Thursday, December 30, 2021


"Media Forgets Afghan Plight as US Sanctions Drive Mass Famine Risk. As the United States withdrew militarily from Afghanistan in August, US TV news interest in the plight of the country’s citizens spiked, often focusing on 'the horror awaiting women and girls' (CNN Situation Room, 8/16/21) to argue against withdrawal (, 8/23/21). Four months later, as those same citizens have been plunged into a humanitarian crisis due in no small part to US sanctions, where is the outrage? ...

Despite pleas from around the globe, even, most recently, from former US military commanders in Afghanistan and dozens of members of Congress (Washington Post, 12/20/21), the Biden administration has made only slight tweaks to its policies, which are ostensibly meant to punish and provide leverage over the Taliban, but, like other supposedly targeted sanctions, have the effect of putting millions of civilian lives in peril. ...

Even when reports did mention the crisis, they rarely highlighted the US role. Of the 37 mentions, FAIR was able to find only four that named sanctions as a factor."

-->The US media loves talking about women's rights, but when it comes to starving millions of people with sanctions, suddenly the enthusiasm vanishes. Once again, Pentagon propaganda outweighs accurate reporting. 


Common Dreams:

"In what climate campaigners on Wednesday celebrated as not only a 'historic' win but also a model for the rest of the country, New York City Comptroller Scott M. Stringer and trustees of major public pensions funds announced a $3 billion divestment from fossil fuels.

'We'd like to thank Comptroller Stringer, for his years of public service and his leadership in protecting our pensions and our planet by divesting from fossil fuel investments. Thank you for joining the fight to reduce the money flowing to the world's most dangerous polluters,' said 350NYC Steering Committee member Dorian Fulvio. Climate Finance Program director Richard Brooks declared that 'once again, New York City is a beacon of progressive climate action. ... This ahead-of-schedule and unprecedentedly transparent completion of one of the biggest fossil fuel divestments translates words and commitment into real action,' he said. 'Every pension fund and investor needs to pay attention: If divestment can be completed in New York, it can and should happen everywhere.' "

-->For some reason, the story of NYC divesting from fossil fuels never made it into the city's major newspaper. It covered in the Gothamist, a NYC publication with fewer ties to Big Oil companies. 


The Guardian UK:

"The US military trained him. Then he helped murder Berta Cáceres. ...

[David] Castillo is certain to be remembered: earlier this year, the Honduran high court found him guilty as the joint perpetrator in the 2016 assassination of the indigenous activist Berta Cáceres, then one of Latin America’s most prominent environmental defenders. ... Castillo was the president of the company building the dam and the court concluded that he had used his military training to stalk her for years, while secretly helping coordinate the assassination. ...

Central American cadets have been outsized fixtures of the program since it began in 1889. Since then, almost a fifth of the more than 500 international graduates have come from the seven small Central American countries. ... Similar arguments [about exposing students to US democratic ideals] were made in support of the 'School of the Americas', a US Army program founded in 1946 to train Latin American soldiers – more than a hundred of whom have been accused of human rights abuse at home. Among them were two of the other seven men convicted in 2019 of participating in Cáceres’s murder."

-->This story is hard to find in the country supposedly exposing foreign students to "US democratic ideals." No doubt it is a shameful story, that the US is training killers and sending them back to countries in Latin America. Castillo still enjoys wide support from his fellow classmates at West Point. That damning tidbit of information is also nonexistent in the US media. 

Thursday, December 23, 2021

The New York Times:

"The claim that his mother willingly gave him up hurt, Mr. Graf said, until he learned this year that he is one of hundreds — possibly thousands — of Chilean adoptees taken from their parents without their consent during the country’s military dictatorship.

Ms. Quezada, it turned out, had not surrendered her son; she was told the baby, born three months premature, had died. 'Two weeks after the birth, they told me he had died,' Ms. Quezada said. 'I asked for the body and they refused, saying it was too small.'

Investigators looking into coercive adoptions in Chile since the first cases came to light in 2014 have come to a stunning conclusion: The practice was widespread during the rule of Gen. Augusto Pinochet, who actively encouraged overseas adoptions to reduce poverty in the 1970s and 1980s. The process was abetted by a vast network of officials — including judges, social workers, health professionals and adoption brokers — who forged documents and are widely assumed to have taken bribes."

-->The NYT did some great investigative reporting for this story, an amazing one really of children stolen from their parents and sold abroad. But in the page long article, one important fact is completely left out. There is plenty of condemnation for the brutal dictatorship of General Pinochet in Chili, but no mention of the US coup that had overthrown the democratically elected leader before him. So the story is all about the US and Chile, but the critical piece about the workings of the US empire is gone. That's how the empire's newspaper works. [Sometimes the NYT does make us proud, like the recent story of US drone strikes in the Middle East.]



"Education is central to Cuba’s brand of socialism. The revolutionary government’s dedication to scientific knowledge and healthcare for all shows up now as Cubans cope with the Covid-19 pandemic. The United States is not so lucky.

Cubans have wholeheartedly carried out masking, social-distancing, testing and quarantining. Cuba’ s bio-medical research and production facilities created five anti-Covid vaccines. As of December 3, 90.1 percent of Cubans had received their first dose; 82.3 percent of them were fully vaccinated. Only seven other countries have higher rates. (1) Trials showed that Cuba’s workhorse Abdala and Soberana 02 vaccines were protective for over 90 percent of vaccine recipients.

Cuba’s Covid vaccines don’t need extremely low-temperature refrigeration as is the case for major U.S. vaccines. In that regard they are particularly useful in poorly resourced countries. Cuba has sent, or is preparing to send, vaccines to Vietnam, Venezuela, Iran, and Nicaragua. Cuban scientists are elaborating a version of their Soberana Plus vaccine that will protect against the Omicron variant.

Cuba’s achievement in producing anti-Covid-19 vaccines is remarkable in the face of shortages of equipment, reagents, and supplies due to the U.S. economic blockade.

U.S. and Cuban assumptions regarding vaccination programs and other public health measures are different. Vaccine production in Cuba is a matter of the common good, pure and simple. In United States, government-subsidized manufacturers will be making huge profits – $18 billion for Moderna in 2021. U.S. government scientists and their pharmaceutical company counterparts collaborated in developing vaccines, but the companies now are claiming intellectual-property and patent rights for themselves."

-->Would the NYT ever print such an article about Cuba? If you have been reading FantasylandMedia for very long, you will be able to answer that question. The US Empire is hell bent on preserving the worst forms of capitalist exploitation, and one example is certainly the nation's healthcare system. The Cubans do it so much better, but our "newspaper of record" would never admit that.  



"Addis Ababa, Ethiopia – Amid a bloody civil conflict and increasing great-power competition between the United States and China, there are a number of alarming signs that Ethiopia will become the next Libya – an African nation where the U.S. intervenes militarily under the pretext of stopping an impending genocide.

A considerable military buildup is now underway. Last week, the U.S. military announced it was sending over 1,000 National Guard members to nearby Djibouti. This is on top of the special operations forces already sent in November. Perhaps most notably, a government official told CNN that the aircraft carrier USS Essex – along with two other large amphibious vehicles – was steaming towards the Horn of Africa and standing by for further orders.

For weeks, the drums of war have been growing louder in our nation’s media. 'Ethiopia’s civil war is a problem U.S. troops can help solve,' Admiral James Stavridis, former supreme allied commander of NATO, wrote in Bloomberg and The Washington Post.

->The Empire on the move in Africa? Our major media is playing its usual role, that of cheerleading our next military invasion.

Wednesday, December 15, 2021

Common Dreams:

"A chorus of international human rights and press freedom groups roundly condemned a British court's Friday ruling that WikiLeaks founder and publisher Julian Assange can be extradited to the United States where he could face torturous conditions and life in prison.

'This is a travesty of justice,' said Nils Muižnieks, Europe director for Amnesty International. Muižnieks was part of a chorus of condemnation that swiftly followed the High Court decision, which blocks a lower court's January ruling rejecting the U.S. government's attempt at extradition because it would be 'oppressive by reason of Assange's mental health' and create 'substantial' risk of him dying by suicide.

The new ruling marks in a win for the U.S. government—which has charged Assange with 17 counts of violating the Espionage Act related to his publication of classified documents exposing American war crimes."

-->To be fair, the NYT did print a few sentences by human rights groups condemning Assange's prosecution, but it was buried in a much longer reposting of what most people already know about the case. What was missing? Any suggestion that the US attack on Julian Assange will bring about catastrophic censorship of the press, both in the US and in the rest of the world. In essence, the US case states that any revealing of US war crimes secrets is illegal for the entire world, simply because US empire declares it so. The NYT, a longtime ally of the Empire, won't risk printing anything that could get itself into trouble. Some defender of press freedom!


Common Dreams:

"Probe Shows Big Pharma 'Manipulated' Patent System and 'Raised Prices With Abandon.' Bolstering calls for the U.S. Senate to pass the Build Back Better bill with drug pricing reforms, a House panel on Friday released a report detailing how Big Pharma has not only "raised prices with abandon," but also "manipulated the patent system" to suppress competition.

The final staff report is the culmination of a nearly three-year investigation by the Committee on Oversight and Reform launched under the late Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), who died in 2019. He was succeeded as the panel's chair by Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.).

'The committee has obtained more than 1.5 million pages of internal company documents, held five hearings, and released eight interim staff reports,' Maloney noted in a letter at the beginning of the report. 'The investigation has provided a rare glimpse into the decision-making of many of the world's most profitable drug companies.' "

-->The NYT and most of the country's media didn't print this story. Politico did, but very few other national media sites. We have to conclude that the US media is one of the principal reasons that the corruption of Big Pharma goes unpunished. 


United National AntiWar Coalition:

"The US government and its corporate media have been trying to build a case that Russia is getting ready to invade Ukraine. Their main argument is that they have observed around 90,000 Russian troops near the border with Ukraine. Near the border means that they are on Russian territory, this is what the US calls aggression.

Although US and NATO forces have surrounded Russia and have conducted military maneuvers right at the Russian border, that is deemed to be not provocative, but Russia massing troops in its own territory is. What is never said in any of these reports is that there are 125,000 Ukrainian troops in the Donbass region right near the Russian border.  

These troops have been freshly equipped by the US with advanced weaponry and US military 'advisors' have been aiding them in their aggressive military posture. The massing of Russian troops near its border is a defensive move on their part to counter the threat of the US and NATO and their ally Ukraine that wants NATO membership."

-->We have to go to a US antiwar coalition to even get a hint that the war narrative given to us by our major media might be off the mark. When the US Pentagon is pushing one set of the facts, newspapers like the NYT always sacrifice their commitment to quality journalism. The Independent in the UK and Reuters at least reported Russian claims of 125,000 Ukrainian troops at Russia's border.

Guardian UK:

"JFK Revisited: Through the Looking Glass review – Oliver Stone returns to the grassy knoll. This doc is packed with facts about the assassination – the subject of Stone’s 1991 movie – yet is frustratingly short on answers. ...

This new movie presents us with a mountain of new circumstantial evidence about the events in Dallas in 1963. With the benefit of innumerable newly released documents and newly uncovered interviewee records, it exhaustively and persuasively shows that there are screamingly obvious inconsistencies and anomalies in the evidence concerning the bullet that was supposedly recovered, the significance of the entry and exit wounds, the compromised integrity of the autopsy records, the whereabouts of Lee Harvey Oswald on the day and the possibility that he was what he always claimed to be – a 'patsy'. ...

But, exasperatingly, and despite speculation being the order of the day, the film never attempts to name any supposed second or third shooter, to say exactly where these gunmen would have been positioned, and how the inevitable witnesses to their activity would have been suppressed."

-->Alright, this isn't really the best review of the documentary. But at least the film is covered. The US media is much less interested in the history of one of its most important assassinations, that of JFK. In fact, one of its most important messages is how the US media as well as the political establishment that runs our country won't really touch what happened to our 35 president. The power of the national security state would never allow it. (now on Hulu, Amazon Prime and Showtime)


The Gray Zone:

"While Democracy Now hosts US gov’t-funded pundits to spread humanitarian interventionist propaganda about Xinjiang, an analysis by The Grayzone found most of the outlets’s China coverage is sharply negative

The U.S. has claimed a humanitarian 'Responsibility to Protect' to justify military operations in the name of saving civilian lives from evil dictators. Most notable have been the brutal U.S.-led wars in Libya and Syria which destabilized entire regions in the name of 'civilian protection' and “promoting democracy.” These operations relied heavily on self-described human rights NGO’s and media outlets to cultivate support among liberal sectors of the US intelligentsia. Sadly, Democracy Now has been among the most influential and insidious outlets carrying water for the humanitarian interventionist agenda.  

The flagship program of the left-wing Pacifica radio network, Democracy Now (DN) and its founding host, Amy Goodman, are regarded as standard bearers of grassroots progressivism. However in recent years the show has become a reliable platform for uncritical regime change propaganda, demonizing targets of US empire from Syria to Nicaragua while sending a correspondent to embed with US-backed 'rebels' in Libya. Now that China is in the crosshairs of the US, DN is playing host to virtually any piece of humanitarian agitprop that Washington can conjure up, while publishing a regular serving of sharply negative stories about Chinese government and society."

-->Say it ain't so! Why is Democracy Now letting us down on US imperialism? Is it about donors? This story needs research, but at least the Gray Zone is willing to point out the obvious. 


Guardian UK:

"The US has rejected calls for a binding agreement regulating or banning the use of “killer robots”, instead proposing a 'code of conduct' at the United Nations.

Speaking at a meeting in Geneva focused on finding common ground on the use of such so-called lethal autonomous weapons, a US official balked at the idea of regulating their use through a “legally-binding instrument”.

The meeting saw government experts preparing for high-level talks at a review conference on the Convention of Certain Conventional Weapons from 13 to 17 December. ... 'In our view, the best way to make progress ... would be through the development of a non-binding code of conduct,' US official Josh Dorosin told the meeting."

-->The US is all in favor of "none binding codes of conduct" when it come to war crimes. Our newspaper of record, the NYT, didn't even cover this story. Can't get more non-binding than that.

Wednesday, December 01, 2021

Nature Journal:
"Cuba’s bet on home-grown COVID vaccines is paying off. Preprint data show that a three-dose combo of Soberana jabs has 92.4% efficacy in clinical trials. When the COVID-19 pandemic began, Cuba decided not to wait on the rest of the world to develop vaccines. The United States’ 60-year-old economic embargo against the country, which prevents US-made products from being exported there, would make it difficult for Cuba to acquire vaccines and therapies, researchers and officials knew. 'It was best, for protecting our population, to be independent,' says Vicente Vérez Bencomo, director-general of the Finlay Institute of Vaccines in Havana. ...

As of 18 November, 89% of Cuba’s population — including children as young as 2 — has received at least one dose of Soberana 02 or another Cuban vaccine called Abdala, which is produced at the Center for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (CIGB) in Havana. ...

The country has begun exporting the two home-grown vaccines to Venezuela, Vietnam, Iran and Nicaragua. And it has asked the World Health Organization to approve its vaccines — an important step towards making them available throughout the developing world."

-->The NYT did in fact report some of this story of Cuba's success in combating COVID. However, the newspaper questioned whether Cuba was publishing date in a "transparent way," Another quote suggested that "regulatory oversight" was missing. And there was no mention of Cuba's sharing of the vaccine with other countries. Cuba is the Third World country to develop its own vaccine, another point missing in the NYT coverage.


Common Dreams:

"A delegation of observers from a New York City-based progressive legal group on Wednesday pushed back against the Biden administration's claims about Venezuela's recent regional elections in which allies of President Nicolás Maduro's socialist party were largely victorious. ...

The National Lawyers Guild (NLG) delegation—among various international observers who traveled to Venezuela for the elections—shared its findings in a statement that began, 'We observed a balanced and transparent voting process which voters expressed confidence in.' ...

After speaking with voters at all sites, the NLG observers found that those 'aligned with opposition parties also expressed confidence in the voting system. Additionally, the participation of opposition parties at polling sites, including as witnesses in opening and closing processes, strengthened the process and underscored the legitimacy of election results.' "

-->Any study of the US media must have a chapter on the coverage of Venezuela. Here is an example from the NYT: "With little hope of a fair vote, opposition candidates take a desperate risk to gain any edge against Venezuela’s entrenched autocrat, Nicolás Maduro." No words of praise for a fair election in Venezuela will ever see the light of day in our "newspaper of record." All that is "fit to print" is Pentagon propaganda. 


The Guardian:

"The US has been added to an annual list of 'backsliding' democracies for the first time, the International IDEA think tank has said, pointing to a 'visible deterioration' it said began in 2019.

Globally, more than one in four people live in a backsliding democracy, a proportion that rises to more than two in three with the addition of authoritarian or 

hybrid regimes, according to the Stockholm-based International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance. ...

The organisation’s secretary general, Kevin Casas-Zamora, said: 'The visible deterioration of democracy in the United States, as seen in the increasing tendency to contest credible election results, the efforts to suppress participation (in elections), and the runaway polarisation ... is one of the most concerning developments.' "

-->To the NYT, the backsliding was all about US allies: "Washington-aligned countries backslid at nearly double the rate of non-allies, data shows, complicating long-held assumptions about American influence." Nothing about the backsliding US at all.