Thursday, May 28, 2015

The NY Times:
In a Sunday article entitled "The Making of Great Ex-Presidents," Jimmy Carter was included for the work of the Carter Center, but not for his involvement in Israel/Palestine. His groundbreaking book: "Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid" was also omitted, possibly to make room for several sentences about his campaign to eradicate the Guinea worm. The only fault The NYT mentions is Carter's approval of the "questionable election processes in Venezuela in 2004." Who questioned the election process? Only the US State Department; the rest of the world judged it to be a fair election.

For proof the election was flawed, The NYT on-line addition turns to Dr. Ricardo Hausmann, Harvard professor and resident critic of Venezuela. Hausmann was the economic advisor to a previous Venezuelan president who's neoliberal policies resulted in great suffering and repression in 1989. He then fled to the US to publish articles about Venezuelan election fraud. Typically, his articles are discredited by international election observers. 

-->So we have Israel's human rights violations omitted, and Venezuela's election process criticized, with a CIA planted academic to back up the charges. All the news that the empire thinks is fit to print.


Democracy Now!:
"El Salvadoran Archbishop Óscar Romero will be beatified Saturday in San Salvador in a step toward sainthood. Archbishop Romero was known as the 'voice of the voiceless,' an advocate for the poor and leading critic of the U.S.-backed Salvadoran military government. 

He was killed March 24, 1980, by members of a U.S.-backed death squad while delivering mass at a hospital chapel. His assassination was ordered by Salvadoran military officer Roberto D’Aubuisson, a graduate of the U.S.-run School of the Americas. An envoy of Pope Francis will lead his beatification before an expected audience of hundreds of thousands of people."

-->The NY Times ran a much longer story about Oscar Romero. Strangely, no mention was made of the US backed death squad that killed him. Roberto D’Aubuisson's link to the US run School of the Americas was left out as well. The US funded and armed the brutal repression in El Salvador during he 1980's, yet our newspaper of record can't bring itself to admit it. It is that important to keep the US citizens unaware of these dirty wars waged in their name?


Common Dreams:
"Under Shadow of Trade Deal, US Pesticide Lobby Pressured EU to Dump Toxic Pesticide Rules. Report details how corporate lobbyists mobilized to stop the EU from regulating hormone disrupting chemicals known to have significant health and environmental impacts

Under pressure from the U.S. and agrochemical industry lobbyists and amid ongoing negotiations for a controversial trade deal, the European Union dropped planned rules that could have led to the banning of 31 pesticides containing hazardous chemicals, a new investigative report has revealed.

The probe, led by the Brussels-based research and watchdog group Corporate Europe Observatory (CEO) and French journalist Stephane Horel, exposes how corporate lobby groups like the American Chemistry Council, CropLife America, and the American Chambers of Commerce, mobilized to stop the EU from taking action on hormone (endocrine) disrupting chemicals (EDCs)—known to have significant health and environmental impacts.

-->This story of using trade deals to cut back on environmental protections didn't make it into The NY Times. Obama is attacked for keeping these trade deals secret. What about our newspaper of record? 

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Guardian UK:
"Angel Perez, now the 13th person to describe to the Guardian detainment at the secret police site, is joined by four others in a lawsuit seeking justice from the city. For psychological reasons, Angel Perez does not call what happened to him rape. But he vividly recalls being taken to Homan Square, a warehouse used by the Chicago police for incommunicado detentions, where police inserted something into his rectum. ...

It was 21 October 2012. The day before, Perez had been driving his Rav-4 on his restaurant delivery route when he says police accosted him, wanting him to contact a drug dealer who they believed Perez knew so they could arrange a sting. But Perez was less cooperative than they had hoped.

Now, Perez was handcuffed by his right wrist to a metal bar behind a bench in an interrogation room on the second floor of Homan Square. Behind him were two police officers that a lawsuit Perez recently re-filed identifies as Jorge Lopez and Edmund Zablocki. They had been threatening him with a stint at the infamously violent Cook County jail if he didn’t cooperate."

-->The NYT has reported one story about Homan Square and that was back in February. The English newspaper, "The Guardian," seems much more interested in stories about police brutality, torture and rape than American media. Why does our media always try to make our police state look good?


Common Dreams:
"The United States' human rights record faced fierce criticism on Monday during a hearing of the United Nations Human Rights Council, when a panel of more than 100 international leaders voiced concern over violations spanning from police brutality and the continued use of the death penalty to the torture of detainees at Guantanamo Bay prison.

According to those present at the hearing in Geneva, Switzerland, the subject of police brutality against people of color and, more broadly, discrimination within the U.S. criminal justice system dominated the critique. Monday marked the United States' second Universal Periodic Review, a process created by the Human Rights Council to peer-review other member states. ...

Other areas of concern raised by UN member states included the 'failure to close the Guantánamo Bay detention facility, the continued use of the death penalty, the need for adequate protections for migrant workers and protection of the rights of indigenous peoples. Member states also called on the U.S. to end child labor, human trafficking and sexual violence against Native American and Alaska Native women and to lift restrictions on the use of foreign aid to provide safe abortion services for rape victims in conflict areas,' Al Jazeera reports."

-->The NY Times didn't cover this story, and often omits human rights reports when they involve the FBI, the CIA and the US criminal justice system. Our media often serves as a propaganda vehicle for the American Empire. 


FAIR (Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting):
" ‘Wrong as Often as Right’ Is Good Enough When Reporting on an Official Enemy. The Washington Post (5/12/15) has a sensational story about North Korean Gen. Hyon Yong Chol: 'North Korea’s equivalent of a defense minister has been executed by anti-aircraft gun for insubordination and treason —including for sleeping during a meeting where Kim Jong Un was speaking. ...'

Most of the information in the article is based on what 'officials from the [South Korean] National Intelligence Service told local reporters at a briefing in Seoul' -local reporters, meaning not the Washington Post. What did the Post hear directly? 'An NIS spokesman confirmed to the Post that it believed Hyon had been executed.'

So the sensational stuff in the article is what local South Korean journalists said they were told by South Korean intelligence about that country’s bitter rivals. But South Korean intelligence is a reliable source, right?"

-->Journalism in the US is at its lowest level when reporting on the Pentagon's identified "enemies" of the empire. Any semblance of reality slips away, and fantasy stories of North Korean leaders being ripped apart by dogs or slaughtered by anti-aircraft guns are offered as responsible journalism. The Soviet Era "Provda" had nothing on this US brand of jingoistic sensationalism.  

Thursday, May 14, 2015

"The New York Times has published an important front-page attack on the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement on campus. The long article asserts that BDS is allied with anti-Semitism, beginning with its title, 'Campus Debates on Israel Drive a Wedge Between Jews and Minorities.'

The heart of the article is the claim that BDS is exploiting resentment on the part of disenfranchised minorities toward privileged Jews to push its cause (Palestinian solidarity), but it is only stirring up anti-Semitic rancor and will achieve nothing.

Reporters Jennifer Medina and Tamar Lewin ignore all the Jews who support BDS, as the most powerful newspaper in the country seeks to frame BDS as a 'hostile' force. The piece is important because it reflects the growing success of the BDS movement."

-->BDS is on the move. Campuses all over the country are debating Israeli apartheid. Sadly, The NY Times reports on BDS to paint Jewish students on campus as the victims.


Common Dreams:
"What better way to advertise military culture—and recruit teenagers—than by staging heartfelt salutes to 'hometown heroes' at professional football games in front of thousands of fans?

That, apparently, is what Department of Defense officials thought when they shelled out at least $5.4 million of U.S. taxpayer' money to 14 NFL teams between 2011 and 2014—to pay them to promote the military on and off the field. ...

But Matt Stys, an Iraq veteran and member of Iraq Veterans Against the War based in Colorado, told Common Dreams that the revelations point to something far more insidious: the permeation of military propaganda into every aspect of U.S. life."

-->The NY Times didn't cover this story, and rarely covers Pentagon propaganda. But there may be more than pro football involved:

"Don't want to go to college? All Things Considered had the answer today: join the military. All the interviews were with recruiters and with soldiers thrilled to be in the Armed Services. It's good money, and you can choose what training you want! Or so this poorly produced piece would have high school graduates believe.

As a veteran, I am ashamed that NPR didn't bring up the possibility of sexual assault, PTSD, or being wounded in America's endless wars. Recruiting contracts do NOT guarantee that you will get the training you sign up for. Moreover, one out of every three homeless men are veterans, and veterans commit suicide at twice the civilian rate. Is the Pentagon the new cosponsor of All Things Considered? That might account for this shabby piece of journalism."
-Fred Nagel, letter to NPR


Common Dreams:
"Genetically engineered crops, or GMOs, have led to an explosion in growers’ use of herbicides, with the result that children at hundreds of elementary schools across the country go to class close by fields that are regularly doused with escalating amounts of toxic weed killers.

GMO corn and soybeans have been genetically engineered to withstand being blasted with glyphosate – an herbicide that the World Health Organization recently classified as 'probably carcinogenic to humans.' The proximity of many schools to fields blanketed in the chemical puts kids at risk of exposure. But it gets worse.

Over-reliance on glyphosate has spawned the emergence of 'superweeds' that resist the herbicide, so now producers of GMO crops are turning to even more harmful chemicals. First up is 2,4-D, a World War II-era defoliant that has been linked to non-Hodgkin lymphoma, Parkinson’s disease and reproductive problems. Young children are especially vulnerable to it."

-->Monsanto and Israel enjoy a privileged status at The NYT. Unfavorable news like this is often just left out of the reporting.

Thursday, May 07, 2015

Common Dreams:
"In addition to vacuuming up troves of emails, web searches, and other written records, the United States' National Security Agency (NSA) had devised a way to collect spoken communication as well, according to documents from the leaked archive of NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden and reported on Tuesday by The Intercept.

In a top secret government document from 2006, NSA analysts discussed the development of what they called 'Google for Voice,' which automatically recognizes spoken content, such as in phone calls, 'by creating rough transcripts and phonetic representations that can be easily searched and stored,' Intercept journalist Dan Froomkin reports.

Further, a second document also from 2006 describes, as Froomkin writes, 'extensive' use of keyword searching as well as computer programs designed to analyze and 'extract' the content of voice conversations, and even use sophisticated algorithms to flag conversations of interest."

-->All these "advances" were made without public oversight, or any scrutiny at all. The NYT kept up this fine tradition; it didn't print the story.


Guardian UK:
"Testimonies provided by more than 60 Israeli soldiers who fought in last summer’s war in Gaza have raised serious questions over whether Israel’s tactics breached its obligations under international law to distinguish and protect civilians.

The claims – collected by the human rights group Breaking the Silence – are contained in dozens of interviews with Israeli combatants, as well as with soldiers who served in command centres and attack rooms, a quarter of them officers up to the rank of major. ...

'The rules of engagement for soldiers advancing on the ground were: open fire, open fire everywhere, first thing when you go in,' recalled another soldier who served during the ground operation in Gaza City. 'The assumption being that the moment we went in [to the Gaza Strip], anyone who dared poke his head out was a terrorist.' "

-->The NY Times didn't cover this story, although it will have to sooner or later. A Reuters story is posted on-line, but our newspaper of record is still promoting the image of the IDF as the most moral army in the world.


Common Dreams:
"More than 25 farmworker, environmental, and food safety organizations sent an open letter on Tuesday to the U.S. Department of Agriculture demanding that the agency investigate reports that its scientists are facing retaliation and suppression of their research on controversial neonicotinoid insecticides that pose a danger to pollinator and human health.

'It is imperative that the USDA maintains scientific integrity and does not allow for harassment, censorship or suppression of findings that counter the interests of industry,' states the letter, whose signatories include Farmworker Justice, Food & Water Watch, and Center for Biological Diversity.

The letter follows a petition filed in March by the advocacy organization Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER) charging that 'USDA scientists whose work carries with it policy implications that negatively reflect upon USDA corporate stakeholder interest s routinely suffer retaliation and harassment.' "

-->Monsanto, maker of these chemicals, always gets favorable treatment from The NYT. In this case, the story about suppressing science at the USDA didn't even make it to the on-line version.