Thursday, December 29, 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.


Daily Mail UK:
"Two American missiles struck a village in south-west Iran early today. The news was given in a report by the country's Islamic Republic News Agency...

CORRECTION. This story was reported as news by

But the actual date of the story in the Daily Mail was 2003. Thanks to a listener for catching this error.


Inter Press Service:
" 'Haiti is open for business.' That's what President Michel 'Sweet Micky' Martelly said at a recent ceremony as he and former U.S. president Bill Clinton laid a cornerstone for a giant industrial zone being built in northern Haiti.

Across the country and abroad, Martelly, his government, and their advisors – like Clinton – have been pushing the island nation as a foreign investor's dream come true...

Factory owners claim they can't pay more because of they did, their international clients...would pick up and move out. And so the Haitian government – with the full backing of the U.S. government, as recent Wikileaked cables revealed – remains the lowest wage in the hemisphere-wide 'race to the bottom.'

A study by HGW of assembly workers' expenses in the capital and at the Haiti-Dominican Republic border revealed that on an average day, workers spend more than 50 percent of an average day's wages just getting to work and back and eating their midday meal.

A recent study by the U.S.-based Solidarity Center, which is linked to the AFL-CIO trade union federation, determined that a 'living wage' for a worker with two children is 749 dollars a month – almost five times the average monthly wage."

-->Bottom feeder Bill Clinton extolling the race to the bottom in Haiti? Slave wages the result of US occupation? You won't read such stories in the US media, including The NY Times.


The Australian:
"NEW YORK - Fourteen frustrated members of the UN Security Council pointed a finger at the US yesterday for blocking any condemnation of Israel's accelerated settlement construction in Palestinian territory.

In a move that Russia's UN ambassador Vitaly Churkin called historic, diplomats from almost all regional blocs represented on the council stepped to the microphone after closed council consultations on the Middle East to condemn the lack of progress towards a solution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Mr Churkin, the council president, said the frustration over the impasse in Israeli-Palestinian talks spilled out in statements from the four European Union council members, the Non-Aligned Movement, the Arab group and the group of emerging powers that included India, Brazil and South Africa."

-->The NY Times coverage of this story says a lot about our newspaper of record. Entitled "Israel Accuses 4 Countries of Meddling in Its Affairs," the news article stresses Israel's objections rather than the condemnations themselves. Hamas, as always, is characterized as "sworn to Israel's destruction." Why doesn't The NY Times characterize Israel as "sworn to expanding its apartheid state"?

Thursday, December 22, 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:
"The US government should transfer Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) command of aerial drone strikes to the armed forces and clarify its legal rationale for targeted killings, Human Rights Watch said today in a letter to President Barack Obama and in a questions and answers document. A dramatic increase in the use of CIA drone strikes underscores the need for the US to demonstrate that the CIA adheres to international legal requirements for accountability, Human Rights Watch said.

'CIA drone strikes have become an almost daily occurrence around the world, but little is known about who is killed and under what circumstances,' said James Ross, legal and policy director at Human Rights Watch. 'So long as the US resists public accountability for CIA drone strikes, the agency should not be conducting targeted killings...'

'Unsupported claims by administration officials that all US agencies involved in targeted killings are complying with international law are wholly inadequate,' Ross said. 'By failing to adopt policies and practices that demonstrate compliance with international law, the US raises doubts among its allies about the lawfulness of its actions and creates a dangerous model for abusive governments.' "

-->The NY Times only covers human rights reports when they are critical of Pentagon "enemies." Those reports critical of the US are routinely left out of print.


Per Square Mile:
"Over the last 30 years, wealth in the United States has been steadily concentrating in the upper economic echelons. Whereas the top 1 percent used to control a little over 30 percent of the wealth, they now control 40 percent. It’s a trend that was for decades brushed under the rug but is now on the tops of minds and at the tips of tongues.

Since too much inequality can foment revolt and instability, the CIA regularly updates statistics on income distribution for countries around the world, including the U.S. Between 1997 and 2007, inequality in the U.S. grew by almost 10 percent, making it more unequal than Russia, infamous for its powerful oligarchs. The U.S. is not faring well historically, either. Even the Roman Empire, a society built on conquest and slave labor, had a more equitable income distribution.

To determine the size of the Roman economy and the distribution of income, historians Walter Schiedel and Steven Friesen pored over papyri ledgers, previous scholarly estimates, imperial edicts, and Biblical passages. Their target was the state of the economy when the empire was at its population zenith, around 150 C.E. Schiedel and Friesen estimate that the top 1 percent of Roman society controlled 16 percent of the wealth, less than half of what America’s top 1 percent control."

-->The NY Times didn't cover these studies of gross income disparity in the United States. Most often, The NY Times is a newspaper for the 1%, not the 99%.


Guardian UK:
"Chief executive pay has roared back after two years of stagnation and decline. America's top bosses enjoyed pay hikes of between 27 and 40% last year, according to the largest survey of US CEO pay. The dramatic bounce back comes as the latest government figures show wages for the majority of Americans are failing to keep up with inflation.

America's highest paid executive took home more than $145.2m, and as stock prices recovered across the board, the median value of bosses' profits on stock options rose 70% in 2010, from $950,400 to $1.3m. The news comes against the backdrop of an Occupy Wall Street movement that has focused Washington's attention on the pay packages of America's highest paid.

The Guardian's exclusive first look at the CEO pay survey from corporate governance group GMI Ratings will further fuel debate about America's widening income gap. The survey, the most extensive in the US, covered 2,647 companies, and offers a comprehensive assessment of all the data now available relating to 2010 pay."

-->Leave it to a foreign newspaper to outline how America's CEOs continue to rob the rest of us. Readers of The NY Times must go to the opinion page for such facts, like Paul Krugman's op-ed of November 24 entitled: "We Are the 99.9%."

Thursday, December 15, 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 Globe and Mail (Toronto):
"Pentagon spending bill includes sweeping detention measures. Even American citizens arrested in the United States could face perpetual detention in military prisons without charge or trial under draconian new presidential powers unless Barack Obama vetoes a massive Pentagon spending bill.

The sweeping new 'antiterrorist' measures could also ensnare Canadians or other foreigners picked up in the United States or overseas...

If Mr. Obama signs the legislation, it will make the United States 'an outlier in the international community,' legalizing indefinite detention without charge in military prisons for citizens and foreigners alike, said Andrea Prasow, senior counterterrorism counsel at Human Rights Watch."

-->The NY Times ran an opinion piece criticizing this legislation. But why is there nothing in the news section about the imminent destruction of the Bill of Rights? Indefinite detentions in military prisons without charges means the end of America's rule of law. Maybe a little article about its passing might have been appropriate.


Guardian UK:
"The British government has been ordered to secure the release of a Pakistani man captured by SAS soldiers in Iraq and held in Afghanistan's notorious Bagram jail without trial for more than seven years.

The appeal court, ordering a writ of habeas corpus, ruled that Yunus Rahmatullah, 29, was being unlawfully detained. The SAS handed Rahmatullah over to US troops in Iraq, from where he was rendered to Bagram.

The legal charity Reprieve, which has sought to secure the man's release, described the ruling as 'historic' and 'unique.' A spokeswoman said she expected British ministers to ask the US authorities to free Rahmatullah."

-->The NY Times didn't cover this story of an English court upholding habeas corpus for a Pakistani man held by US troops in Iraq. Maybe that's because The NY Times won't cover the end of habeas corpus for US citizens in America.


Guardian UK:
"Prosecutors painted (the "Newburgh Four") as America-hating terrorists bent on slaughter. All four followed the instructions of Hussain, who meticulously organized the scheme: from getting the missile and bombs, to reconnaissance missions, to teaching the tenets of radical Islam.

The 'Newburgh Four' now languish in jail. Hussain does not. For Hussain was a fake. In fact, Hussain worked for the FBI as an informant trawling mosques in hope of picking up radicals.

Yet far from being active militants, the four men he attracted were impoverished individuals struggling with Newburgh's grim epidemic of crack, drug crime and poverty. One had mental issues so severe his apartment contained bottles of his own urine. He also believed Florida was a foreign country.

Hussain offered the men huge financial inducements to carry out the plot – including $250,000 to one man – and free holidays and expensive cars."

-->The specter of the FBI paying an impoverished man a quarter million dollars to go along with a fake "terror" plot puts another stain on our system of criminal justice. Just how far will the FBI go with its entrapment schemes before Americans rise up in disgust? But our national media, including The NY Times, never covers these FBI abuses. We have to read about them in an English newspaper.

Friday, December 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.


Agence France-Presse:
"Amnesty International on Thursday urged Ethiopia, Tanzania and Zambia to arrest former US president George W. Bush for violating international torture laws, during his African tour this week. Bush is touring the countries through to Monday to promote efforts to fight cervical and breast cancers, and Amnesty said the three nations have an obligation to arrest him under international law.

'All countries to which George W. Bush travels have an obligation to bring him to justice for his role in torture,' said Amnesty's senior legal adviser Matt Pollard. 'International law requires that there be no safe haven for those responsible for torture; Ethiopia, Tanzania and Zambia must seize this opportunity to fulfill their obligations and end the impunity George W. Bush has so far enjoyed.'

-->The NY Times does a lot of reporting about Amnesty International, in places like China, Iran, Egypt, Rwanda, Nicaragua. But somehow our newspaper of record overlooked this recommendation to arrest George Bush in Africa. In fact, Amnesty International has recommended that Canada arrest our former president for war crimes. Another missed story by The NY Times.


Inter Press Service:
"The United States has become the major stumbling block to progress at the mid point of negotiations over a new international climate regime say civil society and many of the 193 nations attending the United Nations climate change conference here in Durban.

'The U.S. position leads us to three or four degrees Celsius of warming, which will be devastating for the poor of the world,' said Celine Charveriat of Oxfam International.

'They are proposing a 10-year time out with no new targets to lower emissions until after 2020,' Charveriat said."

-->For The NY Times, "The biggest obstacle to global progress has been countries like China and India." And the role of the United States? "America should have taken a leadership role. It did not."


The San Francisco Chronicle:
"Some Democratic lawmakers say that, while President Barack Obama's plan to cut payroll taxes may strengthen the U.S. economy, it may have some unintended fallout: weakening Social Security.

The lawmakers and advocacy groups say they are concerned the tax cuts may undermine political support for the retirement program, which provides benefits to almost 55 million Americans and is funded by the payroll levies.

'I don't object to putting more money in people's pockets, and there are lots of ways to do that, but not with Social Security,' said Representative Rush Holt of New Jersey, who said he will have a hard time supporting the White House plan."

-->Obama purposely weakening Social Security so that he can privatize it in his second term? Why, The NY Times would never dwell on the fact that proposed tax cuts would undermine Social Security. That wouldn't favor the 1%, who want to make a killing gambling with the pensions of the working class.

Friday, December 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.


The Hill (Washington, DC):
"A top House Democrat is calling for a hearing with Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke following a report that the central bank secretly committed more than $7 trillion to save banks during the financial crisis.

House Oversight and Government Reform Committee ranking member Elijah Cummings (Md.) sent a letter on Monday to panel Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) requesting the committee look into how banks 'benefitted from trillions of dollars in previously undisclosed government loans provided at below-market rates.'

'Many Americans are struggling to understand why banks deserve such preferential treatment while millions of homeowners are being denied assistance and are at increasing risk of foreclosure,' Cummings said.

The request comes on the heels of a Bloomberg report that said the Fed secretly committed more than $7 trillion as of March 2009 to rescuing the nation’s top financial institutions, and that these banks 'reaped an estimated $13 billion of income' on the below-market rates."

-->Financial corruption on a scale unimaginable to the 99 percent. The fleecing of America by the financial sector may have been the biggest rip-off in US history. What a shame that The NY Times didn't cover Representative Cummings' request for a hearing.


The Australian:
"WIKILEAKS was last night awarded a Walkley for outstanding contribution to journalism for what was described by judges as a global publishing coup that achieved 'justice through transparency'.

'WikiLeaks applied new technology to penetrate the inner workings of government to reveal an avalanche of inconvenient truths in a global publishing coup,' the Walkley trustees said.

'Its revelations, from the way the war on terror was being waged, to diplomatic bastardry, high-level horse-trading and the interference in the domestic affairs of nations, have had an undeniable impact.' "

-->An award similar in stature to the Pulitzer Prize for Journalism goes to Wikileaks. Too bad the US media, including The NY Times, can't bring itself to tell the US public.


Deeplinks Blog:
"FBI Sanctioned for Lying About Existence of Surveillance Records.

An order from the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California has revealed the FBI lied to the court about the existence of records requested under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), taking the position that FOIA allows it to withhold information from the court whenever it thinks this is in the interest of national security. Using the strongest possible language, the court disagreed: 'The Government cannot, under any circumstance, affirmatively mislead the Court...'

In issuing monetary sanctions against the DOJ, the court held, 'the Government’s deception of the Court was without any factual or legal basis and simply wrong.' The court noted issuing sanctions was necessary to 'deter the Government from deceiving the Court again.' "

-->This important case (Islamic Shura Council of S. Cal. v. FBI) has uncovered a pattern of deception by the FBI when it comes to revealing surveillance documents. But The NY Times, often a staunch defender of the FBI, didn't report this story.