Witch Hunts And PR Blunders In The UK

"In England, they shot the messenger," the Los Angeles Times' Robert Scheer writes, referring to the apparent suicide of British biological weapons expert David Kelly. The scientist, who worked for the British Ministry of Defense, found himself at the center of a battle between the British government and the BBC over a BBC report that the government "sexed up" a September 2002 intelligence dossier on Iraq's weapons.


Hyping A Hero

"Jessica Lynch, the wounded Army private whose ordeal in Iraq was hyped into a media fiction of U.S. heroism, was set for an emotional homecoming on Tuesday in a rural West Virginia community bristling with flags, yellow ribbons and TV news trucks," Reuters reports. "But when the 20-year-old supply clerk arrives by Blackhawk helicopter to the embrace of family and friends, media critics say the TV cameras will not show the return of an injured soldier so much as a reality-TV drama co-produced by U.S. government propaganda and credulous reporters.


The War of Spin

David Kelly, the scientist whose suicide marked a tragic twist in the unfolding controversy over British intelligence dossiers that supported the war in Iraq, was "ripped apart in the middle" of a "war of spin," said an editor at the British Broadcasting Corporation. The BBC has come under intense criticism for its reports alleging that top British officials "sexed up" the dossiers, and now it is being criticized on grounds that its reports may have contributed to Kelly's suicide. "Yes, we had a role in it," the editor said.


Shut Up and Fight

General John Abizaid, the new chief of U.S. Central Command, has issued a threat aimed at U.S. soldiers who complain publicly about the situation in Iraq. "Some U.S. troops in Iraq have complained publicly about the uncertainty of when they are returning home," write Will Dunham and Michael Georgy. "A group of soldiers aired their concerns on U.S. television on Wednesday, speaking of poor morale and disillusionment with Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld.


Playing With a Full Deck

"A high school teacher, fed up with the Bush administration's popular playing cards featuring Saddam Hussein, 'Chemical Ali' and other most-wanted Iraqis, is now selling her own deck, 'Operation Hidden Agenda,'" writes Kim Curtis. "Kathy Eder's 55 playing cards show pictures of President Bush, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and others along with quotes, mostly from journalists, questioning the rationale for the U.S.-led war.


All Spin, All the Time

"Viva Nihilism! It must be great working in the Bush White House. Zero accountability," writes Russ Baker for "It's All Spin, All the Time. Nothing matters but politics, hence no unfounded claim requires correction or apology. Unless, of course, they are pushed to the end of the plank, as they were recently with the tale about Niger and nuclear materials."


Linking 9/11 To Iraq

Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting says major media is ignoring the story that flawed intelligence " may have been a result of deliberate deception, rather than incompetence." According to FAIR, "former General Wesley Clark told anchor Tim Russert that Bush administration officials had engaged in a campaign to implicate Saddam Hussein in the September 11 attacks-- starting that very day. Clark said that he'd been called on September 11 and urged to link Baghdad to the terror attacks, but declined to do so because of a lack of evidence. ...


Stonewalling the Arms Inspectors

Senator Carl Levin, the top Democrat on the Senate Armed Services Committee, has publicly challenged the CIA's handling of information about alleged weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. "Why did the CIA say that they had provided detailed information to the UN inspectors on all of the high and medium suspect sites with the UN, when they had not?" Levin asked. "Did the CIA act in this way in order not to undermine administration policy? Was there another explanation for this? ...


Patriotic Magazine Launched By US Army

"The US army has launched a glossy patriotic magazine to rally its 3rd
Infantry Division, whose troops face hostile action in the badlands of
western Iraq a full two months after Saddam Hussein's ouster," Agence France-Press reports. "Called the 'Liberator', the 16-page in-house publication carries rousing reports from the field to win over homesick troops who might be doubting the rationale for the US presence more than six months after they first arrived
in Kuwait to train for the invasion."



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