The Assange saga: Practicing real journalism is criminally insane

The Assange saga: Practicing real journalism is criminally insane

January 07, 2021

By Pepe Escobar with permission and first posted at Asia Times

Synchronicity is definitely fond of mirror wonderwalls. The Julian Assange saga seemed to have entered a new chapter as he was, in thesis, on his way to – conditional – freedom this past Monday, only one day after the first anniversary of the start of the Raging Twenties: the assassination of Maj Gen Qassem Soleimani.

The fate of the journalist the Empire seeks to terminate was just juxtaposed to the fate of the warrior/diplomat the empire already terminated.

Two days later, Julian Assange was de facto re-incarcerated exactly as the Empire was hit by an “insurrection” which, whenever instigated in that distant “Third World”, is celebrated in Exceptionalistan as “people power”.

The invaluable Craig Murray, from inside Westminster Magistrates Court No. 1 in London, meticulously presented the full contours  of the insanity this Wednesday.

Read it in conjunction with the positively terrifying judgment delivered on Monday in the United States government case against Julian Assange.

The defining issue, for all those who practice real journalism all across the world, is that the judgment affirms, conclusively, that any journalist can be prosecuted under the US Espionage Act. Since a 1961 amendment, the Espionage Act carries universal jurisdiction.

The great John Pilger memorably describes “judge” Vanessa Baraitser as “that Gothic woman”. She is in fact an obscure public servant, not a jurist. Her judgment walks and talks like it was written by a mediocre rookie hack. Or, better yet, entirely lifted from the US Department of Justice indictment.

Julian Assange was – at the last minute – discharged on theoretically humanitarian grounds. So the case had, in effect, ended. Not really. Two days later, he was sent back to Belmarsh, a squalid maximum security prison rife with Covid-19. So the case is ongoing.

WikiLeaks editor Kristinn Hrafnnson correctly noted, “It is unjust and unfair and illogical when you consider her ruling of two days ago about Julian’s health in large part because he is in Belmarsh prison (…) To send him back there doesn’t make any sense.”

It does when one considers the real role of Baraitser – at a loss to juggle between the imperatives of the imperial agenda and the necessity of saving the face of British justice.

Baraitser is a mere, lowly foot soldier punching way above her weight. The real power in the Assange case is Lady Emma Arbuthnot, forced out of a visible role because of very compromising, direct ties she and her husband Lord Arbuthnot maintain with British intelligence and military, first revealed by – who else – WikiLeaks.

It was Arbuthnot who picked up obscure Baraitser – who dutifully follows her road map. In court, as Murray has detailed in a series of searing reports, Baraitser essentially covers her incompetence with glaring vindictiveness.

Baraitser discharged Julian Assange, according to her own reasoning, because she was not convinced the appalling American gulag would prevent him from committing suicide.

But the key issue is that before reaching this conclusion, she agreed and reinforced virtually every point of the US indictment.

So at this point, on Monday, the “Gothic woman” was performing a contortion to save the US from the profound global embarrassment of prosecuting a de facto journalist and publisher for revealing imperial war crimes, not United States government secrets.

Two days later, the full picture became crystal clear. There was nothing “humanitarian” about that judgment. Political dissent was equaled with mental illness. Julian Assange was branded as criminally insane. Once again, practicing journalism was criminalized.

There are reasons to believe though, that a United States government appeal may fail. A British High Court would be reluctant to overturn a judgment where Baraitser actually established findings of fact: a direct correlation between the state of the American gulag, and the extreme danger to Assange’s health if he’s thrown inside this system.

As it stands, it didn’t even matter that Assange’s defense offered a full package to obtain bail, from home arrest to the use of an ankle bracelet. Baraitser’s notion that the British security state would not be able to prevent his “escape” wearing an ankle bracelet in the middle of a total, police state-style lockdown does not even qualify as a joke.

So Julian Assange is back to suffering a perverse, interminable rewrite of Poe’s The Pit and the Pendulum.

The US government’s legal strategy before the High Court convenes in April is basically to try to prove its American gulag is competent enough to prevent a suicide – even though the ultimate aim of this post-truth Inquisition seems to be the termination of Julian Assange inside the penal system. That goal doesn’t even require a supermax prison in Colorado. Belmarsh will do.

Trump declares civil war for voter integrity in breaking (or broken) USA

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

December 05, 2020

by Ramin Mazaheri and crossposted with PressTV

by Ramin Mazaheri and crossposted with PressTV

The idea that Donald J. Trump could be (even the guy cleaning up behind the horse of) a white knight acting in favor of integrity is laughable, hypocritical and certainly controversial, but that is what a disaster United States political culture truly is.

The man who has been nationally lampooned as a rich buffoon and denigrated as a real estate shark for decades prior to 2016 is now being held up by half the country as a moral leader and living “founding father”. In the American context these persons may somehow even be proven somewhat right, but that is what a disaster United States political culture truly is.

Since the November 3rd vote we’ve all been asking: Where’s Donald? Only future historians can tell us if Trump was right to wait a month before finally formally declaring that he would litigate in order to ensure a judicial verification of a highly- and long-disputed vote. That’s a long time for moral reflection, but in the context of today’s hyper-hyper-polarised US politics it’s been half a lifetime.

In the disputed election of 2000 Al Gore conceded, allegedly for the good of the country, on December 13th – the day before the Electoral College voted that year. This year the College must also cast their ballot on December 14th. On December 2nd Trump gave a 45-minute speech in which he promised to not concede, also allegedly for the good of the country.

What Trump’s speech means is that the US constitution insists that the nation’s political drama is about to explode.

Probably even sooner than December 14: December 8th is known as the “safe harbor” date, because all states must have resolved their disputes by then. Justified or not, they do not currently appear to be resolved satisfactorily for scores of millions of Americans.

For the average Bidenite the blinders are completely on – perhaps they never even could see anything “over there” in Trumpland, which for some reason is a foreign country to many Bidenites. They insist that, “It’s over”. That’s fine – nobody is paying them to give objective, hard-news, daily journalism. They’re free to editorialise all they want. However, saying, “It’s over, Biden won,” is gypsy future-telling, a way to censor political conversation and it also ignores the historical gravity of Trump’s speech – this election is not “over” in any sort of historically-normal way whatsoever: What US election has ever been “over” like this?

Maybe Trump’s speech will deserve to be ignored in the history books? Maybe it will go down as the day history was changed? As this is my editorial I’m entitled to make whatever wild prediction I like, but I’d rather use it to point out just how badly my US journalist colleagues are performing at the craft (not profession) of journalism.

It was certainly quite a speech, indeed

The sitting US president publicly blasted the nation’s electoral process as having allowed, “fraud and abuse to occur on a scale never seen before”.

To my American journalist colleagues: that’s news.

Countless top American journalists refused to report on it. I’ll pass on a couple highlights:

“As president I have no higher duty than to defend the laws and the constitution of the United States,” said Trump, relating a political fact. “That is why I’m determined to protect our election system, which is now under coordinated assault and siege,” said Trump, making a claim for which he’ll have to provide overwhelming evidence, and quickly. “This is not just about honouring the votes of 74 million Americans who voted for me – it’s about ensuring that Americans can have faith in this election and in all future elections,” said Trump, in a statement which is seen in America as either patriotism or shameless partisan duplicity.

Trump listed a litany of alleged offences made across the country and claimed to have massive amounts of evidence to support him – these claims will have to be decided in court, definitively. Initially, however, they are decided in the court of public opinion.

However, the problem here is that US corporate media (and the tiny amount of state media) was so flagrantly biased against Trump’s speech that we probably can’t find 12 untainted people to fill a jury for one the many, many trials Trump seems to demand.

Acting crazy”, “Propaganda”, “My God, He’s Completely Insane” – this all journalistically-false but very real headlines from the very top US media. This is truly treatment reserved for foreign leaders who are currently threatening war on your country, not your own president.

Amazingly, CNN wouldn’t even air the speech. Is that the last pound on the head of the 2016-begun nail in the coffin for viewing them as “America’s television media of record”? The problem is: what other US corporate entity is a better alternative?

The reason I – for the first time – feel comfortable using the term “civil war” to describe the modern US is: 74 million Trump voters may now see themselves as being attacked and violated. Any sober analysis shows that the November 3rd vote (like it or not) was a concretisation and not a repudiation of “Trumpism” – they prevailed at the state legislative and executive levels, they made gains in the House of Representatives, they will likely hold on to Senate, judges at both the Supreme Court and local level are dominated by conservatives – they won everywhere but the US presidency, in fact. Therefore, anyone with a sense of fair play and tolerance realises that they deserve to be taken seriously; anyone with a survival instinct may realise that trying to push them around may find that they are quickly outnumbered in many areas.

But media opinion and public opinion don’t have any real weight in court. However, a fatal mistake often being made abroad is assuming that US public opinion is as anti-Trump as media opinion is. One merely needs to refer to the November 3rd results to see how incorrect that idea is. Seventy-four million Trumpers do have their media, but it is certainly not read outside of the US and must be searched for domestically.

One doesn’t have to like Trump or Trumpism, but calling them all “insane” is a way to start a fight, no?

I have never given much credence to the idea that the US is going to explode in election-related violence – above all, this was a sensationalistic US media ploy to demonise Trumpism, to distract from real issues, to get ratings and to increase Democratic turnout – but the events of this week definitely push the US further along that path. It is still very far off, I must add.

Conclusion: the current state of two different battles – the electoral and the cultural

Electorally: I am not going to waste your time by falsely claiming all of Trump’s allegations have either no merit or much merit – only a hysterical partisan is doing that. We should assume that those making false election claims in court will be punished for daring to make false claims.

I will note that I don’t believe US elections can withstand serious scrutiny, and that they were repeatedly ranked by places like Harvard as the worst of the core Western democracies. Allegations of widespread voter fraud – like here in Chicago – laughingly go back to the time of Kennedy, and all Americans know this.

On the other hand, I also note that if Joe Biden’s projected victory is reversed due to proven election fraud this would be not just a “once in a century” story but even more astounding than even that, in the American context. I’m not one to bet on the longest of long shots, unless I feel like wasting some money.

Anyway, that is all just journalistic hot air: courts have to decide on evidence, which is allegedly not all presented – we should not declare prematurely. After Gore conceded prematurely they found that 14% of African-American Floridians had their ballots questionably tossed – that’s not exactly “voter fraud”, but it certainly does render the 2000 American presidential results “fraudulent”.

Nobody here cares about though, strangely? Maybe not even African-American Floridians?

Maybe it’s the media, which now includes the appallingly censorious Twitter and Facebook?

But the inexorable, oppressive, inescapable (and undoubtedly pro-Bidenite) mantra here is “we need to quickly move on”, exactly as it was in America exactly 20 years ago.

Since 2000 nothing is learned; nothing is paid for; no reparations are given; no apologies are made; if America does it or wants it no rules apply because everything they do is exceptional, but only because they live in a vacuum divorced from history and just consequences.

Electorally: The rest of the world is advised to keep waiting – who knows what whims an imperial hegemon will take?

Culturally: I believe it might somewhat explode here given the content of Trump’s speech, the seeming impossibility of coordinating a proper & broadly-accepted judicial review of the vote before the upcoming Electoral College procedures (these dates are prescribed in the US Constitution and would require an already do-nothing Congress to modify), as well as the total war against it from the US media class.

But the math is simple: Two-thirds of the country voted. That means one-third of the country doesn’t care and probably wants it over. One third went to Biden. So it’s fair to guess that for almost 70% of the voting eligible population, “It’s over”. Really. Any talk of civil war must include this endemic American apathy, caused by the atrociousness inequality of their antiquated and aristocratic system, which implicitly sides with the status quo in its irresponsible sloth.

A reversal of Biden’s projected win implies, as I wrote, something of a revolution. In history civil wars have been launched by one-third of the population, but winning them without recourse to secession is certainly rare, and a change installed by only one-third of the population is not a revolution at all. Certainly, any Trumper “explosion” would have to be entirely grassroots, as the media wouldn’t cover it any more than they covered Trump’s historic speech, and it would have to be nearly clandestine, as Facebook and Twitter are now so incredibly and heavily censored. Finally, the US is imperialist and thus there is no revolution possible at all – Trumper or otherwise – they are barely able to have a functioning “democracy with imperialist characteristics”.

I can report that despite what a disaster United States political culture truly is the US system – like it or not – certainly seems to be democratically supported by the (highly propagandised) majority, therefore the world is obligated to respect its processes and results.

The problem for the entire world is that many inside the US do not or will not support the processes surrounding this 2020 presidential election, and that implies either broken processes or a broken culture.

When the imperial hegemon’s culture is broken that is either cause for concern or celebration, depending on your class. And maybe the US is not broken, but just breaking?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Smearing of Robert Fisk…Now That He Can’t Defend Himself

DECEMBER 3, 2020

Jonathan Cook: the View from Nazareth - www.jonathan-cook.net
Jonathan Cook is a Nazareth- based journalist and winner of the Martha Gellhorn Special Prize for Journalism [ MORE ]

BY JONATHAN COOK

Something remarkable even by the usually dismal standards of the stenographic media blue-tick brigade has been happening in the past few days. Leading journalists in the corporate media have suddenly felt the urgent need not only to criticise the late, much-respected foreign correspondent Robert Fisk, but to pile in against him, using the most outrageous smears imaginable. He is suddenly a fraud, a fabulist, a fantasist, a liar.

What is most ironic is that the journalists doing this are some of the biggest frauds themselves, journalists who have made a career out of deceiving their readers. In fact, many of the crowd attacking Fisk when he can no longer defend himself are precisely the journalists who have the worst record of journalistic malpractice and on some of the biggest issues of our times.

At least I have the courage to criticise them while they are alive. They know dead men can’t sue. It is complete and utter cowardice to attack Fisk when they could have made their comments earlier, to his face. In fact, if they truly believed any of the things they are so keen to tell us now, they had an absolute duty to say them when Fisk was alive rather than allowing the public to be deceived by someone they regarded as a liar and fantasist. They didn’t make public these serious allegations – they didn’t air their concerns about the supposedly fabricated facts in Fisk’s stories – when he was alive because they know he would have made mincemeat of them.

Most preposterous of all is the fact that the actual trigger for this sudden, very belated outpouring of concern about Fisk is a hit-piece written by Oz Katerji. I’m not sure whether I can find the generosity to call Katerji a journalist. Like Elliot Higgins of the US government-funded Bellingcat, he’s more like an attack dog beloved by establishment blue-ticks: he is there to enforce accepted western imperial narratives, disguising his lock-step support for the establishment line as edgy, power-to-the-people radicalism.

Anyone who challenges Katerji’s establishment-serving agenda gets called names – sometimes very rude ones. Fisk is just the latest target of a Katerji hatchet job against any journalist (myself, of course, included) who dares to step outside of the Overton Window. That these “serious” journalists think they can hang their defamation of Fisk on to anything said by Katerji, most especially the thin gruel he produces in his latest article, is truly shameful. If their concerns really relate to journalistic integrity and reliability, Katerji would be the very last person to cite.

Katerji’s prime area of western narrative enforcement is the Middle East – perhaps not surprisingly, as it is the place where there is an awful lot of oil that western states and corporations are desperate to control. But one should not ignore his wide-ranging efforts to boot-lick wherever he is needed on behalf of western establishment narratives.

Here he is desperately trying to breathe life into two fairytales: that the election of the leftwing Evo Morales as Bolivia’s president was fraudulent, and that Morales was forced to resign last year rather than that he was ousted in a CIA-backed military coup. Notably, Katerji was clinging to these discredited story lines as late as last month, long after even the liberal corporate media had abandoned them as no longer tenable.

Katerji was also, of course, an enthusiastic recruit to evidence-free establishment smears that Labour was overrun with antisemitism under the leadership of the leftwing Jeremy Corbyn, the very same anecdotal claims promoted by the entire corporate media.

Not only that, but he even had the gall to argue that he was speaking on behalf of Palestinians in smearing Corbyn, the only leader of a major European party ever to champion their cause. Labour’s new leader Keir Starmer, like most other politicians in the wake of the Corbyn episode, has all but disappeared the Palestinians from the political agenda. Katerji must be delighted – on behalf of Palestinians, of course.

But Katerji’s beef with Fisk derives chiefly from the fact that the Independent’s foreign correspondent broke ranks with the rest of the western press corps over an alleged chemical weapons attack in Syria.

Katerji is part of what – if we were being more brutally honest about these things – would be called the west’s al-Qaeda lobby. These are a motley crew of journalists and academics using their self-publicised “Arabhood” to justify the intimidation and silencing of anyone not entirely convinced that ordinary Syrians might prefer, however reluctantly, their standard-issue dictator, Bashar al-Assad, over the head-chopping, women-stoning, Saudi-financed jihadists of Islamic State and al-Nusra, the al-Qaeda franchise in Syria; or who question whether the western powers ought to be covertly funding and backing these extremists.

Exercise any doubt at all on either of these points and Katerji will lose no time in calling you an “Assadist”, “war crimes denier”, “antisemite”, “9/11 truther” and worse. Then in yet more evidence of a circle jerk, those establishment blue ticks, even ones beloved by much of the left, will cite his smears as proof that you are indeed an Assadist, war crimes denier, and so on.

Here are just a few examples of Katerji engaging with those critical of the imperial western narrative on Syria, so you get the idea:

Back in 2011 and 2012, in what looked like the possible eruption of an Arab Spring in Syria, the arguments of Katerji and co at least had an air of plausibility. But their real agenda – one that accorded with western imperialism rather than an Arab awakening – became much clearer once local protests against Assad were subsumed by an influx of jihadi fighters of the very kind that had been labelled “terrorists” by the western media everywhere else they appeared in the Middle East.

Inevitably, anyone like Fisk who adopted a position of caution or scepticism about whether the majority of Syrians actually wanted a return to some kind of Islamic Dark Age incurred the wrath of Katerji and his cohorts.

But Fisk infuriated these western al-Nusra lobbyists even further when he visited the town of Douma in 2018 and raised serious questions about claims made by the jihadists who had been ruling the town that, just before Assad’s forces drove them out, the Syrian military had bombed it with chemical gas, killing many civilians. The story, which at that stage was based exclusively on the claims of these head-chopping jihadists, was instantly reported as verified fact by the credulous western media.

Based solely on claims made by the al-Qaeda franchise in Douma, President Donald Trump hurriedly fired off missiles at Syria, in flagrant violation of international law and to cheers from the western media.

Fisk, of course, knew that in discrediting the evidence-free narrative being promoted by the western press corps (who had never been in Douma) he was doing himself no favours at all. They would resent him all the more. Most of his peers preferred to ignore his revelations, even though they were earth-shattering in their implications. But once the official watchdog body the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) issued its report into Douma many months later, implicitly backing the jihadists’ version of events, Fisk’s earlier coverage was snidely dismissed by fellow journalists.

Sadly for them, however, the story did not end there. Following publication of the OPCW’s Douma report, a number of its senior experts started coming forward as whistleblowers to say that, under pressure from the US, the OPCW bureaucracy tampered with their research and misrepresented their findings in the final report. The evidence they had found indicated that Assad had not carried out a chemical attack in Douma. More likely the jihadists, who were about to be expelled by Assad’s forces, had staged the scene to make it look like a chemical attack and draw the US deeper into Syria.

Of course, just as the corporate media ignored Fisk’s original reporting from Douma that would have made their own accounts sound like journalistic malpractice, they resolutely ignored the whistleblowers too. You can scour the corporate media and you will be lucky to find even an allusion to the months-long row over the OPCW report, which gained enough real-world prominence to erupt into a major row at the United Nations, including denunciations of the OPCW’s behaviour from the organisation’s former head, Jose Bustani.

This is the way frauds like Katerji are able to ply their own misinformation. They sound credible only because the counter-evidence that would show they are writing nonsense is entirely absent from the mainstream. Only those active on social media and open-minded enough to listen to voices not employed by a major corporate platform (with, in this case, the notable exception of Peter Hitchens of the Daily Mail) are able to find any of this counter-information. It is as if we are living in parallel universes.

The reason why Fisk was so cherished by readers, and why there was a real sense of loss when he died a month ago, was that he was one of the very few journalists who belonged to the mainstream but reported as though he were not beholden to the agenda of his corporate platform.

There were specific reasons for that. Like a handful of others – John Pilger, Seymour Hersh, Chris Hedges among them – Fisk made his name in the corporate media at a time when it reluctantly indulged the odd maverick foreign correspondent because they had a habit of exposing war crimes everyone else missed, exclusives that then garnered their publications prestigious journalism awards. Ownership of the media was then far less concentrated, so there was a greater commercial incentive for risk-taking and breaking stories. And these journalists emerged in a period when power was briefly more contested, with the labour movement trying to assert its muscle in the post-war decades, and before western societies were forced by the corporate elite to submit to neoliberal orthodoxy on all matters.

Notably, Pilger, Hersh and Hedges all found themselves struggling to keep a place in the corporate media. Fisk alone managed to cling on. That was more by luck. After being forced out of Rupert Murdoch’s Times newspaper for breaking a disturbing story in 1989 on the US shooting down of an Iranian passenger plane, he found a new home at Britain’s Independent newspaper, which had been recently founded. As a late-comer to the British media scene, the paper struggled not only to make money but to create a distinctive identity or gain any real visibility. Fisk survived, it seems, because he quickly established himself as one of the very few reasons to buy the paper. He was a rare example of a journalist who was bigger than the outlet he served.

Readers trusted him because he not only refused to submit to his peers’ herd-think but endlessly called them out as journalistically and intellectually lazy.

Those now trying to tarnish his good name are actually inverting the truth. They want to suggest that support for Fisk was cultish and he was hero-worshipped by those incapable of thinking critically. They will say as much about this piece. So let me point out that I am not without my own criticisms of Fisk. I wrote, for example, an article criticising some unsubstantiated claims he made during Israel’s massive bombardment of Lebanon in 2006.

But my criticism was precisely the opposite of the blue-tick crowd now traducing him. I questioned Fisk for striving to find an implausible middle ground with those establishment blue ticks (before we knew what blue ticks were) by hedging his bets about who was responsible for the destruction of Lebanon. It was a rare, if understandable, example of journalistic timidity from Fisk – a desire to maintain credibility with his peers, and a reluctance to follow through on where the evidence appeared to lead. Maybe this was a run-in with the pro-Israel crowd and the corporate journalists who echo them that, on this occasion, he did not think worth fighting.

The discomfort Fisk aroused in his peers was all too obvious to anyone working in the corporate media, even in its liberal outlets, as I was during the 1990s. I never heard a good word said about Fisk at the Guardian or the Observer. His death has allowed an outpouring of resentment towards him that built up over decades from journalists jealous of the fact that no readers will mourn or remember their own passing.

Fisk’s journalism spoke up for the downtrodden and spoke directly to the reader rather than, as with his colleagues, pandering to editors in the hope of career advancement. In the immediate wake of his death, his colleagues’ disdain for Fisk was veiled in weaselly language. As Media Lens have noted, the favourite term used to describe him in obituaries, even in his own newspaper, was “controversial”.

“It turns out that the term ‘controversial’ is only applied in corporate media to political writers and leaders deemed ‘controversial’ by elite interests.

“This was unwittingly made clear by the big brains at the BBC who noted that Fisk ‘drew controversy for his sharp criticism of the US and Israel, and of Western foreign policy’. If Fisk had drawn ‘controversy’ from China, Iran or North Korea, the ‘weasel word’ would not have appeared in the Beeb’s analysis…

“In corporate media newspeak, ‘controversial’ can actually be translated as ‘offensive to power’. The term is intended as a scare word to warn readers that the labelled person is ‘dodgy’, ‘suspect’: ‘Handle with care!’ The journalist is also signalling to his or her editors and other colleagues: ‘I’m not one of “them”!’”

The journalists who now claim Fisk was a fraud and fantasist are many of those who happily worked for papers that readily promoted the gravest lies imaginable to rationalise an illegal attack on Iraq in 2003 and its subsequent occupation. Those publications eagerly supported lies supplied by the US and British governments that Iraq had WMD and that its leader, Saddam Hussein, was colluding with al-Qaeda – claims that were easily disprovable at the time.

Journalists now attacking Fisk include ones, like the Guardian’s Jessica Elgot, who have been at the forefront of advancing the evidence-free antisemitism smears against Corbyn. Or, like the Guardian’s Hannah Jane Parkinson, have engaged in another favourite corporate journalist pastime, ridiculing the plight of Julian Assange, a fellow journalist who puts their craven stenography to shame and who is facing a lifetime in a US super-max jail for revealing US war crimes in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Even the Guardian’s Jason Burke, who claims to have experienced Fisk’s lying first-hand while working for the Observer newspaper in 2001 (as was I at that time), has been unable to come up with the goods when challenged, as the pitiable Twitter thread retweeted here confirms:

Noticeably, there is a pattern to the claims of those now maligning Fisk: they hurry to tell us that he was an inspiration in their student days. They presumably think that mentioning this will suggest their disillusionment was hard-earned and therefore make it sound more plausible. But actually it suggests something different.

It indicates instead that in their youthful idealism they aspired to become a journalist who would dig out the truth, who would monitor centres of power, who would comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable. To do, in fact, exactly what Fisk did.

But once they got a footing on the corporate career ladder, they slowly learnt that they would need to adopt a more “nuanced” approach to journalism – certainly if they hoped to progress up that ladder, earning the right to their blue tick, and gaining a big enough salary to cover the mortgage in London or New York.

In other words, they became everything they despised in their student days. Fisk was the constant reminder of just how much they had sold out. His very existence shamed them for what they were too cowardly to do themselves. And now in death, when he cannot answer back, they are feasting on his corpse like the vultures that they are, until there is nothing left to remind us that, unlike them, Robert Fisk told uncomfortable truths to the very end.

Jonathan Cook won the Martha Gellhorn Special Prize for Journalism. His latest books are “Israel and the Clash of Civilisations: Iraq, Iran and the Plan to Remake the Middle East” (Pluto Press) and “Disappearing Palestine: Israel’s Experiments in Human Despair” (Zed Books). His website is http://www.jonathan-cook.net/

Where’s Donald? When 40% of voters cry ‘fraud’ you’ve got a big problem

Where’s Donald? When 40% of voters cry ‘fraud’ you’ve got a big problem
Ramin Mazaheri is currently covering the US elections. He is the chief correspondent in Paris for Press TV and has lived in France since 2009. He has been a daily newspaper reporter in the US, and has reported from Iran, Cuba, Egypt, Tunisia, South Korea and elsewhere. He is the author of ‘Socialism’s Ignored Success: Iranian Islamic Socialism’ as well as ‘I’ll Ruin Everything You Are: Ending Western Propaganda on Red China’, which is also available in simplified and traditional Chinese.

November 17, 2020

by Ramin Mazaheri for the Saker Blog

I think everybody would like 2020 to be over, and that we’d all like the US election to be over, but journalists shouldn’t stop accurately reporting just because the news is unpleasant.

“Breaking news: Plane lands safely!”

It just doesn’t work that way in life or journalism. We can’t give out participation medals and say it doesn’t really matter who won the US election.

Neither should Bidenites be calling for blacklisting both journalists and Republican public officials or successfully trying to deny Donald Trump a lawyer in Pennsylvania, but that’s another story.

A poll 227 pages long from The Economist – which will likely sink like a stone in the US Mainstream Media because it’s so very damning – reveals total US division and the devastation of its electoral integrity: 9 out of 10 Trump voters say Biden “did not legitimately win the election”, and 9 out of 10 Trump voters say, “mail ballots are being manipulated to favor Joe Biden”.

In good news, only 7 out of 10 Trump voters say that we will,” never know the real outcome of this election.” Is this the new, “Who killed JFK?” (Never getting a clear answer there surely increased political alienation among many Americans.)

Even though I relayed the findings in a manner which stresses political partisanship, this is definitely not a partisan issue: the percentages of Americans who hold the views described above are 45%, 42%, and 41%.

Take out the partisan labels (and the poll had not just Republican/Democrat but male/female, White/Black, age 18-29/65+, income level, College Grad/Non-College Grad, blah/blah, blah/blah, and blah/blah): the poll shockingly finds that 40% of Americans answered, “Enough to influence the outcome,” to the question, “How much voter fraud do you think occurred in this election?”

Again, it’s only a partisan issue to people who have been so distorted by fake-leftist identity politics that they can’t see the nation for the tribes. This Western tribalism is, of course, a fundamentally imperialist worldview, and also the view incessantly foisted on others by Westerners. But America doesn’t have something like a Supreme Leader whose primary job is to constantly remind about the good of the nation – that revolutionary Iranian institution has successfully gotten the nation through tough times, which is precisely why it is so despised and falsely slandered in places like London, Washington DC, Tel Aviv and Paris. But in the United States, there is not this governmental branch which exists almost solely to smooth out partisan issues, and the concept of putting the national good above tribal politics is only heard once every four years: in the victory speech of the winning candidate.

In case you were not convinced that this is not a Democrat/Republican issue: 84% of Americans answered, “Yes,” when asked, “Would you say that you are angry about the results of the 2020 presidential election?” That’s hard to explain, but it certainly does not indicate happiness with how the 2020 vote was conducted.

Regardless, when 40% of the country – 130 million people – say there was enough fraud to influence the outcome of the election, that’s a huge problem.

For those highly-tribal Americans who obsessively and emotionally insist on viewing this solely in a partisan manner, fine: 60 million voters who are crying electoral fraud is still a huge, huge problem. They can be drowned out by crying louder, and they can be ignored, but they simply can’t go away any more than the Vietcong had somewhere else to go.

So there’s really only one way to solve this perhaps fatal gutting of national integrity: a judicial review of the election.

It’s not true that the US already tried this in 2000 – there was not a thorough judicial review of the vote but a judicial decision by the Supreme Court to stop counting votes. That’s why it was indeed a partisan mess. So the US did not get the full judicial review to which I am referring, and which is the only solution other than drawing up an entirely new system.

PressTV seems to be one of the few English-language media which is actually reporting on the widespread election fraud allegations, rather than just dismissing the idea as nonsense and calling for blacklists. All I can say is: In 2009 the US did not respect the laws and judges of Iran’s electoral system – they meddled instantly and with total self-interest, and did seemingly all they could to fuel deadly violence. That was totally wrong, and I personally think that it is not for foreign media to do anything but to respect the will of the American people and the system they created.

They want to change their system? Please do.

But until they do how can we be faulted for respecting their electoral system, judges, and laws? And how can we not report that 60 million voters still openly cry voter fraud two weeks after the election?

But who cares about PressTV and Iran? I agree, and that’s entirely my point – this is an American issue, and we are objectively reporting what’s happening over here: claims of voter fraud are going unreported; not just CNN anchorpeople but actual elected officials are calling for blacklists; lawyers are being intimidated into not representing Donald Trump’s electoral grievances; and that Americans have apparently held a vote but seem to disagree on the system to properly process that vote.

What on earth is the point of a vote without also following the vetting system? The US seems to be taking a vote simply to take a vote? We better understand why they have such enormous abstention problems!

But the poll continues: Only 26% of Americans somewhat agree with the idea that “No matter who wins an election, things do not change very much.”

Elections do matter to Americans.

But elections which lack public confidence from nearly a majority are problematic, to put it mildly.

So where’s Trump?

Public servants follow both laws and public opinion, right?

All of this criticism of journalists who haven’t fallen at Biden’s (allegedly) president-elect’s feet has me questioning the most basic ideas, these days.

However, the path forward seems simple:

Question: Do you think Donald Trump should contest the results of the election in court?

Answer: 46% of America, “Yes”.

This poll is just a poll, sure, but it only says what every person on the ground says. Those in the MSM newsroom bubbles maybe can’t see that, but the nice thing about TV journalism is that you actually still have to report from the street – in modern internet “written” journalism, not so much anymore.

For the tribal-obsessed: Nine out of 10 of those who identify as Republicans said, “Yes”, but also 1 out of 10 Democrats. That great mass which is totally ignored by the all-strangling US duopoly – those who identify as “Independents” – reported that 53% of them also said, “Yes”.

It’s not a partisan issue, it’s a systemic issue. So where’s Trump?

Trump is doing the worst thing possible: He has not conceded, nor has he held a press conference to openly say that he will resolutely press forward to verify the vote – he has remained silent for two weeks. Slinking in the background and issuing a few tweets is by far the worst thing he could do. I can report that many Americans expect him to continue doing only that, but we can only wait.

Trump does have a right (to contest his grievance in court, as top Republican leaders reminded days ago) to take time to make up his mind. Pressing for a judicial review would get him crucified worldwide (even the Pope has prematurely declared Biden the victor, even though I thought the West was so very objectively secular?), and it would be the 1973 televised Watergate hearings times ten, but Trump undoubtedly has “democracy with American characteristics” – with its emphasis on minority/states/individualistic rights – on his side.

At 46% he very nearly has a democratic majority.

That’s really narrow? Maybe the poll was slightly miscounted? Don’t worry – I won’t ask The Economist if part of this poll was conducted via mail-in ballots.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

CNN’s Jake Tapper: The foreman/overseer keeping all journalists in line (1/2)

November 13, 2020

CNN’s Jake Tapper: The foreman/overseer keeping all journalists in line (1/2)
Ramin Mazaheri is currently covering the US elections. He is the chief correspondent in Paris for Press TV and has lived in France since 2009. He has been a daily newspaper reporter in the US, and has reported from Iran, Cuba, Egypt, Tunisia, South Korea and elsewhere. He is the author of ‘Socialism’s Ignored Success: Iranian Islamic Socialism’ as well as ‘I’ll Ruin Everything You Are: Ending Western Propaganda on Red China’, which is also available in simplified and traditional Chinese.

By Ramin Mazaheri and cross-posted with PressTV

CNN anchorman Jake Tapper is one of the most widely-seen journalists in the United States, and a recent tweet of his revealed just how very much careerism it takes to climb the ladder so high.

As the US mainstream media continued its unconstitutional and absurd insistence that both the presidential election is over and that discussion around it must cease, a miffed Tapper took to Twitter on November 9th and issued a clear threat designed to intimidate other journalists into silence on these subjects:

“I truly sympathize with those dealing with losing — it’s not easy — but at a certain point one has to think not only about what’s best for the nation (peaceful transfer of power) but how any future employers might see your character defined during adversity.”

I’m a journalist and I don’t think I’m reading between the lines here when I relate that what I just read is: Journalists should promote the idea that Joe Biden is the undisputed victor or else you will never move up the ladder, or possibly ever even get hired as a journalist again.

Tapper was lambasted by some – obviously for intimidation, enforcing groupthink, hindering free press and free speech, overstepping the bounds of a “fourth estate” which has no formal governmental role in deciding US elections, etc. – but it was mostly unaddressed and tacitly condoned by his MSM colleagues.

One thing that struck me about Tapper’s mindset is: As the French say about Americans – “C’est marche ou crève” (It’s march or die). Very, very true.

But what struck me most – as the previous sentence is old news – is: How will my younger colleagues take this?

Tapper’s threat probably caused a lump in the throat of every mid-20s American journalist who is well-steeped in the most necessary virtues a journalist needs – an insistence on accuracy as well as skepticism — but is also just out of college in a horrible job market, probably deep in tuition-related debt, in a field which is known for being perennially low-paid, who is likely expected to smile for the opportunity to work for free as an intern as there is so much job competition in this exciting field, and who is now realising that a questioning US free press extends for less than a week, per the very privileged and powerful Jake Tapper.

It’s huge incompetence and dereliction of duty if Tapper did not realise that he has responsibilities to defend other journalists during chaotic times, given his privileged position, and absolutely to not to attack and threaten them.

It’s beyond pathetic as a human to go around threatening those who disagree with you about politics, but focusing on Tapper’s role in the labor structure in our craft is more interesting because I think it says a lot about US work culture.

Careerism may be the true US (false, divisive, selfish, unpatriotic) religion

Given their total precariousness it’s hard to not be empathetic with a young journalist, in this age where nothing gets deleted (and when Americans are apparently so politically intolerant), who doesn’t want to take an unpopular position. They certainly have every right to expect those with labor seniority – and the many privileges that go along with that – to lead the way during tough and unstable times.

What’s interesting about Tapper’s tweet is how it also reveals his own mind: maybe this tweet is just Tapper talking to himself about how “employers might see” him, Jake Tapper?

Then the tweet becomes him thinking, “Now think about your job here, Tappy old boy. If Ted Turner says Biden won then who cares about the constitution and the 70 million Trump voters and electoral integrity and democratic checks and balances and the alienation, apathy, anger and abstention rushing to judgement in this already-disputed election might cause? Remember what newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst said: ‘You furnish the pictures, I’ll furnish the war’. So there’s nothing new here – we all do it. Crack the whip, Tappy old boy. How many times have they cracked the whip on you before they let you sit in the big boy chair?”

With that in mind Tapper dutifully sent out a tweet/whip-crack to keep all the other lower workers in line.

And lesser-privileged workers often do get unruly – perhaps they are complaining amongst themselves about increasingly-dangerous working conditions, or talking about the luxurious life of the boss when they haven’t had a raise in years, or they are muttering that the newly announced plans of action are cubicle-drone nonsense which will run the company into the ground, or in this case that many millions of Americans truly are contesting these election results and maybe we should honestly report that? Such anti-1% complaints are why the foreman/overseer so often issues a threat during unstable times (of getting fired, of not getting hired during the next season’s busy work periods, of getting railroaded by cops, etc.).

So we all know people like Tapper, because we have all worked. We all do not like the Tappers – he is a tool of the 1% at our jobs. It’s dangerous to go against the foremen and the Tappers, but the whole idea of post-1917-modelled societies is that we have safety in numbers.

And we do have numbers.

Which is why I can tell Tapper: Take his job and shove it.

(This is a reference to a famous American country song, and while crude: we are working in English here and need to speak their language.)

I don’t want to work at CNN. I don’t even want to be called by CNN for an interview about facts on the ground.

I will happily chitchat and discuss things informally with any journalist, but if you think I want to have to report to people like Jake Tapper, you are totally, totally wrong.

I can sure find a place with better foremen.

And I am hardly alone or exceptional – there are SO MANY great journalists who refuse the lure of careerism that I must use caps there. We are not alone, and Tapper doesn’t realise that: We have big enough numbers, too.

(And wasn’t US democracy especially concerned with minority rights? I guess not for what the Tappers claim is the minority presidential vote in the recent election.)

Tapper also thinks we are powerless – we are not powerless, either.

It’s entirely possible that Tapper is just such a blatant careerist that to him it’s both personally unthinkable and intolerable that others would not be covering the 2020 US election with future employment gains foremost in their minds.

That’s a significant statement to consider, and it is entirely to the demerit of Tapper he has even made us consider it. If he has made a mistake he should clarify it (which he has done yet – his follow-up tweet was nearly as bad as his first), but he still would get demerits because TV journalist are supposed to be clear and understandable the very first time around.

And the US is also just blatantly unstable, which Tapper’s tweet also reminds us:

Even though this is the third election in six which has come under major dispute, what’s not important is dispassionately answering long-standing domestic questions about the integrity of presidential elections, or ensuring ideals such as free press and free votes, but ensuring a “(peaceful transfer of power)”.

Tapper seems to view the US in November 2020 as such a powder keg that totally legitimate questions about the integrity of this election must be tamped down or the United States of America is finished, self-immolated, destroyed, etc.

Is Tapper is saying the US is too unstable to have a transparent vote? If so, that’s a huge, huge, huge problem with the American system.

I disagree: there has been no political violence on or since the election (despite the months of MSM fear-mongering about it). I think that’s a hysterical view which Tapper is manipulatively resorting to so that his candidate wins. Hysteria is the both the American word of 2020 and also a way to intimidate people – via emotional force.

I would finally conclude that it is a careerist view: Tapper wants, above all, power to smoothly transfer from one hand of the duopoly to the other (although it’s true that Trump is a latecomer to the duopoly). Despite all the economic catastrophe, coronavirus health catastrophe, the inner cultural catastrophe of this ongoing disputed election – Jake Tapper is doing just fine, so stop asking questions.

Many will continue to not do so, and we are safe in our numbers.

Lastly, some people may object to my use of “overseer” in the headline, which refers to pre-1917 times in the US (“foreman” refers to modern work culture): I think it’s important to place Tapper in his American historical-linguistic context because we need to be reminded of how careerism is not a 21st century phenomenon. The struggle of workers against unjust managers is something which goes back to the building of the Pyramids, but what would have been the point of using an Arabic word for “overseer”, which only a minuscule minority of readers would understand? The agricultural “overseer” is not used much anymore in America – because it brings up issues of slavery, and few White people can discuss that openly here, much to the chagrin of Blacks – but it is a necessary image to retain in the American consciousness and should not be obliterated from their current era, as pre-modern overseers did so much damage to the 99% for such a long period of time.

This type of pure nonsense is what passes for leftism over here when it is a huge waste of time and space. There are far, far huger issues, such as:

Clearly, Tapper does not believe, “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it”, which is a summation of the thoughts of the French writer Voltaire by his English biographer Evelyn Beatrice Hall and repeated constantly by Americans: all these countries are huge, huge believers in free speech and free press. This makes us fairly question not the patriotism of Tapper but whether he is authentically championing the grassroots values of the broad nation which he is covering, which I believe is a primary role of journalism, because: don’t the elite have enough mouthpieces, already?

Tapper is not alone.

America is in such hysteria, and eliciting such hypocrisy, and is so dangerously divided that a second part in this series is required to address Tapper’s cohorts who think calling for a judicial review of a highly-contested vote merits such an incredible crackdown on human rights.

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

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

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

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

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

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

In Memory of Robert Fisk: “The Forgotten Massacre” – Reposted

In Memory of Robert Fisk: “The Forgotten Massacre” – Reposted

By Staff

In memory of Robert Fisk, a journalist who was “renowned for his courage in questioning official narratives” and publishing “frequently brilliant prose”.

During his decades-long career, Fisk covered key international events including the Lebanese civil war, the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, the Iranian revolution, Saddam Hussein’s invasion of Kuwait, conflicts in the Balkans and the Arab Spring.

Fisk was particularly renowned for his war reporting.

The Forgotten Massacre

Robert Fisk, Sunday 15 September 2013

The memories remain, of course. The man who lost his family in an earlier massacre, only to watch the young men of Chatila lined up after the new killings and marched off to death. But – like the muck piled on the garbage tip amid the concrete hovels – the stench of injustice still pervades the camps where 1,700 Palestinians were butchered 30 years ago next week. No-one was tried and sentenced for a slaughter, which even an “Israeli” writer at the time compared to the killing of Yugoslavs by Nazi sympathizers in the Second World War. Sabra and Chatila are a memorial to criminals who evaded responsibility, who got away with it.

Khaled Abu Noor was in his teens, a would-be militiaman who had left the camp for the mountains before “Israel’s” Phalangist allies entered Sabra and Chatila. Did this give him a guilty conscience, that he was not there to fight the rapists and murderers? “What we all feel today is depression,” he said. “We demanded justice, international trials – but there was nothing. Not a single person was held responsible. No-one was put before justice. And so we had to suffer in the 1986 camps war [at the hands of Shia Lebanese] and so the “Israelis” could slaughter so many Palestinians in the 2008-9 Gaza war. If there had been trials for what happened here 30 years ago, the Gaza killings would not have happened.”

He has a point, of course. While presidents and prime ministers have lined up in Manhattan to mourn the dead of the 2001 international crimes against humanity at the World Trade Centre, not a single Western leader has dared to visit the dank and grubby Sabra and Chatila mass graves, shaded by a few scruffy trees and faded photographs of the dead. Nor, let it be said – in 30 years – has a single Arab leader bothered to visit the last resting place of at least 600 of the 1,700 victims. Arab potentates bleed in their hearts for the Palestinians but an airfare to Beirut might be a bit much these days – and which of them would want to offend the “Israelis” or the Americans?

It is an irony – but an important one, nonetheless – that the only nation to hold a serious official enquiry into the massacre, albeit flawed, was “Israel”. The “Israeli” army sent the killers into the camps and then watched – and did nothing – while the atrocity took place. A certain “Israeli” Lieutenant Avi Grabowsky gave the most telling evidence of this. The Kahan Commission held the then “defense” minister Ariel Sharon personally responsible, since he sent the ruthless anti-Palestinian Phalangists into the camps to “flush out terrorists” – “terrorists” who turned out to be as non-existent as Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction 21 years later.

Sharon lost his job but later became prime minister, until broken by a stroke which he survived – but which took from him even the power of speech. Elie Hobeika, the Lebanese Christian militia leader who led his murderers into the camp – after Sharon had told the Phalange that Palestinians had just assassinated their leader, Bashir Gemayel – was murdered years later in east Beirut. His enemies claimed the Syrians killed him, his friends blamed the “Israelis”; Hobeika, who had “gone across” to the Syrians, had just announced he would “tell all” about the Sabra and Chatila atrocity at a Belgian court, which wished to try Sharon.

Of course, those of us who entered the camps on the third and final day of the massacre – 18 September, 1982 – have our own memories. I recall the old man in pajamas lying on his back on the main street with his innocent walking stick beside him, the two women and a baby shot next to a dead horse, the private house in which I sheltered from the killers with my colleague Loren Jenkins of The Washington Post – only to find a dead young woman lying in the courtyard beside us. Some of the women had been raped before their killing. The armies of flies, the smell of decomposition. These things one remembers.

Abu Maher is 65 – like Khaled Abu Noor, his family originally fled their homes in Safad in present-day “Israel” – and stayed in the camp throughout the massacre, at first disbelieving the women and children who urged him to run from his home. “A woman neighbor started screaming and I looked out and saw her shot dead and her daughter tried to run away and the killers chased her, saying “Kill her, kill her, don’t let her go!” She shouted to me and I could do nothing. But she escaped.”

Repeated trips back to the camp, year after year, have built up a narrative of astonishing detail. Investigations by Karsten Tveit of Norwegian radio and myself proved that many men, seen by Abu Maher being marched away alive after the initial massacre, were later handed by the “Israelis” back to the Phalangist killers – who held them prisoner for days in eastern Beirut and then, when they could not swap them for Christian hostages, executed them at mass graves.

And the arguments in favor of forgetfulness have been cruelly deployed. Why remember a few hundred Palestinians slaughtered when 25,000 have been killed in Syria in 19 months?

Supporters of “Israel” and critics of the Muslim world have written to me in the last couple of years, abusing me for referring repeatedly to the Sabra and Chatila massacre, as if my own eye-witness account of this atrocity has – like a war criminal – a statute of limitations. Given these reports of mine [compared to my accounts of Turkish oppression] one reader has written to me that “I would conclude that, in this case [Sabra and Chatila], you have an anti-“Israeli” bias. This is based solely on the disproportionate number of references you make to this atrocity…”

But can one make too many? Dr. Bayan al-Hout, widow of the PLO’s former ambassador to Beirut, has written the most authoritative and detailed account of the Sabra and Chatila war crimes – for that is what they were – and concludes that in the years that followed, people feared to recall the event. “Then international groups started talking and enquiring. We must remember that all of us are responsible for what happened. And the victims are still scarred by these events – even those who are unborn will be scarred – and they need love.” In the conclusion to her book, Dr. al-Hout asks some difficult – indeed, dangerous – questions: “Were the perpetrators the only ones responsible? Were the people who committed the crimes the only criminals? Were even those who issued the orders solely responsible? Who in truth is responsible?”

In other words, doesn’t Lebanon bear responsibility with the Phalangist Lebanese, “Israel” with the “Israeli” army, the West with its “Israeli” ally, the Arabs with their American ally? Dr al-Hout ends her investigation with a quotation from Rabbi Abraham Heschel who raged against the Vietnam war. “In a free society,” the Rabbi said, “some are guilty, but all are responsible”.

Related

The Death of Andre Vltchek, a Passionate Warrior for Truth

By Edward Curtin

Source

This is a must read!

“If the world is upside down the way it is now, wouldn’t we have to turn it over to get it to stand up straight?” – Eduardo Galeano, Upside Down, 1998

For decades, Andre Vltchek, an old-school journalist and artist (but a young man) who traveled the world in search of truth and who always stood up straight, tried to revolve the world and encourage people to revolt against injustice. In this age of arm-chair reporters, he stood out for his boldness and indefatigable courage. He told it straight. This irritated certain people and some pseudo-left publications, who sensed in him a no bullshit fierceness and nose for hypocrisy that frightened them, so they stopped publishing his writing. He went where so many others  feared to tread, and he talked to people in places that were often the victims of Western imperialistic violence. He defended the defenseless and encouraged their defense.

Now he is dead.  He died in the back seat of a chauffeur driven rental car on an overnight drive to Istanbul, Turkey. He was sleeping, and when his wife attempted to wake him upon arrival at their hotel, she couldn’t.  He was 57-years-old.

Let him sleep in peace, but let his words ring out, his passionate cries for justice and peace in a world of violent predators.

Those who knew him and his work feel a great, great loss. His friend and colleague Peter Koenig wrote this touching goodbye.

As Koenig says, Vltchek was always defending those around the world who are considered disposable non-people, the Others, the non- whites, victims of Western wars, both military and economic, in places such as West Papua, Iraq, Syria, Africa, etc. He had a chip on his shoulder, a well justified chip, against the one-sided Western media and its elites that were always lecturing the rest of the world about their realities.

He was recently in the United States, and here is what he wrote:

But notice one thing: it is them, telling us, again, telling the world what it is and what it is not! You would never hear such statements in Africa, the Middle East, or Asia. There, people know perfectly well what it really is all about, whether it is about race or not!

I have just spent two weeks in the United States, analyzing the profound crises of U.S. society. I visited Washington, D.C., Minneapolis, New York, and Boston. I spoke to many people in all those places. What I witnessed was confusion and total ignorance about the rest of the world. The United States, a country which has been brutalizing our Planet for decades, is absolutely unable to see itself in the context of the entire world. People, including those from the media, are outrageously ignorant and provincial.

And they are selfish.

I asked many times: “Do black lives matter all over the world? Do they matter in the Democratic Republic of Congo, and do they matter in West Papua?” I swear, I received no coherent answer.

Somebody has to tell them… Somebody has to force them to open their eyes.

A few years ago, I was invited to Southern California to show my documentary work from Africa (my feature documentary film Rwanda Gambit, about West-triggered genocides in both Rwanda and later in the Democratic Republic of Congo), where millions of black people are dying, in order for the vast majority of the U.S. whites to live in piggish opulence.

But before I was allowed to present, I was warned: ‘Remember, people here are sensitive. Do not show too much of brutal reality, as it could disturb them.’

Hearing that, I almost left the event. Only my respect for the organizer made me stay.

Now I am convinced: it is time to force them to watch; to see rivers of blood, which their laziness, selfishness, and greed have triggered. It is time to force them to hear shouts of the agony of the others.

But as everyone knows, it is nearly impossible to force people to open their eyes and ears when they are dead set against doing so.  Andre tried so hard to do that, and his frustration grew apace with those efforts that seemed to fall on deaf ears.

He was a relentless fighter, but he was a lover, too.  His love for the people and cultures of the world was profound.  Like Albert Camus, he tried to serve both beauty and suffering, the noblest of vocations. A lover of literature and culture, the best art and beauty ever produced, he was appalled at the way so many in the West had fallen into the pit of ignorance, illiteracy, and the grip of propaganda so tight that “what is missing is life. Euphoria, warmth, poetry and yes – love – are all in extremely short supply there.”

He sensed, and said it, that nihilism rules in the United States beneath the compulsive consumerism and the denial of the violence that the U.S. inflicts on people across the world. It was selfishness run amok. Me me me. It was, he felt, soul death, the opposite of all the ostensible religiousness that is a cover story for despair. He wrote:

It has to be stopped. I say it because I do love this life, the life, which still exists outside the Western realm; I’m intoxicated with it, obsessed with it. I live it to the fullest, with great delight, enjoying every moment of it.

Poetry, music, great literature, these he loved as he fought on the barricades for peace.

I urge you to read his article, Love, Western Nihilism and Revolutionary Optimism.

He was a rare and courageous man.  Let us ring bells in his honor.

Here’s a Kenneth Rexroth poem for Andre, the fighter with the poet’s heart:

No Word

The trees hang silent

In the heat….

Undo your heart

Tell me your thoughts

What you were

And what you are….

Like the bells no one

Has ever rung

Why The ‘Journalists’ Don’t Like Julian

By Jeremy Salt

Source

Assange secrets 9b5de

Why is it that so many journalists have turned their backs on Julian Assange? Why do so many abuse him instead of defending him?  He is, after all, a world historic figure who will be remembered centuries from now in the same way we remember Voltaire, Victor Hugo and Thomas Paine.  Thanks to technology, Assange has been able to do far more than they could ever imagine in advancing the ‘right to know’ component of human rights.  He has broken more real news than all the journalists who sneer at him put together,  so resentment could be one explanation.   They say Assange is ‘not a journalist’ when what they mean is that he is not a journalist like them.

The keywords here are mediation and control. ‘What lies behind the headlines’ has another meaning beyond what is really going on in politics. ‘What lies behind the headlines’ is also what goes on in newsrooms before you read your morning paper or watch the evening news bulletin.  

News is a product, like anything that comes off the factory floor.  The raw material comes in, is processed,  refined and polished before being placed on the sales shelf called ‘news.’   Millions of pieces of news flow into editorial rooms every day.  What you read or watch is only the tiniest fraction of this flood.  

What you read or see is what someone is choosing for you,  what someone thinks is ‘news’ compared to all the other items that never see the light of day,  what someone thinks you should know as opposed to what you might like to know.    

News in the mainstream is mediated from start to finish.  The reporter produces the raw product.  Whether it is a car crash or civil war, someone else will always see it differently but his or her particular version is the raw material submitted for processing.  Editors at the daily news conference decide if it deserves a place and where it should be placed, on page one, three or five,  at the top of the page or lower done,  under a one column or three column heading,  at the top of the nightly news bulletin or closer to the bottom.  

The editor has the final say.  He or she is the link between the board and the advertisers and has to deal with the pressure that might come from their direction when the story is a sensitive one.  Thus,  depending on the relationship between editor and the board/proprietor, an important story might not be published at all or might be shriveled to the point where it no longer seems important.

The decision made, an editor gets to work,  cutting,  reshaping, honing and polishing the story, maybe moving paragraphs around if he or she thinks they are not in the right order, until the product is ready to attract the attention of the reader/viewer, much as the male jackdaw lines the nest with silver paper to attract the attention of the female. There can be differences of opinion between the reporter and the editor along the way but in essence they are egotistical, not over truth or untruth or the public’s right to know, but over how the story should be written and presented.  

There is no unmediated news in the mainstream media.  It is the news as decided by reporters and editors,  from the choice of story to report in the first place to the end of the production line. There could be thousands of other news items you the reader or viewer might think are worthier of space and time that never see the light of day. 

What is happening around the world, therefore, is only what is reported as happening,  before being processed to meet editorial requirements.  If it is not reported it might as well not have happened,  beyond the impact within the immediate circle of where it did happen. Thus the media can make something happen or unhappen, according to the choices made in editorial rooms.

Control relates to control as exerted vertically,  from the board or proprietor down to the editor and then to the very bottom of the editorial chain.  Apart from the car crash, the rape or the robbery, there is a line that has to be protected when it comes to important political stories or stories that affect advertisers and the particular media outlet’s commercial interests.  There is always some flexibility,  depending on how tightly controlled the editorial line is from the top,  but the general political/social profile of the organization always has to be protected.  

If ‘news’ is to be defined as something we don’t know,  we could spend our entire lives reading books (and might be better off for it).  Much of the ‘news’ that is printed falls into the same category of what we don’t know but whether we really need or want to know it is another question. 

The endless goings-on of the Kardashian family might be a good example.   The definition of news has swung in the direction of ‘celebrity gossip’ and the celebrities have responded by providing editors with all the ‘news’ they might want to print,  but ‘news’ that many of ‘us’ (readers and viewers) would regard as trash. Of course, for the media to remain viable, the product has to sell and amidst all the Kardashian bottoms, that is the bottom line.

So mediation and control are two reasons the journalists abuse Assange.  Given the massive volume of material Wikipedia receives, he or his team have to exert some control and make decisions about how much they can upload within their technical capacity but what they do post is unmediated.  There are no cuts, no editing no polishing: the news comes to you in its raw state and you the reader can decide what to make of it, instead of someone telling you what to make of it. 

Another reason for disliking Assange is jealousy.  He has scooped all of these journalists who abuse him thousand times over,  by releasing sensational material that exposes the dirty secrets they would love to get their hands on.

In recent history only one reporter,  Seymour Hersh, without the technical ability to penetrate government vaults that Wikipedia’s sources have and relying entirely on his human sources,  has come anywhere close to what Assange has achieved.  Hersh is the greatest reporter of this age, or just about any age, a model of courage and the determination to dig for the truth, whatever the obstacles.

His fate is instructive. He broke the My Lai massacre in 1968, he exposed the Abu Ghraib prison torture in 2004  and he broke many other stories in between,  yet when he crossed the government-media line on Syria by exposing the falsity of the claim that the Syrian government was responsible for an alleged chemical weapons attack close to Damascus in 2013 his usual outlet, the New Yorker,  refused to publish. The story was handed to the Washington Post, which also turned it down.   The arguments that it did not meet their standards don’t deserve to be taken seriously.

Eventually, the  London Review of Books took the story on but when Hersh followed up with an account questioning the trans-Atlantic government and media line on the alleged role of the Syrian government in the alleged chemical weapons attack at Khan Sheikhun in April, 2017, the LRB declined to publish even though it had paid for the story. 

Subsequently,  Hersh had to publish in Germany (‘Khan Sheikhun Trump’s Red Line,’ Welt am Sonntag, June 25, 2017) and he now has no place anywhere in the mainstream print media of his own country.

Another reason for journalists disliking Assange is that in one way or another,  they are not free to write what they want.  They belong to institutions, ‘belonging’ defined as owned by them. They depend on them for their salaries and their careers.  Basically they are correct when they say ‘No-one tells me what to write.’  No one has to tell them because they already know what to write if they want to keep their jobs,  wherever they happen to work. 

Self-censorship is central to the practice of journalism in the mainstream.  No-one with an eye on their best interests is going to write something they know editors will throw in their face, not because it is badly written but because it goes against the editorial line.  They might be lucky enough to agree with the editorial line anyway but if they don’t they have to adjust, or look for a future in journalism elsewhere.

Thus, journalists have power,  the power and the money of the institution behind them.  Assange has no institution behind him.  Indeed, the institutions are all against him. A media which used him up has abandoned him.  The government of his own country, Australia, has not lifted a finger in his defense.

What Assange does have behind him is the power of the truth-telling that should be the core of journalism,  not the truth-tailoring and the acceptance of downright lies that characterizes much of mainstream journalism today.   So of course the journalists don’t like him, or should we say ‘journalists’, because who is doing the real work of journalism today,  they or Julian Assange?

How Western Media Fabricate The “China Experts”

How Western Media Fabricate The “China Experts”

August 06, 2020

by Thorsten J. Pattberg for The Saker Blog

NEW YORK – A media professional from China asks: “Why do the Western media always promote the same ‘China experts’ who preach China doom, over and over again?” The answer is quite simple: The game of ‘expert testimonials’ is rigged.

‘Expert testimonials’ is not a level playing field. Never was. It is no coincidence that you will always see the same China experts and the same Chinese dissidents paraded in the news. Our key media are collusive. It means they act in concert.

If they act in concert, they project power. Here’s a definition of power by Hannah Arendt: “Power corresponds to the human ability not just to act but to act in concert. Power is never the property of an individual; it belongs to a group and remains in existence only so long as the group keeps together.”[i]

Yes, our media are corrupt beyond hope. And society is largely to blame: We often feel intimidated by the manipulative press, and powerless. We condemn cronyism, misconduct, and cheating in business, politics, and sports. But exposing the rampant corruption in the media and education? That remains a taboo.

Nobody knows exactly why they get away with it. Of course, they won’t report their own corruption. Also, journalism is inherently feminine (not the gender, the characteristics!); so manipulative journalism is always defensible, is always right, is always the victim.

Expert testimonials in journalism are witnesses that support the argument or mouth-piece what the journalist wants to say. For example, the New York Times will not directly call for violent riots in Hong Kong; instead it will offer expert testimonials that violence is indeed justified.[ii]

The expert testimonials in journalism are not the same as the ‘expert testimony’ used in the legal system. The press is illegitimate; it is not a governmental institution; it is not under oath, and it is absolutely not required to be neutral.

Most persuasive pieces of journalism have at least two testimonials. There are three kinds of testimonials. The first and most vital one is the ‘expert testimonial’. Without quoting a real expert, the journalist, who is by definition a non-expert on anything except journalism, is simply not credible. The second kind of testimonial is ‘plain folks’. That’s the taxi driver, the man from the corner shop, ordinary people. This creates sympathy. The third kind of testimonial is what this author calls a ‘negative-positive’. It means that someone with an opposing view, negative, is quoted, but in such an manipulative way, that it actually helps the journalist, hence the “positive.”

Plain folks are almost always made-up. Negative-positives are a manner of writing. But the expert testimonials shouldn’t be fake. That “expert” should ideally be consulted by the journalist.

Here’s an example (you may want to skip this exercise, if in hurry, and continue in the main text below) of three testimonials in one article. See, if you can guess which kind of testimonials they are. It’s from a British Guardian propaganda piece,[iii] by a certain Adam Gabbatt. The Guardian rushes to the defense of Chris Buckley from the New York Times, who’s a notorious propagandist. Since this is the global Western anti-China coalition, if one of their press soldiers gets into trouble in China, the others will naturally close ranks:

A: “I regret that Chris Buckley has been forced to relocate outside of China despite our repeated requests to renew his journalist visa,” Abramson said. [Ms. Abraham, a Harvard graduate, is the chief executive editor of the New York Times.]

B: Lawyers for Wen Jiabao’s family denied reports of their riches as untrue in October. “Some of Wen Jiabao’s family members have not engaged in business activities. Some were engaged in business activities, but they did not carry out any illegal business activity. They do not hold shares of any companies,” the statement said.

C: Foreign ministry spokesman Hong Lei said the piece “smears China’s name and has ulterior motives”, later insisting that the China’s critics were attempting to destabilize the country and were “doomed to failure”.

As a general rule, for every New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Foreign Affairs, Guardian, The Diplomat, or Forbes piece (etc.) there should be at least one expert testimonial in it! [Other testimonials are optional.] That said, you can image that there must be, in theory, a huge market for expert testimonials out there. Right?

Now, think: Does it not make perfect strategic sense, since tens of thousands of China articles must be mass-produced every year in the West, for the Western media to have a ‘ready-made’ stall of loyal experts to ask for phony testimonials any time they want? Better still, how about jointly fabricating EXACTLY the experts (and dissidents) we later want to see at the top!

So they fabricate experts. It’s not illegal, see. And not just any experts: Their buddies and friends and mutual benefactors. Those are the David Shambaugh, Ezra Vogel, Minxin Pei, Orville Schell (now out of favor, it seems), and Roderick Macfarquhar, to name a few.

Now, of those five experts mentioned, all of them are associated with Harvard University, and all were prominently featured in the New York Times. So, understandably, many readers get very upset every time they spot such obscene, shameless favoritism. For example when Harvard man and New York Times journalist Michael Forsythe prominently features a fellow Harvard man, Minxin Pei.[iv] Or when Evan Osnos, a Harvard man from The New Yorker, prominently features all of them Harvard experts in his book. So that he can get “conversations”[v] with them. And his buddies promote his book in The New York Times.[vi] Or the Guardian.[vii] Or Mr. Forsythe’s spouse, also Harvard, also New York Times, miraculously gets to promote her own book in the New York Times.[viii] Yes, the New York Times people are not stupid: they try to disguise cronyism. So NY Times Kirsten Didi Tatlow gets to write about NY Times Mr. Forsythe’s wife’s book.[ix] And NY Times Christ Buckley gets to interview David Shambaugh, alright.[x] NY Times Javier C. Hernandez, also Harvard, gets the Ezra Vogel interview.[xi] And NY Times Austin Ramzy interviews Evan Osnos, right![xii]

Journalists are un-elected. They enjoy relative low status in society in exchange for the privilege of fools. Some hang around with politicians and pose as ‘political analysts’. Others pose as ‘intellectuals’ by collaborating, say, with enough “Harvard” scholars: The journalists get artificial respectability, the scholars gets gratuitous media coverage. For them, it’s a win-win situation. The big loser, of course, is the global audiences to whom – not even talking about US colonialism – the vanity and the arrogance of these few privileged men is sold as “correct” information and news about China.

Remember when back in the old days the media set out to expose the corruption of the elites? Well, they didn’t. They joined the corrupt elites.

It gets worse. Think about this: Why would the New York Times EVER change the status quo? They have absolutely no incentives to do so. They would be stupid to reform. In fact, upon reading this, they will probably even tighten the status quo. Out of pure spite.

This all reminds your author of the following story from the Mahabharata: There’s this great guru, Drona, who promised prince Arjuna to make him “the greatest archer in the world.” Then one day they go into the forest and meet Eklavya, who trained all by himself under the idol of Drona. Eklavya is clearly the better archer! But Drona cannot tolerate this, because it would completely ruin the royal narrative. So they politely ask Eklavya to cut off the thumb of his right hand. Which he reluctantly does. To preserve the status quo. Uninterruptedly, Drona now goes on to fulfill his promise and make Arjuna “the greatest archer in the world.”

This is exactly how it is: The New York Times & Co act in concert and are systematically empowering their own buddies and protégées from Harvard as “the greatest China experts in the world.” And to the rest of the world, especially to the 1.3 million Chinese: cut your talented limbs off, will you!

The author is a German cultural critic and frequent commentator on Sino-Western affairs.  He describes himself as “Thorsten J. Pattberg, Asia specialist, PhD comparative literature and linguistics, unbeknownst writer, polyglot, monster, idiot”.

[i] Hannah Arendt, On Violence (1970), Harcourt Brace & Company, New York

[ii] http://www.east-west-dichotomy.com/why-the-ny-times-promotes-violence-in-hong-kong/
[iii] The Guardian, China forces New York Times reporter Chris Buckley to leave country, Dec 31, 2012, London
[iv] The New York Times, Q. and A.: Minxin Pei on the Future of Communist Rule in China, Feb. 29, 2016, New York
[v] http://www.livestream.com/roosevelthouse/evan-osnos-chasing-fortune
[vi] The New York Times, Q & A: Evan Osnos on the ‘Age of Ambition: Chasing Fortune, Truth, and Faith in the New China’, May 13, 2014, New York
[vii] The Guardian, Age of Ambition; The New Emperors reviews – two studies on modern China, July 6, 2014, London
[viii] The New York Times, China’s ‘Leftover’ Women, Oct. 11, 2012, New York
[ix] The New York Times, Rejecting the ‘Leftover Women’ label, April 24, 2013, New York
[x] The New York Times, Q. and A.: David Shambaugh on the Risks to Chinese Communist Rule, March 15, 2015, New York
[xi] The New York Times, Q. and A.: Ezra F. Vogel on China’s Shifting Relations With Japan and Taiwan, Nov 12, 2015, New York
[xii] The New York Times, Q & A: Evan Osnos on the ‘Age of Ambition: Chasing Fortune, Truth, and Faith in the New China’, May 13, 2014, New York

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.

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

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

60497862_2461147597228553_2116866260665892864_n

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

Embedded video

150 people are talking about this
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

505 people are talking about this
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
163 people are talking about this
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’

Embedded video

293 people are talking about this
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

View image on TwitterView image on TwitterView image on Twitter
View image on Twitter
30 people are talking about this
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.

Embedded video

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.

<span>%d</span> bloggers like this: