Torturing Evidence in Iraq

According to a "privately contracted interrogator working for American forces in Iraq, near the Iranian border," U.S. intelligence activities in Iraq are skewed to find incriminating evidence against Iran. Micah Brose told The Observer that U.S. officials "push a lot for us to establish a link with Iran. They have pre-categories for us to go through, and by the sheer volume of categories there's clearly a lot more for Iran than there is for other stuff.


Orwell Revisited

In his classic essay "Politics and the English Language," George Orwell described political speech as consisting "largely of euphemism, question-begging and sheer cloudy vagueness." Six decades later, several journalism schools are co-sponsoring a conference titled "There You Go Again: Orwell Comes to America," to examine "the tactics of disinformation and manipulation diagnosed by Orwell ...


Queueing for Concert Tickets? No, Congress

Passers-by might think that the people camped out at dawn to ensure a seat in a Congressional committee hearing are a shining example of democracy in action. In fact, chances are that they are a perfect example of what's wrong with our democracy. They may be professional "line standers" -- people who get paid by lobbyists to arrive early and hold a place in line for industry reps that arrive just before the hearing starts. Democratic Sen.


U.S. Does Democracy Demotion in Iran

"The United States has begun a $75-million program to promote democracy by supporting Iranian NGO's [non-governmental organizations]," write Haleh Esfandiari and Robert Litwak. "That program, coupled with loose talk about regime change ...


Employee of the Month, Even Before He Started

"Three months prior to the announcement that Nuclear Regulatory Commissioner Jeffery S. Merrifield would be joining the Shaw Group Inc. as Vice President of its Power Group, Mr. Merrifield vigorously championed several major policy initiatives that directly benefited his future employer," states the watchdog group Project on Governmental Oversight (POGO) in a press release.


"Wiki the Vote" Project on Congresspedia Profiles Congressional Candidates in the 2008 Election

On Tuesday, the Center for Media and Democracy and the Sunlight Foundation launched a new collaborative, citizen-driven project on Congresspedia to build profiles on the hundreds of challengers for congressional seats, which will compliment the existing profiles on every member of Congress. The project is non-partisan and, in true open-source fashion, is free for anyone to participate -- even the candidates themselves.

Even for official party nominees, information on challengers is usually woefully inadequate and information on primary challengers is often nearly non-existent. The explosion of citizen blogging in the last few years has created a wealth of individual opinions and perspectives, but what has been lacking is a central repository of collaboratively produced, in-depth and accurate information. The Wiki the Vote project, due to its easily editable wiki format, will be just that.

"Just in Time" Censorship

It isn't just Burmese pro-democracy activists who have been denied Internet access by heavy-handed government censors. "OpenNet Initiative, which tracks Internet censorship, has documented signs that in recent years several governments -- including those of former Soviet republics Belarus, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan -- have closed off Internet access, or at least opposition Web sites, during periods preceding elections or times of intense protests.


U.S. Spin Pros Influence Ukrainian Politics

The influence of U.S. political advisors was evident in the Ukrainian parliamentary elections that took place this past weekend. Current President Viktor Yushenko has benefited from the services of a variety of U.S. political advisors, including Stan Greenberg, former pollster for Bill Clinton; Stephen E.



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