Due to corporate attempts to cast a shadow on the anti-war movement, Americans have been involved in hundreds of protests in cities across the nation during the last several months. For example, over 100,000 people (some sources suggest up to 200,000 people) gathered in Washington DC on October 26 to protest a possible war with Iraq, reported the Washington Post and the Los Angeles Times. Similar protests took place in cities like San Francisco and other countries including India, Japan, Turkey, New Zealand, Germany, Spain, Denmark, Sweden, and Norway.
In November, protests flourished worldwide. On November 9, 300,000 people gathered in Florence, Italy to try and stop a war with Iraq before it started. On November 18, tens of thousands rallied in Britain's Trafalgar Square. Ken Loach, a film director and a protester, stated, "We can't get involved in this war we can't consider murdering another 100,000 Iraqis simply to pursue America's interest in oil and their dominance in the region." Most recently, on November 30, 15,000 marched in Sydney to show opposition to Australia's possible support of a war with Iraq.
Haven't heard about these large-scale protests and the awesome force of world resistance to war? That's because the mainstream media has been dominated by headlines that only express support for war in Iraq and try to show that most Americans support fighting with Iraq. According to a November 22-24 Gallup poll, "If the war were to involve 'a significant number of ground troops in combat situations for at least a year,' support would drop from 58% to 49%." That means that 51% of all Americans, over 147 million people, would oppose a war with Iraq if it were to involve too many American soldiers or if it would last too long. Some portion of this 51% also includes Americans who feel that war with Iraq is not justified under any circumstances.
In addition to covering up opposition to the Bush-Cheney war machine, the US corporate media has used a possible attack on Iraq to divert the public's interest. Americans attentions are directed away from important domestic issues like the controversial appointment of Henry Kissinger to lead the supposedly independent commission to investigate 9/11, and the new Total Information Awareness program, a Pentagon initiative led by John Poindexter aimed to collect private information about every American.
The media has largely ignored Bush's appointment of Kissinger, whom many refer to as a war criminal, to lead the 9/11 investigations. According to Nation columnist David Corn, "Asking Henry Kissinger to investigate government malfeasance or nonfeasance is akin to asking Slobodan Milosevic to investigate war crimes."
Among other activities, Kissinger was Secretary of State during the Vietnam War and helped lead a secret bombing campaign of Cambodia, claiming the lives of hundreds of thousand innocent civilians. He also oversaw the CIA-assisted coup in Chile, which overthrew the democratically elected government of Salvador Allende and installed dictator Augusto Pinochet. Kissinger, who has been a long-time supporter of government-sponsored terrorism, is a terrible choice, but also a strategic one for the Bush Administration. As Corn states, "He and the Bush-Cheney White House agree on open government: the less the better."
The media has also failed to cover the Pentagon's new Orwellian program, given the title of Total Information Awareness (TIA). The new program is the brainchild of retired Admiral John Poindexter, who was directly involved in the illegal activities of the Iran-Contra scandal. According to the American Civil Liberties Union, TIA "would effectively provide government officials with immediate access to our personal information: all of our communications (phone calls, emails and web searches), financial records, purchases, prescriptions, school records, medical records and travel history. Under this program, our entire lives would be catalogued and available to government officials."
What can you do to combat Total Information Awareness, oppose the appointment of Henry Kissinger and protest the poor media coverage of the anti-war movement? You can send a free fax to President Bush asking for the termination of TIA from ACLU's Website. You can contact Congressional representatives at congress.org about Kissinger's appointment to lead the 9/11 investigations. You can read the news daily from a variety of national and international sources to track the growing opposition to war with Iraq. You can join the anti-war movement at St. Olaf with the student organization entitled Peace and Justice. Your voice can make a difference.