Thursday, December 17, 2009

Fantasyland Media:

Each week, we cover the stories that are just left out of the US propaganda machine. News that the people in charge, the corporations and your government want keep from the public eye.

"In May, 2008, Dick Cheney caused an uproar when he told ABC News' Martha Raddatz that public opposition to the war in Iraq was, in essence, irrelevant:
RADDATZ: Two-third of Americans say it’s not worth fighting.
RADDATZ:  So? You don’t care what the American people think?
CHENEY: No. I think you cannot be blown off course by the fluctuations in the public opinion polls.

Today, New York Times Editorial Page -- which has become one of the most vehement supporters of the war in Afghanistan (and Pakistan) -- echoed Cheney's sentiment when demanding that European leaders escalate their commitments to the war despite overwhelming and growing opposition among their citizenry:

'Germany’s chancellor, Angela Merkel, and France’s president, Nicolas Sarkozy, have repeatedly stated that their countries have a stake in the future of Afghanistan and the future of NATO.  But both are wary of pushing their voters too far, too fast. (Both have essentially postponed their decisions on further troop contributions until late next month.) Democratically elected leaders cannot ignore public skepticism, but they should not surrender to it when they know better.""

-->The NY Times stressing the Pentagon point of view over the opinions of Americans? At any escalation of war, the Grey Lady always takes off her gloves and leads the cheer for more US military aggression.

"In what passes for corporate journalism in American, this concept has taken the form of, 'If we don't report on it, it didn't happen.'

That certainly was the case for the emergency protest organized by a coalition of anti-war organizations under the banner, which saw over 1000 people gather on short notice in the bitter cold on Lafayette Park opposite the White House to protest President Obama's escalation of the war in Afghanistan on Saturday, Dec. 12.

Not a word about this impromptu protest, which included many people who had supported the election of President Obama only a year ago, appeared in the New York Times. Nor did the Washington Post bother to mention the protest in its own back yard, not even in its Metro section pages. The other arguably national newspaper, USA Today, likewise blacked out news of the protest."

-->The NY Times, not given to cover protest rallies (unless they occur in Iran), is playing another of its usual wartime roles, that of omitting any mention of the US peace movement. News fashioned by the Pentagon.

"The more difficult question to answer is many liberals found the speech (in Oslow) so inspiring and agreeable?  Is that what liberals were hoping for when they elected Obama:  someone who would march right into Oslo and proudly announce to the world that we have a unilateral right to wage war when we want and to sing the virtues of war as a key instrument for peace?...

Yesterday's speech and the odd, extremely bipartisan reaction to it underscored one of the real dangers of the Obama presidency:  taking what had been ideas previously discredited as Republican or right-wing dogma and transforming them into bipartisan consensus.  It's not just Republicans but Democrats that are now vested in -- and eager to justify -- the virtues of war, claims of Grave Danger posed by Islamic radicals and the need to use massive military force to combat them, indefinite detention, military commissions, extreme secrecy, full-scale immunity for government lawbreaking, and so many other doctrines once purportedly despised by Democrats but now defended by them because their leader has embraced them.

That's exactly the process that led former Bush DOJ official Jack Goldsmith to giddily explain that Obama has actually done more to legitimize Bush/Cheney 'counter-terrorism' policies than Bush and Cheney themselves -- because he made them bipartisan..."

-->The NY Times always assumes there is a basic difference between Democrats and Republicans when it comes to committing war crimes. Our newspaper of record would never explore the similarities between the Bush and Obama doctrines on preemptive war.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Fantasyland Media:

Each week, we cover the stories that are just left out of the US propaganda machine. News that the people in charge, the corporations and your government want keep from the public eye.

"White House Wants Torture Suit against Yoo Dismissed. The Obama administration has asked an appeals court to dismiss a lawsuit accusing former Bush administration attorney John Yoo of authorizing the torture of a terrorism suspect, saying federal law does not allow damage claims against lawyers who advise the president on national security issues.

Such lawsuits ask courts to second-guess presidential decisions and pose 'the risk of deterring full and frank advice regarding the military's detention and treatment of those determined to be enemies during an armed conflict,' Justice Department lawyers said Thursday in arguments to the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco."

-->Is our current President covering up war crimes of the past, or is he making sure he can get away with them himself. The NY Times doesn't pose this interesting question because it didn't cover the story.


Common Dreams:
President Barack Obama recently called Rep. John Conyers Jr. to express his frustrations with the Judiciary Committee chairman's criticism.

In an interview with The Hill, Conyers said his opinions of Obama's policies on healthcare reform and the war in Afghanistan have not sat well with the president. According to the lawmaker, the president picked up the phone several weeks ago to find out why Conyers was 'demeaning" him.'

Obama's decision to challenge Conyers highlights a sensitivity to criticism the president has taken on the left. Conyers's critical remarks, many of which have been reported on the liberal-leaning Huffington Post, appear to have irritated the president, known for his calm demeanor."

-->The NY Times does not like to run stories of Obama selling out to corporate interests on the war and on healthcare. It didn't report this story. Nor has it devoted much coverage to Obama's loss of progressive support. Our newspaper of record only does stories that support the myth of two opposing parties.


Common Dreams:
"Over 1,000 delegates from 42 countries have signed up to participate in the December 31 Gaza Freedom March that will mark the one-year anniversary of the Israeli invasion and call for an end to the siege that has brought 1.5 million people to the edge of disaster.

Organizers cut off registration on November 30 to give the Egyptian officials enough time to clear the group for entry into Gaza, but also because the numbers were becoming unwieldy. 'No one has ever taken a group this size into Gaza,' said coordinator Ann Wright, whose skills as a retired U.S. army colonel are coming in handy organizing the logistics for such a massive group.

Since the registration closed on November 30, organizers have been besieged every day with people begging to be added to the list. 'I have to turn down 15-20 people every day,' said Emily Siegel. 'It has been an insane few weeks, with emails pouring in from people all over the world who want to join. I feel terrible turning them away but we started out thinking we would take 300 people and now we have over 1,000.'"

-->So far, the NY Times has not touched this story of 1,000 Americans going to Gaza to break the Israeli siege. The NY Times does its best to protect Israel when it commits war crimes in the Middle East.

Friday, December 04, 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.

"The fiscal year 2010 Federal government budget included $130 billion for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, or somewhat more than $10 billion per month. The White House estimates that it will cost one billion dollars per year to deploy an additional 1,000 troops to Afghanistan...

It also does not address the six hundred pound gorilla in the room, which is the legacy issue that comes from fighting a war with borrowed money.  As the Obama White House is so deep in the red that even George W. Bush appears in hindsight to have been a model of frugality, it should be assumed that Obama’s 'war of necessity' will not be fully funded by Congress.  That means either borrowing from the Asians or just printing the money while watching the dollar slide down the toilet. It has to be assumed that the US Treasury will do a bit of both."
-Philip Giraldi, a former CIA officer, is a contributing editor to The American Conservative and a fellow at the American Conservative Defense Alliance.

-->Stark financial warnings about the cost of American empire are rarely covered by the NY Times. 


"WASHINGTON - The National Democratic Institute (NDI) and the International Republican Institute (IRI), organizations that receive funding from the U.S. State Department, are planning on sending delegations to observe the November 29 elections in Honduras, according to a statement issued by Republican Senator Richard Lugar.

The IRI is a group that has supported the ouster of democratically elected presidents in Haiti and Venezuela in recent years. Both groups are apparently planning to assist with observation of the elections, despite the fact that the electoral process will be effectively controlled by thousands of military troops and police officers - the same forces who have committed innumerable human rights violations, including killings, rapes, beatings and thousands of detentions, since the June 28 coup d'etat.

'I am surprised to see NDI joining the International Republican Institute in its efforts to legitimize another coup,' Center for Economic and Policy Research Co-Director Mark Weisbrot said. 'NDI has generally been less willing to support coups and anti-democratic regimes than has its Republican counterpart.'"

-->The NY Times does not like to report on the National Endowment for Democracy, a state funded NGO that has often been used as a CIA front. Moreover, the NY Times coverage of the Honduran military coup doesn't even attempt to separate Pentagon propaganda from actual news. All the news that's fit for empire.


Common Dreams:
"NEW YORK - With the health care debate preoccupying the mainstream media, it has gone virtually unreported that the Barack Obama administration is quietly supporting renewal of provisions of the George W. Bush-era USA Patriot Act that civil libertarians say infringe on basic freedoms. And it is reportedly doing so over the objections of some prominent Democrats.

When a panicky Congress passed the act 45 days after the terrorist attacks of Sep. 11, 2001, three contentious parts of the law were scheduled to expire at the end of next month, and opponents of these sections have been pushing Congress to substitute new provisions with substantially strengthened civil liberties protections.

But with the apparent approval of the Obama White House and a number of Republicans – and over the objections of liberal Senate Democrats including Russ Feingold of Wisconsin and Dick Durbin of Illinois – the Senate Judiciary Committee has voted to extend the three provisions with only minor changes.

Those provisions would leave unaltered the power of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to seize records and to eavesdrop on phone calls and e-mail in the course of counterterrorism investigations."

-->Maybe there are so many sellouts by the Obama administration that the further erosion of civil liberties is not worth reporting on. The NY Times thought so anyway; it didn't cover this story.