Corporate media colludes with democracy’s demise
By Bill Moyers
Without a free and independent press, this 250-year-old experiment in self-government will not make it. As journalism goes, so goes democracy.
I heard this story a long time ago, growing up in Choctaw County in Oklahoma before my family moved to Texas. A tribal elder was telling his grandson about the battle the old man was waging within himself. He said, “It is between two wolves, my son. One is an evil wolf: anger, envy, sorrow, greed, self-pity, guilt, resentment, lies, false pride, superiority and ego. The other is the good wolf: joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion and faith.”
The boy took this in for a few minutes and then asked his grandfather, “Which wolf won?”
The old Cherokee replied simply, “The one I feed.”
Democracy is that way. The wolf that wins is the one we feed. And in our society, media provides the fodder.
Our media institutions, deeply embedded in the power structures of society, are not providing the information that we need to make our democracy work. To put it another way, corporate media consolidation is a corrosive social force. It robs people of their voice in public affairs and pollutes the political culture. And it turns the debates about profound issues into a shouting match of polarized views promulgated by partisan apologists who trivialize democracy while refusing to speak the truth about how our country is being plundered.
Our dominant media… Continue reading
Late last year, Congress agreed to a request from President Bush to fund a major escalation of covert operations against Iran, according to current and former military, intelligence, and congressional sources. These operations, for which the President sought up to four hundred million dollars, were described in a Presidential Finding signed by Bush, and are designed to destabilize the country’s religious leadership. The covert activities involve support of the minority Ahwazi Arab and Baluchi groups and other dissident organizations. They also include gathering intelligence about Iran’s suspected nuclear-weapons program.
Clandestine operations against Iran are not new. United States Special Operations Forces have been conducting cross-border operations from southern Iraq, with Presidential authorization, since last year. These have included seizing members of Al Quds, the commando arm of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, and taking them to Iraq for interrogation, and the pursuit of “high-value targets” in the President’s war on terror, who may be captured or killed. But the scale and the scope of the operations in Iran, which involve the Central Intelligence Agency and the Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC), have now been significantly expanded, according to the current and former officials. Many of these activities are not specified in the new Finding, and some congressional leaders have had serious questions about their nature.
Under federal law, a Presidential Finding, which is highly classified, must be issued when a covert intelligence operation gets… Continue reading
By Dr. William F. Pepper
As a friend and colleague of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., during the last year of his life, James Earl Ray’s attorney, for the last ten years of his life and, finally, lead Counsel for Dr. King’s family in the 1999 civil trial which brought forward evidence from 70 witnesses over 30 days in Memphis, I am compelled to comment, for the record, on the most recent documentary on the assassination by CNN which is being aired on an ongoing basis. The fact that my participation in the program was used to give it some credibility makes this comment even more relevant.
It is one matter to distort the truth of how this great American prophet was taken from us, but quite another to have mainstream media perpetuate disinformation on matters of such public importance to the citizens of the Republic. An expert witness, at the King family civil trial, William Schapp, set out the historical use of government disinformation through mainstream media, dating back to the 1920’s.
The first half of the program was dedicated to James and his background and history. While the program notably failed to provide a motive as to why this escaped convict would even consider such an act, and racism had been excluded by the earlier Congressional investigation, it was hinted at by a reference of his refusal to go to a work farm attached to the Missouri prison because of the number of blacks in that facility. In fact, James was afraid of becoming tied into drug activity which was going on there and having his term extended.…Continue reading
By Edward Luce and Andrew Ward
June 24 2008
John McCain’s right-hand man hit a raw nerve on Monday when he said another terrorist attack on US soil would prove a “big advantage” to the Republican nominee’s general election chances.
The comments by Charlie Black, who is arguably Mr McCain’s most experienced adviser, put into words what many Republicans and Democrats have privately been stating for months.
Mr Black, 60, who is a veteran of every Republican presidential campaign since the 1980s and served in the Reagan and Bush Senior administrations, immediately apologised for his remarks, which were published in an interview with Fortune Magazine.
Mr McCain, whom opinion polls show is trailing Barack Obama, his Democratic rival, by between six and 15 points, said: “I cannot imagine why he would say it. I strenuously disagree?.?.?.?It’s not true. I have worked tirelessly since 9/11 to prevent another terrorist attack on America.”
The Obama campaign said: “The fact that John McCain’s top adviser says that a terrorist attack on American soil would be a ‘big advantage’ for their political campaign is a complete disgrace and is exactly the kind of politics that needs to change.”
The controversy arrived at a bad moment for the McCain campaign, which has come under increasing fire from otherwise friendly Republicans for its alleged amateurism. Critics say it has sent out mixed signals about Mr McCain’s political direction and shown a lack of “message discipline”.
For example, last week the campaign put out a televised advertisement… Continue reading
by David Edwards and Nick
Juliano, Raw Story
June 20, 2008
Former White House spokesman Scott McClellan is testifying to the House Judiciary Committee about his new revelations on the exposure of CIA agent Valerie Plame and the Bush administration’s “propaganda campaign” that led the country into war.
McClellan was invited to testify after publication of his tell all memoir, What Happened: Inside the Bush White House and Washington’s Culture of Deception. Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers said the revelations McClellan wrote about “may or may not constitute an impeachable offense.”
The revelation of a pre-war propaganda campaign was “a confirmation that the White House played fast and loose with the truth in a time of war,” Conyers said to open the hearing. “Depending on how one reads the Constitution, that may or may not be an impeachable offense.”
Conyers, a Michigan Democrat, said Plame’s outing was a direct component of that propaganda effort because it was aimed at discrediting her husband Joe Wilson, a former ambassador who undercut the administration’s argument that Saddam Hussein was attempting to buy nuclear weapons materials from Africa. Friday’s hearing, he said, was aimed at uncovering possible evidence of obstruction of justice and painting a fuller picture of administration officials involvement “not only in the leak but also in the coverup.”
Rep. Lamar Smith, the top Republican on the Judiciary Committee, gave a prebuttal of McClellan’s testimony, reciting accusations that McClellan was simply trying to make a buck with a critical book and that he was perhaps trying to get back at his former bosses.…Continue reading
The Spy Who Loves Us
Pay no mind to the Mossad agent on the line.
by Philip Giraldi
June 2, 2008 Issue, The American Conservative
After Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard was sentenced to life in prison in 1986, the U.S. negotiated an understanding with Israel—a “gentlemen’s agreement” —stipulating that neither nation would thenceforth conduct espionage operations in the other’s territory without consent. But the agreement was a sham from the beginning. The Israeli government didn’t even honor its commitments in the aftermath of the Pollard case, failing to return the estimated 360 cubic feet of stolen information to enable the U.S. to conduct a damage assessment. The United States, for its part, continued to recruit and run agents inside Israel throughout the 1980s and 1990s. And it was known within the intelligence and counterintelligence communities that Israel did the same in the United States. David Szady, the FBI’s assistant director for counterintelligence, was so dismayed by the level of Israeli spying in the late ’90s that he called in the head of the Israeli Embassy’s Central Institute for Intelligence and Special Activities (Mossad) office and told him, “Knock it off.”
Pollard’s name was in the news again on April 22, when former U.S. Army weapons engineer Ben-Ami Kadish was arrested for passing secrets to Israel. Kadish had been an agent run by Yosef Yagur, who directed Pollard. Yagur, under cover as a science attaché at the Israeli Consulate General in New York, fled the U.S. in 1985 after Pollard was… Continue reading
Even experts at the U.S. bioweapons facility at Fort Detrick think that the anthrax which was used in the 2001 attacks came from their facility:
“In an e-mail obtained by FOX News, scientists at Fort Detrick openly discussed how the anthrax powder they were asked to analyze after the attacks was nearly identical to that made by one of their colleagues.
“Then he said he had to look at a lot of samples that the FBI had prepared … to duplicate the letter material,” the e-mail reads. “Then the bombshell. He said that the best duplication of the material was the stuff made by [name redacted]. He said that it was almost exactly the same … his knees got shaky and he sputtered, ‘But I told the General we didn’t make spore powder!’
“Indeed, 3 of the 4 suspects the FBI is investigating are employees of Fort Detrick, which is run by the Army.
Some people are pretending that someone unconnected with the army bioweapons facility at Fort Detrick stole the anthrax. However, as the above-quoted article states:
“Fort Detrick is run by the United States Army. It’s the most secure biological warfare research center in the United States,” a bioterrorism expert told FOX News.”
It is not very likely that someone could steal anthrax from the most secure facility in the U.S., run by the Army.
Indeed, the FBI apparently… Continue reading
For decades the federal government has been developing a highly classified plan that would override the Constitution in the event of a terrorist attack. Is it also compiling a secret enemies list of citizens who could face detention under martial law?
By Christopher Ketcham
In the spring of 2007, a retired senior official in the U.S. Justice Department sat before Congress and told a story so odd and ominous, it could have sprung from the pages of a pulp political thriller. It was about a principled bureaucrat struggling to protect his country from a highly classified program with sinister implications. Rife with high drama, it included a car chase through the streets of Washington, D.C., and a tense meeting at the White House, where the president’s henchmen made the bureaucrat so nervous that he demanded a neutral witness be present.
The bureaucrat was James Comey, John Ashcroft’s second-in-command at the Department of Justice during Bush’s first term. Comey had been a loyal political foot soldier of the Republican Party for many years. Yet in his testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee, he described how he had grown increasingly uneasy reviewing the Bush administration’s various… Continue reading
Friday, April 11, 2008
Now, one of the top investigative journalists in the country, Larisa Alexandrovna (the lead journalist at Raw Story), says:
“it seems to me that this administration has justified its crimes by NOT suspending the state of emergency that went up on September 11, 2001. They are using emergency powers if you look at the whole of the spying, military actions inside the US, etc. I would wager that if asked, this administration will admit that we have been in a state of emergency for their tenure in office.”
Remember that Continuity of Government plans — that is, the measures that go into effect in case of emergency — suspend the Constitutional form of government, cut elected officials out of the loop, and may even allow the government to tell the media what it can and cannot report.
Remember also that the entire Homeland Security Committee of the U.S. Congress has been denied access to the government’s Continuity of Government Plans even though it has clearance to view such plans (video; or here is the transcript). Indeed, a member of that Committee has said “Maybe the people who think there’s a conspiracy out there are right”.
If we are in a state of emergency and COG plans… Continue reading
“Truth crushed to earth will rise again.”
~ Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
March 19, 2008
Originally Posted at 911Blogger.com
Part 10 of 10:
(see below for full series links)
(The Radio premiere of this material will be broadcast on Pacifica affiliates over the coming days and weeks that broadcast Maria Gilardin’s “TUC Radio” program. You can download the audio here. You can purchase a CD of the program there as well.)
“Governmental agencies caused Martin Luther King to be assassinated… They caused this whole thing to happen. And they then proceeded with the powerful means at their disposal to cover this case up. This is a conspiracy… and that’s a nasty word. People insult people in this country who use the word “conspiracy.” Nowhere else in the world, as Bill Schaap told you, is it viewed that way. In Italy and France conspiracy is taken for granted because they have lived with it so much longer…
What we’re asking you to do at this point in time is send a message. We’re asking you to send a message, not just right a wrong. That’s important, that you right a wrong and that you allow justice to prevail once and for all. Let it prevail. Let justice and truth prevail, else the heavens fall. No matter what, let it prevail. Let it come forward. We’re asking you to let that happen. But in addition to that, we’re asking you to send a message, send… Continue reading
By Robert O’Harrow Jr.
Wednesday, April 2, 2008
Intelligence centers run by states across the country have access to personal information about millions of Americans, including unlisted cellphone numbers, insurance claims, driver’s license photographs and credit reports, according to a document obtained by The Washington Post.
One center also has access to top-secret data systems at the CIA, the document shows, though it’s not clear what information those systems contain.
Dozens of the organizations known as fusion centers were created after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks to identify potential threats and improve the way information is shared. The centers use law enforcement analysts and sophisticated computer systems to compile, or fuse, disparate tips and clues and pass along the refined information to other agencies. They are expected to play important roles in national information-sharing networks that link local, state and federal authorities and enable them to automatically sift their storehouses of records for patterns and clues.
Though officials have publicly discussed the fusion centers’ importance to national security, they have generally declined to elaborate on the centers’ activities. But a document that lists resources used by the fusion centers shows how a dozen of the organizations in the northeastern United States rely far more on access to commercial and government databases than had previously been disclosed.
Those details have come to light at a time of debate about domestic intelligence efforts, including eavesdropping and data-aggregation programs at the National Security Agency, and whether the government has enough protections in… Continue reading
March 31, 2008
By Paul Craig Roberts
The US Congress, the US media, the American people, and the United Nations, are looking the other way as Cheney prepares his attack on Iran.
If only America had an independent media and an opposition party. If there were a shred of integrity left in American political life, perhaps a third act of naked aggression–a third war crime under the Nuremberg standard–by the Bush Regime could be prevented.
On March 30, the Russian News & Information Agency, Novosti, cited “a high-ranking security source: “The latest military intelligence data point to heightened US military preparations for both an air and ground operation against Iran.”
According to Novosti, Russian Colonel General Leonid Ivashov said “that the Pentagon is planning to deliver a massive air strike on Iran’s military infrastructure in the near future.”
The chief of Russia’s general staff, Yuri Baluyevsky, said last November that Russia was beefing up its military in response to US aggression, but that the Russian military is not “obliged to defend the world from the evil Americans.”
On March 29, OpEdNews cited a report by the Saudi Arabian newspaper Okaz, which was picked up by the German news service, DPA. The Saudi newspaper reported on March 22, the day following Cheney’s visit with the kingdom’s rulers, that the Saudi Shura Council is preparing “national plans to deal with any sudden nuclear and radioactive hazards that may affect the kingdom following experts’ warnings of possible attacks on Iran’s Bushehr nuclear reactors.”… Continue reading
Inside the Shell Game
By Paul Craig Roberts
March 24, 2008
The investigative journalist Edward Jay Epstein has taken up the Litvinenko case.
The media used the Litvinenko case as sensational propaganda against Russian President Putin and then tossed it aside. For those whose memories of the case have faded, Alexander Litvinenko was a former KGB officer living in England who died in 2006, apparently from the radioactive isotope Polonium-210.
The British government encouraged the tale that Russian President Putin had sent Andrei Lugovoi to poison Litvinenko’s tea at a meeting on November 1, 2006. The story appealed to people brought up on James Bond thrillers, but the story never made any sense. Polonium 2-10 is a rare and tightly controlled substance as likely to contaminate the assassin as the victim. There are far easier and more effective ways of killing someone.
Moreover, there is no evidence to connect Russia to Litvinenko’s death. But this didn’t stop the British government from grandstanding, sending an extradition request for Lugovoi in July 2007. The British government sent the request despite the facts that there is no extradition treaty between Britain and Russia and the Russian constitution prohibits the extradition of Russian citizens. Epstein suggests that the purpose of the extradition request was to block the Russian government from investigating Litvinenko’s death in London. Litvinenko had a false passport provided by the British government. A real investigtion might have opened up the shadowy world of security consultants in which Litvinenko rubbed shoulders… Continue reading
By Peter Phillips
March 20, 2008
Will November 2008 bring a meaningful change to America? Will getting rid of George W. Bush and Richard Cheney without impeachment or indictment really make a difference? Will a 600 billion dollar war/defense budget be cut in half and used for desperately needed domestic spending? Will the ninety-three billion dollars profits in the private health insurance companies—those parasitic intermediates between you and your doctor—be used instead for full health care coverage for all? Will Habeas Corpus and Posse Comitatus be restored to the people? Will torture stop? Will all students in public universities be able to enroll for free? Will the US national security agencies stop mass spying on our personal communications? Will the neo-conservative agenda of total military domination of the world be reversed?
The answer to these questions in the context of the current billion dollar presidential campaign is an absolute no. Instead we have a campaign of personalities and platitudes. There is a race candidate, a gender candidate and a tortured veteran candidate, each talking about change in America, national security, freedom, and the American way. The candidates are running with support of political parties so deeply embedded with the military industrial complex, the health insurance companies, Wall Street, and corporate media that it is undeterminable where the board rooms separate from the state rooms.
The 2008 presidential race is a media entertainment spectacle with props, gossip, accusations, and public relations. It is impression management from a candidates’ perspective. How can… Continue reading
By Ryan Paul
March 06, 2008
Computer security analyst Babak Pasdar says that a major mobile telecommunications carrier has a built-in backdoor that provides an undisclosed third-party with unfettered access to its internal technical infrastructure, including the ability to eavesdrop on all calls through its network. In an affidavit that describes the circumstances and basis for the allegations, Pasdar provides evidence which could indicate that the FBI is on the other side of the secret line, engaging in warrantless surveillance of mobile communications.
Pasdar discovered evidence of the backdoor when he was part of a rapid deployment team that was brought in to facilitate a large-scale network security hardware migration for the mobile carrier. During the migration, Pasdar was instructed not to migrate the traffic for one particular DS-3, which was referred to as the “Quantico Circuit” by consultants who worked closely with the carrier (the FBI Academy is based in Quantico, Virginia).
According to Pasdar, the consultants informed him that the Quantico Circuit is supposed to have no firewalls of any kind and no access control—it is given complete access to everything in the carrier’s internal network and there is no way to tell conclusively what has been accessed through it. The consultants indicated that they knew who was at the other end of the Quantico Circuit, but they refused to divulge this information to Pasdar.
When Pasdar insisted that the Quantico Circuit should at least have the minimum level of security access logging if not access control, the… Continue reading
Spectre of ‘another 7/7′ led Tony Blair to block bribes inquiry, high court told
David Leigh and Rob Evans, The Guardian
Friday February 15 2008
Saudi Arabia’s rulers threatened to make it easier for terrorists to attack London unless corruption investigations into their arms deals were halted, according to court documents revealed yesterday.
Previously secret files describe how investigators were told they faced “another 7/7″ and the loss of “British lives on British streets” if they pressed on with their inquiries and the Saudis carried out their threat to cut off intelligence.
Prince Bandar, the head of the Saudi national security council, and son of the crown prince, was alleged in court to be the man behind the threats to hold back information about suicide bombers and terrorists. He faces accusations that he himself took more than £1bn in secret payments from the arms company BAE.
He was accused in yesterday’s high court hearings of flying to London in December 2006 and uttering threats which made the prime minister, Tony Blair, force an end to the Serious Fraud Office investigation into bribery allegations involving Bandar and his family.
The threats halted the fraud inquiry, but triggered an international outcry, with allegations that Britain had broken international anti-bribery treaties.
Lord Justice Moses, hearing the civil case with Mr Justice Sullivan, said the government appeared to have “rolled over” after the threats. He said one possible view was that it was “just as if a gun had been held to the head”… Continue reading
By Colin Meyn, In These Times
February 19, 2008
In New York City, the Department of Homeland Security is training New York City firefighters to assist in gathering intelligence information during routine inspections and emergencies.
In November, the Associated Press reported that in New York, Homeland Security was testing a program called the Fire Service Intelligence Enterprise (FSIE) to help identify “material or behavior that may indicate terrorist activities.”
The Fire Department of New York (FDNY) and Homeland Security hosted a September 2007 conference in New York City to discuss plans for the new intelligence program. There, chief officers from fire departments in Chicago, Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., and 12 other U.S. cities met with NYC fire Commissioner Nicholas Scoppetta and officials from the Homeland Security Office of Intelligence and Surveillance. “Real-time intelligence and information leads to a heightened state of situational awareness,” Scoppetta said at the conference. “And situational awareness is key to saving lives.”
“We are not training firefighters to be intelligence gatherers or special agents,” says Jack Tomarchio, Homeland Security’s deputy undersecretary of intelligence and surveillance. “We are helping to provide crucial information to those people who are often the first responders.”
In 2002, the Bush administration proposed having bus drivers, mail carriers and telephone repair personnel spy on the American public as part of Homeland Security’s “Citizen Corps” initiative. The program, called TIPS (Terrorism Information and Prevention System), never made it past Congress. But because the FSIE is managed at the city level, it has bypassed… Continue reading