Tag Archives: FAIR

Sonali Kolhatkar on Afghan Women, Karl Grossman on Space Weapons, T.R. Reid on Healthcare Debate

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Afghan girls in Nangarhar (photo: US Army)

(photo: US Army)

This week on CounterSpin: Media are celebrating the participation of girls from Afghanistan in a robotics competition in DC, after being denied entry twice by the State Department for reasons never explained, as somehow a feel-good story about America. No one seems to have pondered the irony of the denials, given that Afghan girls doing science is precisely the sort of PR moment the US pretended the 2001 invasion was about, and thus an opening to talk about what visiting decades of unending war on the country has actually done toward that ostensible goal. CounterSpin discussed the war as feminist storyline with author, activist and radio host Sonali Kolhatkar back in 2010. We’ll hear that conversation on this week’s show.

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space-based laser (image: US Space Command)

(image: US Space Command)

US lawmakers pushing for a new branch of the military focused on “deploying extraterrestrial power” is a real thing that is happening. A recent article on Quartz explained that while the plans are unlikely, they do send a message that the US is concerned about the orbital military aspirations of geopolitical rivals like China and Russia. Dystopian? Yes. Absurdly dangerous? You bet—but new the idea isn’t. In fact, CounterSpin talked with journalism professor and author Karl Grossman about the weaponization of space in May 2005. We’ll hear that this week as well.

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Sick Around the World (image: Frontline)

(image: Frontline)

Finally, it’s no surprise that healthcare continues to be front-page news. It is disheartening, though, how little the conversation has changed, in terms of the limits of what’s considered possible. Corporate media have an outsized role in constraining that conversation. Producer and author T.R. Reid discovered just how resistant to expanding the conversation media can be. He told his story to CounterSpin in April 2009.

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http://ift.tt/2uGIiJe Source: http://fair.org

‘How Can the Arsonists Be the Firefighters Today?’

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Janine Jackson interviewed Maurice Carney about the crisis in the Democratic Republic of Congo for the July 14, 2017, episode of CounterSpin. This is a lightly edited transcript.

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Janine Jackson: The fighting between the coalitions of President Joseph Kabila—who refused to step down December 19 as the constitution mandates—and opposition forces is devastating the Democratic Republic of Congo. The UN has just reported 80,000 people fleeing the latest fighting in Fizi Territory, joining nearly 4 million people already uprooted by violence. In the central Kasai region, the Catholic Church reports more than 3,300 people killed since October. Accounts include two-year-olds with limbs chopped off and babies with machete wounds, as well as whole villages destroyed. And now the fighting is being presented as reason to postpone elections still further.

Like other African nations, Congo is of limited and irregular interest to US media. That isn’t justified by the scale of the crisis the country is enduring: More than 5 million people have died since 1998 from violence and mostly from hunger and disease faced while trying to flee violence.

Nor can US media plausibly claim that the US isn’t implicated in Congo’s hardship, though you’d be hard pressed to understand the US role—past or present—from media accounts.

Here to help us understand what’s happening is Maurice Carney, co-founder and executive director of the group Friends of the Congo. He joins us by phone from Washington, DC. Welcome back to CounterSpin, Maurice Carney.

Maurice Carney: Hi, it’s a pleasure to be with you. Thank you for having us.

JJ: The current violence between the government coalition and opposition forces that’s having such a shattering impact on the people—is that connected, or how much is it connected, to Kabila’s refusal to step down last December?

Maurice Carney (image: Democracy Now!)

Maurice Carney: “Kabila has benefited, he has been strengthened, by his support from the West over the last decade and a half.” (image: Democracy Now!)

MC: Well, the overall instability in the country is overwhelmingly due to the fact that President Kabila wants to stay in power, and stay in power by any means necessary. This is critical for people to understand, that you have a president whose term is expired, but yet he wants to remain in power against the will of the people, and in contradistinction to the constitution of the country. So that’s really the crux of the instability in the country today.

And when you have this leader that lacks legitimacy, local issues that would normally remain local issues, they’re quickly escalated to be national issues. Thus the disputes that you find that occur locally, the federal government, the national government, usually intervenes on one side or the other, and the question then becomes, are you in support of the president or against the president? And when you have a grouping or formations that are against the interests of the president, then the president and the Kabila regime itself sends in military forces to try and clamp down on any kind of dissension that we may see. And this is what has been the source of the issue in the Kasai, for example, the region that you mentioned at the outset.

JJ: Yes, what happened in Kasai, was that a traditional leader, they tried to remove him and folks protested?

MC: Yes, a traditional leader who was supposed to assume the position of chief. However, this leader was against the Kabila regime and against the way the government had been running things. So the federal government, through the Ministry of Interior, tried to intervene in what was a traditional process, and intervene to the point where they wound up killing the chief.

And this spiraled out of control, to where the followers of the chief then started to resist by any means that they could. They saw that the chief had been killed, and it was done at the behest of the Congolese government, and the people were not going to stand for that.

And in an effort to show that the government was in control, the regime was in control, the Kabila regime sent in military forces that, as you stated at the outset, were killing women and children, babies, and even, many believe, played a role in the assassination of two United Nations investigators, who had gone in to document the crimes that were being committed in the Kasai region. Recently, this week, the United Nations reported that there’s some 80-plus mass graves that have been found in the region as a result of the instability.

JJ: When the Washington Post reported in late June on the reports which came from the Catholic Church, which has been doing this research on the killings in Kasai, they told the story, and then when it was time to give some context, the Washington Post said this:

Wars and explosive ethnic rivalries have riven Congo for decades, reaching a peak in the 1990s and 2000s when conflict in neighboring Rwanda spilled across the border.

That strikes me as incomplete, to say it nicely.

MC: Oh, yeah, totally incomplete. In fact, not only the Washington Post, the BBC and other corporate media, they lead with the ethnic narrative. And at the core, this is a political question. And not solely a political question, but also a geopolitical one. Because you have President Kabila, who has been supported by the West since 2001, when he took over from his father; they stood behind him in 2011 when he cheated in the election, and basically appropriated what was a fraudulent election.

So they backed Kabila for the last 16 years, and now when Kabila wants to stay, he’s developed such a strength that it’s difficult for him to step down, or for the people to remove him from power. So the West has been complicit in the situation that we see today. In fact, we see the West, some of the nations in the West who are trying to impose sanctions on Kabila, and we’re saying, well, they’re the arsonists, how can they be the firefighters today? So that’s really critical for people to understand, that Kabila has benefited, he has been strengthened, by his support from the West over the last decade and a half.

JJ: Yes, there’s a very strange feeling when you read Nikki Haley, our UN representative, saying that the United States is extremely interested in a democratic transfer of power in Congo.

Patrice Lumumba

Prime Minister Patrice Lumumba, assassinated in 1961 with the help of the CIA.

MC: What you’ll see in the media, you often see that it’s said that there hasn’t been a peaceful transfer of power in the Democratic Republic of Congo, and there’s a part that’s left off of that. There hasn’t been a peaceful transfer in the Democratic Republic of Congo since the United States overthrew the first democratically elected leader in the country, and that was Patrice Emery Lumumba in 1960, one of Congo’s independence heroes and first democratically elected prime minister.

And since that time, every leader that has risen to power in the Congo has done so with the backing of the United States. There hasn’t been a leader since Lumumba who’s assumed power without the backing of the United States. So to your listening audience, it’s important for them to understand the role that the West, and the United States in particular, has played in what has transpired in the Congo.

And part of the reason for the destructive role that Western institutions and nations have played is because of Congo’s tremendous wealth. It’s a storehouse of precious and strategic minerals that are vital to major industries in the West. Even today, one of the burgeoning industries is the automotive industry, the green industry, where we’re seeing more electric cars, like Tesla and Prius and others. Well, Congo has a key mineral that’s vital to the functioning of that industry, and that’s cobalt. And Congo’s the largest producer of cobalt, largest reserves of cobalt, and it’s one of the hottest minerals on the market today. So that’s part of the reason why there’s so much interest in what happens in the Congo, from the corporate sector in particular in the West.

JJ: I just wanted to ask you, finally, I know that Friends of the Congo has been taking part in demonstrations there in DC, the Women’s March and the various marches since the inauguration, in which you are bringing together these global concerns and concern with what’s happening in the DRC and local concerns. And you see every reason to see connections there, between the economic and political struggles we have here and what’s happening there. I mean, is that the way forward?

MC: Oh, absolutely. And it’s probably best exemplified by the social justice movement we see unfolding in the Congo today among Congolese youth. The organizing and the mobilizing that we see in the streets of the United States, they’re happening in the Democratic Republic of Congo as well, where young people are standing up. However, and unfortunately, the stakes are much higher in the Congo, because the police, who have been equipped in part by the United States, the Congolese police, they shoot to kill. They jail young people at the drop of a hat.

In fact, as I’m speaking to you today, we have two of our young people, Jean-Marie Kalonji and Sylva Mbikay, who were picked up by the Congolese military and placed into a detention camp, and they’ve been there since June 23, for three weeks now.

And we don’t know why. They haven’t done anything. These are young people who provide services to the local community. Like the Black Lives Matter movement here has the bail project where they bail mothers out of jail, that’s what the youth are doing in the Congo, they go in and they bail mothers and their babies out of jail. They provide services to the handicapped community, and they provide scholarships to young people. They support education and health of their communities. But yet they’ve been picked up and placed into a military detention camp.

So the kind of resistance that you see here in the US also exists there. And that’s really critical for people who are here in the movement to understand, that the issues are not fundamentally different. And that what Dr. King said is so true, when he stated that injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. And it’s the injustices that the youth in the Congo are fighting, and they’re not fundamentally different from the injustices that are being fought here in the United States.

JJ: We’ve been speaking with Maurice Carney of Friends of the Congo. You can find their work online at FriendsOfTheCongo.org, and they’re on Twitter at @congofriends. Thank you so much, Maurice Carney, for joining us this week on CounterSpin.

MC: Thank you. It’s been my pleasure.

http://ift.tt/2vn7lyF Source: http://fair.org

Corporate Media Largely Silent on Trump’s Civilian Death Toll in Iraq

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Amnesty International: At Any Cost

Amnesty International’s report on the plight of civilians in Mosul, where ISIS “has systematically moved them into zones of conflict, used them as human shields and prevented them from escaping to safety,” while they “have also been subjected to relentless and unlawful attacks by Iraqi government forces and members of the US-led coalition.”

Earlier this week, human rights group Amnesty International issued a lengthy report accusing US-backed forces of “repeated violations of international humanitarian law, some of which may amount to war crimes,” in Mosul, Iraq, causing the deaths of at least 3,700 civilians. Neither this report, nor the broader issue of the civilian toll in the US war against ISIS, has come close to penetrating US corporate media.

The only major radio or television outlet to report on Amnesty’s claims was NPR (7/12/17). While traditional print outlets, such as the New York Times and Washington Post, did run Reuters (7/11/17) and AP (7/12/17) articles, respectively, on the report, neither covered it themselves. Neither Amnesty’s charges, nor the broader issue of civilian deaths in Mosul,  garnered any coverage in television news, with no mention on ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN or MSNBC.

The expulsion of ISIS from Mosul by the US-led coalition did receive coverage, but the US role in killing civilians was uniformly ignored.

CBS News’ reports (6/25/17, 7/4/17, 7/9/17) made no mention of US responsibility for civilian deaths, referring only vaguely to “a rising civilian death toll” and “whole neighborhoods” that “cease to exist.” The role of US bombing role in that rising death toll or those no-longer-existing neighborhoods was never mentioned.

In one report (6/23/17), correspondent Charlie D’Agata, standing over a pile of rubble, said to the camera, “Whole buildings, whole neighborhoods have been wiped out, this is what it cost to get rid of ISIS.” Who helped “wiped out” the buildings and neighborhoods is left a mystery.

One slight exception was ABC Nightline (7/14/17), which reported on summary executions and torture by Iraqi special forces, but made no mention of direct US responsibility for the bombing of Mosul. It did, however, accuse the US of “turning a blind eye” to crimes committed by others.  The remaining ABC News reports (7/5/17, 7/12/17), like the others, overlooked US-caused civilian casualties.

One 10-minute report for Nightline (7/12/17) made reference to “thousands killed,” but pinned the blame for those deaths squarely on ISIS. After hearing an airstrike in the distance, correspondent Ian Pannell sang the praises of bombing raids, insisting, “It’s hard to imagine that [Iraqi fighters] would have got this far forward—despite their brave fighting—without their support.” He then profiled two victims of US-led airstrikes and Iraqi army gunfire, but said they were “forced to help [ISIS], they were used as human shields. ISIS fighters made them run into the line of fire of the advancing Iraqi army.”

CNN (6/26/17, 6/29/17, 7/10/17) likewise didn’t mention US responsibility for civilian deaths, repeating the “ISIS using human shields” justification advanced by all major outlets.

(To be clear, as Amnesty pointed out, ISIS certainly is using civilians as human shields, but this doesn’t nearly account for all casualties: The US and its allies “continued to rely upon imprecise, explosive weapons, ignoring the ever-growing toll of civilian death and injuries.” Similarly, civilians in Aleppo were not allowed to leave by jihadist groups like Jabhat Fatah al-Sham, according to the UN, but Russia and Syria still bombed heavily for years.)

NBC/MSNBC stuck to a similar line. In one nine-minute segment (MSNBC, 7/14/17), Andrew Mitchell didn’t mention Iraqi civilians once, much less their massive death toll—and incidentally painted Bush’s 2003 invasion of Iraq, which killed an estimated half million people, as an unfortunate error, insisting it was full of “tragic miscalculations.”

A separate segment by Richard Engel (MSNBC, 7/14/17) on Pete Reed, an ex-Marine who is treating civilians in Mosul, made no mention of deaths caused by US bombing, instead—as with ABC’s Ian Pannell—framing all the deaths as the sole responsibility of ISIS. After showing a 12-year-old girl blinded by shrapnel, Engel opaquely refers to “an airstrike” that caused the injury, but curiously doesn’t say whose airstrike it was. He then insists the doctor treating her wouldn’t be able to do so under the Islamic State, because she is female—thus turning the treatment of a victim of a US airstrike into evidence of why that airstrike was justified. Everything is reframed as pro–US bombing, even when highlighting the victims of said bombing.

Democracy Now!: Amnesty Accuses U.S. Coalition of War Crimes in Mosul

Democracy Now! (7/18/17) was one of the few outlets to cover Amnesty’s report on Mosul atrocities.

Can one imagine this frame in reporting on Russia’s siege of Aleppo? Can one imagine highlighting Syrian and Russian doctors, treating the very civilians their governments just bombed, in such an uncritical manner? Can one imagine the US media blaming all the deaths caused by Russian bombing as the sole fault of those occupying the city?  Unlike reporting on Aleppo (FAIR.org, 1/4/17), Engel makes no mention of civilian deaths caused by US bombs, no figures, no mention of war crimes, no mention of Trump’s open disregard for civilian casualties. It’s a breathless Pentagon press release that never questions the motives or effect of Trump’s bombing campaign.

Obviously, the two instances aren’t exactly the same, but the stark 180-degree difference in how the Russian and US sieges were covered is an object lesson in nationalistic ethos. Because ISIS is seen as an unmitigated evil, and the US as an unmitigated good, no death toll is too high. Indeed—no death toll is even worth mentioning. The Americans rode in, the baddies got theirs, and any costs to human life US bombing may have caused are incidental and unworthy of mention.

 

http://ift.tt/2vDC4GT Source: http://fair.org

‘There’s an Effort Around the Country to Curtail People’s Fundamental 1st Amendment Rights’

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Janine Jackson interviewed Mara Verheyden-Hilliard about the right to protest for the July 14, 2017, episode of CounterSpin. This is a lightly edited transcript.

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Washington Post: Lawyers alone can’t save us from Trump.

Washington Post (6/27/17)

Janine Jackson: A recent popular op-ed called on those engaged in resisting the Trump administration to stop counting so much on lawyers. “The fate of the nation cannot be left in the hands of the courts,” the piece, written by a lawyer, argued, and that’s solid advice. Popular action is what historically has moved the country forward.

But when people do go into the street and are arrested, what then? When they put their bodies on the line and the state creates a new law to criminalize that resistance, what then? Like it or not, the law is still one of the bigger tools in the box for Americans. So what does and doesn’t it do for us in the present moment?

Mara Verheyden-Hilliard is an activist and attorney. She’s co-founder and executive director of the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund. She joins us now by phone from Washington, DC. Welcome back to CounterSpin, Mara Verheyden-Hilliard.

Mara Verheyden-Hilliard: Thank you for having me.

JJ: Well, I’d like to start, if we could, with an update on the J-20, those arrested in inauguration protests in DC, who are facing what I’ve heard called unprecedented charges for demonstrators, felony charges that could lead to 75, 80 years in prison. One of those still facing charges is journalist Aaron Cantú, now at the Santa Fe Reporter, who has written for FAIR. We talked about the case in January. What should we know now about this ongoing story?

Mara Verheyden-Hilliard (image: WTTG)

Mara Verheyden-Hilliard: “There are millions of people who are engaging in political protest and political organizing who have never done so before.” (image: WTTG-TV)

MVH: This case is really of extraordinary proportions, when you look at what the government is doing to people who are engaged in protests on the first day that Trump took office. And it’s really in its own context significant, too, because of the major shift in policing in Washington, DC, which we believe is intended to send a signal.

What’s happened now is more than 200 people were swept up in a dragnet arrest by the police, and this occurred after the police had followed the demonstration for, by their own account, approximately half an hour, while there were some people who broke windows, only a handful of people. And rather than going in and arresting the people for whom they had probable cause to arrest, the police waited that arbitrary time, tracked and detained 200 people. And so they swept up demonstrators, passers-by, journalists, anyone who’s in proximity, anyone who is chanting and protesting.

And then they undertook this mass prosecution with the United States Attorney’s Office here in the District of Columbia, in which people are being threatened with, as you’ve mentioned, jail time that is decades and decades long, really a lifetime of jail time, with these felony charges. They are charging people en masse with crimes that may have happened, in terms of property damage, but charging everyone with crimes without particularized probable cause, without being able to point to a person and say, you committed this act and so we’re charging you for this act. They’re charging everyone in the vicinity for being in proximity.

This is extremely dangerous; it sets the stage that for any demonstration, if anyone commits a criminal act, an act of property damage, whether that be a protestor or, frankly, a police agent provocateur, the police can now use this as license, or they wish to, to sweep up everyone else around them.

JJ: This is what we talked about before. It’s not a crime, now, is it, to be in proximity to other people who break the law in conjunction with First Amendment activities?

MVH: Of course it’s not, and it cannot be. And the First Amendment has always stood for that, in fact, you cannot criminalize a person for the acts of another. And particularly in the context of the First Amendment, when it’s an issue where the connection is that there may be a sympathy of political views, one cannot do that. There are cases dating back, NAACP v. Claiborne Hardware and others, the courts said you have to act with precision. You cannot say that just because people have a similar point of view, or may have similar political goals, that those who carry out illegal acts or acts of violence in pursuit of those goals, that those acts can be attributed to the others who do not.

JJ: Right. These charges, at the level they’re at, it feels new, but we know that the effort to repress First Amendment expression is not new. The Supreme Court last month rejected a First Amendment case that dates from years back, Garcia v. Bloomberg. Can you tell us about that and how it relates?

Brooklyn Bridge march (cc photo: Mat McDermott)

Occupy Wall Street marchers on the Brooklyn Bridge, October 1, 2011. (cc photo: Mat McDermott)

MVH: The Garcia v. Bloomberg case comes from the Occupy demonstration of 2011, when 700 people were peacefully marching, compliant with police orders, there was no violence, and as people marched, the police escorted the march. The police themselves closed the Brooklyn Bridge roadway to vehicular traffic. The police and police commanders themselves opened up the roadway to pedestrian traffic. It is the police and police commanders who led the demonstrators onto the roadway of the Brooklyn Bridge, and once those demonstrators had flowed and followed behind the lead of the police, the police stopped the march, trapped them from behind, mass-arrested 700 people.

When we litigated this case, we won at the District Court level, we won at the Second Circuit, in fact. And then Mayor de Blasio, who had taken office, frankly, running on an Occupy ticket, had the court reevaluate the ruling, and the court, in an extraordinary measure, reversed itself. And we took this case up to the Supreme Court, and the Supreme Court just last month determined that they would not hear it.

JJ: Obviously, lots of folks are taking their lead from this, and kind of joining on this bandwagon. We have a spate of anti-protest legislation around the country, even UN experts are issuing alarmed statements now. Some 20 states have passed or tried to pass laws allowing protesters to be charged with conspiracy, increasing penalties for blocking streets, even protecting drivers who run protesters over, banning masks and hoodies…. I mean, is anyone really confused that the intent of these rules is to quash dissent, and doesn’t that thinly veiled intent matter?

MVH: It’s clear that there is an effort around the country to try, through legal means—although we would consider illegal means—to curtail people’s fundamental First Amendment rights to gather together in the streets, to be able to speak out in unified action.

I do think, as much as we’re seeing these kinds of restrictions imposed and these rulings, that at the same time it can obviously have a chilling effect on people, the reality is that people do always come out and people will continue to come out. And while this may be intended to have a chilling effect, it is really crucial that people stand up and speak out for what they believe in. And I do think the reason that we’re seeing these is because there is a growing recognition that there really is this fire of people, these embers burning, where we keep seeing people come up and demonstrating for what they believe in. We’re seeing so many more people entering political life, even since the election of Donald Trump. People are taking to the streets, protesting, who never protested before.

So while we’re faced with what is I think overt repression, both in terms of these felony prosecutions, these state laws, these court rulings, we also are faced with the fact that there are millions of people who are engaging in political protest and political organizing who have never done so before, and that’s a force that really can’t be stopped.

JJ: We’ve been speaking with Mara Verheyden-Hilliard of the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund. Find them online at JusticeOnline.org. Mara Verheyden-Hilliard, thank you very much for joining us today on CounterSpin.

MVH: Thank you for having me.

http://ift.tt/2u8OQxr Source: http://fair.org

Missile Defense Will Protect You From North Korea, Say USA Today’s Missile Defense-Funded Sources

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USA Today: US Racing to Quash N Korea Nuke Threat

USA Today (7/17/17) presents a few words from the missile defense industry.

“US Missile Defense Plans to Zap North Korean Threats” was the headline of a USA Today story (7/17/17)—or “US Racing to Quash N. Korean Nuke Threat,” in the print edition.

Strikingly, the piece contains no sources at all substantiating the “N. Korean nuke threat”: “North Korea’s rapid march to develop a nuclear-armed ballistic missile capable of striking the United States” is simply asserted in the lead, and later on the claim that “North Korea may be only a year or so away” from having missiles that “can hit anywhere in the world with a nuclear warhead” is backed up only by “according to US estimates.”

On the “US missile defense plans,” USA Today does have sources—mostly sources with a direct financial connection to the US missile defense program.

There’s Todd Harrison, director of the Aerospace Security Project at the Center for Security and International Studies (CSIS), who tells USA Today‘s Oren Dorell that “Missile defense buys you time and opens windows.”

The U.S. Missile Defense Agency tests the Arrow-3 interceptor with the Israel Missile Defense Organization. (photo: US Missile Defense Agency)

“BAE Systems, Raytheon, Northrop Grumman and others will design, develop and demonstrate new missile defense capabilities for the US Army.”—UPI (2/10/17)
(photo: US Missile Defense Agency)

That’s not all missile defense buys: Three of the biggest military contractors who shared in a $3 billion contract from the Department of Defense to develop missile defense systems (UPI, 2/10/17) are contributors to CSIS’s national security program, which includes the Aerospace Security Project: Northrop Grumman, which has given more than $200,000 (according to CSIS’s website); Raytheon, which has donated between $100,000 and $199,999; and BAE Systems (formerly British Aerospace and Marconi), which chipped in $35,000–$64,999. (As the New York Times has documented, with CSIS as a prime example, think tank scholars “often push donors’ agendas, amplifying a culture of corporate influence in Washington.”)

There’s also “retired Lt. Gen. Henry ‘Trey’ Obering III, a former head of the Missile Defense Agency who is now executive vice president at Booz Allen Hamilton”; later it’s clarified that Obering “heads the directed energy team at Booz Allen Hamilton”—in other words, his business is to sell to the Pentagon the kind of “smaller, more powerful and lighter” laser-based weapons that he tells USA Today are necessary to protect the United States from the North Korean threat. How quickly that protection will be in place is “based on how much money we’re putting into that program,” Obering says to the paper, sounding rather like a sports car dealer assuring a customer that you get what you pay for.

That’s all the quoted sources that the article has, aside from five words from Kingston Reif of the Arms Control Association, who says that building a missile interception system could create “increased risk of arms racing” with Russia and China. It’s the only note in the article that isn’t completely gung ho about missile defense—and it comes, uncoincidentally, from the only source in the article whose paycheck doesn’t at least partially depend upon missile defense contractors.


Messages to USA Today can be sent here or via Twitter (@USAToday). Remember that respectful communication is the most effective.

http://ift.tt/2tA1Z0B Source: http://fair.org

While Attacks in Israel Make Headlines, Humanitarian Crisis in Gaza Ignored

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Girl in Gaza (photo: UNICEF)

A Palestinian girl in Gaza looks out the window of her partially destroyed home. (photo: UNICEF)

The recent acute humanitarian crisis in Gaza—on top of the routine humanitarian crisis that defines everyday existence there—has gotten sparse coverage in US media over the past three weeks.

Israeli officials have cut off electricity to almost 2 million Gazans for all but three or four hours a day—in conjunction with nominal Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas, who has cut funding for Gaza’s electricity in an effort to punish his political rivals in Hamas. The Gaza Strip, which remains under effective Israeli control despite the 2005 withdrawal of Israeli troops, requires 450 megawatts daily, but since June has received only around 150 megawatts per day. The power cuts, according to UN humanitarian coordinator Robert Piper, severely undermine “critical functions in the health, water and sanitation sectors,” and have created a “looming humanitarian catastrophe.”

The vast majority of US media also ignored a devastating UN report published Tuesday, documenting the humanitarian conditions in Gaza over the past ten years.

Neither the electrical crisis nor the UN report has been covered by the New York Times, ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, MSNBC or Fox News—though the Times and ABC did run AP reports on the former.

The Washington Post  (6/22/17) reported on the electricity cuts just over three weeks ago, but made sure to note in their headline “it’s not all Israel’s fault.” The Post (7/12/17) also mentioned the Gaza electricity cuts in a broader piece, told from Israel’s perspective, about that country’s fears that “Hamas will go to war.”  NPR did not report on the electricity crisis, but unlike the Post, it did have a piece (7/11/17) on the UN report.

In stark contrast, an attack on two Israeli police officers in Jerusalem Thursday was reported by all the above outlets except MSNBC. The New York Times (7/14/17), ABC News (7/14/17), CBS News (7/14/17), NBC News (7/14/17), CNN (7/14/17), Fox News (7/14/17), all dedicated airtime and/or column inches to the shooting in the Old City.

Attacks on Israeli forces—even ones that occur, like this week’s strike, in illegally occupied territory—are framed as random acts of hate with no political context. None of the above reports on the Jerusalem attack made any mention of the increasingly dire situation in Gaza. Nor, even more conspicuously, was there any mention of Israel’s killing of two Palestinians in a West Bank refugee camp less than a day before.

The routine, “factored-in” suffering of Palestinians—even when ramped up to hellish levels—is barely worth a mention by US media. It just is. And when it is touched on, it’s generally framed as Hamas or the Palestinian Authority’s fault, with the broader role played by Israel’s devastating, 50-year-occupation downplayed or omitted.

http://ift.tt/2toHP9V Source: http://fair.org

Maurice Carney on Congo Crisis, Mara Verheyden-Hilliard on the Right to Protest

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Lawrence Kabila, John Kerry (photo: State Department)

Congo President Lawrence Kabila with then-US Secretary of State John Kerry. (photo: State Department)

This week on CounterSpin: The Democratic Republic of Congo is embroiled in economic crisis as well as the humanitarian disaster of violence between the government of Joseph Kabila and opposition forces. Elite US media give you a tired tale of a perennially war-torn African nation, with benevolent outsiders like the US looking to help. You’re right to suspect that reality is something different. Maurice Carney, co-founder and executive director of the group Friends of the Congo, will join us to talk about what’s going on.

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Anti-Trump protesters in DC (cc photo: Lorie Shaull)

(cc photo: Lorie Shaull)

Also on the show: A July Washington Post poll finds one out of every three DC residents say they’ve taken part in a protest against the president since his inauguration. The number includes half of the district’s white residents, half of people making more than $100,000 a year and a fifth of respondents over the age of 65. As more people go out in the street, states are rushing to criminalize that resistance. We’ll talk about the right to protest and the role of law in a time of widespread dissent with activist attorney Mara Verheyden-Hilliard, executive director of the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund.

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Plus a quick look back at recent press, including the “free market” healthcare mix, the opioid epidemic and a remembrance of anti-racism advocate Jack Shaheen.

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http://ift.tt/2tU0Ym8 Source: http://fair.org