imc indymedia

Los Angeles Indymedia : Activist News

white themeblack themered themetheme help
About Us Contact Us Calendar Publish RSS
Features
latest news
best of news
syndication
commentary


KILLRADIO

VozMob

ABCF LA

A-Infos Radio

Indymedia On Air

Dope-X-Resistance-LA List

LAAMN List




IMC Network:

Original Cities

www.indymedia.org africa: ambazonia canarias estrecho / madiaq kenya nigeria south africa canada: hamilton london, ontario maritimes montreal ontario ottawa quebec thunder bay vancouver victoria windsor winnipeg east asia: burma jakarta japan korea manila qc europe: abruzzo alacant andorra antwerpen armenia athens austria barcelona belarus belgium belgrade bristol brussels bulgaria calabria croatia cyprus emilia-romagna estrecho / madiaq euskal herria galiza germany grenoble hungary ireland istanbul italy la plana liege liguria lille linksunten lombardia london madrid malta marseille nantes napoli netherlands nice northern england norway oost-vlaanderen paris/Île-de-france patras piemonte poland portugal roma romania russia saint-petersburg scotland sverige switzerland thessaloniki torun toscana toulouse ukraine united kingdom valencia latin america: argentina bolivia chiapas chile chile sur cmi brasil colombia ecuador mexico peru puerto rico qollasuyu rosario santiago tijuana uruguay valparaiso venezuela venezuela oceania: adelaide aotearoa brisbane burma darwin jakarta manila melbourne perth qc sydney south asia: india mumbai united states: arizona arkansas asheville atlanta austin baltimore big muddy binghamton boston buffalo charlottesville chicago cleveland colorado columbus dc hawaii houston hudson mohawk kansas city la madison maine miami michigan milwaukee minneapolis/st. paul new hampshire new jersey new mexico new orleans north carolina north texas nyc oklahoma philadelphia pittsburgh portland richmond rochester rogue valley saint louis san diego san francisco san francisco bay area santa barbara santa cruz, ca sarasota seattle tampa bay tennessee urbana-champaign vermont western mass worcester west asia: armenia beirut israel palestine process: fbi/legal updates mailing lists process & imc docs tech volunteer projects: print radio satellite tv video regions: oceania united states topics: biotech

Surviving Cities

www.indymedia.org africa: canada: quebec east asia: japan europe: athens barcelona belgium bristol brussels cyprus germany grenoble ireland istanbul lille linksunten nantes netherlands norway portugal united kingdom latin america: argentina cmi brasil rosario oceania: aotearoa united states: austin big muddy binghamton boston chicago columbus la michigan nyc portland rochester saint louis san diego san francisco bay area santa cruz, ca tennessee urbana-champaign worcester west asia: palestine process: fbi/legal updates process & imc docs projects: radio satellite tv
printable version - js reader version - view hidden posts - tags and related articles

U.N. Spying and Evasions of American Journalism

by brian Monday, Mar. 01, 2004 at 3:12 AM

by normon solomon British intelligence caught spying on Kofi Annan, scandal rocks blair govt; us journalists evasive.

Tony Blair and George W. Bush want the issue of spying at the United Nations to go away. That's one of the reasons the Blair government ended its prosecution of whistleblower Katharine Gun on Wednesday (Feb. 25). But within 24 hours, the scandal of U.N. spying exploded further when one of Blair's former cabinet ministers said that British spies closely monitored conversations of U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan during the lead-up to the invasion of Iraq last year.



The new allegations, which have the ring of truth, are now coming from ex-secretary of international development Clare Short. "I have seen transcripts of Kofi Annan's conversations," she said in an interview with BBC Radio. "In fact I have had conversations with Kofi in the run-up to war thinking 'Oh dear, there will be a transcript of this and people will see what he and I are saying.'" Short added that British intelligence had been explicitly directed to spy on Annan and other top U.N. officials.



Few can doubt that some major British news outlets will thoroughly dig below the surface of Short's charges. But on the other side of the Atlantic, the journalistic evasion on the subject of U.N. spying has been so extreme that we can have no confidence in the mainstream media's inclination to adequately cover this new bombshell.



For 51 weeks – from the day that the Observer newspaper in London broke the news about spying at the United Nations until the moment that British prosecutors dropped charges against Gun on Wednesday – major news outlets in the United States almost completely ignored the story.



The Observer's expose, under the headline "Revealed: U.S. Dirty Tricks to Win Vote on Iraq War," came 18 days before the invasion of Iraq began. By unveiling a top secret U.S. National Security Agency memo, the newspaper provided key information when it counted most: before the war started.



That NSA memo outlined surveillance of a half-dozen delegations with swing votes on the U.N. Security Council, noting a focus on "the whole gamut of information that could give U.S. policy-makers an edge in obtaining results favorable to U.S. goals" – support for war on Iraq. The memo said that the agency had started a "surge" of spying on U.N. diplomats, including wiretaps of home and office telephones along with reading of e-mails.



Three days after the story came out, I asked for an assessment from the man who gave the Pentagon Papers to journalists in 1971. Daniel Ellsberg responded: "This leak is more timely and potentially more important than the Pentagon Papers. ... Truth-telling like this can stop a war."



But even though – or perhaps especially because – the memo was from the U.S. government and showed that Washington was spying on U.N. diplomats, the big American media showed scant interest. The coverage was either shoddy or non-existent.



A year ago, at the brink of war, the New York Times did not cover the U.N. spying revelation. Nearly 96 hours after the Observer had reported it, I called Times deputy foreign editor Alison Smale and asked why not. "We would normally expect to do our own intelligence reporting," Smale replied. She added that "we could get no confirmation or comment." In other words, U.S. intelligence officials refused to confirm or discuss the memo – so the Times did not see fit to report on it.



The Washington Post didn't do much better. It printed a 514-word article on a back page with the headline "Spying Report No Shock to U.N." Meanwhile, the Los Angeles Times published a longer piece emphasizing from the outset that U.S. spy activities at the United Nations are "long-standing." For good measure, the piece reported, "some experts suspected that it could be a forgery" – and "several former top intelligence officials said they were skeptical of the memo's authenticity."



Within days, any doubt about the memo's "authenticity" was gone. The British media reported that the U.K. government had arrested an unnamed female employee at a British intelligence agency in connection with the leak.



By then, however, the spotty coverage in the mainstream U.S. press had disappeared. In fact – except for a high-quality detailed news story by a pair of Baltimore Sun reporters that appeared in that newspaper on March 4 – there isn't an example of mainstream U.S. news reporting on the story last year that's worthy of any pride.



In mid-November, for the first time, Katharine Gun's name became public when the British press reported that she had been formally charged with violating the draconian Official Secrets Act. Appearing briefly at court proceedings, she was a beacon of moral clarity. Disclosure of the NSA memo, Gun said, was "necessary to prevent an illegal war in which thousands of Iraqi civilians and British soldiers would be killed or maimed." And: "I have only ever followed my conscience."



A search of the comprehensive LexisNexis database finds that for nearly three months after Katharine Gun's name first appeared in the British media, U.S. news stories mentioning her scarcely existed. When Gun's name did appear in U.S. dailies, it was almost always on an opinion page. News sections were oblivious: Again, with the notable exception of the Baltimore Sun (which ran an in-depth news article about Gun and Ellsberg on Feb. 1), mainstream U.S. news departments proceeded as though Katharine Gun were a non-person. She only became "newsworthy" after charges were dropped.



"Mr. Blair's spokesmen were conspicuously silent on Wednesday, apparently hopeful that the case would disappear from the public agenda," the New York Times reported in Thursday's paper. But the case had never been on the public agenda as far as the Times news department was concerned.



(Background about the Gun case has been posted at www.accuracy.org/gun, a web page of the Institute for Public Accuracy, where my colleagues and I have worked to make information available about the U.N. spying story.)



Overall, the matter of Washington's spying at the United Nations has been off the American media map until February. Whether the major U.S. news outlets will do a better job on the subject this spring remains to be seen. But it would be a mistake to assume that they will.



Although the prosecution of Gun has ended, the issue of U.N. spying has not. At stake is the integrity of a world body that should not tolerate intrusive abuses by the government of its host country.



We can assume that Adolfo Aguilar Zinser, a former Mexican ambassador to the United Nations, did not speak lightly when he made a strong statement that appeared in an Associated Press dispatch from Mexico City on Feb. 12: "They are violating the U.N. headquarters covenant." He was referring to officials of the U.S. government.



That statement now resonates more loudly than ever. With British and American intelligence agencies working closely together, both have been locked in a shamefully duplicitous embrace. In the interests of war, their nefarious activities served as direct counterpoints to the deceptions coming from 10 Downing Street and the White House. In the interests of journalism, reporters should now pursue truth wherever it might lead.



Norman Solomon is co-author of "Target Iraq: What the News Media Didn't Tell You."

http://www.alternet.org/story.html?StoryID=17977

Report this post as:

LATEST COMMENTS ABOUT THIS ARTICLE
Listed below are the 10 latest comments of 1 posted about this article.
These comments are anonymously submitted by the website visitors.
TITLE AUTHOR DATE
And this is news because...? Capitalist Monday, Mar. 01, 2004 at 4:49 PM

Local News

Change Links September 2018 posted S02 10:22PM

More Scandals Rock Southern California Nuke Plant San Onofre A30 11:09PM

Site Outage Friday A30 3:49PM

Change Links August 2018 A14 1:56AM

Setback for Developer of SC Farm Land A12 11:09PM

More problems at Shutdown San Onofre Nuke J29 10:40PM

Change Links 2018 July posted J09 8:27PM

More Pix: "Families Belong Together," Pasadena J02 7:16PM

"Families Belong Together" March, Pasadena J02 7:08PM

Short Report on the Families Belong Together Protest in Los Angeles J30 11:26PM

Summer 2018 National Immigrant Solidarity Network News Alert! J11 6:58AM

Watch the Debate: Excluded Candidates for Governor of California M31 5:20AM

Change Links June 2018 posted M28 7:41AM

The Montrose Peace Vigil at 12 Years M22 8:01PM

Unity Archive Project M21 9:42AM

Dianne Feinstein's Promotion of War, Secret Animal Abuse, Military Profiteering, Censorshi M17 10:22PM

CA Senate Bill 1303 would require an independent coroner rather than being part of police M10 9:08PM

Three years after OC snitch scandal, no charges filed against sheriffs deputies M10 8:57PM

California police agencies violate Brown Act (open meetings) M02 8:31PM

Insane Company Wants To Send Nuke Plant Waste To New Mexico A29 11:47PM

Change Links May 2018 A27 8:40AM

Worker-Owned Car Wash on Vermont Closed A27 5:37AM

GUIDE TO REBEL CITY LOS ANGELES AVAILABLE A13 12:39AM

lausd whistle blower A11 6:58AM

Website Upgrade A10 10:02AM

Help KCET and UCLA identify 60s-70s Chicano images A04 8:02PM

UCLA Luskin: Casting Youth Justice in a Different Light A02 6:58PM

Change Links April 2018 A01 6:27PM

More Local News...

Other/Breaking News

Abolir l'économie S18 11:18AM

The Dictatorship of Corporations S17 5:26PM

18 Lethal Consequences Of Hunting S17 3:13PM

Paraphysique de l'outplacement déontologue S15 6:51AM

Creative Destruction Hack Mod Generator S15 3:49AM

Shopping du bashing S14 8:42AM

After Lehman Brothers, Experts Say Global Financial Crisis Can Happen Again S13 8:28PM

“Animaniacs in Concert!” Starring Voice Legend Rob Paulsen S12 9:30PM

Probabilités de fin d'humanité S12 6:49AM

Florida Area of Migrant Farmworkers Denied Right to Construct Health Clinic near NaplesCIW S11 2:57AM

Propagande de virus, virus de propagande S10 7:34AM

Steer clear of work morality! S09 12:10PM

Sweatshop Lodge Ceremony Continues in US Fed Prisons Led by Inmates S08 6:17PM

Paraphysique de l'origami S08 7:11AM

The Shortwave Report 09/07/18 Listen Globally! S06 11:23PM

August 2018 Honduras Coup update S06 12:28PM

Du réussissement putréfié S06 10:55AM

Brett Kavanaugh Filled The 5th Circuit With Execution Judges S06 6:14AM

Log S06 4:25AM

Augusta Georgia Woman Gets 5 Year Prison Sentence for Writing About Russians Crime Acts S05 8:29AM

Paraphysique de contextualité S05 8:29AM

Crisis Regulation in Global Capitalism S03 3:39PM

Ex-voto de réification S03 10:24AM

Please Oppose Warmonger, Execution and Torture Supporting Bush Operative Brett Kavanaugh A31 10:45PM

Paraphysique d'exploitation occultation A31 10:24PM

Ryan Zinke Is Charging Taxpayers For A Trophy Hunters' Council A31 2:10PM

Is the Financial Crash 2.0 Coming? A31 10:07AM

The Shortwave Report 08/31/18 Listen Globally! A30 11:44PM

More Breaking News...
© 2000-2018 Los Angeles Independent Media Center. Unless otherwise stated by the author, all content is free for non-commercial reuse, reprint, and rebroadcast, on the net and elsewhere. Opinions are those of the contributors and are not necessarily endorsed by the Los Angeles Independent Media Center. Running sf-active v0.9.4 Disclaimer | Privacy