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Wed, 24 Aug 2016
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NPR's role in the 'unholy choir' of Western propaganda

National Public Radio is one of the US's state media institutions, despite the protestation to the contrary. It serves a critical role in providing left-cover for US imperial and military adventurism in the world today and like much of the western press, plays an active role in encouraging military interventionism, as you will see below.

The beauty of NPR is that it is a microcosm, a mirror reflection, of the entire US project and self-conception. The parallels between the views of NPR's target demographic, (middle-aged, college educated, whites who are left-of-center), and how this demographic views the US in the world, might otherwise seem uncanny. That is, of course, until we come to terms with the nature of media and NPR's role in it.

The role of media in shaping world events and our thinking about them is indisputable. Whether news, entertainment, or advertising, media is much more than a mere reflection of reality - it is a reality creator. Any ambivalence about this point should be quickly disabused by a cursory glance at the multi-billion dollar advertising industry, the primacy of seizing TV and radio stations in a coup attempt, that TV and radio stations are primary military targets in war, or the controls that governments and corporations impose on internet access. None of these would be important if media merely reflected a reality which was already a consensus. To the contrary, media is a consensus builder.


15k new Hillary emails discovered - more evidence of Clinton Foundation pay-to-play scheme

© Associated Press
The FBI has found nearly 15,000 emails that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton never turned over after she left office. Some show that foreign officials tried to curry favor with the State Department by donating millions to the Clinton Foundation.

The existence of the 14,900 messages was revealed during a court hearing on Monday. Judicial Watch, a conservative foundation that promotes integrity in government, has been seeking to release those emails, all of which were found on one computer disc that includes emails and attachments sent directly to or from Clinton or in which she was included at some point in the email chain. Monday's court hearing was to determine the schedule by which the new emails will be released.

Also on Monday, Judicial Watch released 725 pages of State Department documents, including 20 email exchanges in which Clinton was a participant. More than a dozen of them added further evidence of a pay-to-play scheme in which foreign officials donated millions of dollars to the Clinton Foundation and its Clinton Global Initiative in exchange for access to the State Department.

In one of the message chains, the Clinton Foundation's Doug Band emailed Clinton's aide at the State Department, Huma Abedin, about a "good friend of ours," Crown Prince Salman of Bahrain. He was "asking to see her," Band wrote in June 2009.

The crown prince had already asked to see Clinton through "normal channels," Abedin replied. "I asked and she doesn't want to commit to anything."

Two days later, Abedin wrote Band that Clinton was able to meet with Crown Prince Salman, and that he should let the Bahraini royal know if he sees him. "We have reached out thru official channels," she added.

Star of David

No shame: After Palestinian takes Olympic gold for Jordan, Israelis claim his roots are 'Israeli'

© Daily Forward
The Jewish Daily Forward's headline of Jordan's Ahmad Abu Ghosh's Olympic gold medal.
After Palestinian Ahmed Abu Ghosh won Jordan's first-ever Olympic gold medal in Rio on Friday for the men's 68-kg Taekwondo event, claims that the athlete's roots in the Jerusalem area are "Israeli," and that his family "relocated" or "moved" to Jordan decades ago have followed.

The Jewish Telegraphic Agency reported the Olympian's heritage as from an "Israeli-Arab village," while i24 referred to the Palestinian hamlet as an "Arab majority town."
© i24
i24 headline on Ahmad Abu Ghosh’s “Israeli” heritage.
"The Olympic medalist's grandparents moved from the village to Jordan decades ago," reported Israel's Ynet News.

Haaretz wrote, "The gold-medalist's grandparents relocated from Abu Gosh decades ago to Jordan."

Abu Ghosh was born in Jordan, but his grandparents hailed from a Palestinian village that is their namesake, Abu Ghosh. The town's local council was not immediately available to confirm the circumstances in which the medalist's family left. But "relocated"? It is likely they were refugees among the 750,000 Palestinians who were expelled or fled during Israel's 1948 war.

Palestinian outlets reported that Abu Ghosh was raised in a refugee camp for Palestinians, al-Nasser, near Jordan's capital. But this detail of his family's displacement was omitted from Israeli news coverage.

Comment: So Israel feels entitled to claim an accomplished athlete as having 'Israeli roots', because his family once lived in the territory, until they were driven out by Israeli terrorists in 1948. 'Fleeing to a refugee camp' is now 'deciding to go to Jordan'.

The slimy Hasbara bunch is getting worse every day.

Light Saber

Routing the fifth column? Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte fires 'thousands' of government employees

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte announced on Sunday that he would be sacking every member of his administration who was appointed by a previous President. The move — the latest in what Duterte calls a campaign against corruption — is one of several that have left critics troubled over what they say is an excessive wielding of executive power.

"Until now, in my provincial visits, I still hear that corruption is being committed," he said in a long press conference in the earliest hours of Sunday morning, according to the Philippine Daily Inquirer. "My mouth is, as they say, lousy. If you are there because of a presidential appointment, I will declare all your positions, all throughout the country, vacant."

As for the number of government employees to be sacked: "It will number in the thousands."

Comment: See also: 'I don't give a sh*t about them': Philippine president Duterte threatens to leave 'stupid' UN


US occupation of Syria is now official

© www.fort-russ.com
"This is a historic and dangerous development which only increases the chances of total war."

Over the last 24 hours, the United States has made clear its status as a hostile occupational force in Syria. Yesterday, the US issued a communique to the legitimate Syrian government and the Russian anti-terrorist coalition assisting the Syrians. The United States has indicated that it has carved out a swath of Syria with boots on the ground fulfilling the roles of active duty personnel, such as special ops forces, advisors, trainers, mechanics, and supporting units. The US has declared a no fly zone and threatened to target and shoot down Syrian and Russian planes within Syrian airspace [over the Kurdish autonomous region - ed].

As RT reports, US Commander of American forces in Iraq and Syria Lt. General Stephen Townshend stated: ""We've informed the Russians where we're at ... (they) tell us they've informed the Syrians, and I'd just say that we will defend ourselves if we feel threatened." Since, as Reuters reports, clashes between Kurdish and Syrian forces have intensified.

A number of analysts previously forecasted that the US would take this route given the success of the Syrian and allied Russian campaign in general and in particular in light of souring US-Turkish relations, the possibility of the US losing access to the Turkish Incirlik base, and the dire situation of Takfiri forces holed up in Aleppo. Different international news agencies have already run a version of the story which presents the US forces' communique as a "warning for Russia and Syria" (CNN) or a "defensive threat" (IBT), but they have failed to distinguish the de facto meaning of this development. Nor have they included that the US military's official statement is in stark violation of international law, constituting an illegal occupation of a sovereign state.

Comment: US aggression and violating international law can't be denied this time. It is a critical pivot point that will certainly be addressed by action. Hard to believe it has finally come to this.


The greatest obstacle to peace is the US government

© Obstacle to Peace
In our days of darkness, spreading ignorance, and absence of serious debate in public forums, we can take hope from the fact that some scholars still produce serious and informative books on the most critical issues of our time. If in the future policymakers again seek the guidance of truth, they will have the information at hand.

One such book of truth is Jeremy R. Hammond's just published Obstacle to Peace, a closely reasoned, heavily documented (68 pages of footnotes), fully indexed, readable book with a Foreword by Richard Falk, an Introduction by Gene Epstein, and an endorsement by Noam Chomsky.

The obstacle to peace is the United States government, which has consistently opposed the entire world's decades-long effort to stop the Zionist genocide of a land called Palestine.

Palestine is a stolen and oppressed land. Israel's greatest leaders themselves acknowledge the fact. Tom Are quotes David Ben-Gurion:
"If I were an Arab leader, I would never make terms with Israel. That is natural, we have taken their country. Sure God promised it to us, but what does that matter to them? Our God is not theirs. We came from Israel, it's true, but that was two thousand years ago, and what is that to them? There has been anti-Semitism, the Nazis, Auschwitz, but was that their fault? They only see one thing: we have come and stolen their country. Why should they accept that?"
What once was a country consists today of a few small isolated Palestinian ghettos in the West Bank surrounded by Israeli settlements and an open air prison known as Gaza. Periodically Israel launches military assaults on the civilian population of Gaza, destroying the lives of the people and the infrastructure of the prison camp.

Israel then prevents outside efforts from sending supplies to the suffering people in Gaza. "Freedom flotillas" crewed by Nobel Laurates, present and former members of US and European legislative bodies, and even members of the Israeli Knesset set sail with supplies for Gaza and are pirated and captured in international waters by the Israeli Navy, which, as a warning to others, kills some of the delegation in "self-defense." The United States steadfastly defends Israel's criminal behavior with its UN veto and other governments, though disapproving, are unwilling to confront Washington and force a change.


Turkey withdraws ambassador from Austria over pro-Kurdistan Workers' Party rally

© Fatih Saribas / Reuters
Turkey has withdrawn its ambassador to Austria amid growing tensions between the two countries. Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said the top diplomat was called back for "consultations."

The minister added that the Turkish authorities also want to "review" their relations with Austria, Anadolu news agency reports. "Unfortunately, the ground for our bilateral relations and cooperation to continue as normal has disappeared," Cavusoglu said, as quoted by AP.

Cavusoglu also said that the Austrian ambassador was summoned to the Turkish Foreign Ministry over a rally, which was held in Austria in support of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), a militant group, which is listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey as well as by the US and European countries.

Star of David

A new milestone for BDS: The boycott comes to the Olympics

© Getty Image
Islam El Shehaby refuses to shake Or Sasson's hand.
"I have no problem with Jewish people or any other religion or different beliefs. But for personal reasons, you can't ask me to shake the hand of anyone from this state, especially in front of the whole world." These words, spoken by an individual who has just engaged in a gesture of support for the Palestinian people, are a standard response to the accusation of anti-Semitism which is routinely hurled at pro-justice activists.

The necessary distinction made between the "Jewish people" and the Israeli state is one Israel itself seeks to erase, as it strives to deflect all criticism of its policies, blaming it on anti-Jewish hatred instead. As such, these words do not in themselves establish new grounds, but a new approach to solidarity. Yet as Egyptian judoka Islam El-Shehaby uttered them last week in Brazil, they signified a new milestone: the sports boycott had arrived at the 2016 Olympic Games.

"Shaking the hand of your opponent is not an obligation written in the judo rules. It happens between friends and he's not my friend," El Shehaby explained, in the fallout from his action, which resulted in his dismissal from the games, for "poor sportsmanship."

One day before El-Shehaby's refusal to shake the hand of the Israeli Olympian he had just competed with, another judoka, Saudi Joud Fahmy, had withdrawn from the competition, in order not to have to compete against an Israeli athlete, should she win and advance to the next round.

And yet two days earlier, the Lebanese team had refused to let Israeli athletes ride on the same bus that had picked them up first, on its way to the opening ceremony. The Lebanese athletes persistently blocked the door, preventing the Israelis from getting onto the bus. As a result, the International Olympic Committee had to send in a separate bus for the Israelis.

Comment: Kudos to those athletes who are willing to endure criticism and censure to stand with an oppressed people.

Star of David

Israel shells Syria after stray mortar crosses into Golan Heights

© Ancho Gosh / Reuters
The IDF says it has attacked a Syrian Army launch site near Israel's border in the Golan Heights, after a Syrian mortar landed inside Israeli territory. The initial incident produced no casualties or damage, according to Israeli media.

Israel believes that the mortar, which landed next to a minefield, was not aimed at its land, but nonetheless dispatched aircraft to neutralize the source of the firing. In accordance with its policy, Israel holds Damascus responsible for any overspill from its internal conflict, and considers any rockets that breach the border a direct attack. IDF planes have made dozens of such sorties since the outbreak of the Syrian conflict in 2011.

While the majority of the Golan Heights have been in Israeli possession since it won the Six-Day War in 1967, the Syrian side of the border has been a focal point for fighting between the Syrian government and the Al Nusra Front, a militant Islamist organization.

Microscope 2

The day before Deraa: How the West brought civil war to Syria

Setting the stage: 'protests' in Deraa in March 2011, instigated and organized by Western intelligence-trained agents provocateurs
The day before September 11, 2001 was like any normal day in New York City. September 10, 2001 was unaware of the earthshaking events which would happen the next day.

Similarly, one might think the day before the violence broke out in Deraa, Syria, in March 2011, would have been an uneventful day, unaware of the uprising about to begin.

But that was not the case. Deraa was teaming with activity and foreign visitors to Syria well before the staged uprising began its opening act.

The Omari Mosque was the scene of backstage preparations, costume changes and rehearsals. The Libyan terrorists, fresh from the battlefield of the US-NATO regime change attack on Libya, were in Deraa well ahead of the March 2011 uprising violence. The cleric of the Omari Mosque was Sheikh Ahmad al Sayasneh. He was an older man with a severe eye problem, which caused him to wear special dark glasses, and severely hampered his vision. He was not only visually impaired, but light sensitive as well, which caused him to be indoors as much as possible and often isolated. He was accustomed to judging the people he talked with by their accent and voice. The Deraa accent is distinctive. All of the men attending the Omari Mosque were local men, all with the common Deraa accent.