Sunday, 31 May 2015

HOW 'DEMOCRACY NOW' SERVES NEOCOLONIALISM

COGNITIVE DISSIONANCE ON DEMOCRACY NOW? READ THIS.

This post stemmed from a comment made that DN should be covering the tragedy of the Rohingya and the complicity of Suu Kyi, as detailed in Tony Cartalucci’s “Who’s Driving the Rohingya into the Sea?“, excerpts of which I will paste at the bottom of this post.
On Democracy Now, on the subtle side of corporate presstitutery, Eric Draitser (StopImperialism.org) commented:
“Goodman is a foundation funded hack who did yeoman service for Obama and the cause of “humanitarian intervention” in Libya. She and Democracy Now disseminated lie after lie, parroting State Department talking points and lies from Human Rights Watch and Navi Pillay. Their “reporter” was a liar embedded with NATO-backed terrorists and they all have Libyan blood on their hands. In all that time reporting about Gaddafi alleged “crimes” (all of which have been debunked and proved to have been lies), they deliberately ignored the ethnic cleansing of Black Libyans in Fezzan, the Tawergha people, etc because it didn’t jive with the “Good rebels vs bad Gaddafi” script they were feeding the so called “progressive left”. Now they try to pretend they didn’t and they were against the war on Libya.
Goodman has done similarly with regard to Syria. They are discredited liars whose good work only comes in opposing Republican wars which takes no courage at all. They are, put simply, left liberal imperialists.
I said in 2011 that Democracy Now and Young Turks and all these other foundation funded left liberal imperialists would never be forgiven for their treachery, and they haven’t been, no matter how they try to whitewash their records.”
Draitser wrote a more detailed review of the criminal lies that enabled the destruction of Libya and murder of innocent Libyans in his “The Truth of Libya (Finally) Goes Mainstream“, in which he also addresses the war propaganda of DN:
“Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International should face serious investigations into criminal negligence, or at least gross misconduct, in terms of their dissemination of lies – lies which were used as the prime justification for the war in terms of how it was sold to the people. Is it a crime to inflate by 1000% casualty figures, the end result of which is a justification for war? If not, it should be, as without such propaganda, the war could never have been sold to the public.
Media organizations, especially some ostensibly on the Left, should also be held to account for their misinformation and disinformation. Democracy Now is at the top of the list of guilty organizations. As Bruce Dixon, Managing Editor of Black Agenda Report, wrote at the height of the war:
So like every other Western reporter, Anjali Kamat [Democracy Now’s Libya correspondent] never saw any “mercenaries,” just their oversized bullets. She never saw any mass graves of the hundreds or thousands allegedly killed by Khadaffi’s “heavy machine gun fire” either, or that would be on Democracy Now too. It’s not. Nobody’s located the thousands of wounded survivors either, that must have been the result of shooting into crowds killing hundreds of people, and none of this has stopped Democracy Now from carrying the story just like Fox News or CNN or MSNBC…Something is really wrong with this picture. We have to wonder whether, at least as far as the war in Libya goes, whether Democracy Now is simply feeding us the line of corporate media, the Pentagon and the State Department rather than fulfilling the role of unembedded, independent journalists.
As Dixon points out, Democracy Now exhibited at the very least poor journalistic practice, and at worst, served as the left flank of the imperial propaganda machine. By faithfully reporting the “facts”, which have now been utterly discredited, Kamat and Democracy Now primed the pump of left progressive support for “humanitarian” war.
“There have been many persistent reports from too many sources have pointed to widespread persecutions of black Libyans and migrants from sub-Saharan Africa. There are reports of all-black towns in Libya which have been wiped off the map by the Libyan rebels and their allies. Our own Cynthia McKinney has visited the families of some who were lynched — hanged by jeering mobs who used their cell phones to record the ghastly spectacle. Some of the videos of these lynchings were still on YouTube as late as last week.
Make no mistake, Democracy Now is one of the few places that have reported the persecution of migrants and black Libyans. But a careful search of Democracy Now stories from the past six or seven months reveals that of this handful of mentions of ethnic cleansing in Libya, all except one on March 7, 2011, [7] in which Anjali Kamat interviewed migrants from several countries awaiting transport out of Libya originated from Democracy Now studios stateside.
DN’s correspondents in Libya apparently have more important things to do than interview the black Libyan and migrant victims of what Kamat called “populist rage,” a curious and revealing term for lynch law in Libya.
…Anjali Kamat is one of those lazy and irresponsible reporters. She has carried tales of African mercenaries fighting for Muammar Khadaffi many times over the last few months, with no more proof than the rest….
…Democracy Now reporters used to question authority and empire, not serve it. Goodman in the 1990s and Jamail in 2004 told stories that made US officials furious, all of us uncomfortable, and that sometimes put their own safety at risk. That’s not what we see from Democracy Now’s coverage in Libya today, which can hardly be distinguished from that of Al-Jazzeera or CNN.”
“With the suppression of mounting facts that Western governments are waging a covert war of aggression in Syria, the Western public is right to treat the conventional media sources with skepticism and outright contempt. Such media are seen as “politicized” and “unreliable”, serving a naked imperialist agenda for Western regime change. In a word, they are damaged goods.
This is where a segment of the so-called alternative media can play a valuable propaganda function for Western powers. Because such media are supposed to be independent, critical, non-corporate, the public tends to consider their reports as objective and unbiased.  One such “alternative” news service is “Democracy Now” hosted by Amy Goodman. Goodman is seen as something of a campaigning critical journalist shedding the light of truth on the depredations of the US government, corporations and the Pentagon. But a closer look at what Goodman’s “Democracy Now” is reporting on Syria shows that the purported critical broadcaster has become a purveyor of Western government propaganda. While the mainstream media’s propaganda function is obvious to the informed public, Goodman’s “Democracy Now” plays a more subtle role. Camouflaged with the trappings of critical, independent journalism, “Democracy Now” serves to sow powerful seeds of misinformation in a way that the “compromised” mainstream media cannot.
This misinformation from “Democracy Now” is valuable to the ruling elite because to many of its readers it is not seen as misinformation.
Rather, the “news” on “Democracy Now” is viewed as reliable and representing the views of the anti-war, anti-imperialist constituency. In this way, Goodman is a valuable asset to Washington and Wall Street because her broadcasts can serve to disorient and undermine a constituency that is normally opposed to Western warmongering and imperialism. Many of the subscribers to “Democracy Now” may see through the misinformation. Many, though, may not, and therefore will become embedded with the imperialist agenda. The fact that Democracy Now ratings appear to be holding up would indicate that a lot of its followers are oblivious to the insidious effect of such misinformation. As such, Democracy Now is more valuable to the powers-that-be than, say, the New York Times or the Financial Times. “Democracy Now” ensures that the agenda of the powerful becomes infiltrated in a constituency that would otherwise be opposed to that agenda.
…The Houla massacre on 24 May is a case in point. The BBC and other mainstream media outlets have been shown to be outrageously wrong in their initial rush to blame the atrocity on Syrian government forces when the evidence has slowly emerged that it was most likely the grisly work of Western-backed mercenaries.
It is all the more disquieting when a supposedly informed, alternative news service, Democracy Now, peddles such blatant misinformation – more than six weeks after the massacre occurred and after evidence has been reported that points convincingly to Western-backed perpetrators.On 9 July, Goodman broadcast an interview with Rafif Jouejati, a spokesperson for a Syrian opposition group called the Syrian Local Coordination Committees, based in Washington DC.Despite the mounting evidence of Western, Turkish and Saudi/Qatari covert operations, Goodman gave her guest a free rein to regurgitate the litany of mainstream media calumnies on Syria. Without a hint of scepticism from Goodman, her guest said:
“The bottom line is that the majority of the country is engaged in a popular revolution for freedom, for democracy, for dignity… We have mountains of evidence indicating that [Assad’s] armed forces have been engaged in systematic torture, rampant detentions, massacres across the country.”
Really? The majority of the country engaged in a popular revolution for freedom, democracy and dignity? That sounds more like the fanciful imagination of someone safely based in Washington DC. By contrast, sources in Syria have confirmed that people are terrified by Western-armed gangs running amok in their communities, kidnapping, murdering, evicting families from their homes and burning down business premises.
Goodman also indulged in the overblown casualty figures from dubious Syrian opposition sources as if they were verifiable accurate data. She even sounded like Hillary Clinton in talking up the “defection” of the hapless former Syrian Brigadier General Manaf Tlass as “significant” when informed sources discount that news as a minor irrelevance.
In the interview between Goodman and her guest (whom sources describe as belonging to a family formerly aligned with the Syrian government), Bashar Al Assad was portrayed as an unhinged leader who is in denial over massacres – massacres, as we have noted, that have most likely been carried out by Western-backed death squads as confirmed by numerous reports.
Preposterously, Assad was described as guilty of much worse crimes than former Egyptian and Libyan rulers Hosni Mubarak and Muammar Gaddafi. Then the “alternative” Democracy Now broadcast this statement from the supposed opposition spokesperson as if it were normal discourse:

“I would like to think that we will proceed with full prosecution in the International Criminal Court. I think the longer this issue goes on and the more violence he [Assad] commits, the more likely he will wish to have a fate such as Gaddafi’s.”
Recall that the Libyan leader was lynched on a roadside by a NATO-directed mob, and sodomised with a knife before being shot dead. It may also be recalled that “Democracy Now” gave prominent broadcasts supporting NATO’s intervention in Libya and justifying the criminal subversion of that country. Going by the latest coverage on Syria, Democracy Now is acting once again under a “progressive” cloak as a propaganda tool for US-led imperialist intervention. Given the misplaced respect among many of the public seeking independent, alternative, accurate news and analysis, this insidious role of Democracy Now is reprehensible. May it be suggested, in the name of media transparency, that the programme be aptly renamed “Imperialism Now”.
****
Finally, excerpts from the article that sprung today’s renewed look at the lies of DN:
“…The group that is in fact driving the Rohingya from their homes in Myanmar and into the sea – and why this is not reported as the center of the current crisis – are the followers and supporters of the West’s own “patron saint of democracy,” Aung San Suu Kyi.
Suu Kyi herself, and many of the NGOs that support her and her political network are directly and substantially underwritten by the US and British governments.
These NGOs and faux-news agencies include the Irrawaddy, Era Journal, and the Democratic Voice of Burma (DVB), all admitted by the Burma Campaign UK (page 15) to be funded by the US National Endowment for Democracy (NED) along with “Mizzima” also fully funded by NED and convicted financial criminal George Soros’ Open Society.
There is also the “Burma Partnership” which upon its “About Us” page is listed a myriad of associations and organizations directly linked to Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy (NLD) party, including the Students and Youth Congress of Burma, the Forum for Democracy in Burma, and the Nationalities Youth Forum, which is directly funded by the Euro-Burma Office (in turn funded by the EU, and US National Endowment for Democracy), and Open Society.
The heavily US-British-backed Noble Peace Prize laureate’s followers have prosecuted a campaign of ultra-racist genocide aimed at eradicating Myanmar entirely of the Rohingya people, often with orgies of machete-wielding brutality and neighborhood-wide arson leaving scores of people dead, and hundreds, sometimes thousands homeless, destitute, and above all, desperate.
Leading the violence are Suu Kyi’s “saffron monks.” The so-called “Saffron Revolution” of 2007 seeking to oust the Myanmar government and put into power Aung San Suu Kyi and her “National League for Democracy” was named so after the saffron-colored robes of these supporters.
Underneath the “pro-democracy” narrative, however, is an ugly truth that if known more widely amongst the global public, would spell the end of both Suu Kyi and her foreign backers’ agenda in Myanmar.
While the Western media attempts to shift the blame on the Myanmar government itself for the current Rohingya crisis, it was the government that attempted to grant the Rohingya citizenship through incremental programs that included allowing them to vote in upcoming elections. The plan was, however, disrupted by violence spearheaded by Suu Kyi’s followers, as reported by Australia’s ABC News article, “Myanmar scraps temporary ID cards amid protests targeting ethnic minorities without citizenship.”
The irony of Suu Kyi’s supporters, supposedly representing a shining example of democracy worthy of a Nobel Peace Prize, attempting to deny hundreds of thousands of people their right to vote in elections is immeasurable.
Suu Kyi, for her part, has remained utterly silent regarding the brutality and inhumanity of her most loyal and active supporters. While she is portrayed as a woman of courage and conviction, in reality these “virtues” were bought and paid for through millions of dollars of support for both her and her political network over the decades by the US and British governments. While her silence is shrugged off by the Western media as “pragmatic” and “calculated,” it is in reality merely her refusal to condemn the very supporters who have carved out a niche for her amid Myanmar’s political landscape.
…Among Suu Kyi’s saffron butchers, there stands out one leader in particular, Wirathu. Wirathu has been involved in stirring up politically-motivated violence for over a decade. In particular, his group has carried out a bloody campaign against the Rohingya, even landing him in prison in 2003.
 The International Business Times published an article titled, “Burmese Bin Laden: Is Buddhist Monk Wirathu Behind Violence in Myanmar?” explaining in further detail:
The shadow of controversial monk Wirathu, who has led numerous vocal campaigns against Muslims in Burma, looms large over the sectarian violence in Meikhtila.
Wirathu played an active role in stirring tensions in a Rangoon suburb in February, by spreading unfounded rumours that a local school was being developed into a mosque, according to the Democratic voice of Burma. An angry mob of about 300 Buddhists assaulted the school and other local businesses in Rangoon.

The monk, who describes himself as ‘the Burmese Bin Laden’ said that his militancy “is vital to counter aggressive expansion by Muslims”.

He was arrested in 2003 for distributing anti-Muslim leaflets and has often stirred controversy over his Islamophobic activities, which include a call for the Rhohingya and “kalar”, a pejorative term for Muslims of South Asian descent, to be expelled from Myanmar.

He has also been implicated in religious clashes in Mandalay, where a dozen people died, in several local reports.
By all accounts, Wirathu is a violent criminal leading mobs which have cost thousands of people their lives and has created a humanitarian crisis that is slowly engulfing all of Southeast Asia. Yet Wirathu is still counted among Suu Kyi’s most vocal supporters and frequently weighs in on high level decisions made by Suu Kyi’s political party. Furthermore, the West has failed to condemn him, place any sanctions upon him, and through their various media outlets, still grant him interviews, lending him continued credibility and influence.
…This systematic genocidal brutality is what has driven the Rohingya to the seas from their rightful homes in Myanmar, scattering them abroad and creating a humanitarian crisis for other nations to bear. In particular, Myanmar’s neighbor Thailand has been criticized vocally by the West as this crisis continues on, and more so now than ever since Thailand has ousted Washington and Wall Street’s political order of choice there in a military coup in 2014.
But it is clear that the source of the problem is in Myanmar, and in particular the violence being used to drive the Rohingya from their homes. Myanmar’s neighbors are but scapegoats for perpetrators not politically convenient for the Western media and the West’s many so-called “international” institutions and rights organizations to name and shame. If anything, the perpetrators have created a political and humanitarian crisis regionally, giving the West an opportunity to meddle even further.
Regardless of what Myanmar’s neighbors do to assist Rohingya being driven from their homes, if the violence driving them abroad to begin with is not stopped, the humanitarian crisis will only continue to grow. Such violence, however, cannot be stopped so long as the self-proclaimed arbiters of international order and human rights not only refuse to condemn those guilty of precipitating this crisis, but in fact actively defend and support them.
For Southeast Asia, and in particular, Myanmar, Thailand, and Malaysia – all nations targeted by the US and British with perpetual political meddling – exposing the true perpetrators of this crisis, and in particular the political order under which these perpetrators are operating, can expose Aung San Suu Kyi and her party and disrupt other foreign backed political proxies across the region like her. By doing so, perhaps an end can be brought to this current crisis today, and the next one prevented from unfolding tomorrow.
The Ronhingya are not “stateless.” They are not “boat people.” They are not “without a home.” Their home is Myanmar. Ultra-racist genocidal criminals, apparently with the support and blessing of the West, have driven them from that home.”

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