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RE: [casi-analysis] casi-news digest, Vol 1 #6 - 5 msgs

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Dear list members,
'I couldn't have looked my friends in the face if I had opposed the war'

She's the firebrand left-wing MP who stunned the Commons into silence
when she backed Tony Blair over Iraq. Many said she saved the Prime
Minister's skin. After a momentous year, Ann Clwyd talks to Kamal Ahmed

Sunday December 28, 2003
The Observer,6903,1113107,00.html

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Sent: 07 January 2004 12:01
Subject: [casi-analysis] casi-news digest, Vol 1 #6 - 5 msgs

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Today's Topics:

   1. U.S. to let Kurds keep autonomy (=?ISO-8859-1?Q?Per_Klevn=E4s?=)
   2. Iraq role can wait, says new Nato chief (N. Martin)
   3. Trouble looms after coalition tells Kurds self-rule can stay (N.
   4. Relations returning exiled Iraqi academics / those who remained in
Iraq (N. Martin)
   5. Why The ' Weapons Of Mass Deception' Are A Death Sentence For
Democracy. (cafe-uni)


Message: 1
Date: Mon, 05 Jan 2004 23:36:45 +0100
From: =?ISO-8859-1?Q?Per_Klevn=E4s?= <>
Subject: U.S. to let Kurds keep autonomy

U.S. to let Kurds keep autonomy
Steven R. Weisman/NYT
Monday, January 5, 2004
Self-rule timetable cited for decision; federal state at stake

WASHINGTON The Bush administration has decided to let the semiautonomous
Kurdish government remain as part of a newly sovereign Iraq despite
warnings from Iraq's neighbors and many Iraqis not to divide the country
into ethnic states, American and Iraqi officials said.

The officials said that their new position on the Kurdish state was
effectively dictated by the Nov. 15 accord with Iraqi leaders that
established June 30 as the target date for Iraqi self-rule. Such a rapid
timetable, they said, has left no time to change the identity of the
Kurdish stronghold in the north, as many had originally wanted.

"Once we struck the Nov. 15 agreement, there was a realization that it
was best not to touch too heavily on the status quo," an administration
official said. "The big issue of federalism in the Kurdish context will
have to wait for the Iraqis to resolve. For us to try to resolve it in a
month or two is simply too much to attempt."

The issue of whether Iraq is to be divided into ethnic states in a
federation-style government is of great significance within the country
and throughout the Middle East, where fears are widespread that dividing
Iraq along ethnic or sectarian lines could eventually break the country
up and spread turmoil in the region.

Administration and Iraqi officials insist that leaving the Kurdish
autonomous region intact does not preclude Iraq's consolidating itself
without ethnic states in the future when Iraq writes its constitution.
Indeed, the Bush administration plans to continue to press Iraq not to
divide itself permanently along ethnic lines, officials say.

But after June 30, if all goes according to plan, the United States will
have to wield such pressure from its status as a friendly outside power
that happens to have 100,000 troops on the ground and not as an
occupier. Many experts fear that once a Kurdish government is installed,
even temporarily, it will be hard to dislodge.

American officials say that delaying the transfer of sovereignty to Iraq
until later in 2004 or the following year - after a constitution was
written under American guidance - would have made it more possible to
influence a future government's makeup, not just on its federal
structure but also on such matters as the role of Islamic law.

The earlier deadline, designed to ease Iraqi hostility to the occupation
and to undermine support for the continuing attacks on American troops,
has forced the United States to scrap many of its other earlier plans
for Iraq's future.

Originally, for example, the United States had hoped to proceed with the
privatization of state-owned businesses established by Saddam Hussein.
That hope is gone, American officials concede, in part because of
security dangers and possible future legal challenges to any sale
carried out by an occupying power.

Last summer, L. Paul Bremer 3rd, the chief U.S. administrator in Iraq,
said at an economic forum in Jordan that Iraq would soon start
privatizing more than 40 government-owned companies. "Everybody knows we
cannot wait until there is an elected government here to start economic
reform," he said.

Now Bremer says repeatedly that such decisions must await Iraqi

The precise terms of the future status of the Kurdish region in the
transitional government, which is expected to last until the end of
2005, remain a matter of sharp dispute among members of the Iraqi
Governing Council, the group handpicked by the American-led occupation
that helps guide Iraq's future.

The Kurdish members of the council are pressing a draft temporary
constitution - known as the "transitional law" - that would give the
Kurdish area great authority over security, taxing power and especially
revenues from its own oil fields, according to Iraqi and American

The Kurdish region has enjoyed basic autonomy since 1991, when the
United States followed the first Gulf war by establishing a no-flight
zone there to prevent Saddam's military from attacking.

"The status quo, with substantial Kurdish autonomy, will to a certain
degree remain in place in the transitional period," an administration
official said. "That is the view across the board of the Iraqi Governing
Council. But clearly the Kurds are trying to get more than that. They
feel they've got a pretty strong hand and are trying to play it."

The Bush administration has many times stated its opposition to a
permanent arrangement of ethnic states in Iraq, fearing it might
eventually become another Lebanon.

During a visit to the Kurdish region in September, Secretary of State
Colin Powell said that while he sympathized with such aspirations and
understood that Kurdish leaders did not want to break away from Iraq, he
opposed a separate Kurdish state as such.

"We would not wish to see a political system that is organized on ethnic
lines," Powell said. "There are other ways to do it that would not
essentially bring into the future the ethnic problems that have been
there all along. They understand that, and we'll have different models
to show them."

In Baghdad, a 10-member subcommittee of the Iraqi Governing Council is
wrestling with its own models of how to define the Kurdish area's
powers. The committee is trying to meld its own draft with one put
forward by the Kurds, officials said. The subcommittee chairman is Adnan
Pachachi, a former Iraqi foreign minister.

Feisal Istrabadi, a senior legal adviser to Pachachi, said, "There is a
substantial agreement that the status quo in the Kurdish region would be
maintained during the transitional period, with an important caveat. No
one is conceding any ethnic or confessional grounds as the basis for any
future federal state."

Istrabadi, who is in Baghdad helping Pachachi's committee draft the
"transitional law" to take effect after June 30, said that most Iraqis
would oppose the establishment of ethnic states. He said such an
arrangement would be inappropriate given that Iraq did not have a
history of ethnic or sectarian strife that had led to the partition of
states in other parts of the world.

Some academic experts have suggested that Iraq should be divided into a
Kurdish enclave in the north, a Sunni one in the center and a Shiite one
in the south.

But this idea has little support with the Iraqi Governing Council and
none with the United States.

"You know what the largest Kurdish city in Iraq is?" Istrabadi asked.
"It's Baghdad. It isn't like you could draw a line in Iraq and say the
Kurds live here or the Assyrians, the Chaldeans, or the Turkmans or the
Shiites or the Sunnis live there. In the supposedly Shiite south, there
are a million Sunnis in Basra."

The Kurdish region is dominated by two feuding political parties that
have been struggling to form a unified government in order to strengthen
their hand in pushing for a federalist system that would give them broad
autonomy into the future.

At present, Iraq is divided into 18 states, known as governorates, of
which three are Kurdish in the mountainous north. A permanently unified
Kurdish state stirs worries, especially in Turkey and Iran, where there
are large and restive Kurdish minorities.


Message: 2
From: "N. Martin" <>
Subject: Iraq role can wait, says new Nato chief
Date: 06 Jan 2004 07:13:26 +0000

Iraq role can wait, says new Nato chief

Ian Black in Brussels
Tuesday January 6, 2004
The Guardian,2763,1116682,00.html

Nato must focus its efforts on Afghanistan before considering taking on
sensitive security role in Iraq, the alliance's new secretary general
yesterday. Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, the former Dutch foreign minister,
told reporters on his first day in the job that he would seek to "build
bridges across the Atlantic Ocean" after last year's bitter divisions.

"The primary focus at the moment should be on Afghanistan," he said as
arrived at Nato's Brussels headquarters, adding that any decision on an
Iraqi deployment would have to wait.

Mr De Hoop Scheffer takes over from the former British defence secretary
Lord Robertson, who ran the alliance for four, often difficult, years.

Nato's current mission in Afghanistan is limited to 5,500 troops in
and the northern city of Kunduz. But it is drawing up plans to expand
force to other provincial cities in response to requests from the Afghan
government and the UN.

The Afghan mission is an extraordinary departure for an alliance which
pondered its post-cold war role long and hard before being galvanised by
the September 11 attacks into a deployment "out of area".

The signs are that it will not move quickly to take on a potentially
fraught mandate in Iraq, given divisions in the run-up to the war, with
France and Germany opposing the US.

"Iraq, of course, will also be on the agenda at a certain stage, but
take the events step by step," Mr De Hoop Scheffer said.

The US, backed by Britain, is openly urging Nato to consider a bigger
in Iraq, beyond the logistical support it is giving to a Polish-led
multinational division serving in the southern-central sector of the

Mr De Hoop Scheffer, 55, is a professional diplomat turned Christian
Democrat politician with a low profile outside his native country.

The third Dutchman to run Nato, he is described as austere and
professional. He speaks fluent English, German and French, and has said
favours "multilateralism with teeth".


Message: 3
From: "N. Martin" <>
Subject: Trouble looms after coalition tells Kurds self-rule can stay
Date: 06 Jan 2004 07:14:49 +0000

Trouble looms after coalition tells Kurds self-rule can stay

Owen Bowcott and Brian Whitaker
Tuesday January 6, 2004
The Guardian,2763,1116704,00.html

Kurdish political leaders have been reassured that their region's
semi-autonomous status will be allowed to continue after the handover to
Iraqi self-rule on June 30. The decision, which will infuriate
states and antagonise other Iraqis, is likely to have far-reaching
consequences for any future constitutional settlement.

There have already been armed clashes in Kirkuk - with Arabs and
against Kurds - over control of the disputed, oil-rich city. Last week
people were killed.

The deal on preserving regional autonomy was reached at the weekend at a
meeting in the Kurdish city of Irbil, when the American administrator in
Iraq, Paul Bremer, and his British deputy, Sir Jeremy Greenstock, met
Talabani, the leader of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), and
Barzani, head of the Kurdistan Democratic party (KDP). The latter group
determined to extend its control beyond what were once the "safe havens"
the whole of the predominantly Kurdish north, including Kirkuk.

Allowing the Kurds to retain regional government is tacit recognition
the coalition has neither the time nor resources to dismantle the
Kurdish parliament and administrations if they are to meet the June
deadline. Those bodies date back to the end of the 1991 Gulf war,
outside of Saddam Hussein's rule under allied protection.

The British and Americans formally maintain that whether or not Iraq
becomes a federal state, with semi-autonomous regions or simply local
governorates, is up to the Iraqis.

But by not challenging the status quo, the coalition may leave the Kurds
a stronger position at constitutional talks. Mr Bremer wants a US-style
federal constitution in which the largest devolved bodies would become
Iraq's 18 governorates.

"This statement which has come out is a positive one and says the
areas should have self-rule," Dilshad Miran, the KDP representative in
London, said yesterday.

"The borders have not been settled but the US has said it will be

"The area will not be agreed until there's been a proper census and the
policies of Arabisation [carried out by the Ba'ath party] have been
reversed. It will be a tough negotiation."

A Kurdish semi-autonomous region should be like Scotland within Britain,
said. Defence and foreign policy should be left to Baghdad.

The spokesman for the PUK in London, Howar Haji, said the Americans and
British had "agreed that the existing safe havens will continue" to
after June 30. The Irbil meeting also confirmed that up to 200,000 Kurds
expelled from the Kirkuk region under Saddam's rule will be allowed to
return, according to Mr Haji. In the short term the rival KDP and PUK
administrations were likely to merge.

Kurdish ambitions are worrying other Iraqis, not least the estimated 2
million Turkomans who live mainly in the north-east. The creation of the
safe havens effectively split the Turkomans into those dominated by the
Kurds and those ruled by Baghdad. This division would be consolidated by
the US plans.

Although Saddam changed the population balance by resettling Arabs
the Turkomans regard Kirkuk as their city. The Kurds, meanwhile, view
city as an essential part of a future Kurdish state, because of its

In an interview with an Arabic paper, the Turkoman member of Iraq's
governing council, Songul Chapouk, hinted that the Turkomans would
their own "Turkmanistan" if the Kurds looked like fulfilling their

Such a move would mark the start of a civil war in the north - one in
neighbouring Turkey could feel obliged to intervene because of its
affinity with the Iraqi Turkomans and its fears about its own Kurdish


Message: 4
From: "N. Martin" <>
Subject: Relations returning exiled Iraqi academics / those who remained
in Iraq
Date: 06 Jan 2004 07:18:37 +0000

Back to the future

As exiled Iraqi academics consider whether to return to their homeland,
Christina Asquith, in Baghdad, asks those who stayed behind how warmly
welcome their old colleagues

Tuesday January 6, 2004
The Guardian,5500,1116346,00.html

After a decade of sanctions had left his physics lab a crumbling shell,
Raat Mohammed decided it was time to go. In 1999, following a route
by thousands of Iraqi academia's best and brightest, Mohammed escaped
across the desert to Jordan, without a goodbye to his lifelong
and accompanied only by his wife, their suitcases and handfuls of cash
bribe Saddam Hussein's intelligence agents at the border. He was not
An estimated 2,000 academics fled Iraq's 20 major universities between
and 2000, according to news reports at the time. Many more left before

But now Mohammed is back. He has returned to his homeland out of loyalty
his country, pride and a deep hope to rebuild his university system to
halcyon days of the 1960s and 70s, when it was the intellectual Mecca of
the Middle East.

"We are free," says Mohammed, sitting in the department of science at
Baghdad University, where he is an assistant physics professor. "I am a
of this university. I aspire to see its excellent future and to build
sciences back to the level from which I graduated."

Academics in Iraq's beleaguered universities are seeing signs that the
brain drain of the 1980s and 1990s is slowly being reversed. In recent
months dozens of academics have returned from exile and are seeking to
their old jobs back. At the US-led ministry of higher education, which
staffed by expatriate academics, hundreds more have emailed from
the US and the Netherlands to inquire about returning and to offer
donations, scholarships and start partnerships. Just as lost academics
symptomatic of a universities slump under Saddam, their re-emergence
a thread of promise for the future, particularly to colleagues
to piece back campuses suffering from academic repression, sanctions,
looting and now terrorism.

"When he left, he left a wide gap behind him," says physics professor
Hussein Ahasal, who stayed behind. He pats Mohammed on the back. "I
him very much because he was not only a colleague, but also a close

Ghazi Derwish, an Iraqi chemistry professor, was living well in London;
semi-retired and working as a visiting professor at the University of
Surrey. He'd fled Ba'ath party persecution 11 years earlier, and held
little hope of ever returning.

The war changed all that. He was already arranging a flight back when he
was tracked down by the American senior adviser to Iraq's ministry of
higher education, who was in great need of educated, English-speaking
Iraqis with no ties to the former regime.

Derwish recently spent several months working in Iraq for the Iraq
reconstruction and development group as a higher education adviser,
attempting to undo years of Ba'ath party policy.

While many former Iraqi academics have returned from Yemen, Jordan and
Libya to their former teaching posts, others are reaching out from
Several Iraqi academics in London are organising donations and planning
conferences. In the US, an Iraqi professor, Abdul Jabbar Al- Wahedi,
created a website, , to link all Iraqi
scientists abroad with Iraqi universities, foundations and ministries.
far, he has had responses from over 120 Iraqis in 32 different

One Iraqi expat academic brought 100 computers to Iraqi universities
the summer. Dozens of other academics are arranging to come to Iraq as
visiting lecturers. Through email, expat academics are also offering to
consult Iraqi colleagues on everything from reviewing graduate student
theses to research evaluation. A website discussion has also begun on
to encourage the Iraqi government to bring expats back.

"They call and say, 'we want to help in the rebuilding'," says Joseph
Ghougassian, deputy adviser to the ministry of higher education. "They
an emotional pull. They really want to come back and bring their own
and American way of thinking."

Iraq's brain drain mirrored the rise of the Ba'ath party, with the first
wave leaving immediately after the 1963 Ba'ath party coup. Another wave
left in the early 1970s, as Saddam brutally muscled his way into power.
However, it was the Iran-Iraq war that opened the floodgates. As the
party recruitment began in earnest, the universities' goals changed from
being centres of research and education to promotion of Ba'ath party
interests and Saddam's personal preferences.

Like most academics, Derwish never dreamed of leaving Iraq. He received
PhD in England in the late 1950s, a common practice among Iraq's
intellectual elite, but was so eager to return to Iraq that he went
of his wife and children, who were still tying up travel plans.

Trouble started for Derwish in the early 1980s. He was one of 50 of the
academics forced to transfer out of the university by "presidential
to government ministry positions advising on the Iran-Iraq war.

"I resented greatly the way we were transferred," Derwish says. "I'm an
independently minded person who's worked hard to cultivate my faculties
I was not prepared to be submissive to anyone's orders."

The academic environment deteriorated. Even as existing universities
wilted, Saddam continued to build new ones. Saddam ordered the building
seven universities between 1988 and the present, including Kirkuk
University, which opened in January 2003, three months before the war.
more buildings went up, less money went into them.

Due to the war and UN sanctions, lab supplies dwindled, broken equipment
could not be replaced and printing presses ceased operation. Entire
classrooms of science students would gather around one piece of
As salaries descended throughout the 1990s, corruption entered
life. Professors blackmailed students, who in turn bribed professors.
select academics and administrators who supported the Ba'ath party,
salaries rose. But the majority of academics had to take second jobs, as
tutors or starting small businesses.

Baghdad University design professor Al Atif Suhairy said his monthly
fell from $2,000 (=A31,300) in the 1980s to $50 (=A333) in the 1990s.
who has four children, eventually left to go to Yemen.

"We received the same salary as the merchant on the street who sells
melons," said Suhairy, now back in his teaching post at Baghdad
"I had no money even to marry my son, who was a doctor. This was the
for all of us."

Like many, Ghazi Derwish refused to join the Ba'ath party, and suffered
it. In the mid-1980s, his daughter lost her scholarship because she
wouldn't join the Ba'ath party. Intelligence agents and Ba'ath party
officers began visiting Derwish at his home at night, just to "check up
him". Once, they asked him for passport photos without saying why. In
early 1990s, academics were still allowed to take their summers abroad.
Derwish went off to Jordan. He did not return.

For those left behind, academic life became unbearable. Throughout the
1990s, as more academics fled, Saddam cracked down. He prohibited
travel and refused to issue certificates of graduation, necessary
to apply for jobs abroad. Still, many academics escaped by bribing
in the passport office.

Their disappearance always rattled the departments. Abdul Mahdi Talib
Rahmatallah, dean of the college of science at Baghdad University,
remembers well the feeling of losing his colleagues. A student would
yet another ghost lab - students sitting at desks with no teacher. Weeks
might pass until someone drove to the academic's home and discovered it
empty. No one would know whether the disappearance was because of an
escape, or detention by the Ba'ath party.

Eventually, a letter with no return address would arrive, typically with
news that the academic was teaching in Jordan, or England, together with
offers to send computers, journals and even money. Word spread quickly.
would all want to know: what new way did they invent to escape?" recalls
Talib Rahmatallah.

The departure was a permanent loss for the university. New academics in
1980s and 1990s were often unqualified, dubbed "homemade PhDs" - meaning
they had no international experience and had been trained in the
increasingly bereft conditions of Iraqi universities. Many PhD
were Saddam's relatives from the villages of Tikrit, and Ba'ath party
loyalists who rarely showed up for class except on exam day. They
the culture of education that Iraq was so proud of, and terrorised

"Some students would put guns on their desk to take the test," says Dr
Hafudh Alwan, assistant dean of the political science department at
University. "Once, someone was cheating and when I told him to stop, he
said: 'Leave me alone or I will take this pen and draw on your face'. It
made us so upset we would cry. We are PhD professors, and our students
humiliate us. We could do nothing."

Kasim Mohammed, assistant dean of higher education and scientific
was one of those who stayed behind. He concedes he felt both sympathy
bitterness when a colleague left, and is now of mixed emotions regarding
their return. "If they left here because they were oppressed, we welcome
them back again. But those who left for more money left us adrift in the
middle of the sea," he says. "It is difficult to welcome them back."

Derwish, who is now back in London, is approaching another major
should he return permanently to his homeland? The dilemma is between
and patriotism, his new life abroad and the home he left behind.
to Iraq was not as easy as expected. The thrill of living in his
free of Saddam was countered by the looting, lapses in security and a
in terrorism. Academics who fled because of poor equipment and outdated
journals now find themselves struggling in classrooms without light
fixtures, desks or doors because of the looting. Salaries have not
and in most cases are much less than what an academic could earn abroad.
Security also weighs heavily on academics' minds. Many academics say
have received threatening letters, and the president of Basra University
walks on campus with an armed guard.

Whether the return continues depends a great deal on how successful US
efforts overall are in Iraq.

"I say to them: 'Please come back, but I warn you that your salary will
very low and you'll have to live exactly how we live, without mobiles or
push-button facilities like they have in Europe'," says Musa Jawad Aziz
Musawy, president of Baghdad University. "I have to give them the
In the end, they will come back because this is their country."


Message: 5
From: "cafe-uni" <>
To: "casi news" <>
Subject: Why The ' Weapons Of Mass Deception' Are A Death Sentence For
Date: Tue, 6 Jan 2004 14:49:34 -0000

> Why the ' weapons of mass deception' are a death sentence
for democracy.
>  All the talk about "weapons of mass destruction", "links
with international
> terrorism", "acquisition of nuclear weapons" and so on was
based on
> deliberate misrepresentation.
> Ken Macnab
> In the 1930s George Orwell, well aware of contemporary
> particularly the propaganda of Fascism, Nazism, Stalinism,
and the
> contenders in the Spanish Civil War, became concerned with
the corruption of
> language and communications. Work for the BBC during the
Second World War
> increased these concerns, to the extent that he wrote an
essay titled
> Politics and the English Language
> in 1946,
in which he
> asserted: "Political language - and with variations this
is true of all
> political parties, from Conservatives to Anarchists - is
designed to make
> lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an
appearance of
> solidity to pure wind". He argued that "one ought to
recognise that the
> present political chaos is connected with the decay of
language, and that
> one can probably bring about some improvement by starting
at the verbal
> end". This concern became widely shared during the Cold
War, when words
> became weapons and vast propaganda edifices were created
to brand opponents
> and justify policies. The same process quickly became
central to "the war on
> terrorism".
> However, the conduct of public affairs, particularly the
language of
> political communication, has reached new depths of
duplicity in the past
> twelve months. An all-pervasive "culture of spin" has
smothered rational
> analysis and debate. All the talk about "weapons of mass
> "links with international terrorism", "acquisition of
nuclear weapons" and
> so on was based on deliberate misrepresentation. All their
insistence that,
> despite extensive "pre-deployment" of massive military
forces, Bush and
> Blair and Howard were "men of peace" who had not yet made
a "final decision"
> about war, was utter falsehood. Much of the material
presented to the public
> to justify the need for war in Iraq was equally false.
This was made
> abundantly clear during the Hutton Inquiry in the United
Kingdom, into the
> public naming (and subsequent suicide) of weapons expert
Dr Kelly, whose
> concerns about the misuse of "intelligence" were used by a
journalist to
> claim that the famous Blair Dossier had been "sexed up"
for political
> purposes. The Inquiry revealed the machinations through
which the Blair
> dossier on Iraqi "weapons of mass destruction" was
fabricated using
> information known to be spurious.
> Equally creative effort and disregard for truth has gone
into the American
> saga of "Saving Private Lynch". This lack of regard for
integrity has
> promoted even greater lack of public respect for the
political process
> itself. In July this year, outgoing head of the Uniting
Church in Australia,
> the Reverend James Haire, told the Church's National
Assembly that the
> recent policies of the Howard government (and the
inability of the
> Opposition to do its job properly) had plunged the nation
into "new depths
> of moral depravity". A range of policies, from the Tampa
incident through
> welfare matters to the war on Iraq, displayed "abysmal
moral standards". He
> went on: "When truth becomes a commodity manufactured by
spin doctors and
> aided and abetted by government departments and political
minions afraid to
> tell it like it is [we are] in a powerless moral state."
Similar "abysmal
> moral standards" were being displayed in the United States
and the United
> Kingdom.
> The process of deliberately and aggressively using
propaganda, distortion,
> misinformation and outright lies, as a substitute for
honest policy
> formulation and presentation, in relation to the American
case for war on
> Iraq, has recently been subject to scrutiny by Sheldon
Rampton and John
> Stauber, from the Centre for Media and Democracy, a
watchdog organization
> that monitors the public relations industry. Their book,
Weapons of Mass
> Deception: The Uses of Propaganda in Bush's War on Iraq
> neopinion exposes the interconnections between the White
House, the
> Pentagon, the State Department and a number of America's
largest public
> relations and advertising firms. One such firm was Benador
Associates, "a
> high-powered media relations company that acted as a sort
of booking agent"
> for Middle East "experts" affiliated with neoconservative
think tanks.
> According to Rampton and Stauber, Benador's success in
filling the media
> with the views of their clients "was all the more striking
in comparison
> with the slight attention that media and policymakers paid
to the 1,400
> full-time faculty members who specialise in Middle East
studies at American
> universities". Thus "weapons of mass deception" consisted
of the continuous
> manufacture of post-September 11 fear by terror alerts,
raids and
> deportations, the flooding of an uncritical media with
endlessly repeated
> government statements and supporting commentary, the use
of emotive language
> (such as "regime change", "liberation" and "coalition of
the willing") that
> concealed reality, and the displacement of independent
assessment by
> self-chosen 'experts' from lavishly funded support groups
and think tanks.
> A recent Australian study by Don Watson, Death Sentence:
The Decay of Public
> Language,
reinforces this concern
> for the corruption of language. Watson illustrates how
mindlessly repetitive
> corporate jargon, incorporated in "mission statements" and
> systems and processes", displaces genuine articulation of
beliefs and
> values. He laments that: The language of management - for
which read the
> language of virtually all corporations and companies,
large and small,
> public service departments, government agencies,
libraries, galleries and
> universities, the military, intelligence organisations
and, increasingly,
> politics - is language that cannot describe or convey any
human emotion,
> including the most basic ones such as happiness, sympathy,
greed, envy, love
> or lust. You cannot tell a joke in this language, or write
a poem, or sing a
> song. It is language without human provenance or
> What is even worse is the political embracement of this
language, and the
> complete failure of the media to challenge its shallowness
and duplicity.
> Watson makes the point:
> Politicians are attracted to managerial language because
it is an endless
> fund of clich=E9s; of interchangeable phrases that can be
rolled out
> interminably. The pressure of the media makes these
instant weasel words -
> words with the meaning sucked out of them - invaluable.
And the media, for
> reasons I don't quite understand, play along with it. They
never ask what
> these vacuous phrases mean. They never object to them on
our behalf. They
> seek the truth in a language that has no truth in it.
Whether the media
> really seeks the truth is a matter of opinion. But human
beings have long
> recognised the inhumanity of war; and those who fail to
heed the past are
> destined to repeat it. In 1509 the famous Dutch
Renaissance humanist,
> Erasmus, wrote scathingly in his Praise of Folly
> .
> "War is something so monstrous that it befits wild beasts
rather than men,
> so crazy that the poets even imagine that it is let loose
by Furies, so
> deadly that it sweeps like a plague through the world, so
unjust that it is
> best generally carried on by the worst type of bandits, so
impious that it
> is quite alien to Christ; and yet they leave everything to
devote themselves
> to war alone. Here even decrepit old men can be seen
showing the vigour of
> youths in their prime, undaunted by the cost, unwearied by
hardship, not a
> whit deterred though they turn law, religion, peace and
all humanity upside
> down. And there's no lack of learned sycophants to put the
name of zeal,
> piety and valour to this manifest insanity, ..."
> This article was published in the Centre for Peace and
Conflict Studies'
> newsletter PeaceWrites No.2 2003.
> Dr Ken Macnab is an historian and President of the Centre
for Peace and
> Conflict Studies (CPACS) at the University of Sydney.

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