PA Arrests Civil Rights Advocates in Ramallah

August 24, 2021

Palestinians rally to protest Nizar Banat’s assassination. (Photo: Mohammed Asad, via MEMO)

The Palestinian Authority’s security forces have been arresting civil rights activists in Ramallah for the third consecutive day, Lawyers for Justice announced yesterday.

“Among those arrested were the freed prisoner, Muhammed Allan, Ibrahim Abu Al-Ezz, and Loay Al-Ashqar,” the rights organization said in a statement, adding that the arrests are creating a state of “chaos and absence of law.”

On Sunday, the PA’s security forces were reported to have prevented the organization from holding a demonstration at the Al-Manara roundabout located in central Ramallah. They also reinforced their presence around the Al-Manara Square. and arrested all those attempting to start a protest.

Civil rights groups in the occupied West Bank have been holding regular protests in demanding the killers of activist Nizar Banat be brought to justice and for elections to be held in the occupied Palestinian territories.

Banat was a candidate for the Palestinian Legislative Council election which should have been held this year. The election was canceled by PA President Mahmoud Abbas. Banat was killed by PA security forces in late June.

(MEMO, PC, Social Media)

Palestinian women journalists speak out against ‘deliberate’ attacks by PA forces

Palestinian Authority forces have violently assaulted women reporting on protests in Ramallah

A recent protest in Ramallah, where Palestinian Authority forces have been targeting women journalists including Najlaa Zaitoun, photographed here (Supplied)

By Aziza Nofal in RamallahPublished date: 2 July 2021 14:49 UTC | Last update: 2 days 1 hour ago

For several days now, Palestinian journalist Najlaa Zaitoun has been trying to convince her children, 11-year-old Haytham and 8-year-old Zein, to leave the house. 

‘A person wearing plain clothes threatened me, to my face, that he would rape me, and then defame my reputation’

– Najlaa Zaitoun, journalist

“I’m afraid the person who beat you will come and beat me,” Zein said to her, as she urged them to keep up their training at the sports club they usually go to every day. 

On 26 June, the 35-year-old was assaulted by plainclothes security forces while she was covering protests called following the death of popular Palestinian activist Nizar Banat while in Palestinian Security Forces custody two days earlier. 

The security forces chased Zaitoun, seized her phone, which she was using to film the protest, and violently attacked her with a truncheon. She was also threatened with rape.

“A person wearing plain clothes threatened me, to my face, that he would rape me, and then defame my reputation,” she tells Middle East Eye.

Palestinian female journalists attacked by PA forces
Bruises Najlaa Zaitoun sustained while covering the protests can be seen on her arm (Supplied)

Zaitoun has been living in a state of fear ever since and the violent beating she received has left visible marks on her body.

“I don’t feel safe, not even in my own home,” she says. Since the attack, Zaitoun has been staying at her parents’ house. 

Meanwhile, the assault on the journalist has moved online, with a smear campaign targeting her on social media accounts affiliated with the Palestinian Authority (PA) and accusing her of being the “one who attacked the security forces.” 

Targeted attacks

The attack on Zaitoun is one of several instances of violence against women journalists in the course of their work covering the protests. The incidents indicate that Palestinian security forces are specifically targeting women journalists, as reflected in the escalating levels of hostility and violence towars them compared to their male counterparts.

Attacks on women journalists have included physical violence, as was the case with Zaitoun and four others; confiscation of electronic devices used to cover the events; intimidation and harassment; chasing journalists in the street; arrest attempts and a ban on reporting. 

The assaults have continued even after the protests were over, with many female journalists receiving veiled threats that they will be discredited and defamed.

Saja al-Alamy is one of those attacked while reporting on the protests. On 24 June, Alamy was subjected to several attempts by security forces to prevent her from doing her job, and had to show her Palestinian Journalists Syndicate membership card each time. 

Palestinian female journalists attacked by PA forces
‘My press armour helped the perpetrators to identify me as a journalist, and attack me’, Saja Alamy says (Supplied)

Two days later, expecting journalist to go on being obstructed, Alamy wore her bulletproof press body armour and affixed her press card on the back of her phone, which she was using to film the events. 

None of this stopped her from being attacked. Instead, she believes the measures did her more harm than good.

“My press armour helped the perpetrators to identify me as a journalist, and attack me,” she says, adding that she was only able to escape the scene after she had taken off her press vest and concealed her identity as a journalist.

“There was a direct attack on us. One of the security officers in plainclothes was pointing at my female journalist colleague and me, asking his partner to take a photo of us so that he can identify us later,” she says.

Security forces had first attacked a group of journalists, including Alamy, with tear gas, but upon noticing her filming an attack on protesters, she was directly targeted. Alamy resisted the officers’ violent attempt to confiscate her phone, and refused to hand it over. She then managed to flee the scene to a nearby building and hide in a women’s toilet.

Alamy tried for more than an hour to reach her colleagues for help, but all entrances were being watched by security officers, including those who had chased her. She was eventually able to escape, after shedding her press armour, and pretended to be out shopping.

Life threatening

MEE reporter Shatha Hammad was also among the women journalists who were targeted in the attacks of 26 June.

She sustained a shrapnel wound to her face from a tear gas canister that a security officer shot directly at her after failing to confiscate her phone. 

Hammad says that security officers in plainclothes had focused their attention on women reporters, singling them out by pointing at them, even before the clashes erupted, which, she believes, suggests that the assault was planned and deliberate.

According to Hammad, the unprecedented violence against women journalists made her feel insecure and trapped.

“What happened is life threatening,” she says, demanding immediate action from local and international organisations to provide the necessary protection for them.

Palestinian female journalists attacked by PA forces
Shatha Hammad sustained wounds to face after being directly targeted with a tear gas cannister 

The detailed testimonies of women journalists were shocking to many, especially the Palestinian Authority’s use of cultural norms to shame and intimidate women, exercising social pressure against them as an attempt to silence and prevent them from performing their work. 

According to Ghazi Bani Odeh, head of the monitoring and documentation unit at the Palestinian Centre for Development and Media Freedoms (Mada), these exponential attacks against women journalists are unprecedented and planned. 

“The assaults on female journalists have two levels. The first is the direct physical violence in the streets; then comes the online attacks designed to incite people to exert social pressure on them,” Bani Odeh tells MEE, in reference to the smear campaigns that use hate speech that could fuel violence against them. 

Smear campaigns

One of the journalists targeted by a defamation campaign was Fayhaa Khanfar, who was beaten up in the street on 26 June, with her phone stolen from her as she covered the protest.

‘When I regained consciousness, I went to security officers crying and asking for help. But no one moved a muscle’

– Fayhaa Khanfar, journalist

Security officers in plain clothes had chased Khanfar to confiscate her device and knocked her to the ground, causing her to briefly lose consciousness. 

No one had intervened to help her. The attack resulted in a hairline fracture to her shoulder and bruises all over her body.

“I was attacked by security officers wearing plain clothes. They pushed me to the ground and stole my phone,” Khanfar tells MEE.

“When I regained consciousness, I went to security officers crying and asking for help. But no one moved a muscle.”

Orchestrated online attacks targeted Khanfar, who wears the hijab, aimed to discredit her in a conservative society by circulating images of a girl in beachwear, who looks very similar to Khanfar, and falsely identifying her as the journalist.

Khanfar was later summoned for interrogation at the intelligence headquarters in Ramallah, in the occupied West Bank, and told that she had to appear if she wanted to collect her phone, a move she considered an attempt to lure her in and arrest her.

Wafa Abdulrahman, the director of Filistiniat, a civil society organisation, sees the attacks on journalists as a chilling attempt to silence the women who have been spearheading the protests. 

Palestinian female journalists attacked by PA forces
Fayhaa Khanfar suffered a hairline fracture to her shoulder and bruises all over her body (Supplied)

Abdulrahman says that the systematic targeting of women journalists is intended to first send them a threatening message, and second, to warn the society that women reporters will not be spared and that the power of the security forces is unbreakable. 

As attacks on women journalists continue through online defamation campaigns and veiled threats, they find themselves living in constant danger and feeling personally insecure. 

According to Majid Arori, a media freedom activist and a human rights specialist, there has to be individual and collective legal actions to deter such attacks in the future. 

“The attacked women journalists must file legal complaints, providing the necessary documentation via local and international legal organisations to exert pressure on those who perpetrated the assaults,” he says, adding that these attacks are attempts to suppress critical voices and any protests against corruption. 

The Democracy vs. Freedom Dispute

About me

July 1, 2021 

by Lawrence Davidson

Part I—Democracy and Freedom

In the United States, there is a dispute over whether democracy and freedom are compatible. Some, such as Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky, have questioned their compatibility, and even asserted that freedom, rather than democracy, is what the U.S. really stands for. These terms are often used out of context and the dispute often suffers from a lack of historical knowledge, but there is nothing surprising about that. 

Most of the men who put together the U.S. Constitution saw the world in class, racial and gender terms. While they wanted a more democratic government than that in England which, for propaganda purposes, they had portrayed as a tyranny, the new American democracy had to be carefully structured. Here is how this translated from theory into practice: the common man’s passions should be held in check by a system that kept the power to make policy in the hands of those white males who had “a material stake in society”—that is, the propertied class. For large segments of the population democracy was to be denied due to both gender and color. 

Only a relative few of these men were thinking about freedom per se. And those who did, certainly did not define it in open-ended libertarian terms. Indeed, in late 18th century America, freedom came in two flavors: (1) first and foremost, the freedom from “unreasonable” taxation. What is unreasonable in this sense, would be argued about incessantly right up into the present. (2) Protection against the abuse of government power. The notion of abuse was directly connected to a) examples of alleged British excesses leading up to the American Revolution and b) Federalist party practices (when in power) like the suppression of critical newspapers and pamphlets. It is to cover a host of these sorts of issues, collectively posited as the protection of individual rights or freedoms, that Jefferson and Madison insisted a bill of rights be added to the Constitution as its first set of amendments. Once this was accomplished (December 1791) America’s democracy and a constitutional list of protected rights/freedoms, became compatible. 

Part II—Getting Things Wrong 

Now we fast forward to the present and Republican Senator Rand Paul, who was recently quoted in the New York Times as follows: “The idea of democracy and majority rule really is what goes against our history and what the country stands for [which is freedom]. The Jim Crow laws came out of democracy. That’s what you get when a majority ignores the rights of others.” He goes on to connect Republican Party opposition to a bipartisan congressional investigation of the January 6 “protest” (it was really an attempted insurrection) with the right of the political minority to protect itself against the majority. All of this is ahistorical and illogical. 

When taking up Paul’s position there are several points to consider:

First: Historical accuracy. Paul seems confused about the status of majority and minority when it comes to freed slaves in the American South at the time Congress abandoned Reconstruction (March 1877). At this time, the Black population in large parts of the rural South constituted the numerical majority. So, the Jim Crow laws that quickly followed were the products of a local political/racial minority (southern Whites) seeking to suppress the newly won rights of their local majorities (southern Blacks). Thus, Paul has his facts backwards. He might have made this mistake because he thinks that the American Black population has been a minority at all times and in all places throughout the country’s history. Yet here we have an important exception—an exception that challenges the senator’s argument that discriminatory behavior principally has its source with oppressive majorities.

Today, if Senator Paul is looking for a minority in need of protection, he should focus on contemporary southern Blacks (who are now indeed a minority both in size and power.) They are now faced with a white Republican Party in control of state legislatures seeking to suppress the voting access of minorities.

Second. Paul seems not to take into consideration that the American majority has grown and diversified. In other words, when it comes to what the government (local, state and federal) cannot do to you (like suppress your voting rights)—the you have steadily grown larger. Theoretically this should bode ill for the rightwing state legislatures mentioned above. It is unclear how Senator Paul personally feels about this (such narrowing of the election laws has not taken place in his home state of Kentucky), but he is an active member of the Republican Party, and that is party playing fast and loose with the voting laws in a host of southern and mid-western states. Why is the Republican Party doing this? Because a growing and diversifying majority creates a growing number of voters and most come from Black and other non-white segments of the population. Exercising their participatory political rights, they tend to vote Democrat. 

Third. The constitutionally protected rights or freedoms are not open-ended. Yet Paul seems to suggest that they are when he asserts that to protect the Republican minority in the Senate, the party can block a bipartisan investigation of the January 6 insurrection. On the one hand, it is quite true that the bill of rights was designed as, and remains, a necessary defense of individual rights from majority demands for political or cultural uniformity. On the other, one can ask, what is Paul and the Republicans trying to protect their party from? The bill of rights does not, and never was supposed to stifle investigation of criminal acts. The only thing the bill of rights does in this regard is to guard the individual against illegal evidence gathering procedures and other abusive practices on the part of law enforcement.

Part III—Misusing the Bill of Rights

Against this background, how are we to understand Paul’s specific application of minority rights? At the very least, we can understand it as a misinterpretation of the purpose and intent of the bill of rights and the protections it offers individual citizens. In other words, he is defending his party’s refusal to allow a bipartisan investigation of an apparent crime—a crime with potentially embarrassing trail of evidence.

The Republican Party and its conspiracy-spinning allies in the press and social media (whose speech is nonetheless protected) essentially created an alternate reality for millions of Americans that led some of them to insurrection. Despite many evidence-based demonstrations to the contrary, millions have bought into the myth that former President Donald Trump was cheated—and thus they, his supporters, were also cheated—out of victory in the 2020 presidential election. While both the Republicans and their supporters may believe the unbelievable—aver the demonstrably false—they have no right under the Constitution and its bill of rights to express such a delusion by going on a rampage, destroying public property, and attacking public officials. They have no protected right—no “freedom” to do this even if they claim, probably truthfully, that they believed the president told them to do it. 

Taking the next step, what is the real-world consequence of Paul’s defense? Well, given the likelihood that the investigation would connect elements of the Republican Party to the actions of the insurrectionists, this must be seen as self-serving obstruction of justice—itself a crime. For Paul, this is the “freedom” that—conveniently—supersedes democracy. 

Finally, the whole affair is a scary example of a paradox: The protection of speech, that is the right to free speech, can  degenerate into a campaign of lies and this can easily lead people to unprotected, that is criminal, actions. This is, admittedly, a downside of the bill of rights. An individual (and keep in mind that under U.S. law corporations are seen as individuals) has a protected right to lie to the public—to wit: broadcasted fantasies ranging from those of the National Inquirer to Fox TV and, lest we forget, Donald Trump.

Part IV—Conclusion

It is worth repeating that one of the positive things about the political evolution of the United States is that it has expanded the ranks of the participatory majority. In political terms, citizens of all genders and races now have both participatory rights and protected individual rights. Correspondingly, the minority—referring here specifically to those who object to this historical expansion—is slowly shrinking. While the latter’s rights to, say free speech, will remain protected, their ability to retain political and cultural power may well diminish over time. There is no doubt that the Republican leadership has a sense of this possibility, and this accounts for their increasingly fierce and frenzied attempts to turn back the clock. 

The shift of emphasis from an expanding democracy with protected individual rights/freedoms, to a dangerously ad hoc and sometimes illogical version of freedom, is part of that frenzied activity. Senator Paul and his friends, very short on historical facts and judgment, want all of us to believe in the absurd. That is, obstruction of justice in the name of minority rights is “what the country stands for.”

Canada’s government is seeking to silence Canadian journalists at home and abroad with a draconian censorship bill

moi

 

Eva Bartlett

RT.com

As a Canadian journalist, I could be subject to a censorship bill which, if passed in Senate, means the government in Canada can effectively shadow-ban and censor my voice into oblivion, along with other dissenting voices.

After seeing his tweet on the issue of Bill C-10, recently passed in the House of Commons, I spoke with Canadian journalist Dan Dicks about this. He explained that the bill is being presented as being about Canada bringing Big Tech companies under the regulation of the CRTC (Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission), to have them display more Canadian content.

“But what people are missing,” he cautioned, “is that there were clauses put into this bill, protections for certain publishers and content creators that would protect people like myself and yourself.”

Those clauses, he said, were recently removed from the bill, leading many content-creating Canadians aware of the bill to worry they will be treated the same as a broadcaster or a programmer, subject to the regulations of the CRTC.

The bottom line is that, beyond the mumbo jumbo of the government, this is the latest attack on freedom of expression, and on dissent. 

“It really appears that it’s a backdoor to be able to control the free flow of information online, and to begin to silence voices that go against the status quo,” Dicks said, warning that fines for violators could follow.

“It’s not looking good for individual content creators. Anybody who has any kind of a voice or a significant audience, where they have the ability to affect the minds of the masses, to reach millions of people, they are going to be the ones who are on the chopping block moving forward.”

Names like James Corbett come to mind. Although based in Japan, as a Canadian he would be subject to the bill. And with his very harsh criticisms of many issues pertaining to the Canadian government, he is a thorn they would surely be happy to remove under the pretext of this bill.

Or Dicks, who likewise creates videos often critiquing Canadian government actions.

Or researcher Cory Morningstar, authors Maximilian Forte, Mark Taliano, Yves Engler, or outspoken physicist Denis Rancourt, to name a handful of dissenting voices. Agree or not with their opinions, they have the right to voice them.

Or myself. I’ve been very critical of Canada’s Covid policies and hypocrisy, as well as Canada’s whitewashing of terrorism in Syria, support to neo-Nazis in Ukraine, and unwavering support for Israel which is systematically murdering, starving, and imprisoning Palestinian civilians–including children.

An article on the Law & Liberty website, which describes itself as focussing on “the classical liberal tradition of law and how it shapes a society of free and responsible persons,” notes the bill enables “ample discretion to filter out content made by Canadians that doesn’t carry a desirable ideological posture and [to] prioritize content that does.”

The article emphasizes that the bill violates Canadians’ right to free expression, as well as “the right to express oneself through artistic and political creations, and the right to not be unfairly suppressed by a nebulous government algorithm.”

It noted that Canadians with large followings, like Jordan Peterson, Gad Saad and Steven Crowder, “each enjoy audiences which far exceed any cable television program.”

As with my examples above, these prominent Canadian voices likewise risk shadow-banning under this bill.

But, worse, there is another bill, C-36, that also portends heavy censorship: the “Reducing Online Harms” bill. This one not only involves censorship, but hefty fines and house arrests for violators

The same  Law & Liberty article notes, “Canada is also expected to follow the template of Germany’s NetzDG law, which mandates that platforms take down posts that are determined to constitute hate speech—which requires no actual demonstrated discrimination or potential harm, and is thus mostly subjective—within 24 hours or to face hefty fines. This obviously will incentivize platforms to remove content liberally and avoid paying up.”

The Canadian Constitution Foundation (CCF), rightly, contests this bill, noting, “the proposed definition of hate speech as speech that is ‘likely’ to foment detestation or vilification is vague and subjective.” 

Maxime Bernier, leader of the People’s Party of Canada, is likewise extremely critical of the bills.

Trudeau has made every issue about race, gender and religion since his election. Now he wants to criminalize everyone who disagrees with his tribalist vision.C-36 is the worst attack ever against free speech in Canada.https://t.co/6Z5EefmviP— Maxime Bernier (@MaximeBernier) June 25, 2021

The CCF points out the potential complete loss of Canadians’ fundamental rights with these bills.

It should be common sense that these bills are extremely dangerous to Canadians, however cloaked in talk of levelling playing fields and of combating hate speech they may be.

Terrified Washington resorts to piracy as it loses grip over West Asia

Terrified Washington resorts to piracy as it loses grip over West Asia

June 25, 2021

by Aram Mirzaei for the Saker blog

In what can only be called an act of piracy, the US government “seized” several pro-resistance media outlets in a coordinated attack this week. One of the outlets that were siezed was Presstv.com. Other web domains, including Palestine al-Youm, a Palestinian-directed broadcaster, Karbala TV – the official television of the Imam Hussein (PBUH) shrine in the holy Iraqi city of Karbala, Iraqi Afaq TV, Asia TV and al-Naeem TV satellite television channels, as well as Nabaa TV which reports the latest stories about Saudi Arabia and other Persian Gulf countries, were also seized.

Citing bogus reasons such as “threat to national security”, the US regime once more proved what a great leader of democracy and freedom it indeed is. Apparently, Washington believes that it cannot win a free and fair debate with outlets such as PressTV, so the only way to “win” is to prevent others from presenting their viewpoint. Imagine if other countries did the same thing and seized CNN or Fox News’ website. The US would probably start a war if countries like Iran or North Korea made such moves. The self-worshipping West loves to criticize other countries for “suppressing free media” while they portray themselves as a safe haven for “opinions of all kinds”.

The fact that the United States ranks last in media trust — at 29% — among 92,000 news consumers surveyed in 46 countries, doesn’t seem to matter. That’s worse than Poland, worse than the Philippines, worse than Peru, yet Washington still seems to have the “moral” right to condemn these countries as well, because any lack of trust in US media is explained as being the result of “foreign disinformation campaigns” and totally not related to the fact that the US media only exists to manufacture consent for Washington’s continued imperialist aggression.

Ironically, the suppression of information is happening while Washington funds and supports perhaps hundreds of propaganda networks such as BBC Persian, VOA Iran and ManotoTV, all known for disseminating vulgar and unprofessional propaganda. Some of these networks are being run by the family members of the Shah of Iran and via using the Iranians’ plundered wealth, to openly call for violent regime change and the return of the degenerate monarchy. Other networks, connected to John Bolton’s close friends in the MEK terrorist cult, openly call for terrorist attacks inside Iran. These are the people that want “democracy” for Iran, and these are the people that Washington supports.

If it hadn’t been proven a thousand times before, then this pathetic move proved once more that America’s claim about advocating freedom and democracy as well as freedom of expression is nothing more than a lie and hypocrisy. Washington is and has always been morally bankrupt, however, this recent act of thuggery shows that Washington, known for lecturing other governments overseas about free speech, democracy, and freedom of expression, is also scared and panicking.

Of course they are afraid. Is it a coincidence that these seizures happened right now? No! The Iranian nation elected what the westerners call a “hardliner” president. They know that the game of “diplomacy and talks”, which they use to stall the lifting of sanctions, is over. President-elect Seyyed Ebrahim Raeisi won’t be as kind to them as the previous administration has been. He has already declared that there will be no talks with Washington over the US return to the JCPOA. On top of that, Yemen’s Ansarullah movement has rejected the Saudis shameful “peace proposal” and are in their way to capture the crucial city of Ma’rib, further humiliating Washington. So Washington resorted to silencing the world’s poorest country, which is under siege by land, sea and air in what can only be called a genocide.

There is absolutely no way for Washington to save face here. It is clear that they are terrified as the pro-resistance outlets are getting their messages across. More and more people are seeing Washington for what it is: a terrorist entity that takes pride in killing and starving people who refuse to bow down to them. This coincides with Washington’s waning influence in the region of West Asia, or as they call it, the “Middle East”. (the term “Middle East” is a colonial term from the British Empire era in which Europeans believed that they were the centre of the world, while West Asia was “the near east”).

Apparently, hundreds of US troops, aircraft and air defence batteries are being withdrawn from the puppet Persian Gulf kingdoms, as the Biden administration allegedly wants to focus on Russia and China instead. In reality, this is Washington’s way of quietly leaving the region as they know and understand what the inevitable alternative would be – getting kicked out of the region with force. Throughout the region, from Syria and Iraq, to Palestine and Yemen, the forces of colonialism and imperialism are losing ground and influence. Their repeated and continued atrocities and crimes are fuelling the fire in our hearts as more and more people, not just in the region, but worldwide are realizing the criminal nature of the imperialists.

This is not the first time nor the last time that the imperialists and their tools have silenced the voices of dissent. Throughout the years, tens or perhaps hundreds of thousand blogs, and social media pages have been shut down for supporting Syria, Palestine or Yemen. I have personally had 4 social media accounts shut down over the years, for supporting Syria’s legitimate government, for posting pictures in loving memory of Martyr Soleimani and for speaking out against the genocide going on in Yemen. But I will not back down, nor will I give up, and neither should anyone who has spoken out against the savage actions of the imperialists. It should never be forgotten that they silence and shut us down because they fear us, not because they are morally superior to us.

Resistance must continue on all fronts. Every act of aggression should be seen as an opportunity to show the world what liars and hypocrites the Western warmongers are who think that they can win the hearts of the people of this region through their lies and crude propaganda while bombing the people’s homes and loved ones.

British schoolchildren face punishment for wearing Palestine flags and keffiyeh’s

Students said they were threatened with detention, expulsion and barred from taking exams due to their pro-Palestine activism

Children across the UK have faced disciplinary action for their Palestine activism on school premises (AFP)

By Areeb Ullah

Published date: 26 May 2021

Schoolchildren in the UK are being punished for their pro-Palestine activism on school premises, with some being disciplined for wearing keffiyehs and holding Palestine flags.

Several students who spoke to Middle East Eye said they were threatened with detention, expulsion and being blocked from taking their exams if they continued protesting for Palestinian rights on school premises.

The forms of activism being penalised by schools include displaying the Palestinian flag on face masks or their hands and putting up posters designed by students to educate their peers on the Israel-Palestinian issue.

Every student and teacher who spoke to MEE requested anonymity as they feared possible repercussions from their school for speaking out.

Picture of Palestine posters put up by students at Allerton George in Leeds (Supplied)
Picture of Palestine posters put up by students at Allerton George in Leeds. Students had to take pictures in secret as phones are banned on school premises (Supplied)

Pupils who spoke to MEE attended schools in Birmingham, Leeds, Manchester, Rochdale and different areas of London.

Taking inspiration from last year’s Black Lives Matter protests (BLM) and her school’s awareness campaigns on LGBT rights and mental health, Jay assumed Allerton George would encourage discussion on Palestine.

But when students put up posters around the school in communal areas without permission, teachers quickly took them down.

“The teachers went as far as ripping the Palestine posters into pieces and scrunching the ripping the Palestine posters into pieces and scrunching them up in our faces,” Jay told MEE.

“When we asked why they took down the posters, the teachers said they didn’t have to justify it to us and were given clear instructions to take down these posters as they were seen as sending antisemitic messages.”

Jay stressed the messages on the posters were not antisemitic and said: “End Israeli Apartheid, End illegal Occupation and Free Palestine”. 

She added: “They took our lanyards from us because they had the Palestine flag.

“When we asked them why it was okay to wear BLM or LGBTQ+ flags on our lanyards but not Palestine, they couldn’t give us an answer and later said as a political cause, it caused distress to others.”

Students from Allerton Grange later posted a video of headteacher Mike Roper describing the Palestinian flag as a “call to arms” and “symbol of antisemitism”. Roper has since apologised after facing protests outside the school. 

‘Posters were torn down and binned’

Jay said the school had refused to take down the Israeli flag displayed in the library after seeing the Palestine flag taken down.

Allerton George had not responded to MEE’s requests for comment at the time of this article’s publication.

Some teachers from other schools who spoke to MEE also confirmed that students were placed in detention for putting up posters in support of Palestine.

Like Jay, Sam from West London put up posters in his school for Palestine on their class boards and wore badges to raise awareness about Palestine.

“We put up small Palestinian flags and posters on our class poster boards wearing badges that read ‘Free Palestine’, drawing Palestine flags on our hands and wearing keffiyehs to spread awareness and pique student interest,” Sam told MEE.

“The posters were torn down and binned, the students were told to remove their badges at the threat of suspension from school and all ‘flags and symbols’ were removed from sight at the threat of detention.” 

Sam added that students were threatened with being withdrawn from their GCSE exams if they refused to delete a video of senior staff taking down posters or wore a Palestine badge.

Aisha faced a similar situation as Sam did at Brampton Manor Academy in Newham, east London, where she says she was punished for wearing a Free Palestine badge in her school.

She said her teachers banned students from protesting and threatened them with detention if they continued putting them up. 

Students fear speaking out

Several students from other parts of the UK also expressed their disappointment at how their schools reacted towards their activism following the BLM protests.

Letters given to MEE that were sent to teachers and parents by Redbridge Council and a school in Birmingham told them that schools are “apolitical” bodies and could not allow students to participate in Palestine protests despite holding discussions for BLM and selling poppies to students.

Ilyas Nagdee, an activist who campaigns against the Prevent strategy, said children and their parents had contacted him about schools clamping down on pro-Palestine activism.

‘What we are seeing now is a product of years of Prevent trying to micro-manage political conversations’

– Shereen Fernandez, Queen Mary University

His call-out on Twitter to help students facing issues at school for their Palestine protests was retweeted 1,300 times at the time of writing.

Since then, Nagdee has received nearly a hundred requests for help, with many students afraid to speak out publicly.

“The cases we have received span the entire length of the country with hotspots where there are sizeable Muslim communities. The sanctions applied are wide in range, from young people being spoken to in class or given lunchtime isolation all the way to exclusions,” said Nagdee.

“We are also receiving a growing number of concerned parents who are contacting us due to fear their child has fallen into the clutches of Prevent or fearful of visits from the police.

Prevent in schools

Shereen Fernandez, a lecturer at Queen Mary University in London who specialises in Prevent in schools, believes the school reaction to Palestine protests is a direct result of the Prevent strategy telling teachers that campaigning for Palestine is associated with extremism.

Prevent is a strand of the British government’s counter-terrorism strategy that aims to “safeguard and support those vulnerable to radicalisation, to stop them from becoming terrorists or supporting terrorism”.

It was publicly launched in the aftermath of the 2005 London bombings and was initially targeted squarely at Muslim communities, prompting continuing complaints of discrimination and concerns that the programme was being used to collect intelligence.

“Although Prevent will maintain that schools are ‘safe spaces’, that is not the case, as teachers will be anxious about approaching ‘controversial’ topics like Palestine because of its alleged association to extremism as indicated in the training material.”

“Symbols of solidarity such as wearing a badge supporting Palestine has been enough to refer students in the past to Prevent.”

In 2016, MEE revealed that the UK government told teachers in schools, colleges and universities to monitor Muslim students who display an interest in Palestine as being susceptible to terrorism.

And in 2014, Rahmaan Mohammadi, a 17-year-old student from Luton, was reportedly referred to Prevent and visited by the police after he organised a Palestine fundraiser at his school.

A teacher from Mayfield school in the London area of Ilford said the school’s reaction to pro-Palestine protests was “confusing”, adding that colleagues perceive “pro-Palestine activism as racism”.

“I wouldn’t be surprised if Prevent is involved in constructing that line for schools across the country, and I’d say issues like BLM and poppies are allowed because they are considered neutral enough for schools to talk about.”

Mayfield School had not responded to MEE’s requests for comment by the time of this article’s publication.

Nagdee, the activist, said that many parents who spoke to him said they feared their children would be referred to Prevent because of their campaigning.

‘Biased’ assemblies

Following the protests, many schools across the UK held assemblies to address student concerns on raising awareness. 

But students who spoke to MEE said the assemblies fuelled further anger among students.

Images posted online showed students protesting at Judgemeadow Community College in Leicester after it was perceived to minimise Palestinian suffering. 

It remains unclear whether students in the video were punished for protesting.

Sam noted how his teacher described the tensions between Israelis and Palestinians as similar to a “messy bedroom” and disputed the phrasing of tensions as a “conflict”. 

“To address the discomfort many students felt about censorship of student voices, they organised an assembly on the concept of ‘conflict’ where the events in Palestine was compared to a ‘messy bedroom where a rebellious child and their parent had differing opinions on how it should be dealt with,” said Sam. 

“It just felt patronising and demeaning to us all.” 

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نصرالله عصر التنوير وماكرون محاكم التفتيش Nasrallah – the Age of Enlightenment, Macron – the Inquisition

ناصر قنديل

العلمانية التي ظهرت كنظام سياسي وعقد اجتماعي للدولة الأوروبية المعاصرة، هي منتج سياسي وقانوني لثقافة أعمق نهضت على أكتاف الثورة الصناعيّة وتجسّدت في القرنين الثامن عشر والتاسع عشر بثورة العقل والمنطق. وما عُرف بعصر التنوير الذي قاده عمالقة بحجم فولتير وروسو ومونتسكيو، وتبلورت شعاراتها السياسية بالحرية والأخاء والمساواة في الثورة الفرنسية، بينما تبلورت فلسفته العميقة بالاحتكام للعقل، وكانت قطيعة مع تاريخ معاكس مثلته محاكم التفتيش الكاثوليكية التي دفع فيلسوف كبير مثل برونو وعلماء كبار مثل كوبرنيكوس وجاليلو ثمناً باهظاً لها بتهمة الهرطقة على قاعدة تحريم الاحتكام للعقل والعلم، بينما سياسياً واجتماعياً طورد الإصلاحيون باسم التبرؤ من البدع كما حدث مع الفيلسوف ميشال سيرفيه الذي أحرق حياً في جنيف بتهمة رفض عقيدة التثليث، فيما شكلت جرائمها بحق المسلمين في الأندلس أبرز ما حمله سجلها التاريخي تحت عنوان فحص الولاء لله، وشكلت فكرياً وثقافياً وجهاً من وجوه استمرار الحملات الصليبية.

في ما يشبه استعادة مناخات الحروب الصليبية يتبادل الرئيسان الفرنسي والتركي عبثاً بالعقائد والعواطف والانفعالات المنبثقة عنها، حيث يصب كل منهما من طرفه وفي البيئة التي يخاطبها زيتاً على نار حرب عبثية، لا يتورّع فيها الرئيس الفرنسي امانويل ماكرون عن التحدث عن أزمة في الإسلام، وإرهاب إسلامي، وفاشية إسلامية، أملاً بأن يتزعم جبهة تضم العلمانيين بداعي الدفاع عن حرية التعبير في شقها المتصل بالتغطية على ما يطال المقدسات الإسلامية، وتضم المتطرفين المسيحيين، الذين لا يخفون ضيقهم من تنامي حضور وتعداد المسلمين في فرنسا خصوصاً وأوروبا عموماً، وإلى الفريقين تضم اليمين الوطني الرافض لتكاثر المهاجرين من البلاد الإسلامية، أملاً بأن يشكل هذا الثلاثي مصدر زعامة تشبه زعامات بناها قادة الحروب الصليبية، بينما يسعى الرئيس التركي رجب أردوغان، وفي ظل نزاع مصلحي بين الدولتين الفرنسية والتركية، لقيادة جبهة تضم الجاليات الإسلامية المقهورة تحت ظلم سياسات عنصرية في أوروبا، وتضم التنظيمات الإرهابية التكفيرية التي تشغّلها تركيا، وكانت فرنسا شريكها في التشغيل طوال سنوات الحرب على سورية، وتضم ثالثاً الشعوب العربية من المسلمين التي تسمع بصعوبة كلاماً منخفض الصوت لحكوماتها الواقعة تحت تبعية ذليلة لحكومات الغرب، فتعجز عن التجرؤ لمخاطبة الحكومات الغربية، والرئيس الفرنسي في المقدمة بلغة شجاعة تنتقد وتصحح وتعترض. وهذه الحكومات التابعة هي شريك لحكومات فرنسا وأوروبا في رعاية الجماعات الإرهابية وتشجيع الفكر التكفيري، لكن بغرض استعمال نتاج هذه الرعاية في ليبيا وسورية وليس في أوروبا.

في هذا القحط الفكري، والانفلات القاتل للعصبيّات، يخرج رجل دين معمّم من أتباع الرسول وعشاقه ليقود الدعوة للتعقل وتحمّل المسؤولية، ووضع النقاط على الحروف، مستعيداً المعاني العميقة لشعارات الثورة الفرنسية ودعوات روسو وفولتير، حيث الحرية هي الاحترام العميق لحرية المعتقد. وهو في الأولوية معتقد الأقلية والضعفاء والمقهورين، والأخاء هو الترفّع عن منطق التمييز العنصري على اساس الدين والعرق واللون والجنس، والمساواة هي نزاهة تطبيق معيار المحاكمة العقلية للمفاهيم قبل أن تكون المساواة أمام القانون، حيث لا يستوي نص تحريم الحرية والعقل تحت شعار معاداة السامية، ولو التزما كل التحفظ العلمي والضوابط الأخلاقية، وتطلق حرية بث الكراهيّة، ولو تمت بصورة عبثية تستخف بالضوابط الأخلاقية والقيمية للأخوة الإنسانية، تحت شعار حرية التعبير، فجادل رجل الدين المعمم، بلغة عصر التنوير كوريث لمنجزات الحضارة الإنسانية، من يفترض أنه الوصي على تنفيذ منتجاتها من الموقع الدستوري والسياسي، بعدما ارتضى أن يتحول إلى قائد جيش في الحرب الصليبية أو رئيس غرفة من غرف محاكم تفتيش.

كلام السيد حسن نصرلله في ما تشهده علاقة المسلمين والجاليات الإسلامية بالقضايا المثارة على مساحة أوروبا من وحي قضية الرسوم المسيئة للرسول والجرائم الإرهابية المتذرّعة بها، مرافعة فلسفية عقلانية تستعيد روح عصر التنوير والاحتكام للعقل، والحل الذي تبنّاه ختاماً لمرافعته، مستعيداً مقترح الأزهر بتشريع عالمي لتحريم النيل من المقدسات، حجر متعدد الأهداف في يوم الوحدة الإسلامية، بينما يتساءل بعض رجال القانون في فرنسا، لماذا لا تتم محاكمة أصحاب الرسوم المسيئة للرسول تحت بند العداء للسامية، أليس الرسول من أحفاد سام بن نوح، وقد روى الترمذي أن الرسول هو القائل بأن “سام أبو العرب ويافث أبو الروم وحام أبو الحبش”؟

Nasrallah – the Age of Enlightenment, Macron – the Inquisition

2/11/2020

Written by Nasser Kandil,

Secularism is a political regime and a social aspect of the contemporary European state, it is a political and legal outcome of a deeper culture that emerged as a result of the Industrial Revolution and was embodied in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries by the revolution of reason and logic or as was called the Age of Enlightenment led by the giants as Voltaire, Rousseau, and Montesquieu. Its political slogans called for freedom, brotherhood, and equality during the French Revolution. But this movement was faced with counter thinking represented by the Catholic Inquisition which a great philosopher as Bruno and great scholars as Copernicus and Galileo had paid a high cost in charge of heresy based on the prohibition of resorting to reason and science. Politically and socially, many reformists were chased under the name of the disavowal of heresies, as happened with the philosopher Michael Servetus who was burnt alive in Geneva on the accusation of rejecting the doctrine of Trinity. Its history was known for its crimes against Muslims in Andalusia under the name of loyalty to God, so intellectually and culturally it formed an aspect of the continuation of the Crusades.

As in the Crusades, the French and the Turkish Presidents exchanged in vain beliefs, emotions, and the outcome feelings. Each one of them has tried to evoke a futile war. The French President Emmanuel Macron did not hesitate to talk about a crisis in Islam, Islamic terrorism, and Islamic Fascism, hoping to lead a front that includes the secularists in order to defend the liberty of expression about Islamic sanctities, the Christian extremists, who are fed up with the growing number of Muslims in Europe in general and in France in particular, and the National right which rejects the growing number of immigrants from Islamic countries, hoping that this front can be a source of leadership as the leaderships of the Crusades. While the Turkish President Recep Erdogan was seeking to lead a front that includes the oppressed Muslim communities due to the tyranny of the racist policies in Europe, the takfiri terrorist organizations backed by Turkey, and the Arab Muslim nations who are suffering from their governments that are subordinated to the governments of the West, and do not dare to address them bravely, criticize or oppose. These governments are partners of the governments of France and Europe in sponsoring the terrorist groups and supporting the takfiri belief in order to be operated in Libya and Syria not in Europe.

In this intellectual aridity and fatal chaos of fanaticism, a religious man from the followers and lovers of the Prophet emerged to lead the call to be rational, to bear the responsibility, and to be clear, recalling the deeper meanings of the slogans of the French Revolution and the calls of Rousseau and Voltaire where freedom means the respect of the freedom of belief which is the belief of the minority, the weak, and the oppressed, and where brotherhood means to be away from the logic of the racial discrimination on the basis of religion, race, color, and gender, and where equality is the fairness of applying the mental judgment of concepts before it is governed by law, and where the texts of prohibiting freedom and reason cannot be dealt with under the slogan of anti-Semitism even if scientific reservation and moral controls were taken into consideration, and the freedom of  feeling hostile cannot be spread irrationally underestimating all moral controls of the human brotherhood under the slogan of the liberty of expression. Therefore, this religious leader has argued in the language of the Age of Enlightenment “as a heritage of the achievements of the human civilization” the man who is supposed to be the trustee constitutionally and politically not an army commander in the Crusades or a head of one of the inquisitions.

The words of Al Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah regarding the relationship of Muslims and the Islamic communities with the issues rose in Europe after the offensive drawings against the Prophet and the terrorist crimes relating are a philosophical and rational argument that recalls the spirit of the Age of Enlightenment and the resorting to reason. He adopted the suggestion of Al Azhar of an international legislation to prohibit the underestimation of sanctities as a base in the Day of the Islamic unity. While some jurists in France are wondering why the owners of the offensive drawings are not prosecuted under the name of anti-Semitism, Is not the Messenger one of the grandsons of Sam Bin Noah?! Al Tirmidhi narrated that the Prophet “peace be upon him” said: “Sam was the father of Arabs, Ham the father of the Ethiopians, and Yafith the father of the Romans”.

Translated by Lina Shehadeh,

Facebook bans Iran’s Press TV page

“Attempted Coup against President Failed, Thoughts of Toppling Him Mere Delusion”

March 9, 2021

The “Strong Lebanon” parliamentary bloc, said in a statement following its periodic meeting headed by MP Gebran Bassil, that it “supports the people and their demands, and therefore did not spare any effort to stop the financial collapse, recover people’s money and hold accountable those responsible for the financial crime committed against them.”

Conferees believed that “what the last days have witnessed is the exploitation of the people’s pain for political ends. Practices and slogans indicate what looks like a coup against the President of the Republic, his position, and whoever he represents. It is a deliberate coup to torpedo President Aoun’s reform project and disrupt accountability, foremost among which is the forensic audit that would reveal the truth.”

“Any thinking on the part of anyone to overthrow the president of the republic is an illusion, and we recommend those to just quit trying,” conferees stressed.

The bloc warned “the Lebanese about the danger of what is being prepared for,” stressing that “it will not allow in any way to halt reforms, most of which are a set of draft laws that are still frozen at the House of Representatives.”

Emphasizing keenness on stability and the rights of people to express their opinion, the bloc categorically refused that a small group of rioters should control the rights of millions of Lebanese to move around, warning of “any sabotage act against security that some may resort to as compensation for their failure in the ongoing coup attempt.”

Source: Al-Manar English Website

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The ‘Cancel Culture’ phenomenon: kind of hate-hush all over the world

The ‘Cancel Culture’ phenomenon: kind of hate-hush all over the world

March 01, 2021

by Ghassan and Intibah Kadi for the Saker Blog

Who remembers the Herman’s Hermits and their 1967 song ‘There’s a Kind of Hush’? The hush the song speaks of is a hush of love, and it was a world of dreams in the sixties in the West, despite the Vietnam War, the Civil Rights protests in the USA and other global conflicts. The peace movements were strong and vibrant, and there was hope that the peace-loving youth will have their way and make a difference; because they genuinely believed in the slogan that ‘all you need is love’.

Alas, the love-hush seems now to be replaced with a hate-hush, and it is engulfing the world, particularly the West, with unprecedented anger and vile displays of demeanour, and this seems to be part of the ‘New Normal’ that some are pushing down our throats.

Not long ago, inspired by another song of the 1960’s, the article pondered where have all the flowers and peace movements gone. In such a short period since, discord and trouble has steeply risen to unprecedented levels, where we are witnessing now an ominous step forward into the abyss and a huge fall in the trajectory of humanity.

In comparison and as an example, when the Lebanese civil war erupted in 1975, it didn’t really come as a surprise to anyone as the specter of such calamity had always hung in the air and sat on the agendas of opposing political groups, as well as on the narrow minds of religious groups that held back unsettled sectarian scores for decades, even centuries.

In hindsight, it seems unfathomable as to how did the German people become so brainwashed and vulnerable to Nazi propaganda. They incrementally discarded all the humane values they had known before, replacing them with nationalist, exclusionist and supremacist values, eventually engaging, wittingly or unwittingly, in supporting or perpetrating injustices on minority groups including Jews, Gypsies, Slavs, the disabled, just to mention a few. Shockingly, when the civil war began in Lebanon, the Lebanese people actually saw a similar phenomenon happen right in front of their eyes. The world witnessed town turning against town, suburb against suburb, neighbour against neighbour, inflicting the most horrendous crimes of maiming, sniping, torturing and killing each other. The same happened again in Yugoslavia as it fell apart.

In more ways than one, latent hatred was expected to eventually manifest itself. If and when old sentiments are not dealt with and brought to closure, such an outcome of a build-up and explosion is to be expected.

But what we are witnessing today, in the West, is something quite different; a case where many people develop boiling, seething, foaming and frothing rage and hatred against others for no apparent reason or history at all.

In America at least, there are a number of actual issues that cause rage and dismay, such as unresolved racial tensions and injustices, perceptions of stolen elections, mishandling of the Corona Virus, the economy and so on. However, these issues are dealt with so vehemently, often with grave, unjust, illegal and disproportional measures, leaving many wondering if America is teetering on the brink of a civil war.

Most striking is the alarming phenomenon of other Western countries taking on board many of the divisive American-specific issues, all with the rage and social divisions that define America’s social status quo. People make ‘all or nothing’ stands and polarity on so many issues, reaching new frenetic levels each day. Even when a legitimate reason for anger exists, the expressions of these can be increasingly extreme and irrational and treated as a defining issue, one worthy of labelling, whether in America or elsewhere.

The authors observed that many people from all different sides of the political divide, within and outside the USA, when asked, are unable to rationally express the reason behind their extremely heated stands. Such a psychological situation can destroy the West; or what is left of it. Close friends, friends who have known and loved each other for decades accuse each other of the most heinous of ‘crimes’, attach labels to each other, just because they ask simple questions, trying to understand the rationale behind their feelings.

And feelings they are, because they are not well-conceived and fact-finding-based views, and their answers provided are merely emotionally based.

In the very near past, people and friends in particular, used to have deep political discussions with peers. They disagreed quite often, but such diverse views were discussed in a civil manner with the assumption that people had the right to have different views and opinions.

In the West today however, it seems that the ‘agree-to-disagree’ principle is no longer. The current rule is ‘you are either with me or against me’. Where have we heard this before? Instead of ‘me’ it was ‘us’?

Not only are we witnessing extreme and unwarranted actions between disagreeing individuals, we are also witnessing this on a collective level, one we often refer to as ‘thought-policing’. Its repercussions in recent times are rapidly morphing into what can only be described as torture ‘techniques’ such as the likes of ‘Cancel Culture’. This is exactly synonymous to the act of ‘banishment’ during the Spanish Inquisition days and the Witch-Hunt eras. Nothing much has changed, or perhaps things have gone full-circle.

In that time, ‘banishment’ meant that the banished ones lost their jobs, became socially isolated, prohibited from trading or buying goods, and quite often, this preceded being burnt alive at the stake. And, now it appears that ‘Cancel Culture’ means virtually the same thing. Whilst the victim may still be lucky enough to trade and buy commodities online, it still generally involves losing one’s job, stature, friends, memberships of associations, and facing humiliation and defamation among many other things. The only basic difference today is the absence of being put to death.

Prior to any banishment or ‘Cancel Culture’ being implemented, just like in the past where such people were branded as heretics, they are now given labels such as ‘denialists’ (disagreement with climate change theory), ‘anti-vaxxers’ (questioning the effectiveness and safety of COVID vaccines) and others. What is interesting here in all this madness, is that a person could be labelling another, only to end up themselves being labelled for something else. Someone who labels another as a ‘denialist’ may find him/herself branded as an ‘anti-vaxxer’.

What is most sinister perhaps is that, on one hand we see this violent, unexplainable, unwarranted irrational level of anger, but on the other hand, we see the West endorsing and accepting other irrational policies that can destroy it, but yet no one is batting an eyelid. Any keen observer can see that a whole myriad of changes have been imposed on the Western society, each of them alone can destroy the Western culture. Without much effort, we can see many such changes, but it suffices to mention the following:

  1. Political correctness that has gone way too far and continues to erode personal freedom of expression.
  2. The climate change debacle/hoax that elevated Greta to the level of becoming Time Magazine’s person of the year.
  3. The destruction of Western family values.
  4. The over-emphasis on LBGTI rights and all the changes imposed on the mainstream society, including such things as banning the use of words like mother and father.
  5. The COVID-thing; lockdowns, conflicting information, the vaccines that we know little about, the presence of nefarious people of influence like Fauci and Gates in decision-making.
  6. Confusing young school children with gender issues and almost encouraging them to become homosexual and/or transgender.
  7. The silence of the public regarding the censorship regulations of Facebook and Twitter.
  8. The silence of the public about the plans of the WEF’s ‘Great Reset”.
  9. The growing acceptance of thought policing and compliance to the state and media.
  10. The public indifference towards the groundless sanctions against Russia and their possible effect on global stability and peace.
  11. The public lack of knowledge and indifference about the support of their governments to Neo-Nazis in Ukraine.
  12. The West losing its industrial base under the watchful eyes of Western Governments.
  13. The West suffering from a huge drop in number of students majoring in STEM subjects.
  14. The West suffering from a growing lack of desire of young adults to have children and raise families.
  15. Giving blanket and unconditional support to abortion, even in the absence of any medical, psychological and justifiable reasons, including late-term abortion, and considering it (ie abortion) as a human right.

When people in the West are asked, why do those who do not agree with the above or accept it say nothing? The response is invariably fear, fear of being targeted and being subjected to the ‘Cancel Culture’.

Coerced to endorse the revolution of anger and phantom ideology, Westerners, especially the youth, have been socially engineered to become the corner stones of ‘controlled opposition’, all the while, they seem to have been conditioned to ‘unsee’ the real issues that threaten their survival in the future.

Coming to the crunch question; with what appears as increasing irrationality and insanity all around, have people been recently, or maybe incrementally, subjected to systemic brainwashing that renders them into such a state of irrationality, anger, volatility and blindness? If that is the case, then how was this achieved?

This brings to mind the tactic of subliminal advertising, a technique developed as early as in the 1950’s in which a person is subjected unknowingly to an advertisement. It can be sound-based or visual. A visual one is based on techniques like inserting a single advertisement frame, say of a bag of popcorn, into a movie. Movies show motion by playing a series of still frames, around twenty per second. In a single frame it is not noticeable by the conscious mind, but is picked up by the subconscious, and in this example given, will create a stimulus to buy popcorn. There is much evidence of more sinister or politically motivated subliminal messages inserted into Hollywood movies. Legal questions arose around this technique.

From such a simple, unsophisticated technique, in the same decade, a secretive project on behaviour modification was undertaken named Project MKUltra, eventually becoming the subject of an American Senate Intelligence Hearing . Mind-control technology took off, reaching ever new heights (or lows?), not just enhancing business and socio-political agenda, but becoming a crucial component of warfare, even with special strategies for social media, to target the public and their perceptions, making them compliant or malleable and even activating them to the extent this discussion indicates. Intibah Kadi’s work on this is cited in the preceding link to an academic paper.

The question is where else, apart from media and social media, have such techniques been used? What kind of technology and to what extent and what ends has this been taken to? And has such systemic brainwashing that we suggest, been ramped up in these last few years when Trump was President of the USA? This is predicated on the suspicion of Trump acting at times as the ‘disruptor” of a particular set of the ‘establishment’, or ‘swamp’ as he named it, one that either rejected him or he alienated.

This also brings to mind an old movie in 1977 by the name of Telefon, a fiction based on a few people who on the surface appear to lead a normal life, but in reality, are a team of professional assassins designated to kill certain individuals upon receiving a vocal message they had been hypnotized to respond to like robots.

Have we actually reached such days of a ‘New Normal’ in terms of the evident, debased level of social discourse, labeling, shaming and damning? Ironically, ‘New Normal’ is a term we hear every day, courtesy of world leaders, various officials and, of course, from the head of the World Economic Forum. Or is it ironic? Will brainwashing and behaviour modification techniques go far beyond that of what we commonly understand and well into the realms of Artificial Intelligence and Electromagnetism? And in these new realms, what extent, if any, do these play a role in these shocking days of ‘Cancel Culture’, the suspension of critical thinking and general mob-rule behaviour permitted for some in the West in recent years?

But above all, did the Western mind deteriorate naturally as a result of attrition or did social engineering cause it to devolve in a manner that fires it up chasing red herrings all the while being totally blind to what really matters? Or has it been manipulated by a devious master plan that makes any science fiction movie look like a Batman Comic?

The Sheep Syndrome

The Sheep Syndrome
Peter Koenig is a geopolitical analyst and a former Senior Economist at the World Bank and the World Health Organization (WHO), where he has worked for over 30 years on water and environment around the world. He lectures at universities in the US, Europe and South America. He writes regularly for online journals and is the author of Implosion – An Economic Thriller about War, Environmental Destruction and Corporate Greed; and  co-author of Cynthia McKinney’s book “When China Sneezes: From the Coronavirus Lockdown to the Global Politico-Economic Crisis” (Clarity Press – November 1, 2020).

Peter Koenig is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization.

January 15, 2021

by Peter Koenig for the Saker Blog

Today and during the last few days new “measures” – restrictions of freedom imposed by governments for reasons of “public health security”, i. e. preventing the spread of covid infections – have been tightened throughout Europe. Literally, these treacherous governments say, “we have to tighten the screws”. Seriously. WTF – who do they think they are? Servant of the people who elected them and who pay them. This is high treason. But people take it without asking too many questions, some complaints but not strong enough… we are living in the midst of the Sheep Syndrome.

They – these supposedly people friendly governments – call them “measures”, a euphemism for lockdown – sounds better in the ears of a public tired of continuous and more and more repressions. This second, in some countries even third lockdown, includes further business closing, more severe control on home-office work, police-enhanced social distancing, mask wearing, no indoor group activities, only 5 people may meet in an apartment… and, and, and.

For example, there are about 75 studies – give or take a couple – about the uselessness and even dangers of mask wearing. They address especially the danger for children and young adults… but nobody, nobody in the bought-compromised and coerced, bribed – western governments pays any attention to them, nor does, of course, the presstitute mainstream media. They keep to the narrative – MUST wear a mask – MUST keep the safe 6ft. distance – police enforced.

They also impose homeoffice, knowing damn well that any serious psychologist and sociologist tells you how devastating this is for the individual – loneliness, lack of physical contact, encounter and interaction with colleagues – as well as for society as a whole. Without physical contact it breaks apart. This is of course all wanton – thus, all restaurant closings, all events where people gather and interchange, is forbidden.

People are unhappy. Yes, but not enough to stop this tyranny! – Well, I better behave otherwise I’m going to be punished. – FEAR! – Fear leads to the sheep syndrome – that deep-deep social disease which besets us today – and has done so for a while. People, we got to get out of it.

But, it seems, people are not yet tired enough to stand up in unison, screaming “enough is enough”, we do not continue this is government tyranny, we stop beying.

And yes, to give the tyranny more weight, more credibility, it is enhanced by a so-called Task Force (TF), a group of coopted “scientists”, especially established by the Powers that Be, to inform them what to do. It is an old method of a decision-making duality, when governments have to, or want to, take decisions that are not popular, they ask the Task Force for advice. However, the TF has been told and knows exactly what they have to advise. That’s a premeditated lie.

In the UK and France new lockdown measures were imposed already for days, Austria and Switzerland announced them a couple of days ago – the EU as an entity – says nothing, does not coordinate, does not want see that these lockdowns are not only destroying the individual nations’ economy, but they bring the entire EU to economic suicide. The EU is hamstrung by Washington and by NATO.

The new lockdowns – and possibly more are planned as more waves of covid are in the making – until everybody is vaxxed – and has his / her electromagnetic gel injected in their bodies with an DNA-altering substance. So now, they are totally controllable over time. And the time horizon set for total digitization of everything is 2030. AI and robot control of humans – making them into transhumans that’s the goal for the UN Agenda 21-30. And the instrument to achieve it is the Bill Gates created Agenda ID2020 (see https://www.globalresearch.ca/coronavirus-causes-effects-real-danger-agenda-id2020/5706153 )

More lockdowns are killing more small businesses, shops, and restaurants. Creating more hardship of small business owner, more bankruptcies, more misery for the people and their families, losing their jobs.

Just imagine – home-teaching, a family of 4, both parents work, the kids have to have each one a reasonably powerful computer to be able to connect to the school teacher – the kids have to have reasonable computer skills to manage home-learning, and the parents, even if they have time, do they all have the reasonable computer skills to help their kids? – Does every family in the already much covid-hardship affected society have the resources to spare for buying the needed electronic gear for the kids?

It is a disaster. Again, a wanton disaster. Because it will result in less or non-educated children in the west – non-educated kids will become easier manipulatable adults – well, they are expected to fall – in lockstep – into their parents Sheep Syndrome. – Or will they? – That’s where dynamics may not meet linear elite thinking and expectations.

Now, this is happening in the Global North. Imagine how it is in the Global South, where increasing poverty, misery and famine is ravaging entire societies, in cases more than two thirds of a country’s population. How will these kids be distance-taught? – They simply won’t. So, we have a situation where the Global South produces uneducated kids, because they simply don’t go to school. Most of them will remain poor, they will be the perfect laborers for the elite – or cannon fodder for the wars the rich nations have to (or want to) fight to satisfy their greed. Never forget, wars are profitable. But foremost because of their sociopathic thirst for more and more power and money.

Listening and talking to people in the street and to small business owners, they are all upset, and many of them say they may not survive, may never reopen, despite the subsidy they receive form governments. In Switzerland, the head of “Gastronomie Suisse” said with another lockdown, up to 50% of restaurants may not survive. A similar figure had been mentioned in Germany and Austria – and surely the situation is likewise devastating elsewhere too.

We are talking predominantly for the west. The situation in the East, Russia and China and their allies in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) is different, in as much as they have a people-friendlier approach to covid-eradication.

In the west, in some cases, people’s entire lifesaving, their life achievements, their family businesses, are killed for the sake of a useless and purely oppressive rule. The purpose of this rule is not to stamp out a disease, but covid is a means to instill fear and make us compliant, for worse times to come. Because, let me tell you, whatever you may think that in the summer of 2021, or next year, 2022, we will get back to normal – we will not. Never. If we let them do what they are doing now.

This small Globalist Cabal, via its ultra-rich handlers – billionaires with two and three digits of Silicon Valley – does not only have the power to censoring whoever is against the Matrix, but they are all censuring in unison the President of the United States. What does that say about a country, or about a society we live in, a society that calls itself “democratic”?

No matter how much you like or dislike your President, doesn’t it occur to you that this is the embodiment of freedom of speech that is taken away from you? – But again, we do nothing. We watch and complain, but we do nothing. We let it happen. Wouldn’t this be a golden opportunity to block and boycott all social media platforms? Period. – Live without them, for Christ’s sake, some 20, 30 years ago we didn’t even know that they existed, or to what extent we will be hooked on them.

If we can still think independently, it’s now the time to cut yourself loose from Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and what all their names are — don’t use them. Get back to regular human-to-human communications, dialogues, meeting each other, calling on the phone, landline if possible. Yes, I’m serious.

Think about the consequences of following this trend of no free speech, but a steady increase in AI-ization by algorithms that are precisely using the data you give them on the social platform to further enslave you; by ever more robotization and digitization – to the point when we don’t even realize that our brains have been wired and “hacked” by DARPA-developed super-computers, and we will believe and follow orders we are directly implanted by such super-computers, managed, guess by whom – by the Globalist Cabal – at which point we have irreversibly become the embodiment of the Sheep Syndrome. DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) is an advanced research and technology branch of the Pentagon.

Does anyone want that?
I doubt it.

We have to find a way to act now. I don’t have the solution. But maybe collectively connecting with each other spiritually, we will find a solution – or we will make a solution emerge.

That would be the noble way – changing an utterly abusive environment with conscientiousness and with spiritual thinking; emitting high-vibrating vibes that influence our collective destiny. But we have to believe in it and in ourselves as a solid and solidary collectivity.

If we fail as humans to claim back our human and civil rights and preserve them, eventually Mother Earth will clean herself. She will clean out the inhuman swamp. Maybe it needs one or two huge and lasting cataclysms; a massive earthquake with a disastrous tsunami, a gigantic eruption of one or several volcanos, darkening the sky for weeks, or a monster hurricane or ice storm that destroys and paralyzes parts of civilization, or a huge solar explosion, knocking out the world’s electric and electronic grid – ending digitization of everything on the spot.  – All this might be much worse than what covid, or its inventors, ever did.

After such a cataclysm, much of humanity might have to start from scratch – from near-to-zero, and certainly without digitization – but with the now lost freedom, to start afresh and develop freely and sovereignly according to our needs.

For decades the Global Cabal has showered us with self-aggrandizing lies, with promises of comfort, of well-being, but with the notion that competition rather than cooperation will be the salvation. These well-thought-out lies led to a society of egocentric psychopaths – not only, but enough to influence the trend of society, of our dystopian lives. We have gradually acquiesced in LOCKSTEP to a move of societal, even civilizational destruction, from where there is no return.

Let’s work ourselves out of the Sheep Syndrome – NOW.


US post-Capitol: Armed, hysterical, depressed & yet out for blood

US post-Capitol: Armed, hysterical, depressed & yet out for blood

January 14, 2021

by Ramin Mazaheri (@RaminMazaheri2) for the Saker Blog

The FBI says armed protests are being planned in all 50 states from January 16 until Joe Biden’s inauguration day on January 20.

It’s a living nightmare in the US right now – what else can be said?

“Hysteria” is the one word which described the United States in 2020, but in 2021 we are witnessing what happens when a hysterical sprinter just can’t stop sprinting – it is ugly.

I can objectively report that since the Electoral College decided the presidency – following the end of the Capitol Hill protest – seemingly everybody here is depressed and unhappy. The US cannot handle what is going on and everyone feels things are spinning out of control. What’s worse is that they cannot even help themselves from contributing to the spinning: The solution of those who opposed the armed protests is to antagonise the potential armed protesters?

It is ugly.

This is a pretty ambitious column, if “ambitious column” isn’t a journalistic oxymoron: I think all of the upcoming paragraphs can be turned into stand-alone columns because the US is, sadly, in such a hideously twisted shape.

It’s totally absurd to compare 9/11 to “1/6”, but that is what The New York Times did today – it only shows how inoculated modern Americans are from war on their own soil. Do Americans realise that the Capitol Hill protests are exactly what Washington has encouraged in Hong Kong, Venezuela, Syria, Ukraine, Iran, etc.? And that’s just in your recent memory banks – go back to World War II and the’ve done this in half the world. I can report absolutely nobody in the Mainstream Media here is making that connection. Well, America, the sight of a bloody and brewing civil war is pretty terrible, isn’t it? Like I wrote this is a whole column, but the US has hit what is a comparatively tiny bump in the road – when compared to what they have so gleefully fomented for so very long and with such self-righteousness – and Americans are absolutely falling to pieces.

Do Americans realise that the worst thing to do right now is to spend much time consulting their corporate-dominated media? The Capitol Hill protest was spectacular for ratings, and this country – which totally lacks a sizeable, patriotic and neutral government media – wants to make big bucks until at least inauguration day by hyping what should not be hyped. Do not tune into the news during this time of hysteria – you will thank me for it.

I also have encouraged people to not tune into social media. It’s not that the average person doesn’t know what he or she is talking about – I always insist that the “person on the street” interviews I do often provide me with better insights than interviews with degreed experts – it’s that there simply is no filter. Trump is toxic on his social media because that’s what American social media is – toxic. Western, uncensored social media is seemingly designed to provide a direct counterweight to the Asian cultural model of “saving” and “giving” face. I would guess that the overwhelming majority of Americans – after this roughly 15-year experiment with it – would say that social media has been a societal and personal disappointment.

On the macro level of social media: the US has created a monster, as there simply is no way to regulate Big Tech. They are clearly a monopoly power which can shut down political speech, like with the app Parler, and yet it is their “legal right” to do so because they are a business and not a press – i.e., they have no social responsibilities, but do have all the human rights America insanely grants to corporations. This, of course, enrages an American populace which (falsely) believes their country is a global leader in defending the human right to free press. Facebook took down PressTV’s page for a few hours – of course: If they will ban President Trump on Twitter why would they hesitate much longer for Iran? We are only just comprehending what “social media” can really do to a society, but the negative case study is: the US 2020 election.

Joe Biden is being tasked with healing the whole country even though he also spent the last four years demonising half the country. That is perhaps the best way to gauge what the upcoming chances are for “reconciliation” in America. I just don’t find the idea that the United States will rally around a hugely discredited and wilfully, remorselessly divisive Democratic Party even remotely credible.

Biden has just picked his head of the CIA – it was a person who was also a top candidate for the Secretary of State (foreign minister) post. That the nation’s top spy and top diplomat are interchangeable – and that this goes uncommented upon – says a lot about the United States. Washington does not try to persuade anyone – they just apply pressure, spy on them and make sure the national needs of their allies are subverted to the national needs of the US. Angela Merkel denounced Trump’s Twitter ban, just as she denounced Obama spying on her calls. The US has no allies, and while they will blame Trump for losing all their “international standing” the reality is they had none and want none.

Today’s impeachment of Trump is a spectacularly foolish errand: they will never get the Senate supermajority to actually impeach Trump; he’s leaving in seven days; Trump is correct that it will – of course – cause “tremendous anger”; it is clearly designed to sabotage Trump’s 2024 election chances, at whatever cost to national unity; 40% of the country already feels like their presidential vote was disenfranchised – now you want to impeach their leader (which comes after the censorship of him and before the prosecution of him)? It’s just useless theatre – the US election circus continues.

Is it possible that I was wrong to say that a violent right-wing movement – something comparable in determination (though not at all comparable in aims) to what the US saw last summer in response to never-ending police brutality – cannot ever grow strong enough in the US to “Occupy Capitol Hill”, or something similar? I still don’t think I am wrong and that once this final week passes so will these protests. American conservatives are too status-quo loving, too law and order-worshipping and too jingoistic to really try and change America.

I think the Capitol Hill protest was a one-time act of civil disobedience which spontaneously grew beyond the intentions of the mass majority of protesters – I have seen that happen countless times in person as a journalist. It obviously never morphed into an “Occupy Capitol Hill” multi-day protest because it was obviously never intended to (and for the same reason above). The people at the front lines of such protests are always a different breed; always run the range of political views from right to left; always have a range of motivations, from being mere adrenaline-seekers to genuine political integrity. I have also seen the video footage – captured by a left-wing Black Lives Matter member (because there is always this range of values) – of a Capitol cop, whose life was not threatened, shoot and kill female protester Ashlii Babbitt. I’m appalled there’s not more MSM discussion about that, because the footage is so clear that this was police brutality, but any such discussion radically changes how the protest has to be covered by the MSM: it means taking a break from demonising the protesters, and the US corporate media does not want that.

It was totally clear in the week since Capitol Hill: It’s not enough that Biden won – the US anti-Trump elite wants blood. They want Twitter and Facebook to ban Trump, so they can censor and others (as they just did with Iranian Supreme Leader Khamenei and Iranian state media PressTV). They want to imprison the Capitol Hill protesters, so they can prevent any anti-Biden political protests in the next four years. They want to impeach and jail Trump, so they can prevent Trumpism from growing beyond their idiotic, “how did I get here” leader into something which could upend the world’s oldest duopoly.

These are all columns because they are all huge issues which cannot be resolved in a few sentences – only summed up. I’m only stopping because I have word limits – feel free to point out which issues weren’t included.

The bottom line on the Democrat side is: Many Americans have spent four years hysterically demonising Trump supporters – they can’t turn it off: Winning the Electoral College obviously wasn’t enough. They want animals put in cages whom they can go poke; they want to fabricate a moral high ground which they believe is so high that it exonerates them from open debate; they want compound interest on the four years they wasted on the perennial US political circus.

The other bottom line on the Republican side is: Trump supporters are in shock that they lost – every one I talked with was so very certain of his victory. Then many of them were certain the Donald would pull it out, but what the Donald did was pass up every opportunity to take a courageous stand and to essentially say, “I’ve been using you supporters all this time.” Trump supporters now see this atrocious past week as if the US elite is presenting them with only two choices: either return to being mainstream Republicans or leave politics altogether. Many will choose the latter. Many Americans will not miss them. They will still be here, I point out to the victors.

I also point out to the victors: Trump losing the election did not solve all this country’s problems, as it was long promised. America in 2021 has way too many problems for such a simple solution.

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

Dispatches from the United States after the presidential election

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

‘Bidenism’ domestically: no free press, no lawyer, one-party state? (2/2) – November 15, 2020

Where’s Donald? When 40% of voters cry ‘fraud’ you’ve got a big problem – November 17, 2020

The 4-year (neoliberal) radicalisation of US media & Bidenites’ ‘unradical radicalism’ – November 22, 2020

80% of US partisan losers think the last 2 elections were stolen – December 3, 2020

Trump declares civil war for voter integrity in breaking (or broken) USA – December 5, 2020

Mess with Texas via mail-in ballot? States secede from presidential vote – December 8, 2020

Biden won? 2016-2020 showed what the US does to even mild reformers – Dec 18, 2020

Alleged Nashville bomber not Muslim: Western media disappointed – January 2, 2020

This week in the US: The ‘model nation’ for no nation anymore – January 7, 2020

Biggest threat to global leftism returns to power: US fake-leftism (1/2) – January 8, 2021

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.

Freedom of Expression: Good for the Western Goose, Forbidden for the Muslim Gander

By Kim Petersen

Source

Aussie soldier gulping beer 43f4f

When French President Emmanuel Macron was pilloried in some quarters for defending freedom of expression as a French value, Australian prime minister Scott Morrison backed his European counterpart: “We share values. We stand for the same things.” This professed French/Australian value for freedom of expression has now come back to bite the backside of the Australian prime minister.

When it comes to publication of inflammatory western depictions of the prophet Mohammed that raise the ire of many Muslims worldwide, many western voices will step forth to defend freedom of expression. However, this fidelity to the freedom of expression will often change when what is being expressed casts the West in a negative light; a case in point being an image of an Australian soldier slitting a Muslim child’s throat.

News.com.au featured a 60 Minutes Australia report about “disturbing allegations of the murder of children and a ‘killing as a sport’ culture” among Australian fighters deployed in Afghanistan.

A sociologist, Samantha Crompvoets, spent months interviewing Special Forces soldiers about alleged war crimes in Afghanistan. Among the insouciant acts noted were soldiers tallying their kills on wall boards — kills that included civilians and prisoners.

60 Minutes described the killers as a “rogue band” of special forces soldiers. One especially “disturbing allegation” described how Australian Special Forces soldiers mercilessly slit the throats of 14-year-old boys, bagged their bodies, and tossed them in a river.

Guardian exclusive exposed depravity with a photo of an Australian soldier drinking beer from a Taliban fighter’s prosthetic leg.

The findings by Crompvoets and the 60 Minutes report were corroborated by the Australian government’s redacted Brereton Report of “possibly the most disgraceful episode in Australia’s military history”:

… 39 unlawful killings by or involving ADF members. The Report also discloses separate allegations that ADF members cruelly treated persons under their control. None of these alleged crimes was committed during the heat of battle. The alleged victims were non-combatants or no longer combatants.

What particularly stuck in the craw of political Australia was a tweet by a Chinese official, Zhao Lijian, of a gruesome throat-slitting image.

Australian prime minister Morrison was apoplectic, calling the post “repugnant,” “deeply offensive to every Australian, every Australian who has served in that uniform,” “utterly outrageous,” and unjustifiable noting that it was a “false image.” Morrison demanded an apology from the Chinese government, the firing of Zhao Lijian, and for Twitter to remove the post.

“It is utterly outrageous and cannot be justified on any basis whatsoever, the Chinese Government should be totally ashamed of this post,” Morrison said.

First, calling the image false is deflection because anyone who gives more than a cursory glance to the image will right away realize that it is has been photo-shopped and does not purport in any way to be an untouched photograph.

Second, the Australian prime minister obviously has backward moral priorities. I submit that what should be deeply offensive to Morrison and every human being — not just Australians — and especially offensive for every Australian who has served in the Australian military are the egregious war crimes committed by those wearing the same uniform. The starting and focal point for condemnation must be the war crimes. Logically, if the spate of gruesome war crimes had not been committed by Australians in uniform, then outcry at the crimes would not have been filliped.

Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying did address the outrage by Morrison in a TV address.

“These cruel crimes have been condemned by the international community,” said Hua.

“The Australian government should do some soul searching and bring the culprits to justice, and offer an official apology to the Afghan people and make the solemn pledge that they will never repeat such crimes. Earlier, they said the Chinese government should feel ashamed but it is Australian soldiers who committed such cruel crimes.”

“Shouldn’t the Australian government feel ashamed? Shouldn’t they feel ashamed for their soldiers killing innocent Afghan civilians?”

According to Afghanistan’s president Ashraf Ghani, Morrison did express — not a full-fledged apology — but “his deepest sorrow over the misconduct by some Australian troops.” Australia’s foreign minister Marise Payne also wrote to her Afghan counterpart to extend “apologies for the misconduct identified by the inquiry, by some Australian military personnel in Afghanistan.” The wording would seem to diminish the atrocities as “misconduct.” There is also a overarching emphasis that the crimes were committed by some troops, seeking to exculpate the bulk of the troops from bad apples among them.

It would seem Australia is trying to distract from its horrendous war crimes. Colloquially put, Australia’s political honcho is trying to cover the military’s bare ass.

World Socialist Web Site was scathing in denouncing the Australian Establishment’s response,

The tweet by a mid-ranking Chinese official, condemning Australian war crimes in Afghanistan, has been met with hysterical denunciations by the entire political and media establishment. The response can only be described as a staggering exercise in hypocrisy, confected outrage and an attempt to whip-up a wartime nationalist frenzy.

The illustration is based on an investigative report by the Australian Department of Defense, Hua pointed out, noting that “although it is a painting, it reflects the facts.”

Hua pointed to Morrison’s real purpose: to divert attention and shift pressure from Australian war crimes to criticism of China.

Australia Liberal MP Andrew Hastie preferred that the war crimes had been kept buried. Hastie (who as a captain in the Special Air Services was cleared of wrongdoing in an investigation into soldiers under his command who chopped the hands off dead Taliban fighters in Afghanistan) criticized the Australian Defence Force for releasing allegations of war crimes in Afghanistan, saying it has allowed China to malign Australian troops.

Bipartisan support was forthcoming for Australian government indignation as Labor leader Anthony Albanese also criticized the image and shadow foreign affairs minister Penny Wong called it “gratuitous” and “inflammatory.”

Prosecuting Western War Crimes

At the end of World War II war crimes tribunals were set up. In Europe there was the Nuremberg Tribunal and in Asia the Tokyo War Crimes Tribunal. It was victor’s justice and no Allies were tried. This although the United States and, to a lesser degree France, engaged in a deliberate policy of starving German prisoners of war (who the US re-designated as disarmed enemy forces to evade the Geneva Conventions on POWs, as president George W Bush would later similarly do in Afghanistan when he refused to recognize POWs, labeling them instead as unlawful enemy combatants) and civilians. Germans stated that over 1,700,000 soldiers alive at the end of the war never returned home.

In the Far East, there were no allies prosecuted at the Tokyo War Crimes Trial. It must be noted that just as Nazi scientists were brought back to work at the behest of the US, class A Japanese war criminals were also protected by the US from prosecution.

Australia is not alone in the commission of war crimes. Canadian Airborne Regiment troops tied and blind-folded 16-year-old Shidane Arone, beat him with a metal bar, and burned with cigarellos for hours (he was later found to have burns on his penis), and took “trophy pics.” Arone was dead the following morning. The Canadian Airborne Regiment would be disbanded. US war crimes are numerous. They include My Lai in Viet Nam, Bagram in Afghanistan, Abu Ghraib in Iraq, etc.

Western war criminals are seldom punished, or when punished, then not in a meaningful way proportionate to the crimes committed. In fact, if you expose the war crimes perpetrated by a western allied country, then you risk becoming targeted for imprisonment. Such is the situation that Julian Assange finds himself in today. Although an Australian citizen, Morrison has been unsympathetic to the WikiLeaks founder and publisher who exposed egregious US war crimes. Said Morrison, “Mr Assange will get the same support that any other Australian would … he’s not going to be given any special treatment.”

This is what adherence to the tenet of freedom of expression genuinely signifies in much of the western world. In other words, freedom of expression is good for the western goose but bad when it is for the Muslim gander.

For further background view the damning allegations of serious war crimes, including the execution of innocent civilians and detainees.

Dr Pascal Sacré: Emergency Physician Unjustly Fired for His Writings on the COVID Crisis: The Right of Response

Thanks to all of you who want a world where the word is respected, truth is defended, freedom is a reality. I will never let fear rule my life. Don’t negotiate with fear.

By Dr. Pascal Sacré

Global Research, November 28, 2020

There, it happened.

For my words, my words, my writings, I was dismissed like a waste, a thief, without the right to answer.

An experienced, competent emergency physician, appreciated by his colleagues for my actions in stressful situations, fired in the middle of COVID!

For words, for an image.

All you had to do was reassure people, defend your doctor, attenuate and wait for the storm to calm down…  and then talk.

I write, it’s true, things that disturb, dissident points of view, those who follow me on this site since 2009 know it.

When I resumed my writing starting in 2020, about the political management of the COVID crisis, but also generally, about the endemic corruption of medicine, science and official bodies in Belgium, I felt that it would be risky, really.

But I did not give up because I will never let my life be controlled by fear.

Some people say that I am unconscious. Do you think that after 17 years of treating people, in emergency, stress, often for 24 hours at a time, I could have done all this while being unconscious?

Some people say that I am irresponsible. I have always taken my responsibilities, preferred writing to speaking because it allows reflection, rereading, and I have always turned my tongue 7 times in my mouth, before finishing an article and sending it with all its sources and references. I have always respected the rules of the hospital, of society, even when, as they stand, they seemed crazy to me and likely to cause more harm than good. I have always put the safety of my patients above my convictions, preferring to explain, to convince through words and writings.

Some say I am a disgrace to the profession.

Those who say that are ignorant of my profession. Many people talk about critical care, especially today with Covid, when critical care has been around for 70 years, but do they even know, these accusing people, what they are talking about?

We can’t pretend, this is live, live, surrounded by death and suffering,

We don’t know how to lie and if we do, we get out. I’ve held on to it for 17 years and I only had to stop suddenly because of people who don’t like what I say, don’t like my opinions!

Some say, the most beautiful things, that I am anti-everything. Those who say that are certainly much more so than I am. I will tell you all the things I am for:

  1. The truth, in any case its permanent search and accept for that, to deceive me.
  2. Tolerance of other people’s ideas, opinions and writings.
  3. The will, in turn, to be able to express my ideas, opinions and writings.
  4. Respect for nature and animals
  5. Relief of pain and suffering
  6. Life in all its facets, music, sounds, songs, dances, colors, and therefore accept death, because one cannot live like this without accepting the idea of dying at any time.

I only wanted to ask questions, to give my points of view without ever imposing them, to question, to nuance, to contextualize, to reassure when others only want to terrorize.

I was condemned, thrown away for that.

I was forced to abandon my colleagues in difficulty, summoned to leave burning places by people who should not so easily spit on the help of one of their own, a resuscitator, for words, a picture!

That’s how it is.

They have that power.

And yet,

  • Professor Didier Raoult (France)
  • Professor Christian Perronne (France)
  • Professor Toubiana (France)
  • Professor Toussaint (France)
  • Professor Gala (Belgium)
  • And all those other doctors, caregivers, health care professionals,

Belgium :  https://docs4opendebate.be/fr/open-brief/ 

Netherlands: https://opendebat.info/  et https://brandbriefggz.nl/ 

US Frontline Doctors : https://www.xandernieuws.net/algemeen/groep-artsen-vs-komt-in-verzet-facebook-bant-hun-17-miljoen-keer-bekeken-video/ 

Spain: https://niburu.co/gezondheid/15385-artsen-komen-massaal-met-coronawaarheid-naar-buiten 

Germany: https://acu2020.org/international/ 

Belgium : https://omgekeerdelockdown.simplesite.com/?fbclid=IwAR2bJAAShAlIidjnRQPyVSoZbk1Uj-FTHAthL77hKX_Oo8aMLN3V6DdwAac 

https://www.lalibre.be/belgique/enseignement/septante-medecins-flamands-demandent-l-abolition-du-masque-dans-les-ecoles-une-menace-serieuse-pour-leur-developpement-5f58a5189978e2322fa9d32c

https://belgiumbeyondcovid.be/

France : https://france3-regions.francetvinfo.fr/provence-alpes-cote-d-azur/bouches-du-rhone/marseille/covid-tribune-pres-300-scientifiques-denoncent-mesures-gouvernementales-disproportionnees-1878840.html 

We are all of them.

There are thousands of us.

Thanks to all of you who want a world where the word is respected, truth is defended, freedom is a reality.

I will never let fear rule my life. Don’t negotiate with fear.

Dr. Pascal Sacré

Featured Photo: Citizen Initiative VideoThe original source of this article is Global ResearchCopyright © Dr. Pascal Sacré, Global Research, 2020

The Great Reset; ‘No pasarán’

The Great Reset; ‘No pasarán’

November 24, 2020

by Ghassan and Intibah Kadi for the Saker Blog

The revolving results and aspirations of having a clear outcome of the American Presidential elections are bringing many related issues to the surface. Perhaps none bigger than the heightened call by the World Economic Forum (WEF) for a ‘Great Reset’.

The mission of the WEF, stated beneath its logo reads that it is: ‘Committed to improving the state of the world by engaging business, political, academic and other leaders of society to shape global, regional, and industry agendas’.

This is a vague mission statement that is riddled with logical and philosophical flaws.

What does ‘improving the state of the world’ exactly mean? There are many issues in the world that can be improved, and not all of them are based on economics for an economic forum to attempt to improve. Consider freedom of speech for example, freedom of information, the abuse of information in the form of mis-information and dis-information, just to name one example. Have we not seen that this very aspect has reached unprecedented heights in the American elections?

When the WEF invited Greta Thunberg to attend the January 2020 meeting, not only did it endorse her concept of climate change, but it also advertently ignored the counter-theory which is actually supported by many climatologists and scientists in other related areas. So how can the state of the world be improved if science is hushed up and theories are accepted for fact without proof?

By way of its mission statement and putting it into practice therefore, the WEF does not seem to take much notice of the importance of correct information and, on the contrary, works against it. Is this improvement of the world or moving it backwards towards the dark ages?

And talking about Greta, according to the mission statement, she ‘qualified’ to participate and be engaged even though she is not a leader in either business, politics or academia. She must then, by definition, be considered by the WEF as a ‘leader of society’. But even if we assume that she is a leader in this capacity, realistically what kind of input can she make in reaching and implementing realistic recommendations in order to improve the world? Was she only invited to mesmerize and recruit the youth?

But Greta is not the only oddity. Guess who else was there in January 2020? George Soros. Actually, Soros has been a repeat contributor.

Soros is definitely a huge business person and I have no problem with him fitting the qualification criteria. But isn’t Mr. Soros one of the main reasons behind many of the problems and issues facing humanity and which the WEF proclaims the desire to improve?

How can one invite the butcher to the ‘Save the Sheep’ forum?

This brings in the issue of morality.

Who gave the WEF the moral mandate to decide what is good and bad for the rest of the world? This again takes us back to the flaws of the mission statement. The statement does not make any mention of morality and/or the engagement of renowned ethicists in the membership panel.

Whilst many may have some reservations about Mandela, he was nonetheless an ethicist and a moralist over and above being a political and community leader. He was once invited and he gave an address to the 1992 WEF forum in Davos. But people of the caliber of Mandela, and they are far and few between, should be more than just occasional guests. They should be on a permanent panel of elders who inform and advise policy and legislation action based on moral value. Will the world be able to find enough ‘perfect’ humans to empanel and assign such a huge task to? Certainly not. No one is perfect, but a group of wise elders is certainly more trustworthy than a pact of globalists.

The WEF can amend its mission statement and come clean and admit that it is comprised of the elites who are the actual reason behind the world problems and not the ones to offer solutions. To be able to be truthful to its mission statement however, it must not base its criteria and recommendations on economics and economics only.

We have taken recent interest in the WEF because the term ‘Great Reset’ [1] has jumped up from almost nowhere, suddenly [2] becoming almost everyone’s mantra. It took us a while to realize that the term actually refers to a new book by the name of ‘COVID-19 The Great Reset’ written by none other than Dr. Klaus Schwab, the 82 y/o founder and ongoing CEO of the WEF ever since its inception in 1971. The above WEF link includes toward the end of the document an interesting diagram which summarizes the Great Reset plan, titled “The Great Reset Transformation Map”. [3]

And what is exactly the position of Dr. Schwab? How can he take the wiser-than-thou stand and proclaim to be the saviour of the world? Under which mandate is he allowed to tell governments, people, all people of all nations, cultures, religions and political views to follow his vision of how to create a better new world?

A most eloquent, smooth speaker, but it doesn’t take much probing to see that Schwab is at best either a megalomaniac or a fool, but he definitely displays archetypal symptoms of megalomania, and in a very dangerous attire. When Mao declared his short-sighted Cultural Revolution, he was seen in the West as a new Hitler. But ironically the same West sees Schwab as a saviour.

Don’t listen to these words, hear him speak about what he calls the ‘fourth industrial revolution’. He claims that the steam engine heralded the first revolution, mass production the second, and computers the third. And now, according to him, the fourth industrial revolution is about ‘a fusion of our physical, digital and biological identities’ This is an hour-long video, [4] and if readers cannot listen to it all, they can find those exact words at the 15m:45s mark. And what is our ‘digital identity’ by the way?

Actually, he is perhaps neither a megalomaniac nor a fool, but a freak, the kind of villain that jumps straight out of Batman comics. Alongside the Penguin and the Joker, Schwab should be locked up behind bars, dressed in a straight jacket and pumped to the hilt with antipsychotic drugs, but he is not. He has appointed himself as an advisor to global political leaders, and those buffoons take him seriously.

The man has not been elected by anyone, he does not represent anyone, he seems to not have consulted with anyone elected to speak on behalf of citizens. If this is not what defines a dictator, what does? The WEF is actually his own lovechild, and its name gives it a guise of legitimacy, but it is in fact an NGO just like any other. It neither has any official structure nor the power to generate binding policies. And Soros is not the only shady dude ever invited to speak at the forum.

Schwab is the person who invites whom he chooses. Over the years, the guest list included movie stars and rock stars, but the ‘permanent’ members are CEO’s of big business with turnovers in the billions. We are only talking about some 1000 “leading” companies [5] among millions worldwide who are given a “platform”. They are the biggest pollutants and profiteering culprits on the face of the planet. They are also the biggest benefactors; they donate millions of dollars annually to support the WEF.

Other members include the Saudi royals, the Ford Foundation, Mastercard Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation, Monsanto, just to name a few. One would have to have rocks in his/her head to even imagine that those people and the globalist entities they represent get together in order to discuss how to make the world a better place for the underprivileged. He/she would have to be delusional to believe that those rascals convene for any reason other than bolstering their grab-hold of global wealth and monopoly of power.

This is not to mention the irony of Monsanto and Greta being on the same forum.

If anything, the WEF is the biggest known organization that is comprised of the elite of the elite, the culprits behind the inequity and injustice in this world. It is perhaps the biggest wolf in sheep’s clothing on the prowl.

But how will the ordinary man and woman on the street respond to the concept of being part human part machine? And what is more frightening here is; how seriously are world leaders going to take Schwab’s recommendations and how will they implement them in democratic countries in which changes much smaller than what he is recommending require referendums? Furthermore, what will be the ‘fate’ of individuals and nations that do not heed and comply with his directives? Will they be sanctioned? Will non-compliant individuals be able to find jobs or keep existing ones? Will non-compliant nations face trade sanctions?

Many ideologies have come and gone, but none in recent times, since the various versions of Marxism, including Maoism, tried to portray itself in a manner that attempts to sound rational and pragmatic. We must exclude religions here, because religions are based on faith, they are spiritual beliefs, and they are not only and specifically based on and aimed for social reform. But this ‘Great Reset’ theory is very different from any of its predecessors. On the surface, it is based on living frugally in order to protect the environment and generate greater social justice [6], and this does not sound like a bad idea. But at a deeper level, it is a call for thought policing and control of individuals and robbing them of their choices; including their own identity.

Did pre-COVID humanity go wrong to the extent that it needed a great reset?

Well, we only have to look at the trajectory of humanity to realize that it was (still is in fact) unsustainable. All we need to look at is one major aspect; population growth. We simply cannot expect the trend in population growth to go unchecked especially when coupled with increases in affluence and higher standards of living in some countries. If anything, that trend has been generating a huge growing gap between the haves and the have-nots. But even with this knowledge, humanity did not flinch at the news and images of wide-spread famines and literally thousands dying on a daily basis because of their inability to find food; all the while the ‘other half’ is dying from being overweight and overfed.

Whilst some evil-minded people think that the practical way out of this dilemma can be achieved by implementing different modes of eugenics, the voices of compassion have become less audible, and at best, ignored even muted.

Did the pre-COVID world need a reset? Definitely. Many of its founding determinants have been based on injustice, shortsightedness, divisiveness, lack of good old values, the inability of being sustainable; just to name a few.

When millions cannot find food to eat and clean water to drink yet others fly half the way across the world to attend a baby shower, something must be amiss and a reset is way overdue.

But what is it that the vision of the WEF and its ‘Bible’ (COVID-19 The Great Reset) have to offer in order to provide the world and future generations with a brighter new direction?

It doesn’t take long to see that within the WEF “Great Reset” article [7] there are clear indications that what it is attempting to do is to create more compliant robotic individuals and draw the world and its population deeper into the abyss.

The WEF “Great Reset” article is carefully written and worded in a manner that by the time the reader builds a huge deal of trust in the writer, trust in his intentions, and eventually reaches the recommendations, he/she finds that there is no reason, none at all, to disagree with any of its recommendations. If you examine the diagram [8] in the article titled “The Great Reset Transformation Map”, you will find it is very telling.

Even a quick analysis of the WEF principles and modus operandi shows that the whole ethos is based on individuals and companies the practices of whom have led the world to the current state of loss and despair and entrapment that it is in. Certainly, the cause cannot be the cure; not in this instance.

The paper is a blatant endorsement of the Neo-Left, its agendas and attempts to break down cultural values that glue society together, and turn the world into an obedient slave camp.

Apart from the frightening Schwab’s definition of the fourth industrial revolution, the actual recommendations for the ‘Great Reset’ are quite alarming and unsettling to say the least. It promotes digital currency. How does this restore hope in this new world? This is not to mention encouraging the use of robots, drones, and exponentially increasing reliance on technology instead of aspiring to reinstate the good old values of morality that have worked for millennia.

The words morality, honesty, care, compassion, kindness, happiness, courage, generosity, charity etc., are not mentioned even once in the document; not even a single one of them. Why, one may ask? What is it that drones can do to save humanity from an impending disaster that none of the above innate human values can?

Actually, when it comes to human values, Schwab shamelessly argues that as in the future there will be less cooperation based on shared values with an increasingly multipolar world emerging, relationships will have to be based on shared interests; not values (see at 40:00 min)[9]. For him not to believe in the goodness within humanity, he surely must have deeply-founded psychological disorders. We should pity him, but not if he wants to dictate to us how to lead our lives.

What is more concerning about the man is that he asks, almost demands, that all that he proposes must be implemented now and without any further delay, because he argues that the COVID crisis [10] is giving humanity an opportunity that must not be missed. During a recent visit to India, it was reported that Schwab has said that the country now has the opportunity in leapfrogging [11] to a more digital and sustainable economy.

If we want to be cynics, which we are, we would conclude that those who design and run the WEF do not only sleep in the same bed as those who have destroyed the world, THEY ARE the ones who destroyed it, and yet have the audacity to say they are trying to save it. Unfortunately many follow them and take them at face value.

The great reset humanity really needs is one that takes it back to its roots, its values that include freedom of choice and expression. It needs a reboot, not just a reset, and definitely not the reset that is pre-set by maniacal dictators who wish to create implantable microchips that can read one’s mind. [12]

To the likes of Dr. Schwab, the world population must rise, even against their leaders if they must, and together chant ‘no pasarán’

  1. “Now is the time for a great reset”; Klaus Schwab, 3 June 2020, World Economic Forum; https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2020/06/now-is-the-time-for-a-great-reset/?fbclid=IwAR1jQO1l6S4ZM7PEe21QiPLa7Espjlm2uh33ovefznJdK-MRZcO1KYzQA1E
  2. ‘Great Reset’ trends on Twitter after Trudeau speech on Covid-19 hints it’s not just a ‘conspiracy theory’, 16 Novemner 2020, RT. https://www.rt.com/news/506887-trudeau-great-reset-conspiracy-reveal/
  3. The Great Reset Transformation Map
    https://intelligence.weforum.org/topics/a1G0X000006OLciUAG?tab=publications
  4. “World Economic Forum Founder Klaus Schwab on the Fourth Industrial Revolution.” Streamed live on 13 May 2019 at Chicago Council on Global Affairs.
    https://m.youtube.com/watch?feature=youtu.be&v=CVIy3rjuKGY.
  5. “Our Partners” World Economic Forum https://www.weforum.org/about/our-partners
  6. Searching through WEF site and speeches many references exist regarding living more simply to save the environment and the word “redistribution” often is associated with this. Further research is required by the interested reader to determine whether this implies a redistribution of wealth and what exactly that entails.. https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2015/10/can-redistributing-wealth-also-be-good-for-growth/
  7. Of the WEF, Ken Moelis, Founder and CEO of Moelis & Co. told the Wall Street Journal’s Matt Murray.“ “Davos would do better thinking of growth, rather than redistribution,” (toward the end of video) https://www.wsj.com/video/moelis-davos-should-focus-on-growth-not-wealth-redistribution/C3EC8119-09F4-4CBE-909E-8D59CED4D321.html
  8. “Now is the time for a great reset”; Klaus Schwab, 3 June 2020, World Economic Forum; https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2020/06/now-is-the-time-for-a-great-reset/?fbclid=IwAR1jQO1l6S4ZM7PEe21QiPLa7Espjlm2uh33ovefznJdK-MRZcO1KYzQA1E
  9. Schwab, 3 June 2020, Ibid.
  10. Schwab, 13 May 2019, Chicago Council on Global Affairs 40:00 min
  11. Schwab, 3 June 2020, Ibid.
  12. “Schwab Hails India’s Policy In COVID-19 Fight; Says ‘has Potential To Shape Global Agenda’, 25 October 2020, Brigitte Fernandes, RREPUBLICWORLD.com https://www.republicworld.com/india-news/general-news/schwab-hails-indias-policy-in-covid-19-fight-says-has-potential-to-shape-global-agenda.html
  13. “Klaus Schwab: Great Reset Will “Lead to a Fusion of Our Physical, Digital and Biological Identity”, 16 November 202, Joseph Paul Watson, https://summit.news/2020/11/16/klaus-schwab-great-reset-will-lead-to-a-fusion-of-our-physical-digital-and-biological-identity/?fbclid=IwAR2IU4eIRZsXgplVnFHifWLY7fs5i-9uwCDRnqqt_vnNZPLICmL3Gk6LYvk

Global Research: Independent Media Under Attack

By The Global Research Team

Global Research, November 16, 2020

Global Research

Independent media is under attack, the search engines want to squeeze us out. At the same time a witch-hunt is being waged in the mainstream media against independent journalists, renowned academics, and scientists. Despite the wide variety of topics covered on our site by all manner of experts and academics from the world over, there is a relentless campaign against us.

Our financial situation is dependent on support from our readership. Without your contributions, our future remains uncertain and the mainstream media lies continue to rise to the top, eventually relegating any voice of dissent to the shadows.

The alternative is a world without independent voices, brought to you by corporate sponsors and hidden agendas. We are not coopted. We are not a government mouthpiece. Global Research is committed to “Freedom of Expression”, a fundamental right which is being snuffed out all over the globe.

With your help, we can continue to fight for truth to prevail, as we have always done. Please click below to make a donation or become a member to show your support:

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Macron wants to identify himself with the American Zionism: Lebanese cleric

By Mohammad Mazhari

November 14, 2020 – 10:58

TEHRAN – Shaikh Ghazi Honainah, a member of the leadership of the Islamic Action Front in Lebanon, believes that the motive that drove the French president to back the sacrilegious cartoons against the Prophet of Islam by the Charlie Hebdo magazine is that he wants to “identify himself with the American Zionism.” 

Shaikh Honainah tells the Tehran Times that Emanuel Macron endorsed insulting Islam and its Prophet Muhammad to “identify himself with the American Zionism, which bears arrogant hostility to Mohammad as the Messenger of God and his message.”
“The message of Prophet Mohammad has become today worldwide despite all efforts to distort the true image of the Messenger and Islam,” the Lebanese cleric emphasizes.
The following is the text of the interview:

Q:    Last month, French President Emanuel Macron publicly attacked Islam in defense of the publication of the derogatory cartoons of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) under the pretext of freedom of speech. What do you think of his remarks?

 A: Regarding the recent remarks of the French president, in which he endorsed the aggressive approach of the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo towards Islam and the Messenger of Islam, I should say that this is a president of a country that claims civilization, advancement, enlightenment, human rights, and addresses freedom, equality, and justice.

 This president takes this stance as if he is an ordinary person in the street. I think the motive that drove him to make such a remark is that he wants to identify himself with the American Zionism, which bears arrogant hostility to Mohammad as the Messenger of God and his message.

 The message of Prophet Mohammad has become today worldwide despite all attempts to distort the true image of the Messenger and Islam.

Macron wants to show his loyalty to global Zionism and the new Freemasonry to gain their green light for his second presidential bid. 

Otherwise, why should someone on the level of the president of the French Republic, who represents France in the world, take such a position?

France is an important member of the (UN) Security Council and has a key role in resolving disputes in the region, especially in Lebanon.

Therefore, he wants to make propaganda against Islam and its Prophet in order to use it as a trump card in the upcoming French election.

Q: What are the definitions and limits of freedom in Islam?

A: Islamic education came to found basic principles of human societies’ lives; tolerant religion focuses on permanent principles, namely freedom, justice, and equality that never change, whether for Muslims or non-Muslims. Perhaps these principles are consistent with the slogans of the French Revolution. For example, about “freedom,” God said, “There shall be no compulsion in religion” (Al-Baqarah -256), and in Surah Yunus Ayah 99, it is said that “Had your Lord willed, everyone on earth would have believed. Will you compel people to become believers?” God also said, “The truth is from your Lord. Whoever wills—let him believe. And whoever wills—let him disbelieve.” (Al-Kahf -30).

That is why Almighty God said in his holy book, “You have no control over them.” (Al-Ghashiyah – 22)

Hence we understand that Islamic educations endorse the concept of freedom: freedom of opinion, freedom of expression, freedom of belief, freedom of worship, and freedom of thought. Therefore, the Islamic source mentioned the second caliphate asked person, “Why did you enslave people when their mothers gave birth to them free?”

 The Messenger of God (peace be upon him) said, “All of you are Adam’s sons, and Adam was created out of the dust of the ground. Therefore, from the standpoint of equality in Islamic educations, all people have equal rights, and duties at all levels, the rich and the poor, men and women, young and old, Arab and non-Arab, all people in the eyes of Islam are equal.

This freedom, which Islam affirmed, does not give the right to attack others and violate others’ rights. Therefore, according to Islamic law, our freedom ends when the rights of others begin. In Islam, we do not have the right to assault the beliefs of others.
God asks us, “Do not insult those they call upon besides God, lest they insult God out of hostility and ignorance” (Al-An’am -108).

 That is why the Messenger of God forbade us from humiliating others’ dignity or insulting them, even in times of war. Prophet asked us not to scorn people who believe in a different way and those who are out of Islam. Therefore, freedom in this peaceful religion has limits, and we have not right to assault the sanctities and beliefs of others.

Q: What is the right way to respond to the West’s provocative moves against Islam?

A: First of all, I emphasize that calling Islam and spreading its message among people needs a peaceful atmosphere as societies should be open to each other and cherish dialogue and communication.

The first step is to open doors and bridge divides so that people will be aware of their bonds, gather them, and communicate and debate for what is beneficial for humanity and human society. 

Therefore, these provocative moves and actions in France undoubtedly lead to undermining relations between people, cutting off communication, and further strife, and this does not serve the interests of peace and Muslims.

In our relations with people, we need to address them calmly, within a reasonable argument, and with sound logic.

Our position should be strong, and with a bright thought, we can defend Islam. Therefore, the repercussions of the attack on others’ sanctities and beliefs will trigger the hatred and reaction of others against all Muslims as a whole. 

This is harmful to Islam and Muslims as the number of Muslims is increasing drastically in the West. This is what worries Muslims’ enemies in those societies and frightens those who see that the spread of Islam as a threat to their future.

Violent reactions do not serve the relationships between people and also the peaceful coexistence between Muslims and others.

Q:  How do you assess the reaction of Islamic countries and their leaders to Macron’s statements?

A: What we noticed in the recent period after re-infusion of the poisons of insulting the Messenger of God and supported by the French president, showed that the Islamic states and regimes, except a few of them, went into a deep coma or took sleeping pills as if what happened does not concern them, especially those who consider themselves the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

We have not heard a position or condemnation from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, neither at the official level nor from its nation. Unfortunately, this is what hurts us and grieves us and makes us feel that the Arab regimes do not care about Islamic causes and issues: peace, mercy, and blessings of God.

Q: Do you confirm violence in response to insult to the Prophet of Islam?

A: As Muslims, we have our way of defending Islamic sanctity; we have to deal with this issue differently. As long as the issue was in this context, we avoid insulting others’ sanctuaries, greatness, and prophets, whether he is Jesus, peace be upon him, or his mother Virgin Mary, peace be upon her, or Prophet Moses, peace be upon him.

If others offend Muslims, we are forbidden from insulting any prophet on earth. God says, “The Messenger has believed in what was revealed to him from his Lord, as did the believers. They all have believed in God and His angels and His scriptures and His messengers. The believers make no distinction between any of His messengers” (Al-Baqarah- 285). 

Therefore our reaction is to argue with them in the best manner as God said, “Do not argue with the People of the Scripture except in the best manner possible, except those who do wrong among them. And say, ‘We believe in what was revealed to us, and in what was revealed to you, and our God and your God is One,  and to Him we are submissive.'” 

We have in Quran that God made a covenant with the Children of Israel to worship none but God and be good to parents, and relatives, and orphans, and the needy; and speak nicely to people. 

But beheading of a teacher in France in response to insulting Islam and its Prophet is not acceptable. Any attack against Christians and churches is condemned in Islam, according to Prophet Muhammad’s educations.
 

RELATED NEWS

Sayyed Nasrallah’s Full Speech on Prophet Muhammad’s [PBUH] Birth Anniversary

Sayyed Nasrallah’s Full Speech on Prophet Muhammad’s [PBUH] Birth Anniversary

Translated by Staff

Speech of His Eminence Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah on the occasion of the birth of Prophet Muhammad
10-30-2020

In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Merciful. Praise be to Allah, Lord of the Worlds, and prayers and peace be upon our Master and Prophet, the Seal of Prophets, Abi al-Qassem Muhammad Bin Abdullah and his good and pure household and his good and chosen companions and all the prophets and messengers.

Peace and God’s mercy and blessings be upon you all.
God Almighty said in his glorified book:

{In the Name of God, Most Gracious, Most Merciful. O Prophet, indeed We have sent you as a witness and a bringer of good tidings and a warner. And one who invites to Allah, by His permission, and an illuminating lamp. And give good tidings to the believers that they will have from Allah great bounty. Almighty God has spoken truly.}

To start with, I congratulate all Muslims in the world as well as all the Lebanese who are one people and partners in happiness and sorrow.

I congratulate Muslims and everyone else on the birth of the greatest Messenger, our Master, and Prophet Muhammad bin Abdullah [PBUH], as well as on the birth of his great grandson, Imam Jaafar bin Muhammad Al-Sadiq [PBUH].

I’ll begin by talking about the occasion a little. From there, I’ll talk about some files and topics relevant to the current stage.

Our Master Muhammad bin Abdullah [PBUH] was born approximately 1495 years ago, in what was known as the Year of the Elephant [Am Al-Fil], in the month of Rabi ‘al-Awwal – this month. Some say he was born on 12 Rabi al-Awwal, others say 17 Rabi al-Awwal.

This blessed birth was the natural introduction to the birth and proclamation of the final divine message, after which there is no abrogation, modification, or alteration. Hence, ‘what is permissible [halal] during Muhammad’s era is permissible until the Day of Judgement, and what is forbidden [haram] during Muhammad’s era is forbidden until the Day of Judgement.’

It was also an introduction to rebirth of the true human life, for generations that would emerge from darkness into light, through this newborn child, and also the birth of a nation that would remain immortal until the Day of Resurrection.

We all know that the prophets and messengers performed miracles and accomplishments, especially when we are talking about great prophets like Ibrahim, Musa, and Isa [PBUT]. They all had miracles that were witnessed by the era they lived in and the generation that lived there.

These accounts were told to us. They were preserved in holy books, especially the Holy Quran, as well as history books. These accounts reached all the people – Muslims, Christians, and Jews. 

The Messenger of Allah Muhammad [PBUH] performed various miracles as well. The people of his time bore witness to them. Now his time has passed, and accounts were passed on to us through stories and history books. We, however, did not witness these miracles. The Messenger of God Muhammad [may God bless him and his family and grant them peace] had various miracles as well, as is the case with the miracles of the previous prophets. 

However, the Messenger of Allah Muhammad [PBUH] possesses an immortal miracle that will continue to live on until the Day of Resurrection and will be witnessed by all generations in all times and in all places. This miracle is His sacred book that God sent down to him – the Holy Quran.

One of the miracles of this great book is that its words, verses, and surahs have not been subject to any distortion, forgery, or modification for more than 1450 years. This means that despite the reasons, factors, and motives – among Muslims and non-Muslims, from within Islam and otherwise – to distort this religious book, its verses and surahs, it remained preserved form 1450 years.

This holy book remaining in this accurate and wondrous form is in itself a miracle. It is the fulfillment and validation of the divine promise: {Indeed, it is We who sent down the Qur’an and indeed, We will be its guardian.}

A religious book so important to the lives of millions and hundreds of millions, and now nearly two billion people cannot be preserved in this manner without being touched despite the existence of all reasons, doctrinal reasons, and political reasons to distort, falsify, or amend it.

This is evidence of divine preservation of this Prophet’s book. This Qur’an has been challenging humanity for the last 1450 years. And this challenge will remain until the coming of the Hour – if they all gathered to produce the like of this, to bring forth ten surahs like it, or produce a surah of the like.

And this Qur’an, which is still vibrant and brings people out of the darkness and into the light, is its immortal miracle. The prophets and messengers also have their accomplishments, and the greatest achievement of our Prophet and our Master, the Messenger of God Muhammad is this human achievement that has been achieved by his hands. It is in itself it the closest thing to a miracle – this deep and tremendous transformation that has been achieved in the society of the Arabian Peninsula by his hands and thanks to his vocation, efforts and jihad.

If we go back in history, the Arabian Peninsula was made up of Mecca, Yathrib [it was not called Medina yet], the city of Taif, a group of large towns, tribes, and clans, all the way to Yemen including its cities, civilization, and former kings. This entire region that we now refer to as the Arabian Peninsula was the main setting for the Prophet’s movement and missionary work.

Let us take a look at the people in that community before the birth of the Prophet and his missionary activities – their way of life, their religious life [What did they worship? What did they believe in?], their education [reading and writing], their level of knowledge, their culture, their values, their traditions, the values governing that society, poverty, deprivation, their security situation, the wars, the tribal wars, and their dispersion.

The Messenger of God [PBUH] did not come to address one aspect of the lives of these people, but rather all aspects, foremost is the doctrinal, belief, knowledge, cultural, ethical and behavioral dimensions. If we then studied the way of life of the people in the Arabian Peninsula after the Prophet’s missionary work, efforts, and jihad, what has become of these people?

What are the serious, deep, and very important transformations that took place, especially on the human side? Their faith and belief? The way they shifted from worshipping idols to worshipping the one God? Their sciences, their culture, and the system of values? Their perception of man, woman, other human beings, and the followers of other religions? Their customs, traditions, discipline, behavior, and morals?
This tremendous human transformation that took place in the Arabian Peninsula and constituted the main basis for the launch of this nation and the spread of its voice and message to the whole world, making it the basis for global change, is Prophet Muhammad’s accomplishment. 

The most important and very remarkable aspect is that this accomplished in 23 years only. We know that bringing about huge change in the lives of people within 10, 20, 30, and 40 years is hard, especially when it comes to culture, doctrine, values, and behavior. But this was achieved by the Messenger of God. He also paved the way, as we have said, for this humanitarian and religious pillar until the Hour of Resurrection.

I wanted to make this introduction so that I can delve into the topics that I want to speak about. All Muslims throughout history until the coming of the Hour have love, adoration, respect, and appreciation for this great Prophet, unmatched with any other human being and despite their love, appreciation, and reverence for all the prophets, messengers, awliya, imams, and righteous and good people throughout history.

All Muslims have a distinct view, a special faith and love, for this man, this person, and this figure. Muslims may disagree throughout history. This happened in several cases – intellectual cases of sometimes ideological nature, Islamic rulings, in cases of halal and haram, evaluating Islamic history, evaluating persons. In contemporary time, they may disagree on important social and political issues, conflicts, wars, etc.

But there are unanimous points and issues that Muslims have not disagree on throughout history, and they cannot depart from until the Hour of Resurrection. Among the most important of these unanimous points is their belief in Muhammad bin Abdullah [PBUH], his message, his prophethood, his greatness, and his stature.

They see him as the seal of the prophets since there is no prophet after him, the master of messengers, the master of creation, the master of beings, the most perfect man and the greatest human being, and the closest of God Almighty’s creations to Him, the most beloved and dearest of them to Him. This is how Muslims view this Messenger and this Prophet.

With this faith, his love is mixed with their blood, flesh, being, bodies, souls, minds and hearts because this belief is not only an epistemic belief, a philosophical belief, or a cultural or intellectual belief. No, there is a kind of distinct emotional, spiritual and psychological relationship. Of course, this is and will always be required towards the Prophet as they glorify him in this world and see his greatness and special stature in the Hereafter.

From here, we will use one point as a springboard to move on to other topics. Therefore, Muslims cannot tolerate any offense or insult directed at this great Messenger, and they consider defending the dignity of their Prophet as one of the highest priorities that comes before any interests and calculations, be it political, economic, or related to their lives. They consider this matter a top priority. They cannot be forgiving about it, nor can they remain silent about any behavior or practice that insults or offends the Great Messenger of Allah.

From here, I delve into the first file in tonight’s talk, which is the current problem that concerns all Muslims in the world today – the current problem between the French authorities [from the top of the pyramid] and Islam and the Muslims. I would like to speak calmly, objectively, and scientifically in order to dissect this issue and search for solutions, that is to reach a solution and not perpetuate enmities or search for new ones.

We begin with the latest incident that took place in the French city of Nice, in which a Muslim man killed three people and wounded others. 

We will start from the end and return to the beginning. We strongly condemn this incident, and Muslims from the various scholarly, religious, and political positions, as well as the Islamic world and Muslim communities in France, Europe, and everywhere condemned it.

Islam also condemns such incidents, and it is not permissible for anyone to regard it as belonging to Islam. Islam and the Islamic religion, which forbids killing, assaulting, or harming innocent people just because of differences in ideological affiliation, reject it and reject every similar incident that preceded it or comes after it.

For us Muslims and Islam, it is always rejected and condemned, wherever this incident occurred and whoever was targeted – in France or anywhere in the world.

Let us establish this point as a basis so that there is clarity later.

Secondly, in the context of this case, it is not permissible for the French authorities or others to hold the religion of the perpetrator or the followers of the perpetrator’s religion responsible for the perpetrator’s crime. In other words, if the perpetrator of the crime is a Muslim, it is thus not permissible for anyone to hold Islam or the Muslims in France or in the whole world responsible for this crime. This is fundamentally an incorrect, unrealistic, illegal, and immoral perception.

When a person commits a crime, he must be held responsible for this crime, regardless of his motives, even if he believed that his motives are religious. This happened in France and in Europe, and it is happening in other places in the world.

We might have to speak in terms of Muslim and Christian. We will, however, not come near the Jews. If a Christian man committed a crime of this kind – and this happened in France and most of the crimes that are committed in France are not committed by Muslims as well as in Europe – the media usually does not shed light on it. But whoever follows it knows about statistics and figures. Is it right for someone to say the one who is responsible for this crime is the Jesus Christ [PBUH], God forbid? Or the Christianity? Or hold the Christians in the world responsible? Or the Christians in the country where the crime was committed? No one accepts this behavior. Unfortunately, the French authorities are doing this.

President Macron and the rest of the French officials spoke about Islamic terrorism – now someone has translated it to Islamic terrorism or Islamic fascism, a lack of difference. There is no such thing as Islamic terrorism or Islamic fascism. If someone is committing an act of terror, then he is a terrorist. And if he commits a crime, then he is a criminal. But we cannot say Islamic terrorism and Islamic fascism.

Today the United States of America is committing massacres all over the world from the year 2000 onwards, the wars they’ve committed in Afghanistan, in Iraq, and in the region after September 11. Let us put aside World War I and II, Hiroshima, and the likes and just talk about the current generation.

Millions of people have been killed, and the Americans admit that hundreds of thousands have been killed in these wars, even if some were killed by mistakes such as weddings that were bombed in Afghanistan, sometimes deliberately. Does anyone come out and say that since the United States of America’s president and government are Christians and its army is mostly Christian, then this American terrorism is a Christian terrorism? Or that the one who bears the responsibility for this terrorism, God forbid, is Jesus Christ or the Christian religion whose values and teachings contradict these terrorist acts? 

Muslims did not say that what the European armies, including the French army, did in Algeria and what the others did in Libya and elsewhere in our region is a Christian terrorism and that the Christian faith is responsible. Not at all. And if someone said this, then they are mistaken.

This phenomenon is at the very least not present. Therefore, it is absolutely impermissible to generalize and hold a religion or the Prophet of a religion or the nation that believes in a religion responsible for a crime committed by any person belonging to a certain ideology or religion whether he was a Muslim, Christian, or Jew. This is wrong and should stop. The French and French officials do it every day. However, there are those who are correcting and saying no, we respect Islam as a religion. If you respect Islam as a religion, you have to change the term “Islamic terrorism” and “Islamic fascism”, and you do not have to follow Trump who uses this kind of terms.

Third, we heard in the past few days that you are objecting that someone in France offended your Prophet. The most important is that some Muslims also offend your Prophet and your Islam. I would like to say here that some Muslims definitely offend Islam and that some Muslims offend the Prophet of Islam, and some commit very, very serious offenses.

And what we have witnessed in the past few years in terms of terrorist acts and crimes, including the demolition of mosques, churches, and historical monuments; the killing of people; the beheadings; the cutting open of chests; and the slaughtering of people like ewes based on their affiliations – foreign media have also promoted and photographed them in the world.

These are major offenses to our religion and our prophet, and we were attacking this and we strongly object to this, but suppose this is correct and not an assumption, if some Muslims offend our Prophet this does not justify you to offend our Prophet, if some of you offend your sanctities, are we allowed to offend your sanctities? This is absolutely no logic, the prophets, the apostles, the religions, the religious symbols, the sanctities of the nations must be respected, even if the followers, the nation or the group come out from within the community who does not perform this respect and exceed this respect.  

These are major offenses to our religion and our prophet, and we attacked this and strongly objected to this. But let us suppose, this is true and not an assumption, that some Muslims are offending our Prophet. This does not justify you to offend our Prophet. If some of you offend your sanctities, are we allowed to offend your sanctities? This is absolutely not logical. Prophets, messengers, religions, religious symbols, and the sanctities of nations must be respected, even if followers, a nation, or a group do not respect them.

Fourth, here I continue to address the French officials and the public. Instead of holding Islam and the Islamic nation responsible for these terrorist acts that are taking place in France, Europe, and other places, let us discuss together your responsibility towards these actions and groups.

Let us go back 10 years, from 2011 onwards – we won’t say 50 years ago – there was a terrorist takfiri ideology that adopted killing just because of ideological, intellectual, sectarian, and political differences. They even committed brutal crimes just because they disagreed with the other about a detail.

You protected this ideology. The Americans, the US administration, the French governments, the European governments, you protected it, you provided it with all the facilities in the world.
People that disagreed with your way of thought faced difficulties in obtaining a visa when they wanted to take part in an activity in your country. But doors were widely opened to those with this [takfiri] ideology and were protected.

You facilitated the presence of these groups that were formed and adopted this ideology in Syria and Iraq. You helped support, arm, and fund them until these groups gained experience and a fighting spirit. Now, you are surprised about a massacre or a beheading?

Where did this begin? Did it start in our region and countries? Who did this? You supported them politically, via the media, and financially. You provided them with international protection and international conferences. You opened borders for them, gave them passports, and facilitated their arrival to the region. Acknowledge your responsibility first and how much responsibility you bear regarding this matter.

I invite you to go back to the 2011-2012 archives where I or many others told this to you, especially to the Europeans – do not be part of this global war against Syria, Iraq and the region; these groups could not penetrate into Lebanon. Do not adopt them. Do not defend these people. Do not facilitate their arrival and do not strengthen them because you will lose this battle, and these groups will turn on you. This ideology will turn on you. These groups and these people will return to your country and will flood them with terror and destruction. 

They will return to your countries and do what they did in Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, and other countries. On that exact day, we told you, America is far away, and the closest to our region is Europe, and the most serious threat is to Europe and you have to be aware. But you were too proud to listen. You believed that you will win this war, and it is known afterwards where you ended up.

Today, you must also acknowledge your responsibility. Do not blame those who have no responsibility. What is the relationship of the Messenger of Islam, Muhammad bin Abdullah, with these crimes? What is the relationship of his religion, Islam, and the Quran with these crimes? What is the relationship of a nation of two billion Muslims with these crimes?

The people you embraced, protected, nurtured, and brought to your countries are the ones who are responsible. This is what you should reconsider because you are still pursuing these sorts of policies. I will repeat what I said and use the same tone that we used when we were stating our position: We cannot be in a front alongside those who behead, cut chests open, eat livers, and slaughter. 

These were your allies and your groups, and they were protected by you. That is why you – the French, the Europeans, the Americans, and their allies in the region – must reconsider your behavior and methods, including the employment of these takfiri terrorist groups as tools in political projects and wars. You never learn. You did this in Afghanistan, and you paid for it on September 11. You made mistakes and are repeating the same mistakes. The use of these type of groups as tools must stop. Otherwise, you too will be paying the price of these mistakes.

Secondly, the French authorities have put themselves and France and also want to involve all of Europe and the European Union in a battle with Islam and the Muslims for flimsy and sometimes incomprehensible reasons. I will speak from a position of concern and not to score points. What is the reason? Meaning these developments that took place in the past weeks and was clearly shown by the media – an open and clear war in France from the president to the government, from the ministers to the parliament, and from the media to the street. What is the reason? What started this problem? Who assaulted the other? Who offended the other?

This issue began when the sinister French magazine published insulting cartoons of the Prophet of Islam, so Muslims rose up to protest in more than one place in the world. This matter then developed into a series of events, including the killing and beheading of the history professor.

Instead of taking the initiative to deal with this matter, to absorb it, and to have a real and correct attitude towards it – let us wait, not confuse truth with falsehood, not to mix things together; there is a main reason that led to these repercussions – instead of dealing with the repercussions, unfortunately the French authorities declared a war of this kind. They insisted that this is freedom of expression, and we want to continue practicing freedom of expression and the satirical cartoons. This came from the top of the pyramid. Basically, what is the message you are sending to the two billion Muslims in the world?

What are we talking about here? It is not about a political, financial, or economic matter, nor is it a conflict or a battle. We are talking about a matter related to their Prophet, their Messenger, and their Master, whom I spoke about at the beginning and stated what he represents to them. To the French authorities, what deserves this sacrifice?

You took it upon yourselves to protect this battle and adopt it, then you tell us you’ve got values including freedom of speech and that you don’t want to abandon them. Let us discuss this a little. Why did I say at the beginning, we want to speak calmly and objectively? The first discussion is operational and procedural. If it was really this and the way things are in France or in Europe, one could have said that let us see how we can approach the subject from another angle.

However, the issue is not like that. You must first convince the Muslims in the world that this claim is sincere. They do not accept that. This is not an honest claim. This is not a true claim. We have a lot of evidence and examples in France and Europe on practices by authorities that prevent freedom of expression, rather suppress freedom of expression. There are matters that may be less sensitive than a topic related to a prophet two billion people in the world believe in.

In order not to waste all the time, I will give one well-known example because it does not need much explanation. It’s about the French philosopher Roger Garaudy. You can find this example in television archives, documentaries, films, and articles. What the man did was write a book and a study regarding the myths behind the genocide of the Jews, or the so-called Holocaust. He presented a scientific discussion and figures, discussed numbers, wrote an academic scientific study, and spoke about the political exploitation of this incident. To date, Europe, especially Germany, is being blackmailed by international Zionism because of this issue. The man did not curse, insult, mock, or draw satirical cartoons. He did not even touch on Judaism. He only tackled an important and sensitive issue that happened in Europe. What did the French authorities do to this French philosopher?

The judiciary sued him. He was tried and defamed, and he was sentenced to prison. It is possible that because he was very old, they did not implement the sentence. The man was suppressed. Is this freedom of expression? Is this the value you are defending? Yes, it may be said that when the matter affects a certain sect, “Israel”, or the Zionists, then freedom of expression ceases to exist. But when it affects another sect, an entire nation with two billion people and their sanctities, freedom of expression remains absolute.

There are many more examples like Roger Garaudy that one can mention in different occasions, confirming that freedom of expression in France and in Europe is not absolute, but rather it is limited by legal, political, security, and other restrictions.

This claim – that it is an absolute freedom which allows anyone to do whatever they want, for a newspaper or a cartoonist to draw cartoons of the Prophet of Islam, or for someone to make a film mocking the Prophet of Islam – being acceptable is not right. We can give you many more examples. But this is unacceptable.

This means that your battle is now based on a non-existent and non-realistic basis. This is not your reality, and we can come up with a list of how you behave on television, newspapers, magazines, and radio stations because they adopt, for example, certain ideas or broadcast certain programs. This is in the archives. This is first.

The other aspect, which is also important, is the discussion – is it true that you really possess this value in this manner? If we look at it from a humanitarian and moral perspective, is there such a thing as absolute freedom of expression? Meaning, isn’t there a limit? Why does freedom of expression cease to exist when it comes to anti-Semitism? When a person insults, exposes, and attributes lies and crimes to others, is this acceptable? You don’t have a problem with this in France and in Europe? Is it really like this?

Is this true? If a person publishes secrets and documents affecting national security under the rubric of freedom of expression, how do you deal with him? How do America and the West deal with him?

If someone said some things, announced some things, or wrote about matters that may lead to internal strife or a civil war or breach national security, how do you deal with him? Does freedom of expression end when someone’s dignity is on the line?

We wish and demand a reconsideration because this is not a humanitarian value. This is contrary to humanity. This is not a moral value. This is against morals and moral values. Therefore, it must be reconsidered.

I would like to conclude this part and this file. I would like to address the French authorities and tell them, today in the Islamic world no one is looking for new enmities or new battles, and I do not think that two billion Muslims think in this way.

On the contrary, Muslims are working to alleviate enmities in this world and keep the specter of wars away from them and confrontations they always pay the price for. You should think about dealing with this sin and this great mistake that has been committed.

I heard French officials saying that we do not submit to terrorism. It is not required that you submit to terrorism. You are required to fix the mistake, and addressing the mistake is not submitting to terrorism. On the contrary, insisting on a mistake and going into confrontations that do not serve anyone is submitting to terrorism. It is heeding to the demands of terrorism and terrorists who want to blow up all the squares in the world. You must go back to the source and address this mistake. This is not submitting to terrorism.

First of all, you are applying it incorrectly. Apply it correctly. Apply it to Muslims just as you would apply it to non-Muslims. Be fair and be just. Offending our dignities, the dignity of our prophets, and the dignity of our Prophet is something that no Muslim in the world can accept. I would like to clearly tell you – even if the political regimes in the Arab and Islamic world found excuses for their conspiracies, concessions, and betrayals, they will not be able to remain silent and cover up the insults before their people when it comes to offending their holy Prophet who is adored and respected by the people. Therefore, this battle that you insist on fighting is a lost cause.

What will happen to the political and economic interests of France and the French people as well as its relations with the peoples of the Islamic world if it continues on this path? This matter must be addressed, and you can find a solution for it. 

I conclude by saying that instead of dealing with the repercussions and mobilizing more soldiers and security services to prevent terrorist operations of this kind, address the root of the problem. Stop the excuses and treat the root of the problem. Do not allow this mockery, this aggression, and this insult to continue, then the whole world will stand with you.

In any case, terrorist acts are condemned as I said at the beginning, but it is your responsibility and everyone’s responsibility to address matters from their roots.

Here, it is possible to consider His Eminence the Grand Sheikh of Al-Azhar’s proposal that calls for an international legislation to prohibit this type of action which concerns Muslims and the Islamic nation. The same or similar wording can be adopted. For example, we can talk about adopting international legislation criminalizing the act of insulting the prophets and messengers, insulting divine religions, or insulting the sanctities of nations. Any form of this kind.

Of course, if an international legislation of this kind is adopted, this will form a legal ruler over freedom of expression and will create a way out for the French government and for all other governments that claim to preserve freedom of expression as being part of their values and laws.

A solution to this matter must be found. The world does not need any more problems, confrontations, and wars. It is not permissible to push the world and its people, especially our Islamic nation and the European countries that such positions, into confrontations and wars of this kind for the sake of trivial, absurd claims that lack any humane, moral, and legal grounds. The responsibility of dealing with it today lies primarily on the French authorities, and everyone must cooperate to address this file and put an end to this strife.
This was the first file. In the context of marking the birth of the noble Prophet and the massive crowds we saw yesterday in Yemen’s Sana’a and in a number of Yemeni cities and governorates, one cannot help but take note of this scene and its indications.

Despite the devastating war – when we say war, that means there is killing, wounding, displacement, and destruction of buildings that is now in its sixth year – despite the blockade, the starvation, difficult living conditions, outbreaks and diseases, and despite all these difficult circumstances, we find the masses gathering in Yemeni cities. For what? To commemorate the birth of the Messenger of God and to defend him. I would like to talk about this topic for a few minutes. 

In Lebanon and elsewhere, we know what it means when a country is in a state of war. There is the possibility of an aerial bombardment at any moment, and the aggression does not hesitate to kill civilians including men, women and children. Despite all the security, health, and environmental dangers as well as the state of war, these people come out to express their deep faith in the Messenger of God, their great love for the Messenger of God, and their unparalleled willingness to defend the dignity and honor of the Messenger of God. Is this not a sign, a strong message that all people must take note of?

First and foremost, I call on Muslims in the world who believe in this Prophet, respect, and adore him to take note of what we saw yesterday in Yemen. These people chant for hours, repeat songs and slogans, and listen to their dear leader, His Eminence Sayyed Abdul Malik Al Houthi, as he explained and clarified. In the conclusion, he affirmed that they stood firmly and categorically by the Palestinian cause and alongside the Palestinian people.

Take a look. The besieged Yemenis, the strangers in this world today, the ones being attacked, those who are fighting diseases, hunger, blockade, and all difficult circumstances do not resort to any excuse to abandon Palestine, the Palestinian cause, or the Palestinian people. They declare their determination and adherence to Palestine and the Palestinian cause and their defense of the Palestinian people.

In return, there are those who have luxury and affluence, those who are immersed in the pleasures of the world, who did not engage in a war with the “Israeli” enemy in the first place rush to abandon Palestine, recognize “Israel” and normalize with it. Is this not a divine argument?

They affirmed that they will stand by the countries, people, resistance movements, and the axis of resistance in the face of American and Zionist projects, even though they are in dire need for the world to stand beside them and defend them. Muslims and all peoples of our Arab and Islamic region and the world should retake note of what we saw and heard yesterday.

They should take note of it with a humanitarian, ethical, and religious background. I tell you today this is a new, divine, religious argument on all Arab and Islamic scholars, officials, leaders, elites and people all over the world. It is a new, divine argument for them to break their silence. Those who support this American-Saudi-Emirati and unfortunately, Sudanese aggression against the people of Yemen must withdraw this support.

And those who are still silent about this daily crime should break their silence. A large and powerful wave and movement must be formed in the Arab and Islamic worlds to put pressure on those leaders, the leaders of the aggression who insist on continuing the aggression and the war. This is the least thing we can do to show loyalty to them – the people of knowledge, the people who adore the Messenger of God, and the people defending the Messenger of God [PBUH].

It is time for this unjust and criminal war to stop. The greatest and most urgent duty today is to work on ending this war. The greatest thing a Muslim can offer on these days to the Messenger of God is to stand by those who deeply believe in him, those who love him with affection, those who defend him with their souls, blood, money, and children. This is also in the context of the commemoration.

Time is over. I, in fact, wanted to talk a little about the topic of normalization in the region, the land border demarcation negotiations with occupied Palestine, the security situation at the southern Lebanese border with occupied Palestine, the “Israeli” military maneuvers, and the general situation in Lebanon. But considering that the first file took a lot of the time allotted, God willing, I will deliver a speech on Martyrs’ Day on 11-11, the day commemorating Hezbollah’s martyr. Therefore, I will postpone these topics. I will only talk about the formation of the government in Lebanon.

Of course, we hope that the Prime Minister-designate, in cooperation and understanding with His Excellency the President of the Republic and in cooperation with the rest of the parliamentary blocs, will be able to form a new Lebanese government as soon as possible. Of course, everyone knows that the financial, economic, and social conditions in Lebanon cannot be managed and addressed without a government with legal powers. The caretaker government cannot continue, so we carry this hope.

Our data indicate that the atmosphere is reasonable, positive, and good. We do not want to exaggerate the positivity, but the atmosphere is reasonable. We will cooperate from our part and will facilitate in whatever way we can, God willing.

Much of what is reported in the media and in articles is not true. Some are not accurate, while others are baseless, especially with regard to our approach to forming the government.

God willing, we are positive, and we will remain positive. We will provide whatever help we can to aid the concerned officials in forming the government as soon as possible. We will not spare any effort in this regard, God willing, especially now. This is the real challenge.

Regarding the anniversary of the October 17 movement, what was awaiting the country, and what some people were expecting, God willing, if there was time, we will talk about it later.

It’s not the time to engage in disputes and quarrels. It’s time for understanding, cooperation, and openness to form a government, God willing.

I want to conclude by mentioning the dangerous rise in coronavirus cases. Now, we are recording 2000 cases. This is a very dangerous thing. At the beginning, people used to complain when the numbers hit the 60, 70, or 100 mark. Now, the numbers are hitting 1600 and 1800 cases, and we will be nearing 2000. You know the situation of the hospitals. The death toll is rising day by day, and it seems that many people have become accustomed to this situation and are coexisting with it.

I repeat and say that negligence is inhumane, immoral, and illegal. In the religious sense, it is a sin, and it is haram.

There are countries in the world today -since we were talking about France- that are heading into lockdowns, the same in Germany, in Spain, and in Italy. The Americans cannot see in front of them – there are 80 thousand or 90 thousand cases. Some people in the world are going mad, while others are opting for new measures.

We cannot continue in this way in Lebanon. It is not a matter of the Health Ministry, but rather the whole government, the whole country, scholars, religious authorities, political leaders, fathers, mothers, husbands, wives, parents, brothers, sisters. It is a humanitarian responsibility that concerns everyone. Everyone should wear masks, adhere to social distancing, and sanitize. These measures reduce the dangers of getting infected. Lockdowns that cause people to lose their jobs and starve are not the only solution. Coexistence is possible by adhering to the measures.

I would like to call on people once again and I will never tire because it is my legal, moral, religious, and humanitarian responsibility as well as the responsibility of each and every one of us to commit while we call on others to commit [to the health measures]. Otherwise, we are heading towards a very dangerous path at the health level that requires a major cry in the country and dissatisfaction with the existing reality.

I ask God to protect everyone, heal everyone, and guard everyone with his eye that does not sleep. Once again, I congratulate you on the birth of the Master of Messengers and the Seal of the Prophets Abi Al-Qassem Muhammad bin Abdullah. I ask God to make us among those who believe in him, his lovers, and those who are following on his path and are committed to his teachings. May He grant us his intercession on the Day of Resurrection and put us with him and never separate us from him in this life and in the Hereafter. May He allow us to mark this occasion again with goodness, blessing, victory, peace, and health. Many happy returns. Peace and Allah’s mercy be upon you.

Disbelief in human rationality; The Trump Factor

November 08, 2020

Disbelief in human rationality; The Trump Factor

by Ghassan Kadi for the Saker Blog

Disbelief is probably the best word to describe today’s world. Disbelief that in the short span of my own lifetime thus far, I have lived to witness black whitewashed to become white, and when it doesn’t turn white, brains are brainwashed to see it white.

In am in disbelief that the political Left that I have grown to choose to either like or dislike is now owned and controlled by Western billionaires and oligarchs who have turned developing countries into slave labour camps.

I am in disbelief that the former promise of liberalism has been turned by the new-Left to become a mass movement that is devoid of free-thinking, one that literally coerces one to unconditionally accept it and follow its agenda without any questions or else face persecution, humiliation and slander.

Love or hate Castro and Guevara, I am in total disbelief that their political heirs, as it were, are Greta Thunberg, Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden, the main benefactor of whom is George Soros; just to name a few.

I am in disbelief that decent people have condoned violent protests and looting and considered them as rightful civil rights activities.

I am in total disbelief that rudeness, thought-policing, political correctness, hypocrisy and double standards have become the new norms.

And now that Biden has illegally declared himself a winner, I am in disbelief that many of his supporters do not seem to care as to whether or not he has indeed committed electoral fraud or not despite allegations that indicate that ballots might have been fiddled with and which at least warrants an investigation. They seem happy to get rid of Trump even if this meant that fraud was actually committed.

I am in disbelief that world leaders are breaking the standards of political protocol and congratulating Biden before he is formally declared a winner.

I am in disbelief that social media giants like Facebook and Twitter are allowed to censor personal opinion and make their own rules on what constitutes freedom of expression and what doesn’t. Even more, I am in disbelief that those giants are free to decide to ban publishing reports about allegations of corruption in the Biden family camp because they have not been legally and formally substantiated, but at the same time promote and publish unsubstantiated accusations about Trump and his supporters.

I am in disbelief that it became illegal to prescribe and sell hydroxychloroquine even though there are indications that it can treat COVID-19.

I am in disbelief that intelligent, well-meaning people, including many personal friends have believed the myriad of unsubstantiated stories that have been fabricated about Trump ever since he was elected. I am in disbelief that they believed in the Russiagate fiasco and that upon reflection did not feel any remorse when they were proved to be a lie. I am in disbelief that those who fabricated the story were not prosecuted.

I am in disbelief that the BLM movement appears to blame Trump for centuries of racial injustice in America. I am in disbelief that those same people do not look at Obama’s track record on race issues.

I am in disbelief that many mature and intelligent men and women believe that Greta is an expert on climate all the while ignoring what many eminent scientists are saying to the contrary. I am in disbelief that Trump is blamed for that so-called ‘Climate Change’ and that Biden truly believes that he is able to reach zero CO2 emission.

When I was growing up, reform and justice meant iconic issues such as freedom of worship, free speech, free education and medication. I am in disbelief to see that the new definition has morphed into the ‘rights’ of late term abortion and school children having gender change surgeries.

I am in disbelief that the same West that once mocked the use of the term ‘democratic’ in the rhetoric of the USSR and the names of entities like the German Democratic Republic finds itself at ease kicking democracy in the guts and have the so-called American Democratic Party ruled by a new ‘species’ of dictators and thugs.

I am in disbelief that the new definition of being progressive does not include decency and respect and that parents no longer teach their children simple rules like giving up their bus seats to the elderly.

I am in disbelief that the impact of COVID-19 and ‘alleged’ loss of life was blamed on Trump. I say ‘alleged’ loss of life not because I believe that the virus does not exist; it does, but because I have seen enough evidence to substantiate that the figures we have been presented with were highly exaggerated and that many people died of causes other than COVD-19 but were counted as COVID-19 victims; just to make Trump look bad. To this effect, if Trump does initiate a court challenge to the election results and loses, then all that Biden has to do is to start publishing the real figures of deaths caused by COVID-19, and that alone will make him look like a hero who managed to turn around the figures.

I must say that as a Syrian-Lebanese, Trump has been horrible for Syria. He did not manage to contain Erdogan. He sanctioned the theft of Syrian oil. He allowed for Syrian crops to be burnt. He intensified sanctions against Syria with his Caesar Act. For the above and other reasons, Syrians should be rejoicing to see him leave even though Biden and his team of Democrats have been beating the drums of war, but if they draw first blood, it will be a war they cannot win. In more ways than one, a military escalation in Syria now, one that does not expand to become an all-out war between America and Russia, may break the stalemate and create the foreground for moving forward in a new direction. In other words, as far as Syria is concerned, Biden can inadvertently be a better president than Trump. Time will tell.

I therefore have real, concrete and thought-out reasons to dislike Trump and even loath him. But I find myself in total disbelief when I ask many people the reason, the real reason, for which they hate Trump; they are unable to provide a single one. Some revert to his looks and/or his vocabulary, but come on, is this enough for them to hate him with the passion they do? I am in disbelief that they echo like parrots the words of the media, knowing from previous experiences that the only thing that the media is good at is lying. I am in disbelief that seemingly rational people are increasingly finding it easy and plausible for them to adopt very strong views, make loud and uncouth comments, without taking the effort of fact-finding.

I am in disbelief that the moment one speaks of fact-finding-based rationality, he/she is either ‘accused’ of being a Trumpie or a denialist. You are either 100% with them or against them. I am in disbelief that they do not see the grey lines in any given argument.

The perception of Trump by the world reminds me of that of President Assad in the Arab World a bit; not that a real comparison can be drawn between the two men. Many Arabs who hate Assad cannot provide one single legitimate reason for hating him, but when squeezed in a corner, they admit that they dislike him because he is an Alawite.

The planners of the anti-Trump campaign have worked very hard in order to demonize him and create a multi-faceted global anti-Trump hysteria. They planned to put together a coalition of haters of different persuasions united only by their hatred to Trump; again in a manner akin to how the ‘War on Syria’ started.

The public both within America and abroad has been bombarded with stories about Trump, portraying him as the public enemy number one at different levels and on many issues.

The Chinese have a great interest to see Trump go because Trump is a tough trade deal negotiator.

The EU nations, and NATO members to be specific, also have a great interest to see Trump go because he forced them to make larger contributions to the NATO budget.

And even though Trump canceled the Iran nuclear deal, endorsed Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and facilitated peace settlements with three Arab states, the Israelis have no qualms about seeing Trump go because they know for a fact that Biden will not waver in his support to Israel. To Israel and the Israel lobby, the identity of the resident of the White House is totally immaterial.

Erdogan will be happy to see Trump go because he knows that Biden will be a much softer putty to mould. Biden is more than likely to give him a free hand dealing with the Kurds than Trump ever did.

The huge American industrialists and globalists will be happy to see Trump go because they do not wish to repatriate their factories and create American jobs. They do not want to pay higher salaries and higher taxes. They are totally indifferent as to how far and wide the rust belt expands; for as long as their companies are making profit having factories overseas.

Big Pharma is keen to see Trump go because it is tipped to make hundreds of billions of dollars selling vaccines.

Last but not least, the Deep State wishes for Trump to go. No former American President has ever dared to even mention the term ‘Deep State’ let alone take charge against it. I find myself in a state of disbelief because the alleged foot soldiers who are meant to stand up against the ‘Deep State’, ie the Left, are the ones taking charge against Trump. Work this one out.

Even the old guards at the GOP, the Republican Party are against Trump; because they are part-and-parcel of the Deep State, they have their fingers in the pie, and Trump does not represent them. In reality, in both of his election and re-election bids, Trump ran more like an independent than a GOP candidate. History will possibly mark him as the American President who was closest to being an independent candidate.

With all of the above said, I can fully understand why some have good reasons to dislike Trump and even hate him, and as mentioned above, I can have my own reasons. I can equally understand why some can be shortsighted enough to wish to see him go without giving much thought to who is to replace him. But for anyone to believe that Joe Biden is the man to restore America’s position in the world and make the world a better place, than unsubstantiated wishful thinking is the most polite manner to describe such aspirations.

Notwithstanding all of the above, the world is undergoing an inevitable polar shift and this is now unstoppable. The West is losing its technical edge and financial prowess as both are moving east. And even if Trump wins his touted court battle and is declared a winner, changes the constitution and gets re-elected for ten more terms, he will not be able to reverse this torrent even if the Democrats worked wholeheartedly with him.

If Biden ends up in the White House, he may and probably will attempt to gain initial support by publishing real COVID-19 death related figures as mentioned above. But what will he be able to conjure up in order to be able to save face when it comes to public debt, unemployment and other huge problems that America and the rest of the world face?

The cracks within America are sadly widening and the underlying foundations are crumbling, and if Biden is foolish enough to take the war gamble as a way out of the financial dilemma that he will have to deal with if he becomes president and squanders a few more trillion on a new war somewhere in the world, he will hasten the financial collapse. If he warms up to China and escalates his anti-Russian rhetoric to the extent of creating war with Russia, then God help us all. I suppose Greta and her minions will blame Russia for the nuclear fallout, provided that any of them and us will still be around to talk about it.

Whether Trump stays or goes, he has definitely and inadvertently accelerated the events in the age of disbelief. The word disbelief was once associated with heresy, but now, at least in my dictionary, it refers to the disbelief in the current state of human rationality.

I can go on and on but enough is said. With all the above reasons to have disbelief, I wonder if there is still any benefit in writing articles like this one and trying to talk people into having some common sense.

The world is quickly and steadfastly approaching a rather frightening stage of mass hysteria of Biblical proportions. Rational people now feel that they are surrounded by lunatics, and yet some say we ‘ain’t seen nothing yet’.

May God have mercy on humanity, because humanity did not have mercy on itself.

Social media’s erasure of Palestinians is a grim warning for our future

Jonathan Cook

26 October 2020 12:39 UTC 

Facebook, Google and Twitter are not neutral platforms. They control the digital public square to aid the powerful – and can cancel any of us overnight

Palestinian critics say Facebook has become ‘another face of occupation’ (AFP/File photo)

There is a growing unease that the decisions taken by social media corporations can have a harmful impact on our lives. These platforms, despite enjoying an effective monopoly over the virtual public square, have long avoided serious scrutiny or accountability. 

In a new Netflix documentary, The Social Dilemma, former Silicon Valley executives warn of a dystopian future. Google, Facebook and Twitter have gathered vast quantities of data on us to better predict and manipulate our desires. Their products are gradually rewiring our brains to addict us to our screens and make us more pliable to advertisers. The result, as we are consigned to discrete ideological echo chambers, is ever greater social and political polarisation and turmoil.

Western publics are waking up very belatedly to the undemocratic power social media wields over them

As if to underline the ever-tightening grip these tech corporations exert on our lives, Facebook and Twitter decided this month to openly interfere in the most contentious US presidential election in living memory. They censored a story that could harm the electoral prospects of Joe Biden, the Democratic challenger to incumbent President Donald Trump. 

Given that nearly half of Americans receive their news chiefly via Facebook, the ramifications of such a decision on our political life were not hard to interpret. In excising any debate about purported corruption and influence-peddling by Biden’s son, Hunter, carried out in his father’s name, these social media platforms stepped firmly into the role of authoritarian arbiter of what we are allowed to say and know. 

‘Monopoly gatekeeper’

Western publics are waking up very belatedly to the undemocratic power social media wields over them. But if we wish to understand where this ultimately leads, there is no better case study than the very different ways Israelis and Palestinians have been treated by the tech giants. 

The treatment of Palestinians online serves as a warning that it would be foolish indeed to regard these globe-spanning corporations as politically neutral platforms, and their decisions as straightforwardly commercial. This is to doubly misunderstand their role.How Facebook threatens vulnerable Muslim communities Read More »

Social media firms are now effectively monopolistic communication grids – similar to the electricity and water grids, or the phone network of a quarter of a century ago. Their decisions are therefore no longer private matters, but instead have huge social, economic and political consequences. That is part of the reason why the US justice department launched a lawsuit last week against Google for acting as a “monopoly gatekeeper for the internet”. 

Google, Facebook and Twitter have no more a right to arbitrarily decide who and what they host on their sites than telecoms companies once had a right to decide whether a customer should be allowed a phone line. But unlike the phone company, social media corporations control not just the means of communication, but the content too. They can decide, as the Hunter Biden story shows, whether their customers get to participate in vital public debates about who leads them.

The Hunter Biden decision is as if the phone company of old not only listened in to conversations, but was able to cut the line if it did not like the politics of any particular customer. 

In fact, it is even worse than that. Social media now deliver the news to large sections of the population. Their censoring of a story is more akin to the electricity company turning off the power to everyone’s homes for the duration of a TV broadcast to ensure no one can see it.

Censorship by stealth

The tech giants are the wealthiest, most powerful corporations in human history, their riches measured in hundreds of billions, and now trillions, of dollars. But the argument that they are apolitical – aiming simply to maximise profits – was never true. 

They have every reason to promote politicians who side with them by committing not to break up their monopolies or regulate their activities, or, better still, by promising to weaken controls that might prevent them from growing even more fabulously rich and powerful. 

Social media algorithms help drive decisions on content removal (AFP/File photo)
Social media algorithms help drive decisions on content removal (AFP/File photo)

Conversely, the tech giants also have every incentive to use the digital space to penalise and marginalise political activists who urge greater regulation either of their activities, or of the marketplace more generally. 

Unlike their explicit deletion of the Hunter Biden story, which incensed the Trump administration, social media corporations more usually censor by stealth. That power is wielded through algorithms, the secret codes that decide whether something or someone appears in a search result or on a social media feed. If they desire, these tech titans can cancel any one of us overnight. 

This is not just political paranoia. The disproportionate impact of algorithm changes on “left-leaning” websites – those most critical of the neoliberal system that has enriched social media corporations – was highlighted this month by the Wall Street Journal. 

Wrong kinds of speech

Politicians increasingly understand the power of social media, which is why they want to harness it as best they can for their own ends. Since the shock of Trump’s election victory in late 2016, Facebook, Google and Twitter executives have regularly found themselves dragged before legislative oversight committees in the US and UK.

There, they are ritually rebuked by politicians for creating a crisis of “fake news” – a crisis that, in fact, long predated social media, as the deceptions of US and UK officials in linking Saddam Hussein to 9/11 and claiming that Iraq had “weapons of mass destruction” testify to only too clearly. 

The online fate of Palestinians points to a future in which the already-powerful will gain ever greater control over what we know and what we are allowed to think

Politicians have also begun holding internet corporations responsible for “foreign interference” in western elections – typically blamed on Russia – despite a dearth of serious evidence for most of their allegations

Political pressure is being exerted not to make the corporations more transparent and accountable, but to steer them towards enforcing even more assiduously restrictions on the wrong kinds of speech – whether it be violent racists on the right or critics of capitalism and western government policy on the left.

For that reason, social media’s original image as a neutral arena of information sharing, or as a tool for widening public debate and increasing civic engagement, or as a discourse leveller between the rich and powerful and weak and marginalised, grows ever more hollow.

Separate digital rights

Nowhere are ties between tech and state officials more evident than in their dealings with Israel. This has led to starkly different treatment of digital rights for Israelis and Palestinians. The online fate of Palestinians points to a future in which the already-powerful will gain ever greater control over what we know and what we are allowed to think, and over who is visible and who is erased from public life.

Israel was well-positioned to exploit social media before most other states had recognised its importance in manipulating popular attitudes and perceptions. For decades, Israel had, in part, outsourced an official programme of hasbara – or state propaganda – to its own citizens and supporters abroad. As new digital platforms emerged, these partisans were only too willing to expand their role.Facebook accused of censoring Palestinians under pretext of fighting hate speech Read More »

Israel had another advantage. After the 1967 occupation of the West Bank, Jerusalem and Gaza, Israel began crafting a narrative of state victimhood by redefining antisemitism to suggest it was now a particular affliction of the left, not the right. So-called “new antisemitism” did not target Jews, but related instead to criticism of Israel and support for Palestinian rights. 

This highly dubious narrative proved easy to condense into social media-friendly soundbites. 

Israel still routinely describes any Palestinian resistance to its belligerent occupation or its illegal settlements as “terrorism”, and any support from other Palestinians as “incitement”. International solidarity with Palestinians is characterised as “delegitimisation” and equated with antisemitism. 

‘Flood the internet’

As far back as 2008, it emerged that a pro-Israel media lobby group, Camera, had been orchestrating covert efforts by Israel loyalists to infiltrate the online encyclopedia Wikipedia to edit entries and “rewrite history” in ways favourable to Israel. Soon afterwards, politician Naftali Bennett helped organise courses teaching “Zionist editing” of Wikipedia. 

In 2011, the Israeli army declared social media a new “battleground” and assigned “cyber warriors” to wage combat online. In 2015, Israel’s foreign ministry set up an additional command centre to recruit young, tech-savvy former soldiers from 8200, the army’s cyber intelligence unit, to lead the battle online. Many have gone on to establish hi-tech firms whose spying software became integral to the functioning of social media.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attends a 2019 cyber industry conference in Tel Aviv (AFP)
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attends a 2019 cyber industry conference in Tel Aviv (AFP)

An app launched in 2017, Act.IL, mobilised Israel partisans to “swarm” sites hosting either criticism of Israel or support for Palestinians. The initiative, supported by Israel’s Ministry of Strategic Affairs, was headed by veterans of Israeli intelligence services. 

According to the Forward, a US Jewish weekly, Israel’s intelligence services liaise closely with Act.IL and request help in getting content, including videos, removed by social media platforms. The Forward observed shortly after the app was rolled out: “Its work so far offers a startling glimpse of how it could shape the online conversations about Israel without ever showing its hand.”

Sima Vaknin-Gil, a former Israeli military censor who was then assigned to Israel’s strategic affairs ministry, said the goal was to “create a community of fighters” whose job was to “flood the internet” with Israeli propaganda

Willing allies

With advantages measured in personnel numbers and ideological zeal, in tech and propaganda experience, and in high-level influence in Washington and Silicon Valley, Israel was soon able to turn social media platforms into willing allies in its struggle to marginalise Palestinians online.  

In 2016, Israel’s justice ministry was boasting that Facebook, Google and YouTube were “complying with up to 95 percent of Israeli requests to delete content”, almost all of it Palestinian. The social media companies did not confirm this figure.

The Anti-Defamation League, a pro-Israel lobby group with a history of smearing Palestinian organisations and Jewish groups critical of Israel, established a “command centre” in Silicon Valley in 2017 to monitor what it termed “online hate speech”. That same year, it was appointed a “trusted flagger” organisation for YouTube, meaning its reporting of content for removal was prioritised. 

Tech corporations are now the undeclared, profit-driven arbiters of our speech rights. But their commitment is not to open and vigorous public debate

At a 2018 conference in Ramallah hosted by 7amleh, a Palestinian online advocacy group, local Google and Facebook representatives barely hid their priorities. It was important to their bottom line to avoid upsetting governments with the power to constrain their commercial activities – even if those governments were systematically violating international law and human rights. In this battle, the Palestinian Authority carries no weight at all. Israel presides over Palestinians’ communications and internet infrastructure. It controls the Palestinian economy and its key resources.

Since 2016, Israel’s justice ministry has reportedly suppressed tens of thousands of Palestinian posts. In a completely opaque process, Israel’s own algorithms detect content it deems “extremist” and then requests its removal. Hundreds of Palestinians have been arrested by Israel over social media posts, chilling online activity. 

Human Rights Watch warned late last year that Israel and Facebook were often blurring the distinction between legitimate criticism of Israel and incitement. Conversely, as Israel has shifted ever further rightwards, the Netanyahu government and social media platforms have not stemmed a surge of posts in Hebrew promoting anti-Palestinian incitement and calling for violence. 7amleh has noted that Israelis post racist or inciteful material against Palestinians roughly every minute. 

News agencies shut down

As well as excising tens of thousands of Palestinian posts, Israel has persuaded Facebook to take down the accounts of major Palestinian news agencies and leading journalists. 

By 2018, the Palestinian public had grown so incensed that a campaign of online protests and calls to boycott Facebook were led under the hashtag “FBcensorsPalestine”. In Gaza, demonstrators accused the company of being “another face of occupation”. Leila Khaled shutdown shows how corporate tech is enemy of free speechRead More »

Activism in solidarity with Palestinians in the US and Europe has been similarly targeted. Ads for films, as well as the films themselves, have been taken down and websites removed. 

Last month, Zoom, a video conferencing site that has boomed during the Covid-19 pandemic, joined YouTube and Facebook in censoring a webinar organised by San Francisco State University because it included Leila Khaled, an icon of the Palestinian resistance movement now in her seventies.

On Friday, Zoom blocked a second scheduled appearance by Khaled – this time in a University of Hawaii webinar on censorship – as well as a spate of other events across the US to protest against her cancellation by the site. A statement concerning the day of action said campuses were “joining in the campaign to resist corporate and university silencing of Palestinian narratives and Palestinian voices”.

The decision, a flagrant attack on academic freedom, was reportedly taken after the social media groups were heavily pressured by the Israeli government and anti-Palestinian lobby groups, which labelled the webinar “antisemitic”.

Wiped off the map

The degree to which the tech giants’ discrimination against Palestinians is structural and entrenched has been underscored by the years-long struggle of activists both to include Palestinian villages on online maps and GPS services, and to name the Palestinian territories as “Palestine”, in accordance with Palestine’s recognition by the United Nations. 

That campaign has largely floundered, even though more than a million people have signed a petition in protest. Both Google and Apple have proved highly resistant to these appeals; hundreds of Palestinian villages are missing from their maps of the occupied West Bank, while Israel’s illegal settlements are identified in detail, accorded the same status as the Palestinian communities that are shown. 

New houses are built in the Nokdim settlement in the occupied West Bank on 13 October (AFP)
New houses being built in the Nokdim settlement in the occupied West Bank on 13 October (AFP)

The occupied Palestinian territories are subordinated under the name “Israel”, while Jerusalem is presented as Israel’s unified and undisputed capital, just as Israel claims – making the occupation of the Palestinian section of the city invisible. 

These are far from politically neutral decisions. Israeli governments have long pursued a Greater Israel ideology that requires driving Palestinians off their lands. This year, that dispossession programme was formalised with plans, backed by the Trump administration, to annex swathes of the West Bank. 

Google and Apple are effectively colluding in this policy by helping to erase Palestinians’ visible presence in their homeland. As two Palestinian scholars, George Zeidan and Haya Haddad, recently noted: “When Google and Apple erase Palestinian villages from their navigation, but proudly mark settlements, the effect is complicity in the Israeli nationalist narrative.” 

Out of the shadows

Israel’s ever-tightening relationship with social media corporations has played out largely behind the scenes. But these ties moved decisively out of the shadows in May, when Facebook announced that its new oversight board would include Emi Palmor, one of the architects of Israel’s online repression policy towards Palestinians. 

Palestinians know only too well how easy it is for technology to diminish and disappear the voices of the weak and oppressed, and to amplify the voices of the powerful

The board will issue precedent-setting rulings to help shape Facebook’s and Instagram’s censorship and free speech policies. But as the former director-general of the justice ministry, Palmor has shown no commitment to online free speech. Quite the reverse: she worked hand-in-hand with the tech giants to censor Palestinian posts and shut down Palestinian news websites. She oversaw the transformation of her department into what the human rights organisation Adalah has called the Orwellian “Ministry of Truth”. 

Tech corporations are now the undeclared, profit-driven arbiters of our speech rights. But their commitment is not to open and vigorous public debate, online transparency or greater civic engagement. Their only commitment is to the maintenance of a business environment in which they avoid any regulation by major governments infringing on their right to make money.

The appointment of Palmor perfectly illustrates the corrupting relationship between government and social media. Palestinians know only too well how easy it is for technology to diminish and disappear the voices of the weak and oppressed, and to amplify the voices of the powerful. 

Many more of us could soon find ourselves sharing the online fate of Palestinians.

The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Eye.Jonathan CookJonathan Cook, a British journalist based in Nazareth since 2001, is the the author of three books on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. He is a past winner of the Martha Gellhorn Special Prize for Journalism. His website and blog can be found at: http://www.jonathan-cook.net

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