Administration Again Attempts to Keep News of Its Drone Damages Out of the Country

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Nieman Watchdog asked Scott Shane recently why he had granted Administration officials anonymity so they could insinuate that those who report on civilian drone deaths were terrorist sympathizers. Shane defended violating the NYT’s prohibition on letting sources attack others under cover of anonymity because of the importance of getting two sides to the story. He also claimed that Administration sources were referring to ISI propagandists, not the journalists reporting on civilian deaths, when they suggested such reports amounted to support for terrorism.

Shane, in written responses to a number of questions that Nieman Watchdog posed to him about the two articles, said he believes this particular quote was not necessarily directed at BIJ, calling it “ambiguous, and I wish I had been able to clarify it.” He added: “Based on all my reporting over the last couple of years, I believe U.S. government officials have in mind not BIJ or other journalists as sympathizers of Al Qaeda but militants and perhaps ISI officers who supply what they consider disinformation on strikes to journalists.”

There’s a problem with that, though: The Administration’s repeated reluctance (and at times outright refusal) to let Pakistani drone critics into this country.

The latest example is Pakistani student filmmaker Muhammad Danish Qasim, who was denied a visa so he can accept an award for his film on how terrorists are capitalizing on drone strikes at a film festival in Seattle. As Glenn Greenwald explains,

In particular, “the film identifies the problems faced by families who have become victims of drone missiles, and it unearths the line of action which terrorist groups adopt to use victimised families for their vested interests.” In other words, it depicts the tragedy of civilian deaths, and documents how those deaths are then successfully exploited by actual Terrorists for recruitment purposes.

We can’t have the U.S. public learning about any of that. In April, Qasim was selected as the winner of the Audience Award for Best International Film at the 2012 National Film Festival For Talented Youth, held annually in Seattle, Washington. Qasim, however, along with his co-producers, were prevented from traveling to the U.S. to accept their award and showcase their film because their request for a visa to travel to the U.S. was denied. The Tribune reported: “Despite being chosen for the award, the filmmakers were unable to attend the award ceremony as their visa applications were rejected twice.

In the same way that The Bureau of Independent Journalism’s reporting on drones rebutted some of the claims made by militants, it appears that Qasim’s film shows how terrorists exploit the victims of drone strikes. It is not al Qaeda propaganda, no matter what anonymous cowards in the Administration might think.

Never the less, the Administration appears determined to keep even nuanced critiques of its drone program out of the country.

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2 Responses to Administration Again Attempts to Keep News of Its Drone Damages Out of the Country

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Emptywheel Twitterverse
emptywheel @natnicol Really, entire bar comes down to whether you can keep necessaries away from proctor isn't it? Hell I could pass that! @sarahjeong
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emptywheel @TyreJim I've only started with them. But them, I'm half-way to dead and still have only a radiation tattoo. @sarahjeong
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emptywheel @TyreJim If her Tor sticker were the one the NSA uses, with the hairy "terrorist" dude, that'd be lethal too. @sarahjeong
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emptywheel Bibi likely thinking to himself, "Ha! That windsurfer had to have a girl defend him."
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bmaz @carimachet @kevinjonheller But don't blow shit up my ass and tell me what and how to think on legal issues.
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emptywheel @sarahjeong Sure you will! YOu're missing the "National Security Agency Monitored Device" one, which is the real sticker of death. @TyreJim
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bmaz @carimachet @kevinjonheller Would IHL if applied properly make a difference? Along with other modalities, of course. Is it currently, no.
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bmaz @carimachet @kevinjonheller No, I will not argue your point because you are egregiously mischaracterizing what Kevin has opined.
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emptywheel @TyreJim Was thinking that myself. Going into the bar exam and not prepping to litigate the meaning of "excessive." @sarahjeong
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bmaz @carimachet @kevinjonheller I have known, seen and read Kevin for quite a while now and think you are terribly mistaken.
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bmaz @ryanjreilly Getting pretty close to every time now, albeit some a little more shaded than others.
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emptywheel @JasonLeopold To be fair, they ARE a bunch of liars, starting from the top. Question is are they lying THIS TIME?
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