Silencing Save the Children

The British wing of the Save the Children charity was ordered to stop critizing the U.S.-led coalition's military occupation of Iraq, after it issued a statement saying that "lack of cooperation from the coalition forces is a breach of the Geneva conventions and its protocols, but more importantly the time now being wasted is costing children their lives." Kevin Maguire reports that the incident exposed "tensions within an alliance that describes itself as 'the world's largest independent global organisation for children' but which is heavily reliant on governments and big business for cash


Media Kept From Soldier Funerals

"The Pentagon took another step in distancing the media from US casualties of war last week with the announcement of new restrictions on funeral coverage at Arlington National Cemetery (ANC)," PR Week's Douglas Quenqua reports. "Any reporter wanting to cover a soldier's funeral at the Virginia cemetery will now be required to stay within a distant, roped-off area. This 'bullpen' is described as an area far enough away from the proceedings that a clergyman or family member's words cannot be clearly heard.


The Memory Hole

The New York Times has profiled Russ Kick's "memory hole" web site, which saves official documents from oblivion and posts them online. "I'm certainly not a journalist in the normal sense of the word," Kick says. "I'm more of an information archaeologist. I'm trying to get the stuff that's either been purposely buried or just covered over by time."


Leaky Leak-Plugging

"Concerned about the appearance of disarray and feuding within his administration as well as growing resistance to his policies in Iraq, President Bush - living up to his recent declaration that he's in charge - told his top officials to 'stop the leaks' to the media, or else," report Joseph L. Galloway and James Kuhnhenn. "News of Bush's order leaked almost immediately.


Journalists Frustrated With White House Secrecy

One of America's leading newspaper executives took the Bush administration to task Wednesday for what he termed an "unsettling trend toward governmental secrecy." Tony Ridder is chairman of the Newspaper Association of America, the industry's largest and most important trade organization. Speaking at an October 8 luncheon at the National Press Club, Ridder said the current fear, frustration and anger felt by many veteran journalists in the nation's capital is "unprecedented, even going back to the dark days of Watergate."


The Spin War Trumps the War on Terror

The White House official who leaked the identity of CIA operative Valerie Plame did more than attack a political enemy, writes Shaun Waterman. Plame worked for the CIA "on the very issue the Bush administration says was at the heart of its decision to go to war with Iraq: weapons of mass destruction. ... Plame's outing, whomever did it, has damaged the very effort the White House said it was pursuing in going to war in the first place. A very important line has been crossed here. The integrity of the policy goals - non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction - is now seen by at least some in the White House as less important than the integrity of the message - we didn't exaggerate the case against Iraq. ... The message seems to have trumped everything, even the need to get it right in the war on terror." And as Walter Shapiro notes in USA Today, the Plame flap is only one of several scandalous recent developments related to the war in Iraq. "In the past week, three major Iraq-related developments should have, in theory, caused lasting embarrassment to the Bush administration," Shapiro writes. "But because none of these flaps touched on illegality, they have been treated as one-day stories."


Saying Bye-Bye to "Hi"

The U.S. State Department has launched Hi, a glossy, Arabic-language magazine intended to "build bridges of communication" between Arabs and the United States. Described by its editors as a non-political, lifestyle magazine, "Hi" features happy talk about topics such as sand-surfing, Internet dating, rock climbing and yoga.


Iraq's Governing Council Bans Arab News Networks

"Iraq's U.S.-appointed Governing Council today temporarily banned two popular Arab satellite television stations from covering the council's news conferences and entering government ministries because of what it called 'irresponsible activities' that threaten the country's 'democracy and stability' and encourage terrorism," the Washington Post reports. Al-Jazeera and al-Arabiya were slapped with a two-week "penalty" for allegedly violating "media-conduct rules," which were outlined for the first time in today's edict.



Subscribe to Secrecy