Thursday, March 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.


"Now testimony is emerging from within the ranks of soldiers and officers alleging a permissive attitude toward the killing of civilians and reckless destruction of property that is sure to inflame the domestic and international debate about the army’s conduct in Gaza.

On Thursday, the military’s chief advocate general ordered an investigation into a soldier’s account of a sniper killing a woman and her two children who walked too close to a designated no-go area by mistake, and another account of a sharpshooter who killed an elderly woman who came within 100 yards of a commandeered house.

When asked why that elderly woman was killed, a squad commander was quoted as saying: 'What’s great about Gaza — you see a person on a path, he doesn't have to be armed, you can simply shoot him.'"

---> We at Activist Radio praise the NY Times for covering a story that has gotten worldwide attention. Of course, that is one of the reasons that the NY Times may have printed it. It was too big to avoid.

But we have to contrast this story of Israeli troops revealing war crimes in Gaza with the "Winter Soldier Testimony" given by hundreds of US Iraq War veterans in DC. The event took place last March. It again received worldwide coverage, but with one important exception. It received no coverage in the mainstream US media.

So does Israel have a freer press than the US? The invasion of Gaza killed over 1,000 and stories of Israeli vets' admissions appear two months later. The US has been directly or indirectly responsible for a million deaths in Iraq. Yet US vets' stories of wartime atrocities are still taboo, and not released to the American public. Amazing the government control of the US press.


"Dead babies, mothers weeping on their children's graves, a gun aimed at a child and bombed-out mosques - these are a few examples of the images Israel Defense Forces soldiers design these days to print on shirts they order to mark the end of training, or of field duty. The slogans accompanying the drawings are not exactly anemic either: A T-shirt for infantry snipers bears the inscription 'Better use Durex,' next to a picture of a dead Palestinian baby, with his weeping mother and a teddy bear beside him. A sharpshooter's T-shirt from the Givati Brigade's Shaked battalion shows a pregnant Palestinian woman with a bull's-eye superimposed on her belly, with the slogan, in English, '1 shot, 2 kills.' A 'graduation' shirt for those who have completed another snipers course depicts a Palestinian baby, who grows into a combative boy and then an armed adult, with the inscription, 'No matter how it begins, we'll put an end to it.'"

--->This story is even more damning than the previous one. Both stories were first carried by Haaretz, Israel's leading progressive newspaper. Of course, the NY Times couldn't carry this one. There are simply limits to have much the NY Times can reveal about Israeli human rights abuses.


"The Guardian has compiled detailed evidence of alleged war crimes committed by Israel during the 23-day offensive against Gaza earlier this year, involving the use of Palestinian children as human shields, the targeting of medics and hospitals, and drone aircraft firing on civilians.

Three Guardian films based on a month-long investigation, add weight to calls this week for a full inquiry into the events surrounding Operation Cast Lead, which was aimed at Hamas but left about 1,400 Palestinians dead, including up to 300 children."

--->You can be sure that the NY Times will not be undertaking such a study, despite the fact that the US funded and provided the weapons used to kill Palestinians in Gaza.

Thursday, March 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.


"U.S. citizens critically hurt at West Bank protest...Protesters who were at the scene said that Anderson was standing by the side of the road when soldiers fired at him...

The protest took place in the West Bank town of Na'alin, where Palestinians and international backers frequently gather to demonstrate against the barrier. Israel says the barrier is necessary to keep Palestinian attackers from infiltrating into Israel. But Palestinians view it as a thinly veiled land grab because it juts into the West Bank at multiple points...

A Palestinian protester was also wounded in the leg as a result of live IDF fire.

In 2003, another ISM activist, 23-year-old American Rachel Corrie, was crushed to death in Gaza by an Israeli bulldozer as she tried to block it from demolishing a Palestinian home."

--->The NY Times does a masterful job in twisting stories like this so that they don't appear critical of Israel. Lets see how the reporter, Ethan Bronner, does it this time.

Bronner's story is on page 7 on the NY Times, while Haaretz put the story on their front page. Bronner's headline reads "American Injured in Clash at Israeli Barrier" rather than Haaretz's "U.S. Citizens Critically Hurt at West Bank Protest." "Injured" is less dramatic than "critically hurt." A "clash" would indicate violence on both sides, rather than the "protest" that Haaretz uses in their title.

Going on, Bronner writes, "The army spokeswoman said there were about 400 violent demonstrators at the village of Niilin, west of Ramallah, many of them throwing rocks at the troops. The forces shot back, she said, but not with live fire." No mention here of the Palestinian protester shot in the leg. No mention of the statements by other protesters that Anderson was only standing by the side of the road. And, of course, no mention of the American activist, Rachel Corrie killed this week in 2003 by an Israeli bulldozer.

And to Bronner, why had Anderson come to the West Bank? "Mr. Anderson, 37, came to Israel two weeks ago to join his girlfriend, who is also active in opposing the barrier and the occupation of the West Bank." He was here, according to Bronner simply to join his girlfriend. Not because he was committed to human rights for Palestinians. Haaretz didn't try to minimize his commitment with stories of his girlfriend.

Bronner is simply a masterful Israeli propagandist, the type that any reputable newspapers would fire for consistently distorting the news. But the NY Times is simply not a reputable newspaper, when it comes to Israel.

Friday, March 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.


"A graphic account by former Guantanamo Bay detainee Binyam Mohamed of his alleged torture during interrogation sessions has been passed to the high court.

The account details how he was beaten with a leather strap, held down and punched by masked men, cut with a scalpel on his chest and penis, and subjected to psychological torture by being forced to listen to loud music...

His 'torture diary' has been sent to the high court where lawyers are pressing for the release of US intelligence documents believed to show UK involvement in Mohamed's treatment."

--->The NY Times has certainly referred to the case of Binyam Mohamed. But the particulars of what he claims was done to him are always left out. In its place we get multiple statements by the CIA that no actual torture took place.


"A confidential EU report accuses the Israeli government of using settlement expansion, house demolitions, discriminatory housing policies and the West Bank barrier as a way of 'actively pursuing the illegal annexation' of East Jerusalem...

'Israeli facts on the ground - including new settlements, construction of the barrier, discriminatory housing policies, house demolitions, restrictive permit regime and continued closure of Palestinian institutions - increase Jewish Israeli presence in East Jerusalem, weaken the Palestinian community in the city, impede Palestinian urban development and separate East Jerusalem from the rest of the West Bank,' the report says."

--->The NY Times doesn't do stories like this which are critical of Israel. Even though this story was front page in several European newspapers, Americans get protected from all these ugly truths about settlements in the West Bank.


"A report by the Israeli left-wing NGO Peace Now released Monday says that the government is planning to build more than 73,300 new housing units in the West Bank.

According to the report, approval has already been granted for the construction of 15,000 housing units, while approval is pending for a further 58,000 units.

The report states that 5,722 of the planned housing units are in East Jerusalem, and some 9,000 units in total have already been built.

Peace Now says that a new right-wing government presents the danger of 'expanding settlement growth at a rapid pace... with the clear intention of destroying the possibility of a two-state solution.' "

--->Ethan Bonner of the NY Times included some of this story, but buried it in the last two sentences of an article on Hillary Clinton and Iran. He cites 6,000 rather than the 15,000 housing units approved, and omits Peace Now's statement about Israel's "clear intention of destroying the possibility of a twe-state solution." Ethan Bonner's clear intention is to minimize criticism of Israel, even when it originates from within Israel itself.

Thursday, March 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.


"Detailed evidence has emerged of Israel's extensive use of US-made weaponry during its war in Gaza last month, including white phosphorus artillery shells, 500lb bombs and Hellfire missiles.

In a report released today, Amnesty International detailed the weapons used and called for an immediate arms embargo on Israel and all Palestinian armed groups. It called on the Obama administration to suspend military aid to Israel...

The US has long been the largest arms supplier to Israel; under a current 10-year agreement negotiated by the Bush administration the US will provide $30bn (£21bn) in military aid to Israel.

'As the major supplier of weapons to Israel, the USA has a particular obligation to stop any supply that contributes to gross violations of the laws of war and of human rights,' said Malcolm Smart, Amnesty's Middle East and North Africa programme director. 'To a large extent, Israel's military offensive in Gaza was carried out with weapons, munitions and military equipment supplied by the USA and paid for with US taxpayers' money.'"

--->The NY Times buried this story in a report on Netanyahu. Of course, it left out any reference to US made weapons used in the assault on Gaza.


"The US was secretly flying unmanned drones from the Shamsi airbase in Pakistan's southwestern province of Baluchistan as early as 2006, according to an image of the base from Google Earth.

The image - that is no longer on the site but which was obtained by The News, Pakistan's English language daily newspaper - shows what appear to be three Predator drones outside a hangar at the end of the runway. The Times also obtained a copy of the image, whose co-ordinates confirm that it is the Shamsi airfield, also known as Bandari, about 200 miles southwest of the Pakistani city of Quetta.

An investigation by The Times yesterday revealed that the CIA was secretly using Shamsi to launch the Predator drones that observe and attack al-Qaeda and Taleban militants around Pakistan's border with Afghanistan."

--->Such secret bases don't exist if you read the NY Times (this story was from the UK TimesOnLine). Our government doesn't want us to know we are involved in another guerrilla war, this time in Pakistan.

"Hamas, the militant Palestinian organisation, attempted to conduct secret talks with the Israeli leadership in the protracted run-up to the recent war in Gaza - with messages being passed from the group at one stage through a member of prime minister Ehud Olmert's family.

Confirmation of attempts to establish a direct line of communication between Hamas and Israel - and the willingness of senior figures in Hamas to contemplate direct negotiations - fundamentally alters the narrative of the build-up to the war in Gaza which claimed more than 1,300 Palestinian lives and led to about a dozen Israeli deaths.

Most remarkable is the story of the involvement of a member of the prime minister's family in the passing of messages to Olmert about the case of the kidnapped Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit."

--->Anyone listening to this show for a while may be able to guess that the NY Times would never cover a story like this. Hamas attempting secret peace talks? It just doesn't fit with the pro-Israeli narrative being reported by the NY Times.