Orwellian media coverage of Hutchinson’s 6/1 testimony

ALL MEDIA (including NY Times) have reported that Secret Service driver Tony Ornato has stated that Cassidy Hutchinson’s testimony on her key accusation is not true. But in the sensational, ramped up coverage that all MSM gave Hutchinson’s testimony, the Ornato denial is mentioned only in passing way down in the reporting, which condemns Trump all over again on the basis of Cassidy’s testimony which they all know has been undercut.  

  1. NBC News correspondent Peter Alexander also reports that “a source close to the Secret Service” told him that Mr Engel is prepared to testify that Mr Engel and the driver that day are prepared to testify that “neither man was assaulted and that Mr. Trump never lunged for the steering wheel.”
  2. Ornato “denies telling Cassidy Hutchinson that the former president grabbed the steering wheel or an agent on his detail,” CNN’s Shimon Prokupecz tweeted, citing a Secret Service official. Both Mr Engel and Mr Ornato were interviewed by the committee months ago. Their statements were not used in Tuesday’s hearing.

Even NYT – amid thousands of words – mentions late in its hagiographic reporting that “Secret Service officials said that both Engel, head of SS unit, and the SS driver Ornato, were prepared to state under oath that neither man was assaulted by the former president and that he did not reach for the wheel.”

But in the very next sentence NYT adds – “[But] veterans of the Trump White House who have broken with the former president said Ms. Hutchinson’s testimony resonated with their own experiences. Mr. Trump was prone to temper tantrums, slamming his hands down on his desk and screaming at advisers he considered insufficiently loyal. As Ms. Hutchinson said, his destruction of dishware during an outburst following the election was hardly the first time he had taken his wrath out on the White House china.”

This is how NYT begins its story on her testimony: “Cassidy Hutchinson, now 26, distinguished herself as the most powerful witness yet in the House select committee’s investigation into the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol — and as one of the most forceful and compelling aides to testify about former President Donald J. Trump’s bizarre and violent behavior during his four years in the White House.

For two stunning hours on live television, Ms. Hutchinson described an unhinged former president who, she said, was warned that his supporters were carrying weapons and expressed no concern because they were not a threat to him. She said that Mr. Trump tried to grab the steering wheel of the presidential limousine and lunged for his Secret Service agent because he wanted to go to the Capitol, and added that at one point he hurled his plate of lunch at a wall in the White House.

“I grabbed a towel and started wiping the ketchup off of the wall to help the valet out,” Ms. Hutchinson testified.

On Twitter, Ms. Hutchinson was compared to John Dean, the former White House counsel to President Richard M. Nixon, whose public hearing testimony proved pivotal in describing his role in the Watergate cover-up. 

Another newspaper began its story thus –

WASHINGTON — The surprise hearing on Tuesday of the special House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack lived up to the drama that preceded it, providing the most detailed and intimate picture yet of President Donald J. Trump’s actions as a mob was assaulting the Capitol in his name.

The explosive and cinematic firsthand testimony from Cassidy Hutchinson, a trusted longtime aide of Mark Meadows, the White House chief of staff, portrayed the president as almost unhinged with fury when his Secret Service detail told him he could not go to the Capitol as his supporters, many of them armed, descended on it

When asked if the committee verified the incident with Ornato or Engel, the second most senior Democrat Jamie Raskin on the Trump impeachment said: “Speaking as one member of the committee, the evidence I have seen is the evidence that you have seen.” Asked if Ornato has sat for closed-door testimony: “No comment on that”

FINALLY – Democrats recalled the Committee after sending them home two days ago for the July 4 recess in order to put Hutchinson the stand with sensational testimony that all media reported was refuted by the 2 Secret Service agents invoked by her. What gives?

The big picture, put simplistically, is that an abhorrent Trump was elected president in 2016 as the Democrats had gradually traded their traditional support for the country’s working people for the more lucrative Wall St/corporate elite. And even now, they are consumed primarily by knocking down Trump – but not taking steps to address the material economic and social challenges wearing working families down.     


What’s frightening about Trump’s bombing Syria


President Barack Obama resisted sustained and unmitigated pressure to attack Syria, but regretfully succumbed to do his thankfully partial bit, as he amazingly admitted. (See my Guardian article from last year).

President Trump, his poll numbers falling drastically with one clueless stumble after another, is looking for ways to recover. His suddenly aggressive new stance on Syria is designed to build some sorely-needed mainstream support, and he has zoned in on one of the easiest ways to do so – to get into bed with the powerful anti-Iran, pro-war, pro-Israel lobbies.

His presumed plan is a recipe for another Mid-East propelled global disaster, that he himself warned against throughout the campaign. This was among the few positive, redeeming features of his proposed candidacy.


UN: The challenges to restoring global order

The challenges to restoring global order

 The exercise of overwhelming US power strikes at the heart of the United Nations’ very raison d’etre: the independence and neutrality of its actions. That must be moderated if the UN is to succeed in restoring global order.”

AFTER a decade of desultory leadership at the United Nations under Ban Ki Moon, there was excitement about the prospects of a more effective and independent United Nations under the new, and highly accomplished, Secretary General Antonio Guterres. He was the most senior political figure, and also the most prepared, to have been appointed secretary general – a former prime minister of Portugal, and one who had navigated some of the most perilous issues of our time as UN High Commissioner for Refugees in the last two years in particular.

I had met Mr Guterres twice when I accompanied Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga, as his Spokesman and Senior Adviser, in negotiations with him, in Nairobi and in Davos in 2009 and 2010. Mr Guterres was trying to persuade President Mwai Kibaki to roll back Kenya’s announced intention to close the Dabaab camp and forcibly deport Somali refugees back to Somalia, an action not permitted under international law. Mr Odinga and I both I found him very courageous as well as politically savvy, and his humanitarian commitment was strong. He succeeded after doggedly pursuing his goal of protection for Somali refugees for three years.

But US President Trump dealt a blow to the hopes about Mr Guterres last week when he bullied him into demanding the “withdrawal” of a study by the UN Regional Commission for the Arab world, which likened Israeli occupation practices in Palestine to apartheid. The highly-respected head of the UN Commission, the highly-respected former Deputy Prime Minister of Jordan, understandably resigned, outraging Arabs and others at this blatant suppression of speech.

The Commission’s Study was done by two independent professors, one of them the legendary Richard Falk, Princeton University professor of international law, who was denigrated in most media reports in the US as being “anti-Semitic” –  quoting Israelis! That’s the standard charge against anyone who criticizes Israel’s oppression of Palestinians. The study prominently said on its first page that it reflected the views of its two authors, not the United Nations, but that did not sway Mr Trump.

Because of that explicit disclaimer, some have felt Mr Guterres should have strongly distanced himself from the study rather than give in to US demands. Having worked at UN headquarters for 20 years, the last six as a Director of Communications under Secretary General Kofi Annan, I can attest to how difficult it is to resist the US when its determined to get its way. But most people are unaware of this power the US exercises over the UN: it can slash its UN contributions. And it can cripple its workings by withholding the indispensable cooperation the UN head needs from the world’s sole superpower to carry out his mandates.

While even modest UN independence seems totally unavailable under Mr Trump, secretaries general Kofi Annan and Boutros-Ghali fell afoul of it too.  But unlike the current case, in which Mr Guterres played no direct role whatsoever, the two suffered for courageous public positions they took, Mr Annan on the legality of the Iraq War in 2003 and Mr Boutros-Ghali over publishing a report of an investigation into Israeli bombing of a UN battalion’s base which killed 100 refugees. Mr Annan weathered the unrelenting attacks that followed his BBC assertion, but the US vetoed Mr Boutros-Ghali’s second term, as it had threatened to if he published the report. That was the only time a UN secretary general was denied a second term, and the other 14 Security Council member states supported him. That’s how strong the US is when it comes to the UN, or indeed just about everywhere.

The exercise of this overwhelming US power strikes at the heart of the United Nations’ very raison d’etre: the independence and neutrality of its positions and actions. Regrettably, none of the many proposals about UN reform address this dimension. The UN must operate in the real world, but an enlightened United States should moderate its demands if the UN is to succeed in restoring global order, whose first beneficiary will be the US itself.