American Samizdat Guernica
Saturday, March 15, 2003
Peace Activist Disables Military Plane
Ulla (48), from Odense in Denmark, but currently living in Scotland, described how she went into a hangar at the Fife airbase and discovered the plane completely unguarded. She said: "I took my hammer to the nose-cone, the cockpit, the fuselage, the wings, the tailplane and other parts of the plane which it was safe to damage. I don't see it flying again. I then sat down and waited for the security people to arrive. When the police came everything was calm and relaxed." She is in good spirits and pleased that this particular aircraft will not be dropping bombs on innocent people in Iraq. [more]
Oscars Blacklist Anti-Bush Actors . . . of course, the one man they can't keep out is Michael Moore, who is favored to win the best documentary oscar for Bowling for Columbine.

I really believe we're not going to get (m)any high-quality movies from Hollywood again until a secondary celluloid network comes into it's own propelled by digital video and distributed by the internet (hopefully aided by local alternative theatres--you can't beat that big screen). Sherman Alexie made his last movie here in Seattle on dv. Of course I empathize with film purists who denigrate the inferior technical quality of dv, but who cares how slick the current delivery system is when it delivers nothing but hollow lowest-denominator crap? I'll take scratchily pixellated Zinn over flawlessly filmed Limbaugh anyday . . .

Veterans Groups Outraged Over Budget Cuts
The Disabled American Veterans (DAV) has labeled as "indefensible and callous" a plan by the House Budget Committee to slash $470 billion from domestic spending, including health care for sick and disabled veterans. The draft budget resolution would leave the $1.6 trillion Bush tax cut plan intact and allow huge spending increases on defense and homeland security.
The millionaires in America are hurting, doncha know . . . the least the sick, poor, disabled and hungry in this country can do is help them out. After all, we are privileged to breathe the same air as the rich. We are privileged that they can steal our elections and control us, that they can send us into wars we don't want just so that they can make more money. Hell, I don't deserve to be on the same planet as these millionaire friends of Bush. Why not just take what meagre possessions I have and give me a straw mat and daily rations of rice under a natural canopy of bamboo? Of course, I plan to work 60 hours plus for that mat, rice and bamboo--don't get me wrong. God Bless America!
Republicans Want To Get Rid Of Primary Elections To Save Money
Republican-led legislatures in five states believe they've found a way to ease the budget crunch - eliminate the costly 2004 presidential primaries.

President Bush is unlikely to face any serious opposition in the Republican run-up to the election so any budget-driven change to the primary would affect the growing field of Democratic candidates. [more]

How to profit from "The War on Terror" while controlling the datasphere

Controversial tech firm makes big bucks off of the 'War on Terror', but do they compromise National Security?
Friday, March 14, 2003
Zvi Bar'el writing in Haaretz:
Afghanistan is supposed to serve as a model of the democratization and nation-building process that the U.S. adopted when it went to war against the Al-Qaida bases in the country. Phrases such as "the liberation of Afghanistan," "the creation of representative national institutions," "human rights" and "women's rights" embellished the speeches of senior American officials, who thought that a campaign against Al-Qaida bases was not a sufficient cause to prosecute a war against Afghanistan.

We are now hearing the same phrases, this time in connection with the looming war against Iraq. The 16 months that have gone by since the change of regime in Afghanistan are not a sufficient period to gauge in-depth processes in the local society. Still, there are a number of important indexes that can be of use in an attempt to evaluate what we can expect to see in Iraq if the U.S. administration seeks to implement its Afghanistan policy there as well.

President Hamid Karzai paid a visit to Washington about a month ago, meeting with President George Bush, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and Secretary of State Colin Powell. The real reason for the visit was to ask for additional aid and security for his country. At a joint press conference with Bush, not one question was directed to Karzai. He stood next to Bush like an ornament, dressed in his by-now familiar green robe, which has become something like the logo of the new Afghanistan. None of the reporters showed any interest in him or his country.

It is difficult to find substantive proof for Bush's words of praise for Karzai's activity or for the American efforts to assist him. The draft foreign aid budget submitted by the administration to Congress contains not so much as one dollar for Afghanistan. In an unusual move, it was Congress itself that initiated aid of $300 million for Kabul. When an official of the State Department, testifying before the Senate Appropriations Committee, was asked why the administration was not asking for aid for Afghanistan, he replied that when the budget was drawn up, it was unclear how much money would be needed. The reply drew guffaws from the committee members. Karzai explained to members of Congress that he needs $1.5 billion this year for development purposes and another $500 million for routine administrative expenses.

Maddening that the "model" built in Afghanistan "is rapidly reverting to what it was during the period of Taliban rule." Oh well, on to new models that postulate the spontaneous generation of liberal democracies without all that extravagant aid. At least some folks in the unelected president's proximity are willing to tell him how completely sound thought has adjourned in the Administration.

US Announces New Ally: Harvey

March 13, 2003 - THE WHITE HOUSE - Today Colin Powell announced a powerful new US ally in the war on Iraq: Harvey. "He's big, he's mean, and he's invisible." Colin Powell told reporters. "This kind of ally can do significant damage over there."

Colin Powell then told the reporters that they could ask Harvey questions, but since Powell was the only one who could hear Harvey, he would have to translate Harvey's responses.

Helen Thomas raised her hand and was immediately escorted to the hallway ("for her own protection"). Colin Powell, after consulting his list, called on Jerry Braun from the AP. Jerry asked, "Harvey, which do you prefer, french fries or freedom fries?"

The room laughs. Colin laughs, too, then nods as he listens to Harvey's response before saying, "Freedom fries, of course. With lots of ketchup."

The White House press corp laughs harder. Some wipe tears from their eyes.

Colin looks at the list again and then calls on Mary Watanabe from the Duluth Herald. "Harvey, as we all know, Saddam Hussein is hoarding enough weapons of mass destruction to turn our beautiful big earth into nothing but a radioactive desert for millenia to come. So, even though you are aided by the heroic beyond-all-ability-to-describe US military, aren't you at all concerned for your safety?"

Colin bows his head slightly while he listens, this time his brow furrowing. "Yes, great question. Well, I love this country, enough to die for it. And I love the innocent civilians of Iraq, as well. That's why I'm willing to die to liberate them as well from the murderous dictator known as Saddam Hussein. So, there you go."

Colin raises his head and calls on another reporter from his list.

Joe Coleman from CNN asks: "Harvey, since you're invisible, will you be sent on a mission which can best utilize this ability? Namely, the assassination of Saddam Hussein? And I have a followup question."

Colin listens for a minute and then responds, "I can't talk at all about my missions right now, Joe. Let's just say that whatever I do, I do it for freedom, I do it for America, and I do it for God." Colin pauses and then asks for the followup question.

Joe: "If you're back by Easter could you come over to my house for my little daughter's Easter party? Perhaps we could paint your fur so that you could be seen--you'd make so many kids very happy."

Colin listens then, "I'd love to, Joe. Right after the Hero's Welcome Parade. The only thing I look forward to more than seeing newly liberated Iraqis jumping up and down in the street for joy because now they are free to develop their own democracy--after envying ours for so many years--is coming home to a Hero's Welcome here in America. Especially the parade in New York city to welcome us back with love, cheers and thousands of patriotic streamers!"

Colin then calls on Mimi Applegate from USA TODAY. Mimi: "Harvey, I don't have a question but a comment: WE LOVE YOU HARVEY!!!" The room cheers. [Coincidentally, this became the headline on the next day's issue of USA TODAY.] Russell Mokhiber raises his hand to ask a question and is immediately escorted out into the hallway ("for his own protection").

Colin thanks everyone for coming and relays to them Harvey's last words: "God Bless you, and God Bless America!" before closing the press conference by leading the White House press corp in a rousing recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance. Many wipe tears from their eyes. The end.

Continuing adventures in contrariansim.

No longer joining The Nation for its annual booze cruise, and finally realizing that the minibar in the MSNBC green room is woefully underequipped, Hitchens heads off today for the Beverly Hills Hotel.
Thursday, March 13, 2003
Krugman is harsh — really harsh. He nails it. A must read.

George W. Queeg
by Paul Krugman
Aboard the U.S.S. Caine, it was the business with the strawberries that finally convinced the doubters that something was amiss with the captain. Is foreign policy George W. Bush's quart of strawberries?

Over the past few weeks there has been an epidemic of epiphanies. There's a long list of pundits who previously supported Bush's policy on Iraq but have publicly changed their minds. None of them quarrel with the goal; who wouldn't want to see Saddam Hussein overthrown? But they are finally realizing that Mr. Bush is the wrong man to do the job. And more people than you would think — including a fair number of people in the Treasury Department, the State Department and, yes, the Pentagon — don't just question the competence of Mr. Bush and his inner circle; they believe that America's leadership has lost touch with reality.

If that sounds harsh, consider the debacle of recent diplomacy — a debacle brought on by awesome arrogance and a vastly inflated sense of self-importance.

Mr. Bush's inner circle seems amazed that the tactics that work so well on journalists and Democrats don't work on the rest of the world. They've made promises, oblivious to the fact that most countries don't trust their word. They've made threats. They've done the aura-of-inevitability thing — how many times now have administration officials claimed to have lined up the necessary votes in the Security Council? They've warned other countries that if they oppose America's will they are objectively pro-terrorist. Yet still the world balks.

One Jordanian Loves Microsoft, Hates America.

He explained to me in careful detail why he wants to be a shaheed, a suicide bomber against the United States, quoting at length from the Koran. But when he's not talking about blowing himself up and killing American troops, Fadi talks about his other great dream. ''I want to be a programmer at Microsoft,'' he says. ''Not just a programmer. I want to be well known, famous.''

[...] Fadi doesn't see anything strange about using American self-help tapes to get a job at an American company, while at the same time harboring hatred of the American government to the point of self-annihilation. Self-help, computer programming, the Koran and jihad are all aspects of the same thing, he says: a search for a way for a good Muslim to live in the modern world.

Bush Considers Abandoning U.N. Resolution
Forced into a diplomatic retreat, U.S. officials said Thursday that President Bush may delay a vote on his troubled U.N. resolution or even drop it - and fight Iraq without the international body's backing. France dismissed a compromise plan as an "automatic recourse to war."

Amid a swirl of recrimination and 11th-hour posturing, the White House called France's position unreasonable while U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan raised the possibility of a global summit "to get us out of this crisis."
The U.S. military is said to have been ordered to launch a war against Iraq on March 18.

An Israeli government monitor, Michael Gurdus, reported on late Tuesday that the order was relayed by U.S. Central Command to all American forces in the Persian Gulf. Gurdus told Israel's Channel 2 television that he heard the order being discussed over U.S. military radio communications.

Gurdus is regarded as the leading communications monitor in the Middle East and works for Israel radio and television. He has broken numerous stories because of his ability to intercept and understand foreign-language civilian and radio broadcasts and communications. He said the U.S. military, in its radio communications, refers to Iraq as "bad cows" and "kabab."

Pentagon sources dismissed the Israeli report. But they said the U.S. military in Kuwait has already been placed on high alert, and that the preparations for war will intensify over the weekend.


Ah, humble there anything it can't do? In addition to serving as a damn fine hat-making material for debased Freeper types, it's now being used to fashion smoking guns.

Thank God the Administration-sniffers and the Republican Guard no longer need proffer dubious assurances, indefensible tautologies, tubes of mass destruction, and cribbed homework assignments in their rush to aggrandize their Dear Leader. Their credulity was growing worrying.

FBI Probes Fake Evidence of Iraqi Nuclear Plans
The FBI is looking into the forgery of a key piece of evidence linking Iraq to a nuclear weapons program, including the possibility that a foreign government is using a deception campaign to foster support for military action against Iraq.

The phony documents -- a series of letters between Iraqi and Niger officials showing Iraq's interest in equipment that could be used to make nuclear weapons -- came to British and U.S. intelligence officials from a third country. The identity of the third country could not be learned yesterday.
by Anne Gwynne

As you gaze across these beautiful, rolling hills clothed in diaphanous greens, this monstrosity snakes across the landscape, a 500m wide wound which has slashed Palestine to the bone, standing stark and livid, bisecting the naturally unified landscape. It cuts off a family from its members, farmers from the land, neighbour from neighbour and village from village. So not only is 10% of the country’s fertile land lost, but much, much more cannot be reached by its rightful owners – condemning the farmers to a lifetime of poverty, with the land they have tilled for thousands of years within sight of their homes, and untouchable.

Our Governments are not only allowing this to happen – they are paying the astronomical cost of this madness. I knew the statistics of the wall, but to actually touch it and photograph it - that really is something else. A 300 mile-plus wall to keep out an occasional heroic act for freedom? No, this wall is designed to make life here, already intolerable, even more so, in the belief that the remaining Palestinians will be forced through hunger and poverty to leave. The insanity of it is mind-blowing.

I look on this insane manifestation of Israel’s hatred of Palestinians, their collective delusional paranoia that they ‘will all be killed’, and their insatiable greed for Palestinian land. As I stand in the shadow of this preposterous edifice, whose concrete base is taller than I am, a scream arises in the depths of my being; a scream so big that it consumes me completely, so that there is no room for breath and my heart is bursting - a scream that I want to be heard in London and Washington and New York. But it cannot escape for it is too big for my throat. And I weep bitter tears for the loss of the life of Palestine.
Why the American media shrugged off a story about spying at the United Nations

On Saturday evening March 1, Daniel Ellsberg was noodling around the Web and happened across a story from the British newspaper The Observer that caught his eye under the tantalizing headline, "Revealed: US Dirty Tricks to Win Vote on Iraq War." The paper's Martin Bright, Ed Vulliamy and Peter Beaumont had obtained a copy of a memo from a National Security Agency (NSA) official outlining U.S. plans to spy on certain United Nations Security Council members to get some insight into their thinking on Iraq and the coming Security Council vote.

Interesting, Ellsberg thought. "So I rushed out the next morning at 5 o'clock to get [The New York Times] to see how they were covering it," he told me. Naturally, he was disappointed. And remains so, because, as I write, the Times has yet to mention the story, which has received only scant coverage elsewhere in the American press.

Meanwhile, it's received far more coverage around the globe. And at the end of last week, the story took an ominous new turn. A British employee of the Government Communications Headquarters (Britain's NSA), a 28-year-old woman, was arrested on suspicion of leaking the memo. The Observer reports now that Tony Blair's government -- with his political future conceivably hanging on what happens at the United Nations in the coming days -- has commenced a search for more leakers and is seeking more arrests. Hence Ellsberg's interest.

"A Pentagon Papers case, essentially, is happening right now in Britain," he says, "around a memo whose revelation could dramatically affect the Security Council's vote. And by and large, Americans don't even know about it."

The Pentagon has threatened to fire on the satellite uplink positions of independent journalists in Iraq, according to veteran BBC war correspondent, Kate Adie. In an interview with Irish radio, Ms. Adie said that questioned about the consequences of such potentially fatal actions, a senior Pentagon officer had said: "Who cares.. ..They've been warned."

According to Ms. Adie, who twelve years ago covered the last Gulf War, the Pentagon attitude is: "entirely hostile to the the free spread of information." MORE>>
Wednesday, March 12, 2003
The military economy drains the civilian economy
"Deindustrialization has happened so quickly that America's capacity to produce anything is seriously undermined. For example, last year the New York City government announced its plans to buy a new fleet of subway cars. Though this contract is worth $3-4 billion, not one U.S. firm responded. Of 100 products offered in this fall's L.L. Bean catalogue, 92 are imported and only 8 are made in the U.S.A."

"Closing U.S. factories has not only left millions without work, but has also diminished the U.S. production capability required for repairing our broken infrastructure," Melman says. Melman doesn't mention it in his memo, but previous studies have demonstrated that a million dollars in civilian investment creates more jobs than a million dollars in military weapons systems.

The states and cities are reporting deeper deficits. This year, the states will be over $60 billion in the red. Taxes and tolls are going up. Necessities are being cut -- outlays, Melman points out, for schools, libraries, fire and police departments, sanitation department, child welfare, health care and services for elderly people. But there are hundreds of billions for Soviet-era type weapons driven by the weapons corporations and their campaign cash for key members of Congress who decide the distortions of your tax dollars.
Ralph Nader's comments on The Pentagon Connection
The Art of Urban Warfare is a game that
is played in the streets of our cities.
The Art of Urban Warfare as a game is made
visible by sprayed silhouette stencils on the walls.
The stencils used in the game have the shape of
toy soldiers in action.

HULL#01 (England) at The Art of Urban Warfare.
Tuesday, March 11, 2003
The Beastie Boys have recorded an anti-war song and have posted it on their website. Some sample lyrics:

Mirrors, smokescreens and lies
It’s not the politicians but their actions I despise
You and Saddam should kick it like back in the day
With the cocaine and Courvoisier
But you build more bombs as you get more bold
As your mid-life crisis war unfolds
All you want to do is take control
Now put that axis of evil bullshit on hold
Citizen rule number 2080
Politicians are shady
So people watch your back 'cause I think they smoke crack
I don’t doubt it look at how they act

Mitchell D. Kapor resigns from Groove over DARPA IAO conflict

Mitchell D. Kapor, a personal computer industry software pioneer and a civil liberties activist, has resigned from the board of Groove Networks after learning that the company's software was being used by the Pentagon as part of its development of a domestic surveillance system.

Mr. Kapor would say publicly only that it was a "delicate subject" and that he had resigned to pursue his interests in open source software.

The company acknowledged the resignation last week when it announced that it had received $38 million in additional financing.

"Mr. Kapor resigned from the board to focus 100 percent of his time on nonprofit activities," said a spokesman for Groove Networks, whose software has been used to permit intelligence analysts and law enforcement officials to share data in tests of the surveillance system, Total Information Awareness.

However, a person close to Mr. Kapor said that he was uncomfortable with the fact that Groove Networks' desktop collaboration software was a crucial component of the antiterrorist surveillance software being tested at the Defense Advanced Research Project Agency's Information Awareness Office, an office directed by Vice Adm. John M. Poindexter. >>
Neo-cons planned Iraq war in 1998
Years before George W. Bush entered the White House, and years before the Sept. 11 attacks set the direction of his presidency, a group of influential neo-conservatives hatched a plan to get Saddam Hussein out of power.

The group, the Project for the New American Century, or PNAC, was founded in 1997. Among its supporters were three Republican former officials who were sitting out the Democratic presidency of Bill Clinton: Donald Rumsfeld, Dick Cheney and Paul Wolfowitz.
Monday, March 10, 2003
Sen. Graham: 9-11 Cover-up
Graham says he became “outraged” by the intelligence and law-enforcement failures discovered by the inquiry—most of which, he charges, are still being suppressed by the Bush administration.

The inquiry’s 400-page report can’t be publicly released because the administration won’t declassify key portions.

Graham says the report documents far more miscues by the FBI and CIA than have been publicly revealed, as well as still unpursued leads pointing to “facilitation” of the hijackers by a “sovereign nation.” (Sources say the country is Saudi Arabia.)

“There’s been a cover-up of this,” Graham said.
Also see:

Bush's Executive Order W199I-WF-213589 that ordered Federal agents to "back off the bin Ladens" in early 2001.

BBC Newsnight Video - Transcript (11/06/01)

The rabbit hole goes much deeper than just the bin Laden brothers:
Saudis gave Al Qaida $500 million and never stopped giving

Karl Rove targets Sen. Graham
President Bush's political architect, Karl Rove, is trying to talk Housing and Urban Development Secretary Mel R. Martinez into running for the Senate against veteran Democratic Sen. Bob Graham of Florida.
The news came as a surprise to Graham's office.
GCHQ arrest over Observer spying report
An employee at the top-secret Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) has been arrested following revelations in The Observer last weekend about an American 'dirty tricks' surveillance operation to win votes at the United Nations in favour of a tough new resolution on Iraq.
Gloucestershire police confirmed last night that a 28-year-old woman was arrested last week on suspicion of contravening the Official Secrets Act. The woman, from the Cheltenham area, has been released on police bail pending further inquiries. More arrests are expected.
A top-secret memo from the National Security Agency, which monitors communications around the world, was passed to this newspaper by British security sources who objected to being asked to aid the American operation. The leak marks a serious breach between the Blair government and elements of the intelligence community opposed to using British security resources to help the US drive towards war.
Officials at GCHQ, the electronic surveillance arm of the British intelligence service, were asked by the Americans to provide valuable information from 'product lines', intelligence jargon for phone taps and e-mail interception. The document was circulated among British intelligence services before being leaked.
A GCHQ spokesman confirmed last night that the woman was an employee.
Bush Sr warning over unilateral action
THE first President Bush has told his son that hopes of peace in the Middle East would be ruined if a war with Iraq were not backed by international unity.

Thousands of eyes for an eye!

"Pentagon plans which have appeared in the Western media are now the subject of anxious discussion among Iraqis – 3,000 omahawk missiles in 48 hours for Baghdad alone; Tikrit, Saddam Hussein's birthplace and power base, to be razed; six kilos of ordnance for every Iraqi ... There will be very little by way of return fire."
If American bombers rain down horror of this magnitude on tens -- even hundreds of thousands of innocents, I never want to hear another fucking word about September 11th!

Such shame will there be upon us! How could Bush's version of God not weep at such cruelty? And what is terrorism if not this?


Black Flags
by Uri Avnery

But that was the only light moment during this visit. I had come to ask Palestinian civic leaders about the dangers threatening the Palestinian population in case of an American attack on Iraq.

They had no illusions. The present Israeli political-military leadership includes groups that have been planning for a long time to exploit a war situation in order to do things which cannot be done in ordinary times. The moral brakes that still exist in parts of the Israeli public, as well as the expected international reaction, prevent the implementation of these plans for the time being.

All this can change in a war situation. The attention of the world will be riveted to the battle in Iraq. In the Arab countries, chaos may prevail, diverting attention from the Palestinian territories. The Israeli public, fearful of Saddam's capabilities, will be (even) less sensitive to the plight of the Palestinians.

What can happen?

The list is long, and every item is worse than the preceding one.

Threats of forced mass expulsion
Israel: a new Palestinian diaspora
by Amira Hass

The repugnant idea of the 'transfer' of the Palestinians - meaning their total expulsion - now appeals to many Israelis. The Israeli army and some settlers are already organising 'mini-transfers' in the West Bank, and any serious new threat to Israel (for example, missile attacks from Iraq at war) could precipitate the brutally enforced expulsion of millions.

  thanks to Aron's Israel Peace Weblog
3 U.S. administrators will run postwar Iraq
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The U.S. government will divide Iraq into three sectors for civil administration when security is established after a war, sources tell CNN.

The plan calls for a northern and southern sector to be administered by two retired U.S. Army generals, sources said.

A central sector, including Baghdad, will be administered by Barbara Bodine, a former U.S. ambassador to Yemen, the sources said. She served in that post in October 2000, when the destroyer USS Cole was bombed in Aden harbor.
Who is Barbara Bodine?
In October of 2000, after entering the Port of Aden off the coast of Yemen, the USS Cole was hit by suicide bomber. The blast killed 17 and injured 35 Americans. John O'Neill was sent over to investigate, as head of the FBI team. Accompanying O'Neill to Yemen were over 100 FBI agents, laboratory experts and forensics specialists, as well as FBI Director Louis J. Freeh.

From the earliest moments of the investigation, O'Neill was sure Bin Laden was responsible. However, from the start, his efforts to work the case were sabotaged by US ambassador to Yemen, Barbara Bodine. Bodine refused to cooperate in the investigation or to encourage Yemenis to cooperate. Despite repeated death threats against agents, she refused to allow them to carry the type of weapons O'Neill considered adequate.

O'Neill reportedly called Louis Freeh in the middle of the night once expressing anxiety about the safety of his men. The clash between O'Neill and Bodine went steadily from bad to worse, peaking when Bodine publicly called O'Neill a liar. Incredibly, Bodine claimed that through her actions, she was merely trying to keep diplomatic relations running smoothly.

But a look at Ms. Bodine's history suggests a very different motivation. Throughout her career, Barbara Bodine has served primarily under rightwing old boys and in areas where the oil interests of said old boys are being furthered. Under Reagan, she served as Deputy Principle Officer in Baghdad, Iraq. Under Bush, Sr., she served as Deputy Chief of Mission in Kuwait and was there during the Gulf War. She has also worked for Bob Dole, and far more ominously, for Henry Kissinger.

So, in 2000 we find her in Yemen, and though a Clinton appointee, impeding the Clinton administration's efforts to conduct an investigation of a crime of terrorism in which the chief suspect is the son of a Bush family business associate.

Alice Walker Arrested For Peaceful Protestin'

. . . also arrested: Medea Benjamin of Global Exchange and Amy Goodman of Democracy Now!, founders of Code Pink.

See also: DC Indymedia, Nina Utne's Code Pink weblog & the official Code Pink website.

I also happened to come across this really wonderful profile of my heroine Amy Goodman:

Peace Correspondent

I love Amy Goodman. Love her.

Sunday, March 09, 2003
Many Kucinich backers are out there way out
Known for crusades to keep open local steel mills and hospitals and to improve safety near railroad crossings, Kucinich remains rooted in a pro-labor populist social agenda.

But he also can claim the support of a network of peace activists and New Age gurus, from those who practice meditation to those who embrace alternative religions.

He is relying on this cultivated network - even at risk of being tagged the "Moonbeam Congressman" - to help him win the 2004 Democratic presidential nomination.
Whitewashing "The Plan"

To the surprise of many, ABC’s Nightline aired a segment last week on the Project for a New American Century (PNAC). I caught the show, and figured I’d weigh in here with my impressions. (Thanks to Ray Sweatman for motivating me to post this, which is adapted from an email I sent him)

In general, I thought the show was a whitewash. Nightline presented no new information with their report; outside of journalistic ineptitude, there’s no reason why this story could not have aired months ago, when it might have had a chance to influence public discourse. Instead, it airs when war is pretty much a foregone conclusion, and after most people have made up their mind about whether Dubya should unleash the dogs of hell.

What particularly annoyed me was the way Nightline framed the story. Ted Koppel opened things up by quoting Neil MacKay’s piece from the Sunday Herald (which broke the PNAC story last September, at least in journalistic circles) and Chris Floyd’s follow up article on it for the Moscow Times. Koppel basically called both authors conspiracy theorists, which was entirely unfair. Nightline didn’t break this story – other folks had to – and now along comes Teddy K. to put the facts straight. That’s the way this was outlined.

Koppel then played off the conspiracy theme to introduce a taped segment by one of the Nightline journalists (Jackie Judd). The rest of the show tears at the conspiracy notion until the audience is left with the impression that Bill Kristol and the boys really have American interests at heart and aren’t the imperialists they so plainly are (and readily admit, albeit in different words).

Nightline essentially allowed the PNACers to make their case without any significant challenge to their worldview. Ian Lustick, a UPenn professor, was presented as a foil, but he popped up very briefly in the taped segment and his contribution was marginal. In contrast, Bill Kristol was allowed to make his sales pitch, and given the opportunity to elaborate at length about his theory on foreign policy.

The fact that Kristol was interviewed extensively in the taped segment and then allowed to go one-on-one with Koppel in studio is unacceptable. Nightline could have just as easily aired the pre-taped journalistic piece, and then put Kristol on with someone else, someone who was not a PNAC flack. Take your pick: the previously mentioned MacKay, Jay Bookman (who wrote the first major American op-ed piece on PNAC for AJC), Nick Lemann (he wrote about PNAC even prior to MacKay, for the New Yorker), or Jim Lobe (the IPS reporter who has written extensively on PNAC, frequently for Foreign Policy in Focus), to name the obvious options.

Overall, yes, it's good that the PNAC story made its way onto television. I suppose the more people who know about the plan, the better. And, hopefully, it will encourage viewers to investigate this further.

I do, however, feel like the program served more as political inoculation than anything else. It connected few dots, and led the viewer to believe that a bunch of smart folks were simply contributing ideas to the foreign policy debate, and not actually exploiting historical circumstance and their close proximity to the corridors of power to drive through an ideological agenda that has, for the most part, been hidden from public scrutiny.

Rather than taking a deep, probing look at the PNAC, Nightline can now put it on its list of stories covered. This is not something that deserves 20 minutes at 11:35pm. It’s the story that needs to be placed at the center of the debate on Iraq, precisely because you cannot understand what’s been going on for the past few months (years?) without knowing about PNAC. More or less, this Nightline report left the viewer with the notion that “there’s nothing to see here, folks.”

And, as anyone who has been following this story all along knows, that’s hardly the case.

[NB: A transcript of the Nightline program is available here.]
Bush would lose election: poll
War worries and concern about the economy have left U.S. President George W. Bush vulnerable, with new polling data showing that he would lose an election if it were held today.

The survey — done by the Polling Institute at Connecticut's Quinnipiac University — found that 48 per cent of U.S. voters would side with an unspecified "Democratic party candidate" if they had to vote right now. Only 44 per cent would vote for Mr. Bush.

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