The newspaper had plenty to say about Israeli Jewish life, however: two lengthy stories about prayer space at the Western Wall and one discussing Zionism. Each of these stories ran over a thousand words.
Two shorter news articles reported that the murderers of a Palestinian teen had been sentenced to prison and that a knife attack left one Israeli police officer dead, but nothing in either of these provided the context crucial to understanding events in the occupied territories.
Meanwhile, as the Times obsesses over Israeli identity and attitudes, the occupation grinds on, producing news that appears elsewhere. At the top of the list were two major stories: A Palestinian prisoner was near death after passing his 75th day on hunger strike, and Israeli forces carried out a massive demolition of over 20 homes, rendering more than 100 Palestinians homeless in the dead of winter.
The ordeal of Mohammed al-Qeeq, a journalist held without trial since Nov. 21 of last year, drew the attention of Israeli and international media outlets, which recounted his legal appeals, protests on his behalf and an Israeli Supreme Court decision which “froze” his detention but confined him to a hospital. (Al-Qeeq refused the offer and continued his fast.)
Al-Qeeq’s hunger strike was deemed unfit to print in the Times, perhaps because it would touch on Israel’s use of administrative detention, which holds prisoners without trial. Readers are not to know that as of last December 660 Palestinians were held in this limbo, nor were they to be informed that a number of human rights groups have protested Israel’s unsavory use of the practice.
And then there is the matter of two impoverished villages in the South Hebron Hills of the West Bank, Khirbet Jenbah and Khirbet Al-Halawah, which were made even more destitute after Israeli army crews arrived last Tuesday and demolished 22 structures, displacing 110 people, including dozens of minors. The army also confiscated solar panels, which, like many of the homes, had been donated by aid organizations.
The military claimed that it destroyed Jenbah and Al-Halawah because they were located in a declared firing zone. The Israeli publication 972 Magazine, however, noted that “Jewish settlements within [the zone] have not been served with eviction orders.”
This was the largest mass demolition in a decade, and the plan to destroy villages within the firing zone has drawn international attention and a petition from world-renowned authors to spare the communities. None of this, however, was enough to draw the interest of the Times.
Instead, the Times considered it more urgent to examine the effects of a new prayer space at the Western Wall—not once, but twice—and to take a look at Zionism today. Villagers thrown out in the cold of winter and a prisoner on the brink of death took a back seat to these concerns.
The Times claims that it gives readers “the complete, unvarnished truth as best as we can learn it,” and it insists that the newspaper’s overriding goal is to “cover the news as impartially as possible.” Readers who never stray to other sources of information may actually believe this.
The British government, whose foreign policy is overtly hostile to their Russian counterpart, declared last week that their investigation into the killing of a former Russian intelligence agent in London nearly a decade ago concluded there is a “strong probability” the Russian FSB security agency was responsible for poisoning Alexander Litivenko with plutonium. They further declared that Russian President Vladimir Putin “probably approved” of the act. The British investigation, which was likely politically motivated, seemingly raised more questions than it answered. But American corporate media were quick to use the accusations against Putin to demonize him, casting him as a pariah brazenly flaunting his disregard for international conventions.
The Washington Post (1/23/16) editorial board wrote that “Robert Owen, a retired British judge, has carefully and comprehensively documented what can only be called an assassination… Mr. Owen found (Andrei) Lugovoi was acting ‘under the direction’ of the FSB in an operation to kill Mr. Litivenko – one that was ‘probably approved’ by the director of the FSB and by Mr. Putin.”
Actually, Owen did not find that former KGB operative Lugovoi was acting under the direction of the FSB to kill Litivenko. He found there was a “strong probability” this was the case. This means that even in Owens’s view, there is not near certainty, which would meet the legal standard of reasonable doubt that would preclude a guilty judgement. There is even more doubt that even if it were the case the FSB ordered the murder, they did so on Putin’s orders.
The New York Times editorial board (1/21/16) finds the investigation’s results “shocking.” For the Times, this confirms a pattern of Putin’s rogue behavior. They claim Putin’s “deserved reputation as an autocrat willing to flirt with lawlessness in his global ventures has taken on a startling new aspect.”
Both of the prestigious and influential American newspapers argue that the British findings impugn Putin’s respectability in international affairs. The Times says:
Mr. Putin has built a sordid record on justice and human rights, which naturally reinforces suspicion that he could easily have been involved in the murder. At the very least, the London inquiry, however much it is denied at the Kremlin, should serve as a caution to the Russian leader to repair his reputation for notorious intrigues abroad.
The more hawkish Post says: “This raises a serious question for President Obama and other world leaders whose governments do not traffic in contract murder. Should they continue to meet with Mr. Putin as if he is just another head of state?”
Putin’s alleged “sordid record on justice and human rights,” which is taken for granted without providing any examples, is seen as bolstering the case for his guilt in the case of the poisoning death of Litivenko. This, in turn, adds to his “notorious” reputation as a violator of human rights.
The Post draws a line between the lawless Putin and the respectable Western heads of state, such as Obama. Though they frame their call to treat Putin as an outcast as a question, it is clearly intended as a rhetorical question.
It is curious that The Post draws a contrast between Putin and Obama, whose government is supposedly above such criminality. The newspaper does not mention the U.S. government’s drone assassination program, which as of last year had killed nearly 2,500 people in at least three countries outside of declared military battlefields. Estimates have shown that at least 90 percent of those killed were not intended targets. None of those killed have been charged with any crimes. And at least two – Anwar al-Awlaki and his 16-year-old son Abdul Rahman – were Americans.
Obama himself is personally responsible for those killed by missiles launched from unmanned aircraft over the skies of sovereign countries. Several news reports have indicated that Obama is presented in meetings each week by military and national security officials with a list of potential targets for assassination. Obama must personally approve each target, at which point they are added to the state-sanctioned “kill list.”
The British government has also assumed for itself the power to assassinate its own citizens outside a declared battlefield. Last fall, Prime Minister David Cameron ordered the deaths of two British citizens in Syria, who were subsequently disposed of in a lethal drone strike.
The Washington Post editorial board (3/24/12) claimed that Obama was justified in carrying out lethal drone strokes that kill American citizens “to protect the country against attack.” Their lone criticism was that “an extra level of review of some sort is warranted.”
After it was revealed that an American hostage was inadvertently killed in a drone strike in Pakistan, The Post (5/1/15) said that the issue of whether the American government continues to conduct drone strikes should not be up for debate. “(T)here is little question that drones are the least costly means of eliminating militants whose first aim is to kill Americans,” they wrote.
While they tacitly accept the legal rationale for Obama’s assassination program, the New York Times editorial board at least demonstrated some skepticism. In “A Thin Rationale for Drone Killings” (6/23/14), they called the memo “a slapdash pastiche of legal theories – some based on obscure interpretations of British and Israeli law – that was clearly tailored to the desired result.” They say that “the rationale provides little confidence that the lethal action was taken with real care.”
Yet they do not chastise Obama for his “intrigues abroad” nor do they condemn this as an example of his “sordid record on justice and human rights,” language they used for Putin. The idea that relying on what are transparently inadequate legal justifications for killing an American citizen without due process would merit prosecution is clearly beyond the limits of discussion for the Times.
Recently Faheem Qureshi, a victim of the first drone strike ordered by Obama in 2009 (three days after his induction as President), who lost multiple family members and his own eye, told The Guardian that Obama’s actions in his native lands are “an act of tyranny. If there is a list of tyrants in the world, to me, Obama will be put on that list by his drone program.”
Surely both The New York Times and Washington Post disagree with Qureshi, because they believe the U.S. government is inherently benevolent and its motives are beyond reproach. But based on their editorials about the British investigation of the Litivenko poisoning, if Putin was responsible and was described by Qureshi in the same way, they would wholeheartedly agree.
The U.S. government and its allies in NATO, like Great Britain, have a clear agenda in vilifying Russia and its President. The US-NATO alliance supported the government that came to power in Ukraine in 2014 through a coup. After provinces in Eastern Ukraine – the vast majority of whose population is ethnically Russian and Russian-speaking – refused to recognize the NATO-backed coup government in Kiev, the Russian government supported them.
It should be easy to see how, from Russia’s perspective, the Ukranian conflict can be understood as an extension of NATO encroachment towards Russia’s borders that has continued unabated since James Baker told Mikhail Gorbachev in 1991 NATO would move “not an inch east.”
“We’re in a new Cold War,” Stephen Cohen, professor of Russian studies and politics, told Salon. “The epicenter is not in Berlin this time but in Ukraine, on Russia’s borders, within its own civilization: That’s dangerous. Over the 40-year history of the old Cold War, rules of behavior and recognition of red lines, in addition to the red hotline, were worked out. Now there are no rules.”
Additionally, Russia’s support for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad since 2011 throughout that country’s civil war, and more recently its direct military intervention in the conflict that has turned the tide against US-backed rebels, has strongly rankled Washington.
The language used by top government officials to describe Russia has been astoundingly combative. Defense Secretary Ash Carter, the man in charge of the entire US military, claimed Russia is responsible for aggression and is “endangering world order.”
The U.S. government’s hyping of the Russian “threat” has been used to justify massive spending on the U.S. space program and other military expenditures, such as the $1 trillion to upgrade nuclear weapons,
One could even argue that the narrative of an aggressive and belligerent Russia is the principal justification for the continued existence of the NATO itself, two and a half decades after the breakup of the Soviet Union. The alliance allows the US military to be stationed in hundreds of bases throughout Europe under the guise of a purely defensive organization.
The U.S.’s most prominent media organizations should demonstrate the strongest skepticism towards the policies and actions of their own government. At the very least, they should hold their own country’s leaders to the same standards as they do others. But time and again, the media choose to act as a mouthpiece to echo and amplify Washington’s propaganda. They do the government’s bidding, creating an enemy and rallying the public towards a confrontation they would otherwise have no interest in, while allowing the government to avoid accountability for its own misdeeds.
As the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) verified over the weekend that Iran has completed the measures necessary to comply with the nuclear deal reached last July with the P5+1 governments, the New York Times Editorial Board proclaimed “the world is now safer for this.” They lauded the deal as a “testament to patient diplomacy” and President Barack Obama’s “visionary determination to pursue a negotiated solution to the nuclear threat.”
The Editorial Board takes for granted that Iran presents a threat. Iran has always maintained it has never intended to build nuclear weapons, and that it’s nuclear program was strictly meant to use nuclear technology as a source of energy production. In fact, in 1957 the United States government itself provided Iran with its first nuclear reactor while the country was ruled by U.S. ally – and murderous dictator – Shah Reza Pahlavi. Iran would later sign the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) in 1968 and ratify it two years later.
Several years ago Ayatollah Ali Khamenei declared that “(w)e believe that nuclear weapons (in the world) must be obliterated, and we do not intend to make nuclear weapons.” Previously he had said making nuclear weapons was a “sin.”
But regardless of their professed intentions, the New York Times is skeptical the Iranian government can be trusted. They claim that there still exist “daunting challenges ahead” as the other parties to the agreement need to ensure “the deal is strictly adhered to.” The New York Times’s skepticism is unsurprising. While the Times certainly will not repeat George W. Bush’s “Axis of Evil” language, they internalize the same ideological framework.
Is the Times’s skepticism warranted by the Iranian government’s record? That would be hard to argue, as the revolutionary regime in power since 1979 has never invaded another country. Unstated and assumed to be self-evident is the idea that Iran is dangerous and unable to be trusted because it is not aligned with Washington. Rather, it exercises its own independent foreign policy outside of American control.
If there were not a double standard in play, the Times would treat the United States government with the same skepticism as Iran. After all, the United States, which possesses at least 7,200 nuclear warheads, is the only country in history to have used nuclear weapons – twice, against a country seeking for months to negotiate a conditional surrender.
Unlike Iran, the United States is not complying with the NPT. As a state already in possession of nuclear weapons, the United States has a responsibility under its treaty obligations to pursue disarmament. The Times itself detailed the U.S. government’s own modernization of its nuclear weapons in a front-page article on January 11.
The article by William J. Broad and David E. Sanger notes that Obama promised to work towards nuclear disarmament early in his presidency, saying he would “reduce the role of nuclear weapons in our national security strategy.”
However, the $1 trillion plan that later emerged called for the modernization of current nuclear weapons by redesigning and improving them. The Times quotes a critical report developed by two former national security officials as saying Obama’s plan could be seen “as violating the administration’s pledge not to develop or deploy” new nuclear weapons. Neither the report nor the Times questions whether this is also a violation of the government’s obligations under the NPT.
The Times shows a graphic depiction of the enhancements, including a steerable fins, a navigation system and safety features. “The result is a bomb that can make more accurate nuclear strikes and a warhead whose destructive power can be adjusted to minimize collateral damage and radioactive fallout,” the caption reads. This may make them “more tempting to use,” according to critics.
The title of the article, “As U.S. Modernizes Nuclear Weapons, ‘Smaller’ Leaves Some Uneasy,” is evidence that the debate around the Obama administration’s plan is seen as a matter of strategy and cost efficiency, rather than as a violation of international law and a threat to peace. The people left “uneasy” are all close to the national security establishment. Their concerns don’t have to do with the program’s contravention of the U.S. government’s responsibilities under the NPT. The debate is merely one of philosophical differences between policy makers.
Despite Iran’s compliance with the nuclear agreement (their continued compliance with the NPT is not even mentioned), the Times Editorial Board states that this doesn’t mean they “should not be subject to criticism or new sanctions for violation of other United Nations resolutions or American laws.” Indeed, they had previously called the Obama administration’s plans to impose new sanctions for Iran’s ballistic missile tests “wise.”
Aside from the dubious position that the U.S. government should unilaterally impose sanctions related to UN resolutions, they claim that Iran should be subject to the extraterritorial application of American laws. Under international law, no state is bound to respect the domestic laws of another state. The U.S. Supreme Court declared “the laws of no nation can justly extend beyond its own territories except so far as regards its own citizens. They can have no force to control the sovereignty or rights of any other nation within its own jurisdiction.”
The Times does not call for any legal or economic repercussions against the United States. The U.S. government’s $1 trillion program to upgrade its nuclear weapons is not in any way presented as a grave threat that affects the rest of the world. They don’t demand controls by outside powers the U.S. must strictly adhere to, as they do for Iran. Their framing of the story and absence of any editorial condemnation makes it clear the paper views the actions of the U.S. government as unquestionably beyond reproach.
The paper’s calls for the strict enforcement of the nuclear deal and application of new sanctions on the Iranian government are not grounded in any moral or legal principles. They are a reflection of the Times‘s acceptance of the U.S. government’s patronizing doctrine that threats to peace only emanate from countries outside of American control, who must be dealt with using coercion and punishment that the U.S. itself is always exempt from.
In a widely remarked upon article for the online version of Foreign Policy last week, Harvard’s Stephen Walt asked a very good question. Why, Walt asked, are elite outlets like the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times “allergic to realist views, given that realists have been (mostly) right about some very important issues, and the columnists they publish have often been wrong?”
Walt then went on to do something pundits are generally loath to do: he admitted that he’d didn’t really know the answer. This is not to say that I do, but I think Walt’s question is worth exploring.
Why indeed? My own hunch is that we realists are a source of discomfit for the Beltway armchair warrior class not so much because we have been right about every major U.S. foreign policy question since the invasion of Iraq, but because we dare to question the premise which undergirds the twin orthodoxies of neoconservatism and liberal interventionism.
The premise, shared by heroes of the Left and Right, is this: America, a “shining city on a hill” (John Winthrop, later vulgarized by Ronald Reagan) “remains the one indispensable nation” (Barack Obama) and deprived of America’s “benevolent global hegemony” (Robert Kagan) the world will surely collapse into anarchy.
This strain of messianic thinking has deep roots in the psyche of the American establishment and so, in a sense, neoconservatism, which is really little more than a latter-day Trotskyist sect, is as American as apple pie.
Common though it is to trace, or conflate, the rise of American messianism to 1898 when the country first emerged as a global power, the cult of “American exceptionalism” has its roots in Puritan theology.
In his indispensable work, The Irony of American History, the Protestant theologian Reinhold Niebuhr cites a tract from 1650 in which the colonial leader Edward Johnson wrote that New England was “where the Lord would create a new heaven and a new earth, new churches and a new commonwealth together.” Niebuhr wrote that the Puritans had a “sense of being a ‘separated’ nation which God was using to make a new beginning for mankind.”
This strain of American solipsism was also noted with distaste by that most perceptive chronicler of American democracy, Alexis de Tocqueville who, in 1840, wrote that it was “impossible to conceive of a more troublesome and garrulous patriotism.”
The historian John Lamberton Harper has observed that the strain of messianic thinking was evident throughout the Nineteenth Century, reminding us that Indiana Sen. Albert Beveridge once claimed that the good Lord had “marked the American people as His chosen nation to finally lead in the regeneration of the world.”
And so on and so on.
Throughout the Twentieth Century, the messianic way of thinking became ever more firmly entrenched – particular among the governing class – as America continued what many felt was its inexorable rise to global supremacy. At the turn of the century prominent men of politics and letters such as Brooks Adams, Theodore Roosevelt and the geopolitical theorist Alfred MacKinder enthusiastically subscribed to the notion that “all signs point to the approaching supremacy of the United States.” Indeed, that this was so was an “inexorable decree of destiny.”
America’s entry into the First World War only deepened that sense of singularity. Here’s Walter Lippmann, who later in life became something like the dean of American realists, writing about President Woodrow Wilson in the New Republic in 1917: “other men have led nations to war to increase their glory, their wealth, their prestige … no other statesman has ever so clearly identified the glory of his country with the peace and liberty of the world.”
Decades later, during the Cold War, Lippmann regained his sanity, while TNR all but lost its. And indeed, it was during that 40-year-long “twilight struggle” between the U.S. and the USSR that the messianic consensus grabbed hold of the American mind and, to this day, has not let go. But the roots of that way of thinking, as we have seen, are deep and long predate the Cold War.
And so I would submit that the reason the three major American newspapers are “allergic to realism” is because they are part and parcel of an establishment that has, for well over a century now, been in thrall to a messianic vision of global supremacy.
James W Carden is a contributing writer for The Nation and editor of The American Committee for East-West Accord’s eastwestaccord.com. He previously served as an advisor on Russia to the Special Representative for Global Inter-governmental Affairs at the US State Department.
As scores of Palestinians have died at the hands of Israeli forces over the past three months, The New York Times has endeavored to hide the full story of this bloodbath, emphasizing Israeli losses, ignoring the majority of Palestinian deaths, and promoting a narrative that shields trigger-happy troops and obscures facts to the point of deceit.
Thus, a recent story about deadly attacks in Tel Aviv tells us that “at least 20” Israelis have been killed since Oct. 1 and about 130 Palestinians, “up to two-thirds of them while carrying out attacks, or attempting to attack Israelis, according to the police. Others have been killed in clashes with the Israeli security forces in the West Bank and East Jerusalem and along Israel’s border with Gaza.”
In other words, the Times is saying that Israeli troops were justified in these killings because they were trying to repel deadly attacks or responding to “clashes” with the army or police. This is the message we are to hear, and readers are unlikely to notice that its source is none other than those responsible for a significant number of Palestinian deaths—the Israeli police.
The Times betrays its claim of neutrality by ignoring other sources. Nothing is said of reports by alternative media and human rights groups that accuse Israeli forces of carrying out extrajudicial executions and killing Palestinians who pose no possible threat to security forces or civilians. Likewise, nothing is said of those victims who were taking no part in demonstrations but were merely bystanders or passers-by when they were killed.
The Times, omitting contrary evidence, thus leaves readers with the impression that all of the Palestinian dead were killed as they participated in acts of violence.
At the same time the Times has been quick to name Israeli casualties but has provided identities for only a fraction of the Palestinians. Virtually every Israeli victim has been identified in stories by Times reporters, while only some 34 Palestinians out of more than 130 were mentioned by name. (Some, however, may have been identified in wire services reports that appear briefly online.)
This tally was based on a search of Times stories out of its Jerusalem bureau, using a published list of those killed since Oct. 1. It shows a grossly lopsided preference for Israeli victims over Palestinians, with the names of more than 100 victims omitted from news reports.
Moreover, in the single instance when an Israeli victim was unnamed, the Times apologized, saying the man “was not immediately identified” but was said to be 45 years old and the father of seven.
By contrast, the Times often failed to report Palestinian deaths or it mentioned them almost as afterthoughts, as in this paragraph tucked into a story about dampened Christmas celebrations in the West Bank: “On Thursday, Israeli forces killed three young Palestinian men who they said were trying to carry out attacks. In one episode, a Palestinian tried to ram his vehicle into soldiers near a Jewish settlement in the West Bank, lightly wounding a man before he was shot dead.”
The man who was said to have “tried to ram his vehicle into soldiers” had a name. It was Wisam Abu Ghweila; he was from Qalandiya refugee camp, and according to the International Middle East Media Center, there is much more to his story than appeared in the Times.
Abu Ghweila drove his car “too close to a roadblock,” IMEMC reported, and lightly struck a soldier in the process. “Instead of addressing the situation as if it were an accident,” the story continues, “Israeli troops immediately began to empty their guns at the suspect, wounding him severely.”
Eyewitnesses told IMEMC that soldiers shot more than 30 rounds at Abu Ghweila’s car and allowed the injured soldier to receive medical care but left Abu Ghweila unattended as he lay dying in his car.
B’Tselem, an Israeli monitoring group, has reported on other cases in which troops have denied medical care to wounded Palestinians, and alternative media often give accounts of ambulances and medics being denied access to injured victims. The Times, however, makes no mention of these charges, even though some are backed by video evidence.
Israeli media have also reported killings that never appear in the Times. One of these involved a teenage girl who was shot as she sat in the back seat of her family car. The story in Haaretz was titled “The Face of Collateral Damage” and carried this subhead: “Samah Abdallah, 18, from a little-known Palestinian village in the West Bank, was shot dead, either on purpose or by accident—but most assuredly without legitimate reason.”
The Times made no mention of this incident, which took place near Nablus, nor did it report on the death of a mother of four, an inexperienced driver, who was killed in a hail of bullets when she drove slowly through a checkpoint and failed to stop in time. Haaretz, however, told her story under this headline: “A Palestinian Mother of Four, Shot 17 Times for Being a Bad Driver.”
This unfortunate woman, Mahdia Hammad, appears in the Times merely as one of the “about 130” Palestinian killed in the past three months. As in dozens of other cases, the fact of her death at the hands of Israeli security forces received no notice at all, not even a brief paragraph citing officials’ claims that they had “neutralized” a would-be attacker.
These incidents expose the deception inherent in the Times’ claim that Palestinian casualties have occurred only during attacks on Israelis or during “clashes” with security forces.
This self-serving narrative, however, is what Israeli officials want us to believe, and the Times is a willing co-conspirator, showing an appalling indifference to the mounting death toll among Palestinians. It gives credence only to the official reports of police and army spokespersons, the groups most responsible for the bloodshed, turning its back on respected sources and betraying its readers and its own stated values of journalistic ethics.
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As the New Year dawns, the neocons and their liberal interventionist sidekicks remain firmly in control of Official Washington’s storylines – on Syria, Russia and elsewhere – even as their policies continue to wreak havoc across the Mideast and threaten the stability of Europe and indeed the future of civilization.
The latest proof of this dangerous reality came when Saudi Arabia’s repressive Sunni monarchy executed prominent Shiite political leader Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr for criticizing the nation’s kings and princes. Before the killing, the Obama administration held its tongue in public so as not to antagonize the Saudi royals. (Nimr’s nephew awaits Saudi “crucifixion” for his role as a teenager in Arab Spring protests.)
After the Nimr execution, the State Department issued a mild protest toward the Saudis while blurring the guilt by twinning it with criticism of Iran where outraged protesters damaged the Saudi embassy, which led to Saudi Arabia’s retaliatory breaking of relations with Iran.
“We believe that diplomatic engagement and direct conversations remain essential in working through differences,” State Department spokesman John Kirby said meekly on Sunday, while some senior U.S. officials reportedly seethed in private over the latest Saudi provocation.
“This is a dangerous game they are playing,” one official told The Washington Post’s Karen DeYoung while insisting on anonymity to discuss U.S.-Saudi relations.
But the fact that the Obama administration could not voice its revulsion over the Saudi mass head-chopping (along with some firing squads) for 47 men, including Nimr, over the weekend speaks volumes. President Barack Obama and other insiders continue to tip-toe around the unsavory U.S. “alliances” in the Mideast.
Over the past several years, Saudi Arabia sealed its impervious protection from U.S. government criticism by forming an undeclared alliance with Israel around their mutual hatred of Shiite-ruled Iran and its Shiite allies, a cause picked up by American neocons and shared by the career-oriented liberal interventionists.
Some more “realist-oriented” U.S. officials, reportedly including Obama and some national security aides, recognize the havoc that neocon/liberal-hawk strategies continue to wreak across the region and now spreading into Europe, but they act powerless to do anything bold to stop it.
With Israel’s lobby siding with the Sunni states in their bloody rivalry with Shiite states, most U.S. politicians and pundits have scrambled to defend each recurring outrage by the Saudis, Qataris and Turks by trying to flip the script and somehow put the blame on Iran, Syria and Russia.
Getting a Pass
Thus, the Saudis, Qataris and Turks get mostly a pass for arming and enabling radical jihadists, including Al Qaeda and the Islamic State. Israel also provides assistance to Al Qaeda’s Nusra Front along the Golan Heights and bombs allies of the Syrian government and, of course, faces no official U.S. criticism.
In 2014, when Vice President Joe Biden blurted out the truth about Saudi support for Islamic terrorism inside Syria, he was the one who had to apologize. [Quote at 53:20 of clip.] In 2015, when Saudi Arabia invaded and bombed Yemen after hyping Iran’s support for Houthi rebels, the Obama administration sided with the Saudis even as their wanton attacks on poverty-stricken Yemen killed thousands of civilians and created a humanitarian crisis.
For more than a year after President Obama announced his air war against the Islamic State in summer 2014, Turkey continued to let the terror group run an industrial-style oil smuggling operation from Syria and Iraq through Turkey. Only when Russia entered the conflict last fall was the U.S. government shamed into joining in bombing raids to destroy the truck convoys. Yet, Obama still defended Turkey and bought its promises about finally trying to seal a 100-kilometer gap in its border.
Then, when Turkey retaliated against the Russian anti-terrorist bombing raids inside Syria by willfully shooting down a Russian Su-24 plane whose pilot was murdered after bailing out, Obama again sided with the Turks even though their claim that the Russian plane had violated Turkish air space was dubious at best. By their account, the plane had intruded over a sliver of Turkish territory for 17 seconds.
In other words, whatever these U.S. “allies” do – no matter how brutal and reckless – the Obama administration at least publicly rushes to their defense. Otherwise, the neocon/liberal-hawk “group think” would be offended – and many angry editorials and columns would follow.
While this strange reality may make sense inside Official Washington – where careerism is intense and offending the Israel Lobby is a sure career killer – this pusillanimous approach to these grave problems is endangering U.S. national interests as well as the world’s future.
Not only has the neocon/liberal-interventionist obsession with “regime change” turned the Middle East into a vast killing field but it has now spread instability into Europe, where the fabric of the European Union is being shredded by dissension over how to handle millions of Syrian refugees.
The United Kingdom may vote to leave the E.U., removing one of the original anchors of the European project which — for all its faults — has deservedly gotten credit for replacing a history of European blood-soaked conflicts with peaceful cooperation.
The spreading disorder has had political repercussions in the United States, too, where panic over terrorism is reshaping the presidential race.
Yet, instead of practical solutions such as pressuring all rational sides in the Syrian conflict to engage in peace talks and hold free elections that give the Syrian people the power to decide who their future leaders will be, Official Washington instead generates “talking points,” such as calling Syrian President Bashar al-Assad a “magnet for terrorism” who “must go” – although his forces have done the most to stop an outright victory by Al Qaeda and Islamic State.
If one buys this “magnet” theory, then you’d also have to seek “regime change” in every country that’s been attacked by terrorists, including the United States, France, United Kingdom, Spain, etc. In the case of Syria, what’s remarkable is that the sponsorship of terrorism by U.S. “allies” and indeed by the U.S. government itself has been so blatant. [See Consortiumnews.com’s “Climbing into Bed with Al Qaeda.”]
However, as far as Official Washington is concerned, it doesn’t really matter what Assad has or hasn’t done. What’s important is that “regime change” in Syria has been on the neocons’ to-do list since at least the mid-1990s – along with the brilliant idea of “regime change” in Iraq. [See Consortiumnews.com’s “How Israel Out-Foxed US Presidents.”].
The Infallible Neocons
And since the neocons are infallible – as far as they’re concerned – the goal can’t be changed. The only option is to escalate the “regime change” planning to include other countries that get in the way, including Iran and now nuclear-armed Russia.
Yes, that’s the ultimate neocon idea – make the Russian economy scream, overthrow the calculating Vladimir Putin and risk having him replaced by some extreme and unstable nationalist with his or her hand on the nuclear button. That may be how life on the planet ends – but there will be evermore “group thinks” and “talking points” right up to the moment of Armageddon. The neocons can never stop generating false narratives.
Meanwhile, the “liberal interventionists” can boast of their own “regime change” – in Libya, a policy promoted by then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton who delighted at the gruesome torture-murder of Muammar Gaddafi – “we came, we saw, he died,” she laughed – after having ignored his warnings that the overthrow of his secular government would open the oil-rich country to chaos from radical jihadists, a prediction that has been fulfilled.
Yet, despite this record of spreading chaos and death around the world, the grip that the neocons and liberal hawks have on Official Washington remains almost absolute. They control most of the think tanks – from the Brookings Institution to the American Enterprise Institute – as well as the editorial pages of The Washington Post and The New York Times and pretty much the rest of the mainstream media.
In case you haven’t noticed, the Times’ “news” coverage of the Middle East and Russia has been consistently slanted to favor neocon/liberal-hawk positions. Just as the Times eagerly joined President George W. Bush’s bogus case for invading Iraq in 2003, “the newspaper of record” has peddled false and misleading articles about the crises in Syria and Ukraine as well as promoting anti-Russian propaganda.
In this climate of manufactured “reality,” any old-fashioned foreign policy “realist” – especially one who has criticized Israel – cannot expect to win Senate confirmation to any senior position, establishing what amounts to a blacklist against “realists,” such as happened to ex-U.S. Ambassador Chas Freeman whose intelligence appointment was dropped by Obama in his early days out of fear of offending the Israel Lobby and its many neocon backers.
As the rise of those neocons has played out since their emergence during the Reagan administration, the “realists” who were known for cold-hearted foreign policy calculations to protect American interests have aged, died out or otherwise disappeared. They have been largely replaced by ideologues, either neocons with their intense devotion to right-wing Israeli interests or liberal interventionists who almost invariably side with the neocons but cite “humanitarian” concerns to justify “regime change” wars.
No matter how foolhardy and deadly these policy prescriptions have been, there is almost no way to dislodge the neocons and liberal hawks inside Official Washington, since they monopolize almost all levers of political and media power.
Even when President Obama tried to collaborate under the table with President Putin to reduce tensions in Syria and Iran in 2013, Obama was quickly outmaneuvered by neocons and liberal hawks inside the State Department who pushed for the putsch in Ukraine in 2014 that effectively destroyed the Obama-Putin cooperation. [See Consortiumnews.com’s “What Neocons Want from Ukraine Crisis.”]
I have long argued that the only way to begin to challenge the neocon/liberal-hawk “group thinks” is to release facts about pivotal events, such as the 2013 Syria-sarin case, the 2014 sniper attacks at Kiev’s Maidan square, and the 2014 shoot-down of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 over Ukraine. The neocons/liberal hawks currently control all those narratives, using them as clubs to advance ideological agendas just as they did with the false claims about Iraq’s WMD. [See Consortiumnews.com’s “The Power of False Narrative.”]
But other evidence suggests very different scenarios. Obama and his national security team could either release evidence to confirm the accuracy of the “group thinks” or puncture that self-certainty. Instead Obama has chosen to withhold what the U.S. intelligence community knows about these events, all the better to protect the dominant propaganda narratives.
So, the Obama administration continues down a road of tolerating or condoning outrages by its Mideast “allies” as the President and his timid intelligence bureaucrats do nothing to empower the American people with the truth. It is a recipe for worldwide catastrophe.
Investigative reporter Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories for The Associated Press and Newsweek in the 1980s. You can buy his latest book, America’s Stolen Narrative, either in print here or as an e-book (from Amazon and barnesandnoble.com).
On the 29th of November, 2015, Foreign Affairs – the publication of the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) – published an article titled: Divide and Conquer in Syria and Iraq; Why the West Should Plan for a Partition. It was written by Barak Mendelsohn, an Associate Professor of Political Science at Haverford College and a Senior Fellow at the Foreign Policy Research Institute. In the article, he argues that the “solution” to the current crisis in Syria and Iraq is the creation of an “independent Sunni state” (or Sunnistan), in addition to separating “the warring sides:”
“The only way to elicit indigenous support is by offering the Sunnis greater stakes in the outcome. That means proposing an independent Sunni state that would link Sunni-dominated territories on both sides of the border. Washington’s attachment to the artificial Sykes–Picots borders demarcated by France and Britain a century ago no longer makes sense. Few people truly believe that Syria and Iraq could each be put back together after so much blood has been spilled. A better alternative would be to separate the warring sides. Although the sectarian conflict between Sunnis and Shias was not inevitable—it was, to some extent, the result of manipulation by self-interested elites—it is now a reality.”
Mendelsohn’s so-called “solution” for the region is in fact the strategy Western powers have been pursuing in the Middle East for years. His proposal is pretty much identical to the preferred “outcome” for Syria articulated by the former US Secretary of State and CFR member, Henry Kissinger. Speaking at the Ford School in 2013, Kissinger reveals his desire to see Syria Balkanized into “more or less autonomous regions (from 27.35 into the interview):
“There are three possible outcomes. An Assad victory. A Sunni victory. Or an outcome in which the various nationalities agree to co-exist together but in more or less autonomous regions, so that they can’t oppress each other. That’s the outcome I would prefer to see. But that’s not the popular view…. I also think Assad ought to go, but I don’t think it’s the key. The key is; it’s like Europe after the Thirty Years War, when the various Christian groups had been killing each other until they finally decided that they had to live together but in separate units.”
Carving out Sunnistan in the region was also recently advocated by the former US Ambassador to the United Nations, John Bolton, in his NY Times article: To Defeat ISIS, Create a Sunni State. Bolton wants to create an“independent Sunni State” to act as a “bulwark” against Bashar al-Assad and Baghdad. Make no mistake about it; the strategy of the US had always been to create a Sunni micro-state in Eastern Syria and Western Iraq to isolate Assad. In the 2012 declassified report from the DIA, the document reveals that the powers supporting the Syrian opposition – “Western countries, the Gulf states and Turkey” – wanted to create a “Salafist principality in Eastern Syria in order to isolate the Syrian regime, which is considered the strategic depth of the Shia expansion (Iraq and Iran).”
Obviously, Salafism (which some argue is synonymous with Wahhabism; whilst others argue that Wahhabism is a more extreme form of Salafism) is a branch of Sunni Islam. Many have argued that “violence” is “central” to Wahhabism and Salafism, as Catherine Shakdam expresses in her article, Wahhabism, Al Saud and ISIS – the Unholy Trinity:
“Wahhabism is no more than an engineered perversion, a division, an abomination which has but spread like a cancer onto the Islamic world and now threatens to destroy all religions… Wahhabism is not of Islam and Islam will never be of Wahhabism – it is a folly to conceive that Islam would ever sanction murder, looting and atrocious barbarism. Islam opposes despotism, injustice, infamy, deceits, greed, extremism, asceticism – everything which is not balanced and good, fair and merciful, kind and compassionate. If anything, Wahhabism is the very negation of Islam. As many have called it before – Islam is not Wahhabism.” […]
“Wahhabism is merely the misguided expression of one man’s political ambition – Mohammed Abdel Wahhab, a man who was recruited by Empire Britain to erode at the fabric of Islam and crack the unity of its ummah (community). Wahhabism has now given birth to a monstrous abomination – extreme radicalism; a beast which has sprung and fed from Salafis and Wahhabis poison, fueled by the billions of Al Saud’s petrodollars; a weapon exploited by neo-imperialists to justify military interventions in those wealthiest corners of the world. ISIS’s obscene savagery epitomises the violence which is inherent and central to Wahhabism and Salafism, its other deviance. And though the world knows now the source of all terror, no power has yet dared speak against it; instead, the world has chosen to hate its designated victim – Islam.”
In relation to Iraq, the plan to split the country into three parts has been publicly advocated by US officials ad nauseam. The President Emeritus of the CFR, Leslie Gelb, argued in a 2003 article for the NY Times that the most feasible outcome in Iraq would be a “three-state solution: Kurds in the north, Sunnis in the center and Shiites in the south.” In 2006, a potential map of a future Middle East was released by Lieutenant-Colonel Ralph Peters which depicted Iraq divided into three regions: a Sunni Iraq to the West, an Arab Shia State in the East and a Free Kurdistan in the North. The current US Vice President, Joe Biden, also penned an article which was co-authored by Gelb titled: United Through Autonomy in Iraq. The 2006 article argues for a decentralized Iraqi state where power is held by three “ethno-religious” groups: “Kurd, Sunni Arab and Shiite Arab.” Furthermore, the NY Times published an article in 2013 titled: Imagining a Remapped Middle East; How 5 Countries Could Become 14, which envisages the Middle East and Libya completely Balkanized.
Responding to the strategy of the West in Iraq, Russian Foreign Minister, Sergey Lavrov, called the division of the country “unacceptable.” Lavrov stated that this was “social engineering” and “state structure manipulation from far outside,” adding that Russia believes “Iraqis – Shia, Sunnis and Kurds – should decide for themselves how to live together.”
The Western elite’s strategy is to create a Middle East (and a world for that matter) devoid of strong, sovereign, independent nation-states that can resist imperial advances. Fracturing countries into feuding micro-states ensures Western interests are not confronted with a cohesive entity which can collectively unite to oppose this belligerent force. “Divide and conquer” as Mendelsohn’s article is titled, the ancient strategy used by an array of imperial powers, from the Romans to the British, remains the strategy of the Western Empire today.
Steven MacMillan is an independent writer, researcher, geopolitical analyst and editor of The Analyst Report.
Who is the arch racist, Hillary or Trump? To answer that, let us ask another question, a simple one. Which is worse: to denigrate some members of a group or religion or race – or to kill them by the millions? And maim more millions and displace even more millions? Which is more “racist”? With that in mind, who is the arch racist, Hillary or The Donald?
Do the liberals who criticize Trump, but not Hillary, as racist forget the slogan of the anti-Vietnam War movement, “Stop the Racist Bombing.”
And which causes more blowback, more revenge attacks by the victims – the denigration with words or the killing with bombs and sanctions?
Then consider the careers and statements of Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. Is there any doubt who is the greater offender in terms of hostility to Muslims? And yet in all of the accusations of “racism” hurled at Trump from the editorial pages of the NYT to the most “progressive” web sites and outlets, there appears no corresponding charge against Hillary as racist. That is symptomatic of a deep imperial sickness, an inability to see what is all too clear. It is also an indication of the deep reach of the elite into all outlets of communication from the mainstream to most of the alternative ones and even into the minds of supposed progressives.
Let us consider some of the things that Donald Trump has had to say, most notably the following from the last debate of 2015 among the GOP candidates:
TRUMP: In my opinion, we’ve spent $4 trillion trying to topple various people that frankly, if they were there and if we could’ve spent that $4 trillion in the United States to fix our roads, our bridges, and all of the other problems; our airports and all of the other problems we’ve had, we would’ve been a lot better off. I can tell you that right now.
We have done a tremendous disservice, not only to Middle East, we’ve done a tremendous disservice to humanity. The people that have been killed, the people that have (been) wiped away, and for what? It’s not like we had victory.
It’s a mess. The Middle East is totally destabilized. A total and complete mess. I wish we had the $4 trillion or $5 trillion. I wish it were spent right here in the United States, on our schools, hospitals, roads, airports, and everything else that are all falling apart. (Emphasis, jw)
Doug Fuda, a Catholic antiwar activist, describes this statement as “almost a call for a desperately needed American repentance.”
Just campaign rhetoric, you might say – although hardly the kind you hear from the rest of the candidates, especially on the value of the lives of those the US bombed into oblivion. Then consider the following from Trump’s March, 2004 Esquire interview:
Look at the war in Iraq and the mess that we’re in. I would never have handled it that way. Does anybody really believe that Iraq is going to be a wonderful democracy where people are going to run down to the voting box and gently put in their ballot and the winner is happily going to step up to lead the county? C’mon. Two minutes after we leave, there’s going to be a revolution, and the meanest, toughest, smartest, most vicious guy will take over.
What was the purpose of this whole thing? Hundreds and hundreds of young people killed. And what about the people coming back with no arms and legs? Not to mention the other side. All those Iraqi kids who’ve been blown to pieces. And it turns out that all of the reasons for the war were blatantly wrong. All this for nothing! (Emphasis, jw)
That statement was made 11 years ago when Trump was a TV sensation, not a political candidate. A simple rule is that the greater the temporal gap between a candidate’s statements and voting day, the more heartfelt will be the statement. With that statement of 2004 you could not get further from the sentiment expressed by Hillary’s support for the war on Iraq or the proclamation by her close colleague Madeleine Albright that the Clinton sanctions on Iraq which killed hundreds of thousands, five hundred thousand children among them, were “worth it” to overthrow Saddam Hussein! And Hillary herself peddling every neocon war in sight from Iraq to Libya and now Syria. How can the liberals and progressives excoriate Trump but not Clinton as “racist”? And how can they ignore Trump’s words of compassion for those on “the other side”? Those words are unique among the current contenders for the presidency and they ought to earn Trump a sobriquet quite different from “new Hitler” or “racist.” Have the so-called progressives lost touch with reality?
And now Hillary claims that Trump’s words fuel the fire of ISIS. The fires of ISIS were raging long before Trump made his appearance on the national political scene. And they burn bright because the wars waged by the demented Hillary and the rest of the Washington political elite provided the fuel that fed the Jihadist flame. Trump’s words, advocating a temporary halt to the entrance of Muslims into the U.S., if they have had any effect at all, were but a handful of woodchips next to the forests of fuel that Hillary’s wars provided the conflagration that is ISIS. But Hillary is no stranger to the most outrageous of lies, including the charge that ISIS has made a video featuring Trump.
Now on late night TV Hillary, despite all the blood of non-whites on her hands, has the gall to say that Trump is “dangerous.” He certainly has become a danger to her shot at the presidency. But for her to act as though she cares one wit about the lives of people of color, especially Arabs and Muslims, is a very sick joke.
In the context of the presidential campaign, my liberal and progressive friends, go ahead and excoriate The Donald to the max for any genuine racism or bigotry. Have at it. This writer for one welcomes it. But do not do so without mention of Hillary’s record with the blood of millions of Muslims all over it, as the New York Times does. At best that is a half-truth, which, of course, is a full lie.
Postscript. Well worth reading is this fact-based piece “The Media Needs to Stop Telling This Lie About Trump,” by a self-described liberal Alberto Martinez native of Puerto Rico and now a Professor at the University of TX at Austin.
John V. Walsh can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In the last few years, highly promoted drugs like Vioxx, Bextra, Baycol, Trovan, Meridia, Seldane, Hismanal, Darvon, Mylotarg, Lotronex, Propulsid, phenylpropanolamine (PPA), phenacetin, Raxar and Redux have been withdrawn for safety risks after millions used them. Sorry about that. Others like Avandia, Cylert, Ketek and Xarelto are under serious safety clouds.
But Big Pharma insists it is unaware of drugs’ true risks until a wide swath of the population uses them and “safety signals” emerge. Facts sometimes suggest otherwise.
In 1977, almost thirty years before Merck admitted its bone drug Fosamax caused jawbone death, its bone scientist observed the action in rats. (The “anti-fracture” drug also causes fractures.)
Years before the label of the antipsychotic Seroquel was changed in 2011 to warn the drug “should be avoided” in combination with at least 12 other medications because of heart risks, at least 99 articles in the U.S. National Library of Medicine linked the drug to “sudden death,” “QT prolongation” (a heart disturbance that can lead to death), “cardiac arrest” and “death.” In many cases, the Pharma companies “discover” the problems after the drug patent has conveniently expired.
Then there’s Paxil. Paroxetine was a top selling SSRI antidepressant drug for GSK during the “happy pill” craze when Big Pharma was telling everyone they had “depression.” But in 2004, soon after its approval, the New York Attorney General charged that research about the drug published in the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (known as “Study 329”) buried the drug’s true risks of suicide in adolescents.
And there were more questions about the research. Former Boston Globe reporter Alison Bass and others reported that the paper was not even written by the 22 doctors and researchers listed as “authors” but by a medical communication company hired by GSK. (Ghostwriting helped make Vioxx, Neurontin, hormone replacement therapy and even the flame retardant chemical deca [Deca-BDE] appear safe, according to published reports.) “You did a superb job with this,” wrote the Paxil paper’s first “author” Martin Keller of Brown University to Sally Laden, a ghostwriter working for Scientific Therapeutics Information. “It is excellent. Enclosed are rather minor changes from me.”
In 2006, “author” Martin Keller, former Professor Emeritus of Psychiatry at Brown, acknowledged that GSK had given him tens of thousands of dollars during and after the time the study was conducted.
There were also questions about where the research appeared. The Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry is a publication of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry which lists the funders of its “treatment guidelines” for children and adolescents with bipolar disorder as Abbott, AstraZeneca, Eli Lilly, Forest, Janssen, Novartis and Pfizer.
Almost fifteen years after the questionable research was published, the furor had not died down. In 2014, two members of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Edmund Levin and George Stewart, asked the editor of the Academy’s journal why the discredited paper was still standing and had not been retracted. (A quick look at other scientific papers identified in the press as ghostwritten shows that few are retracted and most are standing, to deceive future generations.)
Then, in September 2015, when many reporters, psychiatrists, researchers and professors had given up the Paxil fight, the British Medical Journal (BMJ) published a reanalysis that amounted to a reversal of the original study. The new research demonstrated that Paxil indeed increases risks of suicide in young people and adolescents.
The reanalysis of Paxil’s suicide risks in the young is a victory for safety activists, medical reporters, the public and freedom of the press. But many pro-pill doctors continue to fight evidence of Paxil’s suicide risks and similar SSRIs. “There is a very reasonable possibility that it has discouraged patients from taking antidepressants and physicians from prescribing these medications [and] the government should rescind the black-box warning on antidepressants altogether,” Richard A. Friedman, a professor of clinical psychiatry at Weill Cornell Medical wrote in the New York Times a month before the Paxil reanalysis.
JunkScience.com got NOAA scientist e-mails via FOIA? Why can’t Congress?
Last October, the New York Times published this dire op-ed on ocean acidification, supposedly authored by NOAA chief Richard Spinrad and his UK counterpart Ian Boyd.
Curious, I submitted a Freedom of Information Act request to NOAA for the e-mail related to the development and publication of the op-ed. I received 443 pages of e-mail in return.
First, the op-ed was actually written by NOAA staff Madelyn Applebaum, not Spinrad or Boyd. The purpose was to tout NOAA not inform the public about ocean acidification.
Second, the New York Times initially rejected the op-ed for its U.S. print edition and web site, the e-mails show. NOAA staff then submitted the op-ed to the International NYTimes staff in London (because Madelyn knew the INYT staff) where it was placed in the International NYTimes print edition and NYTimes.com.
Next, NOAA staff was appalled at the New York Times-selected title, which was a lot different than the NOAA-picked titled:
But the most notable e-mails stand in stark contrast to the information presented in the NYTimes op-ed.
Specifically, NOAA’s Dr. Shallin Busch insists the op-ed exaggerates the ocean acidification problem:
Below are clips of Busch doing so:
JunkScience has maintained for years now that there is no evidence that ocean “acidification” is causing harm. Glad to see that a top NOAA scientist sees it the same way.
BTW, we were about to FOIA scientist e-mail from NOAA. Not sure why Congress can’t get it and Judicial Watch has to sue for it.
As Jodi Rudoren exits the Jerusalem bureau of The New York Times, she leaves behind a series of gaping holes in coverage of Palestine-Israel, above all in her failure to expose the treatment of the most vulnerable, who suffer disproportionately under the constant brutality of the Israeli occupation.
Readers of the Times have never been told of the international outcry over the abuse of Palestinian children detained by Israeli security forces. They know nothing about the myriad Israeli breaches of the 2014 ceasefire with Gaza, especially the frequent attacks on fishermen and farmers; and they are uninformed of the cruel measures imposed on struggling Bedouin communities in the Jordan Valley and elsewhere.
Rudoren, who leaves her post as Jerusalem bureau chief at the end of this month, replaced Ethan Bronner nearly four years ago. She has written from inside an Israeli Jewish perspective, giving voice to official Israeli spin and omitting the stories that beg to be told.
Thus, although Rudoren visited Gaza, she had nothing to say about the numerous attacks on defenseless farmers and fishermen there, some of whom have died simply trying to do a day’s work. These attacks are in violation of the truce that ended the assault on Gaza in the summer of 2014 (as well as previous agreements), but Rudoren’s reporting from the enclave has strained to deflect the blame from Israel.
Instead of telling the stories we need to hear, Rudoren has written about individual Gazans who are anything but typical—a woman artist who defies the authorities, a man who goes against the grain by advocating for the two-state solution.
In this way she has given us the appearance of entering into Gazan society, of “balance” in covering both Israeli and Palestinian affairs, while she actually provided a smokescreen to avoid looking at the urgent issues.
The Bedouin of the West Bank received even less attention during Rudoren’s term in Jerusalem, but their stories are equally disturbing and compelling. In the Jordan Valley and east of Jerusalem (and also within Israel, in the Negev), Israeli forces often confiscate and destroy the basic necessities of life in these poverty-stricken communities.
The Israeli Civil Administration, a branch of the army, routinely destroys tents, latrines, animal shelters, water pipes, cisterns, wells, houses, solar panels and storage sheds, usually under the pretext that they lack building permits. Many of the confiscated and destroyed items have been donated by the International Committee of the Red Cross or other aid organizations.
The Israeli human rights organization, B’Tselem, has documented these acts of destruction and the many times Israeli troops have forced entire communities to leave their homes for hours and days at a time under the pretext of needing the area for “military training.” These live fire training sessions have more than once set the Bedouins’ fields on fire, destroying valuable crops and grazing land.
And yet, as she ignored these depredations, Rudoren chose to write about illegal settlers in the Jordan Valley, presenting them as plucky and determined and ignoring the plunder of indigenous communities in the area.
Although B’Tselem, the United Nations, Amnesty International and other monitoring groups have exposed the contemptible actions and policies of the Israeli government and its security forces, Rudoren has almost totally ignored the reports and even worked to undermine them.
Numerous groups, for instance, have raised alarm over the abuse of Palestinian children in Israeli custody, but Rudoren never saw fit to address the issue in the Times—except for a somewhat oblique attempt to defuse the charges. Thus, she wrote about stone throwing as a rite of passage in one West Bank village, presenting the youthful efforts at resistance and the Israeli response as a kind of game, nothing to be taken seriously.
The story mentions the arrests of children and military interrogations, but readers never learn that Israeli courts and security forces have been accused of serious mistreatment, amounting to torture: beatings, forced confessions, sleep deprivation, threats and more.
Instead, Rudoren says that it can be cold in those infamous interrogation rooms, as if that is the worst of it.
In the latest uprising, marked by a series of lone wolf stabbing and vehicular attacks, Rudoren continued to ignore the reports of monitoring groups, saying nothing about the well-documented charges that Israeli security forces are carrying out street executions of Palestinians who pose no threat.
This kind of news is deemed unfit to print in the Times. Rudoren, who goes on the join the international desk at the paper’s headquarters, played her part well, according to Times protocol, which expects that its reporters will maintain the Israeli narrative of victimhood, suppress anything that contradicts this claim and betray its readers under a camouflage of “balanced” reporting.
If the reporting on the alleged shooting in San Bernardino, California has left you confused and disoriented, you are not alone. The main stream media has changed substantial aspects of their original official story.
While it is understandable that some details might get misreported in the immediate aftermath of a national tragedy, no mention is made as to WHERE this misinformation originated from and WHY we should think that the NEW news reports are any more reliable.
It is difficult to dispute or verify claims when the narrative is a moving target. These evolving details are pretty significant, and seem to be — along with crisis actors and concurrent drills — another fingerprint of government sponsored shooting hoaxes and false flag events. Let’s take a look at a few of these alterations and how they relate to inconsistencies in other government-sponsored events.
HAVE YOU SEEN THE THIRD SHOOTER? SHE LOOKS LIKE A HE…
As discussed in a previous Memory Hole blog post, Juan Hernandez and Sally Abdelmageed described the shooters as “THREE WHITE MEN” (emphasis ours).
Fox and CNN then reported that the third assailant was FEMALE. She was supposedly on her way to Las Vegas to board an airplane. As time passed, that third accomplice became a MAN and HIS involvement was diminished (eventually to the point of being eliminated). Notice how the Wall Street Journal puts it in the article “Shooting Kills at Least 14; Two Suspects Are Dead” (Dec 2, 2015):
“The chief said a third person fled the scene and was taken into custody, but the police did not know his role, if any…” (emphasis ours)
Similarly varied stories were reported during the mass shooting (hoax) at Umpqua Community College. The shooter’s name changed from Toby Reynolds to Chris Sean Harper-Mercer (after going through several permutations in between – see diagram). His age changed from 20 to 26. When CNN altered his photograph, his race changed from mixed-race to white.
HAVE YOU SEEN MY MOTIVATION? IT WAS AROUND HERE SOMEWHERE…
The motive changed for the UCC shooter (Chris Harper-Mercer) from hatred towards Christians, to hatred towards women, then to hatred towards minorities.
Similarly, the San Bernardino shooting was originally characterized as spontaneous payback over an office party argument. According to the article “Carnage In California” by Tamara Audi and Jim Carlton (also from the Wall Street Journal, Dec 3, 2015)
“Police said that there had been a dispute at the holiday party that sent one person away angry, but it was unclear if that was connected to the later assault.”
Two days later, The New York Times contradicted this account (in the article “For San Bernardino Survivors, a Day of Screams and Chaos”, Dec 5, 2015):
“… But that ended when a colleague, Syed Rizwan Farook, 28, who had been there and quietly slipped away, leaving his jacket draped over a chair, returned with his wife, Tashfeen Malik, 29, to unleash what the FBI is calling a terrorist attack.”
If Farook did have some argument at the holiday party, it would have been against his character according to Chris Nwadike. Nwadike, a fellow health inspector for San Bernardino County, said “Farook was a quiet person,” and he goes on to say that he never saw Farook have a disagreement with colleagues at work.
The spontaneous nature of this office party narrative belies the Islamic terrorist motive that would come later. Yet even The Wall Street Journal article, “California Shooters Leave Clues, but No Clear Motive” (Dec 4, 2015), had to admit that there was no clear motive:
“Law-enforcement officials said Thursday they weren’t sure what motivated the killings. Investigators found Mr. Farook had contact, some online and some by phone, with people who came up tangentially in past federal terrorism probes.” (emphasis ours)
The word “tangentially” should be in giant letters. They maybe once visited a website of someone who was IN THE PAST maybe tangentially tied to a mundane federal probe… I mean they are really grasping at straws here.
A few days later (Dec 8, 2015), The Wall Street Journal readdresses the issue of motive (in the article “Shooters Were ‘Radicalized’”) with a rumor of a post they got from “officials” that will make your eyes roll:
“Ms. Malik posted a message on Facebook just before the attack pledging allegiance to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of the terror group Islamic State, according to officials… ‘We have learned and believe that both suspects have been radicalized, and have been for quite some time,’ David Bowdich, the FBI director in charge in Los Angeles, told reporters in a news conference.” (Emphasis ours)
ACCORDING TO OFFICIALS?! Why on earth couldn’t they go and pull up the Facebook quote themselves rather than depend on the word of an unnamed official? At least with the UCC shooting they created fake accounts and provided us with screenshots of posts.
Speaking of which, in the shooting at Umpqua Community College, Mercer’s social media was used to paint the alleged assailant as a frustrated racist conspiracy theorist with ties to Muslim extremists. These social media posts may leave something to be desired in the way of credibility, however. To that point his MySpace was changed five times after his death.
This Islamic extremism motivation might SEEM predictable and ridiculous to those familiar with false flag events, but it is by no means the most absurd. The winner for the most absurd motive put forth by the media goes to Erin Burnett at CNN. Since Ms. Malik recently had a baby, Burnett blames the shooting on postpartum psychosis. That’s right, the baby blues.
Burnett: “Jim, I mean, obviously, her involvement is a game changer in how enforcement, law enforcement will look at this. But I just have to ask you, could there be something else, anything else that could have explained her involvement? Something like a postpartum psychosis?”
MOTIVES OF THE NEW WORLD ORDER ARE MANY, BUT CONSISTENT
All of this begs the question: “WHY?” If these events are really government sponsored hoaxes, then they ought to be scripted. If they are scripted, why does the script change so much? One would think the identities and motives of the assailants should remain constant, the way they did during 9/11.
However, the real target is all of us. Rotating through all of the motive possibilities means you can spend time demonizing nearly every demographic or range of thought not fitting the state’s mold. If they were ‘radicalized’, that label can apply to anybody who travels to a non-western country or just uses the Internet and visits a site that’s not government-approved. If they weren’t on the no-fly list, the government will feel justified in expanding that list to include almost everyone. They can easily change a no-fly list to a no-buy list. Not just suspected terrorists, but anybody who associates with suspected terrorists, or any idea considered radical. Even new mothers can’t be trusted.
While this purely constructed hoax is so artificial even the main stream media can’t keep it straight (possibly by design), what will not change is that more hoax shootings are coming. Mass Shootings have exploded like a cottage industry since Obama has taken office. Give it a month or so and it will be obvious that the staged shootings will not stop and that San Bernardino is Just Another C.I.A. False Flag.