LONDON’S ‘MEDIA FREEDOM’ CONFERENCE SMACKS OF IRONY: CRITICS BARRED, NO MENTION OF JAILED ASSANGE

In Gaza

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Kirill Vyshinsky: Imprisoned over 1 year in Ukraine, a journalist who *should* have been highlighted at the “Media Freedom” conference but was not.

July 15, 2019, RT.com
Irony is the word which comes to mind at the mention of the “Global Conference for Media Freedom” co-hosted by the UK and Canadian foreign ministers. Everything about this twilight zone gathering smacked of irony.

Irony that governments which support terrorists in Syria and whitewash Israeli murders of Palestinian journalists have the gall to hold a conference feigning concern for journalists’ rights and media freedom.

Irony that journalists actually suffering persecution and unjust imprisonment –like Kirill Vyshinsky and Julian Assange – were not the focus of the conference, with Assange only mentioned in passing, and Vyshinsky, presumably, not at all.

Irony most of all that a conference — according to Global Affairs Canada, an “international campaign to shine a global spotlight on media freedom…”– refused participation of two major and sought-out media outlets, both Russian: RT and Sputnik.

Organizers apparently tried to claim the reason for the exclusion was simply that they’d met their quota of journalists attending. But they didn’t maintain the lie to Western media, RT London correspondent Polly Boiko noted:

Behind our backs other news channels got a very different message: ‘We have not accredited RT or Sputnik because of their active role in spreading disinformation.’”

Former Guardian Chief Foreign Correspondent Jonathan Steele called the exclusion of RT and Sputnik a “disgrace”, also stating:

I think they’re trying to isolate RT and imply that it’s not a genuine broadcaster in the hope that British people and others around the world who watched RT International won’t continue to watch it.

The irony –yet again– is that Russia isn’t doing the same, isn’t isolating Western media.

Russia-based journalist Bryan MacDonald tweeted:

It’s like the world has turned on its head. Moscow is literally paying people to translate Western media into Russian (see @RT_InoTV). But the UK is in a panic about Russian outlets, even running covert operations, such as “Integrity Initiative,” to “combat” a perceived threat.”

Even the Committee to Protect Journalists expressed concern at the UK’s exclusion of RT and Sputnik.

From the feedback on the UK Foreign Office tweet featuring CNN’s Christiane Amanpour about

reporting the truth”, it was refreshing to see that many saw this charade for what it was, calling it Orwellian, and noting that Britain is “torturing journalist Julian Assange as it uses @CAmanpour to produce propaganda claiming it cares about media freedom.

I couldn’t help chiming in, noting Amanpour’s exploitation of a Syrian child in order to demonize Russia.

Eva Bartlett

@EvaKBartlett

Theatre of the absurd. Truthful? Amanpour waved photo of Omran Daqneesh in face of Lavrov & essentially accused Russia of airstriking boy’s home. Boy’s dad told me no airstrike. It was fake news. https://www.mintpressnews.com/mintpress-meets-father-iconic-aleppo-boy-says-media-lied-son/228722/ 
Did Amanpour bother apologizing for her propaganda? Nope. https://twitter.com/foreignoffice/status/1148864435194347520 

MintPress Meets The Father Of Iconic Aleppo Boy, Who Says Media Lied About His Son

MintPress sat down with the father of the now-infamous Aleppo boy, Omran Daqneesh. Omran’s father, Mohammad Daqneesh, says his son was exploited by Syrian rebels and the media for political gain.,…

mintpressnews.com

Foreign Office 🇬🇧

@foreignoffice

‘Our job is to report the truth. It is not to be neutral, it is to be truthful’ @camanpour explains the vital role that journalists play in society. #DefendMediaFreedom

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The UK conference isn’t the first example of an international event hosting regime-change media while excluding critical media.

Earlier this year, when the Lima Group was meeting in Canada to discuss the self-proclaimed non-president, Juan Guaido, Canada likewise denied accreditation to Telesur and Russian media.

Global Affairs Canada alleged at the time there would be “reciprocal action against Canadian media in Russia.

However, Bryan MacDonald told me: “Any that wish can operate in Russia. There are no restrictions.”

Indeed, a perusal of the Twitter accounts of CBC and Radio Canada journalists shows they’ve continued reporting from Russia months since Canada’s allegation of reciprocal action.

Which outlets did Canada give access to during the Lima meeting? CNN, Univision, Voice of America, Al Jazeera, CBC, CTV, Global, and La Presse, among other regime-change networks.

Telesur noted at the time of the Canadian block:

The government did not provide any reasoning for the denial of Lima Group meeting access, but has recently been called out for limiting press freedom within the country based on the preferences of its government.

Sound familiar?

A regime change conference

The UK conference seems to have been a who’s who of terrorist and extremist supporters and journalists who whitewash their crimes. Or, as a Canadian journalist who attended put it, the conference was:

Meetings behind closed doors. Barring certain people from a press conference. Letting only hand-picked journalists ask questions. Here’s how Canada’s “media freedom” conference went down.

Andrew Lawton

@AndrewLawton

Meetings behind closed doors. Barring certain people from a press conference. Letting only hand-picked journalists ask questions. Here’s how Canada’s “media freedom” conference went down. https://tnc.news/2019/07/11/lawton-media-freedom-conference-pays-lip-service-to-press-freedom/ 

LAWTON: Media freedom conference pays lip service to press freedom – True North News

Canadian and British governments demonstrated they’re more interested in a glossy show of support for press freedom without conducting themselves in a way that fosters it.

tnc.news

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That same journalist noted,
only two pre-selected Canadian journalists were permitted to ask questions of Freeland and Hunt at a brief media availability on the first day of the conference. Media were not allowed in the room for what may have been the most consequential part of the conference, a session with government representatives from around the world on “how to sustain the impact of the (Defend Media Freedom) campaign after the conference.

Present were the BBC, CNN, and CBC, among others. Although these outlets have all systematically churned out disinformation on Syria and Russia, they were presented as truthful authorities on ‘media freedom.’

The BBC dubs itself “the most trusted international news broadcaster.” This lofty claim is easily debunked when looking at the BBC’s history of war propaganda on Syria, including its 2013, “Saving Syria’s Children”, a report which Robert Stuart has doggedly investigated, revealing its falsehoods.

Or the time the BBC used Italian photojournalist Marco Di Lauro‘s photo from Iraq to claim it was Houla, Syria.

beeb

As I wrote before, “Upon demand of the aghast journalist, the claim was later retracted and corrected, an “accident”…but who was listening by that point?”

Or that time the BBC’s Middle East specialist asserted a viral video was in a “regime” area of Syria –because of the “Syrian army flag” painted on a barrel– when the clip was filmed in Malta by Norwegians, and the barrel was painted with an out-of-sequence attempt at replicating Syria’s flag.

expert

But more telling about the BBC’s trustworthiness is the fact that, according to the Canary, “The UK Conservative government appoints the chair of the BBC board and its four national directors.”

Pegged as a Venezuelan investigative reporter, Luz Mely Reyes was invited to the conference. Reyes advocates for non-president Juan Guaido and is cheer-led by Western media gatekeepers like TIME and the Guardian. She was thus, indeed, a perfect guest for the regime-change conference.

Syrian participants included exclusively pro-regime-change journalists, such as:

-Karam Nachar, a “cyber-activist working with Syrian protesters via social media platforms,” according to his bio on Democracy Now, where, as with other regime-change supporters, he has appeared frequently arguing the case for western intervention.

-Wa’ad Al Khatib, promoted before Aleppo’s liberation in 2016 as an independent filmmaker. Her clips were featured by none other than the UK’s Channel 4, one of the worst offenders in war propaganda on Syria.

The irony is that Wa’ad al-Khatib was slated to speak about the role of local journalists with respect to international media coverage of areas. But she,like so many other darlings of Western corporate media, reported fully embedded in terrorist areas, clearly with the permission and approval of terrorists.

Chairing panels on safety and protection of journalists was none other than Sky News’ Alex Crawford. In June, Crawford was seen embedded with al-Qaeda in Idlib, as were CBS journalists, both teams presumably having entered Syria illegally.

One could muse that Crawford’s safety advice was: pay up to al-Qaeda and you’ll be fine moving alongside terrorists.

A panel on “Navigating Disinformation” was chaired by Chrystia Freeland – known for her allegiances to the Ukrainian authorities and the bloody coup that brought them to power, to the Venezuelan coup-plotters and to the White Helmets of al-Qaeda– not exactly the most neutral or balanced person to moderate.

Fake Concern For Journalists; No Mention Of Assange, Kirill Vyshinsky

Glaringly absent from the agenda was the issue of Julian Assange, held at Belmarsh prison a short drive away.

John McEvoy@jmcevoy_2

This is the distance between the UK’s ‘defend media freedom’ event and Belmarsh prison. Julian Assange can probably smell the hypocrisy from his cell.

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the UK conference is happening at the same time that Julian Assange’s extradition papers are being signed by the UK.

On July 10, the first day of the conference, Hunt stated that countries that restrict media freedom must be made to pay a diplomatic price, saying:

If we act together we can shine a spotlight on abuses and impose a diplomatic price on those who’d harm journalists or lock them up for doing their jobs.

This from the Foreign Secretary of a government which is

holding journalist Julian Assange behind bars pending a US extradition hearing for exposing American war crimes.

When challenged by Ruptly journalist Barnaby Nerberka on Assange, in contrast to his lofty words on the previous day, Hunt said nothing.

Barnaby Nerberka@barnabynerberka

Jeremy Hunt refuses to answer my questions on the plight of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and the banning of Russian media from the ‘media freedom conference’

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Ukrainian-Russian journalist Kirill Vyshinsky was not featured in spite of having been unjustlydetained by Ukraine for 14 months now, a glaring violation of media freedom.

Russia in Canada

@RussianEmbassyC

🇷🇺 journalist Kirill Vyshinsky is imprisoned in accused of “high treason” for doing his job

🇨🇦 🇬🇧 so-called forum ignores his show trial & similar cases of attacks on , incl. @OSCE_RFoM condemned ban on Russian journalists accreditation

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Likewise, certainly absent was mention of Syrian journalist Khaled al-Khatib, killed in 2017 by ISIS (IS/Islamic State, formerly ISIL), or of any of theSyrian and allied journalists murdered by jihadists before he was.

The UK Foreign Office made the mistake of tweeting about the risk of “torture, disappearances and death,” in Eastern Ukraine.

Ukrainian journalist Sergey Belous, kidnapped by Ukrainian armed forces in 2014, corrected him.

Foreign Office 🇬🇧

@foreignoffice

In the non-government controlled areas of Eastern Ukraine, journalists risk torture, disappearances and death.

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Sergey Belous@Belous_SR

Ha-ha-ha! Where you’ve been when I (war reporter, working as stringer for Ukrainian 112 chanel) was kidnapped by Ukrainian armed forces in 2014? Hypocrites! Stop spreading lies! What’s about or , for example?

See Sergey Belous’s other Tweets
Likewise, Mark Sleboda called BS, noting the over 20 journalist killed by “the militant forces & brownshirt paramilitary ‘batallions’ of the new regime.”

Clearly, the grandiose words of foreign ministers Hunt and Freeland apply only to journalists supporting regime change, not those targeted by allied governments and their terrorists.

After the Censorship  Conference

On Saturday, I read that a popular Ukrainian TV channel was attacked with a grenade launcher on the day an Oliver Stone documentary on Ukraine was to be aired.

Ivan Katchanovski@I_Katchanovski

It would be revealing reaction of new president @ZelenskyyUa to such undemocratic and illiberal actions of political appointees of Poroshenko regime and far right against US documentary that they have not seen and against freedom of the press & expression in .

Ivan Katchanovski@I_Katchanovski

Popular TV channel is shelled from grenade launcher in order to prevent its broadcast today of US by @TheOliverStone. It would reveal involvement of snipers in Maidan massacre. Would there be any reaction from US government? https://112.ua/glavnye-novosti/v-noch-na-13-myulya-dvoe-neizvestnyh-iz-granatometa-obstrelyali-zdanie-112-kanala-499728.html 

Здание телеканала 112 Украина обстреляли из гранатомета

Полицейские квалифицируют происшествие как террористический акт

112.ua

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“Any reaction from so-called ‘Global Media Freedom’ conference co-hosts Freeland & Hunt, or those who pledged to ‘shine a light on violations & abuses of media freedom, bringing them to the attention of global public and working towards accountability’”.

My question was of course rhetorical, not honestly expecting those governmental representatives who signed a pledge “to work together to protect media freedom” to actually do that.

Their pledge entailed committing to “shine a light on violations and abuses of media freedom, bringing them to the attention of the global public and working towards accountability.” How ironic.

RELATED LINKS:

“They Just Want Me in Prison”: MintPress Interviews Jailed Ukrainian Journalist Kirill Vyshinsky

‘They know that we know they are liars, they keep lying’: West’s war propaganda on Ghouta crescendos

FAKE NEWS WEEK: Why Channel 4 “News” Owes an Apology to Syria

Exploitation of children in propaganda war against Syria continues

The Post-war Generations’ Heritage, A Picture Can Tell it All

By Zeinab Daher

In visual marketing, a picture is worth 60,000 words; that’s why a text cannot compete with images, especially in times of war.

Science proved that the human brain is able to process images 60,000 times faster than a text. This makes clear that it takes a picture less time to reach a wider spectrum of audience than a text does.

Mr. Aziz Taher, a professional journalist photographer who heads the Press Photographers Syndicate in Lebanon, covered the brutal ‘Israeli’ war on Lebanon that happened to take place the summer of 2006. The war, that lasted some 33 days, from July 12th until August 14th, was the toughest in the Middle Eastern modern history.

In an exclusive interview with Al-Ahed news website, Mr. Taher introduces the importance of photos by recalling his own experience as a southerner from the Lebanese village of Houla.

President of the Press Photographers Syndicate in Lebanon, Mr. Aziz Taher – HQ: Hamra, Beirut

“For those who don’t know, in 1948, the ‘Israeli’ enemy committed a horrible criminal massacre in Houla. Because the massacre was not documented with photos, people forgot about it, although it claimed the lives of more than 70 martyrs. The massacre was absented from the society’s public memory. Here lies the importance of the photo.”

As the young villagers started talking about the massacre, people got to learn its story, the man narrates, “but it wasn’t deep-rooted like any other ‘Israeli’ massacre that was photographed such as the Deir Qassem, Sabra and Shatila, al-Mansouri and Qana massacres…”

Hereby, Mr. Taher moves to shed light on the importance of photos during the July 2006 war: “The ‘Israelis’ used to kill us then tell the entire world that they are in danger. Today, however, the equation has changed thanks to the picture.”

Photography as a profession

Mr. Aziz Taher, the professional photographer who works with several international news agencies, including Reuters, spoke on behalf of other Lebanese photojournalists, classifying their affiliations into patriotic and professional.

“Regarding our professional affiliation, we didn’t need anything to add to our photos; the facts on the ground were far worse than intervening in any picture. Massacres committed by the ‘Israeli’ enemy against our people, land, electricity, water, sea, and all what belongs to our life as Lebanese people, were bigger than being captured in a photo,” the man stresses, showing that every single photo was enough to expose the enemy’s brutality.

“On the patriotic level, the Lebanese photographers started observing and pursuing every massacre the ‘Israeli’ enemy committed against our people. This was a reason our photos reached international media outlets, having a strong influence that explained to the international public opinion this war, how it started and what is being committed [during it].”

He further elaborates, “During our coverage, six of my colleagues, and I, faced an intensive campaign by some sides that called us a ‘Hezbollah propaganda’, they started attacking us on the internet claiming that all of our photos are fabricated and fake.”

“They called me the ‘king of toys’, claiming that I prepare my cameras, my lenses and equipment, and I prepare toys, then I reach the “Hezbollah” attacked site and throw the toys there and capture the scene claiming it is a residential area.”

In conclusion, this showed how much harmful the photos were for them “as they tend to claim that we were making up those scenes, adding some toys and children in our photos, to say that ‘Israel’ is building residential areas. But the truth is that we didn’t need anything [when capturing the scenes] because all the places we took photos of are residential. There might be a Hezbollah center in each place, but the entire neighborhoods were residential. All neighborhoods embraced a history, heritage and memories, and it is the same for all the destroyed apartments.”

The man recalls the scenes of photos of the Dahiyeh [Beirut’s southern suburb] describing that they appeared as if an earthquake hit the place. “The case is similar for Bint Jbeil and all other villages where we have passed. The ‘Israeli’ enemy had rancorously bombed Lebanon, sometimes just ‘to have fun’, or just to destroy the place.”

Unforgettable incidents, scenes from the war

According to the veteran photographer, “Photos of the children were the most touching during the war. Scenes of the massacres committed by the ‘Israeli’ enemy were so much moving, lenses got tired of capturing photos of the victims… our eyes were exhausted because of the level of criminality and the daily killing by the ‘Israeli’ enemy against our people.”

Mr. Taher further stresses: “We were touched by every scene. We were all moved by what happened. But the moment I was moved the most was when colleague Layal Najib was martyred after the ‘Israeli’ warplanes bombed her car despite showing the ‘Press’ signal. She was targeted just like any other Lebanese national.”

President of the Press Photographers Syndicate in Lebanon, Mr. Aziz Taher – HQ: Hamra, Beirut

Layal Najib, the martyr of photography who was killed in South Lebanon, is a symbol of all other martyrs who dies during this war, the man points out. “She is not different from them, but she is a photojournalist, and they [pretend] to talk about human rights and freedoms, Layal exposed the example of this enemy that doesn’t differentiate between civilians and journalists and that considers the whole place as a scorched-land.”

We were moved by many scenes of the martyrs, and the destruction… imagine that when you enter the Dahiyeh, you find all the places and buildings you know became rubble, completely damaged, he says.

“Every scene from the July war, just like all other wars, stops you at every detail, the lack of water, the lack of fuel, and the entire sufferings people have faced during the war…”

Speaking on behalf of the Lebanese photojournalists, Mr. Taher says: “We’ve taken pictures of all the ‘Israeli’ aggressions against Lebanon until the historic liberation day in 2000. Each one of us was touched by a picture he/she took at some place, but all of us were moved by the daily photographs we took which were related to the ‘Israeli’ enemy.”

Absented photos

Asked whether the photographers tended to hide certain scenes during the war, Mr. Aziz Taher explains that: “Most of the photos I took during the war were in the southern suburb. Then we started moving to the areas we could reach, to several regions in the south until we reached Bint Jbeil… During the war, we have witnessed many scenes especially those of the resistance fighters, but we absented them due to a patriotic sense…”

He justifies that by saying that “there was no interest to show from where the rocket was launched, we’ve seen that but we intended to absent those scenes. It was the same case regarding the photos of the resistance men we’ve seen when arriving at a certain village; we tried not to take any photo of their faces although we, as photographers, are curious to take photos of a rocket launcher or anything related to the resistance. However, we decided to hide them.”

“In this battle, you are not looking for a scoop, as you see all this suffering, you should show solidarity, at least by the photos you take, with the resistance men who are roaming between valleys, fields and villages to fight this enemy. Your duty is to hide their photos, not because they don’t deserve to be seen; they indeed deserve that their photos head all newspapers and media outlets, but being keen for their lives, and the continuation of the resistance work, we had this intention to hide their faces.”

Covering other wars

In the world of photography and media, wars represent a subject that attracts the pros. It is a passion. Many photographers, during major events, stop their jobs, while many others become more induced. There are two types of motivation, the professional and the patriotic one, the man notes.

“When taking photos in times of war, especially during the July 2006 war, you gain a lot of experience as much as you expose your life to danger. Your life will daily be endangered because while taking photos at any place, the warplanes suddenly start operating or carry out strikes. A road may be blocked, a bridge may be bombed… it is a very tough experience the photographers have faced the like of which the Lebanese people did.”

Pointing out to covering wars in other places, Mr. Taher elaborates: “I covered the Kuwait war… Photography used to include more details, it was more difficult and more adventurous before mobile phones. Today, with the availability of mobile phones, the entire society takes photos. I wish I could have taken part in the Yemen war, also in Iraq… and any other place in the world where wars take place, but I didn’t get the opportunity to do that. There are photographers everywhere, but on the personal level, I wished I could have covered the events in Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Bosnia and Herzegovina, as well as all other places of war in our region and abroad.”

According to the Chinese proverb, a picture is worth a thousand words, he states.

“I say that every photo that needs an explanation is an unsuccessful one. The photo should express itself, this is what I teach my students at the Lebanese University. The photo speaks up for itself. The press photo is the most dangerous, most entertaining and most real. Hadn’t it expressed its idea to the people, it is definitely unsuccessful.”

The man notes that a picture is worth a thousand words when it is used properly and reflected honestly. “A photo records the memory of the people. Our photos are not only taken to be published. Sometimes we take photos that we don’t publish. They are intended to document the people’s collective memory, as I previously mentioned the Houla Massacre that was not documented with photos, leading to its absence from the people’s memories. Today, however, the July war or any other incident became tangible to the public through photos.”

A man with such a rich experience and history makes anyone realize that you can look at a picture for one second but think of it an entire life. This is the case of the July 2006 war. With the photos he and his colleagues have taken, they have bought the new generations, especially those who weren’t present at the time, return tickets to many moments otherwise gone. They have also commemorated history and taken part in the heroic duty of defending the nation.

 

From the July-August course of war and victory, by Taher Aziz’s lens: Recorded Moments of War, Suffering, Resistance and Victroy

Media on the Frontlines: Differences between the July Victory and the Joroud Victory إعلاميون على الجبهة.. ماذا بين انتصاري تموز والجرود؟

By Ali Ibrahim Matar

Beirut – The media has become the most powerful weapon in the modern era. It has become an integral part of the modern war machine due to its ability to create ideas, market ideologies and promote victories.

The media has become so important that it has crippled the ability of a large segment of the population to think objectively. The rapid flow of news, information and analysis, whether true or false, is being utilized. The threat posed by this weapon has been amplified with the rapid rise of social media.

This media system has a pivotal role in covering wars. In the July 2006 aggression, for example, it was an essential part of showcasing the victory of the resistance against the “Israeli” enemy. It also played a major role during the war in Syria. Social media showed advancements during the media’s coverage. The information war was highly fundamental during the Syrian war. Those watching some media channels such as Al-Jazeera and Al-Arabiya would think that Syria has fallen. But the truth on the ground was very different. There is no doubt that the two media experiences of the July 2006 war and the war in Syria starting from 2011 were different. This is what journalists who covered these two conflicts explained to us.

There is no doubt that the media experience differed when it came to the war with the “Israeli” enemy and the war with the Takfiri groups.

“The experience varies between the two arenas according to the region and the environment. In Syria, the movement was slow due to the lack of knowledge of the area. There was always more caution to it. You must be with a certain group, for instance certain combat groups, residents of that area or existing correspondents,” Al-Manar correspondent, Dia’ Abu Taam, points out.

Image may contain: 1 person

He tells al-Ahed News “the situation in the South was different. The coverage was often made individually. There was only the reporter and the cameraman. There were days during the July war when I was alone in the Qaqa’iya al-Jisr area, where I did media coverage on my own.”

“Opening up to a new operational reality gives the reporter greater experience. By dealing with new challenges, it allows him to develop his professional performance significantly,” he adds.

Abu Taam talks about other factors including the development of the resistance’s capabilities.

“This coverage varies because the different capabilities have also evolved,” he insists.

“The extent to which the strength of the resistance in 2006 and 2012 differed was clear. We have seen some kind of fighting from the resistance that cannot be measured in any way to previous years. It was clear that the resistance has developed its performance greatly in terms of equipment, man power, skills, experience and strength,” Abu Taam said.

 

There is no doubt that social media was very important in the entire process. Abu Taam confirms this by underscoring  “the significant difference between the kind of media used in 2006 and in 2012 and onwards.”

“In 2006, the new media was in its early stages. The internet was limited to emails. There was no social media. The price of the internet was very high. It was hard to send the materials, including the videos and audio because of their size. The only method used was through the satellite that was detected by spy drones. This posed many difficulties. There was scarcity in sending visual materials,” Al-Manar’s veteran reporter explains.

“In Syria, the issues differed greatly. The means of communication helped to send the material we wanted easily. It also helped broadcast entire reports from the site without any difficulties. We broadcast the moment of entering the sites live using the phone. This helped a lot in refuting rumors and lies the enemy spread,” Abu Taam said.

Another Al-Manar reporter, Mohammed Kazan, echoes his colleague’s assessment regarding the media coverage and the differences between the July 2006 war and the war in Syria.

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“In the July war, we were bombarded by “Israeli” aircraft and artillery. In Syria, I was in Qusayr, Zabadani and al-Joroud [outskirts]. There was coordination between the operations command in the resistance and with the war media. There was someone who helped us move. But the danger lied in IEDs, sniper rifles and artillery shells,” Kazan tells Al-Ahed.

As for the importance of social networking sites, Kazan points out that for him “using them has been essential since the Mosul war in Iraq. We were in a desert area and in great need of the internet to compensate for the absence of satellites. The situation was the same during the Joroud war against Nusra [Front] and Daesh. The new media made up for the blocking of Al-Manar’s satellite frequency. Meanwhile during the July war, we always used transmitters, which exposed us to spy drones of the “Israeli” enemy.”

Al-Jadeed channel’s senior reporter Nancy Sabeh also spoke to al-Ahed about her experience.

“I was a correspondent inside and at the outskirts of the southern suburbs during the aggression. The means to send messages to the audience were very difficult in the past. There was no new media. There was also no interaction as it is today through social networking sites,” she said.

Image result for Nancy Sabeh

Sabeh stated that the most beautiful thing she witnessed during the July war was the return of local residents to Dahiyeh after the aggression.

“At 7 o’clock in the morning, I entered Dahiyeh as a reporter. There were a lot of people. They started to return to see their homes,” she recalled.

According to Sabeh, “today’s journalism depends more on social media than on traditional journalism. Unlike what we have seen in the past, during the July war work was more accurate. Our work was patriotic. We were not looking for fame as it is today through these sites.”

For her part, LBCI’s Hoda Chedid told al-Ahed that “during the July war, we saw through the coverage that most Western and Arab countries were waiting for “Israel” to triumph and for the resistance to be defeated. This provided material for the other side of the story to each reporter to show how the people of the South challenged the war, how they resisted and how they triumphed over the “Israeli” enemy.”

Chedid explained that “during the war against terrorist groups, the situation completely changed. There was a consensus on the need to confront the terrorist groups and to show it in the media. Social media was a very supportive and important factor in this coverage. The whole country was engaged in confronting Daesh’s terrorism. It was a very important experience that meant a lot to me. I proudly experienced it as a result of the importance of this coverage of the war, the victory and the liberation of al-Joroud.”

As in the battlefield, the fronts are always wide open in the media, between the righteous side on the one hand and falsehoods on the other. It is the responsibility of media professionals to show and champion righteousness and keep up with the victories.

To read the article in Arabic click here

 

Empire Versus Democracy and Freedom. Will The Espionage Act Displace the US Constitution?

Global Research, April 18, 2019

The public interest, and democratic political economies, both domestic and internationally, are poison to Empire. But this must be hidden from view, hence war propaganda/fake news is protected by legislation, while Constitutionally-protected, evidence-based real journalism, a dying phenomenon, continues to be attacked.

The First Amendment of the US Constitution, adopted on December 15, 1791,

“prevents the government from making laws which respect an establishment of religion, prohibit the free exercise of religion, or abridge the freedom of speech, the freedom of the press, the right to peaceably assemble, or the right to petition the government for redress of grievances.” [1]

However, the Constitution is under constant assault by US oligarch[2] ruling classes.

Freedom of the press has been negated by ruling class monopoly ownership and pervasive propaganda. Criminal propaganda is protected while “freedoms of speech” are under constant assault.

The fakery of the news stories is protected by (unconstitutional) laws embedded in the National Defense Authorization Act which blur the lines between reality and spectacle. In an earlier article I wrote,

According to an amendment to the 2013 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), the House Bill H.R 5736 (now law), the federal government of the United States can now legally propagandize the domestic public.

Arguably, this makes staged theatrical presentations, featuring crisis-actors, and purporting to be ‘reality’, legal.

And, as if that isn’t enough, Don North writes in “US/NATO Embrace Psy-ops and Info-War” that,

“As reflected in a recent NATO conference in Latvia and in the Pentagon’s new ‘Law of War’ manual, the U.S. government has come to view the control and manipulation of information as a ‘soft power’ weapon, merging psychological operations, propaganda and public affairs under the catch phrase ‘strategic communications.’ “[3]

The Espionage Act[4] also contradicts the US Constitution, but it is being invoked with regard to the indictment against Julian Assange.

Ubiquitous classification of information beneath the mantle of “National Security” serves to sustain the illusion that Empire serves the public interest. Hence, as author and veteran journalist Naomi Wolf asserts, whistleblowers are necessary, as is the transmission of their leaks. This, she says, has been journalism practice for years. It is what real journalists are supposed to do.

The Daniel Ellsbergs and Chelsea Mannings of the world are necessary — Ellsberg is now considered to be a hero.  The Assanges of the world who transmit the truth are also necessary.

If the Espionage Act, the NDAA, and other legislation were to completely displace the U.S Constitution and its First Amendment, then the prospect of real journalism would finally be extinguished. And ruling classes feigning concern for the public interest would be delighted.

In the following video, Wolf walks us through the indictment[5] against Assange and demonstrates the paucity of evidence against him in the government’s on-going efforts to frame him and destroy the messenger with a view to protecting the Supreme International War Criminals currently guiding the Neo-con Imperial Shipwreck.

Notes:

[1] Wikipedia, “First Amendment to the United States Constitution.” (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First_Amendment_to_the_United_States_Constitution) Accessed 18 April, 2019.

[2] Daniel Kreps, “Jimmy Carter: U.S. Is an ‘Oligarchy With Unlimited Political Bribery.’ “ (https://www.rollingstone.com/politics/politics-news/jimmy-carter-u-s-is-an-oligarchy-with-unlimited-political-bribery-63262/) Accessed 18 April, 2019.

[3] Mark Taliano, “Fake threats and engineered fears.” 16 July, 2016. (https://ahtribune.com/politics/1073-engineered-fears.html?fbclid=IwAR0qHlFivL8c1QIqMxZsiQO43qYN0R-ITQCPa9jUXAWjU9v8_LjzMFiGlJE) Accessed 18 April, 2019.

[4] Cornell Law School, Legal Information Institute, “18 U.S. Code CHAPTER 37—ESPIONAGE AND CENSORSHIP.” (https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/18/part-I/chapter-37) Accessed 18 April, 2019.

[5] “In The United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, United States of America v. Julian Paul Assange.” 6 March, 2018. (https://www.justice.gov/usao-edva/press-release/file/1153481/download) Accessed 18 April, 2019.

Julian Assange and Chelsea Manning: Martyred Behind Bars for Truth-Telling

By Stephen Lendman
Source

In 2013, Assange said “(Chelsea) Manning has become a martyr, adding:

She “didn’t choose to be a martyr. I don’t think it’s a proper way for activists to behave to choose to be martyrs, but these (individuals, Manning, Edward Snowden and others) have risked their freedom, risked their lives, for all of us. That makes them heroes.”

He’s one of them, elevated to martyrdom in London’s high-security Belmarsh prison, likely in punishing solitary confinement – ahead of extradition to the US for the crime of truth-telling journalism the way it’s supposed to be. 

Indefinitely detained for invoking her constitutional right to remain silent, her right not to testify before a witch-hunt grand jury, a notorious manipulative process designed to indict, the Trump regime wants Manning (and Assange) punished for doing the right thing.

Will it elevate them both to martyrdom, modern-day Joan of Arc figures? The 19-year-old 15th century French heroin was burned at the stake on false charges, a martyr declared a national symbol of France by Napoleon Bonaparte – beatified in 1909, canonized in 1920.

Will imprisonment of Manning and Assange assure their martyrdom for a just cause, for revealing what’s vital for everyone to know?

At a time of universal deceit, notably in the West, truth-telling is a revolutionary act – with attribution to Orwell. Not according to Hillary Clinton, an unindicted war criminal multiple times over.

Infamous for saying: “We came. We saw. He died” about Muammar Gaddafi’s sodomized death in October 2011, following US-led aggression on Libya she helped orchestrate, she mocked Julian Assange the same way, saying “it’s a little ironic that he may be the only foreigner that (Trump) would welcome in the United States,” adding:

His “indictment (is) not about punishing journalism (sic). It’s about assisting the hacking of the military computer to steal information from the US government (sic).” 

“The bottom line is that he has to answer for what he has done, at least as it’s been charged.” She and husband Bill belong in prison for high crimes gone unpunished. So do their successors and countless others in the imperial state and allied ones.

Led by establishment media, smearing Assange is in high gear. The NYT lied claiming WikiLeaks hacked Ecuadorian President Lenin Moreno’s phones, revealing personal information about him, published on an anonymous website.

It lied repeating Moreno’s Big Lie, falsely accusing Assange of “installing electronic distortion equipment in (Ecuador’s London) embassy, blocking security cameras, confronting and mistreating guards and gaining access to security files without permission.”

It lied claiming WikiLeaks hacked DNC and John Podesta emails, material leaked by a Dem insider published by WikiLeaks.

It repeated the US intelligence community Big Lie, accusing WikiLeaks of acting as a Russian agent.

The neocon/CIA house organ Washington Post published an op-ed by London Guardian editor Alan Rushbridger, an anti-Assange hatchet job, saying:

“(M)aybe his greatest gift is the ability to make enemies (sic). He trusts, likes and respects almost no one (sic). He falls out with his friends and disgusts his opponents (sic).” 

“Now that he has been dragged kicking and shouting (sic) from the Ecuadoran Embassy in London — where he was, by all accounts, the house guest from hell (sic) — he may find few allies in the world outside (sic).”

Fact: The above rubbish and what followed is typical Guardian disinformation, numerous times caught red-handed reporting bald-faced Big Lies.

Rushbridger lied calling Assange “a useful idiot to Russian President Vladimir Putin and an enabler to President Trump.”

He lied saying Assange is “rude, aggressive, pompous, self-regarding, unreasonable and…smelly” – disgraceful stuff.

He lied claiming there’s “not much to love about Julian Assange” – Rushbridger serving as a press agent for the May and Trump regimes, disgracing himself at the same time.

The Boston Globe newspaper I grew up with as a boy, adolescent and youth in the 1940s and 50s was far from what journalism is supposed to be back then.

Owned by the NYT today, it publishes similar rubbish – misinformation and disinformation instead of real news, information and opinion.

“Julian Assange shouldn’t be a free speech martyr,” it roared, falsely claiming Trump regime charges are unrelated to violations of speech and media freedoms – precisely what they’re all about, wanting truth-telling silence, why Manning and Assange were and remain targeted.

Separately, the Globe called Assange “a bad guy (sic)…a Russian pawn who helped elected Donald Trump (sic).”

When endlessly repeated, Big Lies take on a life of their own. Ecuadorian envoy to the UK Jaime Marchan shamefully accused Assange of “put(ting) put excrement on the (embassy) walls.”

His lawyer called the charge “outrageous,” one of many phony reasons for handing him over to UK authorities.

In cahoots with the Trump regime, Ecuador, Britain and the US are elevating Assange to martyrdom by declaring him guilty by false accusation and holding him behind bars in punishing high security confinement.

Resisting the scourge of tyranny is a universal right and obligation.

When governments fail their people, the way things are today in the West and elsewhere globally, they forfeit their right to rule. 

Civil disobedience becomes an essential tool for change, popular revolution the only solution. Nothing else can work.

Sitrep: ASSANGE and the patriots

Sitrep: ASSANGE and the patriots

April 13, 2019

By Chris Faure for The Saker Blog

It is hard to believe that Assange may end up in the tender care of the vicious: those that run Washington; those that treat Venezuela with state terror; and who daily kill in Syria, in Yemen, in Afghanistan, and a dozen other places.

Shame, Shame on those that are celebrating this miscarriage of justice and attack on freedom.  Shame on Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin that bellowed:  So now he’s our property and we can get the facts and truth from him.  The Senate Intelligence Committee vice chair Mark Warner said his hope is that British courts will “quickly transfer” Assange to US custody “so he can finally get the justice he deserves.” Sen. Ben Sasse, a Republican from Nebraska, another member of the Intelligence Committee, said Assange’s arrest is “good news for freedom-loving people.” and “Julian Assange has long been a wicked tool of Vladimir Putin and the Russian intelligence services” and “He deserves to spend the rest of his life in prison.”

Shame on the Patriots that are thrilled and are literally rejoicing to see Assange arrested.  Their message is the same as that of Senator Manchin.  So now he’s our property and we can get the facts and truth from him.   They are sure that taking away this man’s freedom, and making him US Property by extraditing him to the US, will force him to testify so that they can ‘lock her up’ and the swamp will be drained. Are you still slave owners Patriots, trying to make this man your property?  You like to say:  “We have the source”.  Are you now into owning others or do you truly not understand what you are saying?  The source does not have you!

You are being led up a garden path. Consider Pompeo:

Wikileaks is a non state hostile intelligence service aided and abetted by the Russians.

Read this again, slowly:  Wikileaks is a non state hostile intelligence service aided and abetted by the Russians. 

This is the administration that is trying to get its hands on Julian Assange.

What is not said in the Patriot youtubes of which I watched too many in the last hours, is that:

Assange lived in an Embassy with a Cat for Company for 7 Years to AVOID this exact same rendition.

Somehow the Patriots do not mention this or pay any attention to the violation to this man’s rights, but they dare rejoice in a rictus of a 4D chess delirium!

It will not be a friendly rendition and he will be moved with handcuffs and ankle restraints.  Is this what you want for this man?  Can you pause your rejoicing for one moment and start working to get him out of the shackles and out of jail?  Or do you want ‘her’ to walk free while you rejoice that Assange is shackled?

Have you no shame, Patriots?  Assange is not your plaything or your slave to sacrifice on your ‘Lock her Up’ Altar.  Are you such wussies that you cannot lock her up all by yourselves?  Can you not fight your fight against the Democrats all by yourselves?

Go and join the rest of the human world and work to get Assange released: https://www.change.org/p/free-julian-assange-before-it-s-too-late-stop-the-extradition

Do you not understand that if this man’s rights are violated to the extent that they are, yours and mine can be violated in a similar way, in a New York minute?  When will they extradite me for saying these things?

Do you not understand that Assange did not skip out of that embassy in joy into the loving Patriot arms to be borne on angel’s wings of innocent rendition to the US to testify of his own free will and volition.  He was dragged out against his will and is in prison – Belmarsh prison, as far as we know.

Do you not understand that this man does not want to be rendered forcefully to the US and has nothing criminal to answer for in the US?

Craig Murray writesTo support the persecution of Assange in these circumstances is to support absolute state censorship of the internet. It is to support the claim that any journalist who receives and publishes official material which indicates US government wrongdoing, can be punished for its publication. Furthermore this US claim involves an astonishing boost to universal jurisdiction. Assange was nowhere near the USA when he published the documents, but nonetheless US courts are willing to claim jurisdiction. This is a threat to press and internet freedom everywhere.

Do you not understand that Assange represents all of the rights of humankind?

And how are you going to make him testify Patriots?  Are you going to coerce him by torture?  The same as what is reportedly being done to Chelsea Manning right at this time because she does not want to testify against Assange.  Have you not thought about that?  Have you not thought about freedom of speech and freedom from persecution for no crime?

Have you not thought that the US could have given him securities of safe passage and freedom before now, in exchange for testimony?  Why did they not do this? Is this not the humane way of doing things instead of jailing the man? Do you really think keeping him in a jail cell before and after rendition is the right thing to do? Do you not think that this rendition under cover of espionage or helping Manning to break a password or ask for more information or some other trumped up charge cannot be increased by further accusations and charges? Of course they will throw their book at Assange.  Do you not get it that Mr Trump did not actually state anything about the separation of powers for a independent judiciary as the Patriots now present, but that the cock crowed when Mr Trump denied knowledge of Assange and Wikileaks just days ago? Do you not get it that the US administration wants to punish Assange for publishing their atrocities and that he is not being extradited to speak on ‘Hitlery’ and her crimes?

Yes, I hear the stories.  Bring him to the US, make him testify and Mr Trump will pardon him and life will be all roses for everyone.

Pardon him for what?  He does not need to be pardoned.  He needs to be set free.

Understanding the timing issues is also necessary.  Theresa May is hanging by a thread.  It was necessary for these authorities to move now against Assange, as the risk of Corbyn taking over is too big. Corbyn would just let the man Assange go free as he said.  Understanding that the Ecuadorian elites were rewarded with a massive IMF loan for their help in this issue, is also necessary. They were bribed and paid off with ‘the Benjamins’ baby!. It stinks to high heaven and yet, the Patriots rejoice and forget this piece.

Note that the usual dehumanization methods are being used against Assange now, to soften up the population to think he was just a dirty and messy filthy person that nobody would want to have around.  We did not see or hear any of this with the former Ecuadorian President, Rafael Correa.  Note, that this former president was devastatingly clear in stating what Ecuador did in inviting British Law Enforcers into the Ecuadorian embassy, but I cannot give you a direct quote because they cut off his Facebook account and made him unable to comment.  Does this sound fine to you? Do you realize that just a year ago, one of the Wikileaks reporters was killed?  Do you get it that in Ecuador another Wikileaks reporter has just been arrested?

Does this all portray to you a sweet and innocent rendition of Assange to the US where he will be put into a summer-camp jail and not coerced at all?

Assange should be freed to continue his work and so far the proceedings create a dark precedent that affects us all. Tulsi Gabbard has it right.

Assange Arrest: The message is clear. To journalists and all Americans, if you try to take away our power, you will pay a high price.

Tulsi Gabbard‏Verified account @TulsiGabbard

Shame on those that are celebrating and claiming ownership of this man Assange like property to use shamelessly for their own political purpose and burn him as sacrifice on their own altar.

The World’s voices are again raised in collective outrage.

Jimmy Dore:

Jonathan Cooke:  https://www.jonathan-cook.net/blog/2019-04-13/uk-media-mps-unveil-latest-assange-deception/

Chris Hedges: https://www.truthdig.com/articles/the-martyrdom-of-julian-assange/

Bill Binny: https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=19&v=9HPs1RY1wvM

John Pilger: https://consortiumnews.com/2019/04/12/assange-arrest-a-warning-from-history/

Real journalism is being criminalized by thugs in plain sight. Dissent has become an indulgence.

When will they come for you, or for me, or for you Patriot?  The extradition has to be stopped.

A necessary revolution in discussing China’s Cultural Revolution: an 8-part series (1/8)

March 26, 2019

by Ramin Mazaheri for The Saker Blog

A necessary revolution in discussing China’s Cultural Revolution: an 8-part series (1/8)

Perhaps the most important unresolved dichotomy in the West today is not the male-female divide but the urban-rural divide. The #MeToo Movement is making advances towards better gender equality – a direct result of the election of US President Donald Trump – but city and country remain locked in a most ungratifying combat.

In the US this is known as the “red state-blue state” socio-political war, which essentially pits liberal metropolitan areas against allegedly-backwards conservative rural areas; in the UK it’s sovereignty-demanding Leavers versus allegedly more intelligent anti-Brexiteers; in France it is the Yellow Vest movement engaging in civil disobedience on the Champs-Elysées due to the dismissive neglect and icy snobbery of those who can afford to live in the major centre-villes.

This is all explains why I feel that studying China’s Cultural Revolution (CR) is more important than ever: no modern nation has made such sincere and drastic efforts to correct this rural-urban imbalance, an imbalance which exists in all nations and which is as fundamental to human existence as female/male or yin/yang.

However, especially for developing countries, in places like India, Africa and Latin America, where rural farming is still often done in a manner similar to pre-21st century China, the incredible rural gains – economically, politically and culturally – which were the explicit goal of the CR are not just important but staggeringly inspirational. This article will quickly prove why that is not hyperbole, because the facts of these “incredible rural gains” will get a rare unveiling instead of another heaping of obfuscating capitalist-imperialist propaganda.

Unfortunately, most Westerners are as uninterested in China’s CR as they are in their own rural areas. I am certain this is true, because as a journalist I am 100% aware of my field’s failures in reporting on, from, or about rural areas. What’s worse, Western journalism has exacerbated their urban-rural divide by reporting from a starting point that rural areas are not morally equal to urban areas. This is a major shift from previous times: for example, during the US Revolution the farmer-citizen was Thomas Jefferson’s ideal man, and their Electoral College was created in part to ensure rural voices are not drowned out by city-slickers.

Let me give a personal anecdote which exemplifies modern journalism’s endemic failure on modern China and the Cultural Revolution:

Just prior to writing this series I was at a social function where I was introduced to an Anglophone journalist from a top international news organization (which I will not name). He had spent 10+ years based in China, spoke Chinese, and he was told I was publishing a book on China (more on this later). I told him the book is more about “Chinese socialism” than “China” per se, and he was very surprised that my goals were to rebut the vilification of Mao, the Great Leap Forward, the Cultural Revolution, etc. This journalist pounced firstly on my defense of the CR, and said that their media had him interview many people in China about the horrors of the CR – he couldn’t imagine that I would want to defend it? I didn’t start defending it to him – I simply asked: “The people you interviewed – what class were they from?” He evaded the question in order to stress the CR’s horrors and failures, so I repeated, “From what class?” The reason I did this was because – contrary to Western belief – class still matters, and the view of the CR changes drastically in China depending on one’s class. At this point the person looked to our mutual acquaintance in mock horror and said, “What have you gotten me into with this guy?!” LOL….

Clearly, the lens of “class” never even came into this Western mainstream journalist’s mind, and just bringing up the concept created shock and disbelief. This journalist is not atypical of his class.

Furthermore, I am certain he (or she) did not go into China’s rural areas and dig out the truth of the CR because… I myself never go outside of Paris to do journalism for PressTV. The reality is that city journalists just don’t have the monetary resources, the time and often the inclination, and their editors do not care / can’t get more funding.

We have new research and new journalism on the Cultural Revolution so… please buy our books!

That’s why The Unknown Cultural Revolution: Life and Change in a Chinese Village by Dongping Han is such an important book. Han was kind enough to write the forward to my new book, and I have written this series to popularize and discuss his far, far more important book on Chinese socialism.

My book, incidentally, has just been published by Badak Merah Publishing house, which publishes the indispensable, inspirational and unrepentantly leftist journalism of Andre Vltchek, Jeff J. Brownand others. It is titled, I’ll Ruin Everything you Are: Ending Western Propaganda in Red China, and is now available on Amazon in English, and very soon in Mandarin Chinese as well. I hope you can buy a copy for yourself and your 300 closest friends.

My book is not bad, but I think that Han’s book is incredibly necessary, and for an obvious reason: that mainstream journalist did not venture into rural areas to discover the opinions of rural Chinese on the CR, whereas Han did.

Han, who is now a professor in the United States, grew up in Jimo County, China. It’s a place with over 1,000 villages, 30 townships and 1.1 million people today, located along the eastern seaboard and in Shangdong Province. In yet more proof that it’s a small world, my cousin married a woman from rural Shangdong Province. The county seat, Jimo, has a population of just 61,237… which should indicate that this is a highly rural area. It is also historically a poor area: Jimo ranked the 16th-poorest in (the former) 17-county Yantai Prefecture.

Han’s work is an academic, technocratic, specialized study of the CR, but it is also investigative, long-form journalism: Thanks to his background, open mind and obviously sincere aims, Han was able to interview more than 200 farmers, CR rebel leaders, students, parents and local leaders in Jimo County. He ate, worked, and even slept in the homes of those he interviewed – pretty in-depth stuff, and so in-depth that he can’t fudge the data to fit his preconceived notions. For quantitative research he pored over decades of local records, which became available shortly after the year 2000 in China.

Han’s book gives us a comprehensive view of Jimo County before, during and after the CR – both anecdotal and statistical – and one which we should not expect any journalist to better anytime soon. Also, as Han notes, there is no reason we cannot extrapolate Jimo’s experience to the rest of rural China – Jimo County was not atypical. Han has given us the West a foundational text for modern understanding of the CR.

Han was objective like a journalist as well, because he did not go into his CR analysis with a bias, unlike mainstream journalists and Western academics. His starting point was: What was the effect and view of the CR from the rural perspective?

I can’t read Chinese, but I can say this regarding English language CR studies: That is a revolutionary perspective. Normally we only have the urban perspective, the perspective of college professors, the perspective of those judged guilty by the CR – we never, ever hear the perspective of anyone who might have possibly benefitted from the CR.

I encourage readers to not just read this series – which condenses Han’s book, discusses the key points and occasionally offers a different perspective on his data and global socialism trends and history – but to buy and read Han’s book. It is not long, it is not written in boring academic-ese, and has many interesting anecdotes which only a Chinese farmer living during the CR could relate. Truly: Where else can you read in English what a Chinese farmer honestly has to say about the CR?!

The reality is that because of China’s success since the Great Recession – in contrast with the West’s economic failure – everybody is starting to realize that our perceptions of China’s society, government and economy are misguided, because the West is failing as China is thriving. They must be doing something (many things) right, no? The idea that China’s success is due to being a “Western sweatshop” is no longer tenable and was always a way for the capitalist-imperialist West to try and co-opt credit for Chinese success.

The only way to right our misguided perceptions of China in 2019 is to listen to Chinese people themselves. That is what Han did, and that is what this series does. I hope it will prove useful to you.

Dazzling & quick data which will blow the minds of those in Developing Countries and rewrite the Cultural Revolution

The thesis of Han’s book is far more interesting than, “The CR was really not so bad….” This is his thesis:

The CR’s educational reform, which became approved following changes to political culture, produced an explosion in rural economic development and rural human capital, and thus China’s economic boom actually came before Deng’s reforms in 1978.

This contradicts the narrative that it was only after the introduction of (drastically regulated, and still-socialist) market-based reforms that China’s economy began to produce major wealth. Han’s book directly challenges what you always hear by pushing the start of China’s economic explosion back a decade earlier, i.e. with the very start of the CR.

I’m going to give you my opinion after reading Han’s academic & investigative evidence: He is 100% correct, and it is totally undeniable.

You can argue all you want about the CR’s effect on intellectuals, disgraced party cadres, urban residents, pro-capitalist artists, witch doctors, Buddhist monks, etc., but the hard data of the CR’s success for the majority of Chinaas revealed by Han’s work is stunningly, stunningly convincing.

There is only one perception shift which is required to allow one to accept this obvious conclusion – prioritize the rural perspective ahead of these urban, elite, minority perspectives.

That’s never done in the West, despite the fact that it is the only truly democratic viewpoint to have when discussing China: after all, China’s rural population was 82% of the overall population in 1964. Therefore, if the CR targeted and benefitted rural areas – which it undoubtedly did – then there is no doubt that the CR was a fundamentally democratic sociopolitical event.

I’d like to immediately give just a few of Han’s data-based examples, because they are so overwhelming that I think anyone who reads them will sit up with interest:

1965 primary schools in Jimo County: 8 schools, 3,600 students. In 1976: 269 primary schools, 52,000 students. Increases of 3,400% and 1,400% respectively.

1965 high schools in Jimo County: 2 high schools, 400 students. In 1976: 84 high schools, 13,200 students. Increases of 4,200% and 3,300% respectively.

1965 government & village teachers for middle & high school in Jimo County: 315 total staff. In 1976: 4,230 total staff. Increase of 1,300%.

As Han reminded me during a discussion, by 1976 almost all school-age students (including high school-age) were enrolled in the rural school system free of charge, something which has not even been achieved in the US today.

Clearly, this is hugely at odds with the well-known belief that the CR was a time of Chinese academic regression! That propaganda only works if one focuses solely on university-level (elite-level) education and only for a short period of time, but such a view simply does not fit the data when examining rural areas.

Just as clearly: for developing countries, this type of an explosion in rural education is urgently needed and even more-urgently desired by their inhabitants.

So that was the impact of the CR on rural mass education – and it’s staggering – what about rural industry?

Early 1960s in Jimo County: 10 rural industrial enterprises, employing 253 people. By 1976: 2,557 enterprises (2.5 per village), employing 54,771 people. Increases of 26,000% and 22,000% respectively.

In both education and industrial activity Han relates a stunning explosion during the CR decade; it’s no exaggeration to say that the CR finally brought the industrial revolution to China’s rural areas!

1965 total horsepower for farm machines in Jimo County: 8,272 HP. In 1975: 116,856 HP. Increase of 1,412%.

With all that new horsepower at their disposal, did farming productivity improve? Of course:

1964 grain output for Jimo County: 136,630 tons with a unit yield of 69.5 kilos. In 1975: 369,000 tons with a unit yield of 191 kilos. Increases of 270% and 275%, respectively.

1965 area and output of cash crops for Jimo County (peanuts, hemps, vegetables & tobacco): 9,660 tons with a unit yield of 79 kilos. In 1975: 33,350 tons with a unit yield of 129 kilos. Increases of 345% and 63% respectively.

1965 annual per capita grain and income possession and income in Jimo County: 230 kilos and 37 yuan. In 1975: 421 kilos and 80 yuan. Increases of 183% and 216% respectively.

What on earth did I just read?!

You just read about 2 times more food and 2 times more money for the average Chinese person, 14 times more horsepower (which equates to 140 times manpower), 50 times more industrial jobs, 30 times more schools and 10 times more teachers during the CR decade in rural areas.

This is the Unknown Cultural Revolution in China; this was not achieved by capitalism. (I add “in China” to differentiate it from Iran’s CR, which was the world’s only other state-sponsored CR.)

Can we have some of that, please?!

How did they do it?

Can we replicate it?

For under-developed nations the idea that such increases could actually be made in only 10 years must sound like a gift from heaven.

What we can dispense with is the idea that it was luck: The increase came despite the worst and longest drought in Jimo in several decades (1967-1969), so in many ways the CR succeeded where the Great Leap Forward failed, as the GLF was famously handicapped by weather disasters.

In these 10 years, Jimo suffered no less serious and no fewer natural disasters than in previous decades. There were altogether four serious droughts, four serious floods, four wind disasters, nine hailstorms and three serious insect disasters. Nevertheless, agricultural production steadily and rapidly increased,” as Han notes.

The rural-urban divide exists because the rural viewpoint is historically repressed – Mao knew this, the CR aimed to fix it

Such stunning data allows Han to make a hugely exciting, revolutionary declaration on the CR, and one which directly contradicts both the Western propaganda view as well as the official Chinese view today:

The radical egalitarianism of the Cultural Revolution decade (1966-1976), official history maintains, led to economic disaster. The official assessment is widely endorsed by Chinese intellectuals and echoed by Western academics.”

But there was obviously no disaster…? Why China maintains this official stance will be explained later in this series, but only after we ask: “How could such an amazing socio-economic success occur?”

Han’s thesis is: “…this study contends that that the political convulsions of the Cultural Revolution democratized village political culture and spurred the growth of rural education, leading to substantial and rapid economic development.”

Simple: empower the average person and they will reach their full potential, improving all of society – that’s the absolute essence of socialism.

Just as excitingly, Han proves (yet again) that collectively-organized economies can be not just more stable than market-based economies, but even more dynamic. And let’s not forget the increased social cohesion they also provide….

Thirdly, Han shows that the CR was a glorious affirmation and victory for the 2nd of the socialism’s twin pillars (the first being redistribution of wealth, the second being redistribution of socio-political power). After all, a collective & redistributive economy simply cannot function properly without democratic empowerment of the overall culture and the political culture in favor of the average person / worker.

Ignore the Cultural Revolution… in order to keep pushing 1%-er neoliberal policies and failed ‘trickle-down’ economics

The CR’s political changes actually produced enormous economic development – why aren’t Western capitalists jumping at this?

The simple answer to that is: While any form of democracy is based on a well-educated citizenry – so the best decisions can be chosen in order to ensure the collective good – capitalism most certainly is not.

But Han gives us a global answer specific to the CR: “The official assessment is largely the work of officials and scholars who, because of their social positions, were subject to attack during the Cultural Revolution. Almost all published accounts are written from the perspective of urban elites. This book presents a rural perspective, one rarely found in the current literature on the Cultural revolution.”

So we return to the start of this article: the urban-based elite are the ones who write the journalism, who get interviewed by journalists, who write the textbooks, who draft the education policies without local input, who draft economic policies without rural input, who own the commodities exchanges which exploit rural toil… and Han’s book challenges them by using the rural viewpoint as both the start point and the end point when analyzing the CR. Why not? We are talking about 82% of the country, after all.

Given the depth of his investigations, resources, local knowledge and analysis, it’s impossible to argue with Han’s conclusion:

“This investigation of the history of Jimo County has challenged this official account. The take-off of the rural economy in Jimo began not with market reforms, I have shown, but rather during the Cultural Revolution decade. Agricultural production more than doubled and a network of rural factories were established which fundamentally transformed the county’s rural economy in less than 10 years. Jimo’s story is not unique. … Once it has been established that the economic take-off began during the collective era, the claims of market reformers have to be put in perspective.”

The few figures I gave you fully back up Han’s claims about Jimo County; it is up to the reader to provide a theory as to why Jimo’s history would be unique or an aberration in China.

Bottom line: increased horsepower is great, but the best capital is human capital. The CR created immense human capital, where there was previously very little, and this best explains the foundation of China’s dominance in 2019.

Cultural Revolutions are scary to the minority holding power, but not for the average citizen

As I wrote, a new perspective is needed in order to properly explain modern Red China’s success, and therefore we must investigate a new perspective on the Cultural Revolution. Han’s book and this series aim to provide that.

For the West there is only one path: stop trying to appropriate credit for China’s success, and start listening to Chinese people. This is what Han provides.

For the Chinese, who officially disavow the CR – even if it is not disavowed in rural areas, the solution is more complicated than that but amounts to the same thing: disregard the official party line – the thinking of the establishment – on the CR and start looking at it honestly. Indeed, openly criticizing the Party line was perhaps the single-most important message of the Mao-backed CR!

LOL, the closed-minded will not believe me, but that’s why I have penned this series.

What’s certain is that the CR era – being such a vibrant episode of human political activity – has much to teach everybody, even the Chinese themselves.

I do not and will not disavow the CR, nor will I condemn the Chinese Communist Party for officially doing so today because I know that – much to the happiness of anti-revolutionaries everywhere – revolutionary spirit waxes and wanes. All revolutions show this – the Revolution of Islam in the 7th century, the Soviet Revolution, etc. – because Revolutions are human phenomena, and therefore it could not be otherwise.

If the CR is not thought well of in China today, it will come back into fashion eventually for this simple fact: it was such a huge success that it doesn’t take only an ardent leftist to appreciate. It only appears that way, especially in the West, because of the massive propaganda which has been designed to prevent the appearance of a CR in the capitalist-imperialist West.

I’ll make a spanning-the-decades prediction: if Chinese dominance falters, we’ll see a Cultural Revolution #2 – because the CR worked! (Because it is truly socialist democratic, of course….)

The Cultural Revolution undoubtedly represented a decade-long waxing of leftist revolutionary spirit – what were the real results for the average Chinese person, i.e. a Chinese rural inhabitant? Han’s book and this series discusses the CR’s invaluable contribution in the fight for socio-economic equality which the various forms of socialism incarnate.

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This is the first article in an 8-part series which examines Dongping Han’s book The Unknown Cultural Revolution: Life and Change in a Chinese Village in order to drastically redefine a decade which has proven to be not just the basis of China’s current success, but also a beacon of hope for developing countries worldwide. Here is the list of articles slated to be published, and I hope you will find them useful in your leftist struggle!

Part 1 – A necessary revolution in discussing China’s Cultural Revolution: an 8-part series

Part 2 – The story of a martyr FOR, and not BY, China’s Cultural Revolution

Part 3 – Why was a Cultural Revolution needed in already-Red China?

Part 4 – How the Little Red Book created a cult ‘of socialism’ and not ‘of Mao’

Part 5 – Red Guards ain’t all red: Who fought whom in China’s Cultural Revolution?

Part 6 – How the socioeconomic gains of China’s Cultural Revolution fuelled their 1980s boom

Part 7 – Ending a Cultural Revolution can only be counter-revolutionary

Part 8 – What the West can learn: Yellow Vests are demanding a Cultural Revolution

Ramin Mazaheri is the chief correspondent in Paris for Press TV and has lived in France since 2009. He has been a daily newspaper reporter in the US, and has reported from Iran, Cuba, Egypt, Tunisia, South Korea and elsewhere. He is the author of I’ll Ruin Everything You Are: Ending Western Propaganda on Red ChinaHis work has appeared in various journals, magazines and websites, as well as on radio and television. He can be reached on Facebook.

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