Archive | September 6th, 2020

Trump’s stunning admission: As pandemic spread, president lied to the world

Trump projects incompetence in addressing COVID-19: Darcy cartoon -  cleveland.com

Walter Smolarek

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In a series of recorded interviews with Washington Post journalist Bob Woodward, Donald Trump made a shocking admission: He repeatedly lied to the public about the severity of the Coronavirus pandemic, saying that all was well as the disease spread virtually unchecked throughout the country. “I wanted to always play it down. I still like playing it down,” Trump told Woodward on March 19, referring to the pandemic. Nearly 200,000 deaths from Coronavirus have been recorded in the United States and over 900,000 worldwide — numbers that are almost certainly an understatement due to a lack of testing and intentional miscounting by governments. 

In private, Trump acknowledged the grave threat the country and the world were facing. In early February, Trump told Woodward that the disease “was deadly stuff” and “more deadly than even your strenuous flus.” Trump knew that the virus spread easily and all segments of the population were at risk. “You just breathe the air and that’s how it’s passed,” Trump said on Feb. 7. On March 19, he told Woodward: “It’s not just old, older. Young people too, plenty of young people” were contracting COVID. 

But in public, Trump did everything he could to undermine efforts to prepare society for the impact of this historic public health crisis. On Feb. 25, Trump said in a press conference: “We have very few people with it, and the people that have it are … getting better. They’re all getting better.” Three days later, Trump ludicrously stated: “It’s going to disappear. One day, it’s like a miracle, it will disappear.”

Directly contradicting what he told Woodward about “even your strenuous flus,” Trump tweeted on March 9: “So last year 37,000 Americans died from the common Flu. It averages between 27,000 and 70,000 per year. Nothing is shut down, life & the economy go on.” As recently as last month, Trump was still publicly denying the basic science about the disease that he acknowledged privately back in March. Trump said on Aug. 5: “If you look at children, children are almost — I would almost say definitely — but almost immune from this disease. So few — they’ve gotten stronger. Hard to believe. … And they don’t have a problem. They just don’t have a problem.”

Deadly consequences

The consequences of the Trump administration’s inaction have been enormous. The United States has experienced by far the highest number of COVID deaths of any country in the world. Millions have been infected and face the possibility of long-term health problems as a result. While the rich have the resources to isolate in comfort, workers — especially from Black, Latino and Native communities — have suffered the brunt of the pandemic. 

Approximately 60 million workers have lost their jobs. Tens of millions of people are facing a looming foreclosure and eviction wave. An estimated 17 million additional people are going hungry because of the economic fallout from the pandemic.

Commenting on the release of Trump’s comments to Woodward, Elijah Blanton, an organizer with the Unity & Survival grocery delivery program, told Liberation News, “I’m shocked but not entirely surprised to see this from a person and an administration that has demonstrated nothing but disdain for the lives of working-class people.” Blanton’s group has delivered over 100,000 meals to working-class residents of Philadelphia who are struggling to survive and need to remain indoors due to the severity of the pandemic. He added: “There’s a household in the Kensington neighborhood where three families live, and there’s only one income earner risking his health to pay the bills. They do everything possible to take care of their block in spite of that, handling the deliveries of food that we connect them with a lot of the time. This community doesn’t expect much from the government, but the president has just displayed such blatant disregard for their lives. It makes me so angry.”

With this new revelation, the public has even further evidence that in the most critical early days of the pandemic the president acted with a single-minded focus on his own re-election efforts. Human life was completely dispensable in order to preserve Trump’s campaign narrative of a strong economy and a booming stock market. 

Posted in USA, Health0 Comments

Turkish General died from “Heart Attack” in Idlib. Two Mossad agents allegedly captured

Later on the same day, the Russian Aerospace Forces conducted a series of airstrikes on positions of the Turkish-backed terrorist group, Hayat Tahrir al-ShamBy South Front -September 10, 2020

…from SouthFront.org

A Turkish general died of a heart attack in the combat zone of the Syrian province of Idlib, the Turkish Defense Ministry reported on September 9. According to Turkish state media, the general started to feel bad in the combat zone and was evacuated to a hospital. However, he died despite doctors’ best efforts. Afterwards, his body was moved to the Turkish province of Hatay.

The announcement came just a few days after the Syrian Army and the Turkish Armed Forces exchanged strikes in southern Idlib. Pro-Turkish sources on social media immediately became pretty active arguing that these developments and the death of the general from a supposed ‘heart attack’ are not related.

Later on the same day, the Russian Aerospace Forces conducted a series of airstrikes on positions of the Turkish-backed terrorist group, Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, in the western countryside of Idlib. Earlier, Russian airstrikes pounded positions of Hayat Tahrir al-Sham and its allied terrorists from the Turkistan Islamic Party in the vicinity of the town of Kabani in northern Lattakia.

Both waves of airstrikes hit weapon depots and fortified terrorist positions. Pro-government sources as always claimed that these strikes were a pretext for a new Syrian-led ground operation in Greater Idlib.

This scenario remains unlikely. The more realistic option is the further development of Turkish-Russian cooperation in the field with the intent of finally creating a real demilitarized zone along the M4 highway and enforcing the withdrawal of radicals and heavy weapons from it.

In this light, Syrian sources say that a few more ‘heart attacks’ targeting Turkish officers, who are sabotaging the implementation of this deal and thus directly contributing to the Turkish campaign to defend terrorists hiding in Greater Idlib,  may have a positive impact on the situation.

A new armed group calling itself the “Freedom Movement” claimed that it had captured two officers of the Israeli intelligence agency, Mossad. In an official statement, first posted on a Facebook page called “Palestinian Top Secrets” on September 5, the group claimed that the officers were captured while carrying out “cross-border security missions.”

The group shared a video of the alleged Israeli officers in captivity. One of the alleged officers identified himself in Hebrew as “David Ben-Rose.” He supposedly worked undercover for Mossad as a petrochemicals scientist. Israel has not commented on the group’s claim so far. In most cases, Tel Aviv does go public with incidents involving its citizens or service members.

There is a significant chance that the Freedom Movement statement may be a part of the ongoing media campaign waged by pro-Palestinian groups against Israel. On the other hand, if the claims turn out to be true, this will become a notable blow for Israeli propaganda amid the country’s growing tensions with Hezbollah and Iran.

Posted in ZIO-NAZI, Turkey0 Comments

Macron meets Hezbollah

By: Steven Sahiounie,

Lebanon has been faced with political upheavals, and the huge explosion which destroyed the Beirut Port.  Steven Sahiounie of MidEastDiscourse asked a noted expert on Lebanon, Dr. Marwa Osman, to explain the recent visit of French President Macron to Beirut, and what it portends.  

Steven Sahiounie (SS):  Recently, France’s President Macron met with Mohammed Raad of Hezbollah. Do you think France is changing their position on Hezbollah?

Marwa Osman (MO):  I don’t think it is a matter of position, rather a matter of a realistic view to the Lebanese political arena. Who hold the majority in the parliament? Who has the greatest public support in Lebanon? By far, the answer is Hezbollah and its allies. So it would be an absolute waste of time if Macron had decided to bypass the resistance in Lebanon while trying to find a solution to the economic and political deadlock in the country. Mind you, the Americans were not happy about this meeting, as it was the first meeting ever held between any Hezbollah member with a French President, yet this Mohammad Raad is a member of parliament that we are talking about and the head of a Lebanese political bloc that represents along with its allies the majority of the Lebanese parliament, so why wouldn’t he meet with Macron? The confusion is only there because the Americans did not like it because of the Beirut Barracks explosion of 1983 which the resistance never claimed responsibility for anyways.

SS:  Lebanon chose a new Prime Minister on the very day President Macron arrived. Do you think his visit put pressure on the choice?

MO:  Yes, it seems that everyone wanted to save face before Macron arrived because he promised the Lebanese presidency help at the international level in the form of a donors’ conference in October, and for this to take place there has to be a viable Lebanese government in place before then. Add to that the corona virus pandemic and the existential threat of a non-existent economy on the country made it also an emergency to have a government in place asap. Until now there has been no government announced but it was reported by Lebanese media that the current designated Prime Minister is set to provide the presidency with a list of names for his cabinet which should be approved soon.

SS:  Macron has given a deadline to the Lebanese politicians and threatened them with sanctions. Isn’t that interference in Lebanon’s sovereignty?

MO:  That is blatant and clear violation of political norms and international law too. As no state has a unilateral say in what other states can or cannot do. Yes, I do agree that we need anti-corruption plans put in place asap and reforms at the level of the judiciary system and the constitution and that we need to hold all those responsible accountable, but that is strictly a Lebanese internal matter and no other state or head of state has a say or even a right to give his or her opinion about this matter. Our justice system is capable of covering all the anti-corruption cases, we just need a political decision. Better yet, we need to completely remove politics from the judiciary system and that can only happen when we become a full secular state with a “one province electoral law”, which means abolishing the sectarian system of election in the country.

SS:  The tension between the Israeli occupation and Hezbollah is on the highest level since the 2006 war. Do you think “Israel” is preparing for war on Lebanon?

MO:  Israel is always at war with Lebanon, it has always been a case of cessation of hostilities, there never was peace. How can there be peace when the Israeli regime keeps violating our airspace, occupying our land and waters and assassinating our men? Every day we wake up to the sounds of fighter jets in our airspace and all day every day we are constantly harassed with spy drones that keep buzzing so loud it drives us crazy, Israel is always on high alert waiting for the next round to carpet bomb Beirut any chance it gets. However, a full out war is currently out of the question for several reasons. First, Israel knows that the rules of the game have changed especially after the resistance gained great experience from fighting off terrorism in Syria alongside the Syrian Arab army and the Russian army inside Syria. Second, Israel needs full US support to pursue a war on Lebanon and that is not an option at the moment because Trump is indulging himself in pre-elections campaigning that he has not time or desire to cause any damage to his electoral campaign and third the Israeli regime is suffering from high covid19 exposures that would keep its hands tied in the event they risked a war anytime soon.

SS:  After visiting Lebanon, Macron headed for Iraq.  What was the goal of that visit and dose France has designs on the Middle East?

MO:  Macron popping for a visit in Baghdad as the first head of state to visit the Iraqi capital since Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi took office should not come as a surprise. The French president claimed to back Iraq’s sovereignty all the while his US allies still occupy the country. However, by playing Lawrence of Arabia in Iraq, Macron aims to fill the vacuum left by an isolationist America to boost France’s clout in west Asia. President Macron has seen the vacuum in question as an opportunity. He now acts as if he is Europe’s foreign policy leader by default and thinks that he has to run the show because there is a diplomatic-relations gap in the Western world. However, by trying to court all sides, Macron risks drawing a blank with one of them. Success in Lebanon might burnish his reputation as a consummate negotiator, however, skepticism is brewing about France’s ability to play a leading role in west Asia, where the US, Russia and their allies have traditionally called the shots.

Dr. Marwa Osman has a PhD in Management, a MBA on “The Effect of Politics on the Foreign Direct Investment in Lebanon”, is a University Lecturer at the Lebanese International University and Maaref University, and is the Host of the political show “The Middle East Stream” broadcast on Press TV.

Posted in France, Lebanon0 Comments

Yemen

A new United Nations report released September 8 described a ” pandemic of impunity” in Yemen and “a consistent pattern of harm to civilians that not only occurs in the context of hostilities, but also away from the front lines.”A press release emphasized that “there are no clean hands” in the Yemen conflict and identified the following laundry list of human rights violations: “arbitrary deprivation of life, enforced disappearances, arbitrary detention, gender-based violence, including sexual violence, torture and other forms of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment, the recruitment and use in hostilities of children, the denial of fair trial rights, violations of fundamental freedoms, and economic, social and cultural rights.” A number of news outlets have  highlighted findings from the UN investigators that Houthi rebels “recruited nearly three dozen teenage girls—some said to be survivors of sexual violence—as spies, medics, guards and members of an all-female force.”
Saudi Arabia
In a letter submitted to the kingdom’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Human Rights Watch (HRW) requested a meeting “to discuss human rights issues of mutual interest and conduct private visits with high-profile detainees, some of whom have been prevented from contac- ting family members or lawyers for three months or longer.

The letter, signed by HRW Deputy Director for the Middle East and North Africa Adam Coogleidentifies “two prominent women’s rights activists, the popular religious figure Salman al-Awda, and former crown prince Mohammed bin Nayef” as detainees who “have been cut off from the outside world for extended periods in 2020 and prevented from contacting lawyers or family members.”HRW notes that there have been allegations of torture against prisoners in Saudi Arabia, and while the kingdom’s investigation into those allegations did not find them to be true, a chance to visit those detainees “could make a credible, impartial finding that would be accepted globally.”On September 7, Saudi Arabia’s public prosecutor announced that eight unidentified people were sentenced in the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, in a process that lacked transparency and legitimacy.

Agnes Callamard, the UN Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial Executionsdescribed it as a “parody of justice” and noted that the high-level officials involved in his assassination “have walked free from the start—barely touched by the investigation and trial.”
ON OUR RADARSeptember 10 – According to a new book, President Donald Trump reportedly said that he “saved [Mohammed bin Salman’s] ass” after the Jamal Khashoggi assassination and that Saudi Arabia “wouldn’t last a week if [the United States] weren’t there.” (Business Insider)September 11 – The U.S. House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence will hold a hearing on the United States’ security and intelligence relationship with Saudi Arabia. (U.S. House of Representatives)September 14 – Bahrain’s High Court of Appeal will rule on an appeal filed by Abdullah al-Shamlawi, a lawyer who was sentenced to eight months in prison over tweets. (Human Rights Watch)

Posted in Saudi Arabia, Yemen0 Comments

Nazi tanks shell Gaza after incendiary balloon attacks

Violence comes despite Egyptian attempts to end flare-up that has seen fire-balloon attacks and nightly Israeli raids.20 Aug 2020

Flames and smoke are seen during an Israeli air raid on Gaza on Thursday [Mohammed Salem/Reuters]
Flames and smoke are seen during an Israeli air raid on Gaza on Thursday [Mohammed Salem/Reuters]

Israeli tanks shelled Hamas positions in the Gaza Strip overnight in what the Israeli army said was a response to continuing waves of incendiary balloons sent across the security fence to nearby Israeli towns and settlements.

The continuing violence – which has stretched into nine consecutive nights – came despite attempts by Egyptian security officials to end the flare-up, which has seen two weeks of rocket and fire-balloon attacks from Gaza and nightly Israeli raids.

Local media reported on Thursday that Qatar is also mediating between Israel and Hamas – the group that rules the Gaza Strip – to restore calm and that the coming 48 hours would be crucial.

Gaza security officials said the Israeli attacks hit Hamas observation posts near al-Maghazi and al-Bureij refugee camps in the centre of the strip, and the town of Khan Younis, further south.

There were no casualties, they said.

An Israeli military statement said “arson balloons were launched from the Gaza Strip into Israel”.

“In response … tanks targeted military posts belonging to the Hamas terror organisation in the Gaza Strip,” it said.

Power outages

As part of punitive measures over the incendiary balloons, Israel has banned fishing off Gaza’s coast and closed the Karam Abu Salem (Kerem Shalom) goods crossing, cutting off deliveries of fuel to the territory’s sole power plant.

Power had been in short supply even before the shutdown, with consumers having access to electricity for only about eight hours a day.

That will now be cut to just four hours a day using power supplied from the Israeli grid.

The Gaza Strip has a population of two million, more than half of whom live in poverty, according to the World Bank. The Palestinian territory has been under a devastating Israeli blockade since 2007.

Israel and Hamas have fought three wars since 2008.

On Wednesday, the chairman of the Gaza Neonatal Network (GNN) warned that frequent electricity outages threaten the lives of more than 100 newborn babies currently being in intensive care incubators in Gaza hospitals.

Nabil al-Baraqoun said the 135 neonatal incubators are all powered by electricity, noting power cuts and the use of alternative energy sources cause damage to medical devices such as incubators, resuscitation equipment and ventilators, which could cause complications for the infants – and even deaths.

Qatar pledged to send $15m to Gaza monthly as part of an informal agreement between Israel and Hamas. 

Under that deal, Israel allowed the grants to go through its territory in exchange for an end to the weekly “March of Return” protests held by Palestinians east of the fence separating Israel from Gaza.

Most of the funds were to have been used to pay the salaries of Hamas civil servants but about $5m monthly was for impoverished Palestinians in Gaza.

Posted in Palestine Affairs, ZIO-NAZI, Gaza, Human Rights0 Comments

Zionist-Advocacy Groups Urge Facebook to Label Criticism of ‘Israel’ as Hate Speech

Israel-Advocacy Groups Urge Facebook to Label Criticism of Israel as Hate Speech

byLara Friedman

ON AUGUST 7th, amid broad efforts to get Facebook to clamp down on extremist activity and hate speech, more than 120 organizations sent a letter to the social media giant, urging it to “fully adopt” the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) working definition of antisemitism as the “cornerstone of Facebook’s hate speech policy regarding antisemitism.” This definition, which was adopted by the IHRA in 2016 and has been promoted to governments worldwide, includes several examples of what it describes as “contemporary” antisemitism—including “denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination, e.g., by claiming that the existence of a State of Israel is a racist endeavor” and “applying double standards” to Israel—that can be interpreted to define much criticism of Israel, Israeli policies, or Zionism as antisemitism. 

This letter represents the latest front in the battle to use the IHRA definition to officially exclude criticism of Israel from the bounds of acceptable discourse. It was spearheaded by pro-Israel attack dog StopAntisemitism.org, which is funded by hardline pro-Israel philanthropists Adam and Gila Milstein. The group is perhaps best known for publicly labeling critics of Israel, including some Jews, as antisemites. So far, the list of signatories to the Facebook letter is a “who’s who” of right-wing groups dedicated to defending Israel from criticism, many of which are also funded by or associated with the Milsteins; in The Jerusalem Post, a former Israeli Knesset member who is associated with one of the signatories credited the Milsteins’ foundation with initiating the campaign. Their effort enjoys the public backing of the Israeli government: Israel’s new Minister of Strategic Affairs, Orit Farkash-Hacohen, told the Post, “I welcome the initiative and call on more bodies and organizations to join the clear demand for change.”

Yet, as attorney Kenneth Stern—an expert on antisemitism who was the lead drafter on the text that became the IHRA definition—has repeatedly expressed, this definition and its examples were never intended to be used as a formalized, enforceable definition of antisemitism, and turning them into one has raised serious free speech concerns. The American Civil Liberties Union described early efforts to codify the IHRA into law as “part of a disturbing surge of government-led attempts to suppress the speech of people on only one side of the Israel-Palestine debate . . . on college campuses, in state contracts, and even in bills to change the federal law.” If social media networks like Facebook adopt the Israel-related examples in the IHRA definition and allow these to guide their hate speech policies, it will likely lead to similar efforts to suppress free speech, this time in the online sphere.

So far, Facebook has responded to the letter by changing its policy regarding hate speech in ways it says take the IHRA definition into account, but it has resisted adopting the IHRA definition in its entirety. On August 11th, Facebook announced that it had updated its hate speech policy “to more specifically account for certain kinds of implicit hate speech, such as . . . stereotypes about Jewish people controlling the world.” In a response sent to to the letter’s signatories, Monika Bickert—Facebook’s vice president of content policy—noted that the company had used the IHRA definition “in informing [its] own approach and definitions,” that its new policy “draws on the spirit—and the text—of the IHRA,” and that under Facebook’s policy, “Jews and Israelis are treated as ‘protected characteristics.’” Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook’s chief operations officer, also wrote to Adam Milstein personally, assuring him that the IHRA definition has been “invaluable” to Facebook.

Though Israel was not mentioned in Facebook’s response to the letter, the company has previously expressed reluctance to adopt the parts of the definition that relate to Israel. In a May 7th webinar hosted by the American Jewish Committee, senior Facebook official Peter Stern said that Facebook had “mapped” the IHRA definition onto its own policies and found it to be “valuable,” but added that “the areas where we would depart to some degree from that definition . . . comes in relation to statements about, particularly, nations.” He added, “We don’t allow people to make certain types of hateful statements against individuals. If the focus turns to a country, an institution, a philosophy, then we allow people to express themselves more freely, because we think that’s an important part of political dialogue . . . and that there’s an important legitimate component to that. So we allow people to criticize the state of Israel, as well as the United States and other countries.” The August 7th letter called out Stern’s comments, claiming that he “admitted that Facebook does not embrace the full adoption of the IHRA working definition because the definition recognizes that modern manifestations of antisemitism relate to Israel.“

The campaign to pressure Facebook to adopt the full IHRA definition has been a long time in the making. In December 2019—less than a week after President Trump signed an executive order embracing the IHRA definition—StopAntisemitism.org joined forces with another hardline Israel advocacy group, Zachor Legal Institute, to issue a report entitled “The New Anti-Semites.” (Zachor, also a signatory of the August 7th letter, is the same group that recently called on the Department of Justice “to fully investigate the ties among Black Lives Matter, their BDS [Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions] partners and foreign terror groups that are promoting violence and unrest in the United States.”) That report, which is cited in the letter to Facebook, argues that most criticism and pressure related to Israel or its policies—but especially the BDS movement and the tactics it endorses—is antisemitic. It offers specific recommendations for vanquishing this antisemitism, including enshrining the IHRA definition into law and expanding the application of the IHRA definition to social media, as well as to “online platforms such as financial service providers and internet site hosts of social media platforms.”

Six months later, on June 4th, Zachor began its efforts to turn this recommendation into a reality, announcing that it had sent letters to Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter “updating them about antisemitic postings that are present on their popular social media platforms.” The sole posting cited in Zachor’s letter to Facebook is a Nakba commemoration post from a page called “Palestine Writes,” sharing a video from the Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network that mentions “confronting the racist ideology of Zionism.” All of the examples Zachor cited in these letters relate to Palestinian criticism of Israel; none mention anything about Judaism or Jews. Using the IHRA definition as its basis, Zachor argued that the posts violated the social media platforms’ “own hate speech regulations” and demanded their removal. 

Diaspora Israel-advocacy groups’ strategy of targeting criticism of Israel on social media is mirrored by similar efforts within the Israeli government. In July, Farkash-Hacohen, the Israeli Minister of Strategic Affairs, published an op-ed in Newsweek urging social media companies to adopt the IHRA definition. The following week, The Jerusalem Post reported that under the new Israeli government, the Ministry of Strategic Affairs was “shifting” its focus from fighting BDS to challenging “delegitimization of Israel more broadly,” and that it has “plans to increase its focus on social media,” where it hopes to—in the words of the ministry’s director general, Ronen Manelis—“balance the antisemitic and anti-Israel discourse.” According to the Post, Jewish Agency chairman Isaac Herzog “said he has sought to have the companies adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s definition of antisemitism” and that he had “met with Facebook executives . . . to discuss the matter.” 

The efforts targeting social media are yet another reminder that concerns about the free speech implications of the IHRA definition are not hypothetical. Earlier this year, legislators in several states sought to codify the IHRA definition, including its Israel-related examples, into hate crimes legislation and anti-discrimination laws. Trump’s 2019 executive order adopting the IHRA definition into US policy has, as predicted, spawned a growing list of attacks targeting Israel-related speech on college campuses, as well as an effort targeting a US foundation for its support for a group that criticizes Israel. The IHRA-based conflation of antisemitism and criticism of Israel was also the foundation of a recent report by the Milstein-supported AMCHA initiative purporting to document rising antisemitism on college campuses. While admitting there has been a significant decrease “in the number of incidents of anti-Jewish harassment identified as expressing classic antisemitism,” the report highlighted a “significant increase in the number of Israel-related incidents,” as defined under the IHRA definition. Notably, under the criteria established by AMCHA report, merely challenging the legitimacy of the IHRA definition was treated as an indicator of antisemitism. 

The Israel advocacy network’s push on social media comes at a time when Facebook and other social networks are under significant pressure regarding how they deal with controversial content. Conservatives claim to be victims of a politically motivated crackdown on right-wing voices. Progressives decry the proliferation of extremist hate speech and call on social media platforms to remove and ban misinformation and hate speech. In this context, the demand that social media adopt and enforce the full IHRA definition represents a cynical strategy to co-opt progressive concerns about antisemitism in order to promote a hardline, reactionary political agenda that seeks to quash constitutionally protected free speech critical of Israel.

One prominent progressive effort to push Facebook comes from the “Stop Hate for Profit” coalition. Made up of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) as well as the NAACP, Color of Change, the National Hispanic Media Coalition (NHMC), and several other groups, the coalition formed in June to demand that Facebook, among other things, “find and remove” groups focused on antisemitism. The coalition doesn’t offer its own definition of antisemitism, but its sole Jewish member, the ADL, has long championed the IHRA definition—a position that aligns neatly with the ADL’s evolution into an organization that prioritizes defending Israel from criticism over defending free speech.

Facebook’s updates to its hate speech policy haven’t satisfied its IHRA-focused critics, whose goal isn’t to get Facebook to deplatform antisemitism, but to get Facebook to deplatform criticism of Israel. In a response to Sandberg’s letter to him, Milstein made it clear that the campaign to pressure the social network to accept the IHRA definition will continue: “We look forward to working with @Facebook to ensure #antisemitism is eradicated from the platform and the #IHRA working definition of antisemitism is fully adopted by your organization.” Whether Facebook will buckle under the pressure will depend in large part on whether the public—Jewish and non-Jewish—finally recognizes that concerns about antisemitism are being exploited to serve a narrow political and ideological agenda, putting at risk free speech on Israel/Palestine and, by extension, political speech writ large.

Posted in ZIO-NAZI, Campaigns, Media0 Comments

‘Absolute And Arbitrary Power’: Killing Extinction Rebellion And Julian Assange

The use and misuse of George Orwell’s truth-telling is so widespread that we can easily miss his intended meaning. For example, with perfect (Orwellian) irony, the BBC has a statue of Orwell outside Broadcasting House, bearing the inscription:

‘If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.’

Fine words, but suitably ambiguous: the BBC might argue that it is merely exercising its ‘liberty’ in endlessly channelling the worldview of powerful interests – crass propaganda that many people certainly ‘do not want to hear’.

Orwell’s real intention is made clearer in this second comment:

‘Journalism is printing what someone else does not want printed: everything else is public relations.’

In this line attributed to him (although there is some debate about where it originated), Orwell was talking about power – real journalism challenges the powerful. And this is the essential difference between the vital work of WikiLeaks and the propaganda role performed by state-corporate media like the BBC every day on virtually every issue.

On September 6, the Mail on Sunday ran two editorials, side by side. The first was titled, ‘A sinister, shameful attack on free speech’. It decried the Extinction Rebellion action last Friday to blockade three newspaper printing presses owned by Rupert Murdoch’s UK News. The second editorial, as we will see below, was a feeble call not to send Julian Assange to the US, on the eve of his crucial extradition hearing in London.

Extinction Rebellion’s protest, lasting just a few hours, temporarily prevented the distribution of Murdoch newspapers, such as the Sun and The Times, as well as other titles printed by Murdoch’s presses, including the Daily Mail, Mail on Sunday and the Daily Telegraph.

The Mail on Sunday editorial predictably condemned the protesters’ supposed attempt at ‘censorship’, declaring it:

‘a throwback to the very worst years of trade union militancy, which came close to strangling a free press and which was only defeated by the determined action of Rupert Murdoch.’

The paper fumed:

‘The newspaper blockade was a shameful and dangerous attempt to crush free speech, and it should never be repeated.’

This was the propaganda message that was repeated across much of the ‘mainstream media’, epitomised by the empty rhetoric of Prime Minister Boris Johnson:

‘A free press is vital in holding the government and other powerful institutions to account on issues critical for the future of our country, including the fight against climate change. It is completely unacceptable to seek to limit the public’s access to news in this way.’

Johnson’s comments could have been pure satire penned by Chris Morris, Mark Steel or the late Jeremy Hardy. Closer to the grubby truth, a different Johnson – Samuel – described the ‘free press’ as ‘Scribbling on the backs of advertisements’.

As Media Lens has repeatedly demonstrated over the past 20 years, it is the state-corporate media, including BBC News, that has endlessly ‘limited the public’s access to news’ by denying the public the full truth about climate breakdown, UK/US warmongering, including wars on Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya, the arming of Saudi Arabia and complicity in that brutal regime’s destruction of Yemen, UK government support for the apartheid state of Israel even as it crushes the Palestinian people, the insidious prising open of the NHS to private interests, and numerous other issues of public importance.

When has the mythical ‘free press’ ever fully and properly held to account Boris Johnson or any of his predecessors in 10 Downing Street? Who can forget that Tony Blair, steeped in the blood of so many Iraqis, is still held in esteem as an elder statesman whose views are sought out by ‘mainstream’ news outlets, including BBC News and the Guardian? As John Pilger said recently:

‘Always contrast Julian Assange with Tony Blair. One will be fighting for his life in court on 7 Sept for the “crime” of exposing war crimes while the other evades justice for the paramount crime of Iraq.’

Health Secretary Matt Hancock, who has presided over a national public health disaster with soaring rates of mortality during the coronavirus pandemic, had the affront to tweet a photograph of himself with a clutch of right-wing papers under his arm, declaring:

‘Totally outrageous that Extinction Rebellion are trying to suppress free speech by blockading newspapers. They must be dealt with by the full force of the law.’

It is Hancock himself, together with government colleagues and advisers – not least Johnson and his protector, Dominic Cummings – who should ‘be dealt with by the full force of the law’. As Richard Horton, editor of The Lancet medical journal, said of Boris Johnson in May:

‘you dropped the ball, Prime Minister. That was criminal. And you know it.’

Extinction Rebellion (XR) explained succinctly via Twitter their reason for their ‘totally outrageous’ action:

‘Dear Newsagents, we are sorry for disruption caused to your business this morning. Dear Mr. Murdoch, we are absolutely not sorry for continuing to disrupt your agenda this morning.  @rupertmurdoch #FreeTheTruth #ExtinctionRebellion #TellTheTruth

An article on the XR website, simply titled, ‘We do not have a free press’, said:

‘We are in an emergency of unprecedented scale and the papers we have targeted are not reflecting the scale and urgency of what is happening to our planet.’

One of the XR protesters was ‘Steve’, a former journalist for 25 years who had worked for the Sun, Daily Mail, the Telegraph and The Times. He was filmed on location during the protest. He explained that he was participating, in part, because he is worried about the lack of a future for his children. And a major reason for how we got to this point is that journalists are:

‘stuck inside a toxic system where they don’t have any choice but to tell the stories that these newspapers want to be told.’

He continued:

‘Every person who works on News International or a Mail newspaper knows what story is or isn’t acceptable for their bosses. And their bosses know that because they know what’s acceptable to Murdoch or Rothermere or the other billionaires that run 70 per cent of our media’.

Steve said he left that system because he ‘couldn’t bear the way it worked’.

The most recent report by the independent Media Reform Coalition on UK media ownership, published in 2019, revealed the scale of the problem of extremely concentrated media ownership. Just three companies – Rupert Murdoch’s News UK, Daily Mail Group and Reach (publisher of the Mirror titles) dominate 83 per cent of the national newspaper market (up from 71 per cent in 2015). When online readers are included, just five companies – News UK, Daily Mail Group, Reach, Guardian and Telegraph – dominate nearly 80 per cent of the market.

As we noted of XR’s worthy action:

‘Before anyone denounces this as an attack on the “free press” – there is no free press. There is a billionaire-owned, profit-maximising, ad-dependent corporate press that has knowingly suppressed the truth of climate collapse and the need for action to protect corporate profits.’

Zarah Sultana, Labour MP for Coventry South, indicated her support too:

‘A tiny number of billionaires own vast swathes of our press. Their papers relentlessly campaign for right-wing politics, promoting the interests of the ruling class and scapegoating minorities. A free press is vital to democracy, but too much of our press isn’t free at all.’

By contrast, Labour leader Keir Starmer once again demonstrated his establishment credentials as ‘a safe pair of hands’ by condemning XR’s protest. Craig Murray commented:

‘At a time when the government is mooting designating Extinction Rebellion as Serious Organised Crime, right wing bequiffed muppet Keir Starmer was piously condemning the group, stating: “The free press is the cornerstone of democracy and we must do all we can to protect it.”’

Starmer had also commented:

‘Denying people the chance to read what they choose is wrong and does nothing to tackle climate change.’

But denying people the chance to read what they would choose – the corporate-unfriendly truth – on climate change is exactly what the corporate media, misleadingly termed ‘mainstream media’, is all about.

Media activist and lecturer Justin Schlosberg made a number of cogent observations on ‘press freedom’ in a Twitter thread (beginning here):

‘9 times out of 10 when people in Britain talk about protecting press freedom what they really mean is protecting press power’.

He pointed out the ‘giant myth’ promulgated by corporate media, forever trying to resist any attempt to curb their power; namely that:

‘Britain’s mainstream [sic] press is a vital pillar of our democracy, covering a diversity of perspectives and upholding professional standards of journalism…the reality is closer to the exact inverse of such claims. More than 10 million people voted for a socialist party at the last election (13 million in 2017) and polls have consistently shown that majority of British public oppose austerity’.

Schlosberg continued:

‘The “diversity” of our national press [… ] covers the political spectrum from liberal/centre to hard right and has overwhelmingly backed austerity economics for the best part of the last 4 decades… [moreover] the UK press enjoys an unrivalled international reputation for producing a diatribe of fake, racist and misogynistic hate speech over anything that can be called journalism’.

He rightly concluded:

‘ironically one of the greatest threats to democracy is a press that continues to weave myths in support of its vested interests, and a BBC that continues to uncritically absorb them.’

Assange In The US Crosshairs

Alongside the Mail on Sunday’s billionaire-owned, extremist right-wing attack on climate activists highlighting a non-existent ‘free press’, the paper had an editorial that touched briefly on the danger to all journalists should WikiLeaks co-founder Julian Assange be extradited from the UK to the US:

‘the charges against Mr Assange, using the American Espionage Act, might be used against legitimate journalists in this country’.

The implication was that Assange is not to be regarded as a ‘legitimate journalist’. Indeed, the billionaire Rothermere-owned viewspaper – a more accurate description than ‘newspaper’ – made clear its antipathy towards him:

‘Mr Assange’s revelations of leaked material caused grave embarrassment to Washington and are alleged to have done material damage too.’

The term ‘embarrassment’ refers to the exposure of US criminal actions threatening the great rogue state’s ability to commit similar crimes in future: not embarrassing (Washington is without shame), but potentially limiting.

The Mail on Sunday continued:

‘Mr Assange has been a spectacular nuisance during his time in this country, lawlessly jumping bail and wasting police time by taking refuge in embassy of Ecuador. The Mail on Sunday disapproves of much of what he has done, but we must also ask if his current treatment is fair, right or just.’

The insinuations and subtle smears embedded in these few lines have been repeatedly demolished (see this extensive analysis, for example). And there was no mention that Nils Melzer, the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture, as well as numerous doctors, health experts and human rights organisations, have strongly condemned the UK’s appalling abuse of Assange and demanded his immediate release.

Melzer has accused the British government of torturing Assange:

‘the primary purpose of torture is not necessarily interrogation, but very often torture is used to intimidate others, as a show to the public what happens if you don’t comply with the government. That is the purpose of what has been done to Julian Assange. It is not to punish or coerce him, but to silence him and to do so in broad daylight, making visible to the entire world that those who expose the misconduct of the powerful no longer enjoy the protection of the law, but essentially will be annihilated. It is a show of absolute and arbitrary power’.

Melzer also spoke about the price he will pay for challenging the powerful:

‘I am under no illusions that my UN career is probably over. Having openly confronted two P5-States (UN security council members) the way I have, I am very unlikely to be approved by them for another high-level position. I have been told, that my uncompromising engagement in this case comes at a political price.’

This is the reality of the increasingly authoritarian world we are living in.

The weak defence of Assange now being seen in even right-wing media, such as the Mail on Sunday, indicates a real fear that any journalist could in future be targeted by the US government for publishing material that might anger Washington.

In an interview this week, Barry Pollack, Julian Assange’s US lawyer, warned of the ‘very dangerous’ precedent that could be set in motion with Assange’s extradition to the US:

‘The position that the U.S. is taking is a very dangerous one. The position the U.S. is taking is that they have jurisdiction all over the world and can pursue criminal charges against any journalist anywhere on the planet, whether they’re a U.S. citizen or not. But if they’re not a U.S. citizen, not only can the U.S. pursue charges against them but that person has no defense under the First Amendment.’

In stark contrast to the weak protestations of the Mail on Sunday and the rest of the establishment media, Noam Chomsky pointed out the simple truth in a recent interview on RT (note the dearth of Chomsky interviews on BBC News, and consider why his views are not sought after):

‘Julian Assange committed the crime of letting the general population know things that they have a right to know and that powerful states don’t want them to know.’

Likewise, John Pilger issued a strong warning:

‘This week, one of the most important struggles for freedom in my lifetime nears its end. Julian Assange who exposed the crimes of great power faces burial alive in Trump’s America unless he wins his extradition case. Whose side are you on?’

Pilger recommended an excellent in-depth piece by Jonathan Cook, a former Guardian/Observer journalist, in which Cook observed:

‘For years, journalists cheered Assange’s abuse. Now they’ve paved his path to a US gulag.’

Peter Oborne is a rare example of a right-leaning journalist who has spoken out strongly in defence of Assange. Oborne wrote last week in Press Gazette that:

‘Future generations of journalists will not forgive us if we do not fight extradition.’

He set out the following scenario:

‘Let’s imagine a foreign dissident was being held in London’s Belmarsh Prison charged with supposed espionage offences by the Chinese authorities.

‘And that his real offence was revealing crimes committed by the Chinese Communist Party – including publishing video footage of atrocities carried out by Chinese troops.

‘To put it another way, that his real offence was committing the crime of journalism.

‘Let us further suppose the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture said this dissident showed “all the symptoms typical for prolonged exposure to psychological torture” and that the Chinese were putting pressure on the UK authorities to extradite this individual where he could face up to 175 years in prison.

‘The outrage from the British press would be deafening.’

Oborne continued:

‘There is one crucial difference. It is the US trying to extradite the co-founder of Wikileaks.

‘Yet there has been scarcely a word in the mainstream British media in his defence.’

In fact, as we have repeatedly highlighted, Assange has been the subject of a propaganda blitz by the UK media, attacking and smearing him, over and over again, often in the pages of the ‘liberal’ Guardian.

At the time of writing, neither ITV political editor Robert Peston nor BBC News political editor Laura Kuenssberg appear to have reported the Assange extradition case. They have not even tweeted about it once, even though they are both very active on Twitter. In fact, the last time Peston so much as mentioned Assange on his Twitter feed was 2017. Kuenssberg’s record is even worse; her Twitter silence extends all the way back to 2014. These high-profile journalists are supposedly prime exemplars of the very best ‘high-quality’ UK news broadcasters, maintaining the values of a ‘free press’, holding politicians to account and keeping the public informed.

On September 7, John Pilger gave an address outside the Old Bailey in London, just before Julian Assange’s extradition hearing began there. His words were a powerful rebuke to those so-called ‘journalists’ that have maintained a cowardly silence, or worse. The ‘official truth-tellers’ of the media – the stenographers who collaborate with those in power, helping to sell their wars – are, Pilger says, ‘Vichy journalists’.

He continued:

‘It is said that whatever happens to Julian Assange in the next three weeks will diminish if not destroy freedom of the press in the West. But which press? The Guardian? The BBC, The New York Times, the Jeff Bezos Washington Post?

‘No, the journalists in these organizations can breathe freely. The Judases on the Guardian who flirted with Julian, exploited his landmark work, made their pile then betrayed him, have nothing to fear. They are safe because they are needed.

‘Freedom of the press now rests with the honorable few: the exceptions, the dissidents on the internet who belong to no club, who are neither rich nor laden with Pulitzers, but produce fine, disobedient, moral journalism – those like Julian Assange.’

Posted in Human Rights, Media, UK0 Comments

What does ‘Israel’ and UAE has in common?

What does Israel and UAE has in common?

By Mahmoud El-Yousseph

Pakistanis protesting the United Arab Emirates-Israeli deal to establish full diplomatic ties between the two countries, in Karachi, Pakistan, Sunday, Aug. 16, 2020. (AP Photo/Fareed Khan)
The UEA is now opening full diplomatic ties with Israel, thus making it the third Arab nation to recognize Israel and the first Gulf Arab state to do so. The other two Arab countries that have diplomatic ties with Israel are Egypt and Jordan. Before you pour the wine and cut the cheese, let’s take a look back at both countries’ dark history, corruption, and immorality. Both countries earned all the qualification to be named as rogue nations. Rogue nation is a term that describes a state that does not respect other states’ sovereignties or follow the rules of civilized nations. So what do both countries have in common? Both Israel and UAE are currently engaged in war crimes. The UAE bombs civilian targets in Yemen and Israel routinely does the same in Gaza and Syria. They both serve as safe havens for criminals and terrorists who fled justice in the US and elsewhere around the world. Here are some of the cases:
Mossad Agents and Natenyahu wanted for murder

The head of Israeli Mossad  confessed to Israel’s murdering of Mahmoud al-Mabhouh, (Press Canada, 07/31/2011)

* On February 16, 2010, Mahmoud al-Mabhouh was assassinated in his hotel room in UAE by 11 members of the Israeli Mossad hit squad. Mossad agents used stolen passports from various European countries to carry out their murder. Seven of the 11 suspects wanted by Dubai police for the murder of Hamas official Mahmoud al-Mabhouh. Images released by the authorities in Dubai showed seven of the 11 suspects wanted in connection with the killing of Mahmoud al-Mabhouh. Photograph: AP
* In 1997, Samuel Sheinbein, an American, fled to Israel after committing a gruesome murder in Maryland. Israel refused to extradite him, prompting protests from senior officials, including then-Attorney General Janet Reno. In 2014, Sheinbein was shot dead by Israeli special forces inside a prison compound after he seized a guard’s weapon and shot three of the guards.
*  According to Jewish Community Watch organization who started tracking accused pedophiles in 2014, there are more than 60 have fled from the U.S. to Israel. Those wanted men and women have been able to exploit a right known as the Law of Return, whereby any Jewish person can move to Israel and automatically gain, thus enabling them to travel freely around the world.
  * The FBI website is offering $1,000,000 for the capture of Keith Fuchs and Andy Green, members of the Jewish Defense League (JDL), for the killing Alex Odeh. Alex, who was born into a Palestinian Christian family, was killed in 1985 after his office was bombed in Santa Ana, California. Both suspects fled to Israel after Alex’s murder and Israel refused to extradite them to the US or allow the FBI to question them.
* The former king of Spain fled in a private jet to UAE days before his court hearing where he was charged for receiving $100 million dollar bribe from Saudi Arabia.
*  In 2016, the former Pakistani president Ashraf Perez arrived in Dubai after he was sentenced to death in his country.
* Mohammad Dhahlan is a Palestinian spy who fled to UAE after he was implicated for the murder of Palestinian leader Yaser Arafat. He is now serving as a National Security Adviser to the UAE ruler.
* The former PM of Thailand fled her country to the UAE in 2017 after she was found guilty of big corruption scandal.
* Several Egyptian ministers who served under the regimes of Mubarak and Sisi fled to UAE to avoid fraud, waste, and abuse charges.
* Let’s not forget that sodomy is not a crime in either Israel or UAE and that both provide “tramp’s tax” for prostitution.

Posted in ZIO-NAZI, UAE0 Comments

FACEBOOK IS ISRAEL’S BITCH


By Mahmoud El-Yousseph

Inline image

Mort Klein, who is the President of the Zionist Organizations of America responded to the nomination of Kamala Harris, whose husband is Jewish, by saying that serious Jews don’t marry non-Jewish women. Surprisingly, Trump did not tweet about it, and neither any other US public officials nor celebrities. There was no outrage expressed, no call for resignation, and no charges of anti-Semitism. Imagine for a moment what would have happened if either US Rep. Ilhan Omar or Rashida Tlaib said this? We will never hear the end of it.
Ironically, some Jews even referred to the former Daily Show comedian Jon Stewart as a self-hating Jew for marrying a non-Jewish woman. Stewart once described this kind of  Jewish behavior as ‘fascistic’ when it comes to defining who is and isn’t a Jew. 
Mark Zuckerberg’s wife Priscilla is not Jewish. She is a Buddhist by faith. However, Israel, AIPAC, and Israel’s lovers in the US will not dare want to ruffle Mark Zuckerberg’s feathers because he has a final say what goes on Facebook. Simply put, he controls the flow of information when it comes to Palestine/Israel. Facebook blocks pro-Palestinian accounts arbitrarily without notice and without providing a reason. Facebook sometimes uses the term incitement as an excuse but FB never applied this term when Jews advocate violence or genocide against Palestinians. In other words, Facebook acts as Israel’s bitch.

Inline image

Philip Giraldi, who is a former CIA intelligence officer, just wrote today a brilliant article on the subject titled, “Facebook hires an Israeli censor: Another attack on Free Speech” by the Jewish State  (Darkmoon, September 9, 2020). Emi Palmor, who is a former director-general of Israel’s justice ministry, will serve as a member of the new oversight board which will censor contents on the site.

Posted in ZIO-NAZI, Media0 Comments

Zionist Arab League Rejects PA Resolution Condemning Zionist-UAE Deal

The Zionist Arab League rejected a Palestinian Authority (PA) resolution condemning the agreement between the Nazi regime and the Zionist regime of United Arab Emirates (UAE) during a Sept. 9 meeting.

PA Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki said during the meeting that the UAE violated the 2002 Arab Peace Initiative stating that Arab nations will not normalize ties with the Nazi regime unless a Palestinian state is established under pre-1967 borders.

“It has become imperative for us to take a stance rejecting this step,” al-Maliki said. “Otherwise, our meeting will be considered a blessing or collusion with it.”

The Times of Israel reported that senior Zionist Arab League (ZAL) official Hussam Zaki said that the PA refused to consider any resolution regarding the Zionist-Palestinian conflict that didn’t condemn the Zionist-UAE agreement. PA official Hussein al-Sheikh decried the resolution’s failure as “the triumph of money over dignity.”

Zionist puppet UAE State of Foreign Affairs Minister Anwar Gargash defended his country’s pact with the Nazi regime arguing that “the deal managed to stop Israel’s annexation plans in the West Bank,” Axios reported.

The American Jewish Committee tweeted, “We welcome the Arab League’s decision to reject a Palestinian draft resolution that would have condemned the UAE for its normalization agreement with Israel. The Abraham Accord offers a clear path toward broader Arab-Israeli cooperation and peace.”


American Jewish Committee@AJCGlobal
We welcome the Arab League’s decision to reject a Palestinian draft resolution that would have condemned the UAE for its normalization agreement with Israel. The Abraham Accord offers a clear path toward broader Arab-Israeli cooperation and peace.

British researcher David Collier tweeted, “For decades the Arab league was the ‘go to place’ for demonisation and condemnation of Israel. Times are changing.”

The official signing ceremony of the Zionist-UAE deal will take place on Sept. 15 at the White House and will feature Nazi PM Naziyahu and Zionist puppet UAE Foreign Minister Abdullah bin Zayed appearing together publicly.

Posted in Middle East, ZIO-NAZI, UAE0 Comments


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