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Posts Tagged ‘Christiane Amanpour

Bad coverage is still a free self propaganda: And Lara Logan, Benghazi, the Bombshell …

Eleven years ago, the 60 Minutes correspondent Lara Logan was sitting in the Inter Continental hotel in Amman, Jordan, watching her career flash before her eyes.

Joe Hagan published this May 4, 2014

Benghazi and the Bombshell

Is Lara Logan too toxic to return to 60 Minutes

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She was 31 years old, a rookie at CBS News, assigned to cover the biggest story on earth: the invasion of Iraq.

But nothing was going as planned. With only days until the American invasion, Logan had been forced to leave Baghdad and was desperate to get back before the war began, but she and her crew, because of the dangers of the imminent “shock and awe” bombing campaign, were forbidden from going by the network.

That’s when she heard about a convoy of French reporters making the trek to Baghdad.

“She called me several times, begging to go with us,” recalls Laura Haim, a French TV journalist. But the French decided it was too dangerous having an American broadcaster onboard, even if she was South African. “I said, ‘No way.’ ”

Fluent in three foreign languages, Logan begged in French.

Logan had labored tirelessly for this chance, spending several months in Kabul during the invasion of Afghanistan and heedlessly throwing herself into danger for the camera to deliver raw reportage to the CBS Evening News and 60 Minutes II, the spinoff version of the Sunday program.

Her work had earned her notice at the highest levels of the network. CBS chairman and CEO Leslie Moonves, from his perch in Los Angeles, viewed her steely eyes, breathless delivery, and exotic accent as the raw material of a future star.

So Logan had strategized with her agent to make the biggest possible splash in Baghdad—a replay of Christiane Amanpour’s star turn at CNN during the first Gulf War.

Days later, as American bombs rained down on Iraq, the French reporter was startled to see Lara Logan standing in the lobby of the Palestine Hotel in Baghdad. “Look, I made it!” she declared.

Two Iraqi fixers had smuggled her across the border, making her the only major American network-TV staff broadcaster in the country when the war began.

“I was really impressed by her courage,” says Haim. “It was not bullshit. She really wanted to do things to make a name.”

Logan was launched. She became chief foreign correspondent in only 3 years and a top correspondent on 60 Minutes two years after that.

But last fall, after a deeply flawed 60 Minutes report on the attack in Benghazi, Libya, the trajectory of her career, along with that of CBS’s flagship news show, changed abruptly.

Logan and 60 Minutes had been searching for a new angle on the Benghazi story for the better part of a year, and finally one seemed to arrive.

The break in the story came from a hulking, goateed former military contractor who called himself “Morgan Jones.” J

ones, whose real name is Dylan Davies, told Logan an emotional tale of witnessing the attack firsthand—climbing an embassy wall in order to engage the combatants, then stepping into the breach as Washington dithered.

Relentlessly hyped in the days leading up to the broadcast, the story fit broadly into the narrative the right had been trying for months to build of a White House and State Department oblivious to the dangers of Al Qaeda, feckless in their treatment of their soldiers and diplomats, then covering up their incompetence.

It was soon revealed to be made up almost of whole cloth. Davies, who worked for a security firm called Blue Mountain, had invented the story to sell a book.

For 60 Minutes and Logan, it was a stunning error, of a sort that can quickly corrode the brand of a show like 60 Minutes. And the scandal was an oddly precise echo of “Rathergate,” when Dan Rather, at the Wednesday edition of 60 Minutes in 2004, used memos of dubious provenance in a report on George W. Bush’s Texas Air National Guard service.

In the aftermath of the Benghazi report, the problems with its sourcing were glaring, the kind that should have raised red flags. Logan’s interview subject happened to be selling a book on a politically conservative imprint owned by CBS News’s own parent company.

After defending the report for more than a week, Logan was forced to apologize and later take an indefinite leave of absence while CBS conducted an internal inquiry.

Logan’s colleagues, including veteran CBS correspondents Steve Kroft and Bob Simon, were apoplectic about the damage to 60 Minutes’ reputation.

Morley Safer, the only founding member of the cast left on the 45-year-old program, went into the office of CBS News chairman and 60 Minutes executive producer Jeff Fager’s office last fall and demanded that he fire Logan.

But Fager (who declined to comment for this story) refused. Instead, he said that Logan will return sometime this year. His decision sent a ripple of discontent through CBS News, prompting questions about Fager’s judgment.

And as the months have rolled on, Logan’s return appears less and less certain.

Back to the forgotten Mega Calamity Tacloban: Mayor Alfred Romualdez failed response? And Attacked by President Benigno Aquino III? 

Do you remember the Tacloban catastrophe? This gigantic tsunami that devastated an entire island?

Where hundred of cadavers were left “uncollected” for a week, and the fleeing covering their noses to get to the port?

And the only way out is through sea and a few helicopters to vacate the injured and the famished inhabitants?

Did Tacloban’s mayor Alfred Romualdez failed to respond in a timely manner?

And why Philippines President Benigno Aquino III Attacked the mayor on CNN?

A repost from selected top posts on The Filipino Scribe of Nov. 17, 2013

Aquino’s animosity toward Tacloban mayor hampering relief efforts?

Speaking to CNN International’s Christiane Amanpour last November 12, President Benigno Aquino III repeatedly reiterated that super typhoon Yolanda (international code name ‘Haiyan’) wrecked so much havoc, especially in the Eastern Visayas region because the “local (government) response failed.”

He told Amanpour that “two or three” local government units (LGUs) were “simply overwhelmed” by Yolanda. Watch Amanpour’s entire interview here.

Even without being mentioned by name, Tacloban City Mayor Alfred Romualdez is certainly one of those Aquino is referring to.

A day before his interview with Amanpour, Aquino was said to have walked out of a briefing with Tacloban City officials after he got irked by the said LGU’s unpreparedness (Malacanang later clarified that he merely went to the bathroom).

With Aquino seemingly bent on putting all the blame on Romualdez, the latter played defense. In an interview with GMA News, the mayor complained about what he described as insufficient aid from the national government.

Wala namang giyera, bakit hindi magpadala ng tatlong batalyon dito para hakutin na natin lahat ng patay?” Romualdez said. He also explained that relief goods are not being transported to devastated communities because of the lack of usable vehicles.

alfredo romualdez tacloban

Tacloban City Mayor Alfredo Romualdez (Credits:http://www.CorrectPhilippines.org

In relation to this, a point-by-point report (the author cannot be determined as of this time) on what is happening is now going viral on the Internet.

In a nutshell, the post explicates that Romualdez sought as much help as possible from the national government both before and after Yolanda rammed the city. And in all those instances, Romualdez received decidedly inadequate assistance.

Here are some of the items listed. Check Correct Philippines.org for the entire post:

1. After Typhoon Yolanda struck, the Mayor of Tacloban requested the NDRRMC (National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council) to make a “RESPONSE OVERKILL” on the rescue and relief operations. Unfortunately, the response from the National Government was very cold and half hearted.

2. On Day 2 of Typhoon Yolanda aftermath, the Mayor requested the NDRRMC to deploy 2 Marine Battalions to help immediately establish peace and order and rescue/relief operations. Unfortunately, this plea for help was unheeded by the National Government.

5. The Mayor requested the National Government to put more vehicles and personnel for cadaver retrieval but up to now only 4 trucks from the National Government are doing this. Only 8 trucks from the National Government are doing relief work. Tacloban is now reeking from the smell of death and relief operations are still moving at a snail’s pace.

7. To add insult to injury, the Department of Interior and Local Government Secretary (Mar Roxas) wants the Mayor of Tacloban (Alfred Romualdez) to write a formal letter to Philippine President Noynoy Aquino supposedly to inform him that he could no longer function as Mayor, thereby surrendering authority to the DILG Secretary (Mar Roxas).

To say that there’s a personal animosity between Aquino and Romualdez would be an understatement.

For starters, the mayor of Tacloban is a nephew of former First Lady Imelda Marcos. Even until now, Aquino and the Romuladezes are on clashing sides of the political spectrum. The mayor’s cousin, Leyte Rep. Ferdinand Romualdezis currently the president of Lakas-CMD, the party of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

The administration made a vigorous bid to unseat Romualdez during last May’s polls.

In fact, Kris Aquino, the president’s youngest sister and television superstar, personally campaigned for Florencio ‘Bem’ Noel, the president’s bet. “If Bem wins (for mayor), I will give whatever Tacloban needs in just one call,” Kris quoted the president as telling her during a campaign rally.

Despite all these, plus the president’s sharp criticism of Romualdez’ tenure as the city chief, he won re-election handily.

In hindsight, Kris is perhaps right. Aquino would probably be more decisive in dealing with the disaster in Tacloban if the city is being led by his anointed candidate.

Who do you believe?

PS: Is it possible to set aside political differences when it comes to disaster response?

In dealing with the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy last year, United States President Barack Obama and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie showed remarkable ability to work side-by-side for the greater good.

Christie, a top supporter of Obama’s Republican challenger Mitt Romney, repeatedly noted how he and the president remained in touch throughout the calamity. Read our post about it here.

Six former Israel security heads of the Shin Bet, and… Spoke out

Six former heads of the Shin Bet, Israel’s secretive internal security service, have spoken out as a group for the first time and are making stunning revelations.

The men who were responsible for keeping Israel “safe from terrorists” now say they are afraid for Israel’s future as a democratic and Jewish state.

Israeli film director Dror Moreh managed to get them all to sit down for his new documentary: “The Gatekeepers.” It is the story of Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian Territories, as told by the people at the crossroads of some of the most crucial moments in the security history of the country.

Samuel Burke, in CNN posted:

“If there is someone who understands the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, it’s those guys,” the director told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour.

Against the backdrop of the currently frozen peace process, all six argue – to varying degrees – that the Israeli occupation of Palestinian land is bad for the state of Israel.

The oldest amongst the former chiefs, Avraham Shalom, says Israel lost touch with how to coexist with the Palestinians as far back as the aftermath of the Six Day War of 1967, with the occupation of Gaza and the West Bank, when the country started doubling down on terrorism.

“We forgot about the Palestinian issue,” Shalom says in the film.

A major impediment to a meaningful strategy, they say, are the Jewish extremists inside Israel – people like the Jewish Israeli who assassinated Prime Minister Yitzak Rabin, or the 1980 plot to blow up the Dome of the Rock Islamic shrine in Jerusalem.

A central theme of the documentary is the idea that Israel has incredible tactics, but lacks long-term strategy: The security apparatus is able to pacify terrorists, but 

Moreh said he was shocked to hear Avrahamif operations do not support a move toward a peace settlement, then they are meaningless. Shalom, Austrian-born and a refugee of the Nazis, compare the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian Territories to Germany’s occupation of Europe.

“Bear in mind that Avraham Shalom was born in Vienna,” Moreh said. “And at the Kristallnacht he was forced by his mother to go to school and was beaten almost to death by his classmates… Avraham said:  ‘I experienced firsthand what it means to be under a racist regime.’”

Moreh knew that he had to include that part of the interview in the film. “I said to myself I have to keep it, because he understands what he speaks.”

“Only Jews can say those kind of words,” he told Amanpour. “And only they can have the justification to speak as they spoke in the film.”

The filmmaker said that this is “the most pro-Israel film” he could have created. “When you see the Titanic heading toward the iceberg, what would you do?”

A spokesperson for current Israel Prime Minister said Benjamin Netanyahu had not seen “The Gatekeepers,” and had no plans to do so.

“I think the fact that the PM of Israel is not willing to watch a film with six former heads of shin bet speaking and conveying a message to the Israeli public – to him and to the world. I think it just speaks about his personality,” Moreh said.

Critics accuse Moreh of cherry picking to advance a political agenda that falls on the left-wing of the Israeli political spectrum.

“They are all pragmatists,” Moreh told Amanpour about the subjects. “These are the six heads of the secret service of Israel saying in one and clear voice enough of the occupation – you cannot argue with that.”

Moreh said that none of the former chiefs has come to him with any problems with the final product and all of them told him they stand behind the film.

READ MORE: Did the Israeli military defy PM Netanyahu?


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