[Marxism] Social democratic magazine goes belly up
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
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
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
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.
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