Thursday, March 15, 2012

The silencing of dissent

Trudy Rubin (Philadelphia Inquirer) admonishes Ed Rendell here. Trudy Rubin's one of the few journalists who doesn't forget Iraq so we note her columns. I don't think Ed's done anything wrong (as noted before, I know Ed). But we'll use that to note a few things about the MEK which has nothing to do with the US legal obligations to Camp Ashraf residents. The Philadelphia Inquirer -- in a piece with no byline -- floats that support was purchased from several big name officials. It's an interesting hypothesis and one worthy of exploration possibly until you get to the amount . . . $25,000. Now if you're homeless or the working poor, that might seem like a great deal of money. But for the names we're talking about, that's nothing. The dreadful Will Bunch contributes to the public stoning and demonstrates that there are no functioning editors at the Philadelphia Inquirer -- outside of a lunch table in the high school caf, there's not "kind of a cult," you either are a cult or you're not.

As the Inquirer floods the zone with coverage, they treat every detail -- big or small -- as if they're of equal merit. Apparently, common sense and filters got tossed out with yesterday's papers. However, some claims are greater than others. For example, Chris Mondics offers, "Freeh wrote recently that he concluded as FBI director during the Clinton administration that the MEK did not pose a threat to U.S. interests and that President Bill Clinton and the State Department had moved to designate it a terrorist organization as a means to improve relations with Iran, not because it would improve national security." That detail's not even the opening of his first paragraph.

It's a detail Laura Goldman (Naked Philadelphian) at least knows to play up:

He also reminded me that the United States Government in 2003 promised the members of MEK that they would be protected if they disarmed. Each member of the group was given a piece of paper with that promise written on it.
My source said, "The United States should keep their promise to 3400 unarmed civilians."
The FBI in 2006 declared that the MEK was terrorism free. My source assumes that it is why Louis Freeh, who was director of the FBI at the time, is working on behalf of the MEK.

In all of the coverage, another huge detail is lost -- March 26th. That's the date the State Dept is supposed to offer their classification of the MEK.

The status of the MEK, whether it changes or not, has nothing to do with the residents of Camp Ashraf and the obligations -- legal obligations -- the US government entered into. Hillary Clinton has become very, very good at distracting the press -- did you miss the fact that Maureen Dowd's suddenly in love with her? -- but much as she might like to, she doesn't get to have the last word.

Unless you're a little whore like Josh Rogin, of course. When you're a dirty whore doing others bidding, you give anyone the last word. Josh Rogin is the new Judy Miller.

Why is Ed being targeted and why has Rogin flopped on his back, lifted his fat belly and spread his legs? Because the State Dept doesn't want anyone talking about Camp Ashraf. Because the State Dept doesn't want to live up to their legal obligation.

Instead of flooding the zone with Ed, the media last week should have been asking why the hell the Secretary of State told a Congressional committee that how the residents of Camp Ashraf handled a move to a new base would determine whether or not the MEK got off a terrorist list?

The press should have called her out, but they looked the other way.

We didn't hear. We called her out and we noted that her remarks were laughable and that they portrayed the evaluations of countries for the terrorist list as capricious.

But where was the press?

Covering and whoring?

Ed Rendell is someone I know and like. I haven't avoided this story because of that. We opened with a link to Trudy Rubin admonishing him.

I don't consider myself the press -- if I wanted that career, I would have gone into it. I went into entertainment instead because it at least allows you to put forward the illusion that you still have a soul -- which is several steps ahead of journalism.

It's a damn shame that I'm more concerned with utilizing journalism ethics here than the so-called reporters are at their own outlets.

A damn shame? Try the reason the press is so disrespected today. Alley cats have more ethics. Alley cats in heat have more ethics than the press.

The State Dept has trashed Howard Dean and others publicly to Tim Arango of the New York Times. Josh Rogin allowed State to launch an anonymous character assassination of several people and the State Dept whine that Howard (as dislcosed before, I know Howard) and others were hurting the State Dept's ability to negoiate. What a load of crap.

But the State Dept hopes they've silenced critics, don't they?

They think everyone will tremble in fear and move away from the story of Camp Ashraf. I won't. I don't take money from anyone -- including groups we speak to. So I'm not someone the State Dept can bully or silence (I've also confined my views to Camp Ashraf residents -- we don't do the "Iran snapshot" here.) The State Dept has gone beyond their role repeatedly under Hillary's leadership. They've joined in the administration's war against whistle blowers. There were Hillary's ridiculous statements about Bradley Manning. Statements she never should have made due to her position but statements she shouldn't have made because they recall the American youth turning against her husband during his first term. That was pre-interent so none of our 'experts' today know that story (Hillary does) and the pre-net 'experts' didn't give a damn about youth voters in the 90s. She shows no signs that she's even self-aware of what she's assembled. Or how quickly it can be unleashed. Like Iago, she was distracted and never saw the rat trap she had built for herself.

What's going on is that the State Dept -- like the White House -- thinks they can operate in secret. I've already noted this week that the worse thing that can happen for Barack is that he will be re-elected. The Democratic establishment will not stand by silently in his second term as he dismantles the work of FDR or as he further erodes the line between Democrat and Republican. Nor will they back Hillary who threw her lot in with Barack.

If you're not getting how out of control the administration is, Lisa Rein (Washington Post) reports on career diplomat Peter Van Buren:

Now the State Department is moving to fire him based on eight charges, ranging from linking on his blog to documents on the whistleblowing site WikiLeaks to disclosing classified information.

In 24 years as a diplomat, Van Buren was posted around the world and speaks four languages. He called the termination notice he received Friday the coup de grace in a series of blows he received since his book, “We Meant Well: How I Helped Lose the Battle for the Hearts and Minds of the Iraqi People” was published last fall.

The following community sites updated last night and this morning:

9 hours ago

And Rebecca's "when do we get a citizen affairs committee?" which isn't showing up above. And back to the topic, it's the administration. The State Dept hasn't gone rogue. It's following orders. The same orders the Pentagon's following. From Sherwood Ross's "ASSANGE: PENTAGON ATTEMPTS TO STIFLE REPORTING WITH 'ESPIONAGE' CHARGES" (Veterans Today):

The Pentagon is attempting to quash coverage of its activities by alleging that any reporter seeking classified information is collaborating with the source and guilty of conspiracy to commit espionage, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange says.
In an interview published in “Rolling Stone” magazine, Assange, now under house arrest in England, said the Pentagon demanded “we not only destroy everything we had ever published or were ever going to publish in relation to the U.S. government, but that we also stop ‘soliciting’ information from U.S. government employees.”
Assange asserts the Pentagon is trying to create a new legal precedent that forbids “a journalist simply asking a source to communicate information.”
“Individuals like (investigative reporter) Sy Hersh and Dana Priest (Washington Post)...constantly say to their sources, ‘Hey, what about this, have you heard anything about it? I heard there’s been an airstrike in Afghanistan that’s killed a bunch of civilians---do you have any more details...?” Assange said. Such questions “would be defined as conspiracy to commit espionage under the Pentagon’s interpretation,” he contends.
“If the Pentagon is to have its way, it will be the end of national-security journalism in the United States,” he asserted.

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