Thursday, September 7

The Path to Propaganda and Right Wing-Nuttery

In the midst of the "Path to 9-11" furor, I've noticed one factor that's been missing - what has the right have to say for itself in this debacle? Do they think it's just fine to smear and American President just because he happened to be a Democrat? (Well, sure - that's a no brainer) But have they really no conscience what so ever about flat-out lies being portrayed to the American public and more importantly - to our children - reaching them in a way that the actual 9-11 Commission Report never will?

The Amazing thing is that they're not only fine with it, they think that what this ABC Docudrama is showing - IS THE FAIR AND HONEST TRUTH!

I Shit you not.

A few lines after the money quote from Hugh Hewlett concerning the results of the emergency Disney/ABC confab over changes to "Path to 9-11" which has been propagaged by Thinkprogress among others.

- The message of the Clinton Admin failures remains fully intact.

There's an even more fascinating treasure trove of wing-nuttery.

The story here is the backlash that the Disney/ABC execs experienced was completely unexpected and is what caused them to question themselves and make these changes at all. Had this been the Bush Admin pressuring, they wouldn't have even taken the call. The execs and studio bosses are dyed in the wool liberals and huge supporters of Clinton and the Democratic Party in general.

Ok, let me get this perfectly straight. DISNEY EXECS are now "dyed in the wool liberals"?

Hold the phone, the horses and my lunch. The Disney Corporation is a long way from being friendly with the Democratic Party or Liberals. We all should know well how Disney tried to completely derail the release of Farenheit 9-11 in 2003.

On April 13, 2004, after [Miramax Chief Harvey] Weinstein saw a rough cut, he went back to Eisner and asked him to reconsider his year-old decision not to distribute Fahrenheit 9/11. After getting a report on the content, which included footage from such sources as Al Jazeera and Al-Arabiya television, Eisner saw no reason to change his position. He again declared that Disney wouldn't have anything to do with the movie.

This was after Mel Gibson's Icon Productions had already ducked out of it's contract with Moore. And we all now know that Mel is like real "liberal" and stuff. Yep.

Besides Walmart, Disney remains one of the most Labor and Union hostile companies in the country.

What's Disney paying its workers in Haiti to produce kids' $19.99 garments based on the hit movie 101 Dalmatians?

Answer: Six cents a garment.

(Subtext: Contrast this with the way Disney treated the Dalmatian puppies during the filming of the movie. According to the company, it gave pups round-the-clock care in special dog motels staffed by personal trainers. "Our animals were treated better than most humans," the company glowed in one of its press kits.")

Well, better than the Humans that work for you.

More from Hewitt.

As I understand this, the lawyers and production team spent literally months corroborating every story point down to the sentence. The fact that they were the attacked and vilified by their "own team" took them completely by surprise; this is the first time they've been labeled right-wing, conservative conspiracists.

The first time? As Digby (via Kos) has already pointed out - this far from the first time.

Disney/ABC cancelled the reality show featuring a gay couple, "Welcome To The Neighborhood," ten days before it was to air when James Dobson and the religious right threatened to withdraw their support for the conservative classic "Narnia."

They made a deal with Mel Gibson, beloved on the religious right for his film "The Passion," to produce a film about the Holocaust even though they knew at the time he held extremely controversial views about the Holocaust and Judaism. They only cancelled the project when he was caught by the police drunkenly saying "all the wars in the world are caused by the Jews."

When the James Dobson and the Right-wing calls, Disney jumps! When President Clinton calls - they put him on hold.

According the Hewitt he's already seen "Path to 9-11", but President Clinton, Madaleine Albright and Sandy Berger are still waiting...

Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and former National Security Adviser Sandy Berger have also requested copies of the film from ABC, and both have been denied.

That's not exactly how you treat the guys your "own team" is it?

Let re-emphasize one of Hewitt's points for a moment:

the lawyers and production team spent literally months corroborating every story point down to the sentence.

Every Sentence? Really? Then why does Tom Kean Sr. the Former Republican Co-Chair of the 9-11 Commission seem to have been completely unaware of the offending scene where Sandy Berger is shown hanging up on the CIA Operatives who have Bin Ladin "in their sights"?

In a conference call with Reporters...

Kean said, "I don't think the facts are clear" about those events, and that while ABC had "chose to portray it this way," "my memory of it is that it could have happened any number of ways."

But here's the kicker - it's seem that entire scene was ad-libbed according to mini-series author Cyrus Nowrasteh.

Mr. Berger's character is also seen abruptly hanging up during a conversation with a C.I.A. officer at a critical moment of a military operation. In an interview yesterday with KRLA-AM in Los Angeles, Cyrus Nowrasteh, the mini-series' screenwriter and one of its producers, said that moment had been improvised.

"Sandy Berger did not slam down the phone," Mr. Nowrasteh said. "That is not in the report. That was not scripted. But you know when you're making a movie, a lot of things happen on set that are unscripted. Accidents occur, spontaneous reactions of actors performing a role take place. It's the job of the filmmaker to say, `You know, maybe we can use that.' "

Ok, wait a second - the problem isn't that Sandy didn't slam the phone down, the problem is the entire scenario of having Bin Laden "in their sights" of CIA and Special Forces in Afghanistan simply didn't happen.

To be fair, there are points in his book "Against All Enemies" during October-September of 2000 where former NSA Terrorism Head Richard Clarke believes he spotted Bin Laden -- through the Camera of an unarmed Predator Drone -- but American assets were simply not in any position at that time to do anything about it.

AAE Page #221

From the Camera images on three flights, I am convinced that I was looking at Bin Laden [But] there were no submarines off the coast to fire [a cruise missile attack like that which missed Bin Laden in 1998]

It was only after these sets of flight that request was put to the Air Force to arm the Predator's with missiles. Since then the armed Predator has been used frequently, including this part January where an attempt was made to killed Al Qaeda's Number "2" man - Al Zawahiri. These failed to find their target, and have been seem by some in the world as nothing more than an attempt to help protect and bolster the Musharraf regime.

On January 8th and 13th, 2006, the United States bombed its ally Pakistan with the pretext of trying to eliminate "Al Qaeda's Number 2 man", Al Zawahiri. Since then, important demonstrations have taken place in Pakistan against these actions, which are actually part of the ethnic repression unleashed by the United States in that country, in order to help General Musharraf's dictatorship to keep control of the Baluchistan region, rich in natural gas.

A highly cynical view to be sure. But still not nearly as cynical as Hewitt as he reviews the film and it's critics.

In the self-serving complaints about this scene or that take delivered by Richard Ben-Veniste and other proxies are replayed again the deadly narcissisms of the'90s. The program's great faults are --they say-- in the inaccurate portrayal of Bill Clinton and his furrowed brow and continual efforts to track down bin Laden.

It is all about them, you see. Just as it was in the '90s. To hell with O'Neill or the victims of 9/11, and forget about the worldwide menace that continues to nurse its hatred, though now from caves and not compounds.

Not a word from these critics about the program's greatest strength, which is in the accurate rendering of the enemy, and the warning it might give about the need for continual vigilance.

That fact that al Qaeda are dangerous and dedicated killers, does not need to be repeatedly ad nauseum. What's clearly missing from this film is that which the right-wing itself is so often clamoring for.... Balance.

Did Clinton attempt to kill Bin Laden and fail? Yes. Just like Bush attempted to kill al-Zawahiri and failed.

It's unquestionable that Clinton might have been able to do better, if he'd gotten the right lucky break. He didn't.

But Clinton didn't spend the first eight months of 2001 ignoring Al Qaeda and warnings of his own NSA Terrorism Chief about Bin Laden. Clinton didn't ignore the August 8th PDB stating "Bin Laden determined to Attack in the U.S.". Clinton didn't sit there with "My Pet Goat" as the Nation was being attacked.

All of these actions - by President Bush - are glossed over in "Path to 9/11".

Not to mention the fact that after 9/11 Bush diverted forces from Afghanistan into Iraq (prior to Congressional approval) and failed to capture or kill Bin Laden at Tora Bora.

Balance is : Clinton did everything he could do - short of starting a War - to get Bin Laden, and at that point in time he'd already gone through a knock-down-drag-out-fight to get our forces into Bosnia to end the Ethnic Cleansing going on there. There was no way he was going to get a Republican Congress to go along with going to War with Afghanistan to get Bin Laden - because when he'd tried in 1998, they accused him of "Wagging the Dog". Republicans fought his attempts to beef up our anti-terrorism and wiretapping capabilities tooth and nail.

The claim that Clinton was "distracted by Monica" is bogus. in his own book President Clinton talks about how as a child growing up with an alcoholic father he's long ago learned to compartmentalize portions of his life which simply couldn't be dealt with or resolved. During the Lewinsky Scandal he kept focused purely on his job, only diverting from it when he had to meet with his attorneys -- and had any and all news about Monica and the Impeachment trial removed from his Newspapers before he read them, just so he could remain focused on his job without that distraction.

The ones who were distracted from their job by Monica - was Congress.

Now they want to claim - through their syncophant proxies at Disney - that Clinton was "Soft on Terrorism"?


Clinton had standing orders to have Bin Laden Killed, but the Pentagon Brass simply wouldn't do it. Clinton told Gen Hugh Shelton - Chairman of the Joint Chiefs...

"Hugh, what i think would scare the shit outof these al Qaeda guys more than any cruise missle... would be the sight of U.S. commandos, Ninja guys in black suits, jumping out of helicopters into their camps, spraying machine guns. Even if we don't get the big guys, it will have a good effect." Shelton looked pained. He explained that the camps were a long way away from anywhere we could launch a helicopter raid. Nonetheless, America's top military oficer agreed to "look into it".

But the Pentagon wasn't having any more of Clinton's "wild adventures" in Africa and the Middle-east - not after Somalia.

In October of 2000, Richard Clarke discussed the problem following the bombing of the Cole with Mike Sheehan, then the State Depts top Counter-terrorism official.

"What's it gonna take, Dick?" Sheehan demanded, "Who the shit do they think attacked the Cole, fuckin' Martians? The Pentagon brass won't let Delta go get bin Laden. Hell, they won't even let the Air Force carpet bomb the place. Does al Qeada have to attack the Pentagon to get their attention?"

Yes, they did.

Meanwhile George Bush's steadfast and brainlessly resolute March to Freedom has just brought us a spanking brand-new Treaty Between Pakistan and the Taliban - which establishes a Safe Haven for Al Qaeda and Bin Ladin.

Heckuvajob - Bushie.

But then again, I'm sure none of this would impress Hewitt.

There is, by the way, zero mention in the fve hours of the allegations that Clinton let bin Laden slip through his fingers when the terror chief was offered up by Sudan.

Well, that's probably because that shit didn't happen!

There is no Atta meeting in Prague, no suggestion of a Saddam history of terror ties unrelated to 9/11

That would be because Saddam had no ties to 9-11.

--in short, there is no reaching by the writer/producers/director.

No reaching? Of course not, but there's more than a little reacing and bullshitting by the actors -- and the director just went "maybe we can use that." Yeah, that's the ticket.

It is an objective show, and not one that will cheer the right. But any show that does not praise Clinton or hopelessly conflate the eight years of the Clinton tenure with the eight months of the pre-9/11 Bush Administration is to be condemned.

No, any show that completely distorts the facts in order to promulgate a frothing partisan fantasy is to be condemned, and is being condemned.

Support the DNC's Call to Take This Piece of Propaganda Off the Air.


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