Friday, June 18, 2021

 Common Dreams:

"Progressive pro-democracy forces worldwide 'sounded the alarm' Friday as backers of right-wing Peruvian presidential candidate and former dictator's daughter Keiko Fujimori alleged election fraud—despite lack of evidence—as she challenged an apparent win by leftist Pedro Castillo, who ran on a platform to lift up the poor and redistribute the nation's wealth.

Fujimori, the daughter ex-President Alberto Fujimori—currently in jail for his role in civil massacres and corruption—has made what critics and experts warn are baseless allegations of electoral fraud, especially as independent observers have reported no irregularities. As of Friday, with nearly all votes in, Castillo a former school teacher, had 50.2% to Fujimori's 49.8%, a difference of about 63,000 votes. ...

'On the one hand you had the extremely well-funded campaign of Fujimori, which benefited from enormous private sector support and nearly uniformly favorable coverage in all of Peru's major media,' [said Alexander Main, director of international policy for the D.C.-based Center for Economic and Policy Research]. 'On the other hand you had Castillo's campaign, carried out on a shoestring budget and subject to constant attacks and fear-mongering in the media.' "

-->To the NYT, the Peruvian election is "still undecided" and the outcome "pushes a Democracy to its Brink." There is little said about the big money support of Fujimori or the one sidedness of their corporate controlled media. Much of the US media has not covered the election at all.


The Nation:

"In a letter to the US Congress seen by the Sunday Nation, President Biden said that he had approved sending special operations troops to Kenya, which is expected to collaborate with the Kenyan military in combating Al-Shabaab. The number of troops is not indicated.

The US deployment is expected to be a security boost for Kenya, which has in recent years suffered deadly gun and bomb attacks from Al-Shabaab. The Somalia-based group is known to have sympathisers in Kenya."

-->Biden is sending more US troops to Africa, but the US media hardly notices. Where is the reporting abut another continent overrun by neoliberal corporate interests? It's all about guaranteeing US access to Africa's resources, done at the point of a gun. As Mark Twain said of his country: "Lust of conquest had long ago done its work; trampling upon the helpless abroad had taught her, by a natural process, to endure with apathy the like at home.”


Common Dreams:

"Wall Street has been making huge investments — not in businesses or stocks, but in the American political process. At nearly $3 billion, the financial sector spent record sums on campaign contributions and lobbying during the 2019-2020 election cycle.

Wall Street has one goal: to maximize profits. By using wealth as leverage, Wall Street wields immense power over the electoral and legislative processes, to the detriment of ordinary people and American democracy. One part of the answer to this problem is pending legislation to reinvigorate the laws that underpin our self-governance.

The financial sector’s political spending skyrocketed by 50 percent between the 2015-2016 and 2019-2020 election cycles, culminating in $2.9 billion spent in the past year, according to a recently released report from Americans for Financial Reform."

-->This report lays it all out, how the very rich run the country. The NYT, the voice of the plutocracy, didn't think this story was newsworthy.

Thursday, June 10, 2021

The Intercept:

"THE U.S. MILITARY killed 23 civilians and injured another 10 in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Somalia during 2020, according to a Pentagon report on civilian casualties that was released on Wednesday and immediately faced charges of being a whitewash. Experts said the report vastly undercounts the dead and wounded from U.S. military operations. ...

'The failure to accurately account and make amends for civilian harm does a disservice to civilians already suffering unimaginable loss, as well as to the Americans who deserve fuller transparency into the ways that U.S. operations have harmed civilians,' Annie Shiel, the senior adviser for U.S. policy and advocacy at the Center for Civilians in Conflict, told The Intercept. ...


A conservative accounting of civilians killed by the U.S. military in 2020, according to Airwars, a U.K.-based airstrike monitoring group, is almost five times higher: 102 noncombatant deaths resulting from U.S. attacks in Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia, Syria, and Yemen. ... The Pentagon’s dramatic undercount does not include any of the secret attacks carried out by the Central Intelligence Agency, which the U.S. government does not acknowledge. Nor does it take into account the civilian toll resulting from assistance to allies, such as Saudi Arabia, whose bombing campaign has killed thousands of civilians in Yemen."

-->US news outlets simply haven't covered this story. The US military kills them, and the US media just covers it up. 


FAIR (Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting):

"US Sanctions Against Venezuela Cause Shortages in Diesel, Editorial Standards. Western corporate media have time and again proved to be reliable allies for US regime change efforts against Venezuela. Alongside the occasional military threat, Washington’s strategy in recent years has relied on unilateral coercive measures commonly known as sanctions. Despite these measures being classified as 'collective punishment' and found responsible for tens of thousands of deaths, corporate journalists have been for a long time happy to downplay or totally ignore them. ...

Corporate journalists began to scrutinize the consequences of sanctions and complain about their 'failure' to topple the Maduro government toward the end of the Trump administration. But the arrival of President Joe Biden evidently reinvigorated their sense of duty as loyal stenographers serving the imperial presidency. As the US blockade becomes more asphyxiating to Venezuelans than ever before, corporate outlets have either turned their gaze somewhere else, or doubled down on misrepresenting sanctions.

The new administration has been abetted in its neo-Trumpian foreign policy by a media establishment ever willing to present collective punishment of an entire population as 'democracy promotion.' The fact that Trump’s brazen mob-style threats have been replaced by more sophisticated mafioso innuendo has certainly made corporate journalists’ life easier in this regard.

-->Along with hiding the true death count of countries attacked by the US military, our empire friendly media routinely ignores the damage of US economic sanctions. At last count 22 countries are now being economical sanctioned by the US. And the death tolls from economic sanctions? The sanctions against Iraq starting in 1990 caused the death of tens of thousands of children. 


News Ghana:

"Africa has 30 percent of the remaining mineral resources in the world, which, largely, remain untouched. According to recent forecasts, Africa will become a global strategic resource reserve by 2030. First of all, this refers to the irreplaceable types of minerals regularly used in the military. Even now, the US Military Industrial Complex dependence on imports of non-ferrous and rare metals from African countries exceeds 50%. ...

At the same time, Washington increases its military activity in Africa. The South African Mail & Guardian, referring to the documents of the US Armed Forces Africa Command, describes an ambitious project to deploy a network of military bases throughout Africa. The files detail more than $330-million of spending, including a list of 'prioritized' military construction projects planned to be carried out from 2021 to 2025. This is designated for infrastructure investments on US bases stretching across Africa. ...

Africa once again becomes a victim of colonization by Western culture. The widespread privatization of valuable deposits by American companies will stagnate any national opportunities for economic growth on the Black continent. Moreover, the cultural identity of the African peoples will also be vanished, pushing the world closer to globalization where Africa is destined to play the role of the raw material colony.

-->One has to go beyond traditional US media to find any mention of our country's recolonization of Africa. BLM, however, is opening a window on this hidden story.

Thursday, June 03, 2021


"The online discipline and punishment of celebrities who make statements critical of Israel’s war crimes is a central feature of wrenching back [the Israel Lobby's] control of the narrative of what’s happening in Palestine. In the space of a few hours, Mark Ruffalo made an assertion that Israel was committing 'genocide' in Gaza. It gained headlines and pushback. 

Ruffalo wilted under orchestrated fury, as many have before him. He recanted and his recantation reaped even bigger headlines. But not only did he recant. Ruffalo also castigated Palestinians and supporters of Palestinian liberation for using factually-based and legally apt terms, like 'apartheid' and 'genocide,' to describe Israel’s assault on Gaza. In this way, Ruffalo went from a critic to a high-profile agent of the very force [he] had a just denounced.

-->Jeffrey St. Clair's criticism of the left is right on target in his article "Roaming Charges: Back to the Future in Gaza." He concludes that "There’s an insecurity in the heart of American liberalism, a lack of faith in its own professed beliefs." Most of the US media avoided this story, except for Fox News and NBC. 



"As you are surely aware, advocates for Israel are using an apparent surge in antisemitic attacks to try to delegitimize pro-Palestine advocacy.

Part of that effort is a move to characterize the charge that Israel is practicing apartheid as antisemitic. Four pro-Israel congresspeople sent a letter to President Biden yesterday taking aim at fellow Democrats who are critical of Israel. The four — Josh Gottheimer, Elaine Luria, Dean Phillips, and Kathy Manning, all of whom are Jewish — say Israel protects Jews, so criticisms of Israel over “apartheid” or “terrorism” are “antisemitic at their core."

[In an excerpt from their letter]: 'We also reject comments from Members of Congress accusing Israel of being an 'apartheid state' and committing 'act[s] of terrorism.' These statements are antisemitic at their core and contribute to a climate that is hostile to many Jews. We must never forget that less than eighty years ago, within the lifetime of our parents and grandparents, six million people were murdered by the Nazis in the Holocaust because they were Jews.”

-->How long can the Holocaust be used to justify another genocide? As long as the US sees geopolitical advantage in supplying the planes and bombs for Israel's assaults on Palestinians, the war crimes will continue. The empire has no conscience. And the empire's media has little interest in bringing that fact to life.


The Guardian UK:

"The Argentinian government has sent hundreds of DNA testing kits to its consulates around the world in a groundbreaking effort to put names to unidentified victims murdered in the 'Dirty War' waged by the brutal military dictatorship four decades ago.

Last month, the Argentinian authorities, in collaboration with the National Commission for the Right to Identity, the Grandmothers of Plaza de Mayo movement and investigators from the Argentinian Forensic Anthropology Team (EAAF), launched its international Right to Identity campaign, committed to putting a name to every woman, man and child killed by the military junta in Argentina in the 1970s and early 80s.

After the 1976 coup, Argentina’s military set about systematically crushing any potential opposition, and eventually 'disappeared' and murdered 30,000 people, almost all of them civilian, unarmed non-combatants. The abuses ... have inflicted a deep trauma on the Argentinian psyche. Pregnant prisoners were kept alive until they gave birth and were then murdered. At least 500 babies were taken from their parents while in captivity and given to childless military couples to raise as their own."

-->The NYT didn't cover this story, and the Guardian left out any mention of the US and British involvement in the bloodletting. In fact the US was aware of the coup two months before it happened, and Henry Kissinger met several times with its military leaders, urging them to murder as many people as possible before the outcry over human rights abuses grew in the US. All those skeletons of empire; what to do with all those bodies?

Thursday, May 27, 2021

NYT Book Review:
In an article entitled "Daniel Patrick Moynihan Was Often Right. Joe Klein on Why It Still Matters," our newspaper of record extolls that combination of wealth, Ivy League schools, and statesmanship that makes a true American hero. Moynihan had it all, a tall, aristocratic demeanor as well as a celebrated career in public service. And not just any public service. According to Joe Klein, Moynihan was a moral and ethical force for good in the world, using his impressive intellectual and persuasive gifts to better his fellow human beings. 

Such is America's commitment to the propaganda of empire. One detail left out of this star struck and adoring depiction of Moynihan was his career at the UN, where he was single handedly responsible for covering up the Indonesian invasion and genocide against East Timor in 1977-78. 

The US armed, funded and protected the Indonesian invasion and subsequent mass killings, and Moynihan was the empire's go to man. In his own words. "The United States wished things to turn out as they did, and worked to bring this about. The Department of State desired that the United Nations prove utterly ineffective in whatever measures it undertook. This task was given to me, and I carried it forward with no inconsiderable success.”

Moynihan even took credit for the size of the genocide [10% of the population] and the fact that it was not reported in the US media, noting that because of his efforts "the subject disappeared from the press.” So here is the hero of American righteousness that the NYT Book Review asks readers to glorify. Our "newspaper of record" hiding the empire's genocide from the American people.


The Guardian UK:

"The toxic atmosphere on some US campuses has been long in gestation. Last year Palestine Legal took on 213 cases involving attempts to quash pro-Palestinian advocacy. Some 80% of the reported cases related to US campuses, with students or faculty targeted at 68 different academic institutions. ...

Though excesses have been committed on both sides, the record is by no means evenly weighted. Much like the Middle East discord itself, the balance of forces lies overwhelmingly in favor of supporters of Israel, with pro-Palestinian groups vastly outgunned.

Students protesting against Israeli occupation frequently find themselves accosted by a powerful array of well-funded adversaries – some backed by the Israeli government itself – armed with a battery of cyber tools. 'There has been an increase this year in blacklisting website activity that encourages doxing online of Palestinians and their allies,' [Palestine Legal attorney Amira] Mattar said.

-->While the NYT has made some astonishing breakthroughs in the coverage of Palestine (imagine front page stories about the siege of Gaza), its reporting on campus intimidation and coercion is still lagging far behind. We must go to a British newspaper to find out about free speech battles on US campuses. 


Common Dreams:

"The Campaign Legal Center on Wednesday filed suit against the Federal Election Commission, charging that the regulatory agency has failed to enforce the law against a group that spent millions of dollars on advertisements targeting key voters and opposing 2020 Democratic presidential primary candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders.

Though Sanders ultimately suspended his second presidential campaign and endorsed President Joe Biden, the Vermont Independent's impressive finish in the Iowa caucuses and victory in the New Hampshire Democratic primary were immediately followed by the formation of the Big Tent Project in mid-February 2020. ...

'Even if Big Tent Project were not a political committee,' the 2020 complaint says, 'it violated FECA by failing to disclose contributors who gave for political purposes and to fund its independent expenditures, and additionally failed to report tens of thousand s of dollars of independent expenditures.' "

-->Yes, the Democratic Party spent millions to stop Sander's run for the nomination. No, the NYT, didn't report the story. In fact the news blackout of Sander's candidacy has yet to be fully explored by any US mainstream media. 

Thursday, May 20, 2021

 Jacobin Magazine:
"On Palestine, the Media Is Allergic to the Truth. Once again, the media are trying to depict the fighting between Israelis and Palestinians as a round of meaningless violence from 'both sides' of an equally matched contest — the reality on the ground be damned.

There are two ways you could report on the bloody conflict unfolding right now in Israel and Palestine. One would be to put every new headline and story, whether that’s about Hamas’s rocket attacks or Israel’s wildly disproportionate airstrikes, in context.

That would mean explaining that the rockets came in the wake of a series of outrageous and criminal Israeli provocations in occupied East Jerusalem: a series of violent police raids on the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, the third holiest site in Islam during its holiest month, that have damaged the sacred structure and injured hundreds, including worshippers; that Israeli forces were attacking Palestinians who were occupying Aqsa both to pray and to protect it from bands of far-right Israeli extremists who have been marching through East Jerusalem, attacking Palestinians, and trying to break into the compound; and that all of this sits in the shadow of protests against Israel’s most recent attempt to steal land from Palestinians in the city, and the ramping up of Israel’s theft of Palestinian land more broadly under Trump."

-->The mainstream media is disinterested in the possibility that its reporting on Israel's war crimes are biased. Only a leftist magazine can tell us the truth about what Israel is doing, and how our media is complicit in hiding its war crimes. 


The Guardian UK

"Cali is the cockpit of chaos as Colombia protests threaten to spiral out of control. ... [The city] is the focus of a nationwide wave of demonstrations against poverty and inequality exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic.

But a string of incidents in which men in civilian clothing have brandished assault rifles and opened fire on protesters has prompted fears that the country – which is only just clawing its way out of war – is heading for broader conflict.

In the last 24 hours, indigenous protesters blocking roads have been shot at by assailants, fresh skirmishes have erupted between demonstrators and riot police, and residents have been trapped in their homes by clashes on the streets.

-->The NYT and the rest of the US media are underreporting these massive protests against an authoritarian government backed by the US. The NYT reserves its coverage of rebellions to Pentagon approved targets for US military intervention like Venezuela and Nicaragua. Our "newspaper of record" did print a tepid opinion column urging peace in the region, as well as a high school "Lesson of the Day" on Columbia, although most of the important facts were glossed over.


Common Dreams:

"As Israel continues its deadly assault on Palestinians throughout the occupied territories, a new analysis released Monday night shows that if congressional lawmakers in the U.S. approve the federal budget unveiled last month by President Joe Biden, the nation would give $1.3 billion more to the Israeli military than to the global climate response.

Although Biden has yet to release his official budget request for FY2022, he shared a preview, which was heavily criticized by progressives. ... In response to the analysis, Left Flank Veterans, a group of anti-war veterans, said Biden's spending priorities indicate that the president thinks 'preserving apartheid is more important than fighting climate change.' "

-->Israel has just slaughtered another 212 Palestinians, including 61 children, 36 women, and 2 doctors. Is there a speck of morality in our government's policy of rewarding Israel for its war crimes? How did Israel buy our president and so many members of Congress? And why doesn't our mainstream media report the full measure of Israel's racist carnage? 

Thursday, May 13, 2021

"Over the past few weeks, as the Israeli colonial forces escalated their brutal violence against the Palestinians of occupied Jerusalem, many hoped for some kind of a sharp reaction from the new Biden administration.

But that did not come. Instead, we once again heard about how 'deeply concerned' the US State Department is about 'unilateral steps that exacerbate tensions' and that both Israeli and Palestinian officials need 'to act decisively to de-escalate tensions'. ...

Conspicuously absent from all these statements are words that objectively assess the situation in Palestine, such as 'occupation', 'apartheid', 'settler-colonialism', and 'ethnic cleansing'.

This is the language that has long been entrenched and engineered by the powerful Israeli Lobby in the US to whitewash the Palestinian reality by presenting the Israeli apartheid and colonialism as an issue of 'conflict resolution and mediation' ”.

-->Yes, it is sickening to hear NPR talk about how confusing the conflict is. Here is a comment sent to "All Things Considered" by Judith: 

"Israeli police and Palestinians clashed … That was the NPR brief report yesterday, neutral as ever. When it comes to Israel/Palestine, what ATC leaves out is always most notable. Did Palestinians suddenly rise up from prayers at their holiest mosque on the holiest day of the Muslim calendar to attack Israeli police? It snuck very briefly into one of your previous reports that the Israeli police had started a riot with Palestinians as they were leaving the mosque. That fact was never mentioned by NPR again. From then on the story begins wherever Israel wants it to, with unruly Palestinians who, for no reason whatsoever, at least none given by ATC, rise up to strike at armed Israeli police. NPR claims the mantle of "most trusted name in news”. On the subject of Israel/Palestine it is rare to hear an unbiased or fair report. Palestinian necks have been under the knee of Israel far longer than the 50 years that NPR is now celebrating. The time is long overdue to tell the truth." 


FAIR (Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting):

Aggression, in international politics, is commonly defined as the use of armed force against another sovereign state, not justified by self-defense or international authority. Any state being described as aggressive in foreign or international reporting, therefore, is almost by definition in the wrong.

It’s a word that seems easy to apply to the United States, which launched 81 foreign interventions between 1946 and 2000 alone. In the 21st century, the United States has attacked, invaded or occupied the sovereign states of Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia.

Despite the US record, Western corporate media overwhelmingly reserve the word “aggression” for official enemy nations—whether or not it’s warranted. In contrast, US behavior is almost never categorized as aggressive, thereby giving readers a misleading picture of the world.

-->If there is one thing that the US media won't do, it is to describe the empire and its multiple war crimes over the last seventy years. With an omission like that, what's left of freedom of the press in our good old land of the free?


Common Dreams:

"Much of the world hasn't been fooled by propaganda about U.S. exceptionalism and superiority, according to a new poll released Wednesday.

On the contrary, almost half of respondents from 53 countries are worried that Washington threatens their democracy, and nearly two-thirds think economic inequality poses the biggest risk to popular rule.

Results of the Democracy Perception Index survey (pdf), conducted between February 24 and April 14 by Latana in collaboration with the Alliance of Democracies Foundation, are based on nationally representative interviews with more than 53,000 people. ...

Although global perceptions of the U.S. have improved since the inauguration of President Joe Biden, almost half (44%) of people around the world remain concerned that Washington poses a bigger threat to democracy in their country than either China (38%) or Russia (28%)."

-->The NYT, asleep in the arms of the American Empire, would never cover a story like this. No wonder people of the US will be the last to discover the empire's dirty secrets. 

Thursday, May 06, 2021

FAIR (Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting):
"If Mumia Abu-Jamal’s Case Is a ‘Non-Issue,’ Why Have Media Gone to Such Lengths to Silence Him? Philadelphia public broadcaster WHYY (4/24/21) was one of the few outlets to report on an April 24 rally seeking the release from prison of Mumia Abu-Jamal. The story included important information on Abu-Jamal, who is serving a life sentence for the 1981 killing of Philadelphia police officer Daniel Faulkner.

It noted that the case has 'drawn scrutiny' over claims of police, prosecutorial and judicial bias and misconduct. It cited new evidence released as part of the appeal process, including a note from a key prosecution witness asking the prosecuting attorney for money—the sort of evidence that Johanna Fernandez, a history professor and part of Abu-Jamal’s legal team, notes has in other instances led to a defendant either being set free or getting an immediate new trial. ...

Elite media would have us believe they are engaged in a serious reckoning with the racism of the US criminal justice system, that they care about over-incarceration and prison conditions. And keeping people behind bars just because powerful people want them there, and not due to the merits of their case? Well, that’s what Other Countries do."

-->Read FAIR's analysis of how our media has hidden and distorted the facts of Mumia, one of the longest held political prisoners in the United States. Can this country reform its criminal justice system while Mumia is left to die in prison, the victim of 40 years of institutional racism. Mumia and native American activist Leonard Peltier, imprisoned for over 40 years on another trumped up murder charge, define how this nation treats its most important political prisoners. 



"The American, Belgian, British, and South African intelligence agencies plotted Operation Celeste: Hammarskjöld’s murder. South African intelligence used a mercenary company called the SA Institute for Maritime Research (SAIMAR). Prior to the murder, Britain’s MI5 and Special Operations Executive (for which Sgt. Park worked) met with SAIMAR.

Documents, which various authorities have tried to dismiss as forgeries, state: '[United Nations Organization] is becoming troublesome and it is felt that Hammarskjöld should be removed.' CIA Director Dulles 'agrees and has promised full cooperation from his people.' Referring to Hammarskjöld and Lumumba, respectively, the author writes: 'I want his removal to be handled more efficiently than was Patrice.' SAIMAR arranged to blow up Hammarskjöld’s DC-6 plane with 6lbs of TNT. The bomb failed and a contingency plan involved Hammarskjöld’s plane being shot down by a British-Belgian former Royal Air Force pilot, Jan van Risseghem, known as the Lone Ranger.

At the time, Rhodesia was part of the waning British Empire. U.S. Naval Officer, Charles Southall, heard intercepted transmissions in which Risseghem said of Hammarskjöld’s plane attempting to land in Rhodesia: 'I’m going to go down to make a run on it. Yes, it’s the Transair DC­6. It’s the plane. I’ve hit it. There are flames. It’s going down. It’s crashing.' Now-declassified cables by U.S."

-->Wouldn't it be news if it turned out that the US and the UK had assassinated a Secretary General of the United Nations? This story only keeps getting worse, with more and more evidence that the CIA and MI6 were behind two killings in the early 1960s, that of of Congo's President Patrice Lumumba and that of UN Secretary-General Dag Hammarskjöld. Sixty years later and our major media still can't bring itself to admit these murders.   


Common Dreams:

"Scathing Human Rights Watch Report Says Israel Guilty of Apartheid.

The prominent watchdog group's new analysis finds the oppression of Palestinians has reached a 'threshold.' Human Rights Watch said Tuesday that the policies and actions of the Israeli government against the Palestinian people amount to systematic "apartheid" and unlawful persecution that must be stopped.

The accusations related to Israel's actions in the occupied territories (OPT) and within Israel are laid out in a new report entitled 'A Threshold Crossed: Israeli Authorities and the Crimes of Apartheid and Persecution.' The findings are based on over two years of research and documentation including official government statements, internal planning documents, and interviews."

-->The NYT had to cover this story. But typically it repeated pro Israeli falsehoods, like Palestinians living in Israel are given full citizenship rights.