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Udo Ulfkotte: Europe’s Courageous Journalism Voice Has Passed Away

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Posted by: Sammi Ibrahem,Sr
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On January 13, Udo Ulfkotte died, reportedly of a heart attack.

Ulfkotte had been an editor at the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitzung.

He published a courageous book in which he said that the CIA had a hand on every significant journalist in Europe, which gave Washington control over European opinion and reduced knowledge of and opposition to Washington’s control over European heads of state. Essentially, there are no European governments independent of Washington.

Courage, once plentiful in Europe, is today hard to find. Charles de Gaulle was the last head of a major European state that maintained independence from Washington. Today we find independence in Marine Le Pen and perhaps in the president of Hungary. But for the most part West and East European heads of state are Washington’s vassals committed to Washington’s wars.

This, of course, includes the Chancellor of Germany, the President of France, and the British Prime Minister. These once powerful countries of Europe, whose dominance comprises most of Western history from the fall of Rome to the Second World War, are today American puppet states.

Under Yeltsin, Russia herself succumbed to American overlordship, but under Vladimir Putin Russia regained her independence and is today able to constrain Washington’s unilateralism in some areas of the world, such as Syria and Crimea.

In the Far East Washington’s Japanese vassal is now checked by the rise of China, a country like Russia that has first class leadership that cannot be found anywhere in the West.

The Western world has proven itself incapable of producing real political leadership. This failure results from the centuries of Western dominance that has so corrupted Western political processes that the entirety of the West is subservient to an oligarchy that has succeeded in concentrating all income and wealth gains in a few hands. These few have enormous power, as we see in the CIA’s open and blatent assault on the president-elect.

The danger that life on earth faces is that Washington assumes, based on the historical rule of the West, that it is normal for this rule over the world to continue. However, Russia and China do not agree. Either country is sufficient to stand up to Washington, and together they overmatch Washington’s military capability.

Due to the arrogance that resides in Washington, the would be overlords of the world are not aware that Russia and China are not Iraq and Libya.

If the idiots that rule in Washington bring us into war with these powers, the United States will disappear from history along with the rest of the world.

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Neo-Liberal paranoia is extreme, and it is everywhere

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By Kit | OffGuardian 

I consider Nick Cohen an unpleasant man. His columns are smug, rude, ill-informed, intellectually dishonest, hypocritical and self-righteous. A perfect example of the modern journalist, in his natural habitat. However, before today, I never considered him to be truly, literally insane.

Russian Treachery is extreme and it is everywhere!

This startlingly subtle sentiment is the headline to Cohen’s latest… offering. I haven’t changed it or exaggerated it, with the exception of adding an exclamation point that is, in the original, only heavily implied.

In the past I have written detailed, point by point refutations of pieces from the Guardian – similarly bizarre ramblings from Cohen and Natalie Nougayrede – but when the message is so rampantly hysterical… what is there to say? There’s nothing to refute here but the loud and incoherent repetitions of made up facts and establishment lies, already disproven a million different times by a thousand dedicated and honest alt-news sites. The work has been done. The truth is out there. To not see it, at this point, is an act of willful blindness.

There’s no evidence any of the European “far right” are funded by the Russian government, there’s no evidence the FSB (or whoever) hacked the US presidential election, there’s no evidence the Syrian or Russian military deliberately targeted hospitals. Corbynistas aren’t anti-semites. Brexiters aren’t neo-Nazis. Hashtag fakenews.

A year of Brexit and Corbyn and Syria and Trump seems to have pushed the whole world of establishment journalism right up to the ragged edge, and recent frothing op-eds from the WaPo to the NYT to the Guardian suggest they are due a big fall and a hard landing.

This isn’t journalism, true mainstream journalism died generations ago… if it ever truly existed. This isn’t even propaganda, the coherent and dishonest distortion of reality to suit an agenda. This is rudderless, leaderless, meaningless. It is the dying breath of a flabby king. The wild-eyed, claw-handed, scrabbling desperation of brittle delusions impacting a hard truth.

It’s a drunk muttering threats in a doorway, an old man shaking his fist at the sky. A tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury and signifying nothing. It’s almost sad.

Almost.

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“Repeater Journalism” versus the Biggest Underreported Stories of 2016

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“The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organised habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society…is the true ruling power…we are governed, our minds are moulded, our tastes formed…it is they who pull the wires which control the public mind.”

Thus wrote Edward Bernays in his book Propaganda, the nephew of Sigmund Freud and the father of modern propaganda, at whose suggestion, the United States’ War Department, at the time called the National Military Establishment, was renamed the Department of Defence in 1949.

In the ‘age of the corporate media’, where 90 percent of the American media is owned by six corporations — General Electric, News Corp., Disney, Viacom, Time Warner and CBS — down from 50 back in 1983, it is not difficult to understand how what the majority of the ‘public see and doesn’t see’ depends and is controlled by the agenda of a small number of corporations and ultimately, by those who control them. This is especially the case as it is also the ‘age of the repeater journalists’. Where you have the majority of mainstream journalists worldwide simply ‘repeating the narrative’ portrayed in the powerful quarters of the world media, namely the Western (American) media, and the information they receive from the biggest news agencies (Western mostly), instead of doing their job — ‘questioning what happened’ and ‘investigating how’ it did.

When such impervious power rests in the hands of a handful of individuals, you will of course have a select number of stories being regularly reported by the media. And some stories, never. So what were some of those stories worthy of being covered in the news that were not?

Well one of them is related to the story perhaps most covered in the world media — the US elections. Or rather one who contested the elections — Hillary Rodham Clinton. Throughout 2016, as she was campaigning to become the next US President, Wikileaks constantly proved to be a thorn in her side. But the revelations made public by Wikileaks have largely gone unreported in the mainstream press.

And one of the main reasons is because they involved the media itself. For example, according to Wikileaks, 65 mainstream reporters were working “hand-in-glove with the Hillary Clinton campaign to rig the US elections” (Wikileaks exposes secret list of 65 mainstream media reporters who are part of the Clinton mafia, The Duran, October 28, 2016).

And for those who find it hard to believe that she, or the Democratic Party itself, would dare to do something so un-democratic, 20,000 e-mails released by Wikileaks also showed how the Democratic Party worked against Bernie Sanders and “derailed his campaign” (Wikileaks Proves Primary Was Rigged: DNC Undermined Democracy, The Observer, July 22, 2016). Despite the near media blackout, the incident was so scandalous that the Democratic National Committee Chairwoman, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, was quietly forced to step down from her position.

The leaks also revealed that CNN’s political commentator Donna Brazile had sent Presidential Debate questions to Ms. Clinton prior to the debate which, again, forced CNN to drop her. But, perhaps the most important revelations came during an interview of Julian Assange, the founder of Wikileaks, by John Pilger, when he said that Hillary Clinton had urged John Podesta, the then advisor to Barack Obama, to “bring pressure” on Qatar and Saudi Arabia, “which are providing clandestine financial and logistic support to ISIL [Islamic State, IS, ISIS] and other radical Sunni groups”.

He further said, “All serious analysts know, and even the US government has agreed, that some Saudi figures have been supporting ISIS and funding ISIS… But that email says that it is the government of Saudi Arabia, and the government of Qatar that have been funding ISIS.” In the same vein, he added that what is most ironic is that some of the biggest donors to the Clinton campaign also happen to be the governments of Saudi Arabia and Qatar.

The next story which has criminally gone underreported also involves the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. It is the war being waged ‘on’ Yemen. Journalist Rose Delaney wrote on September 2, 2016, for the Inter Press Service that “The sheer gravity of Yemen’s conflict should subsequently ignite a deafening global cry for justice, however, as long as the public are ‘strategically’ kept in the dark, little change can realistically be implemented.”

I have already written a piece highlighting the scale of the violence taking place in Yemen in a previous article titled ‘The Tragedy in Yemen’ published by The Daily Star on August 29, 2016. The article also includes facts and figures which show the massive amounts of weaponry being supplied by the US and the UK to Saudi Arabia that have been used on the Yemeni people. But what I would like to highlight now is the fact that no Saudi airstrikes would be possible without the help of the US and UK as Saudi Arabia has no means to refuel its own warplanes (also US and British manufactured) mid-air. Once you understand how damaging it would be for the US to have people learn about what is really going on in Yemen, it is not difficult to unravel why the media has so blatantly failed to cover it.

And while underreporting is what is most often used to shape public perception, one which is even more effective, is misdirecting the public through false reporting. And 2016 revealed further, the extent of the misconception created in the public mind by the media, in regards to the Syrian crisis.

And this relates to another topic that has gone underreported — the mountain of evidence that has come out in 2016 showing that the Syrian crisis, rather than being a civil war, is a proxy war being waged against Syria by outside forces. Some of these ‘evidences’ were presented at the United Nations on December 9 by activist Sara Flounders, lawyer and human rights and peace activist Donna Nassor, Member of the Coordinating Committee for the Hands Off Syria and Organisation Secretary of US Peace Council Dr. Bahman Azad, and independent Canadian journalist Eva Bartlett, ‘who have all visited Syria’ themselves, including Aleppo, recently.

At the conference, Bartlett, who has visited Syria six times in the past two years and has spoken with Syrians in Arabic, in agreement with the other panellists said, “whatever you hear in the corporate media is exactly the opposite of reality [of what is happening in Syria]… our media and the Gulf media has made Syria out to be sectarian which is something the Syrians themselves have denied…it’s a tool to make people confused…believe it’s Sunnis against Bashar al-Assad.”

When the truth, according to the panellists, was that people in Syria overwhelmingly support the government and the army. And they “are tired of the lies and are very well aware of the lies that our [Western mainstream] media and human rights groups are reporting”.

The last, but not least, important topic that has not been reported in the mainstream press has been the collapse of public confidence in the mainstream media. People across the world, as more and more stories are underreported or falsely reported by the media, have shown, more than ever in 2016, that they have lost all faith in the sincerity of the mainstream press to be truthful and unbiased.

Hence, we have had organisations such as Wikileaks filling the vacuum created by the absence of an unbiased press, attracting more and more people to look towards it for information. And although it is a real shame that these stories and so many others have gone unreported in 2016, what 2016 has taught us is that they can no longer be blacked out completely, largely because of organisations such as Wikileaks and others. And that, dear reader, is the biggest story of 2016, regardless of whether it was reported, or not.

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Something’s Rotten at CNN

NOVANEWS
By Greg Bacon

CNN and Mossad Asset Rita Katz both use video game “Fallout!”

They both used video footage from the game. Katz from “Fallout 3” to show us that ‘al CIA Duh’ was going to nuke DC and the huckster Don Lemon–apt name–of CNN using “Fallout 4” footage to show that their LIE about alleged Rooskie hacking of the US election was true, at least in their warped, deluded minds.

First, the back story on Rita Katz using Fallout 3 back in 2008:


Be afraid, be very afraid!

The fallout from Fallout 3

Tell me, Rita, how does a Jewess manage to get access to al Qaida password protected sites? And then use those sites repeatedly to obtain what you claim is cutting edge spy stuff? Is aL Qaida that stupid or do you think Americans are so stupid as to believe your agitprop?

Those al Qaida types are so ingenious to get Jewish Media Groups to release their latest batch of “Death to America” tapes.

Tell me, Ms. Katz, who pays better? The Pentagon or MOSSAD? And can you give us a “sneak” preview of your next al Qaida tape or do we have to wait for the nationwide release?

More, as shown in this article:

Fallout 3 Image Spooks Terror Experts

Turns out terrorist are familiar with both kinds of RPGs. by Ryan Geddes

May 30, 2008 – A computer-generated image of a post-nuclear Washington D.C., crafted by the Fallout 3 artists at Bethesda Softworks, has apparently popped up on terrorism-related Internet forums, and the image is now at the center of an online brouhaha.

According to the Entertainment Consumers Association’s GamePolitics blog, U.S. defense contractor and intelligence analyst group SITE found the image while perusing message boards commonly used by Islamic terror groups, who were apparently discussing the possibility of nuclear attacks on Western nations.

As GamePolitics points out, videogame images have crept into terrorism discussions before. In 2006, Battlefield 2 footage was presented to the House Select Committee on Intelligence as al Qaeda propaganda.

The “House Select Committee on Intelligence?” I’ll abstain from the obvious joke….

Who is creating and pushing these absurd stories that are nothing more than LIES to keep us bogged down in the M.E. for the next 30 years, fighting ‘Wars for Wall Street and Israel?’

Now CNN is using the same worn-out LIE, pushing images from “Fallout 4” to poison American minds?

CNN used footage from popular video game ‘Fallout 4’ for coverage of alleged Russian hacking

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Erin Corbett | Raw Story | January 2, 2017

In its recent coverage of President Obama’s proposed sanctions on Russia for allegedly hacking the 2016 U.S. election, CNN used footage from the popular video game Fallout 4, a post-apocalyptic video game series, BGR reports.

According to the report, Reddit user Poofylicious first spotted the footage, posting screenshots of CNN’s report and the corresponding footage from the video game. CNN used the footage of a hacking terminal in the Fallout 4 video game in its segment about alleged Russian hacking of the election. … Full article

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False Prophets and False News: Time for New Beginnings

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By James Petras 

Introduction: There are deep flaws in the blogs, media reports, and official statements, which purport to describe world historic events and changes.

These so-called ‘up-to-date’ reports of major world events undergo repeated revisions in hours, days or weeks as the story is being ‘played out’. What might start out as a ’scoop’ for the upwardly mobile journalist is transformed into a by-word for a ‘critical blogger’ rewriting mainstream reports by simply substituting negatives for pluses (or vice versa).

‘Immediacy’ trumps historical context and structural understanding. Protagonist or antagonists of the moment are demonized, slandered and scandalized, or lauded, praised and iconized.

The practice of deep falsification involves magnifying transient trivia and glossing over world-historic change. The false prophets substitute superficiality for deep understanding.

Soon after proclaiming a ‘major systemic transformation’, which fails to occur, a series of modifications or reversals take over, and the initial ‘great prophesy’ is forgotten – as if the readers of news were afflicted with an epidemic of dementia.

Most political parties, left, right and center, have their own unchanging warped world view to frame everyday minutiae.

For example, on the Left, it is the ‘imminent collapse of capitalism’ or the ‘perpetual stagnation of the capitalist state’, ‘the collapse of democracy’ or ‘the emergence of fascism’. In the absence of any real empirical or historical findings to support their hypotheses, they add escape clauses about ‘tendencies’.

The Center has its own historic narrative, which includes ‘threats from the Left and Right’, and the ‘dangers posed by populists to democratic values’. They cite the overwhelming responsibility to ‘defend Western values’ everywhere, from threats, past, present and future… and especially from independent nations, like Russia, China, Venezuela, Iran and other ‘emerging’ powers, as a pretext to escalate militarism and to bolster support for vassal states.

The Center repeatedly point to the ‘resilience of Western liberal democratic institutions’ even as police state edicts are dictated to counter dissenting voices, while false prophets predict that China’s robust economy is on the verge of collapse; that democratic Russia is an unstable autocracy; and that the Ukraine is an emerging democracy – while its ‘Right Sector’ and ‘Azov Battalions’ runs amok amidst a kleptocratic, neo-fascist regime.

The Right frames its world-historic ideology by stressing the need to (1) revive the Cold War to counter the US global decline; (2) confront the world-wide wave of ‘populism’ threatening ‘liberal’ democracies; (3) portray Brexit as a sign of the European Union’s collapse; (4) equate Trump’s victory with the rise of fascism in the US; (5) emphasize the ascent of bigotry, racism and anti-Semitism, based on the result of a single election ; (6) denounce Leftist ‘conspiracy’ writers who ‘falsely’ blame rising class inequalities to free-market monopolies; and (7) explain that cuts in social expenditures, tax cuts to big capital, increased work hours and decreased pensions are ultimately rewarding the masses.

These mega- narratives lead ‘prophetic academics’ to insist on their infallible insight into the future direction of the world economy, global politics and class relations.

False prophets maintain a veneer of authenticity, by presenting the future in unspecified, ambiguous, general and distant terms, to allow for any or all outcomes – like professional fortune tellers.

Academic and media prophets are enveloped in a mystique of expertise, which allows them to rehash yesterday’s news as deep strategic insights.

False Prophets: Trump

Contrary to the wailings of the Right, Center and Left, Donald Trump is not a fascist, or a nationalist or a populist. An objective assessment of his most recent policies and cabinet appointments show that he is a free-market politician with a propensity to appoint militarists to security positions.

Trump’s populist demagogy most closely resembles President Obama – although the appeal is to a different audience. Trump speaks to impoverished, displaced, skilled workers in the rust belt with campaign promises of a renaissance in manufacturing, upscale suburbanites, and downwardly mobile working women, while appointing billionaire bankers and global business executives to run the economy and set policy. Obama appealed to poor minorities, middle class urbanites and the same business elite.

Like Obama, Trump is an imperialist committed to protecting and projecting US global power. He differs from Obama in emphasis. Obama and his predecessors pursued a primarily military-driven imperialism while Trump will shift the emphasis to economic imperialism.

Trump’s ‘double discourse’, of talking to the masses during the campaign while working for the elite once in office, reflects a long-standing American Presidential tradition.

Editorial writers’ descriptions of Donald Trump lack historical and empirical depth.

Powerful systemic constraints define the rate and scope of any long-term, large-scale changes that Trump might propose. Trump can only introduce minor incremental changes in the behavior of the biggest banks and five hundred most powerful global multi-nationals. Trump might re-negotiate around the edges of some bilateral trade agreements, but he cannot convert the US into a closed self-sufficient economy.

Contrary to the ‘end of the world’ hysteria, promoted by the mass media, Trump has never made any pact with white racists and anti-Semites. There are no major Jewish organizations currently engaged in a struggle against Trump’s ‘fascist hordes’. The KKK is not preparing to burn Goldman Sachs. Since Trump’s election the stock market has jump over a thousand points. Like all of his predecessors from both parties, Trump appointed prominent Jews to key economic and policy positions, including Treasury Secretary. Many editorialists, who rely on selected excerpts of campaign rhetoric and gossip, have presented an unrealistic picture of the trajectory of the US state and economy.

False Prophets: China

The US prophets and self-described ‘experts’ describe China in inflated terms of either its impending doom or its relentless drive toward world supremacy. They rely on the minutiae of the moment or distorted extrapolations, uncertainties and contingent systemic changes. Rigorous analytical accounts are in short supply.

China, according to the free-market financial prophets of doom, suffers from a declining growth rate, shrinking work force, massive capital flight, deep-seated corruption and an impending intra-elite war. According to the prophets of doom, this sets the stage for an economic collapse and a military confrontation with the US empire.

Many of these pronouncements are easily dismissed. For the last 30 years, China’s economy has exceeded 6% and it is steadily developing its high technological work force and scientific innovations. China’s emphasis is on diversifying its production and consumption to domestic and overseas markets. The challenge of its aging work force is met by the increasing development of robotics and computerized productive systems.

China has applied capital controls and limits on capital flight. The national campaign against corruption and speculation in real estate has led to the arrest of over 200,000 officials and executives for fraud, bribery and money laundering via overseas banks.

In other words, the false prophets, parading about as ‘China experts’, have consistently made nonsensical predictions of doom and collapse. Faced with factual refutations, they merely repeat and recycle their prophecies by projecting longer time frames, up to infinity, for the coming of the inevitable catastrophe.

On the other hand, some progressive writers peddle prophesies of China’s endless progress predicting its inevitable emergence as a supreme global power. They convert China’s 30-year pattern of economic growth into a formula guaranteeing ‘harmonious development’, which they claim is based on China’s correct handling of emerging challenges and contradictions. Their predictions of stable future growth assume ever-expanding markets while ignoring the threat of military confrontations with rival imperial powers.

China’s prophets of global power ignore contingencies: Skilled and innovative workers, who are necessary for economic growth, have their own vision of the social structure in which they play a leading role in advancing society.

While robots can substitute for human labor power, it is worker knowledge and initiative that design, produce and adjust the robotic manufacturing system.

Harmony, free markets and mutually beneficial trade alliances are relations that are always changing; only interests remain constant. As China moves from investing in commodities to manufacturing and technology, customers can turn into competitors.

As China emerges as a global power, the outflow of capital and arms and technology increases, and the risks of global rivalry and domestic instability, challenging the Chinese ruling class likewise increase.

Prophecies or predictions depend on (1) the stability of incremental changes in the structure of power; (2) the uncertainty of elite outcomes in world markets and (3) the volatility of domestic class relations.

False Prophets: Latin America

Latin America is almost universally regarded as unstable – a region, where revolutions and counter-revolutions alternate, and electoral regimes rise and fall among neo-liberal, populist and nationalist leaders.

The long-term reality is actually quite different. Latin America has been one of global capitalism’s most stable regions. With few exceptions, property-ownership has remained stable for decades, with entrenched oligarchical elite families enjoying wealth, multiple-luxury properties throughout the world and their own perpetuation.

Electoral regimes may frequently change but the underlying state structures endure for decades. Bureaucratic, military and financial institutions set the margins of change. Neo-liberal, post-neo-liberal and anti-neo-liberal policies come and go, but large-scale mining, export agricultural and banking structures ultimately set the conditions for the growth of economies and demise of governments.

There is a tendency for some academic prophets and writers to use metaphors from astronomy and geology to divide the world. They describe a ‘world-system’ composed of ‘a core, a semi-periphery and a periphery’. Adding and subtracting, multiplying and dividing quantities of productive resources, the false prophets solemnly predict how the entire world system will function ‘ad infinitum’.

While data, derived from observations in space, provide scientists with insights into the movements of distant galaxies and the fate of planets, extrapolation to socio-economic and political ‘bodies’ is risky.

On the real planet Earth, the so-called ‘periphery’ of the ‘world system’ subsumes countries, economies, social structures, states and inter-state relations with entirely distinct composition, behavior and histories. Cuba, a ‘peripheral state’, differs in every respect from Haiti, Guatemala and scores of other likewise categorized nations. And among the ‘core’ countries, the US invades, occupies and plunders dozens of countries every decade, while China engages in ‘trade’. Iran, among the ’semi-peripherals’, has not invaded any neighbor for two centuries, while Israel, a fellow ‘semi-peripheral’, has ravaged a dozen countries in the past 50 years.

False Prophets: Russia

Western prophets on the right and left predicted that the break-up of the USSR would augur a period of harmony, democracy and widespread prosperity. The true believers claimed ‘anything was better than Stalinism’ while ignoring the fact that Stalin was dead for a half-century.

Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev oversaw the transformation of the USSR’s allied nations into pillaged satellites of the Western imperial powers. He blindly accepted US Presidents Bush and Ronald Reagan’s promises that the US would not expand NATO and would not transform the newly emerging post-Soviet nations into military bases. What emerged was a crippled and encircled Russia, which had been converted into a Beggar-State of oligarchs and swindlers who seized over a trillion dollars of public property, wealth, land and resources in less than ten years. Gangsters murdered their way into public office through US-manipulated sham elections, celebrated by the Western press. Living standards for millions of post-Soviet citizens collapsed, resulting in the greatest decline of life expectancy, health, culture, science and education in peacetime history.

Contrary to the predictions of Western prophets Russia rebuilt its state and economy. The new political leadership, headed by Vladimir Putin, replaced the dipsomaniac puppet President and mobsters favored by Washington. Living and health standards have vastly improved; production, agriculture, exports, national security, science and culture have recovered.

The angry false prophets, then promoted a new pseudo-scientific assertion that the re-emergence of the Russian state and its recovering economy led inexorably to autocratic rule by a former KGB official, who violated ‘Western values’ by…. jailing swindler billionaires and self-made oil mobsters and re-appropriating vital national assets.

Western editorialists ceaselessly denounce the popularly elected President Putin for his crime… of refuting the bankruptcy of their prophecies.

Despite reams of reports by the ‘experts’, despite their wide circulation in the mass media and their citations by top Western officials, the Russian state and economy, just like the Chinese, are not on the verge of collapse nor are they declining or facing popular revolts.

False Prophets: The Left

The shallow, self-serving Left prophets of progressive governments in Latin America, as well as admirers of Putin’s Russia and Xi Jinping’s China, fail to recognize the structural, historical and class constraints that determine and limit policies.

First and foremost, they fail to recognize the socio-economic continuities within these states. In all three regions, elites and oligarchs continue to control the commanding heights of the economies, despite occasional expropriations and sporadic reforms.

Secondly, even the most ‘progressive’ regimes rely on Western markets and investors limiting their long-term growth.

Thirdly, the long-term dependence on extractive exports, global demand and fragile mono-culture economies weakens the long-term stability of Russia and Latin America.

The absence of a socialist democratic alternative to the brutal capitalist restoration in China undermines the optimistic perspective of progressive prophets.

Conclusion

The debate among experts, regarding the rise or decline of the Imperial West or the progressive forces in China, Russia and Latin America, fails to consider their ‘hidden resources and liabilities’. These include the untapped scientific discoveries, the failure to develop alternative resources and innovations, as well as the ongoing repression of skilled workers. The Western prophets underestimate how the reliance on the paper economy has squandered immense social and productive value.

The ongoing cultural deformations, perversions and falsifications of information and analysis at the behest of established power centers, has clouded any real understanding of everyday life and greatly reduced our chances for a future without barbaric wars and social exploitation.

Culture is an everyday phenomenon determining how economies and states, rulers and ruled see the world, exercise power or are forced to submit.

We have witnessed the spread of cultural squalor into language and life, with only an occasional respite, when people overcome their everyday stupor and create a momentary burst of creative political, economic, social and cultural energy, which can lead to transformations.

Humdrum incremental changes, left and right, and the reality of continuities, limit and ultimately reverse social reforms and corrupt language to serve the ruling powers. We must move forward against the flatulence of everyday life by rejecting the false prophets and by writing, speaking and acting against crackpot sages. Our progress toward a new order must be firmly rooted in our everyday struggles writ large.

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Facebook’s sneaky way of censoring ‘fake news’ sites

NOVANEWS
By Vladimir Rodzianko 

A few weeks ago, The Duran’s Peter Lavelle wrote a very revealing piece on the draconian phenomena of ‘ghost banning’ and ways Facebook and other media are censoring what ordinary people see on their news feeds.

The method that Facebook is now using to censor news articles is very unsuspecting and will go unnoticed to the daily Facebook user. Below is an explanation of how exactly they are censoring your news feed and the news feeds’ of your friends.

Facebook has created a privacy setting smugly called a “smart list.” Here are some screenshots from my Facebook to show exactly what you can do to make sure Facebook doesn’t censor your or your friends’ news feeds.

When you share an article or post, the “smart list” is selected by default. If the default “smart list” is selected, no one from your friends’ list or beyond will see your post…

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You need to manually select ‘Public’ to change it from Facebook’s default ‘smart list’…

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This “smart list” essentially controls who sees your posts or more accurately, who doesn’t see your posts. This is disturbing because this “smart list” and who is on this ‘list’ is not controlled by you – but by Facebook.

This method will shorten a posts’ or articles’ reach dramatically, because the only ones who will see the article are those who have selected to see that pages’ posts first.

The briefcase icon is shown when a ‘smart list’ is selected – while a globe is shown to represent that your post is public. Notice that the ‘smart list’ post has no activity on it – no likes, shares, or comments. Meanwhile, the public post has dozens of likes and comments…

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No doubt an information war is waging – and the elites controlling the mainstream narrative are losing battle after battle. We are seeing the results of what happens when people have the ability to think for themselves and are offered an alternative viewpoint. Now the establishment is resorting to censorship and controlling what was once an open community.

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Guardian bizarre claim Vladimir Putin’s New Year invitation

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Guardian journalist’s bizarre claim Vladimir Putin’s New Year and Christmas invite is a threat to US diplomats’ children

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By Alexander Mercouris 

Reading Western media reactions to Putin’s decision yesterday not to retaliate in kind to Obama’s latest sanctions has been instructive, with the tone extending from the admiring, to the factual, and to the furious.

One comment however stood out as by far the most unpleasant, and it came (unsurprisingly to those who follow him) from Luke Harding in the Guardian :

The statement wished Obama, Trump and the American people a happy new year. It further invited “all the children of American diplomats” to visit the Kremlin’s festive Christmas tree. Instead of playing the Grinch, Putin had taken on the role of Ded Moroz, Russia’s answer to Father Christmas. One Russian MP on Vesti TV said Obama was Bad Santa. It was also a subtle reminder, for those who were able to decode it, that the FSB – the KGB’s successor – has precise information about the children of US embassy personnel. Russia’s foreign ministry on Friday tartly denied reports that Moscow was to close the Anglo-American school, attended by diplomatic kids, and the offspring of bankers and oil workers. (bold italics added)

The claim that the Russians planned to close the Anglo-American school was indeed furiously denied by the Russians after it circulated for a short time in the media.

Luke Harding nonetheless conflates this claim – which the Russians of course denied, and which almost certainly did not originate either with the senior officials of Russia’s Foreign Ministry or with the Kremlin – with President Putin’s invitation to the children of US diplomats to attend New Year and Christmas parties in the Kremlin, to construe a threat by the Russians to US diplomats through their children (“the FSB – the KGB’s successor – has precise information about the children of US embassy personnel”).

This threat is however so “subtle” that only those in the know – including of course Luke Harding himself – are “able to decode it”.

That this is utterly paranoid stuff, turning an invitation to a party into something sinister, should not need saying. What does Luke Harding think the FSB might do with the “precise information about the children of US embassy personnel” it supposedly has? That this sort of paranoia gets published in the Guardian unfortunately shows how mainstream it has become. I hope it won’t deter any US diplomats from keeping their children in Moscow, or from letting them go to the parties to which President Putin has invited them.

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The War Against Alternative Information

NOVANEWS

The U.S. government is creating a new $160 million bureaucracy to shut down information that doesn’t conform to U.S. propaganda narratives, building on the strategy that sold the bloody Syrian “regime change” war, writes Rick Sterling.

By Rick Sterling

The U.S. establishment is not content simply to have domination over the media narratives on critical foreign policy issues, such as Syria, Ukraine and Russia. It wants total domination. Thus we now have the “Countering Foreign Propaganda and Disinformation Act” that President Obama signed into law on Dec. 23 as part of the National Defense Authorization Act for 2017, setting aside $160 million to combat any “propaganda” that challenges Official Washington’s version of reality.

Samantha Power, Permanent Representative of the United States to the UN, addresses the Security Council meeting on Syria, Sept. 25, 2016. Power has been an advocate for escalating U.S. military involvement in Syria. (UN Photo)

The new law mandates the U.S. Secretary of State to collaborate with the Secretary of Defense, Director of National Intelligence and other federal agencies to create a Global Engagement Center “to lead, synchronize, and coordinate efforts of the Federal Government to recognize, understand, expose, and counter foreign state and non-state propaganda and disinformation efforts aimed at undermining United States national security interests.” The law directs the Center to be formed in 180 days and to share expertise among agencies and to “coordinate with allied nations.”

The legislation was initiated in March 2016, as the demonization of Russian President Vladimir Putin and Russia was already underway and was enacted amid the allegations of “Russian hacking” around the U.S. presidential election and the mainstream media’s furor over supposedly “fake news.” Defeated Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton voiced strong support for the bill: “It’s imperative that leaders in both the private sector and the public sector step up to protect our democracy, and innocent lives.”

The new law is remarkable for a number of reasons, not the least because it merges a new McCarthyism about purported dissemination of Russian “propaganda” on the Internet with a new Orwellianism by creating a kind of Ministry of Truth – or Global Engagement Center – to protect the American people from “foreign propaganda and disinformation.”

As part of the effort to detect and defeat these unwanted narratives, the law authorizes the Center to: “Facilitate the use of a wide range of technologies and techniques by sharing expertise among Federal departments and agencies, seeking expertise from external sources, and implementing best practices.” (This section is an apparent reference to proposals that Google, Facebook and other technology companies find ways to block or brand certain Internet sites as purveyors of “Russian propaganda” or “fake news.”)

Justifying this new bureaucracy, the bill’s sponsors argued that the existing agencies for strategic communications andpublic diplomacy were not enough, that the information threat required “a whole-of-government approach leveraging all elements of national power.”

The law also is rife with irony since the U.S. government and related agencies are among the world’s biggest purveyors of propaganda and disinformation – or what you might call evidence-free claims, such as the recent accusations of Russia hacking into Democratic emails to “influence” the U.S. election.

Despite these accusations — leaked by the Obama administration and embraced as true by the mainstream U.S. news media — there is little or no public evidence to support the charges. There is also a contradictory analysis by veteran U.S. intelligence professionals as well as statements by Wikileaks founder Julian Assange and an associate, former British Ambassador Craig Murray, that the Russians were not the source of the leaks. Yet, the mainstream U.S. media has virtually ignored this counter-evidence, appearing eager to collaborate with the new “Global Engagement Center” even before it is officially formed.

Of course, there is a long history of U.S. disinformation and propaganda. Former CIA agents Philip Agee and John Stockwell documented how it was done decades ago, secretly planting “black propaganda” and covertly funding media outlets to influence events around the world, with much of the fake news blowing back into the American media.

In more recent decades, the U.S. government has adopted an Internet-era version of that formula with an emphasis on having the State Department or the U.S.-funded National Endowment for Democracy supply, train and pay “activists” and “citizen journalists” to create and distribute propaganda and false stories via “social media” and via contacts with the mainstream media. The U.S. government’s strategy also seeks to undermine and discredit journalists who challenge this orthodoxy. The new legislation escalates this information war by tossing another $160 million into the pot.

Propaganda and Disinformation on Syria

Syria is a good case study in the modern application of information warfare. In her memoir Hard Choices, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton wrote that the U.S. provided “support for (Syrian) civilian opposition groups, including satellite-linked computers, telephones, cameras, and training for more than a thousand activists, students and independent journalists.”

A heart-rending propaganda image designed to justify a major U.S. military operation inside Syria against the Syrian military.

Indeed, a huge amount of money has gone to “activists” and “civil society” groups in Syria and other countries that have been targeted for “regime change.” A lot of the money also goes to parent organizations that are based in the United States and Europe, so these efforts do not only support on-the-ground efforts to undermine the targeted countries, but perhaps even more importantly, the money influences and manipulates public opinion in the West.

In North America, representatives from the Syrian “Local Coordination Committees”(LCC) were frequent guests on popular media programs such as “DemocracyNow.” The message was clear: there is a “revolution” in Syria against a “brutal regime” personified in Bashar al-Assad. It was not mentioned that the “Local Coordination Committees” have been primarily funded by the West, specifically the Office for Syrian Opposition Support, which was founded by the U.S. State Department and the U.K. Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

More recently, news and analysis about Syria has been conveyed through the filter of the White Helmets, also known as Syrian Civil Defense. In the Western news media, the White Helmets are described as neutral, non-partisan, civilian volunteers courageously carrying out rescue work in the war zone. In fact, the group is none of the above. It was initiated by the U.S. and U.K. using a British military contractor and Brooklyn-based marketing company.

While they may have performed some genuine rescue operations, the White Helmets are primarily a media organization with a political goal: to promote NATO intervention in Syria. (The manipulation of public opinion using the White Helmets and promoted by the New York Times and Avaaz petition for a “No Fly Zone” in Syria is documented here.)

The White Helmets hoax continues to be widely believed and receives uncritical promotion though it has increasingly been exposed at alternative media outlets as the creation of a “shady PR firm.” During critical times in the conflict in Aleppo, White Helmet individuals have been used as the source for important news stories despite a track record of deception.

Recent Propaganda: Blatant Lies?

As the armed groups in east Aleppo recently lost ground and then collapsed, Western governments and allied media went into a frenzy of accusations against Syria and Russia based on reports from sources connected with the armed opposition. CNN host Wolf Blitzer described Aleppo as “falling” in a “slaughter of these women and children” while CNN host Jake Tapper referred to “genocide by another name.”

War damage in the once-thriving Syrian city of Aleppo.

The Daily Beast published the claims of the Aleppo Siege Media Center under the title “Doomsday is held in Aleppo” and amid accusations that the Syrian army was executing civilians, burning them alive and “20 women committed suicide in order not to be raped.” These sensational claims were widely broadcast without verification. However, this “news” on CNN and throughout Western media came from highly biased sources and many of the claims – lacking anything approaching independent corroboration – could be accurately described as propaganda and disinformation.

Ironically, some of the supposedly “Russian propaganda” sites, such as RT, have provided first-hand on-the-ground reporting from the war zones with verifiable information that contradicts the Western narrative and thus has received almost no attention in the U.S. news media. For instance, some of these non-Western outlets have shown videos of popular celebrations over the “liberation of Aleppo.”

There has been further corroboration of these realities from peace activists, such as Jan Oberg of Transnational Foundation for Peace and Future Research who published a photo essay of his eyewitness observations in Aleppo including the happiness of civilians from east Aleppo reaching the government-controlled areas of west Aleppo, finally freed from areas that had been controlled by Al Qaeda’s Syrian affiliate and its jihadist allies in Ahrar al-Sham.

Dr. Nabil Antaki, a medical doctor from Aleppo, described the liberation of Aleppo in an interview titled “Aleppo is Celebrating, Free from Terrorists, the Western Media Misinformed.” The first Christmas celebrations in Aleppo in four years are shown here, replete with marching band members in Santa Claus outfits. Journalist Vanessa Beeley has published testimonies of civilians from east Aleppo. The happiness of civilians at their liberation is clear.

Whether or not you wish to accept these depictions of the reality in Aleppo, at a minimum, they reflect another side of the story that you have been denied while being persistently force-fed the version favored by the U.S. State Department. The goal of the new Global Engagement Center to counter “foreign propaganda” is to ensure that you never get to hear this alternative narrative to the Western propaganda line.

Even much earlier, contrary to the Western mythology of rebel “liberated zones,” there was strong evidence that the armed groups were never popular in Aleppo. American journalist James Foley described the situation in 2012 like this:

Journalist James Foley shortly before he was executed by an Islamic State operative.

“Aleppo, a city of about 3 million people, was once the financial heart of Syria. As it continues to deteriorate, many civilians here are losing patience with the increasingly violent and unrecognizable opposition — one that is hampered by infighting and a lack of structure, and deeply infiltrated by both foreign fighters and terrorist groups. The rebels in Aleppo are predominantly from the countryside, further alienating them from the urban crowd that once lived here peacefully, in relative economic comfort and with little interference from the authoritarian government of President Bashar al-Assad.”

On Nov. 22, 2012, Foley was kidnapped in northwestern Syria and held by Islamic State terrorists before his beheading in August 2014.

The Overall Narrative on Syria

Analysis of the Syrian conflict boils down to two competing narratives. One narrative is that the conflict is a fight for freedom and democracy against a brutal regime, a storyline promoted in the West and the Gulf states, which have been fueling the conflict from the start. This narrative is also favored by some self-styled “anti-imperialists” who want a “Syrian revolution.”

The other narrative is that the conflict is essentially a war of aggression against a sovereign state, with the aggressors including NATO countries, Gulf monarchies, Israel and Jordan. Domination of the Western media by these powerful interests is so thorough that one almost never gets access to this second narrative, which is essentially banned from not only the mainstream but also much of the liberal and progressive media.

For example, listeners and viewers of the generally progressive TV and radio program “DemocracyNow” have rarely if ever heard the second narrative described in any detail. Instead, the program frequently broadcasts the statements of Hillary Clinton, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power and others associated with the U.S. position. Rarely do you hear the viewpoint of the Syrian Ambassador to the United Nations, the Syrian Foreign Minister or analysts inside Syria and around the world who have written about and follow events there closely.

“DemocracyNow” also has done repeated interviews with proponents of the “Syrian revolution” while ignoring analysts who call the conflict a war of aggression sponsored by the West and the Gulf monarchies. This blackout of the second narrative continues despite the fact that many prominent international figures see it as such. For example, the former Foreign Minister of Nicaragua and former President of the UN General Assembly, Father Miguel D’Escoto, has said, “What the U.S. government is doing in Syria is tantamount to a war of aggression, which, according to the Nuremberg Tribunal, is the worst possible crime a State can commit against another State.”

In many areas of politics, “DemocracyNow” is excellent and challenges mainstream media. However in this area, coverage of the Syrian conflict, the broadcast is biased, one-sided and echoes the news and analysis of mainstream Western corporate media, showing the extent of control over foreign policy news that already exists in the United States and Europe.

Suppressing and Censoring Challenges

Despite the widespread censorship of alternative analyses on Syria and other foreign hotspots that already exists in the West, the U.S. government’s new “Global Engagement Center” will seek to ensure that the censorship is even more complete with its goal to “counter foreign state and non-state propaganda and disinformation.” We can expect even more aggressive and better-financed assaults on the few voices daring to challenge the West’s “group thinks” – smear campaigns that are already quite extensive.

The “White Helmets” symbol, expropriating the name of “Syria Civil Defense.”

In an article titled “Controlling the Narrative on Syria”, Louis Allday describes the criticisms and attacks on journalists Rania Khalek and Max Blumenthal for straying from the “approved” Western narrative on Syria. Some of the bullying and abuse has come from precisely those people, such as Robin Yassin-Kassab, who have been frequent guests in liberal Western media.

Reporters who have returned from Syria with accounts that challenge the propaganda themes that have permeated the Western media also have come under attack. For instance, Canadian journalist Eva Bartlett recently returned to North America after being in Syria and Aleppo, conveying a very different image and critical of the West’s biased media coverage. Bartlett appeared at a United Nations press conference and then did numerous interviews across the country during a speaking tour. During the course of her talks and presentation, Bartlett criticized the White Helmets and questioned whether it was true that Al Quds Hospital in opposition-held East Aleppo was attacked and destroyed as claimed.

Bartlett’s recounting of this information made her a target of Snopes, which has been a mostly useful website exposing urban legends and false rumors but has come under criticism itself for some internal challenges and has been inconsistent in its investigations. In one report entitled “White Helmet Hearsay,” Snopes’ writer Bethania Palmer says claims the White Helmets are “linked to terrorists” is “unproven,” but she overlooks numerous videos, photos, and other reports showing White Helmet members celebrating a Nusra/Al Qaeda battle victory, picking up the bodies of civilians executed by a Nusra executioner, and having a member who alternatively appears as a rebel/terrorist fighter with a weapon and later wearing a White Helmet uniform. The “fact check” barely scrapes the surface of public evidence.

The same writer did another shallow “investigation” titled “victim blaming” regarding Bartlett’s critique of White Helmet videos and what happened at the Al Quds Hospital in Aleppo. Bartlett suggests that some White Helmet videos may be fabricated and may feature the same child at different times, i.e., photographs that appear to show the same girl being rescued by White Helmet workers at different places and times. While it is uncertain whether this is the same girl, the similarity is clear. 

The Snopes writer goes on to criticize Bartlett for her comments about the reported bombing of Al Quds Hospital in east Aleppo in April 2016. A statement at the website of Doctors Without Borders says the building was “destroyed and reduced to rubble,” but this was clearly false since photos show the building with unclear damage. Five months later, the September 2016 report by Doctors Without Borders says the top two floors of the building were destroyed and the ground floor Emergency Room damaged yet they re-opened in two weeks.

The many inconsistencies and contradictions in the statements of Doctors Without Borders resulted in an open letter to them. In their last report, Doctors Without Borders (known by its French initials, MSF) acknowledges that “MSF staff did not directly witness the attack and has not visited Al Quds Hospital since 2014.”

Bartlett referenced satellite images taken before and after the reported attack on the hospital. The images do not show severe damage and it is unclear whether or not there is any damage to the roof, the basis for Bartlett’s statement. In the past week, independent journalists have visited the scene of Al Quds Hospital and report that that the top floors of the building are still there and damage is unclear.

The Snopes’ investigation criticizing Bartlett was superficial and ignored the broader issues of accuracy and integrity in the Western media’s depiction of the Syrian conflict. Instead the article appeared to be an effort to discredit the eyewitness observations and analysis of a journalist who dared challenge the mainstream narrative.

U.S. propaganda and disinformation on Syria has been extremely effective in misleading much of the American population. Thus, most Americans are unaware how many billions of taxpayer dollars have been spent on yet another “regime change” project. The propaganda campaign – having learned from the successful demonizations of Iraq’s Saddam Hussein, Libya’s Muammar Gaddafi and other targeted leaders – has been so masterful regarding Syria that many liberal and progressive news outlets were pulled in. It has been left to RT and some Internet outlets to challenge the U.S. government and the mainstream media.

But the U.S. government’s near total control of the message doesn’t appear to be enough. Apparently even a few voices of dissent are a few voices too many.

The enactment of HR5181, “Countering Foreign Propaganda and Disinformation,” suggests that the ruling powers seek to escalate suppression of news and analyses that run counter to the official narrative. Backed by a new infusion of $160 million, the plan is to further squelch skeptical voices with operation for “countering” and “refuting” what the U.S. government deems to be propaganda and disinformation.

As part of the $160 million package, funds can be used to hire or reward “civil society groups, media content providers, nongovernmental organizations, federally funded research and development centers, private companies, or academic institutions.”

Among the tasks that these private entities can be hired to perform is to identify and investigate both print and online sources of news that are deemed to be distributing “disinformation, misinformation, and propaganda directed at the United States and its allies and partners.”

In other words, we are about to see an escalation of the information war.

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Israeli paper Haaretz investigates free speech in Israel/Palestine

NOVANEWS

Image result for Lapid CARTOON

The following article by Allison Kaplan Sommer appears in Israeli newspaper Haaretz today (PDF here: bds-ties-could-put-israel-based-australian-journalist-in-hot-water-israel-news-haaretz-com):

Australian journalist Antony Loewenstein’s ability to live and work in Israel has been thrown into question due to his support for the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement.

The Government Press Office, which issued Loewenstein a press card last March, confirmed to Haaretz that his status as an accredited journalist is “currently under review by the GPO.” GPO director Nitzan Chen said that “As a rule, without a GPO card, and in the absence of a GPO recommendation to the Interior Ministry, a foreign correspondent cannot remain in Israel.”

Doubt was cast on the journalist’s credentials in the aftermath of a question he posed to Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid at a press conference for foreign correspondents on December 12.

Loewenstein identified himself as a freelance journalist writing for the Guardian, Newsweek and other outlets and challenged Lapid’s statement that Palestinians were to blame for the stalled peace process.

“You talked before about the idea that since Oslo, Israel has done little or nothing wrong but the truth is that 2017 is the 50th anniversary of the occupation, there are now 600,00 to 800,000 settlers, all of whom are regarded by international law as illegal,” he said. He then asked, “Is there not a deluded idea here that many Israeli politicians, including yourself, continue to believe that one can talk to the world about democracy, freedom and human rights while denying those things to millions of Palestinians and will there not come a time soon where you and other politicians will be treated like South African politicians during apartheid?”

Lapid shot back that Loewenstein’s question was a “perfect example” of the belief that “we live in a post-truth, post-facts era” and that Loewenstein’s statements were “presumptions, not facts.”

Saying that Israel has accepted and the Palestinians have rejected the two-state solution, Lapid asserted that “the problem is that the Palestinians are encouraged by the Guardian and others saying we don’t need to do anything in order to work for our future because the international community will call Israel an apartheid country. Israel is not an apartheid country, it is a law-abiding democracy.”

The Loewenstein-Lapid exchange caught the eye of right-wing media watchdog and advocacy group, Honest Reporting, whose managing editor Simon Plosker said he was “surprised” to see Loewenstein participating in the event as a journalist. The organization’s blog subsequently published a post “exposing” Loewenstein. It charged that the man who describes himself on his website as a “Middle East based, Australian independent freelance journalist, author, documentarian and blogger” is in fact “a prominent anti-Israel activist in his native Australia and a public supporter of the Boycott, Sanctions and Divestment (BDS) movement.”

The post linked and quoted a 2014 statement of support of BDS by Loewenstein, arguing that such views, stated publicly, as well as his other past activities, should disqualify him from possessing either a GPO card or membership in the Foreign Press Association. Honest Reporting also emailed the Prime Minister’s Office, which runs the GPO, challenging the decision made last March to grant Loewenstein press credentials that allow him to live and work in Israel for a year.

A few days later, a Jerusalem Post article reported that Loewenstein soon “may be forced” to leave the country. The Post article quoted Chen as saying, “We are leaning toward recommending that his work permit not be renewed due to suspected BDS activity. We are checking the incident because unfortunately, the journalist did not give enough information to our staff.”

Loewenstein vehemently disputes Chen’s charge that he provided insufficient information during his application process. He claims that when he obtained a GPO press card as a freelancer last March, he fully met the GPO criteria.

“It was a completely transparent process,” he says. “All of my work is online, I didn’t hide anything. I’m a freelance journalist, and all my work is available publicly.” Loewenstein’s articles (including two pieces in Haaretz) are listed and linked on his website.

“Attempts by far-right, extreme lobby groups to delegitimize me are deeply disappointing,” said Loewenstein, adding that they “reflect the increasingly restrictive space for critical voices in Israel and Palestine.”

He has heard nothing from the Government Press Office directly regarding clarification of his application or future status, and says he doesn’t know whether he will be informed of his fate before he attempts to renew his credentials in March, or if they will attempt to take them away earlier.

The press card he received in March essentially qualifies foreign journalists for a B-1 work visa. According to the GPO website, in order to obtain credentials, journalists must prove that their “main profession was in the news media” in the year preceding their application and that they “work for an approved media organization.”

Freelancers, the GPO rules say, “must prove that they arrived in Israel at the request of the media organization, for the performance of services in the field of news media for a period of at least one year and an express and binding work order/contract requesting these services” must be presented to the office.

Loewenstein says the charge that he cannot legitimately call himself a journalist worthy of GPO accreditation is absurd. “I am a journalist, I have been a freelance journalist for over 10 years. I work around the world,” he says.

He is rallying forces behind him to back his case to remain in Israel. A recent statement by the London-based Centre for Investigative Journalism supported Loewenstein, saying that the group was “deeply concerned with media reports from Israel that Antony Loewenstein’s work visa and freelance press credentials will not be renewed when they expire in March next year. In a democracy, critical voices are essential and should be encouraged, it is unacceptable that he may be forced to leave Israel because of his past statements. This is a free speech issue and we remind the Israeli government and its supporters that free speech is a cornerstone of any democracy; threatening to remove it is a slippery slope towards authoritarianism.”

A letter on his behalf from the Australian Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance (MEAA) union was sent to the Australian ambassador in Israel, the Israeli ambassador in Australia, and the GPO. Loewenstein said he approached the Australian embassy himself, but reported that he was told by an official there that Australia couldn’t interfere in internal Israeli affairs and would not assist him.

Plosker of Honest Reporting insists that his group’s campaign is not intended to quell free speech in the press and is unrelated to the exchange at the Lapid press conference. He contends that his organization has no issue with “journalists asking difficult questions of Israeli politicians.” It does, however “bother us that a known BDS activist was able to have access to press conferences as a member of the FPA and an accredited journalist with a GPO card.”

He differentiated between Loewenstein from “genuine journalists” who write critically about Israel for foreign outlets like the Guardian and suggested that the GPO’s requirements need to be reexamined.

“We wouldn’t want to see genuine journalists thrown out of the country … but we draw the line at BDS activism. That – BDS – isn’t aimed against government policies, that is something aimed against the state itself.” The BDS movement, he said, represents “an ultimate desire to see the end of Israel.” As such, he said “Israel authorities are under no obligation to actively assist” Loewenstein by giving him “what is effectively a work permit, giving him special access to official events, briefings, field tours.”

Plosker said he regretted the fact that the GPO’s public statement allowed Loewenstein to paint himself as a “martyr” and that it would have been preferable for them to remain quiet until March, and then refuse to renew his credentials.

Meanwhile, the Guardian was rapped by the far-left advocacy website Mondoweiss for “cowardly” distancing itself from Loewenstein. The newspaper’s Head of International News Jamie Wilson told Honest Reporting that “Loewenstein was contracted to write comment pieces for Guardian Australia and remains an occasional comment contributor” but that he ‘is not a news correspondent for the Guardian in Israel’.” Honest Reporting also claimed that it was informed that “Loewenstein has now been told to in future make sure he does not reference The Guardian at press conferences unless he is working on a direct commission.”

Loewenstein responded that he had never claimed to be a Guardian correspondent, but pointed out: “I’ve been a regular contributor to the Guardian since 2013, including as a columnist between 2013 and 2016, and have written more than 90 news and opinion pieces for them from Australia, Haiti, Afghanistan, South Sudan, Papua New Guinea and many other locations.”

When asked whether he regretted asking the question at the Lapid press conference that triggered the backlash, Loewenstein said. “I don’t regret asking the question, but I am disappointed with the response. It is deeply revealing about present-day Israel that increasingly discourages dissent … Real democracies don’t just tolerate dissent, they encourage it.”

Posted in ZIO-NAZI, Media0 Comments

New York Times on “Aleppo’s Destroyers”: All the fake news that’s fit to print

NOVANEWS

Image result for New York Times CARTOON

 

By Kevin Barrett 

The New York Times has been leading the charge against “fake news.” Yet its own reporting and editorial positions are often as one-sided, distorted, or downright mendacious as the worst of the pseudo-alternative websites. The Times’ coverage of wars, especially those of strategic import for the US and/or Israel (not necessarily in that order) is a particularly fertile field of fake news flummery.

Most of America’s armed conflicts and interventions have been driven by New York Times war propaganda, and the current conflagration in Syria is no exception. An especially egregious, over-the-top example of “damn the facts, full speed ahead” warmongering, every bit as bad as the Judith Miller version of Iraqi WMD, is last Wednesday’s op-ed by the Editorial Board, Aleppo’s Destroyers: Assad, Putin, Iran.”

The headline, like the diatribe beneath it, conceals the identities of the worst of the “destroyers” of Aleppo and Syria: Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the UAE, the US and Israel. These governments  have created, armed, financed, advised, and otherwise enabled the various militias, mercenaries, and terrorist groups that overran Aleppo and dismembered Syria.

Assad is the elected President of Syria, and Russia and Iran have intervened at the request of Syria’s legitimate government. Naming these three the “destroyers” of Aleppo, while ignoring the aggressors responsible for the proxy war on Syria, is practicing “fake news” at its worst.

The NY Times Editorial Board writes:

“Mr. Putin’s bloody actions — the bombing of civilian neighborhoods, the destruction of hospitals, the refusal to allow noncombatants to receive food, fuel and medical supplies — are all in violation of international law.”

International law?! What about the non-aggression principle and the doctrine of national sovereignty, the twin foundations of international law as it pertains to war and peace? Are not all nations sovereign entities whose borders are inviolable? Are not the Americans, Israelis, Saudis, Qataris, Emiratis and Turks committing aggression by attempting to overthrow the government of a sovereign nation? And is not such aggression “the supreme war crime” according to international law as enshrined in the Nuremberg precedent?

We know who is committing the supreme war crime, aggression. And we know who is fighting in defense of national sovereignty.

What about the lesser war crimes, all of which are the fruits of the supreme crime, aggression?

It is difficult to separate the facts from the propaganda regarding allegations of  particular war crimes in Syria, thanks in large part to the lies of the anti-Assad propaganda industry supported by the West and its regional proxies. We do know that the worst atrocity alleged to have been committed by Assad – the August 2013 chemical weapons massacre at al-Ghouta – has been exposed as a false flag whose real authors were Saudi and Turkish intelligence agents, aided and abetted by Americans and Israelis. (Veterans Today exposed how the sarin was manufactured in Georgia at a US-run factory and smuggled through Turkey into Syria, while Seymour Hersh had to find a non-US publisher to explain how the monumental false flag fail at al-Ghouta forced Obama to abort plans for a US aerial assault on Damascus.)

Wikipedia tells us that between 281 and 1,729 people died in the al-Ghouta sarin attack. Why is the New York Times not demanding war crimes trials for the American, Turkish, and Saudi perpetrators of this monstrous massacre, which was designed to be blamed on Assad in order to trigger a US bombing campaign? Why has al-Ghouta, the worst atrocity of the war, been consigned to the memory hole?

The New York Times falsely reported that Assad bombed his own people at al-Ghouta. No more outrageous, criminal example of “fake news” could possibly be imagined — except, perhaps, for the Times coverage of 9/11 … coverage whose monumental lies, concealments and coverups have directly led to the deaths of many millions of people worldwide, including those who have perished in the “civil war” in Syria as well as the violence in the other “seven countries in five years” whose destruction was the main purpose of the 9/11 false flag operation.

The New York Times is not just a purveyor of fake news, it is a purveyor of propaganda for the supreme war crime, aggression, and several lesser crimes including genocide. If we are going to start shutting down “fake news” outlets, perhaps we should begin with the Times and the other mainstream media war criminals.


See also:

Listen to “How Manipulation of Casualty Statistics Help Form Public Opinion on Syria” on Spreaker.

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