Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Guardian UK:
"A Catholic bishop in Britain has issued an unusually strong condemnation of last week’s arson attack on the biblically symbolic Church of the Multiplication of Loaves and Fish in Israel, referring to 'Jewish zealots' and demanding the Israeli authorities act against religious bigotry. ...

Lang’s comments follow a report from the official Vatican news service describing the attack on the church as 'yet another episode in the long series of desecrations and acts of intimidation committed by groups of extremist Jewish settlers to the detriment of monasteries, churches and Christian cemeteries since February 2012'. The report also referred to attacks on mosques by 'militant extremist groups close to the settler movement'. ...

There have been dozens of attacks on Christian sites in the Holy Land in recent years. .... A surge of anti-Christian graffiti – such as 'Death to Christians', 'We will crucify you' and 'Jesus is a monkey' – preceded Pope Francis’s visit to the Holy Land last year. The Church of the Multiplication was also attacked in April, when perpetrators destroyed crosses in an outdoor prayer area and threw stones at worshippers.

-->Isabel Kershner's story in The NYT left out this reaction from Catholic Church authorities and the Vatican. Of course, Kershner's husband works for the Institute of National Security Studies (INSS), an Israeli funded organization dedicated to creating a positive image of Israel. A review of articles that Kershner has written since 2009 reveals that she overwhelmingly relies on the INSS for think tank analysis. Conflict of interest anyone?


Guardian UK:
"Terrorism, at least in our national imagination, springs from an ideology of insurgence. Terrorism is radical. It seeks to upset and overturn a society, and to shake it to its foundations. But in America, there are few ideologies less insurgent than the doctrine of white supremacy. ...

Roof’s alleged acts were, by all indications, driven by a violent and extremist interpretation of an ideology that is as old as America itself. The murder of nine innocent black people because of their race doesn’t cut against the American grain in the same way that the spectre of Islamist terrorism does – it rides the grain all the way to its logical conclusion. ...

That’s terrorism any way you slice it – but in the long view of American history, it’s certainly not insurgent, revolutionary or new. Using the word 'terrorism' to describe violence exclusively against America’s non-white people is a historical first, but the terror visited exclusively upon America’s non-white people is not."

-->Straight talk about terrorism against African Americans. Too bad the US media can't bring itself to say these things. The Daily Show's Jon Stewart came about the closest.


Guardian UK:
"A United Nations inquiry into the 2014 Gaza war has accused Israeli and Palestinian factions of multiple potential violations of international law including suspected war crimes.

Calling on Israel to 'break with its lamentable track record' and hold wrongdoers responsible, the hard-hitting report commissioned by the UN human rights council lays most of the blame for Israel’s suspected violations at the feet of the country’s political and military leadership.

The commission – chaired by a former New York supreme court judge, Mary McGowan Davis – says leaders should have been aware as the war progressed that their failure to change course was leading to mounting civilian casualties.
'Those responsible for suspected violations of international law at all levels of the political and military establishments must be brought to justice,' it says.

-->Things are reported a little bit differently in the pro-Israel NYT. In an article entitled, "U.N. Report on Gaza Finds Evidence of War Crimes by Israel and by Palestinian Militants," Jodi Rudoren does her best to equate the murder of 500 Palestinian children to the one Israeli child killed in an indiscriminate rocket attack. A study of the Times’ coverage of various international reports on human rights violations by Israelis and by Palestinians found "that the Times covered reports condemning Israeli human rights violations at a rate only one-twentieth the rate that it covered reports condemning Palestinian human rights violations." 

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Daily Mail UK:
Russia last night warned that it will build up weaponry on the EU's borders if the US stations tanks and heavy arms in Poland. A Moscow defence ministry official called the US plans reported in Washington 'the most aggressive step by the Pentagon and Nato since the Cold War'. General Yuri Yakubov said: 'Russia will have no option but to build up its forces and resources on the western strategic front.'

President Vladimir Putin's spokesman declined to comment on the issue, because the reported US proposals had not come from an official announcement by government. But General Yakubov said Putin would order reinforcement of troops 'along the whole perimeter of Russia's western border, including new formations of tank, artillery and aviation units'.

He spoke as a pro-Moscow rebel leader in eastern Ukraine warned that the country's conflict is on the brink of turning into a 'major war'. "

-->The US media calls attention to the new Cold War, but generally blames Putin instead of Nato's arms buildup around Russia. Meanwhile, The NYT engages in wishful thinking rather than questioning Nato's warmongering: "Russia, given its economic problems, probably cannot afford even the weapons that Mr. Putin has pledged to deliver by 2020." But Russia's procurement of weapons isn't the problem; the world can't afford a new Cold War and The NYT should at least point out the dangers of Nato's policies.


Common Dreams:
"The Israeli cabinet over the weekend passed a controversial bill that approves the force-feeding of hunger striking prisoners—an act that is widely considered torture, including by the Israeli Medical Association. ...

Force-feeding, which has been compared to water-boarding, involves the painful insertion of tubes and pumping of food and can cause stomach damage and asphyxiation. The U.S. military's routine force-feeding of peaceful protesters at Guantánamo Bay was condemned by the United Nations human rights office as torture and a violation of international law.
Yet, Israeli officials have openly referenced the U.S. practice to justify the bill. When advocating for the legislation last year, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu directly cited the U.S. policies at Guantánamo Bay."

-->Nice to know that the US is setting a high standard for human rights around the world. Of course, such influences never make it into the US media.


Common Dreams:
"In a decision that may have long-lasting repercussions for the university's reputation, a leading university group on Saturday voted to censure the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign for firing Professor Steven Salaita after he made comments critical of Israel's attack on Gaza last summer.

The university rescinded Salaita's tenured faculty appointment at school's the American Indian studies program after he issued a series of Tweets condemning those who defended Israel's military actions against Palestinians in Gaza.

'If it's antisemitic to deplore colonization, land theft, and child murder, then what choice does any person of conscience have?' was among the comments made last July. The school board's dismissal of Salaita received widespread condemnation by groups accusing the university of having a pro-Israel bias."

-->The NYT did not print this story, but posted an Associated Press version of the censure on-line. Any news that makes the Israel Lobby look bad is usually kept out of the spotlight in this manner.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

The NY Times:
The article entitled "Fears, Not Facts, Support G.M.O.-Free Food By JANE E. BRODY" perpetuates some of the worst inaccuracies of the mainstream media on GMO crops. We are told that "despite myriad assurances from scientists" the public still has fears about GMO crops. That's like asserting that scientists think Nuclear energy is safe. Some scientists do, of course, mostly those employed by the nuclear energy industry.

We are told that "Humans have been genetically modifying food and feed plants and animals for millenniums," an industry canard that claims that tinkering with plant DNA is the same as cross breeding. For whether GMOs are safe, readers are told that everything must be approved by the Food and Drug Administration. No mention of the revolving door between governmental agencies and the chemical companies.

No mention either of Roundup, that cancer causing product that GMO plants are engineered to tolerate. The result of this DNA tinkering is that most GMO foods are bathed in Roundup on their way to our table. Of course, Brody warns us, nothing is foolproof, so "as with defective cars, malfunctioning products may have to be recalled."

-->Time to recall Jane Brody, The NYT health expert who thinks that GMO products can be fixed like defective cars. And this is in the famed "Science Section" of our newspaper of record. Brody is just shilling for Monsanto (whose name never appears in the article either).


Common Dreams:
"Responding to ongoing brinkmanship between the United States and his country, Russian President Vladimir Putin dared reporters to publish a map of the two nations' global military footprints and then 'see the difference.'

... Obama's accusations of Russia violating the 'sovereignty of other countries' are striking in light of the United States' own military strategy, which Putin highlighted days earlier in a Saturday interview with the Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera.

'U.S. military spending is higher than that of all countries in the world taken together,' Putin said. 'The aggregate military spending of NATO countries is 10 times, note—10 times higher than that of the Russian Federation.'

'I invite you to publish the world map in your newspaper and to mark all the U.S. military bases on it,' Putin continued. 'You will see the difference.' "

-->Tragically for all life on earth, Obama and the Pentagon are reinstituting the Cold War with Russia and China, trying to put nuclear weaponry closer and closer to both countries. Our mainstream media just plays along with the war propaganda, effectively eliminating a national debate on the increasing risks of thermonuclear war.


Common Dreams:
"UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has caved in to pressure from Israel and the United States and taken the Israeli military off an official list of serious violators of children’s rights, in this year’s report on children in armed conflict.

In doing so, Ban rejected an official recommendation from his own Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict Leila Zerrougui and numerous human rights organizations and child rights defenders.

Ban’s act is particularly egregious since the report found that the number of children killed in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip in 2014, at 557, was the third highest only after Iraq and Afghanistan and ahead of Syria. ...

Ban has a long history of using his office to ensure that Israel escapes accountability except for the mildest verbal censures that are almost always 'balanced' with criticism of those who live under Israeli occupation."

-->Talk about the use of "balanced reporting" to cover Israel's crimes, one need only look at The NYT article on Ban Ki-moon's decision. Yes, the paper mentions the 540 Palestinian children killed by Israel, but then goes on to give equal weight to the supposed crimes of Hamas: "killing a 4-year-old Israeli boy and gravely wounding at least six Israeli children" with indiscriminate rocket fire. Our newspaper of record can be counted on to cover up Israeli war crimes, just like the Secretary General of the UN.

Thursday, June 04, 2015

The NY Times:
"Aided by the Sea, Israel Overcomes an Old Foe: Drought" is the front page headline touting Israel's supposed environmental miracle. But what gets left out of this article?

Palestinians in Gaza subsist on water that is 95% non-potable, thanks to Israel's vicious blockade and wartime destruction of most of Gaza's infrastructure. Israel's citizens consume five times as much water as Palestinians in the West Bank, who often have to pay much more. 

In fact, The NYT article is all part of what Aljazeera calls "Brand Israel ... a multimillion dollar effort to improve the country's image abroad. Israel is presented as the country that provides an answer to one of the globe’s most ominous threats - global warming, drought, and water scarcity."

As Aljazeera reported last year, "To nervous Californians, Netanyahu crowed, 'Israel doesn't have a water problem!' - no doubt expecting to dazzle his audience with this miracle before trotting out the virtues of his country's innovation and industry. The statement was a stunning show of hubris and mendacity in light of the fact that Netanyahu's country has long deprived Palestinians of their own water. The visit [to California] - and the message it carried - are just the latest in the PR ploys aptly called 'bluewashing'. Israel doesn't have a 'water problem' because it steals water from Palestinians."

-->Shame on our newspaper of record for bluewashing Israeli apartheid.


Democracy Now:
"AMY GOODMAN: An article last week in The New York Times also argued for reauthorization of the PATRIOT Act, citing unnamed Obama administration officials saying such security measures cannot be suspended at a time of, quote, 'mounting terrorism threats.'" In the piece headlined 'White House Presses for Deal on Phone Data Bill,' the author goes on to quote an unnamed senior official saying, 'What you’re doing, essentially, is you’re playing national security Russian roulette. ...'

GLENN GREENWALD: I mean, The New York Times, the biggest disgrace journalistically in their history was the fact that they helped the Bush administration sell the Iraq War to the American public by disseminating false claims. And the way they did that was by giving anonymity to government officials to make utterly false claims with no accountability and then laundering it to the public. And after that all happened and it got exposed, they said they had learned their lesson and that they would no longer allow government officials to scare the public while hiding behind anonymity. And yet nothing has changed at The New York Times. That article that you just referenced is a pure illustration of exactly what Judy Miller got scapegoated and fired for, which is giving anonymity to government officials to scare the public in order to get what they want."

-->Yes, Glenn Greenwald gets it right. Our newspaper of record is always giving its readers government propaganda dressed up like real news. Nothing like "anonymous sources" for covering up the lies either.


Common Dreams:
"Echoing the protests of civil society organizations and social movements around the world, a panel of United Nations experts on Tuesday issued a stark warning about the threats that secret international 'trade' agreements such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) pose to the most fundamental human rights.

'Our concerns relate to the rights to life, food, water and sanitation, health, housing, education, science and culture, improved labor standards, an independent judiciary, a clean environment and the right not to be subjected to forced resettlement,' reads the statement, whose ten signatories include Ms. Catalina Devandas Aguilar, Special Rapporteur on the rights of person with disabilities and Ms. Victoria Lucia Tauli-Corpuz, Special Rapporteur on the rights of Indigenous peoples. 

In particular, the officials raise the alarm about the 'investor-state dispute settlement' systems that have become the bedrock of so-called 'free trade deals,' included in 3,000 agreements world-wide, according to the count of The New York Times. Popularly known as corporate tribunals, ISDS frameworks constitute a parallel legal system in which corporations can sue state governments for allegedly impeding profits and thereby supersede democratic laws and protection."

-->The NY Times didn't cover this story, although it did print an analysis back in March that outlined the dangers of 'investor-state disputed settlement." Why not print the UN report right before the big vote on TPP in the House?