Thursday, December 19, 2013

Fantasyland Media:

Fantasyland Media: 
http://www.fantasylandmedia.org

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.

------

The NY Times:
"Gaza, Vexed by Floods, Gets Fuel and Power, By FARES AKRAM and ISABEL KERSHNER"

-->The NY Times does its best to avoid printing what has really "vexed" Gaza. First it is the storms and floods. Then Hamas and its wrangling with the Palestinian Authority. Finally, The NY Times cites the Egyptian Army. But never the Israeli blockade. Wouldn't it be refreshing if our newspaper of record told it like the American Friends Service Committee: "One of the strongest winter storms in decades hit the occupied Palestinian territory on December 11th bringing with it strong winds, heavy rains, and low temperatures. The storm also brought new hardship to an already exhausted population in the Gaza Strip and exacerbated the existing humanitarian crisis caused by the 7 year long Israeli blockade of Gaza."

------

Common Dreams:
"Surveillance Is Theft: World's Leading Authors Protest NSA. Calling it 'a stand for democracy in the digital age,' 560 of the world's most renowned writers, including five Nobel prize winners, have signed a petition condemning state surveillance and urging the U.N. to create an international bill of digital rights. The statement by authors from 81 countries, which is being published globally in over 30 newspapers and can be signed by the public, says the surveillance revealed by Edward Snowden violates privacy, compromises freedom of thought and undermines the fundamental right of all humans to remain 'unobserved and unmolested.'

'A person under surveillance is no longer free; a society under surveillance is no longer a democracy. To maintain any validity, our democratic rights must apply in virtual as in real space.' "

-->The NY Times somehow missed this story. Human rights stories are only covered if they are about countries on the empire's hit list like Iran, Cuba, Venezuela and China. 

------

Guardian, UK:
"The National Security Agency is telling its story like never before. Never mind whether that story is, well, true.

On Sunday night, CBS’s 60 Minutes ran a remarkable piece that provided NSA officials, from director Keith Alexander to junior analysts, with a long, televised forum to push back against criticism of the powerful spy agency. It’s an opening salvo in an unprecedented push from the agency to win public confidence at a time when both White House reviews and pending legislation would restrict the NSA’s powers.

But mixed in among the dramatic footage of Alexander receiving threat briefings and junior analysts solving Rubik’s cubes in 90 seconds were a number of dubious claims: from the extent of surveillance to collecting on Google and Yahoo data centers to an online 'kill-switch' for the global financial system developed by China.

Reporter John Miller, a former official with the Office of the Director of National Intelligence and an ex-FBI spokesman, allowed these claims to go unchallenged. The Guardian, not so much. Here’s our take ...'

-->Why is it that an English newspaper can expose and even ridicule the 60 Minutes piece as obvious propaganda, and The NY Times can't? When it comes to criticizing the national security state, America's foremost newspaper is almost always missing in action.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Fantasyland Media:

Fantasyland Media:
http://www.fantasylandmedia.org

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.

------

Fair.org :
"Former New York Times executive editor Bill Keller wrote his paper's obituary for Nelson Mandela. As you might have guessed, it glosses over the CIA's role in helping the apartheid government catch Mandela: 'Upon his capture he was charged with inciting a strike and leaving the country without a passport' is all the depth he goes into, although the Times has in fact covered this little-known story in the past. You have to ask yourself: If the secret police of an ostensibly democratic society helped put someone viewed as one of the great heroes of the past century in prison, isn't that something the public ought to know about?

Keller did go into more detail about Mandela's armed efforts to overthrow the apartheid state, seemingly in an effort to belittle them:

'Mr. Mandela's exploits in the 'armed struggle' have been somewhat mythologized. ... The ANC's armed activities were mostly confined to planting land mines, blowing up electrical stations and committing occasional acts of terrorism against civilians.'

Mandela, as it happens, went into great detail at his 1964 trial–where he was convicted of sabotage, not 'acts of terrorism against civilians'–about the African National Congress' decision to abandon its commitment to nonviolent resistance and turn to armed struggle. ..."

-->The NY Times trying to trash Mandela's image, while protecting the reputation of the CIA. How predictable this coverage is in the empire's newspaper.

------

Mail & Gardian: South Africa
"Many heads of state would not miss internationally renowned peace icon Nelson Mandela's funeral, but Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will do just that. His reason: it is too expensive to travel to South Africa, according to Israel's Haaretz daily newspaper. ...

Netanyahu had initially notified the South African authorities that he'd join his other counterparts to honour Mandela but made a last minute cancellation because the $2-million needed for his transport and security alone was just too steep. ...

The decision to cancel the trip to South Africa during such an important period is likely to raise suspicion and remind many of a difficult relationship Tel Aviv has with Pretoria. ... Mandela was the first democratically elected president of South Africa and took power from the apartheid government, which was Israel's strong ally when most countries of the world rebuked racial segregation."

-->The NY Times, like Netanyahu, ducked out of this story at the last minute. Why remind readers that Israel was South Africa's best friend during apartheid, supplying them with weaponry and advising them on strengthening their regime of all white rule.

------

NBC News Investigations:
"From the White House to the halls of Congress, U.S. government officials have responded to the death of Nelson Mandela with a hail of testimonials to the late South African president’s leadership in the struggle for freedom and human rights.

Until five years ago, however, the U.S. officially considered Mandela a terrorist. During the Cold War, both the State and Defense departments dubbed Mandela’s political party, the African National Congress, a terrorist group, and Mandela’s name remained on the U.S. terrorism watch list till 2008. ...

The terrorist designation finally proved too embarrassing for the U.S. government to ignore. In April 2008, during the last year of the George W. Bush administration, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice told a Senate committee that her department had to issue waivers for ANC members to travel to the United States."

-->The NY Times always puts the empire's image above its readership's right to know. Our newspaper of record relegated this story to one of its blogs rather than put it into print.

Friday, December 06, 2013

Fantasyland Media:

Fantasyland Media:
http://www.fantasylandmedia.org

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.

------

BillMoyers.com :
"Just as the commandment 'Thou shalt not kill' sets a clear limit in order to safeguard the value of human life, today we also have to say 'thou shalt not' to an economy of exclusion and inequality. Such an economy kills. How can it be that it is not a news item when an elderly homeless person dies of exposure, but it is news when the stock market loses two points? This is a case of exclusion. Can we continue to stand by when food is thrown away while people are starving? This is a case of inequality. Today everything comes under the laws of competition and the sur­vival of the fittest, where the powerful feed upon the powerless. As a consequence, masses of peo­ple find themselves excluded and marginalized: without work, without possibilities, without any means of escape. ...

In this context, some people continue to defend trickle-down theories which assume that economic growth, encouraged by a free market, will inevitably succeed in bringing about great­er justice and inclusiveness in the world. This opinion, which has never been confirmed by the facts, expresses a crude and na├»ve trust in the goodness of those wielding economic power and in the sacralized workings of the prevailing economic system. Meanwhile, the excluded are still waiting. To sustain a lifestyle which excludes others, or to sustain enthusiasm for that selfish ideal, a globalization of indifference has developed." 

-->It is hard to find the Pope's actual words (Dec. 1 Mass) in the US media. The "National Review" came the closest, but that was because the reporter was challenging the translation, trying to make the Pope's message more business friendly. The NY Times printed a sentence or two in an op-ed that concluded, "when it comes to lifting the poor out of poverty, global capitalism, faults and all, has a better track record by far than any other system or approach." All the pro-business news that's fit to print.

------

McClatchy:
"Schools have a lot to learn from business about how to improve performance, declared Bill Gates in an Op Ed in the Wall Street Journal in 2011. He pointed to his own company as a worthy model for public schools. ...

The Microsoft model, called 'stacked ranking' forced every work unit to declare a certain percentage of employees as top performers, a certain groups as good performers, then average, then below average, then poor. ...

And now, just as public school systems have widely adopted the Microsoft model in order to win the Race to the Top, it turns out that Microsoft now realizes that this model has pushed Microsoft itself into a Race to the Bottom.

In a widely circulated 2012 article in Vanity award-winning reporter Fair Kurt Eichenwald concluded that stacked ranking effectively crippled Microsoft’s ability to innovate. 'Every current and former Microsoft employee I interviewed—every one— cited stack ranking as the most destructive process inside of Microsoft, something that drove out untold numbers of employees,' Eichenwald writes. 'It leads to employees focusing on competing with each other rather than competing with other companies.' "

-->When will our national media begin questioning Obama's Race to the Top, his attempt to destroy public education through competitive testing and charter schools? It's a model now discredited by the very corporation that invented it.  

------

The Independent UK:
"In a move celebrating academic freedom not as a geopolitically-based privilege but as a universal right, the executive council of the American Studies Association voted at its annual meeting to support the Palestinian call for an academic boycott of Israel - a move some see as a key step toward breaking the taboo on boycotting Israel. 

Speakers at the meeting of the oldest U.S. organization of academics and scholars cited U.S. complicity in the Israeli occupation, the denial of access to 'normal scholarly life' for Palestinians through occupation, blockade, school closings as collective punishment and the inability to travel, and the importance of current calls for cultural boycott of Israel, as in apartheid South Africa, as 'a test case for our intellectual and moral consistency.'

'In the intellectual world, the resort to force is not a position of strength. (The vote) showed the power of reasoned, moral argument (and) there is no going back.' "


-->The NY Times doesn't care much for "intellectual and moral consistency" when reporting news critical of its favorite client, Israel. It didn't print this story.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Fantasyland Media:

Fantasyland Media:
http://www.fantasylandmedia.org

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:
"Using what critics call 'an especially circular and Kafkaesque line of argument' based on Cold War-era doctrine, the FBI says they should not have to release 350,000 pages of documents under the Freedom of Information Act requested by MIT academic Ryan Shapiro because Shapiro's research on FBI investigations of animal rights and other activists constitutes a threat to national security - though they can't explain why in open court because that, too, would threaten national security. ...

'Since its earliest days, the FBI has viewed political dissent as a security threat...The FBI considers it a national security threat to make public its reasoning for considering it a national security threat to use federal law to request information about the FBI's deeply problematic understanding of national security threats.' "

-->The NY Times doesn't report on circular and Kafkaesque reasoning when it comes to the FBI and our national security state. Our newspaper of record probably doesn't dare.

------

McClatchy:
"If you've ever trained to be a better liar—or more specifically inquired about how to lie well enough to beat a polygraph test—numerous federal agencies, including the Department of Homeland Security, the CIA, the IRS, or the FBI, may just have their eye on you.

Though nowhere near as massive as the NSA programs, the polygraph inquiry is another example of the federal government’s vast appetite for Americans’ personal information and the sweeping legal authority it wields in the name of national security.

According to an investigative report published by McClatchy on Thursday, that's because a list generated by the Customs and Border Protection agency containing the names and detailed personal information of more than 5,000 individuals who may have done nothing more than purchase a book has been widely circulated among dozens of other government agencies... The officials then distributed a list of 4,904 people – along with many of their Social Security numbers, addresses and professions – to nearly 30 federal agencies, including the Internal Revenue Service, the CIA, the National Security Agency and the Food and Drug Administration."

-->The security state is indeed out of anyone's control. It is a good thing they have America's premier newspaper to cover its tracks. The NY Times did not even run this McClatchy story.

------

The Independent UK:
"If the U.S. gets its way, the world will never know the details of top-level discussions between George W. Bush and Tony Blair that paved the way for the invasion of Iraq in 2003.

An exclusive report released Thursday by The Independent reveals that the White House and U.S. State Department have launched a fierce battle against the release of a four-year government-ordered investigation into the lead-up and aftermath of British participation in a war now widely viewed in the UK as a catastrophe.

The inquiry, led by Sir John Chilcot, is believed to take aim at the official version of events, including misrepresentation of Iraq intelligence, as well as questions about whether former British Prime Minister Tony Blair engaged in secret negotiations with the Bush administration while lying to the British people.

Yet, the U.S. government is forbidding the release of communications between Blair and Bush in the lead-up to the war, declaring it classified information and pressuring British Prime Minister David Cameron to wipe this information from the report."


-->The NY Times didn't touch this story either. War crimes hatched by Bush and Blair before the invasion of Iraq might have disturbed its readers, or more likely its advertisers.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Fantasyland Media: 11/7/13

Fantasyland Media:
http://www.fantasylandmedia.org

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.

------

Guardian UK:
"Government says death of Hakimullah Mehsud has destroyed attempts to hold peace talks with Islamist militants. ...

A Pakistani government minister said the strike by an unmanned aircraft on Friday had destroyed attempts to hold peace talks with the militants which began this week.

Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, the interior minister, said: 'This is not just the killing of one person, it's the death of all peace efforts.' "
http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/nov/02/pakistan-taliban-leader-us-drone-strike

-->Contrast this to the cheering in The NY Times story. "The death of the leader, Hakimullah Mehsud, is a signal achievement for the covert C.I.A. program at a time when drones themselves have come under criticism from human rights groups and other critics in Pakistan and the United States over the issue of civilian casualties." Did the CIA intentionally destroy peace talks by the murdering Mehsud? Our newspaper of record only mentions that the drone strike came at a "delicate time" for peace talks, which now have been "possibly rendered unnecessary."

------

Washington Times:
"The National Security Agency and the Department of Homeland Security have issued 'cease and desist' letters to a novelty store owner who sells products that poke fun at the federal government.

Dan McCall, who lives in Minnesota and operates LibertyManiacs.com, sells T-shirts with the agency’s official seal that read: 'The NSA: The only part of government that actually listens,' Judicial Watch first reported.
Other parodies say, 'Spying on you since 1952,' and 'Peeping while you’re sleeping,' the report said.

Federal authorities claimed the parody images violate laws against the misuse, mutilation, alteration or impersonation of government seals, Judicial Watch reported."

-->Sometimes The NY Times protects the security state from itself. This is a great story about how paranoid the NSA has become with its 10 billion dollars and 35,000 employees. But The NY Times prefers front page articles about hazing at professional football teams. It didn't print the NSA story.

------

Common Dreams:
" 'We have a moral duty to ensure that our laws and values limit surveillance programs and protect human rights,' Snowden writes in the letter reportedly penned in Moscow on Friday. 'While the NSA and GCHQ (the British national security agency) appear to be the worst offenders -- at least according to the documents that are currently public,' he writes, 'we cannot forget that mass surveillance is a global problem and needs a global solution.'

That solution, according to Snowden, is now possible due to increasing public awareness. Despite a 'never before seen witch hunt' that threatens journalists who expose such governmental wrongdoings, Snowden writes, the NSA leaks have already improved public awareness and will continue to promote citizen based reform. 'Instead of causing damage, the usefulness of the new public knowledge for society is now clear because reforms to politics, supervision and laws are being suggested,' he wrote.

'Citizens have to fight against the suppression of information about affairs of essential importance for the public,' a translation by Reuters reads. 'Those who speak the truth are not committing a crime.' "


-->The NY Times rarely prints Snowden's words, no matter how eloquently or informative they are. Speaking truth to power is a foreign notion to America's most prestigious newspaper.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Fantasyland Media: 10/31/13

Fantasyland Media:
http://www.fantasylandmedia.org

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.

------

Japan Times:
"JERUSALEM – Germany has warned Israel to attend a periodic U.N. human rights review on Tuesday or face 'severe diplomatic damage,' Haaretz newspaper reported on Sunday.

Israel cut all ties with the Geneva-based U.N. Human Rights Council in March 2012, after it announced it would probe how Israeli settlements may be infringing on the rights of Palestinians.

'On Friday, German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle sent a personal letter to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, warning that Israel’s failure to attend the Human Rights Council’s Universal Periodic Review would cause the country severe diplomatic damage and Israel’s allies around the world would be hard-pressed to help it,' Haaretz wrote."

-->The NY Times doesn't cover stories about Israel's human rights abuses and about the frustration of the rest of the world at the continuing illegal occupation. Readers in Japan are told, but not readers in America.

------

Common Dreams:
"Two weeks after Edward Snowden’s first revelations about sweeping government surveillance, President Obama shot back. 'We know of at least 50 threats that have been averted because of this information not just in the United States, but, in some cases, threats here in Germany,' Obama said during a visit to Berlin in June. 'So lives have been saved.'

In the months since, intelligence officials, media outlets, and members of Congress from both parties all repeated versions of the claim that NSA surveillance has stopped more than 50 terrorist attacks. The figure has become a key talking point in the debate around the spying programs. ...

"We've heard over and over again the assertion that 54 terrorist plots were thwarted” by the two programs, (Sen. Patrick) Leahy told (NSA chief Gen. Keith) Alexander at the Judiciary Committee hearing this month. 'That's plainly wrong, but we still get it in letters to members of Congress, we get it in statements. These weren't all plots and they weren't all thwarted. The American people are getting left with the inaccurate impression of the effectiveness of NSA programs.' "

-->How do these stories get spread anyway? The NY Times helps, by not printing these comments by Sen Patrick Leahy, and by avoiding any investigative journalism that might expose the fact that the President and the NSA have been lying to the American people. 

------

Common Dreams:
"125 racial justice, community, and faith organizations are demanding that the U.S. Justice Department launch a civil rights investigation into the dragnet surveillance of Muslims at the hands of the New York Police Department.

In a searing letter released Thursday, organizations including the NAACP, the American Civil Liberties Union, and South Asian Americans Leading Together (SAALT) blast the NYPD's 'discriminatory surveillance,' which they charge 'is based on the false and unconstitutional premise, reflected in the NYPD’s published radicalization theory, that Muslim religious belief, practices, and community engagement are grounds for law enforcement scrutiny.'

Starting in 2002 following the 9/11 attacks, the NYPD has systematically surveilled Muslims at mosques, bookstores, neighborhoods, and restaurants for no reason other than their faith. This has included sending paid infiltrators into mosques, student organizations, and other associations to spy on individuals, document conversations, and take photographs. The NYPD has mapped New York to single out Muslim communities for monitoring."

-->The NY Times didn't cover these demands by 125 human rights organizations. Instead, our newspaper of record printed a book review entitled "Enemies Within," which defends the NYPD's targeting of Muslim groups.

"Despite the authors’ efforts to blacken Cohen and his unit, the squad does not come off all that badly. In this account, at least, they seem clownish but relatively harmless." 


So much for The NY Times defending our civil liberties.

Fantasyland Media: 10/24/13

Fantasyland Media:
http://www.fantasylandmedia.org

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.

------

Aljazeera America:
"On Oct. 11, 1985, Alex Odeh opened his office door at the Santa Ana, Calif. Branch of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) – a civil-rights organization where he worked as regional director – when a pipe bomb exploded, killing him and injuring several others. ...

The ADC has joined forces and phone lists with the NAACP, Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) and several other civil-rights groups to pressure the Department of Justice (DOJ) for a more robust, renewed investigation. ...

In 1990, Robert Friedman at the Village Voice uncovered the names of three JDL members implicated in the Odeh assassination and cast a new light on the killing. ... Friedman also said Israeli officials had not cooperated with the FBI's investigation of the suspects, all believed to be residing in Israel. He quoted a confidential FBI memorandum he had obtained that said Israel's response to FBI requests had been 'untimely, incomplete and in certain cases no response was rendered.'

'Israel's apparent lack of cooperation with the FBI in the JDL investigation calls into question its sincerity in prosecuting the war against terrorism when the terrorism emanates from Israel itself,' Friedman wrote."

-->The terrorist killing of a Palestinian/American human rights leader didn't get much coverage beyond 1985 in the mainstream media. And The NY Times has ignored recent attempts to trace the murder to Israel. 

------

The NY Times:
"U.S. Army Hones Antiterror Strategy for Africa, in Kansas. FORT RILEY, Kan. — Here on the Kansas plains, thousands of soldiers once bound for Iraq or Afghanistan are now gearing up for missions in Africa as part of a new Pentagon strategy to train and advise indigenous forces to tackle emerging terrorist threats and other security risks so that American forces do not have to."

-->This story in The NY Times is well worth reading, since it elaborates important themes in the empire's new wars in Africa. There are the endless quotes from Pentagon officials indicating how important this "antiterror strategy" is to America. And there is simply no voice questioning the empire's decision to wage war in a whole new part of the world. Pentagon propaganda at its best.

------

Common Dreams:
"A new report by Christof Heyns, the UN's Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, challenges the lack of transparency in the growing use of drones, and their threats to civilian life and international law. ...

In his report, Heyns blasts drone strikes known as "double-tap" strikes, ones where a second strike follows a first to target rescuers, a tactic TBIJ documented the U.S. has used in its drone war. Heyns states that this is a war crime. He writes:

"Where one drone attack is followed up by another in order to target those who are wounded and hors de combat or medical personnel, it constitutes a war crime in armed conflict and a violation of the right to life, whether or not in armed conflict." "


-->The NY Times covered criticisms of drone killings by Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch. Why leave out the very damming report by the UN's Special Rapporteur? Perhaps it was too specific about the "double-tap" strikes. Maybe it had something to do with the fact that the term "war crime" was mentioned, something the Pentagon does not want to see in the US media.


Fantasyland Media: 10/17/13

Fantasyland Media:
http://www.fantasylandmedia.org

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.

------

Yahoo News:
"Paris (AFP) - Swiss radiation experts have confirmed they found traces of polonium on clothing used by Yasser Arafat which 'support the possibility' the veteran Palestinian leader was poisoned.

In a report published by The Lancet at the weekend, the team provide scientific details to media statements made in 2012 that they had found polonium on Arafat's belongings.

Arafat died in France on November 11 2004 at the age of 75, but doctors were unable to specify the cause of death. No autopsy was carried out at the time, in line with his widow's request."

-->The NY Times reports that the head of a Russian forensics agency claims no polonium was found. No mention of the report published by The Lancet, the world's leading medical journal. Of course, Israel and the United States would love this story to disappear, and The NY Times is doing its best to serve its masters. 

------

Common Dreams:
"How Obama Administration-Controlled Media Is Used to Avoid Scrutiny from the Press. What makes the crackdown on leaks, increased denials of Freedom of Information Act requests and surveillance of journalists even more pernicious is how this conduct by President Barack Obama’s administration has taken place as the administration simultaneously uses its own media to pump out its own message.

In a report from the Committee to Protect Journalists on, 'The Obama Administration and the Press,' which details leaks investigations and surveillance in post-9/11 America, an entire section focuses on the administration’s promise of transparency. ...

Social media, photos of the president, videos of White House officials, blog posts written by Obama aides—Those who could all be used to create an 'open dialogue with the public,' Frank Sesno, a former CNN Washington bureau chief, said. 'But if used for propaganda and to avoid contact with journalists, it’s a slippery slope.' "

-->The NY Times didn't cover this story. You would think that the ways the Obama administration controls the news would be of interest to Americans.

------

Common Dreams:
"Media discourse in the buildup to potential U.S.-led attacks on Syria was monopolized by experts and think tanks with links to arms and intelligence industries. Despite this conflict of interest, these financial relationships were not disclosed in a vast majority of media appearances, the non-profit research organization Public Accountability Initiative revealed in a report released Friday.

Twenty-two commentators presented as experts during the so-called corporate media debate about military attacks on Syria have ties to "large defense and intelligence contractors like Raytheon, smaller defense and intelligence contractors like TASC, defense-focused investment firms like SCP Partners, and commercial diplomacy firms like the Cohen Group," the report finds. Of 111 appearances in major media outlets, the ties of these 22 commentators were disclosed a total of 13 times. A majority of these commentators voiced support for a U.S.-led attack on Syria.

Stephen Hadley is just one of the analysts profiled by the study. '[H]e has voiced strong support for a strike on Syria in appearances on Bloomberg TV, Fox News, and CNN, as well as in a Washington Post op-ed,' the study reads. 'Though he has a financial stake in a Syria strike as a current Raytheon board member, and is also a principal at consulting firm RiceHadleyGates, he was identified all four times only as a former National Security Adviser to George W. Bush.' "


-->Democracy Now covered this story, but not The NY Times. No wonder people have no faith in their mainstream media, especially when a new war is being hyped.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Fantasyland Media:

 http://www.fantasylandmedia.org

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.

------

Guardian UK:
"Vietnamese general behind victories over French and US dies aged 102. Giap went on to defeat the US-backed South Vietnam government in April 1975, reuniting a country that had been split into communist and non-communist states...

'No other wars for national liberation were as fierce or caused as many losses as this war,' Giap told the Associated Press in 2005 in one of his last-known interviews. ... 'But we still fought because for Vietnam, nothing is more precious than independence and freedom.' "
http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/oct/04/vietnam-general-giap-dies

-->To The NY Times, however, there was no victory over the US, and General Giap had only "fought a superpower to a stalemate." Moreover, it was the good general that had caused all the carnage: "his willingness to sustain staggering losses against superior American firepower was a large reason the war dragged on as long as it did, costing more than 2.5 million lives — 58,000 of them American." The US military wasn't responsible for the slaughter; it was the general who fought so hard to rid Vietnam of the invaders!

Noam Chomsky predicted as much in 1982: "American imperialism has suffered a stunning defeat in Indochina. But the same forces are engaged In another war against a much less resilient enemy, the American people. Here, the prospects for success are much greater. The battleground is ideological. not military. At stake are the lessons to be drawn from the American war In Indochina; the outcome will determine the course and character of new imperial ventures."

------

Guardian UK:
"Radioactive Wastewater From Fracking Is Found in a Pennsylvania Stream. ...

Recently, a group of Duke University scientists decided to do some testing. They contacted the owners of one treatment plant, the Josephine Brine Treatment Facility on Blacklick Creek in Indiana County, Pennsylvania, but, 'when we tried to work with them, it was very difficult getting ahold of the right person,' says Avner Vengosh, an Earth scientist from Duke. 'Eventually, we just went and tested water right from a public area downstream.'

Their analyses, made on water samples collected repeatedly over the course of two years, were even more concerning than we’d feared. As published today in the journal Environmental Science and Technology, they found high concentrations of the element radium, a highly radioactive substance. The concentrations were roughly 200 times higher than background levels. In addition,  amounts of chloride and bromide in the water were two to ten times greater than normal.

'Even if, today, you completely stopped disposal of the wastewater,' Vengosh says, there’s enough contamination built up that 'you’d still end up with a place that the U.S. would consider a radioactive waste site.' "
http://blogs.smithsonianmag.com/science/2013/10/radioactive-wastewater-from-fracking-is-found-in-a-pennsylvania-stream/

-->The NY Times doesn't do many fracking stories, especially if they involve contamination and radioactivity.

------

Guardian UK:
"An octogenarian Roman Catholic nun, jailed for breaking into a nuclear weapons facility in Tennessee, is facing up to 30 years in prison after losing her plea for the most serious charge to be dropped.

Sister Megan Rice, 83, and two fellow peace activists staged a non-violent protest to symbolically disarm the Oak Ridge Y-12 nuclear weapons facility, home to the nation's main supply of highly enriched uranium, in July. They were initially charged with trespassing, a misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in prison, but felony charges quickly followed. They were eventually convicted of interfering with national security and damage to federal property.

This week, a judge denied a motion to acquit them of interfering with national security under the sabotage section of the US criminal code, which carries the harshest prison sentence of up to 20 years."
http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/oct/04/nun-protesting-nuclear-weapons-denied-appeal

-->The NY Times does a lot of "People Magazine" stories about those in the news. The jailing of an 83 year old Roman Catholic nun and peace activist didn't make the cut.



Thursday, October 03, 2013

Fantasyland Media:

 http://www.fantasylandmedia.org

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.

------

Guardian UK:
"The National Security Agency is storing the online metadata of millions of internet users for up to a year, regardless of whether or not they are persons of interest to the agency, top secret documents reveal.

Metadata provides a record of almost anything a user does online, from browsing history – such as map searches and websites visited – to account details, email activity, and even some account passwords. This can be used to build a detailed picture of an individual's life.

The Obama administration has repeatedly stated that the NSA keeps only the content of messages and communications of people it is intentionally targeting – but internal documents reveal the agency retains vast amounts of metadata.

An introductory guide to digital network intelligence for NSA field agents, included in documents disclosed by former contractor Edward Snowden, describes the agency's metadata repository, codenamed Marina. Any computer metadata picked up by NSA collection systems is routed to the Marina database, the guide explains."
http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/sep/30/nsa-americans-metadata-year-documents

-->For The NY Times, "Marina" is fashion model Marina Krtinic, who has hair that is "proudly, unconventionally frizzy." Our president lying to the American people isn't as newsworthy as Marina's provocative hair style, according to America's premier newspaper.

------

Common Dreams:
"NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden's words were entered as testimony at the European Parliament's Civil Liberties Committee in Brussels on Monday.

'...A culture of secrecy has denied our societies the opportunity to determine the appropriate balance between the human right of privacy and the governmental interest in investigation. These are not decisions that should be made for a people, but only by the people after full, informed, and fearless debate. Yet public debate is not possible without public knowledge, and in my country, the cost for one in my position of returning public knowledge to public hands has been persecution and exile. If we are to enjoy such debates in the future, we cannot rely upon individual sacrifice. We must create better channels for people of conscience to inform not only trusted agents of government, but independent representatives of the public outside of government.' "
http://www.commondreams.org/view/2013/10/01-8

-->Why wouldn't The NY Times print this short testimony by Edward Snowden? Does our newspaper of record think his words aren't relevant in the very country that is spying on all the world's internet communications? The lack of debate on civil liberties in America is a byproduct of our mass media's capitulation to governmental pressures.

------

Guardian UK:
"Seymour Hersh has got some extreme ideas on how to fix journalism – close down the news bureaus of NBC and ABC, sack 90% of editors in publishing and get back to the fundamental job of journalists which, he says, is to be an outsider.

It doesn't take much to fire up Hersh, the investigative journalist who has been the nemesis of US presidents since the 1960s and who was once described by the Republican party as "the closest thing American journalism has to a terrorist".

He is angry about the timidity of journalists in America, their failure to challenge the White House and be an unpopular messenger of truth.
Don't even get him started on the New York Times which, he says, spends 'so much more time carrying water for Obama than I ever thought they would' – or the death of Osama bin Laden. 'Nothing's been done about that story, it's one big lie, not one word of it is true,' he says of the dramatic US Navy Seals raid in 2011."
http://www.theguardian.com/media/media-blog/2013/sep/27/seymour-hersh-obama-nsa-american-media

-->Seymour Hersh is one of America's best know journalist, winner of the Pulitzer Prize when he exposed the My Lai massacre. All those credentials don't help him much when he is saying the wrong things about the US media. The NY Times didn't cover this story, but the NY Daily News did, only to leave out all his comments about the pathetic state of the US media.






Friday, September 27, 2013

Fantasyland Media:


http://www.fantasylandmedia.org

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.

------

NY Times:
There are all sorts of ways to promote a war and The NY Times is familiar with them all. One way is to offer highly sympathetic background stories on some high officials in the government who are pushing for war.

The recent story on Samantha Power, "A New U.S. Player, Put on World Stage by Syria" is a perfect example. The NY Times falls all over itself to extol her as a courageous fighter for human rights in the world. There is no end to positive quotes about her idealism and good intentions. The only question our newspaper of record can come up with is wether the "untested Ms. Power will be tough enough."

What is left out? Certainly any criticism of her incessant push for a US attack on Syria. Why didn't The NY Times include anyone challenging a new war in the Middle East? Also, The NY Times raises no questions about how her human rights campaigns in the past have dovetailed perfectly with the Pentagon's military ambitions (Libya, Sudan, the Balkans, and Darfur). 

Added to all this is a little bit of glamour for this imperialist warmonger. "She is already kind of a celebrity there." The NY Times managed to portray Kissinger as a celebrity as he was bombing Southeast Asia. It is an old formula, and The NY Times has it down to a science.

------

RT News:
"In a furious critique that opened the UN's General Assembly meeting Tuesday immediately before President Obama took the podium, Brazil's president Dilma Rousseff blasted U.S. secret surveillance programs for violating her country's national sovereignty, attacking its democracy, and infringing on the human rights of its citizens.

'In the absence of the right to privacy, there can be no true freedom of expression and opinion, and therefore no effective democracy,' she declared in her strongest statements yet in the fallout following revelations that the NSA had directly spied on Rousseff. 'In the absence of the respect for sovereignty, there is no basis for the relationship among nations.'

'Tampering in such a manner in the lives and affairs of other countries is a breach of international law and, as such, it is an affront to the principles that should otherwise govern relations among countries, especially among friendly nations,' she charged."


-->The NY Times along with most US media did not cover this exceptional speech, but chose to bury it in a comment (paragraph 17) on Obama's talk to the UN.

------

Common Dreams:
"Most people have probably heard about the Wall Street efforts to cut Social Security and Medicare. There is a vast list of organizations like Campaign to Fix the Debt, the Can Kicks Back, Third Way, and many more that have as a central agenda item cutting back or privatizing Social Security and Medicare. When we hear one of these organizations tell us these programs should be cut it is not a surprise.

The question is why do mainstream news outlets like the New York Times and Washington Post use their news sections to tell the same stories? Last week when the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) issued new long-range budget projections both papers were quick to ignore the numbers and to tell readers that we have to cut Social Security and Medicare.

The reason why this coverage was so bizarre is that it is not news that Social Security and Medicare will cost more in the decades ahead. We actually have known about the rising cost of these programs for about fifty years. ..."

-->All the elites in Washington as well as the US media want to use the latest fiscal crisis to cut Social Security. It is the continuation of the class wars being waged by the very richest against the rest of the country. The campaign is full of half truths, and reveals the propaganda role of the US media as clearly as the push for war against Syria.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Fantasyland Media:

http://www.fantasylandmedia.org

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.

------

McClatchy:
"Syrian President Bashar Assad has repeatedly rejected requests from his field commanders for approval to use chemical weapons, according to a report this weekend in a German newspaper.

The report in Bild am Sonntag, which is a widely read and influential national Sunday newspaper, reported that the head of the German Foreign Intelligence agency, Gerhard Schindler, last week told a select group of German lawmakers that intercepted communications had convinced German intelligence officials that Assad did not order or approve what is believed to be a sarin gas attack on Aug. 21 that killed hundreds of people in Damascus’ eastern suburbs.

The Obama administration has blamed the attack on Assad. The evidence against Assad was described over the weekend as common sense by White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough on CNN’s 'State of the Union.' "
http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2013/09/09/201515/intercepts-caught-assad-rejecting.html#.UjB48-DAVYV

-->The NY Times omitted this important story because it undermines the US plans for war against Syria. Again, we have to question the independence of the US media in the American Empire.

------

Spiegel Online:
"... According to internal NSA documents from the Edward Snowden archive that SPIEGEL has been granted access to, the US intelligence service doesn't just bug embassies and access data from undersea cables to gain information. The NSA is also extremely interested in that new form of communication which has experienced such breathtaking success in recent years: smartphones.

In Germany, more than 50 percent of all mobile phone users now possess a smartphone; in the UK, the share is two-thirds. About 130 million people in the US have such a device. The mini-computers have become personal communication centers, digital assistants and life coaches, and they often know more about their users than most users suspect.

For an agency like the NSA, the data storage units are a goldmine, combining in a single device almost all the information that would interest an intelligence agency: social contacts, details about the user's behavior and location, interests (through search terms, for example), photos and sometimes credit card numbers and passwords.”
http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/how-the-nsa-spies-on-smartphones-including-the-blackberry-a-921161.html

-->The NY Times has printed nothing about this latest leak by Edward Snowden, although a reference was made to it on one of its official blogs. Perhaps it calls into question Apple's latest wonder gadget, the fingerprint scanner on the iPhone 5S. Why doesn't the world just send their fingerprints to NSA?

------

Politico:
"AIPAC to go all-out on Syria. The powerful pro-Israel lobby AIPAC is planning to launch a major lobbying campaign to push wayward lawmakers to back the resolution authorizing U.S. strikes against Syria, sources said Thursday.

Officials say that some 250 Jewish leaders and AIPAC activists will storm the halls on Capitol Hill beginning next week to persuade lawmakers that Congress must adopt the resolution or risk emboldening Iran’s efforts to build a nuclear weapon. They are expected to lobby virtually every member of Congress, arguing that 'barbarism' by the Assad regime cannot be tolerated, and that failing to act would 'send a message' to Tehran that the U.S. won’t stand up to hostile countries’ efforts to develop weapons of mass destruction, according to a source with the group.

'History tells us that ambiguity [in U.S. actions] invites aggression,' said the AIPAC source who asked not to be named. The source added the group will now be engaged in a 'major mobilization' over the issue."
http://www.politico.com/story/2013/09/aipac-syria-96344.html#ixzz2e7MVv0HX

-->The NY Times waited several days to report this story, and when it finally printed the news, the emphasis was on distancing Israel from the Israeli Lobby here in the US. The NY Times article seemed aimed at damage control for Israel rather than reporting the facts to the American people.

------

Common Dreams:
"A new analysis offers a look at the difference between campaign contributions from defense contractors to the senators who voted Wednesday on whether to approve a strike on Syria.

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee members who voted 'yes' to a resolution authorizing military force 'received, on average, 83 percent more campaign financing from defense contractors than lawmakers voting against war,' Wired reported Thursday.

Based on data from OpenSecrets.org, the analysis showed the top recipients of contributions from defense industry employees and political action committees between 2007 and 2012 were Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) at $176,300 and Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) at $127,350, both of whom voted 'yes.' "
http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2013/09/05-6

-->Readers of the NY Times never learned this disturbing fact that the pro-war Senators rake it in from the weapons makers. That is a basic truth in the American Empire that our newspaper of record can't bring itself to tell its readers.




Thursday, September 05, 2013

Fantasyland Media:

http://www.fantasylandmedia.org

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.

------

McClatchy:
"WASHINGTON — The Obama administration’s public case for attacking Syria is riddled with inconsistencies and hinges mainly on circumstantial evidence, undermining U.S. efforts this week to build support at home and abroad for a punitive strike against Bashar Assad’s regime.

The case Secretary of State John Kerry laid out last Friday contained claims that were disputed by the United Nations, inconsistent in some details with British and French intelligence reports or lacking sufficient transparency for international chemical weapons experts to accept at face value.

After the false weapons claims preceding the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, the threshold for evidence to support intervention is exceedingly high. And while there’s little dispute that a chemical agent was used in an Aug. 21 attack outside of Damascus – and probably on a smaller scale before that – there are calls from many quarters for independent, scientific evidence to support the U.S. narrative that the Assad regime used sarin gas in an operation that killed 1,429 people, including more than 400 children. ..."

-->Why isn't the rest of the US media expressing a little doubt about Kerry's claims? No proof yet, and the same old lies we heard before about Iraq.

------

Mondoweiss:
"Last night M J Rosenberg posted an excerpt from a New York Times article published yesterday about the White House’s efforts to convince Congress of the wisdom of a strike on Syria. The excerpt said the Israel lobby group AIPAC (the American Israel Public Affairs Committee) was pushing a strike so that the US would also stand up to Iran, and it quoted a White House official calling AIPAC the “800-pound gorilla in the room.”

... both Annie Robbins and Max Blumenthal followed Rosenberg’s link to the Times article, and noted that it had been changed. Robbins tweeted at 9 PM: nytimes cut 'aipac the 800-pound gorilla in the room,' quote from article. no mention of aipac. they are ‘silent’!

... Blumenthal asks, 'I have never witnessed anything like this before. Is it standard practice for online New York Times reports to be scrubbed from existence and replaced with revised, updated articles containing different content? And if so, why was the replacement not acknowledged somewhere in the text of the article?' ”

-->The media won't talk about the Israeli lobby being behind this latest push for war against Syria. The NY Times even revised their own article to rid it of any mention of AIPAC (American Israeli Public Affairs Committee). AIPAC has immense power not only to push the US into foreign wars, but also to control American media. 

------

Washington Post:
"Senator John McCain plays poker on his IPhone during a U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations hearing where Secretary of State John Kerry, Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Martin Dempsey testify concerning the use of force in Syria, on Capitol Hill in Washington DC, Tuesday, September 3, 2013.

Update 6:38 p.m.: After the photo made the rounds on Twitter, McCain tweeted the following in response:

'Scandal! Caught playing iPhone game at 3+ hour Senate hearing - worst of all I lost!' "

-->Worst of all, the American people lost. No US media reminds the public that our military has used weapons of mass destruction any number of times in Iraq (white phosphorus and depleted uranium) and in Vietnam (agent orange and napalm). Moreover the US has helped Iraq use Sarin gas against Iran, and helped Israel use white phosphorus on Palestinians in Gaza. All this moral bombast about weapons of mass destruction depends on the US media not exposing these politicians as the immense frauds they really are.

------

Reuters (Sep 3):
"U.N.'s Ban casts doubt on legality of U.S. plans to punish Syria. U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said on Tuesday that the use of force is only legal when it is in self-defense or with Security Council authorization, remarks that appear to question the legality of U.S. plans to strike Syria without U.N. backing. …

'The use of force is lawful only when in exercise of self-defense in accordance with Article 51 of the United Nations charter and/or when the Security Council approves of such action,' Ban said. 'That is a firm principle of the United Nations.'

-->Readers of the NY Times, however, weren't given that quote and were left thinking that Ban Ki-moon didn't really answer the question. But it was the NY Times itself that chose to obfuscate the issue, not Ban Ki-moon. Reuters has the UN Secretary General declaring that a US attack would be illegal without UN approval. Let's look at how the NY Times got around that in its article.

NYTimes (Sep 3):
"Asked if Mr. Obama’s proposal would be illegal under the United Nations Charter, Mr. Ban answered, 'I have taken note of President Obama’s statement, and I appreciate efforts to have his future course of action based on the broad opinions of the American people, particularly Congress, and I hope this process will have good results.' "