There once was a time when the U.S. news media investigated U.S. imperial adventures overseas, such as Washington-sponsored coups. Journalists also asked tough questions to officials implicated in corruption even if those queries were inconvenient to the desired propaganda themes. But those days are long gone, as the Washington Post demonstrated again this week.
On Wednesday, the Post’s editorial board had a chance to press Ukraine’s Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk about the U.S. government’s role in the Feb. 22, 2014 coup that elevated him to his current post – after he was handpicked by U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs Victoria Nuland, who declared “Yats is the guy” in a pre-coup intercepted phone call.
Wouldn’t it have been interesting to ask Yatsenyuk about his pre-coup contacts with Nuland and U.S. Ambassador Geoffrey Pyatt and what their role was in fomenting the “regime change” that ousted elected President Viktor Yanukovych and hurtled Ukraine into a civil war?
The prove-a-negative trap is the Big Lie technique of Nazi propagandist Josef Goebbels: there is no substance to the allegations and there is no obligation to present evidence to verify, thanks to the dutiful and unquestioning nature of Western corporate “journalism”.
The United States and its Western allies are trying to ensnare Russia in an audacious disinformation trap over the Ukraine conflict. That trap involves imposing an insoluble conundrum on Vladimir Putin's government, which we might call "prove a negative".
It is a familiar conceptual device that Washington has used elsewhere, against Iraq and Iran for example, in order to pursue what are otherwise illegitimate geopolitical aims.
Russia is being held up as the guilty party that is undermining the shaky Minsk ceasefire; and Western economic sanctions are being extended "until Russia implements the ceasefire".
Nasser Nawaj’ah held Laith’s hand as, beside me, they walked down the dirt and pebble path of Old Susya. Nasser is 33 years old, his son six. Nasser’s jaw was set and every few moments he glanced over his shoulder to see if anyone was approaching.
Until Laith piped up with his question, the only sounds were our footsteps and the wind, against which Nasser was wearing a wool hat and a pleated brown jacket.
“Why did they take our home?” the little boy asked.
“Why did they take it? Good question,” replied Nasser, pausing to choose his words carefully. “They don’t want Palestinians. They don’t want us here.”
Laith was, in fact, asking about something that had happened 29 years ago when his father was a young boy. But he could just as well have been referring to the imminent threat of expulsion facing his family and his community today.
by Andrew Topf - Oilprice.com The financial pages of Canadian newspapers have been full of headlines lately announcing the potential of two large shale oil fields in the Northwest Territories said to contain enough oil to rival the Bakken Formation of North Dakota and Montana.
The report by Canada's National Energy Board (NEB) evaluated, for the first time, the volume of oil in place for the Canol and Bluefish shale formations, located in the territory's Mackenzie Plain. It found the "thick and geographically extensive" Canol formation is expected to contain 145 billion barrels of oil, while the "much thinner" Bluefish shale contains 46 billion barrels.
The report did not estimate the amount of recoverable oil, but points out that even if one percent of the Canol resource could be recovered, that represents 1.45 billion barrels. The calculation immediately had reporters comparing Canol and Bluefish to the Bakken, where the latest USGS estimate shows 7.4 billion barrels of technically recoverable oil (this includes the Three Forks Formation underlying the Williston Basin straddling North Dakota, Montana, Saskatchewan and Manitoba).
"Northwest Territories sitting on massive shale oil reserves on par with booming Bakken field in U.S.," enthused the Financial Post.
"NEB and GNWT study finds 200 billion barrels of oil in the Sahtu," gushed CBC News, referring to a region of the sprawling territory that cuts across three provinces and touches the Arctic Ocean.
Since ancient times an army required significant logistical support to carry out any kind of sustained military campaign. In ancient Rome, an extensive network of roads was constructed to facilitate not only trade, but to allow Roman legions to move quickly to where they were needed, and for the supplies needed to sustain military operations to follow them in turn.
In the late 1700’s French general, expert strategist, and leader Napoleon Bonaparte would note that, “an army marches on its stomach,” referring to the extensive logistical network required to keep an army fed, and therefore able to maintain its fighting capacity. For the French, their inability to maintain a steady supply train to its forces fighting in Russia, and the Russians’ decision to burn their own land and infrastructure to deny it from the invading forces, ultimately defeated the French.
Problemo cancelled. The article and accompanying video was actually prepared by a staff of 23 journalists. Give the Times another award for rounding up so many credentialed idiots for one job.
Apart from just dumping on Stanford U. biologist Paul Ehrlich, author of The Population Bomb (1968), this foolish “crisis report” strenuously overlooks virtually every blossoming fiasco around the world. This must be what comes of viewing the world through your cell phone.
Note: The memo below is my response to an editor at a U.S. news organization who was soliciting feedback for a review of the organization’s coverage of environmental news. From a conservative point of view, this newsroom is part of the “liberal media.” My goal in the memo was to step back from that superficial, diversionary label and evaluate the deeper ideological commitments that shape mainstream news.
Evaluation of a news media outlet’s coverage of a subject often focuses on a critique of how stories are covered, suggestions for how stories can be improved, and ideas for stories that currently aren’t being covered. Such an evaluation of XYZ’s environmental coverage would be useful, but it also is crucial to consider more basic questions about the ideological framework in which the coverage goes forward.
Talk of journalism’s ideology typically meets resistance, given that journalists routinely assert that they are non-ideological. If “ideology” is defined as a rigid, even fanatical, devotion to a set of ideas no matter what the evidence, then it is a good thing for journalists (and everyone else) to avoid ideology. But if ideology is understood as the set of social attitudes, political beliefs, and moral values that shape one’s interpretation of the world, then everyone works within an ideological framework, including journalists. Then the task is to understand competing ideologies, including one’s own, and not to imagine that anyone, or any institution, transcends ideology.
More than a year after the violent ouster of Ukraine's president, Viktor Yanukovych the country is still riven by a war that has, according to a United Nations report, cost more than 6,000 lives, with thousands more wounded, and more than a million and half Ukrainians made refugees.
And that was before the escalation of artillery attacks against the civilians of Donetsk last week.
Those attacks, and a general ramping up of Kyiv's aggression occurred during the latest meetings of the G7 countries in Germany, where Ukraine was promised to figure prominently on the agenda.
Canada's bellicose prime minister Harper used the G7 platform to again sabre-rattle against Russia in a manner disturbingly reminiscent of the darkest days of the Cold War.
Sadly, the Canadian corporate media abandoned objective reportage on the US-fomented crisis from the outset, and State broadcaster, the CBC has echoed the "blame Putin" line coming from Ottawa and Washington.
Roger Annis is an editor at the website, New Cold War, where he's written extensively on the conflict in Ukraine. He visited Crimea last year, and was in the Eastern Ukrainian city of Donestk earlier this year. Roger will be speaking this Friday, June 12th at a Simon Fraser University, Institute for the Humanities sponsored event titled, 'Eyewitness Report from the War Zone of Eastern Ukraine.' More of Roger's work can also be found at his website, A Socialist in Canada and at Rabble.ca and Counterpunch.org.
Roger Annis in the first half.
And; citizens hoping to weigh in on the quietly announced National Energy Board approval of a Delta fracked gas export terminal have only until June 11th (tomorrow!) to have their concerns heard by the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency. The WesPac Midstream plan is merely another element in the big plans to make of the Delta Super Port a super supplier of fossil fuels of all sorts to Asia and the greater World.
Kevin Washbrook is a director with VTACC, Voters Taking Action on Climate Change. Their mission is to "provide opportunities for the public to express their concerns about climate policy -- and fossil fuel exports -- to government."
Kevin Washbrook and coal and LNG on the Fraser in the second half.
And; Victoria Street Newz publisher emeritus and CFUV Radio broadcaster, Janine Bandcroft will join us at the bottom of the hour to bring us news of some of the good things going on in and around our town, and beyond there too, for in the coming week. But first, Roger Annis, eyewitness back from the war zone of Eastern Ukraine.
It would seem a certain amount of foreign affairs reporting starts out as pabulum fed by the government and its loyal allies to available journos, who further if incompletely digest it and then crap it out on the digital pages of various newspapers, magazines, and think tank white papers for the delectation of a somewhat undiscriminating public.
In other words, the media is often just the messenger, and there’s no point in getting aggravated about crappy coverage and blaming the messenger when the real problem is crappy policy.
But sometimes, especially in the runup to a big foreign policy show—which the U.S. South China Sea gambit certainly has become—the evolution and devolution of media coverage provides useful insights into who’s pushing what and why.