Friday, February 24, 2012

Chasing 'al Qaeda'

AP wants you to know this morning that "al Qaeda" has claimed credit for yesterday's attacks across Iraq. Well, "a branch," the Islamic State of Iraq. A "branch"? That's interesting. The Islamic State of Iraq has never claimed to be a branch of al Qaeda. Yes, the press loves to claim it is, in fact Jane Arraf was doing just that last night on The NewsHour (PBS -- link has text, video and audio). Sorry to break it to the press but the US government is not the center of the damn universe. And what the US government -- which is supposedly no longer occupying Iraq -- thinks about an Iraqi group is not supposed to be the final say. Nor are press distortions supposed to pass for reality. A 'head' of the Islamic State of Iraq at one point was the 9 Lives Abu Omar al-Baghdadi whom, you may remember, was announced dead repeatedly by both the US government and the Iraqi government.

It has been 'linked' to al Qaeda in Mesopotamia. It's not a "branch" despite the claims. AP forgets to inform us if their revelation builds on the claims of the Interior Ministry or upon SITE. I'm not sure which I would find more dubious -- Rita Katz sets a very low bar, doesn't she?

It's amazing that a woman who went on 60 Minutes and publicly lied about who she was to advance her own desires -- and got caught -- can be seen as credible by so many parts of the press today, isn't it? (It goes to the fact that the US press no longer functions. When it semi-did, garbage like that would have resulted in Rita Katz never being utilized again. But, back then, there were semi-standards.)

Here's Jane Arraf from last night's NewsHour trying to make a connection between al Qaeda and the Islamic State of Iraq -- note there's no "al Qaeda in Mesopotamia" or "al Qaeda in Iraq" utilized. Just fear, fear, fear!!!! Market that fear, sell it.

JEFFREY BROWN: Jane, when they say al-Qaida, what exactly does that mean? To what extent, for example, are there foreign elements involved?

JANE ARRAF: That is a really key question. Al-Qaida tends to be quite freely and in fact it's become a franchise. So what we're talking about here in Iraq are increasingly decentralized and small cells that are either linked to al-Qaida central, although, in a very diffuse way, or to what has become the main umbrella group, the Islamic State of Iraq, and increasingly links with other groups. Now, one of the things that the U.S. and Iraq say they did was really take down a lot of that network. It disrupted their communications, their lines of command. And we're not seeing a lot of those big attacks that we have in the past.

I'm sorry I can't pretend to be four-years-old and shaking under the sheets, trying not to breathe so the monsters don't hear me, telling myself I'll leap from the bed in 10 seconds and run out the bedroom door, down the hall . . .

Not playing that game because I'm an adult. And I'm not interested in this crap. The attack came from Iraqis. Iraqis that have largely been ignored throughout the war. As Molly Bingham pointed out early on, when Dexter Filkins (New York Times) got a frowning face from a US military officer over a planned interview with Iraqi insurgents, Dexy immediately axed the interview. That's how it went. And now when the US government has supposedly ended the occupation, they still get to dictate the terms?

What a compliant little press. Just keep putting the food in front of them, they've very happy in their veal pens.

So Jane yammers away -- with The NewsHour's full blessing -- about "al Qaeda" forever and a day and what do we learn about Iraq in that time? Not one damn thing. But maybe that's a good thing since Jane also attempted to talk about prevention and she's apparently developed her own system. Slap a copyright on it, Jane.

If there was a problem yesterday, Jane wants people to know it wasn't the police. You really can't stop attacks. You investigate and prevent them, she declared.


Hmm. That kind of goes against every recommendation the US government -- in various forms -- has made. Even the basic PSAs. It's interesting. I know PBS is looking to develop new programs along the lines of History Detectives, but Jane Arraf: Terrorist Hunter? I really don't see it. Maybe next time, Jane Arraf and PBS can tell us about Iraqis and leave the 'catching of terrorists' to others?

It's also cute to watch the press 'psychics' scramble. I wasn't interested in the garbage of ALL GOOD TERRORIST GO TO SYRIA (animated with celebrity voices!) earlier this week. I read that crap, including at McClatchy, and thought how very sad some people lives are. But what I didn't grasp was that was the set up for what they would offer later in the week. Laugh as Reid Smith and others rush to explain that they were right earlier this week but they're still right now and blah blah blah. Laugh especially as Reid tugs Thomas E. Ricks who tugs the Hudson Institute who tugs -- It's the never ending Circle Jerk . . . masquerading as journalism.

Here's some reality the press'll hide from you to keep you ignorant and afraid? No one -- not them, not me -- knows who was responsible for the attacks. "al Qaeda" -- notice they've dropped "in Iraq" or "of Mesopotamia" now even on "serious" and "commercial free" PBS -- is the period at the end of the final sentence in a paragraph. It transitions nothing. It is the dead end to fear, the dead end to questioning, the dead end to thinking.

That's what al Qaeda has become.

And at some point, smart people would realize that Iraqis who don't like the system imposed upon them? They really have more of a say than any foreign government -- including the US government.

And at some point, mature people grasp that you stop screaming terrorist at people whose lives you've destroyed and who you've prevented having any other way to voice their objections -- you've prevented that by refusing to honor the results of elections which, Jane Arraf, were nearly two years ago -- two, not one.

No child wakes up and says, "Firefighter, dancer or terrorist? I think I want to be a terrorist!" Terrorism is bred by conditions that aren't mysterious or unknown . . . unless you're a US reporter going on television to talk about everything but why people are unhappy with the 'gift' the US provided.

great iraqi revolution

That photo appears at the Great Iraqi Revolution and the writing on the flag the US service member is holding reads, "THERE IS NO FLAG LARGE ENOUGH TO COVER THE SHAME OF KILLING INNOCENT PEOPLE." You might want to bury your head in the sand or you might want to try being an adult and figuring out why that photo has meaning with a number of Iraqis?

Not that it will stop the whining phone calls after this posts, but let me add Jane Arraf is probably the finest foreign reporter in Iraq. And, yes, before it's pointed out to me over the phone, the Christian Science Monitor (one of her employers) is very vested in painting the Islamic State of Iraq as "al Qaeda." I know those things. I will also allow that Jane didn't set the agenda on The NewsHour. But use that link and grasp how little of value was offered -- she didn't even note Iraqiya's call for the current government to provide security or resign -- in that segment. Notice how much of it was wasted on "al Qaeda."

The photo above appearing at an Iraqi website tells you a great deal more about the mood in Iraq then all the wasted speculation on PBS last night regarding "al Qaeda."

NPR wastes a great deal of time. This morning, you got some coverage of Ron Paul that was actually worth hearing. Renee Montagne (Morning Edition) spoke with Martinique Chavez (whom she'd spoken with in 2008 about the elections, the first Martinique would be old enough to vote in) and Martinique's brother Zeke.

Zeke is a Ron Paul supporter and explains (among other things), "He's against the wars and when he's been in office he's actually done the things he said he was going to do. [. . .] When we go to war, the older people don't fight the wars, we do. [. . .] There's a saying: 'We're being taxed to blow up bridges in Iraq while ours are falling apart at home'."

The last NPR Ron Paul coverage (it wasn't on Morning Edition) I caught consisted of a host trying to get Paul to say he'd drop out -- over and over and over. Throughout the entire segment. Imagine if NPR (and others) used their time to really explore what candidates stand for instead of reporting on campaigning. Campaigning is supposed to be a means to public office. It's not really the main story. The main story is supposed to be what the candidate is saying, what the candidate is proposing and whether there's reason to trust any of it. But that requires work and today's 'journalists' don't like to work.

The e-mail address for this site is