Author Archive | Danny Schechter

Body Counts Rise As Chaos Deepens: Is There A Way Out?

Logo of Boko HaramAs a journalist, I became something of a body count expert. It started with the Vietnam War, where I soon learned to distrust the exaggerated counts of enemy dead made by our self-styled “intelligence” agencies.

That didn’t mean that people, alas, weren’t dying in droves, but not quite the people they were claiming to have killed, even if the sheer number was desensitizing and hard to relate to.

It’s still like that, what with the daily drone victims, collateral damage estimates and killings on battlefields and villages from Afghanistan, Pakistan, Syria and Iraq.

Now we can add Nigeria to the countries in pain with massacres by the Boko Haram, and their own military goons, and, with the collapse of a mega church in Lagos that looked like the ‘planned demolition’ fall of Building 7, claiming the lives of 67 visiting South Africans and we still don’t know how many Nigerians. That House of God, known as a Synagogue Church, could not protect praying parishioners from the slaughter.… Read the rest

Continue Reading

Oh, Ye Masters of War: Marking 9/11 Again With A New Dragon To Slay

Black AppleWatch with NO-Screen.png

Justin14 (CC)

When will 9/9, the day of the release of the new iPhone and Apple Watch replace 9/11 in the consciousness of Americans who put consumption way ahead of civil activism?

The wizards of Apple, who will soon have a device on the market to help you pay your bills, (and take a micro slice) must be aware that consumer borrowing has just seen its biggest hike since November 2001—just two months after the big event—and now stands at a whopping $3.24 TRILLION. According to the Federal Reserve, there has been a hike of $16.01 Billion in July alone.

When I made the film In Debt We Trust in 2006 about the immense debt burden of Americans, I didn’t connect the phenomenon to hikes in federal borrowing to finance our other pre-occupation: war spending. Significantly, earlier in this same week, President Obama asked for another $5 billion for a new costly counter-terrorism offensive to fight ISIS.… Read the rest

Continue Reading

Bring Back Adolf: Needed, A New Furor About Der Führer

Adolf Hitler-1933.jpg

“Adolf Hitler-1933″ by Heinrich Hoffman (CC)

The ISIS gang makes great enemies. They dress in black, wear Halloween masks, wave flags, act viciously, and cut off the heads of journalists.

Never mind that the Saudis beheaded ten dissidents on the night that Jack Foley became their first victim. We didn’t know the Saudi victims and didn’t want to embarrass our ally, but chop people we do know, and you are asking for a drone up your keister.

Nothing like a grotesque atrocity to pump up Joe Biden to vow to “chase ISIS to the gates of hell,” a war cry designed to get the Christian right behind him since the IS detests Jesus too. Barack Obama’s vow to destroy and “degrade” ISIS did not have the same populist appeal.

Every evangelical activist who has been singing “Onward Christian Soldiers” has a new cause now, even if ISIS’ last victim was an Israeli-American.… Read the rest

Continue Reading

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

Continue Reading

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

Continue Reading

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.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

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.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

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

Continue Reading

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

Continue Reading

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

Continue Reading