Thursday, February 26, 2009

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.


"Binyam Mohamed will return to Britain suffering from a huge range of injuries after being beaten by US guards right up to the point of his departure from Guantánamo Bay, according to the first detailed accounts of his treatment inside the camp.

Mohamed will arrive back tomorrow in the UK, where he was a British resident between 1984 and 2002. During medical examinations last week, doctors discovered injuries and ailments resulting from apparently brutal treatment in detention.

Mohamed was found to be suffering from bruising, organ damage, stomach complaints, malnutrition, sores to feet and hands, severe damage to ligaments as well as profound emotional and psychological problems..."

--->The NY Times doesn't like to talk about prisoners being beaten in Guantanamo. Makes America look bad. So in its role as chief propaganda agent of the US, the story of Binyam Mohamed injuries did not get printed. Instead there was this: "A Pentagon report requested by President Obama on the conditions at the Guantánamo Bay detention center concluded that the prison complies with the humane-treatment requirements of the Geneva Conventions." How reassuring.


"Obama is maintaining a hostile policy towards Hugo Chávez – which will cost the US friendships elsewhere in Latin America...

Obama started off with an unprovoked verbal assault on Venezuela. In an interview broadcast by the Spanish-language television station Univision on the Sunday before his inauguration, he accused Hugo Chávez of having 'impeded progress in the region' and 'exporting terrorist activities'.

These remarks were unusually hostile and threatening even by the previous administration's standards. They are also untrue and diametrically opposed to the way the rest of the region sees Venezuela. The charge that Venezuela is 'exporting terrorism' would not pass the laugh test among almost any government in Latin America.

José Miguel Insulza, the Chilean president of the Organisation of American States, was speaking for almost all the countries in the hemisphere when he told the US Congress last year that 'there is no evidence' and that no member country, including the US, had offered 'any such proof' that Venezuela supported terrorist groups.

--->Hostile remarks towards Venezuela? In the never-never land of the NY Times, Obama's remarks didn't happen. According the NY Times, "The Obama administration so far has toned down its approach to dealing with Venezuela," despite the fact that Chavez's recent victory "creates a new foreign policy challenge for the Obama administration, strengthening a leader who has made a career of taunting and deriding the United States."


"CARACAS, Venezuela — This country’s small Jewish community was already on edge when vandals painted anti-Semitic epithets on the walls of Jewish institutions and businesses last month after President Hugo Chávez cut ties with Israel and called on Jews here to support his description of Israel’s leaders as a 'government of assassins.'

But another episode, the break-in and desecration of a Sephardic synagogue on Jan. 31, intensified the uncertainty among Jews here. Officials are also putting pressure on Jewish leaders to retract criticism of Mr. Chávez regarding the attack and to accept the government’s explanation of it as a simple robbery by corrupt members of the intelligence and municipal police forces.

'The atmosphere of intimidation is terrifying,' said Rabbi Pynchas Brener, 77, a prominent Ashkenazi leader and an outspoken critic of Mr. Chávez’s government. 'We do not know when this pressure will start to ease up.'"

--->But this NY Times story about anti-Semitism raises more questions than answers. For example, it never covered this interesting bit of information carried by the Israel National News:

"Rabbi's Personal Bodyguard behind Caracas Synagogue Attack...A former security guard who was responsible for protecting a Caracas rabbi has been charged with using his knowledge to help stage the January 31 attack on the house of worship where the rabbi officiated.

Venezuelan minister Tareck el Aissami said that the man and one other guard cut electricity cables to the synagogue's electronic fence, allowing more than a dozen others, including eight policemen, to attack the synagogue without touching off the alarm system...

Aissami said it was clear that the attack was an inside job because there was no evidence of a break-in. He added that the vandals were trying to implicate the Chavez government several weeks after he broke off diplomatic relations with Israel to protest Operation 'Cast Lead' against Gaza terrorists."

Thursday, February 19, 2009

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.


"CHICAGO - The climate is heating up far faster than scientists had predicted, spurred by sharp increases in greenhouse gas emissions from developing countries like China and India, a top climate scientist said on Saturday.

'The consequence of that is we are basically looking now at a future climate that is beyond anything that we've considered seriously,' Chris Field, a member of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, or IPCC, told the American Association for the Advancement of Science meeting in Chicago.

Field said 'the actual trajectory of climate change is more serious' than any of the climate predictions in the IPCC's fourth assessment report called 'Climate Change 2007.'"

--->But the climate is not changing fast enough to warrant coverage in the NY Times. It didn't include this report to the American Association for the Advancement of Science.


"THREE human rights groups have obtained documents that confirm US Department of Defense involvement in the CIA's 'ghost' detention program, and the existence of secret prisons at Bagram air base in Afghanistan and in Iraq.

The documents obtained as part of a long-running legal battle using freedom-of-information laws were released by the Department of Defense to Amnesty International USA, the Centre for Constitutional Rights and the Centre for Human Rights and Global Justice last week...

The groups said these documents confirm the existence of secret prisons at Bagram and in Iraq; affirm the Defense Department's cooperation with the CIA's 'ghost' detention program; and show one case where Defense sought to delay the release of Guantanamo prisoners who were scheduled to be sent home by a month and a half in order to avoid bad press."

--->The NY Times didn't show any interest in reporting ghost detention centers run by the CIA. It ran a story about Bagram this week, but didn't cover these recently released documents confirming the existence of secret prisons.


"WASHINGTON - Two-thirds of Americans favor investigating whether the George W. Bush administration overstepped legal boundaries in its 'war on terror,' according to a poll released Thursday by USA Today and Gallup.

A majority of respondents said a probe should be launched into allegations that the Bush team used torture to interrogate terror suspects.

Investigators also should look into the former president's program of wiretapping US citizens without first securing court-issued warrants, respondents said.

About four respondents in 10 polled by USA Today (38 percent) favored criminal investigations, while about a quarter (24 percent) said they want an investigation without criminal charges being filed."

--->To the NY Times, such polls are counterproductive to business as usual. It did not report that a large majority of the public favors investigating the previous administration.

Friday, February 13, 2009

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 End In Sight To The Iraq 'Gamble'

Washington Post senior correspondent Thomas Ricks says the Iraq war is likely to last at least another five to 10 years. He has written a new book about General David Petraeus and the Iraq war called The Gamble."
-From Fresh Air, Feb 10, 2009

--->NPR's Fresh Air gives us plenty of stale talk about Iraq. First, there is no mention that the US might want to stay in Iraq because US oil companies now have control over the world's most lucrative oil fields. Secondly, Thomas Ricks states that the US must stay in Iraq to avoid a "bloodbath." Exactly the argument that kept us in Vietnam for so long. And the only bloodbath there was from US bombs and napalm. As long as the US covets Iraq's oil, the conflict will continue, and NPR will continue finding noble excuses for it.


"A new FAIR (Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting) study finds that leading newspapers have been putting political considerations ahead of humanitarian concerns in their editorials on human rights in Latin America.

The report, 'Human Rights Coverage Serving Washington's Needs,' finds that while Venezuela is by every measure a safer place than Colombia to live, vote, organize unions and political groups, speak out against the government or practice journalism, editorials at four influential newspapers have portrayed Venezuela's government as having a far worse human rights record than Colombia's...

Nine in 10 editorials about human rights in Venezuela presented a strictly negative view of the country's record, while a majority of the Colombia editorials presented either a mixed or wholly positive assessment...

The authors conclude that, 'rather than independently and critically assessing the Colombian and Venezuelan records, major corporate newspaper editors, to one degree or another, have subordinated crucial human rights questions to what they see as the U.S.'s interests in the region.'"

--->The FAIR report says it all. Newspapers like the Washington Post and the NY Times are simply propaganda arms of the US government when it comes to human rights reporting.


"GAZA - Gaza's 1.5 million people are facing a food crisis as a result of the destruction of great areas of farmland during the Israeli invasion.

According to the World Food Programme, the UN's Food and Agriculture Organisation and Palestinian officials, between 35% and 60% of the agriculture industry has been wrecked by the three-week Israeli attack, which followed two years of economic siege.

Christine van Nieuwenhuyse, the World Food Programme's country director, said: 'We are hearing that 60% of the land in the north - where the farming was most intensive - may not be exploitable again. It looks to me like a disaster'...

'When we have given a food ration in Gaza, it was never a full ration but to complement the diet. Now it is going to be almost impossible for Gaza to produce the food it needs for the next six to eight months, assuming that the agriculture can be rehabilitated. We will give people a full ration.'"

--->The NY Times doesn't do mass starvation when it is caused by Israel. It didn't report Nieuwenhuyse's comments.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

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.


"Leaders in Davos line up to blame bonuses for collapse of trust.

The head of HSBC has blamed excessive pay for a collapse in trust in the financial sector, as executives lined up at the World Economic Forum in Davos to stress that the economic crisis would prompt curbs on boardroom rewards.

Stephen Green, HSBC's chairman, said there had been a 'huge and growing disparity between different levels of income,' and that one positive aspect of the current crisis was that the problem would now be addressed."

--->But to the NY Times, the leaders in Davos weren't blaming business executives for their excessive greed. They were just "buzzing about the growing controversy over Wall Street bonuses." The board of the NY Times is full of such greedy CEO's whose feelings might be hurt if their newspaper reported such things.


"Besides F-16 fighter planes, the Israelis also used a wide array of U.S. weaponry, including Apache helicopters, M60 battle tanks, armoured personnel carriers and heavy artillery.

Frida Berrigan, a senior research associate with the Arms Trade Resource Centre at the World Policy Institute, points out that the bulk of Israel's current arsenal is composed of military equipment supplied under U.S. assistance programmes.

Israel, she said, has been supplied with 226 F-16 fighter planes and attack jets, more than 700 M60 battle tanks, 6,000 armoured personnel carriers and scores of transport planes, attack helicopters and utility and training aircraft, bombs and tactical missiles of all kinds."

--->The NY Times, as expected, has done a very poor job letting Americans know of the breadth and sophistication of US arms shipments to Israel. In many ways, the US has both armed and funded the Israeli war crimes committed in Gaza.


"There is evidence that Israel committed war crimes during its 22-day campaign in the Gaza Strip and there should be an independent inquiry, U.N. investigator Richard Falk said on Thursday.

The mental anguish of the civilians who suffered the assault is so great that the entire population of Gaza could be seen as casualties, said Falk, U.N. special rapporteur on human rights in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip.

Falk, speaking by phone from his home in California, said compelling evidence that Israel's actions in Gaza violated international humanitarian law required an independent investigation into whether they amounted to war crimes...

'To lock people into a war zone is something that evokes the worst kind of international memories of the Warsaw Ghetto, and sieges that occur unintentionally during a period of wartime,' Falk, who is Jewish, said, referring to the starvation and murder of Warsaw's Jews by Nazi Germany in World War Two."

--->The NY Times doesn't do war crimes when it comes to Israel. Mr. Falk's comments were not covered, despite the fact that he is the UN Rights Envoy for Palestine.