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The ‘Inherit Traditions’ of the ‘Free Press’ on Display at White House Correspondents Dinner

April 30, 2012 Leave a comment



US President Barack Obama used an annual star-studded dinner to take a few gentle shots at Mitt Rommey (AFP, Saul Loeb)


As expected, the White House Correspondents Dinner was awful. It was the typical genuflecting, flag-sucking farce where various shades of celebrities show up in their bright smiles and pretend there is such a thing as journalistic integrity in this country, or that their criticisms are that dissentious.

The only worthy moment in the history of the spectacle was several years ago when Steven Colbert roasted former President George W. Bush on the non-existent WMD in Iraq.

This years event could have been made notable if one name was mentioned: Abdulelah Haider Shaye.

Thanks to the reporting by Jeremey Scahill over at The Nation the Western world has some idea of who Shaye is. In mid-March of this year Scahill wrote about Shaye in his article “Why Is President Obama Keeping a Journalist in Prison in Yemen?“:

While Shaye, 35, had long been known as a brave, independent-minded journalist in Yemen, his collision course with the US government appears to have been set in December 2009. On December 17, the Yemeni government announced that it had conducted a series of strikes against an Al Qaeda training camp in the village of al Majala in Yemen’s southern Abyan province, killing a number of Al Qaeda militants. As the story spread across the world, Shaye traveled to al Majala. What he discovered were the remnants of Tomahawk cruise missiles and cluster bombs, neither of which are in the Yemeni military’s arsenal. He photographed the missile parts, some of them bearing the label “Made in the USA,” and distributed the photos to international media outlets. He revealed that among the victims of the strike were women, children and the elderly. To be exact, fourteen women and twenty-one children were killed. Whether anyone actually active in Al Qaeda was killed remains hotly contested. After conducting his own investigation, Shaye determined that it was a US strike. The Pentagon would not comment on the strike and the Yemeni government repeatedly denied US involvement. But Shaye was later vindicated when Wikileaks released a US diplomatic cable that featured Yemeni officials joking about how they lied to their own parliament about the US role, while President Saleh assured Gen. David Petraeus that his government would continue to lie and say “the bombs are ours, not yours.”

According to Scahill, it was Shaye’s reporting that landed him in jail where he is still a political prisoner thanks to pressure emanating from the Obama administration. As Scahill noted, “For many journalists in Yemen, the publicly available ‘facts’ about how Shaye was ‘assisting’ AQAP indicate that simply interviewing Al Qaeda–associated figures, or reporting on civilian deaths caused by US strikes, is a crime in the view of the US government.”

But Shaye went unmentioned at the White House Correspondents Dinner. And media sources like the New York Times failed to note this. In fact, the Times published four articles on the White House Correspondents Dinner. And despite President Obama having spoke of our “inherit traditions that make us greater than the challenges we face,” which according to him is “a free press that isn’t afraid to ask questions, to examine and to criticize,” there is not one example of this in those articles.

One of the articles, “Much Fodder for Obama at White House Journalists’ Event,” which was buried in the back of the paper on Sunday’s edition, had the unmitigated audacity to refer to there being “much fodder.” But the biggest fodder of all—President Obama’s involvement in silencing a journalist—is apparently not worthy of mention.

Even Jimmy Kimmel, whose performance paled to Colbert’s in 2006, at least had the nerve to say,

You’re here tonight because as journalists you care about freedom, free speech, a free press, and most importantly free dinner. Some people say journalism is in decline—you’ve become too politicized, too focused on sensationalism. They say that you no longer honor your duty to inform America, but instead actively try to divide us, so your corporate overlords can rake in the profits . . . I don’t have a joke for this. I’m just letting you know what some people say.

Other than Kimmel’s jab at the possible war with Iran, that was the height of dissent that evening. But it also highlighted the level of cynicism at the event. The attending journalists “care [so much] about freedom, free speech, a free press,” and such, that they are totally silent on the imprisonment of a fellow journalist guilty of doing his job.

If the journalists were doing their job they would be very concerned about Shaye’s fate, and would have used the dinner as a venue to speak out. They would do so not just because they feel tremendous solidarity for someone in their profession that is enduring such an injustice, but also because they would see how they are vulnerable too.

The reality, however, is that the journalists who attended the dinner, and those that covered it at the “paper of record,” know they are not in danger of being treated like Shaye because they don’t ask questions, don’t examine, and don’t criticize—at least not in any substantial way. They can applaud President Obama for blessing them with his inspiring words about their “traditions” they don’t exhibit. And when President Obama tells them that, “And in service of that mission, all of you make sacrifices,” they pat themselves on the back, and swell with undeserved pride. Then they are free to go home, drunk on champagne, and go to bed where they can sleep comfortably and without worry. Meanwhile, Abdulelah Haider Shaye sits in a prison cell, enduring God knows what, for daring to be a real journalist.

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The Betrayal of Labor by Labor: On cynicism and deceit

April 26, 2012 Leave a comment

What you are about to read is typical of 99.99% of labor unions in this country.

It’s also a classic tragedy.

Labor unions have a special place in history, not just here in the U.S., but all over the world. Workers organizing institutions to defend themselves and advance their own agenda—i.e., protect themselves from the exploits of Capital and, for some, abolish it—is a noble story of the weak standing up to the powerful.

But for a while now, unions have become tools of exploitation of the working class.

The United Food & Commercial Workers union spends $350,000 a year on the salary and benefits of their labor boss, Joseph Hansen, who doesn’t have a real job. What Hansen apparently does for a living is spend $2-4 million of UFCW dues on election campaigns for the Democratic Party each election cycle. On their website Americans are told to vote for President Obama because he has the workers “interest at heart.”

At a time when workers are under attack by big corporations, special interests, and their cronies in government, President Obama has been an unyielding friend to working men and women. He has stayed true to the vision he outlined to the UFCW nearly four years ago. He is the only candidate for President in 2012 that has our interests at heart.

Not only has President Obama signed three free trade agreements and recently signed the JOBS Act—which Matt Taibbi of Rollingstone magazine writes “is not just a sweeping piece of deregulation that will have an increase in securities fraud as an accidental, ancillary consequence,” but that “this law actually appears to have been specifically written to encourage fraud in the stock markets”—but for two years the Democrats controlled the White House and Congress, and made not one attempt to pass Employee Free Choice Act. Then there is President Obama’s bail out of the American auto industry which weakened workers and sent more jobs overseas, while at the same time contracting Spanish workers to build a rail system for us.

How the UFCW can keep a straight face when saying “President Obama has been an unyielding friend to working men and women” who “has stayed true to the vision he outlined to the UFCW nearly four years ago,” leaving him to be “the only candidate for President in 2012 that has our interests at heart” is remarkable. This is cynicism and deceit at its finest.

The reality is that unions are not democratically-controlled by their workers. More and more they are used to control workers, as witnessed in Wisconsin two years ago when labor bosses pushed workers away from direct action.

How can Labor defend itself when it is led by lawyers and crooks who are not even a part of the working class? Labor bosses are looking after their own interests, which is separate from that of the workers they claim to represent, and which is to maintain their CEO salaries.

Labor writer Steve Early recently wrote on the “survival strategies” of modern unions. In highlighting the prevailing conditions, Early quoted sociologist Stanley Aronowitzs as stating, “In short, the [worker] is now generally a client of the union rather than its owner” because for labor leaders “to call upon their members to conduct collective political fights — including direct actions that might disturb the comfortable relationship that the leadership enjoys with the employer — is well beyond the perspective, and therefore, the capacity, of the union.” According to Early, workers “must take ownership of their own organizations and return them to their workplace roots.”

That is absolutely right. Labor bosses have more in common with employers than the workers they claim to represent. Which is why labor bosses often act like bosses by keeping workers under control.

Again, the occurence in Wisconsin is a perfect example. Governor Walker’s bill contained numerous provisions that were harmful to the working class. But it was only the provision on collective bargaining rights that upset some Democrats and labor bosses like AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka, the latter being the one who wrote in the Wall Street Journal: “So here’s working America’s message to governors like Scott Walker and New Jersey’s Chris Christie: We believe in shared sacrifice.”

Translating gobbledygook: By “shared sacrifice” Trumka means “we will accept everything else in the bill but the provision on collective bargaining rights because that would in effect put me out of a job, and I rather enjoy my salary, hooking for the Democrats, and keeping the workers under control.”

Trumka, a lawyer with a CEO salary, claims to know “working America’s message.” The man couldn’t be anymore out of tune with the working class if he were a Republican.

Trumka then went on Meet the Press and the argument he used to prove that Walker’s bill was not about the “budget crisis” was because Trumka said “the employees said, or the members out there said, his workers said, ‘We’ll accept your cuts.’ ”

Again, Richard Trumka speaks for the working class.

And when Wisconsin workers started making moves towards a real general strike the labor bosses quickly shut them down and moved them into the political sphere via the “recall” effort where they were leading the effort, not the workers.

It is because of madness like this that workers must do as Early noted: “take ownership of their own organizations and return them to their workplace roots.”

And there is a labor organization structured to do that: the Industrial Workers of the World. If workers from other unions ever make such an effort they would have a model to learn from. The IWW is made up of various branches who retain autonomy. There is no President of the union making a CEO salary while spending millions more on a political party that constantly targets the working class for assault. The goal of the IWW is to abolish not only wage slavery, but bosses as well. It makes no sense to struggle with bosses at work, yet accept a boss in the union. For Wobblies, one boss is one boss too many.

The class divisions that have taken shape in labor unions—between the working class and the coordinator class—has allowed for a massive betrayal, and just like what is true for the economy, the same holds true for unions. Only by putting them under democratic control by the workers themselves can unions return to their “workplace roots.”

May Day ‘General Strike’ in the US?

April 24, 2012 2 comments

It’s not as if I worship The Lady of Perpetual Party Pooping, or like being a harping critic, but Jesus-fucking-Christ-on-a-stick, the delusional posturing of The Left is heartbreaking.

If you are on Facebook or Twitter, and are in any way acquainted with someone on The Left, you have likely seen fliers for the upcoming “general strike.” Here are a few samples.

All very good agitprop.

This “general strike” is the product of Occupy Los Angeles, though a number of other cities are going to participate.

Before I continue let me be clear: I whole-heartedly support a general strike.

A general strike could be very effective at empowering the working class.

But . . .

UNLESS there is some underlying organization to facilitate it, and to sustain it, it will likely prove premature and ineffective.

The purpose of a “general strike” is, as IWW labor organizer Bill Haywood noted more than a century ago, “to become so organized on the economic field that [the working class] can take and hold the industries in which they are employed.” Haywood continued by asking,

Can you conceive of such a thing? Is it possible? What are the forces that prevent you from doing so? You have all the industries in your own hands at the present time. There is this justification for political action, and that is, to control the forces of the capitalists that they use against us; to be in a position to control the power of government . . .

The Left, or anyone serious about participating in the May 1st General Strike (which should be the 150 million workers in the U.S.), should inquire into whether there is an organization or institution in existence, or that is being built and which would actually “take and hold the industries in which they are employed” . . .

Or whether it will be a one-day event that doesn’t threaten the status quo in any significant way.

Honestly. Looking at the http://www.occupymay1st.org/ website I don’t see anything about an effort to actually carry out labor organizing. No links to IWW, or anything. Rather, they’re just “calling upon the people of the world to take this day away from school and the workplace, so that their absence makes their displeasure with this corrupt system be known.”

Weak.

Organizing the working class should have preceeded the announcement of a general strike, but since that’s not the case it should at least be used as some effort to organize workers.

Even if a large portion of the working class participated . . .

Then what? (This is not a rhetorical question.)

What happens on May 2, 2012? (This is not a rhetorical question.)

What does Power have to fear? (This is not a rhetorical question.)

Here is what concerns me:  This “general strike” is sort of like those periodic and pointless chain e-mails saying, “Don’t buy gas on Wednesday!” What do the participants do? They fill up on Tuesday, or hold-out until Thursday. Their “absence” for one day in no way challenges the oil cartels and “makes their displeasure with this corrupt system be known.” It’s a joke.

Lame.

When I think about how unorganized we are—because responding to social networks asking you to call in sick is not the same as organizing—I look at events like this and say, “Okay, see you back at work on the 2nd.”

WTF?

Like I said at the outset, I don’t mean to be caustic (Grrrrrrrrr!). It’s just that this is something I care about, and I happen to feel that we owe it to ourselves to be honest and constructively critical. I want us to succeed. But in the absence of organizing new institutions—I favor the IWW because A) it is a labor organization; and because B) it practices solidarity unionism—that will facilitate the long, hard struggle necessary to win, stunts like this don’t stand much of a chance, and could actually prove counterproductive by leaving people jaded, and feeling helpless and hopeless.

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I am NOT Bradley Manning

April 19, 2012 Leave a comment

Perhaps you have seen various photos of people on the interweb holding up a piece of paper saying, “I am Bradley Manning,” or shirts like this:

Let’s get something straight.

Only Bradley Manning is Bradley Manning.

And the reason Bradley Manning is Bradley Manning is because he did something we didn’t do, which was incredibly brave. He became a whistleblower.

Bradley Manning is a hero.

Like Tim DeChristopher is a hero.

Like Victoire Ingabire is a hero.

People who actually risk their lives, their security, their time with their loved ones, to challenge authority are heroes.

Following orders to invade and occupy a foreign country? Not heroic.

Getting limbs blown off, or your life snuffed out, while following such unlawful orders? Not heroic.

GI Joe/Jane took an oath to protect the Constitution. By following unlawful orders GI Joe/Jane violated their oath. If they really want to be a hero then they should uphold their enlistment oath and defend our Constitution from our government, or put moral obligations (i.e. not be a war criminal) above even lawful orders. Unless we are actually defending ourselves from an armed attack, or imminent threat, then our violence is not heroic. It’s aggression—even if it is somehow legally sanctioned (e.g. our recent bombing of Libya).

Just as the real test of freedom is whether or not we tolerate those we don’t like or agree with to be protected by the same laws—that is to say, we don’t arbitrarily suspend or deny the rights of others because we label them as “terrorists”—the real test of heroics is not to blindly obey and be cannon fodder for persons of authority, but to risk persecution, being ostracized, and disappearing into a black hole.

I am not Bradley Manning. I am nothing like him. The people who hold those signs, and wear those shirts . . . are nothing like him. They are cowards like me. People who don’t have the courage and bravery to do what is right. We don’t trade our comfort and security to stand up for what we believe in. I got tremendous respect for people like Manning, DeChristopher, Ingabire, and others. I often feel ashamed for not having their courage. And I have a lot of respect for those who hold those signs and wear those shirts. Just the fact that they know who Bradley Manning is and care is awesome. But, come on, let’s not fool ourselves. Rather than offering some tokken gesture claiming we are a hero, if we really wanted to be heroic, we could be ourselves and leave our own mark.

NYT Admits Ahmadinejad Never Threatend to Wipe Israel Off the Map but . . .

April 19, 2012 Leave a comment
Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad

After seven long years of warmongering fanatics in Israel and the U.S. claiming that Iran’s President Ahmadinejad threatened to exterminate Israel, the New York Times finally decided to investigate.

In Robert Mackey’s blog, “Israeli Minister Agrees Ahmadinejad Never Said Israel ‘Must Be Wiped Off the Map’,” readers are told how Israel’s minister of intelligence and atomic energy, Dan Meridor, recently sat down with Al Jazeera’s Teymoor Nabili, where the latter said,

This idea that Iran wants to wipe Israel out, now that’s a common trope that is put about by a lot of people in Israel, a lot of people in the United States, but as we know Ahmadinejad didn’t say that he plans to exterminate Israel, nor did he say that Iran’s policy is to exterminate Israel.

—to which Meridor replied, “You’re right.”

Elsewhere on the fringe of the media it was widely known that Ahmadinejad never said Iran wanted to exterminate Israel, and that a more accurate interpretation was that the current regime will not last; that history will eventually see the nightmare pass. It was more a prophetic statement about what Ahmadinejad saw as inevitable. The Zionist government in Israel, that is stealing and occupying Palestinian land, abusing non-Jews, and waging wars against its neighbors will not last forever.

And while it’s still a bomb-shell of an admission there is a “but.” Despite the fact that Mackey finally lets the cat out of the bag, Iran’s negative view of Israel is still harped on as some sign that they are the bad guy. It is never considered that the myth has been exploited for seven years by those who want war, and how such warmongering from the U.S. and Israel might be behind Iran’s negative views. You see, we can be frothing at the mouth with eagerness to attack another country—while running for President back in 2008 Hillary Clinton can say she would “totally obliterate,” and President Obama can smile while saying “all options are on the table” when referring to a military attack against Iran—but our press will ignore that and focus on those who are declared an “enemy” of the state.

For example, Mackey writes that, “Mr. Meridor also pointed out that Iran’s leaders have continued to deny Israel’s right to exist and used highly inflammatory terms to describe the state.” The blog continues with numerous examples of this, even accompanied with pictures that are supposed to show the depth of Iranian depravity.

Mackey, however, does not deal with the grim realities of Israel’s polices in the region, and towards its own non-Jewish minorities. In other words, the context of why Iran, and many others, hold such negative views of Israel is never explored. The word “Palestine” or “Palestinian” is not mentioned at all, nor are the settlements and massive wars of aggression like the attack on Gaza in 2008/2009. Decades of expanding settlements, kidnappings, Mossad terrorist attacks against Iranian scientists, Israeli invasions, torture, murder, and more are completely expunged—leaving nothing but the horrible things Iran says about Israel.

In the middle of all this talk about not recognizing Israel’s right to exist, or wiping Israel off the map, there is no talk about Israel not recognizing Palestine’s right to exist, or there very real policies of slowly wiping Palestine off the map.

Notice this map ends at 1999; a lot more land has been gobbled up over the last 13 years

It was also very disconcerting to read where Mackey wrote that Ahmadinejad has “made so little effort to explain that he was misquoted,” but he never questions why Western media made so little effort to ask him.

And that brings up another thing that I have always found revealing about the journalistic integrity of the New York Times, and other Western media sources.

In May 2003 it was revealed by investigative journalist Gareth Porter that Iran made a peace offer to the U.S. and Israel, and that President Bush punished the messenger for delivering the offer.

We also know that Iran has supported FISSBAN, an international program that would put nuclear facilities under strict control and supervision of a team of international inspectors.

This begs a few questions: Why, in the middle of the drums to war, has the NYT, and other mainstream sources of the so-called “free press,” not explicitly asked Ahmadinejad: “Mr. President, does your 2003 peace offer still stand?,” and, “Does your government still support FISSBAN?” These two questions could go a long way to easing tensions and making peace. Readers of the Times should be inquiring as to why the “paper of record” has “made so little effort” to use their prominence, and simply ask.

NYT on Victoire Ingabire and Aung San Suu Kyi

April 18, 2012 Leave a comment
Victoire Ingabire and Aung San Suu Kyi
Two countries.
Two dictatorships.
Two women.
Both are political opponents to an oppressive government.
Both jailed and put through a kangaroo court trial.
Meet Aung San Suu Ky, a Burmese dissident and political opponent to the status quo.

Now meet Victoire Ingabire, a Rwandan dissident and political opponent to the status quo.

There is only one difference between them, and it makes all the difference in the world.

Burma is not an ally of the United States. For decades the U.S. government has singled out Burma for punishment over its human rights record (while conveniently ignoring that of itself and its allies).

Rwanda, however, is an important ally of the U.S. Their dictator, President Paul Kagame, received military training at Fort Leavenworth. Kagame was aided throughout his invasion of Rwanda in 1990, and that support continued all the way through the assassination of former President Habyarimana and the genocide in 1994, when Kagame’s Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) overthrew the government and established the current regime. The U.S. has even stood behind Kagame as he and Uganda’s President Museveni invaded and occupied Democratic Republic of Congo, extinguishing between 6-10 million lives.
Through the pressure of U.S. and its allies Aung San Suu Kyi was eventually released and elected to office, which she will assume next week.
Ms. Ingabire, on the other hand, has received no support from the U.S. She sits in jail under bogus charges and awaits the finale of her kangaroo trial.
This bias extends beyond the U.S. government and to the New York Times, the so-called “paper of record” which cynically provides “all the news fit to print.”
As I have shown repeatedly throughout my column for the NYTimes eXaminer, the NYT is by now so embedded with the Western establishment that it reads like George Orwell’s Ministry of Truth from his classic novel Nineteen Eighty-Four.
Consider the following.

If you put in Victoire Ingabire’s name in the search engine at the NYT you will receive no more than 14 articles. A similar search for Aung San Suu Kyi will yield you 591 articles. That’s a ratio of 42 to 1.
The only significant difference between them is that, for one, their oppressor is an ally, while the others is not. It would be beyond the stretch of the imagination to believe that it is not that difference that exlpains how two women can be treated so dramatically different—not just by the U.S. government, but by the New York Times as well.
•  •  •

For more information on the plight of Ms. Ingabire please watch this 35 minute video posted on YouTube.com: INGABIRE,THE RWANDAN AUNG SAN SUU KYI.

NYT on ‘Discord Over Cuba’ at Summit of Americas

April 16, 2012 Leave a comment
U.S. President Barack Obama listens during a joint press availability with Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos after their meeting at Casa de Huespedes during the Summit of the Americas in Cartagena, Colombia April 15, 2012.
Photograph by: Kevin Lamarque, REUTERS

“The issue of Cuba’s exclusion from events like the Summit of the Americas gathering has been a perennially divisive one,” wrote Jackie Calmes and William Neuman in their article, “Americas Meeting Ends With Discord Over Cuba,” which appeared on page A6 of today’s edition of the New York Times. And the division has become “increasingly so lately,” they write, though Calmes and Nuewman don’t offer an explanation as to why that is. Rather, they simply note that “the military takeover by Fidel Castro in 1959” is “more than 50 years” old.

Like annual U.N. General Assembly votes on lifting America’s embargo of Cuba, where the results are something like 190 to 2, the division is U.S. obstruction of peace and justice. With that considered, it is not surprising that an explanation of the “perennially divisive” issue is not explored with journalistic integrity.

Another disturbing aspect to the coverage provided by Calmes and Neuman is their description of the Cuban Revolution as a “military takeover.” That’s an odd choice of words to describe a popular revolution. The 26th of July Movement was hardly a “military.” They were a small, poorly-armed group of Cuban revolutionaries that had tremendous popular support—which allowed them to defeat the well-armed and U.S.-backed dictatorial regime of Fulgencio Batista.

The absurdity of Calmes’ and Neuman’s depiction of the Cuban Revolution as a “military takeover” is best exposed by asking the following question: Does anyone honestly believe that Calmes and Neuman would refer to the American Revolution as “the military takeover by George Washington in 1781”?

The absurdity doesn’t end there. Calmes and Neuman then proceed to claim that the “perennially divisive” issue of “Cuba’s exclusion from events like the Summit of the Americas” is being “led by leftist governments in the region, including Venezuela and Bolivia.”

The image they provide is that there is this “discord” surrounding the exclusion of Cuba from official events relevant to the region, but it has nothing to do with yanqui imperialism. It’s the product of “leftist governments” sowing disharmony. Shame on them.

For President Obama, who sees the issue as having us “caught in a time warp,” he wants to move forward.

But those pesky “leftist governments” keep dragging in the past.

Naturally, the Leader of the Free World has to explain American policy: “Cuba, unlike the other countries that are participating, has not yet moved to democracy.”

Of course an astute observer might go back to 1959 and see if the “move to democracy” was Washington’s reason for isolation and punishment of the tiny island. They would likely get stuck in the observation that Uncle Sam’s love for democracy can hardly be the case since the 26th of July Movement overthrew a military dictatorship.

And of course the democratization of Latin America is not something Washington is leading. Actually, the democracy movements are largely in response to Washington’s policies of supporting dictators and death squads that violently put down popular democratic movements—often with genocidal consequences.

So an astute observer might find it cynical, to the extreme, for President Obama to talk about democracy in the region, as if that is Washington’s intentions.

As far back as 1964 American political commentators like Walter Lippmann noted that, “The greatest threat presented by Castro’s Cuba is as an example to other Latin American states which are beset by poverty, corruption, feudalism, and plutocratic exploitation.” This explanation of U.S. policies towards Cuba is backed up by official records. It’s not our supposed love of democracy, as our continued support for dictators all over the world reveal. It’s not Cuba’s alliance with the Soviet Union, which not only came after official U.S. policy towards Castro, but also disappeared more than twenty years ago with the collapse of the Soviet Union. It’s not Cuba’s human rights record, which is nearly spotless as compared to other U.S. allies, like Colombia. It’s Cuba’s successful defiance of Washington, and the “example” they set for the region that has long been seen as “our area of responsibility.”

And Calmes’ and Neuman’s comment about “leftist governments” and “leftist leaders” plays into these shenanigans. Notice the term “leftist” is used as a pejorative to describe governments not doing the bidding of Washington. If you are a freely elected leader seeking regional integration, and an independent state, then you are “leftist.” It is not as if Calmes and Neuman refer to allies as “rightist governments.” By default they are free from such labels. They are simply “democracies.”

Another close observation of the language Calmes and Neuman employ is their use of the term “obstacle.” It is not Washington’s imperialism that is an obstacle. But rather those “leftist leaders” who “block agreements” over issues. Even “Argentina’s unsuccessful demand” for “its claim of sovereignty over the Falkland Islands” is an “obstacle,” not the U.K.’s continued control of the islands.

It is no surprise that the New York Times can cover a news item without actually covering it. Rather than discuss what the “discord” is really about, Calmes and Neuman go through the motions of presenting U.S. propaganda, and put the blame for “discord” on “leftist leaders.”

This angle is reminiscent to what Martin Luther King Jr wrote about 49 years ago to the day. As he sat in a jail in Birmingham, Alabama, King wrote about his detractors who blamed him for the South’s “tension.” In his “Letter from a Birmingham Jail” King wrote that,

Actually, we who engage in nonviolent direct action are not the creators of tension. We merely bring to the surface the hidden tension that is already alive. We bring it out in the open, where it can be seen and dealt with. Like a boil that can never be cured so long as it is covered up but must be opened with all its ugliness to the natural medicines of air and light, injustice must be exposed, with all the tension its exposure creates, to the light of human conscience and the air of national opinion before it can be cured.

What readers of the NYT need to understand, since Calmes and Neuman are incapable or unwilling to explain this, is that “leftist governments” are not “the creators” of the “discord.” They “merely bring to the surface the hidden [discord] that is already alive,” where it can be brought “out in the open”; so that “it can be seen and dealt with.”

It is telling that Calmes and Neuman play the historical part of those who blamed King for the “tension.” It is telling but, as noted above, not surprising. The “paper of record” has so firmly embedded itself with the Western establishment that it might as well change its name to the Pyongyang Times.

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