found a new "independent" news source for the situation in iraq.... spearheaded by Jeremy Scahill, known best for his work with Democracy Now!, this is the most informative site i've found yet regarding all this nonsense. pretty unusual to find someone not only willing to speak against the mainstream media, but to do so intelligently & articulately....for example:
FOX NEWS: 'The Network America Trusts' (to pay 'Saddam')
Under the government guidelines, journalists cough up a handsome sum of money to the government and individual officials. Here are the bare minimums for journalists operating in Baghdad:
--$100/ day fee per journalist, cameraperson, technical staff etc.
--$150/ day fee for permission to use a satellite telephone (which the journalists have to provide themselves)
--$50-100/ day for a mandatory government escort
--$50-100/ day for a car and driver (some networks have a fleet of vehicles)
--$75/ day for a room at the Al Rashid Hotel
That's already $500 and that doesn't include the thousands of dollars daily for each direct live satellite feed for TV networks. Nor does it include the bribes and 'tips' shelled out left and right. Nor does it include the money handed over at border crossings and the airport. The networks don't like to talk about how much they actually spend, but one veteran of the media scene here estimated the cost for a major TV network at about $100,000 a month. Others say that is a low estimate. Almost all of this cash (except a few 'tips' here and there) goes directly to the Iraqi government. Once you add up the bill for the TV networks alone, we're talking perhaps millions of dollars in revenue a month for the government.
There is a joke here that the major media outlets are now competing with oil smuggling as the number one money-maker for the Iraqi government.