Does Biased News Have a ‘Time Bomb’ Effect? By Melinda Burns

9 November, 2009 – Miller-McCune Online Magazine

A European study shows that, over time, even the most sophisticated readers can be manipulated.

Even the most hardened Europeans may succumb to media manipulation and change their political views if they are bombarded long enough with biased news.

There’s nobody more cynical about the media than your average European.

Only 12 percent of Europeans claim to trust the media, compared to 15 percent of North Americans, 29 percent of Pacific Asians and 48 percent of Africans, the BBC has found.

Yet new research out of the London School of Economics and Political Science suggests that even the most hardened Europeans may succumb to media manipulation and change their political views if they are bombarded long enough with biased news.

Michael Bruter, a senior lecturer in European politics at the school, fed a steady diet of slanted newsletters about Europe and the European Union — either all good news or all bad — to 1,200 citizens of six countries over two years.

Over time, Bruter found, and without exception, the readers subconsciously adopted the bias to varying degrees and changed their view of the EU and of themselves as Europeans, a few of them in the extreme. Surprisingly, they didn’t register any change right after the newsletters stopped — not until full six months later, when they had obviously let down their guard.

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Video: US troops train Georgians for Afghan war

In Georgia, NATO-led military exercises are preparing the country’s troops to operate in Afghanistan. The FIRST Georgian soldiers head to the conflict zone within weeks. RT’s Irina Galushko looks at whether people’s lives are being used as a bargaining chip to join NATO.

more about “US troops train Georgians for Afghan war“, posted with vodpod

"U.S. Public Diplomacy toward Iran: Structures, Actors, and Policy Communities" By Foad Izadi

12 November, 2009 — MRZine – Monthly Review


This dissertation is an in-depth study of the structures, actors, and policy communities associated with U.S. public diplomacy toward Iran. Since 2006, the U.S. government has spent more than $200 million for its Iran-related public diplomacy via State Department ‘democracy promotion’ programs, National Endowment for Democracy, and the Broadcasting Board of Governors. These initiatives promoted regime change in Iran, ignoring a substantial majority of Iran’s population opposed to U.S.-sponsored interventions. The study finds U.S. public diplomacy as it relates to Iran fits with the two-way asymmetrical model of public relations.

The dissertation identifies 182 individuals who participated in the Iran policy debate between January 2008 and January 2009. Based on the policy recommendations these members of the Iran issue network propose, the study uncovers the existence of the following four policy communities: Punitive Non engagement, Hawkish Engagement, Strategic Engagement, and Fundamental Change. While regime change is the ultimate objective of both the Punitive Non engagement and the Hawkish Engagement policy communities, only the latter believes that negotiation is a useful tactic in gaining compliance from Iran. Both, however, view Iran as a major threat to U.S. and Israeli interests and see no role for Iran in solving regional challenges.

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11 November, 2009 — Stop the War Coalition



Facebook Event – Please circulate:


Lance Corporal Joe Glenton, the soldier who faces desertion charges for refusing to return to Afghanistan, has been arrested and charged with five further offences for leading Stop the War’s demonstration in London on 24 October and for expressing his opposition to the media in defiance of orders.

The new charges carry a maximum of ten years imprisonment in addition to the sentence of three to four years that Joe could get if the desertion charge is upheld.

Joe’s mother, Sue Glenton, has spoken out against his arrest: “You’ve got government ministers, army commanders and MPs speaking every day in support of the war. What’s so scary about a Lance Corporal having his say? My son is only speaking out for what he thinks is right.”

Joe’s arrest and imprisonment are signs of panic by the government and military commanders, faced with an ever growing majority of the British public opposing the war and an increasing number of prominent voices in the media calling for the withdrawal of British troops.

A poll published in the Independent shows that only one in five voters believes that Britain’s military presence in Afghanistan is helping to protect the country from terrorism, as Gordon Brown insists. The same poll shows that 48 percent of voters think the war in Afghanistan increases the risk of domestic terrorist attack.

Stop the War has launched a campaign to defend Joe Glenton and his right to freedom of speech. (For updates see

A protest has been called outside the Ministry of Defence in Whitehall on Thursday 12 November at 5pm and we list below what you can do to support the only serving soldier who has so far had the courage to stand up for what many in the army believe; that this is a futile and unwinnable war.


* EMERGENCY PROTEST AT THE MINISTRY OF DEFENCE If you live in London, please try to join the protest on Thursday 12 November, 5pm, at the Ministry of Defence, Whitehall (opposite Downing Street)

FACEBOOK EVENT (Please circulate):

* WRITE TO DEFENCE SECRETARY BOB AINSWORTH EMAIL: or WRITE: Secretary of State for Defence, Floor 5, Main Building, Whitehall, London, SW1A 2HBFAX: 020 7218 6538

* COLLECT PETITION SIGNATURES The Defend Joe Glenton petition can be downloaded here:

Lance Corporal Joe Glenton Military Corrective Training Centre (MCTC) Bere church Hall Camp Colchester Essex CO2 9NU



On 21 December, Stop the War’s Bring the Troops Home Now petition will be delivered to Gordon Brown at Downing Streetby soldiers, ex-soldiers and military families.

More than 15,000 have already signed, but we want to get many more signatures before 21 December. You can sign online but we are also encouraging our supporters to download the petition and collect signatures among friends, work colleagues, fellow students, neighbours etc.

If you live in London, make a note of 21 December, as the soldiers, ex-soldiers and military families would welcome the widest support from the anti-war movement when they deliver the petition to Gordon Brown. (More details to follow soon.)

Tel: 020 7801 2768

Music Video: Sarah Gillespie – How The Mighty Fall

‘How the Mighty Fall’ by Sarah Gillespie from her debut album ‘Stalking Juliet’. Sarah Gillespie Quartet featuring Gilad Atzmon on accordion and harmonica. Directed by Dominik Rippl @ Recorded at London’s 606 Club May 2009.

UK scholars linked to ‘stolen’ bowls of Babylon: Suppressed report reveals archaeological treasures were dug up after Gulf war By Vanessa Thorpe and James Doeser

10 November, 2009 – www.uruknet.infoThe Guardian

A secret report on the chequered history of priceless Aramaic bowls loaned to a leading university has exposed an apparent attempt to cover up UK academic connections to a potentially deadly trade in stolen Iraqi antiquities.

The findings of the study, which was suppressed by a controversial legal agreement in 2007, have at last solved a long-standing archaeological mystery.

Commissioned by University College London in 2005, it confirms the expert view that the bowls were stolen from the historical site of Babylon and should be returned to Iraq or handed over to the police. The report was completed in 2006 but suppressed a year later in a legal settlement made between the university and the putative owner of the bowls, the multimillionaire Norwegian collector, Martin Schøyen.

But a copy of its findings recently placed in the House of Lords library reveals that specialists in archaeology are convinced that the incantation bowls, dating from the fifth to eighth centuries, must have come from Iraq illegally. They believe the rare finds were probably dug up from the remains of Babylon some time after the 1991 Gulf war and were not found in Jordan, as believed by Schøyen. The UCL report concludes that ‘the bowls are subject to the Iraq United Nations sanctions order 2003 as cultural objects illicitly removed from Iraq after 6 August 1990 and that UCL has therefore a duty to deliver them to a constable’.

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A Morally Bankrupt Military: When Soldiers and Their Families Become Expendable By Dahr Jamail

11 November, 2009 — t r u t h o u t | Op-Ed

The military operates through indoctrination. Soldiers are programmed to develop a mindset that resists any acknowledgment of injury and sickness, be it physical or psychological. As a consequence, tens of thousands of soldiers continue to serve, even being deployed to combat zones like Iraq and/or Afghanistan, despite persistent injuries. According to military records, over 43,000 troops classified as “nondeployable for medical reasons” have been deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan nevertheless.

The recent atrocity at Fort Hood is an example of this. Maj. Nidal Hasan had worked as a counselor at Walter Reed, hearing countless stories of bloodshed, horror and death from dismembered veterans from the occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan. While he had not yet served in Iraq or Afghanistan, the major was overloaded with secondary trauma, coupled with ongoing harassment about his being a Muslim. This, along with other factors, contributed towards Hasan falling into a desperation so deep he was willing to slaughter fellow soldiers, and is indicative of fissures running deep into the crumbling edifice upon which the US military stands.

The case of Pvt. Timothy Rich also demonstrates the disastrous implications of the apathetic attitude of the military toward its own. Not dissimilar from Major Hasan, who clearly would have benefited from treatment for the secondary trauma he was experiencing from his work with psychologically wounded veterans, one of the main factors that forced Private Rich to go absent without leave (AWOL) was the failure of the military to treat his mental issues.

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