Thursday, February 24, 2022

Amnesty International:

"Israeli authorities must be held accountable for committing the crime of apartheid against Palestinians, Amnesty International said today in a damning new report. The investigation details how Israel enforces a system of oppression and domination against the Palestinian people wherever it has control over their rights. This includes Palestinians living in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT), as well as displaced refugees in other countries.

The comprehensive report, Israel’s Apartheid against Palestinians: Cruel System of Domination and Crime against Humanity, sets out how massive seizures of Palestinian land and property, unlawful killings, forcible transfer, drastic movement restrictions, and the denial of nationality and citizenship to Palestinians are all components of a system which amounts to apartheid under international law. This system is maintained by violations which Amnesty International found to constitute apartheid as a crime against humanity, as defined in the Rome Statute and Apartheid Convention.

Amnesty International is calling on the International Criminal Court (ICC) to consider the crime of apartheid in its current investigation in the OPT and calls on all states to exercise universal jurisdiction to bring perpetrators of apartheid crimes to justice."

-->Shamefully, the NYT has still not printed the story about Amnesty International's report that condemns apartheid in Israel. The report is titled: "Israel’s apartheid against Palestinians: a cruel system of domination and a crime against humanity." To send a letter to the Editor of the NYT: (Letters should preferably be 150 to 175 words, should refer to an article that has appeared within the last seven days, and must include the writer's address and phone number. No attachments, please). Help the NYT get over its moral failings when it comes to Apartheid Israel.



"Joe Biden Is Quietly Pursuing the Creeping Privatization of Medicare. The Biden administration has quietly decided to continue a Trump administration scheme whose ultimate goal is the privatization of Medicare. Americans would be outraged — if anyone knew about it.

Last November 30, a collection of physicians and activists were in Washington, DC, its federal buildings still largely closed for business thanks to the pandemic and fear of another Trumpist uprising. They were there to protest what they warned was an attempt to end Medicare as we know it.

Physicians for a National Health Program (PNHP), the leading group behind the effort, had been trying for some time to make its displeasure about the 'direct contracting' program known. After collecting more than thirteen thousand signatures for a petition opposing the initiative, they’d asked repeatedly for a meeting with Health and Human Services (HHS) secretary Xavier Becerra to hand it to him. They called, emailed, left voice messages, all to no avail. The most they got was a single response from a staffer, sent the night before their DC visit, promising to set up a meeting sometime in the future.

-->No mention of this in the NYT, or in any other major newspaper. When it comes to medicine and the big insurance companies, our newspaper of record sides with the latter every time. Looks like the mainstream Democrats do as well. 



"A single activist helped turn the tide against NSO Group, one of the world’s most sophisticated spyware companies now facing a cascade of legal action and scrutiny in Washington over damaging new allegations that its software was used to hack government officials and dissidents around the world.

An unusual error in NSO’s spyware allowed Saudi women’s rights activist Loujain al-Hathloul and privacy researchers to discover a trove of evidence suggesting the Israeli spyware maker had helped hack her iPhone, according to six people involved in the incident. A mysterious fake image file within her phone, mistakenly left behind by the spyware, tipped off security researchers.

The discovery on al-Hathloul's phone last year ignited a storm of legal and government action that has put NSO on the defensive. How the hack was initially uncovered is reported here for the first time."

-->The NYT didn't print this story of how the Israel NSO spyware was discovered. They did cover the NSO spyware itself by putting the story in a pro Israel light. "[NSO software] has helped Mexican authorities capture Joaquín Guzmán Loera, the drug lord known as El Chapo. European investigators have quietly used Pegasus to thwart terrorist plots, fight organized crime and, in one case, take down a global child-abuse ring." So all this spying is a good thing, right? Thank you, New York Times.

Wednesday, February 16, 2022


"Two days is an eternity in the breaking news business — but that’s how long the New York Times has already gone without publishing a single word about Amnesty International’s landmark report calling Israel an apartheid state. What explains the paper’s inexcusable reticence? It has a large staff, including several reporters who are on the scene in Israel/Palestine. Is the Times hoping, maybe unconsciously, to let the Amnesty news continue to simmer down, thus lessening its impact? 

Other U.S. mainstream media have at least reported something, even if their coverage has so far been mostly inadequate. 

Let’s contrast the Times’s continued silence with how Israel’s most prestigious newspaper, Haaretz, is covering the Amnesty finding. So far, Haaretz has already prominently published 5 articles, with a range of views. Anshel Pfeffer, a regular columnist, is a liberal Zionist, but his thrust is that the Israeli government’s campaign to discredit Amnesty is 'hysterical,' particularly the charge that the report is 'antisemitic.' He says that Amnesty has 'long decades of credibility,' and adds: 'Whatever the legitimate claims that Israel has against the report, this all-out attack on Amnesty, rather than arguing about the report on its merits, is basically a declaration of war on the entire human rights community. It will convince no one but the already convinced.' "

-->The NYT revealed this week that the newspaper is little more than a pro-Israel propaganda tool, and part of the Hasbara (the attempt to make racism in Israel look better). The NYT still hasn't reported one of the biggest stories in years, that Amnesty has joined Human Rights Watch and B’Tselem in branding racism in Israel as "apartheid." So much for "all the news that's fit to print." 


Common Dreams:

"Economic sanctions have, in recent years, become one of the most important tools of US foreign policy. There are currently more than 20 countries subjected to various sanctions from the US government. But if more Americans knew how many innocent civilians actually die as a result of these sanctions, would the worst of them be permitted? We may be about to find out in Afghanistan. Sanctions currently imposed on the country are on track to take the lives of more civilians in the coming year than have been killed by 20 years of warfare. There's no hiding it any more.

Projections through the winter estimate that 22.8 million people will face 'high levels of acute food insecurity.' This is 55 percent of Afghanistan's population, the highest ever recorded in the country. An estimated one million children are suffering from 'severe acute malnutrition' this year. Children who are malnourished are more likely to die from other diseases, even when they can get enough calories and nutrients to survive. Already, 98 percent of the population is not getting enough food, according to the UN World Food Programme. The biggest and most destructive sanction currently facing Afghanistan is the seizure of more than $7 billion of the country's assets that are held at the US Federal Reserve."

-->But our US media is hiding this story of endless wars and empire. Sure, the NYT ran an op-ed piece three weeks ago. But why aren't the terrible human costs of these sanctions in the news section? 

Common Dreams:

"Exiled American whistleblower Edward Snowden on Friday joined global critics who are decrying news outlets for encouraging war with their coverage of rising tensions between the United States and Russia—where he has lived since 2013—over Ukraine.

'There is nothing more grotesque than a media pushing for war,' Snowden tweeted.

After a flood of responses—some highlighting that Russian President Vladimir Putin has stationed over 100,000 troops near his country's border with Ukraine and is conducting military exercises in Belarus—Snowden doubled down on his anti-war message.

'When you see snide quote-tweets of this from the boot-licking think-tank crowd, look at the ratio and remember that even if they're loud, they are in the minority,' he said. 'Being pro-war is not smart, cool, or sophisticated, and their performative outrage doesn't change that.' "

-->The NYT as well as much of the US media didn't report Snowden's comments. In fact, voices of reason are hard to come by in the US, when the warmongers start their chant for military confrontation. It is by far a Democratic Party problem; the party that runs on peace has developed a taste for the millions offered by the weapons industry. No thoughts about what a third world war would look like. As Albert Einstein said once, “I do not know with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones.”


The Guardian UK:

"One in three people across America have detectable levels of a toxic herbicide linked to cancers, birth defects and hormonal imbalances, a major nationwide survey has found. Human exposure to the herbicide 2,4-D has substantially risen amid expanding use among farmers despite a multitude of health and environmental concerns, according to the first nationally representative study evaluating the footprint of the chemical.

The herbicide was developed in the mid-1940s and quickly became the go-to weedkiller for farmers focused on increasing crop yields, while also gaining popularity among gardeners looking for a pristine lawn. Its popularity dipped in favor of Roundup (glyphosate) and genetically modified cotton and soyabeans resistant to this herbicide, but it has seen a resurgence since the spread of Roundup-resistant weeds. ...

Overall, the amount of 2,4-D applied in agriculture increased 67% between 2012 and 2020, but its use will almost certainly grow sharply over the next decade due to the widespread use of the controversial weedkiller Enlist Duo – a relatively newly approved combo (2,4-D and glyphosate) for genetically modified crops. This will make both toxins – which are both banned in some countries – increasingly difficult to avoid."

-->The NYT is always out to lunch when it comes to reporting on weedkillers and cancer. Our newspaper of record has long been in bed with our irresponsible chemical companies. When it does cover Rounduip and 2,4-D, it offers us articles like "Attack of the Superweeds" (Aug 18, 2021). As if those nasty weeds are all we have to worry about. 


Common dreams:

"Honduras' new leftist president on Wednesday intervened to halt a court-ordered eviction of an Indigenous community from their ancestral lands following violent scenes of the attempted forced removal by police earlier in the day.

Human Rights Minister Natalie Roque shared on social media that, with orders from President Xiomara Castro, lawyers and officials from her office went to the Tierras del Padre community, located just south of the capital of Tegucigalpa, to stop the evictions, saying the suspension was in accordance with the law and authorized by the state.

'We are not going to tolerate any aggression or blow against a pregnant woman or against a citizen or against a child,' presidential adviser Pedro Amador said on the scene, according to a video circulated on social media."

-->Don't expect much good news about Honduras in the NYT, now that the US supported dictator has been voted out. From now on, all we the readers will get is Pentagon propaganda against the new president. The US media is so predicable! This story didn't get reported.

Thursday, February 03, 2022

The New York Times:
"And then there is Germany. In recent days Germany — Europe’s largest and richest democracy, strategically situated at the crossroads between East and West — has stood out more for what it will not do than for what it is doing.

No European country matters more to European unity and the Western alliance. But as Germany struggles to overcome its post-World War II reluctance to lead on security matters in Europe and set aside its instinct to accommodate rather than confront Russia, Europe’s most pivotal country has waffled in the first crucial test for the new government of Chancellor Olaf Scholz.

Germany’s evident hesitation to take forceful measures has fueled doubts about its reliability as an ally — reversing the dynamic with the United States in recent years — and added to concerns that Moscow could use German wavering as a wedge to divide a united European response to any Russian aggression."

-->Sometimes the NYT closely follows the script provided by the Pentagon. Here our "newspaper of record" castigates Germany for being rich and powerful, while refusing to support US war aims. According to the NYT, Germany is too "accommodating" to Russia, essentially "waffling" when the going gets tough. Finally, the article questions wether Germany is a reliable ally for the US Empire. Why pretend that the NYT is saying this to its readership base. It is so clearly the Pentagon talking here. The NYT is pushing war again, something that the newspaper has done for all the US wars of aggression over the last half century. 


Common Dreams:

"A majority of Americans want the Biden administration to work with Russia toward a diplomatic solution to the Ukraine crisis in order to avert a potentially catastrophic war, according to the results of a new poll published Friday.

According to the Data for Progress survey of 1,214 likely U.S. voters, 58% of overall respondents 'somewhat' or 'strongly' support the Biden administration 'striking a deal with Russia to avoid war over Ukraine.' Among Democrats, support for such a move was 71%, while 51% of Independents and 46% of Republicans agreed with the prospective policy.

The poll's findings echo pleas from U.S. progressives, who urge President Joe Biden to pursue a diplomatic solution to the crisis, in which the world's two foremost nuclear powers are involved."

-->While the NYT is itching for a war against Russia, the citizens of the US Empire are broadly against any new military conflict. Why didn't this poll find its way into the US media?


The Intercept:

DEMOCRATS IN THE House of Representatives are planning to expedite a massive bill that would dramatically increase U.S. security assistance to Ukraine and lay the groundwork for substantial new sanctions on Russia — hastening a war-friendly posture without opportunity for dissent as concerns over a military invasion abound.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., told members on a caucus call Tuesday that she’s looking to skip marking up the bill and move it straight to the House floor, setting up the possibility of a vote as soon as early next week, two congressional sources told The Intercept. The sources spoke on the condition of anonymity because they’re not authorized to talk to the press. Pelosi’s office did not immediately reply to a request for comment.

'This is how the space for nonmilitary options gets slowly closed off in Washington, without any real debate,' one of the sources, a senior Democratic aide, told The Intercept."

-->Warmongering Democrats. There is just too much money to be made by the huge defense industry to stop this bill. The pro-war NYT didn't bother reporting this story of Democratic Party complicity.