Prevaricator-in-Chief audaciously preaches freedom amid anti-U.S. uprisings
Reality check: CounterSpin producer and FAIR blog Editor Steve Rendall points out corporate press’s layering on of lies
Editing, re-reporting by Carolyn Bennett
The corporate Times’ September 25 editorialized reporting on U.S. President Barack Obama’s UN oratory on “Arab democracy, free speech and violence” contained, Steve Rendall says,
a good sampling of the distortions, double standards and bigotry often present in U.S. corporate reporting on these issues.
The U.S. president’s claims that his government now faced with anti-American demonstrations (and blue on grey violence) across South Central Asia and Africa has supported “the Arab democracy movement” and has sacrificed Americans to protect the rights of the world’s peoples “to express their views” smack of disingenuousness.
TRUTH ABOUT VIOLENCE
“Anti-American violence in the Muslim world” does not even approach the level of violence visited on Muslim countries by the United States,” Rendall writes.
The public record backs up Rendall’s observation. The decade-long U.S./NATO War in Afghanistan (2001–present) began with an initial air campaign that almost immediately prompted concerns and international protests over the number of Afghan civilians being killed.
The U.S./NATO War on Afghanistan has now caused the deaths of thousands of Afghan civilians directly from insurgent and foreign military action, as well as the deaths of possibly tens of thousands of Afghan civilians indirectly as a consequence of displacement, starvation, disease, exposure, lack of medical treatment, crime and lawlessness resulting from the war.
Airstrikes have risen in recent years as have Afghan civilian deaths by foreign military operations resulting in rising tensions between the occupying/invading countries and the government of Afghanistan.
Over the past seven years, Afghan President Hamid Karzai has repeatedly pleaded with foreign military forces in his country to stop killing so many Afghan civilians.
The deaths of thousands of Afghan civilians caused directly and indirectly by the U.S. and NATO bombing campaigns have been a major underlying focus of protests since the start of the war in Afghanistan.
Every year, around the world, starting with large-scale global demonstrations in the days leading up to the official launch of U.S. Operation Enduring Freedom under U.S. President George W. Bush and U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld in October 2001, there have been protests.
Most recent civilian casualties in the War in Afghanistan (2012):
February 8, 2012 – 2012 Kapisa airstrike - Seven children and a young adult are killed by an ISAF airstrike in the village of Geyaba in the eastern Afghan province of Kapisa.
February 17, 2012 - Kunar Raid - Six civilians, including a woman and a child were killed in a night raid in Dewa Gul Valley, in the Chawki district of Kunar province.
March 11, 2012 – Kandahar massacre - At least 16 civilians, including women and children were killed after a ‘rogue’ U.S. serviceman entered their homes and began to open fire in the Afghan province of Kandahar.
May 27, 2012 - Eight members of an Afghan family, including six children and two women, were killed in a NATO airstrike in eastern Afghanistan.
July 2, 2012 - NATO killed three shopkeepers in an airstrike near Charkh District, east of Afghanistan. Logar province spokesman Din Mohammad Darwesh says NATO forces were on a foot patrol in morning of July 2 in Charkh district when they came under fire from insurgents. He says they called in an airstrike and the bombardment killed three shopkeepers.
September, 2012 - NATO killed eight women and injured a further seven women, in an airstrike in Laghman.
Reported by the United Nations in 2011, the civilian death toll for the War in Afghanistan had reached a record high the previous year: 3,021 civilian deaths. That civilian death toll constituted an 8 percent rise ─ the fifth consecutive rise – not including the 4,507 civilian wounded.
TRUTH ABOUT LIBERTY CHAMPION
The claim by New York Times' Washington correspondent/editorialist Helene Cooper that the U.S. president’s speech before the 67th UN General Assembly was a ‘strong defense of America’s belief in freedom of speech …, [a challenge to] fledgling Arab and North African democracies to ensure that right even in the face of violence’ lacks credibility, Rendall continues.
From the UN General Assembly came another view that was closer to reality.
In his speech last week via videolink from the Ecuadorean embassy in London to a side meeting of the UNGA, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange thanked the United Nations for its treaties on political asylum and denounced the U.S. treatment of alleged Army whistleblower Bradley Manning. Assange also accused President Obama of exploiting the Arab Spring and called on the U.S.to end its persecution of WikiLeaks and its supporters.
The United States has a horrendous record when it comes to supporting free-speech [the Obama government has conducted a record number of prosecutorial actions against U.S. government whistleblowers] and democracy in the Muslim world, Rendall writes.
“The United States continues to support and to arm autocratic and free speech-resistant regimes in Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Bahrain, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates.” And though the United States may “no longer overtly thwart free speech and democracy in Tunisia,” the case harder to make concerning “Egypt whose military the United States has continued to fund through decades of torture, detention and disappearances.”
Until recently, the United States supported dictatorships in Tunisia and Egypt.
Washington money continued flowing to Egyptian generals in the face of military crackdowns after the 2011 Tahrir Square uprisings and the dissolving in June of Egypt’s democratically elected parliament.
Washington, after the Egyptians’ uprising, pushed Omar Suleiman, Egypt’s former vice president (also known as ‘CIA man in Cairo’ and Egypt’s ‘torturer-in-chief’), to head that country’s supposed “transition to democracy” (Guardian, 2/5/11).
Sources and notes
“Praising Obama's Defense of Free Speech, NYT Leaves Much Unsaid,” Posted on 09/27/2012 by Steve Rendall, http://www.fair.org/blog/2012/09/27/praising-obamas-defense-of-free-spee...
“Costas Panayotakis on Greek protests; Jesselyn Radack on Obama, ‘free speech’ and whistleblowers,” CounterSpin (9/28/12-10/4/12), http://www.fair.org/index.php?page=4628
“Obama Tells U.N. New Democracies Need Free Speech” (White Correspondent Helene Cooper, published: September 25, 2012), http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/26/world/obamas-address-to-united-nations...
Wikipedia on War in Afghanistan
Guardian on UN report, February 4, 2012, http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/feb/04/afghan-civilian-death-toll-r...
View also: “Julian Assange U.N. Address ─ Speaking via videolink from the Ecuadorean embassy in London, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange addressed a side meeting of the U.N. General Assembly on Wednesday evening. In his remarks, Assange gave thanks to the United Nations for its treaties on political asylum and denounced the U.S. treatment of alleged Army whistleblower Bradley Manning. Assange also accused President Obama of exploiting the Arab Spring and called on the U.S.to end its persecution of WikiLeaks and its supporters,” September 27, 2012, https://www.freespeech.org/video/julian-assange-un-address
Green on Blue
“Two Americans killed in confused Afghan shootout ─ Two Americans were killed in Afghanistan during an exchange of fire between NATO-led forces and the Afghan army that may have been the result of a misunderstanding, as the death toll of U.S. military and civilian personnel passed 2,000” (Reuters Jessica Donati, KABUL), Sunday, September 30, 2012, http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/09/30/us-afghanistan-attack-idUSBRE8...
Joint operations were halted two weeks ago after a surge of attacks on the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) by its Afghan allies.
At least 52 ISAF service members have been killed this year in so-called‘green-on-blue’ attacks.
The suspension of joint operations was a blow for NATO which wants to train the 350,000 members of the Afghan security forces so that they can try to ensure stability after coalition forces withdraw.
Pentagon data listing the number of U.S. troops and U.S. contractors killed in Afghanistan since combat began 11 years ago showed the two new deaths pushed the total combined number of U.S. personnel killed past the 2,000 mark.
“Afghanistan civilian deaths up 31 percent this year, says United Nations ─ Report says child victims have risen by 55 percent as Taliban target more Afghans, while deaths due to foreign troops fall” (By Jon Boone), http://www.rawa.org/temp/runews/2010/08/10/afghanistan-civilian-deaths-u...
RAWA, the Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan, http://www.rawa.org/rawa.html
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Posted by Bennett's Study at 4:39 PM
Labels: Afghanistan to Assange, anti-U.S. protests, civilian deaths, Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR), green on blue attacks, press-government collusion, U.S. foreign relations, war on Afghanistan