Why Do Media Keep Saying Iran Has Nuclear Weapons Program?

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By Adam Johnson for FAIR – The problem with all of these excerpts: Iran does not have a nuclear weapons program. It has a civilian nuclear energy program, but not one designed to build weapons. Over 30 countries have civilian nuclear programs; only a handful—including, of course, the US and Israel—have nuclear weapons programs. One is used to power cities, one is used to level them. If you are skeptical, just refer to a 2007 assessment by all 16 US intelligences agencies (yes, those 16 US intelligence agencies), which found Iran had “halted” its nuclear weapons program. Or look at the same National Intelligence Estimate in 2012, which concluded again that there “is no hard evidence that Iran has decided to build a nuclear bomb.” Or we can listen to the Israeli intelligence agency Mossad, which concurred with the US intelligence assessment (Haaretz, 3/18/12). The “Iran Deal,” formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), is built on curbing Iran’s civilian nuclear program, out of fear—fair or not—that it could one day morph into a nuclear weapons program. But at present, there is no evidence, much less a consensus, that Iran has an active nuclear weapons program. JCPOA cannot be used as per se evidence such a program exists today; indeed, it is specifically designed to prevent such a program from developing down the road.

The Re-Emergence Of Common Wealth

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By Rivera Sun for Kosmos Online – Historically, the rise of massive individual wealth has been accompanied by the destruction of many forms of common wealth through conquest, colonization, cultural destruction, enclosures of the commons and subsequent impoverishment and displacement, wars, invasions, genocides, slavery, indentured servitude, wage-slavery and overworking, oppression, and massive waves of emigrations due to economic upheavals. This has happened not just throughout Europe and European colonization cycles, but also in the Middle East and throughout Africa and Asia. It is a trend that continues to this day, as we witness the rise of unprecedented oligarchs in control of transnational corporations at a time when poverty is growing and the ecological wealth of our planet has been so assaulted and diminished that we hang on the edge of collapse. There is no substitute for common wealth. True wealth, we are finding, lies not in vast personal fortunes, nor even solely in the personal inner wealth of inner peace, connection, love, community, spiritual awareness, etc., but rather it lies in balance with vibrant systems of common wealth that support the needs of all people and the planet. At this critical juncture of human history, it is necessary for those of us with personal monetary or material wealth, or personal spiritual and inner wealth, to put our resources in service of restoring our common wealth.

World Premiere: In The Shadow Of The Revolution

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By Staff of The Caracas Chronicles – Caracas Chronicles is proud to be the venue chosen by long-time friend and much-appreciated copy-editor Clifton Ross, and his colleague J.Arturo Albarrán, to premiere their latest film project, In the Shadow of the Revolution. The authors hope this timely work will challenge the Bolivarian government’s narrative about itself and the opposition through interviews with Left social movement activists, journalists, academics and intellectuals. Through this latest collaboration, Albarrán and Ross hope to reach an international public that has been subject to a bombardment of propaganda from the Bolivarian government. You’d be surprised how many people still buy into chavismo propaganda, and the narrative in which a popular, Left-wing government that brought great benefits to a nation is under attack by imperialists and a right-wing “fascist” opposition. The film disputes that line and offers a much-needed alternative view from the perspective of social movements and a democratic left. That this narrative comes in the voice of the very supporters that chavismo claimed to champion, now disillusioned and oppressed, is what really lends this film its powerful authenticity.

Catalan Referendum: Attacks On Journalists, Biased Coverage

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By Staff of RSF – Reporters Without Borders (RSF) is appalled that media personnel were among the victims of police charges against civilians during the illegal independence referendum organized by the regional government in Catalonia, in northeastern Spain, on 1 October. According to figures provided by the Catalan government, around 850 people were injured as a result of the disproportionate use of force by police who had been deployed by the Spanish government. Those injured included press photographers and reporters who were covering the voting. The most serious incidents occurred in and around the Ramón Lull School in downtown Barcelona, which served as a polling station. Several photographers were hit or injured in crushes, as the photo-journalist Juan Carlos Mohr reported on Twitter. Xabi Barrena, a reporter for the Catalan daily El Periódico de Catalunya, was among the journalists attacked by Spanish riot police. He was struck by a police baton while using his mobile phone to film police charges inside the school. When he was on the ground, the police also kicked him. Sofia Cabanes, a reporter for the digital daily NacióDigital in Terres de l’Ebre who also freelances for the Spanish news agency EFE, was filming a police charge in Sant Carles de la Ràpita, near Tarragona when a member of the Spanish Civil Guard (a gendarmerie-style force) struck her arm with his baton, knocking her mobile phone to the ground. When she tried to pick it up, one of the policemen deliberately stamped on her hand.

Not A Liberal: Can A Black Mayor Bring Change To Mississippi?

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By Jamiles Lartey for The Guardian – 34-year-old attorney Chokwe Lumumba sees his election win as proof that even in a red state in the age of Trump, many people are ready to be progressive. The day Chokwe Lumumba’s father died in 2014, he asked for a moment to be alone in the room with the man he’d long considered his best friend. He told his dad, Chokwe Sr, then the mayor of Jackson, Mississippi, all the last things he had to tell him. He prayed and asked god to put his father’s spirit into him. Then, he said, his next move became immediately apparent. “I decided at that moment, though I shared it with nobody, that I was going to run for mayor,” Lumumba said. “There were a lot of people who were hopeful under his administration, and there was a lot of fear surrounding his loss, so I wanted to restore hope for people.” The 34-year-old attorney who had “never run for junior class president, let alone mayor” now holds the keys to the state’s most populous city. He brings with him a progressive agenda and much of the leftover to-do list of his father’s administration. He sees his victory – collecting 93% of the vote in Jackson’s 6 June election – as proof that even in a deep red Republican state, and even in the age of Trump, the city’s residents are ready to move in a new progressive direction. “The citizens of Jackson have demonstrated overwhelmingly a readiness to be a progressive city and not only to correct the ills as we see them, but to be a model for the nation of what progressive leadership and collective genius can accomplish.”

Why Won't US Media Tell Truth About What's Happening In Venezuela?

Violent opposition groups incinerated over 50 tons of food stored in a government warehouse in Anzoategui in late June. | Photo: AVN

By Justin Podur for AlterNet – Earlier this week, Donald Trump stood before the U.N. and called for the restoration of “political freedoms” to a South American nation in the thoes of an economic crisis. The country in question was Venezuela, but he could have just as easily been describing Argentina, whose right-wing government imprisoned indigenous politician Milagro Sala, has run inflation into the double digits and is in the process of re-imposing the sort of austerity policies that triggered a popular revolt and debt default in 2001. The description also fits Brazil, where President Michel Temer has been caught on tape discussing bribes, his former cabinet member’s apartment recently raided to the tune of 51 million reais ($16 million). Temer, who assumed office only after leading the impeachment of his predecessor, Dilma Rousseff, has also run an aggressive program of austerity, dissolving the programs that lifted tens of millions of Brazilians out of poverty and into the middle class. In both countries, right-wing forces have taken power and undermined fragile democratic norms with the objective of reversing the modest redistribution of wealth achieved under left-wing administrations over the past 15 years. Backed by a United States government with a long history of subverting leftist movements in the region, and a mainstream media that’s all too eager to carry its water, the right is now attempting the same feat in Venezuela.

In Month After Charlottesville, Papers Spent As Much Time Condemning Anti-Nazis As Nazis

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By Adam Johnson for FAIR – Since the Charlottesville attack a month ago, a review of commentary in the six top broadsheet newspapers—the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, USA Today, LA Times, San Jose Mercury News and Washington Post—found virtually equal amounts of condemnation of fascists and anti-fascist protesters. Between August 12 and September 12, these papers ran 28 op-eds or editorials condemning the anti-fascist movement known as antifa, or calling on politicians to do so, and 27 condemning neo-Nazis and white supremacists, or calling on politicians—namely Donald Trump—to do so. For the purposes of this survey, commentary that drew a comparison between antifa and neo-Nazis, but devoted the bulk of its argument to condemning antifa, was categorized as anti-antifa. There were no op-eds or editorials framed as condemnations of “both sides” that spent as much or more time condemning or criticizing neo-Nazis. The “both sides” frame—which was employed by Donald Trump in the wake of the attack, and endorsed by white supremacist David Duke—was almost always used a vehicle to highlight and denounce antifa, with a “to be sure” line about neo-Nazis thrown in for good measure. A breakdown of the op-eds and editorials can be found here.

Pentagon, CIA Deeply Involved In Hollywood Movies

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By Matthew Alford for the Independent. The US government and Hollywood have always been close. Washington DC has long been a source of intriguing plots for filmmakers and LA has been a generous provider of glamour and glitz to the political class. But just how dependant are these two centres of American influence? Scrutiny of previously hidden documents reveals that the answer is: very. We can now show that the relationship between US national security and Hollywood is much deeper and more political than anyone has ever acknowledged. It is a matter of public record that the Pentagon has had an entertainment liaison office since 1948. The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) established a similar position in 1996. . .more than 800 feature films received support from the US Government’s Department of Defence (DoD) . . . On television, we found over 1,100 titles received Pentagon backing – 900 of them since 2005. . . .

Google Critic Ousted From Google-Funded Think Tank

Eric Schmidt, Google's executive chairman and former chair of the New America Foundation think tank, at a White House meeting in June. (Susan Walsh/AP)

By Emily Wells for Truth Dig – The New York Times reported on Wednesday that the New America Foundation, an influential Washington think tank that has received $21 million from Google, fired a scholar, Barry Lynn, over criticism of the tech giant, in the form of a blog post praising the European Union’s penalty against Google: Mr. Schmidt, who had been chairman of New America until 2016, communicated his displeasure with the statement to the group’s president, Anne-Marie Slaughter, according to the scholar. The statement disappeared from New America’s website, only to be reposted without explanation a few hours later. But word of Mr. Schmidt’s displeasure rippled through New America, which employs more than 200 people, including dozens of researchers, writers and scholars, most of whom work in sleek Washington offices where the main conference room is called the “Eric Schmidt Ideas Lab.” The episode left some people concerned that Google intended to discontinue funding, while others worried whether the think tank could truly be independent if it had to worry about offending its donors.

More Misleading Russia-Gate Propaganda

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By Robert Parry for Consortium News – On Tuesday, for instance, the Times published a front-page article designed to advance the Russia-gate narrative, stating: “A business associate of President Trump promised in 2015 to engineer a real estate deal with the aid of the president of Russia, Vladimir V. Putin, that he said would help Mr. Trump win the presidency.” Wow, that sounds pretty devastating! The Times is finally tying together the loose and scattered threads of the Russia-influencing-the-U.S.-election story. Here you have a supposed business deal in which Putin was to help Trump both make money and get elected. That is surely how a casual reader or a Russia-gate true believer would read it – and was meant to read it. But the lede is misleading. The reality, as you would find out if you read further into the story, is that the boast from Felix Sater that somehow the construction of a Trump Tower in Moscow would demonstrate Trump’s international business prowess and thus help his election was meaningless. What the incident really shows is that the Trump organization had little or no pull in Russia as Putin’s government apparently didn’t lift a finger to salvage this stillborn building project.

Inflating The Russian Threat

Russian President Vladimir Putin meets with U.S. President Donald Trump at the G-20 summit in Hamburg, Germany, on July 7, 2017. (Screen shot from Whitehouse.gov)

By Jonathan Marshall for Consortium News – Readers of the New York Times have more to sweat about than hot summer weather in the Big Apple. The paper’s chief military correspondent, Michael Gordon — co-author of the infamous 2002 story about Saddam Hussein’s “quest for A-bomb parts” — has all but warned that war in Europe could break out at any minute with the mighty Russian army. Gordon and Schmitt added that this latest and greatest example of “Mr. Putin’s saber-rattling,” represents “the first time since the collapse of the Soviet Union that so much offensive power has been concentrated in a single command.”“Russia is preparing to send as many as 100,000 troops to the eastern edge of NATO territory at the end of the summer,” he reported last month with Eric Schmitt. Sounding like speechwriters for Sen. John McCain, they called the long-planned military exercises with Belarus — known as “Zapad” (Russian for “west”) — “one of the biggest steps yet in the military buildup undertaken by President Vladimir V. Putin and an exercise in intimidation that recalls the most ominous days of the Cold War.”

Net Neutrality Reduced To Mogul Vs. Mogul In Corporate Media’s Shallow Coverage

Comcast-owned MSNBC (7/14/17) explaining that net neutrality means “government just hasn’t caught up with technology yet.”

By John O’Day for FAIR – A common refrain in popular news media is that net neutrality is just too boring and esoteric for ordinary people to be interested in. “Oh my god that is the most boring thing I’ve ever seen,” John Oliver (HBO, 6/1/14) once exclaimed after showing his audience a short clip from a government hearing on the subject. “That is even boring by C-SPAN standards.” Net neutrality is the principle that internet data should be transmitted without discrimination. Absent net neutrality rules, internet service providers (ISPs) are free to act as gatekeepers, controlling which data users have access to and at what speed. Oliver proved himself wrong. His 2014 segment, which explained net neutrality and successfully implored the public to support the FCC’s proposed reclassification of ISPs as “common carriers” under the Telecommunications Act, so that they could be regulated as public utilities, has been viewed over 13 million times on YouTube. 3.7 million people sent comments to the FCC that year.

Correcting Eva Golinger On Venezuela

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By Stansfield Smith for Dissident Voice. As the class struggle heated up in Venezuela this year, fueled by interventionist threats by the pro-US Organization of American States (OAS) bloc, many former supporters of the Bolivarian revolution have remained sitting on the fence. Fed up with these fair-weather friends and their critiques which recycle corporate news propaganda, some defenders of Venezuela such as Shamus Cooke, Greg Wilpert, Maria Paez Victor, have come with articles clarifying the stakes and calling the so-called “left” to account. Among the disaffected is Venezuelan-American lawyer Eva Golinger, the author of The Chávez Code: Cracking US Intervention in Venezuela and self-described friend and advisor to Hugo Chávez.

Disinformation Terrorism Against Venezuela

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By Armando B. Gines for New Dawn. World elites dominate the main international media almost completely through an intricate network of associations that conceal the participation of transnational empires such as banks, weapons industries, energy industries, and financial and investment entities. The New York Times, Le Monde, Der Spiegel, the Financial Times, El País—renowned newspapers and TV networks impose the views of their shareholders on current events, dictating the agenda for the millions that make up their audience. In other words, they lead the collective attention to focus on their preferred topics while they intentionally cast a cloak of silence over other issues, according to their economic interests. As US linguist George Lakoff revealed, we only talk about that which the hegemonic power wants us to talk about.

NYT Claims US Opposed Honduran Coup It Actually Supported

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By Janine Jackson for FAIR. The August 14 New York Times reported that the threat by Donald Trump to use the US military against the government of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has brought together Latin American leaders, divided on other things, in opposition to US intervention. Along the way, reporter Nicholas Casey cites a regional expert who says, “An often ugly history of US interventions is vividly remembered in Latin America — even as we in the US have forgotten.” Which the Times followed thus: Under President Barack Obama, however, Washington aimed to get past the conflicts by building wider consensus over regional disputes. In 2009, after the Honduran military removed the leftist president Manuel Zelaya from power in a midnight coup, the United States joined other countries in trying to broker—albeit unsuccessfully—a deal for his return. There’s a word for that kind of statement, and the word is “lie.”