Thursday, June 30, 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.


"A few days ago, rallies were held in cities all over the United States in support of veteran Chicano activist Carlos Montes, who had his home raided by the FBI on May 17. The rallies coincided with Montes’ arraignment hearing for felony charges, which were filed against him by the LA County Sheriffs and FBI after the raid.

The target of an ever-expanding government investigation into antiwar and international solidarity activists, Montes demanded that his charges be dropped. The District Attorney denied his request. Montes asked to see the search warrant and police report on the raid of his home. The District Attorney initially refused the request but then agreed to release heavily edited versions of the documents. Montes was also told he would not be allowed to show the documents to the press.

Tom Burke, a spokesperson for the Committee to Stop FBI Repression and a subpoenaed activist, explains that Montes allegedly was found to be in possession of a weapon that was not properly registered. Burke believes that if Montes hadn’t been a political activist or organizer he would have been contacted about a problem on the gun permit. But, the LA sheriffs chose to make an example of Montes.

Burke also notes, like twenty-three other activists subpoenaed thus far, Montes has a link to the organizing of marches at the 2008 Republican National Convention."

-->The NY Times avoids stories that make the US look like a police state. Carlos Montes' arrest and the subsequent rallies against FBI harassment were never reported on.


The Guardian UK:
"Israel steps up campaign to stop flotilla sailing to Gaza in defiance of blockade...

One ship, the Juliano, is being repaired after a suspected underwater sabotage attack. The ship's propeller shaft was partially sawed while it was docked at the Greek port of Piraeus. Another ship, the Audacity of Hope, has been banned from leaving port until Greek authorities agree it is seaworthy.

'We can't say for certain that Israel was responsible for the sabotage but no one else wants to stop us sailing,' said Arraf (Flotilla organizer)...

In another incident, government staff circulated a video purporting to be made by a gay rights activist whose offer to join the flotilla had been rejected. The activist said he was rejected because the organisers were associated with Hamas which was homophobic and antipathetic to human rights.

When the video was exposed as a hoax, the Prime Minister's office said the video was promoted by an intern, Guy Seemann."

-->The NY Times does it's best to protect Israel from bad publicity. Our newspaper of record did not report the attack on the Juliano, a Swedish ship, nor the attempt by the Israel to slander the Freedom Flotilla using a fake video. UPDATE: The NY Times finally did report the sabotage, on the very last line of a story on an Israeli group's efforts to block the flotilla. Instead of a "partially sawed" propeller shaft, The NY Times reported it to be "severed," a way to avoid the fact that the terrorists who did this intended the shaft to fail at sea, when passengers' lives would be at risk.


Guardian UK:
"Climate Sceptic Willie Soon Received $1m from Oil Companies, Papers Show. Documents obtained by Greenpeace show prominent opponent of climate change was funded by ExxonMobil, among others.

Dr Willie Soon, an astrophysicist at the Solar, Stellar and Planetary Sciences Division of the Harvard-Smithsonian Centre for Astrophysics, is known for his view that global warming and the melting of the arctic sea ice is caused by solar variation rather than human-caused CO2 emissions, and that polar bears are not primarily threatened by climate change.

But according to a Greenpeace US investigation, he has been heavily funded by coal and oil industry interests since 2001, receiving money from ExxonMobil, the American Petroleum Insitute and Koch Industries along with Southern, one of the world's largest coal-burning utility companies. Since 2002, it is alleged, every new grant he has received has been from either oil or coal interests.

In addition, freedom of information documents suggest that Soon corresponded in 2003 with other prominent climate sceptics to try to weaken a major assessment of global warming being conducted by the UN's leading climate science body, the Nobel prize-winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change."

-->Rather than printing this story about corporate funding of climate skeptics, The NY Times chose to put it on the Times Topics blog where it would get less attention. In fact, The NY Times has given the well paid Dr. Willie Soon's conclusions far more respect than they deserved, even quoting Dr. Soon in 2008 as saying that "most influential forecasts of polar-bear populations violate at least 73 of the 90 relevant principles of scientific forecasting." The Guardian UK exposed some of Dr. Soon's funding back in 2008; why not our newspaper of record?

Thursday, June 23, 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 New York Times:
"Public Unions Take On Boss to Win Big Pensions: Government unions are using their influence and campaign contributions to stave off cutbacks."

-->NY Times exposés about big salaries and pensions usually involve supposed union abuses. What if The NY Times had front page pictures of our nation's CEOs who make an average of $11,000,000 per year, a 23% increase since 2010 (S&P 500 Companies). How about Viacom's Philippe Dauman who made $84,500,000, Oracles's Lawrence Ellison who made $70,000,000, or IBM's S.J. Palmisano who made $31,700,000? Our newspaper of record would prefer its readers concentrate on the union lifeguard in Laguna Beach, CA who earns $84,000 per year. For those interested in doing the math, the lifeguard gets .0009% of what Viacom's CEO brings home each year.

"According to the Federal Reserve, U.S. corporations held a record $1.93 trillion in cash on their balance sheets in 2010. But they are not investing to expand their companies, grow the real economy or create good middle-class jobs. Corporate CEOs are literally hoarding their company’s cash—except when it comes to their own paychecks." -from Executive Paywatch

The trouble is that many Board of Directors of The New York Times are themselves high paid executives of venture capital, investment, pharmaceutical, and other large corporate enterprises. When is the last time The NY Times ran a story supporting unions, or explaining their importance in winning higher wages for all working people?


Common Dreams:
"Osama al-Nujaifi, the Iraqi parliament speaker, has told Al Jazeera that the amount of Iraqi money unaccounted for by the US is $18.7bn - three times more than the reported $6.6bn.

Just before departing for a visit to the US, al-Nujaifi said that he has received a report this week based on information from US and Iraqi auditors that the amount of money withdrawn from a fund from Iraqi oil proceeds, but unaccounted for, is much more than the $6.6bn reported missing last week.

"There is a lot of money missing during the first American administration of Iraqi money in the first year of occupation. 'Iraq's development fund has lost around $18bn of Iraqi money in these operations - their location is unknown. Also missing are the documents of expenditure.'

The Bush administration flew in a total of $20bn in cash into the country in 2004. This was money that had come from Iraqi oil sales, surplus funds from the UN oil-for-food programme and seized Iraqi assets."

-->$18bn stolen from Iraqi oil sales, UN oil for food programs, and seized Iraqi assets didn't bother The NY Times enough to print this story. It had spent the early part of the last decade selling this war to the Americans as a way to improve the lives of the Iraqi people.


The Guardian UK:
"Tim DeChristopher is scheduled to be sentenced in a Salt Lake City courtroom by U.S. District Judge Dee Benson on July 26. He faces up to 10 years in prison and a $750,000 fine for fraudulently bidding in December 2008 on parcels of land, including areas around eastern Utah’s national parks, which were being sold off by the Bush administration to the oil and natural gas industry. As Bidder No. 70, he drove up the prices of some of the bids and won more than a dozen other parcels for $1.8 million. The government is asking Judge Benson to send DeChristopher to prison for four and a half years.

His prosecution is evidence that our moral order has been turned upside down. The bankers and swindlers who trashed the global economy and wiped out some $40 trillion in wealth amass obscene amounts of money, much of it provided by taxpayers. They do not go to jail. Regulatory agencies, compliant to the demands of corporations, refuse to impede the destruction unleashed by the coal, oil and natural gas companies as they turn the planet into a hothouse of pollutants, poisoned water, fouled air and contaminated soil in the frenzied quest for greater and greater profits. Those who manage and make fortunes from pre-emptive wars, embrace torture, carry out extrajudicial assassinations, deny habeas corpus and run up the largest deficits in human history are feted as patriots. But when a courageous citizen such as DeChristopher peacefully derails the corporate and governmental destruction of the ecosystem, he is sent to jail."

-->The NY Times doesn't care about moral orders turned upside down, as long as corporations continue to profit. It didn't cover this story.

Thursday, June 16, 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 Sydney Morning Herald (Australia):
"This month, the Pentagon and the Iraqi government are finally closing the books on the program that handled funding for reconstruction in postwar Iraq.

But despite years of investigations, US defense officials still cannot say what happened to $US6.6 billion ($6.3 billion/Australian) of the cash. Federal auditors are now suggesting that some or all of the cash may have been stolen, not just mislaid in an accounting error.

After the US-led invasion in March 2003, the Bush administration flooded Iraq with so much cash that a new unit of measurement was born.

Pentagon officials determined that one giant C-130 Hercules cargo plane could carry $US2.4 billion in shrink-wrapped bricks of $US100 bills. They sent an initial full planeload of cash followed by 20 other flights by May 2004 in a $US12 billion haul that US officials believe to be the biggest ever international cash airlift.

Stuart Bowen, special inspector-general for Iraq reconstruction, said the missing $US6.6 billion might be 'the largest theft of funds in national history.' "

-->Stories about the extreme corruption of the US empire never make much of an appearance in the US media. The Sydney Morning Herald thought this story was fit to print, but not The NY Times.


The Guardian UK:
"The Gaza Strip enters its fifth year of a full Israeli blockade by land, air and sea on Tuesday with unemployment at 45.2%, one of the highest rates in the world, according to a UN aid agency report.

The UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) found that by the second half of 2010, real wages had fallen 34.5% since the first half of 2006, when sanctions were imposed by Israel after Hamas, the Islamist group that rules the Gaza Strip, won a Palestinian legislative election. The UN says the strict blockade began a year later.

'These are disturbing trends,' said UNRWA spokesman Chris Gunness, 'and the refugees, who make up two-thirds of Gaza's 1.5 million population, were the worst hit.'

He said: 'It is hard to understand the logic of a man-made policy which deliberately impoverishes so many and condemns hundreds of thousands of potentially productive people to a life of destitution.' "

-->In the heart of the empire, few stories about apartheid Israel see the light of day. The NY Times, in particular, censors out information critical of Israel's blockade of Gaza. It didn't print this story. UPDATE: The NY Times printed this story several days later, under the heading of "U.N. Charts High Jobless Rate in Gaza, Despite Israel’s Easing of Blockade." The story by Ethan Bronner, whose son served in the Israeli Defense Force, does its best to obscure the reason behind the unemployment figures. Most of The NY Times story talks about Hamas. Of course, the UN spokesman's quote about Israel "deliberately" impoverishing so many people was deemed unfit to print.


Common Dreams:
"On May 17, 2011 at 5:00 AM the SWAT Team of the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department and members of the FBI raided the home of Carlos Montes, a long time Chicano activist and active member of the Committee to Stop FBI Repression. The SWAT Team smashed the front door and rushed in with automatic weapons as Carlos slept. The team of Sheriffs and FBI proceeded to ransack his house, taking his computer, cell phones and hundreds of documents, photos, diskettes and mementos of his current political activities in the pro-immigrant rights and Chicano civil rights movement. Also taken were hundreds of historical documents related to Carlos Montes’ involvement in the Chicano movement for the past 44 years.

Carlos was arrested on one charge dealing with a firearm code and released on bail the following morning. His first court appearance is set for June 16, 2011.

This attack on Carlos Montes is part of the campaign of FBI harassment taking place against the 23 peace and justice activists which has until now been centered in the Midwest. Carlos Montes’ name was listed on the subpoena left in the office of the Twin Cities Anti-War Committee last September 24. When Carlos Montes was placed in the LA County Sheriff's car, an FBI agent approached and asked him questions about the Freedom Road Socialist Organization.

-->FBI crackdown on dissent? Peace and social justice activists harassed and arrested? Our newspaper of record, The NY Times, would never sully itself by printing stories about our emerging police state.

Thursday, June 09, 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.


Business Insider:
"A Wikileaks post published on The Nation shows that the Obama Administration fought to keep Haitian wages at 31 cents an hour.

It started when Haiti passed a law two years ago raising its minimum wage to 61 cents an hour. According to an embassy cable:

This infuriated American corporations like Hanes and Levi Strauss that pay Haitians slave wages to sew their clothes. They said they would only fork over a seven-cent-an-hour increase, and they got the State Department involved. The U.S. ambassador put pressure on Haiti’s president, who duly carved out a $3 a day minimum wage for textile companies (the U.S. minimum wage, which itself is very low, works out to $58 a day)."

-->All those Americans who gave disaster relief to the poor in Haiti were just throwing their money away because the state department, pressured by US corporations, cut the minimum wage in half. Good thing The NY Times didn't publish this story, the ugly face of the US occupation.


Democracy Now:
"The Nation magazine, in partnership with the Haitian weekly newspaper, Haïti Liberté, has launched a series of reports based on more than 19,000 classified U.S. diplomatic cables released by WikiLeaks. Called 'The PetroCaribe Files,' the series begins with an exposé of how the United States—with pressure from Exxon and Chevron—tried to interfere with an oil agreement between Haiti and Venezuela that would save Haiti, the poorest country in the Western hemisphere, $100 million per year.

'It’s really amazing to see an ambassador pushing around a president, and all his officials telling them what to do, that they don’t understand this, they don’t understand that, trying to tell them what Haiti’s interests are. It’s the epitome of arrogance,' says the report’s co-author, Kim Ives."

-->Again, US corporations cheating the impoverished Haitian people. This is what US imperialism in Haiti looks like. Is it any wonder that Latin America sees the US as its greatest threat to peace and prosperity? Thankfully, readers of The NY Times are spared any knowledge of how their brutal empire works.


Common Dreams:
"In January, the government of the United States of America saw fit to seize $4.207 million in funds allocated to Cuba by the United Nations Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria for the first quarter of 2011, Cuba has charged.

The UN Fund is a $22 billion a year program that works to combat the three deadly pandemics in 150 countries. 'This mean-spirited policy,' the Cuban government said, 'aims to undermine the quality of service provided to the Cuban population and to obstruct the provision of medical assistance in over 100 countries by 40,000 Cuban health workers.'

Most of the funds are used to import expensive AIDS medication to Cuba, where antiretroviral treatment is provided free of charge to some 5,000 HIV patients."

-->Has Obama changed the cruelty and arrogance of US policy in Latin America? Readers of The NY Times may think so, but that is because our newspaper of record just doesn't run stories critical of the empire. This story never made it to print.

Thursday, June 02, 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.


"David Cameron (British Prime Minister) has stepped down as a patron of the Jewish National Fund (JNF) in a move pro-Palestinian campaigners claim is a result of pressure but which Downing Street insists is part of a general review of the prime minister's charity connections...

The JNF was originally set up to buy land in Palestine to establish Jewish settlements before the creation of the state of Israel. Now it is a global charity which describes itself as the 'caretakers of the land and people of Israel,' specialising in planting forests. Critics say it expropriated land belonging to Palestinians and has obliterated pre-1948 Arab villages by planting forests and parks. The JNF is involved in the demolition of Bedouin villages in the Negev desert as part of an afforestation plan.

Sofiah Macleod of the UK-based Stop the JNF Campaign said the organisation's lobbying had led Cameron to withdraw. 'There has been a change in public opinion and awareness about Israel's behaviour and there was specific pressure on [Cameron] to step down from the JNF,' she said. 'We believe he has stepped down as a result of this political pressure. Given the establishment support that the JNF has received, it's not a decision he will have taken lightly.' "

-->Somehow, English politicians can move away from supporting apartheid Israel and its stranglehold on millions of Palestinians. US politicians from Obama on down simply can't, and an active media in this country would have explored this issue long ago. Of course, The NY Times never covered this story.


Common Dreams:
"US State Department Warns US Boat to Gaza and new U.S. Coast Guard Special Notice on the Gaza Maritime Area

On May 23, 2011, a delegation from the U.S. Boat to Gaza, the Audacity of Hope, advised State Department officials that a U.S. flagged ship would be in the June, 2011 Gaza flotilla.

State Department officials responded with the Travel Warning from the Bureau of Consular Affairs. The travel warning states 'U.S. citizens are advised against traveling to Gaza by any means, including via sea. Previous attempts to enter Gaza by sea have been stopped by Israeli naval vessels and resulted in the injury, death, arrest and deportation of U.S. citizens…The Israeli defense Forces (IDF) strictly controls the crossing points between Israel and the Gaza Strip, and has essentially sealed the border. The security environment within Gaza and along its borders, including its border with Egypt and tis seacoast, is dangerous and volatile.'

The U.S. government offensive against the flotilla sailing continued with the comment that the U.S. Coast Guard was publishing a new notice about Gaza waters, but they did not yet have a copy."

-->The NY Times, along with much of the US media, has created a wall of silence around the Audacity of Hope. 50 Americans are going to break the sea blockade of Gaza this June, and our newspaper of record can't bring itself to print one word about it. Zionist sympathies have always trumped the American people's right to know.


The Hill:
"An increasingly war-weary House will vote this week on legislation that would halt the U.S. military intervention in Libya. The vote comes just days after lawmakers nearly approved a measure to expedite the American withdrawal from Afghanistan.

The office of Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) said Friday the House would take up a resolution introduced by anti-war Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) that directs the president to remove U.S. armed forces from Libya. The liberal Democrat is acting under authority of the 1973 War Powers Resolution, which enables legislators to force a vote on troop withdrawal measures under certain conditions.

Kucinich has used the mechanism to force votes on withdrawing forces from Iraq and Afghanistan, most recently in March, but this will be the first such vote on the two-month-old Libya mission."

-->Congress weary of the continuing Obama wars? Never happened for readers of The NY Times. All the news that's fit to print, as long as it supports US aggression abroad.