Thursday, January 29, 2015

—>The NYT reviewed the new book, “Guantanamo Diary,” this weekend, Mohamedou Slahi’s own account of his suffering at the infamous US prison. The article is classic NYT and should certainly be read by anyone seeking to understand how our media makes such torture possible. 

The article gives one sentence to the approval of such methods by US leaders (citing Rumsfeld’s connection to a special interrogation in 2003). All the rest at the top are absolved of committing car crimes. In fact, The NYT never mentions “war crimes” at all in the article, despite the fact that they were obviously committed. 

How did our noble and good intentioned government ever do such things? Why, according to The NYT it was “woeful incompetence,” governmental “haplessness,” and and the fact that “secrecy makes blunders far easier to hide.” It was all just one big mistake.

Our newspaper of record then goes on to make the case for the prosecution. Mohamedou’s resume “cried out for scrutiny,” Communists did such things during the Cold War, and finally, he may be “simply a clever liar who has successfully hidden his crimes.” Did the CIA really have to redact huge portions of Mohanedou’s book when The NYT was willing to do it for them?


Huffington Post:
“The Media vs. the Movement: 3 Ways the 'New York Times' Completely Misunderstands #BlackLivesMatter and Movements in General. 

Recently the New York Times published the latest in its series of sub-par articles on the current racial justice movement. Like its predecessors, this installment, ‘Protesters Out to Reclaim King's Legacy, but in Era That Defies Comparison,’ by Tanzina Vega, dutifully reinforces conventional wisdom that does not stand up to challenge. It is important to inspect the badly inaccurate depictions and deep misunderstandings that infect the Times' coverage. …

Notwithstanding its current hallowed reputation, at the time, many commentators portrayed the civil rights movement as ‘rebellious’ and ‘irrational.’ Apparently, we have learned little about movements in the decades since. We need to address the myth that movements last only as long as their media moments and develop a better grasp -- and more respect -- for the quiet, persistent periods of organizing that go into changing the flawed structures of our society.”

—>Yes, The NYT has a long track record of belittling and then dismissing social movements in the United States. It comes from our newspaper of record’s incestuous ties to big business and our government. All the news that the elites would like you to think.


Defense News:
“WASHINGTON — American soldiers will deploy to Ukraine this spring to begin training four companies of the Ukrainian National Guard, the head of US Army Europe Lt. Gen Ben Hodges said during his first visit to Kiev on Wednesday.
The number of troops heading to the Yavoriv Training Area near the city of L’viv, which is about 40 miles from the Polish border, is still being determined, however.

The American training effort comes as part of a US State Department initiative ‘to assist Ukraine in strengthening its law enforcement capabilities, conduct internal defense, and maintain rule of law’ Pentagon spokeswoman Lt. Col. Vanessa Hillman told Defense News.

—>Soon, US soldiers will be killed in Ukraine. This brinksmanship with the world’s other nuclear superpower should be seen as criminally insane. Perhaps it will be the last bit of human folly before nuclear war brings an end to our species. Not to worry, however, since The NYT didn’t cover this story. Well, except for its resident warmonger, Thomas Friedman, crowing about “Czar Putin’s Next Moves.”

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Guardian UK:
“The groundbreaking memoir of a current Guantánamo inmate that lays bare the harrowing details of the US rendition and torture programme from the perspective of one of its victims is to be published next week after a six-year battle for the manuscript to be declassified. Guantánamo Diary, the first book written by a still imprisoned detainee, is being published in 20 countries and has been serialised by the Guardian amid renewed calls by civil liberty campaigners for its author’s release.

Mohamedou Ould Slahi describes a world tour of torture and humiliation that began in his native Mauritania more than 13 years ago and progressed through Jordan and Afghanistan before he was consigned to US detention in Guantánamo, Cuba, in August 2002 as prisoner number 760. US military officials told the Guardian this week that despite never being prosecuted and being cleared for release by a judge in 2010, he is unlikely to be released in the next year.

The journal, which Slahi handwrote in English, details how he was subjected to sleep deprivation, death threats, sexual humiliation and intimations that his torturers would go after his mother.”

—>The NYT did not report this as a news story, but rather as a “Culture At Large” feature in the Arts Section. All references to how Mohamedou was brutalized were removed. No need for the CIA to redact any text of the memoir; our newspaper of record does it for them. Go to the Guardian to read excerpts of Mohamedou's story.


972 Blog:
“In denying that Israel limits academic freedom in Palestine, the Israeli embassy in Washington seems to forget about the Palestinian students and academics whose movement it restricts.

The Israeli embassy in Washington, D.C. recently decried as baseless ‘the accusation that Israel arbitrarily limits the entry of foreign nationals who seek to lecture, teach and attend conferences at Palestinian universities.’ The embassy appears to be responding to protests and calls by American academics to boycott Israeli academic institutions, in response to restrictions on students and scholars accessing Palestinian universities. And yet in explaining Israeli travel policy, the embassy’s statement misleads, seemingly willfully. …

Arab lecturers and students are unlikely to obtain access to the West Bank and Gaza, because Israeli rules on entry to the Palestinian territory bar most people holding travel documents from Arab or Muslim countries and even some American or European citizens of Arab descent or those who have spoken out against Israel.“

—>The NYT doesn’t do stories like this. Doesn’t fit the public relations image of Israel that the NYT likes to promote.


972 Blog:
“Two years ago this week, 15-year-old Palestinian Salih al-Amarin was shot in the head by Israeli forces with live ammunition. He died several days later. Al-Amarin, a resident of Azza Refugee Camp in the West Bank town of Bethlehem, was taking part in clashes with Israeli forces stationed on the separation wall that cuts deep into Bethlehem.

“Those soldiers sitting in their towers behind the wall, are they really in danger?” Bethlehem governor Abdi Fatah Hamayel told Sky News at the time. “There is no excuse to shoot the kids with live bullets.”

According to the same report, this and other killings at the time ‘prompted then Israel’s commander of operations in the West Bank, Brig.-Gen. Hagai Mordechai, to call for an immediate review of its rules of engagement.’ But in the months and years that followed, use of live ammunition on the streets of Bethlehem and throughout the West Bank only increased - typically 0.22 caliber bullets known as ‘two-twos’ fired from an integrally suppressed (silenced) 10/22 Ruger rifle.”

—>More Israeli human rights violation covered up by the NYT. The 972 Blog, created by a Green Party grant from Germany, seeks honest and unbiased reporting from Israel and Palestine, something our media seems incapable of.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Common Dreams:
“A groundbreaking new study is confirming what green campaigners have long argued: in order to stave off climate disaster, the majority of fossil fuel deposits around the world—including 92 percent of U.S. coal, all Arctic oil and gas, and a majority of Canadian tar sands—must stay ‘in the ground.’

The research is a boost to world-wide green campaigns, from the bid to stop the Keystone XL pipeline to grassroots protest against Arctic drilling.
The new findings were published in the journal Nature and authored by Christophe McGlade and Paul Ekins, both of whom hail from the University College London.

They write, ‘Policy makers have generally agreed that the average global temperature rise caused by greenhouse gas emissions should not exceed 2 °C above the average global temperature of pre-industrial times.’ ”

—>The NYT didn’t cover this report. Not business friendly enough for our newspaper of record.


Common Dreams:
“Advocacy groups vow to fight back against what they believe is a preliminary ‘stealth attack’ that portends a wider assault on a program that makes survival possible for millions of vulnerable Americans. …
An attack by the Republican Party on the nation's Social Security program took less than one full working day. Included in a new set of rules passed by the House of Representatives on Tuesday was a new measure making it more difficult to move funds between separate accounts maintained by the Social Security Administration. A seemingly technical provision on the surface, critics says it puts millions of disabled and elderly Americans at risk and sets the stage for further attacks aimed at the wider program. …

In response to approval of the new rule, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) chastised Republicans in the House. ‘The GOP is inventing a Social Security crisis that will threaten benefits for millions and put our most vulnerable at risk,’ Warren fumed via her Twitter account. ‘This is ridiculous. 233k people in MA receive Social Security disability benefits that could be threatened by these political games.’ “

—>The NYT buried this latest attack against Social Security on its Opinions Blog. The paper is in bed with Wall Street, which has always wanted to get its hands on more funds that belong to working people. 


Freedom Socialist Party:
“Millions of workers don’t have any pension or retirement savings. Social Security will be their only income later in life. To enable the theft of that income, conservative news outlets push the lie that Social Security is going broke, even though it’s funded through 2036 and needs only minor adjustments.

The Social Security Trust Fund has over $2.8 trillion, yet politicians constantly threaten to raise the qualification age for full benefits to 70, cut payments, and reduce Cost-of-Living Adjustments (COLA). They also forced the Social Security Administration (SSA) to close 80 offices and 500 contact centers where people get in-person help. SSA has also laid off thousands of workers.

In a move akin to attacks on U.S. postal delivery, SSA plans to move to automated phone systems and subcontracting. The American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) is blowing the whistle and leading a campaign to defend Social Security.”

—>Strange when the only Socialist in the Congress is Social Security’s most ardent defender. Stranger still when a Socialist Party blog gives readers a more coherent analysis of the attack on SS retirement benefits than the NYT. 

Thursday, January 08, 2015

Common Dreams:
“With Congress on the verge of taking up the controversial, corporate-friendly Trans Pacific Partnership, U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) is demanding that the chief trade representative for the United States turn over the full text of the proposed trade agreement.

‘It is incomprehensible to me that the leaders of major corporate interests who stand to gain enormous financial benefits from this agreement are actively involved in the writing of the TPP while, at the same time, the elected officials of this country, representing the American people, have little or no knowledge as to what is in it,’ Sanders said in a letter sent Monday to U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman. …

Proponents of the pact, which would encompass 12 nations that represent 40 percent of the global economy, are pushing for a fast-track process that would hand over negotiating authority to President Barack Obama, who supports the deal. Critics claim the TPP poses threats to civil liberties, workers rights, public health, food safety, and global financial stability.”

—>The NYT didn’t cover this report. The outrageous stories about corporate dominance of our democracy are often filtered out by our newspaper of record. 


Common Dreams:
“The identity of the Sony hackers is still unknown. President Obama, in a December 19 press conference, announced: ‘We can confirm that North Korea engaged in this attack.’ He then vowed: ‘We will respond. . . . We cannot have a society in which some dictator some place can start imposing censorship here in the United States.’

The U.S. Government’s campaign to blame North Korea actually began two days earlier, when The New York Times – as usual – corruptly granted anonymity to ‘senior administration officials’ to disseminate their inflammatory claims with no accountability. These hidden ‘American officials’ used the Paper of Record to announce that they ‘have concluded that North Korea was centrally involved in the hacking of Sony Pictures computers.’ With virtually no skepticism about the official accusation, reporters David Sanger and Nicole Perlroth deemed the incident a ‘cyberterrorism attack’ and devoted the bulk of the article to examining the retaliatory actions the government could take against the North Koreans.“

—>Sad that we see this so often in our media. Government senior administration officials are granted anonymity to spread false truths to the general public. This is the type of propaganda we saw before the invasion of Iraq. 


Guardian UK:
“A 2,500 Square-Mile Methane Plume Is Silently Hovering over Western US.
Legacy of fossil fuel drilling is ‘giant cloud’ of powerful greenhouse gas now visible from space.

A monstrous cloud of accumulated methane—a potent greenhouse gas—is now hovering over a large portion of the western United States according to satellite imagery analyzed by NASA and reported by the Washington Post.

Created by years of intentionally released and errantly leaked natural gas during fossil fuel drilling operations, the cloud—invisible to the human eye but captured by advanced satellite imaging technology—is centered over northwest New Mexico and described by the Post as ‘a permanent, Delaware-sized methane cloud, so vast that scientists questioned their own data when they first studied it three years ago.’ ”

—>The methane plume may be visible from space, but not from the pages of the NYT. Our pro-drilling newspaper of record likes to bury stories that would displease the corporate elite. 

Thursday, January 01, 2015

Common Dreams:
“NY State Official Raises Alarm on Charter Schools — And Gets Ignored. A top official in the New York State Comptroller’s Office has urged regulators to require more transparency on charter-school finances. The response has been, well, nonexistent.

Add another voice to those warning about the lack of financial oversight for charter schools. One of New York state's top fiscal monitors told ProPublica that audits by his office have found ‘practices that are questionable at best, illegal at worst’ at some charter schools. …

The charter-school debate in New York, as elsewhere, is politically fraught. De Blasio's cautious stance on charters has put him at odds with New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, whose financial backers include some big-dollar charter-school supporters.”

—>Big money is pushing charter schools, that often escape government scrutiny for how they spend taxpayer money. The NYT is in bed with the billionaires who are privatizing public education. Our newspaper of record left this story out.


McClatchy DC:
“CIA health professionals may have committed war crimes by collecting and analyzing data on brutally interrogated detainees in potential violation of U.S. and international bans on research on human subjects without their consent, a human rights organization said Tuesday.

Physicians for Human Rights called on President Barack Obama and Congress to establish a commission of inquiry to examine the participation of CIA and private medical personnel in the interrogation program, including possible breaches of domestic and international laws.

‘The CIA relied upon health professionals at every step to commit and conceal the brutal and systematic torture of national security detainees,’ the organization said in an analysis of a four-year study of the agency’s interrogation program released last week by the Senate Intelligence Committee. 

‘While most of the acts detailed . . . violate international human rights and domestic laws prohibiting torture, several of these alleged violations can also constitute war crimes.’ “

—>The NYT doesn’t cover war crimes potentially committed by the US government. In that way, the newspaper is as fully censored as the media in Russia or China. 


Guardian UK:
“North Korea was NOT behind the Sony hack according to multiple security experts who discredit FBI findings and reveal that a studio insider named 'Lena' may be responsible
The FBI last week announced that they had discovered conclusive evidence proving the North Korean government was behind the Sony hack
President Obama then attacked the country for their behavior during a news conference, and informed them that the United States would retaliate
Now, the findings of the FBI are being called into question by many of the cybersecurity industry's leading experts
What's more, after an independent investigation, Norse has determined that they believe a woman named 'Lena' is responsible for the hack
Almost every expert stated that they believe the hack had to have been an inside job”

—>The NYT let the original story stand for a week, and then buried questions about whether North Korea was responsible for the hacking on the back pages of the Business Day section. Contrast this to The NYT’s front page story on Dec. 18: “U.S. Is Said to Find North Korea Behind Cyberattack on Sony." Or its recent editorial criticizing North Korea for a cyberattack it most likely didn’t do.