The IN-US Plot Against The RF-PK Partnership Got Facebook To Ban Pakistani Pages

By Andrew Korybko
Source

Facebook’s decision to ban 103 Pakistani pages earlier this week might have been done in order to comply with India’s new domestic legislation prohibiting “unlawful” content on social media such as the “inconvenient” information that would have presumably been shared on those pages debunking the country’s Bollywood-like lies about the latest conflict and raising awareness about India’s state-sponsored terrorism in Kashmir, but the move also suggests a broader American-influenced infowar motivation to advance the bizarre theory recently  put forth by an Indian academic alleging that Russia and Pakistan are now brothers-in-arms waging Hybrid Wars across the world.

Business & Politics

All of Pakistan and the world at large is wondering what really led to Facebook’s unexpected decision to ban 103 Pakistani pages earlier this week for what the company alleged was so-called “coordinated inauthentic behavior”, with it initially appearing likely that this was done in order to suppress the information networks most critical of Indian Prime Minister Modi on their platform ahead of the onset of that country’s general elections next week. That very likely played a part in the timing behind Facebook’s decision, which wouldn’t be surprising because the tech company has a vested interest in supporting the incumbent leader in its largest market, or at least wouldn’t want to get on his bad side and therefore felt compelled to do his government a “favor” upon possible request.

It therefore might not even be that Facebook “deviously” decided to play a partisan role in this process but that it didn’t believe it had a choice if it wanted to continue expanding its presence in the country, though it obviously needed to concoct a so-called “probable cause” in order to do so, ergo the unverified claims about “coordinated inauthentic behavior”. Even so, it’s a murky business speculating about backdoor deals between Facebook and various governments, which is why it’s pertinent to raise awareness about the “legal” basis upon which India could have very likely made their request to get some of the platform’s most popular Pakistani pages taken down, and that’s the country’s recent promulgation of a controversial piece of legislation prohibiting “unlawful” content on social media.

Censoring Social Media

Reuters specifically mentioned in its report about this back in January that it includes any material that affects the “sovereignty and integrity of India”, which is vague catch-all designation that could have easily been applied to the material that those banned Pakistani pages presumably shared debunking India’s Bollywood-like lies about the latest conflict and raising awareness about its state-sponsored terrorism in Kashmir. Even something as simple as sharing the Pakistani map that includes the territory of Gilgit-Baltistan as part of Pakistan and not India like New Delhi claims it is per its maximalist approach to the Kashmir conflict could have been enough to violate that law, like I wrote at the time in my piece about how “Social Media Might Ban The Pakistani Map At India’s Behest”.

Considering that Facebook has self-interested reasons in staying on the good side of the authorities in its largest market, there’s a certain logic to why it might have banned those 103 Pakistani pages if India claimed that they broke its domestic law and might have been engaged in “coordinated inauthentic behavior” as part of an alleged perception management operation conducted by its neighbor. That would certainly be enough of a “plausible” reason for Facebook to take action against those pages and give it a “legitimate” excuse to hide behind in protecting its future profits in that market by doing New Delhi’s bidding. It’s likely that this was the case, but a further analysis needs to be conducted about the way in which most of the Mainstream Media reported on this decision.

The “Gerasimov Of South Asia”

Reuters, which usually sets the tone that most other Mainstream Media outlets follow, reported in its original piece breaking this news that Pakistan’s Inter-Service Public Relations (ISPR), the media wing of the Pakistan Armed Forces, was somehow or another supposedly connected to the 103 banned pages. They also curiously included a sentence asserting that “The military’s spokesman has often mentioned the term ‘fifth generation warfare’ during press conferences, referring to an unconventional battlefield that includes the dissemination and countering of information on social media”. This was clearly a dog whistle of innuendo implying that the ISPR was waging “fifth generation warfare” on Facebook through those pages, which in turn triggered Indian media to run with that narrative and call ISPR spokesman Asif Ghafoor the “Gerasimov of South Asia”.

That’s not incidental either, since Ghafoor and Russian General Chief of Staff are both being deliberately misportrayed as practitioners of “fifth generation warfare” despite both of them merely warning about the said tactics that their adversaries are using against them and never saying anything about their own country’s capabilities in this field or intention to “fight fire with fire” like has been falsely alleged. In fact, the false comparisons might go even further because there’s a high likelihood that Pakistan’s ISPR will be compared to Russia’s “Internet Research Agency” (IRA) as India copies a page out of the US’ infowar playbook to pin the blame for “fifth generation warfare” on its hated enemy just like America did with Russia in order to distract from its own employment of these technologies.

The Indo-American Plot Against The Russian-Pakistani Partnership

My professional prediction as a Hybrid War expert (officially recognized as such by the NATO Defense College in two papers that they published citing my 2015 bookon the topic) isn’t without precedent, however, since I wrote an analysis earlier this week about how “A Leading Indian Academic Just Alleged A Far-Fetched Russian-Pakistani Plot” strangely suggesting that the two countries are brothers-in-arms waging Hybrid Wars across the world. In hindsight, that weaponized narrative actually appears to have inspired the aforementioned piece about Ghafoor being the “Gerasimov of South Asia” and therefore laid the basis for the first-ever joint Indo-American infowar against the Russian-Pakistani Strategic Partnership out of fear that the Great Power convergence of the Afro-Eurasian “balancer” and the global pivot state is a game-changing development that’s bound to geostrategically reshape the Eastern Hemisphere.

Pakistan, and not the Indian “rogue state”, is the focal point of Russia’s “Return to South Asia” because of the “balancing” benefits that Moscow expects to derive from Islamabad vis-à-vis Beijing and New Delhi, albeit for different reasons but in pursuit of the same end of stabilizing hemispheric affairs. While this is welcomed by China, it’s regarded by India and its new American patron as a threat to their grand strategic interests, which is why they’re doing everything that they can to thwart it through their combined infowar means of manufacturing fake news about a supposed Russian-Pakistani global Hybrid War plot against them both. Due to New Delhi, “Russia’s ‘Deep State’ Divisions Over South Asia Are Spilling Over Into The Public”, but it’s also clumsily making many mistakes such as when “India’s Ambassador To Russia Lied About Rejecting International Mediation”.

Concluding Thoughts

Reflecting on the insight that was revealed in this analysis, the case can strongly be made that Facebook banned 103 Pakistani pages based on fabricated claims by India alleging that the targets were engaged in “coordinated inauthentic behavior” as part of a “fifth generation warfare plot” and possibly in violation of the country’s recently passed legislation banning “unlawful” content such as what could have been presumed to have been shared on those pages about the latest conflict and Kashmir. Facebook, not wanting to jeopardize its growing presence in its largest market anywhere in the world, promptly complied with the request, which then created a news event that was subsequently spun by the Mainstream Media to propagate the US-influenced weaponized narrative about a Russian-Pakistani global Hybrid War conspiracy.

The US and India have clearly joined forces in a plot to thwart the Russian-Pakistani Strategic Partnership, afraid as they are about the game-changing implications that the increasingly close cooperation between the Afro-Eurasian “balancer” and the global pivot state is poised to have on the outcome of the New Cold War. The most visible manifestation of this is the coordinated infowar being waged by these two unipolar allies against their multipolar targets, which largely relies on the dramatic buzzwords of Hybrid War and “fifth generation warfare” as unmistakable dog whistles to signal to their surrogates to add on to this storyline with each subsequent article until an entirely artificial reality is constructed in the Mainstream Media which serves the purpose of justifying the US & India’s further preplanned joint measures against Russia & Pakistan.

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The Guardian of Judea

March 19, 2019  /  Gilad Atzmon

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By Devon Nola

In the last week, we saw yet another organised smear campaign of hate and slander orchestrated by Jewish interest groups and Labour Party affiliates wielded against Internationally acclaimed Jazz musician, Gilad Atzmon.   A protest was planned for Atzmon’s concert at The Vortex Jazz Club after numerous emails from local Labour Council members and members of these groups demanded the cancellation of the gig fell on deaf ears.  They claimed Atzmon plays ‘Nazi-apologist Jazz.’  Personally, I’m not familiar with the genre. The chief organiser was Jewdas, a group that qualifies itself as “Radical Jewish Voices”.  The four co-sponsors were:  Momentum, an alleged grass-roots collective, Socialists Against Antisemitism, whose name is self-explanatory if not contradictory, London Young Labour and The Jewish Labour Movement.

What is most interesting is this event was supported and promoted by journalist for “The Guardian”, Owen Jones. It’s always shocking when a journalist supports any sort of censorship.  Jones posted the event on his Facebook page and within two days, managed to rack up over 350 comments telling him what a huge mistake he was making, the accusations against Atzmon were false and totally absurd, and might he provide some proof to substantiate the claims.  Many came from avid readers and supporters of Jones’ usual commentary but were aghast at his support of preventing a respected musician from earning a living and they expressed this in no uncertain terms.

When Jones finally did respond, it was to attach a hit piece that came from an ultra-Zionist website full of misquotes, quotes out of context and even completely fabricated quotes. Rather than sifting through Atzmon’s prolific body of written work to decipher if the accusations against him were legitimate, Jones instead chose this piecemeal missive full of lies.

Realising, at that point, Jones hadn’t actually read anything by Atzmon, I attached a copy of a page from Atzmon’s book, “The Wondering Who”. I assumed once he read Atzmon’s thoughts, directly, versus some bastardised fictional version, he would realise his error in judgement and deliver a swift apology.  This is what an honest journalist, a person with integrity would do. Astonishingly, Owen Jones chose a different path. He didn’t admit to his mistake (giving him the benefit of the doubt, here), but rather removed the entire thread, or shall I say, the evidence.  This was a calculated, conscious decision, by Jones, suggesting he was fully aware of the deceit being peddled in both the protest he was supporting and the piece he scrounged up to defend it.  This isn’t the behaviour one expects from a journalist.  It’s typically something one finds in a sleazy tabloid writer whose articles are printed next to ads for miracle serums to cure baldness or penis enlargement.

Some time ago, Atzmon coined the phrase “The Guardian of Judea” for the well-known paper.  Witnessing one of their journalists engaged in such a slanderous campaign, where completely unfounded accusations of antisemitism, Nazi apologist and holocaust-denier are being lobbed at an innocent man like tennis balls on the final Sunday of Wimbledon, I’m inclined to think this is yet one more astute observation by the legendary saxophonist.

(Urgent): YouTube terminates Middle East Observer after almost 10 years online

Source

March 08, 2019

After almost 10 years online, over 250 videos, almost 13,000 subscribers, and about 8 million total video views, YouTube has terminated the Middle East Observer (MEO) channel on its platform.

Although perhaps MEO became best known for its video translations of regional political actors such as Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, its work was certainly not limited to that. Middle East Observer sought to provide its viewers with reliable English translations on politics, religion, and culture from the Middle East more broadly, with a particular focus on media from key states such as Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Iran.

The termination of MEO’s channel came after several months of seemingly routine ‘violation’ emails sent to us by YouTube, the taking down of various videos of ours (most of which were uploaded several years ago) and the imposition of ‘channel strikes’ accompanied by emails about how we could better uphold its rather vague and in many ways hegemonic ‘Community Guidelines’. We gradually realised that no matter what measures we took, it would not satisfy YouTube’s ‘Guidelines’, as the platform’s architecture and policies increasingly moved towards the censorship of alternative news and views.

This censorship process against MEO began several years earlier, when YouTube deactivated our ability to monetise the absolute majority of our videos, classifying them as “Non-advertiser friendly”. Needless to say, this demonetisation regime has increasingly been criticised by many observers and major ‘YouTubers’ in recent years. They argued that the “Non-advertiser friendly” label was deeply ideological, as it worked to effectively censor (no funds = less ability to produce content) alternative and non-mainstream narratives while continuing to portray YouTube as a democratic and transparent media platform.

To bypass reliance on YouTube advertising revenue, we tried various options over the years, the last of which being an up-until-now successful experience on Patreon (here’s our page), where after only a few months 17 of our global viewers/readers joined the highly flexible crowd sourcing platform to fund our work and keep it going. Truly without their support we would not have been able to continue producing translations consistently (by all means support us to help us expand our work too).

Nevertheless, we believe that the termination of our channel today is a great blow to the coverage on YouTube of voices, news, and perspectives found on Arab and Islamic media that are rarely covered – or even purposefully silenced – by Western mainstream media.

YouTube’s message today is clear: the production, uploading, and viewing of genuinely critical and alternative ideas and viewpoints is not welcome.

Thankfully we at MiddleEastObserver.net have been anticipating this scenario for many years, and especially in the last 6 months. For now, these are the best ways to continue to follow and support our work:

– Support us financially (even with $1/month) on Patreon
– You won’t miss out on any content if you subscribe to our Website Mailing List
– We will now be uploading our video content on our Daily Motion channel
– Like our Facebook page 
– Follow us on Twitter

Best wishes,
Middle East Observer

Scandal: An Impoverished Labour Council spent £136.000 to stop me from playing sax and got Santa Claus instead

February 02, 2019  /  Gilad Atzmon

what a fuckup.jpg

By Gilad Atzmon

The corrupted Islington Labour Council has disclosed that it spent the staggering amount of £136.000 on legal fees in its efforts to stop me from playing sax with the Blockheads at a Christmas concert.

 Islington Labour council claims to be impoverished, as a result it has evicted disabled people, it  struggles with housing and can’t find the necessary cash to feed impoverished kids in school.  Instead  they used the £136.000 of the taxpayers’ money to try to interfere with the arts, freedom of expression and a Christmas musical celebration. If this story doesn’t become a huge scandal, Britain is a free place no more.

£136.000 could provide a roof for more than 270 disabled and homeless people for a month…

Background:

On 3 December, Islington Council received an email from Likud Uk Director Martin Rankoff. Rankoff claimed to be so upset by my appearance at a council venue that he would be forced not to attend. Council leader Richard Watts took immediate action. In an email to Rankoff he vowed to prevent me from appearing with the Blockheads. On the 4th the Council sent a letter to the Band informing them that they had to remove me from the  concert or face a cancelation. The Band was indignant that the Council was interfering with their performance and published a very strong statement opposing the Council’s demand.  I hired a legal team to help me fight the Council’s autocratic demand.

On its part, the bankrupt Council hired the Simkins law firm. Simkins, already one of Britain’s most expensive legal firms, deployed two partners for the task of stopping me playing the sax. Not surprisingly,  one of these partners had represented ultra Zionist tycoon Sheldon Adelson, a benefactor of both President Trump and Likud leader Bibi Netanyahu.

A few days before the concert, I publicised the matter, having decided that the public deserved to know how their Council was spending its time and their money. And I was determined to expose the troubling collusion between the Labour Council and Likud UK.

A petition expressing disgust with the Council was launched and quickly gathered almost 7000 signatures, but the Council refused to employ common sense. Thousands off complaints were filed with the council. But the Labour council preferred to listen to UK Likud Director. I was told that the Council was spending tens of thousands of pounds on legal fees to justify its unlawful act. Some of  my supporters filed Freedom of Information requests to find out how much Cllr Watts’ ‘decision’ cost Islington’s residents.

I thought there had been an outlandish waste of £40-60.000. Today, through the Freedom of Information replies, we learned that the corrupted Labour politicians spent three times that amount. And in response to a request for an explanation of the Council’s actions, the Labour councillors showed that they were not even brave enough to take responsibility for their own wasteful and absurd actions. Their claim was that the Council’s employees had been the decision makers.  “The operative decision to ban Mr Atzmon was not taken by a councillor. Rather, the decision was taken by Martin Bevis, Assistant Director Financial Operations and Customer Service, and that decision was upheld on appeal by Ian Adams, Director Financial Operations and Customer Services.”

Jazz Review: Gilad Atzmon & The Orient House Ensemble in Reading, January 2019

The insane slander campaign against me, my work and my music has boomeranged once again.

The insane slander campaign against me, my work and my music has boomeranged once again.

GA: Last week we played in Reading despite the relentless efforts by pro Israel Labour Cllr Rachel Eden and threatening letters from Campaign Against Antisemitism’s ‘enforcement’ chief. The gig was sold out two weeks in advance. Once again it becomes clear that the insane slander campaign against me, my work and my music has boomeranged. Following is a review of our Reading Concert.

Gilad Atzmon & The Orient House Ensemble “Spirit of Trane” | January 2019

http://www.jazzinreading.com/?p=12229&future=true

Friday 18 January, Progress Theatre, Reading

Gilad Atzmon soprano, alto & tenor saxophones, | Ross Stanley piano | Yaron Stavi double bass, | Enzo Zirilli drums

Their ears assailed by what seemed like an obsessive twenty-three-minute solo outing of ‘My Favourite Things’ on a strange high-pitched serpent-like instrument, the soprano saxophone, large chunks of the audience voted with their feet and beat a hasty retreat from the Guamont State Kilburn on the opening night of John Coltrane’s first, and only, visit to Britain on 11th November 1961. ‘WHATHAPPENED!’ screamed the Melody Maker headline. It left the paper’s Bob Dawbarn, ‘baffled, bothered and bewildered’. The critical debate continued unabated in the jazz press with Benny Green, saxophonist, writer, broadcaster and general know-all, who incidentally didn’t attend the concert (or any that followed in Birmingham, Glasgow or Newcastle for that matter) adding his two-penny-worth by declaring that ‘Coltrane threatens to upset the entire jazz conception’. And thus, John Coltrane added his name to those of Louis Armstrong and Duke Ellington, judged respectively to be ‘too loud’ and ‘too exotic’ when they first played on these shores; in Coltrane’s case he was ‘too loud’, ‘too exotic’ and ‘too long’.

With this occasion in mind, ‘Are you ready to be challenged?’ seemed a fair question for Gilad Atzmon to ask in his inimitable and uncompromising manner as he set the scene for a two-hour concert inspired by the ‘Spirit of Trane’; have we Brits become more attuned to the sound and emotional impact of John Coltrane over the passage of nearly sixty years?

‘Yes!’ came the resounding response from the sell-out Progress audience, in perhaps the nearest experience we shall ever have of listening ‘live’ to John Coltrane. True, there were no marathon solos, or any of the ugly, grating sounds from the latter days of Coltrane’s much-too-short career, and he did break us in gently with the beautiful ‘In A Sentimental Mood’ from the 1962 collaboration with Duke Ellington, and the Latin breeze of ‘Invitation’, but come ‘Moment’s Notice’ he hit the ground running and it was as much as we could do from then on to keep up.

It wasn’t so much the ferocious tempo that was so impressive, but rather the sheer momentum of Atzmon’s playing. Fueled by Enzo Zirilli’s drums, the rock-steady bass of Yaron Stavi and Ross Stanley’s timely contributions at the keyboard, the notes flowed from Gilad’s tenor in a torrent so characteristic of Coltrane and which prompted the writer Ira Gitler to coin the phrase ‘sheets of sound’; each as hard-edged as steel and filled with a haunting melancholy. And yet, however complex the improvisation became it never lost touch with the original theme, suggesting that Coltrane was actually a far greater ‘tunesmith’ than he was ever credited for.

A perfectly sublime untitled ballad, in which bassist Yaron Stavi demonstrated that the art of playing a melodic walking bass solo is still alive and well, provided a welcome breathing space before the band launched into another maelstrom of sound. And Gilad set yet another challenge, or maybe he was simply playing mesmerizing tricks with our aural senses. What was he playing? ‘Scarborough Fair’? ‘My Favourite Things’? Ross Stanley kindly resolved the conundrum in a brief interval chat and confirmed that ‘it was both!’ No matter, the effect was enthralling!

‘Big Nick’, a catchy dedication to ‘Big’ Nick Nicholas, the tenor saxophonist alongside whom Coltrane sat in the Dizzy Gillespie Big Band, and another title from the Ellington collaboration, brought the first set to a light-hearted conclusion.

The second set opened with ‘Impressions’ and ‘Naima’, the name of Coltrane’s then wife, and each bore the imprint of his fascination for Far Eastern philosophy and mysticism. Gilad switched from soprano to alto for ‘Giant Steps’ with the assurance that he would take the tune at a more leisurely waltz time than the breakneck speed of Coltrane’s original recording. He failed … and matched the original in every detail in a breathtaking display of virtuosity.

‘What’s New’ brought another change of instrument. Gilad switched to his tenor, a beautiful product of English craftmanship as he explained, made in 1926. Coincidence or what? 1926 was the year of John Coltrane’s birth. It provided the perfect vehicle for Bob Haggart’s tender ballad more often associated with trumpet players than saxophonists.

I would guess that Gilad’s original composition ‘The Burning Bush’ is open to many interpretations, but for me it stood as a series of lamentations, expressing a sense of near-despair, etched even more deeply by his use of vocal cries to separate each section and Enzo Zirilli’s emotionally charged drum solo and percussive effects. Listening to it was an extraordinarily moving experience.

What better way to round off the evening than ‘Mr. P.C.’; not a description of Gilad Atzmon, but a dedication to bassist Paul Chambers, Coltrane’s colleague in the Miles Davis Quintet and countless other recordings including the monumental ‘Giant Steps’. Nat Hentoff was of course writing about John Coltrane in his sleeve notes to the album. However, his closing sentence could equally apply to Gilad Atzmon:

‘He asks so much of himself that he can thereby bring a great deal to the listener who is also willing to try relatively unexplored territory with him.’

All praise to Gilad Atzmon and the Orient House Ensemble and to everyone at the Progress Theatre for hosting a truly memorable event; a wonderful evocation of the spirit and enduring legacy of John Coltrane.

Review posted here by kind permission of Trevor Bannister.

Photo by Colin Swain Photography 


“My battle for truth and freedom involves some expensive legal services. I hope that you will consider committing to a monthly donation in whatever amount you can give. Regular contributions will enable me to avoid being pushed against a wall and to stay on top of the endless harassment by Zionist operators attempting to silence me.

ATB

Gilad ”

FBI arrests Marzieh – who of us at PressTV is next?

January 24, 2019

by Ramin Mazaheri for The Saker BlogFBI arrests Marzieh – who of us at PressTV is next?

Like illegally jailed PressTV anchor Marzieh Hashemi, I am a journalist at Iran’s PressTV and also a dual-citizen of Iran and the US, with family in both countries. So should I cancel my next trip to the United States, then?

Well, I refuse to.

I visit the US at least once a year, and nothing could possibly prevent me from returning whenever I want – full stop.

So I take a special interest in the illegal and immoral 10-day detention of my PressTV colleague by the United States FBI, and not merely because it would certainly start my next vacation on the wrong foot.

Frankly, I was not terribly worried for Marzieh, and you – kind reader – should not worry for me: Marzieh and I have both surely always known that working for Iran would cause us problems in the West eventually. We would be naive to think otherwise, given the West’s brutal, deadly, illegal, inhumane, four-decade war on Iran – we knew what we were getting into (and were proud to do so).

I wish it had been me instead of Marzieh, but the US really took on the harder case: Marzieh is 59 years old, and in journalism that is very rare these days, given the fact that young, cheap labor is prioritised over experienced, difficult, knowledgeable, older journalists who are much more difficult for editors to control. I was certain that Marzieh would remain principled during her detention: in fact, I imagined Marzieh’s attitude towards her captors was akin to Clint Eastwood in the Dirty Harry movies: “Go ahead – make my day.”

Such is the combative, defiant, principled outlook of a good journalist, and Marzieh certainly is that. Her place is empty at PressTV, but, Insh’Allah, she will return soon.

So who among us is next to be arrested?

Is it me? Is it one of my PressTV colleagues working in the United States? Is it one of our journalists working in a country allied with the US?

Or what about journalists for Russia’s RT or Venezuela’s Telesur? The leftist press in the US is certainly never found in any of their Mainstream Media – they are usually “fake-leftist” – but are American anti-imperialist & anti-capitalist journalists going to be chilled into silence?

Perhaps. Producing this chilling effect is the only plausible motivation I can come up with for Washington’s decision. Arresting Marzieh was only a major disgrace on the international level – but the US simply does not care.

I think that was the real motive behind the arrest: when it comes to Iran, the US simply does not care and will do anything, no matter how unprincipled. Look at Washington’s pulling out of the JCPOA on Iran’s nuclear energy agreement after years of multinational work and promises – Washington’s word means nothing. They have no honor. Indeed, they will arrest a grandmother if it can possibly hurt Iran; or if it can embolden other Western nations to similarly harass PressTV journalists.

Washington behaves without honor precisely because they are so very, very desperate to hurt Iran – obviously, the US has lost, is losing, and feels it will continue to lose in its undemocratic and shameful efforts to topple the popular 1979 Iranian Islamic revolution.

The US wants to show Iran it can act with impunity. News flash: Iranians already knew that! But Washington keeps willfully ignoring Iran’s collective response: Iran will not stop, no matter how many of our commercial airliners are shot down, how many foreign groups are encouraged to wage terrorism inside Iran, no matter how inhuman the economic siege, no matter how many journalists are arrested, etc.

The Iranian Revolution is not strong just because of the massive economic and democratic redistributions it undoubtedly created and cemented – it is strong because of its culture. This culture of resisting fear, intimidation, oppression, imperialism and arrogance is up, down and all around Iran and has been since 1979. Marzieh has discussed, defended, criticised and encouraged revolutionary social-economic-political culture during her work at PressTV – these acts of political modernity are the only reasons why the US arrested her. Indeed, there are very few people like her in the US! This is why Iran wants her back right away – Iran appreciates how special she is.

Iran is not so very unique: false sonic attacks in Cuba, napalm in Vietnam, bombing dikes to force agricultural famine in North Korea, funding fascists in China, economic sabotage in the USSR…any country which had a revolution after 1917, and is thus socialist-inspired and opposed to backwards, 1%-protecting Liberal Democracy, has faced or is still facing war from Washington.

It’s important to note that I write “Washington”, because Iran is not at war with the American People. That would mean that they are at war with Marzieh and myself – we ARE American! I will never not return to the US because I am American! I simply must re-connect with it periodically, and if it means a stay in jail…well, jails are a huge part of American culture, after all.

Especially for African-Americans, and that only added another layer of disgrace in their treatment of Marzieh. The aspect of racism in this case is noted from top to bottom in Iran and elsewhere, even if US media is too cowardly and intimidated to even mention it. Israel doesn’t like to mention their own Apartheid, either. Iran, however, freed the African-American embassy workers and diplomats during the hostage crisis in 1979 because their oppression has been appallingly obvious for not just decades but centuries.

My work at PressTV (and I think Marzieh feels the same) is in order to benefit ALL people and not just Iranians. It is not a crime. My work from France is not anti-French, either: it is expressly designed to benefit the French most of all! What PressTV allows me to do is to give voice to those many, many French people who say that Paris is pursuing economic and foreign policies which are against French values and which hurt not just France but the entire world. Alas, just like Washington, France’s elite calls such people “propagandists”, “agitators” or sometimes even “terrorists” – it is nonsensical, sad, and doomed to failure.

If Iran was the one crushing the US with sanctions and Cold War – doing everything it could on a macroeconomic level to cause the most suffering possible to the greatest number of people – I would certainly be working for PBS or National Public Radio. Marzieh and I, and the other dual-citizens of PressTV, are NOT disloyal – it is the US government which betrays their People with their treatment of Iran (but, of course, not only Iran).

The US has not made and cannot make a criminal out of Marzieh – they have proven she is a true patriot of both Iran AND the US.

I always knew she was.

And I see no contradiction whatsoever. Those who do foolishly conflate “patriotism” with “jingoism”. Marzieh, allegedly arrested for her role as a journalist filming a Black Lives Matter demonstration in St. Louis, was doing what any patriotic American with her training would do: documenting injustices which are not only anti-American but against Americans themselves.

So whatever nefarious plots the US has in store for me upon my next return: I am aware of history, I read the paper and I am quite lucky to say that I have talked with, learned from and been inspired by Marzieh Hashemi – I am neither surprised nor afraid. I will continue to work for the cause of humanity and the related causes Iran stands for: Muslim democracy, anti-imperialism, anti-capitalism, anti-privileges, Islamic feminism and anti-sectarianism (racial, ethnic, religious, etc.).

The arrest of Marzieh proves to us Americans that Washington is not defending our uniquely American morals, laws and priorities: freedom of the press, freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom from unlawful search and seizure, freedom of due process, the guarantee to equal protection under the law for all citizens and other rights which are both found in our US Constitution, American law and American custom.

If Washington would adopt Iran’s modern political struggles and actually defend America’s beliefs – instead of attacking both – what a wonderful world it could be!

Marzieh Hashemi has been freed, finally – that was the first step Washington had to take. The second necessary step is to listen to her.

Stop the West’s war on Iran!

Ramin Mazaheri is the chief correspondent in Paris for PressTV and has lived in France since 2009. He has been a daily newspaper reporter in the US, and has reported from Iran, Cuba, Egypt, Tunisia, South Korea and elsewhere. His work has appeared in various journals, magazines and websites, as well as on radio and television. He can be reached on Facebook.

Marzieh Hashemi Freed from FBI Prison

Local Editor

The US government released without charge Press TV anchor Marzieh Hashemi after 10 days of illegal detention at an FBI facility, her family announced.

Hashemi appeared before a grand jury in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday morning, when her testimony was expected. The Associated Press cited the people familiar with her case as saying that she was released after her testimony concluded Wednesday afternoon.

Hashemi, a 59-year-old American-born Muslim convert who has lived in Iran for years, was detained at St. Louis Lambert International Airport in Missouri on January 13th while in the US to visit her ill brother and other family members.

She was transferred to a detention facility in Washington, DC, where she was initially forced to remove her hijab and only offered non-halal food.

The FBI declined to comment on her arrest, but the US government confirmed that she had been arrested as a “material witness.”

Following the release, her family issued a statement that included the following:

“Marzieh Hashemi has been released from her detention without charge and is with her family in Washington DC.

Marzieh and her family will not allow this to be swept under the carpet. They still have serious grievances and want answers as to how this was allowed to happen.”

The family wants assurances that this won’t happen to any Muslim – or any other person – ever again.

Just as America is aware of the harassment of the Black community by the police, America needs to start talking about the harassment of the Muslim community by the FBI.

Marzieh Hashemi will be remaining in Washington DC for the protest on Friday and calls for all cities across the world to keep their protest.

This was never just about Marzieh Hashemi. This is about the fact that anyone of us, Muslim or non-Muslim can be imprisoned without charge in the United States.

Marzieh will be making comment in due course.

Media contact marziehenquiries@gmail.com

Source: Press TV, Edited by website team

Oh, The Services of Islington Council

January 12, 2019  /  Gilad Atzmon

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Introduction by GA: Many of us have, in the past, been open to leftist ideas. Ethically oriented thinkers are still excited by the idea of equality, freedom and opposition to racism. Sadly, these ideals are not reflected in New Left politics. While the Old Left taught us to transcend gender, race, sexual preference etc., the New Left builds walls dividing us along those same lines. As much as the Old Left was inspired to openness by Orwell’s criticism of the tyrannical, the New Left has slipped into that authoritarian dystopia. In a Kafkaesque manner that defies any reasonable rationale, the New Left is consumed with interfering with freedom of expression, meaning expression that does not comply with its strict newspeak protocol. The New Left bureaucracy is oblivious to the intent of the law and uses the form of the law to impose its will.

The Islington Council, a ‘Labour’ run operation, exemplifies everything that has gone wrong with New Left ideology, politics and practice. It operates bureaucratically masking its authoritarian positions,  following forms of procedure that are without substance so that the Council effectively insulates itself from its constituents and the rest of society.

We have to ask why, why is the New Left removed from traditional Labour values? Why is it detached from the people? Why would the New Left want to act as an obvious  Zionist tool? Why is it determined to bring Jeremy Corbyn down?

The answer is simple. The ideological and spiritual roots of the traditional Left came from working class politics. Traditionally, Labour and Left leaders both came from the working people and unions. They were proletarians who were inherently connected with the their class, its needs and its values. This ended when the evaporation of manufacturing made the working class workless. The unions have collapsed and the orientation of Labour politics has shifted radically. Instead of aspiring to be working class and union heroes, young Labour politicians are most often a dysfunctional herd of spoiled middle class former university activists who mature into party commissars. These New Left politicians may never have had to work and are in any case totally removed from the working people and their values as well as the values of the Old Left.

In the following article Eve Mykytyn dissects Islington Council’s institutional duplicity, the council’s formulaic pretences and most disappointingly, its removal from the Labour values of freedom and work.  While many of us are sympathetic to Corbyn and his politics, Britain may want to think twice before it gives his party greater access  to government. Labour politics seems to mean – end to free Britain as we know it. We shouldn’t let this happen. We better make sure that the Labour Party fix itself first.

 

Oh, The Services of Islington Council

 By  Eve Mykytyn

How does Islington Council respond to complaints about its decision to ban Atzmon?

The Islington Council issued a ‘detailed’ ‘stage one’ response to a complaint from a ticket holder(TH). The initial complaint, dated 19/12/18, expressed ‘disgust’ at the decision to ban Atzmon and a desire to see a music concert “that has no antisemitism in its show. ” In her first response, Lucinda Brown, venue business manager, had on 21/12/18 (the date of the concert) directed TH  to the Council’s (non) statement on its site.

As of  11/2/19 Ms Brown claims she “had the opportunity to investigate the details” of the complaint  and her “findings were as follows:” Contact the promoter and “raise a complaint.”  Ms. Brown then finds that the complaint has been duly  investigated at “stage one of Islington’s Complaint procedure and not upheld.” TH was given 30 days to reply.

The Council claims to be a service organisation. What service did TH get? What might Ms. Brown have ‘investigated’? Did she herself check with the promoters to see if refunds were available?  Since the Council itself had prevented Atzmon from playing, a simple “I’m sorry” might have been more satisfying than the insulting pretence that a refund would be forthcoming if TH were simply to “raise a complaint.”  Why did Ms. Brown send this answer at all?  Does sending a nonsensical jargon filled note help to feign service?

London Councils, the parent organisation of Islington Council provides for a three step complaint procedure in which the complainant is entitled at each successive phase to have his appeal reexamined by an employee higher up the council ladder. Mr. Atzmon’s appeals were handled first by Martin Bevis, the assistant director of Financial Operations & Customer Service and then by Ian Adams, the director of Financial Operations and Customer Service . Mr. Atzmon was not informed of or offered the third level of review to the Corporate Complaints Officer of the London Council. The Council’s policy provides that  a complaint will only be reviewed at Stage 3 if “at the discretion…there is a clear reason for dissatisfaction….or that any remedy proposed is insufficient.” Atzmon was never given the chance to make a case for a third appeal. There is even a fourth step available, if appeals one-three fail to satisfy the complainant, he may bring the complaint to the Local Government Ombudsman at the London Councils.

Why was Atzmon not fully informed of his rights of review?

Atzmon would seem to be included in the Council’s mission statement, which reads as follows: “We’re determined to make Islington fairer. To create a place where everyone, whatever their background, has the opportunity to reach their potential and enjoy a good quality of life.” Did they add, ‘if we agree with their opinions?’

The Council made its decision weighing two competing interests. First, the rights of Mr Atzmon under Article 10 of the Human Rights Act of 1998 “to freedom of expression. This right shall include freedom to hold opinions and to receive and impart information and ideas without interference by public authority and regardless of frontiers.” Article 10 restricts this right as follows: “The exercise of these freedoms, since it carries with it duties and responsibilities, may be subject to such formalities, conditions, restrictions or penalties as are prescribed by law…”

Article 10 makes clear that the right to free speech is not subject to a balancing test unless the speech violates a law. Atzmon, having crossed no legal limits in his speech, was not subject to speech restrictions. Indeed, the ban had to do with prior speech, no one alleged that Atzmon would speak while playing the saxophone at a rock concert.

The council referred to and quickly dismissed Atzmon’s rights under Article 10, citing article 10 rights to earn a living (which is not a provision of Article 10) and deciding that Article 10 rights are subservient to the Council’s duty under S 149 of the Equality Act of 2010. Are individual liberties properly curtailed by a council acting under a general non discrimination mandate? What if the Council thought it could make Islington safer for a protected group by bursting into homes instead of banning employment, would this be a legitimate override of personal freedom?

The Council claimed that its ban was necessitated by the law it found controlling, “the legal duty placed on the Council by s.149 of the Equality Act 2010.” But does the equality act even mandate the Council’s actions?

S 149 part 1 states the general purpose of the rule:  that a public authority must perform its duties with due regard to three factors; a. to eliminate discrimination, b to provide for equal opportunity and, c to foster good relations between persons who share a relevant protected characteristic and persons who do not share it.

Section (5) of 149 explains how to ‘foster good relations’ as required by section 1(c). “Having due regard to the need to foster good relations between persons who share a relevant protected characteristic and persons who do not share it involves having due regard, in particular, to the need to (a)tackle prejudice, (b)promote understanding.”

Mr Bevis and Mr. Adams ‘found’ that Atzmon’s views are well known and disliked in the Jewish community. But both men went beyond this. Acting not as lawyers, judges (or may I assume scholars of Jewish identity politics) they pronounced Atzmon’s comments  “to be, [regarded as] at the lowest, provocative and distasteful, and, at the highest, anti-Semitic and racist by many, particularly those in the Jewish community.”

Based on their personal (and not legal) reading of materials provided by opponents of Atzmon, the Council concluded that good relations with the Jewish community would be harmed by Atzmon’s appearance. Tickets to the concert cost money and the musicians were known. Were many Jews likely to find offence also likely to pay to attend a rock Christmas concert with Gilad Atzmon?

Further, while some may have cheered the Council’s choice to disregard Atzmon’s Section 10 rights, how did his banning help to foster good relations between Jews and others? What about the ‘others’ who merely wanted to go to the concert? What groups did the Council integrate with the Jews to foster good relations?

Or does ‘fostering good relations’ mean banning any speech any protected group objects to?


If you are a British citizen, you can file a Freedom of Information request asking for records relating to Gilad Atzmon’s ban, the standards relied upon for that purpose and the process and assistance used by Bevis and Adams in their decision making.

You can do this by using Islington Council’s complaints form here, by writing to Islington Council at 222 Upper Street, London N1 1XR, or by fax to 020 7527 5001.

To sign a petition in support of Gilad click here

Lodge a formal complaint with Islington Council: https://www.islington.gov.uk/contact-us/comments-and-complaints?status=inprogress

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