Monday, May 25, 2009

Neocons Call For Escalating War On the Media

Republican Party stoops to new low by comparing Nancy Pelosi to Pussy Galore of the James Bond films. So rather than dealing with Pelosi's substantive charge that the CIA lied to her the Republicans stoop to name calling. For they scream & shout how dare she say that the CIA would ever lie to a member of Congress. Well actually the CIA has been lying to Congress for decades about what it has been doing. Since the 1950s the CIA has become a separate branch of the government doing things that were illegal or unethical and once in a while as in the Iran Contra Scandal or the scandal over the Coup in Chile they get caught and there are investigations but for the most part nothing changes. The CIA is able to operate under the radar because those in power see nothing wrong with abusing & torturing or assassinating those deemed to be enemies of America. They also believe that if a foreign government does something that is against America's interests then it is OK to topple & remove that government by any and all means necessary.

RNC: Pelosi V. CIA

Hannity backs away from waterboarding while another conservative media personality accepts the challenge and admits after being waterboarded that the technique is torture.

Olbermann Rescinds Charity offer for Cowardly Hannity -

It appears that the neocons & Republicans believe that the embedding of the media with the US military did not go far enough in controlling media criticisms of the US military & US policies in Iraq and Afghanistan. They believe that since America & NATO are now in a state of war against the "Terrorists " & the Taliban & Al Qaeda that the freedom of the press is a luxury we can no longer afford. This fits in with Dick Cheney's attack last week on The New York Times whom he accused of wantonly endangering US troops and America itself with their attacks on the former governments policies & actions. In particular he pointed out that the New York Times & other liberal media by publishing photos of the abuse of detainees at Abu Ghraib or showing photos or video of the horrors of the on going conflict are in fact acting as a fifth column in the US to undermine America's war effort. And Obama has recently decide not to release more photos of abuse of detainees by US personnel because he claims that this would only enflame anti-Americanism and thereby give a boost to America's enemies.

US hypocrisy highlighted by its arrests and detention of journalists without laying formal charges while criticizing Iran , Korea & other countries for having a similar policy. Are the journalists now in US custody among those whom Obama wants to keep in Indefinite Detention based upon whatever fanciful rationalization he or the military or CIA can invent to claim that they pose a threat to the United States or to US forces or America's allies . Are these journalists connected to terrorists or to the insurgency or have they made the grave & unpardonable sin of writing unflattering stories about the US forces or its allies. According to Obama's latest comments anyone who in one fashion or another endangers US troops or its allies or gives aid & comfort to America's enemies could be held in Indefinite Detention since they might pose a future threat.Wasn't the Bush administration doing this all along. Oh of course Obama says he will create a more viable & rational legal framework which will provide a further justification or a more elaborate legal veneer for doing many of the same things that the Bush Regime did.

Since America is engaged in The War on Terror it is argued that there should be stricter censorship on what the media can print, or show or say . During the last eight years the media for the most part has been involved in self-censorship while promoting the government's policies. So all the News Networks in the US should become more like Fox News & CNN trumpeting the importance & necessity for the On-going perpetual War on Terror. Newspapers and other media should be extolling America's virtues and should offer stories which show America in a more positive light while attacking any journalists or group or individual who says anything negative about the United States or its military . So is Obama going to buy into this "Good News" only propaganda well it appears to a great extent he already has given his recent shifts in his promised policies and his recent speeches. There appears to be less and less a desire to overturn the draconian & criminal actions & policies of the previous government of Bush & Cheney.

" US Holds Journalist Without Charges in Iraq " by Liz Sly The Los Angeles Times , May 24, 2009

...The Obama administration harshly criticized Iran for its imprisonment of Roxana Saberi, the U.S.-Iranian journalist who was convicted of espionage and sentenced to eight years in prison before being freed two weeks ago. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton criticized Iran's treatment of Saberi as "non-transparent, unpredictable and arbitrary."

Washington also has called upon North Korea to expedite the trial of two U.S. journalists being held there on spying charges.

Yet the United States has routinely used the arbitrary powers it assumed after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorism attacks to hold journalists without charge in Iraq, as well as Afghanistan and Pakistan, the Committee to Protect Journalists said.

None of the detained journalists has been convicted of any charge, undermining the United States' reputation when it comes to criticizing other countries on issues of press freedom, committee executive director Joel Simon said.

"The U.S. has a record of holding journalists for long periods of time without due process and without explanation," he said. "Its standing would be improved if it addressed this issue."

...Sami Haj, a cameraman for the TV network Al Jazeera, was detained by Pakistani authorities as he tried to cross into Afghanistan in 2001 to cover the offensive against the Taliban. He was turned over to the U.S. military, which held him for six years at the detention facility in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. He was accused him of being a courier for militant Islamic organizations, but was never charged. He was released a year ago.

In Iraq, Associated Press photographer Bilal Hussein was held for two years without trial before being released in April 2008 on the orders of an Iraqi judge under the terms of an amnesty law. The U.S. military maintained that Hussein had links to insurgents, but the AP said the allegations were based on nothing more than the Pulitzer Prize-winning photographs of insurgents that he had taken on the streets of Ramadi, in western Iraq.

Neocon Group Calls for Military Strikes on Media by jeremy Scahill May 21, 2009

In the era of embedded media, independent journalists have become the eyes and ears of the world. Without those un-embedded journalists willing to risk their lives to place themselves on the other side of the barrel of the tank or the gun or under the air strikes, history would be written almost entirely from the vantage point of powerful militaries, or – at the very least – it would be told from the perspective of the troops doing the shooting, rather than the civilians, who always pay the highest price.

In the case of the Iraq invasion and occupation, the journalists who have placed themselves in danger most often are local Iraqi journalists. Some 116 Iraqi journalists and media workers have been killed in the line of duty since March 2003. In all, 189 journalists have been killed in Iraq. At least 16 of these journalists were killed by the U.S. military, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists. The network that has most often found itself under U.S. attack is al-Jazeera. As I wrote a few years ago in The Nation:

"The United States bombed its offices in Afghanistan in 2001, shelled the Basra hotel where al-Jazeera journalists were the only guests in April 2003, killed Iraq correspondent Tareq Ayoub a few days later in Baghdad, and imprisoned several al-Jazeera reporters (including at Guantánamo), some of whom say they were tortured. In addition to the military attacks, the U.S.-backed Iraqi government banned the network from reporting in Iraq."

A new report for a leading neoconservative group that pushes a belligerent "Israel first" agenda of conquest in the Middle East suggests that in future wars the U.S. should make censorship of media official policy and advocates "military attacks on the partisan media" (via MuzzleWatch). The report for JINSA, the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs, was authored by retired U.S. Army Col. Ralph Peters. It appears in JINSA's "flagship publication," The Journal of International Security Affairs. "Today, the United States and its allies will never face a lone enemy on the battlefield. There will always be a hostile third party in the fight," Peters writes, calling the media "the killers without guns."

So Obama has backed down on closing Guantanamo because of the pressure put on him not only by the Republicans and the Conservative Movement in America but also by Hawkish Democrats and the Hawks in his own administration who want to keep all of the supposedly rejected extremist policies of the Bush Cheney regime.This is not that surprising when even Obama refers to anyone who takes up arms against American forces not just as enemies but as "evil-doers". Using such a phrase as "evil-Doers" puts the conflict into a more far reaching Cosmic battle of Good versus Evil or God's Chosen People or Nation -America versus those who are anti-American as by definition being anti-God or anti-Christian and therefore acting on behalf of "Evil" & Satan as it were. So once someone is labeled a terrorists then why would anyone argue that their rights legal & human rights too should be defended. If they are "evil" then you arrest them lock them up and throw away the key. Things become a lot more complicated and messier once one sees these so called "terrorists " as being not demons but rather just human beings some of whom are extremists and dangerous while others act according to various all too human motivations. And others who have been incarcerated at Gitmo or Abu Ghraib or Bagram are of a different category because they have been erroneously labeled as "terrorists" or "Enemy Combatants ". These are the innocent Folk who have been imprisoned and treated as if they too were guilty and they form a large segment of those imprisoned by the US & its allies who are unwilling to publicly admit that they made mistakes by incarcerating these people. So rather than admit to these mistakes they keep them in prison and abuse humiliate them and torture them til they make false confessions to their torturers and so be kept in prison even longer or released but told they could be rearrested at any time in the future if new evidence is found. As the saying goes "once a terrorist always a terrorist" .

"Stop Calling Them ‘Terrorists’!" By Kelley Vlahos May 22, 2009 "American Conservative"

...Stop calling them terrorists. Take the word “terrorist” out of the equation and you level the playing field, with a chance the discussion might become a healthy and realistic legal debate, not a hyperbolic melee over wild-eyed evildoers breaking out of the local courthouse or worse, settling into the condo next door.

Instead, Republican senators upped the ante yesterday, introducing legislation prohibiting the release of any detainee – innocent or not — on American soil, because, as the sterling Senator from South Carolina Lindsey Graham pointed out, “immigration laws prohibit the release of a terrorist operative within the United States.”

Democrats reacted to this obvious stagecraft by denying Obama the $80 million he asked for to close the infamous facility by the end of year, employing the pathetic excuse that the administration didn’t have a “plan.” So they torpedoed the entire thing in one fell swoop. “The feeling was at this point we were defending the unknown,” [Democratic Sen.Richard] Durbin explained to the press. “We were being asked to defend a plan that isn’t announced.”

Go grab a tissue, Durbin, and a grip. This same crew has no problem handing over the rest of the $92 billion request for continued war operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. How much has the administration been grilled about their plans for that? About as much as Democrats grilled President Bush every time he came calling for more war funding. Not much.

There you have it. Republicans winning by taking cheap shots, Democrats pathetically squeamish as ever. And Obama, transcending none of it, leaving the integrity and strength of the American spirit flagging, and compromised.

and so it goes,

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