Iranophobic propaganda factory of fake martyrs: the case of the Blue Girl

Iranophobic propaganda factory of fake martyrs: the case of the Blue Girl

by *Ivan Kesić for the Saker Blog

September 30, 2019

In the last two weeks, a heartbreaking story from Iran hit the world’s headlines. The storyline goes something like this: a female football fan, nicknamed as the Blue Girl, tried to enter the men-only Tehran’s Azadi Stadium in March this year and she was arrested by the security guards only because she was a woman. Six months later, more precisely in early September, she was ordered to attend a court in Tehran and after she found out about the prison sentence, she poured petrol on herself and set herself on fire outside the courthouse. She died in hospital one week later due to the third-degree burns. These reports in the Western media quickly gained a vast readership and triggered numerous reactions. Some compared her to Jan Palach, some wrote to international sports organizations seeking sanctions against Iran, and some went so far as to argue that the case would cause mass unrest or even revolution.

As is almost always the case with Western stories about Iran which target the audience’s emotions, by fact-checking the story details and comparing them with the statements of victim’s family given to the Persian-language media, it turns out that virtually all of the claims are incorrect, or even contrary. First of all, she was not arrested because she was a woman who wanted to go to the stadium, but because she violently attacked the policemen at the stadium gates, after refusing the security check. According to her sister, strife erupted when she told the security guards that they shouldn’t touch her because she is a girl from a conservative family. It means that the alleged liberal feminist, implied as such by the Western media, in reality was someone completely opposite, a conservative girl from the holy city of Qom. Most important of all, she did not attack the guards due to any sort of political protest, but because she was a mentally ill girl who had a hysterical attack. Unfortunately, she was alone so there was no one to explain her about the stadium rules, or to the guards about her mental health.

Unknowing about her medical record, police placed her in three-day detention, which led to a worsening of her mental condition. Her family came from Qom to Tehran, paid bail and showed documents about her health. When her scheduled trial came six months later, the judge was away so no verdict had been issued. There is no sentence of six months or two years in prison, as falsely claimed. Whether it’s due to a judge’s absence, rumors about potential penalties or something else, eventually setting fire to herself outside the building. It had nothing to do with football, politics or verdicts, only her mental disorder and an unfortunate set of circumstances. Her family further noted about her suicide attempt several years ago when she was a university student and was hospitalized for a while, adding that all related medical documents also exist. All these information were systematically ignored in the Western mass media. Even alleged image of the victim wearing a blue hat, circulated widely on the Internet, is false. It actually shows a transgender boy.

Her death is undoubtedly a tragedy and it provoked a number of reactions within Iran, especially among fans of the Esteghlal FC. Some public figures have criticized security guards for treating her as a normal citizen, and some also criticized the Iranian judiciary for the alleged prison sentence, which proved to be only a rumor. Still, these public criticisms have nothing in common with a distorted story from the foreign press, based on the misinformation by political activists who recognized the tragedy as the perfect opportunity to spread propaganda and manipulate the emotions of the world public. Their main focus was on sex-segregation in certain football stadiums and they have been seeking to stir an online outcry to call on the world football’s governing body to ban Iran from international competitions.

The hypocritical sex segregation debate

Speaking of sex segregation, which is completely irrelevant to this case, it is true that certain sports venues implement a policy of sex separation. Some have exclusive male audiences for men’s team matches, others have special sections for both men and women, while third ones are mixed. However, anyone who has visited Iran can testify that the country is far from some kind of segregationist society, since it does not exist in universities, theaters, cinemas, restaurants, urban transport, offices, mosques, holy shrines, etc. Certain football stadiums are rare exceptions, along with prayer halls, schools and public baths.

Furthermore, there are a number of problems in defining “discrimination,” whether at Iranian or international level. All those who are holding moral lectures about “discriminated women banned from stadiums” forget or intentionally ignore the fact that, in their own words, there are also “discriminated men banned from stadiums.” To be more precise, as there are stadiums for men’s matches with a men-only audience, there are also stadiums for women’s matches with an exclusively female audience. One example is the Ararat Stadium in Tehran, used by the Iran women’s national football team.

Debates over two-way segregation in stadiums are being waged within Iran itself, but foreign individuals and organizations operating under the guise of human rights and equality are always hypocritically invoking one-way segregation, specifically female spectators at men’s matches. The reason is apparent; the advocacy of this kind fits perfectly into the archaic Orientalist narrative about “oppressed women,” long propagated in the West and covered extensively in academic literature. The same one-way argument can be applied, for example, to the male-only schools in Iran, ignoring the fact that there are also female-only schools, or that there are plenty of single-sex schools in the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and other countries.

One may say that the focus on female spectators is due to the popularity of men’s football, which is partly true. For example, the match between Iran and Belarus at Ararat Stadium in last March was attended by less than one hundred female spectators. Even women’s matches in other countries are not better attended, but this tells us about the global discrimination against women’s football and sports in general. Advocating alleged equality by seeking mixed audience for single-sex matches is a bit ironic itself, despite the fact that female football players can hardly physically compete with their male counterparts. Similar justification is however difficult to find for sports segregation in numerous international motor racing competitions, which implicitly suggest that women are bad drivers. But this is not the case in Iran, its female racing drivers like Laleh Seddigh and Mitra Fallahpour competed against their male counterparts and won medals, which is a hard-to-find example in most countries of the world.

The only valid argument about sex segregation in football stadiums is the fact that Iran is one of the rare exceptions in a global context. Nevertheless, as in the example of the aforementioned female racing drivers, Iran is also a rare exception in various other fields of women’s emancipation. For example, Iran has women like Zohreh Sefati in the highest level of clergy, while the vast majority of other countries, including Western ones, have none. There is still no media circus or public debate on the issue. Another example is that despite being 4-5 times less populous, Iran has more female students at technical universities than the five largest EU countries combined, or twice as many as the second-ranked United States. Therefore, if you feel morally superior to give Iran lectures on the topic of women in stadiums, keep in mind that Iran can also do the same, but on much more serious topics. And if you believe that female cheerleaders are a better indicator of women’s emancipation than female engineers, then you have a serious problem in understanding gender equality.

The last ones who have a moral right to participate in this public debate are precisely those who were among the first and the loudest about the Blue Girl case, namely counter-revolutionary activists and the Saudi media clique. The former ones because in the pre-revolutionary period only a quarter of Iranian women were literate, and the latter ones because they represent the country with the most rigid sex segregation in the world, present in virtually all public places. This fact did not hamper The Independent, a half Saudi-owned British newspaper, from being among the first to publish a heartwarming false story, based largely on rumors by the apologists of Pahlavi regime.

The propaganda factory of fake martyrs

A particularly intriguing case is the role of the United States and the United Kingdom whose mass media and PR agencies have a long tradition of manufacturing fake martyrs for Iranophobic propaganda purposes. Notable cases include Mahmoud Asgari and Ayaz Marhoni, executed in 2005 for allegedly being “gay lovers,” Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, allegedly sentenced to death in 2010 because of “her love for another man,” Zahra Bahrami, alleged “democracy activist” executed in 2011, and Hashem Shabani, an alleged “poet and human rights campaigner” executed in 2014. In reality, the first two were sentenced for raping a 13-year-old boy, the second one for murdering her husband, the third one for drug trafficking, and the fourth one for Takfiri terrorism. These criminals were misrepresented as brave individuals who stood for freedom, and the Internet contains tons of heartbreaking reviews, fake biographies and quotes, calls to action, and so on.

All these cases have a lot more in common: they all emerged during the fiercest tensions between Iran and the United States, they all followed the same propaganda modus operandi, and all were promoted by the same media, organizations and individuals. For example, if you intend to learn more about these controversies on the highly popular English Wikipedia, do not expect anything credible in most cases and bear in mind that literally all articles were arranged by the same person, a pro-Israeli activist nicknamed as Plot Spoiler, who got indefinitely banned only since last year after administrators had uncovered that he was paid for contributions. The current version of the Blue Girl article is arranged by a user who openly declares himself as a monarchist and a hater of the Iranian political system. Do not expect much more from Internet search engines because fake news stories from the days of media hypes will appear at the top, while relevant critical reviews and scholarly articles are technically “hidden” for ordinary people.

In all the above cases, a propaganda campaign followed the same order. First, a particular judicial case was selected, to which rumors and false information were added. Secondly, a distorted version was released in the mass media, causing a moral crusade which involves politicians, organizations, celebrities and others. Everyone is asked for an (emotional) reaction. Thirdly, after the official Tehran denies false information, they accuse it of hiding facts or seeking excuses. A media hype thus keeps going on, along with demonization in the eyes of the world public. Such repetitive method was also used on the eve of aggression against Iraq, misinformation were repeated and the public debate has been prolonged until the majority of Americans were misled that Baghdad had weapons of mass destruction and military invasion was justified. A propaganda campaign sometimes includes a fourth step: when certain trial does not end in line with false sensationalist announcements, they claim that Iran has withdrawn under international pressure. This gives an impetus for a new round of same games, particularly among benevolent but manipulated activist volunteers, who believe that their babbling on social networks has an impact on the Iranian judiciary.

There is no shortage of resources for such games and potential “martyrs,” especially pseudo-feminist ones, as there are currently 7,440 women in Iranian prisons. It is easy to dig up domestic news, turn numerous stories upside down, and claim that trials are “dubious” or “unfair.” Theoretically, it is, even more, easier to do the same with the United States, considering there are 211,870 women imprisoned in that country or proportionally seven times higher than in Iran, but in practice virtually no one bothers with such facts and all find it quite normal when Americans are holding moral lectures. One may wonder whether it is because of the well-known “credibility” of the US courts, the same ones that seized billions of Iranian assets, delivered a verdict holding Iran responsible for the 9/11 attacks, and ordered the sale of Iranian antique art from American museums. Or perhaps many find the US trustworthy because their official criticism is always confirmed and joined by “eminent” Human Rights Watch?

Human Rights Watch (HRW), as well as similar US-funded organizations allegedly in charge of “promoting human rights,” plays an already seen game. Their modus operandi is to act in symbiosis with the mass media and Washington’s politics: at the beginning of propaganda campaigns, they back the biased claims and timely participate in provoking mass outrage, but after the media circus passes and its purpose was served, then they publish a more factual review, thus building the reputation of a credible and neutral institution. In this particular case, the HRW’s report about the Blue Girl contains a false balance, i.e., they do mention her mental illness and certain statements by her sister, but the title and most of the text deals with unfounded criticism, thus serving as a reference for the more aggressive mass media. Later, they can simply deny earlier allegations or the whole story; however, media coverage will then be absent. The most (in)famous example of such modus operandi is the false testimony of a Kuwaiti girl that helped build public support for the First Persian Gulf War. Both Human Rights Watch and their British equivalent Amnesty International initially supported the story of Iraqi tearing Kuwaiti babies from incubators and issued corrections only after the war. In other words, they fulfilled the task of their governments, and as “truthful organizations that acknowledge their own mistakes,” they continued to fulfill the same tasks later.

Even if the Blue Girl was a sane girl and immolated herself in political protest, which is definitely not the case, the United States would be among the last in a position to criticize. In just a few months before the self-immolation of Czech student Jan Palach, a celebrated anti-Soviet dissident who gained huge media coverage in the West, eight US citizens self-immolated themselves in protest against the Vietnam War. The media coverage of these American examples was negligible, as was in cases with ten other US citizens who later set themselves on fire in various political protests. On the other hand, no such case has been recorded in Iran, with the exception of two rumors based on dubious dissident sources.

The only valid criticism of the Iranian authorities over the Blue Girl case is that they treated her as an average sane person in the first three days. The security forces defended themselves that they did not know about her mental condition, further explaining that it was not even possible to know in given circumstances, which can be seen as a valid excuse. Even with regard to the treatment of people with a mental health condition, the United States would be the last candidate to sit on a high horse. We do not have to deal with hypothetical questions about what would happen if someone refuses a security check and violently attacks policemen at the US stadium gates, it is enough to recall the empirically confirmed cases of Artogi Groshe, Kevin Thorpe, Ronald Madison and many others. All of them were shot for resisting the police, and the responsible police officers later confronted them with fact that they killed people with mental disabilities, not arrogant criminals.

Exploiting the tragic death of a mentally ill person for political purposes of any kind is disgustingly shameful and below any human level. The same goes for this article, its purpose is not to justify any state policy, security guards or stadium rules, but merely to point out lies, hypocrisy, double standards and mass propaganda. Out of respect for the victim and her family who criticized the intense politicization in the foreign media, the identity of Blue Girl is deliberately not mentioned in the text. It’s not hard to notice that these media manipulations emerged in the midst of US-Iranian tensions and warmongering propaganda, orchestrated by the same group of people who called Iranians as “a terrorist nation,” sanctioned Iranian humanitarian organizations like Setad, along with child cancer patients and flood victims. They had previously manipulated the emotions of the world public with the aim of provoking a war with hundreds of thousands dead, and judging by their latest actions, they would be happy to repeat it all. Ultimately, we should remember that one of the basic points of John Bolton’s policy towards Iran included “a close cooperation with the media.” He may be gone, but his policies and old manipulation methods are still alive.

Ivan Kesić is a Croatia-based freelance writer and open-source data analyst. He worked as a writer at the Cultural Center of Iran in Zagreb from 2010 to 2016. His articles has appeared on the Consortium News, the Anti War, the Strategic Culture, the UNZ Review, & Mintpress News among the many.

Venezuela – Take 2

September 28, 2019

Venezuela – Take 2

by Jimmie Moglia for The Saker Blog

It is tacitly assumed that that the American information industry produces notices and descriptions of actual events. Whereas it routinely delivers a narrative of adulterated facts and improbable fiction – the whole blended with a top-down imposition of Zionist ideology masquerading as national interest. I say ‘Zionist’ because a country in which the word of command comes from elsewhere is nothing more than a province. Which may explain many events unequivocally alien to American interest.

All this the world well knows – at least the unknown percentage of those who like to think. However, especially with Venezuela, there has been, among media outlets and pundits, a remarkable recrudescence of the presumption of imbecility in the American public.

But it is unjust and unrealistic to blame large social groups for their assumed gullibility. No one can indict a people. Individuals are caught up in the workings of a mechanism that forces them into its own pattern. Only heroes can resist, and while it may be hoped that everybody will be one, it cannot be demanded or expected.

Nor the trend is limited to America. Western European media figures and sundry politicians, having been taught the art of the ridicule – often in ‘prestigious’ States-side universities – seldom fail to signalize themselves by zealous imitation.

Were we not dealing with the suffering of a people and the economic strangling of a nation to steal her resources, the sallies and patent ridicule of the puppets and puppet-masters involved would be a recurrent fund of merriment.

Nevertheless, it commonly happens to him who endeavors to obtain distinction by ridicule or censure, that he teaches others to practice his own arts against himself.

Trump and his cabal or cartel have tried inventive ways to revile the Venezuelan government. So far they have only succeeded in ridiculing themselves. And their narrative has reached peaks of paradox and parody, in the comical effort to give their news a semblance of credibility.

I will mention but a few instances later, so as not to leave a statement unproven, though most readers may already know some.

Still, for the contemporary Pangloss there may be a measure of consolation in the Trumpian Cabal’s orgy of ridicule. For the domineering powers are literally terrorized by the alternative narratives, official and unofficial, reaching the discerning public through social media, directly from Venezuela.

Therefore they wage a grotesque battle, a Waterloo of fake-news, attempting to choke the liberty of expression – which, in the instance, amounts to curbing the liberty of intelligence.

Given that the flux of alternative news is still relatively marginal, this censorious obsession shows that, even in the secret enclaves of power, some believe that we are nearing a turning point in collective perception, a consummation devoutly to be wished by us, and unwished by them.

It is historically interesting that in the 1960s the Jewish political-ideological machine was clamoring for freedom of expression, and succeeded in having the US Supreme Court declare that pornography is free-speech.

In turn, this opened the flood to a Weimar-Republic-style mass acculturation whose consequences do not need description – see Weinstein as emblem of Jewish Hollywood, and Epstein as emblem of Jewish pornography and pornomania.

But sixty years later, and in total control of all media channels – the same forces find free-speech hateful, and want their adversaries insulted without self-defense and censored without apologists. Witness the erasure of hundreds of alternative information channels from the web.

Meanwhile, that just about all Western European countries have joined in pretending to believe Trump’s charade, is no support for his credibility.

For “Western European countries” means their politicians. And all know well that avarice is an insatiate and universal passion – since the enjoyment of almost every object that can afford a pleasure to the different tastes and tempers of mankind, may be procured by the possession of wealth. Consequently, politicians at large rarely cease to follow the easiest path to keep, maintain and increase their wealth and emoluments. And shameless servility to the moment’s master is the commonest formula.

For one thing, the Trump cartel assumed that any populace worldwide, with its immemorial and traditional levity, would applaud any change of masters, if accompanied by suitable fanfare and the promise or prospects of bread and circuses.

Hence they believed that the Venezuelans would promptly switch their allegiance to the service of a US appointed puppet. While the fanfare could adequately dissemble the plotters’ appetite for plunder.

In one of his often-quoted related pronouncements, Trump said that,

“The problem with Venezuela is not that socialism was poorly implemented, but that socialism was faithfully implemented.”

Far from me to oppose an “ism” with another. The various ‘isms’, as used, are not fruitful principles, nor even explanatory formulae. They are rather names of diseases, for they express some element in excess, some dangerous and abusing exaggeration.

Consider ‘globalism’, ‘neo-liberalism,’ ‘fascism’, ‘communism’, ‘socialism,’ ‘radicalism’, etc. If there may be something positive in them (and there is some good sometimes in sundry “isms”) it slips through these categories.

To compare, traditional medicine classified men according to whether they were ‘sanguineous’, ‘bilious’ or ‘nervous’. But someone in good health is none of the above. Equally, a state contains (or should contain) opposing points of view, holding them as in a chemical combination, much as all colors are contained in a beam of light.

But for Trump and the deep state behind him – though it has been the same since Reagan – neo-liberal capitalism is a dogma, which to dispute is heresy, and to doubt infamy.

The recurrent self-praising claim by media pundits and politicians about America being a democracy is either misleading and cretinous information or bold and imaginative fiction. Whereas actually, in some ways, the United States is a socialist state.

For example, government statistics, easily verifiable online, show that in 2018 there were 40 million people on food stamps (read ‘very poor’). And social programs with different names but similar scope exist in every state, to provide healthcare for those on food stamps and others. Furthermore, the very ‘social security’ system has socialism imprinted in its name.

Applying the same broad analysis to the economy at large, let’s say that in one case a state-owned enterprise produces something needed. In another case a private company lobbies the state to receive the same money that the state company would have spent to manufacture the same product.

Given that both instances involve human beings, is one state ‘socialist’ because it produces directly what it needs, and another ‘capitalist’ because it lets a non-state-owned company produce the same thing?

This is not advocating one method versus another – but only to suggest that a state-owned enterprise does not imply that the state itself is ‘socialist’. In fact in many countries, including the US, the state owns many enterprises, partially or completely.

The argument is purely theoretical, and it excludes many related insoluble dilemmas and controversial questions. For example whether a state or a privately owned enterprise is more subject to corruption, etc.

Nevertheless, I do not think that Venezuela’s ‘socialism’ is the cause of Trump’s uncouth bullying, contempt and coarse insults. For, as much as it is concealed, Venezuela is actually a mixed economy.

Now, cause and effect in history can be more-or-less arbitrary patterns into which we can weave events to render them significant. Nevertheless, in the instance, greed for Venezuela’s resources cannot be, in my view, the sole explanation.

Behind Trump’s contempt and insults there is a psychological engine and the whole weight of the historical-cultural machine that actually keeps America running.

Especially the Americans (and the fever began with the industrial revolution), know very little of a state of feeling that involves a sense of rest, of deep quiet, silence within and without, a quietly burning fire, a sense of comfort, existence in its simplest form. And I apologize for the generalization that always excludes the many exceptions.

For them life is devouring and incessant activity. They are eager for gold, for power, for dominion; the aim is to crush men and to enslave nature. They show an obstinate interest in means, but little thought for the end. They confound being with individual being, and the expansion of the self with happiness — while tending to ignore the unchangeable and the eternal.

It could be described as living at the periphery of our own essence for being unable to penetrate to its core. They are excited, ardent, positive, because they are also superficial. ‘Superficial’ may suggest less intelligent but the opposite is true. Superficiality and intelligence are anything but incompatible.
Why so much effort, noise, struggle and greed? It seems a mere stunning and deafening of the self.

When death comes they recognize that it is so. — why not then admit it sooner?

Activity is beautiful when, in some ways, it also partakes of the divine in the Greek sense — that is to say, when it is spent in the service of that which does not fade and transcends the mere domain of matter.

Some readers may argue that what is true for America also applies elsewhere, in Europe for example. As I repeat, short of dogmatic assertions, the idea here is but an attempt to find a cause for a culture.

For, unlike America, Europe had, in the XIX century, the romantic movement, which thoroughly influenced millions across the continent. Its literature affected the mode of thought of multiple generations in different countries. Romanticism swept through Europe at the very time when education became universal. And I include the Russian classics as powerful agents for suggesting or imprinting images and perceptions of a view of life that could not possibly be more un-American.

Before virtually crossing to the Venezuelan shores and interpreting their view of things I should add another qualifying proposition.

An analyst or interpreter of current events (just as any historian of the past), depends on his own judgment as to what is important in human life. Even when he rigorously confines himself to one selected political or cultural phase of a country, he still has decided on what constitutes the best outcome of that phase, and on what constitutes an outcome of degradation.

The whole judgment on ideas and actions (in the instance on what happens in Venezuela), depends upon such implicit presuppositions. You cannot rate wisdom or folly, progress or decadence, except in relation to some standard of judgment and to some end in view. For, in considering the flow and the history of ideas, the notion of mere knowledge is an abstraction. Accessories of emotion and purpose always accompany knowledge.

In the instance and for what is worth, an image still comes to my mind, when I compare Venezuela with other South-American countries. In 2014 Brazil held the world’s soccer championship. Multiple TV stations from different countries could not mask on their screens that, not many yards away from a stadium, began the favelas, living emblems of almost unimaginable degradation.

Considering that stadiums and infrastructures built for such colossal events routinely decay into ruins after little time of use, a question arises as to their intrinsic and extrinsic worth.

In contrast, and even according to UN official statistics, the so-called Bolivarian revolution in Venezuela succeeded in dramatically reducing the number of people in dire poverty, while almost eliminating illiteracy. That programs of such scope are costly requires no demonstration. Whether it is preferable to invest in mass sports or in the relief of masses from illiteracy and degrading poverty, is a question that only single individuals can answer.

But it took the spirit and guts of Hugo Chavez to affect such a veritable revolution, possibly at a time when the US was not paying much attention, engaged as it was in bombing Yugoslavia and in establishing whether Clinton had or never had sex with that woman.

He who applauds the resurrection of a people, otherwise condemned as the irrelevant accessory of idle elites – who use the poor as a gauge to affirm their own ‘betterness’ – cannot feel but some sympathy towards the Bolivarian revolution. And he would feel so even without awareness of the enormous challenges and mixture of successes and defeats that accompany all epoch-making upheavals.

As for the Trump’s Cabal it would be interesting, anthropologically speaking, to understand the grotesque sociology of this flock. Their manners, as exhibited towards Venezuela, have shown a remarkable display of depravity – uniting the crimes that typically prevail among those immune from self-analysis, with the vices that spring from the abuse of power and immunity from prosecution.

Among the clowns of the Cabal, Marco Rubio deserves a special (dis)honorable mention, as the representative of a world upside-down. Including his showing a picture of Gheddafi assassinated and covered in blood, while threatening Maduro with the same outcome, should he not accede to American demands. As if the despotic power – which could take Gheddafi’s life without a trial and stigmatized his memory without proof – had any claim on using patent murder as an example of righteousness to be replicated.

Actually, I strongly doubt whether Rubio would even understand the implication of his words and gesture. Either he is a moron with the entertainment value of a tap-dancing oyster, or his head is as empty as a eunuch’s underpants.

Rubio is a senator (!) and, if I am not mistaken, was even spoken of as a candidate for president (!). Which prompts me to agree with Pythagoras that souls of animals infuse themselves into the trunks of men.

The happily departed Bolton is an equal competitor for the Olympic medal of ridicule. In the latest failed coup attempt, he proclaimed that Maduro was about to leave Venezuela for Cuba when ‘the Russians’ prevented him from boarding the plane.

As Jose’ Rodriguez – Venezuela’s Minister of Information – explained and documented on television, that ambulating Pinocchio called Guaido’ had assured Bolton that he had already corrupted and paid-off a sufficient number of generals so as to make the coup a done-deal. That wasn’t true but Bolton believed it.

All the while, the succeeding events of the failed coup make up the script of a proper farce.

Including Mike Pence’s outstanding arrogance when, in the UN assembly, had the gall to tell the Foreign Minister of Venezuela that he should not be there. As if the US had a divine right to make and unmake world governments at will. With his performance Mike Pence demonstrated to be worth less than six pence.

Of Pompeo it could perhaps be said what the historian Napier said of the British ambassador to Germany during the 1930s, “He is obtuse enough to be a menace, and yet not stupid enough to be innocuous.”

All in all, the Trump’s Cabal includes ambitious individuals, seemingly untaught or unable to observe, reason, deduce and infer, unless observation be blindness and madness logic.

Trump keeps labeling Nicolas Maduro as ‘corrupt’ and a ‘dictator’. Both words belong to the no-man’s-land of lexical ambiguity.

As for dictatorship, there have been six presidential elections, in Venezuela, since 2002. And, as readers who have followed the events know, in the last 2018 elections, the Trump Cabal ordered the opposition not to present candidates, after they had formally agreed to do so.

I will not offend the readers by proving what they already know – that charges of dictatorship may be levied against Trump and sundry predecessors on much stronger grounds.

The issue of corruption is trickier. I doubt if anyone who worked in, or had to do with, large corporations or government, never met with evidence of corruption. Without even touching on lobbying, a peculiar institution for bribing, bulldozing, and corrupting the legislators who are supposed to represent the people’s interests. Or on ‘financial engineering’, an inventive euphemism to suggest monetary genius instead of monetary fraud.

For what is worth, unable as I am to find a reliable method for measuring and assessing corruption, I pretend to do what Balzac did when he wrote his novels, though I write none.

He kept on his desk the Dictionary of Physiognomy – a monumental work in four massive volumes, written by the Swiss Abbot Johann Lavater, in the 18th century. In his novels, Balzac used Lavater’s physiognomy extensively. So that his characters, being accurately described as they are, cannot but logically behave as they do.

Physiognomy had its era of success and popularity before being dismissed as a pseudoscience. Though I suspect that many use it unconsciously when forming their first impression of an individual.

With all necessary reservations, amateurishly and therefore inaccurately, I suggest that Trump’s physiognomy reads, “Everything has a price and money buys everything. Conscience is but a word that cowards use to keep the strong in awe. Power (via money acquired from any source) is my conscience, my tool of operation and my law.”

For brevity’s sake I will not describe individual facial components of the specific physiognomy – as Lavater does in his work.

As a corollary derived from Trump’s physiognomy, “twitting” is the ideal communication tool and perfect match for his character. In his hands a ‘tweet’ means “I say so because it is and that’s it.”

By the way I am not passing judgment – however difficult it may be, the application of physiognomy should not be affected by emotional or philosophical preferences.

In fact, assuming his physiognomic profile correct, Trump is ethically consistent. Whereas, in my view, the other members of his Cabal are not. Routinely, they cannot even pretend to the smooth face of hypocrisy. They are sincere only when they are arrogant.

Again I do not pretend to be right. Two men observing the same person, or even object, will describe it diversely, according to the point of view from which either beholds it. Still, truth being the legitimate object of observation and history, it is better that she should be sought-for by many than few, lest for want of seekers, among the mists of prejudice and the false lights of interest, she’d be lost altogether.

Comparing Trump with Maduro, the difference could not be greater. Maduro’s physiognomy suggests that he takes his job as a mission. And that he has a frightful understanding of what Venezuela would revert to, if the Anglo-Zionists and their ‘lameculos’ took over. His oratory is incomparable with Trump’s. It is helped by the inherent majesty of the Spanish language, but is also evidence of a long and careful self-training and study. A remarkable achievement in itself, considering that Maduro’s political path began as a union leader among bus drivers.

For their own self-respect, we may think that the Venezuelan opposition should contain characters with greater respectability than what the world has seen so far.

The ‘interim’ president Guaido’ was recently shown holding an empty milk jug in the air while claiming that he had not enough money to buy milk for his daughter. Almost simultaneously, Venezuelan intelligence had caught Guaido’s assistant Marrero texting with other coup organizers. They were arguing about how and to assign and distribute among themselves the hundreds of millions that Uncle Sam had confiscated from the accounts of the Venezuelan bank in the US. A bank that is (was) necessary to handle the sales of Venezuelan oil to the US.

Among other exploits, Guaido’ had already ridiculed himself for believing the two Russian pranksters (’bromistas’ in Venezuelan Spanish), who faked a call from the President of Switzerland. In which the ‘president’ asked Guaido’ if the accounts of the Venezuelan government in Switzerland should be reassigned to Guaido’s name, and he agreed. And, when prompted by the bromistas, he also agreed to support the Russian pro-US candidate Navalny in a future attempt to unseat Putin.

In a theater, bad actors feel embarrassed towards the audience for their poor performance. With Venezuela it’s the audience that feels embarrassed for the actors.

Following the developments of the ongoing attempted Venezuelan coup, also yields some unusual and curious perspectives, along with the possibility of discovering other interesting Guaido’-style characters.

Readers may remember Victoria Nuland, Obama’s and Hillary’s factotum in Ukraine – passed into history for her “F-the-Europeans” pronouncement, while discussing which puppets to appoint in the US-financed, post-coup Ukrainian government.

Maybe some readers do not yet know that Victoria Nuland has a Venezuelan equivalent in the shape of a Vanessa Neumann, familiarly referred-to in the European press as “The Cracker from Caracas.”

As Wikipedia explains, Neumann is the “Venezuelan” (meaning Guaido’s) ambassador to “the court of St. James” (meaning England). Though Wikipedia modestly adds that, “The administration of Nicolás Maduro does not recognize Guaido’s diplomats.”

Besides also being Jewish, Neumann has the usual impeccable curriculum of the Vanity-Fair intellectualoids, who can read and therefore believe they can think, ever swimming with the tide of pomp that beats upon the high shores of the world. And of whom French author George Bernanos said that, “The intellectual is so often an imbecile that we should consider him as such, until he (or she) has demonstrated the contrary.”

Like others of that ilk, Neumann is the apotheosis of fake, but I mention her here for her involvement in a not-so-well-known ramification of the so-far unsuccessful coup in Venezuela.

Between Venezuela and Guyana there is a disputed territory, apparently an Eldorado of natural resources, called the Essequibo. The roots of the dispute lay in the 1600 when the Northern Provinces of Holland declared independence from Spain. The sequence of events being intricate, a summary is mandatory.

When Venezuela declared independence from Spain in 1810, thanks to Simon Bolivar, she also claimed the Essequibo as successor to the Spanish empire. For the Spaniards had originally discovered the region, established their sovereignty, settled and exercised political control.

In the meantime England also laid claims, and since England had helped Venezuela in her struggle for independence, Venezuela did not, at the time, interfere with the British claim.

Jumping many intermediate steps and disputes, in 1966 there was an agreement between Venezuela and the now independent Guyana, to delay a final decision on the settlement of the Essequibo. Even so, Venezuela maintains her claim to the rightful ownership of the territory.

Vanessa Neumann comes into the picture thanks to a telling conversation on the Essequibo between her and an assistant to Guaido’ called Manuel Avendano (link https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TjaSN_Hiq1I).

It appears that Neumann, or Guaido’, or both had already agreed – even prior to the attempted coup – to give ownership of the Essequibo to various American companies for exploitation.

Neumann tells Avendano that during her participation to an impending meeting of the so-called “Group of Lima” (read, the South-American countries supporting a coup in Venezuela) she will not answer any questions on the subject of the Essequibo, raised by the Guyana representative. Apparently the representative had already asked her about the related post-coup government’s intention. Or rather, officially, as she explains, “we will continue to uphold the line that we intend to appropriate ourselves of the Essequibo” – whereas they have already given it away to the American multinationals.

The current legitimate Venezuelan government has declared that the Neumann-Guaido’s arbitrary pronouncement on the Essequibo is evidence of treason by the ‘coupistas.’

Why Maduro allows Guaido’ to roam free in Venezuela, while he continues to plot for her subjugation by the US, is a puzzle for me and (I think) for those unfamiliar with the subtle tools of diplomacy. Though it is reasonable to guess that the more Guaido’ speaks and moves, the more he makes an ass of himself, hence discomposing his own cause – but it is only a supposition.

Given that Russia and China openly support and assist Venezuela, we may still hold some hope that evil may not prevail. While waiting for the verdict of time, that infallible controverter of false opinions.

Promoting War, Opposing Peace, How Establishment Media Operate

By Stephen Lendman

Source

Establishment media never met a US war of aggression against a nonbelligerent/nonthreatening state they didn’t wholeheartedly cheerlead.

When the US goes to war or in their run-up, they operate as virtual Pentagon press agents — complicit in US high crimes of war and against humanity by their actions.

Since Iranians ended a generation of US-imposed fascist dictatorship in 1979, establishment media have been militantly hostile toward Tehran.

They joined the anti-Iran chorus in support of the Trump regime’s war by other means on the country, targeting its economy, harming its ordinary people most — reporting US disinformation, Big Lies and fake news about the country.

Not a shred of credible evidence suggests Iran seeks nuclear weapons, a nation at peace with its neighbors that never attacked another country preemptively, threatening none now, fostering cooperative relations worldwide.

No evidence suggests Iran had anything to do with striking key Saudi oil facilities on September 14 — what Yemeni Houthis claimed responsibility for.

The NYT is militantly hostile toward nonbelligerent Iran. In one article, it contradicted itself about the week ago attack on Saudi oil facilities, saying:

The “attack (came) from an unknown source, evidently using missiles and drones…Trump…blames Iran,” adding:

“The Iranian government ordered it because it views Trump as a weak negotiator who is afraid of war.”

More meaningless mumbo jumbo rubbish followed, including nonsense that “Iran may be betting that Trump will back down (by) escalating the situation…”

It’s hard believing editors allow the above rubbish to be published, not remotely reflecting reality.

Separately, the Times slammed Trump for not retaliating after Iran downed its spy drone last June — failing to explain it entered Iranian airspace illegally, didn’t respond to multiple demands to leave, before IRGC forces acted in self-defense, the legal right of all nations to hostile actions.

Attacking Iran earlier or any time preemptively is naked aggression under international law, ignored by the Times in its piece.

The Times: “Three months later, some of Mr. Trump’s own allies fear the failure to follow through was taken by Iran as a sign of weakness, emboldening it to attack oil facilities in Saudi Arabia this month (sic).”

Instead of stressing there’s no evidence supporting the claim, the Times also failed to ask obvious questions:

What was a US spy drone doing in Iranian airspace illegally? Why did it ignore repeated Iranian demands to leave? The incident was a hostile US action the Times and other establishment media failed to explain.

The Times quoted far-right official of the undemocratic Foundation for Defense of Democracies Reuel Gerecht, saying Trump’s “repeated failure to militarily respond to Iranian actions has been a serious mistake.”

Anything advancing peace over war warrants high praise, a notion rejected by the Times and other hawkish US media. 

Trump’s reluctance to strike Iran militarily hasn’t deterred his aggression in multiple theaters. Nor did it soften his all-out war on Tehran by other means — the same high crimes committed against Venezuelan social democracy, the real thing absent in the West.

CNN, the most distrusted name in television propaganda masquerading as news, slammed nonexistent Iranian “malign activity (not) thinning out,” claiming what doesn’t exist is “expanding.”

The Wall Street Journal falsely claimed Yemeni Houthis “warned foreign diplomats that Iran is preparing a follow-up strike to the missile and drone attack that crippled Saudi Arabia’s oil industry a week ago” —  citing unnamed sources that lied or don’t exist.

On Saturday, Houthi spokesman Mohammed Abdul Salam debunked the Journal’s Big Lie. Another followed, saying:

“In recent days, (so-called) people familiar with the matter said Iran let Houthi fighters know that they wanted their support in carrying out more attacks across the region (sic).”

The London Guardian accused Trump of “dithering over Iran,” saying it “makes America look weak and foolish” — promoting war like other Western chickhawk media instead of denouncing aggression.

Anti-Iran propaganda war wages. Without establishment media support, it would fall flat.

Unexplained is why nonbelligerent Iran at peace with its neighbors would change policy.

What possible strategic aim could it achieve by becoming an aggressor, giving the US a pretext for possible war?

Iran would have much to lose and nothing to gain by attacking the Saudis or another regional country.

What’s obvious goes unreported by establishment media, falsely blaming Iran instead about what no evidence suggests it had anything to do with.

No, Israel Did Not Attack Iranian Targets In Iraq

 

By Moon Of Alabama

August 01, 2019 “Information Clearing House” – Israeli newspaper repeat a report which claims that Israeli planes hit Iranian targets in Iraq.

From the last one:

The IAF used its F-35i stealth fighter jets to hit two Iraqi bases that were used by Iranian forces and proxies and for storing ballistic missiles, the London-based Saudi daily Asharq Al-Awsat reported on Tuesday.

Asharq Al-Awsat is owned by Faisal bin Salman, a member of the Saudi ruling clan. It is – like other Arab papers – often used to launder Israeli disinformation and propaganda that is then repeated in the Israeli press.

The original Asharq Al-Aswat report reads:

Israel has expanded the scope of its Iranian targets in Iraq and Syria, western diplomatic sources told Asharq Al-Awsat amid reports that Tel Aviv carried out an airstrike earlier this month against an Iranian rockets depot northeast of Baghdad.

The July 19 attack was carried out by an Israeli F-35 fighter jet, they added.

On Sunday, the Ashraf base in Iraq, a former base used by the Iranian opposition People’s Mujahedin of Iran, was targeted by an air raid, said sources.

The base lies 80 kilometers from the border with Iran and 40 kilometers northeast of Baghdad.

The sources revealed that the strikes targeted Iranian “advisors” and a ballistic missile shipment that had recently arrived from Iran to Iraq.

Last week, Syria’s Tal al-Hara was struck by Israeli jets.

The diplomatic sources said the attack targeted Iran’s attempt to seize control of the strategic hill, located in Daraa countryside in southern Syria.

The above F-35 promotion then goes on to laud the Israeli Arrows-3 air defense missile the U.S. paid for.

Of the three incidents Asharq Al-Awsat mentions only one, in Syria, really happened.

On July 19 a fire broke out at a camp of the 16th Brigade of the Iraqi Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF). It set off some ammunition. The 16th is a light infantry brigade. It does not have ballistic missiles. While the incident was first reported as a missile attack, an investigation later said (Arabic) that the fire was caused by a defect of some equipment (machine translation)

The Central Commission of Inquiry sent by the People’s Assembly on Sunday announced the results of the investigation into the bombing of the Martyrs’ Camp of the Commission, which is located near the city of Ameri.

The report of the specialized committee confirmed that the investigations conducted have proved that the explosion was not a military target as a result of a plane or a guided missile, but was a fire of solid fuel due to an internal defect.

No one was killed in the incident.

The alleged attack on Sunday never happened:

TØM CΛT @TomtheBasedCat – 17:29 UTC · Jul 30, 2019

The Camp Ashraf incident was nothing more than a rumor that started on Facebook. It’s not even called Ashraf anymore, the base is named after the Brigade 27 commander who was Martyred in Diyala battles.

Saudis hard at work creating Fake News.

It is not the Saudis that created this fake news but the “western diplomatic sources”, aka the Israeli ambassador in London, who briefed the Asharq Al-Awsat writer.

The third incident, in Syria, did happen:

Syria’s state media said on Wednesday an Israeli missile attack had targeted the country’s southern province of Daraa, but did not report any casualties.

State news agency SANA and state TV added that the “Israeli aggression” struck Tal al-Hara hill that is home to Syrian army posts adding that it only caused material damage.

The Tal al-Hara hill, a strategic area overlooking the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights, was for many years a major Russian military radar outpost until rebels took it over in 2014 before it was again recaptured by the Syrian army last year.

Israel did not hit any Iranian targets or anything else in Iraq. The Asharq Al-Awsat story is pure propaganda.

If the Israeli air force were stupid enough to bomb targets in Iraq, it would likely see consequences that it would not like:

TØM CΛT @TomtheBasedCat – 18:08 UTC · Jul 30, 2019

And besides

If Israel really wants to waste their time and resources striking sites in Iraq, by all means.

They’ll only accelerate the decision as to whether or not to purchase the S-400 system.

There are plenty of Air Defense Officers who are already fluent in Russian.

This article was originally published by “Moon Of Alabama” – 

Do you agree or disagree? Post your comment here

==See Also==

Israel to conduct new offensives in Iraq soon: “Israel has expanded its area of ??control against the Iranian presence in Syria, Lebanon and Iraq,” while indicated that it will conduct further strikes soon on Iranian sites in Iraq.

US-led War of Terror Against Syria, Attrition Terrorism Phase

SN

July 22, 2019

phosphate train attack

US/EU supported terrorists attacked phosphate train in Homs, latest crime in terrorist attrition. Credit: SANA

The US-led war of terror against Syria continues its most recent attacks via attrition terrorism, the brutal form of slow genocide against the Syrian citizenry. Yesterday, NATO countries beloved ‘armed moderates’ attacked a phosphate freight train in eastern Homs.

The phosphate freight train in the eastern Homs countryside was attacked 21 July by a sabotage terrorist, which led to the towing of the locomotive, the passenger car, the calibration truck, the phosphate tanks, the fire in the locomotive, the train crew were injured and the necessary treatment and treatment provided. The Ministry of Transport said in a statement received by SANA copy that terrorists infiltrated the site of the railway between the positions of the gap and insight and planted an explosive device on the train line next to the phosphate mines in the region of Khnevis in the eastern Homs. The ministry indicated that its technical workshops have begun work to remove the damage caused by the terrorist attack, repair the railway and resume transport operations.

As the sons and daughters of Syrians — the Syrian Arab Army — continue to make military gains to cleanse every inch of the Republic from foreign-owned savages, attrition terrorism has seen a massive spike, in recent weeks.

In less than one month, oil and gas pipelines have been sabotaged around the country:

  • 22 June, undersea pipelines from tankers to the Baniyas Refinery were cut. Though Syrian engineers and technicians were able to quickly make repairs, oil pollution traveled 26km. It is noteworthy that MSM, UN, and ecology activists were all mute over this near disaster, but that NATO-media came to life to cheer the English royal thugs piracy against an Iranian tanker that was suspected of carrying crude to the SAR (warmongering media now screeching that the EU is screeching about a Brit tanker boarded by the government of Iran, in compliance with international law). Empire media also remains mute over the economic terrorism euphemistically called ‘sanctions‘ imposed against the Syrian people.
  • 14 July, NATO and Gulfie armed savages engaged in attrition terrorism, sabotaging the al Shaer Gas pipeline in Homs, which was almost immediately repaired.

Though the warmonger media of NATO countries have ignored the recent spike in attrition terrorism against Syria’s essential infrastructure, they have continued to pimp out emotional war porn, breaching Nuremberg Principle VI, crimes against humanity: On 11 July, Channel 4 ran a report that could fit into an insanity screenwriting genre.

AFP again is demanding its readers engage in Hollywood suspension of disbelief; while ignoring the atrocities against Syria, today it shamelessly runs another photo, one of an ongoing series of miracles in the lives of the stethoscope-less, CPR-less, spinal precautions-less death squad fake paramedics.

Here we have yet another photo of man ‘rescued from the rubble.’ As with every other similar photograph, this man has no crushing injuries — which would be expected if a bombed building fell on him. He is fully ambulatory and is able to move all extremities. He has nicely painted the shade of Helmets Gray Rubble, and his hair was coiffed before having been painted.

Another miraculous Zombie Man rescue. No crushing injuries. Fully ambulatory.
This absurdity — or another in ongoing miracles — is not quite as ludicrous as other Helmets Productions, shown here.

Attrition terrorism is not limited to the wanton, criminal destruction of essential infrastructure. Attrition terrorism includes ‘brain drain’ assassinations; in the early days, when all of al Qaeda in Syria was FSA, these ‘moderates’ murdered professors, physicians, and heads of hospitals, while NATO media remained silent. Attrition terrorism includes trying to destroy joy, as was attempted with the terror bombing of the Damascus Fair in 2017, and more recently, in the mortar attacks on Aleppo, as the city celebrates its rebuilding, creation of a mini-renaissance.

syria

Syria’s President, Dr. Bashar al Assad, #EveryInch

Related:

From January, Syria to Provide Crimea with Phosphate & Other Goods

Related Videos

Related News

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

In Gaza

60497862_2461147597228553_2116866260665892864_n

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Russia-based journalist Bryan MacDonald tweeted:

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

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

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

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

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

Eva Bartlett

@EvaKBartlett

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

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

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

mintpressnews.com

Foreign Office 🇬🇧

@foreignoffice

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

Embedded video

150 people are talking about this
The UK conference isn’t the first example of an international event hosting regime-change media while excluding critical media.

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

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

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

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

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

Telesur noted at the time of the Canadian block:

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

Sound familiar?

A regime change conference

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

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

Andrew Lawton

@AndrewLawton

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

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

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

tnc.news

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

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

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

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

beeb

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

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

expert

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

John McEvoy@jmcevoy_2

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

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

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

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

This from the Foreign Secretary of a government which is

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

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

Barnaby Nerberka@barnabynerberka

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

Embedded video

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

Russia in Canada

@RussianEmbassyC

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

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

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

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

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

Foreign Office 🇬🇧

@foreignoffice

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

Embedded video

Sergey Belous@Belous_SR

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

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

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

After the Censorship  Conference

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

Ivan Katchanovski@I_Katchanovski

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

Ivan Katchanovski@I_Katchanovski

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

Здание телеканала 112 Украина обстреляли из гранатомета

Полицейские квалифицируют происшествие как террористический акт

112.ua

295 people are talking about this

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

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

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

RELATED LINKS:

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

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

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

Exploitation of children in propaganda war against Syria continues

Media on the Frontlines: Differences between the July Victory and the Joroud Victory إعلاميون على الجبهة.. ماذا بين انتصاري تموز والجرود؟

By Ali Ibrahim Matar

Beirut – The media has become the most powerful weapon in the modern era. It has become an integral part of the modern war machine due to its ability to create ideas, market ideologies and promote victories.

The media has become so important that it has crippled the ability of a large segment of the population to think objectively. The rapid flow of news, information and analysis, whether true or false, is being utilized. The threat posed by this weapon has been amplified with the rapid rise of social media.

This media system has a pivotal role in covering wars. In the July 2006 aggression, for example, it was an essential part of showcasing the victory of the resistance against the “Israeli” enemy. It also played a major role during the war in Syria. Social media showed advancements during the media’s coverage. The information war was highly fundamental during the Syrian war. Those watching some media channels such as Al-Jazeera and Al-Arabiya would think that Syria has fallen. But the truth on the ground was very different. There is no doubt that the two media experiences of the July 2006 war and the war in Syria starting from 2011 were different. This is what journalists who covered these two conflicts explained to us.

There is no doubt that the media experience differed when it came to the war with the “Israeli” enemy and the war with the Takfiri groups.

“The experience varies between the two arenas according to the region and the environment. In Syria, the movement was slow due to the lack of knowledge of the area. There was always more caution to it. You must be with a certain group, for instance certain combat groups, residents of that area or existing correspondents,” Al-Manar correspondent, Dia’ Abu Taam, points out.

Image may contain: 1 person

He tells al-Ahed News “the situation in the South was different. The coverage was often made individually. There was only the reporter and the cameraman. There were days during the July war when I was alone in the Qaqa’iya al-Jisr area, where I did media coverage on my own.”

“Opening up to a new operational reality gives the reporter greater experience. By dealing with new challenges, it allows him to develop his professional performance significantly,” he adds.

Abu Taam talks about other factors including the development of the resistance’s capabilities.

“This coverage varies because the different capabilities have also evolved,” he insists.

“The extent to which the strength of the resistance in 2006 and 2012 differed was clear. We have seen some kind of fighting from the resistance that cannot be measured in any way to previous years. It was clear that the resistance has developed its performance greatly in terms of equipment, man power, skills, experience and strength,” Abu Taam said.

 

There is no doubt that social media was very important in the entire process. Abu Taam confirms this by underscoring  “the significant difference between the kind of media used in 2006 and in 2012 and onwards.”

“In 2006, the new media was in its early stages. The internet was limited to emails. There was no social media. The price of the internet was very high. It was hard to send the materials, including the videos and audio because of their size. The only method used was through the satellite that was detected by spy drones. This posed many difficulties. There was scarcity in sending visual materials,” Al-Manar’s veteran reporter explains.

“In Syria, the issues differed greatly. The means of communication helped to send the material we wanted easily. It also helped broadcast entire reports from the site without any difficulties. We broadcast the moment of entering the sites live using the phone. This helped a lot in refuting rumors and lies the enemy spread,” Abu Taam said.

Another Al-Manar reporter, Mohammed Kazan, echoes his colleague’s assessment regarding the media coverage and the differences between the July 2006 war and the war in Syria.

Related image

“In the July war, we were bombarded by “Israeli” aircraft and artillery. In Syria, I was in Qusayr, Zabadani and al-Joroud [outskirts]. There was coordination between the operations command in the resistance and with the war media. There was someone who helped us move. But the danger lied in IEDs, sniper rifles and artillery shells,” Kazan tells Al-Ahed.

As for the importance of social networking sites, Kazan points out that for him “using them has been essential since the Mosul war in Iraq. We were in a desert area and in great need of the internet to compensate for the absence of satellites. The situation was the same during the Joroud war against Nusra [Front] and Daesh. The new media made up for the blocking of Al-Manar’s satellite frequency. Meanwhile during the July war, we always used transmitters, which exposed us to spy drones of the “Israeli” enemy.”

Al-Jadeed channel’s senior reporter Nancy Sabeh also spoke to al-Ahed about her experience.

“I was a correspondent inside and at the outskirts of the southern suburbs during the aggression. The means to send messages to the audience were very difficult in the past. There was no new media. There was also no interaction as it is today through social networking sites,” she said.

Image result for Nancy Sabeh

Sabeh stated that the most beautiful thing she witnessed during the July war was the return of local residents to Dahiyeh after the aggression.

“At 7 o’clock in the morning, I entered Dahiyeh as a reporter. There were a lot of people. They started to return to see their homes,” she recalled.

According to Sabeh, “today’s journalism depends more on social media than on traditional journalism. Unlike what we have seen in the past, during the July war work was more accurate. Our work was patriotic. We were not looking for fame as it is today through these sites.”

For her part, LBCI’s Hoda Chedid told al-Ahed that “during the July war, we saw through the coverage that most Western and Arab countries were waiting for “Israel” to triumph and for the resistance to be defeated. This provided material for the other side of the story to each reporter to show how the people of the South challenged the war, how they resisted and how they triumphed over the “Israeli” enemy.”

Chedid explained that “during the war against terrorist groups, the situation completely changed. There was a consensus on the need to confront the terrorist groups and to show it in the media. Social media was a very supportive and important factor in this coverage. The whole country was engaged in confronting Daesh’s terrorism. It was a very important experience that meant a lot to me. I proudly experienced it as a result of the importance of this coverage of the war, the victory and the liberation of al-Joroud.”

As in the battlefield, the fronts are always wide open in the media, between the righteous side on the one hand and falsehoods on the other. It is the responsibility of media professionals to show and champion righteousness and keep up with the victories.

To read the article in Arabic click here

 

%d bloggers like this: