Thursday, March 31, 2011

Fantasyland Media:

Each week, we cover the stories that are just left out of the US propaganda machine. News that the people in charge, the corporations and your government want keep from the public eye.


WAMC/NPR interviewed Professor David Courtwright this Monday on US involvement in Libya. Dr. Courtwright assured listeners that our cause was just, and that "protecting innocent civilians" had the backing of world opinion. And since the US had no other motive for instituting a no fly zone in Libya, our government had to act. No question about it.

While Dr. Courtwright had worries about a protracted civil war in Libya, he never went back to his initial conclusion that the US had a moral imperative to initiate military action.

-->Dr. Courtwright's analysis is part of what Chris Hedges calls "the death of the liberal class," which is the title of his latest book. As a professor of history, Dr. Courtwright could certainly have come up with some other US motives in Libya, including controlling the oil, establishing of more US bases in the Middle East, and getting rid of an old enemy, Colonel Gaddafi. But the good professor could not, at least while maintaining his comfortable position as an NPR expert. Such is the sellout of our academic, liberal class to the military, industrial, corporate complex. NPR itself spends most of its time supporting the twin deceptions of American political life, that we live in a vibrant democracy, and that US wars abroad are always waged for moral reasons.


Veterans Today:
"Swiss President Micheline Calmy-Rey has announced her country is developing a project to open up all crossings to the Gaza Strip, which has been suffocating for the last five years from an Israeli blockade.

She also said if Egypt would agree to open the Rafah crossing to bring in building materials and commodities, her country would be ready to restore it.

The statements came Monday during a meeting with several high-profile politicians in Europe staged by the European-Palestinian relations council.

Discussions included British MP Lord Andrew Phillips, member of European Parliament Alexandra Faith, MEP Derek Vaughan from Wales, and Swiss MP Geri Müller.

For his part, Lord Andrew Phillips, who headed the delegation, said world silence was to blame for Israel's obstinacy, saying that Tel Aviv understands that silence over recent attacks has provided a green light for more attacks."

-->The NY Times included a story about the Swiss President recently, but it involved the preservation of a 14th Century Chateau in Geneva. No mention of the preservation of 1.5 million Palestinians. The US media, complicit in the blockade of Gaza, would never let US citizens know of the international resistance to these war crimes.


The Chronicle of Higher Education:
"The international campaign for an academic boycott of Israel claimed its first success on Wednesday when the University of Johannesburg Senate voted to pull out of a two-year-old joint research project with Ben-Gurion University of the Negev to battle algae that are infesting the South African city's reservoir.

The vote means that the University of Johannesburg is the first academic institution in the world to formally cut ties with an Israeli university as a result of pressure by supporters of the international boycott campaign...

The University of Johannesburg's Petition Committee, which led the campaign, said in a prepared statement that the Senate had also found 'significant' evidence that Ben-Gurion's research and other projects supported the Israeli military and, in particular, its occupation of Gaza."

-->Although the Chronicle mostly quoted Israeli professors who were opposed to the boycott, at least the story was covered. What is the excuse of The NY Times? Here is what the Guardian UK had to say: "Leading advocates of an academic boycott of Israel have stepped up their campaign calling for an 'outing' of Israeli universities which support their government's policy on the occupied territories.

Nearly 300 academics from around the world have published an open letter calling for leaders of Israeli universities to lay their political cards on the table and reveal whether they support the government's policies on the border conflict..."

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Fantasyland Media:

Each week, we cover the stories that are just left out of the US propaganda machine. News that the people in charge, the corporations and your government want keep from the public eye.


"Israel's expansion of settlements in East Jerusalem and eviction of Palestinians from their homes there is a form of ethnic cleansing, a United Nations investigator said on Monday.

United States academic Richard Falk was speaking to the UN Human Rights Council as it prepared to pass resolutions condemning settlement building in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

The 'continued pattern of settlement expansion in East Jerusalem combined with the forcible eviction of long-residing Palestinians are creating an intolerable situation' in the part of the city previously controlled by Jordan, he said.

This situation 'can only be described in its cumulative impact as a form of ethnic cleansing,' Falk declared.

-->Ethnic cleansing only makes the pages of The NY Times when it concerns a regime the US government considers hostile to its interests. A long time protector of Israel's image in America, our newspaper of record would never cover this accusation, despite the fact that it was made by the United Nations Special Rapporteur on human rights.


The Guardian, UK:
"The face of Jeremy Morlock, a young US soldier, grins at the camera, his hand holding up the head of the dead and bloodied youth he and his colleagues have just killed in an act military prosecutors say was premeditated murder.

Moments before the picture was taken in January last year, the unsuspecting victim had been waved over by a group of US soldiers who had driven to his village in Kandahar province in one of their armoured Stryker tanks.
According to testimony collected by Der Spiegel magazine the boy had, as a matter of routine, lifted up his shirt to reveal that he was not hiding a suicide bomb vest.

That was the moment Morlock, according to a pre-arranged plan, threw a grenade at the boy that exploded while other members of the rogue group who called themselves the 'kill team' opened fire."

-->Although The NY Times covered this story, specifics about the killings were sanitized. The "boy" lured to his death becomes a "civilian...who appears to be dead." The photos of the victims are "inflammatory" because the faces of the soldiers "look disconcertingly satisfied." Perhaps the headline says it all: "Photos Stoke Tension Over Afghan Civilian Deaths," as if this were all a problem in public relations.


This week, WAMC/NPR covered a story about America's nuclear fears by interviewing a psychologist at George Washington University. The psychologist concluded that Americans are subject to these unreasonable fears because radiation cannot be seen and lends itself to hysterical responses. In addition, the US public can't separate nuclear bombs from nuclear energy, a totally different concept.

What to do to allay these irrational fears? The psychologist recommends desensitizing the public with field trips to nuclear reactors. That way, people will get used to this form of energy and their fears will diminish.

Perhaps local elementary schools around the Indian Point Nuclear Power Plant would be interested. Their baby teeth already have greater concentrations of radiation then children living 100 miles away from the facility. Why not see first hand the plant that is spreading radiation in their bodies?

Leave it to NPR to treat citizens' fears of nuclear energy as pathology.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Fantasyland Media:

Each week, we cover the stories that are just left out of the US propaganda machine. News that the people in charge, the corporations and your government want keep from the public eye.


Guardian UK:
"In Europe, Israel has historically enjoyed a high level of support, not least because it was perceived as a progressive democracy in a sea of Arab backwardness. At the same time, most Europeans knew very little about the Israel-Palestine conflict: as recently as 2004, the Glasgow University Media Group found that only 9% of British students knew that the Israelis were the illegal occupiers of Palestinian land...

However, according to a new poll by ICM for the Middle East Monitor, Europeans' perception of Israel has changed decisively, and their understanding of the Israel-Palestine conflict, while still giving some cause for concern, has improved significantly. The survey of 7,000 people in Germany, France, Spain, Italy, the Netherlands and Britain reveals only a small minority (10%) now believe their countries should support Israel rather than the Palestinians...

This decisive shift appears to be primarily a consequence of Israel's violation of international law, specifically its actions in Gaza, the 2010 attack on the humanitarian flotilla, its settlement expansion programme, and the construction of the separation wall."

-->The NY Times did not cover this story of growing European awareness of Palestinian rights. Readers of The NY Times have often had to go elsewhere for knowledge of the Israel-Palestine conflict.


Vanity Fair:
"CNBC's Larry Kudlow: 'Human Toll' vs. 'Economic Toll'

Earthquake. Tsunami. Nuclear meltdowns. But, more importantly, what about your investment portfolio?
In these tough economic times, isn’t it nice to know that calamitous natural disasters needn't have an adverse affect on your investment portfolio? After the 8.9-magnitude earthquake in Japan failed to induce a market nosedive, CNBC’s Larry Kudlow expressed his relief in terms that seemed to appall even his fellow cheerleaders for capitalism: 'The human toll here,' he declared, 'looks to be much worse than the economic toll and we can be grateful for that.' "

-->Larry Kudlow later used his Twitter account to apologize for his comment, writing that he had "flubbed the line." But the financial empire has always treated human suffering as a very minor impediment to the pursuit of profit.


Associated Press:
"Promises, Promises: Obama Rebuffs Invites to Stand with Workers. Will Workers Stand with Obama Again in 2012?

Union leaders urged Vice President Joe Biden during a White House meeting last month to go to Wisconsin and rally the faithful in their fight against Gov. Scott Walker's move to curtail collective bargaining rights for most public employees.

Request rebuffed, they asked for Labor Secretary Hilda Solis. So far, however, the White House has stayed away from any trips to Madison, the state capital, or other states in the throes of union battles. The Obama administration is treading carefully on the contentious political issue that has led to a national debate over the power that public sector unions wield in negotiating wages and benefits.."

-->Obama giving labor another kick in the teeth while he relaxes on the golf course? The NY Times doesn't like to remind its readers of how national politicians have betrayed the labor movement. It didn't carry the story.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Fantasyland Media:

Each week, we cover the stories that are just left out of the US propaganda machine. News that the people in charge, the corporations and your government want keep from the public eye.


San Francisco Chronicle:
"They have received little attention in the United States, but a set of WikiLeaks disclosures of confidential documents has caused an uproar in Europe by showing that U.S. officials pressured Germany and Spain to derail criminal investigations of Americans.

The more than 2,500 State Department cables that the anti-secrecy group has provided to news organizations since November include accounts of three cases that shed new light on U.S. responses to allegations of wrongdoing by its agents abroad...

After German prosecutors issued arrest warrants for 13 CIA agents allegedly involved in el-Masri's abduction (he was taken to Afghanistan, tortured and injected with drugs), a February 2007 cable quoted the deputy U.S. chief of mission in Berlin as advising a German diplomat to 'weigh carefully at every step of the way the implications for relations with the U.S.' if the agents were prosecuted.

The German government withdrew the warrants five months later."

-->Stories about how the US pressures its "allies" seldom get much coverage in this country, even when verified by Wikileaks. Preserving the public's idealism about US foreign policy always trumps the public's right to know.


The Independent, UK
"Desperate to avoid US military involvement in Libya in the event of a prolonged struggle between the Gaddafi regime and its opponents, the Americans have asked Saudi Arabia if it can supply weapons to the rebels in Benghazi. The Saudi Kingdom, already facing a 'day of rage' from its 10 per cent Shia Muslim community on Friday, with a ban on all demonstrations, has so far failed to respond to Washington's highly classified request, although King Abdullah personally loathes the Libyan leader, who tried to assassinate him just over a year ago.

Washington's request is in line with other US military co-operation with the Saudis. The royal family in Jeddah, which was deeply involved in the Contra scandal during the Reagan administration, gave immediate support to American efforts to arm guerrillas fighting the Soviet army in Afghanistan in 1980 and later – to America's chagrin – also funded and armed the Taliban."

-->The NY Times has avoided this story, in part because it shows how we use the dictatorships we control in the Middle East to expand our empire.


"America is not broke.

Contrary to what those in power would like you to believe so that you'll give up your pension, cut your wages, and settle for the life your great-grandparents had, America is not broke. Not by a long shot. The country is awash in wealth and cash. It's just that it's not in your hands. It has been transferred, in the greatest heist in history, from the workers and consumers to the banks and the portfolios of the super-rich.

Today just 400 Americans have more wealth than half of all Americans combined.

Let me say that again: 400 obscenely rich people, most of whom benefited in some way from the multi-trillion dollar taxpayer .bailout. of 2008, now have more loot, stock and property than the assets of 155 million Americans combined. If you can't bring yourself to call that a financial coup d'état, then you are simply not being honest about what you know in your heart to be true..."
-Michael Moore at a labor rally in Wisconsin

-->This is probably the biggest domestic lie being repeated endlessly in the US media. That we are broke and that it doesn't have anything to do with the rich and the corporations not paying taxes. Our media is owned by those same rich people, and papers like The NY Times have become part of the pro-billionaire assault on all working people.

Friday, March 04, 2011

Fantasyland Media:

Each week, we cover the stories that are just left out of the US propaganda machine. News that the people in charge, the corporations and your government want keep from the public eye.


Pakistan Observer:
"The United States, Britain and France have sent several hundred 'defence advisors' to train and support the anti-Gadhafi forces in oil-rich Eastern Libya where 'rebels armed groups' have apparently taken over.

According to an exclusive report confirmed by a Libyan diplomat in the region the three Western states have landed their 'special forces troops in Cyrinacia and are now setting up their 'bases and training centres' to reinforce the rebel forces who are resisting pro-Qaddafi forces in several adjoining areas.

A Libyan official who requested not to be identified said that the U.S. and British military gurus were sent on February 23 and 24 night through American and French warships and small naval boats off Libyan ports of Benghazi and Tobruk."

-->The US and English media have not even hinted at special forces operating in Libya. At least our media should let the public know of these reports.


The Guardian UK:
"This past Saturday morning, across the street from a busy Bank of America branch in midtown Manhattan, an excitable 'tax avoidance specialist' was on hand, giving the assembled crowd of roughly 100 people some quick and easy tips on how to avoid paying their taxes as the 15 April federal tax deadline looms.

Protesters gathered outside of Bank of America branch in Manhattan as part of a nationwide action against the large financial institution. US Uncut is a new organization inspired by a movement in the UK that has held similar actions across Britain. The question now is: what impact can it have on the larger economic conversation in the US?"

-->Our newspaper of record, The NY Times, has given this nationwide movement against big banks no coverage at all. Contrast this to the endless coverage of the "Tea Party" movement. Of course, the Tea Party is funded by the same billionaires who call the shots for our national media. Stories about rage against big banks will never be considered "fit to print."


"More than 18,000 Firedoglake activists signed our letter to PayPal asking to restore access to Bradley Manning's defense fund. After intense pressure from you and other Manning advocates, PayPal caved and restored access to the Bradley Manning Support Network's account.

The Bradley Manning Support Network's Jeff Patterson had this to say about your efforts. 'Thank you to all of our supporters – many of whom contacted PayPal individually or signed the petition hosted by Firedoglake – who helped us restore our account:

'We are extremely grateful to everyone who raised their voice today. Your actions were crucial in continuing to allow the Bradley Manning Support Network to defend Bradley. This is a huge victory for people over corporate intimidation.' "

-->Those reading The NY Times will never be aware of this attempt at corporate intimidation. Maybe that's because our newspaper of record has a long history of doing similar favors for the Pentagon. There was a brief reference to this story in the "Times Topics," a blog run by The NY Times. Nothing appeared in print.