What would it take for proponents to say: ‘The Great Lockdown was wrong’?

April 28, 2020

What would it take for proponents to say: ‘The Great Lockdown was wrong’?

By Ramin Mazaheri for the Saker Blog

There must be SOME criteria where the proponents of the Great Lockdown could say, “In hindsight, this was wrong.”

It is obviously hysterical to insist that admitting a policy mistake is totally, completely impossible. German fascists are not wiping out Poland, after all.

I mean, what if a secret global doomsday machine in Poland gets triggered if global GNP falls below a certain threshold, wiping out humanity? Certainly then all would agree, “The Great Lockdown turned out to be a mistake,” right?

Absurd extremes aside, the coronavirus overreaction has turned into a major test case for today’s Western worship of both technocracy and scientific secularism. Since 1980 they have insisted that national cultures should not play any shaping role in public policy because Westerners have discovered a system of “universal values” which should guide all national governments.

(The Western system is – of course – actually based on aristocratic/bourgeois neoliberalism & neo-imperialism.)

A corollary is that a technocratic 10% should be implementing these values with zero lower-class input into public policy formation. A second corollary is that science is the one, true, rightly-guided, infallible way. In April 2020 the doctors and professors are always right, and US President Donald Trump is always wrong.

But… then how do we explain this written – not spoken – declaration from the US National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine, as reported by AP? This was published on April 24, during the truly fake-news controversy regarding Trump and injecting disinfectants.

“Given that countries currently in ‘summer’ climates, such as Australia and Iran, are experiencing rapid virus spread, a decrease in cases with increases in humidity and temperature elsewhere should not be assumed,” the researchers wrote earlier in April in response to questions from the White House Office of Science and Technology.”

But Iran is not in summer – they are in the northern hemisphere, so Iran is in spring.

Australia is in the southern hemisphere – it is in autumn.

In fact, due to the tilting of the earth, if the northern hemisphere is in spring then the southern hemisphere can only be in autumn, never in summer. Spring in the north and summer anywhere else is an impossibility.

Not only am I not a rightly-guided epidemiologist, I am not even a scientist and yet I know this. Heck, maybe even Trump knows this.

Associated Press, the largest news-gathering organisation in the world, obviously made the same elementary mistake as these scientists. It is very possible that in their rabid desire to discredit Trump the journalists cared more about over-exaggerating his clearly off-the-cuff science than fact-checking.

My point here is not to say “gotcha, you are dumb” – my point is to say that this is precisely why socialist democracy (which relies on consensus) is so much more valuable than Western technocratic individualism. You see: God, in His wisdom, made humans imperfect – and that includes epidemiologists and we journalists.

That is why the West’s choice to rely solely on epidemiologists, and also a mainstream media which is supposed to be always ever-skeptically vetting everyone’s declarations, is a fundamentally flawed approach to handling the corona response. Combine this with a Western system where politicians are forced to be always either in electioneering mode or fund-raising mode, and you get a system which uncritically bows to very mistake-prone earthly authorities.

I find it stunning that US polls have consistently pegged general support for the lockdowns to be at 80%, and that an unthinkable 95% of Democrats say the measures don’t go too far. Considering all the poverty, the refusals to loan to Main Street, the delays in government aid, the exponentially-increasing certainty of prolonged economic chaos – Americans are still not fed up? I can only theorise that the US people have been so propagandised by a lack of “contrarian voices” – contrarian because they dare to say that the needs of the lower classes must be voiced and implemented – that they have been terrified into submission by their media. Democrats are obviously the least open to different ideas – we see how fantastically total their groupthink is.

But back to my main point: what are the realistic criteria where people would say – as people must often do if we are to have a civilised society which progresses – “I was wrong”?

I can’t think of any which would be acceptable… and that shows the massive hysteria of the Western response

Please note that “I was misled” is certainly acceptable.

After all, just turn on your television and you are almost guaranteed to see a journalist nodding along to whatever an epidemiologist is saying – these two classes have been given the key to socioeconomic policy. In the corona hysteria these two have worked in tandem, and both must be judged according to the huge power they have been given.

As late as March 20th The New York Times fake-leftist bien-pensant Nicolas Kristof quoted “one of the best disease modellers in the world” declaring that the best-case scenario in the US was “about 1.1 million deaths”, with the worst-case being “2.2 million deaths”. They even put the latter in the sub-headline. Because he is such an awful, unreadable journalist Kristof does not make it clear if these two scenarios are the result of everyone doing absolutely nothing to combat coronavirus (an absurdity, which only an ivory tower academic would waste time studying) – I assume that is the case. However, many others may not make that assumption because Kristof leads the reader to believe (and maybe he believes this – he is not clear) that despite all the personal protective gear, ventilators, new hospital beds and everything else that US society could throw at corona, then we should still expect over 1 million deaths. Thus, both scientists and Kristof conclude: “If anything, we’re still underreacting.”

It turns out the epidemiologist’s numbers were indeed based on the idea that everyone did absolutely nothing. Well, thanks for getting dumb journalists all worked up over nothing! And I guess epidemiologists can’t write Kristof’s article for him but it’s certain that this power tandem failed at the top.

I’m not surprised, because I always doubted 2.2 million and here’s one reason why: MSM journalists seem to forget that recent history is not kind to US epidemiologists: In 2014 the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention predicted 1.4 million Ebola cases in Liberia and Sierra Leone alone. There were only 28,616 total cases. If this was Iran or China we could just accuse them of a cover-up, but alas…. And those are two countries with far, far less resources to throw at a virus. On April 3 satirical website The Onion re-ran Historians Politely Remind Nation To Check What’s Happened In Past Before Making Any Big Decisions – they are indeed more credible than The New York Times.

So what are the criteria for a fact-based backtracking?

Frankly, I don’t think the Great Lockdown supporters have thought about this at all, and that should cause them some worry.

This question has clearly been repeatedly shot down to the point where everyone self-censors, which is the most effective form of censorship. The question itself has been deemed to be proof of being a far-right neo-fascist: A Google search reveals What If the Pandemic Policymakers Are Wrong? Will health experts become the latest elite deemed “too big to fail”? That’s a great sub-headline – I’d nick it, but this article is almost completely written already. What’s too bad is that this article is from the website American Greatness, LOL.

So just asking “what if” puts me on the far-right? Well, I did just sign off on the cover to my latest book on socialism so, LOL, I could debate that rather at length. However, asking “but what if”, providing a modicum of contrarian views, being skeptical – this is what objective journalism is in any nation.

I am willing to question my faith: One article idea in my “to do” basket is, “What do socialists do if the bailouts actually work?” I am not so self-righteous, smug and smothering that I refuse to honestly ask and answer that question – it’s at least possible they will… because the question is not mathematical and because that history is not yet written.

Can Great Lockdown supporters question themselves? I doubt they can or even want to respond.

What I fear is this: that many Great Lockdown supporters are so self-righteous, out of touch and indoctrinated that they will genuinely believe that “even preventing one death made it worth it”. This is the view of a child, not an adult citizen who should know that any “War on Dying” is nothing but a joke. That is the exact view of a lowest-common denominator American politician – are REALLY trying to be like them? “Whatever you say” politicians are the third wheel on the tricycle which is steering Western, pro-upper-class corona policy.

To answer my own question: Because the virus was supposed to be so extraordinary, extraordinary measures have been taken. So it’s gone far beyond only total deaths – the accurate counting of which appears to be already hopelessly muddled.

If corona pricks the Western bubble economy (Condensing the data leaves no doubt: Fear corona-economy more than the virus) and “Great Depression 2” becomes a real thing – was it worth it?

If major aspects of the current drastic reduction in political rights get normalised – just as France prolonged a “temporary” state of emergency for two full years, and then Emmanuel Macron legalised it into common police practice – was it worth it?

If the US bows to Dr. Anthony Fauci, their nation’s leading technocrat on infectious diseases, and permanently “breaks that custom” of shaking hands to show warmth and friendship to strangers or if France ends the la bise hello kisses – was it worth it?

There are economic, political and cultural shockwaves stemming from the Great Lockdown – maybe their proponents didn’t foresee them, or maybe they were misled, but these things cannot be ignored because they, too, will cause death and pain.

You don’t want to talk about those things? No problem.

You don’t even have to answer the simple question the headline poses – too many people getting bossed around these days already.

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Corona contrarianism? How about some corona common sense? Here is my list of articles published regarding the corona crisis, and I hope you will find them useful in your leftist struggle!

Capitalist-imperialist West stays home over corona – they grew a conscience? – March 22, 2020

Corona meds in every pot & a People’s QE: the Trumpian populism they hoped for? – March 23, 2020

A day’s diary from a US CEO during the Corona crisis (satire) March 23, 2020

MSNBC: Chicago price gouging up 9,000% & the sports-journalization of US media – March 25, 2020

Tough times need vanguard parties – are ‘social media users’ the West’s? – March 26, 2020

If Germany rejects Corona bonds they must quit the Eurozone – March 30, 2020

Landlord class: Waive or donate rent-profits now or fear the Cultural Revolution – March 31, 2020

Corona repeating 9/11 & Y2K hysterias? Both saw huge economic overreactions – April 1, 2020

(A Soviet?) Superman: Red Son – the new socialist film to watch on lockdown – April 2, 2020

Corona rewrites capitalist bust-chronology & proves: It’s the nation-state, stupid – April 3, 2020

Condensing the data leaves no doubt: Fear corona-economy more than the virus – April 5, 2020

‘We’re Going Wrong’: The West’s middling, middle-class corona response – April 10, 2020

Why does the UK have an ‘army’ of volunteers but the US has a shortage? – April 12, 2020

No buybacks allowed or dared? Then wave goodbye to Western stock market gains – April 13, 2020

Pity post-corona Millennials… if they don’t openly push socialism – April 14, 2020

No, the dollar will only strengthen post-corona, as usual: it’s a crisis, after all – April 16, 2020

Same 2008 QE playbook, but the Eurozone will kick off Western chaos not the US – April 18, 2020

We’re giving up our civil liberties. Fine, but to which type of state? – April 20, 2020

Coronavirus – Macron’s savior. A ‘united Europe’ – France’s murderer – April 22, 2020

Iran’s ‘resistance economy’: the post-corona wish of the West’s silent majority (1/2) – April 23, 2020

The same 12-year itch: Will banks loan down QE money this time? – April 26, 2020

The end of globalisation won’t be televised, despite the hopes of the Western 99% (2/2) – April 27, 2020


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 the books ‘I’ll Ruin Everything You Are: Ending Western Propaganda on Red China’ and the upcoming ‘Socialism’s Ignored Success: Iranian Islamic Socialism’.

MSNBC: Chicago price gouging up 9,000% & the sports-journalization of US media

MSNBC: Chicago price gouging up 9,000% & the sports-journalization of US media

March 25, 2020

By Ramin Mazaheri for The Saker Blog

The Chicago Tribune – seemingly the only major newspaper which did not endorse Hillary Clinton in 2016 (they endorsed Libertarian Party candidate Gary Johnson) – has reported that price gouging in Chicago has skyrocketed a spectacular 9,000% since March 1.

What’s worse, that figure only includes complaints to the city’s Business Affairs and Consumer Protection Department from March 1, excluding the first two months of 2020.

From some it’s a dagger in the heart of perceptions of superior codes of polite conduct in the Midwest. For others it’s verification of all the worst accusations of moral, and especially financial, corruption in the city forever linked in the global imagination with gangster Al Capone.

Now… this is all entirely accurate. I have even presented it with hallowed (and phony/naive) “objectivity”. Nobody can sue me for anything.

But it’s terrible journalism.

It’s eye-catching, newspaper-selling, ratings-grabbing, if-it-bleeds-it-leads journalism. It’s journalism designed to grab eyeballs by inciting panic… and panic is what the West is doing very, very well during the Corona crisis.

The City of Chicago received 175 price gouging complaints so far this month – there were only 2 such complaints all of last year, per The Chicago Tribune. The newspaper’s journalists handled the story ok: only got quotes from the government – nothing from victims, grassroots groups or even vox pops – but it’s not terrible.

Now my headline was rather click bait-y and terrible – irresponsible/negligent use of a colon, certainly. See what I can do if I decide to use my powers for evil rather than good?

Was there an 8,650% increase? Yes. I can say I was, “Just reporting the facts,” which is the ultimate journalistic cop-out. This was exactly the defense used by the reporter in Clint Eastwood’s fine new movie on Atlanta Olympics non-bomber Richard Jewell when confronted by Jewell and his lawyer. MSMers would do the same if you questioned their constant, provoking “Corona death toll reaches ___” headlines.

But even The Chicago Tribune knew better than to phrase this trend that way. Is price gouging a real concern? Yes, and more to me than The Chicago Tribune, judging by the space they gave the story.

But it probably won’t be a concern at all to MSNBC because Illinois is a solidly Democratic state which has no chance of flipping to Trump, and Illinois also has a (billionaire, aristocratic) Democratic governor. The hyper-partisan channel is happy to excuse in Democrats what they shame Republicans for; their editorial line is – ignore blue state malfeasances, attack red states.

(FYI, my headline’s colon is negligent because MSNBC has not reported on this story, and the colon implies that. Should have been a comma.)

I like to read the business sections of the world’s top papers and media when I can – you often find the most serious hard news there – and certainly we all have time off now. I figure it’s either do that or panic. That’s how I found this price gouging story.

I also had time to check out fake-leftist darling/rightly-guided prophet Rachel Maddow’s latest show: she opened with the Spanish ice rink converted to a morgue story, which was the most eye-catching, panic-inducing, if-it-bleeds-it-leads choice possible to start her show.

That was terrible journalism.

In my first article on the corona crisis I quickly got to the point: “The problem in the West is that those in power during the corona crisis should not be in power.”

Maddow, incredibly, has become the Walter Cronkite of seemingly one-third of the US despite constantly evincing atrocious and sensationalistic journalism standards.

In 2018, for fun while on vacation, I wrote a minute-by-minute analysis of one of her shows, which just happened to be about (of course) her one-woman Russophobia campaign: “This was supposed to be a funny article, but when you diagram it out…I rather feel like I just watched Joseph McCarthy at work.”

Why would we assume that instead of McCarthyist red-baiting (and I have more red in my pinky toenail clippings than Maddow has in her whole body) or Russophobia-baiting or Trump-baiting, Maddow isn’t now fine with corona-baiting? Her viewers do not seem to ever ask themselves this fundamental question.

Of course, as many foreigners know: in the US there is no such thing as “propaganda” – that only exists in other countries.

Kudos to Maddow for being a Rhodes Scholar, but that does not make her qualified to be a journalist, and certainly not one holding such a vital position.

Journalists, of course, need no official qualifications. It’s a craft and not a profession – there is no single code of conduct, nor any board to revoke your license as no such license exists. A journalism degree is a nice way to start learning the craft but not necessary (Maddow does not have one), and who on earth would waste their time getting a Master’s in Journalism (except journalism professors)? The US public airwaves are not nationalised, and nearly all privately-owned, so forget about governmental review boards for civil servant journalists.

My irresponsible/negligent use of colons is thus no problem: my colon, my business. And that’s no matter how much confusion I sow. And maybe this is all a problem? But in the “free speech” loving West such ideas are verboten.

From what I can gather Maddow’s only serious daily journalism job was as a local morning radio talk show host. FYI – US morning talk radio is about as serious as the regular flu (although that may now be upgraded to semi-pandemic status). Then she was tapped for hosting a show with a US rapper. I simply don’t observe in her work any solid grounding in the craft of journalism and the importance of its social responsibilities. As I wrote in that article: “As a journalist you can’t make an unproven claim just because you hope the future proves you right.”

CNN’s Anderson Cooper may be a scion of the oligarch Vanderbilt family, and while he did admit to working for the CIA for two summers he has way, way more serious journalistic experience than Maddow: He waited 10-15 minutes before running the Spanish ice morgue story on his show last night.

Not such good politicians, not such good governors, not such good journalists = a really good response to the Corona crisis? That’s pretty funny math.

What’s stunning as well is to see how – even amid what they are telling us is a huge global pandemic which rivals the Spanish Flu of 1918 (even though it clearly does not) – the Western MSM continues to obsess with degrading Donald Trump: in their broadcast media it’s still taking up a huge proportion of their coverage. But how can a daily habit dating from November 2016 be shut off so easily?

Well, journalist, it’s your job to roll with the punches, eh? You should be able to easily transition from a pandemic story to a cat-in-the-tree-rescue story to covering the local high school football game. This is what good journalists can do.

But the MSM doesn’t want good journalists, especially in front of the camera or at the editor’s desk; you do get good journalists writing columns. Newspapers, after all, are a whole different kettle of fish than TV, radio and internet journalism.

There has been a long-running trend in Western journalism: I call it the “sports-journalization of news journalism”. Everything is presented as a dramatic game, or a “war”; statistics (minus analysis and discernment) are paramount; incredibly juvenile attitudes and behaviors are not just considered normal, but expected.

Have you ever dealt with any sports journalists? I have: they are by far the most juvenile, emotionally-stunted people in any newsroom.

They often are gamblers and drunks – how else can you possibly get excited about covering a local high school football game time after time? Of course they are emotionally-stunted: they are covering something which can be fairly called more juvenile than the fashion or (what they used to call the) society pages, and how juvenile are those sections? These guys hope to make it to the big time one day: to stand next to the used jock strap laundry basket while naked men answer questions about why the ball bounced funny that one time.

Don’t give me anecdotal evidence – I know sports journalists who are intelligent, artistic, suave, upstanding people, sure. But if I had a daughter who said she was marrying a sports journalist I’d think: “Well, I should get some free tickets, which are so expensive now due to inflation… but I can’t talk about inflation with this guy: This guy probably only wants to talk about stuff 8-year olds excitedly discuss.”

My point is: in broadcast journalism the journalists who get promoted in the West best apply the absurd, childish dramatics of sports journalism into hard news issues, and especially in the US. France’s media isn’t nearly as bad: they have far more newspapers; they actually have normal-looking people as anchors on the top channels; they have far more state-run channels; they have state subsidies for media to provide some stable revenue. The UK is, of course, terrible and tabloid, but at least they are hilarious.

So of course the US is hyper-partisan, hyper-panicked, hyper-dramatic and hyper-susceptible to things which adults should not be. A sign of adulthood is putting away childish things and acting responsibly on serious issues.

Sports is the ultimate reality TV – yes, we men grasped that first! – but who doesn’t know it’s only an empty-calorie diversion? The sports-journalization of US media, contrarily, has made their hard news an empty-calorie diversion, and this trend diverts the public’s attention into the worst, bloodiest, scariest aspects of the Corona virus situation.

This article from the great website CounterPunch is an extension of my first article on Corona: Starvation, bad water, urban violence, imperialist war – these, and others, kill far, far more innocents annually than Corona: Where has been the panic for those?

Such things often don’t come near to touching the White fake-leftist class in America, which slavishly follows MSNBC. However, Corona might touch them – thus the panic and, above all with them: outrage, outrage, outrage.

If we judge by the Western MSM sports scoreboard (and what’s more capitalist-imperialist than competition?): Western good sense is getting its butt kicked during the Corona crisis.


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 the books ‘I’ll Ruin Everything You Are: Ending Western Propaganda on Red China’ and the upcoming ‘Socialism’s Ignored Success: Iranian Islamic Socialism’.

Pilger, Burchett and Assange: Three Extraordinary Australian Journalists That Spoke Truth to Power

By Rick Sterling

Source

Australia has produced extraordinary journalists across three generations:  Wilfred Burchett (deceased in 1983), John Pilger (80 years old but still active) and Julian Assange (48 years old, currently in London’s Belmarsh prison).

Each of these journalists made unique contributions to our understanding of the world. Although Australia is part of the western world, each of these journalists exposed and criticized Western foreign policy.

Wilfred Burchett

Wilfred Burchett lived from 1911 to 1983. He was a farm boy and his experience in the depression shaped his dislike of oligarchs and preference for the poor.  He went to Europe trying to volunteer for Republicans in the Spanish Civil War but that did not work out.  Instead, he assisted Jews escaping Nazi Germany.

Burchett became a journalist by accident. Having seen the reality in Germany, he started writing many letters to newspaper editors. One of the editors took note of his fluid writing style and intensity. They contacted him to ask if he would like to report for them. Thus began a forty year writing career.

He covered WW2, first stationed with British troops in India then Burma. Then he covered the Pacific campaign stationed with U.S. troops.  He was the first international journalist to report on Hiroshima after the atomic bomb. He evaded US military restrictions to go to Hiroshima and see reality for himself. In his story “The Atomic Plague”, published in the London Daily Express, Burchett said,  “I write this as a warning to the world” and “Doctors fall as they work”.   Immediately the US launched a campaign to smear his reputation and deny the validity of his story. The US military was intent on preventing people from knowing the long term effects of nuclear radiation.

Burchett’s report from Hiroshima was broadcast worldwide and called the “scoop of the century”. It exemplified his career based on first-hand observation and experience.

Over his 40 year career, he reported the other side of the story from the Soviet Union, China, Korea and Vietnam. He wrote thousands of articles and over 35 books.  On China, he wrote “China’s Feet Unbound” in 1952. Two decades later he wrote (with Rewi Alley) “China: The Quality of Life”.

Burchett wrote “Vietnam: The Inside Story of a Guerrilla War” (1965) “My War with the CIA: The Memoirs of Prince Norodom Sihanouk”(1974), “Grasshoppers and Elephants: Why Vietnam Fell” (1977) and then “Catapult to Freedom: The Survival of the Vietnamese People” (1978).

Burchett’s life, experiences and observations are brilliantly recorded in his autobiography “At the Barricades: Forty Years on the Cutting Edge of History” (1980). They reveal the hardscrabble youth and early years, the leftist sympathies, the decades of journalistic work based on first-hand observations.

Burchett was vilified by the establishment political leaders in Australia. His Australian passport was taken, the government refused to issue him a new one and he was barred from entering Australia. Even his children were denied their Australian citizenship. Finally, after 17 years, Wilfred Burchett’s citizenship and passport were restored when Gough Whitlam became Prime Minister in 1972.

With his unassuming and affable manner, Wilfred Burchett became friends with leaders such as Ho Chi Minh, Norodom Sihanouk,  and Chou en Lai.   Bertrand Russell said, “One man, Wilfred Burchett, alerted Western public opinion to the nature of this war and the struggle of the Vietnamese people.”

This interview gives a glimpse into the character and personality of Wilfred Burchett.

John Pilger

John Pilger is another extraordinary Australian journalist.  After starting journalism in the early ’60s,  he became a war correspondent covering Vietnam, Cambodia, Bangladesh and Biafra. He worked 25 years at London’s Daily Mirror and then had a regular fortnightly column for 23 years at the New Statesman.

His first documentary, “The Quiet Mutiny”, depicted US soldiers in Vietnam resisting their officers and the war. In 1974, when Palestine was often unmentionable, he produced “Palestine is Still the Issue”. Nineteen years later, he wrote the second part and described how  Palestine is still the issue.

John Pilger has written/edited over ten books and made over 50 films. He told the story of atrocities in Pol Pot’s Cambodia with “Year Zero“.  He exposed Indonesia’s stranglehold on East Timor in “Death of a Nation: The Timor Conspiracy”.  In a four year investigation, he showed how working-class victims of the drug thalidomide had been excluded from a settlement with the drug company.

John Pilger exposed uncomfortable truths about his home country and its treatment of aboriginal people. He did this through films including “The Secret Country: First Australians Fight Back” (1985),  “Welcome to Australia” (1999), and “Utopia: An Epic Story of Struggle and Resistance” (2013).  He gives more history and detail in the book “A Secret Country” (1992).

In 2002 Pilger produced and movie and book titled “The New Rulers of the World”  revealing the grotesque inequality in this “globalized” world where a few individuals and corporations have more power and wealth than entire countries.

In 2016 Pilger came out with the urgent and prescient video “The Coming War with China”.

More recently he produced “The Dirty War on the NHS” which documents the stealth campaign to privatize the UK’s National Health System. Many of John Pilger’s films can be seen at his website johnpilger.com .

In the 1960s and ’70s, Pilger’s brave and bold journalism received many awards and he was twice recognized as Journalist of the Year.  But in recent years, there has been less acceptance as media has become more homogenized and controlled.  In 2018 Pilger said“My written journalism is no longer welcome – probably it’s last home was The Guardian, which three years ago got rid of people like me and others in pretty much a purge …”  

Harold Pinter, winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature, says “John Pilger unearths, with steely attention, the facts, the filthy truth. and tells it like it is.

Julian Assange

The third extraordinary Australian journalist is Julian Assange. He was born on 3 July 1971.  He became a skilled computer programmer and hacker as a teenager. Later he later studied mathematics and physics at Melbourne University. According to one of his math teachers he was an exceptional student but he clearly had other tasks and priorities.

Assange has edited or co-authored at least four books. For three years he worked with Australian journalist and co-author Suelette Dreyfus to write “Underground : Tales of Hacking, Madness and Obsession in the Electronic Frontier”.  First published in 1997, the Sydney Morning Herald called it “astonishing”. Rolling Stone described it as “An entirely original focus on the bizarre lives and crimes of an extraordinary group of teenage hackers.” 

In 2012, Assange produced the TV series “The World Tomorrow”. Over 12 segments, he interviews Ecuador President Rafael Correa, the current President of Pakistan Imran Khan, the leader of Hezbollah Hasan Nasrallah, leaders in the Occupy movement, Noam Chomsky, Tariq Ali and many more.

In 2013, Assange and WikiLeaks produced the movie Mediastan. It shows WikiLeaks’ global travels to meet publishers of the secret documents.  In 2014 OR Books published “When WikiLeaks met Google”. It consists of a discussion between Julian Assange and Google founder Eric Schmidt plus two companions. Assange writes a 51-page introduction which puts the discussion in context: how Google and other internet giants have become part of  US foreign policy establishment.

In 2015 Assange edited “The WikiLeaks files: the world according to the US Empire” and in 2016 the book “Cypherpunks: Freedom and the Future of the Internet” was published. Assange and three other computer experts discuss the future of the internet and whether computers will emancipate or enslave us. One reviewer says, “These guys are really getting at the heart of some very big issues that practically no one (outside of Cypherpunk circles) is thinking about.”

But what makes Assange extraordinary is his work as editor in chief and publisher of WikiLeaks.  Following are a few examples of information they have conveyed to the public:

* Corruption by family and associates of  Kenyan leader Daniel Arap Moi.

* Corruption at Kaupthing Bank in the Iceland financial crisis

* Dumping of toxic chemicals in Ivory Coast.

* Killing of  Reuters journalists and over 10 Iraqi civilians by US Apache attack helicopter in “Collateral Murder” video.

* 92,000 documents on the war in Afghanistan (and civilian casualties previously hidden)

* 400,000 documents on the war in Iraq (including reports showing the US military ignoring torture by their Iraqi allies)

* corruption in Tunisia (helping spark the Arab Spring)

* NSA spying on German leader Merkel, Brazilian leader Roussef, French presidents (Sarkozy, Hollande, Chirac) and more.

* secret agreements in the proposed Trans Pacific Partnership

* emails and files from the US Democratic National Committee

* CIA spying and other tools  (“Vault 7”).

Julian Assange has received much recognition: Sam Adams Award, Time’s Person of the Year, Le Monde Person of the Year,  Martha Gellhorn Prize for Journalism, Sydney Peace Foundation Gold Medal, Serena Shim Award and others.

But Assange has incurred the wrath and enmity of the US government. The “Collateral Damage” video and war logs exposed the brutal reality of US aggression and occupation.  Kofi Annan, former Secretary-General of the United Nations, said the US invasion of Iraq violated international law. But there has been no accountability.

In response to WikiLeaks’ revelations, the United States has ignored the crimes and gone after the messenger who revealed the crimes. Thus Julian Assange was confined to the Ecuador Embassy for 7 years and is now in Belmarsh maximum-security prison.  The US wants him extradited to the US where he has been charged with 18 counts of  “Illegally Obtaining, Receiving and Disclosing Classified Information”.  The extradition hearing is scheduled to begin on 24 February 2020.

Across Three Generations

Australia should be proud of these exceptional native sons. Each one has made huge contributions to educating the public about crucial events.

Wilfred Burchett reported from the “other side” when the West was waging war on Korea, Vietnam, Laos, and China. He was demonized and even called “Public Enemy Number One” during the Cold War.  But those who read his reports and many books found an accurate and objective writer. His many books stand the test of time.

From the 60s to today, John Pilger has told stories that were never or rarely told.  He has exposed facts and drawn conclusions which shame or should shame powerful forces, whether in the U.K., U.S.A. or Australia. He has documented the real heroes who are otherwise ignored.

Julian Assange is from the new generation. He has reported and published secret information about military-political power on “this side”. He has revealed truths that powerful forces do not want the public to know, even when it is being done in their name.

Now Assange is in prison and in danger of being extradited to the United States. If this is allowed to happen, it will mark a crushing setback and perhaps the death of independent investigative journalism.

John Pilger is a major supporter of Julian Assange. So is the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture, Nils Melzer. In a blockbuster interview, he says “I have never seen a comparable case….The Swedish authorities … intentionally left him in limbo. Just imagine being accused of rape for nine-and-a-half years by an entire state apparatus and the media without ever being given the chance to defend yourself because no charges have ever been filed.” He goes to describe reading the original Swedish documents, saying “I could hardly believe my eyes…. a rape had never taken place at all…. the woman’s testimony was later changed by the Stockholm police… I have all the documents in my possession, the emails, the text messages.”  

Melzer describes the refusal of governments to comply with his requests. He sums up what is happening and the significance. “A show trial is to be used to make an example of Julian Assange….. Four democratic countries joined forces – the U.S., Ecuador, Sweden, and the U.K. – to leverage their power to portray one man as a monster so that he could be later burned at the stake without any outcry. The case is a huge scandal and represents the failure of Western rule of law. If Julian Assange is convicted, it will be a death sentence for freedom of the press.”

The three extraordinary Australian journalists were all rebels and all international. They all depended on freedom of the press which is now at stake.

GOLAN-JERUSALEM: ROBBERY OF THE CENTURY BY TWO CLOWNS UNDER TRIAL

 

The biggest problem in the world are journalists.

Many of whom work for editorial groups financed by multinationals that aspire to control the planet, others are really incapable and serve to support the same project, some of the best remain confined to talk-show that appear more like gossip broadcasts rather than real insights into journalism of inquiry.

Next to them there are very few characters, Max Blumenthal of GrayZone is certainly one of these, who try to challenge the logic of the mainstream every so often they succeed. Still others have fallen into battle trying to fight what, after a public admission by a former CIA director, I have called Deep International State.

Among these was the Italian Mauro di Mauro, who vanished while he was investigating the death of Enrico Mattei, former president of the italian National Hydrocarbons Authority (ENI), who died in a mysterious plane crash like his friend Dag Hammarskjold, UN general secretary still awaiting justice after 58 years for dossiers secreted by the United Kingdom.

There was Mino Pecorelli, believed by the Carabinieri general Carlo Alberto Dalla Chiesa, also killed by the Mafia, sentenced to death for his knowledge of the P2 covered lodge and above all on the secrets about the imprisonment and killing of the Christian Democrat politician Aldo Moro, kidnapped and killed by the terrorists of the Red Brigades in 1978.

We cannot forget Mauro Rostagno who was assassinated while in Trapani he was investigating the report on the Masonic lodges of the Centro Scontrino, the Mafiosi of Cosa Nostra and the military secret services with ties to Stay Behind, the US paramilitary operation in Italy.

In more recent times it is worth mentioning Lasantha Wickrematunge, the Sri Lankan journalist killed in an ambush while he was investigating some government politicians about some suspected arms supplies from the United Kingdom. And finally Jamal Kashoggi, Islamic columnist of the Washington Post torn to pieces in the consulate of Saudi Arabia in Istanbul.

Just because many journalists have been sold or repaid, representatives of two world powers such as the US and Israel can make people believe they are serious while they are gambling on the table of international provocations.

If we were in a world at least a little serious, at least half of the journalists would have burst out laughing when American President Donald Trump together with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu presented his Deal of the Century.

The project is quickly summarized in a few words: to recognize the Palestinian Territories as a State in order to certify Israel’s annexation of the Golan stolen from Syria together with a slice of Jerusalem destined to become the capital of the Zionist state with good peace of Muslims.

The Palestinians, however, would also be allowed to make a tunnel between the Gaza Strip and the West Bank to maintain continuous and uninterrupted connections, at least until some Mossad secret service agent will be given orders to place a bomb in the middle of the underground passage.

Let’s face it: Monty Python would not have been able to study a better screenplay for a show that would only be comical if the bombings that Israel and the USA, whenever they want, continue to do in the Middle East were not involved.

Only the idiots, like many hired Western journalists, can believe the conditional proposal to recognize Palestine as a state only in the face of the possibility of claiming a dominance over Jerusalem and, above all, to legitimize the robbery of the Golan, with its precious waters of the underground and its strategic position, to the detriment of Syria by President Bashar Al Assad that the Israeli Defense Forces army did everything to destroy together with the USA.

The disgusted response of Muslims is inevitable.

“Jerusalem is not for sale, and our rights are not bartered.” Palestinian President Abu Mazen said so, rejecting the peace plan announced today by US President Donald Trump. Trump’s plan “is aggressive and will provoke a lot of anger.”

Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said the Israeli part of the Plan “does not make sense”, Reuters told Israeli media. “Jerusalem – he continued – will always be a land for the Palestinians. The Palestinians will face this Plan and Jerusalem will always remain a Palestinian land”.

Trump’s plan is “doomed to failure”. So Iran rejects the American President’s proposal without appeal for peace in the Middle East between Israelis and Palestinians. “The shameful American plan imposed on the Palestinians is the betrayal of the century and is doomed to failure,” the foreign ministry said in a statement. The Lebanese Shiite allies of Tehran, Hezbollah, along the same lines, according to which the Trump plan is “an attempt to eliminate the rights of the Palestinian people”.

What makes the farce of the White House plan really comical is the situation in which the two allies who propose it find themselves.

Trump under trial in the Senate for an Impeachment on the conditioning of Ukraine, Netanyahu, still in the role of prime minister in extension for the failure of two parliamentary elections in Tel Aviv unable to give a majority to the Knesset, is formally indicted for various episodes of bribery.

Two politicians hovering over the abyss of electoral defeat, Netanyahu in the elections of March 3, 2020 and Trump in those of November 3 of the same year, try to win consensus by proposing the impossible to Palestinians on the skin of Syria.

More than the Deal of the Century, as defined by the tenant of the White House, the attempted robbery of the century appears to give Israel the Golan plateau in defiance of the last UN pronouncement, peremptory in reiterating that that area must go back to Syria where it belongs.

It would be a dangerous robbery. But above all it becomes grotesque and ridiculous because invented by two politicians at risk of defeat in their respective countries where they are under investigation. Two shameless clowns in the service of Deep International State.


By Fabio Giuseppe Carlo Carisio
Source: Gospa News

Syrian Journalist Wafaa Shabrouni Wounded by Erdogan Terrorists in Idlib

January 29, 2020 Miri Wood

Wafaa Shabrouni RT Arabic Syria وفاء شبروني سورية
Wafa’a Shabrouni severely wounded by NATO weaponry via Erdogan’s terrorists.

Wafaa Shabrouni, Syrian journalist for RT, was seriously wounded in newly liberated Maarat al Numan, Idlib countryside. She and her crew came under attack while reporting on the Syrian Arab Army’s military campaign against the remaining Erdogan-run mercenaries and other al Qaeda factions.

Shabrouni was taken to the Hama State Hospital for surgery to remove shrapnel from her face and her jaw.

Wafaa Shabrouni RT Arabic Syria وفاء شبروني سورية
Wafaa Shabrouni, Syrian journalist for RT Arabic.

Also at the time of this writing, there have been no reports from western media about the wounding of Shabrouni by NATO armed savages.

This history of Syrian journalists being kidnapped and murdered by the terrorists dates back to the early days of the crisis. The journalist martyrs got little or no western news coverage; how could they, given western reporters are NATO stenographers who support the murderers armed by NATO countries.

In August 2011, TV journalist Yara Saleh was abducted by members of the moderate criminals, the FSA, who moderately murdered a member of her crew.

femicide -TV journalist Yara al Saleh & her crew were rescued by the SAA.
TV journalist Yara al Saleh & her crew were rescued by the SAA.

Syrian journalist Maya Nasser was murdered by a moderate FSA sniper, while reporting live on PressTV, from Damascus, 26 September 2012.

Yara Abbas was martyred when her Ikhbariya TV crew was fired upon also by moderate FSA snipers, while covering the advances of the Syrian Arab Army, on 27 May 2013 (coincidentally, this was the weekend American illegal John McCain was meeting with kidnappers and cohorts of al Nusra in Syria.).

Yara Abbas
Martyr Yara Abbas, Syria’s Ikhbariya TV Reporter

Khaled al Khatib was on assignment with RT TV, covering Syrian Arab Army operations in the eastern countryside of Homs, when his crew was hit by an anti-tank missile, 30 July 2017. He was martyred immediately.

al-khatib
Syrian journalist Khaled al Khatib, martyred 30 July 2017.
khartabil
Khaled al Khatib’s mom carries her son’s coffin.

Less than one month later, 26 August 2017, soldier-journalist Mohammad Salman Nasser was martyred in the southern countryside of Raqqa. He was both defending his homeland from NATO terrorists, and reporting on the SAA operations.

nato-terrorists
Soldier-journalist, Mohammad Salman Naser, 1982-2017.
Soldier-journalist Mohammad Salman Naser with his family

On 8 March 2018, Syrian journalist Hassan Ali Badran was martyred by NATO armed terrorists in al Ghouta, prior to the liberation of the suburb of Damascus, by the Syrian Arab Army.

alghouta
Hassan Ali Badran.
Hassan leans over the coffin of his father, Brig. Gen. Ali Badran, martyred in Harasta.

There is a well-respected, allegedly impartial, New York City based NP/NGO, that claims to support “press freedom and defends the rights of journalists.” It is the Committee to Protect Journalists, and its massive, colonialist bias is seen on its website. Type in all of these names of Syrian journalists martyred or wounded in their home country. Some are not mentioned; some have a burp. Then, use the site to search any of the illegal westerners killed in Syria, those masquerading as journalists or actual journalists — such as illegal Marie Colvin — and you will find kilometers and kilometers of reports.

Wafaa Shabrouni is reported to be in stable condition.

— Miri Wood

Blinded Palestinian Journalist Exposes Israel’s Increasing Violence Against Media

Muath Amarneh Feature photo

Blinded Palestinian Journalist Exposes Israel’s Increasing Violence Against Media

On November 15, Palestinian photojournalist Muath Amarneh covered a demonstration in Surif, a West Bank city where residents were protesting against the theft of their land by Israeli settlers. Wearing a press jacket and helmet, Amarneh was shot in the head by an Israeli bullet while taking pictures on a nearby hill — about 330 feet from the soldiers.

“Everything just changed. I felt the whole world was circling around me. And I felt my whole life flash before me. I felt like I was dying,” Amarneh said, describing his reaction when hit.

With blood dripping from his eye, Amarneh was taken to a hospital in Hebron, West Bank. He was eventually transported to Hadassah Hospital in Jerusalem where his left eye was removed. He remains there awaiting further operations to have the bullet removed from his head. 

Videos and photos capturing Amarneh after the bullet pierced his eye went viral online. Using the hashtags #MuathEye#EyeofTruth and #MuathAmarneh, “journalists across the world posted images of themselves with an eyepatch or one hand over their eye as a way to stand in solidarity with Amarneh.

Increasing Israeli violations against Palestinian press

After being shot, Israeli soldiers rushed to Amarneh claiming he wasn’t hit by one of their bullets but rather with stones thrown by protesters, but Amarneh was behind a line of demonstrators hurling stones.

“The army told me that, “This is not from us. This is from the people who are protesting and throwing stones. It’s the Palestinian who threw stones at you. It’s not a bullet from us,” Amarneh said.

Israeli police said they used “non-lethal means” to “disperse the rioters.” “The use of the non-lethal means was not directed at all at the photographer, and his injury could have been caused by the violent rioters,” Micky Rosenfeld, the Israeli police’s foreign press spokesperson, said.

Palestinian journalists take cover from tear gas shot by Israeli police during a solidarity protest on November 17, 2019 in Bethlehem. Photo | Musa Al-Shaer

However, Amarneh believes he was directly attacked by Israeli forces.

Four days before Amarneh lost his eye, Omar al-Badawi was fatally shot by Israeli soldiers during clashes near Hebron. Video captured al-Badawi as he was shot in the chest by Israeli forces. Soldiers claimed they assumed al-Badawi was carrying a molotov cocktail, but he was merely holding a towel to extinguish a fire engulfing a tree near his home. Amarneh was one of the journalists who documented al-Badawi’s murder.

“After what happened, the Israeli army really doesn’t want journalists to show the world what’s going on,” Amarneh said. He feels that since al-Badawi’s killing was broadcast globally, the Israeli army is intensifying its crackdown on Palestinian journalists. He mentioned how an area in Bethlehem designated for journalists for years by the Israeli military is now an unwelcome location.

“This Thursday, they started telling journalists that if you stay in this place, we will arrest you,” Amarneh said, describing how the soldiers pushed the journalists and seized their cameras.

The following Sunday after Amarneh was shot, Palestinian journalists held a sit-in in Bethlehem to express their support. Israel Police dispersed the crowd using tear gas, with dozens of demonstrators suffocating from tear gas inhalation and seven individuals lightly wounded.

Israeli polcie grab a member of The Palestinian Journalists’ Syndicate during a solidarity protest on November 17, 2019, in Bethlehem. Photo | Musa Al-Shaer

On Wednesday, the Israeli army closed the office of Palestine Television in Jerusalem for six months after storming Al-ArzMedia Services Company which provides services to Palestine TV.

Mousa Rimawi, Director General of the Palestinian Center for Development and Media Freedoms (MADA), believes the Israeli army targeted Amarneh.

“I think they are targeting him. Witnesses say that. He said that. This is not the first time they are targeting journalists,” Rimawai said.

We saw it in Gaza, especially last year. When the Israeli army was targeting journalists, killing two of them and injuring tens of journalists by snipers.”

In 2018, Palestinian journalists Yasser Murtaja and Ahmad Hassan Abu Hussein were killed by Israeli snipers just one week apart from each other while covering the Great March of Return protests at the Gaza border.

According to The Palestinian Center Development and Media Freedoms (MADA), 455 Israeli violations and 129 Palestinian violations occurred against Palestinian journalists in 2018  — a more than 52 percent increase in the last two years. During the first half of 2019, 330 violations were documented against Palestinian media  — a 19 percent increase from the same period last year. The majority of these violations comprise physical abuse, arrests or detentions, questioning, preventing coverage and shutting down websites and social media accounts.

Palestinian journalists

Palestinian journalists help a colleague injured during a solidarity protest on November 17, 2019 in Bethlehem. Photo | Musa Al-Shaer

“They want to silence this media who is covering the events relating to the Israeli occupation and to cover their crimes and daily practices in Palestine,” Rimawi said.

The Palestinian Journalists’ Syndicate (PJS) places the number of violations in 2019 higher, at more than 630, with 90 percent of reported attacks executed by Israel. Musa Al-Shaer, a board member of PJS, said MADA’s calculation is lower because they adjust the statistics in order to receive financial aid from the international community.

 

Facebook’s censorship of Palestinian media

Of the 330 documented violations by MADA, 65 of them were committed by Facebook. In 2016, the Israeli government and Facebook announced they were working together to combat incitement on social media. The driving force behind this partnership was Israel’s accusation that Palestinian violence is fueled by incitement online.

“After that announcement, Facebook began to block Palestinian sites for journalists and media outlets,” Rimawi said. He explained that Facebook has adopted Israel’s definition of incitement when deciding what content to censor. But going by Israel’s standards poses a problem for Palestinians.

“If someone posts a picture of a martyr, that’s incitement for Israelis, but for Palestinians that is normal. You could be posting a picture of your cousin who is a martyr,” Rimawi said.

Palestinians call those who died resisting the Israeli occupation “martyrs”, while Israelis refer to them as terrorists. He mentioned that words like Hamas (which literally translates to excitement in Arabic) and Qassam, the name of the military wing of Hamas, are consistently flagged. In some instances, a person named Qassam might end up with a deactivated Facebook account.

Facebook censorship of Palestinian media is increasing, and Israel appears to be the one steering the wheel. In 2017, 85 percent of Israeli government requests to “remove content deemed harmful or dangerous” was approved.

“We know Israel is pressuring other social media sites like Instagram and Twitter, but there are no agreements between them and Israel,” Rimawi said. “But with Facebook there is.”

 

Paving the way for Palestinian freedom of press

Amid a sharp rise in violations against Palestinian journalists, MADA is working with other civil society organizations to build a coalition to defend freedom of expression and digital freedom in Palestine. The coalition plans to tackle legislation, government policies, monitoring press freedom, Israeli violations and Facebook restrictions.

“It’s a good thing when people will not be silent, when countries will not be silent when there’s killing of journalists. But it must be linked with policies,” Rimawi said.

Muath Amarneh

Palestinian photojournalist Muath Amarneh lies injured in his hospital bed in Jerusalem. Photo | Delilah Boxstein

Amarneh has frequently experienced Israeli abuse in his ten years of working as a journalist. He was previously shot multiple times by rubber bullets on the lower parts of his body and fired at by water cannons. But this recent attack was the most severe.

Amarneh is currently focused on his recovery but asserts he will seek legal action when he is healed. Despite the trauma of losing his eye, he still plans to continue reporting.

“I won’t stop being a journalist but now I feel unsafe,” Amarneh said. “They could attack my other eye. It will be harder for me to continue what I am doing.”

Feature photo | Palestinian photojournalist Mu’ath Amarneh, seated on the left, moments after being shot in the left eye by an Israeli soldier in Surif, West Bank on November 15, 2019. Photo | Palestinian Information Center

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.

View image on Twitter
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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

295 people are talking about this

“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.

Related image

“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.

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

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.

Marzieh Hashemi, an International Role Model

By Stephen Lendman
Source

Released by the FBI after enduring cruel and unusual mistreatment in illegal detention for 10 days, Marzieh, a US and Iranian citizen, was joyously welcomed home by supporters on arrival at Tehran’s Imam Khomeini International Airport Wednesday evening.

Arrested and detained under harsh conditions on the spurious pretext of being a material witness in a criminal case her family knows nothing about. 

Flagrantly abusing her was most likely all about US hostility toward Iran for its sovereign independence and opposition to Washington’s imperial agenda.

It was also related to how Press TV and Marzieh operate, truth-telling their mandate on vital issues, standing for peace, equity and justice, polar opposite US-led Western major media managed news misinformation and disinformation – the official narrative drowning out what everyone most needs to know.

The Trump regime’s scheme backfired. Marzieh’s arrest and mistreatment became an international cause celebre, attracting major media attention. Supportive public demonstrations were held in her behalf, what very likely saved her, along with her son witnessing her unlawful arrest.

Otherwise the FBI could have disappeared her, never to be seen or heard from again, no one knowing what happened – what can happen to anyone US authorities target anywhere worldwide, what did happen and continues happening to thousands of innocent victims of US imperial viciousness.

Nearly all Guantanamo detainees committed no crimes, unlawfully held uncharged and untried, the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR earlier saying:

“The vast majority of the men at Guantanamo should never have been detained in the first place…seized in broad sweeps and sold to the US (for) substantial bounties.”

The same goes for nearly all detainees at other US torture prisons, operating globally, individuals unjustly abducted and wrongfully imprisoned, held longterm, grossly mistreated, denied habeas rights, due process, and equal protection under law.

Americans are as vulnerable as others abroad. The Bush/Cheney regime targeted people’s lawyer, civil and human rights champion, justice warrior Lynne Stewart for defending a client they wanted imprisoned, falsely charging him with a crime he didn’t commit.

Lynne was wrongfully charged under the 1996 Antiterrorism Act on four counts of aiding and abetting a terrorist organization, along with violating Special Administrative Measures (SAMS) imposed by the US Bureau of Prisons.

Her show trial was a travesty of justice. At the time, then-National Lawyers Guild President Michael Avery said the Justice Department “was resolute from day one in making a symbol out of Lynne Stewart in support of its campaign to deny people charged with crimes of effective legal representation.”

Her case was precedent-setting, chilling, and according to former Center for Constitutional Rights President Michael Ratner, sent “a message to lawyers who represent alleged terrorists that it’s dangerous to do so.”

Her attorney Michael Tigar called her conviction and imprisonment “an attack on a gallant, charismatic and effective fighter for justice,” adding: “I have never seen such an abuse of government power.”

Sentenced to 10 years imprisonment by the imperial state for doing the right thing, she was freed on December 31, 2013 by a compassionate release order because of her terminal breast cancer diagnosis, at the time given months to live – surviving until March 7, 2017.

In 2010, neuroscientist Aafia Siddiqui was convicted and imprisoned for being a Muslim in America at the wrong time, a war OF terror victim, brutally tortured and mistreated in detention. She committed no crimes. No evidence suggested any. 

She remains imprisoned longterm, the life and well-being of a brilliant, soft-spoken, religious Pakistani/American destroyed by the imperial state.

She was falsely called an al-Qaeda operative and facilitator, outrageously accused of involvement in biochemical warfare, including (nonexistent) planned attacks against the Statue of Liberty, Brooklyn Bridge, Empire State Building, and Wall Street – along with terrorist recruiting and other phony charges, not a shred of evidence supporting any of them.

She was disappeared for over a year with no information on her whereabouts released, brutally tortured and raped in captivity, transformed into a zombie from her horrific ordeal.

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

The Cowardly Abduction of Journalist: The FBI Abducts Journalist Marzieh Hashemi

Marwa Osman

A journalist has been kidnapped inside US territories without any charge or crime. On Sunday January 13, the FBI abducted American-born journalist and anchor Marzieh Hashemi , born Melanie Franklin, upon arrival at St. Louis Lambert International Airport in St. Louis, Missouri, , according to her family and friends.

Marzieh Hashemi, a journalist and anchor working for Iran’s English-language Press TV television news network, has been detained and imprisoned in the United States for unspecified reasons and is reportedly being treated badly by the authorities who abducted her. Press TV reported that Marzieh had arrived in the US to visit her ill brother and other family members. Her relatives were unable to contact her, and she was allowed to contact her daughter only two days after her arrest.

Hashemi, who has been living in Iran for years and is a Muslim revert, has told her daughter that she was handcuffed and shackled and was being treated like a criminal. The journalist also said that she had her hijab forcibly removed, and was photographed without her headscarf upon arrival at the prison.

As if forcing her hijab off was not enough humiliation for Hashemi, she has only been allowed to wear a T-shirt, and is currently using another one to cover her head. Furthermore, she has been offered only pork as meal – which is forbidden under Islamic law – and even denied bread and any other halal food after refusing to consume the meat. Hashemi told her daughter that the only food she has had over the past two days has been a packet of crackers.

The United States of America, which likes to remind us daily how it is amongst the few countries around the globe to respect human rights, freedom of speech and tolerates religious differences, has showed the world the absolute opposite by abducting Marzieh. Not only did the FBI illegally detain a person without any charges, they also resided to humiliating her by forcing her to remove what every pious Muslim woman holds sacred, her Hijab. To add salt to the injury, they offered only the type of food, which they knew for sure she wouldn’t eat because it contains pork which is considered ill-gotten in Islam.

Just think about it for a second, if a this is how an American citizen is treated while in FBI custody without any charge then imagine the cases inside US illegal detention centers which are spread across the globe to torture “suspects” whom the US “ believes” are a “threat to national security”. Who’s to say that Marzieh will get to have legal presentation to defend her? Who’s to say she will ever go to court? Who’s to say if we ever see Marzieh again?

The FBI or whichever US authority that had Marzieh abducted had only one thing in mind by incarcerating her. They want to punish Hashemi for being a beacon of truth at times of fake news peak and to intimidate all other journalist especially in English speaking TV channels in order to stay silent and not report what the US believes to be against its imperial agenda.

Violence against journalists which the US usually accuses other states of conducted has become the bread of the US authorities.  What the US has shown its own citizen Marzieh now is simply hatred because of her voice and her activism, which was amplified on social networks by Press TV’s viewers who now became the loudest defenders of Hashemi.

These expressions of hatred by US authorities against Marzieh legitimize violence against journalists all across the world, thereby undermining journalism, and democracy itself. The same democracy that the US wages wars and commits war crimes in order to impose on other “less fortunate countries”.

At a time when the US supposedly a “democracy” that has made “tolerance” its number one social goal, is failing miserably at both democracy and tolerance because the US is slowly but surely killing Freedom of Speech. The US allows journalists to say what they want, as long as their words don’t cause tangible harm to the empire’s agendas and interests.

Where the concept of Freedom of Speech is absent, people believe they are entitled to kill others who say things they find offensive or that may threaten their interests. Without Freedom of Speech, we would literally be living in the Dark Ages and that is exactly where the US government wants to take all of us who dare challenge the empire’s narrative and who dare expose the empire’s complicity in crimes all over the world.

However, we shall not be silenced, neither shall Marzieh. We shall be Marzieh’s voice and we shall make sure her message will be heard, one of tolerance, righteousness and sympathy with the oppressed. We can all voice our support to Marzieh Hashemi and our contempt to the illegal actions of the US authorities against Marzieh by tweeting, posting and writing about her story. Marzieh’s family members and media activists have launched a social media campaign with the hashtags #FreeMarziehHashemi and #Pray4MarziehHashemi in support of the detained journalist. Let us all use these hashtags and raise our voices to end violence against journalists everywhere.

Source: Al-Ahed News

The Cowardly Abduction of Journalist Marzieh Hashemi by the US Regime

Harun Elbinawi

News reached us of the cowardly abduction of prominent Journalist and Press TV news anchor Marzieh Hashemi by the Trump regime. Hashemi was born in the US and she is a US citizen. She went to visit her sick brother and other relatives in the US and was abducted. She is presently held in a FBI detention facility in Washington DC with no formal charge press against her.

Hashemi’s hijab was forcefully removed and they denied her halal food in the detention facility. Dear Friends, these are the barbarians that are always fraudulently parroting freedom and respect for Human Rights.

The abduction of an innocent Journalist is part of the Trump regime obsession with Iran. Trump and gang want the resistance axis to recognize the existence of the illegal and illegitimate Zionist regime occupying Palestine. The Trump gang are ignorant of the fact that the Political Earthquake that happened in Iran in 1979 is today bigger than Iran. Millions around the world are inspired by that glorious Revolution with hundreds of thousands of them in the US itself. That Revolution changed the course of history forever and the sanctions and savage barbarism of the Trump gang can never be able to alter this.

Marzieh Hashemi is a big fan of the leader of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria, Sheikh Ibraheem Zakzaky, and a strong supporter of the Islamic Movement. When I was in Iran I was informed that she organized workshops to highlight the extreme savagery and barbarism of Zaria Genocide by the Buhari regime.

Hashemi went to visit her sick brother and she was abducted be the desperate Trump regime. My blood brother is a US citizen but I cut all contacts with him when he became a US citizen. He protested but I told him I did that to protect him. I am already marked by them. They know me. They will try to use him to get at me. Murderous imperialists are genocidal savages.

God willing, we will mount campaign for the freedom of Hashemi from the dungeon of the Trump regime on all social media platforms. The Hash Tags are:

#FreeMarziehHashemi #Pray4MarziehHashemi

Source: elbinawi.wordpress.com, Edited by website team

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MEDIA IGNORES THE PLIGHT OF KIRILL VYSHINSKY: A RUSSIAN JOURNALIST IMPRISONED WITHOUT TRIAL IN UKRAINE

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The 2018 Person of the Year issue features four covers depicting Philippines-based editor Maria Ressa, jailed Burmese journalists Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo, the staff of the Capital Gazette, and the Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who was killed in October at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. But jailed Ukrainian journalist Kirill Vyshinsky wasn’t included. Share this with those whom are unaware of Kirill’s plight. http://bit.ly/2UCZ0nb
Sign the petition to help release imprisoned journalist Kirill Vyshinsky 👉👉👉http://bit.ly/FreeKirill

Eva Bartlett speaks with journalist Vladimir Rodzianko on the detention of Kirill Vyshinsky by Ukraine since May 2018. Ukrainian authorities accuse Vyshinsky of “treason” and have delayed his trials twice.

Nov 12, 2018, Mint Press News
The case of Russian-Ukranian journalist, Kirill Vyshinsky, imprisoned without fair trail in Ukraine since mid-May is yet another in a long list of attacks on journalists by NATO-aligned countries that never make the headlines.

petition for Vyshinsky’s release reads:

On May 15, 2018, the Ukrainian Security Service (SBU) carried out a massive operation against journalists, having forcefully searched the Ukrainian-based RIA Novosti’s central office in Kiev, including its correspondents’ homes, and arrest of it’s editor-in-chief, Kirill Vyshinsky.

On July 11, the court in Kherson, Ukraine extended Kirill’s imprisonment by 60 days without bail, and is currently being held captive, as his health is rapidly deteriorating.

As of November 1, the Kherson city court has extended the arrest of Kirill until December 28, without a legitimate trial and without right to bail.”

The journalist, if finally tried, could face up to 15 years in prison, although he was fulfilling his role as a journalist. While in prison, his health has deteriorated to the point that his lawyer had to request urgent medical treatment, Sputnik reported.

Yet, aside from the rather bland entry on the Reporters Without Borders (RWB) website, expressing “worry” for Vyshinsky, only Russian media seem to be reporting on the prolonged and illegal detention of a journalist. Just imagine the selective outrage corporate media would express in chorus were the journalist imprisoned in Russia. The RWB entry did, at least, note:

“The authorities must either precisely explain how the alleged actions constituted high treason or release Kirill Vyshinsky without delay.”

Supporters of Vyshinsky are asking for a fair trial and fair media coverage.

To learn more, I spoke with American journalist Vladimir Rodzianko, the author of the petition and co-administrator of a Facebook group in support of Kirill Vyshinsky.

Top Photo | Kirill Vyshinsky, surrounded by Ukrainian officials and security in Kiev, Ukraine. Photo | Reuters

…and yet:

Screenshot from 2018-12-13 15-17-40

Talmud and Israel

November 23, 2018  /  Gilad Atzmon

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By Gilad Atzmon

The title of Ronen Bergman’s book, ‘Rise and Kill First,’  comes from the Babylonian Talmud: “If someone comes to kill you, rise up and kill him first.”

In his recent appearance on Democracy Now, Bergman repeated this phrase, arguing that the Talmudic verse defines the lethal vindictive practice that Israel has used for three generations. Yet, for one reason or another, Amy Goodman and Juan González, Democracy Now’s leading hosts, failed to do their jobs.  They didn’t question or  challenge Bergman’s observation regarding the Talmudic origin of Israel’s vengeful impetus.

Being a well meaning character I decided to remind González and Goodman  what  journalism is all about.

https://vimeo.com/302406300

 

Dirty little secret: ‘Think tanks’ are among top culprits in media disinformation crisis

By Bryan McDonald
Source

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Most consumers are unaware off the mainstream media’s dirty little secret. Think tanks are increasingly taking advantage of tight news budgets to influence the press agenda in favour of their sponsors.

Decades ago, these outfits generally operated as policy advisories. Although, some were comfortably enumerated ‘retirement homes’ for distinguished public servants or intellectuals. However, in modern times, they have become indistinguishable from lobbying firms. With the budgets to match.

On the Russia (and broader Eastern European) beat, think tank influence is becoming increasingly dangerous and malign. And it’s leading to a crisis in journalistic standards which nobody wants to acknowledge.

Two cases this week highlight the malaise.

Right now, Hungary and Ukraine are embroiled in a standoff regarding the rights of ethnic Hungarians in the latter country. The disagreement is entirely local, with roots in the 20th century carving-up of Budapest’s territory after it found itself on the losing side in both World Wars. As a result, lands were dispersed into other nations – former Czechoslovakia, Romania, Yugoslavia, and the Soviet Union.

There are tensions, to varying degrees, between Hungary and pretty much all the successor states housing its lost diaspora. Especially since nationalist Viktor Orban started handing out passports to compatriots stranded on foreign soil.

Until recently, most of the focus was on disagreements with Slovakia, but now attention has switched to Ukraine.

Let’s be clear. This is a mess of Kiev’s making. In a bid to appease “patriotic” fundamentalists, it began moves towards restrictive language laws, which has especially alienated the small band of Hungarian speakers on its western frontier.

Predictably, Budapest rushed in to defend its “people,” and now we have a nasty little imbroglio with headbangers on both sides entrenched.

One thing it’s not about is Russia. But Western media, egged on by think tank “experts,” keeps banging this drum. And here is a case in point this week.

The Los Angeles Times sent a correspondent to Uzhgorod, a Ukrainian border city. And rather than merely report from the ground, the writer spends a huge amount of the article referring to Russia and intimating that Orban is operating in lock-step with Moscow. Which is laughable to anybody who understands the Hungarian PM’s political methods. And which reeks of disinformation.

And who is used to “back up” these assertions? Only one Peter Kreko, “director of the Political Capital Institute, a Budapest think tank,” who is concerned Orban’s moves “help Russia hamper Ukraine’s Euro-Atlantic integration.”

Now, isn’t that a weird sort of thing for a Hungarian analyst to be worrying about? Well, it wouldn’t be if the LA Times were transparent and disclosed Kreko’s funding. You see, here’s who bankrolls the “Political Capital Institute, a Budapest think tank.”

  • Institute of Modern Russia (plaything of disgraced former 90’s oligarch and Putin opponent Mikhail Khodorkovsky)
  • National Endowment For Democracy (a US neoconservative outlet dedicated to “regime change” and promoting a pro-US outlook in Eastern Europe, whose chair has dubbed Ukraine “the big prize”)
  • Open Society (George Soros, who needs no introduction)

And here are some of the “most important international and domestic professional partners” of the Political Capital Institute:

  • Atlantic Council (NATO’s propaganda wing)
  • European Values (a Soros-funded Prague lobby group which smeared hundreds of European public figures as useful idiots for appearing on RT. Including Jeremy Corbyn and Stephen Fry).
  • German Marshall Fund of the United States (proprietors of the infamous ‘Hamilton 68’ dashboard)

Thus, the agendas at play are pretty clear here. Yet, the LA Times keeps its readers ignorant of Kreko’s paymasters. Which is especially interesting when you see RT, almost always, referred to as “the Kremlin-funded Russia Today,” or some version thereof, when described in Western media. And this is fine, because it’s true, but when the same rules don’t apply across the board, the bias is obvious.

The second case comes courtesy of “the Rupert Murdoch controlled Times of London” (see what I did there?) This week, it alleged around 75,000 Russians in London alone are Kremlin informants. All based on an “investigation” by the Henry Jackson Society (HJS), a neoconservative pressure group which seems to have successfully mounted a reverse takeover of the once venerable paper. With its leader writer, for instance, being a founding signatory of the concern.

Anyway, HJS, apparently based on a mere 16 interviews, with unnamed sources, concluded that “between a quarter and a half of Russian expats were, or have been informants.” And the Times splashed it.

However, it “clarified,” with comment from an anonymous “dissident,”how, in reality, “it was about half.” So, only the 32,500 odd ‘agents’ in London then. Which, if true, would means the walls of the Russian Embassy would have to be made from elastic to house the amount of handlers required to keep tabs on their information sources.

Look, it’s hardly a secret that standards at the Times are low. After all, the main foreign affairs columnist, Edward Lucas, is literally funded by US weapons manufacturers.

No, this is not a joke. Lucas is employed as a lobbyist at CEPA, a Washington and Warsaw-based outfit, which promotes the arms manufacturer’s agenda in Central and Eastern Europe. Namely, the likes of Raytheon, Lockheed Martin, FireEye, and Bell Helicopters.

Of course, The Times doesn’t make this conflict of interests clear to its readers. Another example of how the ‘think tank’ tail is wagging the mainstream media dog these days.

PULSE OF LIFE, SYRIA: DAMASCUS INTERNATIONAL FAIR, SYRIAN HERO WAR PHOTOGRAPHER

In Gaza

Back in Syria since late evening September 5, following are some updates, more in depth articles to follow.

At the fairgrounds for the 60th Damascus International Fair
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Last year’s fair was bombed by the “moderate” terrorists Western media  and talking heads support and whitewash. This year, with eastern Ghouta  and areas around Damascus liberated, the fair can go on, without worry  of bombings.
Regarding the mortar and missile terrorism Syrian  civilians were subject to for years, my 2014 article: The Terrorism We  Support in Syria: A First-hand Account of the Use of Mortars against  Civilians
At Damascus International Fair media centre, a display dedicated to remembering the brave, heroic, martyrs of Syrian media:
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While at the Fairgrounds on the evening of the opening events, I stopped into the media centre where I saw, in a flashback to what I saw in 2015, a memorial for martyred Syrian media workers/journalists.In October 2014, I wrote about martyred Syrian and allied journalists, noting:

“Why didn’t the August 2012 execution (which some reported as a beheading) of TV presenter Mohamed alSaeed, claimed by the Nusra gang, create the same outrage? Or the December 2013 kidnapping and point blank execution in Idlib by ISIS of Iraqi journalist Yasser al-Jumaili?

Why wasn’t the murder of Yara Abbas—a  journalist with al-Ikhbariaya, whose crew’s car was attacked by an  insurgent sniper—broadcast on Western television stations? Or that of  Lebanese cameraman for al-Mayadeen, Omar Abdel Qader, shot dead by an insurgent sniper on March 8, 2014 in eastern Syria.

Maya NaserAli AbbasHamza Hajj Hassan (Lebanese), MohamadMuntish(Lebanese), Halim Alou (Lebanese)…all  were media workers killed by the Western-backed insurgents in Syria.  Their deaths were reported by local media, some even got a passing  notice in corporate media, but none resulted in a media frenzy of horror  and condemnations as came with the alleged killings of Westerners.  Another at least 20 Arab journalists have been killed by NATO’s death  squads in Syria in the past few years.

The killing of 16 Palestinian journalists in  Gaza, at least 7 targeted while working, during the July/August 2014  Zionist Genocide of Gaza, also fell on deaf ears. Nor were the previous  years of murdering Palestinian journalists noted, let alone whipped into  a media frenzy. [see also: Silencing the PressSixteenth ReportDocumentation ofIsraeli Attacksagainst Media Personnel in the opt ]

In Syria, there are countless  civilians and Syrian soldiers who have been beheaded—and  in far more brutal and realistic manner than the SITE videos  insinuate—by the so-called “moderate” Free Syrian Army (FSA), al-Nusra,  Da’esh (ISIS), and hoards of other Western-backed mercenaries. At the  hands of the various NATO-gangs, tens of thousands more civilians have  been assassinated and subjected to various sadistic practices—torture,  mutilation, crucifixion, burning in ovens, throwing into wells, and a  sick lot more. Thousands more, including children and women, remain  missing after being kidnapped during mercenary raids and massacres…”

Thoughts on Damascus International Fair:

With my dear friend Vanessa Beeley and journalist Musa our thoughts at opening night of 60th Damascus International Fair, free of the terrorism which killed 6 people at last year’s fair.

Syrian MP Fares Shehabi on Damascus International Fair:

On September 6, the day of the opening of the 60th Damascus International Fair, I met Aleppo MP Fares Shehabi,  who spoke of the fair and fairs prior, noting that last year’s fair was  bombed by what the West dubs “moderate” terrorists, and that for 6  years the fair was not held at all, again due to the terrorists who were  surrounding Damascus.Fares Shehabi:

“The 59th fair,  last year, was in August. Those in eastern Ghouta, the so-called  ‘rebels’, al-Qaeda gangs, they targeted the entry of this fair and  killed some people, visitors and participants. One lady from old  Damascus, was killed, she was participating in this fair—she had a  clothing garment factory—and she was killed at the door, along with  three or four people.

Thank God the Syrian army liberated  eastern Ghouta and we don’t have any more terrorists there, and  everybody’s free now, and safe—that’s most important.”

“We expect  high participation from many countries and local firms. It’s about a  political statement, an economic statement, that we won this war and we  will win also the reconstruction war, and this is just one proof of it.”

This year, with eastern Ghouta and areas around Damascus liberated of terrorists, the fair can proceed in peace.

Syria continues to show the world what strength, resilience, humanity and love remain as ever in this beautiful nation.

60th Damascus International Fair: glimpses:

A compilation of a few visits to the fair, to give a taste of the pulse of life that thrives after the liberation of areas in and around Damascus of terrorists’ savage and brutal rule.

Syrian Hero: Wassim Issa:
Last May, after he was injured, I met a remarkable man whose work I had been following and sharing for a while: Wassim Issa (وسيم عيسى),  an inspiring and brave Syrian photographer whose photography and video  footage has moved many as he humanizes the soldiers of the Syrian Arab  Army as the heroic individuals and defenders of Syria that they are.
Yesterday, I saw Wassim again. Words can’t describe  the respect I have for his mind, his character, his strength, his  genuine and brave work for peace in Syria, his love for humanity.
Initially we just talked in general, but conversation drifted towards  his work as a photographer in the Syrian army. At one point, Wassim  mentioned last year’s fair, showing me a video of himself and 11  colleagues, going to the fair, a break from their position in Ain Tarma,  eastern Ghouta. The video shows them interacting with civilians, civilians praising them, thanking them for defending Syria.

Of the 12 soldiers, three have since been martyred and two have been seriously injured, losing their legs.

This year’s fair could not have happened without soldiers like Wassim Issa.
Like all Syrian soldiers, Wassim put his life on the line, for his country, he put his whole being into his work.

He talked about how he became a war photographer–his initiative, he  began with a small camera and began selling personal items to get better  equipment–and how his camera was lost the day he lost the lower parts  of his legs.
He told me: “I don’t need money, I don’t need a house, I just need peace for my country.”
I truly believe that thanks to Wassim and soldiers like him, and Syrian  civilians who support their country and their army, that peace will  return in the very near future.

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