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Impeach Bush

Rewriting History

War Networks Get War Slots

Spending Bill Angers Conservatives

Record Spending Bill Is Approve

Blix No Evidence Of Iraqi WMD

ElBaradei: No Evidence Of Prohibited Nuclear Activities

Tens of thousands rally against war

Consumer sentiment hits 9-year low

Networks Won't Air Anti-War Ads
Rewriting History
Washington Post
By H. JOSEF HEBERT
The Associated Press
Friday, February 14, 2003; 5:29 PM

Editor's Note: Yet another article showing us how this White House rewrites history. On numerous occasions they simply go back days or weeks and rewrite entire press statements etc. Here's a suggestion, keep the original text and put a footnote at the bottom explaining new references to the word or phrase. Never, never go back and rewrite the position, phrase or words of the president and/or his spokesperson. Needless to say these nuts have no sense of character or integrity.

Other times the White House simply lies as on this White House OMB page. The first chart has the following text; "After surging for more than seven years, revenue growth slowed dramatically in 2001, even before accounting for the 2001 tax relief act. The stock market downturn begun in March 2000 and the recession that started in January 2001 explain most of the decline in revenues."

The recession began in March of 2001, not January 2001. Moral of the story; "NEVER trust this White House."


Freedom Fuel.

It sounded great, and the White House used the phrase widely to promote President Bush's vision of cars running on hydrogen instead of imported oil.

But now the government has banished the phrase. It turns out the term is registered for commercial use for a number of products or services.

Among other things, Freedom Fuel is sold for $12.15 as a gasoline additive by Amway, a big GOP donor. There is also a Freedom Fuel Club that makes available a card for gasoline purchases at a chain of convenience stores.

Whatever the potential legal concerns, the Freedom Fuel flap took on a sense of urgency at the White House and the Energy Department.

"IMPORTANT!!! We can no longer refer to the Freedom Fuel Initiative," John Sullivan, a deputy assistant secretary at the Energy Department, wrote in a memo. "From henceforth it is to be referred to as `The President's Hydrogen Fuel Initiative.' Please let all the appropriate folks in your organization know this."

Sullivan, who did not return phone calls Friday, noted in the memo that "it's too late to worry about the budget" - sent to Congress on Feb. 3 making frequent reference to the "Freedom Fuel" program.

The White House considered the problem important enough to retroactively alter a press release it issued Jan. 30, after Bush first highlighted his interest in hydrogen development in the State of the Union address two days earlier.

When the release was issued, it contained 15 mentions of Freedom Fuel. A revised release, still with the Jan. 30 date, was on the White House Web site on Friday with all mention of Freedom Fuel replaced by more general terms.

Energy Department spokesman Joe Davis said the reason for the change was simple.

"Some companies ... applied to use the name. We found they applied to use it and we decided we're not going to use the name. It's the right thing to do." Another government official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Amway's use of the name was among the reasons for the change.

Michael Zarrelli, corporate counsel and manager of federal governmental affairs for Amway in Washington, said that Amway had "no input on this issue at all."

"Whatever the reason the administration has for using or not using the name is unknown to us," Zarrelli said.

Amway, which calls itself the world's largest direct selling company, has among its 450 products a gasoline additive called Freedom Fuel, which sells for $12.15 plus 37 cents in shipping, according to a product list on the company's Internet site. The additive is registered with the Environmental Protection Agency and with the U.S. Patent and Trademark office.

"It's not like one of our big brands," said an Amway spokeswoman at company headquarters in Ada, Mich.

Privately held Amway and the family of its co-founder, Richard DeVos, are major supporters of the Republican Party, both in Michigan and nationally. The corporation and the DeVos family gave more than $550,000 to GOP campaigns and causes in 1999 and 2000, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

© 2003 The Associated Press


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War Networks Get War Slots
Washington Post
By DAVID BAUDER
The Associated Press
Friday, February 14, 2003; 6:58 PM

The Pentagon told a series of news organizations this week how many journalists they would be allowed to send with the military in case of a war with Iraq.

The journalists will be "embedded" with military units to report on troops' activities. Some news organizations have expressed cautious optimism about the level of access the system will give them to the troops.

"It's such tremendous progress from what happened in 1991 (the Gulf War). Even in Afghanistan, there wasn't good access," said Carl Fincke, military team leader at the Virginian-Pilot in Norfolk, Va., on Friday. "Anything is progress over what we've had for the last 30 years. I don't think there's been good, unfettered access since Vietnam."

The Virginian-Pilot was granted its request for three slots.

Both ABC News and NBC News said they expect about 10 slots for their journalists. CBS said it has been granted eight slots, but is talking with the Pentagon about more. At least some of the network TV slots will be set aside for local affiliates.

Among the cable news networks, CNN would not reveal the number of reporters it will send. MSNBC uses NBC News journalists. Fox News Channel did not return a telephone inquiry.

Kathleen Carroll, executive editor of The Associated Press, said the news cooperative routinely does not discuss details of its journalists' deployment. But she added that "the AP has ample slots with the U.S. military to deliver comprehensive print, photo, radio and television coverage in the event of military action."

Bob Steele, director of the ethics program for the Poynter Institute for Media Studies, said the good intentions of the Pentagon and journalists give him hope, with some caution.

"There's no doubt there will still be tensions between the goals of the military and goals of journalists," he said.

CBS News anchor Dan Rather said earlier this week that he hoped embedding would work, but he worried it could result in the military preventing timely news reports from being filed.

"From a journalistic standpoint, it sounds like it will be the experience of a lifetime and we're anxious to bring back the story to the American people," said CBS White House correspondent John Roberts, who will be traveling with the military. "From a personal standpoint, it sounds incredibly dangerous."

Many journalists have undergone training for wartime conditions.

The Rocky Mountain News in Denver received the number of slots it had requested. Managing editor Deb Goeken declined to specify a number, citing competitive reasons. The Seattle Times asked for and received slots for two staffers, but has yet to decide if it will use both spaces.

The Washington Post would not provide details about its allotment, but indicated cooperation with the Pentagon was going well.

---

Associated Press Writer Lisa Singhania also contributed to this report.

© 2003 The Associated Press

Commentary:
If you're still wondering why the War Networks won't run ant-war ads etc., it's because they wanted these coveted slots. Without war stories they lose ratings, without ratings they lose advertisers and without advertisers they lose money. This war is about money. That's why you can't turn your TV on without seeing a pro-war story and that's why anti-war ads are banned.


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Spending Bill Angers Conservatives
Washington Post
By ALAN FRAM
The Associated Press
Saturday, February 15, 2003; 9:14 AM

Editor's Note:
This is another of those silly article the press feels obligated to write. Conservatives by huge majorities voted for the spending bill in this article. If they were really, really upset, they wouldn't have voted for it. I put this article here to show how stupid the press and conservatives thinks we are.

The government-wide $397.4 billion spending bill that President Bush will sign in coming days marks the first time in a half-century such legislation was written with Republicans controlling the White House and Congress.

So what kind of measure did the GOP write? One that infuriated many conservatives, and won the votes of three of every four House Democrats and three of five Senate Democrats, including liberals like Sens. Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York and Tom Harkin of Iowa.

The bill little resembles what Democrats would write if they held the majority. They said it shortchanged schools, land conservation, border security and aid to police and other local emergency workers. And it opens the door for logging in many national forests, while continuing GOP bans on federal aid for abortion and providing a generous increase for sexual abstinence education.

Yet the measure is a far cry from the budgets Republicans wrote when they took undisputed control of Congress in 1995 for the first time in decades. Those Republicans proposed eliminating entire Cabinet-level agencies such as the Departments of Education, Commerce and Energy, only to be driven back by President Clinton.

"Republicans are beginning to speak like Democrats," said Keith Ashdown, spokesman for the conservative Taxpayers for Common Sense. "The cadre of fiscally responsible lawmakers is getting smaller every day."

This week's bill, covering the budget year that began Oct. 1, had its share of cuts. But it also gave the Education Department 6 percent more than Bush proposed, for a total of $53.4 billion; had big increases for highways, farmers and medical research; carried billions of dollars worth of home-district projects for lawmakers; and gave modest boosts to a wide range of programs.

In some cases the measure provides more than what Bush has proposed for next year. For education, which Bush has long highlighted, his 2004 budget seeks $53.1 billion - $300 million less than the amount he is about to sign into law for this year.

Indeed, this year's spending spree is only beginning.

Lawmakers expect the White House to soon seek billions more for a war with Iraq if there is one, plus anti-terrorism efforts and other programs. House Appropriations Committee Chairman Bill Young, R-Fla., said he expects a $20 billion package. Rep. Jim Kolbe, R-Ariz., said he expects a wartime request for aid for U.S. allies Turkey and Jordan alone to be "big - billions of dollars."

The surge comes with Republicans having sole control of the federal spending process for the first time since 1954, under President Eisenhower. The GOP held the White House and Congress in early 2001, but Vermont Sen. James Jeffords left the party that spring and gave Democrats Senate control before spending bills were written.

It also comes despite frequent demands from Bush and his budget chief, Mitchell Daniels, that Congress curb spending.

In a Feb. 11 letter, Daniels warned that "the president's senior advisers would recommend that he veto the bill" if it exceeded $385.9 billion. Yet the administration itself added $10 billion for defense, money it initially requested a year ago.

Analysts attribute the growing spending to the need to fight terrorism, the effort by Bush and some Republicans to cast themselves as compassionate conservatives and the lack of any sign the public cares much about huge federal deficits.

With such political dynamics in play, lawmakers crammed the bill with thousands of projects for their home districts and states.

Among them:

-Nevada's senators, Democrat Harry Reid and Republican John Ensign, sharing credit for nearly $300 million in projects for their state. It includes $1 million for a hydrogen filling station at the University of Nevada at Las Vegas and $600,000 for an oral history of the Nevada Test Site, a remote area where nuclear weapons have been tested for four decades.

-Rep. Martin Sabo, D-Minn., said he won $164 million for his home state, including $300,000 for research by the Minnesota Cultivated Wild Rice Council.

-Sen. Conrad Burns, R-Mont., said his state would receive $560,000 for the Montana Sheep Institute.

-Rep. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., the No. 3 House GOP leader, won $250,000 to restore the Gillioz Theater in Springfield, Mo.

© 2003 The Associated Press

Commentary:
If there's a single person in the country that still thinks conservatives want a balanced budget, less spending and smaller government, then that person is too uninformed to deal with. No one can out-spend a conservative. Look at the Reagan and Bush deficits and debt. Then look at the spending increases during the 90's when republicans controlled the Congress. Once again; No One Can Out Spend A Conservative.


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Record Spending Bill Is Approved
Washington Post
By Jim VandeHei and Juliet Eilperin
Washington Post Staff Writers
Friday, February 14, 2003; Page A05

The House and Senate yesterday hastily approved a 3,000-page, $397.4 billion spending package, the largest appropriations bill ever, loaded with money for special-interest projects covering everything from shiitake mushrooms to beaver management.

While few lawmakers knew exactly what was in the bill, the House voted 338 to 83 to provide immediate spending increases for programs such as national defense, homeland security, space exploration and the Securities and Exchange Commission. Farmers, ranchers and students in poor school districts are big winners, too. To make room for some of the new spending, the budgets for the departments of Treasury and Commerce were cut.

The Senate approved the package last night by a 76 to 20 vote. With the threat of war in Iraq looming, President Bush has told lawmakers he will seek an additional $20 billion for the Pentagon soon. Democrats, meanwhile, vow to tack more spending for homeland security onto the president's request.

The $397.4 billion bill touches virtually every part of government and covers fiscal 2003, which began Oct. 1. Democrats, still stinging from their losses in November's elections and searching for issues to run on in 2004, accused Republicans of shortchanging homeland security as the country remained on high alert for possible terrorist attacks.

Democrats also complained about several environmental provisions, including one approving money for "pre-drilling" in Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and another clearing the way for more logging on federal land.

But Republicans, flexing the political muscles built by controlling the White House and both chambers of Congress, beat back Democratic efforts to push spending even higher. While Vice President Cheney played a key role in the final talks, the White House didn't get everything it sought.

Republicans spent billions of dollars more than Bush wanted and, as part of the final deal, blocked funding for research for a Pentagon project -- called Total Information Awareness -- designed to monitor Internet e-mail and commercial databases as a way to track terrorists. Worried the project would invade Americans' privacy, conferees restricted further Pentagon research without first extensively consulting with Congress.

The project was started more than one year ago by former national security adviser John M. Poindexter, who was convicted of lying to Congress about weapons sales to Iran and illegal aid to Nicaraguan rebels. His conviction was later reversed because he had been given immunity for the testimony in which he lied.

In the end, House and Senate negotiators tucked in enough provisions sought by influential lawmakers in the appropriations bill to win passage easily.

Even though federal deficits are projected to surpass $300 billion this year and next, lawmakers repeated the annual ritual of spending billions of dollars on programs that have nothing to do with protecting the homeland or providing assistance to cash-strapped states and cities.

"Ninety percent of this package has never been debated on the floor before. All of the money that's in the bill is the result of a backroom deal," said Rep. David R. Obey (Wis.), the ranking Democrat on the Appropriations Committee.

House Appropriations Committee Chairman C.W. Bill Young (R-Fla.) acknowledged that some of the Democrats' complaints "are legitimate. The process was not the best, but we're finally here."

Obey took to the floor last night to complain that $15 million was awarded to a handful of dairy farmers in Bush's home state of Texas, while another provision helped a Georgia chicken producer that wants to label its products "organic," even though they don't meet government standards. The organic label provision would likely benefit Fieldale Farms Corp., a poultry plant that has been lobbying the administration on the issue.

The bill includes $202,500 to build the National Peanut Festival Agriculture Arena in Dothan, Ala., at the behest of Rep. Terry Everett (R-Ala.). Rep. Kay Granger (R-Tex.) secured $90,000 to create a bilingual audio tour for the cowgirl museum in Fort Worth, where she once was mayor.

Rep. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) questioned why the government would spend $90,000 on cowgirls. "It's tough to find what's right about this bill," Flake said.

"McGruff the Crime Dog" will receive $5 million to take a bigger bite out of crime, while the University of California at Davis will be given $250,000 to perfect its wine research. There is also $250,000 for beaver management in North Carolina; $450,000 to promote soccer through the U.S. Soccer Foundation; $50,00 to study shiitake mushrooms in Booneville, Ark.; $650,000 for grasshopper and cricket control in Utah; and $300,000 more for the same purpose in Nevada.

Prominent members on the Appropriations Committee and House leadership were particularly adept at sending money back home. House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) secured $1.6 million for a drainage project in DuPage County. Sen. Robert C. Byrd (D-W.Va.), renowned for guiding government funds to his state, nailed down $572 million for water systems improvements in Beech Bottom, W.Va.

Mississippi GOP Sens. Thad Cochran and Trent Lott were able to steer millions to their home state. The projects include $350,000 for sweet potato research and $500,000 for catfish health in Stoneville, Miss.

Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) ensured that his state received several specialized grants, including $30 million for water and sewage projects in rural and native villages; $750,000 for sea otter research; $1 million to aid the recovery of seabirds known as eiders. An aide to Stevens said each of the Alaska provisions fulfilled a critical need, including making sure Alaska natives and Eskimos could kill marine mammals for food without decimating the mammal population, and allowing U.S. fishermen to compete effectively against foreign salmon producers.

Rep. Henry Bonilla (R-Tex.) inserted language compensating a handful of Texas dairy farmers for the elimination of their herds, which have repeatedly contracted bovine tuberculosis from herds across the Mexican border.

"This is like property condemnation," said Bonilla, adding that the Agriculture Department and several universities backed the plan.

© 2003 The Washington Post Company

Commentary:
Bush is praising this spending bill, both Houses and both parties seem to have no major problem with it. Recall that a single senator can stop just about anything in the Senate. Obviously, none thought record spending and record deficits are a problem. What we've rapidly learned is that both democrats and republicans like to spend our money. The only major difference is that dems are more likely to make us pay for what they spend (ie: tax and spend), while conservatives pass the buck to the next president and congress. One is responsible, the other is not.


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Blix: No Evidence Of Iraqi WMD
UN
Executive Chairman of UNMOVIC
Dr. Hans Blix
February 14, 2003

Introduction

Mr. President,

Since I reported to the Security Council on 27 January, UNMOVIC has had two further weeks of operational and analytical work in New York and active inspections in Iraq. This brings the total period of inspections so far to 11 weeks. Since then, we have also listened on 5 February to the presentation to the Council by the US Secretary of State and the discussion that followed. Lastly, Dr. ElBaradei and I have held another round of talks in Baghdad with our counterparts and with Vice President Ramadan on 8 and 9 February.

Work in Iraq

Let me begin today's briefing with a short account of the work being performed by UNMOVIC in Iraq.

We have continued to build up our capabilities. The regional office in Mosul is now fully operational at its temporary headquarters. Plans for a regional office at Basra are being developed. Our Hercules L-100 aircraft continues to operate routine flights between Baghdad and Larnaca. The eight helicopters are fully operational. With the resolution of the problems raised by Iraq for the transportation of minders into the no-fly zones, our mobility in these zones has improved. We expect to increase utilization of the helicopters. The number of Iraqi minders during inspections had often reached a ratio as high as five per inspector. During the talks in January in Baghdad, the Iraqi side agreed to keep the ratio to about one to one. The situation has improved.

Since we arrived in Iraq, we have conducted more than 400 inspections covering more than 300 sites. All inspections were performed without notice, and access was almost always provided promptly. In no case have we seen convincing evidence that the Iraqi side knew in advance that the inspectors were coming.

The inspections have taken place throughout Iraq at industrial sites, ammunition depots, research centres, universities, presidential sites, mobile laboratories, private houses, missile production facilities, military camps and agricultural sites. At all sites which had been inspected before 1998, re-baselining activities were performed. This included the identification of the function and contents of each building, new or old, at a site. It also included verification of previously tagged equipment, application of seals and tags, taking samples and discussions with the site personnel regarding past and present activities. At certain sites, ground-penetrating radar was used to look for underground structures or buried equipment.

Through the inspections conducted so far, we have obtained a good knowledge of the industrial and scientific landscape of Iraq, as well as of its missile capability but, as before, we do not know every cave and corner. Inspections are effectively helping to bridge the gap in knowledge that arose due to the absence of inspections between December 1998 and November 2002.

More than 200 chemical and more than 100 biological samples have been collected at different sites. Three-quarters of these have been screened using our own analytical laboratory capabilities at the Baghdad Centre (BOMVIC). The results to date have been consistent with Iraq's declarations.

We have now commenced the process of destroying approximately 50 litres of mustard gas declared by Iraq that was being kept under UNMOVIC seal at the Muthanna site. One-third of the quantity has already been destroyed. The laboratory quantity of thiodiglycol, a mustard gas precursor, which we found at another site, has also been destroyed.

The total number of staff in Iraq now exceeds 250 from 60 countries. This includes about 100 UNMOVIC inspectors, 15 IAEA inspectors, 50 aircrew, and 65 support staff.

Mr. President,

In my 27 January update to the Council, I said that it seemed from our experience that Iraq had decided in principle to provide cooperation on process, most importantly prompt access to all sites and assistance to UNMOVIC in the establishment of the necessary infrastructure. This impression remains, and we note that access to sites has so far been without problems, including those that had never been declared or inspected, as well as to Presidential sites and private residences.

In my last updating, I also said that a decision to cooperate on substance was indispensable in order to bring, through inspection, the disarmament task to completion and to set the monitoring system on a firm course. Such cooperation, as I have noted, requires more than the opening of doors. In the words of resolution 1441 (2002) - it requires immediate, unconditional and active efforts by Iraq to resolve existing questions of disarmament - either by presenting remaining proscribed items and programmes for elimination or by presenting convincing evidence that they have been eliminated. In the current situation, one would expect Iraq to be eager to comply. While we were in Baghdad, we met a delegation from the Government of South Africa. It was there to explain how South Africa gained the confidence of the world in its dismantling of the nuclear weapons programme, by a wholehearted cooperation over two years with IAEA inspectors. I have just learned that Iraq has accepted an offer by South Africa to send a group of experts for further talks.

How much, if any, is left of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction and related proscribed items and programmes? So far, UNMOVIC has not found any such weapons, only a small number of empty chemical munitions, which should have been declared and destroyed. Another matter - and one of great significance - is that many proscribed weapons and items are not accounted for. To take an example, a document, which Iraq provided, suggested to us that some 1,000 tonnes of chemical agent were "unaccounted for". One must not jump to the conclusion that they exist. However, that possibility is also not excluded. If they exist, they should be presented for destruction. If they do not exist, credible evidence to that effect should be presented.

We are fully aware that many governmental intelligence organizations are convinced and assert that proscribed weapons, items and programmes continue to exist. The US Secretary of State presented material in support of this conclusion. Governments have many sources of information that are not available to inspectors. Inspectors, for their part, must base their reports only on evidence, which they can, themselves, examine and present publicly. Without evidence, confidence cannot arise.

Mr. President,

In my earlier briefings, I have noted that significant outstanding issues of substance were listed in two Security Council documents from early 1999 (S/1999/94 and S/1999/356) and should be well known to Iraq. I referred, as examples, to the issues of anthrax, the nerve agent VX and long-range missiles, and said that such issues "deserve to be taken seriously by Iraq rather than being brushed aside…". The declaration submitted by Iraq on 7 December last year, despite its large volume, missed the opportunity to provide the fresh material and evidence needed to respond to the open questions. This is perhaps the most important problem we are facing. Although I can understand that it may not be easy for Iraq in all cases to provide the evidence needed, it is not the task of the inspectors to find it. Iraq itself must squarely tackle this task and avoid belittling the questions.

Work in New York

In my January update to the Council, I referred to the Al Samoud 2 and the Al Fatah missiles, reconstituted casting chambers, construction of a missile engine test stand and the import of rocket engines, which were all declared to UNMOVIC by Iraq. I noted that the Al Samoud 2 and the Al Fatah could very well represent prima facie cases of proscribed missile systems, as they had been tested to ranges exceeding the 150-kilometre limit set by the Security Council. I also noted that Iraq had been requested to cease flight tests of these missiles until UNMOVIC completed a technical review.

Earlier this week, UNMOVIC missile experts met for two days with experts from a number of Member States to discuss these items. The experts concluded unanimously that, based on the data provided by Iraq, the two declared variants of the Al Samoud 2 missile were capable of exceeding 150 kilometres in range. This missile system is therefore proscribed for Iraq pursuant to resolution 687 (1991) and the monitoring plan adopted by resolution 715 (1991).

As for the Al Fatah, the experts found that clarification of the missile data supplied by Iraq was required before the capability of the missile system could be fully assessed.

With respect to the casting chambers, I note the following: UNSCOM ordered and supervised the destruction of the casting chambers, which had been intended for use in the production of the proscribed Badr-2000 missile system. Iraq has declared that it has reconstituted these chambers. The experts have confirmed that the reconstituted casting chambers could still be used to produce motors for missiles capable of ranges significantly greater than 150 kilometres. Accordingly, these chambers remain proscribed.

The experts also studied the data on the missile engine test stand that is nearing completion and have assessed it to be capable of testing missile engines with thrusts greater than that of the SA-2 engine. So far, the test stand has not been associated with a proscribed activity.

On the matter of the 380 SA-2 missile engines imported outside of the export/import mechanism and in contravention of paragraph 24 of resolution 687 (1991), UNMOVIC inspectors were informed by Iraq during an official briefing that these engines were intended for use in the Al Samoud 2 missile system, which has now been assessed to be proscribed. Any such engines configured for use in this missile system would also be proscribed.

I intend to communicate these findings to the Government of Iraq.

Meeting in Baghdad

At the meeting in Baghdad on 8 and 9 February, the Iraqi side addressed some of the important outstanding disarmament issues and gave us a number of papers, e.g. regarding anthrax and growth material, the nerve agent VX and missile production. Experts who were present from our side studied the papers during the evening of 8 February and met with Iraqi experts in the morning of 9 February for further clarifications. Although no new evidence was provided in the papers and no open issues were closed through them or the expert discussions, the presentation of the papers could be indicative of a more active attitude focusing on important open issues.

The Iraqi side suggested that the problem of verifying the quantities of anthrax and two VX-precursors, which had been declared unilaterally destroyed, might be tackled through certain technical and analytical methods. Although our experts are still assessing the suggestions, they are not very hopeful that it could prove possible to assess the quantities of material poured into the ground years ago. Documentary evidence and testimony by staff that dealt with the items still appears to be needed.

Not least against this background, a letter of 12 February from Iraq's National Monitoring Directorate may be of relevance. It presents a list of 83 names of participants "in the unilateral destruction in the chemical field, which took place in the summer of 1991". As the absence of adequate evidence of that destruction has been and remains an important reason why quantities of chemicals have been deemed "unaccounted for", the presentation of a list of persons who can be interviewed about the actions appears useful and pertains to cooperation on substance. I trust that the Iraqi side will put together a similar list of names of persons who participated in the unilateral destruction of other proscribed items, notably in the biological field.

The Iraqi side also informed us that the commission, which had been appointed in the wake of our finding 12 empty chemical weapons warheads, had had its mandate expanded to look for any still existing proscribed items. This was welcomed.

A second commission, we learnt, has now been appointed with the task of searching all over Iraq for more documents relevant to the elimination of proscribed items and programmes. It is headed by the former Minister of Oil, General Amer Rashid, and is to have very extensive powers of search in industry, administration and even private houses.

The two commissions could be useful tools to come up with proscribed items to be destroyed and with new documentary evidence. They evidently need to work fast and effectively to convince us, and the world, that it is a serious effort.

The matter of private interviews was discussed at length during our meeting in Baghdad. The Iraqi side confirmed the commitment, which it made to us on 20 January, to encourage persons asked to accept such interviews, whether in or out of Iraq. So far, we have only had interviews in Baghdad. A number of persons have declined to be interviewed, unless they were allowed to have an official present or were allowed to tape the interview. Three persons that had previously refused interviews on UNMOVIC's terms, subsequently accepted such interviews just prior to our talks in Baghdad on 8 and 9 February. These interviews proved informative. No further interviews have since been accepted on our terms. I hope this will change. We feel that interviews conducted without any third party present and without tape recording would provide the greatest credibility.

At the recent meeting in Baghdad, as on several earlier occasions, my colleague Dr. ElBaradei and I have urged the Iraqi side to enact legislation implementing the UN prohibitions regarding weapons of mass destruction. This morning we had a message that a Presidential decree has now been issued containing prohibitions with regard to importation and production of biological, chemical and nuclear weapons. We have not yet had time to study the details of the text of the decree.

Intelligence

Mr. President, I should like to make some comments on the role of intelligence in connection with inspections in Iraq.

A credible inspection regime requires that Iraq provide full cooperation on "process" - granting immediate access everywhere to inspectors - and on substance, providing full declarations supported by relevant information and material and evidence. However, with the closed society in Iraq of today and the history of inspections there, other sources of information, such as defectors and government intelligence agencies are required to aid the inspection process.

I remember myself how, in 1991, several inspections in Iraq, which were based on information received from a Government, helped to disclose important parts of the nuclear weapons programme. It was realized that an international organization authorized to perform inspections anywhere on the ground could make good use of information obtained from governments with eyes in the sky, ears in the ether, access to defectors, and both eyes and ears on the market for weapons-related material. It was understood that the information residing in the intelligence services of governments could come to very active use in the international effort to prevent proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. This remains true and we have by now a good deal of experience in the matter.

International organizations need to analyse such information critically and especially benefit when it comes from more than one source. The intelligence agencies, for their part, must protect their sources and methods. Those who provide such information must know that it will be kept in strict confidence and be known to very few people. UNMOVIC has achieved good working relations with intelligence agencies and the amount of information provided has been gradually increasing. However, we must recognize that there are limitations and that misinterpretation can occur.

Intelligence information has been useful for UNMOVIC. In one case, it led us to a private home where documents mainly relating to laser enrichment of uranium were found. In other cases, intelligence has led to sites where no proscribed items were found. Even in such cases, however, inspection of these sites were useful in proving the absence of such items and in some cases the presence of other items - conventional munitions. It showed that conventional arms are being moved around the country and that movements are not necessarily related to weapons of mass destruction.

The presentation of intelligence information by the US Secretary of State suggested that Iraq had prepared for inspections by cleaning up sites and removing evidence of proscribed weapons programmes. I would like to comment only on one case, which we are familiar with, namely, the trucks identified by analysts as being for chemical decontamination at a munitions depot. This was a declared site, and it was certainly one of the sites Iraq would have expected us to inspect. We have noted that the two satellite images of the site were taken several weeks apart. The reported movement of munitions at the site could just as easily have been a routine activity as a movement of proscribed munitions in anticipation of imminent inspection. Our reservation on this point does not detract from our appreciation of the briefing.

Plans for the immediate future

Yesterday, UNMOVIC informed the Iraqi authorities of its intention to start using the U-2 surveillance aircraft early next week under arrangements similar to those UNSCOM had followed. We are also in the process of working out modalities for the use of the French Mirage aircraft starting late next week and for the drones supplied by the German Government. The offer from Russia of an Antonov aircraft, with night vision capabilities, is a welcome one and is next on our agenda for further improving UNMOVIC's and IAEA's technical capabilities. These developments are in line with suggestions made in a non-paper recently circulated by France, suggesting a further strengthening of the inspection capabilities.

It is our intention to examine the possibilities for surveying ground movements, notably by trucks. In the face of persistent intelligence reports for instance about mobile biological weapons production units, such measures could well increase the effectiveness of inspections.

UNMOVIC is still expanding its capabilities, both in terms of numbers of staff and technical resources. On my way to the recent Baghdad meeting, I stopped in Vienna to meet 60 experts, who had just completed our general training course for inspectors. They came from 22 countries, including Arab countries.

Time lines

Mr. President,

UNMOVIC is not infrequently asked how much more time it needs to complete its task in Iraq. The answer depends upon which task one has in mind - the elimination of weapons of mass destruction and related items and programmes, which were prohibited in 1991 - the disarmament task - or the monitoring that no new proscribed activities occur. The latter task, though not often focused upon, is highly significant - and not controversial. It will require monitoring, which is "ongoing", that is, open-ended until the Council decides otherwise.

By contrast, the task of "disarmament" foreseen in resolution 687 (1991) and the progress on "key remaining disarmament tasks" foreseen in resolution 1284 (1999) as well as the "disarmament obligations", which Iraq was given a "final opportunity to comply with" under resolution 1441 (2002), were always required to be fulfilled in a shorter time span. Regrettably, the high degree of cooperation required of Iraq for disarmament through inspection was not forthcoming in 1991. Despite the elimination, under UNSCOM and IAEA supervision, of large amounts of weapons, weapons-related items and installations over the years, the task remained incomplete, when inspectors were withdrawn almost 8 years later at the end of 1998.

If Iraq had provided the necessary cooperation in 1991, the phase of disarmament - under resolution 687 (1991) - could have been short and a decade of sanctions could have been avoided. Today, three months after the adoption of resolution 1441 (2002), the period of disarmament through inspection could still be short, if "immediate, active and unconditional cooperation" with UNMOVIC and the IAEA were to be forthcoming.

Commentary:
For months I've been writing there will be no second term for Bush. Without war he's finished. With the largest deficits in US history for as far as the eye can see, an economy limping along and a war tattered and defeated president, it's now safe to say Bush is irrelevant.

Blix: "Inspectors, for their part, must base their reports only on evidence, which they can, themselves, examine and present publicly. Without evidence, confidence cannot arise."

Blix is telling the world we can't trust the so-called evidence Bush and Powell presented. If the evidence was credible this report would confirm what Powell said. It does not. Therefore, we must conclude Powells evidence is highly flawed as shown in other articles on this website.

Btw, who still listens Bush and Powell? Who still believes them? I wanna meet this person and ask him why.


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ElBaradei: No Evidence Of Prohibited Nuclear Activities
IAEA/UN
by IAEA Director
General Dr. Mohamed ElBaradei

My report to the Council today is an update on the status of the IAEA's nuclear verification activities in Iraq pursuant to Security Council resolution 1441 and other relevant resolutions. Less than three weeks have passed since my last update to the Council, on 27 January - a relatively short period in the overall inspection process. However, I believe it is important for the Council to remain actively engaged and fully informed at this crucial time.

Current Inspection Activities: Still Building Capacity
The focus of the IAEA's inspections has now moved from the "reconnaissance phase" into the "investigative phase". The "reconnaissance phase" was aimed at re-establishing rapidly our knowledge base of Iraq's nuclear capabilities, ensuring that nuclear activities at known key facilities had not been resumed, verifying the location of nuclear material and relevant non-nuclear material and equipment, and identifying the current workplaces of former key Iraqi personnel. The focus of the "investigative phase" is achieving an understanding of Iraq's activities over the last four years, in particular in areas identified by States as being of concern and those identified by the IAEA on the basis of its own analysis.

Inspections
Since our 27 January report, the IAEA has conducted an additional 38 inspections at 19 locations, for a total of 177 inspections at 125 locations. Iraq has continued to provide immediate access to all locations. In the course of the inspections, we have identified certain facilities at which we will be re-establishing containment and surveillance systems in order to monitor, on a continuous basis, activities associated with critical dual-use equipment. At this time, we are using recurrent inspections to ensure that this equipment is not being used for prohibited purposes.

Technical Methods
As I mentioned in my last report to the Council, we have a number of wide-area and location-specific measures for detecting indications of undeclared past or ongoing nuclear activities in Iraq, including environmental sampling and radiation detection surveys.

In this regard, we have been collecting a broad variety of samples, including water, sediment and vegetation, at inspected facilities and at other locations across Iraq, and analysing them for signatures of nuclear activities.

We have also resumed air sampling at key locations in Iraq. Three of the four air samplers that were removed in December 2002 for refurbishing have been returned to Iraq. One of these has been installed at a fixed location, and the other two are being operated from mobile platforms. We are intending to increase their number to make optimum use of this technique.

We are also continuing to expand the use of hand-held and car-borne gamma surveys in Iraq. The gamma survey vehicle has been used en route to inspection sites and within sites, as well as in urban and industrial areas. We will start helicopter-borne gamma surveys as soon as the relevant equipment receives its final certification for use on the helicopter model provided to us for use in Iraq.

Conduct of Interviews
The IAEA has continued to interview key Iraqi personnel. We have recently been able to conduct four interviews in private - that is, without the presence of an Iraqi observer. The interviewees, however, have tape recorded their interviews. In addition, discussions have continued to be conducted with Iraqi technicians and officials as part of inspection activities and technical meetings. I should note that, during our recent meeting in Baghdad, Iraq reconfirmed its commitment to encourage its citizens to accept interviews in private, both inside and outside of Iraq.

In response to a request by the IAEA, Iraq has expanded the list of relevant Iraqi personnel to over 300, along with their current work locations. The list includes the higher-level key scientists known to the IAEA in the nuclear and nuclear related areas. We will continue, however, to ask for information about Iraqi personnel of lesser rank whose work may be of significance to our mandate.

Specific Issues
I would like now to provide an update on a number of specific issues that we are currently pursuing. I should mention that, shortly before our recent meeting in Baghdad, and based on out discussions with the Iraqi counterpart, Iraq provided documentation related to these issues: the reported attempt to import uranium, the attempted procurement of aluminum tubes, the procurement of magnets and magnet production capabilities, the use of HMX, and those questions and concerns that were outstanding in 1998. I will touch briefly on each of these issues.

Uranium Acquisition
Iraq continues to state that it has made no attempt to import uranium since the 1980s. The IAEA recently received some additional information relevant to this issue, which will be further pursued, hopefully with the assistance of the African country reported to have been involved.

Uranium Enrichment
The IAEA is continuing to follow up on acknowledged efforts by Iraq to import high strength aluminum tubes. As you will know, Iraq has declared these efforts to have been in connection with a programme to reverse engineer conventional rockets. The IAEA has verified that Iraq had indeed been manufacturing such rockets. However, we are still exploring whether the tubes were intended rather for the manufacture of centrifuges for uranium enrichment. In connection with this investigation, Iraq has been asked to explain the reasons for the tight tolerance specifications that it had requested from various suppliers. Iraq has provided documentation related to the project for reverse engineering and has committed itself to providing samples of tubes received from prospective suppliers. We will continue to investigate the matter further.

In response to IAEA inquiries about Iraq's attempts to procure a facility for the manufacture of magnets, and the possible link with the resumption of a nuclear programme, Iraq recently provided additional documentation, which we are presently examining.

In the course of an inspection conducted in connection with the aluminum tube investigation, IAEA inspectors found a number of documents relevant to transactions aimed at the procurement of carbon fibre, a dual-use material used by Iraq in its past clandestine uranium enrichment programme for the manufacture of gas centrifuge rotors. Our review of these documents suggests that the carbon fibre sought by Iraq was not intended for enrichment purposes, as the specifications of the material appear not to be consistent with those needed for manufacturing rotor tubes. In addition, we have carried out follow-up inspections, during which we have been able to observe the use of such carbon fibre in non-nuclear-related applications and to take samples. The IAEA will nevertheless continue to pursue this matter.

Use of HMX
The IAEA has continued to investigate the relocation and consumption of the high explosive HMX. As I reported earlier, Iraq has declared that 32 tonnes of the HMX previously under IAEA seal had been transferred for use in the production of industrial explosives, primarily to cement plants as a booster for explosives used in quarrying.

Iraq has provided us with additional information, including documentation on the movement and use of this material, and inspections have been conducted at locations where the material is said to have been used. However, given the nature of the use of high explosives, it may well be that the IAEA will be unable to reach a final conclusion on the end use of this material. While we have no indication that this material was used for any application other than that declared by Iraq, we have no technical method of verifying, quantitatively, the declared use of the material in explosions. We will continue to follow this issue through a review of civilian mining practices in Iraq and through interviews of key Iraqi personnel involved in former relevant research and development activities.

Laser-related Documents
The IAEA has completed a more detailed review of the 2000 pages of documents found on 16 January at the private residence of an Iraqi scientist. The documents relate predominantly to lasers, including the use of laser technology to enrich uranium. They consist of technical reports; minutes of meetings (including those of the Standing Committee for Laser Applications); personal notes; copies of publications and student research project theses; and a number of administrative documents, some of which were marked as classified. While the documents have provided some additional details about Iraq's laser enrichment development efforts, they refer to activities or sites already known to the IAEA and appear to be the personal files of the scientist in whose home they were found. Nothing contained in the documents alters the conclusions previously drawn by the IAEA concerning the extent of Iraq's laser enrichment programme. We nevertheless continue to emphasize to Iraq that it should search for and provide all documents, personal or otherwise, that might be relevant to our mandate.

Remaining Questions and Concerns
Last week, Iraq also provided the IAEA with documentation related to questions and concerns that, since 1998, have been in need of further clarification, particularly as regards weapon and centrifuge design. However, no new information was contained in this documentation.

It is to be hoped that the new Iraqi commissions established by Iraq to look for any additional documents and hardware relevant to its programmes for weapons of mass destruction will be able to uncover documents and other evidence that could assist in clarifying these remaining questions and concerns as well as other areas of current concern.

Finally, I was informed this morning by the Director General of Iraq's National Monitoring Directorate that national legislation prohibiting proscribed activities was adopted today. The resolution of this long-standing legal matter was a step in the right direction for Iraq to demonstrate its commitment to fulfilling its obligations under the Security Council's resolutions.

Looking Ahead
In the coming weeks, the IAEA will continue to expand its inspection capabilities in a number of ways, including its already extensive use of unannounced inspections at all relevant sites in Iraq. To strengthen and accelerate our ability to investigate matters of concern, and to reinstate and reinforce our ongoing monitoring and verification system that came to a halt in 1998, we intend to increase the number of inspectors and support staff. We will also be adding more analysts and translators to support analysis of documents and other inspection findings. We intend to augment the number of customs and procurement experts for the monitoring of imports by Iraq. We will also intensify and expand the range of technical meetings and private interviews with Iraqi personnel, in accordance with our preferred modalities and locations, both inside and outside Iraq.

In addition, we intend to expand our capabilities for near-real-time monitoring of dual-use equipment and related activities, and implement several additional components of wide area environmental monitoring aimed at identifying fingerprints left by nuclear material and nuclear related activities.

We hope to continue to receive from States actionable information relevant to our mandate. Now that Iraq has accepted the use of all of the platforms for aerial surveillance proposed by supporting States to UNMOVIC and the IAEA, including U2s, Mirage IVs, Antonovs and drones, we plan to make use of them to support our inspection activities, in particular with a view to monitoring movements in and around sites to be inspected.

The Government of Iraq reiterated last week its commitment to comply with its Security Council obligations and to provide full and active co-operation with the inspecting organizations. Subject to Iraq making good on this commitment, the above measures will contribute to the effectiveness of the inspection process.

Conclusion

As I have reported on numerous occasions, the IAEA concluded, by December 1998, that it had neutralized Iraq's past nuclear programme and that, therefore, there were no unresolved disarmament issues left at that time. Hence, our focus since the resumption of our inspections in Iraq, two and a half months ago, has been verifying whether Iraq revived its nuclear programme in the intervening years.

We have to date found no evidence of ongoing prohibited nuclear or nuclear related activities in Iraq. However, as I have just indicated, a number of issues are still under investigation and we are not yet in a position to reach a conclusion about them, although we are moving forward with regard to some of them. To that end, we intend to make full use of the authority granted to us under all relevant Security Council resolutions to build as much capacity into the inspection process as necessary.

In that context, I would underline the importance of information that States may be able to provide to help us in assessing the accuracy and completeness of the information provided by Iraq.

The IAEA's experience in nuclear verification shows that it is possible, particularly with an intrusive verification system, to assess the presence or absence of a nuclear weapons programme in a State even without the full co-operation of the inspected state. However, prompt, full and active co-operation by Iraq, as required under resolution 1441, will speed up the process. More importantly, it will enable us to reach the high degree of assurance required by the Security Council. It is my hope that the commitments made recently in Baghdad will continue to translate into concrete and sustained action.

Commentary:
Here's my problem with this whole mess. There is no country on earth that has been watched more than Iraq. We have satellites watching everything they've done since 1991. Yet to this day inspectors can't find a single weapon of mass destruction. Using significantly less technology, JFK showed the world and US citizens his proof of WMD in Cuba and he did it on Day One. This leads me to a basic question, why can't Bush do the same? He's had a year and a half to do it. On top of that JFK didn't have hundreds of inspectors on the ground.

Obvious answer: Bush is no JFK!


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Tens of thousands rally against war
MSNBC
Feb. 14

MELBOURNE, Australia, Feb. 14 — A global series of antiwar protests kicked off Friday with tens of thousands of people rallying here against any U.S.-led war on Iraq. Organizers said the protests, most of them set for Saturday, could make up the world's biggest antiwar rally ever.

SOME 100,000 people took to the streets of Melbourne, chanting antiwar slogans and waving banners that read: "No blood for oil," "Don't bomb Iraq," and "We are all one."

The main target of the demonstration was U.S. President Bush but it was also directed at Australian Prime Minister John Howard, who has joined British Prime Minister Tony Blair in committing troops.

On Saturday the protest movement will move west to Europe. London protest organizers expect 500,000 people.

Blair, who has unflinchingly supported Bush since the Sept. 11 attacks on New York and Washington, has seen his popularity plunge in successive opinion polls as a result.

The Rev. Jesse Jackson has traveled to London to address the protesters. "Iraq is a challenge that must be put in perspective. It is not the priority that Bush and Blair have made it to be," Jackson told BBC radio, urging Blair to meet Saddam in Baghdad.

VALENTINE'S DAY PROTEST

On Friday, twinning Valentine's Day with the antiwar movement, protestors chained themselves and a pink heart to the railings across the entrance to Blair's Downing Street office.

But Londoners are by no means alone in their distrust of the American motivation for the conquest of Iraq and fear of the possible global conflagration it could trigger.

Organizers in Rome are expecting more than one million people to attend Saturday's peace march.

"This is not a political or union rally, this is a mobilization of feeling," said organizer Carlo Testini.

German peace groups say they expected more then 100,000 people to join protests around the country.

"People think it's time to finally do something themselves," organizer Kathrin Vogler said.

In Paris, organizers said they expected more than 50,000 to take to the streets.

U.N. MARCH BANNED

In the United States, antiwar organizers plan protests in major cities. In New York, activists plan to rally near the United Nations on Saturday but will not be allowed to actually march through streets.

A federal appeals court agreed Wednesday that the city did not violate the First Amendment when it banned plans for a march.

"This is a stunning blow to democracy, to the liberties we all thought we could rely on, even in times of hostility," said Donna Lieberman, executive director of the New York Civil Liberties Union, which brought the issue to federal court.

Judge Barbara Jones concluded that the city's response was appropriate in "this time of heightened security," especially because the protest's organizers gave the city little time to prepare.

The ruling resulted from a lawsuit brought by United for Peace and Justice, a coalition of antiwar groups sponsoring rallies throughout the world.

OPPONENTS GO TO COURT

Opponents are also taking their campaign against Bush to courts in Europe and the United States.

Britain's Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament has already filed legal papers threatening to take Blair and Defense Minister Geoff Hoon to the International Criminal Court in the Hague for crimes against humanity if a war goes ahead.

In Boston, U.S. soldiers, members of Congress and others sued Bush and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld on Thursday to prevent the United States from invading Iraq without a congressional declaration of war.

"The president is not a king," said John Bonifaz, an attorney for the plaintiffs, who include three members of the military and six members of Congress, among them Democratic Reps. John Conyers of Michigan and Jim McDermott of Washington.

Bonifaz said a resolution Congress passed in October backing the possible use of force against Baghdad was unconstitutional and did not give Bush the authority to invade Iraq.

The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.

©2003 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

Commentary:
A couple quick points. The people of Germany and France are telling their governments not to go to war. Their government are listening. US citizens have War Networks with around the coverage of a war that hasn't even started yet. When the American people turn away from war as Europe has, our government will too.

There's only one thing that scares the pants off a politician---being defeated. When a majority of Americans say war will cause Bush's defeat, war will end. So, what are you waiting for?


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Consumer sentiment hits 9-year low
MSNBC/Reuters
February 14, 2003

NEW YORK, Feb. 14 — U.S. consumers were anxious about the nagging threat of war in Iraq and the economic outlook in February, with sentiment eroding to a nine-year low and raising new worries about spending.

THE UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN'S preliminary February consumer sentiment index fell to 79.2, its lowest since September 1993, from 82.4 in January, market sources who have seen the report said Friday. That was below expectations for 81.2.

Confidence has been closely watched for clues on consumer spending, which accounts for two-thirds of economic activity.

But the link between consumer confidence and actual spending has not always been strong, with retail sales outside of autos posting their biggest rise in two years in January even as confidence retreated on the month.

"You have to view it as a statement about anxieties about these geopolitical developments," said James Glassman, senior U.S. economist at J.P. Morgan Chase in New York.

"What we can see is the consumer numbers are showing a moderate rebound in activity. You'd think that's what matters. If people were depressed about their own personal finances you would not be seeing a revival in spending," he said

Stocks, bonds and the dollar mostly looked past the sentiment data as they girded for a presentation from U.N. chief weapons inspector Hans Blix on Iraq, which some investors fear will be a prelude for the U.S. moving closer to launching an attack on Iraq.

The Standard & Poor's 500 index was up 0.5 percent, while the yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury rose to 3.91 percent.

While war fears have gnawed on consumers, particularly their views about the outlook for getting jobs and better incomes, the worries have yet to pinch spending in a big way. But economists said that could change should a conflict get under way.

With businesses struggling to improve profits and thus remaining cautious about hiring or making investments, consumer spending has proven the linchpin of the economy's uneven recovery in the past year.

Even as consumer confidence indexes have highlighted the worries among Americans, strong spending in December and January suggested consumption could grow a solid 4 percent in the first three months of the year.

The preliminary current conditions index, which measures how consumers feel about their situation now, fell to 95.3 from 97.2. The expectations index, which tracks attitudes about the 12-month horizon, hit its lowest since September 1993 at 68.8 compared with 72.8 in January.

The University of Michigan's preliminary consumer sentiment survey is based on telephone interviews with about 300 households around the country on personal finances, business and buying conditions, and is rounded out to 500 by month's end. The data are released directly to subscribers.

© 2003 Reuters Limited. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of Reuters content is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Reuters.

Commentary:
Bush once said; "They had their chance and now it's time for them to go." Bush had his chance and and screwed everything up--t's time for him to go. The next election is just around the corner. Will we give American's Hitler another term or will we stop him? As we lose confidence in Bush's ability to succeed he'll become more desperate--but not to worry. The voters in the former USSR voted communists out of power. We can do the same to conservatives.


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Viacom,CNN,Fox,CBS,MTV,Comedy Central, Won't Air Anti-War Ads
MSNBC
By Michael Hastings
NEWSWEEK WEB EXCLUSIVE
February 13, 2003

Getting out the antiwar message has never been easy, but now a peace group has accused one of America's largest media companies of censorship for its refusal to run a national billboard campaign with the slogan: INSPECTIONS WORK. WAR WON'T.

VIACOM, THE OWNER of a number of media outlets like CBS and MTV, says it is just following company policy. But Wes Boyd, president of MoveOn.org says the media giant is playing fast and loose with the right to free speech. "Viacom won't place our ads," says Boyd.

MoveOn.org, the group that put up the money for the campaign, first gained public attention after running the controversial "daisy" television spot riffing on an ad from Lyndon B. Johnson's 1964 presidential campaign that juxtaposed a little girl pulling petals from a flower against the backdrop of a nuclear explosion. Yesterday morning, the organization—which describes itself as a grass-roots advocacy group—solicited donations over an e-mail list to raise $75,000 to plaster its latest message against war in Iraq on the sides of buses, buildings and billboards in four major American markets.

According to Boyd, the donations came rolling in—after just two hours the group had met its goal. About 75 percent of that money was slated for buses in Washington and billboards in Los Angeles and Detroit, markets where Viacom Outdoor—a division of Viacom Inc. and the largest outdoor-advertising entity in North America—controls a significant share of the outdoor-advertising space. And Boyd says that unlike the "daisy" TV spot, this was meant to be "a clean political message." (The "daisy" ad ran into trouble but on a lesser scale. Only four television stations nixed the ad; three in L.A. and one in Washington.)

But yesterday afternoon, MoveOn.org received word from Metromark International, an advertising and media brokerage firm that was hired to buy ad space for the group, saying that Viacom refused to put up the ads.

The rejection came as a surprise to Lou Manso, the Metromark buyer handling the sale. He says the regional Viacom representatives in Los Angeles hadn't given any indication that there was going to be a problem. The art for the billboard was submitted on Monday, and there was no indication that it would be rejected, he said. But on Wednesday, a regional Viacom representative told Manso that Wally Kelly, CEO of Viacom Outdoor, had personally decided not to run the ads. Manso received an e-mail that said: "Our main office has decided to decline this business." Manso says he was not given any reasons for the decision, except that it was Viacom's space and they could do what they wanted with it. "I'm very disappointed," says Manso. "I didn't feel that this campaign was offensive or in poor taste. You have [the decision of] one person in Phoenix, and it affects all the markets in the U.S."

Viacom, however, says it had legitimate reasons to decline the advertisements. "The issue was not the content of the ad, but the guidelines for taking ads from organizations of this type," a Viacom spokesperson told NEWSWEEK. "They didn't meet the guidelines." According to the spokesperson, those guidelines are: to pay upfront; to give a 30-day advance notice of the ad, and to display contact information on the billboard. A Viacom official said the organization did not comply with the first two. The official also said the company is more cautious with political ads and dot-com organizations. But Manso says that Viacom is "backpedaling" because they've been embarrassed. "At no time were we presented with guidelines," he says, noting that he dealt with sales reps in four cities. "And that's just not the way business is done."

Of course, this isn't the first time antiwar groups have said that they have had problems getting their message out. TrueMajority, a celebrity-studded activist group says that the two antiwar ads that they wanted to run from Jan. 27 to Feb. 3 were refused by CNN, Fox, Comedy Central and four New York affiliates. One of the ads showcased Susan Sarandon alongside Edgar Peck, the former U.S. ambassador to Iraq; the other costars Janeane Garofalo and Bishop Melvin G. Talbert of the United Methodist Church. "It does not sound like free speech is alive and well in this country," says Ben Cohen, founder of TrueMajority and cofounder of the Ben & Jerry ice-cream company. "We can't even get our message out by paying for advertising."

The latest ad spat comes as antiwar activists are gearing up for an international day of protest in cities ranging from London to Jakarta to Sao Paulo on Saturday. In New York, where a federal judge refused to issue demonstrators a permit to march in front of the United Nations, a new venue has been planned. MoveOn.org also intends to regroup to keep the ad campaign alive. So far, says Boyd, 5,480 people had signed on for a total of $212,515 in donations to run the billboards. The big question now is where they will put them.

© 2003 Newsweek, Inc.

Commentary:
Free speech? Who'd have thought only ONE point of view is allowed on TV these days? We have 24 hour WAR NETWORKS and the only thing stopping our American Hitler is the people. Now we have the WAR NETWORKS banning the people's right to speak on the public airwaves. Networks' airwaves are owned by the public and when Viacom's license comes up for renewal, it MUST be denied. To do that, we must change the makeup of Congress. Oh, and don't buy stock in companies that ban free speech.

The Power of Money!


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