South Front

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare - White Helmets, “Bana al-Abed” and Killing “Evil Russians”

Since the formal defeat of ISIS’ self-proclaimed caliphate and so-called “moderate rebels” in most of Syria, the Middle Eastern country, has largely disappeared from the front-pages of mainstream media outlets. Nonetheless, the narrative management operation to distort the real situation in the war-torn country and demonize the Damascus government and its allies fighting foreign-backed radical militant groups continues.

The upcoming Call of Duty: Modern Warfare is an obvious example of the scale and spread of this campaign. The official trailer for the new part of the franchise features “heroic actions” of the White Helmets, “big bad Russians” bombing civilians and a kid in a gas mask apparently signaling the expected usage of “Assad’s chemical weapons” mantra in the story-telling.

The description of the first missions of the coming part of the world franchise reveals that they will incorporate Russian soldiers laughing while killing civilians as well as using chemical weapons against civilians. So, a “Bana al-Abed”-styled girl will have to kill some “evil Russkies”.

It appears that the goal of this effort is to bring back into attention some propaganda narratives that appear to have, at least partially, died down in recent years under pressure of facts. It’s an open secret that the White Helmets have deep ties with Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (formerly the official branch of al-Qaeda in Syria) and other radical groups de-facto playing a role in their propaganda wing and participating in staging chemical attack provocations.

The Twitter account of Bana al-Abed became widely known during the battle for Aleppo in 2016. The account operator, using the name and photos of the then 7yo girl, was writing scripted tweets blaming the “Assad regime” and Russia for civilian casualties, spreading fake news and even calling to start a new world war if that’s what’s needed to rescue what the account described as “innocent civilians”. After defeat of the radical groups controlling her part of the city, Bana and her parents withdrew from Aleppo alongside other members of militant groups that had reached a surrender deal with the Damascus government. Later, she and her family appeared in Turkey where Bana’s image continued to be used as a tool of the ongoing campaign against Syria. Her case is a sad example of how kids are being used for war propaganda purposes.

An interesting fact is that the “Call of Duty” game writer is not even hiding that the mainstream video game franchise seeks to indoctrinate its users. Taylor Kurosaki said that “he wants “Call of Duty” to be spoken of as on par with the best war films, and he hopes ‘Modern Warfare’ will inspire fans to check out the harrowing and eye-opening documentaries ‘The White Helmets’ or ‘Last Man in Aleppo”.” It’s no surprise that both mentioned “documentaries” were designed to glorify the White Helmets and militant groups they were assisting by their work and had little in common with the real situation in parts of the country, including, at some point, eastern Aleppo, controlled by MSM-promoted “moderate rebels”.

However, the latest Call of Duty: Modern Warfare game, underlined a tendency that is by no means new. In some cases, modern video games, movies and even comic books are infested with war propaganda even more than news pieces released by CNN and similar media outlets.

Even DC comics, in late 2018, in its Doomsday Clock crossover with Watchmen showcased a superhero from Syria, called Sandstorm, who could control the desert sands. The generic stereotype boy called Nabil Azmah was from Douma, which isn’t even in the desert. He was later killed in the comics, fighting against the “Assad regime.” According to his fictional biography, his family were killed by fighters allied to Assad and his sister was gassed.

To top it off, in the next issue, Russian President Vladimir Putin was portrayed as the bad guy and even picked a fight with Superman, after a US superhero – Firestorm – democratically turned Russian citizens on Red Square into glass.

These tendencies are nothing new. DC comics, in the 80s, portrayed Iran’s Ayatollah Khomeini, who concludes a deal with Batman’s infamous enemy the Joker. The Joker then says that Iranians and him have a lot in common, namely “being insane.”

The mainstream entertainment industry is doing its best to “inform”  American youth of who the “good guys” are in Syria and around the world, even if these “good guys” accidentally appear to be members of al-Qaeda.

This situation is a demonstration of how little propaganda capabilities Syria, Venezuela, China, Iran or Russia really do have in comparison with their “Western partners”. In most cases, the US and the EU use bogeyman stories about the mighty Russian, Chinese, Iranian and even Syrian propagandists as formal justification to tighten censorship and to increase their own propaganda efforts.


When CNN Crew Blew Up the Oil Pipeline in Homs


CNN and Other Pentagon War Propaganda Machines

February 20, 2019

CNN, along with all other Western corporate media, is not a news reporting establishment as people are told, it can be described as a News Faking Establishment, better even call it: The Pentagon’s Propaganda Arm.

They’re not innocent of any blood drop shed during any of the US and its cronies adventures worldwide throughout their lifespan. CNN is relatively new comparing with corporations like the BBC, New York Times, Washington Post, Reuters, and alike.

We have repeated many times and in many forums how the manager of Reuters office in Syria, a Jordanian Khaled Oweis, actually doctored an interview he made with a wounded Syrian Arab Army soldier who received a bullet from the ‘Peaceful Protesters’ in Daraa, and the Reuters ‘journalist’ covered his voice and repeated: ‘The Syrian security officer shot you because you refused to shoot at the protesters?’.

That’s just one sick example exposed by a vigilant Syrian presenter who caught the same interview on his camera and displayed in full on Syrian TV channels at the very early days of the crisis in Syria.

Reuters office manager in Syria was arrested and as you would expect the entire West went lunatic exerting super pressure on the Syrian state, aided with Syria’s own allies sad to say, to release the ‘journalist’ and ‘respect free speech’.

Eventually, the Syrian state released the criminal, dubbed journalist, and expelled him from the country, and expelled with him all foreign-based news channels, and allowed only selected ones with no previous lying track record, again to the madness of Western countries.

The expelling of Western news agencies, the likes of Reuters, AFP, AP, New York Times, Washington Post, DW, BBC, France 24, and their Arabic versions like Al Jazeera, and Al Arabiya, Qatari and Saudi state-owned channels respectively, their expelling from Syria at the critical early days have saved countless lives of innocent Syrians.

We have exposed numerous times the lies of these establishments and their ilks, especially in regards to the War of Terror the US and its lackeys waged against Syria.

The following is part of longer report how a Syrian activist Rafic Lutf managed to expose how the CNN crew led by anchor Arwa Damon (or Deamon) participated in blowing up an oil pipeline in Homs in one of the coldest winters the country witnessed just to have a news line accusing the Syrian state with this heinous crime they committed. The full report was deleted by YouTube when they suspended our channel with no proper justification. Watch:

We urge each state tha has an office or a representative of one of these news channels to treat them as criminals, or at least to deal with them with extra care, no one knows when they will be activated.


Corporate Media: WMDs Weapons of Mass Deception

Just for a comparison: Syrian-based media are not allowed to air in the EU, USA, Canada, and Australia, since 2012, they’re also banned from satellite transmission on all Western and Arab owned satellites, that’s to ‘Promote Freedom of Speech’, we were told. Many Syrian media related individuals, private and public, are on Western sanctions lists.

I have a saying I kept repeating to Western citizens and it’s relative to all the crimes against humanity committed by their politicians in their names with their tax monies: ‘They fool you, they keep fooling you, and they enjoy fooling you, not because they’re smart, it’s because you’re foolable.

Sheeple Family
Sheeple: A typical western family following mainstream media

How much money will Russia lose in Venezuela

January 26, 2019

by Ivan Danilov

How much money will Russia lose in Venezuela

Ivan Danilov is a famous Russian economist and influential blogger.


featured image © REUTERS / Manaure Quintero

Translated by Scott

The crisis in Venezuela has once again brought into question why the Russian state, as well as state-owned companies, invest money and issue loans to some countries. Many journalists and experts have already rushed with pleasure to calculate alleged financial losses of the Russian side, forgetting both that Caracas has not yet fallen and pro-American usurper has not won yet, and that Russia is not the USSR and is not engaged in charity.

It is particularly instructive to compare two strains of American propaganda: one aimed at the Russian audience through the American NGOs and the media-lured “leaders of public opinion,” and the other — aimed at the Venezuelan audience through lured Venezuelan politicians. The message “the money of the Russian budget and Rosneft went to useless support of the Venezuelan regime and will never be returned” targets the Russian audience, and the message “Russia robbed Venezuela with the help of bonded loans and contracts, taking control of a significant part of Venezuelan oil” targets the Venezuelan audience. It is easy to see that according to the laws of logic in one case the American propaganda should lie, because it is impossible to be a stupid benefactor and ruthless moneylender at the same time. However, in reality, the situation is even more interesting: American propaganda lies in both cases: Russia and Russian state-owned companies are not “geopolitical Shylock,” and they are not “geopolitical mother Teresa,” either. Moscow really helped and will continue to help Caracas, while always sensibly combining idealism with pragmatism.

Let’s start with the fact that Russia is not the main creditor of the Venezuelan economy and not even the second most important. If we take the Western (the most unflattering for Russia) estimates from the Bloomberg business information agency, it turns out that the leader in investments and loans is China with 70 billion dollars, but the honorable second place belongs to very influential and very respectable banks and investment funds, mainly from the US and the UK. According to the most conservative estimates quoted in the Reuters material, they lent to the governments of Chavez and Maduro, as well as the Venezuelan state oil company PDVSA to the amount of about $50 billion.

Among Venezuela’s creditors there are such giants of the financial world as the American investment conglomerate BlackRock (the largest investment fund in the world, assets under management — 6,789 trillion dollars) and the most influential American Bank Goldman Sachs, which is known for its extraordinary opportunities of political lobbying in the US and the European Union. By the way, the Venezuelan opposition has repeatedly said that it will not pay the debts of the “anti-people regime” (especially the opposition does not want to pay the Goldman Sachs Bank, which literally saved Maduro in 2017). So, paradoxically, several very large and influential American financial companies are rooting for Maduro , because they are unlikely to want to run into a “write-off in the name of democracy” for at least $50 billion.

For comparison, the highest estimate of the total amount of loans and investments made by Russian structures in Venezuela is $17 billion, and this amount does not take into account some important aspects. First, Venezuela has long been paying off Russian and Chinese creditors with oil and shares in Venezuela’s oil fields — and this has been generating serious revenues for Venezuelan creditors for many years.

Secondly, Russian loans (it is worth noting that a similar scheme is used by the US, China, the UK and EU countries around the world) are often tied to the supply of Russian goods and services — that is, the money has already turned into salaries, for example, for domestic gunsmiths. So, to speak about losses of $17 billion is at least inaccurate and more than premature.

Unfortunately, in the Russian information field there are often sounding statements that the Venezuelan government is not to blame for anything, that economic difficulties are a myth or that economic difficulties (primarily hyperinflation) are 100% the result of American sanctions. That’s not so. No American sanctions can explain the fact that the Venezuelan gold reserve has been in London for many years at the disposal of the Bank of England, which, according to the latest information, refuses to return it at all, and in the current crisis situation, this gold may well become the budget of the pro-American junta.

No sanctions can explain the fact that the key Venezuelan assets, bringing the country’s main foreign exchange revenue (for example, an oil refinery and a network of Citgo gas stations), are located in the USA and in all the years of confrontation with America, the official Caracas did not bother to sell them and buy something similar in any other — friendly to Venezuela — country.

No sanctions can explain an absolutely insane policy of monetary stimulation of the economy, which has led to the fact that inflation in Venezuela has long been measured in tens or hundreds of thousands of percent per annum, undermining the economy and the standard of living of the population so that even toilet paper becomes a luxury product. It is time for Caracas (as well as some Russian economists) to realize that it is impossible to solve economic and social problems by “printing and distributing money.” According to the Central Bank of Venezuela for October 2018, which refers to Trading Economics, inflation in Venezuela was more than 1 300 000% — a level when the national currency turns into a wrapper, which can only be use to heat up a house during the next power outage. The fact that Venezuelans massively support Maduro despite the fact that prices increase by at least a few tens of percent every day for several years — a real miracle. Again, hyperinflation cannot be attributed to sanctions or falling oil prices. It is enough to look at the country on which American sanctions, American intervention and civil war hit much harder —  Syria. According to the CIA, at the peak of the war in 2016, the Assad administration managed to keep inflation at only 43.9%, and in 2017 it was brought down to 25.5%-that is, inflation is falling, and the economy is gradually returning to normal.

This example clearly shows the difference in financial discipline, and this comparison is clearly not in favor of Caracas.

We are now witnessing a rather acute political crisis, but for Venezuela such crises are, unfortunately, almost routine. Suffice is to recall actively supported by the US riots in 2014 and 2017, during which the legitimate government in Caracas also kept literally in the balance. If the administration of Maduro this time, too, will be able to keep the situation, it may even bring positive results at least in terms of changing the economic policy of the Venezuelan leadership, which just a few months ago (although Venezuela has been in a difficult economic crisis for many years) asked the Russian leadership to develop a plan for the normalization of the Venezuelan economy. If the legitimate government retains power and if the Russian plan is adopted for implementation, Venezuela will have a good chance to get out of the crisis and dramatically reduce its risks in the future. This will be good for Venezuela itself and for all its economic partners.

2018 – The Year of Lying Dangerously

By David Macilwain


Amongst the many things that may be said about 2018 in the echo-chambers of Western media, you can be sure that an admission of the lies that were told will not be one of them. Yet of all the things that characterize this year of fracture and dissonance, the litany of lies told by Western leaders and media stands out – a veritable juggernaut of mendacity about almost every aspect of the political and strategic battles fought against internal and external enemies over the last year.

These lies, from casual half-truths to carefully constructed false narratives, have been mostly told to and used against Western states’ own populations, to create popular support or submission to policies and actions chosen by those wielding power. But they have also been told extensively to deceive and manipulate foreign antagonists in current conflict zones – Palestine, Yemen, Syria, Ukraine, Iraq, Afghanistan.

Most disturbingly perhaps, lies have also been told to militaries and security forces by their own government leaders and intelligence agencies, and to a degree that is only now becoming apparent. The possibility that the most recent revelations on disinformation networks in Europe and the US could crack open the West’s “bodyguard of lies” makes 2018 what we might call the “Year of Lying Dangerously”.

Perhaps it’s a little personal tunnel vision that makes me focus on two of the most notable “lies” of 2018 – the Salisbury poisoning and the “Chemical attack” on Douma in Syria. But in one way or another, both of these –intimately connected – events have been central to so much else that has happened this year.

Whether it’s the “Iranian connection” – between the Iranian nuclear deal, Iran’s support for Syria against foreign-backed terrorists, joint Saudi-US-Israeli propaganda warfare over Yemen and Hezbollah – or the “Russian connection” – conflict over oil and gas markets, pipelines to Turkey and Germany, political and military support for Syria, information warfare with the US over Trump and the UK over “Novichok” – or simply the Tweets of Trump, – the Chemical Weapon disinformation war has been central to 2018.

It’s hard for those of us not seduced by the West’s Orwellian news machine to understand just how pervasively effective its mind-bending disinformation operations have become. The individuals and organizations leading these campaigns have evidently also been seduced by their own power to mislead millions, effected with a few mouse clicks or a single video clip.

And in their absolute disdain for their audience, they may be caught out pushing too far. Such was the case with the memorable “Mannequin Challenge” performed live on set by a couple of White Helmet actors. They got away with that crass self-promotion amongst social media followers, but for their opponents and victims seeing these NATO “heroes” playing at rescue-selfies was the last straw.

In fact, this over-honest self-revelation to their supporters became the start of efforts to expose the White Helmets as a criminal enterprise of the UK and US governments, whose members we now know to have been closely involved in some of the worst atrocities carried out by the foreign-backed terrorist groups with whom they worked.

The dreadful truth about the “Oscar-nominated” White Helmets began to emerge seriously in December 2016 following the liberation of East Aleppo, when independent journalists – Pierre le Corf, Vanessa Beeley and RT’s Lizzie Phelan and Murad Gazdiev amongst others – were able to see just where these “civil defense volunteers” had been operating; cheek by jowl with the chief terrorist groups holding the east of the city under siege.

Those researches have clearly continued in the two years since, establishing more solid incriminating evidence against the group, but this effort has evidently intensified in recent months following the joint UN-Israeli rescue operation of White Helmets and terrorist leaders from the Golan Heights in July, and their effective disbanding in most areas of Syria.

The results of these researches were presented by the director of the Foundation for the Study of Democracy, Maxim Grigoriev, at a special meeting at the UN HQ in New York just before Christmas. Grigoriev presented videos of interviews he himself conducted with former White Helmets members in Aleppo and Ghouta, along with the extensive findings on the true nature of the White Helmets’ activities, as revealed by Syrian citizens from “rebel-occupied” areas.

The UN meeting, made to a collection of journalists, included personal testimony from Vanessa Beeley, as well as direct and demanding presentations from Syria’s UN rep Bashar al Jaafari, and Russian envoy Vassily Nebenzia. Independent journalist Eva Bartlett, who has also played a lead role in researching and exposing the White Helmets operation, has written already on the meeting, and particularly noting the complete failure of the Western corporate media to report it or attempt to answer the criticisms and claims made against the group.

Despite the presence of a CBS reporter, who asked a question about the threat from foreign extremists following the “US withdrawal from Syria”, media support for the White Helmets continues without a hiccup, with this horrific contribution from the Guardian’s Kareem Shaheen.

What Grigoriev presented was truly shocking, and categorical evidence that the White Helmets is a criminal organization and should be on the UN’s list of designated terrorist organizations – as stated clearly by Vassily Nebenzia. The video presentation lasts over an hour, but is really essential viewing; the atrocities carried out by the many members of the White Helmets, with the full knowledge and support of the UK and US governments, make their continued feting and lionizing by Western governments and media a crime against humanity.

Quite simply, these men are guilty of the most brutal and barbaric crimes against innocent people – women and children in particular – that we can possibly imagine. Unlike so many dreadful atrocities committed in the past – the Crusaders’ slaughter of Jerusalem’s population might spring to mind – these modern-day barbarians acted in cold blood, calculated and sadistic; even in their fake rescue operations –

A former White Helmet interviewed in Aleppo by Grigoriev describes how, in the filming of one such “rescue” following an alleged Syrian airstrike, bodies were brought from the morgue and wounded people brought from a nearby hospital just for the propaganda video. Children were also often used in these stunt-videos, as well as dummies, confirming the long-held suspicions of impartial analysts.

As has been observed before, including by myself, the treatment of children by White Helmets members in their propaganda videos actually constitutes serious child abuse or even torture – their filming of “treatment for gas exposure” in Douma hospital, or simple brutalisation – as with the use of Omran Daqneesh, turns instantly from humanitarian act to inhuman one when seen in its true light.

Omran Daqneesh, and Hassan Diab – the White Helmets’ Douma victim who went to the Hague to testify, were however reunited with their parents physically intact; they were the lucky ones. As Omar al Mustafa testified when interviewed by Maxim Grigoriev –

 “People evacuated by the White Helmets often did not come back alive. For example, a person receives a minor injury, is rescued, evacuated, and then brought back with their stomach cut open and with their internal organs missing. I heard that a little girl was injured. They took her to Turkey and brought her back in three days, dead and with no internal organs.”

Grigoriev heard similar stories from a great many people including White Helmets members, leading him to state that:

A large body of evidence allows for a clear conclusion that the White Helmets centres were a key element in the system of forced removal of human organs.

We need to just let that sink in a bit. The forced removal of human organs; from children “rescued” by our own countries’ mercenaries. And even if the likes of the Guardian and the NYT and CBS prefer to put this reality in the too hard basket, have no doubt that the White Helmets’ backup teams will be taking Russia’s evidence very seriously.

Seriously enough to consider cutting and running even? As Nebenzia says – “the sponsors share responsibility for their crimes.” And their liars’ luck might be about to run out; we can only hope!

Chomsky’s Misinformation on Syria

By Stephen Lendman

Noted academic, father of modern linguistics, political/anti-war activist Noam Chomsky disturbingly supported Hillary in 2016, saying “I don’t think there’s any other rational choice.”

At the time, I called it a disturbing statement by someone who knows better. Money-controlled duopoly power runs America, a one-party state with two extremist right wings.

They’re in lockstep on issues mattering most, including support for endless wars of aggression and corporate empowerment over the general welfare.

There’s nothing democratic about undemocratic Dems. There’s no “other rational choice” than rejecting both wings of one-party rule, tyranny masquerading as democracy they abhor, supporting revolutionary change by grassroots activism, taking to the streets, resisting tyranny – the choice between living free or exploited the way things are now.

Chomsky is wrong on Syria, claiming Putin “is trying to restore some degree of Russian power in the world, some degree of Russian authority. One extension of that and, in fact, the only one is the Russian position in Syria.”

Kremlin involvement in Syria is largely a Russian security issue, wanting the scourge of US-supported terrorism prevented from spreading to Russia’s heartland.

It’s not about propping up Assad. Putin’s responsibility is serving and protecting Russian interests, not those of Syria or any other countries.

Assad isn’t “a horrible war criminal,” as Chomsky falsely claimed. Nor are the “bulk of the atrocities (in the country) his responsibility,” adding:

“There’s no justifying Assad,” a deplorable statement about a leader, overwhelmingly supported by Syrians, involved for nearly eight years in combating US aggression and terrorists Washington created and supports. Chomsky failed to address all of the above.

Opposition forces are jihadists, cutthroat killers, imported from scores of countries – armed, funded, trained and directed by US special forces, CIA operatives, and their imperial counterparts.

They’re not moderate “rebels,” none of them, Chomsky adding “(t)he current situation is that Assad has pretty much won the war, like it or not.” 

“There was in the early stages a democratic secular, quite respectable opposition, but they were very quickly overwhelmed by the jihadi elements, supported from the outside” – the US and its imperial allies.

Democratic secular elements don’t use violence in pursuit of their aims – not in Syria or anywhere else. 

War was planned, orchestrated and launched by Washington, supported by NATO, Israel, the Saudis, UAE, Qatar, Jordan and Turkey – using jihadists to wage dirty war. 

There was no popular uprising as falsely reported. From its onset, there’s been nothing civil about what’s going on – a US regime change plot, all of the above ignored by Chomsky, what’s most important about endless war in the country.

He shamefully claimed “it makes sense for the United States to maintain a presence (in Syria) which would deter an attack on the Kurdish areas” – failing to explain the US illegally occupies northern and southern parts of the country.

Kurds are threatened by Turkey, not Assad. Allying with him is their best defense, especially with Russian support if forthcoming.

Referring to legitimate Syrian governance as “the murderous Assad regime” is a disgraceful perversion of truth.

Tim Anderson’s book, titled “The Dirty War on Syria” is the definitive account of the conflict. Separately, he explained Obama’s dirty war, now Trump’s, as follows, saying:

“Washington and its allies try another ‘regime change’ in Syria. A fake ‘revolution’ uses Islamic gangs, during an ‘Arab Spring.’ The Western media constantly lie about this covert, dirty war.”

“A political reform movement is driven off the streets by Islamic violence. (The misnamed pro-Western) ‘Free Syrian Army’ slaughters minorities and government workers.”

“Saudi and Qatari backed Islamists carry out a series of massacres, falsely blaming them on the Syrian Army and President Assad.”

“Most of Syria’s opposition backs the state and army against terrorism. Washington calls a puppet exile group ‘the Syrian opposition.’ “

“Washington (using Saudis, Qatar, Turkey and Israel) backs all the armed Islamist groups, pretending some are ‘moderate rebels.’ “

“A resistance coalition rallies to Syria. Iran, Hezbollah, Iraq and Russia join the Syrian Army in destroying western backed terrorist groups.”

Anderson’s book explains all of the above and more in detail, why it’s essential reading to understand what’s going on – polar opposite media propaganda, notably Chomsky’s misinformation as well.

Syria, its people, and government are victims of US aggression. What’s most important to explain, Chomsky ignored.

From Fakery to Thievery? Masih Alinejad’s Too Basic Understanding of Freedom



“To do whatever I want, because I can.” That could be the half-passable answer of a 5-year old child when asked what freedom is. Many sufferings in our world come precisely because of the alarming number of people who carry such flawed concept of human liberty well into their adulthood. When this idea is not refined through further education and an inquisitive spirit, a person can endure an entire life believing that deceiving, stealing and other corruptions of society are a sort of nature-given right, and that any obstacle to them necessarily implies “injustice or oppression.”

This can be said to be the story of Masih Alinejad who recently published a book narrating what she describes as her heroic struggle against such kind of “injustice or oppression,” not surprisingly by grabbing a copyrighted photograph as a book cover without actually paying for it.

Alinejad became an international internet celebrity back in 2014 when she launched “My Stealthy Freedom,” a Facebook page inviting Iranian women to post photos of themselves without a headscarf, closely followed by an allegedly spontaneous campaign heavily promoted by Western mainstream media garnering awarding it hundreds of thousands of likes. Although the vast majority of them came from Europe and the United States, she claims to be “a spokeswoman for voiceless women in Iran who can express themselves for the first time in more than 30 years.”

Last May, Alinejad published a memoir describing her journey from a pity village girl to an unofficial, New York-based spokeswoman for Iran’s women. Yes, all of them.

Alinejad’s campaign coexists with those of other Western women who advocate for the acceptance of topless and nudity in public places. Since the Iran factor is not involved in the latter, they rarely leave the marginality they inhabit with rare mass media attention and top-to-bottom engineered virality. And that’s precisely how Alinejad’s campaign is seen by a majority inside Iran. As false, bizarre and ridiculous. There is no internal physical social movement, no massive public protests have been recorded, and it may just barely make an appearance as a subject of private conversations.

The reason is that both Iranians and Westerners see their dress-codes as something normal in their own cultural environments. If someone argues that specific clothing is imposed on Iranian women, following the same logic, it is also imposed on Western women. Not only that, specific clothing is also imposed on Western men, and Iranian men who wear only long pants in public and unlike women don’t have dresses as an alternative choice. Miss Alinejad has never expressed any concern about men’s limited choices. Somehow only the stereotypes of “oppressed women” are useful for her.

Alinejad’s most common argument is that she’s not against the headscarf, but in favor of the right to choose. According to her, this freedom exists in the West, but not in Iran. Of course, this is correct only from a Western-centric perspective, but not among Iranians among whom being bare-headed in public is seen as impolite and offensive, just like nudity in the Western commonplace. Moreover, in Iran it is also associated to something pejorative (due to its practice among nomadic rural people), non-Iranian, and once imposed. No academic studies exist as to which dressing code is more beneficial to women or societies as a whole, and absolute freedom of choice, from nudity to masks, currently exists in few countries. Certainly, Iran is not among them, but neither are the United States, the United Kingdom, or France. Such examples do not bother Alinejad too much; she only speaks of Iran, and only about women.

Moreover, she suggests that only the Western dress-code is correct and represents freedom. As we all know from Hollywood movies, when two children find themselves on a desert island after the shipwreck, they naturally begin to speak English, cover their bodies in accordance to the Western dress-code, and prepare food consistent with the Western menu. There would be no Persian language, no Iranian headscarves, no Swazi nudity, no Chinese meals either, only “normal” i.e. Western norms. No matter how ridiculous this is, to hundreds of thousands of egotist Westerners on Alinejad’s page, it makes perfect sense and sound logic.

To prove that being bare-headed is actually normal and demanded, Alinejad often serves photographs and footages from before the 1979 Islamic Revolution, of a supposedly “free” Iran which offered freedom and choice. A brazen twisting of historical facts considering Iran was ruled at that time by a pro-American Pahlavi dictator who led an aggressive westernization campaign using massive violence, hundreds of assassinations, state-sanctioned torture and institutional discrimination. In spite of all their attempts, the proportion of women who adopted the Western dress-code was in permille, as well as limited to the capital and mostly foreign workers.

Iran women 1979 0d3de

The oppressive regime was finally overthrown by a popular revolution with the participation of millions of women in overt and covert political activism and who marched with headscarves and voted in the 1979 referendum for the Islamic Republic, i.e. free, democratic and anti-American Iran.

And here lies the real problem.

The pure intentions of Alinejad’s campaign raise more than one eyebrow when considering relevant information. After moving to the West, she married a staunch Pahlavi monarchist and worked as a correspondent for the U.S. government-funded media RFE/RL and VOA, undoubtedly of a propagandistic nature. The American-Iranian political relations and official Washington demonizing agendas are well-known, but there’s something more to say about Alinejad’s close associates. One year after starting her Facebook campaign, she received an award for “defending human rights, women’s freedom, and equality” from UN Watch. Speaking without euphemisms, Alinejad was financially sponsored by a pro-Israeli lobby group that has been leading a smear anti-Iranian campaign for many years.

According to Alinejad’s words, she got the idea to write a memoir book from Sheryl Sandberg, a billionaire and “philanthropist” who sponsored various pro-Israeli activist programs. This gives us a clear picture of the people who are trying to convince everyone that Iran, under a brutal dictatorship that kept a 75% of women illiterate was a feminist paradise that needs to be restored. People with scarce amounts of shame.

A poorly-understood concept of freedom

Yesterday, our staff stumbled with the Facebook post of a travel photographer complaining over the seemingly unlawful use of one of his photographs of the Iranian city of Isfahan, properly licensed in the Getty Images stock agency. The photograph appeared to have been stolen for the cover of Alinejad’s book “The Wind in My Hair: My Fight for Freedom in Modern Iran” published by Little Brown and Company, a subsidiary of the Lagardère Publishing multinational media conglomerate headquartered in Paris. Vogel, the photographer, claims he hasn’t seen a penny from the use of his photograph for such a controversial and highly-publicized book and that neither Getty Images nor the book publisher have provided any explanations.

The likely theft of the creative content is far from speculative, considering Alinejad has a long-term habit of unauthorized grabbing of photographs from the private albums of Iranian citizens. There have been a number of such cases, targeting photos featuring unveiled Iranian women in rural areas or nature (where urban dress-code isn’t even in effect), usually taken without permission from photo-sharing networking services, and misrepresenting them on the Facebook page as “women protesting against the headscarf” along with shabby descriptions of “seeking freedom.”

After the objections, the posts are simply erased and Alinejad never publicly apologizes to anyone. The practice of privacy violation and theft perfectly reveals her concept of “fighting for freedom of choice.”

“The theft of photos is something I’ve experienced before,” shared Vogel with us. “But when your photo is stolen by someone so generously funded and who perverts the meaning of ‘freedom’ to the point of finding it justifiable to distribute child pornography online and offline, it just gives you the shivers,” referring to a recent controversy in which Masih Alinejad used the Instagram platform to share the graphic video of a couple of minors being raped in Iran by another person who felt freedom means “to do whatever I want, because I can.” What was she thinking? That it would be a good idea to use it to show Iran has no security because crime happens there. You know, unlike in…

Needless to say, Alinejad did not ask for permission of the victims or the families to share such highly sensitive content with the world wide web, enraging Iranian internauts. Instead of the usual procedure, in which social networking websites ban the account of a user sharing child abuse and pornography using their platforms, Alinejad’s post even got its share of media spotlight in the London-based channel Manoto, before she herself realized that trying to score some political points distributing child pornography might make her look bad with the hand that feeds her from Paris to New York.

Time’s Person of the Year Hypocrisy

By Stephen Lendman

On Tuesday, Time magazine announced its annual Person of the Year Award, honoring what it called “Guardians…who have taken great risks in pursuit of greater truths.”

Time’s editors ignored the most highly deserving investigative, muckraking, truth-telling journalists of our time, focusing on major issues mattering most – polar opposite establishment reporting Time and other major Western media feature exclusively, suppressing what’s most important to report.

The late William Blum was excluded from consideration. His books, Empire Report, and other writings documented US high crimes throughout the post WW II period – hard truths Time and other establishment media suppress. 

Nor was WikiLeaks co-founder Julian Assange a candidate for person of the year. He’s a virtual prisoner inside Ecuador’s London embassy, unable to leave its confines for over six years, fearing arrest and extradition to the US for the crime of truth-telling journalism the way it’s supposed to be, taking an enormous risk “in pursuit of greater truths,” not risk enough for Time’s editors.

Two Reuters journalists were honored for running afoul of Myanmar’s despotic regime, sentenced to seven years imprisonment for allegedly revealing state secrets.

The suburban Washington-based Gazette Journal was honored for the killing of five of its staffers in a mass shooting last June. 

Former CNN bureau chief Maria Ressa was an honoree over her struggle to prevent Philippine President Duterte from shuttering her online Rappler news website.

Jamal Khashoggi was a posthumous honoree, a longtime Saudi insider/turned critic, a neocon/CIA-connected Washington Post columnist – recognized solely for the international turmoil over his murder, not for journalism the way it’s supposed to be.

In announcing this year’s award, Time’s editor-in-chief Edward Felsenthal said “(a)s we looked at the choices, it became clear that the manipulation and abuse of truth is really the common thread in so many of this year’s major stories ― from Russia to Riyadh to Silicon Valley.”

War on truth-telling journalism begins at home. Time magazine, along with other major print and electronic media, are part of the problem, operating as press agents for wealth, power and privilege.

Digital democracy is largely all that remains of journalism the way it’s supposed to be. Free and open societies are threatened. State-sponsored censorship is the new normal.

Fiction substitutes for vital facts in the mainstream, news carefully filtered, dissent marginalized. Supporting powerful interests substitutes for full and accurate reporting on issues mattering most.

Wars of aggression are called liberating ones. Social justice, human and civil rights are eroding for our own good. Patriotism means going along with government lawlessness – internally and abroad.

Journalist/author AJ Liebling once said “(t)he press is free only to those who one one.” Before the age of television, he warned that “(p)eople everywhere confuse what they read in newspapers (and magazines like Time) with news.”

Establishment print and electronic media support what demands condemnation – notably endless US-led wars of aggression, neoliberal harshness, and police state laws against nonbelievers.

Trump was Time’s runner-up for this year’s Person of the Year award. Russiagate witch hunt special council Robert Mueller was third.

Person of the Year, Nobel prizes, US Presidential Medal of Freedom awards, and other establishment ones most often honor the least deserving – ignoring the most worthy in societies worldwide.

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