Secrecy

Koppel Says Yes to Military Censorship

"If and when a press corps of 3000 to 5000 lands with the U.S. military in Iraq, should they be prohibited from broadcasting the war live, using their videophones and satellite dishes? Yes, under some circumstances, says Nightline anchor Ted Koppel."

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Bodies? What Bodies?

War correspondent Leon Daniel was puzzled by the lack of corpses at the tip of the Neutral Zone between Saudi Arabia and Iraq on Feb. 25, 1991. Clearly there had been plenty of killing on the previous day, which marked the beginning of the ground war in Operation Desert Storm. But there were no visible signs of carnage because the army had already plowed dirt over all of the bodies. "What happened at the Neutral Zone that day has become a metaphor for the conduct of modern warfare," writes Patrick Sloyan.

No

A One-Way Information Highway

"Nothing more starkly illustrates the federal government's post-Sept. 11 desire to learn more about its citizens and to divulge less about itself than the new homeland security legislation," write James Kuhnhenn and Drew Brown. "Approved by the Senate last week and destined for President Bush's signature, the bill would make it easier for government agencies to gather information about individuals and groups, including their e-mail, the phone calls they place, and the Web sites they view.

No

Silencing Whistleblowers at Yucca Mountain

In our book, Toxic Sludge Is Good For You, we reported on the U.S. government's disastrous PR campaign to build public support in Nevada for a high-level nuclear waste dump at Yucca Mountain. Now two workers at the Yucca Mountain Project to dispose of high-level nuclear waste say they were fired or transferred after raising concerns about the project's safety.

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The Covert Biotech War

PR Watch has posted previous reports on the biotech food industry's use of the Internet to fake independent criticism of anti-GM groups. Now George Monbiot, who has also reported on deceptive biotech practices, takes a look at recent efforts to use hunger in Africa as a marketing hook for genetically modified foods.

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Sir Michael Slays Censors of "The Quiet American"

Last year PR Watch noted that since 9/11 Hollywood is working with the White House on US global propaganda efforts. Apparently some in Hollywood see film censorship as part of their patriotic duty. The New York Times reported this October that "a cataclysmic event can change the fate of a movie. One example is The Quiet American, the ... adaptation of Graham Greene's 1955 novel. ... Miramax executives worried ... [it] ...could be seen as a searing critique of United States imperialism.

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Homeland Security vs. Freedom of Information

The Homeland Defense Bill currently working its way through Congress adds a new exemption to the Freedom of Information Act, protecting the secrecy of information that companies submit voluntarily to the government. Supporters say the exemption makes it easier for companies to share information with the government to assist the "war on terrorism." Critics, like Rep.

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Secret CIA Study Said Secrecy Backfires

"We know that secrecy by its very nature may affect the personality of its practioners," wrote the still-secret author of a 1977 secret study by the CIA, which noted that these "unintended psychological effects ... seem to diminish rather than enhance security." The author, whose study was finally declassified last month, pointed to the example of Pearl Harbor: "That most disastrous of intelligence failures was due in no small measure to the mishandling of compartmented intelligence.

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