DisInfoWars with Tom Secker- A Philosophy of Fear?

Tom Secker Presents Professor Lars Svendsen

In a culture that in many ways is characterized by social disintegration, fear is something we all share, a unifying perspective on existence. Political fear does not arise in a vacuum, it is created and maintained. This week we explore these ideas with Professor Lars Svendsen, the author of A Philosophy of Fear. We discuss why he wrote the book, where the modern culture and climate of fear comes from, whether philosophy has adequately confronted it, and how a politics of trust could be the antidote to the politics of fear.

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DisInfoWars with Tom Secker- The Politics of Fear

Today, almost all politics are a politics of fear, and almost all policies are defended and excused through some notion of 'security'. Fear-therefore-security is the dominant political dynamic of our time. This week I take a look at these concepts, exploring whether all politics is a politics of fear, and offering examples of when this can work well and when it can work very badly. I focus in on the recent general election in the UK, showing how every candidate, even those offering some degree of real opposition, are all engaged in a politics of fear and security.
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Empire, Power & People with Andrew Gavin Marshall- Episode 141

Urban Rebellions and Racist Rhetoric

Starting with some mainstream and social media analysis of the recent events in Baltimore, this week's rant takes on the political language of racism, the effect that media propaganda has in indoctrinating that racism into its viewers, and the comparison of coverage of black and white riots in recent years. As Martin Luther King explained, riots were "the language of the unheard," so instead of denouncing rioters as "thugs" and "criminals," it would be better to consider listening, because one of America's most repressed and impoverished populations is speaking loudly for all to hear.

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The Neoconservative Threat to World Order

Why did Washington revive the threat of world annihilation?

This week I was invited to address an important conference of the Russian Academy of Sciences in Moscow. Scholars from Russia and from around the world, Russian government officials, and the Russian people seek an answer as to why Washington destroyed during the past year the friendly relations between America and Russia that President Reagan and President Gorbachev succeeded in establishing. All of Russia is distressed that Washington alone has destroyed the trust between the two major nuclear powers that had been created during the Reagan-Gorbachev era, trust that had removed the threat of nuclear Armageddon. Russians at every level are astonished at the virulent propaganda and lies constantly issuing from Washington and the Western media. Washington’s gratuitous demonization of the Russian president, Vladimir Putin, has rallied the Russian people behind him. Putin has the highest approval rating ever achieved by any leader in my lifetime.

Washington’s reckless and irresponsible destruction of the trust achieved by Reagan and Gorbachev has resurrected the possibility of nuclear war from the grave in which Reagan and Gorbachev buried it. Again, as during the Cold War the specter of nuclear Armageddon stalks the earth.

Why did Washington revive the threat of world annihilation? Why is this threat to all of humanity supported by the majority of the US Congress, by the entirety of the presstitute media, and by academics and think-tank inhabitants in the US, such as Motyl and Weiss, about whom I wrote recently?

It was my task to answer this question for the conference. You can read my February 25 and February 26 addresses below. But first you should understand what nuclear war means. You can gain that understanding here.

The Threat Posed to International Relations by the Neoconservative Ideology of American Hegemony, Address to the 70th Anniversary of the Yalta Conference, Hosted by Institutes of the Russian Academy of Sciences and Moscow State Institute of International Relations, Moscow, February 25, 2015, Hon. Paul Craig Roberts:

Colleagues,

What I propose to you is that the current difficulties in the international order are unrelated to Yalta and its consequences, but have their origin in the rise of the neoconservative ideology in the post-Soviet era and its influence on Washington’s foreign policy.

The collapse of the Soviet Union removed the only constraint on Washington’s power to act unilaterally abroad. At that time China’s rise was estimated to require a half century. Suddenly the United States found itself to be the Uni-power, the “world’s only superpower.” Neoconservatives proclaimed “the end of history.”

By the “end of history” neoconservatives mean that the competition between socio-economic-political systems is at an end. History has chosen “American Democratic-Capitalism.” It is Washington’s responsibility to exercise the hegemony over the world given to Washington by History and to bring the world in line with History’s choice of American democratic-capitalism.

In other words, Marx has been proven wrong. The future does not belong to the proletariat but to Washington.

The neoconservative ideology raises the United States to the unique status of being “the exceptional country,” and the American people acquire exalted status as “the indispensable people.”

If a country is “the exceptional country,” it means that all other countries are unexceptional. If a people are “indispensable,” it means other peoples are dispensable. We have seen this attitude at work in Washington’s 14 years of wars of aggression in the Middle East. These wars have left countries destroyed and millions of people dead, maimed, and displaced. Yet Washington continues to speak of its commitment to protect smaller countries from the aggression of larger countries. The explanation for this hypocrisy is that Washington does not regard Washington’s aggression as aggression, but as History’s purpose.

We have also seen this attitude at work in Washington’s disdain for Russia’s national interests and in Washington’s propagandistic response to Russian diplomacy.

The neoconservative ideology requires that Washington maintain its Uni-power status, because this status is necessary for Washington’s hegemony and History’s purpose.

The neoconservative doctrine of US world supremacy is most clearly and concisely stated by Paul Wolfowitz, a leading neoconservative who has held many high positions: Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense, Director of Policy Planning US Department of State, Assistant Secretary of State, Ambassador to Indonesia, Undersecretary of Defense for Policy, Deputy Secretary of Defense, President of the World Bank.

In 1992 Paul Wolfowitz stated the neoconservative doctrine of American world supremacy:

“Our first objective is to prevent the re-emergence of a new rival, either on the territory of the former Soviet Union or elsewhere that poses a threat on the order of that posed formerly by the Soviet Union. This is a dominant consideration underlying the new regional defense strategy and requires that we endeavor to prevent any hostile power from dominating a region whose resources would, under consolidated control, be sufficient to generate global power.”

For clarification, a “hostile power” is a country with an independent policy (Russia, China, Iran, and formerly Saddam Hussein, Gaddafi, Assad).

This bold statement struck the traditional American foreign policy establishment as a declaration of American Imperialism. The document was rewritten in order to soften and disguise the blatant assertion of supremacy without changing the intent. These documents are available online, and you can examine them at your convenience.

Softening the language allowed the neoconservatives to rise to foreign policy dominance. The neoconservatives are responsible for the Clinton regime’s attacks on Yugoslavia and Serbia. Neoconservatives, especially Paul Wolfowitz, are responsible for the George W. Bush regime’s invasion of Iraq. The neoconservatives are responsible for the overthrow and murder of Gaddafi in Libya, the assault on Syria, the propaganda against Iran, the drone attacks on Pakistan and Yemen, the color revolutions in former Soviet Republics, the attempted “Green Revolution” in Iran, the coup in Ukraine, and the demonization of Vladimir Putin.

A number of thoughtful Americans suspect that the neoconservatives are responsible for 9/11, as that event gave the neoconservatives the “New Pearl Harbor” that their position papers said was necessary in order to launch their wars for hegemony in the Middle East. 9/11 led directly and instantly to the invasion of Afghanistan, where Washington has been fighting since 2001. Neoconservatives controlled all the important government positions necessary for a “false flag” attack.

Neoconservative Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland, who is married to another neoconservative, Robert Kagan, implemented and oversaw Washington’s coup in Ukraine and chose the new government.

The neoconservatives are highly organized and networked, well-financed, supported by the print and TV media, and backed by the US military/security complex and the Israel Lobby. There is no countervailing power to their influence on US foreign power.

The neoconservative doctrine goes beyond the Brzezinski doctrine, which dissented from Detente and provocatively supported dissidents inside the Soviet empire. Despite its provocative character, the Brzezinski doctrine remained a doctrine of Great Power politics and containment. It is not a doctrine of US world hegemony.

While the neoconservatives were preoccupied for a decade with their wars in the Middle East, creating a US Africa Command, organizing color revolutions, exiting disarmament treaties, surrounding Russia with military bases, and “pivoting to Asia” to surround China with new air and naval bases, Vladimir Putin led Russia back to economic and military competence and successfully asserted an independent Russian foreign policy.

When Russian diplomacy blocked Washington’s planned invasion of Syria and Washington’s planned bombing of Iran, the neoconservatives realized that they had failed the “first objective” of the Wolfowitz Doctrine and had allowed “the re-emergence of a new rival . . . on the territory of the former Soviet Union” with the power to block unilateral action by Washington.

The attack on Russia began. Washington had spent $5 billion over a decade creating non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in Ukraine and cultivating Ukrainian politicians. The NGOs were called into the streets. The extreme nationalists or nazi elements were used to introduce violence, and the elected democratic government was overthrown. The intercepted conversation between Victoria Nuland and the US ambassador in Kiev, in which the two Washington operatives choose the members of the new Ukrainian government, is well known.

If the information that has recently come to me from Armenia and Kyrgyzstan is correct, Washington has financed NGOs and is cultivating politicians in Armenia and the former Soviet Central Asian Republics. If the information is correct, Russia can expect more “color revolutions” or coups in other former territories of the Soviet Union. Perhaps China faces a similar threat in Uyghurstan.

The conflict in Ukraine is often called a “civil war.” This is incorrect. A civil war is when two sides fight for the control of the government. The break-away republics in eastern and southern Ukraine are fighting a war of secession.

Washington would have been happy to use its coup in Ukraine to evict Russia from its Black Sea naval base as this would have been a strategic military achievement. However, Washington is pleased that the “Ukraine crisis” that Washington orchestrated has resulted in the demonization of Vladimir Putin, thus permitting economic sanctions that have disrupted Russia’s economic and political relations with Europe. The sanctions have kept Europe in Washington’s orbit.

Washington has no interest in resolving the Ukrainian situation. The situation can be resolved diplomatically only if Europe can achieve sufficient sovereignty over its foreign policy to act in Europe’s interest instead of Washington’s interest.

The neoconservative doctrine of US world hegemony is a threat to the sovereignty of every country. The doctrine requires subservience to Washington’s leadership and to Washington’s purposes. Independent governments are targeted for destabilization. The Obama regime overthrew the reformist government in Honduras and currently is at work destabilizing Venezuela, Bolivia, Ecuador, and Argentina, and most likely also Armenia and the former Central Asian Soviet Republics.

Yalta and its consequences have to do with Great Power rivalries. But in the neoconservative doctrine, there is only one Great Power–the Uni-power. There are no others, and no others are to be permitted

Therefore, unless a modern foreign policy arises in Washington and displaces the neoconservatives, the future is one of conflict.

It would be a strategic error to dismiss the neoconservative ideology as unrealistic. The doctrine is unrealistic, but it is also the guiding force of US foreign policy and is capable of producing a world war.

In their conflict with Washington’s hegemony, Russia and China are disadvantaged. The success of American propaganda during the Cold War, the large differences between living standards in the US and those in communist lands, overt communist political oppression, at times brutal, and the Soviet collapse created in the minds of many people nonexistent virtues for the United States. As English is the world language and the Western media is cooperative, Washington is able to control explanations regardless of the facts. The ability of Washington to be the aggressor and to blame the victim encourages Washington’s march to more aggression.

This concludes my remarks. Tomorrow I will address whether there are domestic political restraints or economic restraints on the neoconservative ideology.

Paul Craig Roberts, Address to the 70th Anniversary of the Yalta Conference, Moscow, February 26, 2015

Colleagues,

At the plenary session yesterday I addressed the threat that the neoconservative ideology poses to international relations. In this closing session I address whether there are any internal restraints on this policy from the US population and whether there are economic restraints.

Just as 9/11 served to launch Washington’s wars for hegemony in the Middle East, 9/11 served to create the American police state. The Constitution and the civil liberties it protects quickly fell to the accumulation of power in the executive branch that a state of war permitted.

New laws, some clearly pre-prepared such as the PATRIOT Act, executive orders, presidential directives, and Department of Justice memos created an executive authority unaccountable to the US Constitution and to domestic and international law.

Suddenly Americans could be detained indefinitely without cause presented to a court. Habeas corpus, a constitutional protection which prohibits any such detention, has been set aside.

Suddenly people could be tortured into confessions in violation of the right against self-incrimination and in violation of domestic and international laws against torture.

Suddenly Americans and Washington’s closest allies could be spied on indiscriminately without the need of warrants demonstrating cause.

The Obama regime added to the Bush regime’s transgressions the assertion of the right of the executive branch to assassinate US citizens without due process of law.

The police state was organized under a massive new Department of Homeland Security. Almost immediately whistleblower protections, freedom of the press and speech, and protest rights were attacked and reduced.

It was not long before the director of Homeland Security declared that the department’s focus has shifted from Muslim terrorists to “domestic extremists,” an undefined category. Anyone can be swept into this category. Homes of war protesters were raided and grand juries were convened to investigate the protesters. Americans of Arab descent who donated to charities–even charities on the State Department’s approved list–that aided Palestinian children were arrested and sentenced to prison for “providing material support to terrorism.”

All of this and more, including police brutality, has had a chilling effect on protests against the wars and the loss of civil liberty. The rising protests from the American population and from soldiers themselves that eventually forced Washington to end the Vietnam War have been prevented in the 21st century by the erosion of rights, intimidation, loss of mobility (no-fly list), job dismissal, and other heavy-handed actions inconsistent with a government accountable to law and to the people.

In an important sense, the US has emerged from the “war on terror” as an executive branch dictatorship unconstrained by the media and barely, if at all, constrained by Congress and the federal courts. The lawlessness of the executive branch has spread into governments of Washington’s vassal states and into the Federal Reserve, the International Monetary Fund, and the European Central Bank, all of which violate their charters and operate outside their legal powers.

Jobs offshoring destroyed the American industrial and manufacturing unions. Their demise and the current attack on the public employee unions has left the Democratic Party financially dependent on the same organized private interest groups as the Republicans. Both parties now report to the same interest groups. Wall Street, the military/security complex, the Israel Lobby, agribusiness, and the extractive industries (oil, mining, timber) control the government regardless of the party in power. These powerful interests all have a stake in American hegemony.

The message is that the constellation of forces preclude internal political change.

Hegemony’s Archilles heel is the US economy. The fairy tale of American economic recovery supports America’s image as the safe haven, an image that keeps the dollar’s value up, the stock market up, and interest rates down. However, there is no economic information that supports this fairy tale.

Real median household income has not grown for years and is below the levels of the early 1970s. There has been no growth in real retail sales for six years. The labor force is shrinking. The labor force participation rate has declined since 2007 as has the civilian employment to population ratio. The 5.7 percent reported unemployment rate is achieved by not counting discouraged workers as part of the work force. (A discouraged worker is a person who is unable to find a job and has given up looking.)

A second official unemployment rate, which counts short-term (less than one year) discouraged workers and is seldom reported, stands at 11.2 percent. The US government stopped including long-term discouraged workers (discouraged for more than one year) in 1994. If the long-term discouraged are counted, the current unemployment rate in the US stands at 23.2 percent.

The offshoring of American manufacturing and professional service jobs such as software engineering and Information Technology has decimated the middle class. The middle class has not found jobs with incomes comparable to those moved abroad. The labor cost savings from offshoring the jobs to Asia has boosted corporate profits, the performance bonuses of executives and capital gains of shareholders. Thus all income and wealth gains are concentrated in a few hands at the top of the income distribution. The number of billionaires grows as destitution reaches from the lower economic class into the middle class. American university graduates unable to find jobs return to their childhood rooms in their parents’ homes and work as waitresses and bartenders in part-time jobs that will not support an independent existence.

With a large percentage of the young economically unable to form households, residential construction, home furnishings, and home appliances suffer economic weakness. Cars can still be sold only because the purchaser can obtain 100 percent financing in a six-year loan. The lenders sell the loans, which are securitized and sold to gullible investors, just as were the mortgage-backed financial instruments that precipitated the 2007 US financial crash.

None of the problems that created the 2008 recession, and that were created by the 2008 recession, have been addressed. Instead, policymakers have used an expansion of debt and money to paper over the problems. Money and debt have grown much more than US GDP, which raises questions about the value of the US dollar and the credit worthiness of the US government. On July 8, 2014, my colleagues and I pointed out that when correctly measured, US national debt stands at 185 percent of GDP.

This raises the question: Why was the credit rating of Russia, a country with an extremely low ratio of debt to GDP, downgraded and not that of the US? The answer is that the downgrading of Russian credit worthiness was a political act directed against Russia in behalf of US hegemony.

How long can fairy tales and political acts keep the US house of cards standing? A rigged stock market. A rigged interest rate. A rigged dollar exchange value, a rigged and suppressed gold price. The current Western financial system rests on world support for the US dollar and on nothing more.

The problem with neoliberal economics, which pervades all countries, even Russia and China, is that neoliberal economics is a tool of American economic imperialism, as is Globalism. As long as countries targeted by Washington for destabilization support and cling to the American doctrines that enable the destabilization, the targets are defenseless.

If Russia, China, and the BRICS Bank were willing to finance Greece, Italy, and Spain, perhaps those countries could be separated from the EU and NATO. The unraveling of Washington’s empire would begin.

# # # #

Paul Craig Roberts, Boiling Frogs Post contributing author, is a former Assistant Secretary of the US Treasury and former associate editor of the Wall Street Journal. He has been reporting on executive branch and cases of prosecutorial abuse for two decades. He has written or co-written eight books, contributed chapters to numerous books, and has published many articles in journals of scholarship. Mr. Roberts has testified before congressional committees on 30 occasions on issues of economic policy, and has been a critic of both Democratic and Republican administrations. You can visit his website here.

© PaulCraigRoberts.org

Geopolitics with Ryan Dawson- “Is the UN Security Council Just a Dysfunctional Bully’s Pulpit?”

Ryan Dawson Presents Jason Ditz

GPJason Ditz joins us to discuss the Israeli bombings of Syria, the chemical weapons hype/re-hype, the US's capricious nature on their foreign policy regarding Syria and the latest attempted peace negotiations for Syria held jointly between the US and Russia. On a grander scale, is the UN Security Council just a dysfunctional bully's pulpit? Who can hold powerful governments accountable if not their own public? And how can that happen without independent media?

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Ghost-Buster Journalism & Ghost-Chasing Activism

On Doing Something to Stop This Current & Ongoing Rape


ghostbustersA few weeks ago I called up an independent journalist friend and asked whether she would like to write articles on topics of mutual interest at Boiling Frogs Post. She said she had been swamped with several projects, including a book in progress, all involving George W. Bush’s wrongdoings and dirty operations dragging us into the war with Iraq. I asked, ‘What about the same categories of deeds going on right now? You know, Libya, and now being dragged to Yemen, Somalia … and let’s not forget the daily drone-bombing of Pakistan …’ She responded, ‘I know. It’s just that I can’t stand Bush getting away with everything.  Don’t we all want some accountability from Bush and his men?’ I guess, she didn’t really answer my question.

Last weekend at the farmers Market I bumped in to an author, activist and a fairly popular blog-ist friend. I asked what he had been up to lately, and he said he was working with a group on bringing more pressure on Bush-Rumsfeld-Cheney from the international community, and possibly getting them banned from entering certain countries. I asked him about his plans for our current president, his undeclared wars and black operations, and his still-in-the-making trail of civilian casualties-the babies and grandmothers and all…He sincerely answered my question without any hesitation, ‘Oh, no plans for that yet. Not yet... Maybe after we are done with Bush… Obama certainly deserves being banned, but right now we are busy with our current project targeting Bush and his evil entourage.

It seems like every time I look around I see these activists/writers/blog-ists who are extremely busy with chasing that long-gone evil president, or maybe his ghost. The guy had eight years in the White House when he was engaged in planning and executing orders for atrocious practices, and neither Congress nor the media lifted a finger to do anything about it. Even though they could; in theory, that is. Despite all our activism and whistleblowing the man came out of it without a scratch; really.

Look, I am not saying the pursuit of George W. Bush is totally futile and a waste of time. I certainly don’t disagree with those who believe the previous administration should be held accountable. After all, what do people think when they hear the name Sibel Edmonds? The FBI linguist who was retaliated against and fired by Bush’s FBI, silenced and gagged by Bush’s Justice Department, and basically, slammed and quashed and attacked nonstop by the Bush Administration (while the US Congress and the media watched detachedly without a blink). So, no, I have justifiably more reasons than many to despise the Bush Administration and seek accountability and justice. [Read more...]

BFP Select Nightly News & Editorials

More Planes & Bombs for Libya, Libya in Pictures, the Covert War in Yemen, the Staggering Price Tag for Iraq-Afghan Wars, Budget Cut=Return to the Draft?, Echelon Incest, The Silent Liquidity Freeze & More

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Newsworthy

NATO Calls for More Planes to Bomb Libyan Targets

Libya in Pictures: What the Mainstream Media Does Not Tell You

U.S. Strikes Said to Kill 8 in Yemen

Record Civilian Toll in Afghanistan in 2011

NATO Raid Kills 6 Civilians in Afghanistan

FBI to Investigate News Corp over 9/11 Hacking Allegations

Staggering Price Tag for Iraq-Afghanistan Wars

**** [Read more...]

BFP Select Nightly News & Editorials

New US Jails in Afghanistan, the Syrian Paradox, MIC: The Enemy Within, Media’s Endless War Propaganda, CIA in Business with the Parent Group to Al-Qaeda … & More!

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Newsworthy

‘Deadliest Six Months’ for Civilians in Afghanistan

U.S. Building New Jails across Afghanistan

Iran Rejects US Claims of Role in Iraq Attacks

Libya Says 1,100 Dead in NATO War Crimes

Unfolding the Syrian Paradox

Canada: The Gift That Keeps Giving to Israel

CIA Officer May Face War Crime Charges

The “Secret” PATRIOT ACT

Lawmaker: US Airports are not Secure Enough

A False Narrative About Fannie Mae

Select Editorials

The New “Let Them Eat Cake!”

The Military Industrial Complex: The Enemy From Within

Wasted & Stolen Trillions for War

The Media’s Endless Propaganda for War

How Has Murdock Improved With Age

Video- The Secret History of the CIA: The CIA in Business with the Parent Group to Al-Qaeda?

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Is Israel the Sole Determinant of US Presidential Elections?

They Say They Are…

IsraelAre the elections results of US presidential elections determined by 2% of the population? Can the five million or so Jewish population be counted as the US majority? Does the Israel lobby shape the majority of US voters’ decisions? Is Israel the main determinant of political elections’ results when it comes to high US public offices? I don’t know your take or answers to these questions, but we do have ‘theirs, on the record, loud and clear, and of course, delivered with hubris and cockiness:

Metzger to Obama: Release Pollard or lose reelection
By Jonah Mandel, Jerusalem Post

Chief Ashkenazi rabbi says he's not making prophecy, just reflecting the feelings of US Jews who supported US president's election.

Chief Ashkenazi Rabbi Yona Metzger wants US President Barack Obama to know that unless he acts to release Israeli agent Jonathan Pollard, he will not be elected for a second time in November 2012.

“If Obama wants another term as president, he must immediately release Pollard,” the rabbi said on Saturday.

I don’t believe the above article is in need of any interpretation or explanation. It is pretty straightforward: Mr. President if you do A, we won’t let you get reelected, but if you do B, we will; yes, we have that much power and influence. The condition put on this one way negotiation has nothing to do with the topic I am discussing here. Period. In this case it is about Jonathan Pollard, the convicted Israeli spy who betrayed his nation and endangered lives. It could very well be about Iran: Mr. Obama you either attack or advocate for an attack on country X, and we’ll ensure you get reelected, or, stand against it, and lose your chance of getting reelected. Why? Because ‘we’ have that power. Because ‘we’ perceive country X as a threat to ‘us,’, and ‘we’ want you to put your nation at war for ‘us.’ 

Now you may say, ‘hey, that’s a ludicrous empty threat! Give or take two percent of the voting population can’t carry that level of influence over a United States President!’ And, you will be wrong; flat out wrong. It is true that the population of American adherents of Judaism was around 5 million, 1.7% of the total US population in 2007, and including those who identify themselves culturally as Jewish (but not necessarily religiously), around 6.5  million, 2.2% as of 2008. But who ever claimed that these things are all about size, and that only size matters?!!! If you don’t have the size you go about compensating for it; don’t you? Well, that’s exactly what ‘they’ have been doing, and doing successfully. How? In more than one way: [Read more...]

US Media & the Coverage of the Israel-Palestine Conflict

Biased, Tainted, and Filtered?

A few days ago I was on the phone talking with a great journalist and one of the best analysts around on the US media. We were discussing various factors of influence on our media, including many so-called alternatives, and naturally, we started talking about the Israel Lobby Factor. You know, one of those extremely important topics many know about but very few dare to mention, and even then only in hushed voices, which tells you how deep and far-reaching their tentacles explore, exploit, and extinguish …

I will be writing about this factor now and then, and no, I won’t be doing it with trembling pen strokes or in a hushed voice.

So back to the real purpose of this post. She told me about a solid documentary on this same topic, US Media & the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, produced by the Media Education Foundation. MEF produces and distributes documentary films and other educational resources to inspire critical reflection on the social, political, and cultural impact of American mass media. I encourage you to check out their site and some of their projects here. As soon as I hung up I went to my PC, clicked on the site, and played the film. It is slightly over an hour in length, but I was glued to my chair and watched the entire film, and later that night I watched it again.

Amazingly, this film was released three years ago! How in the world did I miss it?! Oh well, I’ll go ahead and blame that on our media tooJ Anyhow, some of you may also have missed this film, so here it is, please watch and let me know what you think:
 

Peace, Propaganda and the Promised Land: Media & the Israel-Palestine Conflict

Produced by Media Education Foundation

This site depends exclusively on readers’ support. Please help us continue by contributing directly and or purchasing Boiling Frogs showcased products.

OSAMA BIN LADEN AND JOURNALISM 101

REFER TO A SOURCE IN THE PRESENT TENSE ONLY
IF YOU CAN VERIFY THAT SOURCE EXISTS

There is no recent credible first-hand information on when bin Laden was last seen,” writes Asia Times Online correspondent Syed Saleem Shahzad in his December 12, 2009 article, Osama Can Run, How Long Can He Hide?. This line, however, is tucked seventeen paragraphs into an article in which early on Shahzad asserts, “There is little dispute that bin Laden and his close associates, including his deputy, Ayman al-Zawahiri, move around in the vast and inhospitable mountainous territory that straddles the Afghanistan-Pakistan border; the porous border exists only as a line on a map.”  

Shahzad quotes US national security advisor James Jones saying that “intelligence reports suggest that the Al-Qaeda chief is somewhere inside North Waziristan, sometimes on the Pakistani side of the border, sometimes on the Afghan side of the border.”  Shahzad doesn’t indicate whether or not he followed up on Jones’s statement by asking Jones how credible those suggestive reports were and why they were credible. Instead, he lends his own organization’s credibility to Jones’s statement. “Interaction with generally well-connected militant sources,” he writes, “leads Asia Times Online to believe that bin Laden, 52, is alive and healthy, despite a history of kidney trouble.”  

What kinds of well-connected militant sources are they and why should they be believed?  What proof that bin Laden is alive have these sources offered?  How has Shahzad confirmed what they told him about bin Laden being alive? [Read more...]

Weekly Round Up for November 13

National Security Letters, the Deceitful Media & the Convergence of Interests

This week we interviewed Mark Klein, the AT&T whistleblower; the interview should be posted in 3 or 4 weeks. I know you’re going to find it interesting and enlightening. Speaking of AT&T, check out our contributor Ishmael’s informative interview with Jeff Farias here.

I have a few noteworthy tidbits below. Don’t pay attention to their publication dates, since the issues, these cases and reports, are ‘timeless’ in nature.

Another Police State Government Villains & an Irate Minority Fighter Story

MakingsofapolicestateThis week the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), a privacy watchdog organization, released a comprehensive and eye-opening report on a bogus subpoena issued by a US attorney in Indiana to force Indymedia.us , an independent alternative news site to hand over all the data containing about their users who visited the site on a particular day. Not only that, consistent with other National Security Letters practices, the Justice Department issued gag order to prevent the site from speaking about the subpoena:

The report describes how, earlier this year, U.S. attorneys issued a federal grand jury subpoena to Indymedia.us administrator Kristina Clair demanding “all IP traffic to and from www.indymedia.us" for a particular date, potentially identifying every person who visited any news story on the Indymedia site. As the report explains, this overbroad demand for internet records not only violated federal privacy law but also violated Clair’s First Amendment rights, by ordering her not to disclose the existence of the subpoena without a U.S. attorney’s permission.

Because Indymedia follows EFF’s Best Practices for Online Service Providers and does not keep historical IP logs, there was no information for Indymedia to hand over, and the government withdrew the subpoena. However, as the report describes, that wasn’t the end of the tale: Ms. Clair wanted EFF to be able to tell the story of the subpoena and shine a light on the government’s illegal demand, yet the subpoena ordered silence. Under pressure from EFF, the government admitted that the subpoena’s gag order had no legal basis, and ultimately chose not to go to court to try to force Ms. Clair’s silence despite earlier threats to do so.

This is another story of our government villains determined to butcher the Constitution and speed up our descent towards a police state. This is another example illustrating how government abuses are thriving and expanding in secrecy. In this case, it took an irate, a determined, and a believer in Constitutional Rights, to get up and challenge the attempted despotism. In this particular case, the despotic villains backed down. But as EFF appropriately questions:

How often does the government attempt such illegal fishing expeditions through internet data? How many online service providers have received similarly bogus demands, and handed over how much data, violating how many internet users’ privacy? How many of those subpoena recipients have been intimidated into silence by unconstitutional gag orders?

Let’s hope the number of those who choose to speak up and fight back keeps increasing. But meanwhile, in addition to sitting and wishing and hoping, let us each be one of the irate minority who keeps on fighting until we become the majority, and the villains are restrained and ruled by we the people.

The Deceitful Media Pimping Tyranny

PimpingMediaFreedom daily had a well-presented piece by James Bovard on the US media. I get tons of links and references everyday, and usually all I can do is a quick glance. With this one I was hooked after the first paragraph, and I’m sure those of you who’ve been visiting my site for a while would know why:

Why do politicians so easily get away with telling lies? In large part, because the news media are more interested in bonding with politicians than in exposing them. Americans are encouraged to believe that the media will serve as a check and a balance on the government. Instead, the press too often volunteer as unpaid pimps, helping politicians deceive the public. [Read more...]