MARCH 5-1, 03 Archives

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What Liberal Media? A Challenge: Let's Debate Bias and Slander It’s time for Bernard Goldberg and Ann Coulter to defend their books March 5, 2003 Bias and Slander, which supposedly prove an old saw -- that liberals dominate the news media. After the books were published, the press lavished attention on both authors -- much of it uncritical, if not fawning. Ironically, such a reception should have provided primary evidence against their allegation (if a random survey of TV pundits or Washington Post editorials wasn’t proof enough). Now comes Eric Alterman’s new book, What Liberal Media? It shreds the ‘liberal media’ myth, and with it Bias and Slander. Alterman shows that both books rely on unfounded assertions strung together with low invective. Coulter’s errors "are even more egregious than the insults, and her footnotes are ... a sham," Alterman says. "The sheer weight of these, coupled with their audacity, demonstrates the moral and intellectual bankruptcy of a journalistic culture that allows her near a microphone, much less a printing press." So has a challenge: We’re inviting the three authors to debate at the National Press Club, with a neutral moderator and a live audience. We’ll invite C-SPAN. Alterman has accepted. Will Coulter and Goldberg? Or will they hide behind their publicists and speaking fees? Remember this one - "We need to execute people like John Walker in order to physically intimidate liberals, by making them realize that they can be killed too," Friday Feb. 15, 2002 Cox News Service - Pundit Ann Coulter told this month's meeting of the Conservative Political Action Conference. "Otherwise they will turn out to be outright traitors."

Hollywood Actors Raise McCarthyism Specter on Iraq March 5, 2003 By Jill Serjeant Hollywood actors, facing a vitriolic backlash for their opposition to a war against Iraq have raised the specter of Cold War McCarthyism in an appeal to avoid returning to one of the movie industry's darkest hours. The Screen Actors Guild (SAG) said a slew of hate-mail directed at actors who have taken a public personal stand against war, along with calls for boycotts of movies and albums on the nation's talk radio airwaves and Internet message boards, "suggests that the lessons of history have, for some, fallen on deaf ears." "We deplore the idea that those in the public eye should suffer professionally for having the courage to give voice to their views. Even a hint of the blacklist must never again be tolerated in this nation," SAG, the nation's largest actors' union, said in a statement.

FACING REALITY: US barbarism March 4, 2003 by DAVID COMISSIONG As the warmongers at Westminster and in the White House continue their maniacal drive towards war, the all pervasive Anglo-American mass media has been spewing forth an unrelenting stream of extravagant propaganda about Iraq. In “the gospel according to CNN, Fox and the BBC”, Iraq is the baleful and cynical “evil-doer”, while the United States is the pure and innocent “city on the hill”, radiating goodness and light. But as we all know, even the devil can quote “scripture” to serve his own nefarious purpose. Let us therefore face reality by examining some of the facts pertaining to the historical relationship between Iraq and the United States. To begin with, let us recognise that Saddam Hussein is not the first leader of Iraq that the United States has sought to assassinate and remove from office. The first Iraqi president targeted for assassination by the United States – way back in 1963 – was General Abdul Karim Kassem. You see, in 1958, General Kassem led a military uprising which overthrew the Anglo-American puppet monarchy of Iraq, and went on to establish a republican form of government and a national oil company which promised to wrest control of Iraq’s immense oil wealth from the hands of British and American companies. For this “sin”, General Kassem became the subject of a CIA [Central Intelligence Agency] assassination plot, and in February 1963 was overthrown in a coup and summarily executed. The world has also heard an awful lot from the Western media about Saddam Hussein’s “gassing” of the Kurdish people of Iraq. But what they never refer to is the cynical and diabolical manner in which the United States government has used and manipulated the Kurdish people over the past 40 years.

Transcript of interview with Iraqi defector exposes White House lies on Iraqi weapons March 4, 2003 By Peter Symonds A small article appeared last week in the US magazine Newsweek that effectively demolishes one of the Bush administration’s central accusations against Baghdad: that it has failed to account for large stockpiles of so-called weapons of mass destruction (WMD) allegedly produced in the early 1990s. UN inspection teams have scoured Iraq for more than two months and unearthed nothing. As a result, unsubstantiated US claims about Iraq’s hidden weapons have assumed ever-greater importance as a pretext for war. Every attempt by Baghdad to comply with UN resolution 1441 is greeted with scornful replies from Washington of “too little, too late” and denunciations of Iraq’s “pattern of lies and deception”. The only evidence offered by the US for the continued existence of stores of chemical, biological and other weapons has been the undisclosed testimony of various Iraqi defectors. full transcript of the 1995 interview between Kamel and UNSCOM officials—the basis for the Newsweek story. But what the low-key article in Newsweek revealed was that the Bush administration has been blatantly lying about the evidence provided by their chief witness—Hussein Kamel, son-in-law of Saddam Hussein, who was head of Iraq’s military industrial commission and managed the country’s weapons programs. Kamel fled to Jordan in 1995 where he was interviewed in depth by the CIA, British intelligence and UNSCOM weapons inspectors and provided details of Iraq’s weapons research and production. In 1996 he returned to Iraq where he was murdered. [].

Who’s going to be next? Canada’s prime minister denounces US “regime change” policy 4 March 2003 By Keith Jones Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chrétien expressed alarm Friday over the Bush administration’s assertion that irrespective of what happens with the United Nations’ disarmament process the US will proceed with “regime change” in Iraq. A visibly agitated Chrétien warned that if the US claims a right to use its military might to overturn governments that it disapproves of, world geopolitics will be thrown into chaos. Speaking while on a state visit to Mexico, Chrétien declared, “Myself, I think that the consequences can be very grave when we go for a change in regime. When are we going to go elsewhere? Who’s going to be next? Give me the list.... This is a very dangerous concept.”

Remember Afghanistan? March 4, 2003 U.S. President George Bush was going to go in there, bomb the Taliban out of existence, catch Osama bin Laden, install a brand-new democracy and make sure that “all the boys and girls could go to school.” Not only that: By routing the Taliban, Bush could enjoy the rare pleasure of draping himself in the silken mantle of a fighter for women’s rights. During his post-war January, 2002 state of the union speech, he introduced leading Afghan feminist and cabinet minister Dr. Sima Samar (“Today, women are free,” he said) and basked in the applause of Congress. The state of Afghanistan is especially relevant right now - though little-reported - because the chaos and misery there give us a glimpse of just how difficult it is to reform a country by means of aerial bombardment. Only about 30 per cent of Afghan girls attend school today, due to lack of resources and a Taliban-like fundamentalist grip on the country outside the capital. The warlords are still running the country, and their rule is cruel, violent and deeply misogynist. Outside of Kabul, girls and women are still jailed for trying to escape forced marriages. They are forced to wear the burqa, attacked by fanatic vice squads, and even seized and subjected to demeaning gynecological “chastity” exams if caught anywhere near a man. Schools are firebombed; warlords’ troops rape with impunity. Dr. Samar, so admired by President Bush, was forced out of government by a vicious hoked-up fundamentalist plot a mere six months after becoming deputy prime minister. Reduced to a human rights commissioner, she is left without protection or funds by the indifferent U.S.

Memo exposes Bush's new green strategy March 4, 2003 Oliver Burkeman The US Republican party is changing tactics on the environment, avoiding "frightening" phrases such as global warming, after a confidential party memo warned that it is the domestic issue on which George Bush is most vulnerable. The memo, by the leading Republican consultant Frank Luntz, concedes the party has "lost the environmental communications battle" and urges its politicians to encourage the public in the view that there is no scientific consensus on the dangers of greenhouse gases. "The scientific debate is closing [against us] but not yet closed. There is still a window of opportunity to challenge the science,"

US Bugs United Nations, American Media Ignores Story March 4, 2003 On Sunday March 2, The Observer, Great Britain's oldest newspaper, released an exclusive report documenting the National Security Council's (NSA) extensive spying campaign against members of the UN Security Council. According to the Observer, "the United States is conducting a secret 'dirty tricks' campaign against UN Security Council delegations in New York as part of its battle to win votes in favour of war against Iraq."

Top Investment Manager Predicts A Depression March 4, 2003 By Harriet Johnson Brackey Three years ago, when Michael O'Higgins was entirely out of stocks and into zero-coupon Treasury bonds, when he was predicting that stocks would lose half their worth, I didn't believe him. If you listen to O'Higgins now, you won't want to believe him either: he's predicting another depression. However, I think you should pay close attention, because it's possible he's on target. Again. O'Higgins, for whom the term contrarian is much too mild, has a record of being right when most of us are headed in the wrong direction. And a record of making money while we're losing it. Since our last conversation in March of 2000, zero-coupon treasuries are up 43.5 percent. The S&P 500 Index is down 41 percent. He said long-term Treasury bond yields would drop from 6.15 percent then to 4.6 percent. They are now paying about 4.7 percent.

The Failure Of US Media March 4, 2003 By Peter Johnson War-protest coverage now in the forefront Some find the media's attention too little, too late Of 414 stories on the Iraqi question that aired on NBC, ABC and CBS from Sept. 14 to Feb. 7, Tyndall says that the vast majority originated from the White House, Pentagon and State Department. Only 34 stories originated from elsewhere in the country. Did the media stumble by downplaying opposition to war with Saddam Hussein until the U.S. government's confrontation with Germany and France and worldwide protests gave them no choice? Or was opposition to a war a gradual process that came to a head only recently, prompting widespread media coverage? That issue is now being debated in media circles. Cable news has ''acted as if the decision to invade Iraq has already been made, and have in effect seen it as their job to prepare the American public for the coming war,'' New York Times columnist Paul Krugman wrote last week. ''Some media outlets -- operating in an environment in which anyone who questions the administration's foreign policy is accused of being unpatriotic -- have taken it as their assignment to sell the war, not to present a mix of information that might call the justification for war into question.''

"Two-faced bastards" March 4, 2003 By Paul Harris The government of the United States has the most incredibly outrageous and unmitigated gall. According to the official position of the White House, the worst thing on the planet is Saddam Hussein. Apparently, they don't have any mirrors in the White House. Although Bush has been whining about Saddam since the fall of 2001, and has been practicing his schoolyard bully routine for the cameras over the same period, he has fooled almost no one. Sure, there are some people who have accepted the bilge he has been disgorging about restoring or establishing democracy in Iraq, whether or not they actually want one. Those same people have accepted the innuendo that somehow Saddam was associated with the tragic events of September 11, even though U.S. intelligence makes it very clear this is not true. They have accepted that Saddam is evil and that, despite being cornered and cowed, he represents some clear threat to the United States, also patently untrue. We have all heard the protestors saying that this war is about oil, about revenge because Bush's father didn't finish the job in 1991, about distracting the American people from Bush's appalling record with his country's economy, about childish bullying just because he can, and a whole host of other possible reasons for this mad rush to war. But most people round the world will recognize oil as being at least the primary causative factor. So it was with absolute disgust that I read a news item on January 28 entitled: "U.S. buys up Iraqi oil to stave off crisis." This article ran in the Guardian, a well-respected journal, as a reprint of a January 26 publishing by the Observer, an equally respected journal. The United States is facing a severe shortage of oil; in fact, supplies are at a 27-year low. Almost all of this is due to ongoing strikes in the oil fields of Venezuela, which supplies a large part of the unlimited and seemingly insatiable thirst for oil in the United States. After the strikes began in Venezuela in December, and 1.5 million barrels per day stopped gushing, prices quickly rose.

Put away the cuddly toys. March 4, 2003 By Naomi Klein Now it's time to get tough Civil disobedience may be the only way to stop the war against Iraq. At the Pentagon they call it the Voila Moment. That's when Iraqi soldiers and civilians, with bombs raining down on Baghdad, suddenly scratch their heads and say to themselves: "These bombs aren't really meant to kill me and my family, they are meant to free us from an evil dictator!" At that point, they thank Uncle Sam, lower their weapons, abandon their posts, and rise up against Saddam Hussein. Voila!

U.S. Toils On but Appears Increasingly Alone March 4, 2003 By Robin Wright White House holds course on Iraq despite a weekend of major diplomatic setbacks. After a weekend of stunning setbacks, the United States appears increasingly isolated in its efforts to rally international diplomatic and military support for a war in Iraq, although the Bush administration defiantly pledged Sunday to persevere. "It's not over till it's over," a senior State Department official said of the intense diplomacy underway to deal with multiple challenges. The big question now is: Did the weekend's triple whammy — Turkey's failure to approve a U.S. military presence, increased European opposition to a U.N. resolution authorizing the use of force in Iraq, and Arab agreement against the use of force — begin to unravel the administration's campaign to win world support for confronting Saddam Hussein?

Greed is the word - Americans are finally beginning to question a system that values wealth and yet ignores integrity March 3, 2003 Madeleine Bunting The preoccupation with the Iraq crisis has dragged on since the summer, proliferating over pages of newsprint, gobbling up television news night after night sucking in all the oxygen in public life. The debate over progressive politics is suspended. So a whole raft of pressing issues has sunk, barely visible below the media radar. It seems a tragic squandering of political energies; fiddling while Rome burns. Take just one theme being played out in influential parts of the American business press: a profound self-questioning about the ethics and characteristics of capitalism has taken grip, and challenges the most cherished of national beliefs, the American dream, suggesting it is no more than myth for millions. Scooped into this wide-ranging debate is everything from the nature of greed to the ethics of inequality, the meaning of life and just what exactly is the purpose of business. American capitalism is in the full throes of an existential crisis.

Papal envoy to press case for peace at White House March 3, 2003 War against Iraq will bring "sorrow and grave consequences for everyone", Pope John Paul II warned yesterday. The Pope, who is sending a personal envoy to President George Bush in his drive to avert military action, issued his warning as he addressed a crowd of pilgrims and tourists in St. Peter's Square. He noted that he had asked Catholics to fast on Wednesday – Ash Wednesday, which marks the beginning of Lent – in the name of peace "which is put in doubt by growing threats of war". The Pope, who has also sent a Cardinal to the White House, made clear that despite the real prospects of war, efforts to try to achieve Iraq's disarmament without military force should forge ahead. "Peace, in fact, is a gift of God, to invoke with humble and insistent faith," he said. "Without giving up in the face of the difficulties, it is necessary to seek and pursue every possible path to avoid war, which always brings with it sorrow and grave consequences for everyone." The Pope has been spending much of his last few weeks meeting key players involved in lining up support for or against a possible war. Among those who have seen the Pope lately have been Tony Blair, as well as the Spanish Prime Minister, Jose Maria Aznar, who are key allies of President Bush, as well as UN secretary-general Kofi Annan, Iraq's deputy premier, and the foreign minister of Germany, which opposes war.

Turk: No plan for vote on U.S. troops March 3, 2003 Associated Press ANKARA, Turkey Turkey's ruling party has no plans in the "foreseeable future" to seek another parliament vote for the deployment of U.S. troops on Turkish soil for a war with Iraq, a party leader said Sunday. The announcement by Eyup Fatsa, deputy head of the Justice and Development party, came a day after the legislature dealt a serious blow to U.S. war planning by failing to approve a motion to deploy 62,000 U.S. soldiers, weapons and equipment. "The proposal has been delayed to an open-ended time. There is no proposal for the foreseeable future," he told reporters after a party meeting to decide whether to resubmit the motion.

Israeli officer court-martialled for refusing order to target civilians March 3, 2003 By Brian Smith An Israeli military intelligence officer has been court-martialled for refusing to carry out an order that blatantly defied both international laws and Israel’s own statutes and would have led to the certain death of countless Palestinian civilians. The incident highlights the criminal nature of Israel’s longstanding and murderous campaign against Palestinian civilians in the territories occupied illegally since 1967 and the fact that it is government-directed with the military authorities fully aware that their actions are illegal. It further reveals how the security forces work to ensure that their attacks kill as many people as possible and provides irrefutable evidence of the crimes against humanity committed by the Israeli state.

Putin Again Rejects U.S. Calls for Support of a War, Fearing Effect on the Mideast March 3, 2003 By MICHAEL WINES MOSCOW Once again and with fervor, President Vladimir V. Putin today rebuffed American calls to support a possible military campaign in Iraq, arguing in an interview that war could throw the Islamic world into turmoil and that "a crisis of this kind should be solved by exclusively peaceful means." But with equal fervor, the United States now appears to be pulling out all its diplomatic stops in a drive to win a crucial swing vote in the Iraq standoff in the United Nations.

Bush's agenda ruffles even some GOP feathers March 3, 2003 By Tom Raum President Bush is used to dealing with political enemies, but his friends are giving him headaches. The president is losing backing for his domestic agenda from some prominent Republicans in Congress and in state capitals. Along with more vocal Democratic counterparts, Republican governors quietly are fuming over Bush's admonition last week not to look to Washington for help for their cash-strapped budgets. In the Senate, at least six Republicans have expressed reservations about Bush's tax-cut plan. Even Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan, whose support was crucial for Bush's first round of tax cuts two years ago, has jumped ship.

THE END OF DAYS March 2, 2003 By Paul Harris A short while ago, I received an email from a reader commenting on one of my articles. In his message, he told me that he greatly admired the writing of one of my colleagues at YT and so I passed on the message. My friend was pleased about the compliments but they seemed to have reached him when he was in a bit of a somber mood (and isn't it hard not to be these days?). He responded to me that his ego enjoyed the boost but as he was sitting in his library looking at all the wonderful works of intellect that have peppered our existence, he wondered what difference any of it had made. Although I have never met my colleague in person, I think we know each other fairly well through our writing, both the stuff that is published and the private messages between us. I have a great deal of regard for his intellect, his writing skill, his life accomplishments, and when he raises questions that sound very much like: "how can we see our future as anything but hopeless," I tend to sit up and listen.

Helpless Britons appeal to France for "regime change" March 2, 2003 By Hermé Gaspin A group of British dissidents has appealed to France to invade the United Kingdom and bring about regime change. According to a spokeswoman at the Elysee Palace, French President Jacques Chirac received the request in a letter from a group of British exiles and "pro-democracy activists" calling themselves the "Free United Kingdom Movement" or FUKM, for short. BNN obtained a copy of the appeal in full: "Dear President Chirac, On behalf of the people of the United Kingdom, we appeal to you to help our suffering and once proud nation rid itself of a leader who defies the wishes of his people and is trying to drag our country into a bloody and senseless war of conquest against a distant nation that has done nothing to us. We have evidence that this leader has made a strategic alliance with the leader of a fanatical foreign cult that is bent on world domination. This cult is commonly known as "The Superpower." For years, The Superpower has been building bases all over our country, where it trains men in fighting, including how to drop bombs on civilians in distant nations from far above them. It is also stockpiling weapons of mass destruction in our country, including nuclear missiles. We are afraid that our leader and The Superpower he serves will drag us into a holy war.

US prepares to use toxic gases in Iraq March 2, 2003 By Geoffrey Lean and Severin Carrell The US is preparing to use the toxic riot-control agents CS gas and pepper spray in Iraq in contravention of the Chemical Weapons Convention, provoking the first split in the Anglo-US alliance. "Calmative" gases, similar to the one that killed 120 hostages in the Moscow theatre siege last year, could also be employed.

Revealed: US dirty tricks to win vote on Iraq war March 2, 2003 Martin Bright, Ed Vulliamy Secret document details American plan to bug phones and emails of key Security Council members. The United States is conducting a secret 'dirty tricks' campaign against UN Security Council delegations in New York as part of its battle to win votes in favour of war against Iraq. Details of the aggressive surveillance operation, which involves interception of the home and office telephones and the emails of UN delegates in New York, are revealed in a document leaked to The Observer. The disclosures were made in a memorandum written by a top official at the National Security Agency - the US body which intercepts communications around the world - and circulated to both senior agents in his organisation and to a friendly foreign intelligence agency asking for its input. The memo describes orders to staff at the agency, whose work is clouded in secrecy, to step up its surveillance operations 'particularly directed at... UN Security Council Members (minus US and GBR, of course)' to provide up-to-the-minute intelligence for Bush officials on the voting intentions of UN members regarding the issue of Iraq. / Read the memo / Talk about it: dirty tricks?

Bush economic policy digging bigger hole, Murray says March 2, 2003 LES BLUMENTHAL The Bush administration's $674 billion stimulus plan is weighted toward the rich and would do little to jump-start the economy, Washington Sen. Patty Murray said Saturday in delivering the Democratic response to President Bush's weekly radio address."Our economy is in a hole, but rather than look for a ladder, the president is reaching for a bigger shovel," she said. Murray said Bush's claim the administration economic plan would result in an average tax cut of roughly $1,000 for individual taxpayers was misleading. "What he doesn't say is that half of all taxpayers - half of all taxpayers - would get less than $100 under his plan," the senator said.

GOP Aides Revise Bill To Help Big Firms Lobbyists See Opening For Special Favors March 2, 2003 By Jonathan Weisman Even before Congress begins debating President Bush's tax cut plan, Republican tax-writing aides have inserted a generous new provision for major corporations and their shareholders that some fear could open the legislation to a tidal wave of loopholes. The provision would be of tremendous benefit to such blue-chip giants as International Business Machines Corp., Ford Motor Co. and General Electric Co., which otherwise would have had the value of billions of dollars in tax credits radically reduced by the president's plan to end the "double taxation" of dividends.

George W. Bush Can't Tell the Difference Between a Democracy And a Puppet Government March 2, 2003 BUZZFLASH Cynics might argue that it is understandable that George W. Bush can't tell the difference between a democracy and a puppet government. After all, Bush was installed as president -- despite having lost the election by more than a half a million votes -- by a 5-4 vote instigated by a partisan hack Supreme Court Justice who thinks he is a judicial agent of God (we're talking about Antonin Scalia here). Bush's presidential "appointment" was the crowning culmination of a long-term right wing strategy aimed at controlling America through packing the courts and hijacking the electoral process. Just as the Bush Cartel is going to seize the second largest oil fields and colonize the Middle East -- Hell or high water -- the right wing extremists were going to place their puppet in the White House in 2000 no matter what it took.

New Element in Iraq's Mix March 2, 2003 By PATRICK E. TYLER As opposition to war in Iraq stiffened in the United Nations Security Council, the Bush administration today set a new standard for avoiding war that could be out of reach for Saddam Hussein and, perhaps, the world body. That appeared to be the unmistakable message conveyed by the White House spokesman, Ari Fleischer, when he said President Bush would be satisfied only with Iraq's complete disarmament and the departure of Saddam Hussein. By resurrecting Mr. Bush's goal of a change of Iraq's government at this critical moment — when one of the chief United Nations weapons inspectors, Hans Blix, was reporting "significant" progress with the promised destruction of Iraqi missiles this weekend — the White House set the bar beyond the reach of the inspection force that is working on only half of the equation: disarmament.

Pope to send peace envoy to Bush March 2, 2003 VATICAN CITY Pope John Paul will send a senior cardinal to Washington with a letter for President George Bush in a personal peace mission to try to avert an invasion of Iraq, the Vatican said on Saturday. Cardinal Pio Laghi, a former ambassador to the United States and a personal friend of the Bush family, will leave in the next few days. "The cardinal...will illustrate the position and the initiatives taken by the Holy See to contribute to disarmament and peace in the Middle East," the Vatican said in a statement. Showing an energy that belies his 82 years, the Pope has become increasingly involved in diplomatic efforts to prevent a second Gulf war, which he has said would be a "defeat for humanity".

An Appeal from Dr. Helen Caldicott to THE POPE! March 2, 2003 By Dr. Helen Caldicott Dear Friends, I write this appeal for your help as a pediatrician, a mother, and a grandmother -- and I am writing about the lives of tens of thousands of children. Although the current administration has demonstrated it has no reservations about slaughtering up to 500,000 innocents in Iraq, there is one person whose life they absolutely will not risk. That person is Pope John Paul II. While the Pope has already formally denounced the proposed war, calling it a defeat for humanity, as well as sent his top spokesperson to meet with Saddam Hussein, he now must take a historically unprecedented action of his own and travel to Baghdad. The Pope's physical presence in Iraq will act as the ultimate human shield, during which time leaders of the word nation can commit themselves to identifying and implementing a peaceful solution to this war that the world's majority clearly does not support.

100,000 in the Streets Push Parliament to Block US Troops Crying "yankee go home," March 2, 2003 indymedia 100,000 peace demonstators protested in Ankara, the Turkish capital, on March 1. While the protesters were in the streets, the Turkish parliament was behind closed doors debating a measure that would permit the US to use Turkey as a base for its planned attack on Iraq. Earlier in the day, the Anti-War Platform, which organized the protest, presented a petition against war with a million signatures to the parliament. In the evening, the parliament failed to pass the measure. The 264 votes in favor did not achieve the required simple majority. 251 voted against and 19 abstained. The leaders of the ruling Justice and Development party (AKP) were shocked by the outcome and by the large number of AKP Members of Parliament who defied them to vote against the measure. The AKP leadership may resubmit the measure as soon as Tuesday. View photos of the march: 1 | 2 | 3 /

"They did what?" blurted one State Department official - Turkey's Refusal Stuns US March 2, 2003 by Matthew Lee US officials appeared stunned by the Turkish parliament's refusal Saturday to allow the deployment of 62 000 US troops for a possible war with Iraq. The officials, who had been prepared to hail the parliament's approval of the deployment based on initial reports that the vote had succeeded, expressed consternation when told that it had in fact been defeated. "They did what?" blurted one State Department official. That official and others declined to comment on the nullification of the close vote and were seeking clarification from the US embassy in Ankara as well as Turkish authorities.

IRAQ: US 'intelligence' is 'garbage' say inspectors March 2, 2003 BY ROHAN PEARCE A February 20 report by CBS News has revealed that United Nations weapons inspectors in Iraq consider US “intelligence” — like that presented by US Secretary of State Colin Powell to the Security Council on February 5 — to be “garbage”. According to CBS, inspectors accuse the US of sending them on “wild goose chases”. CBS reported that “the US claim that Iraq is developing missiles that could hit its neighbours — or US troops in the region, or even Israel — is just one of the claims coming from Washington that inspectors here are finding increasingly unbelievable”. Inspectors have found US intelligence “to be circumstantial, outdated or just plain wrong”. According to CBS News correspondent Mark Philips, US “intelligence” given to inspectors has been “garbage after garbage after garbage”, adding that inspectors actually “used another, cruder word”.

Before We March to War, Can We Stop Being Hypocritical Liars? March 2, 2003 Marshall Masters We all agree that war is a terrible thing, but a war done terribly is the foulest crime imaginable.  Before we march off to war in Iraq, perhaps the American Congress will finally locate its collective cajones and pass a law warning our current and future Presidents about embroiling our country in a military conflict.  Simply put, the law should state: Mr. President, if you fail to seek an unequivocal victory in both the war and the peace with every means available to you, we will impeach you and then hand over for trial as a mass murderer to the World Court while we do our level best to get our sorry butts re-elected.

Patriot Act's Big Brother March 2, 2003 by David Cole In early February, the Center for Public Integrity disclosed a leaked draft of the Bush Administration's next round in the war on terrorism--the Domestic Security Enhancement Act (DSEA). The draft legislation, stamped Confidential and dated January 9, 2003, appears to be in final form but has not yet been introduced in Congress. Presumably the Administration had determined that the timing would be more propitious for passage--meaning less propitious for reasoned debate--after we go to war with Iraq. But it is one thing to play politics with the timing of a farm bill; it is another matter to do so with a bill that would radically alter our rights and freedoms.

U.S. To Use Nuclear Weapons Against Iraq? March 1, 2003 By Craig Isherwood On January 31, 2003, the Washington Times published a front page story which revealed the existence of the secret U.S. National Security Presidential Directive 17 (NSPD 17), signed by President Bush on Sept. 14, 2002. NSPD 17 authorised, for the first time ever, the U.S. first use of nuclear weapons. The Times warned, "The disclosure of the classified text follows newspaper reports that the planning for a war with Iraq focuses on using nuclear arms not only to defend U.S. forces, but also to pre-empt deeply buried Iraq facilities that could withstand conventional explosives. "Then, on Feb. 19, the London Guardian published a leaked Pentagon document of Jan. 10, 2003, which showed that the Bush Administration is in a very advanced stage of developing a new generation of "mini" nuclear weapons to be used against "Third World despots" who collude with terrorists and "possess weapons of mass destruction", i.e. Saddam Hussein. The planned U.S. war against Iraq—including the use of nuclear weapons—has nothing whatsoever to do with Iraq's alleged "weapons of mass destruction", but is merely the next step in a decade-long strategy planned by an influential group within the Bush ("43") Administration, who earlier held high posts in the Bush ("41") Administration, to establish a new, world-ruling U.S. empire modelled on that of ancient Rome.

War chronicle: Despite protests Bush trying to ‘control the world’  March 1, 2003 Danielle McGillis Is there an alternate solution to war with Iraq? Millions of protesters across the world say yes. At the same time however, they fear the decision has already been made. President Bush is declaring that Saddam Hussein has not and will not disarm. In a report by the Associated Press, Saddam Hussein indicated on Monday that he does not intend to follow United Nations orders to destroy his Al-Samoud 2 missiles that violate the 93-mile range allowance. A new resolution is to be submitted to the U.N. Security Council this week, offered jointly with Britain and Spain, to set the stage for war against Iraq. George Lundscow, professor of sociology at Grand Valley State University, said that Bush''s "goal really is to control the world." Lundscow said the place to start is with securing vital resources, such as oil. "The war is going to happen, I think that decision was made a long time ago," he said. "The only reason Bush went to the U.N. is because he was forced to." Lundscow said the country is clearly divided. Citizens of the U.S. are overwhelmingly against the war, and the country is split 50/50. War would accentuate that split. He believes Bush had recently attempted to scare the American people into war with Iraq by raising the terror alert. "He''s trying establish that link in people''s minds and do it in a symbolic way," Lundscow said. "Bush sees himself as the great savior of the world." "In his mind, anything he wants to do is the right thing to do," he said. "He is convinced of his own righteousness."

It Keeps Getting Scarier and Scarier March 1, 2003 By Jeff Steinberg Last week, a number of newspapers in the United States and Great Britain published segments of a Pentagon document, suggesting that the Bush Administration is moving ahead with plans to develop a new generation of "mini" nuclear weapons, to be used against "Third World despots" who collude with terrorists and possess weapons of mass destruction—i.e., Saddam Hussein. The Jan. 10, 2003 memo from Dr. Dale Klein, outlined plans for an August 2003 conference at the Omaha, Nebraska headquarters of the U.S. Strategic Command, where scientists and military planners will gather to make decisions on the production and deployment of a new generation of "mini" nuclear bombs, "bunker busters" and other nuclear devices that will become part of the U.S. military's arsenal of offensive weapons. No longer is the first use of nuclear weapons a taboo. No longer will the United States refrain from the use of nuclear weapons against non-nuclear nations, unless the madness is stopped.

Disagree at your own risk March 1, 2003 By SALLY ROUNTREE President Bush addressed approximately 1,000 people at Harrison High School last week and I didn't hear a word of his speech. I was standing on Due West Road along the presidential motorcade route, holding a home-made sign and being spit on by my neighbors. I was hoping to catch the president's eye as he whizzed by with my simple, if not original, "No War for Oil" sign colored on the back of one of my daughter's recycled science projects. But when I unrolled my sign, all that changed, and I may never be able to look at my community the same way again. The abuse came first from a small group of homemakers standing near me, their small children dressed in red, white and blue. "Go home! You don't belong here," they said. All around me folks began to speak up, and it wasn't long before a large group of people crossed the street with banners and flags and began aggressively yelling "Go USA!" Bob, a young man with a ball cap and a sign reading "Drop Bush, Not Bombs" came and stood with me for support. The really frightening stuff began when a television cameraman stopped and asked me why I was there. As soon as the crowd saw the camera pointed at me, they went wild. I was trying to express myself and they screamed at me and over my voice. A man stood behind me making obscene gestures as I spoke. The reporter tried three times, unsuccessfully, to get a picture without obscenity. One woman spat in my hair. The journalist gave up and moved on. The mob did not. Men and women violently screamed in my face and Bob's. It stopped just long enough for the president's motorcade to pass by and then erupted again. We were told to " Get the f--- out of the country," had obscene gestures pushed in our faces. An elderly man told me to "Go to hell!" I was in a state of shock. Here I was, a 42-year-old mother of four, born and raised in Cobb County, holding a peace sign, standing on the sidewalk across the street from my church, and I was frightened that my neighbors were going to hurt me because I dared to express my opinion. This could not be happening. Not in America, right?

FAIR AND BALANCED? March 1, 2003 (FTW) Last year FTW reported on an encouraging lower court victory by two TV reporters who had been fired by a Florida FOX affiliate for refusing to air a story containing false and inaccurate information. The story, describing the dangers of widespread growth hormone use by dairy farmers, was ultimately slanted by FOX to protect its advertising revenues. An Organic Consumers report now brings us the saddening news that a Florida Appeals court has overturned the original ruling on the grounds that there is absolutely nothing illegal about lying, concealing or distorting information by a major press organization. Court Reverses Ruling on Jane Akre's rBGH Suit Feb. 21, 2003 Accepting a defense rejected by three other Florida state judges on at least six separate motions, a Florida appeals court has reversed the $425,000 jury verdict in favor of journalist Jane Akre who charged she was pressured by Fox Television management and lawyers to air what she knew and documented to be false information. In a six-page written decision released February 14, the court essentially ruled the journalist never stated a valid whistle- blower claim because, they ruled, it is technically not against any law, rule, or regulation to deliberately lie or distort the news on a television broadcast. /

MSNBC draws protests over conservative host March 1, 2003 MSNBC is feeling heat from an increasing number of organizations that are angry that the news network owned by NBC and Microsoft has given a weekend show to conservative San Francisco-based talk show host and author Michael Savage, whose habit of saying things such as Hispanics "breed like rabbits," women "should have been denied the vote" and "The gay and lesbian mafia wants our children" has earned him a reputation as a hate monger and not the "compassionate conservative" he calls himself. The Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation is expected to announce Wednesday morning that it will mobilize protest of MSNBC's decision to give Mr. Savage an hour-long show on Saturdays (starting at a date still to be announced). The National Organization for Women is expected to notify NBC parent company General Electric and Microsoft on Wednesday that "It is very important that the corporations that own the media get the message: Profiting from hate will cost them the business of thinking consumers. That applies to GE, as well as Microsoft." With the cancellation Tuesday of Phil Donahue's show and the recent hiring of former House Majority Leader Dick Armey, the conservative Republican Texan whose long term in Congress ended in January, as a regular contributor of commentary, MSNBC has "created a situation that makes it impossible to get a moderate message out," NOW President Kim Gandy said. /

O'REILLY THREATENS DISSENTERS  March 1, 2003 Americas Lord Haw Haw states, "Once the war against Saddam Hussein begins, we expect every American to support our military, and if you can't do that, just shut up. More On O'Reilly 'You Will be Considered Enemies of the State' 'You Will be Spotlighted' Joins Cheney Campaign of 'Anti-Patriotism' Intimidation - Bill O'Reilly - 02/26: "Once the war against Saddam Hussein begins, we expect every American to support our military, and if you can't do that, just shut up. Americans, and indeed our foreign allies who actively work against our military once the war is underway, will be considered enemies of the state by me. Just fair warning to you, Barbra Streisand and others who see the world as you do.  I don't want to demonize anyone, but anyone who hurts this country in a time like this, well.  Let's just say you will be spotlighted. Talking points invites all points of view and believes vigorous debate strengthens the country, but once decisions have been made and lives are on the line, patriotism must be factored in."

US health care workers spurn Bush smallpox vaccination plan March 1, 2003 By Patrick Martin The vast majority of the health care workers who were to be inoculated against smallpox over the past month, under plans linked to the Bush administration’s preparations for war with Iraq, have declined the vaccine. By February 24, one month into the program, just over 7,300 volunteers have been inoculated, compared to projections by federal officials of 450,000 to 500,000. There is growing and increasingly vocal opposition to the vaccination plan, despite the attempts of the White House and the Department of Health and Human Services to manufacture a crisis atmosphere over the supposed threat of a germ warfare attack from Iraq or Al Qaeda. Some criticism focuses on the administration’s refusal to provide compensation for those who suffer from the well-known side effects of the vaccine. More fundamental, however, is the widespread suspicion that the threat of smallpox has been deliberately exaggerated by the administration to scare the public and win support for its policy of war against Iraq. With the United States on the brink of war, the mass rejection of smallpox vaccination by health care workers is tantamount to a vote of no confidence. It gives a far truer indication of the popular attitude towards the government’s war plans than those opinion polls which claim majority support for bombing and invading Iraq.

Australian sailors en route to the Gulf refuse anthrax vaccine March 1, 2003  By Terry Cook Last month, news emerged that dozens of Australian sailors in transit to join the US military buildup in the Persian Gulf refused to be vaccinated against anthrax. While the immediate reason appeared to be fear that the vaccine may have terrible side effects, the sailors’ stand reflects disquiet within the armed forces over the impending war against Iraq and deep suspicion regarding information issued through official channels. The first word of the sailors’ action surfaced on February 11, on the eve of the largest antiwar demonstrations in Australia’s history and amidst mounting global condemnation of Washington’s criminal war preparations.

Misery of rag-trade slaves in America's Pacific outpost - Workers in Samoan sweatshop beaten and starved March 1, 2003 David Fickling When Thanh Nguyen was offered the chance to quit her poorly paid factory job in Vietnam and work in one of America's Pacific territories, she saw it as an easy way to a good income. Instead she found herself in a brutal sweatshop where workers were beaten and starved while they made designer clothes for the US retail giants Sears and JC Penney. "We had one 2lb chicken for all the factory," says Thanh. "They gave us some potatoes as well. It was very bad food." Pay was routinely withheld, and when workers went on strike to recover their lost earnings Daewoosa's managers switched off the electricity, making conditions in the overheated compound unbearable.

CAPPS II Data-Mining System Will Invade Privacy and Create Government Blacklist of Americans, ACLU Warns  March 1, 2003 A secretive new system for conducting background checks on all airline passengers threatens to create a bureaucratic machine for destroying Americans' privacy and a government blacklist that will harm innocent Americans, the ACLU said today. The ACLU's warning came in response to statements by officials of the Transportation Security Agency that the Computer Assisted Passenger Pre-screening System II (CAPPS II) will be tested at several airports around the U.S. starting sometime in March. "CAPPS II is based on the same concept as the Pentagon's 'Total Information Awareness' program, which proposed massive fishing expeditions through some of our most personally sensitive data," said Barry Steinhardt, Director of the ACLU's Technology and Liberty Program. "We are all concerned about airline security, but we must not let the unique needs in our airports give the government an opening to create the kind of Big Brother program that Americans rejected so resoundingly in the Pentagon." At a news conference yesterday, the government said that under the program Americans will be labeled as a "green," "yellow" or "red" security risk. The red code would be reserved for those on terrorist watch lists. Far less clear is who would get a yellow code in their file; those passengers would be subject to extra-intensive security screening. "This system threatens to create a permanent blacklisted underclass of Americans who cannot travel freely,"

March 1, 2003 By  Norman Livergood Because you're letting TV, radio, and newspapers feed you spin (biased opinion) and babble You're not getting the news Because "the news" is no longer the news--it's soundbites and headlines. Because you're letting TV, radio, and newspapers feed you spin (biased opinion) and babble Before 9/11--and the Bush administration's attacks on constitutional freedoms following that disaster--American citizens had the option of whether or not to inform themselves. But Bush's attacks on our civil liberties now constitutes such a CRISIS that Americans must either inform themselves or they will soon find themselves without basic freedoms. If you're going to become an informed citizen, you're going to have to inform yourself!

US public turns to Europe for news March 1, 2003 By Elizabeth Croad The threat of war in Iraq is driving increasing numbers of Americans to British and international news web sites in search of the broader picture. According to the internet audience management and analysis company, Nielsen NetRatings, traffic to the UK's biggest news sites, BBC News Online and Guardian Unlimited, has increased dramatically over the past year. Many of these new users are from the US.

IBM Lays Off 1,000 in Software, Services  March 1, 2003 (AP) International Business Machines Corp. has sent layoff notices to nearly 1,000 people in its global services and software groups in the United States. The world's leading provider of computer hardware said Thursday the layoffs reflected "skills rebalancing." The job cuts represent about 0.5 percent of IBM's combined software and technology services work forces, the company said. About 215,000 people work in the two units. IBM's total work force is around 320,000.

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