Thursday, May 27, 2021

NYT Book Review:
In an article entitled "Daniel Patrick Moynihan Was Often Right. Joe Klein on Why It Still Matters," our newspaper of record extolls that combination of wealth, Ivy League schools, and statesmanship that makes a true American hero. Moynihan had it all, a tall, aristocratic demeanor as well as a celebrated career in public service. And not just any public service. According to Joe Klein, Moynihan was a moral and ethical force for good in the world, using his impressive intellectual and persuasive gifts to better his fellow human beings. 

Such is America's commitment to the propaganda of empire. One detail left out of this star struck and adoring depiction of Moynihan was his career at the UN, where he was single handedly responsible for covering up the Indonesian invasion and genocide against East Timor in 1977-78. 

The US armed, funded and protected the Indonesian invasion and subsequent mass killings, and Moynihan was the empire's go to man. In his own words. "The United States wished things to turn out as they did, and worked to bring this about. The Department of State desired that the United Nations prove utterly ineffective in whatever measures it undertook. This task was given to me, and I carried it forward with no inconsiderable success.”

Moynihan even took credit for the size of the genocide [10% of the population] and the fact that it was not reported in the US media, noting that because of his efforts "the subject disappeared from the press.” So here is the hero of American righteousness that the NYT Book Review asks readers to glorify. Our "newspaper of record" hiding the empire's genocide from the American people.


The Guardian UK:

"The toxic atmosphere on some US campuses has been long in gestation. Last year Palestine Legal took on 213 cases involving attempts to quash pro-Palestinian advocacy. Some 80% of the reported cases related to US campuses, with students or faculty targeted at 68 different academic institutions. ...

Though excesses have been committed on both sides, the record is by no means evenly weighted. Much like the Middle East discord itself, the balance of forces lies overwhelmingly in favor of supporters of Israel, with pro-Palestinian groups vastly outgunned.

Students protesting against Israeli occupation frequently find themselves accosted by a powerful array of well-funded adversaries – some backed by the Israeli government itself – armed with a battery of cyber tools. 'There has been an increase this year in blacklisting website activity that encourages doxing online of Palestinians and their allies,' [Palestine Legal attorney Amira] Mattar said.

-->While the NYT has made some astonishing breakthroughs in the coverage of Palestine (imagine front page stories about the siege of Gaza), its reporting on campus intimidation and coercion is still lagging far behind. We must go to a British newspaper to find out about free speech battles on US campuses. 


Common Dreams:

"The Campaign Legal Center on Wednesday filed suit against the Federal Election Commission, charging that the regulatory agency has failed to enforce the law against a group that spent millions of dollars on advertisements targeting key voters and opposing 2020 Democratic presidential primary candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders.

Though Sanders ultimately suspended his second presidential campaign and endorsed President Joe Biden, the Vermont Independent's impressive finish in the Iowa caucuses and victory in the New Hampshire Democratic primary were immediately followed by the formation of the Big Tent Project in mid-February 2020. ...

'Even if Big Tent Project were not a political committee,' the 2020 complaint says, 'it violated FECA by failing to disclose contributors who gave for political purposes and to fund its independent expenditures, and additionally failed to report tens of thousand s of dollars of independent expenditures.' "

-->Yes, the Democratic Party spent millions to stop Sander's run for the nomination. No, the NYT, didn't report the story. In fact the news blackout of Sander's candidacy has yet to be fully explored by any US mainstream media. 

Thursday, May 20, 2021

 Jacobin Magazine:
"On Palestine, the Media Is Allergic to the Truth. Once again, the media are trying to depict the fighting between Israelis and Palestinians as a round of meaningless violence from 'both sides' of an equally matched contest — the reality on the ground be damned.

There are two ways you could report on the bloody conflict unfolding right now in Israel and Palestine. One would be to put every new headline and story, whether that’s about Hamas’s rocket attacks or Israel’s wildly disproportionate airstrikes, in context.

That would mean explaining that the rockets came in the wake of a series of outrageous and criminal Israeli provocations in occupied East Jerusalem: a series of violent police raids on the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, the third holiest site in Islam during its holiest month, that have damaged the sacred structure and injured hundreds, including worshippers; that Israeli forces were attacking Palestinians who were occupying Aqsa both to pray and to protect it from bands of far-right Israeli extremists who have been marching through East Jerusalem, attacking Palestinians, and trying to break into the compound; and that all of this sits in the shadow of protests against Israel’s most recent attempt to steal land from Palestinians in the city, and the ramping up of Israel’s theft of Palestinian land more broadly under Trump."

-->The mainstream media is disinterested in the possibility that its reporting on Israel's war crimes are biased. Only a leftist magazine can tell us the truth about what Israel is doing, and how our media is complicit in hiding its war crimes. 


The Guardian UK

"Cali is the cockpit of chaos as Colombia protests threaten to spiral out of control. ... [The city] is the focus of a nationwide wave of demonstrations against poverty and inequality exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic.

But a string of incidents in which men in civilian clothing have brandished assault rifles and opened fire on protesters has prompted fears that the country – which is only just clawing its way out of war – is heading for broader conflict.

In the last 24 hours, indigenous protesters blocking roads have been shot at by assailants, fresh skirmishes have erupted between demonstrators and riot police, and residents have been trapped in their homes by clashes on the streets.

-->The NYT and the rest of the US media are underreporting these massive protests against an authoritarian government backed by the US. The NYT reserves its coverage of rebellions to Pentagon approved targets for US military intervention like Venezuela and Nicaragua. Our "newspaper of record" did print a tepid opinion column urging peace in the region, as well as a high school "Lesson of the Day" on Columbia, although most of the important facts were glossed over.


Common Dreams:

"As Israel continues its deadly assault on Palestinians throughout the occupied territories, a new analysis released Monday night shows that if congressional lawmakers in the U.S. approve the federal budget unveiled last month by President Joe Biden, the nation would give $1.3 billion more to the Israeli military than to the global climate response.

Although Biden has yet to release his official budget request for FY2022, he shared a preview, which was heavily criticized by progressives. ... In response to the analysis, Left Flank Veterans, a group of anti-war veterans, said Biden's spending priorities indicate that the president thinks 'preserving apartheid is more important than fighting climate change.' "

-->Israel has just slaughtered another 212 Palestinians, including 61 children, 36 women, and 2 doctors. Is there a speck of morality in our government's policy of rewarding Israel for its war crimes? How did Israel buy our president and so many members of Congress? And why doesn't our mainstream media report the full measure of Israel's racist carnage? 

Thursday, May 13, 2021

"Over the past few weeks, as the Israeli colonial forces escalated their brutal violence against the Palestinians of occupied Jerusalem, many hoped for some kind of a sharp reaction from the new Biden administration.

But that did not come. Instead, we once again heard about how 'deeply concerned' the US State Department is about 'unilateral steps that exacerbate tensions' and that both Israeli and Palestinian officials need 'to act decisively to de-escalate tensions'. ...

Conspicuously absent from all these statements are words that objectively assess the situation in Palestine, such as 'occupation', 'apartheid', 'settler-colonialism', and 'ethnic cleansing'.

This is the language that has long been entrenched and engineered by the powerful Israeli Lobby in the US to whitewash the Palestinian reality by presenting the Israeli apartheid and colonialism as an issue of 'conflict resolution and mediation' ”.

-->Yes, it is sickening to hear NPR talk about how confusing the conflict is. Here is a comment sent to "All Things Considered" by Judith: 

"Israeli police and Palestinians clashed … That was the NPR brief report yesterday, neutral as ever. When it comes to Israel/Palestine, what ATC leaves out is always most notable. Did Palestinians suddenly rise up from prayers at their holiest mosque on the holiest day of the Muslim calendar to attack Israeli police? It snuck very briefly into one of your previous reports that the Israeli police had started a riot with Palestinians as they were leaving the mosque. That fact was never mentioned by NPR again. From then on the story begins wherever Israel wants it to, with unruly Palestinians who, for no reason whatsoever, at least none given by ATC, rise up to strike at armed Israeli police. NPR claims the mantle of "most trusted name in news”. On the subject of Israel/Palestine it is rare to hear an unbiased or fair report. Palestinian necks have been under the knee of Israel far longer than the 50 years that NPR is now celebrating. The time is long overdue to tell the truth." 


FAIR (Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting):

Aggression, in international politics, is commonly defined as the use of armed force against another sovereign state, not justified by self-defense or international authority. Any state being described as aggressive in foreign or international reporting, therefore, is almost by definition in the wrong.

It’s a word that seems easy to apply to the United States, which launched 81 foreign interventions between 1946 and 2000 alone. In the 21st century, the United States has attacked, invaded or occupied the sovereign states of Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia.

Despite the US record, Western corporate media overwhelmingly reserve the word “aggression” for official enemy nations—whether or not it’s warranted. In contrast, US behavior is almost never categorized as aggressive, thereby giving readers a misleading picture of the world.

-->If there is one thing that the US media won't do, it is to describe the empire and its multiple war crimes over the last seventy years. With an omission like that, what's left of freedom of the press in our good old land of the free?


Common Dreams:

"Much of the world hasn't been fooled by propaganda about U.S. exceptionalism and superiority, according to a new poll released Wednesday.

On the contrary, almost half of respondents from 53 countries are worried that Washington threatens their democracy, and nearly two-thirds think economic inequality poses the biggest risk to popular rule.

Results of the Democracy Perception Index survey (pdf), conducted between February 24 and April 14 by Latana in collaboration with the Alliance of Democracies Foundation, are based on nationally representative interviews with more than 53,000 people. ...

Although global perceptions of the U.S. have improved since the inauguration of President Joe Biden, almost half (44%) of people around the world remain concerned that Washington poses a bigger threat to democracy in their country than either China (38%) or Russia (28%)."

-->The NYT, asleep in the arms of the American Empire, would never cover a story like this. No wonder people of the US will be the last to discover the empire's dirty secrets. 

Thursday, May 06, 2021

FAIR (Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting):
"If Mumia Abu-Jamal’s Case Is a ‘Non-Issue,’ Why Have Media Gone to Such Lengths to Silence Him? Philadelphia public broadcaster WHYY (4/24/21) was one of the few outlets to report on an April 24 rally seeking the release from prison of Mumia Abu-Jamal. The story included important information on Abu-Jamal, who is serving a life sentence for the 1981 killing of Philadelphia police officer Daniel Faulkner.

It noted that the case has 'drawn scrutiny' over claims of police, prosecutorial and judicial bias and misconduct. It cited new evidence released as part of the appeal process, including a note from a key prosecution witness asking the prosecuting attorney for money—the sort of evidence that Johanna Fernandez, a history professor and part of Abu-Jamal’s legal team, notes has in other instances led to a defendant either being set free or getting an immediate new trial. ...

Elite media would have us believe they are engaged in a serious reckoning with the racism of the US criminal justice system, that they care about over-incarceration and prison conditions. And keeping people behind bars just because powerful people want them there, and not due to the merits of their case? Well, that’s what Other Countries do."

-->Read FAIR's analysis of how our media has hidden and distorted the facts of Mumia, one of the longest held political prisoners in the United States. Can this country reform its criminal justice system while Mumia is left to die in prison, the victim of 40 years of institutional racism. Mumia and native American activist Leonard Peltier, imprisoned for over 40 years on another trumped up murder charge, define how this nation treats its most important political prisoners. 



"The American, Belgian, British, and South African intelligence agencies plotted Operation Celeste: Hammarskjöld’s murder. South African intelligence used a mercenary company called the SA Institute for Maritime Research (SAIMAR). Prior to the murder, Britain’s MI5 and Special Operations Executive (for which Sgt. Park worked) met with SAIMAR.

Documents, which various authorities have tried to dismiss as forgeries, state: '[United Nations Organization] is becoming troublesome and it is felt that Hammarskjöld should be removed.' CIA Director Dulles 'agrees and has promised full cooperation from his people.' Referring to Hammarskjöld and Lumumba, respectively, the author writes: 'I want his removal to be handled more efficiently than was Patrice.' SAIMAR arranged to blow up Hammarskjöld’s DC-6 plane with 6lbs of TNT. The bomb failed and a contingency plan involved Hammarskjöld’s plane being shot down by a British-Belgian former Royal Air Force pilot, Jan van Risseghem, known as the Lone Ranger.

At the time, Rhodesia was part of the waning British Empire. U.S. Naval Officer, Charles Southall, heard intercepted transmissions in which Risseghem said of Hammarskjöld’s plane attempting to land in Rhodesia: 'I’m going to go down to make a run on it. Yes, it’s the Transair DC­6. It’s the plane. I’ve hit it. There are flames. It’s going down. It’s crashing.' Now-declassified cables by U.S."

-->Wouldn't it be news if it turned out that the US and the UK had assassinated a Secretary General of the United Nations? This story only keeps getting worse, with more and more evidence that the CIA and MI6 were behind two killings in the early 1960s, that of of Congo's President Patrice Lumumba and that of UN Secretary-General Dag Hammarskjöld. Sixty years later and our major media still can't bring itself to admit these murders.   


Common Dreams:

"Scathing Human Rights Watch Report Says Israel Guilty of Apartheid.

The prominent watchdog group's new analysis finds the oppression of Palestinians has reached a 'threshold.' Human Rights Watch said Tuesday that the policies and actions of the Israeli government against the Palestinian people amount to systematic "apartheid" and unlawful persecution that must be stopped.

The accusations related to Israel's actions in the occupied territories (OPT) and within Israel are laid out in a new report entitled 'A Threshold Crossed: Israeli Authorities and the Crimes of Apartheid and Persecution.' The findings are based on over two years of research and documentation including official government statements, internal planning documents, and interviews."

-->The NYT had to cover this story. But typically it repeated pro Israeli falsehoods, like Palestinians living in Israel are given full citizenship rights.