- Greg Palast
- Google News
Immanuel Wallerstein's commentaries
If you agree or disagree, or just want to say 'hi'...
Commentary on news and culture from a left wing perspective.
Saturday, February 19, 2005
Saturday, February 12, 2005
Eason Jordan... appeared to suggest that United States troops had deliberately aimed at journalists, killing some. Though no transcript of Mr. Jordan's remarks at Davos on Jan. 27 has been released, the panel's moderator, David Gergen, editor at large of U.S. News & World Report, said in an interview last night that Mr. Jordan had initially spoken of soldiers, "on both sides," who he believed had been "targeting" some of the more than four dozen journalists killed in Iraqand is forced to resigned. Although the Times makes not the slightest effort to investigate the claim, there is plenty of evidence for Jordan's claim, not only in Iraq but also Afghanistan. Al Quaeda offices, for example, have been bombed after the news channel has given the US army their coordinates.
Thursday, February 10, 2005
In the first instance of its kind, top Chinese leaders appear to be throwing their clout behind laws requiring environmental-impact statements for large energy-related projects.
Even if the projects, which total more than $14 billion and span 13 provinces, soon go back online, Beijing's public support of the State Environmental Protection Agency (news - web sites) (SEPA), long considered a mere showpiece, seems an official nod to growing numbers of Chinese who support tougher policies to protect nature.
North Korea goes nuclear. Remember when some people warned all the axis of evil rhetoric and the invasion of Iraq would hasten nuclear proliferation?
Meanwhile the US trade deficit balloons:
the trade deficit now accounts for more than 5 percent of the American economy, a level some economists and lawmakers said was unsustainable. The deficit also adds pressure to push down the value of the dollar and increases the amount of debt held overseas.Between underwhelming budget deficit reduction and now this, I'm really wondering how this is going to play with the Japanese and Chinese who hold so many t-bonds.
Tuesday, February 08, 2005
Ponder the first sentences of one dispatch from this newspaper's archives: "United States officials were surprised and heartened today at the size of turnout in South Vietnam's presidential election," it reads, "despite a Vietcong terrorist campaign to disrupt the voting. According to reports from Saigon, 83 per cent of the 5.85 million registered voters cast their ballots yesterday. Many of them risked reprisals threatened by the Vietcong." That appeared in September 1967.Now, people who read blogs will immediately recognize this angle. I saw it posted on Tom Tomorrow's blog on February 1st, and he was by no means the first. It's thoroughly unethical for a NewYork Times writer to steal this story without acknowledging a source (and make no mistake--New York Times reporters don't actually dig through archives to find embarassing reports that might undermine their uncritical coverage of the elections in Iraq). But that is the least of the piece's problems. Wines goes on to argue that this example notwithstanding (he makes no effort to look at what happened after that particular election in a place called ... hhmmm... Vietnam), elections are usually a good thing. He even brings up the Salvadoran elections in 1982:
where representative government weathered a major-party boycott not totally unlike last week's Sunni boycott of the Iraqi vote.Amazing. No mention that the boycott took place because political opponents of the regime were being slaughtered at a rate of about thirty per day. No mention that the civil war dragged on for another nine years, with about eighty thousand more dead. It is rather like reading that Auschwitz holds lessons for how to deal with ethnic minorities. And these people think Ward Churchill is depraved.
Sunday, February 06, 2005
Thursday, February 03, 2005
A New York Times editorial on Jan 31 claimed “even in some predominantly Sunni areas, turnout was higher than expected”. I wrote a letter to them suggesting they should print a correction of this falsehood, which they ignored. Here is their news version of the event, written by Dexter Filkins:
As poll workers tally the ballots from Sunday's election, Iraqi and Western officials say, it is increasingly clear that the country's once powerful Sunni minority largely boycotted the voting, confirming the group's political isolation.Of course, the boycott could be interpreted in other ways—looks like it was pretty successful for the Sunnis. And that “once powerful” minority is at the center of an insurgency that continues to produce US casualties. But the striking thing is the disparity between the news report and the editorial, which reports the wishes of the editorial’s authors, rather than facts.
This is not a minor point. The reality undercuts the entire thrust of the editorial:
(the voting) is a message that all but the most nihilistic of the armed insurgents will have to accept. Many fierce political struggles lie ahead. Yet all who claim to be fighting in the name of the Iraqi people should now recognize that - in an open expression of popular will - Iraqis have expressed their clear preference that these battles be fought exclusively in the peaceful, constitutional arena.To the extent that Iraq is divided into three groups (Shiites, Sunnis, Kurds), one of them (Sunnis) never claimed to accept the legitimacy of the election, and, since practically all members of that group in fact boycotted the vote, it can be assumed that that sentiment was widespread among the populace, rather than just among self-identified leaders or insurgents. The election clearly illustrated that no consensus exists about Iraqis future; and the group that felt left out clearly is capable of considerable military activity. It remains the case that the Sunnis will either need to be militarilly defeated (something the US appears incapable of doing) or a settlement acceptable to them will have to be arrived at.