Thursday, December 11, 2008

Fantasyland Media

News fashioned by the people in charge, the corporations and your government. Each week, we cover the stories that are just left out of the US propaganda machine.


"No less than in Vietnam several decades ago, the prospects for a military victory in Afghanistan are extremely slim. Far more likely is a protracted version of what CBS anchor Walter Cronkite famously called 'a bloody stalemate' in February 1968. But, in 2008, more important than whether the U.S. war effort in Afghanistan can bring 'victory' is the question of whether it should continue.

Right now, the basic ingredients of further Afghan disasters are in place -- including, pivotally, a dire lack of wide-ranging debate over Washington's options. In an atmosphere reminiscent of 1965, when almost all of the esteemed public voices concurred with the decision by newly elected President Lyndon Johnson to deploy more troops to Vietnam, the tenet that the United States must send additional troops to Afghanistan is axiomatic in U.S. news media, on Capitol Hill and -- as far as can be discerned -- at the top of the incoming administration.

But the problem with such a foreign-policy 'no brainer' is that the parameters of thinking have already been put in the rough equivalent of a lockbox. Dean Rusk, Robert McNamara and Lyndon Johnson approached Vietnam policy options no more rigidly than Hillary Clinton, Robert Gates and Barack Obama appear poised to pursue Afghanistan policy options. Such destructive group-think, including wonkish faith in the efficacy of massive violence, caused Martin Luther King Jr. to denounce what he called 'the madness of militarism'."
Norman Solomon

-->The lack of debate in the US media about Afghanistan is deafening. We are told about military problems, but there is hardly a voice questioning why we continue to occupy a country that does not want us there.


"Israel's leading civil rights organization yesterday broke a taboo by describing Israeli policies in the occupied West Bank as being “reminiscent of apartheid” in South Africa.

Alleging an intensification of human rights abuses against Palestinians, the respected Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) made the comparison in an annual report that described the existence of separate legal, planning and transportation systems for Jewish settlers and Palestinians in the West Bank..."

-->The NY Times recently printed a story about the West Bank and the Association for Civil Rights in Israel. The word "apartheid" was nowhere to be found.


"Why didn't Jimmy Carter speak from the podium at the Democratic National Convention? Alan Dershowitz said he had something to do with it.

In an interview with Shalom TV, the Harvard Law School professor says he "pushed" Barack Obama "very hard to make that decision," Dershowitz said in an interview with Shalom TV. "Barack Obama had to make a choice between his Jewish supporters and his anti-Israel supporters like Jimmy Carter, and he did not choose Jimmy Carter. And that was an embarrassment for Jimmy Carter and a show of disrespect."
JTA, Jewish Telegraphic Agency

-->No news service in the US besides Democracy Now has ever covered the story behind former President Jimmy Carter being taken off the speakers' list for the Democratic National Convention. The story is still very newsworthy, of course. But letting the American people know about the power of the Zionist lobby would just raise too many questions. Meanwhile the starving of 1.5 million in Gaza is routinely hidden from US citizens.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Fantasyland Media

News fashioned by the people in charge, the corporations and your government. Each week, we cover the stories that are just left out of the US propaganda machine.


UNGA President calls for sanctions against Israeli apartheid...Miguel díEscoto Brockmann, President of the United Nations General Assembly had the following to say about Palestine:

"...I believe that the failure to create a Palestinian State as promised is the single greatest failure in the history of the United Nations. It has been 60 years since some 800,000 Palestinians were driven out of their homes and property, becoming refugees and an uprooted and marginalized people

...As I speak here today, almost 1.5 millions Palestinians are enduring an unprecedented blockade of the Gaza Strip. All border crossings into Gaza are closed, blocking even the delivery of emergency humanitarian relief supplied by the United Nations. Lack of fuel is plunging the population into darkness and cold; basic medicines are running out; malnutrition is chronic and peoples' coping mechanisms are being exhausted."

-->The NY Times doesn't cover such talk about Israel, even when it is a speech given by the President of the United Nations General Assembly. Censoring news about Israel has long been a priority of our American "newspaper of record."


Global warming is for ever, some of the world's top climate scientists have concluded. Their research shows that carbon dioxide emitted from today's homes, cars and factories will continue to heat up the planet for hundreds of thousands of years...

The new research will add to the pressure on ministers at home and abroad to take radical steps. And it will add urgency to attempts to find ways of removing excess carbon dioxide already in the atmosphere, as well as trying to prevent further emissions.

It comes as a shock because most governments, and even many scientists, have assumed that carbon dioxide emissions would work their way out of the atmosphere in about a century, enabling it to clean itself fairly rapidly once the world switched to clean sources of energy...

Tomorrow's report by the Climate Change Committee – chaired by Lord Turner, who also heads the Financial Services Authority – is expected to discourage the construction of new coal-fired stations

-->Luckily, if you read The NY Times, you don't have to worry about these dire consequences of carbon dioxide. Global warming forever didn't make it into "all the news that's fit to print." Are there corporate links between the NY Times and the coal burning industry in the US? Links like the ones that distort reporting about nuclear energy?


"JERUSALEM - International journalists based in Israel appealed to the country's Supreme Court on Monday to overturn a government decision barring foreign correspondents from entering the Gaza Strip.

The Foreign Press Association filed the court petition against the military's Gaza commander, Defense Minister Ehud Barak and Interior Minister Meir Sheetrit after the government failed to heed a letter signed by heads of the world's largest news organizations calling for the ban to be lifted.

The court petition charged the media ban constitutes "a grave and mortal blow against freedom of the press and other basic rights and gives the unpleasant feeling that the state of Israel has something to hide." It requested an urgent hearing."

-->At least one foreign newspaper, however, wasn't much interested in being kept out of Gaza. The NY Times didn't even report about the petition filed by the Foreign Press Association.


"Activist Radio" has been submitted to the directory of podcasts and vidcasts dedicated to and of interest to charitable, campaigning and voluntary organizations.

Your sincerely

Adam Sargant, John Sargent
WorthBroadcasting Administrators

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Fantasyland Media:

News fashioned by the people in charge, the corporations and your government. Each week, we cover the stories that are just left out of the US propaganda machine.


"The UN in the Gaza Strip says it will run out of food aid in two days unless Israel's blockade - which it describes as "shameful and unacceptable" - eases.

The UN refugee agency Unrwa, which distributes food to half of Gaza's 1.5m people, called the blockade "a physical as well as a mental punishment".

Israel is now allowing a limited amount of fuel across the border, but it is still blocking food deliveries."

-->The NY Times doesn't do "shameful and unacceptable" when it comes to UN reports about Israel. The story was covered by interviews with Israeli officials. The assessment of the UN refugee agency was not included.


"Documents Linking Iran to Nuclear Weapons Push May Have Been Fabricated...The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has obtained evidence suggesting that documents which have been described as technical studies for a secret Iranian nuclear weapons-related research program may have been fabricated.

The documents in question were acquired by U.S. intelligence in 2004 from a still unknown source -- most of them in the form of electronic files allegedly stolen from a laptop computer belonging to an Iranian researcher. The US has based much of its push for sanctions against Iran on these documents."

--> A war against a country in the Middle East being promoted by false documents? Were have we heard that before? But the push for war against Iran goes on unabated in the NY Times, which didn't bother to print this story at all.


"WASHINGTON - Nuclear power is a risky source of energy that comes with many hidden costs, said an environmental analyst and long-time leader in the U.S. environmental movement Tuesday.

Lester Brown, president of the Earth Policy Institute, said the "flawed economics" of nuclear power are placing unforeseen burdens on taxpayers: the costs related to the construction of nuclear plants, the disposal of nuclear waste, the decommissioning of old plants, and security in case of an accident all contribute to the price the world pays for nuclear power. Wind energy is a more economically sound option, said Brown.

The apparent cost of nuclear power is the cost of construction and fuel for nuclear plants, and this price is rising. The estimated construction cost of a nuclear reactor two years ago was between $2 and $4 billion. Now it is $7 billion, in part because of the rising cost of steel and cement, Brown said.

...Brown said that when calculating the true cost of nuclear power, factors such as waste disposal, insurance in case of an accident, and decommissioning costs once a plant is worn out have to be included."

-->The NY Times has always been a shameless advocate of nuclear power plants. Its story on Lester Brown has him safely advocating for more wind energy. It didn't include his attack on the "flawed analysis" of nuclear power. Perhaps the NY Times is part of that flawed analysis.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Fantasyland Media:

News fashioned by the people in charge, the corporations and your government. Each week, we cover the stories that are just left out of the US propaganda machine.


"President-elect Barack Obama’s choice for White House chief of staff is one of the biggest recipients of Wall Street money in Congress, according to a Washington, D.C.-based “money-in-politics” watchdog group.

The Center for Responsive Politics has issued a report highlighting millions of dollars in campaign contributions that Rep. Rahm Emanuel (D-Ill.) has raised from individuals working in the hedge fund industry, private equity firms, and large investment firms..."


"Emanuel's knowledge of the top donors in the country, and his rapport with potential donors within the Jewish community helped (Bill) Clinton amass a then-unheard-of $72 million."


"After leaving the Clinton White House...he went to work for Bruce Wasserstein, a major Democratic donor and Wall Street financier. Over a 2 1/2-year period he helped broker deals-often using political connections-for Wasserstein Perella. According to congressional financial disclosures, he earned more than $18 million during that period."


"Emmanuel...Obama's honeymoon looks like it could be short, given the problems fast piling up in his in tray, from controversy over of his new chief of staff Rahm Emmanuel's close links with Israel...The powerful position for Emanuel has also raised concerns among those looking for an even-handed approach to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict."

-->But to the NY Times, such revelations about Emanuel just don't exist. There is little written about his Wall Street connections, and less about his Zionist sympathies. Even Emanuel's service in the Israeli Army is left out. How could our major newspaper of record have missed all this important information?

Emanuel's family background is similarly whitewashed. His father, according to the NY Times, is an "immigrant Jewish father" and a doctor who "made house calls to patients who are now the son’s constituents." Nothing about his father's participation in the Israeli Irgun (described by the NY Times in 1947 as a terrorist group). Nor did the Times include a recent quote by the father: "Obviously he (referring to his son) will influence the president to be pro-Israel. Why wouldn't he be? What is he, an Arab? He's not going to clean the floors of the White House."

Friday, November 07, 2008

Fantasyland Media:

News fashioned by the people in charge, the corporations and your government. Each week, we cover the stories that are just left out of the US propaganda machine.


"Massive UN Vote in Support of Lifting US Embargo on Cuba

UNITED NATIONS - The UN General Assembly on Wednesday voted overwhelmingly for the 17th year in a row in favor of lifting the 46-year-old US trade embargo on communist-ruled Cuba, as Havana hoped for better ties with a new US administration.

[The UN General Assembly voted overwhelmingly for the 17th year in a row Wednesday to demand an end to the 46-year-old US trade embargo on communist-ruled Cuba, with only three countries saying no...

Some 185 of the assembly's 192 members approved a resolution, which reiterated a "call upon all states to refrain from promulgating and applying laws and measures (such as those in the US embargo) in conformity with their obligations under the Charter of the United Nations and international law."

The United States, Israel and Palau voted against the resolution, while Micronesia and the Marshall Islands abstained.

The margin of support for ending the embargo has grown steadily since 1992, when 59 countries voted in favor of the resolution. The figure was 179 in 2004, 182 in 2005 and 184 in 2007."

-->The NY Times actually covered this story, the first time in the 17 year history of the UN vote condemning the embargo. In a five sentence story entitled "New Spin on Cuba Embargo Resolution" (was there an old spin from the NY Times?), the emphasis was put on the fact that the Cuban embargo was older than Obama.


"WASHINGTON - October 28 - Congressman Dennis Kucinich, Chairman of the Subcommittee on Domestic Policy is pressing his efforts to head off an avalanche of Wall Street bailout bonuses. Recent reports indicate bonuses and other compensation packages paid by financially troubled firms receiving government assistance could reach into the tens of billions of dollars.

Today he released a letter sent to Congressman Henry Waxman, Chairman of the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, asking that the Full Committee move quickly to investigate how bailout funds are being spent by the financial service companies participating in Treasury's capital purchase program.

"It would be an affront to taxpayers and shareholders alike if Wall Street executives cashed in on the bailout. We must prevent the diverted directly or indirectly of bailout funds to bonuses and exorbitant compensation packages," he said."

-->Such an "affront to taxpayers" didn't get Kucinich's request for an investigation into the NY Times. In fact, the US media completely ignored this story. Perhaps the intensity of the anti-bailout fervor may have scared the corporate dominated press.


"Final Text of Iraq Pact Reveals a US Debacle
WASHINGTON - The final draft of the U.S.-Iraq Status of Forces agreement on the U.S. military presence represents an even more crushing defeat for the policy of the George W. Bush administration than previously thought, the final text reveals.

The final draft, dated Oct. 13, not only imposes unambiguous deadlines for withdrawal of U.S. combat troops by 2011 but makes it extremely unlikely that a U.S. non-combat presence will be allowed to remain in Iraq for training and support purposes beyond the 2011 deadline for withdrawal of all U.S. combat forces."
-->The NY Times had a different take on this story. Debacle? Crushing defeat? Not at all, despite the fact that Iraq is pushing the US out long before we wanted to leave. The NY Times termed the pact a "significant breakthrough after months of halting negotiations."


"BAGHDAD - The U.S. military has warned Iraq that it will shut down military operations and other vital services throughout the country on Jan. 1 if the Iraqi government doesn't agree to a new agreement on the status of U.S. forces or a renewed United Nations mandate for the American mission in Iraq.

Many Iraqi politicians view the move as akin to political blackmail, a top Iraqi official told McClatchy Sunday."

--> The NY Times predictably left this story out. Breakthroughs just sound better for the United States than political blackmail.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Fantasyland Media:

News fashioned by the people in charge, the corporations and your government. Each week, we cover the stories that are just left out of the US propaganda machine.


"A prominent Palestinian human rights group says it has found evidence that 68 children were killed in the Gaza Strip in the 12 months to June this year as a result of "disproportionate and excessive lethal force" by the Israeli military.

The deaths are documented, with witness testimony, in a report published today by the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights. Many of the deaths resulted from an Israeli military incursion into Jabaliya, in eastern Gaza, in late February and early March, in which more than 100 Palestinians, at least half of them civilians, died in what Israel said was an operation to stop rockets being fired into southern Israeli towns...

The rights group said many of the deaths passed without investigation, and those internal Israeli military inquiries that were held did not meet international standards of independence and transparency."

-->The NY Times rarely publishes articles critical of Israel. It didn't print this report either.


"WASHINGTON - The "American Dream" of upward social mobility appears to have emigrated from its birthplace in the United States to northern Europe, according to a major new report by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) on the growth of economic equality over the past 20 years.

Of its 30 member states, most of which are also members of the European Union, the United States has the largest gap between its wealthiest and poorest households after Mexico and Turkey, according to the report, "Growing Unequal?", which was released at OECD headquarters in Paris Tuesday.

That gap has grown particularly large in the U.S. since 2000 -- that is, under the administration of President George W. Bush -- according to the report, which found that the gap between the U.S. middle class and the wealthiest 10 percent has also increased...

The crisis has sparked unprecedented worldwide criticism of the "free-market" economic model that the U.S. and Washington-based international agencies like the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund have vigorously promoted since the administration of President Ronald Reagan."

-->The NY Times did not cover this OECD report despite the fact that NYC has one of the largest gaps between the rich and poor in the world.


"Growing inequality in US cities could lead to widespread social unrest and increased mortality, says a new United Nations report on the urban environment.

In a survey of 120 major cities, New York was found to be the ninth most unequal in the world and Atlanta, New Orleans, Washington, and Miami had similar inequality levels to those of Nairobi, Kenya Abidjan and Ivory Coast...

"High levels of inequality can lead to negative social, economic and political consequences that have a destabilising effect on societies," said the report. "[They] create social and political fractures that can develop into social unrest and insecurity."

According to the annual State of the World's cities report from UN-Habitat, race is one of the most important factors determining levels of inequality in the US and Canada...The report suggested that Beijing was now the most egalitarian city in the world, just ahead of cities such as Jakarta in Indonesia and Dire Dawa in Ethiopia."

-->That hurts, doesn't it? Beijing much more egalitarian than NYC. But doesn't hurt if you don't know about the report. The NY Times, of course, didn't cover this story. You have to go the Guardian in the UK to read about America's shame.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Fantasyland Media:

News fashioned by the people in charge, the corporations and your government. Each week, we cover the stories that are just left out of the US propaganda machine.


"Financial workers at Wall Street's top banks are to receive pay deals worth more than $70bn (£40bn), a substantial proportion of which is expected to be paid in discretionary bonuses, for their work so far this year - despite plunging the global financial system into its worst crisis since the 1929 stock market crash, the Guardian has learned.

Staff at six banks including Goldman Sachs and Citigroup are in line to pick up the payouts despite being the beneficiaries of a $700bn bail-out from the US government that has already prompted criticism. The government's cash has been poured in on the condition that excessive executive pay would be curbed.

Pay plans for bankers have been disclosed in recent corporate statements. Pressure on the US firms to review preparations for annual bonuses increased yesterday when Germany's Deutsche Bank said many of its leading traders would join Josef Ackermann, its chief executive, in waiving millions of euros in annual payouts."

-->Bailout going to corporate cronies at Wall Street's top banks? Enormous bonuses for those who created the economic collapse? The NY Times didn't think this story was newsworthy. It was covered in the Guardian, UK.


Last Wednesday night Americans waited for presidential candidates, Senators Barack Obama and John McCain, to take the stage at Hofstra University for the final debate before the elections. Outside the debate "15 protesters" were arrested, and "one person may have received a minor injury." That, according to the Associated Press.

The truth was considerably different. All those arrested were US veterans, most of whom served at least one tour in Iraq. Anyone looking at pictures of the event can see the bleeding veterans on the ground after being charged and trampled by police horses. At least one veteran had broken bones in his face.

And what if the public had really known about the veterans?

"I have faith in the American people. I believe that a lot of those people sitting at their kitchen table would have reached for the phone to ask their members of Congress why they were looking at an image of a wounded soldier bleeding on a sidewalk in Hempstead, New York in a picture that looks like it came from the streets of Baghdad, Iraq.

The politicians and pundits love to praise our veterans for protecting our way of life and ensuring our liberties. This week Nick and his fellow Iraq veterans sought to exercise those rights. They paid the price. As usual, the mainstream media looked the other way."
Cheryl Biren Wright, of

-->Veterans defending the Constitution and demanding an end to the Iraq occupation? The NY Times doesn't cover such things.


"In an election year that promises record numbers of young voters, a new report by the Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR) documents a large wage and benefit advantage for young workers in unions relative to their non-union counterparts...

'Even though they've done everything right -finished high school and college at higher rates than in the past, young workers have been the hardest hit by stagnant and declining wages over the last 30 years' said John Schmitt, a Senior Economist at CEPR and the author of the study.

The report, 'Unions and Upward mobility for Young Workers,' found that young unionized workers -those age 18 to 29-- earned, on average, 12.4 percent more than their non-union peers. In addition, young workers in unions were much more likely to have health insurance benefits and a pension plan."

-->The NY Times covered this story, but in the NY Region Section, not in the national news. Much of the NY Times story was not about the benefit of unions. And when the information was finally presented, it was characterized not as fact but as a finding that "groups argue" in favor of (the Center for Economic and Policy Research and the Fiscal Policy Institute).

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Fantasyland Media:

News fashioned by the people in charge, the corporations and your government. Each week, we cover the stories that are just left out of the US propaganda machine.


"The Maryland State Police classified 53 nonviolent activists as terrorists and entered their names and personal information into state and federal databases that track terrorism suspects, the state police chief acknowledged yesterday.

Police Superintendent Terrence B. Sheridan revealed at a legislative hearing that the surveillance operation, which targeted opponents of the death penalty and the Iraq war, was far more extensive than was known when its existence was disclosed in July...

The surveillance took place over 14 months in 2005 and 2006, under the administration of former governor Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. (R). The former state police superintendent who authorized the operation, Thomas E. Hutchins, defended the program in testimony yesterday. Hutchins said the program was a bulwark against potential violence and called the activists 'fringe people.'

-->This story appeared in "The Washington Post." But the NY Times and much of the nation's media did not bother to cover this story of dissenters turned into terrorists by a state police police department. Ellen Barfield, Vets for Peace in Maryland, on list for her work.


"LONDON - The biggest ever sale of oil assets will take place today, when the Iraqi government puts 40bn barrels of recoverable reserves up for offer in London. BP, Shell and ExxonMobil are all expected to attend a meeting at the Park Lane Hotel in Mayfair with the Iraqi oil minister, Hussein al-Shahristani.

Access is being given to eight fields, representing about 40% of the Middle Eastern nation's reserves, at a time when the country remains under occupation by US and British forces...

The deal is the first major oil contract with a foreign firm since the US-led war and was followed up by an agreement with Shell, potentially worth $4bn, to develop a joint venture with the South Gas Company in Basra.

This deal has also triggered controversy. Issam al-Chalabi, Iraq's oil minister between 1987 and 1990, questioned why there had been no competitive tendering for the gas-gathering contract and claimed it had gone to Shell as the spoils of war."

-->The NY Times isn't much interested in the war for oil theory. America's newspaper of record didn't even cover this massive contracting out of Iraq's oil resources.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Fantasyland Media:

News fashioned by the people in charge, the corporations and your government. Each week, we cover the stories that are just left out of the US propaganda machine.


WASHINGTON - October 3 - Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) issued the following statement after voting against the Wall Street bail out plan, H.R. 1424, the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008:

"The public is being led to believe that Congress has reconsidered its position because we have before us a better bill than we had a few days ago. It is the same bill plus hundreds of new pages for hundreds of millions of tax breaks. What does this have to do with the troubles of Wall Street?

...Now the government will have to borrow $700 billion from banks, with interest, to give banks a $700 billion bailout, and in return the taxpayers get $700 billion in toxic debt...

Across our Nation, foreclosures continue to devastate our communities, people are losing their jobs, and the prices of necessities are skyrocketing. This legislation, just like the one we defeated last week, will do nothing to solve the problems plaguing American families or help them to get out from underneath the oppressive debt they have been forced to take on."

-->The NY Times didn't cover Kucinich's statement. Simply not newsworthy when the purpose of the news is to support Wall Street.


"In 1998, five Cuban men were arrested for infiltrating groups in the US that were plotting attacks on Cuba. They have not received a fair trial and two have not seen their families since...

The five were arrested and effectively accused of espionage. The US government argued that they were acting as foreign agents and should be treated as spies. The five argued that they had been trying to prevent terrorist attacks. A trial was held in Miami in 2001, despite legal objections that they would be unable to get a fair hearing there because anti-Castro sentiment was so rife...

They do, however, enjoy support from a variety of writers, artists and public figures in the US and around the world, including Harry Belafonte, Desmond Tutu, Harold Pinter, Nadine Gordimer, Danny Glover and José Saramago. Amnesty International has called on the US to review the decision to refuse the women visas to visit their husbands."

-->The NY Times did a report on the Cuban Five in August of 2007. Other than that, the story just doesn't get covered in the US.


"A new United Nations report on the human rights situation in Palestinian territories blasts the Israeli government for its heavy-handed treatment of journalists reporting on the military occupation.

The 20-page report, which will go before the 63rd sessions of the General Assembly currently underway, singles out the mistreatment of award-winning Palestinian journalist Mohammed Omer who was stripped, interrogated, kicked and beaten up when he returned from Europe to his home town in the occupied territory of Gaza last June.

A stringer for Inter Press Service (IPS) news agency, Omer, 24, was awarded the Martha Gellhorn Prize for Journalism for "displaying courage and ability in covering war zones"...

The security agents 'were fully aware that he had received the Gellhorn Prize while abroad, and were attempting to confiscate the award money, but were frustrated because it has been deposited in a bank account and was unavailable.'"

-->The New York Times rarely covers stories critical of Israel. Even though this is an official UN human rights report, it is simply kept from the American Public.

Friday, October 03, 2008

Fantasyland Media:

News fashioned by the people in charge, the corporations and your government. Each week, we cover the stories that are just left out of the US propaganda machine.


"According to the Washington Times the Democratic leadership in the House of Representatives has shelved H.R. 362, fearing that the resolution would provoke a war with Iran.

The bill, authored by Rep. Gary Ackerman (D - NY), urged the President, among other things, to prevent Iran from importing any refined petroleum products and demanded that he initiate an international effort to inspect 'all persons, vehicles, ships, planes, trains, and cargo entering or departing Iran.' Though non-binding, the resolution is essentially urging a naval blockade against Iran - an act of war according to international law.

The bill was introduced on May 22, one day after the story broke that then Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert had urged House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D - CA) to impose a naval blockade on Iran as a way of stopping its uranium enrichment program. The American Israel Public Affairs Committee has endorsed the bill as a way to 'stop Iran’s nuclear program.'

Rep. Ackerman claims the bill 'is a way to avoid war by using diplomatic, political and economic tools.' He also intends to resubmit the bill for the next Congress, and vowed to have even more signatures then. The current incarnation of the bill had 270 co-sponsors, but the Washington Times reports that several of the original co-sponsors have since withdrawn their signatures."

-->The NY Times has completely avoided reporting on this resolution that pushes the US into war with Iran. The support of HR 362 by our own two Democratic members of the House, Hall and Gillibrand, has gotten no coverage either. The NY Times has hidden this story from its readers, in part to cover up the involvement of the Israeli lobby in a new war.


"Human Rights Watch, a US-based group claiming to be a non-governmental organization, but which is in fact funded by government-linked quasi-private foundations and a Congressional funded political propaganda organization, the National Endowment for Democracy, has issued a report 'A Decade Under Chavez: Political Intolerance and Lost Opportunities for Advancing Human Rights in Venezuela' (9/21/2008 The publication of the 'Report' directed by Jose Miguel Vivanco and sub-director Daniel Walkinson led to their expulsion from Venezuela for repeated political-partisan intervention in the internal affairs of the country...

Jose Miguel Vivanco served as a diplomatic functionary under the bloody Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet between 1986-1989, serving no less as the butcher's rabid apologist before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights."
Lies, Crimes and Cover-ups by James Petras

-->The NY Times reported things quite differently, making Vivanco a champion of human rights. He is even quoted: "Accusing us of being part of a conspiracy is a distraction tactic used to attack the messenger. We have never had this experience anywhere in this hemisphere.” No mention of funding by the National Endowment for Democracy or of Vivanco's bloody past.


"Here it is, as simply as I can put it: In the course of any year, there must be relatively few countries on this planet on which U.S. soldiers do not set foot, whether with guns blazing, humanitarian aid in hand, or just for a friendly visit. In startling numbers of countries, our soldiers not only arrive, but stay interminably, if not indefinitely...

At the height of the Roman Empire, the Romans had an estimated 37 major military bases scattered around their dominions. At the height of the British Empire, the British had 36 of them planet-wide. Depending on just who you listen to and how you count, we have hundreds of bases. According to Pentagon records, in fact, there are 761 active military 'sites' abroad..."
By Tom Engelhardt,

-->In this extraordinary time of economic meltdown, wouldn't you think that some US media would at least mention the cost of keeping 500,000 US troops in over 150 countries? Or the cost of spending more on our military than the rest of the world combined? Other countries see the connection, and talk about the US empire brought to its knees by the crushing costs of its imperialist ambitions. But empire never comes up when the US media analyzes Wall Street's impending collapse.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Fantasyland Media:

News fashioned by the people in charge, the corporations and your government. Each week, we cover the stories that are just left out of the US propaganda machine.


"Newly released grand jury transcripts add strong evidence to the argument that the conviction and execution of Ethel Rosenberg in the Cold War's biggest espionage case were based on perjured testimony.

In recent years, one of the two key witnesses against Rosenberg recanted his testimony. It now appears that the other witness made up her testimony. too. The witnesses were Ethel's brother and sister-in-law, David and Ruth Greenglass.

Thanks to the work of a team of lawyers and historians, the government released the grand jury testimony that formed the basis for the charges against Julius and Ethel Rosenberg.

At the Rosenbergs' trial, the Greenglasses testified that Ethel Rosenberg had typed stolen atomic secrets from notes provided by David Greenglass. The testimony provided the direct involvement the jury needed to convict Ethel Rosenberg and that the judge in the case needed to sentence her to death."

--->The NY Times carried a story about the Rosenbergs entitled: "A Spy Confesses, and Still Some Weep for the Rosenbergs." None of this false testimony made it into their story.


Cynthia McKinney (Green Party) and Ralph Nader will be on the NY State ballot, according to the amount of signatures each candidate received.

Nationally, McKinney is running at 1% and Nader at 6%. Nader is now on the ballot of 45 states. As we have reported before on Activist Radio, independent candidates make up 10% of Americans polled recently for their presidential preferences.

--->The NY Times doesn't think McKinney and Nader are newsworthy, and they are simply not covered. This blackout reflects the wishes of both major parties that plan on keeping third party candidates will be kept out of the corporate funded debates as well. The major corporations fear that letting third party ideas slip out into the general public might really mean change, not the insipid and misleading "change" offered by offered by the front runners.


Both Kirstin Gillibrand and John Hall, supposed "peace candidate" have signed on as cosponsors of the "Blockade Iran" resolution (HR 362). Not only does the bill call for an act of war, blockading Iran, but it accepts as fact all sorts of unproven allegations regarding weapons of mass destruction. Sound familiar? It should since a similar resolution was passed before the catastrophic invasion of Iraq.

Hall and Gillibrand are simply collaborators in the pending attack on Iran. No doubt they want to get reelected and need support from the weapons manufacturers, the oil companies and the Israeli lobby. But we the people, who want peace and our children home from the Middle East, should throw the bums out. Collaborators are worse for the peace movement than enemies. Until we start defeating this type of pro-war Democrat, there will be no ending America's slide into military empire.

--->The NY Times continues its blackout of RH 362. The betrayal of the peace movement by Kirstin Gillibrand and John Hall (along with other Democratic candidates for House seats) just doesn't fit into the two party story narative. The NY Times is also promoting an attack on Iran, and doing it as clearly as it promoted the last US war crime, the attack on Iraq.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Fantasyland Media:

News fashioned by the people in charge, the corporations and your government. Each week, we cover the stories that are just left out of the US propaganda machine.


"A report to the UN Human Rights Council on Israel's shelling of Beit Hanoun in Gaza almost two years ago says it may have been a war crime. The report compiled by Archbishop Desmond Tutu casts doubt on Israel's explanation that the shelling resulted from a flawed artillery firing system. It calls on Israel to pay compensation to the victims, 19 of whom were killed.

Archbishop Tutu went to Beit Hanoun in May, after objections by Israel delayed his mission several times. The BBC's Imogen Foulkes in Geneva says the South African cleric's report contains horrific testimony from survivors of the shelling.

She says it speaks of the dead lying in the streets, of local hospitals overwhelmed, and of the injured having to hand over cash to get through Israeli checkpoints for treatment in Israel itself."

--->The NY Times, as expected, never covered this story at all. Human rights abuses by Israel are simply kept off its pages. Perhaps that is why Americans know so little about what is happening in the West Bank and Gaza. Freedom of the press is routinely sacrificed to present favorable images of Israel.


"Houses of cards, chickens coming home to roost - pick your cliche. The new low in the financial crisis, which has prompted comparisons with the 1929 Wall Street crash, is the fruit of a pattern of dishonesty on the part of financial institutions, and incompetence on the part of policy makers.

We had become accustomed to the hypocrisy. The banks reject any suggestion they should face regulation, rebuff any move towards anti-trust measures - yet when trouble strikes, all of a sudden they demand state intervention: they must be bailed out; they are too big, too important to be allowed to fail...

It was all done in the name of innovation, and any regulatory initiative was fought away with claims that it would suppress that innovation. They were innovating, all right, but not in ways that made the economy stronger. Some of America's best and brightest were devoting their talents to getting around standards and regulations designed to ensure the efficiency of the economy and the safety of the banking system. Unfortunately, they were far too successful, and we are all - homeowners, workers, investors, taxpayers - paying the price."
Joseph E Stiglitz, professor at Columbia University

--->The NY Times didn't think that Professor Stiglitz's remarks were newsworthy, even though he was a recipient of a Nobel prize in economics and works a subway stop from the Times building in Manhattan. The Guardian from the UK is the only place Americans can get a non corporate view of our financial debacle.


Causes of Fannie's Collapse -- and How to Stop the Speculators

WASHINGTON - September 9 -

"The collapse of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac is partly the result of their own practices, but it is also part and parcel of the broader collapse of regulation that took hold in the late 1990's with the repeal of Glass-Steagall [banking regulation], which opened the door to massive securitization of subprime mortgages, and then the deliberate fostering of the housing bubble under the Bush administration...

[Treasury Secretary Henry] Paulson's actions face up to the reality that government must be involved in housing. Meanwhile, John McCain continues to deny that reality. McCain's economic policy was created, in full, by Phil Gramm -- the architect of the deregulation that brought us this crisis. If John McCain becomes President, we'll likely see the 'solution' now being recommended by Alan Greenspan: breakup and privatization of Fannie and Freddie, leaving the private bankers in charge and taking government out of the housing business. There will be no recovery of the housing sector if that happens, and many more will face foreclosure."
James Galbraith (latest book: The Predator State)

--->The NY Times in its exhaustive coverage of the Fannie, Freddie crisis didn't think the Glass-Steagall act even worth mentioning. Deregulation the culprit in the current economic meltdown? Not to the Times whose board is made up of corporate executives.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Fantasyland Media:

News fashioned by the people in charge, the corporations and your government. Each week, we cover the stories that are just left out of the US propaganda machine.


The 2008 Democratic Party Platform and the Middle East:

"Among the positive aspects of the platform is a commitment to take concrete steps towards nuclear arms control and eventual disarmament. These include ratifying the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, strengthening the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), and recognizing U.S. obligations under the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty...

Regarding the greater Middle East, however, the Democrats don't appear to have yet learned the lessons of the past 40 years: that the more the United States militarizes the region, the less secure we become...

The 2008 platform endorses an ongoing U.S. military role in that violent oil-rich nation. It calls for an unspecified number of U.S. troops to remain as a 'residual force' for such 'specific missions' as 'targeting terrorists; protecting our embassy and civil personnel; and advising and supporting Iraq's Security Forces, provided the Iraqis make political progress.'

A troubling aspect to these exceptions is the vagueness of the language. Given that the Bush administration has referred to all Iraqi insurgents fighting U.S. forces as "terrorists," it raises questions as to what degree U.S. military operations and the number of troops to sustain them will actually be reduced. In addition, the U.S. "embassy" - the largest complex of its kind in the world, taking up a bigger area than Vatican City and situated in the heart of Baghdad - requires a substantial military force to adequately defend. And the number of "civil personnel" in the country is in the tens of thousands and would presumably require many thousands of troops to protect them."
Stephen Zunes

--->Most of our mainstream media never presents the presidential candidates as basically agreeing on most aspects of the Iraq conflict. Why not cover this? It might reveal the involvement of both parties in continuing the occupation.


"When John McCain selected Alaska governor Sarah Palin to be his running mate, pundits and reporters saw the move as more proof of McCain's "maverick" nature--despite the fact that Palin's selection would seem in large part to be an attempt to placate the Republican Party base, further undermining his media-sustained reputation as an independent politician who breaks with his party...

For the media, the storyline for McCain seems to be that he's a maverick just because he's John McCain. Weighing McCain's decision to choose either Palin or former Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Ridge, John Harwood wrote in the New York Times (9/1/08), 'Both choices offered the opportunity to reinforce Mr. McCain's image as a free-wheeling maverick.' For much of the mainstream media, there is no other way to describe John McCain--no matter what reality is telling you."
Fairness and Accuracy In Reporting (FAIR)

--->And why might the media be exaggerating McCain's maverick status? To elect another Republican who will continue the policies of George Bush, despite the fact that these policies are deeply unpopular. "Maverick" means change, or so the media tells us. Will Americans be stupid enough to believe it?


Causes of Fannie's Collapse -- and How to Stop the Speculators

WASHINGTON - September 9 -

"JAMES K. GALBRAITH Galbraith's latest book is The Predator State: How Conservatives Abandoned the Free Market and Why Liberals Should Too. He said today: 'The collapse of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac is partly the result of their own practices, but it is also part and parcel of the broader collapse of regulation that took hold in the late 1990's with the repeal of Glass-Steagall [banking regulation], which opened the door to massive securitization of subprime mortgages, and then the deliberate fostering of the housing bubble under the Bush administration.'

'This was tied to financialization throughout the economy and the sequence of bubbles and busts that have resulted. The first was in information technology, the second in housing, and now we're seeing it in commodities, especially oil.'

'[Treasury Secretary Henry] Paulson's actions face up to reality that government must be involved in housing. Meanwhile, John McCain continues to deny that reality. McCain's economic policy was created, in full, by Phil Gramm -- the architect of the deregulation that brought us this crisis. If John McCain becomes President, we'll likely see the 'solution' now being recommended by Alan Greenspan: breakup and privatization of Fannie and Freddie, leaving the private bankers in charge and taking government out of the housing business. There will be no recovery of the housing sector if that happens, and many more will face foreclosure.'"

--->The NY Times in its exhaustive coverage of the Fannie, Freddie crisis didn't think the Glass-Steagall act even worth mentioning. Deregulation the culprit in the current economic meltdown? Not to the Times whose board is made up of corporate executives.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Fantasyland Media:

News fashioned by the people in charge, the corporations and your government. Each week, we cover the stories that are just left out of the US propaganda machine.


"Over 1000 new buildings are being constructed in the settlements, in which approximately 2,600 housing units, according to Peace Now’s calculations (aerial photographs and field visits). Approximately 55% of the new structures are located to the EAST of the constructed Separation Barrier.

The number of tenders for construction in the settlements has increased by 550%. 417 housing units, compared to just 65 in 2007. The number of tenders in East Jerusalem has increased by a factor of 38 (1,761 housing units compared to 46 in 2007).

In recent years the trend has accelerated to eliminate the Green Line through intensive construction intended to create a territorial connection between the blocks of settlements and isolated settlements in the heart of the West Bank."

--- >The NY Times reported the settlements story quite differently. There is no mention of where the settlements are being built in the West Bank.

"Israeli Naval vessels are currently firing on unarmed Palestinian fishing boats and international human rights workers off the coast of the Gaza Strip. The fishing boats are several miles off the coast of Gaza City, in Palestinian territorial waters. As of 11am (4am EST) no one had been injured, but live ammunition is still being fired in the direction of the civilian boats.

The unarmed boats went to sea at dawn this morning, in an attempt to fish in their own water. Six international human rights workers from five different countries accompanied the fishermen in the hopes that their presence would deter the Israeli military from firing on the fishermen. In the past the Israeli military has shot and killed unarmed Palestinian fishermen for trying to fish in their own waters." (e-mail from activists who broke the blockade of Gaza)

UPDATE: According to a report from the International Middle East Media Center, two fishermen several miles to the north were hit by Israeli weapons fire. Mohammad Ani Assultan, age 19, was wounded, and Hussam Assultan, age 32, was hit in the head. He is said to be in critical condition.

--- >The NY Times did not report this story at all. Protecting Israel's reputation has always been more important than reporting the news to Americans.

"One in ten respondents in a recent national poll of preference for President support candidates other than either Senator Barack Obama (Dem.) or Senator John McCain (Rep.). This is a finding of a poll conducted by Opinion Research Corporation, released by CNN.

The ORC poll found 6 percent support Ralph Nader (Independent/Peace & Freedom, in California), 1 percent support former Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney (Green), and 3 percent support former Congressman Bob Barr (Libertarian)."

--- >Despite CNN's involvement with this poll and relationship with ORC, CNN never reported that a surprisingly large one in ten support other candidates. In fact, CNN scarcely reported on this poll at all. The NY Times has characteristically kept silent about candidates outside the two corporate funded parties.

UPDATE: A poll from Gallup's website indicates that "just 12 % of Americans expressing confidence in Congress...the worst rating for any institution in the 35 year history of this question...Only 26 percent of respondents have confidence in the institution of Presidency; only 32 percent in the Supreme Court, only 24 percent in TV news; only 24 percent in newspapers; and only 20 percent have confidence in big business."

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Fantasyland Media:

News fashioned by the people in charge, the corporations and your government. Each week, we cover the stories that are just left out of the US propaganda machine.


"SAN FRANCISCO - Anti-war activist Cindy Sheehan qualified Friday for a November showdown with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, collecting the signatures needed to get on the ballot as an independent candidate for Congress.

"We're very excited," said Sheehan, 51, the mother of a soldier killed in Iraq who is well-known for her protest outside President Bush's Texas ranch. "Now we have to get organized and regroup."

Republican Dana Walsh and Libertarian Philip Berg will join Pelosi and Sheehan on the Nov. 4 ballot."

--->The NY Times didn't think it newsworthy that the Speaker of the House will be challenged in November by an antiwar candidate. It didn't run this story. In fact, Times consistently fails to report antiwar sentiment as well as political action.


"Two boats carrying dozens of international activists sailed into the Gaza Strip in defiance of an Israeli blockade yesterday. They were greeted by jubilant Palestinians after a two-day journey marred by communications troubles and rough seas. The 46 activists from 14 countries include Lauren Booth, sister-in-law of Tony Blair.

Since sailing from Cyprus early on Friday, the mission by the US-based Free Gaza Movement had been in question. Israel initially hinted it would prevent the vessels from reaching Gaza, but relented after determining the activists did not pose a security threat.

Israel imposed its blockade in June 2007 after Hamas seized power in Gaza. Israel has closed its trade crossings with the territory, while neighbouring Egypt sealed its passenger crossing, confining Gaza's 1.4 million residents. Israel has allowed only basic supplies into Gaza, causing shortages of fuel, electricity and basic goods."

--->The NY Times has blockaded this story for weeks, although it has been carried in most of the foreign press. When the NY Times finally covered the landing in Gaza, its story started with a statement by an Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman. There was no mention of Israeli's threats, or of its jamming of communication equipment that had made the crossing dangerous in bad weather. Whatever the story, The NY Times can be counted on to portray Israel in a favorable light.


"NEW YORK (Reuters) - A nuclear power plant that lies within commuting distance of New York City is more likely to be shaken by an earthquake than previously thought because it sits atop a newly identified intersection of two active seismic zones, scientists said.

The Indian Point nuclear reactor is within a mile or two of both a seismic zone running from Stamford, Connecticut, to Peekskill, New York, and the Ramapo seismic line, said the study by seismologists at Columbia University's Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory.

Large earthquakes are infrequent around New York compared to more active areas like California, but the risk is higher because of the millions of people that live around the largest U.S. city and the infrastructure surrounding it, said Lynn Sykes, the lead author of the study.."

--->The NY Times take on this story is a bit more benign. "With the new data, engineers could better analyze what types of forces the plant might experience in an earthquake along that fault." No mention of the increased likelihood if an earthquake around Indian Point. Nothing but a comforting reassurances: "The Appalachians Mountains were first pushed up several hundred million years ago, and those ancient large faults, including the Ramapo fault that also passes near Indian Point, have been quiet."

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Fantasyland Media:

News fashioned by the people in charge, the corporations and your government. Each week, we cover the stories that are just left out of the US propaganda machine.


"The good news is that, at the present rate of progress, reliable missile defence is only 50 years away. The bad news is that it has been 50 years away for the past six decades.

The system has been in development since 1946, and so far it has achieved a grand total of nothing. You wouldn't know it if you read the press releases published by the Pentagon's missile defense agency: the word "success" features more often than any other noun. It is true that the programme has managed to hit two out of the five missiles fired over the past five years during tests of its main component, the ground-based midcourse missile defence (GMD) system. But, sadly, these tests bear no relation to anything resembling a real nuclear strike.

All the trials run so far - successful or otherwise - have been rigged. The target, its type, trajectory and destination, are known before the test begins... In order to try to enhance the appearance of success, recent flight tests have become even less realistic: the agency has now stopped using decoys altogether when testing its GMD system...

If we seek to understand American foreign policy in terms of a rational engagement with international problems, or even as an effective means of projecting power, we are looking in the wrong place. The government's interests have always been provincial. It seeks to appease lobbyists, shift public opinion at crucial stages of the political cycle, accommodate crazy Christian fantasies and pander to television companies run by eccentric billionaires. The US does not really have a foreign policy. It has a series of domestic policies which it projects beyond its borders. That they threaten the world with 57 varieties of destruction is of no concern to the current administration. The only question of interest is who gets paid and what the political kickbacks will be."

--->150 billion on a scam? How is it that the US media can't figure this out? This analysis is from the Guardian in the UK. Don't look for such honesty in the pages of the NY Times.


"WASHINGTON -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is refusing to disclose records about a new class of pesticides that could be playing a role in the disappearance of millions of honeybees in the United States, a lawsuit filed Monday charges.

The Natural Resources Defense Council wants to see the studies that the EPA required when it approved a pesticide made by Bayer CropScience five years ago. The environmental group filed the suit as part of an effort to find out how diligently the EPA is protecting honeybees from dangerous pesticides, said Aaron Colangelo, a lawyer for the group in Washington.

Bees pollinate about one-third of the human diet, $15 billion worth of U.S. crops...Clothianidin is the pesticide at the center of controversy. It is used to coat corn, sugar beet and sorghum seeds and is part of a class of pesticides called neonicotinoids. The pesticide was blamed for bee deaths in France and Germany, which also is dealing with a colony collapse. Those two countries have suspended its use until further study. An EPA fact sheet from 2003 says clothianidin has the potential for toxic chronic exposure to honey bees, as well as other pollinators, through residues in nectar and pollen."

--->The NY Times has reported on bee deaths (April 24, 2007), but keeps US readers in the dark about chemicals like Clthianidin. The NY Times, like the EPA, puts the profits of chemical companies above the common good.


"Though the national sentiment favors wrapping up the Iraq War, there exists a small but powerful movement for starting a new military conflict with Iran. The bipartisan drumbeats for aggression reverberate throughout the corridors of Congress. House Resolution 362 and Senate Resolution 580, for example, call on the United States to prevent Iran from "acquiring a nuclear weapons capability through all appropriate economic, political, and diplomatic means...The "squeeze Iran" and "confront Iran" positions are strongly encouraged by the increasingly powerful Zionist Christian Fundamentalist community (Christians United for Israel: CUFI).

According to a Nation article, White House officials met with CUFI leaders in 2006 in a series of off-the-record meetings to discuss its policies in the Middle East. "CUFI's Washington lobbyist, David Brog, told me that during the meetings, CUFI representatives pressed White House officials to adopt a more confrontational posture toward Iran, refuse aid to the Palestinians and give Israel a free hand as it ramped up its military conflict with Hezbollah," Blumenthal wrote. Brog, who serves as CUFI's Executive Director, couldn't disclose who CUFI leaders met with at the White House.

--->Christian Zionist organizations pushing for war on Iran? Links to present and past members of the Bush administration (like Richard Perle, Paul Wolfowitz, David Wurmser, Douglas Feith, and Elliott Abrams)? Links to McCain's Reverand Hagee? While the NY Times has reported on such links, it has failed to report the influence of this powerful group on US foreign policy.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Fantasyland Media

Vital unresolved anthrax questions and ABC News.

After 9/11 itself, the anthrax attacks were probably the most consequential event of the Bush presidency. One could make a persuasive case that they were actually more consequential. The 9/11 attacks were obviously traumatic for the country, but in the absence of the anthrax attacks, 9/11 could easily have been perceived as a single, isolated event. It was really the anthrax letters -- with the first one sent on September 18, just one week after 9/11 -- that severely ratcheted up the fear levels and created the climate that would dominate in this country for the next several years after. It was anthrax -- sent directly into the heart of the country's elite political and media institutions, to then-Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle (D-SD), Sen. Pat Leahy (D-Vt), NBC News anchor Tom Brokow, and other leading media outlets -- that created the impression that social order itself was genuinely threatened by Islamic radicalism...

If the now-deceased Ivins really was the culprit behind the attacks, then that means that the anthrax came from a U.S. Government lab, sent by a top U.S. Army scientist at Ft. Detrick. Without resort to any speculation or inferences at all, it is hard to overstate the significance of that fact. From the beginning, there was a clear intent on the part of the anthrax attacker to create a link between the anthrax attacks and both Islamic radicals and the 9/11 attacks.

Note found: "09/11/01 This is next. Take Penacilin Now. Death to America, death to Israel. Allah is great."

Much more important than the general attempt to link the anthrax to Islamic terrorists, there was a specific intent -- indispensably aided by ABC News -- to link the anthrax attacks to Iraq and Saddam Hussein.

During the last week of October, 2001, ABC News, led by Brian Ross, continuously trumpeted the claim as their top news story that government tests conducted on the anthrax -- tests conducted at Ft. Detrick -- revealed that the anthrax sent to Daschele contained the chemical additive known as bentonite. ABC News, including Peter Jennings, repeatedly claimed that the presence of bentonite in the anthrax was compelling evidence that Iraq was responsible for the attacks, since -- as ABC variously claimed -- bentonite "is a trademark of Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein's biological weapons program" and "only one country, Iraq, has used bentonite to produce biological weapons." Glenn Greenwald,

-->In the rush to close this case, much is being left out. Ivins was a Christian Zionist (by his writings). The US government was intricately involved in both the original attack, and the attempt to link the attack to Iraq. All these vital details are omitted by NY Times stories. We have to ask why the media is so eager to close this chapter in the origins of the Iraq invasion. Obviously, there is a lot to be hidden. Perhaps it is even the "smoking gun" of the Bush administration.


"Israel's secret police are pressuring Palestinians in Gaza to spy on their community in exchange for urgent medical treatment, according to a report released today by an Israeli human rights organization (Physicians for Human Rights)...

Refusal to cooperate often results in the denial of medical treatment. Based on the testimonies of more than 30 Palestinians - 11 of which are published - the report says the Shin Bet is using coercion and extortion to force patients to collaborate."

-->Like most stories critical of Israel, this report was censored out of the NY Times reporting on the Middle East.

Friday, August 01, 2008

Fantasyland Media

"JERUSALEM - Taking the protest against the Gaza blockade to a new level, two boats packed with foreign left-wing activists will attempt to sail from Cyprus to the sealed Gaza harbor in two weeks’ time.0726 03 1

The operation is being directed by members of the International Solidarity Movement and the Israeli Commission against House Demolitions. A Web site, FreeGaza, has been set up to collect donations and update the public.

The group - which numbers some 40 activists - has purchased two boats, one called SS Free Gaza and the other SS Liberty, named after the USS Liberty that was mistakenly bombed by the Israel Air Force during the Six Day War. Thirty-four American sailors were killed in the bombing."

-->The US media, including the NY Times, has completely avoided this story. We must go to an Israeli paper, the Jerusalem Post, for an accurate reporting on this dramatic attempt by international activist to break the Gaza blockade.


The headline atop Saturday’s op-ed page was a hallowed standby for the New York Times: “Americans Move to the Middle.” Assembled by Times “visual columnist” Charles Blow, the text of the column was dwarfed by 15 graphs tracking recent movement in American public opinion, based on Gallup polls. There was one problem: the headline totally distorted the data.

An accurate headline would have been “American Opinion Moves Leftward” — but accuracy was apparently trumped by centrist ideology....


– “The Iraq war has made the U.S. less safe from terrorism.” 37% in 2003 and 49% four years later.

– “The government is spending too much for national defense and military purposes.” 19% in Feb. 2001 and 44% in Feb. 2008.

– “Organized religion should have less influence in this nation.” 22% in Jan. 2001 and 34% in Jan. 2008.

"The reality is that longterm trends in American opinion are generally leftward on issues, as documented in well-researched studies.

It’s a reality that troubles those Beltway pundits who constantly goad Barack Obama toward “the center” on issues like Iraq and NAFTA — when they mean, move away from the center of mass opinion and upwards toward the center of elite opinion."

-->Article by Jeff Cohen, director of the Park Center for Independent Media at Ithaca College. He founded the media watch group FAIR in 1986.


"The United States security coordinator for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, retired general James Jones, is preparing an extremely critical report of Israel’s policies in the territories and its attitude toward the Palestinian Authority’s security services.

A few copies of the report’s executive summary (or, according to some sources, a draft of it) have been given to senior Bush Administration officials, and it is reportedly arousing considerable discomfort. In recent weeks, the administration has been debating whether to allow Jones to publish his full report, or whether to tell him to shelve it and make do with the summary, given the approaching end of President George Bush’s term...

According to both Israeli and American sources, the envoy’s conclusions about Israel are scathing. Israelis who met with Jones on his most recent visit here a few weeks ago, including Israel Defense Forces officers, said their impression was that the report would be “very harsh, and make Israel look very bad.”

-->This story about US Israeli relations is similarly missing from our mainstream media, including the NY Times. This story, printed in the Israeli newspaper, Haaretz, fills us in on what our own government is doing. The NY Times cares more about protecting Israel's reputation than most news media in Israel itself. Or maybe Israel values freedom of the press more than this country does.


"The dramatic hearing on presidential crimes and abuses of power held on Friday by the House Judiciary Committee was both a staged farce, and at the same time, a powerful demonstration of the power of a grassroots movement in defense of the Constitution. It was at once both testimony to the cowardice and self-inflicted impotence of Congress and of the Democratic Party that technically controls that body, and to the enormity of the damage that has been wrought to the nation’s democracy by two aspiring tyrants in the White House.

As Rep. John Conyers (D-MI), chairman of the committee, made clear more than once during the six-hour session, this was “not an impeachment hearing, however much many in the audience might wish it to be.” He might well have added that he himself was not the fierce defender of the Constitution and of the authority of Congress that he once was before gaining control of the Judiciary Committee, however much his constituents, his wife, and Americans across the country might wish him to be...."
by Dave Lindorff

-->True to form, the NY Times refuses to print anything about impeachment. Like the rest of the US media, impeachment is "off the table." And this assessment of impeachment's importance trumps US citizens' right to know.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Fantasyland Media

"As historians ponder George W. Bush’s disastrous presidency, they may wonder how Republicans perfected a propaganda system that could fool tens of millions of Americans, intimidate Democrats, and transform the vaunted Washington press corps from watchdogs to lapdogs.

To understand this extraordinary development, historians might want to look back at the 1980s and examine the Iran-Contra scandal’s “lost chapter,” a narrative describing how Ronald Reagan’s administration brought CIA tactics to bear domestically to reshape the way Americans perceived the world.

That chapter — which we are publishing here for the first time — was “lost” because Republicans on the congressional Iran-Contra investigation waged a rear-guard fight that traded elimination of the chapter’s key findings for the votes of three moderate GOP senators, giving the final report a patina of bipartisanship."

---> A "lost chapter" indicating CIA and private investment in feeding propaganda to the US people? Since the NY Times is tied up feeding propaganda about Iran to the public, it was too busy to cover this story.


"Civil Liberties Groups Sue for Info on Cell Phone Lojacking...The complaint brought by the American Civil Liberties Union and Electronic Frontier Foundation seeks to compel the release of “all records pertaining to [the government’s] policies, procedures and practices followed to obtain mobile phone location information for law enforcement purposes,” especially when that information is sought without a warrant...

Cell providers are required to be able to pinpoint a phone’s location under “Enhanced 911? rules originally intended to aid police and paramedics when a mobile user called 911."

--->So, are you being tracked by your cell phone? Without a search warrant? You would think that story would be interesting to readers of the NY Times. But many of the government's invasions of privacy are kept hidden by the country's media, including the NY Times, which didn't cover this Civil Liberties suit.


"In just the last month, a number of major newspapers have announced they are cutting their news staffs:

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel will cut 1,300 full-time employees;
The Tampa Tribune is laying off 21 newsroom employees;
The Daytona Beach News-Journal, up for sale, will slash 99 positions; and
The Los Angeles Times will cut 250 jobs, including 150 newsroom employees. And, the paper said, it will "trim story length."

In all, more than 900 newspaper jobs slashed in just 30 days."

--->The NY Times reported a story about less news coverage, based on a survey of top editors at 259 newspapers. The story attributed the diminished coverage to financial pressures, but made no reference to the massive cuts in newsroom staff. Another NY Times story did mention 150 newsroom employees being cut from the LA Times.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Fantasyland Media

"GUANTANAMO BAY NAVY BASE, Cuba - The U.S. government is blocking the American Civil Liberties Union from paying attorneys representing suspected terrorists held here, insisting that the ACLU must first receive a license from the U.S. Treasury Department before making the payments.

ACLU director Anthony Romero on Tuesday accused the Bush administration of “obstruction of justice” by delaying approval of the license, which the government argues is required under U.S. law because the beneficiaries of the lawyers’ services are foreign terrorists.

“Now the government is stonewalling again by not allowing Americans’ private dollars to be paid to American lawyers to defend civil liberties,” Romero said.

--- >Although the NY Times has published stories about Guantanamo, this example of US attempting to subvert justice must have seemed to anti- American. The NY Times did not publish the story.

"Madlala-Routledge thinks that the struggle against the occupation is not succeeding (in the West Bank) because of U.S. support for Israel - not the case with apartheid, which international sanctions helped destroy. Here, the racist ideology is also reinforced by religion, which was not the case in South Africa. "Talk about the 'promised land' and the 'chosen people' adds a religious dimension to racism which we did not have."

Equally harsh are the remarks of the editor-in-chief of the Sunday Times of South Africa, Mondli Makhanya, 38. "When you observe from afar you know that things are bad, but you do not know how bad. Nothing can prepare you for the evil we have seen here. In a certain sense, it is worse, worse, worse than everything we endured. The level of the apartheid, the racism and the brutality are worse than the worst period of apartheid.

"The apartheid regime viewed the blacks as inferior; I do not think the Israelis see the Palestinians as human beings at all. How can a human brain engineer this total separation, the separate roads, the checkpoints? What we went through was terrible, terrible, terrible - and yet there is no comparison. Here it is more terrible. We also knew that it would end one day; here there is no end in sight. The end of the tunnel is blacker than black.

--- >The NY Times hardly prints any news critical of human rights abuses by Israel. A story like this would never get by the pro-Israeli censors. True to form, this visit to the West Bank by black South Africans was never covered.

"A US air strike killed 47 civilians, including 39 women and children, as they were traveling to a wedding in Afghanistan, an official inquiry found today. The bride was among the dead.

Another nine people were wounded in Sunday's attack, the head of the Afghan government investigation, Burhanullah Shinwari, said.

Fighter aircraft attacked a group of militants near the village of Kacu in the eastern Nuristan province, but one missile went off course and hit the wedding party, said the provincial police chief spokesman, Ghafor Khan.

"We found that 47 civilians, mostly women and children, were killed in the air strikes and another nine were wounded," said Shinwari, who is also the deputy speaker of Afghanistan's senate. "They were all civilians and had no links with the Taliban or al-Qaida."

--- >The NY Times covers this story slightly differently. Instead of the head of the Afghan government's investigation (and member of the Afghan senate) being quoted, it is "local officials." Maybe that is why the NY Times reported 27 civilians killed rather than 47.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Fantasyland Media

In a new analysis released today comparing the conventional military capabilities of the United States and Iran, experts at the Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation conclude that the current threat posed by Iran is exaggerated by conflating it with Iran's potential, but far from certain, acquisition of a nuclear weapon in the future.

The United States will spend 99 times more on defense than Iran in the upcoming fiscal year. U.S. fighter aircraft outnumber Iranian aircraft 12.4 to 1, and American planes like the F-22 Raptor are far superior to aging Iranian aircraft.

“It is dangerous to allow speculation about what Iran might be able to do in the future to permeate debates about the threat posed by Iran today,” said Carah Ong, Iran Policy Analyst at the Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation. “Conflating future and present threats creates an artificial sense of urgency about what the United States must do to protect itself.”

--->Such rational talk, however, is missing from the NY Times. It didn't cover this story at all, although it published 58 stories in the last month about Iran and nuclear weapons.


In recent weeks we’ve again seen an escalation of US/Israeli threats to attack Iran. Among many other examples, the House of Representatives is currently considering a resolution promoted by AIPAC that would effectively demand a blockade against Iran. This resolution has over 200 co-sponsors (including our own supposedly antiwar Rep. Kirstin Gillibrand), although a surge of opposition has prevented it from being passed so far. The resolution is H. Con. Res. 362.

Here’s what those promoting military attacks and blockades on Iran don’t want Americans to know: there’s an offer on the table that could resolve the dispute over Iran’s nuclear program and allow both sides to claim victory.

The former US Ambassador to the United Nations Thomas Pickering has made a case for talks with Iran without pre-conditions on multilateral uranium enrichment in Iran. It is even on Youtube.

--->But such stories don't sit well with the NY Times as this country eases into war with Iran. It didn't cover Pickering's statement. Nor has it covered House Res. 362 in the last month. The only "362" found in pages of the NY Times since early June is a story about a Mets and the Phillies game (the batting average of baseball player Damion Easley).


The highly regarded American journalist Seymour Hersh just confirmed that the U.S. Congress authorized a $400-million plan to overthrow Iran’s government and incite ethnic unrest. This column reported a year ago that U.S. and British special forces were operating in Iran, preparing for a massive air campaign. Israel’s destruction of an alleged Syrian reactor last fall was a warning to Iran.

This week a Pentagon official claimed an Israeli attack on Iran was coming before year end.

Other Pentagon and CIA sources say a U.S. attack on Iran is imminent, with or without Israel. The Bush administration is even considering using small tactical nuclear weapons against deeply buried Iranian targets. 2008/07/05/6077376-sun.php

--->The NY Times reports the story as "Mixed Reactions to Report on U.S. Moves Against Iran," although the only quotes used were those questioning Hersh's research and motives.

Friday, July 04, 2008

Fantasyland Media

This nation is grievously and knowingly failing the young men and women who wear the uniform of its military services, and nothing demonstrates that more powerfully than the suicides of soldiers. According to the Army’s own figures, the rate of suicide among active duty personnel nearly doubled between 2001 and 2006. The number then grew even higher in 2007, when suicide ranked third as the cause of death among members of the National Guard...

Veterans, too, are in trouble. In May, the head of the National Institute of Mental Health warned of “a gathering storm.” Thomas Insel told the American Psychiatric Association that one in five of the 1.6 million soldiers who have been deployed in Iraq or Afghanistan (or more than 300,000) suffer from post-traumatic stress syndrome or depression. Potentially life-threatening mental disorders, including self-destructive behavior like addiction, raise the prospect, in Insel’s words, of “suicides and psychological mortality trumping combat deaths.”

Repeated deployments to war zones, combined with meager support upon returning home, are leaving many soldiers adrift. Each one who commits suicide, or attempts to (more than 2,000 last year), shows this...

---> This from the Boston Globe op-ed. Veteran suicide rates, however, get very little media coverage in the US. Bob Herbert referred to suicide rates in an op-ed column in the NY Times on June 24. Where are the news stories?


Not only did the four energy giants - BP, Exxon Mobil, Shell and Total - write their own contracts with the Iraqi government, an unheard-of practice: they have also reportedly secured rights of first refusal on the far more lucrative 30-year production contracts expected once a new US-sponsored oil law is passed, allowing a wholesale western takeover...

It's a similar story when it comes to the future of the US occupation itself. The last thing on anyone's mind, we were told when the tanks rolled in, was permanent US control, let alone the re-colonisation of Iraq... But five years on, George Bush and Dick Cheney are putting the screws on their Green Zone government to sign a secret deal for indefinite military occupation, which would effectively reduce Iraq to a long-term vassal state.

In April, I was leaked a draft copy of this "strategic framework agreement", intended to replace the existing UN mandate at the end of the year. Details of the document, which came from a source at the heart of the Iraqi government, were published in the Guardian - including indefinite authorisation for the US to "conduct military operations in Iraq and to detain individuals when necessary for imperative reasons of security". Since then, much more has emerged about the accompanying "status of forces agreement" the US administration wants to impose: including more than 50 US military bases, full control of Iraqi airspace, legal immunity for US military and private security firms, and the right to conduct armed operations throughout the country without consulting the Iraqi government.

---> Our new colony, Iraq? The US media keeps us in the dark about the workings of our own empire.


Cuba has approved what is believed to be the world's first registered lung cancer vaccine and is offering it to Cuban and foreign patients in its hospitals.

The therapeutic vaccine CimaVax EGF extends life with few side effects, and is another step in Cuba's expertise in biotechnology. It was unveiled on Monday at Havana's centre of molecular immunology.

It has been shown to boost survival rates by an average of four to five months, and in some cases much longer. It does not prevent lung cancer. Unlike chemotherapy, CimaVax EGF is said to have few side effects because it is a modified protein which attacks only cancer cells.

"It's the first such vaccine registered in the world," said Gisela González, who headed the project begun in 1992. The drug is in various clinical trials, some in Canada and Britain, and is expected to be approved next in Peru.

---> You would think a breakthrough in cancer would be a big news item in the US. Not with a media that does the government's bidding.


Wednesday, July 2 on WAMC/NPR

How great that NPR is finally reporting on the health coverage in other developed countries, something few Americans know about. Today's program was an excellent analysis of Germany's healthcare system that covers all citizens, even offers dental, and costs half of what we pay here.

The reason? To NPR, it is because German doctors are paid less! Not a word is spoken about the massive costs imposed by private insurance companies in this country. There was mention of higher "administrative" costs in the US, but no reference to why that might be.

What a wonderful exercise in pretending to talk about the healthcare crisis without exposing on the major cause of it. Sort of like describing the fall of Poland without mentioning the German Army. Just shoddy journalism? No, this is corporate controlled media.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Fantasyland Media

According to data compiled by Andrew Tyndall, a television consultant who monitors the three network evening newscasts, coverage of Iraq has been “massively scaled back this year.” Almost halfway into 2008, the three newscasts have shown 181 weekday minutes of Iraq coverage, compared with 1,157 minutes for all of 2007. The “CBS Evening News” has devoted the fewest minutes to Iraq, 51, versus 55 minutes on ABC’s “World News” and 74 minutes on “NBC Nightly News.” (The average evening newscast is 22 minutes long.)

CBS News no longer stations a single full-time correspondent in Iraq, where some 150,000 United States troops are deployed.

Journalists at all three American television networks with evening newscasts expressed worries that their news organizations would withdraw from the Iraqi capital after the November presidential election. They spoke only on the condition of anonymity in order to avoid offending their employers.

--->This was a story from the NY Times, which does not hesitate to criticize TV news coverage. For the average person in the United States, the war has just gone away. Except for the patriotic advertising from Boeing, Lockheed Martin, and the Army Advantage Fund. Why have the news any different than the advertising anyway?


The UN children's fund UNICEF has severed ties with an Israeli billionaire and financial backer due to his suspected involvement in building settlements in the West Bank, UNICEF said on Friday.

Lev Leviev, a real estate and diamond mogul who is one of the richest men in Israel, has supported UNICEF with direct contributions and indirectly by sponsoring at least one UNICEF fund-raiser.

UNICEF decided to review its relationship with Leviev after a campaign ... found "at least a reasonable grounds for suspecting" that Leviev companies were building settlements in Palestinian territory, a UNICEF official said.

--->The NY Times publishes only positive stories about Lev Leviev, an important diamond merchant and real estate developer in New York. It didn't cover this story, although the Israeli paper, Haaretz did.


WASHINGTON - A Cambridge-based human rights organization said it has found medical evidence supporting the claims of 11 former detainees who were allegedly tortured while in American custody between 2001 and 2004, in what a former top US military investigator said amounts to evidence of war crimes.

Medical evaluations of the former inmates found injuries consistent with the alleged abuse, including the psychological effects of sensory deprivation and forced nudity as well as signs of “severe physical and sexual assault,” Physicians for Human Rights said in a report scheduled for release today.

The report also alleges that in four of the cases, American health professionals appeared to have been complicit by denying the detainees medical care and observing the abuse but making no effort to stop it - charges that, if true, represent gross violations of medical ethics.

--->Few media outlets in this country covered this story. The NY Times didn't, although the Boston Globe did. Perhaps the story is too anti-American for the general public to read.


A Senate investigation has concluded that top Pentagon officials began assembling lists of harsh interrogation techniques in the summer of 2002 for use on detainees at Guantanamo Bay and that those officials later cited memos from field commanders to suggest that the proposals originated far down the chain of command, according to congressional sources briefed on the findings.

The sources said that memos and other evidence obtained during the inquiry show that officials in the office of then-Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld started to research the use of waterboarding, stress positions, sensory deprivation and other practices in July 2002, months before memos from commanders at the detention facility in Cuba requested permission to use those measures on suspected terrorists.

--->The NY Times prefers a lighter touch on such stories. Instead of accusing the Pentagon of torture, the Times presents them as unsure of the right direction. The NY Times story is entitled: "Notes Show Confusion on Interrogation Methods."


--->The NY Times gets this week's award for the most effective propaganda images. In a recent story about the truce between Israel and Hamas, there are two pictures, one for each side. The Palestinians are in black hoods carrying rocket launchers. And the Israeli soldiers? They are playing volleyball. Masterful pro-Israeli propaganda. Something Isabel Kershner, the NY Times reporter with Zionist ties, is very good at.