Nader: Support Rep. Conyers Call for Bush Impeachment Inquiry

Nader: Support Rep. Conyers Call for Bush Impeachment Inquiry

By Don DeBar, WBAI

Calling Bush "the most impeachable President in US history," former presidential candidate Ralph Nader called for nationwide support of Rep. John Conyers effort to open an impeachment inquiry into the "lies and deceptions" which led to the invasion of Iraq.

See links to video and audio of Nader's appearance last night in NYC.Video of Nader's speech (56 minutes) at www.regionalroundup.org/video/nader022505nyc.rm

Audio at www.regionalroundup.org/nader022505audio.mp3

In addition, Nader called for a referendum in Iraq on the occupation, which also appears at the Democracy Rising website, www.democracyrising.us as follows:

Dear Friends: Since freedom and democracy are such a good thing, why not put it to the people of Iraq – in a national referendum – whether or not they want us to leave? Why not give the Iraqi people the right to exercise their “democracy” and vote whether or not they want “freedom” from our military and corporate occupation? Why not? Because eighty percent of Iraqis want us out. So do a majority of Americans. Why? Because the occupation of Iraq is not about freedom and democracy. It is about oil and military occupation.

More and more Americans know the nature of the disaster that the Bush government, in our name, has created in oil-rich Iraq – over 100,000 Iraqi civilian lives lost (according to the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health), over 1,400 American lives lost, and thousands more seriously wounded and sick. People see the news stories describing the U.S. corporate takeover of Iraq through insider-deal corporate contractors with Bush administration donors.

Through the Democracy Rising Peace Project we will help ignite the American people to say – Bring the troops home, it is time for a responsible and rapid withdrawal from Iraq. Enough lives lost, enough billions spent – it is time to leave Iraq to the Iraqis.

The case against the war and occupation of Iraq, and the corporate takeover of our democracy is well documented. People want to know – what are we to do?

Now is the time to act. It is time to organize to end the illegal war and occupation of Iraq.

The U.S. corporate and military forces will end up pulling out of Iraq. The question is – when? Months? Years? Decades? After how many more preventable deaths, debilitating injuries and diseases? After how much destruction?

That's up to us. Together we can end the occupation and bring the troops home safely.


Ralph Nader

An American Journalist and Filmmaker Indicts Iraq Media Coverage

Danny Schechter, "News Dissector", Media Channel, ILCA Associate Member


It is complicated and problematic for a journalist to offer testimony at an international tribunal in another country. Most us tend to stay away the appearance of advocacy or even activism. Testifying overseas -- even to a citizen's panel like this, could be construed by some as presumptuous or even unpatriotic.

Yet I have come because I believe that our media like other institutions have a responsibility to be accountable, audit their own practices and acknowledge their errors and omissions.

We are living in an age of a profound global media crisis that goes beyond borders and boundaries.

Journalists who are closest to our media system-really 'embedded' in it -- are often in the best position to understand media practices and recount experiences. We know how the industry works and are most aware of the pressures journalists face from government interference and corporate control. It is time we woke up and spoke up. It is time we told the truth about our own institutions. We need higher standards and deeper values.I have been in journalism since my High School years.

I have been an investigative magazine reporter, a radio news director, and worked in television at the local and national levels with a long stint at ABC News and a shorter one at CNN. I have reported from 49 countries.

I am a media critic with six books in print and a columnist/blogger with MediaChannel.org, the world's largest online media issues network. As an independent filmmaker with my company Globalvision, I have made fifteen social issue documentaries. The latest, WMD (Weapons of Mass Deception) is about the media coverage of the Iraq War and is based in part on a book called EMBEDDED that I wrote on the subject.

I have come wearing all of these hats to discuss my findings in the belief that if we could agree on the existence of "Media crimes,' we would agree that many have been committed during the Iraq war. Some through insensitivity and indifference; others with a more conscious intent.

This is not a partisan issue. It raises deeper issues about the integrity of our democracies.

In point of fact, in earlier wars, media outlets and personalities have been indicted for their role in instigating conflict and contributing to it. The special International tribunal on Rwanda has pointed to the role of hate radio stations in inflaming a genocide. In the former Yugoslavia, TV stations in Serbia and Croatia became propaganda organs that incited ethnic cleansing and mass murder.

The Post World War 2 Nuremberg Trial established a precedent in this regard. I quote one article on what happened there:

"The prosecution case, argued by Drexel Sprecher, an American, placed considerable stress on the role of media propaganda in enabling the Hitler regime to prepare and carry out aggressive wars.

"The use made by the Nazi conspirators of psychological warfare is well known. Before each major aggression, with some few exceptions based on expediency, they initiated a press campaign calculated to weaken their victims and to prepare the German people psychologically for the attack. They used the press, after their earlier conquests, as a means for further influencing foreign politics and in maneuvering for the following aggression.

""Thus, the presentation of an illegal invasion of a foreign country as a "preventative" or pre-emptive war did not originate with Bush, Cheney or Rumsfeld.

"The prosecution raised an issue that is of the greatest relevance today: the role of Nazi media propaganda in inuring the German population to the sufferings of other peoples and, indeed, urging Germans to commit war crimes.

Historical parallels are never exact and I am not here to argue that because the Nazis distorted their media, the US or British media are Nazis. That is specious reasoning. But a broader point also argued at Nuremberg does have resonance today:

"The basic method of the Nazi propagandistic activity lay in the false presentation of facts. -- The dissemination of provocative lies and the systematic deception of public opinion were as necessary to the Hitlerites for the realization of their plans as were the production of armaments and the drafting of military plans. "


There were two wars going on in Iraq -- one was fought with armies of soldiers, bombs and a fearsome military force. The other was fought alongside it with cameras, satellites, armies of journalists and propaganda techniques. One war was rationalized as an effort to find and disarm WMDs -- Weapons of Mass Destruction; the other was carried out by even more powerful WMDs, Weapons of Mass Deception.

The TV networks in America considered their non-stop coverage their finest hour, pointing to the use of embedded journalists and new technologies that permitted viewers to see a war up close for the first time. But different countries saw different wars.


For those of us watching the coverage, the war was more of a spectacle, an around the clock global media marathon, pitting media outlets against each other in ways that distorted truth and raised as many questions about the methods of TV news, as the armed intervention it was covering-and it some cases-promoting.

This is not just traditional censorship.

Censorship, self-censorship and spinning seems common in every war as governments try to limit negative coverage and maximize reporting that will galvanize support on the home front. Every war inspires jingoism in sections of the media and deceptive coverage.

Sun Tsu the great Chinese analyst of war said that deception is a tool in every war, by definition. Wars happen because of deception. They are fought with deception. But what was often discussed in the past as a tactic or a tool has become a well deployed strategy with sophisticated high-tech information warfare doctrines guiding attempts to achieve strategic influence based on policies built on deception. This concept is deeply grounded in neo-conservative ideologies based on the work of the late University of Chicago philosopher Leo Strauss.

It is not accidental. It is deliberate.

Many in the Pentagon believe to this day that it was the media coverage that was responsible the loss of the Vietnam War. We saw a media war within that war too as former Washington Post reporter William Prochna remembers that before Vietnam:

"We had already endured a century full of wars. Heavily censored wars. So total was the government manipulation of public opinion in World War I that the chief U.S. propagandist charged with getting us into the fray later described his efforts as "the world's greatest adventure in advertising." Censorship was so uniformly accepted in World War II that Life magazine did not run a photograph of a dead American until 1943, and the director of the Office of Censorship was given a special Pulitzer Prize citation. The Cold War, with its threat of nuclear extinction, brought self-censorship to a new level.

"In Vietnam, At first, Kennedy actually believed he could fight it as the communists fought theirs - in secret. How could you censor a war you weren't fighting-- So Vietnam began uncensored and stayed uncensored. But Kennedy could not keep the war small and surely not secret

"Inevitably, Kennedy ran head-on into the beginning of the so-called "generation gap" that would haunt the '60s and -- or did Vietnam start both-- -- a massive sea change in American journalism. Wars are fought by the young. They are also reported by the young. And the young Vietnam reporters of the early '60s were neither constrained by censorship nor total-war certainties.

"Shockingly, they began to report that the emperor wore no clothes. Americans were dying. The government was lying. Perhaps the unkindest of cuts, the United States was losing despite the rosy optimism of inflated body counts and politicized "victories" in nonbattles fought by its South Vietnamese clients.

"Some of the early correspondents - David Halberstam of the New York Times, Neil Sheehan of UPI, Malcolm Browne, Arnett and Faas of AP - became legends and worked their way into history as surely as the policymakers. Sheehan, standing in an airport knot of reporters, once welcomed Defense Secretary Robert S. McNamara to Saigon with a loud, mocking stage whisper, "Ah, another foolish Westerner come to lose reputation to Ho Chi Minh." The sea change was not without its bruises among the reporters. Most of them still in their 20s, the reporters were attacked as too young and inexperienced by Kennedy's government and chased down as communist sympathizers by the South Vietnamese secret police. They also were assaulted, their patriotism questioned, by the old guard in the press corps, veterans of the "last good war" against the Germans and Japanese.

"With Vietnam over, the study groups, seminars and lectures at the War College began the preparation for handling the media in the inevitable wars to come. If censorship couldn't be the rule, outflanking would_Time has not narrowed the gulf. "


So what we have had is large amounts of money and manpower invested in controlling the media. At the same time, with mounting media consolidation, with the corporatization of the news biz and its integration into show biz, there was a sea change inside the media business. This is the context that is often missed with all the Bush bashing. One man did not organize this war.

It took powerful institutions: A military industrial MEDIA complex.

We have to put it in the context not just of US foreign policy but of the way our modern media system works. Viewers in Italy have watched how your TV system -- from RAI to private channels -- has been Berlusconized. You know what I am talking about. Here you have an unholy alliance of media and government power In the US, corporate media has become a handmaiden of special interests.

News managers who were not journalists took over and bottom line pressures begat infotainment and more and more celebrity coverage. Pundits soon outnumbered journalists. Journalism schools started producing more PR experts than reporters.

The government took PR to a new level: It is called Perception Management and it treats war as a product to be "rolled out" and promoted. It is serious and systematic.

24 hour cable news channels offered more news, not better news. They soon degenerated into a headline hit parade. Investigative reporting had long since given way to "breaking news" free of context and background, In-depth documentaries disappeared from the prime time environment. Reality-based programming replaced reports anchored in reality.

Anchormen complained that the media had gone from being a watchdog to a lap dog but did nothing about it..

It was this transformation of the media system -- implemented over twenty years with an assist by deregulation of public interest laws -- that made the media a willing accomplice -- especially in the post 911 environment of fear and patriotic correctness. When news anchors started emulating politicians by wearing American flags in their lapels, it became clear that the news media was being integrated into what amounted to a state run media system.

Soon there were embedded reporters narrowly focusing their reports on the ground campaign while the air attacks, use of prohibited weapons, special covert operations teams and civilian casualties went uncovered. It was deliberate but occasioned little comment with news networks seeking Pentagon approval for their on-camera experts and former generals to offer sports-like play by play assessments, Reporters in the field began to identify with the soldiers often saying "WE" when they began their reports as if their news organizations were part of the war -- as they were. Hollywood story telling techniques replaced fact based journalism with a master narrative and "message points" influencing media coverage. Hollywood producers and graphic artists were recruited to give war coverage high production values. It was like a movie shoot. Time Magazine called it "militainment.

"The US military commander Tommy Franks created a "Secret Plan" which was quietly leaked to friendly journalists like those at Fox News. He spoke of the media as "the fourth front" of the war, not a separate and autonomous fourth estate. No wonder CNN's Christianne Amanpour would later admit: "It looks like this was disinformation at the highest levels.

"It didn't just look that way. It was that way.

She charged th tat her own network was "muzzled" and blamed not just the government but the "bully boys" at Rupert Murdoch';s Fox Network. In a hyper competitive environment, no journalists or networks want to be accused of backing terrorists. When the President says repeatedly you are "either with us or the terrorists" a clear signal is sought. Media companies that need favors, access to power,and regulatory rule changes are unlikely to become a critical platform, It is not in their interest. In this environment, you get along by going along. That's what most did.

One result: out of 800 experts on all the US channels from the run -up to the war until April 9 2003 when the statues were brought down by the US military and a carefully assembled crowd of US supporters, only six opposed the war.

Only six!

The media environment was soon charged with a mix of seductive co-optation that gave selected journalists access to the front lines and military protection and intimation, attacks on critical reporting, denunciations of journalists who stepped out of line and even, some charge the deliberate targeting and killing of journalists in incidents such as the one at the Palestine Hotel.

My film WMD -- Weapons of Mass Deception -- reports in these incidents and quotes the distinguished historian of the media and war, Phillip Knightly as saying that he now believes that the firing on media sites was deliberate. CNN's Eason Jordan told a panel; at the World Economic Forum in January 2005 that journalists were targeted. When challenged, he seems to have backed away from his initial claim that 12 journalists had been killed by the US military. There has yet to be an independent investigation.

Please understand, this does not add up to a critique of a few lapses or media mistakes. It is not a catalogue of errors or flaws. It was planned and formatted, pre-produced and aired with high production values and designed to persuade, not just informed.

Yes, some news organizations including the Washington Post and NY Times did limited media-culpas and admitted they were not critical enough especially on the WMD issue which turned out to be total hoax despite repeated assurances over months that they were there, had to be there, would be found etc. etc. Once this fraud was unmasked the Administration and the media shifted message points, and asserted that the WMD's that were pictured as threat to the world were no longer terribly important. They were counting on the public's short attention span.

More recently we saw that the Iraqi election in which voters came out to demand an end to occupation was spun as vindication of the Administration's war policy. The focus was on their bravery, not their motivation. President Bush was clearly the winner with a rise in public opinion approval.

The template and routines of pro-war coverage continue even as the public turns against the war. Critics still have to fight for airtime while Administration officials and pro-war Democrats are constantly on the air.What does all this mean--

That we live in a mediaocracy, not a democracy.

That our media which enjoys constitutional protections to act as a guardian of democracy is actively undermining it. Media intimidation made it impossible for our opposition party to even make the war an issue. John Kerry was viciously demonized for his opposition to the Vietnam War and his service record was distorted -- for weeks. This is a pattern that has not changed.

That is why this issue is so relevant and timely.

What we are seeing is a crime against democracy and the public's right to know.

It is a crime against the people of Iraq who have suffered and died in large numbers in this war even though the extent of it is not reported. We have had coverage of torture incidents but no real investigation of the responsibility of decision makers. Only a handful of journalists follow that story closely including Seymour Hersh who exposed the My Lai massacre in Vietnam. He publishes in a smaller magazine, not a big newspaper.

This is a crime against our soldiers whose grueling experience goes largely unreported as do their casualties and psychological traumas.

It is a crime against the profession of journalism that has been shamelessly distorted even as many conscientious reporters soldier on, often in an alternative media that reaches smaller audience. Crimes demand exposure and punishment.

That's why I have come all this way to Rome, to add the voice of an American journalist to the call for consequences for these crimes and more debate about them in the anti-war movement. This kind of media complicity has to be challenged, refuted, condemned and opposed.

This World Tribunal is doing it. That's why I am here.

Will this Tribunal be covered -- or covered up--

The fight for a free and independent media is a global fight. We need to show solidarity with each other. Journalists in other countries need to appreciate the fact that many Americans are speaking out and to understand the pressures we are under.

We need to dialogue with each other and support media freedom.

I have come in hope that our MediaChannel.org will attract more help and support worldwide. While the media watches the world. We have to watch the media. I have come to offer my film WMD Weapons of Mass Deception for worldwide screenings.

I have come to stand up and be counted, to offer myself. That's all I can do. Grazie.


Embedded in the Spin Cycle...of Mass Deception

Embedded in the Spin Cycle...

Isaac Baker

NEW YORK, Feb 15 (IPS) - An incisive new documentary is taking aim at the U.S. media's one-sided coverage of the war in Iraq, arguing that its collective complicity deceived the populace and made the war possible.

"WMD: Weapons of Mass Deception", which cost just 200,000 dollars to produce, points to a wide array of failures in the accuracy of the reporting, as well as an unwillingness to question the George W. Bush administration's claims and actions.

It was produced by Danny Schechter, a self-proclaimed "network refugee" who worked for CNN and as a producer for a prominent television news show.

"This is the central problem of our democracy," he told IPS in an interview. "This isn't a sidebar issue. You can't have a democracy when people aren't being informed."

The film documents the U.S. media's near-unanimous acceptance of the George W. Bush administration's claim that Iraqi President Saddam Hussein possessed nefarious weapons of mass destruction (WMD), and therefore must be removed from power by unilateral U.S. military action.

The film also attacks the media's credulity of alleged links between Hussein and the al-Qaeda terrorist network -- claims that were unsupported by any actual evidence.

"The fact that they [the media] allowed the Bush administration to manipulate the truth so grossly and so nakedly in the run-up to the war made the war possible," Eric Alterman, media critic and writer for the Nation magazine, says in the film.

Schechter told IPS he was disturbed at the adherence to the government's line and lack of journalistic questioning among U.S. news outlets before and during the Iraq war, a time he calls "a really shameful period for journalism."

"It hints at the emergence of a state media system in our country," he said.

The film references a study by the media watchdog Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR) of on-camera sources used in television news in the run-up to the war. Out of 1,167 experts brought on camera during news broadcasts, the study shows, only three percent opposed the U.S.-led invasion.

"You had this incredible imbalance where people who were critical couldn't be heard," he said.

The film argues that this marginalisation of dissent and the media's refusal to question the war in Iraq was in part due to journalists and networks fear of being seen as "unpatriotic."

"In the post 9/11 media there was a lot of patriotic political correctness," Schechter said. "You have a president who says, 'You're either with us or with the terrorists,' so if you criticise him you're with the terrorists. This created an intimidating environment."

One aspect of the "media war" the film deals with in detail is the vast number of "embedded" reporters in Iraq, a policy that Schechter says led to jingoistic coverage.

An embedded reporter eats, sleeps, and lives every day with a specific group of U.S. troops. The policy was championed by the Pentagon media chief Victoria Clarke and other public relations experts in the Defence Department, who had been planning it before the war started.

The film argues that since an embedded reporter's life is essentially in the hands of the soldiers, and they spend so much time together under extreme circumstances, the reporter grows attached to the troops. The bond that is formed jeopardises the reporter's ability to be accurate and objective and leads to cheerleading instead of critical journalism, Schechter says.

In the film, several embedded journalists talk about their experiences on the front.

"We got to know these soldiers and we wanted them to be successful," says Gwendolen Cates, a reporter for People magazine who was embedded with U.S. troops in Iraq. "How will I be able to handle it if one of my soldiers dies?"

Schechter believes that the problem of media irresponsibility goes deeper than just a few journalists or networks who reported the war in a biased manner.

"It's hard to get people to see this as an institutional problem," Schechter told IPS. "They focus first on policy failure, second on intelligence failure. I'm saying no, it's a media failure."

"WMD" has already received international acclaim and is being screened at theatres from Scotland to Australia. It won the Austin Film Festival and Denver Film Festival Awards for best documentary.

However, the documentary has also seen its share of criticism, much of it from the very U.S. media corporations and outlets the film targets.

Some critics have argued that Schechter's film is a poor spin-off of Michael Moore's 2004 high-grossing documentary "Fahrenheit 9/11." Vanity Fair magazine said Schechter was merely trying to "out Michael Moore Michael Moore."

Schechter, however, was quick to point out to IPS that he made his first documentary in 1968, years before Moore's debut.

The film is scheduled to come out on DVD in March to coincide with the second anniversary of the invasion of Iraq. (END/2005)

"Weapons of Mass Deception"

...to Change the World...


Maximum-want-speed is not sustainable

i think so much of the problem traces back to this statement:

Really, ALL of our success boils down to two things: establishing a government designed to ensure maximum personal freedom, and not screwing up as badly as the other guys

maximum personal freedom versus optimal personal freedom is the confounding dilemma that encapsulates the essential crack in the right-wing philosophy. the confusion of the two establishes or maybe derives from the hierarchy of motivation where paramount is simply "what's essential is to meet my wants and needs, i'll then deal with the luxury of the needs and wants of others".

the problem with this?

the maximal-want-speed crowd live as social animals in a society that also suffers from qualification by the same "maximal vs. optimal" dichotomy.

imho, there's a 'slippage' that has played out in the longer-term picture only catching up to us now. that slippage comes from the cumulative effect of multitudinous individuals operating at maximal want-speed taking its time to impact a society operating functional, rather than at optimal and sustainable speed.

in living maximal want-speed lifestyle, it's effectively a multi-level-ponzi scheme where one person convinces ten that they should forward a dollar to the first guy and to forward the 'send-me-a-dollar' letter to ten others each of who'd be convinced do the same. participants must span the range of belief between 'real-world resources are infinite' to 'take mine and run before wider discovery that the 'buck stops somewhere' at the bottom of the pyramid. the latter need the former.

anyone familiar with ecosystem-level biology knows how this plays out in realms based on the laws of physics (aka, 'reality' :-). for a couple of centuries, americans have enjoyed what we're essentially treated as a seeming infinity of resources and no competition by other predators. but i think we're now facing what befalls any population that expands to meet the limits of resources in the physical realm.

money is obviously a large part of the mechanism allowing us to convert 'real world resources' to their trade equivelant for easy transport. our monetary system enables the translation of belief into slippage in the form of 'future value' and interest, partly. you know markets, though, 'all available information' doesn't necessarily reflect 'all available reality'.

the new american century is all about how the CONs think the maximal-want-rate slippage game can be sustained. that's why oil regions and defense were so clearly the agenda points of 'rebuilding america's defenses': the ponzi scheme has cycled through too many iterations of 'it's your lucky day' letter-forwarding, those who know that the buck must stop somewhere have already globalized. the base of the pyramid, society at function-speed, is still about 50% anesthetized by belief in infinite resources and the distraction of external predators that emerge as we push the edge of the near horizon.

slippage is the difference between current reality and the value expected to be extractable in the future. the CONs know that psychotropic drugs like 'liberty' and 'purple mountains majesty' have a great track record, 'hell, we live that everyday'! the maximum-rate guys know that they'll be outta the way when one end of that slippage line meets the other and it won't matter whether they've screwed up as badly as the other guys. they've created their own realities in new markets elsewhere!

if Jesus hasn't returned in the meantime.
You can fool some of the people all of the time and those are the ones you want to concentrate on. -- George W. Bu$h, Washington, DC March 31, 2001
btw, i think that this is the extreme expression of RW philosophy, of those willing to use it so cynically. i don't think it characterizes you, jim, or i believe you wouldn't be involved in this whole effort.


IPA Board of Advisors

Steven Atkin, President, Director
David Balsiger, Author, Film Producer
Ted Beckett, P.N.N.
David W. Breese, Author, Television Host
Bob Hawkins, Sr., Publisher
Kevin Johnson, Author, Radio Host
Pat Shaughnessy, Radio Talk Show Host
David Lewis, Ph.D., Author, Television Host
Hal Lindsey, Author, Television Host
Caryl Matrisciana, Author, Writer
Robert Pascoe, Producer
Chuck Missler, Author, Lecturer
John Morris, Ph.D., I.C.R.
Dennis Stahl, Attorney, Producer
Ed Steele, Ed Steele Agency
Bob Unger, Attorney, Radio Host
Dan Wooding, Author, Columnist