Posted by: quiscus | July 7, 2010

July 7, 2010

1.  “Meritocracy or Spin Doctoring?

Once public knowledge spread that the workings of Operation Mockingbird showed that leading representatives of print and broadcast media had thrown overboard for money their professional responsibility to report the truth, the journalistic establishment rightfully suffered a huge loss of credibility. To this day nothing substantial has ever been done to demonstrate that the business of reporting the news does not continue to be monitored and sometimes directed by those running the psychological warfare forays crucial to the commercial viability of the military-industrial complex. Hence there is absolutely no reason to believe that the media manipulations from on high are any less pronounced in these times, when many old Cold Warriors have been saved from obsolescence by the so-called Global War on Terror. There is no reason to believe that the services of so-called journalists are any less available for purchase today by the national security state than they were in the era when thousands of reporters are known to have accepted secret federal payments to censor stories, twist stories, black list colleagues, or plant outright disinformation, all in the name of advancing the officially-sanctioned conspiracy theory that a cabal of communist internationalist were about to take over the world unless the capitalist superpower made anti-communism its highest priority.

Indeed, one of the keys to understanding humanity’s current predicament is to appreciate how certain elites cannot maintain their position of dominance without the existence, invention or mythological conjuring up of a sufficiently formidable global enemy seen to be effective enough to justify the continuation of the permanent war economy that began in the United States in 1941 with the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. What would have been the fate of the military-industrial complex and its directors in the national security state if al-Qaeda had not appeared at just the right moment to keep the operations of the war machine in business with substantially enhanced funding and prestige?

Kristina Borjesson has been one of the most outspoken witnesses of the post-9/11 slide of the mainstream media in the United States into deeper and deeper quagmires of censorship and disinformation, sometimes extending to the black listing of those journalists and academic experts who refuse to subordinate truth to political expediency. Borjesson is an Emmy and Murrow Award winning investigative reporter with a graduate degree in journalism from Columbia University. She ran into trouble with her employer, CBS, in 1996 when she refused to back away from the sequence of evidence she was following that pointed to the shooting down of TWA Flight 800 by a missile. As part of her research Borjesson became the custodian of an item that the FBI sought to apprehend from her with the agreement of CBS. The investigative journalist lost her job when she resisted this intervention whose intent, she had cause to believe, was to cover up the truth of what had caused Flight 800 to plunge into the Atlantic. Rather than allow herself and her profession to be demeaned in this way, Borjesson became a whistle blower who has continued to deconstruct and expose “the myth of a free press.” Her experiences have taught her that intervention from on high is often “subtle and quiet” rather than “loud and crass.” That way, she continues, the media executives “avoid lawsuits and mask as much as possible the fact that they’re buckling to pressure and self-censoring.”

2.  “New Rankings Overrate Obama

The periodic Siena College poll [.pdf] of 238 presidential scholars in colleges and universities across the nation ranked Barack Obama, after only a year-and-a-half of his presidency, as the 15th best president out of all 43 in American history. His predecessor, George W. Bush, earned an abysmal 39th rating. Yet, despite differences in rhetoric and political party affiliation – and thus against the conventional wisdom – the polices of Obama and Bush are strikingly similar. ”

3.  “Costa Rican Govt Approves US Occupation

In another example of the growing militarization of the war on drugs, the Costa Rican government has given the US permission to launch an invasion of up to 7,000 Marines, ostensibly to “fight drugs.”

4.  “The Dangers of Democracy Promotion

The reality is that hegemonists and interventionists don’t really want to promote democracy unless it undermines rival powers’ influence or installs a clique that wants to align its country with the U.S., and that leaves people interested in democracy promotion in its own right in a difficult bind. These people could accept this selective, occasional interest in democratization as better than nothing, or they could insist on opposing the cynics and partisan opportunists who try to co-opt the language of democracy promotion every time they want to use it as political cover for an entirely different agenda. Until they do a better job of distinguishing themselves from the hawks and interventionists who have dragged their cause through the mud, they aren’t going to get a lot of sympathy from the rest of us who have seen how their rhetoric has been used to start wars, stir up instability and foment riot and conflict. ”

5.  “Money becomes evil not when it is used to buy goods but when it is used to buy power… economic inequalities become evil when they are translated into political inequalities.” Samuel Huntington (1927-2008), political scientist

6.  “Adventures in media transparency

As I noted on Monday, Time‘s Alex Perry angrily complained in the comment section after FAIR criticized his most recent article on the Congo.  FAIR’s criticism was that Perry had concealed from his readers the central role the U.S. played in overthrowing that country’s democratically elected leader and propping up the brutal tyrant who replaced him.  Perry was particularly incensed that anyone could suggest that Time would ever cater its reporting to accommodate the desires of the U.S. Government.  But Jonathan Schwarz provided documentation that Time had previously done exactly that, not just in general but with regard to how it reported on the Congo.  Schwarz’s evidence (continued here) also disproved Perry’s insistence that it was delusional (and even “racist”) to believe the U.S. could play such a central role in Africa.  One of Perry’s angriest complaints was the standard journalist-grievance that FAIR had not contacted him and given him a “right of reply” before criticizing his article.

With that last complaint in mind, I obtained Perry’s email address from someone at Time.  I emailed him with a request that he comment on the evidence highlighted by Schwarz of Time‘s shaping its Congo coverage to the directions of government officials (evidence which directly contradicts Perry’s outburst), as well as questions I had about whether he denies that the U.S. played a vital role in these events.  Perry simply ignored the email.  In other words, after vehemently attacking FAIR for not having contacted him for comment before writing its critique of his article, he now refuses to comment on the ample evidence that has emerged directly negating his claims (see Matt Taibbi for more on Perry’s outburst).

The New York Times‘ John Burns becomes the latest reporter to explain that journalists have a duty to keep things secret — even when they are clearly a matter of public interest and not off the record — in order to be preserve the “trust” between the media and high-ranking military and political leaders.  The eagerness of journalists to find new ways to conceal, rather than expose, the secrets of the powerful seems boundless.”

7.  “Rules of America’s rule of law

* If you torture people or eavesdrop on Americans without the warrants required by the criminal law, you receive Look-Forward Imperial Immunity.

* If you shoot and kill unarmed rescuers of the wounded while occupying their country and severely wound their unarmed children sitting in a van — or if you authorize that conduct — your actions are commended.

* If you help wreck the world economy with fraud and cause hundreds of millions of people untold suffering, you collect tens of millions of dollars in bonuses.

* If you disclose to the world evidence of war crimes, government lawbreaking, or serious corruption, or otherwise embarrass the U.S., you will be swiftly prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law and face decades in prison.”

8.  “Waltzing at the Doomsday Ball

“Everyone in these ‘professional’ institutions dealing in money lives a fundamentally dishonest life. Never mind ‘regulating’ interest rates,” he says. “We must do away with interest, with the very idea of ‘money making money’. We must recognize that what is termed ‘Western Civilization’ is in fact an anti-civilization, a global social structure of death and destruction. However, the charade of ever-increasing debt can be kept up only as long as the public remains ignorant. Once ecological limits have been reached the capitalist political game is up.”


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