Wednesday, June 07, 2006


The Washington Post: Pravda on the Potomac

There has always been a level of madness in the media, as there must be in any insane society. But if it's the truth you're after, you could get better information from a bag lady pushing a shopping cart.

Here's today's Washington Post account of the report [pdf] prepared for the Council of Europe (CoE), the official European human rights organization. It was released yesterday and threatens to stir up a stink.1 Craig Whitlock writes

A European investigator concluded Wednesday that there are "serious indications" that the CIA operated secret prisons for suspected al-Qaeda leaders in Poland and Romania as part of a clandestine "spider's web" to catch, transfer and hold terrorism suspects around the world.

The Post has not published the names of the East European countries involved in the covert program, at the request of senior U.S. officials, including a direct appeal from President Bush.

Oh, but they just did publish the names, didn't they?

It was a story by the Washington Post in November 2005 that led to the CoE investigation, and the names "Poland" and "Romania" surfaced in other news accounts almost immediately. So you might argue, on the Post's behalf, that since the names of the countries have been published elsewhere it no longer matters.

But that doesn't seem to be the Post's position. As best I can infer, by their logic they still have not published the names of the offending countries under their own attribution nor do they lend the CoE report the corroboration of their own research nor do they deny the CoE report. They're just letting you know what the report said. Period.

And on a related matter—

They [the Bush administration] argued that the disclosure might disrupt counterterrorism efforts in those countries and elsewhere and make them targets of possible terrorist retaliation.

Isn't it the function of a free press to inform the public of—and thereby possibly disrupt—the illegal, unethical and immoral activities of the government? And if that is not the function of a free press, why the Constitutional protection? Indeed, why do we need a "free" press?

Pravda on the Potomac. Faithful to the Party till the end.

Related post
Assisting the CIA in torture? Prove it! (2/27/06)



1The recent spate of "terrorist" arrests—the round-up of a group in Canada linked to the U.S. and multiple arrests in Britain—has a disturbing arbitrariness as to the timing. It appears almost as if in light of hearings on the counter-terrorism budget in Canada as well as the release of the CoE report, terrorist arrests that fill the front pages could not come at a more propitious moment. [back]

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