The so-called 'war on terror' wounds another democratic institution. Mark Sherman (AP) reports that his news organization's phone records for April and May 2012 were seized by the US Justice Dept. Sherman quotes a statement from Associated Press President and CEO Gary Pruitt:
There can be no possible justification for such an overbroad collection of the telephone communications of the Associated Press and its reporters. These records potentially reveal communications with confidential sources across all of the newsgathering activities undertaken by the AP during a two-month period, provide a road map to AP's newsgathering operations, and disclose information about AP's activities and operations that the government has no conceivable right to know.
Revelations of the seizure emerge ten days after World Press Freedom Day. The news also emerges after AP won their 51st Pulizter Prize -- last month photo journalists Rodrigo Abd, Manu Brabo, Narciso Contreras, Khalil Hamra and Muhammed Muheisen were honored, and it emerges after AP photo journalist David Guttenfelder was awarded the Infinity Award for Photojournalism only days ago. 167 years ago this month, the Associated Press began as "five New York City newspapers got together to fund a pony express route through Alabama in order to bring news of the Mexican War north more quickly than the U.S. Post Office could deliver it. In the decades since, AP has been first to tell the world of many of history’s most important moments, from the assassination of Abraham Lincoln and the bombing of Pearl Harbor to the fall of the shah of Iran and the death of Pope John Paul." Over 30 correspondents have died in those years in the pursuit of news stories. The story of the Associated Press is the story of changing technology, "AP delivered news by pigeon, pony express, railroad, steamship, telegraph and teletype in the early years. In 1935, AP began sending photographs by wire. A radio network was formed in 1973, and an international video division was added in 1994. In 2005, a digital database was created to hold all AP content, which has allowed the agency to deliver news instantly and in every format to the ever expanding online world."
So what led to the US government's assault on the First Amendment? The AP believes it is this report by Adam Goldman and Matt Apuzzo from May 2012 which opened with, "The CIA thwarted an ambitious plot by Al Qaeda's affiliate in Yemen to destroy a U.S.-bound airliner using a bomb with a sophisticated new design around the one-year anniversary of the killing of Osama bin Laden, the Associated Press has learned."
Of course, attacks on press freedoms are encouraged by the press itself when they refuse to use their power appropriately and, instead, whore it out.
Case in point, the AP's nonsense today about the 'new life' in the Iraqi military.
Is there new life?
Why, yes, according to a group of people AP speaks to like this one:
"We've seen them start to act like an army," one official said Thursday in a lengthy exchange with a group of Washington reporters who were invited to U.S. Central Command headquarters for the command's most extensive briefings on operations in Iraq and Syria.
Nothing says 'trust me' quite as much as a US official making claims but refusing to be quoted by name.
None have names, AP explains, because "The officials, who were not authorized to be quoted by name in discussing details of the U.S. military strategy in Iraq and Syria, made it clear that no large Iraqi counteroffensive was imminent or even feasible for the time being."
They're lying. That's why they're not quoted by name.
This isn't news, it's propaganda and AP willingly goes along.
There is no need to hide these officials. They're spinning and lying on behalf of the administration. They're not whistle blowers, they're just flunkies.
There's also no need to treat claims as reality.
Phil Stewart (Reuters) was at the same press junket but his report emphasizes the months and months the same unnamed officials insisted it would take for Iraqi forces to stand up.
The claims AP treats as facts are ridiculous and they're also refuted by events this week. From yesterday's snapshot:
Leaving what's around the corner to take a look at what's on the road now, Lolita C. Baldor (AP) notes, "The Pentagon says Iraq's new defense minister says his troops will go on the offensive against Islamic State militants who have taken over large sections of the country."
They'll go on the offensive, will they?
Sunday, World Bulletin noted the Iraqi military's efforts to retake Baiji ended when a bomb blew up "an armored vehicle" killing 4 Iraqi soldiers and leaving seven more injured. The military insists the vehicle blown up was driven by a member of the Islamic State and that the military mistook it for one of their own vehicles and, most importantly, they'll try again to retake Baiji. Real soon. But still not yet, not as of today.
And today Saif Sameer and Ned Parker (Reuters) report that the Islamic State seized Zauiyat albu Nimr Village in Anbar Province and that, during the battle, the Iraqi military began escaping via a helicopter.
They're going on the offensive when?
Do they understand what "offensive" means?
It's really hard to defend a victim who not only refuses to defend his or herself but who also keeps taking the abuse.
The American people have repeatedly stood up for the press throughout the country's history. It's a shame that the press itself has had far less backbone and far less dedication.
After their initial role in selling the ongoing and illegal war, you'd think, if nothing else, guilt and shame would prevent them from continuing to churn out propaganda.
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