Thursday, January 30, 2014

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.


Huffington Post:
"WASHINGTON -- Just two weeks ago, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee was going after Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) for not backing a controversial Iran sanctions bill. But a Monday report reveals the powerful lobbying group has quietly reversed course and is now defending its otherwise fierce pro-Israel ally.

The Washington Free Beacon first reported earlier this month that AIPAC was urging key supporters in South Florida to demand that Wasserman Schultz explain why she isn't supporting the sanctions bill pushed by Sens. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) and Mark Kirk (R-Ill.). AIPAC has been lobbying hard for the measure, despite warnings from the White House and foreign policy experts that it could upset a delicate, six-month agreement between Iran and six negotiating countries to curtail Iran's nuclear activities in exchange for relief from some existing sanctions.

HuffPost reported Jan. 15 that Wasserman Schultz, also the chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee, spoke forcefully against the bill in a private meeting at the White House with about four dozen House Democrats."

-->The NY Times sees no evil when it comes to AIPAC. Our newspaper of record just won't report AIPAC's role in pushing Congress into war with Iran. Of course, this story of a loyal supporter of Israel caught in the crossfire wasn't covered either.  


The New York Times:
"WASHINGTON — There are only two ways to keep Iran from developing a nuclear weapon: negotiations or military action.

Amazingly, after 34 years of mostly diplomatic silence between Iran and the United States, we are in the midst of negotiations with the potential to eliminate the threat of a nuclear-armed Iran.

Instead of cautiously welcoming this development and letting these talks play out over the next six months, however, some members of Congress are circulating proposals that seek to impose additional sanctions in the middle of the negotiations. This step, we fear, risks scuttling the process and could have damaging ramifications for the United States as well as our regional allies and partners, especially Israel."

-->The NY Times has finally started to question whether a US military attack on Iran makes any sense. This op-ed piece entitled "Don’t Undermine the Iran Deal" makes a forceful argument for negotiations rather than confrontation. What is astounding about this article, however, is the fact that the intense pressure of the Israel Lobby on Congress is completely left out. It's as if members of Congress war warmongering on their own.


Common Dreams:
"Drone attack in southern Somalia on Sunday shows no end in sight for borderless 'war on terror.' A suspected U.S. drone bombed an area in southern Somalia on Sunday, reportedly killing five people, at least two of whom are said to be members of the al-Shabab militia.

Though the number was not confirmed, it remains unclear who the other three people killed in the attack may have been. Reports from the scene indicate that a car or envoy was targeted.

The latest apparent drone attack in Somalia follows on several recent U.S. bombings in Yemen, including one earlier this month in which a farmer was killed and another in December that hit a wedding convoy that left at least a dozen civilians dead.

All part of the U.S. global war on terror that began in 2001, attacks like Sunday's in Somalia—a country with which we are not at war—have now become remarkably common. And, so long as alleged 'terrorists' are said to be the targets, almost no objection to the ongoing aerial assassination campaign is raised."

-->The NYT, like the rest of the US media, refuses to acknowledge the expansion of the "war on terror" into many parts of the Third World. It's as if the empire now has the right to bomb any country on earth, as long as "terrorists" are involved. And the morality and legality of these military assaults are rarely discussed in our media.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

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.


COINTELPRO: FBI Domestic Intelligence Activities Aug 1967:
"1. Prevent the COALITION of militant black nationalist groups. In unity there is strength; a truism that is no less valid for all its triteness. An effective coalition of black nationalist groups might be the first step toward a real "Mau Mau" [Black revolutionary army] in America, the beginning of a true black revolution.

2. Prevent the RISE OF A "MESSIAH" who could unify, and electrify, the militant black nationalist movement. Malcolm X might have been such a 'messiah;' he is the martyr of the movement today. Martin Luther King, Stokely Carmichael and Elijah Muhammed all aspire to this position. Elijah Muhammed is less of a threat because of his age. King could be a very real contender for this position should he abandon his supposed 'obedience' to 'white, liberal doctrines' (nonviolence) and embrace black nationalism. Carmichael has the necessary charisma to be a real threat in this way. ...

4. Prevent militant black nationalist groups and leaders from gaining RESPECTABILITY, by discrediting them to three separate segments of the community. The goal of discrediting black nationalists must be handled tactically in three ways. You must discredit those groups and individuals to, first, the responsible Negro community. Second, they must be discredited to the white community, both the responsible community and to 'liberals' who have vestiges of sympathy for militant black nationalist simply because they are Negroes. Third, these groups must be discredited in the eyes of Negro radicals, the followers of the movement. This last area requires entirely different tactics from the first two. Publicity about violent tendencies and radical statements merely enhances black nationalists to the last group; it adds 'respectability' in a different way."

-->How many references to COINTELPRO, the FBI's dirty war against black nationalism, have we read or heard in the last weekend? Our media helps erase this part of MLK's history. 


Common Dreams:
"The global elite have rigged the rules so that 'economic growth looks more like a winner-take-all system' that undermines democracy and threatens future generations with a 'cascade of privilege and disadvantage,' a new report from Oxfam states.

The report, Working for the Few: Political capture and economic inequality, states that just 85 of the world's richest people own the wealth of half of the world’s population. Further: Seven out of 10 people live in countries where economic inequality has increased over the past three decades. In 24 out of 26 countries the top one percent increased their share of income from 1980 to 2012.
In the U.S. following the 2009 financial crisis, the bottom 90 percent has become poorer while the top one percent has captured 95 percent of the growth."

-->The NYT did report this at the end of one of its blogs. The article is called "Davos Draws Social Media Scrutiny," and yes, its all about Twitter feedback.


International Middle East Media Center:
"Israeli authorities have seized emergency tents provided by the United Nations to shelter families whose homes were demolished by the army last week, according to a UN press release.

The Palestinian News & Info Agency (WAFA) reports that the release, issued by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in the occupied Palestinian territories (OCHA), states that the tents were provided to the Bani Manieh families from Jiftlik, in Jericho, after the Israeli army demolished all their residential and livelihood structures on Wednesday.

13 structures, belonging to three families of the Bani Manieh community, were destroyed by the army, displacing 26 people, including 15 children. The army claims that the area was a military training zone."

-->The NYT, like the rest of the US media, routinely leaves out stories like this about occupied Palestine.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

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.


Independent UK:
An important feature of this withdrawal of US and British troops is how little interest it is sparking in their home countries, although 2,806 US and 447 British soldiers have been killed since 2001. The total cost to the US of war, reconstruction and aid over the same period is $641.7bn according to the Centre for Strategic and International Studies in Washington. Of course, money spent on Afghanistan does not mean money spent in Afghanistan, but even taking this into account it is extraordinary that, despite gargantuan sums spent, Afghan government figures reveal that 60 per cent of children are malnourished and only 27 per cent of Afghans have access to safe drinking water. Many survive only through remittances from relatives working abroad or through the drug business, which is worth some 15 per cent of the Afghan gross national product.

The figures above come from a damning study of the outcome of 12 years of international intervention in Afghanistan by Thomas Ruttig of the Afghanistan Analysts Network in Kabul. His succinct, authoritative account of where Afghanistan stands today underscores the fact that US and British military intervention has ended in near total failure. The Taliban has not been crushed, operates in all parts of the country and, in provinces like Helmand, is poised to take over as US and British troops depart. Even with the backing of foreign troops, Afghan government control often ends a couple of kilometres outside the district capital. The extra 30,000 US troops sent as part of the surge in US troop numbers in 2010-11, which brought their total to 101,000 at peak deployment, have had little long-term impact."

-->Oh, how the truth hurts. Luckily, few Americans have to read it, since our media has covered most of this up. Polls show it probably doesn't matter, as this war is already the most unpopular in US history.


Common Dreams:
"A congressional drive for new sanctions on Iran, backed by the lobbying muscle of the American Israeli Public Affairs Committee, is meeting growing push-back from a public that does not want another war.

'We have an opportunity to stand up and say we're not going to support legislation that will only move us towards war,' said Greg Broseus, Chicago-based member of Iraq Veterans Against the War, in an interview with Common Dreams. 'The goal now is to stop another war before it even starts.'
According to the latest count, 59 senators —16 of them Democrats — have thrown their public support behind the Iran Nuclear Weapon Free Act of 2013 (S. 1881), which would advance further sanctions on Iran and impose near-impossible conditions on a final agreement — in what critics, including the Obama administration, say amounts to a call for war. ...

'Efforts by the US Congress to derail [diplomacy with Iran] would, if successful, constitute a self-inflicted strategic wound even more myopic than its vote to endorse the 2003 invasion of Iraq," writes Stephen Kinzer for The Guardian.' "

-->Most of the US media is silent on this issue for the same reason that both US Senators from New York are cosponsoring this war amendment. The Israeli lobby is just that powerful. Interestingly enough, The NY Times did cover 
the story, but left out the role of both NY Senators in pushing for war.


Common Dreams:
"LONDON - January 12 - A new report has revealed that the number of hunger strikers in Guantanamo has doubled since the final set of official figures was released by the US authorities on December 2 2013.

The report, compiled by human rights charity Reprieve, uses prisoner testimony to reveal that 33 men detained in Guantanamo are on hunger strike, with 16 being force fed. The Joint Task Force at Guantanamo, which runs the prison, announced in December of 2013 that they would no longer release official figures of those on hunger strike because they did not want to ‘further their protests'.

The report also reveals that authorities at the prison are punishing those on hunger strike by sending them to the strictest of the camps, ‘Camp V Echo’. One detainee described his experiences there to his lawyer at Reprieve: 'My cell in the dreadful Camp V Echo is constructed in a strange manner. It is designed to torture the person who is held there. All the surfaces made of steel. The bed is steel. The walls are steel. The floor is steel. The ceiling is steel. There is no toilet, but the hole in the ground is made of steel.' "

-->The NYT, like the rest of the US media, has left Guantanamo far behind. Still torturing prisoners there? The NYT did print on op-ed entitled "Despair at Guantánamo" in late December, but failed to mention any mistreatment or increase in hunger strike numbers.

Friday, January 10, 2014

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.


The NY Times:
The recent article on genetically modified food (A Lonely Quest for Facts on Genetically Modified Crops) printed in The NY Times is so bad that it deserves special attention. This front page story goes on for two full pages, portraying opponents of GMO as long haired hippies with no scientific knowledge. A careful reading of this article reveals that our newspaper of record never even cites the massive evidence against GMO agriculture. 

GMO critic Dr. Vandana Shiva describes the GMO movement as "a war against nature. Think about it. Companies genetically modify food crops to be resistant to chemicals (like 2,4-D, glufosinate, Roundup, dicamba, imidazolines, and so forth). They then sell the seeds to farmers, and also supply them with the chemicals needed to wipe out everything else except that GMO crop."

What does The NY Times leave out? Soil erosion, the health dangers of Roundup (a former GMO lobbyist now heads the Food and Drug Administration), economic loss by farmers, development of "superweeds," the destruction of bees and other pollinators for starters. The story is one big commercial for Dow Chemical. Disgusting journalism because the story only includes facts that corporations decide are "fit to print."


Common Dreams:
"Despite widespread opposition from food safety, environmental and watchdog groups, as well as health professionals and concerned consumers, the USDA has paved the way for the commercial use of genetically engineered crops dubbed 'Agent Orange' corn and soybeans. ...

2,4-D, the third most widely used herbicide in the U.S., is made by Dow Chemical, and was a component of Agent Orange. The herbicide has been linked to Parkinson's, birth defects, reproductive problems, and endocrine disruption.

Critics say that green-lighting these two genetically engineered crops will expand the use of toxic herbicides at the expense of public and environmental health, while padding the coffers of he pesticide industry. ...

'When Dow Chemical and Monsanto first brought out GE crops, they assured us their new, expensive seeds would clean up our environment and reduce pesticide use. That didn’t happen,' said Iowa corn and soybean farmer George Naylor. 'Today weeds are resistant to Roundup and many farmers are using older, more deadly pesticides to kill them. 2,4-D corn and soybeans just keep us on the same old pesticide treadmill; it’s a terrible idea.' "

-->This is the story that The NY Times should have printed, that is if it wasn't tied to Dow Chemical.


The Independent:
"An Israeli human rights organization has accused the government of torturing Palestinian children after it emerged some were kept in outdoor cages during winter.

The Public Committee Against Torture in Israel (PCATI) published a report which claimed children suspected of minor crimes were subjected to 'public caging,' threats and acts of sexual violence and military trials without representation.
It came as the government’s Public Petitions Committee held a hearing to discuss the issue, which the PCATI said must be addressed with a change to the law.

The country’s Public Defender’s Office (PDO) recently released details of one particularly shocking visit by its lawyers to a detention facility. 'During our visit, held during a fierce storm that hit the state, attorneys met detainees who described to them a shocking picture: in the middle of the night dozens of detainees were transferred to the external iron cages built outside the IPS transition facility in Ramla,' the PDO wrote on its website."

-->The NYT regularly whitewashes Israel's human rights abuses. It didn't print this story.

ClassWars Commentary:
"This month, Senator Menendez's war with Iran bill was cosponsored by our two New York Senators. The bill attempts to dramatically increase sanctions on Iran to disrupt the peace talks now in progress. 

What in the world would make Schumer and Gillibrand cosponsor such legislation? They are going against the views of a vast majority of their constituents. They are opposing their own President, who has repeatedly warned that a new Middle East war would be extremely dangerous.

There is only one thing more important to our two senators than the voters, the president or the fear of a nuclear standoff with Russia. When push comes to shove, both Schumer and Gillibrand take their orders from the Israeli Lobby. In fact, Israel is the most dangerous country in the world, not so much because it is a nuclear power, but because it controls the US Congress."

->The NY Times printed a one line admission that our two NY Senators are cosponsoring this bill. Trying to keep this a secret from voters is more important than freedom of information.

Saturday, January 04, 2014

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:
"Germany's Der Spiegel is reporting Sunday that the US National Security Agency (NSA), working with the CIA and FBI, has been intercepting laptops and other electronics bought online before delivery to install malware and other spying tools.

According to Der Spiegel, the NSA diverts shipping deliveries to its own 'secret workshops' to install the software before resending the deliveries to their purchasers.

Elite hackers working for the NSA's Tailored Access Operations (TAO) division are considered to be the intelligence agency's top secret weapon.

The NSA's TAO reportedly has backdoor access to many hardware and software systems from major tech companies such as Cisco, Dell, and Western Digital and others. The NSA exploits Microsoft Windows error reports to find weak spots in compromised machines in order to install Trojans and other viruses."

-->Order a laptop on-line and have the NSA put spying tools on it? Readers of the NYT didn't get to see this story. Maybe it was only "fit to print" in a foreign newspaper.


Common Dreams:
"For months, the 'slam-dunk' evidence 'proving' Syrian government guilt in the Aug. 21 Sarin attack near Damascus was a 'vector analysis' pushed by the New York Times showing where the rockets supposedly were launched. But the Times now grudgingly admits its analysis was flawed

The New York Times has, kind of, admitted that it messed up its big front-page story that used a 'vector analysis' to pin the blame for the Aug. 21 Sarin attack on the Syrian-government, an assertion that was treated by Official Washington as the slam-dunk proof that President Bashar al-Assad gassed his own people.

But you’d be forgiven if you missed the Times’ embarrassing confession, since it was buried on page 8, below the fold, 18 paragraphs into a story under the not-so-eye-catching title, 'New Study Refines View Of Sarin Attack in Syria.' "

-->The NY Times fabricated evidence again to support a US invasion, just like it did before the invasion of Iraq. Our newspaper of record does retract these war propaganda stories, but only halfheartedly and well after the admission makes any difference. Why is it that The NYT feels compelled to provide false evidence for the empire's war crimes?


The Progressive:
"Edward Snowden: Recently, we learned that our governments, working in concert, have created a system of worldwide mass surveillance, watching everything we do. Great Britain’s George Orwell warned us of the danger of this kind of information. 

The types of collection in the book — microphones and video cameras, TVs that watch us — are nothing compared to what we have available today. We have sensors in our pockets that track us everywhere we go. Think about what this means for the privacy of the average person. A child born today will grow up with no conception of privacy at all. They’ll never know what it means to have a private moment to themselves, an unrecorded, unanalyzed thought. And that’s a problem, because privacy matters. Privacy is what allows us to determine who we are and who we want to be. The conversation occurring today will determine the amount of trust we can place both in the technology that surrounds us and the government that regulates it. 

Together, we can find a better balance, end mass surveillance and remind the government that if it really wants to know how we feel, asking is always cheaper than spying. For everyone out there listening, thank you and Merry Christmas."

-->The NYT runs a lot of spying stories with the usual suspect, the Chinese. Why can't it run Edward Snowden's Christmas message about Orwell and freedom of expression in America? Maybe it's because our news media cares so little about that freedom, having been relegated to publishing pro-corporate propaganda.