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Propaganda

My Heart Makes My Head Swim

The title of this newsletter, ‘My heart makes my head swim’, comes from Frantz Fanon’s Black Skin, White Masks (1952). In a chapter called ‘The Fact of Blackness’, Fanon writes about the despair that racism produces, the immense anxiety about living in a world that has decided that certain people are simply not human or not sufficiently human. The lives of these people, children of a lesser god, are assigned less worth than the lives of the powerful and the propertied. An international division of humanity tears the world into pieces, throwing masses of people into the fires of anguish and oblivion. What is happening in Rafah, Gaza’s southernmost city, is ghastly.

Student Journalists Are Needed Now More Than Ever

On May 3, we celebrated World Press Freedom Day, an international holiday dedicated to the importance of journalism and a free press. And, as of May 3, more than 140 journalists have been killed in Gaza since October 7—an average of five per week. In fact, in Gaza, more journalists have been killed in the first three months of the war than in all of World War II and the Vietnam War combined. On May 5, the Israeli government raided and shut down Al Jazeera’s offices in Jerusalem. Meanwhile, in the United States—where the freedom of the press is enshrined in our Constitution’s First Amendment—law enforcement and university administrations have routinely disregarded the rights of student journalists who have been working tirelessly to cover the ongoing pro-Palestine campus protests.

The State Department Report On Human Rights

There’s plenty of media coverage on what he came for, and the messages he wanted to deliver but the main thrust of his first day was the wave of media reports on what he felt about China’s human rights record. In a 1283-word preface, signed by Blinken there are 49 words related to China but these 49 words achieved all the media attention. They were: The Report documents ongoing grave human rights abuses in the People’s Republic of China (PRC). For example, in Xinjiang, the PRC continues to carry out genocide, crimes against humanity, forced labour, and other human rights violations against predominantly Muslim Uyghurs and members of other ethnic and religious minority groups.

CNN Paints Peace Protests As Hate Rallies As They Are Suppressed

As peace activists occupied common spaces on campuses across the country, some in corporate media very clearly took sides, portraying student protesters as violent, hateful and/or stupid. CNN offered some of the most striking of these characterizations.

UN Report Demolishes Israeli Propaganda Campaign Against UNRWA

Israel has failed to provide any evidence of its claims that employees of the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) are members of “terrorist organizations,” according to an independent review led by former French foreign minister Catherine Colonna. In January, Israel claimed without evidence that some UNRWA staff – until then the primary conduit of humanitarian aid into the besieged and bombed Gaza Strip – were members of Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) and had participated in the Hamas-led attack on Israeli military bases and settlements on 7 October, known as Operation Al-Aqsa Flood.

Lessons From China

On a daily basis the corporate media, members of Congress, and courtier pundits who refuse to do a basic internet search, make reference to the non-existent Chinese Communist Party and to a non-existent abbreviation, CCP. There has been a Communist Party of China (CPC) for more than 100 years. The repetition of easily provable misinformation is just one indication of the degree of manufactured hostility towards the People's Republic of China and of the extraordinarily high levels of ignorance manufactured by the state in the U.S.

Could The Russians Seize Congress?

The Russians are coming — or coming back, better put. As the November elections draw near, let us brace for another barrage of preposterous propaganda to the effect Russians are poisoning our minds with “disinformation,” “false narratives,” and all the other misnomers deployed when facts contradict liberal authoritarian orthodoxies. We had a rich taste of this new round of lies and innuendo in late January, when Nancy Pelosi, the California Democrat who served as House speaker for far too long, asserted that the F.B.I. should investigate demonstrators demanding a ceasefire in Gaza for their ties, yes indeedy, to the Kremlin.

‘The Killing In Gaza Will Stop When Hamas Releases Hostages’ Is A Pro-War Crime Argument

Over the past six months, dozens of ostensibly mainstream politicians and commentators—including senators and spokespeople for the White House—have echoed a popular Tough Guy talking point that sounds superficially reasonable but, upon even the most casual inspection, is an explicit advocacy for collective punishment, which is, of course, a black letter war crime. In response to countless stories, reports, and gruesome videos of children being bombed, contracting diseases in refugee camps, or wasting away from starvation, these politicians and commentators reply that all this suffering, while perhaps indirectly caused by Israel, is fundamentally the result of Hamas refusing to “release the hostages” or “surrender.” 

The Truth About China’s Economy: Debunking Western Media Myths

China’s breakneck growth has not only aroused envy in the West, but also prompted the proliferation of doomsday predictions about China’s economy. We are told that we are at “peak China”, that China can only go downhill from here, that China’s property bubble is about to burst and throw China into a morass of Japanification and secular stagnation, that China has been stealing technology all these years, and the stolen technology has been powering the growth. And now that President Biden is going to make it impossible for them to do so, that China will stop growing, that China has a serious unemployment crisis, that President Xi’s authoritarian leadership is stifling growth by stifling innovation and entrepreneurship.

PEN America Self-Destructs

PEN America, once an important defender of rights for writers, editors and artists, has, under the direction of former State Department official Suzanne Nossel, abandoned its mission, destroyed its credibility and provoked a revolt among its members.  Its refusal to condemn the genocide in Gaza and Israel’s targeted killings of writers, academics and journalists, has seen numerous writers withdraw from the annual PEN World Voices Festival in New York and Los Angeles, scheduled for April and May. PEN America has not only failed to denouce the genocide but provides platforms to Israelis who use racist and dehumanizing language to describe Palestinians.

Global Censorship In The Name Of Democracy

A report from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) outlines how the government agency has been encouraging governments, tech platforms, establishment media outlets and advertisers to work together to censor huge swaths of the Internet. The 97-page “disinformation primer,” obtained by conservative firm America First Legal under the Freedom of Information Act, purports to be fighting fake news. However, much of the organization’s focus appears to be on preventing individuals from finding information online that challenges official narratives and leads to increased questioning of the system more generally.

The Dark Reality Behind Israel’s Military PR Campaign

As the world is trying to come to terms with the catastrophic results of the creation of Israel, the actual executioners, those charged with committing the crimes, are hard at work to show themselves as heroic, caring, friendly and humane. The Israeli military public relations campaign on the different social media platforms is sickening. Young men just back from committing heinous crimes are asked by a young military reporter, “What is the first thing you will do when you get home?” “Hug my mama,” one said. Another answered, “See my girlfriend,” while a third said he would get his hands on a juicy steak. How normal!

Biden’s State Of The Union Address Exposed By Intelligence Assessment

President Biden used the bully pulpit of the annual State of the Union Address to describe a world that significantly differed from the picture presented just a month earlier in the Annual Threat Assessment of the US Intelligence Community. Information fed to the general public is deliberately spun to sell the imperial project. In contrast, intelligence assessments for elite policy makers are designed to sustain the endeavor. That the president’s pronouncements diverge from the conclusions reached by his own intelligence community highlights the chasm between what is foisted on the public compared to what is understood within the bowels of the state.

Hasbara: October 7 And Israel’s Propaganda War

The start of Operation of Al-Aqsa Flood on Oct. 7 was accompanied by a deluge of Israeli propaganda. Claims of beheaded babies, infants found in ovens, mass rape, and other heinous atrocities allegedly committed by Hamas circulated far and wide, promoted by a range of interlocutors that included journalists, celebrities, legacy media, and even President Biden himself. Months later, the most outrageous of these claims of Hamas atrocities have been debunked, but the damage has already been done. Ali Abuminah joins The Chris Hedges Report

Pro-Palestine Activists Block NY Times Delivery Trucks

Just before midnight on Wednesday, a caravan of cars, vans, and pickup trucks rolled out of a strip mall parking lot in northern Queens and made the short journey to the massive New York Times Distribution Center that looms over the Whitestone Expressway. The vehicles were filled with protesters angry at the New York Times's coverage of Israel's war in Gaza. Their goal this evening was to block delivery trucks from entering or leaving the paper's printing plant in College Point, Queens.
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