default.html Issue 111
Table of Contents

The Stakes in the Search for Weapons of Mass Destruction

by David MacMichael and Ray McGovern
Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity
While the odds of such planting seem less than even, speculation on the possibility drove us down memory lane. Likely or not in present circumstances, there is ample precedent for such covert action operations

The War For Iraq's Water

by Leah C. Wells Of all the reasons for invading Iraq, securing water rights was never mentioned because it implicates too many countries with volatile connections to Iraq, like Syria, Jordan, Turkey and Israel. Protest signs read, "No Blood For Oil," as American corporations salivated in line for the opportunity to win contracts to rebuild the ravaged infrastructure. Why did no anti-war protesters carry signs saying, "No War for Water?" They should have

After The Kurds, The War For Balochi Rights

by Sanjay Suri As the Kurds spoke of years of suppression under the Saddam Hussein regime, Baloch leaders now speak of years of oppression and denial of rights under the regime in Iran. The Kurds are mostly Shia Muslims who were oppressed by a Sunni-led regime under Saddam. The Balochis are mostly Sunni Muslims facing denial or rights under the Shia regime of Iran

Radioactive Material Looted From Iraq Nuke Facilities

by Jalal Ghazi Arab media are reporting widespread contamination near Baghdad after U.S. Marines broke seals on containers holding radioactive materials in a nuclear research plant. The containers were later looted by Iraqis and are being used for domestic purposes

U.S. Strikes Truce With Major Terrorist Group

by William O. Beeman The U.S. Central Command's recent truce with a militant anti-Iranian organization that the U.S. government has dubbed a terrorist organization since 1985 could be a costly mistake and end up making the world leader in the war against terrorism a de facto sponsor of terrorism

Bush Strongarms Mexico For Share Of Oil

by Christopher Brauchli Congress thinks that U.S. oil companies should be able to own part of Mexico. That is not to suggest an invasion. It simply wants to buy part of Mexico. The trouble is that the part of Mexico the Congress wants to buy isn't for sale. The part of Mexico referred to is Pemex, the state owned oil company

Arafat Or Abbas: Who's In Charge?

by Ferry Biedermann There is a particular sense of "frustration" this time on the Palestinian side, says the commander. The Palestinians feel that they have done everything in their power to make the road map succeed. They implemented some of its provisions even before the plan was formally represented. He refers to the appointment of a Prime Minister and the accompanying political reforms

Three States Aim to Outlaw Eco-Protests

A bill pending in the Texas state legislature that outlines penalties against criminal behavior by animal rights protestors has critics concerned that it would outlaw all environmental advocacy. Similar bills are pending in New York and Pennsylvania

Poll: Public Gave Bush His Shot On Iraq, But Not A Blank Check

by Jim Lobe If the unilateralist hawks in the Bush administration were hoping that the still-shaky military victory in Iraq would bring the U.S. public closer to their views, they are likely to be very disappointed by the the most comprehensive poll to date. It shows that much of the public appears to be more in tune with the views of "Old Europe" -- a moniker applied by Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld to describe the West European countries that opposed Washington's rush to attack Iraq -- than with those of the neo-conservatives around Rumsfeld

Iraqi Militias Vie For Control Of Mosul

by Ferry Biedermann Jobouri and his militia have established a 'field committee' to run Mosul. He says he derives his mandate partly from the large Sunni Al Jobouri tribe, which has a prominent presence around the city. More importantly, he says, he was appointed field commander at a gathering of Iraqi opposition parties at meetings in London and then in Iraq

Neo-Conservatives Target War With Iran

by Jim Lobe With officials in Washington talking darkly about "Iranian agents" crossing the border into Iraq to foment trouble, a leading neo-conservative Monday said the United States is already in a "death struggle" with Teheran and urged the administration to "take the fight to Iran," through "covert operations," among other measures

Mideast Peace "Road Map" Puts Bush In Collision With Neocons

by Jim Lobe Several senior Bush officials and advisers -- the same hawks around Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and Vice President Dick Cheney who led the charge for war against Iraq -- are known to sympathize strongly with Sharon's views about the road map, as well as his hopes of retaining at least one-half of the West Bank in any eventual settlement

Ashcroft Moves To End Victims' Rights Law

by Jim Lobe In a move that has provoked outrage from human rights groups here, Attorney General John Ashcroft has asked a federal appeals court to effectively nullify a 214-year-old law that has provided foreign victims of serious abuses access to U.S. courts for redress

Terry Nichols Charged With 160 Murders

by Vesna Peric Zimonjic The man already serving a federal life term for conspiracy in the Oklahoma City federal building bombing was held over for state court trial Tuesday on 160 counts of first-degree murder

Saudi Arabia Bombing Probably Not Al Qaeda

by William O. Beeman The brutal bombings in Riyadh that killed at least 30 people were far from random, irrational acts directed primarily at Americans. Their target -- a U.S.-based company that trains the Saudi National Guard –- suggest local, anti-monarchist motivations and attackers who may have little or no connection to Osama bin Laden

Saudi Blasts Spell More Unrest, Violence Ahead

by N Janardhan Messages over the past months by al-Qaeda members indicate that they plan to focus on U.S. targets in the Gulf rather than export activities and that apart from targeting U.S. and installations, it is also targeting countries in the region. The attacks also indicate the opening up of another front in al-Qaeda's ideological battle -- challenging the Saudi royals, apart from adding fuel to a latent leadership discord between two factions of the nearly 10,000 princes

Israel Builds Wall To Keep Palestinians From Water

by Ana Ruth Jerozolimski Begun in 2002, the wall is an extensive barrier made of brick and electrified wire, supplemented with patrol routes, ostensibly intended to ensure greater security for Israel from attacks by radical Palestinian groups. But Palestinian sources say the wall is much more than that. The best farmland and water sources are on the Israeli side of the wall, they say, which in its first phase is being constructed in the northern part of the West Bank

Ariel Sharon Cracks Down On Israeli Arabs

by Ferry Biedermann Israel is worried about the effect of the Palestinian intifada on its own Arab population. The number of Arab Israelis involved in attacks has increased sharply since the outbreak of the uprising in the territories. For years the Israeli authorities actually encouraged the rise of the Islamic Movement as a counter to Communists who dominated the Arab community. This attempt seems to have backfired

Water Demands Draining U.S. Rivers, Report Says

by J.R. Pegg The United States uses more water per person than any other country with little regard for waste or cost. The U.S. average of 1,300 gallons per day is some 60 times the average for many developing countries, according to the World Water Council, with some 85 percent used for irrigation

Unusual World Economic Forum On Mideast Planned

by Emad Mekay One of the goals of assembling 1,900 political and business leaders is to replace a "period of conflict with the spirit of cooperation." But anti-corporate globalization activists were quick to see the meeting as an attempt to further open doors for Western corporations in the oil-rich region, at a time when the Middle East is going through one of its most unstable periods

Iraq After Saddam: Armed Gangs, Islamist Police, Coalition Torture

by Sanjay Suri The Amnesty findings indicate that from the torture and tyranny practiced by the Saddam regime, people have faced more of the same either from the occupying forces or from the new Shia leaders

American Rule, Not Democracy In Iraq's Future

by Jacob Levich A designer regime, concocted behind closed doors by Pentagon and State Department planners, is now being imposed on Iraq with great speed and without any kind of popular consent. Iraq's nascent "democratic transition government" is window-dressing for a military dictatorship charged with insuring that U.S. policy goals -- especially the disposition of Iraq's vast petroleum reserves -- are protected from any troublesome outbreaks of democracy

Bush's Coalition Of The Tiny Wants Payback

by Ed Holt and Martina Pisarova As the U.S. and Britain divide up the spoils of the war in Iraq, some of the East European countries that backed the assault are looking for a piece of the action

Muslim Fundamentalists, Vatican, Unite to Block UN Vote On Gay Rights

by Gustavo Capdevila A coalition of Islamic nations, with the support of other countries apparently under pressure from the Vatican, blocked approval in the UN Commission on Human Rights this week of a resolution sponsored by Brazil calling for guarantees to protect gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transsexuals

Corporations Blanket Schools With Industry- Friendly Messages

by John F. Borowski In the K-8 module, terms like clear cutting or monoculture are rarely mentioned. How can that be? When its funders are the most notorious clearcutters on earth (Sierra Pacific, Weyerhaeuser and Pacific Lumber) it's not hard to come up with the answer. While there are some good ecological activities, the slickness of the materials and their sheer volume (the K-8 module is more than 400 pages long) can lead teachers to believe that this is the end all to forest education. Here's where large sums of cash (from the very deep pockets of the timber multinationals) have crafted an illusion too good to be true

New Palestinian Leadership May Dim Hopes for Peace

by Ira Chernus If you follow the news casually, you know that there was a big power struggle in the Palestinian leadership last week. Yasser Arafat, a typical power-hungry politico, resisted a challenge from the new prime minister Mahmoud Abbas (aka Abu-Mazen). Arafat's tender ego was bruised, but he finally saw reason and agreed to share power. That's the way our media oversimplified a very complicated story. Egos were involved, no doubt. More importantly, though, it was a struggle between Arafat's somewhat independent stance toward Israel and Abbas' preference for acquiescent compromise

U.S. Not Prepared To Monitor Biotech Crops

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is responsible for regulations that manage the environmental impact of pesticides, including those incorporated into biotech crops, but agricultural interests are not legally bound to meeting the EPA's standards

Bush Hawks Quickly Turn Sights On Iran

by Jim Lobe A high-level, albeit unofficial, dialogue between Washington and Tehran over Iraq, Afghanistan and other issues was abruptly broken off by the U.S. 10 days ago amid charges by Pentagon officials that al-Qaeda agents based in Iran had been involved in the terrorist attacks against U.S. and foreign targets in Saudi Arabia. Teheran strongly denied the charge. Now the administration is considering permanently cutting off the dialogue and adopting a far more confrontational stance vis-a-vis Teheran that could include covert efforts to destabilize the government

Cheney Firm Bribed Nigerian Official

Texas-based Halliburton admitted May 10 that one of its foreign subsidiaries paid $2.4 million in bribes to a Nigerian government official to secure tax breaks

Lying To Justify War Should Matter

by Robert Scheer It is expected that despots can force the blind allegiance of their people to falsehoods. But it is frightening in the extreme when lying matters not at all to a free people. The only plausible explanation is that the tragedy of Sept. 11 so traumatized us that we are no longer capable of the outrage expected of a patently deceived citizenry. The case for connecting Saddam Hussein with that tragedy is increasingly revealed as false, but it seems to matter not to a populace numbed by incessant government propaganda

The Only Law West of the Tigris

by Robert Scheer As of Monday, 17 former members of the Iraqi elite portrayed in the Pentagon's "most wanted" playing cards have surrendered or been captured. Evidently none of them have been willing or able to tell their captors what they want to hear

U.S. Rushes To Punish France For Opposing Iraq War

by Julio Godoy

France is facing U.S. economic, military, and diplomatic sanctions as punishment for its opposition to the war in Iraq

Why Ari Fleischer Should Have Resigned in Protest

by Russell Mokhiber and Robert Weissman

Ari, one of your predecessors, Jerald terHorst, resigned as President Ford's press secretary, he said, as a matter of conscience -- because he couldn't defend President Ford's pardon of President Nixon. Is there anything President Bush has done as President, that made you think, even for a moment, that you would resign as a matter of conscience? Ari Fleischer: No

EPA Head Christie Whitman Quits Bush Cabinet

by J.R. Pegg

"Christie Whitman must feel like her own long national nightmare is finally over," said Philip Clapp, president of the National Environmental Trust. "No EPA administrator has ever been so consistently and publicly humiliated by the White House. She was a loyal soldier for the President for two years, but there is a point when even the most loyal can no longer defend the indefensible"

Bush Stonewall Of 9/11 Investigation Becoming Scandal

by Randolph T. Holhut

Despite the U.S. spending close to a trillion dollars a year on its military, intelligence and law enforcement operations, 19 guys with box cutters managed to simultaneously hijack four airliners and turn those planes into missiles to kill more than 3,000 people. An intelligence and law enforcement failure of this magnitude demands an investigation. But the Bush administration has fought hard against establishing an independent investigation into the event

Enviros Point Out $58 Billion In Budget Cuts

by J.R. Pegg

American taxpayers are spending $58 billion to fund wasteful and environmentally damaging federal programs, charges a new report released May 8 by a coalition of environmental, taxpayer and consumer groups

Who's In Charge Of Iraq Policy?

by Jim Lobe

One day after U.S. President George W. Bush proclaimed victory in the war against Iraq from the flight deck of a homeward-bound aircraft carrier off San Diego, the war between the Pentagon and the State Department seemed to be raging as furiously as ever

No Cheering Over Liberation At Baghdad Hospitals

by Sanjay Suri

Not all the bombings brought so many wounded to the hospital at Al Kindi than the street fighting, doctors said. People heard the gunshots, and the hospitals provided bloody evidence of what the fighting was about

Bush AIDS Promises Misleading, Analysts Say

by Emad Mekay

The Bush administration's loudly trumpeted recent announcements of development aid hikes coupled with more money to fight HIV/AIDS globally do not match budgetary realities and may translate into far smaller increases than anticipated, say two economic think tanks

U.S. Allowing Looted Treasures To Leave Iraq

by Sanjay Suri

At the moment it is only media people who are moving freely in and out of Iraq, says Donny George, Director of the National Museum of Iraq in Baghdad. "But the U.S. control is almost zero, and today anyone can take anything and go out of Iraq," he said. "This is a tragedy. We are appealing to the U.S. forces to stop this bleeding of antiques that is going on"

Bush And The WMD Follies

by Robert Scheer The deadly weapons of mass destruction have proved phantom in Iraq, but the Bush administration is now doing its best to ensure that the world becomes increasingly unstable and armed to the teeth. Faced with the reality that nuclear weapons are useful only for mass international suicide, every U.S. president since World War II has pursued a policy of nuclear arms control. Every administration, that is, until this one

Pentagon Aims Guns at Lynch Reports

by Robert Scheer Calling the column a "tirade," Assistant Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs Victoria Clarke wrote in a letter to The Los Angeles Times that "Scheer's claims are outrageous, patently false and unsupported by the facts." What is particularly sad in all of this is that a wonderfully hopeful story was available to the Pentagon to sell to the eager media

Saving Private Lynch: Take 2

by Robert Scheer The Lynch rescue story -- a made-for-TV bit of official propaganda -- will probably survive as the war's most heroic moment, despite proving as fictitious as the stated rationales for the invasion itself

Bechtel Deal In Iraq Leads Privatization Of U.S. Military

by Pratap Chatterjee Bechtel's travelling trade show illustrates the central role that business has played in the attack and occupation of Iraq by U.S.-led forces, and to what extent the lines between Wall Street and the Pentagon have become blurred

In Cuba, The Return Of The Firing Squad

by Patricia Grogg Cuba applied the death penalty April 11 for the first time in more than two years, executing three men who hijacked a ferry the previous week to try to reach the United States

Bush Wants Aggressive Nuke Program

by J.R. Pegg As U.S. officials struggle to deal with North Korea and its renegade nuclear program, the Senate Armed Services Committee is set to consider a Bush administration proposal to research new nuclear weapons and to reduce the preparation time for underground testing from three years to 18 months

Arab World Believes U.S. Had Deal With Iraq Army

by Randolph T. Holhut In the days after the fall of Baghdad, reports started bubbling up that there was a reason why the U.S. won Gulf War II so easily: the fight was fixed

Turkey Backs Off From N Iraq Kurd Blockade

by Nadire Mater Kurds in northern Iraq did cross that "Red Line" when they took control of oil-rich Mosul and Kirkuk in early April. But Turkish Kurds, particularly the renamed leftist Kurdish guerrillas, have distanced themselves from the Kurdish leadership in Iraq. The Turkish government has done no more than send a dozen observers into northern Iraq, instead of an army

"Saddam Spotting" Grips Arab World

by Cam McGrath Ň "Isn't it strange how after April 7 we start seeing Saddam in public?" says Mohammed. "That's how I knew (the real) Saddam had finally left the country. The Americans are chasing his double"

Occidental Oil Sued For 1998 Bombing

by Jim Lobeć The incident took place Dec. 13, 1998 during a battle between leftist rebels hiding in a nearby jungle and Colombian army troops. During the firing, a Colombian Air Combat helicopter dropped a U.S.-made cluster bomb on the town, according to the Colombian inspector general's office, which concluded that the pilots should have known that they would hit civilians rather than rebels. Members of the helicopter crew later testified in Colombia that the operation was planned at Occidental's regional headquarters, where the helicopter was also fuelled

Tobacco Firms Likely To Blunt World Pact On Restrictions

by Bob Burton On the eve of the ratification of a global convention on tobacco control in Geneva, anti-tobacco activists in the Asia-Pacific are already looking beyond that to what they say will be tobacco manufacturers' attempts to blunt the implementation of that accord

British Minister Quits: Bush, Blair Broke Iraq Promises

by Sanjay Suri Clare Short, who had threatened to resign during the build-up to the war was persuaded to stay on after she was promised that the British government would support a central role for the UN, and that she would have a strong role to play in the rebuilding process on behalf of the British government. The government has not kept its promises, she said

U.S. Depleted Uranium Ammo Will Kill Iraqis -- And War Vets -- For Years

by Chalmers Johnson Predictions of a new era of painless, precision warfare neglect disturbing new data on the true number of casualties from the first Gulf War with depleted uranium munitions and their potentially devastating impact on civilians and troops in Iraq and Kosovo

Like Ancient Rome, America Shifts From Republic To Empire

by Franz Schurmann The U.S. victory in Iraq signals the transformation of the American republic into an empire. This development shows many similarities to the emergence of the Augustan empire of Ancient Rome -- from the changes in the exercise of executive power to the role of the military

Great Fish Going the Way of the Dinosaurs

Ninety percent of all large fish in the world's oceans are gone, and just 10 percent remain after commercial fishing vessels have taken their toll over the past 50 years, according to a long term study

Bush Wages Legal Battle Against Environmental Law

by J.R. Pegg A new study shows that the Bush administration has repeatedly used the federal courts to try and undermine the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), a law environmentalists describe as the "Magna Carta" of U.S. environmental policy.

Vieques Rejoices As U.S. Navy Pulls Out

by Lisa Vives Seven miles away by boat on the main island of Puerto Rico, the sprawling Navy base that once served as headquarters for Vieques training and was one of the island’s largest employers, is shrinking dramatically -- if not disappearing altogether

U.S. Deporting Religious Refugees Back To Iran

by Sandip Roy The editor of a Persian-English bilingual monthly in San Jose, Ca. enjoyed a captive audience of Iranians detained by the Department of Homeland Security -- until one week in March when they suddenly began to disappear

Russia Starts To Rebuild Armed Forces

by Sergei Blagov Russian President Vladimir Putin has announced plans to reorganize the armed forces to face new security threats since the Iraq war

Bush Won UN Approval Via "Bribes And Threats," Groups Say

by Thalif Deen A coalition of more than 150 peace groups and global non-governmental organizations (NGOs) has lashed out at the UN Security Council for adopting a resolution that virtually legitimizes the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq and endorses the occupation of a UN member state

Bush Seeks Full Control Over Iraq Oil Fields

by Thalif Deen The United States has refused to spell out any significant UN role in Iraq for the simple reason it does not want the United Nations for any of the three key tasks in post-war Iraq: reconstruction, peacekeeping and civil administration. Washington has also drawn angry reactions from Iraq's debtors, including Russia and France, who, under the proposed changes, would not be able to recover billions owed them -- mostly for military purchases -- from Iraqi oil revenues

Bush Undermines Clean Air Act, Claims Environmental Victory

by Katherine Stapp The Bush administration is touting a landmark settlement with a polluting utility as evidence of its commitment to enforce a public health law, but critics say that his own Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is trying to gut the measure

Russian Dreams Of Oil Empire Fades With Iraq Fall

by Sergei Blagov Strong differences have surfaced between the U.S. and Russia over Iraqi oil. U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell failed to convince Putin this week to support proposals to lift the United Nations sanctions against Iraq. Russia has been reluctant to give the U.S. powers to sell oil and spend the revenue from it without international supervision. Russian and U.S. oil firms are also heading towards conflict. Robert Ebel, a top U.S. energy expert said last month that Russian companies had little hope of going ahead with contracts signed with the previous regime in Iraq

Cheney Hires China Hawk For Major Asia Post

by Jim Lobe China specialist and Princeton University professor Aaron Friedberg has been named deputy national security adviser and director of policy planning on Cheney's high-powered, foreign-policy staff headed by I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, one of the most influential foreign-policy strategists in the administration. Both Friedberg and Libby, as well as Cheney, Pentagon chief Donald Rumsfeld and 21 other prominent right-wingers, signed the 1997 founding charter of the Project for the New American Century (PNAC), which called for the adoption of a "'Reaganite' policy of military strength and moral clarity"

Colin Powell's Job Gets Harder And Harder

by Jim Lobe Powell thought he had made some major inroads in the last few weeks, particularly in Iraq where the hawks' designated overseer, former Gen. Jay Garner, apparently proved unequal to the task and was replaced. But the hawks exacted their price -- the ouster of the State Department's top official in Baghdad, Ambassador Barbara Bodine, whose complaints about the military's failure to establish order on the capital's streets were a little too blunt for the U.S. Central Command

It Always Begins With A Single Act Of Courageous Disobedience

by Ira Chernus Charmaine Means certainly mattered to her superiors in the U.S. Army. She must be a good officer. She was promoted to major and assigned the tricky task of public relations in the sensitive city of Mosul, in northern Iraq. When she was given an order that she could not in conscience obey, she did what all good officers do. She chose to follow in Gandhi's footsteps. She refused to obey

SARS Generates Fear Of Animals In China

by Antoaneta Bezlova The latest casualties in the continued panic over SARS in China range from pampered pets that have been beaten to death or abandoned for fear of carrying the virus, to animosity toward southern Chinese who feast on exotic animals

Taiwan - China Clash Over Treatment Of SARS

by Antoaneta Bezlova The mass resignation of nurses and doctors fighting the SARS outbreak in Taiwan presents a striking contrast to the picture that China is presenting in Beijing's own battle to contain the epidemic

China Clamps Down On SARS Hysteria

by Antoaneta Bezlova Authorities have detained 107 people for spreading rumors about the situation around the Severe Acute Respiratory Situation (SARS) over the Internet and through mobile text messaging -- a sign that authorities are worried about social stability in a city that is fighting an uphill battle to contain the illness

Anti-Abortion Zealots Hate Solution that Will Cut Abortions

by Karyn Strickler If anti-abortion advocates are serious about reducing the number of abortions, I call upon them to help create common ground in women's reproductive health. Currently access to emergency contraception is severely limited partly because women can only obtain them in most states with a doctor's prescription

Israel's View Of Road Map Leads To Dead End

by Marty Jezer Decisive when it comes to war, Bush seems to have little interest in expending political capital in waging peace. His position on Israel is driven by domestic opportunism. Israel has become a wedge issue, like homosexuality and abortion. By giving Sharon a blank check, Bush hopes to wrest the traditionally-liberal Jewish vote away from the Democrats. He could be successful

From Jail, Dialing Strangers For Help

by Sandip Roy The post-911 sweeps by the Immigration and Naturalization Service for visa violators have snared many unlikely suspects of the U.S. war on terror, none more so than Kourosh Gholamshah, 35, an Iranian who came here seeking asylum as a member of the Baha'i faith. His random efforts to dial out of jail for help have kept his faith in America intact

The Revivial Of McCarthyism

by Marty Jezer We see a revival of McCarthyism today in the Patriot Act that blurs the distinction between terrorism and dissent and undermines individual rights and protections. While Congress is not formally investigating the anti-war movement, its right-wing leaders are deliberately creating a political climate in which criticism of the administration is construed as un-American and unpatriotic

Bush To Europe: Accept U.S. Biotech Crops Or Else

by J.R. Pegg "The Bush administration is catering to the interests of major biotech corporations rather than human health," said Brent Blackwelder, president of Friends of the Earth. "They have been reduced to using the secretive and undemocratic procedures of the WTO to try to force people into accepting food they do not want"

FCC Commissioners Accepted Payola

by Molly Ivins The Public Integrity people examined the travel records of FCC employees and found that they have accepted 2,500 trips, costing nearly $2.8 million over the past eight years, paid for by the telecommunications and broadcast industries, which are, theoretically, "regulated" by the FCC. The industry-paid travel is on top of about $2 million a year in official travel paid for by taxpayers

The Texas Legislature Train Wreck

by Molly Ivins Let's be very clear about this: People who want to privatize prisons and schools and social services are in it for the money. The real questions of government are always: Who benefits, and who pays? And the answer given this session with jaw-dropping regularity is private corporations profit, while people pay the price in worse services

Why Are Repubs Happy About Iraq?

by Molly Ivins I hate to be picky, picky, picky, but there are still no weapons of mass destruction. In fact, we've apparently even stopped looking for them. Since Iraq never had anything to do with Al Qaeda or Sept. 11 -- despite American public opinion on this issue -- it was certainly no surprise to see Al Qaeda back again, with strikes in both Saudi Arabia and Morocco

Texas Bipartisanship Takes A Licking

by Molly Ivins I have seen maps that are works of art. I have seen districts that look like giant chickens and districts that look like coiled snakes. But this map is a masterpiece, a veritable Dadaist work reminiscent of Salvador Dali's more lunatic productions

Texas Repubs Take Meanness To New Level

by Molly Ivins The creepy thing about the far-right Republicans, who are definitely in the majority in the House, is not that they are dismantling government because they won't raise taxes, they're dismantling government because they think it shouldn't help people

Note To White House: Lies Count

by Molly Ivins Look, if there are no WMDs in Iraq, it means either our government lied us to us in order to get us into an unnecessary war or the government itself was disastrously misinformed by an incompetent intelligence apparatus. In either case, it's a terribly serious situation

Texas House Cuts Services, Jobs, Meds For Disturbed Criminals

by Molly Ivins The ugliest fight of the session, which naturally had nothing to do with the $10 billion deficit, was over tort deform, yet again. As you recall, the state has already been through two major rounds of tort deform, and each time we are promised that if we will just give up even more of the right to sue doctors and corporations that have done us terrible damage, insurance rates will fall, "frivolous" lawsuits will disappear, our teeth will be whiter, our breath fresher, and there will be sunshine and joy in Mudville. Every time, they promise us the world, and every time it doesn't work -- because we never regulate the insurance companies. So they come back and do it again

Those Missing Weapons Of Mass Destruction

by Molly Ivins If there are no WMDs, I would seriously advise this administration NOT to try to spin its way out of the problem. Bad idea. Will not fly. There's plenty of evidence that we believed in the WMDs -- took along chemical suits, antidotes, etc. So if there are no WMDs, it's time for a blame-game witchhunt. I really hate those things, but someone needs to go around roaring, "WHOSE FAULT WAS THIS?!" It's a splendid opportunity to fire half the CIA, which has needed to be done for years anyway

Spin Control Is Serious Business

by Norman Solomon As Fleischer has shown, masterful machinations from podiums win so much reverential coverage that the exceptional hard-hitting news reports get lost in the spin-control cycle. Overachievers in the political field of "perception management" have combined tragedy and farce into an ongoing single entity of governance

U.S. Media Became PR Machine In Iraq War

by Norman Solomon Why do most Americans seem at least somewhat positive about Bush, while the figures indicating a "favorable view of the U.S." are low in one country after another -- only 48 percent in Britain, 31 percent in France, 28 percent in Russia, 25 percent in Germany, 14 percent in Spain and 12 percent in Turkey? In large measure, the answer can be summed up with one word: media

A Different Approach For The 2004 Campaign

by Norman Solomon Too often, "supporting" a candidate means lying about the candidate. Flaws rapidly disappear; virtues suddenly appear. Replicated at the grassroots, some kind of PR alchemy transforms longtime opportunists into profiles in courage and timeworn corporate flacks into champions of the common people

Decoding The Media Fixation On Terrorism

by Norman Solomon Bush has become fond of denouncing "killers" and "terrorists." He likes to use those words righteously and interchangeably. But they could be applied to him and other top officials in Washington. We may prefer not to think so, but such a harsh assessment would undoubtedly come from thousands of Iraqi people who lost their loved ones this spring

Why The FCC Rules Matter

by Norman Solomon One of the impending rule changes would allow a single company to own TV stations reaching 45 percent of the nationwide audience (instead of the current on-paper limit of 35 percent). But that understates the impact, as Andrew Schwartzman of the Media Access Project points out: "The 45 percent number that has been floated is a fake number. It will realistically be much much higher"

What's the Big Deal About Jayson Blair?

by Alexander Cockburn The Jayson Blair scandal comes on the heels of what was one of the most intensive bouts of botched reporting, wild speculation and straightforward disingenuous lying in the history of American journalism, a bout that prompted an invasion, many deaths and now -- given the way things are currently headed -- the likelihood of mass starvation. In other words, the lousy reporting really had consequences

The Hunt For The Dem That Can Beat Bush

by Alexander Cockburn There's a current across the entire liberal Left exercising a powerful pull on people to unite to put out George Bush. This is understandable. Bush is awful, far more so than anticipated. Ashcroft is awful. Rumsfeld is awful. The Bush crowd has used 9-11 as the lever to put through a truly nightmarish political agenda both at home and overseas

The Road Map Hoax

by Alexander Cockburn Don't waste your time fretting over the fortunes of the "road map" to peace in the Middle East. It's all a fraud, following the contours of all the other frauds down the years, back to such museum pieces as the Rogers Plan, conceived in Nixon time

SARS: A Season Of Fear

by Joshua Samuel Brown One reason SARS is a perfect bogeyman is because it hails from the Orient, the home of that most honorable of American neuroses, the Yellow Peril. Describing the origins of SARS is virtually a Rorschach test. Journalists with a mild case of anti-Asian fever suggest that SARS originated because people in the southern Chinese province live in squalor

Al Qaeda "Threat" On Norway Linked To Afghan Role

by Gorill Husby Experts point to Norwegian assistance to the U.S. in Afghanistan as the most likely provocation for the new threat. Norwegian fighter jets took part in the action against Al-Qaeda operatives and the Taliban regime around Tora Bora. The Norwegian Defense Intelligence Service assisted U.S. intelligence, and Norwegian Special Forces are still helping hunt al-Qaeda and Taliban forces in Afghanistan

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