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.

1 comment:

PatientGuard said...

Yeah this is all true - the consciousness that people seem to afford over issues of death and war is nearly always comforted falsely by parts of the media .

Post Trauma is given a poor recognition in a world that can delegate its death policies into instruments like the military to keep cheap oil flowing .

The deep lesson perhaps will be taught nations as this bloody lubricator of globalisation gets more expensive and we have to cutback and get real about how we generate energy for social use

Good to see another of concern beacon left in the circus of hell we call the world ...