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Red Shi’ism vs. Black Shi’ism

Friday, December 25th, 2009

By: Dr. Ali Shariati, 1933 – 1977

Islam is a religion which made its appearance in the history of mankind with the cry of “No!” from Mohammad (PBUH), the heir of Abraham, the manifestation of the religion of the Unity of God and the oneness of mankind; a “No” which begins with the cry of “Unity”, a cry which Islam reiterated when confronted with aristocracy and compromise.

Shi’ism is the Islam which differentiates itself and selects its direction in the history of Islam with the “No” of the great Ali, the heir of Mohammad and the manifestation of the Islam of Justice and Truth, a “No” which he gives to the Council for the Election of the Caliph, in answer to Abdul Rahman, who was the manifestation of Islamic aristocracy and compromise. This “No”, up until pre-Safavid times, is recognized as part of the Shi’ite movement in the history of Islam, an indication of the social and political role of a group who are the followers of Ali, known for their association with the kindness of the family of the Prophet. It is a movement based upon the Qoran and the Traditions; not the Qoran and the traditions as proclaimed by the dynasties of the Omayyids, Abbasids, Ghaznavids, Seljuks, Mongols and Timurids, but the ones proclaimed by the family of Mohammad.

The history of Islam follows a strange path; a path in which gangsters and ruffians from the Arab, Persian, Turk, Tartar and Mongol dynasties all enjoyed the right to the leadership of the Moslem community and to the caliphate of the Prophet of Islam, to the exclusion of the family of the Prophet and the rightful Imams of Islam. And Shi’ism begins with a “No”; a “No” which opposes the path chosen by history, and rebels against history. It rebels against a history which, in the name of the Qoran, Kings and Caesars, follows the path of ignorance, and in the name of tradition, sacrifices those brought up in the house of the Qoran and the Traditions!

Shi’ites do not accept the path chosen by history. They deny the leaders who ruled the muslims throughout history and deceived the majority of the people through their succession to the Prophet, and then by their supposed support of Islam and fight against paganism. Shi’ites turn their backs on the opulent mosques and magnificent palaces of the Caliphs of Islam and turn to the lonely, mud house of Fatima. Shi’ites, who represent the oppressed, justice-seeking class in the Caliphate system, find in this house whatever and whoever they have been seeking:-

Fatima:
the heir of the Prophet, the manifestation of the “rights of the oppressed” and, at the same time, the symbol of the first objection, a strong and clear embodiment of the “seeking of justice”. In the ruling system, these are the cries and slogans of subject nations and oppressed classes.

Ali:
the manifestation of a justice which serves the oppressed, a sublime embodiment of the Truth who is sacrificed on the altar of inhuman regimes, and which lies hidden in the layers of the formal religion of the rulers.

Hassan:
the manifestation of the last resistance of the garrison of “Imamate Islam”, who confronts the first garrison of “Islamic Rule”.

Hussein:
bears witness to those who have been martyred by the oppressors throughout history, heir of all the leaders fighting for freedom and equality and the seekers of justice, from Adam to himself, forever the messenger of martyrdom, the manifestation of bloody revolution.

Zeinab:
bears witness to all of the defenseless prisoners in the system of executioners, and is the messenger left after martyrdom, and the manifestation of the message of revolution.

Shi’ites take their slogans from the embodiment of the tribulations and hopes of the masses of the oppressed. Aware of the rulers, and in rebellion against them, they cry out:-

“Seek the leadership of Ali and flee from the leadership of cruelty. Choose Imamate, and stamp ‘cancelled,’ ‘disbelief’ and ‘dispossession’ upon the forehead of the Caliphate.

Choose justice, and overthrow the system of paradox and discrimination in ownership.

Choose the principle of being ready to protest against the existing conditions, where the ruling government, religious leaders and aristocracy try to show that everything is in accordance with the Will of God, the Divine Law and the satisfaction of God and his creatures. Such things, to the ruling government, included their conquests, their plundering of mosques, associations, schools, gifts, trusts, and charities and the observance of religious ceremonies and practices.

Choose religious leadership for the central organization of the movement.

Choose the concept of imitation of your betters so as to properly organize your energies and bring order, discipline and direction.

Choose the viceregency of the Imam so as to have a responsible leader.

Give a share of the funds to provide for the socio-political struggle, for educational foundations and for teaching, in a system where all religious funds are forcibly collected by the government acting as a government of the Law.

Choose mourning, to continue the constant historical struggle of the Shi’ites against usurpers, treachery, cruelty, and the sources of fraud, lying and degeneration, and especially to keep alive the memories of the martyrs.

Remember Ashura, to humiliate the ruling group who call themselves the inheritors of the traditions of the Prophet, for the remembrance of it will prove that they are the inheritors of the killers and murderers of the Prophet’s family. It will show you a path of action, and provide an answer to the recurring question “What should be done?”. It will help you to decide on the best agenda for the struggle against the rule of tyranny. It will avoid allegiance to cruelty. It will provide a pattern for the unbroken continuity of history. It will declare an unending struggle between the inheritors of Adam and the inheritors of the devil. Ashura reminds us of the teaching of the eternal fact that the present version of Islam (in1972), is a criminal Islam in the dress of tradition, and that the real Islam is the hidden Islam, hidden in the red cloak of martyrdom.

And finally, concealment; creating a clever camouflage for the organization, and its activities, affiliations, leadership, personalities and plans, to protect the leadership, people and groups from being harrassed by the rulers of the day and from the hard-heartedness of the religious organisation associated with them, who might either slander the Shi’ite movement through excommunication and rouse the ignorant masses against them, or destroy it through persecutions, or weaken it through wholesale murders, imprisonment and deportations, and thus to create the best conditions for the struggle and its continuation; to practice, carefully, the principle of secrecy, and maintain the distinctive conditions of an underground movement.”

We can see that for over eight centuries (until the Safavid era), Alavite Shi’ism was more than just a revolutionary movement in history which opposed all the autocratic and class-conscious regimes of the Omayyid and Abbasid caliphates and the kingships of the Ghaznavids, the Seljuks, the Mongols, the Timurids and the two Khanids, who had made the government version of the Sunni School their official religion, and it waged a secret struggle of ideas and action. Like a revolutionary party, Shi’ism had a well-organized, informed, deep-rooted and well-defined ideology, with clear-cut and definite slogans and a disciplined and well-groomed organization. It led the deprived and oppressed masses in their movements for freedom and for seeking justice. It is considered to have been the rallying-point for the demands, distress, and rebellions of the intellectuals seeking to gain their rights, and for the masses in search of justice.

Because of this, throughout history, as the power of the rulers grew, the difficulties, injustice, dispossessions, and the denial of the rights of the people, and the exploitation of the farmers, increased. Inequality became more pronounced because of the system of aristocracy, class-inequalities, brain-washing, ideological prejudices, the connection between the theologians and the temporal rulers, the poverty and privation of the masses, and the power and wealth of the rulers. When this occurred, the Shi’ite front became stronger, the basic slogans of the movement more powerful, and the struggle of the Shi’ites more intense and more important. It changed from a School of thought, a way of study and religious sectarianism reserved for the intellectuals and the chosen few, to a way of correctly understanding Islam and the culture of the people of the house of the Prophet, when confronted by Greek philosophy and oriental Sufism, to a deep-rooted and revolutionary, socio-political movement of the masses, especially the rural masses. It caused greater fear among the autocratic rulers and the hypocritical religious bodies who rule the people in the name of the Sunni sect.

It is for this reason that the pseudo-intellectual and free-thinking rulers, at whose courts the Jews, Christians, Magians and even the materialists enjoy freedom, honor and influence, talk of the Shi’ites with such anger and vexation that a massacre of all of them would not quench the thirst of these rulers. They flay them alive, pass iron rods through their eyes, pull out their tongues and burn them alive. These are all current practices of the day. It reaches the point that the historians, theologians and even philosophers and men of piety of the court considered it to be part of their prayers to invent any false accusations, forgeries and falsified records that they could against the Shi’ites! It is in such circumstances that Sultan Mahmoud of Ghazni declares “I search the world over for a Shi’ite”. It is his government which sponsors the Sunni theological decree that marriage of a Moslem man with “people of the Book” i.e. Jews, Christians and Zoroastrians, is legal, but it is illegal to marry a Shi’ite woman.

With the coming to power of the Seljuks, prejudices and bias become stronger against the world of thought and religion. From the social point of view, the feudal and guardianship system accentuates the degree of the exploitation of the masses, expecially the farmers, to an unbearable degree. In order to maintain the policies of the state, floggings and torture are necessary, resulting in the construction of many piles of skulls and eyes.

The religious body of the Sunni sect, which had from the beginning become ‘the government’s Islam’, becomes a conglomeration of the most debased and prejudiced beliefs and harsh rules. It turns into a tool for the justification of the inhuman ways of the rulers. It compromises with the autocratic regimes of the Ghaznavid and Seljuk Turks and the Mongols. It becomes an opiate for the masses, and an instrument for murder to be used to prevent any thought or action that jeopardizes the interests of the strong and harms the landlords and feudal chiefs.

This is what causes Shi’ism, during this period, to appear as the fountainhead of the rebellion and the struggle of the downtrodden and oppressed masses, especially the rural people. It flourished wonderfully, in multiple facets, and in different directions, moderate or extreme, in the form of various movements of the masses against the powers of the day; movements like the terrorism of Hasan Sabbah, the communal living of the Qaramateh, the extremist cultural and religious beliefs of the Ghalat, and the rebellion for free-thinking of some of the Sufi sects of the revolutionary and Shi’ite School of thought, against the harsh prejudices and the souless, petrifying censorship of the theological and legal system attached to the ruling group. Finally, the intellectual, moderate and rich School of the Imamate, as the greatest flow of thought and culture, rebels when confronted by the religion and culture of the government.

The rousing call and the possibilities for learning in this School of thought are based upon the twin principles of imamate and justice. It produces the revolutionary cries of A’shura and the aggressive mobilization of the masses against existing conditions. It invites people to await the hidden Imam who is in occultation. It raises the critical problems of the ‘signs of appearance’ and the ‘end of time’. It keeps alive the hope of ‘redemption after martyrdom’. It promotes the idea of revenge and revolt, faith in the ultimate downfall of tyrants and the decrees of destiny against the ruling powers who dispense justice by the sword. It prepares all the oppressed and justice-seeking masses who are waiting to participate in the rebellion. In some towns like Kashan and Sabzevar, where the Shi’ites are strong, they saddle a white horse on Fridays, and all the people of the town, the protesting, disatisfied and expectant Shi’ites, follow the horse out of town, despite the opposition of the government and the ruling religion. They await redemption and freedom from tyranny, and the beginning of a rebellion. They discuss questions which cause fear among the ruling group.

During the first half of the eighth century, following the wholesale massacres of Ghengis Khan and Hulaku, when the rule of the Mongols had reduced the Iranian masses to submission, depression, humiliation and weakness; when the revenge of Ghengis Khan was law; when the sword and the hangman were enforcers of the law; when the Mongol Khans and nomads and the officers and chiefs of Mongol tribes each ruled as a feudal lord over various regions and estates, and had enslaved the peasants in the most cruel manner; when, in the towns as well, the men of religion were mostly in the service of the Mongol rulers, they called upon the masses to submit in the name of ‘the true Sunni religion’ to the pseudo-Moslem rulers who continued to be replicas of Ghengis Khan. They circumcised themselves only to please the religious sentiments of the Moslems, at the cost of the spread of the culture, faith, morality, society and of the very existence of the Moslems!

Some of the religious men, whose piety made them abstain from co-operating with the rulers and tyrants, had crept into the oblivion of piety in the monasteries of the Sufis, thereby indirectly becoming the means by which the path is paved for oppression and the ground is prepared for murder. They had left the people defenseless against the floggings of the Mongol executioners and robbers, and the fraudulent men of religion.

It is under these circumstances that a religious preacher sets out in search of the truth in the way that Salman did. Salman approaches all those with claims to religious faith. First he approaches the pious Balu to seek the path of salvation in his School of piety and freedom. There, he sees piety remaining silent against tyranny. What a shame! What heartlessness and selfishness, that a man should be surrounded by the screams of prisoners, the shouts of executioners, the poverty of the hungry, the whips of the cruel over the bodies of the helpless, and, instead of volunteering to defend them, that he should simply seek his own redemption and try to gain paradise for himself! Salman flees from this man in disgust and goes to Semnan to see Rukneddin Emad-od-Dowleh, whose piety and leadership in Sufi practices is well-known. He finds Sufi practices also, like piety, a means of escape from reality and responsibilities, turning away from the fate of the masses, and ignoring cruelty and tyranny. Salman finds the Sufi to have a tender heart, tender feelings and a sublime soul. But, how is it that the rivers of blood shed by the Mongols in this country, and that the decline threatening Islam and the masses of the people, do not in any way disturb the peace of his soul and the tenderness of his heart? Salman flees from him in hatred, and goes to the Sheikh ol-Islam, Imam Ghiasuddin Habibollah Hamavi in Bahrabad, to gain knowledge of the religious laws and the theology of the true Sunni sects from him, and to find his way back to the original spring of truth. Here, he sees a theology that discovers and discusses a thousand problems in bathroom etiquette, but has a total lack of any awareness of the evil destiny facing the nation.

Disgusted with all these robes of piety, and satisfied that these religious teachings are all the weavers of the clothes of piety to be worn on a body of oppression, then with a heart filled with hatred towards the cruel Mongol rulers, and reeling with pain because of the evil destiny of the Moslem masses, as a Moslem responsible for the people and knowledgeable about the times, and as a protestor against the existing system, having lost all faith in the sellers of religion, Sheikh Khalifeh chose the Islam of Ali, the School of protest and martyrdom.

In the dress of a simple darvish, he goes to Sabzevar as a lonely stranger, takes up residence in the great mosque of the town, and begins preaching there. This marks the beginning of the Sarbedaran liberation movement. He is a preacher who is in revolt against everything that teaches people to bow to ignorance and oppression, a revolt backed by a faith, a School of thought and a “Red” history: Shi’ism. Slowly, the deprived masses begin to understand, to find their way, and as a result, to become a threatening force. The official pseudo-clergy start their usual game of spreading rumors and then issuing religious decrees, and at last, calling for authorised murder, saying:-

“This Sheikh discusses worldly affairs in the mosque”,
“This Sheikh conjectures in the mosque and defiles the house of God”, and “This Sheikh confuses the religion of the people”.

The pseudo-clergy try to turn the people against him, and prepare the ground for his downfall. They help the Mongol ruler to take his life. They write to the Mongol ruler saying that the Sheikh has strayed from the true Sunni Religion, and is not prepared to repent and retract in spite of their best efforts. They say he is propagating worldly ideas in the mosque, and spreading the work of the protesters (Shi’ites)! They continue “His behaviour calls for the death penalty, and it is up to Sultan Saied to rid the religion of this pestilence”. The spreading of rumors and the rousing of people against him increases but the Sheikh’s call to understanding, faith and salvation, continues to attract the hearts of the deprived and suffering rural masses more and more to him. Until early one morning, when his admirers go as usual to see him, they see his dead body in the mosque.

After the Sheikh’s assassination, his disciple Sheikh Hasan Juri continues his work. He gives an immediate call to arms, organizes his disciples and goes underground. He starts roaming the towns and sowing the seeds of understanding and revolt wherever he goes, on the basis of Shi’ism. The minds of the people are prepared. The hearts of the enslaved masses are throbbing for revolt under the curtain of secrecy. One spark will be sufficient…

A nephew of the ruler enters the village of Baashteen, a village about thirty-six kilometers south of Sabzevar, as he normally does. With his followers, he enters the house of Abdul Razzaq, one of the pious and honourable villagers who is still reeling under the devastating influence of the religious propaganda of the ruler. The retinue asks the villagers for food, and are duly served. Then they ask for wine! For the villagers, who are Moslems and Shi’ites, who have been deeply influenced by the words of Sheikh Khalifeh, the bringing of wine for such rascals, and that, too, under compulsion, is too much. However, they serve it! The guests become intoxicated! They ask for women! This was the beginning of the explosion, very simple and rapid! The host goes to the people and calling the Shi’ite masses, exclaims that the Mongol ruler is asking for their women. What is their reply? They say “We are prepared to die rather than be so defiled! Our women for the enemy shall be our swords”. The result is inevitable. The masses have made up their minds. They kill the whole group at one attempt. As they know that there is no turning back, as they know that they have already chosen death, they stop wavering. The choice of death gives them such energy that their single village revolts against that bloodthirsty regime and is successful. The villagers overrun the town, fighting against the Mongol army and the decrees of the pseudo-clergy of the religion of the state. They are victorious. Their cry: “Salvation and Justice!” and “The destruction of the power of the ruling Mongols and the influence of the priests of the religion of the rulers and the big landowners of the ruling class”. The victims of the ignorance of the pseudo-clergy and the prisoners of the oppression of the Mongols continue joining the ranks of the rebels. Sabzevar becomes a center of power; like a fire that spreads through dry brush, the Shi’ite revolutionary guards, who enjoy the backing of the rural warriors and champions of the masses, and have the ideology of Sheikh Khalifeh and Sheikh Hasan and similar kinds of well-informed, righteous and missionary men of learning, engulf the whole of Khorasan and northern Iran and even inflame the south of the country. And for the first time, a revolutionary movement based on Alavite Shi’ism, against foreign domination, internal deceit, the power of the feudal lords and wealthy capitalists, had an armed uprising, led by peasants seven hundred years ago, under the banner of justice and the culture of martyrdom, for the salvation of the enslaved nation and the deprived masses.

And this is the last revolutionary wave of Alavite Shi’ism, Red Shi’ism, which continued for seven hundred years to be the flame of the spirit of revolution, the search for freedom, and justice, always inclining towards the common people and fighting relentlessly against oppression, ignorance and poverty.

A century later came the Safavids, and Shi’ism left the great mosque of the common people to become a next-door neighbor to the Palace of ‘Ali Qapu in the Royal Mosque.

Red Shi’ism changes to Black Shi’ism!

The Religion of Martyrdom changes to The Religion of Mourning.

Khamenei denounces photo insult to Imam

Tuesday, December 15th, 2009

FMP Condemns Swiss Anti-Islamic law

Monday, November 30th, 2009

Swiss voters on Sunday passed a hostile and antagonistic referendum sponsored by the ultra-reactionary “Swiss People’s Party” effectively banning the construction of minarets, the distinctive architectural designs atop the vast majority of Mosques, or places of worship for adherents of the Islamic faith.

Supporters of the ban claim the minaret is a so-called “symbol” of “militant Islam,” a repulsive and deceitful claim concocted in the minds of ultra-nationalist bourgeois and petit-bourgeois elements among the Swiss ruling class.

Historically, the minaret served the practical purpose of a signal to the Muslim community, and traditionally, though less so today, served as the place for issuing the call to prayer (adhan) to believers.

Response to Sunday’s vote was largely negative – both domestically and abroad. Legal experts criticized the ban on its violation of freedom of religion and incompatible with Switzerland’s constitution. Foreign legal experts also criticized the ban on account of its violation of standing international conventions in Europe that guarantee religious freedom, of which Switzerland is a signatory.

Secretary-General of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), Dr. Ekmeleddin İhsanoğlu, issued a statement following Sunday’s vote, denouncing the ban on minarets as an “example of growing anti-Islamic incitement in Europe by extremist, anti-immigrant, xenophobic, racist, scare-mongering ultra-right politicians who reign over common sense, wisdom and universal values.”

Islam is Switzerland’s second largest religion, behind only Christianity. Muslims make up approximately 4 per cent of Switzerland’s population.

Free Media Productions wholeheartedly and unambiguously condemns this blatant and provocative ban against minarets as an inexcusable and prejudiced attack against European Muslims, and demands an immediate end to the propagation of aggressive, malignant and antagonistic Islamophobic policies.

Free Media Productions Opposes Rightist-Opportunist Rioters in Iran

Sunday, November 22nd, 2009

Metal Gear’s Comments : This post is made by a rogue individual Muslim. We have no such policy.

Originally posted at Free Media Productions Editorials on June 16, 2009 by Iron Bolshevik:

Free Media Productions has continuously and consistently upheld a line of support for President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of the Islamic Republic of Iran. This much is apparent in our official Editorial policy in regards to Iran; but some readers have accused us of “revisionism,” and others have even gone so far as to accuse FMP of “crypto-fascism.”

However, these uninformed and misguided individuals, only pretending to analyze the current situation in the Islamic Republic of Iran through a scientific Marxist-Leninist lens,  fail to understand the very fundamental foundation of Marxist-Leninist thought. As Marxist-Leninists, we approach each and every situation with a view to understanding and applying the methodology of Marx, Engels, Lenin and Stalin – not merely an abstract application of their conclusions.

To our assortment of critics and slanderers, this isn’t good enough. While we at FMP strive to assess the situation based on the application of the science of dialectics to the material conditions as they exist, they think profess a view rife with two particularly dangerous tendencies that have proliferated throughout so-called Western “Marxist” circles: ultra-left dogmatism and right-opportunist deviationism.

The ultra-leftists say that Iran needs a “proletarian revolution” against the Islamic government. According to these people, regardless of the current situation, no support ought to be given to any ruling government that is not explicitly Communist in its orientation or character. Likewise, the ultra-left camp condemns FMP for its principled stance in support for the anti-imperialist tendencies of President Mahmoud AHmadinejad.

As for the right-deviationists, they claim that Iran is ruled by an ultra-reactionary caste of mullahs whose theocratic-fascism must be opposed. From this it logically follows, according to the right-deviationists, that the petite-bourgeois reformist camp in the Islamic Republic of Iran – led by Mir-Hossein Mousavi, deserves support for its liberal platform against the ruling Islamic Revolutionary government. The right-deviationists, operating under the mask of Marxism, claim that real progress can be made in Iran only through a more liberal, reformist policy alignment directed by the petite-bourgeoisie.

Free Media Productions wholeheartedly rejects both these claims as two-sides of the same coin of revisionist, unscientific and un-Marxist thinking. Instead, we endorse the view that the major contradictions facing the Iranian nation comes not from within its own society, but from outside, hostile foreign powers who seek to undermine Iran’s sovereignty and exploit its resources. International capital has a vested interest in reverting Iran back to its neo-colonial status under the Shah – and several Western foreign intelligence agencies have gone to task to subvert the regime to those very ends.

That much being said, Free Media Productions shows unwavering and unquestionable support for the Islamic Revolutionary government of Iran and President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad for their sincere ability and willingness to protect and defend the interests, independence and sovereignty of the Iranian nation. Furthermore, we believe that socialism can only be built when it is the expressed view of the majority of the working class. In the Islamic Republic of Iran the working masses have shown their support not for an insurrectionary revolutionary movement against the Islamic government, but instead voiced majority support for the recently re-elected President Ahmadinejad.

Finally, given Iran’s need to defend its interests against US and Zionist imperialism, the current material conditions (as they exist now) dictate that an internal revolutionary insurrection would only destabilize and threaten the overall security of the Iranian people. Such adventurism would be easily exploited by Iran’s enemies who eagerly wait on the edge of their seats for such a situation to arise.

Therefore, on these grounds, Free Media Productions will continue to show its support for the Islamic Revolutionary government in Iran and the President of the Iranian people, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Paid Lying: What Passes for Major Media Journalism

Wednesday, November 18th, 2009

by Stephen Lendman

Today’s major media journalism is biased, irresponsible, sensationalist reporting that distorts, exaggerates or misstates the truth. It’s misinformation or agitprop disinformation masquerading as fact to boost circulation, readership, viewers, or listeners, and on vital issues lies about or suppresses uncomfortable truths to provide unqualified support for state and/or corporate interests – to the detriment of the greater good that’s always sacrificed for profits and imperial aims.

As a result, major media sources produce a daily propaganda diet and what Project Censored calls “junk food news,” and get most people to believe it. In their landmark book, Manufacturing Consent, Edward Herman and Noam Chomsky explained the “propaganda model” that controls the public message by “filter(ing)” disturbing truths, “leaving (behind) only the cleansed residue fit to print” or air.

Today the media is in crisis and a free and open society at risk at a time fiction substitutes for fact, news is carefully controlled, dissent marginalized, and on-air and print journalists support powerful interests as paid liars, or what famed journalist George Seldes (1890 – 1995) called “prostitutes of the press.”

As a result, imperial wars are called liberating ones. Civil liberties are suppressed for our own good. Major topics go unaddressed or are misrepresented. Government and business interests are endorsed wholeheartedly. America is always called “beautiful.” Beneficial social change is considered heresy. The market works best, we’re told, so let it, and patriotism means supporting lawlessness and corporate outlaws by shopping till we drop.

The New York Times – Its Lead Role in Distorting and Suppressing Truth

For many decades, The Times has been the closest thing in America to an official ministry of information and propaganda masquerading as real news, commentary and analysis.

Its unmatched clout once got media critic Norman Solomon to call its front page “the most valuable square inches of media real estate in the USA;” most everywhere, in fact, because its reports are widely circulated and followed globally.

The Paper of Record has a long history of:

  • supporting the powerful;
  • backing corporate interests;
  • endorsing imperial wars;
  • supporting CIA efforts to topple elected governments, assassinate independent leaders, prop up friendly dictators, secretly fund and train paramilitary death squads, practice sophisticated forms of torture, and menace democratic freedoms at home and abroad. For decades, in fact, some Times’ foreign correspondents were covert Agency assets. Others today likely are as well as other prominent fourth estate members.

The Times management is also comfortable with:

  • Washington and corporate lawlessness;
  • an unprecedented and growing wealth gap;
  • Wall Street banksters looting the federal treasury;
  • a private banking cartel controlling the nation’s money;
  • unmet human needs and increasing poverty, hunger, homelessness, and despair for growing millions in a nation run by rogue politicians who don’t give a damn as long as they’re re-elected;
  • a de facto one-party state;
  • deep corruption at the highest government and corporate levels;
  • democracy for the select few alone;
  • sham elections; and
  • a deepening social decay symptomatic of a declining state, yet The Times management won’t use its clout to expose and help reverse it.

Of course, the same applies throughout the corporate media, the only variance being audience size, the ability to influence it, and the special impact of TV news and talk radio to arouse their faithful. Plus their power of round-the-clock persuasive repetition.

Examples of Journalism, New York Times Style

After a Washington staged February 29, 2004 middle-of-the-night coup ousted democratically elected Haitian president Jean-Bertrand Aristide, The Times March 1 editorial lied by:

  • stating he resigned;
  • saying sending in Marines to abduct him “was the right thing to do;”
  • claiming they only came after “Mr. Aristide yielded power;”
  • blaming him for “contribut(ing) significantly to his own downfall (because of his) increasingly autocratic and lawless rule….;” and
  • accusing him of manipulating the 2000 legislative elections and not “deliver(ing) the democracy he promised.”

In fact, he’s a beloved democrat first elected in 1990 with 67% of the vote, ousted by a US-supported coup months later, returned to Haiti in 1994, then, because he couldn’t succeed himself in 1996, ran in 2000 and was overwhelmingly re-elected with 92% of the vote. Today in exile, the great majority of Haitians want him back but paramilitary occupiers, under orders from Washington, won’t let him.

Following Hugo Chavez’s December 1998 election, The Times Latin American reporter, Larry Roher, wrote:

Regional “presidents and party leaders are looking over their shoulders (concerned about the) specter (they) thought they had safely interred: that of the populist demagogue, the authoritarian man on horseback known as the caudillo (strongman)” taking power.

Ever since, Times writers consistently:

  • turned a blind eye to Venezuelan democracy;
  • bashed Chavez as “divisive, a ruinous demagogue, provocative (and) the next Fidel Castro;”
  • said he “militarized the government, emasculated the country’s courts, intimidated the media, eroded confidence in the economy, and hollowed out Venezuela’s once-democratic institutions:” common conditions during decades of pre-Chavez rule that columnist Roger Lowenstein falsely said exist now in:
    • calling him anti-capitalist for sharing his nation’s oil wealth with the people by providing essential social services, and for lifting the most needy out of poverty; and
    • denouncing his making foreign investors pay their fair share.

Lowenstein backed the aborted April 2002 coup by calling Chavez’s ouster a “resignation,” then saying Venezuela “no longer (would be) threatened by a would-be dictator.”

Post-/911, the Times played the lead role in taking the nation to war by highlighting the “day of terror” and saying the “President Vows to Exact Punishment for ‘Evil.’ ”

In the run-up to the Iraq war, Judith Miller was a weapon of mass deception with her daily front page Pentagon press release columns masquerading as real news, later exposed as manipulative lies, but they worked.

Following the September 15, 2009 Goldstone Commission report, a same day Neil MacFarquhar column suggested that Israel’s “disproportionate attack” followed Hamas provocations, so perhaps it was justified. While The Times gave Judge Goldstone op-ed space, it:

published scathing letters denouncing his “one-sidedness” and a September 18 piece saying “the Obama administration said (today) that a United Nations report accusing Israel of war crimes in Gaza was unfair to Israel and did not take adequate account of ‘deplorable’ actions by the militant group Hamas in the conflict last winter.”

The paper then imposed a near-blackout on its news and editorial pages to bury the story and kill it through silence – never mind its importance in documenting clear evidence of Israeli war crimes against a civilian population.

National Public Radio (NPR) and Public Broadcasting (PBS)

Founded in 1970 as an independent, private, non-profit member organization of US public radio stations, NPR promised to be an alternative to commercial broadcasters by “promot(ing) personal growth rather than corporate gain (and) speak with many voices, many dialects.”

Having long ago abandoned its promise, and given its substantial corporate and government funding, NPR is indistinguishable from the rest of the corporate media, just as corrupted, and consider its former head, Kevin Klose.

He was president from December 1998 – September 2008 and CEO from 1998 – January 2009. Earlier he was US propaganda director as head of the Voice of America (VOA), Radio Liberty, Radio Free Europe, Radio Free Asia, Worldnet Television, and the anti-Castro Radio/TV Marti, so he fit easily into his new role.

On January 5, 2009, Vivian Schiller succeeded him as president and CEO. Her official bio says she was previously with “The New York Times Company where she served as Senior Vice President and General Manager of NYTimes.com.”

She’ll oversee “all NPR operations and initiatives, including the organization’s critical partnerships with our 800+ member stations, and their service to the more than 26 million people who listen to NPR programming every week.” Most don’t know they’re getting the same corporate propaganda and “junk food news” or that
NPR calls itself “public” to conceal its real agenda, and why critics call it “National Pentagon or Petroleum Radio” with good reason.

Created by the Public Broadcasting Act of 1967, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) calls itself “a private, nonprofit corporation created by Congress…and is the steward of the federal government’s investment in public broadcasting. It helps support the operations of more than 1,100 locally-owned and-operated public television and radio stations nationwide, and is the largest single source of funding for research, technology, and program development for public radio, television and related online services.”

Like NPR, it’s heavily corporate and government funded and provides similar services for them. Under George Bush, former Voice of America director Kenneth Tomlinson was chairman of CPB’s Board of Governors until an internal 2005 investigation forced him out for repeatedly braking the law.

On September 16, 2009, a CPB press release announced that “The board of directors (of the CPB) today elected Dr. Ernest Wilson III (as) chairman and re-elected….CEO Beth Courtney (as) vice-chair.”

Wilson previously held senior policy positions as Director of International Programs and Resources on the National Security Council. He was also Policy and Planning Unit Director for the US Information Agency and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR).

Beth Courtney is a George Bush appointee, a past chairman of the board of America’s Public Television Stations and present CPB vice chairman. Currently she also serves on the boards of Satellite Educational Resources Consortium, the Organization of State Broadcasting Executives, the National Forum for Public Television Executives, and the National Educational Telecommunications Association along with other appropriate credentials for her re-appointment.

In its May/June 2004 “Extra” report, FAIR (Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting) asked “How Public Is Public Radio? Writers Steve Rendall and Daniel Butterworth quoted past head Kevin Klose saying:

“All of us believe our goal is to serve the entire democracy, the entire country.”

Not according to FAIR on “every on-air source quoted in June 2003 on four of (NPR’s) news shows: All Things Considered, Morning Edition, Weekend Edition Saturday and Weekend Edition Sunday.” Each guest was classified “by occupation, gender, nationality, and partisan affiliation.” Combined, 2,334 sources from 804 stories were quoted.

FAIR found that NPR relies on the same dominant sources as the major media that include government officials, professional experts, and corporate representatives nearly two-thirds of the time.

Spokespeople for public interest groups accounted for 7% of total sources, and ordinary people appeared mostly in “one-sentence soundbites.”

Male guests outnumbered women about 4:1, and those quoted most often came from the same elite categories as men.

Overall, NPR represents the same dominant interests as the major commercial media – conservative, pro-business, pro-war, pro-Israel, and very much against the public interest while pretending to support it.

FAIR analyzed PBS’s flagship NewsHour guest list and drew similar conclusions. Like NPR, it’s ideologically right and usually censors progressive content and public interest programming. In a 1990 NewsHour evaluation, FAIR compared its content to ABC’s Nightline and found that it presented “an even narrower segment of the political spectrum.” It then conducted an October 2005 – March 2006 analysis of all of its programs, got similar results, and determined that NewHour is even more ideologically right than NPR that tilts far in that direction itself.

FAIR concluded that NPR and NewsHour content “overwhelmingly represent those in power rather than the public” they’re obliged to serve. While masquerading as public programming, they betray their listeners and viewers by offering the same propaganda and “junk food news” as the dominant corporate media. Considering their funding sources, what else would they do.

An October 6 NPR story is typical of most others. It charged Hugo Chavez with “Targeting Opponents For Arrest.” Reporter Juan Forero claimed “dozens of university students” went on hunger strike outside OAS headquarters in Caracas on September 28 along with others “across the country….in support of Julio Cesar Rivas, a student who was arrested during an anti-government demonstration in August….”

Rivas is the coordinator and founder of Juventud Activa de Venezuela Unida (United Active Youth of Venezuela – JAVU). Earlier, he was part of a staged, violent street protest against Venezuela’s new Education Law. The government says JAVU acts as “shock troops” in opposition protests and is liberally funded by the National Endowment of Democracy (NED), International Republican Institute (IRI), and US Agency or International Development (USAID) to disrupt internal Venezuelan affairs. It’s a familiar scheme, repeated numerous times in the past, to discredit and disrupt the Chavez government in hopes of eventually ousting it.

JAVU has about 80,000 members in most Venezuelan states, and its blog site calls for bringing down the government and supporting the Honduran military coup.

Rivas was released on September 29, but must appear for trial. He’s a Washington-funded provocateur, charged with resisting arrest, instigating crime, conspiracy, inciting rebellion, damaging public property, and using “generic” weapons.

While in custody, Venezuela Public Defender Gabriela Ramirez assured him in person that his full constitutional rights will be protected. Street protests still continue and have been countered by pro-Chavez ones calling for “peace and tolerance.” According to the Federation of Bolivarian students’ Carlos Sierra:

Opposition “students are being used and manipulated by the top leadership of the irrational opposition, which, via the (dominant) media, send them to generate violence and terrorism in the country” much like on previous occasions.

But according to NPR’s Forero, Rivas was “sent to one of Venezuela’s most infamous prisons” where other government opponents are held as political prisoners. Chavez “has been jailing dozens of key opponents – some of them students, some of them veteran politicians” in citing unnamed “human rights groups and constitutional experts (claiming) Venezuela is increasingly singling out and imprisoning its foes in politically motivated witch hunts.”

Forero didn’t mention that Rivas fomented violence. Others arrested also broke the law. No one is a political prisoner, and all Venezuelans get fair and equitable trials, unlike in America where real political arrests, prosecutions and convictions happen regularly against innocent targeted victims – a topic NPR and PBS won’t touch except to vilify them publicly on-air.

Nor do they report truthfully on Occupied Palestine. On October 12, 2009, on NPR’s Morning Edition, reporter Renee Montagne practically extolled Israeli racism in stating:

“There is a new enemy for some Israelis: romance between Jewish women and Arab men, (so) vigilantes have banded together to fight it.” She means from “Jewish settlements” that “have sprung up (in) traditionally Arab” East Jerusalem, but won’t admit they’re on stolen Palestinian land.

NPR’s Sheera Frankel joined a patrol, implied Arabs are inferior to Jews, and suggested they pose a danger to Jewish women and girls. She described vigilantes on the lookout for “Arab-Jewish couples (to) break up their dates,” suggesting it’s the right thing to do, but never questioning the legitimacy of settlements, vigilante violence in East Jerusalem, its lawless disregard for the law, or great harm to innocent people. Instead she called “mixed couples a growing epidemic” of miscegenation – typical of NPR’s racism and one-sided support for Israel.

The Wall Street Journal (WSJ)

The WSJ is Dow Jones & Company’s flagship publication, now a News Corp. one since Rupert Murdoch bought it in August 2007. Stating its ideology up front, it says it supports “free markets and free people” as well as “free trade and sound money; against confiscatory taxation and the ukases (edicts) of kings and other collectivists; and for individual autonomy against dictators, bullies and even the tempers of momentary majorities.”

In October 2007, FAIR bemoaned the Murdock takeover because of his “penchant for using his holdings as vehicles for his personal (views) and business interests.” Earlier FAIR and the Columbia Journalism Review criticized its editorial page for inaccuracy, extreme bias, and dishonesty.

The Journal is unapologetic in saying its philosophy “make(s) no pretense of walking down the middle of the road. Our comments and interpretations are made from a definite point of view….We oppose all infringements on individual rights, whether (from) private monopoly, labor union monopoly or from an overgrowing government.(We’re) not much interested in labels but if we were to choose one, we would say we are radical.”

Radical can be revolutionary and beneficial when it backs fundamental progressive change and reform. Webster defines it as:

“marked by a considerable departure from the usual and traditional: extreme; tending or disposed to make extreme changes in existing views, habits, conditions, or institutions; of, relating to, or constituting a political (or perhaps business) group associated with views, practices, and policies of extreme change; (or) advocating extreme measures to retain or restore a political state of affairs” such the radical right represented by the WSJ’s management and editorial writers.

Critics agree that they’re on the far right extremist fringe, a supporter of voodoo economics, tax cuts for the rich, a staunch defender of executive privilege, and disdainful of anything to the left of their views as witnessed daily by some of the most outlandish, one-sided, pro-business commentaries countenancing no alternatives, with the rarest of rare exceptions showing up to make the paper look fair, which it’s not.

Consider editorial board member Mary O’Grady in her weekly Americas column on “politics, economics and business in Latin America and Canada.” Her extremism is unmatched. Her style is agitprop; her space a truth-free zone; her language hateful and vindictive; her tone malicious and slanderous; her style bare-knuckled thuggishness; and her material calculating, mendacious, and shameless. Yet she’s a WSJ regular and an award-winning op-ed writer, but surely no journalist according to Webster’s definition:

“writing characterized by a direct presentation of facts or description of events without an attempt at interpretation.”

O’Grady fails on both counts. She’s a kind of print version of Fox News’ Glenn Beck, who promotes himself on glennbeck.com looking arrogant in a uniform reminiscent of the Nazi SS.

Consider O’Grady’s support for the Washington-backed June 28 Honduran coup ousting a democratically elected president. It was followed by months of mass arrests, disappearances, killings, targeting the independent media, suspending the Constitution, declaring martial law, and threatening the Brazilian embassy’s sovereignty where President Manuel Zelaya took refuge after returning.

In one of her many pro-coup articles, O’Grady (on July 13) headlined “Why Honduras Sent Zelaya Away.” In a “perfect world,” according to her, he “would be in jail in his own country right now, awaiting trial. The Honduran attorney general (part of the coup regime) has charged him with deliberately violating Honduran law and the Supreme Court (stacked with pro-coup justices) ordered his arrest in Tegucigalpa on June 28,” the day of the coup.

“But the Honduran military whisked him out of the country, to Costa Rica,” to save itself the embarrassment of jailing a democratically elected leader whose lawful actions were endorsed by the majority of Hondurans wanting progressive constitutional change and a president willing to give it to them.

Yet according to O’Grady, “Mr. Zelaya’s detention was legal, as was his official removal from office by Congress….Besides eagerly trampling the constitution, Mr. Zelaya had demonstrated that he was ready to employ the violent tactics of ‘chavismo’ to hang onto power. The decision to pack him off immediately was taken in the interest of protecting both constitutional order and human life.”

In fact, Zelaya neither espoused or practiced violence, and his call for a public June 28 vote on whether to hold a referendum for a new Constitutional Convention at the same time as the November elections lawfully asked for a “yes” or “no” on one question:

“Do you think that the November 2009 general elections should include a fourth ballot box (the other three were for candidates) in order to make a decision about the creation of a National Constitutional Assembly that would approve a new Constitution?”

According to Article 5 of the 2006 Honduran “Civil Participation Act,” government officials may hold non-binding inquiries (referenda) to determine popular support for proposed measures. Gauging sentiment for a National Constituent Assembly for a new Constitution is legal.

Yet in her June 28 article titled, “Honduras Defends Its Democracy,” O’Grady falsely claimed Zelaya planned “a constitutional rewrite (following) a national referendum” only the Congress can approve. In fact, Zelaya called for a vote to assess public sentiment, pro or con, on whether Hondurans want a Constitutional Convention, an act no different from a public opinion poll that’s perfectly legal or should be anywhere. But according to O’Grady, Zelaya “decided he would run the referendum himself.” It’s typical O’Grady truth reversal that earns her weekly space on the WSJ’s op-ed page.

The BBC’s Long Tradition As An Imperial Tool

State-owned and funded, it’s tradition is long, unbroken, and disturbing as the world’s largest and most influential broadcaster reaching global audiences in 32 languages. From inception in 1925, it’s been reliably pro-government and pro-business, or as its founder Lord Reith wrote the establishment: “They know they can trust us not to be really impartial.” Neither he or his successors disappointed on topics mattering most, including war and peace, corporate crimes, US-UK duplicity, labor rights, democratic freedoms, human and civil rights, social justice, and Western imperialism.

They’re consistently distorted, suppressed, marginalized or ignored throughout decades of misreporting despite claiming “honesty (and) integrity (is) what the BBC stands for (because it’s) free from political influence and commercial pressure.”

As a propaganda service, its record is uncompromisingly anti-union, pro-business, and dependably safe for Whitehall and its allies. It moralizes Western aggression, bashes independent democratic leaders, and cheerleads for the powerful at the expense of providing real news and information for millions believing BBC is credible. For over eight decades, it’s record is solid and predictable – betraying the public trust to reliably serve the powerful. The tradition continues.

Prominent TV Demagogues

Among the many, consider a select few. For example, CNN’s Lou Dobbs, “Mr. Independent” he calls himself. Critics use more descriptive terms, yet according to his loudobbs.tv.cnn.com bio:

He’s “anchor and managing editor of CNN’s Lou Dobbs Tonight (and also anchor of) a nationally syndicated financial news radio report, The Lou Dobbs Financial Report….” In addition, he writes a weekly CNN.com commentary, is an author and award-winning “journalist,” most recently in 2005 when “the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences awarded (him) the Emmy for Lifetime Achievement” for serving the usual special interests nightly on prime time TV.

In June 2004, he also won “the Eugene Katz Award for Excellence in the Coverage of Immigration from the Center for Immigration Studies for his ongoing series ‘Broken Borders,’ which examines US policy towards illegal immigration.” Little wonder in an August 2006 article, this writer called him CNN’s Vice President of Racism. He’s also a paid liar and in America wins awards.

In May 2008, a Media Matters Action Network report titled, “Fear & Loathing in Prime Time: Immigration Myths and Cable News” highlighted undocumented Latino hatemongering by Dobbs, Bill O’Reilly, and Glenn Beck, each claiming:

  • an alleged connection between undocumented Latinos and crime; in fact, clear evidence shows they’re no more likely to break laws than American citizens;
  • how they exploit social services and don’t pay taxes; in fact, undocumented immigrants are ineligible, without proof of legal status, for Medicaid, food stamps, State Children’s Health Insurance (SCHIP) and welfare; they do pay income, payroll, property, sales and other taxes and are entitled to public education; according to the National Academy of Sciences, immigrants provide a net annual gain of up to $10 billion to US GDP; according to Rand Corp. economist James P. Smith, the “net present value of the gains from those immigrants who arrived since 1980 would be $333 billion.”
  • the “reconquista” myth about a supposed Mexican plot to take over the US Southwest; and
  • an epidemic of Latino voter fraud that, according to Dobbs’ incessant drumbeat, puts America’s “democracy absolutely in jeopardy.”

He also propagates the myth that undocumented Latinos caused an increase in US leprosy (or Hansen’s disease). In an on-air April 2005 report (among others), correspondent Christine Romans quoted “medical lawyer” Dr. Madeleine Cosman saying:

“We have some enormous problems with horrendous diseases that are being brought into America by illegal aliens (including) leprosy….” Romans added that, according to Cosman, “there were about 900 (US) cases of leprosy for 40 years. There have been 7,000 in the past three years.”

According to a May 2007 “60 Minutes” report, the National Hansen’s Disease Program (NHDP) of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) reported that “7,000 is the number of leprosy cases over the last 30 years, not the past three, and nobody knows how many of those cases involve illegal immigrants.” NHDP added that from 2002 – 2005 (the timeline of Cosman’s claim), only 398 cases occurred. To that, Dobbs responded: “If we reported it, it’s a fact.”

Founded in 1971, the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) is internationally known for its activism against hate groups and scoring legal victories against white supremacists. It says Dobbs regularly features inaccurate racist reports and features anti-immigrant hatemongers like:

  • Glenn Spencer, head of the anti-immigration American Patrol, whose web site highlights anti-Mexican vitriol and the idea that Mexico plans a secret takeover of the Southwest;
  • Joe McCutchen, head of the anti-immigration Protect Arkansas Now group, that Dobbs calls “a terrific group of concerned, caring Americans;”
  • Paul Streitz, co-founder of Connecticut Citizens for Immigration Control, who once denounced Mayor John DeStefano, Jr. for “turning New Haven into a banana republic;”
  • Barbara Coe, leader of the California Coalition for Immigration Reform who routinely calls Mexicans “savages;” and
  • Chris Simcox, co-founder of the Minuteman Project and a leading anti-immigration figure.

SPLC explains that Dobbs “doggedly explores and supports the anti-immigration movement (and) won’t report salient negative facts about anti-immigration leaders he approves of….”

Instead, he falsely claims that:

  • “just about a third of the prison population in this country is estimated to be illegal aliens;”
  • states have been “overwhelmed by criminal illegal aliens;” and
  • US borders are “unprotected” allowing “criminal illegal aliens (to) murder police officers.”

In 2007 alone, the connection between illegal immigration and crime was discussed on 94 episodes of Lou Dobbs Tonight, and dozens more focused on an “army of invaders,” immigrants not paying taxes, draining social services, and threatening our white Anglo-Saxon culture.

CNN reporters Casey Wian, Bill Tucker, Kitty Pilgrim and others present a steady diet of subtle and overt racism to incite viewers to believe it. Through constant repetition, it propagates the myth, and according to the Media Matters Action Network report:

Dobbs “is hailed by the entire spectrum of immigration opponents, from the reasonable to the unreasonable. And the degree to which extremist elements see (him) as an ally indicates at the very least that they believe he is helping their cause” because they feel he’s a populist crusader.

Yet according to a July 30 New York Observer report, recent Nielsen data showed that after Dobbs began reporting (on July 15) that Barack Obama’s birth certificate was fraudulent (an apparent stunt to increase ratings), his viewership dropped significantly – 15% overall and 27% in the valued 25-54 age category.

Fox News Channel (FNC)

When it debuted in 1996, one of its on-air hosts said:

The “Channel was launched (because) something was wrong with news media….somewhere bias found its way into reporting….Fox….is committed to being fair and balanced (covering) stories everybody is reporting – and….stories….you will see only on Fox.”

Later the Columbia Journalism Review said several former Fox employees “complained of ‘management sticking their fingers’ in the writing and editing stories to cook the facts to make a story more palatable to right-of-center tastes.” But it hasn’t hurt ratings.

As of Q 1 2009, FNC was the second highest rated cable channel in prime time total viewers. CNN ranked 17th and MSNBC 24th. The O’Reilly Factor has been #1 rated on cable news for 100 consecutive months and gained 27% more viewers year-over-year. Glenn Beck increased 90% over the previous year. Overall, FNC topped CNN and MSNBC combined in prime time total audience.

Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR) said “Fox’s signature political news show, Special Report with Brit Hume (now with Bret Baier) was originally created as a daily one-hour update devoted to the 1998 Clinton sex scandal.” In the past year, it gained 39% more viewers.

As for accuracy and being “fair and balanced,” FAIR (in summer 2001) called FNC “The Most Biased Name in News,” yet according to Murdoch in March 2001:

“I challenge anybody to show me an example of bias in Fox News Channel.”

In FAIR’s Seth Ackerman article and later ones, FNC’s blatant manipulation of the news is exposed. For example, Bret Baier’s “Political Grapevine” is a right-wing “hot sheet” featuring a “series of gossipy items culled from other right-wing” sources. It and other reports are blatantly partisan propaganda against “liberal media bias,” progressives, environmentalists, anti-war activists, civil rights groups, and others to the left of their views.

According to FAIR, the commentary on political punditry programs like The O’Reilly Factor, the Sean Hannity Show, and The Beltway Boys is so slanted that it’s like watching “a Harlem Globetrotters game (knowing) which side is supposed to win.”

FNC’s Bill O’Reilly

His official bio calls The O’Reilly Factor “a unique blend of news analysis and hard hitting investigative reporting dropped each weeknight into ‘The No Spin Zone.” He also hosts a syndicated radio show, writes a weekly column carried in over 300 newspapers, and authored several books that according to New York Times writer Janet Maslin were “either (done) with a collaborator or (O’Reilly) was born with a ghostwriter’s gift for filling space with platitudes….” With good reason, Maslin called him “one of the most controversial human beings in the world….”

In an October 2008 report titled “Smearcasting,” FAIR called him an “Islamophobe” for spreading “fear, bigotry and misinformation” along with 11 other popular figures, including Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity, Michelle Malkin (another FNC regular), David Horowitz, and Pat Robertson.

After 9/11, FAIR said O’Reilly proposed attacking a list of Muslim countries “if they did not submit to the US – starting with Afghanistan.”

On air he said:

“The US should bomb the Afghan infrastructure to rubble – the airport, the power plants, their water facilities and the roads….If they don’t rise up against this primitive country, they starve, period.”

Iraq must also be destroyed he said, and “the population made to endure yet another round of intense pain.” As for Libya, “Nothing goes in, nothing goes out….Let them eat sand.”

FAIR called his penchant for attacking Muslim countries “an O’Reilly trademark”, and “his disregard for Muslim civilians is matched by the anti-Muslim sentiments he frequently expresses on both his nationally syndicated radio show, the Radio Factor,” reaching 3.5 million listeners, and his top-rated FNC show.

Some of his hateful comments include saying:

  • areas of London are “just packed with just dense Muslim neighborhoods, which breed this kind of contempt for Western society. Why do they let them in;”
  • “We’re at war with Muslim fanatics. So all young Muslims should be subject to (special) scrutiny, (saying it’s not racial, just) “criminal profiling;”
  • “the most unattractive women in the world are probably in Muslim countries;” and
  • in Iraq, he blamed killing on Islam: “They’re all Muslims, and they’re doing what they do. They’re killing each other. And they’re killing Americans.”

O’Reilly is equally racist about Latino immigrants with frequent comments like:

“The extreme elements in this country want open borders, blanket amnesty, and entitlement for foreign nationals who have come here illegally, and generally want to change the demographics in the USA so political power can be assumed by the left. That is the end game.” He also argues that “Low-skilled immigrant labor costs the taxpayers today $19,000 to (subsidize) people who are using the hospitals (and) the education system….These are rock-solid stats,” but O’Reilly won’t say from where.

They’re blatantly false and may be from a May 2007 Robert Rector/Christine Kim (right-wing think tank) Heritage Foundation paper titled, “The Fiscal Cost of Low-Skill Immigrants to State and Local Taxpayers.”

O’Reilly spreads daily misinformation, innuendo, and hateful demagoguery to millions of his daily faithful. Like the others above, they’re paid liars delivering what passes for today’s major media journalism. It’s why so much of the public is misinformed and the reason more hate groups than ever proliferate.

According to the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), they numbered 926 in 2008, up from 602 in 2000 and are “animated by the national immigration debate.” Since Obama took office, they’re also driven by their hatred of a black president, exacerbated by a growing economic crisis that’s easy to blame on the undocumented and a non-white head of state.

These groups are ideologically vicious and extremely dangerous when motivated by racist right-wing media commentators reaching far larger audiences than more saner voices drowned out. It’s more evidence of social decay and the urgent need for change.

The Right-Wing Media Attack ACORN

Founded in 1970, ACORN (Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now) “is the nation’s largest grassroots community organization of low and moderate income people with over 400,000 member families organized into more than 1,200 neighborhood chapters in about 75 cities across the country.”

As the nation’s preeminent community organizing group, it backs a living wage, opposes predatory lending and foreclosures, supports affordable housing, better public schools, welfare reform, voting rights, rebuilding New Orleans, and other social and economic justice issues.

For many months as a result, right-wing extremists have tried to discredit its successes online and through the media. Led by Fox News, Lou Dobbs, and others, it’s accused of financial corruption, massive voter fraud, and other indiscretions, mostly fabricated to destroy the group’s credibility, cut off its funding, and harm other community organizing efforts. However, compared to corporate fraud and abuse scandals, ACORN’s occasional missteps are minor, insignificant, and undeserving of inflammatory media headlines.

Nonetheless recent news stories featured false accusations that ACORN engages in prostitution nationwide. The supposed evidence came from two right-wing filmmakers (Hannah Giles and James O’Keefe) posing as prostitute and pimp, conveniently videotaped for airing. In prime time especially, Fox News, Lou Dobbs and others featured it nightly.

On September 14, Dobbs reported “another pimp and prostitute scandal at the left-wing activist organization ACORN. For the third time, ACORN workers for the left-wing advocacy group (got) caught on hidden camera breaking the law. Now calls from Congress to investigate and cut off public funding are growing.”

According to Fox News Bill O’Reilly, “With more than 30 criminal ‘convictions’ on its resume, the organization cannot be trusted.” Based on no credible evidence, other FNC reports accuse ACORN of “operat(ing) as a criminal enterprise,” including prostitution, running a prostitution ring, filing false documents with taxing and other government authorities, bank fraud, violating immigration laws, transporting women and children to America for immoral purposes, and impairing the welfare of minors.

More evidence of reprehensible innuendo, distortion, deceit, and misinformation from major media paid liars. It’s why web sites like this one gain followers.

Stephen Lendman is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization. He lives in Chicago and can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net.

Propaganda 101: Leaflets

Tuesday, November 10th, 2009

The printed word is one of the most useful tools in any propaganda operation, large or small.  And one of the historically relied upon means of print propaganda is the “informational” leaflet, which can be a vital tool not only in its capacity to use printed language, but also visuals to convey the desired messages to your targeted audience(s).

Here’s a bit of information from the “Psychological Operations Field Manual No.33-1,” published by the Department of Army Headquarters in 1979:

Why Use Printed Leaflets

Printed material, which includes leaflets, newspapers, posters, handbills, books, magazines, and such items as novelties, trinkets, and gifts with messages printed on them, is major means of conveying propaganda.

A propaganda message printed on substantial material is a relatively permanent document. Once printed and delivered, it can be retained and readily passed from person to person without distortion.

A properly developed and designed message (shape, color, format, texture, and other physical characteristics have been duly considered) can have a deep and lasting effect on the target audience.

ADVANTAGES

The printed word has a high degree of acceptance, credibility, and prestige. Printed matter is unique in that it can be passed from person to person without distortion. It allows for the reinforcing use of photographs and graphic illustrations which can be understood by illiterates. It is permanent and the message will not change unless it is physically altered. It can be disseminated and read or viewed by a larger, widespread target audience. It can be reread for reinforcement. Complex and lengthy material can be explained in detail. It can be hidden and read in private. Messages can be printed on almost any surface, including useful items. Printed material can gain prestige by acknowledging authoritative and expert authors. This is particularly important in those societies where the printed word is authoritative.

DISADVANTAGES

A high illiteracy rate reduces the effectiveness and usefulness of the printed message. Printing operations require special, extensive, continuing logistical support. Dissemination is time-consuming and costly, requiring the use of special facilities and complex coordination. As printed material must be physically delivered to the target audience, the enemy can prevent or interfere with its dissemination. It is less timely than other means of communication. It can be collected and destroyed by the enemy. It can be altered by overprinting. Where prohibited, it can readily be uncovered by search and stringent penalties imposed for possession. Development and design of effective printed material requires trained and knowledgeable personnel.

Source: Psywarrior.com


The Inhumanity of Zionism

Sunday, November 8th, 2009

The inhumanity of Zionism
Steve Amsel

We enjoyed summer weather in Beit-ul-Moqaddas until about a week ago. The days were hot, the evenings were cool…. but not cold. There wasn’t a sign of rain. This literally changed overnight as cold winds and rain turned the clock into winter mode.

That’s when the Israeli authorities decided to destroy the tent that an evicted family was living in. The family in question is not alone, Israel has plans to continue with illegal evictions and home demolitions in Occupied East Beit-ul-Moqaddas. The United Nations is calling on Israel to immediately stop demolishing Palestinian homes in occupied East Beit-ul-Moqaddas. The UN says 60,000 Palestinians may be at risk of being forcibly evicted. Israel says the houses are built without construction permits, which Palestinians say are almost impossible to obtain.

The following video shows the plight of just one family, a video that Hillary obviously had no time to watch during her ‘trip’ to this area.

In fact, Hillary’s positions on settlement expansion gives Israel to go ahead with their plans. Obama’s promises are hollow as are the calls of the United Nations. Palestinians have endured these situations for more than six decades, the world has watched their suffering in silence since day one.

This week alone, according to a Maan News report, Two Israeli soldiers were injured in a rock-throwing incident as they participated in a home demolition on Tuesday morning in occupied East Beit-ul-Moqaddas. According to local sources, Israeli military forces and a demolition crew from the Beit-ul-Moqaddas Municipality entered the East Beit-ul-Moqaddas village of Sur Bahir, south of the Old City, and destroyed the two-story house of Nimir Ali Nimir.

The 300 square meter house was home to 11 people. Outraged at the destruction of the house, stone-throwing Palestinian demonstrators confronted the Israeli officers, mildly injuring two. Israeli authorities said that the house was built with out a construction permit from the Israeli-controlled municipality. Palestinian residents of Beit-ul-Moqaddas say the permits are nearly impossible to obtain.

Meanwhile, in the in As-Salam neighborhood in East Beit-ul-Moqaddas, bulldozers demolished a 60 square meter house owned by Khamis At-Tahhan, which housed nine members of his family.

Residents say Israel has demolished the same house twice before, also citing a lack of building permits, but the owner continues to re-build in defiance of the discriminatory laws.

To the outsider, it might appear that the ‘rock throwing Palestinians’ are the ones in the wrong. How dare they defend the homes that have rightfully belonged to them for generations. How dare they confront Israeli soldiers.

But, look at the situation with open eyes and an open heart…. we are talking about people here, people whose very lives have been put on hold since day one of the occupation. People whose families have been destroyed….. how long can this be tolerated? The Israeli ‘game plan’ now is to rid the land of these people….. get rid of them completely and the bad publicity stops. Silence the press, imprison the opposition, all part of the ‘final solution’.

Lets get back to the family I mentioned at the beginning of this post; they are not just sitting back in silence, and they are not alone.

On Monday 2 November 2009 between 11 and 12 a.m., a quiet demonstration was held outside the USA consulate in East Beit-ul-Moqaddas, close to the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood. Coinciding with USA foreign secretary Hillary Clinton’s visit to Israel, the demonstration asked for the USA to apply more pressure on Israel and stop the home confiscations and evictions of Palestinian families in Sheikh Jarrah.

The demonstration gathered about 30-40 demonstrators and was covered by a number of press reporters. In addition to Sheikh Jarrah families, participant organizations included Ta’ayush, Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions, International Solidarity Movement, Michigan Peace Team, and Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine and Israel. A police vehicle with heavily armed police officers arrived after five minutes and maintained a peripheral position for the remainder of the demonstration.

And where was Hillary? She was too busy pulling the plug on the ‘peace process’ to concern herself with the realities of the region. She will report back to her administration that Israel is right and Palestine is wrong. She will have overlooked the fact that the very settlers that have been replacing the evicted Palestinians are in one way or another connected to the murderer that was arrested earlier in the week.

She will overlook the fact that these settlers are associated with the outlawed movement, an organization listed as a terrorist organization in the United States. The logic seems to be that it is better to have a Jewish terrorist (or potential one) occupy the Occupied Territories than make way for the establishment of a Palestinian State. How sick is that? BUT…. that is what is happening.

Americans will continue reading about ‘Islamic terror’ in their press…. they will not see the truth about the zioterror that is taking over Israel, slowly but surely. The blinders they wear will shield them from the truth, but the truth will get out there and THE TRUTH SHALL SET US FREE!

(Source: thepeoplesvoice.org

Victim of NATO massacre in Kunduz

Tuesday, September 8th, 2009

The above photograph, taken by the Associated Press on September 5, 2009, depicts just one of the many dozen of innocent civilians injured as a result of the blatant act of hostile military aggression when NATO occupation forces in Afghanistan launched an airstike in Kunduz province on Friday September 4, 2009.

According to reports, the death toll resulting from the NATO-ISAF airstrike could be as high as 150, with the vast majority of those killed innocent civilians, including several women and children.

NATO forces in occupied Afghanistan were slow to acknowledge responsibility for this criminal act of violent aggression – only recognizing their guilt on Tuesday September 8th.

Sayed Hassan Nasrallah 3rd Year Anniversary of July 2006 War Speech | 08.14.2009

Saturday, August 22nd, 2009

al-Aqsa: Gilad Shalit Cartoon

Friday, July 10th, 2009


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