New York Times slimes on Julian Assange

Bill Keller of the New York Times accuses Wikileaks of engaging in ‘anti-war propaganda’. Of course that is something that the august ‘paper of record’ would never do. It only engages in pro-war propaganda. Check out the kind of things Keller was writing in the lead up to the Iraq war.

Phenomenons otherwise known as Julian Assange and WikiLeaks have – no doubt – turned world politics and journalism, upside-down. Maybe that’s why the New York Times was among the first US Media outlets to begin working with Assange last year, securing scoops on classified US Government documents obtained by WikiLeaks. Six months later, the relationship has soured and the Times is looking to profit from it by publishing a critical tell-all book about the source that they once relied on.

The War You Don’t See

A new John Pilger documentary is always a media event. For over four decades he has set the bar for incisive and intrepid investigative journalism. In The War You Don’t See, his latest, Pilger indicts the mainstream media for its responsibility in enabling wars by sanitizing its image and glorifying its aims.

The ‘real agenda’ of the BBC’s Jane Corbin, who calls herself a ‘Journalist’

Pro-Palestinian activists from Turkey, wearing life jackets, hold a news conference on board the Turkish ship Mavi Marmara as they sail in the international waters of the Mediterranean Sea. (Reuters)

by Abbas Al Lawati

On August 19, the Israeli consulate in New York tweeted: #BBC “Panorama” presents arguably the most complete & thorough account of the #Flotilla.

The documentary has not received much endorsement elsewhere. Instead there have been loud protests of bias, especially among those aboard the Mavi Marmara, the largest vessel in the Gaza-bound aid flotilla that Israeli commandos raided on May 31, killing nine activists.

Recently aired, the Panorama documentary, entitled Death in the Med, was produced by the BBC’s veteran documentary maker Jane Corbin. It claims to investigate the “real agenda” of “those who call themselves peace activists”.

A close analysis of the documentary reveals a troubling lack of objectivity in trying to paint the activists, headed by the Turkish relief organisation IHH, as radical Islamists bent on waging violent jihad.

Continue reading “The ‘real agenda’ of the BBC’s Jane Corbin, who calls herself a ‘Journalist’”

An Open Letter to BBC Panorama’s Jane Corbin

Aloha Jane,

The author Ken O'Keefe being interviewed by Jane Corbin

As you know Panorama airedDeath in the Med’ this week. Well Jane, I have been in the media game long enough to know that moral depravity and lack of integrity are qualities that are rewarded rather than discouraged in your field of work. With such experience it is impossible for me to take commitments from someone like yourself seriously, and that is why I recorded our conversation clandestinely, a conversation in which you confirmed the agreement that was made between the BBC and myself with yourself and Alys as BBC representatives. In that agreement it was clear that I would agree to the interview if only you included the fact that we let the commandos go. Knowing that was the agreement and anticipating that I was going to confirm it once more after the interview you said;

Well its the point about we didn’t kill the commandos, we had them in… that will be in there don’t worry. (laughing) That’s, that is important for us because obviously they would say they felt their lives were in danger, to which the corollary is, well their lives could have been in danger but we let them go. I think that’s a very strong point.

So, instead of your team honouring its commitment to me, you instead aired a farcical report with multitudes of half-truths, lies, omissions and importantly, Israeli commandos who escaped rather than being set free. Let us be frank Jane, the reason for that is because it is impossible to square the whole angle that we are “terrorists” and extremists” and killers, if we let them go. It just doesn’t fit. So for BBC in this case, when the facts do not work, you lie. In an attempt to justify this, the BBC has written an insulting letter in defence of your fallacious fairytale; this is due to the torrent of complaints that have resulted from Death in the Med.

Continue reading “An Open Letter to BBC Panorama’s Jane Corbin”

Stone, Ali, and Weisbrot respond to attack from the New York Times’ Larry Rohter

The following letter was sent to The New York Times by Oliver Stone, Mark Weisbrot and Tariq Ali in response to a grossly distorted account of their new film ‘South of the Border‘ by Larry Rohter, a one time backer of the 2002 coup attempt.

Larry Rohter attacks our film, “South of the Border,” for “mistakes, misstatements and missing details.”  But a close examination of the details reveals that the mistakes, misstatements, and missing details are his own, and that the film is factually accurate. We will document this for each one of his attacks. We then show that there is evidence of animus and conflict of interest, in his attempt to discredit the film. Finally, we ask that you consider the many factual errors in Rohter’s attacks, outlined below, and the pervasive evidence of animus and conflict of interest in his attempt to discredit the film; and we ask that The New York Times publish a full correction for these numerous mistakes.

1) Accusing the film of “misinformation,” Rohter writes that “A flight from Caracas to La Paz, Bolivia, flies mostly over the Amazon, not the Andes. . .” But the narration does not say that the flight is “mostly” over the Andes, just that it flies over the Andes, which is true. (Source: Google Earth).

2) Also in the category of “misinformation,” Rohter writes “the United States does not ‘import more oil from Venezuela than any other OPEC nation,’ a distinction that has belonged to Saudi Arabia during the period 2004-10.”

Continue reading “Stone, Ali, and Weisbrot respond to attack from the New York Times’ Larry Rohter”

Copenhagen, Danish Hospitality and The Elements

It took some time, almost a whole week, but Danish riot police have finally been given the chance to greet the thousands of climate justice activists visiting Copenhagen with some traditional elements of Scandinavian hospitality – a mass pre-emptive arrest of almost 1,000 people and the ‘kettling’ of hundreds of others, forcing some to “urinate themselves while detained on the ground.” The churnalists who have converged upon Copenhagen seem satisfied too, eagerly engaging in the media ritual of filling the headlines with the standard litany of cliches about “anarchists running street battles with the police. Sadly, it seems beyond their intellectual capacity to use the occasion to even mention the existence of a parallel People’s Climate Summit – the Klimaforum 09 – taking place in Copanhagen at the moment. But if the arguments and policy alternatives presented by the likes of Naomi Klein (see video below the fold) are too rational for the mainstream press to digest, perhaps they’ll find this wonderful bit of creative subversivness produced by artists at the Klimaforum more palatable.  Here’s episode 5 of The Elements, where our hereos take on the The Paramount Public Opinion Distortion and Confusion Data Processor:

Continue reading “Copenhagen, Danish Hospitality and The Elements”

Shimon the Brazilian (and Mahmoud the Conqueror)

I am not sure how to explain this strange report from Al Jazeera’s Lucia Newman: the headline reads:  ‘Brazilians protest Ahmadinejad tour‘, yet the only person in the report shown protesting is Shimon Peres. On the other hand, the single Brazilian who is interviewed speaks about the benefits of relations with Iran, and the president is reported to be welcoming Ahmadinejad with ‘open arms’.

Peres, I hate to tell Al Jazeera, is not a Brazilian; even if he were, he would need to persuade at least one other before he can stage a ‘Brazilians protest’.

Also, the report goes on to tells us in ominous Cold War cliches that Ahmadinejad is challenging ‘Washington in its own back yard’. What’s with this ‘back yard’ nonsense; does being a journalist mean never having to say a thing that’s original?

The Taliban bogeyman

Swabi, Pakistan: Buner refugees travel by road as they flee fighting (Daniel Berehulak/Getty Images)
Swabi, Pakistan: Buner refugees travel by road as they flee fighting (Daniel Berehulak/Getty Images)

UNHCR warns that the human exodus from the war-torn Malakand division is turning into the most dramatic displacement since the 1994 crisis in Rwanda. The Guardian reports:

Almost 1.5 million people have registered for assistance since fighting erupted three weeks ago, the UNHCR said, bringing the total number of war displaced in North West Frontier province to more than 2 million, not including 300,000 the provincial government believes have not registered. “It’s been a long time since there has been a displacement this big,” the UNHCR’s spokesman Ron Redmond said in Geneva, trying to recall the last time so many people had been uprooted so quickly. “It could go back to Rwanda.”

Meanwhile, it appears the story has all but disappeared from international media. It had fallen out of the headlines within the first week, now it barely makes the news. The Pakistani english language press (on which most Western ‘experts’ rely) is on most days about as distant from the realities of the North-West frontier as the hacks bloviating in Washington and London. They even have their native Ann Coulter in the execrable Farhat Taj who is given frequent platform to slander anyone who fails to see the virtues of the US regional agenda. In her latest installment she informs readers that there is ‘very little collateral damage’, and that most of the 1,000 dead are ‘confirmed Taliban’. As Gerald Kaufmann would say, these are the words of a Nazi; the woman appears bent on matching the military’s assault on Swat with her own on reality. Continue reading “The Taliban bogeyman”

Guardian’s Man in Caracas

He doesnt just look like one, he also acts like one.

Gore Vidal once said of Truman Capote that his death was a good career move. I suspect that for the same reason Rory Carroll wishes deep inside that his encounter with the Mahdi Army in Iraq had also been fatal. That way, at least he would still have a reputation, since most people tend to instinctively assume the best of the departed.

This clown has been redeployed to Venezuela, and as is the wont of every tabloid hack who through whatever stroke of luck graduates to a putatively respectable publication, he appears to conflate the country with its leading demonized figure, in this case the person of Hugo Chavez. In his tortured attempts to make the Venezuelan leader appear buffoonish (no mean feat for someone who comes from a place which thrice elected Tony Blair its Grand Ayatullah), he invariably ends up making himself look ridiculous. For the past few days he has been running silly reports about how the name of a new affordable mobile phone produced indigenously may be a slang reference to a penis. I felt compelled to send him this email:

I am moved by the fact that you offer your readers some modest amusement in these hard times by making public your fascination with male genitalia . But you must take into account the possibility that some of your readers may have already entered their teens and expect that a reporter covering a country of 28 million people and nearly a million square kilometers would have more significant things to report than real or imagined penis references made by its leader. Besides, tautology is not good form; there is already a dick in the byline.

Don’t hesitate to convey your displeasure: rory.carroll@guardian.co.uk

Independent’s Churnalism on Venezuela

Chavez welcomes actor and director Sean Penn aboard the presidential planeNick Davies coined a fabulous new term in his book Flat Earth News to describe the kind of filler-fluff that very often passes for journalism in US and UK. Here is the latest example from the Independent. Some clown named Guy Adams who is apparently based in Los Angeles does a hatchet-job on Hugo Chavez and by extension Sean Penn, Oliver Stone, Harry Belafonte and Danny Glover for their links to the popular Venezuelan leader, and he can’t find anything better to rely on than a quote from the ageing Hollywood has-been Maria Conchita Alonso with ties to the right-wing Cuban exiles in Miami. ‘In normal circumstances, Alonso’s interview might have been brushed under the carpet’, he correctly points out. But clearly not when it lands in the hands of the Independent’s celebrity gossip extraordinaire who goes on to tell ‘left-wing luvvies’ in the movie business to wake up because their hero had the temerity to describe Hollywood as ‘a medium of American “cultural imperialism”‘.

The clown then proceeds to offer this acute insight:

Penn, who since his Oscar-winning performance in Milk has become a vociferous gay rights activist, is also open to allegations of hypocrisy. The Venezuelan leader’s political hero, Fidel Castro, imprisoned and executed gay men, and once declared: “In this country [Cuba] there are no homosexuals.”

Talk about six-degrees-of separation. I bet this cat can prove that everyone who claims to abhor rape is a hypocrite since through a mere separation of 6 people everyone has ties to a rapist.

Further indictments are in order:

Continue reading “Independent’s Churnalism on Venezuela”