The L.A. Times, it should be noted, did a superb job of obtaining additional documents from the Dept. of Defense and of identifying DoD contractors responsible for producing and distributing so-called news reports – secretly produced pieces which made their way into Iraqi media, coerced through bribes. However, let’s give credit where original credit is due: whereas the Times released its report Nov. 30, IMC-Binghamton broke the story June 1 – fully a half a year earlier.

The IMC article, “U.S. Special Forces To Create Private 'Media' Corps,” was immediately picked up and distributed by Free Press ( http://www.freepress.net/news/8357), an organization which author and professor Robert McChesney founded in 2002 to increase the public’s role in media policy issues. Many IMC affiliates around the nation and internationally also disseminated the piece, as did bloggers in multiple languages.

While this all may seem exceedingly self-congratulatory, it’s nonetheless important to mention that this crucial story appeared here first, as the contributions of Indymedia and independent journalists continue to come under attack, even – or perhaps particularly – in their own backyards.

As Free Press pointed out when it reproduced IMC’s scoop on this insidious DoD project, “This article is from Binghamton Independent Media Center. If you found it informative and valuable, we strongly encourage you to visit their website and register an account to view all their articles on the web. Support quality journalism.”

We can’t ask for much more than that – except maybe a simple affirmation once in a while that we IMCistas are, at times, a step ahead of mainstream media.

Let us consider this as we celebrate, on this very day, the one-year anniversary of IMC-Binghamton. See you at the Cyber Cafe West for the festivities.