The Two-faced Nature of Our Communities

August 26, 2021  

About me
Lawrence Davidson is a retired professor of history from West Chester University in West Chester PA. His academic research focused on the history of American foreign relations with the Middle East. He taught courses in Middle East history, the history of science and modern European intellectual history.

Posted by Lawrence Davidson 

Part I—What Motivates True Believers?

One of the alleged big mysteries of our day is why so many folks—and not just those in the United States—readily believe in demonstrable falsehoods. No reasoning creature ought to believe in the nonsense put out by QAnon, or for that matter, by someone as transparently psychopathic as Donald Trump—but many, numbering in the millions, really do. Why?

Here are some of the explanations offered by those supposedly in the know:

Stupidity and Laziness: The traditional narrative says that the cause is stupidity combined with laziness. As one researcher describes it, “if you believe false things, then you must be stupid. It must be because you haven’t really made an effort to actually figure out what is going on.” This is a superficial assessment. Most people indeed are not critical thinkers who consciously seek to “actually figure out what is going on” in an independent fashion. Essentially, they do not possess enough free will to do so. On the social level, they figure things out according to cultural, community, or group dictates. This is not “stupid” of them, nor is it a function of laziness. It stems from being born and raised as part of a society. And, some societies, particularly smaller ones, families, villages, tribes, and can exert considerable social pressure.

“Motivated reasoning” aka confirmation bias: This argument drops the “stupid” appellation and doesn’t speak to the particular history or situation of the true believers, but rather tells us that there is a natural “tendency to find arguments in favor of conclusions we want to believe to be stronger than arguments for conclusions we do not want to believe.” And indeed, there is plenty of evidence for this. It is why con artists make a good living. They rob us by telling us, convincingly, what we want to hear. Too many politicians are con artists who have figured out what their constituencies want to hear and feed it back to them without much regard for objective truth. Some of them, such as Donald Trump and his minions, do this in a way that breeds anger and even hatred for the unbelievers.

The Functional Evolution theory: There is a recent study out that adds a third line of explanation. It concentrates on falsehood as a vehicle for (1) establishing and maintaining group solidarity and (2) getting the upper hand in any struggle by destroying the reputation of the adversary. In this way, blatant lying and total suspension of reasoned thought become “functional.” Here are the study’s points:

By telling lies you “are in a better situation to mobilize and coordinate the attention of your own group.” For instance, the authors of this study assert that one of the ways fanatics signal group membership and loyalty is by believing
blatantly false notions. “The basic logic at work here is that anyone can believe the truth, but only loyal members of the group can believe something that is blatantly false.” This might seem a bit of a stretch, but the authors believe this tactic is used both by groups like QAnon and some successful religious movements.

Of course, it will not do to just believe crazy things about your group. You have to come to believe your adversary is evil. You must swallow the kind of beliefs—they are remarkably similar in every case—that have led to ethnic massacres and horrific episodes like the holocausts in Germany, Cambodia, Bosnia, and Rwanda.

Here the authors make a distinction between two types of belief: (a) “beliefs that we have as representations of reality,” that is, those that reflect the truth so we can successfully “navigate the world;” and (b) beliefs that allow us to rally the necessary emotions to fight an alleged enemy till they are essentially destroyed. These latter beliefs do not have to be tied to “representations of reality.” In fact, it is better if they do not: better if the Japanese become just “Japs,” the Germans, “Huns,” the Vietnamese, “gooks,” the Jews, “kykes,” the Arabs and Palestinians, “anti-Semites.”

In other words, there might be “functional reasons for spreading falsehoods”—lying as a selected evolutionary trait. The propensity for both self-deception and the false characterization of others can serve the end of your group’s survival.

Part II—The Social Power of Our Local Groups

A problem with the above explanations is they only address the consciousness of cult members or “true believers.” That is, they address the imbecility of someone running around the nation’s capital in a hat with buffalo horns claiming “QAnon sent me.” Such a person may well believe his group’s nonsense for the sake of signaling membership and loyalty. But such hypotheses, regardless of any vague evolutionary impulse, can’t explain why a broader out-group population, numbering in the millions, goes along with the falsehoods of Donald Trump and other con artist authoritarians—and have done so throughout history. Nor can we simply dismiss this vulnerability of millions with notions of stupidity and laziness.

Here are some additional considerations that may help fill in the gaps of our understanding:

—The social/geographical context can encourage a form of tribalism. Most of us are strongly shaped by our locality. This is the case despite world-ranging journalism and international travel. Most of us are, in fact, locally regimented to fit into the mindset of our families, our neighborhoods, our places of work, our schools, our religious centers, our class-based networks, and so forth. These are the environments in which we learn the power of group culture. And most of us learn to do what our group does, think what our community thinks.

—The United States (just like many other countries) are a collection of smaller regions cobbled together over the history of the nation. Regional differences which are set as insular subcultures can prevail despite shifting population trends. Thus, Republican cultism finds its warmest reception in those parts of the country where a stagnant form of traditional white culture prevails. The affected population may be relatively isolated and rural. It has inherited a frontier outlook of radical individualism. For such folks, the government is anathema on principle and is usually seen as the real source of false information. Communities unlike theirs, usually urban and allegedly associated with “liberals,” are also seen as threats to their local values.

On the other hand, one can find the Republican cultist mindset in the boardrooms of power where government is seen as a tool to shape society to one’s class benefit. Donald Trump himself is of this sub-culture.

—Collective thinking is what holds certain communities together, and if a strong and charismatic (secular or religious) leader comes along and shapes a message to echo aspects of a local social outlook (for instance gun “rights,” anti-abortion sentiments, racist or gender bias, etc.) while disparaging other orientations seen by the group as threateningly alien, he or she can win the support of whole regions.

Part III—Breaking Free

It is community and group pressures that can set up millions to accept lies. Such pressure essentially binds the individual’s will to what may be a suborned collective. When this happens, reasoned discussion with the believer will be of no avail. The only thing that might break the bind is a catastrophe that undermines the collective message. And even then, breaking loose can be traumatic.

A good example of this—how scary it can be to break free of the power of one’s local environment even in dire circumstances—was given in a 31 July 2021 report in the Kansas City Star.  According to Dr. Priscilla Frase, “a hospitalist and chief medical information officer” for Ozarks Healthcare, “People come in to get vaccinated who have tried to sort of disguise their appearance and even went so far as to say, ‘Please, please, please don’t let anybody know that I got this vaccine. I don’t want my friends to know but I don’t want to get COVID.’. . . But they’re very concerned about how the people that they love, within their family and within their friendship circles and work circles are going to react if they found out they got the vaccine.”

Part IV—Conclusion

One might say that those who believe in crazy ideas and claims are but a tiny minority. That only oddballs fall for improbable claims. However, this is historically inaccurate. A significant portion of the world’s population has always believed in the fantastical and improbable. Today’s examples of such beliefs range from faith in astrology, to the belief in aliens roaming our cities, to the existence of a real Sherlock Holmes. And, of course, most of the claims of religion, established or otherwise, are of a fantastic, untestable nature. Then there is the embarrassing case of Senator Susan Collins of Maine who, caught in the January 6 mass assault on the Capitol, said that her first thought was that the Iranians were attacking.

These random examples suggest that most folks do fine when all that is called for is getting through their usual daily routine. However, put anything new and unexpected in front of them and many become vulnerable to rumor mongering, propaganda, and the claims of con artists and charlatans.  

Today’s style of mass media (where every group with a grievance and access to the airways can create their own propaganda machine) combined with the present open-ended use of the First Amendment (free speech) makes this vulnerability worse. Keep in mind that free speech does not equate with truth and can be abused in the form of libel, inciting to riot—as occurred in Washington on January 6—or forms of propaganda that periodically turn democratic societies into barbaric dictatorships. 

Humans are social animals. Most of us are adrift apart from our various communities. It is a mixed blessing, for while group membership can make us feel secure and wanted, it can also lead us astray into racism, misogyny, and all manner of religious bias. The stagnant form of traditional white culture in the United States has edged closer to such a degenerated state of mind due to the pressures exerted upon it by several radical rightwing groups and the mendacious scheming of Donald Trump. So, if you are white, if you are American, and particularly if you live in one of those “red states”—or for that matter, if you are tied into any group with a hard-and-fast bias, regardless of color—beware of the two-faced nature of community.

Quick news update from the Saker (July 15th, 2021)

Quick news update from the Saker (July 15th, 2021)

July 15, 2021

Crazy times!

It turns out that the Colombian thugs which killed the President of Haiti were linked to both the DEA and the FBI.  The former agency confirmed that the killer were, indeed, part of a DEA team , but they never got the order to kill anybody.  Right.

[Sidebar for the alternatively gifted: if you are thinking “oh no!  The DEA is a respected branch of the US government, they would never do that“, I remind you that this latest assassination was in many ways very similar to the (failed) coup against Maduro (when they tried to blow him up with a drone) and the (also failed) “invasion from the sea”, again against Maduro (whom they wanted to kidnap and bring to the USA) which was also executed by thugs close to US three letter agencies.]

In the meantime, the Mayor of Miami wants the US military to bomb Cuba.  His logic?  Both Republicans and Democrats bombed sovereign nations in full illegality (no UNSC Resolution).  Does that mean that he wants Russia to bomb the USA for all the truly innumerable cases of human rights and civil right violations committed in the US?

By the way, the riots in Cuba were very limited and short lived, especially if compared to the numerous violent protests in Colombia.

It is also funny to see how Cuban rioters are freedom fighters whereas the protesters of Jan 6th are “terrorists”.

Quod licet Iovi, non licet bovi I suppose…

Putin has just authored a seminal article on the history of Russia and the Ukraine.  See here for the article itself, and for a follow-up interview here.  I won’t write a detailed reaction/analysis of this text for the two following reasons:

  • The facts listed by Putin are uncontroversial, you can find them in any decent history book.  The way the Ukronazis deal with this is to invent a totally new “history” of the Ukraine, but without contributing any facts to substantiate their imaginary reality.
  • As for Putin’s analysis and conclusions, I agree with them.

Finally, there is a lot of things going on in the Ukraine, “Ze” seems to be in real trouble as the Biden Admin seems to be preparing a “post-Ze” period.  Very interestingly, the Ukronazi strongman cum (now ex-) Minister of the Interior, Arsen Avakov, either was resigned or resigned voluntarily.  Most observers agree that the reason for this was to decouple Avakov (which the Empire still needs) from “Ze” (which is totally useless) before “Ze” sinks to the bottom of the ocean.   It is too early to pick a version, but knowing the Ukraine, the info about what just happens will definitely leak and will be made public by the Ukrainian opposition leaders and analysts (Elena Bondarenko, Anatolii Sharii, Rostislav Ishchenko, Mikhail Pogrebinskii, etc.).

Very bad news from France: Macron clearly wants to make anti-Covid vaccines mandatory, first for healthcare workers and, this fall, apparently for everybody.  Knowing the French, there will be violent resistance to this kind of freedom-crushing measures.  A military coup is also always a possibility.  The “great silent one” as the French military is often called might not remain silent, especially not after many French generals warned that France is at the edge of a major collapse.

Yesterday was the National Holiday of France and the cops beat the living crap of the many rioters which took to the streets to protest the policies of the French government.  That is “democracy” at work I suppose 🙂

In Russia, the Moscow Patriarchate, always the obedient mouthpiece for whoever happens to be sitting in the Kremlin, has gone as far as to declare that those who refuse the vaccination are committing a sin!  Here is the original article (in German) about this: https://de.rt.com/russland/120250-russisch-orthodoxe-kirche-impfverweigerer-begehen/ and here is a machine translation into English: https://translate.yandex.com/translate?lang=de-en&url=https%3A%2F%2Fde.rt.com%2Frussland%2F120250-russisch-orthodoxe-kirche-impfverweigerer-begehen%2F.

Keep in mind that Putin himself said that there would never be mandatory vaccinations in Russia, so in this case the Moscow Patriarchate tried to over-please the Kremlin a little too much and, as as result, we have this weird situation of Putin saying that each Russian can decide for himself/herself whether to take a vaccine or not, and the MP adds that “yes, you a free, but say “no” and you are sinning before God”.  Truth be told, these folks are selected for their total obedience, not for their brains…

Of course, there is absolutely NO theological excuse for such a crazy statement, none!  Keep in mind that the person who made that statement is not just some lone, crazy, bishop but the Chairman of the Department for external Church relations of the Moscow Patriarchate, Metropolitan Hilarion.  It don’t get more official than that.  Also, “Patriarch” Kirill used to occupy that function in the past (the Dep of External Relation of the Moscow Patriarchate was simply a franchise of the bad old Soviet KGB) and that is a function which only the most trusted candidates are allowed to ever reach.  You can think of the MP as a combination of Peskov and Zakharova, only dressed up in clerical vestments.

In conclusion, I have a dilemma and I would ask for your opinion: as many of you know, I have a very bad opinion of the Moscow Patriarchate (MP) and I don’t even recognize it as a legitimate part of the Russian Orthodox Church.  I could write up an article explaining it all, but I ALSO am aware that the MP is under attack by all the russophobic factions in the West and under attack by western religious sects (including the woke-home-lobby in both the US and EU).  Last, but certainly not least, there are a lot of people who simply don’t know the history of the MP and who sincerely take it to be a Russian Orthodox Church.  If I break the truth to them, they will be hurt and deeply offended.

I think my latest “cage rattling” exercise about the COVID-deniers proves that I do not shy away from writing deeply unpopular things (writing has never been a popularity contest for me, and since I have no ads and, therefore, no ad-money, I don’t have to worry about my controversial positions affecting my revenue.  But while I have no respect for the attitude, behavior and intolerance of the COVID-deniers, I have a great deal of respect for the Russian Orthodox faithful who know very little about the history of the MP and who very sincerely love their parish priest, possibly even their ruling bishop.  And I do not want to offend these “little ones” (in faith).

So what do I do?  Do I break this abscess and let all the pus out, or shall I wait for better times?

Please let me know.

I will end on a funny note: a US “diplomat” was caught on CCTV stealing a sign along a train track near the city of Tver in Russia.  It was not the FSB or the FSO which caught him, but the local police department.  The “diplomat” was quickly and quietly removed from Russia by the US Embassy.  This happened earlier this Spring, but the Russians released the video (see here) only now.  I knew that US diplomats nowadays were crap, but that kind of kleptocracy really reaches a new low 🙂  Next, the Russians will catch a US “diplomat” exhibiting himself in front of schoolchildren or eating his own feces.  Should that happen, Uncle Shmuel will blame the “KGB” (sic) for using an super dooper and super secret “energy weapon” against the coprophagic “diplomat” (especially if “diversity” in hiring continues to be the #1 criteria for the US government).

Hugs and cheers

The Saker

PS: about the US fleeing from Afghanistan, there is an interesting question which all should ask ourselves.  The question has two parts.  Part one: how many countries has the US invaded, or bombed, or overthrown or otherwise subverted since the end of WWII? and part two: to how many of those countries did the US bring freedom, democracy and progress?

British schoolchildren face punishment for wearing Palestine flags and keffiyeh’s

Students said they were threatened with detention, expulsion and barred from taking exams due to their pro-Palestine activism

Children across the UK have faced disciplinary action for their Palestine activism on school premises (AFP)

By Areeb Ullah

Published date: 26 May 2021

Schoolchildren in the UK are being punished for their pro-Palestine activism on school premises, with some being disciplined for wearing keffiyehs and holding Palestine flags.

Several students who spoke to Middle East Eye said they were threatened with detention, expulsion and being blocked from taking their exams if they continued protesting for Palestinian rights on school premises.

The forms of activism being penalised by schools include displaying the Palestinian flag on face masks or their hands and putting up posters designed by students to educate their peers on the Israel-Palestinian issue.

Every student and teacher who spoke to MEE requested anonymity as they feared possible repercussions from their school for speaking out.

Picture of Palestine posters put up by students at Allerton George in Leeds (Supplied)
Picture of Palestine posters put up by students at Allerton George in Leeds. Students had to take pictures in secret as phones are banned on school premises (Supplied)

Pupils who spoke to MEE attended schools in Birmingham, Leeds, Manchester, Rochdale and different areas of London.

Taking inspiration from last year’s Black Lives Matter protests (BLM) and her school’s awareness campaigns on LGBT rights and mental health, Jay assumed Allerton George would encourage discussion on Palestine.

But when students put up posters around the school in communal areas without permission, teachers quickly took them down.

“The teachers went as far as ripping the Palestine posters into pieces and scrunching the ripping the Palestine posters into pieces and scrunching them up in our faces,” Jay told MEE.

“When we asked why they took down the posters, the teachers said they didn’t have to justify it to us and were given clear instructions to take down these posters as they were seen as sending antisemitic messages.”

Jay stressed the messages on the posters were not antisemitic and said: “End Israeli Apartheid, End illegal Occupation and Free Palestine”. 

She added: “They took our lanyards from us because they had the Palestine flag.

“When we asked them why it was okay to wear BLM or LGBTQ+ flags on our lanyards but not Palestine, they couldn’t give us an answer and later said as a political cause, it caused distress to others.”

Students from Allerton Grange later posted a video of headteacher Mike Roper describing the Palestinian flag as a “call to arms” and “symbol of antisemitism”. Roper has since apologised after facing protests outside the school. 

‘Posters were torn down and binned’

Jay said the school had refused to take down the Israeli flag displayed in the library after seeing the Palestine flag taken down.

Allerton George had not responded to MEE’s requests for comment at the time of this article’s publication.

Some teachers from other schools who spoke to MEE also confirmed that students were placed in detention for putting up posters in support of Palestine.

Like Jay, Sam from West London put up posters in his school for Palestine on their class boards and wore badges to raise awareness about Palestine.

“We put up small Palestinian flags and posters on our class poster boards wearing badges that read ‘Free Palestine’, drawing Palestine flags on our hands and wearing keffiyehs to spread awareness and pique student interest,” Sam told MEE.

“The posters were torn down and binned, the students were told to remove their badges at the threat of suspension from school and all ‘flags and symbols’ were removed from sight at the threat of detention.” 

Sam added that students were threatened with being withdrawn from their GCSE exams if they refused to delete a video of senior staff taking down posters or wore a Palestine badge.

Aisha faced a similar situation as Sam did at Brampton Manor Academy in Newham, east London, where she says she was punished for wearing a Free Palestine badge in her school.

She said her teachers banned students from protesting and threatened them with detention if they continued putting them up. 

Students fear speaking out

Several students from other parts of the UK also expressed their disappointment at how their schools reacted towards their activism following the BLM protests.

Letters given to MEE that were sent to teachers and parents by Redbridge Council and a school in Birmingham told them that schools are “apolitical” bodies and could not allow students to participate in Palestine protests despite holding discussions for BLM and selling poppies to students.

Ilyas Nagdee, an activist who campaigns against the Prevent strategy, said children and their parents had contacted him about schools clamping down on pro-Palestine activism.

‘What we are seeing now is a product of years of Prevent trying to micro-manage political conversations’

– Shereen Fernandez, Queen Mary University

His call-out on Twitter to help students facing issues at school for their Palestine protests was retweeted 1,300 times at the time of writing.

Since then, Nagdee has received nearly a hundred requests for help, with many students afraid to speak out publicly.

“The cases we have received span the entire length of the country with hotspots where there are sizeable Muslim communities. The sanctions applied are wide in range, from young people being spoken to in class or given lunchtime isolation all the way to exclusions,” said Nagdee.

“We are also receiving a growing number of concerned parents who are contacting us due to fear their child has fallen into the clutches of Prevent or fearful of visits from the police.

Prevent in schools

Shereen Fernandez, a lecturer at Queen Mary University in London who specialises in Prevent in schools, believes the school reaction to Palestine protests is a direct result of the Prevent strategy telling teachers that campaigning for Palestine is associated with extremism.

Prevent is a strand of the British government’s counter-terrorism strategy that aims to “safeguard and support those vulnerable to radicalisation, to stop them from becoming terrorists or supporting terrorism”.

It was publicly launched in the aftermath of the 2005 London bombings and was initially targeted squarely at Muslim communities, prompting continuing complaints of discrimination and concerns that the programme was being used to collect intelligence.

“Although Prevent will maintain that schools are ‘safe spaces’, that is not the case, as teachers will be anxious about approaching ‘controversial’ topics like Palestine because of its alleged association to extremism as indicated in the training material.”

“Symbols of solidarity such as wearing a badge supporting Palestine has been enough to refer students in the past to Prevent.”

In 2016, MEE revealed that the UK government told teachers in schools, colleges and universities to monitor Muslim students who display an interest in Palestine as being susceptible to terrorism.

And in 2014, Rahmaan Mohammadi, a 17-year-old student from Luton, was reportedly referred to Prevent and visited by the police after he organised a Palestine fundraiser at his school.

A teacher from Mayfield school in the London area of Ilford said the school’s reaction to pro-Palestine protests was “confusing”, adding that colleagues perceive “pro-Palestine activism as racism”.

“I wouldn’t be surprised if Prevent is involved in constructing that line for schools across the country, and I’d say issues like BLM and poppies are allowed because they are considered neutral enough for schools to talk about.”

Mayfield School had not responded to MEE’s requests for comment by the time of this article’s publication.

Nagdee, the activist, said that many parents who spoke to him said they feared their children would be referred to Prevent because of their campaigning.

‘Biased’ assemblies

Following the protests, many schools across the UK held assemblies to address student concerns on raising awareness. 

But students who spoke to MEE said the assemblies fuelled further anger among students.

Images posted online showed students protesting at Judgemeadow Community College in Leicester after it was perceived to minimise Palestinian suffering. 

It remains unclear whether students in the video were punished for protesting.

Sam noted how his teacher described the tensions between Israelis and Palestinians as similar to a “messy bedroom” and disputed the phrasing of tensions as a “conflict”. 

“To address the discomfort many students felt about censorship of student voices, they organised an assembly on the concept of ‘conflict’ where the events in Palestine was compared to a ‘messy bedroom where a rebellious child and their parent had differing opinions on how it should be dealt with,” said Sam. 

“It just felt patronising and demeaning to us all.” 

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الحرب الأخطر The most dangerous war

** Please scroll down for the ADJUSTED English Machine translation **

الغرب أنشأ غرفاً ومنظمات وموّلها بسخاء لتشويه ما يحدث على الأرض السورية
الغرب أنشأ غرفاً ومنظمات وموّلها بسخاء لتشويه ما يحدث على الأرض السورية

الحرب الأخطر

bouthaina shaaban | Belçika Yeni Haber

بثينة شعبان

المصدر: الميادين نت

نيسان 19 2021

هناك حرب مخابراتية إعلامية تستخدمها أجهزة المخابرات الغربية، وهي تسبق وتستمر إلى ما بعد الحرب العسكرية. وهذه الحرب بحاجة إلى اهتمام شديد وإلى تكريس الميزانيات والخبراء والأدمغة والأقلام لتفنيد كل الادعاءات والردّ عليها من على منصات إعلامية نافذة للغرب.

هناك نوع من الحرب يبدأ قبل شنّ أي هجوم ويستمر خلاله وبعده وهو الذي يوفّر الأرضية والحالة المجتمعية والسياسية والإعلاميّة لنجاح أي هجوم عسكري في أي مكان ولأي هدف كان، وقد مردت الدول الغربية الاستعمارية على تخصيص الميزانيات السخيّة ووضع الخطط التفصيلية، وشحذ الأدوات المهنية لمثل هذه الحرب، بحيث مازالت تتربع على عرش هذه الحرب وتنتصر فيها مرة تلو أخرى، وذلك لإغفال الآخرين لهذه الحقيقة الهامة وإحجامهم عن التوقف قليلاً وتغيير جداول ميزانياتهم وأولويات خططهم. 

ما أقصده هو الحرب الإعلامية التي يستخدم القائمون عليها من أجهزة المخابرات الغربية خبراء في اللغات والتعبير وخبراء في تاريخ وثقافة وأديان وطوائف الشعوب ليعلموا من أين ينفذوا إلى عقول هذه الشعوب وقلوبها ويسيّروها وفقاً للمصالح الغربية، ويستخدمون خبراء في علم النفس وخبراء في الترويج وخبراء في الأصوات والموسيقى والتأثير وربما خبراء في اختصاصات لم نطّلع عليها بعد ومازالت حكراً عليهم ولمراكز أبحاثهم ووسائل إعلامهم، إذ أن الدارس لساحة الصراعات والحروب التي تشنها القوى الغربية لنهب ثروات الشعوب وعلى الأخص الولايات المتحدة التي تشن الحروب اليوم مع أتباعها على دول عديدة يكاد يصاب بالدهشة من المفارقات الجمّة بين الواقع على الأرض وبين الادعاءات التي يتم الترويج لها في إعلام الكون حتى تصبح حقيقة لا يتجرّأ أحد على تحدّيها، وحتى إذا تجرأ لن يتمكن من قلب المعادلة وإعادة الاعتبار للوقائع التي تشير إلى عكس توجه العاصفة الإعلامية. 

والأمثلة أكثر من أن تُحصى. وإذا بدأت بضرب المثال عن وطني سوريا فإننا نجد أن الغرب وبعد أن أنشأ غرفاً ومنظمات وموّلها بسخاء لتشويه ما يحدث على الأرض السورية (وقد كشفت تسريبات الوثائق البريطانية عن حرب إعلامية منظمة وممولة منذ اليوم الأول منذ بداية الحرب الإرهابية على سوريا) بعد ذلك بدأوا بإخراج أفلام ومنحها جائزة أوسكار لأكاذيب صمموها واخترعوها وروّجوا لها وأصبحت بالنسبة لهم واقعاً بديلاً يدحض سيرة الواقع المعاش ومن هذه الأفلام “رجل حلب الأخير” و”الكهف”، وبالنسبة لجماهير الغرب فإن هذه الأفلام هي القناة الأساسية التي تنبؤهم بما جرى في سورية. رغم أن هذه الأفلام، تماماً كقصة الطفل عمران، هي عبارة عن أكاذيب ملفقة لا تمتّ إلى الحقيقة بصلة قام بها بعض المأجورين وعلى رأسهم فراس فياض لتقديم ما يشتهي الغرب رؤيته وسماعه عن حرب ابتدعها لتدمير حياة الملايين من شعب مسالم في بلد آمن ومستقر يشكّل شوكة في أعين الصهاينة والطامعين بإرث هذه الأمة.

وفي الاتهامات المزعومة عن استخدام الحكومة السورية للغازات السامة في دوما وسراقب، تأتي هذه الاتهامات لتناقض تناقضاً صارخاً تقرير منظمة حظر الأسلحة الكيماوية والتي أكدت أن سوريا قد تخلت عن كلّ أسلحتها الكيماوية وأنها خالية من السلاح الكيماوي وكان هذا منذ سنوات، والبارحة في 16/4/2021 عقد السفير الروسي في الأمم المتحدة فاسيلي نيبينزيا جلسة استماع لخبراء منظمة حظر الأسلحة الكيماوية، وخبراء آخرين في الملف والموضوع أكدوا خلالها وبما لا يدع مجالاً للشك تلاعب بعض العناصر في المنظمة بالتقرير الذي كتبه الفريق الذي زار سوريا واستبدلوه بأكاذيب من قبل أطراف لم تطأ أقدامها أرض سورية، كما رفض المسؤولون في المنظمة الاستماع لهؤلاء الذين زاروا سورية والمدير السابق للمنظمة لأن تقاريرهم تؤكد على عدم استخدام الحكومة السورية للغازات السامة وأن ما تمّ الترويج له على شاشات التلفزة هو مسرحية إعلامية هزلية لأن هؤلاء الناس لو تعرضوا للغازات السامة لكانوا أمواتاً ولما كانوا موجودين لسكب الماء عليهم. 

والذاكرة تعود بنا إلى كولن باول وإلى ادعاءات أميركا بأن العراق يمتلك أسلحة دمار شامل، وبعد أن أنهوا بحثهم في الملف ووجدوا أنه على الأغلب لا يوجد أي دليل لما أكدوه مراراً وتكراراً ختموا التقرير بالشمع الأحمر وأودعوه أقفال الأمم المتحدة ومنعوا فتحه إلى ما بعد ستين عاماً أي بعد أن يكون كل من عاش وشهد الأحداث أصبح في ذمة الله.

وهناك قصص مشابهة كثيرة ومتوفرة عبر الاتهامات التي يكيلونها لروسيا والصين بشأن مواضيع عدة، وعن الأكاذيب التي تطبخ في ذات المطبخ عن الحرب على اليمن، وعما يجري في أوكرانيا وعن حقيقة المواقف من الاتفاق النووي الإيراني والقائمة تطول. ولكن ما يثلج الصدر اليوم هو بداية التصدي وإن يكن مازال في بداياته لهذه الحرب المخابراتية الإعلامية الخطيرة، إذ أن الجلسة التي عقدها البارحة السفير الروسي في الأمم المتحدة وأعطى المنبر لعدد من الشهود الموثوقين والذين فنّدوا الحقائق حول الملف الكيميائي السوري بطريقة يجب أن تدفع القائمين على التزوير إلى الخجل من أنفسهم وعدم الإقدام على مثل هذه المهزلة مرة أخرى. 

وفي الإطار ذاته وبذات الروح قرأت مقالاً في جريدة (الصين اليومية) عن إقليم شيجيانغ بقلم الكاتب فو زو وبتاريخ 8/4/2021  فنّد فيه بما لا يدع مجالاً للشك الأكاذيب الأميركية حول إقليم شيجيانغ وأثبت بالأرقام اهتمام الحكومة الصينية بالتعليم لكل سكان هذا الإقليم وبالتعليم الداخلي الذي يوازي بجودته أي تعليم داخلي في العالم. كما يتحدث الكاتب عن تحسين المستوى المعيشي لسكان الإقليم والعمل الذي يدأبون للقيام به لتحسين مستوى معيشتهم وأن الصين تقف ضدّ أي اضطهاد أو تطهير عرقي أو إبادة يدّعي الغرب أن الصين تمارسها في الإقليم.  ومن الواضح من تاريخ الصين ومن عملها للقضاء على الفقر في كل الصين وعلى رفع مستوى المعيشة للصينيين أنها حضارة تهتم بالإنسان وبمقدرات عيشه ولا تدخل التفرقة الدينية أو العنصرية في قاموس سياساتها.

ومن ناحية أخرى من المضحك أن تدّعي الولايات المتحدة الحرص على حياة المسلمين الإيغور في الصين وعلى تعليمهم ومستوى معيشتهم وقد كرّست منظمات إرهابية ومولتها بالمال ومازالت، لتدمير آلاف المدارس في سورية والتي يرتادها مسلمون ومسيحيون، ولتدمير الجوامع والكنائس والأسواق التاريخية والآثار والحضارة. فكيف يمكن أن تكون حريصة على مسلمي الصين ومدمّرة لمسلمي العراق وسورية وليبيا واليمن؟ من أين أتى اهتمام الولايات المتحدة بمسلمي الإيغور في الصين إلا من باب التدخل في شؤون الصين الداخلية، تماماً كما هي سياستها حيال تايوان وهونغ كونغ من جهة، وسياستها تجاه أوكرانيا والقرم بالنسبة إلى روسيا من جهة ثانية. لا يمكن فهم ما تقوم به الولايات المتحدة إلا من باب التدخل في شؤون الدول الداخلية والحرص على أمن “إسرائيل” وقوتها الإرهابية في المنطقة.

لقد علِمَتْ الولايات المتحدة أن الكيان الصهيوني هو الذي قام بالهجوم على محطة نطنز لتدمير المباحثات الأميركية الإيرانية ولكننا لم نسمع كلمة إدانة لهذا الهجوم من الولايات المتحدة أو من أي دولة غربية. كما أنهم يلتزمون الصمت عن كل الأكاذيب التي يتم الترويج لها عن أوكرانيا والقرم بعد أن اتخذت الولايات المتحدة عقوبات ضد روسيا على أسس واهية لا دليل واحد فيها على كل الادعاءات بل هي تعترف أن صحة هذه الادعاءات منخفضة إلى متوسطة.

المهم في الموضوع هو أن هذه الحرب المخابراتية الإعلامية التي تسبق وترافق وتستمر إلى ما بعد الحرب العسكرية بحاجة إلى اهتمام شديد وإلى تكريس الميزانيات والخبراء والأدمغة والأقلام لتفنيد كل الادعاءات والردّ عليها من على منصات إعلامية نافذة للغرب وتصل إلى أسماع البشر في كل أنحاء الدنيا تماماً كما فعل السفير فاسيلي نيبينزيا في الجلسة الهامة التي تحدث بها الخبراء وفندوا ألاعيب منظمة الأسلحة الكيماوية، وتماماً كما فعلت جريدة الصين اليوم بتفنيد كل الأكاذيب المختلقة حول إقليم شيجيانج. ولا بأس من تخصيص ميزانية سخيّة لهذا الأمر حتى وإن تم اقتطاعها من ميزانيات الدفاع العسكرية لأن الدفاع بالكلمة والترويج للحقائق النابعة من الأرض في وجه الأكاذيب والافتراءات قد يوفّر على الجيوش معارك عسكرية مكلفة وقد يساهم في تثقيف الرأي العام العالمي حول حقيقة السياسات الغربية والكلفة الباهظة التي يدفعها البشر في كل أنحاء الأرض نتيجة هذه السياسات.

 إن مواجهة سياسة القطب الواحد وضمان ولادة عالم متعدد الأقطاب تحتاج إلى استراتيجيات شاملة تتصدى لاستراتيجيات الهيمنة والتدخل والإسفاف والتزوير والذي كلّف دماء وحياة واستقراراً وأمناً لشعوبنا جمعاء. 

نحن بحاجة إلى وقفة عميقة صادقة وذكية وشاملة وبحاجة لمقارعة من يشن الهجوم ويدمر البلدان بأدوات أذكى وأدهى من أدواتهم على كل الصعد وفي كافة المجالات.


مقالات ذات صلة

مقالات ذات صلة


The most dangerous war

bouthaina shaaban | Belçika Yeni Haber

Buthaina Shaaban

Source:  Al-Mayadeen  Net

April 19, 2021

There is a media intelligence war used by Western intelligence services, which precedes and continues until after the military war. This war needs great attention and budgets, experts, brains and pens are devoted to refuting and responding to all allegations from west-window media platforms.

There is a kind of war that begins before, during and after any attack, which provides the ground and the societal, political and media situation for the success of any military attack anywhere and for any purpose, and the western colonial states have been forced to allocate generous budgets and draw up detailed plans, and sharpen the professional tools of such a war, so that they still sit on the throne of this war and win it again and again, in order to ignore others for this important fact and their reluctance to stop a little and change their budget schedules and priorities.

What I mean is the media war on which western intelligence agencies use experts in languages and expression, experts in the history, culture, religions and communities of peoples to know where to carry out to the minds and hearts of these peoples and to conduct them in accordance with Western interests, and use experts in psychology, promotion experts, experts in sounds, music and influence, and perhaps experts in disciplines that we have not yet seen and are still exclusive to them, their research centers and their media, as The study of the arena of conflicts and wars waged by western powers to plunder the wealth of peoples, especially the United States, which is waging wars today with its followers on many countries, is almost surprised by the great paradoxes between reality on earth and the allegations promoted in the media of the universe so that it becomes a reality that no one dares to challenge, and even if he dares, he will not be able to turn the equation and reconsider the facts that indicate the opposite of the direction of the media storm.

Examples are too many. If you start to set an example of my homeland syria, we find that the West, having created rooms and organizations and generously funded them to distort what is happening on Syrian soil (leaks of British documents have revealed an organized and funded media war since the first day since the beginning of the terrorist war on Syria) then began to direct and give films The Oscar for lies they designed, invented, promoted and became, for them, an alternative reality that refutes the biography of living reality, including “The Last Man of Aleppo” and “The Cave”, and for western audiences, these films are the main channel that predicts what happened in Syria. Although these films, just like the story of The Child Imran, are fabricated lies that have nothing to do with the truth, some of the hacks, led by Firas Fayyad, have done to present what the West desires to see and hear about a war it created to destroy the lives of millions of peaceful people in a safe and stable country that is a thorn in the eyes of the Zionists and those who aspire to the legacy of this nation.

In the alleged accusations of the Syrian government’s use of toxic gases in Douma and Saraqeb, these accusations are in stark contrast to the report of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), which confirmed that Syria has abandoned all its chemical weapons and that it is chemical-weapon-free and this has been for years, and yesterday on 16 April 2021, Russian Ambassador to the United Nations Vassily Nebenzia held a hearing of experts of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, and other experts in the file and subject confirmed during it and not There is no doubt that some elements of the organization manipulated the report written by the team that visited Syria and replaced it with lies by parties that did not set foot on Syrian soil, as the officials of the organization refused to listen to those who visited Syria and the former director of the organization because their reports confirm the Syrian government’s non-use of toxic gases and that what was promoted on television is a comic media play because if these people had been exposed to toxic gases they would have died and would not have been there to pour water on them.

The memory brings us back to Colin Powell and America’s claims that Iraq possesses weapons of mass destruction, and after they have finished their research on the file and found that there is probably no evidence of what they have repeatedly confirmed, they sealed the report with red wax, called it the locks of the United Nations and prevented it from opening it until after 60 years, i.e. after all those who lived and witnessed the events became in the hands of God.

There are many similar stories available through accusations by Russia and China on several topics, about the lies that are being cooked in the same kitchen about the war on Yemen, what is going on in Ukraine and about the reality of the positions on the Iran nuclear deal and the list goes on. But what is heartening today is the beginning of the response, although it is still in its infancy for this dangerous media intelligence war, as the meeting held yesterday by the Russian Ambassador to the United Nations and gave the platform to a number of reliable witnesses who refuted the facts about the Syrian chemical file in a way that should lead the counterfeiters to be ashamed of themselves and not to make such a farce again.

In the same spirit, I read an article in the China Daily on Zhejiang Province by writer Fu Zhou on April 8, 2021, in which he refuted beyond a doubt U.S. lies about Zhejiang province and in numbers demonstrated the Chinese government’s interest in education for all the region’s population and internal education, which is equal to the quality of any internal education in the world. The author also talks about improving the standard of living of the territory’s population and the work they are doing to improve their standard of living and that China stands against any persecution, ethnic cleansing or extermination claimed by the West to be practiced by China in the territory.  It is clear from China’s history and its work to eradicate poverty in all China and to raise the standard of living of the Chinese that it is a civilization that cares about human beings and their livelihoods and does not include religious or racial segregation in the dictionary of its policies.

On the other hand, it is funny that the United States claims to take care of the lives, education and standard of living of Uighur Muslims in China, and has dedicated terrorist organizations and financed them with money and continues to destroy thousands of schools in Syria frequented by Muslims and Christians, and to destroy mosques, churches, historical markets, monuments and civilization. How can you be keen on the Muslims of China and destroy the Muslims of Iraq, Syria, Libya and Yemen? Where did the U.S. interest in Uighur Muslims in China come from except for interference in China’s internal affairs, just as its policy on Taiwan and Hong Kong on the one hand, and its policy toward Ukraine and Crimea for Russia on the other. What the United States is doing can only be understood in order to interfere in the affairs of internal states and to ensure the security of Israel and its terrorist power in the region.

The United States has learned that it was the Zionist entity that attacked Natanz station to destroy the U.S.-Iran talks, but we have not heard a word of condemnation from the United States or any Western country. They also remain silent about all the lies promoted about Ukraine and Crimea after the United States has taken sanctions against Russia on flimsy grounds, not a single evidence of all allegations, but recognizes that the veracity of these allegations is low to medium.

What is important about the matter is that this media intelligence war that precedes, accompanies and continues until after the military war needs great attention and devoting budgets, experts, brains and pens to refute all allegations and respond to them from media platforms open to the West and reach the ears of people in all parts of the world just as Ambassador Vasily Nebenzia did in the important session in which the experts spoke and refuted the tricks of the Chemical Weapons Organization, just as the China Today newspaper refuted all the fabricated lies about Zhejiang. There is nothing wrong with allocating a generous budget for this matter, even if it is cut from military defense budgets, because defending by word and promoting facts emanating from the ground in the face of lies and fabrications may save armies costly military battles and may contribute to educating the world public opinion about the truth of Western policies and the high cost paid by them. Humans are all over the earth as a result of these policies.

Confronting one-pole politics and ensuring the birth of a multipolar world requires comprehensive strategies that address strategies of domination, intervention, subsistence and forgery that have cost blood, life, stability and security to all ourpeoples.

We need a deep, honest, intelligent and comprehensive stand and need to fight those who launch the attack and destroy countries with smarter and more powerful tools at all levels and in all areas.

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The idea of ‘exceptionalism’ is deeply ingrained in our national DNA: American author

By Mohammad Mazhari

January 18, 2021 – 11:34

 TEHRAN – An American author says toppling governments around the world is one of Washington’s “specialties”. 

“Overthrowing governments is one of our specialties,” Stephen Kinzer tells the Tehran Times.   

Kinzer also criticizes U.S. exceptionalism. 

“The idea of ‘exceptionalism’ is deeply ingrained in our national DNA,” Kinzer tells the Tehran Times. 

“Last week gave us a glimpse, on a greatly reduced scale, of the havoc we have wreaked elsewhere.”

Kinzer, a former New York Times journalist, says no nation like the U.S. intervenes in others’ domestic issues. 

The following is the text of the interview: 

 Q: How do you assess the recent mob attack on the Capitol building by pro-Trump protesters? What is the message of this incident for the U.S and the world?

“In the U.S. as in most countries, politics often is more powerful than the law.”A: Over the last century, no nation has intervened as often as the United States in so many countries so far away from its own borders.  Overthrowing governments is one of our specialties.  Last week (January 7th) gave us a glimpse, on a greatly reduced scale, of the havoc we have wreaked elsewhere.

Q: U.S. administrations and institutes mostly back protests against governments all around the world but when it comes to the U.S., they rally around national integrity. Isn’t it a kind of double-standard?

A: The idea of “exceptionalism” is deeply ingrained in our national DNA.  Americans grow up presuming that, as Secretary of State Madeleine Albright famously asserted, “We are the indispensable nation, we stand taller and we see further than other countries.”  Our leaders believe they know what is good for the world better than the world itself knows.  This has led the United States to incite rebellion and subversive violence in dozens of countries.  To replace the governments we overthrow, we often promote corrupt demagogues.  Now we face the same combination at home: insurrection and demagoguery.

Q: Why did you publish a tweet saying: “My friends abroad keep reassuring me:  There can never be a coup in the United States because there is no American embassy there?”

“Now the U.S. faces the same combination of ‘insurrection and demagoguery’ at home.” A: The joke is that coups in most countries happen not for domestic reasons, but because of intervention by covert agents who work from the U.S. embassy.  This is not completely true, but true enough so that everyone gets the joke.

Q: Is there any mechanism in the American constitution to prosecute a president who violates the law?

 A: We do have an impeachment procedure but it is political in nature, not legal.  In the U.S. as in most countries, politics often is more powerful than the law.

Q: The Democratic Party of U.S. President-elect Joe Biden succeeded to take control of the Senate. Do you expect the victory would lead to a change in U.S policies, especially in foreign policy areas?

A: Biden will make substantial changes to government policies relating to education, transportation, labor, energy, immigration, and other domestic issues.  There will be no major change in foreign policy.  The U.S. will continue seeing Russia and China as enemies and working more often to confront them than to compromise.  There will, however, be some change in policy toward Iran.  How substantial the change will remain unclear?  It is the subject of intense debate behind the scenes in Washington and the incoming Biden administration.

Q: How do you assess American police’s behavior after pro-Trump fans stormed the Capitol Hill in comparison with its reaction to the summer protests? Was the Insurrection Act applicable?

A: President Biden himself said it: “No one can tell me that if it had been a group of Black Lives Matter protesting yesterday, they wouldn’t have been treated very differently than the mob of thugs that stormed the Capitol.  We all know that’s true. And it is unacceptable. Totally unacceptable. The American people saw it in plain view.”

 

What to Expect in 2021: Madness, Mayhem, Manipulation and More Tyranny

John Whitehead
ABOUT JOHN W. WHITEHEAD. Constitutional attorney and author John W. Whitehead is founder and president of The Rutherford Institute. His new book Battlefield America: The War on the American People  is available at www.amazon.com. Whitehead can be contacted at johnw@rutherford.org.

Global Research,

January 06, 2021

By John W. Whitehead

“Twelve voices were shouting in anger, and they were all alike. No question, now, what had happened to the faces of the pigs. The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which.”―George Orwell, Animal Farm

What should we expect in 2021?

So far, it looks like this year is going to be plagued by more of the same brand of madness, mayhem, manipulation and tyranny that dominated 2020.

Frankly, I’m sick of it: the hypocrisy, the double standards, the delusional belief by Americans at every point along the political spectrum that politics and politicians are the answer to what ails the country, when for most of our nation’s history, politics and politicians have been the cause of our woes.

Consider: for years now, Americans, with sheeplike placidity, have tolerated all manner of injustices and abuses meted out upon them by the government (police shootings of unarmed individuals, brutality, corruption, graft, outright theft, occupations and invasions of their homes by militarized police, roadside strip searches, profit-driven incarcerations, profit-driven wars, egregious surveillance, taxation without any real representation, a nanny state that dictates every aspect of their lives, lockdowns, overcriminalization, etc.) without ever saying “enough is enough.”

Only now do Americans seem righteously indignant enough to mobilize and get active, and for what purpose? Politics. They’re ready to go to the mat over which corporate puppet will get the honor to serve as the smiling face on the pig for the next four years.

Talk about delusion.

It’s so ludicrous as to be Kafkaesque.

A perfect example of how farcical, topsy-turvy, and downright perverse life has become in the America: while President Trump doles out medals of commendation and presidential pardons to political cronies who have done little to nothing to advance the cause of freedom, Julian Assange rots in prison for daring to blow the whistle on the U.S. government’s war crimes

You’d think that Americans would be outraged over such abject pandering to the very swamp that Trump pledged to drain, but that’s not what has the Right and the Left so worked up. No, they’re still arguing over whether dead men voted in the last presidential election.

Either way, no matter which candidate lost to the other, it was always going to be the Deep State that won.

And so you have it: reduced to technicalities, distracted by magician’s con games, and caught up in the manufactured, highly scripted contest over which beauty contestant wears the crown, we have failed to do anything about the world falling apart around us.

Literally.

Our economy—at least as it impacts the vast majority of Americans as opposed to the economic elite—is in a shambles. Our infrastructure is falling apart. Our government has been overtaken by power-hungry predators and parasites. And our ability—and fundamental right—to govern our own lives is being usurped by greedy government operatives who care nothing for our lives or our freedoms.

Our ship of state is being transformed into a ship of fools.

We stand utterly defenseless in the face of a technological revolution brought about by artificial intelligence and wall-to-wall surveillance that is re-orienting the world as we know it. Despite the mounting high-tech encroachments on our rights, we have been afforded a paltry amount of legislative and judicial protections. Indeed, Corporate America has more rights than we do.

We stand utterly powerless in the face of government bureaucrats and elected officials who dance to the tune of corporate overlords and do what they want, when they want, with whomever they want at taxpayer expense, with no thought or concern for the plight of those they are supposed to represent. To this power elite, “we the people” are good for only two things: our tax dollars and our votes. In other words, they just want our money.

We stand utterly helpless in the face of government violence that is meted out, both at home and abroad. Indeed, the systemic violence being perpetrated by agents of the government—inflicted on unarmed individuals by battlefield-trained SWAT teams, militarized police, and bureaucratic government agents trained to shoot first and ask questions later—has done more collective harm to the American people and their liberties than any single act of terror or mass shooting.

We stand utterly silenced in the face of government and corporate censors and a cancel culture that, in their quest to not offend certain viewpoints, are all too willing to eradicate views that do not conform. In this way, political correctness has given way to a more insidious form of group think and mob rule.

We stand utterly locked down in the face of COVID-19 mandates, restrictions, travel bans and penalties that are acclimating the populace to unquestioningly accede to the government’s dictates, whatever they might be (as long as they are issued in the name of national security), no matter how extreme or unreasonable.

We stand utterly intimidated in the face of red flag laws, terrorism watch lists, contact tracing programs, zero tolerance policies, and all other manner of police state tactics that aim to keep us fearful and compliant.

We stand utterly indoctrinated in the collective belief that the government—despite its longstanding pattern and practice of corruption, collusion, dysfunction, immorality and incompetence—somehow represents “we the people.”

Despite all of this, despite how evident it is that we are mere tools to be used and abused and manipulated for the power elite’s own diabolical purposes, we somehow fail to see their machinations for what they truly are: thinly veiled attempts to overthrow our republic and enslave the citizenry in order to expand their power and wealth.

It is a grim outlook for a new year, but it is not completely hopeless.

If hope is to be found, it will be found with those of us who do not rely on politicians that promise to fix what is wrong but instead do their part, at their local levels, to right the wrongs and fix what is broken. I am referring to the builders, the thinkers, the helpers, the healers, the educators, the creators, the artists, the activists, the technicians, the food gatherers and distributors, and every other person who does their part to build up rather than destroy.

As I make clear in my book Battlefield America: The War on the American People, “we the people” are the hope for a better year. Not Trump. Not Biden. And not the architects and enablers of the American Police State.

Until we can own that truth, until we can forge our own path back to a world in which freedom means something again, we’re going to be stuck in this wormhole of populist anger, petty politics and destruction that is pitting us one against the other.

In that scenario, no one wins.

There’s a meme circulating on social media that goes like this:

If you catch 100 red fire ants as well as 100 large black ants, and put them in a jar, at first, nothing will happen. However, if you violently shake the jar and dump them back on the ground the ants will fight until they eventually kill each other. The thing is, the red ants think the black ants are the enemy and vice versa, when in reality, the real enemy is the person who shook the jar. This is exactly what’s happening in society today. Liberal vs. Conservative. Black vs. White. Pro Mask vs. Anti Mask. The real question we need to be asking ourselves is who’s shaking the jar … and why?

Whether red ants will really fight black ants to the death is a question for the biologists, but it’s an apt analogy of what’s playing out before us on the political scene and a chilling lesson in social engineering. So before you get too caught up in the circus politics and conveniently timed spectacles that keep us distracted from focusing too closely on the government’s power grabs, first ask yourself: who’s really shaking the jar?

WC: 1347

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US post-Capitol: Armed, hysterical, depressed & yet out for blood

US post-Capitol: Armed, hysterical, depressed & yet out for blood

January 14, 2021

by Ramin Mazaheri (@RaminMazaheri2) for the Saker Blog

The FBI says armed protests are being planned in all 50 states from January 16 until Joe Biden’s inauguration day on January 20.

It’s a living nightmare in the US right now – what else can be said?

“Hysteria” is the one word which described the United States in 2020, but in 2021 we are witnessing what happens when a hysterical sprinter just can’t stop sprinting – it is ugly.

I can objectively report that since the Electoral College decided the presidency – following the end of the Capitol Hill protest – seemingly everybody here is depressed and unhappy. The US cannot handle what is going on and everyone feels things are spinning out of control. What’s worse is that they cannot even help themselves from contributing to the spinning: The solution of those who opposed the armed protests is to antagonise the potential armed protesters?

It is ugly.

This is a pretty ambitious column, if “ambitious column” isn’t a journalistic oxymoron: I think all of the upcoming paragraphs can be turned into stand-alone columns because the US is, sadly, in such a hideously twisted shape.

It’s totally absurd to compare 9/11 to “1/6”, but that is what The New York Times did today – it only shows how inoculated modern Americans are from war on their own soil. Do Americans realise that the Capitol Hill protests are exactly what Washington has encouraged in Hong Kong, Venezuela, Syria, Ukraine, Iran, etc.? And that’s just in your recent memory banks – go back to World War II and the’ve done this in half the world. I can report absolutely nobody in the Mainstream Media here is making that connection. Well, America, the sight of a bloody and brewing civil war is pretty terrible, isn’t it? Like I wrote this is a whole column, but the US has hit what is a comparatively tiny bump in the road – when compared to what they have so gleefully fomented for so very long and with such self-righteousness – and Americans are absolutely falling to pieces.

Do Americans realise that the worst thing to do right now is to spend much time consulting their corporate-dominated media? The Capitol Hill protest was spectacular for ratings, and this country – which totally lacks a sizeable, patriotic and neutral government media – wants to make big bucks until at least inauguration day by hyping what should not be hyped. Do not tune into the news during this time of hysteria – you will thank me for it.

I also have encouraged people to not tune into social media. It’s not that the average person doesn’t know what he or she is talking about – I always insist that the “person on the street” interviews I do often provide me with better insights than interviews with degreed experts – it’s that there simply is no filter. Trump is toxic on his social media because that’s what American social media is – toxic. Western, uncensored social media is seemingly designed to provide a direct counterweight to the Asian cultural model of “saving” and “giving” face. I would guess that the overwhelming majority of Americans – after this roughly 15-year experiment with it – would say that social media has been a societal and personal disappointment.

On the macro level of social media: the US has created a monster, as there simply is no way to regulate Big Tech. They are clearly a monopoly power which can shut down political speech, like with the app Parler, and yet it is their “legal right” to do so because they are a business and not a press – i.e., they have no social responsibilities, but do have all the human rights America insanely grants to corporations. This, of course, enrages an American populace which (falsely) believes their country is a global leader in defending the human right to free press. Facebook took down PressTV’s page for a few hours – of course: If they will ban President Trump on Twitter why would they hesitate much longer for Iran? We are only just comprehending what “social media” can really do to a society, but the negative case study is: the US 2020 election.

Joe Biden is being tasked with healing the whole country even though he also spent the last four years demonising half the country. That is perhaps the best way to gauge what the upcoming chances are for “reconciliation” in America. I just don’t find the idea that the United States will rally around a hugely discredited and wilfully, remorselessly divisive Democratic Party even remotely credible.

Biden has just picked his head of the CIA – it was a person who was also a top candidate for the Secretary of State (foreign minister) post. That the nation’s top spy and top diplomat are interchangeable – and that this goes uncommented upon – says a lot about the United States. Washington does not try to persuade anyone – they just apply pressure, spy on them and make sure the national needs of their allies are subverted to the national needs of the US. Angela Merkel denounced Trump’s Twitter ban, just as she denounced Obama spying on her calls. The US has no allies, and while they will blame Trump for losing all their “international standing” the reality is they had none and want none.

Today’s impeachment of Trump is a spectacularly foolish errand: they will never get the Senate supermajority to actually impeach Trump; he’s leaving in seven days; Trump is correct that it will – of course – cause “tremendous anger”; it is clearly designed to sabotage Trump’s 2024 election chances, at whatever cost to national unity; 40% of the country already feels like their presidential vote was disenfranchised – now you want to impeach their leader (which comes after the censorship of him and before the prosecution of him)? It’s just useless theatre – the US election circus continues.

Is it possible that I was wrong to say that a violent right-wing movement – something comparable in determination (though not at all comparable in aims) to what the US saw last summer in response to never-ending police brutality – cannot ever grow strong enough in the US to “Occupy Capitol Hill”, or something similar? I still don’t think I am wrong and that once this final week passes so will these protests. American conservatives are too status-quo loving, too law and order-worshipping and too jingoistic to really try and change America.

I think the Capitol Hill protest was a one-time act of civil disobedience which spontaneously grew beyond the intentions of the mass majority of protesters – I have seen that happen countless times in person as a journalist. It obviously never morphed into an “Occupy Capitol Hill” multi-day protest because it was obviously never intended to (and for the same reason above). The people at the front lines of such protests are always a different breed; always run the range of political views from right to left; always have a range of motivations, from being mere adrenaline-seekers to genuine political integrity. I have also seen the video footage – captured by a left-wing Black Lives Matter member (because there is always this range of values) – of a Capitol cop, whose life was not threatened, shoot and kill female protester Ashlii Babbitt. I’m appalled there’s not more MSM discussion about that, because the footage is so clear that this was police brutality, but any such discussion radically changes how the protest has to be covered by the MSM: it means taking a break from demonising the protesters, and the US corporate media does not want that.

It was totally clear in the week since Capitol Hill: It’s not enough that Biden won – the US anti-Trump elite wants blood. They want Twitter and Facebook to ban Trump, so they can censor and others (as they just did with Iranian Supreme Leader Khamenei and Iranian state media PressTV). They want to imprison the Capitol Hill protesters, so they can prevent any anti-Biden political protests in the next four years. They want to impeach and jail Trump, so they can prevent Trumpism from growing beyond their idiotic, “how did I get here” leader into something which could upend the world’s oldest duopoly.

These are all columns because they are all huge issues which cannot be resolved in a few sentences – only summed up. I’m only stopping because I have word limits – feel free to point out which issues weren’t included.

The bottom line on the Democrat side is: Many Americans have spent four years hysterically demonising Trump supporters – they can’t turn it off: Winning the Electoral College obviously wasn’t enough. They want animals put in cages whom they can go poke; they want to fabricate a moral high ground which they believe is so high that it exonerates them from open debate; they want compound interest on the four years they wasted on the perennial US political circus.

The other bottom line on the Republican side is: Trump supporters are in shock that they lost – every one I talked with was so very certain of his victory. Then many of them were certain the Donald would pull it out, but what the Donald did was pass up every opportunity to take a courageous stand and to essentially say, “I’ve been using you supporters all this time.” Trump supporters now see this atrocious past week as if the US elite is presenting them with only two choices: either return to being mainstream Republicans or leave politics altogether. Many will choose the latter. Many Americans will not miss them. They will still be here, I point out to the victors.

I also point out to the victors: Trump losing the election did not solve all this country’s problems, as it was long promised. America in 2021 has way too many problems for such a simple solution.

*************************************************************

Dispatches from the United States after the presidential election

Results are in: Americans lose, duopoly wins, Trumpism not merely a cult (1/2) – November 5, 2020

Results are in: Americans lose, duopoly wins, Trumpism not merely a cult (2/2) – November 6, 2020

4 years of anti-Trumpism shaping MSM vote coverage, but expect long fight – November 7, 2020

US partitioned by 2 presidents: worst-case election scenario realized – November 9, 2020

A 2nd term is his if he really wants it, but how deep is Trump’s ‘Trumpism’? – November 10, 2020

CNN’s Jake Tapper: The overseer keeping all journalists in line (1/2) – November 13, 2020

‘Bidenism’ domestically: no free press, no lawyer, one-party state? (2/2) – November 15, 2020

Where’s Donald? When 40% of voters cry ‘fraud’ you’ve got a big problem – November 17, 2020

The 4-year (neoliberal) radicalisation of US media & Bidenites’ ‘unradical radicalism’ – November 22, 2020

80% of US partisan losers think the last 2 elections were stolen – December 3, 2020

Trump declares civil war for voter integrity in breaking (or broken) USA – December 5, 2020

Mess with Texas via mail-in ballot? States secede from presidential vote – December 8, 2020

Biden won? 2016-2020 showed what the US does to even mild reformers – Dec 18, 2020

Alleged Nashville bomber not Muslim: Western media disappointed – January 2, 2020

This week in the US: The ‘model nation’ for no nation anymore – January 7, 2020

Biggest threat to global leftism returns to power: US fake-leftism (1/2) – January 8, 2021

Ramin Mazaheri is currently covering the US elections. He is the chief correspondent in Paris for Press TV and has lived in France since 2009. He has been a daily newspaper reporter in the US, and has reported from Iran, Cuba, Egypt, Tunisia, South Korea and elsewhere. He is the author of ‘Socialism’s Ignored Success: Iranian Islamic Socialism’ as well as ‘I’ll Ruin Everything You Are: Ending Western Propaganda on Red China’, which is also available in simplified and traditional Chinese.

The American riots: A vertical trench in process

By Abir Bassam

January 11, 2021 – 10:28

On Wednesday evening, it was not the first time that Americans poured into the streets in protest. However, a long time has not passed since the world has witnessed that rioters and demonstrators assaulted the symbol of American democracy: The Capitol. 

It is an irony! When the riots filled the Arab streets in several countries, they were identified as the “revolutionaries”. The rioters were assaulting governmental buildings and national symbols of the states, but it was portrayed under the name of democracy and freedom of speech by the Wild West. While the American riots were immediately branded by Europe and Western officials as chaotic anti-democratic behavior. 

During the last 10 years, the rioters have filled the Arab streets and attacked government buildings, stolen documents, and burned them, especially in Syria and Libya. The two countries were initially targeted by the Wild West to change regimes and the system in the name of “democracy” and the West was anticipating the moment to attack like a predator. 

The same irony brings back the role played by the media, in particular Al-Jazeera and Al-Arabiya, and many others. The media has played a major role in advocating for the rioters and demonizing the opponents of radical behaviors. This role was also perfectly executed by the Western media in supporting the riots against the government institutions in the Arab countries. In reverse, the same American media is pushing towards demonizing their incumbent president and its supporters because they attacked the Capitol, the temple of the American democracy. And now they are pushing towards the impeachment of their president for instigating it.

The impeachment of Trump looks as humiliating as the impeachment of president Gaddafi in the same media, with the exception that in the U.S. the riots on the Capitol were a real version of what was going on, whereas the scenes that were transmitted by Al-Jazeera and many others were costume made. 

The American media is now promoting more than 200 bills waiting to be examined by Congress. All of them were set to criminate Trump and isolate him. Trump was always identified as silly, shallow, and arrogant, even though the American media role is best described as an attempt to bully the man and his partisans. Whether we like the man or not, Trump was supported by around 75 million Americans in the elections, who believed that it was about time to make America great again.

 After all, he is just another American president that led the American policy to the best interest of the American lobbies that enabled him to reach his position. Electing Trump in 2016 was the beginning of the end to the American system and democracy as we know it. Accordingly, the attack on the Capitol is a sign that the temple is about to fall down! 

American democracy is proved to be a masquerade beyond doubt.  Our region has been suffering from it, as well as different countries in the world, especially Latin America. The Americans worked excessively on toppling down elected governments that did not match their policies.  

In addition, it seems that the situation is going to be escalated in the coming days. Even though Trump is no longer able to tweet on social media, his partisans are tweeting for another rally during Biden’s inauguration ceremony as the U.S. president. Besides, the U.S. media are promoting the impeachment of the president. 

There is a miscomprehension of the danger of the impeachment on the American society, which is now vertically divided. After the impeachment, the vertical crack will become deeper and weaken America furthermore. For this reason, the Wall Street Journal has accused Nancy Pelosi, the speaker of the House of Representatives, of planning a coup against the president by demanding the chief of staff to refuse to execute Trump’s orders. The journal was wondering “what if the U.S. was under nuclear attack?”

In addition, the radical right-wing groups are calling for more escalation and plan to attend the demonstrations with their guns. What would this lead to? Actually, to one of two following results: the first one would be intimidating other national groups whether they were the middle or the left wings. Secondly, clashing with the authorities, if they try to stop them or arrest them for disturbing the peace.

In either way, this would mean that the U.S. is on the verge of civil war.

Over the last ten years, there have been several calls for separation from different American states. They have even gone to federal courts, but they have failed. Hence the intent to divide America is present in the Americans’ minds. This cry for division shows how much incohesive the American social tissue is, even before Trump. Add to that that racism is rising within American society but in reverse.

Nowadays, there is a rising sense of unfairness among the White Anglo Saxon Protestants [WASPs], who initially immigrated to America believing that it was the Promised Land, which was once again occupied by the inferior subjects that the WSPs had imported in the first place as their servants and slaves. It seems that the inferior subjects proved to be smart and hard-working and reached the highest positions leaving God’s chosen people behind.

Therefore, the slogans made during Trump’s campaigns that “Let us make America great again”, or in his declaration that he will go national instead of international, were most appealing to Trump’s partisans, amongst them the WASPs that constitute the majority. However, the slogans went against the deep state’s goals, especially the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, and transnational corporations, and many others. The latter was highly affected by the economic sanctions applied by Trump. 

It is clear that Trump’s slogans and behavior were an embarrassment for his vice president Mike Pence and the Republican Party. However, they betrayed him. Many of Trump’s partisans, who elected them to the House of Representatives, feel that they were betrayed as well. Accordingly, the Republicans will need to work harder than ever to gain the trust of their voters again. Therefore, the announcement by Donald Trump junior that now they need to reconstruct the Republican Party again, is a serious message to be considered, since the impeachment of Trump will not go without consequences in the American streets. And his partisans are unlikely to slow down.
 

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Insolent Lebanese Boast about Beirut Streets Named after French Conquerors, Reject Raising Altruistic General Suleimani’s Statue

Beyrouth: la ville où les rues portent encore les noms d'hommes d'État  français | Arabnews fr

Source: Al-Manar English Website

 January 8, 2021

Mohammad Salami

How insolent the Lebanese political parties and figures who boast about Beirut streets, named after French conquerors, yet reject raising the statue of the martyr General Qassem Suleimani despite all his support to Lebanon in the capital.

If you wander through some Beirut streets, you may feel, at first glance, that you are in Paris. However, the fact says that certain Lebanese political parties approved naming several streets in the capital after French Conquerors. Thus, you move from Rue Gouraud (General) to Wegand (General) Street before reaching Rue Clemenceau (Prime Minister).

These are few instances of the streets in Beirut which were named after French commanders who occupied Lebanon and confiscated its sovereignty.

Certain Lebanese parties, figures and media outlets voice their satisfaction with those names; however, they themselves reject completely raising portraits and statues of IRGC’s Quds Force Commander, General Qassem Suleimani.

General Suleimani did not undermine Lebanon’s sovereignty, nor did he lead Iranian troops to occupy the Lebanese towns and cities. On the other hand, the martyr provided all kinds of support to Lebanese Resistance which has protected the nation from the Israeli and the takfiri enemies.

Consequently, those who boast naming streets in their capital after its occupiers may never welcome raising statues for anyone who support its resistance against the occupation forces.

A statue of martyred Iranian commander Lt. General Qassem Suleimani was unveiled in Beirut’s southern suburb (Dahiyeh) on Tuesday.

The statue was unveiled during a ceremony held by Ghoubeiry municipality on the first martyrdom anniversary of Gen. Suleimani.

On January 3, 2020, a US drone attack claimed General Suleimani after targeting his convoy near Baghdad airport. The attack also killed the former head of Iraq’s Hashd Shaabi, Hajj Abu Mahdi Al-Muhandis.

Beirut: The city where streets still have French statesmen’s names

Beirut: The city where streets still have French statesmen's names
Rue Georges Catroux is located in Beirut’s Badaro residential area
  • After the creation of Greater Lebanon in 1920, the French reconfigured the capital to conform to the new political order
  • The French mandate authorities changed the names of Beirut streets after modifying the city’s architecture

BEIRUT: After the French entered Lebanon in 1920 after the declaration of the State of Greater Lebanon, they reconfigured the capital Beirut to conform to the new political order.

Among the most visible transformations was the introduction of identity cards for residents, a move that sought to establish a Lebanese entity separated from other Arab states.

In 1921, the French mandate authorities conducted the first census of the Lebanese population, and on the basis of this the Lebanese were granted a new identity card in place of Ottoman tickets. The census was boycotted by those who refused to separate from Syria and recognize the new state.

The streets of Beirut, which were under Ottoman rule for more than four centuries, were referred to as haraat (alleyways).

Beirut: The city where streets still have French statesmen's names | Arab  News PK

The alleys were named after the families that inhabited them, leaders and princes, or even sects. The city’s markets were named after the professions found in them, according to the records of the Sharia court in Beirut.

The French mandate authorities, however, changed the names after modifying the city’s architecture. Twenty-meter streets were paved to connect the capital’s neighborhoods and make life easier. And while the neighborhoods preserved the names of the families that lived in them, such as Al-Barbir, Al-Bashoura, Karm Al-Zaitoun, Zaroub Saba and Zaroub Al-Arawi, the mandate left its mark on modern streets by naming them after French generals and high commissioners who ruled Lebanon after the fall of Ottoman rule.

Although Lebanon won its independence in 1943, some prominent streets in Beirut still have the names of French generals who became famous during the two world wars.

Rue Gouraud is a residential and commercial street in Gemmayzeh in the Achrafieh district of Beirut. It is one of the trendiest thoroughfares, full of fine restaurants, French cafes and jazz bars.

Beirut: The city where streets still have French statesmen's names

General Henri Gouraud was the French high commissioner in Syria and Lebanon and army commander on the eastern side. Gouraud declared the State of Greater Lebanon from the porch of the Pine Residence in Beirut, and adopted the French military strategy known as “battle of annihilation.”

General Gouraud, who led the French forces in the famous Battle of Maysalun, lived on this street in Beirut.

A parallel street, Rue Pasteur, was named after the famous French scientist Louis Pasteur. It is also a commercial street and features shops of Lebanese innovators. Louis Pasteur (1822-1895) was a French chemist and one of the most important founders of medical microbiology. His medical discoveries contributed to reducing the fatality rate of puerperal fever, and he prepared vaccines against rabies and anthrax. He was known to the general public for inventing a method for pasteurizing milk.

Beyrouth: la ville où les rues portent encore les noms d'hommes d'État  français | Arabnews fr

The street adjacent to Beirut Municipality, Rue Weygand, bears the name of Maxime Weygand, a high-ranking officer in the Mandate-era French Army. He was the second high military commissioner appointed by France to rule Syria and Lebanon, from April 1923 to Nov. 29, 1924. Weygand, who saw action in both the world wars, died in 1965.

Rue Georges Catroux is located in Beirut’s Badaro residential area. Catroux was a general in the French Army (1877-1969), a diplomat who served in World War I and II, and an adviser in the Legion of Honor.

Rue Clemenceau, located in Ras Beirut, is named after the French prime minister Georges Benjamin Clemenceau (1841-1929). He was a statesman, doctor and journalist who was elected twice to head the French government.

His first term was between 1906 and 1909, while his second was during the critical period 1917-1920 during World War I. One of the leading architects of the Treaty of Versailles, he was nicknamed Father of Victory and the Tiger.

Beirut: The city where streets still have French statesmen's names | Arab  News PK

Avenue General de Gaulle (1890-1970) is the waterfront road of Beirut and named after the most prominent French figure during the Second World War. Charles de Gaulle lived in Lebanon for two years (1929-1931) when he was a major in the French army. He went on to serve as president of France.

Rue Verdun is one of the most high-end lively residential streets in Beirut. It has luxury retail stores, beauty and hair salons, and several cafes. In the center of the street is the Lycée Franco-Libanais school. The French St. Joseph School was situated on this street before it moved to a new location outside the capital. Although this street has been renamed after former Prime Minister Rashid Karami following his assassination in 1987, the name Verdun has remained popular.

Rue Verdun was so named in honor of the victims of the Battle of Verdun, which took place during World War I.

Beyrouth: la ville où les rues portent encore les noms d'hommes d'État  français | Arabnews fr

Foch Street, or Marshal Ferdinand Foch Street, is in the commercial heart of Beirut. Foch was a supreme Allied general in the World War I. One of Beirut’s streets was named after him following the Allies’ victory over the Germans.

Monnot Street, located on the eastern side of Beirut’s central district, is full of restaurants, bars and libraries. It hosts painters and creative events and holds concerts and plays in its famous theater, which is named after Father Ambroise Monnot, the head of the Jesuit mission to Lebanon in the late 19th century.

Father Monnot contributed to the establishment of schools and printing presses so that Lebanon could become a cultural and intellectual center in the Near East.

Twitter: @najiahoussari

Britain’s Colonial Past and Brexit. The Real Link Which Remainers Can’t Deal With

Britain's Colonial Past and Brexit. The Real Link Which Remainers Can't  Deal With
Martin Jay is an award-winning British journalist based in Morocco where he is a correspondent for The Daily Mail (UK) who previously reported on the Arab Spring there for CNN, as well as Euronews. From 2012 to 2019 he was based in Beirut where he worked for a number of international media titles including BBC, Al Jazeera, RT, DW, as well as reporting on a freelance basis for the UK’s Daily Mail, The Sunday Times plus TRT World. His career has led him to work in almost 50 countries in Africa, The Middle East and Europe for a host of major media titles. He has lived and worked in Morocco, Belgium, Kenya and Lebanon.

Martin Jay

January 6, 2021

The Brexit deal snatched at the last minute by Boris Johnson is not the amazing coup, trumped by his media officials or the conservative press. But it is a good deal for the UK and a pretty good escape plan for the EU which was faced with a new battle in 2021: to deal with the political turmoil of Britain ‘going alone’. Given that the EU already has enough political tumult with Poland and Hungary blocking a 2 trillion dollar rescue package for countries hit hard by Covid, the last thing the EU needed was a new crisis of its own making.

Yet the deal is still controversial both in the UK and in Brussels as in many ways the real test will be in the coming years, whether EU giants like Germany and France chose to allow the UK to grow – thus becoming a bigger and bigger customer to the EU 27 – or for it to become a pariah which the EU punishes through its arbitration system, agreed in the fine print of the final draft. Some sceptics will argue that when Britain starts to grow in certain sectors, it will have its wings clipped by an overzealous EU which will cry foul play every time one EU member state complains that it can’t compete with British goods or services. This is the real heart of the deal: whether this part of the agreement will be exercised fairly.

But does the EU really do “fair”? One look at how it treats Iran within a human rights prism while not condemning Saudi Arabia’s appalling war in Yemen should tell you much. Or how it supports the repressive regimes of many North African countries who acknowledge its fake hegemony while signing up to training courses for its police forces in how to effectively spread fake news through social media platforms and carry out better “surveillance”. Or just the number of human rights scandals on home soil which dog the EU, as more and more debating chambers in the European Parliament are named after journalists murdered while uncovering graft – while the perpetrators remain free.

The EU doesn’t really do well when we examine it in this light. Fairness and equality are not really its traits. In fact, the quip from Vladimir Putin that the EU “can’t even create a single market in its energy sector” when complaining about market access in Germany is very true. The “level playing field” is very much just a buzz phrase in Brussels to distract the embedded journalist to not look too hard at how ineffective the EU is at playing on it. A sort of reverse theory of logic which dictates the more you talk about something the less likely you are to do anything about it. And there are too many examples of this doctrine. SMEs is another. “Small and medium-sized business” which we are told in tomes of EU reports provide the solution to unemployment as studies show that they are the ones who employ workers quickly. And yet, the EU does almost everything it can to destroy them in reality through allowing the European parliament to be an orgy scene of multinational companies – invariably non-EU ones – who use the lobbying system to ensure than new EU directives push them out of the market altogether.

There’s a lot of smoke and mirrors in Brussels and for remainers in the UK, who are still angry over Brexit now going though, much of their grief is really based on ideals built on the foundations supporting a pantheon of ignorance and mythology.

The EU doesn’t do fairness. It doesn’t even do democracy and in fact doesn’t even faintly pretend to. Yet it remains quiet when its millions of supporters harp on about how democratic it is, chiefly sighting the most useless and futile institution ever created: the European parliament. “Look, the EU is democratic. It has its own parliament!” people often say without taking stock of how the European parliament is probably the only assembly in the world which has no power whatsoever to propose draft legislation and is more or less run by powerful lobbying firms. For the EU itself, it is a farcical, last minute idea bolted on to allude to the idea of being democratic. But most portly MEPs who blow hundreds of millions of dollars each year travelling to Strasbourg every three weeks – burning a hole in the ozone layer the size of London – will tell you after two glasses of Chilean house red that they are nothing more than EU civil servants rubber stamping the important stuff that the adults do down the road in the European Commission. And that’s on a good day.

Yet fairness and its opaque interpretations is a big part of what Brexit is really all about. Certainly, the feral remainers in the UK who still dream of the deal being scuppered. Many are left-wing and believe naively that to belong to the EU assures Britain stays multicultural and will never fall victim to a rise of the far right – a desperate, yet equally hilarious notion, given that the EU itself is a white supremacist organisation essentially ran by white, middle aged men, many of whom are European freemasons whose delusion views about taking more power in Brussels is actually feeding the far right movement in Europe. The more the political crisis the EU finds itself in, the higher the number of far right seats in the European Parliament. It’s no longer a mystery or an enigma. Many top EU officials now admit that the EU has a real identity problem and are dumbfounded to see that its power grab is part of the solution.

But it’s also about how British people see themselves and how they cope with achievement. Winners and losers, if you like. Many remainers believe that any excursion to win in any given field should be discouraged and that being an EU member state was a perfect way of instilling this assiduous virtue which comes from the same loins as “it’s not the winning that matters, but the taking part”.

For 11 years I worked in Brussels as a journalist pouring over the texts of financial services directives, many hundreds of pages. A theme always became clear though in all of them which was that the City of London needed to “harmonize” its rules more in line with new rules which France and Germany wanted to introduce. The effect of this each and every time was to take away the business from London. And this is really the crux of Brexit. The EU has been trying to diminish the UK’s lead in many sectors through a disingenuous ruse which led Britain to believe that its membership was a genuinely fair and decent one. In reality it was entirely indecent and in the end enough people woke up and realised that EU membership really wasn’t worth much, given that it meant Britain handing over much of its gains from being a leader.

And what in God’s name is so wrong with leading? Remainers who pen clever op-eds now in the left-wing press are the real conservatives obsessed with Britain’s colonial past when they make the erroneous link with Britain’s pink history. It is just plain wrong to assume that British leadership at anything is colonial. Those same journalists fail to see that Britain’s colonial past was a failed venture and ended up almost bankrupting the country. Many, by contrast, who voted for Brexit see the UK embracing new relationships all over the world and signing trade deals with countries like Turkey, free now of the “colonialism” of old white men in Brussels who probably dance naked around trees once a year and have funny handshakes. Brexit is very much about an anticolonialism and yet many remainers are still joined at the hip with their khaki pasts. They are, by definition, conservative and racist as they equate anything to do with coming first with Britain’s war with the Mau Mau in the 1950s. They want Britain to be an “also ran” and dependent on Brussels for help tied to a colonial and abusive master who can’t look forward, is out of touch with reality and is racist to the core. If anything, Brexit is an end to colonialism and the embrace of a new set of economic ideals which places Britain as equal partners in trade with countries like India. If India can put aside its colonial past and wrongs by Britain, then why can’t remainers? The real link between Britain’s imperial past and Brexit is that the European Commission is still stuck with this model of governance itself, complete with the Brylcreem, the Sten and the khaki shorts. Remainers are not anti-imperialists at all. They are just anti-British imperialists who much prefer to be enslaved by Jean-Christophe, Luc or Hans in Brussels.

Freedom of Expression: Good for the Western Goose, Forbidden for the Muslim Gander

By Kim Petersen

Source

Aussie soldier gulping beer 43f4f

When French President Emmanuel Macron was pilloried in some quarters for defending freedom of expression as a French value, Australian prime minister Scott Morrison backed his European counterpart: “We share values. We stand for the same things.” This professed French/Australian value for freedom of expression has now come back to bite the backside of the Australian prime minister.

When it comes to publication of inflammatory western depictions of the prophet Mohammed that raise the ire of many Muslims worldwide, many western voices will step forth to defend freedom of expression. However, this fidelity to the freedom of expression will often change when what is being expressed casts the West in a negative light; a case in point being an image of an Australian soldier slitting a Muslim child’s throat.

News.com.au featured a 60 Minutes Australia report about “disturbing allegations of the murder of children and a ‘killing as a sport’ culture” among Australian fighters deployed in Afghanistan.

A sociologist, Samantha Crompvoets, spent months interviewing Special Forces soldiers about alleged war crimes in Afghanistan. Among the insouciant acts noted were soldiers tallying their kills on wall boards — kills that included civilians and prisoners.

60 Minutes described the killers as a “rogue band” of special forces soldiers. One especially “disturbing allegation” described how Australian Special Forces soldiers mercilessly slit the throats of 14-year-old boys, bagged their bodies, and tossed them in a river.

Guardian exclusive exposed depravity with a photo of an Australian soldier drinking beer from a Taliban fighter’s prosthetic leg.

The findings by Crompvoets and the 60 Minutes report were corroborated by the Australian government’s redacted Brereton Report of “possibly the most disgraceful episode in Australia’s military history”:

… 39 unlawful killings by or involving ADF members. The Report also discloses separate allegations that ADF members cruelly treated persons under their control. None of these alleged crimes was committed during the heat of battle. The alleged victims were non-combatants or no longer combatants.

What particularly stuck in the craw of political Australia was a tweet by a Chinese official, Zhao Lijian, of a gruesome throat-slitting image.

Australian prime minister Morrison was apoplectic, calling the post “repugnant,” “deeply offensive to every Australian, every Australian who has served in that uniform,” “utterly outrageous,” and unjustifiable noting that it was a “false image.” Morrison demanded an apology from the Chinese government, the firing of Zhao Lijian, and for Twitter to remove the post.

“It is utterly outrageous and cannot be justified on any basis whatsoever, the Chinese Government should be totally ashamed of this post,” Morrison said.

First, calling the image false is deflection because anyone who gives more than a cursory glance to the image will right away realize that it is has been photo-shopped and does not purport in any way to be an untouched photograph.

Second, the Australian prime minister obviously has backward moral priorities. I submit that what should be deeply offensive to Morrison and every human being — not just Australians — and especially offensive for every Australian who has served in the Australian military are the egregious war crimes committed by those wearing the same uniform. The starting and focal point for condemnation must be the war crimes. Logically, if the spate of gruesome war crimes had not been committed by Australians in uniform, then outcry at the crimes would not have been filliped.

Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying did address the outrage by Morrison in a TV address.

“These cruel crimes have been condemned by the international community,” said Hua.

“The Australian government should do some soul searching and bring the culprits to justice, and offer an official apology to the Afghan people and make the solemn pledge that they will never repeat such crimes. Earlier, they said the Chinese government should feel ashamed but it is Australian soldiers who committed such cruel crimes.”

“Shouldn’t the Australian government feel ashamed? Shouldn’t they feel ashamed for their soldiers killing innocent Afghan civilians?”

According to Afghanistan’s president Ashraf Ghani, Morrison did express — not a full-fledged apology — but “his deepest sorrow over the misconduct by some Australian troops.” Australia’s foreign minister Marise Payne also wrote to her Afghan counterpart to extend “apologies for the misconduct identified by the inquiry, by some Australian military personnel in Afghanistan.” The wording would seem to diminish the atrocities as “misconduct.” There is also a overarching emphasis that the crimes were committed by some troops, seeking to exculpate the bulk of the troops from bad apples among them.

It would seem Australia is trying to distract from its horrendous war crimes. Colloquially put, Australia’s political honcho is trying to cover the military’s bare ass.

World Socialist Web Site was scathing in denouncing the Australian Establishment’s response,

The tweet by a mid-ranking Chinese official, condemning Australian war crimes in Afghanistan, has been met with hysterical denunciations by the entire political and media establishment. The response can only be described as a staggering exercise in hypocrisy, confected outrage and an attempt to whip-up a wartime nationalist frenzy.

The illustration is based on an investigative report by the Australian Department of Defense, Hua pointed out, noting that “although it is a painting, it reflects the facts.”

Hua pointed to Morrison’s real purpose: to divert attention and shift pressure from Australian war crimes to criticism of China.

Australia Liberal MP Andrew Hastie preferred that the war crimes had been kept buried. Hastie (who as a captain in the Special Air Services was cleared of wrongdoing in an investigation into soldiers under his command who chopped the hands off dead Taliban fighters in Afghanistan) criticized the Australian Defence Force for releasing allegations of war crimes in Afghanistan, saying it has allowed China to malign Australian troops.

Bipartisan support was forthcoming for Australian government indignation as Labor leader Anthony Albanese also criticized the image and shadow foreign affairs minister Penny Wong called it “gratuitous” and “inflammatory.”

Prosecuting Western War Crimes

At the end of World War II war crimes tribunals were set up. In Europe there was the Nuremberg Tribunal and in Asia the Tokyo War Crimes Tribunal. It was victor’s justice and no Allies were tried. This although the United States and, to a lesser degree France, engaged in a deliberate policy of starving German prisoners of war (who the US re-designated as disarmed enemy forces to evade the Geneva Conventions on POWs, as president George W Bush would later similarly do in Afghanistan when he refused to recognize POWs, labeling them instead as unlawful enemy combatants) and civilians. Germans stated that over 1,700,000 soldiers alive at the end of the war never returned home.

In the Far East, there were no allies prosecuted at the Tokyo War Crimes Trial. It must be noted that just as Nazi scientists were brought back to work at the behest of the US, class A Japanese war criminals were also protected by the US from prosecution.

Australia is not alone in the commission of war crimes. Canadian Airborne Regiment troops tied and blind-folded 16-year-old Shidane Arone, beat him with a metal bar, and burned with cigarellos for hours (he was later found to have burns on his penis), and took “trophy pics.” Arone was dead the following morning. The Canadian Airborne Regiment would be disbanded. US war crimes are numerous. They include My Lai in Viet Nam, Bagram in Afghanistan, Abu Ghraib in Iraq, etc.

Western war criminals are seldom punished, or when punished, then not in a meaningful way proportionate to the crimes committed. In fact, if you expose the war crimes perpetrated by a western allied country, then you risk becoming targeted for imprisonment. Such is the situation that Julian Assange finds himself in today. Although an Australian citizen, Morrison has been unsympathetic to the WikiLeaks founder and publisher who exposed egregious US war crimes. Said Morrison, “Mr Assange will get the same support that any other Australian would … he’s not going to be given any special treatment.”

This is what adherence to the tenet of freedom of expression genuinely signifies in much of the western world. In other words, freedom of expression is good for the western goose but bad when it is for the Muslim gander.

For further background view the damning allegations of serious war crimes, including the execution of innocent civilians and detainees.

Australian Lowlifes – American Empire’s Bitches

Australian Lowlifes – American Empire’s Bitches

December 01, 2020

By Allen Yu for the Saker Blog

I have picked on America for some time … and for good reasons … because American leaders and media on the world stage have been tragically hypocritical and arrogant for too long.

Just look at the recent murder of Iran’s top nuclear scientist – Mohsen Fakhrizadeh. Imagine if a top scientist in the U.S. (or U.K. or France or Germany for that matter) was murdered in a similar fashion: American leaders and media would all be all up in arms, calling out the despicable act for what it is, an affront against basic civility.

But because this happened to Iran, there is no moral indignity expressed in the U.S. media or its leaders. Trump seemingly smugly tweeted the news. Other leaders acknowledged nonchalantly almost as if it were news about bad weather. The killing is treated at worst as political intrigue by Israel – with certain approval by Trump – to prevent Biden from improving relations with Iran and perhaps rejoining the JCPOA.

It’s truly despicable … but expected. And now we see something just as disgusting in … Australia!

A few weeks ago, news came out that Australia troops have murdered at least 39 innocent civilians in Afghanistan in the course of the Afghan war. Over the weekend, an obscure artist in China made an art about the tragedy which was widely circulated in Chinese social media, and which Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesman Li JianZhao twitted.

The Australians are now all up in arms over the image! The angle Australian (and U.S.) media and leaders is taking is that this is all “fake news”! Australian Prime Minister Morrison pronounced it to be a “fake image”! In this Australian news video, one Australian politician pronounced that the image is “gratuitous, inflammatory, deeply offensive.” The reporters fumed that China was “childish” and a “bully” and that Australians must “stand up” to Chinese aggression. China is doing this – in their view – because it is mad at Australia for speaking up about Hong Kong, Xinjiang, and banning Huawei. Australian must not back down because who knows what else will China demand of Australians later, and what else evil China will demand of Australia’s children and grandchildren down the road!

I kid you not … that’s what they are saying in Australia!!!

So a few quick responses.

First, this is not “fake news.” It is real news. Watch “Killing Field: Explosive new allegations of Australian special forces war crimes | Four Corners.” It’s a documentary made by the Australian Public Broadcast Service and can be easily found on YouTube at https://youtu.be/-GPplTKCYpQ The issues are real. The events are real. The tragedy is real. The pain is real.

Second, this is not a “fake image.” It’s art – commonly understood to be an expression or application of creative skills to produce artifacts that evokes beauty and/or emotive power.

I remember a few years ago, many the West laughed at Muslims for getting for mad at “art” that satirized the Muslim prophet Muhammadin in what has been called the Jyllands-Posten Muhammad cartoons controversy. The Muslims accused the West of defaming their religion, but the West hollered “Freedom of speech”! But even in their fervor, never did Muslim supporters raise the issue about a “fake image”!So to Australian media and politicians again … this is Art.

Third, talk about “gratuitous, inflammatory, deeply offensive”! It is the Australians who are “gratuitous, inflammatory, deeply offensive” for attacking Chinese who are creating and spreading art that expresses a shared human pain. The art evokes a primal, innate expression for basic human rights, especially taken in larger view of the West’s endless wars in the world – including the Middle East, Afghanistan, Africa, Latin America, among others. It is a basic human right to feel and communicate such emotions from human tragedies and offenses.

Fourth, about China being “childish” and a “bully,” please look in the mirror. Please look first into the mirror and reflect upon what you as a nation have done to others. You who say you are a gate keeper of peace have betrayed that trust and blindly killed some 39 – probably much more(!) – innocent men, women, and children. China is not “bullying” you by holding a mirror up and hoping that you can reflect upon the crimes you have conducted.

Fifth, stop crying about how you must stand up to China … Over the past two or so years, you have taken dramatic actions following U.S. lead in fighting a trade, technology, and ideology war against China the last few years. This is your choice, not China’s. You have spread lies about Huawei’s 5G insecurity, you have sided with and inflamed foreign-sponsored hooligans in Hong Kong, and you have created false, unsubstantiated reports about so-called Xinjiang “concentration camps.” Yes, you should stop. But not because of China per se, but because that’s the common, basic, decent, human thing to do.

Please understand that even after you do stop, you still have to face the music for the music your troops have conducted in Afghanistan.

China does not want to be your judge or savior, Australia. You have to face up to the court of history and humanity yourself. Please grow up, get some bones, stop being America’s bitch, and take some responsibility for yourself, Australia.

Iranians: The people the West are allowed to assassinate

November 30, 2020

by Ramin Mazaheri and crossposted with PressTV

(Ramin Mazaheri is currently covering the US elections.
He is the chief correspondent in Paris for Press TV
and has lived in France since 2009. He has been a
daily newspaper reporter in the US, and has reported
from Iran, Cuba, Egypt, Tunisia, South Korea and
lsewhere. He is the author of ‘Socialism’s Ignored
Success: Iranian Islamic Socialism’ as well as ‘I’ll Ruin
Everything You Are: Ending Western Propaganda on Red China’, which is also available in simplified and traditional Chinese.)

The recent assassination of Iranian nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh – and the total silence regarding any sanctions on those who illegally played judge, jury, invader and executioner – reminds us how very unique Iranians are: Iranians are the people whom Westerners feel they are legitimately allowed to assassinate.

The citizens of which other country get so shamefully and shockingly assassinated by Westerners with such regularity in the 21st century?

We can’t compare the assassinations of Iranians with allegations (which did arise amid a once in a half-century Russophobia campaign in the West) that Russia poisoned a convicted double agent inside the United Kingdom. Not only did Western countries issue actual condemnations, unlike with the illegal murder of Fakhrizadeh, but they even expelled over 150 Russian diplomats.

The largest point to make clear is regarding why Iranians get this extraordinary (inhumane) treatment. It’s important for journalists to answer the short-term question of, “Why Fakhrizadeh?”, but we must also answer the long-term question of “Why Iran?”

The reality is that the average Westerners doesn’t even know how they got to this point. The Iranian hostage crisis was long ago, Israel is the belligerent one which keeps invading (and losing), the US is the belligerent one which keeps invading (and losing) – the refusal to allow Iran to defend itself is something which the average Westerner mostly doesn’t agree with and which they definitely cannot explain. That is to say: the reason is political – but Westerners are atrocious politicians, atrociously cynical about politics and atrociously misinformed about politics and socioeconomics due to their ever-more obvious censorship, propaganda and self-censorship.

There are several answers to “Why Iran?” Firstly, Iranians are an “expendable” people:

For a few centuries Westerners have regarded Iranians (as well as many others) as people who own things of value (natural resources), but who can produce nothing of value. Value is derived from supporting not just Westernism, but a Westernism which is totally unleavened – Westerners might say “contaminated” – with any non-Western ideas. Those who work for systems which do not conform to Western desires – no matter how great the democratic legitimacy of these systems -can be assassinated at will, in Western eyes. This is why the killing of a Qasem Soleimani or Fakhrizadeh does not merit consequences, unlike the assassination of a French general or a Japanese scientist.

Secondly, Iranians are a “ignorable” people:

Even though Iranians are so very expendable, they must also be ignored in the 21st century. The problem is: Iran keeps attracting well-wishers and like-minded people. Iran has allies in Iraq, Syria and Lebanon due to centuries-old cultural ties, but Iran also has allies in places like China and Venezuela precisely because Iran can talk about more than just religion.

Lastly, because Iranians refuse to be expendable and because they do things which are worthy of meritorious recognition, Iranians are thus an “assassinatable” people:

Iranians are assassinated because they show to the Muslim world and beyond that resistance to Western imperialism is not only possible, but that it produces far, far greater domestic success than continuing to ape Western nations.

Iran is not so special – they are merely the last one standing. Israel assassinated Egyptian and Iraqi nuclear scientists in the 1960s and 1970s, but these two countries either decided to collaborate with Israel or were too culturally divided to resist invasion by Israel’s ally and/or master. Iran is extraordinary in the 2020 context because they have rejected cooperation with Western imperialism, something which is always obscured by Western leftists and their fake-leftist media, and – history since 1917 proves – this means the West must assassinate you.

The West became a superpower by violence, not by merit, persuasion or mutually-beneficial cooperation, of course.

As long as Iran keeps earning meritorious recognition, assassinations (acts of war) will continue

This theory of Iran as the “assassinatable people” does not include the recent lie of Al-Qaeda’s #2 being assassinated in Tehran. This allegedly occurred in August but was not reported by The New York Times until just two weeks before the murder of Fakhrizadeh. Obviously, this was false propaganda designed to pave the way for the acceptance of brutally assassinating more Iranians, like Fakhrizadeh, in the minds of Westerners. It is guilt by association, no matter the historical record and the anti-terror fighting facts on the ground.

We must remember that so very much Western fake news is designed not to sway the world, nor logical people, but to plant false consciousness in their own citizens. Many Americans were shocked at the totalitarian brutality in the assassination of Soleimani – many Americans even publicly protested in Soleimani’s favor, something unthinkable in the 1980s or after 9/11. Considering how absurd it is – that Iran would peacefully host the #2 of the group which Soleimani and Iran fought for so very long (and The Times even admitted this contradiction in its (anonymous, as always) “scoop), the alleged death in Iran of that seemingly endless funeral procession of “Al-Qaeda #2s” should be disregarded. This is how 21st century Western propaganda works – it has no real political motivation/indoctrination, but only a motivation of furthering belligerent attitudes: it is designed to fuel panic and suspicion among Western citizens, which then grants their militaries approval for more war.

Israel is being blamed for the murder of Fakhrizadeh, but of course the US had to approve it. However, an Iranian reprisal against Israel or the US would definitely not trigger a large-scale war, for two obvious reasons: Iran does not want one, and because the West has absolutely zero chance of defeating Iran in a large-scale war. The proof of this truth is that Iran retaliated by firing on American forces occupying Iraqi soil after the murder of Soleimani, and there was no war with the US. The US simply lied about the damage, precisely because there is no way Western forces could hold a fraction of Iranian territory that they can in Iraq and Afghanistan.

What a major, immediate Iranian retaliation would achieve would only be to give fuel for decades of Western propaganda that Iran is a belligerent nation, even though Iran is clearly this exceptional victim of exceptional belligerence. But this false narrative is being domestically exposed in the West with each assassination.

The reality is that Fakhrizadeh’s death is something which must ultimately be bitterly swallowed by Iranians, because I doubt that Fakhrizadeh himself would want the country to go to war over his own assassination. Just as the “next man up” doctrine was successfully applied after Soleimani, so it will be applied for the martyr Fakhrizadeh, which is precisely why this physics teacher taught – for the good of the community, not the good of the individual. That’s a rather anti-Western notion, but a very successful one: Despite having just 80 million people Iran is regularly among the top 5 nations in the world in producing total STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics) graduates, thanks to selfless humanists and patriots like Fakhrizadeh.

That staggering achievement of modestly-sized Iran will go totally unexplained in the West, of course, and such wilful ignorance can only but continue to neuter the West’s understanding of Iran. There is no invasion of Iran possible, and there is no stopping the nation’s nuclear energy project – there is only the West’s attempted implosion of Iran’s meritorious and successful culture, which would then result in the posting of US troops in Iran.

The assassination of Fakhrizadeh is designed to inflame tensions and entrap Iran into war – this plan will not work, yet again. It’s being said that the murder is a way by Israel to “salt the earth” and prevent a restoration of the JCPOA, but it’s clear the West views Iranians as exceptional from other humans on earth: Iranians should believe that people can be assassinated on their streets without a word of condemnation, but also that Europeans are on the cusp of doing fair business with Iranians in Iran?

Maybe Joe Biden will actually win the US election, and maybe he has also had a change of heart and truly does not want to support foreign interventions and invasions after so many decades of doing precisely that? But what’s known for certain is that many Westerners only want war, and not with just Iran.

Iran is actually just like Palestine – totally assassinatable by Israel and other Westerners. But while they can take Palestinians’ land they cannot take Iranian culture and intelligence – the teaching of physics, as well as anti-imperialist thought, continues in Iran.


Prominent Iranian physicist assassinated near Tehran

Friday, 27 November 2020 2:08 PM  [ Last Update: Friday, 27 November 2020 9:10 PM ]

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
A file photo of martyred Iranian physicist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh

Prominent Iranian physicist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh has been assassinated in a terrorist attack near the capital Tehran.

The Fars news agency reported that he had been targeted on Friday in a multi-pronged attack involving at least one explosion and small fire by a number of assailants in Absard city of Damavand County, Tehran Province.

The attack targeted the vehicle carrying Fakhrizadeh — who headed the Iranian Defense Ministry’s Organization of Defensive Innovation and Research (SPND), the agency said.

The Defense Ministry’s media office said Fakhrizadeh “was severely wounded in the course of clashes between his security team and terrorists, and was transferred to hospital,” where he succumbed to his injuries.

Fars said 3-4 people were killed in the shooting, all of whom were said to be terrorists.

Photos and footage shared online of the attack showed bullet holes on the windshield of Fakhrizadeh’s car and a pool of blood on the road.

The photo shows a car that was targeted in a deadly shooting attack by terrorists in Absard city, near the Iranian capital of Tehran, November 27, 2020. (By Fars news agency)

‘Serious indications of Israeli role’

In a statement, Iranian Foreign Ministry Mohammad Javad Zarif roundly condemned the terror attack, saying there were “serious indications” of the Israeli regime’s role in the assassination of Fakhrizadeh, a professor of physics at Imam Hussein University of Tehran.

“Terrorists murdered an eminent Iranian scientist today. This cowardice—with serious indications of Israeli role—shows desperate warmongering of perpetrators,” he said in a tweet.

The top Iranian diplomat called on the international community, especially the European Union, to “end their shameful double standards & condemn this act of state terror.”

‘Harsh revenge awaits criminals’

Meanwhile, Chairman of the Chiefs of Staff of the Iranian Armed Forces Major General Mohammad Baqeri blamed the “savage” attack on “terrorists tied to global arrogance and the evil Zionist regime.”

The assassination, he said, did deal a blow to Iran’s defense industry, but the enemies should know that “the path opened by the likes of Martyr Fakhrizadeh will never end.”

The photo shows the site of a terror attack, which targeted an Iranian scientist, in Absard city, north of the Iranian capital, Tehran, November 27, 2020. (By Fars news agency)

Baqeri said “harsh revenge” awaits the terror groups as well as all those who had a hand in the terror attack.

The commander assured the Iranian nation that the perpetrators of the terror attack will be pursued and brought to justice.

In a similar message, Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) Commander Major General Hossein Salami vowed a “harsh revenge and punishment” for those behind the act of terror.

The assassination of the Iranian scientist “was planned and run by the fake, terrorist and infanticide Zionist regime,” the chief IRGC commander added.

Iranian Intelligence Minister Mahmoud Alavi also said in a statement that an operation had been launched to identify the terrorist elements complicit in the “brutal crime,” pledging that the Islamic Republic will avenge the martyr’s blood.

In turn, Brigadier General Hossein Dehqan, military advisor to Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei, also reacted to Fakhrizadeh’s martyrdom in a tweet, vowing a crushing response to the perpetrator.

“We will come down hard on those who killed Martry Mohsen Fakhrizadeh like thunder and make them regret their deed,” he said.

“In the final days of their allied gambler’s political life, the Zionists are after intensifying pressure on Iran in order to trigger an all-out war,” said Dehqan in a reference to outgoing US President Donald Trump’s final days in office.

Fakhrizadeh’s name was mentioned multiple times in a presentation in 2018 by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, during which he repeated baseless claims about the Iranian nuclear program.

Netanyahu described the scientist as the director of Iran’s nuclear program and threatened, “Remember that name, Fakhrizadeh.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stands by a screen with a purported image of Iranian scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh during a news conference in Tel Aviv, Israel, April 30, 2018. (Photo by Reuters)

The Tel Aviv regime has made several attempts over the past years to throw a wrench in Tehran’s peaceful nuclear work.

The regime has been behind the assassination of several Iranian nuclear scientists. It has also conduced cyberattacks on Iranian nuclear sites.

‘The crime won’t block Iran path to scientific progress’

Iran’s Judiciary Chief Ebrahim Raeisi said the “big crime” was carried out by “traitorous elements linked to foreigners and international Zionism with the sinister goal of hindering the country’s scientific progress.”

Raeisi further praised the scientist’s role in speeding up Iran’s advancements in various scientific fields, including the nuclear industry, saying Fakhrizadeh’s martyrdom will not block the country’s path forward.

He called on the country’s security and intelligence institutions in addition to relevant judicial bodies to do their utmost to arrest and serve justice to the criminals and mercenaries involved in the crime as soon as possible.


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Political Analyst: Fakhrizadeh’s Assassination An Act of War, Antagonists Will Be Punished

Political Analyst: Fakhrizadeh’s Assassination An Act of War, Antagonists Will Be Punished 

By Elham Hashemi

Tehran – On 21 November 2020, The Times of ‘Israel’ said that the ‘Israeli’ regime along with the US are planning ‘covert ops’ against Iran as Trump’s term ends. Only six days later, prominent Iranian physicist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh has been assassinated in a terrorist attack in Damavand area near the capital Tehran.

This crime comes as a desperate attempt to put more pressure on Tehran amid the constant US and allies attempts to hamper Iran from advancing in the different fields, including nuclear development for peaceful purposes. Iran’s Fars news agency reported that Fakhrizadeh had been targeted on Friday in an attack involving at least one explosion and shooting by a number of assailants in Absard city of Damavand County, Tehran Province.

The media office of Iran’s Defense Ministry said Fakhrizadeh, who headed the ministry’s Organization of Defensive Innovation and Research [SPND], “was severely wounded in the course of clashes between his security team and terrorists and was transferred to hospital,” where he succumbed to his wounds and was announced as martyr. 

Commenting on the topic, political analyst and University of Tehran Professor, Dr. Seyed Mohammad Marandi said “This assassination shows that western intelligence agencies and the terrorist organizations that they support such as the MEK along with the apartheid regime and the other regional actors are waging war against Iranian people.” 

He explained “It is interesting when one remembers that every time a terrorist is arrested, or a terrorist is executed or a spy is captured, Western media immediately say that these people are innocent, and that they are hostages; as if they have some sort of special knowledge of what goes on behind the scenes. Yet it is these very same spies and terrorists that accumulate knowledge and carryout murder and destruction.” 

“Nevertheless, this is an act of war, and the Iranians will make sure that its antagonists are punished as a result of the murder of this high ranking Iranian official,” Dr. Marandi noted. 

Brigadier General Hossein Dehqan, military advisor to Leader of the Islamic Revolution His Eminence Imam Sayyed Ali Khamenei, vowed in his tweet a crushing response to the perpetrators.

The tweet read “We will come down hard on those who killed Martry Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, just like thunder and we will make them regret their deed. In the final days of their allied gambler’s political life, the Zionists are after intensifying pressure on Iran in order to trigger an all-out war.”

Also, Iran’s Chief of Staff Major General Mohammad Hossein Baqeri said in a statement that “The assassins of martyr Fakhrizadeh will see a harsh revenge,” promising that they will be punished. He also assured that the path Farikhzadeh started will never stop. 

The political analyst pointed out that “It is ironic that when Western regimes claim that the Russians attempted to murder or assassinate an asset of theirs in the UK, the whole of NATO, Europe and North America is up in arms. But when an actual act of murder is carried out in Iran, Western media outlets gloat and try to show the victim as the guilty party rather than the terrorists and the regimes that stand behind those terrorists.”   

Fakhrizadeh’s name was mentioned in a presentation in May 2018 by ‘Israeli’ Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, during which he repeated baseless claims about the Iranian nuclear program. Netanyahu described the scientist as the director of Iran’s nuclear program and said, “Remember that name, Fakhrizadeh.”

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Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s statement and answers to media questions at a joint news conference with Foreign Minister of Belarus Vladimir Makei

November 27, 2020

Source

Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s statement and answers to media questions at a joint news conference with Foreign Minister of Belarus Vladimir Makei

While this press conference contains a shorter Belarus update, it has a wider context and is posted to illustrate Foreign Minister Lavrov’s clear expression of irritation with the west, which he now covers in each of his routine press conferences.  In this one, he handles among other topics, protests across the world, Heiko Maas, Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe (CMCE), International agencies, including the Office of the UN Human Rights Commissioner being silent and not doing their jobs, as well as strategic stability.

Joint session of the collegiums of the Russian and Belarusian Foreign Ministries, November 26, 2020

Ladies and gentlemen,

We have held a joint session of the collegiums of the Russian Foreign Ministry and the Belarusian Foreign Ministry. By tradition, it took place in a confidential and truly friendly atmosphere.

Using this opportunity, I would like to thank again our Belarusian friends for their traditional hospitality and excellent organisation of work. We highly value these annual meetings in the format of members of the collegiums and other representatives of the two ministries’ top management. They allow us to discuss in detail the most urgent international issues that involve the interests of our countries and need to be addressed.

Despite the complicated epidemiological situation, we managed to meet offline and talk face to face. We had four items on our agenda: relations of our countries with the European Union, participation in UN peacekeeping missions (in part, in the context of the prospects of the CSTO’s involvement in the UN peacekeeping activities), cooperation in the EAEU on forming the Greater Eurasian Partnership and ways of ensuring international information security.

We achieved specific agreements on all of these issues. They are reflected in a resolution that we signed in addition to the plan of consultations between our foreign ministries in 2021. We also spoke about broader cooperation in international organisations, including the CIS, CSTO, EAEU, UN and OSCE.

We and our Belarusian colleagues had to state that unfortunately our US-led Western partners continue persistently promoting their narrow selfish interests in a bid to preserve their hegemony in the world arena. They are using the concept of the “rules-based” world order, setting it directly against universal, commonly recognised standards of international law, including the UN Charter.

We are concerned about the attempts by the Western countries to establish control over international organisations, up to and including privatisation of their secretariats. When this fails, they try to replace collective work in universal formats with private get-togethers where all those who agree with the Western policy make decisions that are later presented as multilateral and binding. It is hardly possible to make us follow these rules. The overwhelming majority of countries are firmly committed to the old, tried-and-tested principle – respect for international law, primarily the UN Charter.

We noted numerous facts of crude interference by the US and those who follow in its wake (I am referring to some European capitals) in the internal affairs of sovereign states. The dirty methods of colour revolutions continue to be used. These include manipulation of public opinion, instigation and support of overtly anti-government forces and contribution to their radicalisation. We are seeing how these methods are being applied to the Republic of Belarus. We spoke about this in detail today both with Foreign Minister Vladimir Makei and President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko, who received us before this meeting.

We were informed in great detail about the current developments in Belarus. We are not indifferent to them. The Republic of Belarus is our ally and strategic partner and also a fraternal nation. We are interested in a calm and stable situation in that country. This will be facilitated by the Constitutional reform that was launched by the Belarusian leadership as a major transformation of the political, economic and legal systems.

We believe the Belarusian people are wise and always act in a balanced manner. They are capable of resolving their problems without any outside prompting or obtrusive proposals on unwanted mediation. It is obvious that attempts to jeopardise normalisation are being made. There are many examples of this: a desire to radicalise the protesters, encouraging people to engage in subversion and high treason, which are made, in part, from abroad.

Today we again reviewed in detail the entire range of our ties and ways of protecting the interests of each of our countries, as well as the interests of the Union State of the Republic of Belarus and the Russian Federation.

I would like to emphasise again that we are content with our joint discussion. We will carry out everything we have agreed on today.

Question (addressed to both ministers): On November 18, 2020, your German counterpart Heiko Maas accused the authorities of Belarus of violently suppressing peaceful protests. Having said this, he urged the Council of Europe to use its instruments for monitoring the situation even in those European countries that do not want to join the organisation. Could you comment on this, please?

Sergey Lavrov (speaking after Vladimir Makei):  We took note of how Germany took over the Presidency of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe (CMCE). German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas first made a speech at a closed CMCE meeting and then held a news conference. His speech was unconventional for the presidency of this pan-European body because the main goal of the Council of Europe, which is recorded in its statute, is to promote greater unity of all European countries. By definition, the President, all the more so in the Council of Europe, must focus on enhancing unity in his future work rather than stir up confrontation.

It is no secret that at the CMCE meeting prior to that news conference, Heiko Maas presented his programme for the next sixth months in a politicised vein and unacceptable tone, in a crude, undiplomatic manner. He made a number of Russophobic statements. He had grievances not only as regards the Republic of Belarus but also made groundless Russophobic accusations in respect of Crimea, Abkhazia, South Ossetia, Transnistria and southeastern Ukraine. His opinion on the Nagorno-Karabakh agreement also sounded rather strange.

At the news conference Mr Maas urged everyone “to respect the rules-based order.” Our Western colleagues are not going to respect international law as a matter of principle. He did say that the principles of the Council of Europe must be imposed by using relevant instruments, including on those countries that are not members of the Council of Europe. I consider this absolutely unacceptable.

It is indeed strange that of all countries it is Germany that has recently decided to act as a driver of aggressive approaches to the countries that are not NATO or EU members.

Those who are objective and pay attention to double standards will note that neither Mr Maas, nor other Western representatives or UN human rights agencies have said a word about rather serious incidents in France and Germany. There were protests by yellow vests in France, demonstrations against COVID restrictions in Germany and some other countries, and protests against a ban on abortions in Poland. They were dispersed in a very tough manner.

International agencies, including the Office of the UN Human Rights Commissioner, stayed silent. Human rights champions in France covered the yellow vests protests in a completely different manner than they cover events in Russia and Belarus. Only in the beginning did they cautiously urge the sides to overcome their differences. But later the yellow vests began to encounter a tough police response. In the estimate of French human rights activists, almost 15,000 rubber bullets were shot at the protesters; 2,500 people were wounded and 12,000 detained, including 2,000 who were sentenced, in part, to real prison terms. But nobody speaks about this. This is considered normal because these are their compatriots. It is necessary to get rid of this attitude, especially for those who head the Council of Europe.

About a month ago, Council of Europe Secretary General Marija Pejcinovic Buric asked us in Moscow about our assessments of the events in the Republic of Belarus. She received our answers and inquired whether the Council of Europe can contribute to normalisation there in some way. We promised do convey her wish to those concerned. She emphasised that this will be possible only if the Republic of Belarus makes this request itself. But as you can see, the German Presidency has different plans in this respect. This is regrettable.

We will try to compel the Council of Europe, all the more so under the German Presidency, not to forget about the issues that the West is trying to hush up in many different ways. This applies to discrimination against Russian speakers in the Baltic states, the disgraceful lack of citizenship, and the so-called reforms in the field of education and language in Ukraine that are aimed only against the Russian language, as distinct from the languages of other national minorities because they are EU languages. We will not accept the efforts of the Council of Europe (or some of its members) to hush up the facts of the purposeful harassment of the Russian media, not to mention the glorification of Nazism. The German Presidency must remember all this and must not divert the Council of Europe to the discussion of issues that are more comfortable for the West and justify its positions, while ignoring the problems that have become chronic for our Western colleagues.

Question: What are the prospects for concluding new strategic stability treaties with the United States once the new administration is in office? Last year, President Trump mentioned a new trilateral document involving Russia, the United States and China. What will happen now?

Sergey Lavrov: This is a long-standing matter. True, the Trump administration was consumed (I can’t come up with any other word) by a desire to involve the People’s Republic of China in disarmament talks. Initially, they talked about the need to include the PRC in the START Treaty which is still in force, although this is impossible by definition. Then, they proposed creating a new treaty and not renewing the current one, because it’s outdated and bilateral, whereas they would like to take a step towards multilateral disarmament and arms control. Their position was erratic. As a result, they came up with a proposal to extend the treaty for another year, but on the condition that we recount each other’s warheads and put in overseers at the defence plants’ checkpoints. Counting warheads and ignoring carriers and innovative technologies that directly affect strategic stability is a frivolous and unprofessional approach.

Earlier this year, we made proposals to our US colleagues about structuring our future dialogue on arms control and non-proliferation. They stood their ground and insisted on warheads alone. They have long been interested in Russian tactical nuclear weapons, hence their interest in warheads at the expense of everything else. We say we will be ready to discuss non-strategic nuclear weapons, including warheads, when the Americans withdraw their tactical weapons from other countries. In Europe, these weapons are deployed in five NATO countries. Also, NATO structures conduct training in handling nuclear weapons for military personnel from non-nuclear countries in flagrant violation of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT).

With regard to the People’s Republic of China, President Putin has repeatedly stated that we have nothing against it, but the decision is up to the PRC. China has officially and publicly stated on several occasions that it is not going to join the talks with Russia and the United States, since its nuclear arsenal is an order of magnitude smaller than the corresponding arsenals of Moscow and Washington. We respect this position. If and when the Americans persuade China to join multilateral talks, we will have no objection to that. We will be willing to participate in them if the PRC agrees to this of its own accord. But we are not going to persuade Beijing to do so just at the whim of the Americans. But if and when a multilateral format in disarmament and arms control talks is created, we will push for France and the United Kingdom to join it as well.

When we told the Americans about this, they told us that these counties are their allies and they vouch for them. Precisely because they are allies of the United States, we would like to see them at the negotiating table, if the talks become multilateral. Washington’s absolutely hostile doctrine towards Russia cannot but raise questions about the motives of the US allies, whether in Europe or Asia. When they enter into a military alliance with a country that declares us a hostile state, we must draw our own conclusions regarding these allies.

I don’t see how we can seriously discuss anything related to the continuation of the arms control process with the Trump administration. We do not know yet what kind of administration will move into the White House or what kind of policy it will conduct. The voting results have not yet been announced officially, but there’s already an understanding that the change-of-command process is underway. Let’s wait and see what kind of assessments will eventually form in the minds of those who will shape the US strategic stability policy after January 21, 2021.

Question (addressed to both ministers): Popular protests have been growing around the world for various reasons, including political ones. The law enforcement reaction is the same everywhere, going as far as the use of force and special equipment. At the same time, such events in Belarus are receiving heightened attention from foreign politicians. What do you think is the reason?

Sergey Lavrov: I have already cited examples of protests being suppressed in France. Those drastic figures are rarely revealed to the general public. Human rights agencies in the UN system, as well as numerous human rights rapporteurs are trying their best to avoid any topics that are uncomfortable for Western representatives.

Speaking of the protests in Paris, there is a huge wave of protest against the global security bill, which includes a ban on photographing, filming or otherwise identifying law enforcement officers. I can imagine the kind of racket a bill like that would have sparked if it were proposed in Russia or Belarus. The French public and human rights groups are concerned, yet we can see no reaction from international bodies. The police used water cannons and noise grenades during rallies against the bill. The protesters, too, provoked the police, using stones and sticks. One police officer was injured. And yet, I repeat, this does not prevent the West from lecturing anyone who is not their ally.

Voting processes in Russia and Belarus have been scrutinised through a magnifying glass. When a similar story happens in the United States, it is declared “normal, it’s democracy, and everything is just fine.” Though, even respected and influential think tanks in the United States openly write about “the problems with the US electoral system.” To put it mildly, that system does not fully comply with the principles of democracy or the rule of law. They write these things themselves, but our international partners prefer to ignore them and concentrate on the countries whose “regimes” they find undesirable.

When UN rapporteurs, the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, describe violent clashes in Western capitals, they urge everyone to find a solution through dialogue. When they criticise us or Belarus, they demand a change of the system. This difference is visible to the naked eye. We have long lost any illusions about what kind of standards the West is promoting and how they use double standards. We will fight, and will defend our position at the UN bodies, where these issues should be considered. We will not allow the vices that the Western community is demonstrating to be forgotten.

Question (addressed to both ministers): How can you comment on Pavel Latushko’s last interview, where he spoke about the possibility of unofficial contacts with Moscow?

Sergey Lavrov: Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova has just shown me part of that interview. Not only did he mention the possibility of unofficial contacts with Moscow – he said such contacts were underway and were coordinated. He shamelessly declared he could not cite any names, but mentioned “contacts at a sufficiently high level.” He speculated whether I will be allowed to tell my Belarusian friends about it. I will answer briefly: this is a blatant lie, and it once again says something about those trying to make some kind of career with foreign handouts.

Canada, U.S. have ‘selective’ approach toward human rights: lawyer

By Mohammad Mazhari

November 23, 2020 – 10:56

Sari Bashi, a consultant for Democracy in the Arab World Now (DAWN)

TEHRAN – A human rights lawyer says the U.S. and Canada follow double standards toward human rights, noting that they “support human rights selectively”.

In an interview with the Tehran Times, Sari Bashi, a consultant for Democracy in the Arab World Now (DAWN), says that U.S. policy in terms of human rights is not consistent. 

“Unfortunately, the United States and Canada support human rights selectively, and the United States, in particular, has not done nearly enough to call out its allies for human rights abuses,” Bashi points out.

Canada and the U.S. accuse other countries of human rights violations while they themselves sell weapons to tyrannical regimes in West Asia, which are used against defenseless people, especially in Yemen. 

Canada claims a global reputation as a human rights defender, while the Ottawa government has a bad record when it comes to the rights of the indigenous peoples. According to reports revealed by the Human Rights Watch, the Natives are deprived of the right to safe drinking water, and police mistreat and abuse indigenous women and girls.

Bashi also says the U.S. is misusing its influence to allow its allies, such as Israel, to commit crimes.

 The following is the text of the interview:

Q: Certain Western states have a bad record in view of human rights, so are these countries entitled to condemn other countries?

  A: I think the fact that all authorities abuse human rights do not disqualify any particular government from raising human rights issues with others. Certainly, the best way to encourage respect for human rights is to lead by example, and every government in the world that has invested more energy in improving in own human rights record could be more credible to criticize other government who may not be; but at the same time I think it is always legitimate to raise the issue of human rights abuses and we should make sure that we are holding our governments accountable to universal standards of human rights as articulated by international instruments.

“We should make sure that we are holding our governments accountable to universal standards of human rights as articulated by international instruments,” the consultant for Democracy in the Arab World Now (DAWN) says. Q: When it comes to Israeli crimes against Palestinians, why do countries like Canada and the U.S. give full support to Tel-Aviv? How is it possible that Israel wins such support?

A: I think lack of accountability for Israeli violations of human rights and international law against Palestinians reflects a weakness in accountability of the international system.

Unfortunately, the UN Security Council cannot act in the Israel-Palestine case because of the veto power of powerful members, especially the United States, while other mechanisms of accountability such as the International Criminal Court are struggling to have jurisdiction over war crimes committed in Palestine. So we have a lot of work to do in obtaining a stronger mechanism of accountability, and the fact that Israel enjoys such a strong military and financial support from the United States reflects a distorted political system in which the U.S. as a superpower is using its significant influence to allow its allies to commit abuses.

Q: Why is Canada not really concerned about human rights violations when it clinches arms deals with a value of 15 billion dollars with Saudi Arabia? Is it justifiable to say that Canada is not aware that these weapons are used against children and women in Yemen?

A: Canada, like all countries, has a responsibility to ensure that it does not violate human rights or international humanitarian law including in its military deals; so selling weapons to actors who are committing war crimes in Yemen will be a violation of Canada’s obligations and certainly, the Canadian government and the Canadian people have a responsibility to ensure that their foreign policy respects human rights and does not contribute to war crimes. 

Q: Washington has imposed harsh sanctions on Iran that are hampering Iran’s access to medicine. At such a hard time, countries like Canada have been cooperating with Washington in pushing ahead with its unilateral sanctions by refusing to sell humanitarian goods to Iran.  What is your comment?

 A: Unfortunately, the United States and Canada support human rights selectively, and the United States, in particular, has not done nearly enough to call out its allies for human rights abuses. At DAWN, we believe that U.S. policy should be consistent. So the same standard in terms of respecting human rights that are applied towards Iran should also be applied towards Israel and every other country because these are universal standards of how government should treat the people under their control.

Q: Why have Western countries, especially Canada and the U.S., preferred to turn a blind eye to Khashoggi’s murder while they knew that Mohammed bin Salman was directly responsible for that crime? How could Saudis distract attention away from their crimes and influence human rights bodies in the UN?

A: I think the lack of accountability for the murder of Jamal Khashoggi reflects a weakness in the system of international politics and especially the United States, which is selling Saudi Arabia billions of dollars in the arms trade and providing diplomatic cover that allows the Saudi government to act with impunity. The lack of accountability for Jamal Khashoggi’s murder regarding the role of Mohammad Bin Salman indicates that real change is needed. What is encouraging is that in the United States, there is pressure not just from the American people but also in the American Congress seeking accountability, and I remind that the U.S. Congress has required the federal government to provide information about those responsible for Jamal Khashoggi’s murder in the form of a DNI (Director of National Intelligence) report that was to be published last year. Unfortunately, the Trump administration has ignored that mandate and refused to release the report.  The refusal is the subject of litigation in U.S. courts, and we hope that the incoming administration will follow the law and do what Congress has required, which is to reveal what American intelligence services know about the murder of Jamal Khashoggi. 

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And now, a message from our friends of the American Jewish Congress about free speech

Source

November 18, 2020

Got that in my inbox today.  And when they say “enough is enough”, they mean it.  The hate free speech and the First Amendment which protects it.


An Encore for Charlie Hebdo

November 13, 2020

Posted by Lawrence Davidson

Part I—Insulting Islam

In mid October 2020 a French schoolteacher, 47-year-old Samuel Paty, decided to show his Freedom of Speech class cartoons demeaning Islam’s founding prophet, Mohammed. The cartoons were the same ones originally published by the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo (Charlie Weekly) in 2014-2015. At that time, the magazine’s actions resulted in the murder of twelve of its staff, including the editor, Stephane Charbonnier. The murders were committed by Muslim extremists associated with al-Qaeda. Samuel Paty’s fate turned out to be similar. Shortly after having shown the caricatures of the founder of Islam, the teacher was murdered by an 18-year-old Muslim immigrant. Other attacks have followed.  

In all of these cases, the killings were provoked as well as indefensible. The cartoons in question are all too easy to interpret as gratuitous insults against Islam and therefore against the almost 9% of the French population that are Muslim. Nonetheless, murder is incompatible with stable society. The latter being prima facie true, the next question is, What alternatives were available to those who were/are disgusted by the Charlie Hebdo caricatures? Lawsuits for defamation have been repeatedly filed. Some are still ongoing. However, to date, none have stopped the magazine’s demeaning ways. Well-organized public protests combined with steady political pressure might work in the long run. It was perhaps because such an effort was not forthcoming, at least not consistently, that action defaulted to emotionally driven individual fanatics.

By the way, Charlie Hebdo, with its own brand of fanaticism, is what you might call an equal opportunity defamer. Topics ranging from the Catholic Church to Italians killed in earthquakes have been depicted in distasteful, sometimes semi-pornographic fashion. As it stands, the right to publish gratuitously insulting cartoons is not only legal in France but, because of all the related violence, also now defended as an important expression of French national culture. To make this point clear, French officials have announced the publication of a booklet to include the Charlie Hebdo images. This will be “handed out to high school students as a commitment to defend the values of the Republic.”

Part II—A Trap 

The value referred to in the booklet is freedom of expression. As Charbonnier said in a 2012 interview, “We can’t live in a country without freedom of speech. I prefer to die than to live like a rat.” Of course, it is now obvious that Charbonnier’s ardent determination to avoid a rodent’s fate, and his nation’s embrace of the man’s grossness as a symbol of free speech, has led France into a trap. Here is how the Sorbonne Professor Pierre-Henri Tavoillot puts it: “what is at stake now is France’s laicite—the secularism that underlies its culture. If the nation compromises on laicite in this instance, this cultural principle may well unravel.” Refusal to consider a balanced way out of the situation paints the French into a corner while explicitly tying the culture to often semi-pornographic cartoons. 

The trap has many other dimensions. French enthusiasm for Charlie Hebdo has fueled Islamophobia and led others to use the situation to argue for the restriction of civil rights. France’s interior minister believes that the country is “at war against an enemy who is both inside and outside.” While it is true that the country’s 5.7 million Muslims (the highest number in any Western country) are increasingly alienated and fearful, the vast majority are peaceful. Yet they all have now been placed under suspicion of being terrorists. Now, the mayor of Nice is calling for a “modification of the Constitution” so that the nation can “properly wage war against Islamic extremists.” President Macron has announced a widespread crackdown on “Islamist individuals and organizations.” This includes closing French Muslim civil rights organizations and Arabic language schools. 

The whole affair has also brought France into conflict with Muslim populations and governments around the world. Presently, the French and Turkish governments are now trading insults. In Bangladesh, 40,000 people took part in an anti-French demonstration and called for the boycott of French goods. French goods were removed from shelves in shops in Qatar and Kuwait. 

Part III—Rationalizations

The French will tell you that their take on free expression was born in violence: in “eradicating the power of the monarchy and the Roman Catholic Church” during the French Revolution. Later, a 1905 French law made faith a strictly private matter and secularism the rule for the public sphere. There is nothing wrong with this arrangement. However, over the years the French have generally lost common sense relative to the subject and failed to be consistent in their approach to religion. On the one hand, laicite has caused some French men and women to see religion as a belief system that need not be taken seriously. Criticism of religion is seen as a “dear right.” On the other hand, recent history has led French governments to be very sensitive to even the slightest suggestion of anti-Semitism (which is illegal in France). Except in this case, the stipulation that one should not be critical of someone simply because he is observant is often forgotten.

Against this backdrop, French Muslims, the  most religious of French residents, have been held at arm’s length. Those who retain their traditional dress and ways stand out as outsiders and assimilation has not been made easy even for those Muslims who desire it. 

The French will also tell you that the art of caricature “is an old tradition that is part of our democracy.” French Muslims make the argument that “there should be limits to offensive satire [in the form of demeaning caricature] when it comes to religious beliefs.” They say that this is so because such satire “fuels extremism.” For millions of French Muslims, this suggests that “cartoons putting a prophet who is fundamental to millions of believers in suggestive and degrading postures” should not fall within the right to be satirical.

One can, of course, argue the issue of censorship. Free speech/expression rights are explicitly meant to protect speech we may not approve of. On the other hand, all societies impose some limits on speech—you can’t cry fire in a crowded theater. Who decides when, or if, there should be a legitimate restriction to free speech/expression? How about when there is a present atmosphere that leads to multiple murder and the breakdown of otherwise friendly foreign relations? Under such circumstances, can such competing issues be finessed by the application of common sense? The flamboyant display of such “art” as practiced by Charlie Hebdo, much less its presentation as a cornerstone of French culture, might be such a case.*

Part IV—Conclusion

How many cultures make rudeness a symbol of cultural excellence? It doesn’t seem to be a common practice. Yet, the French have done so in this case. It has gotten them nothing but trouble at home and abroad. 

The problem with the present French position is that it gives wide latitude to people who care little or nothing for cultural awareness. Stephane Charbonnier, the murdered editor of Charlie Hebdo, seemed uninterested in the real cultural consequences of his personal practice of freedom. In truth, he was an extremist who persisted on insulting a religion of 1.8 billion adherents, the vast majority of whom are peaceful folks. As he knew no bounds to his freedom to be brutally insulting, so his behavior activated a small number of Muslim extremists willing to be even more brutal than Charbonnier. This led to his violent death. In death he has become a French cultural icon—in total disregard of the extremist nature of his behavior and the counter-extremism it triggered.

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