I'd like to take her home
But no one walks where she does
She goes into the cold
Wearing two unmatched gloves
Is it that (a change of scene is all she needs)
Maybe it's (something she works out alone)
And if I don't hold her up
Will she just fall down?
She says she feels fine
She says she feels right at home
But I can hear her cry
When I leave the room - oh
Those are some of the words to "Will She Just Fall Down?" -- a song that appears on 'Til Tuesday's Welcome Home which is the band's classic album from 1986. Aimee Mann wrote the song (and sings it and plays bass).
I know this song for several reasons. A friend I went to school with (Tony's mother -- Tony's my son Mike's best friend) and I were working on a local campaign. Putting up yard signs, etc. Tony and Mike were both little kids (so this is probably two years after the album came out, 1988) and we would get in my Dodge or Amy's van and drive around putting up the signs or park the car to block walk. (That's where you go up a block knocking on doors and handing out candidate literature if you're lucky and, if you're really lucky, someone speaks to you and doesn't just slam the door in your face.) Now in Amy's van the only thing we could listen to was Welcome Home. It got stuck in the van's cassette player. It wouldn't come out -- without possibly ripping the tape. So she just listened to that or the radio. The boys loved "David Denies" and would just rock to the beat in their car seats so it was a good tape to listen to just for that reason.
But as time went by (we volunteered for about eight weeks on this campaign right before election day), I got to know other songs on the album and ended up buying my own copy of the cassette. At which point we were able to listen to it in either car.
And I really got into both the lyrics and the music and really had a lot of respect for Aimee as a vocalist because if the song needed it rough, she went rough, she didn't try to put a pretty vocal on it and claim she was being 'ironic.' She let her voice serve the songs.
And long after I learned the words well enough to sing along, on a rainy day, Amy and I were both singing along (with Aimee) on the song "Will She Just Fall Down?" when Amy asks, "Do you know who this is about?"
I was confused for about ten seconds because I didn't know a thing about Aimee Mann's personal life. Then I realized Amy was talking about __ who we went to school with and who fit the song Aimee Mann had written perfectly.
It became my favorite song and I have many other favorites by Mann (including from the latest album); however, that's one that will always be special. I'll add "What About Love" was a song Amy and I used to have so much fun singing along with: What about luh-uh-uh-uve.
This is C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot" for Wednesday:
Wednesday, October 7, 2009. Chaos and violence continue, information about a US prison in Iraq emerges, the inquiry into the death of Iraqi Baha Mousa while in British custody continues, Senator Byron Dorgan calls for accountability in the exposure of US troops serving in Iraq to sodium dichromate, DoD's Inspector General agrees to begin a formal investigation into the issue, 36 Iranians are finally released from an Iraqi prison, and more.
Monday on NPR's Morning Edition, Jonathan Blakley reported on what journalist Ali Omar al-Masshadani experienced while impisoned at Camp Bucca.
Jonathan Blakley: At it's peak it's prison housed over 22,000 detainees in separate camps at the sprawling facility. Ali Omar al-Mashhadani was one of them. Ali Omar al-Mashhadani: Each camp had up to a thousand prisoners. Some of the camps have tents. Each one was air conditioned. Each camp had different kinds of prisoners like extremists or ex-regime officials from the Ba'ath Party.Jonathan Blakley: Ali is a 40-year-old journalist. His voice drops when he recalls his detention at Bucca. All of his memories negative.Ali Omar al-Mashhadani: We were isolated from everything. We didn't have a radio or anything. The Americans would sometimes bring us very bad news like a Sunni guy killing a Shi'ite or vice versa to make the prisoners hate each other.Jonathan Blakley: Following the US invasion, Ali worked as a cameraman for the BBC and Reuters and as a stringer for NPR. In the summer of 2005, he was detained without charges while videotaping a clash between US forces and insurgents in Haditha. He was released after spending three months at Camp Bucca.Ali Omar al-Mashhadani: We demonstrated inside because we heard about massacres or other bad news about the war, we'd throw apples and they'd respond with gunfire and dogs.Jonathan Blakley: Over the course of six years, Ali was detained no fewer than seven more times by the US military -- essentially, he believes, for being in the wrong place at the wrong time while holding a camera near US forces. Like many other detainees, he has never been charged. Today in England, the inquiry into the death of Iraqi Baha Mousa (while in British custody) continued. Baha died September 16, 2003, after being beaten so badly that he had at least 93 injuries. Iraqi witnesses who were prisoners at the same time Baha was (none of the prisoners were ever found guilty of anything) are listed with "D" and a series of numbers. There names are not given to protect them. D004 testified today. D004 testifed that Baha was being abused before they left the hotel that the British army hauled them away from.
D004: As for me, no, but I could see the late Baha. He was being beaten up.
Gerald Elias: That is Baha Mousa?
Gerald Elias: What did you see happen to him?
D004: I saw a soldier kicking him on the head.
Gerald Elias: How forceful or otherwise was that kick?
D004: It was enough to make him sound in pain.
Gerald Elias: Upon arriving at the detention center, D004 was hooded (at one point with multiple hoods) and the hooding continued for three days with the hoods removed once for a doctor's visit, once when they were given water and once when they were given food. He described the three days:
D004: The torture was beyond belief. All kinds of beating, swearing. They did it in an artistic -- they were trying to be creative in their beating of us. [. . .] They beat me directly on all my body. There were also kicks and punches and suffocating holds.
Richard Norton-Taylor (Guardian) reports on Tuesday's testimony which included an Iraqi prisoner explaining how "he was forced to drink the urine of British soldiers and described how his head was pushed down a toilet." This prisoner was the son of one of the owners of the hotel and is identifed as D005 and his father offered testimony earlier as D006. D005 explained what the British soldiers did to him (from inquiry transcript):
[. . .] he lowered my head to the opening of the toilet and asked me to stay as such, looking into the hole of the toilet. The smell was extremely bad because it had been an abandoned toilet, as far as I know. So I stayed in that position about an hour -- even more than an hour -- and it was such a scene, such an abominable scene and very improper. [. . . ] I felt I was not a human because a human who would be lowered to such a leave -- first of all, I felt inhuman. I felt a lack of respect, because the level of a man -- human being -- who was lowered to such an extent to foul -- to a foul level, this moved me a lot and affected me psychologically. [. . .] The stench was unbearable. When I lifted my head away from the smell, the soldier would hit me on the back with his feet because he was standing behind me. [. . .] This episode ended with beating by the soldiers and shouting, sleeplessness, I mean -- it was a very bad ending. [. . .] I was beaten by the soldiers whilst handcuffed, completely helpless, in pain, screaming, crying.On Monday, Ali Aktash gave testimony to the inquiry via videolink from Iraq and he explained, "I was detailed to go to Battlegroup Main firstly to look after the radio equipment there that I had been trained on and also to man the brigade net, which just involved keeping a log of radio traffic that was sent to Battlegroup Main." While working in the Ops Room, he overheard a conversation.Gerald Elias: All right. Let's see if we can just take a step back then and let me ask you about the conversation or conversations that you may have heard in that ops room which interested you. Who was present when these conversations took place?Ali Aktash: Okay, there was Lieutenant Crawford and Major Peebles was called into the ops room when they detained these men. Also there was a --Gerald Elias: Can I just ask you to pause a moment? Just pause a moment. When you were referring to a major a few minutes ago, was that Major Peebles or is that another major?Ali Aktash: Oh, no, Major Peebles, but there was another major whose office was -- he was the 1QLR major. There was another major, yes, there was. Gerald Elias: So when you were referring a few minutes ago to a major with an adjoining office, that is a different major to Major Peebles? Is that what you are saying?Ali Aktash: Yes, sir, yes.Gerald Elias: All right. So you are going to tell the Inquiry about something that happened when Lieutenant Crawford and Major Peebles were present in the ops room with you?Ali Aktash: That's correct.Gerald Elias: Yes, well tell us what happened please. What was the conversation that you heard?Ali Aktash: At that time my network wasn't busy. It generally wasn't that busy and I happened to overhear on the battlegroup's network that they had detained some people and Major Peebles was called into the room, and at some point the soldier on the ground asked, "Shall we commence the shock of capture?", and Major Peebles then said something along the lines of, "Yes, but don't go as far as before" and that caught my attention.Gerald Elias: Just pause there, if you will. Just pause. Major Peebles said "Don't go as far as before" or something like that. You say that he had been called into the room. Who called him into the room, do you remember?Ali Aktash: I don't remember. I don't remember.Gerald Elias: Did you hear any further conversation across the airwaves on this occasion?Ali Aktash: I don't remember, no. But then I -- because Lieutenant Crawford was no longer manning the -- their network at that time, I turned and asked Lieutenant Crawford what he meant, because once the soldier on the ground has said, "Can we commence the shock of capture?", Lieutenant Crawford then said, "Well, that sounds a bit ominous", which got my attention, and I asked Lieutenant Crawford what he meant by that and then he explained about the shock of capture.Gerald Elias: So what did Lieutenant Crawford say to you about the shock of capture?Ali Aktash: Well it's when they -- there's a procedure to keep the shock of capture going which I believe is used to help with interrogation. Gerald Elias: I'm going to stop you, Mr Aktash, because if you can listen to the question, I would be grateful. What was it, if anything, that Lieutenant Crawford said to you? You asked him what he meant by "That sounds a bit ominous", as I understand it. Correct? Ali Aktash: Yes, that's correct.At which point, they referred to Aktash's statement from May 7, 2004.Gerald Elias: All right. What I want to ask you about is the second paragraph. You see in the second paragraph -- you refer to Major Peebles in the top line: "When [he] had finished on the net I asked him 'How did you mean, what happened before?' or words to this effect . . ." That's what you have just told us about, isn't it?Ali Aktash: Yes, it is.Gerald Elias: Then you said this: "He said, 'They went too far and beat him up, they were in a state', or words to this effect. I did not ask and Major Peebles did not clarify this comment." Is that true? Ali Aktash: I don't recall exact words now --Gerald Elias: All right. Ali Aktash: -- but I can only rely on my statement. Gerald Elias: I understand. What I do want to ask you about is that you are here reciting in those paragraphs what Major Peebles had said to you in the ops room. Do you see how the next paragraph begins: "Later that same day, the exact time I do not recall . . ."Ali Aktash: Yes.Gerald Elias: ". . . though it was still daylight, I completed my shift and together with Sergeant Hitchins I walked with him to the prisoner holding cell. I knew that prisoners were being held in the cells as I saw that there were members of the guard of 1QLR milling around the holding cells . . ." Do you see that?Ali Aktash: Yes, I do. I understand what you're saying.Gerald Elias: Can that be taken off the screen please? What I want to ask you about, Mr Aktash -- if you can't help us further, you say so -- you seemed to be saying in 2004 that the conversation, if I can call it that for the moment, that you had with Major Peebles was on the same day as your visit to the TDF holding cells. Ali Aktash: When I gave my statement, it was in the context that -- the way the evidence came about was quite stressful for me and it -- at that time all I can put it down to is nerves and stress and I made a mistake. I'm quite clear now that it was the following day that I went to the TDF.They then discussed what he saw there. Ali Aktash estimated he saw eight prisoners whom he testified "weren't in good condition."Ali Aktash: Well, they -- firstly they were hooded with sandbags and they were making noises as if they were distressed. Also, I -- at one point one of the guards took off a hood and I noticed that they had bruising on their face. One of the detainees in the room to the left was falling over and having to be put back up again into their seated position.Gerald Elias: Just pausing there, do you recall, were they all hooded with sandbags?Ali Aktash: There was one guy closest to the door, the right-hand room, that didn't have a hood and was allowed to smoke a cigarette, and I asked about him too and one of the guards mentioned that he had already been through questioning. But I can't 100 per cent say if they were all hooded. All I can remember, the majority were hooded. [. . .] They were huffing and puffing a lot and groaning. Gerald Elias: When you saw one with bruising, you say, to the face because his hood was taken off, where was the bruising do you remember?Ali Aktash: It doesn't -- I can't remember specific. I just remember that there was bruising.Turning to some of today's reported violence . . .
Laith Hammoudi (McClatchy Newspapers) reports a Baghdad roadside bombing claimed 1 life and left five people injured, two Zinjili roadside bombings wounded four people and a Mosul roadside bombing injured three people. Yesterday a truck bombing in Amiriya claimed multiple lives. Nawaf Jabbar and Ned Parker (Los Angeles Times) report this morning that the death toll rose from 9 (listed in yesterday's snapshot) to 11.
Reuters drops back to yesterday to note 1 police officer shot dead in Samarra.
Reuters drops back to yesterday to note 3 corpses discovered in Shirqat.
Yesterday's snapshot included this: "Adam Lictenheld and Byron Moore (DC Bureau) are examining contractors and the way they US service members lives were risked in Iraq and a four-part series entitled 'No Contractor Left Behind.' Click here for part one." US Senator Byron Dorgan chairs the Senate Democratic Policy Committee ( I believe the August 4th snapshot was the last snapshot reporting on a hearing of the committee -- the committee's been mentioned since, but I believe the August 3rd hearing was the last one I attended). Dorgan's office has released the following statment from him:
There's an important development regarding the exposure of hundreds of U.S. troops to the deadly chemical compound sodium dichromate in Iraq. The Department of Defense's Inspector General has agreed to investigate the Army's response to that exposure. I requested such an investigation, in a ltter in August, along with six other Senators.
The reply we have now received is heartening. What happened to U.S. troops -- mostely National Guard men and women from Indiana, Oregon and West Virginia -- should never have happened and must not be allowed to happen again. They were exposed because of shoddy work by one of the largest military contractors, KBR, but the Army's deeply flawed response is just as troubling.
The exposure of troops to this deadly chemical compound was first revealed at a June 20, 2008 hearing by the Senate Democratic Policy Committee (DPC), which I chair. We found ample evidence that KBR dropped the ball multiple times with regard to the contract it held for assessing the site, cleaning it up, and getting it running again. It failed to inform the Army of the contamination until months after it knew there was a problem and after hundreds of U.S. soldiers had been exposed. It failed to clean up the site properly. KBR failed to warn even its own workers of the danger.
But the evidence suggests the Army's response was also highly inadequate and compounded the problem.
We found that when the Army finally got around to informing the soldiers, they consistently down played the seriousness of the exposure. When it finally got around to testing soldiers to determine the amoung of exposure they had experienced, too much time had passed. The test results were useless.
We found troops back home in the U.S. coping with illnesses consistent with exposure to sodium dichromate with no idea why they were sick. They did not know they had been exposed to sodium dichromate or that that exposure was life-threatening.
When I called the head of the Indiana National Guard after our 2008 hearing to tell him what we'd learned about the exposure of his troops in Iraq to the deadly chemical, he said it was the first he'd heard of it. No one at the Army thought to tell the Commander of the Indiana National Guard that his troops, while serving our country in Iraq, had been exposed to one of the most potent carcinogens in the world.
I asked the Army to review its response to the exposure.
The Army appointed a task force, which reported back, months later, that the Army had not only acted appropriately, but that its response had been exemplary!
We scheduled a second hearing to examine the Army's response ourselves. That hearing was held on August 3, 2009. We heard very little that was reassuring.
Following the hearing, Senators Evan Bayh (D-IN), Robert Byrd (D-W VA), John Rockefeller (D-W VA), Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Jeff Merkley (D-OR) joined me in formally requesting an investigation by the Defense Department's Inspector General into the Army's handling of all this.
We now have a written request from the Inspector General's Office, agreeing to conduct an investigation and making clear it will get underway immediately.
Someone recently asked me what I hope will come out of the investigation. The answer is simple -- in a word, accountability. I want to know how all this happened, why it happened, and whose being held accountable for it. I want to know what is being done to make sure nothing like this ever happens again.
I also want every soldier exposed at Qarmat Ali to be accurately informed, first, that he or she was exposed, and second, that the exposure presents serious health risks. I want every exposed soldier to have access to on-going health monitoring and, if they should get sick, treatment, through the Veterans Affairs network of hospitals. I want this exposure made part of the service file of every soldier who was at Qarmat Ali during this time, so doctors can proactively look for sodium dichromate exposure related symptoms. Time is of the essence in treating illnesses that result from sodium dichromate exposure. Doctors need to know immediately, and up front, that the soldiers was exposed.
I also want there to be no question about whether illnesses that result from this exposure are service connected. They can take years, even decades, to show up. If every exposed soldier's service record includes information about what happened at Qarmat Ali, there will be no question about whether a resulting illness -- no matter when it appears -- is service connected, and therefore, eligible for treatment at a VA medical facility. If an illness develops, time is of the essence in treating it. I don't want anyone to have to waste time fighting to establish that the illness is service connected.
War is risky business. Soldiers know that when they sign up. But there is no excuse for any of that risk to come from sloppy work by a U.S. military contractor. Nor is acceptable for that risk to be increased because the Army dropped the ball in dealing with the aftermath of that contractor's failure.
I look forward to the Inspector General's report.
For those needing additional information, December 22nd Armen Keteyian (CBS Evening News with Katie Couric -- text and video) reported on James Gentry's developing lung cancer after serving at Iraq where he guarded KBR's water plant, "Now CBS News has obtained information that indicates KBR knew about the danger months before the soldiers were ever informed. Depositions from KBR employees detailed concerns about the toxin in one part of the plant as early as May of 2003. And KBR minutes, from a later meeting state 'that 60 percent of the people . . . exhibit symptoms of exposure,' including bloody noses and rashes." At the August 3rd hearing, Senator Dorgan spoke again (this isn't a new issue for him) about the need to document these illness now. That may confuse some people but during Vietnam, many veterans were left without the needed help and assistance because their illnesses and exposures were not documented. For example, those exposed to Agent Orange while serving n Vietnam? It wasn't until 1991 that Congress passed the Agent Orange Act. When Dorgan speaks of getting this in the files now and acknowledging it now, he's attempting to ensure that everyone is treated as quickly as possible and that no Iraq War veterans have to spend ten or twenty years lobbying Congress for a Sodium Dichromate Act. By that time, many people will be much sicker and many may have passed away. Many of the victims of Agent Orange were too badly damaged or dead by the time the Agent Orange Act was passed by Congress. The Senate's Democratic Policy Committee provides video archives of their hearings and you can click here to access that page. The issue goes before the Senate Committee on Veterans Affairs tomorrow. NPR's Keri Brown (All Things Considered -- Brown is reporting from WVPB), reports on the issue today and among those she speaks with is Iraq War veteran Russel Powell who explains how his life has changed since exposure to the chemical, "And I was a very active person and now I can't even be active anymore And it's tough for my families also because my kids look up to me as a coach and I can't even do that anymore. It's sad." Powell also spoke with Adam Lichtenheld and Byron Moore (DC Bureau) for their article and explained to them, "My nose would bleed for 5 to 10 minutes."
Meanwhile Anthony Shadid (Washington Post) reports this morning on a September 28th Green Zone incident involving four contractors of DynCorp International and Iraq's Baghdad Brigade in which a scuffle allegedly took place when the Iraqis stopped the Americans, shots were allegedly fired, "security contractors refused to get out of their Suburban, and the [Iraqi] colonel ordered a tank to run over the vehicle," at which point the contractors allegedly exited their vhicle and they were allegedly "cuffed and beaten." The US military and Embassy quickly worked for their release and got the contractors out of the country. (See, they could do a lot more for Iraq's LGBT community.) It should be noted that the line drawn in the US between the military and the contractors is considered arbitrary in the countries they're stationed in. The incident's a reflection of the climate Nouri's remarks have created and may be a portent as well. Thomas E. Ricks (Foreign Policy) cites the Serious Incident Report (and notes he covered this story before today) to add the following details: "The four bodyguards were then arrested and their weapons confiscated. They were taken to the Iraqi brigade headquarters, where they were 'repeatedly assaulted.' 'One soldier used an Olympic Barbell (45 lbs in weight) to strike Brandon Sene in the abdomen and lower back.' He is listed in the report as suffering bruises and lacerations. His comrades were struck with the butts of AK-47 rifles."
Still on the topic of assaults, Camp Ashraf is where Iranian dissidents live in Iraq. They have lived in Iraq for decades. Welcomed by Saddam. After the US-invasion, the US government had the US military protect them. They were declared protected persons under the Geneva Conventions by the US government. Nouri al-Maliki swore he would respect their rights. Nouri's a damn liar. 2009 saw the US hand over protection of Camp Ashraf to Nouri who launched an assault on the camp in July. As noted in Monday's snapshot, for the third time in a row, an Iraqi judge ordered that the 36 Ashraf residents being held (and tortured -- according to the judge) by Iraqi forces be released. Nouri just ordered them moved to another prison. BBC News reports the 36 have been released and returned to Camp Ashraf: "A spokeswoman for the group told the BBC they had been tortured in custody and were now being treated in hospital." Anne Barker (Australia's ABC) notes "An Iraqi judge had ruled three times they must be released, but officials refused to comply" until today and that the US "The United States recently called for assurances that camp residents would be treated humanely and not sent back to Iran." Tim Cocks (Reuters) adds, "The camp's residents and the 36 arrested on rioting charges had said they were on hunger strike until they were released. PMOI spokesman Shahriar Kia, speaking by phone, said the detainees were critically ill because of their hunger strike, which he said had gone on for many days. It was impossible to verify this claim."
Keiffer Wilhelm apparently took his own life while serving in Iraq and allegedly due to repeated and non-stop abuse from those he was serving with. August 21st, the US military announced that Staff Sgt Enoch Chatman, Staff Sgt Bob Clements, Sgt Jarrett Taylor and Spc Daniel Weber are all "charged with cruelty and maltreatment of subordinates . . . The four Soliders are alleged to have treated Soldiers within their platoon inappropriately."
Chris Roberts (El Paso Times) has reported that Keiffer Wilhelm "was abused by his 'first-line supervisors,' Sgt. Brandon LeFlor wrote in an e-mail. He is a spokesman for Multi-National Division-South in Basra, Iraq." We noted the case most recently in the September 24th snapshot:
"A loss in any family is hard to take," Shane Wilhelm, father of Keiffer P. Wilhelm, tells Cary Ashby (Norwalk Reflector). Keiffer Wilhelm died of "a gunshot wound to the head" in Iraq August 4th. It is thought he took his own life and that this resulted from abuse he suffered from other soldiers. The US military has charged four soliders in the matter and the military states a date has been set for the hearing, however, it isn't giving out the date. Ashby explains, "Shane and Shelly Wilhelm, Keiffer's stepmother, want to attend the hearing. The couple said Sept. 14 they're not sure if the military will allow them to attend or testify, but they want the chance to share their side of the story and the impact Keiffer's death has had on them." Marcia noted earlier this month that the First Merit Bank of Willard has set up a Memorial Fund for Keiffer Wilhelm to raise money for the family to attend the hearing (419-935-0191, Cari McLendon for more information and donations can be sent by mail to First Merit Bank, 501 Ft. Ball Road, Willard, OH 44890).Today Erik Shilling (Mansfield News Journal) reports that the military has deicded to toss out any murder charges which "means extended jail terms and dishonorable discharges are likely the stiffest penalties the accused will face." Shilling notes that Shane Wilhelm continues attempting to raise funds for the travel for himself, "his wife and an uncle" ($9,000 raised thus far)." The military states that if they paid for the father to attend, they'd have to pay for others to as well. But, point, Keiffer died while serving in Iraq and the US military made the decision to hold the inquest in Iraq. Once that decision was made, the government's next step should have been arranging for the flights to Iraq for the inquest for any members of Keiffer's family who wanted to attend. That is how you honor someone who served. Anything else is a slap in the face.
We'll close with Sherwood Ross' "Journalists Says Use of 'Embeds' In War Slants True Persepective" (Veteran's Today):
Television reporters embedded with the U.S. forces that invaded Iraq "didn't actually report" the news but provided "color commentary" instead, a Pulitzer Prize-winning war correspondent says.
Even though some 650 journalists were embedded with U.S. troops, "we actually learned less because there was less reporting and because these people, in essence, saw their role as providing color commentary," says Christopher Hedges, formerly a war correspondent for The New York Times.
"They said, 'Okay, we see that tank going over there. Oh, look, there's a puff of smoke,'" is how Hedges described their role. They "did precisely the same thing that (sports) commentators do when they broadcast a football game."
Hedges said that he is not against using embeds but "when you rely exclusively on embeds for your vision of the war, you see, as we have in Iraq, the occupation exclusively through the lens of the occupier, and this gives a very distorted vision of the conflict."
The war correspondent's remarks appear in the just issued "News Media In Crisis," (Doukathsan) from the Massachusetts School of Law at Andover. The work is the ver batim transcript of a conference held there last March on the changing profession of journalism.
Hedges went on to say that he does not allow himself to cover wars as an embed because "if you cannot report from among the vast majority of the powerless in a war zone (civilians) you end up unwittingly becoming a tool, however critical you may try and be of the occupation."
This happens, Hedges went on to say, "Because you humanize the occupiers and because you don't have any contact with those being occupied, you invariably stereotype or dehumanize those who are bearing the brunt of the violence."
Hedges said in the days preceding the U.S. invasion of Iraq, French intelligence experts tried unsuccessfully to get the New York Times to publish their findings "that there were no weapons of mass destruction, that Saddam Hussein was not reconstituting a nuclear weapons program, and that he had no links with Al-Qaeda."
The views of John Louis Brugier of French intelligence and Mohamed El-Baradei, Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency of the United Nations, "were dismissed because they were not Americans," Hedges said, adding that at the time he was "intimately involved" with his paper's coverage of Iraq.
Even in the newsroom of the New York Times, "when I would come back from Paris…people would make jokes about the French, about their identity, their culture," Hedges said. "I think the New York Times was particularly susceptible to this because (the paper) looks at itself as a quasi-official organization, one which because of its power and influence, has been given the mandate to articulate the views of the elite."
Robert Rosenthal, director of Project Censored, and managing editor of the San Francisco Chronicle in the days preceding the Iraq invasion, said he did not believe the articles on Iraq written by reporter Judith Miller of The New York Times because "many of them were single-sourced, and it was just too carefully being put together." Miller, essentially, reflected the Bush administration's views about the military menace Hussein allegedly posed to the U.S.
Conference attendees in general agreed that the Knight Ridder Washington bureau -- which was skeptical of the government's charges -- did the best job of reporting on Iraq.
Transcripts of the conference at the law school are published in the book "News Media In Crisis" (Doukathsan) and are available by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Massachusetts School of Law at Andover is a 21-year-old law school whose pioneering mission is to inexpensively provide rigorous legal education, a pathway into the legal profession, and social mobility to members of the working class, minorities, people in midlife, and immigrants.
Through its television shows, videotaped conferences, an intellectual magazine, and internet postings, MSL - - uniquely for a law school - - also seeks to provide the public with information about crucial legal and non legal subjects facing the country.
The Massachusetts School of Law is an independent, non-profit law school purposefully dedicated to the education of minority students and those from low-income and immigrant backgrounds who would otherwise not be able to afford a legal education.
(For further information contact Sherwood Ross, media consultant to MSL at email@example.com)#
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