Sunday, January 30, 2011

Gjelten for the Prosecution

NPR has joined with much of the corporate media in the US in vilifying Julian Assange and ignoring the significant (and damning) material contained in the various WikiLeaks releases - and has been silent on the inhumane and extrajudicial punishment imposed upon Pfc. Bradley Manning in his military confinement as a suspect for the source of many of the WikiLeaks revelations.

You might think that a news organization would focus on the well-documented and internationally infamous abuses of power by the US state security organs (as in the case of Manning), or on the extrajudicial attempts at silencing WikiLeaks and targeting its founder Assange for a sham prosecution under the US Espionage Act (even the Columbia School of Journalism has denounced the US effort).

Then again if you are NPR's Tom Gjelten - and your primary allegiance is to the security apparatus of the United States regardless of its aims or tactics - you cobble together a piece of misinformation aimed at covering up the abuses of Manning and promoting the case for prosecuting Assange. Gjelten's report aired on Thursday's ATC (1/27/11).

Regarding Manning, Gjelten never mentions the UN investigation and Amnesty International's condemnation of Manning's detention, instead describing it himself - telling listeners that Manning
"is held in what the military calls Prevention of Injury status, supposedly because he's a threat to himself. According to some reports, Manning has been depressed. He's held alone in his cell for 23 hours a day under constant surveillance. His lawyer last weekend filed a complaint objecting to Manning's treatment."
In contrast to this euphemistic gloss, Gjelten brings on Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell, to give us the unchallenged Pentagon description of Manning's incarceration:
"He's being provided well-balanced, nutritious meals three times a day. He receives visitors and mail, and can write letters. He routinely meets with doctors, as well as his attorney. He's allowed to make telephone calls. And he is being treated just like every other detainee in the brig."
Done with Manning, Gjelten then turns his sights on Julian Assange. Noting that no direct connection has been found between Manning and Assange, Gjelten - friend of the CIA - states,
"If Assange were himself not a party to the theft of the classified U.S. files, he'd presumably have to be charged simply for publishing them. Difficult but not impossible, says Jeffrey Smith, a former CIA general counsel."
We then get CIA reinforcement, Smith to tell us,
"It would arguably be made easier if they could establish a link between the removal of the documents by Manning and the transmission of those documents to Assange, but I don't think the absence of that link is fatal to the prosecution of Assange."
And just in case any actual journalists might find Gjelten's "case" unsettling (and unseemly), Gjelten closes his report by turning to the New York Times to bolster his case:
"If government lawyers go after WikiLeaks, they'll probably say it's not a news organization. And they'll have the New York Times to back them up. In an article released on its website, Times editor Bill Keller writes that the newspaper has regarded Assange, quote, as a source, not as a partner or collaborator."
At least one can say that Gjelten is an expert on what is "not a news organization."


Porter Melmoth said...

I wonder what TG thought of the '60 Minutes' segment on Assange last night?

It was actually pretty neutral. Heavily edited, of course, but Julian was allowed to state things w/o too much 'interpretation'. Steve Kroft, aware of his coup in securing the interview, behaved with a surprising amount of respect. Strange, on account of Julian being a terrorist/traitor/subversive America-hater, and all.

Imagine what Gjelten would do with such an opportunity! Of course NPR is not famous for any such scoops. Gjelten prefers the Cheney-esque shadows from which to pronounce his declarations of suspicion and doom. That's where egos like his can bloom and develop delusions of grandeur. The splendid term of 'gravitas' was perverted when applied to Cheney, and Gjelten's always been there to make sure he's the 'gravitas' superstar of Neocon Public Relations.

Gjelten kinda looks like he'd be Paul Wolfowitz's kid brother...

larry, dfh said...

Yeah, Porter, I remember a famous 'scoop' that MeeShill got several years ago with some general hawking his book on the wonderment of the leveling of Fallujah. So if you search the npr site for "Fallujah, birth defects", you come up with

Patrick Lynch said...

Ol'Tom must have spewed his coffee onto his monitor screen when he read that Assange was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize. At least Wikileaks is something worthy of a Nobel Peace Prize.

geoff said...

My friend, Bert Sachs, is a national hero for protesting the sanctions against Iraq way back in the mid nineties and then being fined for it. The case is still pending.

geoff said...

Oh yeah, Sacks, not Sachs.