Mediawatch World Apr 09: Gaza, Bill Moyers, Mia Farrow, Darfyr, Ozone Hole, Uri Avnery, Nazi Comments, Greenspan, IMF, Szep, RealNews
Temptation to co-option is the original sin of journalism, and we're always finding fig leaves to cover it: economics, ideology, awe of authority, secrecy, the claims of empire. In the buildup to the invasion of Iraq we were reminded of what the late great reporter A.J. Liebling meant when he said the press is "the weak slat under the bed of democracy." The slat broke after the invasion and some strange bedfellows fell to the floor: establishment journalists, neo-con polemicists, beltway pundits, right-wing warmongers flying the skull and bones of the "balanced and fair brigade," administration flacks whose classified leaks were manufactured lies - all romping on the same mattress in the foreplay to disaster.Five years, thousands of casualties, and hundreds of billion dollars later, most of the media co-conspirators caught in flagrante delicto are still prominent, still celebrated, and still holding forth with no more contrition than a weathercaster who made a wrong prediction as to the next day's temperature. The biblical injunction, "Go and sin no more," is the one we most frequently forget in the press. Collectively, we don't seem to learn that all it takes to transform an ordinary politician and a braying ass into the modern incarnation of Zeus and the oracle of Delphi is an oath on the Bible, a flag in the lapel, and the invocation of national security. On Journalism - Bill Moyers
What is required now and for future genocides, is the will of the international community to accept it's responsibility to protect civilians threatened by genocide, ethnic cleansing or crimes against humanity. A responsibility unanimously accepted by the UN in 2005 -words proving to be as hollow as 'never again' Genocide Sudanese-style is expensive. It requires bombers, attack helicopters and a steady flow of arms and ammunition. Some 70% of Chinese oil revenues -- which now top $2 billion per year, have been used to attack the non-Arab population of Darfur. The vast majority of weaponry used to attack civilians across Darfur is of Chinese origin. Never Again: How Obscenely Disingenuous Those Fine Words Sound Today
If Beijing elected to act rather than talk, there is plenty it could do. China could use its influence to insist that the Janjaweed be disarmed. China could demand that the regime call a halt to the on-going attacks and aerial bombardment of civilians. China could demand that Khartoum cease to obstruct the deployment of peacekeepers. China could refuse to sell weapons to Sudan. China could threaten to suspend new oil deals with Sudan. How can China host the Olympic games at home, and underwrite genocide in Sudan? We look at Rwanda and despair at our abysmal failure to act. When the history of this terrible episode in human destruction is written, will we have any less reason to despair? Our country, the United Nations and all the nations of the world failed the people of Rwanda, and we are failing the people of Darfur, collectively and individually, even as we have utterly failed our most essential selves. As Elie Wiesel wrote in amazement..."The victims [of the Holocaust] perished not only because of the killers, but also because of the apathy of the bystanders. What astonished us after the torment, after the tempest, was not that so many killers killed so many victims, but that so few cared about us at all."Never Again: How Obscenely Disingenuous Those Fine Words Sound Today - Mia Farrow
French police have arrested four youths in connection with the desecration of 148 Muslim graves in France's largest war cemetery. A pig's head was hung from one of the several tombstones targeted by vandals who also wrote slogans insulting France's Muslim justice minister, officials said.Arrests over Muslim grave attacks Why am I putting this news here when so much is going on that may be more significant?I put the news of the desecration of the graves some days back on my blog. This news indicates the police apprehending suspects.In Pakistan, (as witnessed in the Sher Afghun attack by the lawyers in Lahore today) we do not respect the living, much less the dead.There is some food for thought here.
Swedish archaeologists have discovered a rare hoard of Viking-age silver Arab coins near Stockholm's Arlanda airport. About 470 coins were found on 1 April at an early Iron Age burial site. They date from the 7th to 9th Century, when Viking traders travelled widely. Most of the coins were minted in Baghdad and Damascus, but some came from Persia and North Africa, said archaeologist Karin Beckman-Thoor. Swedes find Viking-era Arab coins
Recently my attention has been drawn to the Dutch news website http://www.en.nl/. Wilbert Baan, interaction designer for the Dutch newspaper de Volkskrant, told me he wants to see “what we can do with news, social networks, wikis and more. “I think you might like the experiment we are doing,” he wrote. And bloody hell was he right. The first thing that strikes you about the site is the bar chart across the top of the page, replacing the traditional masthead. This is a newsriver:
WASHINGTON: Nuclear war between India and Pakistan would cause more than slaughter and destruction, it would knock a big hole in the ozone layer, affecting crops, animals and people worldwide, US researchers said on Monday. Fires from burning cities would send 5 million metric tons of soot or more into the lowest part of Earth's atmosphere known as the troposphere, and heat from the sun would carry these blackened particles into the stratosphere, the team at the University of Colorado reported. "The sunlight really heats it up and sends it up to the top of the stratosphere," said Michael Mills of the Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics, who chose India and Pakistan as one of several possible examples. Up there, the soot would absorb radiation from the sun and heat surrounding gases, causing chemical reactions that break down ozone. India-Pakistan nuclear war would cause ozone hole
SAN FRANCISCO (CBS 5 / KCBS / AP / BCN) - Three people protesting China’s human rights record and the impending arrival of the Beijing Olympic torch climbed up the Golden Gate Bridge Monday and tied the Tibetan flag and two banners to its cables. The banners read “One World, One Dream. Free Tibet” and “Free Tibet ‘08.” One of the climbers was 30-year-old Laurel Sutherlin of Sausalito. Speaking to CBS 5 live via his cell phone while dangling from a bridge cable, Sutherlin said he and his fellow climbers were urging the International Olympic Committee to ask China not to allow the torch to go through Tibet. Sutherlin said he was worried that the torch’s planned route through Tibet would lead to more arrests and Chinese officials would use force to stifle dissent. “The leaders of China have said they’ll maintain order at all costs, and we know what that means — bloodshed and violent oppression,” he said. “If the IOC allows the torch to proceed into Tibet they’ll have blood on their hands.” Olympic Torch Protesters Scale Golden Gate Bridge [thanks AS]
THIS LEADS us, of course, to the Palestinian issue. In the competition for the sympathy of the world media, the Palestinians are unlucky. According to all the objective standards, they have a right to full independence, exactly like the Tibetans. They inhabit a defined territory, they are a specific nation, a clear border exists between them and Israel. One must really have a crooked mind to deny these facts. But the Palestinians are suffering from several cruel strokes of fate: The people that oppress them claim for themselves the crown of ultimate victimhood. The whole world sympathizes with the Israelis because the Jews were the victims of the most horrific crime of the Western world. That creates a strange situation: the oppressor is more popular than the victim. Anyone who supports the Palestinians is automatically suspected of anti-Semitism and Holocaust denial. Also, the great majority of the Palestinians are Muslims (nobody pays attention to the Palestinian Christians). Since Islam arouses fear and abhorrence in the West, the Palestinian struggle has automatically become a part of that shapeless, sinister threat, "international terrorism". And since the murders of Yasser Arafat and Sheik Ahmed Yassin, the Palestinians have no particularly impressive leader - neither in Fatah nor in Hamas.
The world media are shedding tears for the Tibetan people, whose land is taken from them by Chinese settlers. Who cares about the Palestinians, whose land is taken from them by our settlers? In the world-wide tumult about Tibet, the Israeli spokespersons compare themselves - strange as it sounds - to the poor Tibetans, not to the evil Chinese. Many think this quite logical.
If Kant were dug up tomorrow and asked about the Palestinians, he would probably answer: "Give them what you think should be given to everybody, and don't wake me up again to ask silly questions." "Not You! You!!!" - Uri Avnery
The next UN investigator into Israeli conduct in the occupied territories has stood by comments comparing Israeli actions in Gaza to those of the Nazis. Speaking to the BBC, Professor Richard Falk said he believed that up to now Israel had been successful in avoiding the criticism that it was due. Professor Falk is scheduled to take up his post for the UN Human Rights Council later in the year. But Israel wants his mandate changed to probe Palestinian actions as well. Professor Falk said he drew the comparison between the treatment of Palestinians with the Nazi record of collective atrocity, because of what he described as the massive Israeli punishment directed at the entire population of Gaza. UN expert stands by Nazi comments
Thomas Beatie is actually not the first man to get pregnant. Almost a decade ago, a San Francisco transgendered man named Matt Rice got pregnant and had a cute son. Several years after that, I met another pregnant transman in San Francisco. He was telling his story, with his wife, at a feminist open mic. So why is Beatie getting all the credit, and why now? Beatie is the first pregnant man most people will ever meet. He's the guy in People magazine right now looking preggers and hunky, and the guy who was on The Oprah Winfrey Show last week. And it makes sense that he's the first wonder of tranny obstetrics medical science to hit the spotlight. He's a nice, small-town Oregon boy, married for five years to a nice, small-town lady, and his full beard and muscles make it quite obvious that he's a dude. In other words: he's not a freak from a freaky city like San Francisco. He is, as they say in the mainstream media, relatable. Annalee Newitz: Pregnant Men
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan said on Tuesday the U.S. economy was in recession, and said it would be appropriate to tap public funds to resolve the mortgage-related crisis that has helped pull the economy under. In an interview with CNBC television in which he defended his chairmanship of the U.S. central bank against charges that his policy missteps had laid the groundwork for the current crisis, Greenspan said Fed decisions on his watch were rationally constructed based on evidence at the time. Greenspan, on CNBC: U.S. in recession
WASHINGTON: The International Monetary Fund said Tuesday that financial losses stemming from the U.S. mortgage crisis might approach $1 trillion, citing a "collective failure" to predict the breadth of the crisis. Falling U.S. house prices and rising delinquencies may lead to $565 billion in mortgage-market losses, the IMF said in its annual Global Financial Stability report, released in Washington. Total losses, including the securities tied to commercial real estate and loans to consumers and companies, may reach $945 billion, the fund said. Credit crisis could cost nearly $1 trillion, IMF predicts
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