February 12, 2003

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Bin Laden Tapes
As Secretary of State Colin Powell used yesterday’s supposed Bin Laden tapes to bolster the Administration’s claims that Saddam Hussein has strong links to Al Qaeda, what most of the corporate media failed to report was the fact that the voice on the tape also called the Iraqi president an “infidel”. In fact, analysts say, when Powell testified before Congress yesterday, he misrepresented the content of the tape. As’ad AbuKhalil , author of “Bin Laden, Islam and America’s New ‘War on Terrorism'” says there is still no proof of any links between Bin Laden and Saddam Hussein.

“New Europe”: Slovenia and War
Despite three days of bitter argument, NATO has been unable to reach a decision over the deployment of defensive weapons to Turkey, the only NATO member to border on Iraq. France, Germany and Belgium have blocked the deployment despite Turkey invoking Article 4 of the North Atlantic Treaty, where a member state believes itself to be in immediate threat and requires help from the alliance. With the alliance deadlocked for over a month, the United States has turned to what the Bush Administration calls the “New Europe” for support. Last week the Vilnius Ten, a group of former communist countries and NATO applicants, signed a declaration supporting the US in its campaign to disarm Iraq, with or without a new UN resolution. While the governments of these nations may be behind the US all the way, the people are not necessarily so. James Smoot reports from Slovenia where he finds opposition to war to be rife, especially among young people.

Joint Prayers in Baghdad
British Prime Minister Tony Blair said today that his Government would take “full account” of Friday’s report on Iraq to be delivered by UN chief weapons inspector Hans Blix. With public opinion staunchly rising in Britain against Blair’s march to war, Blair told MPs they were in danger of letting UN inspectors get sucked into a time-wasting game of “hide and seek” in Iraq. Meanwhile, the Pope’s senior advisor arrived in Iraq today on a mission of peace. He conducted mass to an overflowing audience of both Muslims and Christians at St. Joseph’s Cathedral in central Baghdad. FSRN reporter Jeremy Scahill was there.

Day Care Workers Strike
Telling the City of New York that they were not babysitters whose labor could be further exploited, Day Care Workers rallied in front of New York’s City Hall today in a one day strike to demand that Mayor Bloomberg increase wages. Simba Rousseau has this report.

Sex Murders in Mexico
For a decade now, the world has been horrified by news of women’s murders in the Mexican border city of Ciudad Juarez. But even as most of these crimes go unpunished, similar sex-related slayings are spreading to other parts of Mexico. This time to the city of Nuevo Laredo, across the border from Laredo, Texas. Kent Paterson has this exclusive report.

Jordan Sweatshops Part II
Every year tens of thousands of south and east Asian workers are brought to Jordan to work in factories sewing cloths for WalMart, Target, and JC Penney. These workers are promised higher wages then they would normally earn in India or Sri Lanka. But, as Aaron Glantz reports in the second of our two part series on globalization in Jordan, many workers feel they would have been better off staying home.

Campaign Finance Reform
The GOP announced this week that they are strapped for cash and cannot offer as much support as they flushed into the last campaign cycle to crush Democrats in tough areas which lead to a Republican controlled House and Senate. Meanwhile, Common Cause is calling on the Democratic presidential candidates and President Bush to accept public campaign financing for the funding for their 2004 presidential campaigns. Meanwhile, the executive director of the national group Public Campaign For Clean Money – Clean Elections is touring the country to get the word out about campaign finance reform. As KUNM’s Leslie Clark reports, his hope is to create new legislation this year to begin the process of providing public financing for state wide elections as a first step to national campaign finance reform.

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