[Marxism] Social democratic magazine goes belly up

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Sat Nov 19 13:54:03 MST 2005


Counterpunch Weekend Edition
November 19 / 20, 2005
Died for Lack of a Spine
R.I.P. In These Times

By DAVE LINDORFF

The news is full of stories these days about dying newspapers-the 
Philadelphia Inquirer, the Los Angeles Times, the Boston Globe, etc. 
Circulation is down, readers are fleeing to the web, reporters getting laid 
off in droves. But that's the mainstream corporate print media.

Now, sadly, comes news of a death on the left.

I refer to In These Times, a bi-weekly newspaper that has limped along 
valiantly since its founding back in 1978, often providing a source of real 
people's news when other journals like the Nation and Mother Jones were 
slipping their moorings and becoming pale liberal versions of their former 
selves.

No, ITT, for which I have written since its founding, is not shut down 
(though financial difficulties have forced it, for the first time, to 
decide to give up on fortnightly publication in favor of coming out 
monthly-always a bad sign in this industry), but since the death of its 
founder, Jim Weinstein, it seems to have died in other ways.

I confess right at the start that this is a personal opinion, shaped by 
personal experience, but I think my story tells a bigger tale.

It begins with an article I wrote ("Radioactive Wounds of War") on Sept. 19 
of this year, on the military's expanded use of depleted uranium as a 
weapon of choice in Iraq. Depleted uranium, the byproduct of nuclear weapon 
and nuclear fuel production, turns out to be a super penetrator, able to 
pierce the thickest steel armor and concrete wall. During 1991, the first 
time it was deployed by the U.S. military, over 300 tons of the 
extraordinarily toxic and radioactive material, which vaporizes on contact 
when fired, was used in the Kuwaiti and southern Iraq desert, mostly in the 
form of 30 mm rounds fired by A-10 attack aircraft and of tank shells.

My article in ITT explained how in the current war, as much as 10 times 
that much DU has been fired off. The article, based in part on an interview 
with Dr. Doug Rokke, a Pentagon whistleblower who in the mid-1990s was 
placed in charge of a Pentagon "Live Fire" test program of DU ordnance to 
determine how to use DU munitions safely, told how in this war, instead of 
the DU being expended in remote desert battles, it was being used in urban 
warfare in highly populated areas of Iraq and Afghanistan, and in much 
vaster quantities. I also wrote of how some American troops who returned 
and who had been subsequently tested for DU contamination because of 
symptoms they were showing, were testing "hot," and how one man's wife had 
already had a daughter born with a suspected radiation-caused deformity.

The article struck a nerve and was widely read on the ITT website.

It also attracted, as do most such DU exposes, attacks from a well-oiled 
Pentagon-based disinformation campaign. Military officials, hiding their 
identities, wrote in slandering Dr. Rokke, for example claiming that he had 
never headed a Pentagon DU testing program (he did, and I have the 
documents to prove it), and claiming that he was only a lieutenant, not a 
captain (he not only was a captain, but I have his letters of rank 
advancement recommendations and letters of commendation). Another letter 
came to ITT from a Jack Cohen-Joppe, a self-described anti-nuke activist 
with has an Ahab-like obsession with attacking articles critical of DU 
weapons use.

Cohen-Joppe, who has also attacked Project Censored on this issue, made the 
absurd claim that since Pentagon statements only concede the use of some 
200 tons of DU in the current Iraq war-that's just 2/.3 of the amount used 
in the several days of the 1991 Iraq battle over the course of almost three 
years of hard fighting!-no one should publish any higher figures. Cohen 
also tries to rebut claims that the Pentagon is using massive amounts of DU 
in bunker-busting bombs-another claim I made in my article based upon clips 
from respected journals like the Guardian (UK) and my Pentagon source, Dr. 
Rokke. In his letter, Cohen-Joppe argued DU-based bombs could not be 
claimed because "no documentary peer-reviewed forensic evidence" exists. 
(Actually there are patents for such weapons, radioactive evidence at bomb 
sites, and the assertions of people like Dr. Rokke, though perhaps nothing 
"peer-reviewed.")

ITT never informed me they were running Cohen-Joppa's letter. I first 
discovered they'd run it when I got my copy of the Oct. 24 issue of ITT in 
the mail. Worse than the letter, which is simply ludicrous on its face and 
hardly worthy of comment, the editors of ITT ran a comment-without warning 
me in advance or giving me a chance to reply-under the heading "The Editors 
Respond," which said: "More extensive research has led us to agree with 
Cohen-Joppa that expanded use of DU by the Pentagon cannot be confirmed. We 
regret the error." [author's emphasis]

When I initially demanded that ITT publish my letter or response, editor 
Joel Bleifus said he would not. I threatened to take the case to Fairness 
and Accuracy in Reporting, after which he said he would run a letter.

full: http://www.counterpunch.com/lindorff11192005.html





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