By Adam Johnson for FAIR – From the beginning, the Times frames any potential bombing by Trump as the product of a “stark calculus” coldly and objectively arrived at by a “growing body of expert[s].” The idea that elements within the US intelligence community may actually desire a war—or at least limited airstrikes—and thus may have an interest in presenting conflict as inevitable, is never addressed, much less accounted for. The most spectacular claim—that North Korea is, at present, “capable of producing a nuclear bomb every six or seven weeks”—is backed up entirely by an anonymous blob of “expert studies and classified intelligence reports.” To add another red flag, Sanger and Broad qualify it in the very next sentence as a figure that is “impossible to verify.” Which is another way of saying it’s an unverified claim. When asked on Twitter if he could say who, specifically, in the US government is providing this figure, Broad did not immediately respond.
By Les Leopold for AlterNet – Most politicians and pundits throw their hands up in despair. They argue there is really nothing we can do about rising inequality because of the powerful impacts of global competition and automation. Those who are falling behind just don’t have the skills needed to prosper in the modern world. Life is unfair. Get used to it. But, these fatalists are dead wrong. There is ample evidence to show that many other nations have far less inequality but are also using the most advanced technologies, and are more open to foreign competition. Furthermore, the mainstream Democrats have convinced themselves, that despite the Sanders surge, most Americans do not support bold policies to reverse runaway inequality. These officials believe that most Americans reject “socialistic” programs. Does a social democratic program appeal to most Americans? We decided to test the mainstream Democratic Party phobias by asking 200 randomly selected 18 to 40 year-olds to evaluate a strong platform aimed at reversing runaway inequality.
By Lee Camp for Redacted Tonight. Following bombings in Afghanistan and Syria, the media has become rather fluent in the “language of war.” Turn on your TV and you’ll be witness to government and mainstream media outlets trying to soften and normalize barbaric bombing by using manipulative words to describe it all. The mainstream media’s use of words like “cruising” and “loitering” to describe weapons that maim and destroy innocent people only diminishes the gravity of warfare. And at its core, the media’s propping up the technology of weapons, such as the Tomahawk missile, are essentially a massive, glorified advertisement for waging more war. What’s more, networks like MSNBC and Fox News both gush over the missile strikes and even suggest that these actions make Trump look more presidential. Redacted Tonight host Lee Camp shows how it should be hardly a surprise that in a time of war, corporate-funded media outlets are lacking in the humanity department.
By Theodore A. Postol for Information Clearing House – “Truth Dig”- This is my third report assessing the White House intelligence Report (WHR) of April 11. My first report was titled “A Quick Turnaround Assessment of the White House Intelligence Report Issued on April 11, 2017 About the Nerve Agent Attack in Khan Shaykhun, Syria,” and my second report was an addendum to the first report. This report provides unambiguous evidence that the White House Intelligence Report contains false and misleading claims that could not possibly have been accepted in any professional review by impartial intelligence experts. The WHR was produced by the National Security Council under the oversight of national security adviser Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster. The evidence presented herein is from two selected videos that are part of a larger cache of videos that are available on YouTube. These videos were uploaded to YouTube by the SMART News Agency between April 5 and April 7. Analysis of the videos shows that all the scenes taken at the site the WHR claims was the location of a sarin release indicate significant tampering with the site.
By Isaac Davis for Waking Times – We are in the post-constitutional era in the United States, a time when the government does whatever it wants to whomever it wants, and there is not a thing anyone can do about it. How it is possible that the president can bomb a foreign country or threaten a full-scale international war without so much as even mentioning the need for Congress to chime in, let alone actually vote on a declaration of war? The short answer is, disinformation and propaganda, which is the domain of mainstream media. When people are confused, when truth is hidden, when agendas are presented as life or death options, and when the public has no clue about which laws government is bound to, then anything goes. Regarding disinformation, the following list of 25 rules of disinformation is from Twenty-Five Ways To Suppress Truth: The Rules of Disinformation (Includes The 8 Traits of A Disinformationalist) by H. Michael Sweeney, and offers a comprehensive way of processing information in a time of universal deceit.
By Robert Parry for Consortium News – Since Trump took those actions – in accordance with the neocon desires for more “regime change” in the Middle East and a costly New Cold War with Russia – Russia-gate has almost vanished from the news.On April 4, Trump fully capitulated to the neoconservative bash-Russia narrative amid dubious claims about a chemical attack in Syria. On April 6, Trump fired off 59 Tomahawk missiles at a Syrian airbase; he also restored the neocon demand for “regime change” in Syria; and he alleged that Russia was possibly complicit in the supposed chemical attack. I did find a little story in the lower right-hand corner of page A12 of Saturday’s New York Times about a still-eager Democratic congressman, Mike Quigley of Illinois, who spent a couple of days in Cyprus which attracted his interest because it is a known site for Russian money-laundering, but he seemed to leave more baffled than when he arrived. “The more I learn, the more complex, layered and textured I see the Russia issue is – and that reinforces the need for professional full-time investigators,” Quigley said, suggesting that the investigation’s failure to strike oil is not that the holes are dry but that he needs better drill bits.
By Josh Feldman for Mediate. On CNN’s Reliable Sources this morning, The Intercept’s Jeremy Scahill went off on the “atrocious” media coverage of the Syria missile strikes, even calling out CNN’s Fareed Zakaria in particular. Last week Zakaria said that after that strike, Trump “became President of the United States.” This morning, an hour before Scahill was on CNN, Zakaria said that he congratulates President Trump for striking a “blow against evil.” Scahill told Brian Stelter that CNN “needs to immediately withdraw all retired generals and colonels from its airwaves.” And then he said this: “You know, Fareed Zakaria––if that guy could have sex with this cruise missile attack, I think he would do it.” He also slammed Brian Williams for his strange quotation of Leonard Cohen in speaking about the “beauty of our weapons.”
By Adam Johnson for FAIR – Five major US newspapers—the New York Times, Washington Post, USA Today, Wall Street Journal and New York Daily News—offered no opinion space to anyone opposed to Donald Trump’s Thursday night airstrikes. By contrast, the five papers ran a total of 18 op-eds, columns or “news analysis” articles (dressed-up opinion pieces) that either praised the strikes or criticized them for not being harsh enough
By David Swanson for Let’s Try Democracy – This is not the case. Death and dismemberment are horrific regardless of the weapon. No weapon is being used legally, morally, humanely, or practically in Syria or Iraq. U.S. bombs are no less indiscriminate, no less immoral, and no less illegal than chemical weapons — or for that matter than the depleted uranium weapons with which the United States has been poisoning the area. The fact that a weapon has not been banned does not create a legal right to go into a country and kill people with it. Does shoplifting justify looting? If a Hatfield poisoned a McCoy, would another McCoy be justified in shooting a bunch of Hatfields? What barbarism is this? A crime does not sanction another crime. That’s a quick trip to hell.
By Robert Parry for Consurtium News – One possible scenario was that Syrian warplanes bombed a rebel weapons depot where the poison gas was stored, causing the containers to rupture. Another possibility was a staged event by increasingly desperate Al Qaeda jihadists who are known for their disregard for innocent human life. While it’s hard to know at this early stage what’s true and what’s not, these alternative explanations, I’m told, are being seriously examined by U.S. intelligence. One source cited the possibility that Turkey had supplied the rebels with the poison gas (the exact type still not determined) for potential use against Kurdish forces operating in northern Syria near the Turkish border or for a terror attack in a government-controlled city like the capital of Damascus.
By Kelsey Baker for The Understory – Ms. Nooyi was obviously taken by surprise in the middle of her speech, as she was confronted with this huge banner hanging from the balcony directly in front of her. People in the audience began to turn around in their seats to check it out, causing a stir throughout the whole crowd. In addition to dropping the eye catching banner, activists also left postcards around the venue with information about Ms. Nooyi’s company’s failure to address the human rights and labor abuses in its supply chain. Thousands of people attending the event learned about PepsiCo’s true business practices – the ones that Ms. Nooyi failed to mention during her speech. PepsiCo earns billions by turning Conflict Palm Oil, one of the world’s most controversial commodities…
By Robert Parry for Consurtium News – It’s almost getting comical how everything that happens in the United States gets blamed on Russia! Russia! Russia! And, if any American points out the absurdity of this argument, he or she must be a “Moscow stooge” or a “Putin puppet.” The FX series, “The Americans,” a spy thriller about two deep-cover Soviet spies in the 1980s. When Sen. Marco Rubio’s presidential campaign fails seemingly because he was a wet-behind-the-ears candidate who performed like a robot during debates repeating the same talking points over and over, you might have cited those shortcomings to explain why “Little Marco” flamed out. However, if you did, that would make you a Russian “useful idiot”!
By Ben Norton for FAIR. If you read the headlines of major corporate media outlets, you’d think hundreds of Iraqi civilians coincidentally died in the same location that just so happened to be hit by a US airstrike. A March 17 US attack in the city of Mosul resulted in a massacre of civilians. The monitoring group Airwars estimated that between 130 and 230 Iraqis were killed in the incident. Iraqi media reported similar figures. Civilian victims of the US-led bombing campaign to oust ISIS from the major northern Iraqi city, which has been terrorized by the extremist group for three years, have received little media coverage. The Washington Post (3/28/17) noted, nevertheless, that the recent airstrike “was potentially one of the worst US-led civilian bombings in 25 years.” Yet just a few days before the Post published this stark fact, leading news networks went out of their way to craft some of the most euphemistic headlines imaginable.
By Ricardo Vaz for InvestigAction – This recipe has been used and re-used plenty of times, either by US officials to justify policies or by media outlets. But given how the media critically accepts everything when it comes to foreign policy, there is hardly a distinction to be made here. A classical example were the fabricated connections between Chávez/Venezuela and al-Qaeda. Other variants involve dealings with the FARC (1), Mexican cartels, and the favourite dance partner is Hezbollah. On one hand, the US’ relation with al-Qaeda is now a bit more complicated, as extremists may get bombed if they are in Iraq but supported if they cross into Syria. On the other, Hezbollah is the biggest obstacle to Israeli hegemony and the colonisation of Palestine.
By Nicolas J S Davies for Consurtium News – The current debate over “fake news” has reminded me of a conversation I had several years ago with a former citizen of East Germany, now living in the United States. He explained that, in East Germany, everybody knew that what the media told them about their own country was a bunch of lies and propaganda. So they assumed that what the media told them about the West was just propaganda, too. Now living in the U.S., he had come to realize that a lot of what the East German media said about life in the U.S. was actually true. There really are people living on the street, people with no access to healthcare, widespread poverty, a lack of social welfare and public services