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PBS: Keeper of Official State Myths

By Bill Willers | Dissident Voice | August 5, 2019

A prime function of the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) is the reinforcement and perpetuation of the state’s explanations of events, however absurd and discredited. While cultural offerings on PBS are excellent and appreciated, divergence from official governmental narratives is not permitted. PBS is a foremost informational gatekeeper, a role enhanced by its insistence that it represents the best of investigative journalism.

American Experience:  “Oklahoma City”

The official stories of the Murrah office building and 9/11 are now enshrined in memorials, the purpose of which is to make a lie the truth.

— Paul Craig Roberts, “The Oklahoma City Bombing After 22 Years”, Global Research, April 20, 2017

Once ‘terrorism’ had been established as the enemy for society to fear, it was to become extended from a force thought of as foreign to one also to be found in the American “Homeland”. A horrifying and convincing example of “domestic terrorism”, the bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City on April 19,1995, was the event that would solidify this in the public mind and serve to justify increased police powers.

There is considerable evidence that the bombing of the Murrah Building was not as reported and likely involved elements of the government itself. The air force’s explosive’s expert, Brigadier General Benton Partin has presented “irrefutable” proof that the primary damage to the building came from powerful multiple charges positioned at key points on the third floor, not from Timothy McVeigh’s truck bomb of ammonium nitrate fertilizer, a relatively weak explosive. Partin’s letter to a U.S. Senator puts this in summary.

Other explosives experts agree that the building was blown up from inside, and that there was evidence of official coverup. Nevertheless, the 2017 film “Oklahoma City” focuses on the history of neo-Nazi wrath over governmental clashes at Ruby Ridge, Idaho and Waco, Texas, where U.S. citizens were killed. The film is tailored to convince viewers that right wing domestic terrorism was behind the Murrah bombing, period. But if explosives experts are correct, this must be false, as such militants would lack both technical skill and access to the building for such a sophisticated wiring job.

There are also myriad associated questions that have never been dealt with: e.g., the police officer convinced of governmental coverup who died under mysterious circumstances; indication the FBI knew of the plan well in advance; McVeigh’s claim to have been working with an FBI agent; surveillance tapes “lost” by the FBI reportedly showing a man with McVeigh exiting the truck just before the bombing; CIA involvement which would indicate foreign implication; the fact that engineers whose analysis of the Murrah bombing was to become official were also selected to analyze the 9/11/2001 destruction of the World Trade Center, and whose report was to become the basis for Nova’s 2002 “Why The Towers Fell”.

Decision makers at PBS chose to ignore all evidence not in conformity with the government’s preferred version of events and, two decades after the bombing, to solidify the apparently false history.

NOVA: “Why the Towers Fell” 

All the proffered evidence that America was attacked by Muslims on 9/11, when subjected to critical scrutiny, appears to have been fabricated.

— David Ray Griffin, “Was America Attacked by Muslims on 9/11?“, September 10, 2008

If, on 9/11/2001, journalists Dan Rather and Peter Jennings, reporting live, could discern the similarity of the collapses of the Twin Towers to intentional demolitions, one assumes the tens of thousands of engineers watching would also be having hunches. Still, there was apparently no concerted statement of the sort from that professional community in the months following. Indeed, it was from the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) that a team of 22 was chosen by FEMA to explain to a shocked Nation, hungry for answers, why the Towers, as well as WTC7, fell as no steel-framed buildings had ever fallen. The resulting NOVA production, “Why The Towers Fell“, covered the team’s Building Performance Study and aired on PBS on April 30, 2002, just seven months after the attack.

The team was led by Gene Corley who, it happens, had also led the investigation of the 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah building in Oklahoma City, although his team’s finding there was not in accord with that of General Partin, the Air Force’s explosives expert (see above). In any event, “building performance” was the focus of both studies, without any consideration of the possibility that the buildings had been previously prepared for demolition, although there was evidence that such was the case.

While “Why The Towers Fell” can still be seen at dailymotion, only a transcript is available at the PBS website, this for good reason. Since its airing in 2002, a veritable army of engineers and researchers has rendered it more than merely inaccurate. One does not wish to disparage engineers in the video, for certainly pressure was intense to find a politically acceptable explanation for an anxious public. But evidence of the buildings having been prepared for demolition prior to 9/11 is by now overwhelming. Details of why this is so is not the point here, but good sources of information, for those interested, are Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth and virtually any of the books on the subject by David Ray Griffin.

What is glaring is the absolute silence of PBS to the accumulated mountain of evidence that the World Trade Center buildings had been carefully prepared for 9/11. In 2015, PBS showcased three Frontline presentations, all in accord with the official story, with this introduction: “Fifteen years ago, Al Qaeda operatives carried out the deadliest domestic terror attack in American history by hijacking four passenger airplanes and crashing two into the World Trade Center, one into the Pentagon and another into a Pennsylvania field”. With a single concise sentence, and a decade and a half after the event, PBS is affirming what is most certainly a false account.

American Experience:  Roads to Memphis”

William Pepper, confidante of Martin Luther King, Jr. and King Family attorney, spent decades uncovering the truth about the assassination of King. In 2010, when PBS first aired Roads To Memphis, a fictional account about designated patsy James Earl Ray, Pepper had already published two books (1995 and 2003) revealing the plot to assassinate the good Reverend, a plot involving a complex of governmental, military and underworld players. It would be hard to find a more blatant example of official state television eclipsing truth than the multiple airings by PBS of Roads To Memphis.

Even the most superficial scan of the King assassination record quickly leads to Pepper’s publications and references to them. It is not possible to have missed them. The creators and disseminators of Roads To Memphis were therefore faced with two radically opposing narratives: Pepper’s detailed expose’ on the one hand, which they chose to disregard altogether, and on the other hand the Government’s story line, which Pepper had annihilated. A side-by-side comparison of the two accounts of the assassination leaves one in a state of shock. See here Pepper’s words from the introduction of the The Plot To Kill King, the last of his trilogy:

For me, this is a story rife with sadness, replete with massive accounts of personal and public deception and betrayal. Its revelations and experiences have produced in the writer a depression stemming from an unavoidable confrontation with the depths to which human beings, even those subject to professional codes of ethics, have fallen; ….. Far from being elated that the truth is now with us face-to-face, I feel consumed by a sadness that will be a lifelong emotional presence. One significant factor is facing the reality that one has misjudged the integrity and even the basic decency of individuals, some of whom have been friends or respected comrades over many years. It is a traumatic realization that the use of political assassinations has all too often been successful at removing uncontrollable leaders whose commitment to substantive change of their societies had threatened the ruling forces, and thereby become so intolerable that physical removal remained the only option.

Despite Pepper’s The Plot To Kill King having been published in 2016, PBS was still airing Roads To Memphis a year later.

FRONTLINE: “Putin’s Revenge”

The American propaganda campaign being waged against the Russian Federation and its president Vladimir Putin has reached a stage of perverse perfection…… ‘Putin’s Revenge’ feature[s] so-called experts who outdo one another in stoking anti-Russian flames. PBS can never seem to find any expert who can make counter arguments.

— Margaret Kimberley, “Putin, Trump and Manafort“, OpEd News, November 3, 2017

Following World War 2, the U.S. was relatively unscathed, her manufacturing base for war materials was humming, stakeholders were intent on maintaining it, and a perceived enemy would justify its continuance. Russia; i.e., the Soviet Union (USSR), recently an ally, had an economic system antithetical to capitalism. The Red Scare was born, nurtured and perpetuated throughout a Cold War that was to last until 1989. But Russia had suffered Nazi invasion, and with a death toll of perhaps 20,000,000, had neither ability nor reason to threaten the U.S. in 1945. Looking back, it is unpleasant to contemplate the extent to which the Cold War was U.S. driven.

With media reinforcing the ‘Russia=Enemy!’ meme, transition into the “new” Cold War has gone smoothly, but Frontline’s “Putin’s Revenge” is a remarkable 2-hour distortion of the “Russiagate” fiasco. Centered on a claimed Russian “hacking” of 60,000 emails of the Democratic National Committee, allegedly to assist the Trump presidential campaign, it begins with the CIA’s John Brennan calling the hacking “tantamount to war”, and it never departs that focus.

As the commanding voice of narrator Will Lyman details Putin’s “lifetime of grievances” against American humiliations, the Russian’s face is shown in still shots chosen for sinister innuendo. Putin, viewers are told, “weaponized” information and sent hacked DNC emails to Wikileaks to expose Clinton’s undermining of the Sanders Campaign, thereby disuniting Democrats and aiding Trump. Along the way, there is deceptive reporting of a Russian “invasion” of Crimea, and suggestion of collusion between Putin and Trump. Commentary from governmental figures is reinforced by mainstream journalists from the NY Times, New Yorker, Washington Post, Bloomberg News, and Politico.

The two hours of “Putin’s Revenge” aired on October 25 and November 1, 2017 despite an organization of intelligence professionals having already disputed hacking claims in late 2016 and published their technical assessment by July, 2017 that the DNC emails, rather than hacked, had been downloaded; i.e., “leaked”, from within the DNC itself. It strains believability that Frontline’s researchers could have missed these. Moreover, Julian Assange had long insisted that neither Russia nor any other state party was Wikileak’s source of the DNC emails, as Frontline had to have known. Records indicate that the Clinton Campaign, aware that incriminating emails were about to be made public, conspired with the DNC and media to divert attention onto a fabricated “Russian hack”, for which there was never evidence.

Ever since the U.S. promised the Soviets in 1990 that NATO would not move “one inch to the east” of Germany, NATO military activity has expanded along Russia’s western border from the Baltic to the Black Sea, the expanse over which Napoleon and Hitler carried out their respective invasions. That is the geographic equivalent of Russian bases being placed along a U.S. border. Crimea is the site of Russia’s naval base on the Black Sea, where U.S. warships have been cruising in recent years, and the northeast quadrant of which is Russian coastline. Base and coastline had to be protected without delay. In response to NATO-driven regime-change in western Ukraine, a referendum for union with Russia (not covered in the Frontline piece) was held in Crimea. Russian blood and culture dominate in Crimea, and the referendum passed by a reported 95%, hence Russia’s annexation. Frontline’s depiction of an “invasion” is beyond merely simplistic and is illustrative of why Americans are so ignorant of world affairs.

American mainstream journalism is now a tapestry of lies of omission. PBS, however, is a standout in this area, because its prominent, “in depth” productions on Nova, American Experience and Frontline are considered widely to represent the best investigative journalism available. It is this reputation that places PBS above the networks in the public mind. As PBS has willfully avoided specific areas for exploration, and has excluded truths that a governmental power structure does not want aired, it has made itself a powerful tool in the rewriting of history.

Bill Willers is an emeritus professor of biology, University of Wisconsin at Oshkosh. He is founder of the Superior Wilderness Action Network and editor of Learning to Listen to the Land, and Unmanaged Landscapes, both from Island Press. He can be contacted at willers@uwosh.edu.

August 6, 2019 Posted by | Deception, Fake News, False Flag Terrorism, Film Review, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Russophobia, Timeless or most popular | , | Leave a comment

MSM Mourns Death Of CIA-Backed Syrian Al-Qaeda/ISIS Ally

By Caitlin Johnstone | June 8, 2019

On Wednesday the alternative media outlet Southfront published an article titled “New Video Throws Light On Jaysh Al-Izza High-Tolerance To Al-Qaeda Ideology” about newly discovered footage showing the leader of a “rebel” faction in Syria cozying up with a militant who was wearing a badge of the official flag of ISIS.

“The video shows Jaysh al-Izza General Commander Major Jamil al-Saleh congratulating a group of his fighters on the occasion of Eid al-Fitr in a underground bunker,” Southfront reports. “One of the fighters greeted by Saleh was wearing a batch of the Islamic Black Standard with the Seal of Muhammad. This is a well-known symbol of al-Qaeda and the official flag of ISIS.”

Today, mass media outlets are mourning the death of a well-known Jaysh al-Izza fighter named Abdel-Basset al-Sarout with grief-stricken beatifications not seen since the death of war criminal John McCain. An Associated Press report which has been published by major news outlets like The New York Times, The Guardian, PBS and Bloomberg commemorates Sarout as a “Syrian soccer goalkeeper” who “won international titles representing his country”, as “the singer of the revolution”, and as “an icon among Syria’s opposition”.

Remember Major Jamil al-Saleh from two paragraphs ago? AP features his glowing eulogy in its write-up on Sarout’s death:

“He was both a popular figure, guiding the rebellion, and a military commander,” said Maj. Jamil al-Saleh, leader of Jaish al-Izza rebel group, in which Sarout was a commander. “His martyrdom will give us a push to continue down the path he chose and to which he offered his soul and blood as sacrifice.”

Other mainstream outlets like BBC, The Daily Beast and Al Jazeera have contributed their own fawning hagiographies of the late Jaysh al-Izza commander.

“Formed in 2013, Jaysh al-Izza was one of the first Free Syrian Army (FSA) groups in northern Syria to benefit from U.S. support through the CIA’s ‘Timber Sycamore’ train and equip program, which had been approved by then U.S. President Barack Obama,” Southfront reports in the aforementioned article. “The group received loads of weapons from the U.S. including Grad rockets, as well as Fagot and TOW anti-tank guided missiles (ATGMs).”

“Jaysh al-Izza received this support under the pretension of being a ‘moderate group’ led by a known Syrian Arab Army (SAA) defector, al-Saleh,” Southfront adds. “However, the group’s acts were not in line with these claims. Since its formation, Jaysh al-Izza has been deeply linked to al-Qaeda’s branch in Syria, the al-Nusra Front. The group became one of the main allies of al-Nusra when its changed its name to Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) in 2017.”

“Western thought leaders are lionizing Abdel Baset al-Sarout who was killed fighting the Syrian army,” tweeted journalist Dan Cohen of the mass media response to Sarout’s death. “They conveniently omit that he fought in a militia allied with al-Qaeda and pledged allegiance to ISIS.”

Cohen linked to an excerpt from his mini-documentary The Syria Deception featuring footage of Sarout holding an ISIS flag, leading chants calling for the extermination of the Alawite minority in Syria, and announcing his allegiance to ISIS.

Other publicly available video footage includes a speech by Sarout urging cooperation between his own faction, ISIS and Jabhat al-Nusra (Al-Qaeda’s Syrian franchise), saying “we know that these two groups are not politicized and have the same goals as us, and are working for God.”

“God willing we will work with them shoulder-to-shoulder when we leave here,” Sarout has been translated as saying in the speech. “And we are not Christians or Shiaa to be scared of suicide belts and car bombs. We consider these things as strengths of ours, and God willing they will be just that. This message is to the Islamic State and our brothers in Jabhat al-Nusra, that when we come out of here we will all be one hand to fight Christians and not to have internal fights among ourselves. We want to take back all the lands that have been filthied by the regime, that were entered and taken over by Shiaas and apostates.”

This bloodthirsty terrorist warmongering was taken by the aforementioned AP hagiography and twisted into the single sentence, “He repeatedly denounced rebel infighting and called on Syrians to unite against government forces.”

The Atlantic’s Hassan Hassan framed Sarout’s unconscionable agendas as mere “flaws” which actually add to his inspiring and heroic story, tweeting, “Some individuals celebrated as heroes make you doubt all stories of heroes in history books. Others, like Abdulbasit Sarout, not inspire of but despite his flaws, make those stories highly plausible. He’s a true legend & his story is well documented. May his soul rest in peace.”

Yeah, come on, everybody’s got flaws. Some people suck at parallel parking, some people team up with ISIS and Al-Qaeda on genocidal extermination campaigns. We’ve all got our quirky little foibles.

We can expect more and more of these mass media distortions as Syria and its allies draw closer to recapturing Syrian land from the extremist forces which nearly succeeded in toppling Damascus just a few short years ago.

As these distortions pour in, keep this in mind: all of the violence that is still happening in Syria is the fault of the US and its allies, who helped extremist jihadist factions like Jaysh al-Izza overrun the nation to advance the preexisting goal of effecting regime change. The blame for all the death, suffering and chaos which ensues from a sovereign nation fighting to reclaim its land from these bloodthirsty factions rests solely on the government bodies which inflicted their dominance over the region in the first place.

You will see continuing melodramatic garment-rending from the US State Department and its mass media stenographers about “war crimes” and “human rights violations” as though the responsibility for this violence rests somewhere other than on the US-centralized power alliance, but they will be lying. What these warmongering propagandists are doing is exactly the same as paying a bunch of violent thugs to break into a home and murder its owner, then standing by and sounding the alarm about the way the homeowner chooses to fight off their assailants.

After it was discovered that the US and its allies armed actual, literal terrorist factions in Syria with the goal of effecting regime change, the only sane response would have been for the public to loudly and aggressively demand that all governments involved to take immediate action to completely rectify all damage done by this unforgivable war crime at any cost, and for there to be war crimes tribunals for every decision maker who was a part of it. Instead, because of propaganda circulated by the same mass media narrative management firms who are sanctifying the memory of Abdel-Basset al-Sarout today, the public remains asleep to the depravity of its rulers. This dynamic must change if we are to survive and thrive as a species.

June 10, 2019 Posted by | War Crimes | , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Media Stenography Turns Beheaded Saudi Protesters Into ‘Terrorism’

By Esha Krishnaswamy | FAIR | May 15, 2019

Saudi Arabia executed 37 men on April 23, as it announced in a press release in its official gazette. The first line of the release read, “Saudi Arabia said it executed 37 citizens last Tuesday after they were convicted of terrorism.”

A cursory Google search would have shown that this assertion was completely false. But many in the US press dutifully stenographed this claim into a headline:

  • “37 Saudis Executed for Terrorism-Related Crimes”: Time (4/23/19)
  • “Saudi Arabia Executes 37 in One Day for Terrorism”: New York Times (4/23/19)
  • “Saudi Arabia Beheads 37 Prisoners for Terrorism Crimes”: PBS NewsHour (4/23/19)

In fact, by looking at court documents from the Saudi government, we know that of these 37 men, 11 of them were accused of being “Iranian spies,” and 22 were accused of participating in a demonstration during the Arab Spring. (These 33 belonged to the Shia minority; the others practiced Sunni Islam or could not be identified.)

Time‘s headline (4/23/19) accepts the reality of the Saudi government charges against the people it executed–which weren’t even the actual charges they were convicted under

Of the 22 men accused of protesting, six were juveniles at the time. Mujtaba Al Suweikat was on his way to study at Western Michigan University when the Saudi authorities arrested him and charged him with “inciting disloyalty to the king.”

Saeed Mohammed Al Skafi was 17 during the protests. One of the charges against him was “posting pictures of other detainees.” Most of the others were convicted of offenses like “chanting disloyal slogans about the king” and “using social media to incite demonstrations.”

Of the 11 convicted of being Iranian spies, they were also found guilty of farcical offenses such as “condemning the bloodshed” (in February 2012, Saudi forces in the Shia-majority Saudi governorate of Qatif had sprayed protesters with bullets) and saving images and documents of the protests (which are also available on YouTube) on their hard drives.

Among the other four people executed, Khaled Al Tuwairji, a Sunni, was accused of killing Maj. Gen. Nasser Othman. However, all three outlets repeated that he was a “Sunni extremist,” for which we have no other evidence. Al Tuwairji was tortured into a confession (Erem News, 4/23/19).  But all three outlets justified his execution and subsequent crucifixion by insisting that he was a convicted Sunni militant.

Another of the Sunnis executed, Khaled Al Farraj, was convicted on the vague charge of being affiliated with an outlawed terrorist organization. But even according to Saudi state media, he didn’t engage in any acts of terrorism. He is the only one of the 37 people executed who seems to have been charged with a terrorism-related offense.

PBS NewsHour (4/23/19)

Having false information in the headlines is extremely prejudicial. Studies have repeatedly shown a large portion of readers do not read past the headlines–and those that do end up remembering the headline the most.

In its first version of the article, which has changed since then, the New York Times wrote of Saudi Arabia, “It listed the 37 men by name but provided little information about what specific crimes had been committed by whom or when.” Instead of relying on a Saudi press release, the Times could have tried a cursory web search–or even searched its own archives. In an article by the Times editorial board (8/3/17) nearly two years ago, it had a short biography of Mujtaba Al Suweikat, the “disloyal” Western Michigan student, and the specific crimes he had been charged with.

Though the Times article was edited after publication to include some information that didn’t come from the Saudi press release–citing a Human Rights Watch official’s concern that many of the cases “raised serious rights concerns,” for example–the revised article was still misleading. For example, in paragraph three, it stated, “Some men had been involved in bomb attacks on security headquarters that had killed officers, the [state news] agency said.” As far as we know, none of the 37 executed men had been involved in any bomb attacks, but the Times never challenged this Saudi government assertion.

Furthermore, the Times said that 14 of those killed had been arrested in relation to “sometimes violent protests.”  It failed to mention that that violence came from the Saudi government. This video, from July 2012, clearly shows Saudi police firing on unarmed protesters. In searching through the news archives, articles have repeatedly mentioned protesters being shot by the Saudi police. There appear to be no reports (outside Saudi propaganda statements) of violence emanating from the protesters.

The articles in the Times, Time magazine and the NewsHour all mentioned Saudi/Iranian relations, thereby amplifying longstanding Saudi propaganda that accuses Shia of being naturally loyal to Iran, which is blamed for  “stoking unrest” to justify brutal crackdowns of the religious minority.

All three outlets also added gratuitous details about the attack in Sri Lanka and/or other ISIS-related attacks–attacks that there’s no suggestion any of the defendants were connected to. In fact, most of these defendants were arrested before ISIS existed. And a majority of those killed, being Shiites, would be viewed by ISIS as heretics. To bring up these attacks seems like a distraction from the topic of the stories, which is the Saudi government beheading people who have for the most part been accused mainly of being dissidents.

May 18, 2019 Posted by | Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , | Leave a comment

Saudi-US Propaganda by PBS NewsHour in Houthi-held Yemen

By William Boardman | Reader Supported News | July 24, 2018

One of the poorest countries in the Middle East, Yemen’s war has pushed it to the brink of famine. A Saudi blockade has slowed the flow of food and helped push prices up. Markets and businesses are ruined from airstrikes. Millions are destitute. Special correspondent Jane Ferguson smuggled herself across front lines to report on what’s happening inside the world’s worst humanitarian disaster.

— PBS NewsHour summary, July 2, 2018

This is what American tax-supported propaganda looks like when an organization like the PBS NewsHour wants to maintain a semblance of credibility while lying through its intimidated teeth. Yes, Yemen is one of the poorest countries in the world, long dependent on imported food and other life support. But to say “Yemen’s war” is major league deceit, and PBS surely knows the truth: that the war on Yemen is American-backed, initiated – illegally – in March 2015 by a Saudi-led coalition that includes the UAE (United Arab Emirates). The US/Saudi war is genocidal, creating famine and a cholera epidemic for military purposes. These are American and Arab war crimes that almost no one wants to acknowledge, much less confront.

The “Saudi blockade” is also a US Navy blockade. The blockade is a war crime. Starving civilians is a war crime.

The most amazing sentence is: “Markets and businesses are ruined from airstrikes.” Seems rather bland. But this is a tacit admission of more war crimes – Saudi bombing of civilian businesses, as well as civilian hospitals, weddings, and funerals. But PBS makes it sound like the airstrikes sort of come out of nowhere, like the rain. PBS omits the American culpability that makes the airstrikes possible: mid-air refueling, targeting support, intelligence sharing, and the rest. Think of Guernica, the fascist bombing of civilians that inspired Picasso’s painting. Now think of Guernica lasting three years. That’s what the US has supported in Yemen and that’s what PBS helps cover up.

Yes, “Millions are destitute,” and yes, this is “the world’s worst humanitarian disaster.” But an honest news organization might go on to note that the destitution and the disaster are deliberate results of the world’s most relentless war crime.

From a journalistic perspective, getting the perky blonde reporter Jane Ferguson into northern Yemen, where the Houthis have been in control since 2014, is an accomplishment of note. There has been little firsthand reporting from Houthi Yemen, where the worst war crimes have been committed and the worst suffering continues. Ferguson’s presence was certainly an opportunity for serious independent reporting. PBS didn’t allow that. Based on no persuasive evidence, PBS NewsHour host Judy Woodruff framed the report as coming from “territory held by the Iranian-backed Houthi rebels.” There is no credible evidence of meaningful Iranian support for the Houthis. To believe there is, one has to believe the Iranians are consistently getting through the US-Saudi blockade. PBS ignores such realities, as do most Washington policy-makers. Woodruff does acknowledge in her weaselly way that it’s “a brutal war that the United States is supporting through a Saudi-led coalition,” which is still a long way from the truth that it’s a genocidal bombing campaign made possible by the US.

Reporter Ferguson adds to the distraction by focusing on the poverty and suffering as if they came from nowhere:

Life is slipping away from Maimona Shaghadar. She suffers the agony of starvation in silence. No longer able to walk or talk, at 11 years old, little Maimona’s emaciated body weighs just 24 pounds. Watching over her is older brother Najib, who brought her to this remote hospital in Yemen, desperate to get help. The nurses here fight for the lives of children who are starving….

You were never supposed to see these images of Maimona. A blockade of rebel-held Northern Yemen stops reporters from getting here. Journalists are not allowed on flights into the area. No cameras, no pictures.

That last bit of self-dramatization of the daring journalist glosses over a harsh reality: in addition to waging a genocidal war on a trapped population, the US-Saudi axis is also enforcing isolation and censorship on the victim population. It is a US-Saudi blockade that keeps reporters out, preventing firsthand reporting of endless war crimes. Who says? Jane Ferguson says:

The Houthis cautiously welcomed me in and, once I was there, watched me closely.

Ferguson’s coverage of the hunger and starvation is heart-wrenching, journalism at its most moving but least informative. She frames her narrative falsely:

In the midst of political chaos in Yemen after the Arab Spring, Houthi rebels from the north captured the capital, Sanaa, in 2014, before sweeping south and causing the country’s then president to flee. Neighboring Sunni, Saudi Arabia, views the Houthis, from a Yemeni sect close to Shia Islam and backed by rival Iran, as an unacceptable threat along their border.

Political chaos is Yemen is decades if not centuries old, often fomented by the Saudis and other outside powers. The Houthis have been there for thousands of years (as Ferguson later acknowledges) and their dispute with the Saudis is ancient and territorial. The Houthis’ religion is independent. The influence of Iran is largely a Saudi night-fright made increasingly real by the war the Saudis say is supposed to stop Iran. This is contrary to the official story. Ferguson does not acknowledge it.

Ferguson pitches the second part of her three-part series, deceitfully understating American responsibility for the carnage. She doesn’t mention that the war would not have started without a US green light, saying only:

But there is a role played by the U.S. military, one that is sort of more passively behind, not quite as visible. And so we’re going to be looking at that role.

This is the official position of the Pentagon, which has claimed the US is not involved in combat in Yemen. The US role that is “more passively behind, not quite so visible” is still crucial to killing Yemenis on a daily basis. The war on Yemen began with US blessing and continues only because of US political, logistical, and materiel support. Jane Ferguson begins this segment with a reasonably accurate albeit morally numb description:

Inside rebel territory in Yemen, the war rains down from the sky. On the ground, front lines have not moved much in the past three years of conflict. Instead, an aerial bombing campaign by the Saudi-led and American-backed coalition hammers much of the country’s north….

Treating war crimes against defenseless people as a kind of natural disaster is barren of journalistic integrity and gives the war criminals a pass when they need calling out. Ferguson goes on in her antiseptic, no-one’s-responsible manner to illustrate the killing of civilians and the destruction of civilian facilities, including a Doctors Without Borders cholera clinic. She also documents US-made weaponry, including an array of unexploded bombs and a collection of cluster bombs. She doesn’t mention that cluster bombs are banned by most of the world and constitute a war crime in themselves. She does note that cluster bombs often wound civilians, then follows this fact with the gratuitously propagandistic comment: “The Houthis have also targeted civilians, throwing anyone suspected of opposing them in jail.” She has no follow-up, leaving the audience with a false moral equivalence between blowing off a child’s arm and throwing someone in jail. But it gets worse. Ferguson later gets off this political judo move:

Most people here, whether they support the Houthis or not, know that many of the bombs being dropped are American. It provides a strong propaganda tool for the Houthi rebels, who go by the slogan “Death to America.”

What does that even mean, “go by the slogan ‘Death to America’?” Again Ferguson has no follow-up. Later she shows a crowd chanting “Death to America” as if that has relevance. Why wouldn’t the defenseless victims wish death on the country that murders them without surcease? The main purpose of introducing “Death to America” (with all its Iran-hostage resonance) seems propagandistic, to inflame American audiences that remain in denial about their own very real war guilt. American-supported bombing of Yemen is a fact. It is, quite literally, “Death to Yemen.” For Ferguson to call it a “strong propaganda tool” is a Big Lie in classic propaganda tradition. For PBS to broadcast this lie is to engage in propaganda. PBS and Ferguson not only blame the victim, they characterize their very real victimization as if it weren’t true but mere propaganda. At the end of the segment, Ferguson once again engages in false moral equivalence:

Both the Houthis and the Saudi-led coalition have disregarded innocent civilian life in this war. Every bomb that falls on a hospital, office building or home causes more unease about where they come from.

While it may well be true that “both sides” have killed or wounded civilians, there is absolutely no comparison in scale. The US-Saudi coalition comprises mass murderers; the Houthis don’t come close. “Every bomb that falls,” Ferguson should have said, is dropped by the US-Saudi side on the Houthi side. There is no doubt where the bombs come from.

In her third and last PBS segment, Ferguson foregoes any effort to explore the reality of hundreds of years of Houthi-Saudi territorial conflict. Instead, she goes to bed with US propaganda, opening with a crowd of Yemenis chanting “Death to America” and then stating:

These rebels, known as Houthis, seized control of Sanaa City and much of the north of the country in 2014. They are of Yemen’s Zaydi sect and closest to Shia Islam. Their growing power caused alarm across the border in Sunni Saudi Arabia, so the Saudis formed a coalition of Arab countries to defeat them, a coalition backed by the United States.

This is so twisted it amounts to intellectual fraud. Yemen has a long, tortured history of foreign interference. In the years before 2014, Yemen served (without much choice) as a base for US drone bases. At the same time, the international community imposed a Saudi puppet as Yemen’s president (presently in exile in Saudi Arabia). In 2014, the Houthi uprising, widely popular among Yemen’s 28 million people, drove out both the US drone bases and the Saudi puppet president. The Houthis represented something like Yemeni independence, which the US, Saudis, and others opposed with lethal force.

US support for the war in Yemen constitutes an impeachable offense for two American presidents. So do continuing drone strikes, also known as presidential assassinations. The war began because President Obama approved it and the Saudis were willing to bomb a defenseless population. But according to Ferguson:

The Saudis and the United States say the Houthis are puppets for Tehran, a proxy form of Iranian military power right on Saudi Arabia’s doorstep.

This is real propaganda. There is no evidence that the Houthis are anyone’s puppets (which is one reason they need to be oppressed). Historically, the Houthis are an oppressed people who keep rising up again and again to re-establish their own freedom and independence. There is no credible evidence of significant Iranian presence in Yemen. PBS and Ferguson certainly present none, and neither have the US or Saudi governments. American demonization of Iran has been a fixed idea since 1979, rooted in two psychopathologies: American unwillingness to accept responsibility for imposing a police state on Iran and American inability to see the hostage-taking of 1979 as a rational response to past American predation. American exceptionalism is a sickness that punishes others, currently millions of innocent Yemenis.

Ferguson concludes her series with a dishonest use of journalistic balance, first with a quote from Senator Bernie Sanders arguing that the US role in the Yemen war is unconstitutional. Rather than assess that straightforward argument, Ferguson turns to an Idaho Republican, Senator James Reich, who offers fairy dust and lies:

The Iranians are in there and they are causing the difficulty that’s there. If the Iranians would back off, I have no doubt that the Saudis will back off. But the Saudis have the absolute right to defend themselves.

Imaginary Iranians aren’t there now and they weren’t there when the Saudis attacked in 2015. No one attacked Saudi Arabia. The Saudis are not defending themselves, they are waging aggressive war.

By balancing these quotes, Ferguson creates yet another false moral equivalence. There is no meaningful equivalence between Bernie Sanders challenging the president’s right to take the country to war on his own and James Reich using a lie to defend war-making that disregards Congress. PBS should be ashamed. Jane Ferguson offers a fig leaf with another quote from Bernie Sanders:

I don’t know that I have ever participated in a vote which says that the United States must be an ally to Saudi’s militaristic ambitions. This is a despotic regime which treats women as third-class citizens. There are no elections there. They have their own goals and their own ambitions.*

All this is true, but Ferguson has no follow up. Instead she again offers spurious analysis: “American support for Saudi Arabia is a major propaganda tool for the Houthis.” No, it’s not. American support for the Saudis is not propaganda, it’s a lethal reality for the Houthis and a crime against humanity for the world. Ferguson completes her piece with a soppy lament for civilian victims, as if no one is responsible for their suffering. That’s one last lie. There are many people responsible for the horror in Yemen today and leading the list is the US-Saudi coalition. It doesn’t take much intelligence to see that, but apparently it takes more courage than PBS has to report the obvious.

*[Yet Sanders campaigned on using Saudi troops to depose Syria’s legitimate and secular government – Aletho News ]

August 14, 2018 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , , | 1 Comment

The Two Conflicting Histories of the King Assassination

By Bill Willers | Dissident Voice | July 10, 2018

There are now in the public sphere two totally contradictory narratives of the assassination in 1968 of Martin Luther King, Jr. with each being advanced again and again over the years by respective advocates as if the other did not exist.

Attorney William Pepper, confidant of Martin Luther King, Jr., became convinced in 1978 that James Earl Ray, the officially declared lone gunman, was innocent. Years of investigation led to his 1995 book, Orders to Kill, in which Pepper presented evidence of governmental involvement in the assassination. Three years later, Gerald Posner, already famous for his support for the Warren Commission’s report concerning President Kennedy’s assassination, published Killing the Dream, a defense of the official governmental contention that Ray was the assassin. The King Family also believed Ray innocent, but due to governmental refusal to pursue a criminal trial, there was instead a 1999 civil trial, The King Family vs. Loyd Jowers et al. Jowers, who had admitted having received the rifle actually used in the shooting, was granted immunity to reveal all he knew. All facets of news media boycotted the trial, arguably the de facto “Trial of the Century”.

History A

The trial brought together three decades of accumulated information, much for the first time. James Earl Ray was shown as set up to take blame for the killing. Some Memphis policemen had met in Jim’s Grill, where Jowers worked, while planning the assassination. The fatal shot, rather than fired by Ray from a rooming house, as officially reported, was seen by eyewitnesses to have come from a brushy area across the street from the Lorraine Motel. Police units near the Lorraine were called away prior to the shooting, as were the “Invaders”, a gang being lodged at the Lorraine while coordinating with King on the planned sanitation worker’s strike. Inexplicably, within hours following the assassination the brushy area was cut to the ground by the city. Many witnesses were not interviewed, and those with accounts at odds with the governmental explanation were ignored.

The 30-06 rifle presented as the murder weapon had actually been discovered next to a shop door wrapped in a bedspread ten minutes before the shooting. Moreover, it had not been sighted in so could not have hit at point of aim, and bullets found with it did not match the bullet taken from King’s body. The bathroom from which Ray is supposed to have fired was seen by a witness to be empty at the time of the shooting, and observers saw Ray drive away from the area a quarter hour before the shooting. Jowers, who worked at Jim’s Grill, adjacent to the brushy area, was handed a still smoking rifle after the shot was fired, which rifle he hid until giving it the following day to a collaborator to throw into the Mississippi river.

US Army Intelligence maintained surveillance on King, who had become a problem for the Federal Government through his opposition to the Vietnam War and for his plans for a Poor People’s Campaign aimed at obstructing governmental function. Army photographers, positioned on a roof near the Lorraine, photographed the shooter lowering his rifle and departing the brushy area. There were multiple military snipers as backup shooters if needed. Elements of the military, CIA, FBI, Alabama National Guard, Memphis Police, and the Mafia were identified as components of a carefully organized conspiracy.

The trial ended with the jury unanimous in finding that King had been assassinated not by James Earl Ray but by means of a conspiracy involving Jowers (30%) and “others including governmental agencies” (70%). Although the trial did not make the news, a Washington Post editorial (December 12, 1999, pg B08) stated “The more quickly and completely this jury’s discredited verdict is forgotten, the better”. (Note: That editorial is apparently no longer available in the Post’s online archive). In 2003, Pepper published An Act Of State, a book detailing the court’s findings.

History B

In 2010, writer Hampton Sides published Hellhound On His Trail, like Gerald Posner’s 1998 book an elaboration of the official governmental report portraying James Earl Ray as lone assassin. Sides described movements of King and Ray during days leading up to King’s killing on April 4, 1968 and of the ensuing hunt by the authorities for Ray. In minute-by-minute detail, Sides has Ray, a racist interested in a reported bounty, following King to Memphis and renting a room in a boarding house with a clear view of the balcony outside King’s Lorraine Motel room. With King in view, Ray rests a recently purchased, scoped 30-06 on the bathroom windowsill and fires, mortally wounding King. Ray then wraps rifle and other items in a bedspread, runs from the building and, seeing police within view of his car, ditches the suspicious looking bundle next to a shop door. He then departs and is on the run until his arrest.

Meanwhile, King was hurried to ER at Catholic-run St. Joseph’s hospital, where Drs. Ted Galyon and Rufus Brown attended him. Shortly, others, including various specialists, entered. Ralph Abernathy remained in the room along with Reverend Bernard Lee. At 7:05 PM King was pronounced dead by Dr. Jerome Basso, who closed King’s eyes. The bullet found in King is reported by Sides to be consistent with ammunition purchased by Ray and found with his rifle.

Although Sides claims to have explored all available sources of data, including “court proceedings”, declares that he “drew from a wealth of memoirs written by the King Family”, and lists the King Center in his bibliography, there is mention neither of the 1999 trial nor of William Pepper’s two books, published years earlier than his 2010 book. However, and despite years of media censorship, awareness of both the trial and of Pepper’s books had spread by 2010, so one must conclude that Sides’ omissions were deliberate. The evasion of such a quantity of opposing information is fatal to Hellhound On His Trail as an objective history.

Nevertheless, in 2010, the same year as the release of Hellhound On His Trail, the PBS television program “American Experience” aired Roads to Memphis, a documentary film described as “the entwined stories of assassin James Earl Ray and his target, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.” The film, for which Sides was historical consultant, was based on his book and featured commentary by Sides himself, as well as by author Gerald Posner, an established supporter of the official governmental account. As the book, so the film, in that there was no mention of either the trial or of Pepper’s books. Like Hellhound On His Trail, Roads to Memphis serves as forceful support for the Government’s narrative.

2016: Pepper’s Magnum Opus

William Pepper published The Plot To Kill King, a 770-page detailed summation of the Government’s role in the killing with new material gathered since his 2003 book. Here, Pepper traced the long-term strategy to bring both King and Ray to Memphis. Half of the book consists of appendices revealing military, CIA, FBI, Memphis police and Mafia involvement in the assassination and supportive of Ray’s innocence. The claim by attorney Percy Foreman that he had never pressured his client into a rash, untimely guilty plea is shown to be a lie by a letter from Foreman in which he offers Ray money “… contingent upon the plea of guilty and … without any unseemly conduct on your part in court.” There is a photocopy of the letter in the book’s appendix.

Pepper writes, “At Hoover’s request, James [Earl Ray] had been profiled as a potential scapegoat.” Clyde Tolson, Hoover’s deputy at the FBI, and shown by Pepper to be a central figure in the conspiracy, paid a prison official to engineer Ray’s escape from a prison, so that this designated patsy could thereafter be managed by another conspirator, Raul Coelho, who would then guide Ray to Memphis. Tolson distributed cash, some of which apparently made its way to Jesse Jackson. Jackson, along with others within King’s group, is depicted as an informant paid by the FBI to relay information on King. There is also a report that it was Jackson who had King’s room changed from the ground floor of the Lorraine to the more exposed second floor with its open balcony, and who ordered the Invaders away from the Lorraine shortly before the shooting. Pepper claims that evidence indicates the actual shooter to have been Memphis Police sharpshooter Frank Strausser.

Mortally wounded, King was taken to St. Joseph’s Hospital where, surprisingly, “a large presence” of military intelligence officers had taken positions well before the shot was fired. More surprisingly, the hospital’s head surgeon, Breen Bland, accompanied by two men in suits, entered the hospital room in which King was being attended by medical staff. Bland is quoted as shouting, “Stop working on the nigger and let him die” and then ordering everyone out of the room. Personnel hearing the sound of men clearing their throats lingered behind and reported seeing Bland and his two accomplices spit on King, after which Bland smothered King to death with a pillow (Note: Pepper describes this in a 2017 lecture, here on Vimeo).

2118: PBS Takes a Stand 

In the spring of 2018 there were multiple airings on the PBS program “American Experience” of Hampton Sides’ 2010 film Roads to Memphis. This is renewed reinforcement by PBS of the Government’s depiction of James Earl Ray as lone assassin and an excellent illustration of how televised media can function as servant of the State.

Sides’ contention that he drew from memoirs of the King Family as part of his thorough research is at odds with a filmed interview by ABC of the entire King Family. From dialogue, as well as from the youth of the family members, it is clear the interview was pre-1999 Trial (Note: The link indicated is to a 2-hour piece available, at the time of this writing, on YouTube. Start at 1:03 for the 5-minute segment of the King Family interview). In it, Dexter King states, “Evidence I’ve seen or heard will vindicate or exonerate James Earl Ray”. When asked who was behind the assassination, Dexter continues, “I am told that it was part-and-parcel Army Intelligence, CIA, FBI”. When the interviewer says, “This is a staggering idea to carry around”, Dexter answers, with a short derisive laugh, “I think we knew it all along. It’s why we’re not, like, jumping out of our seats, because we’ve known for years.” How on earth could Sides (or Posner) have overlooked such as that?

Although the keepers of the nation’s information gates have striven to bury the results of William Pepper’s four decade quest for the truth of King’s death, millions by now have been exposed to the fact that two opposing explanations of King’s murder continue to exist. Theologian James Douglass, who attended the 1999 trial, later wrote an article in which he stated:

The Memphis trial has opened wide the door to our assassination politics. Anyone who walks through it is faced by an either/or: to declare naked either the empire or oneself.

Bill Willers is an emeritus professor of biology, University of Wisconsin at Oshkosh. He is founder of the Superior Wilderness Action Network and editor of Learning to Listen to the Land, and Unmanaged Landscapes, both from Island Press. He can be contacted at willer@uwosh.edu.

July 10, 2018 Posted by | Book Review, Civil Liberties, Deception, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Putin, Trump and Manafort

By Margaret Kimberley | Black Agenda Report | November 1, 2017

The American propaganda campaign being waged against the Russian Federation and its president Vladimir Putin has reached a stage of perverse perfection. It is virtually impossible to put forth a dissenting opinion that will be accepted or considered worthy of consideration. The Democrats are leading the charge to silence and censor and they are getting buy-in from people who otherwise consider themselves to be progressive.

This columnist has been interviewed on Radio Sputnik on two occasions. That fact should not be at all noteworthy but in the current atmosphere of Russophobia being pushed by the corporate media and Democratic politicians, it is a risky statement to make. Sputnik International is a Russian government entity, just as the BBC is “state run media” on behalf of the British government and the CBC for Canada. But anyone and anything connected to Russia gets the double standard treatment and is targeted for attack.

Marcus Ferrell was until recently a campaign staffer for Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams. He resigned after the Atlanta Journal Constitution revealed that he had been a guest on the program By Any Means Necessary which is hosted by Sputnik. Ferrell didn’t discuss Russia at all. Confederate monuments were the topic of conversation. But the level of fear is so great that he felt compelled to resign. His boss made no effort to fight against the tide and she didn’t defend him either.

Every day a new shoe drops in this faux scandal. Twitter announced that it would not accept advertisements from Sputnik or RT, formerly known as Russia Today. Sputnik had never even paid for ads on Twitter but why be bothered by facts when ginned up phony outrage is so readily available.

It is Democrats who demanded that Facebook and Twitter stop telling the truth about Eastern European click bait schemes and instead join in that party’s witch hunt. Now we are told that Russian social media posts meant to influence American politics reached 126 million people on Facebook over a two-year period. Of course the last paragraphs of that story reveal that only one out of 23,000 pieces of content actually reached anyone. That fact is too inconvenient and makes for a bad headline.

While social media giants are submitting to marching orders, the state and corporate sponsored Public Broadcasting System (PBS) produced its second anti-Putin documentary in as many years. First “Putin’s Way” in 2015 and now “Putin’s Revenge” feature so-called experts who outdo one another in stoking anti-Russian flames. PBS can never seem to find any expert who can make counter arguments.

While the corporate media compete to see who can dumb down the country the fastest, the legal wheels are turning to get Trump out of office and Russia is the pretext for the action. Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort has been indicted for tax fraud. His indictment is just the beginning of the bipartisan effort to end the Trump presidency. They hope to resume doing the elites’ business without hindrance from the man who is so bad for the neoliberal brand.

Nothing matters to liberals more than getting Trump out of office. Their juvenile political understanding was turned upside down by Hillary Clinton’s defeat and they haven’t been the same since. They are obsessed with the man they hate. They have been fed a steady diet of red meat which explains away their illusions about the failed Democratic Party and the fact that millions of their fellow citizens don’t see the world the way they do.

Paul Manafort was a long time Republican Party operative going back to the days of Ronald Reagan’s presidential campaign. He used his connections to become a lobbyist, a hired gun for governments ranging from Nigeria to the Philippines to Kenya to Romania to Ukraine. Manafort would not be facing serious legal jeopardy if he hadn’t taken on that particular gig.

We are told that Ukraine’s former president Victor Yanukovich was “pro Russian” and that Manafort’s representation proves Russian interference in the 2016 presidential campaign. Neither statement is true but no one knows outside of the small circle of people who make herculean efforts to educate themselves about world affairs.

As the old saying goes, the fix is in. Manafort is just the first notch on former FBI director Robert Mueller’s gun. He will go after other Trump connected cronies and relatives who have done shady business but that won’t be the reason for the pursuit. There are many sleazy American lobbyists and business people but no one cares until there is a moment when their downfall is politically useful.

Free speech is being undermined, the left are losing their access to media and prosecutors are going after crooks, but not because they want justice to be done. If Putin was trying to destroy America he couldn’t do a better job than the media, crooked politicians and the deluded liberals who all work together.

Margaret Kimberley can be reached via e-Mail at Margaret.Kimberley(at)BlackAgendaReport.com.

November 2, 2017 Posted by | Fake News, Full Spectrum Dominance, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Russophobia | , , | 1 Comment

The Tragic Failure of Ken Burns Vietnam

By Christopher Koch | Medium | September 28, 2017

There is so much to love about this series. The uncompromising scenes of combat, the voices of both Americans and Vietnamese, the historical context, the exposure of the utter incompetence of our military leaders, the terrific music that is frequently exactly where it should be, the slowly revealed powerful still images and Peter Coyote’s wonderful narrative voice. Its tragic failure is its inability to hold anyone responsible for their actions.

Burns and Novick tell us that the war was begun “in good faith by decent people out of fateful misunderstandings, American overconfidence and …” whatever the current threat. That’s probably true of most wars. However, as we used to teach our children, you have to be accountable for your actions. If you kill someone speeding the wrong way down a one way street you’ll get charged with manslaughter even if you’re rushing someone to the hospital.

It’s the lack of accountability, the failure to prosecute those who lied to get us into the war, who encouraged battlefield tactics that resulted in the massacre of women and children, who authorized the indiscriminate bombing of civilian targets, who drenched Vietnam in chemical poisons that will cause birth defects and death for generations.

In order to maintain this central lie, Burns and Novick must establish a false balance between good and evil on both sides. Every time the United States is shown doing something bad, Burns and Novick show us how the Vietnamese also did bad things. In one absurd example, Coyote intones something like, “we called them ‘Dinks,’ ‘Gooks,’ ‘Mamasans;’ they called us ‘invaders’ and ‘imperialists.’” The GI terms are dehumanizing, but the Vietnamese terms are accurate. People who cross 3,000 miles of ocean to attack a country that has done them no harm, are accurately called ‘invaders.’ I suppose you could argue about the ‘imperialist’ charge.

Vietnamese soldiers killed some 58,000 Americans and wounded a couple of hundred thousand more. Burns and Novick put the number of Vietnamese we killed at 3 million, but most experts say it was more like 4 million and Vietnam says its 6 million, with more people continuing to die from unexploded ordinance and Agent Orange. We destroyed 60% of their villages, sprayed 21 million gallons of lethal poisons, imposed free fire zones (a euphemism for genocide) on 75% of South Vietnam. They attacked US military bases in their country and never killed an American on American soil. There are no equivalences here.

Burns and Novick do a good job of explaining that the United States worked with Ho Chi Minh during World War II and that Ho hoped to get our support after the war. They do not mention that having friendly relations with Communist countries was a successful strategy we used with Yugoslavia, because although it was Communist, Yugoslavia was also independent and a thorn in the Soviet Union’s side. Any minimal understanding of Vietnam’s history would have identified Vietnam’s fiercely independent streak. Intelligent leaders (anyone with half a brain) would have adopted the Yugoslav strategy in Vietnam.

This brings us to another central problem of the Burns and Novick series, Leslie Gelb’s smiling recollection (he looks so smug) that nobody knew anything about Vietnam and didn’t for several years. In fact, throughout the series, many people say “we should have known better.” Is ignorance really a good excuse for launching a brutal war and the war crimes that followed? Unmentioned is how easy it was to gather information on Vietnam. French historians and journalists had studied every aspect of the country and its culture during and after their defeat in the French Indo China war. Much of this material had been translated into English. That’s how I figured out in 1965 that we were going to lose the war in Vietnam.

Burns and Novick fail to mention my trip to North Vietnam in 1965 nor any of the other trips to North Vietnam by members of the American peace movement such as Tom Hayden, Staughton Lynd and Herbert Aptheker who went in January 1966 and members of Women’s Strike for Peace who went later. They only show us Jane Fonda’s trip in 1972, when she broadcast to US troops asking them to stop the bombing and was photographed sitting on an anti-aircraft gun. No one else who went to North Vietnam did either of these things.

Our earlier trips to North Vietnam were important, because we were the only Americans to witness the destruction being rained down on North Vietnam. Burns’ documentary shows lots of aerial shots of bombs and napalm going off (Mussolini’s son called them rosebuds blooming in the desert when he attack Ethiopia) but very few shots of the bomb’s effects on the ground in North Vietnam. We hear talk of precision bombing, but those of us who traveled to North Vietnam observed hospitals, schools, churches, markets, and working class neighborhoods utterly destroyed. And this was ten years before the war ended!

The Burns’ documentary doesn’t show us the makeshift hospitals with children and old people without arms and legs or suffering from horrendous burns, all victims of American bombing attacks. The documentary focuses our compassion on the American pilots who dropped the bombs.

In fact, the only heroes in Ken Burns’ Vietnam are American GI’s. Almost everyone else is their enemy: the Vietnamese they fought, the officers whose absurd strategy sent them to their deaths, and the American peace movement that struggled to end the war and bring them home. Burns and Novick portray the peace movement in the worst possible terms. In at least three places, they have moving sound bites about how returning soldiers were spit on or in other ways disrespected. It’s a false memory, at least in any general sense. They couldn’t find any visual support, no signs about baby killers, because it didn’t happen, or happened extremely rarely.

To me, this is the central flaw of Burns and Novick’s film, their failure to deal truthfully and equally with the peace movement. Six million Americans took part in the anti-war effort (only 2.7 million Americans served as soldiers). Everyone I knew in the peace movement honored the veterans and wanted justice for them. They studied books, took part in teach-ins, and watched newsreels. But Burns and Novick, with a couple of notable exceptions, characterize the peace movement as uninformed, chaotic, disrespectful, self absorbed and violent. At one point, they intercut 1969 pictures of kids at Woodstock wallowing in great music with soldiers fighting in Vietnam. What was that supposed to mean?

The kids who refused to go (many out of righteous opposition), who fled into exile in Canada or Sweden, or who, like boxer Muhammad Ali lost his right to fight for three years, or the Fort Hood 3 who went to prison, or the professors and journalists who lost their jobs, the protestors beaten by riled up construction workers, Martin Luther King who went public with his opposition in 1967, the priests who raided draft offices and burned their records, Alice Hertz and two other Americans who burned themselves to death in honor of the Buddhist monks who did the same in South Vietnam protesting our puppet regime — these are not worth profiling, all tinged by the same brush, they are the bad guys who disrespected our troops and went violent. What a wonderful authoritarian message that gives to viewers. Don’t protest an evil war or your country’s war crimes.

The only heroes in Burns and Novick’s Vietnam are American servicemen and I am thrilled to see them finally recognized for what they went through. We have moving back stories of their homes, their motives for joining, their families waiting for them.

None of the six million participants in the American peace movement gets similar treatment. The same is true, incidentally, of the Vietnamese. While the sound bites are great, there are no Vietnamese back stories either.

Without the peace movement, there is no moral center to this series. The lack of accountability is fatal. That an American general can watch from a helicopter the massacre at Mai Lai (as the films tells us) and suffer no consequences is sickening. If military courts had aggressively prosecuted violators of human rights, or even if we only had held detailed and accurate reconciliations where the truth came out, there would have been a chance that our reckless invasions of Iraq with its policy of torture and the invasion of Afghanistan would not have followed so easily. When people are held accountable for their actions, perpetrators of questionable violent acts think twice.

Last week on NPR an American general in Afghanistan announced that we are not trying to occupy territory in Afghanistan, we are simply trying to kill terrorists. Here, again, is the same rationale of the body count that led to disaster in Vietnam. We are reliving the Vietnam War because no one was ever really held responsible for its horrors.

The moral center of the Vietnam War was held by those who opposed it. Several people I’ve talked to say the series is depressing. I had the same feeling of despair at the end. Burns and Novick suggest Vietnam’s a tragedy. It’s not. In tragedy a powerful human makes a terrible mistake and suffers the consequences. No one suffered any consequences for Vietnam. Burns and Novick assure us that even if people did wrong, they didn’t mean to. America is still the shining city on the hill and we can do no wrong.

Christopher Koch, in 1965, became the first American reporter to visit North Vietnam.

October 10, 2017 Posted by | Deception, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , | 9 Comments

Obfuscating the Truths of Vietnam

By S. Brian Willson | CounterPunch | September 25, 2017

I have hesitated to comment on the instructive discussion on VFP’s Full Disclosure page about the Burns-Novick Vietnam PBS series because I am not watching it. I have enjoyed reading many of the comments, and have communicated with people who have seen advance screenings.

In 2014, I heard Burns’ publicly discuss his pending PBS Vietnam series. He responded to a question about Agent Orange with a “safe” position that damage to human beings from the chemical herbicide was scientifically inconclusive. This was not surprising given that Burns is a popular, established film maker of various aspects of history from jazz, to baseball, to the Civil War. However, any deep threat to the US American basic “good guy” self-image would likely curtail his continued popularity, not likely to lend itself to corporate funding on PBS, whether from Bank of America, the Rockefeller or Koch Brothers.

Any treatment of the US War against the Vietnamese, Cambodians, and Laotians that does not establish the historic foundation of the US criminal invasion, occupation, and destruction of an innocent country, murdering and maiming millions – profound moral issues – flunks authentic history. And, equally, if the presentation ignores the US creation of a fictional puppet government in the South that was so unpopular that the US was forced to deploy 3 million troops and massive airpower to protect it from the Vietnamese people themselves, it will fail miserably to do justice to genuine history.

Despite this history, Viet Nam is still commonly called a “Civil War” of relative “equivalencies”, a preposterous representation suggesting an “enemy” of basically poor people 8-10,000 miles distant on their own ground who for some unknown reason might threaten the wealthy US with bombs or naval and ground invasions, or….. ? And to represent that the war was “begun in good faith by decent people”, ignores the revelations of the Pentagon Papers.

Thus, Burns’s and Novick’s 18-hour “The Vietnam War” series severely obfuscates the most significant great truths of the US war – that “The Vietnam War” was and remains a Great Lie. Provoking national discussion about the war is important, but for it to be acceptable to a national PBS audience, the producers had to assure that in the framing the US remains basically the good guy against evil.

The honest portrayal of a people who wanted authentic autonomy from a stream of colonial intervenors seems outside our capacity to embrace, and certainly we were not able to comprehend the deep Vietnamese commitment to do whatever they believed necessary to rid itself of its latest occupier. Instead, the US created and funded a fictitious government with a corresponding enemy to justify our intervention against the shadowy, deceitful, evil, though tenacious “communists”. This US policy was intended to prevent a successful “Third World” post-WWII revolutionary movement that possessed the potential to spread to other restive peoples.

Without establishing this fundamental immoral foundation to the history of the US intervention, this Burns-Novick documentary history safely avoids provoking the US American people into an overdue, painful self-examination of its cultural “DNA”. Our geltanshauung was cast as a divinely guided “predestination” for goodness in 1630 when Puritan John Winthrop of the Massachusetts Bay Colony declared “that we shall be as a city upon a hill” and “the eyes of all people are upon us”.

We are reminded of such arrogance in “Founding Father” Thomas Jefferson’s hypocritical words penned in the 1776 Declaration of Independence that claimed “all men are created equal”, yet a few words later declared the King of England using the “merciless Indian savages” to attack with “known rule of warfare” the new settlors with “undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions”.

Let’s see…. those words describe well our behavior in Viet Nam, genocidal behavior then, as in Viet Nam, off limits for US to consider.

*The US destroyed more than 60 percent of Viet Nam’s 21,000 inhabited, undefended villages, including use of unprecedented 8 million tons of bombs and 370,000 tons of napalm, murdering 4 to 5 million, leaving a decimated landscape with 26 million bomb craters and as many as 300,000 tons of unexploded ordnance that continue to kill and injure thousands every year;

*USAF manuals instructed the intentional bombings of the “psycho-social structure” of Viet Nam such as pagodas and churches (950 of them), schools (over 3,000) and hospitals and maternity wards (1,850, many with large red crosses painted on their roofs);

*US and South Vietnamese pilots were trained to “cut people down like little cloth dummies” during daytime raids;

*US employed the most intensive use of chemical warfare in human history, spraying 21 million gallons of lethal poison leaving millions deformed, sick and dead, now with third generation birth deformities;

*The US used torture in every southern province to extract confessions;

*The US imposed free fire (genocide) zones over 75 percent of the South, mass murdering villagers on the ground, etc.

In fact, our behavior was unspeakable, but similar to what our forebears did against our Indigenous inhabitants. Viet Nam was no aberration.

Yes, the PBS series will present much important history for the viewers through its artful selection of dramatic war footage and wide-ranging interviews with Vietnamese and US Americans. It will indeed educate and raise questions….as long as the storyline essentially preserves the US as the better of two basically equivalent fighting forces. It admits making terrible mistakes, but not crimes, implying or expressing justification for our intervention against evil – here the convenient Cold War Pavlovian “communist” bogeyman.

This PBS series is being aired as the US deepens its atrocious pattern of perpetual war around the globe since Viet Nam, the chess pieces continually moving from Viet Nam to almost everywhere else under a philosophy of “full spectrum dominance”. This includes use of the ultimate wholesale terror from the sky using missile-laden drones.

The nature of US behavior in Viet Nam, and in the little understood tragic Korean war more than a decade earlier, and in virtually all countries in which it intervenes, covertly or overtly, is virtually ungraspable to the majority of US Americans. In 1967, Martin Luther King, Jr delivered his anti-Vietnam War speech, declaring that “the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today is my own government”. Hmm!

Without a willingness to honestly address our long pattern of immoral and criminal military and covert interventions to preserve essentially selfish, narcissistic values, utilizing deceit and grotesque barbaric techniques, when and how might the US people be awakened to discover a political consciousness of mutual respect? The Burns-Novick series will produce healthy debates about the US War in Southeast Asia, but it will tragically steer clear of revealing, while obscuring, the Grand Lie of the war itself, even as the documentary is touted by observers and viewers as monumental history. What a lost opportunity!

So, as people are glued to this intriguing PBS series, they will nonetheless continue to shop, their government will continue to bomb, and the warmakers will continue to get richer. Nothing changes.

S. Brian Willson, USAF Combat Security Police Officer, Viet Nam, 1969.

S. Brian Willson, as a 1st lieutenant, served as commander of a US Air Force combat security police unit in Viet Nam’s Mekong Delta in 1969. He is a trained lawyer who has been an anti-war, peace and justice activist for more than forty years. His psychohistorical memoir, “Blood On The Tracks: The Life and Times of S. Brian Willson” was published in 2011 by PM Press. A long time member of Veterans For Peace, he currently resides in Portland, Oregon

September 25, 2017 Posted by | Film Review, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Timeless or most popular | , , | Leave a comment

Getting the Gulf of Tonkin Wrong

Are Ken Burns and Lynn Novick “Telling Stories” About the Central Events Used to Legitimize the US Attack Against Vietnam?

By James M. Williamson | CounterPunch | September 19, 2017

This past spring I attended an advance screening of excerpts of Ken Burns and Lynn Novick’s documentary about the US War against Vietnam at Harvard, with these two in attendance, along with some Kennedy School “national security” types, who had evidently been recruited as “consultants.” (I was happy to see Peter Davis, the director of the truly commendable “Hearts and Minds” in the audience, and had a chance to say “hello.” Peter is himself a Harvard grad, is now writing novels and, happily, was acknowledged by Mr. Burns.)

I was astonished to hear the Narrator in one of these excerpts refer to “retaliation for the Gulf of Tonkin.” I was doubly astonished when I heard Burns use the exact same phrasing — “retaliation for the Gulf of Tonkin” — during a discussion and Q&A which followed the screening (and even in a somewhat different context. [It must have been on his mind.])

What could he possibly mean?

“Retaliation” for Gulf of Tonkin?

Sut Jhally has done remarkable work with the Media Education Foundation (MEF) in Western Mass on the uses of the term “retaliation.” MEF have produced at least one excellent DVD where they analyze how every attack by Israel on Palestinians is invariably framed as “retaliation.” Of course, this is often, in fact, NOT the case. But if you “believe” that some entity (a person; a government; a “nation”; a “people…”) are “retaliating” (for an alleged attack) — rather than initiating attacks — then almost anything the “retaliator” does is justified, no?

Framing the US attack on North Vietnam as “retaliation” in this PBS documentary purporting to tell truths about this horrific war is a fundamental and very serious flaw, one which must raise the question of why, after all these years, and when the truth about the Gulf of Tonkin “incidents” has also been known for years, Ken Burns and Lynn Novick would engage in this kind of (albeit strangely belated) pro-war propaganda?

Burns and Novick are noted for specializing in the delivery of emotion-laden “stories.” Are they to be allowed to turn actually important, fundamental facts about the US war into a “story,” as well? The emotional stories in this PBS series are tied together with a NARRATIVE of the History of the War in Vietnam. It is in this NARRATIVE that we should discern and judge whether Burns and Novick and PBS are actually revealing helpful truths for facing “our” history — and the history of this war —or not.

Three days after the “second” of two supposed “incidents” in the Gulf of Tonkin, the LBJ administration secured an overwhelming rubber stamp in Congress for the infamous “Gulf of Tonkin Resolution,” which would be used forever more as the fig-leaf for justifying continued US military intervention in Vietnam, as supposedly constitutionally and politically “legitimate,” with all the attendant violence, massive destruction, and death.

Isn’t this little bit of “history” rather important? Isn’t it rather important to get this right?

Just three weeks after these alleged “incidents,” I. F. Stone had already reported much of the real story in his famous I. F. Stone’s Weekly, based seemingly entirely on just the well-informed remarks of Senator Wayne Morse on the floor of the U.S. Senate.

Wayne Morse, of Oregon, was one of only two senators to vote against the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution;  the other was, of course, Ernest Gruening, of Alaska.

The US Central Intelligence Agency had been coordinating “covert” attacks against the shoreline of North Vietnam for months (OPLAN 34-A). Finally, in early August of 1964, a mid-level NV naval officer may have been responsible for ordering NV patrol boats to chase the USS Maddox out into international waters, as a result of it’s believed role in supporting these attacks (which was actually the case; the Maddox had an unusual and special NSA surveillance unit on board, and was also engaged in what were labeled “DeSoto Patrols,” moving into and out of territorial waters claimed by the Government of North Vietnam.) Among other things, these US attacks were designed to test and gain information about North Vietnamese radar and air defenses.

Because of the advanced surveillance by the NSA unit aboard the Maddox, they knew the patrol boats were approaching “at high speed” well ahead of time. The three PT boats were almost entirely destroyed, and the Maddox may have sustained “one bullet hole” during the incident. [Extensive National Security Archive materials may be found here.]

Two days later, a “second attack” supposedly occurred, this time including the USS Turner Joy, as well.

However, there was no second “attack.” 

A relatively recent article published by the US Naval Institute reported the following:

Analysis of the Evidence

Historians have long suspected that the second attack in the Gulf of Tonkin never occurred and that the resolution was based on faulty evidence. But no declassified information had suggested that McNamara, Johnson, or anyone else in the decision-making process had intentionally misinterpreted the intelligence concerning the 4 August incident. More than 40 years after the events, that all changed with the release of the nearly 200 documents related to the Gulf of Tonkin incident and transcripts from the Johnson Library.

These new documents and tapes reveal what historians could not prove: There was not a second attack on U.S. Navy ships in the Tonkin Gulf in early August 1964. Furthermore, the evidence suggests a disturbing and deliberate attempt by Secretary of Defense McNamara to distort the evidence and mislead Congress.

[See: https://www.usni.org ]

I.F. Stone was actually onto this story years before some historians were able to use belatedly and reluctantly released classified documents to confirm the lies, deceptions and misrepresentations.  [See: I. F. Stone’s Weekly, following further “testimony” from McNamara in 1968.]

Turbulent water may have been either misinterpreted — or misconstrued — as a North Vienamese PT boat torpedo launch. Among others, James Stockade, later an Admiral and eventually Ross Perot’s running mate for President, was flying missions over the Maddox and reported seeing no evidence of any alleged “attack.” [See an oft-sited NSA study by Robert J. Hanyok.]

Finally, John Prados produced a useful article on the 40th Anniversary of The Gulf of Tonkin “incidents” for the National Security Archive in 2004.

Naturally, if you’re interested in telling “stories,” you may not focus too carefully on the facts of the history and the context in which these “stories” are situated.

But shouldn’t you want to get something as important as what did or didn’t happen in The Gulf of Tonkin right?

September 19, 2017 Posted by | Deception, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , | Leave a comment

PBS’ Anti-Russia Propaganda Series

By Rick Sterling | Consortium News | July 27, 2017

The U.S.-government-supported Public Broadcasting System (PBS) recently ran a five-part series dubbed “Inside Putin’s Russia”. With a different theme each night, it purports to give a realistic look at Russia today. The image conveyed is of a Russia that is undemocratic with widespread state repression, violence and propaganda. Following are significant distortions and falsehoods in the five-part documentary.

Episode 1: “How Putin Redefined what it means to be Russian”

In this episode, the documentary:

–Claims that Russian identity is based on “projection of power.” In reality, “projection of power” characterizes the U.S. much more than Russia. For the past two centuries the United States has expanded across the continent and globe. The last century is documented in the book Overthrow: American’s Century of Regime Change from Hawaii to Iraq. The U.S. currently has nearly 800 foreign military bases in over 70 countries. In contrast, Russia has military bases in only two countries beyond the former Soviet Union: Syria and Vietnam.

–Ignores crucial information about events in Ukraine. Russian involvement in eastern Ukraine and Crimea are presented as examples of “projection of power.” But basic facts are omitted from the documentary. There is no mention of the violent February 2014 coup in Kiev nor the involvement of neoconservatives such as Sen. John McCain and U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland in supporting and encouraging the overthrow of Ukraine’s elected government. In a December 2013 speech, Nuland outlined her intense involvement in Ukraine including U.S. insistence that Ukraine choose a “European future” since the U.S. had “invested $5 billion to assist.” Days before the coup in February 2014, Nuland was captured on audio planning the composition of the coup leadership.

–Ignores Crimea’s historic connections with Russia and the Ukrainian violence. The documentary says, In 2014 in Crimea, Russia helped install separatist leaders who rushed through a referendum that led to Crimea’s annexation.” This gives the misleading impression the decision was Russian, not Crimean.

Even the New York Times report on March 16, 2014, acknowledged that,The outcome, in a region that shares a language and centuries of history with Russia, was a foregone conclusion even before exit polls showed more than 93 percent of voters favoring secession.”

The documentary fails to mention the fear of violence after Crimean travelers to Kiev were beaten and killed by Ukrainian hyper-nationalists. One of the first decisions of the Kiev coup government was to declare that Russian would no longer be an official language. A good overview including video interviews with Crimeans is in this video, contrasting sharply with the implications of the PBS documentary.

–Trivializes Russian opposition to NATO expansion. The documentary suggests Russians feel “humiliated” by NATO expanding to their borders. This distorts a serious military concern into a subjective, emotional issue. In 2002, the U.S. unilaterally withdrew from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty and started construction of missile defense systems which could be used in tandem with a nuclear first strike. In recent years, NATO troops and missiles have been installed at Russia’s borders. Imagine the response if Russian troops and missiles were placed at the U.S. border in Canada and Mexico.

–Falsely claims that coup violence in Odessa was “exaggerated.”

The documentary says that Russians who went to help defend civilians in eastern Ukraine were convinced by Russian “propaganda” where “dozens of pro-Russian separatists died in Odessa, Ukraine” but “Russian media exaggerated the attack.” In reality, the Odessa attack killed at least 42 people and injured 100. This video shows the sequence of events with the initial attack on peaceful protesters followed by fire-bomb attacks in the building. Fire trucks were prevented from reaching the building to put out the fire and rescue citizens inside.

Episode 2: “Inside Russia’s Propaganda Machine.”

In this episode, the documentary:

–Suggests Russians are aggressive and threatening. The documentary highlights a Russian TV broadcaster who is translated to say, “Russia is the only country in the world that is realistically capable of turning the United States into radioactive ash.” And later, “If you can persuade a person, you don’t need to kill him … if you aren’t able to persuade, then you will have to kill.” We do not know the context or accuracy of these translated statements. However on the basis of my own travels in Russia and the experience of many other Americans, these statements are strange and uncharacteristic.

At the popular and government level, Russians are typically at pains to call the U.S. a “partner” and to wish for peace and better relations. With 27 million killed in World War 2, most Russians are very conscious of the consequences of war and deeply want peace. Russians vividly recall the Russia-U.S. alliance during WW2 and seek a return to friendly collaboration. The film producers must have heard this message and desire for peace expressed by many Russians many times. But the documentary only presents this uncharacteristic aggressive message.

–Inaccurately suggests that producers of a private TV network received angry public messages because they were exposing corruption. In reality, the angry public response was because the TV station ran a poll asking viewers if the Soviet Union should have surrendered to Nazi Germany to save lives during the siege of Leningrad.

–Falsely suggests that RT (Russia Today TV) typically features Holocaust deniers and neo-Nazis. This is a grotesque distortion Anyone who watches RT will know that American personalities such as Chris Hedges, Larry King and Ed Schultz are regulars on RT. Interviewees on international affairs generally come from the left side of the political spectrum – the opposite of what is suggested.

–Uncritically repeats the conspiracy theory that Russia hacked the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and Hillary Clinton emails. The findings have been disputed by the publisher of the emails, Julian Assange of Wikileaks , as well as Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity. A recent forensic examination confirms that this was a leak not a hack (inside job done by local data transfer NOT a hack over the internet) and points toGuccifer 2.0, the presumptive “hacker,” being a hoax intentionally created to implicate Russia.

–Falsely suggests that anti-Clinton social media messaging during 2016 was significantly caused by Russian government trolls. Hillary Clinton was strongly opposed by significant portions of both the left and right. There were probably hundreds of thousands of Americans who shared anti-Clinton social media messages.

–Claims that research showing a Google search engine bias in favor of Hillary Clinton was “quickly debunked.” The documentary ignores the original article describing the potential effect of search-engine bias, which was published in the prestigious Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The author is Dr. Robert Epstein, former editor-in-chief of Psychology Today magazine. Contradicting the claim that this research was “debunked,” this academic article estimates the effect of the Google bias and how the bias went away AFTER the election. The response from Google and very shallow Snopes “fact check” are effectively rebutted by the lead author here. In neo-McCarthyist style, the documentary smears the findings and claims they were “laundered” after being published by the Russian “Sputnik” media.

–Suggests the “idea that President Kennedy was killed by the CIA” was “planted” by the Soviet intelligence agency KGB. Many impressive American books have been written supporting this contention, from New Orleans District Attorney Jim Garrison’s book to David Talbot’s 2015 book Devil’s Chessboard: Allen Dulles, the CIA and Deep State. Claiming that this accusation is based on KGB “disinformation” is another grotesque distortion. It is not revealing disinformation; this is an example of disinformation.

Episode 3: “Why are so many from this Russian republic fighting for Isis?”

In this episode, the documentary:

–Rationalizes and almost justifies Russian Muslims traveling to join ISIS. The documentary suggests that religious repression and discrimination is a cause of ISIS recruitment and that “Dagestanis who fought for ISIS continue a decades-old legacy here of radicalism and militancy.”

–Ignores the role of the U.S., Saudi Arabia and Pakistan in promoting Islamist fundamentalism in Dagestan. As described by Robert Dreyfus in the book Devil’s Game: How the United States Helped Unleash Fundamentalist Islam: “the Casey-ISI (CIA and Pakistan Secret Service) actions aided the growth of a significant network of right-wing, Islamist extremists who, to this day, plague the governments of the former Soviet republics … In particular, the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, the Islamic Liberation Party, the powerful Islamist groups in Chechnya and Dagestan.”

–Ignores the role of the US and allies in facilitating ISIS. As journalist Patrick Cockburn has written, In the 20 years between 1996 and 2016, the CIA and British security and foreign policy agencies have consistently given priority to maintaining their partnership with powerful Sunni states over the elimination of terrorist organizations such as al-Qaeda and Isis.”

Journalist Nafeez Ahmed exposed the role of Turkey here, “A former senior counter-terrorism official in Turkey has blown the whistle on President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s deliberate sponsorship of the Islamic State (ISIS) as a geopolitical tool to expand Turkey’s regional influence and sideline his political opponents at home.”

Elements of the U.S. military/intelligence suggested the establishment of ISIS to “isolate the Syrian regime.” This was revealed in the classified 2012 report of the Defense Intelligence Agency that THERE IS THE POSSIBILITY OF ESTABLISHING A DECLARED OR UNDECLARED SALAFIST PRINCIPALITY IN EASTERN SYRIA (HASAKA AND DER ZOR), AND THIS IS EXACTLY WHAT THE SUPPORTING POWERS TO THE OPPOSITION WANT, IN ORDER TO ISOLATE THE SYRIAN REGIME”

In short, ISIS recruitment from Muslim communities in Russia and worldwide has been spurred by the policies and actions of the U.S. and allies such as Saudi Arabia and Turkey. This is what Dreyfus calls The Devil’s Game, but is ignored in the documentary.

Episode 4: “The Deadly Risk of Standing up to Putin”

In this episode, the documentary:

–Suggests that critics of Putin and the Russian government face “consequences” including death. These accusations are widespread in the West but largely based on the claims of different U.S.-supported “activists.” One of the most famous cases, and the one on which U.S. congressional sanctions against Russia are based, is that of Sergei Magnitsky. Magnitsky’s death was the subject of a documentary, which has been effectively banned in the U.S. In the course of researching what happened, the filmmaker learned that the truth was very different than has been told in the West and promoted by hedge-fund executive William Browder. Gilbert Doctorow outlines what happens in his review of the film here:

“‘Magnitsky Act: Behind the Scenes’ is an amazing film which takes us through the thought processes, the evidence sorting of the well-known independent film maker Andrei Nekrasov as he approached an assignment that was at the outset meant to be one more public confirmation of the narrative Browder has sold to the US Congress and to the American and European political elites. That story was all about a 36 year old whistle-blower ‘attorney’ (actually a bookkeeper) named Sergei Magnitsky who denounced on Browder’s behalf the theft of Russian taxes to his boss’s companies amounting to $230 million and who was rewarded for his efforts by arrest, torture and murder in detainment by the officials who perpetrated the theft. This shocking tale drove legislation that was a major landmark in the descent of US-Russian relations under President Barack Obama to a level rivaling the worst days of the Cold War.

At the end of the film we understand that this story was concocted by William Browder to cover up his own criminal theft of the money in question, that Magnitsky was not a whistleblower, but on the contrary was likely an assistant and abettor to the fraud and theft that Browder organized, that he was not murdered by corrupt Russian police but died in prison from banal neglect of his medical condition.”

The PBS documentary quotes an opposition leader, Vladimir Kara-Murza, saying “We have no free and fair elections. We have censorship in the media. We have political prisoners, more than 100 political prisoners now in Russia, today.” Kara-Murza now lives in Washington “for his safety” but returns to Russia periodically. He claims to have been poisoned several times.

Opponents of the Russian government are quick to accuse but the evidence is largely hearsay and speculation. Public polls of citizens in Russia repeatedly indicate that Putin and the government have widespread popularity, in contrast with the accusations in this documentary that they rule by intimidation and violence.

Episode 5: “What Russians think about Trump and the U.S.”                                                

Based on the content, the final episode should be titled “What the U.S. establishment and media thinks of Putin and Russia.” In this episode, the documentary:

–Features accusations by CIA Director Mike Pompeo that Russian President Putin, “ is a man for whom veracity doesn’t translate into English.” An objective documentary would take CIA claims about “veracity” with a healthy dose of skepticism. Just a few years ago, former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper was confirmed to have lied under oath to Congress. Former CIA chief of counterintelligence James Angleton said in his dying days, “Fundamentally, the founding fathers of U.S. intelligence were liars. The better you lied and the more you betrayed, the more likely you got promoted.” So it is curious to see the PBS documentary uncritically presenting the new CIA director as a judge of veracity.

–Implies that President Trump is out of line to question “the U.S. intelligence community’s unanimous assessment that Russia hacked the 2016 election.” It has been recently exposed that the “unanimous assessment” was, in reality, by “hand-picked” analysts at three agencies, under DNI Clapper’s oversight, not all 17 agencies and that the National Security Agency did NOT have “high confidence” in a key finding. The “assessment,” which the Jan. 6 report acknowledged was NOT an establishment of fact, was based on the forensics of a private company, Crowdstrike, with a checkered record in this field, and the dubious Christopher Steele dossier, a collection of “opposition research” reports against Donald Trump, paid for unidentified allies of Hillary Clinton and compiled by Steele, an ex-British intelligence agent.

In March 2017, Crowdstrike was found to have made false claims in another investigation of an alleged Russian “hack.” Yet, neither the CIA nor FBI examined the Democratic National Committee’s computers. If the issue was as important as it supposedly has now become, the FBI should have issued a subpoena to do its own examination. Why the DNC rejected the FBI request, and why the FBI did not insist, raises serious questions given the enormous publicity and accusations that have followed.

–Uncritically features two US politicians making loose accusations and effectively criminalizing “contacts” with Russians. Sen. James Lankford, R-Oklahoma, says President Trump is “pushing out some messages that are consistent with the Kremlin policies … there’s no question that the Russians were trying to hack into our elections.” Yet, former U.S. intelligence officers with experience in these areas recently presented evidence raising significant questions about this conventional wisdom.

On the Democratic side, Sen. Mark Warner of Virginia indicates the Senate investigation reached its conclusion before it began. He said, “The goal of this investigation is not only to reconfirm Russian intervention and explain that to the American public, but to also see if there were any contacts between Trump and the Russians.”

In the current environment, to have “contacts” with Russians has been criminalized. Instead of questioning the validity or wisdom of this position, the documentary presents it with seeming approval.

–Uncritically promotes false statements and reckless threats. Sen. Lankford says We believe strongly that what Russia continues to do to be able to threaten Ukraine, threaten its neighbors, threaten NATO, to continue to pry into not only our elections, but other elections, is destabilizing, and it demands a response. They have yet to have a consequence to what they did in the election time. And they should.”

Lankford’s assertions are presented as facts but are debatable or false. For example, security services in Germany, France and the U.K. all found that – despite the international accusations – there was NO evidence of Russian interference in their recent elections.

–Justifies and promotes “punishment” of Russia. The belligerent approach of Lankford and Warner is continued by PBS host Judy Woodruff and narrator Nick Schifrin. The U.S. is portrayed as a vulnerable victim with a future that is “foreboding”. Russia is portrayed as threatening and needing some punishment soon: “The Russian government doesn’t feel like the United States government really penalized them for what happened last year…. a lot of officials here in Washington agree with that… Russia should have paid for what they did last year.”

This threatening talk is then followed by the following assessment from the narrator: “There are analysts in Moscow who think the only thing we can hope is that we avoid war.”

In 2002-2003, American mainstream media failed to question or challenge the assertions of the CIA and politicians pushing for the invasion of Iraq. At that time, the false pretense was that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction and posed a threat to the U.S.

Much of the media and many of the same politicians are now claiming Russia is an adversary that has “attacked us.” This claim is being widely made without serious question or challenge. “Liberal” media seems to be in alliance with hawkish neoconservatives on this issue. Virtually any accusation against Russia and its leader can be made with impunity and without serious evidence.

The PBS documentary “Inside Putin’s Russia” aims to expose Russian repression, aggression and disinformation. As shown in the many examples above, the five-part documentary is highly biased and inaccurate. While it shows some features of Russia, it also demonstrates American propaganda in the current tumultuous times.

Rick Sterling is an investigative journalist based in northern California. He can be contacted at rsterling1@gmail.com

July 28, 2017 Posted by | Deception, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Russophobia | , , | 5 Comments

Such a “Surprise” in the UK!

By Thomas S. Harrington | CounterPunch | June 12, 2017

I just can’t believe what happened in the British elections.

I can’t get over the fact that that when a politician with real convictions honed over 40 years of political life—generous and forward-looking convictions rooted in an understanding of how social progress for the many has actually been engineered in previous times—speaks out unencumbered by corporate-minded, fraidy-cat image doctors, people actually respond enthusiastically.

It’s shocking, absolutely shocking.

Why am I so confused?

Well, for thirty years, the brilliant people at the NYT, NPR,  PBS,  the BBC and The Guardian  have told me again and again that candidates from Labor in the UK and the Democratic Party  in the US must always  be oh-so-careful careful to not veer too far left in their policy prescriptions,  to not appear too “populist” and, most of all, to not to go “too far outside the mainstream”.

The question of who defines what is the mainstream, or how lavishly-funded pro-business and pro-war think-tanks might actually be the people establishing its functional parameters by funding armies of think-tank “scholars” and “experts” were, of course, a complex hermeneutical problems that I never had the time  nor the energy to ponder or deconstruct.

If those smart Ivy and Oxbridge-type guys and gals in the prestige media were telling us time and again that our societies were all fundamentally center-right collectives with a deep suspicion of government action (except, that is, when it came to making unceasing war on a world-wide scale) who was I, an obscure analyst of Iberian nationalisms and other sundry issues, to say anything about it?

Can you imagine someone like me actually believing he had the right to question brilliant and connected people like David Brooks, Tom Friedman or Jonathan Freeland or Polly Toynbee?

It would have been the height of hubris on my part to do so. After all, unlike them, I don’t spend my time networking each day with ambitious like-minded people deeply enamored of power, nor do I have the option of knowing exactly what stories and messages will provoke society’s centers of financial and military power to pressure a media conglomerate to trim a pundit’s  paycheck or to convince well-heeled seekers of transcendent insight  to stop paying her fat speaking fees.

Because I lack this essential information, I have always assumed my rightful place as an uncritical consumer of their deeply though-out and always prescient nostrums.

True, today I am feeling a little confused and bereft. But I know that by the time the next news cycle comes around they’ll have it all figured out for me, providing explanations that will in no way contradict or vitiate all the brilliant things they’ve been saying over so many years.

June 12, 2017 Posted by | Aletho News | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Readings in the Jewish Zionist Control of the United States: Interviews with Francis Boyle, James Petras, and Kim Petersen

Part 1: Introduction

By B. J. Sabri | American Herald Tribune | November 11 ,2016

Israel America aeee7

For the last 30 years, I have witnessed and experienced the severe restraints on any free and balanced discussion of the facts. This reluctance to criticize any policies of the Israeli government is because of the extraordinary lobbying efforts of the American-Israel Political Action Committee and the absence of any significant contrary voices.

— Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter [1]

How the Interviews Came About

The Marxian thesis that the dominant culture and ideology of a society (here referred to as Social Base or just Base) are those of the dominant class (here referred to as System) is a sharp tool to probe how political systems work and how they stay in power. Does this tool work in the U.S. model? Certainly, in the United States, the relation between the System and its Social Base has been regular since the inception of the thirteen colonies. Because of that sustained regularity, System and Base acted in convergent patterns of dependency. In historical perspective, it was not possible for the System to transform those colonies into states, and thereafter expand its conquests to form a continental empire without a solid social base that shared its purpose and visions for expansion. From that time onward, an ideological symbiosis ran between the System and the Base. Not only that, but each time the System modifies direction, philosophy, or ideology, the Base would adapt by modifying its attitudes and perception.

The patterns of ideological association between the U.S. System and its Social Base extended into modern times, and the yardstick to measure them is the presidential elections. If you look at voters’ turnout since 1960, you will notice that a relative-to-large majority of Americans had voted in those elections. My interpretation of the vote in relation to Marx’s thesis is the following. Voting for a system that is known for its aggressive imperialist policies, crimes around the world, overthrowing foreign governments not in line with Washington, and countless military interventions and invasions that left millions of people dead means one thing: Voting for that system while knowing its attributes, policies, and actions amounts to active sharing in its ideology, culture, and violence.

Caveat! That does not necessarily mean that all voters share the System’s imperialistic values of violence and destruction of foreign peoples. The pertinent meaning of voting interpreted in relation to the System’s foreign policy objectives versus the objectives of the Base resides in two concepts. Discarding immediately the notion that the Base has been cohabitated by the system, the first concept has it that the Base has given a mandate to the System to carry out its ideology of empire and imperialism based on the undeclared condition to spare the people from the horrors of foreign wars. A dichotomy sets in here. The System has its way of life, and the Base has its own. The second concept has to do with the basic tenets of colonialism. Meaning, if the System could be successful to obtain unspecified benefits through wars, then the base could share in these benefits despite aversion to violence and opposition to the institution of war as a means to resolve problems between nations.

A question: Would abstaining from voting resolve the issue of “active sharing” in the policies of the system? This subject is open for debate . . .

The relation between the American System and its Base was uniform up to a certain point in history (late 1920s). Until that point, the American state was still busy completing its structural transformation into a big power status. That uniformity, however, managed to keep the patterns of the political power unchanged. To be exact, despite persistent immigration that should have altered the relations between the Base and government, as well as the composition of the latter, the dominance of the traditional ruling elites was 1) not open for challenge, and 2) shaped by an exclusive American Anglo-Saxon experience.

But when Franklyn D. Roosevelt showed signs of surrender to the Zionist pressure on the issue of establishing a “Jewish” state in Palestine, he opened a large crack in the System. That was the first time in U.S. history where the powerful American imperialist state yielded to a foreign ideology that was not part of its basic project. With that, a movement with a limited religious social base began penetrating the files and ranks of the U.S. power. The rest is history. As a result, the unrelenting entrenchment inside the political structures of the United States coupled with accumulated changes in the configuration of the U.S. power, the dominant American System itself fell under the domination of one of its social factions—American Jewish Zionists.

When Franklyn D. Roosevelt showed signs of surrender to the Zionist pressure on the issue of establishing a “Jewish” state in Palestine, he opened a large crack in the System.

As a group, American Jewish Zionists have all attributes of an independent establishment. They possess efficient organizational structures, have a monolithic political presence across the American system, and they know how to finance their activities with U.S. tax money. I must note that their alignment with the global agenda of U.S. imperialism is a two-point expedient. The first is focused on being recognized as earnest operators at the service of America’s interests. The second is tactical. To reap, on behalf of Israel, the benefits of alignment with slogans such as “Israel is our only trusted ally in the Middle East”.

The American Jewish Zionist experience is agenda driven. As such, their domestic and foreign agendas have precedence over any other Jewish-related consideration.

On the domestic front, the focus could not be more evident: to consolidate Zionism in the United States and turn it into a means to 1) perpetuate Israel as an American national issue, and 2) make of them the principal factor in defining American politics. You can notice the endeavor clearly during U.S. elections when the Zionist media question whether this or that candidate is good for the Jews, and for Israel. Today, voicing dissent against the policies of American Jewish Zionism or criticizing Israel amounts to crime. Jimmy Carter experienced this firsthand. When he published his book: Palestine: Peace not Apartheid, American Jewish Zionists unleashed the fire of hell upon him.

As for the Jewish Zionist foreign agenda, this is clear-cut and leaves no space for misunderstanding. It aims to induce, control, or lead the United States to 1) adopt hostile policies toward the Arab nations because due to their rejection of the Zionist state, and 2) undertake military actions against any country that appears as posing a potential or direct threat to Israel. Equally important, it demands that the United States keep denying the Palestinians rights for nationhood through American diplomacy. What is the rationale? Recognition of the Palestinian national rights means the invalidation of the Zionist state and its claim on Palestine.

Because the Jewish Zionist control of the U.S. System is real and dominant, how does the American society figure vis-à-vis this dominance? Based on observations of the American society and its multiple cultural and ideological patterns, there can be but one answer: Zionism is not the dominant culture and ideology of the American people. It is, however, the dominant culture and ideology of the U.S. political system.

OBSERVATIONS

First, despite gargantuan Zionist propaganda apparatuses directed to the American people, Jewish Zionists have consistently failed to create interest or sympathy for Zionist issues and for Israel,

Second, due to historically developed indifference to foreign issues, a majority of Americans have only vague ideas on what Zionism is,

Third, to establish roots for their political dominance, Jewish Zionist activists invariably focus not on the American people, but on ways to control the American system from inside by controlling first the institutions that matter: White House and Congress.

Fourth, this control did not happen because of elections. It is preponderantly due to the practice of appointing Jewish Zionists to important positions inside the administrations,

Fifth, among the stratagems employed by Zionists when they run for elective offices, one was particularly effective: Take advantage of the reverence of the population for the idea of election. To do that, Jewish Zionist candidates rarely, if ever, talk about Israel or Zionism. Instead, they only debate matters of interest to the voters. Once elected though, promoting Israel via American legislations becomes the top hidden agenda,

Sixth, and to conclude this particular argument, the fact that one administration after another succumbed to the diktat of Jewish Zionists (thus indirectly to Israel) in matters of foreign policy and wars proves that the culture and praxis of those administrations are those of the dominant ideology and culture—Zionism.

Another point to discuss is the expansion of the Jewish Zionist power. By all accounts, such an expansion is not a phenomenon but an incremental process. In his book, The Arabists: The Romance of an American Elite, Robert D. Kaplan defined the issue that I framed as a process in terms of gradual replacement of traditional diplomatic elites with new ideological elites that had no interest in the ways of the old school of diplomacy. Kaplan was unambiguous. He called these new elites by their names: Irish-Americans and Jewish-Americans.

Kaplan’s viewpoint on this replacement is important to our discussion. He argued that the old elites approached the U.S.-Arab relations with an open mind and readiness for dialog, all while keeping an eye on the U.S. imperialist interests. His argument opens the door for a veritable conclusion. The two groups of post-WWII American society that Kaplan mentioned had in fact changed the dynamics of U.S. foreign policy. (It is public knowledge that both groups are known for their hostility toward Arabs and Muslims—each for his own set of religious, political, and ideological rationales.). As for the successive shares of African-Americans and Hispanics in the making of the national policy of the United States, this is another argument.

As a witness to history, in early 2012, I began drafting a comprehensive analysis on the role of American Jewish Zionists in the making of U.S. policies and wars in the Arab world. In May of that year, as my work became broad in scope, I decided to seek more views on the subject. I came up with the idea to conduct several interviews where I pose the same questions. While some of the prospective interviewees declined, and others accepted but then withdrew, three prominent thinkers acclaimed for their knowledge, scholarship, and outstanding political activism graciously gave me their views.

They are Francis Boyle, a professor of international law, University of Illinois, College of Law; James Petras, a professor emeritus, University of Binghamton, New York; Canadian writer and former co-editor of the online publication of Dissident Voice Kim Petersen. Professors Boyle and Petras answered my questions via phone conversations, and, Petersen via email correspondence.

However, in the weeks following the interviews, my work swelled up to such a length that it became unsuitable for internet publishing. In short, I was unable to honor my commitment to publish the interviews as planned. Today, as I thank Prof. Francis Boyle, Prof. James Petras, and Kim Petersen for sharing their invaluable insight, I apologize to them for the delay in putting the interviews out there to read.

INTRODUCTION 

The turning point in the emergence of Jewish Zionism as a dominant American political force came about when Iraq invaded Kuwait. (Discussing the origins and strategic complications of that invasion goes beyond the scope of this introduction.) The Jewish Zionist establishment seized the occasion, mobilized its omnipresent propaganda operatives, and led colossal media campaigns to promote military actions against Iraq. To bring their war mania to fruition, they unleashed their “experts” in all directions. They talked about Iraq’s “formidable” military capabilities and about Saddam’s one-million-man standing army ready to invade Saudi Arabia and seize its oil. They told stories about Saddam Hussein’s personal life, his bunkers, and his mortal “nuclear threats” to Israel. And they talked about Iraq’s threats to U.S. interests and “allies” in the Middle East. . . . Here is a brief account of those events.

On July 25, 1990, Iraqi president Saddam Hussein met with U.S. ambassador to Iraq, April Glaspie. It is on record that Glaspie gave Hussein an unambiguous but indirect greenlight to resolve Iraq’s problems with Kuwait militarily. On August 2, Iraq invaded Kuwait. On August 3, George H. W. Bush ordered the freezing of Iraqi and Kuwaiti assets and immediately placed Iraq under hermetic embargo. Considering the prompt, extraordinary anti-Iraq measures that the United States took in the first 24 hours of that invasion, one wonders what was pushing the U.S. to move so quickly on Iraq knowing that only two days earlier, this was conducting a U.S. proxy against Iran. The observation that the U.S. did not take similar actions when Iraq invaded Iran in 1980, or when Israel invaded Lebanon in 1982 raises many questions. What were the U.S. rationales in taking such measures? Who conceived them? Did the U.S. entrap Iraq? Why?  . . .

The atmosphere that followed the invasion was surrealistic. Like a lightning bolt, U.S. imperialist and Zionist forces instantly mobilized their media, talking heads, retired generals, and bogus experts on the Middle East. The deafening uproar they made and all lies they told about atrocities committed by Iraq in Kuwait hid a definite scheme: Incite for war. In the period August 2, 1990 – January 14, 1991, Israelis and Jewish Zionists from all fields appeared en mass and in every possible medium available to urge the Bush regime to give up diplomacy in favor of war. On January 15, 1991, a 30-member “coalition” in which the U.S. had the lion share—ninety-seven percent of the total force—attacked Iraq. By every standard and minutia of details, the war on Iraq in 1991 was an American War.

At the end of a war that destroyed one of Israel’s Arab adversaries, George H. W. Bush might have thought of himself as America’s “laureate hero”.  He did not predict though that his temporary freezing of the U.S. loan guaranties to Israel, would have unleashed the Jewish Zionist establishment against him. The fact that he lost to Bill Clinton (who opposed Bush’s freeze, and who stated that Israel was the “only country that paid back its debts”) indicated that American Jewish Zionists had finally reached their objective: To perfect ways to control the U.S. politics from the inside. In retrospect, it can be said that George H. W. Bush was the last non-Zionist American president. From Bill Clinton forward, U.S. presidents and their vice president became pawns in the Jewish Zionist play of power.

Now, as the United States was preparing for war with Iraq to “liberate” Kuwait, thousands of antiwar activists and intellectuals from a wide spectrum of political convictions spoke loudly against it. But no one could have ever beaten Patrick J. Buchanan’s memorable words about how American Jewish Zionists and Israel were pushing for that war. He said, ”There are only two groups that are beating the drums for war in the Middle East – the Israeli Defense Ministry and its amen corner in the United States.” [2] With that, Buchanan hit the proverbial nail on the head. A.M. Rosenthal, a ringleader of U.S. Zionist journalism could not bear what he heard. In a rebuttal, he unleashed an acerbic attack against Buchanan. His weapon of argument, so to speak, was the stale and trite accusation of “antisemitism”.

Whining, Rosenthal twisted Buchanan’s clear words and went on to imply that Buchanan was in effect engaging in an “anti-Jewish” tirade. He re-interpreted Buchanan’s words and cast them in a standard Zionistic fashion. He wrote that Buchanan’s intention was ”The Jews are trying to drag us into war. Only Jews want war. Israeli Jews want war to save Israel’s hide. American Jews who talk of military action against Iraq want war because it would suit Israeli interests. They are willing to spill American blood for Israeli interests.” [3]

By inserting the word, “Jew” in his reply, Rosenthal and the New York Times behind him spat on the face of U.S. political reality under the tight grip of Zionism. We need not waste our breath on Rosenthal’s petty tactic. His clear objective was to distract from the central issue, which is, Buchanan’s opposition to the planned war against Iraq was unrelated to the religious denomination of those who were promoting it. Rather he was unmistakably referring to their political identity.

Still, Buchanan was honest. He pointed the finger to Israel and its “Amen corner” because that was the truth. The fact that most Israelis and “Amen corners” happened to be of Jewish faith was nonissue. To conclude, it is evident that Buchanan, a dreamer of an American “republic” not “empire”, could not stand by idle while seeing the United States sheepishly fastened to the yoke of Zionism and gutlessly prostrating before a tiny settler state, Israel.

Buchanan did not stop there. Truthful and resolute, he dared to describe in categorical terms the pitiful condition of the U.S. Congress vis-à-vis Israel and American Jewish Zionists. He dubbed it as “An Israeli-occupied territory” [4].  Buchanan powerfully hit the target in such a way that countless cowardly American politicians would dare not think, let alone say. Notice that Buchanan had placed Israel before its U.S. “amen corner”. I view this as a statement. He clearly implied that Israel is the primary decision maker. Did that also imply that U.S. Zionist groups (amen corner) are puppets moved by Israel? Most likely, if so, which has more power in setting the U.S. world agenda and policies: Israel or American Jewish Zionists? Dialectically, the answer should be Israel by means of its “amen corner’.

Now, in December 1991, Jim Lehrer (a former co-anchor of The Macneil/Lehrer NewsHour, and later sole anchor of The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer) interviewed Pat Buchanan. It is important to mention, that Jim Lehrer has monopolized a significant position funded by federal tax money for over 30 years starting in 1975. Is that an issue? Yes, and to debate it, the following applies. Whenever a specific group of people, be they Christian, Muslim, Jewish, atheist, duopoly party apparatchiks, etc., keeps an important public post for such a long duration, the implication is unescapable: the group controls that post because of its embedded importance. . . . But more important, they have the power to keep it.

Nonetheless, when a specific group continues to hold, throughout time, important positions inside public corporations, agencies, and branches of the U.S. government, a paradigm emerges. Either the group controls said corporations directly—that is why it is able to do what they want. Or, it controls them indirectly by controlling first who appoints the board of trustees and sets corporate policies and appointees. At any rate, considering this type of control, the assumption that such group has power over the government and its public corporations is reasonable.

Additionally, the issue of monopoly of news is critical in another respect. It means that someone within the context of U.S. imperialism has decided that the U.S. public discourse must conform to predetermined patterns. In these patterns, issues such as Israel, Zionism, Palestine, U.S. imperialism in the Middle East, wars, etc., are designed to move only on linear grounds without ever touching the core of the matter.

Before continuing, I must state that Lehrer’s political views are not a subject to discuss vis-à-vis his program. For one, the NewsHour program is not about the personal views of presenters—it is about information prepared for the public from a public corporation. Second, whether Lehrer had sympathies for Israel or Zionism is nonissue because most viewers expect neutral discussions regardless of who delivers them. Nevertheless, a situation such as this has a consequence affecting the special relations between the narrated news/comments, the people who deliver them, and the people who hear them.

Firstly, planning news delivery to attain specific results is a good technique for those in the business of indoctrination. Psychology and perception are the areas of expertise that news planners depend on to disseminate certain news and analyses. To be sure, these planners know that most viewers have no special or personal stakes on events happening in other countries. Still, the immediate consequence that controlled news and commentaries could generate is easy to predict. They also know they can seep to the viewers pre-conceived ideas through pleasant dialogs, affable manners, appearance of neutrality, and clever circumlocutions.

To be fair to Lehrer, he was consistent in making intelligent questions. However, he was also consistent at doing something else. He would calibrate his questions in such a way as not to reveal new truths or solicit critical replies that could go beyond boundaries deliberately conceived so as not to be crossed. It is pragmatic to say that the observance of these boundaries would nicely serve the Zionist and imperialist discourse. In essence, a practice thusly followed is a preemptive mechanism of control cloaked as a professional presentation.

Now, in his interview, Lehrer played dumb when he asked Buchanan about his bold characterization of the Congress. He phrased his question as follows, “You have also said that Congress is an Israeli-occupied territory. Now, what do you mean by that?” [Italics are mine]

COMMENT: Semantically as much as politically, Buchanan’s figure of speech was terse and unequivocal. He plainly meant that the Congress observes Israel’s agenda and acts accordingly. There was no need for Buchanan to say anything further because what he said had (and still has) basis in verifiable facts. With a question such as, “what do you mean by that” Lehrer was not seeking a rational reply from Buchanan. The form and content of the question had the objective of wanting to entrap Buchanan, make him retract, or at least contradict himself to show inconsistency. In essence, Lehrer had simply tried to deny that Israel controls the Congress through its “amen corner” because his “what do you mean” indicated astonishment rather than request for explanation. [5]

To wrap up the issue, without exclusion, any denial of the Jewish Zionist control of the United States is a farce. Take Abraham H. Foxman of the infamous Anti-Defamation League as an example. Foxman authored a master‑deceptive propaganda book that he called, “The Deadliest Lies: The Israeli Lobby and the Myth of Jewish Control. [Italics are mine]. First, Foxman lied. He knew very well that the Jewish [Zionist] control is not a myth but a pervasive reality.  Second, but most important, the problem is not the abstract “Jewish control” but the specific—Jewish Zionist control. This can be explained using a current universal truth: hundreds of thousands of Jews from all nationalities actively oppose Zionism on political, religious, ethical, historical, and ideological grounds.

Foxman’s denial means one of two things. Either he is a parochial charlatan when the subject is the undisputed power of American Jewish Zionism, or he is very ignorant of the history of Zionism in the United States, which is impossible. Either way, Foxman’s business is propaganda, demagogy, and deception. Incidentally, Foxman’s denial looks very similar to what some Arabs do in the Middle East. Villagers—but even some city folks—try to fend off “envy” by following an eon-old superstition. They fix a drawing on a wall in their shops or homes showing the palm of an open hand with an open eye in its center. It appears that Foxman and his associates have their own superstition. By decrying the “deadliest lies” against American Jewish Zionists, they try to fend off the accusation or the “envy” that Jews—specifically, Jewish Zionists—have power and influence.

Of substance, did Foxman not learn or did anyone inform him about what John Foster Dulles told William Knowland (a pro-Zionist senator from California) back in February 1957? In an exchange about the proposed sanctions to get Israel out of Egyptian territory occupied by Israel in the Suez War, Dulles pronounced these prophetic words, “We cannot have all our policies made in Jerusalem . . .” [6]. That was in 1957. Today, all those who deride or deny the charge that Israel has a say on U.S. foreign policy and wars in the Middle East must prove that those who are making this charge are  misinformed or just lying.

Interestingly, years after Buchanan made that statement, the successive events proved his sharp assessment and political perspicacity. Two people vindicated his characterization of Capitol Hills as an Israeli-occupied territory” and both used his words to make the point. The first is a former CIA officer Philip Giraldi, and the second is Philip Weiss, founder of MondoWeiss website. In an article he wrote in 2011, Giraldi pointed to the Congress as, “It’s Still Occupied Territory“. Weiss titled a piece he wrote in 2015 as such: “Capitol Hill — still Israeli-occupied territory“.

At this point, do American Jewish Zionists control the United States? Do they control it as polity or only the political system? Do they have real influence in setting U.S. foreign policy and wars against the Arab and Muslim nations? Or maybe all this talk is no more than baseless allegations?

NEXT
Part 2: Discussion
Part 3: Interview with Francis Boyle
Part 4: Interview with James Petras
Part 5: Interview with Kim Petersen

NOTES

  1. Jimmy carter, Speaking frankly about Israel and Palestine, Los Angeles Times, 8 December 2006
  2. Pat Buchanan, The McLaughlin Group, Aug 26, 1990, quoted in the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, What They Said: Israel and Its “Amen Corner”,  February 1992
  3. ON MY MIND; Forgive Them Not, The New York Times, 14 September 1990
  4. Quoted in the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, Is Congress an Israeli-Occupied Territory?, July 1995
  5. The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, What They Said: Israel and Its “Amen Corner”, Feb. 1992
  6. David Tal, editor, The 1956 War: Collusion and Rivalry in the Middle East, Frank Cass Publishers, 2001, p. 40

November 11, 2016 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Timeless or most popular, Wars for Israel | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment