Monday, July 28, 2008

Think Tanks to Holding Tanks, Board Rooms to Gallows: Part 3

Detain This
art: Putting a Propagandist Under Arrest by Ilya Repin

Corporate news media’s insistence on concealing U.S. and Israeli crimes by omission, deception, and fluff is driven by not only fascistic urges, but also the fear of self-incrimination.

How is it that:

— According to the U.S. Constitution, the 1981 Algiers Accords, and international law, the neocon-Likudnik aggression on Palestine, Lebanon, Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, and Iran — and their military occupations — are illegal; yet this is not conveyed in mainstream news coverage of those events.

— According to international law, military violence upon unarmed people who are occupied by the same military is a war crime for sure, but so is the current Israeli-U.S.-E.U. lockdown and forced mass-starvation of Gaza; yet, the only acts described as ”militant,” “violent,” and in religious terms (”Islamist” or “Islamic” or “jihadi”) are those originating from the same people being belligerently occupied and aggressed upon.

Before each of the Palestinian attacks on the Israel-Gaza goods crossings this year, the Israeli army ran “incursions” — bulldozing farmland, trees, and houses inside the Gaza Strip near the border. Males, from boys to elderly men, were corralled like cattle and some were randomly kidnapped without charges. Some were shot and killed. These unarmed farmers and the like, mind you. Females were treated violently and inappropriately. Yet it was absent from AP’s time-line narrative.

— According to the U.S. Constitution, federally-doled foreign aid is not lawful, and according to international law, state-to-state foreign aid to nations targeted by U.N. Security Council resolutions is illegal; yet, the U.S. government has given rogue states like Israel, Egypt, and Jordan hundreds of billions in military and economic aid. (That’s a conservative estimate; other tallies of total U.S. aid to Israel, Egypt, and Jordan, combined, arrive at $1.63 trillion.)

— Still, according to corporate media, the “international community” supports the crippling sanctions and embargoes on Palestine and Iran on the basis of cutting off the flow of funds to rogue militants. Why is the criminality, irony, or hypocrisy not at least implied by mainstream corporate media? Is it because when they do, this happens? (Notice that the columnist referenced in the link mentioned neither the illegality of the aid nor to what specific, illicit ends it goes; yet, the news medium he writes for felt compelled to change its editorial presentation, all upon the harassment of zealous state-worshipers. [1])

— U.S. and allied governments exact economic sanctions, embargoes, asset freezes and boycotts against Hamas, Syria, and Iran to no end — all on the premise that they are either terrorists or financing terrorists; yet, American taxpayers are looted for hundreds of millions to finance the efforts of U.S.-designated terrorist groups such as the MeK, Jundallah, and the JDL. All the while, mainstream media remain conspicuously silent.

— The largest collectors, processors, and distributors of said news coverage then go on to claim fairness and balance, and that they’re “looking out for you”? They may very well be ”the most trusted name in news” — but by the people, or by the state?

You decide …

Rivers of Deceit

Between May and December of 2007, Dow Jones & Company and its editorial mouthpiece, The Wall Street Journal, were “absorbed” into Rupert Murdoch’s amoeba of state-worship known as News Corporation, which owns Fox News.

Throughout the takeover, Internet- and conventional-media pundits, from time to time, would weigh the financial and political implications. A common forecast was that Murdoch’s tabloid style would infect the WSJ’s coverage, thereby establishing an editorial m.o. more in line, philosophically, with that of Fox’s.

But, for that to be the defining effect, one must first suppose the WSJ had more than a shred of journalistic integrity to begin with, and that Fox and the the WSJ were not already aligned philosophically on war, money, and state. To be sure, the neocon-Likudnik message may have slightly intensified; the journalistic standards may have slightly declined; but the overall philosophy of supporting the state over the people, at every turn, remains the same.

More recently, another move was made involving the monstrosities known as Rupert Murdoch and corporate media. Curiously, scant attention has been paid to this one.

On April 14, Murdoch was chosen to serve on the already-corporatist board of directors of The Associated Press; as was the newest Chairman and CEO of the Tribune Co., Sam Zell, among others.

This is scandalous.

Recall Alireza Jafarzadeh (founder and president of SPC, mouthpiece for the U.S.-designated terrorist group, MeK, and cheerleader for regime change in Iran). Recall that Fox News features him as an expert and columnist on the Middle East and Iran, and that Fox News is owned by News Corporation, whose president and CEO is Rupert Murdoch.

At the very least, this erases AP’s already-tainted credibility and puts an exclamation point to how and why its coverage is so obviously slanted in favor of empire. It is criminal when aligned with how state crimes are omitted and oppressed peoples are marginalized in their coverage.

But it’s only natural that Murdoch and Zell are AP bigshots. Not only has Murdoch recently acquired one of Thomson Reuters’ competitors in financial services: he is now a ranking member of TR’s nemeses in news wire service. Their additions were surely not to help AP become “fair and balanced.”

Besides, it’s not like AP wasn’t already subtly promoting the MeK’s agenda.

The AP electorate of CEOs, editors, and publishers knew that these two aggressive corporatists were their kind of guys. Zell recently took over Tribune Co., which was already a pro-empire staple on the AP BoD. And of course both are madly opportunistic interventionists, so not much changes philosophically. More state worship, please!

People such as Murdoch — whose Fox News pundits go unchallenged in their on-air incitements to state-sponsored terror and aggressive war against Iran, with so-called military and political experts strongly concurring — have been staffing the de facto editorial board of the world’s largest and most influential news wire service for years. Murdoch is simply the worst yet.

Seas of Sleaze

When it is time for the imperial tyrants of “the West” and their cronies in corporate media to be tried for treason, war crimes, and such, The Associated Press’ board of directors should be front and center in the dock. AP has willfully committed aggression upon billions of people toward said crimes.

“On any given day,” reads the AP website, “more than half the world’s population sees news from AP.” [2]

In other words, each time AP releases a wire report, billions are deprived of factual context and lied to in order to “cover” government activity. For example, when AP editors create U.S.- and Israeli-friendly conflict time-lines, anchored by blatantly falsified quotations and paraphrases:

“Verbal threats and political tensions have increased between Iran and Israel after Iran’s hard-line President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said in 2005 that Israel should be ‘wiped off the map.’

“Ahmadinejad . . . has repeatedly called for Israel’s elimination.” [3]

An accurate translation would read: “The Imam said that the regime occupying Jerusalem must vanish from the page of time.”

When properly interpreted and put in context, the remark merely reiterates the late Ayatollah Khomeini’s sentiment, that regime-change will occur in Israel, either by self-destruction or popular referendum of all the people in Israel and the IOPTs, as well as Palestinian refugees. Once taken in context and accurately translated, the observer will see that it is not a “verbal threat,” and that it does not suggest military action or violence of any sort.

Another shining example of AP’s fraudulence is the “Holocaust/myth” hoax.

The most highly-charged of translations will read: “In the name of the Holocaust, they created a myth.” AP, however, depicts it thus: Ahmadinejad has called Holocaust a “myth.” [4]

Are AP editors so desperate for sensation that they must paraphrase all but one word?

Corporate news media have always concealed the context wherein Ahmadinejad’s rant is shown to have an air of rationality. He charges that the Nazi Holocaust has been used as a political tool to occupy Palestine and uproot the indigenous population, as well as a weapon for silencing critics. He says that if the Holocaust happened in Europe, at the hands of Europeans, then why are the Arabs of Palestine being punished for it.

Which is only absurd if you believe the occupying state is rightful in crushing the people it occupies. The Associated Press’s Board of Directors — especially its newest members, Rupert Murdoch and Sam Zell — certainly do.

On AP’s homepage, under “STATEMENT OF NEWS VALUES AND PRINCIPLES,” in the subsection titled “Responses,” AP states:

We must make significant efforts to reach anyone who may be portrayed in a negative way in our stories, and we must give them a reasonable amount of time to get back to us before we move the story.

Still, the “wiped off the map” and “Holocaust/myth” deceptions have persisted in AP’s coverage for 2½ years, despite incontrovertible supplications by Iranian dissidents, Farsi language scholars, and others; all of whom are politically opposed to the current Iranian regime.

The perceived conceived existential threat has also been debunked by Iranian officials. Ayatollah Ali Khamenei — who has the final word on military and nuclear matters — has issued fatwas against preemptive war and the acquisition and use of nuclear weapons, reaffirming that both are un-Islamic, and Iran has not aggressed upon another nation in over two hundred years.

AP never reports these crucial facts.

Corporate media use all the space and air time they need to editorialize on the implications of these overhyped contingencies with superficial and fraudulent analyses; but they never mention that Ahmadinejad has no power to declare war, or that he is not the arbiter of Iranian nuclear policy, or that Iran has not been found to be violating the NPT.

Indeed, the “Responses” rule only applies to those AP deems deserving of it.

When Israeli Transportation Minister, Shaul Mofaz, declared that Israel would attack Iran over its nuclear program, AP doctored it up nicely with follow-up reports wherein various Israeli sources were cited, and the many other belligerent threats coming from the Israeli government over the past few years were omitted, to make it appear that Mofaz’s remark was merely political maneuvering, and that it in no way reflects the sentiment of Israel’s policy makers. (Again: It’s about the repetition of big lies and the omission of bigger truths.)

AP focused one such report (cited in notes 3 and 4: “Iran vows ‘painful response’ if Israel attacks”) on the contrived Iranian threat to Israel. In it appears the sleaziest, most nefarious misquote of Ahmadinejad yet:

Last week, he said Israel has “reached the end … and will soon disappear from the geographical” charts.

Again: Agents of empire will stop at nothing.

Not only does that rendition falsely represent Ahmadinejad’s sentiment; but like the “wiped off the map” and “Holocaust/myth” frauds, it also breaks several of AP’s own operational principles.

— [W]e abhor inaccuracies, carelessness, bias or distortions.
— [W]e will not knowingly introduce false information into material intended for publication or broadcast . . .
— Quotations must be accurate, and precise.
— The same care that is used to ensure that quotes are accurate should also be used to ensure that quotes are not taken out of context.
— We do not alter quotations, . . .
— Ellipses should be used rarely.
— When relevant, stories should provide information about the setting in which a quotation was obtained . . .
— Quotes from one language to another must be translated faithfully. If appropriate, we should note the language spoken. [5]

None of those rules would have been broken if the AP editor would have cited the original and quite quotable translation from IRNA (boldness mine):

You should know that the criminal and terrorist Zionist regime which has 60 years of plundering, aggression and crimes in its file has reached the end of its work and will soon disappear off the geographical scene. [6]

For the purpose of length and style, AP’s use of ellipses (…) would be no problem if only the idea of natural regime-change were conveyed to the reader, instead of some threat of total annihilation.

By inserting the word Israel and deleting the word regime — and by changing the word scene to charts— AP is lying to its readers.

The simple deception turns into fraud when the less-inclusive (regime) and abstract (scene) entities are replaced with all-inclusive (Israel) and concrete (charts) ones, thus giving the reader the idea that the radical Iranian president is pushing for, or threatening to commit, aggressive war against a nation (the projected result of which being the physical elimination of all Israelis from the physical realm).

Ahmadinejad’s remarks would barely register in shock value amid the rhetoric coming from D.C. and Tel Aviv, but for AP’s insistence on thus misrepresenting his words and hyperbolizing his power and influence over Iranian affairs of state. His remarks are typically complemented with military implications and conjectural accounts of Iran’s nuclear energy program in order to maintain the false impression in the reader’s mind that Israel — and by contrived extension, the United States — are facing an existential threat from madmen in Tehran, when in fact the opposite is true.

CBS’ Mike Wallace recently won an Emmy for his own reality-inverting, state-worshiping performance during a fraudulently-edited interview of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad:

[Source: representativepress]

Closing Statements

The Murdoch-Dow and Murdoch-AP transactions [sic] were done primarily to maximize revenues by consolidating personnel and expanding the target market. The substantial effect (less the initial, financial-market reactions) would be that the WSJ’s and AP’s pro-empire propaganda would be kicked up a notch and more widely disseminated via News Corp’s various electronic, print, and TV media.

The more consolidated and far-reaching the source, the easier to control and spread the message.

All the major networks may very well consolidate into one megaturd-conglomerate news service one day. If they do, they should call it the Empire News Daily, a.k.a., the END, because until the empire self-destructs — or until conscientious Congresspeople and prosecutors stand up and impeach and arrest these obviously-guilty politicians — the Propaganda Ministry will be able, compelled, and quite content to sell the rest of us down the river and into a sea of oblivion.

By perpetuating fraudulent, war-mongering propaganda, corporate media are acting as the ultimate mouthpiece for pro-empire think tanks, foreign lobbies, and the rogue U.S. foreign policy establishment in general. Their efforts have paved the way for neocon attacks on the U.S. Constitution and international laws via the shakedown of Iran, including:

— The Iranian Freedom Support Act of 2006

In a statement prior to signing it into law, President George Bush (or rather, his essayists?) lauded Congress for passing it. This illegal measure is reminiscent of the Iraqi Liberation Act of ‘98 which called for the U.S. government to support Iraqi opposition groups toward achieving regime-change in Baghdad.

IFSA is hardly a green light, compared to similar measures since; but it reaffirms conventional neocon wisdom concerning U.S.-Iranian policy, thus granting legitimacy to the fraudulent and dangerous war propaganda being put forward by news media, think tanks, and government officials.

— Terrorist Designation for the Iranian Revolutionary Guards

Before attacking your chosen enemy, you must firstly designate him. This move is just one of several barbs and “virtual declarations of war” hurled at Tehran by Congress and the Executive over the past few years. The U.S. Congress has no constitutional authority to spend U.S.-taxpayer dollars on these name-calling war maneuvers. This measure was lobbied for predominantly by AIPAC, IPC, SPC, and the Committee on the Present Danger.

— H.R. Res. 362

If the current crescendo of unlawful economic and nuclear sanctions are not acts of war upon the Iranian people, this heinous offering clearly is. What it calls for — a suffocating blockade of Iran — can not be accomplished if not by military force. Aggressive U.S. military force. If carried out, it will be a war of aggression against the nation of Iran. Accordingly, the authors, legal advisors, Congressional co-sponsors, Ministry peddlers, financiers, and executives of all aforementioned measures against Iran should be held accountable.

We have the legal precedents. We have the documented crimes. We know what domestic and international laws explicitly say about all of it. We have the actions and the public statements of those involved in the build-up to, and perpetuation of, these illicit ventures — from the Pentagon to Pennsylvania Avenue to the think tanks to the corporate news media. Do we have the prosecutors with the guts to do what is right?

Only time will tell. Congressman Dennis Kucinich and others have been pushing impeachment articles against Cheney and Bush for over a year. International lawyer, Francis Boyle, is assisting the nation of Iran in suing Israel and the U.S. over their criminal gangsterism. A Palestinian town is suing Canadian companies for building illegal settlements in the West Bank. On July 25, renowned attorney Vincent Bugliosi and other legal experts and public figures spoke before a Congressional committee on the case for not only impeachment, but also war crimes and murder, against President Bush and others in and around his administration.

But as usual, corporate media are silent. And from the cursory body of evidence herein, I trust that my readers know why. But, just for good measure…

Recall the September ‘07 Israeli attack on the Syrian facility, and the fixed, pro-neocon news coverage of it.

In late October, former CIA officer Phillip Giraldi wrote an informative article that uncovers the complicity of News Corp. publications, and certain newspapers on The Associated Press board of directors, and provides a synopsis of the larger global neocon-Likudnik shakedown.

In the intelligence community, a disinformation operation is a calculated attempt to convince an audience that falsehoods about an adversary are true, either to discredit him or, in an extreme case, to justify military action. When such a campaign is properly conducted, information is leaked to numerous outlets over a period of time, creating the impression of a media consensus that the story is true, as each new report validates earlier ones.

On Aug. 31, one week before the Israeli attack on Syria, [former U.S. ambassador the the U.N., John] Bolton wrote an op-ed for the Wall Street Journal that concluded, “We know that both Iran and Syria have long cooperated with North Korea on ballistic-missile programs, and the prospect of cooperation on nuclear matters is not far-fetched. Whether and to what extent Iran, Syria or others might be ‘safe havens’ for North Korea’s nuclear-weapons development, or may have already benefited from it, must be made clear.” Perhaps this was just good timing. Perhaps it was something more—possibly representing information provided by Bolton’s excellent contacts within the Israeli government.

Comments made by a State Department official on Sept. 14, in the wake of the Israeli attack, bolstered the neoconservative argument that Syria is a serious threat. Andrew Semmel, acting deputy assistant secretary of state for nuclear non-proliferation policy, stated that Syria was on the U.S. nuclear “watch list” and that Damascus “might have” a number of “secret suppliers” from which to obtain nuclear equipment as part of a covert program.

Across the Atlantic, on Sept. 16, the Murdoch-owned Sunday Times of London published an extremely detailed story on the attack that clearly derived from Israeli sources. The piece unambiguously portrayed the bombing as “a successful Israeli raid on nuclear material supplied by North Korea.” A Sept. 23 follow-up claimed that before the site was bombed, an Israeli commando unit had seized nuclear material, which had been tested and confirmed to be of North Korean origin. A second story headlined “Snatched: Israeli commandos ‘nuclear’ raid” also appearing in the Times on the same day, under the same byline, provided additional details, noting that Syria, Iran, and North Korea now constitute a new “axis of evil.” It also quoted David Schenker, of the neocon Washington Institute for Near East Policy, who described Syria as a “client” of Iran.

On Sept. 18, Bolton resurfaced, telling an Israeli journalist that the United States would stand behind any preemptive attack by Tel Aviv on neighboring countries believed to have nuclear-weapons programs. The Wall Street Journal added a piece by editorial board member Bret Stephens asserting that the bombing in Syria was a reprise of the 1981 Israeli attack on Iraq’s Osirak nuclear reactor.

By Sept. 21, the Washington Post also appeared to be convinced by the story, featuring a front-page headline “Israel, US Shared Data on Suspected Nuclear Site.” The article stated that Israel provided intelligence to President Bush during the summer indicating that North Korean nuclear experts were in Syria. Bush was reportedly “troubled” by the information. The Post added, citing anonymous sources, that “the United States is believed to have provided Israel with some corroboration of the original intelligence before Israel proceeded with the raid,” but then, farther down in the article, the Post conceded, “The quality of the Israeli intelligence, the extent of North Korean assistance and the seriousness of the Syrian effort are uncertain…” To give the story even greater resonance, leading neoconservative Charles Krauthammer, in his column in the same issue, accepted as fact that Damascus was pursuing nuclear capability and warned that Israel will not accept a “nuclear Syria.”

In the days that followed, the New York Times offered a more measured headline: “Israeli Raid on Syria Fuels Debate on Weapons” and referred to allegations about Syria’s weapons program as “Israel’s private claims,” noting, “American officials have been extremely cautious about endorsing the Israeli conclusion.” Other outlets also picked up the story, but even those that were careful left the impression that Syria was seeking to obtain nuclear weapons, and North Korea was suspected of having supplied materials.

The pieces have a common thread: they rely entirely on information provided by Israeli sources without independent corroboration. And the ongoing play they are getting in the international media, without much critical commentary and without direct attribution to Israel, mark them as classic disinformation.

What else is there to say? The U.S. officials, think-tankers, and media bosses behind the disinfo campaign above — and those previously mentioned here — should be tried for their crimes. Their financially- and ideologically-driven actions (and false propaganda) are resulting in the death, dismemberment, and economic demise of the U.S. Republic and millions of innocent people the world over.

One of two outcomes of current events can derail the Ministry and the empire it apologizes for: 1) patriotic and courageous Congresspeople, federal prosecutors, and pentagon brass standing up and fulfilling their duties to defend the Constitution, or 2) total collapse of empire, economically and militarily, as a result of further aggression upon Iran and the Middle East. In any case, they will be held accountable.

Part One

Part Two

[1] See CAMERA in action on this very subject, for example.
[4] Ibid.


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