Sunday, May 27, 2007

"If it bleeds, it leads"... except when it comes to Al Qaeda

During a series of raids on Al-Qaeda safe houses in Iraq, U.S. military personnel discovered an official "Al-Qaeda Torture Manual" and various tools used for the express purpose of torture. Items recovered included meat cleavers, whips, and bolt-cutters. In addition, several victims -- still alive -- were discovered. The group, which included a boy, was reportedly beaten repeatedly with chains, cables, and hoses.

The Department of Defense has declassified the manual and photos of the AQ torture chambers.

Depicted above are excerpts from these items, with most of the graphic and disturbing images obscured or redacted. If you have the stomach for it, The Smoking Gun website has reprinted the entire document. Among the chapters: how to sever limbs; squeeze a victim's head in a vise; remove eyeballs; apply a blowtorch or a clothes iron to exposed flesh; and drill through hands.

* * *

Over the last several years, The New York Times has referenced the Abu Ghraib prisoner abuse scandal approximately 730 times. In fact, on May 22nd, in a Times book review of Al Gore's The Assault on Reason, Michiko Kakutani depicted the Abu Ghraib scandal in stark terms (emphasis mine):

[Gore] argues that the gruesome acts of torture committed at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq “were a direct consequence of the culture of impunity — encouraged, authorized and instituted” by President Bush and former Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld.

The Times has also referenced the military prison at Guantánamo Bay around 750 times since 9/11/2001.

Columnist Maureen Dowd mentioned 'Abu Ghraib' at least 20 times, the military prison at 'Guantánamo' 7 times, and even used the phrase "the torture at Abu Ghraib and Guantánamo."

But there are no mentions in the Times of real torture; no mentions of Al Qaeda's predilection for blow-torching, eye-gouging and hand-drilling. There are no references to the prisoners recovered from the Al Qaeda safe houses. Nor of the truly depraved treatment they and countless others -- most of whom did not survive captivity -- encountered at the hands of Al Qaeda.

Noel Sheppard at Newsbusters patiently awaited mainstream media coverage of the manual. It was not forthcoming. Glenn Reynolds at Instapundit put the media blackout as succinctly as anyone has: "Silence is complicity, you know."

After several days of waiting, Don Surber's reaction was justifiably harsh:

Where did USA Today play the torture book story?

Not on Page One.

Where did the New York Times play it?

Not on Page One.

Where did the Washington Post play it?

Not on Page One. And yet such false stories as the "flushed Koran" got widespread play in the newspapers and on television.

...Whether intentional or not, the message is clear: The United States must be above even false reports of torture, while the enemy is allowed to promote eye removal, blowtorching skin and horrors I won't go into.

James Taranto of The Wall Street Journal also "checked the blogs of Andrew Sullivan and Glenn Greenwald, among the most hysterical accusers of America in the "torture" debate, and here is what they have had to say about the al Qaeda documents: ."

So, when it comes to Newsweek's fake Koran-flushing incident at Guantanamo; or the physical hazing incidents at Abu Ghraib, or water boarding (a technique so diabolical that it's been used on U.S. special forces in their training), the mainstream media is all for publicity then. In fact, veritable firestorms of publicity.

But when it comes to real torture and the genuine evil facing us, the mainstream media is AWOL. How many times has the media shown us the World Trade Center burning and collapsing since 9/11?

And the infamous watchword of the media -- "if it bleeds, it leads" -- only applies to certain parties.

I'm not sure what to conclude about our mainstream media. Whether it's ignorance, apathy, or complicity, one thing is certain: legacy media is dying... faster than we thought possible.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

al-Qaeda drew pictures for its torture manual? Wahabbis are forbidden to depict "people", let alone obscene images! They do not tolerate any man-made image of humans or natural forms. This manual was not drawn by al-Qaeda operatives. There is a simple reason this doesn't make it to the front page - people with brains tend to notice stuff on the front page, and there is no way they would believe this shit. It's well known that 99% of what the US media says is pure bullshit. You can only be sure al-Qaeda did anything if al-Qaeda itself says so