Front-Page Pundit Award - Reporter Michael Gordon and the New York Times.
With many voters telling pollsters that they want US troops to leave Iraq, the Times front-paged a post-election analysis by Michael Gordon - headlined "Get Out of Iraq Now? Not So Fast, Experts Say" - quoting three hand-picked "experts" who decried the possibility of troop withdrawal. Gordon didn't tell readers that one of his "experts," former CIA analyst Ken Pollack, had relentlessly promoted an Iraq invasion based on wildly false claims about an Iraqi threat. Gordon took off his reporter's hat that night on CNN to become an unabashed advocate for his view that withdrawing US troops from Iraq would lead to "civil war" (as though civil war weren't already underway).
That's from Norman Solomon's "Announcing the P.U.-litzer Prizes for 2006" and I'm opening with it in the hopes that this is a sign others are going to be taking on Michael Gordon in 2007. In 2006? Don't kid that anyone but C.I. was doing the heavy lifting on this topic. While "media critics" were still talking about Judith Miller (who published nothing in the Times in 2006, having left the paper in 2005) and still ignoring the lies of Dexter Filkins, C.I. was addressing the drive-by Kate Zernike, the war porn of Michael Gordon and much more. I'll share my thoughts on 2006 after C.I. finishes the year-in-review. I'm waiting until then because I've read parts of C.I.'s piece and know the title (priceless!) and am afraid I'd spoil something if I wrote about it tonight.
C.I.'s "Correction to Barbara Ehrenreich on Democracy Now! today" went up when I was debating whether or not to call. I wasn't sure C.I. would be up due to being sick but C.I.'s still working out every morning and caught the nonsense on Democracy Now! today. There is no excuse for Barbara Ehrenreich being ignorant about GreenStone Media when she elects to talk about it and there's no excuse for Democracy Now! airing it when they should have grasped that Ehrenreich didn't know what she was talking about. On the plus side, it's this sort of crap that women get (even when served up by women like Ehrenreich) that really motivates C.I. to keep going. When I did call, I opened with, "Skip Democracy Now! today, it'll just make you angry and I'll cover it at my site." C.I. said to write anything I wanted about it but noted there was already an entry at The Common Ills. I made a joke about C.I. being the 'rapid response' arm of the feminist movement.
When C.I. wrote at length recently about the fact that Democracy Now! and others give a platform to a man arrested twice for attempting to seek out sexual relations with an underage girl, C.I. noted that feminists were quite aware they were guests at the party. The slam on Democracy Now! today demonstrated that. And it does explain why women will say to C.I., "Can you write about this? If I talk about it, I'll get slammed." They would too. (And C.I. did get slammed but doesn't give a damn.)
Dateline just did a story on sexual predators who go online in search of victims (what the 'voice' Democracy Now!, Laura Flanders, The Nation, Truthout and others give a platform to was arrested -- twice -- for doing) and I also caught a broadcast of PBS's women's forum show (I don't the name of it). Kim Gandy, Eleanor Norton-Holmes and two right-wing women were speaking of how girls needed to be protected from sexual predators. Left and right, women were agreed that sexual predators are not acceptable or respected. So let me ask the question, "Why do Laura Flanders, Katrina vanden Huevel, Amy Goodman and who ever is responsible for Truthout continue to publish and book as a guest a man arrested for being a sexual predator twice?"
I'm glad that C.I.'s spoken out about the nonsense of providing a platform for a sexual predator. I'm not surprised others won't call out those who provide the platform. But someone needs to. And when he's arrested a third time, it's all going to blow up in our supposed "independent" media's face. They should all be ashamed.
While Democracy Now! ignored the Warren Commission in superficial coverage of Gerald Ford's death today (apparently his death warrants an entire program -- how very mainstream media of them) and offered the slam on Jane Fonda, Gloria Steinem and GreenStone Media, you really didn't get anything that informed you or empowered you. That's really sad.
Wednesday means KPFA broadcasts Guns and Butter and it was a great show rebroadcast from 2003. Frank Morales was the guest and he's written for Covert Action Quarterly and Global Outlook. Morales was discussing the police state and efforts to allow the US military to police the United States, to silence dissent and much more. Morales will be one of the guests next month and this was was a wide ranging conversation that also serves as a set up to his appearence next month.
Here's C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"
Wednesday, December 27, 2006. Chaos and violence continue in Iraq, the US military announces more deaths of US troops while they call up 3,500 more troops, a British general calls for more war money while lowering expectations, England and the United States face strong backlashes in Iraq and the puppet of the occupation proves unpopular.
As December has become the second deadliest month in 2006 it's easy to see who covers the fatalities (Washington Post -- usually Nancy Trejos) and who doesn't (New York Times). Today the US military announced: "A 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) Soldier died as a result of non-combat related injuries on Logistics Support Area Anaconda Dec 23." And they also announced: "A second Multi-National Division – Baghdad Soldier died of injuries received when a High Mobility Multi-Purpose Wheeled Vehicle rolled over along a dirt canal trail during a combat reconnaissance mission south of the Iraqi capital Dec. 26." And they announced: "One Marine assigned to Regimental Combat Team 5 died today from wounds sustained due to enemy action while operating in Al Anbar Province." ICCC lists the total for the month of December thus far at 94. October is the month with the highest US fatalities in 2006 (thus far): 106. The total number of US troops who have died in Iraq since the start of the illegal war stands at 2983, 17 away from the 3,000 mark.
Meanwhile the US Defense Department reports that US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates hasapproved John Abizaid's request and 3,500 troops of the 82nd Airborne Division's 2nd Brigade Combat Team were informed today that at the start of next month they will deploy to Kuwait to replace the 15h MEU who moved to al-Anbar Province last month.
The call up means that 3,500 troops have had to head to Fort Bragg and cut short the holidays. In Iraq, the holiday reflected the illegal war. Dahr Jamail and Ali Al-Fadhily (IPS) report that, for little girls, crying dolls were the most popular gift and, for little boys, tanks and guns because, as Ahmed Ghazi told the reporters, "Children try to imitate what they see out of their windows." Jamil and Al-Fadhily write:
Social researcher Nuha Khalil from the Iraqi Institute for Childhood Development in Baghdad told IPS that young girls are now expressingtheir repressed sadness often by playing the role of a mother who takes care of her small daughter.
"Looking around, they only see gatherings of mourning ladies who lost their beloved ones," said Khalil. "Our job of comforting these little girls and remedying the damage within them is next to impossible."
[. . .]
"The only things they have on their minds are guns, bullets, death and a fear of the U.S. occupation," Maruan Abdullah, spokesman for the Association of Psychologists of Iraq told reporters at the launch of a study in February this year.
Meanwhile, Sam Knight (Times of London) reports that Major General Richard Shirreff ("commander of British troops in southern Iraq") is stating that the British Army is underfunded and lowering expectations for 'democracy' and/or 'liberation' in Iraq -- Shirref stated: "When I set up, came up here and initiated the operations we have been conducting, I was looking for a 100% solution. But this is Iraq, this is Arabia and this is reality, so a 60% solution is good enough for me." This as Steve Negus (Financial Times of London) reports that Monday's raid and destruction, by British forces, on a police station in Basra is resulting in a backlash: " Several local leaders, including the head of the city council and a Basra police commander, have condemned Monday's raid. Mohammed al-Ibadi, provincial council chairman, said the council had decided to cut off ties with British forces pending an explanation of why they destroyed an 'Iraq government building flying the Iraqi flag' and removed detainees he described as suspected terrorists'."
This as the US faces their own backlash over a death in Najaf. Earlier today, Reuters reported that, despite earlier denails by the US military, a US soldier was the one who shot an official of Moqtada al-Sadr's bloc. Khaled Farhan (Reuters) reports: "Thousands of supporters of anti-American Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr marched through the holy Iraqi city of Najaf in an angry funeral procession after a senior Sadr aide was killed by a U.S. soldier on Wednesday. Chanting 'No to America' and carrying placards decrying U.S. occupation, mourners, including black-robed clerics, carried the coffin of Saheb al-Amiri through the streets." Supporters maintain that Saheb al-Amiri was shot dead "in front of his wife and children" and that he was a charity lawyer, not a 'terrorist.' The attack on the member of al-Sadr's bloc follows last week's (unsuccessful) efforts by the US to isolate Moqtada al-Sadr as outlined by Hannah Allam (McClatchy Newspapers) Friday.
While England and the United States face backlashes, Reuters reports that a bomb has killed two Latvian soldiers and left three more wounded. In other violence today . . .
The BBC reports a car bombing in east Baghdad that has claimed 8 lives and left 10 more wounded. The Press Association reports that seven British troops were wounded by a roadside bomb in Basra. Reuters notes a roadside bomb in Baghdad that left five people wounded and a roadisde bomb in Suwayra that killed three Iraqi soldiers.
Reuters notes an attack on "a bus carrying employees of the Ministry of Higher Education" that left two wounded.
In peace news, Dana Hull (San Jose Mercury News) reports that Nadia McCaffrey, mother of Patrick Ryan McCaffrey who was killed in Iraq by Iraqi security forces he was training, is planning to build a retreat for returning troops -- Nadia McCaffrey: "Patrick isn't dead. His spirit is very much alive, in me and all around us. The rest of my life is going to be dedicated to peace and justice, and to helping the veterans coming home from Iraq and Afghanistan.''
Finally, Dahr Jamail and Ali Al-Fadhily (IPS) report that the support for puppet of the occupation Nouri al-Maliki continues to nose dive among Iraqis (some polls noting 90% of Iraqis are displeased with al-Maliki's 'governing') and notes that Tariq al-Hashimi ("leader of the Islamic Party") feels that many have been shut out in al-Maliki's so-called unity coalition while Dr. Salih al-Mutlaq tells the reporters, "This government will definitely lead the country into a disaster."
iraqthe washington postnancy trejosdahr jamailali al-fadhily