Apr 1 2005

Blunting Bolton’s Problems

The day after George W. Bush nominated John Bolton as the new American envoy to the United Nations, the headline in the New York Times (3/8/05) was “Bush Nominates Weapons Expert as Envoy to U.N.” But calling him an “expert” might need a little explanation–and the Times should know this as well as anyone. In September 2003, Bolton was set to testify before Congress about various weapons threats around the world. The Times‘ Judith Miller wrote a story in advance (9/16/03), noting that Bolton was worried about Syria’s chemical weapons systems, and claiming that Bolton’s take was backed up by […]

Jul 1 2004

A Timely Scandal

Oil-for-food charges conveniently tarnish U.N.

With its policy in Iraq flailing, the Bush administration has lately made a great show of delegating authority over the country’s political future to the United Nations. For some dyed-in-the-wool conservatives, this is heresy. And for some reviled Iraqi exile politicians, notably Ahmed Chalabi, it is a threat. So perhaps it is not surprising that just as plans for the transfer of sovereignty were being finalized, a U.N. “scandal” involving the world body’s now-defunct humanitarian program in Iraq splashed onto the front pages and op-ed sections of the nation’s newspapers. “Disturbing evidence to date suggests that U.N. officials may have […]

Mar 5 2004

Martin Bright on UN spying Barry Lando on William Safire’s errors

Download MP3 This week: a British and American plan to spy on United Nations delegations in New York has been big news in Britian, opening a debate over the diplomatic struggles leading up to the war with Iraq, and the legality of the war itself. The US media, though, has hardly batted at an eye at the story. We’ll talk to one of the lead reporters on this story, Martin Bright of the Observer, about what they’ve been reporting, and why he thinks the story has failed to attract attention here in America. Also on Counterspin: When a veteran journalist […]

Oct 7 2003

Times Corrects Iraq Inspections Myth

In the wake of a FAIR action alert, the New York Times printed the following correction on Saturday, October 4: An article on Wednesday about renewed criticism of the Bush administration for its handling of intelligence before the Iraq war misstated the circumstances under which international weapons inspectors left Iraq in 1998. They were withdrawn by the United Nations, not expelled by Saddam Hussein. Hundreds of FAIR activists wrote to the Times after a recent report (9/29/03) repeated as fact a charge by Secretary of State Colin Powell that weapons inspectors were thrown out of the country in 1998. According […]

Nov 1 2002

A Scoop They’d Rather Forget

U.N. spying scandal goes from fact to allegation

Nothing makes a newspaper prouder than a juicy foreign policy scoop. Except, it seems, when the scoop ends up raising awkward questions about a U.S. admin­istration’s drive for war. Back in 1999, major papers ran front-page investigative stories reveal­ing that the CIA had covertly used U.N. weapons inspectors, known as UN­SCOM, to spy on Iraq for the U.S.’s own intelligence purposes. “United States officials said today that American spies had worked undercover on teams of United Nations arms inspectors,” the New York Times reported (1/7/99). According to the Washington Post (3/2/99), the U.S. “infiltrated agents and espionage equipment for three […]

Dec 1 2000

Muffled Coverage of U.N. Vote

Media ignore broad Mideast consensus

U.S. media have been ignoring or downplaying an important dimension of the ongoing turmoil in the Middle East. On October 7, the United Nations Security Council voted 14 to 0 for a resolution condemning Israel’s “excessive use of force against Palestinians” and deploring the “provocation” of Israeli opposition leader Ariel Sharon’s September 28 visit to the Temple Mount. The United States was the only Security Council member to abstain from the vote, which it did after trying to soften the language of the resolution. The outcome was generally interpreted as assigning most of the responsibility for the violence to Israel. […]

May 1 1991

U.N.-Reliable Figures

In the wake of the Gulf War, a New York Timeseditorial (4/15/91) claimed that since the end of the Cold War, the U.N. Security Council is “no longer paralyzed by Soviet vetoes.” The comment shows that Cold War propaganda lives on: For years, it hasn’t been the USSR that has been paralyzing the Security Council, but the USA. Since the beginning of the Reagan administration, the U.S. has led the world with 47 vetoes of council resolutions. In the same time period, Britain used the veto 15 times and France cast seven. The USSR, constantly blamed in the U.S. press […]