American Cities Say "NO" to War in Iraq 

Across the US, City Councils - representing millions of American citizens -- pass anti-war
resolutions, with many more on the way.

January 9, 2003 ~ For Immediate Release

Interviews with Council Members and Cities For Peace Organizers Available

Contact: Karen Dolan, Institute for Policy Studies, 202-234-9382 x228 kdolan@igc.org
Amy Quinn, 202-234-9382 x238 a-quinn@mindspring.com

http://www.citiesforpeace.org/

Washington, DC - More than 35 American City Councils from Baltimore to Seattle, from Philadelphia
to Kalamazoo, have passed resolutions opposing war in Iraq. Anti-war resolutions are pending in many
more communities, from Chicago to Houston and all points in between. Faced with crushing budget
deficits, safety concerns about urban terrorist attacks that might accompany a strike against Iraq, and
the prospect of their constituents fighting a costly and bloody war, growing numbers of City Councils
have passed public resolutions that express mainstream American concerns about a possible war in the
Middle East and its domestic repercussions.

The effort to give voice to millions of American citizens through these resolutions is being organized
and facilitated by Cities for Peace, a coalition that includes the Institute for Policy Studies, the
Education for Peace in Iraq Center, the National Priorities Project, chapters of the American Friends
Service Committee and other grassroots organizations, student groups and faith-based organizations,
which are facilitating the drafting and passing of the resolutions. Similar resolutions are being passed by
student council bodies, faculty senates, major labor unions and church boards around the country.

While the resolutions differ in emphasis and wording from city to city, all highlight how taxpayers, city
and state budgets, and critical social services will be hard hit by the costs of a war with Iraq. The
resolutions note the link between U.S. foreign and domestic policies, and assert that citizens have the
right and responsibility to speak out on all issues that affect America. "Foreign policy can no longer be
just the purview of a secretive clique in the White House and Defense Department," says Karen
Dolan, coordinator of Cities for Peace at the Institute for Policy Studies. 

For interviews with council members who have been successful in getting resolutions passed or are
sponsoring pending resolutions, or with spokespeople for Cities For Peace, please contact Karen Dolan
at 202-234-9382, ext. 228. For further information on Cities For Peace, visit www.citiesforpeace.org.
For information about the diverse and growing anti-war movement in the United States, visit
www.UnitedforPeace.org.

Institute for Policy Studies, 733 15th Street, NW, Suite 1020, Washington, DC 20005-2112 Phone (202)
234-9382, Fax (202) 387-7915

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George Orwell, here we come
By Declan McCullagh
January 6, 2003, 10:58 AM PT
<http://news.com.com/2010-1069-979276.html>

WASHINGTON--The biggest problem with criticism of Adm.
John Poindexter's massive spy proposal is not in the
argument over the system being so darn creepy.

Of course it's creepy. This new federal agency
deliberately chose the motto "knowledge is power,"
crafted a logo certain to inspire conspiracy theories,
and is itching to assemble a detailed computerized
dossier on every American. And that a figure such as
Poindexter--disgraced in the Iran-Contra scandal and
with a database addiction dating back to at least 1987--
is running the show is a detail worthy of a Jonathan
Swift satire.

No, the biggest problem with the criticism of the Total
Information Awareness system is that it's too
shortsighted. It's focused on what the Poindexters of
the world can do with current database and information-
mining technology. That includes weaving together
strands of data from various sources--such as travel,
credit card, bank, electronic toll and driver's license
databases--with the stated purpose of identifying
terrorists before they strike.

But what could Poindexter and the Bush administration
devise in five or 10 years, if they had the money, the
power and the will?

That's the real question, and therein lies the true
threat. Even if all of our current elected
representatives, appointed officials and unappointed
bureaucrats are entirely trustworthy--and that's a
pretty big assumption--what could a corrupt FBI, Secret
Service or Homeland Security police force do with
advanced technology by the end of the decade? What if
there was another terrorist attack that prompted
Congress to delete whatever remaining privacy laws
shield Americans from surveillance?

For a hint at what the future might bring, it's worth
reviewing some of the projects already under way at the
Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), which
is the parent agency for Poindexter's Information
Awareness Office. Combine that information with the
technology trends toward smaller sensors, cheaper
hardware and ubiquitous wireless networks, and the
possibilities are immensely disquieting. We could face
the emergence of unblinking electronic eyes that record
where we are and what we do, whenever we interact.

Imagine a world where every street corner is dotted with
disposable microcameras, equipped with face-recognition
software that identifies pedestrians and constantly
updates their individual files with up-to-the-minute
location information. (Wearing masks won't help: Many
states already have antimask laws, and the rest would
follow suit if masks became sufficiently popular.) The
microcameras are linked through a network modeled on
existing 802.11 wireless technology. The wireless mesh
also includes cameras devoted to spotting and recording
license plates and a third type that identifies people
by the way they walk.

It's not that far from reality. Poindexter's office has
an entire project area called Human ID at a Distance
that's spending millions on researching biometric
technologies, including face recognition and "gait
performance" detection. Facecams already are in use in
airports, city centers and casinos. And license plate
recognition, by comparison, is a snap.

Or how about locations out of the range of this fixed
surveillance mesh? In 1998, DARPA began funding a
project to create spybots that can fly day and night and
that use infrared and video sensors. These spybots,
being designed by Lockheed Martin and code-named
MicroStar, will have a six-inch wingspan, weigh only 86
grams and cost about $10,000--an affordable price point
for surveilling Americans from above.

And what of the spybots' larger cousins, capable of
hovering higher and seeing more for a longer duration?
Last week The Washington Post reported that the federal
government may permit unmanned aircraft to fly above the
United States. "I believe that the potential
applications for this technology in the area of homeland
defense are quite compelling," said Sen. John Warner, R-
Va., chairman of the Senate Armed Services committee,
who added that the drones could be used by domestic
police agencies.

Location tracking
GPS devices that record a vehicle's position and
transmit it to police are an exciting growth area for
the eavesdrop establishment. Jim Bell, an Internet
essayist convicted of stalking federal agents, said
before his arrest that he was sure the federal agencies
were tailing him electronically. During Bell's trial, it
emerged that he was right: The police arm of the IRS was
tracking him on their laptops with a legally implanted
GPS bug inside Bell's Nissan Maxima.

Last week, The Associated Press reported that an Oregon
state task force wants a law requiring all cars to sport
GPS receivers and recorders. The stated purpose: To
measure how far you drive and calculate how much you owe
in road taxes. The Nov. 15, 2002 report from the task
force envisions some privacy protections--but those
could be eliminated if homeland security worries become
more acute, possibly leaving all Oregonians tracked
whenever they're on the road.

Criminals already may be finding less desirable uses for
GPS trackers. Last week, the Smoking Gun Web archive of
documents owned by Court TV posted a criminal complaint
against a 42-year-old Wisconsin man accused of stalking
an ex-girlfriend using a GPS bug hidden in her car.

"We continue to see problems with stalkers (using
databases)," says Peter Wayner, author of Translucent
Databases. "I think there are many more sleazeballs who
will use this stuff than there are cops who will use it
to catch people. It's a lot easier to abuse this
technology than to use it successfully."

Then there's Applied Digital Systems (ADS) of Palm
Beach, Fla., which received FDA approval last fall for a
microchip to be implanted in humans for tracking and
identification purposes. (Company spokesman Matthew
Cossolotto told me in June 2001 that ADS had no such
plans. "We are not now developing, nor do we have any
plans to develop, anything other than an external,
wearable device," he said in an e-mail message.)

It's difficult to imagine a more ruthlessly effective
way to track every American. I doubt it's likely, but
it's possible to imagine a future where "getting
chipped" starts as a way to speed your way through lines
at ATMs and airports--and ends up being mandatory.

There's some precedent. In October, police in one
Colorado county started pressuring businesses to require
fingerprints when customers make purchases with checks
or credit cards. Police in Arlington, Texas, are asking
businesses to participate in a similar program.

Things get stranger still. The Electronic Privacy
Information Center used the Freedom of Information Act
in August 2002 to obtain government documents that
talked about reading air travelers' minds and
identifying suspicious thoughts. The NASA briefing
materials referred to "non-invasive neuro-electric
sensors" to be used in aviation security.

In a bizarre press release, NASA claimed it has not
approved any research in the area of "mind reading" and
that "because of the sensitivity of such research," the
agency will seek independent review of future projects.
Yikes.

There are some bright areas in this generally dismal
outlook. Avi Rubin, an associate professor of computer
science at Johns Hopkins University, predicts growing
interest in antisurveillance measures. "I expect there
will be a whole industry popping up in counter-
surveillance--at least, I hope," Rubin said. "Nowadays,
it's not like someone drops a camera and comes back and
retrieves the data. You attack the transmission."

Short of fleeing to the wilderness or living our lives
entirely online, our only option is to fight the
Poindexterization of modern life before it becomes too
late. Congress returns this week. Some of your
congressional representatives may soon be asked why
there has never been even one hearing investigating
DARPA, Poindexter and his Total Information Awareness
plans.


---

Declan McCullagh is the Washington correspondent for
CNET News.com, chronicling the ever-busier intersection
between technology and politics. Before that, he worked
for several years as Washington bureau chief for Wired
News. He has also worked as a reporter for The Netly
News, Time magazine and HotWired.

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Wed, 08 Jan 2003 00:47:46 -0500
From: nattyreb@comcast.net
Subject: Mista Chuck D is Ona Move!


BRING DA NOIZE!
================

http://www.daveyd.com/FullArticles/articleN1369.asp

Chuck D is making some moves we should be aware of. First of all he
is the front man for a new group called The Fine Arts Militia. Its
the brainchild of long time bassist Brian Hardgroove who used to be
the music director for singer Dionne Farris as well play in the band
Follow For Now. The Fine Arts Militia has composed music around some
of the lectures and remarks Chuck D has delivered on topics dealing
with race, the Internet and 9-11. From what I've heard the music is
slamming.. In some of the promo photos Chuck and the other group
members are shown wearing suits and ties.

Folks here in the Bay Area will get a chance to see the group
perform live at the Berkeley Community Theater on Friday January 31.
They will be appearing with Michael Franti and Spearhead, Ani
DeFranco, Ozomatli and Saul Williams in a benefit concert for the
Central Committee for Conscientious Objectors For more information
contact Not In Our Name at info@notinourname.net.

The other projects folks should look out for emerging out of Chuck
D's camp are two excellent documentaries. One of them 'The Turntable
Chronicles: DJ Lord Bring That Beat Back' focuses on the emergence
of the PE turntablist who replaced the now retired Terminator X. It's
put together well and will leave you appreciating the important role
The DJ plays in on going evolution of Hip Hop culture.What really
stood out for me was the number of competitions DJ Lord has won over
the years and his large international following. In places like Hong
Kong and Australia DJ Lord was shown in midst of throngs of fans who
are familiar and respect the work he does.

The second documentary is called 'Digitize or Die'. It focuses on
the ground breaking work Chuck D has done in the area of Internet
technology. It chronicles his battles with the RIAA and their
opposition to music downloading. It focuses on the attempts by big
corporation including the music industry to stifle and control new
technology. More importantly it stresses the importance for
innercity folks to be up on the new developments. It's definitly an
eye opener as it gives you a much deeper appreciation for the
important role Chuck has played over the past few years. Apparently
Chuck's accomplishments have not gone unnoticed as he was recently
featured on a magazine cover standing between Microsoft mogul Bill
Gates and and Apple CEO Steve Jobs.

Look for the DJ Lord documentary to be released in March 2003.. Look
for the Chuck D documentary to be shown on TV in the next few weeks.
--
Marpessa Kupendua, nattyreb@comcast.net on 01/08/2003

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Diseased, Dying Cow Meat

Put Right Into Your Food

By Chris Halsne

KIRO 7 Eyewitness News Investigative Reporter

Seattle Insider.com

1-8-03

A KIRO Team 7 Investigation discovers an explosive story about meat from dying, sick or diseased cows getting into your food. Some images are exceptionally disturbing and may be upsetting, especially to children. Investigative Reporter Chris Halsne spent six months under cover, exposing something the meat industry would rather keep secret from consumers. They're called "downers," getting that name because healthy cattle walk into the slaughterhouse but the "downers" are too ill or injured to do so.

Video shot by KIRO Team 7 Investigators raises serious questions about the quality or safety of this kind of beef. We've seen a healthy cow, one you might expect to become steak some day. Downers, however, are delivered by pick-up truck to slaughter horizontally, in a pile of manure. This meat gets to your dinner plate with the help of some hoisting and dragging. Gaylis Linville wonders how downers can become food. She's a consumer expert of sorts when it comes to food safety. Her son, Max, nearly died from an E. coli-contaminated Jack in the Box hamburger. She was surprised to learn from our videotape that sick, diseased, or injured dairy cattle still make their way into federally-inspected slaughterhouses. "I don't understand how it can be accepted and ground up into the food supply. It seems like

that type of animal should go to a rendering plant," Linville says. The US Department of Agriculture labels downers "high-risk or suspect" but under proper inspection allows their use for hamburger, soups and hot dogs. That's a dangerous practice, according to former USDA veterinarian Dr. Lester Friedlander. He trained federal meat inspectors for years, and has personally examined hundreds of thousands of downers. "If it was up to me, I'd probably condemn all downers because I wouldn't want to take the chance of my family eating it," Dr. Friedlander says. Federal law is clear: livestock found in a dying condition shall be condemned and disposed. Dr

Friedlander says federal meat inspectors routinely ignore that segment of the food safety regulation under pressure from plant owners and the USDA. That brings us back to our surveillance video. KIRO Team 7 Investigators recorded several hours worth of downer transactions at Midway Meats in Chehalis. A number of animals we saw enter the plant were too sick or injured to even stand up. We asked Friedlander and another former USDA vet to review large portions of our unedited tape. "After looking at a tape like this you ask 'Where do you think fecal contamination comes from? Is this a good source? Obviously, it is a good source, the main source.'"

Friedlander isn't offended by unconscious cows hanging by their necks, but is outraged he doesn't see white-coated federal meat inspectors doing their jobs. He says if the downers we videotaped were healthy enough to eat, the USDA inspector wouldn't know it. Midway Meats says our videotape doesn't tell the whole story. Some cows may look lifeless, but that's because they were stunned with a captive bolt gun while inside the trailer, where we couldn't see. Owners of the plant also say USDA vets examined the animals inside the trailers. Again, that's something we didn't see. Bill Sexsmith owns Midway Meats. "I have every confidence in the world that the

meat that goes through is absolutely safe," Sexsmith says. He says USDA vets review all his downer business and do a good job at disqualifying diseased animals. "It has to be done effectively or they'll tag us and we can't continue to operate." Sexsmith says federal meat inspectors do a quick health check in his parking lot but normally retest downers inside the plant as well. Some national experts like Dr. Friedlander tell KIRO Team 7 Investigators the risks of processing downers at all are just too great. "If you take care of the downers, you'd probably see a lower incidence of these outbreaks of E. Coli," Friedlander says. Gaylis Linville, who watched her son suffer for three months from E. Coli, would love to see downer meat banned. "There's not anything here to debate. Clearly it's a sick animal being dragged into a slaughterhouse and USDA inspectors are just turning the other cheek and letting this occur!" she says. Midway Meats owner Bill Sexsmith says he's unaware of any consumer complaints regarding quality or safety of his products. We repeatedly asked the USDA to comment on the apparent lack of proper outside inspection by their vets, but so far, nothing. Congress recently banned the use of downer meat in the federal school lunch program. However, there is no current requirement for meat processors inform consumers about downer meat or label packages that may contain it. If you want to comment on the use of downers to Congressional members on the Agriculture Committee, <mailto:Rick.Larsen@mail.house.gov, agriculture@mail.house.gov?bcc=investigativetips@kirotv.com>send them an email. First posted 10-21-02 http://www.seattleinsider.com/partners/kirotv/specialreports/downers.html

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Malcolm X Trove to Schomburg Center 

New York Times
January 8, 2003 

By EMILY EAKIN

A rare cache of letters, speeches, photographs and
journals belonging to Malcolm X that may yield new
insights into the mind of one of the nation's most
important black figures will be made available to
scholars under the terms of an agreement between his
family and the New York Public Library's Schomburg
Center for Research in Black Culture in Harlem.

The documents, which were to be sold at auction last
March after they turned up in a Florida storage locker,
have yet to be assessed by scholars. The collection
will remain the property of Malcolm X's six daughters
but will be loaned to the library for 75 years.

At a news conference yesterday at the Schomburg's
auditorium, the center's director, Howard Dodson,
called the collection an "extraordinary treasure
trove." Pointing to two imposing wooden crates placed
against one wall, he said the bulk of the documents,
which amount to hundreds of pages of material covering
two decades of Malcolm X's life, had yet to be unpacked
and examined.

Donning a pair of white cotton gloves, he gingerly
showed reporters two sample items: a photograph of
Muhammad Ali surrounded by Malcolm X's daughters dating
from late 1963 or early 1964, and a spiral-bound diary,
one of five in the collection. Dating to 1964, Malcolm
X's turbulent final year, during which he broke with
the Nation of Islam, made two trips to Africa and the
Middle East, and renounced racial separatism in the
dawning conviction that all whites are not "devils,"
the diaries generated a surge of scholarly interest
last spring when their existence first became widely
known.

"To the best of my knowledge, no one except the family
has seen these materials, with the possible exception
of Alex Haley, who may have seen the diaries while
working on the autobiography," Mr. Dodson said.

In an interview Mr. Dodson said the diaries captured in
more unvarnished detail than Malcolm X's autobiography,
which was written in collaboration with Haley, and
other published histories the evolution of his thoughts
on race and religion. In impressions he recorded during
his hajj, or pilgrimage, to Mecca in April 1964, for
example, Malcolm X describes his shock at seeing
Muslims of different ethnic backgrounds and skin
colors. "People with blue eyes & blond hair, bowing in
complete submission to Allah beside those with black
skin and kinky hair," he wrote. Elsewhere he noted he
was "not conscious of color (race) for the first time
in my life."

Upon his return to the United States, Malcolm X, whose
original surname was Little, changed his name again, to
el-Hajj Malik el-Shabazz, and founded the Organization
of Afro-American Unity to promote the rights of blacks
of all faiths. Nine months later, on Feb. 21, 1965, he
was assassinated in the Audubon Ballroom in Manhattan
by three men who many believe were acting on orders
from the Nation of Islam.

Of equal significance, Mr. Dodson said, are drafts of
speeches showing Malcolm's revisions in red ballpoint.
"Malcolm was a very meticulous thinker, but he was
constantly rethinking and revising," Mr. Dodson said.
"That's what shows up in the collection: his constant
search for clarity."

He said the collection would be made available to
scholars and the public, but not for about 18 months,
until after cataloging and preservation work has been
completed.

The acquisition is a coup both for the Schomburg, one
of the world's largest repositories of material
relating to people of African descent, and for
scholars, who led the public outcry last spring when
the documents were listed for sale in the online
catalog of Butterfields, a San Francisco auction house
owned by eBay, and appeared to be on the verge of
disappearing into private hands. It also marks the
denouement of a bizarre saga in which the documents
were stowed in a Florida storage locker rented by
Malikah Shabazz, one of Malcolm X's twin youngest
daughters, and apparently forgotten.

Malikah Shabazz did not attend the news conference. And
Attallah Shabazz and Malaak Shabazz, the two sisters
who did attend, along with their lawyer, Joseph
Fleming, declined to discuss the collection's recent
history in detail.

Attallah Shabazz, Malcolm X's eldest daughter, said the
material had been stored for years at the home of her
mother, Betty Shabazz, in Mount Vernon, N.Y., and had
been removed from the house after Betty Shabazz's death
in 1997.

According to legal documents obtained by The New York
Times last spring, the material had been placed in
Malikah Shabazz's storage locker in Casselberry, Fla.,
in May 1999. In September 2001, after Ms. Shabazz fell
behind on her rental payments, the storage company,
according to its customary policy, offered the locker's
contents for sale in a blind public auction.

The material was bought by James Calhoun, a Florida
junk dealer who eventually took it to Butterfields. The
auction house had a history with Malcolm X materials,
having tried in 1999 to sell the bloodstained, bullet-
pocked address book that had been in his pocket when he
was shot. The book turned out to have been stolen by a
court clerk from an evidence safe at the Manhattan
State Supreme Court and was withdrawn from auction
after the Shabazz family and Mr. Fleming protested.

Butterfields agreed to sell Mr. Calhoun's material in
21 separate lots, which it estimated would bring in a
total of $300,000 to $500,000. But after Mr. Fleming
threatened legal action, Mr. Calhoun agreed to return
the material to the Shabazz family. Neither of the
Shabazz sisters or Mr. Fleming would discuss the
details of their agreement with Mr. Calhoun or
Butterfields. In a written statement distributed at the
news conference, Mr. Fleming said that while the terms
of the settlement would not be made public, the matter
had been resolved to the satisfaction of all parties.

Among the items displayed at the news conference
yesterday, they passed a glass case where a selection
of items from the collection had been put on temporary
display. Among them were letters from Malcolm X to his
brother Philbert from 1949 and 1950, as Malcolm X was
in jail serving a sentence for robbery and undergoing a
conversion to Islam; a contact sheet of photographs
from 1960 of Malcolm X and Fidel Castro sitting on Mr.
Castro's bed at the Hotel Teresa in Harlem; a
typewritten memo from March 8, 1964, in which Malcolm X
announced his rupture with the Nation of Islam, led by
Elijah Muhammad, and four of the spiral-bound diaries.

Manning Marable, the director of African-American
studies at Columbia University who is writing a
biography of Malcolm X, said the documents would
sharpen scholars' understanding of his intellectual
evolution. "Historians have always suspected there was
body of literature and commentaries written by Malcolm
during his 11-month sojourn from the Nation of Islam to
his premature death," he said. "Within 18 months to two
years, we'll be able to fill in the blanks and address
the silences in the making of Malcolm."

Mr. Marable said that the scholarly excitement
attending the transfer of Malcolm X's papers to the
Schomburg was the latest indication of how much his
posthumous reputation had changed. "There has been a
dramatic transformation in how Malcolm is viewed," he
said. "In 1965, when he was assassinated, he was seen
as an anathema by many, a fiery demagogue. Now he's on
a postage stamp."

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Bush's UN Critics Cite Korea to Block Iraq War 
By Julian Coman in Washington and Kate Connolly in Berlin 
Daily Telegraph UK 

Monday 5 January 2003 

America's critics on the United Nations Security Council will try to stall a war against Iraq by urging
President George W. Bush to adopt the same cautious approach towards Saddam Hussein as he has
shown towards North Korea. 

Representatives from several countries - believed to include Russia, China and Syria - hope to use the
Korean "precedent" to lobby for the extension of weapons inspections in Iraq well into the spring, precluding
the possibility of a winter invasion by an American-led coalition. 

Despite repeated provocation from the North Korean dictator, Kim Jong-Il, over recent weeks, the White
House has insisted that Pyongyang's renewed commitment to acquiring nuclear weapons can be solved by
diplomatic means. 

On Friday, speaking to troops at Fort Hood in Texas, the President justified his "dual approach" when
he said: "Different circumstances require different strategies, from the pressure of diplomacy to the
prospect of force." 

American officials admit privately that they will have to make their case for "different strategies" at
length in the Security Council this month. A senior United States diplomat at the UN acknowledged: "We
will be facing considerable scepticism on the question of how we can justify confrontation with Saddam
when he is letting inspectors into the country, and a diplomatic solution with Kim when he's just thrown
them out." 

A diplomat from another Western state at the UN said: "The North Korean situation and the Bush
administration's response to it has given the diehard opponents of a war in Iraq a rhetorical stick to beat the
Americans with. If diplomacy's good for North Korea, then why not Iraq? It's a simplistic argument but one
that might be appealing to public opinion." 

In response, White House aides and American diplomats at the UN are preparing a detailed dossier,
distinguishing the case of North Korea from that of Iraq. The administration's argument will be mainly based
on Saddam's dismal record of non-compliance with the UN, past use of weapons of mass destruction and a
proven history of aggression towards his neighbours. 

"We have exhausted diplomacy and containment in Iraq," said a senior administration official. "We
haven't in Korea." 

America seems less likely to face opposition on its Iraq policy from Germany after developments last
week, however. As Germany took its place on the 15-member Security Council on Wednesday, Chancellor
Gerhard Schroder and his foreign minister, Joschka Fischer, appeared to be making a slow but concerted
diplomatic retreat from the opposition to war that secured their re-election just three months ago. 

The two men are repositioning Germany to prevent the country's growing international isolation and to
"unpoison" relations with Washington, which has been angered by Berlin's anti-war stance in the worst
fall-out between the two powers since the Second World War. 

Germany's position takes on added significance as it will assume the rotating presidency of the
Security Council next month, just days after Hans Blix, the chief weapons inspector, delivers his crucial
report on Iraq on January 27. 

Hostility from Berlin to the Bush plans would, at least, have been a serious embarrassment. In an
interview published yesterday, however, Mr Schroder declined to say whether Germany would oppose war
at the Security Council, days after Mr Fischer acknowledged that a Yes vote was possible. 

The Chancellor, who has consistently ruled out German military participation in Washington-led
"misguided adventures", signalled for the first time in an emotive New Year's speech that war might be
unavoidable. 

Mr Schroder is treading a precarious line. By easing his stance, he risks the collapse of his Social
Democrat-Green coalition, which has a substantial pacifist wing and a wafer-thin majority. A few defections
could bring down a government already in crisis over the country's dire economic situation. 

The Chancellor narrowly secured re-election in September largely because of his outspoken anti-war
rhetoric. Sixty-four per cent of Germans are against a possible war, according to a recent poll, and would
interpret a U-turn on Iraq as a devastating act of betrayal. 

(In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who
have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational
purposes.)

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Terror Alerts Manufactured? 
By Jon Dougherty 
WorldNetDaily.com 

January 4, 2003 

FBI Agents Say White House Scripting 'Hysterics' for Political Effect 

Intelligence pros say the White House is manufacturing terrorist alerts to keep the issue alive in the
minds of voters and to keep President Bush's approval ratings high, Capitol Hill Blue reports. 

The Thursday report said that the administration is engaging in "hysterics" in issuing numerous terror
alerts that have little to no basis in fact. 

"Unfortunately, we haven't made a lot of progress against al-Qaida or the war on terrorism," one FBI
agent familiar with terrorism operations told CHB. "We've been spinning our wheels for several weeks now." 

Other sources within the bureau and the Central Intelligence Agency said the administration is
pressuring intelligence agencies to develop "something, anything" to support an array of non-specific
terrorism alerts issued by the White House and the Department of Homeland Security. 

"Most of the time, we have little to go on, only unconfirmed snippets of information," a second FBI
agent, who also was not named in the report, said. "Most alerts are issued without any concrete data to
back up the assumptions." 

Indeed, the most recent terrorism alerts have been issued absent specific threat information. Each of
the accompanying warnings comes without any shift in the nation's new color-coded alert system; the
current warning level of yellow, or "elevated," has been in place since late September. 

Even recent reports regarding five Arab men who may have slipped into the country via Canada using
phony identification could be politically motivated, one expert said. 

"We have very, very little to support the notion that these five represent any more of a threat than any of
the other thousands of people who enter this nation every day," terrorism expert Ronald Blackstone said.
"It's a fishing expedition." 

On Wednesday, one of the five, a Pakistani jeweler, Mohammed Asghar, was tracked down in Pakistan
by The Associated Press. He told reporters there he'd never been to the U.S., though he said he tried once
-- two months ago -- to use false documents to get into Britain to find work. 

"I imagine the finger pointing has started at the White House," Blackstone said. 

On Thursday, President Bush said of the Asghar case: "We need to follow up on forged passports and
people trying to come into our country illegally." 

"Don't misunderstand, there is a real terrorist threat to this country," another FBI agent told CHB. But,
the agent continued, "every time we go public with one of these phony 'heightened state of alerts,' it just
numbs the public against the day when we have another real alert." 

Last year, the FBI issued alerts that terrorists may attack stadiums, nuclear power plants, shopping
centers, synagogues, apartment houses, subways, and the Liberty Bell, the Brooklyn Bridge and other
New York City landmarks, reported Knight-Ridder newspapers. The bureau also advised Americans to be
wary of small airplanes, fuel tankers and scuba divers. 

CHB reported that FBI and CIA sources said a recent White House memo listing the war on terrorism
as a definitive political advantage and fund-raising tool is just one of many documents discussing how to
best utilize the terrorist threat. 

"Of course the White House is going to exploit the terrorism threat to the fullest political advantage,"
said Democratic strategist Russ Barksdale. "They would be fools not to. We'd do the same thing." 

The White House did not return phone calls from WorldNetDaily seeking comment. 

Knight-Ridder Newspapers, meanwhile, reported the FBI has never meant for all its warnings and
advisories to be made public. 

"Everything is being described as a terror alert, and that's not what this stuff is," said Gordon Johndroe,
spokesman for the Department of Homeland Security, in a July interview. 

But, he added, "if information is becoming public, then we naturally cannot work in a vacuum and
pretend like all this information is not becoming public." 

"We live in a world of threats; not all of them necessitate a warning," says FBI terrorist warning chief
Kevin Giblin, a 27-year veteran of the bureau. He told Knight-Ridder there should be a generally increased
level of vigilance, and he looks to the color-coded advisory system -- not the alerts intended for police -- to
signal it. 

The threat of terrorism may also be helping the White House manage the sagging economy. Officials at
home finance giant Freddie Mac said yesterday that the threat of terrorism may have played a role in
bringing 30-year mortgage rates down to 5.85 percent, their lowest since an average 5.83 percent in 1965. 

"Current issues such as the possibility of military actions abroad, heightened terrorism alerts and an
unexpected drop in consumer confidence contributed to the decline in mortgage rates this week," Frank
Nothaft, Freddie Mac chief economist, told Reuters. 

(In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who
have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational
purposes.) 

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==========================================================

Koreans unite in hatred of new Bond flick
January 7 2003

The regime in North Korea Sunday issued a new attack on the latest James
Bond film, Die Another Day, saying it ''makes mockery of the Korean
nation'', and showed that America plans war on the Korean peninsula. Quoting
an obscure group, called Solidarity of Youth and Students for Implementing
the June 15 South-North Joint Declaration, the North's state news agency
demanded that the US stop showing the film.
''The film represents the real intention of the US keen on war as it
considers the North as part of an 'axis of evil', fans up division and
confrontation between the South and the North and insults and makes mockery
of the Korean nation,'' the group declared.

The 20th Bond film has caused anger in both Koreas, with its depiction of a
renegade North Korean general's son who plots to dominate the world with a
solar weapon. South Koreans, known for their sensitivity to perceived
foreign slights, have been urged to boycott the film by local activists.

In particular, critics of the film - unimpressed by arguments that Bond is
British - have decried scenes in which he makes love in a Buddhist shrine,
and in which an American general orders South Korean troops mobilized.
However, most anger focused on a scene of a farmer ploughing with a water
buffalo. Though it is possible it depicts North Korea, furious Southern
students complained that Americans were depicting their highly
industrialized homeland as a Third World backwater. The film opened on New
Year's Eve in South Korea, despite loud protests outside several cinemas.

****
The above story from Reuters begs a number of questions.

1). With protests raging in Korea, why have Americans not heard of this
controversy before? The film has been playing in the U.S. for some time...
yet this is the FIRST time I've heard the film lambasted for being
anti-Korean. Corporate film "critics" apparently have no problem with the
movie's outrageous racism

2). The "partnership" between the U.S. Military and Hollywood should be well
known by now. Meetings have been held between studio executives and
representatives of the Pentagon, on ways Hollywood can help in the "war on
terrorism." The film "Black Hawk Down" was identified as one that was the
result of the partnership... is "Die Another Day" another? Mr. Bush has
identified his "Axis of Evil" and low and behold, one dastardly member of
that Axis shows up in the latest Bond film.

3). The cultural insensitivity of showing this film in Korea... especially
at this time, is utterly amazing. While the Reuters story leads with a
statement from the hard-line regime of North Korea, the fact that the people
in the South of the country are holding protests and organizing boycotts
against the movie is significant. If the repressive regime in the North had
not made a fuss... would we have heard anything at all about the protests
going on in the South? There have been massive protests in the South over
the killing of two Korean girls who died when a U.S. tank rolled over them.
Now comes 007 to rub salt in the wounds. America's message to the Korean
people seems to be... "Die Another Day."

4). Aside from the fact that Asians are virtually invisible in Hollywood...
except when cast as martial arts warriors or evil villains.... there's
another twist to the racism in the latest Bond film. A few years ago, some
African American activists urged a boycott of the Warner Brothers dubbed
television version of the Japanese anime "Pokemon." The animated show
introduced a new character, who was Black and named "Jynx." The critique was
that the cartoon character was a racist stereotype... especially with a name
like Jynx (the connotation of the word being bad luck and trouble). Guess
what... 007 Star Halle Berry plays a character named "Jinx." Have any film
critics mentioned this?

****
The above has been posted on the Indymedia network. You can see a photograph
of Korean Students protesting the film at:
http://la.indymedia.org/news/2003/01/25333.php

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========================================================

CounterPunch

January 7, 2003 

The Malpractice Crisis

By RALPH NADER

Have you been watching the tv news or the tv news
magazine shows lately about the sharp increase in
medical malpractice insurance premiums and agitated
physicians walking off their jobs in some states? If
you have, didn't they leave you with the impression
that lawsuits against bad doctors were the cause? And
these poor old insurance companies being forced to
raise those premiums, 30%, 40%, 70% all of a sudden!

Propaganda and slanting the news are going hand in hand
these days, choreographed by the hidden persuaders
hired by the American Medical Association together with
the behind-the-scenes lobbyists of the gouging
insurance companies.

Why in the world would some physicians be willing tools
of the insurance companies who are gouging them
regardless of whether they are competent, caring
doctors or the negligent, incompetent few who account
for most of the claims by injured patients? Part of the
answer is that the insurance companies are scaring many
doctors with spectres of litigation volume that simply
does not exist.

Malpractice cases filed and actual payments in constant
dollars have been level for many years; about nine of
ten malpractice harms do not result in any law suits
being filed, according to various studies. Yet the
human toll is deadly. A Harvard study estimated that
gross malpractice just in hospitals takes 80,000
American lives a year plus causing hundreds of
thousands of serious injuries.

Good physicians should delve deeper into the way
medical malpractice insurers do their accounting, their
reserving, and their actual practices. If physicians
would total the entire amount of premiums they paid
last year and divide it evenly by all the physicians
practicing in the United States, the average premium is
less than $10,000 per doctor per year. Very manageable.

So why are some doctors paying $50,000 or $100,000 a
year to their malpractice insurers? Because the
companies have learned in the past thirty years to
over-classify their risk pools, thereby reducing their
number to specific specialties like obstetrics or
orthopedic surgery in order to charge much more. In
addition, by not surcharging the few bad physicians in
these specialties (known as experience loss rating),
the good specialists pay as much as incompetent ones
with a large number of payouts to their wounded
patients.

There is another political benefit for this kind of
over-classification. When obstetricians are gouged,
they scream loudly, threaten not to deliver babies or
actually go on strike. This makes perfect visuals for
television ' crying babies, physicians in their garb
blaming trial lawyers, who after all still have to
persuade juries and judges (the latter being mostly
former business lawyers). Meanwhile, the insurance
companies are laughing all the way to the bank.

There are no visuals for the slowly dying and other
human casualties who receive neither justice nor
compassion nor compensation. Nor do people like Donald
J. Zuk get any television time. Mr. Zuk, chief
executive of SCPIE Holdings Inc., a leading malpractice
insurer in the west, told the Wall Street Journal (June
24, 2002) in a very revealing analysis, "I don't like
to hear insurance company executives say it's the tort
injury-law system ' it's self-inflicted."

Neither organized medicine nor the insurance companies
are really going after bad doctoring. The AMA's web
site does not report any data about incompetent or
crooked physicians who give medicine a bad name. And
loss prevention is something the insurance companies
leave to professors of insurance to talk about.

Instead both lobbies are funding and pressing
legislators to enact laws that politicize the courts,
tie the hands of judges and juries ' the only ones who
see, hear and evaluate the evidence before them ' and
make it harder for innocent men, women and children to
bring tragic cases to court and obtain an adequate
award.

A favorite way to achieve this callous goal is to put a
$250,000 lifetime cap on pain and suffering. Apart from
the fact that some insurance executives make that much
in one week, every week, from your premium insurance
dollars, consider how such a cap wrecks the innocent in
California.

Two year old Steve Olson, now twelve, became blind and
brain-damaged because the hospital refused to give him
a CAT scan that would have detected a growing brain
mass. His mother left her job to take care of her son.
A jury awarded Steven $7.1 million in non-economic
compensation for his life of darkness, pain, and
around-the-clock supervision. But the judge was forced
by a California law, that these lobbies now want
Congress to enact nationwide, to reduce the amount to
$250,000.

Don't think for a moment that restricting your court
rights will reduce malpractice premiums for physicians.
Not only have past restrictions not done so, but
insurance industry and company spokespeople have openly
said they will not do so and in some cases have raised
premiums right after a state enacted restrictions.

There is an obligation for the many good doctors to
speak out. Just a few weeks ago, nine of the doctors
who walked out of Wheeling Hospital in West Virginia,
had cost their insurers at least $6.3 million in
malpractice claims. Among the damage they caused ,
wrote the Charleston Gazette, was operating on the
wrong knee, causing the need for a liver transplant by
leaving a surgical clip on an artery, and causing a
massive and fatal infection by inadvertently slicing
into a patient's stomach."

The whole malpractice insurance premium business
amounts to about what this country spends on dog food
and is one half of one percent of health care costs in
this country. Isn't it about time to focus on
malpractice prevention first and foremost, instead of
pounding on the rights of hundreds of thousands of
Americans who leave their doctors far worse than when
they greeted them?

If you want to find out more about "questionable
doctors" in your area and how little the state medical
licensing boards are doing to protect you, log on to
www.citizen.org/hrg/

http://www.counterpunch.org/nader01072003.html

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========================================================

BBC | 2001 G8 Summit: Genoa Police 'Admit Fabrication' 

Friday 10 January 2003 

Italian media have been publishing transcripts of an inquiry into the policing of the 2001 Genoa G8
summit in which officers admit fabricating evidence against protesters. 

At the center of the inquiry is a police raid on a school being used as a dormitory by anti-globalization
demonstrators, in which dozens of people were injured. 

A senior officer, Pietro Troiani, reportedly admitted under questioning that two petrol bombs allegedly
found at the school were planted by police to justify the raid. 

In fact, they had been found elsewhere in the city, in the Corsa Italia, where protesters and police had
clashed earlier in the day. 

Mr Troiani's lawyer later denied any involvement of his client in fabricating evidence, saying he had only
handed the bombs to another police official, reports say. 

Police disciplined 

Out of 93 people arrested at the school in the early hours of 22 July, 72 suffered injuries, and all were
later released without charge. 

"Now that the investigation into the G8 events is drawing to a close, suspected truths which had already
emerged are being officially confirmed," reported the Italian television channel, Rai Uno. 

At least 77 police officers have been under investigation for alleged brutality, and three police chiefs
have been moved to other jobs. 

Transcripts of some of their interviews have been published in Italian newspapers, including Italy's
leading left-wing daily, La Repubblica, and the Genoa daily newspaper, Il Secolo XIX. 

Demonstrators said riot police beat them with clubs, smashed windows and wrecked computers in the
raid. 

The BBC's Bill Hayton was among those who stood outside the Diaz school, hearing the screams
coming from within, then watching bodies brought out on stretchers. 

When the police left he went in and saw blood on the walls, floors and radiators of an upstairs room. 

'Simulated' stabbing 

One of the key witnesses is Michele Burgio, Mr Troiani's driver, who admits to planting petrol bombs at
the school. 

According to the media reports, Mr Troiani later admitted to prosecutors that fabricating evidence was a
"silly thing" to do. 

Attention is also focusing on a knife attack on one police officer, Massimo Nucera. 

A senior police chief, Franco Gratteri, head of the Central Operations Services, is quoted as saying that
the stabbing was not carried out by protesters, but was simulated. 

Mr Gratteri says the "attack" could have been aimed at justifying the excessive use of violence used by
some flying squads. 

Hundreds of police and protesters were injured in street battles during the summit, which was attended
by violent anarchists as well as peaceful protesters. 

One protester died after being shot by police. 

(In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who
have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational
purposes.) 

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========================================================

Plan: Tap Iraq's Oil 
U.S. Considers Seizing Revenues to Pay for Occupation, Source Says 
By Knut Royce 
Newsday Special Correspondent 

Friday 10 January 2003 

Washington - Bush administration officials are seriously considering proposals that the United States
tap Iraq's oil to help pay the cost of a military occupation, a move that likely would prove highly
inflammatory in an Arab world already suspicious of U.S. motives in Iraq. 

Officially, the White House agrees that oil revenue would play an important role during an occupation
period, but only for the benefit of Iraqis, according to a National Security Council spokesman. 

Yet there are strong advocates inside the administration, including in the White House, for appropriating
the oil funds as "spoils of war," according to a source who has been briefed by participants in the dialogue. 

"There are people in the White House who take the position that it's all the spoils of war," said the
source, who asked not to be further identified. "We [the United States] take all the oil money until there is a
new democratic government [in Iraq]." 

The source said the Justice Department has urged caution. "The Justice Department has doubts," he
said. He said department lawyers are unsure "whether any of it [Iraqi oil funds] can be used or has to all be
held in trust for the people of Iraq." 

Another source who has worked closely with the office of Vice President Dick Cheney said that a
number of officials there too are urging that Iraq's oil funds be used to defray the cost of occupation. 

Jennifer Millerwise, a Cheney spokeswoman, declined to talk about "internal policy discussions." 

Using Iraqi oil to fund an occupation would reinforce a prevalent belief in the Mideast that the conflict is
all about control of oil, not rooting out weapons of mass destruction, according to Halim Barakat, a recently
retired professor of Arab studies at Georgetown University. 

"It would mean that the real ... objective of the war is not the democratization of Iraq, not getting rid of
Saddam, not to liberate the Iraqi people, but a return to colonialism," he said. "That is how they [Mideast
nations] would perceive it." 

The Congressional Budget Office estimates that the cost of an occupation would range from $12 billion
to $48 billion a year, and officials believe an occupation could last 1 1/2 years or more. 

And Iraq has a lot of oil. Its proven oil reserves are second in the world only to Saudi Arabia's. But how
much revenue could be generated is an open question. The budget office estimates Iraq now is producing
nearly 2.8 million barrels a day, with 80 percent of the revenues going for the United Nations Oil for Food
Program or domestic consumption. The remaining 20 percent, worth about $3 billion a year, is generated
by oil smuggling and much of it goes to support Saddam Hussein's military. In theory that is the money
that could be used for reconstruction or to help defer occupation costs. 

Yet with fresh drilling and new equipment Iraq could produce much more. By some estimates, however,
it would take 10 years to fully restore Iraq's oil industry. Conversely, if Hussein torches the fields, as he did
in Kuwait in 1991, it would take a year or more to resume even a modest flow. And, of course, it is
impossible to predict the price of oil. 

Laurence Meyer, a former Federal Reserve Board governor who chaired a Center for Strategic and
International Studies conference in November on the economic consequences of a war with Iraq, said that
conference participants deliberately avoided the question of whether Iraq should help pay occupation or
other costs. "It's a very politically sensitive issue," he said. "... We're in a situation where we're going to be
very sensitive to how our actions are perceived in the Arab world." 

Meyer said officials who believe Iraq's oil could defer some of the occupation costs may be "too
optimistic about how much you could increase [oil production] and how long it would take to reinvest in the
infrastructure and reinvest in additional oil." 

An administration source said that most of the proposals for the conduct of the war and implementation
of plans for a subsequent occupation are being drafted by the Pentagon. Last month a respected
Washington think tank prepared a classified briefing commissioned by Andrew Marshall, the Pentagon's
influential director of Net Assessment, on the future role of U.S. Special Forces in the global war against
terrorism, among other issues. Part of the presentation recommended that oil funds be used to defray the
costs of a military occupation in Iraq, according to a source who helped prepare the report. 

He said that the study, undertaken by the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, concluded
that "the cost of the occupation, the cost for the military administration and providing for a provisional
[civilian] administration, all of that would come out of Iraqi oil." He said the briefing was delivered to the
office of Paul Wolfowitz, the deputy secretary of Defense and one of the administration's strongest
advocates for an invasion of Iraq, on Dec. 13. 

Steven Kosiak, the center's director of budget studies, said he could not remember whether such a
recommendation was made, but if it was it would only have been "a passing reference to something we
did." 

Asked whether the Pentagon was now advocating the use of Iraqi oil to pay for the cost of a military
occupation, Army Lt. Col. Gary Keck, a spokesman, said, "We don't have any official comment on that." 

NSC spokesman Mike Anton said that in the event of war and a military occupation the oil revenues
would be used "not so much to fund the operation and maintaining American forces but for humanitarian
aid, refugees, possibly for infrastructure rebuilding, that kind of thing." 

But the source who contributed to the Marshall report said that its conclusions reflect the opinion of
many senior administration officials. "It [the oil] is going to fund the U.S. military presence there," he said.
"... They're not just going to take the Iraqi oil and use it for Iraq's purpose. They will charge the Iraqis for the
U.S. cost of operating in Iraq. I don't think they're planning as far as I know to use Iraqi oil to pay for the
invasion, but they are going to use it to pay for the occupation." 

(In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who
have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational
purposes.) 

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========================================================

Russian Warships on Standby to Sail to Gulf 
Nick Paton Walsh in Moscow 
The Guardian UK 

Friday 10 January 2003 

Russia has put three warships on standby to go to the Persian Gulf within the next month to protect its
"national interests" in the event of an American invasion of Iraq. 

Russia's Pacific fleet has been ordered by the central command to prepare two cruisers and a fuel
tanker for immediate deployment to the Gulf. 

The move will heighten tension between Moscow and Washington, who both have interests in Iraq's
oilfields. 

The Marshal Shaposhnikov and the Admiral Panteleyev cruisers would be called upon to defend
Russian "national interests" in the Gulf if the conflict between Iraq and the US escalates. 

The ships - armed with missiles and reconnaissance equipment - have been ordered to be ready for
deployment between late this month and early February. 

Lukoil, Russia's biggest oil firm, had a six billoin dollar contract with Baghdad to develop the West
Qurna oilfield cancelled last month, reportedly after the Iraqi regime discovered Russia had been negotiating
with Iraq's opposition. 

Military analysts pointed out that the defence of "national interests" may also refer to the Russian
military's desire to conduct surveillance on both sides during any conflict. 

(In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who
have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational
purposes.) 

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========================================================

FCC Moves To Reduce Media Diversity . 

By Bill Kovach And Tom Rosenstiel -- NY Times 1/7/03

WASHINGTON - Without much notice, the federal government is moving
toward the most sweeping change ever in the rules that govern
ownership of the American news media.

This shift could reduce the independence of the news media and the
ability of Americans to take part in public debate. Yet because of
meager press coverage and steps taken by the Federal Communications
Commission in its policy-making process, most people probably have no
idea that it is taking place.

Having seen how totalitarian regimes moved the world to war through
domination of their news media, the government during the 1940's put
restrictions on how many news media outlets one company could own,
both nationally and in a single city.

Though those rules have been relaxed in the last 20 years, companies
are still blocked from buying a newspaper and television station in
the same city or from owning more than one TV station in the same
market.

Three weeks after it proposed eliminating those rules, the F.C.C.
released a series of reports about the current media marketplace. But
the reports focused almost entirely on the economic impact of relaxing
the ownership rules. They largely ignore the public's interest in a
diverse and independent press.

The F.C.C. argues that technologies like the Internet offer Americans
access to more information than ever and thus worries about monopolies
are unfounded. But studies also show that most Americans receive their
news from a handful of outlets. Beyond this, much of what appears on
the Internet is repackaged from those outlets. The number of
operations that gather original news is small and now may become
smaller.

The question of concentration is most acute at the local level. In
most communities, even those with television and radio stations, the
vast range of activities are covered by only one institution, the
local newspaper.

What will happen to communities if the ownership rules are eliminated?
Among the possibilities is that one or two companies in each town
would have an effective monopoly on reaching consumers by being
allowed to control the newspaper, radio, TV, billboards and more -
with costly consequences for businesses that need those outlets for
advertising. Such a monopoly on information would also reduce the
diversity of cultural and political discourse in a community.

The precedent in radio is telling. Since the rules on ownership of
radio were last relaxed in 1996, the two biggest companies went from
owning 130 stations to more than 1,400.

The F.C.C. chairman, Michael K. Powell, has scheduled only one public
hearing, in Richmond, Va., on the proposal, and the public comment
period will close at the end of this month. It is a small and brief
opportunity, but one that the public should seize if it cherishes an
independent press.

Bill Kovach is chairman of the Committee of Concerned Journalists. Tom
Rosenstiel is director of the Project for Excellence in Journalism.

=======================

FCC Decisions May Change Media Landscape 
By The Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Rules on delivering news and entertainment to the
public are on the verge of a broad overhaul that could pave the way
for more media mergers and alter the landscape of television and radio
programming.

The Federal Communications Commission is studying whether decades-old
ownership restrictions are appropriate in a market changed by the
Internet, satellite broadcasts and cable television. The review is
expected to be completed within a few months. Advertisement

It's widely believed FCC Chairman Michael Powell and the two other
Republicans on the five-member commission are intent on loosening
regulations. Powell has expressed concern that many of the agency's
rules are antiquated.

Jonathan Adelstein, one of two Democrats on the commission, used his
first public speech since joining the agency last month to warn that
more mergers could mean less diversity in programming.

``Any changes that the FCC makes to its media ownership rules could
massively and irreversibly change the media landscape,'' Adelstein
said Monday at Georgetown University.

``The FCC must proceed very cautiously, because if we permit further
media consolidation and it turns out to be a mistake, we will find it
difficult, if not impossible, to put the toothpaste back in the
tube.''

Blair Levin, a former FCC official and now an analyst with the Legg
Mason investment firm, said the FCC's two Democrats can bring
attention to the issue, but are unlikely to alter the outcome sought
by Powell.

A 1996 telecommunications law required the FCC to periodically review
ownership rules in light of greater competition and other changes in
the industry.

Separately, the FCC is considering relaxing rules involving the
leasing of telephone networks, changes that could benefit regional
Bell companies who have been required to provide parts of their local
networks to competitors at discount rates.

The agency is also considering exempting high-speed Internet service
over phone lines from certain restrictions to promote investment in
that broadband technology.

To get public opinion on the six media ownership rules under review,
the FCC plans to hold a hearing in Richmond, Va., next month. The
agency already has received nearly 1,700 comments, with many of the
major supporters and critics weighing in last week.

NBC; News Corp.'s Fox Entertainment Group; Viacom Inc., which owns
CBS, MTV and UPN and the Paramount movie studio, joined in asking the
FCC to abolish all of its media-ownership rules. The companies said
FCC regulation ``unfairly and unnecessarily constrains very able and
effective competitors.''

Walt Disney Co., owner of the fourth major television network, ABC,
submitted a separate comment urging an overhaul of the rules.

An array of groups representing consumers, broadcasters, writers,
entertainers and other media workers say the existing restrictions
should remain to prevent a handful of giant companies from controlling
what people watch, hear and read.

Opponents of the six media ownership rules under review already have
successfully challenged two of them in the courts.

Viacom was one of several companies that questioned a rule prohibiting
any company from controlling television stations that, together, can
reach more than 35 percent of U.S. households. An appeals court ruled
last year that the FCC's rule was too sweeping and sent the regulation
back to the agency.

The courts also last year rejected restrictions on companies that want
to own two television stations in the same market.

Other rules under review concern the number of television and radio
stations a company can own in one market; a ban on mergers between the
four major television networks -- NBC, CBS, ABC and Fox; limits on
radio station ownership; and a restriction prohibiting one company
from owning a broadcast station and a newspaper in the same market.

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=========================================================

The Mirror (UK)
January 3, 2003

10,000,000 March to Stop War

By Gary Jones

Ten million people are expected to join a worldwide protest next
month against war on Iraq.

Peace activists are organizing marches across Europe, America and the
Middle East in what could be the biggest demo ever staged.

The day of action is planned for Saturday, February 15, and is described
by campaigners as "the last chance to stop the war".

The day of action was unveiled as President Bush reaffirmed his
determination to invade Iraq.

Speaking at his ranch in Texas yesterday he warned Saddam Hussein: "Your
day of reckoning is coming."

As 15,000 US troops prepared to head for the Gulf, he accused Saddam of
lying and said it was unlikely he would disarm peacefully.

He added: "For 11 long years the world has dealt with him. Hopefully, he
now realizes we are serious. It's his choice."

Britain's Stop The War Coalition reckons at least 500,000 and perhaps as
many as a million will turn up for a rally in Hyde Park, London.

Spokesman Andrew Burgin said: "The worldwide event will demonstrate the
feelings of millions of ordinary men and women.

"It should send a clear signal to President Bush and Tony Blair that
this war is wrong and unwanted. We hope we can spark something that will
be a turning point."

Representatives of anti-war groups in 11 European countries, including
Italy, France, Spain and Germany, met in Copenhagen
recently to co-ordinate the protest.

American groups are planning marches in Washington, New York, San
Francisco and other cities. Support has also been promised by peace
movements in the Middle East.

Mr Blair discussed Iraq and the Middle East peace process with King
Abdullah of Jordan yesterday as he and Cherie broke into their Egyptian
holiday for dinner at the royal palace.

They flew from the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheik to the king's
seaside residence at Aqaba. Jordan is seen as a key Western ally but,
like other Arab states, it opposes an attack on Saddam Hussein.

King Abdullah is believed to have warned Mr Blair that a war against
Iraq could destabilize the entire region.



2003 mirror.co.uk

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