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Mainstream Media Assaults on Freedom of Speech. “The Truth” is No Longer “Important”

Alternative news sources have come under sustained attacks

By Shane Quinn – Global Research – December 7, 2018

The New York Times unveiled a new slogan early in 2017 titled, “The truth is more important now than ever.” It has acquired a seemingly noble motto but a perhaps contentious one if we examine the Times’ recent history. Two international law specialists, Howard Friel and Richard Falk, published a book after the 2003 Invasion of Iraq called The Record of the Paper, which has scarcely been reviewed.

Friel and Falk focused on the Times due to the newspaper’s importance. The authors point out that in 70 Times editorials on Iraq – from September 11, 2001 to March 20, 2003 – the words “international law” and “UN Charter” were never mentioned. The “truth” did not seem terribly “important” as the Times stood idly by in the destruction of Iraq.

Such was the barrage of propaganda directed at the American public that 69% believed Saddam Hussein was “personally involved” in the September 11 attacks. That is a significant achievement in manipulation. The poll results must have been news to the Iraqi dictator himself, a forgotten one-time American ally.

Why Hussein would take it upon himself to orchestrate a surprise attack on the United States, of all nations, is anyone’s guess. Perhaps if he had a death wish but as later events proved he was not the suicidal type.

The Times was not alone in its position of selling the Iraq war to the American people, as television networks from Fox News to CBS and CNN were overwhelmingly pro-war. Fox News, owned by Rupert Murdoch – who strongly backed the illegal conflict – placed a permanent US flag in the corner of the screen. Fox employees were compelled to describe the invasion as “Operation Iraqi Freedom”, with hundreds of thousands of Iraqis later being killed.

The pattern continues into other illegitimate interventions as the liberal Guardian newspaper championed the demolition of Libya in 2011, with editorials imploring, “The quicker Muammar Gaddafi falls, the better.” The Guardian encouraged NATO “to tip the military balance further against Gaddafi”, while later that year summarising that “it has turned out, so far, reasonably well” – by that point thousands had been killed.

In 2015 Ian Birrell, then deputy editor of the Independent, still assured his readers, “I would argue that Britain and France were right to step in [in Libya]. The failures came later on.” Apparently it was fine for two old imperial powers to “step in” to shatter a sovereign nation, then afterwards absolve the invaders of blame with “the failures” only coming “later on”.

Sceengrab from The Independent

It’s a rare thing indeed to hear a prominent commentator question the balance of Western mainstream coverage. The same voices can be heard piping up when alternative news sources take a different line not so palatable to their tastes.

Nick Cohen, writing in the Guardian, accused the network Russia Today (RT) of being a “propaganda channel” and that Russia was “prostituting journalism”. In the following sentence, Cohen describes the BBC and New York Times as being “reputable news organisations”.

Cohen firmly supported the Iraq war, writing at the time that “the Left betrays the Iraqi people by opposing war”, and “an American invasion offers the possibility of salvation”. He was deemed not to be “prostituting journalism” in backing this violation of international law, nor when later supporting other interventions in Libya and Syria.

The BBC’s reputation, which Cohen previously claimed to be “reputable”, was dealt a blow when it was revealed by Cardiff University that the network “displayed the most ‘pro-war’ agenda of any broadcaster” with its coverage on the Iraq invasion.

Steven Erlanger of the New York Times described RT as “an agent of Kremlin policy” used to “undermine Western democracies” and to “destabilise the West” – failing to back up the claims with any evidence. To gain perspective on these attacks, it may be worth pointing out a key excerpt from the First Amendment of the US Constitution: “Congress shall make no law… abridging [curtailing] the freedom of speech, or of the press.”

This law does not exist in Western democracies but attempts at limiting freedom of expression continue apace, while attacks on alternative media outlets by institutions of power grow. It has reached a point whereby the French president Emmanuel Macron, shortly after assuming office, publicly attacked legitimate news sources of “behaving like deceitful propaganda”.

Perhaps the hidden concern about RT, for example, is its continued increase in both popularity and scope – with the channel enjoying a total weekly viewership of 70 million people and rising. RT is available to viewers in Western heartlands such as Britain and the US, with eight million Americans watching the station each week. It represents quite an achievement that a channel with the word “Russia”, featured in its title, can attract viewers in their millions, despite the growing anti-Russian sentiment espoused by the powers-that-be.

It is revealing that elite figures like Hillary Clinton have lamented in the past, “We are in an information war and we are losing that war.” For the first time in history, populations have broad access to alternative news angles – points of view that they likely find of a more balanced nature. Gone is the unchallenged monopoly on the public mind.

December 7, 2018 Posted by | Book Review, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , | 1 Comment

How ‘The New York Times’ Deceived the Public on North Korea

By Tim Shorrock | The Nation | November 16, 2018

The New York Times may still have a Judith Miller problem—only now it’s a David Sanger problem.

Miller, of course, is the former Times reporter who helped build the case for the 2003 US invasion of Iraq with a series of reports based on highly questionable sources bent on regime change. The newspaper eventually admitted its errors but didn’t specifically blame Miller, who left the paper soon after the mea culpa and is now a commentator on Fox News.

Now, Sanger, who over the years has been the recipient of dozens of leaks from US intelligence on North Korea’s weapons program and the US attempts to stop it, has come out with his own doozy of a story that raises serious questions about his style of deep-state journalism.

The article may not involve the employment of sleazy sources with an ax to grind, but it does stretch the findings of the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), a think tank that is deeply integrated with the military-industrial complex and plays an instrumental role in US media coverage on Korea.

“Controversy is raging,” South Korea’s progressive Hankyoreh newspaper declared on Wednesday about the Times report, which it called “riddled with holes and errors.”

Sanger’s story, which appeared on Monday underneath the ominous headline “In North Korea, Missile Bases Suggest a Great Deception,” focused on a new study from CSIS’s “Beyond Parallel” project about the Sakkanmol Missile Operating Base, one of 13 North Korean missile sites, out of a total of 20, that it has identified and analyzed from overhead imagery provided by Digital Globe, a private satellite contractor.

None of the 20 sites has been officially acknowledged by Pyongyang, but the network is “long known to American intelligence agencies,” wrote Sanger.

Sakkanmol, according to CSIS, “is an undeclared operational missile base for short-range ballistic missiles” a little over 50 miles (85 kilometers) north of the border and therefore “one of the closest to the demilitarized zone (DMZ) and Seoul.” Pyongyang’s highly publicized decommissioning last summer of the Sohae satellite launch facility “obscures the military threat to U.S. forces and South Korea from this and other undeclared ballistic missile bases.”

Its authors added a huge caveat at the end: “Some of the information used in the preparation of this study may eventually prove to be incomplete or incorrect.”

But the Times ignored the warning and took the report several steps further. According to Sanger, that analysis of the missile base shows that North Korea is “moving ahead with its ballistic missile program” despite pledges made by Kim Jong-Un to President Trump at their Singapore summit on June 12 to eliminate his nuclear and missile programs if the United States ends its “hostile policy” and agrees to forge a new relationship with North Korea.

The “new commercial satellite images” of the undeclared missile sites, Sanger concluded darkly, suggest that North Korea “has been engaged in a great deception.”

While North Korea has offered to dismantle a major launching site, he asserted, it continues “to make improvements at more than a dozen others that would bolster launches of conventional and nuclear warheads.” That finding “contradicts Mr. Trump’s assertion that his landmark diplomacy is leading to the elimination” of the North’s nuclear weapons and missiles, Sanger concluded.

The implication was that North Korea, by continuing to build missiles after the Singapore summit, is lying to the United States and is therefore untrustworthy as a negotiating partner—and that Trump, by proclaiming that he has neutralized Kim’s threats, has been deceived. The Times-CSIS report was immediately picked up by major media outlets and repeated almost verbatim on NBC Nightly News and NPR, with little additional reporting.

A leading Democrat, Senator Edward Markey of Massachusetts, seized on the report to argue that President Trump is “getting played” by North Korea. “We cannot have another summit with North Korea—not with President Trump, not with the Secretary of State—unless and until the Kim regime takes concrete, tangible actions to halt and roll back its nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs,” he said in the statement.

But even a cursory analysis of the imagery should have raised questions. On Monday night, a Korean news outlet pointed out that all the photos analyzed in the CSIS report are dated March 29, 2018—almost two and a half months before Trump and Kim met in Singapore on June 12.

The dates make Sanger’s claim that North Korea is “moving ahead” on missile production after its pledges to Trump laughable; indeed, they make his story look like a serious attempt to deceive the American public about the real progress that has been made in ending the standoff.

In fact, as discussion swirled on Twitter, it became clear that Sanger was exaggerating the report. Arms-control experts immediately questioned his assertions, arguing that he had ignored the fact that North Korea and the United States have yet to sign any agreement under which the North would give up its nuclear weapons and missiles. And in the absence of an agreement, it’s status quo for both North Korea and the United States.

North Korea’s missile program “is NOT deception,” Vipin Narang, an associate professor of political science at MIT, posted soon after the story was published. Narang, who writes occasionally for the Times editorial page on North Korea, pointed out that Kim Jong-un has never offered to stop producing ballistic missiles and in fact had ordered more to be produced in January 2018.

“Unless and until there is a deal” with Trump, he wrote, “Kim would be a fool to eliminate and stop improving [them].… So the characterization of ‘deception’ is highly misleading. There’s no deal to violate.” (Like other US analysts, Narang did not question the CSIS report itself, calling it “excellent.”)

The CSIS report was denounced by the government of South Korean President Moon Jae-in as “nothing new,” and Kim Eui-kyeom, its chief spokesperson, took particular exception to the Times’ use of the term “deception.” To his credit, Sanger acknowledged the criticism and quoted the statement in full.

November 20, 2018 Posted by | Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , | 1 Comment

If click-bait headlines were an art, NYT’s op-ed would be a masterpiece

RT – November 16, 2018

Russia has been scheming for decades to splinter the West with civilization-shattering fake news, claims a shocking three-part film series published by the New York Times. The series was filed under ‘op-ed’ for a reason, however.

READ MORE: https://on.rt.com/9ipe

November 16, 2018 Posted by | Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Russophobia, Video | , | Leave a comment

Deception in North Korea? Nope, But a New Flavor of Neocon

By Peter Van Buren | Medium | November 15, 2018

What is the state of diplomacy on the Korean peninsula? Are we again heading toward the lip of war, or is progress being made at an expected pace? Are there Asian Neocons fanning the flames for conflict in Pyongyang much as others did with Baghdad?

A year ago, in November 2017, John Brennan estimated the chance of a war with North Korea at 20 to 25 percent. Richard Haass, president of the Council on Foreign Relations, said the odds were 50/50. The New York Times claimed we were “slouching toward war” with the North, on a “collision course.” National security adviser HR McMaster said North Korea represented “the greatest immediate threat to the United States” and that the potential for war with the communist nation grew each day. The US lacked an ambassador in Seoul; Victor Cha was rejected by Trump because, according to “sources and reports,” he didn’t support a preemptive strike on Pyongyang. It was reported the US was “imminently preparing for an attack on North Korea,” driven in part by hawks like Mike Pompeo and John Bolton.

All that was wrong.

Cha, it appears, didn’t in fact support what Trump actually was planning: not a preemptive strike, but a summit meeting with Kim Jong Un, held some five months ago in Singapore following a first try at courtship aside the Seoul Olympics in January 2018. World leaders meeting to talk peace is historically seen as a good thing. Yet the American media consensus was a president they believe is roundly despised globally conveyed “legitimacy” on Kim Jong Un, no matter that his family has ruled North Korea for some seven decades, and his country already holds a seat at the United Nations. No shortage of experts from South Korea universities and American think tanks were found to support those claims.

The media generally ignored, in return for the US postponing a handful of military exercises (“concessions,” which were deeply criticized by an American media which has failed to note the US has actually resumed some exercises), the North unilaterally stopped ICBM testing (the missiles which might someday be able to reach the US) and nuclear detonations. It released American hostages, and took steps to close down two nuclear missile facilities. Kim Jong-un fired top military leaders who dissented over his approaches to South Korea and the United States.

Officials from North and South now meet regularly, and US diplomats engage with both sides on an ongoing basis; Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has been to Pyongyang. Numerous practical steps have been taken along the DMZ to reduce the chance of accidents. South Korea’s unification minister in charge of North Korea issues Cho Myoung-gyon will visit the United States this week, where he is expected to meet Pompeo. This is the first time in four years for South Korea’s unification minister to visit Washington. On the last visit, in 2014, then-Secretary of State John Kerry refused to meet with his predecessor in line with the Obama (and Bush) administrations’ policy of ignoring North Korea in hopes the problem would go away.

Yet the headlines this week in the New York Times and other major US outlets scream of a “great deception” by the North Koreans, evidenced by a hardline think tank — helmed in part by Victor Cha — “discovering” North Korean missile facilities already long known to US intelligence (Cha’s lo-rez commercial satellite photos are dated March, months before the Trump-Kim summit, so everyone who mattered already knew.) In a matter of a few paragraphs, Cha and the Times blow this “discovery” up to announce, without any evidence, “What everybody is worried about is that Trump is going to accept a bad deal — they give us a single test site and dismantle a few other things, and in return they get a peace agreement” that formally ends the Korean War. Mr. Trump, he said, “would then declare victory, say he got more than any other American president ever got, and the threat would still be there.”

What is the real state of diplomacy on the Korean peninsula? Are we again heading toward the lip of war?

Of course not. South Korea’s presidential spokesperson put those “new” missile facilities into the perspective Trump’s critics lack, saying “North Korea has never promised to shut down this missile base. It has never signed any agreement, any negotiation that makes shutting down missile bases mandatory… There is no agreement, no negotiation that makes it necessary for it to be declared.” In other words, there can be no deception where there was no agreement.

To call what the Times discovered a “deception” is deeply misleading. The Singapore declaration and the inter-Korean summit declarations of April 27 and September 19 this year do not commit Pyongyang to disclose the sites. What is new to the Times is actually old news; Kim Jong Un in his January 2018 New Year’s Day guidance stated North Korea would shift to the mass producing nuclear weapons in such facilities. “The nuclear weapons research sector and the rocket industry should mass-produce nuclear warheads and ballistic missiles, the power and reliability of which have already been proved to the full, to give a spur to the efforts for deploying them for action,” Kim said. The Times in fact more or less acknowledged all this in September, before being surprised by it in November.

And the Times’ big scary takeaway, that the old/new facilities are in caves, confuses tactical concealment with some sort of nefarious political “deception.” Did they expect the missiles to be worked on in the parking lot outside Kim’s villa?

One issue only lightly touched by a western media obsessed with parsing tweets as their stab at journalism is the ongoing rush forward driven by the two Koreas themselves, what under any other media climate would be hailed as a huge series of successes but which falls in 2018 under the Trump Is Always Wrong Shadow. In a short time the two states established psuedo-embassies just north of the DMZ, where representatives from the two Koreas have met more than 60 times. The office has become a clearinghouse for over a dozen projects launched during the summit. There are plans for a massive bi-national project to link roads and railroads severed during the Korean War.

North and South Korea have begun removing landmines from the border, drawn back some troops, and most recently held a third leaders’ summit in September in Pyongyang where North Korean leader Kim offered to permanently dismantle two key ICBM facilities under the observation of outside experts. He also offered to negotiate further on the permanent shut down of the nuclear facility at Yongbyon. South Korean President Moon Jae-In, for his part, better than the US understands the future is ultimately about economics, not nukes. Moon seeks sanctions relief as negotiations move forward (little is ever accomplished without some give and take.) “I believe the international community needs to provide assurances that North Korea has made the right choice to denuclearize and encourage North Korea to speed up the process,” he said this week in Paris during a visit with French President Emmanuel Macron. If the western media is correct that Trump is being duped, played, deceived, and cheated by the North, what must they think about the faster pace set by the South? After all, a US miscalculation means we all switch from Samsung to Apple phones made in China, while South Korea risks being turned into a wasteland dotted only with signs for Nuka Cola.

Left off to the side is that it has been only five months since the historic summit in Singapore. Obama’s agreement with Iran, which did not even involve actual working nukes, took almost two years to conclude. Cold War negotiations with the Soviet Union ran across administrations, extending the broader process into decades of talks, and were aimed at goals much shorter than full denuclearization. Five months is barely enough time to grow a decent garden, never mind resolve multinational problems that reach back to 1945.

With North Korea, there is no history of trust, no basis of goodwill to build on. That all has to be created, built from scratch, as part of the heavy lifting of diplomacy. The ultimate goal — denuclearization — may or may not someday come to pass, but if it does it will be the result of years of more small steps forward than small steps back. Diplomacy is about moving the goalposts and embracing the long game, not playing chicken. It will require the North’s nuclear weapons to become unnecessary, as the North agrees to and is allowed to become so engaged with the global system that it finds itself no longer in need of such a powerful deterrence to attacks by its neighbors. Diplomacy requires one to at least understand the opponent’s goals and motivations, even if you don’t agree with them.

There exists an industry of sorts devoted to portraying North Korea as an eviler than evil empire, with Kim as a parody of the movie Dr. Evil. These hardliners, ensconced mostly in universities in South Korea and think tanks in the US, have been around since the Cold War to make sure the case for the militarization of South Korea and American support for various South Korean military dictators never lacked public advocates. They act as mouthpieces for North Korean defectors with horror stories, and are quick to seize on anything to amplify the threat. Older readers will remember similar mostly defunct “industries” set up to do the same over the actions of Cuba, China, and the Soviet Union once (though the Red Threat gang is trying to make a comeback over Bond villian wanna-be Putin.)

Victor Cha himself is a kind of one man gloom machine, writing regularly of the impossibility of denuclearization. His old articles focus fearfully on meetings canceled (but since successfully concluded; fatalism ignores the future) he in fact represents a kind of Asian neocon, an industry dedicated to the impossibility of peace on the peninsula as long as the Kim dynasty remains in power. Cha’s home organization, the Center for Strategic and International Studies, for example, features multiple former Secretaries of Defense on its board and as trustees, and is well-funded by elements of the military industrial complex. Of the plan to link railroads across the DMZ, what any sane person would see as progress, the organization grumbled the “move is expected to increase friction with its traditional ally Washington over the pace of inter-Korean engagement.”

So shame on those hardline groups — let’s call them Asian Neocons, for they want regime change in the North in the same way as Cheney, Rumsfeld, et al, wanted it in the Middle East — and shame on the New York Times for morphing its Trump-is-always-wrong editorial policy into presenting something long-known to US intelligence as something new enough to declare deception has overtaken the diplomatic long game on the Korean Peninsula. As they did during the run up to the Iraq War, the Times is once again serving as a platform for those who cannot see or will not wait for a peaceful way forward.

Deception? The deception, it is clear, is all (again) on the side of the neocons. They seek to destroy any chance of lasting peace with unrealistic expectations and by announcing failure at goals never actually set. Because if not diplomacy, then what is the alternative? Theirs is not pessimism, it is fatalism. Success instead should be measured by the continued absence of war and the continued sense that war is increasingly unlikely. Anyone demanding more than that wants things to fail.

November 16, 2018 Posted by | Deception, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , | Leave a comment

Mainstream media on Gaza: Israelis get killed, but Palestinians merely ‘die’

By Darius Shahtahmasebi | RT | November 15, 2018

After a Twitter backlash, the Guardian was forced to amend a brazenly propagandized headline which sought to undermine the basic rights of Palestinians and elevate Israeli soldiers to levels previously thought unimaginable.

“We remain editorially independent, our journalism free from commercial bias and our reporting open and accessible to all,” reads an advertisement on the Guardian UK’s online newspaper when you click on a recent story.

“Imagine what we could continue to achieve with the support of many more of you. Together we can be a force for change.”

The article in question that I clicked on is a recent story entitled “Eight dead in undercover Israeli operation in Gaza.” According to the opening paragraph of the report, Israeli forces killed seven Palestinians in the Gaza Strip in an “apparently botched undercover raid and ensuring firefight.”

Sounds fairly straightforward, right? Just another day in Gaza, where Palestinians and Israelis alike find themselves in the line of fire, with the number of dead Palestinians outnumbering those on the Israeli side.

However, this wasn’t the only title the Guardian had previously given this same story. The original title was a poorly crafted “Israeli officer killed during raid in which seven Palestinians died.”

You see, prior to the title’s amendment, the Israeli officer was “killed” during the raid, yet the Palestinians (who were killed by the way) merely died. The Israeli officer was killed by the Palestinians, but the seven Palestinians died from some unknown cause. This is a clever yet obvious play on the English language, whereby the deaths of the seven Palestinians are brought about passively, whereas the Israeli officer is actively killed by his aggressor.

In actuality, the perpetrator of the raid is the person bringing about the violence. The Palestinians who react in response are not, in any normal sense of the word, the perpetrators of the violence in question.

Furthermore, the Israeli officer is the one that is highlighted by the title, whereas the lesser deaths of the Palestinians are brought about as a side note. The Guardian explains in the text of its report that seven Palestinians are dead, but the identities of those Palestinians are not highlighted.

If they were militants, why not say so? If they are not militants, are they in fact civilians? If they are civilians, why is the Israeli officer highlighted first in the title, and not the tragedy of the seven civilian deaths? If they are militants, why are they given a lesser status than the Israeli officer? Well, as far as we know, two of those killed (I mean, died) were Hamas commanders. The rest of the deceased were aged between 19 and 25.

Of course, the Guardian will no longer have to worry about answering those questions as it wasted no time in changing its headline in the wake of what can only be described as a viral Twitter frenzy. The UK-based Canary described it as the “Guardian headline on Palestine that’s shaming the entire field of journalism.”

If they had been allowed to get away with this shoddy piece of journalism, one could still argue that it is just a title and we should not spend our time fussing and feuding over the intricate wording of titles. After all, what matters to a story and its journalistic integrity is its content, right?

Anyone who knows and understands anything about modern journalism and propaganda knows this to be complete nonsense. Firstly, a study by the Media Insight Project, an initiative of the AP-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research and the American Press Institute found that over half of Americans surveyed were mere headline readers and nothing more.

The effects of this painful reality go well beyond that of a resulting lazy populace. As explained by Maria Konnikova in the New Yorker :

“Psychologists have long known that first impressions really do matter—what we see, hear, feel, or experience in our first encounter with something colors how we process the rest of it. Articles are no exception. And just as people can manage the impression that they make through their choice of attire, so, too, can the crafting of the headline subtly shift the perception of the text that follows. By drawing attention to certain details or facts, a headline can affect what existing knowledge is activated in your head. By its choice of phrasing, a headline can influence your mindset as you read so that you later recall details that coincide with what you were expecting.”

In a series of studies, Ullrich Ecker, psychologist and cognitive neuroscientist at the University of Western Australia, more or less confirmed this sad state of affairs. One of Ecker’s studies found that when matching headlines to photographs, if the headline diverged from the photo, the victim was rated more negatively by the respondents when the headline had been about the criminal; and the criminal was rated more positively when the headline had been about the victim. Starting to sound a little bit familiar?

According to Konnikova, Ecker’s findings show that misinformation causes more damage when it’s subtle than when it is blatant.

Say what you like about Fox News, but its blatant approach to lying makes it less of a threat in my mind than papers like the Guardian who advertise themselves as “editorially independent” and “free from commercial bias” as it deploys more subtle techniques to not only toe the establishment line, but to provide free public relations for states such as Israel, who regularly contravene international law in a variety of ways.

Make no mistake, the Guardian editors knew what they were doing when they released this headline. It was not done by accident. This is a tried and true strategy in which Western media will paint the aggressors in a conflict as being passive players with as little fault as possible – so long as those players are the US, UK or its close allies.

For example, a March 2017 attack by US-led forces in Mosul, Iraq massacred over 200 civilians in a single bombardment. The reason this attack took place is primarily because Donald Trump relaxed the so-called Obama-era restrictions on air strikes, meaning that even Iraqi commanders could call in air strikes on the battlefield with little to no oversight. The result of this policy was of course, outright death and destruction, with over 9,000 civilians killed in Mosul alone.

However, the US bombardment in March was framed by the establishment media in the kindest way possible for the US and its allies. As noted by FAIR’s (Fairness and Accuracy In Reporting) Ben Norton, ABC News went with the headline “US Reviewing Airstrike That Corresponds to Site Where 200 Iraqi Civilians Allegedly Died.” The LA Times ran with “US Acknowledges Airstrike in Mosul, Where More Than 200 Iraqi Civilians Died.” France 24 settled for “US-Led Coalition Confirms Strike on Mosul Site Where Civilians Died.” The best, of course, was the New York Times, which managed to concoct the following headline: “US Concedes It Played a Role in Iraqi Deaths.” Remember, this is the same US who “played a role” in over one million “Iraqi deaths,” but that is a topic for another story.

Conversely, if the alleged perpetrator of violence is in the handful of countries deemed to be enemies of Western society by the mainstream media (think Iran, Syria, Russia, or North Korea), they are portrayed as menacingly evil and bloodthirsty with no logic or context to their actions. These countries “pound” their victims, for example. Even when the alleged acts cannot be proven at all, such as highly questionable chemical weapons attacks that are immediately pinned on the Syrian government with little to no evidence of Syrian government involvement, Syria’s president is condemned by all forms of Western media in the strongest terms imaginable.

You see, the victims of attacks carried out by the US, UK, and its allies and lackey states such as Israel aren’t killed, they merely die at the scene. If anything, they were in the way of the magical freedom bombs that we and our allies have been trying to spread around the Middle East for years. But those victims who are purportedly killed by countries who have been targeted for regime change, they were tragically murdered by brutal forces. The jihadists fighting against these forces with known ties to al-Qaeda are mere rebels fighting for their freedom, but militants fighting against government forces in Gaza or in Yemen are terrorists who kill noble Israeli soldiers while dying in the crossfire by accident.

While we are on the topic, an honourable mention of course has to go to the New York Times, who once felt that it was justified to describe the plight of a young Yemeni girl who had her entire family wiped out in a Saudi-led airstrike with the headline: “Young Yemeni Girl Is Sole Survivor After Airstrike Topples Her Home.” Thank God – at least it only toppled her home, as air strikes are known to do much worse if they belong to an adversarial state.

This is shameful propaganda, plain and simple. The Guardian was once heralded as a beacon of journalistic integrity, but it has long given up that status and decided it will go out of its way to perpetuate establishment narratives that benefit, for example, even the dictatorship of Saudi Arabia.

Despite this, the fact the Guardian amended its headline and deleted its original tweet can still be seen as somewhat of a partial victory. While I don’t expect many of us who spoke out to continue to keep our Twitter privileges for much longer, the end result was totally worth it and I hope more people can continue to speak out as we fight back against warmongering establishment narratives.

November 15, 2018 Posted by | Deception, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Full Spectrum Dominance, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, War Crimes | , | Leave a comment

The Korean War: The Moral Bankruptcy of Interventionism

By Jacob G. Hornberger | FFF | November 13, 2018

An article in Sunday’s New York Times entitled “Remembering the Forgotten War” demonstrates perfectly the moral bankruptcy of the philosophy of foreign interventionism. Calling for the Korean War to become more highly remembered, the author, Hampton Sides, extols some of the popular justifications for subjecting U.S. troops to death, injury, and maiming in the Korean War.

Hampton tells the story of a veteran named Franklin Chapman, who is still alive. Hampton was sent to fight in Korea, was shot several times, and also hit by shrapnel. He was taken captive by the enemy and was held as a POW for three years. Today, the 85-year -old suffers from the aftereffects of frostbite, experiences aches and pains from his wounds, and suffers severe memory loss, sometimes unable to recognize his daughter.

Sides implies that while all this is regrettable, it’s all justifiable because Korean War veterans “stopped a naked act of Communist aggression and opposed three malevolent dictators — Stalin, Mao and Kim – while helping South Korea take wing as a democracy.”

What is fascinating about Sides’s article is that it is completely bereft of any moral outrage whatsoever against the U.S. government and, specifically, the U.S. national-security establishment. Sides seems to forget something important: The reason that Chapman was there in Korea waging war was because the president of the United States and the Pentagon ordered him to be there.

I was curious about Chapman and so I looked him up. It turns out that he has written a biography that is posted online, where he tells the reason he joined the military. No, it wasn’t to stop communist aggression in Korea or to oppose three malevolent communist dictators. Chapman explains that he joined the military for one reason alone: He needed a job.

My hunch is that like many people who join the military, he believed that his job would be to defend the United States from invasion or attack. My hunch is that the last thing he ever expected was to be sent to wage a land war in Asia. But that is precisely what the U.S. government did to him. It ordered him to report to Korea to kill or be killed.

That doesn’t seem to concern Hampton Sides, any more than it concerns any interventionist. Equally important, it obviously doesn’t concern Sides that the order to send Chapman to fight in the Korean War was illegal under our form of government. The U.S. Constitution, which governs the actions of federal officials, including those in the Pentagon, prohibits the president from waging war against a foreign nation without first securing a declaration of war from Congress. It is undisputed that President Truman, who ordered U.S. soldiers into Korea, did not secure a congressional declaration of war. That means that he had no legal authority to order Chapman or any other U.S. soldier to kill or die in Korea.

In claiming that Chapman was fighting to oppose communist aggression, Sides ignores the fact that the Korean War was actually a civil war, not a war between two independent and sovereign nations. The country had been artificially divided into two halves by Soviet communist leader Joseph Stalin, who, ironically, was a partner and ally of the U.S. government during World War II. (The irony lies in the fact that Sides extols Chapman for opposing the man who had been a partner and ally of the U.S. government just a few years before.) In any event, every Korean understood that the dividing line between North and South Korea was just an artificial construct based on international politics. Even today, if you ask a person of Korean descent here in the United States where they are from, they always, without exception, say “Korea” rather than “South Korea.”

We can concede that the northern half of the country was ruled by a brutal communist regime, one that attempted to unify the country by force. But why does a nation’s civil war justify U.S. intervention? Why should U.S. soldiers be sacrificed to help out one side or another in a civil war? That’s not what most U.S. soldiers were signing up to do after World War II. They were signing up to defend the United States, not help out one side or another in another nation’s civil war. (By the way, the same principle applies to the Vietnam War, another favorite foreign war of the interventionists.)

Another aspect of the Korean War that Sides fails to mention is conscription. The U.S. military didn’t have enough men to intervene against the North Korean regime, and not enough American men were volunteering for “service.” So, Truman and the military resorted to conscription. That means that they were forcing American men, against their will, to go to Korea and kill or be killed. An interventionist would say that it was necessary to destroy the freedom of Americans to protect the “freedom” and “democracy” of South Koreans.

Sides’ expression “helping South Korea take wing as a democracy” is an interesting one. It’s interesting because South Korea’s first elected president, Syngman Rhee, was one of the most brutal dictators in the world. Immediately after taking office, he curtailed political dissent and authorized his goons to engage in indefinite detention, torture, assassination, death squads, and massacres.

On the suspension of hostilities in 1953, it was clear that the National Assembly, which elected the president, was going to boot Rhee out of office. In order to avoid that, he ordered a mass arrest of opposition politicians and then unilaterally changed the Constitution to enable him to be elected directly by the citizenry. He remained in power until 1960, when he was forced to resign after his police shot demonstrators who were protesting his regime.

This is what Sides and other interventionists call “democracy taking wing.” It brings to mind the U.S.-inspired coup in Chile in 1973, which ousted the democratically elected socialist president of the country, Salvador Allende, and installed a brutal right-wing military dictator in his stead, army Gen. Augusto Pinochet. To this day, interventionists say that the Chilean coup demonstrated that “democracy was taking wing” in Chile with the coup that nullified the presidential election, followed by a 16-year-long brutal military dictatorship entailing round-ups of some 50,000 people, torturing most of them, raping and committing gruesome sexual acts against women, and killing and disappearing around 3,000 people.

Sides and other interventionists are dead wrong about the Korean War and other foreign interventions. No U.S. soldier deserves to be ordered to faraway lands to kill or be killed or maimed, as Franklin Chapman was. If Sides or other interventionists want to go overseas and help out one side or another in some faraway civil war, they are free to do so. Just leave U.S. soldiers out of it. The job of a U.S. soldier is to defend the United States from invasion or attack, not be sent to participate in some bogus fight for “freedom” or “democracy” in a foreign country.

November 13, 2018 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Militarism | , , | Leave a comment

News Media Gave Blanket Coverage To Flawed Climate Paper

Global Warming Policy Forum – 07/11/18

A week ago, we were told that climate change was worse than we thought. But the underlying science contains a major error.

Independent climate scientist Nicholas Lewis has uncovered a major error in a recent scientific paper that was given blanket coverage in the English-speaking media. The paper, written by a team led by Princeton oceanographer Laure Resplandy, claimed that the oceans have been warming faster than previously thought. It was announced, in news outlets including the BBC, the New York Times, the Washington Post and Scientific American that this meant that the Earth may warm even faster than currently estimated.

However Lewis, who has authored several peer-reviewed papers on the question of climate sensitivity and has worked with some of the world’s leading climate scientists, has found that the warming trend in the Resplandy paper differs from that calculated from the underlying data included with the paper.

“If you calculate the trend correctly, the warming rate is not worse than we thought – it’s very much in line with previous estimates,” says Lewis.

In fact, says Lewis, some of the other claims made in the paper and reported by the media, are wrong too.

“Their claims about the effect of faster ocean warming on estimates of climate sensitivity (and hence future global warming) and carbon budgets are just incorrect anyway, but that’s a moot point now we know that about their calculation error”.

And now that the errors have been uncovered, Lewis points out that it is important that the record is corrected.

“The original findings of the Resplandy paper were given blanket coverage by the media, who rarely question hyped-up findings of this kind. Let’s hope some of them are willing to correct the record”.

November 8, 2018 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Science and Pseudo-Science | , , , | Leave a comment

Pipe Bombs: Frantic Denunciations of the False Flag Concept

By Prof. Graeme McQueen | Global Research | November 1, 2018

Onto the 24-hour reality show that is U.S. politics, 15 package bombs recently made their entrance.

The devices were sent to vocal opponents of Mr. Trump, most of them prominent members of the Democratic Party.  The incident became public on October 25, less than two weeks before the November 6 elections that mark the middle of Trump’s first term.

Now, it is an interesting question as to whether the designated perpetrator, Cesar Sayoc, is a lone wolf terrorist or a patsy acting on behalf of larger forces. I am encouraged to see researchers exploring the second possibility. But my focus in this article is different.

The suggestion that the package bomb incidents might be false flag attacks—attacks by opponents of Trump deceptively imputing the attacks to his supporters to discredit them before the elections—was rapidly put forth. Among the fastest off the mark were right-wing pundits, so it was easy enough for various “liberals” (whatever this term means today in the U.S.) to characterize the false flag suggestion as a variety of right-wing conspiracy theory, and as both intellectually ridiculous and morally disgusting. The evident aim has been to stigmatize the concept and drive it from responsible political discourse.

Among the most prominent of the denunciations appeared in CNN and The New York Times.

The article by CNN Editor-at-large Chris Cillizza’s was entitled, “Debunking the despicable ‘false flag’ theory on the mail bombs.” He quoted Rush Limbaugh’s claim that a “Democratic operative” could be responsible for the attacks in order to make it look as if “the Republicans are a bunch of insane lunatics.” Cillizza noted that although we may be tempted to dismiss such “conspiracy crap” without comment, we must not. To refuse to comment on it is “to let it fester.” We must publicly challenge it. His article, it seems, was meant to be a model of such debunking.

Screengrab from CNN

It was not a good model.

Cillizza concentrated on what he believed to be the logistical impossibilities in Limbaugh’s scenario. He named two steps in the scenario:

1. “Someone or someones who wanted to help Democrats—and the media, I guess, somehow?—would send a series of pipe bombs to prominent Democrats across the country.”

2. “Then Democrats or the media or, again, someone, would have to have coordinated with the state and local police—not to mention federal authorities—so that law enforcement said that these were functional bombs (even though, again, according to this theory, they weren’t).”

He feels that simply to have named these steps is to have shown how ridiculous the hypothesis is.

Really?

There is nothing impossible about Step 1. Surely Cillizza is not saying that the faction of the U.S. intelligence community hostile to Trump—nicely represented by James Clapper and John Brennan, two recipients of the package bombs—is incapable of fashioning a few clumsy devices and sending them through the mail? The material in the 2001 anthrax envelopes was much more sophisticated and difficult to acquire than the non-functional “pipe bombs,” yet the U.S. intelligence community remains a prime suspect in these attacks.

As for the purpose in sending out such bombs, one of the first questions we ask when confronted by a violent event of this sort is, Cui bono? Who benefits? I cannot see how Trump and his supporters benefit, whereas the benefit to mainstream Democrats—of the Clinton variety, no threat to the established order—is obvious. They get to claim the status of nonviolent, sane victim.

What about Cillizza’s Step 2? I confess I am defeated by his prose. I do not know what he is trying to say. But let me speculate that he is claiming this conspiracy theory involves too many people (various levels of police, for example) and that it involves an impossibly complex deception—policing agencies portraying inoperative devices as operative.

Once again we might fruitfully examine the anthrax attacks. There was an impressive amount of coordination involved in these attacks. As far as policing was concerned, this was mainly achieved by the FBI chasing away other levels of police while keeping strict control over its own personnel when they wandered too near the truth.

But the coordination in the anthrax case went far beyond policing. Media were deeply implicated. The media faithfully set out the story they were handed by authorities: the attacks appeared to have been carried out by al-Qaeda, with a strong possibility of Iraqi involvement.  This story was successfully propagated, for example, through a wide variety of newspapers, from The New York Times and Washington Post to the Guardian. By the end of 2001—less than four months after the attacks began—Homeland Security, the FBI and the White House had been forced to admit that neither al-Qaeda, nor Iraq, nor domestic Muslims, appeared to have had anything to do with these attacks. Instead, they came from the heart of the US Military-Industrial-Intelligence community. As to who, precisely, in this community carried out the attacks, there remains disagreement; but even a sketchy familiarity with the anthrax attacks knocks out Cillizza’s Step 2 objections.

A useful rule of thumb is that if a thing has happened it is possible. We know a violent, coordinated and complex false flag attack is possible in the U.S. because it happened.

But if this was the best CNN could do, what about The New York Times? Kevin Roose produced a piece somewhat longer, although not much more thoughtful, than the CNN editor’s.

Screengrab from The New York Times

Roose let us have it with the old chestnut, “conspiratorial thinking has always been with us”, and then proceeded to dance lightly from the grassy knoll to the moon landing to 9/11 without troubling us with sources, evidence or other bothersome material.

If you are like me you will find yourself, in an increasingly bad mood, asking: has this young fellow carefully researched all of these incidents? Has he, in fact, carefully researched a single one of them?

Like the CNN editor, Roose spends his time countering claims that the package bombs sent to prominent enemies of Mr. Trump might have been sent by people wanting to discredit Trump and his allies. He places these “conspiracy theorists” on the political right and associates them with Trump’s presidency. More than this, he uses, and explains, the term “false flag” and tries hard to discredit it. “False flag philosophy—the idea that powerful groups stage threats and tragic events to advance their agendas—is now a bizarrely common element of national news stories.”

This statement is a sign of progress in the opening of the American mind. We should celebrate the good news that the concept of false flag is common in political discourse, common enough that The New York Times feels a need to discredit it. This achievement came through much labour by many people over many years.

That Roose finds the concept “bizarre” is, of course, to be regretted, but this merely testifies to his naivety and his poor knowledge of false flag attacks, of which there have been plenty in human history (see Sources).

As a matter of fact, the particular type of false flag attack being discussed in the present case, where Group A attacks itself and blames Group B, is centuries old. In China it used to be called the Stratagem of Wounded Flesh (see Sources).

The notion that the false flag concept and the conspiracy concept are the exclusive property of the political right is absurd. They are ideas available to, and used by, all those who genuinely care about what is going on around them and wish to have an adequate intellectual toolbox. I am not on the political right and I am not a supporter of Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter and the like, but I do not for that reason choose to shut down my brain.

Although we may not want to admit it, repetition is half the battle in public fights and debates. Let us use the term “false flag” repeatedly and ensure that it remains where it apparently is at the moment: in the center of U.S. political discourse.

***

Graeme MacQueen is the former director of the Centre for Peace Studies at McMaster University. He is a member of the 9/11 Consensus Panel, former co-editor of the Journal of 9/11 Studies, and an organizer of the 2011 Toronto Hearings, the results of which have been published in book form as The 9/11 Toronto Report. He is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG)

Sources

1. The CNN article is as follows:

Chris Cillizza, “Debunking the despicable ‘false flag’ theory on the mail bombs”, CNN, Octo. 25, 2018

https://www.cnn.com/2018/10/25/politics/false-flag-theory-mail-bombs-cnn-democrats/index.html

2. The NYT article is:

Kevin Roose, “‘False Flag’ Theory on Pipe Bombs Zooms From Right-Wing Fringe to Mainstream,” The New York Times, Oct. 25, 2018.

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/10/25/business/false-flag-theory-bombs-conservative-media.html?link_id=2&can_id=279a5d1be99466f29caeefa017e74f2e&source=email-disinformation-and-anthrax-mailings-interviews-available&email_referrer=email_443498&email_subject=disinformation-and-anthrax-mailings-interviews-available

3. Most comments on the anthrax attacks in this essay are based on my book, The 2001 Anthrax Deception: The Case for a Domestic Conspiracy. Clarity Press, 2014.

https://www.claritypress.com/MacQueen.html

But see also FBI whistleblower Richard Lambert’s lawsuit, paragraphs 50 ff.:

https://archive.org/stream/RichardLambertLawsuit2015/FBI%20Agent%20Richard%20Lambert%20Lawsuit%20%282015%29%20concerning%20Anthrax%20investigations%20of%202001_djvu.txt

4. For examples of false flags, see the collection by Washington’s blog:

https://www.globalresearch.ca/53-admitted-false-flag-attacks/5432931

5. The Wounded Flesh Stratagem can be found at least as early as the 14th century CE in the novel, Romance of the Three Kingdoms (San Guo Yan Yi). It can also be found as one among many stratagems in the later compilation, Thirty-six Stratagems. The Wikipedia article on the latter text offers an interpretative translation of ku rou ji: “inflict injury on oneself to win the enemy’s trust”. If the pipe bomb case is an instance of ku rou ji, the enemy of the perpetrators would be the U.S. population itself.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thirty-Six_Stratagems

Copyright © Prof. Graeme McQueen, Global Research, 2018

Read more: The 9/11 Anniversary: Conspiracy Theory or Critical Thinking?

November 6, 2018 Posted by | False Flag Terrorism, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Timeless or most popular | , , , | 1 Comment

Who’s really ‘undermining’ US democracy?

‘We have met the enemy and he is us’

The Nation | November 2, 2018

Allegations that Russia is still “attacking” US elections, now again in November, could delegitimize our democratic institutions.

Summarizing one of the themes in his new book, ‘War with Russia? From Putin and Ukraine To Trump and Russiagate,’ Stephen F. Cohen argues that Russiagate allegations of Kremlin attempts to “undermine American democracy” may themselves erode confidence in those institutions.

Ever since Russiagate allegations began to appear more than two years ago, their core narrative has revolved around purported Kremlin attempts to “interfere” in the 2016 US presidential election on behalf of then-candidate Donald Trump. In recent months, a number of leading American media outlets have taken that argument even further, suggesting that Putin’s Kremlin actually put Trump in the White House and now is similarly trying to affect the November 6 midterm elections, particularly House contests, on behalf of Trump and the Republican Party. According to a page-one New York Times “report,” for example, Putin’s agents “are engaging in an elaborate campaign of ‘information warfare’ to interfere with the American midterm elections.”

Despite well-documented articles by Gareth Porter and Aaron Mate effectively dismantling these allegations about 2016 and 2018, the mainstream media continues to promote them. The occasionally acknowledged lack of “public evidence” is sometimes cited as itself evidence of a deep Russian conspiracy, of the Kremlin’s “arsenal of disruption capabilities… to sow havoc on election day.” (See the examples cited by Alan MacLeod.)

Lost in these reckless allegations is the long-term damage they may themselves do to American democracy. Consider the following possibilities:

Even though still unproven, charges that the Kremlin put Trump in the White House have cast a large shadow of illegitimacy over his presidency and thus over the institution of the presidency itself. This is unlikely to end entirely with Trump. If the Kremlin had the power to affect the outcome of one presidential election, why not another one, whether won by a Republican or a Democrat? The 2016 presidential election was the first time such an allegation became widespread in American political history, but it may not be the last.

Now the same shadow looms over the November 6 elections and thus over the next Congress. If so, in barely two years, the legitimacy of two fundamental institutions of American representative democracy will have been challenged, also for the first time in history.

And if US elections are really so vulnerable to Russian “meddling,” what does this say about faith in American elections more generally? How many losing candidates on November 6 will resist blaming the Kremlin? Two years after the last presidential election, Hillary Clinton and her adamant supporters still have not been able to do so.

We know from critical reporting and from recent opinion surveys that the origins and continuing fixation on the Russiagate scandal since 2016 have been primarily a product of US political-intelligence-media elites. It did not spring from the American people – from voters themselves. Thus a Gallup poll recently showed that 58 percent of those surveyed wanted improved relations with Russia. And other surveys have shown that Russiagate is scarcely an issue at all for likely voters on November 6. Nonetheless, it remains a front-page issue for US elites.

Indeed, Russiagate has revealed the low esteem that many US political-media elites have for American voters – for their ability to make discerning, rational electoral decisions, which is the bedrock assumption of representative democracy. It is worth noting that this disdain for rank-and-file citizens echoes a longstanding attitude of the Russian political intelligentsia, as recently expressed in the argument by a prominent Moscow policy intellectual that Russian authoritarianism springs not from the nation’s elites but from the “genetic code” of its people.

US elites seem to have a similar skepticism about – or contempt for – American voters’ capacity to make discerning electoral choices. Presumably this is a factor behind the current proliferation of programs – official, corporate, and private – to introduce elements of censorship in the nation’s “media space” in order to filter out “Kremlin propaganda.” Here, it also seems, elites will decide what constitutes such “propaganda.”

The Washington Post recently gave such an example: “portraying Russian and Syrian government forces favorably as they battled ‘terrorists’ in what US officials for years have portrayed as a legitimate uprising against the authoritarian government of President Bashar al-Assad.” That is, thinking that the forces of Putin and Assad were fighting terrorists, even if closer to the truth, is “Kremlin propaganda” because it is at variance with “what US officials for years have” been saying. This was the guiding principle of Soviet censorship as well.

If the American electoral process, presidency, legislature, and voter cannot be fully trusted, what is left of American democracy? Admittedly, this is still only a trend, a foreboding, but one with no end in sight. If it portends the “undermining of American democracy,” our elites will blame the Kremlin. But they best recall the discovery of Walt Kelly’s legendary cartoon figure Pogo: “We have met the enemy and he is us.”

Stephen F. Cohen is a professor emeritus of Russian studies and politics at New York University and Princeton University and a contributing editor of The Nation.

November 2, 2018 Posted by | Book Review, Full Spectrum Dominance, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Russophobia | , , | 2 Comments

‘Horrendous’: New York Times Attacks Inter-Korean Peace Process

Sputnik – 31.10.2018

On Monday, the New York Times reported that South Korean President Moon Jae-in is succeeding where all of his predecessors have failed — in engaging North Korea and convincing the country to give up its nuclear weapons program.

However, the article isn’t complimentary, quoting a South Korean newspaper that claimed Moon is Kim Jong Un’s most effective spokesperson.

The New York Times article also quotes an American think tank analyst stating that Moon is a “bad moon on the rise,” quoting an old Creedence Clearwater Revival song.

Simone Chun, a fellow at the Korea Policy Institute and a member of the Korean Peace Network, joined Radio Sputnik’s Loud & Clear Tuesday to discuss how the US corporate media continues to attack the historic progress towards peace on the Korean Peninsula.

“What this article is suggesting is that Kim Jong Un is either manipulating Moon Jae-in or Moon Jae-in is the unwitting fool falling for deception,” Becker said.

“In the article, they even describe Moon Jae-in as ‘the agent of North Korea.’ It’s a very carefully crafted editorial position designed to sabotage Moon Jae-in’s effort to bring about peace on the Korean peninsula,” Becker added.

In September, North and South Korea signed a joint agreement, proclaiming an end to the state of war. The two nations agreed to cease large-scale artillery exercises and military flights near the demarcation line and make efforts to denuclearize the peninsula.

However, according to the New York Times article, “[A]s Mr. Moon has pushed to deepen ties with Pyongyang, the backlash from his critics has been swift. A major South Korean newspaper this month called him the ‘chief spokesman for Kim Jong-un,’ and an American commentator, quoting Creedence Clearwater Revival, recently referred to him as a ‘bad Moon on the rise.'”

“If Mr. Kim wanted to change his image from nuclear madman to mature negotiator, it’s unlikely he could have found a better agent than Mr. Moon,” the article stated.

The South Korean newspaper being referenced is chosun.com, “one of the most right-wing newspapers in South Korea–and, according to a recent poll, the least trusted media,” Chun told Radio Sputnik. The Creedence Clearwater quotation comes from Gordon Chang, a “notorious right wing” columnist, she added.

“It is a shame [that the] New York Times is giving a platform for the very ultra right-wing and minority voices who are afraid of [the] Korean peace process and who are trying to sabotage the current peace talks,” Chun told Sputnik.

“Based on these two sources [cited by the New York Times ], there isn’t much credibility on this particular article. The image they create is that president Moon is somehow a spokesperson for Chairman Kim. Nine out of 10 Koreans in recent polls support the peace process. I would argue that it’s the Korean people [themselves] who are behind the peace process. The big picture, you see here, is a growing, orchestrated chorus of America’s right wing think tanks, such as the Heritage Foundation and CSIS, in conjunction with the minority voices in South Korea, who are now in the process of sabotaging and trying to discredit Moon. I think it is very important to, as your media [Sputnik] is doing, respond to this horrendous claims,” Chun added.

“If this peace plan between the two Koreans has the support of 90 percent of the Korean people and is going so well for Donald Trump, a Republican president, why would the New York Times place an article like that?” Kirikou asked.

“This is a propaganda piece that found its way into the New York Times,” he added.

“The author of the [New York Times ] article is actually Korean,” Chun responded, also adding that the author has taken a conservative viewpoint when it comes to foreign policy over recent years.

“The New York Times, when it comes to foreign policy, has often taken a conservative position” as well, Chun added.

Last week, Seoul, Pyongyang and the UN Command (UNC) on Monday agreed to withdraw firearms and military posts from the village of Panmunjom, known as the Joint Security Area, in the Demilitarized Zone, in what Chun called a “historic attempt” that reveals that the “two Koreas are very determined [to make peace.]”

“The two Koreas and the UNC agreed to take measures of withdrawing firearms and military posts from the JSA by October 25, and for the following two days, the three parties will conduct a joint verification,” the South Korean Ministry’s of National Defense news release said, according to the Yonhap news agency.

In June, Kim also reached an agreement with US President Donald Trump, stipulating that North Korea would make efforts to promote complete denuclearization of the peninsula in exchange for freezing US-South Korean military drills and a potential removal of US sanctions.

October 30, 2018 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , | 4 Comments

Trump Administration Follows Corporate Media Playbook for War With Iran

By John C. O’Day | FAIR | October 4, 2018

Three years ago, as Americans debated the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) agreement with the Islamic Republic of Iran—popularly known as “the Iran deal”—I highlighted a troubling media trend on FAIR.org (8/20/15): “For nearly all commentators, regardless of their position, war is the only alternative to that position.”

In the months since US President Donald Trump tore up the JCPOA agreement, his administration has been trying to make good on corporate media’s collective prediction. Last week, John Bolton (BBC, 9/26/18), Trump’s national security advisor and chief warmonger, told Iran’s leaders and the world that there would be “hell to pay” if they dare to “cross us.”

That Bolton’s bellicose statements do not send shockwaves of pure horror across a debt-strapped and war-weary United States is thanks in large part to incessant priming for war, facilitated by corporate media across the entire political spectrum, with a particular focus on Iran.

Back in 2015, while current “resistance” stalwarts like the Washington Post (4/2/15) and Politico (8/11/15) warned us that war with Iran was the most likely alternative to the JCPOA, conservative standard-bearers such as Fox News (7/14/15) and the Washington Times (8/10/15) foretold that war with Iran was the agreement’s most likely outcome. Three years hence, this dynamic has not changed.

To experience the full menu of US media’s single-mindedness about Iran, one need only buy a subscription to the New York Times. After Trump withdrew from the JCPOA, the Times’ editorial board (5/8/18) wrote that his move would “lay conditions for a possible wider war in the Middle East.” Susan Rice (New York Times, 5/8/18), President Barack Obama’s national security advisor, agreed: “We could face the choice of going to war or acquiescing to a nuclear-armed Iran,” she warned. Cartoonist Patrick Chappatte (New York Times, 5/10/18) was characteristically more direct, penning an image of Trump alongside Bolton, holding a fictitious new agreement featuring the singular, ultimate word: “WAR.”

On the other hand, calling Trump’s turn against JCPOA a “courageous decision,” Times columnist Bret Stephens (5/8/18) explained that the move was meant to force the Iranian government to make a choice: Either accede to US demands or “pursue their nuclear ambitions at the cost of economic ruin and possible war.” (Hardly courageous, when we all know there is no chance that Trump or Stephens would enlist should war materialize.)

Trump’s latest antics at the United Nations have spurred a wave of similar reaction across corporate media. Describing his threat to “totally destroy North Korea” at the UN General Assembly last year as “pointed and sharp,” Fox News anchor Eric Shawn (9/23/18) asked Bill Richardson, an Obama ally and President Bill Clinton’s ambassador to the UN, whether Trump would take the same approach toward Iran. “That aggressive policy we have with Iran is going to continue,” Richardson reassured the audience, “and I don’t think Iran is helping themselves.” In other words, if the United States starts a war with Iran, it’s totally Iran’s fault.

Politico (9/23/18), meanwhile, reported that Trump “is risking a potential war with Iran unless he engages the Islamist-led country using diplomacy.” In other words, if the United States starts a war with Iran, it’s totally Trump’s fault. Rice (New York Times, 9/26/18) reiterated her view that Trump’s rhetoric “presages the prospect of war in the Persian Gulf.” Whoever would be the responsible party is up for debate, but that war is in our future is apparently all but certain.

Politico’s article cited a statement signed by such esteemed US experts on war-making as Madeleine Albright, who presided over Clinton’s inhuman sanctions against Iraq in the ’90s, and Ryan Crocker, former ambassador for presidents George W. Bush and Obama to some of America’s favorite killing fields: Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Syria.  James Clapper, Obama’s National Intelligence Director, who also signed the letter, played an important role in trumping up WMD evidence against Saddam Hussein before the United States invaded Iraq in 2003. When it comes to US aggression, they’re the experts.

Vanity Fair (9/26/18) interviewed John Glaser of the Cato Institute, who called Trump’s strategy “pathetic,” and also warned that it forebodes war. In an effort to “one-up Obama,” Glaser explained, Trump’s plan is “to apply extreme economic pressure and explicit threats of war in order to get Iran to capitulate.” Sound familiar? As Glaser implies, this was exactly Obama’s strategy, only then it wasn’t seen as “pathetic,” but rather reasonable, and the sole means for preventing the war that every US pundit and politician saw around the corner (The Hill, 8/9/15).

When everyone decides that war is the only other possibility, it starts to look like an inevitability. But even when they aren’t overtly stoking war fever against Iran, corporate media prime the militaristic pump in more subtle yet equally disturbing ways.

Benjamin Netanyahu

Netanyahu speaks for the Iranian people on CNN (9/29/18)

First among these is the near-complete erasure of Iranian voices from US airwaves (FAIR.org, 7/24/15). Rather than ask Iranians directly, national outlets like CNN (9/29/18) prefer to invite the prime minister of Israel, serial Iran alarmist and regional pariah Benjamin Netanyahu, to speak for them. During a jovial discussion this weekend over whether regime change and/or economic collapse is Iran’s most likely fate, Netanyahu explained to the audience that, either way, “The ones who will be happiest if that happens are the people of Iran.” No people of Iran were on hand to confirm or deny this assessment.

Bloomberg (9/30/18) similarly wanted to know, “What’s not to like about Trump’s Iran oil sanctions?” Julian Lee gleefully reported that “they are crippling exports from the Islamic Republic, at minimal cost to the US.” One might think the toll sanctions take on innocent Iranians would be something not to like, but Bloomberg merely worried that, notwithstanding the windfall for US refineries, “oil at $100 a barrel would be bad news for drivers everywhere—including those in the US.” [$500,000,000 increase in gas costs, daily, just for Americans]

Another prized tactic is to whitewash Saudi Arabia, Iran’s chief geopolitical rival, whose genocidal destruction of Yemen is made possible by the United States, about which corporate media remain overwhelmingly silent (FAIR.org, 7/23/18). Iran’s involvement in Yemen, which both Trump and the New York Times (9/12/18) describe as “malign behavior,” is a principal justification for US support of Saudi Arabia, including the US-supplied bombs that recently ended the brief lives of over 40 Yemeni schoolchildren. Lockheed Martin’s stock is up 34 percent from Trump’s inauguration day.

Corporate media go beyond a simple coverup of Saudi crimes to evangelize their leadership as the liberal antidote to Iran’s “theocracy.” Who can forget Thomas Friedman’s revolting puff piece for the Saudi crown prince Mohammad bin Salman? Extensively quoting Salman (New York Times, 11/23/17), who refers to Iranian Ayatollah Ali Khamenei as “the new Hitler of the Middle East,” Friedman nevertheless remains pessimistic about whether “MBS and his team” can see their stand against Iran through, as “dysfunction and rivalries within the Sunni Arab world generally have prevented forming a unified front.” Oh well, every team needs cheerleaders, and Friedman isn’t just a fair-weather fan.

While Friedman (New York Times, 5/15/18) believes that Trump has drawn “some needed attention to Iran’s bad behavior,” for him pivotal questions remain unanswered, such as “who is going to take over in Tehran if the current Islamic regime collapses?” One immediate fix he proposed was to censure Iran’s metaphorical “occupation” of Syria, Iraq and Lebanon. Isn’t this ironic coming from an unapologetic propagandist for Washington’s decades-long, non-metaphorical occupation of the two countries to the east and west of Iran? (FAIR.org, 12/9/15)

In a surprising break from corporate media convention, USA Today (9/26/18) published a column on US/Iran relations written by an actual Iranian. Reflecting on the CIA-orchestrated coup against Iran’s elected government in 1953, Azadeh Shahshahani, who was born four days after the 1979 revolution there, wrote:

I often wonder what would have happened if that coup had not worked, if [Prime Minister] Mosaddeq had been allowed to govern, if democracy had been allowed to flourish.

“It is time for the US government to stop intervening in Iran and let the Iranian people determine their own destiny,” she beseeched readers.

Shahshahani’s call is supported by some who have rejected corporate media’s war propaganda and have gone to extreme lengths to have their perspectives heard. Anti-war activist and Code Pink  founder Medea Benjamin was recently forcibly removed after she upstaged Brian Hook, leader of Trump’s Iran Action Group, on live TV, calling his press conference “the most ridiculous thing I have ever seen” (Real News, 9/21/18). Benjamin implored the audience: “Let’s talk about Saudi Arabia. Is that who our allies are?”

“How dare you bring up the issue of Yemen,” admonished Benjamin as she was dragged from the room. “It’s the Saudi bombing that is killing most people in Yemen. So let’s get real. No more war! Peace with Iran!” Code Pink is currently petitioning the New York Times and Washington Post to stop propagandizing war.

Sadly, no matter whom you ask in corporate media, be they spokespeople for “Trump’s America” or “the resistance,” peace remains an elusive choice in the US political imagination. And while the public was focused last week on Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh’s perjurious testimony, the Senate finalized a $674 billion “defense” budget. Every single Democrat in the chamber voted in favor of the bill, explicitly naming Iran as persona non grata in the United States’ world-leading arms supply network, which has seen a 25 percent increase in exports since Obama took office in 2009.

The US government’s imperial ambitions are perhaps its only truly bipartisan project—what the New York Times euphemistically refers to as “globalism.” Nowhere was this on fuller display than at the funeral for Republican Sen. John McCain (FAIR.org, 9/11/18), where politicians of all stripes were tripping over themselves to produce the best accolades for a man who infamously sang “bomb bomb bomb, bomb bomb Iran” to the tune of a Beach Boys song.

McCain’s bloodlust was nothing new. Nearly a hundred years ago, after the West’s imperial competition culminated in the most destructive war the world had ever seen, the brilliant American sociologist and anti-colonial author WEB Du Bois wrote, “This is not Europe gone mad; this is not aberration nor insanity; this is Europe.”

Iranian leaders have repeatedly said they do not want war with the US (AP, 9/27/18), but US corporate media, despite frequently characterizing Trump as a “mad king” (FAIR.org, 6/13/18), continue to play an instrumental role in rationalizing a future war with Iran. Should such an intentional catastrophe come to pass, we can hardly say that this would be America gone mad; war is not aberration, it is always presented as the next sane choice. This is America.

October 4, 2018 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Militarism, Wars for Israel | , , , , , , | 1 Comment