Archive for the Capitalist media double standard Category

CNN joins spy plane ride as US prepares new military provocations in South China Sea [World Socialist Website]

Posted in Anti-China media bias, Anti-China propaganda exposure, Anti-communism, Australia, Black propaganda, Capitalist media double standard, China, China-bashing, Corporate Media Critique, Economic crisis & decline, Encirclement of China, False flag, Media smear campaign, Obama, Pentagon, Philippines, Psychological warfare, South China Sea, State Department, US imperialism, USA, USA 21st Century Cold War, Vietnam on May 24, 2015 by Zuo Shou / 左手

By Peter Symonds
23 May 2015

Just days after a CNN news crew joined a P8-A Poseidon surveillance aircraft over a Chinese-administered islet in the South China Sea, it is clear the flight was a calculated provocation aimed at ramping up pressure on China. American officials immediately exploited the reportage to underline Washington’s determination to challenge Chinese territorial claims in these key strategic waters, regardless of the consequences…

Article’s original title: “US prepares new military provocations in South China Sea”

Article link: http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2015/05/23/scse-m23.html

RELATED ARTICLES:

“Beijing strongly protests against US spy plane encounter” [China Daily] – http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/world/2015-05/22/content_20794899.htm

“US prepares to challenge China in the South China Sea” [World Socialist Website] – http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2015/05/21/scse-m21.html

“Is the US planning a “Gulf of Tonkin” incident in the South China Sea?” [World Socialist Website] – http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2015/05/18/pers-m18.html

Charlie Hebdo, the free press and racism [Workers World]

Posted in Afghanistan, Africa, Anti-Arab / Antisemitism, Anti-Islam hysteria, Black propaganda, Canada, Capitalist media double standard, Corporate Media Critique, Fascism, France, Gaza, Germany, Iraq, Israel, Libya, Nazism, Palestine, Police, Police brutality, Police State, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, Syria, Turkey, U.K., USA, USSR, Yugoslavia - former FRY on January 14, 2015 by Zuo Shou / 左手

by Sara Flounders

January 13, 2015

How do we put in perspective the international media focus on the massacre of 12 journalists in Paris on Jan. 7 at the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, notorious for its racist anti-Muslim caricatures and lack of response to the routine, daily, racist police murders of Black youth in the U.S.? Why were any protests banned in France of 15 journalists who were killed among the 2,000 deaths in the Israeli assault of Gaza this past summer? Don’t those lives matter?

The Charlie Hebdo assassinations strengthen the hand of the state, which is using them in an ideological offensive, even if the state had a role in arming and training the killers.

Why are other murders not mourned, not respected, not even reported — even the murders of other journalists? A crucial role of the corporate media is to try to shape the perception of which lives matter.

Consider the mass outpourings following several different, very public killings in the U.S. Hundreds of thousands of youths have been in the streets again and again in the U.S. confronting the refusal of the state to prosecute killer cops, even when their murderous crimes have been seen on video by millions.

Hundreds of thousands of people were in the streets of Paris on Jan. 11. French, other European, U.S. and Israeli politicians led the march honoring the slain journalists.

Twice, on Dec. 27 and Jan. 4, thousands of police in uniform from all over the U.S. converged on New York City for separate funerals of two police officers shot in their patrol car in Dec. 20. Jet Blue offered free flights to all police traveling nationally to the funeral. The U.S. vice president, New York state’s governor and the city’s mayor attended the funerals. Roads in the areas were closed; giant outdoor TV screens were erected.

Not a free speech issue

The French government’s protection of the racist journal Charlie Hebdo had nothing to do with protecting freedom of speech. This is a deception that must be confronted. In 2012 the same government that protected this vile publication banned any demonstrations or protests or even public prayers opposing the racist publication.

French law allows for the prosecution of “public insults” based on religion, race, ethnicity or national origin. But the racist, sexist, bigoted, grossly insulting cartoons in Charlie Hebdo magazine were never once a source of any successful legal action.

However, France did ban anyone from even protesting the cartoons that insulted Muslims or the prophet Muhammed.

In 2012, as protests swept the Muslim world in response to an anti-Muslim film made in the U.S., French Interior Minister Manuel Valls said prefects had orders to prohibit any protest and to crack down if the ban was challenged. “There will be strictly no exceptions. Demonstrations will be banned and broken up.” (Daily Mail, Sept. 21, 2012) Even prayer meetings and street prayers were banned. (CNN, Sept. 19, 2012)

In the same week Charlie Hebdo put out an extra run of cartoons featuring a grossly obscene caricature of a naked prophet Mohammed. The magazine was given extra police protection.

Freedom of speech and of the press is hardly sacred in France. It was punishable by a year in prison to even post on the Internet a notice of a demonstration opposing the Israeli onslaught on Palestine during the Israeli 2014 summer offensive on Gaza. France was the only country in the world to bar all demonstrations and protests in any form supporting Palestine during that time. The penalty was one year in jail and 15,000 euro fine.

It is worth noting the double standard: There is no similar crackdown against the current right-wing, fascist demonstrations against immigrants.

Role of Nazi caricature

Charlie Hebdo serves a very important purpose for French imperialism, and that is why its virulent racism has been protected at the very time that protests against it are prohibited.

Charlie Hebdo may have run cartoons to ridicule the powerful 40 years ago when it claimed to be left wing, irreverent and nonconformist. But there is a big difference between satire ridiculing the powerful — a French tradition going back to Voltaire — and the current imagery promoting fear and loathing of the oppressed and powerless. The latter is right wing and fascist in character.

In this period when Muslims are facing increasing, extreme right-wing attacks, and fascist mobilizations are growing in Europe, Charlie Hebdo functions as did the Nazi publication Der Sturmer with its vehemently anti-Semitic caricatures. Jewish people in Der Sturmer, as Muslims in Charlie Hebdo, were depicted with exaggerated facial features and misshapen bodies. Both publications use obscene, sexually explicit caricatures.

The Nazi newspaper’s caricatures were part of a policy to make Jews an object of hatred, fear, ridicule and disdain. At the end of World War II, Julius Streicher, the editor of Der Sturmer — though he didn’t run death camps but used the press to incite hatred — was put on trial, convicted of crimes against humanity and executed.

Charlie Hebdo is protected because it hardens the population against Muslim people in order to divide the population. The French government has announced a grant to Charlie Hebdo of 1 million euros, and Google donated 250,000 euros.

Charlie Hebdo is not freedom of expression and freedom of press. It is an instrument of war mobilization. It ran cartoons demonizing Serbs during the NATO campaign against Yugoslavia, and it supported NATO’s attack on Libya.

No free press

Although “free speech” and “free press” are being lauded and glorified in the murder of the French journalists, no such thing exists in any capitalist state. The press in France or in the U.S. is not free, open or accessible. The media are owned by and serve the interests of the ruling class. What can be said and who can say it is tightly controlled. The corporate media in capitalist society are owned to serve class rule. What is covered depends entirely on who can pay for publication or airtime. A handful of multibillion-dollar media conglomerates control almost all information, culture and entertainment in the Western capitalist countries — though in the past decade social media and the Internet have opened a few cracks in this overwhelming corporate control.

The media industry has an enormous impact in shaping what lives have value and what deaths go unreported, unmarked or consciously covered up.

The hundreds of thousands of deaths in wars initiated by U.S. imperialism, and with full support of French and British imperialism, are unmarked, unmourned and callously labeled “collateral damage.” The media ignore or barely mention the enormous toll in Iraq, Syria, Libya and Afghanistan. No mass sympathy is created when a U.S. drone wipes out a wedding party in Pakistan or a whole village with a hellfire missile.

The assassinations of journalists in these wars are hardly noted. There were no state funerals for the 166 journalists killed in Iraq under U.S. occupation. Chelsea Manning is in prison for releasing videos of U.S. helicopters gunning down two Reuter’s camera operators in Iraq and then circling to kill the family that stopped their van to try to help them.

According to The Palestinian Center for Development and Media Freedoms, 15 journalists were killed in the 2014 Israeli bombing of Gaza. They “were killed in civilian sites which are supposed to be safe for civilians.” Eight media centers were targeted and bombed.

U.S. bombers targeted and destroyed the RTS, Radio TV Serbia, in the 1999 U.S./NATO war on Yugoslavia, killing 17 journalists.

The most dangerous country in the world for journalists is Honduras. Since the U.S.-backed coup, 46 media and information workers have been assassinated.

The International Federation of Journalists sharply criticized NATO 2011 air strikes against Libyan television, which killed three people and injured 15. The IFJ stated that the strikes violated international law and U.N. resolutions.

If a free press existed, then Chelsea Manning would not be in prison or Edward Snowden and Julian Assange on the run, living in exile.

What media are even allowed coverage in imperialist countries demonstrates how little freedom of the press is respected. For example, PRESS TV, an Iranian news channel broadcasting in English, is banned from broadcasting via satellite throughout Europe, Canada and the U.S. Al-Manar, a Lebanese satellite station affiliated with Hezbollah, has also been banned by France, Germany and the U.S. Both Press TV and Al Manar have protested, to no avail, that this is a grave breach of freedom of speech. While both news channels are available via the Internet in limited form, Apple and Google have removed Al-Manar mobile apps.

National oppression

National oppression and racism in France cannot be ignored. There are 5.5 million residents of African origin, many of them born in France and most of them citizens. A large number are from Muslim background, although not all are practicing. They are isolated by poverty in suburbs that have high unemployment, inferior schools and substandard housing.

Just as prisons in the U.S. overwhelmingly imprison Black and Brown youth, so too do French prisons. About 60 to 70 percent of all inmates in the country’s prison system are Muslim, according to Muslim leaders, sociologists and researchers, though Muslims make up only about 12 percent of the country’s population. (Washington Post Foreign Service, April 29, 2008)

Imperialism needs hatred of targeted peoples. Western politicians have cynically used Islamophobia to advance right-wing political agendas and curtail freedoms.

Who benefits?

Regardless of whether a police conspiracy is ever exposed, we do know that the French ruling class and the corporate media are always primed to take full advantage of such acts to reinforce the repressive state apparatus and sow division among the working class.

There should not be an iota of confidence in the news stories of this massacre at Charlie Hebdo. We know only what we are being told in the corporate media by French military police and state intelligence agencies. We do know that three men, who are now dead, were tools of imperialism in their wars of conquest in Syria and Libya. More than 1,000 French citizens of Arab and North African descent have been recruited, trained, armed and used as weapons conduits, saboteurs and terrorists in the efforts of U.S. France, Britain, Turkey and Saudi Arabia to overthrow the government of Syria.

This leads to the fundamental question of whose policies are responsible for the massacre and who gains from the massacre?

Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, U.S. imperialism, aided by the old colonial powers of Europe, has been engaged in a whole series of wars to reconquer countries that had achieved a high level of development based on sovereignty and control of their resources.

In their frantic efforts to recolonize Iraq, Syria and Libya, they have cynically whipped up sectarian divisions, organized deadly militias and promoted fanaticism and anarchy. That has aroused deep-seated rage against the U.S., France and Britain.

It is also highly unpopular that French imperialism is widely involved in Africa, primarily in the majority-Muslim countries of Mali, Central African Republic, Chad, Ivory Coast and Djibouti, and in Abu Dhabi on the Arabian peninsula.

The French ruling class wants to divert mass attention from their expanding wars and increasingly militarized society. The mobilizations claiming to defend a free press by defending racism must be opposed and countered.

Article link: http://www.workers.org/articles/2015/01/13/charlie-hebdo-free-press-racism/

Copyright © 2015 Workers.org

Hong Kong protests: Why imperialists support ‘democracy’ movement [Workers World]

Posted in Anti-China media bias, Anti-China propaganda exposure, Anti-communism, Bourgeois parliamentary democracy, Capitalist media double standard, China, China-bashing, CPC, Hong Kong, National Endowment for Democracy, State Department, U.K., US Agency for International Development, US imperialism, USA, USA 21st Century Cold War on October 14, 2014 by Zuo Shou / 左手

By Sara Flounders on October 7, 2014

Demonstrations in Hong Kong, China, raising demands on the procedures to be followed in city elections in 2017, have become an international issue and a source of political confusion.

The protests, called Occupy Central, have received enormous and very favorable U.S. media coverage. Every news report describes with great enthusiasm the occupation of central business parts of Hong Kong as “pro-democracy” protests. The demonstrations, which began on Sept. 22, gained momentum after Hong Kong police used tear gas to open roads and government buildings.

In evaluating an emerging movement it is important to look at what political forces are supporting the movement. What are the demands raised by the movement, who are they appealing to, and what is the social composition of those in motion?

The U.S. and British governments have issued statements of support for the demonstrations. Secretary of State John Kerry urged Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi to heed the demands of the protesters. Wang responded by calling for respect for China’s sovereignty. Britain, which stole Hong Kong from China in 1842 and held it as a colony for 155 years under a government appointed by London, is supporting the call for “democracy” in Hong Kong. Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg summoned the Chinese ambassador in order to convey the British government’s alarm.

At the present time these imperialists may not expect to overturn the central role of the Chinese Communist Party in governing China. But Occupy Central in Hong Kong is a battering ram, aimed at weakening the role of the state in the Chinese economy.

The imperialists hope to embolden the bourgeois elements and encourage the increasingly strong capitalist class within China to become more aggressive and demand the overturn of socialist norms established after the 1949 socialist revolution, including the leading role of the Communist Party in a strong sovereign state.

= Police repression: Mexico, Italy, Philippines =

In Mexico, tens of thousands of students have been protesting curriculum changes and new fees. More than 50,000 demonstrated in Mexico City for the third time. In western Mexico, 57 students from a teaching college went missing after gunslingers fired on a demonstration they were attending, killing three students and wounding three others. A Guerrero official says witnesses identified the shooters as local police officers. Mass graves have now been uncovered in an area terrorized by police and gangs.

On Oct. 2, in Naples, Italy, national police attacked demonstrators protesting against austerity and a meeting of the European Central Bank. Cops fired tear gas and water canons at thousands of protesters.

Thousands of courageous demonstrators in Manila opposed the signing of an agreement with the U.S. for an escalating rotation of U.S. troops, ships and planes into the Philippines during President Obama’s visit last April. They faced water cannons, tear gas and mass arrests.

Did any White House officials meet with Mexican officials to express concern for the killed or missing students? Did any British officials summon Italian officials to convey alarm at the tear gas and water cannons? Was there world media attention to the attacks on Philippine youth? Where was the media frenzy?

Why is it so dramatically different regarding Occupy Central in Hong Kong?

The use of tear gas by Hong Kong police is denounced by the same officials who have been silent as militarized police in U.S. cities routinely use not only tear gas but tanks, armored personnel carriers, live ammunition, electric tasers, rubber bullets, stun guns, dogs and drones in routine police sweeps.

To hear U.S. officials denouncing restrictions on candidates in Hong Kong is especially offensive to anyone familiar with the election procedures in the U.S. today. Millions of dollars are required to run a campaign here. Candidates go through multiple layers of vetting by corporate powers and by the two pro-imperialist political party apparatuses. Restrictive ballot measures are in place in every state and city election.

= ‘Color revolutions’ =

Officials and publications in China characterize the actions of Occupy Central as a U.S.-funded “color revolution” and compare it to the upheavals that swept Ukraine and former Soviet republics.

Several commentaries have described in some detail the extensive role of the U.S. National Endowment for Democracy and the Democratic National Institute, along with corporate foundations’ funding of leaders and the protest movement in Hong Kong.

Thousands of nongovernmental organizations with large staffs are based in Hong Kong. Their stated goal is to build democracy. Their real purpose is to undermine the central role of the Chinese Communist Party in the organization of Chinese society. Hong Kong, unlike the rest of China, has allowed these U.S.-funded NGOs and political associations almost unlimited access for decades…

Excerpted; full article link: http://www.workers.org/articles/2014/10/07/hong-kong-protests-imperialists-support-democracy-movement/

Articles copyright 1995-2014 Workers World. Verbatim copying and distribution is permitted in any medium without royalty provided this notice is preserved.

Doom and Gloom or Economic Boom? The Myth of the “North Korean Collapse” [Asia-Pacific Journal / Sweet & Sour Socialism Essential Archives]

Posted in Anti-communism, Black propaganda, Capitalist media double standard, Corporate Media Critique, DPR Korea, Kim Il Sung, Media smear campaign, Photos, Pyongyang, Seoul, south Korea, Sweet and Sour Socialism Essential Archives on August 11, 2014 by Zuo Shou / 左手

If you read one article about North (sic) Korea this year — or perhaps this decade — this is the one to provide the antidote to capitalist media’s endless disinformation and vilification of that dynamic and resolute nation – Zuo Shou

The Asia-Pacific Journal, Vol. 12, Issue 18, No. 3, May 5, 2014.
Doom and Gloom or Economic Boom? The Myth of the “North Korean Collapse” 破綻か好況か 「北朝鮮崩壊」という神話

Henri Feron

Abstract: The DPRK [Democratic People’s Republic of Korea] is said to be an economist’s nightmare. There are almost no reliable statistics available, making any analysis speculative at best. The few useable figures that we have, though, fly in the face of the media’s curious insistence on a looming collapse. Food production and trade volumes indicate that the DPRK has largely recovered from the economic catastrophe of the 1990s. Indeed, Pyongyang’s reported rising budget figures appear more plausible than Seoul’s pessimistic politicized estimates. Obviously, sanctions, while damaging, have failed to nail the country down. There are signs that it is now beginning to open up and prepare to exploit its substantial mineral wealth. Could we soon be witnessing the rise of Asia’s next economic tiger?

There is hardly an economy in the world that is as little understood as the economy of the Democractic [sic] People’s Republic of Korea (aka “North Korea”). Comprehensive government statistics have not been made public since the 1960s. Even if production figures were available, the non-convertibility of the domestic currency and the distortion of commodity prices in the DPRK’s planned economy would still prevent us from computing something as basic as a GDP or GDP growth figure. In the end, this dearth of public or useable primary data means that outside analysis is generally based more on speculation or politicized conslusions than on actual information. Unfortunately, the greater the province of speculation, the greater also the possibility of distortion, and hence of misinformation, or even disinformation.

The dominant narrative in the Western press is that the DPRK is on the verge of collapse. What commentators lack in hard data to prove this, they often try to invent…

Excerpted; full article link with footnotes: http://www.japanfocus.org/-Henri-Feron/4113

US charges alleging Chinese cyber-espionage are bizarre [Global Times]

Posted in Anti-China media bias, Anti-China propaganda exposure, Beijing, Black propaganda, Brazil, Capitalist media double standard, China, China-bashing, China-US relations, Germany, National Security Agency / NSA, NSA, U.K., US imperialism, USA on June 2, 2014 by Zuo Shou / 左手

By Eric Sommer
Published: 2014-5-26

“Bizarre” is the only word for the US government’s recent announcement of criminal charges against five Chinese military officers for alleged cyber-espionage.

To begin with, such extraterritorial charges in a matter of this kind are unprecedented in modern relations between sovereign states. But what makes the charges truly mind-bending is that the US state has never stated that it would cease its own massive National Security Agency (NSA) cyber-spying on potentially the whole Chinese population, and key Chinese institutions.

Documents provided by courageous whistle-blower Edward Snowden have previously revealed NSA cyber-espionage programs, which have stolen hundreds of millions of Chinese mobile phone text messages; broken into the crucial IT backbone system at China’s Tsinghua University which connects to large numbers of important institutes and research labs; and monitored the communications of important Chinese officials.

The NSA has also hacked and compromised the security of computer systems produced by Chinese company Huawei and used by businesses throughout China and around the world.

It’s notable – and should be emphasized – that as far as we know, such massive US cyber-spying activities against China have continued up to the present moment. The US side has never apologized or stated that they will stop.

Chinese media has accurately tagged the US cyber-espionage charges as those of a “robber playing cop.” But this robber also appears to be a liar.

One of the rationales offered for the charges is that US cyber-spying is only for “security,” while China’s alleged spying targets “commercial secrets” for business advantage.

This claim is belied by the revelations that not only Huawei, but the Brazilian state oil company Petrobras, German companies Stellar, Cetel and IABG, and others have been invaded by the US NSA spy system and its close British affiliate GCHQ.

What’s more, NSA documents show that leaders of 35 countries – including Angela Merkel of Germany – have had their phones tapped or been otherwise monitored.

Many of these leaders engage from time to time in high-level commercially related negotiations with the US involving free-trade agreements or other business matters.

Information gained from tapping their phones or monitoring them can of course provide crucial – and unfair – commercial advantages to the US side in any negotiations.

In any case, hiding behind the word “security” to justify attempting to collect the e-mails, phone calls and other cyber-information of people and institutions of the whole world does not make the US state look good. What makes it look worse is charging Chinese military officers for alleged crimes which the US side commits on a daily basis.

Eric Sommer, a Canadian scholar living in Beijing

Article link: http://www.globaltimes.cn/content/862345.shtml
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See also related Xinhua articles:

“U.S. spying, including on Chinese telco, seeks economic edge: NYT” – http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/china/2014-05/22/c_133353300.htm

“Investigation confirms U.S. snooping activities against China: report” – http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/china/2014-05/26/c_133363158.htm

“Full Text: The United States’ Global Surveillance Record” – http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/china/2014-05/27/c_133363178_2.htm?k=1

“U.S. conducts unscrupulous secret surveillance programs across world: report” – http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/china/2014-05/26/c_133363160.htm

“China warns of reaction to U.S. cyber indictment” – http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/china/2014-05/29/c_133371559.htm

“Commentary: U.S. cyber-scoundrelism doomed to backfire” – http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/indepth/2014-05/24/c_133357780.htm

“US pushes cyber-war confrontation with China” – Justice Department’s absurd indictment of PLA officers [World Socialist Website]

Posted in Anti-China media bias, Anti-China propaganda exposure, Black propaganda, Capitalist media double standard, China, China-bashing, China-US relations, Corporate Media Critique, Internet Global Hegemony, Media smear campaign, National Security Agency / NSA, NSA, Obama, Pentagon, PLA, Psychological warfare, US imperialism, USA, USA 21st Century Cold War on May 20, 2014 by Zuo Shou / 左手

By Patrick Martin
20 May 2014

A federal grand jury has indicted five officers of the Chinese Peoples Liberation Army on computer hacking, economic espionage and other charges, officials of the US Department of Justice announced at a press conference Monday morning.

The indictment is unprecedented under international law, as it aims to criminalize actions allegedly carried out not by individual hackers, or “rogue” elements, but by serving officers in the armed forces of a major country. It is calculated to provoke a confrontation between the US and Chinese governments.

“These represent the first ever charges against known state actors for infiltrating US commercial targets by cyber means,” Attorney General Eric Holder said at the press briefing, emphasizing that the Obama administration was undertaking a major escalation in its anti-China policy. “The range of trade secrets and other sensitive business information stolen in this case is significant and demands an aggressive response.”

The five men, named as Wang Dong, Sun Kailiang, Wen Xinyu, Huang Zhenyu, and Gu Chunhui, are said to be officers in Unit 61398 of the Third Department of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army, based in Shanghai. Each faces 31 counts of computer and economic crimes. While none is in US custody, the charges would carry lengthy prison sentences.

The alleged targets of the hacking include Westinghouse Electric Co., United States Steel, Alcoa Inc., Allegheny Technologies Inc. (ATI), U.S. subsidiaries of SolarWorld AG, and the United Steel Workers union, which represents some workers at those companies.

Westinghouse is the major US builder of nuclear power plants, and built four such facilities in China in 2010-2011. The other companies entered into production agreements with Chinese companies during that time, or were engaged in trade litigation, as was the USW. The Chinese officers supposedly used cyber-warfare techniques to gain access to internal e-mails and other confidential materials at all six organizations.

The indictment is an act of monumental cynicism. The revelations of former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden, which began almost exactly one year ago, have demonstrated that the US government is by far the world’s largest “hacker,” with tens of thousands of employees and tens of billions in resources devoted to invading computer systems all over the world and stealing e-mails, text messages, communications metadata, address books and every other form of electronic data.

The US government collects the content of the voice, text and e-mail communications of nearly everyone on the planet. It has engineered back-door entry into the business activities of Internet service providers and e-mail providers like Google, Microsoft and Yahoo to bypass their security and encryption and conduct illegal surveillance of their customers. It has broken into corporate servers, either electronically or physically, to install monitoring devices.

The NSA particularly targets for surveillance strategic companies like Huawei, the Chinese manufacturer of servers and routers, aiming to use Huawei machines as a vehicle for spying on the company’s customers, corporations and governments throughout Asia, Africa, Latin America and Europe.

The US television networks gave enormous play to the indictments in their Monday evening broadcasts, without a hint of the grotesque contradictions in the US government action. One can only imagine the reaction in Washington, and in the American media, if China were to indict NSA director Keith Alexander, who recently retired, or his successor Admiral Michael Rogers, on charges of espionage, hacking and information theft…

Excerpted; full article link: https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2014/05/20/usch-m20.html
****************
Related Xinhua articles:

China strongly opposes U.S. indictment against Chinese military personnel – http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/china/2014-05/20/c_133347615.htm

China publishes latest data of U.S. cyber attack – http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/china/2014-05/20/c_126520552.htm

China suspends cyber working group activities with U.S. to protest cyber theft indictment – http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/china/2014-05/20/c_126520553.htm

“‘Hard Clay’ – Remaking Afghanistan In ‘Our’ Image” – Anglo bourgeois media whitewash sham elections under UK’s violent occupations [Media Lens]

Posted in Afghanistan, BBC bias, distortions and lies, Capitalist media double standard, Corporate Media Critique, Iraq, Media smear campaign, NATO, NATO invasion, Oligarchy, Russia, Syria on May 4, 2014 by Zuo Shou / 左手

By David Edwards

April 28, 2014

Last month, we reviewed the mind-boggling contrast between corporate media coverage of the January 2005 election in Iraq and the March 2014 referendum in Crimea.

Whereas all media accepted the basic legitimacy of an Iraq election conducted under extremely violent US-UK military occupation, they all rejected the legitimacy of a Crimea referendum conducted ‘at [Russian] gunpoint’.

It was not difficult to guess how the same media would respond to the Afghan presidential election of April 5 under the guns of Britain and America’s occupying force.

The Daily Telegraph had welcomed ‘the first democratic elections’ in Iraq (Leader, ‘Mission accomplished,’ December 6, 2004) and dismissed the Crimea vote as ‘an illegal referendum conducted at gunpoint’. As for Afghanistan:

‘The sight of millions of Afghans defying the Taliban to vote in their country’s presidential election should induce genuine humility. We might take democracy for granted; they emphatically do not.’

Democracy it was, then. Had the editors forgotten that the vote was taking place under US-UK military occupation? In fact, no:

‘The idea that the Taliban are waiting to sweep back to power as soon as American and British troops depart has also taken a knock. If this poll continues to proceed smoothly, the country should have the inestimable benefit of a legitimately elected leader.’

The election was thus declared both democratic and legitimate. As in Iraq, the delegitimising effect of military occupation was ignored – ‘our’ occupations are simply accepted as legitimate and uncontroversial.

A Sunday Times leader hailed ‘democratic elections’ in Iraq, noting only that they were threatened by ‘terrorists’ – Iraqis, not the illegal foreign invaders who had wrecked the country with war, sanctions, bombing and more war (Leader, ‘Send more troops,’ October 10, 2004). By contrast, The Times claimed that the Crimea referendum was made absurd by Russian troops ‘massing on their western border’. (Leading article, ‘Russian Pariah,’ March 17, 2014)

But The Times found nothing absurd about the Afghan election:

‘We should honour and celebrate the resolve of these voters, their commitment to the democratic process.’

To be sure, military involvement had been a problem:

‘The Taleban has been malignly active in the run-up to the election, attacking foreigners in restaurants and showering death threats on democratic activists.’

What about the occupation?

‘As US and British troops ready themselves for withdrawal by the end of this year, the Afghans are evidently eager to take command of their own political destinies.’

And yet this was impossible in Crimea, although Russian troops were not occupying and fighting, merely said to be ‘massing’ on the border.

For the BBC, the Iraq election was ‘the first democratic election in fifty years’. (David Willis, BBC1, News at Ten, January 10, 2005) But the West had dismissed the Crimea referendum ‘as illegal and one that will be held at gunpoint’.

The BBC felt no need to reference the West’s view on Afghanistan, stating baldly:

‘The election marks the country’s first democratic transfer of power.’

On Channel 4 News, Alex Thomson, a courageous and comparatively honest reporter, covered the Afghan vote from Kabul. We tweeted him:

‘How free are these elections, Alex? What’s the state of press freedom, for example?’

We supplied some context:

‘In 2004-5, press supplied no analysis of state of press freedom prior to elections in Iraq, January ’05. Will you in Afghanistan?’

Thomson responded: ‘huge questions gents’. He added:

‘quick honest answer? I probably won’t regrettably. There’s a civil war on and it’s not too priority…’. Moreover: ‘I can only work 18-20 hours a day and there isn’t time is truthful answer. Someone should find research.’

Establishing whether the elections were actually free and fair – or not – was not ‘too priority’, somebody else’s job. A few moment’s research, and indeed thought, would have told Thomson that an election under US-UK occupation could not be described as free and fair.

Thomson later commented on his Channel 4 blog:

‘So enjoy your election in all its colour, noise, excitement and yes, valid democratic exercise up to a limited point.’

= Guardian – Working The ‘Very Hard Clay’ =

The vote in Iraq was ‘the country’s first free election in decades’ for the Guardian (Leader, ‘Vote against violence,’ January 7, 2005), which dismissed the Crimea referendum as ‘irrelevant’ because ‘it took place while the autonomous region was under military occupation’.

No surprises there. As for the election in Afghanistan:

‘And yet, in spite of Taliban attacks, Afghans will go to the polls on Saturday to elect a new president, with the turnout expected to be high, and media coverage voluminous and varied. Irregularities will be high, too, and more difficult to measure because of Taliban threats to monitors and foreign observers. But the leading candidates, even given their warlord connections, are credible figures. Ethnic deals should permit some transcending of regional loyalties. There is a woman candidate for vice-president.’

Far from ‘irrelevant’, then. The only identifiable military problem involved the usual bad guys – Afghans:

‘The Taliban may have changed… behind an unyielding facade. Or it will have to if the shift in public mood is reinforced by a successful election.’

Despite US-UK military occupation, the election could be ‘successful’.

From the lofty moral and intellectual heights of British civilisation, the Guardian editors patronised effortlessly:

‘Could we make the Afghans more like us? That has been the question ever since the Americans and their allies went into Afghanistan 12 years ago…’

This indeed was the central theme of the editorial, as indicated by the title:

‘Afghanistan: more like us: It is hard to resist the feeling that Afghans, responding to the chaos and opportunity of foreign intervention, have changed.’

Changed for the better, thankfully. That is, they have become ‘more like us’. The ‘intervention’ – in fact an illegal invasion – was an ‘opportunity’ for the victims, according to the UK’s leading liberal newspaper. As with every colonial mission, there have been difficulties:

‘Afghanistan is a very hard clay in which to work, and those who tried to work it were very slow and unskilled.’

Naturally, the British and American states that have ravaged the people and planet of this earth for hundreds of years have the right to ‘work’ the lowly Afghans, who are such ‘very hard clay’, in an attempt to remake them in ‘our’ exalted image. As for the problems:

‘The failures, the follies, and the tragedies which followed have been well documented. Generals, ambassadors, high representatives, aid experts and special envoys have come and gone. NATO soldiers have died, including 448 British, many more in the ranks of the Taliban, and more still among Afghan civilians.’

Chief among the failures, follies, tragedies, and indeed criminal complicity, has been the inability of our ‘free press’ to perceive the criminality of ‘our’ ‘unskilled’ work. This simply isn’t done. As for the Afghan ‘clay’, why even offer a ballpark figure for the casualties of ‘our’ blood-drenched pottery?

Passing over the criminal record of master potter Tony Blair, the Guardian splashed his complementary views across its front page. Independent commentator John Rentoul summarised the shared worldview with approval:

‘Now he [Blair] is calling on us to rescue true Muslims not just from dictators but from a perversion of their own religion.’

Blair’s comments were also treated to front-page coverage in the Independent and on the BBC website. Seumas Milne noted the perversity in the Guardian:

‘Quite why the views of a man whose military interventions in the Muslim world have been so widely discredited… should be treated with such attention by the media isn’t immediately obvious. But one reason is that they chime with those of a powerful section of the political and security establishment.’

Milne failed to mention his own newspaper’s front-page, or the ugly example of its ‘hard clay’ editorial. In fact, the Guardian has always been Blair’s greatest cheerleader. In May 2005, even after the invasion of Iraq, the editors wrote:

‘We believe that Mr Blair should be re-elected to lead Labour into a third term this week.’ (Leader, ‘Once more with feeling,’ The Guardian, May 3, 2005)

The Guardian-Blair view has a long, violent history stretching back many hundreds of years. In the nineteenth century, English civil servant Herman Merivale offered guidelines for government administrators interested in the control of native customs:

‘It will be necessary, in short, that the colonial authorities should act upon the assumption that they have the right in virtue of the relative position of civilised and Christian men to savages, to enforce abstinence from immoral and degrading practices, to compel outward conformity to the law of what we regard as better instructed reason.’ (Quoted, John Bodley, Victims of Progress, Mayfield Publishing, 1982, p.105)

In 2000, senior Guardian commentator Polly Toynbee updated the doctrine in an article titled, ‘The West really is the best’:

‘In our political and social culture we have a democratic way of life which we know, without any doubt at all, is far better than any other in the history of humanity. Even if we don’t like to admit it, we are all missionaries and believers that our own way is the best when it comes to the things that really matter.’ (Toynbee, The Observer, March 5, 2000)

Back in the real world, a study by Martin Gilens and Benjamin I. Page, ‘Testing Theories of American Politics: Elites, Interest Groups, and Average Citizen’, to be published in the autumn 2014 issue of the academic journal, ‘Perspectives on Politics’, finds that ‘the democratic way of life’ of the United States is in fact oligarchy masquerading as democracy:

‘When a majority of citizens disagrees with economic elites and/or well organized interests, they generally lose. Moreover, because of the strong status quo bias built into the U.S. political system, even when fairly large majorities of Americans favor policy change, they generally do not get it.’

The authors add:

‘When the preferences of economic elites and the stands of organized interest groups are controlled for, the preferences of the average American appear to have only a minuscule, near-zero, statistically non-significant impact upon public policy… we believe that if policymaking is dominated by powerful business organizations and a small number of affluent Americans, then America’s claims to being a democracy are seriously threatened’.

To compound the comedy, the Guardian reported of the June 3 presidential election in Syria, the latest unfortunate to be added to the list of official enemy states:

‘Western and Gulf Arab countries that back Assad’s opponents had called plans for the vote a “parody of democracy” and said it would wreck efforts to negotiate a peace settlement.’

The US oligarchy’s allies, the ‘Gulf Arab countries’ – currently waging merciless war on Syria – are themselves, of course, violent, unaccountable tyrannies. The Guardian failed to mention the irony, being itself a parody of an independent, progressive newspaper.

Article link: http://www.medialens.org/index.php/alerts/alert-archive/2014/762-hard-clay-remaking-afghanistan-in-our-image.html