Wednesday, June 27, 2007

NYT sells the war again and plays damage control for the 'family jewels'

A new breed of struggle is flowering in the Northwest anti-war movement. Its aim: to stop public ports from being used for export of war materials. Activists in Washington state are evolving from demonstrators and lobbyists into direct actors against the war masters, blocking streets and facing arrest as needed.
This development isn't happening in a vacuum. A product of anger over congressional inaction on the war and repulsion at the militarization of U.S. society, it is also inspired by a rising resistance movement among GIs.
A statement from the Port Militarization Resistance (PMR) puts it this way: "The weapons shipments, and the use of our public property to prolong and supply the war in Iraq, have made us complicit in crimes against humanity. We refuse to be complicit any longer."
The first action took place last year in Olympia, near Fort Lewis. Participants blocked entrance to their port to stop the Army from shipping war materials.

[. . .]
Campaign stalwart Molly Gibbs offers insight into the shift in thinking of those involved. Gibbs, who works in high schools to counter military recruitment efforts, is no newcomer to politics. On the war, she has emailed, lobbied and written letters to congressional representatives like Adam Smith, she tells the FS, "until I'm blue in the face."
But this year, Fort Lewis was the scene of the high-profile case involving Lt. Ehren Watada, the first commissioned officer to openly refuse to serve in Iraq. His defiance, amplified by an effective defense effort, inspired many anti-war activists, including Gibbs.

The above, noted by Marshall is from Linda Averill's "Pacific Northwest anti-war activists up the ante by blocking military shipments to Iraq" (Z-Net). Watada, and others, spark change. Cindy Sheehan did. Z-Net has covered Watada. Some, on the other hand, will no doubt return to the mainland from an Alaskan cruise asking, "What happened while we were gone?" Life.

The New York Times tries to sell the war again and it's Adam Nagourney with Megan C. Thee "Young Americans Are Leaning Left, New Poll Finds: Support For Democrats Universal Health Plan Is Backed -- Many Expect Success in Iraq." Many may remember when Adam Nagourney used 'polling' to sell the myth/lie of 'values voters.' (The lie never held up, not even in the Times' own data.) Well Adam's selling lies again.

The b.s. is based on one question you can find in the data [PDF format warning], click here. The question was: "61. Regardless of whether you think taking military action in Iraq was the right thing to do -- would you say that the U.S. is very likely to succeed in Iraq, somewhat likely to succeed, not very likely to succeed, or not at all likely to succeed in Iraq?" The response? They list "4/9-12/07 CBS All adults" data (remember that) along with it. Bold print (as in the PDF results) will indicate the polling of Americans age 17-29?

Very 10 (12)
Somewhat 41 (33)
Not very 28 (29)
Not at all 19 (24)
DK [Don't know]/NA 3 (2)

Now here is Adam's selling of the war -- and remember, the Times' post election 2004 coverage pushed 'values voters' though there was never support for that lie in the actual polling data (this was covered in November 2004 -- three entries in one day -- use the archives, use Google, if you're interested):

But when it came to the war, young Americans were more optimistic about the outcome than the population as a whole. Fifty-one percent said the United States was very or somewhat likely to succeed in Iraq, compared with 45 percent among all adults.

On the front page, they sell the illegal war again by including in the sub-headline "Many Expect Success in Iraq." Now if you click here, you'll be taken to CBS's report on the poll. Read their coverage and find any mention of this. It's not there. It's not there because it's not news.

Look at the data. By their groupings (Very and Somewhat), the Times argues 51% are seeing (undefined) success in Iraq. What's the opposite figure? 47% when you group "Not very" and "Not at all." What's the margin of error? For the poll what is the margin of error? Plus or minus four percent.

51% minus four percent? 47% There's no story here. Certainly nothing worthy of a front page subheading (strategically located in the area where the eyes naturally shift to). The Times is back to pimping and Adam's the oldest and tiredest Democratic prostitute the paper has. He's a centrist and he's allowed to perform 'advocacy journalism' where he skews every so-called report to the right (as the paper wishes the Democratic Party would move). He (and Janet Elder) popularized the LIE of 'values voters' more than any other outlet. This is the new told lie (nod to Hair) and Adam's swinging that tired ass, bending over (supposedly to check the seams of his stockings) and hoping to get a nibble. Nagourney is disgusting and he's no reporter. The paper doesn't care that he's wrong (remember all that DNC chair reporting?) because he does their bidding -- he 'reports' in such a manner that DC Dems read and think, "I must move right!" Adam exists to keep the party from veering left and this crap today is only one example.

For those still confused, polls on Iraq that the paper has seen fit to print? No front page story this year as opinion hardened against the war. The April results, in parenthesis earlier, that's CBS. Ask why the Times had their name taken off? They did and they hoped everyone would believe that their non-stop polling suddenly took a break. It didn't. They weren't happy with the results of the poll. They've got an illegal war to sell. Which is why Adam hauls his tired ass under the red light again today.

If you go through the PDF file, you'll find the figures for "do you think the United States did the right thing in taking military action against Iraq, or should the US have stayed out?" For this poll (young adults ages 17 to 29) the results were 58% say the US should have "stayed out" and 38% say it was "right thing" (4 were "DK/NA"). With the 4% margin of error (plus or minus) it's in keeping with the "All adults" grouping from May*. Now let's look at the evaluation of the illegal war. 2% state it is going "Very well" and 25% say "Somewhat well." 34% say "Somewhat badly" and 38% say "Very badly." The story here? 72% of young Americans polled said the illegal war was going badly. (The two groupings for this example are the same groupings the paper uses from question 61 to get their front page sub-headline.) 72%. [*May? They switch ranges for data covering "all" throughout the PDF report.]

But that's not a story for the paper.

Especially cute about the paper is the final line of the results which tells you the group was made of 50% males and 50% females. There were 659 respondents.

Democracy Now! spends a healthy amount of time on the CIA issue today. Based on the New York Times, some quick thoughts (quick because this is dictated).

*The Times coverage is laughable. Kat covered it better last week with "Ford and CIA discuss Jane Fonda, Kissinger tries to cover his own War Criminal ass."

*Rebecca's "gonzales & other scandals" rightly notes how the domestic press (as a whole) attempts to bury the assassination plots against Castro and others (but especially Castro -- the US has plans to take out another country's leaders -- that's your damn lede). The Times is no different this morning.

If you're not getting this point from Rebecca's commentary and examples, look to the Times of London where Tim Reid and Tom Baldwin's report is headlined "Secret papers show how CIA hired the Mafia to hit Castro." The New York Times front page headline "Files on Illegal Spying Show C.I.A. Skeletons From Cold War" (Mark Mazzetti -- best damn fluffer the CIA's ever had -- and Tim Weiner). In the Times of London, the article opens with:

The CIA worked with two of America’s top Mafia mobsters in a botched attempt to assassinate the Cuban President Fidel Castro with poisoned pills, according to previously classified documents released by the spy agency yesterday.
The extraordinary details of the 1960 plot were contained in more than 700 pages of documents that revealed some of the agency’s past illegal activities, including the targeting of foreign leaders, wiretapping of US journalists, CIA break-ins and thefts.

In the New York Times? Six paragraphs on the front page no mention. Continued on A18 and Fidel Castro is finally mentioned in paragraph 9 on A18 -- 15 paragraphs into the article, Fidel Castro is mentioned. The Times would like to pretend that a postage stamp size photo of Castro (one of four of the same size) on the front page and highlighting (yellow marker) this "mission target was Fidel Castro." and "The DCI was briefed and gave his approval." count towards something but it doesn't. The non-highlighted section of the memo appears to be only be talking about spying -- not a word about assassinations.

This is news. It's not surprising, no.

*Reporters spied on! That's the big talking point in all the domestic coverage. Usually, as though boarding Noah's arc, in twos (sometimes three when Britty Hume tags along). Reality? Far more reporters were on the payroll of the CIA than were spied upon. In fact, when you consider the millions of Americans that were spied upon during this time, it's rather amazing that we keep hearing about Jack Anderson (who was spied upon, and that's not an insult to him) or Sy Hersh or two when RKF was attorney general. But it's a cute little lie that allows a lot of lazy people (as well as a lot of CIA assets) to hide behind the myth that the press did their job and, damn it, suffered -- really suffered. They didn't suffer. And the New York Times especially didn't suffer.

*Amy Goodman stops the guest (I was on the phone during this, I believe it was John Prados) and asks him to back it up for those who may be new to the topic (she also explores the drugging of American citizens by the CIA). That's important and something she regularly does. Provide the backstory and the history so we're all on the same page. One other connection that could be made is the past and today (which I'm pretty sure Goodman did -- I believe I heard her noting the 2004 RNC convention in NYC). Scott Shane attempts to do that in a news analysis entitled "Comparing Today's Tactics With Those Used in the Past" but not enough space is given to the topic (much to Poppy Bush's delight, no doubt). But the reality is that the spying on peace activists is back. The Defense Department spies. This is not new news. The spying on the Quakers and others has been reported in the last few years. If you follow this story, grasp that this is not ancient history or something of the past no matter how many in the domestic press try to convince you that it is in the past.

*I'm guessing Elaine will write something about this topic tonight so check out Like Maria Said Paz later today.

* [PDF format warning] The released documents can be found here.

*Michael Hayden is the Director of the CIA. He is not a general. He is a retired general. His current title is "Director." If his title is not good enough, he shouldn't have accepted the position. There is enough militarization going on in this country without the press continuing to push Hayden, who holds a civilian post, as a "general." His title is "Director." Director supersedes any previous title he had.

*From "MEMORANDUM TO: Executive Secretary, CIA Management Committee SUBJECT: Drug Testing Program:"
1. The attached summary from ORD describes research into a behavioral drug. Conversations with Carl Duckett indicate that the reported drug was part of a larger program in which the Agency had relations with commercial drug manufactureers, whereby they passed on drugs rejected because of unfavorable side effects. The drugs were screened with the use of ADP equipment and those selected for experimentation were tested at [deleted] using monkeys and mice. Materials having futher interst, as demonstrated by this testing, were then tested at Edgewood, using volunteer members of the Armed Forces.

*From "MEMORANDUM FOR: Executive Secretary, CIA Management Committee SUBJECT: Potentially Embarrassing Agency Activities" May 8, 1973:

OCI produced in December 1967 at Walt Rostow's request a 30-page typescript study of the SDS and its foreign ties.
In the summer of 1968 OCI produced -- again at Rostow's request -- a paper on Restless Youth. The first, and most sensitive section, was a philosophical treatment of student unrest, its motivation, history, and tactics. It drew heavily on over literature and FBI reporting on SDS and affiliated groups. The second section comprised 19 chapters on foreign student dissidence.
Pages 11 & 12 Black radicalism
OCI began following Caribbean black radicalism in earnest in 1968. Two papers were produced on the subject, one in August 1969 and the other in June 1970.
OCI was asked in June 1970 to write a memo with special attention to links between black radicalism in the Caribbean and advocates of black power in the US. The memo was produced in typescript and given to the DCI.
OCI in 1968 wrote periodic typescript memos on Stokely Carmichael's travels abroad during a period when he had dropped from public view.

Keesha noted Amy Goodman's "Time Is Right for New Pentagon Papers" (Truthdig) and we'll close with an excerpt from that:

Of the Democratic presidential candidates, Sen. Mike Gravel is probably the least well recognized. His dark-horse candidacy may be the butt of jokes on the late-night comedy shows, but that doesn't faze former Pentagon analyst Daniel Ellsberg: "Here is a senator who was not afraid to look foolish. That is the fear that keeps people in line all their lives."
The famed whistle-blower joined Gravel this past weekend on a panel commemorating the 35th anniversary of the publication of the Pentagon Papers by the Beacon Press, a small, nonprofit publisher affiliated with the Unitarian Universalist Association. It was this publisher that Gravel turned to in 1971, after dozens of others had turned him down, to publish the 7,000 pages that Ellsberg had delivered to Gravel to put into the public record.
The story of the leak of the Pentagon Papers to The New York Times is famous, but how they got published as a book, with Gravel's face on the jacket, reads like a John Grisham novel.
Ellsberg was a military analyst working for the RAND Corp. in the 1960s when he was asked to join an internal Pentagon group tasked with creating a comprehensive, secret history of U.S. involvement in Vietnam. Ellsberg photocopied thousands of documents and leaked them to The New York Times, which published excerpts in June 1971.
President Richard Nixon immediately got a restraining order, stopping the newspaper from printing more. It was the first time in U.S. history that presses were stopped by federal court order. The Times fought the injunction, and won in the Supreme Court case New York Times Co. v. United States. Following that decision, The Washington Post also began running excerpts. Ellsberg gave the Pentagon Papers to the Post on the condition that one of its editors, Ben Bagdikian, deliver a copy to Gravel.

The e-mail address for this site is