A Must Watch: Absolute Power

This is a fascinating, at times chilling documentary from Aljazeera by one of its senior journalists, at least one of my favorite, since his days in the BBC, Rageh Omar, revealing “the tricks of the trade” of Arab dictatorship.

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The War You Don’t See

Dan Rather, heir to the iconic American news anchor Walter Cronkite, admitted: “if we [journalists] had done our job and stopped being war stenographers, maybe we could have stopped that war [in Iraq].” As we enter 2011, and at a time when for mainstream news outlets, facts don’t seem to matter anymore and when illusions are held for true, all we can hope is for a major paradigm shift to happen. What Wikileaks and other independent online whistleblower organizations do, is making the truth so compelling that it becomes very difficult or impossible to spin. This is tremendously important. The truth matters as it could have meant life and death, freedom and occupation for Iraqis, Palestinians and Afghans.

Make no mistake, the trial against Julian Assange is an attempt to stifle freedom of speech. It’s a pathetic case of character assassination.

So it’s all the more important to pause for a moment and remember where mainstream media has failed to report the truth.

John Pilger is a former war correspondent and award-winning documentary film maker. His latest film was first shown on British independent TV a couple of days ago. “The War You Don’t See” is a poignant look at the way mainstream media has manipulated the facts in the run up to America’s wars.

The full version is available free online until 10 January 2011. So don’t miss it. You can support Pilger’s work by buying his films online here.

Terrorism Rooted in Occupation, Not In Islam

Much of the narrative surrounding the ongoing U.S. military adventures in the Muslim world have been articulated around the idea that Islam is inherently anti-Western. This rhetoric had sipped into the hearts and minds of millions in the West as was obvious during the recent controversy over the building of a Muslim community center in New York followed by the acrimonious -eventually aborted- call for a “Burn a Koran Day.” For Islamophobes the equation is quite simple: they hate us and attack us for what we are, and not for what we do. But little they know that a new research now shows that terrorism in the name of Islam has little to do with Islam itself and more to do with foreign occupation, as says Robert A. Pape in an article published in Foreign Policy:

New research provides strong evidence that suicide terrorism such as that of 9/11 is particularly sensitive to foreign military occupation, and not Islamic fundamentalism or any ideology independent of this crucial circumstance. Although this pattern began to emerge in the 1980s and 1990s, a wealth of new data presents a powerful picture.

More than 95 percent of all suicide attacks are in response to foreign occupation, according to extensive research that we conducted at the University of Chicago’s Project on Security and Terrorism, where we examined every one of the over 2,200 suicide attacks across the world from 1980 to the present day. As the United States has occupied Afghanistan and Iraq, which have a combined population of about 60 million, total suicide attacks worldwide have risen dramatically — from about 300 from 1980 to 2003, to 1,800 from 2004 to 2009. Further, over 90 percent of suicide attacks worldwide are now anti-American. The vast majority of suicide terrorists hail from the local region threatened by foreign troops, which is why 90 percent of suicide attackers in Afghanistan are Afghans.
(Source: Foreign Policy)

There’s little chance this would convince the Gellers, Spencers and Wilders of this world but that’s at least a solid argument to back what every reasonable mind knew already.