Monday, February 28, 2005

Democracy Now: Haiti, privatization of US interrogations; BuzzFlash interviews Danny Schechter; Liberal Oasis breaks down the Sunday chat and chews

Democracy Now! takes a look at Haiti one year after the coup and looks at the privatization of torture. (Marcia: "Democracy Now! always worth watching.")

Headlines for February 28, 2005
- Car Bombing in Iraq Kills Over 125
- Gen. Myers: Insurgency Could Last A Decade in Iraq
- Israel Blames Syria For Suicide Bombing in Tel Aviv
- U.S. Restores Training to Indonesian Military
- Vietnamese Victims Sue Over Agent Orange in NYC Court
- HIV Infection Rate Doubles for African-Americans
- Riggs Bank To Create Fund for Victims of Pinochet
- Anti-Tobacco Treaty Goes Into Effect Without U.S. Ratification
Chaos and Bloodshed Grip Haiti One Year After the CoupOne year ago today, the democratically-elected government of Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide was overthrown in what he called a modern-day kidnapping in the service of a coup d'etat backed by the United States. We go back and take a look at the events surrounding the coup and we look at the chaos and bloodshed that have gripped the country over the past year.

The Haiti Coup One Year Later: A Look Back at the U.S. Role in the Overthrow of AristideOn the first anniversary of the coup in Haiti, we look back at Democracy Now!'s exclusive broadcast when President Jean-Bertrand Aristide went on camera for the first time to charge the U.S. kidnapped him and overthrew his government. We also broadcast the interview of his bodyguard Franz Gabriel who describes the events surrounding Aristide's ouster.

Intelligence Inc: The Privatization of U.S. Interrogations at Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo and AfghanistanWe look at how private contractors are now working at almost every level of the so-called war on terror, specifically in military interrogations at Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo and Afghanistan. We speak with investigative journalist Pratap Chatterjee, his latest article is called "Intelligence Inc.: Military Interrogation Training Gets Privatized."

I want to highlight BuzzFlash's interview with Danny Schechter one more time (remember BuzzFlash is offering WMD as a BuzzFlash premium):

BuzzFlash: Although it jumps out at me, sadly I think most Americans give the media the benefit of the doubt. If your objective was to convince someone that the mainstream media acts in collusion with the Bush administration and is failing to do its job, where would you even begin to engage someone in that conversation when they falsely believe that the corporate media is a watchdog?
Danny Schechter: This is how I began. I embedded myself in my apartment, and I began watching the channels, flipping the dials of my remote control and comparing and contrasting what was on the American channels, what was on CBC, what was on BBC, what was the rest of the world watching, to the best of my ability. I did this not only on TV but online, as well, looking at countless websites.
I'm the editor of, and we have thirteen hundred media affiliates. We have access to a lot of research and reporting. And what I saw was the different narrative from the foreign press than there was in the narrative we saw in the United States. And I began to see that this was very conscious, because certain message points were reinforced again and again. And when you saw what was happening on television, it became not simply a journalist reporting information, but it became pundits interpreting information and government officials reinforcing the information. These tactics all fit into a strategy that we investigate in the film called "information warfare" or information operations.
I thought one of the compelling facts we uncovered was a retired Air Force colonel who did a study of the coverage of the Iraq War who concluded that as many as 60 stories were deliberately invented or changed in various ways to basically conceal the truth. And he’s somebody from inside the Pentagon world.
I began to feel that I had to do more -- that I had to fight fire with fire. I had to challenge the media's images with different images. And I began to start this project with no money, with no support, with no help, with no media channels willing to commission it, with no foundations willing to fund it. And I went into my own pocket until I couldn't afford it anymore. Eventually I was able to attract some investors and we made the film on one-tenth of one percent of Michael Moore's budget. We were a very small team based really on our passion and feeling that what we saw emerging in the United States during this war was a state media system -- a system that was in essence accepting and promoting government claims. And I was finding out that, in fact, the government was funding reporters to get their politics into the media.

Also check out Danny Schechter's comments on the Oscars at his blog. The Oscars are the opening section, there's a ton more there (Chavez, Iraq, Iran, Syria . . .)

Over at Liberal Oasis, Bill Scher has the breakdown on the Sunday chat and chews. (As noted previously, I've learned to skip the chat and chew and just catch Liberal Oasis's rundown.)