Our media is in a crisis of corporate consolidation. There only thing to do is follow the indymedia credo and become the media. Here I will try to bring to light issues which are being ignored in the mainstream media. I will provided commented links to articles I find important and from time to time I write my own analysis.
< Conscience >
Tuesday, September 30, 2003
Sunday, September 28, 2003
Tuesday, September 23, 2003
Powell and Rice in 2001: Iraq was contained, no significant WMD
Pilger uncovered video footage of Powell in Cairo on February 24, 2001 saying, "He (Saddam Hussein) has not developed any significant capability with respect to weapons of mass destruction. He is unable to project conventional power against his neighbours."
Two months later, Rice reportedly said, "We are able to keep his arms from him. His military forces have not been rebuilt."
See also this.
UPDATE: The transcript of Powell's Egyptian press conference where he made the statement.
Financial Times: No10 'prompting' led to hardening up of dossier
Prompting by Downing Street led to a significant hardening up of the Iraq dossier to remove wording that implied Saddam Hussein would use chemical and biological weapons only if attacked, the intelligence chief in charge of the document admitted on Tuesday.
The last-minute change was triggered by an e-mail sent by Jonathan Powell, Tony Blair's chief-of-staff, at 3.45pm on September 19, 2002 - 45 minutes after the deadline for comments on the final draft of the dossier.
The message highlighted a "bit of a problem" with the claim - approved by the full joint intelligence committee in earlier dossier drafts - that "Saddam is prepared to use chemical and biological weapons if he believes his regime is under threat".
Mr Powell warned this "backs up the . . . argument that there is no CBW threat and we will only create one if we attack him. I think you should redraft the para".
Poll Says Iraqis Believe Hussein's Ouster Was Worth Trouble
Interesting article. Worth reading the whole thing. It's not long, and the content goes beyond the headline. For instance, the two main Arab satellite networks, Al Jazeera and Al Arabiya, have been banned from
"covering the activities of the Governing Council" and other official events on the grounds that these networks "incite violence".
As to the point of whether or not Iraqis will be better off in 5 years because of this war... Well, given the realpolitick of the world, they probably will be (I said as much before the war started). But remember that the United States and the United Nations bear a great deal of responsibility for the Iraqi's misery under 12 years of repressive sanctions which killed hundreds of thousands of people [if you question this contention, ask me, I've done my homework (fightbigmedia at yahoo d0t com]. The Iraqis will be better off because they will no longer be targets of the U.S. Empire, but its subjects. And I contend that they will not be "well off". Not when, prior to any democratization, all of the Iraqi assets and services are being sold to internationals. What I expect to see in the future Iraq is the same thing we are getting everywhere else in the world: an aristocracy that is well off, some degree of middle-class that acts as a political buffer, and lots of people that are poor, marginalized, and exploited.
The last words may sound like Marxist rhetoric, but I am not a Marxist. He was a great thinker and story teller, but ideas (including my own) have progressed since his day.
Thursday, September 18, 2003
The Burdens of Empire and Militarism makes the Republic Collapse
"During his childhood and youth Cicero had watched with horror as Rome set about dismantling itself. If he had a mission as an adult, it was to recall the republic to order. . . . [He] noticed that the uninhibited freedom of speech which marked political life in the republic was giving way to caution at social gatherings and across dinner tables. . . . The Senate had no answer to Rome's problems and indeed sought none. Its aim was simply to maintain the constitution and resist the continual attacks on its authority. . . . The populares had lost decisively with the defeat of Catilina, but the snake was only stunned. Caesar, who had been plotting against Senatorial interests behind the scenes, was rising up the political ladder and, barring accidents, would be consul in a few year's time."
My reasons for going over this ancient history are not to suggest that our own Boy Emperor is a second Octavian but rather what might happen after he is gone. The history of the Roman republic from the time of Julius Caesar on suggests that it was imperialism and militarism, poorly understood by all conservative political leaders at the time, that brought it down. Militarism and the professionalization of a large standing army create invincible new sources of power within a polity. The government must mobilize the masses in order to exploit them as cannon fodder and this leads to the rise of populist generals who understand the grievances of their troops and veterans.
Wednesday, September 17, 2003
Blix: Iraq's WMD probably destroyed a decade ago
Top Bush officials amend war claims: Cheney, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz admit previous statements in error
In the past week, three top Bush administration officials have backed off charges they made against Iraq, explaining they misspoke or overstated the facts.
"Meet the Press" host Tim Russert gave Cheney a chance to clarify his prewar statement in a return appearance on his show Sunday.
"'Reconstituted nuclear weapons.' You misspoke?" Russert asked.
"Yeah, I did misspeak .... We never had any evidence that he had acquired a nuclear weapon," said Cheney, known for his careful choice of words.
The Pentagon's No. 2 official also backtracked from a recent nationally televised claim that "a great many of [Osama] bin Laden's key lieutenants are now trying to organize in cooperation with old loyalists from the Saddam regime to attack in Iraq." Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz made the remark Thursday on ABC's "Good Morning America."
Challenged the next day by a news wire to provide evidence to back the shocking revelation, Wolfowitz said he had misspoken.
Eleven days after the U.S. invasion, Rumsfeld claimed to know exactly where Saddam was hiding alleged banned weapons.
"We know where they are," he flatly asserted in a March 30 interview with ABC's "This Week" host George Stephanopoulos.
But with still no discovery of weapons more than five months since then, National Press Club president Tammy Lytle quizzed Rumsfeld about his unequivocal claim at a luncheon here last Wednesday.
Lytle: "On March 30th you said, referring to Iraqi weapons of mass destruction, quote, 'We know where they are.' Do you know where they are now? Will they be found?"
Rumsfeld: "In that instance, we had been in the country for about 15 seconds; sometimes I overstate for emphasis .... I should have said, 'I believe they're in that area'" around Tikrit and Baghdad.
Even some Republicans on Capitol Hill are not amused by the postwar revisionism.
AND RUMSFELD LIED TO CONGRESS...
"'Overstated for emphasis'? That sounds like something out of [former President] Clinton's mouth -- 'I didn't actually lie, I overstated for effect,'" said a senior GOP staffer.
It's not the first time the defense secretary has had to revise previous statements about prewar evidence against Iraq.
In congressional testimony in July, Rumsfeld swore repeatedly that he'd just "days" earlier learned that the uranium charge Bush made against Iraq six months earlier was based at least in part on fabricated reports.
A few days later, however, he had to correct the record twice, finally admitting he knew the allegation was false as early as March -- less than two months after Bush trumpeted it in his State of the Union speech and just before the Iraq war started.
GREAT SITE: Florida Fair Trade Coalition
See their page on the Miami FTAA ministerial.
They also have pages of articles on how the Free Trade Area of the Americas would effect Labor, Agriculture, Democracy, and more.
From the Democracy page:
The inconspicuous provision: Chapter 11 clause in NAFTA written in the ambiguous, innocuous-sounding prose that makes clever attorneys rich, the chapter spells out terms under which investors (i.e., multinational corporations) can be compensated for losses incurred by expropriation — government action.
Chapter 11 was included NAFTA as "investor-to-state" protections out of a fear of political or economic instability in the Third World. Their intent was to ensure that "U.S. investors abroad receive the same type of protection that foreign investors get in the United States with or without a treaty." The concern with Chapter 11 — and what has engendered protest from state and federal legislators and environmental activists aike — is the danger the clause poses to basic democracy and state sovengentry. In an April 19, 2001, letter sent to Trade Representative Zoellick, signed by 29 business heavyweights, including General Motors, Honeywell, and Texaco, the group asserted its support "for the inclusion of effective investment
Under Chapter 11 the signatory nations are prevented from "directly or indirectly nationaliz[ing] an investment" or taking measures "tantamount to nationalization or expropriation" (emphasis added), and therein lay the distinction. By expanding government responsibility for compensation beyond direct takings, the architects of Chapter 11 have enabled foreign corporations doing business in Mexico, Canada, or the United States to seek reimbursement for any government law, rule, or regulation that impinges upon the company's profits. Chapter 11 will be part of the FTAA should FTAA continue, and will expand transnational governance over 34 countries. The Hemispheric Social Alliance concluded, "Although virtually the entire draft is enclosed in brackets (indicating areas where there is not yet official consensus), the draft text closely mirrors NAFTA Chapter 11."
An illustration of the implications of this seemingly minor alteration of language is a feud between the Methanex Corporation and the state of California. The FTAA abd NAFTA are just two examples of how transnational corporations are using “trade policies” to circumvent and override national, state and local laws.
Thursday, September 11, 2003
Washington Post: Blair Was Told of Terror Risks in Iraq War
Britain's Intelligence Chiefs Warned Prime Minister Prior to Invasion
Britain's intelligence chiefs warned Prime Minister Tony Blair a month before the invasion of Iraq that military action would increase the threat of terrorism and the risk of terrorists obtaining weapons of mass destruction, according to a parliamentary report released today.
The report said a Feb. 10 assessment by the top-secret Joint Intelligence Committee -- a cabinet-level body that includes the chiefs of Britain's main intelligence agencies -- concluded that the collapse of Saddam Hussein's government "would increase the risk of chemical and biological warfare technology or agents finding their way into the hands of terrorists."
The joint committee also concluded that "al Qaeda and associated groups continued to represent by far the greatest terrorist threat to Western interests, and that threat would be heightened by military action against Iraq," according to the report, which was issued by the House of Commons Intelligence and Security Committee.
Blair, who was President Bush's closest foreign ally in the U.S.-led campaign, has argued repeatedly that disarming Iraq was necessary to prevent terrorists from getting such weapons.
Interpreting Rumsfeld: Camp-X Ray Inmates could languish for decades without a trial
Great Interview with Paul Krugman on Buzzflash
BUZZFLASH: As a professor, if you were giving a lecture and you had to define the economic policy of the Bush administration, could you get your arms around it? How would you define it?
KRUGMAN: There is no economic policy. That's really important to say. The general modus operandi of the Bushies is that they don't make policies to deal with problems. They use problems to justify things they wanted to do anyway. So there is no policy to deal with the lack of jobs. There really isn't even a policy to deal with terrorism. It's all about how can we spin what's happening out there to do what we want to do.
Now if you ask what do the people who keep pushing for one tax cut after another want to accomplish, the answer is they are basically aiming to create a fiscal crisis which will provide the environment in which they can basically eliminate the welfare state.
Wednesday, September 10, 2003
After Two Years
Real Dangers and False Solutions in the Age of Terrorism
Kenneth Adelman, a former Reagan administration official and close associate of the ruling neoconservatives, has offered his advice to the Bush administration for securing its re-election. "We should not try to convince people that things are getting better," he said. "Rather, we should convince people that ours is the age of terrorism."
In March 2003, Bush's special adviser for counter-terrorism, Rand Beers, resigned. In June he charged that the "war on terrorism" was "making us less secure, not more secure." The Bush administration, he said, put too much emphasis on attacking terrorists overseas: "There's not enough focus on defense and dealing with the basic sources of humiliation and despair that exist in large segments of the Islamic population."
Tuesday, September 09, 2003
Thursday, September 04, 2003
Listening to Protest, Court Halts FCC (www.indymedia.org)
Following widespread popular protest of the Federal Communications Commission's proposed rule changes, the US Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit issued a temporary injunction yesterday blocking the pro-corporate measures that would have gone into effect today. The court was acting on a petition filed by Prometheus Radio Project and the Media Access Project. The stay is in effect until the court hears full arguments in the case.
In the meantime, continued popular pressure is needed - in the form of phone calls to Senators - to force a rollback of the FCC rules. The Senate Appropriations Committee is voting today on this issue.
Wednesday, September 03, 2003
Tuesday, September 02, 2003