Feb
16
2011

Newsweek Defends Drones

Plays down civilian deaths, legal questions

Newsweek's February 21 assessment of the CIA's drone assassination program in Pakistan is a largely uncritical defense of the White House policy, with little space for critics who argue the killings are illegal, counterproductive and exact a heavy toll on innocent civilians. Newsweek presents the piece as an exclusive look at the targeting decisions involved in the CIA's drone program: "The formal process of determining who should be hunted down...has not been previously reported." The CIA unsurprisingly does not talk publicly about these operations. But Newsweek reporter Tara McKelvey puts a positive spin on the program: "A look at the […]

Oct
29
2010

Clarence Lusane on Juan Williams, Chris Rogers on Pakistan

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Download MP3 This week on CounterSpin: The firing of Juan Williams from NPR might seem like an inside media story; it's become more as Williams, who was let go after saying people in "Muslim garb" on planes make him nervous, has become something of a cause celebre for the right. We'll talk about what it all says about the present moment with Clarence Lusane, professor at American University and author of the forthcoming The Black History of the White House. Also on CounterSpin today: The U.S. war in Afghanistan is nearly a decade old. But U.S. military actions in neighboring […]

Aug
27
2010

Pratap Chatterjee on Task Force 373, Timothy Karr on net neutrality

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Download MP3 This week on CounterSpin: The WikiLeaks Afghan War Diaries prompted waves of media coverage, though much of that amounted to "move on, there's nothing to see here." But digging into the documents might reveal more about the Afghan War than we knew—like the existence of something called Task Force 373, set up to capture or kill specific al Qaeda or Taliban figures. What does it really do, though, and where does it fit in with what we know about U.S. war policy? Journalist Pratap Chatterjee will join us to talk about that. Also on CounterSpin today: A few […]

Jun
04
2010

James Zogby on Gaza, Scott Horton on Guantànamo

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Download MP3 On May 31st the Israeli military attacked a flotilla of boats full of civilians attempting to deliver humanitarian supplies to the Gaza strip, and to call attention to the impact of Israel's blockade. At least 9 and as many as 16 activists were killed—we don't know in part due to Israel's tight control over the flow of information. We'll talk with James Zogby of the Arab American Institute about Gaza. Also on CounterSpin today: A new U.S. report says that most of the detainees held on Guantánamo since Obama took office, should be released. That's after nearly three […]

Apr
09
2010

Jeremy Scahill on Iraq killings, Jeff Biggers on coal mining

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Download MP3 This week on CounterSpin: A dramatic videotape of a 2007 U.S. helicopter attack was published by the website Wikileaks on April 5—prompting waves of coverage across the world, though only sporadic attention from the US corporate press. The attacks killed 12 Iraqis, including 2 journalists working for Reuters. Independent journalist Jeremy Scahill will join us to talk about the media reaction to the chilling video. Also on CounterSpin today: As we record this show, efforts continue to rescue 4 miners believed still trapped by the April 5 explosion that killed 25 in West Virginia, and media are tracking […]

Apr
02
2010

Alfred McCoy on Afghanistan, Richard Kim on The Mad Tea Party

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Download MP3 This week on CounterSpin: The DEA made a high profile announcement of massive seizures of opium in Afghanistan, reminding us of the centrality of opium production to the country’s economy. But most stories on the occupation and on Afghan ‘hearts and minds’ include marginal mention of the narcotic. How would really understanding the role of opium shift our understanding of US policy in Afghanistan? We’ll hear from historian Alfred McCoy, author of the classic The Politics of Heroin in Southeast Asia, now updated as The Politics of Heroin: CIA Complicity in the Global Drug Trade. Also on CounterSpin […]

Oct
01
2009

Lockerbie in the Propaganda System

Release of Al-Megrahi evokes selective history

Pan Am 103 memorial garden--Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

When Abdelbasset Al-Megrahi, after serving 10 years of a life sentence for allegedly blowing up the Pan Am 103 airliner over Lockerbie, Scotland in 1988, was granted compassionate release due to terminal illness, the ensuing controversy was loud and indignant. Al-Megrahi, a former Libyan intelligence officer, returned home to what was angrily described in U.S. media as a “hero’s welcome.” Recalling the bombing, which killed 270 people, many U.S. family members, political leaders and journalists felt that the decade in prison was not enough. But the media’s simplistic tale of villainy and impunity requires a very selective reading of history. […]

Aug
28
2009

Spencer Ackerman on CIA torture documents, Ed Herman on Lockerbie

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Download MP3 This week on CounterSpin: A few months ago it seemed like Dick Cheney wouldn't get off your television screen, insisting that secret CIA documents would prove that Bush torture policies saved the United States from further terrorist attacks. Well those documents have surfaced, along with a 2004 CIA inspector general's report. So what's in these documents? And has Cheney been vindicated? We'll speak with reporter Spencer Ackerman of the Washington Independent about that. Also on CounterSpin today, "Outrageous and disgusting" is how White House spokesperson Robert Gibbs described scenes in Tripoli where Abdel al-Megrahi was greeted on his […]