Archive for the ‘Abu Ghraib’ Category

Desmond Tutu: Obama For America’s global image

November 9, 2008

On the night of America’s election last Tuesday, an Ethiopian American immigrant told Peace and Freedom that Barack Obama had more a global impact on the image of America than any other man ever…

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By Desmond Tutu
The Washington Post
Sunday, November 9, 2008; Page B01

CAPE TOWN I am rubbing my eyes in disbelief and wonder. It can’t be true that Barack Obama, the son of a Kenyan, is the next president of the United States.

But it is true, exhilaratingly true. An unbelievable turnaround. I want to jump and dance and shout, as I did after voting for the first time in my native South Africa on April 27, 1994.

We owe our glorious victory over the awfulness of apartheid in South Africa in large part to the support we received from the international community, including the United States, and we will always be deeply grateful. But for those of us who have looked to America for inspiration as we struggled for democracy and human rights, these past seven years have been lean ones.

A few days after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, we had our first shock, hearing your president respond not with the statesmanlike demeanor we had come to expect from a U.S. head of state but like a Western gunslinger. Later, it seemed that much of American society was following his lead.

When war began, first in Afghanistan and not long after in Iraq, we read allegations of prisoner abuse at Bagram air base in Afghanistan and of rendition to countries notorious for practicing torture. We saw the horrific images from Abu Ghraib and learned of gruesome acts performed in the name of gathering information. Sometimes the torture itself was couched in the government’s euphemisms — calling waterboarding an “interrogation technique.”

Read the rest:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/w
p-dyn/content/article/2008/11/07
/AR2008110702896.html?hpid=opinionsbox1

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World hopes for a ‘less arrogant America’

November 4, 2008

A world weary of eight years of George W. Bush was riveted Tuesday by the drama unfolding in the United States. Many were inspired by Barack Obama‘s focus on hope, or simply relieved that — whoever wins — the current administration is coming to an end.

From Berlin’s Brandenburg Gate to the small town of Obama, Japan, the world gears up to celebrate a fresh start for America.

By WILLIAM J. KOLE and MATT MOORE, Associated Press Writers
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In Germany, where more than 200,000 flocked to see Obama this summer as he moved to burnish his foreign policy credentials during a trip to the Middle East and Europe, the election dominated television ticker crawls, newspaper headlines and Web sites.

Hundreds of thousands prepared to party through the night to watch the outcome of an election having an impact far beyond America’s shores. Among the more irreverent festivities planned in Paris: a “Goodbye George” party to bid farewell to Bush.

“Like many French people, I would like Obama to win because it would really be a sign of change,” said Vanessa Doubine, shopping Tuesday on the Champs-Elysees. “I deeply hope for America’s image that it will be Obama.”

Obama-mania was evident not only across Europe, where millions geared up for all-night vigils, but even in much of the Islamic world, where Muslims expressed hope that the Democrat would seek compromise rather than confrontation.

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20081104/ap_on_re_
eu/eu_us_elections_world_view

New York Times, Medal of Honor and Shame to Journalists

October 16, 2007

The New York Post

October 13, 2007 — Every major daily paper in New York took note of President Bush’s deci sion to bestow the first Medal of Honor of Operation Enduring Freedom on Navy SEAL Lt. Michael Murphy – a Long Islander who gave his life for his country and his fellow SEALs.

Every paper but one, that is.

And it shouldn’t be particularly hard to guess which one.

By now, most folks know exactly how much The New York Times despises the U.S. military.

How it detests any mission that involves U.S. troops – whether to protect Americans by killing terrorists or to help stave off a bloodbath in the Middle East.

How the paper works tirelessly to promote its anti-war, anti-military agenda – even in its supposedly objective news pages.

So while Bush’s announcement merited stories and appreciative editorials in The Post, The New York Sun, the Daily News and even the front page of liberal Newsday, it shouldn’t be all that surprising that the Times didn’t publish a single word about Murphy’s well-deserved honor.

What did the paper of record focus on yesterday? No fewer than three stories reported on how Americans had killed innocent Iraqi civilians.

Regarding the war, of course, the Times’ “coverage” was pernicious long before the fighting began.

Since then, it has focused obsessively on the mistakes and sins of American GIs (Abu Ghraib, anyone?) – and rarely has it played up U.S. victories.

Indeed, it would be hard to cite a news outlet more responsible for sapping U.S. morale – and emboldening America’s enemies – than the Times.

But Murphy was a New Yorker.

He served with unusual valor and distinction in Afghanistan.

When Taliban militants ambushed his four-man team in 2005, he risked his life scrambling to an open spot to radio for help. He got his call through, but was later killed in the battle.

Surely even editors at the Times could have had the heart to report – if not honor – such courage and self-sacrifice.

Unless, of course, they’re so blinded by their disdain for America’s fighting men and women and their missions that they just can’t muster the decency to do so.

That must be it.

Dragnet, Freedom of the Press, The Facts, and the Mainstream News Media

July 25, 2007

By James Zumwalt
For Peace and Freedom
July 26, 2007

A popular TV program during the 1950s, “Dragnet,” starred actor Jack Webb portraying a no-nonsense police investigator. His investigative technique made popular a line he often used in the show. Interviewing female witnesses who strayed from just sharing factual observations–offering instead unsolicited opinions–Webb, seeking to refocus the interviewee, admonished, “All we want are the facts, ma’am.”

Jack Webb

Webb’s admonition to provide just the facts is one appropriate to news reporting as well. However, the results of a recent study commissioned by one major international news organization—known for its very liberal bias—show exactly how far it has strayed from this role. And, since the vast majority of those in the media—by their own admission—are cut from the same liberal cloth, it is reasonable to assume what sins the study reveals about this news organization pertain to the majority of those working within the industry.

The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) hired an external group to evaluate the internal conduct of its organization to assess claims of liberal bias. The findings proved shocking–to the BBC at least. One finding was it had “failed to promote proper debate on major political issues because of the inherent liberal culture of its staff.” The study warned too of pandering to celebrities, allowing them “to hijack the BBC schedule,” and of a tendency for its staff “‘to group think’ with too many inhabiting a shared space and comfort zone.” In addition to revealing BBC’s imbalanced news reporting, the study makes a revelation which should raise concern as to how such reporting contributes to perpetuating worrisome myths, thus failing to alert the public of dangers to its very existence.

The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC)
BBC logo

The study noted, during a BBC staff impartiality seminar held last year, executives expressed willingness, should the storyline arise, to broadcast images of the Bible being thrown away but would not do so if it were the Koran being trashed. Why? They feared offending Muslims, evidenced by the violent reactions prompted by publishing cartoons of Muhammad and Pope Benedict’s innocent reciting of a quote by a 14th-Century Christian emperor critical of Islam.

These BBC executives, however, fail to give consideration to the price paid for submitting to such fears. The decision-making guidelines for broadcasting they support result in dishonest reporting, helping to perpetuate dangerous myths. In opting not to broadcast the Koran story, for example, they perpetuate the myth we have nothing to fear from Islamic extremism. Similarly, in opting to broadcast the Bible story, they perpetuate the myth to the Muslim world that non-believers lack moral guidance, giving extremists a rational basis–in their minds–to impose Islam or death upon us. Thus the result in broadcasting one story but not the other would clearly represent a net loss for Western civilization and a net gain for Islamic extremism.

It is not the first time a news organization, out of fear, has failed to publish a story. America’s BBC equivalent, CNN, hid the truth of Saddam Hussein’s acts of brutality and torture before the 2003 US invasion, only later admitting it had consciously done so. Following the 2003 invasion, senior CNN executive Eason Jordan confessed while his news organization was well aware of numerous atrocities committed by Saddam—justifying the dictator’s removal from power—it opted not to report them. To do so, he argued, would have endangered CNN staffers in Iraq. Thus, CNN helped perpetuate the myth prior to 2003 that insufficient grounds for an invasion might exist. While CNN remained silent about Saddam’s widely practiced torture, executions and mutilations of Iraqi citizens, it later would unhesitatingly report stories critical of US troops for what was either mostly a very limited practice of prisoner abuse at Abu Ghraib or uncorroborated allegations of it. This result was a net loss for the US prestige and a net gain for Islamic extremism.

While the mainstream news media (MNM) today attempts to portray itself as independent, it is hypocritical in doing so. For example, most of MNM reject the practice of embedding reporters with US units in Iraq today due to concerns the reporters might start to identify with their unit hosts and thus provide biased perspectives. As a result, many reporters in Iraq spend their time inside the highly protected Green Zone in Baghdad, relying on local stringers–with their own biases–to bring them stories to write and file. This they fail to report to the public, while criticizing the US military for paying to have the Iraqi media publish certain stories it has provided. Furthermore, while news organizations historically take no initiative to pressure Islamic extremist groups to release captives, they fail to remain similarly detached when their own journalists are taken captive—as evidenced most recently by BBC’s efforts to win the release of its reporter Alan Johnston in Gaza.

Clearly the majority of news reporters today in the MNM lack the Jack Webb, facts only-approach. Instead, facts are often lost within the opinionated reporting reflected by a news organization’s political slant. It is a journalistic sin to package a story within the wrappings of a news organization’s established bias, but it is an even greater sin to do so by intentionally refusing to report facts to provide news recipients with information necessary for them to make informed decisions about potential dangers to their existence.

At the conclusion of each “Dragnet” program, the announcer said, “The story you have just seen is true. Only the names have been changed to protect the innocent.” Unfortunately, with the very liberal slant represented by the MNM today and its failing to relate the true dangers of Islamic extremism, the facts they ignore fail to “protect the innocent.” In doing so, freedom of the press—a right which has played such a significant role in breathing life into democracy—could prove to be a catalyst in causing its death.

Related:
Is All the News Media Going
The Way of NBCs Today Show?

By John E. Carey
June 25, 2007

Today in the world we have these intriguing stories: War in Iraq, Discussions of Genocide in Darfur Being Held in Paris, Iran Trying to Slip Away From U.N. Sanctions, North Korea Preparing to Shut Down its Nuclear Reactor, “Chemical Ali” Sentenced to Death in Iraq, Tony Blair Maybe to Become Catholic and other goodies.

NBCs Today Show started with a California Brush Fire, A Bus Crash, A Murder in Ohio, and Problems with Aspirin. Before the first half hour was completed we had Pretty Blonde Woman (Princess Di and Paris Hilton) and a story on Beaches.

By eight a.m. I’d expect a story on Bar-B-Q, Good Make-Up and Expensive Women’s Shoes.

What is America thinking? Watch the NBC Today Show or anything else in the morning line-up and you’ll know.

The ceaseless, mindless prattle of the “networks” (NBC, ABC, and CBS) created the audience for the “Cable News” phenomena of CNN, Fox News Channel, and MSNBC.

The “Main Stream Media” (The New York Times, The Washington Post, and etc.) created the “Blogger” phenomena.

The bottom line: there is enough news to go around for everyone.

“Now Public” (the liberal leaning, Toronto based “news” web site) is as important to its readers and participants as The Washington Times is to a certain political crowd in America!