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 […]

Apr
29
2009

Congo Ignored, Not Forgotten

When 5 million dead aren’t worth two stories a year

United Nations entering the civil war--Photo Credit: Flickr Creative Commons/United Nations

The wars that have wracked the Democratic Republic of the Congo since 1996, killing well over 5 million people (International Rescue Committee, 1/08) in what may be the deadliest conflict since World War II, are officially over. A peace agreement was signed in 2002, and general elections were held in 2006. But conflict and the humanitarian crisis continue. The most recent survey (IRC, 1/08) estimated that 45,000 people are dying each month from conflict-related causes (primarily hunger and disease), nearly the same shocking rate as during the war itself. And with the recent flare-up of violence in Congo’s volatile east, […]

Apr
01
2009

International Law Seldom Newsworthy in Gaza War

Israeli justifications often cited uncritically

U.S. corporate media coverage of the Israeli military attacks launched December 27 that, as of January 13, had reportedly killed over 900 and injured thousands more—many of them civilians—has overwhelmingly failed to mention that indiscriminate attacks on civilian targets are illegal under international humanitarian law. Israel’s aerial attacks on Gazan infrastructure, including a TV station, police stations, a mosque, a university and even a U.N. school have been widely reported. Yet despite the fact that attacks on civilian infrastructure, including police stations, are illegal (Human Rights Watch, 12/31/08), questions of legality are almost entirely off the table in the U.S. […]

Mar
13
2009

Melissa Harris-Lacewell on earmarks, Alex de Waal on Bashir indictment

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Download MP3 This week on CounterSpin: The evils of earmarks. Barack Obama signed a spending bill "stuffed with earmarks," the media tell us--despite the fact that he campaigned pledging to reform that practice. The assumption is that Congressional earmarks are bad; but are they? We'll ask Melissa Harris-Lacewell, associate professor of politics and African-American studies at Princeton University. Also this week: The International Criminal Court's indictment on March 4th of Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir was cheered by the media and by some progressive Darfur groups. But not everyone thought the indictment was wise or well-timed. We'll talk to Harvard […]

Feb
01
2009

FAIR Study: Human Rights Coverage Serving Washington's Needs

FAIR finds editors downplaying Colombia’s abuses, amplifying Venezuela’s

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Click here to download pdf. Any evenhanded comparison of the Colombian and Venezuelan governments’ human rights records would have to note that, though Venezuela’s record is far from perfect, that country is by every measure a safer place than Colombia to live, vote, organize unions and political groups, speak out against the government or practice journalism. But a new survey by FAIR shows that, over the past 10 years, editors at four leading U.S. newspapers have focused more on purported human rights abuses in Venezuela than in Colombia, and their commentary would suggest that Venezuela’s government has a worse human […]

Jan
13
2009

International Law Seldom Newsworthy in Gaza War

Israeli justifications often cited uncritically

U.S. corporate media coverage of the Israeli military attacks that have reportedly killed over 900--many of them civilians--since December 27 has overwhelmingly failed to mention that indiscriminate attacks on civilian targets are illegal under international humanitarian law. Israel's recent aerial attacks on Gazan infrastructure, including a TV station, police stations, a mosque, a university and even a U.N. school, have been widely reported. Yet despite the fact that attacks on civilian infrastructure, including police stations, are illegal (Human Rights Watch, 12/31/08), questions of legality are almost entirely off the table in the U.S. media. Only two network evening news stories […]

Dec
19
2008

Michael Ratner on detainee abuse report, Alfie Kohn on education nominee

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Download MP3 This week on CounterSpin: When the Senate Armed Services Committee issued a report finding former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and other high officials responsible for abusive treatment of detainees in Guantánamo, Iraq and Afghanistan--with few exceptions, the media played the story down, preferring, for instance, righteous anger over embroiled Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich. We'll discuss the Senate report with the Center for Constitutional Rights' Michael Ratner, whose book, The Trial of Donald Rumsfeld, was published in September. Also on CounterSpin today, Obama's pick for education secretary drew more attention than you might have expected--in large part because the […]

Feb
01
2008

The Humanitarian Temptation:

Calling for war to bring peace to Darfur

Photo Credit: Flickr Creative Commons/Genocide Intervention Network

In the Darfur region of Sudan, truly horrific atrocities have taken place in recent years: Roughly 200,000 people have died from violence, disease or hunger (Science, 9/15/06), and well over 2 million have been driven from their homes, resulting in a severe humanitarian crisis. Such crises often go criminally ignored by a mainstream media seldom interested in the plight of those who suffer the double invisibilities of being distant and dark-skinned. But Darfur is a little different: Propelled by a well-developed activist campaign and persistent appeals from both major celebrities and the New York Times’ Nicholas Kristof, Darfur has managed […]