, a Tunisian-born professor of engineering at the University of Paris, is philosophical about such bias.

"I am French on paper. I try to be in my daily life too," he said. "But I can't feel exclusively French. . . . And I know the regard of many French people will be that I am Tunisian whatever I accomplish."

Ben Hamida, like many people from North Africa here, is not a practicing Muslim, but Islam is at least the nominal religion of most of the beurs in France. Islam is now
the second-largest religion in traditionally Catholic France, and its growth has posed an acute challenge to the French profession of religious tolerance.

Terrorist bombings in France linked to Algerian Muslim extremists traumatized France in the mid-1990s, and in the discourse on prejudice, the attacks often are equated with the practice of Islam itself.

The vast majority of France's Muslims have their roots in Algeria, which became part of France in 1830 and then home to white French settlers. From 1954 to 1962, France fought a bitter, costly war against pro-independence Algerian guerrillas that cost more than 15,000 French lives--and as many as a million Algerian ones.

France lost the war and was forced out of the country. A million long-established white settlers had to return to France, bringing with them a sense of betrayal and recrimination that continues to infect attitudes today. "The old ghosts are still around," said Michel Ponsard-Chareyne, a police school official.

The reception of black immigrants from other parts of Africa or the West Indies, where France had colonial empires, has been less chilly. Because France separated from its
black colonies peaceably, and in some economic and strategic respects has never let go, the baggage of history is somewhat lighter for these blacks.

But only somewhat. Dominique Tchimbakala, 23, who grew up in the Congo Republic, a former French colony, is studying in Nantes for a career in the media. Once, she
called a hotel manager about a front-desk position that needed to be filled quickly. He sounded thrilled by her personal qualities over the telephone, as well as her
qualifications and her availability to start immediately.

When she arrived for the interview an hour later, she said, she could tell right away the deal was off. "He looked embarrassed," Tchimbakala said. "He said he'd keep my
resume on file, that it wasn't his decision, et cetera, et cetera."

Lots of upwardly mobile young people, like Tchimbakala, reject the syndrome of victimization they see in some of their friends.

"They go for interviews. They get the door slammed in their face. They say, 'It's because I'm Arab.' I tell them, 'You know, a job doesn't fall from the sky. You have to
show what you're worth,' " Gourar said.

One of his fellow trainees, Nora Boussaidi, said she was determined to prove to her friends that "it's not because I'm called Boussaidi that I won't make it."

The government, however, is beginning to show an interest in promoting diversity, and the police academies are one example.

Interior Minister Jean-Pierre Chevenement is spearheading an initiative that seeks to diversify France's national police force by working with certain schools to identify
promising candidates, give them some pre-training and then steer them toward the strictly meritocratic police entrance examinations. Chevenement proudly cites the fact
that the top-ranked police academy graduate last year was of North African extraction.

Recruiting by ethnicity "is against the law of the Republic," said Georges Guillermou, a police training official in Marseille. "What we're doing is not exactly positive
discrimination. . . . We're just trying to offer conditions to those who wouldn't succeed without them."

This is not an ethnically or racially based program, police officials repeated in interviews, but an effort to attract trainees from "sensitive neighborhoods," "disadvantaged
neighborhoods" or "hot neighborhoods"--French euphemisms for the bleak housing projects that ring Paris and other major cities and whose residents are
disproportionately nonwhite, disproportionately unemployed and increasingly hostile toward the state.

The police academy in northern Marseille is located in such a neighborhood. One of the duties of the trainees here is to patrol the street outside the academy where they park
their cars. Without a policeman every 30 paces, one trainee said, the vehicles would be broken into and trashed in no time.

Such criminality, experts on ethnicity and immigration in France say, is not racially grounded but rather a manifestation of the rage that has grown over the years in the
housing projects--"quasi-insurrections, gratuitous destruction of property--not for money, not for fun, just to strike out against the state," police school official
Ponsard-Chareyne said. The hardships of life in the projects, the experts said, erase distinctions of color and build a class solidarity that transcends origins and has resulted in a racial integration of a sort, though not the kind idealized by the French.

For every generation of immigrants in France, as elsewhere, time is supposed to heal--time measured not in years but in decades or generations. "If I didn't have hope for my children," said Ben Hamida, "I'd pack up and take them somewhere else."

And after that, Goldsnow's gonna bore the pants off us with... soccer star Zidane! Give us a break!!