CubaNews notes Monday March 31, 2003

Walter Lippmann walterlx at
Mon Mar 31 07:50:02 MST 2003

CubaNews notes Monday March 31, 2003
by Walter Lippmann, Moderator CubaNews

In the Cuban media the Iraq war leads all of
the news coverage. It's the banner head in
today's edition of Granma viewable here:

Washington's war is proceeding according
to plan, says Donald Rumsfeld, Bush and
the rest. Carpet-bombing and other forms
of terrorism rain over Iraq's capital city of
Baghdad and other cities there.

Secretary of State General Colin L. Powell
made feature remarks yesterday at the
American Israel Political Action Committee
(AIPAC) warmly saluting its activities and
his and Washington's perennial support to
Israel. Though he made a proforma remark
critical of settlements, he said nothing about
the Israeli killing of peace activist Rachel
Corrie two weeks ago. He did, however,
threaten Syria and Iraq for what he said
were their unwelcome participatin on the
side of Iraq (which they've denied.)

It seems the Bush administration planned
and hoped this wouldn't really be a war
but more like a video game and that they
could use the dominant US corporate
media as essentially a PR agency for the
war. Most of the mainstream US media has
dutifully complied with its assigned role.

This morning MSNBC fired the Australian
journalist Peter Arnett who was interviewed
by Iraqi TV and told it the US war plans had
failed. Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtenin
was the ONLY US political figure quoted in the
report by MSNBC on Arnet's dismissal. She
said she thought Arnett's interview "nauseating".

While there's no doubt many other politicians
could be found to denounce Arnett, the Cuban
exile Ros-Lehtinen's distinguishing herself in
this is further proof of the special reactionary
role with these rightists play in US politics.

The first suicide bombing, conducted by a
Shiite Iraqi caused the death of four soldiers
from the United States. US soldiers then
killed three more taxi drivers whom they
said had refused to stop when told to by
the US soldiers. This is notable because
the media had told us the Shiites were so
hostile to Saddam Hussein that they would
not fight to defend his regime or Iraq. It's
turned out somewhat differently.

Whatever momentary bump up in support
for the war on Iraq might have been seen in
the immediate aftermath of the bombing is
now slipping away quickly as a poll reported
in today's Wall Street Journal.

Media reports provide wildly divergent accounts
of Saturday's pro-war, anti-Cuban mobilization
orchestrated by the ultra, ultra, ultra-rightists
among the Miami exiles. Figures range from
3000 (three thousand) given in the Wall Street
Journal to 40,000 in the Miami Herald. What
was the actual turnout? I cannot say from my
vantage point here in Los Angeles and still
wish anyone in Miami who sees these things
might write in with their own impressions,
even if only gleaned from Miami TV coverage.

Washington policy makers are debating what
to do to the Latin American countries, above
all Mexico and Chile, who opposed its effort
to get the United Nations Security Council to
sign on to the Iraq war. Andres Oppenheimer
frets agitatedly that "if the Iraq conflict drags
on, the planned hemispheric free trade
agenda will be drowned in a worldwide wave
of anti-Americanism." It should be interesting
to see what impact all these desperate US
maneuvers have on Washington's effort to
secure an anti-Cuba resolution at the UN
Human Rights Commission in Geneva.

This weekend I participated in two protests in
Los Angeles. One, in the Black community on
Saturday brought out several hundred people at
Liemert Park. It was initiated by Black and left
nationalists and was very spirited. It was also
broadcast on Pacifica affiliate KPFK here.

Sunday had a major mobilization downtown in
which thousands (I would say 10,000. LAPD
said 5,000 and the IAC said 20,000 attended.)
This was very spirited, nearly festive in tone and
not angry in tone. Lots of good talk from speakers
who also advised protesters to get involved in the
Democratic Party along all-too-tired, familiar lines.
The Los Angeles reported it not inaccurately:

Today's Granma includes the transcript of Cuban
Foreign Minister Felipe Perez Roque's talk in
Geneva on the tasks needed to save the UN.
Read the English translation of this which is
available at Granma Interiational headlined:

"To save the UN and its collective security
mechanisms from collapse; to confront the
deliberate flouting of the principles of its Charter":

The Cuban media today is continuing to explain how
Washington encourages hijackings from Cuba and
other terrorist acts. Today a special double-sized
tabloid edition is being released of the four-hour
presentation Fidel gave on March 22, which was
presented on all three Cuban TV channels. Read
the original Spanish presentation at Granma. It's
going to be made available here in English when
the translation is posted to the net. Spanish here:

The Cuban media has also continued reporting the
anti-war protests in the United States with the great
enthusiasm they deserve, including now a handy
gallery of illustrative photos from the protests and
linked on the front page of the Granma website:

Some readers of these notes have written some
disagreements with the comments I made about
the New York Times and the advice it's trying to
give to the anti-war movement, and about what
Congressman Charles Rangel said defending
himself against redbaiting. I plan to share these
critical letters with CubaNews list members since
they raise issues of interest in these challenging

Some of the very best English language coverage
of the Iraq war can be found at Pacifica stations
over the air and on the internet.

And to hear the relationship between the Iraq war
and Cuba, listen to Francisco Aruca's Miami show

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