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Tribune Editorial: Jeers to Pentagon propaganda.

Cheers to the Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy, which has been pushing to protect Lake Superior from invasive species traveling in ballast water.

Ramsey County District Court Judge Kathleen Gearin has ordered the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency to begin regulating ballast water discharged by ships in Lake Superior to prevent viral hemorraghic septicemia and other invasive species from reaching the lake.

VHS, a deadly fish virus, is of particular concern because it has been found in every Great Lake except Superior.

Judge Gearin, in her ruling released Tuesday, noted that the Pollution Control Agency has known for years that ballast discharge introduces invasive species and is a source of pollutants.

With regard to VHS, she said that "the Court does not believe the MPCA has handled the Minnesota ballast water issues with the urgency that the danger of VHS demands," according to the Associated Press.

In her ruling, Judge Gearin agreed with the Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy that ballast water discharge is degrading Lake Superior and invalidated the state's rule exempting ballast water from regulation.

She ordered the Pollution Control Agency to treat the discharge as water pollution and ruled that by October 1, all ships carrying ballast water in Minnesota waters must have Clean Water Act permits before discharging it.


The New York Times reported recently that the Bush Administration has gone to extremes to put its spin on the Iraq war effort.

The effort reached all the way to the Bush White House, where top officials recruited dozens of military analysts, often retired generals, to spread favorable views of the war via every major news channel.

According to the story, the generals were often working from Pentagon scripts and lobbying for major military contractors.

Spreading "covert propaganda' is illegal under federal law. Congress should investigate these military pundits and their ties to the Bush administration, defense contractors and the national news media.

The more than 75 analysts exposed by the New York Times have become fixtures of war coverage on CBS, NBC, ABC, CNN, Fox News Channel and MSNBC. The front-page article reveals the many ways that the Pentagon fed them pro-war talking points and misinformation. The White House even has a name for these covert propagandists: "message force multipliers."

Oh, for the pre-Bush days, when Pentagon spokesmen were former reporters, not public relations spin-meisters.