Category Archives: Propaganda

Who Tells Us What To Think? Does The Mainstream Media = The Matrix?

By Michael Snyder
February 15, 2013 “Information Clearing House” – Do you believe that you really think for yourself? Did you come up with your attitudes, opinions and beliefs on your own, or are they continually being shaped and molded by someone else? Could it be possible that you and everyone around you is actually hooked into a real life version of “the matrix” that is constantly defining your reality for you? Sadly, the truth is that almost all of us have willingly hooked ourselves into a colossal media system that literally tells us what to think. In the United States today, the average American watches 153 hours of television a month. We also spend huge amounts of time watching movies, surfing the Internet, reading books and magazines, playing video games and listening to music. Many Americans are so addicted to being “connected” that they will actually become physically uncomfortable if they are at home and there is total silence. Unfortunately, as I pointed out in a previous article, somewhere around 90 percent of the “information” that we are allowing to be endlessly pumped into our heads is owned by just 6 gigantic media corporations. So could it be possible that the thousands of hours of “news and entertainment” that you are allowing these gigantic corporations to fill your head with each year is having an effect on you? Does the mainstream media have more control over you than you ever dreamed possible? If you want to continue on in blissful ignorance, stop reading now, but if you want to take “the red pill”, keep on reading because the further down the rabbit hole you go, the stranger that things get.
When you go to work or to school in the morning, what is everyone talking about?
Usually, people are talking about something that they saw on television or that they heard about in the news.
In our society today, the limited interactions that we do have with other people are usually defined by our mutual connection to the media.
The mainstream media literally defines for us what is important and what is not. If the mainstream media does not talk about something, then it simply does not matter.
I don’t know how many times over the years I have heard someone tell me some version of the following statement: “If that was true we would have heard about it on the news.”
Has anyone ever said something similar to you?
The funny thing is that most of the time I won’t even mention something important that I may have heard in one of my articles unless I can back it up with a “mainstream source”, and I don’t even trust the mainstream media.
I know that the mainstream media often distorts the facts and often tells outright lies, but I regularly link to them because that gives my articles more “credibility” in the eyes of those that are still fully hooked into the matrix.
In a world where the big media corporations have so much power, is there any hope for us?
As long as the big corporations that control the media are dominating and controlling the conversation, is there any chance that there will ever be a mass awakening among the American people?
Our young people seem particularly addicted to being constantly “connected” to the media matrix that is being constructed all around us. The following is a brief excerpt from a recent article by Daniel Taylor
According to a 2010 LA Times report, young people spend on average 53 hours a week watching TV, playing video games, and sitting at the computer.
Facebook users spend about 15 hours a month on the social networking site.
People are walking – and driving – blindly while texting, sometimes walking into fountains and even falling off cliffs.
Wow – our young people spend more than 200 hours a month connected to the mainstream media?
But we only have about 480 waking hours a month to work with.
If they are being exposed to that amount of continuous propaganda, what hope do our young people have?
In the old days, kids actually played with each other in the streets and adults actually left their homes to interact with one another.
But these days we spend nearly all of our time sitting passively in our homes staring at flickering screens.
Is that a sign of a healthy society?
We were created to be social creatures. We were designed to love and to be loved. But these days people “love” their favorite sports teams or they “love” their favorite television shows but we have an increasingly difficult time having real relationships with each other.
Meanwhile, the global elite rely on the mainstream media to keep us distracted and to control the boundaries of public discourse. Most of the time, the mainstream media focuses on the latest celebrity scandal or the latest dogfights between the Republicans and the Democrats and they systematically ignore many of the more important things that are taking place out there.
Let me just give you one example of how the mainstream media shapes the news. For decades, there was almost a complete and total media blackout on the Bilderberg Group meetings that happen every year. Top newspaper executives from the United States would actually attend these meetings, but then their newspapers would not say a single word about them.
If anyone out there did bring up “the Bilderberg Group”, they were dismissed as wacky “conspiracy theorists” and were told that it simply does not exist.
Of course now we all know that it does exist, although the mainstream media in the U.S. still mostly ignores it. In fact, this has been by design. The following is what David Rockefeller is alleged to have said during a Bilderberg Group meeting back in 1991…
We are grateful to The Washington Post, The New York Times, Time magazine and other great publications whose directors have attended our meetings and respected their promises of discretion for almost forty years. … It would have been impossible for us to develop our plan for the world if we had been subject to the bright lights of publicity during those years. But, the world is now much more sophisticated and prepared to march towards a world government. The supranational sovereignty of an intellectual elite and world bankers is surely preferable to the national auto-determination practiced in past centuries.
Even today, many prominent “journalists” in the U.S. mock people when they bring up the Bilderberg Group. For example, Lawrence O’Donnell of MSNBC says that he is “way too lazy” to look into the Bilderberg Group and that he “doesn’t know about it, so it must not exist”.
For much more on the connection between the mainstream media and the global elite, please see this article: “Who Runs The World? Solid Proof That A Core Group Of Wealthy Elitists Is Pulling The Strings“.
Instead of telling us what is really going on in the world, the mainstream media keeps us endlessly distracted. The following are just a few of the headlines that can be found on the front pages of major mainstream news sites right now…
Wow – those are some examples of some really hard-hitting journalism right there.
So why do most Americans continue to fall for this nonsense?
Sadly, part of the reason is because we have become so “dumbed down” as a society.
Recently, the Guardian conducted an evaluation of the reading level of every State of the Union address in U.S. history. What they found is that Barack Obama’s State of the Union addresses have had the second lowest reading level average in history, and that in general the reading levels of the speeches have been significantly declining over time.
But it is not just our presidents that appear to be getting stupider. The truth is that our public education system is a total joke at this point. Many of our high school students are as dumb as a rock, and if you can believe it, 23 percent of all Americans cannot even read beyond a fourth-grade level.
Of course the elite are quite pleased with this, because a stupid public is a public that is easier to dominate.
When a large segment of the population can barely read and is accustomed to letting others do their thinking for them, it becomes easier to lie.
For example, on Thursday Paul Krugman of the New York Times made the following statement
“Growing dependence on government is mostly a myth”
Of course most of you that are reading this know that is a flat-out lie. The charts in this article clearly show that the number of Americans on food stamps is at an all-time high and the percentage of the population that is on food stamps is at an all-time high.
Back in 1983, less than a third of all Americans lived in a household that got money from the federal government each month, Now, an all-time high 49 percent of all Americans live in a home where at least one person receives money from the government each month.
For many more stats and charts that demonstrate the stunning growth of government dependence, please see this article and this article.
Sadly, the truth doesn’t seem to matter too much to the media these days. The mainstream media tends to be incredibly arrogant, and most of the time they don’t even pretend to be “objective” or “neutral” anymore.
Fortunately, more Americans than ever are becoming dissatisfied with the mainstream media and are starting to seek out alternative sources of information. According to a recent Gallup poll, the level of trust that the American public has in the mainstream media is now at an all-time low.
So perhaps there is hope after all.
What do you think?
This article was originally posted at The Economic Collapse

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The Great Islamophobic Crusade

Inside the Bizarre Cabal of Secretive Donors, Demagogic Bloggers, Pseudo-Scholars, European Neo-Fascists, Violent Israeli Settlers, and Republican Presidential Hopefuls Behind the Crusade
By Max Blumenthal
September 13, 2012 “Information Clearing House” – – Nine years after 9/11, hysteria about Muslims in American life has gripped the country. With it has gone an outburst of arson attacks on mosques, campaigns to stop their construction, and the branding of the Muslim-American community, overwhelmingly moderate, as a hotbed of potential terrorist recruits. The frenzy has raged from rural Tennessee to New York City, while in Oklahoma, voters even overwhelmingly approved a ballot measure banning the implementation of Sharia law in American courts (not that such a prospect existed). This campaign of Islamophobia wounded President Obama politically, as one out of five Americans have bought into a sustained chorus of false rumors about his secret Muslim faith. And it may have tainted views of Muslims in general; an August 2010 Pew Research Center poll revealed that, among Americans, the favorability rating of Muslims had dropped by 11 points since 2005.
Erupting so many years after the September 11th trauma, this spasm of anti-Muslim bigotry might seem oddly timed and unexpectedly spontaneous. But think again: it’s the fruit of an organized, long-term campaign by a tight confederation of right-wing activists and operatives who first focused on Islamophobia soon after the September 11th attacks, but only attained critical mass during the Obama era. It was then that embittered conservative forces, voted out of power in 2008, sought with remarkable success to leverage cultural resentment into political and partisan gain.
This network is obsessively fixated on the supposed spread of Muslim influence in America. Its apparatus spans continents, extending from Tea Party activists here to the European far right. It brings together in common cause right-wing ultra-Zionists, Christian evangelicals, and racist British soccer hooligans. It reflects an aggressively pro-Israel sensibility, with its key figures venerating the Jewish state as a Middle Eastern Fort Apache on the front lines of the Global War on Terror and urging the U.S. and various European powers to emulate its heavy-handed methods.
Little of recent American Islamophobia (with a strong emphasis on the “phobia”) is sheer happenstance. Years before Tea Party shock troops massed for angry protests outside the proposed site of an Islamic community center in lower Manhattan, representatives of the Israel lobby and the Jewish-American establishment launched a campaign against pro-Palestinian campus activism that would prove a seedbed for everything to come. That campaign quickly — and perhaps predictably — morphed into a series of crusades against mosques and Islamic schools which, in turn, attracted an assortment of shady but exceptionally energetic militants into the network’s ranks.
Besides providing the initial energy for the Islamophobic crusade, conservative elements from within the pro-Israel lobby bankrolled the network’s apparatus, enabling it to influence the national debate. One philanthropist in particular has provided the beneficence to propel the campaign ahead. He is a little-known Los Angeles-area software security entrepreneur named Aubrey Chernick, who operates out of a security consulting firm blandly named the National Center for Crisis and Continuity Coordination. A former trustee of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, which has served as a think tank for the American Israeli Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), a frontline lobbying group for Israel, Chernick is said to be worth $750 million.
Chernick’s fortune is puny compared to that of the billionaire Koch Brothers, extraction industry titans who fund Tea Party-related groups like Americans for Prosperity, and it is dwarfed by the financial empire of Haim Saban, the Israeli-American media baron who is one of the largest private donors to the Democratic party and recently matched $9 million raised for the Friends of the Israeli Defense Forces in a single night. However, by injecting his money into a small but influential constellation of groups and individuals with a narrow agenda, Chernick has had a considerable impact.
Through the Fairbrook Foundation, a private entity he and his wife Joyce control, Chernick has provided funding to groups ranging from the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) and CAMERA, a right-wing, pro-Israel, media-watchdog outfit, to violent Israeli settlers living on Palestinian lands and figures like the pseudo-academic author Robert Spencer, who is largely responsible for popularizing conspiracy theories about the coming conquest of the West by Muslim fanatics seeking to establish a worldwide caliphate. Together, these groups spread hysteria about Muslims into Middle American communities where immigrants from the Middle East have recently settled, and they watched with glee as likely Republican presidential frontrunners from Mike Huckabee to Sarah Palin promoted their cause and parroted their tropes. Perhaps the only thing more surprising than the increasingly widespread appeal of Islamophobia is that, just a few years ago, the phenomenon was confined to a few college campuses and an inner city neighborhood, and that it seemed like a fleeting fad that would soon pass from the American political landscape.
Birth of a Network
The Islamophobic crusade was launched in earnest at the peak of George W. Bush’s prestige when the neoconservatives and their allies were riding high. In 2003, three years after the collapse of President Bill Clinton’s attempt to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian issue and in the immediate wake of the invasion of Iraq, a network of Jewish groups, ranging from ADL and the American Jewish Committee to AIPAC, gathered to address what they saw as a sudden rise in pro-Palestinian activism on college campuses nationwide. That meeting gave birth to the David Project, a campus advocacy group led by Charles Jacobs, who had co-founded CAMERA, one of the many outfits bankrolled by Chernick. With the help of public relations professionals, Jacobs conceived a plan to “take back the campus by influencing public opinion through lectures, the Internet, and coalitions,” as a memo produced at the time by the consulting firm McKinsey and Company stated.
In 2004, after conferring with Martin Kramer, a fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, the pro-Israel think tank where Chernick had served as a trustee, Jacobs produced a documentary film that he called Columbia Unbecoming. It was filled with claims from Jewish students at Columbia University claiming they had endured intimidation and insults from Arab professors. The film portrayed that New York City school’s Department of Middle East and Asian Languages and Cultures as a hothouse of anti-Semitism.

In their complaints, the students focused on one figure in particular: Joseph Massad, a Palestinian professor of Middle East studies. He was known for his passionate advocacy of the formation of a binational state between Israel and Palestine, as well as for his strident criticism of what he termed “the racist character of Israel.” The film identified him as “one of the most dangerous intellectuals on campus,” while he was featured as a crucial villain in The Professors: The 101 Most Dangerous Academics in America, a book by the (Chernick-funded) neoconservative activist David Horowitz. As Massad was seeking tenure at the time, he was especially vulnerable to this sort of wholesale assault.
When the controversy over Massad’s views intensified, Congressman Anthony Weiner, a liberal New York Democrat who once described himself as a representative of “the ZOA [Zionist Organization of America] wing of the Democratic Party,” demanded that Columbia President Lee Bollinger, a renowned First Amendment scholar, fire the professor. Bollinger responded by issuing uncharacteristically defensive statements about the “limited” nature of academic freedom.
In the end, however, none of the charges stuck. Indeed, the testimonies in the David Project film were eventually either discredited or never corroborated. In 2009, Massad earned tenure after winning Columbia’s prestigious Lionel Trilling Award for excellence in scholarship.
Having demonstrated its ability to intimidate faculty members and even powerful university administrators, however, Kramer claimed a moral victory in the name of his project, boasting to the press that “this is a turning point.” While the David Project subsequently fostered chapters on campuses nationwide, its director set out on a different path — initially, into the streets of Boston in 2004 to oppose the construction of the Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center.
For nearly 15 years, the Islamic Society of Boston had sought to build the center in the heart of Roxbury, the city’s largest black neighborhood, to serve its sizable Muslim population. With endorsements from Mayor Thomas Menino and leading Massachusetts lawmakers, the mosque’s construction seemed like a fait accompli– until, that is, the Rupert Murdoch-owned Boston Herald and his local Fox News affiliate snapped into action. Boston Globe columnist Jeff Jacoby also chimed in with a series of reports claiming the center’s plans were evidence of a Saudi Arabian plot to bolster the influence of radical Islam in the United States, and possibly even to train underground terror cells.
It was at this point that the David Project entered the fray, convening elements of the local pro-Israel community in the Boston area to seek strategies to torpedo the project. According to emails obtained by the Islamic Society’s lawyers in a lawsuit against the David Project, the organizers settled on a campaign of years of nuisance lawsuits, along with accusations that the center had received foreign funding from “the Wahhabi movement in Saudi Arabia or… the Moslem Brotherhood.”
In response, a grassroots coalition of liberal Jews initiated inter-faith efforts aimed at ending a controversy that had essentially been manufactured out of thin air and was corroding relations between the Jewish and Muslim communities in the city. Jacobs would not, however, relent. “We are more concerned now than we have ever been about a Saudi influence of local mosques,” he announced at a suburban Boston synagogue in 2007.
After paying out millions of dollars in legal bills and enduring countless smears, the Islamic Society of Boston completed the construction of its community center in 2008. Meanwhile, not surprisingly, nothing came of the David Project’s dark warnings. As Boston-area National Public Radio reporter Philip Martin reflected in September 2010, “The horror stories that preceded [the center’s] development seem shrill and histrionic in retrospect.”
The Network Expands
This second failed campaign was, in the end, more about movement building than success, no less national security. The local crusade established an effective blueprint for generating hysteria against the establishment of Islamic centers and mosques across the country, while galvanizing a cast of characters who would form an anti-Muslim network which would gain attention and success in the years to come.
In 2007, these figures coalesced into a proto-movement that launched a new crusade, this time targeting the Khalil Gibran International Academy, a secular Arabic-English elementary school in Brooklyn, New York. Calling their ad hoc pressure group, Stop the Madrassah — madrassah being simply the Arab word for “school” — the coalition’s activists included an array of previously unknown zealots who made no attempt to disguise their extreme views when it came to Islam as a religion, as well as Muslims in America. Their stated goal was to challenge the school’s establishment on the basis of its violation of the church-state separation in the U.S. Constitution. The true aim of the coalition, however, was transparent: to pressure the city’s leadership to adopt an antagonistic posture towards the local Muslim community.
The activists zeroed in on the school’s principal, Debbie Almontaser, a veteran educator of Yemeni descent, and baselessly branded her “a jihadist” as well as a 9/11 denier. They also accused her of — as Pamela Geller, a far-right blogger just then gaining prominence put it, “whitewash[ing] the genocide against the Jews.” Daniel Pipes, a neoconservative academic previously active in the campaigns against Joseph Massad and the Boston Islamic center (and whose pro-Likud think tank, Middle East Forum, has received $150,000 from Chernick)claimed the school should not go ahead because “Arabic-language instruction is inevitably laden with Pan-Arabist and Islamist baggage.” As the campaign reached a fever pitch, Almontaser reported that members of the coalition were actually stalking her wherever she went.
Given what Columbia Journalism School professor and former New York Times reporter Samuel Freedmancalled “her clear, public record of interfaith activism and outreach,” including work with the New York Police Department and the Anti-Defamation League after the September 11th attacks, the assault on Almontaser seemed little short of bizarre — until her assailants discovered a photograph of a T-shirt produced by AWAAM, a local Arab feminist organization, that read “Intifada NYC.” As it turned out, AWAAM sometimes shared office space with a Yemeni-American association on which Almontaser served as a board member. Though the connection seemed like a stretch, it promoted the line of attack the Stop the Madrassah coalition had been seeking. 
Having found a way to wedge the emotional issue of the Israel-Palestine conflict into a previously New York-centered campaign, the school’s opponents next gained a platform at the Murdoch-owned New York Post, where reporters Chuck Bennett and Jana Winter claimed her T-shirt was “apparently a call for a Gaza-style uprising in the Big Apple.” While Almontaser attempted to explain to the Post’s reporters that she rejected terrorism, the Anti-Defamation League chimed in on cue. ADL spokesman Oren Segal told the Post: “The T-shirt is a reflection of a movement that increasingly lauds violence against Israelis instead of rejecting it. That is disturbing.”
Before any Qassam rockets could be launched from Almontaser’s school, her former ally New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg caved to the growing pressure and threatened to shut down the school, prompting her to resign. A Jewish principal who spoke no Arabic replaced Almontaser, who later filed a lawsuit against the city for breaching her free speech rights. In 2010, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ruled that New York’s Department of Education had “succumbed to the very bias that the creation of the school was intended to dispel” by firing Almontaser and urged it pay her $300,000 in damages. The commission also concluded that the Post had quoted her misleadingly.
Though it failed to stop the establishment of the Khalil Gibran Academy, the burgeoning anti-Muslim movement succeeded in forcing city leaders to bend to its will, and having learned just how to do that, then moved on in search of more high-profile targets. As the New York Times reported at the time, “The fight against the school… was only an early skirmish in a broader, national struggle.”
“It’s a battle that has really just begun,” Pipes told the Times.
From Scam to Publicity Coup
Pipes couldn’t have been more on the mark. In late 2009, the Islamophobes sprang into action again when the Cordoba Initiative, a non-profit Muslim group headed by Feisal Abdul Rauf, an exceedingly moderate Sufi Muslim imam who regularly traveled abroad representing the United States at the behest of the State Department, announced that it was going to build a community center in downtown New York City. With the help of investors, Rauf’s Cordoba Initiative purchased space two blocks from Ground Zero in Manhattan. The space was to contain a prayer area as part of a large community center that would be open to everyone in the neighborhood.
None of these facts mattered to Pamela Geller. Thanks to constant prodding at her blog, Atlas Shrugged, Geller made Cordoba’s construction plans a national issue, provoking fervent calls from conservatives to protect the “hallowed ground” of 9/11 from creeping Sharia. (That the “mosque” would have been out of sight of Ground Zero and that the neighborhood was, in fact, filled with everything from strip clubs to fast-food joints didn’t matter.) Geller’s activism against Cordoba House earned the 52-year-old full-time blogger the attention she apparently craved, including a long profile in the New York Times and frequent cable news spots, especially, of course, on Fox News.
Mainstream reporters tended to focus on Geller’s bizarre stunts. She posted a video of herself splashing aroundin a string bikini on a Fort Lauderdale beach, for instance, while ranting about “left-tards” and “Nazi Hezbollah.” Her call for boycotting Campbell’s Soup because the company offered halal — approved under Islamic law (as kosher food is under Jewish law) — versions of its products got her much attention, as did herpromotion of a screed claiming that President Barack Obama was the illegitimate lovechild of Malcolm X.
Geller had never earned a living as a journalist. She supported herself with millions of dollars in a divorce settlement and life insurance money from her ex-husband. He died in 2008, a year after being indicted for an alleged $1.3 million scam he was accused of running out of a car dealership he co-owned with Geller. Independently wealthy and with time on her hands, Geller proved able indeed when it came to exploiting her strange media stardom to incite the already organized political network of Islamophobes to intensify their crusade.
She also benefited from close alliances with leading Islamophobes from Europe. Among Geller’s allies was Andrew Gravers, a Danish activist who formed the group Stop the Islamicization of Europe, and gave it the unusually blunt motto: “Racism is the lowest form of human stupidity, but Islamophobia is the height of common sense.” Gravers’ group inspired Geller’s own U.S.-based outfit, Stop the Islamicization of America, which she formed with her friend Robert Spencer, a pseudo-scholar whose bestselling books, including The Truth About Muhammad, Founder of the World’s Most Intolerant Religion, prompted former advisor to President Richard Nixon and Muslim activist Robert Crane to call him, “the principal leader… in the new academic field of Muslim bashing.” (According to the website Politico, almost $1 million in donations from Chernick has been steered to Spencer’s Jihad Watch group through David Horowitz’s Freedom Center.)
Perfect sources for Republican political figures in search of the next hot-button cause, their rhetoric found its way into the talking points of Newt Gingrich and Sarah Palin as they propelled the crusade against Cordoba House into the national spotlight. Gingrich soon compared the community center to a Nazi sign next to the Holocaust Memorial Museum, while Palin called it “a stab in the heart” of “the Heartland.” Meanwhile, Tea Party candidates like Republican Ilario Pantano, an Iraq war veteran who killed two unarmed Iraqi civilians, shooting them 60 times — he even stopped to reload — made their opposition to Cordoba House the centerpiece of midterm congressional campaigns conducted hundreds of miles from Ground Zero.
Geller’s campaign against “the mosque at Ground Zero” gained an unexpected assist and a veneer of legitimacy from established Jewish leaders like Anti-Defamation League National Director Abraham Foxman. “Survivors of the Holocaust are entitled to feelings that are irrational,” he remarked to the New York Times. Comparing the bereaved family members of 9-11 victims to Holocaust survivors, Foxman insisted, “Their anguish entitles them to positions that others would categorize as irrational or bigoted.”
Soon enough, David Harris, director of the (Chernick-funded) American Jewish Committee, was demandingthat Cordoba’s leaders be compelled to reveal their “true attitudes” about Palestinian militant groups before construction on the center was initiated. Rabbi Marvin Hier of the Simon Wiesenthal Center of Los Angeles, another major Jewish group, insisted it would be “insensitive” for Cordoba to build near “a cemetery,” though his organization had recently been granted permission from the municipality of Jerusalem to build a “museum of tolerance” to be called The Center for Human Dignity directly on top of the Mamilla Cemetery, a Muslim graveyard that contained thousands of gravesites dating back 1,200 years.
Inspiration from Israel
It was evident from the involvement of figures like Gravers that the Islamophobic network in the United States represented a trans-Atlantic expansion of simmering resentment in Europe. There, the far-right was storming to victories in parliamentary elections across the continent in part by appealing to the simmering anti-Muslim sentiments of voters in rural and working-class communities. The extent of the collaboration between European and American Islamophobes has only continued to grow with Geller, Spencer, and even Gingrich standing beside Europe’s most prominent anti-Muslim figure, Dutch parliamentarian Geert Wilders, at a rally against Cordoba House. In the meantime, Geller was issuing statements of support for the English Defense League, a band of unreconstructed neo-Nazis and former members of the whites-only British National Party who intimidate Muslims in the streets of cities like Birmingham and London.
In addition, the trans-Atlantic Islamophobic crusade has stretched into Israel, a country that has come to symbolize the network’s fight against the Muslim menace. As Geller told the New York Times’ Alan Feuer, Israel is “a very good guide because, like I said, in the war between the civilized man and the savage, you side with the civilized man.”
EDL members regularly wave Israeli flags at their rallies, while Wilders claims to have formed his views about Muslims during the time he worked on an Israeli cooperative farm in the 1980s. He has, he says, visited the country more than 40 times since to meet with rightist political allies like Aryeh Eldad, a member of the Israeli Knesset and leader of the far right Hatikvah faction of the National Union Party. He has called for forcibly “transferring” the Palestinians living in Israel and the occupied West Bank to Jordan and Egypt. On December 5th, for example, Wilders traveled to Israel for a “friendly” meeting with Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman,then declared at a press conference that Israel should annex the West Bank and set up a Palestinian state in Jordan.
In the apocalyptic clash of civilizations the global anti-Muslim network has sought to incite, tiny armed Jewish settlements like Yitzar, located on the hills above the occupied Palestinian city of Nablus, represent front-line fortresses. Inside Yitzar’s state-funded yeshiva, a rabbi named Yitzhak Shapira has instructed students in what rules must be applied when considering killing non-Jews. Shapira summarized his opinions in a widely publicized book, Torat HaMelech, or The King’s Torah. Claiming that non-Jews are “uncompassionate by nature,” Shapira cited rabbinical texts to declare that gentiles could be killed in order to “curb their evil inclinations.” “There is justification,” the rabbi proclaimed, “for killing babies if it is clear that they will grow up to harm us, and in such a situation they may be harmed deliberately, and not only during combat with adults.”
In 2006, the rabbi was briefly held by Israeli police for urging his supporters to murder all Palestinians over the age of 13. Two years later, according to the Israeli newspaper Haaretz, he signed a rabbinical letter in support of Israeli Jews who had brutally assaulted two Arab youths on the country’s Holocaust Remembrance Day. That same year, Shapira was arrested as a suspect in helping orchestrate a rocket attack against a Palestinian village near Nablus.
Though he was not charged, his name came up again in connection with another act of terror when, in January 2010, the Israeli police raided his settlement seeking vandals who had set fire to a nearby mosque. One of Shapira’s followers, an American immigrant, Jack Teitel, has confessed to murdering two innocent Palestinians and attempting to the kill the liberal Israeli historian Ze’ev Sternhell with a mail bomb. 
What does all this have to do with Islamophobic campaigns in the United States? A great deal, actually. Through New York-based tax-exempt non-profits like the Central Fund of Israel and Ateret Cohenim, for instance, the omnipresent Aubrey Chernick has sent tens of thousands of dollars to support the Yitzar settlement, as well as to the messianic settlers dedicated to “Judaizing” East Jerusalem. The settlement movement’s leading online news magazine, Arutz Sheva, has featured Geller as a columnist. A friend of Geller’s, Beth Gilinsky, a right-wing activist with a group called the Coalition to Honor Ground Zero and the founder of the Jewish Action Alliance (apparently run out of a Manhattan real estate office), organized a large rally in New York City in April 2010 to protest the Obama administration’s call for a settlement freeze.
Among Chernick’s major funding recipients is a supposedly “apolitical” group called Aish Hatorah that claims to educate Jews about their heritage. Based in New York and active in the fever swamps of northern West Bank settlements near Yitzar, Aish Hatorah shares an address and staff with a shadowy foreign non-profit called the Clarion Fund. During the 2008 U.S. election campaign, the Clarion Fund distributed 28 million DVDs of a propaganda film called Obsession as newspaper inserts to residents of swing states around the country. The film featured a who’s who of anti-Muslim activists, including Walid Shoebat, a self-proclaimed “former PLO terrorist.” Among Shoebat’s more striking statements: “A secular dogma like Nazism is less dangerous than is Islamofascism today.” At a Christian gathering in 2007, this “former Islamic terrorist” told the crowd that Islam was a “satanic cult” and that he had been born again as an evangelical Christian. In 2008, however, the Jerusalem Post, a right-leaning newspaper, exposed him as a fraud, whose claims to terrorism were fictional.
Islamophobic groups registered only a minimal impact during the 2008 election campaign. Two years later, however, after the Republicans regained control of the House of Representatives in midterm elections, the network appears to have reached critical mass. Of course, the deciding factor in the election was the economy, and in two years, Americans will likely vote their pocketbooks again. But that the construction of a single Islamic community center or the imaginary threat of Sharia law were issues at all reflected the influence of a small band of locally oriented activists, and suggested that when a certain presidential candidate who has already been demonized as a crypto-Muslim runs for reelection, the country’s most vocal Islamophobes could once again find a national platform amid the frenzied atmosphere of the campaign.
By now, the Islamophobic crusade has gone beyond the right-wing pro-Israel activists, cyber-bigots, and ambitious hucksters who conceived it. It now belongs to leading Republican presidential candidates, top-rated cable news hosts, and crowds of Tea Party activists. As the fervor spreads, the crusaders are basking in the glory of what they accomplished. “I didn’t choose this moment,” Geller mused to the New York Times, “this moment chose me.”
Max Blumenthal is an award-winning journalist whose work has appeared in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, the Daily Beast, the Nation, the Huffington Post, the Independent Film Channel,, Al Jazeera English, and other publications. He is a writing fellow for the Nation Institute and author of the bestselling book Republican Gomorrah: Inside the Movement That Shattered the Party (Nation Books). 
This article was originally posted at Tomdispatch
Copyright 2010 Max Blumenthal
See also –
‘Innocence Of Muslims’: Man Admits Role In Anti-Islam Movie: The self-proclaimed director of “Innocence of Muslims” initially claimed a Jewish and Israeli background. But others involved in the film said his statements were contrived as evidence mounted that the film’s key player was a southern Californian Coptic Christian with a checkered past.
Meet The Right-Wing Extremist Behind Anti-Muslim Film : While Bacile claims to be in hiding, and his identity remains murky, another character who has been publicly listed as a consultant on the film is a known anti-Muslim activist with ties to the extreme Christian right and the militia movement
Who is Sam Bacile?: Some key facts about Bacile’s background and role in the film crumbled Wednesday as a Christian activist involved in the film project said that Bacile was a pseudonym, that he was not Jewish or Israeli, and that a group of Americans of Mideast origin collaborated on the film. Officials in Israel also said there was no record of Bacile as an Israeli citizen.

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Inventing an Iranian Threat

Preparing The Public For The Attack On Hezbollah

By Dan Lieberman
August 23, 2012 “Information Clearing House” —- When the rhetoric starts to ratchet, the bombs are ready to explode. Before the assault the attacking nation unleashes a propaganda offensive that shapes the public mind to regard the soon to be attacked nation as wanton killers, which must be eliminated before they eradicate every woman, child and baby seal in the universe.
Commentators smirk at U.S. administration accusations against Hezbollah, but don’t seem to realize these accusations predict the preparation of a combined U.S./Israeli attack against the Party of God. Why? Because these nations expect Hezbollah to react militarily to the attack on Iran. It’s doubtful that Hezbollah will respond – why fight a losing war – but the saviors of peace in the Middle East are prepared to take another aggressive step in the arena they safeguard and complete their task – total elimination of Israel’s adversaries. Jordan, Egypt and Libya are defenseless; Iraq has tumbled; Syria will soon be gone; Iran awaits its fate – Hezbollah is the last man standing and will be the last man walking.
A bus with Israeli tourists is attacked in Bulgaria and immediately, without a single bit of evidence, U.S. and Israeli intelligence accuse Hezbollah – reason being the terrorist attack had the marks of a Hezbollah operation – a triple piece of propaganda.
(1) With no more proof than could be attributed to Paraguay, Hezbollah is accused of the crime.
(2) Although none of the few foreign attacks attributed to Hezbollah have been definitely proven (only two, back in the 1990s, have some credible evidence), and no attacks had been noted in twenty years, we are led to believe that Hezbollah is an active foreign terrorist organization.
(3) Although Hezbollah has never been linked to an attack on a bus with tourists, we are told this is a familiar Hezbollah operation.
As if reality and truth have no place in conversation, U.S. government sources inform us that Hezbollah is responsible for terrorism in South America and Europe, where it is expanding its activities. Too bad, the Latinos and Euros don’t know about this, or do they know the opposite – Hezbollah is not disturbing their sleep during these moments.
All this not so subtle preparation leads to the August 10 coup de grace from the U.S. Treasury and State Departments – unverified and undocumented accusations that “the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah is deeply involved in the Syrian government’s violent campaign to crush the uprising there. Hezbollah has trained and advised government forces inside Syria and has helped to expel opposition fighters from areas within the country. Hezbollah secretary general, Hassan Nasrallah, has overseen those activities, which is part of the Syria government’s increasingly ruthless efforts to fight against the opposition.”
When pressed to supply proof, the government spokespersons retreated to conclusions from press reports, without specifying the press reports (a Google search does not reveal any press reports of this type) and classified intelligence; not plain vanilla intelligence but classified intelligence, which, of course, cannot be revealed – in other words, no proof.
The opposite has been noted. Despite Hezbollah’s close attachment to the Assad regime and dependence on its moral and military support, Hezbollah Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah has been unusually quiet in expressing support for Assad. His comments have been scarce and only reflect those of anyone who relies on another for assistance. One comment:
Nasrallah Renews Support for Assad, July 19, Hussein Dakroub, Daily Star
BEIRUT: Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah renewed his support Wednesday for the regime of embattled Syrian President Bashar Assad and praised the three generals killed in a bombing in Damascus, describing them as comrades-in-arms to the resistance party.
He also reiterated his call for dialogue between the Syrian regime and opposition to end the 16-month unrest.
Hezbollah’s website is milder in its contempt for the Syrian rebels and more informative on the situation than the New York Times. Trust, but verify.
The decades of Hezbollah’s questionable terrorist activities have been summarized by Israel “can do no wrong” Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America, affectionately known as CAMERA. Although it is possible that some Hezbollah members have ties with other organizations and Hezbollah may approve of and assist in actions that retaliate against attacks upon its personna, there is scarce proof that Hezbollah has terrorism as an agenda. Hezbollah has issues with Israel and can be provoked, but its aggressive tactics don’t seem to extend beyond that issue, which is an important consideration. Nevertheless, any Hezbollah relation to terrorist activities are inexcusable and should be condemned
Starting with its year of formation in 1985 (everything before that date has nothing to do with the Hezbollah organization nor has been verified), CAMERA lists violence, other than in the tit-for-tat war with Israel, it attributes to Hezbollah.
Feb. 16, 1985: Hezbollah publicizes its manifesto. It notes that the group’s struggle will continue until Israel is destroyed and rejects any cease-fire or peace treaty with Israel. The document also attacks the U.S. and France.
June 14, 1985: Hezbollah terrorists hijack TWA flight 847. The hijackers severely beat Passenger Robert Stethem, a U.S. Navy diver, before killing him and dumping his body onto the tarmac at the Beirut airport. Other passengers are held as hostages before being released on June 30.
According to a Time Magazine June 24, 2001 summary of the story, “the hijackers were identified by an accomplice as members of Islamic Jihad (or Holy War), the shadowy Shi’ite Muslim organization that is regarded as a sort of umbrella for various fundamentalist terror groups operating in Lebanon and other Middle East countries.”
Dec. 31, 1986: Under the alias Organization of the Oppressed on Earth, Hezbollah announces it had kidnapped and murdered three Lebanese Jews. The organization previously had taken responsibility for killing four other Jews since 1984.
The alias is only speculation. There is no evidence that the Organization of the Oppressed on Earth is other than a group of extremists who call themselves Organization of the Oppressed on Earth.
Feb. 17, 1988: The group kidnaps Col. William Higgins, a U.S. Marine serving with a United Nations truce monitoring group in Lebanon, and later murders him.
Same doubt as above.
March 17, 1992: With the help of Iranian intelligence, Hezbollah bombs the Israeli embassy in Buenos Aires, killing 29 and injuring over 200.
July 18, 1994: Hezbollah bombs the Jewish community center in Buenos Aires-again with Iranian help-killing 86 and injuring over 200.
These charges have legs, but not sufficient proof. The responsibility for these atrocities have had contradictory conclusions.
The Los Angeles Times headline reads: Islamic Jihad Says It Bombed Embassy.
BUENOS AIRES – Workers uncovered more bodies Wednesday in the bomb-wrecked rubble of the Israeli Embassy, while a terrorist group in the Middle East claimed responsibility for the devastating attack.
In Beirut, a statement bearing the name of the pro-Iranian group Islamic Jihad (Islamic holy war) claimed responsibility for the bombing, which it said was a suicide attack carried out by an Argentine who had converted to Islam.
The Islamic Jihad statement said a Muslim convert called “Abu Yasser” carried out the bombing to avenge the deaths of Sheik Abbas Moussawi and his family in an Israeli air raid Feb. 16 in southern Lebanon. Moussawi, a Shiite Muslim leader, was believed to head Hezbollah, or Party of God, a pro-Iranian terrorist organization linked by experts to Islamic Jihad.
According to the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), “The Argentinean Intelligence Service (AIS) completed a comprehensive report on the international aspects of the terrorism. The main conclusions of the report are as follows:
The Iranian Government instigated the attack. Its implementation was the responsibility of then-Iranian Intelligence Minister Ali Fallahian.
Iranian Intelligence charged Hezbollah with mounting the attack.
Hezbollah’s operational unit abroad led by Imad Mughniya perpetrated the attack. Syria was also in the know.”
Four arrest warrants of Iranians, but no indictments of Hezbollah, came from the AIS report. Note that the bombings in Argentina, although unjustified, were assumed to be retaliation to killings of Lebanese citizens by Israeli military and its intelligence agency. The latter obvious terrorist attacks have not been condemned by the western nations.
Despite no entries after 1994 by CAMERA of foreign terrorism by Hezbollah, Hezbollah is labeled an international terrorist organization.
Arriving at year 2011, after a pause of seventeen years in accusations of terrorist actions by Hezbollah, the Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center, an Israeli based and pro-Israel group, restarts the accusations with new charges against the Lebanese organization.
1) Turkey: On May 26, 2011, there was an attempted attack on the life of David Kimchi, the Israeli consul in the heart of Istanbul. The attack failed but wounded eight Turkish civilians, and might have been a so-called “work accident.” According to the Italian Corriere della Sera, July 2011, the Turkish authorities concluded that the attempted assassination had been carried out by three Hezbollah operatives who had arrived from Beirut. They followed the consul’s daily routine, in our assessment intending to attack him on his way to the consulate.
Intelligence sources in Ankara denied the report in the Italian daily, calling it Israeli propaganda. “Israel releases false information once in a while for disinformation purposes,” the source said.
2) Thailand: In the middle of January, 2012, an attack against an Israeli target in Bangkok was prevented, apparently a venue customarily frequented by Israelis. On January 12, Thai police at the Bangkok airport arrested Hussein Atris, a Shi’ite Hezbollah operative from south Lebanon, as he was trying to flee the country. In his possession were a Lebanese and an expired Swedish passport. During the investigation the Thai police uncovered a supply of chemicals for manufacturing explosives for the attack/attacks.
According to National Police Chief Priewpan Damapong, Atris insisted that the materials seized were not intended for attacks in Thailand but were going to be transported to a yet-to-be-named third country (a Stratfor source has cited the Philippines as a logical destination). He also allegedly told authorities that, although he was a member of Hezbollah, he was not a member of the group’s militant arm – a big difference. (Several terrorists in the United States have been members of a U.S. political Party. Did they operate from Party orders?)
3) India: At 15:00 hours on February 13, 2012, a day after the anniversary of the death of Hezbollah’s senior terrorist operative Imad Mughniyeh, a motorcyclist attached an explosive device to the car of an Israeli Ministry of Defense representative in New Delhi. In the car were the local driver and the wife of the Israeli Ministry of Defense representative, who was seriously wounded. Of the series of six attempted attacks initiated by Iran and Hezbollah, it was the only one which was carried out and harmed an Israeli. The Indian media reported that the police had detained five men for interrogation who had been detected by security cameras as they examined the Israeli car. The Indian media also reported that the motorcycle had been found abandoned near the site of the attack.
Where is a documented Hezbollah link to any of the six attempted attacks?
4) Georgia: On February 13, 2012, the same day as the attack in New Delhi, an explosive device was attached to an Israeli embassy car in the capital city of Tbilisi. A Georgian employee of the Israeli embassy driving an embassy car felt the car was dragging something behind it. He alerted the police, whose demolition experts neutralized the bomb. The Israeli prime minister accused Iran and Hezbollah of responsibility for the attacks in Tbilisi and New Delhi, following those in Azerbaijan and Thailand. The Iranians, however, denied any and all involvement in the attacks in India and Georgia, and accused Israel of planning the attacks itself to incite world public opinion against Iran.
Except for the political Israeli PM’s unverified statement, where is a documented link to Hezbollah?
Similar to the bombings in Argentina, these atrocities were provoked by the killings of Iranian citizens, and assumed to have been done by Israel’s Mossad.
The Europeans are not in sync with U.S. characterization.
NYT, Aug 15 Despite Alarm by U.S., Europe Lets Hezbollah Operate Openly
Hezbollah has maintained a low profile in Europe since the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, quietly holding meetings and raising money that goes to Lebanon, where officials use it for an array of activities – building schools and clinics, delivering social services and, Western intelligence agencies say, carrying out terrorist attacks
Although no Hezbollah attacks have been reported since 1994, and the Lebanese political Party has no relation to the 9/11 attack, the NYT prints: “Hezbollah has maintained a low profile in Europe since the attacks of Sept. 11, 2000,” and “Western intelligence agencies say, (Hezbollah is) carrying out terrorist attacks (in Europe).
Nor is it probable that Hezbollah is quietly holding meetings and raising money that goes to Lebanon. Lebanese Shiites have scattered throughout the world for generations, working and sending money back to Party of God agencies and to support their families in Lebanon.
The militarist/nationalist regimes of the post World War II era dispatched the rulers appointed by the Post World War I British-French alliance, which arranged the Middle East to satisfy its interests. Unable to rearrange the nations’ borders in accord with ethnic persuasions, the Arab regimes suppressed ethnic rivalries. Soon, the Middle East will contain only nationalist regimes without the militarist bite and with renewed ethnic conflicts. With Hezbollah pulverized, the Palestinians will lose their last defense and face a catastrophic fate. Because challenging the Israel-United States alliance by conventional means will not be possible, we can expect decades of severe terrorism. Getting rid of the one-sided terrorist will open an expanded era of multi-minded terrorists.
Will the United States government ever learn?
Dan Lieberman is editor of Alternative Insight,, a commentary on foreign policy and politics. He is author of the book A Third Party Can Succeed in America and a Kindle: The Artistry of a Dog. Dan can be reached at
This article was originally published at Countercurrents

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Decision To Attack Iran is Almost Final : Israel TV

“Progressive” War Propaganda: Deception with a Human Face

Selected Articles
Global Research, July 2012
Is the Western “progressive” alternative media being duped by classic war propaganda cloaked in a humanitarian narrative or is it trying to lure the public into supporting military intervention?Several Global Research authors have questioned the focus of high profile alternative news outlets, which have supported the so-called Arab Spring revolutionaries in Libya and Syria.

Throughout history “left-wing” pundits have been recruited by war propagandists to galvanize “progressive public opinion” in favour of a humanitarian “Responsibility to Protect” military intervention.

Even though this deceitful technique has been used from time immemorial, it still works remarkably well today.

With mainstream war mongering and the absence of a real Western antiwar movement, war propaganda is now storming on all fronts and facing hardly any resistance.Here is a list of recent articles published by Global Research on this topic.

“Progressive” Journalism’s Legacy of Deceit

– by Prof. James F. Tracy – 2012-07-20
Progressive-left media persist in acting as propaganda outlets for the US-NATO destabilization of Syria. The historical record suggests how this is not the first time “Progressive publicists” were used to sell a war.
The Arab Spring story in a nutshell: Fake springs, post-modern coup d’etat

– by Prof. Ismael Hossein-zadeh – 2012-07-22
Soon after being caught by surprise by the glorious uprisings in Egypt and Tunisia, the counterrevolutionary forces headed by the United States embarked on damage control. A major strategy in pursuit of this objective has been to foment civil war and regime change in “unfriendly” places, and then portray them as part of the Arab Spring
‘Don’t be duped by Western humanitarian rhetoric on Syria’

Interview with Russia’s UN ambassador
– by Vitaly Churkin – 2012-07-20
Humanitarian intervention unfortunately only sounds humane, but the fact of the matter is that any military intervention for whatever reason is inevitably going to cause more bloodshed. And we know the greatest humanitarians in the world – the US and UK – intervened in Iraq, for instance, citing all sorts of noble pretexts, in that particular case – non-existent weapons of mass destruction.
Watching Syria, remembering Nicaragua

History shows U.S. viciously attacks—not supports—real revolutions
– by Richard Becker – 2012-07-22
The Rise of the Police State and the Absence of Mass Opposition

– by James Petras, Robin Eastman Abaya – 2012-07-25

Recycled Propaganda from Libya: Media Hysteria Over Syrian Government “Bombings” of Aleppo

If tired WMD lies won’t convince the public to back foreign intervention, perhaps recycled lies from Libya?
– by Tony Cartalucci – 2012-07-25
Freedom is slavery, popular support is authoritarianism

The Mainstream Media’s double-speak
– by Lizzie Phelan – 2012-07-26
“Democracy Now” and the “Progressive” Alternative Media: Valued Cheerleaders For Imperialism and War

– by Finian Cunningham – 2012-07-13
Because the alternative media are supposed to be independent, critical, non-corporate, the public tends to consider their reports as objective and unbiased…
“Manufacturing Dissent”: the Anti-globalization Movement is Funded by the Corporate Elites

The People’s Movement has been Hijacked
– by Michel Chossudovsky – 2010-09-20
The People’s Movement has been Hijacked
URL of this article:

Journalism v. Propaganda

The US and Israel blame Iran for the suicide attack in Bulgaria, but offer no evidence for the accusation
By Glenn Greenwald
July 21, 2012 “Salon” July 20, 2012 — Almost immediately after a suicide bomber killed five Israeli tourists in Bulgaria on Wednesday, Israeli officials, led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, blamed Iran, an accusation uncritically repeated by most Western media outlets even as Bulgarian investigators warned it would be a “mistake” to assign blame before the attack could be investigated. Now, Israel, along with the U.S., is blaming Hezbollah and, therefore, Iran for the attack. Today’s New York Times article by Nicholas Kulish and Eric Schmitt – headlined “Hezbollah Is Blamed for Attack on Israeli Tourists in Bulgaria” – uncritically treats those accusations as confirmed fact despite no evidence being offered for it:
American officials on Thursday identified the suicide bomber responsible for a deadly attack on Israeli vacationers here as a member of a Hezbollah cell that was operating in Bulgaria and looking for such targets,corroborating Israel’s assertions and making the bombing a new source of tension with Iran.
One senior American official said the current American intelligence assessment was that the bomber, who struck Wednesday, killing five Israelis, had been “acting under broad guidance” to hit Israeli targets when opportunities presented themselves, and that the guidance had been given to Hezbollah, a Lebanese militant group, by Iran, its primary sponsor. Two other American officials confirmed that Hezbollah was behind the bombing, but declined to provide additional details.
The attacks, the official said, were in retaliation for the assassinations of Iranian nuclear scientists, for which Iran has blamed Israeli agents — an accusation that Israel has neither confirmed nor denied. “This was tit for tat,” said the American official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the investigation was still under way. . . .
A senior Israeli official said on Thursday that the Burgas attack was part of an intensive wave of terrorist attacks around the world carried out by two different organizations, the Iranian Quds Force, an elite international operations unit within Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, as well as by Hezbollah.
By “identified,” “confirmed” and “corroborated” Iranian and Hezbollah responsibility, what The New York Times means is this: American officials asserted that this was so, even as they “declined to provide additional details” and even though “the investigation was still under way.” Indeed, this accusation is, as the NYT sees it, ”confirmed” and “corroborated” even though “no details yet about the bomber like his name or nationality” are known; even though their anonymous American source “declined to describe what specific intelligence — intercepted communications, analysis of the bomber’s body parts or other details — []led analysts to conclude that the bomber belonged to Hezbollah”; even though “the Bulgarians are still trying to figure out how the bomber entered the country, how he traveled around and where he stayed”; and even though the Bulgarian Foreign Minister said: “We’re not pointing the finger in any direction until we know what happened and complete our investigation.” All The Paper of Record knows is that U.S. and Israeli officials have blamed Iran and Hezbollah, and — as usual — that’s good enough for them. Identified, Confirmed and Corroborated.
By stark contrast, The Washington Post‘s Karin Brulliard, reporting from Jerusalem, commits an act of actual journalism with her story on this event. She, too, notes the official accusations of Hezbollah and Iranian responsibility, but, as Think Progress’ Ali Gharib points out, she heavily qualifies that in the third paragraph of her story: “Israel offered no concrete evidence tying the bombing to Iran, and Bulgarian officials cautioned that it was too early to attribute responsibility.” That’s called basic journalism: instead of just repeating official claims, treating them as “confirmed,” and shaping the entire article around those assertions, she prominently notes that there is no real evidence to lead anyone to believe these accusations. She then adds more skepticism: “U.S. intelligence officials said it was ‘plausible’ that Hezbollah carried out the attack but that analysts at the CIA and other agencies were still evaluating the intelligence surrounding the bombing and had not reached a conclusion.”
I have no idea who is behind the attacks. If it turns out to be Hezbollah and/or Iran, that will not shock me: after all, if it is perceived that you have sent hit squads onto a country’s soil to murder their nuclear scientists, it’s likely that the targeted nation will want to respond with violence of their own. But there is no evidence to confirm the American and Israeli accusations. A reader of the New York Times article would not know that, while a reader of Brulliard’s article in thePost would. That’s the difference between journalism and propaganadistic stenography. It’s really not that difficult or complex, when repeating government claims, to note clearly and prominently that no evidence has been furnished to support those claims.
* * * * *
Following up on the argument I made about the Syria bombing — that Western political and media circles would treat the attack on Syrian officials as something to praise: the U.S. State Department, even when assuming it was a suicide bomb,refused to denounce the attack and came close to praising it, while The New York Times referred to the rebels’ “brazen assassination of top security officials.” While denying responsibility for the Bulgarian attack, Iranian officials noted this posture:
The speaker of Iran’s Parliament, Ali Larijani, criticized the United States for not condemning the bombing in Damascus on Wednesday that struck at President Bashar al-Assad’s inner circle, killing three senior defense officials. “By not condemning the assassination in Syria, the Americans show that they believe in good assassinations and bad assassinations,” he said, according to the Fars news agency.
Indeed, in one of the grandest understatements of the year, State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland, when asked about U.S. policy toward Israeli human rights abuses, recently acknowledged: “We are not always consistent.” That’s true even when it comes to the question of what counts as Terrorism and whether it is good or bad.

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Congress on Iran: Iraq Redux?

Congress on Iran: Iraq Redux? Don’t let your member of Congress use lies to justify action against Iran


In a recent debate over a new round of sanctions against Iran, six members of Congress blatantly misrepresented the findings of November’s IAEA report and what is known about Iran’s nuclear program.

Posted June 21, 2012

In a recent debate over a new round of sanctions against Iran, six members of Congress blatantly misrepresented the findings of November’s IAEA report and what is known about Iran’s nuclear program.

But this wasn’t an isolated case. Ever since November, distortions have saturated the public discourse on Iran–including remarks coming out of Congress.

Make sure your representatives know the facts–and make them aware that you’re watching what they say. Tell them to stick to the facts: there’s no proof that Iran is trying to acquire a nuclear weapon.

Here are the references for each of the quotes:

1. “Getting ahead of the facts on Iran,” Patrick Pexton, Washington Post, December 9, 2011,…

2. “Nuclear Arms Charge Against Iran Is No Slam Dunk,” Robert Kelley, Bloomberg, January 10, 2012,…

3. For Panetta’s quote, see “Face the Nation” transcript, January 8, 2012,…

4. See pg. 10, section K, para. 52 of the 18 November 2011 IAEA report on Iran’s nuclear program,

5. “The IAEA Report on Iran’s Nuclear Program: Alarming or Hyped?” Muhammad Sahimi, Tehran Bureau, November 9, 2011,…

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When You Hear About Massacres, Reach For Your Truth Detector

When is a massacre a massacre, and how can we find truth in the fog of intense war propaganda? 

By Danny Schechter 

June 01, 2012 “Information Clearing House” — That’s a question that is being raised anew in the aftermath of the dreadful Hula massacre. The sight of dead children and torn bodies on the ground in Syria offers up sickening images that have already led to new calls for international military intervention, expulsions of Syrian diplomats, UN condemnations and self righteous finger pointing at the government in Damascus that denies responsibility with claims that most of the western media has rejected. 
It’s hard to argue that an atrocity has occurred, what with 90 civilians slaughtered including 25 children. 
The so-called “hardline” Syrian government is lacking in international credibility in the western media perhaps because its communications strategy is crude and ineffective, and, therefore, no match for the sophisticated media and perception management operations of western media outlets and intelligence agencies who are pouncing on the incident to make a case for pressuring Syria. 
Yet, there are good reasons and many historic examples to cite that should give pause to responsible journalists, no matter their views on who they believe is right in the conflict in Syria. 
First there is the sequence of events with the Kofi Annan UN Plan failing to arrange a ceasefire. As the plan began to collapse, Business Week noted a “blame game” was beginning. 
“Both sides will seek to draw on evidence from the ground to make their arguments before Annan formally declares his plan dead. Judgment day may come on July 21/12, when the 90-day observer mission ends, or sooner if any of the unarmed monitors is killed or injured in a conflict in which the opposition is increasingly relying on tactics such as suicide bombings.”
Kofi Anan was soon blaming the Syrians for the massacre even before a full investigation could be held. In effect, he was changing the subject and focusing attention away from the collapse of his plan.
Western governments seemed to make coordinated comments heaping all the blame on Syria. 
The story was initially framed by western governments. UK Foreign Office minister Alistair Burt said, “We are appalled at what appears to be credible reports that the Syrian regime has been responsible for the deaths of 92 civilians in Houla, including 32 children. The UN Head of Mission has been able to confirm the numbers and also that artillery tank shells have been used. If this is the case then it’s an act of pure, naked savagery and we condemn it in the most strongest possible terms.” 
The American journalist Russ Baker began sounding a note of caution on his website: 
“We keep getting reports of atrocities committed by the Syrian government. Those reports may well be accurate. But the truth is usually a bit more complicated in war zones. If news organizations don’t start adopting a higher standard for their reports, another Libyan-style intervention, complete with massive bombing and untold civilian casualties, may be inevitable. 
The news out of Syria gets more and more appalling. But so does the quality of the journalism.” 
He then cited conflicting reports by different media organizations, noting:
“All these reports were based almost entirely on the word from activists on one side in the conflict, not from journalists or neutral observers. That is not journalism. Why are there not more journalists actually in these places reporting? In the past, reporters always managed to get into conflict zones. And, notwithstanding Syrian government controls on access to these areas and the obvious physical dangers attendant to work in such places, news organizations should be able to hire Syrians who will be diligent, careful and precise.”
He reported that the BBC was already backing down from the categorical blame it had heaped on Damascus, writing: 
“But at whose hands they died remains a matter of contention.”
Many news stories implied that Syria was interfering with the UN’s peacekeepers even as Kofi Anan said, “In my meeting with the president, I expressed appreciation for the cooperation that the Syrian government had extended to the UN, enabling us to deploy the military observers quickly.”
While the Assad government is being denounced for using artillery against civilian areas, Norwegian UN monitors reported that “corpses had been found with their hands tied behind their backs and signs that some had been shot in the head from close range.” 
Anti-war groups cite this evidence to suggest that armed militants – perhaps including foreign Jihadis known to be operating in Syria – are committing massacres to encourage foreign involvement, like the role played by NATO in Libya that brought down the Gadaffy regime which has now been replaced by a more Islamic political presence. 
This precedent is being cited by those arguing that there is a covert “false flag” operation underway. 
This argument specifically rests in part on parallels with Libya where the western military intervention was reinforced by suggestions that a “massacre” was planned in Benghazi against rebels and civilians. 
Other alleged massacres were used in earlier conflicts like the so-called “Racak massacre” in Kosovo that foreshadowed the NATO interventions there. Subsequent newspaper reports questioned the facts but they were too late. 
In Syria meanwhile, critics pointed to the presence of “fake photos” as well as unverified accusations. A prominent press photographer said that an image of a massacre he shot in Iraq in 2003 was being circulated as if it documents events that occurred recently in Syria. 
Writes Tony Cartalucci on Information Clearing House, “In the wake of the Houla massacre in Syria, and evidence exposing the West’s initial narrative of Syrian troops ‘shelling to death’ around 100 people to be categorically false, people are struggling to understand just what happened. The Guardian has chosen to post unverified witness accounts produced by the Free Syrian Army, seemingly custom tailored to refute evidence brought by Russia to the UN Security Council. The BBC has admitted that only ‘most’ of the accounts they’ve received implicated what they ‘believe’ were Syrian troops, or pro-government militias – and by doing so, imply that some did not and have told a different account.” 
Throughout history, massacres have been invented, exploited and used to inflame public opinion and discredit one side or the other. This is not to say that war crimes do not occur, and nor should they be excused, but getting the facts right is essential. 
When I covered the war in Vietnam, there was one such incident in which “the enemy” was blamed for shelling a school house that was actually done by pro-American Vietnamese forces. For years massacres by American troops like the one at MyLai were denied and covered up. 
It took years for the truth to emerge…and when it did, the mainstream media was as embarrassed as the government. 
Beware the way atrocities are used in the propaganda media war that always operates alongside military conflicts.
Danny Schechter is a television producer and independent filmmaker who also writes and speaks about media issues, Danny Schechter is the author of Media Wars: News at a Time of Terror (Dissecting Media After 9/11), Falun Gong’s Challenge to China (Akashic Press), The More You Watch, The Less You Know (Seven Stories Press), and News Dissector: Passions, Pieces and Polemics (Electron Press). Comments
This this article was first published at Press TV

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Idiocy as WMD

By Linh Dinh

May 14, 2012 “Information Clearing House” — Borges writes, “dictatorships foster oppression, dictatorships foster servitude, dictatorships foster cruelty; more abominable is the fact that they foster idiocy.” As a preeminent mind, Borges rightly considers the mind to be a man’s greatest asset, for without mind, a man is nothing. The more oppressive a political system, then, the greater its assault on its subjects’ minds, for it’s not enough for any dictator, king or totalitarian system to oppress and exploit, but it must, and I mean must, make its people idiotic as well. Every wrongful bullet is preceded and accompanied, then followed up by a series of idiotic lies, but we’re so used to such a moronic diet by now, our trepanned intelligentsia don’t even squirm in their tenured chairs.
Sane men and women don’t consent to kill, rob and rape, much less be killed, robbed and raped, least of all to enrich their masters, and that’s why their minds must be molested as early and as much as possible. Hence our nonstop media brainwashing us from the cradle, literally, to the grave. Fixated by flickering boxes, even infants are now mind-conditioned to become scatterbrained idiots before they stagger into kindergarten, to begin a lifelong process of becoming docile and slogan-shouting Democrats and Republicans.
Yes, savages killed, but, like apes and monkeys, our ancestors, they mostly tried to intimidate and trash talk their way out of conflicts. There wasn’t a lot of murdering after the haka, frankly. They didn’t wipe out entire cities by defecating exploding metal from the sky, nor sit in a brightly lit and spic-and-span office stroking a joy stick to ejaculate missiles half a planet away. Drone hell fire for y’all, with sides of bank-sponsored debt slavery and austerity, plus an unlimited refill of American pop bullshit. Would you like a public suicide with that? No, sir, these savages need to take webcast courses from us sophisticates when it comes to genocide, or ecocide, or any other kind of cides you can think of. When it comes to pure, unadulterated savagery, these quaint brutes ain’t got shit on us plugged-in netizens chillaxin’ in that shiny upside down condo on da capital-punishment-for the-entire-world, y’all, hill.
You’d think that a government with absolute power would not bother with expensive parades and elaborately-staged rallies in stadia, as are routine in North Korea, but such is the importance of propaganda and mind-control. America has gone way beyond Kim Jong-Un and his Nuremberg-styled pageantry, however, because the Yankee Magical Show is relentlessly pumped into our minds via television and the internet, at home, in office or even as we’re walking down the street, so that we’re always swarmed by sexy sale pitches, soft and hard porn, asinine righteousness and imbecilic trivia. All day long, we can stuff ourselves with unlimited kitsch. Today’s urgent topic, “Sylvester Stalone Spotted in 16th Century Painting.” Yesterday’s, “Tom Cruise’s Daughter Gets Inked.” Imagine a triple-amputee Iraq vet or an unemployed mother, sitting in an about to be foreclosed home with unpaid bills scattered across her kitchen table, staring at such headlines. At 48, I’m old enough to remember when it wasn’t this overwhelmingly stupid, though the dumbing down of America will only accelerate as this cornered and bankrupt country becomes ever more vicious to its citizens and foreigners alike.
Not content to kill and loot, America must do it to pulsating music; cool, orgasmic dancing; raunchy reality shows and violence-filled Hollywood blockbusters, and these are also meant for its victims, no less. In a 1997 article published by the US Army War College, Ralph Peters gushes about a “personally intrusive” and “lethal” cultural assault as a key tactic in the American quest for global supremacy. As information master, the American Empire will destroy its “information victims.” What’s more, “our victims volunteer” because they are unable to resist the seductiveness of American culture. 
Defining democracy as “that deft liberal form of imperialism,” Peters reveals how the word is conceived and used these days by every American leader, whether talking about Libya, Syria, Iran or America itself. Recognizing that the lumpens of his country are also victims of empire, Peters frankly acknowledges that “laid-off blue-collar worker in America and the Taliban militiaman in Afghanistan are brothers in suffering.”
Much has been made of the internet as enabling democracy and protest, but whatever utility it may have for the disenfranchised and/or rebellious, the Web is most useful to our rulers. As Dmitry Orlov points out in a recent blog, the internet is a powerful surveillance tool for the state and, what’s more, it also keeps the masses distracted and pacified. Echoing Queen Victoria’s remark, “Give my people plenty of beer, good and cheap beer, and you will have no revolution among them,” Orlov observes that virtual sex thwarts rebellion. In sum, while the internet may empower some people, as in allowing John Michael Greer, Paul Craig Roberts or Orlov to publish their unflinching commentaries, the same internet also drowns them out with an unprecedented flood of drivel. Defending the empire, Ralph Peters cheerfully agrees, “The internet is to the techno-capable disaffected what the United Nations is to marginal states: it offers the illusion of empowerment and community.”
Though our only hope is to be expelled from this sick matrix, many of us will cling even more fiercely to these illusions of knowledge, love, sex and community as we blunder forward. A breathing and tactile life will become even more alien, I’m afraid. Here and there, a band of unplugged weirdos, to be hunted down and exterminated, with their demise shown on TV as warning and entertainment. Inhabiting a common waste land, we can each lounge in our private electronic ghetto. Until the juice finally runs out, that is.
Linh Dinh is tracking our deteriorating socialscape through his frequently updated photo blog, State of the Union

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The political uses of the latest “terror plot”

10 May 2012

One day after publicly announcing that the CIA had foiled an Al Qaeda plot to bomb a commercial airliner, US officials revealed Tuesday that the would-be bomber was in fact an informant working for the CIA and Saudi intelligence.
This turn of events is in line with so many domestic terror plots “disrupted” by federal authorities, which—in the overwhelming majority of cases—have featured confidential informants acting as agent provocateurs, instigating stage-managed plots and providing targeted patsies with money, dummy bombs and fake weapons before they are rounded up.
The account given for this latest operation is decidedly murky. Officials have claimed that the plot originated with the infiltration of a group affiliated to the Yemen-based Al Qaeda of the Arabian Peninsula by the CIA-Saudi double agent. Why the US government would choose to expose such a seemingly valuable mole by making the supposed plot public is unclear to say the least.
It is impossible to sort fact from fiction in the versions being reported by the media. A highly skeptical attitude toward the most basic claims about this episode is more than warranted. However, the saturation news coverage is itself an unmistakable indication that, with less than six months to go before the US presidential election, elements within the Obama administration and the state apparatus want to move the “war on terror” to the front burner of American politics.
A key motivation for this was made clear Wednesday by the Washington Post, which published an editorial entitled “The US is right to strike hard at terrorists in Yemen.” The Post cites the alleged bomb plot to retroactively justify the Obama administration’s sharp escalation in US drone strikes against Yemen, with more missiles fired from the pilotless aircraft at targets in the country in the first four months of this year than in all of 2010 and 2011 combined.
The editorial went on to praise White House counterterrorism advisor John Brennan for delivering a speech last week defending drone attacks as both legal and “ethical.” Brennan argued that the strikes were sanctioned by the Authorization of the Use of Military Force passed by Congress in September 2001 and used to justify both the Afghanistan and Iraq wars.
As the media provided wall-to-wall coverage of the alleged terror plot, virtually no attention was given to the announcement Tuesday by the Pentagon that US special forces “trainers” have been sent back into Yemen to aid troops of the country’s US-backed dictatorship in an ongoing civil war. They had been withdrawn during the mass uprisings that toppled dictator Ali Abdullah Saleh, who ruled Yemen for 33 years, only to see him replaced by his deputy. The Pentagon also revealed that an amphibious assault battle group, including some 2,000 Marines, has been deployed off Yemen’s coast in the Gulf of Aden.
Thus, the “war on terror”, in the form of the reported bomb plot, is being utilized to justify yet another US war, this time in Yemen. The country is of great strategic concern to the US, as it commands the choke point between the Red and Arabian Seas, a key oil shipping route, and borders Saudi Arabia, the world’s largest oil producer.
There are doubtless political calculations in making the bomb plot public as well. Obama launched his re-election campaign by glorifying his role as the man who ordered the assassination of Osama bin Laden. He appears determined to make it impossible for the Republicans to attack him from the right on the “national security issue” by touting his record as the most militarist president in the country’s history.
Finally, aside from immediate foreign policy and political objectives, publicizing the purported bomb plot serves an institutional purpose, providing a justification for the perpetuation of a massive apparatus of military aggression and domestic repression.
In Congressional testimony on Wednesday, FBI chief Robert Mueller cited the plot to call for swift renewal of provisions granting the US government sweeping authority to spy on electronic communications. The provisions are set to expire at the end of the year.
CNN commentator Fareed Zakaria pointed to this side of the issue in an online column posted this week, noting that Washington remains “firmly committed to the war on terror at home” and to the “expansion of federal bureaucracies to tackle this war.”
“Since September 11, 2001, the US government has created or reconfigured at least 263 organizations to tackle some aspect of the war on terror,” he writes. “Thirty-three new building complexes have been built for the intelligence bureaucracies alone, occupying 17 million square feet—the equivalent of 22 US Capitols or three Pentagons. The largest bureaucracy after the Pentagon and the Department of Veterans Affairs is now the Department of Homeland Security, which has a workforce of 230,000 people.”
Zakaria notes that the vast powers of this intelligence apparatus “now touch every aspect of American life”, with “some 30,000 people, for example … now employed exclusively to listen in on phone conversations and other communications within the United States.”
After more than a decade of first the Bush administration and then that of Obama attempting to terrorize the American people with the supposedly ubiquitous threat of terrorism, the breathless announcement of new “bomb plots” appears to be producing diminished returns.
The overwhelming majority of the American people is opposed to war and has seen again and again how the “war on terror” has been used to justify military aggression abroad. Moreover, millions of working people in the United States and around the world are confronting far more immediate threats in the form of mass unemployment, declining living standards, the lack of a future for the youth and the destruction of public education and basic social services.
The 2012 election contest between the Democratic and Republican parties will offer no opportunity to vote for or against the continued buildup of the US military and intelligence apparatus and the threat it poses to the democratic rights and very lives of working people on a world scale. Nor will it allow the people to vote for or against the assault on jobs, wages and social conditions in the interest of the banks and the financial elite. Both parties are fully committed to these policies.
None of this can be opposed within the framework of the capitalist two-party system. Such a struggle can be waged only by means of the independent political mobilization of the working class on the basis of a socialist program to put an end to the profit system.
This is the program fought for by the Socialist Equality Party and its presidential and vice presidential candidates, Jerry White and Phyllis Scherrer. Take forward the fight against militarism and in defense of social rights by supporting and becoming active in the SEP election campaign.
Bill Van Auken

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Demonizing Iran Iran vs. Israel – No Fear


Israeli Propaganda Video

As their first Iran vs. Israel video passes the 1 million view mark, Jeremy Gimpel and Ari Abramowitz of have released part 2: Iran vs. Israel – No Fear. Already, the video has garnered more than 250,000 views.
Posted April 19, 2012

Perhaps ICH readers may like to visit and post comments to combat the distortions this video presents to the uneducated.

Presstitute Alert Iran Planning An Attack In America? Congressman Peter King

CNN: Video

Engineering Consent For An Attack On Iran.

Posted February 17, 2012

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