• All governments lie, but disaster lies in wait for countries whose officials smoke the same hashish they give out.

  • I.F. Stone

zaterdag 8 september 2012

Western Propaganda 4



Meet Amber Lyon: Former Reporter Exposes Massive Censorship at CNN


I saw first-hand that these regime claims were lies, and I couldn’t believe CNN was making me put what I knew to be government lies into my reporting.
- Amber Lyon
The Amber Lyon story is just the latest in a series of articles that expose the total Joseph Goebbels like censorship rampant in mainstream media today.  The first one I posted several weeks ago exposed how the NY Times basically just regurgitates whatever government officials tell them, while the other showcased how an NPR reporter covering D.C. had to leave and do her own thing out of frustration.  This is precisely why alternative media sites are taking off.  They provide the only outlets left for genuine journalism.
So back to Amber.  Back in March 2011, CNN sent a four person team to Bahrain to cover the Arab Spring.  Once there, the crew was the subject of extreme intimidation amongst other things, but they were able to record some fantastic footage.  As Glenn Greenwald of the UK’s Guardian writes in his blockbuster article from today:
In the segment, Lyon interviewed activists as they explicitly described their torture at the hands of government forces, while family members recounted their relatives’ abrupt disappearances. She spoke with government officials justifying the imprisonment of activists. And the segment featured harrowing video footage of regime forces shooting unarmed demonstrators, along with the mass arrests of peaceful protesters. In sum, the early 2011 CNN segment on Bahrain presented one of the starkest reports to date of the brutal repression embraced by the US-backed regime.
Despite these accolades, and despite the dangers their own journalists and their sources endured to produce it, CNN International (CNNi) never broadcast the documentary. Even in the face of numerous inquiries and complaints from their own employees inside CNN, it continued to refuse to broadcast the program or even provide any explanation for the decision. To date, this documentary has never aired on CNNi.
Having just returned from Bahrain, Lyon says she “saw first-hand that these regime claims were lies, and I couldn’t believe CNN was making me put what I knew to be government lies into my reporting.”
After Lyon’s crew returned from Bahrain, CNN had no correspondents regularly reporting on the escalating violence. In emails to her producers and executives, Lyon repeatedly asked to return to Bahrain. Her requests were denied, and she was never sent back. She thus resorted to improvising coverage by interviewing activists via Skype in an attempt, she said, “to keep Bahrain in the news”.
In March 2012, Lyon was laid off from CNN as part of an unrelated move by the network to outsource its investigative documentaries.
“At this point,” Lyon said, “I look at those payments as dirty money to stay silent. I got into journalism to expose, not help conceal, wrongdoing, and I’m not willing to keep quiet about this any longer, even if it means I’ll lose those payments.”
Amber Lyons, I salute you.
Please forward this post to everyone you know.  I for one want to live in a country with some real and free press.  Not some CIA propaganda arm that pretends to be a reliable source of news.
Read Greenwald’s excellent article here.
In Liberty,
Mike

Stem Niet. Acteer zelf! 2

Is dit een onderwerp van de op handen zijnde verkiezingen in Nederland of de VS? En toch gaan stemmen? Met welk doel?


Arctic ice melting at 'amazing' speed, scientists find



David Shukman visits the Ny-Alesund research base in Svalbard

Related Stories

Scientists in the Arctic are warning that this summer's record-breaking melt is part of an accelerating trend with profound implications.
Norwegian researchers report that the sea ice is becoming significantly thinner and more vulnerable.
Last month, the annual thaw of the region's floating ice reached the lowest level since satellite monitoring began, more than 30 years ago.
It is thought the scale of the decline may even affect Europe's weather.
The melt is set to continue for at least another week - the peak is usually reached in mid-September - while temperatures here remain above freezing.
'Unprecedented'
The Norwegian Polar Institute (NPI) is at the forefront of Arctic research and its international director, Kim Holmen, told the BBC that the speed of the melting was faster than expected.
"It is a greater change than we could even imagine 20 years ago, even 10 years ago," Dr Holmen said.
BBC Map
"And it has taken us by surprise and we must adjust our understanding of the system and we must adjust our science and we must adjust our feelings for the nature around us."
The institute has been deploying its icebreaker, Lance, to research conditions between Svalbard and Greenland - the main route through which ice flows out of the Arctic Ocean.
During a visit to the port, one of the scientists involved, Dr Edmond Hansen, told me he was "amazed" at the size and speed of this year's melt.
"As a scientist, I know that this is unprecedented in at least as much as 1,500 years. It is truly amazing - it is a huge dramatic change in the system," Dr Hansen said.
"This is not some short-lived phenomenon - this is an ongoing trend. You lose more and more ice and it is accelerating - you can just look at the graphs, the observations, and you can see what's happening."
Thinner ice
I interviewed Dr Hansen while the Lance was docked at Norway's Arctic research station at Ny-Alesund on Svalbard.
Key data on the ice comes from satellites but also from measurements made by a range of different techniques - a mix of old and new technology harnessed to help answer the key environmental questions of our age.

David Shukman explains the positive feedback caused by melting polar ice
The Norwegians send teams out on to the floating ice to drill holes into it and extract cores to determine the ice's origin.
And since the early 90s they have installed specialist buoys, tethered to the seabed, which use sonar to provide a near-constant stream of data about the ice above.
An electro-magnetic device known as an EM-Bird has also been flown, suspended beneath a helicopter, in long sweeps over the ice.
The torpedo-shaped instrument gathers data about the difference between the level of the seawater beneath the ice and the surface of the ice itself.
By flying transects over the ice, a picture of its thickness emerges. The latest data is still being processed but one of the institute's sea ice specialists, Dr Sebastian Gerland, said that though conditions vary year by year a pattern is clear.
"In the region where we work we can see a general trend to thinner ice - in the Fram Strait and at some coastal stations."
Where the ice vanishes entirely, the surface loses its usual highly reflective whiteness - which sends most solar radiation back into space - and is replaced by darker waters instead which absorb more heat.
According to Dr Gerland, additional warming can take place even if ice remains in a far thinner state.
"It means there is more light penetrating through the ice - that depends to a high degree on the snow cover but once it has melted the light can get through," Dr Gerland said.
"If the ice is thinner there is more light penetrating and that light can heat the water."

1/6
The most cautious forecasts say that the Arctic might become ice-free in the summer by the 2080s or 2090s. But recently many estimates for that scenario have been brought forward.
Early research investigating the implications suggests that a massive reduction in sea ice is likely to have an impact on the path of the jet stream, the high-altitude wind that guides weather systems, including storms.
The course and speed of the jet stream is governed by the difference in temperature between the Tropics and the Arctic, so a change on the scale being observed now could be felt across Europe and beyond.

Alan Thorpe of the European Weather Centre explains the link between melting ice in the Arctic and the UK's poor summer
Kim Holmen of the NPI explained how the connection might work.
"When the Arctic is ice free, it is not white any more and it will absorb more sunlight and that change will influence wind systems and where the precipitation comes.
"For northern Europe it could mean much more precipitation, while southern Europe will become drier so there are large scale shifts across the entire continent."
That assessment is mirrored by work at the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasting, based in the British town of Reading.
The centre's director-general, Alan Thorpe, said the link between the Arctic melt and European weather was complicated but it is now the subject of research.
"Where Arctic sea ice is reducing in summer - and if we have warmer than average sea surface temperatures in the north-west Atlantic - these twin factors together lead to storms being steered over the UK in summer which is not the normal situation and leads to our poorer summers."
But the research is in its earliest stages. For science, the Arctic itself is hard to decipher. The effects of its rapid melt are even tougher.
You can see David's coverage from the Arctic on BBC News on Friday - on television, on radio and online. Photographs by Mark Georgiou

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-19508906

Lebanon


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Beirut, a city on the edge


One-page article
BEIRUT // The sudden bursts of gunfire filled the air, shattering the calm around the Grand Serail, the seat of the Lebanese government. The cabinet was meeting inside the building, which was constructed in 1853 in Beirut's now glitzy downtown area.
The few men loitering among a fleet of expensive black cars in the courtyard of the Saray, or palace, looked nervous. Two young men ran toward the source of the gunfire, the mixed Shiite-Sunni district of Zqaq El Balat, a stone's throw away.
The gunfire continued for several minutes, intense and deafening. It did not take long for everyone in the Saray area to figure out what was happening. It was a celebration, not a shooting.
Life soon resumed its normal pace, as it often does in Beirut - a city on edge, a place of beauty, many contrasts and an unenviable knack for getting quickly and unexpectedly thrown into trouble, sometimes of the deadly variety.
Of late, the conflict in neighbouring Syria has been the main source of tension in Beirut.
But with or without the Syrian conflict, Beirut is, in many ways, a city that often looks on the brink of an outbreak of violence.
The gunfire on Wednesday near the Saray was celebratory - Shiites celebrating the release on bail of Wessam Alaaedeen, a Shiite militiaman who was arrested on June 25 while trying to set fire to a building housing an independent television station, with scores of employees inside. The militia, the Resistance Brigades, is a faction of Hizbollah, the militant group backed by Iran and Syria.
The man's release can hardly be an occasion that calls for celebration, but this is Beirut, where each one of the major political factions seizes every chance that comes along to make a point or get one over on their rivals.
In the case of Hizbollah and its allies, a show of force seems to be the preferred method.
Hizbollah, after all, has a guerrilla force that is arguably a more effective, better-armed and better-trained force than the country's national army and has defiantly rejected calls for it to disarm under the pretext that it defends the nation against Israel.
To those with no insight into the city's subtleties and socio-political intricacies, it is vexing, to say the least.
Beirut prides itself on being a centre of culture, art and music. In the 22 years since its ruinous civil war ended, it has built a reputation as a commercial and tourist hub and, of course, a nightlife so vibrant it has no equal in the Middle East.
Bookshops are often packed, concerts and local stage productions play to full houses. It is also a culinary haven, with healthy Lebanese fare and everything else from across the world.
So, how come some Beirutis can let off hundreds of rounds of live ammunition in the air and get away with it?
There is no easy answer, but consider this: Beirut's cultural sophistication is genuine, but - and this is what puzzles many - underneath that, there is an unpleasant, perhaps even rough, Beirut that only its natives and longtime residents identify.
Beirut is a city of divisions, suppressed aggression and a combustible sectarian mix that at times come to the surface with a bang.
On a different level, living in Beirut is both expensive and sometimes tough. Power and water cuts are an often daily nightmare that the city's estimated 1.2 million residents have to live with.
In most cases, Beirutis are buying their electricity from neighbourhood entrepreneurs who own power generators. The monthly bill can be anywhere between $120 (Dh440) and $500 depending on how much power a household needs to run essential appliances.
Residents also complain of high fuel and food prices, as well as rents. A taxi ride, no matter how short, costs a minimum of $5.
The high cost of living is just one of many things Beirutis have to cope with.
Beside the tragic deaths last month in Tripoli - 17 dead and more than 100 wounded - the Al Muqdads, a Shiite clan that not many outside Lebanon had heard of before, kidnapped Syrians and Turkish nationals in Beirut last month in a bid to secure the release of one of their own.
And that was not all. Angry Al Muqdad clansmen cut off the road to the city's international airport. In a series of news conferences shown live on all local television channels, the clan's elders addressed the nation while surrounded by security details made up of Rambo-like, heavily armed and tattooed young men.
This is not to say that Beirut is an entirely lawless city. It is heavily policed. Traffic officers dispense hefty fines for offences such as speaking on mobile phone while driving or not using a seat belt. The fines can be as much as 70,000 Lebanese liras (about Dh184).
But, more often than not, their authority does not extend to armed men with political connections - and not just any connections.
On Friday, scores of policemen in body armour and machine guns surrounded an office of the secular and pro-Syrian National Syria Party in the Al Hamra area, after two members took away the weapon of a plainclothes policeman whom they mistook for an anti-Syrian activist.
The standoff lasted several hours and attracted a large crowd while being shown live on all local TV channels. It ended with the party handing over the two men to the authorities, and their arrest.
Beirutis, much like Lebanese elsewhere, have a seemingly undying passion for firearms, something that explains why the city has had one bout of violence after another involving rival militiamen since the end of the 1975-90 civil war.
Iraq's sectarian strife in 2006 and 2007 lasted so long and claimed so many lives because, like in many parts of Lebanon, possessing and knowing how to use a firearm is a rite of passage to manhood.
Beirut's recently renovated seaside boulevard, or corniche, holds part of the secret of that passion for firearms. During the first day of the Muslim feast of Eid Al Fitr on August 19, many children played with toy guns, something that is seen across much of the Arab world on these religious holidays.
But in Beirut, the children, some as young as five, hold their innocuous toys in a manner worthy of a seasoned militiamen or professional hitmen.
Some tucked them in the waistband at the back of their trousers, others held their pistols with both hands as they aimed. Those with toy machine-guns had the muzzle facing down when not pretending to shoot, just like professional soldiers.