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RT ARABIC ONLINE LEADS ALL ARABIC NEWS CHANNELS INCLUDING CNN ARABIC, AL JAZEERA, AL ARABIYA

NOVANEWS

In November 2017, RT Arabic’s website became the most visited online portal among all Arabic-language TV news broadcasters, including CNN Arabic, Sky News Arabia, and major regional channels Al Jazeera and Al Arabiya.

“In the Arab-speaking world, competition among the news media is very high. RT Arabic’s leadership speaks to the fact that we not only found our niche, but are constantly growing as a result of the trust that our audience has in us,” said Maya Manna, head of RT Arabic.

According to analytics portal SimilarWeb, in November, the RT Arabic website was visited more than 23 million times—more than any other Arabic-language news channel, including Al Arabiya, Al Jazeera, Al Mayadeen, CNN Arabic, and Sky News Arabia. The majority of visitors came from users in Egypt—about 20%. Around 8.7% of visitors came from both Saudi Arabia and Algeria, more than 6.2% from Tunisia, and 5.8% from Morocco.

On Facebook, RT Arabic has 13 million subscribers—more than the Arabic-language versions of other international news media such as CNN, BBC, Sky News, DW, France 24, and Euronews. RT Arabic also leads among its international competitors in the Arab region on YouTube, with more than 660 million views and more than 870,000 subscribers.

In September 2017, RT Arabic marked its 10th anniversary of broadcasting by launching its interactive news project – RT Online. Now social network users can participate in news broadcasts in real time and discuss on air the events they witness.

RT Arabic has been a multiple winner and finalist for various international awards, including New York Festivals, the AIB Awards, and Promax BDA, as well as the Iraqi Al-Ghadir Festival. In 2017, RT Arabic journalists were honored by the National Union of Journalists of Iraq, as well as the National Union of Journalists of Syria.

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For 70 Years, the New York Times Has Heralded Saudi Leaders as “Reformers”

NOVANEWS

Assistant Professor of History at Georgetown University Abdullah Al-Arian has written an epic tweetstorm showing that the “paper of record” has long pretended that the leaders of our close “friends” (cough … radical head-choppers) the Saudis are on the verge of becoming “moderate”:

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In honor of Thomas Friedman’s latest love letter to Saudi here is 70 years of the NY Times describing  royals in the language of .

This piece from 1953 describes King Saud as “more progressive and international-minded than his autocratic father” pic.twitter.com/U8ZFLNX0Ko

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This piece from 1953 describes King Saud as “more progressive and international-minded than his autocratic father” pic.twitter.com/U8ZFLNX0Ko

This piece from 1957 doesn’t refer to Saudi Arabia specifically but it’s an epic headline nevertheless. pic.twitter.com/Gj6NB1DRtq

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In honor of Thomas Friedman’s latest love letter to Saudi here is 70 years of the NY Times describing  royals in the language of .

1960: “King Saud has increasingly assumed the role of liberal champion of constitutional reform.” (The Saudi constitution was adopted by royal decree in 1992). pic.twitter.com/3kwGcgnpDd

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In honor of Thomas Friedman’s latest love letter to Saudi here is 70 years of the NY Times describing  royals in the language of .

1962: “The Oil Genie and the Sheikh” offers a tour of Gulf palaces that marvels at their “gilded furniture of impressive ugliness.” pic.twitter.com/EcFqhUpayE

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This article describes Kuwait and not Saudi Arabia. They’re very similar, yet very different, especially when it comes to democratic rights.

The rest of the article (not included here) provides descriptions from several other Gulf states. Here is part of the photo spread from Oman and Bahrain with the caption “‘heaven on earth”—air conditioned palaces, Cadillacs, girls” pic.twitter.com/j6p7LiMmZt

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In honor of Thomas Friedman’s latest love letter to Saudi here is 70 years of the NY Times describing  royals in the language of .

During the so-called “Arab Cold War” Saudi royals were supported as a bulwark against Nasserism. This 1963 piece celebrates Crown Prince Faisal’s “burst of social reform and economic development.” pic.twitter.com/OR6g73Zveh

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In honor of Thomas Friedman’s latest love letter to Saudi here is 70 years of the NY Times describing  royals in the language of .

“With his older brother no longer looking over his shoulder…” pic.twitter.com/8KlT0vPYiP

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In honor of Thomas Friedman’s latest love letter to Saudi here is 70 years of the NY Times describing  royals in the language of .

1964: “He is a man who has gained nearly absolute power without really wanting it.” pic.twitter.com/QYzWOKyzpE

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1964: “He is a man who has gained nearly absolute power without really wanting it.” pic.twitter.com/QYzWOKyzpE

Here Faisal is described as “ascetic, with only one wife, who lives on grilled meat and boiled vegetables and makes a fetish of moderation.” pic.twitter.com/SSQV0s822i

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In honor of Thomas Friedman’s latest love letter to Saudi here is 70 years of the NY Times describing  royals in the language of .

This 1975 obituary: “Faisal, Rich and Powerful, Led Saudis Into 20th Century“ pic.twitter.com/2YZm2O3M3A

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In honor of Thomas Friedman’s latest love letter to Saudi here is 70 years of the NY Times describing  royals in the language of .

Faisal’s successor, King Khalid, was a “moderating force” pic.twitter.com/MxmpR9vaAe

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In honor of Thomas Friedman’s latest love letter to Saudi here is 70 years of the NY Times describing  royals in the language of .

A couple of more headlines from 1975, including one on “planting the seeds of a parliamentary system in the kingdom.” pic.twitter.com/TlwWu1vLYv

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In honor of Thomas Friedman’s latest love letter to Saudi here is 70 years of the NY Times describing  royals in the language of .

An epic lede here from 1979: “His black Trans-Am sports car creeps along the Corniche Road on the edge of the Red Sea. To the left, skyscrapers jab into the humid air, a sight made more impressive by the desolation surrounding the ancient city of Jidda.” 😳 pic.twitter.com/0ljqekE2YN

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In honor of Thomas Friedman’s latest love letter to Saudi here is 70 years of the NY Times describing  royals in the language of .

1982: “King Fahd has been depicted as the leading figure in a progressive, modernizing faction within the tradition-minded monarchy.” pic.twitter.com/lPPFWrW0QA

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In honor of Thomas Friedman’s latest love letter to Saudi here is 70 years of the NY Times describing  royals in the language of .

1991-92: “major political changes,” “modernizers,” “governmental reform,” “and other political reforms” pic.twitter.com/0gRSPLSkjm

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In honor of Thomas Friedman’s latest love letter to Saudi here is 70 years of the NY Times describing  royals in the language of .

1992: “In making the changes, King Fahd is following previous generations of Saudi rulers who had also moved toward modernization since King Abdelaziz united a vast territory populated by feuding tribal leaders into the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia 60 years ago.” pic.twitter.com/3NXCn6oo54

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In honor of Thomas Friedman’s latest love letter to Saudi here is 70 years of the NY Times describing  royals in the language of .

1996: Friedman makes his first appearance, describing King Fahd as a “bulldozer” in tackling political problems on behalf of his US ally. pic.twitter.com/DoYcoyVxrE

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In honor of Thomas Friedman’s latest love letter to Saudi here is 70 years of the NY Times describing  royals in the language of .

2000: “Saudi Heir Urges Reform, and Turn From US” pic.twitter.com/9iFEJ963MH

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In honor of Thomas Friedman’s latest love letter to Saudi here is 70 years of the NY Times describing  royals in the language of .

2002: Friedman opines about the “2 futures” for Saudi Arabia, concluding “Which school would I bet on? Ask me in five years.” pic.twitter.com/msVsLawvKl

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In honor of Thomas Friedman’s latest love letter to Saudi here is 70 years of the NY Times describing  royals in the language of .

Luckily, we wouldn’t have to wait that long. On eve of Iraq invasion Friedman makes the case that war “could drive reform in the Arab/Muslim world” pic.twitter.com/ML6IfkE4uo

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In honor of Thomas Friedman’s latest love letter to Saudi here is 70 years of the NY Times describing  royals in the language of .

2005: “For Abdullah, who has fashioned himself as a reformer in a land where conforming to tradition is a virtue, the challenge now is to make good on longstanding promises for change.” pic.twitter.com/NlZWDWRphp

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In honor of Thomas Friedman’s latest love letter to Saudi here is 70 years of the NY Times describing  royals in the language of .

In honor of Thomas Friedman’s latest love letter to Saudi here is 70 years of the NY Times describing  royals in the language of .

“Saudi King Tries to Grow Modern Ideas in Desert” 🤔pic.twitter.com/hEsHoH3jMp

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In honor of Thomas Friedman’s latest love letter to Saudi here is 70 years of the NY Times describing  royals in the language of .

2009: A cabinet reshuffle can sometimes be reform. pic.twitter.com/nOO7DCUARY

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In honor of Thomas Friedman’s latest love letter to Saudi here is 70 years of the NY Times describing  royals in the language of .

In honor of Thomas Friedman’s latest love letter to Saudi here is 70 years of the NY Times describing  royals in the language of .

“More generally, the reform agenda has drawn momentum from King Abdullah’s personal popularity…” pic.twitter.com/Q0LrjTUPtm

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In honor of Thomas Friedman’s latest love letter to Saudi here is 70 years of the NY Times describing  royals in the language of .

“Yet by the Saudi’s premodern standards, the 85 year-old King Abdullah, with a harem of wives, is a social revolutionary.” pic.twitter.com/zQ2tAj1p9L

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In honor of Thomas Friedman’s latest love letter to Saudi here is 70 years of the NY Times describing  royals in the language of .

Saudi society is divided, but the monarch’s sympathies lie with the reformers. pic.twitter.com/x1siP4RnL6

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In honor of Thomas Friedman’s latest love letter to Saudi here is 70 years of the NY Times describing  royals in the language of .

From 2012: “King Faisal, in a rush to modernize his realm, created Saudi state television in the 1960s, and that bold step is widely believed to have led to his assassination” pic.twitter.com/ZZgrTLXi1y

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In honor of Thomas Friedman’s latest love letter to Saudi here is 70 years of the NY Times describing  royals in the language of .

In honor of Thomas Friedman’s latest love letter to Saudi here is 70 years of the NY Times describing  royals in the language of .

Reporting from the front lines of the Arab uprisings in Dubai, Friedman calls Saudi King Abdullah “a real progressive” pic.twitter.com/Qf6bWuJUv6

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In honor of Thomas Friedman’s latest love letter to Saudi here is 70 years of the NY Times describing  royals in the language of .

King Abdullah’s 2015 obituary describes him as “…a cautious reformer amid great changes in the Middle East.” pic.twitter.com/urrdKRvkbk

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In honor of Thomas Friedman’s latest love letter to Saudi here is 70 years of the NY Times describing  royals in the language of .

Saudi Arabia’s economic revolution offers “tantalizing hints at even broader reforms.” 🤗 pic.twitter.com/lJEKbhrHcD

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In honor of Thomas Friedman’s latest love letter to Saudi here is 70 years of the NY Times describing  royals in the language of .

From earlier this month, this Friedman piece includes such gems as “he is much more McKinsey than Wahhabi — much more a numbers cruncher than a Quran thumper.” pic.twitter.com/g6pkppqmQi

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In honor of Thomas Friedman’s latest love letter to Saudi here is 70 years of the NY Times describing  royals in the language of .

And finally, the one that inspired it all, a hagiographic ode to royal reform that represents seven decades of strategic policy objectives barely concealed beneath recycled cultural tropes. pic.twitter.com/DQHeftCxnz

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Zionist George Monbiot anti-Syria propaganda

Syrian collects samples from the site of the chemical weapons attack on Khan Shaykhun in April
 A Syrian collects samples from the site of the chemical weapons attack on Khan Shaykhun in April. Photograph: Omar Haj Kadour/AFP/Getty Images

What do we believe? This is the crucial democratic question. Without informed choice, democracy is meaningless. This is why dictators and billionaires invest so heavily in fake news. Our only defence is constant vigilance, rigour and scepticism. But when some of the world’s most famous crusaders against propaganda appear to give credence to conspiracy theories, you wonder where to turn.

The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) last month published its investigation into the chemical weapons attack on the Syrian town of Khan Shaykhun, which killed almost 100 people on 4 April and injured around 200. After examining the competing theories and conducting wide-ranging interviews, laboratory tests and forensic analysis of videos and photos, it concluded that the atrocity was caused by a bomb filled with sarin, dropped by the government of Syria.

There is nothing surprising about this. The Syrian government has a long history of chemical weapons use, and the OPCW’s conclusions concur with a wealth of witness testimony. But a major propaganda effort has sought to discredit such testimony, and characterise the atrocity as a “false-flag attack”.

This effort began with an article published on the website Al-Masdar news, run by the Syrian government loyalist Leith Abou Fadel. It suggested that either the attack had been staged by “terrorist forces”, or chemicals stored in a missile factory had inadvertently been released when the Syrian government bombed it.

The story was then embellished on Infowars – the notorious far-right conspiracy forum. The Infowars article claimed that the attack was staged by the Syrian first responder group, the White Helmets. This is a reiteration of a repeatedly discredited conspiracy theory, casting these rescuers in the role of perpetrators. It suggested that the victims were people who had been kidnapped by al-Qaida from a nearby city, brought to Khan Shaykhun and murdered, perhaps with the help of the UK and French governments, “to lay blame on the Syrian government”. The author of this article was Mimi Al-Laham, also known as Maram SusliPartisanGirl, Syrian Girl and Syrian Sister. She is a loyalist of the Assad government who has appeared on podcasts hosted by David Duke, the former grand wizard of the Ku Klux Klan. She has another role: as an “expert” used by a retired professor from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology called Theodore Postol. He has produced a wide range of claims casting doubt on the Syrian government’s complicity in chemical weapons attacks.

In correspondence with the chemical weapons expert Dan Kaszeta, Postol revealed that the “solid scientific source” he used to support his theory about the origin of sarin used in Syria was “Syrian Sister”. When Postol and Susli both appeared on a podcast run by the Holocaust “revisionist” Ryan Dawson, Postol explained why he had chosen to work with her: “I was watching her on Twitter. I could see from her voice … that she was a trained chemist.” First, Postol claimedthat the crater from which the sarin in Khan Shaykhun had emanated was most probably caused not by a bomb dropped from the air but by an explosive device laid on the ground (a hypothesis examined and thoroughly debunked by the OPCW report). Then he claimed that there was “no evidence to support” the notion that sarin had been released from the air, and proposed there was strong evidence to suggest that the mass poisoning had been caused by a bomb that hit a rebel weapons depot.

He further claimed that a French intelligence report contradicted the story that sarin had been dropped from a plane, as it suggested that sarin had been dropped by helicopters in a different place. (In reality, he had confused the attack in April 2017 with one in April 2013). Each of these contradictory hypotheses was patiently explored and demolished at the time by bloggers and analysts.

The Guardian visited Khan Shaykhun (also known as Khan Sheikhun) in the aftermath of the attack – the only news organisation in the world to do so. It established that there had been no weapons depot near the scene of the contamination. Surrounding warehouses were abandoned. Birdseed and a volleyball net were all that existed inside. None had been attacked in recent months. The contamination came from a hole in the road from where the remains of a projectile protruded.

But eight days after the Khan Shaykhun attack John Pilger, famous for exposing propaganda and lies, was interviewed on the website Consortium News. He praised Postol as “the distinguished MIT professor”, suggested that the Syrian government could not have carried out the attack – as he claimed it had destroyed its chemical arsenal in 2014 – and maintained that jihadists in Khan Shaykhun “have been playing with nerve gases and sarin … for some years now. There’s no doubt about that.” Despite many claims to the contrary, I have found no credible evidence that Syrian jihadists have access to sarin.

On 26 April Noam Chomsky, interviewed on Democracy Now, claimed that Postol, whom Chomsky called “a highly regarded strategic analyst and intelligence analyst”, had produced a “pretty devastating critique” of a White House reportthat maintained the Syrian government was responsible. Although Chomsky accepted that a chemical attack had taken place and said it was plausible that the Syrian government could have carried it out, this interview helped trigger a frenzy of online commentary endorsing Postol’s hypotheses and dismissing the possibility that the Assad government could have been responsible. The atmosphere became toxic: when I challenged Postol’s claims, people accused me of being an Isis sympathiser, a paedophile being blackmailed by the government, and a Mossad agent. But the madness had only just begun.

In June the investigative journalist Seymour Hersh published an article in the German paper Die Welt, based on information from a “senior adviser to the US intelligence community” who maintained that there had been no sarin strike on Khan Shaykhun. Instead, a meeting of jihadist leaders in “a two-storey cinder-block building” had been bombed by the Syrian air force with the support of the Russians and with Washington’s full knowledge. Fertilisers and disinfectants in the basement, Hersh claimed, could have caused the mass poisoning. (Again, this possibility was examined and discredited by the OPCW).

So which building was he talking about? I asked Hersh to give me its coordinates: the most basic evidence you would expect to support a claim of this nature. The Terraserver website provides satellite imagery that makes it possible to check for any changes to the buildings in Khan Shaykhun, from one day to the next. But when I challenged him to provide them, first he sent me links to claims made by Postol, then he told me that the images are not sufficiently “precise and reliable”. As every building is clearly visible, I find this claim is hard to understand.

Scepticism of all official claims is essential, especially when they involve weapons of mass destruction, and especially when they are used as a pretext for military action – in this case Tomahawk missiles fired on the orders of Donald Trump from a US destroyer on 7 AprilWe know from Iraq not to take any such claims on trust. But I also believe there is a difference between scepticism and denial. While in the fog of war, there will always be some doubt, as the OPCW’s report acknowledges,there is no evidence to support the competing theories of what happened at Khan Shaykhun. Propaganda by one side does not justify propaganda by another.

In Vox earlier this month, the writer David Roberts suggested that America is facing “an epistemic crisis” caused by the conservative rejection of all forms of expertise and knowledge. Politics in the US and elsewhere is now dominated by wild conspiracy theories and paranoia – the narrative platform from which fascism arises. This, as Roberts proposes, presents an urgent threat to democracy. If the scourges of establishment propaganda promote, even unwittingly, groundless stories developed by the “alt right”, we are in deeper trouble than he suggests.

 

Posted in Media, Syria, UK0 Comments

Monbiot Still Burying his Head in Sands of Syria

NOVANEWS
Image result for George Monbiot CARTOON
By Jonathan Cook | Dissident Voice 

Investigative journalist Gareth Porter has published two exclusives whose import is far greater than may be immediately apparent. They concern Israel’s bombing in 2007 of a supposed nuclear plant secretly built, according to a self-serving US and Israeli narrative, by Syrian leader Bashar Assad.

Although the attack on the “nuclear reactor” occurred a decade ago, there are pressing lessons to be learnt for those analysing current events in Syria.

Porter’s research indicates very strongly that the building that was bombed could not have been a nuclear reactor – and that was clear to experts at the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) even as the story was being promoted uncritically across the western media.

But – and this is the critical information Porter conveys – the IAEA failed to disclose the fact that it was certain the building was not a nuclear plant, allowing the fabricated narrative to be spread unchallenged. It abandoned science to bow instead to political expediency.

The promotion of the bogus story of a nuclear reactor by Israel and key figures in the Bush administration was designed to provide the pretext for an attack on Assad. That, it was hoped, would bring an end to his presidency and drag into the fray the main target – Iran. The Syrian “nuclear reactor” was supposed to be a re-run of the WMD deception, used in 2003 to oust another enemy of the US and Israel’s – Saddam Hussein of Iraq.

It is noteworthy that the fabricated evidence for a nuclear reactor occurred in 2007, a year after Israel’s failure to defeat Hizbullah in Lebanon. The 2006 Lebanon war was itself intended to spread to Syria and lead to Assad’s overthrow, as I explained in my book Israel and the Clash of Civilisations.

It is important to remember that this Israeli-neocon plot against Syria long predated – in fact, in many ways prefigured – the civil war in 2011 that quickly morphed into a proxy war in which the US became a key, if mostly covert, actor.

The left’s Witchfinder General

The relevance of the nuclear reactor deception can be understood in relation to the latest efforts by Guardian columnist George Monbiot (and many others) to discredit prominent figures on the left, including Noam Chomsky and John Pilger, for their caution in making assessments of much more recent events in Syria. Monbiot has attacked them for not joining him in simply assuming that Assad was responsible for a sarin gas attack last April on Khan Sheikhoun, an al-Qaeda stronghold in Idlib province.

Understandably, many on the left have been instinctively wary of rushing to judgment about individual incidents in the Syrian war, and the narratives presented in the western media. The claim that Assad’s government used chemical weapons in Khan Sheikhoun, and earlier in Ghouta, was an obvious boon to those who have spent more than a decade trying to achieve regime change in Syria.

In what has become an ugly habit with Monbiot, and one I have noted before, he has enthusiastically adopted the role of Witchfinder General. Any questioning of evidence, scepticism or simply signs of open-mindedness are enough apparently to justify accusations that one is an Assadist or conspiracy theorist. Giving house room to the doubts of a ballistics expert like Ted Postol of MIT, or an experienced international arms expert like Scott Ritter, or a famous investigative journalist like Seymour Hersh, or a former CIA analyst like Ray McGovern, is apparently proof that one is an atrocity denier or worse.

Inconvenient facts buried

Monbiot’s latest attack was launched at a moment when he obviously felt he was on solid ground. A UN agency, the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), issued a report last month concluding that the 100 people killed and 200 injured in Khan Sheikhoun last April were exposed to sarin. Monbiot argues that the proof is now incontrovertible that Assad was responsible – a position that he, of course, adopted at the outset – and that all other theories have now been decisively discounted by the OPCW.

There are reasons to think that Monbiot is seriously misrepresenting the strength of the OPCW’s findings, as several commentators have observed. Most notably, Robert Parry, another leading investigative journalist, points out that evidence in the report’s annex – the place where inconvenient facts are often buried – appears to blow a large hole in the official story.

Parry notes that the time recorded by the UN of the photo of the chemical weapons attack is more than half an hour *after* some 100 victims had already been admitted to five different hospitals, some of them lengthy drives from the alleged impact site.

But potentially more significant than such troubling inconsistencies are the conclusions of Gareth Porter’s separate investigation into Israel’s bombing of the non-existent Syrian nuclear reactor. That gets to the heart of where Monbiot and many others have gone badly wrong in their certainty about events in Syria.

Extreme naivety

Monbiot has been only too willing to promote as indisputable fact claims made both by highly compromised and unreliable western sources and by supposedly reputable and independent organisations, such as international human rights groups and UN agencies. He, like many others, assumes that the latter can always be relied upon to stand apart from western interests and can therefore be implicitly trusted.

That indicates an extreme naivety or possibly the lack of any experience covering on the ground highly charged conflicts in which western interests are paramount.

I have been based in Israel for nearly two decades and have on several occasions taken to task Human Rights Watch (HRW), one of the world’s most esteemed human rights organisations. I have shown that assessments it has made were patently not rooted in evidence or even credible interpretations of international law but in geopolitical considerations. That was especially true in the case of the month-long fighting between Israel and Hizbullah in 2006. (See here and here.) My concerns about HRW’s work, I later learnt from insiders, were shared in its New York head office, but were silenced by the organisation’s most senior staff.

Nuclear plant deception

But Porter helps shine a light on how even the most reputable international agencies can end up similarly following a script written in Washington and one that rides roughshod over evidence, especially when the interests of the world’s only superpower are at stake. In this case, the deceptions were perpetuated by one of the world’s leading scientific organisations: the International Atomic Energy Agency, which monitors states’ nuclear activities.

Porter reveals that Yousry Abushady, the IAEA’s foremost expert on North Korean nuclear reactors, was able immediately to discount the aerial photographic evidence that the building Israel bombed in 2007 was a nuclear reactor. (Most likely it was a disused missile storage depot.)

The Syrian “nuclear plant”, he noted, could not have been built using North Korean know-how, as was claimed by the US. It lacked all the main features of a North Korean gas-cooled reactor. The photos produced by the Israelis showed a building that, among other things, covered too small an area and was not anywhere near high enough, it had none of the necessary supporting structures, and there was no cooling tower.

Abushady’s assessment was buried by the IAEA, which preferred to let the CIA and the Israelis promote their narrative unchallenged.

Atomic agency’s silence

This was not a one-off failure. In summer 2008, the IAEA visited the area to collect samples. Had the site been a nuclear plant, they could have expected to find nuclear-grade graphite particles everywhere. They found none.

Nonetheless, the IAEA again perpetrated a deception to try to prop up the fictitious US-Israeli narrative.

As was routine, they sent the samples to a variety of laboratories for analysis. None found evidence of any nuclear contamination – apart from one. It identified particles of man-made uranium. The IAEA issued a report giving prominence to this anomalous sample, even though in doing so it violated its own protocols, reports Parry. It could draw such a conclusion only if the results of all the samples matched.

In fact, as one of the three IAEA inspectors who had been present at the site later reported, the sample of uranium did not come from the plant itself, which was clean, but from a changing room nearby. A former IAEA senior inspector, Robert Kelley, told Parry that a “very likely explanation” was that the uranium particles derived from “cross contamination” from clothing worn by the inspectors. This is a problem that had been previously noted by the IAEA in other contexts.

Meanwhile, the IAEA remained silent about its failure to find nuclear-grade graphite in a further nine reports over two years. It referred to this critical issue for the first time in 2011.

Chance for war with Iran

In other words, the IAEA knowingly conspired in a fictitious, entirely non-scientific assessment of the Syrian “nuclear reactor” story, one that neatly served US-Israeli geopolitical interests.

Porter notes that vice-president Dick Cheney “hoped to use the alleged reactor to get President George W Bush to initiate US airstrikes in Syria in the hope of shaking the Syrian-Iranian alliance”.

In fact, Cheney wanted far more sites in Syria hit than the bogus nuclear plant. In his memoirs, the then-secretary of defence, Robert Gates, observed that Cheney was “looking for an opportunity to provoke a war with Iran”.

The Bush administration wanted to find a way to unseat Assad, crush Hizbullah in Lebanon, and isolate and weaken Iran as a way to destroy the so-called “Shia crescent”.

That goal is being actively pursued again by the US today, with Israel and Saudi Arabia leading the way. A former US ambassador to Israel, Dan Shapiro, recently warned that, after their failure to bring down Assad, the Saudis have been trying to switch battlefields to Lebanon, hoping to foment a confrontation between Israel and Hizbullah that would drag in Iran.

Abandoning science

Back in 2007, the IAEA, an agency of scientists, did its bit to assist – or at least not obstruct – US efforts to foster a political case, an entirely unjustified one, for military action against Syria and, very possibly by extension, Iran.

If the IAEA could so abandon its remit and the cause of science to help play politics on behalf of the US, what leads Monbiot to assume that the OPCW, an even more politicised body, is doing any better today?

That is not to say Assad, or at least sections of the Syrian government, could not have carried out the attack on Khan Sheikhoun. But it is to argue that in a matter like this one, where so much is at stake, the evidence must be subjected to rigorous scrutiny, and that critics, especially experts who offer counter-evidence, must be given a fair hearing by the left. It is to argue that, when the case against Assad fits so neatly a long-standing and self-serving western narrative, a default position of scepticism is fully justified. It is to argue that facts, strong as they may seem, can be manipulated even by expert bodies, and therefore due weight needs also to be given to context – including an assessment of motives.

This is not “denialism”, as Monbiot claims. It is a rational strategy adopted by those who object to being railroaded once again – as they were in Iraq and Libya – into catastrophic regime change operations.

Meanwhile, the decision by Monbiot and others to bury their heads in the sands of an official narrative, all the while denouncing anyone who seeks to lift theirs out for a better view, should be understood for what it is: an abnegation of intellectual and moral responsibility for those around the globe who continue to be the victims of western military supremacism.

Posted in Media, Syria, UK0 Comments

From an open internet, back to the dark ages

NOVANEWS
Internet censorship

By Jonathan Cook in Nazareth

Can anyone still doubt that access to a relatively free and open internet is rapidly coming to an end in the West? In China and other autocratic regimes, leaders have simply bent the internet to their will, censoring content that threatens their rule. But in the “democratic” West, it is being done differently. The state does not have to interfere directly – it outsources its dirty work to corporations.

As soon as next month, the net could become the exclusive plaything of the biggest such corporations, determined to squeeze as much profit as possible out of bandwith. Meanwhile, the tools to help us engage in critical thinking, dissent and social mobilisation will be taken away as “net neutrality” becomes a historical footnote, a teething phase, in the “maturing” of the internet.

In December the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) plans to repeal already compromised regulations that are in place to maintain a semblance of “net neutrality”. Its chairman, Ajit Pai, and the corporations that are internet service providers want to sweep away these rules, just like the banking sector got rid of financial regulations so it could inflate our economies into giant ponzi schemes.

It is becoming ever clearer that Facebook is interfering as a platform for the dissemination of information for progressive activists. 

That could serve as the final blow to the left and its ability to make its voice heard in the public square.

It was political leaders – aided by the corporate media – who paved the way to this with their fomenting of a self-serving moral panic about “fake news”. Fake news, they argued, appeared only online, not in the pages of the corporate media – the same media that sold us the myth of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, and has so effectively preserved a single party system with two faces. The public, it seems, needs to be protected only from bloggers and websites.

The social media giants soon responded. It is becoming ever clearer that Facebook is interfering as a platform for the dissemination of information for progressive activists. It is already shutting down  accounts, and limiting their reach. These trends will only accelerate.

Google has changed its algorithms in ways that have ensured the search engine rankings of prominent left-wing sites are falling through the floor. It is becoming harder and harder to find alternative sources of news because they are being actively hidden from view.

Google stepped up that process this week by “deranking” RT and Sputnik, two Russian news sites that provide an important counterweight – even if one skewed in its pro-Russia agenda – to the anti-Russia propaganda spouted by Western corporate media. The two sites will be as good as censored on the internet for the vast majority of users.

Google has changed its algorithms in ways that have ensured the search engine rankings of prominent left-wing sites are falling through the floor.

RT is far from a perfect source of news – no state or corporate media is – but it is a vital voice to have online. It has become a sanctuary for many seeking alternative, and often far more honest, critiques both of Western domestic policy and of Western interference in far-off lands. It has its own political agenda, of course, but, despite the assumption of many Western liberals, it provides a far more accurate picture of the world than the Western corporate media on a vast range of issues.

That is for good reason. Western corporate media is there to shore up prejudices that have been inculcated in Western audiences over a lifetime – the chief one being that Western states rightfully act as well-meaning, if occasionally bumbling, policemen trying to keep order among other, unruly or outright evil states around the globe.

The media and political class can easily tap into these prejudices to persuade us of all sorts of untruths that advance Western interests. To take just one example – Iraq. We were told Saddam Hussein had ties to Al-Qaeda (he didn’t and could not have had); that Iraq was armed with WMD (it wasn’t, as UN arms inspectors tried to tell us); and that the US and UK wanted to promote democracy in Iraq (but not before they had stolen its oil). There may have been opposition in the West to the invasion of Iraq, but little of it was driven by an appreciation that these elements of the official narrative were all easily verified as lies.

RT and other non-Western news sources in English provide a different lens through which we can view such important events, perspectives unclouded by a Western patrician agenda.

The existing rules of “net neutrality” are already failing progressives and dissidents… But without them, things will get even worse.

They and progressive sites are being gradually silenced and blacklisted, herding us back into the arms of the corporate propagandists. Few liberals have been prepared to raise their voices on behalf of RT, forgetting warnings from history, such as Martin Niemoller’s anti-Nazi poem “First they came for the socialists”.

The existing rules of “net neutrality” are already failing progressives and dissidents, as the developments I have outlined above make clear. But without them, things will get even worse. If the changes are approved next month, internet service providers (ISPs), the corporations that plug us into the internet, will also be able to decide what we should see and what will be out of reach.

Much of the debate has focused on the impact of ending the rules on online commercial ventures. That is why Amazon and pornography sites like Pornhub have been leading the opposition. But that is overshadowing the more significant threat to progressive sites and already-embattled principles of free speech.

If it takes an age to access a website, they will simply click elsewhere. If a Google search shows them only corporately approved results, they will read what is on offer. If their Facebook feed declines to supply them with “non-profitable” or “fake” content, they will be none the wiser.

ISPs will be given a much freer hand to determine the content we can can get online. They will be able to slow down the access speeds of sites that are not profitable – which is true for activist sites, by definition. But they may also be empowered to impose Chinese-style censorship, either on their own initiative or under political pressure. The fact that this may be justified on commercial, not political, grounds will offer little succour.

Those committed to finding real news may be able to find workarounds. But this is little consolation. The vast majority of people will use the services they are provided with, and be oblivious to what is no longer available.

If it takes an age to access a website, they will simply click elsewhere. If a Google search shows them only corporately approved results, they will read what is on offer. If their Facebook feed declines to supply them with “non-profitable” or “fake” content, they will be none the wiser. But all of us who care about the future will be the poorer.

Posted in Media0 Comments

Fake News and NATO’s Plans for “Persuasion and Impacting the Media.”

NOVANEWS
 

In his excellent “NATO, a Monstrous Institution” (1) Karel van Wolferenwrites:

Having survived Afghanistan, NATO continued to play a significant role in the destruction of Gaddafi’s Libya, and in the destruction of parts of Syria through covertly organising, financing, and arming ISIS forces for the purpose of overthrowing the Assad government. And it continues to serve as a cover for the war making elements in Britain and France. America’s coup in the Ukraine in 2014, which resulted in a crisis in relations with Russia, gave NATO a new lease on life as it helped create entirely uncalled for hysterical fear of Russia in Poland and the Baltic states.” (Emphasis added.)

Professor van Wolferen puts his finger on an often forgotten fact, NATO has to continually seek a “new lease of life”, a raison d’etre. If factions – predominately Western and US led – were not encouraged, or inspired by oil and other natural resources to be bloodily carpetbagged, NATO would be redundant. When the Berlin Wall came down and the world rejoiced, things must have looked bleak in NATO-land.

Nothing could make this more cynically, starkly clear than a letter, written in June 1979, from General Alexander Hague, NATO Secretary General, on handing over the position to his successor Joseph Luns. The letter reads:

SUPREME HEADQUARTERS ALLIED POWERS EUROPE

GRAND QUARTIER GENERAL DES PUISSANCES ALLIÉES EN EUROPE

BELGIUM

26th June 1979

His Excellency Joseph M.A.H. Luns

The Secretary General

North Atlantic Treaty Organization

Brussels/Zaventem Autoroute

B-1110 Brussels, Belgium

Dear Joseph,

On leaving the post of Supreme Allied Commander in Europe, I feel it my duty to stress once again certain aspects of allied strategy which demand our further attention and effort.

Yet in my view, planning for the deployment and use of modernized nuclear forces in Europe can be adequately be accomplished only if full understanding and cooperation are achieved. It is therefore necessary to prepare systematically and persistently, a basis for making a success of the NATO council meeting in December, bearing in mind primarily the crisis inside the Alliance over neutron weapons deployment. Every effort should be made to counter any hesitation or vacillation among the allied nations during decision making meetings.

We will never be able to put in to effect our joint plans in this vital area unless quite exceptional efforts are made to check European tendencies toward neutralism, pacifism and unilateralism. To achieve this, it is necessary, I feel, to emphasise the theme that nuclear weapons balance, particularly in the European theatre, has changed sharply in favour of the East. We should constantly bear in mind the necessity of continuously directing attention to the Soviet military threat and of further activising our collaboration with the mass media.

If argument, persuasion and impacting the media fail, we are left with no alternative but to jolt the faint hearted in Europe through the creation of situations, country by country as deemed necessary, to convince them where their interests lie. This would call for appropriate action of a sensitive nature which we have frequently discussed and I have been greatly encouraged by the absence of disagreement between us regarding priorities. Back in the States, I shall not cease to monitor the European situation in any role I may be called upon to play and hope to continue our hitherto fruitful exchange of views.

The course of action which we have in mind may become the only sure way of securing the interests of the West.

Sincerely,

(signature)

ALEXANDER M. HAIG, JR,

General, United States Army

Supreme Allied Commander.

So it was vital that:

“… quite exceptional efforts are made to check European tendencies toward neutralism, pacifism and unilateralism.” Peace, détente, the European Union even, must have presented a nightmare.

If argument, persuasion and impacting the media fail, we are left with no alternative but to jolt the faint hearted in Europe through the creation of situations, country by country as deemed necessary, to convince them where their interests lie. This would call for appropriate action of a sensitive nature …”

It has to be wondered if the current onslaught on respected, well informed websites which have consistently shone light into the war propaganda darkness, being attacked as “fake news” and worse, has anything to do with the fact that they have gone a long way to waking up the public. “ … argument, persuasion and impacting the (main stream) media” have been massively sidelined.

The anti-warmongering cat has been released from the bag, yelling “Iraq weapons of mass destruction was a lie”; “Libya was destroyed for making the country the richest in Africa and planning to switch to trading in a pan-African Dinar”; “Afghanistan was invaded because it has $ trillions in natural resources”; “the Syrian ‘uprising” was planned from within the US Embassy in Damascus in 2006”(2.)

The cat could go on – and on, but thinks, for now, the NATO letter is food for thought in our times.

Notes:

1.    https://www.globalresearch.ca/nato-a-monstrous-institution/5619099

2.    https://www.globalresearch.ca/syria-and-conspiracy-theories-it-is-a-conspiracy/29596

Posted in Palestine Affairs, Media0 Comments

The social media wars in unconventional battlefields

NOVANEWS

Social media is now an indelible part of the South Asian political landscape.

The modern day concept of battle is far from what it was decades ago.Now, a web within a web of the technically advanced world, battles do not necessarily take place on the ground but in the networks of the virtual world that is fast blurring the lines between reality and fiction.Originally the idea of now what is termed as the “social media “, was to bridge the gap between people, which grew from keeping in touch with acquaintances to interacting with people in another corner of the world.The growth in the social media industry was remarkable as it transcended beyond its actual purpose. Now a multi-dollar industry, social media has redefined the meaning of war with its power to mobilize and influence millions in a blink of an eye, irrespective of the time and location.

The free and uninterrupted flow of information with interconnectivity among people leads to forming of different narratives. Although diverse in subjects, the narratives unify at certain levels of interaction and become powerful enough to sway the workings of a body, hence the evolution of the term “war of narratives”.

This unconventional battleground called social media has become a priority to understand, adapt, improvise and use by not only the governments of the today’s world but also the militaries.

One of the leading names in the social media industry is Twitter, a networking service available to millions across the world including Pakistan and India and is used according to the desires of the individuals or groups residing in both countries. The latest spark between the two rivals took place in late hours when Pakistan Defense, a pro- Pakistani account was suspended on reports that it violated certain policies of Twitter leading to a battle of narratives.

The threefold reaction involves the Indians, who cheered Twitter’s action against what they deem a prominent pro- Pakistan profile backed by the military of Pakistan. Second, the Pakistanis themselves who take the words of Hall (“I do not agree with what you have to say, but I’ll defend to death your right to say it “ ) in the truest of its meaning and the third fold falls in neither mentioned bunch.

Like Pakistan, India too maintains numerous accounts on Twitter which actively propagate their animosity towards Pakistan. The issue of Kashmir, for instance, be it on the floor of  United Nations or a social media site like Twitter, is a sensitive usually heated topic; more so if mentioned by Pakistan. To counter the Kashmir card, Indian accounts play the Baluchistan card.  False information or what some refer to as “disinformation” in case of Baluchistan is propagated on Twitter and other networking sites more often attached with gruesomely doctored images.

“Pro- Pakistan” groups such as Pakistan Defense and many others identify and counter the false images or information and hence remain a target for the rival country. For similar reasons, as in the case of suspension of Pakistan Defense, many Indian accounts have been reported to Twitter but appear to go unnoticed, making many question the rules and regulations on which Twitter operates.

With a huge following comes the question of credibility. The more reliable the content, the more power it holds against the opposite narrative.In such a situation the best bet by the opposition is to spread the false narrative to such an extent that it replaces the truth. The smart use of social media is the ability to cross verify information in any form; importantly when it is being used to counter the enemy’s narrative.

Narratives built on social media by groups or organization like Pakistan Defense, shape certain perceptions in the off-line world but have a strategic impact. A relatively newer term known as the “net-troll strategies “ describes the ripple effect created by initiating a discussion ( with a certain narrative)   among the like-minded, which indirectly reaches the intended audience. While such accounts exist across the world, those in Pakistan lack behind in keeping a unified front and openly display their disagreements.

The implication of social media in the context of the war of narratives has had many organizations reviewing their policies and rules of engagement to minimize the spread of false information. But how and when does an organization know that the policies it has set, have managed to strike a balance in the “war of narrative?  So far, for the followers of Pakistan Defense, the account remains suspended but voices for it to be resumed are flashing on twitter feeds.

P.S. Word of wisdom for those behind the account Pakistan Defense: be smart but not too smart that it costs you, your honor.

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Palestinian *** News

NOVANEWS

Image result for PALESTINE MEDIA CARTOON

Israeli right’s anti-democratic laws penetrate everywhere

Akiva Eldar – Al-Monitor – The takeover of the corporation of the State of Israel is being executed in incremental fashion, using legislation and sanctions, making it a little less democratic, a little more Jewish. The plethora of laws and sanctions make a mockery of Israeli democracy. Viewed separately, each of these initiatives is a yawn; taken together, this accumulation of legislation should make every Israeli lose sleep.-rh

The Trials of Benjamin Netanyahu

Ramzy Baroud – Dissident Voice – Corruption in Israeli society has become particularly endemic after the occupation of East Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza in 1967. The idea that ordinary Israelis can move into a Palestinian house, evict the family, claim the house as their own, with the full support of the military, the government and the court, exemplifies moral corruption to the highest degree. It was only a matter of time before this massive corruption racket – military occupation, the settlement enterprise, the media whitewashing of Israeli crimes – seeped back into mainstream Israeli society, which has become rotten to the core. While Israelis might have ‘gotten used’ to their own corruption, Palestinians have not, because the price of Israel’s moral corruption is too high for them to bear.-rh

Israeli forces target Palestinian schools, teachers in East Jerusalem and Hebron

Sheren Khalel – Mondoweiss – Israeli police forces entered Zahwat al- Quds school in occupied East Jerusalem on Monday, arresting the principal of the school as well as three teachers in front of students, before closing down the school and instructing parents to find alternative facilities for their children, according to Palestinian official media, Wafa.The events in East Jerusalem came one day after Israeli forces detained several teachers in the southern Hebron Hills on their walk to school, again in the presence of their students.-rh

Arab-Israelis fear new bill to increase security guards` powers 

Shlomi Eldar – Al-Monitor – Next week, the Knesset`s Interior Committee will debate a proposed piece of legislation by Minister for Public Security Gilad Erdan, which would expand the authority of civilian security guards. According to the proposal, security guards will be given powers similar to the police in that they will have the right to detain suspects, demand that they identify themselves and even use force to prevent them from entering crowded spaces such as shopping malls and public transportation. Erdan claims that the purpose of the law is to increase civilians` sense of safety in recreation centers and offices that provide services to citizens.-rh

Israel Draws Up Blacklist of Boycott Supporters

IMEMCnews – The Israeli government is currently preparing a blacklist of local and international organizations and activists who call for boycotting Israeli institutions, products and events, local media sources revealed yesterday. On Sunday, the Israeli Ministerial Committee on Legislation passed a law against activists who encourage the international boycott of Israel, under which they are likely to be sued or fined.-rh

Cambridge slammed for `censoring` Palestine BDS event 11 NOVEMBER 2017

Shafik Mandhai – Aljazeera – Ruba Salih from the School of African and Oriental Studies (SOAS) was set to oversee Wednesday`s event featuring Palestinian BDS activist, Omar Barghouti, but organisers say they were forced to cancel her participation hours before it was due to start after the university intervened citing concerns over her neutrality. Palestinian activists say the incident highlights the increasingly restrictive atmosphere for critics of Israel on campuses across the UK.-rh

Military Court Watch: Newsletter – October 2017

Military Court Watch – Detention figures: The Israeli Prison Service (IPS) continues to experience difficulties in providing accurate and timely information regarding the number of Palestinian children in its detention facilities in accordance with an outstanding Freedom of Information application (FOI application). According to the IPS, as of 30 June 2017, 318 Palestinian children were held as “security prisoners” in Israeli detention facilities. This represents a 4 percent decrease compared with the previous month and an annual decrease of 17 percent compared with 2016. Out of 318 children, 10 were girls, representing 3 percent. There is currently no available data relating to age breakdown, administrative detention or the percentage of children transferred to prisons inside Israel in violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention.-rh

Gaza Kids Live in Hell: A Psychologist Tells of Rampant Sexual Abuse, Drugs and Despair

Ayelett Shani – Middle East Transparent – Mohammed Mansour, who treats Gaza victims of sexual assault, describes the dystopian nightmare that Palestinians are living.-rh

Palestinian human rights bill on child imprisonment introduced in United States Congress

Samidoun – Washington, D.C., November 14, 2017—Members of Congress on Tuesday introduced a bill prohibiting U.S. financial support of abuses against Palestinian children in the Israeli military detention system, putting violations under the magnifying glass of U.S. taxpayers.-rh

Netanyahu: Israel Will Act Alone to Force Iran Out of Syria

Jason Ditz – Antiwar.com – On Tuesday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov confirmed that the most recent ceasefire announcement did not involve any commitment for Russia to force Iran out of Syria, saying that Iran can maintain a legitimate presence in Syria. This isn’t sitting well with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who urged the world to unite and force Iran out of Syria at all costs. Now, he’s saying Israel is prepared to act alone to ensure Iran has no permanent presence there.-rh

For previous articles since 2004 go to respective sections

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Foreign Agents Registration Act Marked by History of Politicization, Selective Enforcement

NOVANEWS

The singling out of RT for treatment as a foreign agent — while entities such as Al Jazeera and AIPAC are ignored — reflects a history of selective enforcement and the politicization of the Foreign Agents Registration Act.

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US Brands RT a “Foreign Agent:” A Chilling Move Against Free Speech

On Thursday, RT America, the US-based subsidiary of RT (formerly known as Russia Today), announced that it would, under pressure from the United States government, register as a “foreign agent” under the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA).

The Justice Department’s demand that RT register as a “foreign agent” is aimed at delegitimizing RT as a news source, intimidating its journalists and guests, and setting the precedent for taking similar actions against other news outlets.

The US government has given no public justification for its demand, which will require that RT America provide information on its finances and on individuals involved in directing the news outlet. RT clearly reflects the views of the Russian government and avoids criticism of the Putin regime. However, the US has made no similar demand in relation to other outlets that have government financing and backing—the BBC, for example. Moreover, the United States operates a vast network of news agencies that work, officially and unofficially, to promote the interests of the American ruling class all over the world.

The US government’s motivations are entirely political, bound up with the effort to present all opposition within the United States as the product of the actions of Russia. In its reporting, whatever its reasons may be, RT provides a platform for voices critical of the policy of the American government.

The United States outlined the political reasons for moving against the broadcaster in the January 6, 2017 report by the US Director of National Intelligence on “Russian intervention” in the 2016 elections.

The report alleged, “RT broadcast, hosted, and advertised third-party candidate debates and ran reporting supportive of the political agenda of these candidates. The RT hosts asserted that the US two-party system does not represent the views of at least one-third of the population and is a ‘sham.’”

The Director of National Intelligence report further denounced favorable coverage by RT of the Occupy Wall Street movement, declaring, “RT framed the movement as a fight against ‘the ruling class’ and described the current US political system as corrupt and dominated by corporations.”

More recently, US politicians—led by the Democratic Party—have developed a narrative that Russia, through outlets like RT, has worked to “sow divisions” within the United States, as if the American people need RT to know that the political system is corrupt and dominated by corporations.

The campaign has been used to demand a regime of Internet censorship, with technology giants including Google, Facebook and Twitter taking measures to block or demote content from a broad range of websites.

Earlier this month, Google removed RT from its list of “preferred” channels on YouTube, while Twitter blocked all advertising by the channel. In addition to its crackdown on RT, Google has made sweeping changes to its search engine and news service that have dramatically slashed traffic to left-wing, antiwar and progressive web sites, including the World Socialist Web Site, which has had its search traffic from Google fall by 74 percent since April.

Precisely because of its ties to the Russian government, the US Justice Department has chosen it as its first target in its drive to persecute, criminalize and ultimately outlaw all oppositional journalists.

Will RT’s hosts, including Pulitzer Prize winner Chris Hedges and veteran interviewer Larry King, also be forced to register as “foreign agents?” Will all of RT’s guests, which have included prominent left-wing journalists, politicians, academics and even celebrities, get a knock on their door demanding that they file paperwork with the Justice Department? Will all of these individuals now be opened to questioning about their collaboration with a “hostile foreign power?”

This month, an organization calling itself the European Values Think-Tank, based in the Czech Republic and funded by the US embassy and foundations associated with billionaire George Soros, published just such a list, including the names of 2,300 RT guests, grouped into US and UK politicians, journalists, academics and celebrities. These individuals are, according to the think tank, “useful idiot[s]” for a “hostile foreign power.”

The list includes journalists Julian Assange, Max Blumenthal, Seymour Hersh, Jeremy Scahill, Ed Schultz and Matt Taibbi, as well as the academics Noam Chomsky and Stephen Cohen, together with actor Russell Brand and filmmaker Oliver Stone.

Amid soaring social inequality and an ever-escalating military buildup, the US government is moving to silence any alternative to its closely monitored and vetted establishment media outlets, including the major newspapers and broadcast networks.

The fact that RT is being targeted because of its political positions sets an ominous precedent. It means that “foreign propaganda” is being defined by political views, laying the groundwork for a much broader range of news outlets to be labeled as promoting “Russian propaganda,” blacklisted and ultimately criminalized.

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