Saturday, July 23, 2011

The whores work it for Barry








Yesterday on Flashpoints (KPFA, Pacifica), guest host Kevin Pina spoke with journalist Patrick Cockburn about the propaganda on the Libyan War. Flashpoints Radio airs live on KPFA from 5:00 to 6:00 pm PST, Monday through Friday. Excerpt.
Kevin Pina: Patrick recently wrote an article called "Remember the Kuwaiti Incubators! Those Libyan Atrocities: Do They Really Stand Up?" which was seen on Patrick Cockburn, welcome to Flashpoints on Pacifica Radio.
Patrick Cockburn: Thank you.
Kevin Pina: Patrick, obviously we've seen a lot of propaganda, what people would consider propaganda -- what people would consider propaganda -- around the invasion, the NATO attacks on Libya, everything short of an invasion of ground forces at this point. But now of course in the last week we heard that Gaddafi had to go and just two days ago we've heard a complete reversal by France and now seemingly the United States and the United Kingdom seem to be softening their positions as well. How do we make sense out of all of this?
Patrick Cockburn: Well I think it's easy enough to understand when they started the air war in Libya, they thought Gaddafi would go almost immediately and he's still there months later. So it's really the consequence of failure.
Kevin Pina: Well failure but they seem to have been very successful in terms of pulling the wool over a lot of people's eyes. People thought, you know, that Gaddafi was the Great Satan again and the United States was involved in yet another Holy War to unseat a dictator -- and the United Kingdom as well.
Patrick Cockburn: Yeah, I find it pretty amazing after the experience we've had in Iraq and Afghanistan that the propaganda and the acceptance of propaganda has in many ways been worse. I mean initially this was presented -- the armed intervention -- by Britian, France, the United States and some others -- was presented as purely humanitarian venture. This was to keep Libyans alive. And then this very rapidly transmuted into regime change to getting rid of Gaddafi. And systematically throughout atrocities have been exaggerated. You know, you'll remember the mass rape story that Gaddafi's forces had been told to rape and been given viagra to encourage them? Well this story was on CNN, it was elsewhere, people were shocked by it, I think it was even mentioned by Obama, but this has been investigated very carefully by Amnesty International, by Human Rights Watch in New York who had their people in Libya and they found that there was absolutely no evidence for it. Another story was that mercenaries were being used from the rest of Africa. Again it turned out when that was investigated that people being presented on TV as mercenaries from other parts of Africa were in fact undocumented migrant laborers. [. . .] the people who appeared on television, were later in fact released because whatever they were, they weren't mercenaries. So these propaganda stories appear on television, appear in the media and to a greater degree even when they're wrong, they're never refuted, even when it emerges there's no evidence for them.
Another segment started off promising . . .
Kevin Pina: And next we're going to take a look at the human rights situation in Iraq. After all, what on earth did we fight this war for, what have we spent all of this money for on the war in Iraq if not to bring better government and "democracy" to the Iraqi people? Unfortunately what we're hearing is that the government that has replaced -- the US installed government -- is equally as oppressive as the so-called dictator Saddam Hussein who we released them from. Let's go to this clip from Al Jazzera to set this piece up.
Rawya Rageh: 19-year-old Aya Mohammed has seen it all. Her entire family was killed in an uprising against Saddam Hussein soon after she was born and she recently fled from an abusive foster family. Now after joining Iraq's protest movement, Aya and seven other colleagues were sexually harassed and beaten while protesting in Baghdad's Tahrir Square last month.
Aya Mohammed: Pro-government supporters started calling us "whores" and "prostitutes." Then they began molesting and groping us. Five men restrained me and tried to rip my clothes off. When I approached security forces bleeding and with a broken tooth, asking for help, they said its not their responsibility.
Rawya Rageh: Angered by the attack, activists have waged a campaign demanding an apology from the government. Those who assaulted them, they maintain, were members of the security forces. Street molestation is not common in tribal Iraq and until now women campaigners had not been specifically targeted.
Yana Mohammed (Women's Freedom In Iraq): For the first time this happens in Iraq. We have never heard of it. And at this moment, we are telling the society and especially those in the Green Zone that this is an era of women. They cannot lock us into our houses.
Rawya Rageh: In a report on the June 10th assault against both male and female protesters, Human Rights Watch said Iraqi soldiers not only stood by while Iraqi protesters were attacked but also that some of those abusing the demonstrators were carrying police identification badges.
Joe Stork (Human Rights Watch): It's not every day that thugs with clubs flash their police i.d.s at us. The government needs to find out who was responsible for the assaults and punish them appropriately.
Rawya Rageh: Al Jazeera has requested comment from Baghdad Operations Command but we did not get a response. Not a surprise say activists. The sexual assaults on female protesters is symptomatic of a much bigger problem in Iraq, they say. Writer and radio host Ahlam Al Obeidi was also beaten up in the protests. She says women's rights are being flouted all around the new Iraq -- even in Parliament.
Ahlam Al Obeidi: I asked Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, why make claims about freedom and democracy when women are being attacked on every corner? Why claim there's any change when it's for the worse?
Rawya Rageh: She's calling for an open-ended sit-in in the heart of the capitol until the government investigates the attack against them. Rawya Rageh, Al Jazeera, Baghdad.
But after the above, the segment quickly went to Crazy Town. Raed Jarrar's newest lie/fantasy is that reporting on the above, as Rawya Rageh did, is done to argue that the US should stay. Jar-Jar: "These attempts to bring up the crimes of the Iraqi government in the last few weeks are not really about exposing the crimes of the Iraqi government, they are more about justifying a longer US occupation."
Raed is a DUMB ASS.
And that needs to be said because he's now introducing a whole new level of CRAZY into the conversation. As I said in 2008 and 2009 and 2010 and this year, the SOFA didn't mean the Iraq War ended and liars like Raed Jarrar were prolonging the war by LYING and telling people the SOFA meant the end of the war.
And as Dona told Raed at one point when he tried to back peddle on the damage he was doing, Take the damn counter off your site! He has a counter -- it's probably still there -- announcing X Days until the Iraq War is over -- based on the SOFA. He's a stupid, stupid idiot who has done untold damage.
And although he's now apparently an American citizen, he pisses on the Constitution as much Bush and Barack. The SOFA is a treaty. It's an illegal one because it violated the Constitution by refusing to get the advice and consent of the Senate -- this was all established in Congressional hearings in 2008. After Barack's in office, Raed bores the hell out of me and anyone else he can bother by insisting he's doing 'serious' work, he's meeting with House members to get them to sign on to the SOFA. What? Yeah, he wants them to sign off on and support a violation of the Constitution. If that ass took a citizenship test, the United States needs to revamp the citizenship test.
I noted Raed in passing last week when Kevin Pina felt the need to have him on the show. I didn't say anything negative and hoped that since it's been demonstrated HE WAS WRONG ABOUT THE SOFA, he'd have a little humility. But that didn't happen obviously. Now he wants to unleash more CRAZY on this country and Iraq.
His idiotic claim that Rawya or anyone else is reporting on violence to keep US forces on the ground in Iraq? That it's a media plot?
I think he means US media so he'd have to leave out Rawya but if you leave out Al Jazeera, you lose a significant portion of the English language coverage from Iraq. But let's set Rawya to the side. This vast conspiracy? If it existed it would make my days a lot easier. I wouldn't have to repeatedly, in one group after another, explain what happens to Iraqi protesters. Now who's been reporting on that, Raed? Not really the Los Angeles Times. Not really the New York Times. Not really McClatchy Newspapers. The Washington Post did report on it.
If it were a conspiracy, don't you think they all would have? Do you really think that when Iraqi reporters were attacked on February 25th that the New York Times would have been turning in the embarrassing 'some say, Nouri says' piece if they were trying to say "IRAQ'S SENDING OUT AN S.O.S. TO THE WORLD!"?
It must be 'freeing' to do none of the work required to make a charge. You don't have to read the coverage, you don't have to be familiar with it, you don't have to be able to support anything you say, you just blindly make your charge.
Reality: While Raed's beat his little pud in public and insisted "Barack's ending the Iraq War 'cause he's so dreamy and sexy!!" for the last three years, some of us have been calling attention to the realities in Iraq. Raed didn't do a damn thing to draw attention to the attacks on Iraq's LGBT community. Raed hasn't done a damn thing to note the massacres of the Camp Ashraf residents. Despite working with a group that pretends it's a religious group (to be a group of Christians, you have to believe in Christ -- that's non- negotiable, that is the very definition of Christian), Raed's done nothing as Iraqi Christians were targeted.
He can tell us how groovy Barack is. He can tell us what it's like to dream and drool of Barack all night and wake up with his wang stuck to the sheets, but he can't do a damn thing about Iraq. I'm not in the damn mood. I was prepared to let it all just slide by and act as if none of it ever happened. But that was dependent on Raed, at the very least, not starting another harmful wave. But he's doing it again. He's lying and going to Crazy Town. He's trying to start this fear tactic which will mean no one will talk about what bad things in Iraq "because Raed says it's a media conspiracy to keep US troops there!"
I don't have time for his Crazy and Iraq can't afford his crazy.
As he trashed the 'vast media' for their conspiracy to keep the troops in Iraq, he never showed the slightest clue of how little Iraq coverage there actually is. US? There is AP, there is McClatchy, there is the New York Times, the Christian Science Monitor, the Los Angeles Times, the Washington Post, Time magazine and CNN. That is it. NPR doesn't have a reporter permantently in Iraq. Kelly McEvers is pulled out anytime something might be happening elsewhere in the Arab world and sent there.
For Raed to suggest -- as he did -- that Ned Parker is part of some vast conspiracy is just deplorable. In fairness to Raed, he didn't name Ned. Because he doesn't know who the hell Ned is. But he does know that a report was just done on the secret prison. That was Ned Parker's report. And, no, he didn't write it because he wants US troops to stay in Iraq or because he wants them to leave Iraq or because he wants to do a Zodiac chart reading on each of them. He reported on the issue because it's news and because it's the issue he's been reporting on forever. And before he was zooming in on the secret prisons? He was reporting on the realities of the Ministry of the Interior (the third and fifth floor especially) which is of course related to the current scandals. But Raed couldn't tell you that either.
But he can go on the radio and insult Ned Parker's nonstop work on this issue and suggest that Ned Parker has just reported on the secret prison for the first time and did so only because Ned Parker wants to keep US troops in Iraq. That's not only insulting to the fine work Ned Parker's consistently done, it's damaging and we can't afford the damage from Raed again.
Repeating, the know-nothing began (WRONGLY) insisting publicly at the end of 2008 that the Iraq War would be over in 2011 due to the SOFA. Come December 31, 2011, all US troops would leave Iraq. They had to, he insisted, it was in the SOFA.
As I said at one point when I was pissed, when you can -- as I have -- break a multi-million dollar contract with a corporation and walk away without being sued, then you come talk to me about contract law. Until then, sit your tired ass down. And for bonus points, let's see you, as I did, walk away with the money the contract promised you.
Raed didn't know what he was talking about then, he doesn't know what he's talking about now. But he's laying down the party line: PANHANDLE MEDIA SHALL NOT REPORT ANY BAD THINGS HAPPENING IN IRAQ BECAUSE TO DO SO IS TO TAKE PART IN THE MEDIA CONSPIRACY TO KEEP U.S. TROOPS IN IRAQ. Fools believed Raed last time, I'm sure many a fool will this time as well. But the ones they're hurting are the Iraqi people. Iraqis who have the guts to protest despite all the obstacles, Iraqis who speak out about the repression under Nouri (aka Little Saddam) need to be heard. They're not as lucky as Raed, they can't run -- with their tail between their legs -- back to the US. You got a serious charge, go into it, establish it. I'll show you how.
Scott Horton: Sounds like it's been a rough time over there in Iraq. You had some reports from a couple of weeks ago about the bombings there. But I think first I'd like to ask you in the context of the recent violence in Iraq, if you could verify that I read it right, that they sort of have made a deal where the Americans have agreed, they're not asking to keep combat troops in the country anymore, just trainers, and that that's basically the loophole in the Status Of Forces Agreement that's going to keep troops in Iraq, that both sides are happy with that and the deal has been made? Do I read that right?
Roy Gutman: I have to be honest, I am not up with the very latest thing of the last 48 hours simply because I've been traveling. There was that possibility though, I know, to have trainers stay on. I think it's inadequate. I think that forces are needed for other purposes and that one should not be satisifed with trainers. That said, my visits to US bases and talks with Iraqis, as well as with Americans, leads me to think that American training is very much prized by the Iraqis and I think the American military really feels it's doing the right thing by carrying on with training. So if that is the deal, it's only partially what needs to be done but it is certainly a very important component.
Scott Horton: Well I guess my question would be is the Parliament representative of the people of the country enough that Maliki and the current government represent the power that would rule Baghdad, would be in charge of the country if America wasn't there helping them or not because if so, it seems like, why would they need American troops, you know?
Roy Gutman: Well, you know, they've had elections. It was in March of last year. A government emerged from that election but it took all of last year. And it is not yet a completed government yet because there is a lot of wrangling at the very top between Maliki and Ayad Allawi who is the other leading politician who actually won more seats than Maliki's coalition but in fact not enough to actually have a majority. So that Parliament is a representative Parliament. No one that I know of has indicated that that election was anything but a real, genuine, fair election and with a minimum of corruption and fraud. So, yes, that's a real Parliament. But now,here's the problem Scott, you get a real Parliament elected with a lot of factions involved and it is very tough to get a bill through that Parliament. Well, look at our Congress, I mean, if you want to look at the debt debate right now. Not an easy thing to get real things done. Why do they need Americans to stay on? Basically it's because the Iraqi army, there was an Iraqi army under Saddam Hussein and it had some very professional officers but on the whole the army was tained by some of the things they did, you know, the use of gas against the Kurds, some of the firing of missiles into Iran, a lot of the things. So the whole officer corps was really tainted by it. with some exceptions. And then the Americans basically dissolved their military. So you have a new institution being created there and it is not easy, it is not fast. And they're training, as I've had it explained to me, was never anything like the kind of training Americans do. They're in a dangerous neighborhood and they recognize that they're not up to speed.
Scott Horton: So this isn't -- you would say then if I understand you right that it's not that the Iraqi army needs the American forces there to keep them as the Iraqi army to prevent internal dissent from taking their power away simply that power is natural enough to them. What they need is specialized training so they can keep other countries from messing with them. Is that what you're saying?
Roy Gutman: Uh - uh, that's right in a nutshell.
Roy continues, he doesn't know what the hell he's talking about especially when he's starts talking 'internal' and 'insurgents.' I've heard what he's describing before. I heard it in 2008 from Joe Biden but Joe knows a thing or two and what Joe was pointing out was that doing this would be CHOOSING SIDES. Roy Gutman has no awareness of that.
And I want to know how Roy Gutman gets to continue to cover Iraq? He shouldn't be allowed to cover Iraq. There are reporters who offered the opposite side of Gutman and were punished. But now every one reading Roy's filings from Iraq knows that Roy feels the US needs to stay in Iraq. How is that shaping his coverage?
Some may insist Roy can be objective. Were it true, that's not the standard. The standard is do your actions provide cause for anyone to question your objectivity?
And the political situation in Iraq is always up in the air. So how does McClatchy justify Roy Gutman's labeling Ayad Allawi "feckless and inept" and "no where near as impressive as Maliki's been"?
And how do you reconcile the praise for Nouri with his secret prisons -- Oh, wait. Roy Gutman never reports on that. Roy Gutman never reports anything uncomfortable for Nouri. Possibly we now know why.
With the interview alone, I've raised questions and documented why. We could do Roy's entire Iraq file. We could do all of his remarks. We could drop back to last year -- want to? -- when Ava and I pointed out his embarrassing appearance on The Diane Rehm Show in June of 2010. From "Media: Let's Kill Helen!"
On things worth hearing, Iraq did surface briefly and accidentally on Diane Rehms's show Friday. Yochi's usual and expected attacks on Iran resulted in Ashraf calling in to correct Yohci's incessant lies. In the process, Ashraf declared, "I think that, for all the reporters, they should be more responsible because what happened in Iraq was because of the reporters. Misinformation and stirring just to get the rage up. "
You just knew Yochi wasn't having any of it. He stopped digging around his asshole with his own tongue long enough to exclaim, "I think all of us who work for a somewhat beleaguered industry would wish that the media was as powerful as to have caused a war. [Roy Gutman is heard guffawing if you listen closely. Shame on him.] There were deep flaws in the reporting pre-war in Iraq. To say that the media caused the war is, I think, a stretch."
First off, Yochi, the economy sucks for nearly everyone, it's a recession, you idiot. Second, the media lied, the media is responsible for helping Bush sell the illegal war. That Roy Gutman's fat ass could be heard chortling on air was disgusting since Roy worked for Knight-Ridder which was the only outlet that refused to play megaphone and actually and consistently do reporting. Shame on you, Roy Gutman. You damn well know better.

Roy of course tried to lie his way out of the above. Insisting that wasn't him laughing (it was him, you can hear it yourself, it was also confirmed that it was him by Diane's staff). (For more chuckles on Roy, see Mike's post here -- killer line "You sort of get the impression that Roy Gutman's spent the last decades covering socials and tea rooms.")
McClatchy's position is not Roy's laughter. McClatchy's official position was represented in the debut of Bill Moyers Journal, "Buying The War" and provided by Warren P. Strobel, Jonathan S. Landay and John Walcott.
Roy rejects that view. Roy goes on the radio with Scott Horton and 'explains' that the US military must stay in Iraq -- a decision that supposedly hasn't been made yet. Readers desperate for independent and unbiased state of Iraq coverage to form their own opinions can still have faith in Roy Gutman's call? I don't think so.
This is the same Roy Gutman, please remember, who made the most siginficant error you can make in print: DISTORTING THE WORDS OF ANOTHER. January 8th of this year -- and we called it out repeatedly -- Roy insisted that Moqtada al Sadr had "called on his followers Saturday to abandon the use of violence" but that's not what he said at all. And McClatchy never issued a correction. Not everyone got it wrong:

In his report of the speech, Jim Muir (BBC News -- video) observed that "he said the resistance goes on by whatever means and so on." (For a text report by Muir, click here.) Here's Aaron C. Davis (Washington Post): "His followers, he said, must continue to focus on fiercely resisting the United States, but perhaps also targeting their own government if it cannot restore services or security and hold to a timeline for a full U.S. military withdrawal by the end of 2011." Does that sound like the end of violence? No, it does not. And here's Ned Parker, Saad Fakhrildeen and Raheem Salman (Los Angeles Times):

Roy Gutman is a lousy reporter. (And incredibly touchy.) His statements to Scott Horton should get him pulled off Iraq coverage. This isn't debatable. He's not a columnist. He's supposed to be a reporter and the editor in Iraq of the moment. He crossed serious lines and we can document doing that over and over throughout his Iraq coverage.
Some might disagree with me. That's their right. And they may be right. But I didn't say, "Oh, there's this vast conspiracy and everytime you read bad news it's because they're trying to extend the US presence! Case closed!" I offered specific examples.
Roy Gutman advocated a position that no reporter's allowed to do unless they're doing particpatory reporting. His comments were out of line and he should be pulled from the beat. (He actually should be written up for what he said during that interview. He won't be. As Chris Hedges and others can tell you, you're only punished by your newspaper for personal opinions when they go against the Embrace of War.)

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