uruknet.info
  اوروكنت.إنفو
     
    informazione dal medio oriente
    information from middle east
    المعلومات من الشرق الأوسط

[ home page] | [ tutte le notizie/all news ] | [ download banner] | [ ultimo aggiornamento/last update 01/11/2014 04:33 ] 87992


english italiano

  [ Subscribe our newsletter!   -   Iscriviti alla nostra newsletter! ]  



Why is the New York Times enabling a U.S. government smear campaign against reporters exposing the drone wars?


May 11, 2012 - A human rights lawyer and a group of investigative journalists who have exposed the extensive civilian casualties from CIA drone strikes in Pakistan are being smeared by anonymous U.S. government officials, who have even accused them of being sympathetic to al Qaeda. Two of the anonymous accusations came in articles in The New York Times, despite the paper's own rules against personal attacks by unnamed sources. Pakistani human rights attorney Shahzad Akbar and the London-based Bureau of Investigative Journalism (BIJ) say the campaign is intended to deter mainstream news organizations from reporting that the White House is lying about how many innocent people are being killed by the drone strikes....

[87992]



Uruknet on Alexa


End Gaza Siege
End Gaza Siege

>

:: Segnala Uruknet agli amici. Clicka qui.
:: Invite your friends to Uruknet. Click here.




:: Segnalaci un articolo
:: Tell us of an article






Why is the New York Times enabling a U.S. government smear campaign against reporters exposing the drone wars?

By John Hanrahan

May 11, 2012

The Times let government officials anonymously attack a group of journalists and a lawyer who have uncovered evidence that belies the White House's claim that drones aren't killing many civilians. Was their rationale for that justified?

A human rights lawyer and a group of investigative journalists who have exposed the extensive civilian casualties from CIA drone strikes in Pakistan are being smeared by anonymous U.S. government officials, who have even accused them of being sympathetic to al Qaeda.

Two of the anonymous accusations came in articles in The New York Times, despite the paper's own rules against personal attacks by unnamed sources.

Pakistani human rights attorney Shahzad Akbar and the London-based Bureau of Investigative Journalism (BIJ) say the campaign is intended to deter mainstream news organizations from reporting that the White House is lying about how many innocent people are being killed by the drone strikes.

President Obama's top terrorism adviser John O. Brennan recently contended that civilian deaths were "exceedingly rare." The BIJ, though, puts total drone deaths in Pakistan since 2004 at between 2,440 and 3,113, and they say between 479 and 821 of the dead were civilians, including 174 children. Drone attacks in Pakistan have dramatically increased since Obama took office: President Bush was responsible for 52; Obama for 270 and counting.

Relying on the BIJís comprehensive research and his own investigations in support of a number of clients who are drone victims or families of victims and who are suing the CIA, Akbar has for the last two years sharply challenged U.S. government assertions regarding civilian casualties, most recently by filing two lawsuits in Pakistan, demanding a criminal investigation into the killings by Hellfire missile of some 50 people, including tribal elders in Waziristan in March 2011. (See Niemanwatchdog.org's May 10 story, Civilian drone victims, unrecognized by the U.S. government and public, seek justice.)

Akbar's public criticisms of the program, including naming the CIA station chief in Pakistan and calling for his trial on murder charges for drone killings of civilians, has made him a particular thorn in the side of U.S. officials.

The London-based Bureau of Investigative Journalism is a not-for-profit organization made up of former editors and reporters for major U.K. news organizations that undertakes investigations on a variety of subjects for various print and broadcast outlets in the United Kingdom and elsewhere. Akbar and BIJ senior reporter Chris Woods both spoke recently at an international drone conference in Washington, D.C., sponsored by the peace group Code Pink, the U.K.-based human rights group Reprieve, and the Pakistan-based Foundation for Fundamental Rights, which Akbar heads.

Woods told the conference audience that his organization had been subjected to an anonymous smear campaign by the CIA. The agency, he said, has attacked his organizationís findings aggressively "and has asked our partners"  -- newspapers and broadcasters who have collaborated with BIJ -- not to use BIJís reports.

Two of the anonymous smears came from unnamed U.S. government sources quoted in two separate New York Times articles reporting on Akbarís and BIJís findings. The writer of both stories was the Times's highly regarded national security reporter, Scott Shane.

Brennan, in June 2011, asserted that in the preceding 12 months, "there hasn't been a single collateral death because of the exceptional proficiency, precision of the capabilities that we've been able to develop."

In an August 11, 2011 Times article, Shane reported Akbar and BIJ's evidence to the contrary. But he also wrote: "American officials accuse Mr. Akbar of working to discredit the drone program at the behest of the Directorate for Inter-Services Intelligence, or ISI, the Pakistani spy service. Mr. Akbar and others who know him strongly deny the accusation."

Shane quoted another human rights lawyer who worked with Akbar in Pakistan and who described the anonymous charges of ISI connections as "not credible at all." But the article also allowed unnamed officials to take a shot at BIJ: "American officials said the Bureau of Investigative Journalism report was suspect because it relied in part on information supplied by Mr. Akbar, who publicly named the C.I.A.ís undercover Pakistan station chief in December when announcing his legal campaign against the drones."

More recently, on February 8, the Times reported the BIJís findings that the CIAís drone attacks in Pakistan "have repeatedly targeted rescuers who responded to the scene of a strike, as well as mourners at subsequent funerals." But after highlighting BIJís report, the article then allowed a "senior American counterterrorism official, speaking on the condition of anonymity" to not just question the reportís findings, but to state: "One must wonder why an effort that has so carefully gone after terrorists who plot to kill civilians has been subjected to so much misinformation. Letís be under no illusions -- there are a number of elements who would like nothing more than to malign these efforts and help al Qaeda succeed."

That latter direct quote essentially allowed the anonymous source to declare critics of the drone program as traitors and dupes.

Shane, in written responses to a number of questions that Nieman Watchdog posed to him about the two articles, said he believes this particular quote was not necessarily directed at BIJ, calling it "ambiguous, and I wish I had been able to clarify it." He added: "Based on all my reporting over the last couple of years, I believe U.S. government officials have in mind not BIJ or other journalists as sympathizers of Al Qaeda but militants and perhaps ISI officers who supply what they consider disinformation on strikes to journalists."

The Timesí own "Confidential News Sources Policy," in an effort to stop the overuse or unfair use of anonymous sources, states, among other things: "We do not grant anonymity to people who use it as cover for a personal or partisan attack."

But Shane defended the use of the anonymous quotes in the two articles, saying that he and his editors agreed that the quotes were needed to give "some voice from the other side" -- that is, the government -- in articles reporting allegations of civilian deaths. Until the drone-strike program is made overt and government officials can talk more freely about it, Shane said, "journalists often have a choice of quoting anonymous officials or writing stories about accusations of bad strikes and innocent deaths and including no response at all. I feel it's important to include some voice from the other side, and my editors have agreed. In addition, it seems to me important to citizens to know what the government says, even if some citizens find the statements unpersuasive or worse."

The problem, though, with the U.S. government as the anonymous "voice from the other side," is that the real unrepresented "voice from the other side" in the mainstream news media is that of the civilian victims. Their voices and names seldom appear in the mainstream media.

Shane should be credited for writing the two articles that gave headlines and space to the drone-strike critics. But those government officials are not so oppressed that they should be allowed to anonymously trash their criticsí reputations and motivations. Readers might reasonably assume that the Times wouldnít run such quotes anonymously and without proof unless there were some truth to them. 

Because the drone strikes occur in remote, inaccessible areas, Akbar said at the conference, "The CIA is the only source as to whatís happening on the ground in Waziristan," so U.S. officials always tell western reporters that only armed "militants" were targeted and killed. Relying on that as the truth would be comparable, he said, to reporters relying on only the Talibanís or other militantsí version of events when they "administer horrible punishment on citizens." His goal, Akbar said, is to publicize cases of drone killings of civilians, using the names of the civilian dead, to force the "American president to admit that he is klling children and women in your name" and to show that the drone attacks "are not making America safer, because you are only creating more enemies."

 

*     *     * 

 

Since Shaneís response sheds light on what he describes as the dilemma of dealing with government officials on programs that are classified, but nevertheless very public, here is his response in full to our questions:

"The drone program, as I have written, is in the strange category of classified but public information, which creates difficulties both for government officials and for journalists. Many outsiders and some government officials think the situation is untenable and that the program should be made overt, so that real debates could take place on Congress and the public on these issues.

"In the meantime, journalists often have a choice of quoting anonymous officials or writing stories about accusations of bad strikes and innocent deaths and including no response at all. I feel it's important to include some voice from the other side, and my editors have agreed. In addition, it seems to me important to citizens to know what the government says, even if some citizens find the statements unpersuasive or worse.

"In the first [August 11] story you mention, read carefully everything about Shahzad Akbar. The story subjects to scrutiny the claim that he's an ISI tool and presents evidence to the contrary. The quote in the second story is ambiguous, and I wish I had been able to clarify it. Based on all my reporting over the last couple of years, I believe US government officials have in mind not BIJ or other journalists as sympathizers of Al Qaeda but militants and perhaps ISI officers who supply what they consider disinformation on strikes to journalists.

"It's interesting and useful to criticize journalists struggling with such dilemmas -- it's a sport I have often enjoyed myself -- but for a reporter this story poses real challenges without easy choices."



John Hanrahan is a former executive director of The Fund for Investigative Journalism and reporter for The Washington Post, The Washington Star, UPI, and other news organizations. He is now on special assignment for Nieman Watchdog

Source


:: Article nr. 87992 sent on 12-may-2012 16:23 ECT

www.uruknet.info?p=87992



:: The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website.

The section for the comments of our readers has been closed, because of many out-of-topics.
Now you can post your own comments into our Facebook page: www.facebook.com/uruknet




:: Share this new !
Facebook Twitter
BlinkList del.icio.us
Digg Furl
Google Bookmarks ma.gnolia
Netscape Newsvine
reddit StumbleUpon
Tailrank Technorati
Windows Live Yahoo! My Web





       
[ Printable version ] | [ Send it to a friend ]


[ Contatto/Contact ] | [ Home Page ] | [Tutte le notizie/All news ]







Uruknet on Twitter




:: RSS updated to 2.0

:: English
:: Italiano



:: Uruknet for your mobile phone:
www.uruknet.mobi


Uruknet on Facebook






:: Motore di ricerca / Search Engine


uruknet
the web



:: Immagini / Pictures


Initial
Middle




The newsletter archive




L'Impero si è fermato a Bahgdad, by Valeria Poletti


Modulo per ordini




subscribe

:: Newsletter

:: Comments


Haq Agency
Haq Agency - English

Haq Agency - Arabic


AMSI
AMSI - Association of Muslim Scholars in Iraq - English

AMSI - Association of Muslim Scholars in Iraq - Arabic




Font size
Carattere
1 2 3





:: All events








     

[ home page] | [ tutte le notizie/all news ] | [ download banner] | [ ultimo aggiornamento/last update 01/11/2014 04:33 ]




Uruknet receives daily many hacking attempts. To prevent this, we have 10 websites on 6 servers in different places. So, if the website is slow or it does not answer, you can recall one of the other web sites: www.uruknet.info www.uruknet.de www.uruknet.biz www.uruknet.org.uk www.uruknet.com www.uruknet.org - www.uruknet.it www.uruknet.eu www.uruknet.net www.uruknet.web.at.it




:: This site contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more info go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.
::  We always mention the author and link the original site and page of every article.
uruknet, uruklink, iraq, uruqlink, iraq, irak, irakeno, iraqui, uruk, uruqlink, saddam hussein, baghdad, mesopotamia, babilonia, uday, qusay, udai, qusai,hussein, feddayn, fedayn saddam, mujaheddin, mojahidin, tarek aziz, chalabi, iraqui, baath, ba'ht, Aljazira, aljazeera, Iraq, Saddam Hussein, Palestina, Sharon, Israele, Nasser, ahram, hayat, sharq awsat, iraqwar,irakwar All pictures

 

I nostri partner - Our Partners:


TEV S.r.l.

TEV S.r.l.: hosting

www.tev.it

Progetto Niz

niz: news management

www.niz.it

Digitbrand

digitbrand: ".it" domains

www.digitbrand.com

Worlwide Mirror Web-Sites:
www.uruknet.info (Main)
www.uruknet.com
www.uruknet.net
www.uruknet.org
www.uruknet.us (USA)
www.uruknet.su (Soviet Union)
www.uruknet.ru (Russia)
www.uruknet.it (Association)
www.uruknet.web.at.it
www.uruknet.biz
www.uruknet.mobi (For Mobile Phones)
www.uruknet.org.uk (UK)
www.uruknet.de (Germany)
www.uruknet.ir (Iran)
www.uruknet.eu (Europe)
wap.uruknet.info (For Mobile Phones)
rss.uruknet.info (For Rss Feeds)
www.uruknet.tel

Vat Number: IT-97475000150