“Wipe the Soviet Union Off the Map”, 204 Atomic Bombs against 66 Major Cities, US Nuclear Attack against USSR Planned During World War II

When America and the Soviet Union Were Allies

By Prof Michel Chossudovsky

Global Research, August 04, 2020

To read this article in other versions, click: French, German, and Russian.

First published November 4, 2017. Revisions to the English Text, December 10, 2017

Author’s Note 

Since this article was first published in 2017, YouTube has decided to Censor the short video produced by South Front which is largely based on the declassified documents quoted in this article. 

US nuclear threats directed against Russia predate the Cold War. They were first formulated  at the height of World War II under the Manhattan Project when the US and the Soviet Union were allies.  

The plan to bomb 66 Soviet cities was “officially” formulated in mid-September 1945, two weeks after the formal surrender of Japan.  

Had the US decided NOT to develop nuclear weapons for use against the Soviet Union, the nuclear arms race would not have taken place. 

Neither The Soviet Union nor the People’s Republic of China would have developed nuclear capabilities as a means of “Deterrence” agains the US which had already formulated plans to annihilate the Soviet Union.

Flash Forward to 2020: Nuclear War is still on the drawing board of the Pentagon. In the post Cold War era, under Donald Trump’s “Fire and Fury”, nuclear war directed against Russia, China, North Korea and Iran is “On the Table”.

A one $1.2 trillion ++ nuclear weapons program, first launched under Obama, is ongoing. 

Michel Chossudovsky, August 4, 2020

***

According to a secret document datedSeptember 15, 1945, “the Pentagon had envisaged blowing up the Soviet Union  with a coordinated nuclear attack directed against major urban areas.

All major cities of the Soviet Union were included in the list of 66 “strategic” targets. The tables below categorize each city in terms of area in square miles and the corresponding number of atomic bombs required to annihilate and kill the inhabitants of selected urban areas.

Six atomic bombs were to be used to destroy each of the larger cities including Moscow, Leningrad, Tashkent, Kiev, Kharkov, Odessa.

The Pentagon estimated that a total of 204 atomic bombs would be required to “Wipe the Soviet Union off the Map”. The targets for a nuclear attack consisted of sixty-six major cities.

To undertake this operation the “optimum” number of bombs required was of the order of 466 (see document below)

One single atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima resulted in the immediate death of 100,000 people in the first seven seconds. Imagine what would have happened if 204 atomic bombs had been dropped on major cities of the Soviet Union as outlined in a secret U.S. plan formulated during the Second World War.

Hiroshima in the wake of the atomic bomb attack, 6 August 1945

The document outlining this diabolical military agenda had been released in September 1945, barely one month after the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki (6 and 9 August, 1945) and two years before the onset of the Cold War (1947).

Video produced by South Front

The secret plan dated September 15, 1945 (two weeks after the surrender of Japan on September 2, 1945 aboard the USS Missouri, see image below) , however, had been formulated at an earlier period, namely at the height of World War II,  at a time when America and the Soviet Union were close allies.

It is worth noting that Stalin was first informed through official channels by Harry Truman of the infamous Manhattan Project at the Potsdam Conference on July 24, 1945, barely two weeks before the attack on Hiroshima.

The Manhattan project was launched in 1939, two years prior to America’s entry into World War II in December 1941. The Kremlin was fully aware of the secret Manhattan project as early as 1942.

Were the August 1945 Hiroshima and Nagasaki attacks used by the Pentagon to evaluate the viability of  a much larger attack on the Soviet Union consisting of more than 204 atomic bombs? The key documents to bomb 66 cities of the Soviet Union (15 September 1945) were finalized 5-6 weeks after the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings (6, 9 August 1945):

“On September 15, 1945 — just under two weeks after the formal surrender of Japan and the end of World War II — Norstad sent a copy of the estimate to General Leslie Groves, still the head of the Manhattan Project, and the guy who, for the short term anyway, would be in charge of producing whatever bombs the USAAF might want. As you might guess, the classification on this document was high: “TOP SECRET LIMITED,” which was about as high as it went during World War II. (Alex Wellerstein, The First Atomic Stockpile Requirements (September 1945)

The Kremlin was aware of the 1945 plan to bomb sixty-six Soviet cities.

The documents confirm that the US was involved in the “planning of genocide” against the Soviet Union.

Let’s cut to the chase. How many bombs did the USAAF request of the atomic general, when there were maybe one, maybe two bombs worth of fissile material on hand? At a minimum they wanted 123. Ideally, they’d like 466. This is just a little over a month after the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Of course, in true bureaucratic fashion, they provided a handy-dandy chart (Alex Wellerstein, op. cit)

Pentagon Plans to Destroy Dozens of Soviet Cities and the So-called Cold War

The Nuclear Arms Race

Central to our understanding of the Cold War which started (officially) in 1947, Washington’s September 1945 plan to bomb 66 cities into smithereens played a key role in triggering the nuclear arms race.

The Soviet Union was threatened and developed its own atomic bomb in 1949 in response to 1942 Soviet intelligence reports on the Manhattan Project.

While the Kremlin knew about these plans to “Wipe out” the USSR, the broader public was not informed because the September 1945 documents were of course classified.

Today, neither the September 1945 plan to blow up the Soviet Union nor the underlying cause of the nuclear arms race are acknowledged. The Western media has largely focussed its attention on the Cold War US-USSR confrontation. The plan to annihilate the Soviet Union dating back to World War II and the infamous Manhattan project are not mentioned.

Washington’s Cold War nuclear plans are invariably presented in response to so-called Soviet threats, when in fact it was the U.S. plan released in September 1945 (formulated at an earlier period at the height of World War II) to wipe out the Soviet which motivated Moscow to develop its nuclear weapons capabilities.

The assessment of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists mistakenly blamed and continue to blame the Soviet Union for having launched the nuclear arms race in 1949, four years after the release of the September 1945 US Secret Plan to target 66 major Soviet cities with 204 nuclear bombs:

“1949: The Soviet Union denies it, but in the fall, President Harry Truman tells the American public that the Soviets tested their first nuclear device, officially starting the arms race. “We do not advise Americans that doomsday is near and that they can expect atomic bombs to start falling on their heads a month or year from now,” the Bulletin explains. “But we think they have reason to be deeply alarmed and to be prepared for grave decisions.” (Timeline of the Doomsday Clock, Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, 2017)

IMPORTANT: Had the US decided NOT to develop nuclear weapons for use against the Soviet Union, the nuclear arms race would not have taken place. 

Neither The Soviet Union nor the People’s Republic of China would have developed nuclear capabilities as a means of “Deterrence” agains the US which had already formulated plans to annihilate the Soviet Union.

The Soviet Union lost 26 million people during World War II.

The Cold War List of 1200 Targeted Cities: 

This initial 1945 list of sixty-six cities was updated in the course of the Cold War (1956) to include some 1200 cities in the USSR and the Soviet block countries of Eastern Europe (see declassified documents below). The bombs slated for use were more powerful in terms of explosive capacity than those dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Source: National Security Archive

“According to the 1956 Plan, H-Bombs were to be Used Against Priority “Air Power” Targets in the Soviet Union, China, and Eastern Europe. Major Cities in the Soviet Bloc, Including East Berlin, Were High Priorities in “Systematic Destruction” for Atomic Bombings.  (William Burr, U.S. Cold War Nuclear Attack Target List of 1200 Soviet Bloc Cities “From East Germany to China”, National Security Archive Electronic Briefing Book No. 538, December 2015

Source: National Security Archive

Washington, D.C., December 22, 2015 – The SAC [Strategic Air Command] Atomic Weapons Requirements Study for 1959, produced in June 1956 and published today for the first time by the National Security Archive www.nsarchive.org, provides the most comprehensive and detailed list of nuclear targets and target systems that has ever been declassified. As far as can be told, no comparable document has ever been declassified for any period of Cold War history.

The SAC study includes chilling details. According to its authors,  their target priorities and nuclear bombing tactics would expose nearby civilians and “friendly forces and people” to high levels of deadly radioactive fallout.  Moreover, the authors developed a plan for the “systematic destruction” of Soviet bloc urban-industrial targets that specifically and explicitly targeted “population” in all cities, including Beijing, Moscow, Leningrad, East Berlin, and Warsaw.  Purposefully targeting civilian populations as such directly conflicted with the international norms of the day, which prohibited attacks on people per se (as opposed to military installations with civilians nearby).National Security Archive Electronic Briefing Book No. 538, December 2015

List of Cities

Excerpt of list of 1200 cities targeted for nuclear attack in alphabetical order. National Security Archive, op. cit.

From the Cold War to Donald Trump

In the post Cold War era, under Donald Trump’s “Fire and Fury”, nuclear war directed against Russia, China, North Korea and Iran is “On the Table”.

What distinguishes the October 1962 Missile Crisis to Today’s realities:

1. Today’s president Donald Trump does not have the foggiest idea as to the consequences of nuclear war.

2, Communication today between the White House and the Kremlin is at an all time low. In contrast, in October 1962, the leaders on both sides, namely John F. Kennedy and Nikita S. Khrushchev were accutely aware of the dangers of nuclear annihilation. They collaborated with a view to avoiding the unthinkable.

3. The nuclear doctrine was entirely different during the Cold War. Both Washington and Moscow understood the realities of mutually assured destruction. Today, tactical nuclear weapons with an explosive capacity (yield) of one third to six times a Hiroshima bomb are categorized by the Pentagon as “harmless to civilians because the explosion is underground”.

4.  A one trillion ++ nuclear weapons program, first launched under Obama, is ongoing.

5. Today’s thermonuclear bombs are more than 100 times more powerful and destructive than a Hiroshima bomb. Both the US and Russia have several thousand nuclear weapons deployed.

Moreover, an all war against China is currently on the drawing board of the Pentagon as outlined by a RAND Corporation Report commissioned by the US Army  

“Fire and Fury”, From Truman to Trump: U.S Foreign Policy Insanity

There is a long history of US political insanity geared towards providing a human face to U.S. crimes against humanity.

Truman globalresearch.ca

On August 9, 1945, on the day the second atomic bomb was dropped on Nagasaki, president Truman (image right), in a radio address to the American people, concluded that God is on the side of America with regard to the use of nuclear weapons and that

He May guide us to use it [atomic bomb] in His ways and His purposes”. 

According to Truman: God is with us, he will decide if and when to use the bomb:

[We must] prepare plans for the future control of this bomb. I shall ask the Congress to cooperate to the end that its production and use be controlled, and that its power be made an overwhelming influence towards world peace.

We must constitute ourselves trustees of this new force–to prevent its misuse, and to turn it into the channels of service to mankind.

It is an awful responsibility which has come to us.

We thank God that it [nuclear weapons] has come to us, instead of to our enemies; and we pray that He may guide us to use it [nuclear weapons] in His ways and for His purposes” (emphasis added)

The original source of this article is Global Research

Copyright © Prof Michel Chossudovsky, Global Research, 2020

IMPRESSIONS FROM AN INFORMAL MEETING WITH ASMA AL-ASSAD, SYRIA’S FIRST LADY

By Eva Bartlett

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*(All photos taken from the Facebook page “Asma al Assad – Syria’s First Lady“)

I had been sitting in a small entrance room for what seemed less than a minute when the door opened and Syria’s first lady, Her Excellency Asma al-Assad, greeted me with a warm smile, welcoming me inside a slightly larger sitting room. In official meetings I had had over the years in Syria, I was accustomed to a secretary or assistant escorting me into the meeting room. Asma al-Assad, however, does things up close and personal.

Over the years in Syria, I had heard from people I encountered that she and President Assad routinely meet with their fellow Syrians in crowded venues, mixing and engaging with the people. I had also seen countless photos and videos of the Assads visiting Syrians in their homes around the country.

While I have been to Syria over a dozen times in the past seven years, it had never occurred to me to request a meeting with the first lady. But when that opportunity recently presented itself, I leapt at the chance to speak with one of the most beloved figures in Syria, and to hear her thoughts on her country, her fellow Syrians, and on the plights they are all in. And as it turned out, it was a chance to hear her poignant insights on her role as a mother, a citizen, the wife of the President and a leader in her own right.

Even before assuming the role of Syria’s first lady, Asma al-Assad made it a priority to focus on the development of Syria, and over the years since she’s headed organizations focusing on a range of development issues, including financial, educational and vocational. To effectively work on the many issues she does, her level of awareness of Syrians’ situation on the ground is crucial.

She has travelled widely around Syria, to the smallest villages, to meet with those who could benefit from the various organizations she heads. Videos abound of the first lady, and also the president, visiting wounded soldiers, families of martyrs, cancer patients, and impoverished Syrians, greeting them with hugs and kisses to their cheeks. They often sit with them on the floor of their homes, listening to them talk about their experiences.

In fact, in an interview she gave in 2002, Asma al-Assad explained:

“I wanted to meet [ordinary Syrians] before they met me. Before the world met me. I was able to spend the first couple of months wandering around, meeting other Syrian people. It was my crash course. I would just tag along with one of the many programmes being run in the rural areas. Because people had no idea who I was, I was able to see people completely honestly, I was able to see what their problems were on the ground, what people are complaining about, what the issues are. What people’s hopes and aspirations are. And seeing it first-hand means you are not seeing it through someone else’s eyes. It was really just to see who they are, what they are doing.”

As I already had an appreciation for what she’s accomplished I approached our recent meeting with a great degree of admiration for the person she is and the compassion she exudes.

Since this meeting was not a formal interview, I did not seek to record the over two hours of conversation with Her Excellency. Immediately after leaving, however, I did jot down as many notes about our conversation as I could recall, and will do my best to do justice to what Asma al-Assad said, sometimes quoting her but in general paraphrasing her words.

Also, while I wish to express the respect she deserves in her role as the first lady, and whereas most would call her Your Excellency, I’m also aware that she isn’t fond of titles and fanfare, one of many traits evidencing her humility. Thus, to find middle ground I will either refer to her as the first lady or Asma al-Assad.

Finally, although I’ve begun this essay with focus on Asma al-Assad and her character, what follows is really about Syria, through her eyes, and at some points my own. From the way she spoke, it is very clear that everything she does for her country is for her country, and she does so with an admirably passionate commitment.

I was admittedly anticipating our meeting, wondering how it might unfold. As it turned out, from the initial greeting, conversation flowed naturally and comfortably, which I attribute not only to Asma al-Assad’s ability to put those she meets with at ease very quickly, but also to the genuine interest and attention she pays everyone she meets.

She asked about my family, and was concerned about my own well being—to which my answer was something along the lines of: I’m very gratefully in the place I would most want to be right now. She asked about my experiences in Palestine in general, and my years in Gaza specifically. This was not feigned interest, as the first lady has consistently shown support for Palestine.

In late 2008/early 2009, when Israel was committing a massacre of Palestinian civilians in Gaza who had nowhere to flee, I was living in Gaza, and during the war riding in ambulances, documenting Israel’s war crimes. For three weeks, civilians were bombarded relentlessly—including with White Phosphorous, DIME, dart (flechette) bombs, drone strikes, Apache and tank shelling, and the massive one ton bomb airstrikes. In the end, Israel’s assault killed over 1400 Palestinians.

During an interview she gave to CNN at the time, Syria’s first lady spoke on the horrors which Palestinians were enduring during the massacre and also due to the inhumane Israeli siege on Gaza, rendering Gaza a prison. She spoke movingly of the over 80 percent of Palestinians in Gaza reliant on food aid to merely survive, the nearly 1 million (there are far more now) who don’t have access to clean water, and on many of the other sordid realities about life under siege in Gaza.

“This is the 21st Century. Where in the world could this happen? Unfortunately, it is happening. Just imagine your children living in Gaza. Mothers in Gaza can’t cook. Why can’t they cook? Because they don’t have access to fuel, they don’t even have access to the basic foodstuffs that are required to get a meal together, so children don’t eat. You put your children to bed at night and you expect to see them in the morning. That’s a luxury that people in Gaza just do not have. So what would it be like for you, living under those circumstances?”

WORKING FOR SYRIANS

During our meeting I commented on her work drive, knowing that throughout the past months when around the world things have slowed to a halt she has continued working on issues related to Syria’s development and empowering Syrians from all walks of life.

In May she participated in a workshop with staff of Jarih al-Watan (The Nation’s Wounded), a national veteran support program created in 2014 to help injured soldiers rebuild their lives and reintegrate back into society. The program provides support in several key areas including physical rehabilitation, mental health, education grants, vocational training and financial aid for small and medium enterprises.

The first lady explained that working hard is natural for her. She graduated from university quite young and started working professionally at age 21. When it comes to her work for Syrians, it’s more than her natural drive, it is something she is compelled to do for her country.

She talked to me about her cancer treatment (2018-2019), saying that people likely expected her to stay home, to discontinue work or at least work less because she was ill and undergoing treatment. But for her, how could she, for example, delay a child from getting treatment for a hearing aid, or delay a patient from getting medical care, “simply because I was feeling tired.”

Most people who have had a cold or flu would stay home during their illness, justifiably so. That Asma al-Assad refused to do so while enduring cancer treatment and all of the painful and exhausting side effects speaks volumes to her devotion to her people, a point worth stressing given that Western media has done their utmost to vilify her and the President.

Apart from her development work, the first lady quietly works to change antiquated mindsets on how to do things in Syria. She is also keen to encourage people in general, especially children, including her own, to think for themselves.

“We are trying to encourage young people to ask questions and think critically, which should be in line with democracy and freedom of opinion…”

Encouraging critical thinking and questioning of everything are traits that make for a more open society. For at least the past decade, the US and allies have preached about wanting freedom and democracy in Syria. But while gushing about freedom, they were funding and supporting terrorism, illegally occupying Syrian land, stealing Syrian oil, and prolonging terrorism in the country.

The forward-thinking approach Asma al-Assad embodies could lead to changes for the better in Syria. Yet, because the West is on a mission to impose a government which will do America’s bidding, people and policies that are actually good for Syria are dismissed and ridiculed by America and her allies.

Meanwhile, ironically, in Western countries, censorship has become increasingly rife, with dissenting voices being deleted from Youtube, Twitter, and Facebook, and with critical articles on current events being labelled as “fake news” by Western-government affiliated so-called “fact checkers”.

The first lady noted, “People are being steered by a narrative. They are not allowed to have an opinion any longer. There’s now no freedom of speech in the West.”

IMPACTS OF AMERICA’S DEADLY SANCTIONS

In June, America again ratcheted up its decades-old sanctions on Syria, adding a new round of sanctions meant to utterly debilitate the people of Syria— who’ve already suffered nearly ten years of war.

Every day where I am now in Syria, I hear and see things that drive home just how utterly brutal the US sanctions are: a friend whose aunt can’t get the medications needed for her cancer, another friend whose cousin died as a result of not getting the medications he needed for his chronic illness.

The sanctions are deliberately targeting Syrian civilians, and that is the intent of the United States. The US pretext of “helping Syrians” by sanctioning their country is sociopathic double-speak. The reality is they are slowly killing Syrians.

Under the latest sanctions, civilians are denied medicines, access to up to date medical equipment, and as a consequence, denied medical treatment.

The first lady spoke on how much harder life has gotten for Syrians.

“The medical equipment in Syria (like radiotherapy) needed to treat cancer patients is outdated and it is getting harder and harder to maintain these machines and keep them working. With the sanctions, chemotherapy drugs have become harder to source decreasing the likelihood of patients surviving cancer. If I was facing cancer now instead of two years ago, I wouldn’t be able to get the needed treatment. This is the case for Syrians now.”

I asked about importing the materials needed for local manufacturing. But the problem is, she told me, companies cancel contracts for fear of being punished by the US for violating sanctions.

The first lady asked me what I noticed in recent visits to Syria. I said that I had imagined things would be better after the 2018 liberation of eastern Ghouta and other areas occupied by terrorists and the cessation of their daily mortar and missile attacks on residential areas of Damascus.

But although there is peace, people I meet are despondent about the future. Young people want to leave, to find work or study abroad. And while Syria has started to rebuild, the truth is we don’t know how long that will take, particularly given that the latest sanctions target reconstruction as well. Nor do people know how or when the economy will improve.

The shattered economy is largely a product of ten years of terrorism, war, the sanctions, and the US-Turkish theft and destruction of Syria’s resources, particularly oil. The Syria-wide bout of crop fires in wheat and barley growing regions has devastated farmers and contributes to the country’s economic woes. Farmers blame US and Turkish occupation forces for deliberately setting some of the fires, with Turkish forces even allegedly firing on farmers to keep them from extinguishing the flames.

Destroying the economy, starving the people, bringing people to their knees, in hopes they will vote against their president. That is the US strategy.

However, the US and allies have from day one underestimated the Syrian people. Syrians have shown the world the meaning of steadfastness, facing the most powerful nations and their terrorist proxies, and rising undefeated. But doing so with untold, tragic losses.

HONOURING THE SACRIFICES OF SYRIAN SOLDIERS

The first lady spoke of supporting micro businesses as a long term strategy to improve the economy for all, not just for some. This is something she’s been doing for nearly twenty years in Syria, with a variety of initiatives on microfinance, funding and training.

Tied into this is the vocational training that enables startup projects.

This June, at Nasmet Jabal, in a mountainous area in northwestern Syria, I saw wounded former Syrian soldiers receiving vocational training, learning cheese and yogurt making, staples of the Syrian diet. In previous years, at a Damascus community centre supported by the Syria Trust, I saw women learning sewing skills, likewise to enable them to be employed or start their own businesses.

When speaking of her and her husband’s approach to raising their children, Asma al-Assad noted the importance of their children knowing the sacrifices of Syrian soldiers, stressing that her children are able to do the most basic things in life—walk, study, even just be alive—precisely because the army has defended Syria, and in many cases with soldiers paying a deep price in doing so.

This is one reason their three children frequently appear with the first lady and president in their visits to wounded soldiers.

Last month at the vocational training, I heard the testimonies of a number of such wounded soldiers, suffering injuries that should be life-shattering. But like wounded soldiers I’ve met over the years, they shared an inspirational drive to rebuild their lives, physically, materially and emotionally

In February 2011, Vogue published a surprisingly honest article on the first lady and her work for Syria, titled “Asma al-Assad: A Rose in the Desert.” Although Vogue later removed it from their website, I would encourage people to read the archived copy. It gives a detailed sense of the work and life of the first lady. The author spent several days with Asma al-Assad, getting informative glimpses into the workings of her foundations, and of the first lady herself.

I was told some months ago that when the first lady learned of the title, she was not pleased as one might have expected.

“I am not the only rose, you are all roses,” she said to a room of women at the Syria Trust for Development.

Throughout Syria’s history women have played prominent roles, from Queen Zenobia in the 3rd century AD, to women defending Syria against terrorism, to Nibal Madhat Badr first female Brigadier General in the Syrian Army, to the mothers of martyrs.

Syria’s Vice President, Najah Al-Attar, is a woman, as is Bouthaina Shaaban, media and political advisor to the president. Armenian MP Nora Arissian and former independent MP Maria Saadeh are among countless others.

Asma al-Assad also balked at the portrayal of Syria as a desert, a portrayal physically depicting the country as a vast sandy region, but also incorrectly implying a lack of culture and education, a sense of backwardness.

Just as the cultural mosaic is vast and varied, so is Syria’s landscape, with snowy mountains, steaming coastal areas replete with citrus and banana trees, rolling hills in the northwest, and yes desert areas to the east.

Anyone who has had the fortune to come to Syria likewise is aware of how empowered women are, how rich the culture is, and how valued education is. Art and music flourish here. Teenagers participate in science Olympiads.

In the past four months, I’ve had some opportunities to see more of Syria’s beautiful landscapes that I’ve described. Prior to the war, Syria was a popular tourist destination, particularly for its rich culture and landscapes, as well as for its ancient areas and cities and historic sites.

But historic and cultural sites aside, there is an aspect of Syria’s history and culture that the first lady is extremely worried about losing: the intangible culture, customs passed down through generations. A dialect gets lost because people who fled an area sometimes will not return.

She told me of a village woman who still hand makes Freekah (whole grains of wheat harvested while still green) in the traditional way. But most young people in the village have left, so that tradition won’t be passed down.

Syria is trying to document its intangible culture, a monumental task considering how much there is to document.

FINAL THOUGHTS

I’ll conclude by saying that whereas over the past decade there has been a systematic effort by Western media, politicians and government-aligned “human rights” groups to vilify the first lady, president and army, the reality on the ground is in stark contrast to the propaganda emanating from Washington.

Anyone who has followed the war on Syria, and the Western aggression against so many nations, will be aware that one of the first things America and allies does is to vilify the leadership, those same leaders they may have previously praised as being moderate.

The abrupt removal shortly after publication by Vogue of its feature on the first lady is a perfect example of the media being directed to not allow any positive reflections on Syria’s key figures. Only cartoonish denominations are allowed in Western media now. The 2002 interview with Asma al-Assad which I referenced at the start was published in the Guardian, an outlet which has since become a prime source of the most vile war propaganda against Syria and the whitewashing of terrorists’ crimes.

Meeting Syria’s first lady confirmed what I already knew from speaking with countless Syrians over the years, and from observing from afar the work she does: she is a strong, intelligent, down to earth, and compassionate woman dedicated to empowering and helping her fellow Syrians.

I am extremely grateful for the time I had with her. At a time of global instability, sitting with Asma al-Assad was calming and inspiring.

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SOUTHFRONT CENSORSHIP ON YOUTUBE – SUPPORT TEAM STRIKES BACK

South Front

SouthFront Censorship On YouTube - Support Team Strikes Back

YouTube continues attempts to justify its illegal decision to censor SouthFront.

More than 1.5 months since the censorship of SouthFront on YouTube, the YouTube staff has been ignoring SouthFront rejecting requests to provide at least some kind of formal reason behind this decision. However, in mid-June, YouTube finally invented some formal explanation for its illegal decision to censor SouthFront.

Now, YouTube claims that SouthFront’s main channel was terminated because of “repeated or severe violations” of YouTube Community Guidelines, including “spam, scams or commercially deceptive content”. The claim that SouthFront content on YouTube somehow promoted spam, scams or deceptive content is a blatant lie.

HINT: On May 1, YouTube terminated all of South Front’s channels, with approximately 170,000 subscribers. The main YouTube channel in English had over 152,000 subscribers, 1,900 uploaded videos and approximately 60 million views. The termination of our channels occurred without any warnings or notifications and regardless of the fact that our YouTube channels had zero active strikes.

We immediately appealed this decision and during the next weeks repeatedly requested YouTube to explain reasons behind it. However, no real answers have been provided until now.

A summary of the recent events:

On June 16, YouTube requested us to provide him links to SouthFront channels, which were terminated (like YouTube Support Team cannot get these links by itself):

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SouthFront provided all the requested information:

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On June 18, YouTube finally invented a formal explantion for its unjustified decision to censor SouthFront by claiming that our main YouTube channel with over 152,000 subscribers was promoting “spam, scams or commercially deceptive content”:

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However, this claim goes contrary to YouTube’s official data itself. There was zero YouTube Community Guidelines strikes or any other strikes on the channel.

On May 3, YouTube Support Team officially confirmed this fact in its own email saying that there were “no reasons” to terminate SouthFront’s channel:

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We emphasized this in our answer to YouTube’s new claims:

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On June 22, YouTube made a one more clumsy attempt to explain its decision to censor SouthFront. This time YouTube Support Team claimed that “multiple Community Guideline strikes” may have become the reason behind the termination of our channel.

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Indeed, few years ago, SouthFront’s YouTube channel received Community Guidelines strikes because of a mass flagging of our videos by ill-wishers. These Community Guidelines strikes were removed after our appeals to YouTube Support Team. Therefore, YouTube officially confirmed that these strikes were unjustified or added by mistake. Therefore, SouthFront’s YouTube channel had ZERO strikes when it was terminated.

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On June 23, YouTube sent us a new reply very similar to those that we received previously on June 11This reply does not deal with the current situation in a direct way. In fact, YouTube cannot confirm its claims about supposed Community Guidelines violations because it has no evidence to do so. Therefore, it just used SouthFront’s readiness to defend its rights as a formal pretext to not provide any facts and evidence behind its decision to terminate SouthFront’s channel.

This situation once again demonstrates the double-faced approach of the service that tries to hide blatant acts of censorship behind baseless claims about supposed Community Guidelines violations.

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We eagerly await the further development of this situation. How would YouTube try to explain this act of illegal censorship next time?

YOUR SUPPORT IS CRITICAL TO KEEP SOUTHFRONT ALIVE:

SouthFront Is Censored Under Cover of Pandemic

Censorship of alternative media is becoming more widespread in the COVID19 era. This article documents the case of SouthFront.

By Rick Sterling

Global Research, June 09, 2020

Introducing SouthFront

Where do you find daily news, videos, analysis and maps about the conflict in Syria?  Detailed reports about the conflicts in Libya, Yemen and Venezuela?  News about the rise of ISIS in Mozambique?  Original analysis of events in the US and Russia?  SouthFront is the place.

SouthFront is unique and influential, reaching a global audience of hundreds of thousands. They have  opinion articles but their reports and videos are informational and factual. Their website says,

“SouthFront focuses on issues of international relations, armed conflicts and crises…. We try to dig out the truth on issues which are barely covered by the states concerned and the mainstream media.”

Censorship by Facebook and YouTube

A major disinformation and censorship drive against SouthFront was recently launched.  On April 30 the SouthFront Facebook account with about 100,000 subscribers was deleted without warning or notice.

On May 1,  SouthFront’s main YouTube account with over 150 thousand subscribers was terminated. The English language channel had 1,900 uploaded videos with 60 million views over the past 5 years.

While the SouthFront website continues as before, the above actions remove important distribution channels which SouthFront has painstakingly built up.

The censorship has been accompanied by a parallel disinformation campaign promoted by corporate, governmental and establishment “think tank” organizations.  This is in the context where the US State Department’s  Global Engagement Center (GEC) has a direct liaison with Silicon Valley companies and teams focused on “countering the propaganda” from Russia, China and Iran with a current budget of $60 million per year.

In a March 2020 hearingSenator Chris Murphy (D – Conn) lobbied for increased funding and more censorship. He said, “It’s hard to chase one lie after another. You have to actually go after the source and expose the source as illegitimate or untrustworthy, is that right?” Lea Gabrielle, head of GEC, responded “That’s correct.”

When the Senator says “it’s hard to chase one lie after another“, he is acknowledging that it’s often hard to show that it’s a lie. Even more so when it is not a lie. It is much easier for the authorities to simply say the source is untrustworthy- or better yet to eliminate them – as they have tried to do with SouthFront.

False Accusations by Facebook

The elimination of SouthFront’s Facebook account was based on a Facebook sponsored investigation titled “April 2020 Coordinated Inauthentic Behavior Report”.  The 28 page report says,

We’re constantly working to find and stop coordinated campaigns that seek to manipulate public debate across our platforms….We view influence operations as coordinated efforts to manipulate public debate for a strategic goal where fake accounts are central to the operation…. This month we removed eight networks of accounts, Pages and Groups….. Our investigation linked this activity to … two media organizations in Crimea – News Front and SouthFront. We found this network as part of our internal investigation into suspected coordinated inauthentic behavior.”

First, SouthFront is not trying to “manipulate public debate”; they are providing news and information which is difficult if not impossible to find elsewhere.  It seems to be the censors who are trying to manipulate debate by shutting out some voices.

Second, SouthFront does not have “fake accounts”; they have a public website plus standard social media outlets like Facebook and YouTube (until cancelled). Third, SouthFront has no connection to NewsFront nor operations in Crimea.

NewsFront and SouthFront are completely different organizations. They share the name “Front” but that is irrelevant. Does Facebook confuse the New York Times with Moscow Times?  After all, they both have “Times” in their title.

Facebook has shut down SouthFront on the basis of misinformation and smears.

False Accusations by DFRLab

The  Digital Forensic Research Lab (DFRLab) was created by the Atlantic Council, a “non partisan organization that galvanizes US global leadership”. It is another organization which is quick to label alternative foreign policy voices as “Russian propaganda”. DFRLab claims to have “operationalized the study of disinformation by exposing falsehoods and fake news”. They reported the censorship of SouthFront with a report titled “Facebook removes Russian propaganda outlet in Ukraine” with subtitle “The social network took down assets connected to News Front and SouthFront, propaganda websites supportive of Russian security services”.  They reported that the two “demonstrated a close relationship by liking each other’s pages.” As anyone who uses Facebook is aware, it is common to “like” a wide variety of articles and publications. The suggestion that “liking” an article proves a close relationship is silly.

The DFRLab  report says News Front and SouthFront “disseminated pro-Kremlin propaganda in an array of languages, indicating they were attempting to reach a diverse, international audience beyond Russia.”

First, NewsFront and SouthFront are completely distinct and separate organizations.  Second, is there anything unusual about a website trying to expand and reach different audiences? Don’t all publications or outlets do that?  This is a tactic of the new censors: to portray normal behavior as sinister.

Another censorship tactic is to assert that it is impermissible to question the veracity of certain findings.  Thus DFRLab report says NewsFront posted “outright disinformation” when it published a story that “denied the culpability of Russian-backed separatists’ involvement in the shoot-down of Malaysia Airlines MH-17”.  They suggest this proves it is Russian propaganda and false. However, the facts about the downing of MH-17 are widely disputed. For example. one of the foremost American investigative journalists, the late Robert Parry, came to the same conclusion that the MH-17 investigation was manipulated and the shoot-down was probably NOT as portrayed. Parry did many articles on this important event, confirming that it is not “Russian propaganda”.

The Atlantic Council is one of the most influential US “think tanks”. It appears they have created the DFRLab as a propaganda tool to disparage and silence the sources of alternative information and analysis.

Disinformation by European Council “Task Force”   

The goals and priorities of the European Union are set by the European Council.  They are also increasingly active in suppressing alternative information and viewpoints.

In 2015 the European Council created a East StratCom Task Force to “address Russia’s ongoing disinformation campaigns”. Their major project is called EUvsDISINFO. They say,

“Using data analysis and media monitoring services in 15 languages, EUvsDISINFO identifies, compiles, and exposes disinformation cases originating in pro-Kremlin media.”

This organization is part of the disinformation campaign against SouthFront. In April 2019 they published an analysis “SouthFront – Russia Hiding Being Russian“. The story falsely claims that SouthFront “attempts to hide the fact it is registered and managed in Russia.”  The SouthFront team is international and includes Russians along with numerous other nationalities. Key spokespersons  are a Bulgarian, Viktor Stoilov, and an American, Brian Kalman. They do not hide the fact that the website is registered in Russia or that PayPal donations go to an account in Russia. The website is hosted by a service in Holland. It is genuinely international.

EUvsDISINFO demonstrates disinformation tactic of falsely claiming to have “exposed” something that is “hidden” when it is public information. There is nothing sinister about collaboration between different nationalities including Russia. EUvsDISINFO suggests there are sinister “pro-Kremlin networks”.  In reality, SouthFront is a website run by a dedicated and underpaid staff and lots of volunteers.  While the European Council gives millions of dollars to EUvsDISINFO, SouthFront operates on a tiny budget without government support from Russia or anywhere else.

False accusations by US Department of Defense

On April 9,  the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense, Laura Cooper, spoke at a press briefing.  She identifies SouthFront by name and accuses them of “reporting that there actually was no pandemic and that some deaths in Italy might in fact have been from the common flu”.

The first accusation is because of the SouthFront article “Pandemic of Fear”. In contrast with the accusation, the article says, “The COVID-19 outbreak is an apparent threat which cannot be ignored.”  The article also discusses the much less reported but widespread pandemic of fear.

The second false accusation is regarding the high death toll in Italy. SouthFront reported the findings of a report from the Italian Ministry of Health which suggested the previous mild winter and flu season had “led to an increase in the pool of those most vulnerable (the elderly and those with chronic illnesses) that can increase the impact of the epidemic COVID-19 on mortality and explain, at least in part, the increased lethality observed in our country.” This is very different than saying the deaths were caused by the common flu. In any case, the findings came directly from Italian health authorities not SouthFront.

In the same press conference, the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense says she wishes to “reign in malign actors that are spreading misleading disruptive information”.   The censors claim the higher ground but engage in misinformation and falsehoods as they seek to silence discussion and debate.

Conclusion

There is a coordinated effort to manipulate and restrict what the public sees and hears in both North America and Europe.  Under the guise of “fact checking” and stopping “Russian propaganda”, the establishment has created private and government sponsored  censors to distort and diminish  questioning media.  They label alternative media “Russian” or “pro Kremlin” even though many of the researchers and writers are from the West and have no connection or dependency on the Russian government.

SouthFront is an example of a media site doing important and original reporting and analysis.  It is truly international with offices in several countries. The staff and volunteers include people from four continents. The censorship and vilification they are facing seems to be because they are providing information and analysis which contradicts the western mainstream narrative.

In recent developments, SouthFront is posting videos to a secondary YouTube channel called SouthFront TV. When that was also taken down on May 16, they challenged the ruling and won. The channel was restored with the acknowledgment “We have confirmed that your YouTube account is not in violation of our Terms of Service.”

SouthFront is still trying to have their main channel with 152K subscribers restored. Their Facebook account is still shut down and attempts to disparage their journalism continues. The censorship has escalated during the Covid19 crisis.

*

Note to readers: please click the share buttons above or below. Forward this article to your email lists. Crosspost on your blog site, internet forums. etc.

Rick Sterling is an investigative journalist based in the San Francisco Bay Area. He can be reached at rsterling1@protonmail.com.The original source of this article is Global ResearchCopyright © Rick Sterling, Global Research, 2020

RUSSIAN FOREIGN MINISTRY FINALLY REACTED TO CENSORSHIP ON YOUTUBE AND FACEBOOK

South Front

Russian Foreign Ministry Finally Reacted To Censorship On YouTube And Facebook

On May 20, the Russian Foreign Ministry released an official statement on the censorship of four Russian-language media organizations – “Krim 24” (Crimea 24), “Anna News”, “News Front” and “Riafan” – on YouTube.

The YouTube channels of “Krim 24” (Crimea 24), “Anna News”, “News Front” were blocked on May 19, while the channel of “Riafan” was blocked on April 17.

““Krim 24” TV channel is one of the most popular sources of information on the peninsula. It is a part of Crimea’s largest media holding “Television and Radio Company “Krim” that unites  five television channels, three radio stations, an information portal and two Internet sites. The team of “Krim 24” TV channel traditionally covers the most relevant major news topics in this Russian region.

As a result of the deletion of the Krim 24 account on the Youtube platform, about 30 thousand subscribers lost access to videos that had tens of millions of views. The US platform has taken restrictive measures under the clearly far-fetched pretext of “violating hosting rules.”

The fact that Youtube did not provide any convincing facts explaining its actions, as well as the fact that the appeal of the channel’s team still remains unanswered, is unacceptable,” the foreign ministry said in its statement.

The foreign ministry emphasized that it considers “the actions of video hosting as another act of discrimination against Russian-language media resources by US-controlled Internet platforms that systematically resort to arbitrary censorship of content in Russian.”

The Russian side also recalled that in January 2019, Facebook deleted more than 500 pages related to Russia, including materials from the Sputnik news agency.

“These are just some examples of US Internet censorship of Russian information portals,” it said.

SouthFront cannot but express solidarity with the indignation of the Russian Foreign Ministry. Over the past years, SouthFront has repeatedly become a target of informational attacks, censorship and theft of content.

At the same time, SouthFront recalls that our YouTube channel with over 152,000 subscribers, 1,900 uploaded videos and approximately 60 million views was terminated on May 1.

SouthFront immediately made an appeal of this decision on YouTube and sent requests of informational support to various organizations. We also sent emails to the Russian Foreign Ministry and a number of Russian mainstream media organizations. SouthFront emails and requests were expectedly ignored.

Russian Foreign Ministry Finally Reacted To Censorship On YouTube And Facebook

The reason is simple. SouthFront has no relations with the Russian government system. Russian official bodies and mainstream media do have no influence on the editorial policy of SouthFront: Analysis & Intelligence. Therefore, they have no motive to provide SouthFront with any kind of support or informational assistance. On top of this, SouthFront critically covers the situation and political tendencies in Russia and has never pushed propaganda in the interests of Russia or any state.

In any case, we are glad to see that Russian media organizations that were censored on YouTube and Facebook got support from Russian official bodies.

MORE ON THE TOPIC:

After Youtube and Facebook, Vimeo bans ‘Sayed Hasan’ & Nasrallah’s videos

After Youtube and Facebook, Vimeo bans ‘Sayed Hasan’ & Nasrallah’s videos

May 16, 2020

Source

‘Sayed Hasan’ channel censored for the umpteenth time

The only sure way to follow my work is to subscribe to the Newsletter.

Please write to Vimeo (legal@vimeo.com) to protest this decision, putting me in bcc if possible (contact@lecridespeuples.fr).

On February 28, 2020, Vimeo arbitrarily deleted my channel ‘Sayed Hasan‘ which, since the deletion of my Youtube channel in December 2017 (followed by my Facebook pages in May 2019), published my French subtitled videos —extracts from speeches from Hassan Nasrallah, Ali Khamenei, Vladimir Putin, Bashar al-Assad, alternative anti-imperialist documentaries, Al-Mayadeen or Russian TV News Bulletins, etc. Thus, two years and two months of work, 400 videos posted and 600,000 views, which is not negligible in view of the fact that Vimeo is marginal vis-a-vis the giants Youtube or Facebook and their quasi-monopoly, went up in smoke.

This is not Vimeo’s first act of censorship. In June 2019, the Project Veritas account was banned following the publication of its exclusive investigation into Google’s ideological censorship, the first part of which I captioned.https://www.dailymotion.com/embed/video/x7eegy3

And most recently, in April 2020, at the heart of the coronavirus pandemic, Vimeo censored a documentary denouncing the influence of lobbies on the World Health Organization (WHO).

The Vimeo platform, for which I had to pay an annual fee of 84$ to post my videos, therefore did not prove to be safer than Big Tech, on the contrary: while Youtube has a system of three warnings, largely biased anyway, Vimeo deleted everything without warning, simply informing me in these terms:

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The reason invoked was grotesque, as no part of the Vimeo Guidelines mentions such a prohibition. The only rules that applied were the —classic and legitimate— Copyright and Fair Use, so I protested to Vimeo on March 9, pointing this out:

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Vimeo’s response came the same day:

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The absurdity and the contradiction were obvious: on the one hand, it was no longer the Vimeo Guidelines that were invoked, but the Terms of Service (note Vimeo’s hypocritical apologies for this ‘confusion’), which don’t make any mention of content from TV or the internet. On the other hand, the original pretext of theft or plagiarism is completely disconnected from the only questions relevant in this regard, namely respect of Copyright and Fair Use, to which long sections of the Vimeo Guidelines are devoted. But Vimeo manages to affirm that even by respecting these rules, my content could not be published because it would not be a 100% original creation, which is absurd, discriminatory and would empty the sections devoted to Fair Use of any interest. I reacted in these terms on March 23:

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Vimeo refrained from answering for more than 2 weeks. It was only after Norman Finkelstein intervened on my behalf on April 6 that they deigned to answer him (the same day).

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Vimeo then responded to the second follow-up email that I sent right away, transcribed below with their April 8 response.

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I replied to this email empty of substance on April 8:

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Of course, launching a lawsuit would require resources that I do not have, unless a lawyer or a Civil Liberties association agrees to do them at little cost. I nevertheless ask all those who can to write to Vimeo (legal@vimeo.com), putting me in Bcc if possible (contact@lecridespeuples.fr) to protest against this decision, and share this article widely. It should be noted that at least one lawsuit is currently underway in the United States against Vimeo for freedom of expression issues, a pastor having had his account deleted for having mentioned his renunciation of homosexuality and his journey to God.

This is neither the first nor the last time that I have to start from scratch after years of hard work, when they were bearing fruit. Faced with incessant censorship, which will increase as we approach the inevitable Liberation of Palestine, the only sure way to follow Resistance News is to subscribe to the Newsletter, which is also an important act of support. Please do so and invite your friends to do it.

Finally, those who can are invited to make a donation to help this volunteer work.

My videos in English are accessible on Dailymotion and are safeguarded in the Unz Review.

Everything having been said in two previous articles (Kafka 2.0: how political censorship is exercised on Youtube & Freedom of expression, Hassan Nasrallah and other victims of censorship on the Internet), I will conclude again with Norman Finkelstein’s statement of support when my Facebook page was deleted:

“It is a scandal that the speeches of Hassan Nasrallah are banned on Youtube. Whatever one thinks of his politics, it cannot be doubted that Nasrallah is among the shrewdest and most serious political observers in the world today. Israeli leaders carefully scrutinize Nasrallah’s every word. Why are the rest of us denied this right? One cannot help but wonder whether Nasrallah’s speeches are censored because he doesn’t fit the stereotype of the degenerate, ignorant, blowhard Arab leader. It appears that Western social media aren’t yet ready for an Arab leader of dignified mind and person.”

The online intifada to which Hassan Nasrallah called continued. As he keeps saying since May 25, 2000, the time for victories has come, and the time for defeats is well and truly over: this is why his word is mercilessly hunted down —ironically, on Youtube, the Israeli channel i24 News is the main source still available for his speeches, all the others having been suppressed: the Zionists will even try to make a buck out of the rope to hang them! Repeated censorship is an eloquent sign of the importance of this work, and, far from discouraging me, it will only motivate me more.

An ominous prediction, especially with the Covid-19 pandemic and its huge toll on the United States

Sayed Hasan

Donate as little as you can to support this work and subscribe to the Newsletter to get around censorship.

“Any amount counts, because a little money here and there, it’s like drops of water that can become rivers, seas or oceans…” Hassan Nasrallah

YOUTUBE RESTORED SOUTHFRONT’S TEMPORARILY CHANNEL BLOCKED ON SATURDAY

South Front

YouTube Restored SouthFront's Temporarily Channel Blocked On Saturday

On May 18, YouTube restored our temporary channel blocked two days ago – on May 16. This was done in respnose to our appeal sent on May 16. (The active link to our temporary channel is here)

The text of the appeal: This channel was created with an informational purpose only and does not violate any YouTube’s Community Guidelines. Every video was carefully inspected by me personally. Today neutral, objective information often causes very false flagging by different political or personal reasons. I ask you to make a detailed investigation of this case and restore my channel.

The answer of YouTube: Hi there,

After a review of your account, we have confirmed that your YouTube account is not in violation of our Terms of Service. As such, we have unsuspended your account. This means your account is once again active and operational.

Sincerely,

The YouTube Team

It seems that objective members of YouTube Team reviewed SouthFront videos and took over responsibility for the decision to restore SouthFront’s temporary channel. There is no doubt that YouTube Team consists of people with various ideology and points of view. At the same time, professionalism and impartiality should be on the first place. The members of YouTube Team that decided to restore the channel demonstrated their commitment to these principles.

The decision to restore SouthFront’s temporary channel demonstrated that our videos do not violate YouTube’s policies and Terms of Service. Therefore, there was no objective reason to terminate our main channel with  over 152,000 subscribers, 1,900 uploaded videos and approximately 60 million views on May 1. (LINK TO MAIN CHANNEL)

We appealed the decision to terminate our main channel “South Front” on the same day (May 1), but have received no official decision on this situation from YouTube so far. SouthFront, with a great interest, is waiting a reaction of those who decided to terminate our channel and YouTube lawyers to this case.

DEAR FRIENDS,

We want to say a “Big Thank You” for your informational support, the assistance in sharing information about the censorship of SouthFront and helping to share SouhFront content with a wider audience. Even this small victory and the restoration of our temporary channel became possible only thanks to your help and your active public position.

Once again, Big Thank You All! SouthFront is proud to have such readers and subscribers.

SouthFront operates thanks to lots of volunteer work and the audience’s donations. Now your support are especially important to keep SouthFront alive:

FACEBOOK REMOVES NEWS OUTLETS IN LATEST ORWELLIAN PURGE

Source

12.05.2020 

Facebook Removes News Outlets in Latest Orwellian Purge

Written by Dave DeCamp; Originally appeared on AntiWar.com

Over the past three years, Facebook has been removing accounts for participating in what they call “coordinated inauthentic behavior” (CIB). According to Facebook’s head of cybersecurity policy, the Orwellian term refers to when “groups of pages or people work together to mislead others about who they are or what they’re doing.” Facebook takes down accounts for CIB due to “deceptive behavior” not for sharing false information. In the latest purge, Facebook removed accounts from two news outlets, SouthFront and News Front.

The two outlets have no affiliation; the only thing they share besides the word “Front” in their names is content that does not toe the Western mainstream media line. In its effort to remove CIB and limit “disinformation,” Facebook partners with the Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensics Research Lab (DFRLab). The Atlantic Council is a Washington-based think-tank that receives funding from Western and Gulf State governments, defense contractors, and social media outlets. Some of its top contributors for the 2018 fiscal year include the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the Embassy of the UAE to the US, the US State Department, Lockheed Martin, and Raytheon.

Facebook started releasing monthly CIB reports in March that detail the networks and accounts they take down. On May 5th, Facebook released its CIB report for April 2020. The report says Facebook removed eight networks of accounts, pages, and groups engaging in CIB. SouthFront and News Front are included in the first network covered in the report. “We removed 46 Pages, 91 Facebook accounts, 2 Groups, and 1 Instagram account for violating our policy against foreign interference which is coordinated inauthentic behavior on behalf of a foreign entity,” the report reads.

Facebook claims they linked this activity to “individuals in Russia and Donbass, and two media organizations in Crimea – NewsFront and SouthFront.” In a response to the reportSouthFront says the claim that they are based in Crimea is a “blatant lie” that they are willing to “defend in court.” SouthFront says the organization is made up of “an international team of independent authors and experts,” some of whom are from Russia and post-USSR states. News Front, on the other hand, is based in Crimea, but the organization does not try to hide its pro-Russia bias.

In a press release, the Atlantic Council’s DFRLab announced Facebook’s removal of the two organizations. The DFRLab refers to News Front and SouthFront as “two Crimea-based media organizations with ties to the FSB.” The FSB is a Russian security and intelligence agency, a successor to the Soviet Union’s KGB. In its independent analysis of the two outlets, the DFRLab offers little evidence to back up the claim of FSB ties. The analysis only uses a 2017 story from the German outlet Zeit, where a former News Front staffer claims the organization receives funding from the FSB. The DFRLab offers no evidence to link the FSB with SouthFront.

The DFRLab does not make a strong case for Facebook’s removal of the news outlets. The press release says, “While the DFRLab could not corroborate Facebook’s finding of CIB, it also found no evidence to contradict it.”

But using Facebook’s definition of CIB, the DFRLab’s analysis of the two outlets does seem to contradict Facebook’s findings. The pages and users analyzed do not seem to be misleading others or hiding who they are. “Most of the assets that DFRLab had access to did not hide their connection to South Front or News Front. Many of the pages wore their connections on their sleeves, naming themselves as different language versions of the websites,” the analysis reads. News Front is an international news organization with websites in English, Russian, German, Spanish, French, and Georgian and had Facebook pages to reflect that.

The analysis finds what they call “suspicious links” between News Front and ANNA News, another pro-Russia news outlet. But those “suspicious links” are just two former ANNA News anchors who now work for News Front. Facebook removed pages dedicated to the two anchors.

The analysis goes on to address the only connection between SouthFront and News Front, and probably, the real reason why they were removed from Facebook. Both outlets share stories that go against the Western narrative. The example the analysis seems to take the greatest issue with is stories that take into account Russia’s denial in the role in the downing of Malaysian Airlines Flight 17 in eastern Ukraine in 2014. The analysis also points out that News Front accounts shared news stories from Russian-state funded media outlets like RT and Sputnik.

Ultimately, the DFRLab does not provide any information linking SouthFront or News Front’s social media activity to the Russian government and does not give examples of the accounts intentionally hiding their identity. The best they can do is mention some connections to the Russian government the founders of News Front have, but it is nothing they are trying to hide.

The Covid-19 pandemic has caused an increase in internet censorship. YouTube’s CEO recently said they would remove any videos that go against the World Health Organization’s guidelines for the virus. On top of the Facebook ban, SouthFront’s YouTube channel has also been removed without any explanation. Although most of SouthFront’s content is military analysis, some stories they published on Covid-19 were flagged as “disinformation” by a ministry of the European UnionSouthFront published a detailed response to those accusations, pointing out that only three of the 3,000 stories they published this year were found to be “disinformation” by what they call “pro-NATO propagandists.”

SouthFront posted a video asking their readers for support in the wake of the social media bans. For independent news outlets, reach on social media is vital for their survival. SouthFront’s Facebook page had around 100,000 subscribers, and the YouTube channel had about 170,000. SouthFront publishes multiple news stories each day, mostly following updates on wars in the Middle East. One of the website’s best resources is its frequently updated maps.

Other networks removed by Facebook in April include accounts in Iran, Georgia, Mauritania, the US, and Myanmar. Facebook claims they took down a network of accounts connected to Iran’s state broadcasting company, although they provide no evidence to support the claim. Content credited to this network includes a post promoting former presidential candidate and Texas Congressman Ron Paul from 2012. Another example from 2014 is just a news story about Israeli forces preventing Palestinians from praying in al-Aqsa Mosque.

Facebook and its Western government-backed partners will continue to remove accounts each month for engaging in CIB. It will be hard to know if the connections they make to the accounts are genuine. But if the sloppy work they did on SouthFront and News Front is any indication, claims from Facebook and the Atlantic Council’s DFRLab should always be met with skepticism.

Dave DeCamp is assistant editor at Antiwar.com and a freelance journalist based in Brooklyn NY, focusing on US foreign policy and wars. He is on Twitter at @decampdave.

AN IN-DEPTH LOOK BEHIND THE SCENES OF SOUTHFRONT CENSORSHIP

An In-Depth Look Behind the Scenes Of SouthFront Censorship

The situation surrounding the censorship of Southfront on Facebook has turned into a display of the stereotypical Big-tech super villain. Facebook has published a report justifying its actions, which is an egregious, textbook example of fake news. The report contains only disjointed accusations under the cover of meaningless words, and without a single example being presented. Special attention should be paid to the fact that in the full 29-page report, there are no mentions of SouthFront itself, besides the baseless accusations at its outset.

Furthermore, in order to label SouthFront as allegedly official Russian propaganda, Facebook first identifies another media site with a similar name, and then proceeds to emphasize the similarity of the brands. The name of this organization is “News Front”, which indeed shares the word “Front” in its name, yet the similarities end there. News Front is an official Russian organization that is located in Crimea and publicly pursues an acute pro-Russian patriotic informational agenda for a Russian speaking audience.

In the case of News Front, to assert that the site is engaged in pushing fake news or disinformation is also nonsense. There are no hidden “trolls” infecting the weak minds of the citizens of Russia or other countries of the post-Soviet space through devious attempts to manipulate and mold their innermost perception. This is a regular Russian patriotic media site with a declared pro-Russian bias. Having a declared and obvious bias is not a crime in a democratic world.

As for the wider, global, non-Russian-speaking audience, News Front has a minimal presence. So why it was necessary to censor this Russian organization? The answer is now obvious, as described above.

The comparison of the audience of southfront.org and news-front.info by Alexa:

An In-Depth Look Behind the Scenes Of SouthFront Censorship

The comparison of the audience of southfront.org and news-front.info by SimilarWeb:

An In-Depth Look Behind the Scenes Of SouthFront Censorship

The catalyst that led to these actions concern mass complaints made by propaganda units created and funded by NATO, the EU and other Euro-Atlantic organizations. A majority of these propaganda units, like Euvsdisinfo, StopFake, or the Atlantic Council, have offices and representatives in Ukraine and Baltic states. They operate with the designated goal of utilizing both formal and informal tools to undermine the work of independent and non-mainstream media. To achieve their goals, the pro-NATO propagandists often exploit the so-called ‘Russian threat’ concept; however, this merely provides a cover for their aggressive actions to silence and discredit opposing opinions and sources of information they deem to be counter to their own interests.

The reason behind their activity is simple – they must justify their existence in reports to their sponsors. They are constantly and fiercely working to engineer ‘successful actions’ regardless of their validity. In order to continue securing funding to expose and defeat an imaginary enemy, they must create imaginary victories, irrespective of reality.

EXAMPLE 1:

An In-Depth Look Behind the Scenes Of SouthFront Censorship

The real title of the article is “COVID-19 – THE FIGHT FOR A CURE: ONE GIGANTIC WESTERN PHARMA RIP-OFF” (source)

This article is written by Peter Koenig and submitted via Global Research. Peter Koenig is an economist and geopolitical analyst. He is also a water resources and environmental specialist. He worked for over 30 years with the World Bank and the World Health Organization in many parts of the world, including in Palestine, in the fields of environment and water. He lectures at universities in the US, Europe and South America. He writes regularly for Global Research; ICH; RT; Sputnik; PressTV; The 21st Century; Greenville Post; Defend Democracy Press, TeleSUR; The Saker Blog, the New Eastern Outlook (NEO); and other internet sites. He is the author of “Implosion – An Economic Thriller about War, Environmental Destruction and Corporate Greed”, a fictional work based on historical fact and over 30 years of World Bank experience around the globe. He is also a co-author of The World Order and Revolution! – Essays from the Resistance. He is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization (Global Research). Global Research itself is run by a group of authors that have advanced academic degrees from respected academic institutions and teach in universities of the United State and Canada.

So, what kind of ‘fake news’ or ‘disinformation’ did Mr. Koenig push in the article? The article provides a critical look at and addresses the concerns regarding the goals of the global pharmaceutical industry, otherwise known as Big Pharma, in the larger context of the COVID-19 pandemic. Are these global corporations not commercial entities that seek to gain larger revenues and increased profits? Yes, clearly so. So, what is wrong with this logic? Furthermore, Mr. Koenig wrote his article based on official statistics and sources.

For example:

“The vaccine that might eventually be applied to COVID-19, may most likely no longer be valid for the next coronavirus outbreak – which, also according to Mr. Redfield, CDC, will most probably occur. A later virus may most certainly have mutated. It’s quite similar to the common flu virus. In fact, the annually reoccurring common flu virus contains a proportion of 10% to 15% (sometimes more) of coronaviruses.”

This is an obvious scientific fact – a specific vaccine acts against a particular strain of virus. Complex vaccines act against several strains, but the accumulated modern scientific knowledge has yet to invent a vaccine that can act against all the possible strains. The converse statement is a falsehood and is aimed at misleading the public.

A biased critic may label as conspiracy the author’s point of view towards the aggressive advertising of vaccines or the need for electronic IDs; however, this very same point of view has been voiced by various politicians or representatives of big business. Even the term ‘New World Order’ which appears twice in the subject text, was itself widely used by the mainstream political establishment, and even presidents of the United States like George H. W. Bush.

However, this did not stop paid propagandists from labeling the article the work of a conspiracy theorist and thus labelling it as disinformation. One could claim that the author asserted a notion of conspiracy, but there was zero disinformation, as the author’s hypothesis was based on scientist fact and common knowledge.

EXAMPLE 3:

An In-Depth Look Behind the Scenes Of SouthFront Censorship

The real title of the article is “WESTERN MEDIA TALKS UP BIG PHARMA’S SEARCH FOR CORONAVIRUS VACCINE WHILE IGNORING USE OF HIGH DOES VITAMIN C TO SAVE LIVES IN CHINA” (source)

This article is written by a well-known international author, Dr. Leon Tressell. The main assertion of the article is that high dose vitamin C therapy apparently helps to deal with acute respiratory disease and viral pneumonia caused by SARS-CoV-2. The article clearly shows that the methods of treating the symptoms caused by SARS-CoV-2 share some commonality with the actions taken to treat the symptoms of respiratory disease and viral pneumonia caused by other viruses. There is no correlation between the effectiveness of a particular drug or method of treatment and its monetary cost. This fact is also universally recognized in the scientific community.

Mr. Tressell writes:

  • Clinical trials using high dose vitamin C therapy in China ignored by Western media
  • New York hospitals now using vitamin C therapy to treat coronavirus patients

Are these false statements? No. These points are demonstrably true.

Indeed, the author states that the “mainstream media, and the scientific and political establishments are completely under the spell of big pharma”; however, in the same article he explains this point of view in detail. This remark is based on his personal point of view (protected by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution) as well as those of scientists quoted in the text. For example:

Dr. Andrew W. Saul, Editor in chief of the Orthomolecular Medicine News Service

Dr. Richard Cheng, an American-Chinese doctor currently based in Shanghai

Dr. Andrew G. Weber, a pulmonologist and critical-care specialist affiliated with two Northwell Health facilities on Long Island

Thus, there is no reason to say that Tressell distributes fake news. In the worst case, the author writes about a valid hypothesis and only once does he make a personal judgment regarding the motives and aims of big pharma. Is this false news or disinformation? Of course it is not. Is some conspiracy theory present here? If one claims “yes”, then that person will have to accept that most of the political establishment of the United States, which also uses the terms the New World Order and Big Pharma are also conspiracy theorists. Surely one statement of the article’s author pales in comparison to the thousands of statements of politicians and top businessmen espousing similar views. How popular does a dissenting view have to become before it is no longer considered a conspiracy theory?

EXAMPLE 3:

An In-Depth Look Behind the Scenes Of SouthFront Censorship

The real title of the article is “WHILE THE WORLD IS IN DISARRAY, COVID-19 IS BREAKING UP RUSSIA” (source)

The article was likely used by the Euvsdisinfo authors either out of a lack of humor, ignorance, or sheer stupidity. This article is a critical review of the political and administrative situation in Russia amid the COVID-19 pandemic in the first part of April 2020. The article provides a critical look at the actions of the Russian government (in particular the Moscow authorities) and points out that, while the COVID-19 pandemic presents a significant public health challenge, the threat of the pandemic may be estimated inaccurately, resulting in the government making poor decisions in dealing with it. The developments in Russia in the second half of 2020 confirmed this analysis. Meanwhile, the article itself regularly refers to scientific and state sources of data and criticizes political and administrative actions of the Russian government. It also looks critically at actions of Moscow mayor Sergey Sobaynin, which at the time went contrary to the Russian legislative system.

Euvsdisinfo labeled the article as conspiracy theory and disinformation. This decision raises some eyebrows. Does NATO really support the actions of the Moscow authorities? If this is the case, perhaps President Putin should consider taking a closer look at the mayor of the Russian capital. Another explanation is that nobody in Euvsdisinfo actually read the article. The aforementioned article regularly refers to publicly available facts and quotes numerous substantiated sources, while providing a critical point of view of the author towards the administrative and political situation in Russia.

The aforementioned articles are all that pro-NATO propaganda organizations have been able to highlight to accuse SouthFront of spreading disinformation. Three articles out of approximately 3,000 published since the start of the year. The attention of such propagandists to SouthFront comes amid the termination of our YouTube channels. These arbitrary and unjustified actions lead us to believe that there is almost no objectivity in the modern world. So, if somebody wants to claim that white is black, he will continue to do so as long as it serves the interests of his sponsors. Nonetheless, in the case of YouTube, the situation is even more surprising. SouthFront released no videos that could be labeled as ‘COVID-19 disinformation’ even theoretically. There were only 3 video infographics on the topic on our YouTube channel. They presented facts and data and did not even feature narration. SouthFront’s YouTube channel had zero active strikes to over 1,900 uploaded videos up until the point of termination.

In this situation, it will be especially interesting to witness how YouTube will react to the developing scandal.

WE CRITICALLY NEED YOUR INFORMATIONAL ASSISTANCE

Please, help us by sharing this message with the global audience. Also, please inform your family, friends, and your social circles about southfront.org as an independent platform covering crucial developments in the Middle East and around the world.

As always, but especially during this uncertain and economically challenging time, your donations are especially important in keeping SouthFront alive.

Why I No Longer Read Facebook

 BY GILAD ATZMON

fb hitler_edited-1.jpg

Source

by Eve Mykytyn

In an effort to stem the torrent of ‘false’ cures and conspiracy theories about COVID-19, Facebook announced it would begin informing users globally who have liked, commented on, or shared “harmful” misinformation about the coronavirus, that the content they reacted to was incorrect and  pointing them in the direction of what Facebook considers to be a  ‘reliable’ source. The reliable source?  The World Health Organization. Here’s the distinctly noninformative WHO Covid 19 website . 


I don’t know what caused Covid 19 to become our disease du jour. Was it a bat? A natural or laboratory mutation? Not only do I not know, but I don’t believe that Facebook, or the WHO know either. Why not let theories abound? Perhaps free speech means that we trust the people to evaluate the source and sort out the facts for themselves. 

The general rule in the US is that no publisher has an obligation to print any particular view: that rule dates from  when ‘publisher’ meant print and print was inexpensive. The founders intentionally strove to open a ‘marketplace of ideas,’ a ‘public square’ with pamphleteers and speeches. Published content was restricted only  by the threat of litigation over libel or defamation which requires publishing material known (or should have known) to be false.

Exceptions to the general rule came about when publishing was through a limited medium regulated by the government. When television stations were a limited resource obtained through government licensing of the  few channels, the government imposed  free speech requirements including an equal time rule, requiring television stations to present both sides of an issue. The rule was dropped, considered unnecessary only when television began to offer a plethora of stations.

So now we get to Facebook( youtube, twitter, etc.). Which is it most like, television or freely available printing?

For many years, including the time that these major platforms became monopolies, the internet depended on cable service which due to the physical nature of cable was a limited resource for which the government issued licenses to certain cable companies. In 1965 , the FCC established rules for cable systems and the Supreme Court affirmed the FCC’s jurisdiction over cable. I believe that  Facebook is also subject to regulation as a monopoly as the government has authority to interfere with monopolies, particularly when they are successful (which is, admittedly another issue) ask AT&T. 

But Facebook wants it both ways.  They don’t admit liability for defamatory statements published on their site. They argue that they behave simply as a platform, a means of transmission. But they also reserve the right to censor content by restricting or deleting material they deem incorrect. So which is it? If they have the power to censor what we see why shouldn’t they be liable for the content?

This censoring of free speech applies broadly. Google favors some content over others in its search engine, Youtube has been on a tear not only deleting videos but replacing videos with others that express an alternative view.   See where they plan to ban holocaust  ‘denial’ (revisionist in any way)  videos and offer wikipedia instead.  Further they intend to offer the banned videos to researchers and NGOs “looking to understand hate in order to combat it,” thereby providing content only to a restricted class of their own choosing.  Twitter inserts a page when a ‘controversial’ link is clicked warning the user that the link has been identified as  malware although Twitter admits that malware warnings are posted based on content. 

What is it that compels these platforms to come down on both sides of the free speech issue?  After all, by editing content Facebook becomes more like a  publisher and less like a mere  platform. Facebook does so because it regularly gets brought before Congress to explain free speech congress doesn’t like. Facebook also defers to European countries that regulate speech.

Facebook argues that internet companies aren’t governments and they can restrict what they like. That’s why they don’t follow the First Amendment and instead enforce more restrictive rules in response to criticism of their content.  See, for ex., The New Yorker on the ‘free speech excuse.’  

I believe that major platforms have become the public square. Yet we allow Facebook to restrict our speech and they do so effectively. As owners of the public square they are uniquely positioned to and do silence  dissenters. Platforms take down posts that don’t fit their ‘standards, and they do so swiftly. Perhaps before we allow Facebook to be the arbitrator of free speech, we should rethink the present day meaning of a marketplace of ideas.

AngloZionist controlled media bans SouthFront

The Saker

AngloZionist controlled media bans SouthFront

Dear friends,

Here is the email I got in my inbox today:
——-

Dear friend,

Once again, SouthFront faced an unprecedented censorship.

On April 30, our Facebook page with about 100,000 subscribers was deleted without any notifications or an option to appeal the decision:

On May 1, YouTube terminated SouthFront’s channels with approximately 170,000 subscribers. The main YouTube channel in English had over 152,000 subscribers, 1,900 uploaded videos and about 60,000,000 views.

This happened despite the fact that our YouTube channels had zero active strikes. We cover conflicts in the Middle East. This is a sensitive topic. Therefore, we strictly follow YouTube’s Community Guidelines and comply with the Terms of Service. There was no so-called “coronavirus conspiracy” content on our YouTube channels.

SouthFront’s YouTube channels were terminated without any warning. All that we got was a single automated email regarding the termination ofour inactive channel in Farsi “SouthFront Farsi” that included several translations of our war reports. However, even this email provides no details regarding the decision and just claims that “SouthFront Farsi” violated YouTube’s Terms of Service without any elaboration.

For over 5 years of our work, SouthFront repeatedly faced attempts to censor our coverage, analysis and videos. However, the current blatant and illegal ban of our activity is an unprecedented case.

The explanation may be that US authorities ordered YouTube and Facebook to cleanse the media sphere of sources of objective coverage and analysis on the Middle East region as a part of the ongoing preparations for a war with Iran.

We think that the current situation deserves attention of the international public, including the journalistic community beyond individual ambitions of separate media organizations and journalists.

We ask you to cover this situation and, if you have an opportunity, to provide us with informational or juridical help.

Sincerely yours,
SouthFront: Analysis & Intelligence

——-

What can I say?

First, the fact that the AngloZionist controlled media wants to silence SouthFront is a sign of how effective SouthFront’s work has been.  They can wear that as a badge of honor.

Second, I don’t believe that there is anything that should/could be done.  The First Amendment only applies to situation in which the state silences somebody, not when corporations do it.

Third, I strongly believe that we all (those in overt resistance to the Empire) should never become dependent on the good-will or decency of AngloZionist controlled media/hosting outlets.  Expect no decency or mercy from these people, they are servants of Satan, quite literally!

Please try to help SouthFront either financially or by lending them a helping hand.  These are good people, doing an important job and, unlike so many others, they have always repaid us with their faithful support and friendship.

By helping SouthFront you help all of us, including the entire Saker Community!

Please do the right thing.

Kind regards

The Saker

APPEAL OF SOUTHFRONT STEERING COMMITTEE REGARDING CENSORSHIP ON YOUTUBE AND FACEBOOK

South Front



SouthFront’s YouTube Channel Is Banned (the text below was originally posted by SouthFront on May 2):

DEAR FRIENDS,
On April 30th, our Facebook page with about 100,000 subscribers was deleted without any warnings or an opportunity to file an appeal. (LINK)
Now, the situation appears to be even worse.
On May 1st, YouTube terminated all of South Front’s channels, with approximately 170,000 subscribers. Our YouTube channels were also terminated without any warnings or notifications. The main YouTube channel in English had over 152,000 subscribers, 1,900 uploaded videos and approximately 60 million views.
Appeal Of SouthFront Steering Committee Regarding Censorship On YouTube And Facebook
The termination of our channels occurred regardless of the fact that our YouTube channels had zero active strikes. Covering conflicts in the Middle East, we expressly understand the inherent sensitivity of the issue. Therefore, we have strictly followed YouTube’s Community Guidelines and have always complied with the Terms of Service.
SouthFront’s YouTube channels were terminated without any warning. All that we got was a single automated email regarding the termination of our inactive channel in Farsi “SouthFront Farsi” that included several translations of our war reports. However, even this email provides no details regarding the decision and just claims that “SouthFront Farsi” violated YouTube’s Terms of Service without any elaboration.
Appeal Of SouthFront Steering Committee Regarding Censorship On YouTube And Facebook
Throughout the past five years of our endeavors, South Front has been constantly subjected to pressure from different Euro-Atlantic structures and US tech companies that hold a monopoly on the dissemination of information. We have repeatedly faced attempts to censor our coverage of world events, in the form of written analysis, videos and livestream interviews. (LINKLINKLINK)
The only reasonable explanation, we may imagine, is that US authorities ordered YouTube and Facebook to cleanse the media sphere of sources of objective coverage and analysis on the Middle East region as a part of the ongoing preparations for a war with Iran. (LINK)
We think that the current situation deserves attention of the international public, including the journalistic community beyond individual ambitions of separate media organizations and journalists.
WE CRITICALLY NEED YOUR INFORMATIONAL ASSISTANCE
Please, help to share this message with the global audience. Also, please, inform your friends, your social circles about southfront.org as an independent platform covering crucial developments in the Middle East and around the world.
Also, in this hard time, your donations are especially important to keep SouthFront alive:

PayPal


Account: southfront@list.ru

SOUTHFRONT’S YOUTUBE CHANNEL IS BANNED

South Front

SouthFront's YouTube Channel Is Banned

On April 30, we reported that Facebook permanently banned SouthFront’s public page with about 100,000 followers. (LINK)

Now, the situation appears to be even worse.

On May 1 (in the  evening by CET), YouTube terminated SouthFront’s channels with a combined sum of approximately 170,000 subscribers. The main YouTube channel in English had over 152,000 subscribers, 1,900 uploaded videos and about 60,000,000 views.

SouthFront's YouTube Channel Is Banned

This happened despite the fact that our YouTube channels had zero active strikes. As you know we cover conflicts in the Middle East. This is a sensitive topic. Therefore, we strictly follow YouTube’s Community Guidelines and comply with the Terms of Service.

SouthFront’s YouTube channels were terminated without any warning. All that we got was a single automated email regarding the termination of our inactive channel in Farsi “SouthFront Farsi” that included several translations of our war reports. However, even this email provides no details regarding the decision and just claims that “SouthFront Farsi” violated YouTube’s Terms of Service without any elaboration.

SouthFront's YouTube Channel Is Banned

For over 5 years of our work, SouthFront repeatedly faced attempts to censor our coverage, analysis and videos. However, the current blatant and illegal ban of our activity is an unprecedented case. (LINKLINKLINK)

The only reasonable explanation, we may imagine, is that US authorities ordered YouTube and Facebook to cleanse the media sphere of sources of objective coverage and analysis on the Middle East region as a part of the ongoing preparations for a war with Iran. (LINK)

We think that the current situation deserves attention of the international public, including the journalistic community beyond individual ambitions of separate media organizations and journalists.

WE CRITICALLY NEED YOUR INFORMATIONAL ASSISTANCE

Please, help to share this message with the global audience. Also, please, inform your friends, your social circles about southfront.org as an independent platform covering crucial developments in the Middle East and around the world.

Also, in this hard time, your donations are especially important to keep SouthFront alive:

Orwellian Logic Of Corporate Censors & Government Budget Suckers

South Front

Over the past months, SouthFront, among other dissident media and analytical organizations, has been facing an increasing pressure.

In January and February, SouthFront Team became the target of a technical and media pressure campaign from Google because of our independent and critical coverage of the escalating US-Iranian conflict and its negative consequences for the stability of the Greater Middle East. (LINK 1LINK 2)

In March, it appeared that an independent point of view is now terrifying propaganda & censorship structures of the European Union. The developing economic crisis and coronavirus outbreak threw Europe in chaos, smashed the myth about the so-called Euro-Atlantic solidarity and demonstrated the failure of the EU bureaucracy to do something besides sucking budgets and selling sovereignty of European nations to the United States and the global capital. However, instead of facing the reality and starting to work to contain the real problems, EU budget suckers started searching enemies to blame for the disinformation about epic successes of Brussels in fighting against coronavirus.

The European External Action Service named southfront.org among key platforms providing ‘wrong coverage’ of the situation. The Orwellian logic of the European bureaucrats insists that if facts, real developments or history contradict their interests, they must be hidden, bury in oblivion or at least labeled enemy disinformation and propaganda.

In particular, SouthFront: Analysis & Intelligence, was mentioned in a Deutsche Welle article on March 21, 2020. The article “Corona-Desinformation: immer dieselben Muster” mentions SouthFront even before huge-funded RT and Sputnik accusing our organization of spreading fake news about the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak and alleging that SouthFront is a part of a Russian disinformation campaign.

Click to see the full-size image

SouthFront cannot talk on behalf of RT or Sputniknews, but in our coverage, we rely on facts. If SouthFront provides some expert opinions, it always explains them using facts and logic.

It is interesting to note that since the declaration of the COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic SouthFront has not criticized actions of European national governments (Germany, France, and even Italy). A couple of times we drew attention of the audience to too emotional actions of US President Donald Trump. On the other hand, we released several indeed critical articles about the internal political situation in Russia. In all articles mentioning the medical and pandemic situation, we were referring official scientific and medical centers: the Robert Koch Institute, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Statale di Milano University as well as other official and respected bodies from Italy, Spain, Russia and other countries.

In response to this situation, SouthFront sent Deutsche Welle’s editorial staff the following email:

Greetings, Deutsche Welle’s editorial staff!

It has been brought to our attention that our international endeavour, SouthFront: Analysis & Intelligence, was mentioned in a Deutsche Welle article on March 21, 2020.

The article “Corona-Desinformation: immer dieselben Muster” mentions SouthFront alongside with RT and Sputnik accusing our organization of spreading fake news about the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak and alleging that SouthFront is a part of a Russian disinformation campaign.

This claim made by the article’s author is itself fake news, which is easy to confirm by taking a closer look at the articles and videos actually published on southfront.org. In its coverage of the COVID-19 outbreak and social phenomena caused by it, SouthFront always references the sources of the data used. These are the Robert Koch Institute, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as well as other official and respected bodies from Italy, Spain, Russia and other countries. SouthFront is used to see accusations that we are an Iranian or Russian mouthpiece regarding the Middle East agenda.

SouthFront has never claimed that the COVID-19 outbreak is a result of a conspiracy by  “global backstage elites” or that COVID-19 has been created artificially. Indeed, we shared opinions of Global Research and ZeroHedge on the topic: https://southfront.org/coronavirus-covid-19-made-in-china-or-made-in-america/https://southfront.org/the-real-umbrella-corp-wuhan-ultra-biohazard-lab-was-studying-the-worlds-most-dangerous-pathogens/ with all references to the sources of these opinions. The publishing of these two opinion pieces from other sources does not justify the assertion that SouthFront is itself making these claims. ZeroHedge and Global Research see SouthFront as an independent reliable partner because our relations are fully transparent and noncommercial.

SouthFront’s position is that various influence groups and powers, including Russia, are now using the COVID-19 outbreak to push their own agenda. Incidentally if SouthFront has criticized any official authorities in the framework of pandemic issues, it was in fact the Russian ones: https://southfront.org/while-the-world-is-in-disarray-covid-19-is-breaking-up-russia/https://southfront.org/russia-to-halt-flights-returning-its-citizens-from-abroad-as-tens-of-thousands-still-wait-evacuation/https://southfront.org/mandatory-lockdown-in-russia-is-extended-until-april-30/

SouthFront is an international, crowdfunded endeavor uniting people with various political views from more than a dozen countries. It receives no support from any governments and corporations. We rely only on a comprehensive co-working of our multiple proactive authors and volunteers, and a fact-checking control by our big international team. SouthFront is always open for a constructive dialogue.

The SouthFront team is united by the will to provide comprehensive analysis and independent coverage of key military, survival, political and security developments around the world.

We suppose that the decision to mention SouthFront in the aforementioned Deutsche Welle article was an oversight in that the author did not take the opportunity to check his facts through a closer look at SouthFront coverage. We would hope and do assume that this was not the result of someone directly wishing to harm our organization.

In the interests of professional journalism, we ask you to investigate this situation promptly and remove the fake information forthwith.

Sincerely yours,

SouthFront: Analysis & Intelligence

On April 9, Facebook placed limits on SouthFront’s page due to activities that “don’t comply with Facebook’s policies.” Apparently, this is a first thing of a new wave of war on independent media carried out corporations and bureaucrats affiliated with the global elites.

Click to see the full-size image

We believe all these attacks, accusations and attempts to censor SouthFront are a strong signal that we  are on a right track. SouthFront steadily faces pressure and accusations regarding its coverage: the situation in the Middle East, the US-Iranian tensions, the US-Chinese global standoff, actions of the Russian foreign policy etc. Today, a new global issue appeared – the COVID-19 pandemic, and SouthFront is once again being targeted. This happens despite the fact that SouthFront provides a very careful coverage of the COVID-19 crisis based on facts. SouthFront understands the importance of the pandemic and social economic crisis caused by it.

Regardless of the challenges that we face, SouthFront will continue to do its best to provide you with an independent look at key military, security and political developments around the world.

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Censorship Is the Way that Any Dictatorship — and NO Democracy — Functions

Eric Zuesse February 15, 2020

No democracy can survive censorship. If there is censorship, then each individual cannot make his/her own decisions (voting decisions or otherwise) on the basis of truth but only on the basis of whatever passes through the censor’s filter, which is always whatever supports the censoring regime and implants it evermore deeply into the public’s mind — regardless of its actual truthfulness.

The public does have a mind, as a collective constituting the majority of the residents in the given land, which majority rules any democratic government. If the government doesn’t really represent the majority, it’s no democracy, at all, but instead represents other individuals, the real rulers, who might be hidden. Consequently, if a democracy exists but a censor somehow becomes allowed, and emerges into existence in a given land, then democracy will inevitably be snuffed-out there, and dictatorship will inevitably be the result — merely because censorship has been applied there, which blocks some essential truths (truths that the rulers don’t want the public to know) from reaching the public.

Nothing is as toxic to democracy as is censorship. Censorship prevents democracy.

If a dictatorship already exists in a given land, then it does so by means of censorship, because only by that means will the public be willing to pay taxes to the regime and to go to war for it and to kill and die for it. Without censorship, none of that could happen, except in an authentic democracy. An authentic democracy has no censorship.

This is why democracy is so rare. Almost every dictatorship calls itself a ‘democracy’. But a government which calls itself “democratic” isn’t necessarily democratic, but more likely it has simply fooled its public to think that it is one (such as the United States has by now been scientifically proven to be — an actual dictatorship).

Anyone who endorses censorship is a totalitarian, a supporter of totalitarianism, even without recognizing the fact. If the person fails to recognize the fact that censorship is applied only in a totalitarian regime, then that person has bought into the most basic belief of totalitarianism: the idea that censorship can be justified in some circumstances. Dictatorships always pump that lie, so as to be able to continue to exist as a dictatorship. There is no circumstance which ever can justify censorship, unless one believes that dictatorship is, or can be, good instead of bad.

If you think that some censorship is good, then you have bought into the fundamental belief that is promulgated in any dictatorship. It’s a lie, but it fools the majority of people, in a dictatorship.

No writing, nor any other statement, should ever be censored, no matter how vile it is. Indeed, if it is vile, then it needs to be exposed, not hidden; because, if it is hidden, then it will fester until it grows in the dark and finally becomes sprung upon a public who have never been inoculated against it by truth, and therefore the false belief becomes actually seriously dangerous and likely to spread like wildfire, because it had been censored before it became public. The most deadly infections are those that grow in the dark and then become released upon a population who have no pre-existing protection against it.

Every religion, and every evil regime, seeks to censor-out whatever contradicts its propaganda, and is therefore intrinsically hostile toward democracy, but the danger is always being presented not by the writers and speakers of the propaganda, but by its publishers (regardless of media: print, broadcast, or online) — they are the source of all censorship. They are the censors. The people who select what to publish, and what not to publish, are the censors. The regime’s media are what perpetrate censorship, routinely, because those media are actually essential arms of the dictatorship, even if they are not directly owned by the government but instead by the clique who actually possess control over the government because they possess control over the mainstream (and much of the non-mainstream) media and thus the public’s mind in a ‘democracy’ in order to make it the dictatorship that it actually is.

Much has been written about how this censorship has been perpetrated in the post-WW-II (post-26-July-1945) USA., such as here, and here, and here, and here. (All of that has been censored-out from the major media — they don’t report that they represent the regime instead of the public.) As a consequence of that censorship against truth, history is being revised to be ‘history’ so as to portray a false ‘reality’ to people today. And there are numerous other examples of this, by the U.S. regime, each instance, of which lying, is affirmed as being truth by the regime’s agents, but is actually nothing more than vicious lies that are spread by the regime and its agents. What goes on behind the scenes is hidden from the American public, not really in order to protect them, but purely in order to deceive them. The deception of the American people, and of the residents in all of the U.S. Government’s foreign vassal-states (or ‘allies’) in Europe and elsewhere, is extreme, in all fields of international relations. Whereas Julian Assange was the world’s strongest enemy against censorship, he has been almost ten years now under some form or another of imprisonment, including solitary confinement and torture, all without ever having been convicted of anything, and all because he is an enemy against censorship instead of a flak for censorship. And Twitter and other ‘social media’ are hiding from the public — censoring — the sheer outrageousness of it all.

The solution to the problem of lies is not censorship, it is banning censorship. On 7 June 2019, the need for this seemed even clearer to me after Russia’s RT headlined on that date “Glenn Greenwald rips liberals who ‘beg for censorship’”, and that brilliant lawyer and investigative journalist presented powerfully the case against any censorship at all. As one can see from the accompanying video interview there of him, Greenwald was like a force of nature, in that video, or (to use a different metaphor) a huge dose of mental draino for clogged minds.

This also means that issues of libel and slander are only to be addressed in the civil courts, and not, at all, in the government’s prosecutions, the criminal courts.

All censorship needs to be banned. The question therefore becomes: How can this be done? That’s a question I have never seen discussed, perhaps because it is being censored. It’s a very serious question. Any ‘political science’ which exists that has no extensive literature about this question is fake. Perhaps draino for clogged minds is needed especially for scholars.

Things are worse than we know, because censorship exists. Maybe censorship is pervasive.

So: I shall venture a solution to this problem: By law, all media which discuss national and/or international affairs will fire all editors and producers of “news,” but not the employees who have only managerial, presentational, and/or stylistic assignments, and replace these people (all personnel who select what to present and what not to present) by a randomized algorithm being applied to each topic, so that, if, for example, something is entered into a search-box, then the order or presentation of the findings will be listed either (at the user’s selection) from earliest-posted to latest-posted, or latest-posted to earliest-posted, but not by anything that is chosen or determined by the search-engine itself. (In other words: no search-engine will be allowed to censor.) On print or broadcast media, every news-piece will be controlled in real time by its audience so as to determine what the questions are and then to bring into the presentation randomly selected scientifically qualified experts regarding each such question. For example: on the question of climate-change, the experts would be individuals who have terminal graduate-level degrees in each of the related climatology sub-specialties, such as those listed at Wikipedia, but also in essential related fields such as economics (an important climatological sub-specialty that’s not listed there). If, indeed, over 90% of climatologists agree that man-made global warming is a reality, then the result of this method of selecting the “experts” who will be presented is that that viewpoint will be represented by over 90% of the experts — and this outcome would not be controlled by the given ‘news’-medium, nor affected by its advertisers. In other words: only the subject-matter and academic qualifications — no governmental positions or background — would qualify individuals as being “experts” on the given topic. If a terminal degree isn’t a qualification for expertise on a topic, then what is? Aren’t government officials supposed to be relying on them? And if, for example, the topic is Syria, then shouldn’t all individuals who have terminal degrees on Syria be the “experts” who are invited, on a randomized basis, to comment to the public about Syria-related issues? If that were the case, then perhaps many Americans would know that the U.S. and NATO “began operations in April- May 2011 to organize and expand the dissident base in Syria,” “organizing defectors in Syria,” and “smuggle U.S. weapons into Syria, participate in U.S. psychological and information warfare inside Syria” to produce regime-change there, and that Syria had never posed any threat to U.S. national security. And Barack Obama was hoping for such opportunities to overthrow Syria’s Government even when he became President in 2009. If the American public didn’t know those things at the time, then perhaps America’s censorship was total — which would indicate how absolutely crucial a randomization of the public’s information-sources is, so as to replace the power that the existing mainstrean ‘news’-media have over the public’s mind, in America, and in its vassal-nations (which don’t yet include Syria). If the public do not have unprejudiced — which means entirely uncensored — information presented routinely to them, then democracy isn’t even possible.

Anyway: that is one proposed way of replacing censorship, and overcoming dictatorship. How many politicians are proposing such changes? Why aren’t any? Are all of them afraid of the dictators? Is there no basis for hope, at all?

Lies, Newsweek and Control of the Media Narrative: Tareq Haddad’s First-Hand Account

By Tareq Haddad

Source

Newsweek_OPCW_82ecf.jpg

A mafia runs editors. Freedom of the press is dead. Journalists and ordinary people must stand up.

  • Introduction
  • Syria
  • Newsweek Suppression: A Timeline of Events
  • Editors at Fault
  • Is Rep. Ilhan Omar a Spy?
  • External Control of the Media Narrative

INTRODUCTION

Until several days ago, I was a journalist at Newsweek. I decided to hand my resignation in because, in essence, I was given a simple choice. On one hand, I could continue to be employed by the company, stay in their chic London offices and earn a steady salary—only if I adhered to what could or could not be reported and suppressed vital facts. Alternatively, I could leave the company and tell the truth.

In the end, that decision was rather simple, all be it I understand the cost to me will be undesirable. I will be unemployed, struggle to finance myself and will likely not find another position in the industry I care about so passionately. If I am a little lucky, I will be smeared as a conspiracy theorist, maybe an Assad apologist or even a Russian asset—the latest farcical slur of the day.

Although I am a British citizen, the irony is that I’m half Arabic and half Russian. (Bellingcat: I’m happy to answer any requests.)

It is a terribly sad state of affairs when perfectly loyal people who want nothing but the best for their countries are labelled with such preposterous accusations. Take Iraq war veteran and Hawaii congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard for example, who was the target of such mud slinging for opposing U.S. involvement in Syria and for simply standing up to the Democratic Party’s most corrupt politician, Hillary Clinton. These smears are immature for a democracy—but I, in fact, welcome such attacks.

When the facts presented are utterly ignored and the messengers themselves are crucified in this way, it signals to right-minded people who the true perpetrators of lies are and where the truth in fact lies.

That truth is what matters most to me. It is what first drove me to journalism while I was working in Jersey’s offshore finance industry after completing my degree from Binghamton University’s School of Management in upstate New York. I was so outraged when I grew to realize that this small idyllic island I love and had grown up on since the age of nine, a British Crown dependency fifteen miles off the coast of France, was in fact a hub for global tax evasion. This realization came to me while the British people were being told that austerity had to continue—public funding for schools, hospitals, policing and all matter of things were to be slashed—all while the government “recovered” after bailing out the banks following the 2008 crash. That austerity lie was one I could no longer stomach as soon as I came to understand that my fairly uninspiring administrative role was in fact a part of this global network of firms to help multinational companies, businessmen, politicians and members of various royal families in avoiding paying trillions in tax—all under a perfectly legal infrastructure that the government was fully aware of, but kept quiet about.

In my naivety, as I left that industry and began my journalism training, I wrote a piece that detailed some of this corruption in hopes of changing the public awareness around these issues and in hopes that they no longer continued—albeit I did so in a manner of writing and sophistication I would be embarrassed of presently—but to my disappointment at the time, the piece was hardly noticed and the system remains little changed to now. Nonetheless, since that moment, I have not once regretted speaking truthfully, most especially for my own mental wellbeing: I would not have been able to regard myself with a grain of self-respect had I continued to engage in something I knew was a lie. It is the very same force that compels me to write now.

There is also another, deeper force that compels me to write. In my years since that moment when I decided to become a journalist and a writer, although I suspect I have known it intrinsically long before, I have come to learn that truth is also the most fundamental pillar of this modern society we so often take for granted—a realisation that did not come to us easily and one that we should be extremely careful to neglect. That is why when journalistic institutions fail to remember this central pillar, we should all be outraged because our mutual destruction follows. It may sound like hyperbole, but I assure you it’s not. When our record of where we come from is flawed, or our truth to put it more simply, the new lies stack on top of the old until our connection to reality becomes so disjointed that our understanding of the world ultimately implodes. The failure of current journalism, among other factors, is undoubtedly linked to the current regression of the Western world. In consequence, we have become the biggest perpetrators of the crimes our democracies were created to prevent.

Of course, for those who pay attention, this failure of mainstream journalism I speak of is nothing new. It has been ongoing for decades and was all too obvious following the Iraq war fiasco. The U.S. and U.K. governments, headed by people who cared for little other than their own personal gain, told the people of their respective countries a slew of fabrications and the media establishment, other than a handful of exceptions, simply went along for the ride.

This was something that consumed my interest when I was training to be a journalist. How could hundreds of reputable, well-meaning journalists get it so wrong? I read numerous books on the issue—from Noam Chomsky’s Manufacturing Consent and Philip Knightley’s The First Casualty to work by Chris Hedges, the Pulitzer-prize-winning former foreign correspondent for the New York Times who was booted out for opposing that war (who I disagree with on some things, for the record)—but still, I believed that honest journalism could be done. Nothing I read however, came close to the dishonesty and deception I experienced while at Newsweek. Previously, I believed that not enough journalists questioned the government narrative sufficiently. I believed they failed to examine the facts with close enough attention and had not connected the dots as a handful of others had done.

No. The problem is far worse than that.

SYRIA

In the aftermath of the Iraq war and during my time studying this failure of the media since, I was of course extremely aware of the high likelihood that the U.S. government narrative on Syria was a deception. For starters, there were the statements made by the retired four-star general, General Wesley Clark, to Democracy Now’s Amy Goodman in 2007, four years prior to the beginning of the Syria conflict. The following is worth watching to in full.

Nonetheless, once I joined IBTimes UK in 2016, after training with the Press Association and working at the Hull Daily Mail (both of whom I am eternally indebted to for giving me an excellent foundation for starting my career) I solidly understood that journalism was not the profession of making unverifiable claims. I, or any journalist for that matter, could not out-right say that the nature of the Syrian conflict was based on a lie, no matter how strongly we suspected it. To do so, we would need unshakeable evidence that pointed to this.

Through the years, good journalists did document evidence. Roula Khalaf, who will soon take over from Lionel Barber as the editor of the Financial Times, wrote one such piece alongside Abigail Fielding-Smith in 2013. It documented how Qatar provided arms and funded the opposition of Bashar al-Assad’s legitimate government to the tune of somewhere between $1 and $3 billion from the outset of the conflict, rubbishing claims that it was a “people’s revolution” that turned violent. Footage captured by Syrian photographer Issa Touma—made into a short film titled 9 Days From My Window in Aleppo—similarly showed how Qatar-funded jihadists from the Al-Tawhid Brigade were present in the streets of Syria’s capital from the very outset of the war.

“Fighters re-enter my street,” Touma says as he films covertly out of his window. “They look different. They are heavily armed men with beards. I had only heard about them before. This is Liwa al-Tawhid. National television calls them terrorists. The international press calls them freedom fighters. I don’t care what they call it—I refuse to chose a side. But it’s a lie that the revolution started peacefully everywhere. At least in my street, Al Said Ali Street, it started with guns. It didn’t start peacefully at all.”

Veterans of the trade Seymour Hersh and Robert Fisk also poked holes in the U.S. government narrative, but their treatment by other journalists has been one of the most shameful episodes in the history of the press.

Hersh—who exposed the My Lai Massacre during the Vietnam War, the clandestine bombing of Cambodia, the torture at Abu Ghraib prison, in addition to telling the world the real story of how Osama Bin Laden died—was shunned from the industry for reporting a simple fact: Bashar al-Assad’s government is not the only actor with access to chemical weapons in Syria. After a sarin attack in the Damascus suburb of Ghouta in 2013, he was further smeared for reporting that Barack Obama withheld important military intelligence: samples examined in Britain’s Porton Down did not match the chemical signatures of sarin held in the Syrian government’s arsenals.

Fisk, writing days before the Syrian conflict escalated, in a piece that asked Americans to consider what they were really doing in the Middle East as the ten-year anniversary of 9/11 approached, also raised important questions, but he too was largely ignored.

I also did my best to document evidence that poked holes in the narrative as best I could. In 2016, I wrote how Egyptian authorities arrested five people for allegedly filming staged propaganda that purported to be from Syria. Though I’m not aware of any evidence to suggest that the two are connected and I make no such claims, these arrests came to light after The Bureau of Investigative Journalism and The Sunday Times revealed that a British PR firm, Bell Pottinger, was working with the CIA, the Pentagon and the National Security Council and received $540 million to create false propaganda in Iraq a month prior.

The following year, after the alleged chemical weapons attack in Khan Sheikhoun, I documented the intriguing story of Shajul Islam, the British doctor who purported to have treated the alleged victims and appeared on several television networks including NBC to sell the case for retaliation. He gushed with heroism, but it was not reported he was previously charged with terror offences in the U.K. and was in fact considered a “committed jihadist” by MI6. He was imprisoned in 2013 in connection with the kidnapping of two Western photo-journalists in northern Syria and was struck off Britain’s General Medical Council in 2016. Why he was released without sentencing and was allowed to travel back to Syria remains a mystery to me.

I also refused to recycle the same sloppy language used, inadvertently or not, by a number of other publications. Al Qaeda and their affiliates had always been referred to as terrorists as far as I was aware—why the sudden change to “rebels” or “moderate rebels” for the purposes of Syria? Thankfully, the news editor I worked with most frequently at the time, Fiona Keating, trusted my reporting and had no problems with me using the more appropriate terms “anti-Assad fighters” or “insurgents”—though one could arguably say even that was not accurate enough.

When buses carrying civilian refugees hoping to escape the fighting in Idlib province were attacked with car bombs in April of 2017, killing over 100, most of them women and children, I was disappointed with the Guardian and the BBC for continuing with their use of this infantile word, but this was not the language I felt to be appropriate in my report.

At roughly the same time, in light of the Khan Sheikhoun attack, confronted with an ever-growing list of irregularities and obvious falsifications—such as increasing evidence that the White Helmets were not what they purported of being, or the ridiculousness that the Western world’s de facto authority on Syria had become 7-year-old Bana al-Abed—I wrote an opinion piece that came short of calling the narrative around the Syrian conflict a lie, but simply pleaded that independent investigations of the alleged chemical weapons attack were allowed to take place before we rushed head first into war. I still believed honesty would prevail.

That piece was ultimately declined by IBTimes—though I covertly published it in CounterPunch later—but the rejection email I received from the editor-in-chief at the time makes for interesting reading.

I was sad to hear that asking for an independent investigation into a chemical weapons attack was an “incendiary theory,” but I was forced to move on.

By that summer, I was let go alongside a number of other journalists from the publication after the Buzzfeed-style model of click-bait-aggregation journalism was heavily punished by a new Google algorithm and had largely failed: page views plummeted and editors couldn’t seem to understand it was because we weren’t doing any real journalism. Having felt frustrated with the industry, I decided to not pursue another position in reporting and decided to move to mainland Europe in hopes of pursuing my other passion—literature—with aspirations of being able to write more freely.

Fast forward to 2019, I decided to return to journalism as I was feeling the pressure to have “a grown-up job” and could not count on my ability to be a novelist as a means of long-term career stability. So when I joined Newsweek in September, I was extremely thankful for the opportunity and had no intention of being controversial—the number of jobs in the industry appeared to be shrinking and, besides, the Syrian conflict appeared to be dying down. As soon as I arrived, Newsweek editor-in-chief Nancy Cooper emphasised original reporting and I was even even more pleased. I wanted to come in, get my head down and start building my reputation as a journalist again.

Then on October 6, President Donald Trump and the military machine behind him threw my quiet hopes of staying well clear of Syria into disarray. He announced the decision to withdraw U.S. troops from the country and green-lit the Turkish invasion that followed in a matter of days. Given my understanding of the situation, I was asked by Newsweek editors to report on this.

Within days of the Turkish invasion into Syria beginning, Turkey was accused of using the incendiary chemical white phosphorus in an attack on Ras al-Ayn and, again, having pitched the story, I was asked to report on the allegations. This spurred a follow-up investigation on why the use of the substance—a self-igniting chemical that burns at upwards of 4,800 degrees Fahrenheit, causing devastating damage to its victims—was rarely considered a war crime under the relevant weapons conventions and I was commended by Nancy for doing excellent journalism.

It was while investigating this story that I started to come across growing evidence that the U.N.-backed body for investigating chemical weapons use, the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), issued a doctored report about an alleged chemical attack in Douma in April of 2018, much to the anger of OPCW investigators who visited the scene. Once Peter Hitchens of the Mail on Sunday published his story containing a leaked letter that was circulated internally from one of the disgruntled OPCW scientists, I believed there was more than enough evidence to publish the story in Newsweek. That case was made even stronger when the letter was confirmed by Reuters and had been corroborated by former OPCW director-general Dr. Jose Bustani.

Although I am no stranger to having story ideas rejected, or having to censor my language to not rock the ship, this was a truth that had to be told. I was not prepared to back down on this.

Let me be clear: there is evidence that a United Nations body—whose jurisdiction was established after the world agreed to never repeat the horrors of World War I and World War II, such as German forces firing more than 150 tons of chlorine gas at French colonial troops in Ypres—is being weaponized to sell the case for war.

After OPCW experts found trace levels of chlorine when they visited Douma—i.e. no different than the levels of chlorine normally present in the atmosphere—or raised concerns that the canisters may have been tampered with or placed, both of which were reflected in their original reports, they made protestations because this information was withheld from the final report that was released to the world’s media. Instead, the final wording said chlorine was “likely” used and the war machine continued.

This is not a “conspiracy theory” as Newsweek sadly said in a statement to Fox News—interestingly the only mainstream publication to cover my resignation. Real OPCW scientists have met with real journalists and explained the timeline of events. They provided internal documents that proved these allegations—documents that were then confirmed by Reuters. This is all I wanted to report.

Meanwhile, OPCW scientists were prevented from investigating Turkey’s alleged use of white phosphorus. This flagrant politicization of a neutral body is opening the world up to repeating the same horrors we experienced in those two devastating wars.

This is unacceptable and I resigned when I was forbidden from reporting on this.

NEWSWEEK SUPPRESSION: A TIMELINE OF EVENTS

I first became aware of the Mail on Sunday report on Monday, November 25, and this is when I raised it with Alfred Joyner, Newsweek’s global executive producer, who had been my main point of contact for pitching stories.

Following a conversation with Alfred, he asked me to write the pitch in a note to him and Newsweek’s foreign affairs editor, Dimi Reider, on the company’s internal messaging system. The following is a copy and paste of that pitch, alongside the conversation that followed in the next few days.

Dimi Reider Alfred Joyner Chat.pdf

Once I returned to the office on Thursday, November 28, I proceeded to have a conversation with Dimi, but to my disappointment, he did not address any of my protestations against why the article could not be published. He made the famous joke about former Soviet politician Leonid Brezhnev irrelevantly, one he had already made to me a couple of weeks before, and after listening to my reasoning for wanting to have the story published for several minutes, all he had to say was: “I’m sorry, but I’m afraid it’s a no.”

The following morning, feeling incredibly frustrated, I wrote an email to Nancy and Newsweek’s digital director and London bureau chief, Laura Davis, to express my concerns.

Several stressful days passed where I did not hear from either Laura or Nancy, but in the meantime, as I tried to continue as best as I could with my every day reporting role, I noticed how an entertainment editor by the name of Tufayel Ahmed began to pick up most of the following stories I wrote.

In my experience of working with editors in the past, if an issue ever arose with a story, we would have a perfectly civil conversation, I would make the relevant adjustments where necessary and the article would be published without further problems. That was not my experience with Tufayel.

At first, when he sent me long, overly critical and often hostile criticisms on articles I wrote, I considered asking him to step into a meeting room in order to ask him whether I had inadvertently done something to offend him. Having come from a newspaper background where mistakes in articles required embarrassing apologies printed in the paper the next day, and having held the belief that editors were your best friend and should always be kept on side, I always prided myself in filing copy that was free of any errors and throughout my career, I was frequently commended for doing exactly this.

In my time at the Hull Daily Mail for example, regarded as one of the U.K.’s best regional newspapers, I do not recall a single correction being printed on any of the articles I wrote. That was the case despite covering murder trials, rape cases and numerous other sensitive stories.

On the eve of the Brexit referendum, despite still being a trainee reporter, I had built such a reputation for my accurate journalism and my attention-to-detail skills that I was even entrusted to single-handedly edit and publish copy from two politics reporters to the publication’s website, while managing the live blog, all social media channels and filing my own stories on national developments as the results came in. The following morning, following a short nap, the editor was so impressed with my efforts that I was asked to conduct the interviews with the local leaders of each political party, despite being one of the most junior reporters on the team.

Brexit.pdf

Furthermore, in close to 1,000 published articles for IBTimes UK, I can only recall one incident where an article required a correction. An Israel lobby group—forgive me for being unable to recall which one—objected to my use of the word “settlements” and requested that it be replaced with “settlement units” instead. This was a reasonable request and the article was updated to reflect this without further incident.

I do not say these things to be self-congratulatory. I say these things because I was deeply saddened and disturbed. Because when I finally received a response from Laura about the OPCW story on December 5, six days after my initial email and after repeated attempts to speak to her in person, only one paragraph was devoted to the leaked letter and the rest of the email attacked my capability as a journalist.

It listed all the instances that Tufayel had criticised me on, unfairly mischaracterising my actions, in addition to listing one genuine mistake I made in the course of everyday reporting—something not to be unexpected when every day I was expected to write four stories, often about complicated topics, sometimes with no prior experience in them. Nonetheless, even for this story, I had taken immediate action needed to resolve and had apologised to editors at the time, the characterisation of what took place in Laura’s email was deeply maligned.

That was the moment I knew beyond doubt what my gut had been telling me before: there was no valid reason for this OPCW story not to be published. It was simply being suppressed. I was being attacked for pushing back against this.

As I have nothing to hide, I will publish Laura’s response in full.

You will see my full response in due course, but first, some further comments about Laura’s criticisms must be addressed.

EDITORS AT FAULT

My first “indiscretion” is rather simple to address. I believe—however I must admit I am not certain, as the information was never published—that the article Laura is referring to this. Regardless of which piece it was, the following events took place.

In 2018, confirming the earlier reporting by Hersh, former Defense Secretary Jim Mattis announced that the Pentagon has no evidence to support the allegations that the Syrian government used sarin in Ghouta, as reported here by the Associated Press. As Newsweek did not report this fact (more evidence of suppression?) I linked to an opinion piece on our website that addressed that report. The first line of that piece links back to the AP story. When questioned by Tufayel why I did this, I explained that I was simply trying to link to references on our website, explaining to him the source was AP—ironically, I was trying to help Newsweek gather more clicks. The information which was ultimately removed from my article was not badly sourced.

The second point listed by Laura—the only occasion out of 156 stories written during my two-month stint at Newsweek where an article required a correction—raises another serious problem at the publication: editors tell journalists what to report.

This article was assigned to me by Alfred on Newsweek’s internal messaging system, as is commonplace for editors to do, and I felt obliged to report the story, although I had concerns and it is not one I personally would have chosen to do. I raised these concerns with Alfred—whose background is in video editing, not journalism—but instead of ditching the story, a new angle was suggested and a new headline was provided too. Feeling that I couldn’t challenge his authority any further without being rude, I proceeded as best as I could, but in the course of doing so, I made two mistakes: One, I neglected to reach out for comment on two of the five parties involved (thinking Facebook, who I contacted, would comment on behalf of the remaining). Two, I wrongly reported that some funds were donated by Mark Zuckerburg as opposed to the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative.

When the Facebook spokesperson returned my request, she simply pointed me in the direction of tweets made by the remaining individuals and asked if I could update accordingly. The tweets did not criticize our reporting, but of the original reporting done by Popular Information, the source assigned to me by Alfred to base my reporting on.

Once their statements came to my knowledge (which reflected the concerns I had about the article in the first place), I alerted Alfred immediately and did my best to redress. Laura’s criticism also neglected to mention that Newsweek’s chief sub-editor—whom I will not name as he has been among a handful of editors to treat me fairly—was the one to look over the article and he had no problems in publishing my piece.

This practice of editors telling journalists what to write, with what angle and with headlines already assigned is completely backwards and is the cause of numerous problems. How can journalists find genuine newsworthy developments if what to write has already been scripted for them?

I spoke to several Newsweek journalists about this very problem prior to my departure and they shared the same concerns. This was the very same problem that led to Jessica Kwong’s firing a week before my resignation.

Kwong, who I do not know, wrote a story titled “How is Trump Spending Thanksgiving? Tweeting, Golfing and More,” a day before the day in question—only for it to emerge that Trump made a surprise visit to Afghanistan. No proper journalist would have written that piece by their own volition—it was only done because editors were on their tireless crusade for clicks.

In the end, she was fired because she did not approach the White House for comment, although all the information came from the president’s public diary.

“Dear press office,” her email should have read supposedly. “I am writing a piece that is of no useful public information, but will be criticising the president for what he choses to do in his leisure time on Thanksgiving. Can you please provide a statement at your earliest convenience.”

For goodness sake, whatever your opinions are of President Trump, what were most of you doing on Thanksgiving Day?

Most appallingly, in a team meeting between the New York and London offices following the firing, where “lessons to be learned” were discussed at length, the editor in question tried to make a joke along the lines of: “Don’t worry guys! I’ve learned my lesson! I’ll happily edit the story ‘What’s Trump doing on Christmas Day?” Silence followed. You should have seen the faces of the journalists in the room.

A final note on the contents of Laura’s email, for the rest is addressed in my response.

Yes. I did make adjustments in the content management system and republished some articles. Journalists are permitted to do this if they spot small mistakes—such as in spelling or grammar, for example—but I did not editorialise as the email claims. And yes. On the white phosphorus story, I did question an editor’s judgement. It was Nancy’s in fact.

After the article had been published, she amended the headline so that it was more attention grabbing, but the grammar she used made it non-sensical and she also didn’t abide by Newsweek’s own house style in doing so. (She wrote “US” not “U.S.”) I didn’t want an article I spent three weeks working on to be ruined because of sloppiness. Is there something so wrong with that? For the record: I am still unhappy with the headline on the piece as it stands.

Now, before I return to my response and to my ultimate resignation, there were several other important things to note.

IS REP. ILHAN OMAR A QATARI SPY?

On Saturday, November 30, a day after I sent my initial email to Laura and Nancy, I was working a weekend shift and there had been a change in the rota: Tufayel was to be the news editor for the day. There was nothing demonstrably unusual about this, but what did strike me as odd is how I was immediately assigned a story about some relatively unknown congressional candidate who had been kicked off Twitter for tweeting something in relation to the Democratic Congresswoman of Minnesota, Ilhan Omar, and allegations that she was a spy.

The nature of the story was not odd in itself, but only seemed strange because of Dimi’s earlier refutation of my OPCW piece.

“It’s not just about Syria,” he wrote. “This was part of my reluctance to put take up this weird story going around since yesterday about Ilhan Omar being a Qatari spy. Not a single serious U.S. site picked it up, which confirms my hunch it’s BS.”

At the time, not knowing about the story, I thought that was fair enough—it seemed like a ridiculous claim. In fact, when I had seen that line written in Dimi’s refutation, it further enraged me: why was my provable story about the existence of this leaked letter (verified by Reuters!!!) being smeared by being placed next to this?

Regardless, when I was assigned the story by Tufayel, I did my best to be professional and I did what I always did: I pulled up as many resources as I could find on the matter at hand and began to research and fact-check. That was when I was shocked to discover this report in Al Arabiya about Ilhan.

The publication acquired a 233-page legal deposition, made to a U.S. district court, by a Kuwaiti-born Canadian businessman by the name of Alan Bender. He gave evidence against the Qatari emir’s brother, Sheikh Khalid bin Hamad al-Thani, after al-Thani was accused of ordering his American bodyguard to murder two people and after holding his hired American paramedic prisoner. In that deposition, Bender claimed to have high connections among Qatari officials—presumably why he was asked to testify—and it was there that he made the Ilhan spy allegations.

Now, I have no further evidence to support Alan Bender’s claims—I will be the first to admit I know very little about Qatari politics—but surely a well-connected businessman’s deposition in a U.S. court of law did not justify Dimi’s “hunch it’s BS” without providing further evidence. If Alan Bender’s claims are untrue and he is lying under oath, he has to answer for them. I suddenly realised that this was a test.

Would I get the hint and do my reporting in line with management orders? Or would I continue to report perfectly publishable details that are in the public interest?

Of course, there is the possibility I was assigned the article by mere happenstance, but what took place after I submitted my draft copy to Tufayel for editing was revealing. The draft I submitted was as follows.

All reasonable journalists, I hope, will not find anything wrong with my reporting here. Despite this, following the submission of my draft, all references to Alan Bender were scrubbed from my piece, and so too was the link to the Al Arabiya’s story. All that was left of the newsworthy information I provided on the matter were the words “baseless claims”.

How was Tufayel so certain that the claims were baseless? Did he have information to the contrary of what Alan Bender said? Or was there any other journalistic justification for removing information that was provided in a court of law, although I clearly stated there was no other evidence to currently support the claims? Was there any good reason at all? I suspect not, other than the fact that it could be deeply damaging if the allegations emerged to be true, and that management orders had been to suppress anything Alan Bender said, as was the same across most media organizations across the U.S.

Curiously, Nancy later amended the article again, this time changing the word “baseless” to “unverified”—softening the language, I imagine, in order to not draw unnecessary attention to it.

This is shown by the content management system (CMS) logs that capture all changes made.

EXTERNAL CONTROL OF THE MEDIA NARRATIVE

While all this was going on, and while I waited for a response from Laura, I started to have strong suspicions that something wasn’t quite right with Dimi, the so-called foreign affairs editor. For starters, he rarely did any foreign affairs editing. He rarely did any editing at all.

Newsweek has a system where reporters paste the relevant CMS link of draft articles ready to be edited into a “publishme” channel of the internal messaging system and editors make their way down the list, picking up stories that reporters had filed. Once they are looked over and published, editors dropped them in another channel called “published_stories” for all to see.

I made a habit of watching this list closely—it was useful to know what other reporters had filed in order to be able to link to their stories and also for ensuring articles were not repeated accidentally. In the two months I spent at Newsweek, I saw Dimi post in the “published_stories” channel only a handful of times. This is odd as most editors publish several stories a day. Instead, his most active contributions to the messaging system were with funny tweets or articles in the “general” thread. Sadly, I do not have physical evidence to support this, but the journalists I worked with will know this to be true.

The only times Dimi appeared to be involved is when a story had the potential to be controversial. He worked on my white phosphorus investigation, made the decision to not publish anything about the original Ilhan spy claims and rejected my attempts at publishing the OPCW leaks.

While working on that white phosphorus story, before I was fully aware of his background, he spoke to me of how he co-founded +972 Magazine—a liberal Israeli publication that started out by covering the 2008-2009 Gaza War. I glanced at his resume and was honored to be working with such an accomplished foreign affairs journalist. I had genuinely hoped to build a closer relationship to him.

That was why I was so bewildered when he flatly refused to publish the OPCW revelations. Surely any editor worth their salt would see this as big? Of course, I understood that the implications of such a piece would be substantial and not easy to report—it was the strongest evidence of lies about Syria to date—but surely most educated people could see this coming? Other evidence was growing by the day.

But no. As the earlier messages showed, there was no desire to report these revelations, regardless of how strong the evidence appeared to be. Dimi was simply happy to defer to Bellingcat—a clearly dubious organization as others have taken the time to address, such as here and here—instead of allowing journalists who are more than capable of doing their own research to do their job.

It was this realization that made me start to question Dimi. When I looked a little deeper, he was the missing piece.

Dimi worked at the European Council on Foreign Relations from 2013 and 2016—the sister organization to the more prevalent think-tank, the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR). Some may be asking why this matters, but the lobbying group—the largest and most powerful in the United States—is nicknamed “Wall Street’s think-tank” for a reason, as the book by Laurence H. Shoup with the same title explains.

To understand just how influential the body is, it is worth noting that 10 of George H. W. Bush’s top 11 foreign policymakers were members, as was the former president himself. Bill Clinton, also a member, hired 15 foreign policymakers with CFR membership from a total of 17. George W. Bush hired 14 CFR members as top foreign policymakers and Barack Obama had 12, with a further five working in domestic policy positions.

Its European sister act is also highly influential, as this graphic from its website about current members demonstrates.

It is also worth noting that the CFR’s current chairman is David Rubenstein, co-founder and executive chairman of the Carlyle Group—the same Carlyle Group which previously described itself as the “leading private equity investor in the aerospace and the defense industries,” until it probably decided it was not a good look to boast about its war profiteering, though its investments in those industries remain.

It is the same Carlyle Group that hosted Osama bin Laden’s brother as the guest of honor for the group’s annual investor meeting in Washington D.C. the same day the Twin Towers fell. George H. W. Bush, an informal advisor to Carlyle, was also present.

Furthermore, one of the CFR’s most notorious exports was former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger—a man famously described by Christopher Hitchens as America’s greatest ever war criminal. His long list of crimes against humanity cannot be summarized quickly.

Jeffrey Epstein was also a member from 1995 to 2009 and in a PR push, the CFR recently announced its decision to donate $350,000 to help fight sexual trafficking victims, equivalent in amount to the donations received from him. It may be obvious to state, but the Epstein story is another that’s not being investigated adequately by the media.

For those wanting to learn more about the influence of the CFR over the years, there is more in this paper published in the political science journal Reviews in American History.

But what about the think tank’s influence on journalism?

I’m unaware if what I will report here is common knowledge to the rest of the industry, but what I discovered when researching this topic is unacceptable to me.

I learned that aside from a large number of prominent journalists holding membership, I discovered that the CFR offers fellowships for journalists to come work alongside its many State Department and Department of Defensive representatives. A list of historical fellows includes top reporters and editors from The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal and CNN, among others—not forgetting journalists from Newsweek.

The most prominent CFR member to join Newsweek’s ranks was Fareed Zakaria. After stints at Yale and Harvard, at the age of 28, Zakaria became the managing editor of Foreign Affairs—the CFR’s own in-house publication. From there, he became the editor of Newsweek International in 2000, before moving on to edit Time Magazine in 2010.

 

When CIA intelligence analyst Kenneth Pollack wrote a book titled The Threatening Storm: The Case for Invading Iraq, Zakaria lauded the work and described Pollack as “One of the world’s leading experts on Iraq.”

Zakaria’s Newsweek columns prior to the war also make for interesting reading. “Let’s get real with Iraq,” one headline reads as early as 2001. “Time to take on America’s haters,” another one goes on. Others include “It’s time to do as daddy did,” and “Invade Iraq, but bring friends.” I could go on.

Interestingly, once the war had started in 2003, Foreign Affairs—where Zakaria writes to this day—was ranked first by research firm Erdos and Morgan as the most successful in influencing in public opinion. It achieved the accolade in 2005 and again in 2006. Results for other years are not known.

Scrolling through LinkedIn and Twitter, numerous individuals listed as journalists have taken the same path Zakaria has taken. They complete State Department-funded “diplomacy” degrees from prestigious universities—such as Harvard, Yale, Georgetown and Johns Hopkins, or at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) in London—before gritting their teeth at publications or think tanks funded by the CFR or Open Society Foundations. Once their unquestioning obedience is demonstrated, they slowly filter into mainstream organizations or Foreign Affairs.

It also emerged that this is the same path that Dimi has taken. +972 Magazine’s biggest funder is the Rockefeller Brother’s Fund, whose president and CEO, Stephen Heintz, is a CFR member. In addition to his work with the ECFR, Dimi is also listed as a research associate at SOAS.

This conflict of interests may be known to other journalists in the trade, but I will repeat: this is unacceptable to me.

The U.S. government, in an ugly alliance with those the profit the most from war, has its tentacles in every part of the media—imposters, with ties to the U.S. State Department, sit in newsrooms all over the world. Editors, with no apparent connections to the member’s club, have done nothing to resist. Together, they filter out what can or cannot be reported. Inconvenient stories are completely blocked. As a result, journalism is quickly dying. America is regressing because it lacks the truth.

The Afghanistan Papers, released this week by the Washington Post, showed further evidence of this. Misinformation, a trillion dollars wasted and two thousand Americans killed—and who knows how many more Afghanis. The newspapers ran countless stories on this utter failure, however, none will not tell you how they are to blame. The same mistakes are being repeated. The situation is becoming more grave. Real journalists and ordinary people need to take back journalism.

This was the letter I sent to Newsweek when I resigned.

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

By Staff

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

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

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

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

Another tweet read:

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

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

LONDON’S ‘MEDIA FREEDOM’ CONFERENCE SMACKS OF IRONY: CRITICS BARRED, NO MENTION OF JAILED ASSANGE

In Gaza

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Kirill Vyshinsky: Imprisoned over 1 year in Ukraine, a journalist who *should* have been highlighted at the “Media Freedom” conference but was not.

July 15, 2019, RT.com
Irony is the word which comes to mind at the mention of the “Global Conference for Media Freedom” co-hosted by the UK and Canadian foreign ministers. Everything about this twilight zone gathering smacked of irony.

Irony that governments which support terrorists in Syria and whitewash Israeli murders of Palestinian journalists have the gall to hold a conference feigning concern for journalists’ rights and media freedom.

Irony that journalists actually suffering persecution and unjust imprisonment –like Kirill Vyshinsky and Julian Assange – were not the focus of the conference, with Assange only mentioned in passing, and Vyshinsky, presumably, not at all.

Irony most of all that a conference — according to Global Affairs Canada, an “international campaign to shine a global spotlight on media freedom…”– refused participation of two major and sought-out media outlets, both Russian: RT and Sputnik.

Organizers apparently tried to claim the reason for the exclusion was simply that they’d met their quota of journalists attending. But they didn’t maintain the lie to Western media, RT London correspondent Polly Boiko noted:

Behind our backs other news channels got a very different message: ‘We have not accredited RT or Sputnik because of their active role in spreading disinformation.’”

Former Guardian Chief Foreign Correspondent Jonathan Steele called the exclusion of RT and Sputnik a “disgrace”, also stating:

I think they’re trying to isolate RT and imply that it’s not a genuine broadcaster in the hope that British people and others around the world who watched RT International won’t continue to watch it.

The irony –yet again– is that Russia isn’t doing the same, isn’t isolating Western media.

Russia-based journalist Bryan MacDonald tweeted:

It’s like the world has turned on its head. Moscow is literally paying people to translate Western media into Russian (see @RT_InoTV). But the UK is in a panic about Russian outlets, even running covert operations, such as “Integrity Initiative,” to “combat” a perceived threat.”

Even the Committee to Protect Journalists expressed concern at the UK’s exclusion of RT and Sputnik.

From the feedback on the UK Foreign Office tweet featuring CNN’s Christiane Amanpour about

reporting the truth”, it was refreshing to see that many saw this charade for what it was, calling it Orwellian, and noting that Britain is “torturing journalist Julian Assange as it uses @CAmanpour to produce propaganda claiming it cares about media freedom.

I couldn’t help chiming in, noting Amanpour’s exploitation of a Syrian child in order to demonize Russia.

Eva Bartlett

@EvaKBartlett

Theatre of the absurd. Truthful? Amanpour waved photo of Omran Daqneesh in face of Lavrov & essentially accused Russia of airstriking boy’s home. Boy’s dad told me no airstrike. It was fake news. https://www.mintpressnews.com/mintpress-meets-father-iconic-aleppo-boy-says-media-lied-son/228722/ 
Did Amanpour bother apologizing for her propaganda? Nope. https://twitter.com/foreignoffice/status/1148864435194347520 

MintPress Meets The Father Of Iconic Aleppo Boy, Who Says Media Lied About His Son

MintPress sat down with the father of the now-infamous Aleppo boy, Omran Daqneesh. Omran’s father, Mohammad Daqneesh, says his son was exploited by Syrian rebels and the media for political gain.,…

mintpressnews.com

Foreign Office 🇬🇧

@foreignoffice

‘Our job is to report the truth. It is not to be neutral, it is to be truthful’ @camanpour explains the vital role that journalists play in society. #DefendMediaFreedom

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The UK conference isn’t the first example of an international event hosting regime-change media while excluding critical media.

Earlier this year, when the Lima Group was meeting in Canada to discuss the self-proclaimed non-president, Juan Guaido, Canada likewise denied accreditation to Telesur and Russian media.

Global Affairs Canada alleged at the time there would be “reciprocal action against Canadian media in Russia.

However, Bryan MacDonald told me: “Any that wish can operate in Russia. There are no restrictions.”

Indeed, a perusal of the Twitter accounts of CBC and Radio Canada journalists shows they’ve continued reporting from Russia months since Canada’s allegation of reciprocal action.

Which outlets did Canada give access to during the Lima meeting? CNN, Univision, Voice of America, Al Jazeera, CBC, CTV, Global, and La Presse, among other regime-change networks.

Telesur noted at the time of the Canadian block:

The government did not provide any reasoning for the denial of Lima Group meeting access, but has recently been called out for limiting press freedom within the country based on the preferences of its government.

Sound familiar?

A regime change conference

The UK conference seems to have been a who’s who of terrorist and extremist supporters and journalists who whitewash their crimes. Or, as a Canadian journalist who attended put it, the conference was:

Meetings behind closed doors. Barring certain people from a press conference. Letting only hand-picked journalists ask questions. Here’s how Canada’s “media freedom” conference went down.

Andrew Lawton

@AndrewLawton

Meetings behind closed doors. Barring certain people from a press conference. Letting only hand-picked journalists ask questions. Here’s how Canada’s “media freedom” conference went down. https://tnc.news/2019/07/11/lawton-media-freedom-conference-pays-lip-service-to-press-freedom/ 

LAWTON: Media freedom conference pays lip service to press freedom – True North News

Canadian and British governments demonstrated they’re more interested in a glossy show of support for press freedom without conducting themselves in a way that fosters it.

tnc.news

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That same journalist noted,
only two pre-selected Canadian journalists were permitted to ask questions of Freeland and Hunt at a brief media availability on the first day of the conference. Media were not allowed in the room for what may have been the most consequential part of the conference, a session with government representatives from around the world on “how to sustain the impact of the (Defend Media Freedom) campaign after the conference.

Present were the BBC, CNN, and CBC, among others. Although these outlets have all systematically churned out disinformation on Syria and Russia, they were presented as truthful authorities on ‘media freedom.’

The BBC dubs itself “the most trusted international news broadcaster.” This lofty claim is easily debunked when looking at the BBC’s history of war propaganda on Syria, including its 2013, “Saving Syria’s Children”, a report which Robert Stuart has doggedly investigated, revealing its falsehoods.

Or the time the BBC used Italian photojournalist Marco Di Lauro‘s photo from Iraq to claim it was Houla, Syria.

beeb

As I wrote before, “Upon demand of the aghast journalist, the claim was later retracted and corrected, an “accident”…but who was listening by that point?”

Or that time the BBC’s Middle East specialist asserted a viral video was in a “regime” area of Syria –because of the “Syrian army flag” painted on a barrel– when the clip was filmed in Malta by Norwegians, and the barrel was painted with an out-of-sequence attempt at replicating Syria’s flag.

expert

But more telling about the BBC’s trustworthiness is the fact that, according to the Canary, “The UK Conservative government appoints the chair of the BBC board and its four national directors.”

Pegged as a Venezuelan investigative reporter, Luz Mely Reyes was invited to the conference. Reyes advocates for non-president Juan Guaido and is cheer-led by Western media gatekeepers like TIME and the Guardian. She was thus, indeed, a perfect guest for the regime-change conference.

Syrian participants included exclusively pro-regime-change journalists, such as:

-Karam Nachar, a “cyber-activist working with Syrian protesters via social media platforms,” according to his bio on Democracy Now, where, as with other regime-change supporters, he has appeared frequently arguing the case for western intervention.

-Wa’ad Al Khatib, promoted before Aleppo’s liberation in 2016 as an independent filmmaker. Her clips were featured by none other than the UK’s Channel 4, one of the worst offenders in war propaganda on Syria.

The irony is that Wa’ad al-Khatib was slated to speak about the role of local journalists with respect to international media coverage of areas. But she,like so many other darlings of Western corporate media, reported fully embedded in terrorist areas, clearly with the permission and approval of terrorists.

Chairing panels on safety and protection of journalists was none other than Sky News’ Alex Crawford. In June, Crawford was seen embedded with al-Qaeda in Idlib, as were CBS journalists, both teams presumably having entered Syria illegally.

One could muse that Crawford’s safety advice was: pay up to al-Qaeda and you’ll be fine moving alongside terrorists.

A panel on “Navigating Disinformation” was chaired by Chrystia Freeland – known for her allegiances to the Ukrainian authorities and the bloody coup that brought them to power, to the Venezuelan coup-plotters and to the White Helmets of al-Qaeda– not exactly the most neutral or balanced person to moderate.

Fake Concern For Journalists; No Mention Of Assange, Kirill Vyshinsky

Glaringly absent from the agenda was the issue of Julian Assange, held at Belmarsh prison a short drive away.

John McEvoy@jmcevoy_2

This is the distance between the UK’s ‘defend media freedom’ event and Belmarsh prison. Julian Assange can probably smell the hypocrisy from his cell.

View image on Twitter
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the UK conference is happening at the same time that Julian Assange’s extradition papers are being signed by the UK.

On July 10, the first day of the conference, Hunt stated that countries that restrict media freedom must be made to pay a diplomatic price, saying:

If we act together we can shine a spotlight on abuses and impose a diplomatic price on those who’d harm journalists or lock them up for doing their jobs.

This from the Foreign Secretary of a government which is

holding journalist Julian Assange behind bars pending a US extradition hearing for exposing American war crimes.

When challenged by Ruptly journalist Barnaby Nerberka on Assange, in contrast to his lofty words on the previous day, Hunt said nothing.

Barnaby Nerberka@barnabynerberka

Jeremy Hunt refuses to answer my questions on the plight of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and the banning of Russian media from the ‘media freedom conference’

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Ukrainian-Russian journalist Kirill Vyshinsky was not featured in spite of having been unjustlydetained by Ukraine for 14 months now, a glaring violation of media freedom.

Russia in Canada

@RussianEmbassyC

🇷🇺 journalist Kirill Vyshinsky is imprisoned in accused of “high treason” for doing his job

🇨🇦 🇬🇧 so-called forum ignores his show trial & similar cases of attacks on , incl. @OSCE_RFoM condemned ban on Russian journalists accreditation

View image on TwitterView image on TwitterView image on Twitter
View image on Twitter
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Likewise, certainly absent was mention of Syrian journalist Khaled al-Khatib, killed in 2017 by ISIS (IS/Islamic State, formerly ISIL), or of any of theSyrian and allied journalists murdered by jihadists before he was.

The UK Foreign Office made the mistake of tweeting about the risk of “torture, disappearances and death,” in Eastern Ukraine.

Ukrainian journalist Sergey Belous, kidnapped by Ukrainian armed forces in 2014, corrected him.

Foreign Office 🇬🇧

@foreignoffice

In the non-government controlled areas of Eastern Ukraine, journalists risk torture, disappearances and death.

Embedded video

Sergey Belous@Belous_SR

Ha-ha-ha! Where you’ve been when I (war reporter, working as stringer for Ukrainian 112 chanel) was kidnapped by Ukrainian armed forces in 2014? Hypocrites! Stop spreading lies! What’s about or , for example?

See Sergey Belous’s other Tweets
Likewise, Mark Sleboda called BS, noting the over 20 journalist killed by “the militant forces & brownshirt paramilitary ‘batallions’ of the new regime.”

Clearly, the grandiose words of foreign ministers Hunt and Freeland apply only to journalists supporting regime change, not those targeted by allied governments and their terrorists.

After the Censorship  Conference

On Saturday, I read that a popular Ukrainian TV channel was attacked with a grenade launcher on the day an Oliver Stone documentary on Ukraine was to be aired.

Ivan Katchanovski@I_Katchanovski

It would be revealing reaction of new president @ZelenskyyUa to such undemocratic and illiberal actions of political appointees of Poroshenko regime and far right against US documentary that they have not seen and against freedom of the press & expression in .

Ivan Katchanovski@I_Katchanovski

Popular TV channel is shelled from grenade launcher in order to prevent its broadcast today of US by @TheOliverStone. It would reveal involvement of snipers in Maidan massacre. Would there be any reaction from US government? https://112.ua/glavnye-novosti/v-noch-na-13-myulya-dvoe-neizvestnyh-iz-granatometa-obstrelyali-zdanie-112-kanala-499728.html 

Здание телеканала 112 Украина обстреляли из гранатомета

Полицейские квалифицируют происшествие как террористический акт

112.ua

295 people are talking about this

“Any reaction from so-called ‘Global Media Freedom’ conference co-hosts Freeland & Hunt, or those who pledged to ‘shine a light on violations & abuses of media freedom, bringing them to the attention of global public and working towards accountability’”.

My question was of course rhetorical, not honestly expecting those governmental representatives who signed a pledge “to work together to protect media freedom” to actually do that.

Their pledge entailed committing to “shine a light on violations and abuses of media freedom, bringing them to the attention of the global public and working towards accountability.” How ironic.

RELATED LINKS:

“They Just Want Me in Prison”: MintPress Interviews Jailed Ukrainian Journalist Kirill Vyshinsky

‘They know that we know they are liars, they keep lying’: West’s war propaganda on Ghouta crescendos

FAKE NEWS WEEK: Why Channel 4 “News” Owes an Apology to Syria

Exploitation of children in propaganda war against Syria continues

Penguin, Rothschild and Zionist Pressure

July 02, 2019  /  Gilad Atzmon

rothschild and penguin.jpg

by Gilad Atzmon

Penguin announced this week that in response to claims of ‘antisemitism’ it has stopped printing Col. Pedro Baños’ best selling book, “How They Rule the World.

 The scandal erupted when it was revealed that passages in the original Spanish edition of the book related to the Rothschild dynasty were omitted from the Penguin Random House English translation. The meaning of this deletion is in itself devastating. It suggests that Penguin attempted to kosherize a book by editing and deleting sections so it would  not offend Jewish sensitivities.

 The publisher initially rejected allegations that the book which claims to reveal “the 22 secret strategies of global power,” is antisemitic. But after continued pressure from various organisations including the Campaign Against Antisemitism, Penguin commissioned an “external review” led by Rabbi Julia Neuberger.

The Jewish Chronicle (JC)  ‘reveals’ that Col. Baños’ original Spanish edition makes several references to the Rothschild family, including a passage accusing the banking family of holding “gigantic” economic power and influence which has “led to multiple speculations about their capacity to intervene in key global decisions”. Needless to say,  this an historical description of the family and its role in history.

The hypocrisy displayed here by the Jewish media and pressure groups is mind blowing. Jews, themselves, do not hide their pride and admiration for the Rothschild Dynasty and its global political power. In the following video you can watch a Zionist bragging about the Balfour declaration that “changed the course of history” and the power and influence the Rothschild family exercised behind the scenes.

Most English speakers are familiar with the musical, Fiddler on the Roof, but not many Brits or Americans are aware that in Hebrew and in Yiddish the musical’s greatest hit ‘If I were a Rich Man’ is sung “If I were a Rothschild.”  In the following video you can listen to ‘If I Were a Rothschild’ (in Yiddish) while viewing the many estates of this influential family.

Penguin initially argued that while the book  “clearly expresses robust opinions,” it was not anti-Semitic. However, persistent pressure from Jewish organisations  led the publishing giant to commission a Rabbi to review the book. It came as no surprise that Rabbi Neuberger with the aid of two Spanish ‘antisemitism experts,’ reached  the conclusion that the Spanish edition contains “echoes of Jewish conspiracy theories.”  The phrase ‘Jewish conspiracy theories’ is confusing. It basically applies to events in the past which reflect badly on Jews in the present. It is there to suppress free discussion.  Jewish power as I define it, is the power to silence criticism of Jewish power. Penguin Random House shamelessly succumbed to precisely this power last week.

 In an attempt to justify his company’s decision, Penguin’s chief executive declared that “Penguin Random House UK publishes for readers of all backgrounds, faiths and nationalities.”

 One may wonder what Penguin’s next move will be. Is the compromised publishing house going to remove George Orwell from its catalogue because some Jews insist that deep inside, Orwell was a vile ‘anti-Semite’? Maybe Penguin should provide us with the list of titles that are fit for “all backgrounds, faiths and nationalities.” Out of interest, is Penguin planning to delete Deborah Lipsdat’s books because they may offend ‘Aryan sensitivities?’ Will Penguin delete Salman Rushdie’s titles because he once offended a few Muslims? For some reason, I‘m guessing that T. S. Eliot will be the first to go.

For my part, I  welcome Penguin’s shameless decision. It affirms every warning I have produced for the last two decades. The fact that a publisher omitted innocent factual segments from a book simply to appease one Jewish group or another reveals a gross lack of intellectual integrity and commitment to truth. In the Britain of 2019, a leading publishing house doesn’t trust readers to think for themselves. This exposes how radically Britain has changed. It is no longer an open society. Britain is now an authoritarian society. It is, in effect, an occupied zone.

To buy How They Rule the World. on Amazon UK click here.

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

Donate

 

An Award Winning Documentary Removed by Youtube

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

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

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

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

Watch Gilad and All That Jazz:

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

Donate

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