Human Rights

Posted by John Stauber on September 23, 2009

Lisa Graves, the Executive Director of the Center for Media and Democracy, was the only public interest group advocate invited to testify in Washington on Wednesday, September 23, before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee in its hearing on the Patriot Act and national security surveillance issues.

The complete hearing, including her testimony, is viewable online. In her written testimony, Lisa dissected U.S. government propaganda and spin from the previous Patriot Act debate of 2004 and 2005, calling for policy improvements to better protect human rights and civil liberties.

She was interviewed by Amy Goodman on her Democracy Now! program on September 22, where she explained the issues at stake in the current debate over Patriot Act renewal advocated by the Obama Administration.

Posted by Diane Farsetta on August 19, 2009

"The PR race is not that different from the arms race," writes John Feffer. "Russia, for instance, recently paid nearly $3 million to Ketchum for a six-month media blitz to promote the country's leaders and policies. Georgia has retained Public Strategies, Inc. at $50,000 a month.

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Posted by Wendell Potter on July 29, 2009

The insurance industry, its business allies and its shills in Congress are doing their best once again to scare us away from real health care reform, just as they did 15 years ago. Using the same tactics and language they did then, insurers and their cronies are warning us that America will be sliding down a slippery slope toward socialism if the federal government creates a public insurance option to compete with the cartel of huge for-profit companies that now dominate the health insurance industry.

One of the false images they try to create in our minds is of long waits for needed care if our reformed health care system resembles in any way the systems of other developed countries in the world--systems that don't deny a single citizen access to affordable care, much less 50 million of them.

Here is a real image, and a very scary one, that I wish those overpaid insurance executives and members of Congress could have witnessed before dawn a few days ago: a thousand men, women and children standing for hours, in the dark, in a line that seemed to be endless, waiting patiently for a chance -- a chance because the need is so great many are turned away -- to get much-needed care from a volunteer doctor.

Posted by Diane Farsetta on July 07, 2009

"Six months after Israel launched a 22-day offensive in the besieged Gaza Strip that killed more than 1400 Palestinians, the country has faced one of the worst public relations crises," reports The Age.

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Posted by Sheldon Rampton on June 19, 2009

Retired U.S. Col. Ralph Peters has written an essay calling for military attacks on journalists. Writing for the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA), Peters calls the media "a hostile third party in the fight ... killers without guns," and writes, "future wars may require censorship, news blackouts and, ultimately, military attacks on the partisan media. ... The point of all this is simple: Win. In warfare, nothing else matters.

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Posted by Diane Farsetta on June 02, 2009

"In recent months, the U.S. command in Afghanistan has begun publicizing every single enemy fighter killed in combat, the most detailed body counts the military has released since the practice fell into disrepute during the Vietnam War," reports the Wall Street Journal. The change comes in response to concerns "that at home, the common perception is this war is being lost," explained a military spokeswoman. Enemy body counts are only released for U.S.

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Posted by Diane Farsetta on March 19, 2009

The fifth World Water Forum, in Istanbul, Turkey, is titled "Bridging Divides for Water." It's an ironic choice, writes Mark Hays, as the corporations steering the Forum "have a stake in maximizing profits from water services delivery and the current global water crisis." The Forum is organized by the World Water Council, "an organization founded, led and influenced by transnational corporations, international financial institutions

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Posted by Diane Farsetta on February 26, 2009

As he campaigns to become Indonesia's next president, Prabowo Subianto is often asked about his past. Prabowo was a commander in Indonesia's notorious military special forces unit, Kopassus, under the dictator Suharto.

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Posted by Diane Farsetta on January 30, 2009

"Fiat, strapped for cash and struggling to draw attention to the Lancia, decided a few years ago to promote the brand as helping improve society," reports Aaron Patrick. So the company sponsored the Ninth World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates, held in Paris in December 2008. The laureates were driven to the summit in black Lancia Deltas, and filmed by the car company as they arrived.

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Posted by Diane Farsetta on January 06, 2009

"To gain greater international support for Israel Defense Forces operations in the Gaza Strip," Israeli Foreign Minister (and candidate for Prime Minister) Tzipi Livni directed the Foreign Ministry to lead "an aggressive and diplomatic international public relations campaign." In addition to meetings with foreign officials and interviews with international media, Israeli officials are posting videos to YouTube and

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