Monday, August 31, 2009

TV Show Hires Ex-President Bush's Daughter

Published: August 31, 2009

Jenna Bush Hager

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Former President George W. Bush's daughter, Jenna Bush Hager, is set to become a correspondent for the U.S. television news and talk show "Today."

NBC, which airs "Today" weekday mornings, said on Monday it had hired Hager, 27, to be a contributing correspondent starting September 14.

"In previous appearances, she displayed a natural ability to communicate and connect," Jim Bell, the show's executive producer, said in a statement. "She has great passion about important subjects, especially education and literacy."

Hager started teaching schoolchildren in Washington in 2005 and has served as an intern for UNICEF, touring Latin America and the Caribbean to document the plight of impoverished children.

She currently is the Young Leadership Ambassador & Chair for UNICEF's Next Generation committee.

Hager has written two books that made The New York Times bestsellers list, "Ana's Story: A Journey of Hope," the true story of a 17-year-old mother in Latin America who has HIV, and "Read All About It!," a picture book co-written with her mother, former first lady Laura Bush.

Hager also has written stories for The New York Times and CosmoGIRL! magazine. She graduated from the University of Texas in 2004.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Is Rupert Murdoch Stupid?

Fox News hosts have been calling out the dogs of war. Does Rupert Murdoch think the network won't be held accountable in the event of political violence?

Excerpt: By Francis Wilkinson
The Week
August 15, 2009

I am looking at an ABC News headline: Fear for Obama's Safety Grows as Hate Groups Thrive on Racial Backlash. It cites a guy in Maryland carrying a "Death to Obama, Death to Michelle and her two stupid kids" sign. It cites the standoff in Los Angeles between police, Secret Service agents, and a suspect who had allegedly made threats against the White House. It cites Rush Limbaugh.

The story does not cite Glenn Beck. But you can bet that if shots ever ring out, Beck will not escape scrutiny. ...

Instead of simply feeding the furnace to keep things hot, Murdoch seems to have given matches to the kids and sent them upstairs to play. With each passing day, more smoke rises from the rafters as the boys set fire to ever larger sections of the attic.

Casual incitements to violence were once the portfolio of the radical Left on American campuses and the streets. They now appear to be the job description of select Fox News personalities. (Read David Frum here for a partial inventory.)

Alienated men enamored of firearms and drunk on cheap rhetoric sometimes do unsurprising things with terrible consequences. If the worst—or merely the awful—were to happen, where does Murdoch think the bulk of the blame would fall? On George Will?

A liberal cottage industry now exists to keep track of every utterance of Sean Hannity, Bill O'Reilly, and Glenn Beck. O'Reilly's relentless attacks on abortion doctor George Tiller, subsequently murdered by a zealot, have already generated condemnation. But Tiller's murder barely rose to the level of a national event—and O'Reilly is the responsible one of the trio.

If 100,000 petitioners can respond to Beck's racial theories with an effective advertiser boycott, how would 69 million Obama voters respond in the event of actual political violence? Does Murdoch really think his network wouldn't be blamed? Does he think his advertisers wouldn't notice that a sizable portion of the nation held Fox News accountable?

instead of simply feeding the furnace to keep things hot, Murdoch seems to have given matches to the kids and sent them upstairs to play. With each passing day, more smoke rises from the rafters as the boys set fire to ever larger sections of the attic.

Casual incitements to violence were once the portfolio of the radical Left on American campuses and the streets. They now appear to be the job description of select Fox News personalities. (Read David Frum here for a partial inventory.)

Alienated men enamored of firearms and drunk on cheap rhetoric sometimes do unsurprising things with terrible consequences. If the worst—or merely the awful—were to happen, where does Murdoch think the bulk of the blame would fall? On George Will?

A liberal cottage industry now exists to keep track of every utterance of Sean Hannity, Bill O'Reilly, and Glenn Beck. O'Reilly's relentless attacks on abortion doctor George Tiller, subsequently murdered by a zealot, have already generated condemnation. But Tiller's murder barely rose to the level of a national event—and O'Reilly is the responsible one of the trio.

If 100,000 petitioners can respond to Beck's racial theories with an effective advertiser boycott, how would 69 million Obama voters respond in the event of actual political violence? Does Murdoch really think his network wouldn't be blamed? Does he think his advertisers wouldn't notice that a sizable portion of the nation held Fox News accountable?

Son of Doocy

FOXNews Steve Doocy's Mini-Me Shows Up On Hardball To Blast Hillary; Party With McCain
By Nicole Belle
Apr 15, 2008

A saboteur! Peter Doocy, who is apparently the son of FOXNews' Steve Doocy of FOX & Friends, was one of a handful of students invited to ask a question of John McCain on MSNBC's Hardball, which broadcasted from Villanova University in Pennsylvania. Why a producer didn't say, "Hmmm...Doocy? Any relationship to the Steve Doocy on a rival network?", I just can't say. But the Mini-Doocy doesn't fall far from the tree, and Peter asked a question that would no doubt get him a gig working with Dad (or Drudge. C'mon Pete, aim high!) when he graduates.

"Hi, Senator McCain. My name is Peter Doocy, I’m a junior here. And I’m sure that you saw your…one of your Democratic opponents, Hillary Clinton, recently drinking whiskey shots with some potential voters. Now I was wondering if you think she’s finally resorted to hittin’ the sauce, just because of some unfavorable polling? And I was also wondering if you’d care to join me for a shot after this?"

Ah....little Petey has heard about the famous McCain media courting parties that has enabled to McCain to get away with so much and is ready to get in on the action. Someone must have told him the BBQ ribs were really good.

What's even sadder than this abomination of airtime is McCain's strange and rambling response. Please, someone explain to me why someone more than 50 years past his high school days is still harkening back to his high school athletic career?

Saturday, August 29, 2009

The New Republic: Party On The GOP Crazy Train

by Jonathan Chait
August 24, 2009

I had an unusual thought not long ago while I watched a video clip of a screaming man at a town hall accusing John Dingell of effectively planning the murder of his disabled son. As I watched, the idea struck me that it was legitimately impossible to determine if the man was crazy merely in the political sense—as in, hoo boy, Rudy Giuliani's foreign policy ideas sure are crazy—or crazy in the more literal sense of a person whose mental health issues render him frequently unable to function. It was a total jump ball which kind of crazy he was. The two senses of the word had finally merged.

Genuinely curious, I watched the man—Mike Sola of Milan, Michigan—give a television interview. Sola accused Nancy Pelosi and Steny Hoyer of having sent thugs to his home in the middle of the night and threatened to personally use "lethal force" on the next wee-hour thug home invasion. How awful, I thought. Fox News is exploiting a mentally ill man.

But then I learned that Sola came to his deranged fear by traditional, ideological venues. He had read an op-ed in the New York Post by Betsy McCaughey, the right-wing fabulist, who falsely claimed that the House health care bill would require patients to attend end-of-life counseling. Reports of this had spread throughout the conservative media, mutated into even wilder fears of government euthanizing the old and sick, and presumably lodged themselves into Sola's apparently sane (by traditional medical standards) head.

What we are witnessing is the convergence of the mainstream Republican culture with the right-wing political subculture. Last year, the two remained clearly distinct. During the presidential election last fall, angry people began showing up at John McCain's rallies, screaming out various lunatic conspiracy theories. McCain reacted to these supporters with discomfort or puzzlement. Here he was accusing Obama of massive tax hikes or palling around with Bill Ayers, and attendees at his rallies were shouting about Obama being an Arab or plotting to destroy the country. McCain would squint his face as if to wonder, "What are these people talking about?"

Now, mainstream Republican leaders are reading from the same hymnal. You don't need to rely on poorly written, all-capital-letter e-mails for your lunatic conspiracy theories. You can get them straight from the GOP and its message organs. ...


The Washington Post's Support For Torture

by Andrew
Atlantic Blog
29 Aug 2009

In the latest release from those in the Bush administration and CIA who authorized and supported America's torture of prisoners of war, we get the following story today in the Washington Post. It details that Khaled Sheikh Mohammed gave up a wealth of information in the period after he was tortured by Cheney and Bush via the CIA. It does not and cannot prove that his information could not have been procured by legal or ethical interrogation methods. But what is interesting to me is the Washington Post's editorial and institutional position in favor of not calling waterboarding and sleep deprivation what they have always been called in every court of law and every society including the US in recent times: torture. They refuse to use the word "torture" for an act that is memorialized in Cambodia's museum of torture. That's how deeply the Washington Post is enmeshed in the pro-torture forces in Washington. The refusal to use this word is a clear, political act by the Post in defense of the Bush administration's torture and abuse policies. It places the Washington Post as an adjunct to the Bush-Cheney policy of torturing thousands of prisoners across every theater of war and across the globe.

For example, here's a classic couple of sentences where you have to strain to avoid the t-word:

"Over a few weeks, he was subjected to an escalating series of coercive methods, culminating in 7 1/2 days of sleep deprivation, while diapered and shackled, and 183 instances of waterboarding. After the month-long torment, he was never waterboarded again."

"Coercive methods". "Torment". Notice something missing? Now read the piece stripped of its Orwellian newspeak:

"Over a few weeks, he was subjected to an escalating series of brutal torture sessions - he was shackled naked to maintain a stress position for a month, the shackles cutting into his wrists and forcing his feet to swell painfully, culminating in 7 1/2 days of sleep deprivation, subjected to days and nights of loud noise and bright lights, while diapered and shackled, and 183 instances of waterboarding. After the month-long torture, he was not waterboarded again."


CNN Calls on Cable Operators to Block Ad Critical of Lou Dobbs

By Brian Stelter
August 4, 2009

A commercial critiquing CNN’s Lou Dobbs is being shown on Fox News and MSNBC this week — but not CNN.

CNN has worked with the cable operators that carry its channel to block the commercial, which was produced by the liberal media watchdog group Media Matters. According to a CNN employee who requested anonymity, CNN managers said in a morning staff meeting that the channel had invoked unspecified agreements with operators to stop the ad from running.

The ad accuses Mr. Dobbs of “promoting the false, right-wing conspiracy that President Obama hasn’t produced a valid U.S. birth certificate.”

It calls on viewers to “let CNN know there’s nothing ‘legitimate’ about racially charged paranoia.”

Media Matters sought to buy air time on the cable news channels in Washington, New York and Atlanta this week.

In a statement, CNN said that it “retains the right to object to any ad run by the cable operator on our network whose purpose is to attack CNN or our employees.” A CNN spokeswoman said she didn’t know if the word “agreement” was used in the staff meeting.

WhoRunsGov first reported that CNN had “privately pressed cable operators not to run” the ad.

Eric Burns, the president of Media Matters, said that CNN’s blocking of the ad “seems like the actions of a network desperate to provide cover for its primetime host rather than living up to its standard of being the most trusted name in news.”

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Rendon Group/Controversial PR Firm Screens Journalists Embedding with Troops in Afghanistan

Related: "How the CIA Paid for Judy Miller's Stories - All the News That's Fit to Buy"

" ... The Rendon Group became infamous after the invasion of Iraq once it was discovered that its PR people helped manufacture the Iraqi National Congress, which was funded by the CIA and provided much of the erroneous information about Saddam Hussein’s government possessing weapons of mass destruction. ... "
August 27, 2009

Embedded NBC Journalists in Iraq (photo: 10th Mountain Division, Fort Drum) Reporters seeking to cover the war in Afghanistan may not get the chance to embed with U.S. military units if their previous coverage of the conflict is deemed too negative. The Pentagon is relying on the controversial public relations firm, The Rendon Group, to critique the media work of journalists who have requested assignments with U.S. Army, Air Force or Marine Corps units.

The Rendon Group became infamous after the invasion of Iraq once it was discovered that its PR people helped manufacture the Iraqi National Congress, which was funded by the CIA and provided much of the erroneous information about Saddam Hussein’s government possessing weapons of mass destruction.

The news of screening reporters follows an earlier revelation that Army officials denied a Stars and Stripes journalist from embedding with the 1st Cavalry Division in Iraq because he “refused to highlight” good news coming out of that war. Stars and Stripes is funded by the Department of Defense.

An Air Force spokeswoman denied the military is playing favorites with members of the media. “We have not denied access to anyone because of what may or may not come out of their biography,” said Air Force Captain Elizabeth Mathias, a public affairs officer based in Kabul, Afghanistan. “It’s so we know with whom we’re working.”

-Noel Brinkerhoff

The Granddaddy of Toxic Talk Radio is Back

Bob Grant

by Tommi Avicolli-Mecca
Aug. 27‚ 2009

As if American talk radio wasn’t toxic enough, what with all of the right-wing nut cases who daily barrage us with their hatred of blacks, queers, environmentalists and left-wingers.

Now, the defenders of keeping women barefoot and pregnant and gays in the closet have a new kid on the block, the grandfather of hate and intolerance, Bob Grant, who was ousted from New York City’s WABC radio in 1996 for his daily racist comments. Grant is returning to his old stomping grounds on September 13 to fill the airwaves with more of that good old-time American bigotry for which the medium has become famous.

Anyone who thinks this is good news must love Grant’s greatest hits, which include regular immigrant bashing and referring to African Americans as “savages” and “sub-human.” Grant once described former black New York Mayor David Dinkins as looking like “the men’s room attendant at the 21 Club.”

When a person with AIDS called Grant’s show and asked for a little sympathy, the vitriolic host told him that people with AIDS couldn’t die soon enough. One might say the same thing about old right-wing talk show hosts.

Grant didn’t just hate people of color, queers and leftists, he also freely expressed violent intentions towards them, once saying that New York police should open fire on the city’s annual Gay Pride Parade: “Ideally, it would have been nice to have a few phalanxes of policemen with machine guns and mow them down.”

As for the so-called tree-huggers: “I’d like to get every environmentalist, put 'em up against a wall, and shoot 'em.”

While denying that he was a racist (it’s difficult for me to even type that line without breaking into laughter), Grant decried the fact that whites could not openly express racist thoughts. “If they did,” he said, “the thugs, the savages, the refugees from Kalahari would tear the place apart. But I guess our group has evolved too far. I guess that’s the price we pay for being a little higher up on the evolutionary scale.”

Asked why WABC would bring back Grant’s KKK mentality to its airwaves, station program director Laurie Cantillo said, “Many listeners missed his colorful commentary.”

Obviously, the only color the station sees is green.

Which is good news for those of us who oppose the venom that Grant and his ilk spew out every day. While free speech is sacred and I’d never deny anyone, even someone as morally challenged as Grant, the right to say what he wanted, advertising dollars are not protected under our Constitution.

Perhaps some of the station’s advertisers need to know that there are many people who don’t appreciate Grant’s verbal diarrhea. Wouldn’t it be funny if those who spend their dollars to support his program suddenly decided to spend them elsewhere?

Might be the best way to get rid of the old garbage.

Tommi Avicolli Mecca is co-editor of Avanti Popolo: Italians Sailing Beyond Columbus, and editor of Smash the Church, Smash the State: The Early Years of Gay Liberation, which has just been nominated for an American Library Association award. His website is

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Lou Dobbs and the White Supremacist Council of Conservative Citizens

Also see: "The Council of Conservative Citizens," AC's Anti-Fascist Research Bin, July 27, 2009

Excerpt: "Lou Dobbs home to 'birthers' and white supremacists," by Zennie Abraham,, August 03 2009

... Google "Lou Dobbs white supremacist" and one sees over 23,000 results, the vast majority related to his series of stories on illegal aliens. In fact, it was an every day constant drum beat from Lou well through 2008. But Bill Scher of the Huff Post reports that as far back as 2006, Dobbs story source was the Council of Conservative Citizens, a group that was pointed to as having a "white supremacy" ideology according to the Anti-Defamation League. What was Dobbs talking about? The supposed "Mexican campaign to recapture the Southwest", an idea that was slammed by many as completely, well, idiotic.

And the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), another anti-racism watchdog group, has pointed specifically to Dobbs for hosting white supremacists as far back as 2004. One of them, Glen Spencer, has spoken at least twice to the white supremacist Council of Conservative Citizens, which has described blacks (like me I guess) as "a retrograde species of humanity." And the SPLC explains that Dobbs never mentioned the affiliation of Spencer or for that matter Joe McCutchen who was famous for writing anti-Semitic "letters to the editor" to various publications.

Virginia Abernathy was another Dobbs guest with ties to the Council of Conservative Citizens, in her case as an editorial adviser according to and other sources.

CNN offered an explanation for the Dobbs connection to the Council of Conservative Citizens in an email to as presented by LaLuchaSigue:

A freelance field producer in Los Angeles searched the web for Aztlan maps and grabbed the Council of Conservative Citizens map without knowing the nature of the organization. The graphic was a late inclusion in the script and, regrettably, was missed in the vetting process.

Oh c'mon! Blaming this on one field producer doesn't even touch the question of who booked this cast of characters to be on Dobbs show ...

Major Media Outlets Ignore News That CIA Documents Fail To Back-Up Cheney’s Torture Claims
Aug 25th, 2009

In April, Vice President Cheney received extensive media coverage when he called on the Obama administration to release two CIA memos allegedly showing evidence that the Bush-era interrogation policies saved lives. His request came in response to critics who lambasted the Bush administration’s program and said it actually hurt U.S. efforts. From Cheney’s interview with Sean Hannity on April 20:

HANNITY: And secondly, why is it important that those interrogations took place? I mean, the ones they were talking about were sleep deprivation, waterboarding, putting insects into small, confined areas and telling them they were deadly insects. [...]

CHENEY: It worked. It’s been enormously valuable in terms of saving lives, preventing another mass casualty attack against the United States. … And there are reports that show specifically what we gained as a result of this activity. They have not been declassified.

Yesterday, the CIA released two of those memos from 2004 and 2005, which had been secret until now. As Spencer Ackerman notes, these memos do nothing to back up Cheney’s claims:

Strikingly, they provide little evidence for Cheney’s claims that the “enhanced interrogation” program run by the CIA provided valuable information. In fact, throughout both documents, many passages — though several are incomplete and circumstantial, actually suggest the opposite of Cheney’s contention: that non-abusive techniques actually helped elicit some of the most important information the documents cite in defending the value of the CIA’s interrogations. ...


Dick Morris, Fox News Political Hooker, and the DC Madam

Morris - a Fox News political painted lady who lambastes health care and other Democratic initiatives with a sniffy air of comprehensive wisdom - knows hooking well, according to the New York Times in 2007:

Dick Morris, Fox News "commentator" and foot fetishist

DC Madam Names Dick Morris As Client
Reported by Ellen
April 30, 2007

FOX News pundit Dick "Toe Sucker" Morris may still be up to his old tricks. According to the New York Times, Morris has been named by DC Madam Deborah Jeane Palfrey as one of her clients. The Times reports:

Dick Morris, the television commentator and former adviser to President Bill Clinton, who resigned in 1996 after reports that he was seeing a prostitute, was also a customer, Ms. Palfrey’s lawyer has said in court.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

The World Can't Be Changed Without Fighting Western Propaganda

BY Andrei Vltchek
Aug 18th, 2009

Sometimes I am chased by nightmares: I am in the middle of some bombed out refugee camp, maybe in Congo (DRC) or in some other desperate country at the periphery of media interests. Children are running around with swollen bellies, clearly suffering from malnutrition. Many women in the camp have swollen bellies too, but not because of an act of love, but as a result of the rape they suffered in recent months. There is gunfire coming from the hills and UN troops are helpless to stop it.

Sometimes I wake up and the dream is gone. Or I manage to suppress it; purge it from my subconscious. But sometimes it stays with me for the rest of the day. And often it is not a dream at all, but reality. I actually find myself in places like Kibati, facing the desperate eyes of children, the resigned, red and swollen eyes of women, the barrel of a gun. There are fires on the horizon and the sounds of gunfire coming from the bush. And instead of a pillow, I am squeezing the shutter of my professional Nikon, or the metal tube of my pen.

What I write and what I photograph appear periodically on the pages of newspapers and magazines. Sometimes one or two images make it to the walls of museums or galleries. But it is always a fight, a struggle to convince editors, publishers, distributors, or curators to accept at least some watered-down glimpse of reality - to be shown to the general public.

The era of brave reporters and determined editors seems to be over. Correspondents who covered the Vietnam War, who actually helped to stop the Vietnam War, are getting older. They write memoirs and publish books, but they hardly witness today's conflicts. There are still some fearless and dedicated journalists - Keith Harmon Snow or John Pilger to mention just two - but they are more exceptions that prove the rule than a common occurrence.

And yet brave alternative voices are needed more now than in any other time in recent history. As corporate control over the media becomes nearly complete, almost all large outlets now serve establishment economic and political interests. The more they do, the more they talk about the need for freedom of the press, objectivity, and unbiased reporting; somewhere else, not at home.

While most of the English language media is exercising an unprecedented suppression of information about, for instance, the brutality of Western foreign policy in sub-Saharan Africa or about the ongoing Indonesian genocide in West Papua (two parts of the world with tremendous raw material wealth exploited by multi-national mining companies), establishment media outlets in the United States, UK, and Australia intensify their attacks against alternative points of views coming from Beijing (PRC), Caracas, or Havana. The more complete the grip on power by market fundamentalists, the more anti-Chinese or anti-Chavez rhetoric appears on the channels of Western mass media - channels whose propaganda now reaches basically every corner of the globe.

I grew up in Czechoslovakia and although I don't remember Soviet tanks rolling down the streets of Prague in 1968 as a small child, I clearly remember the aftermath - the collaboration, lies, and cynicism of the so called "normalization process". What is shocking to me now - being a naturalized citizen of the United States - is not so much that all that I am describing here is actually happening, but the indifference that accompanies all these terrible events. And above all, that the great majority of the people in the English speaking so-called "First World" actually believe what they read in the newspapers and what they see on the television screens. The lies and one-sidedness seem to be too obvious to be ignored! But they mostly are. Describing the lexicon of Western power, Arundhati Roy once wrote: "So now we know. Pigs are horses. Girls are boys. War is peace." And we accept that they are.

In a way, control of information is now much more complete in the United States or UK or Australia than it was in the 1980s in Czechoslovakia, Hungary, or Poland. There is no "hunger for truth" - hunger for alternative views - for every pamphlet that dares to challenge the regime and the political doublespeak in books and films. There is no such intellectual hunger in Sydney, New York, or London as there used to be in Prague, Budapest, or Warsaw. The writers and journalists in the West hardly "write between the lines" and readers do not expect and are not searching for hidden messages.

It all goes mostly unchallenged: propaganda and the lack of alternative views. It seems that we forgot how to question things. It seems that we accepted manipulation of our present and our history; that we are even turning against those few who are still left standing tall and defending common sense and truth and what can be seen with the naked eyes but is denied in the name of freedom, democracy and objectivity (great words that are now abused to the point that they are losing meaning). Are we, in the West, once again entering an era when we will point fingers at dissidents, turn ourselves into snitches, and collaborators? We had many periods like that in our history. Not long ago - not so long ago at all!

In the meantime, while our intellectuals are collaborating with power and getting rewarded for their efforts, great parts of the world are bathed in blood, starving, or both. Collaboration and the silence of those who know or should now is partially to blame for the present state of the world.

Perfected politically correct speech became embedded in the writing, speech, even psyche of many of our thinkers so, god forbid, they would not offend people in poor countries (they can be butchered and encouraged to butcher each other, but they should not "be offended", especially their corrupt political and religious leaders who are serving Western and multi-national interests). Practically speaking - the limits of discussion permitted to appear on television screens or on the pages of our newspapers were defined. Or one could say that the right wing and establishment derided as "politically correct" to challenge the limits of discussion, also the smears. If it suits the establishment, it defines feudal dictatorship in far away places (as long as they serve its interests) as part of the culture of this or that country it controls or wants to control. If religion serves Western geopolitical interests (read: if religion helps us to kill progressive/Left-wing leaders and their followers), the West will declare its profound respect for such religion, even our support, as England supported Wahhabism in the Middle East, as long as it believed that Wahhabism would suppress the strife for egalitarian society and fair distribution of natural resources.

While we are busy trashing Cuba for human rights abuses (a few dozens of people in jail, many of whom would probably be charged with terrorism in the West, since they openly aim at overthrowing the constitution and the government) and China for Tibet (glorifying by all means the former religious feudal lord just because antagonizing and ostracizing China is the main goal of our foreign policy - an openly racist approach) there are millions of victims of our geopolitical interests rotting or already buried in Congo (DRC) and elsewhere in sub-Saharan Africa, in West Papua, the Middle East, and elsewhere.

Our human rights record (if we consider all human beings "human" and accept that violating the rights of a man, woman or child in Africa, Latin America, Middle East, Oceania or Asia is as deplorable as violating human rights in London, New York, or Melbourne) is so horrid - presently as in the past - that it is unimaginable that our citizens still could believe that our countries have some moral leverage and should be allowed to arbitrate and exercise moral judgment.

While post-Cold War propaganda (busy destroying everything that is left from progressive movements) dares to compare the Soviet Union to Nazi Germany (the same Soviet Union that was sacrificed by the West to Nazi Germany; the same Soviet Union that at the cost of more than 20 million lives saved the world from Fascism), it omits the fact that the first concentration camps were not built by the Russians but by the British Empire in Africa; and that no gulag can match the horrors of colonial terror exercised by European powers in between two world wars.

The propaganda is so embedded in the national psyche in the United States and Europe that any discussions of this sort are not emerging, are not demanded, or are simply not allowed or tolerated. While the Soviet revolution and later gulags are used as some dubious proof that a Socialist system can't possibly work (while Stalin was clearly paranoid, there is no denying that there was a plot to direct the Nazis to the East - sacrificing Czechoslovakia by France and Britain at the Munich Conference in 1938 was clear proof of it), the Western holocaust in Africa (for instance the Belgian extermination of tens of millions of Congolese during the reign of King Leopold I) is not presented as proof that Western-style monarchies and market fundamentalism are essentially dangerous and unacceptable for humanity, having already assassinated hundreds of millions all over the world.

Of course it was all about money and European greed - about raw materials - why tens of millions in Congo had to die a hundred years ago (then it was rubber). The reasons are not all that different now, although the killings are mainly performed by local forces and by the army from the neighboring and now staunchly pro-American Rwanda, as well as mercenaries. And the reasons are not too different in West Papua, except that there the killing is performed by Indonesian troops defending the economic interests of Jakarta's corrupt elites as well as Western multinational companies; or in Iraq.

And we are not outraged, anymore. Law-obeying citizens of our countries are buckling-up, not littering on the streets, waiting in the middle of the night obediently for a green light to cross the streets. But they don't oppose massacres performed in the name of their economic interests. As long as the massacres are well packaged by the media and propaganda apparatus, as long as it is not being spelled out that the killing is to support big business but also the relatively high standard of the majority of those living in so called "developed countries," as long as it is all officially for human rights and democracy and freedom. One of the reasons why official propaganda is so readily accepted is because it helps to massage and calm our bad conscience.

Intellectual elites and academia are not immune to accepting, recycling, and even inventing lies. In the last few years I have been invited to speak at several elite universities in English speaking world - from Melbourne to Hong Kong University, Columbia and Cornell, Cambridge and Auckland. I realized that challenging existing theses does not mean that one defends intellectual integrity: quite the opposite. Even more than in the mass media, academia is deeply hostile to the challenges of established clichés. Try to openly disagree with the thesis that Indonesia is a tolerant state, a striving democracy, and who knows what else that gained so many professors their tenure, and you will be labeled as an extremist, or as a provocateur at best. And it will be very difficult to avoid open insults. Try to challenge the monolithic anti-Chinese views!

In Anglo-Saxon academia, to voice one's own opinion is undesirable, almost unacceptable. To make a point, an author or the speaker is expected to quote someone else: "It is said by Mr. Green that the earth is round." "Professor Brown confirmed that it was raining yesterday." If no one else said it before, it is doubtful that it ever happened. And the writer or speaker is strongly discouraged from voicing his or her opinion on the matter at hand. In summary: almost any point of view or bit of information is expected to be confirmed by the establishment, or at least by some part of it. It has to go through the informal censorship.

Long lists of footnotes now decorate almost any non-fiction book, as groups of academics and many non-fiction writers, instead of doing much of their own research and fieldwork, tirelessly quote and re-quote each other. Orwell, Burchett, or Hemingway would find it extremely difficult to operate in such an environment.

The results are often grotesque. Two cases in Asia are great examples of this intellectual cowardice and servility not only of the diplomatic but also academic and journalistic community: Thailand and Indonesia.

Clichés created by Anglo-Saxon media and academia are repeated tirelessly by the main networks, including the BBC and CNN, and by almost all influential dailies. When our media talk about Cambodia, for instance, they rarely forget to mention the genocide of the "Communist" Khmer Rouge. But one would have to search samizdat to find out that the Khmer Rouge came to power only after savage U.S. carpet-bombing of the countryside. And that when Vietnam forced the Khmer Rouge out, the U.S. demanded at the U.N. the "immediate return of the legitimate government"!

There is hardly anything in the online editions of the Western newspapers of record depicting the horrors unleashed by the West against Indochina, Indonesia (2 to 3 million people killed after the U.S. supported a coup that brought General Suharto to power) and East Timor, to mention just a few.

I have never heard of any public figure in the West using the mass media to call for the boycott of anything Indonesian because of the continuous killing of Papuans (just as few seemed to be outraged in the 1970s and '80s over genocide in East Timor). Tibet is quite a different matter. Criticism of China over its policy toward Tibet is epic. Criticism of China in general is monumental and disproportionate.

Whenever China fails, it is because "it is still Communist;" when it succeeds, "It is not Communist anymore." As a reader, I want to hear from Chinese people whether their country is Communist or not. From what I hear, it still is and, moreover, the great majority still wants it to be.

But that's not good enough: the planet's oldest major culture cannot be trusted to describe itself: the job has to be done by English native speakers, by the only people selected or chosen to influence and shape world public opinion.

I want to hear from my colleagues in Beijing. I want them to be able to argue openly with those who hold their country responsible (absurdly) for everything from Sudan to Burma to the ruined environment. How many reports have we seen on BBC World depicting Chinese factories belching black smoke, and how many have we seen on the pollution created by the U.S. - still the greatest polluter on earth?

Or what are the thoughts of Japanese scholars, writers and journalists on the Second World War? We all know what English-speaking journalists based in Tokyo believe their Japanese colleagues are thinking, but why are we habitually prevented from reading direct translations of works written by those who are filling the pages of some of the largest newspapers on earth, published in Japan and China? Why do we have to be guided by a wise invisible hand that forms the global consensus.

Being fluent in Spanish, I realize how little of the current trends in Latin America are fairly represented in U.S., British and Asian publications. My Latin American colleagues often complain that it is almost impossible to discuss Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez or Bolivian President Evo Morales in London or New York with those who do not read Spanish - their opinions appear to be uniform and frustratingly biased.

These days the left is of course the main topic - the real issue - in Latin America. While British and North American journalists and writers are analyzing recent Latin American revolutions in accordance with the political guidelines of their own publications, readers all over the world (unless they understand Spanish) know close to nothing about the opinions of those who are at this very moment making history in Venezuela or Bolivia.

How often does it appear on the pages of our publications that Chavez introduced direct democracy, allowing people to influence the future of their country through countless referendums while the citizens of our "real democracies" have to shut up and do what they're told? Germans were not allowed to vote on whether they wanted unification; Czechs and Slovaks were not asked whether they wanted their "Velvet Divorce;" British, Italian, and U.S. citizens had to put on boots and march to Iraq.

English-language newspapers are full of stories about China without Chinese people being allowed to speak for themselves. They are also full of stories about Japan, where Japanese people are being quoted but not trusted to share their full articles about their own country - pieces that would be written by them from beginning to end.

For now, the English language is the main tool of communication in the world, but not forever. Its writers, journalists, newspapers and publishing houses are not facilitating better understanding between nations. They are completely failing to promote a diversity of ideas.

Media outlets use English as a tool that serves political, economic, even intellectual interests. A growing number of non-native speakers are forced to use English in order to be part of the only group that has influence; the group that matters - the group that reads, understands, and thinks the "right" way. On top of spelling and grammar, newcomers to this group learn how to feel and react to the world around them, as well as what they should consider objective. The result is uniformity and intellectual discipline.

When I wake up in the middle of the night, chased by nightmares and images that I, a long time ago, downloaded from my cameras to extended memory, I begin dreaming about some better and more just arrangement of the world. But there is always the same creeping question that I ask myself: how can it be achieved?

I think about all successful revolutions of the past - they all have one common pre-condition: education and information. In order to change things, people have to know the truth. They have to know their past.

This is what was repeated over and over again to the citizens of Chile, Argentina, and South Africa. No better future, no honest and just reconciliation can be achieved unless both the past and the present are analyzed and understood. That's why Chile succeeded and Indonesia failed. That's why South Africa, despite all its complexities and problems is on course to exorcise its demons and move toward a much better future.

But the West - Europe, United States, and to a great extent Australia - are all living in denial. They never fully accepted the truth about the terror they unleashed and are still unleashing against the great majority of the world. They are still rich: the richest, as they live from the sweat and blood of others. They are still an empire - one Empire - united by colonialist culture: a trunk and branches: all one.

There will never be peace on earth, a real reconciliation, unless this culture of control disappears. And the only way to make it disappear is to face reality, address and revisit the past.

It is the responsibility of those who know the world and understand the suffering of its people to speak the truth. No matter what the cost, no matter how many privileges will disappear with each honest sentence (we all know that the Empire is vindictive). Not to speak truth to power (it does not deserve it) but against power. To disregard existing institutions from media to academia, as they are no solution but part of the problem, co-responsible for the state of the world in which we are living! Only a multitude of voices repeating what everybody, except those in the ruling countries, seems to know; voices amalgamated in "J'accuse", will defeat the present wrongs that rule the world. But only voices truly united and only in a multitude. With determination and great courage!

SOURCE: ZNET (thanks Thierry for suggestion)

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Wallace crops VHA doc to falsely suggest Obama administration pressuring vets to end their lives

On Fox News Sunday, Chris Wallace repeatedly cropped quotes from a Veterans Health Administration (VHA) document to falsely suggest that the Obama administration is pressuring veterans to end their lives prematurely and to accuse Assistant Secretary of Veterans Affairs Tammy Duckworth of lying about it. In fact, contrary to Wallace's false assertions, the document he referred to does not require doctors to direct veterans to what conservatives have labeled the "Death Book for Veterans." ...

Is Sean Hannity Considering Presidential Run In 2012?

Saturday, August 22, 2009

False 'Death Panel’ Rumor Has Some Familiar Roots

Steve Pope/Associated Press
August 13, 2009

WASHINGTON — The stubborn yet false rumor that President Obama’s health care proposals would create government-sponsored “death panels” to decide which patients were worthy of living seemed to arise from nowhere in recent weeks.

Advanced even this week by Republican stalwarts including the party’s last vice-presidential nominee, Sarah Palin, and Charles E. Grassley, the veteran Iowa senator, the nature of the assertion nonetheless seemed reminiscent of the modern-day viral Internet campaigns that dogged Mr. Obama last year, falsely calling him a Muslim and questioning his nationality.

But the rumor — which has come up at Congressional town-hall-style meetings this week in spite of an avalanche of reports laying out why it was false — was not born of anonymous e-mailers, partisan bloggers or stealthy cyberconspiracy theorists.

Rather, it has a far more mainstream provenance, openly emanating months ago from many of the same pundits and conservative media outlets that were central in defeating President Bill Clinton’s health care proposals 16 years ago, including the editorial board of The Washington Times, the American Spectator magazine and Betsy McCaughey, whose 1994 health care critique made her a star of the conservative movement (and ultimately, New York’s lieutenant governor).

There is nothing in any of the legislative proposals that would call for the creation of death panels or any other governmental body that would cut off care for the critically ill as a cost-cutting measure. But over the course of the past few months, early, stated fears from anti-abortion conservatives that Mr. Obama would pursue a pro-abortion, pro-euthanasia agenda, combined with twisted accounts of actual legislative proposals that would provide financing for optional consultations with doctors about hospice care and other “end of life” services, fed the rumor to the point where it overcame the debate.

On Thursday, Mr. Grassley said in a statement that he and others in the small group of senators that was trying to negotiate a health care plan had dropped any “end of life” proposals from consideration.

A pending House bill has language authorizing Medicare to finance beneficiaries’ consultations with professionals on whether to authorize aggressive and potentially life-saving interventions later in life. Though the consultations would be voluntary, and a similar provision passed in Congress last year without such a furor, Mr. Grassley said it was being dropped in the Senate “because of the way they could be misinterpreted and implemented incorrectly.”

The extent to which it and other provisions have been misinterpreted in recent days, notably by angry speakers at recent town hall meetings but also by Ms. Palin — who popularized the “death panel” phrase — has surprised longtime advocates of changes to the health care system.

“I guess what surprised me is the ferocity, it’s much stronger than I expected,” said John Rother, the executive vice president of AARP, which is supportive of the health care proposals and has repeatedly declared the “death panel” rumors false. “It’s people who are ideologically opposed to Mr. Obama, and this is the opportunity to weaken the president.”

The specter of government-sponsored, forced euthanasia was raised as early as Nov. 23, just weeks after the election and long before any legislation had been drafted, in an outlet with opinion pages decidedly opposed to Mr. Obama, The Washington Times.

In an editorial, the newspaper reminded its readers of the Aktion T4 program of Nazi Germany in which “children and adults with disabilities, and anyone anywhere in the Third Reich was subject to execution who was blind, deaf, senile, retarded, or had any significant neurological condition.”

Noting the “administrative predilections” of the new team at the White House, it urged “anyone who sees the current climate as a budding T4 program to win the hearts and minds of deniers.”

The editorial captured broader concerns about Mr. Obama’s abortion rights philosophy held among socially conservative Americans who did not vote for him. But it did not directly tie forced euthanasia to health care plans of Mr. Obama and his Democratic allies in Congress.

When the Democrats included money for family planning in a proposed version of the stimulus bill in January, the socially conservative George Neumayr wrote for the American Spectator: “Euthanasia is another shovel ready job for Pelosi to assign to the states. Reducing health care costs under Obama’s plan, after all, counts as economic stimulus, too — controlling life, controlling death, controlling costs.”

Ms. McCaughey, whose 1994 critique of Mr. Clinton’s plan was hotly disputed after its publication in The New Republic, weighed in around the same time.

She warned that a provision in the stimulus bill would create a bureaucracy to “monitor treatments to make sure your doctor is doing what the federal government deems appropriate and cost-effective,” was carried in a commentary she wrote for Bloomberg News that gained resonance throughout the conservative media, most notably with Rush Limbaugh and the Fox News Channel host Glenn Beck.

The legislation did not direct the coordinator to dictate doctors’ treatments. A separate part of the law — regarding a council set up to coordinate research comparing the effectiveness of treatments — states that the council’s recommendations cannot “be construed as mandates or clinical guidelines for payment, coverage or treatment.”

But Ms. McCaughey’s article provided another opportunity for others to raise the specter of forced euthanasia. “Sometimes for the common good, you just have to say, ‘Hey, Grandpa, you’ve had a good life,’ ” Mr. Beck said.

The syndicated conservative columnist Cal Thomas wrote, “No one should be surprised at the coming embrace of euthanasia.” The Washington Times editorial page reprised its reference to the Nazis, quoting the Aktion T4 program: “It must be made clear to anyone suffering from an incurable disease that the useless dissipation of costly medications drawn from the public store cannot be justified.”

The notion was picked up by various conservative groups, but still, as Mr. Obama and Congress remained focused on other matters, it did not gain wide attention. Former Senator Tom Daschle of South Dakota, an advocate for the health care proposals, said he was occasionally confronted with the “forced euthanasia” accusation at forums on the plans, but came to see it as an advantage. “Almost automatically you have most of the audience on your side,” Mr. Daschle said. “Any rational normal person isn’t going to believe that assertion.” ...

Continued: tp://

Creepy News Corps.' Thuggish Business Tactics

News America Marketing (NAM) is a subsidiary of Rupert Murdoch's News Corps. - the mother ship of Fox News. NAM was recently sued by Valassis, a competitor in the newspaper ad-stuffers biz. Rupert Murdoch's NAM lost the case and will pay $300-million to the plaintiff for engaging in underhanded, monopolistic business practices. Along the way, at trial, we are offered a rare glimpse inside Murdoch's furtive corporate empire, and like my nephew, it isn't pretty ...

News America's Carlucci Again Accused of Threatening to "Destroy" Floorgraphics
By Jim Edwards
July 15th, 2009

George Rebh, founder of Floorgraphics, said News America Marketing CEO Paul Carlucci threatened to “destroy” his agency if he competed for clients, a Michigan state court heard. The testimony came in a case where newspaper coupon giant Valassis is trying to prove that News America used illegal monopoly practices against its competitors.

It is the second time that Rebh has told the story of his infamous meeting with Carlucci, who is also the publisher of the New York Post. Earlier this year, Rebh testified in a New Jersey federal court that he had a lunch meeting with Carlucci at which the latter had said “I will destroy you!” if Rebh’s Floorgraphics made inroads into News America’s in-store supermarket ad empire. Carlucci denies he said that.

In Rebh’s most recent recollection of the meeting, he described how he showed up at the now defunct Dish of Salt restaurant in New York, just blocks from News Corp’s HQ. In attendance at the round table were Carlucci, News America president Dominic Porco, Floorgraphics’ Rebh, his brother Richard, the CEO, and Gary Henderson. The execs talked business in which, Rebh said, he hoped to explore the possibility of working on joint promotions with News America. But Carlucci didn’t like that idea. He wanted to buy Floorgraphics, Rebh said:

Question: What happened? What did he say?

Answer: At a certain point, Mr. Carlucci turned to us, but primarily Richard, and said so you are here to sell your company. And that — because that was not the purpose we were there, that kind of took us a little by surprise and Richard said, no, that’s not why we came.

… Question: What did Mr. Carlucci say in response to that?

Answer: He kind of smiled and he said, you know, when we acquired ActMedia, which was in 1997, I asked them about what they thought of floor advertising and they all thought it was a fad, that it would go away. He said, words to the effect, but, I have always liked floor advertising, so, from this point on consider us your competitor. And he said, again, words to the effect, and you should know that I work for a man who wants it all and doesn’t understand anyone telling him he can’t have it all. And know this, if you ever get into any of our businesses, I/we will destroy you.

That “man” is News Corp. chief Rupert Murdoch; News Corp. owns News America. News America ultimately acquired Floorgraphics in settlement of the latter’s anti-competition case against it.

Nauseating, isn't it? If this is the way the vile Mr. Murdoch conducts business, we'll just take ours elsewhere and let his Nazis twist in the wind. Boycott the Fox News nest of vipers. Next month, Rupert makes a Bloody Mary - without alcohol or tomato juice ...

- Uncle Creepy

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

GE Blasts Bill O’Reilly: Roadside Bombs Claim ‘False’
August 13, 2009

(ChattahBox)—The war between MSNBC and the Fox News Channel is heating up, with General Electric hitting back at reports that it made materials that ended up in terrorists’ roadside bombs, which killed American soldiers.

Bill O’Reilly made the spurious claims against GE, the parent company of MSNBC, on his show on Tuesday, which GE called “irresponsible and maliciously false” in a statement released on Wednesday, according to an AP report.

O’Reilly reported that his “sources” told him of an ongoing federal investigation into American companies supplying radio frequency modules for roadside bombs. He claimed that an unnamed American company sold the parts to Corezing International, a company based in Singapore that has business dealings with the Islamic regime of Iran.

O’Reilly then pointed the finger at GE saying, he “has been told but cannot confirm that the General Electric corporation is under suspicion in the case.”

GE spokesman Gary Sheffer, said GE does not do business with Corezing International nor does it manufacturer the described radio modules. Sheffer described O’Reilly’s “smear” as a “new low.” Fox News did not comment in response to GE’s statements. ...

Republican Testicles Shrink as Limbaugh’s Head Grows

From the Ministry of Mind Control and Propanganda:

Monday, August 17, 2009

Family Security Matters Praises Nazi Spy Reinhard Gehlen

CIA Nazi Recruit and Knight of Malta, Reinhard Gehlen

I've noticed that CIA hangouts are less limited these days ... as we approach open fascist rule. Family Security Matters, the ultra-con opinion-formation teet, is even praising notorious CIA Nazi recruit Reinhard Gehlen (who has everything in common with the far-right propagandists at Family Security Matters) - and looking down its nose at demonic liberals who quibble over death squads, torture, a long history of political assassinations, violent coups waged against democratically-elected leaders and the installation of fascist military dictatorships in their place ... So what if Gehlen was responsible for an untold multitude of American deaths during WW II? Liberals are a threat to programmed Christian (Nazified) families everywhere and must be crushed beneath our respectable heels ...
July 22, 2009

When Political Games Trump Security Concerns
By Lance Thompson
Family Security Matters

“It is the nature of an intelligence service that it must receive encouragement and support from the government of the day; if the government lacks interest in or expert understanding for its intelligence service, not even the best service will succeed in overcoming external prejudices against it.” These are the words of [Nazi] Reinhard Gehlen, chief of the German federal intelligence service, the BND (Bundesnachrichtendienst), in 1971, in his excellent memoir, The Service. (English edition: World Publishing, New York, 1972). Gehlen brought invaluable intelligence assets [Nazis] to the United States regarding Russia after World War II, and founded the BND which continues its important work to this day.

Gehlen’s wisdom is alarmingly relevant today, as the American foreign intelligence service, the CIA, is battered by politically motivated attacks by Democrats and the Obama administration. The CIA, whose mission is to inform our leaders about the capabilities and intentions of our adversaries and allies, has always been a favorite target of liberals. ...
PS: Back in 1967, American oil companies wanted land that belonged to Indians in Guatemala. The Indians refused to negotiate for the land, so the CIA sent planes in to napalm the tribal land-holders. No more Indians. The Guatemalan government, already beholden to the US government, sold the land to the oil companies cheap. (Source: Cry of the People, by Penny Lernoux.)

This is the sort of thing that riles nitpicking liberals. "Conservatives," of course, could give a fig about a tribe of brown-skinned Indians burned alive to fuel American cars.
The verbally flatulent "conservatives" at Family Security Matters have their priorities straight - evil liberals should be rounded up, put in camps ...

Now, remind me: Why is our precious Warfare State - with its massive military propaganda machine - foundering? ...

- AC

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Conservative Christians Take on Hollywood's Portrayal of Religion

By Lisa Anderson
Chicago Tribune
Jan 29, 2006

A martini-sipping wife, a pot-peddling daughter, a gay son mourning his twin's death, an aging mother battling Alzheimer's disease - and his own habit of popping painkillers and literally seeing Jesus. Daniel Webster, a beleaguered Episcopal priest, clearly has issues.

And the American Family Association definitely has issues with him. The Tupelo, Miss.-based Christian family advocacy group unleashed an e-mail protest blitz, mobilizing its 3 million members effectively to try to defrock the fictional Webster and get his new "anti-Christian" television series, "The Book of Daniel," excommunicated from the NBC schedule. The show, struggling for viewers, has been pulled from NBC's schedule.

Opting for finesse over legal firepower, Opus Dei, the conservative global Catholic lay organization, launched a pre-emptive media charm offensive in anticipation of the May 19 opening of the film "The Da Vinci Code." The movie is based on Dan Brown's 2003 best-selling novel, which depicted the group as murderous, misogynic and Machiavellian.

American Family Association, or AFA, and Opus Dei represent different strategies in an increasingly common effort by conservative Christians to influence the popular entertainment industry and challenge its portrayal of them. Invigorated by a sense of rising political empowerment after the re-election of President Bush, they also have at least the potential power of numbers on their side. In a majority-Christian nation, one of three Americans claim to be born-again or evangelical Christians, and 57 percent of respondents told the Gallup Poll last year that religion is "very important" in their lives.

"I think there is a very clear recognition of where power lies," said Linda Kintz, a professor of English at the University of Oregon in Eugene and co-editor of the book "Media, Culture, and the Religious Right." "The numbers of true believers are probably not as great as we imagine, but the place where truth is created, in a televisual sense, is in the sphere of the popular media."

In fact, only a small segment of conservative Christians may be vocal in the public forum, but that segment's ability to find platforms to transmit its views and translate them into action has never been greater. Helping is the growth and accessibility of content-hungry mainstream cable and broadcast television venues - not to mention the proliferation of Christian media.

"There's so much time and space to put this stuff on and there's so much demand for it because it's about entertainment, not boring economics," said Robert Thompson, professor of television and popular culture at Syracuse University. "These groups certainly are more active and getting more attention than they did before."

Another reason lies in the sophisticated use many conservative Christians make of new technologies, particularly as they relate to the Internet. For example, through a feature of its Internet server, the AFA said it can tell how many members responded to its "e-mail blast" earlier this month and sent e-mails to NBC protesting "The Book of Daniel," said Buddy Smith, who supervises the group's extensive online presence.

He said the server tracked 600,000 protest e-mails sent; NBC called that number "greatly exaggerated" and put the number at "a couple thousand." An unknown number of the group's members also called their local NBC affiliates to complain about the show.

Since "Daniel" debuted on Jan. 6, at least nine NBC affiliates, primarily in the South, have declined to run the show. It also has struggled to attract and keep advertisers, which likely played a role in its demise. But it is difficult to know how much is due to the show's controversial content, its lukewarm ratings or the opposition by such groups as AFA and the American Decency Association, a Christian organization. In any event, the series always planned to end Feb. 3, but it doesn't signal the end of the cultural war it's embroiled in.

""The Book of Daniel' is anti-Christian and sacrilegious," said Tim Wildmon, president of the AFA. "By anti-Christian, I mean all the characters are screwed up. There's not a sane one in the bunch."

With a cast of characters that also included a lesbian secretary and an embezzling brother-in-law, the first show "had a lot more going on in it than an average family faces in a single day," said Jack Kenny, the series' creator and writer.

But none of it was anti-Christian, said Kenny, 47, who is a Christian.

"I know I sound like a naive idiot, but I actually thought the Christian community would embrace it as a story and then it also could be used as a tool to teach," he said.

But not only is there little embracing going on, the AFA is upset that Kenny is, as the group puts it in its news releases, "a practicing homosexual," behavior Wildmon calls "sinful."

"It's not sinful, it's who I am. I am what God made me," said Kenny, who has a partner of 24 years.

Wildmon said he doesn't "have a problem with Christians being depicted in an imperfect way ... but for goodness gracious, have some redeeming value to the story line."

There is that and more, Kenny said.

"There are so many scenes of love and support and tolerance and acceptance. I'm just surprised those are not seen as Christian values."

But where Kenny sees tolerance, Wildmon sees moral laxity. He cited an episode in which Webster counsels an unmarried couple and asks them about their sex life. "The correct counsel from the pastor would not have been, "How's your sex life since you're shacked up,"' said Wildmon, 42.

He also is troubled by the depiction of a long-haired, laid-back Jesus.

"The advice he gives is often not consistent with the same things he said in the Scriptures," Wildmon said. He's "kind of a hip Jesus ... doing more flippant commentating than spiritual counsel, it seems to me."

The Jesus in "Daniel" certainly is not the moral absolutist that some might prefer, said Syracuse's Thompson.

"If you read the New Testament, you find a Christ who was annoyingly tolerant with everyone around him, talking to tax collectors, prostitutes and other undesirables. What people are complaining about in "The Book of Daniel' is exactly what the Pharisees were complaining about the Christ in the New Testament," he said.

Opus Dei and its 86,000 male and female members worldwide face a different kind of image problem with "The Da Vinci Code." Not only is it anticipated as 2006's hottest movie, some 25 million people already have read the book, which depicts Opus Dei's leader as a bonkers bishop who dispatches an albino monk to brutally dispose of those threatening to blow the Catholic Church's 2,000-year cover-up of Jesus' marriage to Mary Magdalene and the daughter he fathered.

One inaccuracy, among many the organization claims, is that "there are no monks in Opus Dei, albino or otherwise," said Brian Finnerty, New York spokesman for the Rome-based organization, whose 3,000 American members are heavily concentrated in Chicago, where its U.S. presence began in 1949.

Opus Dei received nothing more than "polite but non-committal" responses to its concerns, first from Doubleday, which published the book, and then from Sony, whose Columbia Pictures is making the movie, Finnerty said.

"While we're not going to reveal any details about the film until it is released in May, we welcome the discussion inspired by it and hope that it can encourage people to learn more about many of the issues raised by "The Da Vinci Code,"' Jim Kennedy, senior vice president of corporate communications for Sony Pictures Entertainment, said in an e-mail message.

Unwilling to take legal action, according to Rome-based Opus Dei spokesman Marc Carroggio in a recent interview, the organization also is unwilling to allow "Da Vinci" to define it.

"The movie is like a big wave that is going to hit the beach whether we like it or not. ... We're going to try to ride the wave," Finnerty said. "By riding the wave, I mean using every opportunity we can to tell the world about the reality of Opus Dei and the reality of the Catholic Church."

To that end, in the last year, representatives of the organization have spoken to journalists, crammed its Web site with information and appeared on "Meet the Press," "Hardball with Chris Matthews" and "The Today Show."

And, somewhat ironically, Finnerty said, "Da Vinci Code" publisher Doubleday has expressed interest in publishing "The Way," a collection of points for prayer written by Opus Dei's Spanish founder and recently canonized saint Josemaria Escriva.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Who Rules NPR?

Excerpt By Bob Feldman
August 11, 2009

... NPR's board of directors apparently includes some of the same corporate folks who have been profiting in recent years from the Pentagon's endless war in Iraq and Afghanistan and the Wall Street banking industry's financially reckless business practices which helped drive the global economy into a world-wide depression during the last year. NPR Chairman of the Board Howard Stevenson, for example, is also a director of the Camp Dresser & McKee firm that was given some lucrative Pentagon Iraq and Afghanistan war contracts a few years ago, according to the Center for Public Integrity's website.

Other profit-oriented corporations to which members of NPR's board of directors have been affiliated with in recent years include the Baupost LLC investment company, Landmark Communications, Sheffield Steel, The Northern Trust Company/Northern Trust Global Investment, Lincoln International, JP Morgan Securities, the DailyMc In. media firm, AOL Latin America, the Cisneros Group media companies, First Energy Corporation of Akron, the Key Corp and NYTimes.Com.

So don't expect NPR to start allowing many of its NPR affiliated stations to begin airing too many anti-war and anti-corporate protest folk songs ...

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Sun Myung Moon's Not-So-Invisible Hand

By Dan Mariano
Manila Times
July 29, 2009

THE Washington Times editorial last Sunday, which drew an unflattering picture of Gloria Arroyo on the eve of her State of the Nation Address and visit to the American capital, was as much an attack on US President Barack Obama as it was a smack on the Philippine president.

The Washington Times—reportedly Ronald Reagan’s favorite reading material when he was still in the White House—does not conceal its rabidly conservative agenda, which is diametrically opposed to Obama’s liberal platform.

Malacañang mouthpieces who took umbrage at The Washington Times commentary, titled “Obama the sanitizer” should perhaps have taken a cue from the White House’s own reaction—which was, to borrow a term from local swardspeak, dedma.

Either the Obama administration has learned to take such editorial smacks from its right-wing detractors in stride or it does not give a hoot about what Washington’s “second paper” has to say.

Online sources show that from October 2008 to March 2009 The Washington Times had an average daily circulation of 83,511—about an eighth of the audited circulation of The Washington Post, the number one paper in the District of Columbia.

The Sunday circulation of The Washington Times for the same period was 43,889—roughly one-twenty second that of The Washington Post.

Given the limited reach of The Washington Times, some coffee-shop wags in Manila have ventured that perhaps more Filipinos read or got to know of its “Obama the sanitizer” editorial than the D.C. residents targeted by the paper.

In fact, “Obama the sanitizer” was at the bottom of a lineup of three editorials published in last Sunday’s edition of The Washington Times.

As of 2:30 p.m. Monday (Manila) time, The Washington Times website showed that the first editorial, “Americans’ right to carry,” generated 14 online comments and the second editorial “No profit motive” seven.

The third editorial “Obama the sanitizer” drew 19 comments from online readers, many of whom by their apparent familiarity with the Philippine situation and, in a couple of cases, by their grammatical lapses were probably Filipinos.

In response to the editorial, a Palace spokesperson did offer a clue as to where The Washington Times was coming from.

Brett M. Decker is the managing editor for opinion pages of The Washington Times. He is the likely author of “Obama the santizer.” However, even if he did not actually pen the piece, he must have given it the once over and then caused its publication.

Decker is also the author the life-story of former Speaker Jose de Venecia Jr.—with the kilometric title Global Filipino: The Authorized Biography of Jose de Venecia Jr., the Visionary Five-Time Speaker of the House of Representatives of the Philippines. Whew!

Decker’s position in the ideological spectrum can be reckoned even from the titles of a sampling of his articles: “Frustration in the Desert” (March 15, 2004); “The Vatican II Sham” (December 9, 2003); “The Jihad Menace to the West” (October 16, 2003); and “Islam: A Religion of Conquest” (September 24, 2003).

But Decker’s involvement in the publication of “Obama the sanitizer” is not the only tell-tale sign linking one of Mrs. Arroyo’s fiercest critics to the editorial.

Again online sources point out that The Washington Times was founded under the direction of Unification Church founder Sun Myung Moon in 1982.

During the paper’s 20th anniversary party in 2002, Reverend Moon was reported to have said, “The Washington Times will become the instrument in spreading the truth about God to the world.”

By 2002, sources added, the Unification Church—whose members some quarters call “Moonies”—had spent about $1.7 billion in subsidies for The Washington Times. The paper has lost money every year that it has been in business. By 2003, The New Yorker magazine reported, the owners of The Washington Times had spent a billion dollars since its inception.

In 2008 Thomas F. Roeser of the Chicago Daily Observer mentioned that Moon had “announced he will spend as many future billions as is needed to keep the paper competitive.”

Where does JdV figure in all this?

In 1999 Unification Church officials in Manila invited several Manila newsmen to South Korea to attend a conference of the Universal Peace Foundation in Seoul. To their surprise, they found out that a speaker in one of the workshops was de Venecia.

Through the years the Pangasinan lawmaker has evidently cultivated his Moonie ties.

An article in the website of Family Federation for World Peace and Unification, another Moonie organization, spoke of a gathering held in June at the COEX Convention Center in Seoul where “nearly two hundred dignitaries from overseas [came] to celebrate the successful publication of the surprising new best-seller, Becoming a Global Citizen of Peace, the Reverend Dr. Sun Myung Moon’s autobiographical memoir.”

The article added: “Current and former political leaders both from Korea and from abroad participated in this event, which coincided with a conference of world political leaders organized by the Universal Peace Federation. Attendees included . . . Alfred Moisu, a former president of Albania; Rahim Huseynov, a former prime minister of Azerbaijan; Hassan Muratovic, former prime minister of Bosnia; Hamilton Green, former prime minister of the Republic of Guyana; Kessai Note, former president of the Republic of the Marshall Islands; Jose de Venecia Jr., former speaker of the house in the Philippines; Sir James Richard Mancham, first president of the Republic of Seychelles; Gabriel Mesan Agibeyome Kodjo, former prime minister of the Republic of Togo; and Malimba Nathaniel Masheke, former prime minister of Zambia,”

Enough said.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Brazil TV Host 'Ordered Killings'

By Gary Duffy
BBC News, Sao Paulo

Police have accused a TV presenter in Brazil of being involved in organised drug trafficking and ordering killings to get rid of rivals and boost ratings. Wallace Souza, who is also a state legislator, says the claims are an attempt by rivals to smear him and that there is no evidence to back them.

But the police say he ordered killings in the state of Amazonas and alerted TV crews to get them to the scene first.

The TV show was halted late last year as police stepped up their inquiry. If what the police say is true, then this is the TV show that not only reported crime, but was actually behind it as well.

Son charged

The authorities believe that Mr Souza commissioned at least five murders in order to get rid of drug trafficking rivals and to boost his programme ratings. They say he wanted to prove his claims that the region he represented in the state of Amazonas was plagued with crime.

A local police chief told the Associated Press that the order to execute always came from the presenter and his son, and that TV crews were alerted to get to the scene of the crime first. State Security Secretary Francisco Cavalcanti says the truth has now become clear.

"On several occasions they fabricated the facts, they fabricated news," Mr Cavalcanti said.

Wallace Souza faces a variety of charges, including drug trafficking and weapons possession, but remains free because for the moment his political role gives him immunity.

His son Rafael, meanwhile, has been arrested on charges of murder, drug trafficking and illegally possessing guns. Lawyers for Wallace Souza, a former policeman who was expelled from the force, say the accusations are an attempt to smear him and that there is not one piece of material proof to back the police claims.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Michael Jackson Drug Photos

Michael Douglas’ Son May Get Life In Prison For Drug Trafficking

Kennedy Assassination Mockingbird: Herrin Illinois Native, National Media Personality Dies Over Weekend

Marion Daily Republican
Aug 03, 2009

Robert "Bob" Walker, a Herrin native who launched his television and radio career nationally after covering the Kennedy assassination for WFAA in Dallas, died from kidney and liver failure July 27 at his Minnesota home. He was 77.

Mr. Walker worked as the station manager and news director at WFAA from 1961 to 1964. While there, he covered the news of President John F. Kennedy's assassination and the killing of accused assassin Lee Harvey Oswald.

He served in the Korean War while he was in the Air Force from 1951 to 1954. After his military service, he attended Southern Illinois University, where he studied voice.

After his stint in Dallas, Mr. Walker became the news director at WGBH in Boston before going to ABC Radio in New York in 1968. He served as a radio news correspondent until his retirement in 1994.

Throughout the years, Mr. Walker traveled the world, covering the collapse of the Berlin Wall, President Harry S. Truman's funeral, the Challenger space shuttle explosion and national political conventions, his son said.

Services were Sunday in Marshall, Minn.

Atomic Anniversary: The Great 'Hiroshima Cover-up' -- and Fallout for Us Today

By Greg Mitchell
Editor & Publisher
August 07, 2009

NEW YORK In the weeks following the atomic attacks on Japan sixty-four years ago and then for decades afterward, the United States engaged in airtight suppression of all film shot in Hiroshima and Nagasaki after the bombings. This included footage shot by U.S. military crews and Japanese newsreel teams. In addition, for many years, all but a handful of newspaper photographs were seized or prohibited.

The public did not see any of the newsreel footage for 25 years, and the U.S. military film remained hidden for nearly four decades. I first probed the coverup back in 1983 in Nuclear Times magazine (where I was editor), and developed it further in later articles and in my 1995 book with Robert Jay Lifton, Hiroshima in America and in a 2005 documentary Original Child Bomb.

As editor of Nuclear Times in the early 1980s, I met Herbert Sussan, one of the members of the U.S. military film crew, and Erik Barnouw, the famed documentarian who first showed some of the Japanese footage on American TV in 1970. In fact, that newsreel footage might have disappeared forever if the Japanese filmmakers had not hidden one print from the Americans in a ceiling.

The color U.S. military footage would remain hidden until the early 1980s, and has never been fully aired. It rests today at the National Archives in College Park, Md., in the form of 90,000 feet of raw footage labeled #342 USAF. I have a VHS copy of all of it today.

When that footage finally emerged, I spoke with and corresponded with the man at the center of this drama: Lt. Col. (Ret.) Daniel A. McGovern, who directed the U.S. military filmmakers in 1945-1946, managed the Japanese footage, and then kept watch on all of the top-secret material for decades.

"I always had the sense," McGovern told me, "that people in the Atomic Energy Commission were sorry we had dropped the bomb. The Air Force -- it was also sorry. I was told by people in the Pentagon that they didn't want those [film] images out because they showed effects on man, woman and child. ... They didn't want the general public to know what their weapons had done -- at a time they were planning on more bomb tests. We didn't want the material out because ... we were sorry for our sins."

Sussan, meanwhile, struggled for years to get some of the American footage aired on national TV, taking his request as high as President Truman, Robert F. Kennedy and Edward R. Murrow, to no avail.

More recently, McGovern declared that Americans should have seen the damage wrought by the bomb. "The main reason it was classified was ... because of the horror, the devastation," he said. Because the footage shot in Hiroshima and Nagasaki was hidden for so long, the atomic bombings quickly sank, unconfronted and unresolved, into the deeper recesses of American awareness, as a costly nuclear arms race, and nuclear proliferation, accelerated.

In 2005, Editor & Publisher broke the news that articles written by famed Chicago Daily News war correspondent George Weller about the effects of the atomic bomb dropped on Nagasaki were finally published, in Japan, almost six decades after they had been spiked by U.S. officials. But suppressing film footage shot in Hiroshima and Nagasaki was even more significant, as this country rushed into the nuclear age with its citizens having neither a true understanding of the effects of the bomb on human beings, nor why the atomic attacks drew condemnation around the world. The common view abroad, and among many U.S. historians, is that Russia's entry into the war (long scheduled and carried out on August 8) would have forced a Japanese surrender long before any U.S. invasion took place. Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower himself later said it was not necessary to hit Japan "with that awful thing."

The atomic cover-up also reveals what can happen in any country that carries out deadly attacks on civilians in any war (such as Japan's policy in China in World War II) and then keeps images of what occurred from its own people.

The Japanese Newsreel Footage

On August 6, 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb over the center of Hiroshima, killing at least 70,000 civilians instantly and perhaps 50,000 more in the days and months to follow. Three days later, it exploded another atomic bomb over Nagasaki, slightly off target, killing 40,000 immediately and dooming tens of thousands of others. Within days, Japan had surrendered, and the U.S. readied plans for occupying the defeated country -- and documenting the first atomic catastrophe.

But the Japanese also wanted to study it. Within days of the second atomic attack, officials at the Tokyo-based newsreel company Nippon Eigasha discussed shooting film in the two stricken cities. In early September, just after the Japanese surrender, and as the American occupation began, director Sueo Ito set off for Nagasaki. There his crew filmed the utter destruction near ground zero and scenes in hospitals of the badly burned and those suffering from the lingering effects of radiation.

On Sept. 15, another crew headed for Hiroshima. When the first rushes came back to Toyko, Akira Iwasaki, the chief producer, felt "every frame burned into my brain," he later said.

At this point, the American public knew little about conditions in the atomic cities beyond Japanese assertions that a mysterious affliction was attacking many of those who survived the initial blasts (claims that were largely taken to be propaganda). Newspaper photographs of victims were non-existent, or censored. Life magazine would later observe that for years "the world...knew only the physical facts of atomic destruction."

Tens of thousands of American GIs occupied the two cities. Because of the alleged absence of residual radiation, no one was urged to take precautions.

Then, on October 24, 1945, a Japanese cameraman in Nagasaki was ordered to stop shooting by an American military policeman. His film, and then the rest of the 26,000 feet of Nippon Eisasha footage, was confiscated by the U.S. General Headquarters (GHQ). An order soon arrived banning all further filming. It was at this point that Lt. Daniel McGovern took charge.

Shooting the U.S. Military Footage

In early September, 1945, less than a month after the two bombs fell, Lt. McGovern -- who as a member of Hollywood's famed First Motion Picture Unit shot some of the footage for William Wyler's "Memphis Belle" -- had become one of the first Americans to arrive in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. He was a director with the U.S. Strategic Bombing Survey, organized by the Army the previous November to study the effects of the air campaign against Germany, and now Japan.

As he made plans to shoot the official American record, McGovern learned about the seizure of the Japanese footage. He felt it would be a waste to not take advantage of the newsreel footage, noting in a letter to his superiors that "the conditions under which it was taken will not be duplicated, until another atomic bomb is released under combat conditions."

McGovern proposed hiring some of the Japanese crew to edit and "caption" the material, so it would have "scientific value." He took charge of this effort in early January 1946, even as the Japanese feared that, when they were done, they would never see even a scrap of their film again.

At the same time, McGovern was ordered by General Douglas MacArthur on January 1, 1946 to document the results of the U.S. air campaign in more than 20 Japanese cities. His crew would shoot exclusively on color film, Kodachrome and Technicolor, rarely used at the time even in Hollywood. McGovern assembled a crew of eleven, including two civilians. Third in command was a young lieutenant from New York named Herbert Sussan.

The unit left Tokyo in a specially outfitted train, and made it to Nagasaki. "Nothing and no one had prepared me for the devastation I met there," Sussan later told me. "We were the only people with adequate ability and equipment to make a record of this holocaust...I felt that if we did not capture this horror on film, no one would ever really understand the dimensions of what had happened. At that time people back home had not seen anything but black and white pictures of blasted buildings or a mushroom cloud."

Along with the rest of McGovern's crew, Sussan documented the physical effects of the bomb, including the ghostly shadows of vaporized civilians burned into walls; and, most chillingly, dozens of people in hospitals who had survived (at least momentarily) and were asked to display their burns, scars, and other lingering effects for the camera as a warning to the world.

At the Red Cross Hospital in Hiroshima, a Japanese physician traced the hideous, bright red scars that covered several of the patients -- and then took off his white doctor's shirt and displayed his own burns and cuts.

After sticking a camera on a rail car and building their own tracks through the ruins, the Americans filmed hair-raising tracking shots that could have been lifted right from a Hollywood movie. Their chief cameramen was a Japanese man, Harry Mimura, who in 1943 had shot Sanshiro Sugata, the first feature film by a then-unknown Japanese director named Akira Kurosawa.

While all this was going on, the Japanese newsreel team was completing its work of editing and labeling all their black and white footage into a rough cut of just under three hours. At this point, several members of Japanese team took the courageous step of ordering from the lab a duplicate of the footage they had shot before the Americans took over the project.

Director Ito later said: "The four of us agreed to be ready for 10 years of hard labor in the case of being discovered." One incomplete, silent print would reside in a ceiling until the Occupation ended.

The negative of the finished Japanese film, nearly 15,000 feet of footage on 19 reels, was sent off to the U.S. in early May 1946. The Japanese were also ordered to include in this shipment all photographs and related material. The footage would be labeled SECRET and not emerge from the shadows for more than 20 years.

The following month, McGovern was abruptly ordered to return to the U.S. He hauled the 90,000 feet of color footage, on dozens of reels in huge footlockers, to the Pentagon and turned it over to General Orvil Anderson. Locked up and declared top secret, it did not see the light of day for more than 30 years.

McGovern would be charged with watching over it. Sussan would become obsessed with finding it and getting it aired.

Fearful that his film might get "buried," McGovern stayed on at the Pentagon as an aide to Gen. Anderson, who was fascinated by the footage and had no qualms about showing it to the American people. "He was that kind of man, he didn't give a damn what people thought," McGovern told me. "He just wanted the story told."

In an article in his hometown Buffalo Evening News, McGovern said that he hoped that "this epic will be made available to the American public." He planned to call the edited movie Japan in Defeat.

Once they eyeballed the footage, however, most of the top brass didn't want it widely shown and the Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) was also opposed, according to McGovern. It nixed a Warner Brothers feature film project based on the footage that Anderson had negotiated, while paying another studio about $80,000 to help make four training films.

In a March 3, 1947 memo, Francis E. Rundell, a major in the Air Corps, explained that the film would be classified "secret." This was determined "after study of subject material, especially concerning footage taken at Hiroshima and Nagasaki. It is believed that the information contained in the films should be safeguarded until cleared by the Atomic Energy Commission." After the training films were completed, the status would be raised to "Top Secret" pending final classification by the AEC.

The color footage was shipped to the Wright-Patterson base in Ohio. McGovern went along after being told to put an I.D. number on the film "and not let anyone touch it -- and that's the way it stayed," as he put it. After cataloging it, he placed it in a vault in the top secret area.

"Dan McGovern stayed with the film all the time," Sussan later said. "He told me they could not release the film [because] what it showed was too horrible."

Sussan wrote a letter to President Truman, suggesting that a film based on the footage "would vividly and clearly reveal the implications and effects of the weapons that confront us at this serious moment in our history." A reply from a Truman aide threw cold water on that idea, saying such a film would lack "wide public appeal."

McGovern, meanwhile, continued to "babysit" the film, now at Norton Air Force base in California. "It was never out of my control," he said later, but he couldn't make a film out of it any more than Sussan could (but unlike Herb, he at least knew where it was).

The Japanese Footage Emerges

At the same time, McGovern was looking after the Japanese footage. Fearful that it might get lost forever in the military/government bureaucracy, he secretly made a 16 mm print and deposited it in the U.S. Air Force Central Film Depository at Wright-Patterson. There it remained out of sight, and generally out of mind. (The original negative and production materials remain missing, according to Abe Mark Nornes, who teaches at the University of Michigan and has researched the Japanese footage more than anyone.)

The Japanese government repeatedly asked the U.S. for the full footage of what was known in that country as "the film of illusion," to no avail. A rare article about what it called this "sensitive" dispute appeared in The New York Times on May 18, 1967, declaring right in its headline that the film had been "Suppressed by U.S. for 22 Years." Surprisingly, it revealed that while some of the footage was already in Japan (likely a reference to the film hidden in the ceiling), the U.S. had put a "hold" on the Japanese using it -- even though the American control of that country had ceased many years earlier.

Despite rising nuclear fears in the 1960s, before and after the Cuban Missile Crisis, few in the U.S. challenged the consensus view that dropping the bomb on two Japanese cities was necessary. The United States maintained its "first-use" nuclear policy: Under certain circumstances it would strike first with the bomb and ask questions later. In other words, there was no real taboo against using the bomb. This notion of acceptability had started with Hiroshima. A firm line against using nuclear weapons had been drawn -- in the sand. The U.S., in fact, had threatened to use nuclear weapons during the Cuban Missile Crisis and on other occasions.

On Sept. 12, 1967, the Air Force transferred the Japanese footage to the National Archives Audio Visual Branch in Washington, with the film "not to be released without approval of DOD (Department of Defense)."

Then, one morning in the summer of 1968, Erik Barnouw, author of landmark histories of film and broadcasting, opened his mail to discover a clipping from a Tokyo newspaper sent by a friend. It indicated that the U.S. had finally shipped to Japan a copy of black and white newsreel footage shot in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The Japanese had negotiated with the State Department for its return.

From the Pentagon, Barnouw learned in 1968 that the original nitrate film had been quietly turned over to the National Archives, so he went to take a look. Soon Barnouw realized that, despite its marginal film quality, "enough of the footage was unforgettable in its implications, and historic in its importance, to warrant duplicating all of it," he later wrote.

Attempting to create a subtle, quiet, even poetic, black and white film, he and his associates cut it from 160 to 16 minutes, with a montage of human effects clustered near the end for impact. Barnouw arranged a screening at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, and invited the press. A throng turned out and sat in respectful silence at its finish. (One can only imagine what impact the color footage with many more human effects would have had.) "Hiroshima-Nagasaki 1945" proved to be a sketchy but quite moving document of the aftermath of the bombing, captured in grainy but often startling black and white images: shadows of objects or people burned into walls, ruins of schools, miles of razed landscape viewed from the roof of a building.

In the weeks ahead, however, none of the (then) three TV networks expressed interest in airing it. "Only NBC thought it might use the film," Barnouw later wrote, "if it could find a 'news hook.' We dared not speculate what kind of event this might call for." But then an article appeared in Parade magazine, and an editorial in the Boston Globe blasted the networks, saying that everyone in the country should see this film: "Television has brought the sight of war into America's sitting rooms from Vietnam. Surely it can find 16 minutes of prime time to show Americans what the first A-bombs, puny by today's weapons, did to people and property 25 years ago."

This at last pushed public television into the void. What was then called National Educational Television (NET) agreed to show the documentary on August 3, 1970, to coincide with the 25th anniversary of dropping the bomb.

"I feel that classifying all of this filmed material was a misuse of the secrecy system since none of it had any military or national security aspect at all," Barnouw told me. "The reason must have been -- that if the public had seen it and Congressmen had seen it -- it would have been much harder to appropriate money for more bombs."

The American Footage Comes Out

About a decade later, by pure chance, Herb Sussan would spark the emergence of the American footage, ending its decades in the dark.

In the mid-1970s, Japanese antinuclear activists, led by a Tokyo teacher named Tsutomu Iwakura, discovered that few pictures of the aftermath of the atomic bombings existed in their country. Many had been seized by the U.S. military after the war, they learned, and taken out of Japan. The Japanese had as little visual exposure to the true effects of the bomb as most Americans. Activists managed to track down hundreds of pictures in archives and private collections and published them in a popular book. In 1979 they mounted an exhibit at the United Nations in New York.

There, by chance, Iwakura met Sussan, who told him about the U.S. military footage.

Iwakura made a few calls and found that the color footage, recently declassified, might be at the National Archives. A trip to Washington, D.C. verified this. He found eighty reels of film, labeled #342 USAF, with the reels numbered 11000 to 11079. About one-fifth of the footage covered the atomic cities. According to a shot list, reel #11010 included, for example: "School, deaf and dumb, blast effect, damaged Commercial school demolished School, engineering, demolished.School, Shirayama elementary, demolished, blast effect Tenements, demolished."

The film had been quietly declassified a few years earlier, but no one in the outside world knew it. An archivist there told me at the time, "If no one knows about the film to ask for it, it's as closed as when it was classified."

Eventually 200,000 Japanese citizens contributed half a million dollars and Iwakura was able to buy the film. He then traveled around Japan filming survivors who had posed for Sussan and McGovern in 1946. Iwakura quickly completed a documentary called Prophecy and in late spring 1982 arranged for a New York premiere.

That fall a small part of the McGovern/Sussan footage turned up for the first time in an American film, one of the sensations of the New York Film Festival, called Dark Circle. It's co-director, Chris Beaver, told me, "No wonder the government didn't want us to see it. I think they didn't want Americans to see themselves in that picture. It's one thing to know about that and another thing to see it."

Despite this exposure, not a single story had yet appeared in an American newspaper about the shooting of the footage, its suppression or release. And Sussan was now ill with a form of lymphoma doctors had found in soldiers exposed to radiation in atomic tests during the 1950s -- or in Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

In late 1982, I met Sussan and Erik Barnouw -- and talked on several occasions with Daniel McGovern, out in Northridge, California. "It would make a fine documentary even today," McGovern said of the color footage. "Wouldn't it be wonderful to have a movie of the burning of Atlanta?"

After he hauled the footage back to the Pentagon, McGovern said, he was told that under no circumstances would the footage be released for outside use. "They were fearful of it being circulated," McGovern said. He confirmed that the color footage, like the black and white, had been declassified over time, taking it from top secret to "for public release" (but only if the public knew about it and asked for it).

Still, the question of precisely why the footage remained secret for so long lingered. Here McGovern added his considerable voice. "The main reason it was classified was because of the horror, the devastation," he said. "The medical effects were pretty gory. The attitude was: do not show any medical effects. Don't make people sick."

But who was behind this? "I always had the sense," McGovern answered, "that people in the AEC were sorry they had dropped the bomb. The Air Force -- it was also sorry. I was told by people in the Pentagon that they didn't want those images out because they showed effects on man, woman and child. But the AEC, they were the ones that stopped it from coming out. They had power of God over everybody," he declared. "If it had anything to do with nukes, they had to see it. They were the ones who destroyed a lot of film and pictures of the first U.S. nuclear tests after the war."

Even so, McGovern believed, his footage might have surfaced "if someone had grabbed the ball and run with it but the AEC did not want it released."

As director Chris Beaver had said, "With the government trying to sell the public on a new civil defense program and Reagan arguing that a nuclear war is survivable, this footage could be awfully bad publicity."


In the summer of 1984, I made my own pilgrimage to the atomic cities, to walk in the footsteps of Dan McGovern and Herb Sussan, and meet some of the people they filmed in 1946. (The month-long grant was arranged by the current mayor of Hiroshima, Tad Akiba.) By then, the McGovern/ Sussan footage had turned up in several new documentaries. On September 2, 1985, however, Herb Sussan passed away. His final request to his children: Would they scatter his ashes at ground zero in Hiroshima?

In the mid-1990s, researching Hiroshima in America, a book I would write with Robert Jay Lifton, I discovered the deeper context for suppression of the U.S. Army film: it was part of a broad effort to suppress a wide range of material related to the atomic bombings, including photographs, newspaper reports on radiation effects, information about the decision to drop the bomb, even a Hollywood movie.

The 50th anniversary of the bombing drew extensive print and television coverage -- and wide use of excerpts from the McGovern/Sussan footage -- but no strong shift in American attitudes on the use of the bomb.

Then, in 2003, as adviser to a documentary film, Original Child Bomb, I urged director Carey Schonegevel to draw on the atomic footage as much as possible. She not only did so but also obtained from McGovern's son copies of home movies he had shot in Japan while shooting the official film.

Original Child Bomb went on to debut at the 2004 Tribeca Film Festival, win a major documentary award, and debut on the Sundance cable channel. After 60 years at least a small portion of that footage reached part of the American public in the unflinching and powerful form its creators intended. Americans who saw were finally able to fully judge for themselves what McGovern and Sussan were trying to accomplish in shooting the film, why the authorities felt they had to suppress it, and what impact their footage, if widely aired, might have had on the nuclear arms race -- and the nuclear proliferation that plagues, and endangers, us today.
Greg Mitchell is the editor of E&P. His latest book is Why Obama Won.