The Media and the U.S. Occupation of Iraq
Posted: 19 February 2008 11:20 AM   [ Ignore ]
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How the Spooks Took Over the News
by Nick Davies

On the morning of 9 February 2004, The New York Times carried an
exclusive and alarming story. The paper’s Baghdad correspondent,
Dexter Filkins, reported that US officials had obtained a 17-page
letter, believed to have been written by the notorious terrorist Abu
Musab al Zarqawi to the “inner circle” of al-Qa’ida’s leadership,
urging them to accept that the best way to beat US forces in Iraq was
effectively to start a civil war.

The letter argued that al-Qa’ida, which is a Sunni network, should
attack the Shia population of Iraq: “It is the only way to prolong
the duration of the fight between the infidels and us. If we succeed
in dragging them into a sectarian war, this will awaken the sleepy Sunnis.”

Later that day, at a regular US press briefing in Baghdad, US General
Mark Kimmitt dealt with a string of questions about the New York
Times report: “We believe the report and the document is credible,
and we take the report seriously? It is clearly a plan on the part of
outsiders to come in to this country and spark civil war, create
sectarian violence, try to expose fissures in this society.” The
story went on to news agency wires and, within 24 hours, it was
running around the world.

There is very good reason to believe that that letter was a fake—
and a significant one because there is equally good reason to believe
that it was one product among many from a new machinery of propaganda
which has been created by the United States and its allies since the
terrorist attacks of September 2001.

For the first time in human history, there is a concerted strategy to
manipulate global perception. And the mass media are operating as its
compliant assistants, failing both to resist it and to expose it.

The sheer ease with which this machinery has been able to do its work
reflects a creeping structural weakness which now afflicts the
production of our news. I’ve spent the last two years researching a
book about falsehood, distortion and propaganda in the global media.

Full article by Nick Davies of the UK Independent is available at:
http://www.alternet.org/mediaculture/77281/?page=entire

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Posted: 20 February 2008 11:41 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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American officials here have obtained a detailed proposal that they conclude was written by an operative in Iraq to senior leaders of Al Qaeda, asking for help to wage a ‘‘sectarian war’’ in Iraq in the next months.
http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9D00E3D6163AF93AA35751C0A9629C8B63

That’s from a Filkins story in the NYT.  Should the NYT spike the story until they obtain confirmation from al Qaeda as to its authenticity?  Or is Firkins allowed to report what the government is reporting while applying reasonable standards of “objective reporting” that the Times sets as its objective?

The reason Zarqawi could be behind the attacks, say US officials and experts, is because they reflect his purported strategy. In January, the US said that it had found a copy of a letter from the Jordanian militant to his Al Qaeda superiors in a computer in Iraq. The letter’s text urges sectarian and factional killings all too clearly.
http://www.csmonitor.com/2004/0304/p03s01-woiq.html

The CS Monitor account includes a paragraph stating that some think the Zarqawi letter is propaganda disseminated by the U.S.
Overly credulous press?

There is good reason to think that Al Qaeda did what it could to foment sectarian violence in Iraq, not the least of which is the tendency of the (foreign-led) insurgents to kill other Muslims including Sunni members of the Anbar Awakening.  In addition, an insurgency that set defeating the Shia majority plus the Coalition contingent simply set itself up for failure.  The strategy of creating a sectarian war to drive out the Coalition was a plausible strategy.  Indeed, it would have worked if the Democratic majority in Congress had its way after the 2006 election cycle.  Insurgent figures could have claimed victory over the United States and rallied more to their cause based on that success.

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Posted: 20 February 2008 01:53 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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The New York Times, leading mouthpiece of the ‘liberal’ wing of capital, has shown exactly the same inclination as the Democrats to facilitate and cheer the racist ‘War on Terror’ and the illegal invasion/occupation of Iraq.

As to death squads, the Bush administration is positively crawling with the architects of the mass death-squad terror that Washington unleashed in Central America during the 1980s who, like Elliot Abrams, now work the Middle East file for Bush & Co.

While condemning sectarian attacks on innocent civilians (as opposed to legitimate military targets), my view is that inter-communal slaughter in Iraq has mainly served the interests of the occupiers.  Cui bono?

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Posted: 20 February 2008 06:08 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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Balak - 20 February 2008 01:53 PM

The New York Times, leading mouthpiece of the ‘liberal’ wing of capital, has shown exactly the same inclination as the Democrats to facilitate and cheer the racist ‘War on Terror’ and the illegal invasion/occupation of Iraq.

OK.  That explains their eagerness to print stories that leak classified information damaging to said war and said occupation.

As to death squads, the Bush administration is positively crawling with the architects of the mass death-squad terror that Washington unleashed in Central America during the 1980s who, like Elliot Abrams, now work the Middle East file for Bush & Co.

Guilt by association?

While condemning sectarian attacks on innocent civilians (as opposed to legitimate military targets), my view is that inter-communal slaughter in Iraq has mainly served the interests of the occupiers.  Cui bono?

I’d like to see you explain how that works.

I can explain how a civil war would discourage U.S. military action in Iraq.  Just look at the response of Democrats (and, to be sure, a number of Republicans).  Does it help (serve the interests of the occupiers) because sectarian violence helps restore oil production or is it something else entirely?

[ Edited: 21 February 2008 12:22 PM by Bryan ]
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