An Empire of Lies

Why Our Media Betrays Us

Last week the Guardian, Britain’s main liberal newspaper, ran an exclusive report on the belated confessions of an Iraqi exile, Rafeed al-Janabi, codenamed “Curveball” by the CIA. Eight years ago, Janabi played a key behind-the-scenes role — if an inadvertent one — in making possible the US invasion of Iraq. His testimony bolstered claims by the Bush administration that Iraq’s president, Saddam Hussein, had developed an advanced programme producing weapons of mass destruction.

Curveball’s account included the details of mobile biological weapons trucks presented by Colin Powell, the US Secretary of State, to the United Nations in early 2003. Powell’s apparently compelling case on WMD was used to justify the US attack on Iraq a few weeks later.

Eight years on, Curveball revealed to the Guardian that he had fabricated the story of Saddam’s WMD back in 2000, shortly after his arrival in Germany seeking asylum. He told the paper he had lied to German intelligence in the hope his testimony might help topple Saddam, though it seems more likely he simply wanted to ensure his asylum case was taken more seriously.

For the careful reader — and I stress the word “careful” — several disturbing facts emerged from the report.

One was that the German authorities had quickly proven his account of Iraq’s WMD to be false. Both German and British intelligence had travelled to Dubai to meet Bassil Latif, his former boss at Iraq’s Military Industries Commission. Dr Latif had proven that Curveball’s claims could not be true. The German authorities quickly lost interest in Janabi and he was not interviewed again until late 2002, when it became more pressing for the US to make a convincing case for an attack on Iraq.

Another interesting disclosure was that, despite the vital need to get straight all the facts about Curveball’s testimony — given the stakes involved in launching a pre-emptive strike against another sovereign state — the Americans never bothered to interview Curveball themselves.

A third revelation was that the CIA’s head of operations in Europe, Tyler Drumheller, passed on warnings from German intelligence that they considered Curveball’s testimony to be highly dubious. The head of the CIA, George Tenet, simply ignored the advice.

With Curveball’s admission in mind, as well as these other facts from the story, we can draw some obvious conclusions — conclusions confirmed by subsequent developments.

Lacking both grounds in international law and the backing of major allies, the Bush administration desperately needed Janabi’s story about WMD, however discredited it was, to justify its military plans for Iraq. The White House did not interview Curveball because they knew his account of Saddam’s WMD programme was made up. His story would unravel under scrutiny; better to leave Washington with the option of “plausible deniability”.

Nonetheless, Janabi’s falsified account was vitally useful: for much of the American public, it added a veneer of credibility to the implausible case that Saddam was a danger to the world; it helped fortify wavering allies facing their own doubting publics; and it brought on board Colin Powell, a former general seen as the main voice of reason in the administration.

In other words, Bush’s White House used Curveball to breathe life into its mythological story about Saddam’s threat to world peace.

So how did the Guardian, a bastion of liberal journalism, present its exclusive on the most controversial episode in recent American foreign policy?

Here is its headline: “How US was duped by Iraqi fantasist looking to topple Saddam”.

Did the headline-writer misunderstand the story as written by the paper’s reporters? No, the headline neatly encapsulated its message. In the text, we are told Powell’s presentation to the UN “revealed that the Bush administration’s hawkish decisionmakers had swallowed” Curveball’s account. At another point, we are told Janabi “pulled off one of the greatest confidence tricks in the history of modern intelligence”. And that: “His critics — who are many and powerful — say the cost of his deception is too difficult to estimate.”

In other words, the Guardian assumed, despite all the evidence uncovered in its own research, that Curveball misled the Bush administration into making a disastrous miscalculation. On this view, the White House was the real victim of Curveball’s lies, not the Iraqi people — more than a million of whom are dead as a result of the invasion, according to the best available figures, and four million of whom have been forced into exile.

There is nothing exceptional about this example. I chose it because it relates to an event of continuing and momentous significance.

Unfortunately, there is something depressingly familiar about this kind of reporting, even in the West’s main liberal publications. Contrary to its avowed aim, mainstream journalism invariably diminishes the impact of new events when they threaten powerful elites.

We will examine why in a minute. But first let us consider what, or who, constitutes “empire” today? Certainly, in its most symbolic form, it can be identified as the US government and its army, comprising the world’s sole superpower.

Traditionally, empires have been defined narrowly, in terms of a strong nation-state that successfully expands its sphere of influence and power to other territories. Empire’s aim is to make those territories dependent, and then either exploit their resources in the case of poorly developed countries, or, with more developed countries, turn them into new markets for its surplus goods. It is in this latter sense that the American empire has often been able to claim that it is a force for global good, helping to spread freedom and the benefits of consumer culture.

Empire achieves its aims in different ways: through force, such as conquest, when dealing with populations resistant to the theft of their resources; and more subtly through political and economic interference, persuasion and mind-control when it wants to create new markets. However it works, the aim is to create a sense in the dependent territories that their interests and fates are bound to those of empire.

In our globalised world, the question of who is at the centre of empire is much less clear than it once was. The US government is today less the heart of empire than its enabler. What were until recently the arms of empire, especially the financial and military industries, have become a transnational imperial elite whose interests are not bound by borders and whose powers largely evade legislative and moral controls.

Israel’s leadership, we should note, as well its elite supporters around the world — including the Zionist lobbies, the arms manufacturers and Western militaries, and to a degree even the crumbling Arab tyrannies of the Middle East — are an integral element in that transnational elite.

The imperial elites’ success depends to a large extent on a shared belief among the western public both that “we” need them to secure our livelihoods and security and that at the same time we are really their masters. Some of the necessary illusions perpetuated by the transnational elites include:

— That we elect governments whose job is to restrain the corporations;

— That we, in particular, and the global workforce, in general, are the chief beneficiaries of the corporations’ wealth creation;

— That the corporations and the ideology that underpins them, global capitalism, are the only hope for freedom;

— That consumption is not only an expression of our freedom but also a major source of our happiness;

— That economic growth can be maintained indefinitely and at no long-term cost to the health of the planet; and,

— That there are groups, called terrorists, who want to destroy this benevolent system of wealth creation and personal improvement.

These assumptions, however fanciful they may appear when subjected to scrutiny, are the ideological bedrock on which the narratives of our societies in the West are constructed and from which ultimately our sense of identity derives. This ideological system appears to us — and I am using “we” and “us” to refer to western publics only — to describe the natural order.

The job of sanctifying these assumptions — and ensuring they are not scrutinised — falls to our mainstream media. Western corporations own the media, and their advertising makes the industry profitable. In this sense, the media cannot fulfil the function of watchdog of power because, in fact, it is power. It is the power of the globalised elite to control and limit the ideological and imaginative horizons of the media’s readers and viewers. It does so to ensure that imperial interests, which are synonymous with those of the corporations, are not threatened.

The Curveball story neatly illustrates the media’s role.

His confession has come too late — eight years too late, to be precise — to have any impact on the events that matter. As happens so often with important stories that challenge elite interests, the facts vitally needed to allow western publics to reach informed conclusions were not available when they were needed. In this case, Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld are gone, as are their neoconservative advisers. Curveball’s story is now chiefly of interest to historians.

That last point is quite literally true. The Guardian’s revelations were of almost no concern to the US media, the supposed watchdog at the heart of the US empire. A search of the Lexis Nexis media database shows that Curveball’s admissions featured only in the New York Times, in a brief report on page 7, as well as in a news round-up in the Washington Times. The dozens of other major US newspapers, including the Washington Post, made no mention of it at all.

Instead, the main audience for the story outside the UK was the readers of India’s Hindu newspaper and the Khaleej Times.

But even the Guardian, often regarded as fearless in taking on powerful interests, packaged its report in such a way as to deprive Curveball’s confession of its true value. The facts were bled of their real significance. The presentation ensured that only the most aware readers would have understood that the US had not been duped by Curveball, but rather that the White House had exploited a “fantasist” — or desperate exile from a brutal regime, depending on how one looks at it — for its own illegal and immoral ends.

Why did the Guardian miss the main point in its own exclusive? The reason is that all our mainstream media, however liberal, take as their starting point the idea both that the West’s political culture is inherently benevolent and that it is morally superior to all existing, or conceivable, alternative systems.

In reporting and commentary, this is demonstrated most clearly in the idea that “our” leaders always act in good faith, whereas “their” leaders — those opposed to empire or its interests — are driven by base or evil motives.

It is in this way that official enemies, such as Saddam Hussein or Slobodan Milosevic, can be singled out as personifying the crazed or evil dictator — while other equally rogue regimes such as Saudi Arabia’s are described as “moderate” — opening the way for their countries to become targets of our own imperial strategies.

States selected for the “embrace” of empire are left with a stark choice: accept our terms of surrender and become an ally or defy empire and face our wrath.

When the corporate elites trample on other peoples and states to advance their own selfish interests, such as in the invasion of Iraq to control its resources, our dominant media cannot allow its reporting to frame the events honestly. The continuing assumption in liberal commentary about the US attack on Iraq, for example, is that, once no WMD were found, the Bush administration remained to pursue a misguided effort to root out the terrorists, restore law and order, and spread democracy.

For the western media, our leaders make mistakes, they are naïve or even stupid, but they are never bad or evil. Our media do not call for Bush or Blair to be tried at the Hague as war criminals.

This, of course, does not mean that the western media is Pravda, the propaganda mouthpiece of the old Soviet empire. There are differences. Dissent is possible, though it must remain within the relatively narrow confines of “reasonable” debate, a spectrum of possible thought that accepts unreservedly the presumption that we are better, more moral, than them.

Similarly, journalists are rarely told — at least, not directly — what to write. The media have developed careful selection processes and hierarchies among their editorial staff — termed “filters” by media critics Ed Herman and Noam Chomsky — to ensure that dissenting or truly independent journalists do not reach positions of real influence.

There is, in other words, no simple party line. There are competing elites and corporations, and their voices are reflected in the narrow range of what we term commentary and opinion. Rather than being dictated to by party officials, as happened under the Soviet system, our journalists scramble for access, to be admitted into the ante-chambers of power. These privileges make careers but they come at a huge cost to the reporters’ independence.

Nonetheless, the range of what is permissible is slowly expanding — over the opposition of the elites and our mainstream TV and press. The reason is to be found in the new media, which is gradually eroding the monopoly long enjoyed by the corporate media to control the spread of information and popular ideas. Wikileaks is so far the most obvious, and impressive, outcome of that trend.

The consequences are already tangible across the Middle East, which has suffered disproportionately under the oppressive rule of empire. The upheavals as Arab publics struggle to shake off their tyrants are also stripping bare some of the illusions the western media have peddled to us. Empire, we have been told, wants democracy and freedom around the globe. And yet it is caught mute and impassive as the henchmen of empire unleash US-made weapons against their peoples who are demanding western-style freedoms.

An important question is: how will our media respond to this exposure, not just of our politicians’ hypocrisy but also of their own? They are already trying to co-opt the new media, including Wikileaks, but without real success. They are also starting to allow a wider range of debate, though still heavily constrained, than had been possible before.

The West’s version of glasnost is particularly obvious in the coverage of the problem closest to our hearts here in Palestine. What Israel terms a delegitimisation campaign is really the opening up — slightly — of the media landscape to allow a little light where until recently darkness reigned.

This is an opportunity and one that we must nurture. We must demand of the corporate media more honesty; we must shame them by being better-informed than the hacks who recycle official press releases and clamour for access; and we must desert them, as is already happening, for better sources of information.

We have a window. And we must force it open before the elites of empire try to slam it shut.

• This is the text of a talk entitled “Media as a Tool of Empire” delivered to Sabeel, the Ecumenical Liberation Theology Centre, at its eighth international conference in Bethlehem on Friday February 25. 

Jonathan Cook, based in Nazareth, Israel is a winner of the Martha Gellhorn Special Prize for Journalism. His latest books are Israel and the Clash of Civilisations: Iraq, Iran and the Plan to Remake the Middle East (Pluto Press) and Disappearing Palestine: Israel's Experiments in Human Despair (Zed Books). Read other articles by Jonathan, or visit Jonathan's website.

20 comments on this article so far ...

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  1. MichaelKenny said on February 28th, 2011 at 7:37am #

    Problem of logic: Jonathan Cook tells us that journalists are dishonest and unreliable (and I totally agree with him!). However, Jonathan Cook is himself a journalist. Doesn’t that mean that Jonathan Cook is dishonest and unreliable? Isn’t a bit like Al Capone calling the Mafia a bunch of crooks?

  2. bozh said on February 28th, 2011 at 8:49am #

    surely media [its owners, columnists, reporters, editors] know that collective punishment of a people [regardless what a few individuals did] cannot be morally and legally justified.
    in short, killing of 300k+ innocent people constitutes even a greater crime than anything their leaders did.

    thus, there shld no be talk about lying by an aggressor or legality of killing innocent people– even if it amounts to killing just hundreds of innocent people.

    what is lying or truth telling have to do with killing so many innocent people?
    bear in mind, that the unipolic power in u.s. —having 99% support of the regionals– can always manufacture a truth.

    i think we shld stop thinking in terms of truth-lie dichotomy. especially, when a prez like bush, has so much capital to use; i.e., 99% of votes cast supporting an u.s. truth.
    either-or structure of language, such as wrong-right, true-false seldom fits reality and in warmaking, especially so!

    has u.s. waged a war based on lies? or aren’t all just-necessary on basis of american truth? tnx

  3. mary said on February 28th, 2011 at 9:47am #

    The figure of ‘300k+’ if ir refers to those Iraqi people killed, is a gross understatement. The figure is in excess of 600,000.

    Some other statistics

    QUALITY OF LIFE INDICATORS

    Iraqis Displaced Inside Iraq, by Iraq War, as of May 2007 – 2,255,000

    Iraqi Refugees in Syria & Jordan – 2.1 million to 2.25 million

    Iraqi Unemployment Rate – 27 to 60%, where curfew not in effect

    Consumer Price Inflation in 2006 – 50%

    Iraqi Children Suffering from Chronic Malnutrition – 28% in June 2007 (Per CNN.com, July 30, 2007)

    Percent of professionals who have left Iraq since 2003 – 40%

    Iraqi Physicians Before 2003 Invasion – 34,000

    Iraqi Physicians Who Have Left Iraq Since 2005 Invasion – 12,000

    Iraqi Physicians Murdered Since 2003 Invasion – 2,000

    ~~~~~

    Yes Jonathan Cook is a freelance journalist but NOT a journalist working for the mainstream media. Big difference! He got out of the Guardian and now lives and works within the belly of the beast. He bravely spits the truth out.

    I quote from his website.

    Why my reporting is different

    I have chosen to position myself in the region in two ways – one professional, the other geographical – that distinguish me from colleagues. This approach gives me greater freedom to reflect on the true nature of the conflict and provides me with fresh insight into its root causes.

    Professionally, I am one of the few journalists regularly writing about the region who work as an independent freelancer. I choose the issues I wish to cover, so I am not constrained by the ‘treadmill’ of the mainstream media, which require an endless flow of instant copy and analysis. I am also not tied to the mainstream agenda, which gives disproportionate coverage to the concerns of the powerful, in this case the Israeli and American positions – in the US media to a degree that makes much of their Israel/Palestine reporting implausible. I also rarely accept commissions, restricting myself to topics that I consider to be the most revealing about the conflict.

    Geographically, I am the first foreign correspondent to be based in the Israeli Arab city of Nazareth, in the Galilee. Most reporters covering the conflict live in Jerusalem or Tel Aviv, with a handful of specialists based in the West Bank city of Ramallah. The range of stories readily available to reporters in these locations reinforces the assumption among editors back home that the conflict can only be understood in terms of the events that followed the West Bank and Gaza’s occupation in 1967. This has encouraged the media to give far too much weight to Israeli concerns about ‘security’ – a catch-all that offers Israel special dispensation to ignore its duties to the Palestinians under international law.

    Many topics central to the dispute between Israelis and Palestinians, including the plight of the refugees and the continuing dispossession of Palestinians living as Israeli citizens, do not register on most reporters’ radars.

    From Nazareth, the capital of the Palestinian minority in Israel, things look very different. There are striking, and disturbing, similarities between the experiences of Palestinians inside Israel and those inside the West Bank and Gaza. All have faced Zionism’s appetite for territory and domination, as well as repeated attempts at ethnic cleansing. These unifying themes suggest that the conflict is less about the specific circumstances thrown up by the 1967 war and more about the central tenets of Zionism as expressed in the war of 1948 that founded Israel and the war of 1967 that breathed new life into its settler colonial agenda.

    {http://www.jkcook.net/}

  4. Don Hawkins said on February 28th, 2011 at 10:23am #

    JEDDAH, Saudi Arabia (Reuters) – Democracy activists in Saudi Arabia say the government is closely monitoring social media to nip in the bud any protests inspired by uprisings that swept Arab countries, toppling leaders in Egypt and Tunisia.
    Activists have set up Facebook pages calling for protests on March 11 and 20, with over 17,000 supporters combined, but police managed to stymie two attempts to stage protests in the Red Sea city of Jeddah last month, highlighting the difficulties of such mobilization in the conservative kingdom.
    In one case around 30 to 50 people were detained by police when they gathered on the street, eyewitnesses said. In the second, security forces flooded the location of a protest that had been advertised on Facebook, scaring protesters away.
    Shi’ites, who have long complained of second class status, are watching protests in neighboring Bahrain, where Shi’ites are demanding democratic reforms.
    Around 60 percent of the native Saudi population of 18 million are thought to be under 30, most of whom grew up in the information revolution age that raised awareness of rights among Arab protesters elsewhere and helped them organize.
    “I think the Saudi monarchy is aware of the need for change and it is the time for it,” said Turad al-Amri, a Saudi political analyst. “There will be major change soon but I’m not sure if it will meet the expectations (of activists).” Reu

    The information revolution age the truth the knowledge

    Obi-Wan: Patience. Use the force. Think.

  5. bozh said on February 28th, 2011 at 1:53pm #

    mary said on February 28th, 2011 at 9:47am #
    “The figure of ’300k+’ if ir refers to those Iraqi people killed, is a gross understatement. The figure is in excess of 600,000.”

    yes, i am aware that it may be more than 300k. that’s why i gave number of 300K +
    and i am aware that ICH and other sources put the number of death as high 1,4oo.000!
    i had in mind only deaths directly caused by alliance aggressor. still, it is just my estimate; which may be quite wrong. thanks for ur comment.
    this may be last comment on this site!

  6. hayate said on February 28th, 2011 at 10:27pm #

    From the article:

    “Last week the Guardian, Britain’s main liberal newspaper, ran an exclusive report on the belated confessions of an Iraqi exile, Rafeed al-Janabi, codenamed “Curveball” by the CIA.”

    The guardian is the ziofascism, inc. “liberal” propaganda rag for the UK. I use quotation marks because there is nothing liberal or progressive (let alone left) about this fascist org. Their role is to sugar coat ziofacsist propaganda for the “progressives” who read this shite. The following is a decent deconstruction of this 21st century nazi org and a couple of it’s sleazy prostitutes:

    February 25 – 26, 2011

    The Guardian’s Sleazeball Hacks and Plagiarists. Cable Cooking and the War on Assange

    [http://www.counterpunch.org/shamir02252011.html]
    By ISRAEL SHAMIR

  7. John Andrews said on February 28th, 2011 at 11:45pm #

    Excellent piece Jonathan, as usual.

    Channel Four have recently screened a remarkable film called The Promise, set in Palestine. It was remarkable because it tackled both the recent history and the ongoing events with a degree of compassion for the Palestinians’ situation that is almost unheard of in mainstream British media, so that you have to wonder if there is a very slight change in the direction of the prevailing winds. If nothing else I’m sure The Promise has made the zionists apoplectic with rage (O.K. I know that isn’t difficult.)

  8. mary said on March 1st, 2011 at 1:14am #

    Correct Hayate. It has been a Zionist propaganda sheet from its Manchester beginnings with CP Scott. {http://www.mucjs.org/EXHIBITION/12scottmg.html}

    Yesterday it ran this puffpiece by Blair’s spindoctor/speechwriter (fact not mentioned in the author profile) –

    ‘Don’t blame Tony Blair for talking to a tyrant

    If Blair’s phone calls to Gaddafi mean even one less life is lost in Libya they will have been worthwhile’
    Comments (153)
    Lance Price guardian.co.uk, Monday 28 February 2011 16.10 GMT

    The comments make good reading.

    and today you can choose from this list

    US: Gaddafi is ‘delusional’ and unfit to lead
    Last updated less than one minute ago

    A senior US diplomat says Libyan leader’s behaviour ‘underscores how disconnected he is from reality’

    Libya uprising – live updates Gaddafi: ‘My people would die to protect me’

    United States tightens military grip on Gaddafi

    Editorial: The limits of intervention

    What next for Libya – possible scenarios

    UK considering no-fly zone and arms for rebels

    Record $30bn of Libyan assets blocked by US

    In pictures: Benghazi celebrates its freedom

    Live blog in Arabic: الانتفاضة الليبية — تغطية حية

    Interactive: the net closes in on Tripoli

    ~~~~~~

    La Clinton is hoping that the ‘unrest’ will spread to Iran and then her dream and that of the Israelis will come true and Admadinejad will be gone.

  9. Don Hawkins said on March 1st, 2011 at 2:33am #

    Moammar Gadhafi, is loved by his people and has no intention of relinquishing power such a clever little tyrant. Then some are now saying I think we realize that he’s crazy or has lost contact with reality. Such a lucky man as to have lost contact with reality I guess at one point in time and space on the dot he knew reality. Then the next story from the media here in the States might be because as we all know they are in contact with reality about a star in Hollywood that yes has lost contact with reality. I wonder how many in the greatest nation on Earth have lost contact with reality or maybe never knew it at all but why just ask that question about America maybe the developed World in general. So about 6.8 billion humans and how many don’t live in a prison for the mind come on that’s a great question and may require some thought and I’ll bet a few at the top of the pyramid so to speak will say I sure don’t, really. How did that song go maybe change a few words.

    I hear the train a comin’
    It’s rollin’ ’round the bend,
    And I ain’t seen the sunshine,
    Since, I don’t know when,
    I’m stuck in a prison for the mind
    And time keeps draggin’ on,
    But that train keeps a-rollin’,
    On down to……….?

    I bet there’s rich folks eatin’,
    In a fancy dining car,
    And smokin’ big cigars,
    How was that King crab

    All done of course on the third planet from the Sun in the Milky Way Galaxy we could go a bit further out but that should do the trick.

    What we have learned
    Is like a handful of earth
    What we have yet to learn
    Is like the whole world.

    -Avvaiyar

    Nothing new under the Sun, really.

  10. mary said on March 1st, 2011 at 3:55am #

    PS If Gaddafi IS delusional as Mesdames Clinton and her stooge Susan Rice are saying, why were Blair and the rest of the Western gangsters-in-charge having truck with him and supplying him with weapons and neat little nests in which his wealth could be stored?

    Ahmadinehad – correction

  11. Don Hawkins said on March 1st, 2011 at 4:05am #

    Mary maybe it’s all how you look at it while wearing dark glasses very dark that will work a little while longer.

  12. mary said on March 1st, 2011 at 5:00am #

    Now you’ve got me going back to the Bible. v12

    Love

    1 Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.

    2 And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing.

    3 And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.

    4 ¶ Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, 5 doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil;
    6 rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth;
    7 beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.

    8 ¶ Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away.

    9 For we know in part, and we prophesy in part.

    10 But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.

    11 When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.

    12 For now we see through a glass, darkly, but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.

    13 And now abideth faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

    I wish.

  13. Hue Longer said on March 1st, 2011 at 5:30am #

    MichaelKenny said on February 28th, 2011 at 7:37am #
    “Problem of logic: Jonathan Cook tells us that journalists are dishonest and unreliable (and I totally agree with him!). However, Jonathan Cook is himself a journalist. Doesn’t that mean that Jonathan Cook is dishonest and unreliable? Isn’t a bit like Al Capone calling the Mafia a bunch of crooks”?

    The problem in logic is yours-Ad hominem. Jonathan Cook being a journalist or Al Capone being a crook has nothing to do with the truth of them saying the same of others. Making this appeal begs that the subject get changed to whether or not Cook is part of the “journalists” to whom he referred.

  14. MichaelKenny said on March 1st, 2011 at 7:25am #

    Al Capone calling the Mafia a bunch of crooks certainly doesn’t mean that they’re not crooks, but if Capone disapproves of crooks, why is he part of the Mafia? Mr Cook’s subtext is that he is not like those he is criticising. His message is : “they’re all dishonest except me and those to whom I give my seal of approval”. That may be true and it may not be. What basis does Mr Cook have for claiming to be an exception to his own rule?

  15. mary said on March 1st, 2011 at 9:34am #

    The latest injustice from the only democracy in the Middle East is to take the Anglican Archbishop of Jerusalem’s permit away. He is declared a foreigner. How low can they go?

    {http://desertpeace.wordpress.com/2011/03/01/anglican-bishop-of-jerusalem-declared-foreign/}

  16. Hue Longer said on March 1st, 2011 at 9:52am #

    Mr. Kenny,

    You can attempt to rephrase it, but it’s still ad hominem. The matter brought up by Mr. Cook isn’t about whether he is dishonest or unreliable. If you fault anything he brought up that would be fine to attack, but tu quoque has no bearing on what he said. The fear of hypocrisy would be a great place for people to begin their journey towards critical thinking because appealing to it hinders seeing truth. Your statement shouldn’t get a response defending Cook for being a different kind of journalist, it should be dismissed for the irrelevant flak it is.

  17. MichaelKenny said on March 1st, 2011 at 10:48am #

    Mr Longer, I didn’t rephrase it. My original comment stands. I merely sought to explain why you were wrong. In any event, the “Israel always wins” crowd have now put in their usual diversion, which suggests that Mr Cook is more important to Israel that he might want us to believe.

  18. Don Hawkins said on March 2nd, 2011 at 2:45am #

    Got home late yesterday and turned on the tube the media and I see oil is heading North yes it sure is and on CNBC one wall street type said come on we had world war two, the 70’s and Saddam went into Kuwait and heck look around we did just fine. This man’s grasp of history was astounding and I was waiting for him to say they can’t process me, am not normal, we know. This person’s thinking well he only missed by one planet granted a rather big miss. This morning on the Capitalist New’s Broadcasting Company I guess some big cheeses like Warren Buffett and a few more as wall street is all atwitter because Buffett said, major acquisitions. We’re prepared. Our elephant gun has been reloaded, and my trigger finger is itchy.” They sure do have some colorful expressions on wall street and can hardly wait to hear the great wisdom on how America will be great again just one stock at a time. Maybe he could go with that other man’s thinking remember Rome well we are still here right. Probably forget to mention about that little planet problem and supply and demand being somewhat out of whack and not just oil because the last time I checked Rome didn’t sell 55 million cars and truck’s to it’s neighbor’s as they hadn’t been invented yet and what was the population at say year 1 AD. Probably not a talking point this morning I’ll bet. We need to get the economy smokin again while pursuing their institutional role: maximizing short-term profit and putting aside externalities trust us we have this all uncontrolled, astounding with a little thing called know knowledge somewhere in the library of congress way in the back collecting more dust as the Sun revolves around the Earth.

    The population two thousand years ago is estimated to have been 231 million. At this time North and South America were sparsely populated, as was Asia Pacific. The estimated population of New Zealand was zero. Southern Asia, Northern Africa, China and Southern Europe (parts of the same land mass) had relatively high populations. Colder Northern latitudes tended to have lower populations.

    The territories that now encompass the Ganges, Tigris, Yangtze, Nile and Po rivers were the most populous.
    worldmapper

  19. mary said on March 3rd, 2011 at 12:57am #

    Tyranny And Rebellion – The Breaking Of The Corporate Media Monopoly

    {http://members5.boardhost.com/medialens/msg/1299072375.top}

  20. Don Hawkins said on March 3rd, 2011 at 2:11am #

    Again got home late and turned on the tube the media. CNN for 15 seconds had a story and said because of climate change there will be more flooding. I guess there trying to be normal and since they seem to have been living under a rock might take them awhile to reach that normal part. They did say that warmer air hold’s more moisture. Yes all college graduates am sure with that kind of knowledge. Now in Pakistan and Australia they have first hand knowledge about warmer air holding more moisture and the government officials in Australia are telling people it’s still a 50 year storm with the help of course of Mr. fair and balanced himself Rupert Murdoch. It does appear to me this Murdoch is an old confused man living in a prison for the mind and pays other people to do the very same thing. Anyway what do you all think send in the fifth fleet and watch those oil and gas field’s as the Sun goes around and around and do the superpowers control gravity maybe they can make the Sun set in the East that would be different just change that whole East West part how much would that cost messages for maybe six month’s should do the trick. Heck start with the tea party and spread it Nation wide maybe Pat Boone could start it with some back up singers, East is West and West is East be normal and trust in us. I know needs a little work.