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In the Name of God بسم الله
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aliasghark

The Glorious Western Free Press

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An 'Informal Arrangement' to Not Report the News

drone_6701-300x156.jpgToday 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 thePost 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. ThePost'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.

UPDATE: The Times' public editor Margaret Sullivan has weighed in on her blog (2/6/13), and what's most notable is the opinion of the paper's managing editor Dean Baquet, since it basically confirms the point we were making above:

The government's rationale for asking that the location be withheld was this: Revealing it might jeopardize the existence of the base and harm counterterrorism efforts. "The Saudis might shut it down because the citizenry would be very upset," he said.

Mr. Baquet added, "We have to balance that concern with reporting the news."

So the Times believes that it should refrain from reporting news that people in Saudi Arabia might object to–especially if it wound up complicating our government's plans to launch military attacks from their country.

http://www.fair.org/blog/2013/02/06/an-informal-arrangement-to-not-report-the-news/

Edited by aliasghark

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(salam)

I believe that drone bases in Saudi Arabia were in the press before this...a few years back.

They are located on the old air bases that the Saudis built for the US which the US then left after the Invasion of Iraq to "playcate" opposition to a Western presence.

These 7 bases are also there to prop up the regime against armed opposition.

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The press is still free. The paper(s) acted like a partisan group by their own volition and sided with the government on some issues. This happens when the interests of the government/establishment are perceived to be same as the interests of the people. Mind you had one of those papers decided to just go ahead and reveal the story, it wouldn't have lead to the security forces ransacking the premises of the paper, kidnapping its journalists and putting it out of print. That used to happen in Soviet Union and its allied states in the Middle East and elsewhere.

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The press is still free. The paper(s) acted like a partisan group by their own volition and sided with the government on some issues. This happens when the interests of the government/establishment are perceived to be same as the interests of the people. Mind you had one of those papers decided to just go ahead and reveal the story, it wouldn't have lead to the security forces ransacking the premises of the paper, kidnapping its journalists and putting it out of print. That used to happen in Soviet Union and its allied states in the Middle East and elsewhere.

But what is worse in the long run. A press that is supposedly free, but collaborates secretly with the gov to hide things from the people when the people look to the press to be a watchdog or a press that is openly harassed by the gov. At least in the cases where you know that the press is not totally free or that only somethings are free to be reported the people will be on guard for propaganda. When the NYT and the other media heavyweights in the US engage in this type of action it makes it much more difficult for the people to ascertain the truth because they have been conditioned to turn to these outlets since they have historically played the adversarial role as a government check.

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No they are not 100% al qaeda. They are majority normal civilians being killed. There arw also shias in yemen but that is beside the point. Humanity comes first.

Secondly; the western media is not as free or independent as they like to pretend. If you notice they all have the same talking points covered from a similiar angle. How do you think iraq war came about, with the majority drum beating for war and lapping up gov lies. Any media that tried to show opposition were attacked and held in contempt by the rest.

We are now seing a similiar stance on iran...its like a mob mentality with a growing frenzy, and the media are generally in the pockets of the powers that be, otherwise they dont get thrown any crumbs and that is bad for business.

As for not killing journos or ransacking media offices; thats exactly what happened during the war of terror; if you werent embedded with the tanks, you were a legit target. Ask the numerous al jazeera correspondents who were attacked, and some even Killed.

Oh and do i need to mention the treatment of whistleblowers, and wikileaks? Its amazing how some people still live in lala land and dont want anyone to burst thier bubble.

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