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Reading Between the Lines to Find The Bottom Line

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Message Danny Schechter
Thank you Harry Reid for acknowledging what the world press has been saying for more than a year, maybe longer: The war is lost. Now we have the Sunday New York Times with a page one picture of an Iraqi being tortured, along with a story featuring claims by the US military that it is making headway. The story reports that its "successful "Interrogation" was enhanced by our Iraqi allies who the paper then reports was softened up by being beaten to a pulp with electrical chords.

That's what the war for Iraqi Freedom has come to. The US is now emulating the Israelis by building a wall to separate two neighborhoods in Baghdad. It's apartheid time in Mesopotamia. Any and all pretense to promoting freedom and human rights is off the agenda as a desperate Administration uses all necessary means-and not in the Malcolm X sense -- to try to prevent the inevitable and secure as much of the oil that it can.

Even the media, try as it does to promote a "balanced: debate between the stay vs withdrawal factions in Congress, cannot sanitize this horror much longer.

We have to read between the lines to reach the bottom line. Behind all of these reports is a deeper and bloodier narrative than often gets lost.

The problem is that the narrow media focus does not fill in the global dimensions of this war---the covert and not so covert warmaking in Africa, Afghanistan and so many other countries where US soldiers and mercenaries are stationed.

And that's only the beginning of the problem.

As the Bush Administration frees a rightwing Cuban terrorist who blew up a plane years back, the hypocrisy is more and more evident but you have to go to an op-ed page article by Venezuela's Ambassador Bernardo Alvarez-Herrera to get the background on Louis Posada Carilles, the former CIA executioner. He writes:

",...(he tried to assassinate Fidel Castro with C-4 explosives placed in an auditorium packed with students in Panama in 2000). Twenty-two months have passed since Venezuela formally asked for his extradition, offering 2,000 pages of documentary evidence to substantiate its claim, yet the State Department has not even acknowledged receiving the request.

Nor has Mr. Posada been charged with the 1976 attack, even though declassified Central Intelligence Agency documents indicate that his role has long been accepted as fact. Instead, he faces charges of immigration fraud, a travesty that could be equaled only by charging Osama bin Laden with entering and leaving Pakistan without a visa. Finally, Mr. Posada was released on bail on Thursday, even though he is an obvious flight risk and a violent terrorist."

2000 pages of documentary evidence! Has it been in our press or on TV? If so, I missed it.

This is the crime of omission.

Lying is a crime of commission that is endemic argues British Attorney Clive Stafford Smith with 36 clients in Guanta'namo who writes about his experience in a book extracted in the Observer newspaper. He argues that secrecy in the camp is a disease

"I had visited several times and there was something nagging at me. I could not work out what left me uniquely unsettled about the place. It was not the depressing environment; few prisons are inspirational. It was not the occasional intimidation. Eventually it came to me: I could not remember being lied to so often and so consistently. In Guanta'namo, lying was a disease that had reached pandemic proportions."

One of the lies he reveals is that some Guards there try to drive a wedge between the Muslim prisoners and some of their lawyers by tell them that their attorneys are Jewish playing to the prejudice they think they have, when it is they who are clearly the antisemites.

There is another war underway that that is as psychotic-the war against the American people that permits banking practices and lending institution to transfer HUNDREDS OF BILLIONS of dollars from the pockets of working people and the poor to wealthy institutions.

This is a class war that defrauding and demoralizing millions of people but goes largely unnoticed. (For example, recent stories focused on how poor people were ripping off banks by not paying subprime loans when in fact these loans charged more than most mortgages were given to everyone who had poor credit, not just the poor. And they were approved in the full knowledge that many would not be able to afford them.

Also, violence abroad is directly related to violence at home. Funny isn't that these dots are rarely connected. For example, it takes days before our major media admits that mass violence is pervasive in the USA. MSNBC reported Sunday:

"Why are mass shootings on the rise? What is it about modern-day America that provokes random violence like the rampage at Virginia Tech? Is it the decline of traditional morals? The depiction of violence in entertainment? The ready availability of lethal firepower?"

Good questions but they are usually only raised AFTER bloody incidents, not before. The hypocrisy is rank as Frank Rich noted Sunday: "Mr. Bush assumes the role of mourner in chief on a selective basis, and, as usual with the decider, the decisive factor is politics. Let Walter Reed erupt in scandal, and he'll take six weeks to show his face - and on a Friday at that, to hide the story in the Saturday papers. The heinous slaughter in Blacksburg, Va., by contrast, was a rare opportunity for him to ostentatiously feel the pain of families whose suffering cannot be blamed on the administration."

Knock, knock: are you paying attention? Isn't it time to stop treating all of these stories as isolated events and start seeing and discussing the patterns which are obscured by deception and distraction?

Many of us are being tortured too and we don't even know it.
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News Dissector Danny Schechter is blogger in chief at Mediachannel.Org He is the author of PLUNDER: Investigating Our Economic Calamity (Cosimo Books) available at See
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