Author Archive | Danny Schechter

Just What We Need: Another War

Sound the bugle! Get the press to march along; we are going to war.

Again!

Enemies R ‘Us, and for a long time with the killing of bin Laden, a Jihadi fatigue had set in. With the apparent shriveling up of the Al Qaeda menace, America’s threat-defining and refining machinery was somewhat adrift. What had been so simple, turned too complex to fuse into one soundbite.

Former Intelligence official Thomas Fingar, now of Stanford University, describes his own frustration in finding out what US policy priorities should be in national intelligence. He asked his colleagues to share the threats they worried about. He was soon inundated.

“When I was given responsibility for the process known as the National Intelligence Priorities Framework, almost 2300 issues had been assigned priorities higher than zero, “ he explained. “My first instruction was, “Reduce the number.”

He knew they needed only one bad-ass enemy to focus fears and attract appropriations to fight.… Read the rest

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Back In Iraq: We Only Want To Save You

USMC-04308Welcome back to Iraq—complete with our ever present WMD’s — Weapons of Mass deception.

Suddenly, the country we never wanted to have to think about again is back in the news and on our military agenda. So, after a few denials that troops would not, never, and no way be sent, sure ’nuff, U.S. boots are back on the ground, but to play a very different “mission.”

Of course, it’s not combat, assures Secretary of Defense Hagel who was wearing his tennis clothes when he met with GIs. That is, no doubt, why we are pounding that country with bombs again.

To signal that we are not back in the days of the war for Iraqi Freedom, the Pentagon announced its latest humanitarian effort with a tweet, that, in the media world we are now part of, maybe the equivalent of a whimper not a neocon bark.

Once again, we are the good guys charging in to protect and defend, save and rescue.… Read the rest

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The Iron Dome Inside The Heads of Israel’s Leaders

When you go to a dictionary to look up “dome,” you find lots of references to hemispherical structures or forms. You also find that it is a slang word for the head.

And so, it may not be much of a stretch to look at the “Iron Dome” counter-missile system utilized by the Israeli forces as a perfect metaphor for the men authorizing its deployment and use, the iron domes of the heads who head up Israel’s military, and orchestrate its most assuredly not defensive war against Gaza.

Iron Dome near Sderot.jpg
Iron Dome near Sderot” by NatanFlayerOwn work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

It is also a metaphor for the war itself. The finger pushing reliance on computer technology—whether with domes or drones—tends to block all sensitivity of the human costs and consequences.

CNN reports that,

“Israel uses Iron Dome to block rockets from striking its major population centers.

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Suicide Bombers Over Gaza In A World Coming Apart

Artillery Corps Fires Practice Cannon3.jpg

For years, the term “suicide bombers” has been synonymous with terrorist attacks, especially in Israel. The idea of a martyr willing to give his life for a cause while taking out an “enemy” became a feature of modern conflict especially with resistance movements confronting modern armies.

Oddly enough, the phrase, seems to have blown back today into Israel itself, as its military engages in a much deadlier “suicide mission,” acting like Ahab in Melville’s Moby Dick determined to slay the monster whale while killing themselves.

First, there are the costs to Israel’s economy: With major airlines canceling flights, there goes the summer tourist season.

Next, Deutsche Welte reports,

“The conflict has so far cost Israel’s defense budget more than a billion shekels, some 200 million euros. Eitan Avriel of the business magazine “The Marker” suspects that the army will reclaim this money from the government. more than a billion shekels, some 200 million euros.

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Is the Media Selling or Telling: How Perception Management Works in Israel’s War on Gaza

Gz-mapThere is an art of war and there is an art to selling war–to one’s own people, and the world at large.

Israel is a master on both tracks. When we speak of the “only democracy” in the Middle East, it is often forgotten, perhaps deliberately, that a War or “Security” Cabinet runs the country. It is, and has been, in effect, a military regime with as many powerful religious fanatics as its Iranian nemesis.

Since proclaiming its “independence” in 1948, it has remained dependent on a large, now over $3 billion per annum and counting, “foreign aid” payment from the United States, far, far more than many poor countries that desperately need that aid but don’t get it.

Supplementing this subsidy, Israel has its own advanced military industrial and technology complex upgrading and customizing weaponry in military and aerospace industries.

Its current escalating war on Gaza is only the latest, following on the heels of seven “recognized” wars, two Palestinian intifadas, many reprisal operations and countless covert operations including interventions and assassinations.… Read the rest

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The World Cup Spilleth Over: As the Soccer Games End, Political Ones Begin

The World Cup has spilleth over. With the FIFA spectacle about to pack up its goodies—most of their lucre has already been wired out of Brazil—it’s time for hype for the next global spectacle, as the “host” country now tries to cope with its financial losses, intensified social conflicts and humiliating defeat at the hands of the Germans after earlier losing their star player to a nasty collision on the field, and their valiant captain to a suspension.

Brazil 2014 Blue green yellow football Background FREE VECTOR

On s symbolic level, Brazil’s bashing at the feet of Germany using bum rush tactics compared to the Nazi “Blitzgrieg” brought smiles to Old Europe, and pain to a nation struggling with massive poverty and inequality.

In a way, it underscored the dependence and anger that so many Brazilians felt, even as the issues they have raising and marching to call attention to, have all been but ignored by the sportscasters who know game scores but not the scores of life—the great gaps that events like the World Cup paper over.… Read the rest

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The Call to ‘Restore’ For This and Every July 4: Frederick Douglass Echoes Through The Ages

Frederick Douglass c1860sThe wheel of the calendar has turned again, and July 4th is upon us once again, a day for the consumption of 155 million pounds of hot dogs, and fireworks—75% of the pyro technics industry’s revenues ignite in an average 1400 displays on the federal holiday marking the anniversary of American Independence.

Patriotric rituals r’ often us, although, never mind, that American celebrations only began after the war of 1812, and that it took quite a while for London to even respond to our declaration.

Quiet as its kept, actual independence only arrived on September, 3, 1783 when Great Britain formally abandoned its claims to its colonies and signed the Treaty of Paris.

Recall also that one of the pledges in the document of documents was a “Decent Respect for The Opinions of Mankind,” a vow undercut somewhat by a ruling by an appointed intelligence advisory body this past week—based on who knows what legal foundation—that US Spying on mankind is now and forevermore “legal” under our constitution.… Read the rest

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Back To Iraq, And Welcome To The Suicide State

Baghdad SignI feel like an Iraq war veteran not because I served in that still ongoing war.

No one thanked me for my service, and all praises be, I was not among those who were killed, wounded or traumatized on our side or theirs?

I was a veteran in the same sense that I was, as a journalist, for years, totally absorbed in the war from the building to the first shots fired and bombs dropped, as a daily blogger, a film maker that made WMD: Weapons of Mass Deception about the media war that was fought alongside the invasion and two books discussing that coverage in detail. Embedded (Prometheus Books, 2003) and When News Lies: Media Complicity and the Iraq War (Select Books, 2006). I later commented on the issues for Al Jazeera’s global website.

After such a deep immersion, I was burned out and delighted to focus on another issue, the war at home–the Financial Crisis.… Read the rest

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ISIS: More of a Corporation Than Gang of Brigands?

Territorial control of the ISIS

Territorial control of the ISIS

What The Media Misses: “The Barbarians Are At The Gates”

So writes Patrick Cockburn, the veteran Middle East correspondent for The Independent in London. A fierce critic of the US-British War on Iraq he is now urging the US and Iran to collaborate in stopping the ISIS or ISIL forces that are sweeping through Iraq, a country he loves more than any of the despotic politicians who have run it now or then.

The American media has taken up the cry—not for cooperation with Iran that has heartily denounced the latest round of US intervention in the country it warred with for seven years—but with lurid coverage of the force at first labeled “terrorists,” and now ”insurgents or just “militants.” The difference is that ISIS/ISIL seizes and holds territory operating like an army, not hit and run faction.

It is said to be connected to Al Qaeda but we don’t know how or if Qaeda still exists.… Read the rest

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Far Above Cayuga’s Waters: Cornell Reprises Race At The Big Reunion Weekend

Cornell University SlopeIthaca, New York: How can you be in the past and present at the same time?

Go to your college reunion.

I did, this past weekend, up on the forever beautiful and very green Cornell campus in Ithaca, New York. About 350 members of a class of 2400 trekked back to remember how we were, and to see how the ravages of age and affluence have affected us. I probably hadn’t bonded with as many fellow students because I was an independent, and not in a fraternity or athletic team. I was an early responder to activism.

We also had a moving memorial for more than a hundred, of the fallen, including my late friends Bernie Moss, Daniel Patrick Cassidy and Robin Williams. My co-editor Kenneth Barry Rubin of Dialogue Magazine was not on the list because he had dropped out earlier.

There were many people there I didn’t know then, and perhaps didn’t want to know, but I did run into some old friends and was thrust back into discussions of the racial /civil rights issues that mobilized us to care in our college years, and still top the list of the University’s and the country’s unfinished business.… Read the rest

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