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NBC: Noticably Biased Cranks

when word broke last week that during the interim between 9/11 and the iraq war russian president vladimir putin had warned the united states of saddam's plans to launch terror strikes against our interests at home and abroad, the media response was practically non-existent. in an era marred by crusader journalists who think of objective truth as a quaint throwback to an unenlightened past, the collective yawn over putin's remarks nevertheless managed to stand out.

most outlets buried it. as fox news reported last night, the new york times and washington post gave it the inside-page, below-the-fold treatment. the AP, of course, covered the story but they may as well have not bothered:

Russia gave the Bush administration intelligence after the September 11 attacks that suggested Saddam Hussein's regime in Iraq was preparing attacks in the United States, President Vladimir Putin said Friday.

In Washington, a U.S. official said Putin's information did not add to what the United States already knew about Saddam's intentions.

The official, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the information, said the Russian tip did not specify a time or a place where an attack might take place.

The Bush administration in part justified the invasion of Iraq by saying Saddam had links to terror groups, including al-Qaeda. The U.S. commission investigating the Sept. 11 attacks said this week there was no evidence of any collaboration between Iraq and Osama bin Laden's terror network.

emphasis added.

now if this isn't agenda-driven journalism then i don't know what is. the focus of the story isn't on the fact that we have independent confirmation from the highest levels of the single most significant justification for the iraq war, that is, the threat to the united states posed by saddam's collusion with terrorists, but on how useless the information itself was, how it didn't tell us anything we didn't already know, how there were no specifics, how the 9/11 commission already said that there was no collaborative effort. the story isn't about what putin said or why he said it, it's about why the story itself should not be regarded as news.

now read what putin himself actually said:

After Sept. 11, 2001, and before the start of the military operation in Iraq, the Russian special services, the intelligence service, received information that officials from Saddam's regime were preparing terrorist attacks in the United States and outside it against the U.S. military and other interests.

It's one thing to have information that Saddam's regime is preparing terrorist attacks, (but) we didn't have information that it was involved in any known terrorist attacks.

note putin isn't "suggesting" anything (and note that the AP doesn't even mention the word "terrorist" when linking this "suggestion" with the generically-labeled "attacks.") he's flatly stating that, according to russian intel, saddam was going to launch terror strikes against the united states. nothing is ever 100% certain in the intelligence business, but putin's statement here is as unqualified as they come. now he does concede that they had no evidence linking saddam to any previous attack (read: "saddam wasn't in on september 11th") but so what? putin didn't say if these terrorists were al-qaeda, but what he does say is more than enough to contradict the 9/11 commission's "collaborative effort" findings (mentioned, by the way, not once but twice in the AP story) in spirit if not in letter.

i mentioned above that most media outlets buried the putin story. what i meant by that was some didn't bother running it at all, including, not surprisingly, CBS. but no less biased (if markedly less infamous) is NBC, who 86'd the putin coverage as well. to better appreciate the outlandishness of the decision (to say nothing of the violation of every standard of responsible journalism known to man--if this isn't news, what is?) consider if a similar story had surfaced in the wake of clinton's lewinsky-timed cruise missile strikes against saddam: "see! no wagging the dog here! clear and present danger!"

adding insult to injury, the NBC nightly news last night ran an interview with the anonymous author of Imperial Hubris, a CIA officer of better than twenty years who has called the iraq war "an avaricious, premeditated, unprovoked war against a foe who posed no immediate threat." he went on to say in the interview that

The major problem with the Iraq war is that it distracted us from the war against terrorism. But more importantly, it allowed—it made us invade, or it caused us to invade a country that's the second holiest place in Islam. It's not really the same as the Russians invading Afghanistan in 1979. Afghanistan is an Islamic country, but it was far from the mainstream of world Islam.

distracted us from the war on terrorism? it is the war on terrorism, was so before we went as putin has shown and, even if you don't buy that, is definitely the frontline now. and that "not really the same as Afghanistan" stuff; by "not really the same" it's pretty clear anonymous means "a whole lot worse." one of the men specifically charged with defending this country from terror thinks that iraq is worse than the attempted soviet conquest of afghanistan. think about that.

let's look at this guy for a sec. this man is described as a CIA "officer." he's definitely not a field operative. i'd bet my life on that one (and would feel safer dead anyway if wrong.) but he's almost certainly some sort of analyst. he describes himself as being "trained as a historian, British imperial history," i.e. an academic of the social sciences variety--a group so bloody rare red they make your average pinko look charbroiled in comparison. he's been in the CIA for 22 years, i.e. career bureaucrat. is it any wonder that he's spouting the exact same nonsense that i could hear at any al gore extravaganza? that bush lead us on an ill-conceived foreign adventure, that he's distracting us from the real war on terror, that he's a rabid imperialist bent on conquest, that he's playing right into bin laden's hands, that he's alienating the arab street. go ahead and read the transcript. he offers every one of these charges in one form or another.

this is what NBC thinks is significant. a prototypical liberal academic who, at the end of the day is merely parroting back to them what they themselves have said through their slanted coverage, artful omissions, and outright distortions, and flagrant fabrications. he's telling them what they want to hear, ergo, he gets an interview and, in case that wasn't enough, a transcript that has prominently linked on the homepage--perhaps the busiest portal on the internet.

saying that NBC employed a double standard with the putin/anonymous coverage is a bit like calling the universe "large." it speaks poorly of CIA, true--what the hell is going on at CIA? you've got joe wilson blasting the president's iraq policy in a new york times op-ed pieces and now this--but it speaks even worse of our media.

when our nation was invented, it was decided by the framers that freedom of the press would be listed right there alongside our foremost basic liberties. a misinformed citizen simply cannot participate responsibly in a republic such as ours. i've remarked in the past that the power implicit in the privilege is one that carries with it a tremendous weight of responsibility, but it's one today's media has altogether shirked. to the folks at NBC news, the heft of the first amendment has made a formidable club to bash the american voter over the head with. if they justified their deceitfulness at all, they'd doubtless say it's for the good of the country. isn't that for the voters to decide?

locdog thinks there's a reason they've come to be called the "elite media"



political roundup

stop, collaborate and listen
loc is back with a brand new edition
something grabs a hold of me tightly
then i flow like a harpoon daily and nightly
will it ever stop? yo, i don't know
turn off the lights and i'll glow
to the extreme i rock the fray like a vandal
light up the fray and wax the chumps like a candle

the white stain of courage

in perhaps the most shocking newsflash of our young millennium, we today learn today that the BBC is actually part of the VRWC:

[P]eople like you always help the far-right, because you like to hurt people, and you like to talk about how bad people are and all their personal failings.

as bill clinton would have us believe, the beeb was shilling for ken starr all along, their highly-publicized disgrace over a laughable excess of liberal bias nothing more than a now all-too-apparent ruse aimed at disarming the would-be skeptic.

One of the reasons [Kenneth Starr] got away with it is because people like you only ask me the questions.

You gave him a complete free ride. Any abuse they wanted to do. They indicted all these little people from Arkansas, what did you care about them, they're not famous, who cares that their life was trampled. Who cares that their children are humiliated.

clinton cares. he feels your pain. he caused your pain with the, what, 14, 16 months of obfuscation, stonewalling, witness intimidation, and perjury that his own hand-picked special prosecutor had to plow through, but he feels it nonetheless. and i can't help but think of the little people (most of them were actually sorta chubby and had big hair, but whatever) that clinton seduced, harassed, manipulated, abused, and raped as he unwittingly wrote the starr report. i can't help but think of the arkansas felony indictments surrounding his business transactions or the state troopers who'd serve up the then-governor's fluffy, squealing amusement like the glorified pizza delivery boys they were. the families he destroyed, the children he humiliated...

the fight against ken starr was a jihad. it wasn't about saving bill's bacon from the wagging tongue of a fellow oversexed porker, it was about the little people, damn it. no wonder he got so angry.

dueling memos

I accept the legal conclusion of the attorney general and the Department of Justice that I have the authority under the Constitution to suspend Geneva as between the United States and Afghanistan, but I decline to exercise that authority at this time.

so said the president of the united states in response to the famed "torture memo," the media's last-ditch effort to implicate bush in the abu ghraib mess.

torture memo. i love that. torture memo. i know a fellow who hails from the backwoods of west virginia where he still maintains a camp near the subtly dubbed "fish creek." fish creek. torture memo. whatever wag it was came up with that one must have thought long and hard about a handle that my humble west virginia friend could readily grasp. grasp if his mother had gobbled up two handfuls of thalidomide throughout his gestation. grasp if he'd gulped half a quart of turpentine and huffed half a can of paint for breakfast each and every day since.

anyway, memo by administration staffer be damned, bush ordered gitmo prisoners to be treated humanely in a memo entitled--get this--"Humane Treatment of al-Qaida and Taliban Detainees." america should have no trouble with that one, west virginians and all. iraq prisoners were to be considered prisoners of war and were thus also to be treated properly.

the media isn't quite ready to drop it, though--and who could blame them? they've got a lot invested in this story. rummy, it seems, rejected chinese water torture for gitmo prisoners but gave the thumbs up to thirty-days-in-the-hole and making people stand for up to four hours.

four whole hours?

does amnesty international know about this?

also ok'd by rumsfeld was "inducing stress by use of detainee’s fears (e.g., dogs)" which i just think is flat-out cool. can you picture rummy kickin' it ala marcelus wallace in pulp fiction while he plans the hunt for osama in afghanistan?

I'm prepared to scour the Earth for that mother f***er. If Osama goes to Indo-China, I want a nigger hidin' in a bowl of rice, ready to pop a cap in his ass.

some candy-striper timidly offers that they've caught a prisoner CIA thinks might know of his whereabouts.

we don't wanna think, we wanna know. Take him to the kennel; sick the dogs on his ass. We'll find out for goddamn sure what he knows and what he don't.

if you look at it that way, rummy showed a lot of restraint. it's not like he got medieval or anything.

modest proposal for south korean government

despite the beheading of one of their civilians working in iraq, the south korean government has not wavered in their commitment to send additional troops to iraq. their people, on the other hand, are on the verge of going spanish.

Thousands of riot police have been deployed around mosques, public buildings and embassies and police stepped security at other facilities including airports and high-speed railway stations, with 9,000 riot troop reinforcements deployed at 230 venues.

9000 riot troops to control their own people? they're only sending 3000 to control the terrorists.

i've got a better idea. take the anti-american protesters causing all the trouble and ship them off to north korea, where peace and freedom are nourished in an environment that welcomes dissent and encourages the eating of grass and bark. seems fair to me. one north korean loses his life and they've got to call out the national guard. 54,246 americans died and we get begrudged a measly 3 grand? to this very day, freedom is maintained in south korea by virtue of american military largesse. maybe i missed it, but i haven’t heard any south koreans clamoring for an american military pullout from their homeland. throw 'em on the tender mercies of kim jong il, which is exactly where they'd be if the americans they're protesting had been as cowardly as they.

locdog brings you all the news he sees fit to print



new saddam/qaeda link?

the 9/11 commission has obtained some new intelligence from iraq indicating that an officer in saddam's fedayeen militia (think "brownshirts") was actually "a very prominent member of al qaeda," one who--get this--sat in on a 9/11 planning meeting along with two of the hijackers and "senior al-Qaida leaders."

if confirmed, the intelligence would comprise the strongest connection between saddam and 9/11 established thus far.

the big concern right now is whether the "Ahmed Hikmat Shakir" who attended the meeting is the same "Ahmed Hikmat Shakir" from saddam's militia. say he is, where are we then?

even if this were proven to be the case, it still wouldn't prove that saddam was in on 9/11. that said, this would provide strong if circumstantial evidence that saddam at least indirectly helped out.

if shakir was sitting in on 9/11 planning meetings, he must have been very high up in al qaeda. this was by far the grandest operation bin laden had ever conceived, it's hard to believe that casual affiliates would be allowed to waltz through high-level planning sessions.

we must therefore assume shakir had been a member of al qaeda for quite some time, which is significant because the longer he was involved with al qaeda, the less plausible it becomes that saddam was out of the loop. you don't get to be dictator of a police state without knowing how to keep tabs on people--especially the ones who are supposed to be watching your back. besides, according to the 9/11 commission, the shakir/qaeda connection was found in iraqi documents. saddam knew.

the nature of the fedayeen itself must also be taken into consideration. the fedayeen was a paramilitary organization that was exclusive from the regular army. it was under the direct control of saddam's sons, first uday, then qusay, and its officers answered only to them and saddam. the fedayeen members themselves were the most loyal men saddam could find, men who could be counted on to defend saddam from domestic threats or in time of revolt. it's hard to believe that an officer in this organization, one saddam must have known was an al qaeda member, could have been so involved with the planning of 9/11 unless he was serving saddam's interests.

finally, russian president vladimir putin is now saying that he warned the united states repeatedly of saddam-sponsored terrorist attacks between 9/11 and the beginning of the iraq war. if true--and i know of no reason to doubt putin on this, especially since the revelation is all the more inconvenient in light of russia's opposition to the iraq war--wouldn't this show that saddam was sympathetic to al qaeda's aims? saddam and bin laden have had their differences, but the one thing they both had in common was their all-consuming hatred of the united states, and now we see that this hatred was accompanied by a willingness on the part of both men to use terror.

if all of that is correct, we still don't have anything to show that saddam directly assisted the 9/11 plot, but it would show that he in all probability had prior knowledge of the attacks and was more than willing to look the other way, and not only that, but to allow his hand-picked henchmen to participate in the planning thus indirectly implicating him.

what would this mean for the war in iraq? as far as i'm concerned, nothing. at no time did the bush administration ever claim or even allege a link between saddam and 9/11. in fact they denied it. rather than supporting their version of saddam's 9/11 connection, this new evidence actually has the potential to refute it. it would show a very visible "strong tie" between saddam and terror of the sort the administration has insisted upon throughout, but after the furor from the "no collaborative effort" statement died down, democrat members of the 9/11 commission were out and about saying their version really didn't conflict with the administration's after all.

in terms of practical politics, however, this story could yield a tectonic shift in the presidential landscape, especially since kerry has been busily shooting his mouth off about how george w. bush lead us to war under false pretense--a more dean-like approach adopted by a stagnant kerry campaign emboldened by the 9/11 commissions "collaborative effort" findings. kerry may now have to find a way to say that although the war he hates yet supports was a big lie, it was also true. shouldn't be too much of a problem for him.

as locdog sees it, the bush administration needs to do little more than keep on quietly being right