Monday, January 09, 2006

Suppressing news that doesn't fit the agenda

If you have to ask why this major worldwide story has been virtually ignored by the US media, you really haven't been paying attention to how they operate these days.

The mainstream U.S. media outlets have failed to report a major terrorist plot against the U.S. [...]

News of a planned attack masterminded by three Algerians operating out of Italy was widely reported outside the U.S., but went virtually unreported in the American media.

Italian authorities recently announced that they had used wiretaps to uncover the conspiracy to conduct a series of major attacks inside the U.S.

Italian Interior Minister Giuseppe Pisanu said the planned attacks would have targeted stadiums, ships and railway stations, and the terrorists' goal, he said, was to exceed the devastation caused by 9/11.

Italian authorities stepped up their internal surveillance programs after July's terrorist bombings in London. Their domestic wiretaps picked up phone conversations by Algerian Yamine Bouhrama that discussed terrorist attacks in Italy and abroad.

Italian authorities arrested Bouhrama on November 15 and he remains in prison. Authorities later arrested two other men, Achour Rabah and Tartaq Sami, who are believed to be Bouhrama’s chief aides in planning the attacks.

The arrests were a major coup for Italian anti-terror forces, and the story was carried in most major newspapers from Europe to China.

"U.S. terror attacks foiled,” read the headline in England’s Sunday Times. In France, a headline from Agence France Presse proclaimed, "Three Algerians arrested in Italy over plot targeting U.S.”

Curiously, what was deemed worthy of a worldwide media blitz abroad was virtually ignored by the U.S. media [...]

The Associated Press version of the story did not disclose that the men planned to target the U.S. Nor did it report that the evidence against the suspects was gathered via a wiretapping surveillance operation.

Furthermore, only one American newspaper, the Philadelphia Inquirer, is known to have published the story that the AP distributed. It ran on page A-6 under the headline "Italy Charges 3 Algerians.” The Inquirer report also made no mention of the plot to target the U.S. - although foreign publications included this information in the headlines and lead sentences of their stories. Nor did it advise readers that domestic wiretaps played a key role in nabbing the suspected terrorists. [...]

I'm sure that politically aware readers knew that the NYT wiretap story was not about reporting news but instead about advocacy journalism, advancing their political agenda. In blacking out a story that is absolutely vital to any reasoned discussion of the issue they raised, the Times has stopped even pretending that itmight have been otherwise.


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