Thursday, April 30, 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.


"On April 24th, an Air France flight from Paris to Mexico had to make an unscheduled stop in Martinique when US air traffic controllers notified the jet that it would not be receiving permission to fly over US airspace. The plane was not en route to the US, just passing over some of it. On board the plane was Colombian Journalist Hernando Calvo Ospina, who works for the French left-wing journal Le Monde Diplomatique and wrote about US involvement in Latin America. Ospina and his publisher said they will sue for compensation.

What makes the whole incident even more interesting is that Air France had only sent its passenger manifest to the Mexicans, but now it is clear that Mexico shares this information with the United States.

Hernando Calvo Ospina has written articles about the United States involvement in Latin America, and is currently writing a book about he CIA. The exact reason for him being on the terrorist watch list is unknown, and we'll probably never know what criteria are used for adding people to it. Air France is considering asking the United States for compensation."

--->The NY Times would never reveal the hubris of the US empire by printing a story like this. How many countries do US planes fly over every day? And what if those countries didn't like what some US passengers were writing in American newspapers? But this is how the rest of the world sees us, in all our imperial ugliness.


"BigAg Ticked at Michelle Obama's Organic Garden...

Michelle Obama's decision to make her new White House vegetable garden entirely organic has angered America's powerful agribusiness lobby who are urging the First Lady to consider the use of appropriate 'crop protection products.'

Mrs Obama started work on the kitchen garden with a gang of schoolchildren last month. Media coverage of the first White House food plot since Eleanor Roosevelt 'dug for victory' in the Second World War garnered media coverage across the world.

But to the consternation of Big Ag, Mrs Obama has said the project will not use chemical products to tackle pests or give her plants a boost, the Times reports.

Shortly after the digging began, Mrs Obama received a letter from the Mid-America CropLife Association (MACA), which represents the companies producing the pesticides and fertilizers underpinning 'conventional' American agriculture, the paper said."

--->Imagine the presumption of power that corporations have in the US, telling the First Lady to use chemicals in her organic garden! But most Americans don't have to think too much about that, since stories like this are only carried in the foreign press. This one was in the Telegraph in UK.


"Clark University canceled a campus talk scheduled for later this month by controversial Holocaust scholar Norman Finkelstein, saying his presence 'would invite controversy and not dialogue or understanding,' and would conflict with a similar event scheduled around the same time.

The Clark University Students for Palestinian Rights, a student-run group on the Worcester campus, had arranged for Finkelstein to speak...

The dispute came to the attention of college administrators after Hillel, a Jewish campus group, objected to Finkelstein's scheduled appearance...

Finkelstein asserted in his book 'Beyond Chutzpah: On the Misuse of Anti-Semitism and the Abuse of History' that Israel uses accusations of anti-Semitism to deflect criticism, a response to Dershowitz's book 'The Case for Israel.'"

--->CounterPunch Magazine calls it the "new campus McCarthyism." In a recent article, this magazine identifies several faculty members who have been targeted as "anti-Israel" and simply blacklisted from speaking or denied tenure. These are smear campaigns orchestrated by the right wing Israeli lobby, a clear threat to academic freedom on today's college campuses. No mention of the new campus McCarthyism, however, in the NY Times. UPDATE: Clark University relented and Dr. Finkelstein was allowed to speak.

Thursday, April 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.


"Palestinians get less water than Israel-World Bank.

JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Israelis have access to more than four times more water than do Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, the World Bank said in a report on Monday...

Improving conditions for Palestinians is central to peace strategies sponsored by the United States.

Peace talks launched in 2007 have stalled and the new right-leaning Israeli government, led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, has so far balked at committing to restart them.

Efforts have been stymied by Israeli settlement expansion in the West Bank and a Palestinian schism over the takeover of Gaza by the Islamist group Hamas."

--->World Bank accusing Israel of taking water from Palestinians? It never happened if you get your news about Israel from the NY Times. The story was left out.


"60 drone hits kill 14 al-Qaeda men, 687 civilians

Of the 60 cross-border predator strikes carried out by the Afghanistan-based American drones in Pakistan between January 14, 2006 and April 8, 2009, only 10 were able to hit their actual targets, killing 14 wanted al-Qaeda
leaders, (and) 687 innocent Pakistani civilians.

The success percentage of the US predator strikes thus comes to not more than six per cent."

--->US forces slaughtering a lot of civilians, this time in Pakistan. No need to mention such things in our newspaper of record, the NY Times. Making the empire look bad is not considered all the news that's fit to print.


C.I.A. interrogators used waterboarding, the near-drowning technique that top Obama administration officials have described as illegal torture, 266 times on two key prisoners from Al Qaeda, far more than had been previously reported.

The C.I.A. officers used waterboarding at least 83 times in August 2002 against Abu Zubaydah, according to a 2005 Justice Department legal memorandum. Abu Zubaydah has been described as a Qaeda operative.

A former C.I.A. officer, John Kiriakou, told ABC News and other news media organizations in 2007 that Abu Zubaydah had undergone waterboarding for only 35 seconds before agreeing to tell everything he knew.

--->We will congratulate the NY Times for covering this story. Of course, had broken the story several days before, putting pressure on major print media in the US. One obvious question was not brought up by the NY Times article. If Abu Zubaydah was waterboarded for only 35 seconds "before agreeing to tell everything he know," why on earth was he waterboarded another 82 times? Maybe such questions just aren't brought up in the heart of the empire. We will put a link on to the FireDogLake petition requesting a special prosecutor to investigate the torture of detainees.


This week's booby prize for reporting goes to PBS's Frontline documentary called "Sick Across America." A whole hour spent on the nation's healthcare crisis, and not one mention of the single payer option that 68% of Americans would prefer. Public broadcasting, corporate controlled.

Friday, April 17, 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.


Scott Simon, that jocular and insipid purveyor of Saturday morning good cheer on NPR outdid himself this week. He interviewed two former ambassadors to Cuba on the wisdom of ending the US embargo.

Although the ambassadors, one from the Clinton era and one from the Bush, differed on the subject, there is one thing that all three agreed on: that US decisions regarding Cuba for the last half century were all about what was "best" for the Cuban people.

As their reasoning went, Castro locked people in prisons and oppressed his own population, so the US embargo was justified in the past. No question of that. But what of all the countries in the world that the US does trade with? Dozens of dictators and violent thugs who all oppress their populations much more than Castro ever did? Or take Battista, Cuba's former dictator. His murderous and corrupt regime had the full support of the US government, until he was overthrown by the Cuban Revolution.

None of this can be mentioned by the two former ambassadors or by Scott Simon. It is almost as if NPR news is a morality play. A soap opera in fact, so divorced from reality that its reporters may as well be actors. They read their lines and go home. And the biggest lie of all? The benevolence of US foreign. If you, dear listener, can believe that one, well, I guess NPR's Weekend Edition might just be for you.


"Under President Bush’s authority, they’ve been going into countries, not talking to the ambassador or the CIA station chief, and finding people on a list and executing them and leaving. That’s been going on, in the name of all of us...

It’s complicated because the guys doing it are not murderers, and yet they are committing what we would normally call murder. It’s a very complicated issue. Because they are young men that went into the Special Forces. The Delta Forces you’ve heard about. Navy Seal teams. Highly specialized...

In many cases, they were the best and the brightest. Really, no exaggerations. Really fine guys that went in to do the kind of necessary jobs that they think you need to do to protect America."
-Seymour Hersch, one of America's best and most experienced journalists,_had_no_congressional_oversight/

--->The NY Times has covered several "assassination" stories in the last year. On John Kennedy, MLK, and Hitler. Nothing on Symour Hersh's research into the dark side of American imperialism.


"Amnesty International revealed that on March 22 the United States delivered more than 300 containers of munitions to Israel.

This weapons delivery occurred despite the fact that Amnesty International reports that the United States is reviewing Israel's misuse of U.S. weapons during 'Operation Cast Lead' in violation of the Arms Export Control Act.

During its December-January war on the occupied Gaza Strip, Israel killed 1,417 Palestinians, of whom 926 were civilians and 255 were non-combatant police officers, according to the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights."
-Amnesty International website:

--->We here at Activist Radio don't have to tell you whether the NY Times reported this story. The US and Israel working together to commit war crimes in the Middle East? Such stories will never be printed until we actually have freedom of press in this country.

Thursday, April 09, 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.


"Israel created 'terror without mercy' in Gaza

The Israeli military attacked civilians and medics and delayed - sometimes for hours - the evacuation of the injured during the January war in Gaza, according to an independent fact-finding mission commissioned by Israeli and Palestinian medical human rights groups.

Physicians for Human Rights-Israel and the Palestinian Medical Relief Society yesterday said their findings showed Israel's military committed serious violations of international humanitarian law. In their 92-page report, compiled by five senior health experts from across the world, they documented several specific attacks, with interviews from 44 separate witnesses."

--->Instead of running this story, the NY Times printed the conclusions of the Israeli military, that reports of human rights abuses in Gaza were based "on hearsay and not supported by specific personal knowledge." Not any knowledge that the NY Times will report anyway.


NPR is doing a three part series on the Wall in the West Bank. Monday's report was a depressing start.

Never mentioned was the fact that the Wall was built, for the most part, on Palestinian land. A half million illegal Settlers don't exist either. The wall, according to NPR was built to stop suicide bombers, and "it works," despite the suffering of some Palestinians.

So that you don't miss the point, NPR takes you back to a suicide bombing eight years ago. An Israeli doctor repeats the mantra. Without the wall, things would be this bad again.

It is time that NPR learned to do honest reporting rather than repeat Israeli justifications for its policy of racial apartheid.

--->To the NY Times, NPR's series on the West Bank is: " everything you would expect from NPR: intelligent, informative and polished..." In fact, it is just like the reporting that the NY Times does on Israel: highly polished propaganda.


"Thousands Flee Bomb Attacks by US Drones

AMERICAN drone attacks on the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan are causing a massive humanitarian emergency, Pakistani officials claimed after a new attack yesterday killed 13 people.

The dead and injured included foreign militants, but women and children were also killed when two missiles hit a house in the village of Data Khel, near the Afghan border, according to local officials.

As many as 1m people have fled their homes in the Tribal Areas to escape attacks by the unmanned spy planes as well as bombings by the Pakistani army."

--->Ah, bringing democracy to yet another country in the Middle East. The NY Times, true to form, is talking a lot about the need for MORE US involvement in Pakistan. In the NY Times Sunday Magazine, Pakistan is "becoming the most dangerous failed state in the world." Count on the NY Times to cheerlead any new US military aggression in the region.

Thursday, April 02, 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.


"IDF combat soldiers and officers from the Gaza operation are now beginning to confirm what our enemies have been saying for months. They tell us that, contrary to our own beliefs and expectations, combat norms in Gaza exhibited a blatant disregard for Palestinian civilians. Their comments were not a left-wing leak, but emerged from a frank discussion at pre-army training institute. As Amos Harel writes: 'The soldiers are not lying, for the simple reason they have no reason to.'

...Yet we still must ask ourselves: When Jews around the world literally endangered themselves marching in solidarity rallies in January this year, was this what they had in mind? Were Jewish communities and individuals, and of course the vast majority of the Israeli public, were we all in favor of a lax attitude to civilian casualties? Or did not we all take comfort in the IDF's high moral standards?

Searching for cold comfort, we can nevertheless pride ourselves on the vibrant, dynamic, and brutally honest democracy of Israel. It is unlikely that issues such as these are exposed or ever debated in the countries of Israel's enemies..."

--->But what about the dishonesty of Israel's supposed friends? Ethan Bronner, The NY Times' chief propagandist for Israeli militarism, had this to report last weekend: “'When we entered houses, we actually cleaned up the place,' said Yishai Goldflam, 32, a religiously observant film student in Jerusalem...'There are always idiots who do immoral things. But they don’t represent the majority. I remember once when a soldier wanted to take a Coke from a store, and he was stopped by his fellow soldiers because it was the wrong thing to do.'

300 plus children dead in Gaza, and the NY Times is talking about an Israeli soldier returning a Coke. No "brutally honest democracy" in sight in the good old USA.


"Protesters mark Iraq war anniversary across U.S... Although participation is shrinking, anti-war protestors still marked the sixth anniversary of the start of the Iraq war across the country on Thursday.

A group of war veterans made a modest protest near the White House in the morning. Known as 'Iraq Veterans Against the War,' the group said it would hold a three-day vigil outside the White House to call for ending 'occupations in Iraq and Afghanistan.'

Adam Kokesh, who served in Iraq, was critical of President Barack Obama's Iraq and Afghanistan policies. 'Relabeling the remaining forces in Iraq 'non-combat troops' will not change the fact that these occupations are being perpetuated to maintain a criminal empire,' he said."

--->Compare this story in China View with its eight photographs and interviews of Iraqi War Vets to the coverage in the NY Times. Coverage? One must read a Chinese newspaper to find out about last weeks demonstrations against the war. Demonstrations that took place all across the US.


"Human Rights Watch report claims Israel committed war crimes in its use of air-burst white phosphorus artillery shells

'Israel's military fired white phosphorus over crowded areas of Gaza repeatedly and indiscriminately in its three-week war, killing and injuring civilians and committing war crimes,' Human Rights Watch said today.

In a 71-page report, the rights group said the repeated use of air-burst white phosphorus artillery shells in populated areas of Gaza was not incidental or accidental, but revealed 'a pattern or policy of conduct.'

It said the Israeli military used white phosphorus in a 'deliberate or reckless' way..."

--->Rather than covering this story, Ethan Bronner of the NY Times gives it one sentence, buried in an article that disputes Israeli soldiers' accounts of committing war crimes in Gaza. I wonder if Israeli citizens would put up with this level of dishonesty from their own media?


"Israeli soldiers routinely and intentionally put children in harm's way during their 22-day offensive against the Palestinians in Gaza, according to a United Nations report made public Monday.

The report said a working group had documented and verified reports of violations 'too numerous to list.'"

---> The CNN World account cited numerous examples of the IDF's use of children as human shields. CNN World, by the way, is far superior to the CNN we get in the US. Readers in other nations would never put up with the censorship imposed on the US public. This story was buried in a NY Times report on Netanyahu. It got one line.