Friday, September 27, 2013

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 to keep from the public eye.


NY Times:
There are all sorts of ways to promote a war and The NY Times is familiar with them all. One way is to offer highly sympathetic background stories on some high officials in the government who are pushing for war.

The recent story on Samantha Power, "A New U.S. Player, Put on World Stage by Syria" is a perfect example. The NY Times falls all over itself to extol her as a courageous fighter for human rights in the world. There is no end to positive quotes about her idealism and good intentions. The only question our newspaper of record can come up with is wether the "untested Ms. Power will be tough enough."

What is left out? Certainly any criticism of her incessant push for a US attack on Syria. Why didn't The NY Times include anyone challenging a new war in the Middle East? Also, The NY Times raises no questions about how her human rights campaigns in the past have dovetailed perfectly with the Pentagon's military ambitions (Libya, Sudan, the Balkans, and Darfur). 

Added to all this is a little bit of glamour for this imperialist warmonger. "She is already kind of a celebrity there." The NY Times managed to portray Kissinger as a celebrity as he was bombing Southeast Asia. It is an old formula, and The NY Times has it down to a science.


RT News:
"In a furious critique that opened the UN's General Assembly meeting Tuesday immediately before President Obama took the podium, Brazil's president Dilma Rousseff blasted U.S. secret surveillance programs for violating her country's national sovereignty, attacking its democracy, and infringing on the human rights of its citizens.

'In the absence of the right to privacy, there can be no true freedom of expression and opinion, and therefore no effective democracy,' she declared in her strongest statements yet in the fallout following revelations that the NSA had directly spied on Rousseff. 'In the absence of the respect for sovereignty, there is no basis for the relationship among nations.'

'Tampering in such a manner in the lives and affairs of other countries is a breach of international law and, as such, it is an affront to the principles that should otherwise govern relations among countries, especially among friendly nations,' she charged."

-->The NY Times along with most US media did not cover this exceptional speech, but chose to bury it in a comment (paragraph 17) on Obama's talk to the UN.


Common Dreams:
"Most people have probably heard about the Wall Street efforts to cut Social Security and Medicare. There is a vast list of organizations like Campaign to Fix the Debt, the Can Kicks Back, Third Way, and many more that have as a central agenda item cutting back or privatizing Social Security and Medicare. When we hear one of these organizations tell us these programs should be cut it is not a surprise.

The question is why do mainstream news outlets like the New York Times and Washington Post use their news sections to tell the same stories? Last week when the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) issued new long-range budget projections both papers were quick to ignore the numbers and to tell readers that we have to cut Social Security and Medicare.

The reason why this coverage was so bizarre is that it is not news that Social Security and Medicare will cost more in the decades ahead. We actually have known about the rising cost of these programs for about fifty years. ..."

-->All the elites in Washington as well as the US media want to use the latest fiscal crisis to cut Social Security. It is the continuation of the class wars being waged by the very richest against the rest of the country. The campaign is full of half truths, and reveals the propaganda role of the US media as clearly as the push for war against Syria.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

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 to keep from the public eye.


"Syrian President Bashar Assad has repeatedly rejected requests from his field commanders for approval to use chemical weapons, according to a report this weekend in a German newspaper.

The report in Bild am Sonntag, which is a widely read and influential national Sunday newspaper, reported that the head of the German Foreign Intelligence agency, Gerhard Schindler, last week told a select group of German lawmakers that intercepted communications had convinced German intelligence officials that Assad did not order or approve what is believed to be a sarin gas attack on Aug. 21 that killed hundreds of people in Damascus’ eastern suburbs.

The Obama administration has blamed the attack on Assad. The evidence against Assad was described over the weekend as common sense by White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough on CNN’s 'State of the Union.' "

-->The NY Times omitted this important story because it undermines the US plans for war against Syria. Again, we have to question the independence of the US media in the American Empire.


Spiegel Online:
"... According to internal NSA documents from the Edward Snowden archive that SPIEGEL has been granted access to, the US intelligence service doesn't just bug embassies and access data from undersea cables to gain information. The NSA is also extremely interested in that new form of communication which has experienced such breathtaking success in recent years: smartphones.

In Germany, more than 50 percent of all mobile phone users now possess a smartphone; in the UK, the share is two-thirds. About 130 million people in the US have such a device. The mini-computers have become personal communication centers, digital assistants and life coaches, and they often know more about their users than most users suspect.

For an agency like the NSA, the data storage units are a goldmine, combining in a single device almost all the information that would interest an intelligence agency: social contacts, details about the user's behavior and location, interests (through search terms, for example), photos and sometimes credit card numbers and passwords.”

-->The NY Times has printed nothing about this latest leak by Edward Snowden, although a reference was made to it on one of its official blogs. Perhaps it calls into question Apple's latest wonder gadget, the fingerprint scanner on the iPhone 5S. Why doesn't the world just send their fingerprints to NSA?


"AIPAC to go all-out on Syria. The powerful pro-Israel lobby AIPAC is planning to launch a major lobbying campaign to push wayward lawmakers to back the resolution authorizing U.S. strikes against Syria, sources said Thursday.

Officials say that some 250 Jewish leaders and AIPAC activists will storm the halls on Capitol Hill beginning next week to persuade lawmakers that Congress must adopt the resolution or risk emboldening Iran’s efforts to build a nuclear weapon. They are expected to lobby virtually every member of Congress, arguing that 'barbarism' by the Assad regime cannot be tolerated, and that failing to act would 'send a message' to Tehran that the U.S. won’t stand up to hostile countries’ efforts to develop weapons of mass destruction, according to a source with the group.

'History tells us that ambiguity [in U.S. actions] invites aggression,' said the AIPAC source who asked not to be named. The source added the group will now be engaged in a 'major mobilization' over the issue."

-->The NY Times waited several days to report this story, and when it finally printed the news, the emphasis was on distancing Israel from the Israeli Lobby here in the US. The NY Times article seemed aimed at damage control for Israel rather than reporting the facts to the American people.


Common Dreams:
"A new analysis offers a look at the difference between campaign contributions from defense contractors to the senators who voted Wednesday on whether to approve a strike on Syria.

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee members who voted 'yes' to a resolution authorizing military force 'received, on average, 83 percent more campaign financing from defense contractors than lawmakers voting against war,' Wired reported Thursday.

Based on data from, the analysis showed the top recipients of contributions from defense industry employees and political action committees between 2007 and 2012 were Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) at $176,300 and Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) at $127,350, both of whom voted 'yes.' "

-->Readers of the NY Times never learned this disturbing fact that the pro-war Senators rake it in from the weapons makers. That is a basic truth in the American Empire that our newspaper of record can't bring itself to tell its readers.

Thursday, September 05, 2013

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 to keep from the public eye.


"WASHINGTON — The Obama administration’s public case for attacking Syria is riddled with inconsistencies and hinges mainly on circumstantial evidence, undermining U.S. efforts this week to build support at home and abroad for a punitive strike against Bashar Assad’s regime.

The case Secretary of State John Kerry laid out last Friday contained claims that were disputed by the United Nations, inconsistent in some details with British and French intelligence reports or lacking sufficient transparency for international chemical weapons experts to accept at face value.

After the false weapons claims preceding the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, the threshold for evidence to support intervention is exceedingly high. And while there’s little dispute that a chemical agent was used in an Aug. 21 attack outside of Damascus – and probably on a smaller scale before that – there are calls from many quarters for independent, scientific evidence to support the U.S. narrative that the Assad regime used sarin gas in an operation that killed 1,429 people, including more than 400 children. ..."

-->Why isn't the rest of the US media expressing a little doubt about Kerry's claims? No proof yet, and the same old lies we heard before about Iraq.


"Last night M J Rosenberg posted an excerpt from a New York Times article published yesterday about the White House’s efforts to convince Congress of the wisdom of a strike on Syria. The excerpt said the Israel lobby group AIPAC (the American Israel Public Affairs Committee) was pushing a strike so that the US would also stand up to Iran, and it quoted a White House official calling AIPAC the “800-pound gorilla in the room.”

... both Annie Robbins and Max Blumenthal followed Rosenberg’s link to the Times article, and noted that it had been changed. Robbins tweeted at 9 PM: nytimes cut 'aipac the 800-pound gorilla in the room,' quote from article. no mention of aipac. they are ‘silent’!

... Blumenthal asks, 'I have never witnessed anything like this before. Is it standard practice for online New York Times reports to be scrubbed from existence and replaced with revised, updated articles containing different content? And if so, why was the replacement not acknowledged somewhere in the text of the article?' ”

-->The media won't talk about the Israeli lobby being behind this latest push for war against Syria. The NY Times even revised their own article to rid it of any mention of AIPAC (American Israeli Public Affairs Committee). AIPAC has immense power not only to push the US into foreign wars, but also to control American media. 


Washington Post:
"Senator John McCain plays poker on his IPhone during a U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations hearing where Secretary of State John Kerry, Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Martin Dempsey testify concerning the use of force in Syria, on Capitol Hill in Washington DC, Tuesday, September 3, 2013.

Update 6:38 p.m.: After the photo made the rounds on Twitter, McCain tweeted the following in response:

'Scandal! Caught playing iPhone game at 3+ hour Senate hearing - worst of all I lost!' "

-->Worst of all, the American people lost. No US media reminds the public that our military has used weapons of mass destruction any number of times in Iraq (white phosphorus and depleted uranium) and in Vietnam (agent orange and napalm). Moreover the US has helped Iraq use Sarin gas against Iran, and helped Israel use white phosphorus on Palestinians in Gaza. All this moral bombast about weapons of mass destruction depends on the US media not exposing these politicians as the immense frauds they really are.


Reuters (Sep 3):
"U.N.'s Ban casts doubt on legality of U.S. plans to punish Syria. U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said on Tuesday that the use of force is only legal when it is in self-defense or with Security Council authorization, remarks that appear to question the legality of U.S. plans to strike Syria without U.N. backing. …

'The use of force is lawful only when in exercise of self-defense in accordance with Article 51 of the United Nations charter and/or when the Security Council approves of such action,' Ban said. 'That is a firm principle of the United Nations.'

-->Readers of the NY Times, however, weren't given that quote and were left thinking that Ban Ki-moon didn't really answer the question. But it was the NY Times itself that chose to obfuscate the issue, not Ban Ki-moon. Reuters has the UN Secretary General declaring that a US attack would be illegal without UN approval. Let's look at how the NY Times got around that in its article.

NYTimes (Sep 3):
"Asked if Mr. Obama’s proposal would be illegal under the United Nations Charter, Mr. Ban answered, 'I have taken note of President Obama’s statement, and I appreciate efforts to have his future course of action based on the broad opinions of the American people, particularly Congress, and I hope this process will have good results.' "