Thursday, November 21, 2013

Fantasyland Media:

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.


Common Dreams:
"Using what critics call 'an especially circular and Kafkaesque line of argument' based on Cold War-era doctrine, the FBI says they should not have to release 350,000 pages of documents under the Freedom of Information Act requested by MIT academic Ryan Shapiro because Shapiro's research on FBI investigations of animal rights and other activists constitutes a threat to national security - though they can't explain why in open court because that, too, would threaten national security. ...

'Since its earliest days, the FBI has viewed political dissent as a security threat...The FBI considers it a national security threat to make public its reasoning for considering it a national security threat to use federal law to request information about the FBI's deeply problematic understanding of national security threats.' "

-->The NY Times doesn't report on circular and Kafkaesque reasoning when it comes to the FBI and our national security state. Our newspaper of record probably doesn't dare.


"If you've ever trained to be a better liar—or more specifically inquired about how to lie well enough to beat a polygraph test—numerous federal agencies, including the Department of Homeland Security, the CIA, the IRS, or the FBI, may just have their eye on you.

Though nowhere near as massive as the NSA programs, the polygraph inquiry is another example of the federal government’s vast appetite for Americans’ personal information and the sweeping legal authority it wields in the name of national security.

According to an investigative report published by McClatchy on Thursday, that's because a list generated by the Customs and Border Protection agency containing the names and detailed personal information of more than 5,000 individuals who may have done nothing more than purchase a book has been widely circulated among dozens of other government agencies... The officials then distributed a list of 4,904 people – along with many of their Social Security numbers, addresses and professions – to nearly 30 federal agencies, including the Internal Revenue Service, the CIA, the National Security Agency and the Food and Drug Administration."

-->The security state is indeed out of anyone's control. It is a good thing they have America's premier newspaper to cover its tracks. The NY Times did not even run this McClatchy story.


The Independent UK:
"If the U.S. gets its way, the world will never know the details of top-level discussions between George W. Bush and Tony Blair that paved the way for the invasion of Iraq in 2003.

An exclusive report released Thursday by The Independent reveals that the White House and U.S. State Department have launched a fierce battle against the release of a four-year government-ordered investigation into the lead-up and aftermath of British participation in a war now widely viewed in the UK as a catastrophe.

The inquiry, led by Sir John Chilcot, is believed to take aim at the official version of events, including misrepresentation of Iraq intelligence, as well as questions about whether former British Prime Minister Tony Blair engaged in secret negotiations with the Bush administration while lying to the British people.

Yet, the U.S. government is forbidding the release of communications between Blair and Bush in the lead-up to the war, declaring it classified information and pressuring British Prime Minister David Cameron to wipe this information from the report."

-->The NY Times didn't touch this story either. War crimes hatched by Bush and Blair before the invasion of Iraq might have disturbed its readers, or more likely its advertisers.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Fantasyland Media: 11/7/13

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.


Guardian UK:
"Government says death of Hakimullah Mehsud has destroyed attempts to hold peace talks with Islamist militants. ...

A Pakistani government minister said the strike by an unmanned aircraft on Friday had destroyed attempts to hold peace talks with the militants which began this week.

Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, the interior minister, said: 'This is not just the killing of one person, it's the death of all peace efforts.' "

-->Contrast this to the cheering in The NY Times story. "The death of the leader, Hakimullah Mehsud, is a signal achievement for the covert C.I.A. program at a time when drones themselves have come under criticism from human rights groups and other critics in Pakistan and the United States over the issue of civilian casualties." Did the CIA intentionally destroy peace talks by the murdering Mehsud? Our newspaper of record only mentions that the drone strike came at a "delicate time" for peace talks, which now have been "possibly rendered unnecessary."


Washington Times:
"The National Security Agency and the Department of Homeland Security have issued 'cease and desist' letters to a novelty store owner who sells products that poke fun at the federal government.

Dan McCall, who lives in Minnesota and operates, sells T-shirts with the agency’s official seal that read: 'The NSA: The only part of government that actually listens,' Judicial Watch first reported.
Other parodies say, 'Spying on you since 1952,' and 'Peeping while you’re sleeping,' the report said.

Federal authorities claimed the parody images violate laws against the misuse, mutilation, alteration or impersonation of government seals, Judicial Watch reported."

-->Sometimes The NY Times protects the security state from itself. This is a great story about how paranoid the NSA has become with its 10 billion dollars and 35,000 employees. But The NY Times prefers front page articles about hazing at professional football teams. It didn't print the NSA story.


Common Dreams:
" 'We have a moral duty to ensure that our laws and values limit surveillance programs and protect human rights,' Snowden writes in the letter reportedly penned in Moscow on Friday. 'While the NSA and GCHQ (the British national security agency) appear to be the worst offenders -- at least according to the documents that are currently public,' he writes, 'we cannot forget that mass surveillance is a global problem and needs a global solution.'

That solution, according to Snowden, is now possible due to increasing public awareness. Despite a 'never before seen witch hunt' that threatens journalists who expose such governmental wrongdoings, Snowden writes, the NSA leaks have already improved public awareness and will continue to promote citizen based reform. 'Instead of causing damage, the usefulness of the new public knowledge for society is now clear because reforms to politics, supervision and laws are being suggested,' he wrote.

'Citizens have to fight against the suppression of information about affairs of essential importance for the public,' a translation by Reuters reads. 'Those who speak the truth are not committing a crime.' "

-->The NY Times rarely prints Snowden's words, no matter how eloquently or informative they are. Speaking truth to power is a foreign notion to America's most prestigious newspaper.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Fantasyland Media: 10/31/13

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.


Japan Times:
"JERUSALEM – Germany has warned Israel to attend a periodic U.N. human rights review on Tuesday or face 'severe diplomatic damage,' Haaretz newspaper reported on Sunday.

Israel cut all ties with the Geneva-based U.N. Human Rights Council in March 2012, after it announced it would probe how Israeli settlements may be infringing on the rights of Palestinians.

'On Friday, German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle sent a personal letter to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, warning that Israel’s failure to attend the Human Rights Council’s Universal Periodic Review would cause the country severe diplomatic damage and Israel’s allies around the world would be hard-pressed to help it,' Haaretz wrote."

-->The NY Times doesn't cover stories about Israel's human rights abuses and about the frustration of the rest of the world at the continuing illegal occupation. Readers in Japan are told, but not readers in America.


Common Dreams:
"Two weeks after Edward Snowden’s first revelations about sweeping government surveillance, President Obama shot back. 'We know of at least 50 threats that have been averted because of this information not just in the United States, but, in some cases, threats here in Germany,' Obama said during a visit to Berlin in June. 'So lives have been saved.'

In the months since, intelligence officials, media outlets, and members of Congress from both parties all repeated versions of the claim that NSA surveillance has stopped more than 50 terrorist attacks. The figure has become a key talking point in the debate around the spying programs. ...

"We've heard over and over again the assertion that 54 terrorist plots were thwarted” by the two programs, (Sen. Patrick) Leahy told (NSA chief Gen. Keith) Alexander at the Judiciary Committee hearing this month. 'That's plainly wrong, but we still get it in letters to members of Congress, we get it in statements. These weren't all plots and they weren't all thwarted. The American people are getting left with the inaccurate impression of the effectiveness of NSA programs.' "

-->How do these stories get spread anyway? The NY Times helps, by not printing these comments by Sen Patrick Leahy, and by avoiding any investigative journalism that might expose the fact that the President and the NSA have been lying to the American people. 


Common Dreams:
"125 racial justice, community, and faith organizations are demanding that the U.S. Justice Department launch a civil rights investigation into the dragnet surveillance of Muslims at the hands of the New York Police Department.

In a searing letter released Thursday, organizations including the NAACP, the American Civil Liberties Union, and South Asian Americans Leading Together (SAALT) blast the NYPD's 'discriminatory surveillance,' which they charge 'is based on the false and unconstitutional premise, reflected in the NYPD’s published radicalization theory, that Muslim religious belief, practices, and community engagement are grounds for law enforcement scrutiny.'

Starting in 2002 following the 9/11 attacks, the NYPD has systematically surveilled Muslims at mosques, bookstores, neighborhoods, and restaurants for no reason other than their faith. This has included sending paid infiltrators into mosques, student organizations, and other associations to spy on individuals, document conversations, and take photographs. The NYPD has mapped New York to single out Muslim communities for monitoring."

-->The NY Times didn't cover these demands by 125 human rights organizations. Instead, our newspaper of record printed a book review entitled "Enemies Within," which defends the NYPD's targeting of Muslim groups.

"Despite the authors’ efforts to blacken Cohen and his unit, the squad does not come off all that badly. In this account, at least, they seem clownish but relatively harmless." 

So much for The NY Times defending our civil liberties.

Fantasyland Media: 10/24/13

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.


Aljazeera America:
"On Oct. 11, 1985, Alex Odeh opened his office door at the Santa Ana, Calif. Branch of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) – a civil-rights organization where he worked as regional director – when a pipe bomb exploded, killing him and injuring several others. ...

The ADC has joined forces and phone lists with the NAACP, Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) and several other civil-rights groups to pressure the Department of Justice (DOJ) for a more robust, renewed investigation. ...

In 1990, Robert Friedman at the Village Voice uncovered the names of three JDL members implicated in the Odeh assassination and cast a new light on the killing. ... Friedman also said Israeli officials had not cooperated with the FBI's investigation of the suspects, all believed to be residing in Israel. He quoted a confidential FBI memorandum he had obtained that said Israel's response to FBI requests had been 'untimely, incomplete and in certain cases no response was rendered.'

'Israel's apparent lack of cooperation with the FBI in the JDL investigation calls into question its sincerity in prosecuting the war against terrorism when the terrorism emanates from Israel itself,' Friedman wrote."

-->The terrorist killing of a Palestinian/American human rights leader didn't get much coverage beyond 1985 in the mainstream media. And The NY Times has ignored recent attempts to trace the murder to Israel. 


The NY Times:
"U.S. Army Hones Antiterror Strategy for Africa, in Kansas. FORT RILEY, Kan. — Here on the Kansas plains, thousands of soldiers once bound for Iraq or Afghanistan are now gearing up for missions in Africa as part of a new Pentagon strategy to train and advise indigenous forces to tackle emerging terrorist threats and other security risks so that American forces do not have to."

-->This story in The NY Times is well worth reading, since it elaborates important themes in the empire's new wars in Africa. There are the endless quotes from Pentagon officials indicating how important this "antiterror strategy" is to America. And there is simply no voice questioning the empire's decision to wage war in a whole new part of the world. Pentagon propaganda at its best.


Common Dreams:
"A new report by Christof Heyns, the UN's Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, challenges the lack of transparency in the growing use of drones, and their threats to civilian life and international law. ...

In his report, Heyns blasts drone strikes known as "double-tap" strikes, ones where a second strike follows a first to target rescuers, a tactic TBIJ documented the U.S. has used in its drone war. Heyns states that this is a war crime. He writes:

"Where one drone attack is followed up by another in order to target those who are wounded and hors de combat or medical personnel, it constitutes a war crime in armed conflict and a violation of the right to life, whether or not in armed conflict." "

-->The NY Times covered criticisms of drone killings by Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch. Why leave out the very damming report by the UN's Special Rapporteur? Perhaps it was too specific about the "double-tap" strikes. Maybe it had something to do with the fact that the term "war crime" was mentioned, something the Pentagon does not want to see in the US media.

Fantasyland Media: 10/17/13

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.


Yahoo News:
"Paris (AFP) - Swiss radiation experts have confirmed they found traces of polonium on clothing used by Yasser Arafat which 'support the possibility' the veteran Palestinian leader was poisoned.

In a report published by The Lancet at the weekend, the team provide scientific details to media statements made in 2012 that they had found polonium on Arafat's belongings.

Arafat died in France on November 11 2004 at the age of 75, but doctors were unable to specify the cause of death. No autopsy was carried out at the time, in line with his widow's request."

-->The NY Times reports that the head of a Russian forensics agency claims no polonium was found. No mention of the report published by The Lancet, the world's leading medical journal. Of course, Israel and the United States would love this story to disappear, and The NY Times is doing its best to serve its masters. 


Common Dreams:
"How Obama Administration-Controlled Media Is Used to Avoid Scrutiny from the Press. What makes the crackdown on leaks, increased denials of Freedom of Information Act requests and surveillance of journalists even more pernicious is how this conduct by President Barack Obama’s administration has taken place as the administration simultaneously uses its own media to pump out its own message.

In a report from the Committee to Protect Journalists on, 'The Obama Administration and the Press,' which details leaks investigations and surveillance in post-9/11 America, an entire section focuses on the administration’s promise of transparency. ...

Social media, photos of the president, videos of White House officials, blog posts written by Obama aides—Those who could all be used to create an 'open dialogue with the public,' Frank Sesno, a former CNN Washington bureau chief, said. 'But if used for propaganda and to avoid contact with journalists, it’s a slippery slope.' "

-->The NY Times didn't cover this story. You would think that the ways the Obama administration controls the news would be of interest to Americans.


Common Dreams:
"Media discourse in the buildup to potential U.S.-led attacks on Syria was monopolized by experts and think tanks with links to arms and intelligence industries. Despite this conflict of interest, these financial relationships were not disclosed in a vast majority of media appearances, the non-profit research organization Public Accountability Initiative revealed in a report released Friday.

Twenty-two commentators presented as experts during the so-called corporate media debate about military attacks on Syria have ties to "large defense and intelligence contractors like Raytheon, smaller defense and intelligence contractors like TASC, defense-focused investment firms like SCP Partners, and commercial diplomacy firms like the Cohen Group," the report finds. Of 111 appearances in major media outlets, the ties of these 22 commentators were disclosed a total of 13 times. A majority of these commentators voiced support for a U.S.-led attack on Syria.

Stephen Hadley is just one of the analysts profiled by the study. '[H]e has voiced strong support for a strike on Syria in appearances on Bloomberg TV, Fox News, and CNN, as well as in a Washington Post op-ed,' the study reads. 'Though he has a financial stake in a Syria strike as a current Raytheon board member, and is also a principal at consulting firm RiceHadleyGates, he was identified all four times only as a former National Security Adviser to George W. Bush.' "

-->Democracy Now covered this story, but not The NY Times. No wonder people have no faith in their mainstream media, especially when a new war is being hyped.