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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. Bremer edicts further limit sovereignty (k hanly) 2. Television news accused of Iraq bias (Mark Parkinson) --__--__-- Message: 1 From: "k hanly" <khanly@DELETETHISmb.sympatico.ca> To: "newsclippings" <firstname.lastname@example.org> Subject: Bremer edicts further limit sovereignty Date: Sun, 27 Jun 2004 09:18:10 -0500 http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp-dyn/A8665-2004Jun26?language=3Dprinter BAGHDAD, June 26 -- U.S. administrator L. Paul Bremer has issued a raft of edicts revising Iraq's legal code and has appointed at least two dozen Iraqis to government jobs with multi-year terms in an attempt to promote hi= s concepts of governance long after the planned handover of political authority on Wednesday. Some of the orders signed by Bremer, which will remain in effect unless overturned by Iraq's interim government, restrict the power of the interim government and impose U.S.-crafted rules for the country's democratic transition. Among the most controversial orders is the enactment of an elections law that gives a seven-member commission the power to disqualify political parties and any of the candidates they support. The effect of other regulations could last much longer. Bremer has ordered that the national security adviser and the national intelligence chief chosen by the interim prime minister he selected, Ayad Allawi, be given five-year terms, imposing Allawi's choices on the elected government that i= s to take over next year. Bremer also has appointed Iraqis handpicked by his aides to influential positions in the interim government. He has installed inspectors-general fo= r five-year terms in every ministry. He has formed and filled commissions to regulate communications, public broadcasting and securities markets. He named a public-integrity commissioner who will have the power to refer corrupt government officials for prosecution. Some Iraqi officials condemn Bremer's edicts and appointments as an effort to exert U.S. control over the country after the transfer of political authority. "They have established a system to meddle in our affairs," said Mahmoud Othman, a member of the Governing Council, a recently dissolved bod= y that advised Bremer for the past year. "Iraqis should decide many of these issues." Bremer has defended his issuance of many of the orders as necessary to implement democratic reforms and update Iraq's out-of-date legal code. He said he regarded the installation of inspectors-general in ministries, the creation of independent commissions and the changes to Iraqi law as important steps to fight corruption and cronyism, which in turn would help the formation of democratic institutions. "You set up these things and they begin to develop a certain life and momentum on their own -- and it's harder to reverse course," Bremer said in a recent interview. As of June 14, Bremer had issued 97 legal orders, which are defined by the U.S. occupation authority as "binding instructions or directives to the Iraqi people" that will remain in force even after the transfer of politica= l authority. An annex to the country's interim constitution requires the approval of a majority of Allawi's ministers, as well as the interim president and two vice presidents, to overturn any of Bremer's edicts. A senior U.S. official in Iraq noted recently that it would "not be easy to reverse" the orders. It appears unlikely that all of the orders will be followed. Many of them reflect an idealistic but perhaps futile attempt to impose Western legal, economic and social concepts on a tradition-bound nation that is reveling i= n anything-goes freedom after 35 years of dictatorial rule. The orders include rules that cap tax rates at 15 percent, prohibit piracy of intellectual property, ban children younger than 15 from working, and a new traffic code that stipulates the use of a car horn in "emergency conditions only" and requires a driver to "hold the steering wheel with bot= h hands." Iraq has long been a place where few people pay taxes, where most movies an= d music are counterfeit, where children often hold down jobs and where traffi= c laws are rarely obeyed, Iraqis note. Other regulations promulgated by Bremer prevent former members of the Iraqi army from holding public office for 18 months after their retirement or resignation, stipulate a 30-year minimum sentence for people caught selling weapons such as grenades and ban former militiamen integrated into the Iraq= i armed forces from endorsing and campaigning for political candidates. He ha= s also enacted a 76-page law regulating private corporations and amended an industrial-design law to protect microchip designs. Those changes were intended to facilitate the entry of Iraq into the World Trade Organization, even though the country is so violent that the no commercial flights are allowed to land at Baghdad's airport. Some of the new rules attempt to introduce American approaches to fighting crime. An anti-money-laundering law requires banks to collect detailed personal information from customers seeking to make transactions greater than &dol;3,500, while the Commission on Public Integrity has been given th= e power to reward whistleblowers with 25 percent of the funds recovered by th= e government from corrupt practices they have identified. In some cases Bremer's regulations diverge from the Bush administration's domestic policies. He suspended the death penalty, and his election law imposes a strict quota: One of every three candidates on a party's slate must be a woman. Iraqis have already scoffed at some of the requirements. Judges on the Central Criminal Court of Iraq, who were appointed by Bremer, have refused to impose 30-year sentences on people detained with grenades and other military weapons. At the same time, many Iraqi politicians contend that banning the death penalty was a mistake. Several have said they will push t= o reinstate capital punishment after the transfer of political authority. Some of the Iraqis recently appointed by Bremer as inspectors and commissioners said they should have been given their jobs months ago. Had that happened, they insisted, they would have had more time to build suppor= t for the activities. "There are some doubts about my work," said Nabil Bayati, the inspector general in the Ministry of Electricity, who is charged with rooting out waste, fraud and abuse. People in the ministry, he said, "don't understand it yet." Siyamend Othman, the chief executive of the Iraqi Communications and Media Commission, said his fellow commissioners were only appointed three weeks ago. "Had this commissions been set up six months ago, we would have been i= n a far more secure position than we are today," he said. "We would have had six months to prove and to show to the Iraqi people our worth and what we'r= e capable of doing, and why this commission is such an important institution.= " In recent weeks, Bremer has issued orders aimed at setting policy for a variety of controversial issues, including the future use of radioactive material, Arab-Kurd property disputes and national elections planned for January. On June 15, Bremer signed an order establishing the Iraqi Radioactive Sourc= e Regulatory Authority as an independent agency regulating radioactive material in Iraq. His order forbids, even after the transfer of sovereignty= , any activity involving radioactive material except under requirements established by the agency. On June 19, in an effort to keep unemployed Iraqi weapons scientists from working for other nations, Bremer established the Iraqi Non-Proliferation Programs Foundation, a semi-governmental organization set up to provide grants and contracts to people who worked on Saddam Hussein's chemical, biological and nuclear arms programs. An initial grant of &dol;37.5 million was set aside by Bremer to pay the scientists' expenses to attend international conferences so they can be retrained for non-weapons employment. The foundation, which has been exempted from a ban on government support to former high-ranking members of Hussein's Baath Party, is also supposed to establish a venture capital fund to promote the commercial development of products and technologies by former employees of Iraqi weapons programs, according to the order setting up the foundation. On May 28, Bremer signed an order establishing a Special Task Force on Compensating Victims of the Previous Regime. The task force, appointed by Bremer, is to devise a means for determining the number of victims, estimat= e fair compensation and recommend a system under which claims could be made and adjudicated. An endowment of &dol;25 million was set aside from oil income to be used to compensate victims and their families, according to th= e order authorizing the task force. But perhaps Bremer's most far-reaching and potentially contentious order is the election law, which he signed June 15. The law states that no party can be associated with a militia or get money from one. It also requires the electoral commission to draft a code of conduct barring campaigners from using "hate speech, intimidation, and support for, the practice of and the use of terrorism." The law, signed last week, is intended to establish the framework and policies that will govern next year's national elections to select a 275-member national assembly. But experts in Arab world elections have questioned how the law will be received by the Iraqi people once its terms are widely known. Some predicted that the rules would be challenged and perhaps ignored by the interim Iraqi government. "I foresee real political conflict about these rules," said Amy Hawthorne, an Arab specialist at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace who studies elections. "The laws came out from behind a curtain while armed conflict is going on," said Hawthorne, who expects people and parties to challenge the laws after July 1 because "they were created under the [occupation] authority and thei= r legal status is a bit murky." "The notion of [the U.S.] decreeing election law prior to June 30 is unfortunate," said Leslie Campbell, who has worked in Iraq for the National Democratic Institute. Financing elections, difficult in the United States, could be an even greater problem in Iraq where not only the wealthy but also foreign countries such as Iran, Saudi Arabia and even the United States are openly putting money into political parties and politicians. The Bremer law calls on parties to "strive to the extent possible to achieve full transparency i= n all financial dealings" and calls on the electoral commission to consider issuing regulations. Campbell said such a law "may be a lot cleaner than letting the commission have it out with the interim government in a messy way, but it is not good that the electoral commission is not promulgating key parts of the law." Campbell said it would be difficult, if not impossible, to enforce the provision separating militia members from politics since all the major Iraq= i political parties are associated with armed organizations. Although the occupation authority has attempted to demobilize militias, most have not ye= t disbanded. Juan Cole, a University of Michigan professor who specializes in Iraq, said the appointed electoral commission's power to eliminate political parties o= r candidates for not obeying laws would allow it "to disqualify people someon= e didn't like." He likened the power of the commission to that of religious mullahs in Iran= , who routinely use their authority to remove candidates before an election. "In a way, Mr. Bremer is using a more subtle form than the one used by hard-liners in Iran to control their elections," Cole said. Pincus reported from Washington. =A9 2004 The Washington Post Company --__--__-- Message: 2 From: "Mark Parkinson" <mark44@DELETETHISmyrealbox.com> To: email@example.com Date: Mon, 28 Jun 2004 00:47:52 +0100 Subject: Television news accused of Iraq bias http://english.aljazeera.net/NR/exeres/05D7943D-1055-4851-8447- 5F94CC8AD26B.htm By Roshan Muhammed Salih Sunday 27 June 2004, 20:18 Makka Time, 17:18 GMT The media is accused of swallowing the military line During the US siege of the Iraqi town of Falluja in April a journalist claimed the international media was telling the world the wrong story. American occupation forces said they had entered the town to flush out a small number of "Saddam loyalists" and "terrorists" after four US security contractors were killed. But Rahul Mahajan, an anti-war activist who was one of the few reporters in the town, rejected the official version of events which the world's media was relying on. The truth is rather different, he said. The Falluja resistance was not a small group of isolated "extremists" repudiated by the majority of the town's population. Rather, Falluja had been in revolt against occupation since last year when US troops opened fire on a group of 100 to 200 peaceful protesters, killing 15. Like other independent journalists and media professionals, Mahajan says many of the big western broadcasters and newspapers are failing to tell the world what is really happening in Iraq. They allege that major media players, such as CNN and the BBC, rely too heavily on official occupation authority sources at the expense of Iraqi opinion. So much so that the line between objective journalism and partiality is being blurred. Iraq reports Opponents of the US-led invasion of Iraq say several pieces of research prove that the western media has slipped off the journalistic fence when it comes to reporting Iraq. In April 2003, the UK's prestigious Cardiff School of Journalism conducted a survey into the way the four main UK broadcasters covered the war. It concluded the BBC's proportion of news emanating from government sources was twice that of ITN and Channel 4 News. "There is this assumption that western power is being used benevolently for the good of mankind and this colours all reporting. And in turn I think the military see western reporters as part of the war effort" David Miller, Glasgow Media Group The world's most influential broadcaster was more cautious than other UK channels when it came to reporting official Iraqi sources, and was less likely than other channels to use independent sources such as the Red Cross. Meanwhile, across British news as a whole, the Iraqi people were around three times more likely to be portrayed as pro-invasion than anti-invasion. Another report by Media Tenor, the German-based media research organisation, examined the Iraq reporting of some of the world's leading broadcasters in the lead up to the war. The worst case of denying access to anti-war voices was the BBC, which gave just two per cent of its coverage to opposition views - views that represented those of the majority of the British people. 'Misrepresentation' David Miller, from the UK's Glasgow Media Group, told Aljazeera.net that every reputable media study proves the majority of western TV coverage on Iraq is biased. "Falluja was a good example of the misrepresentation of what is going on in Iraq," he said. "The kind of eyewitness reports of the killing that was happening there that I heard on independent media just didn't make it into western coverage. "I think there is a lot of pressure from the military to stifle independent reporting and the media are just going along with it." Iraq is a dangerous place for journalists to work Miller believes that the major western media players, including the BBC and CNN, are ideologically in bed with the establishment. "Western journalists are afraid of getting out and about in the streets. They are afraid of ordinary Iraqis and the insurgents because they know they don't like them. But most of all they are afraid of the western military machine. "They are prisoners of their own assumptions. There is this assumption that western power is being used benevolently for the good of mankind and this colours all reporting. And in turn, I think, the military see western reporters as part of the war effort." Moreover, Miller maintains that the US networks are even more flagwaving than their British counterparts. 'Lazy' allegations A study by Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting, a US media monitoring group, noted that 76% of the guests on network talk shows in late January and early February 2003 were current or former US officials, and that anti-war sources accounted for less than one per cent of the guests. "You can't compare them [US networks] to the BBC because the BBC is state funded and accountable to its viewers. This means that a degree of political dissent is inevitable. There is no such tradition in the States." "Of course we distinguish between an insurgent who has murdered civilians and attacked military personnel and a democratically elected government. There is no comparison between good and evil and to suggest the two are on a par is ridiculous" Chris Cramer, CNN International managing editor But Chris Cramer, managing director of CNN International, says although some US networks may have felt the need to be patriotic, that certainly wasn't the case with his company. "I utterly reject accusations of bias," he told Aljazeera.net. "I think this is a lazy allegation. We do not have a viewpoint or an agenda and I think that is a perception held by people who either don't watch the channel or who jump to conclusions. I personally find the accusation offensive." Cramer said CNN has 50 media professionals working in Iraq because he believes "with a complicated situation like Iraq you have to have people on the ground". Nevertheless, he said to a certain extent all media organisations have become targets in the country. "Safety is uppermost in our minds and of course we are not as free to operate in Iraq as, let's say, some of the Arabic channels are. Good and evil "But to suggest we are just staying in a hotel and not going out to get the story is untrue. A cursory look at the channel would be sufficient to put that argument to bed." However, he said CNN did make an obvious distinction between official coalition sources and sources from the Iraqi resistance. The US media has been pilloried for giving Bush an easy ride "Of course we distinguish between an insurgent who has murdered civilians and attacked military personnel and a democratically elected government," he said. "There is no comparison between good and evil and to suggest the two are on a par is ridiculous." Since the US-led invasion in March last year 47 journalists and media staff have been killed in Iraq. Two Japanese journalists were killed in June as they were returning from Japan=92s military base in the southern town of Samawa. Their deaths came three weeks after a Polish and an Algerian journalist were killed in a drive-by shooting on the same road. A CNN crew was attacked in the same area earlier this year, leaving two dead. Impartiality The Brussels-based International Federation of Journalists described the refusal by US and Iraqi authorities to protect targeted journalists as "unconscionable and shocking neglect". They are concerned that western journalists are increasingly being seen as "legitimate targets". However the major networks, such as the BBC, reject all accusations that their reporting on Iraq has alienated ordinary Iraqis. "Clearly, the conflict led to strongly divided opinion. And the BBC in its commitment to impartiality offered platforms to a range of views and opinions for audiences both in the UK and overseas" BBC statement The BBC told Aljazeera.net in a statement that it "aimed to be accurate in its reporting and impartial in its analysis of the Iraq conflict". "Clearly, the conflict led to strongly divided opinion," the statement said. "And the BBC in its commitment to impartiality offered platforms to a range of views and opinions for audiences both in the UK and overseas." The statement added that studies have shown that its coverage has been even-handed, and that the BBC World Service is the most trusted and objective international broadcaster when compared to its main radio competitors. Mark Parkinson Bodmin Cornwall End of casi-news Digest _______________________________________ Sent via the CASI-analysis mailing list To unsubscribe, visit http://lists.casi.org.uk/mailman/listinfo/casi-analysis All postings are archived on CASI's website at http://www.casi.org.uk