Reading DrudgeReport, World Net Daily, The Guardian will make you dumb


Wnd

Wnd (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

….just like watching FoxNews.  You can’t expect to get a grasp of what’s going on in the real world because media such as these have an agenda to distort reality in order to effect American policy against or for a certain segment of the population.  However, in the case of Drudge’s latest blatant distortion, there’s no doubt to whom it was aimed.

Report: ‘Muslim Brotherhood’ starts crucifixions was the headline on a recent Drudge page earlier this week and the imagery is enough to make one gasp out of horror and revulsion…..however it was not true.  None of it.  Drudge collects news headlines and posts them on his web page; he usually posts those stories that interest him or have the slant which he believes in which means he is not that concerned with authenticity as much as spin.  He draws on his pool of sources,  and the one he used for the story line above is the wildly insane World Net Daily . WND as it is known is a stubborn outlet that  clings to its prejudices and bias until the very end and this story of supposed crucifixions is no different, but nonetheless false and all hinges on ONE shadowy news source that started it all.

WorldNetDaily, and other sites that are reporting the story, all trace the claim of multiple Arabic sources to a Jewish web site called algemeiner, which has published its own highly-trafficked articleon the subject. Algemeiner, like the cited Arabic sources, in turn bases its claims on reports from Sky News Arabic — a recently formed joint venture between BSkyB and Abu Dhabi Media Investment Corp. Sky is supposedly the original source on the story, everyone agrees. Yet neither algemeiner nor WND nor any of the other sources supply the original Sky reporting that purportedly outlines the facts…..According to Fares Ghneim, a Sky communications official, the crucifixion claim “began on social media. It started getting pick-up from there and eventually reached us.”

Our reporters came across reports of the alleged crucifixions and a story very briefly appeared on the Sky News Arabia website,” he added. “The story — which was taken down within minutes — was based on third-party reports and I am not aware that any of our reporters said or confirmed anything along the lines of what is quoted in the article [by WorldNetDaily] … What’s unclear is where websites in North America got [the] Sky News Arabia bit from. As mentioned [previously], none of our correspondents confirmed this issue or commented on it. Clearly there is an intermediate source the websites got the info from, but as of yet we haven’t been able to identify it.”

Other outlets have come out and said there is no truth to the fiction planted by WND and others of similar ilk but in the time the story has been debunked, WND has come out again, double downed, to try to further authenticate its story this time removing one source that links to the SkyNews Arabic rumor and replacing it with another but adding nothing to the already debunked narrative. Such stories gain traction because of the dexterity of a writer who can persuade people to believe what they write.  If media outlets  have an unscrupulous writer an unsuspecting public can be steered in any direction the outlet wants to take it.

 

Such is the case with Joshua Trevino, the newest member for The Guardian.  The Furkan Doganstory is who Joshua Trevino is as much as why did The Guardian hire him and who he is, apart from his employment history, is someone who wrote that it was “cool” with him if the Israelis shot the participants in the 2011 Gaza Freedom Flotilla because it, the Flotilla, was no different than Nazis. About American Furkan Dogan who was killed by the Israelis in the raid, Trevino had this to say, ‘Make no mistake: in choosing to aid Hamas on the , Furkan Dogan raised his hand against his country. His fate was deserved.’ and this, ‘There are some Americans we’re better off without. Furkan Dogan is one of them’.  Yet, The Guardian, the third most popular news site on the internet has chosen to keep Trevino employed despite having this record of his really homophobic writings available for the world to see.  Contrast The Guardian’s cavalier attitude with that of Holyrood Magazine which  fired firebrand George Galloway after he sparked protests by suggesting WikiLeaks campaigner Julian Assange had been accused of no more than bad “sexual etiquette”.  One should expect therefore that The Guardian will have articles written by Trevino or others that will echo the racist attitudes of previous Trevino musings and possibly be passed on as fact in much the same way as WND has done with its “story” on mass crucifixion and the public will be none the wiser for the deception.  Indeed, one must expect such a scenario will happen because we know The Guardian has at least one writer who  has a definite predisposition to such writings. In an interesting  twist of irony, The Guardian is now the home of prolific writer Glenn Greenwald so my advice would be don’t read anything written by The Guardian, EXCEPT Greenwald’s articles.  Otherwise, the integrity of The Guardian has been seriously damaged with their embrace of someone who calls for the extra judicial murder of people who are engaged in lawful and supposedly protected protest in most places of the civilized world.

The DrudgeReport, World Net Daily, and The Guardian, along with the omnipresent FoxNews should be on your list of media to be ignored, otherwise you’re likely to not only be misinformed but misled.

 

Is this democracy or terrorism?


I’ve often stayed up at night wondering how did the strongest, most prosperous country, one supposedly dedicated to democracy and freedom justify invading, occupying and terrorizing a country that was not at war with us, or at the time of the 2003 war anyone else. While it’s really old news that no substantial cache of WMDS on the order of what were told have been found in Iraq and equally old news that thousands of civilians have been killed it still is no easier to read headlines like this

Iraqi children in U.S. raid shot in head

A U.S. diplomatic cable made public by WikiLeaks provides evidence that U.S. troops executed at least 10 Iraqi civilians, including a woman in her 70s and a 5-month-old infant, then called in an airstrike to destroy the evidence, during a controversial 2006 incident in the central Iraqi town of Ishaqi.

The unclassified cable, which was posted on WikiLeaks’ website last week, contained questions from a United Nations investigator about the incident, which had angered local Iraqi officials, who demanded some kind of action from their government. U.S. officials denied at the time that anything inappropriate had occurred.

But Philip Alston, the U.N.’s special rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, said in a communication to American officials dated 12 days after the March 15, 2006, incident that autopsies performed in the Iraqi city of Tikrit showed that all the dead had been handcuffed and shot in the head. Among the dead were four women and five children. The children were all 5 years old or younger.

News like this is the answer to the question, ‘why do they hate us?’ This is who we are…….what we’ve become.  It is such a far disconnect between what we say we are, and what we  told people, like Iraqis, and how we behave.

Beware False Prophets


Julian Assange at New Media Days 09 in Copenhagen.

Image via Wikipedia

Wikileaks and Julian Assange have generated a media frenzy with its release of secret documents which detail the machinations of countries, diplomacy and war and in the process angered a lot of people, especially those here in the US.  What isn’t so well known is how easily Wikileaks and Assange himself have been co-opted by the government of Israel.  Take a look.

A number of commentators, particularly in Turkey and Russia, have been wondering why the hundreds of thousands of American classified documents leaked by the website last month did not contain anything that may embarrass the Israeli government, like just about every other state referred to in the documents. The answer appears to be a secret deal struck between the WikiLeaks “heart and soul”, as Assange humbly described himself once [1], with Israeli officials, which ensured that all such documents were ‘removed’ before the rest were made public.

According to an Arabic investigative journalism website [2], Assange had received money from semi-official Israeli sources and promised them, in a “secret, video-recorded agreement,” not to publish any document that may harm Israeli security or diplomatic interests.

The sources of the Al-Haqiqa report are said to be former WikiLeaks volunteers who have left the organisation in the last few months over Assange’s “autocratic leadership” and “lack of transparency.”

In a recent interview with the German daily Die Tageszeitung, former WikiLeaks spokesperson Daniel Domscheit-Berg said he and other WikiLeaks dissidents are planning to launch their own whistleblowers’ platform to fulfil WikiLeaks’s original aim of “limitless file sharing.” [3]

Mr Domscheit-Berg, who is about to publish a book about his days ‘Inside WikiLeaks’, accuses Assange of acting as a “king” against the will of others in the organisation by “making deals” with media organisations that are meant to create an explosive effect, which others in WikiLeaks either know little or nothing about. [4]

Furthermore, Assange’s eagerness for headline-grabbing scoops meant that WikiLeaks had not been able to ‘restructure’ itself to cope with this surge of interest, insiders add. This has meant that smaller leaks, which might be of interest to people at a local level, are now being overlooked for the sake of big stories. [5]

According to the Al-Haqiqa sources, Assange met with Israeli officials in Geneva earlier this year and struck the secret deal. The Israel government, it seems, had somehow found out or expected that the documents to be leaked contained a large number of documents about the Israeli attacks on Lebanon and Gaza in 2006 and 2008-9 respectively. These documents, which are said to have originated mainly from the Israeli embassies in Tel Aviv and Beirut, where removed and possibly destroyed by Assange, who is the only person who knows the password that can open these documents, the sources added.

Indeed, the published documents seem to have a ‘gap’ stretching over the period of July – September 2006, during which the 33-day Lebanon war took place. Is it possible that US diplomats and officials did not have any comments or information to exchange about this crucial event but spent their time ‘gossiping’ about every other ‘trivial’ Middle-Eastern matter?

Following the leak (and even before), Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a press conference that Israel had “worked in advance” to limit any damage from leaks, adding that “no classified Israeli material was exposed by WikiLeaks.” [6] In an interview with the Time magazine around the same time, Assange praised Netanyahu as a hero of transparency and openness! [7]

According to another report [8], a left-leaning Lebanese newspaper had met with Assange twice and tried to negotiate a deal with him, offering “a big amount of money”, in order to get hold of documents concerning the 2006 war, particularly the minutes of a meeting held at the American embassy in Beirut on 24th July 2006, which is widely considered as a ‘war council’ meeting between American, Israeli and Lebanese parties that played a role in the war again Hizbullah and its allies. The documents the Al-Akhbar editors received, however, all date to 2008 onwards and do not contain “anything of value,” the sources confirm. This only goes to support the Israel deal allegations.

Finally, it might be worth pointing out that Assange might have done what he is alleged to have done in order protect himself and ensure that the leaked documents are published so as to expose the American hypocrisy, which he is said to be obsessed with “at the expense of more fundamental aims.”

Caught in another lie–it just never stops with them does it?


“We strongly condemn the unauthorized disclosure of classified information,” said Pentagon Press Secretary Geoff Morrell prior to the release of  Wikileaks almost 400,000 documents outlining the abuses as well as body counts during the Iraqi invasion.  The Wikileaks figures surpass the Pentagon’s figures by some 30,000 and are  lower than five other groups’ estimates, which probably doesn’t mean much to you if you aren’t the victim of a foreign invasion.  But two things come out both news reports.

First, the Pentagon, despite its own claims during the war to the contrary, was keeping a tally of casualties during the war and secondly the final total was far greater than what the Pentagon claimed during the war when it was releasing it “officially unofficial” figures.  Once again,  government bureaucracy lied about the war and once again we just seem to take it as business as usual.  We get what we deserve, don’t we?

War-A Slaughter of Innocents


The person who took the photograph of the carnage to the left became its victim at the hands of American forces who went to Iraq to liberate Iraqis from their tyrannical ruler but who became tyrants and murderers themselves.  The death of Reuters photographer Namir Noor-Eldeen and his colleague Saeed Chmagh, a death vividly caught on tape is perhaps the most accurate depiction of what the Iraqi war brought to the shores of both Iraq and America.

To Iraqis such tragic events were normal occurrences in their interaction with American forces who all too often shot and killed first and rarely asked questions later if at all.  People on the ground in Iraq are too acquainted with the reality that the US military has very little regard for Iraqi lives where the total number of deaths number in the tens of thousands.  Having been besieged by all forces who claimed to act in their best interests, from the government of their own country, to their “liberators” who came to to offer them relief, Iraqis have been slaughtered over the past decade.  In many respects that slaughter has been analyzed and presented to the public to justify public policy in all instances, except those which applied to the US military, when Iraqi civilians ran up against US  forces at which point the public was met with a stone walling military complex and an indifferent media.

The very nature of war means the inevitability of what is presented on film linked above would occur on a basis as often as there is an occupying force in a foreign land interacting with the indigenous population.  The euphemisms employed by the Bush administration to make the invasion more palatable were just as meaningless as the excuses now being given for the action taken against unarmed civilians and children who in the course of their daily lives ran into a force far more willing to shoot them than to help them.  Shooting is the job of soldiers; liberation is the job of those who want to be liberated and sometimes they are convergent ideas and actions but in today’s meme of invasion and occupation they usually are not.  Therefore it is reasonable and necessary to say that what happened to the two Reuters employees is a normal everyday circumstance, no doubt one happening even today,  and if you find it so disturbing as I do, the only thing that will change that is the unconditional withdrawal of American forces from Iraq and nothing less.

This is not the time for back slapping and self-congratulations among those of us who opposed the war by saying this kind of incident was an inevitability of war.  Such arrogance doesn’t help the scores of families, almost every Iraqi one, who have been afflicted by this tragedy.  Nor will a revision of the rules of engagement offer any relief.  In fact as we have mentioned on the pages of Miscellany101 before, there are some who say that the rules of engagement should not spare civilians, and that military personnel should give no consideration to them at all.  Therefore, to abandon this massacre means by necessity abandoning the occupation of Iraq by the American military.  Does that mean murder and mayhem in Iraq will stop?  No it doesn’t, but its occurrence will diminish greatly and we will not be responsible for it, nor blamed for it when it does.  In order to be a society based on the rule of law, we must first apply that rule to ourselves before we try to make others accountable.  Illegal, discriminatory, unjust, murderous wars must be stopped at once before any other declarations of guilt can be raised.  If nothing else, let us hope that will be the outcome of a murder caught on tape.

UPDATE

“If you kill a civilian he becomes an insurgent because you retroactively make that person a threat.”

I mentioned above how the murder of the two Iraqi Reuters reporters was really a normal, everyday event that was brought on by the presence of an occupying force in Iraq.  To underscore that point comes this article where soldiers who served in Iraq make the same claim, matter of factly that ‘we were told to shoot people and the officers would take care of us’.  Military personnel were sent to Iraq to kill not to liberate or win the hearts of minds of the people there.  Listen to some of the testimonies:

Vincent Emanuele, a Marine rifleman who spent a year in the al-Qaim area of Iraq near the Syrian border, told of emptying magazines of bullets into the city without identifying targets, running over corpses with Humvees and stopping to take “trophy” photos of bodies….

Steve Casey served in Iraq for over a year starting in mid-2003.

“We were scheduled to go home in April 2004, but due to rising violence we stayed in with Operation Blackjack,” Casey said, “I watched soldiers firing into the radiators and windows of oncoming vehicles. Those who didn’t turn around were unfortunately neutralized one way or another – well over 20 times I personally witnessed this. There was a lot of collateral damage.”

Jason Hurd served in central Baghdad from November 2004 until November 2005. He told of how, after his unit took “stray rounds” from a nearby firefight, a machine gunner responded by firing over 200 rounds into a nearby building.

“We fired indiscriminately at this building,” he said. “Things like that happened every day in Iraq. We reacted out of fear for our lives, and we reacted with total destruction.

Such was the atmosphere created by the US military in Iraq which literally forced military personnel to take part in the types of atrocities evident in the video tape above.