This was not a particularly dense news day, meaning I find little interesting out there to choose from and to report on. But at least Dutch readers can catch up with the latest developments in both the Chalabi and the Valerie Plame cases in this comprehensive summary article by the NRC Handelsblad’s US correspondent Marc Chavannes. (For those needing help, Valerie Plame is the wife of former Ambassador Joseph Wilson, who was revealed last July in a newspaper column by Robert Novak to be an undercover CIA agent. That’s against the law; Novak said his information came from administration officials. Probably not-so-coincidentally, Ambassador Wilson had embarrassed the Bush administration by pointing out that allegations that Saddam Hussein had tried to obtain uranium from Niger – an alleged event he had personally investigated – were false.) Chavannes even has the awareness to cite, from an analysis in Kevin Drum’s “Washington Monthly” weblog, the blatant illogic in President Bush’s recent statements about Ahmed Chalabi – i.e. that he didn’t have much to do with him, he was merely Laura Bush’s guest at the last State of the Union address – in light of the President’s earlier statement on Meet the Press that he had met with Chalabi in the Oval Office.
So much for this, that. Where’s the beef? Hey, we always have the option of taking up another country from Politikens’s “Europa XL” series of cultural portraits. Let’s go for Italy this time, analyzed by writer Stefano Benni; he does quite a good job indeed. (more…)