Monday, September 2, 2013

Information Control Ramps Up Post-Snowden, RIP Free Press

I posted the item above on Facebook early this morning. An environmental leader in my community tried to watch the video and he got the same message I did. According to

The decision to block American audiences from viewing their international news videos is apparently a concession on the part of the Persian Gulf-based television news network to get U.S. TV operators to carry them, reported.

Here's the short text in full from the Al Jazeera English tar sands article:
Canada's oil sands boom is producing an unwanted by-product, huge piles of petroleum coke. Tens of millions of tonnes of the black powdery substance are accumulating in both Canada and the US. Al Jazeera's Daniel Lak reports from the US city of Detroit, where large clouds of coke from nearby Canada blew into homes last month.
This suppression of key health information for citizens reminds me of the virtual blackout of news from Fukushima these past two and half years. 

Dedicated nuclear disaster watchers have shared as much information as they could gather or glean, but only this month did corporate news outlets finally begin reporting on a situation that is already well into its meltdown phase, as in NBC reporting yesterday Radiation spikes to fatal levels at Japan's Fukushima nuclear plant. Had information been freely available to us since the earthquake and tsunami, might TEPCO and the Japanese government have received the kind of urgent expert help they have needed to possibly contain the disastrous effects on human and other life on our planet? We'll never know.

When corporations own media outlets, put politicians in office and remove them, and ignore the will of the people, we get action that focuses on capitalism's bottom line rather than life's bottom line. From Al Jazeera's article today on the Prime Minister of Japan (finally) stepping in to head up the disaster response:
Public concern over Fukushima, revived by the news of leaks of radiated water at the plant, have threatened to further delay the restart of other off-line reactors - a crucial part of Abe's plan for economic revival and a pillar of the turnaround plan Tepco has given its creditor banks.
Note that "public concern" is the threat here, not the 1,800 millisieverts per hour of radiation TEPCO admits it detected, a level which will kill a human in four hours.
Photo making the rounds on the Internet. Looks like the US government may have a problem on their hands. Did I mention that the US Army admitted it was blocking The Guardian website from access by all enlisted personnel due to reporting of NSA surveillance news via Edward Snowden's leaks?
Meanwhile, keeping people well distracted: the imminent threat that the US will bomb Syria. Around 80% of the public currently opposes this military action -- for a variety of sound reasons. Demonstrations broke out all over the globe after corporate government spokesmen Obama and Kerry went on t.v. to rattle their sabres at Assad.

Compare if you will the reporting on Portland, Maine's protest and march organized by Veterans for Peace chapters and joined by about 50 participants.

The corporate news version was produced by a writer for the Portland Press Herald, which is owned by the hedge fund billionaire husband of Democrat Chellie Pingree, who represents Portland in Congress.

The second report was compiled from footage and interviews. I was pleased to see my CODEPINK associate Pat Taub speaking up for the grandchildren, and calling for "more feet on the street" to keep pressure on as Congress considers the matter. Also pleased to hear a handful of citizens pointing out that budget cuts at home are a direct result of out of control spending on the military.

Monument Square August 31, 2013 Portland Maine Syria protest / Regis Tremblay on Vimeo.

The same day I compared these two reports I noticed a Huff Po column by Norman Solomon warning that the propaganda ramp up to sell an attack on Syria will be beyond the scope of anything we've seen so far. I was not surprised since when I searched for "protest Syria" I found numerous corporate news accounts giving equal billing to Syrian-Americans calling for the US to bomb Assad regime strongholds, and repeating a lie against CODEPINK that we have been "disturbingly silent" about criticizing the Obama administration's ongoing air strikes in numerous countries. I have seen this lie -- which I believe is intended to herd us onto one side of the false dichotomy of Democrats vs. Republicans -- so many times in so many places that I sense it must spring from a common source.

Activists have used blogs, Twitter, Facebook, web sites, and email as tools to share information and plan resistance.
Source: US woman violently arrested at protest against US military action in Syria / Press TV
Facebook is how I learned of police state creeping in this report that veteran Emily Yates was arrested and roughed up in Philadelphia for playing her banjo in a spot on Independence Mall deemed unacceptable by park police. Last summer I experienced the arbitrary zones and restrictions imposed in this public space during the Occupy National Gathering. Good thing I did not have a banjo.

Also via Facebook, I learned of this Arizona checkpoint action recording threats, dogs, and the order to "shut up." If this brave citizen wasn't a white woman with a white male companion, a camera, and lots of family houses, how might this incident have ended?

Any day now I expect to open my blog and find that access has been denied. Information control is the order of the day.

1 comment:

loveEliz said...

I will get this information out as far as I can. This entire situation is indicative that we are no longer a free country and citizenship does not have much clout. Being white and well off still helps, but we are going to have to insist that 100% of citizens are treated with respect and that information flows freely as is necessary for a free country to exist. Jacob told me about Emily and we need to make sure she is safely out of jail. Thanks Lisa, love, Eliz