Wednesday, August 25, 2021


"Corporate media coverage of the US withdrawal from Afghanistan and the collapse of the country’s US-backed government has offered audiences more mystification than illumination. I looked at editorials in five major US dailies following the Taliban’s retaking of Kabul: the Boston Globe, LA Times, New York Times, Wall Street Journal and Washington Post. The editorial boards of these papers consistently trivialized South Asian lives, erased US responsibility for lethal violence, and made untenable assertions about Washington’s supposedly righteous motives in the war.

The editorials evince a callous indifference to the toll of the war on civilians in Afghanistan and Pakistan, where the war has also been fought. The New York Times (8/15/21) referred to 'at least 2,448 American service members’ lives lost in Afghanistan,' and to 'Afghan casualties so huge—60,000 killed since 2001, by one estimate—that the government kept them a secret.' The link makes clear that the authors are talking about deaths among Afghan police and soldiers. Yet, as of April, more than 71,000 civilians—over 47,000 Afghans and more than 24,000 Pakistanis—have been directly killed in the US-initiated war.

The Boston Globe’s piece (8/16/21) described 'two decades of the United States propping up Afghan forces to keep the Taliban at bay at the cost of more than $2 trillion and more than 2,400 lost military service members.' Tens of thousands of dead Afghan and Pakistani civilians evidently aren’t significant enough to factor into 'the cost' of the war. ..."

-->Yes, the whitewashing of the empire is at its peak in the nation's media. How the US got into the war, the unimaginable profits for the weapons makers, and the cowardice of Bush, Obama, and Trump for not withdrawing earlier are all forgotten.


The Hill:

"New report says US government deliberately targeted Black Lives Matter

More than 90 percent of the federal criminal cases could have been charged under state or local laws. The report, first released by The Associated Press (AP), was conducted in partnership with the Movement for Black Lives and Creating Law Enforcement Accountability & Responsibility clinic (CLEAR) at City University of New York School of Law.

Whether or not protesters did commit any crimes, the report signifies that the highest offices in the federal government used criminal prosecution tactics to disrupt and discourage protesters from expressing themselves, the AP reported. ...

'We want to really show how the US government has continued to persecute the Black movement by surveillance, by criminalizing protests, and by using the criminal legal system to prevent people from protesting and punishing them for being engaged in protests by attempting to curtail their first amendment rights,' said Amara Enyia, the Movement for Black Lives’ policy research coordinator."

-->Why wouldn't the mainstream media like the NYT be all over this story? It is exactly what the federal government did to the Black Panther Party in the late 1960s. Can't our society come to terms with its official racism?


The Guardian:

"Cybersleuths have tracked down two men who allegedly attacked police officer Jeffrey Smith at the US Capitol during the 6 January insurrection, leaving him with injuries that have been linked to his death days later.

In a new complaint, attorney David P Weber – who represents Smith’s widow, Erin – wrote that David Walls-Kaufman and and Taylor F Taranto appeared to specifically target Smith because his eyes and face were vulnerable. ...

'I thought the I in FBI stood for investigation,' Weber told HuffPost. 'It’s pretty lame that a private lawyer for a dead police officer’s widow has to be the one conducting the investigation.' "

-->The feds did a good job investigating Black Lives protesters, but they were not so good finding white supremacists, the real terrorists in our society. Compounding the official racism, the NYT didn't print this story.

Tuesday, August 17, 2021

 The Guardian UK:

"Why is Afghanistan falling to the Taliban so fast? The Taliban has been seizing territory in Afghanistan at an alarming rate, having captured all or parts of 10 provincial capitals from the Afghan National Defense Security Forces (ANDSF) in the past week. Far from representing a reason for Joe Biden to halt the withdrawal, however, this rapid deterioration in Afghan security has exposed the bankruptcy of US policies for at least the past 15 years – and the stark unwillingness to tell the truth by a generation of senior US leaders.

Since early 2002, the war in Afghanistan never had a chance of succeeding. After President Bush’s initial objectives of disrupting al-Qaida and punishing the Taliban were accomplished by March 2002, the mission was changed to a nation-building operation that included objectives that were outright militarily unattainable. Presidents Obama and Trump continued the nation-building focus, guaranteeing the war would never be 'won' and thus never end. ...

Behind the scenes America’s senior leaders have known, almost from the beginning, that the war was unwinnable, that the Afghan government was fatally corrupt, and that the Afghan security forces would never be up to the task. Instead of acknowledging reality, instead of coming clean to the American people, they hid the truth or outright lied about it."

-->Will our mainstream media ever come clean about this criminal war? So far, American readers have to go to a newspaper in the UK to get a clear view of why it all happened. The invasion and occupation were simply based on lies, and done for political and economic reasons.


Don't Extradite Assange

"Amnesty International reiterated their call to end the politically motivated charges against WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange ahead of Wednesday’s preliminary appeal hearing. 'This disingenuous appeal should be dismissed by the court and President Biden should take the opportunity to drop these politically motivated charges which have put media freedom and freedom of expression in the dock.' ...

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) joined the call asking the Biden administration to drop the politically motivated charges and for Assange’s immediate release. General Secretary Anthony Bellanger said: 'President Joe Biden must end the years of politically motivated prosecution of Julian Assange by finally dropping the charges against him.' ...

Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) issued a statement after the High Court’s decision to allow the United States government to expand its appeal. CPJ Deputy Executive Director Robert Mahoney said: 'A successful prosecution of the WikiLeaks founder, which hinges on an allegation of conspiracy between a publisher and sources, would hamper reporters’ ability to work with sources and whistleblowers and unearth information that the public should know.' ...

The European Centre for Press and Media Freedom (ECPMF) continues to support Julian Assange and urge for his immediate and unconditional release. PEN International and English PEN issued a joint statement following the outcome of the preliminary appeal hearing. Salil Tripathi, Chair of PEN International’s Writers in Prison Committee, said: 'The charges faced by Julian Assange in the US represent a huge threat to media freedom and investigative journalism everywhere.' "

-->The US media is lockstep in it's denial of human rights for Julian Assange. His extradition to the US empire is just as criminal.


Common Dreams:

"A new report published Wednesday reveals how the Koch network—a shadowy group of wealthy capitalists acting to push the U.S. in a more conservative direction—is methodically working to undermine and privatize public education for financial gain.

The report (pdf), entitled The Koch Network and the Capture of K-12 Education, was compiled by the advocacy groups UnKoch My Campus and Save Our Schools Arizona (SOSAZ) and examines tactics employed by the plutocrats' cabal—which is led by billionaire Charles Koch, and whose members pay at least $100,000 per year—'to destabilize and abolish public education.'

'In order to influence K-12 public education, the Koch network has financed local, state, and national mechanisms to create multiple crises, only to turn around and cite these same crises as reasons to adopt their free market solutions,' according to UnKoch My Campus."

-->The NYT and on down the media feed chain is often in favor of charter schools, indicating how the very rich want to control what is taught in our nation's schools.

Wednesday, August 11, 2021

The Intercept:

"THE DRIVE TO PERSUADE President Joe Biden to cancel student debt took a major hit last week when House Speaker Nancy Pelosi stunned Congress with a surprise statement in opposition. The move may put her at odds with much of the public and the Democratic Party, but it aligns her with Democratic megadonors Steven and Mary Swig, the billionaire scions of the Bay Area’s oldest real estate dynasty who have deep ties to the California representative. Steven Swig has also long served as a treasurer for Pelosi in her fundraising efforts.

In November, after Biden’s election, and amid increased pressure to cancel student debt, the Swigs quietly circulated a memo among key Capitol Hill figures, making the dubious case that debt cancellation at the executive level is illegal. The argument in the memo gets much of its weight by virtue of the wealthy couple who produced it, as the Swigs are not just major funders of progressive nonprofits, but also have significantly bankrolled Pelosi and her House Democratic caucus.

The memo, obtained by The Intercept, was distributed to members of Congress by Freedom to Prosper, an organization founded by and for the Swigs. The couple has in the past directly lobbied Pelosi, according to two sources with knowledge of the meetings, in which the Swigs would suggest rhetoric or policy proposals that Pelosi would agree to adopt in some form."

-->This disgusting display of how billionaires control Democratic Party leadership was nowhere to be seen on the plages of the NYT, that disgusting corporate rag that always supports mainstream Democratic Party sellouts. 


The NYT:

"How a Star Times Reporter Got Paid by Government Agencies He Covered.

A pair of new books tell how William L. Laurence, a reporter for The New York Times known as ‘Atomic Bill,’ became an apologist for the American military and a serial defier of journalism’s mores.

Shortly after the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Maj. Gen. Leslie R. Groves of the U.S. Army, who directed the making of the weapons, told Congress that succumbing to their radiation was 'a very pleasant way to die.' ... His aide in misinforming America was William L. Laurence, a science reporter for The New York Times. At the general’s invitation, the writer entered a maze of secret cities in Tennessee, Washington and New Mexico. His exclusive reports on the Manhattan Project, when released after the Hiroshima bombing, helped shape postwar opinion on the bomb and atomic energy.

Before the war, Mr. Laurence’s science reporting won him a Pulitzer. Working with and effectively for the War Department during the bomb project, he witnessed the test explosion of the world’s first nuclear device and flew on the Nagasaki bombing run. He won his second Pulitzer for his firsthand account of the atomic strike as well as subsequent articles on the bomb’s making and significance."

-->Only seventy years late, the NYT discovers that the Pentagon was paying off some of its prize winning journalists. Our newspaper of record didn't have much choice, as the revelations came out in two recently published books. How much of its current warmongering articles on Venezuela, Cuba and Nicaragua will eventually be traced back to Pentagon sponsors? We will know in about 2090.


Common Dreams:

"Science Museum Just Killed Its 'Own Reputation,' Says Greta Thunberg After Docs Reveal Gag Clause With Shell. The London Science Museum is facing fresh criticism from climate campaigners following revelations that the institution signed a 'gagging clause' with Shell banning it from criticizing the oil giant as part of an exhibition sponsorship agreement.

Thunberg's tweet was in response to Channel 4 News' reporting on the contract for Shell's controversial sponsorship of the 'Our Future Planet' exhibition, which opened in May and includes carbon capture technologies. Those include ones 'Shell either has commercial interest in, researches, or actually operates,' Politico EU reported Friday. ...

'It essentially creates a 'chilling effect,' where museum staff must refrain from speaking openly about the reality of Shell's activities because it could be seen as damaging the company's goodwill or reputation.' "

-->Is there an aspect of our democracy that hasn't been compromised by the wealthy and their massive, polluting corporations? Readers of the NYT don't have to worry. The newspaper didn't cover this story.

Tuesday, August 03, 2021

 Common Dreams:

"SOS: A Plea for Freedom From Misleading Media Narratives on Cuba.

Since the beginning of protests in Cuba, the U.S. corporate media have been peddling false narratives and outright lies about the country.

In the wake of this month's protests in Cuba over food and medicine shortages and other complaints, the New York-based magazine Travel + Leisure ran an item titled '4 Ways to Help the People of Cuba Right Now.' First on the list is 'asking the US for humanitarian intervention' in order to 'help alleviate the dire situation citizens are in.' Never mind that Cuba's dire situation has just about everything to do with United States interference in the first place—particularly the six-decades-long blockade that, under international law, technically qualifies as an act of war—or that magazines called Travel + Leisure should perhaps stick to the subjects at hand rather than serving as conduits for imperial propaganda. ...

But the problem extends far beyond Travel + Leisure. The US corporate media as a whole have been less than serious in their coverage of recent events in Cuba—to the extent that many outlets have deceitfully published images of pro-government demonstrations cast as the opposite."

-->If you want proof of how propagandistic our media has become, just read some of the coverage on Cuba. It is the media pushing for war again, which seems to be the consensus of both parties as well as the military industrial complex. War is money in the US empire. 


Common Dreams:

"The case of an American human rights attorney who won a multibillion-dollar judgment against one of the world's largest oil companies and has spent the past two years on house arrest led a pair of Democratic U.S. senators on Thursday to raise questions and concerns about the use of private prosecutors in the federal court system.

Sens. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) revealed Friday that they sent a letter (pdf) to Judge Roslynn R. Mauskopf, director of the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts, with inquiries about the practice and federal rules of criminal procedure

'Recently, the case of environmental lawyer Steven Donziger has garnered significant attention and shined a spotlight on private prosecutions of criminal contempt charges,' the pair wrote. 'These prosecutions are highly unusual and can raise concerning questions of fundamental fairness in our criminal justice system.' "

-->Yes, the imprisonment of Steven Donziger for winning a case against Texaco-Chevron for its massive environmental destruction in Ecuador is startling. Even worse, we learn that the prosecution of Donziger in federal court is being handled by Chevron lawyers. Do a search on Donziger in the NYT and you will discover how deep this corporate rot is in our mainstream media. 




"So much bad news is hitting Israel’s leaders, so fast, these days, that they may have overlooked warnings by the American Jewish Committee (AJC), among others, that the United Church of Christ General Synod was considering becoming the first major U.S. denomination to label Israel an apartheid state. The Zionist shock and outrage didn’t have the intensity of the meltdown over the Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream affair, which came at the same time, but the UCC’s condemnation of Israeli treatment of the Palestinians is sure to resonate with the other mainline American churches — and their millions of members. ...

Moreover, the UCC resolution is likely to be only the first blow among many from other mainline denominations, including the Presbyterians, Methodists, Lutherans, Episcopalians, Unitarians, Quakers and others who will follow the UCC lead in denouncing Israel’s “continued oppression of the Palestinian people” and calling on the U.S. government to support full equal rights for Palestinians."

-->The NYT didn't cover this story. Despite some recent changes, our newspaper of record still tries to eliminate stores critical of the apartheid state of Israel.