Thursday, May 29, 2008

Fantasyland Media

Memorial Day is not actually a day to pray for U.S. troops who died in action but rather a day set aside by Congress to pray for peace. The 1950 Joint Resolution of Congress which created Memorial Day says: “Requesting the President to issue a proclamation designating May 30, Memorial Day, as a day for a Nation-wide prayer for peace.”

But peace today is a nearly impossible challenge for the United States. The U.S. is far and away the most militarized country in the world and the most aggressive.

The U.S. spends over $600 billion annually on our military, more than the rest of the world combined. China, our nearest competitor, spends about one-tenth of what we spend. The U.S. also sells more weapons to other countries than any other nation in the world.

The U.S. has about 700 military bases in 130 countries world-wide and another 6000 bases in the US and our territories.

And why is this a little hard to believe for some of you out there? Our media and our politicians never talk about the empire. It is off the agenda, even though it is probably the largest issue confronting our nation. http://www.commondreams.org/archive/2008/05/26/9198/

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The world is witnessing a terrible human rights crime in Gaza, where a million and a half human beings are being imprisoned with almost no access to the outside world by sea, air or land. An entire population is being brutally punished.

This gross mistreatment of the Palestinians in Gaza was escalated dramatically by Israel, with United States backing, after political candidates representing Hamas won a majority of seats in the Palestinian Authority parliament in 2006. The election was unanimously judged to be honest and fair by all international observers...

Regardless of one's choice in the partisan struggle between Fatah and Hamas within occupied Palestine, we must remember that economic sanctions and restrictions in delivering water, food, electricity and fuel are causing extreme hardship among the innocent people in Gaza, about one million of whom are refugees. Israeli bombs and missiles periodically strike the encapsulated area, causing high casualties among both militants and innocent women and children.

Whose voice is this? Not one heard in US media, which has pretty much eliminated anything the former president Jimmy Carter has had to say after his visit to occupied Palestine. The article is from the Times of India, where the Israeli lobby can't censor it. Here, the Israeli lobby dictates what you and I read about Palestine. http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/msid-3057635,prtpage-1.cms

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WASHINGTON - A senior U.S. official said Wednesday that a proposed treaty banning cluster bombs would hurt world security and endanger U.S. military cooperation on humanitarian work with countries that sign the accord.

Stephen Mull, an assistant secretary of state, briefed reporters at the State Department to explain why the United States was not attending a gathering in Ireland of representatives of more than 100 nations working on a treaty to ban the bombs blamed for killing or maiming civilians as their mini-bombs explode months or years after they are dropped.

Cluster bombs are fired by cannon or dropped from aircraft and release hundreds of smaller explosives in the air that are supposed to explode upon impact. In Israel’s 2006 war against the Hezbollah guerrillas in Lebanon, the bomblets’ failure rate was around 30 to 40 percent, and the United Nations said up to a million unexploded bomblets were left after hostilities ceased.

So there we have it. The US opposes limits on cluster bombs for "humanitarian reasons," a delicious irony waiting for any American media to expose. But the NY Times didn't see any irony at all. In fact, for the last two months it has refused to cover the issue at all. Perhaps the story is too anti-American for the nation's most prestigious propaganda machine. http://www.commondreams.org/archive/2008/05/22/9125/

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Should the news media be patriotic? When a journalist uncovers a government secret, which comes first–national security or the public’s right to know? In the United States, reporters consider themselves Americans first, journalists second. That means consulting the government before going public with a state secret. “When I was at ABC,” James Bamford told Time in 2006, “we always checked with the Administration in power when we thought we had something of concern, and there was usually some way to work it out.”

In a new book about the Bush Administration’s efforts to expand the president’s powers at the expense of the legislative and judicial branches, the assumption that the press shouldn’t publish security-sensitive stories is so hard-wired that New York Times reporter Eric Lichtblau accepts it as a given. But it’s a very American concept, and one that relies on the presumption that the U.S. government may make mistakes, but is largely a force for good. In other countries, the relationship between rulers and the press is strictly adversarial.

Lichtblau's book is about the NY Times decision to delay for a year the story of the government's illegal wiretapping of its own citizens. With a media like that, who needs censorship? http://www.commondreams.org/archive/2008/05/21/9094/

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