Click amount to donate direct to CounterPunch
  • $25
  • $50
  • $100
  • $500
  • $other
  • use PayPal
Spring Fund Drive: Keep CounterPunch Afloat
CounterPunch is a lifeboat of sanity in today’s turbulent political seas. Please make a tax-deductible donation and help us continue to fight Trump and his enablers on both sides of the aisle. Every dollar counts!
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Whatever Happened to "Democracy Now?"

It is with some alarm and dismay that I watched Amy Goodman’s “Democracy Now” provide platform to right-wing Paksitani journalist Ahmad Rashid, long an apologist for Bush’s war-on-terror, to recycle propaganda from British tabloid press and other discredited sources. His tale about al-Qa’ida recruiting white converts for terrorist acts in Europe originated with the British security services as part of their fearmongering campaign to build support for the 42-day detention without charge plan. No shred of evidence was ever offered.

Equally bogus are his claims of organized al-Qa’ida ‘training camps’, where recruits are offered foreign language training etc. Once again, these claims are the products of the vivid imaginations of the terrorologists proliferating in the war on terror fear factory. I suggest Goodman ask Rashid to substantiate claims, or issue a retraction. (When he claims ‘Iraq is an Arab problem’ and that it would be resolved when its neighbours ‘stop interfering’, I would have liked Goodman  to at least ask if he was aware the country is under U.S. occupation.)

He suggests the truce negotiated by the Pakistani government is tantamount to ‘supporting the Taliban’. Quoting U.S. military officials in Kabul he alleges that Pakistan is ‘funding’ the ‘resurgence’ of the Taliban. He faults Pakistan for not cooperating more enthusiastically in Bush’s war on terror. Rashid appears to be living in a timeless world where the realities of 10 years past substitute for the present. Pakistani military’s intervention in the FATA region has been brutal, now extending to the frontier heartland of Swat. Tactics have included Israeli-style collective punishment; wholesale demolition of recalcitrant villages; disappearing of opponents (mostly of the tribal homines sacri, not wealthy media figures of Rashid’s stripe); bombing raids; extrajudicial killings. The response of the tribesmen — all swept under the handy label of ‘the Taliban’ by the government and hacks like Rashid — is as brutal as it is predictable. Only a few months back three rockets landed in the very safe neighborhood where my sister resides in the frontier city of Peshawar.

Kidnapping for ransom has become a common phenomenon. Suicide attacks on the military have been frequent. The Pakistani military death toll now numbers in the hundreds. So when a guest on Goodman’s show starts claiming that the Pakistani government is funding and encouraging the slaughter of its own soldiers I am forced to demur despite my disdain for the regime. When I hear Goodman’s guest fault Pakistan for not allowing US forces on its territory, and refusing CIA a base in the tribal regions, its your judgment I must question Goodman for letting this pass without challenge.

The government for some time has shown a preference for a negotiated political settlement, only to be thwarted every time by unauthorized US assaults renewing the conflict. Other times the government has caved under pressure and resumed the assaults itself to fend off accusations that it is ‘not doing enough’ in the fight against the Taliban. This is the same twaddle Goodman has allowed Rashid to recycle on her show.

There is no reason why Pakistan should be cooperating with the US “war on terror”. Under this rubric, the Musharraf regime has already devastated much of the tribal belt and created enemies where there were none. Contrary to Rashid’s claim that the new government is ‘willing to follow the US agenda’, it has promised to open dialogue with the tribals in order to end hostilities. This is a positive development that makes the US apprehensive, as it does Uncle Toms like Rashid who have wedded their careers to the ‘war on terror’ as its sanctioned cheer leaders.

I hope Goodman shows more care in the future in vetting her guests. She certainly could not have been unaware of the political leanings of this guest as on her very show he had declared his preferred outcome for the region’s conflicts: a NATO ‘victory’ in Afghanistan.

This is the second time in a week where Goodman’s editorial judgment has left me deeply disappointed. First was the refusal to cover — yet again — the AIPAC conference, with all its implications for US politics and the Middle East. In a year when even the mainstream media was finally forced to take notice (with Jon Stewart of the Daily Show going so far as to refer to the lobby group as the ‘Elders of Zion’, Democracy Now appeared alone in missing the irony of three presidential candidates pledging to fight the domination of lobbyists in Washington genuflect to the most powerful of them all.

Amy, what happened to Democracy Now’s promise to speak truth to power? Did you not say once that your aim was to go where the silence is? How is it that the Washington Post was able to break the silence even as Democracy Now remained AWOL? Why did Democracy Now join MSM in denying Mearsheimer and Walt a voice, instead allowing their views to be misrepresented by critics without a chance of rebuttal? How well placed are you to criticize the mainstream for refusing to stand up to power when you can yourself be considered guilty of the same?

MUHAMMAD IDREES AHMAD is at the Department of Geography and Sociology, University of Strathclyde. He can be reached at m.idrees@gmail.com

Your Ad Here
 

 

 

 

 

More articles by:

MUHAMMAD IDREES AHMAD is the co-founder of Pulsemedia.org

May 21, 2018
Ron Jacobs
Gina Haspell: She’s Certainly Qualified for the Job
Uri Avnery
The Day of Shame
Amitai Ben-Abba
Israel’s New Ideology of Genocide
Patrick Cockburn
Israel is at the Height of Its Power, But the Palestinians are Still There
Frank Stricker
Can We Finally Stop Worrying About Unemployment?
Binoy Kampmark
Royal Wedding Madness
Roy Morrison
Middle East War Clouds Gather
Edward Curtin
Gina Haspel and Pinocchio From Rome
Juana Carrasco Martin
The United States is a Country Addicted to Violence
Dean Baker
Wealth Inequality: It’s Not Clear What It Means
Robert Dodge
At the Brink of Nuclear War, Who Will Lead?
Vern Loomis
If I’m Lying, I’m Dying
Valerie Reynoso
How LBJ initiated the Military Coup in the Dominican Republic
Weekend Edition
May 18, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Andrew Levine
The Donald, Vlad, and Bibi
Robert Fisk
How Long Will We Pretend Palestinians Aren’t People?
Jeffrey St. Clair
Wild at Heart: Keeping Up With Margie Kidder
Roger Harris
Venezuela on the Eve of Presidential Elections: The US Empire Isn’t Sitting by Idly
Michael Slager
Criminalizing Victims: the Fate of Honduran Refugees 
John Laforge
Don’t Call It an Explosion: Gaseous Ignition Events with Radioactive Waste
Carlo Filice
The First “Fake News” Story (or, What the Serpent Would Have Said)
Dave Lindorff
Israel Crosses a Line as IDF Snipers Murder Unarmed Protesters in the Ghetto of Gaza
Gary Leupp
The McCain Cult
Robert Fantina
What’s Wrong With the United States?
Jill Richardson
The Lesson I Learned Growing Up Jewish
David Orenstein
A Call to Secular Humanist Resistance
W. T. Whitney
The U.S. Role in Removing a Revolutionary and in Restoring War to Colombia
Rev. William Alberts
The Danger of Praying Truth to Power
Alan Macleod
A Primer on the Venezuelan Elections
John W. Whitehead
The Age of Petty Tyrannies
Franklin Lamb
Have Recent Events Sounded the Death Knell for Iran’s Regional Project?
Brian Saady
How the “Cocaine Mitch” Saga Deflected the Spotlight on Corruption
David Swanson
Tim Kaine’s War Scam Hits a Speed Bump
Norah Vawter
Pipeline Outrage is a Human Issue, Not a Political Issue
Mel Gurtov
Who’s to Blame If the US-North Korea Summit Isn’t Held?
Patrick Bobilin
When Outrage is Capital
Jessicah Pierre
The Moral Revolution America Needs
Binoy Kampmark
Big Dead Place: Remembering Antarctica
John Carroll Md
What Does It Mean to be a Physician Advocate in Haiti?
George Ochenski
Saving Sage Grouse: Another Collaborative Failure
Sam Husseini
To the US Government, Israel is, Again, Totally Off The Hook
Brian Wakamo
Sick of Shady Banks? Get a Loan from the Post Office!
Colin Todhunter
Dangerous Liaison: Industrial Agriculture and the Reductionist Mindset
Ralph Nader
Trump: Making America Dread Again
George Capaccio
Bloody Monday, Every Day of the Week
Barbara Nimri Aziz
Swing Status, Be Gone
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail