The Pentagon, not Metallica, The Master of Puppets

The New York times today reports that a Pentagon campaign using retired officers has been used to shape terrorism coverage from inside the TV and radio networks.

I note from the screen shots Rupert Murdoch’s Fox features heavily.

The Pentagon information apparatus has used these analysts in a campaign to generate favorable news coverage of the administration’s wartime performance.

Most of the analysts have ties to military contractors vested in the very war policies they are asked to assess on air.

Those business relationships are hardly ever disclosed to the viewers, and sometimes not even to the networks themselves. But collectively, the men on the plane and several dozen other military analysts represent more than 150 military contractors either as lobbyists, senior executives, board members or consultants. The companies include defense heavyweights, but also scores of smaller companies, all part of a vast assemblage of contractors scrambling for hundreds of billions in military business generated by the administration’s war on terror. It is a furious competition, one in which inside information and easy access to senior officials are highly prized.

Records and interviews show how the Bush administration has used its control over access and information in an effort to transform the analysts into a kind of media Trojan horse — an instrument intended to shape terrorism coverage from inside the major TV and radio networks.

From a May 16, 2006, e-mail message about "Taking groups to Iraq/Afghanistan"

Source: Behind TV Analysts, Pentagon’s Hidden Hand – New York Times

Address : http://www.nytimes.com/2008/04/20/washington/20generals.html?hp

Boeing / Jeppesen involved in CIA torture taxi ‘rendition’ flights

Stumbled on to some news this morning about my former employer, Jeppesen ( A Boeing company). This appears to have popped up 6 months ago, but from posts found in google news, it still seems to be under active litigation.

Here are some snippets, click the links to see the rest.

Boeing unit subject of refiled CIA-flight suit

Bloomberg News, Chicago Tribune

A Boeing Co. unit falsified flight plans to disguise the Central Intelligence Agency’s transporting of terrorism suspects to secret prisons overseas, the American Civil Liberties Union claims in an updated lawsuit.

Jeppesen Dataplan, a provider of navigation charts, refueling plans and route planning based in Englewood, Colo., helped in more than 70 flights to move suspects to countries where they were not protected by U.S. law, the group said. The prisoners were tortured and interrogated, the ACLU said Wednesday in the suit.

The organization first sued Jeppesen in May, representing three people it said were on the flights. It refiled the case to add two others. The ACLU, citing a Council of Europe report, said Jeppesen misled European officials on the flights’ destinations.

“Jeppesen falsified flight plans submitted to European air traffic control authorities to avoid public scrutiny of CIA flights,” according to the suit, which was filed in federal court in San Jose. “Jeppesen intentionally submitted ‘dummy flights’ to various aviation authorities in order to conceal the true flight paths of the rendition planes.”

It is not unusual for aircraft operators to file multiple flight plans because final destinations have not been determined or to avoid bad weather, said John Dern, a spokesman for Chicago-based Boeing.

He said the company’s services are confidential. “As a matter of policy we don’t comment publicly on any of the work done or services for any of our customers without their consent,” Dern said, declining to say whether the CIA is a Jeppesen customer.

The ACLU sued under a law allowing non-U.S. citizens to bring claims against the government for violating the law of other nations or an American treaty. ACLU lawyer Ann Brick was not available to comment.

Address : <http://www.corpwatch.org/article.php?id=14645>

AND

The ACLU charged that the U.S. government is improperly invoking the “state secrets” privilege to avoid judicial scrutiny of this unlawful policy.

Steven Watt, an attorney with the ACLU’s Human Rights Program, told IPS, “Five men have been brutally abused with the help of a U.S. corporation, and they are entitled to their day in court.” He added, “Jeppesen must not be given a free pass for its profitable participation in a torture program. And the government should not be allowed to use the national security defense as a way to cover up its mistakes or, worse, its egregious abuses of human rights.”

The ACLU filing comes in a lawsuit brought on behalf of five victims of the rendition program who were kidnapped and secretly transferred by the CIA to U.S.-run overseas prisons or foreign intelligence agencies where they were interrogated and tortured.

According to the lawsuit, Jeppesen knowingly provided flight planning and essential logistical support to aircraft and crew used by the CIA for the clandestine rendition flights.

After the lawsuit was filed, the U.S. government intervened to seek its dismissal, contending that further litigation of the case would be harmful to national security. But the ACLU contends that the information needed to pursue this lawsuit, including details about the rendition program, is already in the public domain.

It adds that Jeppesen’s involvement in the program is also a matter of public record. It has been confirmed by extensive documentary evidence and eyewitness testimony, including the sworn declaration of a former senior Jeppesen employee, which was submitted in support of the ACLU filing.
Address : <http://www.metimes.com/Security/2007/12/21/boeings_unfriendly_skies_and_cia_prisons/6494/>

AND

A former Jeppesen employee, Sean Belcher has entered an affidavit reporting that Jeppesen executive Bob Overby bragged, “We do all of the extraordinary rendition flights,” further explaining to staff that he was speaking of “the torture flights,” and that they paid very well
Address : <http://www.mynews.in/fullstory.aspx?storyid=1531>

And

Boeing’s Unfriendly Skies
Address : http://www.huffingtonpost.com/william-fisher/boeings-unfriendly-skies_b_77875.html

David Hicks – free, but not from the Murdoch Press

The Murdoch press is doing a hatchet job for David Hicks. As usual they call him a ‘confessed terrorist’, which is actually incorrect, as he never confessed to terrorism. The Fairfax press say ‘convicted terrorism supporter’. Anyway…

The Murdoch press are also pushing for him to ‘Say Sorry’. What the hell for?

I think that the Murdoch Press / News Limited (an outstanding name) have under-estimated public opinion – check out this poll result from their own site:

Hicks released from Yatala – but no apology just thanks

Address : http://www.news.com.au/adelaidenow/story/0,22606,22983853-5006301,00.html

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Here is how the pricks from News Limited cover the story in their headlines

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And this is how the Fairfax Press covers it:

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The Age and SMH editorials run common sense opinion, and as usual the news is with out opinion or comment, just reporting the facts.

The editorialists of The Age pretty well sum it up:

IT IS 13 months since this newspaper called for David Hicks to be brought home, eight since the Howard Government gave in to growing public pressure in what appears, with hindsight, to have been a cynical (and ultimately doomed) attempt at electoral manoeuvring, as opposed to a genuine effort to right an injustice. The detention of Hicks by the US rankled many Australians — not all, it’s true, but a broad constituency of odd bedfellows from blue conservatives to green radicals to pink liberals, united in their disgust that an Australian citizen could be imprisoned so long without charge or trial.

The fact that he was for more than five years kept in more inhumane conditions at Guantanamo Bay than are civilian prisoners on death row only adds to an injustice that Britain, for one, did not tolerate for its detained citizens. Today, David Hicks is free for the first time since his capture in Afghanistan in 2001. When he left prison in Adelaide yesterday, it brought us close to the end of a disgraceful and disturbing episode.

Address :

http://www.theage.com.au/news/editorial/david-hicks-is-no-hero-but-the-case-for-freeing-him-is-just/2007/12/29/1198778759202.html

And

Of all the hundreds deemed “unlawful combatants” by the US, David Hicks is the only one to have been convicted and only after a plea-bargain process that was clearly subject to political interference, which his military prosecutors later confirmed. The terms included an extraordinary year-long ban on talking to the media, which extends beyond his nine-month sentence. Hicks pleaded guilty at a hearing in March to having provided material support to al-Qaeda and of being associated with an armed conflict. He returned to Australia in May under a prisoner-exchange agreement and has spent his remaining months of incarceration at Yatala prison in South Australia, his home state. Fellow Australian Guantanamo Bay inmate Mamdouh Habib, who was picked up in Pakistan, was released without charge in 2005.

Ultimately, David Hicks became a cause celebre not because of what he did but because of what was done to him and to the integrity of the justice system in the prosecution of the “war on terror”. Hicks’ long detention without trial, much of which was spent in solitary confinement, eventually caused widespread outrage. The Howard government failed at one of the most basic levels of a democratic state’s contract with its citizens, which is to ensure that all accused promptly receive a fair trial in a properly constituted court, whatever the circumstances.

Address : http://www.theage.com.au/news/editorial/shoddy-justice-for-hicks/2007/12/28/1198778693419.html

Here is a typical News Limited article: I have high-lighted in red bits that I think are crap to see in a news paper.

Hicks whisked into hiding – Article from: Sunday Herald Sun

Author: Liam Houlihan, December 30, 2007 12:00am

A DEFIANT David Hicks was in hiding last night after refusing to apologise for working with Islamic terror groups responsible for killing Australians.

Hicks, 32, looking robust and with shoulder-length hair, walked out of Adelaide’s Yatala Prison yesterday morning after nearly six years behind bars.
Almost a dozen police cars and motorbikes held back traffic and a no-fly zone grounded helicopters as Hicks made a quick getaway.

Read full story

WHAT A LOAD OF BULL SHIT! Gutter Journalism.

From other media articles we can tell that he is hardly defiant, rather broken, terrified, anxious and agoraphobic. Terrified of talking to the media in case he gets sent back to Guantanamo Bay. It is highly doubtful that he worked for ANY Islamic terror group. He did get roped in by the Talban, Afghanistan’s ruling government to stand by a tank and guard it. That’s about it!

Luckily I am not alone in protesting the bull-shit News Limited reporting. Recently the News Limited sites added comment support to their news articles. This is back-firing on them at the moment:

Comment highlights (naturally I have selected the ones I like)

At least the author of this piece could try reporting with the use of a little less sensationalism. To state that Hicks was ‘defiant’, ‘in hiding’, ‘refused to apologise’ (refusal can only come after an offer or request and we have done neither) and made a ‘quick getaway’ is pure adornment and does nothing to assist in lifting journalistic standards in this country.

Posted by: Sickofthedrivel of Brisbane 7:09am today

Since the man has never been convicted of any crime in Australia and his US trial was just a scam snow job based on questionable evidence obtained under illegal methods that most civilized countries call torture and would disallow in open court ! Please remember his five minutes of fame has come and gone ! The time has come to leave the man alone in peace and leave him to pick up the pieces of his shattered life and if possible partially recover from the evil deeds done to him by persons seeking revenge in the name of blind justice ! What price a choice indeed for he has to come to terms with these demons , could you?

Posted by: ian of 34 heath cr hampton 6:15am today

No Guantanamo inmate should have to answer to anyone for anything, other than to a legally constituted Civil trial with untainted evidence. Water-boarding, my government’s favorite means of obtaining “confessions”, involves pouring a stream of water in a thin plastic condom down a prisoner’s throat until drowning sensations and vomiting attempts ensue. The typical US agent in training lasts under 10 seconds before panicking against his restraints. Ask yourself, if you were water-boarded, what would you confess to? Anything, everything? You bet! Are many/most of the Guantanamo prisoners very bad, dangerous men? You bet. Can anyone rely on my government’s statements regarding any of them? No way. Watch Hicks, but otherwise, leave him alone.

Posted by: Common Tator of USA 4:56am today

At least the author of this piece could try reporting with the use of a little less sensationalism. To state that Hicks was ‘defiant’, ‘in hiding’, ‘refused to apologise’ (refusal can only come after an offer or request and we have done neither) and made a ‘quick getaway’ is pure adornment and does nothing to assist in lifting journalistic standards in this country.

Posted by: Sickofthedrivel of Brisbane 7:09am today

And from Adelaide now:

Typical Murdoch press. You got instructions from your boss to do a beat up did you? The Sunday Mail like many other papers appears to have forgotten it’s their job to report news and not make comments on it. A pity you didn’t make comments when a man was imprisoned by the Yanks for over 5 years without charges and then finally railroaded by them. Pehaps one day you’ll get back to being what you profess to be… A News Paper.

Posted by: Zorro of Noarlunga 10:29am today

Lindy Chamberlain revisited? What trash the Murdoch press is. The Brits have got rid of Blair, we have got rid of Howard and Bush is politically dead (lost the House and the Senate). Get the message, Mr. Murdoch? We do not want your world. We want solutions to the world’s problems, by dialogue and starting with Isreal and Isreal existing within its internationally consituted borders, without nuclear weapons. If Isreal have nuclear weapons why should not Iran, as a counter balance. This is the reason the USA retain a nuclear capacity, to hold onto “power” by making other afraid. With Hicks, the Order should be on the media – not to persue him and not to attempt to locate him.

Posted by: Peter Stokes of Vale Park 8:53am today

Then man spent five years in jail. Most of those were in solitary. No charges were laid until the last minute in a ‘face saving’ deal for the benefit of Bush, and his deputy Howard. He did wrong and stupid things. He was a clown for the Taliban, and I hope he learnt from his idiotic mistakes. Wrong was done on both sides of this pathetic equation. If Hicks has to apologise to appease the jackals at News Ltd. then an apology is also required from Bush and Howard for the prostitution of legal principle and basic (and I mean basic) human rights, not necessarily to Hicks but, rather, their respective electorates. In all we are better off to let the silly bastard try to invent a new life for himself, sans islamic extremism. We should concentrate on creating a system where such obvious abuses of OUR human rights are much less possible.

Posted by: ben porter of clare 10:28am today

Pathetic excuse for “JOURNALISM” from the Lackey scribblers at the Advertiser Yet Again (they should be ashamed of themselves”… Is there only ! source of so called “NEWS” in Australia, sounds more like Government Propaganda to me”The suede jackboot and the Cultural Cosh….are you fooled…Leave Hicks alone, he has suffered enough at the Hands of the corrupt criminal murderous Cabal in the White house and their cronies worldwide.

Posted by: Louise of Adelaide 10:21am today

What is it with Australia and bloody apologies??? What on earth does it matter if he says sorry or not?? Further what does it matter to me, living in good old south of adelaide, that some bloke got locked up in Afghanistan? There is absolutely not one ounce of anything he has to say sorry to me about. He should say sorry to his dad and his wife and thats about it. Who first brought up this bollocks of saying sorry in the first place?? Probably the editor of some news ltd paper no doubt as the Oz public don’t give a damn!!!

Posted by: Tim of adelaide 10:14am today

Address : http://www.news.com.au/adelaidenow/story/0,22606,22983853-5006301,00.html

And there are PLENTY more where they came from!