February, 2003 link archive

Monday, February 3, 2003

Gregg Easterbrook calls for an end to the space shuttle. He argues that for 20 years, the American space program "has been wedded to a space-shuttle system that is too expensive, too risky, too big for most of the ways it is used, with budgets that suck up funds that could be invested in a modern system that would make space flight cheaper and safer."

Easterbrook warned of possible problems with the space shuttle in "Beam Me Out Of This Death Trap, Scotty," a Washington Monthly article that was published in 1980, one year before Columbia's first launch.

A former NASA engineer tells the Observer how he was rebuffed in his attempts to get shuttle flights halted until safety issues were addressed. Plus: "NASA dismissed advisers who warned about safety."

View front page images of Sunday's newspapers.

As conspiracy theories spring up on the Internet, the domain name columbiadisaster.com is scooped up by a Pennsylvania company.

White House says shuttle disaster won't delay Iraq plans.

Among the Iraq polls at PollingReport.com, is a Fox News/Opinion Dynamics Poll in which 81% of the respondents believe that Saddam "has ties to the terrorist group Al-Qaeda," and an ABC poll in which 68% believe that Iraq has "provided direct support to the Al-Qaeda terrorist group."

Osamaddam Do ordinary Americans think bin Laden and Saddam are the same man?

CIA analysts and FBI investigators question the evidence linking Iraq to al-Qaeda. Plus: In pursuit of the Holy Grail and "Spies, Lies and Iraq."

The head of Answar-al Islam, Mullah Krekar, tells the Los Angeles Times that while his group's aim is to topple the Iraqi regime, he opposes a U.S. attack because "Saddam attaches no importance to humanitarian values, and if he is cornered and realizes that he is going to be hit, he will sink the boat with everyone and everything in it."

Charley Reese says that President Bush has painted himself into a corner with his dogmatic insistence that Iraq has weapons of mass destruction.

Blix Nixed BuzzFlash reports that most major media Web sites ignored an interview that Hans Blix gave to the New York Times, in which he said that there was insufficient evidence to justify a war with Iraq and that the Bush administration was distorting the findings of his report.

A former CIA Iraq specialist disputes the claim that Saddam "gassed his own people," but Human Rights Watch says that the report he cites is "unsubstantiated."

The Pentagon stocks up on "human remains pouches" and the U.S. Navy offers sign-on bonuses for morticians.

On January 24, CBS reported that the battle plan for Iraq, based on a Pentagon concept called "Shock and Awe," called for launching 600 to 800 cruise missiles during the first 48 hours. Now, the New York Times reports that the plan calls for a total of 3,000 precision-guided bombs and missiles to be launched in the first 48 hours.

"If you want to win an election, just control the voting machines."

Political consultant William Klein asks: "What happens when the voice of the people gets as fake as a television laugh track?"

Get your free day pass here to read Salon's interview with self-described "elderly dope fiend," Hunter S. Thompson.

Daniel Forbes -- who exposed a payola scheme in which the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) granted TV networks some $22 million in ad time they owed it in exchange for inserting anti-drug plots in their shows -- looks at the anti-abortion subtext of a new ONDCP ad launched during the Super Bowl.

A new study shows that British pot smokers have money to burn.

Tuesday, February 4, 2003

In Saddam's Pocket Iraqjournal.org's Jeremy Scahill reports on the money that major TV networks are forking over to Iraqi officials and the government "to ensure access once the bombs start flying." He finds it "particularly ironic that while Rupert Murdoch's 'troops' from FOX News rally for the war, dismissing antiwar activists as dupes of the Iraqi regime, the 'network America trusts' is paying 'Saddam' (as they refer to Iraq) hand over fist tens of thousands of dollars every month."

Foreign diplomats leaving Iraq, not waiting around for the missiles.

Katie and Matt Go to War In an article headlined "War scenario: Tough, not fluff," producers of syndicated entertainment shows like "Entertainment Tonight" and "Access Hollywood," say that in the event of war with Iraq, they plan to switch from covering celebrities to interviewing celebrity news anchors.

U.N. Cover Up! Picasso's "Guernica" deemed inappropriate backdrop for media briefings about war. Plus: Bombing the Basques.

Why you have a distorted worldview and what to do about it.

The Vatican weighs in on the New Age movement, in a document titled "Jesus Christ the Bearer of the Water of Life: A Christian Reflection on the 'New Age.'"

The new edition of the "Encyclopedia of American Religion" lists more than 2,600 U.S. and Canadian faith groups, including Kennedy Worshippers, who have made the late U.S. president into a divinity and the Two-by-Twos, a network of nomadic evangelists.

Ol' Time Religion A Washington Post analysis says that with his 2004 budget, that includes cuts in programs for rural development, family literacy, vocational education, environmental protection and public housing revitalization, "President Bush appears to have stepped back from his 'compassionate conservatism' agenda and picked up the fallen standard of the Reagan Revolution."

The Institute for Public Accuracy offers an almost line-by-line analysis of President Bush's State of the Union address. Plus: Bush's assassination boast.

Deficit Bombing Knight Ridder reports that the Bush administration's 2004 military budget, "described offhandedly by one official as 'about a billion dollars a day or $42 million an hour,' provides no money for war with Iraq."

Come on all of you big strong men, Country Joe is at it again -- with an entire page of take offs on "I-Feel-Like-I'm-Fixin'-To-Die Rag," including "Fixin' to Die in Iraq."

Read recent profiles of "Get Your War On" creator David Rees in LA Weekly and the New York Press. Plus: Get your invasion on?

In the latest CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll, 52% of respondents say that they could change their mind about invading Iraq and six in 10 say that Secretary of State Powell's presentation to the U.N. will be "very important" in determining their view. They also chose Powell over President Bush as the more trustworthy decision maker on U.S.-Iraq policy -- by a 63% to 24% margin.

Powell appears to pull back from claims that he would show the U.N. a link between al-Qaeda and Iraq.

Web site promotes self-love to end conflict.

In an interview with "Doublethink," the magazine of the conservative America's Future Foundation, Christopher Hitchens says that he'd "vote for Bush. The important thing is this: Is a candidate completely serious about prosecuting the war on theocratic terrorism to the fullest extent? Only Bush is." Hitchens also suggests that Bill Clinton was a CIA plant at Oxford, where both were students in the late 1960s.

Josh Marshall is surprised that no one has raised the fact that Miguel Estrada, the White House's nominee for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, was one of the lead lawyers on President Bush's legal team arguing the Florida recount cases: "That's certainly something I'd want to know more about." (scroll down)

The Rittenhouse Review looks at the conspiracy of silence surrounding Estrada's judicial and legal views.

Dan Rather gets spaced out on Columbia. Plus: "Welcome to mourning TV."

Wednesday, February 5, 2003

Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage tells the Senate foreign relations committee that North Korea is a worse weapons proliferator than Iraq and that the U.S. also has "suspicions" that North Korea has spread nuclear weapons technology, indicating that Pakistan and Libya might have benefited.

In a recent New Yorker article, Seymour Hersh disclosed the existence of a top secret June 2002 CIA report that included details of how Pakistan shared its nuclear weapons secrets with North Korea in exchange for missiles that it needed to deliver nuclear warheads. The report "remained unpublicized throughout the summer and early fall, as the administration concentrated on laying the groundwork for a war with Iraq."

The Washington Post followed up on Hersh's article, noting the "complex and hidden trail of intelligence about the North Korean effort that has raised questions about why the Bush administration waited until early October 2002 to confront officials in the capital, Pyongyang, with the intelligence -- and to go public several weeks later -- when details had been accumulating for more than two years."

Regarding recent satellite images that show North Korea apparently taking steps toward reprocessing plutonium, Nicholas Kristof asks: "Can you imagine if it were Iraq that had been spotted moving nuclear fuel around?"

North Korea steps up anti-U.S. propaganda, launches poster campaign.

A TomPaine.com correspondent reports from the Conservative Political Action Conference's 30th annual meeting, where David Horowitz claimed that the peace movement was being led by tools of North Korea and 1940s film star Jane Russell pined for Hollywood's more wholesome past, "when there was a code and we couldn't make these naughty things." Parts one and two.

A freelance writer's Playboy past rubs Horowitz associate the wrong way.

"Hide Your Books" Third grade teacher busted for turning off the TV.

Anti-war activists build "buzz for peace" by creating their own media.

A six-member "team" of Canadian "weapons inspectors," that includes politicians, academics and labor organizers, announces its intention to look for stockpiles of chemical, biological and nuclear weapons in the U.S." Plus: How to become an "honorary weapons inspector."

U.S. rejects inspections, claims biological and chemical programs aren't offensive.

FAIR documents instances in which U.S. journalists have "turned up their own smoking guns" on Iraq: "The media's intensive coverage of the U.N. inspections has repeatedly glided from reporting the allegation that Iraq is hiding banned weapons materials to repeating it as a statement of fact."

"Blood, Stats, and Tears" Crunching the numbers on a possible war with Iraq.

British interviewer criticized for softballing Saddam. Plus: "Pressing the press on Iraq."

White House drops claim that President Bush visited Johnson Space Center while governor of Texas. Plus: MSNBC's Ashleigh Banfield observed behaving badly as media descend on Nacogdoches.

"On the Media's" Bob Garfield asks MSNBC's Dan Abrams how he feels about his role as ringmaster of the latest media circus: "You went to law school. You're a lawyer. You now have your own show on a national cable network, and -- you're doing wall to wall coverage of the Lacey Peterson case. Dan, is this really how you want to make a living?"

Thursday, February 6, 2003

Timothy Garton Ash defends his position of "tortured liberal ambivalence" on Iraq, offers what he sees as four strong arguments on each side.

"A dove's guide: how to be an honest critic of the war."

U.S. poet laureate Billy Collins joins the movement of poets against war with Iraq. Earlier: British poet laureate Andrew Motion's "Causa Belli."

The New York Times editorializes that Secretary of State Powell's presentation "may not have produced a 'smoking gun,' but it left little question that Mr. Hussein had tried hard to conceal one."

A Salon panel weighs the evidence and Joe Conason asks: "Does this information prove that war is the best and only means to implement Resolution 1441? And if this information is accurate, was it provided to the UNMOVIC inspectors in full compliance with the responsibilities placed on all member states by that resolution?" Salon day pass here.

Ali Abunimah argues that Powell's "flashy presentation did not conceal holes in the American case that a U.S. Navy battle group could sail through with room to spare."

Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq (CASI) reportedly accuses the British government of plagiarizing its Iraq dossier.

Where Does Guinea Stand? Slate assesses how well Powell did at the U.N. Plus: U.S officials said to dismiss France's call for stronger inspections.

Was some potentially damning evidence left out?

Robert Fisk revisits "the land that both President Bush and Prime Minister Blair promised not to forget."

Fisk told a Harvard audience that the media are reluctant to discuss civilian casualties caused by Western intervention in the Middle East. He cited as an example an epidemic of cancer caused by Depleted Uranium in Iraq after the 1991 Gulf War. Plus: DU in Afghanistan.

Le Monde looks at "Les chaînes de télévision américaines sont sur le pied de guerre." Truthout provides the translation.

Seconds Opinion TV critic finds rapid-fire newscast "exhausting." He reports that "many stories merited fewer than 15 seconds - some fewer than 10," and that the mayor's State of the City address was reduced to a six-word sound bite: "Baltimore is about to be tested."

Democrats reportedly set to get their filibuster on over Miguel Estrada nomination. Does Estrada have a pinocchio nose on abortion issue?

Brit Hit Theater-goers flock to "The Madness of George Dubya." Plus: President tries new fund-raising tactic.

Dustin Hoffman accuses the Bush administration of "manipulating the grief of the country" following 9/11.

A former chief of staff for the Senate foreign relations committee says that it's "time for Congress or the courts to blow the whistle on the Bush administration's excessive secrecy."

North Korea asserts right to pre-emptive attack, threatens U. S. with first strike.

Friday, February 7, 2003

Must-Read TV During a BBC appearance, Prime Minister Tony Blair is grilled by the host and members of a live studio audience highly critical of his stance on Iraq. One questioner addressed Blair as the "right honourable member for Texas North" and "Mr. Vice-President."

The Washington Post's ombudsman responds to a reader's complaint about President Bush's "unwillingness to participate in press conferences." Bush, who hasn't held a solo press conference since November 7, has held 39, compared to 84 for Bill Clinton during his first two years.

In advance of Clinton's appearance on "Larry King Live," Wolf Blitzer read the results of the "Web Question of the Day" -- Which president do you admire most? "Look at these results so far: 18 percent of you say Ronald Reagan, 2 percent the first president Bush, 63 percent of you say Bill Clinton, 17 percent of you say the current President Bush."

Clinton opens for the Stones, at the band's first free concert since Altamont.

The story of how the British government plagiarized its Iraq dossier -- which Secretary of State Powell in his U.N. presentation referred as a "fine paper ... which describes in exquisite detail Iraqi deception activities," -- began with this post on the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq's discussion list.

Britain's "Channel Four News" broke the story, which has since been reported by, among others, the Guardian, the Nation and CNN.

"One wanted to believe him," writes Robert Fisk, but "when General Powell started blathering on about 'decades' of contact between Saddam and al-Qa'ida, things went wrong for the Secretary of State. Al-Qa'ida only came into existence five years ago, since Bin Laden – 'decades' ago – was working against the Russians for the CIA."

Antonia Zerbisias joins Fisk in calling attention to the book "Collateral Language: A User's Guide To America's New War."

This week's BBC caption contest photo is Secretary of State Powell holding up a vial of simulated anthrax during his U.N. presentation. Atrios' readers weigh in.

Defense Secretary Rumsfeld is reportedly pushing to allow the use of chemical agents -- similar to the fentanyl gas employed by the Russians to take out Chechen hostage takers last year -- during a possible war against Iraq.

Germans seethe over latest Rumsfeld put down -- that the country's anti-war stance puts it on a par with Libya and Cuba.

Business Week quotes a conservative think tanker on the "clear pattern" that has developed in the Bush administration's foreign policy: "They throw out something that seems just outrageous and revolutionary. Then they push Colin Powell to the front to try to achieve the goal through traditional diplomatic means."

Jeanne D'Arc examines the controversial decision by the U.S. Ambassador to the Holy See to bring Michael Novak -- a Catholic theologian and scholar at the American Enterprise Institute -- to Rome to help make the case that war is justified.

"Although financial reporters have started to realize that Mr. Bush is out of control," writes Paul Krugman, "the sheer banana-republic irresponsibility of his plans hasn't been widely appreciated."

In the latest caper flick, "The Sting meets The Grifters at the Heritage Foundation!"

Wealthy Americans are suing two of the Big Four accounting firms for providing bad tax-dodging advice. Read it and weep: "He made $169 million, but may lose it all."

Hip-hop impresario Russell Simmons has called for a boycott of Pepsi because it applied a double standard by hiring foul-mouthed Ozzy Osbourne as a pitchman only months after dropping rapper Ludacris for his vulgar language.

Pepsi yanked commercials featuring Ludacris after Bill O'Reilly urged viewers to boycott the company. Soundbitten has compared O'Reilly's vulgarity to Ludacris' and reported on O'Reilly's hip-hop problem. The latest from Soundbitten on O'Reilly here.

O'Reilly berates guest whose father died in the 9/11 attacks. Download the MP3 of O'Reilly losing it.

Todd Gitlin says "It's all attitude, all the time at FOX News."

America's most hawkish major daily newspaper?

Monday, February 10, 2003

The Daily Rotten has posted the full text of the secret draft of the Domestic Security Enhancement Act of 2003 (Patriot Act II) that was leaked to The Center for Public Integrity. Read Bill Moyers' interview with Charles Lewis, the Center's executive director.

The Agonist surveys the reaction of conservative bloggers to Patriot Act II.

A Computerworld reporter explains how he was hoaxed by a journalist who posed as a member of a Pakistani terrorist organization and claimed responsibility for having authored the Slammer Internet worm.

Thomas Friedman on Oprah Winfrey on Iraq.

A columnist for the Arizona Republic suggests that the U.S. lighten up.

Media virtually ignore the introduction of a bi-partisan bill to repeal the Iraq Use of Force Resolution passed by Congress last October.

U.S. and British proposal for a second U.N. resolution said to include a provision giving Saddam as little as 48 hours to leave Iraq or face war. Plus: U.S. opens checkbook to gain support for war.

The Independent editorializes that Prime Minister Blair can't be trusted on Iraq and William Shawcross counters that attacks on Blair and President Bush are ignorant and simplistic.

U.S. officials launch preemptive attack on a French-German proposal to send U.N. peacekeepers to Iraq and increase the number of weapons inspectors.

U.S. tightens economic screws on Germany over Iraq.

Germany's anti-war Rumsfeld's disown Donald. Plus: Rumsfeld's testimony on the use of biochemical weapons in Iraq.

"Smoking guns" offer verifiable ties to Saddam.

As the war PR machine kicks into high gear, Laura Miller's "War is Sell" recounts a campaign that began with intensive planning last July.

Saudis float plan for military disengagement from the U.S., say that Crown Prince Abdullah will ask for withdrawal of all American armed forces as soon as Iraq plays out.

CNN's Aaron Brown asks Gore Vidal: "Do you really think that it is as simple as a war about oil?" Vidal responds that "Nothing is simple in this life. Ostensibly, yes, it is about oil."

Howard Kurtz profiles Bill O'Reilly, but fails to mention that last week O'Reilly lied about initiating a boycott against Pepsi, told the son of a 9/11 victim to "shut up" and called illegal immigrants from Mexico "wetbacks." Is it time for a boycott of O'Reilly's advertisers?

The executive director of New Hampshire's Republican State Committee has resigned following allegations that the party hired a telemarketing firm to jam Democratic phone lines on Election Day.

AARP warns seniors about drug company-financed astroturf groups.

Media downplay arrests of homegrown terrorist suspects.

New York Sun editorial suggests treason prosecution for anti-war protesters.

If the predicted turnout of 750,000 holds, Saturday's Hyde Park anti-war demonstration will be the largest political protest in British history.

Insanity A group called Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity questions Secretary of State Powell's U.N. presentation and the U.S. rationale for war. UPI article.

Kurdish leaders have reportedly been given U.S. backing for a strike on Ansar al-Islam's "chemical weapons site" in northern Iraq .

Tuesday, February 11, 2003

The New Yorker's Nicholas Lemann looks at the Bush administration's plan to remake the Middle East.

Robert Novak says that the idea of an American imperium makes some conservative supporters of President Bush nervous.

YellowTimes.org has been taken off-line by its hosting company. The publisher says that hacker attacks, which have been going on for the last six months, intensify when the site publishes the views of an Iraqi former nuclear scientist who has painted a less than vibrant picture of the country's nuclear weapons program.

The Detroit Free Press reports on Iraqi exiles living in the Detroit area, who are anxious to help oust Saddam, but also wary of U.S.' motives. Earlier: Mark Singer visited Dearborn, MI, America's largest Arab community.

Slate's Timothy Noah on why he went from dove to hawk on Iraq.

Ted Turner derides an attack on Iraq and Rupert Murdoch says he likes the idea of $20 a barrel oil. Plus: Extreme France-bashing at Murdoch's New York Post and CNN's Tucker Carlson gets educated.

The Washington Post reports on the mainstreaming of anti-Americanism in Western Europe: "The immediate focus might be U.S. policy toward Iraq, but the larger emerging theme is an abiding sense of fear and loathing of American power, policies and motives."

A former CIA counterterrorism official disputes Attorney General Ashcroft's contention that the new terror alert is "clearly unrelated" to the buildup of U.S. forces in the Middle East.

Why taking it up a level doesn't do much for national defense.

Israel cancels plans to allow Palestinians to visit relatives and friends in other towns during the four-day Eid al-Adha holiday, citing a surge in suicide bombing threats.

Israel's "national explainer" ratchets up the anxiety level.

Judge upholds NYPD ban on anti-war march.

The Guardian's Gary Younge goes in search of the left in America. He quotes Katha Pollitt who says that "What we think of as the left is really a collection of single or dual issues that network with each other but there really isn't a home for them."

Dave Johnson follows the money to find out who's backing the attack on liberal professors.

Josh Marshall investigates GOP Marketplace, the company that was hired by the New Hampshire Republican party to jam Democratic phone lines on Election Day: "So who else did GOP Marketplace work for in 2002? There were a lot of close races last year." (scroll up for follow-up)

After watching the Rev. Al Sharpton deliver a sermon, a Chicago Sun-Times columnist concludes that Democrats are encouraging Sen. Carol Moseley-Braun to run for president because "Sharpton is good. Real good." And "If the first black woman in the U.S. Senate can dilute some of Sharpton's support, he becomes a non-factor."

Sharpton travels to Iowa, warns of "elephants in donkey clothes."

Dana Milbank asks: "Is President Bush afraid of Sen. John Edwards?"

Bush administration proposes rent increase on people who receive federal housing aid.

An Alabama teenager and first-time offender has been sentenced to 26 years in prison for selling four ounces of marijuana -- about $350 worth -- to an undercover agent.

A federal appeals court has ruled that officials in Arkansas can force a prisoner on death row to take antipsychotic drugs to make him sane enough to execute.

"Bowling for Columbine" and Eminem's "Lose Yourself" are nominated for Academy Awards.

Wednesday, February 12, 2003

The Philadelphia Inquirer reports that Germany says it has enough votes in the U.N. Security Council to slow the move toward war. It quotes a senior official who said he counted 11 of 15 members in favor of extending weapons inspections.

National security adviser Condoleezza Rice leans on Hans Blix to come down hard on Iraq, as France circulates a plan that calls for doubling and eventually tripling the number of inspectors.

"If you want to know why people don't trust what the United States says about Iraq," writes William Saletan, "get a load of what Secretary of State Colin Powell said this morning."

Powell's claim that bin Laden "is in partnership with Iraq," was made during testimony before the Senate budget committee. To strictly comply with the Congressional Resolution Authorizing Force Against Iraq, President Bush has to tie Saddam to terrorists before war can begin.

The New York Times reports that the administration's attempt to make the link also included "the most explicit public statement yet" by CIA Director George Tenet, who told the Senate intelligence committee that Iraq is "harboring" senior members of the al-Qaeda network.

White House spokesman Ari Fleischer dismisses the critics who've noted the bin Laden voice backs the Iraqi people, not Saddam Hussein. "The world cannot afford to be in denial," Fleischer said.

"In the past, Condi Rice has implored the networks not to broadcast the tapes outright," writes Maureen Dowd, "fearing he might be activating sleeper cells in code. "But this time the administration flacked the tape. And Fox, the official Bush news agency, rushed the entire tape onto the air."

The battle for Arab eyeballs is about to be joined by new TV stations hoping to challenge Al-Jazeera, which has been shut out of Jordan and Kuwait.

The main challenger is Al-Arabiya, a 24-hour news channel that promises to be more advertiser friendly than Al-Jazeera. In an interview, Al-Arabiya's news director positions the station as a hybrid of CNN and the BBC, and predicts a better working relationship with government officials than Al-Jazeera has.

The U.S. is also preparing to launch an Arabic language station in the Middle East.

Electronic Media profiles WorldLink TV, a San Francisco-based news and documentary satellite channel that "is so different from anything else on American TV you might wonder if it's even transmitting from inside our borders."

In an article speculating on what could go wrong if the U.S. invades Iraq, U.S. News & World Report quotes a government official involved in the planning: "On some days, I get up thinking this will be relatively quick and we will be left with a pretty good situation afterwards. On other days, I wake up and think, 'Holy sh - -.'"

A new report warns of a "humanitarian disaster" if war breaks out in Iraq. It says that children, already weakened and vulnerable because of sanctions are "at grave risk of starvation, disease, death and psychological trauma."

Business Week interviews the demographer who got in trouble with the White House when she publicly contradicted then-Defense Secretary Dick Cheney on the issue of Iraqi civilian casualties during the Gulf War.

The U.S. government is divided over how to manage Iraq's oil sector should Saddam be overthrown, according to Petrostrategies, a French trade publication. The Pentagon is reportedly pushing for it to be privatized, while the State Department would prefer that it remain public. Scroll down to "Rift emerges over the fate of Iraqi oil."

Following an agreement between U.S. House and Senate negotiators that the Total Information Awareness program can't be used against Americans, Rep. John Murtha said of the Pentagon: "They've got some crazy people over there."

Afghans claim 17 civilians killed in U.S. bombing raids.

The Associated Press reports that two federal law enforcement agencies had information before the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing suggesting that white supremacists were considering an attack on government buildings, but the intelligence was never passed on to federal officials in the state.

Thursday, February 13, 2003

The Guardian reports that the U.S. knew about the latest bin Laden tape that aired on Al-Jazeera five days before it was broadcast. According to a U.S. intelligence source, the Qatari government -- which owns the station, and, according to the source, clears broadcasts of such controversial material -- had been provided with a copy by the channel's management and passed it on to Washington. Plus: "The tape that tells all."

The British-based Islamic Al-Ansaar news agency says that it has a new, 53-minute tape of bin Laden, that was allegedly recorded this month and acquired from a seller who advertised over the Internet. The voice on the tape says: "In this final year I hurl myself and my steed with my soul at the enemy. Indeed on my demise I will become a martyr."

Following a week of headline-grabbing claims by Secretary of State Powell and CIA Director George Tenet, the Washington Post reports -- in an article appearing on page A20 -- that "in the past two days administration officials have appeared to qualify their case" that bin Laden and Saddam have paired up to threaten the U.S.

On Wednesday Powell testified to Congress that "The ricin that is bouncing around Europe now originated in Iraq." But CNN reports that "investigators have said that arrests in Europe found suspected terrorists trained in biological and chemical weapons in the Pankisi Gorge region of Georgia and nearby Chechnya -- and the traces of the ricin found in a British raid were clearly 'homemade.'" A French intelligence source said he was "stunned" by Powell's comment.

Memo to Powell: Make policy, not propaganda.

Sen. Robert Byrd launches another blistering attack on Bush administration' policies and criticizes his Senate colleagues for failing to debate the pros and cons of a possible war against Iraq.

Jessica Tuchman Mathews, president of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, details her plan for an alternative to a full-scale invasion of Iraq: "The idea isn't to avoid war at all costs. The idea is to disarm Iraq, and that can be done by truly muscular inspections backed by a multinational military force."

Mathews appeared with Weekly Standard editor William Kristol on NPR's "Talk of the Nation," where she aggressively challenged his arguments for regime change.

A CNN online poll finds that one in ten see Iraq as the biggest threat to the U.S.

A Le Monde editorial titled "Francophobia" begins: "Let's summarize in order to avoid too much repetition. We French are profoundly complacent, Munich-style appeasers in spirit, singularly venal, passively anti-Semitic, and, it goes without saying, viciously anti-American. Oh, and don't forget, we are 'old' too."

U.S. lawmakers offer resolutions designed to punish France for, in the words of one, impeding "the war on terrorism." Plus: Does French cheese taste too good to boycott?

Coming to a theater near you: French villains.

William Pfaff on why there is a trans-Atlantic crisis: "Public opinion in NATO Europe has turned against the United States. Washington prefers to call this 'anti-Americanism.' This is not true. It is hostility to American foreign policy."

A FAIR advisory documents the mainstream media's muted response to the leaked draft of the Department of Justice's "Domestic Security Enhancement Act of 2003" or "Patriot Act II." FAIR says that it garnered only a handful of stories in major newspapers and on cable news channels and was apparently ignored by ABC, CBS and NBC's nightly newscasts and newsmagazine shows.

One of the provisions in the act would grant the Justice Department new authority to conduct autopsies on U.S. victims of terrorist attacks.

Don't Hack Iraq U.S. government warns "patriotic hackers" that they "risk becoming tools of their enemy.''

In an article headlined "It's All the Rage: America Has Made the Breathless Harangue Into a Screaming Success," the Washington Post's Peter Carlson writes that "On radio, on TV, on the Internet, on the stage, on CDs and in countless best-selling books, Americans are ranting like spit-spewing street-corner lunatics."

A British marketing agency is offering students up to $140 a week to wear a corporate logo on their head for a minimum of three hours each day.

A yearlong examination of Enron's tax records, the findings of which will be presented to the Senate Finance Committee, is said to be an "absolute barn-burner" that will reveal "eye-popping" details about executive compensation practices at the company.

The Belgian Supreme Court has thrown out the request by survivors of the 1982 Sabra and Chatila massacres to order the prosecution of Israeli Prime Minister Sharon for war crimes, but has ruled that Sharon can be tried once he leaves office.

The Bush administration is reportedly seeking Israel's counsel on creating a legal justification for the assassination of terrorism suspects.

Some European business leaders favor early war with Iraq over economic uncertainty.

Friday, February 14, 2003

London's Daily Mirror has a Valentine's Day message to Tony Blair and George Bush. (scroll down to 2/14)

Brian Balta says that you can look at the goals of the weapons inspectors in Iraq "as a method of ensuring peace, or as a method of finding a reason for war," and that the television news media have embraced the latter point of view.

Democrats on the Armed Services Committee, led by Sen. Carl Levin, accuse the CIA of sabotaging weapons inspections by refusing to co-operate fully with the U.N. and withholding crucial information about Iraq's arsenal.

Dennis Hans offers 14 "techniques of deceit" that he says President Bush and his foreign policy team have used to sell the American public on the necessity of going to war.

Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder makes his case for giving U.N. weapons inspectors more time in a speech to the German Parliament. Plus: Austria blocks movement of U.S. troops.

As the U.S. and Turkey haggle over the size of an economic aid package designed to secure Turkish support for a possible invasion of Iraq, the Washington Post reports that Turkish officials and media have cited figures ranging from $14 billion to $25 billion.

ABC reports that a key piece of the information leading to recent terror alerts -- that Washington, New York or Florida would be hit by a "dirty bomb" sometime this week -- was fabricated by a captured al-Qaeda member who failed a lie detector test that was administered after the threat level was elevated to orange.

Bush administration reneges on pledge to leave no Afghan behind.

In "Estrada's Omertà," Michael Kinsley writes that "Judgeship nominations bring out the hypocrite in politicians of both parties, but the Republican hypocrisy here is especially impressive."

Commercial bashes Democrats over filibuster, but fails to mention that the Congressional Hispanic Caucus opposes Estrada's nomination.

As Sen. Joseph Lieberman tries to get a fundraising infomercial that he did with Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell taken off the air, TalkLeft interviews Gary Hart about criticism that a line in a speech he gave recently might be construed as anti-Semitic.

MSNBC's line-up takes hard right turn with the addition of radio talk show host Michael Savage.

St. Paul Pioneer Press columnist Laura Billings defends anti-war celebs: "Though Jesus Christ, Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr. all expressed similar thoughts, they didn't have the misfortune of living in a world with Fox News." "Hollywood Foreign Policy Review" sends them up.

The Guardian reports that up to 10 million people will demonstrate Saturday against a possible war in Iraq. "Democracy Now" will have live coverage of the NYC rally and NPR and the BBC will broadcast a two-hour global call-in program on Iraq. A guide to anti-war Web sites is here.

Alexander Cockburn on "The Largest Outcry in History."

Mark Steel looks back on a life of protest and offers up tips for first-time marchers. Plus: "Why I won't march."

Bay Area anti-war activists mobilize for the day after.

Confidential planning documents obtained from U.N. field staff in Iraq warn of a "humanitarian disaster."

Monday, February 17, 2003

Power in the Streets A New York Times analysis says that "The fracturing of the Western alliance over Iraq and the huge antiwar demonstrations around the world this weekend are reminders that there may still be two superpowers on the planet: the United States and world public opinion."

Diplomatic Blowback The Washington Post reports that U.S. efforts to win support for military action against Iraq "have been complicated by a growing resentment over what many foreign diplomats regard as the Bush administration's heavy-handed and bullying tactics over the past two years." Plus: A coalition of the bribed?

Agence France-Presse cites various estimates that place the number of anti-war protesters over the weekend at eight million to 11.5 million. Antiwar.com breaks down the numbers.

Spanish turnout estimated at about 10 percent of population. Plus: Jimmy Breslin on NYC protests.

Syracuse's Post-Standard editorializes on the U.S. Justice Department's filing of a friend of the court brief, urging federal judges to uphold the denial of a permit for NYC protesters to march.

One of the organizers of the NYC protest reportedly told Pacifica Radio that CNN has established a "Peace Beat" to report on the growing opposition to war with Iraq, but that government officials have pressured them not to cover the movement.

CNN nixes Blix's comments from online transcript.

Fox News gets booted out of Iraq, wages war on anti-war protests. (Scroll down to "A Media Report.")

Fox News ad draws angry response from readers of The Nation.

What's next? Not in Our Name is calling for a March 5th national moratorium in the U.S. and anti-war coalition leaders are planning to try to shut Britain down if Prime Minister Blair goes to war without a U.N. resolution.

Brendan O'Neill's 10 worst reasons to oppose a war against Iraq.

Major media largely silent on the 220,000 U.S. casualties from the Gulf War.

Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge tells the Chicago Tribune that his department used focus groups to find the best ways to prepare the public in the event of terrorist attacks, decries "political belittling of duct tape." Follow-up: Ridge qualifies focus group comments.

Israeli intelligence reportedly warned U.S. of al-Qaeda "misinformation" campaign.

Carl Hiaasen says that "Homeland security is now a Monty Python skit. Instead of the Minister of Silly Walks, we have Ministers of Silly Warnings."

Critics accuse cable news channels of overhyping terror alerts and Laura Bush goes off message. Plus: Journalists plan escape from D.C.

A Boston Globe editorial criticizes "Executioner Ashcroft" for overruling his prosecutors and insisting on death penalty prosecutions in cases in which they recommended against it.

Lawyers representing the survivors of the Sabra and Shatila massacre respond to Israeli Foreign Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's characterization of their clients as "terrorists," following the Belgian Supreme Court's ruling that Israeli Prime Minister Sharon could be tried for war crimes once he leaves office.

A rabbi says that Israel should put Sharon on trial "for desecrating the principles" of the Israeli Defense Forces.

The mother of one of the four Canadian soldiers killed in an accidental bombing in Afghanistan, has filed a wrongful-death suit against the U.S. government in what is believed to be the first case of its kind in both countries.

Although economists have noted that the U.S. job market is now at its weakest point in perhaps 20 years, the GOP has hired 75 telemarketers in India to solicit campaign contributions in the U.S.

The Washington Post reports on a campaign by Republicans to place party loyalists in top jobs at corporate lobbying offices and trade associations.

The New York Times reports that a group of wealthy Democratic donors is planning to start a liberal radio network.

Upstart browser Opera strikes back at alleged dirty tricks by Microsoft.

Tuesday, February 18, 2003

Iraqi opposition newspapers report that Saddam Hussein has placed his defense minister under house arrest in a move apparently designed to prevent a coup.

Turkey is driving a hard bargain, reportedly holding out for twice the Bush administration's "final" offer of $26 billion -- $6 billion in grants and $20 billion in loans.

Newsweek reports that Turkey is also "demanding that it send 60,000 to 80,000 of its own troops into northern Iraq to establish 'strategic positions' across a 'security arc' as much as 140 to 170 miles deep in Iraq. That would take Turkish troops almost halfway to Baghdad."

Writing in the Observer, a member of the Iraqi opposition says that the U.S. plan for a post-Saddam military government will turn the Iraqi opposition into "an opponent of the United States on the streets of Baghdad the day after liberation."

U.S. war planners begin to convey concerns about what might go wrong in Iraq.

Don Wrong Critics blame Defense Secretary Rumsfeld's slaps at Europe for adding to the Bush administration's difficulties in recruiting a coalition to confront Iraq.

U.S. Undersecretary of State John Bolton tells Israeli officials that he has no doubt that America will attack Iraq, and that it will be necessary to deal with threats from Syria, Iran and North Korea afterwards. How right is Bolton?

Robert Fisk asks: "Could anything be more pathetic than the Arab demonstration against war?" He notes that just 600 Egyptians -- surrounded by 3,000 security police -- turned up in Cairo to protest. "The presidents and kings of the Arab world agree with their people, it seems, but do not wish them to express the views they themselves hold."

Fisk on the gulf between the pro- and anti-war movements in the U.S.

Laura Billings describes the vitriolic outpouring that followed her column defending the right of celebs to speak out against war with Iraq: "I've been called a 'moron,' a 'Muslim-lover,' and a 'double-dealing Mata Hari' by readers in my own neighborhood and as far away as Australia."

Watch the ad and then read the Salon interview with Molly Ivins. Earlier: Iraqis wait for the bombs and Eric Boehlert on charges that the news media let color-coded terror alerts serve the White House agenda.

Paul Krugman suggests one reason for the difference of opinion between the U.S. and Europe over Iraq: "We have different views partly because we see different news...The coverage of Saturday's antiwar rallies was a reminder of the extent to which U.S. cable news, in particular, seems to be reporting about a different planet than the one covered by foreign media."

Murdoch-owned papers singing from Rupert's hymn sheet on war with Iraq. Plus: Outfoxing Fox.

Naomi Klein on Venezuela's media coup.

Americas.org asks 10 questions about Latin America that the major news media didn’t ask in 2002: "Most of the U.S. news on the region revolves around '3-D' -- drugs, dictators and disasters."

The Christian Science Monitor reports on a Mexican shock jock who "crusades against 'shameless' women who live independently, marry late, and work outside the home."

Jerry Springer talks politics after taping an episode titled, "I'm Kissing My Cousin."

The Washington Post gives front-page treatment to Rep. Dennis Kucinich's announcement that he's exploring a 2004 presidential bid.

Pro-war rallies go undetected by major news media. Plus: GLAMerican's for Peace.

Media Whores asks "what happened?," between September 2001 and February 2003.

Prime Minister Blair does something that President Bush hasn't done since November 7.

Is Bush's foreign policy too idealistic?

Kim Jong Il reportedly feeling left out as the U.S. focuses on Saddam.

Wednesday, February 19, 2003

The Guardian reports on a leaked document obtained by the Los Alamos Study Group, a nuclear watchdog organization, that details Bush administration' plans for a secret meeting in August to discuss the construction of a new generation of nuclear weapons and to decide whether to restart nuclear testing.

Workplace Report: Slate vs.the Guardian.

In an interview with Italy's Corriere della Sera, Art Spiegelman explains why he resigned from The New Yorker, which he criticizes for "marching to the same beat as the New York Times and all the other great American media that don't criticize the government for fear that the administration will take revenge by blocking their access to sources and information."

French-bashing as media product.

Justin Vaisse says "merci for the French correction," notes that in 2001, exports to Iraq accounted for 0.2 percent of France's total exports.

French Kissing? List of boycott possibilities exceeds 100.

A state legislature is warned about buying into a "conceal and carry" advocate's sham science. More on John R. Lott and "former student," Mary Rosh.

A single sentence that was clandestinely inserted into the spending bill recently passed by Congress, would allow organic labels to appear on meat from livestock raised on non-organic feed. Plus: Who Owns Organic?

The Hill reports that threats by Republicans to cut the General Accounting Office (GAO) budget influenced its decision to abandon a lawsuit against Vice President Dick Cheney.

The Bush administration says that it expects Iraq to pay for its own reconstruction in the event of a war, but does that include footing the bill for renaming all the buildings that Saddam has slapped his name onto?

"Tell the Truth" War supporter Thomas Friedman has some advice for "the Bush folks," who he says "are big on attitude, weak on strategy and terrible at diplomacy." Plus: Liberation claim called bunk.

Secretary of State Powell goes on French radio and reproaches President Chirac for his war stand. Chirac defends his position in an interview with Time.

Iranian-backed, Iraqi Shia opposition forces, numbering up to 5,000, have reportedly crossed the border into northern Iraq.

Read how a group of Hamas leaders were done in by a toy airplane.

Israeli novelist Amos Oz says that anti-war protesters are right, but for the wrong reasons: "This war campaign does not emanate from oil lust or from colonialist appetite. It emanates primarily from a simplistic rectitude that aspires to uproot evil by force."

When it comes to protest numbers, sometimes the small print giveth and the large print taketh away.

Anti-war groups buy local to skirt cable networks' prohibition on advocacy ads.

Jonathan Freedland writes that "no slogan will sink the peace cause faster than 'anti-war equals pro-Saddam.' And the anti-war movement has made itself vulnerable to that charge."

Michelangelo Signorile suggests that "those like our President, who seem to have ignored Osama’s decrees, or like Powell, who are hawking a Saddam/al-Qaeda connection based on overblown evidence, are standing with Osama. Yeah, that might be as scurrilous as the right’s 'standing with Saddam' smear."

"Inside Al Qaeda" author says that "An invasion of Iraq would give a new lease on life to existing and emerging terrorist groups."

YellowTimes.org gets a new lease on life too.

Thursday, February 20, 2003

Michael Tomasky goes back to 1992 to trace the history of how the U.S. has gotten to the brink of war with Iraq.

Tomasky recommends David Armstrong's article, "Dick Cheney's Song of America: Drafting a Plan for Global Dominance." More Pax Americana resources.

Arianna Huffington says that for the "Cheney White House," the bottom line on Iraq is the bottom line.

Bill Berkowitz reports on the debunkers behind 13myths.org, who are about to release "13 myths about the case for war in Iraq."

Noah Shachtman says that the Department of Homeland Security isn't shooting straight on its new Web site, which ignores the "obvious truth" that biological, chemical or nuclear strikes are "nearly impossible for al Qaeda-like groups to pull off."

CNN reports on an Algerian-born journalist, living in France, who spent three months infiltrating Islamic extremist groups in France and Britain.

Veteran war correspondent Scott Anderson talks to On the Media about the increased risk faced by war reporters and what happens when major news outlets pull out of covering conflicts.

Firegate John Dean tells of Richard Nixon's plan to firebomb the Brookings Institution.

The "liberal" think tank has received millions of dollars from conservative philanthropies.

The Washington Post reports on the deep divide among Latino politicians and civil rights organizations over the nomination of Miguel Estrada.

The New York Times' Michiko Kakutani says that Anthony Swofford's new book, "Jarhead," is "not only the most powerful memoir to emerge thus far from the last gulf war, but also a searing contribution to the literature of combat." A Mother Jones reviewer lauded "Jarhead" for capturing "the blackest of black comedy."

In the book's introduction, Swofford writes about how his platoon prepared for deployment to the Persian Gulf by watching war movies. Read an op-ed that he wrote for the Times and his interview with Socialist Worker, where he argued for containing Iraq. He also talked about his Gulf War experience on a recent episode of "This American Life."

U.S. military plans to use chickens to detect chemical attacks in a war with Iraq.

How corporate radio helps to insure that protest songs remain on the margins. Plus: "Is protest music dead?" and revisiting Clear Channel's post-9/11 do not play list.

A Michigan high school student chooses to go home rather than remove his T-shirt emblazoned with the words "International Terrorist" and a picture of President Bush.

The latest Harris Poll puts President Bush's approval rating at 52%, down 12% from mid-December. More here.

The Guardian reports on research by a German media monitoring agency, which found that global TV coverage is increasingly turning against the U.S. Plus: "Battle lost for hearts and minds."

Sydney Schanberg says that President Bush's promise of a war without sacrifice, is "almost too good to be true. In fact, it's preposterous." Plus: Is Saddam Bush's Lewinsky?

John Judis charges that the Bush administration's misguided tax cuts and diplomatic bungling have put America on "a fast train to hell."

Slate surveys a cross section of opinion makers -- from Spike Lee to Peggy Noonan -- to find out where they stand on war with Iraq.

Americans "flipping off" French over Iraq stance.

Friday, February 21, 2003

In an interview with Alternet, Bill Maher talks about his new show and bemoans President Bush's unwillingness to call for sacrifice: "I think he's so trained, as all the politicians are nowadays, not to ask people to sacrifice ... When Carter asked people to put on a sweater, they practically ran him out of town."

Budget battles put 9/11 heroes at the back of the line.

The St. Petersburg Times has blanket coverage of the indictment of a Florida professor and seven others who are accused of financing, managing and supervising Palestinian Islamic Jihad.

Palestinians vow revenge as tens of thousands march in funeral procession of leading Hamas militant.

The GAO says that federal prosecutors exaggerated their success convicting would-be terrorists last year by wrongly classifying three of four cases as "international terrorism."

A tourist gets a look at Camp X-Ray from the Cuban side of the fence. Plus: U.S. diplomats claim harassment by Cuban government.

U.S. and Philippine officials offer differing interpretations of the role of American troops to be sent there. A U.S. official says that the constitutional prohibition against foreign troops carrying out unilateral combat missions, is something the Philippine government "will have to finesse."

CBS reports that U.N. weapons inspectors are "privately complaining about the quality of U.S. intelligence and accusing the United States of sending them on wild-goose chases," with one source referring to the intelligence as "garbage after garbage after garbage."

Doubles Trouble Saddam Hussein's reported plan to "disappear" if America attacks Iraq, concerns U.S. officials who fear that his constant movement and system of doubles could enable him to evade capture in the way that bin Laden did in Afghanistan.

The Washington Post reports that the Bush administration plans to take "complete, unilateral control of a post-Saddam Hussein Iraq," with an interim administration headed by a yet-to-be named American civilian "of stature," such as a former U.S. state governor or ambassador. Plus: "U.S. falls out with Iraqi opposition."

"This administration does martial plans," writes Paul Krugman, "not Marshall Plans: billions for offense, not one cent for reconstruction."

White House hoping "Baghdad bounce" will lift economy.

Have liberal hawks on Iraq been duped?

The New York Times reports that U.S. and Britain have decided on their U.N. strategy: "try to persuade 9 of the 15 members of the Security Council to back a new resolution authorizing the use of force against Iraq, and then to challenge France, Russia or China to veto the will of the Council's majority."

New Gallup poll finds that less than one-third of respondents support war without a new U.N. resolution authorizing it.

Turkey imperils U.S. war strategy in a dispute that's about more than just money. A Turkish hand tells the Christian Science Monitor that "Many of the people in the AK Party feel that the U.S. is conducting war on the Muslim world, and it may be that no matter what, it wouldn't have worked." Plus: How much will war deals cost?

Jason Leopold reports on the 1998 lobbying effort by Defense Secretary Rumsfeld and Deputy Secretary Paul Wolfowitz to get former President Clinton to start a war with Iraq and topple Saddam's regime.

French President Chirac and Rumsfeld share Iraq history.

La Ver Murdoch-owned Sun labels Chirac "earthworm." Earlier: Sun dismisses million-strong London march as "nothing."

U.S. lobbyist helped draft the "Vilnius 10's" Iraq statement.

Monkey Media Report looks back at what it calls "one of the most successful propaganda campaigns in U.S. history." Plus: Scroll down to "Help save Glenn Reynolds' brain!"

Instapundit Reynolds encourages war supporters to join Win Without War Coalition's Virtual March on Washington. Plus: Celebs respond to bashing.

Online anti-war petition drive falsely claims U.N. backing.

Monday, February 24, 2003

The Independent reports a "massive escalation" in air strikes on Iraq, with the U.S. and Britain "widening the 'rules of engagement' to the point where warplanes are effectively preparing the way for an imminent invasion."

Richard Perle and Rep. Dennis Kucinich debate Iraq on "Meet the Press."

Threat of terrorist attacks by freelancing loners said to be growing because of possible war with Iraq. Plus: Time for an update?

In an enlightening interview on "NOW with Bill Moyers," Seymour Hersh talks about his recent New Yorker article detailing how Pakistan shared its nuclear weapons secrets with North Korea in exchange for missiles that it needed to deliver nuclear warheads.

Hersh also discusses how al-Qaeda took flight from Afghanistan, after the U.S. reportedly gave Pakistan the green light to evacuate its military personnel who were among those surrounded in Konduz: "What happened is that they took out al-Qaeda with them. And we had no way of stopping it. We lost control." Plus: "Remember Afghanistan?"

George Clooney critiques the U.S. military, says "We can't beat anyone anymore." Read a review of "Three Kings."

Grammy Awards show described as "a throwback to the Eisenhower era. Simon and Garfunkel's opening performance of 'The Sound of Silence' set the stage for what followed: a lot of silence from an artistic community that most people had expected to speak out about world events." Organizers deny charges that they tried to silence anti-war voices.

Liberation Theology An exiled cleric who is the spiritual leader of a segment of Iraq's Shiite majority, says that "There is a religious problem" with the interim military administration that the U.S. plans to set up if it overthrows Saddam: "Religious scholars reject it. They consider it a leadership of the infidels."

In "Save us from the warbloggers," Brendan O'Neill writes that "the notion that blogs will be at the forefront of reporting the war with Iraq is more than impractical -- it is deeply undesirable. It would give us nothing but bias, political prejudice and emotional outbursts, leaving people at least as confused as they were 12 years ago." Plus: "Don't Mention the U-word."

How the Pentagon plans to manage embedded journalists.

Congress and U.S. public shut out of debate on sending troops to the Philippines.

U.S. officials confirm that military action is being considered to recover suspected CIA agents kidnapped in Colombia, and Scotland on Sunday reports that U.S. military strategists are "weighing up the option of a pre-emptive military strike against North Korea."

The State Department is reportedly getting messages from U.S. embassies saying that many people increasingly think President Bush is a greater threat to world peace than Iraqi President Saddam Hussein. Plus: How long will U.S. allies put up with Bush?

What you can do to help the president.

Is Bush describing a threat to the U.N. or is he causing it?

"U.N. weapons inspectors" arrested trying to enter Raytheon facility in Tucson to look for evidence of "illegal weapons production."

San Francisco Chronicle claims protest numbers were wildly exaggerated.

Pro-war rallies draw crowd of up to 6,500 people in three states. Plus: "War Party's" propaganda campaign called "stupefyingly unconvincing."

Who's Duping Who? Joan Ryan says that the U.S. has reached a state of absolute polarization over war with Iraq, and that both sides in the debate have resorted to "assumptions and absolutes."

An Indian observer says that the U.S. news media -- especially television -- is distorting the position of European countries as it tries to sell Americans on war against Iraq.

Can Al Franken save liberal talk radio, or should the backers of a new network save their money?

As Fox News' token lefty debuts a late-night radio talk show, Jim Hightower tells the New York Times to quit calling his 11-year radio career a "failure."

Mark Crispin Miller says that "Listening to Limbaugh, Hannity, O'Reilly and Ann Coulter, among many other rightist media stars, you feel you've been transported to Berlin in 1938," and that "the Busheviks have taken over."

With the New York Post's publication of the rumor that Sandy Koufax is gay, Keith Olberman says that News Corp.'s synergy sewer has finally overflown.

Faced with the question, "Why is Connie Chung's program on CNN?", the network's new president promises a less tabloidy approach to news.

Tuesday, February 25, 2003

"Nuke France" Is Jacques Chirac a bigger threat to the U.S. than Saddam Hussein?

"The French Got It Right This Time" column draws hate mail from op-ed editors.

Memorandum spells out French, German and Russian position on Iraq.

As U.S. officials reportedly tell Security Council fence sitters to vote with the United States or risk "paying a heavy price," the U.S. ambassador in Paris warns France that a U.N. veto would be seen as "very unfriendly."

A senior diplomat from one of the Security Council nations says U.S. officials told him that "You are not going to decide whether there is war in Iraq or not. That decision is ours, and we have already made it. It is already final. The only question now is whether the council will go along with it or not."

The Los Angeles Times reports that President Bush will give a major speech Wednesday, the goal of which will be "to portray Iraq as only a piece in the broader U.S. plan to reconfigure the Middle East political map and make it conform to democratic changes that have swept much of the rest of the world over the past 15 years."

Who's Next? The Guardian's Brian Whitaker looks at likely candidates for regime change and the PR push to drum up support for removing them.

A Turkish professor accuses New York Times' correspondent Dexter Filkins of downplaying the anti-war sentiment in Turkey.

On CNN's "Reliable Sources," Paul Krugman, David Frum and a BBC correspondent weigh in on the American TV networks march to war.

See how The Weekly Standard has been covering for the war hawks.

Hard Times Fate of Donahue unclear as MSNBC re-brands itself yet again, this time as a hard-news channel.

Three liberal Washington Post columnists, all of whom were initially wowed by Secretary of State Powell's presentation to the U.N., have now flipped (scroll down).

The Post becomes a family newspaper.

Dan Rather credits the man who is leading a campaign to impeach President Bush with helping him to land the Saddam interview.

Newsday reports on a problem with Bush's claim that the nation's top economists forecasted substantial growth if Congress passed his tax cut: "The forecast with that conclusion doesn't exist." Plus: Paul Krugman on the Bush administration's credibility gap.

The Washington Post reports that "After months of searching for a unified political attack against President Bush, congressional Democrats have settled on a new and, some say, controversial strategy: questioning the president's truthfulness."

Columnist predicts NASCAR-like commercialization of politics. Here's how it might look.

A Republican FCC commissioner's deciding vote to preserve rules requiring dominant local phone carriers to share their networks with rivals, has advocates for media deregulation worried. One industry lobbyist told Reuters that "It puts a cloud over everything. We are now facing a potentially Democratic commission. The Republicans have potentially lost control of this agency."

Bill Moyers interviews Robert McChesney and John Nichols, authors of "Our Media, Not Theirs."

In a case involving reporters for a Fox affiliate, a judge has ruled that it's technically legal to deliberately lie or distort the news on a television broadcast.

Although a San Francisco city supervisor has appeared on a local TV station's early news program 84 times, viewers have never been informed of the politician's business relationship with the show's anchorman.

Jimmy Breslin on the U.S.' deportation of Bernadette Devlin.

ACLU ads target Attorney General Ashcroft's insatiable appetite for increased surveillance and intelligence gathering powers. Earlier: "Johnny Headline."

Wednesday, February 26, 2003

In "Gaining an empire, losing democracy?", Norman Mailer raises the possibility of the U.S. becoming "a mega-banana republic where the army will have more and more importance in Americans' lives. It will be an ever greater and greater overlay on the American system. And before it is all over, democracy, noble and delicate as it is, may give way."

More Mailer on American empire and American Conservative editor Scott McConnell on "The Madness of Empire."

The U.S. Army's chief of staff says that the military force required to occupy a post-Saddam Iraq could comprise several hundred thousand troops, and the Pentagon estimates an $85 billion tab for war and a six-month occupation.

Gen. Wesley Clark tells Paula Zahn about an al-Qaeda presence in Iraq -- after a war: "clearly al-Qaeda will be there and they will be trying to stir up opposition to the U.S. as we rebuild." Plus: More war talk with Clark and Eric Margolis.

The Washington Post reports that in a speech to be delivered tonight at the American Enterprise Institute, which is also holding its annual dinner, President Bush will emphasize that war with Iraq is part of a broader U.S. campaign, a "battle for the future of the Muslim world." He'll be up against the interview with Saddam.

The Grand Alliance "Is this a good trade," asks Maureen Dowd, "the French for the Bulgarians?"

Let Them Eat Herring Danish pizzeria bans French and Germans.

Marijuana Cookies? The Justice Department has seized the Web sites of drug paraphernalia sellers arrested in "Operation Pipe Dreams," and redirected visitors to the DEA Web site. Plus: High Times warns of the danger in using homemade paraphernalia.

Revealed: "How I snuck into Los Alamos."

Ari Fleischer gets laughed out of White House briefing room. Transcript and video.

Helen Thomas targeted in smear campaign.

MSNBC cancels its highest-rated show, denies right turn. Scroll to the bottom and read Bill Moyers' takedown of recent MSNBC hire, Michael Savage.

James Ridgeway recaps the "Meet the Press" showdown between Rep. Dennis Kucinich and Richard Perle. He also notes that U.S. firms bought more than $1.6 billion of Iraqi oil over the last two months -- nearly two-thirds of that country's total exports. Plus: I'll take Springer over Kucinich.

Michael Ventura asks: "If the economy was getting the kind of media attention that war now hogs, what do you think Bush's approval rating would be?"

Illinois Sen. Peter Fitzgerald says that President Bush recently told him that he would order the assassination of Saddam Hussein "if we had intelligence on where he was now and we had a clear shot."

"Coalition of the willing" said to be on path to commit war crimes. Help to keep them out of jail.

Gulf War veterans group questioning who started oil well fires in Kuwait. Possible motives.

Studies find that incompetents don't know they're incompetent. Plus: Esquire editor reading Encyclopedia Britannica in quest to become "world's smartest."

Arby's turns to talking oven mitt to help rescue brand.

Thursday, February 27, 2003

The Option of First Resort Simon Tisdall argues that "Iraq is not 'America's war' at all. It is everybody's doing."

Washington Post responds to charges of editorial page warmongering.

U.N. momentum shifts as Security Council fence sitters signal potential backing for U.S. position. Plus: Pierre Tristam defends "those weenie Frenchmen."

War and Piece The carving up of Iraq has already begun.

Iraqi opposition meeting heavily policed by armed U.S. guards.

Jump the Guns The U.S. has reportedly been unloading armaments in Turkey for the last week.

U.S.diplomat resigns in protest against policies on Iraq: "Our fervent pursuit of war with Iraq is driving us to squander the international legitimacy that has been America's most potent weapon of both offense and defense since the days of Woodrow Wilson."

Democrats on the House Appropriations Committee have created an extensive chronology of President Bush's habit of saying one thing and then doing another. Plus: Tracking the president's in-credibility trail.

Bill Maher tells Larry King that Bush is "certainly not dumb. He's sneaky. If anybody's dumb it's us. It's that method of sort of announcing things with three words behind you, making a big splash, making it sound good in the sunlight and then in the shadows a few days later, you undo."

In an interview for the new book, "Bush's Brain," political adviser Karl Rove takes credit for talking Bush into embracing "tort reform" when he was packaging him for the 1994 Texas gubernatorial race. But that is somewhat at odds with testimony that Rove -- a former consultant to tort reform advocate Phillip Morris -- gave during a tobacco lawsuit.

Read excerpts from "Bush's Brain: How Karl Rove Made George W. Bush Presidential."

A federal judge has ruled that the FBI does not have to explain why it applied for search warrants to bug homes and tap phones of five defendants charged with conspiring to support al-Qaeda and the Taliban. Earlier: The Making of a "Terrorist."

FBI offers tips for spotting stakeouts by al-Qaeda-affiliated operatives.

Supreme Court rules that antiabortion protesters can't be sued under RICO act.

Will GOP moderates stop President Bush from packing the courts with anti-choice judges?

Phil Donahue strikes back at MSNBC, as a leaked NBC internal report warns of a nightmare war scenario, in which Donahue's show becomes "a home for the liberal anti-war agenda at the same time our competitors are waving the flag at every opportunity."

Hans Blix says that "Even if Iraq immediately, actively and unconditionally cooperates with us, we would still need a few more months." Inspectors advised to stop off in D.C.

Newsweek reports that Hussein Kamel, the highest-ranking Iraqi official ever to defect from Saddam's inner circle, told CIA and British intelligence officers and U.N. inspectors in 1995, that after the Gulf War, Iraq destroyed all its chemical and biological weapons stocks. Where's the followup?

The Guardian asks 30 high-profile opponents of a war with Iraq to answer the question: If not war then what? Plus: Nonviolent models for toppling Saddam.

Mined Body Solution Deepak Chopra proposes that the Pope, the Dalai Lama and himself travel to Iraq to serve as human shields.

The Boston Globe's Derrick Jackson on why "Black folks do not want to invade Iraq."

Buried budget item signals U.S.' plans to expand global military presence.

Are new U.S. military bases the side effects or causes of war?

Friday, February 28, 2003

FAIR calls Newsweek's revelation that defector Hussein Kamel told U.N. inspectors in 1995 that Iraq had destroyed its entire stockpile of chemical and biological weapons and banned missiles, "a bombshell that necessitates a thorough reevaluation of U.S. media reporting on Iraq."

"The Bush administration adamantly insists that Iraq has weapons of mass destruction," writes Charley Reese, "but despite 12 years of inspections, bombings and spying, it doesn't have a clue as to where they are."

John Powers looks at how "our media have bowed down before Bush's Iraq war juggernaut." And according to Chris Hedges and Robert Fisk, in this must-hear discussion of war reporting, the worst is yet to come.

Hedges tells Editor & Publisher that he can't imagine how anyone can think Defense Secretary Rumsfeld "is going to allow the press to operate freely in this war. The control will be just as heavy as it was in the Gulf War, in Grenada, and in Panama."

Fisk says that a new CNN system of "script approval" suggests the Pentagon will have nothing to worry about. Earlier: Switcheroo finds PSYOPS embedded in CNN's newsroom.

"Once the war against Saddam Hussein begins, we expect every American to support our military," says Bill O'Reilly, "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." Plus: "Beating a dead pony."

O'Reilly boasted that "we stood alone on Sami Al- Arian,'' but Daniel Ruth says that "the Father Coughlin of cable TV ... essentially ripped off eight years of reporting" from Ruth's Tampa Tribune colleague, Michael Fechter.

Michael Savage's Web site has a message asking: "Time to Arrest the Leaders of the Anti-War Movement, Once we Go To War?" GLADD protests MSNBC's hiring of Savage.

"Gulf War Meets Culture War" U.S. troops get cultural sensitivity training, and Navy commanders clamp down on offensive tattoos and warn against scrawling insults on bombs.

The New York Times reports that with the nomination of Harvard economist N. Gregory Mankiw to lead the Council of Economic Advisers, "President Bush has now replaced nearly everyone from his original economic team with people who at one time spoke out against the kinds of policies Mr. Bush is prescribing."

Does Mankiw have what it takes?

Here's your chance to play budget ball.

According to Spinsanity, a fund-raising pitch from the well-endowed Heritage Foundation, "makes a series of hyperbolic and outright dishonest claims about 'pending tax increases on families, businesses and senior citizens."'

The Heritage Foundation's Townhall.com, includes the Right100 list of top Web sites.

One of Heritage's founders, the usually press-shy Richard "Citizen" Scaife, opened up to reporter Karen Rothmyer. More on "the man behind the mask."

Molly Ivins' North Korea primer: "One hell of a mess."

In "Secret, Scary Plans," Nicholas Kristof writes that "several factions in the administration are serious about a military strike if diplomacy fails, and since the White House is unwilling to try diplomacy in any meaningful way, it probably will fail." Plus: U.S. warns North Korea that "all options remain on the table."

Chris Floyd skewers Defense Secretary Rumsfeld over money and drugs.

New York Yankees pitcher David Wells claims that 25 to 40 percent of major leaguers use steroids and that "Down in the minors, where virtually every flat-broke, baloney-sandwich-eating Double-A prospect is chasing after the same, elusive, multimillion-dollar payday, the use of anabolic homer-helpers is flat-out booming."

From arenas to bars, "a hard-rock adventure that became just a job."

There are 419 link-paragraphs in this archive.