Friday, February 25, 2011

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.


Woodstock Weapons Watch:
"According to a newly-released WikiLeaks cable from the US Embassy in Cairo dated October 6, 2009, 'the Egyptian Ministry of Defense verified that it received 75 Electrical Rotron Fans from Ametek Rotron/Rheinmetall Defence Italia for use in the Skyguard Air Defense System.'

Ametek Rotron is Woodstock's own weapons manufacturer (and the town's biggest employer). It's hardly surprising that Rotron was supplying this particular dictatorship, since it ships components for many standard weapons systems all over the world. Indeed, it's highly likely that the F-16 warplanes that buzzed the pro-democracy demonstrators in Tahrir Square contained Ametek Rotron components -- likewise the Abrams tanks that lined the square. But it's only occasionally that a corner of the curtain is lifted and we glimpse specific details of the unsavory business of arming dictatorships -- and Woodstock's bit part in it.

Quite probably these Woodstock weapons parts were paid for by US taxpayers as part of our massive military aid to the Egyptian regime. Ametek Rotron also supplies weapons components to the Israeli government -- again paid for by US taxpayers."

-->The US media would never cover a story that linked American weapons manufacturers to dictators and human rights abuses in the Third World. It is another example of how our media obscures the machinery of empire. And what about the Woodstock Times? Are stories like this not fit to print?


The Nation:
"This Is What Democracy Looks Like in Wisconsin, as Largest Crowd Yet -- 80,000 -- Opposes Union Busting.

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker finished a bad week with a misstep that emphasized his inability to generate support for his attempt to strip the state’s public employees of collective bargaining rights.

First, the governor’s radical proposal went to such extremes in its anti-labor bias that it sparked a protest movement so large, so steady and so determined in its demands that it is now commonly compared with the protests that have rocked Egypt and other Middle Eastern countries."

-->Mainstream media would never suggest that the huge rallies in Wisconsin actually have anything to do with protests in the Middle East. The NY Times, for example, runs stories about Scott Walker as a populist motorcycle cycle rider, unafraid of union power. Yet labor rights is a form of human rights, and in America, the dictatorship being protested is the control of large corporations over our political process.


Free Press:
"Yesterday, the House voted to block the FCC from protecting our right to access an open Internet. If successful, the move would give phone and cable companies absolute, unrestricted power over the Internet.

In the Senate, Republicans have introduced a 'resolution of disapproval' that would strip the FCC of its authority to protect our right to free speech online. Both of these moves come at a time when phone and cable giants are already restricting our ability to connect with others and share information...

A House vote is on the books. It's now up to the Senate. If it doesn't stop this resolution, the FCC would be barred from enforcing its already weak Net Neutrality rule, and from acting in any way to protect Internet users against corporate abuses by AT&T, Comcast and Verizon."

-->The only NY Times reference to this vote was in a reader's comment.


"A modern American president-Republican or Democrat-operates as the messenger-servant of the country's corporations, defending them against their critics and ensuring that no obstacles are placed in their way. Since the right to profit is considered sacrosanct, any serious alternative is automatically rejected. This is the permanent tension that lies at the hart of a capitalist democracy and is exacerbated in times of crisis. In order to ensure the survival of the richest, it is democracy that has to be heavily regulated rather than capitalism. The inhuman exigencies of the system preclude policies that would obviously benefit a majority of the populations."
-From "The Obama Syndrome" by Tariq Ali

Thursday, February 17, 2011

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.


The NY Times:
"Neither party has put forward specific proposals to begin grappling with the most pressing long-term budget problem: the huge costs in Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security programs as the population ages and medical costs rise, a bill that could overwhelm the government and crimp the economy if not addressed."

-->The NY Times doesn't shy away from the big lie when it comes to Social Security; it is always "broke" or "going broke." This despite the fact that the federal government has made money on Social Security since the 1980's, taxing the working class (those making under $106,000) much more than was necessary to support this program. The result is that the federal government owes Social Security over a trillion dollars, money it has spent on wars and tax cuts for the very wealthy. Social Security would be solvent for the next 50 years if the income level for payroll taxes were raised from $106,000 to $120,000. But Wall Street wants this money to speculate with, and our newspaper of record is not about to let truth about Social Security get in the way.


Institute for Public Accuracy:
“So, less than two months after signing tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans into law, Obama proposes a budget that attacks programs that help the working poor and the most needy heat their homes, expand their access to graduate-level education, put their kids in Head Start, [and fund] summer jobs for youth, career development, after-school programs, child care, GED programs, affordable housing through cuts in Section 8 vouchers and public housing assistance, homelessness prevention, housing court advocacy, food pantries, access to tax credits, senior programs and more.”

-->The NY Times, of course, never refers to the specifics of Obama's budget cuts, preferring generalities like "an array of domestic programs, including community services and environmental protections." Very little is said about Obama's tax giveaways to the very wealthy that made these cuts necessary.


"Three large energy companies have been carrying out covert intelligence-gathering operations on environmental activists, the Guardian can reveal.
The energy giant E.ON, Britain's second-biggest coal producer Scottish Resources Group and Scottish Power, one of the UK's largest electricity-generators, have been paying for the services of a private security firm that has been secretly monitoring activists.

Leaked documents show how the security firm's owner, Rebecca Todd, tipped off company executives about environmentalists' plans after snooping on their emails. She is also shown instructing an agent to attend campaign meetings and coaching him on how to ingratiate himself with activists. The disclosures come as police chiefs, on the defensive over damaging revelations of undercover police officers in the protest movement, privately claim that there are more corporate spies in protest groups than undercover police officers."

-->US media, including The NY Times, didn't cover this story of corporate spying on environmental activists in England. Maybe that's because it doesn't want to call attention to major US energy corporations doing the same.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

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.


Independent UK:
"Frank Wisner, President Barack Obama's envoy to Cairo who infuriated the White House this weekend by urging Hosni Mubarak to remain President of Egypt, works for a New York and Washington law firm which works for the dictator's own Egyptian government.

Mr Wisner's astonishing remarks – 'President Mubarak's continued leadership is critical: it's his opportunity to write his own legacy' – shocked the democratic opposition in Egypt and called into question Mr Obama's judgement, as well as that of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

The US State Department and Mr Wisner himself have now both claimed that his remarks were made in a 'personal capacity.' But there is nothing 'personal' about Mr Wisner's connections with the litigation firm Patton Boggs, which openly boasts that it advises the Egyptian military..."

-->The NY Times covered this story on their blog, but not in print. Why let too many people know that the corporations run US foreign policy?


"US embassies in the Persian Gulf states are using low-level staff whose employers illegally confiscate their passports and provide them with poor living conditions.

An internal US State Department report says employers who provide gardeners, maids, cooks and local guards to embassies in Kuwait, Oman, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates put the workers at risk of human trafficking.

Over three-quarters of the scores of workers at the embassies in question told investigators that they were forced to pay fees to get their jobs, which for more than 25 percent of them was equal to over a year of their salary, AP reported.

Some workers also told investigators they had not been paid wages.

All of the surveyed contractors held the passports of their workers, who were mostly from Bangladesh, Ethiopia, India, Nepal, the Philippines and Sri Lanka."

-->US embassies treating third world workers like dirt? Not something the US media would ever explore. The NY Times, predictably, ran a story about immigrant worker abuse in Dubai without mentioning exploitation by US embassies.


"Afghan President Hamid Karzai has confirmed US plans to set up permanent bases in his country, enabling its troops to stay in Afghanistan beyond the 2014 deadline.

The decision comes after negotiations between Karzai and US officials and senators on a range of strategic issues, including the establishment of permanent military bases in Afghanistan, DPA reported.

'Yes they want this (permanent bases) and we have been negotiating with them,' Karzai said at a press conference in his presidential palace on Tuesday."

-->Permanent military bases all over the Middle East? The US media never never gets around to informing the US public about our country's imperial ambitions.

Thursday, February 03, 2011

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.


Common Dreams:
"Rotten News? 2010 P.U.-Litzer Prizes for Bad Journalism (FAIR's 2010 P.U.-litzer Prizes Recognize the Worst of U.S. Journalism)...

On October 22, ABC World News anchor Diane Sawyer introduced a report on WikiLeaks' exposure of thousands of classified documents from the Iraq War. ABC correspondent Martha Raddatz summarized the contents of the WikiLeaks files: 'Deadly U.S. helicopter assaults on insurgents trying to surrender.... The Iraqi civilian death toll far higher than the U.S. has acknowledged.... Graphic detail about torture of detainees by the Iraqi military.' After Raddatz's report, Sawyer offered this followup: 'I know there's a lot of outrage about this again tonight, Martha. But tell me, anything more about prosecuting the WikiLeaks group?'

-->Mainstream media is always for prosecuting those exposing corruption, torture and the killing of civilians by the US military. How about exposing the empire that creates these conditions in the first place?


"New Low in Wartime Propaganda Award: Time magazine

In the wake of a release of damning WikiLeaks documents about the state of the Afghan War, Time magazine's August 9 cover sought to turn the debate over the war around. The photo was of an Afghan woman's maimed face, headlined 'What Happens If We Leave Afghanistan.'

The implication couldn't be clearer: The Taliban will commit similar atrocities without the presence of U.S. forces. The fact that this particularly atrocity--whose connection to the Taliban has been questioned--happened with U.S. troops staying in Afghanistan complicates Time's argument."

-->When will Time Magazine cover the the atrocities that the empire commits in Afghanistan or Iraq? When will US media like Time free themselves from being conduits of Pentagon war propaganda?


"Am-I-Reading-The-Onion Headline Writing Award: Washington Post.

For its April 26 story, "Amid Outrage Over Civilian Deaths in Pakistan, CIA Turns to Smaller Missiles."

Honorable mention goes to the New York Times, whose Nov. 11 story explained the U.S. plan to remain in Afghanistan for at least three years longer than advertised. The headline: 'U.S. Plan Offers Path to Ending Afghan Combat.' "

-->Maybe it's funny the lengths that our major newspapers will go to cover up the lies and atrocities behind US occupations abroad. But beneath the amusement, we have to realize that our media stands firmly behind the worst excesses of empire.