Sunday, June 17, 2012

Jon Stewart Reports "Honest" Jamie Dimon's Testimony to His Rich Pals In Congress, Martha Gellhorn Prize Honors Reporter of "Killing Strategy" in Afghanistan & Ultimate No-Fly List Exposed

Jon Stewart nails Jamie Dimon's "boring" testimony to his paid-off Congressional audience.

Martha Gellhorn (one of the first female war correspondents) was a courageous reporter during many international conflicts, and was viewed by many knowledgeable observers as one of the best American war reporters. She aided Ernest Hemingway in making contacts in his career when she was briefly married to him.

Gellhorn met Ernest Hemingway, whose writing she admired, at Sloppy Joe's Bar in Key West, Florida, around Christmas in 1936. When he told her he was heading to Spain to cover the Spanish Civil War, she decided to go too. She came to Madrid in the spring of 1937 carrying a single knapsack and $50, to cover the war for Collier's Weekly. Soon Gellhorn, then 28, and Hemingway, 37, became lovers. Like many writers and artists of her generation, including Hemingway, Gellhorn sympathized passionately with the democratically elected socialist government of Spain in its fight against the fascist generals led by Francisco Franco. Her Spanish dispatches, difficult to find in print today, "revealed a gift for unflinching observation and unforced pathos" and "were much better than Hemingway's," wrote Marc Weingarten in the Washington Post.

 "In Barcelona, it was perfect bombing weather," Gellhorn wrote, describing Franco's bombers closing in on Republican territory in November of 1938, as quoted by Lyman. "The cafes along the Ramblas were crowded. There was nothing much to drink; a sweet fizzy poison called orangeade and a horrible liquid supposed to be sherry. There was, of course, nothing to eat. Everyone was out enjoying the cold afternoon sunlight. No bombers had come over for at least two hours." When the Spanish fascists won the war in 1939, she was crushed. "Nothing in my life has so affected my thinking as the losing of that war," she wrote in a letter to her friend Hortense Flexner, according to Weingarten. "It is, very banally, like the death of all loved things."

Gellhorn and Hemingway married in November of 1940. Soon after, she took him along to Hong Kong so she could write for Collier's about the Chinese Army's retreat from the Japanese invasion. The marriage was difficult. He wanted her to be a deferential wife; she wanted to live life like he did. She was idealistic, tormented by the slave labor conditions she witnessed in Hong Kong; he stoically accepted the world as it was. Both had terrible tempers. "Ernest and I really are afraid of each other, each one knowing that the other is the most violent person either one knows," she wrote to Flexner, as quoted by Weingarten. They broke up 1945 while they were staying at the Dorchester Hotel in London. Afterward, Gellhorn would call Hemingway a bully, while he called her phony and pretentious. In later years, she resented having more fame for being Hemingway's ex-wife than for her own work. "I was a writer before I met him and I have been a writer for 45 years since," she complained, according to the Chicago Tribune. "Why should I be a footnote to someone else's life?"

During World War II, Gellhorn often left Hemingway behind to go abroad and report. She covered the 1939 Soviet attack on Finland and the German air attacks on London. In 1944 Hemingway, instead of Gellhorn, was hired by Collier's to cover the Allies' D-Day landing in France; she covered the invasion anyway, by stowing away on a hospital ship and going onshore bearing a stretcher. "She brought a fresh approach to war journalism, writing passionately about the dreadful impact of war on the innocent," her Washington Post obituary said. Near the end of the war, she witnessed the Allied forces' liberation of Dachau, the infamous concentration camp near Munich. Her article has become one of the most famous accounts of the discovery of the camps. "Behind the barbed wire and the electric fence," she wrote, as quoted by Lyman, "the skeletons sat in the sun and searched themselves for lice. They have no age and no faces; they all look alike and like nothing you will ever see, if you are lucky." The experience forever darkened her outlook on life, so that she was never again able to be as happy as before, she later wrote.

. . . After World War II, Gellhorn left the United States, criticizing it for being a colonial power. She lived in several countries, from France and Italy to Cuba, Mexico, and Kenya, before settling in Great Britain in her later years, splitting her time between a London apartment and a Welsh cottage. The legacy of the Nazi atrocities continued to occupy her. She covered the trial of German war criminal Adolf Eichmann for the Atlantic Monthly. She went to Israel in 1967 to cover the Arab-Israeli War from an impassioned pro-Israel standpoint, explaining that she saw conflict through the prism of the Holocaust.

In 1966 Gellhorn traveled to Vietnam to write about the war for the LondonGuardian. Her dispatches openly protested the war. "People cannot survive our bombs," she wrote, as quoted by John Pilger of the New Statesman. "We are uprooting the people from the lovely land where they have lived for generations; and the uprooted are given not bread but stone. Is this an honorable way for a great nation to fight a war 8,000 miles from its safe homeland?" The South Vietnamese government banned her from returning there, sending her into a long depression.

Gareth Porter Wins Gellhorn Award For Afghanistan Exposures

Gareth Porter, the Washington-based journalist, has won the prestigious Martha Gellhorn Prize for Journalism for 2012 for his investigation of US "killing strategy" in Afghanistan, including the targeting of people through their mobile phones.The judges said: "In a series of extraordinary articles, Gareth Porter has torn away the facades of the Obama administration and disclosed a military strategy that amounts to a war against civilians."
The Martha Gellhorn Prize is given in honor of one of the 20th Century's greatest reporters and is awarded to a journalist "whose work has penetrated the established version of events and told an unpalatable truth that exposes establishment propaganda, or 'official drivel,' as Martha Gellhorn called it."
Previous winners include Robert Fisk of the Independent, Nick Davies of the Guardian, Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, and the late Marie Colvin of the Sunday Times (special award).
Those short-listed for this year's prize were Amelia Gentleman of the Guardian for her articles about Britain's "forgotten people," the elderly and young offenders, described by the judges as "unique and eloquent"; and Phil Hammond and Andrew Bousfield for their "stunning" special investigation in Private Eye, "Shoot the Messenger: How NHS Whistleblowers Are Silenced and Sacked."

Tomgram: Peter Van Buren, The Ultimate No-Fly List

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