Archive for the ‘Media’ Category

NYT says Charles Taylor Conviction is ‘a watershed case for modern human rights law’


Charles Taylor in court at his war crimes trial in The Hague. Photograph: Reuters

On the front page of today’s New York Times is a story about how former Liberian President Charles Taylor was sentenced to 50 years of prison for war crimes and crimes against humanity which he committed in the Sierra Leone civil war that lasted from 1991-2002, and which resulted in the deaths of around 50,000 people.

The article, “Ex-Liberian Leader Gets 50 Years for War Crimes,” written by Marlise Simons and J. David Goodman, says the conviction was “a watershed case for modern human rights law,” and that “Mr. Taylor was the first former head of state convicted by an international tribunal since the Nuremberg trials in Germany after World War II.”

The article even quotes a Sierra Leone politician, Ibrahim Sorie, who was present at the sentencing, as saying, “It restores our faith in the rule of law, and we see that impunity is ending for top people.”

Of course, there are plenty of reasons to not have “faith in the rule of law,” or to believe “that impunity is ending for top people.” Because all you have to do is look and see if criminal leaders from other sides of the Sierra Leone conflict are being held accountable. Sort of, but not really. Those who the West backed, like the government forces, were never indicted or tried, even though they too committed serious crimes.

Furthermore, the trial revealed that, starting in the 1980s, Charles Taylor worked for the CIA. This gets confirmed by the U.S. when, in the trials proceedings, Taylor tells his life story. He talked about how he fled to the U.S. in the mid-1980s, and how the CIA helped him break out of jail, where he then went back to Liberia to start a war. Simons’ and Goodman’s article make no mention of this fact—even though Simons reported on this in 2009. So while Taylor was busy starting a much deadlier war in Liberia, which killed around 200,000 people, those crimes were never prosecuted.

This is much like Saddam Hussein. A former ally of the United States, he is supported through the worst of his crimes. When he attacked Iran in 1980, the U.S. provided military and political support. But when his usefulness was worn out, he quickly became the epitome of evil and had to be brought to justice. And much like Taylor, Saddam’s trial was carefully crafted to avoid embarrassments. A memo to former Iraqi Prime Minister al-Jafari which was published in Foreign Policy magazine in July of 2005 states, “The special tribunal is full of legal holes and is tainted by American influence,” and that,

Erase the American Footprint: There is no denying that the IST is an American creation. The now defunct Coalition Provisional Authority established the tribunal in consultation with the U.S.-appointed Iraqi Governing Council. Its statute allows the appointment of foreign judges to the tribunal and mandates the presence of international observers. No foreign judges have yet been appointed, but the possibility is being seriously considered. The possibility itself is an insult to Iraqis. Even in Europe, which is increasingly bound together legally and culturally, it would be unacceptable to have, for example, a French judge on the bench for a German criminal trial.

The tribunals statute was drafted in English and modeled on the American adversarial legal system. The U.S. government provided $75 million and dispatched teams of prosecutors and investigators to help the tribunal prepare for the trials of senior regime officials. These American officials are dedicated, but they know little about Iraqs legal traditions. The tribunals provenance and the presence of American personnel have fostered the view that it serves U.S. rather than Iraqi interests.

And even if you go back to Times articles about the Liberian civil war at the time you see a differential treatment towards Taylor. When he was still a CIA asset.

In the article “Strategic Interests Tie U.S. to Liberia,” which was published on June 13, 1990, the NYT notes that, “even as American officials privately voice criticism of the nation’s embattled President [Doe],” Washington was finding it difficult to cut ties because “strategic interests tie Washington to the Liberian crisis” in the form of “landing and refueling rights for military aircraft and ships on 24-hour notice, the only nation in sub-Saharan Africa that accords Washington such rights,” as well as “a navigational station that emits low-frequency signals that guide ships and aircraft in the Atlantic.”

On one hand the U.S. is backing both sides of the conflict. President Doe was provided “$500 million worth of military and economic aid between 1980 and 1985,” but the relationship was becoming strained. So as rebel forces led by Taylor make ground we begin to see attitudes quickly change at the “paper of record.”

In “Rebel Forces in Liberia Surround the Capital and Begin an Attack,” which was published on July 3, 1990, it is reported that, “Mr. Taylor, who has accused General Doe’s Government of brutality and large-scale corruption, has promised a thorough political house-cleaning but has equivocated about his intention to hold national elections.”

For Washington insiders this is music to their ears. Again, a CIA asset is deriding the government of “brutality and large-scale corruption” while promising “to hold national elections” if only he can get in power.

Then on August 21 of the same year the Times publishes the article “Some Liberians Accuse the U.S. of Betrayal,” which notes that the Bush administration “has made clear it will not intervene militarily to end the civil war” even while “daily fighting between the factions led by Mr. Taylor and by Prince Johnson and the forces loyal to President Doe has resulted in massacres of thousands of civilians.”

It is not until Charles Taylor gets on the wrong side of conflicts that he becomes a criminal who must be brought to justice. When Taylor’s forces go to Sierra Leone and fight against the Western-backed government it is much like Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait. A line was crossed. Now that Taylor is our enemy Simons and Goodman inform us about “a secret bonding ritual in Liberia during which [an aide who testified to the court that] he and others joined Mr. Taylor in eating a human heart.”

The differential treatment also shows in the trial of Taylor, who got a fifty-year sentence. While Simons and Goodman report that “the tribunal is to be shut down,” it’s worth noting that not one government official was indicted or tried, despite the fact that a Truth and Reconciliation Commission was created before the the Special Court for Sierra Leone was set up, and in their findings they note that, “All factions specifically targeted civilians.” It wasn’t just those who weren’t on the West’s side, like Charles Taylor. Even the Western-backed government forces were found to be “responsible for systematically plundering and looting” and “for either authorising or instigating human rights violations against civilians.”

This is the “watershed case for modern human rights law” which is supposed to have restored “our faith in the rule of law,” and where “we see that impunity is ending for top people”: only those not allied with the West are tried. This is not an exception. This is the norm. To date, not one ally of the U.S. has been indicted at the ICC. Not one. And certainly not leaders from the U.S. itself.


Why is the NYT Silent on the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Disaster Fallout?

NOAA has run OSCURS (Ocean Surface Current Simulator), a numeric model for ocean surface currents, to predict the movement of marine debris generated by the Japan tsunami over five years. The results are shown here. Year 1 = red; Year 2 = orange; Year 3 = yellow; Year 4 = light blue; Year 5 = violet. The OCSURS model is used to measure the movement of surface currents over time, as well as the movement of what is in or on the water. Map courtesy of J. Churnside (NOAA OAR) and created through Google.

The efficacy of the propaganda system is simply amazing, and at the same time, terrifying.

A year ago last March it wasn’t just Japan that was exposed to the nightmare of modern civilization, but the whole world. When Mother Nature exposed the dangers of nuclear energy by sending an earthquake and tsunami to damage the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, the fallout would go beyond Japan.

But over at the New York Times you would hardly know things are as bad as they are.

Browsing through articles from the last 30 days there were eleven on the Japanese nuclear power plant. And while the article “Japan to Nationalize Fukushima Utility” which was published on May 9 notes that, “The Fukushima Daiichi plant was heavily damaged by a powerful earthquake and tsunami in March 2011, which eventually led to multiple meltdowns at the site and a huge radiation leak that forced tens of thousands from their homes,” there is nothing else mentioned on the fallout. As if the worst of the incident was evacuated homes, and the compensation of the displaced.

Other than that there is no more mention of the effects of the nuclear disaster for the thirty-day period.

What there is mention of is how there is a large public response to the central governments attempts to restart some of the plants. But this comes across as contemptous for grassroots democracy.

In “Last Reactor of 50 in Japan Is Shut Down” published on May 5, the journalist Martin Fackler tells us that “last year’s nuclear disaster forced the nation to at least temporarily do without atomic power for the first time in 42 years.” Fackler goes on to report that,

Desperate to avert possible power shortages this summer, the government has tried to convince the public to allow some of the reactors to be restarted. It has conducted simulated stress tests to show whether reactors can withstand the sort of immense earthquake and tsunami that knocked out the Fukushima Daiichi plant.

The problem is that “the public has not accepted the tests, which were conducted largely behind closed doors,” and that, “About 300 protesters gathered Saturday in front of the Trade Ministry to celebrate the temporary shutdown of the nation’s nuclear program, and to call for a permanent end.”
Two days prior to the above article Fackler wrote a more lengthy article, “Japan’s Leaders, Pressed by Public, Fret as Nuclear Shutdown Nears,” on the struggle between the central government and local leaders backed by the public:

Japan’s leaders have made increasingly desperate attempts in recent months to avoid just such a scenario, trying to restart plants shut for routine maintenance and kept that way while they tried to convince a skittish public that the reactors were safe in the wake of last year’s nuclear catastrophe. But the government has run up against a crippling public distrust that recently found a powerful voice in local leaders who are orchestrating a rare challenge to Tokyo’s centralized power.

In discussing the efforts of a young mayor battling the central government to keep the plants closed, Fackler assures his audience that, “There is no guarantee that Mr. Hashimoto’s revolt will last past the summer, when the notion of life without nuclear power will become more real in a nation that relied on reactors to fuel its powerful postwar economy.”

Again the crisis at the Times is the energy crisis, not the environmental and health crisis that our high levels of energy consumption create.

And it’s not just Fackler’s pieces. In a Bloomberg News article published by the New York Times (“Japan’s Idling of Nuclear Plants Is Complete“) we read that,

Japan has had at least some electricity from nuclear plants since May 1970. And before last March, 50 nuclear facilities provided 30 percent of its electricity.

Now, however, the utilities powering the world’s third-biggest economy, behind China and the United States, have been forced to turn to coal, oil and gas-fired plants to keep factories, offices and households supplied with electricity.

Buying and importing those fuels is driving up costs and may lead to higher electricity bills and a further drag on an economy that has contracted in three of the past four years.

Quite simply, these articles read like propaganda put out by the nuclear industry. Because, again, the focus is on hyping concerns of an energy crisis, not our levels of consumption, or the risks nuclear energy poses to our health and the environment.

And beyond the last thirty days, that trend becomes more apparent when you do a simple search on the Times search engine. Look up “Fukushima nuclear” and you get 1,380 articles. Add the word “fallout” and it’s reduced to 143 articles.

But if you look elsewhere you find very serious concerns of fallout.

A BBC article in late March 2012 (“Probe finds high radiation in damaged Fukushima reactor“) reports that, “The operator of Japan’s crippled Fukushima nuclear plant has said damage to one of the reactors is much worse than previously thought,” while also saying, “Radiation was up to 10 times the fatal dose, the highest yet recorded at the plant.”

Common Dreams reported yesterday that “Radioactive cesium measured in samples of silt taken from Tokyo Bay has increased to 1.5-13 times the amount detected in similar samples last August, according to a survey conducted by Kinki University.”

Not even a month after the disaster Forbes magazine reported that, “Radiation from Japan has been detected in drinking water in 13 more American cities, and cesium-137 has been found in American milk—in Montpelier, Vermont—for the first time since the Japan nuclear disaster began.”

A week ago Digital Journal informed its readers in an op-ed piece that,

The Fukushima facility has many fuel rods still filled with unspent fuel. If the fuel is radioactive MOX, there would be enough radiation in just one rod to kill millions of people. Worst case scenario involves the integrity and safety of the rods, which are made of low quality materials accompanied with poor maintenance. This situation means that any major earthquake could cause massive damage to the rods. Additionally, if all of the rods rupture simultaneously, this cataclysmic disaster could mean the annihilation of many life forms on planet Earth.

And in an article published in the International Journal of Health Services last December, a study found that,

Deaths rose 4.46 percent from 2010 to 2011 in the 14 weeks after the arrival of Japanese fallout, compared with a 2.34 percent increase in the prior 14 weeks. The number of infant deaths after Fukushima rose 1.80 percent, compared with a previous 8.37 percent decrease. Projecting these figures for the entire United States yields 13,983 total deaths and 822 infant deaths in excess of the expected.

The authors of the study then go on to say that, “This result suggested that radiation from Japan may have harmed Americans, thus meriting more research.”

Readers of the New York Times should be very concerned that they are getting a distorted picture of the Fukushima nuclear disaster at the “paper of record.” We should be looking into why it is that the energy concern is “all the news fit to print,” and not the environmental and health risks. Considering the powerful influence of lobbies with the media, the prospects of the nuclear energy industry influencing articles, and thus manipulating the opinions of viewers, is a serious concern. Rather than focusing on the concern of energy bills, we need a more serious and sustained focus on our consumption levels, their link to the global capitalist system, and more details on the health and environmental risks of not just nuclear energy, but a wide array of other issues relevant to our production and consumption trends. Unfortunately, the Times has come nowhere close to delivering this level of quality journalism.

President Obama on Gay Marriage: It’s Called Electioneering, Stupid!

It didn’t take long for sensible people to fall all over themselves with praise for President Obama today.

According to the New York Times: “Obama Says Same-Sex Marriage Should Be Legal.”

Naturally, Mitt Romney, his Republican “opponent,” has to contrast himself by taking an opposite stand. According to the Times, “Hours before the president’s announcement, Mr. Romney, the former governor of Massachusetts, restated his opposition to same-sex marriage in an interview with KDVR-TV, a Fox News affiliate in Colorado.”

Such silliness.

When it comes to politicians and electoral politics we have decades of experience to draw from. And when a politician makes a comment like saying he supports same-sex marriage, it should be taken with a grain of salt.

Even limited to Obama himself we have enough to judge for ourselves.

Remember back in November 2007 when Barack Obama said that, “If American workers are being denied their right to organize and collectively bargain when I’m in the White House, I will put on a comfortable pair of shoes myself, I’ll will walk on that picket line with you as President of the United States of America”?

In Madison, Wisconsin the only sound you can hear are crickets chirping.

Remember back in the summer of 2008 when presidential candidate Barack Obama said, “It is time to pass Employee Free Choice Act in the Senate, and I will make it a law of the land when I am President of the United States of America”?

Well, he was elected, and Democrats controlled both houses of Congress and the White House, and there was not one attempt “make it a law of the land.” Whoops!

Remember during that same period when Obama said, “I happen to be a proponent of a single-payer universal health care program,” and that, “I see no reason why the United States of America, the wealthiest country in the history of the world, spending 14 percent of its gross national product on health care, cannot provide basic health insurance to everybody”?

Oh wait, that’s right. After he was elected he sung an entirely different tune:

What are not legitimate concerns are those being put forward claiming a public option is somehow a Trojan horse for a single-payer system. I’ll be honest. There are countries where a single-payer system may be working. But I believe — and I’ve even taken some flak from members of my own party for this belief — that it is important for us to build on our traditions here in the United States. So, when you hear the naysayers claim that I’m trying to bring about government-run health care, know this – they are not telling the truth.

Remember on January 22, 2009 when President Obama issued an executive order which stated that, “The detention facilities at Guantánamo for individuals covered by this order shall be closed as soon as practicable, and no later than 1 year from the date of this order,” and that, “If any individuals covered by this order remain in detention at Guantánamo at the time of closure of those detention facilities, they shall be returned to their home country, released, transferred to a third country, or transferred to another United States detention facility in a manner consistent with law and the national security and foreign policy interests of the United States”?

Not only are the detention facilities at Guantánamo still open and active, but detainees, like Inayatullah, are killing themselves to stop the torture that is still going on a year after Obama had ordered the torture center to close. Inayatullah wasn’t returned home, or released, or transferred to a third country, or to the U.S. in compliance with law. He remained at Guantánamo, enduring God knows what, until he finally freed himself by taking his own life.

Even more recently, within the last month, and in regards to President Obama and the LGBT community, the New York Times published Jackie Calmes’ article “Obama Won’t Order Ban on Gay Bias by Employers,” where readers are told that, “President Obama disappointed and vexed gay supporters on Wednesday with his decision, conveyed to activists by a senior adviser, not to sign an executive order banning discrimination by employers with federal contracts.”

It goes on and on and on like the song that never ends.

It is no secret that politicians say one thing and do another. And it’s no big secret as to why that is. Campaigns are costly. For his column at Salon, Glenn Greenwald wrote in his latest article—”Obama ‘evolves’ on marriage“—that, “It may very well be true that Obama took this step not out of any genuine conviction, but because he perceives that high levels of enthusiasm among the Democratic base generally and gay donors specifically are necessary for his re-election.”

Consider Obama’s pro-rhetoric on Labor above, or his executive order on closing Guantánamo. Politicians are constantly responding to power, which generally comes in two forms: the power of money and the power in numbers. They are professionals, and know how to pick their battles. In the absence of an organized national movement mobilized around working class, or environmental, or LGBT issues, or whatever, it should come as no surprise that shrewd, calculating politicians, like President Obama, don’t bite the hands that feed them. The Military Industrial Complex is stronger and better organized than human rights activists. Therefore, Guantánamo remains open. Capital is stronger and better organized than Labor. Therefore, Obama didn’t dare put on his comfortable shoes and occupy Wisconsin’s capitol. The power and influence of “employers” is greater than the LGBT movement. Therefore, President Obama didn’t sign an executive order on gay bias last month.

Besides, there is a caveat that folks are forgetting to consider. President Obama himself kept emphasizing the words “for me personally,” and as CNN reports: “The president said he still supports the concept of states deciding the issue on their own.”

Translation: President Obama will not lift a finger to actually give LGBT people the rights he “personally” supports them to have.

Because of the political implications of his comment during a presidential election, and because there is no organized social movement to counter the influence of the religious right, President Obama has determined that it is only safe enough to say what he “personally” feels is right, but that it’s up to the states to decide.
And considering that fourty-two states outlaw same-sex marriage, with thirty states now having a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage thanks to North Carolina’s recent amendment, President Obama’s “support” for states to decide makes his “support” for same-sex marriage a rather meaningless, empty gesture—which will probably secure a few more votes from kind-hearted folks who didn’t take the time to read the fine print.

Furthermore, it should be noted, so as to pull things into perspective a bit, that Obama’s views has only “evolved” to what was former Vice President Dick Cheney’s view just a few weeks shy of three years ago.

It’s also worth noting that Obama’s historical comparison is Stephen A. Douglas, who personally disapproved of slavery but said that the institution or abolition of slavery should be decided by the state. That position weakened him in the eyes of abolitionists, and cost him the 1860 election—and rightly so. It’s a typical fairweathered response we would expect from a politician; it’s refusal to take stand; a go along with popularity, not morality. And that’s how I feel about President Stephen A. Doubama.

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.


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