US Embassy takeover in Iran and my arrest in NY protest in 1979

Friday, 04 November 2022 6:21 PM  [ Last Update: Friday, 04 November 2022 6:21 PM ]

By Mohsen Badakhsh
 
This day, 43 years ago, I was detained atop the Statue of Liberty in New York for taking part in a peaceful protest against the Jimmy Carter administration for hosting Mohammad Reza Pahlavi after the popular Islamic Revolution toppled the West-backed monarch.

The entire Liberty Island housing the France-gifted colossal neoclassical sculpture was immediately evacuated.

Six of us protesting against the US government’s decision chained ourselves to the statue while holding huge banners condemning Washington’s continued support for the ruthless despot.

We were soon arrested, strip-searched, handcuffed behind the back, and held in detention for over eight hours before being transferred to a jail in Manhattan.

The inhumane treatment meted out to us by the American police and the country’s legal system following the protest action, which coincided with the takeover of the US Embassy in Tehran, reinforced my belief that the exaggerated Western claims of upholding human rights were hollow.

I came to realize that the right to free speech and other so-called “liberties” outlined in the First Amendment were baseless publicity tools to advance the US military-industrial complex’s inhumane, discriminatory, and hegemonic ambitions across the globe.

The students who took over the US Embassy in Tehran – which later came to be known in Iran as the ‘Den of Espionage’ – exposed through classified documents found there that the sprawling compound located in the heart of the Iranian capital was used to orchestrate vicious coup plots to overthrow the nascent Islamic Republic.

The students later published the damning documents in the form of multi-volume books to reveal the sinister agenda of American “diplomats” stationed in Iran, but the incriminating documents were never allowed to be published in the United States.

After the evacuation of the island housing the Statue of Liberty, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and other US security and intelligence agencies tried to get us to unchain ourselves from the statue promising to set us free without charges.

We did comply, only to be firmly handcuffed and detained and held without food or water until being transferred in the evening to the Manhattan jail, where we decided to go on hunger strike in protest against the inhumane treatment meted out to us. We were placed in a dingy cell, where jail guards deliberately staged mocking moves to break our will by obnoxiously eating in front of us.

Eventually, we appeared in court and gave a bond to reappear for sentencing about a month later. We were slapped with a $50 fine and 6-month probation, which meant that we had to report to a police authority every month to prove we were behaving well.

Shortly after my return to Chicago — a major mid-western city where I lived and attended college – I found out that its City Council had submitted a proposal for deporting all Iranian students enrolled in colleges and universities across the city at the time.

I was asked by a group of fellow Iranian students to represent them at a hearing deliberating on the passage of the racist legislation. When I attended the sham hearing I was shocked to witness an American student-activist testifying against the proposal being harshly taunted by city aldermen (council members) with unbelievably obscene language and then brutally beaten and dragged out of the hearing room by police officers.

As I was awaiting my turn to testify and wondering about my fate after testifying, I simply started smiling at the mean-looking lawmakers, only to be cussed at angrily and asked “what the F— are you laughing at?”

I then decided to walk out of the room after reminding the city legislators that there was no point in testifying since their minds were already fixed on something.

I later learned that the draft proposal never became law because it defied every basic right outlined in the US Constitution under the preamble, “We the People”.

Today Iranians annually observe November 4 as the National Day Against Global Arrogance by taking part in demonstrations from the compound that formerly housed the US embassy in Tehran to recall what took place on this day back in 1979.

It’s still relevant as the US continues to interfere in the internal affairs of other nations, including Iran.

This year, the countrywide demonstrations drew a much larger crowd than in previous years with people from all walks of life denouncing the Western regimes for instigating deadly riots in the country through media and political campaigns to bring about a “regime change” in the Islamic Republic.

Iranians appear ever more determined to resist and rigorously campaign against all US-led ploys to meddle not only in their nation but the world over.
 
Mohsen Badakhsh is an educator and freelance journalist.

(The views expressed in this article are author’s own and do not necessarily reflect those of Press TV.)


Press TV’s website can also be accessed at the following alternate addresses:

www.presstv.ir

www.presstv.co.uk

A few headlines about civilizational values and some week-end music

October 28, 2022

Source

As I now often do, I like to open the discussion with a few headlines:

  1. German man fined over letter ‘Z’
  2. Romanian defense minister resigns after Ukraine comments
  3. RT suspends host after ‘disgusting’ remarks about Ukrainian children

Let’s take a closer look.

In the first case, we have the “western value” what is usually known as “freedom of speech” which is something which only exists in the AngloZionist Hegemony (at least according to President Brandon and his summit for democracies).

In the second case, we have another “western value” usually known as “we stand for peace”.  It is also known as “a bad peace is preferable to a good war” and even “diplomacy is always better than war”.

In the third case, we have a clear example of how the “Pioootin regime” cracks down on dissent and free speech.  That in this case this speech was shockingly stupid and hateful makes no difference.  Why?  Because “it is only good when we do it”.  Besides, Anton Krasovsky was suspended for doing that which both the Ukronazi and the AngloZionist propaganda does 24/7: spew hateful idiocies.  Maybe he is “one of us” after all?

Seriously, what we see here are the clear contours of two different civilizational realms which have nothing in common with each other and whose values are mutually exclusive.

In the meantime, the “warriors of light” (aka the Ukronazis, that is how they refer to themselves) are busy shooting almost exclusively at (ex-Ukrainian, now Russian) civilians pretty much along the entire frontline.  The logic here is purely Anglo tactics: “we had to destroy the village in order to save it”.  Makes sense!  At least to them…

In the meantime, the clocks are ticking.  The political clock for the US elections, the economic clock for the EU’s social and economic collapse and, of course, the winter coming closer with each passing day.  If the Neocons want to pull off some of their usual tricks, chances are that at least some of them might decide that “it is now or never”.

Let’s do two more headline.  How about this:

What a combo, no?  Western “logic” at work I suppose.

Is that any wonder that, in our last headline for today, Putin has now declared that:

By the way, Putin is wrong, the US very much still has two things it can offer the world: a nuclear holocaust and the LGBTQ+++++ ideology.  You know, real “western values”!

So, here is the choice for our poor planet:

In spite of it all, I wish you all an excellent week-end!

Andrei

***

I have a confession to make: I don’t like Blues and I never liked this type of music.  Sorry!  To each his own, Blues is really not my thing.  However, there are always exceptions.  In my case, only two, and they are not quite typical of Blues, I would call that “Blues plus” :-).  Anyway, I leave you with my two absolute favorite Blues in the hope that you will enjoy them too!

Gary Moore – “Still Got the Blues” (I often tear up when I hear this songs, it really touches me)

Led Zeppelin – “Since I Have Been Loving You”

EU PARLIAMENTARIAN CALLS TO SANCTION VANESSA BEELEY AND ALL OBSERVERS OF DONBASS REFERENDUMS

SEPTEMBER 29TH, 2022

By Max Blumenthal

Source

RUSSELS (THE GRAYZONE A French Member of European Parliament (MEP), Natalie Louiseau, has delivered a letter to EU High Representative of Foreign Affairs, Joseph Borrell, demanding the European Union place personal sanctions on all international observers of the recent votes in the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics and certain Russian-controlled territories in eastern Ukraine.

Obtained by The Grayzone from an EU source, the letteEr is currently being circulated among European parliamentarians in hopes of securing a docket of supportive signatures.

“We, as elected members of the European Parliament, demand that all those who voluntarily assisted in any way the organization of these illegitimate referendums be individually targeted and sanctioned,” Louiseau declared.

The French MEP’s letter came after a group of formally Ukrainian territories held a vote on whether or not to officially incorporate themselves into the Russian Federation in late September. Through the popular referendum, the independent Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics, which announced their respective successions from Ukraine in 2014 following a foreign-backed coup against the government Kiev, as well as the regions of Kherson and Zaporozhia, voted overwhelmingly in favor of joining the Russian Federation.

Louiseau singled out Vanessa Beeley, a British journalist who traveled to the region to monitor the vote. Extending her complaint well beyond the referendum, the French MEP accused Beeley of “continuously spreading fake news about Syria and acting as a mouthpiece for Vladimir Putin and Bashar el [sic] Assad for years.”

Louiseau, a close ally of French President Emanuel Macron, specifically demanded Beeley be “included in the list of those sanctioned.”

Beeley responded to Louiseau’s letter in a statement to The Grayzone: “Imposing sanctions on global citizens for bearing witness to a legal process that reflects the self-determination of the people of Donbass is fascism. Should the EU proceed with this campaign, I believe there will be serious consequences because the essence of freedom of speech and thought is under attack.

RUSSIA’S REFERENDUMS: DRAWING A LINE WITH NATO

In mid-September 2022, Beeley and around 100 other international delegates traveled to eastern Europe in order to observe a vote to join the Russian Federation in the regions of Kherson, Zaporozhia, and the independent republics of Lugansk and Donetsk.

Why did their presence trigger such an outraged response from Western governments? The answer lies in the recent history of these heavily contested areas.

The formally Ukrainian territories of Kherson and Zaporozhia fell under Russian control earlier this year as a result of the military campaign launched by Moscow in February, while the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics declared their independence from the government in Kiev in 2014.

Russia began its special military campaign in Ukrainian territory on February 24. The operation followed Moscow’s decision that same week to formally recognize the independence of the Donetsk People’s Republic and Lugansk People’s Republic (the Donbass Republics) in Ukraine’s eastern Donbass region. Pro-Russian separatists in the Donbass have been embroiled in a bloody trench battle with the US-backed government in Kiev since 2014.

Ukraine’s civil conflict broke out in March 2014, after US and European forces sponsored a coup in the country that installed a decidedly pro-NATO nationalist regime in Kiev which proceeded to declare war on its minority, ethnically Russian population.

Following the 2014 putsch, Ukraine’s government officially marginalized the Russian language while extremist thugs backed by Kiev massacred and intimidated ethnic Russian citizens of Ukraine. In response, separatist protests swept Ukraine’s majority-Russian eastern regions.

The territory of Crimea formally voted to join Russia in March of that year, while the Donetsk and Lugansk Republics in Ukraine’s eastern Donbass region declared their unofficial independence from Kiev that same month. With support from the US military and NATO, Ukraine’s coup government officially declared war on the Donbass in April 2014, launching what it characterized as an “Anti-Terrorist Operation” in the region.

Russia trained and equipped separatist militias in Donetsk and Lugansk throughout the territories’ civil campaigns against Kiev, though Moscow did not officially recognize the independence of the Donbass republics until February 2022. By then, United Nations estimates placed the casualty count for Ukraine’s civil war at roughly 13,000 dead. While Moscow offered support to Donbass separatists throughout the 2014-2022 period, US and European governments invested billions to prop up a Ukrainian military that was heavily reliant on army and intelligence factions with direct links to the country’s historic anti-Soviet, pro-Nazi deep state born as a result of World War II.

Russia’s military formally entered the Ukraine conflict in February 2022, following Moscow’s recognition of the Donbass republics. While Russian President Vladimir Putin defined the liberation of the Donbass republics as the primary objective of the military operation, he also listed the “de-nazification” and “de-militarization” of Ukraine as a goals of the campaign. As such, Russian troops have since secured control of Ukrainian territories beyond the Donbass region, including the territories of Kherson and Zaporozhia.

Facing increased Western investment in the Kiev-aligned bloc of Ukraine’s civil war, authorities in the Donbass republics announced a referendum on membership in the Russian Federation in late September 2022, with Moscow-aligned officials in Kherson and Zaporozhia announcing similar ballot initiatives. Citizens in each territory proceeded to approve Russian membership by overwhelming majorities.

The results of the referendum not only threatened the government in Kiev, but its European and US backers. Western-aligned media leapt to characterize the votes as a sham, claiming Moscow’s troops had coerced citizens into joining the Russian Federation at the barrel of a gun. Their narrative would have reigned supreme if not for the hundred or so international observers who physically traveled to the regions in question to observe the referendum process.

Observers like Vanessa Beeley now face the threat of returning home to the West as wanted outlaws. But as Loiseau’s letter made clear, the British journalist was in the crosshairs long before the escalation in Ukraine.

BEELEY AMONG EUROPEAN JOURNALISTS TARGETED AND PROSECUTED FOR REPORTING FROM DONETSK

Vanessa Beeley was among the first independent journalists to expose the US and UK governments’ sponsorship of the Syrian White Helmets, a so-called “volunteer organization” that played frontline role in promoting the foreign-backed dirty war against Syria’s government through its coordination with Western and Gulf-sponsored media. Beeley also played an instrumental role in revealing the White Helmets’ strong ties to Al-Qaeda’s Syrian branch, as well as its members’ involvement in atrocities committed by Western-backed insurgents.

Beeley’s work on Syria drew harsh attacks from an array of NATO and arms industry-funded think tanks. In June 2022, the Institute for Strategic Dialogue (ISD), which receives funding from a variety of NATO states, corporations and billionaires, labeled Beeley “the most prolific spreader of disinformation” on Syria prior to 2020. (According to ISD, Beeley was somehow “overtaken” by The Grayzone’s Aaron Mate that year). The group did not provide a single piece of evidence to support its assertions.

Though Beeley has endured waves of smears, French MEP Natalie Loiseau’s call for the EU to sanction the journalist represents the first time a Western official has moved to formally criminalize her work. Indeed, Loiseau made no secret that she is targeting Beeley not only for her role as an observer of the referendum votes, but also on the basis of her opinions and reporting on Syria.

Loiseau’s push to issue personal sanctions against EU and US citizens comes on the heels of the German government’s prosecution of independent journalist Alina Lipp. In March 2020, Berlin launched a formal case against Lipp, who is a German citizen, claiming her reporting from the Donetsk People’s Republic violated newly authorized state speech codes.

Prior to Lipp’s prosecution, the Institute for Strategic Dialogue launched a media campaign portraying her as a disseminator of “disinformation” and “pro-Kremlin content.”

In London, meanwhile, the UK government has imposed individual sanctions on Graham Philips, a British citizen and independent journalist, for his reporting from Donetsk.

And in Brussels, Louiseau’s campaign against Beeley appears to have emerged from a deeply personal vendetta.

Nathalie Louiseau and French Pres. Macron

WHO IS NATALIE LOUISEAU?

In April 2021, Beeley published a detailed profile of Louiseau at her personal blog, The Wall Will Fall, painting the French MEP as a regime change ideologue committed to “defending global insecurity and perpetual war.” Beeley noted that Lousieau served as a minister in the government of French President Emanuel Macron when it authorized airstrikes in response to dubious allegations of a Syrian government chemical attack in Douma in April 2018.

Beeley also reported that Louiseau has enjoyed a close relationship with the Syria Campaign, the public relations arm of the White Helmets operation. This same organization, which is backed by British-Syrian billionaire Ayman Asfari, was the sponsor of the Institute for Strategic Dialogue report which branded Beeley a “top propagator of disinformation” on Syria.

Louiseau has taken her activism into the heart of the European parliament, using her position as chair of the European Parliament’s Subcommittee on Security and Defense to silence colleagues who ask to many questions about the Western campaign for regime change in Syria.

During an April 2021 hearing, MEP Mick Wallace attempted to question Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) Director General Fernando Arias about allegations he personally aided the censorship of an OPCW investigation which concluded no chemical attack took place in Douma, Syria in April 2018.

Louiseau immediately descended into a fit of rage, interrupting Wallace and preventing him from speaking.

“I cannot accept that you can call into question the work of an international organization, and that you would call into question the word of the victims in the way you have just done,” Loiseau fulminated.

Wallace responded with indignation, asking, “Is there no freedom of speech being allowed in the European Parliament any more? Today you are denying me my opinion!”

A year later, Wallace and fellow Irish MEP Clare Daly sued the Irish network RTE for defamation after it broadcast an interview with Loiseau during which she baselessly branded them as liars who spread disinformation about Syria in parliament.

Now, Louiseau appears to be seeking revenge against Beeley, demanding that she be criminally prosecuted not just for serving as a referendum observer, but for her journalistic output.

Gonzalo Lira: Notes On Being Unpersoned

September 19, 2022

The persecution of Graham Phillips by the UK government

September 06, 2022

Dear friends

About a month ago I wrote about the truly Orwellian persecution of the journalist Graham Phillips by the UK government and I did a short Q&A with Graham himself.  Graham has sent me s number official document regarding his case, I concatenated them into one PDF which I will now share with you:

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1nf-QOTN1H4feYcekUeKVEMorPEF_7maI/preview

This is a scary, but very interesting read.  One thing is very very clear: Graham’s “crime” is that he dared to disagree with the official narrative: for pages and pages the UK officials denounce Graham for daring to call the Ukronazis “Nazis”.  He is also guilty of “obfuscating” the false flag massacre in Bucha.  All of which makes him a “involved person”.  Here is just one “great” example of how these folks think: (excerpt from the document)

Summary: Guardian article which offers a profile on Graham PHILLIPS. It notes that PHILLIPS has claimed that ‘Ukraine is run by Nazis and the massacre of Ukrainians in Bucha was staged’. The Guardian is a highly credible source.

Ain’t that just beautiful?  Graham says that the Nazis in Kiev are Nazis and Bucha was staged.  And The Guardian is a “highly credible source”.  This is the trick which all the western Gestapos have been running for a while now: “leak” to a 100% loyal and Gestapo controlled “highly credible source”, any modern version of the Völkischer Beobachter will do, then built a case against any person daring to challenge the official narrative by, you guessed it, referencing the “credible article” in the “highly credible” Völkischer Beobachter“, and then call it all “open source intelligence” (OSINT) and all the sheep reading the said Völkischer Beobachter will jointly bleat “crucify him! crucify him!” or whatever the lynching slogan of the day might be.

Just read the full thing, it is quite worth it.  Orwell would have been absolutely fascinated to see that the UK has fully adopted his 1984 model and is now openly persecuting people for their ideas and for daring to speak their minds.

If modern journos were not the presstitutes they all are (as the French philosopher Alain Soral likes to remind us: “there are only 2 types of journalists [in the West]: prostitutes and unemployed) they would have to all rise up in horror and demand that this kind of ideological persecution be immediately stopped.  Oh, wait!  I am talking about the same people who “forgot” the vicious persecution of Julian Assange’s by the self-same UK authorities, so why would anybody expect them to speak up on behalf of Graham Philips?  Besides, with all these urgent issues which need to be addressed (LGBTQ+ “rights”, the “Putin inflation”, taking short showers to “stick it to Putin”, the triumph of black actors in white roles, the immense danger presented by schoolgirls in hijabs, the immense danger of a resurgence of “Antisemitism” and how “heroically” the Ukronazis and their brilliant leader “Ze” stand as a thin Nazi line defending Europe and democracy from the evil Rooskie Asiatic hordes which are poised to invade the entire planet, etc.)  there is simply no time to deal with such “petty” issues as journalists persecuted for doing their jobs!

So Alain Soral was wrong: there are not two, but three types of journalists in the West: prostitutes, unemployed and the viciously persecuted ones (Soral, of course, knows this, as he has been crimincally persecuted nonstop for his views).

Truth be told, the UK is definitely the worst and most Orwellian state in the West (I am not even counting the 3B+PU clowns as part of the “West” here).  Things are marginally better in the other EU countries and even in the United States which, at least on paper, still have the Bill of Rights.  That being said, all you need to do to bypass and totally ignore the Bill of Rights in the USA use the expression “national security” and, voilà, you can kidnap, torture, disappear, and basically do anything to anybody, including US citizens.  So while the UK is the worst, it is also the model towards which all of the West follows (and I won’t even mention what the UK will be like with that absolute ignorant imbecile Liz Truss in charge!).

Thank God, Graham Philips is safe for as long as he stays in Russian controlled territories, just like Snowden.  But this does not change the fact that in the UK they want to make him a “unperson“.

Of course, I could conclude here by quoting Martin Niemöller’s famous “first they came…” but I prefer to conclude with another one of my absolutely favorite aphorisms, this one by Yehuda Bauer: “Thou shalt not be a victim. Thou shalt not be a perpetrator. And above all, Thou shalt not be a bystander.  So, please, if you can, especially if you are in the UK, speak up on defense of Graham Phillips and do not allow the British ruling class hide behind your silence when crushing those who dare to speak the truth!

Andrei

PS: also make sure to watch this latest video by Graham Phillipshttp://thesaker.is/liz-truss-vs-graham-phillips-and-the-donbass-truth/

Riyadh detains officials in new anti-corruption clean-out

July 31 2022

(Photo credit: Getty Images)

The investigation suggests MbS plans to rid himself of political rivals to the throne, as Nazaha authorities carry out over 3000 inspections on corrupt officials from several ministries

Saudi authorities detained dozens of officials on 31 July in a new anti-corruption sweep reportedly to flush out contenders to the future throne of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MbS).

Citing Nazaha, the Oversight and Anti-Corruption Authority of Saudi Arabia, the daily newspaper Saudi Gazette reported that 78 individuals were arrested on charges of money laundering, forgery, and bribery.

The report added that the arrests made by Nazaha authorities included over 3000 inspections, and that another 116 officials were found to need investigation for other crimes.

Nazaha recently called on several sectors to cooperate in the search for violations of financial or administrative corruption.

Those under investigation were reportedly employed by the ministries of interior, health, justice, defense, municipal, housing and rural affairs.

Since MbS became the crown prince of Saudi Arabia, Riyadh has witnessed the arrests of dozens of intellectuals, activists, and alleged political opponents.

The Saudi government has also illustrated zero tolerance for freedom of speech, even while facing international condemnations.

At a meeting in September 2021 between MbS and US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan, MbS lost his temper when Sullivan pressed MbS about the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, a 19 April report from the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) revealed.

The meeting began with MbS showing up in a pair of shorts at his seaside palace, as the tone of the talks were described as relaxed.

However, the moment Sullivan brought up the issue of Khashoggi, the mood changed, with the Saudi Crown Prince shouting at the US official, insisting the matter was not to be discussed again.

MbS then reportedly added that the US could “forget about” its request to Saudi Arabia to boost oil output, in reference to the US request to raise oil output to alleviate rising gas prices.

Saudi Arabia continued to hold its line on oil production even as gas prices increased following the litany of sanctions placed on Russia in response to its special military operation in Ukraine.

Despite condemnation of Saudi Arabia by its regional and international allies, MbS continues to deny accusations of involvement in any violations.

Let’s Not Obsess Over Julian Assange’s Job Title, but Consider What Is the Real Story About His Extradition

June 23, 2022

By Martin Jay

Source

Assange will battle on now with an appeal against the UK decision to extradite him to the U.S. It’s time now for his own team to play the same dirty game which they have fallen victim to and forget about the foibles of journalists and the media

Is Julian Assange a journalist or a publisher? It’s a divisive question which usually draws the wrath of an entire legion of on-line haters, mainly in Australia, who assume the author is attacking the founder of Wikileaks and so rationale is lost to nationalistic vitriol and score settling. The so-called supporters usually fail to see how if that energy was put into campaigning rather than just letting off steam on Twitter against total strangers, then Assange might have a chance of attaining something akin to justice.

A gripping interview recently between George Galloway and the former UK ambassador Craig Murray, who I seem to recall on Twitter once used to call himself a journalist based simply on writing blog posts, is worth a watch. Murray points out like an erudite hack he yearns to be, a number of pertinent issues which might have escaped the attention of media who are apparently incapable in the UK of reporting on the Assange affair diligently – namely that the U.S. spied on Assange while he was in the Ecuadorian embassy and then, amazingly, stole all of his evidence which he was keeping with him, the moment the UK police went in and arrested him. This alone he argues, would be enough for any court in the free world to throw the case out. He also argues that in the past decade or so the relationship between the British press and the establishment – read intelligence community – has never been so partisan which is another reason why Assange’s case is not being treated correctly. Yet Murray refers to Assange as a “publisher and a journalist” which is interesting as the case against Assange, if he is to be deemed a journalist, will have wide ranging implications to regular journalists if won by the U.S. – i. e that the Americans win their legal battle in the UK to extradite him on what they believe are essentially spying charges. If Assange is to be called a journalist by his supporters, then does it follow that the legal basis against him will be one of a journalist who has brought the profession into disrepute? Shouldn’t the journalists on the Guardian who published the polemic material that Assange and Wikileaks gave them, also be facing U.S. extradition for being partisan to publishing material, which in a third world country, would no doubt be deemed “likely to threaten the stability of the state”.

But the U.S., although a young country, is not a poor one and we are led to believe a great democracy. The case against Assange, no matter how vile it is, we should not forget is about his role in obtaining and disseminating state secrets. Journalists will no doubt follow the case with eagerness as many will wonder if they will face the same treatment if they handle a document which is protected by the UK’s official secrets act, which is why so many are part of the hue and cry about it being a dark day for journalism. They will reflect on how they will be arrested and extradited if they handle such ‘documents’ even if they are British subjects living in the UK.

Yet the case against Assange is surely about more than merely publishing the incendiary cables which exposed America’s dirty wars but in the role that he played in assisting Chelsea Manning in obtaining them. It is also about point scoring with Russia as the U.S. believes that Assange also leaked the Clinton emails, which played a decisive role in Trump winning the U.S. presidential race in 2016 against the odious former First Lady and Secretary of State.

The problem that Assange – or his supporters have – with the ‘journalist’ argument which points out the harm the case will do towards the fourth estate is flawed twofold. Firstly, the fear has already been installed by the UK and U.S. governments towards journalists who handle contentious documents which reveal state secrets about conflict, for example. And secondly, the respect and reverence that people placed on the profession of journalism is so little that it is hardly surprising the shameful role that the UK press has played recently in failing to rally behind Assange.

Assange’s people almost put the final boot in, when it comes to destroying the credibility of the press by calling him a journalist (out of respect) when even his own wife calls him a publisher. The distinct ubiquitous lack of respect towards bona fide journalists and their work, which is more often than not tedious, repetitive and pretty mundane, perhaps is linked to a more modern idea that anyone with a laptop who writes a blog can call themselves a journalist – and underlines the lack of credibility that media has in general, which we can see when its workers come under fire.

Of course the arrest of Assange in the first place is wrong on so many levels. As one of his many journalism awards he won by media institutions points out though he is not a journalist but more an enfant terrible of the media bubble who delivers the explosive brown envelope with the grainy photographed photocopies of documents which can easily bring down a government or even the neo-liberal new world order. It is more about the thief who breaks into the house and cracks the safe, rather than the actual items he has taken, in the U.S. mindset.

Institutions which dish out press awards often give them to non-journalists. It’s the fashion. But when you glance at the awards themselves, it’s not hard to see the political ardour behind them. Many of his awards are for “contribution towards journalism”, “activism”, “human rights” or even “defenders of the right to information” etc and only confirm his important role is supplying journalists with the material that they couldn’t lay their hands on themselves. Perhaps this makes him a subject of jealously and vitriol, which might explain how the Guardian stabbed him in the back when he wanted to share his work with the New York Times or when their editors clashed with him when he (Assange) wanted to scan documents to blank out names to protect those whose lives could be threatened once going to press, if we are to believe Murray’s claims (there are equally a great many who claim that Wikileaks compromised lives by not protecting identities with the rush to publish).

We should never forget though that the U.S. and UK government both have an impressive loathing of journalists and so if this narrative of being one and exercising free speech etc is sustained, many will argue that it is a dead end and will only end badly – perhaps this is why his wife referred to him in a BBC interview as a “publisher”. Assange may well be a genius, but he never sat down and wrote a regular article for publication with his own explosive material in front of him. Perhaps he never had the patience for journalism or the time. We should follow his wife Stella Moris’ lead and call him a “publisher” and leave the whole journalism and free speech debate alone as, in reality, hardly anybody these days gives a shit about such notions – except politicians who harp on about them but then turn their back on such lofty ideas the moment a journalist digs up some shit on them. One tends to think of labour leaders like Neil Kinnock in the past. These days however few politicians even jump on this bandwagon as they know that hardly anybody really cares about this subject, although it is interesting that the current Labour leader Keir Starmer has an odd obsession with Assange whose revelations tarnish Tony Blair and his labour party’s time in power.

Perhaps Assange’s team and his supporters should spend more time absorbing themselves with the notion of the politics of his case as surely therein lies the heart of his extradition being annulled. Every time I see an article in the UK press about the implications of the Assange against journalists, I want to cry as this is the conscious reckoning which journalists and politicians effect to kid themselves that they have done something to help Assange, when in reality they are merely helping the Americans with their dirty game to get Assange to a jail in the U.S. where almost certainly he will be assassinated just as Epstein was in his cell. The only way Assange can hope to get a really fair trial with his appeal is if politicians like Boris Johnson and others feel that they will lose their support and the history books will be unkind to them. Politics is a dirty game and no one knows that more than Assange. Such a shame that there aren’t enough supporters who are prepared to play the same dirty game. Or not even one journalist in Fleet Street who is prepared to lose his job and be singled out for putting his weight behind an online campaign from the media itself which would spook the political establishment.

AMLO yet again blows the whistle on Julian Assange, educating his journalists

June 23, 2022

Source

By Amarynth

The President of Mexico has now again offered full asylum to Julian Assange.

“Mexico opens the doors to Assange,” the president declared.

It is good to remember that AMLO spoke to Trump and offered asylum and he is now promising to speak to Biden, to again offer asylum.

AMLO’s briefing to journalists included playing the ‘collateral murder’ clip.

Ben Norton of Multipolarista.com has the detail of AMLO’s briefing, full of fire, as well as the history of shame of those that bleat democracy, protection of human rights, or freedom of expression, without applying these values to themselves, but using them as a stick to beat others.

Will Canadian media report on Ukraine’s kill list (which I’m on)? Will government Canada–so concerned about journalists’ safety–condemn it?

 

Eva Bartlett

Of course those are rhetorical questions. I know Canada’s corporate-funded & owned media will never show integrity, much less report honestly, much less *not* whitewash the crimes of Ukraine against the people of the Donbass and also Ukrainian people themselves. Journalists of Maverick media, however, were kind enough to reach out to me for an honest interview, expressing shock and concern that Ukraine has such a kill list and that I’m on it.

I was on RT yesterday to discuss the list. I also raised the points that CBC has seemingly no intention to highlight the kill list, instead reaching out to me for what, in my experience with similar corporate owned propagandizing media, would only be an interview to smear me & take my words out of context, as they did to another Canadian journalist not long ago.

As I’ve noted, a CBC stenographer reached out to me after belatedly learning of my involvement with the International Public Tribunal on Ukraine in Moscow in April. The thing is, it wasn’t highly publicized in English, and I didn’t share on my blog or on Telegram or social media in general, for want of a link at the time. So, how did he come across the event? It’s highly unlikely this CBC hack peruses Russian Telegram channels. It’s almost certainly likely he learned of it via Ukraine’s kill list entry on me.

So, instead of reaching out to me to discuss the fact that I, a Canadian journalist, have been listed for assassination by Ukraine, CBC/the hack instead want to highlight my participation in a tribunal to discuss Ukraine’s war crimes–but you can be sure they will distort reality (as CBC can only do) & obfuscate Ukraine’s amply-documented war crimes.

In short, CBC wants to smear me on behalf of Ukraine & its Nazis.

Let’s recall that Canada has funded Ukraine with at least $1 billion; Canada’s Deputy PM Chrystia Freeland is proud of her grandfather who collaborated with Nazis, CBC is very partial government-funded media with a legacy of propagandizing for Canada and selling war.

In fact, CBC is despised by Canadians. There were too many excellent replies on my threads to choose from, but from the many comments it’s clear that more and more people don’t trust the CBC and see it as the propaganda arm of Canada that it is.

Amnesty urges UAE to free 10 inmates kept beyond sentences

 May 30, 2022

Source: Agencies

By Al Mayadeen English 

The ten UAE citizens were among 69 nationals arrested in 2012 and sentenced to up to 15 years in prison in 2013.

The ten UAE citizens were among 94 defendants, including 13 women.

Amnesty International called on the UAE, on Monday, to “immediately” release ten men who it said were being arbitrarily detained after serving their sentences.

They were detained “under the guise of counter-extremism counseling,” according to Amnesty.

The ten UAE citizens were among 69 nationals arrested in 2012 and sentenced to up to 15 years in prison in 2013.

They were also among 94 defendants, including 13 women.

In a statement, Amnesty’s Middle East and North Africa Deputy Director Lynn Maalouf said, “These men have already spent a decade behind bars for daring to speak out against the Emirati authorities or being perceived as political opposition, and now this injustice is being prolonged past their long-awaited release dates.” 

“UAE authorities must immediately release anyone detained beyond the completion of their prison sentence, and cease the unlawful practice of arbitrarily extending prison terms,” Maalouf stressed.

The sentence was based on charges of plotting to overthrow the government, which Amnesty International criticized as “grossly unfair”, slamming the charges as “bogus”.

According to the official WAM news agency at the time, the Federal Supreme Court sentenced 56 of the 94 defendants to ten years in prison each.

Five defendants were sentenced to seven years in prison each, while eight others who were tried in absentia were sentenced to 15 years, according to the report.

A total of 25 people, including all 13 women arrested during the crackdown, were acquitted.

Their trial was considered the largest in the UAE’s history.

This is clear proof that the UAE continues to violate serious human rights, including arbitrary detention, cruel and inhuman treatment of detainees, repression of free expression, and violation of the right to privacy. 

Go deeper: The Pegasus Project: UAE as a Model

Furthermore, UAE has continued to deny stateless people the right to nationality, limiting their access to a variety of basic services. Death sentences were handed down by courts, and executions were reported.

CENSORING PALESTINE: SWARMS OF ISRAELI BOTS ARE CRIPPLING PRO-PALESTINIAN TWITTER ACCOUNTS

MAY 17TH, 2022

Source

By Jessica Buxbaum

OCCUPIED EAST JERUSALEM — On April 29, Inès Abdel Razek woke up to 80 new Twitter followers.

“These accounts were following the exact same people that were tweeting about Palestine, but from France or Francophone accounts that work on Palestine,” Razek said of her new followers.

The advocacy director of Rābet, the Palestine Institute for Public Diplomacy’s digital platform, became wary of the issue after Abier Khateb, a grants manager at Open Society Foundations, reported mass followings as well.

Razek told MintPress News that she began individually reporting each account as fake but kept her own account open — lest she let the alleged bots win. But after a few days, Razek made her profile private. At the peak of the mass following, Razek had accumulated 400 fake followers.

From the end of April through the first few weeks of May, more than 40 pro-Palestine Twitter accounts reported mass followings. Digital-rights experts say acquiring huge amounts of fake followers triggers Twitter’s algorithm and can lead to the tech giant suspending an account, effectively censoring users by forcing them to make their accounts private.

These accounts included those belonging to human rights and activist organizations Adalah, Combatants for Peace, Breaking the Silence, and Al Mezan Center for Human Rights. They also included news publications and journalists, like The Palestine Chronicle, Ali Abunimah and Hind Al-Eryani; and politicians, such as Husam Zomlot, the Palestinian ambassador to the United Kingdom. Twitter did not respond to MintPress inquiries on the source of the suspicious accounts.

Dr. Marc Owen Jones, an assistant professor at Hamad bin Khalifa University, conducted an analysis that found more than 1,150 fake accounts. Twitter deleted approximately 1,090 of these accounts, according to Jones. His analysis determined that the average account-creation time was one to three per minute, suggesting these accounts were created using an automated process.

The profiles were in various languages, including French, Spanish, English and German, but usually had Arabic bios. They often had strange names — like Noble Betty Thomas — and zero followers.

“They had clearly made-up names,” Sarah Leah Whitson, who also experienced a large influx of new followers, told MintPress. “The vast majority of them had Israeli names and Israeli addresses. Some of them had made-up Arab names, which were mangled. It’s clear that they’re [using] stolen images of people.”

In response to the bulk followings, software developer Daniel Easterman created a free script to automatically report and block hundreds of these bots for users.

Easterman said the spamming problem has a censorship effect by forcing users to make their accounts private. “This means they won’t be able to distribute their messages widely as they would normally,” Easterman told MintPress News.

Another area of particular concern is how a flood of fake followers may cause Twitter to shut down an account. “When you see such a dramatic increase in followers, it’s usually somebody manipulating the system for commercial gain,” Easterman said. “So that could trigger Twitter to automatically flag that as suspicious activity and suspend the activist’s account.”

Using Twitter to target human rights defenders and journalists isn’t unusual. In 2017, journalist Iona Craig and others who report on Yemen were spammed with thousands of fake followers. Many speculated the culprits were state entities belonging to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

The reason behind this particular mass following campaign remains unknown. Jones hypothesized it’s acting as a form of social media suppression, writing on Twitter:

Some suggest it’s a means to degrade the algorithmic quality of a Twitter account so that it possibly gets suspended; some suggest it’s others trying to boost popularity of an account. When it’s unsolicited, as in this case, I tend to think it’s more of a targeting operation. I am naturally cynical, but most people who get a sudden influx of fake followers feel unnerved and uncomfortable. If that fact is widely known, it functions as a tool of surveillance and potentially intimidation (e.g., you are being watched). It also makes many people mute their accounts for a bit which has a censorship effect.”

Razek, Whitson, and others told MintPress that the flood of fake followers appears to be diminishing for them. However, a new operation has emerged.

In the past week, Jones found around 2,800 fake accounts following pro-Palestinian and anti-Zionist accounts who have recently been tweeting on the killing of Palestinian-American journalist Shireen Abu-Akleh.

“This network is likely the same as the one found at [the] end of April, although now it is active,” Jones wrote on Twitter.

The accounts have between 0 to 20 followers, with the majority of bios written in English and simply stating the account location, which is Israel. Most accounts don’t have a banner picture and the profile pictures have purportedly been swiped from real people.

According to Jones, the accounts have begun liking and retweeting posts, without any real partisan regularity: they like both pro- and anti-Palestinian subject matter and follow both pro-Zionist and pro-Palestinian accounts but appear to target the pro-Palestinian side more. Accounts targeted include The Jerusalem Post; the government of Israel’s official state account; activist organization Jewish Voice for Peace; the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement; Israeli journalist Ilan Pappe; and former Palestinian Liberation Organization executive committee member Dr. Hanan Ashrawi.

Again, the reason for the bulk followers remains unclear. “Those who get followed understandably find it intimidating, as if a form of surveillance or a technique to try and degrade [the] quality of an account with low-quality follows,” Jones wrote on Twitter. “The fact remains, these are clearly fake accounts and ruin the experience of Twitter.”

CENSORSHIP OF PALESTINE, AN ONGOING PROBLEM

Palestinian digital-rights experts have long decried the increasing censorship of Palestinian content online. During Israel’s assault on Gaza and the upticks in Israeli attacks at Al-Aqsa Compound and in Sheikh Jarrah in May 2021, Palestinian activists reported social media companies were removing their content on Israeli violence and ethnic cleansing for violating community guidelines.

The social media censorship didn’t stop when tensions died down over the summer, though. Last month, social media users in Jordan said their posts related to Israeli violence at Al-Aqsa were taken down and their accounts blocked. Additionally, accounts belonging to Palestinian news publications covering the violence in occupied East Jerusalem and at Al-Aqsa were deactivated by Facebook.

In their recent monthly report on social media violations, Palestinian NGO Sada Social stated the deletion of Palestinian content “is in line with and in response to Israeli requests to tighten the screws on Palestinians and their media.”

Palestinian-American model Bella Hadid also accused Instagram of shadow-banning (having content viewership limited) her pro-Palestinian content during Ramadan.

Razek suggested the swarm of fake followers on Twitter may be an extension of Instagram’s alleged shadow-banning. “The purpose is to pollute our algorithms and make our accounts less visible. So in the way that Instagram is shadow-banning some content, this could be a way that Twitter shadow-bans our content,” she said.

While the identities behind the fake followers haven’t been revealed, many have pointed to Israel. The Israeli government’s targeting of Palestinian digital content is well-documented. According to 7amleh – The Arab Center for the Advancement of Social Media, the Israeli Ministry of Justice Cyber Unit sends content-removal requests aimed at Palestinian content to social media companies such as Facebook, Google, and YouTube. The Justice Ministry has boasted these corporations comply with 95% of their requests. And Israeli governmental organizations and NGOs also encourage their citizens to flag Palestinian content for removal.

ATTACKING FREE SPEECH

Tech billionaire Elon Musk’s pending purchase of Twitter came with a promise of securing free speech on the digital platform. “Free speech is the bedrock of a functioning democracy, and Twitter is the digital town square where matters vital to the future of humanity are debated,” the self-declared free-speech advocate said in a statement about his Twitter deal.

While digital-rights experts like Jones are wary of Musk’s potential Twitter takeover, Whitson, who’s experienced targeted attacks, harassment, and censorship threats for decades for speaking out against Israeli abuses, views the buyout positively.  For the executive director of nonprofit Democracy for the Arab World (DAWN), the risk of corporate censorship is a bigger issue than online hate speech. Whitson said:

I’m hopeful that Elon Musk will be true to his word to protect and promote free speech and to end concerted efforts to target and cancel speech that we don’t like. Seeing how Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram have launched systematic efforts to silence pro-Palestine activist voices, I’m very wary of corporate moderators deciding what speech is and isn’t acceptable.”

Whitson doesn’t agree the bots are a form of censorship, but she does see them as an assault on free speech. “It’s a form of targeted harassment and bullying,” she said. “It’s a targeted attack on people who are speaking freely, including journalists and human rights activists.”

Kingdom of Blood: Saudi Regime Beheads Two Activists from Qatif Province

May 15, 2022

By Staff, Agencies

The Saudi kingdom of blood has yet another time committed a heinous crime against the peaceful activists of the Shia-populated Qatif province.

As part of a heavy-handed crackdown led by Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman [MBS] against political dissidents and pro-democracy campaigners, the Riyadh regime executed two young men from the Qatif over trumped-up allegations of involvement in terrorist activities.

The Saudi Ministry of Interior alleged in a statement on Saturday that the death sentences were carried out against Hussein Ali Al Abu Abdullah and Mohammad Khodr al-Awami.

The ministry further claimed that the Saudi nationals “collaborated with terrorist groups, fomented unrest and insecurity in the country, possessed weapons, ammunition as well as rocket-propelled grenades and attempted to disrupt national security.”

Last month, two human rights organizations filed a complaint at the United Nations against arbitrary executions in Saudi Arabia, especially after the execution of dozens of prisoners in a single day in the ultra-conservative kingdom.

The European Saudi Organization for Human Rights [ESOHR] and Reprieve, a UK-based non-profit organization of international lawyers and investigators, said the Riyadh regime openly declared its disregard for international principles as well as its commitments and obligations through the executions of 81 men, 41 of whom were Shia Muslims, in March.

Social media users have reported heavy deployment of Saudi security forces in the city of Qatif to crush any protest against the recent execution of scores of dissidents.

State news agency Saudi Press Agency said on March 12 that the authorities had executed 81 people in one day on a variety of offences.

The 2022 executions exceeded the total number of Saudi Arabia’s punishments by death throughout last year.

Back in early January 2016, Saudi authorities also executed 47 people, including prominent Shia cleric Sheikh Nimr Baqir al-Nimr, who had vociferously called for democracy in the kingdom and advocated anti-regime protests. Nimr had been arrested in Qatif, Eastern Province, in 2012.

Since 2015, Saudi Arabia has reportedly executed more than 900 prisoners in an increasing rate. In 2019 alone, Saudi Arabia set a record number of executions after authorities executed 184 people, despite a general decrease in the number of executions around the world.

Ever since MBS became Saudi Arabia’s de facto leader in 2017, the kingdom has arrested dozens of activists, bloggers, intellectuals and others perceived as political opponents, showing almost zero tolerance for dissent even in the face of international condemnations of the crackdown.

Human rights activists warn that Saudi officials are planning to execute over 40 teenagers over their participation in anti-regime protests in the Shia-majority Qatif region.

Muslim scholars have been executed and women’s rights campaigners have been put behind bars and tortured as freedom of expression, association, and belief continue to be denied.

Over the past years, Riyadh has also redefined its anti-terrorism laws to target activism.

Say No To Censorship: Here’s How We’re Rebuilding Alternative Media 

A CALL TO ACTION

May 09th, 2022

Source

With the war in Ukraine raging on and corporate media outlets pushing a pro-NATO agenda – we’ve entered war time and having access to alternative information is crucial to preventing escalation.

By Mnar Adley

I’m Mnar Adley, founder, and editor-in-chief of MintPress News and director of our new video project “Behind the Headlines.”

I have an urgent appeal to make to everyone who cares not only for our first amendment but for the future of our planet. Independent, watchdog journalism that holds the military class accountable is under threat.

With the war in Ukraine raging on and corporate media outlets pushing a pro-NATO agenda – we’ve entered war time and having access to alternative information to the war machine is crucial to preventing escalation. We are now facing the very real threat of nuclear war.

We’re experiencing censorship unlike anything we’ve faced before, and MintPress and other antiwar media have been facing 5 years of algorithmic shadowbanning by Big Tech.

In the last month alone, independent antiwar journalists have been targeted in organized smear campaigns, de-platformed, given “state affiliated” labels on their accounts, and even outright purged off of social media platforms. Youtube has deleted hundreds of thousands of historical videos from prominent antiwar journalists and activists including Abby Martin, Chris Hedges, and Lee Camp, and is demonetizing political content everywhere in an effort to defund antiwar efforts. Our very own Gofundme fundraisers were taken down without reason or an opportunity to appeal.

What this amounts to is little more than a modern-day book burning. The work of the most important dissenting voices of our time is being discredited. Division is being sowed and any information that challenges the corporate and military establishment’s agenda is censored. Meanwhile, the bank accounts of executives at Raytheon and Lockheed Martin are being filled at a record pace.

For the last several years, MintPress has been at the forefront of sounding the alarm about the deep state working with silicon valley tech giants like Google, Facebook, and Twitter to control your news feed and ensure that any alternative narrative is algorithmically disappeared. But we’re not backing down because the future of our planet and the prosperity of peace and justice depends on our reporting.

This is why I consulted with anti-censorship, pro-free press, and human rights experts on our nonprofit board– including Mickey Huff, president of the Media Freedom Foundation and the director of Project Censored; FBI whistleblower, Coleen Rowley; and international human rights attorney, Todd Pierce– to create a new video reporting project called Behind The Headlines. To help us build this project we will need your support.

We need to raise $400,000 in the next year, so we’re creating our first phase fundraiser to be stated for $200,000.

Join us here: We’re LIVE on Indiegogo! 

Behind The Headlines Ad

Our goal is to create a video platform that is a 100% people-funded non-profit with the most important dissenting names in independent media that have felt the brunt of this censorship campaign.

We’re working with Political Comedian Lee Camp and filmmaker and investigative journalist Dan Cohen.

In addition to the Behind the Headlines board, we also have an esteemed board of advisors, including John Pilger, Abby Martin, Miko Peled, Ollie Vargas, and Dr. Ramzy Baroud.

Lee Camp follows a long line of political comedians from George Carlin to Bill Hicks ……. We’re giving him a platform with full editorial freedom to write and produce his own political comedy show.

Lee Camp’s shows are like a form of investigative comedy. They give the audience something to think about regarding key issues of the day that are often either distorted in the establishment press or ignored altogether. Given the many challenges we face from the climate crisis to war and the global pandemic, it’s important to laugh when and how we can, otherwise, we’d just have to wail and cry. Lee blends wit and dark humor with quality reporting that is truly a call to action.

Dan Cohen is a jack of all trades. He’s an investigative journalist based in Washington DC reporting from the belly of the beast. He’s currently working on several guerilla-style documentaries where he traveled to the heart of conflicts targeted by U.S. imperialism and corporate pillaging– the first is a three-part series about a revolution in formation in Haiti. Another is about the failures of the peace accord in Colombia.

Another covers the resistance movement in Gaza and Israel’s temple movement and plans to destroy al-Aqsa Mosque as part of an end of times prophecy. All of these issues can be traced in some manner back to U.S. empire and efforts to create and maintain instability around the world. In addition to documentaries and written investigations, Dan is also leading our video investigative series called Behind The Headlines. He has already exposed the murky connections between corporate media, the Pentagon, the Biden administration, and much more.

For far too long, some of America’s most talented journalists have been forced to turn to foreign state media to produce watchdog journalism after being ousted and ostracized from U.S. mainstream media outlets. Those outlets have utterly failed the public and specialize in producing fast food news that is sensationalized, divisive, and wor as a mouthpiece for the two-party duopoly, weapons manufacturers like Lockheed Martin and Raytheon, and hawkish think NATO-funded think tanks.

We don’t have watchdog media anymore, we have extremist corporate media lapdogs beating the drums of war and acting as stenographers for the government.

We can’t rely on the legacy media in our own countries to tell us what’s really happening at home and around the world, and we shouldn’t have to rely on foreign state media outlets to fill in those holes. Instead, we must create our own.

The truth is we can’t continue to wait for the oligarchy to give us a media that represents “we the people.” It’s time that we unite on a broader front of non-partisanship that holds the elite accountable – in the spirit that journalism was intended by our First Amendment – to revive the fourth estate and create our very own media that goes Behind The Headlines.

It’s time that we put our money where our mouth is because our First Amendment and its free press, and free speech principles are on life support.

But to help us build this project we will need your support. We need to raise $400,000 in the next year, so we’re creating our first phase fundraiser to be stated for $200,000. This two-month campaign will support:

  • Lee Camp’s new weekly political comedy show ‘The Most Censored News with Lee Camp’
  • Production of four documentaries by Dan Cohen:
    • Endgame Apocalypse: Inside Israel’s Temple Mount movement and its plans to destroy al-Aqsa Mosque [Trailer coming soon]
    • Israel’s May 2021 assault on Gaza and the armed resistance that won the war [Trailer coming soon]
    • Inside Colombia’s narco-state and plot between the DEA and the Colombian government to plunge the country into a state of civil war
    • A three-part series on Haiti’s rising resistance movement against neoliberalism and occupation and how the U.S. is trying to quash it
  • A monthly Behind The Headlines Report, an investigative video project with Dan Cohen covering the military-industrial complex, how propaganda works and much more.
  • Weekly Video Podcast interview series with Mnar Adley

The funds for this campaign will help us cover all the production and editing costs, social media, and travel costs associated with creating high-quality video content and documentaries. In addition to this, the funds will help us cover the costs of launching our website. I hope you’ll join us today on Indiegogo! 

Mnar Adley

Director of Behind The Headlines and MintPress News 

Saudi Authorities Hide Abuses in Migrant Centers amid Wave of Arrests

 May 7, 2022

By Bileh Jelan, Zecharias Zelalem-MEE

Saudi authorities are concealing rampant abuses and pitiful conditions at migrant detention centers while continuing to arrest thousands of African and Yemeni migrants, Middle East Eye can reveal.

Ethiopians tell MEE they are being beaten, extorted, and left in putrid, overcrowded rooms as thousands of people are rounded up and deported from across the kingdom

People are seen crammed in a migrant detention centre in Saudi Arabia (supplied)

Cramped conditions in a migrant detention centre in Saudi Arabia (supplied)

Ethiopian migrants awaiting deportation said Saudi authorities have conducted mass searches of the centers, confiscating phones and any devices that could be used to relay images of their suffering to the outside world.

The sources said the crackdown was an attempt to prevent their conditions from being broadcast to the world during Ramadan, which would risk criticism and uproar in the Muslim world during the holy month.

Police have also ordered people set for deportation to sign non-disclosure agreements forbidding them from talking to journalists about their experiences.

“They came in here looking for phones because they don’t want the world to see images of our suffering here,” says Semir, an Ethiopian migrant currently held at a deportation center in Riyadh. “When they would find a phone, they would beat up the owner with batons.”

The number of Ethiopian detainees held at various migrant detention centers has swelled in recent months. In an attempt to ease the burden, Saudi authorities reached an agreement with Ethiopia in March to fly out at least 100,000 Ethiopians, many of whom were detained in waves of anti-migrant crackdowns last year.

Ethiopians held in the centers have told MEE that they are given little to eat and are held for months in putrid, overcrowded rooms.

“People are going mad here. There is little food and many of us haven’t been outdoors in almost nine months,” says Nebil, a detainee in Riyadh. “We used to get a piece of bread three times a day. Since Ramadan, we get it only once, at night.”

The Saudi foreign ministry has not responded to a request for comment.

In 2020, smartphones smuggled into two migrant detention centers captured graphic images depicting hundreds of emaciated African men, some appearing to be on the brink of death, in cramped quarters where sewage flowed and disease was rampant.

Rights groups confirmed that abuse and deaths were commonplace at these centers and in October 2020, the European Union parliament passed a resolution condemning Saudi Arabia for its mistreatment of migrants.

The uproar eventually led to tens of thousands of migrants being repatriated throughout 2021, many of whom are struggling to cope with enduring trauma.

But many remained behind in the facilities, with Ethiopia’s government preoccupied last year by the county’s civil war and rebel fighters threatening to attack the capital city.

Eventually, the outcry of social media users and relatives in Ethiopia is believed to have pushed Ethiopian officials to send a high-level delegation to Riyadh earlier this year, to begin negotiating the return of their citizens.

Since an agreement was signed in March, thousands of Ethiopians have returned to their homeland, with another 1,031 landing in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa on Wednesday.

However, mass arrests by Saudi authorities continue to target thousands more, with 15,000 migrants, almost all of them Ethiopians and Yemenis, detained in a single week in March alone.

As a result, detention centers aren’t emptying, and the abuse persists, according to detainees. 

“This place is disease-ridden. Everyone grows sick because they leave us to live and eat on a filthy floor with the stench of urine everywhere,” one told MEE.

The statements by the migrants about the conditions at the detention centers appear to correspond with the assessment of staffers from the International Organization for Migration [IOM] and other UN agencies supporting relief efforts at returnee reception centers in Ethiopia.

“In addition to injuries and illnesses suffered due to the hazardous journey, the IOM has observed that communicable diseases, such as tuberculosis and skin conditions are prevalent among returnees,” says Yvonne Ndege, spokesperson for the agency’s East and Horn of Africa office.

“Prolonged periods in overcrowded and unsanitary facilities may well be a contributing factor to this issue.”

MEE spoke to nine inmates at the Riyadh deportation center and the infamous al-Shumaisi prison near Mecca. Detainees used mobile phones with no internet connection that survived the pre-Ramadan purge.

“We have been left here to rot,” said Ali, a migrant at al-Shumaisi center. “Since they put me here, I’ve seen diplomats from Chad, Ghana, and Somalia come to inquire about their citizens. Nobody from the Ethiopian embassy has visited even though Ethiopians are the majority here.”

Ali added that while beatings of migrants and poor sanitation have long been the norm, he revealed that in recent months, prison officials have begun extorting the families of detainees.

“Every week, the guards come here with what they call a ‘souq’ [market]. They bring clean water, biscuits, and other items from outside. We can only purchase these items by having our families transfer money to the personal accounts of guards and prison staff. But they charge us more than the price on the Saudi market, and they pocket a lot of the money transferred to them.”

Ethiopia’s ambassador to Saudi Arabia, Lencho Bati, appeared unwilling to address accusations of neglect by his office, nor claims that extortion and abuse by Saudi prison officials are ongoing in the centers.

“I am returning to Riyadh from Mecca. Let’s talk after Eid,” he told MEE. Bati is yet to respond to a request for comment sent after the Eid holiday.

Many of the detainees are among the tens of thousands who are estimated each year to trek along the extremely dangerous migrant corridor from East Africa, across the Red Sea, into Yemen, and up to Saudi Arabia. But others had spent up years living and working legally in the kingdom prior to being arrested.

“I spent seven years working for a company in Jeddah. I never needed assistance and provided for my loved ones,” said Omer, another migrant at al-Shumaisi.

“But my company laid me off as it went bankrupt because of the pandemic. Without an employer, I couldn’t renew my residency papers. I was arrested shortly after my papers expired.”

Semir added that this was the case with many of the new arrivals that had flooded the Riyadh facility he is currently held at. Nearly 10,000 of those detained in the March crackdown were singled out for residency permit issues.

“Imagine being a driver for a company one day, and then suddenly being forced to squat in a tiny, crowded room with no food and contagious skin rashes the next day. It’s tragic,” Semir said.

Three Ethiopians deported home described being told to sign non-disclosure agreements instructing them to avoid speaking about their experiences in detention. One said the officer warned that “legal action would be taken against violators even in Ethiopia”.

Others, meanwhile, weren’t actually migrants, but Saudi-born children of Ethiopian migrants who under Saudi law aren’t eligible for citizenship.

Aisha, 18, spent four months at al-Shumaisi before being put aboard a flight to her parents’ country. She recalled the night when the immigration police, known as “jawazat”, raided her family’s home in Mecca and arrested her alongside her brother and father.

Both Aisha and her brother were born in Saudi Arabia and have lived there all their lives.

“They came unannounced at night and broke down the door. They used foul language while addressing us and escorted us to a minibus they brought along with the raiding party,” she said while fighting back tears. “It was very humiliating.”

Many returnees to Ethiopia are suffering from mental illness, alongside recovering from the physical abuse they endured. Mental health workers at returnee centers are already under strain.

The IOM’s Yvonne Ndege said that in addition to the counselling and psychosocial support the IOM is providing, “many returnees also often require intensive and clinical psychiatric care when they arrive home”.

Is Western Media Capable of Killing a U.S. Blogger Who Didn’t Sign Up to Washington’s Manufactured Consent in Ukraine?

April 27, 2022

Source

By Martin Jay

Gonzalo Lira’s merciless attack by the Daily Beast will be remembered for years and make many hacks think before taking a swipe at America’s finest institutions.

The disappearance of U.S. citizen journalist Gonzalo Lira looked like a new low point for the war in Ukraine. Sure, at least six western journalists so far have been killed in the conflict but the Chilean-born Lira’s case was quite special on so many levels – chiefly that in mid-April he seemed to have been taken by Ukrainian forces (or neo-Nazi brigades which they support) after being tipped off by a western media outlet. Or at least that’s what Lira claims in his last video clip he posted just hours before disappearing. Remarkably, he claims if he were to be killed, it would be down to a petulant reaction from journalists working for the Daily Beast, who he seems to have clashed with – and who took it upon themselves to tell the Ukrainian government his exact location.

Another point which made Lira’s disappearance so unique and sets him above the others who have died is the man himself. It is practically unheard of for journalists in Ukraine to “cross the line” and to report from the side of the conflict where their own sympathies do not jar. In other words, Lira, although among Ukrainian citizens in regions which were held by Ukrainian forces was, unlike the vast majority of western journalists, not at all sympathetic in any way to Zelensky and his government and was considered to be pro-Russian. This makes Lira incredibly special and perhaps a one off. He took a very critical if not cynical view of the Ukrainian elite and tried to report from a colder, more neutral position – questioning everything that he was shown by the Ukrainians – than his colleagues, and in doing so was branded a “Russian spy” which was all it took for the hysteria to be whipped up and for the dogs to be set upon him.

But his claims that it was the Daily Beast which could have been responsible for his kidnapping is worrying as it is unprecedented. At first glance, it seems far-fetched until you read the character assassination article which The Beast wrote about him, red it tooth and claw dripping with vitriol, as a childish response to Lira posting a video on social media running down the outlet. Lira claims in his last tearful video clip to his followers that if he is not heard of within 12 hours, then his certainly captured by Ukrainian security services and that it is the Daily Beast which is responsible for his capture, as, he claims, it tipped off the Ukrainians to his exact whereabouts.

If this were to be true, then the war in Ukraine has hit a new low with western media apparently playing a more intensified partisan role than ever before and taking that position to new depths never seen before in Syria, Iraq or the former Yugoslavia. It spells the end of bona fide journalism in conflict zones, where journalists themselves accept to be used as nothing more than stenographers of fictitious material produced to be a tool of war, along with soldiers themselves. Is this what is going on in Ukraine? Is the Ukrainian elite taking 100s of millions of dollars in U.S. blood money to keep the war going, while PR executives manufacture entirely faked news reports which the western journalists are dutifully replicating without even offering up the odd annoying question? Is this the real reason why Lira feared that he would be killed, because he rejected the format and the narrative and went against the grain of the popular beguiling narrative? Was his blogging, which was gaining huge amounts of traffic, becoming a problem for Washington and Zelensky and had to be stopped as it threatened to derail the bigger plan?

The hit job from the Daily Beast is beneath their journalists. It beggars belief that a respected international news publication would stoop so low to smear the reputation of a blogger. Was it merely an act of repugnant petulance between journalists, a spat which got out of hand, which resulted in the appalling slur article which painted a picture of him as being someone of low moral fibre? Or is there something darker lurching in the shadows? Is the Daily Beast really what it claims to be or are the somewhat sensational claims on social media about it being a CIA asset of some sort, true?

We are being tricked in the Ukraine and Lira is an amateur who threatened to burn the whole circus down to the ground. His merciless attack by the Daily Beast though will be remembered for years and make many hacks think before taking a swipe at America’s finest institutions. Just read what the Beast summarised.

“He also created a 22-minute-long video preemptively warning his followers not to trust anything The Daily Beast writes, concocting a fantastical narrative in which every journalist secretly knows he and his ilk are right about the things they say but chooses to print lies because “everybody who works at the mainstream media is by definition a piece of shit.” He added that he is better than the mainstream media because he can “say the truth,” and suggested this article was developed at least in part because The Daily Beast writers envy and resent his freedom”.

Ain’t that the truth?

Since writing this article, Gonzalo Lira has emerged safe and well.

Big Tech’s ‘Cancel Culture’ Love Affair

April 21, 2022

Source

Cancel culture is inbuilt in the techno-feudalist project: conform to the hegemonic narrative, or else.  Journalism that does not conform must be taken down.

By Pepe Escobar
Special to Consortium News

This month, several of us – Scott Ritter, myself, ASB Military News, among others – were canceled from Twitter. The – unstated – reason: we were debunking the officially approved narrative of the Russia/NATO/Ukraine war.

As with all things Big Tech, that was predictable. I lasted only seven months on Twitter. And that was long enough. Contacts in California had told me I was on their radar because the account grew too fast, and had enormous reach, especially after the start of Operation Z.

I celebrated the cancelation by experiencing an aesthetic illumination in front of the Aegean Sea, at the home of Herodotus, the Father of History. Additionally, it was heart-warming to be recognized by the great George Galloway in his moving tribute to targets of the new McCarthyism.

In parallel, comic relief of the “Mars Attacks” variety was provided by expectations of free speech on Twitter being saved by the benign intervention of Elon Musk.

Techno-feudalism is one of the overarching themes of my latest book, Raging Twenties – published in early 2021 and reviewed here in a very thoughtful and meticulous manner.

Cancel culture is inbuilt in the techno-feudalist project: conform to the hegemonic narrative, or else. In my own case regarding Twitter and Facebook – two of the guardians of the internet, alongside Google — I knew a day of reckoning was inevitable, because like other countless users I had previously been dispatched to those notorious “jails”.

On one Facebook occasion, I sent a sharp message highlighting that I was a columnist/analyst for an established Hong Kong-based media company. Some human, not an algorithm, must have read it, because the account was restored in less than 24 hours.

But then the account was simply disabled – with no warning. I requested the proverbial “review”. The response was a demand for proof of ID. Less than 24 hours later, came the verdict: “Your account has been disabled” because it had not followed those notoriously hazy “community standards.” The decision was “reviewed” and “it can’t be reversed”.

I celebrated with a Buddhist mini-requiem on Instagram.

My hit-by-a-Hellfire missile Facebook page clearly identified for the general public who I was, at the time: “Geopolitical analyst at Asia Times”. The fact of the matter is Facebook algorithms canceled a top columnist from Asia Times – with a proven record and a global profile. The algos would never have had the – digital – guts to do the same with a top columnist from The New York Times or the Financial Times.

Asia Times lawyers in Hong Kong sent a letter to Facebook management. Predictably, there was no response.

Of course becoming a target of cancel culture – twice – does not even remotely compare to the fate of Julian Assange, imprisoned for over three years in Belmarsh under the most appalling circumstances, and about to be dispatched for “judgment” in the American gulag for the crime of committing journalism. Yet the same “logic” applies: journalism that does not conform to the hegemonic narrative must be taken down.

Conform, or Else

At the time, I discussed the matter with several Western analysts. As one of them succinctly put it, “You were ridiculing the U.S. president while pointing out the positives of Russia, China and Iran. That’s a deadly combination”.

Others were simply stunned: “I wonder why you were restricted as you work for a reputable publication.” Or made the obvious connections: “Facebook is a censorship machine. I did not know that they do not give reasons for what they do but then they are part of the Deep State.”

A banking source that usually places my columns on the desks of selected Masters of the Universe put it New York-style: “You severely p****d the Atlantic Council”. No question: the specimen who oversaw the canceling of my account was a former Atlantic Council hack.

Ron Unz in California had the account of his extremely popular website Unz Review purged by Facebook on April 2020. Subsequently, readers who tried to post their articles met with an “error” message describing the content as “abusive”.

When Unz mentioned my case to renowned economist James Galbraith, “he really was quite shocked, and thought it might signal a very negative censorship trend on the Internet.”

The “censorship trend” is a fact – for quite a while now. Take this U.S. State Department 2020 report identifying “pillars of Russia’s disinformation and propaganda ecosystem.”

State Dept. Directive

The late Pompeo-era report demonizes “fringe or conspiracy-minded” websites who happen to be extremely critical of U.S. foreign policy. They include Moscow-based Strategic Culture Foundation – where I’m a columnist – and Canada-based Global Research, which republishes most of my columns (but so does Consortium NewsZeroHedge and many other U.S. websites). I’m cited in the report by name, along with quite a few top columnists.

The report’s “research” states that Strategic Culture – which is blocked by Facebook and Twitter – is directed by the SVR, Russian foreign intel. This is ridiculous. I met the previous editors in Moscow – young, energetic, with enquiring minds. They had to quit their jobs because after the report they started to be severely threatened online.

So the directive comes straight from the State Department – and that has not changed under Biden-Harris: any analysis of U.S. foreign policy that deviates from the norm is a “conspiracy theory” – a terminology that was invented and perfected by the C.I.A.

Couple it with the partnership between Facebook and the Atlantic Council – which is a de facto NATO think tank – and now we have a real powerful ecosystem.

It’s a Wonderful Life

Every silicon fragment in the valley connects Facebook as a direct extension of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA)’s LifeLog project, a Pentagon attempt to “build a database tracking a person’s entire existence.” Facebook launched its website exactly on the same day – Feb. 4, 2004 – that DARLA and the Pentagon shuttered LifeLog.

No explanation by DARPA was ever provided. The MIT’s David Karger, at the time, remarked, “I am sure that such research will continue to be funded under some other title. I can’t imagine DARPA ‘dropping out’ of such a key research area.”

Of course a smokin’ gun directly connecting Facebook to DARPA will never be allowed to surface. But occasionally some key players speak out, such as Douglas Gage, none other than LifeLog’s conceptualizer: “Facebook is the real face of pseudo-LifeLog at this point (…) We have ended up providing the same kind of detailed personal information to advertisers and data brokers and without arousing the kind of opposition that LifeLog provoked.”

So Facebook has absolutely nothing to do with journalism. Not to mention pontificating over a journalist’s work, or assuming it’s entitled to cancel him or her. Facebook is an “ecosystem” built to sell private data at a huge profit, offering a public service as a private enterprise, but most of all sharing the accumulated data of its billions of users with the U.S. national security state.

The resulting algorithmic stupidity, also shared by Twitter – incapable of recognizing nuance, metaphor, irony, critical thinking – is perfectly integrated into what former C.I.A. analyst Ray McGovern brilliantly coined as the MICIMATT (military-industrial-congressional-intelligence-media-academia-think tank complex).

In the U.S., at least the odd expert on monopoly power identified this neo-Orwellian push as accelerating “the collapse of journalism and democracy.”

Facebook “fact-checking professional journalists” does not even qualify as pathetic. Otherwise Facebook – and not analysts like McGovern – would have debunked Russiagate. It would not routinely cancel Palestinian journalists and analysts. It would not disable the account of University of Tehran professor Mohammad Marandi – who was actually born in the U.S.

I received quite a few messages stating that being canceled by Facebook – and now by Twitter – is a badge of honor. Well, everything is impermanent (Buddhism) and everything flows (Daoism). So being deleted – twice – by an algorithm qualifies at best as a cosmic joke.

Pepe Escobar’s latest book is Raging Twenties. He remains un-cancelled on VKTelegram and Instagram.

The views expressed are solely those of the author and may or may not reflect those of Consortium News.

Lebanese Media: An Arab Pioneer on Media Silk Road

3 Apr 2022

Source: Al Mayadeen Net

Mohamad Zreik 

“The land of liberties” is a fitting label for Lebanon, a remarkable country that deserves it.

Lebanese Media: An Arab Pioneer on Media Silk Road

The right to free press is revered and guarded in Lebanon. Constitutional freedom of expression in Lebanon is guaranteed under Article 13, which states that all forms of expression are protected “within the bounds imposed by law.” For many people, the most arduous way to freedom is not the path of armed struggle, but rather the path of free and brave speech. “The land of liberties” is a fitting label for Lebanon, a remarkable country that deserves it.

Without the sacrifices of the martyrs, this attribute would not have been part of the Lebanese identity. It’s everything on the altar of the press and the sacredness of the free word. The message of peace and freedom of expression may be carried by Lebanon. Because there is no peace without freedom, the two concepts are intertwined in their connection. Several Lebanese journalists were exonerated from the gallows by the Ottoman Empire during the month of May of the year 1958. Since the killed journalists’ mandate was: “We die free and do not live as slaves or captives of others,” May 6 has been declared a feast day for the martyrs in Lebanon.

The Lebanese press has a rich history of events and phases that have been etched into the minds of the Lebanese. The comments of An-Nahar newspaper, held by Chairman of the Board, Gibran Tueni, who took up his pen and walked out into the streets to remind the world that in Lebanon, freedom of speech and expression are taken by pen and not by gun, are well-remembered by all of us. “We promise by Almighty God, Muslims and Christians, that we will remain together in defense of glorious Lebanon forever and ever,” Gibran Tueni swore to the Lebanese people.

As a result of the vast range of freedoms it enjoys, Lebanon stands out regionally and globally. For example, there are television stations in Lebanon for each and every political party. In addition to the many free internet sites, private newspapers are all examples. Freedom of expression is not constrained by any red lines; as long as it does not infringe on the sacred and national sovereignty, you are free to voice your thoughts. Since Arab countries have rigorous monitoring agencies and stringent laws, Lebanon will remain a milestone in the free Arab media.

An unauthorized political journal, “The News Garden,” was published by Khalil El-Khoury in Beirut on January 1, 1858, and is regarded as “the mother of Arab newspapers.” Count Rashid Al-Dahdah, who published the “Barjis” newspaper in Paris in 1858 and Ahmed Faris al-Shidyaq, who published the “Al-Jawa’ib” newspaper in Istanbul in 1861 are just two examples of Lebanese involvement in the publication of Arab newspapers published abroad. According to writer Laila Hamdoun, we find that most of the Arab newspapers were issued by Lebanese intellectuals, for example, the great “Butros al-Bustani” has launched “Nafeer Syria“, Lebanon’s second newspaper, in 1860 in Beirut, appealing for national unity in the wake of the sectarian murders of 1860. The cinema and theatre have also grown popular in Lebanon.

These remarks have been written during my stay in China, the land of civilization, culture, science, and commerce. As a specialist in the “Belt and Road Initiative” that was first introduced in 2013 by Chinese President Xi Jinping, and in order to highlight the Lebanese role in this effort, I decided to link the free Lebanese press in the Arab world to the Belt and Road Initiative, which aims in part at people-to-people exchange and cultural understanding.

Newspapers in Lebanon, media professionals, and authors claim that “our time today is different from prior periods.” People in Lebanon have long had an eye on the West, and they’ve done it through airing Hollywood films, importing anything dubbed, and keeping tabs on political developments in the West. To that end, I urge Lebanese political and media officials, as the stewards of Lebanon’s culture and language, not to cut ties with the West. At the same time, keep in mind that this is China’s golden period and that this great Asian is no less than the Western nations.

Speaking at the 2016 Media Cooperation Forum’s opening ceremony, Chinese President Xi Jinping discussed his country’s Belt and Road Initiative. Chinese President Xi Jinping mentioned that the media is a platform for constructive discourse, the sharing of ideas, and collaboration. Without an active and unbiased role for the media, there is no contact between peoples. Without media, the Belt and Road Initiative’s goal of bridging cultures won’t be able to fulfill its full potential.

As a technologically advanced country, China employs the most up-to-date broadcasting techniques in its media partnership with Lebanon. Co-operation between China and the Arab countries in media has become essential. According to Wang Chen of China’s State Council Information Office, media interactions between Beijing and Beirut are a priority for the country.

China has established a tight relationship with Lebanon through television shows that introduce the Lebanese people to the Chinese culture. As part of its Belt and Road Initiative, China has recently displayed a keen interest in the Arab world. CGTN Arabic and China Arab TV, two Chinese TV stations, have been introduced to the Arab satellites Nilesat and Arabsat, which transmit documentaries and news about China and the Arab world. To keep up with all of CGTN Arabic and China International Radio‘s social media accounts (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Wechat), separate department staffed by Chinese and Arabs has been established.

A deal was reached in 2016 between Lebanon TV and China’s state television, whereby Lebanon was provided with certain equipment. National News Agency was given a large number of computers and training workshops by the Chinese government in order to facilitate mutual collaboration.

More seminars and training sessions for journalists and more equipment donations are expected from the Chinese government in Lebanon. Media in Lebanon will focus on Chinese matters, invite Chinese specialists and introduce the Lebanese people and Arabs to Chinese news. As China’s influence in Lebanon grows, it’s feasible that Lebanese media outlets may start publishing content in Chinese. Videos, interviews, and information on Lebanon can be used by the Chinese media to educate the Chinese population about the country. China may invite Chinese journalists and press students to visit Lebanon to learn more about the nation and collaborate with Lebanese journalists in order to speed up the reporting of the news.

Ex-Chinese Ambassador to Lebanon Jiang said the media collaboration between China and Lebanon is growing quickly, and he underlined that China is a long-term supporter of both the government and Lebanese media outlets. During the Chinese Spring Festival and Chinese National Day each year, the Chinese Embassy in Lebanon and Lebanon TV work together to broadcast programs in China.

The works of the Chinese Cultural Centre in Beirut (Confucius Institute) should be extended so that it can do other functions, such as translating Chinese films into Arabic. Due to Lebanon’s high cultural value, many Chinese dubbing businesses have shown a desire to cooperate with Chinese media outlets. In order to make Lebanese culture more accessible to the Chinese audience, films from the country will be dubbed. ‘Capernaum’, a film directed by Nadine Labaki, was the first Lebanese film to be dubbed into Chinese. In addition to books and poetry which could enhance cultural exchange.

A plan for successful Chinese-Arab media cooperation is being devised by China, which includes enhancing communication between Chinese and Arab media, establishing a media administrative system that serves the common Chinese-Arab interest, and raising electronic media cooperation.

“Media Silk Road” has emerged in recent years as a term for the media cooperation between Belt and Road Initiative countries. There are four committees that focus on news cooperation, integrated communication, cooperation in program production, and industrial cooperation. The main mission is to promote international peace by fostering cultural exchange between nations. More positive steps are expected to be taken by the international television cooperation community of the Silk Road in order to benefit both Chinese and Arab interests.

As part of the Belt and Road Initiative, the people of participating countries play a significant role in its implementation. As a result, in accordance with the principles of cultural communication and freedom of speech, the media should be a tool to enrich the Arab people’s knowledge about China and the Belt and Road initiative.

Considering Lebanon’s status as a participant of the Belt and Road Initiative, it is expected that Lebanon will play an important role in promoting the initiative in Lebanon and the Arab world. As part of an Arab media strategy for the Belt and Road Initiative, Lebanon might be designated as an authorized media hub in conjunction with the Chinese authorities. There are numerous examples of Sino-Lebanese media and cultural collaboration that have been successful, and this proposed cooperation could be another success.

The opinions mentioned in this article do not necessarily reflect the opinion of Al mayadeen, but rather express the opinion of its writer exclusively.

🇨🇦👏💯 TRUDEAU DESTROYED HIMSELF IN 2 MINUTES. OH CANADA. 🇨🇦🔥

 February 23rd, 2022.

Urging Boycott of Israel, British Activists March in London (PHOTOS)

February 12, 2022

British activists march in London. (Photo: FOA, Supplied)

By Palestine Chronicle Staff

Pro-Palestinian activists marched across the city of London on Saturday urging people to boycott Israeli apartheid, UK-based NGO Friends of Al-Aqsa (FOA) said in a press release. 

“Starting at PUMA on Carnaby Street and stopping at Coca-Cola’s Head Office and other locations before reaching Parliament, FOA supporters engaged Londoners with street action emphasizing the power of boycotting, divesting from and sanctioning the individuals, companies and culture complicit in Israel’s illegal occupation of Palestine,” the press release read.

The protest follows Amnesty International’s recent report labeling Israel as an apartheid state and coincides with the Global Day of Action on PUMA.

“Today’s march demonstrated the strength of opposition to the (British) government’s proposed anti-BDS Bill as well as support for sanctions on Israel until it complies with international law,” FOA declared.

Last December, British Conservative politician Robert Jenrick announced that the UK government was “working to outlaw BDS in the UK”. Moreover, UK Education Minister Nadhim Zahawi recently came under fire when he said that pro-Palestine activists who use the slogan “From the river to the sea” should be referred to police, saying that the chant is an example of antisemitism.

These political moves have been perceived as an attack on democracy and a limitation to the right of free speech.

(All Photos: FOA, Supplied)

Kordahi: Publications Court the Only One Authorized to Deal with Media Affairs

 November 28, 2021

Lebanese Information Minister George Kordahi

Lebanese Information Minister George Kordahi stressed that the Publications Court is the only one authorized to deal with media affairs.

In a statement, the Lebanese minister commented on the ruling issued by the military court against Al-Akhbar’s journalist Radwan Mortada.

“The Publications Court is the only one authorized to deal with media affairs, including what is related to the work of journalists under the constitution and the laws regulating freedom of opinion and expression,” read the statement, carried by National News Agency (NNA).

He expressed his hope that this issue would be settled under the Publications Law, while ensuring freedom of expression and the rights of institutions in accordance with regulations and laws.

Source: NNA

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