THE FEDS AND THE MEDIA MUDDY THE DEBATE OVER INTERNET FREEDOM
In its relatively brief life, the Internet has been touted as the greatest vehicle for democracy ever invented by humankind. It's given disillusioned Americans hope that there is a way to get out the truth, even if they don't own airwaves, newspapers, or satellite stations. It's forced the mainstream media to talk about issues it previously ignored, such as the Downing Street memo and Abu Ghraib prisoner abuse.
So when the Supreme Court ruled that giant cable companies aren't required to share their wires with other Internet service providers, it shouldn't have been a surprise that the major media did little in terms of exploring whether this ruling would destroy Internet freedom. As Elliot Cohen reported in BuzzFlash, the issue was misleadingly framed as an argument over regulation, when it's really a case of the Federal Communications Commission and Congress talking about giving cable and telephone companies the freedom to control supply and content — a decision that could have them playing favorites and forcing consumers to pay to get information and services that currently are free.
The good news? With the Senate still set to debate the Communications Opportunity, Promotion and Enhancement Act of 2006, as the network neutrality bill is called, it's not too late to write congressional representatives, alert friends and acquaintances, and join grassroots groups to protect Internet freedom and diversity.
Source: "Web of Deceit: How Internet Freedom Got the Federal Ax, and Why Corporate News Censored the Story," Elliot D. Cohen, BuzzFlash.com, July 18, 2005
2. HALLIBURTON CHARGED WITH SELLING NUCLEAR TECHNOLOGY TO IRAN
Halliburton, the notorious US energy company, sold key nuclear reactor components to a private Iranian oil company called Oriental Oil Kish as recently as 2005, using offshore subsidiaries to circumvent US sanctions, journalist Jason Leopold reported on GlobalResearch.ca, the Web site of a Canadian research group. He cited sources intimate with the business dealings of Halliburton and Kish.
The story is particularly juicy because Vice President Dick Cheney, who now claims to want to stop Iran from getting nukes, was president of Halliburton in the mid-1990s, at which time he may have advocated business dealings with Iran, in violation of US law.
Leopold contended that the Halliburton-Kish deals have helped Iran become capable of enriching weapons-grade uranium.
He filed his report in 2005, when Iran's new hard-line government was rounding up relatives and business associates of former Iranian president Hashemi Rafsanjani, amid accusations of widespread corruption in Iran's oil industry.
Leopold also reported that in 2004 and 2005, Halliburton had a close business relationship with Cyrus Nasseri, an Oriental Oil Kish official whom the Iranian government subsequently accused of receiving up to $1 million from Halliburton for giving them Iran's nuclear secrets.
Source: "Halliburton Secretly Doing Business with Key Member of Iran's Nuclear Team," Jason Leopold, GlobalResearch.ca, Aug. 5, 2005
3. WORLD OCEANS IN EXTREME DANGER
Rising sea levels. A melting Arctic. Governments denying global warming is happening as they rush to map the ocean floor in the hopes of claiming rights to oil, gas, gold, diamonds, copper, zinc, and the planet's last pristine fishing grounds. This is the sobering picture author Julia Whitty painted in a beautifully crafted piece that makes the point that "there is only one ocean on Earth ... a Mobiuslike ribbon winding through all the ocean basins, rising and falling, and stirring the waters of the world."
If this world ocean, which encompasses 70.78 percent of our planet, is in peril, then we're all screwed.