Saturday, June 09, 2007

BDA blues

Japan Focus, a peer-reviewed e-journal has an authoritative summary of the BDA affair:
Banco Delta Asia, North Korea’s Frozen Funds and US Undermining of the Six-Party Talks: Obstacles to a Solution

A point that the author makes and I wish to emphasize is the following:
The US media seems reluctant to pose this simple question to US officials. With the apparent single exception of Kevin Hill of McClatchy Newspapers (and a blogger who calls himself “China Hand”), the media has not done its homework on Patriot Act Section 311. Thus, at one of the State Department's recent daily press briefings, a reporter asked: "Can we then conclude that using this 311 section of the Patriot Act is like a far more powerful tool than anybody imagined?" Section 311 is not some creature of the US regulatory patchwork run amuck. All that is required to stop a Section 311 action is a few instructions published in the US Federal Register.
I believe that this media blindness is intentional. This is a perfect example of how the press thinks and works, if the facts do not fit the view you wish to present, you ignore them, and since you ignored them, they don't exist.

Why is this case ignored in particular? I can only hypothesize that since the apparent policy paralysis is due to a lack of leadership, Feckless Leader must be given a free pass. "Protect Bush at all costs" must be a mantra for the US press.

Unfortunately, most bloggers refuse to recognize this. There is very little coverage of this BDA matter in the blogs, and despite the excellent work of China Hand and Kevin Hill, what coverage there is ignores them, and parrots the know-nothings of the AP, NYT, and WaPo.

Hopefully, at least in this matter, Japan Focus will push this forward but I, for one, am not holding my breath.


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