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|POLITICS AND THE INTERNET
"Bloggers' Boulevard" internet web loggers get press credentials at the Democratic National Convention
INFILTRATION OF THE BLOGGERS
At least 15,000 journalists from standard news organizations are covering the Democratic National Convention in Boston this week. Official accreditation has gone to only 35 bloggers, but in a heavily scripted event with few surprises and run by a group of politicians desperately afraid of making mistakes, the bloggers may have some of the most interesting comments. The Wall Street Journal profiles some of the Internet reporters who will be writing. (WSJ, July 26, 2004)
• Cyberjournalist.net offers links to the major blogs
• New York internet entrepreneur Andrew Rasiej helped conceptualize Howard Dean's internet strategy. Rasiej's website Personal Democracy Forum provides access to innovative thinking of how to use the net for political organization. (http://www.personaldemocracyforum.com)
•NYU's Jay Rosen refutes the charge that conventions are nothing more than political infomercials...
Rosen, who received convention accreditation for his own blog (http://www.pressthink.org), suggests that it's a bit inconsistent to claim that an event powerful enough to attract 15,000 news reporters and pundits has little or no news interest. (Jay Rosen, Pressthink, July 26, 2004)•Rosen responds to Alex S. Jones' comment that the bloggers offer more "sizzle" than "steak." •Alex S. Jones' original essay in the L.A. Times
•The Washington Post's Howard Kurtz on the phenomenon
SKEPTICISM ABOUT THE VALUE OF INTERNET ADVERTISING
USC's Online Journalism Review notes that the internet is obviously having an impact on politics, but we'll have to wait a bit until that translates into increased internet political ad revenues.(OJR, July 26, 2004)
MICHAEL MOORE PLANS TO PERSONALLY ATTEND SHOWING OF FAHRENHEIT 9/11 IN CRAWFORD, TEXAS
After earning more than $100 million for his cinematic attack against George Bush, Moore plans to show the film at the ramshackle "Crawford Peace house" in the President's backyard. Crawford mayor Robert Campbell, a Methodist minister, endorsed John Kerry recently and has regretted the furor it created ever since. According to a Pew survey, only 9% of the people who have seen Moore's film have been Republicans, and Crawford's tiny population has reveled in the attention that Bush has brought the place. A shop in Crawford recently sold 40 T-shirts with Moore's name crossed out, and Vote Bush 2004 stenciled across the front (Mike Allen, Washington Post, July 25, 2004) •Moore's film stretches the definition of documentary Geoffrey O'Brien notes in the current issue of The New York Review of Books, that Moore's films "are not so much documentaries as films that contain documents..." Fahrenheit is unabashedly polemical and one-sided, and it has gained force partly because of the over-the-top reactions it has sparked from Republicans. (Geoffrey O'Brien, NYRB, July-August, 2004)
PROTECTING YOURSELF FROM TERRORIST ATTACKS
RAND analyzes a logical approach for individuals to react as efficiently as possible if they do find themselves caught up in a terrorist incident. This book is both interesting, and makes exceptional good sense. (RAND, July 2004--pdf 232 pages) •Britain issues its own advice for personal protection during terrorist incidents (The Guardian, July 26, 2004)
ISRAEL ASKS ITSELF WHETHER GAZA WITHDRAWAL WILL LEAD TO A SURGE IN INTERNAL VIOLENCE
Israelis celebrate Tisha B'Av this week--a time to commemorate a series of catastrophes ranging from the destruction of the first and second temple to the holocaust. Some opponents to Sharon's intention to withdraw from Gaza compare the plan to the early stages of the Jewish catastrophes of World War II, and the resistance could turn violent. (Haaretz, July 26, 2004) •130,000 Israeli protesters locked arms in a human chain Sunday to protest Gaza pullout; Sharon is determined to go ahead with withdrawal
"I have decided to continue with the disengagement plan, " Sharon said, "because it is clear that Israel cannot remain in control of the Gaza Strip." (Maariv, July 26, 2004)•For Arafat physical death is preferable to political death Arafat has never had a personal life. He has no real existence outside al Fatah. To give up even marginal power is to die in avery real sense. (Danny Rubinstein, Haaretz, July 26, 2004)
U.S. MOVES TO PROTECT TERRORIST GROUP FORMERLY BACKED BY SADDAM
By awarding protected status to the Mujaheddin al Khalq in Iraq, the U.S. avoids pressure to turn members of the group over to Iran. Despite the group's involvement in bombing and other terrorist actions, some neoconservatives had hoped to use the group at some point to spearhead a new front against Iran. (Al Jazeera, July 26, 2004)
WHAT WILL THE U.S. DO ABOUT THE FACT THAT 70% OF THE WORLD'S OIL IS IN ISLAMIC COUNTRIES?
From the Arab point of view, Osama Bin Laden provided the U.S. with a ready made excuse for asserting control over the energy it needs to survive. Oil was the prime motive behind the U.S. and British plot to overthrow Iran's prime minister Mosadeq in 1953, Salameh Nematt writes in Dar Al Hayat that the Iranians apparently didn't learn their lesson the first time around. (Salameh Nematt, Dar Al Hayatt, July 26, 2004)
•The Oil We Eat Richard Manning writes in Harpers that oil really is essential to what we eat:" Oil is annual primary productivity stored as hydrocarbons, a trust fund of sorts, built up over many thousands of years. On average, it takes 5.5 gallons of fossil energy to restore a year’s worth of lost fertility to an acre of eroded land—in 1997 we burned through more than 400 years’ worth of ancient fossilized productivity, most of it from someplace else. Even as the earth beneath Iowa shrinks, it is being globalized. " (Richard Manning, Harpers, February 2004)
FRANCE CASHES IN ON IRAN'S BOOMING AUTO INDUSTRY
The Logan a joint project between Renault and Pars, Iran's automobile manufacturer, plans to produce 300,000 cars a year, starting in 2006. If the project works, production will very likely be stepped up to 500,000 cars a year, with an investment of $363 million.
(Agence France Presse in Beirut's Daily Star, July 26, 2004)
CHINA STRATEGY NEWSLETTER
The Center for Strategic and International Studies and Chinese Media Net collaborate on a background briefing updating foreign policy developments between the U.S. and China. The most notable development is a shift from competition towards collaboration. (CSIS, July 2004--53 pages pdf)
CHINA'S HABEAS CORPUS
Wang Guoqi, a doctor in the Chinese army, testified in 2001 that China was still harvesting organs and skingrafts for transplant from executed prisoners. Wang extracted organs and skin from more than 100 prisoners during a long career--most often in secrecy.
(Wang Guoqi, Harpers, July 11, 2004)
A DIARY FROM DARFUR
John Heeneman, a project coordinator for Doctors Without Borders (Medecins sans Frontiers) describes the daily routine of trying to stop a humanitarian catastrophe.
(John Heeneman, Doctors Without Borders, July 7-14, 2004)
|Another car bomb in a war that is beginning to resemble a quagmire. On the average, two U.S. servicemen or women are killed almost every day the war in Iraq continues.
TERRORISTS USE THE INTERNET, TOO
Detective work by Spanish police quickly pinned the bombing of a Madrid train last March to Islamic terrorists. What really surprised investigators, though, was the fact that the strategy for the attack was explained in minute detail in a paper that was anyone interested in reading it on the internet. The blueprint for a terrorist strategy directed against the U.S. occupation in Iraq was part of a masterplan openly displayed in Arabic at an Islamic website. It had been translated months earlier by Forsvarets Forskningsinstitutt, a Norwegian military strategy think tank near Oslo. Lawrence Wright describes the history of the case in the current issue of The New Yorker.
•A synopsis and analysis of the document is available at the Forsvarets Forskningsinstitutt website
The U.S. plans its defense strategy according to certain western cultural operatives. We expect other countries to respond predictably, and when they don't we consider them to be recalcitrant or irrational. In the past a number of countries were dependent on the U.S. and went along with an American vision. The U.S. no longer has the economic and military preponderance it had before, and a new approach is needed. In a study prepared for the U.S. Army War College's Institute of Strategic Studies, Larry Rogers analyzes how the changed situation applies to U.S. relations with northern Asia. (Larry Rogers, Institute of Strategic Studies, U.S. Army War College, June 2004)
U.S. SECURITY: A QUESTION OF VISION
Fareed Zakaria, writing in Newsweek, notes that the obsession with bureaucratic reform for U.S. intelligence agencies misses the point. What is needed is a comprehensive global strategy to confront the threats facing the U.S. today. The War on Terror may not be the best metaphor. After the fighting in Afghanistan subsided, a more comprehensive approach was called for--one that still projects military power, but also relies on diplomacy, international aid and all the levers available to the U.S. (Newsweek, July 26, 2004)
The Security Policy Working Group
Hartung, Marcus Corbin, Winslow T. Wheeler,Lucy Webster
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