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[ This message has been sent to you via the CASI-analysis mailing list ] This is an automated compilation of submissions to firstname.lastname@example.org Articles for inclusion in this daily news mailing should be sent to email@example.com. Please include a full reference to the source of the article. Today's Topics: 1. Kurds' Wariness Frustrates U.S. Efforts (WaPo) (Daniel O'Huiginn) 2. Evidence and Implications - Summary of New Carnegie Report (cafe-uni) 3. DU (Mark Parkinson) 4. Powell Admits No Hard Proof in Linking Iraq to Al Qaeda (=?windows-1252?Q?Per_Klevn=E4s?=) 5. Iraqi threat to overturn US broadcasting contract (ppg) --__--__-- Message: 1 Date: Fri, 9 Jan 2004 12:54:02 +0000 (GMT) From: Daniel O'Huiginn <do227@DELETETHIShermes.cam.ac.uk> To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: Kurds' Wariness Frustrates U.S. Efforts (WaPo) Kurds' Wariness Frustrates U.S. Efforts Reluctance to Yield Autonomy Brings Prospect of Two Governments in Iraq By Robin Wright and Alan Sipress Friday, January 9, 2004; Page A13 http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp-dyn/A1767-2004Jan8?language=printer The United States faces the prospect of two governments inside Iraq -- one for Kurds and one for Arabs -- after so far failing to win a compromise from the Kurds on a formula to distribute political power when the U.S. occupation ends, according to U.S. and Iraqi officials. L. Paul Bremer, the chief U.S. administrator in Iraq, twice met with the two main Kurdish leaders over the past week to urge them to back down from their demands to retain autonomy, according to U.S. officials. But in a new setback for U.S. plans in Iraq, the Kurds have not budged. They insist on holding on to the basic political, economic and security rights they have achieved during a dozen years of being cut off from the rest of Iraq during Saddam Hussein's rule. "They have a strong hand and they're playing it," a senior administration official said. Creation of an autonomous Kurdish region, with its own militia, represents one of the biggest fears about the ethnically diverse nation -- a problem that Washington thought had been averted before U.S. intervention. But the two Kurdish leaders, Jalal Talabani and Massoud Barzani, are resisting U.S. pressure, in large part out of fear that the vulnerable Kurdish minority could once again be persecuted by a strong central government, as it was repeatedly by Arab regimes. The new crisis over Kurdistan is the latest flap in the increasingly troubled process of working out a transition to Iraqi rule. The drama is playing out as the United States rushes to help create a Transitional Administration Law to govern the country after June 30. To the surprise of many U.S. and Iraqi officials, the hottest flashpoint is proving to be the formula for federalism. Iraqis generally agree that Iraq's 18 provinces, possibly redrawn into a smaller number of states, should have a federal government, but the details have been divisive. One possible compromise is deferring decisions on the final status of the Kurdish north, and its claim on regional oil fields, until the United States hands over power to a provisional Iraqi government. The Iraqis would then be left to sort it out. If this fallback option is adopted, U.S. officials say, they hope that a strong central government in Baghdad emerges, wins international backing and leads the Kurdish minority and Arab majority to come to a mutually accepted arrangement. But Kurds are opposed to creating a set of basic laws for Iraq that doesn't address those issues. "If you leave everything out, no details, it's like a time bomb," said Mahmoud Othman, a Kurdish member of the Iraqi Governing Council. "The sooner one tries to find a solution and some consensus, the better." The danger in trying now to make major decisions on Kurdish autonomy, U.S. officials say, is that the Kurds may be reluctant to alter those terms later when Iraqis write a constitution after the U.S. political role ends. "The more time that passes, the more attached the Kurds may become to keeping the reins of power," a U.S. official said. Turkey would also oppose autonomy for the Kurdish region, both because of its own large restive Kurdish community and because of the large Turkmen minority in northern Iraq. Other Arab governments are already warning of a dangerous spillover if ethnicity becomes a central factor in Iraqi government. "Regimes founded on a confessional or ethnic basis do not help bring stability and territorial integrity to a country," Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud Faisal said Wednesday. "The danger of starting on the confessional and ethnic road will consequently partition Iraq, threatening our own security." The often feisty debates underway in Iraq are reminiscent of arguments among America's founding fathers about federation, U.S. officials say. Like New York, Virginia and Massachusetts in the late 18th century, Kurdistan does not want to cede full authority to a strong central government. The United States is trying to allow Iraqis to make the critical decisions. "It was the position of the United States from the very beginning of this crisis that [Iraq] had to remain one single integrated country. How it organizes itself, recognizing the major constituencies in the nation, remains to be determined," Secretary of State Colin L. Powell told reporters this week. The Bush administration is sympathetic to the Kurds' concerns, but unwilling to concede to their demands. "Clearly the Kurds wish, in some way, to preserve their historic identity and to link it in some way to geography. But I think it's absolutely clear that that part of Iraq must remain part of Iraq," Powell added. Bremer intends to hold further talks with the Kurds to warn of the potential dangers. "The transitional law must not lead to secession or create conditions where secession might be likely or possible," a State Department official said. "The new central government must have central authority, which means demobilization of private militias and control over borders, national finance and foreign policy, including trade and financial policy and ownership of national resources." Several key Arab leaders on the Governing Council are expected to meet soon with Barzani and Talabani to press for compromise. But Kurdish leaders say they are not convinced of the need to accommodate the United States or other Iraqis. "Bremer is committed to a non-ethnic Iraq. But the way the United States is framing it is not workable or practical here," a senior Kurdish politician said. "Iraq is not the United States. To make it such requires time. You can't impose voluntary integration." The question of the Kurds' role comes on top of an ongoing crisis with Iraq's leading Shiite leader, the Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani. He demands that the United States hold direct elections for a provisional government, rather than selecting a new national assembly through a complicated process based on provincial caucuses. The one bit of good news for the United States is that Iraq appears to have averted a crisis over the role of Islam in its new government. The Iraqi council has come up with a formula declaring that Iraq is a state with a majority Muslim community committed to the protection of minorities. Islamic law, or the Sharia, will be a source of legislation, but not the only source, Iraqis and U.S. officials say. In a move pivotal to defining the state, "the Islamic bloc on the Governing Council agreed to separate religion from the state," said Yonadam Kanna, the lone Christian on the 25-member council. Sipress reported from Baghdad. --__--__-- Message: 2 From: "cafe-uni" <cafe-uni@DELETETHISfreeuk.com> To: "casi news" <email@example.com> Subject: Evidence and Implications - Summary of New Carnegie Report Date: Fri, 9 Jan 2004 16:04:16 -0000 "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has." - Margaret Mead This e-mail (and any attachments) is confidential. If you have received it in error, please notify the sender immediately and delete it from your system, do not use, copy or disclose the information in any way nor act in reliance on it. ************************************************************ *********************************** > WMD IN IRAQ > Evidence and Implications > Summary of New Carnegie Report > http://www.ceip.org/files/Publications/IraqSummary.asp?from=3D pubdate > > WMD in IRAQ: Evidence and Implications, a new study from the Carnegie > Endowment for International Peace, details what the U.S. and international > intelligence communities understood about Iraq's weapons programs before the > war and outlines policy reforms to improve threat assessments, deter > transfer of WMD to terrorists, strengthen the UN weapons inspection process, > and avoid politicization of the intelligence process. > > The report distills a massive amount of data into side-by-side comparisons > of pre-war intelligence, the official presentation of that intelligence, and > what is now known about Iraq's programs. > > The authors of the report are: Jessica T. Mathews, president; George > Perkovich, vice president for studies, and Joseph Cirincione, senior > associate and non-proliferation project director of the Carnegie Endowment > for International Peace. > > SUMMARY OF RECOMMENDATIONS > Changes to U.S. Policy > =B7 Revise the National Security Strategy to eliminate a U.S. policy of > unilateral preventive war, i.e., preemptive war in absence of imminent > threat. > =B7 Create a nonpartisan, independent commission to establish a clearer > picture of what the intelligence community knew and believed it knew about > Iraq's weapons program. > =B7 Consider changing the post of Director of Central Intelligence (DCI) from > a political appointment to a career appointment, based on the outcomes of > the independent commission. > =B7 Make the security of poorly protected nuclear weapons and stockpiles of > plutonium and highly enriched uranium a much higher priority for national > security policy. > > International Action > =B7 The United States and United Nations should together produce a complete > history and inventory of Iraq's WMD and missile programs. > =B7 The UN Secretary General should commission a high-level analysis of the > strengths and weaknesses of the WMD inspection processes in Iraq, and how > inspections could be strengthened in the future. > =B7 The UN Security Council should consider creating a permanent, > international, nonproliferation inspection capability. > =B7 Make the transfer of WMD a violation of international law. > > Changes to Threat Assessments > =B7 Recognize distinctions in the degree of threat posed by the different > forms of "weapons of mass destruction" - chemical, biological, and nuclear > weapons pose vastly different risks and cost-benefit calculations of actions > to combat them. > =B7 Recognize red flags indicating that sound intelligence practices are not > being followed. > =B7 Examine and debate the assertion that the combined threat of evil states > and terrorism calls for acting on the basis of worst-case reasoning. > =B7 Examine assumption that states will likely transfer WMD to terrorists. > > SUMMARY OF KEY FINDINGS > > Iraq WMD Was Not An Immediate Threat > =B7 Iraq's nuclear program had been suspended for many years; Iraq focused on > preserving a latent, dual-use chemical and probably biological weapons > capability, not weapons production. > =B7 Iraqi nerve agents had lost most of their lethality as early as 1991. > =B7 Operations Desert Storm and Desert Fox, and UN inspections and sanctions > effectively destroyed Iraq's large-scale chemical weapon production > capabilities. > > Inspections Were Working > =B7 Post-war searches suggest the UN inspections were on track to find what > was there. > =B7 International constraints, sanctions, procurement, investigations, and the > export/import control mechanism appear to have been considerably more > effective than was thought. > > Intelligence Failed and Was Misrepresented > =B7 Intelligence community overestimated the chemical and biological weapons > in Iraq. > =B7 Intelligence community appears to have been unduly influenced by > policymakers' views. > =B7 Officials misrepresented threat from Iraq's WMD and ballistic missiles > programs over and above intelligence findings. > > Terrorist Connection Missing > =B7 No solid evidence of cooperative relationship between Saddam's government > and Al Qaeda. > =B7 No evidence that Iraq would have transferred WMD to terrorists-and much > evidence to counter it. > =B7 No evidence to suggest that deterrence was no longer operable. > > Post-War WMD Search Ignored Key Resources > =B7 Past relationships with Iraqi scientists and officials, and credibility of > UNMOVIC experts represent a vital resource that has been ignored when it > should be being fully exploited. > =B7 Data from the seven years of UNSCOM/IAEA inspections are absolutely > essential. Direct involvement of those who compiled the > more-than-30-million- page record is needed. > > War Was Not the Best-Or Only-Option > =B7 There were at least two options preferable to a war undertaken without > international support: allowing the UNMOVIC/IAEA inspections to continue > until obstructed or completed, or imposing a tougher program of "coercive > inspections." > > Download the report at www.ceip.org/WMD or contact Maura Keaney at > 202-939-2372 or firstname.lastname@example.org. > > http://www.ceip.org/files/Publications/IraqReport3.asp?from=3D pubdate > > > --__--__-- Message: 3 From: "Mark Parkinson" <mark44@DELETETHISmyrealbox.com> To: email@example.com Date: Fri, 09 Jan 2004 22:26:08 -0000 Subject: DU http://www1.iraqwar.ru/iraq-read_article.php?articleId=31847&lang=en When this war ends, George Bush will have caused the poisoning of hundreds of thousands more humans than he said Saddam Hussein poisoned. 07.01.2004 [19:07] In its 110,000 air raids against Iraq, the US A-10 Warthog aircraft launched 940,000 depleted uranium shells, and in the land offensive, its M60, M1 and M1A1 tanks fired a further 4,000 larger caliber also uranium shells. The Bush administration and the Pentagon said there is no danger to American troops or Iraqi civilians from breathing the uranium oxide dust produced in depleted uranium (DU) weapons explosions. DU is the waste residue made from the uranium enrichment process. This radioactive and toxic substance, 1.7 times as dense as lead, is used to make shells that penetrate steel armor. Former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark, an opponent of DU weapons use since 1996, again raised his call for a ban on the use of these weapons in 2001. Since then DU weapons conferences, ironically, in Baghdad in 1999 and Gijon, Spain in 2000 had demanded a ban on DU use. "This new outbreak of leukemia among European [NATO] soldiers has reinforced what we said before," said Clark from New York in January 2001. "Is it acceptable by any human standards that we would permit one shell of depleted uranium to be manufactured, to be stored, to be used? No! Stop it now!" According to a May 2003 article in the Christian Science Monitor, the first partial Pentagon disclosure of the amount of DU used in Iraq, a US Central Command spokesman admitted that A-10 Warthog aircraft -- the same planes that shot at the Iraqi planning ministry -- fired 300,000 bullets. The normal combat mix for these 30-mm rounds is five DU bullets to 1 -- a mix that had left about 75 tons of DU in Iraq. A Monitor reporter had seen only one site where US troops had put up handwritten warnings in Arabic for Iraqis to stay away. A 3-foot-long DU warhead from a 120-mm tank shell had been found to produce radiation at more than 1,300 times background levels. "If you have pieces or even whole [DU] penetrators around, this is not an acute health hazard, but it is for sure above radiation protection dose levels," says Werner Burkart, the German deputy director general for Nuclear Sciences and Applications at the UN's International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in Vienna. "The important thing in any battlefield -- especially in populated urban areas -- is somebody has to clean up these sites." Many scientists believe that uranium oxide dust inhaled or ingested by U.S. troops in the Gulf War is the cause, or a contributing cause, of the "Gulf-War Syndrome." Of the approximately 697,000 U.S. troops stationed in the Gulf during the war, more than 100,000 veterans are now chronically ill. Cancer rates in southern Iraq have increased dramatically. For example ovarian cancer in Iraqi women of the southern region has fully increased by 16-fold. More recently, the Bush administration's reassurances were vigorously challenged by nuclear physicists and physicians at a scientific meeting, the World DU/Uranium Weapons Conference held in Hamburg, Germany during October 2003. The data presented in Hamburg of the long-term medical effects from DU exposures during the 1990s in Kosovo, Sarajevo, southern Iraq, and from American veterans of the Gulf War, reveal a frightening reality. According to the Conference, the mobility of the ceramic uranium oxide particles from DU weapons explosions is due to their re- suspension in dry weather. Measuring isotope ratios of U-238 and Pa- 234m/Th-234 in water and air measurements by UNEP in Kosovo, Bosnia and Montenegro has showed this. Uranium oxide particles are available for inhalation long after the war is over. Anyone in the general area of their prior use is at risk, several years after their use or contamination. This had been proven by urine measurements in Kosovo in 2001. All of the people sampled showed contamination from DU. This was also shown by urine tests of Gulf War veterans made 10 years after their exposure. Conference scientists criticized as decades obsolete the Pentagon models used for reassuring the public about the long-term effects of inhaling uranium oxide particles from DU weapons. Citing the Pentagon model, the official 2003 Conference Statement concluded: "The knowledge on which this [Pentagon] model is based is faulty and outdated. This is like comparing [someone] sitting in front of a fire with [them] eating a hot coal." After the Gulf War, Iraqi and international epidemiological investigations enabled the environmental pollution due to using this kind of weapon to be associated with the appearance of new, very difficult to diagnose diseases (serious immunodeficiencies, for instance) and the spectacular increase in congenital malformations and cancer. This had been found both in the Iraqi population and also among several thousands of American and British veterans and in their children, a clinical condition now called Gulf War Syndrome. Similar symptoms to those of the Gulf War have been described for a thousand children living in Bosnia where American aviation similarly used DU bombs in 1996, the same as in the NATO intervention against Yugoslavia in 1999. It is estimated that already about 300 tons of radioactive debris from DU weapons were deposited in target areas during the 2003 Iraq War, affecting over 250,000 Iraqis. By comparison, Saddam Hussein -- who Bush had called an evil murderer -- gassed about 5,000 Iraqi Kurds in 1988. But by Bush launching his war on Iraq with DU weapons of mass destruction, he multiplied the casualties to the Iraqis, and also to American troops, by factors of hundreds relative to the infamous gassing of the Kurds. By the time American troops finally pull out of Iraq, Bush will have poisoned hundreds of thousands more humans with depleted uranium than he has accused Saddam Hussein of poisoning with gas. Frederick Sweet is Professor of Reproductive Biology in Obstetrics and Gynecology at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. You can email your comments to Fred@interventionmag.com ????????: By Frederick Sweet Mark Parkinson Bodmin Cornwall --__--__-- Message: 4 Date: Sat, 10 Jan 2004 13:23:09 +0000 From: =?windows-1252?Q?Per_Klevn=E4s?= <per.klevnas@DELETETHIScasi.org.uk> To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: Powell Admits No Hard Proof in Linking Iraq to Al Qaeda http://www.nytimes.com/2004/01/09/politics/09POWE.html Powell Admits No Hard Proof in Linking Iraq to Al Qaeda By CHRISTOPHER MARQUIS ASHINGTON, Jan. 8 =97 Secretary of State Colin L. Powell conceded Thursday that despite his assertions to the United Nations last year, he had no "smoking gun" proof of a link between the government of Iraqi President Saddam Hussein and terrorists of Al Qaeda. "I have not seen smoking-gun, concrete evidence about the connection," Mr. Powell said, in response to a question at a news conference. "But I think the possibility of such connections did exist, and it was prudent to consider them at the time that we did." Mr. Powell's remarks on Thursday were a stark admission that there is no definitive evidence to back up administration statements and insinuations that Saddam Hussein had ties to Al Qaeda, the acknowledged authors of the Sept. 11 attacks. Although President Bush finally acknowledged in September that there was no known connection between Mr. Hussein and the attacks, the impression of a link in the public mind has become widely accepted =97 and something administration officials have done little to discourage. Mr. Powell offered a vigorous defense of his Feb. 5 presentation before the Security Council, in which he voiced the administration's most detailed case to date for war with Iraq. After studying intelligence data, he said that a "sinister nexus" existed "between Iraq and the Al Qaeda terrorist network, a nexus that combines classic terrorist organizations and modern methods of murder." Without any additional qualifiers, Mr. Powell continued, "Iraq today harbors a deadly terrorist network, headed by Abu Musaab al-Zarqawi, an associate and collaborator of Osama bin Laden and his Al Qaeda lieutenants.= " He added, "Iraqi officials deny accusations of ties with Al Qaeda. These denials are simply not credible." On Thursday, Mr. Powell dismissed second-guessing and said that Mr. Bush had acted after giving Mr. Hussein 12 years to come into compliance with the international community. "The president decided he had to act because he believed that whatever the size of the stockpile, whatever one might think about it, he believed that the region was in danger, America was in danger and he would act," he said. "And he did act." In a rare, wide-ranging meeting with reporters, Mr. Powell voiced some optimism on several other issues that have bedeviled the administration, including North Korea and Sudan, while expressing dismay about the Middle East and Haiti. But mostly, the secretary, appearing vigorous and in good spirits three weeks after undergoing surgery for prostate cancer, defended his justification for the war in Iraq. He said he had been fully aware that "the whole world would be watching," as he painstakingly made the case that the government of Saddam Hussein presented an imminent threat to the United States and its interests. The immediacy of the danger was at the core of debates in the United Nations over how to proceed against Mr. Hussein. A report released Thursday by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, a nonpartisan Washington research center, concluded that Iraq's weapons programs constituted a long-term threat that should not have been ignored. But it also said the programs did not "pose an immediate threat to the United States, to the region or to global security." Mr. Powell's United Nations presentation =97 complete with audiotapes and satellite photographs =97 asserted that "leaving Saddam Hussein in possession of weapons of mass destruction for a few more months or years is not an option." The secretary said he had spent time with experts at the Central Intelligence Agency studying reports. "Anything that we did not feel was solid and multisourced, we did not use in that speech," he said Thursday. He said that Mr. Hussein had used prohibited weapons in the past =97 including nerve gas attacks against Iran and Iraqi Kurds =97 and said that even if there were no actual weapons at hand, there was every indication he would reconstitute them once the international community lost interest. "In terms of intention, he always had it," Mr. Powell said. "What he was waiting to do is see if he could break the will of the international community, get rid of any potential future inspections, and get back to his intentions, which were to have weapons of mass destruction." The administration has quietly withdrawn a 400-member team of American weapons inspectors who were charged with finding chemical or biological weapons stockpiles or laboratories, officials said this week. The team was part of the 1,400-member Iraq Survey Group, which has not turned up such weapons or active programs, the officials said. The Carnegie report challenged the possibility that Mr. Hussein could have destroyed the weapons, hidden them or shipped them out of the country. Officials had alleged that Iraq held amounts so huge =97 hundreds of tons of chemical and biological weapons, dozens of Scud missiles =97 that such moves would have been detected by the United States, the report said. The Washington Post this week reported that Iraq had apparently preserved its ability to produce missiles, biological agents and other illicit weapons through the decade-long period of international sanctions after the Persian Gulf war, but that their development had apparently been limited to the planning stage. On North Korea, he said he had received "encouraging signals" from his Asian counterparts that the North might be close to agreeing to another round of six-party talks. But he said the administration would not yield on its insistence that the North first state its willingness to bring its nuclear program to a verifiable end. Mr. Powell was equally hopeful about a peace agreement to end a grueling civil war in Sudan. "The key here is that after 20 years of most terrible war, Sudanese leaders have come together and are just one or two steps short of having a comprehensive peace agreement," he said. On the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, he said the United States and the three other nations promoting peace talks had expected more movement ending hostilities and establishing a Palestinian state. "They are as disturbed as I am that we haven't seen the kind of progress that we had hoped for," he said. Turning to Haiti, where a decade ago Mr. Powell took part in a delegation that sought to persuade plotters in a military coup to step down, he voiced frustration at the failure of President Jean-Bertrand Aristide to reach agreement with his political foes. Violence has flared in recent days as anti-Aristide protesters demanded an end to a political deadlock that has paralyzed the government. The country's Catholic Bishops Conference has tried to broker a new agreement. --__--__-- Message: 5 From: "ppg" <ppg@DELETETHISnyc.rr.com> To: <email@example.com> Subject: Iraqi threat to overturn US broadcasting contract Date: Sat, 10 Jan 2004 13:59:46 -0500 [ Presenting plain-text part of multi-format email ] Financial Times Jan 10 http://tinyurl.com/2p643 Iraqi threat to overturn US broadcasting contract By Nicolas Pelham in Amman and Joshua Chaffin in Washington FT.com site; Jan 09, 2004 Iraq's communications minister on Friday threatened to overturn a pol= itically sensitive contract awarded to an American company to run Iraq's na= tional broadcasting service. The Harris Corporation, a US manufacturer, was selected on Friday wit= h the Lebanese Broadcasting Company and a Kuwaiti-Iraq group, Al-Fawares, t= o carry out a $100m (=A360m, ?78m), one-year contract to rebuild and operat= e a newspaper and a group of Iraqi television and radio stations used by Sa= ddam Hussein's regime. But Haider Abadi, communications minister, said he was not consulted = about the contract and threatened to overturn it when the US-led administra= tion hands power to a sovereign Iraqi government in July. "We very much wel= come the help of others to reshape our media, but to relinquish our respons= ibilities and to give control to foreign media is politically and socially = wrong," said Mr Abadi. He called the contract "temporary". If the handover goes to plan Iraqi ministers will have responsibility= for deciding the fate of the licences. The contract was awarded by the Pentagon and funded from the $87.5bn = Congress appropriated for funding reconstruction and the US operations in I= raq and Afghanistan. Under the deal, Harris, which manufactures broadcasting transmitters,= will rebuild the country's national broadcaster. The LBC and Al-Fawares wi= ll train 1,000 Iraqis to run two television channels and two radio stations= . Al-Fawares will also publish the state newspaper, Al Sabah. Microsoft, the computer giant, will aid the consortium. Danny Benjamin, a vice-president at Al-Fawares, said that as an Iraqi= -American, he respected Mr Abedi's comments. "This is a very strategic job.= It's not like rebuilding a road or a bridge." He promised to preserve Iraq= i culture, and said he had not received any pressure from the Pentagon to c= ensor or slant news coverage. The media contract has been a source of controversy for the US-led co= alition. SAIC, a US defence contractor first recruited by the Pentagon, was= widely criticised for poor quality and pro-American bias. Critics dubbed i= ts television operation "the Pentagon's Pravda" for its broadcasting of Eng= lish-language press conferences with an Arabic voiceover. Several prospective bidders, including the BBC, withdrew from the ten= dering process amid concern that the contract would not guarantee the indep= endence of the broadcaster from state interference. Without firm regulations, broadcasters said they feared they would be= subject to political influence from both the Pentagon, which provided the = funds, and an incoming Iraqi sovereign government expected to be anxious to= assert its authority. "The GC [Governing Council] wants a role in running the IMN, because = the culture of the people needs someone who knows what is going on," says a= participant on the Governing Council's media committee. 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