‘Egypt’s arrest and trial of three Al-Jazeera journalists, charged with assisting the Muslim Brotherhood, has prompted outcry around the world. The case helps highlight growing dangers to journalists worldwide, especially in countries caught in war or turmoil. In 2013, 119 members of the press died while on assignment. Alison Bethel McKenzie of the International Press Institute and David Rohde of Reuters join Jeffrey Brown to discuss the hazards.’ (PBS Newshour)
Facebook will become what experts say is the first private company in the country to bankroll a full-time beat cop, establishing what could become a blueprint for many more similar partnerships.
“It’s safe to say this is unprecedented,” said Jim Bueermann, president of the Police Foundation, the nation’s oldest police research nonprofit in Washington, D.C. “But this may be the model of the future.”
And while several experts think such arrangements are the product of what they call “good corporate citizenship,” critics are uncomfortable with the idea of a privately paid “Facebook Cop.”
These actions have elicited praise from most quarters — and they should. Standing up to your own country’s foreign policy is difficult enough on any domestic television station in any country during wartime; just think about how many anchors did similar in the United States (the list isn’t long, and some, like Phil Donohue, were fired for it). It’s even harder to imagine doing it on RT America, which is financed by the Russian government (although has largely American producers and staff).
I used to go on RT America frequently, particularly on the Alyona Show and The Thom Hartmann Show. I went on the network not to parrot Russian foreign policy talking points, but mostly to talk about American domestic and social policy. I knew that the network had an agenda in many areas, but both Alyona and Thom did great, honest journalism despite the overarching agenda of the network. I always spoke honestly, and never came on to discuss any topic relating to Russia.
But that’s not why I’m writing this post. I’m writing this post to explain how working in Washington taught me we’re all a little bit like the good folks who work at RT America — struggling against editorial censors, doing our best to follow our conscience despite sometimes suffocating pressures from our publishers and sponsors.
Jim O’Neill is at it again. He is best known for inventing the acronym BRIC (now BRICS), a group of countries — Brazil, Russia, India, China and then South Africa — which, he claimed, would dominate the world economy in the 21st century. Now he is suggesting that the MINTs (Mexico, Indonesia, Nigeria and Turkey) will have the same economic growth as China if they continue their market-orientated economic policies.
O’Neill, a British economist who used to work for the “vampire squid” investment bank Goldman Sachs, is pursuing a double objective. He is identifying emerging economies fit for investment by the global banking community; he says the BRICS and MINTs are knocking on a development door, which, if they’re pursuing the correct economic policies, will open wide to the benefits of economic growth. His view of the world system regards the self-interested actions of investment bankers as contributing to the development of poor countries; he and other neoliberal economists disguise the central dynamics of economic development under capitalism.
The contemporary world has unprecedented wealth, and mass poverty. Total global wealth was $241 trillion in 2013 and is expected to rise to $334 trillion by 2018. Yet the majority of people live in poverty. To suggest that rising global wealth and global poverty are interrelated, and that the former is premised upon the latter, is not something that most players in international development want to do because it would reveal the sordid foundation of their vision of development.
A panel of experts tasked with reviewing the BBC’s future have raised the idea of scrapping the licence fee in favour of an optional subscription service from 2020, it has been reported. The Sunday Times claims the radical plan was mooted by some members of a 12-strong centenary review panel of economists, consultants and academics who were invited to give an outside assessment of the BBC’s future.
One member of the review panel, David Elstein, a former Sky and ITV executive, was quoted by the Telegraph as saying: “It is socially unjust that so many are fined and indeed go to prison for not paying the licence fee. “And it makes more sense too for the BBC to move to subscription from 2020, which is about the date when set-boxes go, and standard definition is phased out to high definition.”
[...] Privatisation hurtles on in the UK, regardless of the damage. Even David Cameron and George Osborne acknowledge that we have been badly served by the Private Finance Initiative (PFI), under which companies build hospitals, schools and prisons, then lease them back to the state, locking taxpayers into decades long maintenance contracts.
In Yorkshire, to take one modest example, the cost of rebuilding Calderdale Royal Hospital is £65 million. The public will end up paying £773 million. For providing one extra grit bin (value £200) outsourcer Amey charges Birmingham Council £4,500, the BBC reported the other day.
PFI will ultimately cost the taxpayer £300 billion, a Guardian investigation has revealed. ”The irony is that we privatised the buildings but nationalised the debts. It’s crazy,” said Labour MP Margaret Hodge, who chairs the Public Accounts Committee that is supposed to guard taxpayers’ interests.
James Kirchick is just the neutral reporter the Daily Beast would assign to report on the ideological controversy surrounding the Russian backed RT-TV Channel’s coverage of the crisis in the Ukraine. The Beast lives up to its name by sending a hardcore polemical ideologue to uncover what he predictably labels as ideological media bias.
Kirchick is a veteran of the anti-communist wars, now revived as the anti Putin wars, not some neutral journo crusading for democracy. According to Wikipedia, he is a fellow with the Foundation for Defense of Democracies in Washington, prior to this he was writer-at-large for Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. He is a graduate of the New Republic, Murdoch’s Weekly Standard and writes for Azure, a magazine that described itself as pro-Zionist and free market.
Ok, just so we know who are dealing with here. And now, to bolster his “credibility” he presents himself as a victim in his latest article that exposes himself, far more than his target, asserting that his rights as a journalist were somehow compromised because of a gutsy quest for truth.
[...] This relatively new religion, Materialism, is becoming the fastest-growing faith in many parts of the world. Many so-called Christians, Muslims, and Buddhists are actually true followers of Materialism when given the million-dollar test. It is your answer to the test that decides your true faith.
The new religion Materialism has at least 1 billion followers around the world, thus making it the most important and dominant faith today. This new belief has its own god, whose name is Money Power Wealth. Its birthplace was Manhattan, birthdate some time around the 1980s, parents unknown.
A judge in the US has ruled that lawyers representing Amazonian villagers used bribes to secure compensation worth billions of dollars from oil company Chevron in Ecuador. The latest ruling means that the Amazonian villagers cannot use US courts to enforce the ruling against the American oil company. Chevron had been found guilty in Ecuador of causing environmental damage to the Lago Agrio region. The legal team says they will appeal.
In 2011, an Ecuadorean judge ordered Chevron to pay $18.2bn (£11.4bn) for “extensively polluting” the Lago Agrio region. Ecuador’s highest court last year upheld the verdict against Chevron, but reduced the amount of compensation to $9.5bn. The alleged environmental damage was done by Texaco between 1964 and 1990. Texaco was later acquired by Chevron. The American oil firm has always maintained that it cleaned up the area before handing over the oil field to the Ecuadorean government.
It argued that it only lost the case because the legal team representing the villagers paid nearly $300,000 in bribes in Ecuador. US district judge Lewis Kaplan in New York has now ruled that Steven Donziger’s legal team used “corrupt means” to win the 2011 case. Mr Kaplan described the evidence against Mr Donziger’s team as “voluminous”.
- AIPAC and Friends Explain Themselves
- Crisis over Crimea steals thunder from AIPAC conference
- Kerry at AIPAC: US Will Never Fail Israel
- Netanyahu: ‘I think it’s time to recognize a Jewish State. We’ve only been there 4000 years.’ (Video)
- Israel must make tough choices for peace, Obama says
- Mark Regev: ‘Israeli’s want peace more than anyone else’
- AIPAC divisions more pronounced than ever
- Israel Lobby AIPAC Down, But Not Out – Yet
- Zionist Movement: How AIPAC is severing its historical roots, and weakening its influence
- AIPAC Policy Conference 2014 (Video)
- Is Elliott Abrams Hoping to Succeed Abe Foxman at the ADL?
- ‘NY Times’ and ‘LA Times’ run op-eds by an AIPAC board member without telling readers
- The Illusion of AIPAC’s Invincibility
- Business boycott: Israelis feeling the pinch
- Sourcewatch: American Israel Public Affairs Committee
Journalist Barrett Brown Wins a Victory in His Case as Government Dismisses Charges Related to Link-Sharing
Journalist Barrett Brown has won a huge victory. The government has moved to dismiss all of the counts related to his sharing of a link to a file from the private intelligence firm, Stratfor, that was already publicly available to others.
The government dismissed one count of trafficking in “stolen authentication features” count and ten counts of “aggravated identity theft” for transferring and possessing without lawful authority the means of identification for multiple individuals. It had claimed that by sharing the link Card Verification Values (CVVs) of credit cards, the card holders’ names, their user names for online account access and address, phone numbers and email address information had been exposed.
From the government’s dismissal motion:
…The United States Attorney for the Northern District of Texas, by and through the undersigned Assistant United States Attorney, files this Motion to Dismiss Count One and Counts Three through Twelve in the original Indictment and in the Superseding Indictment in the above entitled and numbered cause…
Gerald Celente calls the Western media “presstitutes,” an ingenuous term that I often use. Presstitutes sell themselves to Washington for access and government sources and to keep their jobs. Ever since the corrupt Clinton regime permitted the concentration of the US media, there has been no journalistic independence in the United States except for some Internet sites.
Glenn Greenwald points out the independence that RT, a Russian media organization, permits Abby Martin who denounced Russia’s alleged invasion of Ukraine, compared to the fates of Phil Donahue (MSNBC) and Peter Arnett (NBC), both of whom were fired for expressing opposition to the Bush regime’s illegal attack on Iraq. The fact that Donahue had NBC’s highest rated program did not give him journalistic independence. Anyone who speaks the truth in the American print or TV media or on NPR is immediately fired. Russia’s RT seems actually to believe and observe the values that Americans profess but do not honor.
I agree with Greenwald. Greenwald is entirely admirable. He has intelligence, integrity, and courage. He is one of the brave to whom my just published book, How America Was Lost, is dedicated. As for RT’s Abby Martin, I admire her and have been a guest on her program a number of times. My criticism of Greenwald and Martin has nothing to do with their integrity or their character. I doubt the claims that Abby Martin grandstanded on “Russia’s invasion of Ukraine” in order to boost her chances of moving into the more lucrative “mainstream media.” My point is quite different. Even Abby Martin and Greenwald, both of whom bring us much light, cannot fully escape Western propaganda.
Today RT America anchor Liz Wahl resigned on air, claiming she disagrees with the channel’s editorial stance. And here’s what I have to say about it. These days it takes a lot of courage to work for RT. Never before have I seen RT and its journalists bullied like this. See for yourselves what they did to poor Abby. First, she openly voiced disagreement with Russia’s stance on air – and was virtually made an American hero. But then Abby reminded everyone how much she disagrees with America’s stance as well, adding she takes pride in working at RT, where she is free to express her views. Less than an hour passed before Abby had her name dragged through something I have difficulty finding a decent name for this late at night. The US mainstream media even went as far as claiming we had orchestrated the whole thing as a publicity move. They labeled Abby a conspiracy theorist, bringing to light her past as an activist. In less than 24 hours, they first sang her praises and then excoriated her. All of this in front of her colleagues, including Liz Wahl. How do you think they felt watching that?
Yesterday I spent quite some time explaining to a New York Times correspondent why I consider Russia’s position to be right. I’m Russian. I support my country and I will fight for the truth for as long as it takes. Neither Abby, nor Liz, nor many other employees are Russian nationals, but foreign. And now their country is likening my country to Nazi Germany. For many years they have worked for RT in good faith, proving every day that a voice that stands out from the mainstream media can be beautiful and strong, attract an audience that grows daily. These are the people who were the first to tell their country about the Occupy movement, who were detained at protest rallies, handcuffed for hours and then tried in court for doing their job. These are the people who were outraged by US hypocrisy in Syria, Libya – you can finish the list yourself – and reminded the world who used chemical weapons most often, even resorting to nuclear bombs. These are the people who did things the Western mainstream media would have never done. But those were peaceful times. And now we’ve got a genuine war going on – no, thank God, it’s not in Crimea. It’s a media war. Every single day, every single hour the guys who work for us are told, “You are liars, you are no journalists, you are the Kremlin propaganda mouthpiece, you’ve sold yourselves to the Russians, it’s time you quit your job, and everybody is laughing at you, so change your mind before it’s too late.”
Are Any Plastics Safe? Industry Tries to Hide Scary New Evidence on BPA-Free Containers: Interview with Mariah Blake
‘A new exposé by Mother Jones magazine may shock anyone who drinks out of plastic bottles, gives their children plastic sippy cups, eats out of plastic containers, or stores food with plastic wrap. For years, public campaigns have been waged against plastic containing bisphenol-A (BPA), a controversial plastic additive, due to concerns about adverse human health effects caused by the exposure to synthetic estrogen. But a new investigation by Mother Jones reporter Mariah Blake has revealed that chemicals used to replace BPA may be just as dangerous to your health, if not more. Plastic products being advertised as BPA-free — and sold by companies such as Evenflo, Nalgene and Tupperware — are still releasing synthetic estrogen. The Mother Jones piece also reveals how the plastics industry has used a “Big Tobacco-style campaign” to bury the disturbing scientific evidence about the products you use every day. Blake joins us to discuss her findings.’ (Democracy Now!)
Sir Brian Leveson “pulled his punches” over evidence of “serious police corruption at the very highest level” because it was “too hot to handle”, according to a complaint that has been lodged with the judicial watchdog by a News of the World hacking victim. Ian Hurst, a former British Army intelligence officer whose family computer was infiltrated by private investigators working for the now defunct Sunday red-top, has written to the Ministry of Justice to complain that the senior judge “failed in his judicial duty” during his public inquiry into inappropriate relationships between the press, the police and politicians.
In his letter sent to the Judicial Conduct Investigations Office, the former spy said Sir Brian “covered up” the existence of a Scotland Yard intelligence report detailing a corrupt relationship between a very senior former police officer and a News of the World executive – neither of whom have ever been charged with criminal offences. Mr Hurst said his complaint was prompted by The Independent on Sunday revealing the milestone inquiry had ignored the classified document, which alleged the policeman obtained highly confidential information on decisions taken by Lord Blair when he was Metropolitan Police Commissioner in 2006, and passed it to theNOTW.
Pando alleges that Pierre Omidyar helped fund the Ukraine opposition groups which helped to topple the Yanukovich regime, leading to the present international crisis.
It turns out, according to the Pando article, that Omidyar helped fund the movement to topple Yanukovich.
Pando has confirmed that the American government – in the form of the US Agency for International Development (USAID) – played a major role in funding opposition groups prior to the revolution. Moreover, a large percentage of the rest of the funding to those same groups came from a US billionaire who has previously worked closely with US government agencies to further his own business interests. This was by no means a US-backed “coup,” but clear evidence shows that US investment was a force multiplier for many of the groups involved in overthrowing Yanukovych.But that’s not the shocking part.
What’s shocking is the name of the billionaire who co-invested with the US government
The XXII Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia, ended just as they began: with an ostentatious, exhaustive, and carefully scripted celebration of Russian heritage and culture. The 17 days of athletic competition featured all the riveting performances, unexpected disappointments, and weather-related updates that one would expect.
However, there was one event that U.S. politicians and pundits discussed for months — which some described as inevitable — that never occurred: a terrorist attack.
In the lead-up to the Winter Olympics, a fear-mongering media merely listened to alarmist policymakers and privileged the aspirational statements of marginalized terrorist groups. By irresponsibly providing little context for such threatening language, the media conditioned citizens to assume that violent attacks against innocent people were a near certainty.
The global financial crisis abruptly ended the golden age of neoliberal globalization (1990s-2008) for both the European Union (EU) and the United States (US) and caused a relative loss of their economic power. Simultaneously, the BRICS not only continued to catch up with an impressive pace (6% average GDP-growth), but also expanded their influence in multilateral organizations and intensified their mutual relations. Now, times seem dire enough for the old transatlantic partners to close the ranks by creating the biggest preferential trade agreement ever. The Transatlantic Free Trade Agreement (TAFTA) or Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) currently negotiated between the EU and the US has the potential to become a game changer: 1) TAFTA | TTIP offers a way to set up new rules and norms (first mover advantage) based on EU and US interests that, due to the deadlocked Doha Development Round, could no longer be carried through within the framework of the World Trade Organization (WTO) (withdrawal from multilateralism), 2) TAFTA | TTIP provides a strategy to contain the rise of China and other emerging powers by manifesting a new trench system of global trade, undermining production networks and diverting the flow of goods. Hence, TAFTA | TTIP is a reactionary move in the global geo-economic game and a warning that our world might become more divided than united.
Agriculture was always expected to be a main sticking point in the talks to form a “Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership”, particularly since the goal is not just to reduce tariffs but also to reconcile the two different regulatory philosophies. The gap is especially wide on food safety, with the EU practising the “precautionary principle” – which has a much lower threshold for setting restrictions compared to the US, with its more lenient “risk assessment” model.
Agricultural policy and methods remain the subject of intense debate within the EU and divisive issues among its member states. In May, new European Parliament elections are expected to produce a big swing in favour of populists, many of them anti-American and from rural constituencies. Those lawmakers will ultimately have to approve TTIP so their political hue is vital.
The European Commission is expected soon to authorise the use of a new insect-resistant GM strain of corn/maize called Pioneer 1507. But that follows more than a decade of debate and six separate scientific studies. It also comes despite votes by 19 of the EU’s 28 member states to block approval thanks to the bloc’s weighted voting system. While the UK backed approval, France vehemently opposed it.
US corn and soyabean producers complain that it can take more than 4 years to approve certain genetically modified approved crops, when it should only take 18 months – and they also question the EU’s mandatory labelling of GMO products. “It is nothing less than a scare label for consumers,” says Mr Censky. Nick Giordano, vice-president and counsel for international affairs at the US National Pork Producers Council, acknowledges that these are “emotional issues” in Europe, but said Mr De Gucht’s comments were “troubling” and it was “preposterous” to question the safety of US food.