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The Era Of Satellite News Gathering 243

Posted by timothy
from the compaction dept.
swimgeek writes "The TV Technology for covering news as it happens is changing. This article specifically talks about the transition from ENG (Electronic News Gathering) to SNG (Satellite News Gathering). The American TV networks are close to spending $100 million for this transition, anticipating a possible war in Iraq."
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The Era Of Satellite News Gathering

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  • by intermodal (534361) on Monday March 17, 2003 @06:59PM (#5532677) Homepage Journal
    PRESIDENT BUSH AGREES TO MORE INSPECTORS (AP) Washington DC 4:00 PM (EST),

    President George Bush has made an announcement that we will not attack Iraq.

    The President has announced that as of today, he is agreeing to additional inspectors to be deployed throughout the country of Iraq. We will be sending 250,000 additional inspectors into Iraq. The additional inspectors will include:

    - 24,000 members of the 1st Infantry Division

    - 15,000 members of the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault)

    - 15,000 members of the 82d Airborne Division

    - More than 5,000 members of the 4th armored division with their "M1-A1 all-terrain vehicles"

    - Additional U.S. Army personnel, as needed for inspections

    - A variety of U.S. Air Force personnel for aerial recon missions and other "surveillance" activities.

    - A significant number of United States Marines to aid with inspections

    - United States Coast Guard personnel to inspect coastlines

    - An undisclosed number of Rangers, Green Berets, Navy Seals, Recon Marines, Delta Force, and other:

    - Special Operations personnel to inspect Iraqi "hide-aways"

    - MOAB and Daisy-Cutter bunker access devices

    - Special air deliveries to aid the inspections will be made by aircraft from the USS Constellation, USS George Washington, USS Abraham Lincoln and USS Enterprise.

    _The President stated: "With these additional resources, the inspections should be completed in a few weeks (not months -- not years)."
  • by UselessTrivia (653926) on Monday March 17, 2003 @07:03PM (#5532713)
    ...the crappy videophone reporting feeds
  • by rwiedower (572254) on Monday March 17, 2003 @07:05PM (#5532725) Homepage
    Already, there are some glitches. Satellite traffic jams have been a frequent frustration. The other day it took Sanders almost two hours to get a high-speed connection to send his report. "Every crew from every network is often trying to get on the same bird at the same time," he said.

    This is the modern equivalent of the old 1940s movies where twenty reporters would see a man shot, then all rush out to the same three telephone booths and all try to pile into the same one, closing the door on each other in the process while they were screaming "Operator, get me the Times!"

  • > The American TV networks are close to spending
    > $100 million for this transition, anticipating a
    > possible war in Iraq."

    Is there really any doubt this war is for DEMOCRACY!

    U$A! U$A! U$A!
  • I'm surprised! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by djkitsch (576853) on Monday March 17, 2003 @07:06PM (#5532736)
    I'm fairly suprised that this isn't more commonplace already. Considering the likelyhood of being able to find a working net connection (or whatever) in the average war zone, and the fact that satellite time is cheap compared to the average network's budget, this should have been done years ago.
    • Re:I'm surprised! (Score:3, Insightful)

      by ibennetch (521581)
      As a college student (soon to be graduate) studying broadcasting and television production, I've heard of SNG and it's use for a number of years. The mid-eighties, I think (without bothering to look at my class notes or textbook) is when Satellite News Gathering really took off because costs were down and FCC licensing got less strict.

      The thing is, this isn't the same form of SNG -- conventional SNG involves a video feed (along with an audio channel or two and maybe a cell phone call) going out via convent
  • Radio too! (Score:5, Informative)

    by Theaetetus (590071) <theaetetus.slash ... m ['ail' in gap]> on Monday March 17, 2003 @07:07PM (#5532743) Homepage Journal
    I'm writing this while taking a short break - I work for a large NPR radio group in the engineering department, and I've spent most of the past three workdays running new video and audio feeds. We've wired in Al Jazeera TV, TV Israel, TV Asia, ESC (Egyptian), and Dubai Satellite television, in addition to CNN, CSPAN, and BBC. We're building a war-room too, with multiple computers, video and audio feeds.

    ENG has definitely changed in the past decade - Gulf War I was the first to really have on-site video showing missiles launching and landing, and in Gulf War II: Die Harder, it'll be a necessity for any station that wants viewers - and we'll have several reporters in the gulf with satellite ISDN and satellite phones for on-location sound bites.

    In terms of cost, we're not that big - not a national network, just 6 stations (with a few nationally syndicated programs) - but we anticipate spending upwards of $15k on equipment and at least $5k for phone/satellite bills.

    Thing is, if you see CNN showing missiles launching and landing and your local news station with just a still photograph of Baghdad, which one will you watch?

    -T

    • by Anonymous Coward
      Missles "landing"?!?

      Don't you mean exploding/detonating/impacting/killing/maiming/etc ?

      Maybe you could fill us in about video of bullets "touching" enemy soldiers as well.

      I'm glad you aren't in the broadcasting department :)
      • Actually, as far as I've heard, the Qassam rockets that Hamas uses to attack Israeli settlements and towns seem to do just that...land...not explode. Either that or they've been very very lucky and those rockets haven't landed anywhere near anyone. I've seen news reports almost daily talking about rockets being shot into Israeli towns (settlements and otherwise) and I don't think I've heard of one casualty actually reported from it, though I'm sure I could be wrong on this.
        • They do explode, and they have caused casualties. Luckily, most of them end up detonating in open fields, without causing injury to people.
      • Some missiles are like old time cannonballs, just a mass that will cause splinters and shrapnel to erupt within the target and injure those inside or around it. You dont need major explosives, a small amount in the tip to ensure a lot of flying shrapnel. And its this shrapnel that kills more than the actual missile.
    • I usualy get my (reliable) news from the BBC and from radio: NPR / PRI provide all the news I need and I don't have to put up with any commercials (except durring pledge week) or annoying DJs / reporters (except for Echos host John Diliberto).

      On 9/11 when every US media outlet's web portal was jammed the BBCs was still fully functional and had just as up to date news as the rest (more so since you didn't have to wait for the DL).

      And I live in the Western USA.

      robi
    • waste of money (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Archfeld (6757) <treboreel@live.com> on Monday March 17, 2003 @07:47PM (#5533003) Journal
      Will read it on the net from a foreign news source just like I would anyways, anything else is so slanted and pre-digested as to be worthless for news anyways.
      • Shucks, and you're our only listener, too! And you never listen to the radio in your car, instead have a satellite connection for your laptop and a text-to-speech converter, right? And of course those foreign news sources never have a slant to them! I hadn't realized until your message that my field was so useless.

        :)

        Now, would the 99.9999% of the rest of the population that actually likes getting their information from multiple sources kindly disregard my above paragraph? Thank you.

        -T

      • On a related note, you might like to read this [wired.com] article in Wired, documenting very much your position, and that of many other US Citizens, it would seem.
      • anything else is so slanted and pre-digested as to be worthless for news anyways

        You mean like that NPR reporter above you refering to the war as "Gulf War II: Die Harder". :)
    • Hey Dan, nice to hear you're alive. Mingda
  • by 0x1337 (659448) on Monday March 17, 2003 @07:10PM (#5532766)
    N0ne-news is a perfect word to describe news on channels such as CNN or FOX. They are passive, neutral. The avoid anything that might get the public's attention to the actual freakin' news in the world. They are ROT. Here are some of the stories you are likely to see ON NATIONAL NEWS 1) Laci Peterson lost for 2 months now. Had her husband Scott axed her? 2) Girl missing for 9 months found with a hobo and a prostitute. Whoo Whoo. 3) The latest from the newest rap band 4) The latest lamest movie 5) Weird psycho who set woods on fire sentenced for half of her life. 6) Latest psycho 50 year old soldier who feels like going to Iraq for the 3rd time " 'cause he's bored " 7) Crazy Wacko-Jacko sleeps with another 3-year-old. What you are NOT EVER GOING to see on these news 1) Actual news, as opposed to weird shit that sounds like it got pulled out of the "Enquirer" 2) News that explain current American and World events, as opposed to those that go something along the lines of " Disarm Iraq before carpet bombing me" 3) News that don't involve seedy "patriots" who are trying to get USA into a full-fledged 3rd world war. 4) News that have ANY FREAKIN' RELEVANCE to the lives of Americans. 5) Newscasters that are patriotic, as opposed to dancing to the flute of the gov't.
    • I'd say that the majority of news is real news and relevant to Americans. The reason most news outlets put in the entertainment and "weird" stuff is because most people don't want to listen to news. I'm constantly amazed at how, with a likely war this week, how many people don't want to hear or talk about it.

      There's even a strong group of people who encourage others to turn off the news. Sort of the "psychological peace by way of the ostrich."

      Having said that though I think that by and large both

      • Dude, Fox News, recently fought and won a court case arguing that it had a constitutional right to deliberately and purposefully lie to it's viewers.

        The issue was regarding lies it told about some hormone they put in US milk, and The Murdoch Evil Empire, claimed it had free speech protection to deliberately distort the facts it reported to it's viewers.

        That's not my definition of an admirable job, and I doubt it's yours either.
        Here's the story:

        Hidden Danger in Your Milk?

        JURY VERDICT OVERTURNED ON L
        • by Blue Stone (582566) on Monday March 17, 2003 @08:24PM (#5533264) Homepage Journal
          Here's a possibly more coherent version of the story:

          Appellate Court Rules Media Can Legally Lie.
          By Mike Gaddy
          Published 02. 28. 03 at 19:31 Sierra Time

          On February 14, a Florida Appeals court ruled there is absolutely nothing illegal about lying, concealing or distorting information by a major press organization. The court reversed the $425,000 jury verdict in favor of journalist Jane Akre who charged she was pressured by Fox Television management and lawyers to air what she knew and documented to be false information. The ruling basically declares it is technically not against any law, rule, or regulation to deliberately lie or distort the news on a television broadcast.

          On August 18, 2000, a six-person jury was unanimous in its conclusion that Akre was indeed fired for threatening to report the station's pressure to broadcast what jurors decided was "a false, distorted, or slanted" story about the widespread use of growth hormone in dairy cows. The court did not dispute the heart of Akre's claim, that Fox pressured her to broadcast a false story to protect the broadcaster from having to defend the truth in court, as well as suffer the ire of irate advertisers.

          Fox argued from the first, and failed on three separate occasions, in front of three different judges, to have the case tossed out on the grounds there is no hard, fast, and written rule against deliberate distortion of the news. The attorneys for Fox, owned by media baron Rupert Murdock, argued the First Amendment gives broadcasters the right to lie or deliberately distort news reports on the public airwaves. [emphasis mine]

          In its six-page written decision, the Court of Appeals held that the Federal Communications Commission position against news distortion is only a "policy," not a promulgated law, rule, or regulation.

          Fox aired a report after the ruling saying it was "totally vindicated" by the verdict.

          © 2003 SierraTimes.com
          • And I suppose there is one other benefit Fox sees from lying. I can almost hear the laywers saying "We can't copyright facts, but hey, if we make it up, that's fair game for copyright law. Then we can whip out the DCMA and sue someone if they try to report on our lies." Clever. Very clever.
  • by Lord_Slepnir (585350) on Monday March 17, 2003 @07:15PM (#5532807) Journal
    ...that there are two things that drive techology forward: Porn and War. Before you laugh, think about this internet that you're on right now. It was a military network, set up so that we could maintain communications, even in the event of a nuclear attack. Then think about why it was expanded so much, because people needed more bandwith for streaming video, images, etc.

    Think of all of those fancy moon rockets, which were produced on top of all the reasearch German Military engineers did. Even the safety glass in your car was invented for gas masks long before it was in a car.

    When the next great leap in technology takes forward, it will be related either to (a)people killing each other or (b) people looking at each other naked.

  • Why satellites? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Honest Man (539717)
    In my opinion - If I were a Country trying to defend myself against any military force today that depends on technology, I would attack the orbiting satellites immediately upon the onset of war.

    Just my 10 cents though.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      and how many countries have the capabilities to take out a sat in LEO? All that talk of WOMD (Weapons of Mass Destraction) aside, certainly not Iraq.
    • The only country able to do that (or at least used to) is (was) the Soviet Union. They scrapped that program along with their Buran space shuttle.

      Iraq can't even shoot down a U2, let a lone a satellite. I think we're safe.

    • yeah, with these big 'lasers' and they would be used to destroy incoming missiles too.
    • "If I were a Country trying to defend myself against any military force today that depends on technology"

      It ain't that easy to monkey with someone else's satellites. If you radiate, you die. This, of course, precludes jamming. If you're third world, you have no means to put stuff in orbit, or if you do, no means to aim it. GPS satellites and geosync transponders are as far out of Iraq's reach as the Saturn. Forgetaboutit. Even if you're first world, your enemy can move, hide, defend and replace anyt
  • How is this NEW? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by ackthpt (218170) on Monday March 17, 2003 @07:21PM (#5532836) Homepage Journal
    During the last Gulf War (1991?) Saddam Hussein kept up with what was happening by watching CNN. Understanding the power of satellite transmissions, countries like Iran, which keep a tight lid on what's in the news, have yanked satellite dishes from people, (also, as they claim, western TV corrupts the morals. Ha! Leaders ought to know...)
    • But, "French Fries" aren't French. Reaching way back to my high school French, I think the term in French is, "Le pommme de terre frite." (sorry if I butchered that but I remember the phonetic pronunciation better than the spelling. Hey, its only been 30 some years!). If I recall correctly, the British came up with the term "French Fries" for deep fried potatoes since they associated deep frying with the French.

      So, I kind of find the whole "French Fries" vs. "Freedom Fries" thing humorous since the Fren
      • The French dont give a fuck. All the wine and french products in the US have already been paid for. So all the idiots are doing are pouring US money down the drain.
        And as for boycotting french restaurants and such like, non-french US citizens work there. By not going they are making the US economy even worse than it presently is as workers are laid off.
    • I guess its like watching yourself on "COPS" while they're breaking down your door.
  • media coverage (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Senator_B (605588)
    Although all these new advances in technology are pretty cool, and the leap from what reporters were using last year is exponential, I still get the feeling that between all the media coverage, and the lack of sensitivity of most Americans, this "war" is going to turn into a Fox-style reality TV series. I do think that there should be media coverage, but the coverage needs to remain serious and unbiased (no, not Fox News unbiased, the real unbiased). I don't think this will happen in the near future, but
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 17, 2003 @07:34PM (#5532913)
    If You're Happy and You Know It, Bomb Iraq

    by John Robbins
    (to the tune of "If you're happy and you know it, clap your hands")

    If you cannot find Osama, bomb Iraq.
    If the markets are a drama, bomb Iraq.
    If the terrorists are frisky,
    Pakistan is looking shifty,
    North Korea is too risky,
    Bomb Iraq.

    If we have no allies with us, bomb Iraq.
    If we think somebody dissed us, bomb Iraq.
    So to hell with the inspections,
    Let's look tough for the elections,
    Close your mind and take directions,
    Bomb Iraq.

    It's "pre-emptive non-aggression," bomb Iraq.
    Let's prevent this mass destruction, bomb Iraq.
    They've got weapons we can't see,
    And that's proof enough for me,
    If they're not there, they must be,
    Bomb Iraq.

    If you never were elected, bomb Iraq.
    If your mood is quite dejected, bomb Iraq.
    If you think Saddam's gone mad
    With the weapons that he had,
    And he tried to kill your dad,
    Bomb Iraq.

    Fall in line and follow orders, bomb Iraq.
    For our might knows not our borders, bomb Iraq.
    Disagree? We'll call it treason,
    Let's make war not love this season,
    Even if we have no reason,
    Bomb Iraq.

  • I've consulted on a few systems like this before. This article conflates a few different flavors of real-time broadcasting via bird.

    The traditional mode uses bidirectional communciation, where the anchor can ask questions of the on-location talent. This has the advantage of being immediate (mostly). However, due to the latency of the encode and transmission, there is always a noticeable delay. These systems tend to use standards-based videoconferencing codecs like H.263. Bang for the bit isn't very good, so the quality is poor over most connections.

    The next is real-time unidirectional, like a standard internet live broadcast. The video is transmitted in real-time, but the encoder uses a buffer in order to control data rate better. There can be a 15-20 second delay between something happening at it being seen on television. More modern or even proprietary formats/codecs like MPEG-4, QuickTime, and Windows Media 9 can be used. Thus, quality will be better than the bidirectional mode.

    The next is "fast" where a file is compressed locally, and uploaded as a file. Most of the examples from the article of this type, encoding with tools like Movie Maker or Cleaner. The plus of this is that you can use as many bits as you want, so quality can be great, if you can afford the increased upload time. Also, since it uses TCP/IP, there isn't a risk of data corruption from dropped packets. This is fine for anything that isn't breaking news - expect at least an hour or so delay.
    For video broadcast, ideally interlaced encoding would be used, but it doesn't sound like it is in these examples. Squeeze certainly can't handle interlaced output for QuickTime, although it can for MPEG-4. Getting the optimum settings for encoding is my area of specialty.

    Still, only a few decades ago, the nightly news was produced by guys with film cameras shooting on actual film, and then rushing to get the film developed in time for broadcast. It's amazing how quickly things change.

    Ten years from now, upload will probably be built into the cameras - no laptop needed, unless editing locally.
  • by El_Smack (267329) on Monday March 17, 2003 @07:39PM (#5532946)
    "The American TV networks are close to spending $100 million for this transition, anticipating a possible war in Iraq."
    Man, they better hurry.
  • by Ungrounded Lightning (62228) on Monday March 17, 2003 @07:39PM (#5532947) Journal
    Ok, so:

    - NBC is using Apple G4 w/Final Cut Pro and Discreet Cleaner.

    - CBS is using Windows PCs w/Avid (editing centers), Adobe Premiere (producers & photojournalists close to action), or MovieMaker 2 (for dumbkopfs?).

    - CNN and Fox aren't talking, and ABC's tech wasn't mentioned.

    So lets see who flakes out and compare quality and timeliness. B-)

    (Note that we'll probably be able to find out what CNN, Fox, and ABC used after the fact, once the info won't give their competitors an advantage.)

    • I've seen Apple Powerbooks among the Fox reporters. I don't know if that is standard or not. It makes sense. I find Final Cut Pro is very nice. I don't know what their video conference software is, but it tends to be rather choppy and pixelated. If they are all using Macs, that may make sense. I believe that video conferencing software is better on PCs than Macs at the moment. (Correct me if I'm wrong - its not a field I know much about)
  • by cribcage (205308) on Monday March 17, 2003 @07:58PM (#5533074) Homepage Journal

    Instead of huge editing consoles with separate monitors, reporters are editing their own pieces on laptop computers and then sending them like e-mail back to the network through a satellite Internet connection.

    IMO, this is a point worth talking about. One side effect of technology has often been the erosion of jobs. In some cases, it's been as simple as machines reducing the need for laborers. This is a different case. The technology ("desktop video," for instance) seems to offer more options and flexibility to each reporter. The indirect effect, however, is that the overall product suffers. A reporter puts together his own piece of video. This is cheaper than paying a video producer, but the work is likely of lower quality. Untrained, the reporter cannot equally utilize the software; and more importantly, he lacks the seasoned wisdom of the experienced professional in making judgments -- which angle to use, which clips to cut, which order to sequence, etc. (Not being a professional myself, I don't know precisely how many variables there are. Anyone else want to weigh in?)

    Ask any elder newspaperman, and he'll likely tell you his first complaint about today's journalists: "They can't fucking write." Last Wednesday, the New York Times website's front-page photo was captioned, "Ana Palacio, Spain's foreign minister, told reporters today that a draft resolution on Iraq that it supports along with the U.S. may not be put to a vote to avoid a French veto." No, it's not incomprehensible (contrasted with some examples), but how the hell did that dreck get onto the front page?

    Spell-check software has replaced practicing editors, in many newsrooms. A month or so ago, MSNBC ran an article about Cardinal Law's decision to step down, and it mentioned some Boston politicians who had visited Rome to offer their support. One of the names in the article? FBI "Ten Most Wanted" fugitive Whitey Bulger. Obviously, the writer meant to name brother Billy Bulger, a former president of the Massachusetts Senate. That mistake never would have made it past an experienced, practicing editor. But a spell-checker is indifferent to glaring factual errors, and text entry into HTML is a simple task. So writers end up looking like buffoons.

    "Specialization" was one of the first trends in industrial society. When technology becomes more accessible, "specialists" are no longer needed. And more often than not, this results in (1) more people able to produce the work, and (2) far fewer people able to produce the work at an expert level.

    Pros vs. Cons: Is it better to have more voices in the mix, or for the expert voices not to be drowned out? Is it better to practice reporting and video-editing and HTML now, to be competent at all three later...or is it better to be the best damn reporter, later, who admittedly can't tell RealPlayer from Napster? I'd tell my reporters to leave the video to the engineers, and to concentrate on reporting. When you get untrained amateurs trying to compete with professionals, you end up with Ain't It Cool News.


    crib

    • Blockquoth the poster:

      One side effect of technology has often been the erosion of jobs.

      Well, I think it can be argued that the actual effect is a redistribution of jobs... Old jobs are replaced by machines/automation/whatever but new jobs open up. Of course, the new jobs require more education, flexibility, etc...

      The actual effect of technological progress, believe it or not, seems to be democratization. Not just political, though that tags along. Power is, amazingly, put in more and more hands. Th

    • Hear hear! What the hell is a well-written comment like this doing in Slashdot? CJR --> Brill --> Slashdot? :)
    • Is it better to have more voices in the mix, or for the expert voices not to be drowned out? ... When you get untrained amateurs trying to compete with professionals, you end up with Ain't It Cool News.

      I attended a lecture by R. W. Lucky last week, and one of the points he made was that the only thing left to charge for, after bandwidth and processing become practically free, is content. For example, apropos to this topic, well-edited high-quality reporting. Sure, you can have webcams showing every squa

    • Yeah, this happens with all kinds of enabling technologies, from the typewriter on down. When fewer people are required to make a given work of art, two things happen:

      The percentage of good stuff goes down.
      With fewer copyeditors, or more people graduating from art school, or whatever, more of the stuff that hits the market is stuff that wouldn't have survived the process before. Think of all the crappy movies that are being shot on DV now. How many of those would have been funded if they had cost as
  • by gilroy (155262) on Monday March 17, 2003 @08:53PM (#5533441) Homepage Journal
    So, will they be broadcasting Twenty Minutes into The Future?


    Just so long as we get to see more of Theora, er, Control :)

  • by ChrisCampbell47 (181542) on Monday March 17, 2003 @09:23PM (#5533591)
    I work for CNN and as the article says, "Fox and CNN flat out refuse to discuss the technology they have in place", so I can't say much. But I will say that we have been gearing up for this for almost as long as Bush has been rattling his oily sabres. Those HumVee's look pretty amazing (I'd love to post pictures, but can't -- maybe someone else will). There damn well better be a war, we need to pull in some serious ad revenue to pay for it all ...
  • For those who haven't heard George Bush has just delivered an ultimatum to Saddam to get out of Iraq within 48 hours or there will be a war.

    I know my feelings on this and I am not going to start a flame war about the rights or wrongs of the impending war. Just letting people know.
  • SNG (Score:2, Informative)

    by 14ghz (633777)
    As a SNG engineer myself, I've worked on several of these flyaway systems, one of which is sitting in Qatar (sp?) right now. A lot of networks are using non-live "store and forward" IP-based video filing systems. Video is encoded in a quicktime format, and sent over low-earth orbit satellite telephone/data networks. Its cheaper than getting a 5.5mbps slot needed for live DVB video transmission. Its going to be interesting to see what happens when hell breaks loose and everyone wants to buy satellite ban
  • 48 hours.

    Whatever you think about George W. you have to admit, he is not fucking around!

  • by thogard (43403) on Monday March 17, 2003 @11:38PM (#5534223) Homepage
    BSA Hotline: Hello, would you like to report piracy?
    Mr X: Yes, I know some people that don't seem to have thier software licneses.
    BSA Hotline: Can you tell us who's software is involved?
    Mr X: Microsoft, Adobe and others...
    BSA Hotline: They sound like our members. We will arrange for an audit at once. Where are they?
    Mr X: They were last seen at large airbase in central Saudi Arabia
    BSA Hotline: You mean Dhahran?
    Mr X: No, near Riyadh
    BSA Hotline: Sorry. [BSA hotline guy downs a shot] [netfunny.com]
    [moments latter -- A troop of Marines are pinned down at a very forward position. Their "embedded" photo journalist is trying to get a good shot for the station back home...]
    BSA Dude: We are here to audit your software, can you show me the licneses?
    PhotoJ: What? Can't you see I'm kind of busy right now?
    BSA Dude: We have a warrant.
    PhotoJ: How did you get that here?
    BSA Dude: Do you have the orignals with you? CD's, software boxes, receipts, licneses?
    PhotoJ: They are all back at the office, can't you see theres a war here?
    BSA Dude: I can see you don't want to cooperate
    [BSA dude walks away for a bit of privacy and pulls out his cell/sat phone]
    BSA Dude: Looks like we got one red handed...
    [Pan to a pair of F15's at 75,000 ft, 100 miles away]
    F15 Jocky: TopDog 7, Roger that, bogie is an unauthorized radio source
    AWACS op: Topdog 7 and 8 are authorized to neutralize...
    [back where the action is]
    BSA Dude: [still on the sat phone] I think we should make an example of this one
    [boom]
  • I'd highly recommend listening to Robin Cook's speach. There's a real player version available from the BBC's website at

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/2858957.stm [bbc.co.uk]

    Cook systamatically rips apart the pro-war stance, and in particular wipes the floor with Blair's strategy.

    • To be fair on the other side, Jack Straw has been making some good speeches too. Independent of where your sympathies lie, some of the best speeches out of the whole thing have come from Brit Parliamentarians. Note that apparently it is a Brit thing to consult notes but not to read verbatim from prepared texts.

      Is it three counts and you're out? If another minister goes does Blair go?

  • And the US military loves the idea of satellite journalism: after all, it has stated that it will target and destroy journalists whose reporting it does not approve of [gulufuture.com].

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