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Entries in CNN (40)


EA Video: A 4-Step Animated Guide --- Creating the Al Qa'eda Threat

Hardly a day goes by without an "expert" declaration about the global spectre of Al Qa'eda.

On Sunday Peter Bergen and CNN gave a shout-out to the "Al Qa'eda brand" --- you know, a terrorist version of McDonald's ("I'm Bombin' It") or Nike ("Just Jihad It"). "Analysts" and media maintained the reduction of the Syrian conflict as one in which "self-professed Al Qa'eda affiliates" were taking over and threatening Western interests --- offering little of substance in their portrayal of the situation on the ground and the factions in the Syrian insurgency.

But how can you become one of these "experts", out-Bergening the Bergens to get your own segment on CNN? Here's our handy 4-step guide:

1. Find a Really Catchy Title
2. Create a Catchy Brand
3. Tie It to the Notion of the "Enemy"
4. Apply It to Any Situation in the World


Iran Feature: Newsflash --- Tehran Does (Not) Shoot Down An Enemy Drone

One of the US drones that Iran did not shoot down on Saturday

A tale of how Iranian propaganda went a bit too far --- and how the Western media, always on the look-out for a story of Tehran's threat, went along for the ride....

Press TV, the regime's English-language outlet, put up the Breaking headline on Saturday night, Iran Cyber-Warriors Take Control of Drone". As in December 2011 and January of this year, Tehran was going to parade another Western surveillance aircraft before the Iranian press, demonstrating how the Islamic Republic could not only defy the enemy but --- by reverse-engineering the drone --- turn the foe's weapons against it.

CNN quickly picked up the newsflash, and the Associated Press put out a fuller story.

The only problem was that none of this was true.

Click to read more ...


Yemen Feature: The Al Qa'eda Leader Who Came Back from the Dead (Lister/Almasmari)

Abu Sufyan Said al-Shihri Abu Sufyan Said al-Shihri was --- or is --- the second most senior figure in al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP). Last month, the Yemeni Defense Ministry announced al-Shihri had been killed "in an operation" in the Hadramawt Valley, a stronghold of AQAP in the south of the country.

But al-Shihri appears to have resurfaced with a defiant audio message.

Click to read more ...


US Politics Feature: "Who was the Best Foreign Policy President?" --- Scott Lucas with CNN

Ronald Reagan amid the Iran-Contra scandal, 1986 (Photo: Dennis Cook/AP)

On Thursday, CNN's Global Public Square posted the responses of eight historians and analysts to the question, "Who Was the Best Foreign Policy President?" A majority named Franklin D. Roosevelt, but there was also a high level of support for the first George Bush (no one named the second one). One commentator named Ronald Reagan, a response matched by Thomas Jefferson and my friend David Ryan's selection of Jimmy Carter.

Then, at the end, I spoiled the party....

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Turkey Interview: Prime Minister Erdoğan on Syria, His Political Future, and Imprisoned Journalists

In this two-part video from an interview with Christiane Amanpour of CNN, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is forthright about Syria, declaring that President Assad is "politically a deceased person" and claiming that the US elections are holding Washington back from necessary intervention.

Click to read more ...


Bahrain Live Coverage: Shutting Away Political Prisoners, Shutting Away the News

One of Amber Lyon's reports from Bahrain for CNN, whom she now accuses of shutting away her award-documentary (see 0735 GMT)

See also Syria (and Beyond) Live Coverage: The Free Syrian Army Tries to Re-Structure and Assert Control
Tuesday's Bahrain Live Coverage: Will High-Profile Activists Receive Court Verdicts Today?

1445 GMT: Bahrain Yesterday in the British House of Commons, Labour's Shadow Foreign Secretary, Douglas Alexander MP questioned Foreign Secretary William Hague over Bahrain:

Mr Douglas Alexander (Paisley and Renfrewshire South) (Lab): The Bahraini Government have long claimed their determination to pursue the path of reform and reconciliation, but only yesterday it emerged that the retrial of 20 activists and Opposition figures had resulted in all of them being found guilty, with long sentences and, in the case of eight defendants, life sentences. In light of this, can the Foreign Secretary set out the British Government’s judgment as to whether these were fair trials? More widely, what is his assessment of the Bahraini Government’s commitment to reform and reconciliation?

Mr Hague: I am very disappointed at the Bahraini civil court’s decision to uphold all the sentences of 20 political activists in Bahrain. We welcome the decision to review these cases in a civilian court but we remain very concerned by some of the charges that defendants were convicted of, and I urge the Bahraini Government to ensure that the human rights and freedoms of their citizens are fully upheld at all times. We are aware that the defendants can now appeal to a further court and we hope that this will be conducted thoroughly, with urgency and with due legal process. That will be one of the tests of the Bahraini Government’s commitment to reform.

Whilst the question was likely prompted by Tuesday's verdict in the trial of 20 activist, its timing also suggests the possibility that Labour may be seeking to make a wider issue of the British Government's controversial support for Bahrain. Up to now, Labour MPs like Jeremy Corbyn and Dennis MacShane have been vocal critics of the Bahrain regime, buut the leadership has been comparatively quiet. Alexander and Labour leader Ed Miliband were last vocal in April, when they both called for the Formula 1 Grand Prix in Bahrain to be cancelled.

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Egypt Feature: Does the Solution Lie in the Economy? (Bohn/Lister)

"No to Poverty, No to Unemployment, No to Torture"In 18 months of upheaval, all Egypt's economic indicators have headed south.

Growth is a projected 1.5% this fiscal year, far too feeble to provide a young and rapidly growing population with jobs (80% of Egypt's population is under age 30). Unemployment, one of the engines of the revolution, is estimated to be as high as 25% among the young. Tourism revenues have fallen sharply, and foreign reserves have dwindled to $15 billion. According to the United Nations, some 40% of Egyptians live below the poverty line; 14 million people subsist on less than $1 a day. Institutions are chronically weak and corruption is endemic.

Click to read more ...


US Photo of the Day: Truman 1948, Obama 2012 --- CNN's Great Mistake

See also US Politics Analysis: How Chief Justice Roberts Saved ObamaCare...and Gave the President an Election Problem

Two photographs telling a story of continuity and change in US politics and the media....

In 1948, President Harry Truman was fighting an uphill battle vs. Republican challenger Thomas Dewey. Early returns on Election Night gave Dewey a lead, big enough for the Chicago Daily Tribune --- no great fan of the President --- to put out a special edition, "DEWEY DEFEATS TRUMAN".

When the full count produced a very different outcome, Truman had the last laugh in a picture that has crossed the decades of US politics.

On Thursday morning, as the Supreme Court's long-awaited decision on President Obama's health care legislation was being announced, CNN tried to get a jump on its rivals with a Newsflash: "Mandate Struck Down: High Court Finds Measure Unconstitutional". (It should be noted that Fox News also put out the mistaken declaration, but it was CNN's initial error that grabbed attention.)

It only took a few hours and PhotoShop for a 21st-century update of Truman's 1948 iconic image:


Bahrain Analysis: Some Guy Wins Grand Prix, Regime Loses Legitimacy

Sunday's Grand Prix (Photo: Reuters)A Grand Prix run "without a hitch"? Not at all. The serious issue now is whether the regime will be successful in reducing the near-future to "just a hitch" which does not impede its legitimacy. The best it can hope for, however, is that media shrug their shoulders with the narrative of a "divided" Bahrain: that at least gives the authorities the Emperor's new clothes of stalwart support from a minority on the island, facing a more dangerous minority (Molotovs. Religious Extremism. Iran.) ---- and thus stability must be assured.<

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Bahrain, Syria (and Beyond) Live Coverage: Protest Here, Protest There, Protest Everywhere?

1954 GMT: Breaking news from Bahrain - activist Zainab AlKhawaja has been arrested, apparently while trying to visit her father in the hospital:

1908 GMT: This video is destined to be iconic. The UN monitors are set to visit the Idlib town of Kafer Takharim, and the the Syrian military pulled out today so as not to be seen by the observers. As the soldiers evacuate, this young man waves a pre-Baath party flag, the flag of the Syrian opposition, right in the face of Assad's tanks and soldiers.

Click to read more ...

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