Thursday, June 24, 2021

Democracy Now!
"The Intercept reports a top official in the outgoing Bolivian government plotted to deploy hundreds of mercenaries from a U.S. military base near Miami to overturn the results of Bolivia’s election in October of 2020. Though the coup plot was never carried out, documents and recorded phone calls reveal the former Bolivian minister of defense, Luis Fernando López, discussed the plan with Joe Pereira, a former civilian administrator with the U.S. Army. Pereira, who has boasted of links to U.S. Special Forces, promised López he could mobilize thousands of foreign mercenaries to join elite Bolivian military units, renegade police squadrons and vigilante mobs to prevent Bolivia’s Movement to Socialism party from retaking power.

Joe Pereira: 'I can get up to 10,000 men with no problem. I don’t think we need 10,000. … All Special Forces. I can also bring about 350 what we call LEPs, law enforcement professionals, to guide the police.'

Socialist candidate Luis Arce went on to win the Bolivian presidency in the first round of voting last October, putting an end to the far-right government which ousted President Evo Morales in a U.S.-backed coup in November 2019."

-->It is the same old story: the US involved in plots to overthrow democratically elected leaders in Central America. Of course, our "newspaper of record" wasn't interested in this story.


Common Dreams:

"The European Commission is under pressure to end caged animal farming in the next six years after policymakers in the European Union overwhelmingly voted to stop the practice to protect animal welfare as well as human and planetary health, responding to widespread public demand for the ban.


Critics of industrial farming practices hailed the "landmark victory," with 558 members of European Parliament (MEPs) voting in favor of the ban, just 37 opposing, and 85 abstaining from the vote. ...

An End the Cage Age petition was signed by 1.4 million people across Europe, with the support of more than 170 organizations campaigning for environmental protections as well as public health."

-->The NYT is no friend of animal rights activists or sustainable animal farming. It didn't cover this story, probably because it represents a challenge to the power of Big Ag in this country.


Common Dreams:

"As Brazil's Covid-19 death toll surpassed 500,000 on Saturday, at least hundreds of thousands of protesters took to the streets of more than 400 cities across the nation and around the world to blame President Jair Bolsonaro for the grim pandemic milestone and demand his ouster.

Chanting and holding signs with slogans including 'Bolsonaro Out,' '500,000 Deaths, It's His Fault,' and 'Vaccines Now,' protesters called for the resignation or impeachment of the far-right president. Demonstrators also implored the government to ramp up vaccination efforts. ...

Bolsonaro—a former army captain who has waxed nostalgic for the country's former U.S.-backed military dictatorship—has been beset by political, public health, and environmental crises amid an emerging progressive consensus for his impeachment."

-->The NYT headline for this story reads "Brazil, Besieged by Covid, Now Faces a Severe Drought." Not much about the movement to get rid of Bolsonaro, a staunch US ally. Why can't the NYT break away from reporting the news according to the US empire?

Friday, June 18, 2021

 Common Dreams:

"Progressive pro-democracy forces worldwide 'sounded the alarm' Friday as backers of right-wing Peruvian presidential candidate and former dictator's daughter Keiko Fujimori alleged election fraud—despite lack of evidence—as she challenged an apparent win by leftist Pedro Castillo, who ran on a platform to lift up the poor and redistribute the nation's wealth.

Fujimori, the daughter ex-President Alberto Fujimori—currently in jail for his role in civil massacres and corruption—has made what critics and experts warn are baseless allegations of electoral fraud, especially as independent observers have reported no irregularities. As of Friday, with nearly all votes in, Castillo a former school teacher, had 50.2% to Fujimori's 49.8%, a difference of about 63,000 votes. ...

'On the one hand you had the extremely well-funded campaign of Fujimori, which benefited from enormous private sector support and nearly uniformly favorable coverage in all of Peru's major media,' [said Alexander Main, director of international policy for the D.C.-based Center for Economic and Policy Research]. 'On the other hand you had Castillo's campaign, carried out on a shoestring budget and subject to constant attacks and fear-mongering in the media.' "

-->To the NYT, the Peruvian election is "still undecided" and the outcome "pushes a Democracy to its Brink." There is little said about the big money support of Fujimori or the one sidedness of their corporate controlled media. Much of the US media has not covered the election at all.


The Nation:

"In a letter to the US Congress seen by the Sunday Nation, President Biden said that he had approved sending special operations troops to Kenya, which is expected to collaborate with the Kenyan military in combating Al-Shabaab. The number of troops is not indicated.

The US deployment is expected to be a security boost for Kenya, which has in recent years suffered deadly gun and bomb attacks from Al-Shabaab. The Somalia-based group is known to have sympathisers in Kenya."

-->Biden is sending more US troops to Africa, but the US media hardly notices. Where is the reporting abut another continent overrun by neoliberal corporate interests? It's all about guaranteeing US access to Africa's resources, done at the point of a gun. As Mark Twain said of his country: "Lust of conquest had long ago done its work; trampling upon the helpless abroad had taught her, by a natural process, to endure with apathy the like at home.”


Common Dreams:

"Wall Street has been making huge investments — not in businesses or stocks, but in the American political process. At nearly $3 billion, the financial sector spent record sums on campaign contributions and lobbying during the 2019-2020 election cycle.

Wall Street has one goal: to maximize profits. By using wealth as leverage, Wall Street wields immense power over the electoral and legislative processes, to the detriment of ordinary people and American democracy. One part of the answer to this problem is pending legislation to reinvigorate the laws that underpin our self-governance.

The financial sector’s political spending skyrocketed by 50 percent between the 2015-2016 and 2019-2020 election cycles, culminating in $2.9 billion spent in the past year, according to a recently released report from Americans for Financial Reform."

-->This report lays it all out, how the very rich run the country. The NYT, the voice of the plutocracy, didn't think this story was newsworthy.

Thursday, June 10, 2021

The Intercept:

"THE U.S. MILITARY killed 23 civilians and injured another 10 in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Somalia during 2020, according to a Pentagon report on civilian casualties that was released on Wednesday and immediately faced charges of being a whitewash. Experts said the report vastly undercounts the dead and wounded from U.S. military operations. ...

'The failure to accurately account and make amends for civilian harm does a disservice to civilians already suffering unimaginable loss, as well as to the Americans who deserve fuller transparency into the ways that U.S. operations have harmed civilians,' Annie Shiel, the senior adviser for U.S. policy and advocacy at the Center for Civilians in Conflict, told The Intercept. ...


A conservative accounting of civilians killed by the U.S. military in 2020, according to Airwars, a U.K.-based airstrike monitoring group, is almost five times higher: 102 noncombatant deaths resulting from U.S. attacks in Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia, Syria, and Yemen. ... The Pentagon’s dramatic undercount does not include any of the secret attacks carried out by the Central Intelligence Agency, which the U.S. government does not acknowledge. Nor does it take into account the civilian toll resulting from assistance to allies, such as Saudi Arabia, whose bombing campaign has killed thousands of civilians in Yemen."

-->US news outlets simply haven't covered this story. The US military kills them, and the US media just covers it up. 


FAIR (Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting):

"US Sanctions Against Venezuela Cause Shortages in Diesel, Editorial Standards. Western corporate media have time and again proved to be reliable allies for US regime change efforts against Venezuela. Alongside the occasional military threat, Washington’s strategy in recent years has relied on unilateral coercive measures commonly known as sanctions. Despite these measures being classified as 'collective punishment' and found responsible for tens of thousands of deaths, corporate journalists have been for a long time happy to downplay or totally ignore them. ...

Corporate journalists began to scrutinize the consequences of sanctions and complain about their 'failure' to topple the Maduro government toward the end of the Trump administration. But the arrival of President Joe Biden evidently reinvigorated their sense of duty as loyal stenographers serving the imperial presidency. As the US blockade becomes more asphyxiating to Venezuelans than ever before, corporate outlets have either turned their gaze somewhere else, or doubled down on misrepresenting sanctions.

The new administration has been abetted in its neo-Trumpian foreign policy by a media establishment ever willing to present collective punishment of an entire population as 'democracy promotion.' The fact that Trump’s brazen mob-style threats have been replaced by more sophisticated mafioso innuendo has certainly made corporate journalists’ life easier in this regard.

-->Along with hiding the true death count of countries attacked by the US military, our empire friendly media routinely ignores the damage of US economic sanctions. At last count 22 countries are now being economical sanctioned by the US. And the death tolls from economic sanctions? The sanctions against Iraq starting in 1990 caused the death of tens of thousands of children. 


News Ghana:

"Africa has 30 percent of the remaining mineral resources in the world, which, largely, remain untouched. According to recent forecasts, Africa will become a global strategic resource reserve by 2030. First of all, this refers to the irreplaceable types of minerals regularly used in the military. Even now, the US Military Industrial Complex dependence on imports of non-ferrous and rare metals from African countries exceeds 50%. ...

At the same time, Washington increases its military activity in Africa. The South African Mail & Guardian, referring to the documents of the US Armed Forces Africa Command, describes an ambitious project to deploy a network of military bases throughout Africa. The files detail more than $330-million of spending, including a list of 'prioritized' military construction projects planned to be carried out from 2021 to 2025. This is designated for infrastructure investments on US bases stretching across Africa. ...

Africa once again becomes a victim of colonization by Western culture. The widespread privatization of valuable deposits by American companies will stagnate any national opportunities for economic growth on the Black continent. Moreover, the cultural identity of the African peoples will also be vanished, pushing the world closer to globalization where Africa is destined to play the role of the raw material colony.

-->One has to go beyond traditional US media to find any mention of our country's recolonization of Africa. BLM, however, is opening a window on this hidden story.

Thursday, June 03, 2021


"The online discipline and punishment of celebrities who make statements critical of Israel’s war crimes is a central feature of wrenching back [the Israel Lobby's] control of the narrative of what’s happening in Palestine. In the space of a few hours, Mark Ruffalo made an assertion that Israel was committing 'genocide' in Gaza. It gained headlines and pushback. 

Ruffalo wilted under orchestrated fury, as many have before him. He recanted and his recantation reaped even bigger headlines. But not only did he recant. Ruffalo also castigated Palestinians and supporters of Palestinian liberation for using factually-based and legally apt terms, like 'apartheid' and 'genocide,' to describe Israel’s assault on Gaza. In this way, Ruffalo went from a critic to a high-profile agent of the very force [he] had a just denounced.

-->Jeffrey St. Clair's criticism of the left is right on target in his article "Roaming Charges: Back to the Future in Gaza." He concludes that "There’s an insecurity in the heart of American liberalism, a lack of faith in its own professed beliefs." Most of the US media avoided this story, except for Fox News and NBC. 



"As you are surely aware, advocates for Israel are using an apparent surge in antisemitic attacks to try to delegitimize pro-Palestine advocacy.

Part of that effort is a move to characterize the charge that Israel is practicing apartheid as antisemitic. Four pro-Israel congresspeople sent a letter to President Biden yesterday taking aim at fellow Democrats who are critical of Israel. The four — Josh Gottheimer, Elaine Luria, Dean Phillips, and Kathy Manning, all of whom are Jewish — say Israel protects Jews, so criticisms of Israel over “apartheid” or “terrorism” are “antisemitic at their core."

[In an excerpt from their letter]: 'We also reject comments from Members of Congress accusing Israel of being an 'apartheid state' and committing 'act[s] of terrorism.' These statements are antisemitic at their core and contribute to a climate that is hostile to many Jews. We must never forget that less than eighty years ago, within the lifetime of our parents and grandparents, six million people were murdered by the Nazis in the Holocaust because they were Jews.”

-->How long can the Holocaust be used to justify another genocide? As long as the US sees geopolitical advantage in supplying the planes and bombs for Israel's assaults on Palestinians, the war crimes will continue. The empire has no conscience. And the empire's media has little interest in bringing that fact to life.


The Guardian UK:

"The Argentinian government has sent hundreds of DNA testing kits to its consulates around the world in a groundbreaking effort to put names to unidentified victims murdered in the 'Dirty War' waged by the brutal military dictatorship four decades ago.

Last month, the Argentinian authorities, in collaboration with the National Commission for the Right to Identity, the Grandmothers of Plaza de Mayo movement and investigators from the Argentinian Forensic Anthropology Team (EAAF), launched its international Right to Identity campaign, committed to putting a name to every woman, man and child killed by the military junta in Argentina in the 1970s and early 80s.

After the 1976 coup, Argentina’s military set about systematically crushing any potential opposition, and eventually 'disappeared' and murdered 30,000 people, almost all of them civilian, unarmed non-combatants. The abuses ... have inflicted a deep trauma on the Argentinian psyche. Pregnant prisoners were kept alive until they gave birth and were then murdered. At least 500 babies were taken from their parents while in captivity and given to childless military couples to raise as their own."

-->The NYT didn't cover this story, and the Guardian left out any mention of the US and British involvement in the bloodletting. In fact the US was aware of the coup two months before it happened, and Henry Kissinger met several times with its military leaders, urging them to murder as many people as possible before the outcry over human rights abuses grew in the US. All those skeletons of empire; what to do with all those bodies?