Judge for yourself, but I turned my tv off after the election vote disenfranchisement in our own USA
was non-news. I don't want to be fed the reports the administration wants reported as "news" nor do I want to be culpable
of permitting the propaganda to paint a portrait of reality.
As I remember it there was a time when "news" was intended to propagate in the mind of the public
the need to rid a country of the vermin, no better than rats it was said while the country targeted a population for extinction. You
might recall that time in history, it's referred to now as political propaganda orchestrated to infuse a German
populace with hatred or failing that, at least fear, and failing even that an enforced silence in which one dared not speak
to truth or reality. Are we there yet? We are sure on our way to getting there if we haven't arrived already.
Shooting the Messenger
The real issue in the Eason Jordan controversy is the US military's killing of journalists in Iraq
from the March 7, 2005 issue of The Nation
One of the most powerful executives in the cable news business, CNN's Eason Jordan, was brought down after he spoke out
of school during a panel discussion at the World Economic Forum in January. In a rare moment of candor, Jordan reportedly
said that the US military had targeted a dozen journalists who had been killed in Iraq. The comments quickly ignited a firestorm
on the Internet, fueled by right-wing bloggers, that led to Jordan's recanting, apologizing and ultimately resigning after
twenty-three years at the network, "in an effort to prevent CNN from being unfairly tarnished by the controversy."
But the real controversy here should not be over Jordan's comments. The controversy ought to be over the unconscionable
silence in the United States about the military's repeated killing of journalists in Iraq.
Consider the events of April 8, 2003. Early that morning, Al Jazeera correspondent Tareq Ayyoub was reporting from the
network's Baghdad bureau. He was providing an eyewitness account of a fierce battle between US and Iraqi forces along the
banks of the Tigris. As he stood on the roof of the building, a US warplane swooped in and fired a rocket at Al Jazeera's
office. Ayyoub was killed instantly. US Central Command released a statement claiming, "Coalition forces came under significant
enemy fire from the building where the Al-Jazeera journalists were working." No evidence was ever produced to bolster this
claim. Al Jazeera, which gave the US military its coordinates weeks before the invasion began, says it received assurances
a day before Ayyoub's death that the network would not be attacked.
At noon on April 8, a US Abrams tank fired at the Palestine Hotel, home and office to more than 100 unembedded international
journalists operating in Baghdad at the time. The shell smashed into the fifteenth-floor Reuters office, killing two cameramen,
Reuters's Taras Protsyuk and Josť Couso of Spain's Telecinco. The United States again claimed that its forces had come under
enemy fire and were acting in self-defense. This claim was contradicted by scores of journalists who were in the hotel and
by a French TV crew that filmed the attack. In its report on the incident, the Committee to Protect Journalists asserted that
"Pentagon officials, as well as commanders on the ground in Baghdad, knew that the Palestine Hotel was full of international
In a chilling statement at the end of that day in Iraq, then-Pentagon spokesperson Victoria Clarke spelled out the Pentagon's
policy on journalists not embedded with US troops. She warned them that Baghdad "is not a safe place. You should not be there."
Eason Jordan's comment was hardly a radical declaration. He was expressing a common view among news organizations around
the world. "We have had three deaths, and they were all non-embedded, non-coalition nationals and they were all at the hands
of the US military, and the reaction of the US authorities in each case was that they were somehow justified," David Schlesinger,
Reuters's global managing editor, said in November. "What is the US's position on nonembeds? Are nonembedded journalists fair
game?" One of the BBC's top news anchors, Nik Gowing, said recently that he was "speak[ing] for a large number of news organizations,
many of whom are not really talking publicly about this at the moment," when he made this statement about the dangers facing
reporters in Iraq: "The trouble is that a lot of the military--particularly the American...military--do not want us there.
And they make it very uncomfortable for us to work. And I think that this...is leading to security forces in some instances
feeling it is legitimate to target us with deadly force and with impunity."
The US military has yet to discipline a single soldier for the killing of a journalist in Iraq. While some incidents
are classified as "ongoing investigation[s]," most have been labeled self-defense or mistakes. Some are even classified as
"justified," like the killing of Reuters cameraman Mazen Dana, shot near Abu Ghraib prison when his camera was allegedly mistaken
for a rocket-propelled grenade launcher. Also "justified" was the killing of Al Arabiya TV's Mazen al-Tumeizi, blown apart
by a US missile as he reported on a burning US armored vehicle on Baghdad's Haifa Street.
There have also been several questionable killings of journalists at US military checkpoints, such as the March 2004
shooting deaths of Ali Abdel-Aziz and Ali al-Khatib of Al Arabiya. The Pentagon said the soldiers who shot the journalists
acted within the "rules of engagement." And Reuters freelancer Dhia Najim was killed by US fire while filming resistance fighters
in November 2004. "We did kill him," an unnamed military official told the New York Times. "He was out with the bad guys.
He was there with them, they attacked, and we fired back and hit him."
The military has faced almost no public outcry at home about these killings. In fact, comments by Ann Cooper of the Committee
to Protect Journalists have been used to discredit Jordan's statement at Davos. "From our standpoint," Cooper was widely quoted
as saying, "journalists are not being targeted by the US military in Iraq." But as CPJ's Joel Campagna acknowledges, the Pentagon
has not been cooperative in the investigations of many of these journalist killings. The fact is that CPJ doesn't know that
the military has not targeted journalists, and there are many facts that suggest that it has. These include not only the events
of April 8, 2003, but credible accounts of journalists being tortured by the US military in Iraq, such as Salah Hassan and
Suheib Badr Darwish of Al Jazeera [see Christian Parenti, "Al Jazeera Goes to Jail," March 29, 2004] and three Reuters staffers
who say they were brutalized by US forces for seventy-two hours after they filmed a crashed US helicopter near Falluja in
January 2004. According to news reports, the journalists were blindfolded, forced to stand for hours with their arms raised
and threatened with sexual abuse. A family member of one journalist said US interrogators stripped him naked and forced a
shoe into his mouth.
In many of these cases, there is a common thread: The journalists, mostly Arabs, were reporting on places or incidents
that the military may not have wanted the world to see--military vehicles in flames, helicopters shot down, fierce resistance
against the "liberation" forces, civilian deaths.
In his resignation letter, Jordan wrote, "I never meant to imply U.S. forces acted with ill intent when U.S. forces accidentally
killed journalists." The families and colleagues of the slain journalists believe otherwise. And it is up to all journalists,
not just those in Europe and the Middle East, to honor the victims by holding their killers responsible. In Spain, the family
of cameraman Josť Couso has filed a lawsuit against the US soldiers who killed him, and they plan to travel to the United
States for the anniversary of his death this spring. Will any network have the courage to put them on the air?
The Jeff Gannon/Guckert news is well reported and I don't have much interest in adding to the frenzy, yet it is significant
so I will just copy/paste a report from Media Matters which about covers it. Personally, it wasn't that difficult to
see through the framing of the "news reporter" questions to know it wasn't anything resembling hard news or hard questions
or even remotely passing as the function of news journalists at press conferences.
But hey, if you want to pile on, be my guest. I put it here just to show that news has moved a long way
into becoming strictly propaganda, pure and simple. And warning ought to be that those who think they have a grip on
what's going on by following mainstream news have permitted themselves to be swallowed up in the propaganda machine, repeating,
ad nauseum, the prepared talking points of this administration and not much else. Does that constitute analytical thinking
to recite the propaganda, then work hard to find ways to support it and "make it so" as Jean' Luc Picard is prone to say?
The answer is rather obvious, need I say more. (my comments)
"Media Matters," week ending February 18, 2005 by Jamison Foser
Bush officials have divorced themselves from reality. They flipped TV's in the West Wing and Air Force One to Fox News.
They paid conservative columnists handsomely to promote administration programs. Federal agencies distributed packaged "news"
video releases with faux anchors so local news outlets would run them. As CNN reported, the Pentagon produces Web sites with
"news" articles intended to influence opinion abroad and at home, but you have to look hard for the disclaimer: "Sponsored
by the U.S. Department of Defense." The agencies spent a whopping $88 million spinning reality in 2004, splurging on P.R.
Even the Nixon White House didn't do anything this creepy. It's worse than hating the press. It's an attempt to reinvent
-- New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd, February 17
New information in "Jeff Gannon" saga raises even more questions
"Gannon" story fits into a growing pattern of White House propaganda
Is Rush Limbaugh the next Armstrong Williams?
FOX's Hume committed "premeditated, historical fraud" in distorting FDR
More evidence of Swift Boat Vets' ties to Bush campaign
New information in "Jeff Gannon" saga raises even more questions
This week brought an avalanche of new information about the fake White House reporter who used the fake name "Jeff Gannon,"
worked for the fake news organization "Talon News" and may have made his own fake White House press pass ... but that information
raises more questions than it answers. Below is a rundown of recent developments about the man known as "Jeff Gannon" but
really named James Guckert:
A simple solution: Media Matters for America President and CEO David Brock wrote to White House press secretary Scott
McClellan and the White House Correspondents' Association, suggesting one simple step that would help lessen the likelihood
of another Gannon situation arising:
I understand that Mr. McClellan recently met with WHCA President Ron Hutcheson, and that neither is eager to take on
the role of deciding who is and is not a journalist. I can appreciate this hesitancy -- though in Mr. Gannon's case, the decision
does not seem a difficult one, and though refusing to make a decision is, in effect, a decision in the affirmative. Nevertheless,
I can well understand why, in cases that are less clear-cut than that of Mr. Gannon, the White House and the WHCA are reluctant
to take responsibility for making these decisions.
There is a simple, partial solution that is worth considering: limiting the number of times per year a person may use
a "daily pass" to attend a press briefing. Mr. Gannon apparently used these "daily passes" to attend press briefings nearly
every day for two years, presumably because he was unable to obtain a "hard pass." If use of a "daily pass" was limited to
twelve times per year per person, out-of-town reporters would still be able to attend briefings while in Washington; news
organizations that don't have full-time White House correspondents would still be able to send a representative on occasion;
and new or "alternative" media outlets that are unable to obtain a "hard pass" would still be able to attend occasional briefings.
But the "daily pass" could no longer be used as an "end-around" to the "hard pass" procedures, and somebody like Mr. Gannon
would not be able to attend every briefing for two years while, to use The New York Times' Richard Stevenson's apt description,
"hijacking" the press room.
A simple solution, part two: Washington Post media critic Howard Kurtz complained on the February 17 edition of CNN's
Anderson Cooper 360: "I didn't go into journalism, frankly, to be looking at websites like hotmilitarystud.com." There are
other options. At MediaMatters.org, we have detailed Gannon's tendency to reprint White House talking points verbatim without
identifying their source, and explained that Talon News -- which Kurtz has described as a "straight news site" -- is nothing
more than a portal to GOPUSA.com. Perhaps Kurtz has spent too much time at Hotmilitarystud.com --and not enough time reading
Editor & Publisher, Salon.com, MediaMatters.org, or the comments of his Post colleagues Dana Milbank and Dan Froomkin.
That would explain why Kurtz hasn't written about those details, or many of our other critiques of Gannon and GOPUSA -- critiques
which are not based on Gannon's apparent extracurricular activities.
But did he know before Colin Powell? AmericaBlog's John Aravosis wrote "A news producer for a major network just told
me that Gannon told the producer the US was going to attack Iraq four hours before President Bush announced it to the nation."
While it would ordinarily be surprising if a fake reporter using a fake name was given advance notice of such a major military
action, it isn't completely unbelievable, given the way the Bush administration made the attack known: Prince Bandar bin Sultan
of Saudi Arabia was reportedly told of the plans before then-Secretary of State Colin Powell, for example.
Who invited Gannon to White House Christmas parties? According to Editor & Publisher:
When asked if anyone in the White House staff or leadership planted, offered, or suggested questions to ask, Guckert
said "absolutely not." He said, "I only met Karl Rove once, at the media Christmas party at the White House in 2003. I was
waiting in line for my 'grip and grin' [photo] with the president and he passed by. I introduced myself to him, he said hello,
and he moved on."
He said he also attended the 2004 Christmas party.
So how did Jeff Gannon get into these parties? Who invited him? What role did McClellan and his staff play in handing
out invitations? McClellan told The New York Times: "The credentialing is all handled at the staff assistant level." Is that
true of invitations to White House parties as well?
How, exactly, did Texas Republican activist Bobby Eberle come to hire auto repairman "Jeff Gannon" to work at Talon News?
According to E&P,
Gannon/Guckert "said he came across Talon News while researching and liked its approach. The Texas Republican activist
who runs it also manages the site GOPUSA. 'I had submitted my writings to Talon and saw they were looking for people to write
news, and it was something I was interested in. I moved to Washington after Sept. 11, 2001, because I was so affected by [the
attacks].' Guckert said he first went to work for Talon News in February 2003 after writing several test stories for them,
becoming a stringer at first and later a full-time salaried reporter."
But the blog World O' Crap suggested that explanation may not be true: "Um, no. See, on January 15, 2003 the first Jeff
Gannon byline appears at at [sic] GOPUSA. And it's not until April 1, 2003 that Talon News is publishing. So, since Jeff wrote
for GOPUSA before there was a Talon News, he would have surely known about the creation of its "news division," Talon, without
having to "come across it" while doing research."
Question: If Jeff Gannon got in to White House press briefings, just who were they turning away? Writing for Salon.com,
Sidney Blumenthal noted:
Thus a phony journalist planted by a Republican operation, used by the White House press secretary to interrupt questions
from the press corps, called on by the president for a safe question, protected from FBI vetting by the press office, disseminating
innuendo and smears about critics and opponents of the administration, some of them gay-baiting, was unmasked not only as
a hireling and fraud but as a gay prostitute, with enormous potential for blackmail.
Answer: Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd: New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd pointed out
that not everyone has found it as easy to get into press briefings as Mr. Gannon did:
I'm still mystified by this story. I was rejected for a White House press pass at the start of the Bush administration,
but someone with an alias, a tax evasion problem and Internet pictures where he posed like the "Barberini Faun" is credentialed
to cover a White House that won a second term by mining homophobia and preaching family values?
Gannon attended White House press briefings before Talon even existed? According to Salon:
Guckert, using his alias "Jeff Gannon," once boasted online about asking then-White House press secretary Ari Fleischer
a question at the Feb. 28, 2003, briefing. ... what's significant about the February 2003 date is that Talon did not even
exist then. The organization was created in late March 2003, and began publishing online in early April 2003. Gannon, a jack
of all trades who spent time in the military as well as working at an auto repair shop (not to mention escorting), has already
stated publicly that Talon News was his first job in journalism. That means he wasn't working for any other news outlet in
February 2003 when he was spotted by C-Span cameras inside the White House briefing room.
On February 18, Editor & Publisher reported:
Former Talon News reporter James Guckert obtained his first White House press credentials as a representative of the
pro-Republican Web site, GOPUSA, not as a Talon News reporter, as previously believed, Press Secretary Scott McClellan told
McClellan said White House Press Office staffers considered the obviously partisan site to be a legitimate news organization
when they gave Guckert, a.k.a. Jeff Gannon, the first of numerous day passes in February 2003.
"He faxed a letter in on his [GOPUSA] letterhead, they checked that it was a Web site he worked for," McClellan explained,
referring to his staffers who handled such credentialing at the time. "There was a check to make sure it was a news organization
and a news Web site. There was a determination made at that point [that it was legitimate]."
Was Talon created to address Fleischer's concerns? Former White House press secretary Ari Fleischer told Editor &
Publisher that he "was so concerned about Talon News reporter James Guckert's potential ties to the Republican Party that
he stopped calling on him at press briefings for about a week in 2003. 'I found out that he worked for a GOP site, and I didn't
think it was my place to call on him because he worked for something that was related to the party,' Fleischer said in a phone
interview. 'He had the editor call me and made the case that they were not related to the Republican Party. He said they used
the GOP name for marketing purposes only.'"
It isn't clear when Fleischer raised his concerns about Gannon, but given that Gannon apparently attended White House
press briefings before Talon even existed, and given that Fleischer had concerns about calling on someone from "GOPUSA," was
Talon created specifically to give cover to Fleischer? Even if Talon wasn't created in response to Fleischer's concerns, it
still seems to have been created after Gannon began attending briefings; was it created in anticipation of such concerns?
That might explain why, as Media Matters has noted, Talon is nothing more than a portal to GOPUSA:
Articles on TalonNews.com consist of brief introductory paragraphs, followed by a link to "Read more"; clicking on that
link takes you to a page that announces, "This story can be found on our #1 client -- GOPUSA!" Readers are then redirected
to the GOPUSA.com site.
"Gannon" story fits into a growing pattern of White House propaganda
When Media Matters first wrote about Gannon, we noted that Gannon fit into the "growing scandal surrounding conservatives'
use of fake 'news' reports, secret government propaganda, and payola to conservative commentators." That pattern is the real
significance of the Gannon story, and what more reporters should focus on, rather than the salacious details of Gannon's side
Fortunately, an increasing number of journalists are doing just that.
New York Times columnist Frank Rich noted:
By my count, "Jeff Gannon" is now at least the sixth "journalist" (four of whom have been unmasked so far this year)
to have been a propagandist on the payroll of either the Bush administration or a barely arms-length ally like Talon News
while simultaneously appearing in print or broadcast forums that purport to be real news.
The Christian Science Monitor likewise tied the Gannon matter in with other examples of White House manipulation of the
First came video "news releases" produced by the Bush administration using a TV news format. Then came three conservative
columnists who got big paychecks from federal agencies. Now, there's Jeff Gannon (not his real name), a journalist (maybe)
who gained surprisingly easy access to the president, only to lob a sympathetically slanted question.
No evidence has surfaced that Mr. Gannon was directed by the White House, but the circumstances ignited a debate over
the inner workings of the White House press room.
Since President Bush took office, contracts for public relations work with the federal government have jumped from $39
million to $88.2 million last year, according to a report by Democratic staff of the House Government Reform Committee. These
contracts cover everything from promoting the newly revised food pyramid to funding major initiatives from schools to Social
The Monitor went on to note an historical parallel to the current White House's treatment of the media:
Deeply frustrated by the coverage of the Watergate scandal, President Nixon directed his staff to ban any representative
from the New York Times, the Washington Post, Time Magazine, Newsweek, CBS, and a UPI reporter from the press pool - an order
his staff largely ignored. But during the 2004 campaign, a New York Times reporter assigned to cover Vice President Cheney
was routinely excluded from the press plane.
Meanwhile, Armstrong Williams, the conservative commentator who took nearly a quarter of a million dollars to promote
Bush administration policies he had previously criticized, attended a Howard University forum where he addressed the controversy:
In the interview that followed, Mr. Williams repeated his apology for his work for the Education Department but expressed
bitterness over the criticism he has received since news of it broke. He said he had revised two chapters of his book "The
New Racism," to reflect his belief that "the liberal elite despise black conservatives," a factor that he thinks helped fuel
"I am a conservative who does not know his place," he said. "If I were white, they wouldn't care."
Is Rush Limbaugh the next Armstrong Williams?
According to Reuters:
Conservative radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh is expected to visit Afghanistan with the top U.S. aid official to spotlight
America's aid work there, officials said on Thursday.
"It's trying to get people to pay attention to all the good things we are doing in Afghanistan," a U.S. official who
asked not to be named said of the trip, which is expected to take place next week. "This is just a different kind of outreach."
While it isn't clear who is paying for Limbaugh's trip, or if he is being paid for his time, the comments by the "U.S.
official" certainly suggest the Bush administration is using Limbaugh to promote its agenda.
Limbaugh -- who said in April 2004 that women "actually wish" to be sexually harassed, said in March 2004 that "[a] Chavez
is a Chavez. We've always had problems with them," claimed last year that "John Kerry really doesn't think 3,000 Americans
dead in one day is that big a deal," and asserted that the abuse of Iraqi prisoners by U.S. military personnel at Abu Ghraib
was no worse than a fraternity prank -- is a close ally of the Bush White House. So close, in fact, that he "got a big hug
from the president" at a White House Christmas party.
FOX's Hume committed "premeditated, historical fraud" in distorting FDR
On February 3, FOX News anchor Brit Hume distorted a 1935 statement by former President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, falsely
claiming that Roosevelt supported privatization of Social Security. Media Matters pointed out the distortion, leading Al Franken
to call on Hume to resign, MSNBC's Keith Olbermann to describe Hume's actions as "premeditated, historical fraud," and FDR
grandson (and former Social Security commissioner) James Roosevelt Jr. to say Hume's "outrageous distortion ... calls for
a retraction, an apology, maybe even a resignation."
But while even some conservatives who originally touted Hume's "scoop" have now acknowledged that Hume's characterization
of FDR is incorrect, Hume still hasn't issued a retraction, or an apology, and he still has his job.
February 14, 2005
Media Held Guilty of Deception
Inter Press Service
ROME, Feb 14 (IPS) - A peoples tribunal has held much of Western media guilty of inciting violence and deceiving people
in its reporting of Iraq.
The World Tribunal on Iraq (WTI), an international peoples initiative seeking the truth about the war and occupation
in Iraq made its pronouncement Sunday after a three- day meeting. The tribunal heard testimony from independent journalists,
media professors, activists, and member of the European Parliament Michele Santoro.
The Rome session of the WTI followed others in Brussels, London, Mumbai, New York, Hiroshima-Tokyo, Copenhagen, Stockholm
and Lisbon. The Rome meeting focused on the media role.
The informal panel of WTI judges accused the United States and the British governments of impeding journalists in performing
their task, and intentionally producing lies and misinformation.
The panel accused western corporate media of filtering and suppressing information, and of marginalising and endangering
independent journalists. More journalists were killed in a 14-month period in Iraq than in the entire Vietnam war.
The tribunal said mainstream media reportage on Iraq also violated article six of the Nuremberg Tribunal (set up to try
Nazi crimes) which states: "Leaders, organisers, instigators and accomplices participating in the formulation or execution
of a common plan or conspiracy to commit any of the foregoing crimes (crimes against peace, war crimes and crimes against
humanity) are responsible for all acts performed by any persons in execution of such a plan."
The panel that heard testimonies included Francois Houtart, director of the Tricontinental Centre in Belgium that has
backed several peoples movements in Latin America, and Dr. Samir Amin, director of the Third World Forum in Dakar, Senegal.
Dr. Haleh Afshar, who teaches politics and women's studies at the University of York in Britain, and Italian author and newspaper
editor Ernesto Pallotta witnessed the proceedings.
"This is not simply an exercise to denounce the mainstream media for their bias and incompetence," said Dr. Tony Alessandrini,
a human rights activist who has published several articles on the U.S. colonisation of Iraq. "These denunciations have been
going on for months. Here in Rome, we must go further.."
Alessandrini, who helped organised the WTI added, "What we are being asked to consider is not simply media bias, but
rather the active complicity of media in crimes that have been committed and are being committed on a daily basis against
the people in Iraq."
Several experts gave strong testimony. Dr. Peter Philips, director of 'Project Censured' at Sonoma State University in
California where he teaches media censorship provided taped testimony. He said that at no time since the 1930s has the United
States been so close to "institutionalised totalitarianism", and added, "U.S. society has become the least informed, best
entertained society in the world."
The WTI Rome session also heard testimony from Dr. David Miller from Scotland, author of 'Tell Me Lies: Propaganda and
Media Distortion in the Attack on Iraq'. "This is about condemning journalistic complicity of war crimes," said Dr. Miller,
who is also co-editor of Spinwatch, a group that monitors public relations and propaganda.
Miller said the Pentagon "does not recognise the concept of independent journalists, because they are providers of
unfriendly information", and that mainstream media in the United States and in Britain was "complicit in furthering the selling
of the invasion, and ongoing occupation. All studies conducted on mainstream media show dominance by government policies,
and wartime coverage of TV news in the UK was generally sympathetic to the government's case.."
Fernando Suarez, who lost his son Jesus during the invasion of Iraq when he is said to have stepped on an illegal
U.S. cluster bomb, also testified at the tribunal.
Suarez testified that he was first told by the Pentagon that his son died from a gunshot to the head, then that
he died in an accident, and then that he had died in 'friendly fire'.
On inspecting his son's body Suarez said he discovered that his son had died from stepping on a cluster bomb.
"I never had the truth from them," Suarez added. "I found the truth, and the truth was very simple. On March
26 the Army dropped 20,000 cluster bombs in Iraq, but only about 20 percent exploded. The other 80 percent are in the cities
and the schools and acting like mines."
Suarez said: "Bush sent my son because he said Iraq had illegal weapons, and my son died from an illegal American
weapon, and nobody has spoken about this. The media will not talk about the illegal American weapons."
Several witnesses testified about media disinformation over the siege of Fallujah. They were presented copies of the
award winning documentary 'Weapons of Mass Deception' by journalist and film-maker Danny Schechter, who is also executive
editor of Mediachannel.org, an online media issues network.
Alessandrini said evidence of active complicity of the mainstream media in wrongs committed against the people of Iraq,
and the wrongs of deception and incitement, was now overwhelming.
"We work from the understanding that history will recall the crimes committed against the people of Iraq by the U.S.,"
he said. "It is our responsibility to record these crimes in order to ensure these crimes are never again repeated.
Posted by Dahr_Jamail at February 14, 2005 10:10 PM
News About Iraq Goes Through Filters by Dahr Jamail
is it that more than 40 percent of Americans still believe Iraq has weapons of mass destruction even though President
Bush personally has admitted there are none?
How is it possible that millions of Americans believe the recent election in Iraq showed that Iraqis are in favor of
the ongoing occupation of their country? In reality, the determination displayed by the roughly 59 percent of registered
voters who participated in the election did so because they felt it would bring about an end to the U.S. occupation.
How do so many Americans wonder why more Iraqis each day are supporting both violent and non-violent movements of resistance
to the occupation when after the U.S. government promised to help rebuild Iraq, a mere 2 percent of reconstruction
contracts were awarded to Iraqi concerns and the infrastructure lies in shambles?
It's because overall, mainstream media reportage in the United States about the occupation in Iraq is being censured,
distorted, threatened by the military and controlled by corporations that own the outlets.
Recently at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Eason Jordan, a CNN executive, told a panel that the U.S.
military deliberately targeted journalists in Iraq. He said he "knew of about 12 journalists who had not only been killed
by American troops, but had been targeted as a matter of policy," said Rep. Barney Frank, a Democrat from Massachusetts who
was on the panel with Jordan.
When we hear this statement with the knowledge that 63 journalists have been killed in Iraq, in addition to the
fact that in a 14-month-period, more journalists were killed in Iraq than during the entire Vietnam War, one begins
to get the feeling that the military clampdown on the media is more than a myth or a conspiracy theory.
(Editor's note: Jordan has since resigned from CNN, telling fellow CNN staffers: "I never meant to imply U.S. forces
acted with ill intent when U.S. forces accidentally killed journalists, and I apologize to anyone who thought I said or believed
I've personally witnessed photographers in Baghdad who have had their cameras either confiscated or smashed by soldiers,
who were, of course, acting on orders from their superiors. And no, the journalists weren't trying to photograph something
that would jeopardize the security of the soldiers.
Even Christiane Amanpour, CNN's top war correspondent, announced on national television that her own network
was censuring her journalism.
Most Americans don't know that on any given day, an average of three U.S. soldiers die in Iraq as a result of
75 attacks every single day on U.S. forces or that Iraqi civilian deaths average 10 times that amount.
Most Americans also don't know there are four permanent U.S. military bases in Iraq, with the Halliburton subsidiary
Kellogg Brown and Root diligently constructing 10 others.
Most Americans don't know overall troop morale in Iraq resembles that of the Vietnam War, with tours being extended
and stop-loss orders imposed.
Nor do most folks know where billions of their tax dollars have been spent that were supposed to be used in the
reconstruction of Iraq.
But who can blame Americans when the military and mainstream media continue, day in and day out, to distort, deny and
destroy the truth before it reaches the audience back home? An international peoples' initiative called the World Tribunal
on Iraq met in Rome to focus on media complicity in the crimes committed against the people of Iraq as well as U.S. citizens
who are paying with their blood and tax dollars to maintain the occupation. The tribunal found Western mainstream
media outlets guilty of incitement to violence and the deliberate misleading of people into the war and ongoing occupation
Makes you wonder what else Americans aren't being told about Iraq. After spending eight of the past 14 months reporting
from Iraq, I can tell you the points made here are just the tip of the iceberg.
Dahr Jamail, an independent reporter covering the Iraq war, has several current speaking engagements in Western Washington.
For more info, go to www.dahrjamailiraq.com.
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Quote -- Be patient. You are not winning a game called justice,
you are living a life called justice. Bertolt Brecht tells the story of a man living alone who answers a knock at the door.
There stands Tyranny, armed and powerful, who asks, "Will you submit?" The man does not reply. He steps aside. Tyranny enters
and takes over. The man serves him for years. Then Tyranny mysteriously becomes sick from food poisoning. He dies. The man
opens the door, gets rid of the body, comes back to the house, closes the door behind him, and says, firmly,"No."