Thursday, September 25, 2014

Common Dreams:
“Top News Editors Slam White House for Secrecy, Intimidation.
Obama administration ‘significantly worse than previous administrations.’
Some of the nation's top journalists are criticizing the White House for undermining journalism through lack of transparency and intimidation of sources, which they say has only gotten worse under President Barack Obama—the self-proclaimed ‘most transparent’ president in history.

Criticism of Obama's administration on the issue arose during a joint convention this week of the American Society of News Editors, the Associated Press Media Editors and the Associated Press Photo Managers in Chicago. Brian Carovillano, Associated Press managing editor for U.S. news, said during a panel discussion that the government's increasingly tightening standards on access to information are setting a trend for secrecy for other organizations around the country.

‘The White House push to limit access and reduce transparency has essentially served as the secrecy road map for all kinds of organizations—from local and state governments to universities and even sporting events,’ Carovillano said.”

—>The NY Times failed to cover this story. Our newspaper of record cares more about staying in the good graces of the neoliberal establishment than informing its readership of Obama’s broken promises.


Common Dreams:
"FloodWallStreet: Protesters Stage Mass Action to Confront Climate Profiteers.
Action takes direct aim at center of global capitalism to call for complete paradigm shift to save planet from climate chaos.

Addressing the enthusiastic crowd, author Chris Hedges said it's time for nothing short of revolution. ‘Up that road lies the emerald city of Wall Street. In that city, the wizards of finance profit from the death of the planet.  No one will stop them but the people. This means revolution.’

Elisa Estronioli, a Brazilian land-rights activist with La Via Campesina People Affected by Dams, added in a press statement, ‘The real solution to global warming is organizing workers worldwide for the construction of a new model, with justice, equality and respect for life.’ “

—>The mainstream media is blind to this message, preferring to portray the 400,000 climate march in NYC as limited to environmental reform. It is system reform, and that system is the neoliberal model of unrestrained capitalism. All the lessons of Occupy were there on Sunday and Monday. Revolution is in the air, and The NY Times will be the last to report it.


Gigaom Research:
"When Apple published its first Transparency Report on government activity in late 2013, the document contained an important footnote that stated:
‘Apple has never received an order under Section 215 of the USA Patriot Act. We would expect to challenge such an order if served on us.’

Writer and cyber-activist Cory Doctorow at the time recognized that language as a so-called ‘warrant canary,’ which Apple was using to thwart the secrecy imposed by the Patriot Act. …

Now, Apple’s warrant canary has disappeared. A review of the company’s last two Transparency Reports, covering the second half of 2013 and the first six months of 2014, shows that the ‘canary’ language is no longer there. The warrant canary’s disappearance is significant because Section 215 of the Patriot Act permits the National Security Agency to demand companies to hand over their business records in secret.”

—>The mainstream media, including The NY Times cranks out stories about people waiting in line to buy their new iPhones. Issues like the USA Patriot Act and Apple’s disappearing canary are kept out of the spotlight.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Common Dreams:
“Private military contractors are reaping billions of dollars in profitable rewards from the U.S. government's global network of clandestine counter-terrorism and other overseas operations, according to a new report that examines the high-levels of integration between for-profit corporations and the Pentagon's global military and surveillance apparatus.

The new report—titled US Special Operations Command Contracting: Data-Mining the Public Record—written by researcher Crofton Black and commissioned by the U.K.-based Remote Control Project, shows that "corporations are integrated into some of the most sensitive aspects" of operations conducted by the U.S. Special Operations Command (or  USSOCOM). Those activities, according to the report include: flying drones and overseeing target acquisition, facilitating communications between forward operating locations and central command hubs, interrogating prisoners, translating captured material, and managing the flow of information between regional populations and the US military.”

—>The NY Times didn’t cover this story. Too busy building support for new military adventures abroad. But the direct tie-in to corporate profits may be the reason our newspaper of record avoids stories like this. 


Guardian UK:
"US economic sanctions against Cuba have cost the island nation $3.9bn in foreign trade over the past year, helping to raise the overall estimate of economic damage to $116.8bn over the past 55 years, Cuba said on Tuesday.

The figures were published in a report that Cuba prepares for the United Nations each year in requesting a resolution urging an end to the comprehensive US economic embargo and other sanctions against Cuba’s Communist government.

The United Nations has passed the resolution for 22 straight years with overwhelming support. Last year the vote was 188 to 2, with only the United States and Israel voting against the resolution.“

—>American readers must go to overseas newspapers to read about how isolated America is when it comes to the blockade of Cuba. Like the criminal blockade of Gaza, the entire world condemns the US and Israel for their illegal and immoral actions. The role of the US media is to hide this fact from its citizens. 


Telegraph UK:
"The CIA brought top al-Qaeda suspects close ‘to the point of death’ by drowning them in water-filled baths during interrogation sessions in the years that followed the September 11 attacks, a security source has told The Telegraph.

The description of the torture meted out to at least two leading al-Qaeda suspects, including the alleged 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, far exceeds the conventional understanding of waterboarding, or ‘simulated drowning’ so far admitted by the CIA.

‘They weren’t just pouring water over their heads or over a cloth,’ said the source who has first-hand knowledge of the period. ‘They were holding them under water until the point of death, with a doctor present to make sure they did not go too far. This was real torture.’ “

—>The NY Times printed a story about Guantanamo on Sept. 1, but the emphasis was on how the US spends money on expensive medical equipment for the detainees. No mention of “point of death” torture that has just been exposed. 
Common Dreams:
“Will Ukraine Bid To Join NATO Unleash 21st Century Cold War? Experts warn that if US and Europe continue to expand NATO's reach without recognizing destructive consequences, crisis in eastern Ukraine risks serious escalation“

In a move that could dramatically spike international tensions and escalate the conflict in eastern Ukraine, the Prime Minister of the Ukraine government in Kiev on Friday submitted legislation to Parliament declaring intention to join the western military alliance of NATO and longer-term ambitions to actually join the European Union.

Prime Minister Arseny Yatsenyuk submitted the proposal on Friday just ahead of a NATO emergency meeting held in Brussels to discuss the ongoing crisis in Ukraine. Following that meeting, NATO's Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen emerged to say NATO would ‘fully respect’ Ukraine's effort to join the alliance.”

—>Of course the new Cold War is about the US trying to establish NATO bases closer to Russia. The NY Times coverage, however, neatly skirts the issue of NATO by offering in depth analyses of why Putin is acting so warlike. Our newspaper of record would never speculate on why the empire overthrew an elected government in Ukraine and established a pro NATO regime there.


Common Dreams:
"Israel Announces 'Unprecedented' Land Seizure. Anti-settlement group says move is ‘proof that Prime Minister Netanyahu does not aspire for a new Diplomatic Horizon.’ …

According to reporting by Haaretz, ‘The appropriated land belongs to five Palestinian villages in the Bethlehem area: Jaba, Surif, Wadi Fukin, Husan and Nahalin. …

Part of the lands being confiscated are already home to the illegal Jewish settlement of Gvaot, part of the Gush Etzion settlement bloc. Local settlers moved into the area and took over Palestinian land with military support more than a decade ago, but have been living in an area technically unrecognized by Israeli authorities despite their armed protection.’ “

—>In the pro-Zionist world of Isabel Kershner and The NY Times, Israel did not seize the land at all, but “made claims” to it and officially “declared it state land.” Kershner’s article debates whether Israel is justified in taking the land, and accepts without question that the seizure was the direct result of the killing of three Israeli teenagers. 


“When tear-gas was first fired into the streets of Ferguson, Missouri at people angry at the police killing of 18-year-old Michael Brown, Palestinian activists sent out messages on Twitter giving people tips for how to deal with tear gas’ effects.

And there was another direct connection between events in Missouri and the West Bank, as Palestinian activist Mariam Barghouti noted: the company that supplies the Israeli army with tear gas is the same company supplying the police in Ferguson. …

The tear-gas, smoke bombs and rubber bullets fired on demonstrators, a symbol of the growing militarization of America’s police forces, have fed anger over Brown’s killing across the nation and has sparked an unprecedented debate over police militarization in the country.”

—> To the mainstream media, these connections don’t exist. The weapons industry is just too powerful to take on, and such links are routinely left unreported. The NY Times did a story on the Twitter advice, but left out the US weapons maker. 
Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR):
"A New York Times piece (8/24/14)  about Michael Brown, the unarmed teenager shot dead in Ferguson this month by police officer Darren Wilson, has been the subject of harsh criticism because of its declaration that Brown was ‘no angel.’ In the version that ran in today's print edition, the Times' John Eligon writes:

‘Michael Brown, 18, due to be buried on Monday, was no angel, with public records and interviews with friends and family revealing both problems and promise in his young life.’ …

As Jack Mirkinson noted at the Huffington Post (8/25/14), the Times (8/24/14) also presents a profile of Darren Wilson, the Ferguson police officer who killed Brown, in today's paper. His standing in relation to the angels is not discussed, nor do we know what kind of music he liked or whether he smoked pot. All we can piece together is that, according to some, he is a ‘well-mannered, relatively soft-spoken, even bland person…a reaction to a turbulent youth.’

->The NY Times coverage of Michael Brown’s murder fails in other ways as well. Suggestions that Brown moved toward and menaced officer Wilson before the shooting were printed without revealing that law enforcement officers were the source. 


USA Today:
"Freedom of the press is under siege in Ferguson, Mo. Two reporters, one from The Washington Post and one from The Huffington Post, told of being roughed up and apprehended briefly for nothing more than literally recharging their batteries at a McDonald's. They weren't at a crime scene. They weren't in the way of the police. They identified themselves as reporters. But police saw fit to order them out of the McDonald's, and when they didn't move quickly enough for the officers' taste, they were arrested.

That's not all. Police fired tear gas at journalists from the cable news channel Al Jazeera America. Al Jazeera said its staffers were easily identifiable as working journalists, and that police continued to fire even after they shouted ‘press.’ After the journalists fled, officers took down their television lights.

A photojournalist with St. Louis television station KSDK, filming an altercation in which the police were involved, had his camera hit by a ‘bean bag round’ fired from a rifle. KSDK journalists say they were never told to leave the area."

-->The NY Times didn't print this story. Our nation’s premier newspaper was too busy reporting the police account of what happened on the streets of Ferguson.


"The St. Louis County Police Department that killed Michael Brown and initially placed Ferguson on siege has trained with the Israeli military. Former County Police Chief Timothy Fitch was one of 15 American officials to participate in a weeklong training in Israel three years ago.

The April 2011 National Counter-Terrorism Seminar (NCTS) was sponsored by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL). It brought together leaders from the largest American police departments, the FBI and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) with members of the Israeli National Police, Israel Defense Forces and other intelligence organizations. …

Over 9,000 American officials have trained with Israeli police and military units on responding to civilian protests and terrorism. These operations reflect failure to distinguish between the apparent duty of police to protect civilians and military responses to war. This fusion has had life-costing implications for Americans, specifically black, Muslim and Arab people.”

-->This story was left out of The NY Times, which does everything it can to make apartheid Israel look good to the American people.