Feb. 4, 2005

CNN.com - Pentagon�sites: Journalism or propaganda? - Feb 4, 2005

Pentagon sites: Journalism or propaganda?

Friday, February 4, 2005 Posted: 11:40 AM EST (1640 GMT)

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The U.S. Department of Defense plans to add more sites on the Internet to provide information to a global audience -- but critics question whether the Pentagon is violating President Bush's pledge not to pay journalists to promote his policies.

The Defense Department runs two Web sites overseas, one aimed at the Balkan region in Europe, the other aimed at the Maghreb area of North Africa. It is preparing another site, even as the Pentagon inspector general investigates whether the sites are appropriate. The Web sites carry stories on subjects such as politics, sports and entertainment. The sites are run by U.S. military troops trained in "information warfare," a specialty than can include battlefield deception. Pentagon officials say the goal is to counter "misinformation" about the United States in overseas media. At first glance, the Web pages appear to be independent news sites. To find out who is actually behind the content, a visitor would have to click on a small link -- at the bottom of the page -- to a disclaimer, which says, in part, that the site is "sponsored by" the U.S. Department of Defense.

Continued.....

"Magharebia" is one of the news Web site sponsored by the U.S. Department of Defense.

Feb. 3, 2005

Koranic duels ease terror | csmonitor.com

By James Brandon | Contributor to The Christian Science Monitor

SANAA, YEMEN – When Judge Hamoud al-Hitar announced that he and four other Islamic scholars would challenge Yemen's Al Qaeda prisoners to a theological contest, Western antiterrorism experts warned that this high-stakes gamble would end in disaster.

Nervous as he faced five captured, yet defiant, Al Qaeda members in a Sanaa prison, Judge Hitar was inclined to agree. But banishing his doubts, the youthful cleric threw down the gauntlet, in the hope of bringing peace to his troubled homeland.

Continued......

Salam Pax Interview

Salam Pax Interview

Link to this page:< http://zed.cbc.ca/go.ZeD?POS=4&CONTENT_ID=186317&FILTER_KEY=13087&page=content > and watch Salam Pax(not his real name), a native Iraqi, detail his perspective on war, newsgathering and journalistic bias. Quite good and very worthwhile.

Gary Williams

Feb. 2, 2005

White House Propoganda Tool/Stooge (Stool?)

White House-Friendly Reporter Under Scrutiny
by Charlie Savage and Alan Wirzbicki

WASHINGTON -- The Bush administration has provided White House media credentials to a man who has virtually no journalistic background, asks softball questions to the president and his spokesman in the midst of contentious news conferences, and routinely reprints long passages verbatim from official press releases as original news articles on his website.

Jeff Gannon calls himself the White House correspondent for TalonNews.com, a website that says it is 'committed to delivering accurate, unbiased news coverage to our readers.' It is operated by a Texas-based Republican Party delegate and political activist who also runs GOPUSA.com, a website that touts itself as 'bringing the conservative message to America.'

Called on last week by President Bush at a press conference, Gannon attacked Democratic Senate leaders and called them 'divorced from reality.' During the presidential campaign, when called on by Press Secretary Scott McClellan, Gannon linked Senator John F. Kerry, Democrat of Massachusetts, to Jane Fonda and questioned why anyone would dispute Bush's National Guard service.

Now, the question of how Gannon gets into White House press conferences is coming under intense scrutiny from critics who contend that Gannon is not a journalist but rather a White House tool to soften media coverage of Bush. The issue was raised by a media watchdog group and picked up by Internet bloggers, who linked Gannon's presence in White House briefings to recent controversies over whether the administration manipulates the flow of information to the public."

Continued.......

Feb. 1, 2005

The MadCow Morning News

Rudi Dekkers has been regularly entering the U.S. illegally through the Bahamas, the MadCowMorningNews has learned.

In an effort to evade U.S. Customs scrutiny, the infamous Dutch national running the Venice FL. flight school which both terrorist pilots who crashed into the World Trade Center used as “cover” is "slipping" into the U.S. from the Bahamas after exchanging clothes with one of the pilots on the charter flight which flew to pick him up.

Then, wearing the charter pilot’s uniform, multiple sources confirm, Dekkers walks through U.S. Customs.

At least several of the charter flights were reportedly operated by Rex Air, located at the Naples Airport, and owned by Rex Gasteiger, a German national who purchased a flight school there named Wolf Aero in the late 90’s from Wolfgang Bohringer, another German national, and a close friend of Mohamed Atta, according to Atta’s one-time American girlfriend, Amanda Keller.

read the full story at http://www.madcowprod.com/

[Fwd: Iraq Dispatches: WhatThey’re Not Telling You About the “Election”]

** Dahr Jamail's Iraq Dispatches ** ** http://dahrjamailiraq.com **

What They're Not Telling You About the "Election"

February 01, 2005

The day of blood and elections has passed, and the blaring trumpets of corporate media hailing it as a successful show of “democracy” have subsided to a dull roar.

After a day which left 50 people dead in Iraq, both civilians and soldiers, the death toll was hailed as a figure that was “lower than expected.” Thus…acceptable, by Bush Administration/corporate media standards. After all, only of them was an American, the rest were Iraqis civilians and British soldiers.

The gamble of using the polling day in Iraq to justify the ongoing failed occupation of Iraq has apparently paid off, if you watch only mainstream media.

“Higher than expected turnout,” US mainstream television media blared, some citing a figure of 72%, others 60%.

What they didn’t tell you was that this figure was provided by Farid Ayar, the spokesman for the Independent Electoral Commission for Iraq (IECI) before the polls had even closed.

When asked about the accuracy of the estimate of voter turnout during a press conference, Ayar backtracked on his earlier figure, saying that a closer estimate was lower than his initial estimate and would be more like 60% of registered voters.

The IECI spokesman said his previous figure of 72% was “only guessing” and “was just an estimate,” which was based on “very rough, word-of mouth estimates gathered informally from the field. It will take some time for the IECI to issue accurate figures on turnout.”

Referencing both figures, Ayar then added, “Percentages and numbers come only after counting and will be announced when it's over ... It's too soon to say that those were the official numbers.”

But this isn’t the most important misrepresentation the mainstream media committed.

What they also didn’t tell you was that of those who voted, whether they be 35% or even 60% of registered voters, were not voting in support of an ongoing US occupation of their country.

In fact, they were voting for precisely the opposite reason. Every Iraqi I have spoken with who voted explained that they believe the National Assembly which will be formed soon will signal an end to the occupation.

And they expect the call for a withdrawing of foreign forces in their country to come sooner rather than later. This causes one to view the footage of cheering, jubilant Iraqis in a different light now, doesn’t it?

But then, most folks in the US watching CNN, FOX, or any of the major networks won’t see it that way. Instead, they will hear what Mr. Bush said, “The world is hearing the voice of freedom from the center of the Middle East,” and take it as fact because most of the major media outlets aren’t scratching beneath film clips of joyous Iraqi voters over here in the land of daily chaos and violence, no jobs, no electricity, little running water and no gasoline (for the Iraqis anyhow).

And Bush is portrayed by the media as the bringer of democracy to Iraq by the simple fact that this so-called election took place, botched as it may have been. Appearances suggest that the majority Shia in Iraq now finally get their proportional representation in a “government.” Looks good on paper.

But as you continue reading, the seemingly altruistic reasons for this election as portrayed by the Bush Administration and trumpeted by most mainstream media are anything but.

And Iraqis who voted are hearing other trumpets that are blaring an end to the occupation. Now the question remains, what happens when the National Assembly is formed and over 100,000 US soldiers remain on the ground in Iraq with the Bush Administration continuing in its refusal to provide a timetable for their removal?

What happens when Iraqis see that while there are already four permanent US military bases in their country, rather than beginning to disassemble them, more bases are being constructed, as they are, by Cheney’s old company Halliburton, right now?

Antonia Juhasz, a /Foreign Policy in Focus/ scholar, authored a piece just before the “election” that sheds light on a topic that has lost attention amidst the recent fanfare concerning the polls in Iraq.

Oil.

I think it’s worth including much of her story here, as it fits well with today’s topic of things most folks aren’t being told by the bringers of democracy to the heart of the Middle East.

/On Dec. 22, 2004, Iraqi Finance Minister Abdel Mahdi told a handful of reporters and industry insiders at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. that Iraq wants to issue a new oil law that would open Iraq's national oil company to private foreign investment. As Mahdi explained: "So I think this is very promising to the American investors and to American enterprise, certainly to oil companies." In other words, Mahdi is proposing to privatize Iraq's oil and put it into American corporate hands.
According to the finance minister, foreigners would gain access both to "downstream" and "maybe even upstream" oil investment. This means foreigners can sell Iraqi oil and own it under the ground — the very thing for which many argue the U.S. went to war in the first place. As Vice President Dick Cheney's Defense Policy Guidance report explained back in 1992, "Our overall objective is to remain the predominant outside power in the [Middle East] region and preserve U.S. and Western access to the region's oil."
While few in the American media other than Emad Mckay of Inter Press Service reported on — or even attended — Mahdi’s press conference, the announcement was made with U.S. Undersecretary of State Alan Larson at Mahdi's side. It was intended to send a message — but to whom? It turns out that Abdel Mahdi is running in the Jan. 30 elections on the ticket of the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution (SCIR), the leading Shiite political party. While announcing the selling-off of the resource which provides 95 percent of all Iraqi revenue may not garner Mahdi many Iraqi votes, but it will unquestionably win him tremendous support from the U.S. government and U.S. corporations.
Mahdi's SCIR is far and away the front-runner in the upcoming elections, particularly as it becomes increasingly less possible for Sunnis to vote because the regions where they live are spiraling into deadly chaos. If Bush were to suggest to Iraq’s Interim Prime Minister Iyad Allawi that elections should be called off, Mahdi and the SCIR's ultimate chances of victory will likely decline./

I’ll add that the list of political parties Mahdi’s SCIR belongs to, The United Iraqi Alliance (UIA), includes the Iraqi National Council, which is led by an old friend of the Bush Administration who provided the faulty information they needed to justify the illegal invasion of Iraq, none other than Ahmed Chalabi.

It should also be noted that interim Prime Minister Iyad Allawi also fed the Bush Administration cooked information used to justify the invasion, but he heads a different Shia list which will most likely be getting nearly as many votes as the UIA list.

And The UIA has the blessing of Iranian born revered Shiite cleric, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani. Sistani issued a fatwa which instructed his huge number of followers to vote in the election, or they would risk going to hell.

/Thus, one might argue that the Bush administration has made a deal with the SCIR: Iraq's oil for guaranteed political power. The Americans are able to put forward such a bargain because Bush still holds the strings in Iraq.

Regardless of what happens in the elections, for at least the next year during which the newly elected National Assembly writes a constitution and Iraqis vote for a new government, the Bush administration is going to control the largest pot of money available in Iraq (the $24 billion in U.S. taxpayer money allocated for the reconstruction), the largest military and the rules governing Iraq's economy. Both the money and the rules will, in turn, be overseen by U.S.-appointed auditors and inspector generals who sit in every Iraqi ministry with five-year terms and sweeping authority over contracts and regulations. However, the one thing which the administration has not been unable to confer upon itself is guaranteed access to Iraqi oil — that is, until now.

And there is so much more they are not telling you. Just like the Iraqis who voted, believing they did so to bring an end to the occupation of their country.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
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Jan. 31, 2005

Ratner and Ray:� Bay and Rule by Executive Fiat

January 31, 2005
Please Distribute Widely

Dear Colleague:

Today we publish "Guantanamo Bay and Rule by Executive Fiat," the first chapter of "Guantánamo Bay: What the World Should Know," a book-long interview of Michael Ratner by Ellen Ray that we are publishing serially on Narco News. The chapter starts of with human rights lawyer Michael Ratner giving a brief history of the U.S. naval base-turned-interrogation-camp on the shores of the Republic of Cuba, perhaps the most potent and symbolic remnant of U.S. turn-of-the-century military imperialism.

Authentic Journalist Ellen Ray soon jumps into the heart of the legal questions surrounding Guantánamo and its use for holding suspected "terrorists" for unlimited amounts of time without any rights to trial and other elements of due process.

"Ray: Why should American citizens be concerned about Guantánamo and what is taking place there? "Ratner: A ...reason we should care is what this all means for the future of the rule of law, and for the building of societies that are based upon the rule of law and not on the dictates of kings or presidents. For nearly eight hundred years, since the signing of the Magna Carta in 1215, our laws have insisted that every single human being is entitled to some kind of judicial process before he or she can be thrown in jail. The United States is trying to overturn one of the most fundamental principles of Anglo-American jurisprudence and international law. This is a principle that is found in the Declaration of the Rights of Man, in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

Read the full chapter, with many more insights and concrete examples of these abuses, at:

http://www.narconews.com

No Soup For You!

** Dahr Jamail's Iraq Dispatches **
** http://dahrjamailiraq.com **


January 31, 2005

Some Just Voted for Food

Inter Press Service
Dahr Jamail

*BAGHDAD, Jan 31 (IPS) - Voting in Baghdad was linked with receipt of food rations, several voters said after the Sunday poll.*

Many Iraqis said Monday that their names were marked on a list provided by the government agency that provides monthly food rations before they were allowed to vote.

”I went to the voting center and gave my name and district where I lived to a man,” said Wassif Hamsa, a 32-year-old journalist who lives in the predominantly Shia area Janila in Baghdad. ”This man then sent me to the person who distributed my monthly food ration.”

Mohammed Ra'ad, an engineering student who lives in the Baya'a district of the capital city reported a similar experience.

continued......

Jan. 30, 2005

Eavesdropping on terror talk in Germany

Eavesdropping on terror talk in Germany
Authorities learned how the suspects, who were arrested a week ago, tried to operate without attracting attention.
By Faye Bowers | Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor


WASHINGTON – The surveillance scheme was working perfectly: German intelligence operatives were watching and listening to two terror suspects living in their country for more than two years.

The eavesdropping was yielding a plethora of detail on the cells' desires, plans, and unusual source of funding. The hope was the spying would go on for a long time - long enough to grab others involved in the network.

Instead, according to a European official knowledgeable about the operation, the two terror suspects suddenly made plans to move to the Netherlands. The German agents - unsure if they would lose contact - moved in and had them arrested this past weekend. "The arrests weren't planned," says the European source. "This story from the intelligence and law-enforcement sides now, sadly, is over."

In the end, the surveillance operation offers an inside look at some of the problems and progress of those on the frontlines of the war on terror.

For one thing, it shows that successes are occurring: In addition to the two suspects arrested in Germany - and the information gleaned during the surveillance operation - two other high-level terrorists were apprehended this week in Iraq. Second, it illustrates how difficult it is to tap into terrorist cells and gather enough information to stop a specific attack or round up all those involved. Third, it highlights how contentious the relationship can be between intelligence agencies and local police, which often have different mandates and goals.

"My former service was in the business of letting people run in order to scoop in as many as possible," says Stella Rimington, the former head of MI5, Britain's domestic intelligence service. "But we have to work with the police, and they are of course anxious to bring things to a conclusion without taking too many risks."

Still, the agents learned a lot about how Al Qaeda is evolving and its relationship with sleeper cells in Europe. Significantly, the agents listened to the alleged terrorists discuss ways to obtain uranium to make a dirty bomb in order to kill as many Americans as possible, according to the European official. They heard them recruit suicide bombers from Germany's well-established Muslim community to send to Iraq. They overheard plots to cheat companies out of life-insurance benefits to pay for their illicit activities.

continued.....

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And that's how the "War On Terror" should be conducted. There is no earthly reason for the suspension of Constitutional rights, the wars on Iraq, civil rights, drugs, the pending war on Iran, ect. No other reason *other than* to further the neocon agenda, which appears to be the world domination by a few, powerful elite......*fascism* in other words

Halliburton may ditch Iraq deal

"Halliburton may not submit new bids to provide US troops with logistical support in Iraq if the US army decides to break up its current contract.

The US Army confirmed reports it is considering the break-up of the deal, thought to be worth $13bn (�7.3bn).

It added the firm would be allowed to rebid if the contract is cancelled.

But Halliburton chief executive Dave Lesar said that a fresh bid would depend on how many separate pieces emerged from the contract break-up.

The US Army is now considering which parts of the multibillion-dollar logistics contract awarded to Halliburton to feed, house, and operate services for troops could go to competitive bid.

Charges concerns

The company has been accused of overcharging since it was handed the no-bid contract last year.

US Vice-President Dick Cheney headed the firm until he took office in 2001.

He has, however, denied that this has led to preferential treatment for the firm."

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FBI 'studying Halliburton deals'

Last Updated: Friday, 15 October, 2004, 13:27 GMT 14:27 UK

US agrees to Halliburton inquiry


The US government will set up an inquiry into the no-bid Iraq contracts given to Halliburton, the company once run by Vice President Dick Cheney.
The move is the latest embarrassment for the firm, which faces losing its Iraq contracts with the US Army.
Halliburton's Iraq deals had been criticised by the International Advisory Monitoring Board, a UN group monitoring the use of Iraq's resources.

Meanwhile, a Halliburton affiliate faces a probe by Nigeria's parliament.
Portugal-registered TSKJ comprising Technip of France and Snamprogetti Netherlands faces allegations of bribery.
Halliburton acquired the firm in 1998.

Continued.......