Friday, October 31, 2008

Fantasyland Media:

News fashioned by the people in charge, the corporations and your government. Each week, we cover the stories that are just left out of the US propaganda machine.


"A prominent Palestinian human rights group says it has found evidence that 68 children were killed in the Gaza Strip in the 12 months to June this year as a result of "disproportionate and excessive lethal force" by the Israeli military.

The deaths are documented, with witness testimony, in a report published today by the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights. Many of the deaths resulted from an Israeli military incursion into Jabaliya, in eastern Gaza, in late February and early March, in which more than 100 Palestinians, at least half of them civilians, died in what Israel said was an operation to stop rockets being fired into southern Israeli towns...

The rights group said many of the deaths passed without investigation, and those internal Israeli military inquiries that were held did not meet international standards of independence and transparency."

-->The NY Times rarely publishes articles critical of Israel. It didn't print this report either.


"WASHINGTON - The "American Dream" of upward social mobility appears to have emigrated from its birthplace in the United States to northern Europe, according to a major new report by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) on the growth of economic equality over the past 20 years.

Of its 30 member states, most of which are also members of the European Union, the United States has the largest gap between its wealthiest and poorest households after Mexico and Turkey, according to the report, "Growing Unequal?", which was released at OECD headquarters in Paris Tuesday.

That gap has grown particularly large in the U.S. since 2000 -- that is, under the administration of President George W. Bush -- according to the report, which found that the gap between the U.S. middle class and the wealthiest 10 percent has also increased...

The crisis has sparked unprecedented worldwide criticism of the "free-market" economic model that the U.S. and Washington-based international agencies like the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund have vigorously promoted since the administration of President Ronald Reagan."

-->The NY Times did not cover this OECD report despite the fact that NYC has one of the largest gaps between the rich and poor in the world.


"Growing inequality in US cities could lead to widespread social unrest and increased mortality, says a new United Nations report on the urban environment.

In a survey of 120 major cities, New York was found to be the ninth most unequal in the world and Atlanta, New Orleans, Washington, and Miami had similar inequality levels to those of Nairobi, Kenya Abidjan and Ivory Coast...

"High levels of inequality can lead to negative social, economic and political consequences that have a destabilising effect on societies," said the report. "[They] create social and political fractures that can develop into social unrest and insecurity."

According to the annual State of the World's cities report from UN-Habitat, race is one of the most important factors determining levels of inequality in the US and Canada...The report suggested that Beijing was now the most egalitarian city in the world, just ahead of cities such as Jakarta in Indonesia and Dire Dawa in Ethiopia."

-->That hurts, doesn't it? Beijing much more egalitarian than NYC. But doesn't hurt if you don't know about the report. The NY Times, of course, didn't cover this story. You have to go the Guardian in the UK to read about America's shame.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Fantasyland Media:

News fashioned by the people in charge, the corporations and your government. Each week, we cover the stories that are just left out of the US propaganda machine.


"Financial workers at Wall Street's top banks are to receive pay deals worth more than $70bn (£40bn), a substantial proportion of which is expected to be paid in discretionary bonuses, for their work so far this year - despite plunging the global financial system into its worst crisis since the 1929 stock market crash, the Guardian has learned.

Staff at six banks including Goldman Sachs and Citigroup are in line to pick up the payouts despite being the beneficiaries of a $700bn bail-out from the US government that has already prompted criticism. The government's cash has been poured in on the condition that excessive executive pay would be curbed.

Pay plans for bankers have been disclosed in recent corporate statements. Pressure on the US firms to review preparations for annual bonuses increased yesterday when Germany's Deutsche Bank said many of its leading traders would join Josef Ackermann, its chief executive, in waiving millions of euros in annual payouts."

-->Bailout going to corporate cronies at Wall Street's top banks? Enormous bonuses for those who created the economic collapse? The NY Times didn't think this story was newsworthy. It was covered in the Guardian, UK.


Last Wednesday night Americans waited for presidential candidates, Senators Barack Obama and John McCain, to take the stage at Hofstra University for the final debate before the elections. Outside the debate "15 protesters" were arrested, and "one person may have received a minor injury." That, according to the Associated Press.

The truth was considerably different. All those arrested were US veterans, most of whom served at least one tour in Iraq. Anyone looking at pictures of the event can see the bleeding veterans on the ground after being charged and trampled by police horses. At least one veteran had broken bones in his face.

And what if the public had really known about the veterans?

"I have faith in the American people. I believe that a lot of those people sitting at their kitchen table would have reached for the phone to ask their members of Congress why they were looking at an image of a wounded soldier bleeding on a sidewalk in Hempstead, New York in a picture that looks like it came from the streets of Baghdad, Iraq.

The politicians and pundits love to praise our veterans for protecting our way of life and ensuring our liberties. This week Nick and his fellow Iraq veterans sought to exercise those rights. They paid the price. As usual, the mainstream media looked the other way."
Cheryl Biren Wright, of

-->Veterans defending the Constitution and demanding an end to the Iraq occupation? The NY Times doesn't cover such things.


"In an election year that promises record numbers of young voters, a new report by the Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR) documents a large wage and benefit advantage for young workers in unions relative to their non-union counterparts...

'Even though they've done everything right -finished high school and college at higher rates than in the past, young workers have been the hardest hit by stagnant and declining wages over the last 30 years' said John Schmitt, a Senior Economist at CEPR and the author of the study.

The report, 'Unions and Upward mobility for Young Workers,' found that young unionized workers -those age 18 to 29-- earned, on average, 12.4 percent more than their non-union peers. In addition, young workers in unions were much more likely to have health insurance benefits and a pension plan."

-->The NY Times covered this story, but in the NY Region Section, not in the national news. Much of the NY Times story was not about the benefit of unions. And when the information was finally presented, it was characterized not as fact but as a finding that "groups argue" in favor of (the Center for Economic and Policy Research and the Fiscal Policy Institute).

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Fantasyland Media:

News fashioned by the people in charge, the corporations and your government. Each week, we cover the stories that are just left out of the US propaganda machine.


"The Maryland State Police classified 53 nonviolent activists as terrorists and entered their names and personal information into state and federal databases that track terrorism suspects, the state police chief acknowledged yesterday.

Police Superintendent Terrence B. Sheridan revealed at a legislative hearing that the surveillance operation, which targeted opponents of the death penalty and the Iraq war, was far more extensive than was known when its existence was disclosed in July...

The surveillance took place over 14 months in 2005 and 2006, under the administration of former governor Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. (R). The former state police superintendent who authorized the operation, Thomas E. Hutchins, defended the program in testimony yesterday. Hutchins said the program was a bulwark against potential violence and called the activists 'fringe people.'

-->This story appeared in "The Washington Post." But the NY Times and much of the nation's media did not bother to cover this story of dissenters turned into terrorists by a state police police department. Ellen Barfield, Vets for Peace in Maryland, on list for her work.


"LONDON - The biggest ever sale of oil assets will take place today, when the Iraqi government puts 40bn barrels of recoverable reserves up for offer in London. BP, Shell and ExxonMobil are all expected to attend a meeting at the Park Lane Hotel in Mayfair with the Iraqi oil minister, Hussein al-Shahristani.

Access is being given to eight fields, representing about 40% of the Middle Eastern nation's reserves, at a time when the country remains under occupation by US and British forces...

The deal is the first major oil contract with a foreign firm since the US-led war and was followed up by an agreement with Shell, potentially worth $4bn, to develop a joint venture with the South Gas Company in Basra.

This deal has also triggered controversy. Issam al-Chalabi, Iraq's oil minister between 1987 and 1990, questioned why there had been no competitive tendering for the gas-gathering contract and claimed it had gone to Shell as the spoils of war."

-->The NY Times isn't much interested in the war for oil theory. America's newspaper of record didn't even cover this massive contracting out of Iraq's oil resources.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Fantasyland Media:

News fashioned by the people in charge, the corporations and your government. Each week, we cover the stories that are just left out of the US propaganda machine.


WASHINGTON - October 3 - Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) issued the following statement after voting against the Wall Street bail out plan, H.R. 1424, the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008:

"The public is being led to believe that Congress has reconsidered its position because we have before us a better bill than we had a few days ago. It is the same bill plus hundreds of new pages for hundreds of millions of tax breaks. What does this have to do with the troubles of Wall Street?

...Now the government will have to borrow $700 billion from banks, with interest, to give banks a $700 billion bailout, and in return the taxpayers get $700 billion in toxic debt...

Across our Nation, foreclosures continue to devastate our communities, people are losing their jobs, and the prices of necessities are skyrocketing. This legislation, just like the one we defeated last week, will do nothing to solve the problems plaguing American families or help them to get out from underneath the oppressive debt they have been forced to take on."

-->The NY Times didn't cover Kucinich's statement. Simply not newsworthy when the purpose of the news is to support Wall Street.


"In 1998, five Cuban men were arrested for infiltrating groups in the US that were plotting attacks on Cuba. They have not received a fair trial and two have not seen their families since...

The five were arrested and effectively accused of espionage. The US government argued that they were acting as foreign agents and should be treated as spies. The five argued that they had been trying to prevent terrorist attacks. A trial was held in Miami in 2001, despite legal objections that they would be unable to get a fair hearing there because anti-Castro sentiment was so rife...

They do, however, enjoy support from a variety of writers, artists and public figures in the US and around the world, including Harry Belafonte, Desmond Tutu, Harold Pinter, Nadine Gordimer, Danny Glover and José Saramago. Amnesty International has called on the US to review the decision to refuse the women visas to visit their husbands."

-->The NY Times did a report on the Cuban Five in August of 2007. Other than that, the story just doesn't get covered in the US.


"A new United Nations report on the human rights situation in Palestinian territories blasts the Israeli government for its heavy-handed treatment of journalists reporting on the military occupation.

The 20-page report, which will go before the 63rd sessions of the General Assembly currently underway, singles out the mistreatment of award-winning Palestinian journalist Mohammed Omer who was stripped, interrogated, kicked and beaten up when he returned from Europe to his home town in the occupied territory of Gaza last June.

A stringer for Inter Press Service (IPS) news agency, Omer, 24, was awarded the Martha Gellhorn Prize for Journalism for "displaying courage and ability in covering war zones"...

The security agents 'were fully aware that he had received the Gellhorn Prize while abroad, and were attempting to confiscate the award money, but were frustrated because it has been deposited in a bank account and was unavailable.'"

-->The New York Times rarely covers stories critical of Israel. Even though this is an official UN human rights report, it is simply kept from the American Public.

Friday, October 03, 2008

Fantasyland Media:

News fashioned by the people in charge, the corporations and your government. Each week, we cover the stories that are just left out of the US propaganda machine.


"According to the Washington Times the Democratic leadership in the House of Representatives has shelved H.R. 362, fearing that the resolution would provoke a war with Iran.

The bill, authored by Rep. Gary Ackerman (D - NY), urged the President, among other things, to prevent Iran from importing any refined petroleum products and demanded that he initiate an international effort to inspect 'all persons, vehicles, ships, planes, trains, and cargo entering or departing Iran.' Though non-binding, the resolution is essentially urging a naval blockade against Iran - an act of war according to international law.

The bill was introduced on May 22, one day after the story broke that then Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert had urged House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D - CA) to impose a naval blockade on Iran as a way of stopping its uranium enrichment program. The American Israel Public Affairs Committee has endorsed the bill as a way to 'stop Iran’s nuclear program.'

Rep. Ackerman claims the bill 'is a way to avoid war by using diplomatic, political and economic tools.' He also intends to resubmit the bill for the next Congress, and vowed to have even more signatures then. The current incarnation of the bill had 270 co-sponsors, but the Washington Times reports that several of the original co-sponsors have since withdrawn their signatures."

-->The NY Times has completely avoided reporting on this resolution that pushes the US into war with Iran. The support of HR 362 by our own two Democratic members of the House, Hall and Gillibrand, has gotten no coverage either. The NY Times has hidden this story from its readers, in part to cover up the involvement of the Israeli lobby in a new war.


"Human Rights Watch, a US-based group claiming to be a non-governmental organization, but which is in fact funded by government-linked quasi-private foundations and a Congressional funded political propaganda organization, the National Endowment for Democracy, has issued a report 'A Decade Under Chavez: Political Intolerance and Lost Opportunities for Advancing Human Rights in Venezuela' (9/21/2008 The publication of the 'Report' directed by Jose Miguel Vivanco and sub-director Daniel Walkinson led to their expulsion from Venezuela for repeated political-partisan intervention in the internal affairs of the country...

Jose Miguel Vivanco served as a diplomatic functionary under the bloody Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet between 1986-1989, serving no less as the butcher's rabid apologist before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights."
Lies, Crimes and Cover-ups by James Petras

-->The NY Times reported things quite differently, making Vivanco a champion of human rights. He is even quoted: "Accusing us of being part of a conspiracy is a distraction tactic used to attack the messenger. We have never had this experience anywhere in this hemisphere.” No mention of funding by the National Endowment for Democracy or of Vivanco's bloody past.


"Here it is, as simply as I can put it: In the course of any year, there must be relatively few countries on this planet on which U.S. soldiers do not set foot, whether with guns blazing, humanitarian aid in hand, or just for a friendly visit. In startling numbers of countries, our soldiers not only arrive, but stay interminably, if not indefinitely...

At the height of the Roman Empire, the Romans had an estimated 37 major military bases scattered around their dominions. At the height of the British Empire, the British had 36 of them planet-wide. Depending on just who you listen to and how you count, we have hundreds of bases. According to Pentagon records, in fact, there are 761 active military 'sites' abroad..."
By Tom Engelhardt,

-->In this extraordinary time of economic meltdown, wouldn't you think that some US media would at least mention the cost of keeping 500,000 US troops in over 150 countries? Or the cost of spending more on our military than the rest of the world combined? Other countries see the connection, and talk about the US empire brought to its knees by the crushing costs of its imperialist ambitions. But empire never comes up when the US media analyzes Wall Street's impending collapse.