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

December 10, 2018
Jacques R. Pauwels
Foreign Interventions in Revolutionary Russia
Richard Klin
The Disasters of War
Katie Fite
Rebranding Bundy
Gary Olson
A Few Thoughts on Politics and Personal Identity
Patrick Cockburn
Brexit Britain’s Crisis of Self-Confidence Will Only End in Tears and Rising Nationalism
Andrew Moss
Undocumented Citizen
Dean Baker
Trump and China: Going With Patent Holders Against Workers
Lawrence Wittner
Reviving the Nuclear Disarmament Movement: a Practical Proposal
Dan Siegel
Thoughts on the 2018 Elections and Beyond
Thomas Knapp
Election 2020: I Can Smell the Dumpster Fires Already
Weekend Edition
December 07, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Steve Hendricks
What If We Just Buy Off Big Fossil Fuel? A Novel Plan to Mitigate the Climate Calamity
Jeffrey St. Clair
Cancer as Weapon: Poppy Bush’s Radioactive War on Iraq
Paul Street
The McCain and Bush Death Tours: Establishment Rituals in How to be a Proper Ruler
Jason Hirthler
Laws of the Jungle: The Free Market and the Continuity of Change
Ajamu Baraka
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights at 70: Time to De-Colonize Human Rights!
Andrew Levine
Thoughts on Strategy for a Left Opposition
Jennifer Matsui
Dead of Night Redux: A Zombie Rises, A Spook Falls
Rob Urie
Degrowth: Toward a Green Revolution
Binoy Kampmark
The Bomb that Did Not Detonate: Julian Assange, Manafort and The Guardian
Robert Hunziker
The Deathly Insect Dilemma
Robert Fisk
Spare Me the American Tears for the Murder of Jamal Khashoggi
Joseph Natoli
Tribal Justice
Ron Jacobs
Getting Pushed Off the Capitalist Cliff
Macdonald Stainsby
Unist’ot’en Camp is Under Threat in Northern Canada
Senator Tom Harkin
Questions for Vice-President Bush on Posada Carriles
W. T. Whitney
Two Years and Colombia’s Peace Agreement is in Shreds
Ron Jacobs
Getting Pushed Off the Capitalist Cliff
Ramzy Baroud
The Conspiracy Against Refugees
David Rosen
The Swamp Stinks: Trump & Washington’s Rot
Raouf Halaby
Wall-to-Wall Whitewashing
Daniel Falcone
Noam Chomsky Turns 90
Dean Baker
An Inverted Bond Yield Curve: Is a Recession Coming?
Nick Pemberton
The Case For Chuck Mertz (Not Noam Chomsky) as America’s Leading Intellectual
Ralph Nader
New Book about Ethics and Whistleblowing for Engineers Affects Us All!
Dan Kovalik
The Return of the Nicaraguan Contras, and the Rise of the Pro-Contra Left
Jeremy Kuzmarov
Exposing the Crimes of the CIAs Fair-Haired Boy, Paul Kagame, and the Rwandan Patriotic Front
Jasmine Aguilera
Lessons From South of the Border
Manuel García, Jr.
A Formula for U.S. Election Outcomes
Sam Pizzigati
Drug Company Execs Make Millions Misleading Cancer Patients. Here’s One Way to Stop Them
Kollibri terre Sonnenblume
Agriculture as Wrong Turn
James McEnteer
And That’s The Way It Is: Essential Journalism Books of 2018
Chris Gilbert
Biplav’s Communist Party of Nepal on the Move: Dispatch by a Far-Flung Bolivarian
Judith Deutsch
Siloed Thinking, Climate, and Disposable People: COP 24 and Our Discontent
Jill Richardson
Republicans Don’t Want Your Vote to Count
John Feffer
‘Get Me Outta Here’: Trump Turns the G20 into the G19
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail