Category Archives: Corporations

John Pilger: Real journalists are agents of people

Abby Martin: Never Stop Breaking the Set!

A teary goodbye from Abby Martin. Breaking the Set was a great show and it is very sad to see it go. I very much look forward to seeing what Abby gets up to in near the future.

The East India Company: The original corporate raiders

William Dalrymple writes for The Guardian:

British Indian Empire[…] We still talk about the British conquering India, but that phrase disguises a more sinister reality. It was not the British government that seized India at the end of the 18th century, but a dangerously unregulated private company headquartered in one small office, five windows wide, in London, and managed in India by an unstable sociopath – Clive.

In many ways the EIC was a model of corporate efficiency: 100 years into its history, it had only 35 permanent employees in its head office. Nevertheless, that skeleton staff executed a corporate coup unparalleled in history: the military conquest, subjugation and plunder of vast tracts of southern Asia. It almost certainly remains the supreme act of corporate violence in world history. For all the power wielded today by the world’s largest corporations – whether ExxonMobil, Walmart or Google – they are tame beasts compared with the ravaging territorial appetites of the militarised East India Company. Yet if history shows anything, it is that in the intimate dance between the power of the state and that of the corporation, while the latter can be regulated, it will use all the resources in its power to resist.’

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How Reaganomics Changed Corporations

Thom Hartmann comments on a Roosevelt Institute report that corporations today don’t stimulate investment, growth, and wages because, additional funds are funneled to shareholders through buybacks and dividends.’ (The Thom Hartmann Program)

Why the rise of fascism is again the issue

John Pilger writes:

ukraine_obama_nobel.JPGThe recent 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz was a reminder of the great crime of fascism, whose Nazi iconography is embedded in our consciousness. Fascism is preserved as history, as flickering footage of goose-stepping blackshirts, their criminality terrible and clear. Yet in the same liberal societies, whose war-making elites urge us never to forget, the accelerating danger of a modern kind of fascism is suppressed; for it is their fascism.

“To initiate a war of aggression…,” said the Nuremberg Tribunal judges in 1946, “is not only an international crime, it is the supreme international crime, differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole.”

Had the Nazis not invaded Europe, Auschwitz and the Holocaust would not have happened. Had the United States and its satellites not initiated their war of aggression in Iraq in 2003, almost a million people would be alive today; and Islamic State, or ISIS, would not have us in thrall to its savagery. They are the progeny of modern fascism, weaned by the bombs, bloodbaths and lies that are the surreal theatre known as news.’

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Kremlin Funded Media Sees Cuts as Russian Economy Slows

Delphine d’Amora reports for The Moscow Times:

Pro-Kremlin broadcaster RT and news agency Rossiya Segodnya will have to slash spending by 50 percent or more and likely give up on expansion plans as the steep devaluation of the Russian ruble hits their margins, news reports said.

“The ruble’s devaluation means that our budget is already cut almost in half,” RT’s editor-in-chief Margarita Simonyan was quoted as saying by the Vedomosti newspaper last week.

State-controlled RT, whose mission statement is to “acquaint an international audience with the Russian viewpoint,” will likely have to cease broadcasting in many countries and give up on plans to create French- and German-language channels, Simonyan said. About 80 percent of the network’s expenditures are in dollars and euros, she added.’

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Phone hacking ‘rife’ at Mirror Group Newspapers

BBC News reports:

Mirror Group Newspapers‘Phone hacking was “rife” at Mirror Group Newspapers (MGN) from 1999 to 2006, a court has heard.

Counsel David Sherborne said the hacking was on an industrial scale and far larger than that which took place at the News of the World.

He said that journalists at the Daily Mirror, the Sunday Mirror and the People hacked phones on a daily basis.

The hearing at the High Court in London is considering cases brought by eight high-profile figures.’

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Britain’s Media Regulator Again Threatens RT for “Bias”: This Time, Airing “Anti-Western Views”

Glenn Greenwald writes for The Intercept:

[…] That RT is “biased” is true as far as it goes, but it doesn’t go very far at all. It is expressly funded by the Russian government to present a Russian viewpoint of the world. But all media outlets composed of and run by human beings are “biased,” and that certainly includes the leading British outlets, which rail against Russia (and every other perceived adversary of the West) at least as much as RT defends it.

All of this underscores the propagandistic purpose of touting “media objectivity” versus “bias.” The former simply does not exist. Revealingly, it is British journalists themselves who are most vocal in demanding that Her Majesty’s Government bar RT from broadcasting on “bias” grounds: fathom how authoritarian a society must be if it gets its journalists to play the leading role in demanding that the state ban (or imprison) journalists it dislikes. So notably, the most vocal among the anti-RT crowd on the ground that it spreads lies and propaganda — such as Nick Cohen and Oliver Kamm — were also the most aggressive peddlers of the pro-U.K.-government conspiracy theories and lies that led to the Iraq War.

That people like this, with their histories of pro-government propaganda, are the ones demanding punishment of RT for “bias” tells you all you need to know about what is really at play here. What’s really driving this is illustrated by the edict issued today by one of the High Priests of U.S. Foreign Policy, Brookings President and former Deputy Secretary of State Strobe Talbott:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Hollywood and the New Cold War: Interview with Ted Rall

‘We know a media information war is in full swing. But where does it stop? Hollywood? Where Pussy riot meets Vladimir Putin on Netflix’s “House of Cards”. Where Russian cyber terrorists are pushed into surrendering by threats of rating Pussy Riot and Putin on to their desktops in CBS’s “The Good Wife”. And then there’s just blatant remembering of colder times with FX’s “The Americans”. Political Cartoonist Ted Rall breaks it down.’ (In The Now)

All our mainstream media is tied into corporate interests: Interview with Nafeez Ahmed

Nafeez Ahmed, former Guardian contributor and currently crowdfunding Insurge, a new media platform, talks to Going Underground host Afshin Rattansi about the paper.’ (Going Underground)

Death, Drugs, and HSBC: How fraudulent blood money makes the world go round

Nafeez Ahmed writes for Medium:

‘Recent reporting on illegal tax evasion by the world’s second largest bank, HSBC, opens a window onto the pivotal role of Western banks in facilitating organised crime, drug-trafficking and Islamist terrorism. Governments know this, but they are powerless to act, not just because they’ve been bought by the banks: but because criminal and terror financing is integral to global capitalism. Now one whistleblower who uncovered an estimated billion pounds worth of HSBC fraud in Britain, suppressed by the British media, is preparing a prosecution that could blow wide open the true scale of criminal corruption in the world’s finance capital.’

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The Power of the ISIS PR Stunt: Unmasking of ‘Jihadi John’ Confirms His PR Value

Patrick Cockburn writes for The Independent:

The self-proclaimed “Islamic State” likes to dominate the news agenda and knows how to do so. It also likes to project power at moments of weakness. Thus most of the world knows that Isis burned a Jordanian pilot to death in a cage but few recall that at the same time the movement was losing the battle for the Syrian Kurdish town of Kobani. A motto occasionally seen on Isis social media reads: “Media is half jihad.”

The choice by Isis of “Jihadi John” – Mohammed Emwazi – as its English-speaking executioner has everything to do with media impact and the reaction to his apparent unmasking shows that this simple PR ploy is very effective. Similar attention-grabbing stunts in the past include the demand for a $200m ransom for two Japanese hostages (if the demand had been a more prosaic $2m would media interest have been so intent?) and the burning of the Jordanian pilot because decapitation had lost its shock impact.’

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CIA Torture Whistleblower John Kiriakou: Wake Up, You’re Next

The Inside Story Of How Citizens United Has Changed Washington Lawmaking

Paul Blumenthal and Ryan Grim report for The Huffington Post:

When Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy cast the deciding vote to gut a century of campaign finance law, he assured the public that the unlimited corporate spending he was ushering in would “not give rise to corruption or the appearance of corruption.” Because those authorized to give and spend unlimited amounts were legally required to remain independent of the politicians themselves, Kennedy reasoned, there was no cause for concern.

Just five years later, in a development that may be surprising only to Justice Kennedy, the Supreme Court’s 2010 decision is reshaping how, how much and to whom money flows in Washington.

How the flood of money released by Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission has changed elections has been the subject of much discussion, but the decision’s role in allowing that same money to soak the legislative process has largely gone unreported. According to an extensive review of public documents held by the FEC, the U.S. Senate and the Internal Revenue Service, as well as interviews with lobbyists and policymakers, Kennedy’s allegedly independent spending has become increasingly intertwined with lobbying and legislation — the precise appearance of corruption campaign finance laws were meant to curb.’

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Thom Hartmann on Henry Wallace and American Fascists

Why Brian Williams is a Distraction From True War Propagandists

‘Abby Martin juxtaposes the outrage over Brian Williams’ lie about his experience in Iraq with the lack of concern with lies peddled by journalists like Judith Miller in the lead up to the Iraq War.’ (Breaking the Set)

Top 10 Bogus ISIS Stories

Adam Johnson writes for Fairness & Accuracy In Media:

ISIS’s violent bona fides are not in doubt to anyone paying attention. They’ve targeted religious minorities, beheaded aid workers, sold women into sex slavery and have been all-around devastating for those under their rule. But as America debates the possibility of a full-scale ground invasion of ISIS-controlled territory, it’s important to note that much of the ISIS threat — namely that which targets the West — has been habitually overstated by an uncritical media.’

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Nestlé to Remove Artificial Colours and Flavors from its U.S. Confectionery Products

Watching the Same Movie About American War for 75 Years

Peter Van Buren writes for TomDispatch:

‘In the age of the all-volunteer military and an endless stream of war zone losses and ties, it can be hard to keep Homeland enthusiasm up for perpetual war. After all, you don’t get a 9/11 every year to refresh those images of the barbarians at the airport departure gates. In the meantime, Americans are clearly finding it difficult to remain emotionally roiled up about our confusing wars in Syria and Iraq, the sputtering one in Afghanistan, and various raids, drone attacks, and minor conflicts elsewhere.

Fortunately, we have just the ticket, one that has been punched again and again for close to a century: Hollywood war movies (to which the Pentagon is always eager to lend a helping hand). American Sniper, which started out with the celebratory tagline “the most lethal sniper in U.S. history” and now has the tagline “the most successful war movie of all time,” is just the latest in a long line of films that have kept Americans on their war game. Think of them as war porn, meant to leave us perpetually hyped up. Now, grab some popcorn and settle back to enjoy the show.’

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Major Video Game Companies Agree to Share Customer Data with the US Government

Jason Koebler reports for VICE Motherboard:

With or without controversial new legislation such as the ​Cybersecurity Information Sharing and Protection Act, President Obama is doing his best to make sure companies share the information they know about you with the federal government.

On Friday, the president issued a cybersecurity executive order that creates a new framework for “expanded information sharing designed to help companies work together, and work with the federal government, to quickly identify and protect against cyber threats,” according to an emailed fact sheet from the White House.

The ​Sony hack of late last year made the idea of “cyberwar” all too real for many politicians, including Obama, who has spent much of the last two months talking about the need for ​expanded cooperation between the government and private companies. Considering all that rhetoric, Friday’s move doesn’t come as any real surprise.’

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The Fall of Brian Williams: It’s The Little Lies That Sink News Stars

Patrick Cockburn writes for The Independent:

[…] Journalists very seldom lie about their war exploits, because, among other reasons, they are likely to be exposed by their colleagues. Usually, there is no reason to lie because almost any story can be given an appearance of truthfulness by judicious selection of the facts. My father, Claud Cockburn, an author and journalist, got into trouble for attacking what he called “the heresy of the facts”, making the point that there are not a finite number of facts lying around like nuggets of gold ore in the Yukon until they are picked up by some journalistic prospector. He argued that, on the contrary, there are an infinite number of facts and it is the judgement of the journalist that decides which are significant or insignificant. He explained that, in a sense, all stories are written backwards, beginning with the writer’s “take” on what matters and only then proceeding to a search for facts that he or she judges to be important. All this seemed to my father to be a matter of common sense, and he was taken aback to be criticised for confusing decent truth-loving reporters with black-hearted propagandists who make up stories.

Of course, some stories are faked, such as the one in 1990 about babies in a Kuwait hospital being tipped out of incubators by invading Iraqi soldiers and left to die on the floor. But a good propagandist or even a journalist looking for a good story does not have to fabricate; a selective approach to the facts is all that is needed. I remember going to Libya in the early 1990s when there was some prospect of a US invasion. Absolutely nothing was happening and the scores of journalists who had arrived on the same mission as myself waited impatiently until they could go home.’

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The Dirty Little Secret of Network News

Clancy Sigal writes for CounterPunch:

Gary Webb photo Gary_Webb.jpgAfter cowboys, my heroes have always been reporters, in real life and in the movies.  Good, accurate reporters are the Phillip Marlowe and Sam Spades of our time – detectives tracking a crime in all but name.  A century ago Ida Tarbell and Lincoln Steffens were insulted with the compliment of “muckraker” for exposing the crimes and cruelty of the Gilded Age.  Today’s muckraking by “detectives” like Matt Taibbi, Patrick Cockburn, Sy Hersh and James Risen is almost always a product of dull print not glamorous broadcast.   Bob Simon’s over 200 reports on CBS’s 60 Minutes, from places like Gaza, Vietnam and Bosnia, are shining exceptions for their straightforward, sympathetic writing and letting a story speak for itself not the journalist.

The dirty little secret of most network TV is that its finest stories – that is, those exposes that make the Establishment’s skin crawl –often start as “boring” research-based slogging by unglam reporters, for local newspapers like the Hartford Courant, the Anderson Valley Advertiser and San Jose Mercury News, armed only with a computer, telephone and public records index.’

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Peter Oborne on HSBC and leaving the Telegraph

Meet The Forces That Are Pushing Obama Towards A New Cold War

Christian Stork writes for Medium:

‘[…] Moscow’s national-security interests are clear. Washington’s are as well, albeit unrelated to the security of the nation in any meaningful sense. Given the stakes, the hard line being pushed against Russia can’t solely be attributed to “Great Game” strategy — the long-running chess battle to control global energy flows.

Different players have different motives. At times they overlap; elsewhere they diverge.

As for those in the K Street elite pushing Uncle Sam to confront the bear, it isn’t hard to see what they have to gain: Just take a look at the history behind their Beltway-bandit benefactors.’

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Why I resigned from the Telegraph: Interview with Peter Oborne

Hailed as a Model for Successful Intervention, Libya Proves to be the Exact Opposite

Glenn Greenwald writes for The Intercept:

‘[…] Since 2011, Libya has rapidly unraveled in much the way Iraq did following that invasion: swamped by militia rule, factional warfare, economic devastation, and complete lawlessness. And to their eternal shame, most self-proclaimed “humanitarians” who advocated the Libya intervention completely ignored the country once the fun parts — the war victory dances and mocking of war opponents — were over. The feel-good “humanitarianism” of war advocates, as usual, extended only to the cheering from a safe distance as bombs dropped.

The unraveling of Libya is now close to absolute. Yesterday, the same New York Times editorial page that supported the intervention quoted the U.N.’s Libya envoy Bernardino León as observing: “Libya is falling apart. Politically, financially, the economic situation is disastrous.” TheNYT editors forgot to mention that they supported the intervention, but did note that “Libya’s unraveling has received comparatively little attention over the past few months.” In other words, the very same NATO countries that dropped bombs on Libya in order to remove its government collectively ignored the aftermath once their self-celebrations were over.

Into the void of Libya’s predictable disintegration has stepped ISIS, among other groups.’

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CNN Plotting Political Game Show to Confirm They Think Politics Is a Game

Evan McMurry reports for Mediate:

In further proof that cable news considers politics a sport, CNN is planning a political game show to be hosted by Anderson Cooper.

Per TVNewser, a pilot of the presidential trivia-based quiz show is set to air on President’s Day. If it does well the cable network plans to produce further episodes.

This is part of a general trend at CNN away from straight news and opinion shows and into more general interest or special feature fare, including everything from Anthony Bourdain to weed documentaries.’

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Did Bill O’Reilly Cover Up a War Crime in El Salvador?

Greg Grandin writes for The Nation:

Before Bill O’Reilly was, well, Bill O’Reilly, he worked for a time as a foreign correspondent for CBS Nightly News, anchored by Dan Rather. O’Reilly talks about that period of his career in two of his books, and in both mentions that in early 1982 he reported from northeastern El Salvador, just after the infamous El Mozote Massacre. “When the CBS News bureau chief asked for volunteers to check out an alleged massacre in the dangerous Morazán Territory, a mountainous region bordering Nicaragua, I willingly went.”

El Mozote is a small, hard-to-reach hamlet. The massacre took place on December 11, 1981, carried out by US-trained Atlacatl Battalion, which was not just trained but created by the United States as a rapid response unit to fight El Salvador’s fast-spreading FMLN insurgency. The killing was savage beyond belief: between 733 and 900 villagers were slaughtered, decapitated, impaled and burned alive.’

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Mega-Mansions And Giga-Mansions: Ultra-Rich Taking Over L.A. Neighbourhoods

Editor’s Note: You can watch a shorter segment here.

Egypt Releases Two Al Jazeera Reporters After 411 Days in Jail

‘Democracy Now! correspondent Sharif Abdel Kouddous reports from Cairo as Al Jazeera journalists Mohamed Fahmy and Baher Mohamed are ordered released on bail after over a year in prison. Mohamed Fahmy, a Canadian-Egyptian citizen, was the acting bureau chief for Al Jazeera English when he was arrested in December 2013 along with Australian correspondent Peter Greste and Egyptian producer Baher Mohamed. All three were charged with spreading false news and aiding terrorists. They were sentenced last June to between seven and 10 years in prison, a ruling struck a severe blow to press freedom in Egypt and sparked condemnation from around the world. The court said the case against Fahmy and Mohamed is still pending.’ (Democracy Now!)