March, 2003 link archive

Monday, March 3, 2003

U.S. reportedly pressuring Turkish government to seek a new vote on resolution allowing American troops to use the country as a base against Iraq.

Turks cite American insensitivity as a reason for rebuke, have harsh words for U.S.

Turkish TV station films U.S. carriers continuing to offload military equipment.

The Bush administration was reportedly considering floating a short-term loan to Turkey by tapping into a depression-era fund that has historically been used to aid countries facing a currency crisis.

In arguing that the U.S. is more isolated globally than at any time since 1945, Zbigniew Brzezinski says "The president since 9/11 has uttered the phrase... 'He who is not with us is against us,' anyone who disagrees with us is against us -- no less than 99 times. We have a concept of the alliance, inherent in this kind of conduct, which involves giving orders and others falling in line."

Green lights, cover-ups and hidden records: The Consortium's Robert Parry on the missing history of U.S.-Iraq relations.

The Observer's publication of an alleged U.S. National Security Agency document, instructing agents to electronically eavesdrop on Security Council fence-sitters, gets little traction in U.S. press.

U.S. spying on U.N. goes way back. Plus: U.S. outpaces France in use of Security Council veto.

A Time report on the capture of Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, notes that neighbors, "wary of the lone Arab who appeared in their working-class area, tipped off the police, hoping for a reward."

A Knight-Ridder investigation into the planning behind the 9/11 attacks, originally published last September, quoted a French terrorism expert as saying that Mohammed "is probably the only man who knows all the pieces of the puzzle." Plus: Before and after photos and Mohammed returns from the dead.

U.S. officials claim that terrorists have targeted the country's military facilities in Pearl Harbor, with the attacks to be carried out by hijacked airliners from Honolulu International Airport.

New Zealand police criticize U.S. embassy over release of hoax terror letter to CNN.

"Undeclared war" enters new phase, as U.S. and British warplanes attack Iraqi targets without provocation.

Bush administration moves goal posts, resurrects call for regime change in Iraq.

U.S. defense official admits that war with Iraq "could result in a very high number of casualties ... certainly in the thousands"

Antiwar movement organizers announce plans to intensify political pressure on the leaders of Britain, Italy and Spain to withdraw support for the U.S., and, if war breaks out, to stage protests on the evening of the first day and hold a worldwide rally on the following Saturday.

Organizers call today's worldwide reading of "Lysistrata," the biggest act of dissent ever made in the theater world.

Get ready to be Shocked & Awed.

Take Back the Media sends up CNN's "Iraq Tracker" promo. Plus: Television's pro-war bias.

Book 'Em! Online bookmakers offers odds on Saddam ousting and bin Laden capture.

War, Inc. Deployment of private contractors to Persian Gulf said to be 10 times as large as during Gulf War. Brits privatizing war too.

Tuesday, March 4, 2003

Salon's Jake Tapper reports that Observer editor Martin Bright, who helped write the story on the National Security Agency's alleged eavesdropping on U.N. fence-sitters, had agreed to interviews with NBC, CNN, and Fox News -- and that all three had called and canceled. CBS picks up on the story.

Security Council diplomats interviewed by the Washington Post, shrug off the Observer report, with one saying that "I assume every phone conversation I have... is listened to by several people." Another, asked in a telephone interview if he believes his calls are monitored by U.S. intelligence agencies, said, "Let's ask the guy who's listening to us."

The Los Angeles Times reports that Bulgaria "seemed flattered" by the possibility that it was being spied on by its strategic partner: "Ambassador Stefan Tavrov, said that having the U.S. eavesdrop on their missions was almost a mark of prestige for smaller countries."

Bloggers shoot down argument that Saddam can't be deterred.

Peace activists camp in the DMZ between Iraq and Kuwait, and Baghdad real estate market booms as speculators gamble on war.

San Antonio News-Express travel editor, Rob Davis, says that U.S. media organizations are in love with the war machine: "Almost every newspaper in this country, every TV station, every network, every newsmagazine, is producing a stream of jingoistic material perhaps unparalleled in American journalistic history."

TV news monitor Andrew Tyndall says that more than 90% of the 414 stories on the Iraqi question that aired on NBC, ABC and CBS from Sept. 14, 2002, to Feb. 7, 2003, originated from the White House, Pentagon or State Department.

Memo implores the media to rise to the occasion.

In a Los Angeles Times op-ed, Progressive editor Matthew Rothschild says that President Bush is spinning in "a highly manipulative way. Though that may not be unusual for a wartime president, we as citizens should recognize when he is leading us around by the nose." Plus: Does Bush have a "tell?"

Country song linking Iraq effort to 9/11, prompts question: "Is this a Goddamn joke?"

Robert Byrd, the blogger, doesn't think that war in Iraq "will matter much to the daily lives of those in the U.S... Americans will watch (to the extent that we are allowed to see) the war on TV. It will be a new reality series."

Robert Fisk questions the 9/11 "mastermind" status afforded Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. Earlier Fisk: "American billions keep Arab regimes sweet."

A Pakistani observer says that the elements of the Mohammed story do not add up.

Recent reports by the U.N. and the U.S. State Department, confirm that Afghanistan has retaken the heroin crown.

The Los Angeles Times reports that the Pentagon is planning to take spying in-house, forming its own version of the CIA.

Josh Marshall says that the Bush administration's insistence that civil servants toe the party line, particularly on the Middle East, has created an unprecedented level of tension within the national security bureaucracy, and has led to an exodus of government experts. "Everyone who leaves makes one more open seat for a think-tank hack who will tell the politicals what they want to hear." Plus: The Abrams file.

Citing the findings of recent Gallup polls, Nicholas Kristof says that "nearly all of us in the news business are completely out of touch" with the 46 percent of Americans who describe themselves as evangelical or born-again Christians, and the 48 percent who say they believe in creationism.

Wednesday, March 5, 2003

U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman says the Pentagon's war plan for Iraq entails quickly shocking the country's leadership into submission, warns of civilian casualties: "People get the idea this is going to be antiseptic. Well, it's not going to be."

Backdoor To War "The USA and UK aren't so much fighting a war, as playing a despicable war game," writes Brendan O'Neill. "The increased policing (ie, bombing) of southern Iraq is not about fulfilling a military objective, so much as a political one."

If Iraqi casualty claims are accurate, the latest bombing has sent the Iraq body count into double figures.

In an examination of the leaflets that the U.S. is littering Iraq with, the Village Voice's George Smith writes that "If similar articles were dropped over the American heartland, it would be viewed as an act of war."

The Times of London charges that in drawing up a secret blueprint for a post-Saddam Iraq, "the U.N. is breaking a taboo, and arguably breaching its charter, by considering plans for Iraq's future governance while it deals daily with President Saddam Hussein’s regime as a legitimate member."

A Turkish diplomat says that CNN's Aaron Brown helped to muck up the Turkey deal, when he irritated the government and members of parliament by saying that "They don't want to be kissed on the first date."

Although a French newspaper reports that France has all but ruled out using its Security Council veto to stop a second resolution, the foreign ministers of France, Germany and Russia say they will "not allow" passage of a resolution to authorize war against Iraq.

Pakistani intelligence claims to have intercepted several hand-written letters from bin Laden, suspects that he's in northern Pakistan.

Terrorist Hang Out Al-Jazeera correspondent Yosri Fouda, recalls the 48 hours he spent with Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and Ramzi Binalshibh. Plus: Fouda interviewed on MSNBC.

Mohammed's meteoric rise to the top of the world's most-wanted terrorist list.

A New Jersey girls high school basketball game is canceled after a local radio station uses Cold War overtones to promote its coverage. Plus: See a 1960s billboard that depicted Martin Luther King as a communist sympathizer.

Screen Actors Guild raises specter of Cold War McCarthyism on Iraq, cites hate-mail directed at actors who have taken a stand against war, along with calls for boycotts of movies and albums.

Smothers brothers debate celebrity activism with Bill O'Reilly. Plus: Fox News' "shoutmanship" and Dennis Miller's comic turn to the right.

Jon Margolis says that for liberal talk radio to succeed, it must identify a social pathology on the left, just as right-wing radio has tapped into the niche market of disappointed men: "It is the pathology to whom the performer must appeal. The politics is incidental." challenges Ann Coulter and Bernard Goldberg to debate media bias with Eric Alterman.

In "Praise the lord, drop the bombs," an alternative weekly reporter visits a "Rally for America."

World War ll vets lead charge to rescind small-town's antiwar resolution.

Man arrested after refusing to take off his "Give Peace a Chance" t-shirt and leave a shopping mall that has a history of being tough on antiwar activists.

Thursday, March 6, 2003

In "Strangeloves in Bloom," James Pinkerton says Iraq hawks "want a hot war, and they want it now. To get it, they are eager to trash the mechanisms of dispute resolution that have been built up over the decades."

The foreign policy speech that President Bush delivered last week at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), was also "a victory sermon," celebrating the triumph of a vision that his neoconservative advisors have been promoting for years.

The Guardian's Brian Whitaker asks: "So what is the AEI, who are these great minds, and what, exactly, are they doing to help the president?", now that they've moved in.

A memo by consultant Frank Lutz, one of the drafters of the "Contract With America," has prompted Republicans to soften their message on the environment. President Bush has taken Lutz's advice, replacing the terms "global warming" and "environmentalist" in speeches, with "climate change" and "conservationist."

FBI agent Coleen Rowley calls on Director Robert Mueller to advise President Bush and Attorney General Ashcroft, that bureau officials "should be deluding neither ourselves nor the American people that there is any way the FBI . . . will be able to stem the flood of terrorism that will likely head our way in the wake of an attack on Iraq." Earlier: How all the president's men buried Rowley.

Secretary of State Powell says American intelligence shows that Iraq is hiding equipment to continue building more Al Samoud-2 missiles, but Hans Blix says that Powell provided him with no information on new evidence Iraq plans to clandestinely continue their production.

Is the U.S. witholding intelligence in an attempt to undermine inspections? (Scroll down to March 3.)

Bush administration keeps changing standards for Iraq to avert war.

Saddam stunner turns diplomatic wrangling on its head. Plus: Bulgaria's not so hard bargain.

The on-air interpreter for CBS' interview with Saddam Hussein was an American faking an Arabic accent.

VP Cheney goes after for parodying his wife. Don't miss the patriotic posters.

American political comedian finds more laughs in Britain.

Crossgates Mall asks police to drop charges against peace t-shirter, after 100 protesters staged a "Mall Walk for Peace."

Pakistani security officials say that material seized during the arrest of Khalid Shaikh Mohammed shows that he met with bin Laden sometime in February. In Baluchistan?

U.S. military coroners have determined that the deaths of two Afghan detainees, who died shortly after arriving at Bagram air base in December, were homicides.

Six of the 10 members on the commission investigating the 9/11 attacks, are said to have ties to the airline industry.

Mother Jones reports on how the Bush administration worked with the tobacco industry in an attempt to water down an international anti-tobacco treaty that it's unlikely to ratify.

Friday, March 7, 2003

But Enough About Me William Saletan says that "if you tuned in to President Bush's press conference to understand his point of view on Iraq, you got what you came for. If you tuned in to find out whether he understood yours, tough luck." Saletan notes that four times, "Bush was asked why other countries weren't seeing things our way. Four times, he had no idea."

In recapping Bush's "Prime-Time War Talk," Howard Kurtz writes that "No matter what the question the president's answer was the same: Saddam is a menace. I must protect the country. Don't forget 9/11."

Kurtz refers to a Washington Times article on the president's snubbing of Helen Thomas -- who traditionally asks the first question. One reporter who has covered the past six presidents tells the paper that "I don't remember a press conference in which [Mrs. Thomas] didn't get a question."

The solo press conference was Bush's eighth, compared to 30 for Bill Clinton and 59 for Bush's father at the same point in their presidencies. Communications director Dan Bartlett says that this White House uses news conferences sparingly because "if you have a message you're trying to deliver, a news conference can go in a different direction."

Gary Hart goes on Bill O'Reilly's show to make his case against war with Iraq.

New poll finds one Democrat who would beat President Bush in 2004.

The commander of the U.S. Army's forces in Kuwait says that their Baghdad battle plan hopes to avoid a "house-to-house Berlin, World War II-type scenario."

Thousands of U.S. soldiers are reportedly "pouring into Saudi Arabia," where American forces are said to have taken control of a civilian airport less than 10 miles from the Saudi-Iraq border.

U.N. observers discover large gaps cut in the fence separating Kuwait and Iraq, shortly after plain-clothed U.S. marines were seen driving through the demilitarized zone in unmarked vehicles. Plus:'s Jeremy Scahill reports from the DMZ.

In commenting on Sen. Lindsey Graham's request that Attorney General Ashcroft provide him with a legal assessment of Americans headed to or already in Iraq to offer themselves as human shields, Soundbitten's Greg Beato writes that "Graham is ultimately evangelizing the notion of pre-emptive treason: even though an American military operation is still "potential," human shields, in some weird phenomenom of partisan physics that probably only evil liberals can pull off, are already impeding it."

"Democracy Now!" interviews human shields in Iraq.

Uniform Deceit U.S. charges that Saddam Hussein has ordered uniforms replicating those worn by U.S. and British troops and will issue them to paramilitary fighters who would attack Iraqi civilians and blame it on Western forces.

Two British DJs, broadcasting out of a makeshift studio in a metal cargo container in Kuwait, have won over U.S. troops, who prefer their freewheeling broadcasts to the staid American Forces Network. Plus: U.S. Marines starved -- for information.

Not Morockin' Fourteen heavy metal musicians and fans have been jailed in Casablanca after being convicted of "acts capable of undermining the faith of a Muslim" and "possessing objects which infringe morals."

U.S.' bullying of Mexico gets little attention north of the border.

Monday, March 10, 2003

Bill Moyers talks war with Chris Hedges.

Military analyst William Arkin says that while both proponents and opponents of war with Iraq agree that the paramount threat posed by Saddam Hussein is his possession of chemical and biological weapons, "there is simply no hard intelligence of any such Iraqi weapons."

U.N. concludes that documents presented as evidence that Iraqi officials attempted to purchase uranium in Africa were forged, as U.S. continues to push aluminum tubes claim. Plus: Hans Blix accused of hiding "smoking gun."

Bush administration reportedly asks more than 60 countries to expel Iraqi diplomats.

The Observer reports that the U.N. has begun an investigation into the bugging of its delegations by America's National Security Agency, and that an employee of Britain's intelligence service was arrested following the leaking of the NSA memo, which was reportedly obtained from British security sources who objected to being asked to aid the U.S. operation.

Sparse U.S. media coverage of leak downplayed the significance of the Observer's revelations.

In a segment on CNN's "Late Edition," Richard Perle responds to a New Yorker article in which Seymour Hersh implies that Perle has a conflict of interest because he's a managing partner in Trireme Partners, a venture capital firm that invests in companies dealing in homeland security: "Sy Hersh is the closest thing American journalism has to a terrorist."

The Wall Street Journal reports that the Bush administration has "quietly" asked at least five U.S. engineering firms, including Halliburton subsidiary Kellog Brown & Root, to bid for a post-war Iraq rebuilding contract that may be worth as much as $900 million. Plus: "War may be hell but it's profitable."

War For Oil (Services) Pentagon awards Kellog Brown & Root contract for advice on rebuilding Iraq's oil fields after a possible war.

As the U.S. digs itself deeper into a deficit hole, Nathan Newman says that if you subtract the housing bubble and add in Iraq, "this year could be an unimaginable disaster for the economy."

Skittish advertisers make plans to distance brands from war news.

Read the translation of a Der Spiegel article headlined "This war came from a think tank."

"With W., conservatives got a Bush who wanted to be Reagan," writes Maureen Dowd, "With 9/11, they found a new tragedy to breathe life into their old dreams."

Newsweek's Jonathan Alter calls President Bush's press conference "totally unconvincing" and Editor & Publisher has 13 questions that it wishes reporters had asked. Plus: Bush's repeat performance.

"In the statements of the president, nothing that can be described even remotely as an argument is to be found," writes David North. "There are, rather, a series of assertions, laid out in sentences that are generally no more than five to ten words long, for which no supporting evidence is presented."

The Project for Excellence in Journalism's Tom Rosensteil tells USA Today that "This was a speech disguised as a presidential press conference. What you saw was political media control at a high level."

President cribbing from father's Gulf War speeches and arguments.

Alice Walker and "Democracy Now's" Amy Goodman among those arrested at D.C. protest.

In "Smart-Mobbing the War," George Packer looks at how young antiwar organizers are using wired technologies to assemble what he says "may be the fastest-growing protest movement in American history."

In a post-mortem on Phil Donahue's show, Ralph Nader writes that "About the only freedom Donahue had was the freedom to say what he thinks. Beyond that, he was often told what kinds of subjects to showcase and what kind of guests to have."

Critics of corporate media pack Seattle venue for FCC hearing on media regulation.

With antiwar songs shut out of commercial radio, artists are working the fringes. Music and lyrics for "Peace Not War" CD here.

In an interview with the St. Paul Pioneer Press, FBI agent Coleen Rowley says of her letter to Director Robert Mueller: "I'm not such a lunatic as to think there's the slightest chance of stopping this war. But when you see a mistake, you need to try to correct it. The days are drawing short, and I just feel this is something I had to do."

Since many people think that war in Iraq has already started, should Iraqi soldiers be allowed to surrender? Plus: U.S. pilots striking from seven to 14 targets a week.

Tuesday, March 11, 2003

In a speech to San Francisco's Commonwealth Club, Norman Mailer speculates on what he calls the "covert motives in the Bush administration," in an "attempt to understand what the President and his inner cohort see as the logic of their present venture."

Revealed: My evening with Norman Mailer and George W. Bush.

White House proves to be more accurate than many major media outlets.

Is Bush Still a "Centrist?" Variety editor Peter Bart says "that journalists already seem to be missing in action. And the war hasn't even started yet." Plus: Writers rant about the media's coverage of the Bush administration and Iraq.

A BBC war correspondent says that the Pentagon has threatened to fire on the satellite uplink positions of independent journalists in Iraq.

A Wired report raises the possibility that "U.S. forces in the Persian Gulf may be armed with radioactive bombs and missiles hundreds of times more potent than similar weapons used during the Gulf War and the U.N. military campaign in Bosnia." Earlier: Pentagon steps up its use of radioactive munitions.

Ten-Ton Bomb U.S. to test 21,000-pound "massive ordnance air burst" in Florida.

A Russian military analyst predicts a no-contact rout for U.S. forces if there is a war in Iraq. He says that to avoid casualties, the U.S. "will totally annihilate the Iraqi army. Practically all Iraq servicemen will die."

Private companies likely to be tapped to "Americanize" what's left of Iraqi military.

Recent peacekeeping missions suggest that the U.S. will need several hundred thousand soldiers to occupy Iraq.

Last week Sen. Carl Levin said that the U.S. has shared only a fraction of its best intelligence on Iraq's suspected weapons sites with U.N. inspectors: ''I think we have a strong case in the Security Council. But the administration has undermined the inspection process and mocked the inspectors."

Australia's prime minister criticized for appearing to link military action in Iraq with last year's bombings in Bali. Plus: Bali-Iraq "debate" called deliberate political strategy.

Australian judge to hold court in alleged agoraphobic's home.

The former head of Pakistan's InterServices Intelligence (ISI), who has opposed his country's cooperation with the U.S. in the war against terrorism, claims that Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was arrested much earlier than is being reported.

On Monday, during its first-ever news conference, the ISI showed a video, alleged to be of the raid in which Mohammed was captured. The AP's Kathy Gannon described it as being "scratchy and of poor quality, and appearing to be "cut and spliced together." She says that "his face was not shown...although he was seen being handcuffed and having a black hood placed over his head."

A second U.S. career diplomat has resigned in protest over U.S. policy on Iraq. In his resignation letter to Secretary of State Powell, John Brown wrote that "The president's disregard for views in other nations, borne out by his neglect of public diplomacy, is giving birth to an anti-American century."

College presidents zip lips on Iraq in order to avoid offending private and public funders.

Santa Cruz public libraries post signs warning patrons that the USA Patriot Act "prohibits library workers from informing you if federal agents have obtained records about you."

U.S. Rep. James Moran is under fire for 'Jews are pushing war' remark and a Minnesota state lawmaker is criticized for saying the idea that Nazis persecuted homosexuals is a "rewriting of history."

Religious fundamentalists exploit Rhode Island nightclub fire to bash rock-and-roll.

The Rittenhouse Review's James Capozzola has received a groundswell of support from fellow bloggers for a possible U.S. Senate run in Pennsylvania. Plus: Capozzola on the continued smearing of Helen Thomas.

Wednesday, March 12, 2003

Pakistan accused of staging arrest of Mohammed to give it leeway to abstain in a U.N. vote on an Iraq war.

Baghdad a city in waiting as wall of defiance crumbles.

Hollywood set designer hired to create glitzy, high-tech set for Pentagon's media briefing room in Qatar.

Last week's presidential press conference called "mini-Alamo" for American journalism.

ABC White House correspondent Terry Moran says that the hyper-management of the event left the press corps "looking like zombies."

What makes a man want to torture Wolf Blitzer?

The Washington Post profiles "Democracy Now!" co-host Amy Goodman, who says "There's such a hunger out there for an alternative. It's almost explosive."

Was the trashing of a 9/11 memorial a set-up designed to smear the antiwar movement?

Beastie Boys antiwar song "In a World Gone Mad" available for download.

Federal appeals court weighs lawsuit challenging the president's right to wage war on Iraq without a formal declaration of war by Congress.

Former New York Times columnist Tom Wicker says that what may be the most important question involving war with Iraq is seldom being asked by the American press: Does a U.S. president really have the power "to make war at pleasure?"

A Harvard Crimson editor says "I am boycotting O'Reilly and everything on Fox News," which "commits the cardinal sin of deceit every time they flash the slogan 'Fair and Balanced' or 'We Report. You Decide.'"

Right Magazine, Right Time David Carr profiles the Weekly Standard and its founding editor, William Kristol.

Tony Judt reviews Kristol and Lawrence Kaplan's "The War over Iraq: Saddam's Tyranny and America's Mission," published by Encounter Books, which the Bradley Foundation has subsidized to the tune of $3.5 million since 1998.

In "Whose War?," Pat Buchanan writes that "Neocons say we attack them because they are Jewish. We do not. We attack them because their warmongering threatens our country, even as it finds a reliable echo in Ariel Sharon."

The Guardian reports that Halliburton is still paying VP Dick Cheney up to $1 million a year in the form of "deferred compensation." Plus: Post-Hussein Iraq would be a bonanza for U.S.-dominated oil-services industry.

Democrat and Republican senators team up for bipartisan bashing of Bush administration over postwar Iraq secrecy.

Senator Robert Byrd tells Larry King that "Of course, you don't know what these costs are going to be, but you can level with the Congress. You can say as of to now, this is the way we see it. Instead of that, we get the idea in listening to the administration, well, what's the use of telling them. We'll let them know when we want to let them know. "

Canadian extends apology to U.S.: "We haven't been getting along very well recently and for that, I am truly sorry."

The public servants who brought "freedom fries" to Capitol Hill.

Thursday, March 13, 2003

"A Pentagon Papers case, essentially, is happening right now in Britain," says Daniel Ellsberg. "And by and large, Americans don't even know about it."

Leaker Seeks Leaks Ellsberg calls on government officials to leak documents showing the Bush administration is lying in building its case against Saddam. Plus: "Spoon-feeding the press."

Bubbleheads George Soros sees parallels between the Bush administration's pursuit of American supremacy and a stock market bubble: "Bubbles do not arise out of thin air. They have a solid basis in reality, but misconception distorts reality. Here, the dominant position of the U.S. is the reality, the pursuit of American supremacy the misconception."

As people of means flee Baghdad, one woman who is staying behind says that "We are now entering the time of the radio. We live day and night by the news. Right now, there is nothing but bad. And very quickly it will get worse." Plus: A human shield heads home.

Iraq opens a training camp for Arab volunteers willing to carry out suicide bombings against U.S. forces if they invade the country. Have a look.

European Union Commissioner warns of withholding funds for rebuilding Iraq if the U.S. goes to war without formal backing from the U.N., and calls the Bush administration's decision to solicit proposals from five U.S. contractors for reconstruction work in a post-war Iraq "exceptionally maladroit."

The Center for Responsive Politics finds that the five firms are givers.

U.S. Air Force troops confront antiwar protesters at British peace camp.

Working Assets launches a billboard campaign in support of U.S. troops.

Row on Music Row A Nashville producer for the Great American Country cable channel was fired after responding to a pro-war rant by Charlie Daniels aimed at Hollywood celebrities, calling it "bullshit propaganda.''

New York Times deletes news that police snipers and undercover officers were present during NYC antiwar protest.

Richard Perle says that he plans to sue Seymour Hersh over a New Yorker article in which Hersh implies that Perle has a conflict of interest because he's both a Pentagon adviser and a managing partner in a venture capital firm that invests in companies dealing in homeland security.

Hersh bashes the Bush administration after accepting a journalism award, tells the Boston Globe that "they're tougher than the Nixon White House because you can't get them to talk." Plus: Hersh talks on "Democracy Now!"

Slate's Jack Shafer takes Helen Thomas to task for making partisan speeches in press briefings rather than asking questions that are "tailored to produce an intelligent response." But he also writes that "One reporter says she's the only person with any testosterone in the White House press room."

The LA Weekly's John Powers says reporters at Bush's recent press conference "were content just to be in the same room with the big guy" and that "By now, such capitulation is second nature."

Brazilian writer Paulo Coelho pens a "thank you" letter to President Bush. Earlier: "It's under Bush's bed!"

Correspondents report from the "bizarre" DMZ separating North and South Korea and Pyongyang, where "the brightest lights are the headlamps of the occasional passing vehicle."

Get daily news updates on North Korea from "Pyongyang Watch."

Film director Shin Sang-Ok, "the Orson Welles of South Korea," tells the fantastical story of how he and his movie-star wife were kidnapped by Kim Jong-Il, and then made seven movies before escaping during a business trip to Vienna in 1986.

Gang members arrested following assassination of Serbian Prime Minister, and powerful U.S. ally, Zoran Djindjic. Updates at B92.

Unsafe House USA Today reports that a laptop computer used by Khalid Sheikh Mohammed has yielded a list of at least half a dozen residences along the Pak-Afghan border used by bin Laden and his supporters.

Friday, March 14, 2003

The Los Angeles Times reports on a classified State Department document labeled "Iraq, the Middle East and Change: No Dominoes," that the paper says "exposes significant divisions within the Bush administration over the so-called democratic domino theory, one of the arguments that underpins the case for invading Iraq."

Richard Nixon biographer Roger Morris writes in a New York Times op-ed that in 1963 the CIA, under President John F. Kennedy, "conducted its own regime change in Baghdad, carried out in collaboration with Saddam Hussein...Britain and Israel backed American intervention in Iraq, while other U.S. allies -- chiefly France and Germany -- resisted."

A Real Dig Rep. Ginny Brown-Waite has introduced a bill that would provide financial help for families who want to bring home from France and Belgium the remains of Americans who fought and died in the two world wars. Plus: "Les Nincompoops."

U.S. military's PC campaign suffers setback with "Fuque the French" scrawl on bomb.

Easter bunny gets cuffed after Kmart calls cops on protesters objecting to military-themed holiday baskets.

Lee Spiked Oscars organizers draw up blacklist of people who will not be allowed a platform to air anti-war views.

Preemption as Pretext U.S. officials tell ABC that they are considering moving against targets in Iraq "before any war begins in an effort to prevent Saddam from acting first." Earlier: "The U.S. is looking for an excuse to fight"

The Washington Post reports that Marine Gen. Peter Pace told a closed-door Pentagon briefing that a delay of a month or more in invading Iraq could be handled by the U.S. military and would not increase U.S. casualties. Plus: "Soldiers endure desert boredom."

A Christian Science Monitor article notes that while a recent New York Times/CBS poll shows that 45 percent of Americans believe Saddam was "personally involved" in 9/11, "Polling data show that right after Sept. 11, 2001, when Americans were asked open-ended questions about who was behind the attacks, only 3 percent mentioned Iraq or Hussein."

CBS reports that "privately several senior U.S. officials have concluded that al-Qaeda has effectively been defeated" and that "they now feel an optimism that has been carefully shielded from the public. Even if al-Qaeda does strike again, which is likely, it will never be with the power it once had."

Commenting on the "faceless" arrest tape of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, Bruce Kennedy writes that "we have not seen a single picture of any of the so-called high profile operatives that have allegedly been arrested... If these are such big catches and they are being held at 'undisclosed locations' why not show us their faces instead of FBI most wanted photos?"

An Associated Press spokesperson says that the Customs Service "had no legal right" to intercept a package -- and turn it over to the FBI -- that was mailed between two AP reporters who were working on a terrorism investigation.

Slate's Jack Shafer tells Richard Perle to "go ahead and sue" Seymour Hersh, "and make sure an expensive barrister handles your case. The New Yorker has money to burn, and I'd love to see you lose yours." Plus: New Yorker editor calls Perle's attack on Hersh "disgusting."

A Washington Post reporter says that the press shares in the blame for allowing the Bush administration to control information.

Paul Krugman writes that "Bush's inner circle seems amazed that the tactics that work so well on journalists and Democrats don't work on the rest of the world."

U.S. warns Security Council naysayers as Russia refuses request to expel Iraqi diplomats.

Mark Grueter says that the divide in opinion over Iraq reflects American's age-old tradition of being simultaneously isolationist and interventionist. Plus: "Time for a new U.S. strategy on Iraq."

Bill Maher and actor Ron Silver mix it up over Iraq. (scroll down)

Mark LeVine says that the antiwar movement must move to lay the groundwork for responding to a "Bush Wins" in Iraq scenario, "if it hopes to mobilize public opinion a year or two down the road when the chickens of an over-extended empire come home to roost."

March 13

Tuesday, March 18, 2003

Four historians -- including Howard Zinn! -- appear on PBS' "NewsHour" to offer their perspectives on President Bush's "psych-out" speech.

Doug Ireland writes that "the 'powerful odor of mendacity' (to borrow Tennessee Williams’ phrase) hung over George Bush’s primetime virtual declaration of war Monday night."

With "history's deadliest night of airstrikes" set to begin, military analyst William Arkin asks: "Will 'shock and awe' be sufficient?"

The Consortium's Robert Parry argues that by ordering U.S. troops to invade Iraq without U.N. authorization, President Bush is putting them "in an extraordinary 'double jeopardy'...Not only will they be facing life and death situations on the ground, but they will be opening themselves to possible war-crimes charges in the future."

As the role of religion in President Bush's policies receives new scrutiny, the Christian Century editorializes that "the American people have a right to know how the president's faith is informing his public policies, not least his design on Iraq."

A recent CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll found that "the only contingency that draws less than majority support for military action (47%) is a situation in which the United States and its allies were to offer no new resolution at all to the United Nations."

Prime Minister Jean Chrétien announces that Canada won't fight in Iraq.

Officials at Vandenberg Air Force Base say that security forces there may use "deadly force" against any protesters who infiltrate the military complex if a war starts.

The Washington Post reports that the FBI has spent the last year developing "a voluminous and detailed contingency plan" in preparation for an invasion of Iraq, that includes plans to mobilize as many as 5,000 agents to guard against terrorist attacks, monitor or arrest suspected militants and interview thousands of Iraqis living in the U.S."

Vandals spray-paint "Scum Go Back to France" graffiti on French-born Houston woman's garage door. Plus: "Waiter! More Champagne And FRENCH Fries, Please!"

"FReepers" found to be orchestrating attacks on Dixie Chicks.

International Solidarity Movement issues a statement on "the murder" of Rachel Corrie. More from the Electronic Intifada and The Olympian.

As major media organizations weigh the costs of leaving reporters in Baghdad, a Boston Globe reporter tells how he was forced to leave.

Robert Fisk writes that Baghdad, "it seems, is sleep-walking its way into history."

Hampton Sides, who made a last-minute decision against being embedded, wonders why the Bush Administration would go to such lengths to accommodate so many journalists: "One military officer at the Hilton privately suggested an answer: 'We want you here to document the gas and the other stuff Saddam has in his arsenal. If he has it, or, God forbid, uses it, the world’s not going to believe the U.S. Army. But they’ll believe you.'"

Vietnam press vet offers reporters "Lessons to Survive By," says that "you are not being embedded because that sweet old Pentagon wants to be nice. You are being embedded so you can be controlled and in a way isolated."

In an appearance on German TV, former CIA officers say that the Bush administration has been pressuring the FBI and the CIA to "cook" intelligence for war. Plus: "Bush clings to dubious allegations about Iraq" as Cheney contradicts himself on "Meet the Press."

In his State of the Union address, President Bush used what one U.S. official called "second- or third- hand" information to trumpet documents -- that turned out to be forged -- as evidence against Iraq.

The Washington Posts's ombudsman says that the paper's coverage of the resignation of career diplomat John Brady Kiesling over U.S. policy towards Iraq, fits "a pattern in the news pages of missing, underplaying or being late on various blips with respect to public voices of dissent or uncertainty." Plus: William Greider on the Post's march to war and Bill Moyers interviews Kiesling.

U.S. called an "arrogant empire" that "inspires scorn" and "exports fears" to the world.

Borderline Personalities The Los Angeles Times profiles the vigilantes that patrol rural areas along the Mexico-U.S. border, looking for illegal immigrants and Mexican drug dealers: "They're worth getting to know because they advocate the most extreme bunker strategies in the uncertainties of the post-9/11 world. In a word, they speak for America at its most freaked out."

The Wall Street Journal reports that the Bush administration's plan to rebuild Iraq relies heavily on private U.S. companies, sidelining U.N. development agencies and other multilateral organizations.

White House spokesman Ari Fleischer evades a question about Richard Perle's alleged conflict of interest.

March 14

Wednesday, March 19, 2003

March 19

The San Jose Mercury News reports that some U.N. nuclear weapons inspectors are "angry at the Bush administration for cutting short their work, bad-mouthing their efforts and making false claims about evidence of weapons of mass destruction." A U.N. official says that a group of U.S. nuclear scientists arrived as hawks and left as doves, after finding Iraq "a ruined country, not a threat to anyone.''

The New York Times says that the Bush administration has assigned top priority to the hunt for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and that "American plans to eliminate illegal Iraqi arms were drawn up independently of U.N. weapons inspections" in a process that "began at the Pentagon last July."

USA Today reports on the impending hunt for Saddam by Delta Force commandos. A senior Pentagon official says "The expectation is to kill him within days," of the start of a war. The paper says that the Bush administration would rather not put Saddam on trial, because it "could rally sympathetic Arabs" around him and "fuel continuing criticism of the administration's single-minded push to remove Iraq's leader."

The U.S. announces its intention to use depleted uranium in Iraq, during a Pentagon briefing in which an Army Colonel said that Iraqi complaints about depleted uranium shells have no medical basis: "They want it to go away because we kicked the crap out of them."

A new blog investigates "who's making a killing on killing in Iraq." Start here and scroll up to find out who stands to profit if Iraq sets its oilfields ablaze.

The Washington Post reports that the list of 30 countries that make up the "coalition of the willing," -- an additional 15 don't want their name mentioned -- was shorter than previously suggested by administration officials, who recently said the coalition supporting the U.S. was in the "high two digits."

A new Pew Research poll shows that U.S. favorability ratings in Europe and Russia have plummeted in the past six months. Complete poll results.

The Guardian's Matthew Engel on what Iraqis can expect under American-style democracy.

Justin Raimondo says that antiwar protesters who favor direct action "should shut up about 'shutting it down' -- before the state shuts us down." As an alternative, he proposes "a series of town hall debates at which we confront the advocates of war, right and left, and expose them in full view of the American people."

Hawking War A FAIR study finds that network newscasts are dominated by current and former U.S. officials and largely exclude Americans who are skeptical of or opposed to an invasion of Iraq.

Pro-war voices dominate Slate's "field guide to Iraq pundits."

The Chicago Tribune reports that the common thread among recent pro-war rallies is Clear Channel, America's largest owner of radio stations.

In an open letter to Bill O'Reilly, the World Policy Institute's Bill Hartung writes that I'm "the guy who pinned your ears to the wall in a debate over the war in Iraq on your radio program last Friday. I'm not writing to gloat, but I am writing to say that if you EVER pull the kind of sleazy stunt you pulled on me last Friday again, I will make it my business to make sure you pay for it, big time."

NYPD protecting TV outlets against possible takeovers by terrorists!

New Jersey's anti-terror czar explains what would happen if the U.S. escalates the terror alert level to red. Earlier: Martial law scenario.

During an Ohio speech, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia said that government has room to scale back individual rights during wartime without violating the Constitution: "The Constitution just sets minimums. Most of the rights that you enjoy go way beyond what the Constitution requires."

The Cleveland Plain Dealer reports that "In response to a student's question, Scalia said it was 'a wonderful feeling' to have led the Supreme Court's rejection of a recount of the Florida vote, thus handing the election to Bush."

Battle Tested A former campaign aide to President Bush, who served as spokesman for GOP Miami-based protesters attempting to stop the 2000 Florida ballot re-count, has been hired as Gen. Tommy Frank's top spokesperson.

Al Gore resurfaces as the leading contender to President Bush in a new Zogby poll. Plus: Kerry-bashing pundits give president free pass on furrowed brow.

Walter Cronkite rips "arrogance" of President Bush and his administration and questions U.S. doctrine of "pre-emptive war."

Republicans fail for a third time to break a Senate filibuster of federal judicial nominee Miguel Estrada, vow to continue requiring Democrats to vote to keep him off the federal bench.

BBC charged with burying documentary comparing Israel's nuclear weapons program with that of Iraq's.

Israeli forces attempt to disperse crowd at memorial service for Rachel Corrie with teargas and stun grenades. Plus: Activists demand halt of Caterpillar bulldozer sales to Israeli military.

March 18

Thursday, March 20, 2003

WARning! New e-mail virus exploits interest in war with a variety of subject lines such as "Spy pics" and "GO USA!!!!"

Worm reportedly peters out as Web site hacks rise.

March 20

Pentagon's "Shock and Awe" strategy serves as lightning rod for world media.

U.S. criticized over plans to use land mines in Iraq.

Web Sites CNN correspondent Kevin Sites photoblogs from northern Iraq.

A Los Angeles DJ pretending to be Jerry Lewis reportedly pranked French Pesident Chirac, real Jerry considering legal action. Plus: Saddam lookalike does big business in California.

Knight Ridder reports that minutes before President Bush's Wednesday night speech, "an internal television monitor showed the president pumping his fist. 'Feels good,' he said."

The Washington Post reports on the CIA's claim that it had Saddam in the crosshairs. Plus: "Does this look like a war of self-defense?"

"Today I weep for my country," said Sen. Robert Byrd on Wednesday. "We flaunt our superpower status with arrogance ... After war has ended the United States will have to rebuild much more than the country of Iraq. We will have to rebuild America's image around the globe."

The Nation editorializes that "even if there are minimal casualties and devastation" in Iraq, "that will not justify overturning international norms developed over sixty years. Nor can it legitimize a worldview that will make Americans the target of international outrage and make the world less secure."

Protests go worldwide following U.S. strikes on Iraq.

Brendan O'Neill calls the recent flurry of statements about potential terror attacks "less a response to new, specific intelligence about the al-Qaeda network, than a cynical attempt to ratchet up support at home for war in Iraq." Plus: U.S. planning a "cowardly war" in Iraq.

Bush administration's message machine ready to wage "war within the war."

Some reporters blocked from leaving Baghdad, while NBC pays a "fine" of $60,000 to gain permission for its crew to leave.

A reader sends this: "On NBC at 7:00 pm PST, just after the first strike on Baghdad, Tom Brokaw said 'we don't want to destroy the infrastructure of Iraq because in a few days we're gonna own that country.' I write a satirical blog, but this is really not a joke. I couldn't make this up."

Twelve Republican congressmen sent a letter to Defense Secretary Rumsfeld raising questions about his policy of allowing journalists to travel with American troops and asking him to explain why he wasn't imposing "censorship." Plus: "Left and right look for signs of bias in reporting."

Rep. Pete Stark said: "I think unleashing 3,000 smart bombs against the city of Baghdad in the first several days of the war . . . to me, if those were unleashed against the San Francisco Bay Area, I would call that an act of extreme terrorism."

During last fall's congressional debate on Iraq, Stark said: "So we have a president who thinks foreign territory is the opponent's dugout and Kashmir is a sweater ... I don't trust this president and his advisors."

Commenting on the sudden resignation of Rand Beers, the National Security Council's senior director for counter-terrorism, the author of a book on the NSC, James Bamford, said that "There is a predominant belief in the intelligence community that an invasion of Iraq will cause more terrorism than it will prevent. There is also a tremendous amount of embarrassment by intelligence professionals that there have been so many lies out of the administration -- by the president, Cheney and Powell -- over Iraq."

Two observers each count 20 lies in 15 minutes during President Bush's ultimatum speech.

Shop Till Saddam Drops On the eve of war, a reporter visits the Mother of All Malls.

U.S. military officials say no flags on Iraq invasion vehicles.

"Television lies all the time," writes Matt Taibbi. "But the biggest, most scandalous lie it puts forward -- and this is the one that was most on display during the Elizabeth Smart coverage -- is that it cares."

Friday, March 21, 2003

Peter Arnett and Hamza Hendawi report from Baghdad. Plus: "Shock and Awe" -- from paper to battlefield.

Download John Trudell's "Bombs Over Baghdad," track #50, and Pat Humphries and Sandy Opatow's "CodePINK For Peace!"

'All-American Boys' Things turn ugly when two bar patrons are confronted with the suggestion that Sept. 11 had nothing to do with Iraq.

'An Orwellian Pitch' and call it anything but war.

"In terms of the power he now claims, without significant challenge," writes Michael Kinsley, "George W. Bush is now the closest thing in a long time to dictator of the world."

'We're Good People': A Play In One Act.

Empire's in the air and 'Bush and Dostoevsky.'

"It's no contradiction at all to hope for the best for our troops," writes Michael Tomasky, "but remain dead set against the rules of world order being rewritten overnight by the jungle's biggest lion."

War pundit Anthony Cordesman says that most of the worst case scenarios in Iraq probably won't come to pass. Plus: Why Saddam has to keep it clean.

Radio Psyop reports on the U.S. takeover of Iraqi State Radio.

From waiting to war to limbo in Baghdad.

The Agonist has up-to-the-minute war coverage and a situation map. More from Blogs of War and a blogger in Baghdad.

Eric Umansky has the Saddam Death Watch covered.

'Bluff and Bluster': "Shock and awe" gives way to shuck 'n jive.

Reuters calls U.S. on exaggerating relative size of Iraq alliance. Plus: 'Operation inflate the coalition.'

Profiteer's End? Richard Perle takes a transatlantic one-two punch, as a follow-up to Seymour Hersh's initial blow.

"Richard Perle Libel Watch," weeks one and two.

Atrios says that the "patriotic rallies" sponsored by the Clear Channel radio conglomerate "were not so much patriotic rallies as pro-war rallies, and not so much pro-war rallies as rallies against anyone who opposes the Bush administration's policies." He also notes the close ties between the company's Vice Chair, Tom Hicks and President Bush, that were spelled out in Joe Conason's "Notes on a Native Son."

A tourist tells a San Francisco Chronicle reporter that "This is a great education for our kids,'' as he explained the protests to his 9-year-old son, Brandon. "It's like we're watching the news as it happens. There's nothing like this in Phoenix.''

What will Michael Moore say if he wins the Oscar for best documentary? Here's a possible preview.

Nikke Finke imagines an "Academy Awards stripped of all glitz and glibness, that is nameless and faceless, that is muted and mute. Moviemakers could make their biggest statement by shocking everyone and not showing up, or stopping by and not saying anything at all."

A video montage accompanying an appearance by country singer Darryl Worley on CNN's "Lou Dobbs Moneyline," prompts a critic to ask: "Is Dobbs -- and CNN -- actually proposing that Iraq was responsible for the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon?"

D.C. sniper story meets Iraq war production.

Billboards exhort Saddam to give peace a chance.

Israeli government warns Web sites not to publish sensitive information about Iraq war.

Saturday, March 22, 2003

Oliver Willis writes that "The story of the attack on Camp Pennsylvania isn't even five seconds old, and some people seem quite ready to concede (adding in the DC sniper for some odd reason) that all Arab or Muslim-Americans are just sleeper agents ready to slit our throats while we sleep."

Critics blame the news media for failing to challenge the Bush administration's case for war.

With all eyes on Iraq, U.S. House passes President Bush's $726 billion tax cut. Plus: "Who Lost the U.S. Budget?"

John Burns describes the "almost biblical power" of American strikes on Baghdad and Salon's Eric Boehlert interviews a psyops expert about the U.S. effort to collapse the will of the Iraqi regime.

Saddam's first martyrs and conflicting accounts about the possible use of napalm by U.S. forces.

Russian bemoans news vacuum on U.S. cable channels.

TV's Road to Baghdad "Much of the time, the entire screen is an indistinguishable mosaic of blurry, beige squares, as though Fox is airing a recreation of the war that some shut-in spent weeks animating with Lego bricks." Plus: The All-Spin Zone.

Anti-interventionist Pat Buchanan zips his lips come wartime.

Conscience: "Not a marketable sensation."

Read playwright Wallace Shawn's thoughts about the run up to war in "Fragments From a Diary."

'The Aznar Inquisition' Spanish Prime Minister takes shellacking in the press.

Google wages war on antiwar.

Groom & Doom The haircut now seen 'round the world.

March 21

Sunday, March 23, 2003

March 23

Hospital officials in Basra tell Al-Jazeera that 50 civilians were killed, as U.S. helicopters "relentlessly" bombarded Iraq's second-largest city.

Bombing On TV Footage of explosions and burning buildings angers Arabs. Plus: Iraqis stay put for now.

Paging Mr. President "Liberated" Iraqis pepper an ABC reporter with questions: "Why are you here in this country? Are you trying to take over? Are you going to take our country forever? Are the Israelis coming next? Are you here to steal our oil? When are you going to get out?"

Americans about to become proud parents of 22 million Iraqis.

Will Saddam flood his own people? Iraqi dissidents in Iran say yes.

A Ha'aretz analysis of Israel's role during and after "Operation Iraqi Freedom," ends with: "After the war in Iraq, Israel will try to convince the U.S. to direct its war on terror at Iran, Damascus and Beirut. Senior defense establishment officials say that initial contacts in this direction have already been made in recent months, and that there is a good chance that America will be swayed by the Israeli argument."

Maureen Dowd on 'Perle's Plunder Blunder.'

The "war council" dresses down and a Pentagon briefer dresses out there.

Truth or Psyops? Concerning U.S. assertions that Saddam may be dead or wounded, that his command-control apparatus is in shambles, and that surrender talks are going on with Republican Guard officers, Slate's Fred Kaplan asks: "Are these claims part of an elaborate psychological-warfare campaign or are they for real?"

Why hasn't the U.S. unplugged Iraq from the Net? Plus: Pentagon battles infoglut.

CIA analysts say they felt pressured to make their intelligence reports on Iraq conform to Bush administration policies.

U.S. military official says no sign yet of Iraq's WMD's. Where are they?

U.S. Patriot missile scores a hit -- on a Royal Air Force plane.

'Shoot Movies, Not Iraqis' The speech that Michael Moore should have given at the Academy Awards.

Monday, March 24, 2003

March 24

Robert Dreyfuss asks: "Is Iraq the opening salvo in a war to remake the world?" Plus: 'Ideologues reshape world over breakfast.'

Elijah Wald predicts 'a familiar future for Iraq,' that keeps "the Baath Party in power, perhaps with a change of name, but otherwise managing everything more or less as it has been."

Supporting the Troops CorpWatch reports that thousands of employees of Halliburton subsidiary, Kellogg, Brown and Root, are working alongside U.S. forces in Kuwait and Turkey under a package deal worth more than $800 million. Plus: "We have a winner in Iraq" and Halliburton is forced to reconsider its operations in Iran.

The Nation gets worldwide reaction to war in dispatches from 13 countries.

Brendan O'Neill writes that "Watching the coverage (and trying to see through the 'fog of war'), it seems that American and British forces faced some fairly average wartime problems over the weekend... Yet some reports now claim that it's all going horribly wrong, and that the invasion, and the military strategy itself, are on 'very shaky ground'. What's going on?"

Was Saddam In the Can? His speech cited several units and commanders for their "heroic feats in the battlefield,” including the commander of the 11th Iraqi Brigade in Basra, who surrendered along with many of his troops in the early hours of the war.

President Bush reportedly used strong language in a March 2002 vow that the U.S. would take out Saddam.

U.S. news outlets struggle with decision on airing of videotape showing captured and killed American soldiers. Plus: The view from Europe and shut down by hosting provider for posting video pics.

Cable newsfolk said to be too busy patting themselves on the back to offer perspective.

Retired military generals lead TV's charge to war and CNN 'gets a dose of itself' in an Aaron Brown interview with Al-Jazeera's chief Washington correspondent.

In a commentary titled "In This War, We Report What They Decide," Michael Ryan argues that "The American media, essentially, have become an extension of military psychological operations."

MTV memo recommends steering clear of war-related music videos.

Texas newspaper cancels column following publication of "Who are the real, useful idiots?"

A National Review article by former White House speechwriter, David Frum, questions the patriotism of anti-war conservatives, including columnist Robert Novak.

War dissidents take a beating in 'clash over who is a patriot.'

Minnesota poet and essayist Bill Holm writes that had Paul Wellstone lived, "he would certainly have said a large and eloquent No, and given strength and courage to millions of ordinary people to stand behind him. He would have made fierce dissent not only respectable, but patriotic -- even noble."

Chris Floyd says that the Bush administration is engaged in a "hugger-mugger strangulation of the 'Independent Commission' appointed to investigate the Sept. 11 attacks."

A Guardian report from Baghdad quotes an Iraqi filmmaker as saying that "Normal people don't understand that the Americans are just going around towns. They think the Americans are weak. The government has brainwashed them that they are coming here to invade Iraq, and it will be their country, not Iraq's. That is why they are giving battle."

Tuesday, March 25, 2003

In 'Behind the Lines,' an examination of the war and its aftermath, New York magazine's Michael Wolff asks: 'What isn't the press covering? Are we missing the story? And what will it be like to be an American when the smoke clears?'

Retired U.S. Army General Barry McCaffrey says that if the Iraqis fight to defend Baghdad "it's going to be brutal, dangerous work and we could take, bluntly, a couple to 3,000 casualties."

Defense Secretary Rumsfeld's war strategy -- air power over ground troops -- comes under fire. Plus: At what cost Baghdad?

Saddam's strategy, his Fedayeen and a possible 'secret weapon.'

A Ha'aretz analysis asks: 'What happened to the civil uprising against Saddam?' Plus: 'Invasion v liberation.'

The New York Times reports that the U.S. plans to bypass the U.N. and establish immediate sole control of postwar Iraq.

Derrick Jackson writes that unable to convince the U.N. to become the coalition of the willing, President Bush "settled for a coalition of welfare states." And P.M. Carpenter asks: 'What Would We Do Without Albania?'

Won a Battle "The peace movement may have lost the war," writes the Guardian's Jonathan Freedland, but "in ways that few could have predicted, the antiwar campaign has helped shape the way the war itself is being fought."

Doing Paul Proud Antiwar protesters take over the Minnesota office of Sen. Norm Coleman, the same office that was previously occupied by the late Sen. Paul Wellstone and his staff.

NPR guest discovers that toeing the antiwar line doesn't follow the right script. Earlier: 'I was almost a stooge for NPR.'

Sorting out the claims and counter claims as the fog of war thickens. Plus: U.S. propaganda effort bogs down.

In an interview with Editor & Publisher, Norman Solomon suggests that U.S. journalists also embed themselves with Iraqi families, "But it's obviously better to be on the sending rather than the receiving end of missiles."

While more than 500 correspondents have been officially embedded with the troops, almost three times that many have obtained credentials as "unilaterals." A U.S. Army Colonel has rebuked some of them for "sneaking into" Iraq.

Al-Jazeera launches English-language Web site. It has already been hacked.

Delisted! New York Stock Exchange bars Al-Jazeera reporter from trading floor.

Salon reports on a Florida web-hosting company's decision to shut down for posting screen captures from the videotape aired by Al-Jazeera of U.S. soldiers captured and killed by Iraqi troops. More here.

As (Not) Seen On (U.S.) TV The Memory Hole collects unforgiving images of civilians, POWs, and soldiers on both sides.

UPI reports on what it says is the sole Iraqi refugee to make it to the Jordanian border since the beginning of the war. He's stuck in a tent in a no man's land between the two countries.

The St. Petersburg Times profiles an exiled Iraqi editorial cartoonist who skewers Saddam from Jordan.

In a link-rich analysis of the war, Justin Raimondo writes that "Hubris turns out to be the chief weakness of the Americans, who, since 9/11, have seen events through the prism of a distorting self-righteousness that has blinded them – until now – to the consequences of this war."

U.S. missiles take lives in Northern Iraq, 'raise ire' of Turkish villagers.

Self-aggrandizing blogger takes share of credit for "breaking" story about "chemical weapons plant."

Vice President Cheney's office has denied reports that one of his daughters was considering becoming a human shield in Iraq.

Wednesday, March 26, 2003

'Who Lied To Whom?' The New Yorker's Seymour Hersh asks how it was possible that fake documents -- cited by the U.S. and Britain as evidence that Iraq had tried to buy uranium from Niger -- managed "to move, without significant challenge, through the top layers of the American intelligence community."

The disclosure that the documents were fake "has renewed complaints among analysts at the CIA about the way intelligence related to Iraq has been handled," according to the New York Times James Risen, who writes that "Analysts at the agency said they had felt pressured to make their intelligence reports on Iraq conform to Bush administration policies."

In an earlier New Yorker article, Hersh raised the possibility that the business dealings of Pentagon advisor Richard Perle represented a conflict of interest. Now, Rep. John Conyers has asked the Defense Department to investigate Perle.

A Code Pink activist disrupted Perle, after she crashed a neocon war briefing on Iraq at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI).

Halliburton subsidiary Kellogg, Brown and Root, has been awarded a no-bid contract to fight oil well fires in Iraq. Arms and The Man has it covered.

Bush administration officials are being criticized for downplaying the potential difficulty of the conflict in Iraq and waiting until the last minute to say that the war could be a long one.

In a contentious press briefing, White House spokesman Ari Fleischer takes incoming over evasive answers to questions about war warnings and humanitarian aid. At one point a reporter says: "Wait a second, Ari. This is wartime. That's a dodge of the question." Earlier: The wartime packaging of President Bush.

With Americans almost at the city gates, John Burns describes the sense of foreboding among residents of Baghdad, who fear the possibility that civil war could break out if the American siege is protracted. Plus: 'In an Ominous Sky, a City Divines Its Fate.'

U.S. military officers say that the battle for Baghdad will be delayed, as the focus shifts to concentrating on the fedayeen and other militias serving Saddam Hussein in the south. Plus: Are Saddam's bunkers bustable?

The Daily Kos reprints a background analysis of the situation in Iraq, "written by a fairly well known military officer and commentator who under the circumstances is going to have to remain unidentified." It's "based on Officer X's conversations with some of his colleagues -- all of whom are harshly critical of the war plan and Rumsfeld's meddling with it."

In a Christian Science Monitor commentary, Brendan O'Neill asks: Could the war in Iraq be the first politically correct invasion? Earlier: 'Making a Mess' and 'Gulf War meets Culture War.'

Live and Un-Embedded "Democracy Now!" host Amy Goodman and correspondent Jeremy Scahill speak with Robert Fisk, who is in Baghdad.

In 'Deeply Embedded,' Matt Taibbi writes that "If you blocked out all the catchphrases the networks deployed for this war (and they were definitely deployed, that’s exactly the right word), there was almost no journalistic content left. Most broadcasts were little more than an unceasing string of military jingles and acronyms, many of them obvious sexual double-entendres." Plus: 'War Porn.'

The Onion joins the fray, with special war coverage.

The Guardian reports that non-U.S. journalists in Doha, Qatar, are calling themselves the "awkward squad," because the questions that they pose to the generals running the war are so much more skeptical than those asked by their American colleagues.

Scroll down to 'An open letter to the Washington Post' that begins with "On the BBC World News today, a British commentator said, 'One of the Iraq war's major casualties is the credibility of the American media. Nobody takes it seriously.'"

Reuters reports that U.S. actions in Iraq have prompted "a nascent worldwide movement" against American brands.

Mustarding a Defense "Recently there has been some confusion as to the origin of French’s mustard. For the record, French’s would like to say, there is nothing more American than French’s mustard."

March 25

Thursday, March 27, 2003

Josh Marshall introduces his Washington Monthly cover story titled "Practice to Deceive: Chaos in the Middle East is not the Bush hawks' nightmare scenario -- it's their plan."

Fedayeen Factor Intelligence analysts say their warnings that U.S. troops would face significant resistance from Iraqi irregular forces employing guerrilla tactics, have not been adequately reflected in the Bush administration's public predictions about how difficult a war might go.

'Fight Or Die' Wounded Iraqi soldier says "The officers threatened to shoot us unless we fought. They took out their guns and pointed them and told us to fight."

As the U.S. orders 30,000 reinforcements to the Gulf, the Washington Post reports that some U.S. military officials are convinced that the war is likely to last months and will require considerably more combat power than is now on hand in Iraq and Kuwait.

New Mexico prosecutor put on paid leave for allegedly pointing out undercover officers to fellow antiwar protesters.

TV consultant's research says protest coverage a loser with viewers.

A leader of the 9/11 victims' families accuses Bush administration of undermining investigation into attacks: "They've never wanted the commission and I feel the White House has always been looking for a way to kill it without having their finger on the murder weapon." Earlier: Administration charged with "hugger-mugger strangulation" of commission.

Will Iraq be used to expand presidential powers?

The head of the Iraqi army at the time when Saddam is said to have gassed his own people, may be assisting the U.S. in its war against Iraq.

U.S. gets wary welcome in Iraq and Arab intellectuals pray for Saddam.

"Black Hawk Down" author Mark Bowden says if Saddam wins his bet -- that people in Baghdad will rally around his crack troops -- "coalition forces could face fighting reminiscent of the 1993 battle of Mogadishu." Plus: Troops in civilian clothes reportedly taking over Baghdad homes.

Reporting on the Baghdad market bombing that killed at least 15 people and injured 30, the Los Angeles Times John Daniszewski quotes an Iraqi professor who says that "America makes one mistake after another. They have compromised the whole idea of democracy versus dictatorship."

The Parroting Peacock NBC reports Pentagon's "precise" and "surgical" bombing claims as fact.

Protesters placed child size coffins in front of CNN's San Francisco bureau to denounce what they believe is an underreporting of Iraqi casualties. Plus: Sanitized for your protection.

In an even-handed assessment of war coverage, Tim Goodman writes that "critics should separate in-studio chatter -- where bias and stupidity are easier to identify -- from battlefield reporting that sends back video images we'd never see if they weren't there."

Fairly Unbalanced Pro-war placarder lands gig as military analyst on Fox affiliate. Plus: Cookie cutter TV chain flanks Fox on right.

In an analysis titled 'Polls Suggest Media Failure in Pre-War Coverage,' the editor of the Pew Research Center is quoted saying "It's very rare to find a perception that's been so disputed by experts yet firmly held by the public. There's almost nothing the public doesn't believe about Saddam Hussein."

The U.S. has yet to find any banned weapons in Iraq, but Marines did come across a mural depicting a plane crashing into a high-rise building.

U.S. ambassador to Canada rebukes Liberal government for not supporting the U.S. in its war with Iraq, party considers call for expulsion.

Civilians caught in Nassiriyah crossfire, embed reportedly asked to pack pistol. Plus: Doonesbury in the desert.

Friday, March 28, 2003

Independent correspondent Kim Sengupta's report on how Baghdad has coped with its first eight days of war, begins with "I was not meant to be here. If all had gone according to plan, by now I should have been sipping a large gin and tonic at the bar of the Intercontinental in Amman." Plus: "Fear and Loathing in Kuwait."

Anti-war journalists said to be more concerned about being proven right than about the outcome of the war.

Philip Smucker, a contract reporter for the Christian Science Monitor and London's Telegraph, has been ordered out of Iraq by the Pentagon for disclosing sensitive information during an interview on CNN. A Monitor editor defends Smucker's actions.

Payback time? Smucker has been applauded for his reporting on how Osama bin Laden gave the U.S. and its Afghan proxy forces the slip at Tora Bora.

The U.N. drug agency said Afghan opium yields soared to 3,750 tons in 2002, making the country the world's number one producer again. There were few takers for the government's offer of $500 for every acre destroyed, since an acre of opium crop can bring up to $6,400.

Al-Jazeera hacked and poisoned and spammed, says it will delay launch of English-language Web site until mid-April. Reported incidents of hacking are said to have increased as much as tenfold since the invasion of Iraq.

"Democracy Now!" interviews an Al-Jazeera producer and hip-hop artist and activist Michael Franti, who says that a member of his band -- who has a sibling in the Gulf -- is under government surveillance.

Consultants advise radio and TV stations that patriotism pays.

"Forget the fog of war," says Toronto Star TV critic Antonia Zerbisias. "It is the fog of war coverage that is fouling the airwaves." Editor & Publisher cites '15 Stories They've Already Bungled.'

FAIR documents "embarrassing errors" by U.S. journalists in relation to post-invasion claims that proof had been found that Iraq possesses banned weapons.

The Guardian reports on the BBC's concerns about misinformation coming out of Iraq. A BBC source says that "We're getting more truth out of Baghdad than the Pentagon at the moment. Not because Baghdad is putting out pure and morally correct information but because they're less savvy about it, I think." Plus: 'The development of war propaganda.'

British military interrogators claim that captured Iraqi soldiers have told them at least a dozen members of al-Qaeda are fighting on the side of Saddam's forces against allied troops near Basra.

Robert Fisk says that unedited Al-Jazeera tapes "provide damaging proof that Anglo-American spokesmen have not been telling the truth about the battle for Basra."

British military officials say that Iraqi forces fired on about 2,000 civilians trying to flee Basra.

Doug Ireland describes how assertions made by Defense Secretary Rumsfeld on "Meet the Press" were refuted in real time by NBC correspondents. Plus: 'No Cakewalk'

Although Richard Perle resigned as chairman of the Defense Policy Board over conflict of interest allegations, Justin Raimondo says that the failure of Perle's Iraq policy "and the subsequent collapse of the military strategy that evolved out of it, is reason enough to have tossed him out on his ear."

"In the last two years Mr. Cheney and other top officials have gotten it wrong again and again -- on energy, on the economy, on the budget," writes Paul Krugman. "But political muscle has insulated them from any adverse consequences. So they, and the country, don't learn from their mistakes -- and the mistakes keep getting bigger." Earlier: 'Confidence Men.'

The Scotsman reports on the obsessive hunt for information about the Baghdad blogger.

United Way cancels event with Susan Sarandon over her antiwar stance.

CNN post names and pictures of U.S. and British troops who have been killed in Iraq.

Is regime change closer than one might think?

Forward Operating Base's "Shell" and "Exxon" join "Bush International Airport" and "freedom camps" in Iraq.

March 27

Saturday, March 29, 2003

March 29-30

The Buck Stops There Administration officials try to distance President Bush from controversy over Iraq war plan.

Administration essentially waited until war was announced to begin dampening expectations.

Out-of-favor Army general may be proven right on occupation estimate.

The New Yorker's, Seymour Hersh reports that Defense Secretary Rumsfeld repeatedly rejected advice from Pentagon planners that substantially more troops and armor would be needed to fight a war in Iraq. Plus: 'Back Off, Syria and Iran!'

More New Yorker: Nicholas Lemann on "How It Came to War" and John Lee Anderson on "The Bombing of Baghdad."

Al Gore criticizes U.S. media for "completely inadequate debate" in run-up to war.

Fox News said to have gone "over the top" in response to war protestor's "die-in."

Did an errant U.S. cruise missile strike Kuwait?

Sink or Swim Mine-hunting dolphin reportedly goes AWOL!

Cause or Effect? Iraqi opposition group claims al-Qaeda behind suicide bombing.

Missile said to have killed more than 50 in Baghdad neighborhood, as pilots describe "exhilaration" of dodging anti-aircraft fire during bombing run.

'Baghdad will be near impossible to conquer.' Earlier: 'How to take Baghdad.'

March 28

Monday, March 31, 2003

Josh Marshall publishes an e-mail "from a former career diplomat who served as U.S. ambassador to a Muslim country," that offers three scenarios for how the battle for Baghdad will play out. In the one he considers most likely to happen, U.S. troops "surround the city, secure the rest of the country, and then play the game of 'political standoff.' Somebody will have to blink."

The Observer profiles Jay Garner, the retired U.S. general slated to run Iraq if and when Saddam Hussein is deposed. Garner, who is closely aligned with Bush administration hawks, is strongly opposed by international aid agencies.

Former Navy secretary James Webb says that the war in Iraq is following a familiar pattern.

Robert Kuttner looks at how the war is silencing debate on a host of domestic issues "that would normally be front-page news."

Scotland's Sunday Herald reports that by using depleted uranium (DU) shells in the war against Iraq, coalition forces are "deliberately flouting a U.N. resolution which classifies the munitions as illegal weapons of mass destruction." Plus: DU's possible legacy and the Pentagon defends its use of DU.

See what Al-Jazeera's English-language Web site looked like before it was taken offline. Plus: Who hacked it?

Read about "Mosaic," a program on the U.S. satellite channel WorldLink TV, that translates selections from daily TV news programs produced by broadcasters throughout the Middle East.

The Patriot Act allows the feds to force noncable TV operators -- such as satellite programming distributors and TiVo -- to disclose every show that their customers have watched.

Advocates and opponents of media deregulation are both using news coverage of the Iraq war to make their case.

The New York Times reports on the Clear Channel radio conglomerate's attempts to fend off allegations that it's using its clout to drum up support for the war and muzzle anti-war musicians.

Get a free download of Lenny Kravitz's "We Want Peace" and watch System of a Down's "Boom," directed by Michael Moore.

Moore says that his next film, tentatively titled "Fahrenheit 911," will examine what has happened to the U.S. since 9/11 and will explore the relationship between the arms industry, the Bush administration and the war on terrorism.

Salon excerpts "After," Steven Brill's new book about post 9/11 America. Michael Wolff wrote that "I don’t like Brill and he doesn’t like me, but he took me to lunch and got me reading his book, and here I am praising it."

Following a visit to CentCom's press center in Doah, Qatar, Wolff writes that "It takes about 48 hours to understand that information is probably more freely available at any other place in the world than it is here. At the end of the 48 hours you realize that you know significantly less than when you arrived, and that you're losing more sense of the larger picture by the hour. Eventually you'll know nothing."

NBC and MSNBC sacks Peter Arnett after he was criticized for granting an interview to state-controlled Iraqi TV, in which he pronounced the U.S. war effort so far a failure. Earlier: "Baby milk factory" incident involving Arnett called a 'A Lesson in U.S. Propaganda.'

In a commentary headlined 'TV anchors choke back tears: I gag,' Zoe Heller writes that "American news media have a bad habit of characterising their own overwrought responses to the war as those of the American public." Plus: Daniel Ellsberg takes down Aaron Brown.

Three British soldiers have reportedly been sent home from Iraq for protesting the killing of innocent civilians. Three others describe how they survived a friendly-fire attack by an American anti-tank aircraft.

Wearing Civilian Clothes? The Scotsman reports that U.S. Special Forces have assassinated several senior Iraqi officials in Baghdad.

In just one week, President Bush has gone from being portrayed as a "hands off" commander in chief who's "not losing any sleep" over the war, to being, according to a New York Times report, "engrossed" and absorbing "every detail of the news from Iraq." Plus: 'Would the real George Bush please stand down.'

Thousands of U.S. Marines in Iraq have been given a pamphlet by In Touch Ministries, called "A Christian's Duty," a mini prayer book which includes a tear-out section to be mailed to the White House pledging the soldier who sends it in has been praying for President Bush.

Marines welcomed in one city, fed by a group of fleeing Iraqis.

As war in Iraq leaves comedians grasping for appropriate material, a Californian who found work as a Saddam look-a-like calls it quits.

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