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Sites of Interest

(courtesy Empire Burlesque)

 Arthur Silber
Angry Arab
A Tiny Revolution
William Blum/Killing Hope
Baltimore Chronicle
Magnificent Valor
The Distant Ocean
Informed Comment
Vast Left
Welcome to the Sideshow
Andy Worthington
Mark Crispin Miller
Dennis Perrin
Booman Tribune
Crooks and Liars
Black Agenda Report
LRB Blog
The Raw Story
James Wolcott
European Tribune
Iraq Vets Against the War
Blues and Dreams
Bright Terrible Spirit



Rupert's Propaganda Priors

Rupert Murdoch: Propaganda Recruit
by Robert Parry - Consortium News

October 5, 2015

In February 1983, global media magnate Rupert Murdoch volunteered to help the Reagan administration’s propaganda strategy for deploying U.S. mid-range nuclear missiles in Europe by using his newspapers to exacerbate public fears about the Soviet Union, according to a recently declassified “secret” letter.
Murdoch, then an Australian citizen with major newspaper holdings in Great Britain and some in the United States, had already established close political ties with British Conservative Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and was developing them with President Ronald Reagan, partly through one of Murdoch’s lawyers, the infamous Red-baiter Roy Cohn, who had served as counsel to Sen. Joe McCarthy’s investigations in the 1950s.
President Reagan meets with publisher
Rupert Murdoch, U.S. Information Agency
Director Charles Wick, lawyers Roy Cohn
and Thomas Bolan in the Oval Office on 
Jan. 18, 1983.
(Photo: Reagan presidential library)
By February 1983, Cohn had already arranged a face-to-face meeting between Reagan and Murdoch (on Jan. 18, 1983) and had brokered a collaborative relationship between Murdoch and Charles Z. Wick, director of the U.S. Information Agency who oversaw U.S. propaganda operations worldwide.

Moscow Alliance Takes on Terrorists, While Washington Watches

Putin's Lightning War in Syria
by Mike Whitney - CounterPunch
For more than a year, the United States has been playing patty-cake with an army of homicidal maniacs who call themselves ISIS. On Monday, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced that he’d had enough of Washington’s song-and-dance and was planning to bring a little Russian justice to the terrorist militias that had killed 225,000 Syrians and ripped the country to shreds.

In language that could not be more explicit, Putin said to the General Assembly: “We can no longer tolerate the currents state of affairs in the world”. Less than 48 hours later, Russian bombers were raining down precision-guided munitions on terrorist strongholds across western Syria sending the jihadi vermin scrambling for cover.
That’s how you fight terrorism if you’re serious about it. Bravo, Putin.

Monsanto v. FOI

Monsanto and Its Promoters Vs. Freedom of Information
by Ralph Nader - CounterPunch

Next year, the federal Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) will celebrate its 50th anniversary as one of the finest laws our Congress has ever passed. It is a vital investigative tool for exposing government and corporate wrongdoing.

The FOIA was championed by Congressman John E. Moss (D-CA), who strove to “guarantee the right of every citizen to know the facts of his Government.” Moss, with whom I worked closely as an outside citizen advocate, said that “without the fullest possible access to Government information, it is impossible to gain the knowledge necessary to discharge the responsibilities of citizenship.”

All fifty states have adopted FOIA statutes.

As the FOIA approaches its 50th year, it faces a disturbing backlash from scientists tied to the agrichemical company Monsanto and its allies. Here are some examples.

Sniper Guns Down Child: Israel's Escalating War Against Schoolchildren

Israeli Soldiers Kill A Palestinian Child In Bethlehem
by IMEMC & Agencies 

Monday October 05

Israeli soldiers shot and killed, on Monday afternoon, a Palestinian child, only twelve years of age, near the main entrance of 'Aida refugee camp, north of Bethlehem in the occupied West Bank.

The child, Abdul-Rahman Shadi Khalil Abdullah, was shot with a live round in the chest, and died of his serious wounds shortly after being moved to hospital.

The slain child was walking back home from school when the fatal Israeli round struck him.

Medical sources said the child was short directly in the heart, by a sniper Israeli army fire.

Quantum Leap: Manifesto Asks: "What Is Canada to Do?"

The Leap Manifesto: A Vision for Canada's Future
by Ray Grigg - Shades of Green 

The Chinese character for “crisis” is made up of two components: “danger” and “opportunity”. Perhaps this single character best represents the mood in Canada these days. Although we continue to live in remarkable security and comfort, we are nonetheless haunted by deep, disquieting and unresolved issues concerning politics, economics, health care, social justice and environmental threats.

So, reasoned the writers of The Leap Manifesto, an election campaign is the perfect time to propose a vision that attempts to solve all these critical problems.
Initiated by Avi Lewis and Naomi Klein, written in collaboration with many distinguished Canadians, and endorsed by numerous academics, scientists, celebrities, writers and philosophers, The Leap Manifesto is a non-partisan document that addresses a fundamental discontent festering in the Canadian collective psyche. “People want to be inspired by what this country could become,” says Lewis.
“There is a spiritual malaise at the heart of the consumer society” that yearns to be addressed. “Climate change is an existential crisis,” adds Klein. “Many people are feeling this.” What are we to do?

Not Another "Great Satan" - Assad Narrative Wears Western Credibility Thin

The Russian Bear Growls
by Eric S. Margolis
Frankfurt, Germany Could anyone in the Obama administration have been so slow-witted to imagine that Russia wouldn’t move hard to counter US efforts to overthrow Moscow’s ally, Syria?
The Syrian war began almost five years ago by the US, France, Britain and Saudi Arabia to overthrow Syria’s Iranian and Russian-backed government. The result so far: 250,000 dead, 9.5 million refugees flooding Europe and Syria shattered.
This is nothing new: the first CIA coup attempt to overthrow a Syrian ruler Gen. Husni Zaim was in 1949.
A combination of imperial hubris and ignorance has led Washington to believe it could overthrow any government that was disobedient or uncooperative. Syria was chosen as the latest target of regime change because the Assad regime – a recognized, legitimate government and UN member –was a close ally of America’s Great Satan, Iran. Formerly it had been cooperating with Washington.

Dying in a Bombed Hospital: Ruminations of a Generation Denied

Ruminations of an Afghan Girl Burning to Death in a Hospital Bed
by David Swanson - War Is a Crime
Life is a very jumbled mixture. The pain of it, if you're awake and thinking, brings into your mind the happiest moments you can remember and transforms them into agony unless you resist bitterness with every drop of strength you have left, if not more. Physical pain makes clear-thinking and generous thinking more difficult, until death appears in front of you, and then the physical pain is as nothing.
I know that I'm not supposed to be bitter, and yet that somehow makes it harder not to be. When my father and sister and two cousins were blown into little pieces last year, it was the action of some distant office worker pushing a switch on a remote-controlled airplane. And I'm supposed to believe that they meant well.
And this is supposed to make it better. But somehow it makes it worse.

Hopes for a Real Ceasefire in Ukraine

In Berlin, All Sides in Talks over Ukraine Signal that Ceasefire Will Hold
by Roger Annis - RT

The ceasefire in Ukraine has been widely respected and the security situation has improved, French President Francois Hollande said after a meeting of the ‘Normandy Four’ countries today in Berlin. However, the Minsk peace accords are unlikely to be fully implemented by the end of the year.

The leaders of Russia, Ukraine, France 
and Germany meet in Berlin on Oct 2, 2015

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said that Presidents Vladimir Putin and Petro Poroshenko had moved closer to one another during the talks. Footage released prior to the meeting showed the Russian and Ukrainian leaders shaking hands.

Hollande and Merkel agreed that the talks, which lasted almost five hours, concluded with a positive outlook. The four leaders managed to reconcile issues concerning the withdrawal of heavy weapons in Eastern Ukraine, Merkel said. “There is hope for progress. We are narrowing the gap between us,” she said after the Normandy Four meeting.

Getting the Hats Straight: Who Are the Bad Guys in Syria?

Hillary Offers Syria a Libyan-Iraqi-Style Paradise
by David Swanson - War Is a Crime
Americans may find Syria a bit confusing. David Petraeus, sainted hero, has proposed arming al Qaeda, organized devil. Vladimir Putin, reincarnated Hitler, is bombing either ISIS or al Qaeda or their friendly democratic allies, but he shouldn't be because he's against overthrowing the Syrian government, also run by Hitler living under the name Assad. Hillary Clinton, liberal socialist, wants to create a no-fly zone, but wouldn't that make it hard to bomb all the scary Muslims? 
Wait, are we against Assad or the scary Muslims or both? Aaaaaarrrrgghh! How does this make any sense?
Let's start over, shall we?
Some basic facts?
We'll start with the most uncomfortable fact, but one that helps begin to make sense of everything, OK?

An Existential Hubris

Israel: the Wages of Hubris and Violence
by Arno J. Mayer - CounterPunch

Israel remains in the grip of a kind of collective schizophrenia. Not only its governors but the majority of its Jewish population have delusions of both grandeur and persecution, making for a distortion of reality and inconsistent behavior.
Israeli Jews see and represent themselves as a chosen people and part of a superior Western civilization. They consider themselves more cerebral, reasonable, moral, and dynamic than Arabs and Muslims generally, and Palestinians in particular.
The Killing of Hadeel al-Hashlamoun

At the same time they feel themselves to be the ultimate incarnation of the Jewish people’s unique suffering through the ages, still subject to constant insecurity and defenselessness in the face of ever-threatening extreme and unmerited punishment.

Such a psyche leads to hubris and vengefulness, the latter a response to the perpetual Jewish torment said to have culminated, as if by a directive purpose, in the Holocaust. Remembering the Shoah is Israel’s Eleventh Commandment and central to the nation’s civil religion and Weltanschauung. Family, school, synagogue, and official culture propagate its prescriptive narrative, decontextualized and surfeited with ethnocentrism. The re-memorizing of victimization is ritualized on Yom Ha Shoah and institutionalized by Yad Vashem.

BC's Wildlife Slaughter: Anderson and Cyrus Right About Wolf Cull

Anderson and Cyrus Right About Wolf Cull
by Chris Genovali/Paul Paquet - Raincoast Conservation

Vancouver Island-born actor Pamela Anderson and American singer Miley Cyrus have rightly weighed in on British Columbia’s wolf cull, resulting in a stage tantrum by our elected entertainers, i.e. provincial politicians.
Premier Christy Clark’s awkward and derisive response to Anderson and Cyrus for having called out the unscientific, unethical and unwarranted B.C. wolf cull was inappropriately personal toward the two celebrities, while being factually incorrect about the cull. Evidently, Clark’s B.C. Liberal Party sitcom is in dire need of new scriptwriters.
In fairness to the premier, representatives from all the provincial parties in the B.C. legislature have, to varying degrees, repeated the misinformation and misconceptions propagated by anti-science, anti-large- carnivore, pro-wolf-cull cheerleaders such as the B.C. Wildlife Federation.

Which Way the Whistle Blows: Wikileaks versus The Empire

Wikileaks v. The Empire: The Revolutionary Act of Telling the Truth
by John Pilger - CounterPunch

 [Remarks at the launch in London of The WikiLeaks Files, with an introduction by Julian Assange.] 
George Orwell said, “In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act.”

These are dark times, in which the propaganda of deceit touches all our lives. It is as if political reality has been privatised and illusion legitimised. The information age is a media age. We have politics by media; censorship by media; war by media; retribution by media; diversion by media – a surreal assembly line of clichés and false assumptions.

Wondrous technology has become both our friend and our enemy. Every time we turn on a computer or pick up a digital device – our secular rosary beads — we are subjected to control: to surveillance of our habits and routines, and to lies and manipulation.

Edward Bernays, who invented the term, “public relations” as a euphemism for “propaganda”, predicted this more than 80 years ago. He called it, “the invisible government”.

He wrote, “Those who manipulate this unseen element of [modern democracy] constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country …We are governed, our minds are molded, our tastes formed, our ideas suggested, largely by men we have never heard of …”

Western Media Primer: Bombing Terrorists Good: Russia Bombing Terrorists Bad

Bombs Kill Shock
by Craig Murray

October 1, 2015 
After UK and US bombs have been devastating the Middle East for over a decade, killing certainly tens and probably hundreds of thousands of people, including many thousands of children, the media have suddenly noticed this morning that bombs kill an awful lot of civilians. But only Russian bombs, of course. British bombs are cheerful, happy and their shrapnel and blast are brilliantly engineered only to go in the direction of bad guys.
The UK/US bombing of Sirte was approximately 500 times more devastating than the Russian bombings yesterday. Yet strangely there was not one single BBC report on the thousands of civilian casualties they caused in just one of many towns they bombed in Libya.
It is worth pointing out that whether yesterday’s bombing by the Russians was against ISIL or against a different bunch of crazed Islamist rebels, one still supported by the CIA and Saudi Arabia, makes no difference whatsoever to the legal position.

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