Government Justice Upriser

The U.S. Military’s Campaign Against Media Freedom

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I read a recent article by Chelsea Manning a former United States Army intelligence analyst.

I will summarize her article and then provide a small piece of critical feedback that I am surprised she has missed.

in-short Chelsea showed here shock and dismay at how the military, media and our congress, hide information. The information she was tracking is related to “War”. In specific the most recent conflicts inside of Iraq.

She knew of supposed terrorists that were being hunted and televised that were NOT terrorist. She saw televised reports of happy elections and free women but saw the reality of death and chaos while being on the streets of iraq.

“If you were following the news during the March 2010 elections in Iraq, you might remember that the American press was flooded with stories declaring the elections a success, complete with upbeat anecdotes and photographs of Iraqi women proudly displaying their ink-stained fingers. The subtext was that United States military operations had succeeded in creating a stable and democratic Iraq.

Those of us stationed there were acutely aware of a more complicated reality.

Military and diplomatic reports coming across my desk detailed a brutal crackdown against political dissidents by the Iraqi Ministry of Interior and federal police, on behalf of Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki. Detainees were often tortured, or even killed.

Early that year, I received orders to investigate 15 individuals whom the federal police had arrested on suspicion of printing “anti-Iraqi literature.” I learned that these individuals had absolutely no ties to terrorism; they were publishing a scholarly critique of Mr. Maliki’s administration. I forwarded this finding to the officer in command in eastern Baghdad. He responded that he didn’t need this information; instead, I should assist the federal police in locating more “anti-Iraqi” print shops.

I was shocked by our military’s complicity in the corruption of that election. Yet these deeply troubling details flew under the American media’s radar.”

She eloquently details how only a few reporters are allowed to be “embedded” into conflicts and how these reporters can easily be ejected or terminated for not reporting the proper facts.

“The process of limiting press access to a conflict begins when a reporter applies for embed status. All reporters are carefully vetted by military public affairs officials. This system is far from unbiased. Unsurprisingly, reporters who have established relationships with the military are more likely to be granted access.

Less well known is that journalists whom military contractors rate as likely to produce “favorable” coverage, based on their past reporting, also get preference. This outsourced “favorability” rating assigned to each applicant is used to screen out those judged likely to produce critical coverage.

Reporters who succeeded in obtaining embed status in Iraq were then required to sign a media “ground rules” agreement. Army public affairs officials said this was to protect operational security, but it also allowed them to terminate a reporter’s embed without appeal.”

And she shockingly tells how she was imprisoned for releasing government information:

“WHEN I chose to disclose classified information in 2010, I did so out of a love for my country and a sense of duty to others. I’m now serving a sentence of 35 years in prison for these unauthorized disclosures. I understand that my actions violated the law.”

My Commentary:
Can you say Military Industrial Complex?
Why is she so surprised? War is about business. It is not about freeing a society. War is about profiteering and the same people who own the “war machine” are those who also own the media conglomerates and control our government.

We hear what “they” want us to hear, we see what “they” want us to see and we “fight” where “they” want us to fight. Anything beyond that is suspect to criminal neglect.

If any of us step beyond those “normal” boundaries then we are targeted and if any of us “threaten” the agenda of the “machine” then we are prosecuted.

if you are surprised then you have been living under a rock.


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“The U.S. Military’s Campaign Against Media Freedom”