Category Archives: Corporations

The Media’s Dangerous Anti-Russian Jingoistic Game: Interview with Stephen Cohen

Editor’s Note: Stephen Cohen is Professor Emeritus of Russian Studies and Politics at NYU and Princeton, and he is a contributing editor to The Nation. He is also the author of ‘Soviet Fates and Lost Alternatives: From Stalinism to the New Cold War‘. You can find more interviews and articles by Professor Cohen here.

The Petulant Entitlement Syndrome of Journalists

Glenn Greenwald writes for The Intercept:

‘[…] When political blogs first emerged as a force in the early post-9/11 era, one of their primary targets was celebrity journalists. A whole slew of famous, multi-millionaire, prize-decorated TV hosts and newspaper reporters and columnists – Tom Friedman, Tim Russert, Maureen Dowd, John Burns, Chris Matthews – were frequently the subject of vocal and vituperative criticisms, read by tens of thousands of people.

It is hard to overstate what a major (and desperately needed) change this was for how journalists like them functioned. Prior to the advent of blogs, establishment journalists were largely immunized even from hearing criticisms. If a life-tenured New York Times columnist wrote something stupid or vapid, or a Sunday TV news host conducted a sycophantic interview with a government official, there was no real mechanism for the average non-journalist citizen to voice critiques. At best, aggrieved readers could write a Letter to the Editor, which few journalists cared about. Establishment journalists spoke only to one another, and careerist concerns combined with an incestuous chumminess ensured that the most influential among them heard little beyond flowery praise.

Blogs, and online political activism generally, changed all of that. Though they tried – hard – these journalists simply could not ignore the endless stream of criticisms directed at them.’

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The war on leaks has gone way too far when journalists’ emails are under surveillance

Trevor Timm writes for The Guardian:

julian assange embassy windowThe outrageous legal attack on WikiLeaks and its staffers, who are exercising their First Amendment rights to publish classified information in the public interest—just like virtually every other major news organization in this country—is an attack on freedom of the press itself, and it’s shocking that more people aren’t raising their voices (and pens, and keyboards) in protest.

In the past four years, WikiLeaks has had their Twitter accounts secretly spied on, been forced to forfeit most of their funding after credit card companies unilaterally cut them off, had the FBI place an informant inside their news organization, watched their supporters hauled before a grand jury, and been the victim of the UK spy agency GCHQ hacking of their website and spying on their readers.

Now we’ve learned that, as The Guardian reported on Sunday, the Justice Department got a warrant in 2012 to seize the contents – plus the metadata on emails received, sent, drafted and deleted – of three WikiLeaks’ staffers personal Gmail accounts, which was inexplicably kept secret from them for almost two and a half years.’

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Victoria Nuland: Constant lying leaves RT unable to compete with “dynamic, truthful” US media

Why We Need to Abolish Competition and Embrace Arguments: Interview with Margaret Heffernan

Abby Martin interviews Margaret Heffernan, author of ‘Willful Blindness’ and ‘A Bigger Prize’, about the destructive impact of competition and alternative models of incentivizing people to work together for the greater good.’ (Breaking the Set)

Stuffocation: The hazards of too much stuff

James Wallman, the author of ‘Stuffocation,’ writes for BBC Magazine:

‘[…] We are now living in an age of abundance in the West. Before, material goods were expensive and scarce. Clothes were so hard to come by that they were handed down from generation to generation. A historian called Eve Fisher has calculated that before 1750 and the onset of the industrial revolution a shirt would have cost around £2,000 in today’s money. But now, things – shirts, shoes, toys and a million other consumer items – are cheap.

Once again, our inbuilt impulses have yet to catch up. As a result, many millions of us are filling our homes and lives, and suffocating under too much stuff.

This problem, which I call “stuffocation”, is the material version of the obesity epidemic. Since obesity is one of the most worrying problems we face, as individuals and as a society, saying that stuffocation is similar is quite a statement.’

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Ex-spies infiltrate Hollywood as espionage TV shows and movies multiply

Ian Shapira reports for The Washington Post:

‘[…] The career afterlife of a CIA official has typically followed well-known paths: Work for a private military contractor. Launch an “intelligence-driven” LLC. Join a law firm. Consult for the CIA. Write a memoir. But the hunger for espionage on TV and movies in recent years is cracking open new career opportunities for ex-CIA personnel with a flair for drama, the kind that’s less clandestine.

“Hollywood tends to be a destination spot for a lot of Washingtonians,” said David Nevins, the president of Showtime, which produces the spy juggernaut “Homeland.”

“There was the ‘West Wing’ crowd of former politicos. I’ve met with more than one former Navy SEAL. And now, certainly the intelligence community has been the most recent in a long line of Washingtonians trying to come out and tell their stories.”’

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Abby Martin: US media should cover real news, not Tom Brady

‘In an interview with The New York Times on Friday, Andrew Lack–the new head of the US’ $700 million per year international broadcasting efforts—cited RT, the Islamic State and Boko Haram as the three main entities challenging US power. The director of the Broadcasting Board of Governors took issue with RT’s viewpoints and coverage of events, insinuating that they pose a threat to America, while also associating the news network with the two infamous terrorist groups. Abby Martin, host of Breaking the Set, explains why alternative outlets like RT are needed to stand up to those who are not used to being challenged.’ (RT America)

Compare and Contrast: Obama’s Reaction to the Deaths of King Abdullah and Hugo Chávez

Glenn Greenwald writes for The Intercept:

Featured photo - Compare and Contrast: Obama’s Reaction to the Deaths of King Abdullah and Hugo Chávez‘Hugo Chávez was elected President of Venezuela four times from 1998 through 2012 and was admired and supported by a large majority of that country’s citizens, largely due to his policies that helped the poor. King Abdullah was the dictator and tyrant who ran one of the most repressive regimes on the planet.

The effusive praise being heaped on the brutal Saudi despot by western media and political figures has been nothing short of nauseating; the UK Government, which arouses itself on a daily basis by issuing self-consciously eloquent lectures to the world about democracy, actually ordered flags flown all day at half-mast to honor this repulsive monarch. My Intercept colleague Murtaza Hussain has an excellent article about this whole spectacle, along with a real obituary, here.’

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The Worldwide Crackdown On Journalism

Stephen Kinzer writes for Al Jazeera:

[…] Journalism becomes more important when institutions weaken. It also becomes more dangerous. This is true not only in Iran, China, Turkey, Mexico, Saudi Arabia and Nicaragua but also in the United States.  January brought news that the documentary “Citizenfour,” about National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden, has been nominated for an Academy Award. The film includes graphic clips of two senior U.S. officials — Director of National Intelligence Gen. James Clapper and NSA Director Gen. Keith Alexander — denying under oath the existence of surveillance projects that they were later shown to have been directing. This was an extreme form of institutional weakness. Yet it did not lead to any sanction of the two generals, who misled Congress. Instead the leakers and journalists who collaborated to show Americans the truth were harassed, indicted and accused of undermining national security.

Threats to journalism came in many forms this month, including murder, kidnapping, disappearance, public lashing and continued unjust imprisonment. “Citizenfour” portrays another emerging threat: pervasive government surveillance. The film’s director, Laura Poitras, now lives in Germany. Glenn Greenwald, the journalist at the center of the story, has chosen Brazil. Neither feels safe working in the United States.’

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Our ‘impartial’ broadcasters have become mouthpieces of the elite

George Monbiot writes for The Guardian:

‘When people say they have no politics, it means that their politics aligns with the status quo. None of us are unbiased, none removed from the question of power. We are social creatures who absorb the outlook and opinions of those with whom we associate, and unconciously echo them. Objectivity is impossible.

The illusion of neutrality is one of the reasons for the rotten state of journalism, as those who might have been expected to hold power to account drift thoughtlessly into its arms. But until I came across the scandal currently erupting in Canada, I hadn’t understood just how quickly standards are falling.’

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Why I quit ‘Russia Today,’ and why it remains necessary

Paula Schmitt (@schmittpaula), author of Eudemonia, writes for +972 Magazine:

Russian President Vladimir Putin appears on state-owned television station Russia Today. (Photo by The Kremlin)‘The first thing I told my father when I accepted a job offer from Russia Today was, “at least I know where their money comes from.” I had no illusions about news outlets – they all have masters, though we can only know a few of them. In the case of RT, everyone knew who the conductor was, and I wanted to play the music. I was very much up to the job of uncovering bad things about America. I was ready to debunk the West, that philosophical province embellished by news corporations, all house-trained to sing in unison the disgrace that is the Other and how perfectly green our astroturf grows.

But as is wont to happen with laws and sausages, I couldn’t stomach the way RT’s news was made.

I hadn’t told many people I was going to work for RT. I didn’t update my LinkedIn profile, or add RT to my Twitter bio. I was cautious and rather embarrassed. But I did believe I could do something good there, probably more so than if I were on CNN or BBC. I had always been a fan of RT. I thought, and still think, it is refreshing, informative, even crucial. People like Abby Martin, Tom Hartman and Max Keiser are helping change the world for the better – I am convinced of that. RT also helps the public get access to specialists who are never consulted by the mainstream media, people who may be even more qualified to speak on specific issues but are completely ignored and erased from debate because they refuse to hum the tune set by Western think-tanks and paid lobbyists. I knew RT had a political agenda, but I expected to get lucky and cover issues where my truth would lie precisely where Russia thought it should. I had seen incredibly good documentaries about the ills of the West, from starvation and illiteracy in America to the corrupting power of Wall Street. Russia and I were on the same page most of the time. I just hoped they wouldn’t ask me to cover Putin’s government. Yes, that’s what I thought, or wanted to think – that Russia and I mostly only disagreed on Russia itself.

The truth, however, is that, much like the U.S., Russia has an interest or a political position on practically every country in the world.’

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Jon Ronson in Conversation with Adam Curtis

Jon Ronson recently interviewed Adam Curtis for VICE:

‘I’ve known Adam Curtis for nearly 20 years. We’re friends. We see movies together, and once even went to Romania on a mini-break to attend an auction of Nicolae Ceausescu’s belongings. But it would be wrong to characterise our friendship as frivolous. Most of the time when we’re together I’m just intensely cross-questioning him about some new book idea I have.

Sometimes Adam will say something that seems baffling and wrong at the time, but makes perfect sense a few years later. I could give you lots of examples, but here’s one: I’m about to publish a book – So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed – about how social media is evolving into a cold and conservative place, a giant echo chamber where what we believe is constantly reinforced by people who believe the same thing, and when people step out of line in the smallest ways we destroy them. Adam was warning me about Twitter’s propensity to turn this way six years ago, when it was still a Garden of Eden. Sometimes talking to Adam feels like finding the results of some horse race of the future, where the long-shot horse wins.

I suppose it’s no surprise that Adam would notice this stuff about social media so early on. It’s what his films are almost always about – power and social control. However, people don’t only enjoy them for the subject matter, but for how they look, too – his wonderful, strange use of archive.’

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56% of online display ads are not seen by consumers, according to Google study

Jessica Davies reports for The Drum:

‘More than half (56.1 per cent) of online display ad impressions are not seen by consumers, according to Google’s first global viewability report unveiled following a series of trials with advertisers.

The internet giant, which opened up viewability-based trading across its display network last year, letting advertisers pay only for impressions likely to be seen, has conducted its first global report into the area as it looks to “take a lead” in building understanding in viewability-based trading.’

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American Sniper’s Patriot Porn and the Celebration of Psychopathy: Interview with Rania Khalek

Abby Martin interviews independent journalist, Rania Khalek, about the new film ‘American Sniper’ and why it’s such a controversial choice to receive a Best Picture Oscar nomination.’ (Breaking the Set)

America’s Terrorism Fear Factory Rolls On

John Mueller writes for The National Interest:

‘[…] It is often assumed that, even without the FBI’s aid, a determined homegrown terrorist would eventually find someone else to supply him with his required weaponry. However, as Trevor Aaronson observes in his book, The Terror Factory, there has never “been a single would-be terrorist in the United States who has become operational through a chance meeting with someone able to provide the means for a terrorist attack.” Only the police and FBI have been able to supply that service.

In his book, James Risen skewers what he calls the “homeland security-industrial complex.” American leaders, he notes, “have learned that keeping the terrorist threat alive provides enormous political benefits” by allowing “incumbents to look tough,” lending them “the national attention and political glamor that comes with dealing with national security issues.” Thus “a decade of fear-mongering has brought power and wealth to those who have been the most skillful at hyping the terrorism threat” and “is central to the financial well-being of countless federal bureaucrats, contractors, subcontractors, consultant, analysis and pundits.”

In her review of Risen’s book in the New York Times, Louise Richardson lauds his criticism of “the profligacy of government agencies and the ‘over-sight free zone’ they operated” as well as of “self-appointed terrorism experts” who promote fear “while drawing lucrative consulting contracts for themselves.” She is troubled, however, that Risen “makes no mention of the press,” which she considers a key member of the terrorism industry and “at least as guilty as others in his book of stirring up public anxiety for public gain.”’

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Who are the Davos Class? (Infographic)

Tax Havens: The Attorney-General’s Offshore Office

Private Eye Issue 1383 reports:

jeremy wright.jpgBuildings occupied by the Ministry of Justice, including Britain’s tax tribunal, are – almost unbelievably – owned offshore in a Mediterranean tax haven, while the attorney-general works from a London office that is owned in a tax haven in the British West Indies, the Eye has discovered.

All this undermines the order from the Treasury, which followed the Mapeley Steps scandal exposed by Private Eye more than a decade ago, that UK government assets should not be transferred offshore.

Information obtained by the Eye on the ownership of UK property by offshore companies shows that, among several of its buildings up and down the country, the MoJ’s financial, tax and land tribunals centre in a leafy Bloomsbury square is actually owned in Gibraltar.’

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The Real American Sniper Was a Hate-Filled Killer

Lindy West writes for The Guardian:

‘[…] However effective it is as a piece of cinema, even a cursory look into the film’s backstory – and particularly the public reaction to its release – raises disturbing questions about which stories we choose to codify into truth, and whose, and why, and the messy social costs of transmogrifying real life into entertainment.

Chris Kyle, a US navy Seal from Texas, was deployed to Iraq in 2003 and claimed to have killed more than 255 people during his six-year military career. In his memoir, Kyle reportedly described killing as “fun”, something he “loved”; he was unwavering in his belief that everyone he shot was a “bad guy”. “I hate the damn savages,” he wrote. “I couldn’t give a flying fuck about the Iraqis.” He bragged about murdering looters during Hurricane Katrina, though that was never substantiated.

He was murdered in 2013 at a Texas gun range by a 25-year-old veteran reportedly suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.’

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UK journalists’ emails grabbed by GCHQ, reporters seen as ‘threat to secuity’

William Turvill reports for Press Gazette:

‘Material released by Edward Snowden reportedly shows that investigative journalists “who specialise in defence-related exposes” are of “specific concern” to GCHQ.

The Guardian today reports that “investigative journalists” are considered alongside terrorists and hackers in a hierarchy in a GCHQ “information security assessment”.

The newspaper also reports that the emails of its staff, as well as journalists from The Sun, BBC, Reuters, New York Times, Le Monde, NBC and the Washington Post, have been saved and made available to staff at the Government agency.’

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Using Tiny, Hidden Cameras To Uncover Corruption

What Happens If We Ignore Whistleblowers? Interview with Chris Paulos

Did CIA Murder Screenwriter Over Panama Revelations?

Mia De Graaf and Sean O’Hare report for The Daily Mail:

Accident? Devore, a former truck driver, was found dead in the California Aqueduct a year later but his Toshiba laptop contained the finished script was missing from his Ford Explorer, as were his hands‘When the skeletal remains of Hollywood screenwriter Gary Devore were found strapped into his Ford Explorer submerged beneath the California Aqueduct in 1998 it brought an end to one of America’s most high profile missing person cases.

The fact that Devore was on his way to deliver a film script that promised to explain the ‘real reason’ why the US invaded Panama, has long given rise to a slew of conspiracies surrounding the nature of his ‘accidental’ death.

It didn’t help that Devore’s hands were missing from the crash scene, along with the script, and that investigators could offer no plausible explanation as to how a car could leave the highway and end up in the position it was found a year after he disappeared.

Now the Daily Mail can exclusively reveal that Devore was working with the CIA in Panama and even a White House source concedes his mysterious death bears all the hallmarks of a cover-up.

The findings, published in a new documentary The Writer With No Hands, are the first testimonies ever aired that give credence to the theories that surrounded the case in the late 90s.’

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Universal Music sues over unauthorized prison mixtapes

Glenn Greenwald on How to Be a Terror “Expert”: Ignore Facts, Blame Muslims, Trumpet U.S. Propaganda

‘Who are the so-called terrorism experts? In the wake of the Paris attacks, the corporate media has once again flooded its news programs with pundits claiming authority on terrorism, foreign policy and world events. We discuss the growing and questionable field of “terrorism experts” with three guests: Glenn Greenwald, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and co-founder of The Intercept; Lisa Stampnitzky, social studies lecturer at Harvard University and author of “Disciplining Terror: How Experts Invented ‘Terrorism‘”; and Luc Mathieu, foreign affairs reporter for the French newspaper Libération.’ (Democracy Now!)

Chris Hedges on Roots of Terrorism, Free Speech Hypocrisy & Translating #JeSuisCharlie

Editor’s Note: The interview with Chris Hedges begins at around 8:07.

“Circus of Hypocrisy”: Jeremy Scahill on How World Leaders at Paris March Oppose Press Freedom

Some European Bloodbaths Are More Interesting Than Others

Jim Naureckas writes for Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting:

Face the Nation: Terror in ParisOn July 24, 2011, two days after Anders Breivik slaughtered 77 people, mostly teenagers, in Norway to call attention to his view that Muslim immigration was a bad thing, NBC‘s Meet the Press didn’t mention the words “Breivik” or “Norway.” Nor did CBS‘s Face the Nation.

On ABC, This Week With Christiane Amanpour–who prided herself on her international perspective–did have 258 words on the massacre. No discussion, but we did hear there were “some incredible survivor stories.”

Fast forward three-and-a-half years, after another politically motivated killing spree in Europe, this one resulting in the deaths of 20 people. This European violence was decidedly more interesting to Meet the Press, which previewed its January 11 episode.’

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Grossly Hypocritical For Egypt, Turkey and Russia to Attend Charlie Hebdo March, says Reporters Without Borders

Louise Ridley reports for The Huffington Post:

Leaders from Egypt, Turkey and Russia are grossly hypocritical for attending today’s Paris march for the journalists murdered at Charlie Hebdo magazine when they continue to persecute journalists in their own countries, according to a journalists’ charity.

Reporters Without Borders (RWB) says it is “appalled” that leaders of countries including United Arab Emirates were present. It accused them of trying to “improve their international image” while “spitting on the graves” of the cartoonists and journalists.

[…] RWB secretary-general Christophe Deloire said: “It would be unacceptable if representatives of countries that silence journalists were to take advantage of the current outpouring of emotion to try to improve their international image and then continue their repressive policies when they return home.

“We must not let predators of press freedom spit on the graves of Charlie Hebdo.”’

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“We vomit on all these people who suddenly say they are our friends,” says Charlie Hebdo cartoonist

AFP reports:

Dutch comic book author Bernard Willem Holtrop, aka Willem, signs books in Angouleme, central France, on January 31, 2014‘A prominent Dutch cartoonist at Charlie Hebdo heaped scorn on the French satirical weekly’s “new friends” since the massacre at its Paris offices on Wednesday.

“We have a lot of new friends, like the pope, Queen Elizabeth and (Russian President Vladimir) Putin. It really makes me laugh,” Bernard Holtrop, whose pen name is Willem, told the Dutch centre-left daily Volkskrant in an interview published Saturday.

France’s far-right National Front leader “Marine Le Pen is delighted when the Islamists start shooting all over the place,” said Willem, 73, a longtime Paris resident who also draws for the French leftist daily Liberation.

He added: “We vomit on all these people who suddenly say they are our friends.”‘

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