Jun
01
2011

'Waterboarding Worked'?

After bin Laden’s death, media push pro-torture message

A waterboarding demonstration in Coney Island.--Photo Credit: Flickr Creative Commons/Salim Virji

To hear some tell it, the intelligence clues that ultimately led to Osama bin Laden’s hideout in Pakistan were generated by the use of torture. But the evidence available so far does not bear this out. Torture advocates on the right are claiming vindication. On Fox News Channel’s O’Reilly Factor (5/2/11), Rep. Peter King (R.-N.Y.) announced that we obtained information several years ago,vital information about the courier for Obama [sic]. We obtained that information through waterboarding. And so for those who say that waterboarding doesn’t work, to say that it should be stopped and never used again—we got vital information […]

May
06
2011

Matthew Alexander on torture, Tyson Slocum on gas prices

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Download MP3 This week on CounterSpin: The killing of Osama bin Laden has delivered plenty of media themes: Can the U.S. trust Pakistan? What does this mean for Al Qaeda? And, predictably enough, did Bush-era torture help find the al Qaeda leader? Torture advocates' insistence that this proves their case has given media yet another chance to weigh the supposed benefits of illegal interrogation. We'll speak with former military interrogator and author Matthew Alexander about why this is all wrong. Also on CounterSpin today, Gas prices edging up to an average of $4 a gallon are making headlines, but consumers […]

May
04
2011

Waterboarding 'Worked'?

Media push pro-torture message

To hear some tell it, the intelligence clues that ultimately led to Osama bin Laden's hideout in Pakistan were generated by the use of torture. But the evidence available so far does not bear this out. Torture advocates on the right are claiming vindication. On Fox News Channel's O'Reilly Factor (5/2/11), Rep. Peter King (R.-N.Y.) announced that we obtained information several years ago, vital information about the courier for Obama [sic]. We obtained that information through waterboarding. And so for those who say that waterboarding doesn't work, to say that it should be stopped and never used again-- we got […]

Apr
29
2011

Andy Worthington on Guantánamo files, Lucinda Marshall on Greg Mortenson

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Download MP3 This week on CounterSpin: If you've heard much at all about WikiLeaks new disclosures about Guantánamo, you've probably noticed that US media tend to emphasize information justifying and rationalizing the U.S. actions regarding its offshore prison camp. But what should listeners really know about the new WikiLeaks revelations? We'll talk with journalist and Guantánamo expert Andy Worthington about what the latest disclosures mean. Also on CounterSpin today, the U.S. public soured on the Afghan War a long time ago. That might explain some of the popularity of Greg Mortenson, whose bestselling book Three Cups of Tea suggests that […]

Feb
01
2011

Pundits Fuel the Right's Latest Rage

‘Constitutional’ conservatives’ selective love for Bill of Rights

Right-leaning pundits play a key role in a growing fad of self-styled “constitutional conservatives” who say Barack Obama is subverting the U.S. Constitution—and brandish pocket-sized copies of the document to prove it. The pundits cite a potpourri of purportedly unconstitutional policies, including healthcare legislation, corporate bailouts and perhaps even a cover-up over where Obama was born. And they’re making an impact. A Nexis database search of U.S. newspapers and news wires using the terms “constitutional conservative/conservatism” gives some indication of the growing prominence of the trend. Rarely mentioned in the year 2000 (12 times) or even in 2009 (30), it […]

Feb
01
2011

The Delicate Tightrope of Supporting a Dictator

U.S. media gloss over Washington's role in Egyptian repression

The political context of the current Egyptian uprising is clear: The United States has steadfastly supported dictator Hosni Mubarak, whose rule has been marked by sham elections and the jailing and torture of dissidents, propping up his regime since 1981 with some $60 billion in aid, most of it military. But since U.S. corporate media are accustomed to viewing international affairs through the lens of U.S. elite interests, much of the current coverage elides Washington's role, or presents it as a "tightrope" balancing act for the Obama administration. As one New York Times story (1/26/11) put it, "The administration has […]

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 […]

Aug
28
2009

Cheney's 'Fodder'

Cheney's torture claims debunked; will the media say so?

The release of a 2004 CIA inspector general's report on the agency's "enhanced interrogation" techniques, along with two other previously classified memos, has thrown a harsh spotlight on former Vice President Dick Cheney's oft-repeated pro-torture arguments. But corporate media seem intent on deflecting much of that glare. Earlier this year, Cheney spent weeks on the airwaves, explaining that these CIA memos would back up his argument that torture provided valuable intelligence that helped thwart attacks against the United States (FAIR Media Advisory, 5/29/09). But the heavily redacted documents don't appear to do that. Of the two that Cheney asserted would […]