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NSA has nothing to do with nat’l security: Analyst

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January 28, 2014 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Corruption, Economics, Full Spectrum Dominance, Video | Leave a comment

US invokes holocaust in Syria aid spat with Russia

Penny for you thoughts | January 28, 2014

How low can you go?

Samantha Power- pathetic

When the hand you hold is a loser. The holocaust card can always be played.

The U.S. ambassador to the United Nations has called on Russia to use its influence with the Syrian regime to help get humanitarian aid to the besieged city of Homs.

Tense negotiations between the Syrian government and opposition entered their fifth day Tuesday, focusing on the transfer of power and helping besieged parts of Homs.

The emphasis on Homs and release of detainees are meant as confidence-building measures. A tentative agreement was reached in Geneva over the weekend for the evacuation of women and children trapped in Homs before aid convoys go in. Central Homs has been under siege for nearly two years.

U.S. Ambassador to the UN, Samantha Power, in a speech during international Holocaust commemoration day on Monday, said that just as Russian soldiers liberated Auschwitz in 1945, “the world again needs Russia to use its influence, this time to ensure that food reaches the desperate and starving people imprisoned in besieged Homs, Yarmouk, the Damascus suburbs and elsewhere.”

“The horrors of the Holocaust have no parallel but the world continues to confront crimes that shock the conscience,” Power said during an event where film director Steven Spielberg gave a keynote address and a survivor of the Nazi genocide also spoke. “In October, the Security Council spoke with a united voice about the need for action to address the humanitarian devastation in Syria. There are people who are imprisoned in their own neighborhoods.” “They need food desperately and yet food cannot reach them because the regime will not allow it.”

Oh, I can think of plenty of parallels, but, let’s pretend the Holocaust (TM) is the only one that counts.
So valued for so many reasons:

Crushing free speech
Playing the victim card
Guilt
And let’s not forget- Used to traumatize young Israeli’s- I saved this one knowing the time would be right to use it!

‘Holocaust journeys’ can cause mental health problems

Think of the value in traumatizing the populace. Fear and trauma allows for mass manipulation and ease of control.

Back to the invocation of the high holy holocaust meme

Russia’s mission to the UN criticized Power for bringing the Holocaust into the Syria issue.

“We regard such analogies as entirely inappropriate,” said Alexei Zaitsev, a spokesman for the mission, in an e-mail.

And these are inappropriate analogies. But, Samantha Power has always shown herself to be willing to stoop to the way down low level.

Sick. Considering the US and Israeli involvement in the ruin of Syria. Absolutely sick!

January 28, 2014 Posted by | Timeless or most popular | , , , , | 1 Comment

Western coverage distorts Argentina’s media law

By Ramiro Funez | NACLA | January 28, 2014

Argentine President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner is currently battling allegations of corruption, and when Argentina’s Supreme Court upheld in October a media law that takes on press monopolies while promoting diversity in media ownership, journalists in the English-speaking North covered it as a blow to press freedom.

The Audiovisual Services Act, originally introduced by Kirchner in 2009, replaced the Radio Broadcasting Law of 1980, put in place by the military regime that ruled the country from 1976 to 1983. The junta used the 1980 law, which promoted the corporatization of news information, to speed up the privatization and monopolization of media in Argentina after independently reported stories undermined military rule, according to the Argentine Information Secretariat’s 1981 report, Argentine Radio: Over 60 Years on the Air

Although the return of constitutional rule in 1983 granted journalists more political freedoms, it largely ignored economic ones. Even after the collapse of the military dictatorship, the 1980 law allowed wealthy business owners, many of whom had been sympathetic to the regime and its pro-market stance, to dominate journalism in Argentina.

Clarín, founded in 1945 and today one of Argentina’s most recognized daily newspapers, fared well throughout the junta’s administration, eventually surpassing the sales of its main competitor, Papel Prensa. In 1999, the newspaper’s publisher reorganized itself as Grupo Clarín, managing to acquire over 200 newspapers and several cable systems across the country to become Argentina’s largest corporate media organization (Reuters, 10/32912). The organization currently has a market share of 47 percent and holds 158 licenses (Financial Times, 10/29/2013).

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Grupo Clarín media control. (lavaca.org)

The Kirchner-backed media law places limits on the size of media conglomerates in an attempt to diversify ownership of news distribution: media companies will now be limited to a maximum of 35 percent of overall market share. The new law also imposes a national limit of 24 broadcast licenses per company, meaning the group will have to sell off dozens of operating licenses or have them auctioned by the state (Christian Science Monitor, 10/30/13).

Many Western reporters covering Argentina, however, dismiss the danger of concentrated corporate control of journalism, instead focusing on the perceived danger that government regulation of media could silence political opposition—echoing claims made by Grupo Clarín and other private conservative organizations.

U.S. news stories covering the Supreme Court’s decision to uphold the media law tended to read like press releases for Grupo Clarín, leading with the consequences it will have on the monolithic media conglomerate. That angle was an easy sell to corporate news outlets that have an interest in focusing on governmental limits on journalism without discussing the problems of a privatized, highly concentrated news market.

The Washington Post (11/1/13), for example, headlined its editorial on the topic “In Argentina, a Newspaper Under Siege,” presenting Grupo Clarín as the victim of a governmental attempt to silence opposition. “Sadly, however, Ms. Fernández and her cronies still pose a threat to the country’s democratic institutions,” the Post wrote:

That became clear Tuesday, when the Argentine Supreme Court, under heavy pressure from the president’s office, upheld a law aimed at destroying one of South America’s most important media firms, Grupo Clarín.

The company operates one of Argentina’s biggest newspapers, called Clarín, which has been one of the few media outlets to challenge Ms. Fernández’s policies. The law would force the company to auction off cable television and Internet businesses that provide most of its revenue, thus reducing potential funding for Clarín’s newsroom.

The article victimizes Grupo Clarín, giving readers the impression the Argentine government established the limits with the intentions of “destroying” the group. Yet the Post fails to mention that the United States also has a history of issuing similar outlet restrictions, like the Telecommunications Act of 1996 that placed a 35 percent limit on market ownership. Although the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) raised that limit to 45 percent in 2003 during a private reevaluation, the agency still has the power to regulate media ownership.

The Post editorial board also linked the media law to Kirchner’s attempts to nationalize major companies in other industries, including travel and energy, saying that she and her late husband, whom she succeeded as president, have sought to “concentrate power in their own hands.”

The Wall Street Journal (11/5/13) chimed in:

In the past few years, the government has shifted nearly all its public advertising money to media outlets that provide it with positive coverage—a move the Supreme Court has condemned, to little effect… Leading newspapers like Clarín and La Nación also say they are suffering from an ad boycott orchestrated by the government—an allegation the government denies.

The Journal ignores the fact that the Kirchner administration continues to direct public advertising to smaller conservative media groups within the Association of Argentine Journalism (CITE); diversified media ownership, rather than ideology or partisan affiliation, is the criterion for government subsidy. Despite the fact that there is an alleged “ad boycott orchestrated by the government,” both Grupo Clarín and La Nación continue to receive more revenue from private advertisers than any other media outlet in Argentina, according to a 2011 report published by the Comisión Nacional de Comunicaciones.

The Associated Press (11/4/13), reporting on Grupo Clarín’s recent decision to break itself up into six parts in order to comply with the law, presented the legislation as little more than a politically motivated attack on one corporation:

The licenses are essential to Clarin’s cable television networks, and synergy between the finances and news content of the group’s TV and radio stations, websites and newspaper are key to its power. Many government supporters want nothing less than Clarín’s defenestration as a viable opponent.

The Associated Press’s framing in the aforementioned article takes the side of Grupo Clarín: They write that Clarín’s unregulated licenses are “key to its power” without airing arguments against the corporate consolidation of public news information. They also make the assumption that Kirchner constituents “want nothing less than Clarín’s defenestration” without providing quotes from pro-media regulation activists in Argentina aside from government officials.

And the Miami Herald (10/23/13) published a column by Roger Noriega of the American Enterprise Institute, formerly of the George W. Bush State Department. Noriega argued that the law was aimed at “silencing the independent media” and that nothing less than “the fate of the free press” was at issue. “Of course, it is all too predictable that these divested media licenses will fall into the hands of compliant Kirchner cronies,” wrote Noriega. “This transparent tactic is lifted from the playbook of leftist caudillos in Venezuela, Ecuador, Bolivia and elsewhere.” 

A quick sift through Noriega’s column reveals that his definition of “independent media” elides the dependency that media organizations like Grupo Clarín and La Nación have on funding from private corporations that have personal profit-making agendas—a dependency that forces both groups to embrace the political ideologies of their sponsors in order to maintain steady revenue. A truly “independent media” would be free of both government and corporate domination. It is also evident that his notions of a “free press” are founded upon free-market, neoliberal principles, championing corporate domination of political news coverage. His tactic of utilizing the term “free press” in correlation with unregulated, monopolized, and corporatized news media seems to hail straight from the playbook of McCarthyist lexicon, to borrow a few words from his comparison.

Overall, corporate journalistic monopolization and the concentration of news media is more of a threat to press freedom in Argentina than government regulation is. The domination of public discourse by media groups with private, corporate interests is dangerous to readers who are oftentimes unaware of the advertising revenue models of organizations like Grupo Clarín; in its obligations to maximize profits, it has strategic incentive to promote the interests of its commerical sponsors rather than the people of Argentina searching for objective news coverage.

Many Western journalists have painted Kirchner as an authoritarian leader desperate for control over news coverage in order to maintain a positive image, without realizing that in modern times, media ownership is just as influential as government suppression of speech. While many conservative Argentines have blindly sided with groups like Grupo Clarín in criticizing the government’s large advertising presence in news organizations that are friendly with the incumbent administration, they have failed to recognize that there is a difference in advertising intentions and content between the Kirchner administration and private corporations: the former publicizes information about social welfare programs available to citizens, while the latter promotes products whose profits benefit the small percentage of Argentines who have seemingly little at stake in quality social programming.

The Supreme Court of Argentina and the Kirchner administration have recognized that progressive interpretations of freedom of speech include democratic and popular control over mass information and national discourse. They have also recognized the need for public diversity in media ownership that fosters economic freedoms within journalism, allowing any citizen, regardless of ideology and economic background, to have just as amplified of an opinion as a corporate news organization does—all without violating political rights.

Organizations that have claimed otherwise, or that echo the cries of victimization made by Grupo Clarín, fail to analyze alternative qualities of freedom of speech.


Ramiro S. Fúnez is a Honduran-American political journalist and activist earning his master’s degree in politics at New York University. Follow him on Twitter at @RamiroSFunez.

January 28, 2014 Posted by | Deception | , , , | Leave a comment

The Story of the Individual is Testimony to the Story of the Public

qalandiya_wall_checkpoint_tamarf

Here, right to freedom of movement is relative. (Photo: Tamar Fleishman)
Palestine Chronicle | January 27, 2014

We usually prefer to exit Palestine using Hizme checkpoint, where unlike other exit checkpoints, there are no long lines of cars, we aren’t detained and there is no need for identification or getting out of the vehicle to open and present the content of the trunk. You merely slow down by the soldier and answer a generic question like “how is it going?” with an “OK”. Sometimes even that isn’t required, just nod your head and that’s it, you can drive on.

But it’s different for us than for those who don’t pass the test examining the visage and accent of the driver. They, Palestinians from east Jerusalem, in spite of being permanent residents who have the right for freedom of movement (unlike their brothers who reside in the West Bank), are forced to stop, park their vehicle by the soldier’s post on the side of the road, identify themselves, exit the car and open the trunk so the solider can see inside.

Their right to freedom of movement is relative and they are subjected to the mercy and whims of the men in uniform.

The individual’s story is testimony to the story of the general public. The individual in this case was A who after visiting his family intended to drive through Hizme on his way back, with him were his wife, his baby son and someone he knew that said to him: “could you do me a favor, I need to get to Jerusalem, could I ride with you?”- So he did. A didn’t give him a thorough inspection, and had no idea what color his ID was and what was his address. He was just doing someone a favor. But the soldier at the checkpoint did perform an inspection and found out that A was giving a lift to someone who wasn’t permitted to pass through a checkpoint intended only for settlers, like Hizme checkpoint.

The man was arrested and taken away.

A was told to turn his engine off and to stay in the vehicle, in addition they took his car keys.

A, his wife and their child sat and waited. But the baby, who had yet to learn that a soldier’s order must be obeyed, began crying and wailing. The minutes that passed were long and the crying only grew stronger. But they couldn’t step out of the car, they couldn’t take the baby out of his booster, and he couldn’t be cradled in his mother’s arms. A tried getting out to reason with them, but was told to: “stay in the car!” and so he got back in.

After an hour his car keys were handed back to him and his wife and child were sent back home, while A was taken to the police station. There he waited for another hour, until he was given a summons to return on the next day.

Ever since he has been going back and forth to the police station, each day he waits for his name to be called, then he is taken into a room, the piece of paper he was handed on the previous day is taken from him and in return he is given a new paper summoning him to come back on the next day.

The time, the agitation, not to mention the money- all these are of no importance and are not taken into account.

Once he dared to ask why they weren’t handling his case and a policeman said to him: “I don’t have time for you, I’ve got lots of work”- “But my case is part of your work”, replied A, but instead of an answer he got a piece of paper in exchange for the one given to him on the previous day.

Yes, he will be back tomorrow, and perhaps even on the day after that.

This is how the representatives of the authority, who have unlimited power in their hands, handle people, whose rights are conditioned by circumstances.

(Translated by Ruth Fleishman)

January 28, 2014 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Ukraine PM Azarov submits resignation to ease tensions

Press TV – January 28, 2014

Ukrainian Prime Minister Mykola Azarov has tendered his resignation in an attempt to help resolve a two-month political crisis in the country.

“I have taken a personal decision to ask the president of Ukraine to accept my resignation from the post of prime minister with the aim of creating an additional possibility for a political compromise to peacefully resolve the conflict,” he said.

World boxing champion and opposition leader Vitali Klitschko said Azarov’s announced resignation was only “a step to victory”.

Moments ahead of the news, Ukraine’s parliamentarians began holding a special session over a controversial anti-protest law, which has sparked a wave of clashes between protesters and police forces over the past weeks.

In a televised statement, Justice Minister Olena Lukash said the lawmakers would discuss the government’s responsibility in the crisis, signaling that a cabinet reshuffle could be imminent.

Earlier on Monday, in a meeting between the government and the opposition, Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych and the opposition agreed to scrap the anti-protest law.

Yanukovych also pledged an amnesty for detained demonstrators if the barricades set up by them on the streets are taken down.

In a bid to resolve the crisis, the Ukrainian president also offered to bring the opposition into the government. Leaders of the opposition, however, have rejected the offer.

Ukraine has been rocked by anti-government protests since Yanukovych refrained from signing the Association Agreement with the European Union at the third Eastern Partnership Summit in the Lithuanian capital, Vilnius, on November 29, 2013.

January 28, 2014 Posted by | Aletho News | , , , | Leave a comment

US Congress secretly approves sending small arms to ‘moderate’ Syrian rebels

RT | January 28, 2014

Congressional lawmakers have quietly authorized sending small arms, an assorted variety of rockets, and financial backing to so-called “moderate” rebels fighting in Syria’s civil war, according to a new report.

American and European security officials told Reuters that the US will provide anti-tank rockets, but nothing as deadly as shoulder-launched surface-to-air missiles (known as MANPADs), which can be used to bring down military or civilian aircraft.

Legislators voted in closed-door meetings to fund the opposition forces through September 30, the end of the US government’s fiscal year. The decision is an about-face from congressional debates last year, in which the same committees were reluctant to supply arms over concerns that American weapons would wind up in the hands of radical Islamists fighting in the region, the Al-Qaeda-backed Al-Nusra being the most well known.

Now, though, those concerns appear to have lessened. Exactly when Congress approved the funding is not known, yet the sources speculated that it was signed in a classified section of a defense appropriations bill that was approved in December.

“The Syrian war is a stalemate,” said Bruce Riedel, a former CIA analyst and current foreign policy advisor to US President Obama with the Brookings Institution. “The rebels lack the organization and weapons to defeat Assad; the regime lacks to loyal manpower to suppress the rebellion. Both sides’ external allies…are ready to supply enough money and arms to fuel the stalemate for the foreseeable future.”

Despite the uncertainty remaining around the conflict, Western officials have asserted in recent weeks that “moderate” rebels have strengthened their positions in the south of Syria and have begun excluding Al-Qaeda sympathizers. Extremists are known to be in control of rebel forces in the north and east, however.

US and British officials temporarily suspended “non-lethal aid” (a category that includes communications equipment and transportation vehicles) in December, although officials now say they hope to resume providing assistance to the Supreme Military Council (SMC), which oversees rebel forces favored by the West.

“We hope to be able to resume assistance to the SMC shortly, pending security and logistics considerations,” one source told Reuters. “But we have no announcement at this time.”

News of the funding comes as the Syrian government and the external opposition in Geneva have reached an agreement that would see humanitarian aid enter the besieged city of Homs, and would allow women and children to leave its war-ravaged areas.

What makes the deal dubious, however, is that it’s not yet clear how it will be implemented on the ground. Currently, the Syrian government is promising – voiced on Sunday by Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad – that women and children can leave Homs safely. Another question is how rebels inside the city besieged by the army will react.

“If the armed terrorists in Homs allow women and children to leave the old city of Homs, we will allow them every access. Not only that, we will provide them with shelter, medicines and all that is needed,” he said, as cited by Reuters. “We are ready to allow any humanitarian aid to enter into the city through the arrangements made with the UN.”

US State Department spokesman Edgar Vasquez said that an evacuation is not a legitimate option because of how dire the need for aid is.

“We firmly believe that the Syrian regime must approve the convoys to deliver badly needed humanitarian assistance into the Old City of Homs now,” Vasquez said. “The situation is desperate and the people are starving.”

The results of a meeting in Geneva, Switzerland – where government officials sat across the negotiating table from representatives of the opposition on Monday – is so far unclear. Each side pledged its willingness to continue discussions, though progress so far has been nearly nonexistent.

United Nations envoy Lakhdar Brahimi told reporters after the meeting Monday that even though the talks “haven’t produced much,” another session was scheduled for Tuesday.

“Once again, I tell you we never expected any miracle, there are no miracles here,” he said in a news conference. “My expectation from this conference is that the unjust war will stop. But I know this is not going to happen today or tomorrow or next week.”

January 28, 2014 Posted by | Deception, Militarism, War Crimes | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment