Tuesday, November 27, 2007


Congressman Bill Delahunt and the Subcommittee on International Organizations, Human Rights, and Oversight, held a hearing Nov. 15 on the case of Luis Posada Carriles, a Cuban terrorist currently living in Miami. The hearing was to understand why Posada, unlike other accused terrorists, has so far been able to escape being held accountable for his crimes.

What did he do? His worst crime was the midair bombing of a civilian airliner in 1976 that resulted in the deaths of 73 civilians.

Peter Kombluh from the National Security Archive testified that declassified records show that Posada had foreknowledge of the bombing, was in possession of a surveillance report on Cuban targets (including the plane), received coded messages immediately after the plane crashed from men who had planted the bombs. He was also identified as one of the two masterminds of the attack.

But this story puts the US in a bad light (protecting, and even possibly paying for terror against other nations). The NY Times wouldn't touch it.


The Madison Avenue jewelry store LEVIEV New York was again the site of protests by human rights activists angered by Israeli diamond mogul Lev Leviev's settlement construction in Palestine, and other abusive practices in Angola and New York City. Tuesday evening’s protest, on the second day the store was open to the public, followed a noisy, surprise protest at LEVIEV New York’s gala opening on November 13 which derailed the evening for the celebrities and socialites in attendance.

Riham Barghouti, a spokesperson for Adalah-NY, explained that “This new campaign is a strong local response to the Palestinian call for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions. It shows the willingness of more individuals in the US in general and in New York City in particular to carry out effective action to oppose the building of Israeli settlements on confiscated Palestinian land, and other Israeli human rights violations.”

The Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth has also reported that Leviev is a primary donor to the right-wing Israeli organization the Land Redemption Fund. The Fund spends its large budget to secure Palestinian land for Israeli settlement expansion, allegedly with the aid of deceit and strong arm- tactics.

The Israeli press can cover Leviev's misdeeds, but not the NY Times. In fact, what the NY Times covers is hard to stomach, a long article in the Magazine section applauding him as a self made man and "legendary philanthropist."


One of the curiosities of the New York Times is its habit, since George W. Bush took office, of assigning a gal reporter to the White House, apparently to generate warm and fuzzy puff pieces about the Commander in Chief.

The current Times ingénue assigned to this beat is Sheryl Gay Stolberg, whose latest softball was a Veterans Day feature entitled "Bush and Relatives of Fallen Lean on Each Other."

Stolberg’s story starts with Melissa Storey of Palmer, Mass. - whose husband, Army Staff Sgt. Clint Storey, "fell" after a roadside bomb explosion in Iraq. It then rambles on through 73 column inches, including two photos of the president hugging "folks," as Bush likes to call them, whose husbands, fathers, sons and daughters he has sent to their deaths. This is a lot of news space for meetings, according to White House staffers quoted by Stolberg, that are "deeply private" and never, ever publicized.

What went wrong here? How did these "deeply private" meetings with Mrs. Storey and so many other "folks" get exposed? Who leaked?

Wednesday, November 21, 2007


Sunday's story about the coming "crisis" in Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid (All Things Considered: 5:00 - 6:00 pm on November 18) was little more than a misleading polemic.

NPR blithely accepted the premiss that Social Security would be bankrupt in a few years, and that all three programs were unsustainable. But many economists (like Paul Krugman of the New York Times) have called this assumption a "big lie" promoted by Wall Street and conservative think tanks, eager to take apart the last vestiges of the New Deal.

Shame on NPR for not mentioning that a very small increase in Social Security taxes paid by those earning more than $100,000 per year would make the program solvent for generations. And how about the trillion dollars earmarked for the wars in the Middle East? And the billions in corporate tax breaks? All things considered? Hardly. This story was almost pure propaganda, another stain on NPR reporting.


In an exclusive interview with CNA earlier this week, Bishop Thomas Wenski (US Conference of Catholic Bishops) took time to explain why the Bishop’s Conference supports a two state solution to bring peace to the Holy Land. The USCCB Chairman of the Committee on International Policy made his comments in light of the upcoming Annapolis peace conference, due to begin on November 27.

Bishop Wenski lamented the fact many factors are contributing to “the continuing stalemate in the region.” Among the causes he cited were the building of the security wall by the Israelis, and the continuing expansion of Jewish settlements in the Western bank.

In addition, “Israel seems to be reducing the Palestinian territories into a series of cantons…and cutting them off from each other,” the bishop said.

Another obstacle to peace is “the growing humanitarian crisis in Gaza, where most of the population lives on less than a dollar a day, threatens the sustainability of any political settlement and thus the security of Israel,” the leaders wrote.

This pronouncement by the Catholic Bishops didn't make it through the main Israeli lobby filter for US news, that is the New York Times.


US military officials are putting huge pressure on interrogators who question Iraqi insurgents to find incriminating evidence pointing to Iran, it was claimed last night.

Micah Brose, a privately contracted interrogator working for American forces in Iraq, near the Iranian border, told The Observer that information on Iran is 'gold'. The claim comes after Washington imposed sanctions on Iran last month, citing both its nuclear ambitions and its Revolutionary Guards' alleged support of Shia insurgents in Iraq.

'My impression is they're just trying to get every little bit of ammunition possible. If we get something here it fits the overall picture. The engine needs impetus and they're looking for us to find the fuel - a particular type of fuel."

US trying to build a case for war against Iran? Newsworthy for American citizens to read? Not to the NY Times.


In what has become the nation’s largest annual gathering for peace and human rights, over twenty thousand people protested outside the gates of Fort Benning, GA on November 18, 2007. Fort Benning is the site of the internationally notorious U.S. Army training school for Latin American military and security personnel.

The eleven people who crossed onto the grounds were arrested by military police. The eleven, ranging in age from 25 to 76, are scheduled for federal criminal trial January 28, 2008 for trespass - punishable up to six months in federal prison. Over two hundred people have served federal prison time for civil disobedience at prior protests - dozens of others arrested have served years of supervised federal probation.

And the NY Times report on these protests? Never happened: it just wasn't fit to print...

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Democracy is dying right here in America

The French learned more from their experience in Algeria than the US did from Vietnam. Both occupations killed tens of thousands of occupying soldiers and millions of civilians before they ended.

But what the French learned is that the tactics they used to occupy Algeria came home. That is, the manipulation of the media, the detention camps, the arrests without charges, the spying on civilians, the militarization, the corruption of the political process all came back to infect French society. Jean Paul Sartre wrote that if a country doesn’t respect human rights and self determination abroad, those concepts are slowly undermined at home. Occupation, in other words, destroys democracy in both countries.

Perhaps the occupation of Iraq will be our learning experience. We know that our phones and e-mails are monitored by huge computers. We read the false stores planted in our press. We see the pictures of Guantanamo and know that any one of us could end up as an "enemy combatant" and disappear. We watch as our own government approves the use of water boarding, a sinister form of torture.

And the militarization of our society? Hillary Clinton, while espousing peace, gets more campaign contributions from US weapons makers than any other candidate in the presidential race. The corruption of our political process by the military industrial complex is nearly complete.

Iraq is in chaos; we see it on TV. Less obvious is the fact that democracy is dying right here in America.


Monday, November 12, 2007

FANTASY LAND: US Media Nov. 14

WASHINGTON - A National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) on Iran has been held up for more than a year in an effort to force the intelligence community to remove dissenting judgments on the Iranian nuclear programme, and thus make the document more supportive of U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney’s militarily aggressive policy toward Iran, according to accounts of the process provided by participants to two former Central Intelligence Agency officers.

But this pressure on intelligence analysts, obviously instigated by Cheney himself, has not produced a draft estimate without those dissenting views, these sources say. The White House has now apparently decided to release the unsatisfactory draft NIE, but without making its key findings public.

Cooking the intelligence again for a new war? Same as last time? Not that readers of the NY Times would worry about this, since the nation's newspaper of record did not print the story.


Last week, the UN First Committee passed, by an overwhelming majority, a resolution highlighting concerns over the military use of uranium.

The resolution entitled 'Effects of the use of armaments and ammunitions containing depleted uranium' was passed by 122 votes to six at the UN First Committee in New York; with 35 abstentions. The resolution urges UN member states to re-examine the health hazards posed by the use of uranium weapons.

In March this year, Belgium became the first country in the world to introduce a domestic ban on the use of uranium in all conventional weapon systems. The decision by Brussels to take this step sent a clear message to all NATO members and users of uranium weapons that the continued use of chemically toxic and radioactive weapon systems is incompatible with international humanitarian legal standards.

But to the NY Times, such stories are just off the radar. Depleted Uranium? The newspaper of record just doesn't want you to know about it, since if is being used by the ton in Iraq.


Claims are going the rounds that sectarian violence in Iraq has fallen, and that the U.S. military "surge" has succeeded in reducing attacks against civilians. Baghdad residents speak of the other side of the coin - that they live now in a largely divided city that has brought this uneasy calm.

"Baghdad has been torn into two cities and many towns and neighborhoods," said Ahmad Ali, chief engineer from one of Baghdad’s municipalities. "There is now the Shia Baghdad and the Sunni Baghdad to start with. Each is divided into little town-like pieces of the hundreds of thousands who had to leave their homes."

"If the situation is good, why are five million Iraqis living in exile," says 55- year-old Abu Mohammad who was evicted from Shula in West Baghdad to become a refugee in Amiriya, a few miles from his lost home.

And who did the ethnic cleansing? The militias trained and paid for by the US. Retired Col. James Steele served as advisor to Iraqi security forces under former U.S. ambassador John Negroponte, who supervised the training of these forces. Both men were involved in the death squads in Central America during the 1980's.

Such reporting, however does not make it into the mainstream media, including the NY Times.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

NY Times and state propaganda

Date: Tue Nov 6, 2007 11:34 am ((PST)

This story is my favorite example of the NY Times and state propaganda:
UNITED NATIONS - The United Nations General Assembly Tuesday snubbed the United States for its hostility towards Cuba, amid fresh calls for an end to the 45-year economic and financial embargo imposed on the socialist island.

On Tuesday, as many as 184 countries voted in favor of a General Assembly resolution demanding the U.S. lift 45-year-old restrictions on international trade with Cuba. The vote broke last year's record, when 183 countries endorsed the resolution against the U.S. embargo. The 192-member General Assembly has adopted 16 similar resolutions since 1992. Like last year, in addition to the United States itself, the negative votes were cast by just three countries: Israel, the Marshall Islands and Palau.

Fit to print in America's the "newspaper of record"? We only get stories of Bush lecturing Cuba about democracy. We have to look closely at the role of the NY Times in hiding truths from the American people in return for government favors and access. Our media is often involved in spreading propaganda, and certainly considers this more important than providing "all the news that's fit to print." http://www.commondreams.org/archive/2007/10/31/4917/

Another great example is today's half page story about General Suharto, former dictator of the Indonesia. What was missing in the NY Times coverage? Why the political purges and the deaths of millions of Indonesian leftists and Chinese-Indonesians.

Reading the NY Times article we get a view of a kindly old man who has outlived his era. No mention of attempts to try him on charges of genocide that have failed due to his poor health. Nor is there mention of the role of the US and England in the coup and subsequent butchery. Even the CIA (in declassified documents) called it: "one of the worst mass murders in the twentieth century."

But none of this sees the light of day in NY Times reporting. Contrast this propaganda with articles by the BBC that fully expose British involvement in the slaughter.

UNITED NATIONS - A U.N. human rights expert is calling on the United States to prosecute or release suspects detained as "unlawful enemy combatants" and to move quickly to close the Guantanamo Bay prison camp.

Martin Scheinin, the U.N.'s independent investigator on human rights in the fight against terrorism, said in a report released Monday that he's concerned about U.S. detention practices, military courts and interrogation techniques.

He urged the U.S. government to end the CIA practice of extraordinary rendition, in which terrorism suspects are taken to foreign countries for interrogation. Scheinin said he was also concerned about what he termed "enhanced interrogation techniques reportedly used by the CIA," saying that under international law "there are no circumstances in which cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment may be justified."

For the NY Times, this was another story not fit to print. http://www.commondreams.org/archive/2007/10/30/4893/