Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Krista and Ethan highlight CounterPunch's Harry Brown (on Ireland) and Mike Whitney (on the Times & Falluja)

Lastly, we have two articles from CounterPunch.

Krista highlights Harry Browne's "War and Elections in Ireland and Britain:"

Getting a fair reading for his speech has, however, proved difficult enough for Adams. With the Irish media on an anti-republican role in recent months, and continuing pressure from the McCartney sisters (who now claim they're being harassed by republican supporters), it sometimes seems as though the longstanding peace process never happened. Sinn Fein's main opposition among nationalist voters, the SDLP, is in disarray. But the Southern media, in particular, and politicians in the Republic have been lending a hand to the "moderate
nationalist" party, with e.g. the Republic's foreign minister, Dermot Ahern visiting the constituency of South Down, where Sinn Fein's Caitriona Ruane, the human-rights campaigner who has been fighting for the Colombia Three for several years, is challenging the SDLP's old stager, Eddie McGrady.
Despite the pressure, Sinn Fein's vote is likely to rise again: over the last decade, the party's unique positioning as both the (potentially) militant defender of nationalist communities and the party of peace has seen it make steady gains. It appears to be voluntarily withdrawing the first status, and its peace credentials have been challenged this year by the McCartneys and the fallout from the Northern Bank robbery. But it remains the obvious party to vote for either in support of the IRA and/or if you'd like to see its military role eclipsed by a non-violent political approach. The delicate balancing act was further displayed when Adams said the other day that the IRA would probably not respond in detail to his speech until after the election. (Some pretty good jokes have been made about Adams's extended conversation with himself, but they're not entirely fair: while he is almost certainly an IRA insider, and wouldn't have addressed the IRA as he has without some confidence in its response, the IRA won't stand down simply because he wishes it were so.)

And Ethan highlights Mike Whitney's "The New York Times in Fallujah."

Ethan: This is must read as people begin to catch on that a lot more happened in Falluja then NYT ever let alone. I agree that history will rob Dexter Filkins of his prize and that was before I read this. After reading this, I'm fully on board with the decision not to cite the Iraq reporting from the NYT.

From the article:

Cameras aren't allowed in Falluja; neither are journalists. If they were then we would have first-hand proof of America's greatest war crime in the last 30 years; the Dresden-like bombardment of an entire city of 250,000. Instead, we have to rely on eyewitness accounts that appear on the internet or the spurious reports that sporadically surface in the New York Times and Associated Press. For the most part, the Times and AP have shown themselves to be undependable; limiting their coverage to the details that support the overall goals of the occupation. For example, in the last few weeks both the NYTs and the AP ran stories on the alleged progress being made in Falluja. The AP outrageously referred to the battered city as "the safest place in Iraq"; a cynical appraisal of what most independent journalists have called nearly total destruction. One can only wonder if the editors at the AP would approve of similar security measures if they were taken in their own neighborhoods.
The NYTs also ran a lengthy story, "Vital Signs of a Ruined City Grow stronger in Falluja", which portrayed Falluja as a city on the mend' after a healthy dose of imperial medicine: "Classes have started again two months ago and the cheerful shrieks of children can be heard in the hallways." This was just one of the more contemptuous quotes lifted from the NYT's story of "rebirth" from the epicenter of American devastation. The quote was accompanied by a picture of a Marine in full-combat gear bending over to tie the shoe of a seven or eight year old Iraqi boy; a threatening image used to convey the spirit of American generosity.
The truth about Falluja is far different than the bogus reports in the AP and Times. The fact that even now, a full 6 months after the siege, camera crews and journalists are banned from the city, tells us a great deal about the extent of America's war crimes. Just two weeks ago, a photographer from Al Aribiyya news was arrested while leaving Falluja and his equipment and film were confiscated. To date, he is still being held without explanation and there is no indication when he will be released. This illustrates the fear among the military brass that the truth about Falluja will leech out and destroy whatever modest support still exists for the occupation. Journalists should realize that Falluja may turn out to be the administration's Achilles heel; a My Lai-type atrocity that turns the public decisively against Bush's war.

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