SHOW NOTES AND MP3: http://www.corbettreport.com/?p=11947
When Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 went down on July 17, 2014, we were immediately inundated with base propaganda trying to convince us that the shootdown could be traced back to the Kremlin. But what was this rush to judgement based on? What have we learned about the crash since then? Why has MH17 completely disappeared from the news cycle? And who really stood to benefit from the disaster?
US State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki and Pentagon Press Secretary Rear Adm. John Kirby have been challenged over the Department of Defense’s claims that the US must “deal” with “modern and capable” Russian armed forces on NATO’s doorstep.
Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu expressed “grave concern” and “surprise” at a Wednesday speech made by US Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel during the Association of the United States Army’s annual conference. Hagel declared that US armed forces “must deal with a revisionist Russia – with its modern and capable army – on NATO’s doorstep.”
During a State Department briefing on Friday, however, an AP journalist suggested that it would be more logical to say that “NATO has moved closer to Russia’s borders.”
“Is it not logical to look at this and say – the reason why Russia’s army is on NATO’s doorstep, is because NATO expands,” journalist Matt Lee said.
“That’s the way [Russian] President Putin probably looks at it, it’s certainly not the way that we look at it,” Kirby said in response to the journalist’s reasoning.
Though he eventually admitted that NATO has expanded, Kirby added that “NATO is not an anti-Russia alliance, it is a security alliance.”
“It wasn’t NATO that was ordering tons of tactical battalions and army to [the] Ukraine border,” Kirby added, before being reminded that Ukraine is not part of NATO.
Kirby then refused to agree with the point that the Russians could understandably perceive NATO’s expansion as a “threat,” especially given that the alliance existed as “anti-Soviet” for half a century.
“I’m not going to pretend to know what goes in President Putin’s mind or Russian military commanders… I mean, I barely got a history degree at the University of South Florida,” Kirby joked, dodging the question.
Kirby assured that NATO’s moves were not “hostile and threatening,” but rather a matter of security. He added that he was “worried about their [Russia’s] moves around Ukraine.” Psaki then cut in, saying that “other countries feel threatened,” and urged the conversation to move on.
In terms of new threats at NATO’s borders, Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu said on Friday that it is the US which has been “stubbornly approaching… closer to our doors.”
Relations between Russia and NATO have been tense since the alliance accused Russia of becoming involved in the Ukrainian conflict – a claim Russia has continuously denied.
Following Crimea’s accession to Russia in March, the US and Europe bombarded Moscow with sanctions. NATO also significantly increased its military presence near Russia’s borders, especially in Poland and the former Soviet Baltic states of Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia, which have expressed concern at the potential for Russian incursions into their territories.
Third part of a documentary produced by Béatrice Pignède, with footage shot by Jonathan Moadab, Sylvia Page, Jean-Sébastien Farez and Saber Farzard. Music by Gilad Atzmon.
Click below for other segments of the documentary:
Stay tuned on http://apophenia.altervista.org for parts 3, 4 and 5.
Documentary produced by Béatrice Pignède, with footage shot by Jonathan Moadab, Sylvia Page, Jean-Sébastien Farez and Saber Farzard. Music by Gilad Atzmon.
The family of Mark Duggan –the man whose death sparked the UK riots in 2011 – have lost their bid to have the inquest verdict that ruled his death ‘lawful’ overturned. Lawyers acting for the Duggan family had argued that the coroner had blundered in his summing up and lead the jury to conclude that Duggan was unarmed at the time but the police’s shooting of him was still lawful. Amina Taylor has more from London.
It was a killing that was the spark for one of the worst periods of civil unrest seen in the UK for a generation. The inquest into the death 29-year old of Mark Duggan at the hands of a Metropolitan Police marksman in August 2011, was ruled ‘lawful’.
The Duggan family disagreed but on Tuesday lost their appeal to have the inquest verdict set aside. The family was not in court to hear the decision of Lord Justice Levenson and two other high court judges.
In Tottenham where Mark Duggan used to live, among his friends, family and wider support network there will be an overwhelming sense of disappointment at the court’s decision because so many of those who protested against the way in which Mark was killed by Metropolitan polices marksman they’ve argued that for so long that his death was tantamount to ‘state-sanctioned murder’
Those involved in the Mark Duggan justice campaign say they believe the coroner and the jury were mislead and that police corruption may be involved.
The Independent Police Complaints Commission is continuing its investigation into the shooting.
The NYPD officer who used his gun to bludgeon an unarmed Brooklyn teenager in the face has been suspended without pay and might be indicted, after video footage of the violent August arrest went public this week.
But then, this isn’t Officer David Afanador’s first brush with the law he is sworn to uphold. Nor is it the first time that Afanador’s misconduct under the color of authority has involved a camera.
In 2009, Afanador was one of five officers who were defendants in a lawsuit against the NYPD. According to the complaint, Afanador and four of his colleagues were strip-searching a suspect on the street when plaintiff Ranique Williams walked by. For whatever reason—legally, he never needed one—Williams whipped out his camera and started snapping pictures.
Bad idea. Immediately, Williams was detained. He tried to call 911 to complain and asked for their badge numbers. They didn’t give any. Instead, they roughed him up, “slapping” the phone from his hand, “striking” him in the face and head, then “punching” him in the face while he was still handcuffed in the back of a police cruiser, never telling him he was under arrest. They also took his camera and his flash drive without a warrant.
As if that weren’t enough, the complaint alleges, Afanador and his colleagues initiated a malicious prosecution against Williams in an attempt to cover up the violent false arrest and the illegal search-and-seizure. (That prosecution was dismissed in 2009.)
Williams’ lawsuit against Afanador and the other cops cost the city a $37,500 settlement.
Whether or not Afanador’s arrest in 2008 went down exactly they way the complaint alleges—we’ll never know, since the case never went to trial—in hindsight the lawsuit stands in the record as a red flag that the NYPD ignored.
Five years later, we have a violent arrest against a sixteen-year-old boy who threw up his hands in surrender just seconds before a cop with a bad rap slammed a loaded gun into his mouth.
Good thing young Kahreem Tribble wasn’t trying to record any of the blows raining down on his head. Knowing the past allegations against Officer Afanador, he might not have survived the encounter.
Bolivian president Evo Morales’ government has been promoting community radio stations as an alternative to the mainstream press, and it’s starting to show results.
In the eastern city of Santa Cruz, Radio Venceremos has become one of the most popular local community stations.
“We go on the air so that the people can participate in our programming, we call on listeners to join our broadcast so they can report and inform people on the issues affecting their neighborhood and so they can feel like they have a voice, it is the voice of the voiceless,” one of the station’s presenters told teleSUR English’s correspondent, David Dougherty.
“The government of President Evo Morales has actively promoted the diffusion of community radio stations in both rural and urban areas where marginalized populations demand alternatives to Bolivia’s mainstream media offerings,” the host explained from Venceremos’ studio in a community recreation center in the working class Plan 3000 neighborhood.
For years community radio stations had been struggling across the country, but according to Catarina Campos from the National Network of Information and Communication Workers, the sea change came from communities that demanded a voice on the airwaves.
The community radio stations emerged as a result of a push from the people,” she stated. However, Campos also credits Morales’ government with responding to the demands of the grassroots.
“Now with the government of President Evo Morales we see a bit more support on behalf of the state, but without a doubt the community radio stations were born of the necessities and pressure exerted by these communities,” she stated.
It’s not often I praise the BBC for producing real journalism. Further, it is with some disbelief that I find myself applauding Jane Corbin, who I will struggle till my dying day to forgive for her despicable piece of Israeli propaganda parading as reportage a few years back on the Israeli navy’s attack on the Mavi Marmara aid ship to Gaza.
Nonetheless, Corbin has now fronted a truly disturbing revisionist documentary on Rwanda, called Rwanda’s Untold Story. The programme’s argument is that the official story about a straightforward genocide by the Hutu majority of Rwanda’s Tutsis 20 years ago is highly selective and entirely misleading. One scholar suggests that the narrative we have been fed is the equivalent of reducing the Second World War to the Holocaust and claiming nothing else of significance happened.
What the documentary demonstrates forcefully is that Paul Kagame, the hero of the official story of Rwanda’s genocide, was almost certainly the biggest war criminal to have emerged from those horrifying events. Kagame led the Tutsis’ main militia, the RPF. He almost certainly ordered the shooting down of the Rwandan president’s plane, the trigger for a civil war that quickly escalated into a genocide; on the best estimates, his RPF was responsible for killing 80% of the 1 million who died inside Rwanda, making the Hutus, not the Tutsis, the chief victims; and his subsequent decision to extend the civil war into neighbouring Congo, where many Hutu civilians had fled to escape the RPF, led to the deaths of up to 5 million more.
Not surprising then that Kagame is championed by Britain’s own biggest war criminal, Tony Blair. But the rot has spread much further. Rwanda, now praised as a model democracy under Kagame, is in truth a police state, where the president kills or locks up all opponents, fixes the elections, and has made any questioning of the official story he created – that the Tutsis were the exclusive victims of the genocide – a crime.
The BBC has not had to dig up any new information to make this programme. It’s all been available for years. But no one apart from a few experts – academics, UN military personnel who were there, UN investigators, and Kagame’s former, and disillusioned, inner circle – have dared to speak out.
The real criminals, as ever, it seems, have been the western powers and the UN. They have happily paraded their remorse at failing to intervene at the time of the genocide (presumably because their self-confessed error helped to justify the subsequent wave of bogus “humanitarian interventions” in the Middle East). But what the documentary makes clear is that Blair, Bill Clinton, Kofi Annan and many others have helped to whitewash Kagame’s crimes against humanity and provide a veneer of legitimacy to his current oppressive rule. Anyone who has threatened to blow the lid, like Carla del Ponte, the chief prosecutor at the UN’s international tribunal on Rwanda, has been forced out.
But as I watched the programme, one thing struck me forcefully in particular, though it was not referred to by Corbin: what were the journalists who crawled all over the Rwanda story for years doing? How were Blair, Clinton and Annan allowed to forge the myth of a simple Hutu genocide of Tutsis without serious challenge from serious reporters working for serious newspapers that were supposed to be making sense of these events for us?
From my own experience covering Israel-Palestine, I can guess what happened. The reporters on the ground feared straying too far from the consensus in their newsrooms. Rather than telling their editors what the story was (the model of news production most people assume to be the case), the editors were creating the framework of the story for the reporters, based on the official narrative being promoted in political and diplomatic circles. Correspondents who cared about their careers dared not challenge the party line too strongly, even when they knew it to be a lie.
Rwanda also offers a telling example of how such group-think works, and how a non-expert far from real events but schooled in a kind of London or Washington consensus on foreign affairs ends up policing the limits of possible thought in a way that strips us, his readers, of the right to hear a counter-narrative.
The guilty party in this case was George Monbiot, often seen as one of the most radical and original thinkers publishing in the British mainstream liberal media. Two years ago he wrote an ugly attack, entitled “Naming the Genocide Deniers“, on two scholars, one of them the renowned Ed Herman. Monbiot eventually dragged in a host of other thinkers, including Noam Chomsky, accusing them of being “genocide belittlers” for not turning on the pair at his instigation.
The crime committed by this tiny group was that they had raised the possibility that the official story of the genocide in Rwanda – as well as of some of the massacres in the Balkans – might not be entirely historically accurate, and that the accounts might have been distorted for political advantage. Monbiot, uninterested in assessing their claims or addressing the facts, abused them for straying from the official narrative. Monbiot might like to reconsider his behaviour, for which I and others criticised him at the time, and issue a long-overdue apology.
That aside, Monbiot’s disgraceful accusations are a useful illustration of how powerful is the emotional, imaginative and possibly financial grip of the mainstream media on journalists, even those feted for their independence.
It is with that context in mind too that one should tip one’s hat to the BBC and, reluctantly, to Jane Corbin for doing their jobs for once. Rwanda’s Untold Story reminds us how rarely journalists actually engage in the myth-busting, truth-telling work they claim to be bedrock of their craft.