Thursday, May 21, 2009

As the jury deliberates NYT and Women's Media Center insult

It is possible that the dying Muslim girl Abeer Qassim Hamza al-Janabi won what was in her mind the last and the main battle? Abeer, only 14, faced alone three U.S. soldiers who were intent on raping her, with a fourth nearby. As all have testified, Pvt. 1st Class Jesse Spielman stood by during the attack. Tall and strong from work in her family’s subsistence garden, she fought hard, sobbing, screaming, struggling, as three men in succession pried her legs apart and got between them. Brett Barrouquere, Associated Press [AP], reports that Specialist Promotable Paul Cortez and Specialist James Barker testified that they failed to get erections. The defense attorney for Pvt. 1st Class Steven Green, facing the death penalty, questioned whether his client penetrated. To Abeer, fighting with all her strength to hold them off, those facts would have mattered.

Welcome to the great uninformed: Gail McGowan Mellor. On the plus, it puts the emphasis where it belongs: On Abeer. And, what do you know, someone other than Rebeka at Women's Media Center finally covers it. (No offense to Rebeka; however, her news roundup is never front paged and most visiting that site do not even know it exists.) The novelization is entitled "The Death of Abeer in Iraq--What We Know Now" and that's your first clue to Gail's problems. It's not what we know now. Gail wasn't around to follow the Article 32 hearing in August of 2006 nor the court appearances of Cortez and Barker.

See if WHAT WE KNOW NOW includes what we learned along the way, we grasp that grown men who played cry babies in their own court room appearances when their lives were on the line aren't exactly trustworthy about what they did or did not do. And we grasp this "I couldn't get an erection" embellishment is part of trying to distance one's self from their own guilt.

There's something really disgusting and sleazy about Gail's article -- and it's all the more so that Women's Media Center runs it. Abeer's was gang-raped. This little effort to rewrite history on Gail's part is f**king insulting to all victims of rape who can't turn around and rewrite what they survived. It borders on the same sort of denial that insists upon 'virgins' for marriage. There are many women who have been raped. They can't pretend it didn't happen and it's disgusting that a feminist outlet would start out a story on a 14-year-old who was gang-raped and murdered by suggesting that maybe she wasn't. Abeer was the victim in a crime. Gail needs to check her Midnight in the Garden of Good & Evil novelizations at the door.

"Barrouquere, who has followed the case for three years," Gail needs to learn to get her facts straight. It is not yet three years. For close to three years, yes. And Brett deserves tremendous credit and we've been more than happy to give it to him for NEARLY THREE YEARS NOW. That's because this community didn't just discover the story this month (July 3, 2006 Iraq snapshot is when Green's arrest is first noted -- it took place the Friday before and the arrest prompts the coverage from the media which is why Brett can't be covering the story for three years already). Gail, however, just discovered it this month and quickly pitched it as something she could handle to Arianna. Credit to Arianna, even she realized it was beyond Gail's ability after that first awful novelization from Gail.

We're not going to fact check Gail's crap.

We're only offering a link because it's one of two pieces of crap on the case today.

Steven D. Green
Steven D. Green was convicted two Thursdays ago in the gang-rape of 14-year-old Iraqi Abeer Qassim Hamza al-Janabi, her murder, the murder of her five-year-old sister and the murders of both of her parents. Then the jury began hearing testimony to weigh when determining his sentencing. Green could receive the death penalty; however, all 12 jurors would have to vote to sentence him to death. If that does not happen, he is facing life in prison. Two Thursdays ago the verdict was decided by the jury and only yesterday were closing statements made and the jury sent to deliberate Green's sentencing.

Gail offers crap because it's too much work to . . . well, do the work. James Dao offers crap because his outlet is the New York Times.

Hint to Gail when you want to crib from the work of others next: Ellen Knickmeyer wrote the best newspaper article on the case in 2006. Do a Google -- which is apparently all 'reporter' Gail is capable of -- and you'll come across it. The New York Times, by contrast, existed to cover up the War Crimes. Carolyn Marshall and Robert Worth were presenting the defense's case in print even before the defense could offer it at the Article 32. When the defense did offer it, a military expert would pronounce it one "unknown" in military courts. but Marshall and Worth had known it. Because they were working with the defense as opposed to be being reporters.

In their hideous article, they never mentioned Abeer's name. And that was part of the paper's long, long history of rendering Abeer invislbe. May 9th of this year, the paper ran Campbell Robertson and Atheer Kakan contribute "Ex-G.I. Guilty of Rape and Killings in Iraq." It was the first time Abeer's name ever made it into print. Nearly three years after the War Crimes were known. Even then, the paper wouldn't open with her name. It wasn't until the 13th paragraph that they finally mentioned her name. (And Gail, when you later copy that observation, as we all know you will, you better give credit for it.) The paper. Blame the paper, not the writers. It was an unnatural story because journalism dicates what: Who, what, where and when.

So how do you cover a trial without naming the victims?

It was ridiculous and it goes to the paper, not the reporters. Other than burying Abeer's name (a decision from above the reporters), Robertson and Kakan's article was a strong one.

James Dao's "Civilian Jury Considers Death Penalty for Ex-G.I." is just crap. If Brett or Dave Alsup (CNN) want to cover Green and illuminate his life, that's fine. They've done the work. They've covered Abeer. After that crap-fest from Marshall and Worth in 2006, the New York Times has a lot to make up for. And the idea that this paper that has refused to explore this case beyond the Oh-poor-soldiers angle (pimped first by Marshall & Worth and echoed through the very bad Article 32 hearing coverage which was the WORST of any outlet) is now going to illuminate the 'difficulties' of Steven D. Green is just disgusting.

They run a photo of Green today. They've never run one of Abeer.

When Brett or CNN add details about Green, they're sketching out details of a larger story, one they've told. The New York Times still hasn't bothered with telling the story and they want to cheat the victims, cheat the dead and go straight to "Poor Stevie!" (CNN was the best and, in most cases, only TV outlet in the US to cover the War Crimes starting in 2006 and picked up repeatedly since.)

Campbell and Atheer got Abeer's name in the New York Times for the first time ever this month. Paragraph 13. James Dao kicks it back to paragraph 14.

It's disgusting.

The only thing Gail gets right is that she grasps the story is about Abeer. Abeer was the target. Abeer was murdered (and gang-raped, despite Gail's efforts to 'rescue' her).

James Dao is offering sob stories for Green.

The laugh there is, if Green is sentenced to death, there's going to be a lot of "Oh, we should have gone all the way!" And they should have. The defense didn't present what needed to be presented. (I'm not predicting he'll be sentenced to death.) They put up idiotic witnesses that contradicted each other. On personal testimony witnesses, I've bit my tongue. When the sentence is given, I'll stop holding my tongue on them.

Dao hops in bed with the defense which is how he offers this 'gem' of 'insight': "Although Mr. Green pleaded not guilty, his defense was less about proving his innocence than avoiding the death penalty." That's what the lousy lawyers have tried to maintain . . . since their client was found guilty on all counts. That's right, these lawyers, these geniuses couldn't get their client off on even one count. After he was convicted, they suddenly decided maybe their client was overcharged! The judge ruled against their motion to strike charges the jury had already determined guilt on.

This is from Brett Barrouquere's most recent AP report, "Image is telling: Photos key to ex-soldier's trial:"

Federal prosecutor Brian Skaret told jurors in opening statements there would be no DNA, no fingerprints and no physical evidence. Instead, Skaret said, they'd hear from witnesses and see photographs.
Jurors were shown dozens of photos at trial, ranging from the mundane to the gruesome. They were expected to continue deliberating Thursday on whether to sentence Green to death or life in prison. They have dozens of photos to review as part of the evidence.

Get it? No physical evidence. And the lame ass defense team couldn't even get save their client from being convicted of one charge. With no physical evidence. What a bunch of losers. What did they do all during the trial? Failed miserably. And now the New York Times wants to claim that was a 'strategy'?

If you're telling me that a defense team set out with the intent that their client would be found guilty, I'm telling you that you don't just have a strong case for an appeal, you have a strong case for disbarment.

Evan Bright is one of the unsung heroes of the trial. He has given his all to covering this trial. He wasn't even aware of the case a few years ago. From the interview we did with him at Third:

Jess: When did you first learn of the Green case?

Evan Bright: Not too sure on this one. I want to say back around the end of December.

A late arrival on the stage but an important player. Someone who has covered every day of the trial and did so amazing well. Someone who's put big media to shame.

Evan's reports are amazing and he's not even set on being a reporter. He's done a great service and at a time when we're all supposed to be screaming for the federal government to throw our money to failing newspapers because it's so important that news get covered, Evan's covered the news. Day after day. When the New York Times and others couldn't be bothered. And I don't believe I've seen him sitting before Congress whining once.

The following community sites updated yesterday:

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brett barrouquere
dave alsup
the new york times
campbell robertson

thomas friedman is a great man

oh boy it never ends