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by GraceReid Sun Jun 12th, 2005 at 11:13:29 PM EST

Sure There's Censorship of the News in America

By Grace Reid

for European Tribune

June 13, 2005

This morning Sheila, an Irishwoman, asked me why my eyes looked so tired and my face so strained. I explained that I had been staying up all night writing articles about a story that broke in the UK on the 20th of March, but still hadn't been reported in the US news by the first week in June. "Sure, there's censorship of the news in America, isn't there?" she said. "I mean, everybody knows that there are stories about the war in Iraq that you can't print in America." This came as the biggest news of the day to me, that censorship of the news is a state policy. "Can't you get in trouble with the US government for writing stories like this? Will the FBI be paying us a call?" I told her that I was not too concerned, as the stories came from the BBC and that is about as establishment as you get. All I have been doing, I told her, is finding the news from here and delivering it over there.

Having been out of the country for more than a decade, how could I have known that censorship had become a state policy? How could I have known that the government had shackled and gagged the fourth estate? But I learned fast during the Newsweek Debacle. How did that one go again? Newsweek reported the truth, as had the International Committee of the Red Cross, Human Rights Watch, and Amnesty before them. A massive amount of FBI emails released through the FOIA by the ACLU last December told the same story. Yet the US government stepped in and demanded that Newsweek retract, and blamed the press for the ensuing violence for having reported the truth. The Qu'ran was desecrated, but one was not to report it.

The hardest thing to do is to find the truth. And it's the only worthwhile thing to pursue. During the 2003 State of the Union Address I heard the President of the United States boast that he had sanctioned the summarily execution of 3,000 Afghani prisoners. "And let's put it this way, they will no longer be a problem to us or to our allies." Then later we learned of the "Convoy of Death." And how hundreds of these prisoners died in transit in airless containers, and that these containers were shot full of holes, "for the ventilation." And some of the personel doing the shooting were American soldiers. And some of the witnesses to these atrocities of war were American soldiers.

Among all the other lies I have heard, that one about allies sticks in my craw as well. I suspect the United States has no allies. A few bought friends. A very few. Looks right now like only one. And all the documents that have been leaked, every single one of them points like a neon arrow back to Washington, back to Crawford. Do you make your friends break the law with you?

There has been a media blackout of the story of the illegal war in Iraq. The truth is coming out against the strongest, and at times, the most peculiar resistance. Now we've got minutes, memos transcripts, briefings, and notes. We have briefcases full of doctored "intelligence that was fixed around the policy" of an illegal war of aggression. A large portion of the informed public has adopted the attitude that this is "old news." This is, they seem to imply, business as usual. Lying to Congress is business as usual. Manipulating the press, manipulating the circumstances to create the conditions for war that was, apparently predetermined in 2001. Manipulating the weapons inspectors, manipulating the Security Council, manipulating the intelligence, manipulating the people. With a rhetoric of God, faith, freedom and democracy for all.

OK, all you "old news" people, would you tell me who is paying for it? Who foots the bill for all the paychecks of all the phony intel, of all the illegal bombings, of all the depleted uranium weapons? Who paid the salaries of the torturers, and the ones who devised the torture policy? Who paid for the illegal CIA ghost flights to secret torture prisons? Who paid the bill to doctor vote tallying software? Who paid for the illegal war that has cost as much as 4 billion US dollars a month? Who is paying the salaries of these thugs? Who is paying for Condoleezza Rice's SS man's boots?

And now we're told to "stay the course"? Now, we accept that the war is illegal, was illegal, but we have to "stay the course?" in a war that is unwinnable. Another war that is unwinnable. Who paid for all this? How can you explain that there are more than 1,600 Americans killed in action in a war that is criminal, except that the one who created and promoted it to the exclusion of all consideration for International Law, that he himself is a criminal. What is the rule in the Military Code of Justice that says you have to obey your commanding officer if that officer is a criminal, and the order violates all known military, international and humanitarian law?

The second most explosive piece of information to come out of the Downing Street Minutes case came from an "unnamed former senior US official" who is quoted as saying the account of the senior British Intelligence officer's visit to Washington is "an absolutely accurate description of what transpired." Now there is someone in Washington who is telling the truth. Maybe this will be the beginning of a trend. How long can you carry poisonous lies? It's enough to make one seriously ill. Or angry enough to tell the truth. To report the truth. That would be a good trend. Then maybe my friend Sheila in Cork will not continue to hold the opinion that censorship is the way the press is operated in America

:: Article nr. 12450 sent on 10-jun-2005 18:25 ECT

:: The address of this page is : www.uruknet.info?p=12450


Immediately after posting this article, the author received the following e mail:

June 10, 2005
20:40 GMT

Dear Grace,

many thanks as always. I've immediately  reposted your article: you've  really a great sense of timing. Google.com has stopped indexing  Uruknet pages on  June 4, 2005.

On the same day  google.news  too has stopped indexing Uruknet as a news source.  Old pages are still there, but nothing new since.

We wrote to Google but they didn't reply. Before accusing Google of censorship, we examinated the possibility of some technical problems. Al last, we've excluded this possibility. The disappearance of Uruknet.info from Google's search engine has nothing to do with technical  problems, all the more so as  Google.news Italy is yet indexing all Uruknet Italian pages.

It isn't the first time that Google discontinues  indexing Uruknet. A few months ago, Google.news removed Uruknet.info as a news source, apparently thanks to Michelle  Malkin's  protestations and reinstated our website only of because of many complaint letters from our readers.

This time,  the case is much more serious: not only google.news, but also google.com have delisted Uruknet.info. A website can survive also even if it isn't indexed by google.news , but if Google bans a site, that pose a serious threat to that site's existence. What's more, we checked others search engines (yahoo.com, altavista.com etc. )   and we realized that they too aren't fully indexing  uruknet anymore.

We don't know the reason why Google has  manipulated the  rankings for Uruknet , but I think the exclusion of  alternative media by  search engineas results  is government/corporate tactics to harness the free flow of information on the Internet.

Best regards,


Managing Editor

Uruknet Italy

Google Inc.

1600 Amphitheatre Parkway

Mountain View CA 94043

phone: (650) 623-4000

fax: (650) 618-1499


(Grace Reid writes for one of the best news journals in the world: Uruknet Italy, News from Occupied Iraq.  She writes for Axis of Logic, too. She has recently gone over to Guerilla News Network -- I think the above letter demonstrates why.  Grace Reid writes for European Tribune, and is very happy about it.  Thank you, European Tribune!)

Is there censorship of the news in America
. yes 22%
. no 2%
. yes, getting worse 60%
. yes, european news more free 5%
. yes, uk news more free 2%
. no, you are wrong to suggest it 0%
. freedom is an ongoing figt 2%
. the internet is our hope 2%
. the internet is screwed 0%
. google is dangerous/scary 0%

Votes: 35
Results | Other Polls
i want to be a front page writer.  just so i don't get flamed anymore.  please recommend me to Jerome a Paris.  i just want to write and be free.  
by GraceReid on Sun Jun 12th, 2005 at 11:15:17 PM EST
is news because it's "new," but heavy censorship of the information fed to us through US outlets has been going on for what is beginning to seem like forever.

For a long time now, we have had to go out looking for the News You Won't Find on CNN or Fox News. Without shortwave and the Internet, all of us here would be subsisting on a strict information regimen of Kool-Aid News.

by moiv on Mon Jun 13th, 2005 at 01:28:09 AM EST
there is one good result of google banning uruknet... as soon as the story broke on dailykos - i bookmarked the site!  i look forward to reading uruknet AND eurotrib!

again, thank you all for inviting those of us across the sea!

by edrie on Mon Jun 13th, 2005 at 02:09:31 AM EST
I don't know what the facts of this story really are:
presumably Google will have an anodyne explanation for
this "misunderstanding".  In any case, I remain convinced that it would be a very good thing if the European Community sponsored one (or preferably more than one) European search engine.  By now Google-like search engines are recognizably a valuable tool in protecting
the modernized version of "freedom of the press", and
as such is much too valuable to be left in the hands of
a monopoly or oligopoly.

Hannah K. O'Luthon
by Hannah K OLuthon on Mon Jun 13th, 2005 at 03:02:18 AM EST
I remember when they delisted Indymedia.org from Google News because someone in the open publishing column (comperable to the diaries here and at dKos) used a term like 'zionist nazi' or some such.  people pointed out that a different referenced site used the word 'islamofascist', and also that google could link only to 'editorially approved' indymedia articles, but no matter.
by Media Revolution on Mon Jun 13th, 2005 at 07:13:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Sensorship for sure, and so many people are not even aware - they would even protest the notion.
As alternative to Google, check this Europe-based search engine out:
by ask on Mon Jun 13th, 2005 at 04:54:05 AM EST
does this mean if I google a subject,let's say the war in Iraq, I will no longer get the hits from European papers?

Help us Europe, you're our only hope. Our media is protecting the village idiot and have declared him King. = )
by TeresaInPa (Teese02aATYahoo.com) on Mon Jun 13th, 2005 at 05:46:15 AM EST
I once wrote to Google about a similar problem. There was a long delay in the response I received from them, but once they got around to it, they did address my complaint. This could be a simple case of worker bees trying to keep up with the internet, or it could go far beyond that. I was reading a regular news source off Google News, and it was dropped. I wrote to ask why. It took them two weeks to address my concerns, but it was put back on eventually.
by Upstate NY on Mon Jun 13th, 2005 at 05:47:09 AM EST
When this was posted on Kos, there was considerable skepticism that it was a true report. So why is it being posted here? Particularly, it is about the US, not Europe. The substantiation appears weak. And the Kos posting was days ago.

Their freedom lost, all virtue lose. - Milton
by Viktor Runeberg on Mon Jun 13th, 2005 at 05:51:18 AM EST
That people were sceptical does not change the fact that Uruknet was de-listed for almost 7 full days, and that when it was listed again, those stories were still missing from the listing.

It is here on European Tribune because this is an issue the news of the world is being controlled so the American people do not have access to certain types of stories.  

Google is international.  The rules for Google China are do not use the word "democracy", the rules for Google Italy are list the Uruknet, the rules for Google America, are go where Michelle Malkin directs you (in one case)

by GraceReid on Mon Jun 13th, 2005 at 08:33:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I have no problem finding URUKNET via google.nl
by amsterdam on Mon Jun 13th, 2005 at 07:28:51 AM EST
I must admit I certainly can't remember hearing the president of the United States "boast that he had summarily executed 3,000 Afghani prisoners" during the 2003 state of the union, but let's not delve into that here.

 A simple search on google for the term "iraq" with uruknet specified as site, gives plenty of hits, see for yourself: Google Search

There dosn't seem to be any censoring of uruknet from Googles part. Disappointing that a cross-posting from DailyKOS, which main claim is so easily dispelled, is getting recommended...

Biilmann Blog

by BobFunk (bobfunk@clanwhiskey.net) on Mon Jun 13th, 2005 at 07:29:45 AM EST
National Lawyers Guild Calls for
Prosecution of President Bush for Role in Torture
National  Lawyers Guild 18 June 2004
www.globalresearch.ca 20  June 2004
The URL of this article is: http://globalresearch.ca/articles/NLG406A.html
2003 State of the Union Address Contained Implicit Admission
The National Lawyers Guild calls for the prosecution of President George W. Bush with a "command responsibility" theory of liability under the War Crimes Act. Bush can be prosecuted under the War Crimes Act or the Torture Statute, if he knew or should have known about the U.S. military's use of torture and failed to stop or prevent it. A comment in the President's January 2003 State of the Union Address contained an implicit admission by Bush that he had sanctioned the summary execution of many when he said: "All told, more than 3,000 suspected terrorists have been arrested in many countries, and many others have met a different fate." "Let's put it this way," he continued, "they are no longer a problem for the United States and our friends and allies."
by GraceReid on Mon Jun 13th, 2005 at 08:27:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm not really interesting in defending Bush's western rhetorics, but interpretation of words is not what I call facts. And personally I don't see how that statement can be taken to be a boast of having "summarily executed 3,000 Afghani prisoners".

I read your clarification further up that uruknet was just missing in Googles index for 7 days. Here's what Googles Information for webmasters have to say about that:

"Each time we update our database of webpages, our index shifts: we find new sites, we lose some sites, and sites' rankings change. If your site was dropped from Google and you haven't made major changes to it, we'll likely pick it up again soon."

Biilmann Blog

by BobFunk (bobfunk@clanwhiskey.net) on Mon Jun 13th, 2005 at 09:33:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That may happen with sites with a lower index, but not in this case.  There was no fluctuation.  It was de-listed.

"It isn't the first time that Google discontinues  indexing Uruknet. A few months ago, Google.news removed Uruknet.info as a news source, apparently thanks to Michelle  Malkin's  protestations and reinstated our website only of because of many complaint letters from our readers."

by GraceReid on Mon Jun 13th, 2005 at 09:57:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
They heard it as I did.  Marjorie Cohn heard it, too, and wrote about it in t r u t h o u t.  You didn't hear it.

The story of the "Convoy of Death" was filmed by an Irishman.

by GraceReid on Mon Jun 13th, 2005 at 10:08:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
you will find that there is no listing between the 4th and the 10th.  
by GraceReid on Mon Jun 13th, 2005 at 10:11:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
This is what is so severe about Bushco and so dangerous for America.  He has totally destroyed alliances we've had for more than 100 years.  And our news organizations don't report things...the White House bullies them.


We cannot solve the problems of today using the same thinking that produced them. (Einstein) http://www.noquarterusa.net

by DrKate on Mon Jun 13th, 2005 at 09:17:02 AM EST
Do you make your friends break the law with you?

This is an interesting statement. In Canada we are currently discovering the horrific events in the case of Maher Arar, a Canadian citizen who was rendered to Syria and tortured for one year after being detained on a stop-over in New York.

Hearings are underway to determine culpability, why it took so long for Cdn officials to intervene with Syria on Arar's behalf, and what information the RCMP and CSIS gave American officials etc.

What came out last week was particularly chilling. The US were prepared to release Arar on the condition that Canadian officials arrest and CONVICT him. Yes, convict. Forget about due process. The US would only release a Canadian citizen into Canadian hands if they promisted to convict and jail him. When Cdn officials said they couldn't promise that, Arar was rendered to Syria. And furthermore, the RCMP had told the US that there was not enough evidence to charge Arar.

This is ludicrous. And another incident that damages relationships. You cannot force countries to charge and jail people without proper due process.

I'm afraid if this is what we do know, how much worse are the things we don't.

by olivia on Mon Jun 13th, 2005 at 01:38:58 PM EST
I'm going to have to disagree with this one. There is certainly BIAS in the mainstream media in the US, but that's not the same as censorship. Plenty of publishers openly print anti-government material. And the Internet has very broad (perhaps not very deep, though) content. My shortwave radio doesn't detect jamming of stations from other countries.

What we DO have is a population that doesn't always stop to think about where their information is coming from, and a media industry that is mainly about making money. But it's pretty clear that the U.S. government doesn't actively censor the news--otherwise we wouldn't know about the DSM, for example.

Perhaps there is a counterexample of a news item that was available in, say, Europe, that was not available in the U.S.?

by asdf on Mon Jun 13th, 2005 at 11:27:14 PM EST
The RAF double bombing campaign of 2002 was reported in the UK on the 29th of May.  What date, if ever, was it reported in the US news?
by GraceReid on Tue Jun 14th, 2005 at 01:36:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]

Xenox News (satire), Australia - Jun 3, 2005
... on new evidence showing that "The RAF and US ... defend itself from a foreign attack: bombing Iraq's air defenses ... Press report noted in November 2002, "Those costly ...

The Smoking Bullet in the Smoking Gun
Common Dreams, ME - Jun 3, 2005
... on new evidence showing that "The RAF and US ... defend itself from a foreign attack: bombing Iraq's air defenses ... Press report noted in November 2002, "Those costly ...

A Public Secret
Iraq Occupation Watch, CA - Jun 2, 2005
... on new evidence showing that "The RAF and US ... defend itself from a foreign attack: bombing Iraq's air defenses ... Press report noted in November 2002, "Those costly ...

A Public Secret
Yahoo News - Jun 1, 2005
... on new evidence showing that "The RAF and US ... defend itself from a foreign attack: bombing Iraq's air defenses ... Press report noted in November 2002, "Those costly ...

RAF bombing raids tried to goad Saddam into war
Infoshop News - May 31, 2005
THE RAF and US aircraft doubled the rate at which they were dropping bombs on Iraq in 2002 in an attempt to provoke Saddam Hussein into giving the allies an ...

Smoking Bullet in the Smoking Gun?
uruknet.info, Italy - May 29, 2005
... 1) Did the RAF and the United States military increase the rate that they were dropping bombs in Iraq in 2002? ... any such increase in the rate of bombing in Iraq ...

RAF bombing raids tried to goad Saddam into war
uruknet.info, Italy - May 29, 2005
May 29, 2005 - THE RAF and US aircraft doubled the rate at which they were dropping bombs on Iraq in 2002 in an attempt to provoke Saddam Hussein into giving ...

US and RAF bombing raids on Iraq
Questions and Observations - May 29, 2005
It's remarkable what passes for news these days: THE RAF and US aircraft doubled the rate at which they were dropping bombs on Iraq in 2002 in an attempt to ...
US aircraft doubled bombing raids on Iraq in 2002 to provoke ...

Collective Bellaciao, France - May 29, 2005
THE RAF and US aircraft doubled the rate at which they were dropping bombs on Iraq in 2002 in an attempt to provoke Saddam Hussein into giving the allies an ...
As new revelations surface in London, congressman readies new ...

Raw Story, MA - May 29, 2005
... 1) Did the RAF and the United States military increase the rate that they ... was the justification for any such increase in the rate of bombing in Iraq at this ...

RAF bombing raids tried to goad Saddam into war
Times Online, UK - May 28, 2005
THE RAF and US aircraft doubled the rate at which they were dropping bombs on Iraq in 2002 in an attempt to provoke Saddam Hussein into giving the allies an ...

The war before the war
New Statesman, UK - May 26, 2005
... British officials insist that no RAF aircraft opened ... when the Prime Minister discussed Iraq with President ... had retaliated against the bombing offensive, thus ...

by GraceReid on Tue Jun 14th, 2005 at 01:40:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You just proved my point by listing a dozen places where, in the US, I can read this story. In China, where the government actually does censor the press (and the Internet), there are stories that are simply not available at all.

A bad mainstream media is different from censorship.

by asdf on Tue Jun 14th, 2005 at 07:46:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
One week ago when I did a search for stories on "illegal""war""Iraq" stories from USA were 3.5% of all 2,040 stories listed, and of those 99% were letters to the editor or alternative media.  Today stories from USA "illegal war iraq" are more like 20% of total. MSM.

I guess we are in shades of grey here.  Where the situation in China where Google is under agreement to censor the term "democracy" is the extreme end and what I have experienced which is a blackout that has become more conspicuous as time goes on.

Michael Getler, ombudsman for the Washington Post addressed the issue in his article, "News Over There, Not Over Here."  He took his paper and Walter Pincus to task for not covering the Downing Street Minutes.  Walter said he was too busy covering the UK election.

Within a week, Getler said that the story should have been front paged, that it was "journalistically mandatory."

I am talking about managing the news, filtering the news and managing public opinion.  The news stories that are not to be found are "illegal""war""Iraq."  The UK, involved in the same war, and the Blair administration involved in the same illegalities.. their coverage of "illegal""war""Iraq" outnumbers US stories by about 8 to 1.

More Americans are getting their US news from UK sources than ever.  There is a reason for this.  

I can't find a journalist to say, "My editor would not let me run this story because it cast too harsh a light on the Bush administration's questionable basis for going to war in Iraq."

To institute editorial standards like this is the opposite of good journalism, and an abdegnation of the role of the fourth estate as watchdog over all the branches of government, especially to keep an eye on the executive branch and foreign policy.  

So I say the news is managed, filtered controlled and blacked out, although in answer to the hue and cry in the last 6 weeks, there has been more of a biting edge to some journalists... who seem to have been waiting... asking "Is it safe to come out?"

by GraceReid on Tue Jun 14th, 2005 at 08:50:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well I certianly agree that the news is managed, filtered, controlled, and blacked out by the news media. But that's nothing new; every news source has a viewpoint.

What bothers me about the cry of "censorship" is that there is a big, big difference between a government that actively prevents people from finding out what is going on, like in North Korea and China, and a news media that responds to its readers by giving them what they want--even if what they want is trash.

Here in the U.S. the information is available, but we're just too disinterested, or lazy, to care about it. That's not censorship.

by asdf on Tue Jun 14th, 2005 at 11:21:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Earlier I was thinking about things you said, and I had a little argument all prepared... it went like this.  person a is saying that it's bad to have so much chemical additives in their food and person b is saying compare yourself to someone who has no food.

i don't mind.  of COURSE there's a big big difference, but who is going to fight the encroachment of Big Brother?  Who is going to even notice it?  It is subtle.  

Now the woman who said "Sure, there's censorship of the news in America," she's Irish.  Michael in the kitchen he's Irish too.  The whole country is full of Irish.  And the consensus opinion here is that news is censored in America, but that you're not allowed to say it, and you wouldn't be able to prove it.

Anytime you're not allowed to say something, that's censorship.  These people are saying there are certain stories you're not allowed to report.  That's their understanding.  

There's three people here.  One the Irish woman, two there's me, and three an Italian woman.  Now our consensus opinion is that there is censorship, or management to make sure things don't get said or reported, in America.  That's what we seem to be saying.

That it is not as bad as somewhere else doesn't make it not so.

I grew up in freedom.  It was a condition I enjoyed.  I know what it was like, and what it is like now.

Freedom is a fight.  A constant fight.  Taking risks and taking the heat.  Complacency gives the powers that be license to encroach even more.

by GraceReid on Tue Jun 14th, 2005 at 11:37:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]

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