Thursday, January 29, 2009

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.


"After weeks of denying that it used white phosphorus in the heavily populated Gaza Strip, Israel finally admitted yesterday that the weapon was deployed in its offensive.

The army’s use of white phosphorus – which makes a distinctive shellburst of dozens of smoke trails – was reported first by The Times (UK publication) on January 5, when it was strenuously denied by the army. Now, in the face of mounting evidence and international outcry, Israel has been forced to backtrack on that initial denial...

The incident in question is thought to be the firing of phosphorus shells at a UN school in Beit Lahiya in the northern Gaza Strip on January 17. The weapon is legal if used as a smokescreen in battle but it is banned from deployment in civilian areas. Pictures of the attack show Palestinian medics fleeing as blobs of burning phosphorus rain down on the compound."

--->The NY Times has been slow in reporting the obvious use of white phosphorus in Gaza (YouTube is full of fist hand accounts). As late as January 14, its chief Israeli apologist in the region, Ethan Bronner, was writing that observers had "seen no evidence of the use of white phosphorus, an obscurant used in military conflicts that can be dangerous for civilians under certain circumstances." Such a delicate description of Israeli war crimes.


"Amnesty International Thursday urged the Israeli authorities to disclose the weapons and munitions their forces used against Palestinians in Gaza.

Donatella Rovera, who is leading an AI investigation team in Gaza, said: 'We now know that white phosphorous munitions were used in built-up civilian areas, although the Israeli authorities previously denied this.'

In a statement issued Thursday, AI said that other victims of the conflict have wounds which doctors say they are finding hard to treat because of uncertainty about the nature of the munitions which caused them.

'Doctors tell us they are encountering new and unexplained patterns of injury among some of the Palestinians injured in Israeli military attacks,' said Rovera. 'Some victims of Israeli air strikes were brought in with charred and sharply severed limbs and doctors treating them need to know what weapons were used.'" (, India Edition)

--->While the NY Times did get around to covering some of Donatella Rovera's statements, there was no mention of further unexplained injuries, and the possibility of other new weapons being used by Israel against the Palestinians.


"GAZA CITY - Eighteen-year-old Mona Al-Ashkar says she did not immediately know the first explosion at the United Nations (UN) school in Beit Lahiya had blown her left leg off. There was smoke, then chaos, then the pain and disbelief set in once she realized it was gone - completely severed by the weapon that hit her.

Mona is one of the many patients among the 5,500 injured that have international and Palestinian doctors baffled by the type of weaponry used in the Israeli operation. High-profile human rights organizations like Amnesty International are accusing Israel of war crimes.

Mona's doctors at Gaza City's Al-Shifa hospital found no shrapnel in her leg, and it looked as though it had been 'sliced right off with a knife.'

'We are not sure exactly what type of weapon can manage to do that immediately and so cleanly,' said Dr. Sobhi Skaik, consultant surgeon general at Al-Shifa hospital. 'What is happening is frightening. It's possible the Israeli army was using Gaza to experiment militarily.'"

--->No comment on such wounds by our newspaper of record.

Friday, January 23, 2009

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.


I don't know anyone who speaks the truth as bluntly as Noam Chomsky. And the truth must be spoken about the slaughter of Palestinians in Gaza. Here is Chomsky on the invasion:

"On Saturday December 27, the latest US-Israeli attack on helpless Palestinians was launched. The attack had been meticulously planned, for over 6 months according to the Israeli press...

That surely includes the timing of the assault: shortly before noon, when children were returning from school and crowds were milling in the streets of densely populated Gaza City. It took only a few minutes to kill over 225 people and wound 700, an auspicious opening to the mass slaughter of defenseless civilians trapped in a tiny cage with nowhere to flee.

In his retrospective 'Parsing Gains of Gaza War,' New York Times correspondent Ethan Bronner cited this achievement as one of the most significant of the gains. Israel calculated that it would be advantageous to appear to 'go crazy,' causing vastly disproportionate terror, a doctrine that traces back to the 1950s. 'The Palestinians in Gaza got the message on the first day,' Bronner wrote, 'when Israeli warplanes struck numerous targets simultaneously in the middle of a Saturday morning. Some 200 were killed instantly, shocking Hamas and indeed all of Gaza.' The tactic of 'going crazy' appears to have been successful, Bronner concluded: there are 'limited indications that the people of Gaza felt such pain from this war that they will seek to rein in Hamas,' the elected government. That is another long-standing doctrine of state terror..."

And the US involvement? Chomsky continues:

"Since the terms 'aggression' and 'terrorism' are inadequate, some new term is needed for the sadistic and cowardly torture of people caged with no possibility of escape, while they are being pounded to dust by the most sophisticated products of US military technology - used in violation of international and even US law, but for self-declared outlaw states that is just another minor technicality.

Also a minor technicality is the fact that on December 31, while terrorized Gazans were desperately seeking shelter from the ruthless assault, Washington hired a German merchant ship to transport from Greece to Israel a huge shipment, 3,000 tons, of unidentified 'ammunition.' The new shipment 'follows the hiring of a commercial ship to carry a much larger consignment of ordnance in December from the United States to Israel ahead of air strikes in the Gaza Strip,' Reuters reported. All of this is separate from the more than $21 billion in U.S. military aid provided by the Bush administration to Israel, almost all grants. 'Israel's intervention in the Gaza Strip has been fueled largely by U.S. supplied weapons paid for with U.S. tax dollars,' said a briefing by the New America Foundation, which monitors the arms trade..."

--->Our national media will never tell you the truth about this mass murder of Palestinians that we are all paying for. But if you want to know the truth, it is easy to find. That is, if you want to find it. But most of us are "good Germans," in the fact that we accept what our government tells us, even though we sometimes wonder about those trains bound for Auschwitz.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

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 Gaza War Full of Traps and Trickery...Weapons are hidden in mosques, schoolyards and civilian houses, and the leadership’s war room is a bunker beneath Gaza’s largest hospital, Israeli intelligence officials say...

A new Israeli weapon, meanwhile, is tailored to the Hamas tactic of asking civilians to stand on the roofs of buildings so Israeli pilots will not bomb."

-->This type of reporting from the NY Times is much like the stories we got before the invasion of Iraq. Judith Miller's reports on nuclear weapons in Iraq were straight from the Pentagon. Here we are limited to accounts from the Israeli military that are completely unverified by any third party. In fact, several of these Israeli charges have been refuted by YouTube videos made by international medical workers in Gaza. The NY Times does say its reporters have been denied access to Gaza, although our newspaper of record does not tell its readers that Israel is the country that has kept them out.


"Amnesty International says hitting residential streets with shells that send blast and shrapnel over a wide area constitutes 'prima facie evidence of war crimes...
There has been reckless and disproportionate and in some cases indiscriminate use of force,' said Donatella Rovera, an Amnesty investigator in Israel. 'There has been the use of weaponry that shouldn't be used in densely populated areas because it's known that it will cause civilian fatalities and casualties.'

Rovera has also collected evidence that the Israeli army holds Palestinian families prisoner in their own homes as human shields. 'It's standard practice for Israeli soldiers to go into a house, lock up the family in a room on the ground floor and use the rest of the house as a military base, as a sniper's position. That is the absolute textbook case of human shields...It has been practised by the Israeli army for many years and they are doing it again in Gaza now,' she said."

-->After reporting unsubstantiated claims of Hamas using civilian shields, the NY Times declined to print the Amnesty report citing specific evidence of Israel's troops doing exactly that.

Such omissions don't stop the NY Times from praising it's own coverage. The Public Editor of the NY Times wrote Sunday, that since both sides of the conflict have complained of bias coverage, well then it must be just about right.

"Though the most vociferous supporters of Israel and the Palestinians do not agree, I think The Times, largely barred from the battlefield and reporting amid the chaos of war, has tried its best to do a fair, balanced and complete job — and has largely succeeded."

Well, except for the stories that it keeps leaving out. Activist Radio has identified 10 important stores about the conflict in the last two months that just never made it into print. All these stories were reported by the international media, including newspapers in Israel. The common link to all these stories? They put Israel in a bad light.

The NY Times complains about not having reporters in Gaza, when it didn't even cover the story of the The Foreign Press Association's petitioning the Israeli Supreme Court about being kept out.

And must the NY Times be so scrupulously balanced in reporting about war crimes? Israel kills 300 children, but let's give them equal time and try not to take sides? Are the perpetrators and the victims of genocide always to be given equal time? That is not balanced reporting; that is a media complicit in the murder of hundreds of Palestinian civilians. Shame on you, NY Times. You are a propaganda arm of Israeli militarism, for all your self congratulation.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Fantasyland Media: Jan. 8

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 - The U.S. section of Amnesty International sent an "urgent" letter Friday to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, calling on her to end what it called Washington's "lopsided response" to the ongoing Israeli air strikes on Gaza that have reportedly killed more than 400 Palestinians, including scores of unarmed civilians.

While the letter also expressed concern about the rocket fire by Palestinian groups that has taken four Israeli lives in urban areas more than 30 kilometres from Gaza during the past week, it called Israel's campaign air campaign 'disproportionate' and accused the Jewish state of violating international law...

'...Amnesty International USA is particularly dismayed at the lopsided response by the U.S. government to the recent violence and its lackadaisical efforts to ameliorate the humanitarian crisis in Gaza...'"

-->And the NY Times? It didn't carry the Amnesty letter. Instead it publishes stories with titles like: "Despite Deeper Strikes, Israelis Vow to Soldier On." Israelis soldiering on? They have suffered four dead, while over 700 Israeli air strikes have killed 435 In Gaza in one week! While 1.5 million in Gaza face a massive invasion and bombardment while lacking food and medical supplies! Where is the shame from our newspaper of record? The pro Israeli propaganda in the NY Times is becoming an inditement of our national media.


"The United States thwarted an effort by Libya on Sunday to persuade the UN Security Council to call for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza after Israel launched a ground invasion, diplomats said."

"NEW YORK - In an extraordinary outburst, the president of the United Nations General Assembly has branded Israel's ground offensive in Gaza a "monstrosity" and a marked failure for the UN. Miguel d'Escoto Brockmann, of Nicaragua, blasted the Israeli action on Saturday as the UN Security Council convened its third Gaza emergency session.

'I think it's a monstrosity; there's no other way to name it,' Mr Brockmann said. 'Once again, the world is watching in dismay the dysfunctionality of the Security Council.'"

-->The NY Times didn't think the UN story worth printing, although it did carry an Associated Press account of the US veto on its webpage. That's becoming a way for the NY Times to include stories critical of Israel that it won't print in its newspaper. It didn't report the statement by the President of the UN General Assembly at all.


"Six children among 12 killed in mosque blast. Scenes of carnage as Israeli shells strike crowd of civilians who were leaving evening prayers.

The shells could not have fallen at a worse time. Yesterday's afternoon prayers in the northern Gaza town of Beit Lahiya were unusually busy because worshippers had abandoned their evening prayers in the belief that if the Israelis planned to strike, they would do so at night...

Fdil Sobih, 40, an ambulance driver who was one of the first people to arrive at the scene, told the Observer that the sight outside the Ibrahim al-Maqadna mosque was horrific...'I saw people cut to pieces,' he said. 'No one expected this here. The mosque is a few hundred metres from the hospital and it is heavily populated and is surrounded by houses.'"

-->The NY Times buried this story deep in an article about the Gaza invasion, and attributed the report to "Palestinian" sources. No children were mentioned. Their reporters are all stationed in Israel, cranking out stories supportive of the invasion.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Fantasyland Media: Jan. 1

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.


"As of this writing, Israeli Air Force attacks today on the occupied Gaza Strip killed an estimated 300 or more people and injured hundreds more. These Israeli attacks come on top of a brutal siege of the Gaza Strip, which has created a humanitarian catastrophe of dire proportions for Gaza's 1.5 million Palestinian residents by restricting the provision of food, fuel, medicine, electricity, and other necessities of life."
(From End the Occupation)

-->To the NY Times, such violations of international law are not war crimes but Israel "reminding foes that it has teeth." Sort of like saying that the Nazis invaded Poland, to continue the NY Times headline story, to "re-establish its deterrence." And Israel's motive in the bombing of Gaza? "It worries that its enemies are less afraid of it than they once were, or should be. Israeli leaders are calculating that a display of power in Gaza could fix that." So whenever a country decides that its neighbors are "less afraid" of it, bring in the bombers to fix things. Eric Bonner, writing for the NY Times, is a veteran Israeli apologist. Researcher John Mearsheimer recently pointed out that "Bronner's job -- as usual -- is to present Israel in the most favorable light."


"A top Republican Internet strategist who was set to testify in a case alleging election tampering in 2004 in Ohio has died in a plane crash. Michael Connell was the chief IT consultant to Karl Rove and created websites for the Bush and McCain electoral campaigns. Michael Connell was deposed one day before the election this year by attorneys Cliff Arnebeck and Bob Fitrakis about his actions during the 2004 vote count in Ohio and his access to Karl Rove’s email files and how they went missing...

Velvet Revolution, a non-profit investigating Connell’s activities, revealed this weekend that Connell had recently said he was afraid George Bush and Dick Cheney would “throw [him] under the bus.” Cliff Arnebeck had also previously alerted Attorney General Michael Mukasey to alleged threats from Karl Rove to Connell if he refused to “take the fall.”

-->Searching the NY Times website for "Michael Connell" will get you nothing for "Today," "Past 7 Days," "Past 30 Days," or past "Past 12 Months." Only the "All Results Since 1851" comes up with the story.

And the story is just copied to the NY Times website from another source and buried in the business section. Connell didn't even get a spot on the obituary page. To the readers of the printed version of the NY Times, Michael Connell didn't exist. Sort of like voter fraud during the 2004 Presidential Election.


"WASHINGTON - U.S. military leaders and Pentagon officials have made it clear through public statements and deliberately leaked stories in recent weeks that they plan to violate a central provision of the U.S.-Iraq withdrawal agreement requiring the complete withdrawal of all U.S. combat troops from Iraqi cities by mid-2009 by reclassifying combat troops as support troops.

The scheme to engage in chicanery in labeling U.S. troops represents both open defiance of an agreement which the U.S. military has never accepted and a way of blocking President-elect Barack Obama's proposed plan for withdrawal of all U.S. combat troops from Iraq within 16 months of his taking office.

By redesignating tens of thousands of combat troops as support troops, those officials apparently hope to make it difficult, if not impossible, for Obama to insist on getting all combat troops of the country by mid-2010."

-->The NY Times doesn't do stories about duplicity in US foreign policy. Like election fraud or Israeli war crimes, our newspaper of record keeps the US public in the dark.

Fantasyland Media: Dec. 18

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.


"International Action Center founder Ramsey Clark, a former US Attorney General and internationally renown human rights defender, received the respected United Nations Prize in the Field of Human Rights on the 60th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights at United Nations Headquarters in New York on 10 December 2008...

The award is given to individuals and organizations in recognition of their outstanding contribution to the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms. Previous recipients have included Nelson Mandela, Amnesty International, Jimmy Carter, Eleanor Roosevelt, and Reverend Dr. Martin L. King...

The UN announcement described Ramsey Clark as “a veteran human rights defender and rule of law advocate, (who) played a key role in the civil rights and peace movements in the US, and more recently has spoken out against abuses committed in the name of “counter-terrorism.”

-->To the NY Times, the fact that a former attorney general of the United States was awarded the UN Prize for Human Rights was not newsworthy. Was it because Ramsey Clark has been critical of US foreign policy? But that would mean the NY Times is simply part of the US government's propaganda machine.


"As Possible Afghan War-Crimes Evidence Removed, US Silent
Afghanistan - Seven years ago, a convoy of container trucks rumbled across northern Afghanistan loaded with a human cargo of suspected Taliban and al Qaida members who'd surrendered to Gen. Abdul Rashid Dostum, an Afghan warlord and a key U.S. ally in ousting the Taliban regime.

When the trucks arrived at a prison in the town of Sheberghan, near Dostum's headquarters, they were filled with corpses. Most of the prisoners had suffocated, and others had been killed by bullets that Dostum's militiamen had fired into the metal containers.

Dostum's men hauled the bodies into the nearby desert and buried them in mass graves, according to Afghan human rights officials. By some estimates, 2,000 men were buried there.

Earlier this year, bulldozers and backhoes returned to the scene, reportedly exhumed the bones of many of the dead men and removed evidence of the atrocity to sites unknown..."

-->War crimes committed by a US ally in Afghanistan? One that U.S. special forces and CIA operatives working closely with in late 2001? Such things don't happen for readers of the NY Times. It didn't report the story.


"A Defense Department project, supposedly designed to support U.S. troops, was used instead to channel millions of dollars to personal friends and allies of its chief. The "America Supports You," or ASY, program was led in a "questionable and unregulated manner," according to a Department of Defense Inspector General report, obtained by Danger Room. At least $9.2 million was "inappropriately transferred" by the project's managers. Much of that money served only to further promote ASY, instead of assisting service members...

From fiscal years 2004 to 2007, the Inspector General's report notes, Barber funneled $8.8 million in contracts to the public relations firm Susan Davis International — to set up the myriad events, and to promote the ASY "brand." The work was incredibly lucrative; Davis' executives made as much as $312,821 to $662,691 per year...

Worse still, in the eyes of many, was that Barber used the Stars & Stripes newspaper as a kind of money-laundering service, to pay Davis and Semel. The paper is partially financed by the Pentagon, and was part of Barber's American Forces Information Service..."

-->The NY Times covered the beginning of the Inspector General's investigation of ASY. The final report may have been too critical of the Pentagon. The story appeared in the Wired Magazine blog, but not in the NY Times.