Thursday, April 28, 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:
"Numerous US officials are calling for a resurrection of the US Espionage Act as a tool for prosecuting WikiLeaks. The dusting-off of the old law is all but certain. But the outcome of the constitutional dust-up that is sure to follow will result in triumph or tragedy for the US bill of rights.

In 1917, in the midst of a war hysteria, the United States passed the Espionage Act. The law has nothing to do with prosecuting spies. From its inception, it had everything to do with suppressing dissent. The Great War was unpopular with many Americans, very like today's engagements in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Make no mistake about it. The Espionage Act targeted political dissidents...

The Espionage Act wreaked havoc on the American political left, destroying the young American Socialist party and one of its most progressive unions, the Industrial Workers of the World. Many others, including intellectuals, journalists, film producers and pacifist religious figures were also prosecuted. Prison terms were long, and some political prisoners died in federal jails. The abuses under the law were legendary, and mark a sad day in US history."

-->The US media, including The NY Times has written very little about the impending use of the US Espionage Act. Free speech in America is of much less interest to our corporate controlled press.


Independent UK:
"A New Jail for Bradley Manning – But the Controversy Rages On...

The last straw may have been a letter due to appear in the next issue of The New York Review of Books, signed by almost 300 US and foreign legal scholars. It denounces Pte Manning's treatment as a violation of the US Constitution's Eighth Amendment ban on 'cruel and unusual punishment', and on the Fifth Amendment guarantee against punishment without trial.

As a former professor of constitutional law, it notes, Mr Obama of all people should be aware of these dangers: 'The question now is whether his conduct as Commander-in-Chief meets fundamental standards of decency.'

It also gives a graphic description of how Pte Manning was held at Quantico, locked alone in his cell for 23 hours each day: "During his one remaining hour, he can walk in circles in another room, with no other prisoners present. He is not allowed to doze off or relax during the day, but must answer the question 'Are you OK?' verbally and in the affirmative every five minutes. At night, he is awakened to be asked again, 'Are you OK?' every time he turns his back to the cell door or covers his head with a blanket so that the guards cannot see his face.

At one point, he was forced to sleep naked and stand naked for inspection in front of his cell for a week. In the day, he also had to undress and wear a kind of smock – all because Pte Manning was considered a suicide risk, a claim that the prisoner himself and military psychiatrists have disputed."

-->Readers of The NY Times might wonder what controversy was being reported on. The letter signed by 300 US and foreign legal scholars was not covered. Nor has The NY Times done a very good job specifying the degrading treatment of Bradley Manning while in prison.


Foreign Policy in Focus:
"A secret operation to run guns across the border to Mexican drug cartels — overseen by U.S. government agents — threatens to become a major scandal for the Obama administration.

The operation, called 'Fast and Furious,' was run out of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) office in Phoenix, Arizona. ATF sanctioned the purchase of weapons in U.S. gun shops and tracked the smuggling route to the Mexican border. Reportedly, more than 2,500 firearms were sold to straw buyers who then handed off the weapons to gunrunners under the nose of ATF.

But once across the border, the agency seemed to lose track of the weapons. Hundreds of AK-47s and Barrett .50 caliber rifles — favorites of warring drug cartels —made it easily into the hands of some of Mexico’s most ruthless crime organizations."

-->The NY Times did not cover this story, although the events have been well documented by "CounterPunch" on the left and Fox News on the right. Perhaps the story was seen as damaging to US relations with Mexico. Foreign policy objectives of the empire routinely trump the readership's right to know.

Thursday, April 21, 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.


Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR)
"The budget proposal released last week by Rep. Paul Ryan includes tax cuts for the wealthy, tax hikes for the middle class, drastic cuts in spending and a radical restructuring of Medicare that would shift most of the cost of healthcare to seniors. Its dubious claims of deficit reduction rely on fatally flawed assumptions and inexplicable projections (Center for Budget & Policy Priorities)

But much of the media coverage about the plan has presented Ryan's proposal as a serious solution to long-term budget problems, or at least the starting point of a serious conversation about the topic...

In Time magazine, readers learned that Paul Ryan--described as having 'jet black hair and a touch of Eagle Scout to him--has unveiled an ambitious package of huge budget cuts designed to dig the country out of its crippling debt crisis. For Ryan, reining in spending is nothing less than an act of patriotic valor'...

He's been making the media swoon for months now, as the January 25 New York Times made clear: 'He is the guy with the piercing blue eyes, love for heavy metal on his iPod and a reputation among Democrats, including President Obama, as a Republican who has put forward budget ideas that are thoughtful and serious, if not in sync with their own.' "

-->Our nation's corporate media simply loves the far right, especially when it comes to cutting workers' benefits to support tax cuts for the rich.


The Guardian, UK:
"A senior United Nations representative on torture, Juan Mendez, issued a rare reprimand to the US government on Monday for failing to allow him to meet in private Bradley Manning, the American soldier accused of being the WikiLeaks source and held in a military prison. It is the kind of censure the UN normally reserves for authoritarian regimes around the world.

Mendez, the UN special rapporteur on torture, said: 'I am deeply disappointed and frustrated by the prevarication of the US government with regard to my attempts to visit Mr Manning.'

Manning's supporters claim that the US is being vindictive in its treatment of Manning, who is held at the marine base at Quantico, Virginia, in conditions they describe as inhumane."

-->The NY Times didn't print this story, nor mention Juan Mendez's comments. Government torture is often given short shrift by the official publication of the empire.


Public Citizen:
"Plastic surgeons cover up new evidence of human cancer from implants.

The American Society of Plastic Surgeons and the American Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery hosted a members only webinar essentially urging members to inaccurately downplay the risks of breast implant related cancer when speaking to female patients...

'Yes, it's classically a malignant tumor, but...when we were discussing ways to talk to the media, we decided that we would call this a condition...I would recommend that you use the same terms with your patients rather than disturb them by saying this is a cancer, this is a malignancy. The best word is this is a condition...' "

-->The NY Times did a health story on March 21 entitled "A Decade of Boosting Breast Size." No mention of the efforts by plastic surgeons to mislead their clients on the dangers of breast cancers.