Group: Bush Ignores, Manipulates Research
By The Associated Press
Wednesday 18 February 2004
WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Bush's administration distorts scientific findings and seeks to
manipulate experts' advice to avoid information that runs counter to its political beliefs, a private
organization of scientists asserted on Wednesday.
The Union of Concerned Scientists contended in a report that "the scope and scale of the
manipulation, suppression and misrepresentation of science by the Bush administration is
"We're not taking issue with administration policies. We're taking issue with the administration's
distortion ... of the science related to some of its policies," said the group's president, Kurt Gottfried.
White House spokesman Scott McClellan said he had not seen the report but that the
administration "makes decisions based on the best available science."
White House science adviser John Marburger said he found the report "somewhat disappointing ...
because it makes some sweeping generalizations about policy in this administration that are based on
a random selection of incidents and issues."
He added, "I don't think it makes the case for the sweeping accusations that it makes."
Marburger acknowledged that the complaint was signed by a wide assortment of prominent
scientists, including Nobel Prize winners and recipients of the National Medal of Science.
That, he said, is "evidence we are not communicating with them as we should and I'll have to deal
"We need to have a dialogue about what is actually happening, but this report does not do it,"
F. Sherwood Rowland, a Nobel prize winner for his studies of ozone in the atmosphere, was
particularly critical of the administration's approach to climate change.
He said the consensus of scientific opinion about global warming is being ignored and that
government reports have been censored to remove views not in tune with Bush's politics.
The union's report came at the same time the National Academy of Science was releasing its own
study that commends the administration's plan to study climate but also expresses concern that the
research was underfunded and not being pursued vigorously enough.
Asked if they had seen any political interference in the climate program, Thomas E. Graedel of
Yale University, chairman of the academy committee, said his group did not look for that. But, he
added, he had not seen anything that would suggest the research plan had such political concerns.
A commission member, Anthony L. Janetos of the John Heinz III Center for Science, Economics
and the Environment, noted that the climate program involves high level members of the administration.
That's a two-edged sword, Janetos said. It means scientists are dealing with people who can make
decisions and provide resources, but it also creates a challenge in maintaining scientific credibility.
Among the examples cited in the union's report:
--a 2003 report that the administration sought changes in an Environmental Protection Agency
climate study, including deletion of a 1,000-year temperature record and removal of reference to a
study that attributed some of global warming to human activity.
--a delay in an EPA report on mercury pollution from some power plants.
--a charge that the administration pressed the Centers for Disease Control to end a project called
"Programs that Work," which found sex education programs that did not insist only on abstinence
were still effective.
Bremer Could Block
Islamic Law In Iraq
(Agencies-AP) -- The top US administrator in Iraq has suggested that he would block any
interim constitution that would make Islam the chief source of law.
Paul Bremer on Monday said the current draft of the constitution would make Islam the
state religion of Iraq and "a source of inspiration for the law" - as opposed to the main
Many Iraqi women have expressed fears that the rights they hold under Iraq's longtime
secular system would be rolled back in the interim constitution being written by US-picked
Iraqi leaders and their advisers, many of them Americans.
US lawmakers have urged the White House to prevent Islamic restrictions on Iraqi
Asked what would happen if Iraqi leaders wrote into the constitution that Sharia (Islamic
law) is the principal basis of the law, Bremer suggested he would wield his veto. "Our
position is clear. It can't be law until I sign it."
Bremer must sign into law all measures passed by the 25-member council, including the
interim constitution. Iraq's powerful Shia clergy, however, has demanded the document be
approved by an elected legislature.
Under US plans, a permanent constitution would not be drawn up and voted on until
Bremer used the inauguration ceremony at a women's centre in the southern city of
Karbala to argue for more than "token" women's representation in the transitional
government due to take power on 30 June.
"I think it is very important that women be represented in all the political bodies," Bremer
"Women are the majority in this country, in this area probably a substantial majority," he
said, referring to the Saddam Hussein's alleged 1991 purges of Shia Muslim men. Those
killings left the holy city of Karbala and other Shia cities dotted with mass graves and
brimming with thousands of widows.
Enshrining women's rights in a future constitution could be difficult.
US observers have predicted liberal reforms introduced in the transitional law could well
be rolled back in a future constitution. Bremer acknowledged that US influence on an
Iraqi constitution would fade after the 30 June handover.
"There will be a sovereign government here in June. The Iraqis then will then have
responsibility for their own country," Bremer said.
There are three women on the Governing Council.
Muhsin Abd al-Hamid, the current council president and a member of a committee
drafting the interim constitution, has proposed making Sharia the "principal basis" of
The phrasing could have broad effects on secular Iraq. In particular, it would likely moot
much of Iraq's 1959 Law of Personal Status, which grants uniform rights to husband and
wife to divorce and inheritance, and governs related issues like child support.
In December, the council passed a decision abolishing the 1959 law and allowing each of
the main religious groups to apply its own tradition - including Islamic law. Bremer has not
signed it into law.
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