Wednesday, February 27, 2008


Pressure is mounting from all sides on Lev Leviev, Israeli billionaire whose empire is built on corruption, abuse, illegal practices and the blood of people from Angola to New York to Palestine.

Angolan journalist and human rights activist, Rafael Marques has documented human rights violations and the impact of diamond mining on one million people in Angola. The violations by private security firms for the mines are described as sadistic… “includes beating their victims on the buttocks, undressing them and making them circulate naked or semi-naked in public, as well as other rituals of humiliation."

In New York City, Leviev and Boymelgreen have employed underpaid, non-union workers in hazardous conditions and violated housing codes to construct luxury apartments that displace low-income and moderate-income residents in Brooklyn.

Leviev’s wealth was built while trading with the South African apartheid regime. He then went on to use the proceeds to construct an apartheid reality in the West Bank. All this from:

But to read the NY Times, one gets a different story on Leviev. Here are some quotes from a recent story entitled "The Missionary Mogul."

- Leviev has gone from impoverished immigrant to the man who broke the De Beers international diamond cartel...

- He acted with great probity...and I think he’s an example of what the head of a public company should be.

- When it comes to contributing to the Jewish people, Lev Leviev is in a class by himself...I know a lot of rich people who give money. But Leviev is on a completely different level. He’s building entire communities

Yes, illegal settlements in the West Bank but the NY Times doesn't go quite this far. Nor has it reported the recent campaign to keep Leviev diamonds off the actors during Oscar night.


New Jersey radio host Hal Turner is well known as one of the most vicious neo-Nazis in America, a man who routinely suggests killing his enemies.

He has written that “we need to start SHOOTING AND KILLING Mexicans as they cross the border” and argued that killing certain federal judges “may be illegal, but it wouldn’t be wrong.” In 2006, after he published an attack on New Jersey Supreme Court justices that also included several of their home addresses.

Hackers electronically confronted Turner by hacking into his E-mails and finding correspondence with an FBI agent who is apparently Turner’s handler. Then they posted an alleged July 7 E-mail to the agent in which Turner hands over a message from someone who sent in a death threat against Sen. Russ Feingold.

Could the FBI be funding right wing, hate radio? A disturbing question to say the least. But not disturbing to readers of the NY Times. They never saw the story. from Southern Poverty Law Center:


A key official has told The Nation Magazine that the Guantanamo trials are rigged from the start. According to Col. Morris Davis, former chief prosecutor for Guantánamo’s military commissions, the process has been manipulated by Administration appointees in an attempt to foreclose the possibility of acquittal.

And he offered damning evidence of the military commissions’ bias, including meetings with the Pentagon general counsel William Haynes.

"I said to him that if we come up short and there are some acquittals in our cases, it will at least validate the process...At which point, [Haynes’s] eyes got wide and he said, ‘Wait a minute, we can’t have acquittals. If we’ve been holding these guys for so long, how can we explain letting them get off? We can’t have acquittals, we’ve got to have convictions.'"

None of this will be troubling readers of the NY Times. The story didn't make the grade against all that Oscar news.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008


In the last two months, more than a hundred people have been killed by the Israeli occupation forces in the Gaza Strip, including many civilians, women and children.

Thirty people have died in the last month for lack of medical care brought on by the embargo. Only two weeks ago, we saw the appalling sight of over 40 women and children seriously injured when an Israeli F-16 dropped an enormous bomb in the middle of the densely populated Gaza City, a few meters from a wedding party.

But when it comes to reporting from Gaza, the US media is missing in action. Americans just don't find out about Israeli human rights abuses.


The UN's chief torture investigator criticized the US government yesterday for defending the use of "waterboarding", an interrogation method often described as a form of torture. Manfred Nowak, the special reporter on torture, said: "This is absolutely unacceptable under international human rights law. [The] time has come that the government will actually acknowledge that they did something wrong and not continue trying to justify what is unjustifiable."

The reporter assigned to this story by the NY Times must have been sent to Guantanamo. Not a word was printed about this story.


But the NY Times was busy with other "big" stories, like steroid use by a famous athletes. Eight stories were run on steroids in a one week period.

And if it is wasn't 't bad enough that 40 members of Congress wasted their time on Roger Clemens's history of steroid use, we have the NY Times to put the long and boring story on its front page, complete with pictures.

We are at war, facing a recession, and the dollar is tanking. We have a president defending the use of torture and demanding the right to eavesdrop on every American. But the NY Times is writing about just who injected a baseball player's buttocks with drugs.

The real story, of course, is how the current Democrat House is without a clue, incapable of doing anything about a fascist leaning administration and an economic meltdown. But the NY Times will never print a story like that. Too critical of our political process and too revealing of empire. And much too accurate for a publication dedicated to feel-good propaganda about the United States.


Across the world, a dangerous rumor has spread that could have catastrophic implications. According to legend, Iran's President has threatened to destroy Israel. But was this statement ever made?

One word in the original quote always cited "rezhim-e" means "Regime." The word "map" was never used, nor was the western phrase "wipe out." Yet we are led to believe that Iran's President threatened to "wipe Israel off the map", despite never having uttered the words "map", "wipe out" or even "Israel."

The direct translation of the original quote is: "The Imam said this regime occupying Jerusalem must vanish from the page of time" (Iran's president was, in fact, quoting what another Imam had said). Could this quote have been manufactured by our intelligence as another incentive to go to war?

Wednesday, February 13, 2008


FANTASY LAND: US Media--------------

We have criticized the NY Times in the past, and we want to say something good about America's flagship publication when they truly earn it. This Sunday's front page story on Obama really proves that the NY Times can still do insightful, hard hitting, investigative reporting.

What was the subject you asked? Why whether Obama had smoked reefer during his adolescent years. No time or expense was spared getting to the facts. Dozens of friends and classmates of Obama were interviewed. Sort of makes you proud that the NY Times would go out on a limb for this type of important thing. Talk about the peoples' right to know in a democracy!

Obama, of course, has written that he did smoke a little as a teenager. But this fact didn't deter the courageous reporters at the NY Times. After gathering all the facts and testimony, they concluded that it is hard to pin down exactly how much and how often Obama had smoked. And in the type of a logical analysis that the NY Times is famous for, they laid the blame squarely on Obama. Why, he hadn't been forthright in his book! He should have specified how many joints and on what days!

But trash journalism is really what the NY Times is all about. Dressed up in college degrees, its stories are no more informative than those in the Post or the Daily News. In fact, the other two NY papers would never publish something so pseudo intellectual and boring.


Pretty good news about Iran.

The UN nuclear watchdog chief Mohamed ElBaradei said Saturday that the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has been making "good progress" to solve Iran's nuclear crisis.

"Good progress" has been made in finishing the outstanding issues on Iran's controversial nuclear programs, ElBaradei told a group of high-profile diplomats at a key security conference in the southern German city of Munich.

ElBaradei is expected to issue a report around Feb. 20 on IAEA's inquiry into Iran's nuclear activities.

But this is good news only if you live outside the US. Media bubble. The NY Times didn't carry the story. You would have to read it in China View News:


Well, bad news out of Russia. Our military buildup and invasions of other countries have kick-started the arms race:

Vladimir Putin has used one of the last major speeches of his presidency to deliver a defiant message to the West, accusing it of unleashing a new arms race that left Moscow no choice but to retaliate in kind. Less than a month before presidential elections that his hand-picked successor is almost certain to win, the speech removed any lingering doubts that Russian foreign policy might become less aggressive after Mr. Putin steps down.

“It’s clear that a new arms race is unfolding in the world,” said Mr. Putin, one that Russia did not start. And he vowed that Russia would respond to the threats by developing newer and more modern weapons that were as good as if not better than those possessed by Western countries. “We are being forced into retaliating … Russia has and always will have the answers to these challenges,” he said.

In addition, a new report written by Frida Berrigan (guest on Activist Radio last week) states that: "The U.S. Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration is pushing for an estimated $150 billion to develop a new generation of nuclear weapons...This proposal would build on the Bush administration’s quiet surge in nuclear weapons spending...The U.S. is still spending one-third more than the Cold War average on nuclear weapons."

But to read the NY Times or to listen to CNN, such stories don't exist. Nothing is said or printed about the new arms race, because that might call into question America's gigantic increase in military spending. Not good propaganda, so Putin's statements and the US nuclear buildup just didn't happen. For this news, you would have to go outside this country to the Independent in the UK:

Wednesday, February 06, 2008


The NY Times reported recently reported that Human Rights Watch, a respected advocacy group, had the following to say about US support of dictators dressed up like elected officials:

"In a scathing report, the organization blamed the United States and Europe for undermining human rights around the world by allowing autocrats to pretend they are democratic simply by holding rigged elections."

So what countries were mentioned by the NY Times? Well there was "Kenya, Nigeria and Pakistan." There was Russia and Jordan. But, of course, one important piece in the Human Rights Watch report was left out. The report also strongly condemned Israel's treatment of the Palestinians.

Reading from the Guardian in the UK:

Human Rights Watch "criticized Israel for blockading Gaza in response to rocket attacks, describing this as "collective punishment of Gaza's civilian population in violation of international humanitarian law."'

So we have the curious spectacle of the NY Times printing criticism of America's human rights failures while censoring out condemnation of Israel for its blockade and collective punishment of 1.4 million Palestinians in Gaza. When it comes down to choosing, the NY Times is more interested in distorting news for Israel than for the United States.,,2250412,00.html


The Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act, known as the "Homegrown Terrorism Bill" passed the House of Representatives, with Kristin Gillibrand voting "yes" for its passage.

What does it do? It clears the way to spy on, infiltrate and prosecute groups that have "extremist advance political or religious or social change." There is no attempt at defining what "extremist" means. It is left up the the FBI and other law enforcement agencies, the same governmental organizations that have harassing groups in the past advocating peace and social justice. Groups mentioned specifically in the House of Representatives debate were those calling for a full investigation of Sept. 11.

The legislation would also target Internet freedom and harshly criticizes the "constant streams of terrorist-related propaganda to the United States citizens."

This Monday in Hyde Park, I asked Rep. Gillibrand about her yes vote on the "Homegrown Terrorism Bill" (passed Oct. 23 of this year). She didn't remember the bill, and asked if I knew the bill's number. Even when I read quotes from the bill and explained the major issues, all she could do is assure me that she wouldn't have voted for such legislation. But she did vote for it, and a little over three months ago. Apparently protecting basic civil liberties did not rank that high on her political agenda. Certainly not as high as her constant refrain to "get out the Democratic" vote next November.


The US has suffered more than 72,000 battlefield casualties since the start of the war on terror in 2001, a Freedom of Information request has revealed.

The query by the campaigning Veterans for Common Sense organization shows that 4,372 American soldiers have died and another 67,671 have been wounded in action, injured in accidents or succumbed to illness in Iraq and Afghanistan. The veterans' group had to force the US Defense Department to release the figures by persuading judges to uphold their FoI rights.

A second request to the Veterans' Administration, the government-funded body responsible for taking care of ex-servicemen and women, showed 263,909 soldiers with experience of the two 21st-century wars have so far received treatment for everything from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) to the aftermath of amputated limbs.

It also showed 52,375 veterans had been diagnosed with PTSD and 34,138 have received approval for disability claims for the psychological disorder. As of October 31 last year, 1.6 million Americans have been deployed overseas since 2001.
-from The Herald (United Kingdom)

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Representing the same monied elite

The presidential candidates are slugging it out, and most Americans have begun to think about next November. But is this yearlong drama an exercise in democracy, or merely a cruel hoax being played on a clueless electorate.

There are several ways to measure whether our system of choosing leaders has anything to do with the will of the people. Let's take three issues that large majorities of our citizens are in favor of. One is universal healthcare, with support of over 68 percent of the electorate. A second is ending the Iraq war, with 65 percent in agreement. A third is the almost universal desire that corporations have less power in Washington, a Harris Poll response by 84 percent.

None of the front running candidates for president, however, give more than lip service to these issues. Could it be that the corporations have simply bought off the candidates, and with the help of the media used the two party system to actually frustrate the will of the people?

And the result of a crippled democracy? Since 1978, 70 percent of the rise in average family income went to the top 1 percent. In fact, those at the top, the CEO's and their cronies have gotten filthy rich while the vast majority have struggled getting their kids a college education or healthcare. What party created the tax breaks to make this all happen (cutting corporate, capital gains, dividend and estate taxes)? Why it was both parties, representing the same monied elite!