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Can Truth Survive Trump? WaPo Fails to Ask How Well Truth Was Doing to Begin With

By Dean Baker | FAIR | July 16, 2018

Carlos Lozada, the nonfiction book critic for the Washington Post, promised “an honest investigation” of whether truth can survive the Trump administration in the lead article in the paper’s Sunday Outlook section. He delivered considerably less.

WaPo: Can truth survive this president? An honest investigation.

The Washington Post fails. But, hey, it’s the Washington Post.

Most importantly and incredibly, Lozada never considers the possibility that respect for traditional purveyors of “truth” has been badly weakened by the fact that they have failed to do so in many important ways in recent years. Furthermore, they have used their elite status (prized university positions and access to major media outlets) to deride those who challenged them as being unthinking illiterates.

This dynamic is most clear in the trade policy pursued by the United States over the last four decades. This policy had the predicted and actual effect of eliminating the jobs of millions of manufacturing workers and reducing the pay of tens of millions of workers with less than a college education. The people who suffered the negative effects of these policies were treated as stupid know-nothings, and wrongly told that their suffering was due to automation or was an inevitable product of globalization.

These claims are what those of us still living in the world of truth know as “lies,” but you will never see anyone allowed to make these points in the Washington Post. After all, its readers can’t be allowed to see such thoughts.

This was far from the only major failure of the purveyors of truth. The economic crisis caused by the collapse of the housing bubble cost millions of workers their jobs and/or houses. While this collapse was 100 percent predictable for anyone with a basic knowledge of economics, with almost no exceptions, our elite economists failed to see it coming, and ridiculed those who warned of the catastrophe.

Incredibly, there were no career consequences for this momentous failure. No one lost their job and probably few even missed a scheduled promotion. Everyone was given a collective “who could have known?” amnesty. This leaves us with the absurd situation where a dishwasher who breaks the dishes get fired, a custodian that doesn’t clean the toilet gets fired, but an elite economist who completely misses the worst economic disaster in 70 years gets promoted to yet another six-figure salary position.

And, departing briefly from my area of expertise, none of the geniuses who thought invading Iraq was a good idea back in 2003 seems to be on the unemployment lines today. Again, there was another collective “who could have known?” amnesty, with those responsible for what was quite possibly the greatest foreign policy disaster in US history still considered experts in the area and drawing high salaries.

When we have a world in which the so-called experts are not held accountable for their failures, even when they are massive, and they consistently look down on the people who question their expertise, it undermines belief in truth. It would have been nice if Lozada had explored this aspect of the issue, but, hey, it’s the Washington Post.

Dean Baker is the author of Rigged: How Globalization and the Rules of the Modern Economy Were Structured to Make the Rich Richer.

July 16, 2018 Posted by | Economics, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Militarism, Timeless or most popular | , , | Leave a comment

The View of Russia in the West

By Paul Craig Roberts | OffGuardian | July 12, 2018

The upcoming Trump/Putin summit is hampered by the crazed portrait of Russia painted by presstitutes. Jonathan Chait, Amy Knight, Max Bergmann, Yaroslav Trofimov, Roger Cohen, and the rest of the conscious or de facto CIA assets that comprise the Western presstitute media have turned Putin into a superhuman who controls election outcomes throughout the West, murders people without rhyme or reason, and has President Trump under his thumb doing Putin’s bidding. Who could imagine a more extreme conspiracy theory?

Jonathan Chait in New York magazine writes that “the dark crevices of the Russia scandal run deep,” so deep that “it would be dangerous not to consider the possibility that the summit is less a negotiation between two heads of state than a meeting between a Russian-intelligence asset and his handler.”

So here is Chait, who brands truth-tellers “conspiracy theorists” coming up with the greatest conspiracy theory of our time that President Trump has been a Kremlim asset since 1987. Chait provides a ”crazy quilt of connections” to illustrate his absurd conspiracy theory that “it’s not necessary to believe that Putin always knew he might install Trump in the Oval Office to find the following situation highly plausible: Sometime in 2015, the Russian president recognized that he had, in one of his unknown number of intelligence files, an inroad into American presidential politics.”

Chait believes that Russia is also behind the UK’s exit from the European Union. “Driving Britain out of the European Union advanced the decades-long Russian goal of splitting Western nations apart, and Russia found willing allies on the British far right.”

Chait gets even more conspiratorial. He admits that Paul Manafort’s indictments for alleged white collar crimes are not related to Trump’s election, having occurred years previously in Ukraine. Nevertheless, Chait is certain that Manafort is shielding Trump even though according to Chait Manafort is facing many years in prison. Why would Manafort shield Trump? Chait’s answer:

One way to make sense of his behavior is the possibility that Manafort is keeping his mouth shut because he’s afraid of being killed. That speculation might sound hyperbolic, but there is plenty of evidence to support it. In February, a video appeared on YouTube showing Manafort’s patron Deripaska on his yacht with a Belarusian escort named Anastasia Vashukevich.”

Chait’s article is long and heavily weighted with innuendo. Chait, or whoever wrote the article, possibly the person who wrote the Steele Dossier, collects every disparaging fact and fantasy about Trump and assembles them in a way to paint a portrait of a person who must also, without much doubt, be a Russian agent. If the public can be convinced of this, the military/security complex can assassinate Trump and blame Putin for getting rid of an asset who was exposed by the Russiagate investigation, no longer useful, and perhaps prepared to spill the beans.

Another conspiracy theorist, Amy Knight, writes that “The real question is where does the Russian criminal state end and the criminal underworld begin, and how do they work together in what amounts to a new murder incorporated?”

Yaroslav Trofimov tells us in the Wall Street Journal (July 7) that “Putin maps out his own empire” to replace the lost Soviet one.

In the Washington Post Max Bergmann tells us that Trump is going to sell out NATO in Helsinki. This line leads to the supposition that Putin is using Trump to unleash the Russian military on Europe. Many conspiracy theorists have come together on the view that first the Baltic States will be invaded and then Putin will move on to Germany and the rest of Europe. The New York Times’ Roger Cohen even pulls Marine Le Pen into the plot which widens to include ethnically cleansing the West of the refugees from Washington’s wars.

This is the level of absurdity that the American media delivers to the public’s understanding of foreign affairs.


Dr. Paul Craig Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Economic Policy and associate editor of the Wall Street Journal. He was columnist for Business Week, Scripps Howard News Service, and Creators Syndicate. He has had many university appointments. His internet columns have attracted a worldwide following. Roberts’ latest books are The Failure of Laissez Faire Capitalism and Economic Dissolution of the WestHow America Was Lost, and The Neoconservative Threat to World Order.

July 12, 2018 Posted by | Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Russophobia | , , , , , , | Leave a 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

US establishment in hysterics that Trump-Putin summit might succeed

RT | July 6, 2018

There are many reasons the bipartisan US establishment hates Trump. His heresies from neoliberal orthodoxies on immigration and trade are prominent. But top among them is his oft-stated intention to improve relations with Russia.

That’s fighting words for the Deep State and its mainstream media arm, for which demonizing Russia and its president Vladimir Putin is an obsession.

The fact that Donald Trump made his intention to get along with Moscow a priority during his 2016 campaign, both against his Republican primary rivals and Hillary Clinton (who has compared Putin to Hitler) was cause for alarm. This is because far more than even the frightening prospect that the 70-year state of war on the Korean Peninsula might end, US reconciliation with Russia would yank the rug out from under the phony justifications for spending hundreds of billions of dollars annually to counter a “threat” that ceased to exist over a quarter century ago. Absent hostility to Russia that money has no reason to keep sustaining the power, privilege, and prosperity of a horde of moochers and profiteers, both at home and abroad.

That’s why when it was reported soon after his January 2017 inauguration that Trump was seeking to open dialogue with the Kremlin and set an early summit with Putin there was a hysterical counteraction. As described just over a year ago by conservative columnist and former presidential candidate Patrick Buchanan:

Trump planned a swift lifting of sanctions on Russia after inauguration and a summit meeting with Vladimir Putin to prevent a second Cold War. The State Department was tasked with working out the details. Instead, says Daniel Fried, the coordinator for sanctions policy, he received ‘panicky’ calls of ‘Please, my God, can you stop this?’. Operatives at State, disloyal to the president and hostile to the Russia policy on which he had been elected, collaborated with elements in Congress to sabotage any detente. They succeeded.

“It would have been a win-win for Moscow,” said Tom Malinowski of State, who boasted last week of his role in blocking a rapprochement with Russia. State employees sabotaged one of the principal policies for which Americans had voted, and they substituted their own.

Back then, constitutional government and the rule of law took a back seat to bureaucratic obstructionism, atop months of a phony “Russian collusion” story that even anti-Russian Republican Congressmen are now calling to “finish the hell up.” But now, in the aftermath of the successful Singapore summit and with the collusion narrative looking ever more threadbare, Trump is back on track. The summit with Putin will finally take place on July 16 in Helsinki, Finland, the site of earlier meetings between American and Russian leaders.

Today the assaults on Trump are no less frenzied than a year ago, but they seem to pack less of a punch with the critics’ glum awareness that, aside from some extraordinary provocation, little can be done to stop the summit from taking place. The Beltway Swamp’s flagship bulletin board Washington Post accused Trump of “kowtowing” to Putin by merely agreeing to meet with him. Trump’s one-on-one with the “autocrat” Putin will be a “meeting of kindred spirits,” warned the conceited New York Times. Putin has “devoured” Trump grumbled über-Russophobe Ralph Peters on CNN. Trump wants to “Finlandize” the US moaned Max Boot. Officials in the United Kingdom, a key culprit in ginning up “Russiagate” in the first place, are particularly scared that – horror! – there could be a “peace deal” between Trump and Putin.

Major worries are voiced by useless freeloader countries we call “allies,” whose governments fret that the US will become “less reliable” – to their rulers’ interests of course, not to those of the American people. This specifically means the members of NATO, whose summit Trump will attend prior to Helsinki. As former US ambassador to Moscow and to NATO Alexander Vershbow suggests, “allies are wondering whether they will be in for nothing more than a tongue lashing by President Trump over insufficient defense spending, further inflaming transatlantic divisions over trade, the Iran deal, and other issues.”

Indeed, Trump’s hammering on the NATO deadbeats’ treating the US as a “piggy bank” that will no longer be at their disposal exposes the biggest fraud at the heart of the long-obsolete alliance: there is no threat of Russian military “aggression” and they all know it. If these countries really thought they were in danger of invasion from Russia (and not from Third World migrants, regarding which NATO is totally worthless) they wouldn’t need Trump to nag them about spending, they’d commit more money because they knew they had to. The proof is in noting which NATO member, after the US, consistently spends the largest GDP share on its military: Greece. Is that because the penniless Greeks are terrified of Russia? No, they’re afraid of a genuine threat from their fellow NATO “ally,” Turkey.

In the absence of an actual military menace from the east, NATO advocates are scrambling to come up with ever more imaginative justifications. As described by one member of Latvia’s parliament on the website of the Atlantic Council, a leading Washington establishment think tank, the real Russian threat comes from “hybrid warfare, with an increased focus on asymmetric and nontraditional military capabilities, has made it considerably more difficult for NATO to counter destabilization efforts, information operations, cyber-attacks, disinformation, propaganda, and psychological operations.” Yeah sure, maybe Trump will fall for that! Anything to save the Atlantic Council’s $30 million budget provided by a Who’s Who of US government agencies, NATO and Gulf Arab governments, and military contractor firms.

However, it should not be thought that the US and NATO establishment’s hostility to Russia is entirely venal. There is also a strong ideological component. Whereas during the first Cold War much of the western establishment, especially on the Left, felt an affinity for the materialist goals of communism (if not its methods), Russia’s reemergence under Putin as a conservative country in which national traditions and the Orthodox Church are respected has led to a bitter sense of betrayal. That makes Putin, as articulated by Hillary Clinton, leader of the worldwide “authoritarian, white-supremacist, and xenophobic movement” who is “emboldening right-wing nationalists, separatists, racists, and even neo-Nazis.” No Soviet leader, not even Joseph Stalin, was ever portrayed in such diabolical fashion in US media and government circles the way Putin is.

It is no coincidence that Trump himself is vilified in the same dire Hitlerian terms once reserved for foreign targets of regime change like Slobodan Milosevic, Saddam Hussein, and Muammar Gaddafi. Together with the rising elements of anti-establishmentism in Europe, most recently in the installation of a patriotic Lega/Five-Star government in Rome, the post-modern, neo-liberal elite on both sides of the Atlantic feels its dominance slipping away.

For some Democratic partisans and Never-Trump neo-conservative Republicans, horror at improved US-Russia relations competes with the loathing of Trump personally. But for other Americans, both supporters of the President and people who find him objectionable, the summit should not be seen as a litmus test about their attitudes toward the current occupant of the White House. Rather, the issue is what the summit can mean for Americans’ safety and security – and perhaps our very survival.

Claims of Russian collusion and attitudes toward Trump have obscured the fact that Russia is the only country on the planet with a nuclear establishment on a par with ours. Even during the worst periods of the first Cold War with the USSR, US administrations of both parties kept in mind that a minimum of mutual respect and open communication was not just prudent, it was literally a matter of life and death – for the American people and for the world.

During the past few years as we have entered what has been called a second Cold War, this time with post-communist Russia, the seriousness with which the US used to regard the old Soviet Union has been lacking. The bipartisan foreign policy consensus became a closed, incestuous loop in which Republicans and Democrats vied for who could be most strident in their anti-Russian attitudes: let’s poke the bear and see if he growls!

NATO expansion right in Russia’s face became an end in itself, continuing with induction of Montenegro in 2017, plans to welcome Macedonia (or “North Macedonia” or whatever other silly name is concocted to appease Hellenic pride) – even Ukraine, Georgia, and Bosnia-Herzegovina remain formally on track for joining.

Color revolutions and disastrous wars of regime change toppled Moscow-friendly governments, justified as supposed “democracy promotion.” Risk of confrontation between US and Russian military personnel – studiously avoided during Cold War 1 – takes place with reckless glee in Russia’s Black and Baltic Seas littorals, in Ukraine, and especially in Syria, where earlier this year American forces reportedly slaughtered many Russian contractors – to the delight of some of those now warning darkly against the Trump-Putin meeting. Perhaps most dangerously, the painfully constructed complex of arms control agreements has atrophied as both sides build up stocks of new hypersonic, cyber, and space weapons.

It is perhaps beyond the power of either Trump or Putin to reverse this dangerous trend with one stroke, but maybe they can at least make a start in arresting it. The usual suspects warn of failure, but their real worry is that the summit might be a success. Let’s hope their worst nightmare comes true and peace breaks out.

Jim Jatras is a Washington, DC-based attorney, political analyst, and media & government affairs specialist.

Read more:

‘Trump wants to be his own drummer at Putin meeting after NATO Summit’ – Jim Jatras

July 6, 2018 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Militarism, Russophobia | , , , , | Leave a comment

Mexican President-Elect’s Campaign Already Target of Russia Fearmongering

21st Century Wire | July 3, 2018

Mexico’s newly elected president, Andrés Manuel López Obrador (“AMLO”), just won a sweeping victory by all accounts, but that hasn’t stopped the Russia fearmongering express from rolling on in the mainstream press.

Andrés Manuel López Obrador speaks to his campaign volunteers and supporters after his election victory. (lopezobrador.org.mx)

It’s truly something diabolical to witness – everything from the prospects of peace to just about anything happening on the planet – Russia could be to blame.

As it turns out, back in January, Rueters ran a story quoting H.R. McMaster, then U.S. National Security Adviser. McMaster said he’d already seen the “initial signs” of Russia ‘meddling’ in Mexico’s upcoming election. The story added that AMLO is also “the Kremlin’s favorite” because his campaign was covered on RT and Sputnik broadcasts.

This sounds a lot like north of the border Russiagate. In the case of Mexico, we’re again supposed to take an official’s word for it. No hard evidence needed.

H.R. McMaster
H.R. McMaster, sacked from the White House in April, now works to combat ‘Russia and China threats’ at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution think tank.

The McMaster speculation, as we’ll call it, has been used for months to traffic in more Russia fearmongering news stories leading up to Mexico’s 2018 election.

This is all it takes to give a little canard its wings.

The Guardian soon jumped in with “Mexico’s leftwing frontrunner laughs off Russia jibes and says: I’m no Moscow stooge.” AMLO the candidate responded to the ridiculous allegations of ‘Russian support’ by jokingly referring to himself as “Andrés Manuelovich” and said he was expecting a submarine to arrive from Moscow bringing him gold.

A clever and humorous response, no doubt, but really just more fodder for Russiagate…

The Atlantic (“Are Mexico’s Elections Russia’s Next Target?”) and The New York Times (“Bots and Trolls Elbow Into Mexico’s Crowded Electoral Field”) joined in with their own version of this fake news story.

True to form, The Washington Post couldn’t resist with “The prospect of Russian meddling in Mexico’s election is no joke.”

As Mexico’s election results poured in on Monday, signaling a landslide victory for AMLO, Russophobia ensued on Twitter:

But the “Gran Premio” (Grand Prize) for this fake news story on Russia meddling in Mexico’s election goes to The Daily Express :

As you can see in the screen grab above from Monday’s edition of their website, the UK tabloid newspaper ran with the headline:

“Mexico Election 2018: Russia INTERFERENCE in López Obrador President campaign feared by US”

And in the subhead and top image, there’s the recycled McMaster claim along with reference to none other than Russia’s President Vladimir Putin.

This is the paint-by-numbers kit for how the mainstream press pushes Russia fearmongering inside their fake news echo chamber. With more elections to come this year, expect to see it again.

It’s official. Russiagate goes to Mexico. Where will it go next?

July 4, 2018 Posted by | Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Russophobia | , , | 7 Comments

The Two Superpowers: Who Really Controls the Two Countries?

By Paul Craig Roberts | Institute For Political Economy | June 30, 2018

Among the ruling interests in the US, one interest even more powerful than the Israel Lobby—the Deep State of the military/security complex— there is enormous fear that an uncontrollable President Trump at the upcoming Putin/Trump summit will make an agreement that will bring to an end the demonizing of Russia that serves to protect the enormous budget and power of the military-security complex.

You can see the Deep State’s fear in the editorials that the Deep State handed to the Washington Post (June 29) and New York Times (June 29), two of the Deep State’s megaphones, but no longer believed by the vast majority of the American people. The two editorials share the same points and phrases. They repeat the disproved lies about Russia as if blatant, obvious lies are hard facts.

Both accuse President Trump of “kowtowing to the Kremlin.” Kowtowing, of course, is not a Donald Trump characteristic. But once again fact doesn’t get in the way of the propaganda spewed by the WaPo and NYT, two megaphones of Deep State lies.

The Deep State editorial handed to the WaPo reads: “THE REASONS for the tension between the United States and Russia are well-established. Russia seized Crimea from Ukraine, instigated a war in eastern Ukraine, intervened to save the dictatorship of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, interfered in the U.S. presidential election campaign to harm Hillary Clinton and help Donald Trump, poisoned a former intelligence officer on British soil and continues to meddle in the elections of other democracies.”

The WaPo’s opening paragraph is a collection of all the blatant lies assembled by the Deep State for its Propaganda Ministry. There have been many books written about the CIA’s infiltration of the US media.  There is no doubt about it. I remember my orientation as Staff Associate, House Defense Appropriation Subcommittee, when I was informed that the Washington Post is a CIA asset. This was in 1975. Today the Post is owned by a person with government contracts that many believe sustain his front business.

And don’t forget Udo Ulfkotte, an editor of the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, who wrote in his best seller, Bought Journalism, that there was not a significant journalist in Europe who was not on the CIA’s payroll. The English language edition of Ulfkotte’s book has been suppressed and prevented from publication.

The New York Times, which last told the truth in the 1970s when it published the leaked Pentagon Papers and had the fortitude to stand up for its First Amendment rights, repeats the lies about Putin’s “seizure of Crimea and attack on Ukraine” along with all the totally unsubstantiated BS about Russia interfering in the US president election and electing Trump, who now kowtows to Putin in order to serve Russia instead of the US. The editorial handed to the NYT insinuates that Trump is a threat to the national security of America and its allies (vassals). The problem, the NYT declares, is that Trump is not listening to his advisors.

Shades of President John F. Kennedy, who did not listen to the CIA and Joint Chiefs of Staff about invading Cuba, nuking the Soviet Union, and using the false flag attack on America of the Joint Chiefs’ Northwoods Project (look it up online). Is the New York Times setting up Trump for assassination on the grounds that he is lovey-dovey with Russia and sacrificing US national interests?

I would bet on it.

While the Washington Post and New York Times are telling us that if Trump meets with Putin, Trump will sell out US national security, The Saker says that Putin finds himself in a similar box, only it doesn’t come from the national security interest, but from the Russian Fifth Column, the Atlanticist Integrationists whose front man is the Russian Prime Minister Medvedev, who represents the rich Russian elite whose wealth is based on assets stolen during the Yeltsin years enabled by Washington. These elites, The Saker concludes, impose constraints on Putin that put Russian sovereignty at risk. Economically, it is more important to these elites for financial reasons to be part of Washington’s empire than to be a sovereign country.

I find The Saker’s explanation the best I have read of the constraints on Putin that limit his ability to represent Russian national interests.

I have often wondered why Putin didn’t have the security force round up these Russian traitors and execute them. The answer is that Putin believes in the rule of law, and he knows that Russia’s US financed and supported Fifth Column cannot be eliminated without bloodshed that is inconsistent with the rule of law. For Putin, the rule of law is as important as Russia. So, Russia hangs in the balance. It is my view that the Russian Fifth Column couldn’t care less about the rule of law. They only care about money.

As challenged as Putin might be, Chris Hedges, one of the surviving great American journalists, who is not always right but when he is he is incisive, explains the situation faced by the American people. It is beyond correction. American civil liberties and prosperity appear to be lost.

In my opinion, Hedges’ leftwing leanings caused him to focus on Reagan’s rhetoric rather that on Reagan’s achievements—the two greatest of our time—the end of stagflation, which benefited the American people, and the end of the Cold War, which removed the threat of nuclear war. I think Hedges also does not appreciate Trump’s sincerity about normalizing relations with Russia, relations destroyed by the Clinton, George W. Bush, and Obama regimes, and Trump’s sincerity about bringing offshored jobs home to American workers. Trump’s agenda puts him up against the two most powerful interest groups in the United States. A president willing to take on these powerful groups should be appreciated and supported, as Hedges acknowledges the dispossessed majority do. If I might point out to Chris, whom I admire, it is not like Chris Hedges to align against the choice of the people. How can democracy work if people don’t rule?

Hedges writes, correctly, “The problem is not Trump. It is a political system, dominated by corporate power and the mandarins of the two major political parties, in which we [the American people] don’t count.”
Hedges is absolutely correct.

It is impossible not to admire a journalist like Hedges who can describe our plight with such succinctness:

“We now live in a nation where doctors destroy health, lawyers destroy justice, universities destroy knowlege, the press destroys information, religion destroys morals, and banks destroy the economy.”

Read The Saker’s explanation of Russian politics. Possibly Putin will collapse under pressure from the powerful Fifth Column in his government. Read Chris Hedges analysis of American collapse. There is much truth in it. What happens if the Russian people rise up against the Russian Fifth Column and if the oppressed American people rise up against the extractions of the military/security complex? What happens if neither population rises up?

Who sets off the first nuclear weapon?

Our time on earth is not just limited by our threescore and ten years, but also humanity’s time on earth, and that of every other species, is limited by the use of nuclear weapons.

It is long past the time when governments, and if not them, humanity, should ask why nuclear weapons exist when they cannot be used without destroying life on earth.

Why isn’t this the question of our time, instead of, for example, transgender toilet facilities, and the large variety of fake issues on which the presstitute media focuses?

The articles by The Saker and Chris Hedges, two astute people, report that neither superpower is capable of making good decisions, decisions that are determined by democracy instead of by oligarchs, against whom neither elected government can stand.

If this is the case, humanity is finished.

Here are the Washington Post and New York Times editorials:

Washington Post
June 29, 2018
Editorial
Trump is kowtowing to the Kremlin again. Why?
Ahead of a summit with Putin, Trump is siding with the Russian leader, with dangerous results.

THE REASONS for the tension between the United States and Russia are well-established. Russia seized Crimea from Ukraine, instigated a war in eastern Ukraine, intervened to save the dictatorship of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, interfered in the U.S. presidential election campaign to harm Hillary Clinton and help Donald Trump, poisoned a former intelligence officer on British soil and continues to meddle in the elections of other democracies. Yet on Wednesday in the Kremlin, President Vladimir Putin brushed it all aside and delivered the Russian “maskirovka,” or camouflage, answer that it is all America’s fault.

Meeting with John Bolton, the president’s national security adviser, Mr. Putin declared that the tensions are “in large part the result of an intense domestic political battle inside the U.S.” Then Mr. Putin’s aide Yuri Ushakov insisted that Russia “most certainly did not interfere in the 2016 election” in the United States. On Thursday morning, Mr. Trump echoed them both on Twitter: “Russia continues to say they had nothing to do with Meddling in our Election!”

Why is Mr. Trump kowtowing again? The U.S. intelligence community has concluded that Russia did attempt to tilt the election using multiple campaigns, including cyberintrusions and insidious social media fakery. Would it be so difficult to challenge Mr. Putin about this offensive behavior? A full accounting has yet to be made of the impact on the election, but Mr. Bolton did not mince words last year when he described Russian interference as “a true act of war” and said, “We negotiate with Russia at our peril.” And now?

Summits can be productive, even – maybe especially – when nations are at odds. In theory, a meeting between Mr. Trump and Mr. Putin, now scheduled for next month in Helsinki, could be useful. But a meeting aimed at pleasing Mr. Putin is naive and foolhardy. A meeting aimed at pleasing Mr. Putin at the expense of traditional, democratic U.S. allies would be dangerous and damaging.

Just as Mr. Bolton was flattering Mr. Putin, Russia was engaging in subterfuge on the ground in Syria. The United States, Russia and Jordan last year negotiated cease-fire agreements in southwestern Syria, along the border with Jordan and the Golan Heights. In recent days, the United States has warned Russia and its Syrian allies not to launch an offensive in the area, where the rebel forces hold parts of the city of Daraa and areas along the border. The State Department vowed there would be “serious repercussions” and demanded that Russia restrain its client Syrian forces. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called the Russian foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, saying an offensive would be unacceptable. All to no avail; Syria is bombing the area.

This is what happens when Mr. Trump signals, repeatedly, that he is unwilling or unable to stand up to Russian misbehavior. We are on dangerous ground. Either Mr. Trump has lost touch with essential U.S. interests or there is some other explanation for his kowtowing that is yet unknown.

New York Times
June 29, 2018
Editorial
Trump and Putin’s Too-Friendly Summit
It’s good to meet with adversaries. But when Mr. Trump sits down with Mr. Putin, it will be a meeting of kindred spirits. That’s a problem.

It’s good for American presidents to meet with adversaries, to clarify differences and resolve disputes. But when President Trump sits down with President Vladimir Putin of Russia in Finland next month, it will be a meeting of kindred spirits, and that’s a problem.

One would think that at a tête-à-tête with the Russian autocrat, the president of the United States would take on some of the major concerns of America and its closest allies. Say, for instance, Mr. Putin’s seizure of Crimea and attack on Ukraine, which led to punishing international sanctions. But at the Group of 7 meeting in Quebec this month, Mr. Trump reportedly told his fellow heads of state that Crimea is Russian because everyone there speaks that language. And, of course, Trump aides talked to Russian officials about lifting some sanctions even before he took office.

One would hope that the president of the United States would let Mr. Putin know that he faces a united front of Mr. Trump and his fellow NATO leaders, with whom he would have met days before the summit in Helsinki. But Axios reported that during the meeting in Quebec, Mr. Trump said, “NATO is as bad as NAFTA,” the North American Free Trade Agreement, which is one of Mr. Trump’s favorite boogeymen.

Certainly the president would mention that even the people he appointed to run America’s intelligence services believe unequivocally that Mr. Putin interfered in the 2016 election to put him in office and is continuing to undermine American democracy. Right? But on Thursday morning, Mr. Trump tweeted, “Russia continues to say they had nothing to do with Meddling in our Election!”

More likely, Mr. Trump will congratulate Mr. Putin, once again, for winning another term in a sham election, as he did in March, even though his aides explicitly warned him not to. And he has already proposed readmitting Russia to the Group of 7, from which it was ousted after the Ukraine invasion.

Summits once tended to be carefully scripted, and presidents were attended by senior advisers and American interpreters. At dinner during a Group of 20 meeting last July, Mr. Trump walked over to Mr. Putin and had a casual conversation with no other American representative present. He later said they discussed adoptions – the same issue that he falsely claimed was the subject of a meeting at Trump Tower in 2016 between his representatives and Russian operatives who said they had dirt on Hillary Clinton.

It’s clear that Mr. Trump isn’t a conventional president, but instead one intent on eroding institutions that undergird democracy and peace. Mr. Trump “doesn’t believe that the U.S. should be part of any alliance at all” and believes that “permanent destabilization creates American advantage,” according to unnamed administration officials quoted by Jeffrey Goldberg in The Atlantic.

Such thinking goes further than most Americans have been led to believe were Mr. Trump’s views on issues central to allied security. He has often given grudging lip service to supporting NATO, even while complaining frequently about allies’ military spending and unfair trade policies.

The tensions Mr. Trump has sharpened with our allies should please Mr. Putin, whose goal is to fracture the West and assert Russian influence in places where the Americans and Europeans have played big roles, like the Middle East, the Balkans and the Baltic States.

Yet despite growing anxieties among European allies, Mr. Trump is relying on his advisers less than ever because, “He now thinks he’s mastered this,” one senior member of Congress said in an interview. That’s a chilling thought given his inability, so far, to show serious progress on any major security issue. Despite Mr. Trump’s talk of quick denuclearization after his headline-grabbing meeting with the North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un, experts say satellite imagery shows the North is actually improving its nuclear capability.

While the White House hasn’t disclosed an agenda for the Putin meeting, there’s a lot the two leaders should be discussing, starting with Russian cyberintrusions. Mr. Trump, though, has implied that Mr. Putin could help the United States guard against election hacking. And although Congress last year mandated sweeping sanctions against Russia to deter such behavior, Mr. Trump has failed to implement many of them.

In a similar vein, should Mr. Trump agree to unilaterally lift sanctions imposed after Moscow invaded Ukraine and started a war, it would further upset alliance members, which joined the United States in imposing sanctions at some cost to themselves. Moreover, what would deter Mr. Putin from pursuing future land grabs?

Mr. Trump could compound that by canceling military exercises, as he did with South Korea after the meeting with Mr. Kim, and by withdrawing American troops that are intended to keep Russia from aggressive action in the Baltics.

Another fraught topic is Syria. Mr. Trump has signaled his desire to withdraw American troops from Syria, a move that would leave the country more firmly in the hands of President Bashar al-Assad and his two allies, Russia and Iran. Russia, in particular, is calling the shots on the battlefield and in drafting a political settlement that could end the fighting, presumably after opposition forces are routed.

What progress could be made at this summit, then? Mr. Trump and Mr. Putin may find it easier to cooperate in preventing a new nuclear arms race by extending New Start, a treaty limiting strategic nuclear weapons that expires in 2021.

Another priority: bringing Russia back into compliance with the I.N.F. treaty, which eliminated all U.S. and Soviet ground-launched ballistic and cruise missiles with ranges between 500 and 5,500 kilometers, until Russia tested and deployed a prohibited cruise missile.

Mr. Trump’s top national security advisers are more cleareyed about the Russian threat than he is. So are the Republicans who control the Senate. They have more responsibility than ever to try to persuade Mr. Trump that the country’s security is at stake when he meets Mr. Putin, and that he should prepare carefully for the encounter.

June 30, 2018 Posted by | Deception, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , , | 1 Comment

Trump-Putin summit should be welcomed, not feared

By Neil Clark | RT | June 22, 2018

The news that Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin are preparing to meet in Europe next month has been causing consternation among those keen to keep the temperature of the new ‘Cold War’ close to freezing point.

But these voices should be ignored, as a summit is just what is needed at the present time.

“Meeting jaw to jaw is better than war,” Winston Churchill famously observed. Which sane person, desirous of world peace, could possibly disagree with the sentiment?

Yet, it seems that some people in the corridors of power in the West and in neocon think-tanks are seriously alarmed by the prospect of the presidents of the US and Russia getting together for a tete-a-tete and possibly defusing current tensions.

The London Times has cited Whitehall sources who told the paper how worried they were about a Trump-Putin get-together. “It would be a highly negative thing to do,” one unnamed insider said. “Everyone is perturbed by what is going on, and is fearing for the future of the [Atlantic] alliance,” said another.

Meanwhile, in the New Yorker, Susan B. Glasser informs us that many Russia ‘experts’ are worried that Putin “is intent upon securing major concessions from Trump.” She also cites George W. Bush’s former ambassador to Russia, Alexander Vershbow, who lambasted the idea of a meeting as a “bonding session with another dictator.”

“Get ready for another lavish televised love-fest, this time between Trump and Putin,” warns Anne Applebaum. The Washington Post columnist fears there will be a ‘trade.’ “We stop holding military exercises in Europe. In exchange, we allow Russia to keep Crimea.”

“Also,” she adds, “we will throw in Alaska.”

If we go back to the early 1970s, we’d find Applebaum’s predecessors equally concerned that President Nixon – another Republican president loathed by liberals – was keen on a rapprochement with the Soviet Union. In fact, a review of the diplomatic moves made by Nixon and the opposition he faced from uber-hawks inside America is highly instructive.

On May 22, 1972, Nixon became the first serving US president to set foot inside the Kremlin. Four days later, the president and his Soviet counterpart Leonid Brezhnev signed SALT 1 (the Strategic Arms Limitation Talks), described by Jeremy Isaacs and Taylor Downing in their book ‘Cold War’ as “an event of considerable significance.”

“After 25 years of hostility, the Soviet Union and the United States had agreed to curb spiraling arms-race costs, and reduce the risks of nuclear war,” they wrote.

Who couldn’t be happy about this? Senator Henry Jackson – aka the ‘Senator from Boeing’ – for one. As the New York Times explained in 1988.

SALT 1 was an executive agreement, not a treaty, so it could not be blocked by the Senate. “So Jackson pushed through a resolution that set stiff terms for any future treaties, demanding, among other things, that they produce rough numerical equality,” it wrote.

Jackson also opposed the agreement on Security and Cooperation in Europe, signed in Helsinki on August 1, 1975, commonly regarded as ‘detente’s high point.’

“As if to symbolize this new spirit of goodwill, the American Apollo and the Soviet Soyuz spacecraft docked together in outer space, 140 miles above Earth. For two days, the astronauts of rival systems carried out joint experiments while orbiting Earth. Detente had replaced decades of confrontation,” note Isaacs and Downing.

And remember, all this had happened under Republican presidents (Nixon and Ford).

Fast forward to today, and it’s the disciples of ‘Scoop’ Jackson who once again seem terrified that a meeting between Trump and Putin will lead to a new ‘spirit of goodwill’ between East and West.

That would never do, as Russia must always be regarded as the enemy – unless of course it does absolutely everything the West demands of it.

Trump and Putin could be a re-run of Nixon and Brezhnev. They could start to talk about arms limitation. They could start to talk about new security and co-operation arrangements. They could embrace each other warmly and declare that the US and Russia would never go to war with each other.

Of course, if such positive moves were made, people across the world would be delighted, as they were in 1972 and 1975. But defense industry lobbyists won’t be.

In ’Fog,’ a 1969 episode of the classic UK television series ‘The Avengers,’ members of the world disarmament committee meet in London, and are bumped off one by one by a mysterious ‘Gaslight Ghoul.’ We’re led to believe that the guilty party is an old-fashioned, politically incorrect ‘Empire loyalist’ Sir Geoffrey Armstrong but in fact (Plot Spoiler Alert), it’s the more ‘progressive’ Mark Travers. And his motive? He has an armaments business. He profits from wars and conflicts. That’s why the very idea of the great powers co-operating is anathema to him.

Mark is able to ‘disguise’ himself as a good guy because he doesn’t espouse the reactionary ‘Colonel Blimp’ views of Sir Geoffrey. Sound familiar?

Any US presidents who have worked for arms limitation and better relations with the Kremlin have faced fierce opposition, even if they’ve been former hawks themselves.

In 1975, Ronald Reagan opposed Helsinki, saying “All Americans should be against it.” He stepped up the arms race when he became president in 1981 and referred to the Soviet Union as ‘the evil empire.’ But in 1984, at the time when the pop group Frankie Goes to Hollywood were warning us of the dangers of nuclear Armageddon with their smash hit ‘Two Tribes,’ Reagan changed course quite dramatically. The president’s ambitious goal was a world without nuclear weapons. The hawks in the US and Britain were alarmed over this volte face. On November 19, 1985 Reagan met new Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev for the first time.

“They got on famously – even better when alone together,” Isaacs and Downing record. Just over two years later, the two men signed a historic arms-control agreement in the White House.

But it could have been even more extensive. At the Reykjavik summit in October 1986, Reagan said he was willing to eliminate all nuclear weapons within 10 years. The Star Wars (SDI) defense programme proved the sticking point – but in Downing Street there was enormous relief that a deal was not struck – wedded to concerns that nuclear disarmament might still happen at a future date.

“My own reaction when I heard how far the Americans had been prepared to go was as if there had been an earthquake beneath my feet,” British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher later wrote. “I supported the idea of a 50-percent direction in strategic ballistic missiles over five years, but the president’s proposals to eliminate them all together after 10 years was a different matter… Somehow I had to get the Americans back onto the firm ground of a credible policy of nuclear deterrence. I arranged to fly to the United States to see President Reagan.”

The ‘Iron Lady’ went to Camp David and persuaded Reagan to take what she saw as a firmer line. A statement was released which declared: “The president reaffirmed the United States’ intention to proceed with its strategic modernization program, including Trident. He also confirmed his full support for the arrangements made to modernize Britain’s independent nuclear deterrent, with Trident.”

“I had reason to be well pleased,” wrote Thatcher.

Then, as now, it was Britain urging the US to maintain a tough stance towards Moscow. That’s worth remembering whenever you hear someone say that London always acts as Washington’s poodle – because sometimes it’s the UK government that’s the more hawkish.

Thatcher believed that Europe would have been ‘dangerously exposed’ if Reagan’s disarmament plans had been accepted. Today, we hear similar fears being expressed over a Trump-Putin summit. The future of NATO, we’re told, could be threatened. Yet significantly, NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg is not among the voices articulating this concern. Speaking in London this week, the former Norwegian PM dismissed fears that a meeting between Trump and Putin would undermine Western security.

“To meet President Putin is not in any way contradictory to NATO policies… Several NATO leaders have met Putin… We do not want a new Cold War. We do not want a new arms race. We want to talk to Russia,” Stoltenberg said.

The NATO chief’s diplomatic statements are a blow to those who don’t want any meaningful dialogue between East and West. But they will be welcomed by all those who want to see the US and its allies move towards a new era of detente with Moscow, which could only be for the benefit of the entire world.

June 22, 2018 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , | 1 Comment

The Pro-War Media Deserve Criticism, Not Sainthood

By James Bovard | Future of Freedom | June 20, 2018

The media nowadays are busy congratulating themselves for their vigorous criticism of Donald Trump. To exploit that surge of sanctimony, Hollywood producer Steven Spielberg rushed out The Post, a movie depicting an epic press battle with the Nixon administration. Critics raved over the film, which the New York Post enthusiastically labeled “journalism porn of the highest order.” Boston Public Radio station WBUR called it the “most fun you’ll ever have at a civics lesson.”

Spielberg, touting his movie, claimed that “the free press is a crusader for truth,” But the media hoopla around The Post is akin to geezers boasting of having shown moments of courage when they were almost 50 years younger.

The Post is built around the Pentagon Papers, a secret study begun in 1967 analyzing where the Vietnam War had gone awry. The 7000-page tome showed that presidents and military leaders had been profoundly deceiving the American people ever since the Truman administration and that the same mistakes were being endlessly repeated. Like many policy autopsies, the report was classified as secret and completely ignored by the White House and federal agencies, which most needed to heed its lessons. New York Times editor Tom Wicker commented in 1971 that “the people who read these documents in the Times were the first to study them.”

Daniel Ellsberg, a former Pentagon official, heroically risked life in prison to smuggle the report to the media after members of Congress were too cowardly to touch it. The New York Times shattered the political sound barrier when it began courageously publishing the report despite a profusion of threats from the Nixon administration Justice Department. After a federal court slapped the Times with an injunction, the Washington Post and other newspapers published additional classified excerpts from the report.

The Post ignores the fact that U.S. government policy on Vietnam did not become more honest after the Pentagon Papers disclosure. In such cases, the government’s notion of “repenting” is merely to substitute new and often more-ludicrous falsehoods. Besides, as retired State Department whistleblower Peter van Buren noted, “The Post has no real interest in the Pentagon Papers except as a plot device, almost an excuse needed to make this movie.”

Because the Washington Post had a female publisher, Spielberg made it, rather than the Times, the star of the show. Van Buren suggested, “Spielberg might as well have costumed Meryl Streep (who played Post publisher Katherine Graham) in a pink pussy hat for the boardroom scenes.” The movie fails to mention Graham’s cozy relationship with President Lyndon Johnson. A few weeks after John F. Kennedy was assassinated, a secret tape made by the Johnson White House captured Johnson and Graham (whom he called “sweetheart”) flirting up a storm during a phone call. She later flew to his Texas ranch for a personal visit.

Spielberg’s movie portrays Post editor Ben Bradlee denouncing dishonest government officials to Graham: “The way they lied — those days have to be over.” Defense Secretary Robert McNamara, who deluged the media with falsehoods about battlefront progress, did more than anyone else (except perhaps Lyndon Johnson) to vastly increase the bloodbath for Americans and Vietnamese. McNamara’s disastrous deceits did not deter the Washington Post from appointing him to its board of directors. As Norman Solomon, author of War Made Easy: How Presidents and Pundits Keep Spinning Us to Death, recently observed, “The Washington Post was instrumental in avidly promoting the lies that made the Vietnam War possible in the first place.”

The Pentagon Papers proved that politicians and their tools will brazenly con the American public to drag the nation into unnecessary wars. But that lesson vanished into the D.C. Memory Hole — conveniently for bootlicking journalists such as Post superstar Bob Woodward. The late Robert Parry, a Washington correspondent for Newsweek in the late 1980s, declared that he saw “self-censorship because of the coziness between Post-Newsweek executives and senior national security figures.”

Post-Vietnam coziness

Perhaps the memory of winning the Pentagon Papers showdown with the feds helped make the media overconfident about their ability to resist the temptation to become political tools. New York Times columnist Flora Lewis, writing three weeks before the 9/11 attacks, commented in a review of a book on U.S. government lies on the Vietnam war, “There will probably never be a return to the discretion, really collusion, with which the media used to treat presidents, and it is just as well.” Within months of her comment, the media had broken almost all prior kowtowing records. CNN chief Walter Isaacson explained, “Especially right after 9/11 … there was a real sense that you don’t get that critical of a government that’s leading us in wartime.”

On March 17, 2003, George W. Bush justified invading Iraq by invoking UN resolutions purporting to authorize the United States “to use force in ridding Iraq of weapons of mass destruction.” A year later, he performed a skit at the Radio and Television Correspondents’ annual dinner featuring slides showing him crawling around the Oval Office peaking behind curtains as he quipped to the poohbah attendees, “Those weapons of mass destruction have got to be somewhere…. Nope, no weapons over there…. Maybe under here?” The crowd loved it and the Post headlined its report on the evening, “George Bush, Entertainer in Chief.” Greg Mitchell, the editor of Editor and Publisher, labeled the press’s reaction that night as “one of the most shameful episodes in the recent history of the American media and presidency.”

Most of the media had embedded themselves for the Iraq war long before that dinner. The Post blocked or buried pre-war articles exposing the Bush team’s shams on Iraq; their award-winning Pentagon correspondent Thomas Ricks complained, “There was an attitude among editors: ‘Look, we’re going to war; why do we even worry about all this contrary stuff?’” Instead, before the war started, the Post ran 27 editorials in favor of invasion and 140 front-page articles supporting the Bush administration’s case for attacking Saddam. The New York Times printed a barrage of false claims on WMDs while axing articles by Pulitzer Prize–winning reporter James Risen demolishing “the administration’s claims of a link between Iraq and al-Qaeda.” The New York Times also refused to publish classified documents showing pervasive illegal National Security Agency spying on Americans prior to the 2004 election, even though it had received the proof of vast wrongdoing. If the Times had not flinched, George W. Bush might have been denied a second term.

Broadcast media were even quicker to grovel for the war effort. PBS NewsHour host Jim Lehrer explained, “It would have been difficult to have had debates [about invading Iraq]…. You’d have had to have gone against the grain.” Lehrer neglected to say exactly how kowtowing became patriotic. News anchor Katie Couric revealed in 2008 that there was pressure from “the corporations who own where we work and from the government itself to really squash any kind of dissent or any kind of questioning of” the Iraq war.

And now, Syria

Despite the role of media gullibility (or worse) in helping the Bush administration sell the Iraq war, the press showed scant skepticism about subsequent U.S. attacks abroad. The media behave at times as if government lies are dangerous only when the president is a certified bad guy — like Richard Nixon or Donald Trump. Barack Obama’s semi-sainthood minimized media criticism of his Syrian debacle — a civil war in which the United States initially armed one side (Syrian rebels who largely turned out to be terrorists) and then switched sides, a flip-flop that resulted in far more dead Syrians. But Americans have received few insights into that bellicose schizophrenia from the media. Historian Stephen Kinzer wrote in the Boston Globe, “Coverage of the Syrian war will be remembered as one of the most shameful episodes in the history of the American press.” Even in the Trump era — when the press is openly clashing with a president — bombing still provides push-button presidential redemption. Trump’s finest hour, according to much of the media, occurred in April 2017 when he attacked the Assad regime with 59 cruise missiles, raising hopes that the U.S. military would topple the Syrian government.

When Trump announced he was sending more U.S. troops to Afghanistan, the Washington Post editorial page hailed his “principled realism” — regardless of the futility of perpetuating that quagmire. At a time when Trump is saber-rattling against Iran and North Korea, the media should be vigorously challenging official claims before U.S. bombs begin falling. Instead, much of the coverage of rising tensions with foreign regimes could have been written by Pentagon flacks.

Richard Nixon’s henchman H.R. Haldeman warned Nixon that the Pentagon Papers might make people believe “you can’t trust the government; you can’t believe what they say; and you can’t rely on their judgment. And the implicit infallibility of presidents, which has been an accepted thing in America, is badly hurt by this.” Unfortunately, much of the media continue to presume that presidents are infallible — as long as they are killing enough foreigners.

One of the starkest lessons of the Pentagon Papers was that politicians and their henchmen will tell unlimited lies — and ignore stark warnings — to plunge the nation into unnecessary foreign wars. And forgotten falsehoods almost guarantee new political treachery. Politicians don’t need to provide strong evidence as long as the media continue treating them as if they were Delphic oracles. Truth delayed is truth defused because there is no way to rescind bombs that have already detonated.

Media tub-thumpers were crestfallen when The Post struck out on Academy Awards night (it was nominated for Best Picture and other categories). But that worked out well for history, since it leaves the path more open for subsequent documentaries or movies that provide more honest exposure of how wars get started and perpetuated. Future movies might even venture into the forbidden ground of media docility regarding systemic violations of human rights.

Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black, in his 1971 opinion on the New York Times’ right to publish the Pentagon Papers, declared, “Only a free and unrestrained press can effectively expose deception in government.” Unfortunately, the media often choose to trumpet official lies instead of fighting them. Permitting glorious tales from eight presidencies ago to absolve subsequent media kowtowing would be as foolish as forgetting the lessons of the original Pentagon Papers. Worshipping the media is as foolish as worshiping politicians.

 

June 22, 2018 Posted by | Fake News, Film Review, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , | Leave a comment

Korean Voices Missing From Major Papers’ Opinions on Singapore Summit

WaPo: Americans Have Figured It Out: North Korea Won!

The Washington Post‘s Jennifer Rubin (6/17/18) epitomized the zero-sum takes of US pundits.
By Adam Johnson | FAIR | June 21, 2018

In major-paper opinion coverage of the Singapore summit, the people with the most to lose and gain from the summit, the people whose nation was actually being discussed—Koreans—were almost uniformly ignored.

Three major US papers—the New York Times, Washington Post and Wall Street Journal—had only one Korean-authored op-ed out of 41 opinion pieces on the subject of the Korean peace talks.

The Post had 23 total opinion pieces, the Times had 16 and the Journal four. The only op-ed by a Korean was a pro-summit piece on June 12 by Moon Chung-in, an aide to South Korean President Moon Jae-in. Of the 41 editorials or op-eds only four (9 percent), were broadly positive about the Trump/Kim summit, 29 (70 percent) were negative and eight (21 percent) were mixed or ambiguous. The full list, current as of June 19, is here.

As FAIR noted in May (5/7/18), there’s a huge chasm between how recent peace efforts are being received in ostensible US ally South Korea and how they’re being covered in US media. As we noted at the time, polling shows 88 percent of South Koreans in favor of these efforts, while the person spearheading them, President Moon, holds an 86 percent approval rating. But the bulk of US coverage ranged from snide dismissal to outright opposition (FAIR.org, 6/14/18).

Similarly, a poll taken after the Singapore summit found that 66 percent of South Koreans were pleased with the results, and only 11 percent opposed them. This contrasts sharply with the reaction in US newspapers, which has been overwhelmingly negative in tone, and dominated by NatSec-centered horse race takes over who “won.”

The New York Times published one pro-summit piece, by Victor Cha (6/12/18), and it was a very qualified and conflicted. The Washington Post was mostly negative and skeptical, with three exceptions: predictable partisan cheerleading from reliable Trump apologist Marc Thiessen (6/15/17); a measured “wait and see” take from Michael O’Hanlon, a fellow at the Brookings Institution (6/13/18); and the aforementioned piece by President Moon’s aide. The Wall Street Journal’s commentary was uniformly negative.

The US media’s reaction to the summit is almost a mirror image of that of the South Korean public: 70 percent of major US papers’ opinion columns disapproved of the summit, whereas 66 percent of South Koreans approved. Eleven percent of South Koreans disapproved,  whereas only 9 percent of professional opinion-havers at the Times, Post and Journal thought the summit was a good thing.

This raises an important question: Why? What do US pundits know that those with something actually at stake—Koreans—don’t know?

NYT: The Trump Doctrine Is Winning and the World Is Losing

Trump showed “reckless disregard for the security concerns of America’s allies,” argued Kori Schake of the International Institute for Strategic Studies–funded by Boeing, Northrop Grumman and Lockheed Martin (New York Times, 6/15/18)

One factor is that our media system turns to professional “experts” at a small handful of establishment think tanks, and these are often funded by monied interests with a vested interest in particular kinds of policy (Extra!, 7/13). On international questions, this often means the arms industry, who are major funders of think tanks like the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) and the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS). These think tanks produced predictably hawkish putdowns of the summit, such as CSIS’s Sue Mi Terry, who told MSNBC’s Nicolle Wallace, in a rare moment of candor:

A peace treaty is not OK. That should come at the end of the process, because a peace treaty, while it sounds great and could be historic, also undermines the justification of our troops staying South Korea.

The “justification” for troops also happens to be the justification for the weapons systems they come with, namely those of CSIS’s major donors Northrop Grumman, Lockheed Martin and Boeing (FAIR.org, 5/8/17).

Another part of the problem is partisanship. US pundits overwhelmingly view the Kim/Trump summit as a Trump-led or US-directed event, rather than an essential but limited part of a broader peace effort being undertaken by the Koreas themselves. … Full article

June 21, 2018 Posted by | Corruption, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Militarism | , , , | Leave a comment

Western Media Whitewash Yemen Genocide

By Finian CUNNINGHAM | Strategic Culture Foundation | 18.06.2018

With the United Nations warning that millions of civilians could die from violence or starvation from the ongoing military siege of the Yemeni port city of Hodeida, there is no other way to describe what is happening except as “genocide”.

The more than three-year war on Yemen waged by a Western-backed Saudi coalition has been arguably genocidal from the outset, with up to eight million people facing imminent starvation due to the years-long blockade on the Arabian country, as well as from indiscriminate air strikes.

But the latest offensive on the Red Sea city of Hodeida threatens to turn the world’s already worst humanitarian disaster into a mass extermination.

Hodeida is the entry point for 90 per cent of all food and medical aid into Yemen. If the city’s port stops functioning from the military offensive – as UN aid agencies are warning – then an entire country population of more than 20 million will, as a result, be on the brink of death.

The Saudi coalition which includes Emirati forces and foreign mercenaries as well as remnants from the previous regime (which the Western media mendaciously refer to as “government forces”) is fully backed by the US, Britain and France. This coalition says that by taking Hodeida it will hasten the defeat of Houthi rebels. But to use the cutting off of food and other vital aid to civilian populations as a weapon is a blatant war crime. It is absolutely inexcusable.

This past week an emergency session at the UN Security Council made the lily-livered call for the port city to remain open. But it stopped short of demanding an end to the offensive being led by Saudi and Emirati forces against Hodeida, which is the second biggest stronghold for Houthi rebels after the capital Sanaa. The port city’s population of 600,000 is at risk from the heavy fighting underway, including air strikes and naval bombardment, even before food, water and medicines supply is halted.

Since the Security Council meeting was a closed-door session, media reports did not indicate which members of the council voted down the Swedish call for an immediate end to hostilities. However, given that three permanent members of the council, the US, Britain and France, are militarily supporting the Saudi-led offensive on Hodeida, one can assume that these states blocked the call for a cessation.

As the horror of Hodeida unfolds, Western media are reporting with a strained effort to whitewash the criminal role of the American, British and French governments in supporting the offensive. Western media confine their focus narrowly on the humanitarian plight of Hodeida’s inhabitants and the wider Yemeni population. But the media are careful to omit the relevant context, which is that the offensive on Hodeida would not be possible without the crucial military support of Western governments. If the Western public were properly informed, the uproar would be an embarrassing problem for Western governments and their servile news media.

What is notable in the Western media reportage is the ubiquitous descriptor when referring to the Houthi rebels. Invariably, they are described as “Iran-backed”. That label is used to implicitly “justify” the Saudi and Emirati siege of Hodeida “because” the operation is said to be part of a “proxy war against Iran”. The BBC, France 24, CNN, Deutsche Welle, New York Times and Washington Post are among media outlets habitually practicing this misinformation on Yemen.

Both Iran and the Houthis have said that there is no military linkage. Granted, Iran politically and diplomatically supports the Houthis, and the Yemeni population generally, suffering from the war. The Houthis share a common Shia Muslim faith as Iran, but that is a far cry from military involvement. There is no evidence of Iran being militarily involved in Yemen. The claim of a linkage relies heavily on assertion by the Saudis and Emiratis which is peddled uncritically by Western media. Even the US government has shied away from making forthright accusations against Iran supporting the Houthis militarily. Washington’s diffidence is a tacit admission that the allegations are threadbare. Besides, how could a country which is subjected to an illegal Saudi blockade of its land, sea and air routes conceivably receive weapons supplied from Iran?

By contrast, while the Western media repeatedly refer to the Houthis as “Iran-backed”, what the same media repeatedly omit is the descriptor of “American-backed” or “British and French-backed” when referring to the Saudi and Emirati forces that have been pounding Yemen for over three years. Unlike the breathless claims of Iranian linkage to the Houthis, the Western military connection is verified by massive weapons exports, and indeed coy admissions by Western governments, when they are put to it, that they are supplying fuel and logistics to aid and abet the Saudi and Emirati war effort in Yemen.

Last week, the New York Times affected to lament the infernal conditions in Yemen as a “complex war”, as if the conflict is an unfathomable, unstoppable mystery. Why doesn’t the New York Times publish bold editorials bluntly calling for an end to US government complicity in Yemen? Or perhaps that is too “complex” for the Times’ editorial board?

The Washington Post also wrung its hands last week, saying: “The world’s most dire humanitarian crisis may get even worse. Emirati-led [and Saudi] offensive underway against port city of Hodeida, which is controlled by Iran-backed [sic] Houthi rebels.”

In its report, the Post did not mention the fact that air strikes by Saudi and Emirati forces are carried out with American F-15 fighter jets, British Typhoons and French Dassault warplanes. Incongruously, the Post cites US officials claiming that their forces are not “directly involved” in the offensive on the port city. How is that credible when air strikes are being conducted day after day? The Washington Post doesn’t bother to ask further.

In a BBC report last week also lamented the “humanitarian crisis” in Hodeida, there was the usual evidence-free casual labelling of Houthi rebels as “Iran-backed”. But, incredibly, in the entire article (at least in early editions) there was not a single mention of the verifiable fact that the Saudi and Emirati military are supplied with billions-of-dollars-worth of British, American and French weapons.

In the final paragraph of its early edition of the report, the BBC editorializes: “In March 2015, Saudi Arabia and eight other mainly Sunni Muslim Arab states launched a military campaign to restore [exiled president] Hadi’s government after becoming alarmed by the rise of the Houthi group which they see as an Iranian Shia Muslim proxy.”

Note the BBC’s lame and unconvincing implication of Iran. This is a stupendous distortion of the Yemeni conflict by the British state-owned broadcaster which, astoundingly, or perhaps that should be audaciously, completely airbrushes out any mention of how Western governments have fueled the genocidal war on Yemen.

At the end of 2014, the American and Saudi puppet self-styled “president” Mansour Hadi was kicked out by a Yemeni popular revolt led by the Houthis, but not exclusive to these rebels. The Yemeni uprising involved Shia and Sunni. To portray Iran as sponsoring a Shia proxy is a vile distortion which the Saudis and their Western backers have used in order to justify attacking Yemen for the objective of re-installing their puppet, who has been living in exile in the Saudi capital Riyadh. In short, covering up a criminal war of aggression with lies.

In reality, the Yemen war is about Western powers and their Arab despot client regimes trying to reverse a successful popular revolt that aspired to bring a considerably more democratic government to the Arab region’s poorest country, overcoming the decades it languished as a Western, Saudi client kleptocracy.

For over three years, Saudi and Emirati forces, supported with Western warplanes, bombs, missiles, attack helicopters, naval power, and air refueling, as well as targeting logistics, have waged a non-stop bombing campaign on Yemeni civilians. Nothing has been off-limits. Hospitals, schools, markets, mosques, funerals, wedding halls, family homes, farms, water-treatment plants and power utilities, all have been mercilessly obliterated. Even graveyards have been bombed.

Even during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, the Saudi-led coalition – the supposed custodian of the two holy mosques of Mecca and Medina – has continued to massacre innocents from the air.

Elsewhere in the region, Western politicians and media have mounted hysterical protests against the Syrian government and its Russian ally when they have liberated cities from Western-backed terrorists, accusing Syria and Russia of “war crimes” and “inhuman sieges”. None of these hyperbolic Western media campaigns concerning Syria has ever been substantiated. Recall Aleppo? East Ghouta? The Syrian people have gladly returned to rebuild their lives now in peace under Syrian government protection after the Western terror proxies were routed. Western media claims about Syria have transpired to be outrageous lies, which have been hastily buried by the media as if they were never told in the first place.

Yet in Yemen there is an ongoing, veritable genocidal war fully supported by Western governments. The latest barbarity is the siege of Hodeida with the callous, murderous objective of finally starving a whole population into submitting to the Western, Saudi, Emirati writ for dominating the country. This is Nuremberg-standard capital crimes.

With no exaggeration, Western news media are a Goebbels-like propaganda ministry – par excellence – whose duty is to whitewash genocide conducted by their governments. The barefaced lies and sly omissions being told about Yemen is one more reason among many reasons why the Western media have forfeited any vestige of credibility. They are serving as they usually do – Vietnam, Iraq, Libya, Syria among others – as accomplices in an epic war crime against Yemen.

Photo: Geopolitics Alert

June 18, 2018 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering, War Crimes | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

WaPo Editors: We Have to Help Destroy Yemen to Save It

By Adam Johnson | FAIR | May 31, 2018

Over the past year, the Washington Post editorial board has routinely ignored the US’s involvement in the siege of Yemen—a bombing and starvation campaign that has killed over 15,000 civilians and left roughly a million with cholera. As FAIR noted last November (11/20/17), the Washington Post ran a major editorial (11/8/17) and an explainer (11/19/17) detailing the carnage in Yemen without once mentioning the US’s role in the conflict—instead pinning it on the seemingly rogue Saudis and the dastardly Iranians.

This was in addition to an op-ed that summer by editorial page editor Jackson Diehl (6/26/17), which not only ignored the US’s support of Saudi bombing but actually spun the US as the savior of Yemenis, holding up Saudi Arabia’s biggest backer in the Senate, Lindsey Graham, as a champion of human rights.

In recent months, however, the Post has charted a new course: vaguely acknowledging Washington’s role in the bloody siege, but insisting that the US should remain involved in the bombing of Yemen for the sake of humanitarianism.

In two recent editorials, “Can Congress Push the Saudi Prince Toward an Exit From Yemen?” (3/24/18) and “The World’s Worst Humanitarian Crisis Could Get Even Worse” (5/28/18), the Washington Post board has cooked up a new, tortured position that the US should not stop supporting the Saudis––a move 30-year CIA veteran and Brookings fellow Bruce Riedel argued in 2016 would “end the war overnight”—but mildly chide the Saudis into committing slightly fewer war crimes while moving towards some vague exit strategy.

In the March editorial, the Post insisted “the United States… should use its leverage to stop this reckless venture,” and that Trump “condition further American military aid on humanitarian relief measures.” A step in the right direction, right? Quite the opposite. When one reads closer, it’s clear that while the Post wanted Trump to moderately roll back the most egregious war crimes, it still lobbied against the Lee/Sanders bill that would have actually ended the war.

Monday’s editorial took this faux-humanitarian half-measure one step further with this bit of revisionist history:

Both the Obama and Trump administrations have offered limited support to the Saudi coalition, while trying to restrain reckless bombing and the exacerbation of the humanitarian crisis.

The idea that Obama and Trump offered the Saudis “limited” support is a glaring lie. The US’s support—from logistical support, to refueling, to selling $110 billion in arms, to political cover at the UN, to literally choosing targets on a map—has been crucial to carrying out the three-and-a-half-year campaign. Again, according to one of the most white-bread, establishment commentators, US support isn’t ancillary, it’s essential. Without it, there is no bombing campaign.

The problem is the Washington Post is charged with a contradictory task: to act as a Very Concerned champion of human rights while propping up the core tenets of America’s imperial foreign policy. It’s an extremely difficult sleight-of-hand when the US is backing a bombing campaign targeting some of the poorest people on Earth, so their support of this slaughter is actually spun as an attempt to rein it in. The US is going to bring down the system from the inside!

The most logical way the US can stop the slaughter of Yemen is to stop engaging it in it. But to the Washington Post, this runs against the US policy of bombing and/or sanctioning anything that has the most remote connection to Iran, so this simple course is just not on the table. Instead, the Post’s propaganda objective—after years of simply ignoring the US role altogether—is to paint its participation in war crimes as a way of preventing slightly worse war crimes; a good cop to Saudi’s bad cop. This permits business as usual while maintaining the pretense the US cares about human rights—in other words, the Post’s basic ideological purpose.

June 2, 2018 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , | Leave a comment

Blaming the Victims of Israel’s Gaza Massacre

By Gregory Shupak | FAIR | May 17, 2018

Israel massacred 60 Palestinians on Monday, including seven children, bringing to 101 the total number of Palestinians Israel has killed since Palestinians began the Great March on March 30. In that period, Israel has killed 11 Palestinian children, two journalists, one person on crutches and three persons with disabilities.

Monday’s casualties included 1,861 wounded, bringing total injuries inflicted by Israel to 6,938 people, including 3,615 with live fire. Israel is using bullets designed to expand inside the body, causing maximum, often permanent damage: “The injuries sustained by patients will leave most with serious, long-term physical disabilities,” says Médecins Sans Frontières (Ha’aretz, 4/22/18).

On the 70th anniversary of Israel’s so-called “declaration of independence,” the United States opened its new embassy in Jerusalem—a city Israel claims as its own, despite what international law says on the matter—and Palestinians undertook unarmed protests in reaction to the move and as part of the Great Return March. Although to this point, the only Israeli casualty during the entire cycle of demonstrations has been one “lightly wounded” soldier, considerable space in coverage of the massacres is devoted to blaming Palestinians for their own slaughter.

NBC: Scores Dead in Gaza Fence Protest as US Moves Embassy to Jerusalem

NBC (5/14/18) mentions “what Palestinians refer to as their ‘right of return’”; actually, it’s what international law calls it, based on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Two of the first three paragraphs in an NBC report (5/14/18) provided Israel’s rationalizations for its killing spree. The second sentence in the article says that the Israeli military

accused Hamas of “leading a terrorist operation under the cover of masses of people,” adding that “firebombs and explosive devices” as well as rocks were being thrown towards the barrier.

A Washington Post article (5/14/18) devoted two of its first four sentences to telling readers that Palestinians are responsible for being murdered by Israel. Palestinian “organizers urged demonstrators to burst through the fence, telling them Israeli soldiers were fleeing their positions, even as they were reinforcing them,” read one sentence. “At the barrier, young men threw stones and tried to launch kites carrying flames in hopes of burning crops on the other side,” stated the next one, as though stones and burning kites released by a besieged people is violence remotely equivalent to subjecting people to a military siege and mowing them down.

The New York Times (5/14/18) said that “a mass attempt by Palestinians to cross the border fence separating Israel from Gaza turned violent, as Israeli soldiers responded with rifle fire,” painting Israel’s rampage as a reaction to a Palestinian provocation. Like FAIR (2/21/18) has previously said of the word “retaliation,” “response” functions as a justification of Israeli butchery: To characterize Israeli violence as a “response” is to wrongly imply that Palestinian actions warranted Israel unleashing its firing squads.

A Yahoo headline (5/14/18) described “Violent Protests in Gaza Ahead of US Embassy Inauguration in Jerusalem,” a flatly incorrect description in that it attributes the violence to Palestinian demonstrators rather than to Israel. The BBC (5/15/18) did the same with a segment called “Gaza Braced for Further Violent Protests.”

Bloomberg: Hamas Vows to Keep Targeting Fence After Gaza Bloodshed

In Bloomberg‘s account (5/14/18), the fence seemed to be the real victim.

One Bloomberg article (5/14/18) by Saud Abu Ramadan and Amy Teibel had the same problem, referring to “a protest marred by violence,” while another one (5/14/18) attributed only to Ramadan is headlined “Hamas Targets Fence as Gaza Bloodshed Clouds Embassy Move,” as though the fence were Monday’s most tragic casualty. Ascribing this phantom violence to Palestinians provides Israel an alibi: Many readers will likely conclude that Israel’s lethal violence is reasonable if it is cast as a way of coping with “violent protests.”

The second paragraph of the Bloomberg article solely written by Ramadan says that

Gaza protesters, egged on by loudspeakers and transported in buses, streamed to the border, where some threw rocks, burned tires, and flew kites and balloons outfitted with firebombs into Israeli territory.

This author—like the rest in the “Palestinians were asking for it” chorus—failed to note that Israel’s fence runs deep into Palestinian territory and creates a 300-meter “buffer zone” between Palestinians and Israeli forces, which makes it highly unlikely that the kites and balloons of the colonized will have an effect on their drone-operating, rifle-wielding colonizers, let alone on people further afield in Israeli-held territory.

The New York Times editorial board (5/14/18) wrote as though Palestinians are barbarians against whom Israel has no choice but to unleash terror:

Led too long by men who were corrupt or violent or both, the Palestinians have failed and failed again to make their own best efforts toward peace. Even now, Gazans are undermining their own cause by resorting to violence, rather than keeping their protests strictly peaceful.

The board claimed that “Israel has every right to defend its borders, including the boundary with Gaza,” incorrectly suggesting that Palestinians were aggressors rather than on the receiving end of 100 years of settler-colonialism.

Moreover, like the Times and Bloomberg articles discussed above, the editorial attempts to legitimize Israel’s deadly violence by saying that it is defending a border that Palestinians are attempting to breach, but there is no border between Gaza and Israel. There is, as Maureen Murphy of Electronic Intifada (4/6/18) pointed out, “an armistice line between an occupying power and the population living under its military rule” that Palestinians are trying to cross in order to exercise their right to return to their land.

WaPo: Hamas Has Launched Another War. Israel Needs a Better Response

The Washington Post (5/15/18) condemned the “cruel, cynical tactic” of trying to exercise the internationally guaranteed right of return.

A Washington Post editorial (5/15/18) called the Palestinians hunted by Israel “nominal civilians.” Apart from being a logical impossibility (one either is or isn’t a civilian), the phrase illuminates how too much of media think about Palestinians:  They are inherently threatening, intrinsically killable, always suspect, never innocent, permanently guilty of existing.

A Business Insider piece (5/14/18) by columnist Daniella Greenbaum described “Palestinian protesters who ramped up their activities along the Gaza strip and, as a result, were targeted by the Israeli army with increasing intensity.” Greenbaum’s use of the phrase “as a result” implies that it was inevitable and perhaps just that Palestinians’ “ramped up activities” led to Israel mowing down a population it occupies, 70 percent of whom are refugees Israel refuses to allow to return to their homes.

Greenbaum then climbs into the intellectual and moral gutter, claiming that

absent from the commentary that children have unfortunately been among the injured and dead are questions about how they ended up at the border. On that question, it is important to recognize and acknowledge the extent to which Palestinians have glorified violence and martyrdom — and the extent to which the terrorist organization Hamas has organized the “protests.”

In her view, dozens of Palestinians died because they are primitive savages who take pleasure in sacrificing their own children, not because Israel maintains the right to gun down refugees in the name of maintaining an ethnostate.

In a rare instance of a resident of Gaza allowed to participate directly in the media conversation, Fadi Abu Shammalah wrote an op-ed for the New York Times (4/27/18) that offered an explanation of why Palestinians are putting their lives on the line to march. Life for the people of Gaza, including for his three young sons, has been “one tragedy after another: waves of mass displacement, life in squalid refugee camps, a captured economy, restricted access to fishing waters, a strangling siege and three wars in the past nine years. ” Recalling the concern for his safety expressed by his seven-year-old child, Shammalah concludes:

If Ali asks me why I’m returning to the Great Return March despite the danger, I will tell him this: I love my life. But more than that, I love you, Karam and Adam. If risking my life means you and your brothers will have a chance to thrive, to have a future with dignity, to live in peace with all your neighbors, in your free country, then this is a risk I must take.

Palestinians have a right to liberate themselves that extends to the right to the use of armed struggle, yet as Shammalah wrote, the Great Return March signifies a “nearly unanimous acceptance of peaceful methods to call for our rights and insist on our humanity.” Nevertheless, based on media coverage, readers could be forgiven for concluding that it was Palestinians, not Israel, who carried out what Doctors Without Borders called “unacceptable and inhuman” violence.

May 23, 2018 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, War Crimes | , , , , , , , | 2 Comments