Emirati newspaper dissolved over article on fuel cost crisis

September 14 2022

Emirati authorities were reportedly outraged after a renowned newspaper published a report detailing the effects the global fuel crisis has had on low-income residents

(Photo credit: Al Roeya)

ByNews Desk- 

Former employees at the Emirati Al Roeya newspaper say dozens of journalists were sacked and their publication dissolved as a result of a news article detailing the economic impact of the Russia-Ukraine war on low-income residents of the UAE.

The economic report, published in early June, was considered “ordinary” by the editors at Al Roeya, according to eight people with direct knowledge of the situation who spoke with AP.

But its publication caused Emirati authorities to accuse the staff of “harming the reputation and entity of the state” by highlighting the repercussions of a global crisis.

Just hours later, almost 60 journalists and editors were informed by managers that they were fired. Other reports say the number may be as high as 90 journalists.

According to AP, only three employees remain working on the Al Roeya website.

“In the meeting, it was mentioned that the institution will be permanently closed due to a report that should not have been published. More than 60 employees will pay the price and lose their jobs and sit at their home looking for a new opportunity elsewhere,” one of the sacked journalists told Lebanese news outlet Raseef22.

What particularly irked officials were the interviews carried out for the report, in which Emirati citizens said they often drove to Oman to fuel their vehicles as the cost was cheaper.

Al-Roeya – Arabic for ‘The Vision’ – is owned by the Abu Dhabi-based International Media Investments (IMI) company, and was considered one of the Emirates’ most established publications.

IMI officials claim the closure is part of the newspaper’s “long-planned transformation” into an Arabic-language business outlet with CNN.

Other publications run by IMI include Sky News Arabia and the English-language newspaper The National. The umbrella company is owned by the deputy prime minister of the UAE, billionaire Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan.

Unlike its Gulf neighbors, the UAE started lifting fuel subsidies in 2015, leading citizens to be shocked at the pump this year in the wake of the global fuel crisis caused by western sanctions on Russia’s energy sector.

The Swap Of The Century: Russia Should Offer To Trade Western Mercenaries For Assange

22 JUNE 2022

All told, the swap of the century is a win-win for Russia in all respects. It could indeed be such for the US and UK too if their governments are mindful enough of global perceptions and especially domestic ones to seriously consider this pragmatic proposal, but their ideologically driven hatred of everything that Assange represents might blind them to this reality.

By Andrew Korybko

American political analyst

WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange is in deteriorating health and will almost certainly die in prison upon his “extradition” from the UK to the US where he’s facing 175 years behind bars on trumped-up charges after exposing American war crimes through his platform. This global icon of free speech and independent journalism engenders sympathy across the world from all but the most radical unipolar liberal-globalists, which is why it’s incumbent to free him at all costs. While it’s a long-shot, the only realistic chance of this happening might be for Russia to offer the swap of the century whereby it publicly proposes trading detained Western mercenaries from the US and UK for Assange.

Two Brits were already just sentenced to death while it can’t be ruled out that the two Americans who were just captured will face the same fate following their upcoming trials. These four figures in and of themselves aren’t anyone anywhere near as important as Assange is, but the fact that they might all face the firing squad has generated global attention and prompted a lot of controversy in their home countries. The Anglo-American Axis is known for its ruthlessness, especially in terms of how it exploits its citizens as pawns only to discard them once their strategic utility has expired like those four foreign fighters’ already has. Nevertheless, many of their compatriots passionately detest this cold approach.

By publicly proposing the swap of the century – these four detained Western mercenaries in exchange for Assange – Russia would simultaneously accomplish several strategic objectives. First, it would make the most realistic attempt yet to free this global icon of free speech and independent journalism. Second, this would powerfully counteract the false claims from the US-led Western Mainstream Media (MSM) that Russia is a so-called “dictatorship” that doesn’t sincerely support everything that Assange represents. Third, it could inspire peaceful protests organized in accordance with American and British laws in support of this proposal, which could put grassroots pressure upon them to agree to this.

Fourth, those two governments’ likely refusal to comply with the terms of Russia’s swap of the century would expose their fiery hatred of the two things that Assange represents, free speech and independent journalism. And fifth, the US and UK would basically be admitting to their own citizens that they’d rather that they be put to death by firing squad in Donbass than save their lives by trading them for Assange. That final outcome would be the last nail in the coffin of their reputation in the public eye since people would now know that their authorities can’t be counted upon to save their lives if they get captured and sentenced to death for fighting in the same proxy war that the US and UK are waging against Russia.

All told, the swap of the century is a win-win for Russia in all respects. It could indeed be such for the US and UK too if their governments are mindful enough of global perceptions and especially domestic ones to seriously consider this pragmatic proposal, but their ideologically driven hatred of everything that Assange represents might blind them to this reality. Be that as it may, there’s no harm in trying, which is why Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Zakharova should consider floating this proposal during one of her upcoming press conferences. It would irreversibly shape global perceptions about her country and those two, not to mention possibly even saving the lives of five people, one of whom is indisputably innocent.

EU to ban RT, Sputnik

February 27, 2022

Source: Agencies

By Al Mayadeen Net 

The European Union heads toward banning an alternative narrative to what is going on in Ukraine so they can have the field for their propaganda alone, which has been especially prominent as of late.

The studio at RT France, in Boulogne-Billancourt, near Paris

The European Union will ban Russian media outlets RT and Sputnik, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen announced Sunday, accusing the pair of “spreading harmful disinformation.”

The European chief did not specify whether this ban would extend to the outlets’ websites or social media pages or would be limited to their television broadcasts.

The European Union will ban what she claimed to be “the Kremlin’s media machine,” calling the act an “unprecedented” step.

“The state-owned Russia Today and Sputnik, as well as their subsidiaries, will no longer be able to spread their lies to justify Putin’s war and to sow division in our union,” she asserted. “We are developing tools to ban toxic and harmful disinformation in Europe,” she boldly claimed despite the mounting Western propaganda on a wide array of issues all over the world.

The Association of European Journalists on Saturday called on the EU to ban RT all over the bloc and “remove” its journalists.

RT editor-in-chief Margarita Simonyan, sanctioned by the EU just a few days ago, responded to the latest ban by assuring the agency’s journalists that “not a single person who faithfully worked and continues to work for us will be laid off in any country.”

Germany’s broadcasting regulator had banned the transmission of Russia’s RT Deutsch-speaking broadcaster in the country.

The transmission of RT DE was “prohibited because it does not have the necessary broadcasting license,” the authorization and oversight commission claimed earlier this month.

RT had been subject to European censorship, with YouTube and Meta demonetizing RT‘s accounts, and Google itself prohibiting the download of RT‘s mobile app on Ukrainian territory.

The ban was accompanied by European announcements of closing off the airspace with Russia and the bloc pledging to supply Ukraine with arms against Moscow.

Russian FM Lavrov speaks in exclusive RT interview

December 22, 2021

“Israel Ripped My Eye Out; I Want it Back”

Dec 3, 2021

Source: Al Mayadeen

By Rasha Reslan

Palestinian and international activists, doctors, and journalists note a worrying “trend”; Israeli occupation forces are intentionally targeting Palestinians’ eyes.

19-year-old Palestinian Fayez Hamed: The medical staff found that the bullet was metal and rubber-coated.

At least 50 Palestinians had one or both eyes gouged out when Israeli occupation forces intentionally shot live or rubber-coated metal bullets at them during the past three years only, according to Palestinian civil organizations.

Since 1948, “Israel” has sought all tools to control and destroy the Palestinians, whether by committing murders or leaving them disabled, psychologically, practically, and socially. Meanwhile, the Palestinian society has repeatedly demonstrated support for those injured by the Israeli occupation’s bullets at various levels.

Israeli occupation forces assault Palestinians on a daily basis and for no reason whatsoever; Palestinians could be protesting forced evictions or performing prayers at the al-Aqsa mosque in al-Quds; they could be heading to work, school, or agricultural land; they could be women, men, or children; they could be journalists and activists.

The Palestinian journalist’s eye

Palestinian photojournalist Muath Amarneh lost sight in one eye after being shot by Israeli police (AFP)

In 2019, a Palestinian press photographer Muath Amarneh was blinded in one eye after being shot by Israeli occupation forces when he was covering Israeli violations against Palestinians in al-Khalil, igniting international outrage on social media and sparking solidarity protests across Palestine.

Read More: “It Is Fun to Shoot Palestinians”: Six Former Israeli Soldiers Speak Up

Muath Amarneh told Al Mayadeen English that the moment he got shot is “a haunting memory” that he keeps recollecting.

I always think about how I survived. I think being alive is a miracle.”

The young passionate photographer divulged that his life shifted 180 degrees.

I was such an outgoing person then after my injury, I became indolent.

It took him two whole years to declare he was finally recovered, physically, yet the emotional harm lingered. 

The photographer related his difficult recovery journey to Al Mayadeen English, stressing that his biggest challenge was to hold his camera and film again.

“It was difficult at the beginning. Every time I held my camera and wanted to take a picture, I recall the moment I got shot. You can say I developed a phobia. After several attempts, I was resilient, overcoming the psychological barrier. I am filming again”, he added.

The field journalist recalled witnessing uncountable Israeli shootings of unarmed Palestinians.

“Two incidents I could never forget. The first is when a young Palestinian man was martyred right next to me near “Beit El”, an Israeli-occupied Palestinian territory. The second is when a young man was shot in his shoulder and the bullet came out from his neck,” he emotionally stated.

Muath also stressed that local and international journalists have been intentionally and brutally targeted several times by the Israeli occupation forces. 

The young Palestinian’s eye

19-year-old Fayez Hamed Abdullah Bani Mufleh from the village of Beita is the latest victim of Israeli brutality, whereby he lost an eye. Fayez was injured on Friday, November 5 of this year. That day, he went to Kharbatha al Misbah, a Palestinian village in the Ramallah Governorate area, to perform the Friday prayer, and then he participated in a peaceful protest in Jabal Sbeih

The protest was nearly 150 meters away from the Israeli occupation forces, and suddenly, the Israeli occupation forces started firing tear gas canisters at the protesters, Fayez recalls. 

In an exclusive interview for Al Mayadeen English, Fayez said that the elderly protesters retreated and the younger men advanced, thus getting closer to the Israeli occupation soldiers, with only a few hundred meters left away from them. 

“At that time, violent confrontations broke out between us and them. They fired more tear gas canisters at us, and we threw them back at them. They fired rubber bullets at us, but no one was hurt,” he added.

“At 2:30 pm, the Israeli occupation soldiers hit me in the right eye. I was taking shelter behind a berm. One soldier sneaked toward us, but at first, I couldn’t see him because he eventually hid behind an olive tree, about 70 meters away,” he emotionally stated.

“As soon as I noticed his presence when I turned to the right, he fired rubber bullets directly at me, and one of the bullets hit me right in the eye. “

I lost my eye, and of course, my eyesight due to the shot.

Fayez still remembers every detail of the scene. He told Al Mayadeen English that fellow protesters carried him on their shoulders for nearly 2 kilometers until they reached the first ambulance. 

“The road was destroyed. An occupation bulldozer had razed the road a day before. The ambulance took me from the Kharbatha al Misbah to the field hospital in the area.”

The resilient young Palestinian said that one of the nurses in the hospital assisted him with first aid, and he was then transferred to an-Najaj Hospital where he had urgent eye surgery to remove the bullet from his eye. 

“The surgery lasted 2 hours and a half. The medical staff found that the bullet was metal and rubber-coated. They had to take my right eye out. I could no longer see, and it gave me herpetic sores in my eye socket.”

When asked if his injury will prevent him from fighting the Israeli occupation, Fayez replied that he refuses to even think about ceasing to confront the occupation and its oppression or to retract his position. 

My subconscious mind rejects this completely. The issue became a matter of survival. It is now a question of existence. In the long run, it is a doctrinal matter. We will not leave our homes in Jabal Sbeih. The israeli occupation should know that this is impossible. All harassment and repressive measures against us will not affect our position.”

He stressed that Palestinians will not leave their homes and land in Jabal Sbeih, no matter what the Israeli occupation does and whatever happens. 

“The occupation must know that using bullets against us will not help, and suppressed protesters will engage once again in the resistance once they recover. They will be at the frontlines of the struggle to defend their rights in the face of the occupation.”

The Palestinian child’s eye

Last April, a 14-year-old Palestinian boy was shot in the eye with an Israeli bullet as he stood at the entrance of the vegetable store where he worked in the heart of al-Khalil. The Israeli occupation forces just stood there and watched the agonized boy without providing him with first aid. He had to wait for 11 hours before being hospitalized. He is now half-blind.

Izz al-Din al-Batash is still unsure what happened to his eye. His parents are too afraid to tell him what the bandages are hiding. He may have removed them in secret and noticed the gaping hole.

The child says that he has a lot of ambition and dreams he wanted to achieve in life, but they have all gone unheeded.

“Israel’ ripped my eye out, I want it back. Let them find a way to get my eye back.”

The Palestinian doctor 

Dr. Farouk Issa Ashour, Ph.D. in ophthalmology, from the occupied city of al-Khalil in Palestine, told Al Mayadeen English that the eye is a “precious jewel” in the human body, and perhaps one of the most precious possessions of a human. 

“The truth is that the occupation always tries to target the most precious possession of the Palestinian, whether by depriving him of his freedom, occupying his homeland, or injuring the most sensitive and important areas of his body, especially the eye. If the occupation is not able to extract his soul, then at least it targets what is most valuable to him, and the eye is the most sensitive organ targeted by the Israeli occupation soldiers,” he tersely stressed.

The doctor stated that he has experienced many eye injuries and has dealt with many similar cases.

Dr. Farouk said that such injuries are very painful since they largely affect the psyche of the injured, causing him real harm, hindering his life, leading to permanent disability, and affecting his work in all aspects of life.

“There is no doubt that the Palestinian is innately resilient and resistant, and he would not have been able to confront the occupation had it not been for his pride, determination, and strength”, he affirmed.

“This determination will not cease as long as the heart of a Palestinian continues to beat and he continues to breathe. His fight will not end despite the injuries inflicted on him by the oppression. Although his injuries are physically and emotionally painful, his fight persists nevertheless”. 

The Palestinian doctor added that even when he breaks the news to the injured Palestinians that they have lost their eyes or sight, they accept their fate with patience and determination because this is the nature of the Palestinian.

“Palestinians remain resistant, and they do not show the occupation any signs of disability or weakness.  And this will remain so until the whole of Palestine becomes free and independent. The day of liberation will come soon, God willing”, he concluded.

Radwan Mortada: “Joseph Aoun has made a big mistake”

November 29 2021

Why is the Lebanese military command gunning for a lone journalist in the midst of the country’s biggest crisis since the civil war?

By Sharmine Narwani

Radwan Mortada is one of Lebanon’s leading investigative journalists, with almost two decades of experience working with the country’s biggest media outlets.

I met Radwan a decade ago while we were both working at Lebanon’s daily Al Akhbar, he for the Arabic newspaper, me on the English-language website. A veteran security journalist covering military institutions, wars, terrorism, extremism and the layers of intrigue in between, he is one of those rare reporters who can gain access to any information, and call up just about anyone, at any time.

Lebanon has more press freedoms than any country in West Asia, partly because it is politically split in two, with no one party having more power than the others. That rare balance has allowed its media to openly question and criticize all parties and individual political figures, with few of the negative consequences that occur in other states and regions where journalists are roughed up, detained and even killed in ever-rising numbers.

It isn’t often journalists here end up in the slammer for unearthing dirt on the country’s political or business elite, usually because no one person has the power to see it through.

So, when Lebanon’s military court – a body that has absolutely no legal jurisdiction over media activities – sentenced Radwan to imprisonment on 26 November for “the offense of insulting the military establishment,” without providing due notice to the defendant, and in absentia, it created a storm.

The Lebanese Press Editors Syndicate (LPES) immediately expressed its “astonishment” at the decision, and announced that it had assigned its legal advisor to review the case against Mortada with the possibility of filing an appeal.

According to the statement by the LPES, this ruling is a “violation of Article 28 of Legislative Decree No. 77/ 104, as amended by Law No. 330 of 18/1994, which abolished pre-trial detention for publication crimes and the penalty of imprisonment for journalists from most of its rulings.”

Other LPES officials say they will not allow authorities to set a precedent for the imprisonment of journalists who conduct investigative work.

And just today, Reporters sans frontières (Reporters Without Borders or RSF) tweeted:

“RSF condemns the conviction in abstentia of Radwan Mortada by the military court to more than one year in prison for “defaming the army”: an illegal pressure to silence a critical journalist, now forced to move from his home to protect himself and avoid any sentence.

Lebanese media outlets across the political spectrum have covered this story in Radwan’s favor, and the country’s Minister of Information George Kordahi weighed in by saying the ‘Publications Court’ is the only Lebanese body authorized to rule on media affairs, based on the constitution and the laws regulating freedom of opinion and expression.

So why did Lebanon’s military court take action against a leading Lebanese media figure, well outside of its legal jurisdiction? Why now, in the midst of the country’s excruciating economic collapse and with terror and strife within its borders? Was there nothing more important for Lebanon’s military court to address – than this? And who instigated these proceedings?

The Cradle went directly to the source to answer some of these questions. This is what Radwan Mortada had to say:

The Cradle: Lebanon’s military court has sentenced you to one year and one month in prison. Before getting into the details, could you please tell me why a military court is involved in sentencing a journalist? Is this even legal?

Mortada: Military courts have no authority to try journalists for verbal offenses. They cannot prosecute me, and it would be illegal to do so. But the army commander, General Joseph Aoun, uses the military court as a weapon to fights those mentioning him to suppress freedom of opinion and expression. My words about the army command’s responsibility in the Beirut port explosion greatly angered Joseph Aoun, so he decided to make his own law.

First, he decided to ban me from entering the military court without legal justification. When I confronted him by saying that he did not inherit the court from his father to control it as he wishes and break the law, he sent a military force to raid my house and besieged the TV channel where I work to arrest me by force.

The Cradle: We have heard that you were not at the hearing or the sentencing. How is it possible that you were not even allowed to defend yourself? Why was this sentence delivered in absentia?

Mortada: My trial was a sham and a show. The president of the military court, Brigadier General Munir Shehadeh, violated due process because I was not notified of the trial date. This is against the law and exposes the implicit intent to prosecute me in this martial method. Also, the president of the court is an officer under the command of the army commander who filed the complaint against me. How could he be a judge between me and my opponent? The judge is a lower rank than the commander and has to respond to his orders by saying: ‘Yes, my commander.’

There is also a legal precedent issued by the military court itself. Hanin Ghaddar had previously been sentenced in absentia to six months in prison. But the president of the court at the time, Brigadier General Hussein Abdullah, ruled that the military court had no jurisdiction to try journalists after the United States withdrew his entry visa to America.

The Cradle: What are the military court’s charges against you?

Mortada: Offending the Lebanese Army, disparaging the military institution, and harming national security and the prestige of the state.

The Cradle: You believe the ultimate responsibility of the ammonium nitrate stores in Beirut’s Port lies with Lebanon’s military establishment. In essence, the Beirut blast happened under Joseph Aoun’s watch. Why hasn’t he been held accountable by the lead investigative judge, Tarek Bitar?

Mortada: Here is the root of the problem. I was the first to announce the responsibility and negligence of the army that led to the explosion of the Port of Beirut on 4 August 2020. I said that if the army had done its duty as it should have, the explosion would not have happened. This is a fact because the law holds the army exclusively responsible for dealing with ammonium nitrates.

But the judicial investigator, Tarek Bitar, is weak before the army and the current leadership represented by Joseph Aoun, so he did not dare to summon him. The responsibility of the army exists even if there are no traceable documents or if paperwork has been destroyed. If the army says it was not aware of the presence of a time bomb weighing 2,755 tons perched in the heart of Beirut for seven years, that is an even greater catastrophe since its most basic mission is to maintain security in the country.

The Cradle: I’ve known you and worked with you for a decade. We’ve even written articles together. I know your integrity and how you work, and I personally consider you among Lebanon’s most productive and professional journalists. So when you raise questions, I know you’re onto something. Do you trust this investigation of the Beirut Port explosion? Why or why not?

Mortada: In fact, I am personally acquainted with judicial investigator Tariq Bitar, but I am suspicious of the course of the investigation because I sense discrimination in the way this case is managed. The support Bitar has from America and some of the right-wing Lebanese parties only increases my apprehension and concern. You personally know that I have seen the documents that detail the investigation into the explosion in the port of Beirut. So I know there are officials whom the judicial investigator did not approach. The biggest evidence is his decision to exclude the current army leadership from the investigation, even though Joseph Aoun has been at the head of the army since 2017 and he bears the responsibility for this neglect.

I wish Judge Bitar had dealt with this case in another way, given the sensitivity of matters in our country. He should have summoned everyone, then decided who was responsible and charged him, but the direction of the investigation created a kind of suspicion. Therefore, I declared that I did not trust the existing investigation. But in order not to prejudge its results, I am patiently awaiting the issuance of the indictment decision by Judge Bitar to announce my final position on the investigation.

The Cradle: You wrote a very courageous piece for The Cradle that identified seven Lebanese judges that must be held accountable for unloading, storing, then ignoring the ammonium nitrate stores in Beirut’s Port. Why are these judges not being held accountable either?

Mortada: This judiciary branch bears this responsibility because it serves as a protective umbrella for the judges. Judge Bitar filed complaints against a number of judges. Although the complaints came late, the delay of the Cassation prosecution in ruling against them makes it bear a great responsibility.

The Cradle: You also covered the mass shootings and killings in Tayouneh on 14 October, and were the first to point out that the Army’s statements before and after Aoun’s meeting with the US Ambassador Dorothy Shea were different. Explain that to us.

Mortada: I wrote that the negligence of the Lebanese Army caused the Tayouneh massacre, which claimed the lives of seven innocent citizens, some of whom were shot by the army. It almost erupted into a civil war, given that this took place on a contact line between areas where a Shia majority and a Christian majority live. I spoke about the army’s responsibility and its neglect in separating the demonstrators, its wrong way of dealing with the demonstration, and the shooting that erupted after the demonstration.

I also published secret investigations conducted by the army, which showed that there was an ambush prepared the night before the demonstration, which was heading to the Palace of Justice to protest the performance of the judicial investigator Bitar in the explosion of the port of Beirut. The publication of these investigations angered the army, as they were leaked from the military court.

The Cradle: Who does Joseph Aoun think he is to do this, and why is he so focused on you, one of Lebanon’s leading journalists and a veteran security correspondent with the country’s top media outlets who has broken countless stories over the years?

Mortada: I was among the very few journalists to dare to call it by its name. I was the first to talk about the army’s main responsibility for the Beirut port explosion. Many others are afraid to face them or they are on their payroll. But I’m not one of them. Nobody can buy me and nobody can intimidate me. I carried my blood in my hands and went to the front lines and covered the lives of the most radical jihadist fighters. I was arrested in Syria. I was not afraid and I will not fear anyone. In my search for the truth, there are no red lines. I only want the truth. I know that this issue frightens many. Joseph Aoun is one of them.

The Cradle: Do you think Joseph Aoun has picked the wrong battle? Lebanon’s media associations have all, without exception, come in on your side.

Mortada: Definitely. Joseph Aoun has made a big mistake by deciding to go ahead with this fight. The battle with the press to suppress freedom of opinion and expression is a losing battle. The time of the police state is long gone. We are today in the twenty-first century. If he does not know it, he must change his advisors who are leading him to the abyss.

The Cradle: We all know that Joseph Aoun has aspirations to become president of the republic. He has increasingly associated himself and the LAF with the Americans, when Lebanon is clearly divided into two different political camps. Why would someone who is changing the highly-respected neutrality of the Lebanese army be fit for this position?

Mortada: I don’t think that General Joseph Aoun’s mentality qualifies him to be president of Lebanon. An officer leading an army cannot ask a military force to raid a media outlet to arrest a journalist, while he himself is thinking of becoming the president of Lebanon. Lebanon deserves better in light of the suffering of its people. Short-sightedness, narrow-mindedness, and personalization are not characteristics of a successful leader.

You know that the World Bank announced that Lebanon is going through one of the three worst economic crises in 150 years. You know the extent of the economic collapse, hunger, and unemployment that the Lebanese suffer from. I myself feel ashamed because my case came out in public at this time with all the tragedies we are experiencing. Imagine that the army chief and the president of the military court have nothing more important on their plate than going after a journalist they want to discipline, while forgetting about all the crises our country is going through.

The Cradle: What are you going to do now to fight these charges and stay out of prison?

Mortada: I will fight to the end. There is a team of lawyers that is objecting to the military court’s ruling. I will not accept any settlement and will follow up on every detail and highlight every violation. Dozens of foreign and Lebanese journalists and human rights defenders have contacted me and denounced the unjust ruling issued against me for simply expressing my opinion.

The Cradle: Radwan, I’ve learned a lot from you over the years and continue to do so. Thank you for your frankness and your courage in reporting the things we all want to know. What will you do when your name is cleared? Will you change your voice?

Mortada: Thank you, Sharmine. I assure you, this case will make me raise my voice higher and higher. I will open my eyes more to their violations and the approach they represent. I am a well-known journalist in Lebanon, and yet they attacked me. What do you think they will do to the rest of the citizens and the extent of the injustice they inflict on those who have no voice?

This ruling alerted me that I was inattentive in some areas related to the leadership of the army and the presidency of the military court. Today, I will work hard to count their every breath to shed light on any offense they commit.

Al-Manar TV Channel: 30 Years of Resistance and Authenticity

Mohammad Salami

For 30 years, Al-Manar TV channel has been the authentic eye of the Islamic resistance in Lebanon and the heartbeat of all the Arabs and Muslims.

Al-Manar confrontation with the Israeli enemy started since the Channel’s establishment in 1991, two years before its crew moved to the battlefield in order to document the Resistance victory over the Zionist aggression.

The Israeli enemy launched another aggression on Lebanon in 1996; Al-Manar TV was the image of the resistance and the victory over the enemy.

Lebanon’s historical victory over the Israeli enemy in 2000 was professionally followed by Al-Manar staff that followed the resistance and the southerners movement towards the liberated villages.

In 2000, Al-Manar TV started broadcasting via the Arab satellites, reflecting the causes of all the Arab and Muslims. In this context, Al-Manar followed up the US invasion of Iraq in 2003.

The direct battle between Al-Manar and the Israeli enemy occurred during its war on Lebanon in 2006 when the Zionist warplanes destroyed the Channel’s headquarters in Beirut’s southern suburb. However, this did not prevent the TV staff from covering the enemy’s massacres against the Lebanese civilians and the Resistance’s fight as well as victory over the Israeli occupation army.

In 2008, the European satellite blocked the broadcast of Al-Manar TV Channel, paving the way to NileSat and ArabSat to take the same step later on.

In 2012, Al-Manar TV started following up the terrorist war on Syria, sacrificing the three martyrs Hamza Al-Hajj Hasan, Halim Allaw and Mohammad Mantash who were killed by the militant gunmen in Syria’s Maaloula.

The reconstruction of the main headquarters of Al-Manar TV, destroyed by the Israeli enemy in 2006, was completed in 2014. The staff returned to their original position, defeating the Zionist barbarism.

In 2017, Al-Manar TV followed up the military campaign of Hezbollah and the Lebanese army against the terrorist groups in Lebanon’s southeastern barrens, documenting the victory by preparing and broadcasting the Second Liberation Secrets series.

In 2021, the Resistance Channel conspicuously reflected the Palestinian resistance victory over the Zionist enemy after an 11-day confrontation.

In brief, Al-Manar is the TV Channel that has never abandoned the Lebanese, Arab and Islamic causes despite all the sacrifices, documenting the historical victories over the Umma enemies.

Source: Al-Manar English Website

Dean O’Brien on Ukraine’s “Kill List” and on Reporting From the Donbass

May 7, 2021

Eva Bartlett

The other day I spoke with Dean O’Brien, a UK photojournalist, on his reporting from the Donbass.

With World Press Freedom Day only having recently passed, our conversation about the Ukrainian “kill list” (essentially), which includes journalists who have reported from the Donbass and/or Crimea, was appropriately timed.

Both Dean and myself are on that list, for our crimes of reporting on how Ukraine’s shelling of frontline villages is terrorizing mostly elderly civilians, destroying their homes, and is generally ignored by Western corporate media and politicians.

moi

Eva Bartlett is an independent writer and rights activist with extensive experience in Syria and in the Gaza Strip, where she lived a cumulative three years (from late 2008 to early 2013). She documented the 2008/9 and 2012 Israeli war crimes and attacks on Gaza while riding in ambulances and reporting from hospitals. In 2017, she was short-listed for the prestigious Martha Gellhorn Prize for Journalism. The award rightly was given to the amazing journalist, the late Robert Parry [see his work on Consortium News]. In March 2017, she was awarded “International Journalism Award for International Reporting” granted by the Mexican Journalists’ Press Club (founded in 1951). Co-recipients included: John Pilger and political analyst Thierry Meyssan. She was also the first recipient of the Serena Shim award, an honour shared with many excellent journalists since. She has visited Syria 14 times, the last time being from March to late September, 2020. All of her writings and videos on which can be found here: and here: A more detailed account of her activism and writings can be found here:

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Why Did RT Hire Liberals That Are Bringing Harm to Russia? (Ruslan Ostashko)

Source

Translated and captioned by Leo.

Guess who started the cycle of documentaries about the “main people of the country” on the state channel RT Russia? From the editor-in-chief of the disgusting Russophobic radio station Echo of Moscow, Alexei Venediktov. It is this person who, in violation of the law, does not liquidate the media despised by the people, according to RT, is worthy of the title of “the main person of Russia.” The question arises: maybe it was for this that Margarita Simonyan recruited liberals like Anton Krasovsky on RT?

No matter how politically active a Russian is, they will not say a few sweet words after hearing the name of the most odious liberal media of the country. The same editor-in-chief whose editorial office apparently gets saved from closing due to pressure on shareholders. Against this background, personally for me it was disgusting to see the TV channel RT bends to Venediktov along with Anton Krasovsky. “And here is the first non-related directly with me product by RT Russia. This is a series of documentaries about the most important people of Russia. Starting off with Venediktov. Watch it.”

It turns out by the opinion of editors at RT Russia, the liberal leader of Echo of Moscow stands first on the list of important people in the country. And in order to film a movie about it, a whole week was wasted of workers time which was paid by the state budget.

RT Russia’s description on the video: “For a whole work week, we followed Alexei Venediktov with cameras. We filmed how he conducts meetings on Echo of Moscow, comes up with new radio shows, follows the live broadcast, threatens to fire employees, jokes with Tina Kandelaki, criticizes Stanislav Belkovsky, meets with Moscow prefects, meets in the Moscow public chamber, generates ideas and new projects. And from this video you will learn why Venediktov lives in a hotel, how he raises his son and why, as he himself says, ‘arranges the fate of the world.’”

Like a Pathos. Look at that, Venediktov not only arranges the fate of the world, but he also raises his adult yet dodging-the-army-conscription son. As if the society is not aware of the product of this raising. Tell me, respectable subscribers, if it was up to you regarding what work time should be spent on for the RT journalists, would you have approved the filming of movie about a liberal as one of the most important people in the country? I would say that not only would it not be approved, but they would get a loaf stuffed in them for those trying to approve it. However, you political Russian media managers like Margarita Simonyan do not depend on us. Which is why they do what they want.

For example, they bring to work specific people like Krasovsky himself. In the past I was calmly reacting to him, sometimes even citing his attacks on other quacks. But just like with the other ones, I think he has a lower side to himself. While journalist Krasovsky was doing documentaries about the Coronavirus epidemic and the problems with medicine, he was in his own spot. But as soon as he was assigned to do an interview with the press secretary of the president of Russia [Dmitry Peskov], then that was it, he went down a pediment. And for me, it’s hard to not agree with what the publicist Alexander Rogers wrote about it:

Zhurnalistskaya Pravda (Journalist Truth), Alexander Rogers: “Now explain to me, I sincerely do not understand. In Russia there are thousands of journalists, tens of thousands, but for some reason they sent the only openly gay one to interview the president’s press secretary. Why?! Is he an outstanding journalist, a shining interviewer? Never once! This interview is impossible to listen to the end. It is impossibly boring, and not because of Peskov, but namely because of Krasovsky. He came to the interview with fishnet socks, laid his leg on his other leg, rolled his shoe around, and for more than an hour licked the earpiece of his glasses. Generally, he behaved like ‘not even a man with reduced social responsibility.’ Thank you Putin for the precision of wording.”

Sitting and having your mouth on the earpiece of glasses in front of an interviewee is what? An increase in journalistic professionalism? Or is it a method to show your orientation? What is this new form of interviewing state officials? The content however is even worse:

Alexander Rogers: “This interview is absolutely liberal in essence, and completely not interesting to the Russian people. For almost 15 minutes discussing the ‘poisoning’ of Navalny. Despite half of the Russian population in general does not know who that is! And the rest will say ‘Oh, this is some kind of schmuck that they want to use for imposing new sanctions against Russia.’ Then the tying attempts by Krasovsky to make Russia look extreme. From betraying the Armenians, to betraying Ukrainians and Belarussians. Everything was made into a stupid template according to a boring manual. Peskov also burned in certain points. On his words about the political wisdom of Pashinian, I almost hit myself with a facepalm. And about what kind of talks that Vladimir Vladimirovich [Putin] is carrying out there.But at the end, a little talk on an actual topic – how the fight against the pandemic is going. Although this topic actually needs to be discussed not with Peskov, but with relevant ministries and specialists.”

So like in the case of the film about Venediktov, the work time by journalists which was paid by Russian state money was wasted on the promotion of the anti-Russian liberal narrative. Do you need that content? I definitely don’t. If it went in that direction, then Rogers wrote it correctly. Peskov like a PR spokesman should have been asked not about the ‘wisdom of the crapped-pants Pashinian’, but instead about the information war of the West against Russia. There is a whole section of hot topics there:

Alexander Rogers: “For example, how does Mr. Peskov feel about the censorship in Western social networks and platforms? Or to the fact that ‘The New York Times’ journalists calls to ban even truthful information if it can be used against the US Democratic Party? Or even how Twitter censors the acting US president? And how TV channels cutoff the broadcast to his statements, because ‘we don’t like what he’s saying.’ Or how for example, YouTube deleted the channel ‘News-Front’, which had 460,000 subscribers and almost half a billion views on their videos, without any explanation for it? And also, why Google and other Western search engines cut from their search results many Russian medias. (Including Zhurnalistskaya Pravda in that regard)?

But Krasovsky did not ask about any of the named subjects. He only continuously licked the earpiece of his glasses, rolled his shoe around and broadcasted an anti-Russian agenda. Does RT need such employees like him, Maria Baronova, or other liberals picked by Margarita Simonyan? In my opinion, no. What do you think, respectable subscribers?

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

‘Bidenism’ domestically: no free press, no lawyer, one-party state? (2/2)
Ramin Mazaheri is currently covering the US elections. He is the chief correspondent in Paris for Press TV and has lived in France since 2009. He has been a daily newspaper reporter in the US, and has reported from Iran, Cuba, Egypt, Tunisia, South Korea and elsewhere. He is the author of ‘Socialism’s Ignored Success: Iranian Islamic Socialism’ as well as ‘I’ll Ruin Everything You Are: Ending Western Propaganda on Red China’, which is also available in simplified and traditional Chinese.

November 15, 2020

by Ramin Mazaheri and cross-posted with PressTV

For months the United States’ corporate-dominated media has terrified everyone with promises of right-wing militias taking to the streets, but here’s the thing: the pressures currently being put on 70 million Trump supporters is exponentially raising the possibility of that actually occurring, not reducing it.

It is ghastly illuminating to see just how quickly – and with such disregard for modern human rights – both the elite and the highly partisan citizens of the United States are attacking those who refuse to fall at the feet of Joe Biden, and even before all the votes are counted in a very narrow and highly-disputed election.

It is not an exaggeration, as I will list them below, but the tactics being used to push Biden into office are akin to wartime, yet the US is most emphatically not at war – all this derangement is over merely trying to vote as equals. I am not reporting from 1917 USSR, or 1949 China, or 1959 Cuba, or 1979 Iran – there are no foreign armed forces meddling in a revolution/civil war.

“Bidenism” is most emphatically not a revolutionary force. It is openly and proudly the exact opposite: a return to the “normalcy” embodied in the 2015 status quo. Nor is the US at civil war, but it seems some never-trumpets are actually hell-bent on starting one rather than do what every nation does: rely on a calm judicial review when there is a contested and very narrow vote. There is simply no other way out for the US than to follow normal democratic procedures, even if their electoral process is routinely called the worst among the Western core democracies by Harvard think-tanks.

(The US goes one step too far, as usual – other nations at least wait until the votes are actually mostly counted until a candidate declares victory, unlike Donald Trump and Joe Biden.)

If this does turn out to be the “Biden presidential(-elect) era” the world can easily grasp what a terrible, very Trumpian start it is. Americans, I think, cannot.

It’s just very unclear what Americans in 2020 truly believe in anymore?

We know that many American elite don’t truly believe in free press or free speech:

Part 1 of this article, “CNN’s Jake Tapper: The foreman/overseer keeping all journalists in line” discussed how one of the nation’s top news anchors threatened lesser-privileged journalists with blacklisting if they don’t side with Biden immediately. His intimidation went uncommented upon/tacitly condoned by his top colleagues, when his pathetic careerism amid social instability should cost him at least some of his privileges.

Censorship is one way to prevent dissenting journalism, but informal censorship is another: The US doesn’t need formal government censors when their own journalists enforce such obvious suppression informally.

The goal of censorship is conformity. The US media which is corporate dominated – from the (fake) left New York Times to right-wing Fox News – is producing coverage which seemingly exclusively conforms to the false idea that it’s good journalism to exclude the massive number of Americans who feel the vote was not “fair and free”.

Since this troubled election began that number includes a stunning 70% of Republicans, per recent polls, but also independents and leftists. Since the election I interviewed both the Party for Socialism & Liberation and the Socialist Alternative Party (you have never heard of them because of the duopoly which strangles American elections) and both of them said the same thing: this is a terribly antiquated system in America, but in any democracy you count all the votes and litigate any contentious problems.

We know that many Americans don’t believe in the right to an attorney:

The anti-Trump and totally mainstream PAC/think tank The Republican Project has been lauded from the (fake) left to the far-right Washington Post for successfully harassing Trump’s Pennsylvania election lawyers into abandoning their client. The tactics used were not rhetorical and moral but mere intimidation, harassment and doxxing (releasing private information about people into public).

Trump is appalling, but does he not even deserve a lawyer?

Do people who associate with Trump, such as his lawyers, deserve such treatment? How far does this go – that’s the question those engaged in a witch-hunt are too fanatical to ask themselves.

Trump’s legal grievance is obviously supported by too large a democratic minority to ignore without causing lasting damage to the integrity of the American system.

By denying the right to an attorney these rabid anti-Trumpers do not technically betray the letter of their 1776 Revolution, that anti-imperialist event, but they certainly do seem to betray the spirit. It seems to violate the spirit if not the letter of the 6th amendment (ratified in 1791), which guarantees a lawyer in all criminal prosecutions, as well as the Due Process and Equal Protection clauses of the 14th amendment (ratified in 1868).

Congratulations to rabid anti-Trumpers for being so very progressive that they have made it to just past the slavery era?

1868 is a good place mark for the mentality of US Democrats, who remain obsessed with race and totally untouched by any of the anti-imperialist and class-based analyses which began to prevail worldwide since 1917.

We know that some American lawmakers don’t believe in open elections:

Earlier this month I reported on the blacklist of Iranian media by the Bernie Sanders-affiliated Democratic Socialists of America, so we shouldn’t have expected much from this fake-leftist faction openly committed to working within the Democratic Party.

But many Americans were shocked that DSA’s most powerful member, Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, actually doubled down when a tweet of hers suggested that lists should be compiled of pro-Trumpers who have committed no crime other than supporting not her party.

When top elected officials vaguely threaten citizens with “the idea of being responsible for their behavior over last four years” and their behaviour is just working for a democratically-elected candidate, what else is this but massively undemocratic intimidation? That would makes free elections in the future impossible.

AOC is seemingly advocating for a one-party state, without knowing it, perhaps, but incompetence is no excuse. It’s certainly another sign of the widespread hysteria of rabid anti-Trumpers.

Directly after AOC’s call sprang up the “Trump Accountability Project”, headed by former Democratic National Committee press secretary Hari Sevugan, which is seemingly looking to blacklist all those that worked for the (possibly) outgoing administration. Would Mr. Sevugan approve of a “Biden Accountability Project” in 2024 for Biden’s staff? Or is that a superfluous question because Democrats are preordained to rule in an unbroken, 1,000-year dynasty?

Why would anybody of merit want to go into public service anymore if they are just going to get blacklisted for doing so?

All the above: This is all wartime-era stuff.

And Chicago, where I am currently based, has been boarded up like it was wartime since the election. (And in August/September. And in May/June.)

It’s as if America can’t help but inexorably draw itself to conflict, because this is all totally self-imposed. This is not the 1960s – there is no peace movement here anymore.

America is acting like what it is: half-full of rabid imperialists

Of course, “neo-imperialism” means colonising your own nation for an international 1%, as the European Union – that supremely US-guided project; that project which is more American than even America – proves.

Of course America is in a state of xenophobia (hostility or fear towards different cultures or strangers) and witch-hunting: this is exactly what the Democratic Party has normalised via their failed Russophobia campaign since 2016.

Did they think they could just turn that off?

Many current Biden supporters failed to stand up against this phony campaign designed to deflect from the Democrats 2016 election failures (2020 saw an even bigger “Blue Wave” failure, but isn’t this anti-Trump supporter hysteria deflecting attention from that for now?), and the most vociferous of them are now aiming their pitchforks at the people who dared to vote differently. The problem is that there are so very many of such persons.

We should add that for four years on US social media this hate mongering has to be multiplied by millions, maybe even billions of time-wasting, venomous posts and spiteful “likes” about veritable political nonsense. It’s practically a justification for state-sponsored censorship, because what kind of society can be healthy towards their neighbors, much less foreigners, when there have these been daily witch-hunts in the phony online world?!

So these lists can go on and on, but our tolerance of such intimidation should not.

(And, yes, before Russophobia there was Islamophobia, and before that it was socialism-phobia, Blackphobia, Indianphobia, etc.)

What’s going on in America is that the most Trump-hating Democrats are acting exactly like what they are: not fascists, as is so often alleged of the other side in Western discourse, but imperialists, which is so rarely discussed in Western discourse.

Like Jake Tapper, they are not just careerists who aspire to outdo everyone in extremism in order to rule from atop the pyramid, they also want to believe they also have the moral high ground despite that. It is arrogance combined with a lust for power and a hysterical, unreasoning rage which comes from we know not where?

Half of the US is so hysterical about being doubted that they can’t recognise themselves in the mirror, but many of those they have colonised, blockaded, sanctioned, brutalised and impoverished sure can.

It’s absolutely appalling and the solution is not simply, “Say that Biden is the president.”

Any nation which has a culture willing to go to such lengths to get others to accept their view – rather than relying on reasoned, secure reflection and some sort of litigation or vetting process – is deeply messed up.

But, as the US proved with their murderous meddling in Iran’s 2009 election: many in the US don’t just not care about anyone’s else’s rules, judges or systems of conflict resolution – the 2020 election proves that many Americans don’t even care about their own.

They are the law-giver and the life-taker and the president-maker, because they say so. Better side with “they”, or else.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Blacklist of Iranian media by Bernie’s DSA suggests no Iran change with Biden

Monday, 02 November 2020 6:17 AM  [ Last Update: Monday, 02 November 2020 8:01 AM ]

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders (L) and former Vice President Joe Biden (File photo)

By Ramin Mazaheri

Blacklist of Iranian media by Bernie’s DSA suggests no Iran change with Biden

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

PressTV’s guiding light has always been to be a “voice for the voiceless”. This is why it was collectively decided that in our coverage of the US presidential election primacy should be given to third parties and non-mainstream political groups, as a political duopoly systematically and legally suppresses them with such vehemence that it causes many to say that US elections should actually not be considered fair or open.

We have interviewed and passed on the analyses of socialists, Greens, Libertarians and more. However, perhaps the most prominent outsider political group has repeatedly refused our normal media requests – the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA), which is perhaps best incarnated by its figurehead, the failed presidential candidate Bernie Sanders.

In another effort designed to give unheard American voices more media coverage, PressTV sent their primary election correspondent not to Washington, New York City or California, but to the unofficial capital of what’s disparaged as “flyover country” – Chicago, the nation’s 3rd-largest city. However, in online discussions DSA’s Chicago chapter openly refused to speak with Iranian media, saying: “The officers of our organization have decided that it would not serve our interests to do an interview.”

That’s a curiously self-centered phrase for a group of officers who likely aspire to serve as civil servants – aren’t civil servants supposed to put the ideals and needs of the nation ahead of their own interests?

Chicago DSA’s conduct was, sadly, in keeping with PressTV’s experience with DSA’s national leaders: for weeks their New York City headquarters has not returned our calls, even when the calls were from PressTV management asking about this apparent blacklist of Iranian media. Representative Rashida Tlaib, one of DSA’s two national-level politicians, also refused to return contacts from PressTV, even though we assumed that she would definitely want to help break past the longstanding communication barriers which have been erected by American Islamophobia. 

Personally, I am not surprised by any of this: If I had one euro for every time an (allegedly) leftist group in France (where I am normally based) refused to speak with PressTV – I could afford a month’s vacation. But for the Iranian taxpayer and voter French fake-leftism is not as important as the DSA’s refusal to speak to Iranian media: France has slavishly followed Washington’s foreign policy on Iran for decades, and DSA now aspires to set that policy.

PressTV feels it is critical to broadcast the DSA’s blacklisting of Iranian media because DSA’s prejudice has many political implications within the country that has waged such devastating capitalist-imperialist war on Iran since 1979. Iran, too, has a critical election coming up to prepare for – in June 2021.

Regardless of the timing of the US presidential election – and Iranians reject the absurd, pathetic and amateurish recent claims that Iranian operatives have meddled in the 2020 US election – it is critical to broadcast this information to Iranians so they can have a proper amount of time to absorb and incorporate the implications of DSA’s anti-Iran prejudice into their own analyses as voters and responsible citizens. 

So PressTV’s decision is merely responsible public journalism. This cannot – as DSA openly feared, you will read – possibly be construed as “foreign meddling” by any thinking person.

That preamble now dispensed with, the conundrum posed by DSA’s arrogant blacklisting is this:

If this is the (allegedly) leftist wing of the Democratic Party, and they are so very nakedly anti-Iranian, then why should an Iranian believe that victories by Joe Biden and the Democratic Party will herald a major change in Washington’s belligerent, murderous, long-running policy towards Iran? Many currently suggest this, but DSA’s anti-Iranian stance must give us pause for reconsideration.

The (allegedly) leftist wing of the Democratic Party is not some new, principled, pro-Iran lobby in the lobby-dominated US system

DSA is the one influential group within the Democratic Party (but I will easily disprove the myth of their reach shortly) which openly and repeatedly promises to push the Democrats to the left, and yet they clearly have no interest in basic discussion or the merest exchange with Iranians.

They will talk about Iran, but not with Iran – this is a fundamentally unilateral and classically imperialist stance, no?

And this stance remains unjustly firm even when Iranians insist openly that they have a cooperative and even sympathetic stance towards DSA – I have already related PressTV’s editorial policy regarding the election. Iranians will likely see parallels between the efforts of PressTV to speak cooperatively with DSA officials and the efforts of Iranian diplomats to speak cooperatively with officials in Washington.

DSA may be surprised to learn that Bernie Sanders was reasonably appealing to Iranians, and probably for the same reason he is somewhat popular among the American public – he and DSA make pleasant-sounding promises which contradict the incredible and undeniable belligerence, violence and rapacity of Washington. For an Iranian nation which debated for years in public about the JCPOA pact on Iran’s nuclear energy program, which sacrificed much to implement it, and which is waiting even today for Western nations to finally uphold their word after signing it, there is a lot of lure in words like these from the DSA’s most prominent elected official member, Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez: 

“I think, overall, we can likely push Vice President Biden in a more progressive direction across policy issues,” said Ocasio-Cortez in September. “I think foreign policy is an enormous area where we can improve; immigration is another one.”

But how can DSA improve US foreign policy if they refuse to dialogue with foreign nations and their media representatives? How can the knowledge of foreign policy which is held by DSA officials – from the national down to the local level – increase, and thus improve their ability to conduct foreign policy if elected or appointed to office, if they are forbidden or unwilling to engage with foreigners? How can foreign policy improve when dialogue comes from only one unilateral direction? How can diplomatic progress be pushed in a more progressive direction if there is such a huge gap between words and actions, as Iran is currently fuming about due to the West’s failure to honor the treaty they have signed?

For many in places like Iran, China, Russia and elsewhere, these logical questions are about as difficult to understand as it is to understand the funny way a knight moves in chess, yet all this appears to be beyond the ken of DSA. Whatever DSA’s rationale – ignorance, apathy, duplicity, inexperience, cynicism – it results in a huge, telling blind spot which may produce deadly real-world consequences for Iranians.

However, DSA is not just illogical, but also – we are sad to say – unprincipled and even hysterical.

The Chicago chapter of DSA made this very clear in their messaging to me (PressTV may decide to publish all our correspondences, but only if our honesty and accuracy is questioned – we assume it will not be.) when they said, “…DSA will not reach the levels of relevancy necessary to be an active player in building those ties if we make choices that our political enemies can use to claim we are under the influence of foreign powers.”

DSA rather exemplifies the common global perception of Western-style democracy via admitting to a belief that one should attain political relevancy not by years of exemplary public service and by providing proofs of moral selflessness in favor of the masses and especially of the lower classes, but merely by making enough brutal realpolitik moves.

What DSA fails to realize is that even if they achieve their goal of relevancy, by the time they do the perceptive American people will have seen right through their phony claims, hypocrisy and inability to uphold quintessentially American values like the freedom of the press. This article is one example – necessarily rendered for public view and public judgment – of DSA’s phony claims. DSA will simply not get away with xenophobic, anti-free press polices such as this one forever, I am sorry to inform them.

To whom does this policy extend? Russia, China, Cuba, etc.? These countries will also publicly ask the same questions Iran is asking now. How much of the world is DSA planning to exclude from the human right of free speech, free press and the expectation of basic politeness and cooperation?

DSA seems to foolishly believe they are a private group or private media – absolutely not: many of their members are running for public office and thus they must be transparent, diplomatic and held to higher standards – DSA does not seem to realise their own voters will expect that of them?

DSA is not going to push the establishment anywhere, because they are the establishment

In that explanation from DSA there is another telling trait: unreasoning hysteria, which leads to very real, very damaging xenophobia, ignorance and the foundations of war. It’s hysterically paranoid of DSA to assert that merely speaking with Iranian media – which has very little reach in the US (due to American censorship of our outlets) – automatically means that DSA members are “under the influence of foreign powers”.

This reveals a hysteria regarding the unscrupulous behavior of their opposition – DSA’s “political enemies”, who are also, incidentally, their fellow citizens – but more importantly it reveals the lack of a backbone to stand up to and to combat unscrupulous and hysterical behavior.

There is also an implication there about what they seem to believe is the low intelligence of the average US citizen – that they apparently cannot be trusted to think rationally, and for themselves, and in favor of freedom of the press? That’s surprising, especially because the average American is so very much in favor of freedom in the press.

But it mainly reflects a hysterical lust for power. DSA is saying quite clearly: to hell with the average American’s oft-trumpeted values of free press and free speech if it might hinder DSA’s acquisition of influence and privilege.

I don’t know why they are so worried about gaining power? DSA already has it. (Or, rather, they incorrectly think that they do.)

Every single other third party jumped at the chance when Iranian media came knocking on their door with a promise of balance, fairness and open ears except for DSA. This is because DSA is undoubtedly a part of the establishment, unlike other third parties and non-mainstream political groups. DSA is not an official political party, but they do much to give this impression. No, DSA is and has always been merely committed to working within the Democratic Party establishment and has no interest in upending the anti-democratic duopoly which dominates the US and – crucially – keeps providing the world’s richest nation with such atrocious public servants.

Ok, so they are another American political group which is totally allied with the establishment and thus is also totally anti-Iran – so what?

How bad is DSA’s blacklisting of Iranian media, really?

The reality is that DSA are a paper tiger if there ever was one. Iranian voters, diplomats and thinkers must look past their youthful, photogenic appearances and (obviously) empty words.

DSA currently has about 75 members holding national, state, city and county posts in this huge country of 330 million people. That includes just three members in federal posts, all in the House of Representatives. Bernie Sanders is not even a member of DSA. The idea that such a powerless minority will somehow be handed top cabinet posts in a Biden presidency is beyond laughable, yet DSA supporters constantly dangle this exact claim.

However, that ludicrous claim is made precisely to get people to not vote for a real third party, especially a genuinely socialist one, like Party for Socialism & Liberation for example. What’s even funnier is that American reactionaries fearfully believe these outlandish claims by DSA! But American reactionaries are especially foolish.…

Non-Americans should realize that DSA exists to act as an anti-progressive safety valve within the Democratic Party – DSA is incredibly effective at ensuring that the establishment does not have to make any genuine domestic changes. They are not “socialists”, they are “reformists”, and their obvious flaw is that they are mere reformists of an atrocious, antiquated, aristocratic, capitalist-imperialist system.

DSA has just brazenly proven that when it comes to Iran they won’t lift a finger in favor of major changes in Washington.

But they want no real changes domestically, too, and they couldn’t even get them achieved even if they weren’t just paper tigers: From Bernie’s backing down in 2016 despite leaked proof of collusion against his candidacy by the Democratic Party elite, to the ascendance of the Clintonista Kamala Harris in 2020, to infuriatingly and unforgivably adding the qualifying adjective of “Democratic” to “Socialist” which actually propagandizes against international socialism and not for it, to the unspoken reality that DSA’s media prevalence is almost wholly due to a hysterical American right-wing which needs some leftists (even fake-leftists) to scapegoat – this list can go on and on and on. 

Deeper explanations as to why DSA is repeatedly seen but never felt in American politics are obviously too numerous to list here, but – when it comes to DSA readers – this article does not aim to focus on DSA’s shortcomings but instead to persuade them to reform their anti-Iranian press policy.

The reality which non-American readers must comprehend is that the US system is based entirely on the influence of monied lobbies. Iranians must realize that there is absolutely not one single pro-Iranian lobby within the US, but that there are many, many anti-Iran lobbies willing to pay for influence (and also for Iran’s destruction) within this strange “democracy with American characteristics”.

In short, unless Iran sells off a significant minority of Iran’s state-controlled economy to American corporations, or unless Iran recognizes Israel, no such pro-Iran lobby can be created: those are the preconditions which the US 1% has always insisted upon from modern Iran in order to end their hot and cold war.

Of course, not only are these things democratically rejected by the Iranian people, but any intelligent analysis of Iran shows that (and DSA members may learn something new about Iran here) any political party which undertook such efforts would be democratically voted out of office before they could complete such immoral, unpatriotic and anti-revolutionary tasks. Iran is a unique (revolutionary) nation with a unique (revolutionary) structure, and just as the US Constitution clearly prescribes an awful duopoly, modern Iranian culture has created – via undeniably vibrant, innovative and open debate over decades – a political system which proscribes certain things, two of which were mentioned in the preceding paragraph.

This is precisely why people like Bernie Sanders and DSA hold such appeal in Iran: the enlightenment of the average US voter appears to be the only way that Washington will ever give up their war on revolutionary (unique) Iran.

This is precisely what makes DSA’s blacklist of Iranian media so disheartening: it shows that neither mainstream party appears to have any sincere goodwill towards Iran – which is the basis of cooperation between equals – not even on the (alleged) left.

Of course, that concept is hardly new among Iranians.

Conclusion: One is on the right path over and over again, but via necessary self-corrections

It seems entirely necessary to assert that DSA’s promises of a progressive push to foreign policy towards Iran are not achievable at best and entirely disingenuous at worst, especially if they do not engage in immediate and sustained self-reform.

The current leaders of the DSA stand in incorrect opposition to the democratic will of 80 million Iranians, and we can safely assume the democratic will of their own members as well, and probably – by a slight democratic majority – the democratic will of 330 million Americans.

As it currently stands DSA – like so many Westerners – arrogantly, imperialistically and chauvinistically insists that they have the right to tell Iranians what they should want, and what they should do, and that if Iranians do not slavishly follow them then this means war… or at least silence, suppression and blacklisting for starters.

That is all totally unacceptable.

This article serves notice to Iranians as to what the DSA appears to have in mind for Iran should they gain power – their views are absolutely not rightly-guided. As to Americans who are about to head to the ballot box, this article makes no suggestion – it only fairly and accurately adds new information.

PressTV would like to place great emphasis on the ideas which are guiding our coverage of this unfortunate issue:

PressTV expresses no any animosity nor hard-heartedness to DSA due to their mistakes regarding Iran – they have obviously been misled via decades of unchecked Western Iranophobia. PressTV cannot stress enough that our desire for normal cooperation, friendly discussion and moral comportment has not been changed one iota despite this disagreement and the necessary airing of our fair and dispassionate criticisms, which are made entirely in the name of normal journalistic and (informal) diplomatic dialogue. PressTV would be rude to appear as if we are making any demands of anyone or any organisation – nor would PressTV degrade themselves thusly – we only politely ask, publicly, that DSA reform their stance on their misguided decision to blacklist Iranian media.


Press TV’s website can also be accessed at the following alternate addresses:

www.presstv.ir

www.presstv.co.uk

www.presstv.tv

NEW STEP IN GOOGLE’S FIERCE CAMPAIGN TO DESTROY SOUTHFRONT

21.08.2020 

South Front

The Euro-Atlantic establishment and global corporations seem to be so terrified by SouthFront: Analysis & Intelligence that they stop at nothing to suppress SouthFront’s voice and damage our work.

On August 21, Google unilaterally disabled SouthFront’s official Google AdSense account claiming that it “was found to be non-compliant with the AdSense program policies”. Just like in the case of censorship of SouthFront on YouTube and Facebook, this decision was made without any advance warning or real explanation. (The long story of SouthFront censorship on YouTube and Facebook can be found here: 1 – Facebook2 – YouTube)

Funds collected on the account for the last 1.5 months were in fact stolen.

New Step In Google’s Fierce Campaign To Destroy SouthFront

In previous month, SouthFront was able to use the revenue from GoogleAds banners on southfront.org to fill gaps in our monthly donation budget created by the increasing censorship and pressure campaign aimed at our endeavor. The goal of this campaign is to limit SouthFront’s audience reach by banning on the most popular public platforms, limit the donation flow to SouthFront and discredit our team as a whole. Not backed by corporations or governments, SouthFront operates thanks to the audience’s donations.

Despite this unprecedented pressure campaign, which was publicly assisted by the US State Department, and thanks to your support, SouthFront was able to survive in the recent month. However, the August 21 situation demonstrates that Euro-Atlantic structures and global corporations are determined to employ any, even illegal steps, to destroy SouthFront.  In own turn, SouthFront Team officially declares that we will not surrender and fight against the mainstream censorship and propaganda until our last breath.

Chaotic and illegal attempts of our ill-wishers to damage SouthFront work only confirm that we are on the right track. Dear friends, together, we will be able to overcome any challenges and difficulties and fight back against the mainstream censorship and propaganda.

SUPPORT THE RESISTANCE

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:

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:

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.

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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.

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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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Orwellian Logic Of Corporate Censors & Government Budget Suckers
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Orwellian Logic Of Corporate Censors & Government Budget Suckers

SouthFront: Analysis & Intelligence Team

Erdoğan reaping what he sowed

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It is a meeting between an occupier and a staunch fighter for freedom and independence. It is but Erdogan’s crying wolf for what his hands has been slaughtering of the innocents and anti-terrorism fighters.

The silly threats of manipulating his hand-made refugees crisis are never to work this time. The refugees from tens of countries worldwide have been exploited by Erdogan himself. Thus, the fabrications, lies and distortions and empty promises are never to work more!

According to a recent analysis by  Simon Tisdall, the Guardian,  it is the Maverick, out-of-control authoritarian leaders – and here we are talking about Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Turkey’s president – tend to think they know best about everything, and are fiercely intolerant of criticism. It is this hubris that has finally led Erdoğan and Turkey to the brink of disaster in Syria after nine years of bombastic threats, proxy conflict and direct military intervention.

Erdoğan is now isolated on all sides, sharply at odds with other major players in the Syrian crisis. Having sent an extra 7,000 troops and armour into Idlib last month to reinforce existing military outposts, Turkey has plunged in open warfare with Syria. It has attacked airports and radar sites well behind the de facto “frontline”. It has declared all Syrian  “elements” to be legitimate targets.

But what is happening now in north-west Syria is no longer a proxy war. It is a direct confrontation between the two heavily armed neighbouring states. And it threatens to draw Turkey deeper into military conflict with Russia.

It’s hard to know the facts, given Erdoğan’s suppression of independent journalism. But the truth seems to be very different. The death toll may have totaled up to 55, according to Metin Gurcan, a military analyst writing for the respected online regional platform al-Monitor. Local reports speak of up to 100 dead.

Infuriated Russian commanders – or maybe the order came from Moscow – appear to have drawn a line after weeks of lethal sparring. The Turkish convoy was hit late in the afternoon that same day. In the hours that followed, with injured soldiers in urgent need of medical aid, Moscow rejected Ankara’s request to open Idlib’s airspace to allow an evacuation, Gurcan reported.

Was Vladimir Putin, Russia’s president, intent on teaching Erdoğan a harsh lesson? If so, it seems to have worked. Erdoğan is now pinning his hopes on a face-to-face meeting with the Russian leader to prevent more, costly collisions that Turkey cannot win. He will travel to Moscow on Thursday in search of a ceasefire – after Putin agreed to make time for him.

Putin’s price for letting Erdoğan off the hook may be a full or partial Turkish withdrawal from Idlib but also from other Turkish-occupied Syrian territory west of the Euphrates – and from the Kurdish-dominated north-east region that he controversially invaded last autumn. Once again, Erdoğan is reaping what he sowed.

Dr. Mohamad Abdo Al-Ibrahim

alibrahim56@hotmail.com

War on Dissent by the US and West Threatens Speech, Media and Academic Freedoms

By Stephen Lendman

Source

Censorship is the new normal in America and the West, wanting the message controlled, targeting what conflicts with it for elimination, notably on major geopolitical issues.

Digital democracy is the last frontier of free and open expression.

It’s threatened by social media, Google, and other tech giants —  complicit in a campaign against content conflicting with the official narrative.

Media scholar Robert McChesney earlier said without digital democracy, “the Internet would look like cable TV…a handful of massive companies (controlling) content” — deciding what’s permitted online and what’s suppressed.

Without free expression rights, all others are threatened — where things are headed in US and other Western societies.

Fundamental rights are eroding, at risk of disappearing altogether on the phony pretext of protecting national security at a time when alleged foreign threats to the West are invented, not real.

Pompeo earlier claimed “Julian Assange has no First Amendment freedoms (sic)…He’s not a US citizen.”

Despite no evidence suggesting it, Pompeo called Assange “a non-state hostile intelligence service often abetted by state actors like Russia (sic),” adding:

“We have to recognize that we can no longer allow Assange and his colleagues the latitude to use free speech values against us (sic).”

“To give (him and others) space to crush us with misappropriated secrets is a perversion of what our great Constitution stands for (sic). It ends now.”

Pompeo declared war on speech, media, and academic freedoms — supported by Trump, falsely calling Assange an “enemy of the people.”

Following his latest kangaroo court hearing in London on Thursday, pertaining to the Trump regime’s unjustifiable extradition request, the UK complicit in its war on free expression, WikiLeaks editor-in-chief Kristinn Hrafnsson said the following:

“We have now learned from submissions and affidavits presented by the United States to this court that they do not consider foreign nationals to have a First Amendment protection,” adding: 

“Now let that sink in for a second. At the same time that the US government is chasing journalists all over the world, they claim they have extra-territorial reach.” 

“They have decided that all foreign journalists which include many of you here, have no protection under the First Amendment of the United States.” 

“So that goes to show the gravity of this case. This is not about Julian Assange. It’s about press freedom.”

Denying Assange the universal right of free expression endangers all journalists and everyone else. His case is precedent-setting. 

If extradited to the US, convicted of the “crime” of truth-telling journalism and imprisoned, it’ll have far-reaching consequences, all truth-telling journalists potentially threatened the same way.

Fundamental rule of law principles are universal, in place to protect everyone from abuses of power.

Dark forces in the US and other Western societies want views conflicting with official ones silenced.

In the US, earlier Supreme Court rulings upholding First Amendment rights are ignored, notably Justice William Brennan’s majority opinion in Texas v. Johnson (1989), saying:

“(I)f there is a bedrock principle underlying the First Amendment, it is that government may not prohibit the expression of an idea simply because society finds the idea offensive or disagreeable.”

Justice Thurgood Marshall once said: “(A)bove all else, the First Amendment means that government has no power to restrict expression because of its message, its ideas, its subject matter, or its content.” Nor does anyone else.

Separately he said: “If the First Amendment means anything, it means that a State has no business telling a man, sitting alone in his own house, what books he may read or what films he may watch.” 

“Our whole constitutional heritage rebels at the thought of giving government the power to control men’s minds.”

No one on the US Supreme Court today approaches the stature of Brennan and Marshall.

Their support for equal justice under law no longer exists in the US, police state injustice replacing it, including efforts to censor views dark forces consider objectionable.

We’re all Julian Assange, Chelsea Manning, and others like them. 

Their fate could be ours by challenging powerful interests — wanting free and open expression replaced by controlling the message.

What’s going on is the hallmark of totalitarian rule — enforced with police state harshness.

When truth-telling and dissent are considered existential threats, free and open societies no longer exist — the slippery slope where the US, UK, and other Western states are heading.

A Final Comment

Last year, WikiLeaks said the following:

Assange is “an Australian journalist who founded WikiLeaks in 2006.”

He “was the editor of WikiLeaks until September 2018: six months of his effective incommunicado detention in the Ecuadorian embassy in London then prompted Julian to appoint Kristin Hrafnsson as WikiLeaks editor-in-chief. Julian remains WikiLeaks’ publisher.”

“Wikileaks’ publications have had enormous impact. They have changed many peoples’ views of governments, enabling them to see their secrets.” 

“They have changed journalism as a practice, as debates have raged over the ethics of secrecy, transparency and reporting on stolen documents.” 

“WikiLeaks has gained the admiration of people and organizations all over the world, as evidenced in the numerous awards it has won.”

“For these contributions to public accountability and the historical record, Assange has been arrested in the United Kingdom and indicted in the United States.” 

“The US requests Assange’s extradition and has charged him with 17 counts under the Espionage Act of 1917 for the publication of truthful material in the public interest.” 

“Assange is the first journalist in history the US has charged with Espionage for publishing.” 

“He also faces one count of conspiracy to commit computer crime based on his alleged reporter-source communications with whistleblower Chelsea Manning.” 

“This charge would criminalize basic journalistic activity, as the indictment details alleged attempts to help Manning protect her anonymity as a journalistic source.”

“If extradited, Assange faces the prospect of life imprisonment in the United States” — for the “crime” of truth-telling journalism the way it’s supposed to be, what establishment media long ago was abandoned, operating as press agents for powerful interests.

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