Ralph Nader Says Obama Is A ‘War Criminal’ Who Has Been ‘More Aggressive’ Than George W. Bush September 26, 2012Posted by rogerhollander in Barack Obama, Criminal Justice, Foreign Policy, War.
Tags: Barack Obama, drone missiles, foreign policy, impeach, libya, military policy, obama military, politico, Ralph Nader, Republican Party, roger hollander, war criminal
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In an interview with Politico, the former presidential candidate and leftist political activist said that Obama’s policies have been “more aggressive” and “more illegal worldwide” compared to Bush’s.
“He’s gone beyond George W. Bush in drones, for example. He thinks the world is his plate, that national sovereignties mean nothing, drones can go anywhere,” Nader told Politico.
But what seems to be even more lamentable to Nader is that Obama has been capable of so much more than he has managed to achieve.
“[Obama is] below average because he raised expectation levels. What expectation level did George W. Bush raise?… [Obama’s] below average because he’s above average in his intellect and his knowledge of legality, which he is violating with abandon,” he said.
However, Nader — who called the current Republican party the “the worst…in history” — did say Obama is the “lesser of two evils” in the presidential race.
This is not the first time that Nader has slammed Obama’s military policies.
Last year, Nader said that many of Obama administration’s military and intelligence directives, including the intervention in Libya, had amounted to “war crimes” that would warrant impeachment, Salon notes.
“Why don’t we say what’s on the minds of many legal experts? That the Obama administration is committing war crimes and if Bush should have been impeached, Obama should be impeached,” he told Democracy Now.
Nader may think Obama is the better choice in this election, but, in 2010, Nader had this to say about Obama’s “approach to politics” (via The Hill):
He has no fixed principles. He’s opportunistic — he goes for expedience, like Clinton. Some call him temperamentally conflict-averse. If you want to be harsher, you say he has no principles and he’s opportunistic.
The WH/Politico attack on Seymour Hersh June 2, 2011Posted by rogerhollander in Iran, Media.
Tags: anonymous source, glenn greenwald, Iran, iran nuclear, journalism, Media, politico, roger hollander, Seymour Hersh
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Seymour Hersh has a new article in The New Yorker arguing that there is no credible evidence that Iran is pursuing nuclear weapons; to the contrary, he writes, “the U.S. could be in danger of repeating a mistake similar to the one made with Saddam Hussein’s Iraq eight years ago — allowing anxieties about the policies of a tyrannical regime to distort our estimates of the state’s military capacities and intentions.” This, of course, cannot stand, as it conflicts with one of the pillar-orthodoxies of Obama foreign policy in the Middle East (even though the prior two National Intelligence Estimates say what Hersh has said). As a result, two cowardly, slimy Obama officials ran to Politico to bash Hersh while hiding behind the protective womb of anonymity automatically and subserviently extended by that “news outlet”:
the Obama administration is pushing back strongly, with one senior official saying the article garnered “a collective eye roll” from the White House . . . two administration officials told POLITICO’s Playbook that’s not the case. . . . a senior administration official said. . . . “There is a clear, ongoing pattern of deception” from Iran . . .”the senior administration official added” . . . And a senior intelligence official also ripped Hersh, saying his article amounted to nothing more than “a slanted book report on a long narrative that’s already been told many times over” . . .
Dutifully writing down what government officials say and then publishing it under cover of anonymity is what media figures in D.C. refer to as “real reporting.” But the most hilarious part of this orgy of cowardly anonymity comes at the end, when Politico explains what is supposedly the prime defect in Hersh’ journalism:
Hersh has faced criticism for his heavy reliance on anonymous sources, but New Yorker editor David Remnick has repeatedly said he stands by his reporter’s work.
That’s the criticism that ends an article that relies exclusively on anonymous government sources, appearing in a D.C. gossip rag notorious for granting anonymity to any powerful figure who requests it for any or no reason. The difference, of course, is that the Pulitzer Prize-winning, five-time-Polk-Award-recipient investigative journalist who uncovered the My Lai massacre and the Abu Ghraib scandal grants anonymity to those who are challenging the official claims of those in power (that’s called “journalism”), while Politico uses it (as it did here) to serve those in power and shield them from all accountability as they spew their propaganda (which is called being a “lowly, rank Royal Court propagandist”).
Tags: ABC, barry mccaffrey, brian williams, CBS, censorship, cnn, david barstow, fox news, glenn greenwald, howard kurtz, investigative journalism, investigative reporting, iraq war coverage, jack jacobs, media censorship, military analysts, msnbc, nbc, ny times, pentagon propaganda, politico, pulitzer prize, retired generals, roger hollander, war coverage
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Published on Tuesday, April 21, 2009 by Salon.com
The New York Times‘ David Barstow won a richly deserved Pulitzer Prize yesterday for two articles that, despite being featured as major news stories on the front page of The Paper of Record, were completely suppressed by virtually every network and cable news show, which to this day have never informed their viewers about what Bartow uncovered. Here is how the Pulitzer Committee described Barstow’s exposés:
Awarded to David Barstow of The New York Times for his tenacious reporting that revealed how some retired generals, working as radio and television analysts, had been co-opted by the Pentagon to make its case for the war in Iraq, and how many of them also had undisclosed ties to companies that benefited from policies they defended.
By whom were these “ties to companies” undisclosed and for whom did these deeply conflicted retired generals pose as “analysts”? ABC, CBS, NBC, MSNBC, CNN and Fox — the very companies that have simply suppressed the story from their viewers. They kept completely silent about Barstow’s story even though it sparked Congressional inquiries, vehement objections from the then-leading Democratic presidential candidates, and allegations that the Pentagon program violated legal prohibitions on domestic propaganda programs. The Pentagon’s secret collaboration with these “independent analysts” shaped multiple news stories from each of these outlets on a variety of critical topics. Most amazingly, many of them continue to employ as so-called “independent analysts” the very retired generals at the heart of Barstow’s story, yet still refuse to inform their viewers about any part of this story.
And even now that Barstow yesterday won the Pulitzer Prize for investigative reporting — one of the most prestigious awards any news story can win — these revelations still may not be uttered on television, tragically dashing the hope expressed yesterday (rhetorically, I presume) by Media Matters’ Jamison Foser that “maybe now that the story has won a Pulitzer for Barstow, they’ll pay attention.” Instead, it was Atrios’ prediction that was decisively confirmed: “I don’t think a Pulitzer will be enough to give the military analyst story more attention.” Here is what Brian Williams said last night on his NBC News broadcast in reporting on the prestigious awards:
The Pulitzer Prizes for journalism and the arts were awarded today. The New York Times led the way with five, including awards for breaking news and international reporting. Las Vegas Sun won for the public service category for its reporting on construction worker deaths in that city. Best commentary went to Eugene Robinson of The Washington Post, who of course was an on-air commentator for us on MSNBC all through the election season and continues to be. And the award for best biography went to John Meacham, the editor of Newsweek magazine, for his book “American Lion: Andrew Jackson in the White House.”
No mention that among the five NYT prizes was one for investigative reporting. Williams did manage to promote the fact that one of the award winners was an MSNBC contributor, but sadly did not find the time to inform his viewers that NBC News’ war reporting and one of Williams’ still-featured premiere “independent analysts,” Gen. Barry McCaffrey, was and continues to be at the heart of the scandal for which Barstow won the Pulitzer. Williams’ refusal to inform his readers about this now-Pulitzer-winning story is particularly notable given his direct personal involvement in the secret, joint attempts by NBC and McCaffrey to contain P.R. damage to NBC from Barstow’s story, compounded by the fact that NBC was on notice of these multiple conflicts as early as April, 2003, when The Nation first reported on them.
Identically, CNN ran an 898-word story on the various Pulitzer winners — describing virtually every winner — but was simply unable to find any space even to mention David Barstow’s name, let alone inform their readers that he won the Prize for uncovering core corruption at the heart of CNN’s coverage of the Iraq War and other military-related matters. No other television news outlet implicated by Barstow’s story mentioned his award, at least as far as I can tell.
The outright refusal of any of these “news organizations” even to mention what Barstow uncovered about the Pentagon’s propaganda program and the way it infected their coverage is one of the most illuminating events revealing how they operate. So transparently corrupt and journalistically disgraceful is their blackout of this story that even Howard Kurtz and Politico – that’s Howard Kurtz and Politico — lambasted them for this concealment. Meaningful criticisms of media stars from media critic (and CNN star) Howie Kurtz is about as rare as prosecutions for politically powerful lawbreakers in America, yet this is what he said about the television media’s suppression of Barstow’s story: “their coverage of this important issue has been pathetic.”
Has there ever been another Pulitzer-Prize-winning story for investigative reporting never to be mentioned on major television — let alone one that was twice featured as the lead story on the front page of The New York Times? To pose the question is to answer it.
UPDATE: Media Matters has more on the glaring omissions in Brian Williams’ “reporting” and on the pervasive impact of the Pentagon’s program on television news coverage. Williams’ behavior has long been disgraceful on this issue, almost certainly due to the fact that some of the “analysts” most directly implicated by Barstow’s story are Williams’ favored sources and friends.
On a different note, CQ‘s Jeff Stein responds today to some of the objections to his Jane-Harman/AIPAC/Alberto-Gonazles blockbuster story — quite convincingly, in my view — and, as Christy Hardin Smith notes, the New York Times has now independently confirmed much of what Stein reported.
UPDATE II: For some added irony: on his NBS News broadcast last night suppressing any mention of David Barstow’s Pulitzer Prize, Brian Williams’ lead story concerned Obama’s trip to the CIA yesterday. Featured in that story was commentary from Col. Jack Jacobs, identified on-screen this way: “Retired, NBC News Military Analyst.” Jacobs was one of the retired officers who was an active member of the Pentagon’s “military analyst” program, and indeed, he actively helped plan the Pentagon’s media strategy at the very same time he was posing as an “independent analyst” on NBC (h/t reader gc; via NEXIS). So not only did Williams last night conceal from his viewers any mention of the Pentagon program, he featured — on the very same broadcast — “independent” commentary from one of the central figures involved in that propaganda program.
On a related note, Howard Kurtz was asked in his Washington Post chat yesterday about Mike Allen’s grant of anonymity to a “top Bush official” that I highlighted on Saturday, and Kurtz — while defending much of Allen’s behavior — said: “I don’t believe an ex-official should have been granted anonymity for that kind of harsh attack.”