Information Clearing House Archive Part 5 26-31 January 2005

31 January 2005 — Information Clearing House

[I’ve been archiving ICH digests since early 2003. Unfortunately, an unknown number of the links are now dead, so I can’t guarantee that the link will take you where you want to go. WB]

Information Clearing House Digest
Part 5 January 26-31 2005
Date: Mon, 31 Jan 2005


Iraq: Who voted and who didn’t and why :

The real numbers of this election are difficult to obtain as international monitors were not allowed to observe the proceedings for “security reasons.” Even if we use the highly unreliable figures distributed by the Iraqi government and sources close to the US embassy in Baghdad, the results seemed to indicate a mixed bag, no matter what the different parties are trying to spin:

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Iraq: One ‘Election’, Two Different Stories By William Bowles

31 January 2005

BBC coverage of the ‘election’ in Iraq is nothing short of amazing, with so much ‘spin’ I’m left feeling dizzy. Aside from the fact that throughout the entire week’s coverage by the BBC in the run-up to the ‘election’, we were not told how a fair election could be held in a country under military occupation and marshal law, we have the following outrageous statements by BBC reporters ‘on the spot’:

Iraq may have democracy but it still doesn’t have much electricity.

[T]he taste of democracy today is particularly sweet.
– Ben Brown, Basra, 30 January

Democracy? How does this measure up to the reality, for example the almost complete destruction of a city of 300,000 people, where even according to the BBC, at best only 2,500 men returned allegedly to vote but an on-the-spot journalist tells us that those who voted: Continue reading

Angst, Anger and Aliens By William Bowles

29 January 2005

Sometimes, writing about politics gets to be a real pain. Now I rarely indulge myself (is this the right term?) but let’s face it, we live in a completely fucked up society, yes fucked up capitalism and its fucked up ‘values’ – self-indulgent, smug and self-satisfied, insulated from a world it has systematically raped for the past few hundred years. So sometimes, words just seem inadequate to the task and one is forced back onto one’s emotions – feelings – about a system that has left us mostly drained and feeling powerless.

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The Massage is the Message By William Bowles

26 January 2005

On yesterday’s BBC1 lunchtime news, diplomatic correspondent James Robbins declared that US relations with Iran were “looking very murky because of the nuclear threat”. (BBC1, 13:00 News, January 20, 2005)

On the BBC’s 18:00 news, Robbins again spoke of Iran “where the President is confronting the nuclear threat”. (BBC1, 18:00 News, January 25, 2005)

A previous alert from MediaLens on Iran serves to remind us of the role of the intelligentsia in creating the ‘right kind’ of space for further imperial adventures as the innocuous-sounding quotes above aptly illustrate. But just who are they talking to? After all, if one is to judge by the surveys of the BBC’s news/current affairs listener and viewer-ship, it’s overwhelmingly white, male and over fifty, so frankly, who gives a shit? (see also the follow-up to this).

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Media Lens: BBC Apology on Iran

26 January 2005 — Media Lens

On January 21, we published a Rapid Response Media Alert, ‘Targeting Iran – The BBC Propaganda Begins,’ in which we noted that the BBC’s diplomatic correspondent, James Robbins, had reported that US relations with Iran were “looking very murky because of the nuclear threat”. (BBC1, 13:00 News, January 20, 2005)

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Information Clearing House Archive Part 4 20-25 January 2005

25 January 2005 — Information Clearing House

[I’ve been archiving ICH digests since early 2003. Unfortunately, an unknown number of the links are now dead, so I can’t guarantee that the link will take you where you want to go. WB]

Information Clearing House
Digest January 20-25 2005
Date: Tue, 25 Jan 2005

King George: The Coronation Viewed from Israel

In many respects, the President of the United States is also the King of Israel.

By Uri Avnery

Some people say, only half in jest, that the USA is an Israeli colony. And indeed, in many respects it looks like that. President Bush dances to Ariel Sharon’s tune. Both Houses of Congress are totally subservient to the Israeli right-wing – much more so than the Knesset. – Every year Congress confirms the payment of a massive tribute to Israel.

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Media Lens: Targeting Iran – The BBC Propaganda Begins

21 January 2005 — Media Lens

Iran – The Last Hurrah

Writing in The New Yorker magazine this month, the renowned investigative journalist Seymour Hersh reported US plans for an attack on Iran. A former high-level intelligence official told Hersh:

“This is a war against terrorism, and Iraq is just one campaign. The Bush Administration is looking at this as a huge war zone. Next, we’re going to have the Iranian campaign. We’ve declared war and the bad guys, wherever they are, are the enemy. This is the last hurrah – we’ve got four years, and want to come out of this saying we won the war on terrorism.” (Seymour M. Hersh, ‘The coming wars’‚ The New Yorker, January 17, 2005)

Hersh added:

“In my interviews, I was repeatedly told that the next strategic target was Iran.”

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What Goes Around, Comes Around By William Bowles

20 January 2005

In a shrinking world, which now faces the threat of atomic warfare, it is not an adequate objective merely to seek to check the Kremlin design, for the absence of order among nations is becoming less and less tolerable. This fact imposes on us, in our own interests, the responsibility of world leadership.
The US National Security Directive 68, April 1950

An awful lot of energy was expended in 2004 on the ‘Anybody But Bush’ debate, with the ABB brigade predicting really dire consequences if Bush got reelected (as opposed to just dire consequences if Kerry got the job). I tried to present the various for and against arguments here although my own opinion was (and still is) that it would make little difference as to who purchased the position given that the job of president is in any case pretty much that of a figurehead. Much more important is to understand what’s going on in the real centres of power that promoted both candidates.

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Media Lens: Unity in Deceit – The British Media and Iraq’s election

20 January 2005 — Media Lens

Introduction – A Simple Question

People sometimes tell us we’re too hard on the media. They say: ‘Come on, there +is+ a fair amount of diversity, a range of different views. And the Independent publishes some valuable stuff, so does the Guardian – take a look at the Comments section.’

Let’s take a look at media coverage of Iraq’s January 30 elections instead.

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Information Clearing House Archive Part 3 15-19 January 2005

19 January 2005 — Information Clearing House

[I’ve been archiving ICH digests since early 2003. Unfortunately, an unknown number of the links are now dead, so I can’t guarantee that the link will take you where you want to go. WB]

Information Clearing House
Digest January 15-19 2005

How Americans Were Seduced by War

Paul Craig Roberts:

Americans have been betrayed. Sooner or later Americans will realize that they have been led to defeat in a pointless war by political leaders who they inattentively trusted. They have been misinformed by a sycophantic corporate media too mindful of advertising revenues to risk reporting truths branded unpatriotic by the propagandistic slogan, “you are with us or against us.”

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Media Lens: Harold Pinter, John Le Carré And The Media

19 January 2005 — Media Lens

Brilliant Fools

Introduction – Factory Labels

The most effective way to control people is to control their assumptions about the world. The task of propaganda is to apply power-friendly labels and make them stick – it is the key to everything. The labelling factory par excellence – the machine that applies the right labels in the right way over and over again – is the mass media system.

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Information Clearing House Archive Part 2 9-14 January 2005

14 January 2005 — Information Clearing House

[I’ve been archiving ICH digests since early 2003. Unfortunately, an unknown number of the links are now dead, so I can’t guarantee that the link will take you where you want to go. WB]

Information Clearing House
Digest January 9-14 2005
Date: Fri, 14 Jan 2005


A global gulag to hide the war on terror’s dirty secrets: Bush is now thinking of building jails abroad to hold suspects for life

By Jonathan Steele

Since its establishment after 9/11, the US camp for foreigners at Guantánamo Bay has become a beacon of unfreedom, a kind of grisly competitor to the Statue of Liberty in the shopfront of authentic American images. The trickle of releases of prisoners from its cages has brought direct testimony of the horrors which go on there. So it is no wonder that the Bush administration would like to find less visible places to hold prisoners, and keep them there for ever so that they cannot tell the world.

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AIDing and abetting death in Falluja By William Bowles

14 January 2005

The comedian, writer and actor Terry Jones wrote a letter to the Guardian asking why there had been no move to send aid to the survivors of the USUK destruction of Iraq? The letter ends by posing the questions:

Why aren’t our TV companies and newspapers running fundraisers to help Iraqis whose lives have been wrecked by the invasion? Why aren’t they screaming with outrage at the man-made tsunami that we have created in the Middle East? It truly is baffling. – ‘Why are there no fundraisers for the Iraqi dead?’

Some of us will no doubt view Jones’ question as a rather naïve one, after all, during the twelve-year long sanctions imposed on Iraq it has been calculated that it caused a minimum of 500,000 deaths, many of them children, a man-made disaster of ‘tsunamic’ proportions that failed to see the media howling in anguish or engaging in the equivalent mind-numbing literary flights used to describe conditions in Aceh, Thailand and other points East.

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Media Lens: Dwarfing the Tsunami – A Warning

12 January 2005 — Media Lens

“Civilisation exists by geologic consent, subject to change without notice.” (Will Durant, historian)

Festive Depression

Curious things happen to the British public around Christmas. The weeks and months leading up to December 25 are characterised by a manic focus on consumption, materialism and unrestrained hedonism. The Season of Good Will actually sees more alcohol-fuelled violence on our streets, more family strife, and raised levels of suicide. One in two people suffer from “festive depression” after Christmas, the Guardian reports, with 51% of Britons suffering in some way following holiday excesses. (‘A merry Christmas – but not such a happy new year,’ Sandra Haurant, The Guardian, December 9, 2003)

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Warming to the subject of oil By William Bowles

11 January2005

Since writing a couple of pieces on ‘Peak Oil’ (here and here) I’ve been deluged with stuff on the subject, so much so that I simply have to deal with the issue once more, even though, frankly, I’m fed up with it, especially when it’s ‘lefties’ doing the deluging when they should know better. But as it has the ‘Left’ sleeping with ‘strange bedfellows’ to quote Vladimir Ilyich Lenin, there is obviously much more at stake here than the issue of how much of the stuff (oil, not ‘Lefties’) there actually is. As I pointed out before, all kinds of other antedeluvian ideas have been dragged into the debate, especially the totally discredited Malthusian population rubbish of plus-200 years ago, global warming, 2 billion Chinese with a car and a fridge, 1 billion Indians with a car and a fridge and so on and so forth (only Euros and Yanks are allowed these ‘luxuries’ and fortuitously for us, we’ve already got them and understandably, are extremely loathe to give them up or share them with anyone else!) and finally, oil wars. Have I missed anything?

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Full circle? Well almost by William Bowles

10 January 2005

This is the time of year when you are meant to engage in retrospection, look back on the events of the past year and pass ‘learned’ judgements, the lessons we hav(en’t) learned and so on and so forth. However, it strikes me that the events of the past year have more in common with those of the 1930s than with the 21st century and the ‘end of history’. And there’s another reason why I’d rather cast my mind further back, well in fact there are several reasons why, not the least of which are my parents who cut their political teeth in that turbulent and decisive decade. These were the people and those of their generation who were instrumental in shaping my own life and values. The world that shaped them was tumultuous and perhaps even more unsure than ours is today. It was most definitely a hard life for the vast majority even in the so-called developed world, and a time that determined the lives of my dad and his brothers and sisters as well as my mum and her brothers and sisters, sixteen in all. The Spanish Civil War, the rise of Fascism, the Unemployed marches, and what was commonly perceived as the dying gasps of Capitalism were the major elements that shaped the thinking of that decade. On the surface, a far cry from the current situation one would think but how true is this perception?

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The Oxman/Bageant Exchange (Part One) By Richard Oxman

5 January 2005 — Counterpunch

SPECIAL NOTE TO THE READER: The Multi-Issue Alternative Magazine, EnergyGrid, conducted an excellent interview with Joe Bageant recently; I recommend that you check it out after plowing through what’s below. Who is JB? Well, if you ask me…I think you’re better off not knowing at this juncture…if you don’t know yet…reading through what he has to say here…and then diving into what he’s put out there for one and all to date (much of it accessible as per footnote #1 below). Trust me on this, if you will, just like Joe did…not knowin’ me from Adam and the Ants. By the way, a reader introduced us…making this possible. Hi, Chuckie!

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