Wednesday, December 17, 2014

“CIA cited Israeli Supreme Court rulings to justify torture, Senate report says 'Israeli example' cited as possible justification for use of torture when interrogating terror suspects 'where there is no other available means to prevent the harm' they might inflict.

The scathing report published Tuesday by the United States Senate Intelligence Committee on the CIA's interrogation of terror suspects reveals that the CIA's lawyers used the rulings of Israel's Supreme Court to construct a legal case justifying torture.”

—>For all of the reporting the NYT has done on the CIA torture report, Israel’s link to interrogation abuses is left out. Even in the area of prisoner torture, the NYT avoids stories that make apartheid Israel look bad. 


“Suicide Drones and the Spoils of War: Israeli arms manufacturers look to cash in on the war in Gaza.

Three weeks after Israel’s latest assault on the Gaza Strip concluded, Israeli military and political leaders attended a conference next to Ben Gurion Airport to sell the successes of what Israel dubbed Operation Protective Edge, which killed more than 2,200 Palestinians including 521 children. 

The annual conference, named ‘Israel Unmanned Systems 2014,’ took place in business-as-usual atmosphere — even with a complimentary beer keg. But the fare was anything but humdrum. Among the offerings were suicide drones, ‘loitering munitions’ that need to explode; a 16-year-old showing off high-tech robots designed by fellow high schoolers and future drone makers; and ‘premature’ weapons, armaments that have not been fully tested before they are used on a live Palestinian population. Such is Israel, the military power.

—>War is good for business, both in the US and Israel. Each new slaughter of the innocents creates billions more in pofits. Our mainstream media will be the last to report such links between the weapons makers and the pro war politicians in either country.


Guardian UK:
“It wasn’t that bad, we’ve been told, over and over again, for more than a decade. ‘We only waterboarded three people’ goes the line American officials have been force-feeding the world for years. ‘We tortured some folks,’ Barack Obama admitted recently, still downplaying war crimes committed in America’s name. But we now know those statements do not even begin to do justice to the horrific activities carried out by the CIA for years – atrocities that now have been exposed by the US Senate’s historic report on the CIA’s torture program, finally released on Tuesday after years of delay.

There are stories in the CIA torture report of ‘rectal rehydration as a means of behavior control’, threats to murder and ‘threats to sexually abuse the mother of a detainee’ – or cut a mother’s throat. There are details about detainees with broken bones forced to stand for days on end, detainees blindfolded, dragged down hallways while they were beaten. There were even torture sessions that ended in death. The list goes on and on, and on and on.

But beyond all the the depravity, perhaps the most shocking part of this exposed history is the action of US officials who knew these horrors were unfolding – and covered them up.”

—>Yes, the NYT came out against the torture exposed in the recent Senate report. Yet, many specifics like anal rape and threats to kill family members got swept under the rug. So to did the mention of international laws that both forbid torture and require that our current leaders prosecute such human rights violators. The NYT loves to condemn past abuses, just as long as current war criminals are protected. 

Wednesday, December 10, 2014
“The NSA has conducted a covert campaign to intercept internal communications of operators and trade groups in order to infiltrate mobile networks worldwide, according to the latest revelations from documents supplied by Edward Snowden.

The U.S. National Security Agency ran two hitherto undisclosed operations, the Wireless Portfolio Management Office and the Target Technology Trends Center, operating under the aegis of a program called Auroragold, according to an article last week in The Intercept, which also published related documents.

The operations closely monitored the GSM Association, maintained a list of 1,201 email targets, or ‘selectors’ used to intercept internal company communications, and gathered information about network security flaws. The NSA documents show that as of May 2012 the agency had collected technical information on about 70 percent of the estimated 985 mobile phone networks worldwide.”

—>The mainstream media, including the NYT, has given up reporting about the NSA’s massive collection of data inside the US. Is this the way the state becomes Big Brother?


Washington Post:
“Obama says he willing to defy Democrats on his support of Trans-Pacific Partnership. …

The administration has argued that the trade deals will boost U.S. exports and lower tariffs for American goods in the fast-growing Asia-Pacific region, where the United States has faced increasing economic competition from China.”

—>The Washington Post, like most mainstream media, never gives us the back story on trade agreements. Clinton sold NAFTA in 1993 by promising good paying American Jobs, a trade surplus with Mexico, and a reduction in illegal immigration. Instead, the US lost 700,000 jobs, the surplus with Mexico turned into a chronic deficit, and tens of thousands of Central Americans headed for the Texas border. 

How could Clinton have gotten it so wrong? He didn’t. NAFTA was really designed to free multinational corporations from governmental regulations in the U.S., Mexico, and Canada. Clinton was just doing the corporation’s dirty work, something Obama excels at while he mouths pretty words about jobs and income inequality. Our media does its part by never bringing up this history.

“Congress is poised to give a foreign mining company 2,400 acres of national forest in Arizona that is cherished ancestral homeland to Apache natives. Controversially, the measure is attached to annual legislation that funds the US Defense Department. …

The ‘Carl Levin and Howard P. ‘Buck’ McKeon National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2015’ - named after the retiring chairmen of the Senate and House Armed Services panels - includes the giveaway of Apache burial, medicinal, and ceremonial grounds currently within the bounds of Tonto. News of the land provision was kept under wraps until late Tuesday, when the bill was finally posted online.

The land proposed to be given to Resolution Copper, in exchange for other lands, includes prime territory Apaches have used for centuries to gather medicinal plants and acorns, and it is near a spot known as Apache Leap, a summit that Apaches jumped from to avoid being killed by settlers in the late 19th century.”

—>An old story, selling off Native American lands for profit. Senator John McCain is deeply involved in this scam, but you won’t read about it in the mainstream US media, including the NYT.

Thursday, December 04, 2014

Press TV:
“The United States will arm Israel, a key ally in the Middle East, with 3,000 smart bombs as part of Washington’s military aid to Tel Aviv. The Department of Defense announced that the funding for the sale will come from the military package and will be paid until the end of November 2016.
The United States provides Israel with some $8.5 million in military aid per day.
The cost of the deal is estimated at $82 million, through which the Israeli Air Force will receive thousands of G-DAM model bombs. …

American protesters argue that the US taxpayer money is used for more Israeli aggression against Palestinians. The Israeli Air Force used smart bomb in its latest war on the Gaza Strip. The besieged strip has witnessed three destructive wars since 2008.”

—>It is always disconcerting that Iran based media can give Americans more accurate information than the NY Times. This story was confirmed by


Guardian UK:
“41 men targeted but 1,147 people killed: US drone strikes – the facts on the ground. …

A new analysis of the data available to the public about drone strikes, conducted by the human-rights group Reprieve, indicates that even when operators target specific individuals – the most focused effort of what Barack Obama calls ‘targeted killing’ – they kill vastly more people than their targets, often needing to strike multiple times. Attempts to kill 41 men resulted in the deaths of an estimated 1,147 people, as of 24 November.

Reprieve, sifting through reports compiled by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, examined cases in which specific people were targeted by drones multiple times. Their data, shared with the Guardian, raises questions about the accuracy of US intelligence guiding strikes that US officials describe using words like ‘clinical’ and ‘precise.’ ”

—>The NYT didn’t report this story. It questions the prevailing narrative favored by the Pentagon that drone strikes don’t kill hundreds of innocent civilians.   


Common Dreams:
“Senate Torture Investigation Fails to Interview Key Torture Victims. The soon-to-be-released Senate inquiry into CIA torture has failed to investigate the experience of those who felt that treatment first hand: Guantanamo's highest level detainees, according to Monday reporting by the Guardian's Spencer Ackerman, who spoke with attorneys for the imprisoned men.

‘If you’re conducting a genuine inquiry of a program that tortured people, don’t you begin by talking to the people who were tortured?’ David Nevin, who represents accused 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, told Ackerman. …

‘It’s apparent to me that the United States government has absolutely no desire to credibly investigate or in any other way hold accountable the people who tortured my client,’ Cheryl Bormann, a Chicago attorney who represents bin Attash, also told Ackerman.”

—>Like the Senate Torture inquiry, the NYT has also chosen not to interview key torture victims. It also decided not to print this story.

Wednesday, December 03, 2014

Common Dreams:
“As New War Rages, Study Finds, Mainstream Media Silences Debate.
New analysis finds little opposition in mainstream media to latest US military attacks on Middle East nations.

-In total, 205 sources appeared on the programs discussing military options in Syria and Iraq. Just six of these guests, or 3 percent, voiced opposition to US military intervention. There were 125 guests (61 percent) who spoke in favor of US war. 
-On the high-profile Sunday talk shows, 89 guests were invited to talk about the war. But just one, Nation editor Katrina vanden Heuvel, could be coded as an anti-war guest. 
-Guest lists leaned heavily on politicians and military insiders. Current and former US government officials—politicians and White House officials—made up 37 percent of the guest lists. Current and former military officials accounted for 7 percent of sources. Journalists made up 46 percent of the sources.”

—>The nation’s media is pushing for war again. When will they ever learn? Or better yet, when will we ever learn: to turn off our TV’s and question the US empire’s military expansion.


Guardian UK:
“Rich countries are subsidizing oil, gas and coal companies by about $88bn a year to explore for new reserves, despite evidence that most fossil fuels must be left in the ground if the world is to avoid dangerous climate change.

The most detailed breakdown yet of global fossil fuel subsidies has found that the US government provided companies with $5.2bn for fossil fuel exploration in 2013, Australia spent $3.5bn, Russia $2.4bn and the UK $1.2bn. Most of the support was in the form of tax breaks for exploration in deep offshore fields.

The public money went to major multinationals as well as smaller ones who specialise in exploratory work, according to British think tank the Overseas Development Institute (ODI) and Washington-based analysts Oil Change International.”

—>The NYT didn’t report this story. Big oil controls not only our government, but our media as well. The weapons makers want more war, and the oil companies want more global warming. Good for business, bad for you and me.   


“Jewish nation-state bill sets out to establish democracy for Jews only. The bill proposing a basic law on Israel as the nation state of the Jewish people will be presented to the Ministerial Committee for Legislation on Sunday in its original form. This version … lets the cat out of the bag: The Jewish character of Israel supersedes its democratic character. The Jewishness of the state is manifest in discrimination against Arabs, and its democracy is none other than a regime that lets the majority do anything it wants and exploits the minority.

The current version of the bill states specifically that it is intended to outrank any ordinary legislation or basic law that preceded it, and that all legislation will be interpreted through it. Thus, the bill undermines the Basic Law on Human Dignity and Freedom (1992), which ensures the right to human dignity, including the right not to be discriminated against based on affiliation to a certain group.

The bill also obviates the official status of the Arabic language, encourages preference for Jewish communities as opposed to non-Jewish ones, and declares that the state reserves the possibility to establish communities on the basis of national or religious affiliation.”

—>Would the US media ever let the American people know that Israel is legislating apartheid? Like the war lobby and the Big Oil lobby, the Israeli lobby runs the show when it comes to covering up stories it doesn’t like.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Common Dreams:
“A group called Detroiters Resisting Emergency Management, however, says the pension-cutting Plan of Adjustment is anything but fair. ‘Federal Bankruptcy Judge Steven Rhodes’ approval of the Plan of Adjustment is not in the best interests of Detroiters. The plan, submitted by emergency manager Kevyn Orr, supported by Mayor Duggan and Gov. Snyder, protects banks, gives away public resources, and has no method to revitalize the city.’

Orr, Snyder and Duggan ‘refuse to acknowledge that the wealth of the surrounding region has been won on the backs of the working people of Detroit. Now their so-called Plan of Adjustment will benefit the same small minority of wealthy people and major financial institutions. The rich will become richer, while the people of Detroit are forced to sacrifice their homes, pensions, healthcare, and city services,’ the statement adds.

The main problems with the plan, the group explains in a separate statement, ‘come down to refusing to recognize the value of working people in general and the needs of black working families in particular. … No other creditors sacrificed like Detroit workers and residents. No bank officer or employee, no shareholder or CEO had to sacrifice healthcare or money saved over decades because of the Plan of Adjustment,’ said William Davis of the Detroit Active and Retired Employees Association."

—>The nation’s media prefers a narrative that overlooks the costs borne by working class families. The NYT didn’t report this criticism. 


RTE News Ireland:
“In a new report, Amnesty details eight instances in which Israeli forces attacked homes in Gaza ‘without warning’, killing ‘at least 104 civilians including 62 children’. …

Amnesty said: ‘The report reveals a pattern of frequent Israeli attacks using large aerial bombs to level civilian homes, sometimes killing entire families.’ It added that while possible military targets were identified in some cases, ‘the devastation to civilian lives was clearly disproportionate’.

The report charged that when it appeared to have failed to identify ‘any possible military target’ in a Gaza residential building, Israel may have ‘directly and deliberately targeted civilians or civilian objects, which would constitute war crimes. … The report exposes a pattern of attacks on civilian homes by Israeli forces which have shown a shocking disregard for the lives of Palestinian civilians.’ ”

—>The NYT did cover this story, but the article, written by Jodi Rudoren, spends most of its time presenting Israeli criticisms of the report. For example, the report is attacked for devoting almost all its 49 pages to Palestinians suffering. What about the Hamas rocket attacks that killed 6 Israelis?   


“Two recent developments that I have found both annoying and dangerous are the deletion of replacement-rate information from the annual Social Security Trustees Report and the coordinated campaign in the press arguing that the elderly have plenty of money. Hence, I was delighted to see a chart in the most recent edition of the OECD’s Pensions at a Glance that addresses both issues.

The chart below shows, for each country’s mandatory retirement system, the gross replacement rate—benefits as a percent of pre-retirement earnings—for single individuals earning the average wage. Comparable data are provided for 34 OECD countries, which include all the usual suspects, and 8 other major economies—Argentina, Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, Russia, Saudi Arabia, and South Africa. …

Thus, the OECD chart adds two very helpful data points to the current controversy. First, by comparing U.S. replacement rates to those of other countries—using a consistent methodology—it shows that the U.S. provides some of the lowest benefits in the developed world. Hence, the elderly in the U.S. don’t have plenty of money. Second, the chart affirms the methodology used by the Social Security actuaries and demolishes the argument that such information should be deleted from the trustees report.”

—>The US media is eager to get on with the privatization of Social Security. The fact that benefits are some of the lowest in the developed world must remain a secret. The deletion of such information from the SS Trustees Report was not covered by the NYT.
Common Dreams:
The United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday roundly condemned the United States embargo on Cuba for the 23rd consecutive year, calling for it to be lifted. 

The nonbinding vote passed 188-2, with only the U.S. and Israel voting against it. As in the 2013 vote, Palau, Micronesia and the Marshall Islands abstained. While General Assembly resolutions cannot be enforced, the annual vote—which first passed in 1992—gives Cuba an opportunity to call for negotiations with the U.S. …

During the vote, several countries—including Iran, Bolivia, Mexico, and India—praised Cuba for its recent efforts in fighting the outbreak of Ebola in West Africa. The island nation sent more than 600 doctors to Sierra Leone and the surrounding region, actions that the World Health Organization said were some of the ‘most important’ contributions by a single country.

—>Every year, our newspaper of record either ignores this important vote, or buries it so few readers ever become aware of the US isolation when it comes to Cuba. 188 countries condemning the illegal US embargo, and only 2 supporting it, the US and Israel. This year, the NYT hid the story on its “Editor’s Blog.”


New York Times:
Our vote for the best whitewashing of Israeli apartheid in the last week. Sunday’s Arts and Leisure Section featured an article entitled ‘Turning Heads in Tel Aviv,’ which featured Shamel Pitts, a black, gay dancer who loves Israel so much he wants to ‘bring my life in Israel to my family and friends in Brooklyn.’

Israel, he claims, makes him feel more comfortable than New York in ‘learning what turns me on, how I like to move, what I believe in.’

Anything he doesn’t love about his new home? A lot of the article is about those terrible rocket attacks, and how he had to leave practice to spend a half hour in a bomb shelter. ‘It was all very extreme,’ the only downside to a truly wonderful place.

No mention of the racist and murderous treatment of the Palestinians, 5.5 million people denied their basic rights based on religion. No acknowledgement of the 500 children slaughtered by US supplied weaponry in Gaza while he was practicing his dance routines.  

—>The NYT even uses its arts section to promote Israel as friendly to gays and people of color. Maybe ask the Bedouins, if you don’t believe what the rest of the world is saying about apartheid Israel.


Common Dreams:
“Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Malala Yousafzai announced Wednesday that she is donating $50,000 to rebuild schools in Gaza. The amount represents the full proceeds of the World’s Children’s Prize for the Rights of the Child, sometimes called the "Children's Nobel," which the 17-year-old education activist was awarded in Sweden on Wednesday. …

‘I am donating these funds to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA), which is performing heroic work to serve children in Gaza, in very difficult circumstances,’ she said.
‘The needs are overwhelming—more than half of Gaza’s population is under 18 years of age. They want and deserve quality education, hope and real opportunities to build a future,’ she added.

‘This funding will help rebuild the 83 schools damaged during the recent conflict. Innocent Palestinian children have suffered terribly and for too long,’ she said.”

—>The NYT cited a brief Associated Press notice regarding Malala’s gift to Gaza, but did not cover the story. Omitted from the AP story were Malala’s description of the terrible needs of the Palestinian children.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Z Magazine Nov:
“According to the UN and other groups, 40,000 Yazidi had been stranded on Mount Sinjar, awaiting imminent ‘genocide.’ … When US Special Forces arrived at the top of Mount Sinjar, they realized that the Yazidis had either been rescued by Kurdish militias or were already living there.

They found less than 5,000 Yazidis, half of them refugees. The mountain is revered in local legend as the final resting place of Noah’s ark. It was also the final resting place for the Yazidi genocide story. … 

That same media has also cleverly devalued and branded conflicts, and acts of genocide, in ways consistent with US foreign policy agendas. While the Yazidis were purportedly standed on Mount Sinjar, Israel was carrying out a genocide against Palestinians in Gaza. Over 2,150 were killed, mostly civilians, hundreds of them children…”

—>Our media hyped the Yazidi genocide, and then suddenly the Pentagon generated lies disappeared, just like Iraq’s supposed weapons of mass destruction. Why isn’t this a headline story in the NYT? Another lie to sell endless US military intervention in the Middle East, while covering up Israel’s genocide of the Palestinians.


Common Dreams:
“Green groups on Wednesday sued the Environmental Protection Agency over its recent approval of Dow AgroSciences' herbicide Enlist Duo, which farmers and scientists warn threatens human and environmental health.

‘The toxic treadmill has to stop,’ said Jay Feldman, executive director of Beyond Pesticides. ‘EPA and USDA cannot continue to ignore the history, science, and public opinion surrounding these dangerous chemicals so that a failed and unnecessary system of chemically-dependent agriculture can continue to destroy our health and environment.’ …

Enlist Duo's key ingredient, known as 2,4-D, was also used in Agent Orange, the toxic defoliant used as a weapon by the U.S. military during the Vietnam War. Studies find 2,4-D interferes with hormonal and reproductive function and is linked to cancer, liver disease, Parkinson's disease, and other health problems. Scientists warn that 2,4-D builds up in the environment and spreads from one field to another, posing a risk to animals as well as people.”


—>The NYT cited a short Associated Press story about the EPA approval, and gave one sentence to critics of 2,4-D. No mention of its use in Agent Orange. To the NYT, it has been a “popular herbicide used since the 1940s.” Popular with Vietnam vets who came home poisoned by it? Popular with Vietnamese civilians who have given birth to generations of deformed children?


Common Dreams:
“Detroit's ‘unprecedented’ shutoff of water utilities to city homes condemns residents to ‘lives without dignity,’ violates human rights on a large scale, and disproportionately impacts African-Americans, United Nations investigators declared Monday following a two-day inquiry.

‘Denial of access to sufficient quantity of water threatens the rights to adequate housing, life, health, adequate food, integrity of the family,’ wrote UN Special Rapporteur on Adequate Housing Leilani Farha and UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Safe Drinking Water and Sanitation, Catarina de Albuquerque, in a joint statement. ‘It exacerbates inequalities, stigmatizes people and renders the most vulnerable even more helpless. Lack of access to water and hygiene is also a real threat to public health as certain diseases could widely spread.’

The officials visited the city following appeals in June from organizations concerned with the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department's (DWSD) escalation of water shut-offs to accounts that have fallen behind on their bills, amounting to up to 3,000 disconnections a week. …”

—>The NYT could care less about water as a human right, unless it is being used to justify some new US invasion of the Middle East. It didn’t print this story.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Common Dreams:
“The wind power boom in Nordic countries is making fossil fuel-fired power plants obsolete and is pushing electricity prices down, according to reporting by Reuters published Friday.

Power prices in Finland, Denmark, Norway, and Sweden have dropped sharply as renewable energy floods the market, efficiency measures lower energy use overall, and growth remains stagnant, reporter Nerijus Adomaitis writes. This, in turn, will lead to the ‘mothballing’ of 2,000 megawatts (MW) of coal capacity in Denmark and Finland over the next 15 years, a Norway-based consultant tells Adomaitis.

According to the article, ‘Pushing fossil-fueled power stations out of the Nordic generation park is part of government plans across the region.’ It seems to be working. One gas-fired power plant in Norway was put in ‘cold reserve,’ or decommissioned, this January; a coal-fired power plant in Finland was shut down earlier this year; and Swedish-owned power company Vattenfall said in May it will shut down its coal-fired power plant in Denmark in May 2016. Meanwhile, Denmark wants to phase out all coal use in power generation by 2030 and to generate all power and heat from renewables by 2035, Reuters reports. …”

—>Both the US media and the elites who run our government are far too invested in fossil fuels to report on this greening of other countries. The NYT did publish an article on Germany’s switch to renewable energy, but why not follow up with how this is being done with other industrialized nations?


Guardian UK:
“Monsanto, the largest genetically-modified seed corporation in the world, has so far spent over $4 million in a bid to crush an Oregon initiative, up for vote in November, to mandate the labeling of genetically engineered food. Records from the Oregon Secretary of State's office show that the company, on October 8, made a contribution of $2.5 million to opponents of the bill, bringing the company's total contributions to $4,085,150.

The initiative—ballot measure 92—would require manufacturers and retailers to label ‘genetically engineered raw and packaged food.’ Backers of the provision say that Oregonians ‘have the right to know’ what is in their food.
This is not the first time Monsanto has poured its funds into efforts to crush such measures. Earlier this month, it was revealed that the company has spent $4.7 million to defeat a similar initiative in Colorado, also up for vote in November.“ 

—>The NYT didn’t print this story. Big media in the US is in Monsanto’s pocket, and for the same reason this company is able to defeat ballot initiatives calling for food labeling. The NYT rarely covers stories that are unfavorable to US business interests. It is profit over the people’s right to know, even in its acclaimed Science Section.


Common Dreams:
"As the official West African death toll from the worst Ebola outbreak in recorded history nears 5,000, global concerns about the infectious disease continue to mount. Analysts and medical providers, from Liberia to the United States, say that in order to address the crisis, the international community must tackle the real culprit: western-driven economic policies defunding public health systems around the world, particularly in the countries hit hardest by the outbreak.

‘The neoliberal economic model assassinated public infrastructure,’ said Emira Woods, a Liberia native and social impact director at ThoughtWorks, a technology firm committed to social and economic justice, in an interview with Common Dreams. ‘A crisis of the proportion we've seen since the beginning of the Ebola catastrophe shows this model has failed.’

Since the 1980s, western financial institutions have given loans to third world governments on the condition those states impose austere domestic reforms and roll back public services. This approach is encapsulated in the 1981 World Bank report Accelerated Development in Sub-Saharan Africa, which presses for ‘structural adjustments,’ including rapid privatization, shrinking of public services and subsidies, and a shift towards export dependency as a solution to ‘slow economic growth.’ “

—>The NYT never connects the dots when it comes to the bad outcomes of neoliberalism. In fact, a search of the last 30 days in the NYT shows that the words “neoliberalism” and “ebola” never come up together in the same article. 
Our story of last week by Jeff Cohen, “The assault by the Washington Post, New York Times and Los Angeles Times drove Gary Webb out of the newspaper business, and ultimately to his death” now has a response from the NYT.

UPDATE: The NYT finally reviewed “Kill the Messenger” and it's another hatchet job too. The NYT is still saying that Webb's reporting was "deeply flawed," and that rival newspapers easily "blew holes in his story." Our newspaper of record offers no examples of Webb's flawed reporting, but then again nothing substantial was offered the first time The NYT savaged his journalistic credibility. 

Most of the movie review is another thinly veiled attack on Webb's series, calling it a "lurid presentation" and criticizing "his willingness to draw causality based on very thin sourcing and evidence." Referring to its own supposed august position in the US media, The NYT concludes with the observation that "Sometimes, when David takes on Goliath, David is the one who ends up getting defeated."

Just in case anyone could miss how bad Gary Webb really was, he is described in the movie review as: "lurid," "overheated," "oversold," and "wrong." And that's before Tim Golden, a NYT reporter who had attacked him 18 years ago, is brought in to say, "the hand that struck Mr. Webb was mostly his own. Webb made some big allegations that he didn't back up..." 

And Tim Golden's qualifications? "Extensive background covering the CIA and Central America," according to The NYT. Of course, The NYT has learned nothing from Gary Webb's professional assassination, except that it is safer and more profitable being a whore to the CIA than to do honest reporting.


Guardian UK:
“The UK authorities are operating a surveillance system where “anything goes” and their interceptions are more intrusive to people’s privacy than has been seen in the US, Edward Snowden said.

Speaking via Skype at the Observer Ideas festival, held in central London, the whistleblower and former National Security Agency specialist, said there were “really no limits” to the GCHQ’s surveillance capabilities.

He said: ‘In the UK … is the system of regulation where anything goes. They collect everything that might be interesting. It’s up to the government to justify why it needs this. It’s not up to you to justify why it doesn’t … This is where the danger is, when we think about … evidence being gathered against us but we don’t have the opportunity to challenge that in courts. It undermines the entire system of justice.’ “ 

—>The NYT didn’t print this story. Very much like the original revelations of massive data collection by its own reporter, James Risen, our newspaper of record only defies the surveillance state when it is forced to do so. Risen had to publish a book to get the NYT to print his first story of massive US spying on its own citizens.


"NPR's Morning Edition (10/8/14) decided to examine the terminology used to describe Israel's illegal building projects in the West Bank, which could have been a useful exercise. Unfortunately, its sole source for the discussion was an Israeli newspaper columnist who essentially endorsed the Israeli government's misleading rhetoric.

NPR aired excerpts from a recent interview with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (Morning Edition, 10/2/14), in which he said of a planned expansion: ’These are not settlements. These are neighborhoods in Jerusalem.’

As host Steve Inskeep explained: ‘It matters a lot to Israelis and Palestinians alike just what things are called. The differences in language suggest differences in ways of seeing the issue on the ground.’

This is certainly true. But what to call something depends on what that thing ‘on the ground’ really is. Under international law, it's illegal to colonize territories captured in war, which is what Israel is doing by constructing housing for Israelis in the Occupied Territories of the West Bank. This is true whether or not Israel claims sovereignty over the land, as it does in the part of the West Bank known as East Jerusalem, as it's also illegal to annex territory captured in war. But that was not the kind of perspective NPR was looking to share with listeners. Instead, Morning Edition turned to historian Ari Shavit, a columnist for the Israeli newspaper Ha'aretz.“

—>NPR helps its listeners make the transition from “colonies” to “settlements” and now to “neighborhoods.” Anything to make apartheid Israel look good.

Friday, October 10, 2014

CounterPunch (Jeff Cohen):
“It’s been almost a decade since once-luminous investigative journalist Gary Webb extinguished his own life.

It’s been 18 years since Webb’s ‘Dark Alliance’ series in the San Jose Mercury News exploded across a new medium – the Internet – and definitively linked crack cocaine in Los Angeles and elsewhere to drug traffickers allied with the CIA’s rightwing Contra army in Nicaragua. Webb’s revelations sparked anger across the country, especially in black communities.

But the 1996 series (which was accompanied by unprecedented online documentation) also sparked one of the most ferocious media assaults ever on an individual reporter – a less-than-honest backlash against Webb by elite newspapers that had long ignored or suppressed evidence of CIA/Contra/cocaine connections.

The assault by the Washington Post, New York Times and Los Angeles Times drove Webb out of the newspaper business, and ultimately to his death.”

—>The NYT is not interested in reliving its role in protecting the CIA and banishing an honest journalist. See “Kill the Messenger” when it comes to your movie theater. 

UPDATE: The NYT finally reviewed the movie, and it's another hatchet job too. The NYT is still saying that Webb's reporting was "deeply flawed," and that rival newspapers easily "blew holes in his story." Our newspaper of record offers no examples of Webb's flawed reporting, but then again nothing substantial was offered the first time The NYT savaged his journalistic credibility. 

Most of the movie review is another thinly veiled attack on Webb's series, calling it a "lurid presentation" and criticizing "his willingness to draw causality based on very thin sourcing and evidence." Referring to its own supposed august position in the US media, The NYT concludes with the observation that "Sometimes, when David takes on Goliath, David is the one who ends up getting defeated."

Just in case anyone could miss how bad Gary Webb really was, he is described in the movie review as: "lurid," "overheated," "oversold," and "wrong." And that's before Tim Golden, a NYT reporter who had attacked him 18 years ago, is brought in to say, "the hand that struck Mr. Webb was mostly his own. Webb made some big allegations that he didn't back up..." 

And Tim Golden's qualifications? "Extensive background covering the CIA and Central America," according to The NYT. Of course, The NYT has learned nothing from Gary Webb's professional assassination, except that it is safer and more profitable being a whore to the CIA than to do honest reporting.


Common Dreams:
“The administration of New York Governor Andrew Cuomo altered and delayed the findings of a key federal fracking study commissioned by the state, according to a review of internal government documents published on Monday.

An original draft of the United States Geological Survey (USGS) study, obtained and reported on by the Albany newspaper Capital, reportedly contained descriptions of environmental and health risks posed by the shale gas drilling technique. However, following ‘extensive’ email communication between the USGS representatives, study authors and state officials—also obtained in ‘heavily redacted form’ through a Freedom of Information Act request—those details were either ‘played down or removed’ from the final published report.

‘The messages reveal an active role by Cuomo's Department of Environmental Conservation in shaping the text, and determining the timing of the report's release,’ writes Capital reporter Scott Waldman.“ 

—>The NYT gave this story one sentence in its “City Room Blog.” Top politicians altering scientific reports to favor Big Oil isn’t deemed “fit to print.” 


Common Dreams:
"Disappearances, Deaths of Leftist Mexican Students Spark Federal Investigation. Mexico is an ‘assassin state,’ charges human rights activist, saying Iguala tragedy is ‘not isolated.’

Responding to the discovery of a mass grave thought to contain the bodies of dozens of students who were attacked by local police last month, Mexican federal agents on Monday were dispatched to the city of Iguala in southern Guerrero state to investigate the scene.

On September 26, two busloads of students from a local teachers college, the Raúl Isidro Burgos Ayotzinapa Normal School, were attacked. According to surviving students who were interviewed by VICE News, local Iguala police and other armed men ‘surrounded and confronted the buses on the outskirts of Iguala,’ and opened fire. …

According to VICE News reporter Melissa del Pozo, the school is a ‘Revolutionary-era rural teachers college known nationally for the ardently leftist politics that guide everything the students do and study.’ “

—>Omitted from most mainstream reporting of the event, is the fact that the students were leftists. The NYT blames drug gangs, but why hide the government’s motive for killing these students?

Thursday, October 02, 2014

San Jose Mercury News:
“Rising income inequality is undermining the growth of tax revenue in states across the United States, according to a new report by Gabriel Petek of San Rafael, an analyst with Standard & Poor's Ratings Services.

Petek's report comes out a month after Beth Ann Bovino, a chief economist with Standard & Poor's, issued a report concluding that income inequality in the U.S. is contributing to slower economic growth and that this represents a structural, rather than a cyclical change. Both reports have attracted the attention of the national media. …

Petek reported that from 1980 to 2011, average annual state tax revenue growth dropped from 10 percent to 5 percent while the share of total income for the top 1 percent of earners doubled. During this 31-year span, the portion of total income going to the top percentile grew from 10 percent to about 20 percent.”

—>Most of our major media did not cover this story that highlights how the very rich suppress economic growth, and diminish state revenues that can be used for education, healthcare and other social needs. The NY Times avoids stories like these that criticize the very people that sit on its board of directors. 

UPDATE: The NY Times has finally covered this story.


“Israel Outsources West Bank Security to ‘Uncontrolled Militias.’

A new report from Yesh Din, Volunteers for Human Rights, denounces the Israel Defense Force's (IDF) privatization of law enforcement in the occupied territories. The Israeli Human Rights group accuses the IDF of transferring the power to arrest, search, question, and detain West Bank Palestinians to settler militias ‘who are motivated by an aspiration to seize additional Palestinian land and who refuse to recognize Palestinian land rights.’

Privatizing the state’s use of force should be a source of concern to us all. Such a process – and particularly when the powers are transferred to a body with a clear political agenda – creates uncontrolled militias. This is the process that has occurred in the West Bank due to the army’s policy of delegating some of its law enforcement powers to civilian security coordinators, as discussed in Yesh Din’s new report, ‘The lawless zone.’ 

—>The NY Times didn’t print this report, although if our government had appointed the KKK to police Mississippi the story would have been on page one.


Common Dreams:
"An Israeli-owned container ship that was blocked from unloading its cargo at the Port of Oakland by pro-Palestinian protesters over the weekend was headed to Los Angeles on Monday, according to a ship-tracking website.

The Zim Shanghai left Oakland with its cargo still onboard on Sunday evening, according to the website It was expected to arrive in Los Angeles on Tuesday.

Some 200 people angry over Israel’s bombardment of the Gaza Strip in response to Hamas rocket salvoes staged a protest of the Zim Shanghai at the Port of Oakland on Saturday morning and again that afternoon.“

—>This growing movement to stop Israeli cargo ships from unloading at US and Canadian ports is a huge story. Not only is apartheid Israel being challenged, but a united group of students and labor activists are leading the BDS effort. 

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Common Dreams:
“Top News Editors Slam White House for Secrecy, Intimidation.
Obama administration ‘significantly worse than previous administrations.’
Some of the nation's top journalists are criticizing the White House for undermining journalism through lack of transparency and intimidation of sources, which they say has only gotten worse under President Barack Obama—the self-proclaimed ‘most transparent’ president in history.

Criticism of Obama's administration on the issue arose during a joint convention this week of the American Society of News Editors, the Associated Press Media Editors and the Associated Press Photo Managers in Chicago. Brian Carovillano, Associated Press managing editor for U.S. news, said during a panel discussion that the government's increasingly tightening standards on access to information are setting a trend for secrecy for other organizations around the country.

‘The White House push to limit access and reduce transparency has essentially served as the secrecy road map for all kinds of organizations—from local and state governments to universities and even sporting events,’ Carovillano said.”

—>The NY Times failed to cover this story. Our newspaper of record cares more about staying in the good graces of the neoliberal establishment than informing its readership of Obama’s broken promises.


Common Dreams:
"FloodWallStreet: Protesters Stage Mass Action to Confront Climate Profiteers.
Action takes direct aim at center of global capitalism to call for complete paradigm shift to save planet from climate chaos.

Addressing the enthusiastic crowd, author Chris Hedges said it's time for nothing short of revolution. ‘Up that road lies the emerald city of Wall Street. In that city, the wizards of finance profit from the death of the planet.  No one will stop them but the people. This means revolution.’

Elisa Estronioli, a Brazilian land-rights activist with La Via Campesina People Affected by Dams, added in a press statement, ‘The real solution to global warming is organizing workers worldwide for the construction of a new model, with justice, equality and respect for life.’ “

—>The mainstream media is blind to this message, preferring to portray the 400,000 climate march in NYC as limited to environmental reform. It is system reform, and that system is the neoliberal model of unrestrained capitalism. All the lessons of Occupy were there on Sunday and Monday. Revolution is in the air, and The NY Times will be the last to report it.


Gigaom Research:
"When Apple published its first Transparency Report on government activity in late 2013, the document contained an important footnote that stated:
‘Apple has never received an order under Section 215 of the USA Patriot Act. We would expect to challenge such an order if served on us.’

Writer and cyber-activist Cory Doctorow at the time recognized that language as a so-called ‘warrant canary,’ which Apple was using to thwart the secrecy imposed by the Patriot Act. …

Now, Apple’s warrant canary has disappeared. A review of the company’s last two Transparency Reports, covering the second half of 2013 and the first six months of 2014, shows that the ‘canary’ language is no longer there. The warrant canary’s disappearance is significant because Section 215 of the Patriot Act permits the National Security Agency to demand companies to hand over their business records in secret.”

—>The mainstream media, including The NY Times cranks out stories about people waiting in line to buy their new iPhones. Issues like the USA Patriot Act and Apple’s disappearing canary are kept out of the spotlight.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Common Dreams:
“Private military contractors are reaping billions of dollars in profitable rewards from the U.S. government's global network of clandestine counter-terrorism and other overseas operations, according to a new report that examines the high-levels of integration between for-profit corporations and the Pentagon's global military and surveillance apparatus.

The new report—titled US Special Operations Command Contracting: Data-Mining the Public Record—written by researcher Crofton Black and commissioned by the U.K.-based Remote Control Project, shows that "corporations are integrated into some of the most sensitive aspects" of operations conducted by the U.S. Special Operations Command (or  USSOCOM). Those activities, according to the report include: flying drones and overseeing target acquisition, facilitating communications between forward operating locations and central command hubs, interrogating prisoners, translating captured material, and managing the flow of information between regional populations and the US military.”

—>The NY Times didn’t cover this story. Too busy building support for new military adventures abroad. But the direct tie-in to corporate profits may be the reason our newspaper of record avoids stories like this. 


Guardian UK:
"US economic sanctions against Cuba have cost the island nation $3.9bn in foreign trade over the past year, helping to raise the overall estimate of economic damage to $116.8bn over the past 55 years, Cuba said on Tuesday.

The figures were published in a report that Cuba prepares for the United Nations each year in requesting a resolution urging an end to the comprehensive US economic embargo and other sanctions against Cuba’s Communist government.

The United Nations has passed the resolution for 22 straight years with overwhelming support. Last year the vote was 188 to 2, with only the United States and Israel voting against the resolution.“

—>American readers must go to overseas newspapers to read about how isolated America is when it comes to the blockade of Cuba. Like the criminal blockade of Gaza, the entire world condemns the US and Israel for their illegal and immoral actions. The role of the US media is to hide this fact from its citizens. 


Telegraph UK:
"The CIA brought top al-Qaeda suspects close ‘to the point of death’ by drowning them in water-filled baths during interrogation sessions in the years that followed the September 11 attacks, a security source has told The Telegraph.

The description of the torture meted out to at least two leading al-Qaeda suspects, including the alleged 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, far exceeds the conventional understanding of waterboarding, or ‘simulated drowning’ so far admitted by the CIA.

‘They weren’t just pouring water over their heads or over a cloth,’ said the source who has first-hand knowledge of the period. ‘They were holding them under water until the point of death, with a doctor present to make sure they did not go too far. This was real torture.’ “

—>The NY Times printed a story about Guantanamo on Sept. 1, but the emphasis was on how the US spends money on expensive medical equipment for the detainees. No mention of “point of death” torture that has just been exposed.