The success of Hamas in the Palestinian elections is the latest election result to temper earlier claims by pundits that a spin-off benefit of the invasion of Iraq would be the flowering of Western-friendly Middle East democracies. Numerous columnists pondered on what they dubbed the "Arab spring." "So what happened to the Arab spring?
"The Internet may be new, but not the issue of whether an American corporation should do business with bad people," writes Richard Cohen. He argues that the claims of Microsoft, Cisco Systems, Yahoo and other tech companies that they are assisting the Chinese government's attempts to censor information online because they must "comply with local laws" ring false. "The law in China is what the Chinese leaders say it is," Cohen counters.
A U.S. Agency for International Development program in the Palestinian territories put $2 million towards a series of "small, popular projects and events," such as computer donations, a soccer tournament, and free food and water at border crossings, prior to the January 25 elections. The program "bears no evidence of U.S.
Microsoft shut down "a popular Chinese-language blog" by journalist Zhao Jing on December 30, on the grounds that it "has run edgy content potentially offensive to Chinese authorities." The blog "had criticized the government's firing of top editors at a progressive Beijing newspaper." Microsoft stated, "Most countries have laws and practices that require companies providing online services to make the internet safe for local users. ...
As Father Time faded into history with the end of 2005, he was spinning out of control.
Over the past twelve months, the ideal of accurate, accountable, civic-minded news media faced nearly constant attack. Fake news abounded, from Pentagon-planted stories in Iraqi newspapers to corporate- and government-funded video news releases aired by U.S. newsrooms. Enough payola pundits surfaced to constitute their own basketball team -- Doug Bandow, Peter Ferrara, Maggie Gallagher, Michael McManus and Armstrong Williams. (They could call themselves the "Syndicated Shills.")
Iraqi voters may not agree on much, but 99.5 percent of them agreed not to vote for Ahmed Chalabi in the country's December 15 election. Once hailed by U.S. neoconservatives as the "George Washington of Iraq," Chalabi's humiliating defeat at the polls makes him something of an embarrasment now. "The election results in Iraq may present Chalabi’s ardent U.S.
"A U.S. investigation into allegations that the American military is buying positive coverage in the Iraqi media has expanded to examine a press club founded and financed by the U.S. Army," reports USA Today. The Baghdad Press Club was created in 2004, "to promote progress amid the violence and chaos of Iraq." A military spokesperson said "members are not required nor asked to write favorably" about the United States.