Wednesday, September 22, 2021

The New York Times:

"The Scientist and the A.I.-Assisted, Remote-Control Killing Machine."

-->According to the NYT, the assassination of a top Iranian scientist was a "straight-out-of-science-fiction story" that needed to be told. There was high tech weaponry with awesome power, and ingeniously crafted remote controlled machine guns. James Bond stuff, with enough fire power to titillate even the most jaded fans of mechanized warfare.

The victim, we are told in this NYT article sort of had it coming. He got up early "to study Islamic philosophy before his day began," like any typical US movie terrorist would supposedly do. He wore the same silver ring as Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenie. He had been a member of the Revoutoary Guards, and like any Western villain, "had no sense of humor." Finally, the NYT speculated that maybe he "found the idea of martyrdom attractive."

Nowhere is this article is any mention of international law, or even of basic human decency. The NYT just assumes that Israel and the United States have the right to assassinate anyone in the world they want, as long as there is enough one sided reporting of how bad they are. I wonder what the NYT would have to say about the assassination of a US scientist? But wouldn't that be, well, terrorism?


The Intercept:

"SCIENTISTS AT THE Environmental Protection Agency have provided The Intercept with new information showing that senior staff have made chemicals appear safer — sometimes dodging restrictions on their use — by minimizing the estimates of how much is released into the environment.

The EPA gauges the potential risk posed by a chemical using two measures: how toxic the agency considers it and how much of the substance the public will likely be exposed to. Whistleblowers from the EPA’s New Chemicals Division have already provided The Intercept with evidence that managers and other officials were pressuring them to assess chemicals to be less toxic than they actually are — and sometimes removing references to their harms from chemical assessments.

Now new documents, including meeting summaries, internal emails, and screenshots from the EPA’s computer system, along with interviews with whistleblowers and other EPA scientists, show that the agency’s New Chemicals Division has avoided calculating the exposure to — and thus the risk posed by — hundreds of chemicals and have repeatedly resisted calls to change that policy even after scientists have shown that it puts the public at risk."

-->Ever carful not to offend the large chemical companies, the NYT did not print this story of yet another corporate takeover of a regulatory agency.


LA Progressive:

"The U.S. has claimed a humanitarian 'Responsibility to Protect' to justify military operations in the name of saving civilian lives from evil dictators. Most notable have been the brutal U.S.-led wars in Libya and Syria which destabilized entire regions in the name of 'civilian protection' and 'promoting democracy.' These operations relied heavily on self-described human rights NGO’s and media outlets to cultivate support among liberal sectors of the US intelligentsia. Sadly, Democracy Now has been among the most influential and insidious outlets carrying water for the humanitarian interventionist agenda.  

The flagship program of the left-wing Pacifica radio network, Democracy Now (DN) and its founding host, Amy Goodman, are regarded as standard bearers of grassroots progressivism. However, in recent years the show has become a reliable platform for uncritical regime change propaganda, demonizing targets of US empire from Syria to Nicaragua while sending a correspondent to embed with US-backed 'rebels' in Libya. Now that China is in the crosshairs of the US, DN is playing host to virtually any piece of humanitarian agitprop that Washington can conjure up, while publishing a regular serving of sharply negative stories about Chinese government and society.

A review by The Grayzone of every China-related report and interview Democracy Now aired in the past year found that 3 out of every 4 painted China in a decidedly negative light, often echoing narratives emanating from the US State Department. Perhaps its most inflammatory and factually questionable report appeared this February amid an escalating wave of anti-China propaganda."

-->Say it ain't so! Our Amy an imperialist in disguise? Has the empire at last stepped on one of its long standing critics? Is her 20 year progressive run just about over?

Thursday, September 16, 2021

Common Dreams:

"Airstrikes conducted by the United States have killed between 22,000 and 48,000 civilians since September 11, 2001, according to a report published Monday by Airwars, a military watchdog that monitors and seeks to reduce civilian harm in violent conflict zones.

The new analysis, released ahead of the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks and the retaliatory launch of the so-called "War on Terror," came just days after a U.S. drone strike killed at least 10 members of a single family in Kabul amid the withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan.

Most media accounts point out that more than 7,000 U.S. service members have died in post-9/11 wars, but only some go on to state the massive civilian death toll, and 'almost exclusively in generalities, researchers lamented.' While Brown University's Costs of War project estimates that over 387,000 civilians have been killed as a result of the War on Terror, Airwars sought to answer a specific question: How many civilians have likely been killed by U.S. airstrikes in the last 20 years?"

-->Scott Simon bloviated about 9/11 on NPR, and the rest of the mainstream media retold patriotic stories of first responders; there wasn't much time spent on the mass killings of our war machine in Afghanistan over the last 20 years. Yes, go ahead and weep some tears for our fallen. But let us not forget the terrible war crimes visited on Afghanistan in the name of American patriotism.   


Common Dreams:

"A new report just ahead of the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks offers a scathing analysis of how Big Tech corporations are 'complicit in' and have 'profited from' the so-called war on terror by at least $44 billion since 2001. 'When the U.S. chooses war over aid, Big Tech profits,' the publication, Big Tech Sells War, states. 

The report—released Thursday by the Action Center on Race & the Economy (ACRE), MPower Change, and LittleSis—accuses companies including Amazon, Google, and Microsoft of providing tools ranging 'from databases to drones' to U.S. government agencies that have propped up the war on terror for nearly two decades.

The report has a number of features, including a timeline of significant events such as October 24, 2001, when Congress passed the Patriot Act. 'Its passage,' the report says, 'opened the doors for Big Tech to become, first and foremost, the brokers of our personal data, selling to government agencies and private companies at home and abroad and unleashing the era of the data economy.' "

-->This story was covered by Vice, but not the NYT. In fact most of the major media avoided this story of war profiteering. Better to concentrate on American suffering than to expose the war machine behind US war crimes in the Middle East.


The Intercept:

"Pretty much every day since 9/11, the U.S. military has disciplined soldiers who failed to do their jobs properly. They have been punished for minor offenses, like being late for duty, and for serious crimes, such as murder or assault. Since 2001, there have been more than 1.3 million cases of discipline in the armed forces, according to the Pentagon’s annual reports on military justice.

But the generals who misled Congress and the American public about the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq have not needed to worry about negative consequences for their careers. After 20 years of conducting a disinformation campaign about what was really happening on the ground, not a single U.S. general has faced any punishment. The reverse happened — they were praised for their deceptively upbeat assessments and given more stars, and when they retired with generous military pensions, they landed high-paying jobs on corporate boards, further profiting from their disingenuousness. ...

In Afghanistan and Iraq, several hundred thousand civilians and combatants have perished (including more than 7,000 American soldiers), millions of people have become refugees, and trillions of dollars have been wasted. Politicians were responsible for this, pundits were responsible, and so-called experts from think tanks were responsible too. But the generals were closest to these wars and most aware, or should have been, of what was happening. Few were closer or profited more than two in particular: Gen. Lloyd Austin, who is now secretary of defense, and Gen. David Petraeus, one of the most lauded military figures of the past 20 years."

-->Where is Scott Simon to weep for all those American victims of the "War on Terror?" The US empire is perpetually claiming to be the victim, when in fact it is the perpetrator.  

Wednesday, September 08, 2021

The Guardian UK:

"Why won’t US TV news say ‘climate change’? It’s media malpractice not to mention that burning fossil fuels drives extreme weather events like Hurricane Ida. The climate emergency is exploding in various parts of the world this week, but climate silence inexcusably continues to rein in much of the United States media.

Hurricane Ida has left more than a million people in Louisiana without running water, electricity or air conditioning amid a heat index topping 100F. The Caldor fire destroyed hundreds of houses and forced mass evacuations around Lake Tahoe in California. Abroad, vast swaths of Siberia were ablaze while drought-parched Madagascar suffered what a United Nations official called the first famine caused entirely by climate change. ...

The problem is that most viewers won’t make that connection, because most stories don’t contain the words “climate change”. Six of the biggest commercial TV networks in the US – ABC, CBS, CNN, Fox, NBC and MSNBC – ran 774 stories about Ida from 27 to 30 August, an analysis by the watchdog group Media Matters found. Only 34 of those stories, barely 4%, mentioned climate change."

-->Media malpractice keeps Americans in the dark about fossil fuels. All the news that fits the interests of Big Oil.


The Guardian UK:

"The FBI’s inadequate response to far-right violence results from a lack of will, not a lack of legal authority. The FBI has used its domestic terrorism authorities to target environmental, animal rights and racial justice activists. Yet the FBI doesn’t even track the number of murders committed by white supremacists each year, much less consistently investigate these crimes as domestic terrorism.

Expanding counterterrorism authorities will not solve this attention deficit. To the contrary, both history and recent events suggest that new laws could become tools in the future for FBI agents to target those seeking to reform systems of structural racism and social inequity rather than those committing racist violence.

The Biden administration has also revived an Obama-era program designed to counter violent extremism (CVE), which relied on widely discredited theories of terrorist radicalization that painted Muslim religious practices and the expression of political grievances as precursors to violence. The Biden administration’s version has been rebranded as the Center for Prevention Programs and Partnerships (CP3), but it adopts the same basic model.

-->Surprise! The FBI sees its role as the suppression of reform efforts in the United States. White supremacist violence, why that's OK. It's as American as Apple Pie. The FBI has always been America's thought police.


Peace And Planet News:

"As a tsunami of crocodile tears engulfs Western politicians, history is suppressed. More than a generation ago, Afghanistan won its freedom, which the United States, Britain and their 'allies' destroyed.

In 1978, a liberation movement led by the People’s Democratic Party of Afghanistan (PDPA) overthrew the dictatorship of Mohammad Dawd ... It was an immensely popular revolution that took the British and Americans by surprise. Foreign journalists in Kabul, reported The New York Times, were surprised to find that 'nearly every Afghan they interviewed said [they were] delighted with the coup.' The Wall Street Journal reported that '150,000 persons … marched to honor the new flag … the participants appeared genuinely enthusiastic.'

For women, the gains had no precedent; by the late 1980s, half the university students were women, and women made up 40 percent of Afghanistan’s doctors, 70 percent of its teachers and 30 percent of its civil servants."

-->That's the government that the US tried to overthrow by financing and training Muslim extremists, including Osama Bin laden. It was the US that  ushered in the new age of terrorism and invasions in Afghanistan. Writer John Pilger sets us straight, although our country's major media would never carry this story.

Wednesday, September 01, 2021

The Guardian UK:

"Whistleblowers say the US Environmental Protection Agency has been falsifying dangerous new chemicals’ risk assessments in an effort to make the compounds appear safe and quickly approve them for commercial use.

Over the past five years, the EPA has not rejected any new chemicals submitted by industry despite agency scientists flagging dozens of compounds for high toxicity. Four EPA whistleblowers and industry watchdogs say a revolving door between the agency and chemical companies is to blame, and that the program’s management has been 'captured by industry'. The charges are supported by emails, documents and additional records that were provided to the Guardian.

'The depth of it is pretty horrifying,' said Kyla Bennett, New England director of Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER), a non-profit whose attorneys are representing the four scientists. 'I don’t sleep at night knowing what I know from the whistleblowers.' ”

-->Readers of the NYT will not be losing any sleep over this story. Our newspaper of record didn't think this "capture" of the EPA warranted a story. This could be because the NYT board of directors is heavily weighted by corporate fat cats, who are busy capturing other federal agencies for their business interests. 


Common Dreams:

"Just as US corporate news media 'discovered' Afghan women's rights only when the US was angling for invasion, their since-forgotten interest returned with a vengeance as US troops exited the country.

After September 11, 2001, the public was subjected to widespread US news coverage of burqa-clad Afghan women in need of US liberation, and celebratory reports after the invasion. Time magazine (11/26/01), for instance, declared that 'the greatest pageant of mass liberation since the fight for suffrage' was occurring, as 'female faces, shy and bright, emerged from the dark cellars' to stomp on their old veils. In a piece by Nancy Gibbs headlined 'Blood and Joy,' the magazine told readers this was 'a holiday gift, a reminder of reasons the war was worth fighting beyond those of basic self-defense' (, 4/9/21).

The media interest was highly opportunistic. Between January 2000 and September 11, 2001, there were 15 US newspaper articles and 33 broadcast TV reports about women's rights in Afghanistan. In the 16 weeks between September 12 and January 1, 2002, those numbers skyrocketed to 93 and 628, before plummeting once again (Media, Culture & Society, 9/1/05). ... Now, as the US finally is withdrawing its last troops, many corporate media commentators put women and girls at the center of the analysis, as when Wolf Blitzer (CNN Situation Room, 8/16/21), [referred] to 'the horror awaiting women and girls in Afghanistan.' "

-->Yes, the empire has used women's rights as the new "white man's burden" in the Middle East. How many liberal Americans believed this propaganda, and even used these stories to support the US invasion and occupation?


Common Dreams:

"Human Rights Watch said Monday that the Israeli military's May bombings that leveled four high-rise buildings in Gaza were 'apparently unlawful' and possibly amount to war crimes.

The organization—which noted that those strikes represented 'just a small fraction of the Israeli military's attacks in Gaza' in the May 10 to May 21 fighting—cited in its new analysis a lack of any evidence to back up Israeli authorities' claims that the buildings were being used by Hamas for military purposes. The report also noted the disproportionate harm to civilian property caused by the Israeli attacks. For its latest analysis of attacks during the 11-day assault, HRW reviewed video and photo evidence of the aftermath of the bombardments and conducted interviews with victims and eyewitnesses. ...

'Human Rights Watch found no evidence that members of Palestinian groups involved in military operations had a current or long-term presence in any of the towers at the time they were attacked,' the group said. What's more, 'even if there were such a presence, the attacks appeared to cause foreseeably disproportionate harm to civilian property.' "

-->None of the major media covered this story. War crimes by Israel always gets a pass when it comes to mainstream news, including the NYT.

Wednesday, August 25, 2021


"Corporate media coverage of the US withdrawal from Afghanistan and the collapse of the country’s US-backed government has offered audiences more mystification than illumination. I looked at editorials in five major US dailies following the Taliban’s retaking of Kabul: the Boston Globe, LA Times, New York Times, Wall Street Journal and Washington Post. The editorial boards of these papers consistently trivialized South Asian lives, erased US responsibility for lethal violence, and made untenable assertions about Washington’s supposedly righteous motives in the war.

The editorials evince a callous indifference to the toll of the war on civilians in Afghanistan and Pakistan, where the war has also been fought. The New York Times (8/15/21) referred to 'at least 2,448 American service members’ lives lost in Afghanistan,' and to 'Afghan casualties so huge—60,000 killed since 2001, by one estimate—that the government kept them a secret.' The link makes clear that the authors are talking about deaths among Afghan police and soldiers. Yet, as of April, more than 71,000 civilians—over 47,000 Afghans and more than 24,000 Pakistanis—have been directly killed in the US-initiated war.

The Boston Globe’s piece (8/16/21) described 'two decades of the United States propping up Afghan forces to keep the Taliban at bay at the cost of more than $2 trillion and more than 2,400 lost military service members.' Tens of thousands of dead Afghan and Pakistani civilians evidently aren’t significant enough to factor into 'the cost' of the war. ..."

-->Yes, the whitewashing of the empire is at its peak in the nation's media. How the US got into the war, the unimaginable profits for the weapons makers, and the cowardice of Bush, Obama, and Trump for not withdrawing earlier are all forgotten.


The Hill:

"New report says US government deliberately targeted Black Lives Matter

More than 90 percent of the federal criminal cases could have been charged under state or local laws. The report, first released by The Associated Press (AP), was conducted in partnership with the Movement for Black Lives and Creating Law Enforcement Accountability & Responsibility clinic (CLEAR) at City University of New York School of Law.

Whether or not protesters did commit any crimes, the report signifies that the highest offices in the federal government used criminal prosecution tactics to disrupt and discourage protesters from expressing themselves, the AP reported. ...

'We want to really show how the US government has continued to persecute the Black movement by surveillance, by criminalizing protests, and by using the criminal legal system to prevent people from protesting and punishing them for being engaged in protests by attempting to curtail their first amendment rights,' said Amara Enyia, the Movement for Black Lives’ policy research coordinator."

-->Why wouldn't the mainstream media like the NYT be all over this story? It is exactly what the federal government did to the Black Panther Party in the late 1960s. Can't our society come to terms with its official racism?


The Guardian:

"Cybersleuths have tracked down two men who allegedly attacked police officer Jeffrey Smith at the US Capitol during the 6 January insurrection, leaving him with injuries that have been linked to his death days later.

In a new complaint, attorney David P Weber – who represents Smith’s widow, Erin – wrote that David Walls-Kaufman and and Taylor F Taranto appeared to specifically target Smith because his eyes and face were vulnerable. ...

'I thought the I in FBI stood for investigation,' Weber told HuffPost. 'It’s pretty lame that a private lawyer for a dead police officer’s widow has to be the one conducting the investigation.' "

-->The feds did a good job investigating Black Lives protesters, but they were not so good finding white supremacists, the real terrorists in our society. Compounding the official racism, the NYT didn't print this story.

Tuesday, August 17, 2021

 The Guardian UK:

"Why is Afghanistan falling to the Taliban so fast? The Taliban has been seizing territory in Afghanistan at an alarming rate, having captured all or parts of 10 provincial capitals from the Afghan National Defense Security Forces (ANDSF) in the past week. Far from representing a reason for Joe Biden to halt the withdrawal, however, this rapid deterioration in Afghan security has exposed the bankruptcy of US policies for at least the past 15 years – and the stark unwillingness to tell the truth by a generation of senior US leaders.

Since early 2002, the war in Afghanistan never had a chance of succeeding. After President Bush’s initial objectives of disrupting al-Qaida and punishing the Taliban were accomplished by March 2002, the mission was changed to a nation-building operation that included objectives that were outright militarily unattainable. Presidents Obama and Trump continued the nation-building focus, guaranteeing the war would never be 'won' and thus never end. ...

Behind the scenes America’s senior leaders have known, almost from the beginning, that the war was unwinnable, that the Afghan government was fatally corrupt, and that the Afghan security forces would never be up to the task. Instead of acknowledging reality, instead of coming clean to the American people, they hid the truth or outright lied about it."

-->Will our mainstream media ever come clean about this criminal war? So far, American readers have to go to a newspaper in the UK to get a clear view of why it all happened. The invasion and occupation were simply based on lies, and done for political and economic reasons.


Don't Extradite Assange

"Amnesty International reiterated their call to end the politically motivated charges against WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange ahead of Wednesday’s preliminary appeal hearing. 'This disingenuous appeal should be dismissed by the court and President Biden should take the opportunity to drop these politically motivated charges which have put media freedom and freedom of expression in the dock.' ...

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) joined the call asking the Biden administration to drop the politically motivated charges and for Assange’s immediate release. General Secretary Anthony Bellanger said: 'President Joe Biden must end the years of politically motivated prosecution of Julian Assange by finally dropping the charges against him.' ...

Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) issued a statement after the High Court’s decision to allow the United States government to expand its appeal. CPJ Deputy Executive Director Robert Mahoney said: 'A successful prosecution of the WikiLeaks founder, which hinges on an allegation of conspiracy between a publisher and sources, would hamper reporters’ ability to work with sources and whistleblowers and unearth information that the public should know.' ...

The European Centre for Press and Media Freedom (ECPMF) continues to support Julian Assange and urge for his immediate and unconditional release. PEN International and English PEN issued a joint statement following the outcome of the preliminary appeal hearing. Salil Tripathi, Chair of PEN International’s Writers in Prison Committee, said: 'The charges faced by Julian Assange in the US represent a huge threat to media freedom and investigative journalism everywhere.' "

-->The US media is lockstep in it's denial of human rights for Julian Assange. His extradition to the US empire is just as criminal.


Common Dreams:

"A new report published Wednesday reveals how the Koch network—a shadowy group of wealthy capitalists acting to push the U.S. in a more conservative direction—is methodically working to undermine and privatize public education for financial gain.

The report (pdf), entitled The Koch Network and the Capture of K-12 Education, was compiled by the advocacy groups UnKoch My Campus and Save Our Schools Arizona (SOSAZ) and examines tactics employed by the plutocrats' cabal—which is led by billionaire Charles Koch, and whose members pay at least $100,000 per year—'to destabilize and abolish public education.'

'In order to influence K-12 public education, the Koch network has financed local, state, and national mechanisms to create multiple crises, only to turn around and cite these same crises as reasons to adopt their free market solutions,' according to UnKoch My Campus."

-->The NYT and on down the media feed chain is often in favor of charter schools, indicating how the very rich want to control what is taught in our nation's schools.

Wednesday, August 11, 2021

The Intercept:

"THE DRIVE TO PERSUADE President Joe Biden to cancel student debt took a major hit last week when House Speaker Nancy Pelosi stunned Congress with a surprise statement in opposition. The move may put her at odds with much of the public and the Democratic Party, but it aligns her with Democratic megadonors Steven and Mary Swig, the billionaire scions of the Bay Area’s oldest real estate dynasty who have deep ties to the California representative. Steven Swig has also long served as a treasurer for Pelosi in her fundraising efforts.

In November, after Biden’s election, and amid increased pressure to cancel student debt, the Swigs quietly circulated a memo among key Capitol Hill figures, making the dubious case that debt cancellation at the executive level is illegal. The argument in the memo gets much of its weight by virtue of the wealthy couple who produced it, as the Swigs are not just major funders of progressive nonprofits, but also have significantly bankrolled Pelosi and her House Democratic caucus.

The memo, obtained by The Intercept, was distributed to members of Congress by Freedom to Prosper, an organization founded by and for the Swigs. The couple has in the past directly lobbied Pelosi, according to two sources with knowledge of the meetings, in which the Swigs would suggest rhetoric or policy proposals that Pelosi would agree to adopt in some form."

-->This disgusting display of how billionaires control Democratic Party leadership was nowhere to be seen on the plages of the NYT, that disgusting corporate rag that always supports mainstream Democratic Party sellouts. 


The NYT:

"How a Star Times Reporter Got Paid by Government Agencies He Covered.

A pair of new books tell how William L. Laurence, a reporter for The New York Times known as ‘Atomic Bill,’ became an apologist for the American military and a serial defier of journalism’s mores.

Shortly after the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Maj. Gen. Leslie R. Groves of the U.S. Army, who directed the making of the weapons, told Congress that succumbing to their radiation was 'a very pleasant way to die.' ... His aide in misinforming America was William L. Laurence, a science reporter for The New York Times. At the general’s invitation, the writer entered a maze of secret cities in Tennessee, Washington and New Mexico. His exclusive reports on the Manhattan Project, when released after the Hiroshima bombing, helped shape postwar opinion on the bomb and atomic energy.

Before the war, Mr. Laurence’s science reporting won him a Pulitzer. Working with and effectively for the War Department during the bomb project, he witnessed the test explosion of the world’s first nuclear device and flew on the Nagasaki bombing run. He won his second Pulitzer for his firsthand account of the atomic strike as well as subsequent articles on the bomb’s making and significance."

-->Only seventy years late, the NYT discovers that the Pentagon was paying off some of its prize winning journalists. Our newspaper of record didn't have much choice, as the revelations came out in two recently published books. How much of its current warmongering articles on Venezuela, Cuba and Nicaragua will eventually be traced back to Pentagon sponsors? We will know in about 2090.


Common Dreams:

"Science Museum Just Killed Its 'Own Reputation,' Says Greta Thunberg After Docs Reveal Gag Clause With Shell. The London Science Museum is facing fresh criticism from climate campaigners following revelations that the institution signed a 'gagging clause' with Shell banning it from criticizing the oil giant as part of an exhibition sponsorship agreement.

Thunberg's tweet was in response to Channel 4 News' reporting on the contract for Shell's controversial sponsorship of the 'Our Future Planet' exhibition, which opened in May and includes carbon capture technologies. Those include ones 'Shell either has commercial interest in, researches, or actually operates,' Politico EU reported Friday. ...

'It essentially creates a 'chilling effect,' where museum staff must refrain from speaking openly about the reality of Shell's activities because it could be seen as damaging the company's goodwill or reputation.' "

-->Is there an aspect of our democracy that hasn't been compromised by the wealthy and their massive, polluting corporations? Readers of the NYT don't have to worry. The newspaper didn't cover this story.