News Release Archive - 2001

Bombing Halt Now or Mass Starvation by Thanksgiving?

SARAH ZAIDI
Research director of the Center for Economic and Social Rights, Zaidi is Pakistani. CESR has produced three comprehensive fact sheets on Afghanistan since September 11. She said today: “Relief officials on the ground are warning that millions — literally millions — of Afghan civilians will starve to death this winter unless the U.S. military suspends its attacks and allows the UN to re-establish effective food distribution. We are talking about women, children and the poorest of the poor, who have no means to access food in this war zone.”
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JIM JENNINGS
President of Conscience International, a humanitarian aid organization, Jennings was in Afghan refugee camps in Pakistan this May and will soon return to resume humanitarian work. He said today: “This is a race against time and we are losing. Even before September 11, there was a major humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan, with millions of people facing severe food shortages. And even before the bombing began, Afghanistan had the largest number of refugees in the world — and refugees depend on aid for survival. The interruption of vital food deliveries and the withdrawal of the staff of humanitarian agencies because of the bombing have created a dire situation for the already vulnerable population — 70 percent were already malnourished. The Pentagon is claiming progress, but it has acknowledged the food drops are minuscule and it is dragging out its bombing campaign. Distribution and timing are crucial — you could have food in Kabul and not distribute it to the people who need it in the countryside. Time is of the essence: we must act now before winter. The bombing has to halt, we need to get food in or Afghan people will begin starving in great numbers at about the same time Americans sit down for their Thanksgiving feast.”

DOMINIC NUTT
Spokesperson for Christian Aid, Nutt recently arrived in London from Islamabad. He said today: “The simple fact is that less than 20 percent of what needs to is getting into Afghanistan and even less is getting distributed. The only way to deal with this is to have a pause in the bombing to stockpile food for the winter. The UN is estimating that 7.5 million people need food aid. People are starving now in some areas, according to our source of information from within Afghanistan. It was actually starting when I was in Afghanistan this August — in Herat and Ghor Province. Every village I went to had been affected by drought. Camps were having deaths from hunger and hunger-related diseases. There are coping mechanisms, but after three years of drought they run out — people have eaten the seed stock. About 85 percent of the people live in rural communities — the roads are bad enough when the weather is good, you can’t get food to those rural areas in the winter. It’s going to get worse and worse; you could see entire villages wiped out. Governments have effectively sponsored the Taliban regime; it’s a bit hypocritical, we think, for them to say that now it’s crucial that they bomb the Taliban. Can’t you wait four weeks for us to feed millions of innocent people at risk of starvation?”
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For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; David Zupan, (541) 484-9167

*Cipro Patenting * Civil Liberties

ASIA RUSSELL
Russell is a member of the Health GAP Coalition. She said today: “With the Cipro deal, Secretary Thompson did not want to set a precedent that could be used against the U.S. administration at the upcoming WTO meeting, where the issue of affordable AIDS drugs and patent rights in poor countries will be a major controversy. If U.S. officials had agreed to license production of generic ciprofloxacin, all their arguments against patent flexibility in poor countries seeking generic AIDS drugs would have fallen to pieces — and Robert Zoellick, the U.S. Trade Representative, wouldn’t tolerate that, no matter how high the stakes. Thousands die daily from untreated AIDS globally, and Zoellick is blocking the use of common-sense strategies among poor countries to promote generic AIDS drug access.”
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JAMES LOVE
Director of the Consumer Project on Technology, Love said: “Thompson says we need medications for 10 million persons. At the 120-pill recommended course of treatment for ciprofloxacin, this is 1.2 billion pills. Bayer says it can produce 2 million per day. At this rate it would take 600 days to supply 1.2 billion pills. The U.S. is now saying it will only provide 10 doses of ciprofloxacin, and then switch to a cheaper antibiotic…. Apparently five generic companies have already received U.S. FDA clearance for the quality of their ciprofloxacin, and could immediately be asked to manufacture the drug. The U.S. government already has the right to use patents without a license. The U.S. can clearly address supply issues faster with six suppliers than with one. The government is cutting corners on public health to protect its negotiating position in the Doha WTO meeting on November 9-13 — where the issue of compulsory licensing of drugs, and imports under a compulsory license where a country does not have domestic capacity for production, is a central issue, with the U.S., Canada and the European Union opposing the Africa group. Americans are being put at risk in order to protect the pharmaceutical companies doing business in Africa and other developing countries.”
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SUSAN AKRAM
Author of the law review article “Scheherazade Meets Kafka: Two Dozen Sordid Tales of Ideological Exclusion,” Akram, associate professor at the Boston University School of Law, has given legal assistance in cases where secret “evidence” has been used by the government. She said today: “This entire legislation is premised on the idea that we can get increased security at the expense of our civil liberties — that’s historically never been true and it’s not true today.”
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NANCY CHANG
Senior attorney with the Center for Constitutional Rights, Chang said today: “Our commitment to the Bill of Rights and to the democratic values that define this nation is under challenge. The legislation that the Senate is expected to pass today will … discourage protest activities, further diminish our already reduced expectations of privacy under the Fourth Amendment, and strip immigrants of their fundamental right to freedom from bodily restraint without due process of law. As constitutional challenges to the legislation wind their way through the courts, the judiciary will be presented with the choice of upholding the Constitution or acquiescing in its surrender.”

For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; David Zupan, (541) 484-9167

* Bio-Warfare * “Blowback” * Nukes

SUSAN WRIGHT
Co-author of Preventing a Biological Arms Race and of the forthcoming book The Biological Warfare Problem: A Reappraisal for the 21st Century, Wright said today:”As the U.S. faces the threat of biological warfare at home, calls for strengthening defenses against biological warfare are certainly justified. But there is a deep contradiction in the U.S. position. Abroad, the government — under both the Clinton and George W. Bush administrations — has pursued a unilateralist policy that has weakened the 1972 Biological Weapons Convention, which bans biological and toxin weapons. This was done both directly — by supporting BW-related activities that undermine if not violate the treaty — and indirectly by diluting and ultimately rejecting a draft Protocol designed to provide the treaty with an inspection regime.”
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DAVID GIBBS
Associate professor of political science at the University of Arizona and author of the article “Afghanistan: The Soviet Invasion in Retrospect,” Gibbs said today: “The rise of bin Laden can be seen as ‘blowback’ from past failed U.S. policies in Afghanistan. Not only did the CIA back the most extreme of all the Islamic groups, but new evidence suggests that U.S. officials helped provoke the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. In a 1998 interview with Le Nouvel Observateur in France, former National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski recounts that, contrary to the official version of events, CIA aid to the mujahaddin guerrillas began six months before the invasion of Afghanistan — with the anticipation that this would make a Soviet intervention more likely. Brzezinski boasts about his role in ‘drawing the Russians into the Afghan trap.’ When questioned about the wisdom of supporting Islamic fundamentalism, Brzezinski offers a chilling dismissal: ‘What is more important in world history? The Taliban or the collapse of the Soviet empire?'”
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WILLIAM HARTUNG
Hartung is senior research fellow at the World Policy Institute and author of “The New Business of War.” He said today: “Far from representing a ‘new approach,’ the military actions being undertaken by the Bush administration — engaging in massive bombing attacks, unleashing the CIA to permit assassinations of foreign leaders and arming rebel groups to pressure regimes that allegedly support terror groups — are a collection of discredited policies from the past. The Pentagon’s current allies of convenience — the Northern Alliance — had a dismal human rights record when they ruled Afghanistan, and many residents of Kabul fear a return of the Northern Alliance to power even more than they fear the current repressive policies of the Taliban…. Putting a U.S. stamp of approval on brutal policies of ‘coalition’ partners that will in all likelihood be carried out with U.S. arms is hardly a way to increase our popularity or our security with the people of these countries.”
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HARVEY WASSERMAN
This week, the Sunday Times of London reported that terrorists may have planned to use one of the planes on Sept. 11 “to bomb a nuclear power station.” Wasserman, author of The Last Energy War and co-author of Killing Our Own: The Disaster of America’s Experience with Atomic Radiation, said today: “The planes that crashed into the WTC could have easily obliterated the two atomic reactors now operating at Indian Point, about 40 miles up the Hudson, or Three Mile Island in Pennsylvania. Had those jets instead hit such reactors, an unimaginable holocaust could have occurred.”
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For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; David Zupan, (541) 484-9167

Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

With Israeli tanks back in Palestinian population centers and Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres in Washington, the following analysts are available for interviews:

MITRI RAHEB
Raheb is pastor of the Evangelical Lutheran Christmas Church in Bethlehem and author of I Am a Palestinian Christian.
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SIMONA SHARONI
Sharoni is professor of peace and conflict studies and Middle East politics at Evergreen State College and executive director of the Consortium on Peace Research, Education and Development. On an August 3 news release from IPA, she said: “The targeted assassinations campaign against Palestinian leaders is likely to provoke a violent response. In fact, one wonders if Israel is using these illegal attacks to provoke such a response and then use that as a pretext to reoccupy the entire West Bank and Gaza Strip.” She said today: “Now that the re-occupation of the West Bank is well underway, it is incumbent upon the United Nations and the international community to hold Israel — finally — accountable for its violations of international law. The Bush administration condemned Israel’s actions for the wrong reasons — fear that these actions threaten an already weak coalition of Middle East regimes. Americans should criticize the Israeli occupation on moral grounds.”
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LINDA BEVIS and ED MAST
Bevis and Mast were in the West Bank in August with the International Solidarity Movement to End the Occupation. They witnessed firefights on the streets of Bethlehem. Mast said today: “These so-called ‘invasions’ are part of the continuous Israeli attempt to terrorize a civilian population into submitting to apartheid. They go in, beat up and shoot people, and then go back to their military outposts. Can we call it ‘invasion’ when the Israeli tanks only move in a mile and a half from where they always stand waiting?”

YVONNE HADDAD
Professor with the Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding at Georgetown University, Haddad said today: “Part of the effect of Sharon shelling places like Bethlehem and Beit Jalla is to pressure even more of the Christian population — which used to be 20 percent and is now only 1.8 percent of the Palestinians in the West Bank — into leaving. This would have the net effect of making the conflict more of a Jew-Muslim one.”
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For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; Norman Solomon, (415) 552-5378

Global Analysts Available

JEFFREY WINTERS
Associate professor of political economy at Northwestern University, author of Power in Motion: Capital Mobility and the Indonesian State and co-author of the forthcoming Reinventing the World Bank, Winters said today: “Hardly anything has been accomplished at past Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation summit meetings and very little economics will be discussed at this one. It is mainly an opportunity for Bush to pressure Asian leaders on the U.S. military campaign as well as for some of them to strengthen their opposition to it, which is greater than has been reported. Bush may attempt to buy support, including ironically by resuming arms shipments to the Indonesian military which terrorizes its own people.”

ROBERT WEIL
Author of Red Cat, White Cat: China and the Contradictions of “Market Socialism,” Weil said today: “China is being very foolish and shortsighted in its lending general support to the U.S. war in Afghanistan. The reason for that Chinese government policy — at least in part — is its conflict with separatist Muslim forces in its own northwest. But the record shows that the U.S. government uses such situations only for its immediate goals and then quickly reverses its stand once it has accomplished its own purposes. In the meantime, the Chinese government will have opened the door for a U.S. presence in Central Asia and for U.S. intervention wherever it chooses in the world. This cannot be in the long-term interest of China or any other nation.”

JULES LOBEL
MICHAEL RATNER
Lobel is professor of constitutional and international law at the University of Pittsburgh. Ratner is vice president of the Center for Constitutional Rights. They co-wrote the recent article “An Alternative to the U.S. Employment of Military Force.” They said today: “The U.S. has not gotten approval for the bombing of Afghanistan from the UN Security Council. Just as many predicted, the U.S. bombing is destabilizing Pakistan, killing more innocents, creating massive numbers of refugees who are facing starvation and further fueling resentment towards the U.S. — thus virtually assuring more terrorism against us. On totally pragmatic grounds, Americans should be terrified at what our government is doing. The evidence that Blair put forward against bin Laden is circumstantial. What’s the downside to pausing the bombing and negotiating — the Taliban have put forward proposals for turning over bin Laden — while letting the humanitarian organizations feed some people?”
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LAMIS ANDONI
An independent journalist and Middle East analyst, Andoni has been monitoring the Al-Jazeera network. She said today: “Al-Jazeera shows critical views, including persecuted opposition groups and intellectuals as well as the pro-U.S. views of most of the governments, along with the statements of U.S. government officials. Other perspectives are needed — there are positions besides being for Bush or being for bin Laden. Al-Jazeera features news from people in Afghanistan and Pakistan, it still has a correspondent in Kabul, regular news from the occupied Palestinian territories, serious discussion of international law, definitions of terrorism and critical reports on Arab governments.”
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For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; David Zupan, (541) 484-9167

Food to Afghanistan: Analysts Available

ROGER NORMAND
Executive director of the Center for Economic and Social Rights, Normand said today: “Millions in Afghanistan need immediate food aid in order to survive the harsh winter that begins in one month. Today is World Food Day; we call on all parties to allow humanitarian operations to resume.”
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JIM JENNINGS
President of Conscience International, a humanitarian aid organization, Jennings was in Afghani refugee camps in Pakistan this May.

DOMINIC NUTT
Spokesperson for Christian Aid in Islamabad, Nutt said today: “Air-dropping ration packs is about as useful as dropping leaflets telling Afghan people not to worry. Indeed, we fervently hope that the drops don’t actually kill people. Our experience tells us that much will end up in the hands of warring parties and that fighting over the food will occur. It’s likely that the weakest — women, children and the old — will go without. The policy of airdrops, then, is either extremely naive or a cynical attempt to mask the real needs of the situation. Within days after September 11, overland deliveries all but ceased; what has resumed is minuscule. Those dependent on food aid now number 7.5 million, an increase of about 50 percent — entirely attributable to the ensuing crisis…. The bombing must stop as soon as possible…”
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ALINA LABRADA
A spokesperson for CARE, Labrada said today: “Failed crops due to the worst drought in 30 years have left almost nothing for the fierce winter ahead. Meanwhile, the U.S. military has air-dropped tens of thousands of food packages which many people have seen on TV. Even if all these reach their intended recipients, these airdrops would only feed roughly one half of 1 percent of Afghans in need. Plus, the people of Afghanistan need supplies that can’t be dropped from the sky: fuel for cooking, shelter, and of course, clean water. On-the-ground is the most effective way to distribute food and supplies.”
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DIDERIK VON HALSEMA
NICHOLAS DE TORRENTE
Spokesperson for Doctors Without Borders in Islamabad, Von Halsema said today: “Besides being a drop in the bucket, airdrops are problematic for many reasons. Without aid workers on the ground we have no way of ensuring that the food gets to the needy. It’s likely that women, children and other vulnerable segments of the population are not able to get to the food. Also, airdrops could pose a danger to the intended recipients, as Afghanistan is the most heavily mined country in the world. And last, we are seriously concerned about the mix-up of the military effort with the humanitarian action. Recipients should know that the aid they are getting is free of political agendas. The Geneva Conventions define humanitarian action as neutral, independent and impartial.” Torrente is the group’s U.S. director.
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SAM BARRATT
Barratt is the spokesperson for Oxfam International in Islamabad. He said today: “Our main concern is getting food into the heartland of Afghanistan before the winter sets in — we only have four weeks.”
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For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; David Zupan, (541) 484-9167

Pakistan and India: Into the Nuclear Fire?

As Colin Powell visits Pakistan and India, the following analysts are available for interviews:

ZIA MIAN
Mian is co-editor of the book Out of the Nuclear Shadow and a researcher on South Asian security issues with the Program on Science and Global Security at Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. He said today: “The first and most immediate task is ensuring Pakistan’s stability: The longer the U.S. bombs Afghanistan, the more civilians get killed and the greater the refugee crisis, the more unstable the situation becomes. The second task is to cool tensions between India and Pakistan, as India pushes for action against Pakistani-supported radical Islamic groups fighting in Indian-occupied Kashmir. Third, the U.S. is lifting economic and military sanctions it imposed against India and Pakistan after their May 1998 nuclear tests, but it must ensure that there is no military build-up in the region. Otherwise, we shall jump out of the frying pan of terrorism and into the fire of a South Asian nuclear confrontation. Fourth, General Musharraf should not be allowed to use the current crisis to delay the elections and restoration of democratic government scheduled for next year.”
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JAY TRUMAN
Truman, one of the nation’s foremost authorities on nuclear weapons policy, is author of the article “India — Villain, Hero, or Scapegoat?” and director of the Downwinders organization. He said today: “Pakistan, the newest member of the nuclear weapons club, has approximately 30 nuclear weapons. Should the government of Pakistan fall as a result of its support of the U.S. strikes against Afghanistan — and should it be replaced with pro-Taliban forces — where will those weapons end up? By removing sanctions against India and Pakistan for developing nuclear weapons in return for support of our strikes against Afghanistan, we are junking the entire concept of opposition to nuclear proliferation.”
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JACQUELINE CABASSO and ANDREW LICHTERMAN
Cabasso is executive director of the Western States Legal Foundation, which just released the report “Nuclear Weapons in a Changed World: The Hidden Dangers of the Rush to War” and a report earlier this year titled “Looking for New Ways to Use Nuclear Weapons.” She said today: “The Bush administration has indicated that it intends a long war, and has hinted that it may attack other countries that it believes ‘harbor terrorists.’ Such a wider war could involve, directly or indirectly, Israel, the U.S., Pakistan, India, the U.K. and Russia — six of the eight countries known to have nuclear arms. U.S. officials already have explicitly refused to rule out the use of nuclear weapons in the current conflict. If the war continues to escalate, the U.S. government might ultimately use low-yield nuclear weapons, such as earth-penetrators to destroy mountain caves. These are billed as being ‘clean’ weapons but would potentially spew radioactive dirt over hundreds of miles and would cross a historical nuclear threshold.” Lichterman is program director at the Western States Legal Foundation.
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JOHN BURROUGHS
Burroughs is executive director of the Lawyers’ Committee on Nuclear Policy and author of the recent paper “A Rule-of-Law Response.”
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For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; David Zupan, (541) 484-9167

Critical Perspectives on the Current Crisis

SAM BARRATT
Barratt is the spokesperson for Oxfam International in Islamabad. He said today: “So much more needs to be done to prevent mass starvation in Afghanistan this winter. Prior to the crisis, the World Food Program, with the help of Oxfam and other groups, was feeding 3.7 million people. That has stopped. The airdrops will — at the very best — feed 130,000 people.”
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NASEER ARURI
Chancellor professor of political science at the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth, Aruri is author of the book The Obstruction Of Peace: The U.S., Israel and the Palestinians and the essay “America’s War Against Iraq: 1990-1999.” He said today: “Bush seems to be pleased that Arafat is reining in protests and free expression. There is still ambiguity on the U.S. stance on Iraq, though we should recall that the U.S. is continuing to bomb Iraq, as it has on a weekly basis for two years now. Bush’s emphasis that this is not a war against Islam does several things, including helping protect U.S. client regimes.”
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CHRIS TOENSING
Last night, President Bush said: “I’m amazed that there is such misunderstanding of what our country is about, that people would hate us.” Toensing, editor of Middle East Report, said today: “It’s not that Arab and Muslim people hate us, rather, they feel a deep ambivalence — they respect us as people, but are highly critical of our government’s policies. They see deep contradictions between our government’s stated goals and reality: It talks about self-determination, but it helps Israel deny that to the Palestinians. It talks about justice and fairness, but the U.S.-led sanctions on Iraq punish the Iraqi people for the crimes of their brutal dictator. It claims to be peaceful, but its bombing has already killed innocent people in Afghanistan.”
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BARBARA LUBIN
Director of the Middle East Children’s Alliance, Lubin said today: “The children in Afghanistan have been suffering for over 20 years. It is cynical for President Bush to ask American school children to each send one dollar to the White House to help them while our government is bombing their country day and night. We must look at our government’s policies in that region including the sanctions on the children of Iraq and our support for the brutal occupation of Palestine.”
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ELAINE HAGOPIAN
Hagopian, professor emerita of sociology at Simmons College in Boston and author of several articles on the Arab world, said today: “Since the end of World War II, when the U.S. took over where the colonial powers left off, the U.S. in essence has undermined democracy and supported so-called moderate Islamic regimes and so-called ‘liberal regimes’ — in which the president ‘wins’ 99 percent of the vote. In both cases they’re not democratic. As grievances have built up in the Mideast, the fanatic figures, whether they are Bin Laden or the Egyptian Islamic Jihad, are able to offer an outlet for that anger. Democracy in Arab countries would mean that popular opinion could be acted upon and that Arab states could deal with the U.S. based on equity.”
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For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; David Zupan, (541) 484-9167

First Amendment in Jeopardy?

MARK CRISPIN MILLER
Professor of media studies at New York University, Miller is author of Boxed In: The Culture of TV and author of the forthcoming Spectacle: Operation Desert Storm and the Triumph of Illusion. He said today: “It’s all too easy to use the need for operational security as an excuse to abridge our democratic freedoms.”

JANINE JACKSON
STEVE RENDALL
Jackson is program director of the media watch group FAIR (Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting). She said today: “White House officials have shown that they’re going to restrict and even manipulate information in this bombing campaign, but it’s not journalists’ role to aid them in that effort. We need critical, independent reporting now more than ever.” Rendall, FAIR senior analyst, said today: “Attempts at ‘information control’ always accompany U.S. military actions. The White House’s latest efforts to squelch dissent and shape the news are chilling and out of place in an open society. Just as troubling is the willingness of mainstream news outlets to sacrifice independent judgment to government desires.”
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JANE KIRTLEY
Silha Professor of Media Ethics and Law at the University of Minnesota, Kirtley wrote the recent article “Fighting Back Against Information Shutdown, at Home and Abroad.” She said today: “The government’s attempts to pressure the media regarding the airing of bin Laden’s statements are totally illegitimate. Government directives like this, especially to a regulated industry like broadcast and cable, carry the force of coercion, if not the force of law. The government should not be the arbiter of what is appropriate for the public to see and hear. What is one person’s propaganda is another person’s news.”

NORMAN SOLOMON
Solomon is executive director of the Institute for Public Accuracy. He said today: “In May 1991, the Washington editors of 15 major American news organizations sent a letter to Dick Cheney — then secretary of defense — decrying what they called the Pentagon’s ‘virtually total control’ over coverage of the Gulf War. Today, the government’s efforts to constrain media coverage are even more extreme. As a practical matter, the First Amendment is in peril. The independence of news media is essential to democracy.”
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JILL NELSON
Author of Volunteer Slavery: My Authentic Negro Experience and a columnist for MSNBC, Nelson said today: “Freedom of the press and freedom to dissent are as important now as they have ever been. The job of the media is not to act as a cheerleader for politicians and the military — we’ve seen this before to our detriment.”

DANNY SCHECHTER
A former producer with CNN and ABC’s “20/20,” Schechter is executive editor of the MediaChannel website. “We seem to be in for a new period of censorship, self-censorship and the muzzling of dissent,” Schechter said. Meanwhile, he commented, “music still has the power to do what journalism does so rarely: reinforce empathy, caring and a sense of a world with other possibilities.”
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For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; David Zupan, (541) 484-9167

Civil Liberties at Home: “Enduring Freedom”?

CHRISTOPHER SIMPSON
Professor of Communications at American University and author of the books Blowback, Science of Coercion and National Security Directives of the Reagan and Bush Administrations, Simpson said today: “The administration’s scapegoating of the U.S. Congress for supposedly leaking information is a good example of how extreme the administration’ secrecy policies are. The allegedly leaked information — a warning that terrorist retaliation could be expected following the current bombing of Afghanistan — was not really secret in any case. The Bush administration is setting about to dismantle 25 years of constitutional law that provides that the peoples’ records are in fact open to the people.”

STEVEN AFTERGOOD
Director of the Project on Government Secrecy at the Federation of American Scientists, Aftergood said today: “The administration’s stance on information reflects a disturbing administration indifference to congressional oversight and public accountability. It’s part of a pattern of expanding official secrecy. Secrecy is always a temptation — it minimizes controversy and undercuts political opposition.”
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JEANNE BUTTERFIELD
Executive director of the American Immigration Lawyers Association, Butterfield said today: “The current counter-terrorism legislation … contains several elements that are susceptible to possible overreaching, and powers that if abused could snare innocent victims in its widely-flung net.”
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DAVID COLE
Professor of law at the Georgetown University Law Center, Cole said today: “The proposed legislation violates core constitutional principles. In addition to imposing guilt by association, a philosophy the Supreme Court has condemned as ‘alien to the traditions of a free society and the First Amendment itself,’ the legislation creates patently unconstitutional detention authority. Preventive detention, the Supreme Court has ruled, is permissible only where accompanied by heightened procedural safeguards and limited to those who truly pose a current danger. Yet the bills’ mandatory detention provisions would subject immigrants accused of nothing more than a barroom brawl to potentially indefinite detention, without any showing that they pose a current danger to others or risk of flight, and without any administrative procedures for challenging their detention.”

JIM DEMPSEY
Dempsey, deputy director of the Center for Democracy and Technology, is knowledgeable about electronic surveillance and other aspects of the pending legislation.
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For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; David Zupan, (541) 484-9167