Sayyed Nasrallah’s Other Side (Part 2): This Is How He Followed Social Networking Sites & Prepared His Speeches

Sayyed Nasrallah’s Other Side (Part 2): This Is How He Followed Social Networking Sites & Prepared His Speeches

Sayyed Nasrallah’s Other Side (Part 2): This Is How He Followed Social Networking Sites & Prepared His Speeches

Fatima Salami

Beirut – When we read about the personality of Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, we find ourselves immersed in the finer details. We may read the text a second time and not get bored.

One reader commented on the first segment of this article series noting that the more we read about this extraordinary figure, the more attached we become.

Meanwhile, a politician who stands in stark contrast to Sayyed’s political views expressed in private correspondence his admiration for Sayyed’s charisma and personality, describing him an extraordinary leader. This is the opinion of an opponent.

There is no doubt that many like him think the same way, even if they do not declare it. For you cannot dive into Sayyed’s distinctive personality and not find yourself captivated by those exemplary qualities.

Behind the character of a strong and capable leader, a leader who knew how to twist the arm of the Zionist enemy, a leader who terrified the enemy into keeping up with each and every single appearance he makes, Sayyed Nasrallah hides a great deal of humanity, kindness, compassion and love for his people.

In the last part of the interview with the Al-Ahed news website, Sayyed Jawad, the son of Hezbollah’s secretary general, talks about the love His Eminence has for the people. He has infinite compassion for his supporters in his heart. He asks about their situation and matters that concern them, follows up on their issues and grieves over their pain.

Jawad also points out that Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah who is today Hezbollah’s secretary general is the same person he was before he took up this post. He has great adoration for the Grand Ayatollah Imam Sayyid Ali Khamenei and has a strong relationship with the Mujahideen.

He makes sure to read most of the reports and articles, and he follows with distinction what is published on social media. He underscores the need for civilized communication, calling on everyone to disagree with respect.

His Eminence regards money and legitimate rights as a red line that should never be abused. Jawad talks about an incident that he experienced personally in this regard.

As for Sayyed’s speeches, he has them in his head as they are on paper. Let us assume that he went somewhere to deliver a speech and forgot the papers, nothing changes at all.

Sayyed the human being

Jawad elaborates on Sayyed the man, who has not been changed by the world and has not been taken by the glamor of the podiums. He talks about Sayyed, who was only made more modest by the pride and people’s cheers.

Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, the secretary general of Hezbollah today, is the same person he was before he assumed the post. Not only that, but with time he become more modest.

“My father takes pride in the people’s love and trust. He loves them so much. Of course, he does not love them for love’s sake only, but he is also concerned about their interests. He fears for their life in the afterlife [Akhira] more than in this world,” Jawad says.

The first trait that comes to mind when Jawad talks about his father is humanity. He elaborates on this bright side in Sayyed’s personality. In his view, the term “human being” applies to his father in every sense of the word.

This characteristic is further exemplified by the relationship between His Eminence and the most honorable people. We see him carry passion, love and understanding in his heart. He always advises that one should conform with people.

“He calls on us to restore (things). If someone makes a mistake, we have to right it and try to understand it. When two people disagree, we must look for a way to reform it, not to fuel sedition between them.”

“Sayyed Hassan has a high and elegant morality. He has many of the attributes of Amir al-Mu’minin [Commander of the Faithful] (PBUH),” says Jawad. “He has a great ability to control himself. This ability always makes him look into God’s eyes, speak his tongue and act with his hand.”

According to Jawad, “all his dwellings and movements revolve around the pleasure of Allah.

There are red lines in life as there are in politics. His Eminence regards the rights of the people as a red line, without which everything else falls by the waist side. He has endless generosity, and at the same time he does not make anyone feel they owe him gratitude. We, his children, do not know what his exchanges are with the people closest to us. It is forbidden.

The dignity of the people as well as their comfort are a top priority. He is eager to insure the comfort of those around him to an extent that no one expects. For example, he does not stay too late so as not to exhaust the young men [resistance fighters] or embarrass them, even though sitting with him is extremely dear to them. According to his convictions, anything that causes others’ exhaustion is unacceptable.

Sayyed’s concern and fear for the people is not limited to their dunya [temporal world] but rather for their afterlife.” Jawad says. “One time, I asked him, ‘If you were an intercessor, would you intercede for me?’ He replied, ‘I would not only intercede for you, but I would intercede for all the believers.’”

“If we look at these positions and sayings over the years, we see in Sayyed the trait of a human being who has compassion, mercy, self-esteem and the understanding of his people,” Jawad adds.

In Jawad’s opinion, the commandments of Ahl al-Bayt are imbedded in Sayyed’s actions. He treats people in their absence as if they were in front of him. On numerous occasions, his heart aches for the people and he is saddened by their stories. He is very eager to further their piety. He follows up on people’s attendance in mosques. His concern is people’s piety on the grounds that the world has no value if our relationship with God is not sound. This matter will cost the loss of the dunya and the Hereafter. My relationship with God being good means to preserve the rights of people and not fall into sin. This brings good in dunya and in the Hereafter. In Sayyed’s opinion, what is the benefit of doing Jihad while I deprive the people of their rights, or pray while I attack people?

A mountain of patience

“Among other qualities that Sayyed possesses is his mountain of patience. He is insightful and far-sighted, as if he can see things for years to come,” Jawad explains.

“He is a strong administrator, a meticulous person with exceptional memory and a light touch when it comes to management. He is sincere with his feelings and shows them without excuses.

He is a father figure and merciful. At the same time, his love for the people and the Mujahideen does not prevent him from making any remarks to anyone on any subject. He is firm but does insult anyone and lenient but not a pushover.

He convinces you of what he is dictating with love and satisfaction, by clarifying and explaining things to you. He possesses the art of listening. When you sit down with him, he seems to be listening to you par excellence.

In short, his flesh and blood have been affected by the infallible household [Prophet’s family],” Jawad adds.

He also points out that His Eminence seems to be closely following up on the conditions of his family despite the strategic matters he is handling. “He keeps a close eye on the family without violating the privacy and freedoms of its members. We also see this quality during work, even with things we don’t expect. He considers this organization [Hezbollah] a part of his soul and follows it very carefully.”

The humble Sayyed

Jawad discloses some details that highlight Sayyed’s humility, and the fact that he is not embarrassed by serving the people.

“I remember before the 2006 war His Eminence invited his siblings and their families for Iftar at our house. He sat in the middle and prevented anyone from pouring food. He told them, ‘throughout the holy month, people have been serving me [food]. Now it’s my turn to serve you and pour food for you myself.’”

Jawad says that those gathered at the table refused but Sayyed insisted on doing it himself. Here he points out that His Eminence often does things himself in everyday life. He helps in setting the table. Sometimes he heats his food himself. He repeatedly prepares his papers.

He is not demanding or bossy. Because of their great love for him, everyone around him waits for him to ask them to do something.

Sayyed and Imam Khamenei

Jawad points out that His Eminence has a great deal of adoration for Grand Ayatollah Imam Sayyed Ali Khamenei. He follows his recorded lessons, listens to his sermons, and sheds light on anything posted on his behalf. He was so touched when the story of the Leader marrying off one of his sons was circulated. He was affected by the asceticism and humility that accompanied that event. Sayyed always repeats the phrase: look at where we are and where the Leader is!

Sayyed and the Mujahideen

His grave responsibilities did not hinder his ability to closely follow-up on matters concerning the families of the martyrs. With regard to the Mujahideen, Sayyed has a particular sensitivity and passion towards them.

“I remember during the Joroud [battle] and the snow. His Eminence remembered them during ablution and would say, ‘God help them while they perform ablution in this cold.’ Or when he wants to eat, he remembers them and says, ‘I wonder what they are eating now,’” Jawad says.

Jawad pauses and points out that Sayyed is not a show-off. He did not say this to a group of people. Only one person knows these things.

Sayyed puts a great deal of importance on the blood of the martyrs. For him, all the pride that we enjoy comes from those who sacrificed themselves so that the nation can live in dignity.

This is how His Eminence follows social media

His Eminence reads most of the articles and reports. He follows and looks at everything on social media, according to Jawad. Of course, he does not have an account. He, however, receives detailed and lengthy reports on everything every day, including Twitter and Facebook posts. He sees the profiles and pictures of the people on social media. We see them on the screen while he sees them printed on paper. Sayyed even reads most of the letters sent to him. Sometimes, if he does not have time to read everything, his assistants choose funny things of a political nature.

“I ask him what he thinks about some tweets regarding a certain topic. He tells me, ‘I saw the tweets of several people. Aren’t those your friends, Jawad?’”

Sayyed hates foul language and obscenity on social media no matter what party issued it. His Eminence does not permit offending opponents. Of course, the “Israelis” are another topic, says Jawad. There should be manners and decency in political rivalries. He considers that the fraught atmosphere among activists is very bad. People can politely disagree and raise the level of communication, attention and thinking. When Sayyed comes across such types of offensive tweets, he describes them with one word: “wretched”. To him this is the most profound description.

The majalis e-aza are for all Muslims

Sayyed does not only keep a close eye on social media sites while advocating more civilized forms of communication, he also follows a lot of other things. For example, he makes sure that the central majlis e-aza can be attended by all Muslims. Imam al-Husayn is the son of the Prophet (PBUH). In this sense, it is our duty to convey his grievance to everyone. Moreover, when he has time, he looks into the content of the majlis.

Furthermore, His Eminence rejoices greatly with the scientific achievements of the people. He is also delighted with any humanitarian initiative.

Being careful with public rights and money

Jawad stresses that Sayyed is the same person whether he is under the spotlight or alone. To him, the criterion is the satisfaction of Allah.

In this context, he talks about His Eminence’s care for legitimate rights and money in a manner that other people may not notice. “For example, once His Eminence received a present that I liked. He told me, ‘you can take it, but you have to pay for it.’ I wondered and asked him why. He said, ‘I did not receive this present as Hassan the son of Abdul Karim Nasrallah but as the secretary general of Hezbollah. Therefore, you have to pay for it with a certain Hajj. The price of the gifts that are sold are transferred to a [bank] account to help Mujahideen get married.’ He told me confidently, ‘what makes you more special than the other young men?’”

Here, Jawad points out that Sayyed is always concerned with the worries of his people, and he fears for their rights. After 2006, he was ready to take from Hezbollah’s funds to aid people and pay for their health, education, etc.

“Conforming with people” is the permanent commandment at every situation

Sayyed always underscores the need to conform to people in many of the things that we wants to do.

“Following the July 2006 war, I was able to borrow money and buy an ordinary house, and the prices were still acceptable,” says Jawad.

“My father told me at the time, ‘you’re not allowed to. After reconstruction, you return to your home. You have to live the way people are living. You have to rent like them, even if this drives you to move from one house to another. We are not better than people. We have to console them and be equal to them.’ According to His Eminence, it is possible not to share one’s joy. However, consolation during hardship and pain alleviates the heart and spirit. As long as you are my son, you have to accept and live this life with its sweetness and bitterness. If we cannot console them, the least we can do is be equal to them. This is stated in our religion and the morals of the Holy Prophet (PBUH) and his family (PBUT). It is not our business what others do within what God allows. We are accountable to the people who give and love expecting no return. Those are the people of loyalty. The relationship with them is beyond leadership. And the least we can do is to conform with people, leave behind what we can and live in asceticism to be closer to Allah Almighty. Then he reminds me of the holy verse {Never will you attain the good [reward] until you spend [in the way of Allah] from that which you love. And whatever you spend – indeed, Allah is Knowing of it.} (Surah Ali-Imran – Verse 92).”

What is the secret behind Sayyed’s confidence in victory?

“About two years after the 2006 war, I said, ‘Father, I know you are someone who cares a lot about the speeches you give. Honesty is a red line for you, so you are careful not to shake the trust between you and the public. In the beginning of the July war, tell me how were you able to say your famous sentence ‘as I always promised you victory, I promise you victory again’? What did you base this certainty on at the beginning of the war and the whole world was against us? He told, ‘aren’t you a reader of the Quran?’ I said, ‘Yes.’ He gave me two verse: {O you who have believed, if you support Allah, He will support you and plant firmly your feet.} (Surah Muhammad – Verse 7) and {Indeed, Allah defends those who have believed. Indeed, Allah does not like everyone treacherous and ungrateful.} (Surah Al-Hajj – Verse 38). ‘This is Allah’s promise,’ he said.”

“This is certainty,” says Jawad. “The whole world is against us and is conspiring against us. A cruel war is launched against us, yet someone comes with all this confidence and certainty to say this famous sentence. In my opinion, this is the foundation of the great popular trust that Sayyed enjoys today. This has turned him into a symbol of truth and everyone began to see him as a person who is certain.”

No favoritism in employment

For Sayyed, there is no place for favoritism when it comes to jobs.

Jawad says, “once, I waited for three months to get a direct job appointment with him. Sayyed had me disapproved. Although I tried more than once to bring the date forward, but I did not succeed. He even put me at the end of the day. Then, I felt something. I contacted his assistant and told him, ‘I will cancel the appointment but on one condition do not schedule any appointment instead of mine. Let my father rest.’ He said, ‘I accept.’ I said, ‘Cancel my appointment.’ When I met my father later, he told me, ‘you know, my son, when X told me that Jawad canceled the appointment on the condition that you rested, I was very happy because I was very tired. Then I said thank God and I was grateful to you from my heart.’”

The speech is in the mind as it is on paper

There is no doubt that His Eminence’s distinguished speeches have always been admired because of the methodology, strength and eloquence. Every speech is unlike the previous one. Every time you listen to him, it feels like it is the first time. Many wonder how His Eminence prepares his speeches.

In this regard, Jawad tells us that when an idea comes to His Eminence’s mind in any particular subject, he thinks about it before putting it down on paper. “You see him put the points he will include in the speech in his mind. He has mental and intellectual abilities and other unnatural gifts. Let us assume, for example, that he went to deliver a speech and forgot the papers somewhere, nothing changes at all. What is written on the papers is imprinted in his mind – the same sequence and order.

He has a strong memory. This is sometimes evident, for example, when we talk to him about something that might not be a needle in the haystack. 15 days later, on the allotted time he replies to us even though the date is not written down.

How does Sayyed approach politics?

Sayyed has a realistic view on how we should approach politics. In his view there must be flexibility. Nobody takes everything in politics. We have to coexist with people. Politics, in the end, is give and take. Nothing can just be because you say so.

Sometimes His eminence regrets when the public opinion does not wait in a particular case to see what is behind Hezbollah’s decision regarding a certain matter. According to his convictions, it is very wrong to make judgments arbitrarily, especially regarding sensitive subjects.

Jawad concludes his heartfelt talk about his father by pointing out that despite all this compassion and affluent passion, Sayyed is a wise manager, a brilliant and intelligent person, resolute, decisive and deadly in war.

Finally, writing about His Eminence’s other side carries us to another world where there is a lot of beauty. There is no doubt

that Sayyed Nasrallah’s personal and human traits constitute some of the many in an exceptional leader that brought pride to the nation. And even so, everything written and said about him remains too little.

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West’s “Fake News” Begins to Backfire

Source

September 5, 2019 (Joseph Thomas – NEO) – Western special interests have used the term “fake news” as a pretext for widening censorship, particularly across US-based social media networks like Facebook and Twitter as well as across Google’s various platforms.

In a move of political judo, many nations are citing the threat of “fake news” to in turn deal with media platforms, often funded and supported by the US and Europe, operating within their borders and often targeting sitting governments to either coerce or unseat them in pursuit of Western interests.

A recent example of this is in Thailand where the government has announced plans for measures to combat what is being called “fake news.”

A Bangkok Post article titled, “Digital Economy and Society Ministry outlines fake news crackdown,” would report:

The Digital Economy and Society Ministry (DE) is seeking to counter fake information shared online through the Line app because urgent issues could potentially incite mass public misunderstanding.

The article also makes mention of the Thai government’s plans to approach tech-giants like Facebook, Line and Google, urging each to establish offices in Thailand for the specific purpose of confronting “fake-news.”

Facebook and Google already have a well-oiled process of identifying and removing content both platforms deem “fake news” or “coordinated, disingenuous behaviour,” but this is a process that focuses solely on deleting narratives from their networks that challenge US interests. Both platforms, as well as Twitter, are more than happy to otherwise allow false narratives aimed at governments around the world to flourish with impunity.

The offices the Thai government seeks to establish are described as a shortcut for the Thai government to contact these foreign tech companies and spur them into action. However, similar arrangements have already been tried with mixed results and ultimately, with large foreign tech-giants like Facebook, Google and Twitter enjoying net influence over Thailand’s information space at the Thai government’s and the Thai people’s expense.


Genuine Cooperation and Non-Interference Requires Thai Leverage 

Google’s adherence to Chinese conditions for operating within Chinese territory resulted not from Google’s good will, but from China’s sufficient leverage over the tech-giant. China maintains its own tech corporations which dominate China’s information space. China’s Baidu is an equivalent to Google. Weibo is a Chinese equivalent to Twitter. And RenRen is a Chinese version of Facebook. All three dominate their respective target markets within China.

China doesn’t need Google. Google needs China. And because of this leverage, China is able to bend Google to conform to its conditions while operating within China. At any time China can remove what little of Google’s business remains there because of this fact.

For smaller nations like Thailand, tech-giants like Google face little to no competition. They are able to exert influence over Thailand’s information space with virtual impunity. The Thai government may “ask” for cooperation, but lacking any indigenous alternative, requests for cooperation lack the sufficient leverage necessary to receive it in full.

Thailand’s latest plans will likely backfire if not linked to serious efforts to establish Thai versions of Google, Facebook, Twitter and other platforms operated by foreign tech giants currently dominating Thailand’s information space.

Such efforts have been hinted at.  In 2017 there were talks between the Thai and Russian governments regarding Russian assistance to develop local Thai alternatives to US-based social media platforms.

So far, no tangible progress has been made. But should concrete plans be rolled out alongside requests that foreign tech giants concede control of Thai information space to the Thai government, the threat of local alternatives displacing foreign social media platforms just as they did in China or Russia could give Bangkok the leverage it needs to have its requests met.

The West’s Surreal Hypocrisy 

In the wake of Thailand’s announcement  to fight “fake news,” Western media platforms began decrying the proposed plans.

The Diplomat’s article, “‘Fake News’ and Thailand’s Information Wars,” would attempt to claim:  

Identifying what is considered “fake news” has become a political weapon for authoritarian consolidation after the 2014 military coup. The regime has relentlessly accused its critics of spreading false information while claiming that it is the only official source of true facts.

The author, Janjira Sombatpoonsiri, appears entirely unaware the term “fake news” was first coined in the West specifically for this purpose and the tech-giants Thailand proposes to lean on to enforce its own definition of “fake news” have already scoured their networks of tens of thousands of accounts in a politically-motivated censorship campaign propped up by claims of fighting “fake news.”

Janjira also complains that the Thai government’s proposal puts first and foremost US-backed political parties like Future Forward at risk. She never mentions Future Forward is a political proxy of foreign interests and glosses over its links to political parties guilty of mass murder, street violence and terrorism. She also attempts to imply US designs for primacy over Asia is a threat imagined by Thailand’s current government and its supporters despite a half century of US policy papers, US-led wars and standing armies placed in the region proving just how real this threat is.

If a campaign aimed at confronting “fake news” was ever really needed, it is for parties like Future Forward, the foreign special interests it works for and the networks of violence and terrorism it works with.

As Asia Rises, Western Influence in Physical and Information Space will Wane

Thailand is not alone. Other nations across Southeast Asia have already passed laws regarding what they define as “fake news,” much of which targets US-funded media platforms seeking to influence regional public perception, policy and economic decisions.

Reuters in its article, “Thailand asks tech firms to set up centers against ‘fake news’ in Southeast Asia,” would note:

Other Southeast Asian governments have also recently made efforts to exert more control over online content and taken a tough stance against misinformation. 

Singapore passed an anti-fake news bill in May, forcing online media platforms to correct or remove content the government considers to be false. 

Vietnam said its cybersecurity law, which was passed last year and banned posting anti-government information online, would guard against fake news. 

Whether or not Thailand’s current plans succeed, what is certain is that the balance of power in the region is shifting. Nations once powerless to compete against US economic, political, military and information supremacy are now moving individually and in unison to chip away at US hegemony in the region.

Thailand will eventually develop its own alternatives to Facebook, Twitter, Google and others which will not only be a benefit to Thai national security, but also to the Thai economy. Much of Thailand’s nearly 70 million strong population is online (including 46 million on Facebook alone) and keeping the money generated by their online activity inside Thailand’s borders can only be a positive thing.

It’s not a matter of if but of when US-based tech giants lose their grip on information space abroad. The only question that remains is how much damage they’ll be able to do in each respective country, including Thailand, before that grip loosens.

Joseph Thomas is chief editor of Thailand-based geopolitical journal, The New Atlas and contributor to the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.

‘Israeli’ Account Reporting on Al-Ahed’s Twitter Account

By Staff

A Zionist Twitter account based in the ‘Israeli’-occupied territories reported on al-Ahed News website’s account after, normally, doing our principal job in covering news and breaking news from all over the world.

Captioned with “REPORT THIS SITE FOR GENOCIDAL INCITMENT,” Rachel Yadin retweeted al-Ahed’s tweets covering stances made by Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps [IRGC] top Chief Major General Hossein Salami.

The tweets didn’t comply with the mentioned caption. They only read Salami’s stances as the following:

“Our enemies are scattered, Muslims countries are being freed from political and military hegemony of enemies.”

Another tweet read:

“Zionists and their allies show no desire for war fearing its spill into their territories.”

It is worth noting that Facebook has been suspending al-Ahed News Arabic, English, French and Spanish pages for innumerable times.

An Award Winning Documentary Removed by Youtube

I have learned this morning that that the documentary film  Gilad And All That Jazz – by Golriz Kolahi  was removed from Youtube. It apparently ‘violates’ the company’s “guidelines.” Youtube writes that “content glorifying or inciting violence against another person or group of people is not allowed on YouTube.” None of the above can be found in the award winning documentary. “We also don’t allow any content that encourages hatred of another person or group of people based on their membership in a protected group.” Again none of that could be found in the film.

Kolahi’s film was broadcasted on TV around the world. It was screened in film festivals and won prices. The film indeed gave air to my views but it also featured the entire list of my detractors from Tony Greenstein to David Aaronovitch. It aimed at impartiality!

Youtube were kind enough to point out that “this removal has not resulted in a Community Guidelines strike or penalty on your account.” I guess that Youtube’s management knows very well that the film didn’t violate a single company’s guideline.

The film is still on the net and will remain on the net forever. Book burning and censorship is yet to suppress a single idea. It reveals instead what the oppressor is desperate to conceal.

Watch Gilad and All That Jazz:

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

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Our Reality Can Beat Up Your Reality. Spreading False News Stories on Iran

Taxpayer-Funded Propaganda for Trolls, by Trolls

Global Research, June 17, 2019

Twitter has declared victory over disinformation, deplatforming thousands of pro-Iranian Twitter accounts this week to coincide with US Secretary of State “Rapture Mike” Pompeo’s evidence-free declaration that Iran had attacked two oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman. But the mass deletion is merely an effort to distract from the implosion of two anti-Iran troll campaigns dedicated to smearing pro-peace Americans, both tacitly Twitter-approved. And there’s plenty more where those came from. As US media and politicians continues to hyperventilate about Russian bots, who’s the real troll-master?

Pompeo was out front with the blame hours after the attack, absent a shred of proof beyond unspecified “intelligence” and a few other dubious incidents in the Middle East that the US has previously pinned on Iran (also absent a shred of proof). But even mainstream media has initially been reluctant to take his word for it, mostly because the narrative is so improbable – Japan’s PM Shinzo Abe was in Tehran when it happened, promising to make the “utmost effort” to de-escalate tensions, when, as if on cue, one Japanese ship and another carrying Japanese cargo were hit? What are the odds?

When even CNN acknowledged that the attack “doesn’t appear to benefit any of the protagonists in the region,” and Bloomberg admitted “Iran has little to gain” from blowing up the ships of its esteemed guest, Pompeo clearly understood another route of influence was required. Who better to call in for reinforcements than Twitter, which has demonstrated time and again its willingness to serve the US’ preferred narrative with mass deplatformings? 4,779 accounts believed to be “associated or backed by Iran” were removed – less than an hour after Pompeo’s declaration of Iranian guilt – for nothing more than tweeting “global news content, often with an angle that benefited the diplomatic and geostrategic views of the Iranian state.” This was deemed “platform manipulation,” and therefore unacceptable.

One troll down, thousands more to go

Tweeting with an angle that benefits the diplomatic and geostrategic views of the American state, however, is perfectly acceptable – at least, it wasn’t Twitter that brought the “Iran Disinformation Project” crashing to a halt earlier this month. The State Department officially ended its @IranDisinfo influence operation after the social media initiative, ostensibly created to “counter Iranian propaganda,” went rogue, smearing any and all critics of Trump’s hawkish Iran policy as paid operatives of the Iranian government. Human rights activists, students, journalists, academics, even insufficiently-militant American propagandists at RFE/RL, Voice of America and other US-funded outlets were attacked by @IranDisinfo – all on the US taxpayer’s dime.

Congress only learned of the project in a closed-door hearing on Monday, when the State Department confessed the troll campaign had taken $1.5 million in taxpayers’ money to attack those same taxpayers – all in the name of promoting “freedom of expression and free access to information.” The group contracted to operate Iran Disinfo, E-Collaborative for Civic Education, is run by an Iranian immigrant and claims to focus on strengthening “civil society” and “democracy” back home, though its work is almost exclusively US-focused and its connections with pro-war think tanks like the Foundation for Defense of Democracies have alarmed congressional staffers.

“What rules are in place to prevent state-funded organization from smearing American citizens? If there wasn’t public outcry, would the Administration have suspended funding for Iran Disinfo?” Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minnesota) tweeted after the mea culpa meeting. While the State Department was long barred from directing government-funded propaganda at its own citizens, that rule was quietly repealed in 2013 with the passage of the Smith-Mundt Modernization Act, which gave its narrative-spinners free reign to run influence operations at home. And while the Pentagon is technically forbidden from running psychological operations (“psy-ops”) against American citizens, that rule goes out the window in case of “domestic emergencies” – and the domestic emergency declared by then-President George W. Bush days after the September 11 terror attacks remains in effect, 18 years later.

Trump’s favorite anti-Iran troll

Nor was the State Department’s trolling operation the only anti-Iran psy-op to be unmasked in recent weeks. Heshmat Alavi, an anti-Iranian columnist promoted by the Trump administration and published in Forbes, the Hill, and several other outlets, was exposed by the Intercept as a propaganda construct operated by the Mojahedin-e Khalq (MEK), a controversial Iranian exile group often called a cult that has only recently lobbied its way off the US’ terror list. The MEK is notorious for buying the endorsement of American political figures, and national security adviser John Bolton, Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ), and former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani are among those who have spoken at its events.

Heshmat Alavi’s stories were used to sell Trump’s withdrawal from the Iran deal to the Washington Post and other more reputable outlets, as well as to promote the MEK as a “main Iranian opposition group” and viable option for post-regime-change leadership of Iran – even though it is very much fringe and hated by the majority of Iranians for fighting on the side of Iraq during the Iran-Iraq war of the 1980s. Indeed, Alavi’s relentless advocacy for the MEK may have scared off a few of the sites that initially published his work.

None of the editors who’d published Alavi’s work had ever spoken to him and none could provide the Intercept with any evidence that he was not, in fact, “a persona run by a team of people from the political wing of the MEK.” Defectors confirmed that Alavi is a small part of a massive US-directed propaganda campaign.

“We were always active in making false news stories to spread to the foreign press and in Iran,” a Canadian MEK defector told the Intercept, describing a comprehensive online propaganda operation run out of the group’s former base in Iraq that sought to control the narrative about Iran on Facebook and Twitter. Alavi may be gone, his account quietly suspended by Twitter in the wake of the Intercept’s unmasking and his stories pulled from Forbes and the Diplomat, but there are more where he came from. The Intercept delivered Twitter all the evidence they needed to take down the MEK’s trolling network, a swamp of “coordinated inauthentic behavior” in which Alavi was a prominent node, but the social network sat on its hands.

Friends funding fiends

Add to this toxic US-approved stew the Israeli astroturf operation Act.IL, which in 2018 took $1.1 million from Israel’s Ministry of Strategic Affairs to troll Americans critical of Israeli policies, including its hostility toward Iran. Initially founded to combat the Iran nuclear deal, the Ministry’s mission has pivoted to combating the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, for which it receives significant US funding (Israeli Lt-Gen Gabi Ashkenazi admitted in 2012 that American taxpayers contribute more to the country’s defense budget than Israeli taxpayers). Act.IL boasts it has gotten Americans fired from their jobs, and the app encourages users to accuse American students and journalists who support BDS of antisemitism, mass-report their posts, and otherwise engage in what would be called “coordinated inauthentic behavior” if any other country did it.

Act.IL is by no means the only Israeli trolling campaign aimed at American eyeballs, either. Psy-Group, the Israeli private intelligence company that infamously pitched a social media influence operation to the Trump campaign, ran a multi-pronged online smear operation to influence a local election in California in 2017 and has pitched dozens more. The Israel on Campus Coalition attacks pro-Palestinian student activists and professors through coordinated social media campaigns, while The Israel Project operates a network of Facebook groups whose admitted purpose is to smuggle pro-Israeli propaganda into users’ newsfeeds by concealing it among bland inspirational messages.

Such clear-cut deception by state-sponsored actors is a blatant violation of Facebook’s policies as they’ve been applied to other users, but the site claims the Israeli groups are kosher. Yet of the pro-Iran accounts deleted by Twitter, one “set” included 248 accounts “engaged with discussions related to Israel specifically” – these were shut down for nothing more than their country of origin, even as inauthentic accounts run by Israel were given carte-blanche to spew propaganda. Twitter and Facebook don’t mind being weaponized in the propaganda wars, as long as they’re working for the “right” side.

As 21st century wars are fought more and more in the informational sphere, the brightly-colored propaganda posters of the previous century have been replaced with relatively sophisticated social media influence operations. What Pompeo can’t accomplish by lying to the American public, the State Department will attempt to achieve through the slow and steady drip of disinformation.

US politicians, meanwhile, remain so fixated on the “Russian trolls stole the election!” narrative they’ve been flogging for the last three years that the Senate last week unanimously passed a bill to restrict entry to any foreign national convicted of “election meddling,” a toothless piece of legislative virtue-signaling that reveals their utter disconnection from reality. It’s more than a little ironic that they’d embrace and even pay for foreign meddling as long as they believe the trolls are working for them.

As Friedrich Nietzsche said,

“Whoever fights monsters should see to it that in the process he does not become a monster.” Or a troll.

*

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This article was originally published in abbreviated form on RT.

Helen Buyniski‘s work has been published at RT, Ghion Journal, Progressive Radio Network, and Veterans Today, among other outlets. A journalist and photographer based in New York City, Helen has a BA in Journalism from New School University and also studied at Columbia University and New York University. Find more of her work at http://www.helenofdestroy.com and http://medium.com/@helen.buyniski, or follow her on Twitter @velocirapture23. She is a frequent contributor to Global Research.

All images in this article are from the author

FB Jail for truth tellers

June 01, 2019  /  Gilad Atzmon

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Once a day the Palestinian poet Nahida Izzat is being thrown into the FB Jail for 30 days for telling the truth about Palestine and the crime that has been committed against her people for almost a century.  Nahida has never promoted violence or written any type of hate speech. The routine is pretty exhausting.   She receives a FB notification about her suspension, she then appeals and after a few hours FB lifts her suspension.

 The Palestinian poet is subject to a relentless vilification campaign by both Zionists and Anti Zionist Zionists (AZZ). Yesterday, Nahida was suspended again. This time her crime was  posting a clip of a Palestinian man who just lost his home to an Israeli bomb. Nahida provided an English translation of the Gazan victim.

Nahida’s post read:

Do you want to know how people in Gaza feel?

Here it is: “Even if they destroy all our homes,

We are with the Resistance

Even if they kill every single one of us

We are with the Resistance Even if they kill our children

We are with the Resistance”

FB has now rejected Nahida’s appeal on the ridiculous ground that the above ‘goes against our community standards on hate speech”

 Apparently reporting on a war crime committed by Israel and providing a first hand account of  the destruction and the anguish inflicted on Palestinian refugees is considered ‘hate speech’ according to the authoritarian social network.

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Nahida Izzat, The Master of Poetic Resistance

May 30, 2019  /  Gilad Atzmon

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Nahida Izzat interviewed by Gilad Atzmon

The outspoken Palestinian poet Nahida Izzat has been an inspiration for a growing number of people. This fact has been a great concern for both Zionists and the so-called ‘anti.’ I have been witnessing the campaign against Nahida for over 10 years.  In recent days the desperate attempts to silence Nahida  have intensified. I spoke with Nahida about her life and her battle for truth. I urge you to listen to the spectacularly lucid voice of an heroic exiled poet.    

Gilad Atzmon: Recently FB has both suspended you at least once a day  and then lifted your suspension a few hours later after reviewing your appeal. It seems that someone is desperate to silence you. What are your feelings about this, and why do you think it’s happening?

Nahida Izzat:  That is true, Gilad. In the past, my account was suspended and my posts/comments deleted. To have my account reinstated, FB asked me to provide documentation (A copy of 2 of these items: Passport, Birth Certificate,  Driver’s License, or Bank Account) to prove my identity and that my account is not a fake.

This time around, I have been subjected to harassment on an almost daily basis, receiving notice that a post of mine “goes against FB Community Standards” of “Hate Speech”. I have protested immediately each time and requested a review, a few hours later I receive an apology from FB for their mistake in suspending my account and they have lifted the ban.

Whoever is reporting me recently has been trying desperately to find an excuse to silence me for being one of the most outspoken Palestinian voices in the West, daring to step outside the red line and break the “boundaries” as defined to us by the self-appointed gatekeepers in the Palestinian support movement.

Some years ago, and like yourself, I experienced some real harassment and attempted censorship  by no other than the Jewish anti-Zionist ‘supporters’ in the movement, those to whom I had given my trust after working closely with them for many years. They did this to me because I dared delve into the ‘forbidden’ topics they deemed taboo, and I stepped out of the boundaries they set as they claimed that anything beyond their boundaries was not ‘permissible’ in the discourse of the Palestinian struggle. They used the same accusation they use now of “antisemitism” to stop me from writing and to stop my writing from being published online.

 Some years ago, I identified some of the subjects they deem impermissible, including:

  • The doctrine of Jewish supremacy, (chosenness)  and its role in Palestine Struggle and the ramifications it has had on Palestinian lives and on their destruction;

  •     The global Jewish Zionist network which functions as the international blood line that has enabled the continuous survival of the Jewish state;

  •     The veneration of the holocaust as an article of faith rather than a chapter in history, and the implications of that for the Palestinian struggle for liberation; and

  •     The concealment of False Flag operations perpetrated by Mossad and the intentions and role of both the concealment and the operations themselves in the destruction of much of the Middle East.

All efforts to silence my roaring Palestinian voice have come to naught.  In fact, such efforts had the opposite effect. Instead of my having a voice that faintly echoes from a small city in the UK, their attempts to silence me have helped me raise the volume, so that my voice is propelled far and wide.

I see what is happening on FB now as deja vu, once again one or more people are out there desperately trying to smother an authentic, free and untamed Palestinian voice and to incarcerate an independent thinking mind by clutching a straw, building a castle on quicksand or throwing a handkerchief in people’s eyes to stop daylight from breaking through.

GA:  While in the early days it seemed as if it was Zionists and Israeli stooges who were interfering with our intellectual work, now it is established that Anti Zionist Jews are way more active on that front. What is your explanation?

NI: Zionist hawks are not interested in playing in a mind field, they prefer to play with bombs, bullets and minefields. Their interest is in totally eliminating their enemy.  By contrast, anti-Zionist ‘doves’ wave the banners of morality and universal values, it isn’t befitting to their moralist role to play with guns, so they focus on the mind field. But their arguments are feeble and cannot stand the heat of truth, the goals of their game evolve into working to spin and conceal truth for as long as possible, hoping that in their end game they can bury truth forever in the dungeon of “hate speech” locking it with the “antisemitism” and “holocaust denial” keys.

What these poor souls fail to see is that truth has an innate irrepressible light that can never be extinguished by their blows.

GA: What should be the role of anti Zionist Jews?

NI: If anti Zionist Jews are to be truthful with Palestinians, with our supporters and with themselves, all their energy, all their sincerity and all their might must turn inside out. They will have to turn over and look within. They should focus on diagnosing the root causes of the problem not, as they have insisted upon, merely describing the symptoms. Looking within is a huge undertaking, it requires a long and agonising journey within the self. I dare to suggest as a first step in this monumental task, that they approach it with honesty and sincerity not the avoidance and concealment we have seen.

The heart of the problem and the root cause of the Palestinian Nakba lies in the demon of ‘chosenness’, i.e ideological Jewish supremacy as manifested in their innumerable texts that separate Jews from ‘gentiles’ and puts them not merely miles apart, over and above the rest of mankind, but places them within a totally different paradigm, with different histories, terminology and perception of the world, themselves, and  the outside world. Without an end to this separation there can never be a true solution in which we achieve a workable, egalitarian, fair and humanistic world with universal values that apply to all.

In order for their self-chosen, self imposed separation to end, they must take a hard and honest look at the core issue, the elephant in the room, that which no one dares to name, ‘chosenness.’

They must examine why they feel the need to conceal this issue.

They need to discover why they ‘freak out’ and behave irrationally at the mention of this word.

They need to ask themselves the difficult questions:

Why do they feel entitled to control the terminology that defines what is good for mankind and why do they believe no one else can?

Why do they feel that their narrative is the one and only possible narrative?

Why do they believe that their own suffering supersedes that of others?

What is it that terrifies them when they feel they have no control in making the rules?

How do they demand that Palestinians be thoughtful of Jewish sensitivities, Jewish security and the Jewish future all while the Palestinians are being maimed, tortured and slaughtered?

Why do they expect Palestinians to consider the welfare, security and future well being of the Jewish ‘Israelis’ who are slaughtering them and bombing their society to smithereens?

What is it that makes them feel entitled to expect Palestinians to give up on their inalienable rights of liberation, land ownership and sovereignty for the sake of the same people  who have been robbing and destroying these rights for seven decades?

If they are able to manage a mile or two of honestly exploring these questions then they can move on to scrutinize and dissect the four boundaries that they have set for themselves and others that are listed above.

GA: Three days ago we were shocked to see an abusive and patronising post by the pro Palestinian Israeli activist Abigail Abarbanel.  She  has accused you of antisemitism and racism for publishing primary sources of Judaic texts. Abarbanel wrote of you that you “can be clumsy”, “bitterness has always been there in Nahida’s poetry, “she posted blatantly racist comments”, ” Nahida does not have good emotional regulation. She can be out of control and expresses incredibly racist views against Jews”,  “she seems unable to differentiate between her anger with the state of Israel/Zionism and what it has been doing to her people, and maligning the entire Jewish people for it”, she “expresses racist views against Jews in general, not just share specific examples of Jewish racism..” etc.  How does it feel when an Israeli who claims to be a supporter of your cause refers to you as ‘clumsy’ and ‘racist’?

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NI: Ok, how it feels!  Even though she has published some nasty stuff about me, I do not feel anger, hostility or hate toward her. I‘ve never met her personally, and on a human level I feel sorry for her, for her inability to empathise with others when her sensitivities are rubbed. I feel sorry for her inability to see beyond the bubble of tribalism she has chosen to dwell within. I feel sorry for her belief that she has mastered all there is to morality and humanity; when she goes out of her way to smear a fellow human being for the ‘sin’ of relying upon and quoting Jewish sources to provide evidence of ideological racism and supremacy and for asking her to challenge her own belief in  supremacy.

I feel sorry for her for thinking she has healed the wounds of childhood  abuse inflicted upon her by her family members and by her tribe even as they indulged in mass scale abuse of an entire people, although she is incapable of touching the infected core of the problem.

I am sorry to witness her fall as she swims out of her depth and lashes out at a concerned ‘outsider’ who has put a finger where it really hurts in the hope that if a correct diagnosis and attention to a cure is given, healing may occur.

On the collective humanist non-personal level, I experience deep pain from the ugliness of her betrayal of a people she claims to support. I grieve as a witness to her failure, watching as she faced a choice between blind loyalty to a tribe and the truth and made the wrong choice.

GA: Years ago both of us were portrayed as lone voices with marginal followings, nowadays things have turned around.  All over Europe people are expressing fatigue with Zionist power over Western politics, culture, media, etc. We are facing a shift in mass consciousness. Does this change translate into hope? 

NI: Absolutely.

As a witness to so many changes in the short time over the past decade, and as an observer of the grave upheaval raging all around, destabilising major political systems, shifting and shoveling global powers, one cannot fail to see the meaning of “everything is in flux!” Change is a law of the universe.

And watching Zionists and anti-Zionists alike, of all shades, colours and persuasions stuck in an ever shrinking narrowing field in the battle of ideas, with no weapons in their hands other than ad hominem attacks and laughable accusations of ‘antisemitism’, I have no doubt that they are slowly but surely losing the battles of the mind and the soul.

As witness to all this, I feel resolve, confidence and resilience from within, filling me with all the hope, energy and fortitude needed to persist.  As a person of faith, a believer in the existence of a Supreme Intelligence with Most High Principles, Ultimate Justice and Sublime Love, I feel this energy invigorating me and giving me even more power and the determination to continue roaring with passion for the sake of truth, justice and humanity.

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