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Fmr. Press Sec. Gibbs: “One of the First Things They Told Me Was ‘You’re Not Even to Acknowledge the Drone Program”

In Barack Obama, Drones, News, Other Leaks, Politics, USA, Viral Videos on February 25, 2013 at 5:32 AM

 

02/25/2013

Joining MSNBC’s Chris Hayes on Sunday morning’s Up, former White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs admitted that he was told by members of Barack Obama’s administration “not to admit” that a drone warfare program exists. Gibbs shocked MSNBC’s panel guests by the admission that Obama was already focused on hiding the drone program from the press even before he took office in 2009.

“When I went through the process of becoming press secretary, one of the first things they told me was ‘you’re not even to acknowledge the drone program,” Gibbs said. “You’re not even to discuss that it exists.”

“Here’s what’s inherently crazy about that proposition: you’re being asked a question based on reporting of a program that exists, right? So, you’re the official government spokesperson acting as if the entire program – pay no attention to the man behind the curtain,” Gibbs added.

An “Informal Arrangement” to Not Report the News

In Drones, News, NWO, Other Leaks, Politics, Saudi Arabia, USA on February 6, 2013 at 10:19 PM

02/06/2013

Today the Washington Post  (2/6/13) reported some news that it’s known for years, but had decided not tell us until now: The CIA has a drone base in Saudi Arabia.

Their rationale for withholding this information was simple: The government didn’t want them to. And from what the Post is telling us today, they weren’t the only ones.

After explaining that Anwar al-Awlaki was killed by an attack  “carried out in part by CIA drones flown from a secret base in Saudi Arabia,” the paper explains:

The Washington Post had refrained from disclosing the location at the request of the administration, which cited concern that exposing the facility would undermine operations against an Al-Qaeda affiliate regarded as the network’s most potent threat to the United States, as well as potentially damage counterterrorism collaboration with Saudi Arabia.

So why did the Post finally report this news today?

The Post learned Tuesday night that another news organization was planning to reveal the location of the base, effectively ending an informal arrangement among several news organizations that had been aware of the location for more than a year.

So there was an “informal arrangement among several news organizations” not to report important news because the government felt that it could make things difficult for them.

It would appear that “another news organization” is the New York Times, which reported today:

The first strike in Yemen ordered by the Obama administration, in December 2009, was by all accounts a disaster. American cruise missiles carrying cluster munitions killed dozens of civilians, including many women and children. Another strike, six months later, killed a popular deputy governor, inciting angry demonstrations and an attack that shut down a critical oil pipeline.

Not long afterward, the CIA began quietly building a drone base in Saudi Arabia to carry out strikes in Yemen. American officials said that the first time the CIA used the Saudi base was to kill Mr. Awlaki in September 2011.

The fact that the Post was keeping something secret was known in 2011, as FAIR noted (FAIR Blog, 7/27/11), quoting the paper:

The agency is building a desert airstrip so that it can begin flying armed drones over Yemen. The facility, which is scheduled to be completed in September, is designed to shield the CIA’s aircraft, and their sophisticated surveillance equipment, from observers at busier regional military hubs such as Djibouti, where the JSOC drones are based.

The Washington Post is withholding the specific location of the CIA facility at the administration’s request.

As FAIR also pointed out then, this was reminiscent of another decision by the Post to withhold news. In 2005, the paper delivered an explosive story about “black sites” where CIA was interrogating suspects–places where, in many cases, the agency could reasonably expect the prisoners to be tortured. The Post‘s valuable expose was undercut by its decision not to name the countries involved. As the paper explained:

The Washington Post is not publishing the names of the Eastern European countries involved in the covert program, at the request of senior U.S. officials. They argued that the disclosure might disrupt counterterrorism efforts in those countries and elsewhere and could make them targets of possible terrorist retaliation.

This week, a new report from the Open Society Institute documented that more than 50 countries were involved in the CIA “extraordinary rendition” program. It’s certainly possible that some countries might have stopped helping the U.S. government torture people if it had been made known that they were doing so.

Likewise, it’s possible that Saudi Arabia will stop allowing the CIA to use its territory to conduct a secret drone war against a third country now that the secret is out. But the possibility that news might affect the world is not a reason to stop doing journalism. Indeed, it’s the best reason to do journalism.

Via FAIR

Related Links:

US Media Yet Again Conceals Newsworthy Government Secrets

Is This the Secret U.S. Drone Base in Saudi Arabia?

National Sheriffs’ Association Announces They Will Not Enforce Gun Control Laws That Violate Second Amendment

In Gun Control, News, Politics, USA, USA, World Revolution on February 2, 2013 at 5:26 PM

 

02/01/2013

NSA held a major press conference February 1st during the Winter Conference in Washington, DC. NSA’s Board of Directors have created a position statement on the current issue of Gun Control. NSA’s President, Sheriff Larry Amerson (Calhoun County, AL) and Sheriff (ret.) Aaron Kennard (Executive Director of NSA) along with members of the executive committee and board of directors were present during the reading of the statement. The statement is available below.

Via National Sheriffs’ Association

Related Link: Growing Number of Sheriffs Saying They Won’t Enforce Federal Laws Violating Second Amendment

Guantanamo Magazine “The Wire” Warns Troops Not to Read WikiLeaks

In Guantanamo, News, Other Leaks, USA, WikiLeaks on January 28, 2013 at 11:12 AM

01/27/2013

As the trial of Khalid Sheik Mohammed moves forward, journalists are at Guantanamo to cover the latest proceedings in person.

Huffington Post’s Ryan J. Reilly was one of the reporters selected to go, and tweeted an interesting photo of Guantanamo’s magazine “The Wire,” which shows a warning to troops saying, “ALERT Don’t go to the website WikiLeaks.”

An example of U.S. government compartmentalization and damage control, trying to prevent soldiers from learning the truth about what they’re really fighting for.

CNN Video of Police Charge at Sandy Hook Is Not Sandy Hook

In News, Newtown: Sandy Hook School Mass Shooting, OpExpose, Other Leaks, USA, Viral Videos on January 27, 2013 at 6:14 PM

01/22/2013

At the words “they arrived to carnage,” the CNN Anderson Cooper report cuts to helicopter footage of seven police officers charging across a parking lot and toward a school. It is breaking news coverage of the Sandy Hook shooting just hours earlier.

The three-minute report posted on the day of the shootings at the official CNN website is entitled “Tragedy Strikes at Elementary School.” But the school the police are seen ‘arriving’ to is almost certainly not Sandy Hook. It is St. Rose of Lima School, a private school a few miles away, also in Newtown. Two adults were wounded, Natalie Hammond and another whom police have not named.

CNN: “Tragedy Strikes at Elementary School,” at official CNN Youtube channel

Posted at CNN website. MPEG4 file at Dropbox

 

 

The helicopter footage is broadcast at 8 seconds into the CNN report, and again at time stamp 1:02. A close examination of the landscaping, parking lot markings, and the distinct curvature of the sidewalk reveals that no such terrain exists at Sandy Hook Elementary School. However, a Google Earth satellite photo shows the true location almost beyond a reasonable doubt. After circulating across the Internet for a time, photographic evidence seems to bear out that doubts were founded.

It is not known whether the rush to the building of the seven officers seen in the clip is a drill. Also unknown is when it took place.

The GPS coordinates of the area of the St. Rose of Lima School in question are: latitude 41.415154, longitude -73.297764. The street address which can be entered into the Google Earth search box to find the location is 40 Church Hill Rd, Newtown, CT. Google Earth is an Internet tool which allows Internet users to view satellite photos of any place on the planet in minute detail. Users can instantaneously zoom in on details as small as cars or streetlights.

In the disputed CNN footage, at time stamp :08 seconds, police can be seen running around a curved landscape feature from which diagonal lines radiate on the parking lot asphalt. At 1:02 (one minute and 2 seconds) the same clip is played again, more extensively. Officers run onto a long, curving white sidewalk next to a building. A utility room of some sort can be seen on the roof, near a metallic, grill-like device, perhaps a solar collector.

An examination of a satellite photo of Sandy Hook shows no such grouping of features. An examination of the satellite photo of St. Rose of Lima School, however, shows the exact features in detail. It is nearly indisputable that the the site where the officers are shown running is St. Rose of Lima School, not Sandy Hook.

In the CNN report, the second appearance of the footage takes place in the context of a cut to Lt. Paul Vance of the Connecticut State Police at a press conference on that day. The script runs as follows:

Vance (at press conference): “Off-duty troopers responded to the school, and with Newtown police immediately upon arrival, entered the school and began a complete active shooter search of the building.”

As the report cuts to the charging officers, the CNN voice-over says:

“They arrived to carnage.”

The clip was run on CNN’s “Anderson Cooper 360.” The theme of Cooper’s 360 program is “Keeping them honest.”

[UPDATE: News footage is generally accompanied with time-stamp information. One reporter told me "It makes it easy to find things."] – RL

CNN report, “Tragedy Strikes at Elementary School,” screen shot at 8 seconds, police storming building

CNN report, “Tragedy Strikes at Elementary School,” screen shot at 1 minute, 1 second

CNN report, “Tragedy Strikes at Elementary School,” screen shot at 1 minute, 2 seconds

Sandy Hook Elementary School, satellite photo

St. Rose of Lima School, Newtown, CT, with area of detail (Google Earth)

St. Rose of Lima School, Newtown, CT, with detail (Google Earth)

Via DigitalJournal

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