DEMOCRATS.COM'S MEDIA METER: 10 of the Most Underreported Stories for August 16-22,
Compiled by Cheryl Seal
Anyone who routinely scans multiple sources for news, taking in AFP, BBC, Al Jazeera, the Guardian, US Newswire, and other non-Bush-controlled sources will quickly begin to see the gaping holes in US corporate media coverage. Not only do these holes tend to be uniformly in the interests of G.W. Bush and his campaign, they are systematic: it is rare to find one of the members of the US media cartel breaking ranks and giving prominent coverage (as in not buried on page A22 or C12), to a story suppressed by the others. There are laws against price-fixing - a practice acknowledged by all as fraud. So why aren't there laws against 'news fixing?' It, too, is fraud."
10 of the Most Important Stories the US Media Failed to Report to the American People this Week (August 16-22)
Al Sadr Agrees to Having Pope Mediate Peace - Bush Ignores the Offer
AFP via Bloomberg: " Shiite Muslim cleric Moqtada al-Sadr invited Pope John Paul II to try to mediate an end to the standoff in the Iraqi holy city of Najaf. ``We welcome the offer from the Pope at the Vatican and we invite him to solve the crisis,'' AFP cited Sheikh Ahmed al- Shaibani, as saying. Cardinal Angelo Sodano, the Vatican secretary of state, said yesterday the Pope would mediate if asked, AFP reported." It is now 8/21 and not only has Bush failed to respond, but the US media - aside from Bloomberg - has failed to report the story of the Pope's offer. Instead, all we have heard about is Bush's cowboy 'ultimatums."
Leading US Economic Indicators Drop for Second Month, Boding Ill for Coming Months
The US media has reported only the glowing news spewed by Bush of an economy that's getting better by the day. But what can you expect from a media system in which it is actually LEGAL for the Bush appointee Alan Greenspan's wife Andrea Mitchell to actually act as a "reporter" of national news, giving it a routine spin that benefits Bush and thus her hubby? But here's the real economic news - found in many foreign news outelts, but not in the US!
The Age: "A closely watched measure of future economic activity fell in July for the second consecutive month, reinforcing evidence that the U.S. financial recovery is slackening. The Conference Board said Thursday its Composite Index of Leading Economic Indicators dropped by 0.3 per cent in July to 116.0, following a revised decline of 0.1 per cent in June. Last month was the first time in more than a year that the index had lost ground."The latest decline in the Leading Index reflects a loss of forward momentum," said Ken Goldstein, economist for the Conference Board. "There are growing concerns about the high cost of gasoline and milk, as well as worries about where economic growth will come from now that tax refunds have been spent and short-term interest rates are rising."The index is closely followed because it is designed to forecast the economy's health over the coming three to six months."
Fraud Committed by US Media in Knowingly Disseminating the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth Story
At the same time that the NY Times and Washington Post were, a few weeks back, crying crocodile tears for their complicity in promoting an illegal, bloody war in Iraq, these same papers were continuing to sit on the truth about the Swift Boat Vets for Truth. Oh, yes, believe us, they KNEW the truth. A pubescent reporter for an eighth-grade school paper would have found it in an hour, so NYT, NBC, et al. can spare us the "we didn't know" routine. The only reason they came forward this week was the building momentum in the effort of foreign and indy publications to disseminate the truth. They did the exact same thing with the Saddam-Al Queda link lie. These things amount not just to fraud, folks, but TREASON - sending hundreds of Americans needlessly to their deaths, followed by an attempt to aid in the theft of yet another election (theft by media lies and suppression). Congratualtions to the Boston Globe for, once again,m being one of the few newspapers in the US left with enough integrity and conscience to print the truth.
Journalist Killed minutes after calling to Report he'd obtained video of US destruction of Iraqi home
Herald Sun: " An Iraqi freelance journalist working for Germany's ZDF television has been killed in the flashpoint city of Fallujah...Mahmud Hamid Abbas, 32, had gone to the city on Sunday to film when he was killed 'in unexplained circumstances.' The media watchdog Reporters without Borders (RSF) said the journalist was killed as he was leaving his native Fallujah for Baghdad. 'When he phoned the ZDF office in Baghdad to say he was coming he mentioned he had just filmed a house destroyed by US warplanes,' RSF said, quoting ZDF's Iraq correspondent. 'About 25 minutes later, he rang again to say he had seen a second attack. During the call, he suddenly said he and others with him were being fired at. There was a dull thud, apparently an explosion, and the line was cut off, according to the ZDF correspondent in Iraq,' the Paris-based rights group said in a statement."
Pentagon Shields Fanatical Bigot Boykin Who Helped Orchestrate Abu Ghraib Torture While throwing the Book at a Handful of Soldiers
The Defense Department would be wrong to exonerate an Army general who sparked international ire for describing the U.S. war on terrorism as a Christian battle against Satan, says Americans United for Separation of Church and State.
"We are concerned that the Defense Department is not taking this case seriously," said the Rev. Barry W. Lynn, Americans United executive director. "General Boykin's conduct was utterly outrageous and should not be treated lightly."
According to today's Washington Post, a Defense Department report recommends that the Acting Secretary of the Army find Boykin, who is now a high-ranking military intelligence official, guilty [only] of minor internal regulations, such as failing to get clearance for his frequent comments before churches and making sure his audiences understood that he was speaking in a personal capacity. The report has not been made public, but was obtained by the newspaper.
The Post's article quotes a "senior Defense official" as calling the report a "complete exoneration" of Boykin and that it is likely the general will only be held responsible for "relatively minor offenses."
Halliburton Contracts Growing BIGGER as Fraud Allegations Increase
The oil services company Halliburton, largely through its subsidiary Kellogg, Brown & Root, has received more revenue from government contracts in the last year than from 1998 through 2002. In 2003, when the company had record revenue of $16.3 billion, Halliburton received contracts from the Department of Defense worth $4.3 billion, while in the previous five years it obtained less than $2.5 billion from the military, according to an analysis by the Center for Public Integrity.
Although figures are not yet available for 2004, government revenue is bound to increase as a result of the contracts the company has won for work in postwar Afghanistan and Iraq, which so far potentially totals $11.4 billion. Some of that work was actually awarded earlier; many of the company's contracts extend for multiple years.
For info on Boykin's role in Abu Ghraib, see "Chronically Underreported Stories" Below
Kerry Calls for Full Mandatory Funding of Veteran Health Care
While this story was "omitted" by the media, Bush's hollow pontifications to vets were played up royally
Stars and Stripes: "If John Kerry has his way, any veteran who served 2 years on active duty or, if mobilized, even less, would be rewarded with lifetime access to health care from the VA. That's the logical consequence of Kerry's call for 'full, mandatory funding' of veterans health care, if [he] is elected and Congress accepts his plan. 'What's critical is that people who served their country and want to go to a veterans' hospital will have the ability to choose to do so,' said Kerry. The Bush administration opposes mandatory funding of VA health care...in effect, would put teeth into the Veterans' Health Care Eligibility Reform Act of 1996 which first authorized the opening of VA health care to any veteran. But [the GOP] Congress did not fund open access. Instead it gave the VA secretary authority to control access in order to stay on budget."
Cyprus Government Admits it Spied on the Cyprus Indymedia under Direction of the CIA
"Responding to a publicity campaign by Indymedia, the Cyprus Govt. has been forced to admit that they were acting under orders from the US to carry out an intelligence investigation of Cyprus Indymedia and of one of its founding members in order to assess whether he 'constitutes a threat to US interests'. Police... inadvertently blurted out that the source of this investigation was a directive by the CIA. After a series of denials and cover-ups the Police issued an official statement on Fri. admitting to everything that Indymedia had accused them of, namely that directives of the CIA and the US Embassy have priority over their own mission which, believe it or not, is to protect the tiny and independent Republic from foreign intervention. This campaign to intimidate IndyMedia is part of a global trend, including the nation-wide 'pre-emptive' interrogations by the FBI in Boston and across the US in order to thwart preparations to protest at the two conventions."
Gitmo Prisoner-Lawyer meetings to be monitored by government spies
"The Bush administration wants to monitor conversations between foreigners held at the U.S. Navy base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and their attorneys because it wants the attorneys to help gather intelligence from the captives. [Ashcroft toadie] Brian Boyle said the government is seeking to record what usually would be private, attorney-client discussions because more 'important intelligence insight could be derived from these conversations than has been derived in interrogations.' U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly...said the government had not previously said in court papers that it wanted to use detainees' attorneys to help gather intelligence. But Kollar-Kotelly said, 'There's a problem with just leaping to monitoring and abrogating this whole attorney-client privilege, which is very important to the operation of our legal system. National security does not trump everything.' "
Multiple Lawsuits and Gunfire Assail Planned Parenthood within a 3-Day Period
Does this seem "coincidental" to you? First a group in LA files a major lawsuit against Planned Parenthood, alleging racial discrimination and trying to make the case a national indictment of the group, which has THOUSANDS of offices (ie, even if the allegations are true, it's being grossly over-generalized). Next (within days) a rightwing anti-abortion front group called STOPP announces they are helping a former Texas PP worker file ANOTHER discrimination lawsuit against a TX PP office. (http://releases.usnewswire.com/GetRelease.asp?ReleaseID=34974) Within the same 24-hour period, a Lufkin Texas PP clinic is fired on by an unknown gunman. Now, to tie it all together, here's a quote from STOPP's website (mission statement): "The purpose of STOPP is really quite simple. We intend to cause such discontent with Planned Parenthood programs that it will have no choice but to close its doors and get out of town!" http://www.all.org/stopp/mission.htm
There are so many of these that we can only highlight a select few each week. For more underreported stories, see last week's "edition" at
Anti-American atmosphere in So. Korea and the failure of the So. Korean president to address the problem
American expatriates have had to deal with all kinds of misplaced anger from Koreans over the past few months after two schoolgirls were killed in a U.S. armored vehicle accident last year. Restaurants and tourist sites throughout Korea posted signs that read: "No Americans." A U.S. serviceman was attacked and stabbed in an underpass by a group of young thugs. An American servicewoman was manhandled by a gang on a jogging path. A group of American soldiers at a train station were spat on by a middle aged Korean man as a cameraman filmed the entire episode and a large crowd looked on. One U.S. soldier, when he refused a political leaflet on a Seoul subway, was attacked by a mob, abducted and forced to "confess" before a crowd of protesters about American soldiers' "crimes." Protesters stormed U.S. military installations, tossing concrete blocks at soldiers, injuring many Americans in the process. The American Chamber of Commerce was also ransacked by a crazed mob on another occasion. Protesters have tried to smash their way into the U.S. Embassy many times, but have fortunately been prevented from doing so by riot police.
The Korean government's response to this uncontrolled rage has been to do almost nothing. No charges have been laid against any of the individuals who participated in attacks or who trespassed on and vandalized American property. In one case, a Korean anchorwoman who had criticized protesters for storming a military base was summarily dismissed from her job.
The high death rate of civilian contractors: Three per month since "an end to major conflict."
Hope Star: "Aside from heat and spiders, there are many more dangers driving a truck in the middle of Iraq during a war. Johnson's job in Iraq was transporting JP8, which is jet fuel, to aviators in the U. S. military.
"Since the war was declared "over," last year, KBR had lost 46 men and while I was there, for five weeks, we lost two. I told the company I would drive to Russia or anywhere, but I couldn't drive at night. It was just too dangerous.
The Role of General Wm. 'Jerry' Boykin in Abu Ghraib/Gitmo torture
By Sidney Blumenthal (one of the last real investigative reporters of our time)
Saving General Boykin seemed like a strange sideshow last October. After it was revealed that the deputy undersecretary of defence for intelligence had been regularly appearing at evangelical revivals preaching that the US was in a holy war as a "Christian nation" battling "Satan", the furore was quickly calmed.
Donald Rumsfeld, the defence secretary, explained that Boykin was exercising his rights as a citizen: "We're a free people." President Bush declared that Boykin "doesn't reflect my point of view or the point of view of this administration". Bush's commission on public diplomacy had reported that in nine Muslim countries, just 12% believed that "Americans respect Arab/Islamic values". The Pentagon announced that its inspector general would investigate Boykin, though he has yet to report.
Boykin was not removed or transferred. At that moment, he was at the heart of a secret operation to "Gitmoize" (Guantanamo is known in the US as Gitmo) the Abu Ghraib prison. He had flown to Guantanamo, where he met Major General Geoffrey Miller, in charge of Camp X-Ray. Boykin ordered Miller to fly to Iraq and extend X-Ray methods to the prison system there, on Rumsfeld's orders.
Boykin was recommended to his position by his record in the elite Delta forces: he was a commander in the failed effort to rescue US hostages in Iran, had tracked drug lord Pablo Escobar in Colombia, had advised the gas attack on barricaded cultists at Waco, Texas, and had lost 18 men in Somalia trying to capture a warlord in the notorious Black Hawk Down fiasco of 1993.
How Halliburton will benefit from the redeployment scheme
As the Congressional Budget Office pointed out, Bush's redeployment scheme will involve abandoning existing infrastructure (bases, barracks, housing, offices, etc.) the US has already sunk billions into, then creating a new infrastructure somewhere else to accommodate 70,000 troops. Guess who's in the business of creating military infrastructure? HALLIBURTON. CorpWatch reports: " Halliburton has built bases to support troop deployments in Somalia, Haiti and the Balkans [and now, of course, Iraq]. During the Vietnam War, the company (then as Brown & Root Services) built roads, landing strips, harbors and military bases throughout the areas under US military control. 'They drop these boys in and they construct a town,' relates retired Spec. Forces operative Stan Goff. 'In no time at all they'll have barracks and latrines. Then they'll put in a club that serves alcohol, soccer fields, and baseball fields.' "
The Pentagon's Dangerous, Out-of-Control 'Non-Lethal Weapons' Program
Example A:: SKIN 'BOILING' TASERS: This is the Pentagon's "nifty new toy" : a taser that uses microwaves to, literally, heat the water molecules in your skin, causing horrific pain. Like most Pentagon monstrosities, this has a 'sanitized' title: Active Denial System. The Pentagon plans to distribute the tasers to all services "for evaluation" this fall - just in time to terrorize Iraqis on a large scale. The Pentagon declares the weapon safe - tested, of course under the strictly controlled conditions that almost NEVER occur in real life. Dominique Loye of the Red Cross has pleaded for more disclosure on the weapons and independent investigation into possible side effects. (the Pentagon won't release its findings). Says Loye: "Directed energy may cause 'new types of injuries we're not aware of and may not be capable of taking care of.' " See http://mirrors.meepzorp.com/deps.org/adt
Example B: MIND-IMPAIRING DRUGS TO 'QUELL' DISSENTERS? July 2002 report by the Sunshine Project: "The Pentagon's Joint Non-Lethal Weapons Directorate which is based at the Applied Research Laboratory of Pennsylvania State University, is assessing weaponization of a number of psychiatric and anesthetic pharmaceuticals as well as "club drugs" (such as the "date rape drug").'The choice administration route, whether application to drinking water, topical administration to the skin, an aerosol spray inhalation route, or a drug filled rubber bullet, among others, will depend on the environment.' The environments identified are specific military and civil situations, including 'hungry refugees that are excited over the distribution of food, a prison setting,' an 'agitated population' and 'hostage situations.'At times, the JNLWD team's report veers very close to defining dissent as a psychological disorder. "
Exhibit C: July 2004: PENTAGON FORCES ACTIVISTS TO REMOVE MATERIAL ON NONLETHAL WEAPONS PROGRAML The Sunshine Project is dedicated to exposing the Pentagon's ongoing schemes to develop bioweaponry, devious torture techniques (yes, it turns out this has been an ongoing project), and an arsenal of mind-impairing drugs intended not just for use on enemy combatants but on dissenters, prisoners, and refugees. When the Project put up three of the Pentagon's OWN documents, proving the existence of some of these sicko schemes, the Bush administration "sent in the marines," who bullied the activists into removing the documents from their site. Guess when this occurred? In early July, 2004, right as the Abu Ghraib scandal was breaking full force. Which suggests there is much, much more that has yet to be uncovered.