Thursday, May 14, 2009

A Riddle Wrapped in Mystery

(H/T to Churchill for the title)

The contortionists at NPR are mighty busy these days being super, extra careful not to use the word torture to describe - well - torture. Keeping the English language in such painful stress positions leads to some rather interesting remarks. On ATC Wednesday I caught Bob Siegel stating,
"The infamous Abu Ghraib photos served as early evidence of harsh treatment of detainees. Today the White House announced its decision to fight against the release of other similar photos. The photos show the alleged abuse of detainees in Iraq and Afghanistan."
That little paragraph is just packed full of maneuvers. The now public Abu Ghraib photos are "evidence" of "harsh treatment" [not the T-word!]. However, the photos that the Bush Obama administration now wants to keep secret show the "alleged abuse" of detainees. It wasn't just Siegel referring to photos of "alleged abuse"; I heard it several other times during the 5-minute news summaries NPR broadcasts. So now undoctored photos of torture and inhuman and degrading treatment don't show that at all; they simply show "alleged" abuses.

Taking NPR's skeptical approach, I present to you a few photos of other "alleged" events.

The alleged assassination of President Kennedy:

The alleged "harsh policing" of civil rights protesters:


The alleged landing of a man on the moon:


Anonymous said...

Don't forget the "alleged attack on the Twin Towers."

As Normon Solomon said, NPR is "National Pentagon Radio."We know NPR gets tens of millions per year from member stations as payment for its (low) "quality" programming and probably an equivalent amount from listener dontations, but what we do not know (can only guess) is what it gets "under the table" to propagandize for the Pentagon.

On a related note:

How curious it is that one week, the Pentagon says it will abide by the ACLU freedom of information request (ie, by the law) to release the additional photos and the very next, Obama's administration files a legal challenge to the release which prevents that release, at least for now.

Pure coincidence, of course.

WarOnWarOff said...

Oh that moon landing is obviously photoshopped. ;)

Seriously now, can't you just hear Goebbels comforting his fellow German citizens about those "alleged concentration camps" and those "alleged war crimes" that surely were the fault of communists anyway?

Anonymous said...

NPR has become absolutely pathetic.

How any self-respecting journalist can work for that organization is the biggest mystery of all.

How about the alleged campaign to wipe out native Americans?

The alleged killing of 6 million Jews?

The alleged destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki with the alleged "atom bomb" (alleged to be based on the physics of Albert Einstein, (who had an illegitimate child: not just alleged, but documented.)

The alleged killing of 20 million of his own people by Stalin?

The alleged Apartheid in South Africa?

The alleged Aphartheid in Gaza and the Wets bank (the latter by an alleged former President)

The alleged slavery her in the US?

Nixon/Kissinger's alleged bombing in Cambodia and Laos which allegedly killed hundreds of thousands and allegedly allowed the Khmer Rouge to come to power in Cambodia who then (allegedly) killed a couple million of their own people through torture, forced labor and execution? (all alleged, of course)

The alleged claim that the P in NPR stands for "Public" and that NPR actually works in the public interest?

miranda said...

Excellent post and comments.

I have written the White House protesting this coverup of photographic evidence of torture (as well as the ongoing slaughter in Afghanistan and exclusion of single-payer from the health policy discussion). I urge others to do the same (sorry, I am html illiterate):

Anonymous said...


if you want to include a link, it's easy.

it follows the format

{a href=""} Contact White House (or anything else you want for the link title) {/a}

but replace the curly brackets { and } with angle brackets < and >

Note the quotes around

They are important.

by the way the html 'a' stands for 'anchor' . The name comes from the fact that you can actually set "anchors" within html pages and then link back to those spots.

And 'href' stands for hypertext reference, so there is some rhyme and reason to this stuff.

Anonymous said...

You have to read McClatchy to get the real story on why Obama has challenged the release of the photos:

Obama was trained in Constitutional law and almost certainly understands that the legal challenge will ultimately fail (it has already failed once).

But it will buy him time so that the US (and Obama personally) will not be embarrassed by the photos when Obama gives a speech in Egypt next month.

See story at link below
As the McClatchy reports:

Obama reverses decision to release prisoner abuse photosBy Margaret Talev and Jonathan S. Landay

"ACLU Executive Director Anthony D. Romero accused the Obama administration of adopting "the stonewalling tactics and opaque policies of the Bush administration." He said that "when these photos do see the light of day, the outrage will focus not only on the commission of torture by the Bush administration but on the Obama administration's complicity in covering them up."
///end quote

And it is right that the focus should be put on Obama as well.

As Nixon recognized (although too late): "it's not the crime, it's the coverup" that does your Presidency in.

Anonymous said...

Bush was just interviewed and said (and I quote) "We gained good information from KalAKE Sheikh Mohammed in order to protect our country".

Apparently they tortured the wrong guy because KhalID Sheikh Mohammed was actually the "mastermind" (ie, psycho) behind the 9/11 attacks.

What, are Kalake and Khalid brothers or something?

If we are to take Bush's word for it, then apparently Kalake squealed on Khalid.

I don't know whether to cry, laugh or throw a chair at the monitor when I watch a video of Bush.

Anonymous said...

How about the "alledged" murder of 4 students at Kent State?

Anyone here have any thoughts concerning "Impact of War" segments? I think it is totally produced and funded by US Army. There were 110 earmarks in DoD budget designed to funnel money into media. I think Impact of War is one of them. Wish I had better computer/research skills. I have written to local station and network but thewy don't even acknowledge my query. It should be easy to say, "No we don't get money from DoD for this" But seeing as how one of the producers was a lawyer I think they were reluctant to make a false statement. She (the producer) was canned.


Zac in VA said...

I'm glad I'm not the only one who wants to throttle Robert Siegel (or whomever) for refusing to say "torture".
Sometimes I scream the word at my radio right after the NPR-bot has performed another careful dodge of the T-word.
I have to wonder, has this become a game to them? What possible sponsor could they offend by calling it what it is(aside from the DoD, of course!)?

Tanya said...

Hmmm, that was interesting. Looks like somethings will always remain mystery.

I myself has been trying to solve the mystery of the legend that forces you to have "earn it before

having it", for a wile now. Could not understand much though.

Let me know in case you get to understand the mystery of the Old Hound and the Legend

By the way, good writing style. I'd love to read more on similar topics

Shalini said...

Man, I followed that the dark truth link, and was completely in the story. Damn exciting. The latest post talks about a friend of him who's gone missing . Somewhere on his way to Leh, India. And the guy is asking for help find it. Soundss like an online game . This looks interesting. M already hooked on.

Hey, btw, nice post you have there - keep rocking - ;)

jina said...

I have taken up this same topic on my blog and in my journalism, subtly and unsubtly making the argument that we have to be direct with our language. So I'm not criticizing your argument when I do the unfashionable and defend Siegel, or at least one of his phrases: "alleged abuses." It's a legal requirement; if you don't include the alleged, it's slander. Up until the point that every abuse that you refer to has been adjudicated and the alleged offenders found guilty...but that's far more abuses than we've yet adjudicated.

Not a pro-torture (or pro-tortured-language) comment; just a bit of professional ethics context.