Wednesday, October 06, 2010

The US Media and Fabrication of Facts! (Part 1)

*******
*******
George Soros’ Millions Buying ‘Political Reporters’ For NPR
What is the difference between a left-wing billionaire buying 100 reporters for NPR and Fox News being owned by conservative owners?
By Warner Todd Huston
Wednesday, October 20, 2010
The left loves to go wild claiming that Rupert Murdock, a famous conservative, owns a few news outlets. The left is also aghast that well-known righty Roger Ailes guides Fox News. Ailes’s ideology makes of his network a compromised product, they claim. It’s all a travesty of “news,” and “proof” that those agencies are contaminated by right-wing ideology say lefty detractors. So, with the news that George Soros is buying one hundred political “reporters” for National Public Radio (NPR), one waits with bated breath for the left to decry the fact that a famous anti-American leftist is buying and influencing the “news.”
One will likely wait in vain, too.
In fact, The New York Times doesn’t even mention the left-wing ideology of the foundation that is supplying $1.8 million to NPR so it can hire political reporters across the country.
The left-wing Open Society Foundations is donating the large sum to NPR for a project being called “Impact of Government.” The project is planning to add at least 100 reporters across the country to cover local state house politics to fill the holes left by the firing of so many local reporters due to the contraction in the field of journalism over the last decade.
One might look at this plan and imagine that it isn’t such a bad idea. If states have lost reporters ready to hold local politicians accountable why is it so bad for $1.8 million to be spent to fill that gap? But in the NYT piece one can see why this donation should raise eyebrows instead of making folks feel at ease that the plan is merely helping fill a reporting gap.
Ms. Schiller said the journalists would not be part of typical statehouse coverage, but instead would work on enterprise journalism that looks at how state government decisions play out over years, and extend beyond a single state’s borders.
What exactly does “enterprise journalism” mean? This sure smacks of agenda journalism as opposed to mere reporting, doesn’t it? And even if that isn’t the intent, the rhetoric here is suspicious.
But what makes this all even more suspicious is the source of the $1.8 million donation. The Open Society Foundations was founded by well-known anti-American George Soros. Yet, nowhere in the news is this made clear to readers.
One might recall the hullabaloo that was raised when it was revealed that News Corp, owner of Fox News, had donated one million dollars to Republicans for this election cycle. It was the end of the world as far as the left was concerned. It was “proof” that Fox could not be trusted.
Yet, here we have George Soros buying reporters for NPR, the same Soros who has an extremely left-wing agenda that he has been pushing on the world for decades. After all, if the assumption that conservatives owning Fox makes its news slanted, shouldn’t the same logic dictate that anything Soros owns reflects his
ideology? Shouldn’t we assume that NPR’s new reporters will be left-wing hacks bought and paid for by one of the richest, most active, most extreme left-wing activists in the world?
So what is the difference between a left-wing billionaire buying 100 reporters for NPR and Fox News being owned by conservative owners? Why has the Old Media establishment completely ignored the extremist agenda of the foundation making such a large donation to NPR? Why isn’t NPR to be suspected of being a left-wing mouthpiece now?
The answer to this question can only be that the Old Media establishment is already bought and paid for by the far left and would never raise questions that might reflect badly on a left-wing agenda. Only conservatives need “outing” as far as the Old Media is concerned.
That George Soros owns NPR like this? Well, that’s just a little secret between you and me.
(Originally posted at Andrew Breitbart’s BigJournalism.com)
*******
Israel: "Wiped off The Map". The Rumor of the Century, Fabricated by the US Media to Justify An All out War on Iran
by Arash Norouzi
Global Research, September 26, 2010
http://globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=21188
Global Research Editor's Note
The following text by Arash Norouzi first published by the Mossadegh Project and Global Research in January 2007 confirms that the alleged "Wiped Off the Map" statement by Iran's president was never made.
The rumor was fabricated by the American media with a view to discrediting Iran's head of state and providing a justification for waging an all out war on Iran. the article provides of media manipulation and "propaganda in action".
Iran is blamed for refusing to abide by the "reasonable demands" of "the international community".
*******
*******
Realities are twisted and turned upside down. Iran is being accused of wanting to start a war. Inherent in US military doctrine, the victims of war are heralded as the aggressor.
The threat to global security comes from the US-NATO-Israel military alliance, which is now threatening Iran with a pre-emptive attack with nuclear warheads.
If Iran is attacked, we are potentially in a World War III scenario.
It is essential to dispel the fabrications of the Western media.
Iran does not constitute a threat to to Global Security.
Iran does not possess a nuclear weapons program. Iran does not constitute a threat to Israel.
Michel Chossudovsky, 25 September 2010
Also See:
Wiped off The Map: The Rumor of the Century
by Arash Norouzi
Global Research, January 20, 2007
The Mossadegh Project
Across the world, a dangerous rumor has spread that could have catastrophic implications. According to legend, Iran's President has threatened to destroy Israel, or, to quote the misquote, "Israel must be wiped off the map". Contrary to popular belief, this statement was never made, as the following article will prove.
Background:
On Tuesday, October 25th, 2005 at the Ministry of Interior conference hall in Tehran, newly elected Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad delivered a speech at a program, reportedly attended by thousands, titled "The World Without Zionism". Large posters surrounding him displayed this title prominently in English, obviously for the benefit of the international press. Below the poster's title was a slick graphic depicting an hour glass containing planet Earth at its top. Two small round orbs representing the United States and Israel are shown falling through the hour glass' narrow neck and crashing to the bottom.
Before we get to the infamous remark, it's important to note that the "quote" in question was itself a quote— they are the words of the late Ayatollah Khomeini, the father of the Islamic Revolution. Although he quoted Khomeini to affirm his own position on Zionism, the actual words belong to Khomeini and not Ahmadinejad. Thus, Ahmadinejad has essentially been credited (or blamed) for a quote that is not only unoriginal, but represents a viewpoint already in place well before he ever took office.
The Actual Quote:
So what did Ahmadinejad actually say? To quote his exact words in farsi:
"Imam ghoft een rezhim-e ishghalgar-e qods bayad az safheh-ye ruzgar mahv shavad."
That passage will mean nothing to most people, but one word might ring a bell: rezhim-e. It is the word "Regime", pronounced just like the English word with an extra "eh" sound at the end. Ahmadinejad did not refer to Israel the country or Israel the land mass, but the Israeli regime. This is a vastly significant distinction, as one cannot wipe a regime off the map. Ahmadinejad does not even refer to Israel by name, he instead uses the specific phrase "rezhim-e ishghalgar-e qods" (regime occupying Jerusalem).
So this raises the question.. what exactly did he want "wiped from the map"? The answer is: nothing. That's because the word "map" was never used. The Persian word for map, "nagsheh", is not contained anywhere in his original farsi quote, or, for that matter, anywhere in his entire speech. Nor was the western phrase "wipe out" ever said. Yet we are led to believe that Iran's President threatened to "wipe Israel off the map", despite never having uttered the words "map", "wipe out" or even "Israel".
The Proof:
The full quote translated directly to English:
"The Imam said this regime occupying Jerusalem must vanish from the page of time".
Word by word translation:
Imam (Khomeini) ghoft (said) een (this) rezhim-e (regime) ishghalgar-e (occupying) qods (Jerusalem) bayad (must) az safheh-ye ruzgar (from page of time) mahv shavad (vanish from).
Here is the full transcript of the speech in farsi, archived on Ahmadinejad's web site
www.president.ir/farsi/ahmadinejad/speeches/1384/aban-84/840804sahyonizm.htm
The Speech and Context:
While the false "wiped off the map" extract has been repeated infinitely without verification, Ahmadinejad's actual speech itself has been almost entirely ignored. Given the importance placed on the "map" comment, it would be sensible to present his words in their full context to get a fuller understanding of his position. In fact, by looking at the entire speech, there is a clear, logical trajectory leading up to his call for a "world without Zionism". One may disagree with his reasoning, but critical appraisals are infeasible without first knowing what that reasoning is.
In his speech, Ahmadinejad declares that Zionism is the West's apparatus of political oppression against Muslims. He says the "Zionist regime" was imposed on the Islamic world as a strategic bridgehead to ensure domination of the region and its assets. Palestine, he insists, is the frontline of the Islamic world's struggle with American hegemony, and its fate will have repercussions for the entire Middle East.
Ahmadinejad acknowledges that the removal of America's powerful grip on the region via the Zionists may seem unimaginable to some, but reminds the audience that, as Khomeini predicted, other seemingly invincible empires have disappeared and now only exist in history books. He then proceeds to list three such regimes that have collapsed, crumbled or vanished, all within the last 30 years:
(1) The Shah of Iran- the U.S. installed monarch
(2) The Soviet Union
(3) Iran's former arch-enemy, Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein
In the first and third examples, Ahmadinejad prefaces their mention with Khomeini's own words foretelling that individual regime's demise. He concludes by referring to Khomeini's unfulfilled wish: "The Imam said this regime occupying Jerusalem must vanish from the page of time. This statement is very wise".
*******
*******
This is the passage that has been isolated, twisted and distorted so famously. By measure of comparison, Ahmadinejad would seem to be calling for regime change, not war.
The Origin:
One may wonder: where did this false interpretation originate? Who is responsible for the translation that has sparked such worldwide controversy? The answer is surprising.
The inflammatory "wiped off the map" quote was first disseminated not by Iran's enemies, but by Iran itself. The Islamic Republic News Agency, Iran's official propaganda arm, used this phrasing in the English version of some of their news releases covering the World Without Zionism conference. International media including the BBC, Al Jazeera, Time magazine and countless others picked up the IRNA quote and made headlines out of it without verifying its accuracy, and rarely referring to the source. Iran's Foreign Minister soon attempted to clarify the statement, but the quote had a life of its own. Though the IRNA wording was inaccurate and misleading, the media assumed it was true, and besides, it made great copy.
Amid heated wrangling over Iran's nuclear program, and months of continuous, unfounded accusations against Iran in an attempt to rally support for preemptive strikes against the country, the imperialists had just been handed the perfect raison d'être to invade. To the war hawks, it was a gift from the skies.
It should be noted that in other references to the conference, the IRNA's translation changed. For instance, "map" was replaced with "earth". In some articles it was "The Qods occupier regime should be eliminated from the surface of earth", or the similar "The Qods occupying regime must be eliminated from the surface of earth". The inconsistency of the IRNA's translation should be evidence enough of the unreliability of the source, particularly when transcribing their news from Farsi into the English language.
The Reaction:
The mistranslated "wiped off the map" quote attributed to Iran's President has been spread worldwide, repeated thousands of times in international media, and prompted the denouncements of numerous world leaders. Virtually every major and minor media outlet has published or broadcast this false statement to the masses. Big news agencies such as The Associated Press and Reuters refer to the misquote, literally, on an almost daily basis.
Following news of Iran's remark, condemnation was swift. British Prime Minister Tony Blair expressed "revulsion" and implied that it might be necessary to attack Iran. U.N. chief Kofi Annan cancelled his scheduled trip to Iran due to the controversy. Ariel Sharon demanded that Iran be expelled from the United Nations for calling for Israel's destruction. Shimon Peres, more than once, threatened to wipe Iran off the map. More recently, Israel's Benjamin Netanyahu, who has warned that Iran is "preparing another holocaust for the Jewish state" is calling for Ahmadinejad to be tried for war crimes for inciting genocide.
The artificial quote has also been subject to additional alterations. U.S. officials and media often take the liberty of dropping the "map" reference altogether, replacing it with the more acutely threatening phrase "wipe Israel off the face of the earth". Newspaper and magazine articles dutifully report Ahmadinejad has "called for the destruction of Israel", as do senior officials in the United States government.
President George W. Bush said the comments represented a "specific threat" to destroy Israel. In a March 2006 speech in Cleveland, Bush vowed he would resort to war to protect Israel from Iran, because, "..the threat from Iran is, of course, their stated objective to destroy our strong ally Israel." Former Presidential advisor Richard Clarke told Australian TV that Iran "talks openly about destroying Israel", and insists, "The President of Iran has said repeatedly that he wants to wipe Israel off the face of the earth". In an October 2006 interview with Amy Goodman, former UN Weapons Inspector Scott Ritter referred to Ahmadinejad as "the idiot that comes out and says really stupid, vile things, such as, 'It is the goal of Iran to wipe Israel off the face of the earth' ". The consensus is clear.
Confusing matters further, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad pontificates rather than give a direct answer when questioned about the statement, such as in Lally Weymouth's Washington Post interview in September 2006:
Are you really serious when you say that Israel should be wiped off the face of the Earth?
We need to look at the scene in the Middle East — 60 years of war, 60 years of displacement, 60 years of conflict, not even a day of peace. Look at the war in Lebanon, the war in Gaza — what are the reasons for these conditions? We need to address and resolve the root problem.
Your suggestion is to wipe Israel off the face of the Earth?
Our suggestion is very clear:... Let the Palestinian people decide their fate in a free and fair referendum, and the result, whatever it is, should be accepted.... The people with no roots there are now ruling the land.
You've been quoted as saying that Israel should be wiped off the face of the Earth. Is that your belief?
What I have said has made my position clear. If we look at a map of the Middle East from 70 years ago...
So, the answer is yes, you do believe that it should be wiped off the face of the Earth?
Are you asking me yes or no? Is this a test? Do you respect the right to self-determination for the Palestinian nation? Yes or no? Is Palestine, as a nation, considered a nation with the right to live under humane conditions or not? Let's allow those rights to be enforced for these 5 million displaced people.
The exchange is typical of Ahmadinejad's interviews with the American media. Predictably,
both Mike Wallace of 60 Minutes and CNN's Anderson Cooper asked if he wants to "wipe Israel off the map". As usual, the question is thrown back in the reporter's face with his standard "Don't the Palestinians have rights?, etc." retort (which is never directly answered either). Yet he never confirms the "map" comment to be true. This did not prevent Anderson Cooper from referring to earlier portions of his interview after a commercial break and lying, "as he said earlier, he wants Israel wiped off the map".
Even if every media outlet in the world were to retract the mistranslated quote tomorrow, the major damage has already been done, providing the groundwork for the next phase of disinformation: complete character demonization. Ahmadinejad, we are told, is the next Hitler, a grave threat to world peace who wants to bring about a new Holocaust. According to some detractors, he not only wants to destroy Israel, but after that, he will nuke America, and then Europe! An October 2006 memo titled Words of Hate: Iran's Escalating Threats released by the powerful Israeli lobby group AIPAC opens with the warning, "Ahmadinejad and other top Iranian leaders are issuing increasingly belligerent statements threatening to destroy the United States, Europe and Israel." These claims not only fabricate an unsubstantiated threat, but assume far more power than he actually possesses. Alarmists would be better off monitoring the statements of the ultra-conservative Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Khamenei, who holds the most power in Iran.
As Iran's U.N. Press Officer, M.A. Mohammadi, complained to The Washington Post in a June 2006 letter:
It is not amazing at all, the pick-and-choose approach of highlighting the misinterpreted remarks of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in October and ignoring this month's remarks by Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, that "We have no problem with the world. We are not a threat whatsoever to the world, and the world knows it. We will never start a war. We have no intention of going to war with any state."
The Israeli government has milked every drop of the spurious quote to its supposed advantage. In her
September 2006 address to the United Nations General Assembly, Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni accused Iran of working to nuke Israel and bully the world. "They speak proudly and openly of their desire to 'wipe Israel off the map.' And now, by their actions, they pursue the weapons to achieve this objective to imperil the region and threaten the world." Addressing the threat in December, a fervent Prime Minister Ehud Olmert inadvertently disclosed that his country already possesses nuclear weapons: "We have never threatened any nation with annihilation. Iran, openly, explicitly and publicly threatens to wipe Israel off the map. Can you say that this is the same level, when they are aspiring to have nuclear weapons, as America, France, Israel, Russia?"
Media Irresponsibility:
On December 13, 2006, more than a year after The World Without Zionism conference, two leading Israeli newspapers, The Jerusalem Post and Haaretz, published reports of a renewed threat from Ahmadinejad. The Jerusalem Post's headline was Ahmadinejad: Israel will be 'wiped out', while Haaretz posted the title Ahmadinejad at Holocaust conference: Israel will 'soon be wiped out'.
Where did they get their information? It turns out that both papers, like most American and western media, rely heavily on write ups by news wire services such as the Associated Press and Reuters as a source for their articles. Sure enough, their sources are in fact December 12th articles by Reuter's Paul Hughes [Iran president says Israel's days are numbered], and the AP's Ali Akbar Dareini [Iran President: Israel Will be wiped out].
The first five paragraphs of the Haaretz article, credited to "Haaretz Service and Agencies", are plagiarized almost 100% from the first five paragraphs of the Reuters piece. The only difference is that Haaretz changed "the Jewish state" to "Israel" in the second paragraph, otherwise they are identical.
The Jerusalem Post article by Herb Keinon pilfers from both the Reuters and AP stories. Like Haaretz, it uses the following Ahmadinejad quote without attribution: ["Just as the Soviet Union was wiped out and today does not exist, so will the Zionist regime soon be wiped out," he added]. Another passage apparently relies on an IRNA report:
"The Zionist regime will be wiped out soon the same way the Soviet Union was, and humanity will achieve freedom," Ahmadinejad said at Tuesday's meeting with the conference participants in his offices, according to Iran's official news agency, IRNA.
He said elections should be held among "Jews, Christians and Muslims so the population of Palestine can select their government and destiny for themselves in a democratic manner."
Once again, the first sentence above was wholly plagiarized from the AP article. The second sentence was also the same, except "He called for elections" became "He said elections should be held ..."
It gets more interesting.
The quote used in the original AP article and copied in The Jerusalem Post article supposedly derives from the IRNA. If true, this can easily be checked. Care to find out? Go to:
www.irna.ir/en/news/view/menu-234/0612134902101231.htm
There you will discover the actual IRNA quote was: "As the Soviet Union disappeared, the Zionist regime will also vanish and humanity will be liberated". 
Compare this to the alleged IRNA quote reported by the Associated Press: "The Zionist regime will be wiped out soon the same way the Soviet Union was, and humanity will achieve freedom".
In the IRNA's actual report, the Zionist regime will vanish just as the Soviet Union disappeared. Vanish. Disappear. In the dishonest AP version, the Zionist regime will be "wiped out". And how will it be wiped out? "The same way the Soviet Union was". Rather than imply a military threat or escalation in rhetoric, this reference to Russia actually validates the intended meaning of Ahmadinejad's previous misinterpreted anti-Zionist statements.
What has just been demonstrated is irrefutable proof of media manipulation and propaganda in action. The AP deliberately alters an IRNA quote to sound more threatening. The Israeli media not only repeats the fake quote but also steals the original authors' words. The unsuspecting public reads this, forms an opinion and supports unnecessary wars of aggression, presented as self defense, based on the misinformation.
*******
*******
This scenario mirrors the kind of false claims that led to the illegal U.S. invasion of Iraq, a war now widely viewed as a catastrophic mistake. And yet the Bush administration and the compliant corporate media continue to marinate in propaganda and speculation about attacking Iraq's much larger and more formidable neighbor, Iran. Most of this rests on the unproven assumption that Iran is building nuclear weapons, and the lie that Iran has vowed to physically destroy Israel. Given its scope and potentially disastrous outcome, all this amounts to what is arguably the rumor of the century.
Iran's President has written two rather philosophical letters to America. In his first letter, he pointed out that "History shows us that oppressive and cruel governments do not survive". With this statement, Ahmadinejad has also projected the outcome of his own backwards regime, which will likewise "vanish from the page of time".
*******
******* 
Media Disinformation: The Facts About Ahmadinejad's UN Speech
by Jack A. Smith
Global Research, September 26, 2010
The Iranian leader did not accuse the U.S. of conspiring to murder thousands of its own people to create a pretext for launching wars as conveyed by the US media.
A large portion of the American people, on the basis of media reports, probably think that during his UN speech Sept. 23 Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad declared that the U.S. government secretly arranged for the 9/11 attacks. He did not say that, however.
In its Sept. 24 article about the speech The New York Times headline read: "Iran Leader Says U.S. Planned 9/11 Attacks." The first paragraph declared: "President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran made a series of incendiary remarks in his speech to the United Nations General Assembly on Thursday, notably the claim that the United States orchestrated the Sept. 11 attacks to rescue its declining economy, to reassert its weakening grip on the Middle East and to save Israel."
On the basis of his remarks the U.S. led 33 nations in theatrical walk out from the General Assembly while he was talking. And the next day, in an interview with the BBC's Persian service, President Barack Obama said Ahmadinejad's 9/11 remarks were "offensive. It was hateful. And particularly for him to make the statement here in Manhattan, just a little north of Ground Zero, where families lost their loved ones, people of all faiths, all ethnicities who see this as the seminal tragedy of this generation, for him to make a statement like that was inexcusable.”
On Sept. 25, the Times published a correction: "A headline on Friday with an article about an incendiary speech in the United Nations General Assembly by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran summarized his remarks about the Sept. 11 terror attacks incorrectly. In his speech, Mr. Ahmadinejad asserted various theories about the origin of the attacks, including the possibility that they had been planned by the United States. He did not say that the United States had planned the attacks."
The Times was one of many U.S. newspapers, TV and radio news reports that suggested Ahmadinejad accused the U.S. government of secretly instigating the attack — a conspiracy theory believed by some Americans and others. Following are the few paragraphs pertaining to this matter from the Iranian leader's text:
"It was said that some three thousands people were killed on the 11 September for which we are all very saddened. Yet, up until now, in Afghanistan and Iraq hundreds of thousands of people have been killed, millions wounded and displaced and the conflict is still going on and expanding.                                           In identifying those responsible for the attack, there were three viewpoints.
"1- That a very powerful and complex terrorist group, able to successfully cross all layers of the American intelligence and security, carried out the attack. This is the main viewpoint advocated by American statesmen."
2- That some segments within the U.S. government orchestrated the attack to reverse the declining American economy and its grips on the Middle East in order also to save the Zionist regime. The majority of the American people as well as other nations and politicians agree with this view.
3- It was carried out by a terrorist group but the American government supported and took advantage of the situation. Apparently, this viewpoint has fewer proponents. The main evidence linking the incident was a few passports found in the huge volume of rubble and a video of an individual whose place of domicile was unknown but it was announced that he had been involved in oil deals with some American officials. It was also covered up and said that due to the explosion and fire no trace of the suicide attackers was found."
Ahmadinejad did not suggest these were his views. He was incorrect to claim that a majority of Americans subscribe to a well known conspiracy theory that is strongly held by a minority in the United States.
In a 2009 poll conducted by Public Policy Polling, 14% of the American people believe "President Bush intentionally allowed the 9/11 attacks to take place because he wanted the United States to go to war in the Middle East.” Many of the people who hold this view are war opponents, but it is not the perspective of the large majority of the U.S. peace movement.
In 2006, a Scripps Howard/Ohio University poll reported that "more than a third of the American public suspects that federal officials assisted in the 9/11 terrorist attacks or took no action to stop them so the United States could go to war in the Middle East."
In a 2008 poll conducted in 17 countries by WorldPublicOpinion.org, majorities in nine countries blamed al-Qaeda. In all countries there were minorities which blamed the U.S. The percentage of many who blamed Washington was in single digits or teens but in Germany, for instance, it was 23%, South Korea 17%, Mexico, 30%, and Turkey 36%. The average of all countries as to the responsible party was al-Qaeda 46%, U.S. 15%, Israel 7%, Other 7% and Don't Know 25%.
So while not putting forward such arguments himself, Ahmadinejad exaggerated or misspoke regarding the proportion of those who think that the Bush Administration was involved in a 9/11 conspiracy that is evidently being covered up by the Obama Administration. If it was true, how could Obama not know? Many Americans, accustomed to Washington's long demonization campaign against Ahmadinejad and Iran, now believe the Iranian leader grotesquely accused the U.S. of conspiring to murder thousands of its own people to create a pretext for launching wars.
We have never believed the conspiracy theory, not least for two reasons:
• Washington hardly needs an excuse of such magnitude to launch a war against small and basically defenseless nations. U.S. governments frequently attack such countries, and the usual excuses of "spreading democracy" or "humanitarian intervention" suffice to deceive the majority of Americans time and again.
• If Washington sought to stage a pretext for invading poor, bedraggled Afghanistan it didn't have to engage in one of the most complex and dangerous conspiracies ever devised in history. It would take thousands of government operatives from many departments to plan and execute the attacks on the Pentagon, World Trade Center and the failed attempt on the White House. And if just one conspirator talked, out of all the people involved, the blowback would have destroyed the Bush Administration, the Republican Party, the cover-up Obama Administration, and completely discombobulate the entire country for decades. It's simply unnecessary and illogical.
But there was a "conspiracy," of course. It was a state conspiracy to dominate the entire oil-rich Middle East, overthrowing regimes in Iraq, Iran and possibly Syria in the process, and also extend U.S. hegemony into Central Asia to compete geopolitically with China and Russia. This conspiracy is known as U.S. foreign and military policy, and most of the details are available in a great many public government and media reports, assuming one has enough knowledge to read between the lines when necessary.
It is a fact the Bush Administration used 9/11 as an immediate rationale for gaining a foothold in Central Asia, and partially used 9/11 to replace the Ba'athist regime in Iraq with a government responsive to Washington's diktat in preparation for regime change in Iran. But the U.S. had been active in Afghanistan since 1979, and could have found any number of pretexts to take out the Taliban. And the planning to overthrow the Baghdad government began during the Clinton Administration in the 1990s, and would have taken place with or without 9/11, especially after Iraq was so weakened by U.S./British/UN sanctions that it was a military pushover, until the unexpected guerrilla insurgency forced a stalemate.
From time to time President Ahmadinejad is his own worst enemy because of his incautious remarks. In judging him it's more important to watch what he does than what he sometimes says. He has taken no aggressive foreign action and there is no proof Iran is building nuclear weapons. His government's military strategy is entirely defensive.
While the Obama Administration continues to complain about Ahmadinejad's 9/11 remarks, little is said about his simultaneous call for early negotiations about swapping enriched uranium. And his agreement with Brazil and Turkey earlier this year to achieve the uranium swap Obama was demanding encountered derision from Washington when it was announced, followed by the increased sanctions the U.S. and Israel considered more important than a settlement.
For different reasons, the U.S. even more so must be judged by its performance, not its words. While Washington talks peace, it is fighting in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Yemen, vastly increasing its drone attacks, and is now deploying Special Operations forces in 75 countries, 15 more than last year. And while Obama usually speaks softly. he constantly wields — directly in Ahmadinejad's face — the big stick of a potential crushing attack by the U.S. and Israel.
*******
US News Media's Latest Disgrace
By Robert Parry
After prying loose 8,000 pages of Pentagon documents, the New York Times has proven what should have been obvious years ago: the Bush administration manipulated public opinion on the Iraq War, in part, by funneling propaganda through former senior military officers who served as expert analysts on TV news shows.
In 2002-03, these military analysts were ubiquitous on TV justifying the Iraq invasion, and most have remained supportive of the war in the five years since. The Times investigation showed that the analysts were being briefed by the Pentagon on what to say and had undisclosed conflicts of interest via military contracts.
Retired Green Beret Robert S. Bevelacqua, a former Fox News analyst, said the Pentagon treated the retired military officers as puppets: “It was them saying, ‘we need to stick our hands up your back and move your mouth for you.’” [NYT, April 20, 2008]
None of that, of course, should come as any surprise. Where do people think generals and admirals go to work after they retire from the government?
If they play ball with the Pentagon, they get fat salaries serving on corporate boards of military contractors, or they get rich running consultancies that trade on quick access to high-ranking administration officials. If they’re not team players, they’re shut out.
Yet, what may be more troubling, although perhaps no more surprising, is how willingly the U.S. news media let itself be used as a propaganda conduit for the Bush administration regarding the ill-advised invasion of Iraq.
Fox News may have been the prototype of the flag-waving “news” outlet that fawned over pro-war retired military officers and mocked anti-war citizens.
But the same imbalance could be found at the major networks, like NBC where then-anchor Tom Brokaw spoke in the first person plural as he sat among a panel of retired brass on the night of the Iraq invasion – March 19, 2003 – and said: "In a few days, we're going to own that country."
The blame also goes far beyond the TV networks, to the most prestigious print publications. The New York Times famously promoted fictional stories about Iraqi aluminum tubes for building nuclear weapons, and the Washington Post editorial page remains to this day an ardent cheerleader for the war.
So, the real question is not how widespread the ethical lapses of the U.S. news media were – both in palming off self-interested ex-generals as objective observers and for failing to demonstrate even a modicum of skepticism in publishing false articles that paved the way to war.
Rather, the urgent question is what must be done if the United States is to reclaim its status as a functioning constitutional Republic in which a reasonably honest news media keeps the public adequately informed.
Having spent most of my career on the inside at places such as the Associated Press and Newsweek, it’s been my view for many years that the mainstream U.S. news media can’t be reformed, that it is beyond hope.
Though there are still good journalists working at major news companies – and the better news outlets do produce some useful information, like Sunday’s story in the Times – the central reality is that corporate journalism is rotten at the core and won't stop spreading the rot throughout the U.S. political process.
That’s why for the past dozen-plus years at Consortiumnews.com, we have called for a major public investment in honest journalism, so information can be produced that it is both professional and independent of the kinds of external pressures that have deformed today’s mainstream press.
We must find new ways to tell the news.
The Reagan Era
The scope of the problem dawned on me in the late 1980s, as I watched the widespread criminality of the Iran-Contra and related scandals – ranging from money-laundering, gun-smuggling, drug-trafficking and acts of terrorism – get swept under the rug because they implicated senior U.S. officials.
During those years, I witnessed the Washington press corps – which still basked in the glory of Watergate and the Pentagon Papers – rushing headlong toward becoming little more than a propaganda funnel for the powers-that-be.
Indeed, in 1992, my first book, Fooling America, argued that the Watergate-Vietnam-era press corps was undergoing a historic transformation into a snarky conveyor of ill-considered conventional wisdom.
The book also made the case that this transformation was not accidental, nor was it driven just by corporate greed and journalistic careerism (though there was plenty of both). There also was a powerful ideological component.
Behind the scenes, the Reagan administration had constructed a domestic framework modeled after CIA psychological warfare programs abroad. The main difference this time was that the psy-op took aim at the American people with the goal of managing how they perceived events, what insiders called “perception management.”
From documents that I uncovered during the Iran-Contra scandal, it was clear that the motive behind this extraordinary operation was the bitterness that conservatives felt toward the mass protests against the Vietnam War and toward American journalists whose reporting supposedly had undermined the war effort.
So, Ronald Reagan’s team made it a high priority to rein in troublesome journalists and to reverse the so-called “Vietnam Syndrome,” the American people’s revulsion over any more foreign military adventures.
The documents revealed that the domestic operation took shape in the early 1980s under the guidance of CIA Director William Casey, who even donated one of the CIA’s top propagandists, Walter Raymond Jr., to manage the program from inside President Reagan’s National Security Council staff.
Other factors fed into the success of this propaganda operation, especially the rise of a bright group of political intellectuals known as the neoconservatives. They proved especially adept at using McCarthyistic tactics to marginalize and silence dissent.
The crowning achievement of this decade-long effort came during the first Persian Gulf War of 1990-91. President George H.W. Bush believed that a successful U.S.-led ground offensive could finish the job of bringing the American people back from their post-Vietnam malaise.
However, after months of devastating aerial bombings, Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev had persuaded Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein to withdraw his troops from Kuwait with no more killing, and Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf and other front-line U.S. commanders favored the deal.
But Bush rebuffed the offer, instead ordering the ground attack that slaughtered tens of thousands of fleeing Iraqi troops during a 100-hour campaign. [For details, see the Colin Powell chapter of Neck Deep.]
When the ground war ended, Bush offered an insight into his central motivation. In his first comments about the U.S. victory, he declared: “By God, we’ve kicked the Vietnam Syndrome once and for all.”
Amid the war euphoria, some American journalists who had thought a less violent solution should have been pursued – including conservative columnist Robert Novak – offered cringing self-criticisms about their mistaken doubts.
The only sustained criticism of President Bush on the war came from the neocons, like Charles Krauthammer, who complained that Bush should have let the killing go on, that he stopped the ground war too soon, that he should have conquered Baghdad and occupied Iraq.
In my book, Fooling America, I told the story of this decline and fall of the U.S. news media, from its glory days of Watergate to its groveling days of the early 1990s. But 16 years ago, few people wanted to hear the story – or believe it.
The common view at the time was that the Washington press corps was still the aggressive watchdog of Watergate fame and, if anything, was too “liberal.” Though I had a major publisher in Morrow, the book got little circulation and was trashed by key book reviewers, including one from the Washington Post.
The thought that the heroic Washington press corps was changing into something cowardly and reckless was an idea whose time had not yet come.
[Fooling America has long been out of print, but some of the material can be found in Robert Parry’s later books, Lost History, Secrecy & Privilege and Neck Deep.]
Repeating History
In the investigation of how the Pentagon used TV military analysts to sell the Iraq War – thus allowing George W. Bush to “complete the job” left unfinished by his dad – the New York Times also traced the administration’s P.R. theories back to the Vietnam War and to the early days of the Reagan era.
“Many [TV military analysts] also shared with Mr. Bush’s national security team a belief that pessimistic war coverage broke the nation’s will to win in Vietnam, and there was a mutual resolve not to let that happen with this war,” the Times reported in the article by David Barstow.
“This was a major theme, for example, with Paul E. Vallely, a Fox News analyst from 2001 to 2007. A retired Army general who had specialized in psychological warfare, Mr. Vallely co-authored a paper in 1980 that accused American news organizations of failing to defend the nation from ‘enemy’ propaganda during Vietnam.
“‘We lost the war – not because we were outfought, but because we were out Psyoped,’ he wrote. He urged a radically new approach to psychological operations in future wars – taking aim not just at foreign adversaries but at domestic audiences, too.
“He called his approach ‘MindWar’ – using network TV and radio to ‘strengthen our national will to victory.’”
But the danger of “MindWar,” aimed by the U.S. government at the American people, is that it turns inside-out the concept of a democratic Republic in which a well-informed people exercise meaningful control over their government.
Instead, you end up with a duplicitous government using propaganda, fear and intimidation to whip the people into line. Rather than the government being the servant of the people, the people become the servant of the government.
Then, as undemocratic regimes have shown throughout history – with the voice of the people silenced – insiders get a free hand to carry out foolhardy policies and to line the pockets of their friends.
With the U.S. taxpayers now looking at an open-ended Iraq War with the total cost possibly reaching $3 trillion, it shouldn’t be too hard to figure out who the “winners” were in this “MindWar.”
Often they were the same TV military analysts and news media pundits who were advocating for the invasion more than five years ago. Almost everyone of them has made out like bandits, many with fat stock portfolios and posh vacation homes, not to mention appreciative CEOs back at corporate central.
The “losers” should be equally apparent. Besides the fleeced American taxpayers, there have been more than 4,000 U.S. soldiers dead, another 30,000 wounded, and hundreds of thousands of dead and maimed Iraqis.
This bloody march of folly began some three decades ago when the U.S. news media began surrendering its responsibility to keep the people informed and instead opted for the easier and more lucrative role of acting as propagandists for the powerful.
The New York Times article is just further proof of that sorry reality.
Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories in the 1980s for the Associated Press and Newsweek. His latest book, Neck Deep: The Disastrous Presidency of George W. Bush, was written with two of his sons, Sam and Nat, and can be ordered at neckdeepbook.com. His two previous books, Secrecy & Privilege: The Rise of the Bush Dynasty from Watergate to Iraq and Lost History: Contras, Cocaine, the Press & 'Project Truth' are also available there. Or go to Amazon.com.
*******
Also See:
The Reality of the Media - An Alternate Universe
18 May 2010
http://arcticcompass.blogspot.com/2010/05/reality-of-media-alternate-universe.html
and
The Media - Why Didn't They Report This?
22 July 2009
http://arcticcompass.blogspot.com/2009/07/media-why-didnt-they-report-this.html
and
TV, Radio, & Newspapers
28 July 2007
http://arcticcompass.blogspot.com/2007/07/newspapers-other-media.html
*******

No comments: