Thursday, October 18, 2012

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 to keep from the public eye.


Democracy Now:
The debates are little more than corporate controlled charades. Since they are funded and manipulated by corporate America, there is little chance that the two major candidates will be offered any questions that deviate from a very scripted interpretation of the issues facing our country.

On its Oct. 16th program, Democracy Now offered two examples in the Vice Presidential debate moderated by Martha Raddatz. The first was a question that assumed that Iran was a grave military threat to the United Sates. The second example was an assumption by Ms. Raddatz that Social Security and Medicare are going broke and taking the national budget down with them.

These assumptions are the familiar lies pitched to the American people by both major parties and by our media, so it is not surprising that they would take center stage in debates sponsored by corporate America. 

-->No major media, including The NY Times, makes any attempt to reveal the hypocrisy of our presidential and vice presidential debates. The fact that these assumptions are contrary to a great deal of military and economic evidence means nothing. From the scripted questions to elimination of other presidential candidates, it is all show and no substance, very much like the supposed "democracy" we enjoy in these United States.  It's much closer to a Disney World theme park than any real government by the people.


Common Dreams and The Independent UK:
"A new study links the U.S. bombardment of Iraq to a toxic legacy of birth defects in two of the country's heavily hit cities.

The study published in the Bulletin of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology looked at the southern city of Basra and the central city of Fallujah and found a staggering rise in miscarriages and birth defects including Anencephaly and Spina Bifida in the years following heavy bombardment of 2003 and 2004.

The authors of the study found elevated levels of mercury and lead -- 'an integral part of war ammunition and are extensively used in the making of bullets and bombs,' according to U.S. forces -- in the children.

The Independent UK adds:
Dr. [Mozhgan Savabieasfahani, one of the lead authors of the report and an environmental toxicologist at the University of Michigan's School of Public Health] said that for the first time, there is a 'footprint of metal in the population' and that there is 'compelling evidence linking the staggering increases in Iraqi birth defects to neuro-toxic metal contamination following the repeated bombardments of Iraqi cities'. She called the 'epidemic' a 'public health crisis". "

-->The NY Times doesn't do war crimes committed by the empire. It didn't cover this story.


Common Dreams:
"On Monday, a judge will oversee pretrial hearings for Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and four other Guantanamo prisoners who are accused of plotting the 9/11 attacks. One of the key issues Army Col. James Pohl will decide on is whether or not there will be any public testimony by the prisoners regarding their torture and detention in CIA custody.

The defense lawyers are asking to abolish a 'presumptive classification' process that treats any discussion of what happened to the defendants during their time in secret CIA detention as a top national security secret. Mohammed’s defense attorney, David Nevin, called the war court system a 'rigged game,' reports the Miami Herald. According to Nevin, attorneys and defendants 'are forbidden to discuss between themselves anything from what Mohammed says the CIA did to him to his historical perspective on jihad.'

The ACLU is at the hearings this week and will give a statement arguing that the censorship of torture is a constitutional challenge. In a press release, the ACLU cites the government's most recent filing (PDF):

'The government has effectively claimed that it owns and controls the defendants’ memories, thoughts and experiences of government torture. These chillingly Orwellian claims are legally untenable and morally abhorrent.' "

-->The NY Times gave one sentence to the ACLU's objections, preferring to concentrate its story on the "atmosphere" in court and what the defendants were wearing. Orwellian coverage considering the absence of defendants' rights.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

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 to keep from the public eye.


Common Dreams:
"On 30 May, Dan Rather, one of America's best-known journalists, announced that Venezuelan president Hugo Chávez would die 'in a couple of months at most'. Four months later Chávez is not only alive and campaigning but widely expected to win re-election on Sunday.

Such is the state of misrepresentation of Venezuela – it is probably the most lied-about country in the world – that a journalist can say almost anything about Chávez or his government and it is unlikely to be challenged, so long as it is negative. Even worse, Rather referred to Chávez as 'the dictator' – a term that few, if any, political scientists familiar with the country would countenance.

Here is what Jimmy Carter said about Venezuela's 'dictatorship' a few weeks ago: 'As a matter of fact, of the 92 elections that we've monitored, I would say that the election process in Venezuela is the best in the world.' "

-->The NY Times coverage of Venezuela is always seething with contempt. As propaganda arm of the empire, our newspaper of record has constantly distorted its election coverage. For weeks, readers were told that the election was close and the Chavez might lose. The triumph of his strong win (along with 80% of the population voting), is denigrated through a careful choice of pictures. The front page has a shot of a polling place in a rundown part of town with a uniformed soldier opening a small, metal door for the crowd outside (think military control and widespread poverty). 


Seed Daily:
"A study published this week by Washington State University research professor Charles Benbrook finds that the use of herbicides in the production of three genetically modified herbicide-tolerant crops - cotton, soybeans and corn - has actually increased.

This counterintuitive finding is based on an exhaustive analysis of publicly available data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Agriculture Statistics Service. Benbrook's analysis is the first peer-reviewed, published estimate of the impacts of genetically engineered (GE) herbicide-resistant (HT) crops on pesticide use.
In the study, which appeared in the the open-access, peer-reviewed journal "Environmental Sciences Europe," Benbrook writes that the emergence and spread of glyphosate-resistant weeds is strongly correlated with the upward trajectory in herbicide use.

Marketed as Roundup and other trade names, glyphosate is a broad-spectrum systemic herbicide used to kill weeds. Approximately 95 percent of soybean and cotton acres, and over 85 percent of corn, are planted to varieties genetically modified to be herbicide resistant."

-->The NY Times buries its environmental news in its "Green" Blog. That way, it can cover a story like this without upsetting its friends in the pesticide industry.   Monsanto can do no wrong in print where it counts. 


Common Dreams:

"As the battle of California's Proposition 37 reaches its final weeks, the latest figures show the staggering amount big agricultural firms are pouring into the campaign to prevent foods with genetically modified ingredients from being labeled.

MapLight Voter's Edge, a nonpartisan guide to ballot measures, reports that $4.1 million has been raised on the Yes side, the side that favors the labeling, and $34.5 million on the No side, the anti-labeling side. Despite the huge spending disparity, Californians are overwhelmingly in favor of labeling, a recent poll shows...

Yes on 37 campaign manager Gary Ruskin cites a recent study showing the explosion of pesticide use due to genetically modified crops, saying the results show why corporations like Roundup maker Monsanto and pesticide giant Dupont are fighting the labeling.

'As we see from the data, GMOs are a fantastic boon for the pesticide industry. That’s why the world’s largest pesticide companies have spent nearly $20 million to defeat Proposition 37 and our right to know what’s in our food,' said Ruskin.' "

-->The NY Times covers these points, but again, not in print. This time it is the "Opinionator Blog" used to bury the bad news about Monsanto and Dupont.

Thursday, October 04, 2012

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 to keep from the public eye.


Common Dreams:
"Introducing a couple from Texas who, despite their objection, had the natural gas sucked out from beneath their property by the Chesapeake Energy Corporation without paying a dime in compensation, an investigative report by Reuters recounts how the gas giant has embarked on an aggressive nationwide 'landgrab' with a series of legal maneuvers and industrial fracking equipment in tow.

In a special report, The casualties of Chesapeake's 'land grab' across America, a review of official state records by Reuters shows that since January 2005, the Texas agency in charge of granting waivers under a land regulation statute—known as Rule 37—'rejected just five of Chesapeake's 1,628 requests' to access land without the owners permission.

The exemptions granted by the state 'effectively secured [Chesapeake's] ability to drain the gas' from private properties without royalties or other payments."

-->Are there other dangers posed by the fracking companies to residents of New York State? The NY Times didn't cover this obvious abuse of corporate power.


Huffington Post:
"The Obama administration has overseen a sharp increase in the number of people subjected to warrantless electronic surveillance of their telephone, email and Facebook accounts by federal law enforcement agencies, new documents released by the American Civil Liberties Union on Friday revealed.

The documents, released by the ACLU after a months-long legal battle with the Department of Justice, show that in the last two years, more people were spied on by the government than in the preceding decade. The documents do not include information on most terrorism investigations and requests from state and local law enforcers. Nor do they include surveillance by federal agencies outside Justice Department purview, like the Secret Service.

Department of Justice agencies obtained 37,616 court orders for information about phone calls in 2011, according to the documents. That's an increase of 47 percent from the 25,535 orders obtained by the government in 2009. Including Internet and email information requests, more than 40,000 people were targeted in 2011."

-->The NY Times didn't cover this story with all the excitement about the upcoming election. Warrantless electronic surveillance is another area that the two parties behave as one, not something our mainstream media wants people to notice. 


The Sydney Morning Herald AU:
"New evidence has emerged that all Guantanamo Bay detainees, including David Hicks, were drugged involuntarily with a substance that has a long history as a truth serum. Recently declassified US documents revealing medical procedures have shown that scopolamine was administered to all detainees taken to the Cuban detention centre.

The documents, which were standard operating procedures for nursing staff, were obtained by the independent US news outlet Truthout, and reveal that the rationale for the drug's use on all detainees was to prevent motion sickness.
However, US military experts have said that scopolamine is not recommended for motion sickness because of its severe side effects.

The US government has not responded to questions by The Sun-Herald about drugs given involuntarily to detainees. The Sun-Herald revealed this month that Mr Hicks and other detainees were drugged against their will with unknown substances and that detainees' medical records were incomplete, with the names and dosages of drugs removed."

-->Drugs given Guantanamo inmates instead of a fair trial? That's the way things work in the Empire. The NY Times, the propaganda instrument of the Empire, is not about to dwell on human rights abuses by the US military. Our newspaper of record didn't print this story.