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Obama making Guantanamo off-limits to press

Obama making Guantanamo off-limits to press

Press TV
September 29, 2009

The Obama Administration is denying journalist access to the Guantanamo detention facility despite pledging ‘transparency’ about the infamous prison.

The reporters, who were previously allowed to peek into the prison while covering military trials of the detainees there, are no longer given such authorization, FOXNews reported on Monday.

Arguing in favor of the decision, Defense Department Spokesman Bryan Whitman said “Past experience has led me to believe it is best to keep these visits focused on the purpose of the trip, which in this case is military commission motions,” not the detention camps.

“…the decision, according to multiple sources, is coming out of Washington and the Defense Department,” said the network’s Catherine Herridge.

“…it is clearly not consistent with the administration’s stated goal of transparency,” she added.

Under the banner of the war on terror, former president George W. Bush set up the facility in a US naval base in Cuba shortly after the September 11, 2001 attacks. Ever since, the prison has earned notoriety for conducting torture-aided interrogations of alleged ‘terror’ suspects.

The White House has now even adjourned the military trials at the Guantanamo, taking away the only opportunity journalists had to access the prison.

Shortly after his inauguration in January, Obama signed an official order to shut down Guantanamo within a year, describing it as a “sad chapter in the American history.”

Recently, however, the White House reportedly decided against the closure, citing legal and logistical complexities surrounding the detention and prosecution of inmates held without any charges.

The recent news blackout came, according to Herridge, after a May incident in which two Chinese detainees at Guantanamo’s Camp Iguana compound “held up signs questioning whether the president was a communist or a Democrat and they questioned whether Mr. Obama was oppressing them because they had not been released five months after the president promised to close Guantanamo within a year.”

“…multiple sources have told us this incident was the straw that broke the camel’s back,” asserted Herridge. “It was highly embarrassing for the Defense Department and for the White House and this was, interestingly enough, the last trip for the journalists to the camps to cover the commission hearings.”

Over 220 inmates are currently held at Guantanamo, widely regarded as one of many American torture chambers reserved for Muslims with “suspected” ties to anti-US terrorism. Many inmates remain in prison unaware of any charges against them and with no right to a legal counsel.

 



Bush’s propagandist remains Obama’s Pentagon spokesman

Bush’s propagandist remains Obama’s Pentagon spokesman

Raw Story
September 29, 2009

A key senior figure in a Bush administration covert Pentagon program, which used retired military analysts to produce positive wartime news coverage, remains in his same position today as a chief Obama Defense Department spokesman and the agency’s head of all media operations.

In an examination of Pentagon documents the New York Times obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request — which reporter David Barstow leveraged for his April 2008 Pulitzer Prize-winning expose on the program – Raw Story has found that Bryan Whitman surfaces in over 500 emails and transcripts, revealing the deputy assistant secretary of defense for media operations was both one of the program’s senior participants and an active member.

Whitman’s conspicuous presence in these records is notwithstanding thousands of documented communications the Bush Pentagon released but for which names were redacted and an untold number the prior administration successfully withheld after its two-year legal battle with the Times.

Barstow’s Times expose revealed a comprehensive, covert Pentagon campaign — beginning during the lead-up to the Iraq War and continuing through 2008 — that shaped network military analysts into what internal documents referred to as “message force multipliers” and “surrogates” who could be trusted to parrot Bush administration talking points “in the form of their own opinions.” Barstow’s reporting also detailed how most of the military analysts, traditionally viewed as authoritative and independent, had ties to defense contractors with a stake in the same war policies they were interpreting daily to the American public.

The program, ostensibly, was run out of the Pentagon’s public affairs office for community relations as part of its outreach and attended to by political appointees, most visibly in these records by then community relations chief Allison Barber and director Dallas Lawrence.

 



Pentagon Fabricated “Non Event” Iranian “Provocation”

Journalist: Pentagon Fabricated “Non Event” Iranian “Provocation”
Echoes of faked Gulf of Tonkin incident as Pentagon distortions exposed

Steve Watson
Infowars.net
January 16, 2008

Fbiiraqisbein_mn

A respected American Journalist has accused a Pentagon spokesman of falsifying events surrounding the recent encounter between Iranian patrol boats and a US navy vessel in the Strait of Hormuz, which was eventually labeled a “provocation” by the White House.

Gareth Porter, a journalist who previously broke a story regarding a secret Iranian peace overture to the Bush Administration in 2006, writing for the Asia Times states that the event was hyped up into a major incident after the original press release described the event as somewhat routine and did not refer to any threat to “explode” US ships or any similar confrontation.

the release reported that the Iranian “small boats” had “maneuvered aggressively in close proximity of [sic] the Hopper [the lead ship of the three-ship convoy]. But it did not suggest that the Iranian boats had threatened the boats or that it had nearly resulted in firing on the Iranian boats.

On the contrary, the release made the US warships handling of the incident sound almost routine,” Porter adds. “‘Following standard procedures,’ the release said, “Hopper issued warnings, attempted to establish communications with the small boats and conducted evasive maneuvering.’

The release did not refer to a US ship being close to firing on the Iranian boats, or to a call threatening that US ships would “explode in a few minutes”, as later stories would report, or to the dropping of objects into the path of a US ship as a potential danger.

That press release was ignored by the news media, however, because later that Monday morning, the Pentagon provided correspondents with a very different account of the episode.

The fact that several mainstream reports then emerged at the same time all carrying almost identical accounts of the incident, including the details of threats to explode vessels and dropping white boxes, can be traced back to a press briefing by a top Pentagon official in charge of media relations, Porter divulges.

He identifies Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman’s off the record comments to journalists as the catalyst for the ensuing pandemonium. Porter states that Whitman hadn’t wished to be identified as the source:

In an apparent slip-up, however, an Associated Press story that morning cited Whitman as the source for the statement that US ships were about to fire when the Iranian boats turned and moved away – a part of the story that other correspondents had attributed to an unnamed Pentagon official.

Three days later, at the height of the hype, the Pentagon released a video of the incident into which had been inserted audio of a strange voice threatening to “explode” the US vessel.

Porter reveals that according to Lieutenant Colonel Mark Ballesteros of the Pentagon’s Public Affairs Office the decision on what to include in the video was “a collaborative effort of leadership here, the Central Command and navy leadership in the field”. Porter also reveals that according to an official in the US Navy Office of Information in Washington, who asked not to be identified, the decision was made in the office of the Secretary of Defense.

Shortly after Iranian officials had denounced the video as a fake and had released alternative footage of their boats in contact with the US warship, it became apparent that the audio spliced into the video had not originated from the boats themselves but must have instead come from hecklers, often referred to as the “Filipino Monkey”, who cut in on VHF ship-to-ship radios and make rude comments or threats.

The Pentagon then backed away from claims that it knew the source of the audio or had ever known the source.

By January 11, Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell was already disavowing the story that Whitman had been instrumental in creating only four days earlier. “No one in the military has said that the transmission emanated from those boats,” said Morrell.

No one said it but that doesn’t excuse the fact that they spliced the audio into the video of an unrelated incident!

The story then essentially fell apart altogether and dropped off the radar as Navy officials began to discredit the rest of the distortions perpetuated by the Pentagon.

Porter also spoke to a Pentagon consultant who asked not to be identified who told him that many officers have experienced similar encounters with small Iranian boats throughout the 1990s, and that such incidents are “just not a major threat to the US Navy by any stretch of the imagination”.

These revelations show just how easy it is for a non event to be hyped to serve an agenda and how the mainstream media is eager to swallow whole whatever the government feeds them.

The event mirrors that of the August 1964 Gulf of Tonkin incident, where an attack on US warships by North Vietnamese PT Boats, was cited by President Johnson as a legitimate provocation mandating U.S. escalation in Vietnam. However Tonkin was revealed as a staged charade that never took place. Declassified LBJ presidential tapes featured discussions on how to spin the non-event to escalate it as justification for air strikes. In addition, the NSA faked intelligence data to make it appear as if two US ships had been lost. This information was again reiterated in a report released last week.

 

Fox News Reverses Course After Initially Calling For U.S. Navy To Blow Iran Boats ‘Out Of The Water’

Think Progress
January 16, 2008

On January 7, the media reported that five Iranian speedboats had harassed three U.S. warships in the Strait of Hormuz, almost instigating a military confrontation. The next day, Fox News anchor Brian Kilmeade angrily claimed the Navy should have blown the Iranian boats out of the water. Speaking on the morning show Fox & Friends, Kilmeade said the following:

KILMEADE: Was this a mistake not to blow these other Iranian speedboats out of the water? […] Why did we not destroy these speedboats? […] We had an opportunity to send a message to a nation that has been needling us for 20 years.

Today, a week after his call for war with Iran, Brian Kilmeade was forced to concede that the verbal threats made against the U.S. ships are “a possible hoax from a man called the ‘Filipino Monkey.'” Kilmeade’s co-host Gretchen Carlson claimed that she knew it all along. “I remember sitting in my office thinking, you gotta be kidding me? That voice does not sound to me like an Iranian accent.” She didn’t say that on-air, however, prior to this morning.

Kilmeade’s other co-host, Steve Doocy, piped in with this comment:

DOOCY: But can you imagine, had we blown those little boats out of the water to find out, you know, that they didn’t have bombs and in fact it was the Filipino Monkey who was somewhere on shore pulling a prank?

Indeed, we would have have, if Fox News had its way. Watch a compilation:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nZmb3fa22Ek

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WDfDHNZdLsI

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NHt_r7hWVUA

Carlson wrapped up the segment by stating, “Let’s hope it’s not the Filipino Monkey, for our sake. Because I think it’s a humongous embarrassment.”

 

Olbermann accuses U.S of trying to FAKE new Gulf of Tonkin

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WADchtd0Hms

 

Norman Podhoretz: Bush will bomb Iran before he leaves office

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2bLq6pzOc5w

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http://uk.reuters.com/article/oilRpt/idUKHAF45102720080114

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Bush: Iran is the “Worlds Leading State Sponsor of Terror”
http://edition.cnn.com/2008/POLITIC..index.html

Things Have Gotten So Crazy Now a Prankster Could Start World War III!
http://mparent7777-2.blogspot.com/..-so-crazy-now.html

Mullen: ‘I Have Not Seen’ Iran Act So Provocatively, But Admits ‘I Haven’t Seen The Full Video’
http://thinkprogress.org/2008/01/14/iran-speedboats-mullen/

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http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/JA16Ak02.html

Huckabee: Deliver Iran to “Gates of Hell”
http://www.truthnews.us/?p=1643

Navy Says It Fired Warning Shots At Iranian Boats
http://ap.google.com/article/A..d09QD8U3TFRG0

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