Apr
01
2002

Learning Nothing From Wen Ho Lee

In a January 26 news article about possible suspects in the anthrax cases last year, the New York Times seemed to confuse the idea of nationality and criminality. “One person on the short list is from Somalia and did graduate work in biology at a Midwestern university that possessed anthrax, including the Ames strain used in the letter attacks,” the paper reported. “A Muslim, the student repeatedly sent money home to Mogadishu, the Somali capital well known for its feuding warlords and terrorists.” These facts about the grad student were presented as if they were grounds for suspicion--indeed, these were […]

Apr
01
2002

Behind the Pentagon's Propaganda Plan

On February 19, the New York Times reported that a new group within the Pentagon, the Office of Strategic Influence, was "developing plans to provide news items, possibly even false ones, to foreign media organizations." The revelation was met with outrage, and within a week the Pentagon had closed down the OSI, saying that negative media attention had damaged the office’s reputation so much "that it could not operate effectively" (AP, 2/26/02). The Bush administration moved swiftly to disavow the use of disinformation and tried, unconvincingly, to distance itself from the OSI. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld claimed that he had […]

Apr
01
2002

Crime Against Humanity--or Matter of Opinion?

When Slobodan Milosevic was first taken before the tribunal at the Hague last year, USA Today applauded the event (7/3/01): Putting Milosevic on trial for his "wars of ethnic cleansing," which "left thousands dead and displaced," the paper wrote, could succeed in "deterring future world leaders bent on genocide or other atrocities." The tribunal, in the paper's view, could "lessen the likelihood of conflict and atrocities by setting global rules, penalties and institutions for governing global behavior." Those are worthy sentiments, even if the tribunal, an institution funded by Milosevic's NATO enemies, is not the best instrument for dispensing impartial […]