Chris Christie took a trip to New Hampshire this week, where he explained it would be a horrendous mistake for Congress to impose new restrictions on the National Security Agency. What he said may sound to you like standard, boring politican-speak, but read it anyway:
We lost a friend of ours in our parish [on September 11, 2001]. My oldest son’s kindergarten teacher lost her brother, who was a New York City firefighter. And my son Andrew’s best friend lost his father that morning in the trade center …
I’m the only person who will come before you and talk to you who has actually used those tools as a prosecutor, used the Patriot Act, used Section 215, had to review those applications and approve them, and brought two major terrorist cases while I was U.S. attorney. Both resulting in convictions, one of them against six radical Islamic terrorists who were planning to attack Fort Dix and our soldiers at Fort Dix, New Jersey. We got the intelligence, we interceded and prevented the attack, and now those six folks are serving their time in federal prison because we did….
The thing that’s demoralizing to me is that I really think there are so many sectors in our country who … have forgotten what 9/11 felt like …
What did it feel like to us? …
You know, you can’t enjoy your civil liberties if you’re in a coffin.
There’s nothing special about that, you’ve heard it a million times before.
But now take a look at this 2002 description of Al Manar, the Lebanese satellite station run by Hezbollah, quoting its news director Hassan Fadlallah. (Hezbollah literally means “Party of God” and has been called the “A-Team of Terrorists” by former deputy secretary of state Richard Armitage.)
Al Manar is “trying to keep the people in the mood of suffering,” [said Fadallah] … “In Spite of the Wounds” portrays as heroes men who were wounded fighting Israel in South Lebanon … Al Manar also has a weekly program called “Terrorists” … The show “Terrorists,” he told me, airs vintage footage of what it terms “Zionist crimes” …
So note these similarities:
• Most importantly, Christie and Hezbollah are worried their potential followers may stop focusing on traumatic events of the past. In other words, it’s a bad thing if people no longer feel intense sorrow and fear.
• Specifically, Christie and Hezbollah want us to be scared of religious-based terrorism.
• Both want to associate themselves with heroes who are protecting us from the scary, religious-based terrorism.
When it’s Hezbollah, we can perceive their clumsy, transparent manipulation of listeners’ emotions. We can also see it in Tehran’s huge propaganda murals, the “Walls of Martyrdom,” which constantly remind Iranians of soldiers killed in the “Imposed War” with Iraq in 1980s and imply the dead heroes loved Ayatollah Khomeini and Ayatollah Khamenei. And in Slobodan Milosevic’s 1989 St. Vitus Day speech, in which he used the 600th anniversary of Serbian defeat at the Battle of Kosovo to demand that Serbs remember how “this unjustly suffering country” had “defended the European culture, religion, and European society” from cruel enemies with a different religion.
When the clumsy, transparent manipulation is being done by our own politicians, though, it can be harder to see. But if you don’t think Lebanese Shiites should trust the leaders of Hezbollah, or Iranians should trust their ayatollahs, you shouldn’t trust Chris Christie. Or these guys:
(This post is from our new blog: Unofficial Sources.)
Photo: Darren McCollester / Getty
The post Chris Christie Uses Rhetorical Strategy Right Out of the Zealot Handbook appeared first on The Intercept.
Von THOMAS EIPELDAUER, 22. Mai 2015 -
Am 17. Mai meldete sich auf dem linken Nachrichtenportal Indymedia eine anonyme Gruppierung unter dem Label "161Boxing" zu Wort, die behauptete "beträchtliche Datenmengen von führenden Nationalisten" sichergestellt zu haben. Die Daten, die den Antifaschisten wohl im Zuge einer Intervention bei dem Leipziger Neonazi Alexander Kurth in die Hände gefallen sind, bestanden zum einen in interner Kommunikation der NPD, zum anderen dokumentierten sie umfangreich die Kommunikation verschiedener Strömungen der Rechten in Sachsen. In Rahmen der zuerst geleakten Dokumente ließ sich etwa nachvollziehen, dass der Leipziger PEGIDA-Ableger LEGIDA logistische Hilfe aus Neonazi-Strukturen bezieht. (1)
Interessanter noch als
At least one small slice of the American public looks forward to the non-stop, sleazy political advertisements set to inundate viewers during the 2016 elections: media executives and their investors.
Peter Liguori, the chief executive of Tribune Company, said earlier this month that the next presidential campaign presents “enormous opportunity” for advertising sales. Speaking at a conference hosted by J.P. Morgan Chase, Liguori, whose company owns television stations and a number of newspapers, including the Los Angeles Times, referenced Super PAC spending as a key factor for why he thinks Tribune Co. political advertising revenue will rocket from $115 million in 2012 to about $200 million for the 2016 campaign cycle.
Vince Sadusky, the chief executive of Media General, the parent company of 71 television stations across the country, told investors in February that his company is positioned to benefit from unlimited campaign spending, referencing decisions by the Supreme Court. “We are really looking forward to the 2016 elections with spending on the presidential race alone estimated to surpass $5 billion,” Sadusky said, according to a transcript of his remarks.
In 2012, Les Moonves, president and chief executive of CBS, memorably said, “Super PACs may be bad for America, but they’re very good for CBS.”
His views appear unchanged. In a February investor call, Moonves predicted “strong growth with the help of political spending,” particularly on television. He added dryly, “looking ahead, the 2016 presidential election is right around the corner and, thank God, the rancor has already begun.”
In recent months, executives from media companies such as Nexstar Broadcasting, Gannett, and E.W. Scripps Co. have told investors that they are expecting a big jump in revenue from the 2016 political ad buys.
Listen to the Tribune Co.’s Liguori’s remarks here:
Listen to CBS News Corp.’s Moonves’s remarks here:
The New York Times and Bloomberg have chronicled the rising political revenue to broadcast media companies, a trend accelerated by the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision, which effectively removed limits on individual, corporate and union spending. A single station in Columbus, Ohio, for example, “grossed about $50 million in advertising [in 2012], of which at least $20 million was attributed to campaign spending,” according to the Times. And the 2016 campaign cycle is expected to be the first time digital advertising alone will reach $1 billion, making big money groups a lucrative source of revenue for online publications.
Media watchdog groups worry that news outlets won’t investigate the special interests buying advertisements if their companies become dependent upon the same groups for revenue. Tim Karr, senior director at Free Press, compared six television markets over a set period and found “a near-complete station blackout on local reporting about the political ads they aired.”
Reliance on political ad spending has already led some media interests to fight against reforms designed to make the American election system cleaner.
For nearly two decades, the National Association of Broadcasters, a lobby group for media corporations, has fought bipartisan efforts to provide free airtime to candidates, a reform advocates say would reduce the moneyed barriers to political entry for candidates.
Such an idea was proposed by President Bill Clinton and was a key plank of the campaign finance reform legislation championed by former Sen. Russ Feingold, D-Wisc., and Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz. But the NAB lobbied aggressively to kill the idea, eventually succeeding in stripping it out of the McCain-Feingold bill and pressuring the Federal Communications Commission to back down from pursuing the free airtime rule.
In a 2002 interview on CNN, McCain complained that the NAB is “the most powerful lobby in Washington.” Not only because they spend money on campaign contributions, but because “these are the people that shape the opinion to a large degree of the people who are your constituents,” McCain said.
Retired Sen. Robert G. Torricelli, D-N.J., lamenting “one of the great acts of corporate hypocrisy,” once said “the media that have been so critical of the campaign finance system should be ashamed that their own corporations are paying lobbyists to defeat meaningful reform.”
In more recent years, media companies have attempted to obstruct FCC rules promulgated during the Obama administration to digitize mandatory forms revealing information about political ad buys. Even that minor reform was too much. In addition to the NAB, News Corp., owner of the Wall Street Journal and Fox News; NBC Universal, parent of NBC News and MSNBC; and Allbritton, which owns television stations and Politico, were among the media companies to protest the 2012 rule, according to ProPublica’s Justin Elliott.
In spite of declining television advertising revenue expected this year, credit rating agencies recently gave broadcast companies a sunny two-year outlook. The reason, Carl Salas, Moody’s senior credit officer, told the Los Angeles Times, is that political ad spending is expected to boom next year thanks in large part to the Citizens United decision. “Political advertising revenue defies gravity,” Salas remarked.
(This post is from our blog: Unofficial Sources.)
Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty
The post Media Executives Are Salivating Over Big Money Flooding the 2016 Election Cycle appeared first on The Intercept.
Die Erben der Enterbten -
Von MATTHIAS RUDE, 22. Mai 2015 -
Eine Stadt aus Stein und Eisen. Eine erleuchtete Stadt, in der die Mülleimer von nie gesehenen, nicht einmal erträumten Resten überquellen – eine unerreichbare Stadt. So beschrieb Frantz Fanon in Die Verdammten dieser Erde (1961) die Sicht der Kolonisierten auf Europa. Über Afrika hingegen schrieb er: „Man wird dort irgendwo, irgendwie geboren. Man stirbt dort irgendwie, an irgendwas.“
„Der Anblick aneinander geketteter junger Schwarzer weckt in Afrika unweigerlich böse Erinnerungen; freilich sollten sie diesmal nicht mit Gewalt in den Westen verschleppt, sondern
Americans for Peace, Prosperity and Security — a new group led by former government officials with ties to the military contractors — is expanding into South Carolina as the organization seeks to press presidential candidates to adopt more hawkish positions.
As we reported earlier this month, APPS was launched this year to encourage candidates to embrace “American engagement” abroad on a range of issues the group presents as dangerous threats to national security. The group is led by former Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Mich., who served as chair of the House Intelligence Committee. Many of the people on its board work for major military and homeland security corporations.
On Wednesday, APPS announced a new chapter in South Carolina and its intent to sponsor a candidate forum next month.
Jonathan Hoffman, a former border security official in the George W. Bush administration, will serve as the executive director of the South Carolina chapter. Hoffman previously ran for Congress and worked as a consultant to the Chertoff Group, the homeland security-focused consulting firm founded by former Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff.
The South Carolina chapter will be advised by a local board that includes former Rep. Sue Myrick, R-N.C., now an advisor to the a lobbying group representing the shoe industry and Van D. Hipp, Jr., the chairman of a lobbying firm that represents drone-maker General Atomics as well as General Dynamics, L-3 Communications, Northrop Grumman, Leidos, and Raytheon.
The group continues to expand. On Wednesday afternoon in Des Moines, Iowa, former Gov. Rick Perry, R-Tex., who is mulling a presidential bid, appeared at an APPS-hosted event.
(This post is from our blog: Unofficial Sources.)
Photo: Americans for Peace, Prosperity and Security founder Mike Rogers appears at a RAND Corp. event earlier this year, APPS/Facebook
The post Defense-Contractor Group Pushing Presidential Candidates to Be More Hawkish Arrives in S.C. appeared first on The Intercept.
Earlier this month, The Intercept reported that the U.S. government secretly labeled a prominent Al Jazeera journalist a member of Al Qaeda and placed him on a terror watch list.
The basis for the designation was unclear, but the reporter, Islamabad bureau chief Ahmad Zaidan, denies ever having been a member of the group. Reached last week in Doha, Qatar — where the state-funded Al Jazeera network is based — Zaidan spoke to The Intercept about the reaction to his work and the implications of being tracked by the U.S. government. “To monitor and bug journalists is absolutely immoral and unethical,” he said.
Zaidan was known for interviewing senior Al Qaeda figures, including Osama bin Laden, and he covered the wedding of bin Laden’s son in 2001. If it was those contacts that caused U.S. suspicions, Zaidan says, that runs counter to the purpose of journalism.
“Our job as journalists is to reach out to everybody. We are some sort of go-between in cases where the two parties are not talking to each other,” Zaidan said. “I was thinking that when I was interviewing bin Laden and interviewing these militants, that maybe at least [they can] hear each other, and maybe it can help humanity to reach some sort of middle way.”
Zaidan also sees discrimination behind the surveillance. “If Peter Bergen is meeting Osama bin Laden, or Robert Fisk is meeting Osama bin Laden, no problem,” he said. “But if a non-Westerner is meeting some wanted people, he should be doubted?”
Zaidan’s picture and watch list number appear in a 2012 National Security Agency presentation, which shows that analysts tracked his cell phone contacts and location data — or metadata — as part of a program that looked for people who moved like Al Qaeda couriers. The presentation and other NSA documents revealed that the U.S. was obtaining bulk call data records from Pakistani telecoms, and analyzing the metadata of tens of millions of Pakistani cell phones.
“Faisalabad, Lahore — these main cities are the residence of millions and millions of people,” Zaidan said. “They are following and surveilling every one of us. Who has made them the god of this globe?”
Zaidan says he has had good relations with the U.S. ambassador to Pakistan and has not had run-ins with U.S. authorities.
“I did not hide myself. Whenever I made an interview, I published it. If you have any objection to me, I am living in Islamabad, you can come ask for me anytime,” he said.
He noted that the United States is not the only country to have labeled him as Al Qaeda. Zaidan, who is Syrian, returned to his country for the first time in almost 35 years in early 2012, after the uprising began against President Bashar al-Assad. Zaidan reported from inside a stronghold of the Free Syrian Army, and soon after, he says Syrian state television aired a report claiming that he was a member of Al Qaeda and had been sent to Syria by the group’s leader, Ayman al-Zawahiri.
The allegations make him fear for his security. “If you are Al Qaeda, it means they can eliminate you. And I am afraid if somebody else might do something against me and he will put the blame on America now,” Zaidan said.
But when I asked if he regretted The Intercept publishing the story, Zaidan said: “My take, as a journalist, is that you have done your job. I can’t say, ‘Ok, if I have some information about Osama bin Laden, I have to publish it, but if you have something against Ahmad Zaidan or Al Jazeera, you should not publish it.’”
“This is the right of our audience,” he said. “We should not keep our audience in the dark otherwise we are like, in fact, the National Security Agency.”
The post Al Jazeera Journalist Responds to U.S. Labeling Him Al Qaeda appeared first on The Intercept.