Saturday, July 30, 2011

Journalists say the darndest things

Aren't they cute?

Like newborns.

Joan Smith writes a column for the Independent
about her and her best gal-pal and thinks she's really on to something but what she's actually done is out a really ugly reality of the British press.

Sarah Helm has written Loyalty and is getting deserved yawns from most for her too-late, too-little onstage soap opera. And Joan's just not going to stand for that, you understand.

Joan insists, "The strain it placed on people who cared deeply about each other may go some way to explain why Sarah decided to write Loyalty. She's been accused of the opposite, but I think that is unfair. She's been true to her passionate conviction that the war was wrong and to her belief in her husband, despite disagreeing with him on one of the most controversial foreign policy decisions of our lives. Her drama says more about the psychological processes enabling the conflict than any number of factual accounts of how it started."

If you're yawning, imagine having to face the actual play.

The soap opera is about the British War Criminals who started the Iraq War. And the author is married to Jonathan Powell (Tony Blair's Chief-of-Staff) and was his live-in as the planning for war began. Helm's probably has a trashy, page-turner paperback in her but she doesn't have a play.

And part of the reason for her bad play may be karma.

See Sarah Helm wasn't just sleeping with Jonathan Powell, she was also a grand standing journalist for the Independent -- prone to insisting she was a "journalist, not a biographer!" while promoting her . . . well, biography on Vera Atkins five years ago. The whole time she was in bed with Powell -- pre-marriage and post -- as the Iraq War started and continued, she was a journalist allegedly working for the newspaper the Independent.

Of course, she had no breaking news stories filed on the impending war or, later, on the ongoing war nor did she quietly feed other reporters at the paper scoops she was afraid to write herself.

Today's she's not much of playwright, back then she wasn't much of a journalist, now was she?

And all the above is pretty damn appalling.

Then along comes Joan Smith with a column for tomorrow's paper in which she tries to stick up for Sarah Helm but ensures that she herself is down in the mud with Helm, ". . . it reminded me that Tony Blair once glared at me at a No 10 party when I reminded him that I wrote for the paper.) The play is described as a 'fictionalised memoir' and it has clearly puzzled critics, who seem to have missed the extraordinary insights it offers into Bush and Blair's relationship; they don't seem to realise either that the painful conflict between Laura and Nick (the Powell character) was played out between other political couples who found themselves on opposite sides of the argument. My partner at the time was a government minister, and I recall Blair's clique forever insisting 'everyone knew' Saddam had WMD."

Was Tony Blair's staff bedding the entire British press?

I'm sorry Joan and Sarah were two horny little girls who didn't understand the wall between observer and participant or the notion of conflict of interest. I'm even sadder that a paper that boasts independence in its title employed journalists who apparently thought you sleep with your sources and that's how you advance. We shouldn't forget the Guardian, both women write for that paper as well.

Joan's suddenly circumspect about who she was f**king. It was Denis MacShane. And how long? From 2003 through 2010. By which time, she would argue, her work was little more than book reviews; it should also be pointed out that this means her f**king Denis took place immediately after the 2002 attempted coup (CIA-backed) in Venezuela and Denis' very public verbal attack of Hugo Chavez in 2002 and continuing to today. That's a detail which more than questions her self-inflated claims of being a human rights advocate.

Denis MacShane did a little column for the Independent in 2010 in which he attacked various witnesses to the Iraq Inquiry and insisted that no one objected in real time (a lie, as the Inquiry found out in public testimony) and he even added, "There was also a cross-media consensus. Today the Daily Mail and Daily Telegraph give full coverage to every remark at Chilcot which casts a bad light on Blair. But at the time, the Murdoch-Rothermere-Black Brothers press was rooting for war." Well goodness, when you're f**king nearly every journalist, I guess you get good press.

This year he took to blaming Tony Blair's actions on the Parliament (specifically the House of Commons). MacShane appeared before the Iraq Inquiry. As David Blackburn (Spectator) noted, he told the inquiry one thing but reality was another.

Right now Sarah Helm's play isn't doing too well and a recent attempt to interest US-backers did not go over well though no one's supposed to talk about that (I spoke with the would-be backers before and after they saw the tacky little melodrama). And that might be why Joan shows up in Sunday's paper to defend Sarah and the 'play.' It opened Thursday July 14th and you don't usually find pieces like Sarah's printed 17 days after the play opens (again, it appears in tomorrow's Independent). It might explain why Joan's ex-lover Dennis MacShane also felt the need to praise it this week.

Of course, to many others it will just look those who abused the system are now continuing to do so and using their connections to pimp a play by their friend.

Pimp a play, pimp a war. What's the diff to the British press?

War Hawk Dennis MacShane loves the play. That helps explain to you what garbage it is. Joan Smith loves it. Ditto. It's a bunch of soap opera crap about the struggle . . . for love . . . for commitment . . . the cost war puts on love. What a load of crap. And it underscores that Sarah and her ilk said nothing in real time because they had nothing to say. The stilted dialogue is abstractions and bromides. You quickly discover through the stand-ins for Sarah and Jonathan that their oh-so-rare 'debates' on the Iraq War were never really about war but something to bitch about in order to fill their otherwise dull nights when they weren't trashing one another's mother.

A conservative and a liberal can have a relationship and have many political disagreements. But a couple whose disagreements is on the subject of war? And one of them is in the government pushing an illegal war?

If you're anti-war and your partner is not just pro-war but a part of the government push for war, that's not going to last, not if you have real objections and not just "Oh people are complaining about the war, I better too. I like to see myself as a latter day hippie. I wonder if I could bring back love beads? I bet I could. You know who'd look good in love beads . . ."

No, if you have a real objection to illegal war, you're not f**king the enemy. That's not how it works.

And when journalism works, it does so without the government and the press being in bed together.

Wally and Cedric posted earlier today:

And in their joint-post, they note the community site posts from Thursday, Friday and today:

Blogger/Blogspot is still not reading the feed from all sites (Ann, Mike and Betty's are the ones currently). We'll close with this from Sherwood Ross' "FBI/CIA TRIED TO GET AMERICAN LAWYER TO BETRAY ARAB AND MUSLIM CLIENTS" (Veterans Today):

Federal agents from the FBI and CIA/FBI Joint Terrorist Task Force tried to get a distinguished international lawyer to inform on his Arab and Muslim clients in violation of their Constitutional rights to attorney-client privilege, this reporter has learned. When the lawyer refused, he said the FBI placed him on a "terrorist watch list."
Law professor Francis Boyle gave a chilling account of how, in the summer of 2004, two agents showed up at his office (at the University of Illinois, Champaign,) “unannounced, misrepresented who they were and what they were about to my secretary, gained access to my office, interrogated me for about one hour, and repeatedly tried to get me to become their informant on my Arab and Muslim clients."
"This would have violated their (clients) Constitutional rights and my ethical obligations as an Attorney," Boyle explained. "I refused. So they put me on all of the United States government's 'terrorist watch' lists."
Boyle said his own lawyer found "there are about five or six different terrorist watch lists, and as far as he could determine, I am on all of them." Despite a legal appeal to get his name removed, Boyle said, "I will remain on all of these terrorist watch lists for the rest of my life or until the two Agencies who put me on there remove my name, which is highly unlikely."
"Whatever people might think about lawyers, we are the canary-birds of democracy. When the government goes after your lawyer soon they will be going after you," Boyle warned. "Indeed," he added, "the government goes after your lawyer in order to get to you, which is what happened to me. This is what the so-called 'war against terrorism' is really all about. It is a war against the United States Constitution."
Boyle is a leading American professor and practitioner of international law. He holds doctorates in both law (cum laude) and Political Science from Harvard and has more than two decades of experience representing pacifist anti-war resisters, suspects in the so-called "War on Terror" and foreign governments such as Bosnia and Herzegovina. He is the author of numerous books, including "Protesting Power," (Rowman & Littlefield), "Biowarfare and Terrorism,"(Clarity) and "Destroying World Order"(Clarity).
Writing of the attorney-client privilege, the American Bar Association has defined it as “the right of clients to refuse to disclose confidential communications with their lawyers, or to allow their lawyers to disclose them.” It further states the privilege “is viewed as fundamental to preserve the constitutionally based right to effective assistance of legal counsel, in that lawyers cannot function effectively on behalf of their clients without the ability communicate with them in confidence.”

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oh boy it never ends