Friday, February 28, 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.


The Guardian, UK:
"Western Spy Agencies Infiltrating, Warping World of Online Activism. Latest Snowden documents show extent to which GCHQ has gone to 'manipulate, deceive, and destroy reputations' of online targets...

According to newly published documents, Western spy agencies like the GCHQ and NSA have developed sophisticated online operations in which covert agents infiltrate online communities, networks and forums in order to 'manipulate, deceive'—even destroy the reputations of—targeted individuals and groups even if those people have not be charged, or necessarily accused, of a crime...

Harvard Law Professor Cass Sunstein, a close Obama adviser and the White House’s former head of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, wrote a controversial paper in 2008 proposing that the US government employ teams of covert agents and pseudo-'independent' advocates to 'cognitively infiltrate' online groups and websites, as well as other activist groups.

Sunstein also proposed sending covert agents into 'chat rooms, online social networks, or even real-space groups' which spread what he views as false and damaging 'conspiracy theories' about the government. Ironically, the very same Sunstein was recently named by Obama to serve as a member of the NSA review panel created by the White House.

'The 'broader point' about the program's implications,' writes Greenwald, 'is that far beyond hacktivists, these surveillance agencies have vested themselves with the power to deliberately ruin people’s reputations and disrupt their online political activity even though they’ve been charged with no crimes, and even though their actions have no conceivable connection to terrorism or even national security threats.' "

-->All quiet at The NY Times. This covert infiltration and manipulation of the Internet by our government to squash dissent was never reported on.


Common Dreams:
"As US Media Mangles Venezuela Coverage, Maduro Calls for 'Peace Conference.' As violence continues to threaten Latin American country, US media continues to replace nuance with familiar anti-Chavista narrative. ...

According to Rebecca Hanson, who lives in Venezuela while studying the nation's politics as a graduate student, one of most notable things about the protest movement is where it is not occurring.

'These protests have not engulfed the entire country or even the entire capital, despite coverage and photographs that might suggest otherwise. Recent articles in Ultimas Noticias have declared the western side of the city, which normally grabs headlines for its high homicide rates, as tranquil and quiet in comparison to the east.' "

-->Sad to see our newspaper of record consistently report the Pentagon's version of what is going on in Venezuela. It's as if freedom of information stops for The NY Times when it comes to reporting on America's "enemies." 


The Guardian, UK
"US ambassadorial nominees face more backlash over appointments. Association of diplomats considers criticising the giving of posts to donors who had little or no knowledge about assigned countries. ...

A Guardian investigation in July revealed that the controversial practice of rewarding donors with plum foreign postings has accelerated under Obama, leaving the average 'price' paid by his donors for ambassadorships in the last election cycle at nearly $2m.

Now the American Foreign Service Association, an independent professional body representing US diplomats, is considering making its first formal complaint about a US ambassadorial nominee’s suitability since 1992, in a sign that recent appointments may have proven the final straw for the diplomatic community."

-->Democratic donors paying to become American ambassadors? Why wouldn't The NY Times report on this? Must we go to a foreign newspaper to learn about the corruption in our own system of government?

Thursday, February 06, 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.


The NY Times:
"Arguing that boycotting Israel is intrinsically anti-Semitic is not only false, but it also presumes that Israel and 'the Jews' are one and the same. This is as absurd and bigoted as claiming that a boycott of a self-defined Islamic state like Saudi Arabia, say, because of its horrific human rights record, would of necessity be Islamophobic.

The B.D.S. movement’s call for full equality in law and policies for the Palestinian citizens of Israel is particularly troubling for Israel because it raises questions about its self-definition as an exclusionary Jewish state. Israel considers any challenge to what even the Department of State has criticized as its system of 'institutional, legal and societal discrimination' against its Palestinian citizens as an 'existential threat,' partially because of the apartheid image that this challenge evokes. ...

Israel remains the only country on earth that does not recognize its own nationality, as that would theoretically avail equal rights to all its citizens, undermining its 'ethnocratic' identity. The claim that B.D.S., a nonviolent movement anchored in universal principles of human rights, aims to 'destroy' Israel must be understood in this context.

Would justice and equal rights for all really destroy Israel? Did equality destroy the American South? Or South Africa? Certainly, it destroyed the discriminatory racial order that had prevailed in both places, but it did not destroy the people or the country. Likewise, only Israel’s unjust order is threatened by boycotts, divestment and sanctions." -Omar Barghouti

-->The NY Times printed this amazing article in its op-ed section. We give credit to our newspaper of record for doing the right thing.


Huffington Post::
"We think the American media is too weak in relation to the government, large corporations and other powerful groups. They are afraid. They do not meet the basic requirement of journalism, which is to investigate the behavior of these groups. Our organization was created in order to practice journalism without fear and to support its independence. Journalism is done with passion. ...

The more people know about information that was previously hidden, the more journalists and people will be inspired to carry out this type of work. It is also essential that a journalist's relationship with sources and issues occur without interference. Otherwise, the journalist may be afraid of being prosecuted or going to jail. Spying exacerbates it. Without trust between the source and the journalist, journalism will die and the information we consume will be compromised." -Glenn Greenwald

-->Maybe The NY Times will get around to printing some of the views of Glenn Greenwald too. Like Omar Barghouti, his ideas have been deemed just to "dangerous" for American readers.


Common Dreams:
"Though Obama has promised cleaner energy at home, his policies are rapidly expanding the export of the world's dirtiest fuels. While the Obama administration continues to boast reductions in U.S. carbon emissions through the incorporation of renewable energy resources such as wind and solar, the darker side of America's changing role as a 'dirty energy dealer' and one of the world's top carbon pollution exporters is seldom told.

As journalist Tim Dickinson explores in a new feature-length piece for Rolling Stone, Obama's rhetoric of a reduced U.S. carbon footprint is betrayed by the increasing amount of carbon-intensive fossil fuels that are now being exported all over the world. And as critics of his energy policies continue to point out, the president is in danger of having the destructive realities of his climate related policies overwhelm the promises that he's made about addressing the dangers of a rapidly warming planet. ...

'The Obama administration wants to be seen as a climate leader, but there is no source of fossil fuel that it is prepared to leave in the ground,' said (Lorne) Stockman (research director for Oil Change International). 'Coal, gas, refinery products – crude oil is the last frontier on this. You want it? We're going to export it.' "

-->The NY Times supports Obama's energy policies, mostly because Wall Street does. The very rich run both parties, and control most of the nation's media as well. America's role of "dirty energy dealer" just isn't going to make it into mainstream news.  

UPDATE: We reported last week on the Israel Lobby's "war with Iran" bill that had both Democratic and Republican sponsors in the Senate. Yesterday, The NY Times did a complete article on the bill and the Israel Lobby. Better late than never, although support for the bill has now collapsed, and our two NY Senators who both co-sponsored the bill were never mentioned in the story.