Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Military propaganda airs in Wisconsin

Military propaganda makes it on air in the US and is disguised as news. At least two Wisconsin TV stations have aired military propaganda with one putting their own reporter over it (Jeff Alexander) to read the military's copy. Madison Wisconsin's WKOWTV offers a pure propangada look (video report) at the US run Iraqi prision Camp Cropper. It tells you that terrorists and criminals are in the prison. It forgets to tell you that no one's been tried. It forgets to tell you that at least six prisoners have died or that the Red Cross has documented abuses at the prison. But it does run it as is. Meaning the report ends with the announcer of the footage declaring, "Army Sgt. Frank Morello, Joint Area Support Group, Public Affairs."

An ABC affeliate wanted to air the propaganda but they wanted to present it as a news report created within the station. What to do, what to do? Oh, I know! Let's take Morello's exact words and let's have our own Jeff Alexander read them. Let's have him step before the camera in the studio and then go to the military's footage while Jeff narrates, then we'll cut to him at the end and he'll do a wrap up and we'll let viewers think that Jeff actually reported this. As opposed to letting them know that the footage and every word spoken was from the US military. Which is how Green Bay's WBAY promotes the propagndad insisting, as they toss to Jeff, that this is "a rare behind the scenes look at their mission is our top story on Action Two News at Four." Their top story is one they didn't even film? Their top story is one they didn't even write? How pathetic is WBAY and where do they get off lying to viewers?

They've put Jeff Alexander's voice over on top of Morello's and presented this as their own report. That's outrageous. That's shameful and it violates every rule of journalism. Jeff Alexander, as the on air, should be fired as should every one responsible for that segment making it on air and an on-air apology should be made to viewers.

These aren't the only two stations airing this. You should look for it if you're in Wisconsin, this 'inside look' at Camp Cropper. Fox 11 at least had the good sense to state before airing the footage that it was produced by the US military, "
Tuesday the military released video of the Camp Cropper, along with interviews from some Wisconsin soldiers working there." They should have noted, however, that their own Becky DeVries was reading the copy that the US military wrote with just a few variations.

Meanwhile, Ned Parker and Saif Hameed (Los Angeles Times) report on yesterday's violence in Iraq which claimed the lives of "19 people and wounded 80" and they not the confusion over who is responsible for the attacks with a popular target for blame being Moqtada al-Sadr's supporters. The reporters quote al-Sadr stating in Syria yesterday, "The resistance will remain open to all directions: military, political, peaceful and popular resistance. All those options are open to confront the occupation." Timothy Williams (New York Times) offers this (with an apparent straight face), "Iraqi military and police officials have said they expected an increase in violence as armed groups aligned with political parties seek to gain influence before the parliamentary elections scheduled for January." Six months from now. Six months. It must be great for Nouri to fall back on that whenever anything goes wrong.

Jeremy Schwartz (Austin American-Statesman) reports on Brandon Lara who was killed while serving in Iraq on his second tour. His stepmother, Gloria Lara, states, "Ever since I can remember, he knew exactly what he wanted to do. He's always wanted to be military. Since he was little, he was into guns and swords and knives." Yesterday morning, I typed, "That was one of two deaths, from the same region, the other wasn't noted by the US military and it was of an Afghanistan War veteran. Sig Christenson (San Antonio Express-News) reports on the two deaths, noting that both were from New Braunfels: [. . .]" That was incorrect. Trejo Rivas was an Afghanistan War veteran but he was also an Iraq War veteran and it was in Iraq that he was injured. My mistake, my apologies. Christenson reports today his injury was from "a mortar blast in Iraq" and "Rivas had trouble with speech, balance and memory after a mortar exploded about 25 feet from him on Oct. 12, 2006. The injury was a profound blow to an engineer and veteran soldier who had served in Bosnia, Kosovo, Africa and Afghanistan, as well as Iraq. It forced his retirement." Rivas held multiple degrees (bachelor's and master's) and his survivors include his wife Colleen.

Meanwhile Petyon M. Craighill (ABC News) reports on a new ABC News-Washington Post poll in which sixty-one percent of respondents "say the United States is making significant progress restoring civil order in Iraq" -- which is a fault of a media that refuses to report on Iraq (all US broadcast networks pulled out at the start of the year) and also the fault of a lazy minded public because violence has been on the rise for weeks now -- and steadily increasing since February. 'Progress'? In the real world the Chattanooga Times Free Press reports, "The Cleveland, Tenn.-based 252nd Military Police Company of the Tennessee National Guard is scheduled to depart on the first leg of an upcoming Iraq deployment on Wednesday, July 29."

Nouri al-Maliki is gearing up for an attempt to steal all the limited Iraq media attention away from Saturday's KRG elections. Ross Colvin (Reuters) offers an analysis on What Nouri Wants. Gina Chon (Wall St. Journal) observes of Nouri, "Mostly unknown in Iraq, he returned after the U.S. invasion." Yes, the cowardly exile, part of the group pushing for the US to go to war with Iraq, was installed by the US. He does not represent Iraqis and none of the leaders do. Even the ambassador to Washington is one of those cowardly exiles who wouldn't fight for their own country but were happy to do anything (including lying) to force the Iraq War. Chon notes:

When he returns to Baghdad, Mr. Maliki will face some of the biggest challenges in his premiership. After months of relative calm, Iraq suffered high-profile attacks as U.S. combat troops withdrew from Iraqi cities in June; on Tuesday, attacks in Baghdad and elsewhere killed at least 18 people. Sharply lower oil prices, meanwhile, have imperiled Iraq's ability to fund its security services and rebuilding efforts.
Even some traditional allies are skeptical. Sheik Jalal al-Din al-Sagheer, a senior member of the Shiite alliance that includes Mr. Maliki's party, says the prime minister has improved security but hasn't attracted needed investment.
"There's a man for each era," says Mr. Sagheer. "For the next chapter, the focus needs to be on economic development. And I think we need a different man for this job."

The BBC cites their correspondent Gabriel Gatehouse who "says that, behind the optimistic talk about withdrawal, reduced violence and the increased capabilities of Iraqi security forces, lie two facts - there are still around 130,000 American troops inside Iraq, and fatal attacks remain an everyday occurrence. He says the question is how to get American forces out of Iraq by the end of 2011 without the security situation getting any worse. Our correspondent says Iraqi reconciliation is key."

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