Major Psy-Op in Europe Exposed: UK Government Tramples on Values It Vowed to Protect

Major Psy-Op in Europe Exposed: UK Government Tramples on Values It Vowed to Protect

Major Psy-Op in Europe Exposed: UK Government Tramples on Values It Vowed to Protect
Those who have been saying that the West has turned Russia into a scapegoat to be blamed for each and every thing that goes wrong have been proved right. We have witnessed concocted stories invented to denigrate Moscow that have gone viral as directed by the secret services. The UK, the country that is spearheading the anti-Russian information campaign, offers a good example that illustrates how this is being done.An online group of hackers known as Anonymous has just revealed covert UK activities in the EU. According to the documents released by that group, London is in the midst of a major program to interfere in the internal affairs of EU members, the US, and Canada. Anonymous threatens to release more information on the clandestine operations of the UK government, unless it agrees to remove the shroud of secrecy protecting those information-warfare efforts. On Nov. 24 Twitter deleted RT comments on the issue. The UK knows it has friends it can rely on in a crunch.

The Integrity Initiative is a London-based organization set up and funded by the government-friendly Institute for Statecraft, in cooperation with the Free University of Brussels (VUB) to wage information-warfare operations against Russia. Anonymous calls it a “large-scale information secret service.” It aims to “change attitudes in Russia itself” as well as the influence of Russian natives living abroad. The Integrity Initiative’s budget for the fiscal year ending on March 31, 2019 is estimated at £1.96 million ($2.51 million). The network has received grants from NATO, the US State Department, and Facebook.

The Initiative’s operations have been kept under wraps. Its activities are conducted by “clusters” of local politicians, journalists, military personnel, scientists, and academics involved in anti-Russian propaganda efforts. The list includes William Browder, a US-British businessman convicted in absentia in Russia for tax evasion.

The Integrity Initiative network has offices from which to conduct its covert operations in France, Germany, Italy, Greece, the Netherlands, Lithuania, Norway, Serbia, Spain, and Montenegro. Its plans to expand to the US, Canada, Eastern Europe, and the MENA region are already underway.

The Anonymous hackers mention Operation Moncloa that was launched in June in Spain to prevent Pedro Baños, a colonel known for his Russia-friendly views, from being appointed the new head of Spain’s influential national security agency.

It’s all part of a broader picture. In March, Prime Minister Theresa May promised to “defeat” Russia with a new cyber-warfare initiative titled the Fusion Doctrine. Back then, Ms. May told British intelligence services to use social media “to prevent the spread of misinformation.” In other words, she has pulled the military into this anti-Russian propaganda effort. Security sources have floated the idea that that the UK must harness “soft power” and “counter-propaganda” on social media networks. Is it possible to imagine any media remaining independent in a country where they’re part of a “soft power strategy” implemented by the government under the rallying cry of protecting national security?

This is the origin of so many fantasies about Russia and the imaginary threat it poses. The plan included an enhanced role for the BBC World Service to promote British “values” abroad, ensuring that the Ofcom shuts down media organizations that fail to meet “high British standards.” Only gullible people can believe that such “values” and “standards” exist. Russia has been used as a bogeyman to justify measures aimed at killing off the freedom of the media. Any story about Russia’s nefarious deeds spread by British news outlets should be taken with a grain of salt.

The UK government is facing some hard times. The Brexit deal with the EU is headed to parliament for approval. It’s impossible to predict whether the MPs will vote yes or no. Both outcomes threaten the very existence of the United Kingdom. The use of the “Russian threat” is seen as one way to keep the nation united and the media under control.

Keeping its activities out of the public eye, the government is doing exactly what it has so indignantly accused Russia of. The pot is calling the kettle black. As the freedom of the press is being suppressed and the media networks are following the government’s instructions about what information they should offer their readers, UK officials continue to brazenly deliver their pompous speeches about the need to protect those very values to which the government itself poses the greatest challenge. Anonymous is right — any responsible government must explain the intentions behind the Integrity Initiative, how exactly it is funded, and why its activities should be shielded from public view.

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Israel Cannot Use Violent Self-Defense While Occupying Gaza

Photo Source U.S. Embassy Jerusalem | CC BY 2.0

Whenever bombings and shootings escalate in the Middle East, Israeli propagandists say that Israel is exercising its right of military self-defense against indiscriminate attacks coming from the Gaza Strip. But as this article documents, the right to use force in self-defense is contingent on Israel ending its military occupation and blockade of Gaza.

DON’T MISQUOTE ME ON THAT!

Doubtless some unscrupulous person or persons will quote or interpret this article out of context and claim that I’m saying that Israel has no right to self-defense at all. So, let me be clear: Israel is a nation-state like any other, like it or not. It therefore has the same legal rights as any nation-state, like it or not; including the right to use self-defense when under attack.

However, that right within the context of occupation is contingent on Israel’s adherence to international law; again, just like any state. For example: The US and British forces had no legal right to hurt or kill Iraqis resisting the illegal US-British invasion and occupation, which began in 2003. The only rights that the US and British had there was to leave.

Since 1967, Israel has occupied the Gaza Strip (and the West Bank of the Jordan, which it has now de facto annexed) in violation of international law. Yes, Israel withdrew its illegal colonies from Gaza in 2005, but it maintained the military blockade, which is an act of war and a violation of the IV Geneva Convention, which prohibits collective punishment.

As long as it continues its occupation/annexation of the Palestinian territories, Israel cannot use force in self-defense from attacks, even indiscriminate ones, emanating from Gaza. If it ended the occupation and blockade of the Palestinian territories, then it could argue a case for the use of force, assuming peaceful options are exhausted.

WHAT THE LIBERAL MEDIA SAY

Forget the madcap right-wing (e.g., a Fox News reporter standing next to what he claims is a flaming bakery hit by Palestinian rockets). How are the supposedly more intelligent and humane liberal media reporting the current violence?

The BBC says that “Violence has flared between Israel and Palestinian militants in Gaza, a day after seven militants and an Israeli soldier were killed during an undercover Israeli operation in Gaza.” Militants? It goes on to say that: “Militants fired 300 rockets and mortars at Israel. One hit a bus, seriously injuring a soldier nearby. Israel responded with more than 70 strikes on what it said were targets belonging to Hamas and Islamic Jihad.” Responded? Surely the BBC means to say that armed Palestinian groups responded to Israel’sactions, which occurred in the context of its unlawful 50-year occupation?

Notice the use of the word “militants.” The report doesn’t use words like “Zionists” when describing Israelis.

The online article includes an embedded tweet from the Israeli Defense Forces: “RAW FOOTAGE: The skies of southern Israel RIGHT NOW. Dozens of rockets are being fired from #Gaza at Israeli civilians.” There is no embedded video of the shocking conditions in which Palestinian civilians are forced by Israel to live (a point to which we shall return). Near the bottom of the article, the BBC approaches something bordering truthfulness when it says: “Israel, along with Egypt, has maintained a blockade of Gaza,” but it then goes back to the lies: “…since about 2006 in order, they say, to stop attacks by militants.”

The word “occupation” is mentioned not once. So, the gist of the BBC’s reporting is that Gaza is plagued by dangerous Islamists hell-bent on Israel’s destruction and that Israel is doing what it can, sometimes ham-fistedly (as in the latest “botched” special forces operation), to defend itself.

CNN quotes Israeli PM Netanyahu as saying that “Hamas vowed to destroyed Israel,” ergo long-term peace was “impossible.”

The Washington Post claims that the latest “flare-up” was “triggered” by a “botched” Israeli operation inside Gaza. It quotes Israeli Army spokesman Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus, that Israelis under Palestinian rocket-fire face “the most severe attack on … civilians by terrorist organizations from Gaza since our 2014 operation [Protective Edge].” Near the end of the article, the reporters mention, casually, Israel’s “tight restrictions on trade and travel.” Below, we’ll take a look at what these “tight restrictions” actually mean.

The New York Times describes what is happening as “An eruption,” rather than a continuation and predictable consequence of Israel’s ongoing brutality. It also mentions Israel’s “tight control over the border,” which has endured since 2005, they claim (not 1967 as is the reality), when Israel withdrew its illegal colonies. Approaching truth toward the end of the article, the NTY, unlike the BBC, quotes Chris Gunness of the UN Relief and Works Agency, who describes the humanitarian situation in Gaza for nearly 2 million ordinary civilians, half of whom are children, as a disaster and a “collective punishment.”

WHAT HUMAN RIGHTS GROUPS SAY

With the exception of the Gunness quote, the media have suppressed the severity of the humanitarian crisis in Gaza. The crisis is caused by the US-enabled Israeli blockade. Its importance in terms of the number of people affected vastly eclipses the firing of indiscriminate rockets into Israel by armed Palestinian groups.

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs states:“Palestinians in Gaza are ‘locked in’, denied free access to the remainder of the occupied Palestinian territory and the outside world.” According to the UN children’s fund UNICEF, “more than 96 per cent of abstracted water is polluted and not fit for human consumption due to high salinity levels from sea water intrusion and high nitrate levels from excessive use of agrochemicals and wastewater infiltration.”

Jamie McGoldrick and James Heenan of the UN say:

“All over the occupied Palestinian territory, but particularly in the Gaza Strip, we see children robbed of every right. Families cope with four hours of electricity per day in the sweltering heat. Clean drinking water is expensive and hard to find. The start of the school year in one month will be very difficult for tens of thousands of families who cannot afford basic school supplies.”

When trapped Gazans resist with overwhelmingly non-violent protest, they receive the following treatment, as described by a Red Cross doctor, Gabriel Salazar: “We estimate there are over 1,300 people with complex, sometimes multiple injuries,” care of the Israeli Defense Forces responding to the protests, “that will require at least three to five surgeries each. The recovery period may take months or even years and we believe some 400 will remain with temporary or permanent disability.” Many demonstrators are deliberately shot in the legs and refused treatment by Israel in neighboring Jordan.

IS GAZA STILL OCCUPIED?

Gaza and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, have been unlawfully occupied by Israel since June 1967. This means that every Israeli military action in those territories, except withdrawal, is unlawful. In November 1967, the United Nations adopted Security Council Resolution 242, which states:

Emphasizing the inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by war and the need to work for a just and lasting peace in which every State in the area can live in security,…

1. Affirms that the fulfillment of Charter principles requires the establishment of a just and lasting peace in the Middle East which should include the application of both the following principles:

(i) Withdrawal of Israel armed forces from territories occupied in the recent conflict…

In 2004, the International Court of Justice opined:

“All these territories (including East Jerusalem) remain occupied territories and Israel has continued to have the status of occupying Power … Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, are illegal … The Court concludes that the Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (including East Jerusalem) have been established in breach of international law.”

In 2018, the UN Human Rights Council reaffirmed that Gaza and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, are occupied by Israel:

“In the resolution, adopted by a vote of 29 in favour, two against [the US and Australia], and 14 abstentions, the Council decided to urgently dispatch an independent, international commission of inquiry, to be appointed by the President of the Human Rights Council, to investigate all alleged violations and abuses of international humanitarian law and international human rights law in the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem, particularly in the occupied Gaza Strip, in the context of the military assaults on the large-scale civilian protests that began on 30 March 2018.”

ISRAEL’S RIGHT OF SELF-DEFENSE

Given that the international consensus is that Israel remains the illegal occupying power in the Palestinian territories (including Gaza and East Jerusalem), Israel has no right to use force to defend itself against Palestinian attacks while it remains the illegal occupying power. If Israel ended the occupations of Gaza and the West Bank, it would be entitled to use force in self-defense, assuming that peaceful options are exhausted.

Hyde’s International Law Volume III states: “A belligerent,” i.e., Israel in this case, “which is contemptuous of conventional or customary prohibitions,” i.e., Israel continues to occupy Gaza, “is not in a position to claim that its adversary,” i.e., Hamas and other armed Palestinian groups, “when responding with like for like,” i.e., rocket-fire into Israel, “lacks the requisite excuse” (emphasis in original).

The Annual Digest and Reports of Public International Law Cases 1948 states: “Under International Law, as in Domestic Law, there can be no reprisal against reprisal. The assassin who is being repulsed by his intended victim may not slay him and then, in turn, plead self-defense.” By the same logic, Israel cannot occupy Gaza, collectively punish the population, and then claim to be acting in self-defense against Gazan rocket-fire.

In response to the Gaza massacre 2014, international jurist John Dugard said: “given the fact that Gaza is an occupied territory, it means that Israel’s present assault is simply a way of enforcing the continuation of the occupation, and the response of the Palestinian militants should be seen as the response of an occupied people that wishes to resist the occupation.”

More articles by:

Dr. T. J. Coles is director of the Plymouth Institute for Peace Research and the author of several books, including Voices for Peace (with Noam Chomsky and others) and the forthcoming Fire and Fury: How the US Isolates North Korea, Encircles China and Risks Nuclear War in Asia (both Clairview Books).

Gaza: The Most Important Story Not Covered in the MSM

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 by Maj. Danny Sjursen

The American news cycle is so dominated by the drama and minutiae surrounding the current administration that the most serious foreign policy crises go unreported.

The Israelis military is killing kids in the Gaza Strip – like, on the regular. You wouldn’t know it though; not unless you watch the BBC or Al Jazeera, that is. The uncomfortable truth is this: most Americans, frankly, don’t care. Most of the populace and a bipartisan coalition of nearly all policymakers are so reflexively pro-Israel that any critique of Israeli militarism is immediately labeled as anti-Semitism.

Nevertheless, Americans should start paying attention. We in the U.S. are, after all, veritably obsessed with our national security. So much so, indeed, that Washington has waged a perpetual “war on terror” across the Greater Middle East and Africa, restricted some civil liberties, and garrisoned the globe with hundreds of foreign military bases. The problem is that none of this expeditionary military action has made the homeland safer or lessened the appeal of violent jihadi Islam.

Two factors mainly explain this phenomenon of counter-productivity in US foreign policy. First off, folks simply don’t respond well to foreign military occupation in their countries. Thus, the very presence of US service members often enflames local passions, nationalism, and fundamentalist Islamism. The result: terror attacks, guerrilla warfare, and – sometimes – the outbreak of an outright insurgency. Need evidence? See the following exhibits: Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Libya, Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, West Africa, and on and on.

The second factor is the (accurate) perception – across the Islamic world – that Washington arms, funds, and otherwise enables an extreme right-wing Israeli regime that has systematically constructed an apartheid-like regime in the Palestinian Territories (to the extent they exist) of the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Palestinians live as second-class citizens, under essentially military rule. They are restricted to separate roads, different water sources, and alternative civil/political structures. They are walled off, subjected to ubiquitous military checkpoints, and colonized by illegal Israeli Jewish settlements.

That’s just the daily structural injustice of Palestinian life. Matters have only deteriorated from there. For several months now, (peacefully) protesting Gazans have been slaughtered in droves along the border fences. At least 40 children have been killed, along with women, old folks, and unarmed young men. More than 168 Palestinians have been fatally shot and thousands more wounded. It’s a humanitarian tragedy – a borderline war crime. The Israeli military has little sense of proportionality. Even though Israeli leaders label all the protesters – even the babies – as Hamas terrorists, the casualties are so lopsided between the Palestinian and Israeli sides as to be absurd. Which leads us to a logical conclusion: either A) the protesters are the least effective terrorists of all time (since barely any Israelis have been killed), or B) some Israeli politicians are lying to the world and being completely dishonest. The rational analyst would have to conclude the latter.

Which gets back to the US media (or really entertainment) industry. You hardly hear about any of this, even on the “liberal” network – MSNBC. Palestinian lives, even children’s lives, just don’t garner much sympathy in the U S of A. It’s obvious, and, understandable. The American populace is treated to distraction media: obsessions with President Trump’s every move, the Kavanaugh hearings, heck – even Kanye’s bizarre visit to the oval office. There’s precious little air time left over for any mention of foreign policy; of the fact that the US is at war in at least seven countries, that Yemeni’s are being starved and bombed by a Washington-backed Saudi coalition, and that the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) have been shooting down Gaza civilians for several months now.

Here’s the kicker though: you know who doesn’t forget? Global Muslims. US policy towards Israel and Middle East more generally is, and has been, radicalizing a generation of impoverished, frustrated Muslim youth from West Africa to South Asia. This is a genuine national security threat partly of our own making. Poll after credible global poll indicates that the international public considers the United States to be the greatest threat to world peace. Not North Korea, Syria, Russia, or China – nope, America. That’s a problem and, obviously, a threat to the US homeland.

What’s more, there’s little sign that Washington will reverse policy or reign in Israeli violence. To understand the cynicism of Israeli policy, consider that the Israelis are crafting a burgeoning partnership with the extremist, Wahhabi state of Saudi Arabia. That’s right: the keepers of the holy places of Mecca and Medina, the Saudis who ostensibly support the Palestinians (but don’t really give a darn about them), and who spread their fundamentalist version of Islam across the region are making a deal with Israel. And as for those Saudis, the US shows no sign of pulling support from this murderous regime any time soon. The Saudis have briefly, if controversially, entered the news cycle after (probably) murdering a dissident journalist, but the safe bet is the US will stick with the Saudis and close that $110 billion arms deal.

This one-sided policy will have consequences. New terrorists will be motivated to attack the US in response to its pro-Israel policies. Even General David Petraeus – far from a lefty pacifist – once even caused a stir by admitting that America’s Israel policy motivates radical jihadis.

Washington loves to taut Israel as the “only democracy in the Middle East.” That’s not strictly true, of course. The inconvenient truth is that Israel may either be a Jewish state or a democratic state – it may not be both, since a large portion of its population remains Arab and Muslim. If the US continues to enable Israeli violence and the structural disenfranchisement of the Palestinians, it will reap the whirlwind. And, when we are attacked, we’ll revert to our usual cry: “Why do they hate us?”

I can think of a few reasons.

Danny Sjursen is a US Army officer and regular contributor to Antiwar.com He served combat tours with reconnaissance units in Iraq and Afghanistan and later taught history at his alma mater, West Point. He is the author of a memoir and critical analysis of the Iraq War, Ghostriders of Baghdad: Soldiers, Civilians, and the Myth of the Surge. Follow him on Twitter at @SkepticalVet.

[Note: The views expressed in this article are those of the author, expressed in an unofficial capacity, and do not reflect the official policy or position of the Department of the Army, Department of Defense, or the U.S. government.]

Blanket Silence: Corporate Media Ignore New Report Exposing Distorted and Misleading Coverage of Corbyn

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By Media Lens,

If there’s one thing we’ve learned in the 17 years since Media Lens began, it’s that media professionals generally hate being challenged, critiqued or criticised. This fierce antipathetical belligerence underlies the corporate media’s total refusal to mention, far less discuss, a recent damning report on how the corporate media have been misreporting Labour and its supposed ‘problem’ with antisemitism.

The report was published last week by the Media Reform Coalition (MRC), set up in 2011 in the wake of the News International phone hacking scandal, to promote debate about the media and democracy. The MRC coordinates effective action by civil society groups, academics and media campaigners, and is currently chaired by Natalie Fenton, Professor of Communication and Media at Goldsmiths, University of London.

The urgent need for such a media initiative is highlighted by the disturbing reality that Britain has one of the most concentrated media environments in the world, with just three companies in control of 71% of national newspaper circulation and five companies running 81% of local newspaper titles.

In the careful MRC study, articles and news segments on Labour and antisemitism from the largest UK news providers, both online and television, were subjected to in-depth analysis. The research was undertaken by Dr Justin Schlosberg, Senior Lecturer in Journalism and Media at Birkbeck, University of London, together with Laura Laker, an experienced freelance journalist.

In their study, Schlosberg and Laker identified:

‘myriad inaccuracies and distortions in online and television news including marked skews in sourcing, omission of essential context or right of reply, misquotation, and false assertions made either by journalists themselves or sources whose contentious claims were neither challenged nor countered. Overall, our findings were consistent with a disinformation paradigm.’

In other words, the corporate media have been pumping out reams of ‘fake news’ promoting a narrative that Corbyn and Labour are mired in an ‘antisemitism crisis’.

Out of over 250 articles and news pieces examined by Schlosberg and Laker, fully 95 examples were found of misleading or inaccurate reporting. In particular, there were (our emphasis):

• 29 examples of false statements or claims, several of them made by news presenters or correspondents themselves, six of them on BBC television news programmes, and eight on the Guardian website.

• A further 66 clear instances of misleading or distorted coverage including misquotations, reliance on single -source accounts, omission of essential facts or right of reply, and repeated value-based assumptions made by broadcasters without evidence or qualification. In total, a quarter of the sample contained at least one documented inaccuracy or distortion.

Overwhelming source imbalance, especially on television news where voices critical of Labour’s code of conduct on antisemitism were regularly given an unchallenged and exclusive platform, outnumbering those defending Labour by nearly 4 to 1. Nearly half of Guardian reports on the controversy surrounding Labour’s code of conduct featured no quoted sources defending the party or leadership.

This is, to say the least, totally unacceptable from any supposedly responsible news outlet. It is even more galling when it comes from the Guardian and BBC News, both with large global audiences, who constantly proclaim their credentials for ‘honest and balanced reporting’.

Much recent corporate media coverage has focused on the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of ‘antisemitism’. Corporate media across the spectrum have argued that in refusing to accept the IHRA definition in total, with all of its accompanying examples, Corbyn has promoted antisemitism, alienated Britain’s Jewish community and divided his own party.

Philip Collins wrote in The Times of Corbyn (our emphasis):

‘He has, for some reason he cannot articulate, insisted that the Labour Party should be just about the only institution that does not accept the definition of antisemitism approved by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance.’

In July, a Times editorial stated of Labour’s National Executive Committee (our emphasis):

‘Instead of adopting a standard definition of antisemitism formulated by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance, and endorsed by governments around the world, the NEC has amended it in unacceptable ways… Let there be no doubt: these are unconscionable and antisemitic accusations.’

In September, another Times leader opined (our emphasis):

‘Labour’s national executive committee will vote today on whether to adopt the internationally recognised definition of antisemitism. It is essential that it does. Governments and organisations worldwide have adopted the carefully worded textdeveloped by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance. Jeremy Corbyn’s hamfisted attempt to rewrite it, without consultation and with the apparent aim of protecting certain activists, shames his party.’

The Times added:

‘British Jews are well placed to define what constitutes racism towards them, just as any minority deserves the last word in the debate as it applies to them. Gordon Brown has called for Labour to “unanimously, unequivocally and immediately” adopt all the examples. Anything less would mark a dark day indeed for the party.’

Noting that three leading British Jewish newspapers had declared that a Corbyn-led government would pose ‘an existential threat to Jewish life in this country’, senior Guardian columnist and former comment editor Jonathan Freedland asked:

‘How on earth has it come to this?’

Part, but not all, of the problem, Freedland suggested, was (our emphasis):

‘Labour’s failure to adopt the full text of the near universally accepted International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s (IHRA) definition of antisemitism, including all its illustrative examples’.

He added:

‘When Jews hear that the IHRA is not good enough, they wonder: what exactly is it that Labour wants to say about us?’

And yet, as the MRC report [pdf] makes clear, although the IHRA is an international body with representatives from 31 countries, only six of those countries have, to date, formally adopted the definition themselves. Several high-profile bodies have rejected or distanced themselves from the working definition, including the EU’s Fundamental Rights Agency – a successor to the body that drafted the original wording on which the definition is based – and academic institutions including the London School of Economics and School of Oriental and African Studies. Moreover, academic and legal opinion has been overwhelmingly critical of the IHRA definition, including formal opinions produced by four leading UK barristers.

But, note Schlosberg and Laker:

‘Virtually none of this essential context found its way into news reports of the controversy. Instead, the Labour Party was routinely portrayed by both sources and correspondents as beyond the pale of conventional thinking on the IHRA definition.’

Nearly 50% of Guardian reports failed to include any quotes from those critiquing the IHRA definition or defending Labour’s code of conduct on antisemitism. In fact, media reporting (our emphasis):

‘effectively gave those attacking Labour’s revised code and championing the IHRA definition a virtually exclusive and unchallenged platform to air their views. By comparison, their detractors – including a number of Jewish organisations and representatives of other affected minorities – were systematically marginalized from the coverage. Furthermore, Labour MPs adopting even moderate positions defending the code were subjected to far more aggressive questioning from interviewers than those adopting extreme positions attacking it.

In a calm, methodical and rigorous manner, the MRC has exposed to public view the blatant anti-Corbyn bias of even the ‘best’ media outlets: the BBC and the Guardian.

Response To The Media Reform Coalition Report

Our searches using the ProQuest newspaper database reveal that there has not been a single news article or editorial published about the report. This is a remarkable symptom of the glaring tendency of the media to reject, or simply blank, reasoned, well-researched criticism.

When The Canary website published an article about the MRC report, they approached both the Guardian and the BBC for comment. The Guardian‘s response was boilerplate rhetoric – ‘The Guardianhas featured a wide range of voices in this debate’, etc – that failed to acknowledge the paper’s unambiguous distortions and omissions. The BBC did not even provide a comment.

The sole newspaper mention to date is a letter in the Guardian which may only have been published because Noam Chomsky is one of the signatories, along with high-profile figures such as Brian Eno, Yanis Varoufakis, Ken Loach and a number of media academics. They make a crucial point that relates to criticism of the Guardian itself (mentioned earlier):

‘In relation to the IHRA definition of antisemitism that was at the heart of the dispute, the research found evidence of “overwhelming source imbalance” in which critics of Labour’s code of conduct dominated coverage, with nearly 50% of Guardian reports, for example, failing to include any quotes from those defending the code or critiquing the IHRA definition.’

The letter also notes the MRC researchers’ conclusion that media distortions and inaccuracies:

‘were not occasional lapses in judgment but “systematic reporting failures” that served to weaken the Labour leadership and to bolster its opponents within and outside of the party.’

Chomsky and his co-signatories add:

‘In covering the allegations that Labour is now “institutionally antisemitic”, there have been inaccuracies, clear distortions and revealing omissions across our most popular media platforms. We believe that significant parts of the UK media have failed their audiences by producing flawed reports that have contributed to an undeserved witch-hunt against the Labour leader and misdirected public attention away from antisemitism elsewhere, including on the far right, which is ascendant in much of Europe.’

Given the Guardian‘s appalling record of boosting fake news of a Labour ‘antisemitism crisis’, and given its vehement opposition to Corbyn’s brand of moderate socialism, it is no wonder that #DumpTheGuardian and #BoycottTheGuardian were trending in the UK last Friday as part of a dedicated Twitter campaign.

Pro-Corbyn Labour MP Chris Williamson tweeted his support in response to the MRC report:

‘My reference to McCarthyism vindicated by this report. The Guardian newspaper’s deplorable contribution explains why so many people are saying #BoycottTheGuardian’

Last Wednesday, Jeremy Corbyn gave a speech to the Labour Party conference in which he dared to criticise the British corporate media who have been gunning for him ever since he became the party’s leader:

‘It turns out that the billionaires who own the bulk of the British press don’t like us one little bit.

‘Now it could be because we’re going to clamp down on tax dodging. Or it may be because we don’t fawn over them at white tie dinners and cocktail parties.’

He added:

‘We must, and we will, protect the freedom of the press to challenge unaccountable power.

‘Journalists from Turkey to Myanmar and Colombia are being imprisoned, harassed or sometimes killed by authoritarian governments and powerful corporate interests just for doing their job.

‘But here, a free press has far too often meant the freedom to spread lies and half-truths, and to smear the powerless, not take on the powerful.

‘You challenge their propaganda of privilege by using the mass media of the 21st century: social media.’

Pippa Crerar, Guardian deputy political editor, responded with the standard kneejerk conflation of Corbyn’s reasoned comments with the idiotic ‘fake news’ mantra of Trump. She tweeted:

‘Corbyn criticises some parts of British media, claiming they “smear the powerless, not take on the powerful”. As a journalist, makes me very uncomfortable to hear him leading attack on our free press. Dangerous, Trumpian territory.’

We responded:

‘Honest, rational criticism is not an “attack”, and it is not “dangerous”. A corporate press that refuses to listen or respond to this kind of reasonable criticism is itself dangerous. If anyone has a right to criticise media smears, it is @jeremycorbyn.’

The level of popular support for this view is indicated by the fact that our tweet has so far received 518 retweets and 1,222 likes; a massive response by our standards.

To her credit, Crerar did engage with us reasonably, unlike the vast majority of her media colleagues over many years:

‘Totally agree media has to reflect/listen. Not for a minute saying we’re perfect (some elements extremely *imperfect*). But orgs also do invaluable work eg Windrush, grooming scandal, MPs expenses so just not true to say we don’t hold power to account.’

We answered:

‘Thanks for replying, Pippa, very much appreciated. Glad you agree “media has to reflect/listen”. Doesn’t that mean taking Corbyn’s thoughtful, reasoned criticism seriously, rather than lumping it in with Trump’s awful tub-thumping? Corbyn and Milne really aren’t “dangerous”.’

Her follow-up:

‘I’ve sat back today & watched pile-on. I’d always rather engage but not when abusive. Like I said, media far from perfect, but I fear JC’s comments ignored excellent journalism that does exist & undermined journalists who produce it. Of course, nowhere near as extreme as Trump.’

And our reply:

‘Our response generated nearly 800 [now 1,700] likes and retweets – that gives an idea of the strength of feeling. Like other media, the Guardian’s smearing of Corbyn has gone way too far. It’s time to start listening to your readers @KathViner.’

To date, there has been no further exchange; and certainly not a peep out of Guardian editor, Katharine Viner; which is typical for this extraordinarily unresponsive media professional.

Justin Schlosberg, lead author of the MRC report, told The Canary:

‘Neither the Guardian nor the BBC have acknowledged or even directly responded to the myriad reporting failures highlighted in our research. It is completely inadequate to offer blanket dismissals or simply kick into the long grass of their respective complaints procedures.’

Schlosberg pointed out:

‘The failure to answer to these allegations is even more serious than the reporting failures themselves.’

Conclusion

As a further, related example of bias, consider the corporate media’s stunning indifference to the bomb threat that interrupted the screening of a new film, ‘The Political Lynching of Jackie Walker’, in Liverpool on September 25. Walker is a former Momentum Vice-Chair who was suspended from the Labour party as part of a propaganda blitz attempting to silence critics of Israel. The screening was organised by Jewish Voice for Labour which has been supportive of Jeremy Corbyn.

If the corporate media were genuinely motivated by concerns about alleged rising antisemitism, this shocking threat would have generated headline coverage. Instead it was met by a blanket of silence. A brief online Guardian piece was, to say the least, ambiguous in its narrative. Ex-Guardian journalist Jonathan Cook noted:

‘Another “fake news” master-class from the Guardian. A bomb hoax to stop Corbyn-supporting, Jewish Labour members screening a film about how Labour’s “anti-semitism crisis” has been manufactured is framed as *more* evidence of Jew hatred in the party!’

According to our ProQuest database search, the only mentions in the print press have been in the Liverpool Echo and The Times of Israel. Where are all the editorials and major comment pieces in the Guardian, The Times and elsewhere?

As for the Media Reform Coalition report itself, it is no surprise that the BBC, the Guardian and the rest of the corporate media should brush away detailed reasoned criticism of their biased reporting, or pretend such clear evidence does not exist. These media outlets sell themselves as publicly accountable; or, at least, as defenders of the public interest; a valiant fourth estate standing up for the truth and honest, neutral news coverage. And yet, when the alternative media makes a mistake, or says ‘the wrong thing’, there are angry howls and screaming mockery from the corporate commentariat. The hypocrisy is staggering, and, again, entirely predictable.

*

Featured image is from Media Lens.

BBC accused of lying in its anti-Corbyn campaign

Source

The BBC has been accused of lying to its audience in its ongoing campaign to discredit the Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.

Listeners of its early morning Radio 4 programme woke up to presenter John Humphrys’ speaking about the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of anti-Semitism, which is at the centre of the row within the Labour Party.

Humphrey’s reportedly said that “almost every country in the world has adopted the IHRA definition and examples of anti-Semitism.” His remark was picked up by listeners and was denounced as another one of “BBC fiction”.

Listeners rushed to correct the BBC on social media to point out that of the 195 countries in the world only 31 have adopted the IHRA definition of anti-Semitism, citing the Jewish Chronicle as their source. Of those only six are said to have endorsed and adopted it fully with all the examples.

OPINION: A new Israeli campaign against Corbyn

They also pointed out that the six include: Austria is threatening to make Jews put their names on a state register in order to get kosher meat. Lithuania, whose government supports commemorations of Nazi wartime events. And Israel, which has just enacted a constitutional law entrenching apartheid

Listeners berated Humphrys as an “overpaid liar” for failing to fact check his information on such a crucial topic.

The IHRA definition has been presented by the BBC and the mainstream media as the gold standard which the international community has endorsed in full. This narrative has been pushed by the media, including the Conservative Party to berate Corbyn, even though the reality is the complete opposite.

Not only have the overwhelming majority of countries not adopted the IHRA definition even the Tories do not include the controversial definition in their rule book. The Conservative code of conduct, Channel 4 News found, does not at any point mention the word “anti-Semitism” or spell out a definition of anti-Semitism, IHRA-approved or otherwise.

This is not the first time the BBC has allowed itself to be used to advance a false narrative. Last month the broadcaster was found to have a conflict of interest after it was discovered that the daughter of Labour MP Margaret Hodge, who is at centre of the row, is employed as deputy editor for its main news programmes.

How The British Zionist Brigade Almost Saved The BBC’s Reputation

September 05, 2018  /  Gilad Atzmon

we are bbc Jews_edited-1.jpg

By Gilad Atzmon

Two days ago I found out that the BBC was planning to air – We Are British Jews. No doubt the British Broadcaster needs to fill the open void between the news about Corbyn being an ‘existential threat’ and the ex chief Rabbi’s ‘message of hope.’ The BBC’s website offered the following description of its expedition into the mysterious world of contemporary Hebrew Brits.  “Eight British Jews with a broad range of opinions, beliefs and practices, go on a journey to explore what it means to be Jewish in Britain today.” Being an investigative character, I decided to launch a 24 hour online FB poll. I posted the following text on my Facebook page:

“Do you remember that once upon a time the BBC claimed to be ‘impartial’? How balanced do you expect BBC’s We Are British Jews to be?”

Since the Facebook poll template only offers a binary option, poll participants were asked to choose either ‘Totally impartial…’ or  ‘Zionist to the core.’

I genuinely expected the results to be somewhat balanced. After all, the BBC is our national broadcast. It once enjoyed a great reputation. Some of the BBC’s journalists are still superb inquisitive minds. But many think that, of late, the corporation has not been doing its job. It is lame, slow and as the poll revealed, isn’t trusted by the public.

The reaction to the poll came pretty quickly. One hour in, 86 had voted. About half were my FB friends, the rest were unknown to me. The results ought to embarrass the BBC. 99% of poll participants expected the BBC’s program to be ‘Zionist to the core.’ Apparently, 85 out of 86 didn’t think highly of our national broadcaster.

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I went to bed hoping that by the time I opened my eyes in the morning someone would have been brave enough to protect the BBC’s reputation. After all, Britain has been my home for 25 years, the BBC is my national broadcaster and I even pay my TV license to this corporation just to make sure that it remains ‘impartial.’ But when I woke up yesterday the situation hadn’t changed much. 18 hours after I launched my poll, there were more than 150 participants and only 2% expected the BBC to produce a balanced documentary about the Jews. Sad yet revealing, I thought.

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But, you will be happy to learn, the BBC does not stand alone. The Zionist brigade, or more precisely, a Facebook page called ‘Israel Advocacy Movement” decided to resurrect the reputation of our national broadcaster. This is how they introduced my poll to their ultra Zionist crowd:

“Disgraced antisemite, Gilad Atzmon, has just made a poll claiming the BBC is ‘Zionist to the core’. Let’s vote on his bigoted poll then circulate it far and wide so that their hatred can be challenged.”

That a Hasbara page lied is no surprise, deception is kosher within the Hasbara milieu. The poll didn’t ‘claim’ that the BBC was ‘Zionist to the core.’ Instead it invited people to vote on whether they expected a particular BBC program about Jews to be ‘balanced’ or ‘Zionist to the core.’ None the less, I was delighted to see Israel’s advocates rallying for the BBC because this group often accuses the BBC of being biased against Israel. The Zionists in Britain seem to have changed their spots once again. They are now committed to the defence of our National Broadcaster; in an affair that seems like a honeymoon verging on biological symbiosis.

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But the truth of the matter is that although the Israel Advocacy Group has more than 37.000 followers it only managed to pull in around 170 of their supporters. Within an hour they had managed to boost support for the national broadcaster. At one point it seemed 38% of the poll participants expected the BBC to produce a balanced program about Jews.  Needless to mention, the list of the BBC supporters resembled my Bar Mitzvah’s guest-list. But truth can’t be denied, there is at least one ethnic minority in this country that is united in its support of our national broadcaster.

At 8.56 PM, just 4 minutes ahead of the BBC broadcast, I closed the poll. The result was still depressing for the BBC, despite the intervention by the Israeli advocacy group, seven out of ten (68%) expected the BBC’s documentary to be ‘Zionist to the core.’ We may have wondered what it takes for a national broadcaster to become FOX News? Not a lot as we can see.

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Of course I watched ‘We are British Jews’ last night with two other ex-Israelis. It delivered a pretty accurate picture of British Jewry. Not a flattering image I am afraid: a lot of kosher food, a lot of talking and preaching and all while eating. Except for one young woman (out of eight) who desperately advocated for the oppressed while appealing for universal ethics, the group was rabidly Zionist without really understanding the meaning of the Zionist call. In the eyes of the British Jews depicted, Zionism meant ‘Jewish right to self determination on their historic land.’ But in fact, no one denies the Jews their right to ‘self determination.’ But determining who you are at the expense of others, is where Zionism meets opposition and for crucial reasons. The so-called ‘Jewish historical land’ has been called Palestine for the last 2000 years and has been the home of the Palestinian people.

The BBC tried to deliver: it tried to be accurate and impartial.  But, unfortunately, it can’t. It has lost the talent and the ability. It may even be possible that with the new impediments on freedom of speech, the BBC, like other British media, can’t deliver the truth anymore. One example was the completely ahistorical depiction of the Palestinian plight–Gaza, for instance, was, according to the BBC program, a narrative of resistance that began with the Israel’s 1967 occupation. The 1948 mass ethnic cleansing of Palestinians by the young Israel wasn’t even mentioned. The fact that Gaza is home to refugees from 1948 was never acknowledged. The Palestinian cause was depicted as merely a vague reaction to the IDF’s ‘tear gas and rubber bullets.’

So yes, as my Facebook poll clearly predicted, the first episode of We Are British Jews’ was ‘Zionist to the core.’ Whether it was consciously Zionist or not, is a different question.

 

@BBC accused of lying in its anti-Corbyn campaign

BBC accused of lying in its anti-Corbyn campaign

The BBC has been accused of lying to its audience in its ongoing campaign to discredit the Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.

Listeners of its early morning Radio 4 programme woke up to presenter John Humphrys’ speaking about the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of anti-Semitism, which is at the centre of the row within the Labour Party.

Humphrey’s reportedly said that “almost every country in the world has adopted the IHRA definition and examples of anti-Semitism.” His remark was picked up by listeners and was denounced as another one of “BBC fiction”.

Listeners rushed to correct the BBC on social media to point out that of the 195 countries in the world only 31 have adopted the IHRA definition of anti-Semitism, citing the Jewish Chronicle as their source. Of those only six are said to have endorsed and adopted it fully with all the examples.

OPINION: A new Israeli campaign against Corbyn

They also pointed out that the six include: Austria is threatening to make Jews put their names on a state register in order to get kosher meat. Lithuania, whose government supports commemorations of Nazi wartime events. And Israel, which has just enacted a constitutional law entrenching apartheid.

Listeners berated Humphrys as an “overpaid liar” for failing to fact check his information on such a crucial topic.

The IHRA definition has been presented by the BBC and the mainstream media as the gold standard which the international community has endorsed in full. This narrative has been pushed by the media, including the Conservative Party to berate Corbyn, even though the reality is the complete opposite.

Not only have the overwhelming majority of countries not adopted the IHRA definition even the Tories do not include the controversial definition in their rule book. The Conservative code of conduct, Channel 4 News found, does not at any point mention the word “anti-Semitism” or spell out a definition of anti-Semitism, IHRA-approved or otherwise.

This is not the first time the BBC has allowed itself to be used to advance a false narrative. Last month the broadcaster was found to have a conflict of interest after it was discovered that the daughter of Labour MP Margaret Hodge, who is at centre of the row, is employed as deputy editor for its main news programmes

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