Tag Archives: Journalism

The Biggest Secret

Bundled against the freezing wind, my lawyers and I were about to reach the courthouse door when two news photographers launched into a perp-walk shoot. As a reporter, I had witnessed this classic scene dozens of times, watching in bemusement from the sidelines while frenetic photographers and TV crews did their business. I never thought I would be the perp, facing those whirring cameras.

As I walked past the photographers into the courthouse that morning in January 2015, I saw a group of reporters, some of whom I knew personally. They were here to cover my case, and now they were waiting and watching me. I felt isolated and alone.

My lawyers and I took over a cramped conference room just outside the courtroom of U.S. District Judge Leonie Brinkema, where we waited for her to begin the pretrial hearing that would determine my fate. My lawyers had been working with me on this case for so many years that they now felt more like friends. We often engaged in gallows humor about what it was going to be like for me once I went to jail. But they had used all their skills to make sure that didn’t happen and had even managed to keep me out of a courtroom and away from any questioning by federal prosecutors.

Until now.

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Posted by on January 17, 2018 in North America


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Syria, ‘Experts’ and George Monbiot

Investigative journalist Gareth Porter has published two exclusives whose import is far greater than may be immediately apparent. They concern Israel’s bombing in 2007 of a supposed nuclear plant secretly built, according to a self-serving US and Israeli narrative, by Syrian leader Bashar Assad.

Although the attack on the “nuclear reactor” occurred a decade ago, there are pressing lessons to be learnt for those analysing current events in Syria.

Porter’s research indicates very strongly that the building that was bombed could not have been a nuclear reactor – and that was clear to experts at the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) even as the story was being promoted uncritically across the western media.

But – and this is the critical information Porter conveys – the IAEA failed to disclose the fact that it was certain the building was not a nuclear plant, allowing the fabricated narrative to be spread unchallenged. It abandoned science to bow instead to political expediency.

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Posted by on November 24, 2017 in Middle East


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A lesson from Syria: it’s crucial not to fuel far-right conspiracy theories

What do we believe? This is the crucial democratic question. Without informed choice, democracy is meaningless. This is why dictators and billionaires invest so heavily in fake news. Our only defence is constant vigilance, rigour and scepticism. But when some of the world’s most famous crusaders against propaganda appear to give credence to conspiracy theories, you wonder where to turn.

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Posted by on November 23, 2017 in Middle East


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Stanley Greene, a War Photographer Who Stayed When Others Left 

Being a war photographer requires, first of all, bravery, or at least the ability to stay calm in situations of extreme danger. The other necessary qualities, beyond technical skill, include dedication, energy, ambition, a sense of curiosity and adventure, and, of course, luck. Most photographers make their names, and survive, thanks to a combination of these traits, while a handful possess the kind of soaring talent that makes their work uniquely memorable. Stanley Greene had all of this, as well as a depth of feeling; it imbued everything he did, and is the indefinable thing permeating the pictures he took.Greene died last week, at age sixty-eight, after a long battle with cancer. I met him in Iraq, where we were both covering the wake of the United States military invasion of 2003. In the small international tribe of photographers who regularly cover war, Stanley stood out. A black man in a largely white group, he was tall and handsome, and effected his own piratical sense of style, typically wearing a beret or a bandanna on his head, a hoop in each earlobe, a scarf coiled around his neck, and cool John Lennon shades. He had a wonderfully mellifluous, clear drawl of a voice, and a storyteller’s instinct for timing, humor, and suspense.

Source: Stanley Greene, a War Photographer Who Stayed When Others Left – The New Yorker

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Posted by on June 8, 2017 in Uncategorized



Fake news sells because people want it to be true

When is a lie not a lie? Recently, the Daily Telegraph reported that university students had demanded that “philosophers such as Plato and Kant” be “removed from [the] syllabus because they are white”. Other outlets followed suit, wringing their hands over the censoriousness of today’s uninquiring young minds. The article generated an extraordinary amount of consternation click bait. Angry responses were written and hot takes were quick-fried and served up by outlets anxious  to join the dinner rush of  ad-friendly disapproval.

It’s a story that could have been designed to press every outrage button of the political-correctness-gone-mad brigade. It has students trying to ban things, an apparent lack of respect for independent thought and reverse racism. It seemed too good to be true.

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Posted by on January 22, 2017 in Reportages


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Don’t call it post-truth. There’s a simpler word: lies

Sixteen years ago, I sat in court 73 of the Royal Courts of Justice in London and felt the ground crumble beneath my feet. I was following the libel trial brought by David Irving, the Holocaust denier and “pro-Nazi polemicist” – to quote the judge’s eventual verdict – against Penguin Books, which had dared publish a text which told the truth about him.I watched as Irving discarded the usual rules of evidence. The eyewitness testimony of survivors was dismissed as lies. Confessions by the guilty were waved away as fake. Inconvenient documents were written off as forgeries. All that was left was what he wanted to believe.At the time, it struck me that Irving was threatening something greater even than the memory of the Holocaust: he was undermining the very idea of facts, history and truth. If every item of evidence could be rubbished as bogus, then how could anyone ever prove anything? How would we know that Henry VIII had six wives or that Napoleon fought at Waterloo?

Source: Don’t call it post-truth. There’s a simpler word: lies | Jonathan Freedland | Opinion | The Guardian

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Posted by on December 19, 2016 in Uncategorized


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Murdered Isis hostage James Foley ‘showed true humanity’ by giving up freedom for fellow captive John Cantlie

Murdered Isis hostage James Foley “showed his true humanity” when he gave up an opportunity to escape from the extremist group in an act of solidarity towards his friend John Cantlie, a fellow hostage has revealed.

Source: Murdered Isis hostage James Foley ‘showed true humanity’ by giving up freedom for fellow captive John Cantlie

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Posted by on November 25, 2016 in Middle East


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Taibbi on Amy Goodman Arrest for Covering Dakota Pipeline Story

A little over a month ago, private security guards working on behalf of the Dakota Access pipeline company clashed with Native Americans. They were protesting the bulldozing of land on a Standing Rock Sioux tribal burial site in southern North Dakota.

Guards sprayed protesters with pepper spray and unleashed attack dogs on the crowd – which included children – in a reprehensible example of corporate violence.

Filming the protests in North Dakota that day was a crew from Democracy Now! The show’s award-winning anchorwoman Amy Goodman conducted interviews during the protests and covered the dog attacks as they unfolded.

The show’s subsequent special report about the incident went viral, with more than 14 million people viewing it on Facebook.

Source: Taibbi on Amy Goodman Arrest for Covering Dakota Pipeline Story

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Posted by on October 19, 2016 in North America, Reportages


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The Arrest of Journalists and Filmmakers Covering the Dakota Pipeline Is a Threat to Democracy—and the Planet

On October 11, Deia Schlosberg, the producer of my new film, How to Let Go of the World and Love All the Things Climate Can’t Change, was arrested in Walhalla, North Dakota, while reporting on a climate-change protest. She was held for 48 hours before being allowed to speak to a lawyer. The authorities confiscated her footage. She is now charged with three counts of felony conspiracy and faces a possible sentence of up to 45 years

For being a journalist.

Deia isn’t alone. The arrest of journalists, filmmakers, and others witnessing and reporting on citizen protests against fossil-fuel infrastructure amid climate change is part of a worrisome and growing pattern. Last month in North Dakota, a warrant was issued to arrest Amy Goodman, award-winning host of Democracy Now!, after she covered Native American–led protests against the Dakota Access Pipeline. Her footage of security guards attacking peaceful protesters with bloody-snouted dogs was viewed over 14 million times. She elected to go back to North Dakota this week to face the charges. Actor Shailene Woodley was arrested and jailed this week while leaving a protest at a construction site for the Dakota Access Pipeline. She was singled out, the police told her, because she was well-known and had 40,000 people watching live on her Facebook page. Other filmmakers shooting protest actions along the pipeline have also been arrested.

Source: The Arrest of Journalists and Filmmakers Covering the Dakota Pipeline Is a Threat to Democracy—and the Planet

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Posted by on October 18, 2016 in North America


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Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi springs to prominence


22 December 2013 Who was the most successful leader in the Middle East in 2013? It is a hoary tradition of newspapers and magazines to produce end-of-year league tables listing the successful and the unsuccessful. The results are often anodyne or quirky, but in the Middle East over the past 12 months such an approach has the advantage of cutting through the complexities of half a dozen distinct but inter-related crises by focusing on winners and losers.

Source: Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi springs to prominence

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Posted by on October 7, 2016 in Middle East, Reportages


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