Lebanon

A People’s Guide to Revolution: How Leaderless Revolts Lose the Battle Before it Even Begins

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 18/12/2019 - 1:31am in

Since the 2010 Arab Autumn, it has become clear that leaderless revolts only have two inevitable outcomes. In the first, a game of musical chairs between right-wing imperialist forces will be played and only superficial change will be achieved, like in Quebec, Egypt, Tunis, and Sudan. The second possibility, a right-wing contra war will take hold of the country, as it did in Libya, Syria and Yemen. 

In both situations, two factors impede the possibility of genuine progressive change from crystallizing: a lack of revolutionary television broadcasting that can control messaging, and the lack of a political vehicle in the form of a party and leadership to capitalize on that revolutionary media. Without both, real change cannot be achieved. 

If a popular protest movement doesn’t have control of mass media, it cannot control the message, and if it doesn’t have a political vehicle and inspirational leadership, it cannot control the outcome.

Quebec’s protest movement had some semblance of its own media yet it lacked a political vehicle. The outcome was ultimately right-wing control. In Lebanon and Iraq, popular protest movements lacked both access to the media and a requisite political vehicle. To expect a different outcome than was seen in Quebec, Sudan – or Syria for that matter – is borderline delusional or based on some supremacist ideal that Lebanon is different than the rest of humanity.

I served as the Executive Director of CUTV, a small community television station in Montreal, Canada between 2010 and 2013. My experiences there provide critical insight into the importance of mass media and political vehicles for the success of a popular revolt. Since that time, I have been building on this experience in order to support popular protest movements around the world, including in Lebanon, my home since 2018. 

 

Quebec 2012

In 2012, the Liberal-Federalist party had control of the provincial government of Quebec and Jean Charest, the province’s Premier,  abruptly proposed raising college and university fees by 75 percent. As an executive at CUTV, which was located on the campus of the Anglophone (English) Concordia University, I heard murmurs from embedded reporters noting that students were organizing for a national strike. Events leading up to the strike indicated it would be different than usual. Student organizing in Quebec has historically been a fragmented sphere. English versus French student unions, college versus university, indigenous and “ethnic” versus white. This time, however, Anglo students were as fired up as the Francophone (French-speaking) students and indigenous students were pressuring the movement for inclusion. 

Recognizing the brewing mobilization for a province-wide and unlimited general strike among students in Quebec, CUTV decided to investigate mobile live broadcasting technologies in hopes of providing a mass media platform that could carry the demands of the students to Quebecers. The so-called Arab Autumn was energized and manipulated by al Jazeera through live high definition broadcasts from a camera stationed atop a building near the square, complete with full journalistic packaging. The Occupy movement was energized by low quality mobile live broadcasting from cell-phones. We were looking to surpass both of these models. 

We found solutions through burgeoning technologies at the time that allowed for high definition mobile broadcasting on cellular networks. We leased the equipment months before the general strike began in order to test and modify it to fit our needs. We deployed that tech with full journalistic packaging, the viewer was able to receive a full high definition broadcast with journalists conducting interviews and explaining events in both French and English, all live from the ground and mobilized to follow the action as it developed. 

CUTV Montreal Protests

An exhausted Laith Marouf and his CUTV crew report live from the ground in Montreal, May 20, 2012. Alexis Gravel | Flickr

This live mobile broadcasting created an echo chamber of sorts for the movement. More people were now joining demonstrations, in part, because of the broadcast and demonstrations were now getting longer and more frequent. This meant that we were broadcasting upwards of eight hours a day, this, during a strike that lasted for six months; the longest in the history of Quebec and of Canada. 

Within weeks, our online stream was garnering 150,000 simultaneous unique viewers, and our small community website was clocking 2.5 million visitors a day. In comparison, mainstream media and news television stations, who had no political stake in amplifying the demonstrations, did not suspend regular programming and only covered the protests during their regular three times a day news broadcasts. Even then, according to viewer statistics, the maximum number of simultaneous viewers that news broadcasters in Quebec garnered was around 10,000. This meant that CUTV controlled the narrative of the movement, and all the mainstream media combined could not counter our messaging. After six months, thousands of arrests, tens of injured, and daily police attacks on striking students, (and our broadcasting team) the government resigned and called for an early election.

It was at this juncture that the popular protest movement in Quebec lost control of its messaging as it lacked a political vehicle, a political party with structure and leadership, to carry it into power. Like many protest movements since the Arab Autumn, the young Quebecers refused to elect leadership and were therefore unable to provide voters with an alternative in the coming elections. As expected, the Separatist French Supremacist “Parti Quebecois” capitalized on the moment and swept the elections. As the new premier was giving her acceptance speech, an Anglo Federalist mounted the stage and shot at her with a handgun, luckily missing the shot, yet striking home the reality that a fragmented society, even in the so-called first world, can easily devolve into an armed civil conflict given the right (or wrong) media diet.   

 

Lebanon 2019   

While the 2012 Quebec revolt had the privilege of a movement-oriented media to amplify its voice and managed the messaging and narrative in the public discourse; protesters in Lebanon had no such mechanisms. 

When I arrived in Beirut in mid-2018, I was immediately approached by the country’s “left” parties and their associated media outlets. I had dozens of meetings, and in all of them, I emphasized the following: Lebanon was on the edge, the war in Syria had delayed any revolt, the last round of demonstrations in 2015 triggered by a garbage crisis was an indicator of a sill-glowing ember under the ash (or trash pile in this case) and that live mobile broadcasting capabilities were needed. In almost all those meetings, my pitch was received well and my ideas acknowledged. Yet nothing panned out as those parties and media hired consultancy firms or friends to supposedly deliver on the new multi-media strategy. 

When the demonstrations started, it was clear that “left” had failed to prepare. In stark contrast though, both the pro-imperialist liberal media and their right-wing counterparts were well prepared for the would-be revolt. 

In 2012, CUTV’s connections to the popular protest movement in Quebec and the information gathered while embedded with students allowed us to acquire requisite technologies, modify them to fit our needs, and train the crews on the new broadcasting and reporting models before any strikes were called. What was shocking in Lebanon was how just seven years later, TV stations like al Jadeed and MTV Lebanon were ready with the tech and training they needed to control the narrative of the burgeoning uprising without ever having used this model of reporting before. Al Jadeed had at least eight live units broadcasting across the country, MTV had at least six. Their crews were all trained and ready. Did they have prior knowledge of the would-be “revolt,” or were they informed by the power-brokers of what triggers could indicate a brewing movement?

In any case, what al Jadeed and others did was unprecedented in any country. Here you had corporate-owned stations suspending all regular programming, as well as advertising, and reporting live from the streets for upwards of eight hours a day. 

Lebanon protests

A well-equipped Lebanese news crew takes cover from police tear gas in Beirut, Oct. 18, 2019. Hassan Ammar | AP

Each broadcasting unit costs a minimum of $1,000 per 30 hours of broadcasting, add to that all of the drones, satellite trucks, journalists, technicians, camera operators, and anchors, and it becomes clear that such an operation cost these stations millions of dollars. Not to mention a substantial amount of lost advertising revenue. Why would profit-driven, corporate-owned stations take on such heavy costs if not for political gain? It was clear that these media outlets wanted the demonstrations to continue, and more importantly, wanted to control and manipulate their message and outcome. 

Compare this to mass protests movements like those affiliated with the Black Lives Matter movement in the United States, or the Yellow Vest protests in France, or for that matter any popular protest movement in wealthy countries with an imperialist bent. In those countries, no corporate-owned or government-sponsored media ever suspend their regular programming or deploy live mobile broadcasting to cover popular protest movements. This, among other factors, is proof enough of the political motive of such coverage in Lebanon. 

Progressive forces in Lebanon did not grasp this reality and allowed their movement to play into the hand of the country’s establishment media and outside influencers. These progressives, by adopting the motto of  “all of them, means all of them” early in the demonstrations, put all of Lebanon’s domestic political parties, including Hezbollah, into the same boat as the corrupt politicians who impoverished the nation. This motto, parroted repeatedly by a media vehicle controlled by foreign power-brokers, meant that the anti-corruption movement was instantaneously diverted into a movement against the enemies of those same by foreign power-brokers.

In a world ruled by multimedia and multi-platform international media empires; a leaderless movement, one that doesn’t control any mass media platform or political party, will, without any doubt, be manipulated by those who do. To believe otherwise and to insist on leaderless movements, especially given the many years of experience we now have to draw from; is to be myopic and delusional, or worse, to be a tool manipulated by those who wish to take control of those movements.

Feature photo | Anti-government protesters install a large cardboard fist labeled “Revolution” in Martyr’s Square in Beirut, Lebanon, Nov. 22, 2019. Hussein Malla | AP

Laith Marouf is an award-winning multimedia producer and media policy and law consultant. His media work spans issues of liberation and decolonization from indigenous nations to Arab peoples, while his policy consultancy work is concentrated on building broadcasting capabilities for misrepresented and underrepresented communities the world over. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook.

The post A People’s Guide to Revolution: How Leaderless Revolts Lose the Battle Before it Even Begins appeared first on MintPress News.

The Abuse No-One’s Talking about: Ultra-Zionist Smears, Intimidation and Threats

The media’s been full of stories about how politicians are being sent abuse and death threats, with many of these stories focusing on the internet. It’s been going on for some time, and the Labour right tried to weaponise the issue against Corbyn. Following Hillary Clinton’s lie that Bernie Sanders’ supporters were all misogynist ‘Bernie Bros’, various right-wing female MPs tried the same smear against Corbyn’s supporters. They claimed that they were receiving sexist and misogynist abuse from them. Many of these stories fell apart on inspection, and by and large I don’t think the Blairite women were getting more abuse than anyone else. Half of the abuse directed at female MPs in the Labour party goes to Diane Abbott. Some of the tales of abuse couldn’t be supported, as it seems that the messages sent could not be found or shown. And other messages weren’t sent by members of the Labour party, and so Corbyn couldn’t be responsible.

The same smears of abuse were also used by the Israel lobby – Labour Friends of Israel and the Jewish Labour Movement. And the same criticisms apply here. The existence of some of these abusive texts couldn’t be corroborated, some weren’t sent by members of the party and the actual numbers of real anti-Semites in the party is actually minuscule. But nevertheless the press was full of smear stories by Blairites like Ruth Smeeth and others that the Labour Party was not a safe space for Jews, not since Jeremy Corbyn became leader.

But what the press and media do not report is the extensive smearing and bullying by the Israel lobby and ultra-Zionist activists. This is immense and horrific. Anyone – anyone at all – who dares to make the mildest criticism of Israel and its barbarous treatment of the Palestinians is immediately accused of anti-Semitism. And this is particularly true of Jews. I’ve blogged about the way Jackie Walker receives horrific abuse after her smearing as an anti-Semite and expulsion from the Labour party. Jackie, despite being Jewish by faith and blood, is told she isn’t a Jew because she’s a woman of colour. They also call for her to be lynched – an especially serious threat, as her mother was a Black civil rights activist from the American Deep South – and her body to be set on fire and stuffed into bin bags. Tony Greenstein has received emails telling him that he and his family should have been murdered in the Holocaust. He has also been assaulted by an angry Israeli.

And it goes on. Peter Oborne in his programme on the Israel lobby for Channel 4’s Despatches ten years or so ago showed how respective journalists at the Guardian and BBC were subjected to the same smears by the Board of Deputies of British Jews when they reported massacres and atrocities committed by the Israelis or their allies, the Christian Phalange, in Lebanon. These accusations were leveled at Jeremy Bowen and Orla Guerin. When David Attenborough stepped in to deny them, he too was accused of being an anti-Semite. And this abuse has been hurled at people like Mike and other Corbyn supporters in the Labour party. Lobster also cites former Guardian reporter Nick Davies in their review of a book dismantling the anti-Semitism smears, Bad News for Labour. Davies described in Flat Earth News how reporters and journalists were subjected to horrific abuse and allegations from Israel’s supporters. John Booth, the author of Lobster’s review, writes

‘Journalists who write stories which offend the politics of the Israel lobby are subjected to a campaign of formal complaints and pressure on their editors; most of all, they are inundated with letters and emails which can be extravagant in their hostility,’ he writes.
‘Robert Fisk of The Independent has been told that his mother was Adolf Eichmann’s daughter, that he belongs in hell with Osama bin Laden, that he is a “hate peddler”, “a leading anti-semite and protofascist Islamophile propagandist” and a paedophile.’

This abuse has reached the point that according to the Lobster article, Jewish journalists are afraid to publish articles critical of Israel. Evening Standard journo Mira Bar-Hillel, who was born in Jerusalem, says that they fear retribution if they do.

And left-wing supporters of Jeremy Corbyn have also received this horrific abuse in the Labour party. Sally Eason, the founder of Labour Left Voice, was forced to leave the Labour party because of her criticisms of Israel. Eason’s Sephardic Jewish on her mother’s side. And so she was targeted for concerted abuse and trolling by a network of right-wing scumbags, including David Collier and the Gnasherjew troll farm, which was cheerfully reblogged by ‘jobbing actor’ Tracy Ann Oberman. Mike also suffers vicious abuse from people, who continue to believe the smears that he’s an anti-Semite and Holocaust denier despite his success in getting these utterly false allegations retracted from the papers that printed them. And last week I was insulted by someone angry at my support for Corbyn against the anti-Semitism smears. They sent the comment ‘Fuck you. From a Jew’. It was only one such insult, and it’s mild compared to that sent to people like Mike, Tony and Jackie. But it does show the abusive nature of Israel’s most ardent supporters.

But if you believe the media, the abuse is all one way. It’s all those evil anti-Semites in the Labour sending hatred and death threats to women and Jews. The reality is that Corbynites have also been on the receiving end of horrific abuse, much of the abuse the Blairites claim was sent to them seems to be nonexistent. And some of the most vicious, and viciously anti-Semitic abuse is that sent by the Israel lobby and supporters of Britain’s Jewish establishment. And thanks to the abuse sent by people like David Collier and his friends in Gnasherjew, Israel-critical Jews do not feel safe.

That is real, viciously dangerous anti-Semitic abuse. And it is not reported in the Media. Disgusting!

Lobster’s review of the book, Bad News for Labour: Anti-Semitism, the Party and Public Belief, by Greg Philo, Mike Berry, Justin Schlosberg, Antony Lerman and David Miller is at: https://www.lobster-magazine.co.uk/free/lobster78/lob78-bad-news-labour.pdf

Quo Vadis, Lebanon?

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sun, 08/12/2019 - 1:00pm in

Andre Vltchek Good bye, Lebanon, metaphorically and truly. Good bye to a country which, many believe, actually has already ceased to exist. For five long years I have been commuting between the Asia Pacific and the Middle East. And Beirut, for all that time, was one of my homes. I arrived in Beirut when the …

Lobster on the Media’s Failure to Report Truth about Labour Anti-Semitism Smears

Robin Ramsay, the editor of the online parapolitics/conspiracies magazine, Lobster, has added a few new articles in his ‘View from the Bridge’ section for issue 78. One of these is about the media’s colossal, odious failure to present the real truth about the anti-Semitism smears against the Labour party. Which is, basically, that the conspiracy theorists are exactly right and the whole thing is a disinformation campaign run from the Israeli embassy in London.

He begins by reporting the recent attacks on Labour for being anti-Semitic by Stephen Daisley in the Spectator, Philip Collins in the Times, and then the claim by James Cleverly, the Tory chairman, that British Jews are about to flee the UK in case Corbyn gets in. Because some Jewish friends of his told him so.

He then states that these are symptomatic of the failure of the media as a whole to tackle the real truth about these smears, and suggests why this might be so. He writes

These comments (and there were many similar in the first week of the election campaign) illustrate again the complete failure of the mainstream media to handle the Labour–is–anti-semitic operation run by the Israeli embassy in London and its assets. Why has the MSM failed so completely at this? Maybe one day some of those involved at editorial level will explain their thinking; but until then we can only speculate. Among the factors are:

* The story is too complex for the rolling 24 hour news culture and there
are few journalists left in the MSM with the time to research complex stories.

* Anyone pursuing the story is going to be accused of anti-semitism or
conspiracy theorising or both.

* To acknowledge the existence of the Israeli operations revealed by Al Jazeera’s covert filming, means acknowledging that the version of political reality offered by the MSM is partial at best, and false at worst. This also implies that British political journalists either don’t know what is going on or are too career-minded to stray beyond the carefully delineated boundaries of ‘serious’ or ‘respectable’ journalism.

He concludes by comparing the al-Jazeera documentary, The Lobby, with the Zapruder film in the way this has the potential to alter research into the real conspiracy behind the Corbyn smears. This would be similar to the way the Zapruder film of the Kennedy assassination has provided evidence supporting the idea that there was another shooter beside Lee Harvey Oswald.

The Al Jazeera films on ‘the lobby’ may eventually be a game-changer in the way that the 1975 showing of the Zapruder film on US TV was: after the Z film the official version that all the shots came from behind Kennedy became an absurdity. After ‘the lobby’ films no-one can seriously deny the existence of the Israel lobby.

See: https://www.lobster-magazine.co.uk/free/lobster78/lob78-view-from-the-bridge.pdf

For many people outside the milieu, the Kennedy assassination really is the archetypal modern conspiracy theory with various obsessives convinced that Oswald didn’t do it, and that it was all down to the CIA and American intelligence establishment instead. While I believe that there probably was another shooter and that the question of whether there was a wider conspiracy to kill Kennedy is a good one, Ramsey’s comparison may not be so convincing to others.

But he’s right about the conspiracy to remove Corbyn and the Israelis. The Israeli government does have an office that deals with attacking and smearing critics of the Israeli state for their brutal policies towards the Palestinians. Al-Jazeera did catch Shai Masot at the Israeli embassy trying to get a Tory minister removed from the government and replaced with Boris Johnson, because the minister, Alan Duncan, was too pro-Palestinian. And one of the Labour supporters smeared as an anti-Semite is Cyril Chilson, the son of a Holocaust survivor and Soviet airman, an Israeli, who worked in the IDF’s propaganda department. He was smeared because he recognised the libels as hasbara – the Israeli term for civilian propaganda, and called it as such.

As for the reasons the media isn’t calling it out, I think it’s probably a mixture of all three. Peter Oborne’s documentary for Channel 4’s Dispatches showed eleven years ago how the Israel lobby in this country would stop at nothing to destroy and smear critics of Israel. Independent Jewish monitoring groups were put under pressure to merge their magazines with Israeli state periodicals. Newspapers like the Guardian and its editor were accused by the Board of Deputies of anti-Semitism for accurately reporting atrocities committed by Israel and its allies, the Christian Phalange, in Lebanon. As was the Beeb and highly respected journalists like Orla Guerin when they did the same. They even tried to smear David Attenborough when he defended the Beeb’s Middle East correspondents.

The media are pushing lies by repeating these smears against Jeremy Corbyn, lies which have their origin in attempts by the Israeli state and its supporters to prevent the rise of a Labour government which genuinely wants a just peace between Israel and its indigenous Arab peoples.

Is Riley’s and Oberman’s Fixation with Corbyn Heading towards Clinical Paranoia?

Mike’s had to put up another piece on his site asking his supporters to dig into their pockets again to help fund his defence against Rachel Riley. His preliminary hearings set for December 11, and he needs a further £6,684. Justice in this country is expensive, which is why I think Riley is pursuing her entirely malicious libel claim against Mike, and threatens anybody else, who dares to criticise her, with legal action.

But the fixation Riley and her bestie, Z-list actor Tracy-Ann Oberman, have with supposed Labour anti-Semitism, and particularly Jeremy Corbyn, is so extreme and irrational that I’m starting to wonder if it’s edging into clinical paranoia. For example, a few months ago one of the two heard the Durham miners’ band playing ‘Hava Nagila’ at their annual gala. Riley – or was it Oberman? – blew her top and declared it was like the KKK playing it. Except that it wasn’t. The Durham miners’ explained that they played the tune every year, and resented being compared to the Klan. As they should. But the pair have obviously decided that as Corbyn and his supporters want justice for the Palestinians, they are anti-Semites, and so every member of a trade union or the Labour party is thus likely to be a Nazi.

And a few weeks ago Oberman decided that Corbyn was stalking her personally. She was performing in a play at a theatre in Manchester, and Corbyn turned up visiting the theatre. But it had nothing to do with persecuting Oberman. Corbyn’s actually a patron of that particular theatre, and was one of the people, who got it set up in the first place. He was there to see a play. This seems to show, to me, that Oberman is on the verge of real paranoia.

I’ve compared her fixation with Corbyn and anti-Semitism in the past to some of the bizarre racist myths about Roman Catholics and Blacks circulating around poor White Protestants in the southern US. A documentary was made about this a few years ago, but I can’t remember its name. Apparently this included tales that Roman Catholics were secretly telepathic, and if you suddenly found yourself thinking about the Pope, it meant that they were secretly beaming Roman Catholic ideas into your head. Blacks also had a powder they could put on their body that would make them appear White. Thus your mate could really be Black. She also reminds me of the paranoid messages the FBI used to get during the Cold War from people, who wore the tinfoil beanie against the CIA/Red Chinese/Aliens beaming their mind control rays at them. As well as the other nutters, who thought they’d found Adolf Hitler alive and well and working at the local Jewish delicatessen in New York.

She also reminds me of Steve Renstrom, AKA She-Bop Steve, an American artist, who decided that Senator Alan Cranston was behind a vast conspiracy to kill millions including John F. Kennedy and the actor John Belushi. Donna Kossy provides an example of his insane rants in her Kooks: A Guide to the Outer Limits of Human Belief (Portland, Oregon: Feral House 1994). This has the following

The Goods on the Big Boys

Reagan/Cabinet, Iran/Contra Situation –

IT’S A CRANSTON ‘TAKES THE FALL’ FRONT LIE

[TERROR OF JUSTICE]

The Reich, or Cranston Co., owns the scenario and is undermining the power and popularity of the Presidency. The Reich is freaking about the possibility of justice re their mass slaughtering of the people.

So, they opportuned and exacerbated the Iran thing plus deviously calling for conclusions, anti-Reagan conclusions, all across the land. (brainwashing every voice). This one really tipped me: picture of Reagan on the front page pointing to head. (At the same time as Iran scheme!)

The Dan Rather Incident: Horrifying Berlin 42 Implications

It was designated also to blind mass “Dupe Troop” levels. “What’s the frequency” was a ‘drop’ they’d buy a “it’s pigs allright, must be o.k. to beat up newsmen. We ought accept more ‘n more Nazi violence and atrocities. And it’s o.k. also about owning the media about it.”

P.S. All during this writing I’m being insanely tortured. Also flow “cover up” and American guilt lies every second.

The Iran/ Contra scandal was when members of Reagan’s government were caught supplying arms to Iran, so that they would pressure Shi’a terrorists in Lebanon into releasing captured American hostages. The conspiracy also involved sending aid to the Fascist Contras in Nicaragua in exchange for allow them to export cocaine to America. The Dan Rather incident was when the veteran American newsman was assaulted in New York by someone, who seemed to think he was responsible for mind-control beams or some such similar nonsense, and beat Rather over the head shouting, ‘What’s the frequency, Kenneth?’

It might sound a bit extreme comparing Riley’s and Oberman’s fixation with Jeremy Corbyn and She-Bop Steve’s paranoid views about Senator Cranston. But I do think that there are real similarities there and that, if they’re not careful, Riley and Oberman will end up as real paranoiacs blaming Corbyn for all manner of conspiracies, including UFOs.

Mike’s very grateful to his supporters for all the help he gets, no matter how small. If you want to help him, go to https://voxpoliticalonline.com/2019/11/08/target-set-to-fund-next-hearing-in-riley-libel-fightback/ and follow the instructions there.

Global Protests: The Relentless Capitalist Crisis Demands the Overthrow of the System

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 06/11/2019 - 1:36am in

image/jpeg iconrevolution_lebanon.jpg

How to make sense of these mushrooming mass protests-cum-rebellions which have no clear class character, owe their lightening speed of organisation largely to the rallying capacity of social media, which have few distinct or established leaders and whose often contradictory demands are constantly changing and are now emulating each other?

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Beirut is Burning

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 30/10/2019 - 2:00pm in

Andre Vltchek Tires are burning, smoke is rising towards the sky. It is October, the 18th day of the month, the capital city of Lebanon, in the past known as the “Paris of the East”, is covered in smoke. For years I was warning that the country governed by corrupt, indifferent elites, could not hold …

Frustration and Dismay at Private Eye Pushing the Anti-Semitism Smears

This kind of follows on from the post I put up on Thursday, criticising a piece in Private Eye by their correspondent ‘Ratbiter’ celebrating Stop Funding Fake News and its attempts to cut off funding from what it considers to be extremist websites. Stop Funding Fake News has been the subject of a series of posts by Zelo Street, which has shown how the organisation is itself deeply suspect. For all its avowed concern to stop fake news, SFFN itself is less than transparent. It won’t tell you who its members are for one thing. And while it has attacked right-wing sites, like Breitbart and Tommy Robinson’s wretched website, as described in Ratbiter’s article, it’s also gone after those on the Left, like the Canary.  They’re also supposed to be extremists sites peddling fake news, but as I pointed out, the Canary’s politics are those of the old social democratic consensus. The consensus that Corbyn wishes to bring back, of a mixed economy, strong welfare state, proper, effective trade unions, a nationalised and properly funded NHS, and proper rights for working people. You know, proper, constructive policies that will save this country and its people from poverty, starvation and exploitation. But Thatcherites, whether in the Tory party, or the Lib Dems and Blairites in Labour, can’t stand any of this. They can’t bear the thought that Thatcher is a goddess who failed, and that neoliberalism has run its course and been found threadbare. So Corbyn and his supporters have been accused of being Trots, Commies, Stalinists and other epithets by the papers and right-wing Labour MPs like Jess Philips.

Israel Lobby Using Anti-Semitism Smears to Suppress Criticism

But these policies are actually popular with the British public, and so the Right has taken to trying to discredit Corbyn and his followers, and more broadly the Labour party, with accusations of anti-Semitism. As I’ve blogged about endlessly, the actual incidence of genuine anti-Semitism in the Labour party is low. Very low. What riles the witch hunters is that Corbyn and his supporters are critics of Israel’s policy of oppression, apartheid and the ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians. The Israel lobby’s only defence against these entirely justifiable criticisms is to scream ‘anti-Semitism!’ and demand that their critics should be removed from office, silenced and even prosecuted for hate crimes. And ‘Ratbiter’ and Private Eye itself has been pushing this as strenuously as the rest of the media. In his article about Stop Funding Fake News, ‘Ratbiter’s’ praise for SFFN’s attack on the Canary claimed that not only was the Canary pushing fake news, but it was also anti-Semitic and pushing conspiracy theories about Jews. None of which is true. There is a concerted campaign by the Conservative Jewish establishment in this country to close down debate about Israel in line with the demands of the Israeli government. The Israeli state even as a special government office for promoting this hasbara. This is substantiated fact. But it’s suppressed by the British establishment and media, which wants you to believe that when the Board of Deputies of British Jews and the Jewish Leadership Council scream at Corbyn for supporting speeches by Holocaust survivors and anti-Nazi activists, like Hajo Meyer, attacking the maltreatment of the Palestinians, these right-wing organisations speak for all British Jews. They don’t, as is very clear by the number of Jews involved in the Palestinian rights movement, the BDS campaign and who support Corbyn in the Labour party. Still, why bother about awkward facts when you’re the media, eh?

Private Eye Part of Press Smears of Anti-Semitism

I’m particular dismayed and frustrated that Private Eye has joined in with this vilification and smearing. I’m not surprised by the right-wing press – the Fail, Scum, Depress, Times and Sunset Times, as they’ve always lied about and slandered the Labour party and left-wing activists. You only have to go back two years to when the Sunset Times smeared Mike as an anti-Semite and Holocaust denier. Or how it tried to tell the world that Michael Foot was a KGB agent, against all evidence. I’m disappointed that the Absurder, Groaniad and the Mirror have joined in with these accusation. But the Groan is in dire financial straits and has supported the Liberals in several elections. Kath Viner, the new editor, would like to make it a general political newspaper, not tied to the Left. And the Absurder and Mirror look like they’re run by Blairites.

Private Eye’s Liberal Stance and Challenge to Authority

But Private Eye’s support for the smears I find more puzzling and exasperating. OK, I realise that despite its attacks on NHS privatisation, Tory housing policy, the attacks on the disabled, the failings of the privatised water companies, probation service, and outsourcing companies like Capita and Serco, the magazine’s not actually left-wing. Its founders – Peter Cook, Richard Ingrams, Willie Rushton and Auberon Waugh were all thoroughly middle class public school boys. John Wells was the headmaster at Eton. But the magazine does have a proud tradition of standing up for those wrongly accused and questioning the actions of the security services. Paul Foot was a staunch advocate for people he believed were wrongly accused of murder. The magazine is still covering the Deepcut scandal, and what looks very much like an attempt to hide the evidence and protect the guilty by the army and the police. They’ve also covered deaths in police custody and other cases of official incompetence, corruption and wrongdoing. They even published several pieces and then a final report in the mid-90s questioning the official assertion that the Libyans were responsible for the Lockerbie bombing. They believed instead that Syria was responsible, and that blame was placed on the Libyans for political reasons: Major and George Bush senior needed Syria to join their coalition against Saddam Hussein’s invasion of Kuwait. It has also defended asylum seekers, both collectively and individually, from racist discrimination, incarceration, beatings and abuse, and the threat of deportation. It is because the magazine has this proud tradition of questioning authority that I find its current support for the anti-Semitism smears infuriating.

Private Eye also Repeating British Intelligence Propaganda?

I am also aware that, as well as probing some of the actions of the British intelligence agencies, like when they have leaned on journalists to reveal their sources, they’ve also acted to promote them. There is ample evidence that the Maidan Revolution in Ukraine in 2012, which overthrew the pro-Russian president, was anything but popular. It was instead a staged coup overseen by the US statement and the National Endowment for Democracy. But from reading the ‘Letter from…’ column in Private Eye dealing with events in that country, you are told that it is all the fault of the Russians and their supporters. It also appears that the magazine does, or at least, did, have connections to MI5. Auberon Waugh was related to one of its directors or senior officials, and Lobster a decade or so ago ran a piece, ‘5 at Eye’, speculating the magazine and particularly Waugh were responsible for running the smear stories about Harold Wilson being a KGB spy. I am also aware that as a magazine that is unaligned to any political party, and which criticises and satirises all of them, it’s going to attack Labour. Corbyn, as head of the party, is fair game. And those attacks are going to come from his opponents. Which include ‘Ratbiter’, real name Nick Cohen, and whichever Blairites used to run the ‘Focus on Fact’ cartoon attacking the Labour leader.

Private Eye Shares Journalists with Other Papers

But nevertheless, I am extremely annoyed at the way it has joined in with the smearing of decent, anti-racist, Jewish and gentile people as anti-Semites. Like the rest of the press and media, they largely haven’t contacted them for their opinion, or given them space to explain how they were smeared. When a letter has been published in Private Eye rebutting their claim that anti-Semitism is rife in Labour, they’ve replied by quoting Jon Lansman, the founder of Momentum, who believes it is. And who has been roundly criticised for this by Tony Greenstein. Part of this might just be standard press groupthink. Private Eye, for all its attacks on the press and media in its ‘Street of Shame’ and television columns, is part of it, and some of its anonymous correspondents are no doubt journalists working for other papers. Nick ‘Ratbiter’ Cohen is a hack for the Graon and Absurder, while one of the editors and probably a reviewer for their books page was Francis Wheen, another Guardian journo. The press seem to have decided en masse that Corbyn is an anti-Semite, and for all its professed independence and criticism of the fourth estate, the Eye really doesn’t seem to want to break ranks with them in that regard.

And I also suspect that they don’t want to counter that narrative for geopolitical reasons. Israel’s one of the pillars of our foreign policy in the Middle East, and although the paper has criticised it for its treatment of the Palestinians, its attack on Corbyn and his supporters as anti-Semites show that there are limits to how far the magazine will go in challenging foreign policy.

Private Eye also Afraid of Being Smeared as Anti-Semitic?

I also wonder if there are more selfish reasons. As Peter Oborne showed in his documentary on the Israel Lobby for Channel 4’s Despatches eleven years ago, the Conservative Jewish establishment and the Israel lobby will smear any and all newspapers and media organisations as anti-Semitic if they criticise Israel. Even, and perhaps especially, when that criticism is justified, as when the Guardian and BBC reported on the massacre of Palestinians in the Sabra and Shatila refugee camps in Lebanon by the Christian Phalange, who were allied to Israel. The Groan’s former editor, Alan Rusbridger, described how the president of the Board used to troop into his office, with his pet lawyer, demanding the withdrawal of articles critical of Israel on the grounds that they would incite the general public to hate Jews.

The Beeb’s respected Middle East correspondents Jeremy Bowen and Orla Guerin were also accused of anti-Semitism when they covered the above massacres. When senior Beeb officials like Sir David Attenborough defended them, they too were ridiculously accused. That should have destroyed the Board’s credibility. Instead it seems to have succeeded in emboldening the Israel lobby. Since then Israel has also denounced and lied about the Beeb’s coverage of the blockade of Gaza and the bombing campaign against Palestinians, claiming that journalists were anti-Semitic and expelling them. This does seem to have had a chilling effect at the Beeb. And not just at the Beeb – the Groan and the Absurder have also fallen in line. And I think Private Eye’s determined promotion of the anti-Semitism smears may also be part of this. They’re also, I suspect, afraid of the Board turning up in their offices to accuse them of anti-Semitism. Back in the ’60s and ’70s when the magazine appeared more louche and subversive than it is now, some newsagents refused to stock it. In the 1990s WH Smith withdrew one edition from its shelves because of a joke on the cover about the prurient public interest in the death of Princess Di. I think the magazine is still terrified of some kind of boycott by distributors, which may well be the result if the Board did decide to start accusations of anti-Semitism against them.

What Can Be Done?

So there are a variety of reasons why Private Eye is pushing the anti-Semitism smears. But speculating on their motives doesn’t make it any less infuriating that they’re doing it. I’ve thought in the past of writing letters of complaint to the Eye, explaining that the accused aren’t anti-Semites, and asking for an explanation. But what’s the point? The letter would either be ignored, or a short, edited version would appear in the magazine, which would allow them to reply quoting Lansman or someone else that anti-Semitism is rife, etc. And I might be unfair here to the magazine, but I don’t want to find myself smeared as an anti-Semite in turn and have my name or address passed onto the trolls that appear online to howl abuse at Mike, Jackie Walker and Tony Greenstein.

And so there doesn’t seem to be much hope of challenging the Eye in its pages. The only option left is to carry on critiquing its lies and those of the rest of the media in the hope that more and more people will realise that it and they are smearing decent people simply for political advantage and to keep a vicious, corrupt government installed.

The “ISIS Resurgence” is Fake News

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 19/10/2019 - 4:31am in

Donald Trump's decision to "withdraw" from Syria has kicked up a lot of dust - there's sympathy for the poor Kurds, concern for the stability of the region, fear of "increased Russian influence"...and dire warnings of a possible "resurgence of ISIS"....Given what we already know, how seriously should we take these warnings?

The Nazis and Post-War German Conservatism, The CDU

That determined opponent of all forms of racism and Fascism, and their Jewish version, Zionism, Tony Greenstein, has written a passionate open letter to the mayor of the German city of Aachen, Marcel Philipp. His letter is a protest against Philipp’s decision to withdraw an artistic prize from Raad, a Lebanese-American artist, because Raad supports the Boycott, Divestment and Sanction movement against Israeli goods and businesses operating in the Occupied Territories. In his letter, Greenstein shows how the BDS campaign is actually an anti-racist movement, despite the official condemnation of it as anti-Semitic by the Bundestag, the German parliament. Boycotts are the weapon of the oppressed. He notes that it was used against slave-produced sugar from the West Indies, and takes his name from Colonel Boycott, an Irish landlord shunned by his tenants in County Mayo in 19th Ireland. He also points out that the anti-BDS legislation is supported by outright racists and genuine anti-Semites like the Alternative fur Deutschland in Germany and Trump in the US. They do so not because they are friends of Jews, but because they believe that Israel is their real home, and would like the Jewish people in their countries to move there.

Philipp is a member of the CDU, the Christian Democratic Union. This is the German equivalent of our Conservative party, and was formed after the war from the merger of the Catholic Centre Party and a few other parties. Greenstein accuses Philipp himself of racism, due to the presence of former Nazis in the party after the War. He points out that the closest adviser of Conrad Adenauer, Germany’s first post-War Chancellor, was Hans Josef Globke, the legal expert, who drew up the infamous Nuremberg Laws for the Nazis. This was the legislation that put the Nazi social policy of racism, anti-Semitism and vicious discrimination and persecution into official state action. After the War, 77 per cent of legal staff in the German department of justice were former Nazis. At the Eichmann trial, Adenauer was determined to stop any mention of Globke and his role in the Holocaust. And so he sent Israel military aid, including submarines, and assistance with David Ben Gurion’s nuclear programme. 

Greenstein ends his letter

It is perfectly understandable that racists and white supremacists the world over should oppose the Boycott of Israel.  Racists have always opposed the use of BDS.  It is therefore no surprise that as a member of a racist German party should oppose Boycott.

My only message to you Mr Philipp is not to expiate your guilt over the Holocaust at the expense of the Palestinians. It was people like you who were responsible for Auschwitz and Treblinka, not the Arabs of Palestine.

The annihilation of the Jews in the Holocaust is no justification for the racial oppression and genocidal murder of the Palestinians today. Your party was once full of Nazis.  It would seem that old habits die hard.

http://azvsas.blogspot.com/2019/10/open-letter-to-aachens-racist-mayor.html

The letter’s interesting, not just for Tony’s protest about the withdrawal of the prize and efforts by German, American and European Fascists – he also mentions Italy’s Matteo Salvemini, amongst others – supporting and calling for a ban on the BDS movement, but also for the light it sheds on the Nazi past of many members of the CDU. The Baader-Meinhof gang in the 1970s arose because of scandals like this. They were furious that former Nazis like Globke were continuing their lives and careers, untroubled by proper punishment for their horrendous crimes. And as Ken Livingstone pointed out in his 1987 book, Livingstone’s Labour, NATO and the various western intelligence agencies actively recruited them during the Cold War as part of their campaign against Communism.

In fact, the party that consistently fought against the Nazis and their persecution was the SDP and later the KPD, the German Socialists and Communists. These formed resistance cells even after they were formerly banned. Not that German Conservatives were alone in possessing extreme right-wing sympathies. Our own Conservative party and its press, like the Daily Mail, also had Fascist sympathisers before the War, and a Fascist fringe afterwards.

Forget the lies about Jeremy Corbyn and his supporters in the British Labour Party, anti-Semitism is and has always been far more prevalent on the right. Which is why we need to have decent, left-wing parties presenting an alternative to poverty, austerity and neoliberalism in government all over Europe. And to fight all forms of Fascism, even when it tries to present itself as friendly towards Jews, like Zionist imperialism.

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