Sunday, February 20, 2011

Sunday, February, 19, 2011

Unusually good Alexander Cockburn, "The Tweet and Revolution" (you have to admit it is nothing less than spectacular that Hillary's thugs beat up Ray McGovern for silently dissing her while she blathered on about the virtues of free speech!):
"Today, there’s a flourishing little internet industry claiming that the overthrow of Mubarak came courtesy of US Twitter-Facebook Command, overseen by Head of the Joint Chiefs of Twitter, in the unappetizing, self-promoting form of Jared Cohen, with flanking support by the National Endowment for Democracy and Freedom House.
I’ve no doubt that Cohen, NED and Freedom House are all happy to nod bashful agreement that their efforts were weighty, even crucial, in prompting the Egyptian people to rise up, but the claim is ludicrous.
The New York Times runs endless articles about the role of Twitter and Facebook but now either ignores or reviles Julian Assange and Wikileaks.
In any discussion of the role or the internet in fuelling the upsurges across the Middle East, Wikileaks should be central. Tunisians were able to read the unsparing assessment of the kleptocratic regime oppressing them, courtesy of  US Ambassador Gordon Gray’s cables, secured by Wikileaks. Egyptians were able to read hitherto secret details of the role of Omar Suleiman in renditions, of Egypt’s abject services for the US and Israel.
The New York Times, to whom Assange made available some of his Wikileaks, repaid him (as did The Guardian )  with a vulgar onslaught by the Times’ editor, Bill Keller, essentially endorsing patently factitious  accusations concerning the supposed nature of Assange’s sexual relations with two Swedish women, and also trumpeting the high minded concern of the New York Times with protecting the lives of US personnel in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Don’t you think it might have crossed Keller’s mind to mute that trumpet, given the role played by the New York Times in the attack on Iraq in 2003, with fake story after fake story by its reporter, Judith Miller, about Saddam’s weapons of mass destruction. The Times’ hands have plenty of blood on them. According to Michael Monk’s site, in the Iraq theater for US combat casualties the week ending Feb 15, the total rose to 77,735. That includes 35,540 dead and wounded from what the Pentagon classifies as "hostile" causes and 42,195 dead and medically evacuated (of  Feb.7) from "non-hostile" causes.
As Secretary of State Clinton launched her rodomontade about the US role in “peaceful” democratic transition in Egypt and about internet “freedom,” at her speech at George Washington University on Feb. 16 condemning governments that arrest protestors and do not allow free expression, her security goons openly assaulted 71-year-old Ray McGovern, who put in 27 years as a CIA analyst and is now a peace activist (and CounterPunch contributor.) A cop and an unidentified official in plain clothes, pounced on him, dragged him off, bruised and bleeding.
What had McGovern done to merit this assault? Did he shout? No. Did he try to throw a shoe at her? No. Rightfully affronted by Clinton’s repulsive blather about internet freedom - even as the US Department of Justice hands out wiki-leak-related subpoenas - he stood as she began,  and turned his back on her. For this, and no doubt for his Veterans for Peace T-shirt, he got attacked and dragged away to jail. 
McGovern’s treatment didn’t get much ink or footage – though CNN did run a clip. Lara Logan’s horrible ordeal -- sexually assaulted in Tahrir Square -- did get huge coverage of course.
It seems to be de rigueur to rule out of bounds any suggestion that Logan might have been imprudent. I suspect that every experienced war correspondent, if they were being frank, would say apropos Logan that responsible reporting - which includes preservation of self and colleagues - includes objective assessment of personal presentation, including demeanor and, in countries where it matters, clothing and headwear and where exactly it might be foolish or lethal to go, absent heavy security.
Logan, a broadcaster for 60 Minutes, made her name starring with semi-buttoned Abercrombie and Fitch tropic shirts, shilling for Gen. Stanley McChrystal in Iraq. (She later denounced Michael Hasting’s story that finished McChrystal off as a cheap shot.) Logan seems to have overlooked  basic rules of survival and reporting in turbulent situations, particularly in that region. This is strange because there had been other attacks on western journalists such as on the ghastly Anderson Cooper in Tahrir Square.
Was there no seasoned CBS producer present to counsel caution?  Maybe not, because bottom line, what got  Logan into Tahrir Square that day were the demands of the US entertainment industry which require its “news” stars where possible to be hot women in exciting situations. We’d be better off, and Logan and Anderson Cooper unmolested if all US foreign footage was shot on the back lot at Universal Studios, in the town where these news roles are conceived."
He then goes on to cite a translation of a Havana Times story by Fernando Ravsbergthe on the CIA-in-Cuba creepiness of Assange's main accuser.

Poor Nir Rosen, gang raped by the heady combo of modern sexual politics, the sexualization of industrial 'news' manufacturing, orientalist views of those swarthy Arabs, confusing Twitter with real life conversations, Jews with axes to grind, and karma schadenfreude. 

The repeated attempts (Gene Sharp, CANVAS) by the American unintelligentsia to come up with some sort of Western basis for the Egyptian revolution are pathetic.  I think a large part of the problem - besides the white man's chauvinism - is that the entire revolution is understood by what happened in one relatively peaceful square in Cairo, the one with the cameras pointing at it and thus the one with relatively little violence.  There were hundreds killed and thousands injured across the country.  This wasn't the kumbaya revolution dreamed by the New York Times.

The Canadian Conservatives have come up with the most implausible possible explanation to deal with the Oda lying/fraud.

"Walkom: Bev Oda, free speech and Harper's fixation on Israel"  Did you know that Mohawk College is the largest punk beauty school in Canada?  Unless Finkelstein was planning a lecture on new techniques in hair extensions, it probably wasn't the right venue for him anyway.  You can identify the President of Mohawk College by his huge bright pink mohawk, and of course the jingle of shekels as he walks by.
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