Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Memo to AFP: Snark is not reporting

Don't you love the press that mistakes its place? That shows up around back with a delivery and wrongly assumes it's staying for dinner? They have a function but they always forget that and want so much more.

WG Dunlop allows AFP to be a joke for the second day in a row. (Click here for a discussion of AFP's awful Monday report.) "An Iraq-based Iranian opposition group that is fixated on conspiracy theories allegedly carried out attacks . . ." If you're wondering, he's speaking supposedly of the MEK and Camp Ashraf.

Question: AFP hired Dunlop for what purpose?

Presumably it was journalism. Presumably he has some training in that. He's supposed to be a reporter. Not an opinion columnist and reporters are supposed to stick to facts.

Here's a fact for Dunlop, he does not have the training to determine a fixation. That's psychology and psychiatry.

Not only does he not have the training, he wasn't hired by AFP to make medical diagnosis. If he'd used the word "apparently," he probably could have skated through. But he didn't. He made a medical diagnosis and did so without the training. Were he an opinion columnist, it would have been an eye roll. But he's a reporter and his actions call into question who's minding the store?

While posing as a doctor, he demonstrates he is neither an attorney nor anyone familiar with the law. The United Nations and the MEK can be at odds over whether or not Camp Liberty meets standards. That's because we're referring to legal standards. (I'm so damn sick of spoonfeeding. At some point the press will need to try getting an education, this 'general studies' major that's dubbed 'journalism' isn't teaching them a damn thing -- certainly not when to pick up the phone and call someone to say, "I'm confused. Walk me through.") The put it in the most simple terms, the UN has approved Camp Liberty not as "refugee" housing. It does not meet the legal requirements to be that. That is what the MEK is and has been calling for. They are using two different definitions. Who is right? I've avoided weighing in there. It's amazing that I understand the legal issues (dumb old me) and I've avoided rushing in with a declaration but Dunlop grasps no legal issues -- and doesn't even comprehend that there are legal definition issues -- but it happy to render a verdict.

How do we remove him from the bench?

He's written an article intended to ridicule others but anyone educated in the law will only be laughing at him.

Especially near the end when he writes about the demands of the Camp Ashraf residents:

These include the removal of Iraqi armed forces from Liberty and freedom of movement for residents, but also, despite numerous statements accusing the UN of lying about conditions there, a demand for around-the-clock UN monitoring.

How could the Ashraf residents and others in the MEK criticize the conditions (which include no running water, by the way) and also want UN monitoring?

That's not puzzling at all:

July 28, 2009 Nouri launched an attack (while then-US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates was on the ground in Iraq). In a report released this summer entitled "Iraqi government must respect and protect rights of Camp Ashraf residents," Amnesty International described this assault, "Barely a month later, on 28-29 July 2009, Iraqi security forces stormed into the camp; at least nine residents were killed and many more were injured. Thirty-six residents who were detained were allegedly tortured and beaten. They were eventually released on 7 October 2009; by then they were in poor health after going on hunger strike." April 8, 2011, Nouri again ordered an assault on Camp Ashraf (then-US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates was again on the ground in Iraq when the assault took place). Amnesty International described the assault this way, "Earlier this year, on 8 April, Iraqi troops took up positions within the camp using excessive, including lethal, force against residents who tried to resist them. Troops used live ammunition and by the end of the operation some 36 residents, including eight women, were dead and more than 300 others had been wounded. Following international and other protests, the Iraqi government announced that it had appointed a committee to investigate the attack and the killings; however, as on other occasions when the government has announced investigations into allegations of serious human rights violations by its forces, the authorities have yet to disclose the outcome, prompting questions whether any investigation was, in fact, carried out."

I'm getting real damn tired of these so-called reporters. You ask anyone who has known me for any length of time and they will tell you that, in the abstract, I am a huge supporter of the press. But this crap is exactly why so many people turn on the press.

The world neither needed nor wanted snark from Dunlop. The only thing he has to offer of interest is reporting. If he can't do that -- the job he's supposed to be doing -- he's of no value to anyone.

He's not supposed to take sides, he's not supposed to make medical diagnoses. He's supposed to cover what is known, be skeptical of all sides and try to present a balanced picture.

Instead, he's ridiculed a group that has twice been attacked by a government that was supposed to be protecting them.

That's who he is ridiculing.

And he's so damn stupid and in a such a rush to snark, he doesn't grasp that's not journalism. He doesn't grasp that he's a toady and a lackey.

While he can't understand how the group could criticize the UN over the housing -- an abandoned US military base without water and filled with trash and who knows what else (burn pits?) -- and want UN monitors (the monitors would hopefully ensure their safety), careful readers will wonder why he's got no hard questions for the UN's Martin Kobler.

He notes the assertion of "lies that Martin Kobler made to the residents of Camp Ashraf for a forcible relocation to Camp Liberty." Yet he fails to tell readers what those alleged lies were.

Martin Kobler showed photos of Camp Liberty. These were photos from when it was a functioning US base. It looked very nice in the photos. It looks nothing like that today -- and again has no running water.

He quotes Kobler stting, "If there is garbage, the garbage can be removed and should be removed, and the government of Iraq stands ready ... to have garbage trucks available, but they have to enter the camp to remove the garbage." If?

This is among Kobler's most important tasks in Iraq. Possibly the most important because there is no government to plead to the United Nations on the behalf of the Camp Ashraf residents.

And he hasn't toured the facilities?

Not after they moved in and not before?

That's very disturbing and a real reporter might have grasped that.

The following community sites -- plus Cindy Sheehan, Janis Ian, The Black Agenda Report, Watching America, On The Wilder Side and Antiwar.com -- updated last night and this morning:

Last week on Black Agenda Radio, one of the guests was international law expert Francis A. Boyle. The legal professor has an article up at UK First Post entitled "Did The Irish Faminen Constitute Genocide?" Journalist, photo-journalist and artist (check out one of his photo exhibits if you ever doubt that) David Bacon's latest book is Illegal People -- How Globalization Creates Migration and Criminalizes Immigrants (Beacon Press) which won the CLR James Award. We'll close with this from his "How Not To Get Sick In Imperial Valley" (New American Media):

SEELEY, CA (2/20/12) -- Until his knee gave out, Ramon Villa Jr. dreamed he'd be a soccer star. Across Seeley's pitted playing field of dirt and grass, he and his friends would chase the ball through the desert sunset every day after school. Seeley's de facto town center is that field. With a fire station in one corner, it is as much of a downtown as Seeley's ever likely to have.
Across the street on all four sides sit the sun-bleached homes of Imperial Valley farm workers. Seeley, an unincorporated community not far from the Mexican border, has only 1700 residents. It's not a big place, not even a formal town.
For years the kids would play after school, when the broiling daytime temperature dropped, but they'd have to stop when it got dark. Ramon's mom Carolina would point her pickup at the field and turn on the headlights, just to give them another half hour of play.
They'd get thirsty-- in the summer the thermometer can top 110 degrees. Sweating and out of breath, to get a drink the young players would put their heads under the spigot for a garden hose, just a few inches off the ground.
So Carolina Villa decided she had to do something. With her sister Liz, she organized town residents to call on the Seeley County Water District, which owns the field. After some discussion, they won a few lights on tall aluminum poles. With the help of the planning department, they also got a real water fountain, so the players wouldn't get burrs from the grass in their ears when they drank.

The e-mail address for this site is common_ills@yahoo.com.