September 17, 2008

Lying Murderers and the Media Who Protect Them

The housing crisis, hurricanes, political corruption, Wall Street meltdowns and major, OVERT wars on two fronts. Pakistan soldiers have been told to fire at American soldiers who have crossed the border into their sovereign country. We comfortably ponder the insanity that has become normal while people who live in other places spend their days in fear of US missiles crashing into their homes. Is there any line across which BushCo. won’t tread in its last, desperate grasp at “full spectrum dominance?” Will the human beings who wield power ever realize that today’s destruction will cause blowback so severe that 9/11 will seem like just a bad day? And how the hell are the rest of us going to pick up the pieces once the house of cards come tumbling down?
You know our “foreign policy” sucks really huge eggs when Ollie North is defending the case. For a quick brief on the details, go to’s excellentU.S. Military Relied On Oliver North To Dispute Afghanistan Civilian Deaths»
Glenn Greenwald’s excellent blog discusses the disgusting attempts at covering up this latest disgraceful military episode in Afghanistan.
Thursday Sept. 11, 2008 07:13 EDT
The government, the media and Afghanistan
North Now
[...] What makes the
Azizabad attack particularly notable is the blatant and now clearly demonstrated lying engaged in by the U.S. Government regarding this incident, with the eager propagandistic assistance of what we are constantly told is the "legitimate news arm" of Fox News -- namely, Brit Hume's show and his stable of "legitimate news reporters." Working in unison, Fox and the Pentagon continuously denied claims that large numbers of civilians had been killed in the airstrike, accusing the villagers of lying and U.N. investigators of having been "duped." But a mountain of documentary evidence and independent investigations have now conclusively confirmed that it was the U.S. Government that was lying and the villagers' claims which were true all along, forcing the military to "reinvestigate" its own conclusions. While local villagers, the Afghan government, U.N. investigators, and independent journalists all insisted that the U.S. air attack resulted in the slaughter of 95 civilians, including 50 children, and killed no Taliban fighters, the U.S. military repeatedly issued vehement denials of those claims, insisting for weeks "that only 5 to 7 civilians, and 30 to 35 militants, were killed in what it [said] was a successful operation against the Taliban." The Bush administration even "accused the villagers of spreading Taliban propaganda" and claimed "that the villagers fabricated such evidence as grave sites," even though those "villagers have connections to the Afghan police, NATO or the Americans through reconstruction projects, and they say they oppose the Taliban." [...] There are numerous vital issues raised by this episode relating both to the bombing and particularly how the U.S. Government so frequently issues false claims, but in light of all the recent uproar over what is and is not "appropriate journalism," I want to focus for the moment on Fox News' role in this. When the U.S. military originally was denying the villagers' claim, the Pentagon claimed it had had conducted an investigation and that an unnamed "independent journalist" who happened to be with them confirmed their account that large numbers of Taliban were among the dead and only very few unarmed civilians were. But then this was revealed:

The US military said that its findings were corroborated by an independent journalist embedded with the US force. He was named as the Fox News correspondent Oliver North, who came to prominence in the 1980s Iran-Contra affair, when he was a[ Marine] colonel.
That "independent journalist" is the same person who, in 1986, proudly went before Congress and boasted: "I will tell you right now, counsel, and to all the members here gathered, that I misled the Congress," [my bold] and then justified that lying -- and to this day still justifies it -- on the ground that it was for a greater good. That behavior -- which led to multiple felony convictions that were ultimately overturned because he had received immunity in connection with his testimony -- hasn't prevented North from being employed as a "reporter" by the serious, legitimate news arm of Fox News, nor from appearing regularly on Brit Hume's Serious News Show as a journalist, nor being cited as an "independent journalist" by the U.S. military to confirm its claims and accuse Afghan villagers of lying about the number of their dead.
[...] [Jim] Angle then introduced Fox News "national security correspondent" Jennifer Griffin, and this is what Fox viewers heard:

GRIFFIN: So what did happen during the 2:00 a.m. raid into Azizabad? The Special Forces teams involved have been muzzled pending the new investigation, but FOX News cameramen Chris Jackson and Lieutenant Colonel Oliver North happened to be embedded [my bold] with the Marine Special Forces Unit involved in the raid. This is their video exclusive to FOX News. They witnessed the entire operation firsthand. (END VIDEOTAPE)
Fox's news show -- not Bill O'Reilly, but Brit Hume's "legitimate news program" -- continued to insist, based upon the "reporting" of "journalist" Oliver North and his cameraman, that the U.S. military's original claims were true, and the villagers and the U.N. were lying, even as the U.S. military itself was, in light of the ample evidence, severely backtracking on its story:
[...] "The [video] footage that is there on this shows horrendous pictures of these bodies and clearly identifies women and children. In some cases, the bodies are not in one piece," a U.N. official said, speaking on the condition of anonymity. "Whether you say it was 76 or 82 or even 92 -- it was clearly not seven who were killed there." Said a senior U.S. military official: "Whatever information [Gen. David D. McKiernan, the top NATO commander in Afghanistan] got that was shared by Afghan and U.N. representatives led him to believe there was good cause to want to look at all of this more deeply."
It is hardly uncommon for claims by the U.S. Government regarding the multiple countries in which our "War on Terror" is being waged to be vehemently disputed by a whole array of people. The only difference here is that video, other documentary evidence, and independent investigations have all emerged confirming the falsity of the U.S. Government's claims.
[...] Way beyond Fox, this is the same thing that our media generally (and with some important exceptions) has been doing for years, at least -- mindlessly repeating and confirming false Government claims. [my bold] That's what makes Carlotta Gall's on-scene actual investigation of the Pentagon's Afghanistan claims so notable -- it's so unusual. From Jessica Lynch's heroic Rambo-like firefight to Pat Tillman's murder by Al Qaeda monsters to pre-war claims of the Iraqi menace to post-war claims of Glorious Progress to current claims of the Grave Russian and Iranian Threats to the concealment and then justification of virtually every act of government radicalism over the last eight years, our media has, by and large, done what Fox News did in the Azizabad case -- offer itself up as an uncritical conduit for state propaganda.

And that's to say nothing of their more overt propagandistic activities -- the still-extraordinary fact that for the last seven years, virtually every American news program has employed as "independent analysts" people who were part of a formal, coordinated and likely illegal U.S. Government propaganda program run out of the Pentagon, a program which resulted in countless false stories broadcast by these networks to boost Government lies. And even after all of that was revealed and documented on the front page of the NYT, these media outlets -- all 3 networks, plus CNN and others -- continue to employ the propagandists, and worse, refuse even to tell their viewers about what happened, or even to disclose to their viewers the existence of the story, and then -- at best -- actually defend it all when forced on their obscure blogs to mention it.

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There’s more. I urge you to read the full post:

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