Socialist Worker

No Clear Channel to truth about war

Issue No. 1845

ARE YOU suspicious about reports of pro-war demonstrations? You're absolutely right to be, as shown by recent news in the US. The British press widely reported demonstrations where people smashed CDs by the group Dixie Chicks after lead singer Natalie Maines spoke out against the war. But most of the US pro-war demos have been organised by radio industry bosses who have close links to Bush's administration.

The demos go under the name Rally for America. They are organised and paid for by radio stations owned by Clear Channel Communications. The giant company controls over 1,200 radio stations and increasingly dominates the US airwaves. Clear Channel Communications is 'widely hated', according to the International Herald Tribune.

The firm 'uses its power to squeeze recording companies and artists and contributes to the growing blandness of broadcasting in the US'. The company is based in Texas, where Bush used to be governor. The firm's chairman Lowry Mays and vice-chairman Tom Hicks used to be on the board of Utimico, the University of Texas Investment Management Company, during Bush's reign.

Utimico put much of the university under management of companies with strong Republican and Bush family ties. In 1998 Tom Hicks purchased the Texas Rangers in a deal that made Bush up to $15 million.

In the Frame - No. 4 Hank McKinnell

HIS SALARY and bonuses are worth $10 million on top of £60 million in share options. He heads the drugs firm Pfizer Inc, and is a director at oil firm ExxonMobil. Bush appointed McKinnell as his adviser on HIV and AIDS. The US recently broke up an agreement which would have made HIV/AIDS drugs available to the Third World.

It doesn't run in the family

THE LATEST anti-war protester to volunteer to be a 'human shield' in Iraq could prove a problem for one of Bush's gang. She is Mary Cheney - daughter of US vice-president Dick Cheney.

Scare stories one a penny

THE MEDIA has widely reported a 'political correctness gone mad' scare story started by the Sunday Telegraph. The paper named councils it said had banned hot cross buns from school canteens because they might be offensive to non-Christians.

It wasn't true. Matt Finnegan from Liverpool City Council said, 'They didn't ask us outright, 'Have you stopped school canteens selling hot cross buns?' It was never raised. This is a preposterous, made-up story. We've never even provided hot cross buns, like we've never provided caviar or lobster!'

A trip to detention

IF YOU cycle the world what country are you most likely to get arrested in? Iranian Reza Khoshvarvesh Baluchi cycled 46,000 miles in a tour for world peace. The finishing line was due to be Ground Zero in New York.

He cycled through Iran, the old 'Eastern bloc' countries, Western Europe, Africa, and south and central America. But in the US he was arrested and detained by border patrol agents.

Suffering for a high price

DRUG COMPANIES are not just profiting from AIDS and HIV patients in the world's poorest countries. Giant pharmaceutical company Roche is going to charge $20,000 a year per patient for a course of the new drug Fuzeon in Europe and the US.

That makes it the most expensive anti-HIV drug in the world - twice the price of Fuzeon's most expensive rival treatments. Fuzeon is the first new anti-HIV drug in seven years. It has to be taken with other medicines, which could bring the cost of treating one patient to between $30,000 and $40,000 a year.

The new drug is particularly important for those who have developed resistance to other anti-HIV drugs. This is estimated to be around 30 percent of patients in the US.

The giant pharmaceutical firms have patented the most appropriate combinations of drugs for AIDS in Africa, Latin America and Asia to keep the prices high. But they do not make their huge profits from AIDS drugs in these countries as few can afford them. The firms protect their patents to keep high price tags in Europe and the US.

It's more from Ford

FORD MOTOR company has finally owned up to racial discrimination at its car plant in Dagenham. Roger Dillon, a 45 year old black worker, is the latest to bring an employment tribunal case at Ford.

The company admitted that top jobs in one part of the firm went to white workers. In the North Estate, where most of the assembly line jobs were, there was a disproportionate number of people from ethnic minorities. The tribunal ruled that Roger had been victimised by the car company and paid him £2,500 in an out of court settlement.

He told Socialist Worker, 'I have worked at Ford for 24 years and have been a union rep for 15 years. Every time we've raised the issue they have never admitted racial discrimination. Yet just 15 minutes into the tribunal they admitted there had been racial discrimination. Many ethnic minorities will hear this news with a smile on their face. I hope Ford's admission will give other people the confidence to come forward.'

Ford has already had to pay compensation after workers Shinder Nagra and Sukhjit Parma won cases exposing racist abuse.

Figure it out

9 - THE NUMBER of ads for junk food children are exposed to in an hour of watching TV. Some 95 percent of the food ads screened during 'children's viewing time' contain high levels of fat, sugar and salt.

Who says?

'The day the war ends it has everything to do with oil.'
Larry Goldstein, Petroleum Industry Research Foundation

'It's a house of cards. Support for Saddam, including within his military organisation, will collapse at the first whiff of gunpowder.'
Richard Perle, now resigned as chairman of the US Defence Policy Board
11 July 2002

'I believe demolishing Hussein's military power and liberating Iraq would be a cakewalk.'
Ken Adelman, former US ambassador to the United Nations
13 February 2002

'There will be no war. There will be a fairly brief and ruthless military intervention. The attacks will be rapid, accurate and dazzling. It will be greeted by the majority of Iraqi people as an emancipation.'
Christopher Hitchens, Journalist
28 January 2003

'We will be greeted as liberators.'
Dick Cheney, US vice-president
16 March 2003

'You can see why the Iraqis are not welcoming us with open arms.'
Senior British military officer
last week

'Nasiriyah was supposed to be a six-hour fight. It has already been five days of non-stop, 24-hour fighting.'
Tray Hale, US gunnery sergeant

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Article information

Inside the System
Sat 5 Apr 2003, 00:00 BST
Issue No. 1845
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