NATO censorship on Afghan war

Remember all that NATO propaganda about their bloody Afghan war supposedly being for freedom, including media freedom blah blah blah blah? Well, there is no press or other media freedom in the “new” Afghanistan, made by George W. Bush, inherited by Barack Obama. No free speech there. Not for Afghans.

Not for journalists from NATO countries either.

By The Canadian Press:

Wed, April 29, 2009

Restrictions on war coverage

OTTAWA — NATO has imposed tough new restrictions on foreign journalists covering the war in southern Afghanistan, changes that could affect how much Canadians see and hear from war-torn Kandahar.

The new measures, imposed in early March, mirror the way the U.S. military manages reporters in Iraq.

The restrictions make it virtually impossible for Canadian journalists to leave Kandahar Airfield on their own to interview local Afghans.

Last month, Canadian soldiers were required to escort newly arrived journalists everywhere on the airfield, including to the dining hall and showers. A photographer from the Reuters news agency and a handful of Canadian journalists were escorted between buildings and confined to their sleeping quarters when not working.

The practice has been temporarily suspended under pressure from the Canadian military, which has tried unsuccessfully to have the policy reversed.

Using over polite words, like “managing reporters” instead of “censoring reporters”, this item may be the maximum one may find in the mainstream media about those media being not free, but under military dictatorship. It may be a code message from the journalists involved to say: “Next time, when you read a pro NATO report on the Afghan war by me, don’t trust me. It will be untrue.”

Afghan paper accuses government of internet censorship: here.

The New Zealand National government of Prime Minister John Key revealed on April 19 that it had received an official request from the United States for the highly trained Special Air Services combat unit to return to Afghanistan: here.

Tens of thousands of Pashtun-speaking villagers have been forced to flee from their homes in recent days as the result of the punishing offensive the Pakistani military has mounted, at Washington’s urging, against pro-Taliban militants in the country’s North-West Frontier Province: here.

Kabul’s new elite live high on West’s largesse: here.

Australia and Afghanistan: here; and here. Spain and Afghanistan: here.

Pakistan: The US political and military establishment and the American media have been mounting an increasingly shrill campaign to bully Islamabad into fully complying with US diktats in what Washington has redefined as the AfPak war theater: here.

AfPak war depopulates and devastates north-west Pakistan: here.

17 thoughts on “NATO censorship on Afghan war


    A Lexicon of Disappointment
    By Naomi Klein
    April 15, 2009

    “It’s time to stop waiting for hope to be handed down, and start pushing it up, from the hoperoots”

    All is not well in Obamafanland. It’s not clear exactly what accounts for the change of mood. Maybe it was the rancid smell emanating from Treasury’s latest bank bailout. Or the news that the president’s chief economic adviser, Larry Summers, earned millions from the very Wall Street banks and hedge funds he is protecting from reregulation now. Or perhaps it began earlier, with Obama’s silence during Israel’s Gaza attack.

    Whatever the last straw, a growing number of Obama enthusiasts are starting to entertain the possibility that their man is not, in fact, going to save the world if we all just hope really hard.

    This is a good thing. If the superfan culture that brought Obama to power is going to transform itself into an independent political movement, one fierce enough to produce programs capable of meeting the current crises, we are all going to have to stop hoping and start demanding.

    The first stage, however, is to understand fully the awkward in-between space in which many US progressive movements find themselves. To do that, we need a new language, one specific to the Obama moment. Here is a start.

    Hopeover. Like a hangover, a hopeover comes from having overindulged in something that felt good at the time but wasn’t really all that healthy, leading to feelings of remorse, even shame. It’s the political equivalent of the crash after a sugar high. Sample sentence: “When I listened to Obama’s economic speech my heart soared. But then, when I tried to tell a friend about his plans for the millions of layoffs and foreclosures, I found myself saying nothing at all. I’ve got a serious hopeover.”

    Hoper coaster. Like a roller coaster, the hoper coaster describes the intense emotional peaks and valleys of the Obama era, the veering between joy at having a president who supports safe-sex education and despondency that single-payer healthcare is off the table at the very moment when it could actually become a reality. Sample sentence: “I was so psyched when Obama said he is closing Guantanamo. But now they are fighting like mad to make sure the prisoners in Bagram have no legal rights at all. Stop this hoper coaster–I want to get off!”

    Hopesick. Like the homesick, hopesick individuals are intensely nostalgic. They miss the rush of optimism from the campaign trail and are forever trying to recapture that warm, hopey feeling–usually by exaggerating the significance of relatively minor acts of Obama decency. Sample sentences: “I was feeling really hopesick about the escalation in Afghanistan, but then I watched a YouTube video of Michelle in her organic garden and it felt like inauguration day all over again. A few hours later, when I heard that the Obama administration was boycotting a major UN racism conference, the hopesickness came back hard. So I watched slideshows of Michelle wearing clothes made by ethnically diverse independent fashion designers, and that sort of helped.”

    Hope fiend. With hope receding, the hope fiend, like the dope fiend, goes into serious withdrawal, willing to do anything to chase the buzz. (Closely related to hopesickness but more severe, usually affecting middle-aged males.) Sample sentence: “Joe told me he actually believes Obama deliberately brought in Summers so that he would blow the bailout, and then Obama would have the excuse he needs to do what he really wants: nationalize the banks and turn them into credit unions. What a hope fiend!”

    Hopebreak. Like the heartbroken lover, the hopebroken Obama-ite is not mad but terribly sad. She projected messianic powers onto Obama and is now inconsolable in her disappointment. Sample sentence: “I really believed Obama would finally force us to confront the legacy of slavery in this country and start a serious national conversation about race. But now he never seems to mention race, and he’s using twisted legal arguments to keep us from even confronting the crimes of the Bush years. Every time I hear him say ‘move forward,’ I’m hopebroken all over again.”

    Hopelash. Like a backlash, hopelash is a 180-degree reversal of everything Obama-related. Sufferers were once Obama’s most passionate evangelists. Now they are his angriest critics. Sample sentence: “At least with Bush everyone knew he was an asshole. Now we’ve got the same wars, the same lawless prisons, the same Washington corruption, but everyone is cheering like Stepford wives. It’s time for a full-on hopelash.”

    In trying to name these various hope-related ailments, I found myself wondering what the late Studs Terkel would have said about our collective hopeover. He surely would have urged us not to give in to despair. I reached for one of his last books, Hope Dies Last. I didn’t have to read long. The book opens with the words: “Hope has never trickled down. It has always sprung up.”

    And that pretty much says it all. Hope was a fine slogan when rooting for a long-shot presidential candidate. But as a posture toward the president of the most powerful nation on earth, it is dangerously deferential. The task as we move forward (as Obama likes to say) is not to abandon hope but to find more appropriate homes for it–in the factories, neighborhoods and schools where tactics like sit-ins, squats and occupations are seeing a resurgence.

    Political scientist Sam Gindin wrote recently that the labor movement can do more than protect the status quo. It can demand, for instance, that shuttered auto plants be converted into green-future factories, capable of producing mass-transit vehicles and technology for a renewable energy system. “Being realistic means taking hope out of speeches,” he wrote, “and putting it in the hands of workers.”

    Which brings me to the final entry in the lexicon.

    Hoperoots. Sample sentence: “It’s time to stop waiting for hope to be handed down, and start pushing it up, from the hoperoots”

    About Naomi Klein
    Naomi Klein is an award-winning journalist and syndicated columnist and the author of the international and New York Times bestseller The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism (September 2007); an earlier international best-seller, No Logo: Taking Aim at the Brand Bullies; and the collection Fences and Windows: Dispatches from the Front Lines of the Globalization Debate (2002).


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