This Just In...

Iraqi Journalist Seized by U.S. Troops

On Sunday, American troops hunting insurgents blasted their way into the home of Ali Fadhil, an Iraqi journalist who won the Foreign Press Association young journalist of the year award two months ago. He was hooded, taken away for questioning, and released hours later.

Dr. Fadhil has been working in recent months on a documentary about claims that tens of millions of dollars of Iraqi funds maintained by American and British authorities have been misused or misappropriated. During their raid of his home, troops took several videotapes related to the project which is being produced by Guardian Films and will be aired on British TV's Channel 4.

Here's an audio clip from Dr. Fadhil describing the raid.

(The Guardian)

The Money Merry-Go-Round

The potential new House Republican leaders, Roy Blunt (Missouri) and John Boehner (Ohio), have their own web of connections to K Street.

Both men's political action committees hired Jim Ellis, who was recently indicted along with former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay. DeLay's PAC gave Blunt's committee a $150,000 donation in 2000, and Blunt's PAC gave $10,000 to DeLay's non-profit foundation that same year. Both lawmakers' PACs have employed Alexander Strategy Group, a Georgetown-based firm whose partners include former Abramoff and DeLay associates.

Blunt served as the Republicans' official liason to K Street, rounding up 200 lobbyist at one meeting to discuss issues with top Republicans including Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist. Boehner met weekly with leading lobbyists to enlist their support and discuss strategy during his four years as House Republican Conference chairman, from 1995 to 1998.

Blunt is close to the tobacco industry; in 2002 he tried to insert language aiding his biggest campaign donor - Philip Morris - into the bill creating the Homeland Security Department. And he later married the company's lobbyist Abigail Perlman.

(Bloomberg News)


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