Censorship, fake news, perception management

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Re: Censorship, fake news, perception management

Post by blindpig » Sat Mar 06, 2021 1:47 pm

MARCH 4, 2021
Purging Inconvenient Facts in Coverage of Biden’s ‘First’ Air Attacks


When the Biden administration bombed Syria on February 25, the attack killed “at least 22,” most of them members of Iraqi militias, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a London-based monitoring organization opposed to the Syrian government. The US said the bombing was retaliation for three rocket attacks on US bases in Iraq that it claims were carried out by groups allied with Iran (NBC, 2/25/21). In one of the attacks, rockets fired at Erbil airport killed a military contractor and an Iraqi civilian.

The US does not say that its airstrike on Syria was aimed at the group that carried out the Erbil attack, which, as the New York Times (2/26/21) reported,

was claimed by a previously unknown armed group calling itself the Guardians of the Blood. United States officials said it appeared to be affiliated with one or more of Iraq’s better-known militias, and Thursday’s strikes in Syria targeted facilities belonging to them.

Furthermore, the site that the US bombed in Syria “was not specifically tied to the rocket attacks” (CNN, 2/25/21).

A New York Times (2/25/21) report from Helene Cooper and Eric Schmitt ran with the headline, “US Airstrikes in Syria Target Iran-Backed Militias That Rocketed American Troops in Iraq.” However, the 11th paragraph of the article said that “little is known about” Guardians of the Blood, “including whether it is backed by Iran or related to the organizations that used the facilities the American airstrikes targeted on Thursday.”

Manufactured amnesia
The less clear the US population is about the frequency and scale of murderous violence its government carries out, the easier it is for the US ruling class to go about its wars. Fortunately for the US state, corporate media help manufacture collective amnesia by expunging US aggression from the record.

CNN’s Barbara Starr, Oren Liebermann and Nicole Gaouette (2/25/21) said the February 25 airstrikes “mark the US military’s first known action under President Joe Biden,” while their colleague Fareed Zakaria (GPS, 2/28/21) had a segment about them called “Biden’s First Military Action.” Christian Science Monitor (3/2/21) ran an editorial called “Biden’s First Use of Force Overseas.”

Yet not even a month before Biden bombed Syria, the US carried out an airstrike in Iraq that it said killed ISIS commander Jabbar Salman Ali Farhan al-Issawi and nine other ISIS fighters (New York Times, 1/29/21). Furthermore, Airwars, a nonprofit monitoring group affiliated with the University of London, suspects the US of carrying out or helping to carry out four bombings in Somalia in the period between Biden’s inauguration and the attack on Syria, killing 2–4 people in one case and 6–12 on two other occasions. The US military stopped disclosing its airstrikes in Afghanistan last year, but it is unlikely that military operations in the US’s longest overseas war came to a halt when Biden took office.

Purging inconvenient facts is another way of producing mass forgetfulness and confusion.

A Times article (2/26/21) by Ben Hubbard and Jane Arraf said that the US “targeted members of the Iran-backed militia Kataib Hezbollah and an affiliated group, the Guardians of the Blood,” and that Kataib Hezbollah has “repeated calls for the Iraqi government to expel US forces.” Based on this phrasing, readers could be forgiven for concluding that Kataib Hezbollah is the sole source of the demand that the US leave the country, and at no point do the authors mention that the Iraqi parliament voted to oust US forces more than a year ago (NPR, 1/6/20). Evidently Cooper and Schmitt decided that the presence of US troops in Iraq against the express will of the Iraqi legislature is not relevant context for understanding events that include rocket fire at those troops’ bases.

To praise Biden’s killings, corporate media pretended the US was fighting back against a bully. Max Boot of the Washington Post (2/26/21), writing that Biden “is passing his early tests with flying colors” and “is off to an excellent start,” claimed that “if Biden did nothing in response to the latest Iranian provocations, he would have risked sending a message of weakness that would have further emboldened Tehran.” In Boot’s opinion, “Biden ordered the right response: an airstrike on a Syrian base used by Iranian-backed militias.” He praised Biden for negotiating with Iran while simultaneously “engaging in a policy of active containment and deterrence to curb Iran’s destabilizing activities in the region,” which he characterized as “regional aggression.” (The Times‘ February 26 piece used similar language, writing that the prospect of a new nuclear deal with Iran is overshadowed by “the issue of Iran’s destabilizing activities across the Middle East.”)

Forget for a moment that no evidence has been provided that Iran was actually behind the relevant rocket attacks: Boot apparently doesn’t think he even has to say what “Iran’s destabilizing activities in the region” are, nor where its “regional aggression” takes place, let alone offer any proof for these claims. The US murdered an Iranian general who was revered in his country (FAIR.org, 1/21/20), invaded Iraq and causing the death of upward of 1 million people (Jacobin, 6/19/14), resupplied Israel with weaponry (Al Jazeera, 7/31/14) as it slaughtered more than 2,000 Palestinians in Gaza, played a central role in a war that has made Yemen home to the world’s worst humanitarian crisis (Middle East Eye, 11/17/17): For Boot, evidently, nothing on this nonexhaustive list of recent US crimes in the Middle East constitutes “regional aggression” or “destabilizing activities in the region” that need “active containment and deterrence.”

Boot was hardly the only journalist who rationalized the American bombing by portraying the US as acting defensively. The Post‘s Jennifer Rubin (2/28/21) said Biden had “responded forcefully” to “Iranian proxy attacks,” and thereby sent an “important…signal to Iran that the new administration will not look the other way on Tehran’s regional conduct simply to encourage discussion about” Iran’s nuclear power program.

Cooper and Schmitt (New York Times, 2/25/21) noted that the US dropped “seven 500-pound bombs” on Syria, and described this as Biden taking “a more measured response to the rocket fusillade in Erbil than Mr. Trump’s pitched campaign against Iran and past actions of its proxies in Iraq.”

Set aside the absurdity of calling dropping nearly two tons of bombs “measured”; set aside the lack of evidence of Iranian responsibility for the deaths at Erbil; set aside that the US doesn’t claim that it bombed the parties that fired the rockets that killed the contractor and the Iraqi civilian in Erbil, and assume for the sake of argument that Iran is behind those acts.

If that’s the case, Rubin, Cooper and Schmitt leave readers guessing as to how many people in the United States, or an allied country, the authors believe Iran is permitted to kill as part of a “measured response” to send an “important…signal” to the US that it must lift sanctions on Iran that are “targeting basic foodstuffs [and] lifesaving medicines” (Jadaliyya, 12/3/19) and killing cancer patients (Foreign Policy, 8/14/19). Rubin, Cooper and Schmitt are equally unclear as to what body count Iran may inflict, and how many thousands of pounds of bombs it may use, in a “measured response” to send an “important . . signal” to the American government that it has to stop its Israeli proxy from killing people who are seen as “national hero[es]” in Iran, as Israel did three months ago when it murdered Iranian nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh (New York Times, 11/29/20).

The pretense that the US defended itself by carrying out last week’s airstrikes also necessitates glossing over the fact that the country Washington actually bombed, Syria, is accused of neither sponsoring nor carrying out the rocket attacks on American bases in Iraq that should not be there in the first place. The articles I’ve examined all acknowledge that the US airstrikes hit Syria, but it’s remarkable how little attention they pay to the country, especially considering that the bombing was aimed at groups allied with the Syrian government in that country’s war, so the attack amounts to an intervention on behalf of anti-government forces there. Had the coverage paid more notice to how Biden’s bombing was carried out against a country that the US has helped to decimate (FAIR.org, 3/7/18; Electronic Intifada, 3/16/17), despite Syria not attacking or threatening to attack the US, the narrative that Biden was merely conducting a “response” to bad actors would have been that much more obviously threadbare.

Securing consent for running a lethal, worldwide empire requires unremitting propaganda: Redacting the historical record and playing the victim are two useful strategies.

Featured image: CNN‘s Oren Liebermann, Don Lemon and Arwa Damon (2/26/21) discussing what were not, in fact, the “first known strikes under President Biden.”

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Re: Censorship, fake news, perception management

Post by blindpig » Mon Mar 15, 2021 11:55 am

Russia is ready to respond to the censorship of the West with its censorship
Russians will pay to control themselves

Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said that it was the West that pushed Russia to regulate the Internet. According to her, the West demonstrates "absolutely immoral behavior on the Internet" , and therefore there is no need to look back at "certain principles . " The official promised the Russians a whole package of documents that would “guard and protect” the audience ... Who and from whom will the new measures of the Russian authorities actually protect? Let's try to figure it out.


Quoting Zakharova's words, the media are referring to the program "Sunday Evening with Vladimir Solovyov" , which is to be aired tonight. Talking to a well-known propagandist, Zakharova (according to RIA Novosti ) stated the following:
“They block our accounts, they block documentaries, block information channels, decide what can be watched from the Crimea 24 channel and what is not. They demonstrate with their own hands absolutely immoral behavior in the network ... They themselves accelerated what we did not dare to do for a long time, we all the time felt some awkwardness that it was time to introduce regulatory measures ... We listened all the time: how will this be perceived, will we not violate certain principles ourselves? Let us not violate, because they have long been destroyed by this very collective West ... "
The reason for such statements was the recent actions of the media giants: YouTube (owned by Google ) imposed restrictions on the viewing of the Russian propaganda film “Crimea. The way home ” , and Instagram (owned by Facebook ) partially blocked the account of the Crimea 24 TV channel. All this evokes a seemingly natural response.


However, the measures taken by the Russian authorities go far beyond countering Western censorship. In early February, Dmitry Medvedev declared Russia's readiness to turn off the Internet . The recently adopted law on the "sovereign Internet" provides, in fact, direct control of the Russian segment of the Internet by Roskomnadzor . Moreover, this entire segment is already supplied with special DPI equipment.(Deep Packet Inspection), which can censor in real time, i.e. analyze all data of all users of the Runet and block "unwanted" content. And also, of course, take on pencil those subscribers who are interested in the wrong thing. Added to this is the obligation of telecom operators to store all correspondence , calls and Internet traffic of Russians for the "competent authorities".

The struggle of the Russian authorities with social networks has a direct internal political overtones. Artificial flooding of hostile propagandists (be they Western speakers or Western-led Russian liberals) creates a most-favored-nation treatment for the Kremlin's propagandists. It is also easy to see that under the flag of fighting the Western censorship, the Russian state is taking surveillance of its own citizens to a new technical level, establishing total control over the statements and sentiments of Russians. At the same time, the "regulation" of the Internet makes it possible to strengthen the control of information flows for political purposes; for example, when popular protests broke out in Ingushetia at the end of 2018 , telecom operators from the Big Three cut off their mobile Internet on the territory of the republic.

At the same time, the "sovereignization" of the Internet will lead to a decrease in its quality: the connection will become slower and more unstable. A good example is the Runet accident that happened in the spring of 2019 due to debugging of DPI equipment. And, of course, communication will become (more precisely, it is already becoming) more expensive . As usual, the Russians themselves must pay for all restrictive measures against Russians.


If events develop in the same way, then the prospect will be full control of information (including political information) that the citizens of our country will be able to receive, as well as blocking of all somewhat disloyal information resources. Back in 2017, the legal framework was created to ban VPN technology and the Tor network - real tools for circumventing censorship. There is no doubt that, having new technological capabilities, the "prohibitors" will certainly go further.

Use anonymizers, take care of your data. We remind you that our site has a mirror in the Tor network .

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Re: Censorship, fake news, perception management

Post by blindpig » Wed Mar 17, 2021 1:28 pm

New Cold War is Built on Humanitarian Interventionist Lies and Dismissal of Actual War Crimes

To manufacture consent for its own constant aggressions the US claims its competitors are guilty of even greater crimes – sheer inventions that never happened.

“Humanitarian interventionist lies represent the most dangerous form of misinformation currently fueling the U.S.’s New Cold War.”

A revolutionary’s first commitment is to the truth. But deciphering the truth has become a difficult task in the United States, not least because the misinformation apparatus is both enormous and tied directly to the imperatives of imperialist state itself. Whatever separation that existed between the military industrial complex and the U.S. corporate media is a thing of the past.

U.S. imperialism has spent much of the last decade gradually escalating a New Cold War with China and the media has manufactured consent for each and every one of its aggressive policies. A new Gallup poll revealed that 80 percent of the U.S. public possess a negative opinion of China. Only Iran and the DPRK, two of the most villainized nations of the U.S. propaganda machine, are viewed with more disdain among Americans.

The U.S. public is bombarded with anti-China media headlines from across the political spectrum. Humanitarian interventionist lies represent the most dangerous form of misinformation currently fueling the U.S.’s New Cold War. Most prominent is the fable that a “genocide” is being committed against Muslims in China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region.

“Whatever separation that existed between the military industrial complex and the U.S. corporate media is a thing of the past.”

This month, CNN published a report from the Newslines Institute that claims to independently verify “genocide” in Xinjiang for the first time. The report offered no revelations beyond claims that have already been regurgitated for several years by dubious sources such as Radio Free Asia and Adrian Zenz , a far-right Christian fundamentalist who believes it is his God-given mission to take down the Communist Party of China.

The Newsline Institute is itself a dubious source of information. The head of the Washington-based think tank, Ahmed Alwani , is a former advisor to the U.S. African Command. It should be noted that the U.S. African Command was a leading force in the U.S.-NATO overthrow of Libya in 2011—an intervention which relied upon the same Muslim Brotherhood-backed proxies linked to Alwani . Managing Editor Robin Blackburn is a former editor for Stratfor, a private intelligence firm known as the “Shadow CIA.”

“The head of the Newsline Institute is a former advisor to the U.S. African Command.”

Whether it is the tens of millions of dollars that the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) has poured into the World Uyghur Congress or the unknown sums flowing from military contractors to the coffers of the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI), it is clear that the sources peddling humanitarian interventionist narratives in the U.S. corporate media are far from trusty worthy. This hasn’t stopped the Joe Biden administration from endorsing the “genocide” narrative for the purposes of rebranding the New Cold War.

While some believed Biden would reduce tensions with China, the temperature of the New Cold War has risen in recent weeks following the latest militarist maneuvers of new administration. Earlier this month, 27.4 billion USD was requested by the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command for an “anti-China missile network” that would run along key islands on China’s border such as Okinawa, Taiwan, and the Philippines. Biden joined the anti-China “Quad” alliance of Japan, India, and Australia on March 12th for the first international summit of his tenure as U.S. president. The alliance was given new life under the Trump administration after more than a decade of inactivity. That Biden would choose the “Quad” as his first summit sends a clear message that the U.S.-led New Cold War on China will continue under the pretext of strengthening alliances and addressing “humanitarian” concerns.

“The temperature of the New Cold War has risen following the latest militarist maneuvers of new administration.”

Humanitarian interventionism renders the U.S. empire’s maneuvers mundane to the passive observer. The truth, however, is that humanitarian interventionism masks the actual war crimes committed by the United States and its imperial lackies. Repeated claims of “genocide” in China or “chemical weapons” in Syria are held to a far higher level of import than the verifiable genocide being committed against the Palestinians by the U.S.’s top ally in Israel or the tens of thousands of Venezuelans who have died from the impact of U.S. sanctions. Not one minute in the U.S. press is spent on the millions of deaths produced from the quarter century-long invasion of the Democratic Republic of the Congo by U.S.-sponsored regimes in Rwanda and Uganda or the tens of millions dead or displaced in the aftermath of the U.S.-led invasions of Libya and Syria beginning in 2011.

It would still be too simple to characterize humanitarian interventionism as a mere cover for war crimes in service of U.S. hegemony. The mixture of humanitarianism with the act of war itself oozes of American exceptionalism. The U.S. empire is assumed to be the pinnacle of civilization in possession of a deep capacity to bring about enlightenment even through the most violent of methods. A common sense is developed where there is nothing in the empire’s track record, past or present, which can arouse scrutiny of its humanitarian ambitions. U.S. hegemony is neither desired nor opposed; it just is.

“The mixture of humanitarianism with the act of war itself oozes of American exceptionalism.”

Behind the illusion of strength rests a foundation of systemic decay. Humanitarian interventionism not only rebrands war crimes as human rights operations but also erases the true motivations behind them. The U.S. has grown accustomed to pursuing humanitarian wars in moments when its interests are threatened. In 2014, Obama intensified U.S. support for violent rightwing opposition figures and sanctions against Venezuela once it became clear that the death of Hugo Chavez would not mark the end of the Bolivarian Revolution. The Syrian government has been accused multiple times of using chemical weapons on civilians since 2016 despite being in the most favorable position to defeat U.S. and other foreign-backed proxies since the war began over a decade ago.

Enter China. China has contained the COVID-19 pandemic and is the only major economy posting positive growth amid a global depression. Furthermore, the instability that once wracked China’s Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region has ceased to exist thanks to the efforts of the government in curbing terrorism and alleviating poverty. Stability and growth have allowed China to move forward on its plans to develop a massive publicly financed global trade network through the Belt and Road Initiative .

Calls for humanitarian interventionism have grown louder as the U.S.’s decline continues to run parallel to China’s rise on the world stage. Whether the New Cold War turns into a hot war will not be determined by the U.S.’s restraint in the realm of politics. History has proven that the U.S. empire is built to destroy. Rather, the question of war and peace will be determined by how much grassroots opposition can be developed against the bogus humanitarian narratives driving the lust for U.S. interventionism in the 21st century.

Danny Haiphong is a contributing editor to Black Agenda Report and co-author of the book “American Exceptionalism and American Innocence: A People's History of Fake News- From the Revolutionary War to the War on Terror.” Follow his work on Twitter @SpiritofHo and on YouTube as co-host with Margaret Kimberley of Black Agenda Report Present's: The Left Lens. You can support Danny at www.patreon.com/dannyhaiphong

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Most Americans don't give a rat's ass about people in other countries, especially the Global South. For the Right it is mere lip service, they don't care, but the liberals really swallow that crap because they think they're supposed to despite their personal antipathy. And don't get me started about Western environmentalists...
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Re: Censorship, fake news, perception management

Post by blindpig » Wed Mar 24, 2021 2:32 pm

To Western Media, Prosecuting Bolivian Coup Leaders Is Worse Than Leading a Coup


Guardian: Cycle of retribution takes Bolivia's ex-president from palace to prison cell
The Guardian (3/17/21) pretends not to understand the difference between overthrowing a government and arresting someone for overthrowing a government.

One can imagine an editor of the London-based Guardian (3/17/21) shaking her head sadly as she typed the headline: “Cycle of Retribution Takes Bolivia’s Ex-President From Palace to Prison Cell.” The subhead told readers, “Jeanine Áñez’s government once sought to jail the country’s former leader Evo Morales for terrorism and sedition—now she faces the same charges.”

The Guardian article by Tom Phillips wants us to lament an alleged incapacity of Bolivian governments to stop persecuting opponents once they take office. We are told that Áñez’s government did it, and that now the government of President Luis Arce (elected in a landslide win on October 18, 2020) is also doing it.

The article’s premise is a lie, and the liberal Guardian has hardly been the only outlet spreading it, with help from Jose Miguel Vivanco, Americas director of Human Rights Watch (HRW), whom Philips quoted. A team effort between Western media and NGOs like HRW often reinforces the views of the US government (FAIR.org, 8/23/18, 8/31/18, 5/31/2o, 11/3/18).

Áñez was a US-backed dictator installed after a military coup sent democratically elected President Evo Morales fleeing Bolivia for his life on November 10, 2019. Once in power, Áñez immediately promised security forces legal immunity as they massacred dozens of protesters. She is now charged with terrorism (in addition to sedition and criminal conspiracy) over her attempt to keep power by terrorizing the public. Her arrest is good news to people who support democracy and human rights.

But now, as when the coup took place in 2019, the most obvious conclusions are evaded when they are incompatible with US foreign policy (FAIR.org, 11/11/19). It should surprise nobody that US officials have made statements depicting her arrest as political persecution.

Fighting to spring an ex-dictator
In downgrading the coup that installed Áñez to a mere allegation made against Áñez, Reuters (3/13/21), the Financial Times (3/13/21), the Washington Post (3/13/21), CNN (3/15/21) and Canada’s National Post (3/13/21) have all run articles quoting HRW’s Vivanco criticizing her arrest. CNN quoted him:

The arrest warrants against Añez and her ministers do not contain any evidence that they have committed the crime of “terrorism.” For this reason, they generate well-founded doubts that it is a process based on political motives.

The Washington Post article, whose headline alleged a “crackdown on opposition,” used a shorter version of the same quote from Vivanco.

While all the articles described the coup as an allegation, CNN stands out for getting the most ridiculous with its denialism:

Then-head of the Bolivian Armed Forces, Cmdr. Williams Kaliman, asked Morales to step down to restore stability and peace; Morales acquiesced on November 10 “for the good of Bolivia.”

But political allies maintain he was removed from power as part of a coup orchestrated by conservatives, including Áñez.

Did Kaliman need to be filmed putting a gun directly to Morales’ head for CNN to admit it was a coup?

Adding to the disinformation loop from his own platform on Twitter, Vivanco spread an Americas Quarterly op-ed by Raul Peñaranda (3/16/21) that denounced the arrest of Áñez. Peñaranda once said that Bolivia’s democracy was “saved” the day Morales was overthrown, and his recent op-ed depicts the November 2019 coup as a legal transfer of power.

In 2019, the military publicly “urged” Morales to resign, as both the military and police made clear they would not protect him from violent right-wing protesters, some of whom ransacked his house. Áñez, a right-wing senator whose party received only 4% of the national vote in the 2019 legislative elections, had the presidential sash placed on her by military men, while lawmakers from Evo Morales’ party (Movimineto al Socialismo, or MAS), the majority in the legislature, were absent: some in hiding, others refusing to attend without guarantees of their safety and their families’.

Ignoring all that, the Guardian article by Tom Philips refers to “claims the former senator [Áñez] was involved in plotting the right-wing coup that Bolivia’s current government claims brought her to power.” (My emphasis.) Editors are usually big fans of concision. The highlighted words should have been deleted. An added benefit would have been accuracy.

Of course, it’s easier to deny that Áñez was involved in plotting the coup that put her in power (hardly a stretch) if you do not even accept that a coup took place. Reuters placed scare quotes around the word “coup” in headlines about Áñez’s arrest: “Bolivian Ex-President Áñez Begins Four-Month Detention Over ‘Coup’ Allegations” (3/16/21); “ Bolivian Ex-President Áñez Begins Jail Term as Rights Groups Slam ‘Coup’ Probe” (3/14/21).

Reuters (3/14/21) and CNN (3/15/21) also uncritically reported the thoroughly debunked pretext for the coup. CNN reported, “Though an international audit would later find the results the 2019 election could not be validated because of ‘serious irregularities,’ [Morales] declared himself the winner, prompting massive protests around the country.” (The “international audit” is the OAS’s widely debunked report.) Reuters simply stated that the Organization of America States (OAS) “was an official monitor of the 2019 election and had found it fraudulent.”

Cycle of dishonesty
WaPo: The Bolivian government is on a lawless course. Its democracy must be preserved.
The “lawless course” that the Washington Post (3/18/21) is referring to is prosecuting the people who overthrew the elected Bolivian government and killed people who protested the coup.

The coup was incited by transparently dishonest claims repeatedly made by OAS monitors about the presidential election won by Morales on October 20, 2019. Three days after the election, they claimed there was a “drastic,” “inexplicable” and “hard to explain” increase in Morales’ lead in the vote count (FAIR.org, 12/17/19).

The Washington, DC–based Center for Economic and Policy Research immediately pointed out that this was utter nonsense. But in the crucial months following Morales’ ouster, outlets like Reuters constantly shielded the OAS from devastating criticism. Eventually, expert criticism of the OAS continually mounted and disrupted the media silence. Details from the election results in 2020, in which Evo Morales’ party triumphed by an even greater margin than in 2019, further exposed OAS dishonesty.

Like Reuters, the widely quoted Jose Miguel Vivanco of HRW spread fraud claims when it mattered most in 2019. The day after the election won by Morales, Vivanco tweeted in Spanish that “everything indicates that [Evo Morales] intends to steal the election.” As late as December 2019, HRW executive director Ken Roth was also promoting OAS claims without the slightest trace of scepticism. Months into the murderous illegitimate rule of Áñez, Vivanco explicitly referred to Bolivia as a “democracy.” He did so in a Spanish-language interview with BrujulaDigital (5/15/20), an outlet edited by Raul Peñaranda, the coup supporter whose Americas Quarterly op-ed Vivanco recently promoted on Twitter. Meanwhile, on Twitter, Vivanco constantly refers to the governments of President Nicolás Maduro in Venezuela, and President Daniel Ortega in Nicaragua–two democratically elected presidents the US government wants overthrown–as “dictaduras” (dictatorships).

The New York Times editorial board openly supported the coup that ousted Morales in 2019:

The forced ouster of an elected leader is by definition a setback to democracy, and so a moment of risk. But when a leader resorts to brazenly abusing the power and institutions put in his care by the electorate, as President Evo Morales did in Bolivia, it is he who sheds his legitimacy, and forcing him out often becomes the only remaining option. That is what the Bolivians have done, and what remains is to hope that Mr. Morales goes peacefully into exile in Mexico and to help Bolivia restore its wounded democracy.

So predictably enough, a Times article (3/12/21) about the recent Áñez arrest referred vaguely to the utterly debunked OAS fraud claims (“a contested vote count”) and took the same kind of dishonest stance as HRW and other Western media by equating a US-backed dictatorship to a democratically elected government whose ouster the US supported: “Both Mr. Morales and Ms. Añez used the judiciary to go after their critics.”

The Washington Post editorial board (3/18/21) came out with a wild defense of Añez, headlined: “The Bolivian Government Is on a Lawless Course. Its Democracy Must Be Preserved.” Most ominously, the editorial said, “The Biden administration should lead a regional effort to preserve democratic stability in this long-suffering country, lest crisis turn into catastrophe.” Informed people may laugh at this for a few seconds–until they remember that Bolivia’s people could eventually face lethal US sanctions for daring to hold murderers to account. Left unchallenged, that’s the catastrophe that propaganda like this could bring about.

Brutal dictators supported by Washington have no reason to doubt that establishment journalists and big NGOs will try very hard to keep them out of jail. Removing the threat of US -backed coups from the world will involve a constant struggle against Western media and the sources they present to us as reliable.

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Re: Censorship, fake news, perception management

Post by blindpig » Sat Mar 27, 2021 2:56 pm

MARCH 26, 2021
Atlanta Murders Reporting Relied on Law Enforcement Narratives

Atlanta Journal-Constitution photo of murder scene

Gunman Rob Aaron Long opened fire in three Asian-owned spas in the Atlanta, Georgia area on March 16, 2021, killing Yong Ae Yue, Hyun Jung Grant, Suncha Kim, Soon Chung Park, Delaina Ashley Yuan, Xiaojie Tan, Daoyou Feng and Paul Andre Michels.* Six of the eight victims were Asian women.

At local and national levels, the initial media response focused primarily on the gunman’s story and police statements. Reports linked the targeted businesses to sex work with insubstantial documentation, but struggled to identify if and how race and gender motivated the gunman.


The Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s report (3/17/21) began with a large photo of the gunman, citing several statements from him without questioning the reliability of his narrative. The shooter claimed that the targeted businesses were the types he frequented and “a temptation he wanted to eliminate,” without explaining what that meant or how it could possibly justify eight murders. Most of the article described the police investigation.

The Journal-Constitution also printed Cherokee Sheriff Captain Jay Baker’s news conference statement describing the shooter as “pretty much fed up and had been, kind of, at the end of his rope. And yesterday was a really bad day for him, and this is what he did” without questioning that statement, though his comments have since been deleted from the article following public backlash.

Screenshot from Atlanta Journal-Constitution (3/17/21; via Wayback Machine)

Screenshot from same Atlanta Journal-Constitution story (3/23/21)

The New York Times (3/18/21) reports on the murder suspect’s “sex addiction.”

ABC News (3/17/21) begins with the shooter’s statement to police that he “has a sex addiction,” includes interviews with multiple police departments and refers to his sex addiction multiple times. Cherokee County Sheriff Frank Reynolds said the shooter may have “frequented these places in the past,” without explaining what “these places” are or presenting evidence for why he thought the targeted businesses were “these places.” The article mentions the shooter targeting “some kind of porn industry,” without explaining what that has to do with the targeted spas. Though the report discusses fear of violence among Asian Americans, the only Atlanta-area community member interviewed was a neighboring business owner who is not Asian-American.

The BBC’s report (3/18/21) said officials could not confirm if the attacks were racially motivated, and stated the shooter’s claim of having a “sex addiction.” The first section of the report is “What did police say?” The Daily Beast’s full profile of the gunman (3/17/21) included an interview with an anonymous source who described him as “very innocent seeming and…big into religion,” and included interviews with his youth pastor, and several police statements. CNN (3/18/21) interviewed his grandmother and dedicated an entire section to the shooter being “distraught” and “tortured” by his “sex addiction,” and “emotional” due to family strife.

Though coverage universally noted the race of the victims and anti-Asian racism, reports presented the shooter’s claim that “the crimes were not racially motivated” multiple times without questioning the reliability of this claim, or providing the context that race and gender can still be contributing factors even if that isn’t explicitly conscious in the mind of the perpetrator.

Overall, English-language corporate media parroted the law enforcement narrative while omitting an eyewitness account that would have countered it. Korea Times Atlanta (3/18/21), a local Korean-language newspaper, published a Gold Spa employee’s report that the gunman’s racial motivation was clearly expressed (translated from Korean):
Gold Spa Employee A contacted four nearby Korean-owned businesses to warn them and stated that the perpetrator stated that he will “kill all the Asians” before shooting.
Most media outlets—AP (3/17/21) was a notable exception—did not investigate the definition or validity of “sex addiction.” It is not recognized as a mental health disorder, nor are there any known correlations between sex addiction and violence.

At the time of the reporting, the primary evidence that linked any of the businesses to sex work was an online site identifying and reviewing erotic massage parlors and the gunman’s “sex addiction” claim, though none of the businesses had criminal records or were under investigation. Reports like USA Today’s (3/17/21) presented these insubstantial associations as evidence without verifying the reliability of this website, or the men who anonymously post on it.

The New York Times (3/19/21) has since reported sex work-related arrests at Gold Spa between 2011 and 2014. However, these were arrests of individuals and not an indictment of the business itself. The end of the report mentions “it is unclear who owned the spa at the time of the arrests” 7-10 years ago, but the sensationalist headline, and the earlier focus on the murders and shooter’s “sex addiction,” nevertheless impute criminality. The concluding paragraph also connects the spa to human trafficking without presenting evidence:

Several of the reports show that the women who were arrested had listed the spa as both their work and home addresses. Human trafficking advocates have said that women who work at illicit Asian massage spas are often coerced into performing sexual work, and live in a state of essential indentured servitude.

Even after the swift public censure of the initial media response, investigative reporting focused on trying to connect the targeted businesses with sex work and trafficking, rather than following up on the Korean-language lead related to the racial motivation of the shooter, or seeking out Asian-American witnesses in the community.

Overreliance on police sources

Racist T-shirt promoted by Cherokee County sheriff’s department spokesperson Jay Baker.

The overreliance of media on police reports and statements to report on crimes (FAIR.org, 10/10/18, 7/11/16) too often makes crime reporting a mouthpiece for law enforcement who are demonstrably biased.

Rich Phelps identified a Facebook post in which Captain Jay Baker posted his purchases of shirts that say “COVID 19/Imported Virus From CHY-NA.” The next day, the Daily Beast (3/18/21) identified that Baker bought these shirts from a former Cherokee County deputy.

One major facet of anti-Asian racism is the association of Asians with infectious disease. Chinese immigrants have long been medical scapegoats in the West, blamed for various 19th century epidemics. Sinophobic and racist COVID-19 reporting is a continuation of centuries of this scapegoating.

The New York Times ran months of racist, Sinophobic, inaccurate reports on COVID-19, many of which FAIR critiqued. These include a piece (1/28/20) citing bats sold in “wet markets” as the source of the virus, a claim that has since been debunked by scientists; an op-ed (2/20/20) that referenced Confucius and pushed the racist trope that torturing and eating wild animals is an integral part of Chinese culture; and an article (3/18/20) that called China the “authoritarian incubator of a pandemic,” supporting White House efforts to deflect blame away from its own poor handling of the outbreak. This perception of Chinese people as a contaminant is reflected in the biohazard symbol imagery of Baker’s shirt.

Baker’s racism shouldn’t be surprising, given the long, documented history of police racism in the US. Many police departments in the US dismiss sex worker murders and rapes, labeling them as NHI, or “no human involved.” It is a racist, sexist and classist term used to describe crimes against victims not worth investigating. Transgender, undocumented migrants, and women of color are especially at risk of sex work-related police suspicion and police violence.

The connection of Asian women to sex work, particularly sex trafficking, has a long history as a tool for race-based immigration exclusion of Asians in America. Since the 1860s, exploitative and orientalist journalism paired the morality of slavery abolition with the language of infectious disease to racialize Asian women as both complicit sex slaves and temptresses who would infect and corrupt white, Christian America with their “moral racial pollution” of illicit sexuality. This enabled public support for morality- and conduct-based legislation, like California’s Anti-Prostitution Act of 1870, to target Asian women and prevent Asian immigrants from forming families and establishing communities in the US.

Eventually, these racist popular beliefs enabled the passage of the Page Act of 1875, the first federal law regulating immigration, which was used to bar immigration of Chinese women and set the legal precedent for later race-based immigration exclusion, like the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, which ended the import of all Chinese labor; and eventually to the Barred Zone Act of 1917, which expanded the immigration ban to include a variety of East Asian, Southeast Asian, South Asian and Polynesian nations. They were perpetuated by decades of US imperialism and militarism, and today, the trope of Asian women as trafficked sex workers is used to police and deport immigrants.

The assumption that all Asian spa workers are sex workers, combined with existing police bias that sex workers “are no longer considered a part of the human race,” also contributed to the police dismissal of the murder victims. In the context of NHI, the implication is that it is fine to kill these particular people because they’re not really considered people.

Reports that framed the victims positively disassociated them from sex work, reinforcing the belief that sex work is shameful (USA Today, 3/18/21; Yahoo!, 3/19/21). Yahoo!’s report characterized one victim as “very invested in becoming an American,” which reinforces the perception that Asians are perpetual foreigners. These women are deserving of sympathy and respect regardless of their work or desire to assimilate.

Defaulting to law enforcement narratives is especially harmful when it involves reporting on crimes that may meet the requirements qualifying for a hate crime charge. Hate crime legislation is a legal designation that varies state by state, with what protected classes are covered and what the criminal penalties involve. Three states have no hate crime laws at all.

The strict legal and evidentiary requirements to charge an offense as a hate crime should not be conflated with whether a perpetrator had racist or other bigoted intent, or if they acted based on implicit biases. But this conflation is exactly what has happened with crime reporting relying on law enforcement, and has perpetuated a pattern of reporting that downplays racial motivation in a crime until law enforcement makes an explicit legal determination.

Beginning to center victims’ stories

CJR (3/23/21): “Korean-language local media outlets including Atlanta K, the Korea Times Atlanta and Korea Daily were uniquely positioned to cover the shooting.”

Reports such as those in USA Today (3/18/21), Yahoo! News (3/19/21) and the Daily Beast (3/19/21) are beginning to center the victims’ families and stories, but to date, the authors have not seen any reports in English-language media outlets interviewing the Gold Spa employee eyewitness, anyone from the four businesses he contacted, nor anyone from the Korea Times Atlanta who have information directly related to the case.

Columbia Journalism Review (3/23/21) interviewed Sang Yeon Lee, President of Atlanta K, another Korean-language news outlet in Atlanta. He noted that the public may never know their stories due to the initial media stigmatization:
Survivors, who have long lived under the radar—fearful of losing their livelihoods and immigration statuses—feel discouraged from talking publicly. “Unless they have immense courage, it’s improbable for these women to want to put themselves out there,” Lee says.
Media that relied on law enforcement sources perpetuated police biases and downplayed the racial motivation of the Atlanta murders. This then led to further omission and silencing of the vulnerable Korean frontline workers of the Atlanta community, even as media spotlights anti-Asian racism in America more generally nationwide.

Moreover, the Asian American Journalists Association released a statement (3/18/21) about Asian journalists being sidelined in reporting on these events:
Since the shootings, we have heard some deeply concerning problems in newsrooms across the country, including in Atlanta.

“Are you sure your bias won’t show if you cover the Atlanta shootings?”

“You might be too emotionally invested to cover this story.”
Empowering the journalists who have the cultural competency and language skills needed to cover Asian communities would have led to richer reporting and a fuller narrative of what happened on March 16. Journalists with the expertise to understand the context of racialized misogyny would be better equipped to avoid normalizing the racism and sexism that reduced Asian women to sexuality as a form of dehumanization. Instead, reporters spoke with more police departments than Asian witnesses, and we are left with the statement of the shooter who had just confessed to murder: “The crimes were not racially motivated.”

* In the press release disclosing the victims’ identities, the medical examiner’s office mistakenly abbreviated the second syllable of the Korean women’s names as though they were middle names, rather than part of their first names. News outlets initially passed on this misnaming.

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Re: Censorship, fake news, perception management

Post by blindpig » Wed Mar 31, 2021 2:08 pm


The Fact that Americans Think Biden has Changed Things Shows how Narrative Rules our World
March 30, 2021
By Caitlin Johnstone – Mar 29, 2021

Nothing of significance has changed since Trump left office, apart from the narratives about how much things have changed.

The wars are still going. Washington is still the hub of an oligarchic globe-spanning empire. Americans are still being impoverished and propagandized into political impotence by an unfathomably wealthy plutocracy. Sanctions are still squeezing people to death in Venezuela, Syria, Iran and North Korea. The world’s worst mass atrocity is still continuing in Yemen. The kids are still in cages. Authoritarian creep continues to metastasize. All the old abuses roll on completely uninterrupted, along the same trajectories they were on before.

If you were to take the entire US-centralized power structure and assess its overall behavior as a whole, you would find that the actual behavioral changes amount to the tiniest fraction of a single percentile of the total. If you’d just been analyzing the raw data without looking at the news stories, you’d see that the money, troops, weapons and resources have continued to move in more or less the same ways after January 20th as they were moving before.

What has changed is the narratives, the stories that Americans are being fed by those who are responsible for controlling the way people think, act, organize, and vote. If you are a Democrat, you have been hearing that the country is now a thousand percent better without the Orange Menace in charge. If you are a Republican, you’ve been hearing that it’s a thousand percent worse. In reality, in terms of the overall operation of the empire both domestically and internationally, hardly anything of significance has changed apart from the narrative overlay.

Which is not to say that nothing of significance has changed. It is significant that US liberals are no longer being psychologically pummelled with hysterical narratives about a looming fascist takeover and their government being infiltrated at its highest levels by Kremlin operatives. This relentless barrage of emotional intensity has been literally making people sick, and the fact that they are no longer being psychologically abused in this way is not insignificant.

So the actual US empire is chugging along in essentially the same way it was before Trump left office, but people’s actual quality of life is different anyway, simply because they are being fed different narratives by the mass media. They truly feel inside as though they are living in a very different America now than they were prior to January 20th, even though as far as the real world is concerned they most certainly are not.

And this is just such a perfect illustration of how pervasively human consciousness is dominated by mental narrative.

So much of our society is made out of mental stories in our heads. Identity, language, etiquette, social roles, opinions, ideology, religion, ethnicity, philosophy, agendas, rules, laws, money, economics, jobs, hierarchies, politics, government–these are all made-up conceptual constructs with no existence in the physical world, no existence outside our shared stories we’ve come to collectively regard as true.

Our society is made up of collective narratives, and our experience is dominated by mental narrative as well. The majority of most people’s interest and attention from moment to moment goes not to the raw data their senses are feeding their brains about the material world, but to thought. To mental chatter about a “me” character (which is itself ultimately just another conceptual construct) and all its adventures real and imagined, what it wants and what it doesn’t want, who has wronged it and who has won its approval. For most people, present-moment awareness of their actual surroundings is largely eclipsed by mental narrative the majority of the time.

So both externally and internally, human life is dominated by narrative to a truly massive extent. Is it any wonder, then, that the cleverest and greediest of humans expend so much effort working to determine what our society’s dominant narratives will be?

From news media propaganda to Hollywood to internet censorship to government secrecy to think tanks to Bellingcat to Wikipedia entries, vast fortunes are continuously poured into controlling the dominant worldwide narratives by the power structures who benefit from them. This narrative management campaign is so far-reaching and ubiquitous that even highly intelligent people are swept up in its manipulations, simply because they are receiving the same narratives from so many different sources and receive insufficient contradictory input to create doubt in them.

The dominant narratives all tell us the same few things over and over again. Capitalism is working great. Your government is your friend. The governments who oppose your government are bad. The so-called “liberal world order” is a planetary status quo of nonstop murderous imperialism, exploitative neoliberalism and ecocidal capitalism running underneath a propaganda soundtrack babbling endlessly about how everything is fine and it’s going to get better any minute now.

And it’s all lies, half-truths and distortions. The status quo is killing, oppressing and exploiting human beings all around the world while rapidly destroying our ecosystem and putting us on an increasingly dangerous collision course with nuclear war. We will transcend our enslavement to mental narrative and evolve into a mature species with a mature relationship with its recently evolved capacity for abstract thought, or we will continue on our self-destructive trajectory until we meet an unpleasant end.

Featured image: File Photo.

(Caitlin Johnstone.com)

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Re: Censorship, fake news, perception management

Post by blindpig » Thu Apr 01, 2021 2:48 pm

False Assertions, Misleading Quotes, Fake Sources - How The NYT Writes Anti-China Screeds
This, from yesterday's New York Times, is supposed to be a news piece:

An Alliance of Autocracies? China Wants to Lead a New World Order.

Written by Steven Lee Myers, the NYT's bureau chief in Beijing, the piece is full of false and unsupported assertions. It changes explicit Chinese statements in support of democracy and human rights into the opposite. It is also untruthful about the sources of its quotes:

China hopes to position itself as the main challenger to an international order, led by the United States, that is generally guided by principles of democracy, respect for human rights and adherence to rule of law.
Such a system “does not represent the will of the international community,” China’s foreign minister, Wang Yi, told Russia’s, Sergey V. Lavrov, when they met in the southern Chinese city of Guilin.

In a joint statement, they accused the United States of bullying and interference and urged it to “reflect on the damage it has done to global peace and development in recent years.”
There is no evidence and no quote in the piece to support the assertion that the unilateral "international order, led by the United States" is in fact "guided by principles of democracy, respect for human rights and adherence to rule of law." The wars the U.S. and its allies have waged and wage in Iraq, Syria, Libya, Yemen and other countries are, in fact, not in adherence to the rule of international law nor are they executed with respect for human rights or the principles of democracy.

The Wang Yi quote in the second paragraph is taken completely out of context. By placing it after his false assertions the author insinuates that Wang Yi rejected the "principles of democracy, respect for human rights and adherence to rule of law."

Wang Yi did not do that at all. He did in fact the opposite.

Here is the original quote from the report of Wang Yi's meeting with Russia's foreign minister Sergei Lavrov:

Wang Yi said, the so-called "rules-based international order" by a few countries is not clear in its meaning, as it reflects the rules of a few countries and does not represent the will of the international community. We should uphold the universally recognized international law.
The there is the Joint Statement from the Lavrov-Wang Yi meeting which contradicts the New York Times insinuation:

The world has entered a period of high turbulence and rapid change. In this context, we call on the international community to put aside any differences and strengthen mutual understanding and build up cooperation in the interests of global security and geopolitical stability, to contribute to the establishment of a fairer, more democratic and rational multipolar world order.
All human rights are universal, indivisible and interrelated. ...
Democracy is one of the achievements of humanity. ...
International law is an important condition for the further development of humanity. ...
In promoting multilateral cooperation, the international community must adhere to principles such as openness and equality, and a non-ideological approach. ...
The Chinese Foreign Ministry report about the issuance of the above Four Point Statement quotes Wang Yi as saying:

Today, we will issue a joint statement on several issues of current global governance, expounding the essence of major concepts such as human rights, democracy, international order, and multilateralism, reflecting the collective demands of the international community, especially developing countries. We call on all countries to participate in and improve global governance in the spirit of openness, inclusiveness and equality, abandon zero-sum mentality and ideological prejudice, stop interfering in the internal affairs of any country, enhance the well-being of people of all countries through dialogue and cooperation, and jointly build a community with a shared future for mankind.
In no way has China rejected human rights, democracy or the rule of law. The New York Times author simply construed that.

The third NYT paragraph quoted above is likewise false. The Joint Statement did not urge the U.S. to “reflect on the damage it has done to global peace and development in recent years.” There is nothing in there that could be construed as such. The U.S. is not even mentioned in the Joint Statement.

The quote the NYT author uses is not from the official Joint Statement, as falsely claimed, but from a Chinese State TV's summarization of a press conference:

Both foreign ministers said that the international community believes that the United States should reflect on the damage it has done to global peace and development in recent years, stop unilateral bullying, stop interfering in other countries' internal affairs, and stop pulling "small circles" to engage in group confrontation.
Unsupported assertions about the motives of the "U.S. led" order, out of context quotes that turn the actual statements by the Chinese foreign minister into their opposite and missattribution of a news summary as a diplomatic statement is something that one would not expect from a news outlet but from a propaganda organ.

That is then, obviously, what the Times has become.

Posted by b on March 31, 2021 at 16:40 UTC | Permalink

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Re: Censorship, fake news, perception management

Post by blindpig » Tue Apr 13, 2021 1:48 pm

CNN - Ukrainian Trains With Heavy Weapons Going East Are 'Russian Aggression'
Today CNN continued its long stint of publishing anti-Russian propaganda. But this video 'report' falls on several levels.

Unprecedented footage shows front line of Ukrainian conflict with Russia

As tensions with Russia continue to rise in eastern Europe, CNN gains unprecedented access to the Ukrainian president on the front line in Donbas, eastern Ukraine. Ukrainian military officials tell CNN they estimate more than 50,000 Russian troops are massing near the border. CNN's Matthew Chance reports.
First - this isn't news. Zelensky visited the troops at the frontline on Thursday. Second - the tensions are not 'on the rise' but have moved down a tack or two since Friday when Zelensky gave up and filed for peace.

In the video Zelensky and the CNN correspondent and camera team enter a helicopter. The voice over says: "CNN has gained this unprecedented access to the Ukrainian president on a carefully planned troop visit flying with him fast and low to avoid ground fire."

Where please is that 'ground fire' supposed to come from when Zelensky is flying over Ukrainian held grounds towards some Ukrainian command post near the frontline? This is followed by scenes in which Zelensky, a trained actor, does telegenic hops over ditches.

Two minutes into the video CNN shows some military transports. The voice over says: "With growing tensions a dramatic buildup of Russian forces near the Ukrainian border and in Crimea. Cellphone footage has emerged of armored columns like this one. And military hardware being transported by rail towards the border."

It is a quite interesting what footage CNN is using at that point.


Behind the train with the tanks there is a passenger train in the station. Its cars are blue with a yellow stripe, the colors of the flag of Ukraine.
The cars in the CNN video are obviously Ukrainian rail cars. Like this one which also features the Ukrainian state emblem.

Some searching reveals CNN's source:

AnietBrander @AmbranderB - 18:17 UTC · Apr 4, 2021
DUTCH DIGGER NEWS, [4 apr, 2021 om 17:49]

Ukrainian army sends train loaded with T-72 tanks to Eastern Ukraine. Video shows the train in Dnipro.


CNN uses footage of Ukrainian weapons moving to the front to claim that Russia is moving arms to the frontline. CNN knows its viewership. People who still watch it after four years of CNN Russigate nonsense will certainly not detect such fakes.

There is a lot of additional footage of 'military hardware being transported by rail towards the border' that CNN could have used. Here is a small selection of such tweets with videos from March 11 through April 1:

*Photo from a civilian in Dnepropetrovsk. "Ukry from the side of Dnepropetrovsk, without hiding through the stations, are driving hundreds of tanks on railway platforms! Today, about 7 trains have passed. Previously, All this equipment goes to #Donbass! hundreds of tanks and APC!
*Footage taken on 12/3/2021 of Ukrainian train transporting tanks to Donbass. #Ukraine #Russia #Donbass
*#Ukraine sends Tanks and APCs to #Donbass Front-line. Seven trains is not normal rotation !! part-1
*#Ukraine sends Tanks and APCs to #Donbass Front-line. Seven trains is not normal rotation !! part-2
*#Ukraine sends Tanks and APCs to #Donbass Front-line. Seven trains is not normal rotation !! part-3
*On March 17, a train with military equipment of the Ukrainian Armed Forces was seen in Sloviansk, including 122-mm self-propelled howitzers 2S1 "
Gvozdika" and rocket launchers UR-77.
*Ukraine sends trains loaded with tanks, BMPs and howitzers to Eastern Ukraine to confront the Russian aggression.

'... the Russian aggression!'

Those trains were all Ukrainian trains which, since early March, have been moving heavy weapon towards the frontline each and every day.

Of course none of those Ukrainian trains were reported by CNN as Ukrainian aggression towards its renegade citizens in Donbass. They were not reported on at all.

It were these unprecedented number of trains, together with the bellicose rhetoric coming from Kiev, that convinced Russia that something bad was being planned. Russia had to react to that and it did so in a convincing manner. Zelensky has folded and the crisis has, for now, been defused.

But that is, again, something you won't learn on CNN.

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Re: Censorship, fake news, perception management

Post by blindpig » Wed Apr 21, 2021 1:57 pm

‘Divisive’: How Corporate Media Dismiss Ideas Unpopular With Elites

NYT: Medicare for All Is Divisive (in the Democratic Party)
“The idea of Medicare for All is immensely contentious,” says the New York Times (3/18/19).
New York Times columnist Paul Krugman (Twitter, 12/29/20) described a $2,000 Covid relief check as “divisive,” even though 75% of Americans (and 72% of Republicans) wanted the government to prioritize another universal payment. All too often, words such as “divisive,” “contentious” or “controversial” are used merely as media codewords meaning “ideas unpopular with the ruling elite”—what FAIR calls “not journalistically viable.”

Medicare for All is a prime example of this. At least since the issue began receiving national media attention as a result of Sen. Bernie Sanders’ 2016 presidential campaign, a majority of Americans have supported some form of national, publicly funded healthcare system. Some polls have found nearly three in four support the idea, including a majority of Republican voters. Yet corporate media continue to disparage universal public health insurance, labeling it “divisive” (Axios, 2/14/20), “controversial” (Christian Science Monitor, 6/4/19; Time, 10/24/19; New York Times, 1/1/20) or “politically perilous” (Associated Press, 3/25/19).

In an article entitled “Medicare for All Is Divisive (in the Democratic Party),” the New York Times (3/18/19) described giving people free healthcare “immensely contentious,” framing it as a risky and enormously expensive gamble that centrists in swing districts could ill afford to take coming up to an election. The reality, of course, was the opposite: Every single Democratic incumbent in a swing district who endorsed Medicare for All won reelection in 2020. The same cannot be said for those that did not endorse it.

There can be few policies that would so directly and immediately benefit so many Americans as raising the minimum wage to $15 (though that’s still not enough to afford rent in most US states). Forty percent of the country told Reuters/Ipsos pollsters in February that they or someone close to them would be positively impacted by such a change. The same poll found that supporters of raising the minimum wage outnumbered opponents by 25 percentage points. Regardless, increasing it is often described as “divisive” (e.g., Bloomberg, 10/2/17; Politico, 3/16/21; Delaware News Journal, 3/10/21).

Hill: Stale, misguided, divisive: $15 minimum wage can't win elections
The leader of a corporate front group (The Hill, 9/15/17) mocked labor leaders for “attempting turn the minimum wage into a major election issue” that would spark “a massive voter engagement drive for the 2018 election cycle.”
The Hill, for instance, published an opinion piece (9/15/17) claiming support for a living wage was “stale, misguided and divisive.” While $15 per hour sounds good on paper to people “not informed of the consequences,” the policy is a big vote loser, insisted Michael Saltsman of the corporate-funded Employment Policies Institute.

Saltsman was the brains behind crude propaganda campaigns against raising the minimum wage in California; he put up a billboard in San Francisco threatening workers they would be replaced by iPads if they demanded fairer remuneration for their work. He was described by Bay Area-based journalist Paul Bradley Carr (Pando, 7/21/14) as “the asshole behind San Francisco’s most assholeish billboard.” The “divisive” measure was approved by city voters with 77% support (CNN Money, 11/5/14).

The Green New Deal—a major jobs program that would transition the US to a clean energy economy, which has been described as the only coherent plan to save the US from climate breakdown—is also constantly written off as too contentious to work (Reuters, 3/21/19; Atlantic, 6/12/19). CNBC (3/12/19), for instance, reported on the “story” that fossil fuel executives in Houston dismissed the plan pushed by Sanders, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and co. as “unrealistic, unworkable and politically divisive.” Instead, they propose rather nebulous “market-oriented solutions” to the crisis.

Thank you for that extraordinary insight, CNBC! Perhaps you could next enlighten us on what Wall Street traders think of the idea of pursuing criminal investigations into their behavior in 2008? (Giving space to billionaire energy bosses to trash environmentalists is something of a tradition at CNBC—FAIR.org, 2/3/20).

Meanwhile, one Guardian article (12/29/18) noted that 81% of American voters back the Green New Deal plan, yet still managed to present it as a “divisive” proposal that “lacks key political support,” thereby tacitly underlining how little the will of the people matters to policymakers—or elite media.
The Week: Warren Buffett's divisive plea: 'Raise my taxes'

The range of opinion on Warren Buffet’s proposal to tax the rich published by The Week (8/15/11) went from “many lower or middle class voters oppose all tax hikes” to “automatic deal-breaker” to ” terribly inefficient and unfair.”
The wealth of the super-rich has skyrocketed in recent years, with the planet’s billionaires increasing their fortunes by 55% since the beginning of lockdown measures last March. A large majority of Americans, including more than half of Republicans, support increasing taxes on the rich. Despite this, a modest wealth tax, like the one put forward by Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren—2% on those with more than $50 million, and 3% on fortunes larger than $1 billion—is consistently undermined as too divisive to work (FiveThirtyEight, 10/28/19; Bloomberg, 3/1/21).

Writing in the Washington Post (2/5/19), columnist Steven Pearlstein dismissed the left’s ideas on taxing the wealthy, free healthcare and a Green New Deal as fringe, flawed and divisive. Even when some billionaires themselves were asking to be taxed more, The Week (8/15/11) still described the idea as “divisive” in a headline. Are we really to believe that there is such a fervor among the public against the richest people in the world becoming minutely less wealthy?

All of the populist, pro-working class policies detailed above enjoy significant majority support with the public. They are not, by the dictionary definition, controversial. And yet time and time again, they are attacked as too contentious or divisive to work.

While billionaire-owned media outlets could simply come out and say, “We oppose these proposals for ideological reasons,” a much better rhetorical tactic is to present themselves as neutral observers, merely concerned about the practicality of such legislation.

The next time you hear your favorite political proposals being labeled as too “divisive,” “contentious” or “polarizing” to work, check the polls first. You might be being sold a bill of goods by dishonest commentators trying to pour cold water on a progressive fire.

Featured image: Creative Commons photo by Daniel Case.

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Re: Censorship, fake news, perception management

Post by blindpig » Sun May 02, 2021 2:19 pm

It’s Aggression When ‘They’ Do It, but Defense When ‘We’ Do Worse


Aggression, in international politics, is commonly defined as the use of armed force against another sovereign state, not justified by self-defense or international authority. Any state being described as aggressive in foreign or international reporting, therefore, is almost by definition in the wrong.

It’s a word that seems easy to apply to the United States, which launched 81 foreign interventions between 1946 and 2000 alone. In the 21st century, the United States has attacked, invaded or occupied the sovereign states of Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia.

Despite the US record, Western corporate media overwhelmingly reserve the word “aggression” for official enemy nations—whether or not it’s warranted. In contrast, US behavior is almost never categorized as aggressive, thereby giving readers a misleading picture of the world.
Hill: Only a Serious Response Will Reverse Iran's Growing Aggression
The Hill (10/3/19)
Perhaps the most notable internationally aggressive act in recent memory was the Trump administration’s assassination of Iranian general and political leader Qassem Soleimani last year. Yet in its long and detailed report on the event, the Washington Post (1/4/20) managed to present Iran as the aggressor. The US was merely “choos[ing] this moment to explore an operation against the leader of Iran’s Quds Force, after tolerating Iranian aggression in the Persian Gulf for months,” in the Post’s words.

It also gave space to senior US officials to falsely claim Soleimani was aiming to carry out an “imminent” attack on hundreds of Americans. In fact, he was in Iraq for peace talks designed to bring an end to war between states in the region. The Iraqi prime minister revealed that he had invited Soleimani personally, and had asked for and received Washington’s blessing to host him. Trump instead used that information to kill him.

For months, media had been awash with stories, based on US officials’ proclamations, that Iranian aggression was just around the corner (e.g., Yahoo! News, 1/2/20; Reuters, 4/12/19; New York Times, 11/23/19; Washington Post, 6/22/19). The Hill (10/3/19) gave a retired general space to demand that we must “defend ourselves” by carrying out a “serious response” against Iran, who is “test[ing] our resolve with aggressive actions.”
New York Times: 'Are We Getting Invaded?': US Boat Faced Russian Aggression Near Alaska
New York Times (11/12/20)
Russia is another country constantly portrayed as aggressive. The New York Times (11/12/20) described a US fishing boat’s mix up with the Russian navy off the coast of Kamchatka as typical Russian aggression, complete with the headline, “Are We Getting Invaded?” The Military Times (6/26/20) worried that any reduction in US troops in Germany could “embolden Russian aggression.” And a headline from the Hill (11/14/19) claimed that “Putin’s Aggression Exposes Russia’s Decline.” In the same sentence that publicized a report advocating that NATO expand to take on China directly, the Wall Street Journal (12/1/20) warned of “Russian aggression.” Suffice to say, tooling up for an intercontinental war against another nuclear power was not framed as Western warmongering.

Other enemy states, such as China (New York Times, 10/6/20; CNBC, 8/3/20; Forbes, 3/26/21), North Korea (Atlantic, 11/23/10; CNN, 8/9/17; Associated Press, 3/8/21) and Venezuela (Wall Street Journal, 11/18/05; Fox News, 3/10/14; Daily Express, 9/30/19) are also routinely accused of or denounced for “aggression.”

Corporate media even present the Taliban’s actions in their own country against Western occupation troops as “aggression” (Guardian 7/26/06; CBS News, 11/27/13; Reuters, 3/26/21). The New York Times (11/24/20) recently worried about the Taliban’s “aggression on the battlefield,” while presenting the US—a country that invaded Afghanistan in 2001 and still has not left—as supposedly committed to the “peace process.”

Even as the US has been flying squadrons of nuclear bombers from North Dakota to Iran and back, each time in effect simulating dropping atomic bombs on the country, media have framed this as a “defensive move” (Politico, 12/30/20) meant to stop “Iranian aggression” (Defense One, 1/27/20) by “deter[ring] Iran from attacking American troops in the region” (New York Times, 12/30/20).
Forbes: Taiwan Tripwire: A New Role for the US Army in Deterring Chinese Aggression
Forbes (3/26/21)
In February, President Joe Biden ordered an airstrike on a Syrian village against what the White House claimed were Iran-backed forces. The Department of Defense absurdly insisted that the attack was meant to “deescalate” the situation, a claim that was lamentably uncritically repeated in corporate media, with Politico (2/25/21) writing that “the strike was defensive in nature” and a response to previous attacks on US troops in Iraq. Needless to say, it did not question the legitimacy of American troops being stationed across the Middle East.

That the US, by definition, is always acting defensively and never aggressively is close to an iron law of journalism. The US attack on Southeast Asia is arguably the worst international crime since the end of World War II, causing some 3.8 million Vietnamese deaths alone. Yet in their seminal study of the media, Manufacturing Consent, Edward Herman and Noam Chomsky (Extra!, 12/87) were unable to find a single mention of a US “attack” on Vietnam. Instead, the war was commonly framed as the “defense” of South Vietnam from the Communist North.

Even decades later, US actions in Vietnam are still often described as a “defense” (e.g., Wall Street Journal, 4/29/05; Christian Science Monitor, 1/22/07; Politico, 10/10/15; Foreign Policy, 9/27/17). In a 2018 autopsy of the conflict headlined “What Went Wrong in Vietnam,” New Yorker staff writer Louis Menand (2/26/18) wrote that “our policy was to enable South Vietnam to defend itself” as the US “tried to prevent Vietnam from becoming a Communist state.” “Millions died in that struggle,” he adds, as if the perpetrators of the violence were unknown.

It was a similar story with the US invasion of Grenada in 1983, which was presented as a defense against “Soviet and Cuban aggression in the Western hemisphere” (San Diego Union-Tribune, 10/26/83).

[qUS News: Putin Agrees to Meet Biden as West Seeks to Deescalate Russian Aggression
US News (4/26/21)[/quote]

There have only been three uses of the phrases “American aggression” or “US aggression” in the New York Times over the past year. All came in the mouths of Chinese officials, and in stories focusing on supposedly aggressive Chinese actions. For example, at the end of a long article warning about how China is “pressing its territorial claims aggressively” from the Himalayas to the South China Sea, in paragraph 28 the Times (6/26/20) noted that Beijing’s priority is “confronting what it considers American aggression in China’s neighborhood.” Meanwhile, two articles (10/5/20, 10/23/20) mention that Chinese disinformation calls the Korean War the “war to resist American aggression and aid Korea”. But these were written off as “visceral” and “pugnacious” “propaganda” by the Times.

Likewise, when the phrase “American aggression” appears at all in other leading publications, it is largely only in scare quotes or in the mouths of groups long demonized in corporate media, such as the Houthi rebels in Yemen (Washington Post, 2/5/21), the Syrian government of Bashar al-Assad (Associated Press, 2/26/21) or Saddam Hussein’s generals (CNN, 3/3/03).

The concept of US belligerence is simply not being discussed seriously in the corporate press, leading to the conclusion that the word “aggression” in newspeak means little more than “actions we don’t like carried out by enemy states.”

https://fair.org/home/its-aggression-wh ... -do-worse/
"There is great chaos under heaven; the situation is excellent."

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