• All governments lie, but disaster lies in wait for countries whose officials smoke the same hashish they give out.

  • I.F. Stone

donderdag 18 januari 2018

Who Really Defeated ISIS?

Who Really Defeated ISIS?
EDITOR'S CHOICE | 08.01.2018

Who Really Defeated ISIS?

David William PEAR
Who defeated the Islamic State In Syria?
Before answering that question. What is the ISIS? Can the public overcome its chronic amnesia and think back to the sudden appearance of ISIS dressed in brand new black uniforms, gleaming white NIKE's and driving Toyota trunks? They seemed to appear out of nowhere in 2014. ISIS looked as if it were a mirage when it appeared, or more likely a CIA staged scene from Hollywood.
No sooner had ISIS appeared than it went on a head chopping binge that repulsed and frightened the US public. Washington officials, including Secretary of State John Kerryrang the alarm that this hoard of Islamic crazies wanted to invade the US and "kill us all". A well-compliant mainstream media swallowed Washington's script and regurgitated it to frighten a US public. The public gave its silent consent for more war really aimed at Bashar al-Assad.
The next question is who created ISIS? ISIS "can trace its roots back to the late Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, a Jordanian. In 2004, a year after the US-led invasion of Iraq, Zarqawi pledged allegiance to Osama Bin Laden and formed al-Qaeda in Iraq" [BBC News December 2, 2016]. Al-Qaeda in Iraq did not exist until after the US invasion by the Bush-Cheney administration.
The US invasion of Iraq was based on pure unadulterated lies that Saddam Hussein supported al-Qaeda, was involved in the September 11, 2001 attacks on the US and had weapons of mass destruction. Al-Qaeda in Iraq was predictable blowback, resistance against a US illegal invasion. Bush who admitted that he creates his own reality, had hallucinations of a grateful Iraqi people, who had just been bombed back to the Stone Age with Shock and Awe, throwing kisses and flowers at the US expeditionary force as liberators.
Then came the failed Surge in 2007 [The Nation], when the US allied with Sunnis to defeat the remnants of the Iraqi Ba'ath Party, which was an Arab Nationalist Party neither Sunni nor Shia. The cynical sponsoring and siding with radical Islam goes back to the British "Great Game" of the early 1900's. It was the British double-dealing with both Sunnis and Shias to supplant the Ottoman Empire, and turn Sunni against Shia to divide and conquer Southwest Asia. It is the story of Lawrence of Arabia, Winston Churchill and World War One.
One could then pick up the story after World War Two when the US was opposing Arab anti-colonial nationalism and communism during the Cold War. It was the "Grand Chessboard" strategist Zbigniew Brzezinski who convinced Jimmy Carter in 1980's to back the Islamic radical mujahideen mercenaries and destroy Afghanistan in order to lure the Soviet Union into a Vietnam-type trap. Brzezinski was so proud of his success that he would later rhetorically ask to his shame, which is more important "Some stirred-up Moslems" or winning the Cold War.
If Brzezinski was so clever he would have learned from the British early 1900's Southwest Asia super spy Gertrude Bell. As she would later say, the British Empire encouraging and sponsoring of radical Islam backfired into a big failure. But the US does not know history, even its own history of repeated blunders of encouraging and sponsoring radical Islam against Arab anti-colonial nationalism.
So instead the US enlisted the most radical right-wing fascist regime in the history of the world, the Absolute Monarchy of Saudi Arabia to bankroll Sunnis against Arab nationalism. They gladly funded US regime change projects against secular Arab states. The US flush with cash from the Saudis went about encouraging, training and paying mercenaries from all over Southwest Asia to overthrow Bashar al-Assad. Assad did not share the US role as the world leader of capitalist globalization. Instead Assad was using Syria's wealth for the benefit of the Syrian people, just as Saddam Hussein and Muammar Gaddafi. "Assad must go", chanted Obama, Clinton, Kerry and Saudi Wahhabis. To the US it did not matter how many Syrians, Libyan or Iraqis died. As Madeleine Albright had said, "500,000 dead Iraqi children are worth it".
It was the US and its allies the Absolute Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States that created ISIS. Mercenaries from all over the Muslim world were recruited and even supported with their own air force, the United States Airforce. The mainstream media gave the US the cover story the US was backing "well-vetted moderate ['Jeffersonian democrats' really] Islamists". The mainstream media are criminal coconspirators for spreading war propaganda, the Guardian being one of the worst offenders, with a few rare exceptions, such as Trevor Timm's reporting.
Now with the ringing in of the 2018 New Year, we can expect the US to be patting itself on the back for defeating ISIS in 2017 . The real story is that it was Assad, Russia, Hezbollah and Iran that defeated ISIS (so far). For those without amnesia they may remember back to when Russia released videos of endless convoys of black-market ISIS oil tankers heading into Turkey. ISIS was partially funding itself with stolen oil and enriching black marketeers of Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Somehow, the US with all of its technology and thousands of bombing missions in Syria never saw all those tankers. Nor could they find ISIS fighters, so instead they bombed the Syrian army. The US only saw what it wanted to see and what it wanted to bomb. It was not ISIS. Here are the videos of Russian jets taking out ISIS oil tankers:
Some of the mainstream media grudgingly acknowledges that Russia had a hand in rolling back ISIS. Even then the mainstream media downplays the Russian contribution to a support roll, rather than the primary force. Instead the US mainstream media gives the credit to " the US and 67 other nations from around the world". It was, they say the US that "trained, supported and provided air support" to local Syrian rebel good-guys, the mythical democratic moderates, that the US was supporting that defeated ISIS. City after city, and village after village were destroyed by ISIS, US bombing and an invisible US moderate rebel force as it created hundreds of thousands of Syrian casualties and refugees.
According to the mainstream media, the Russians stepped in late "to provide air support for the Syrian government"backing the regime of President Bashar al-Assad against rebels threatening his rule, but also targeting some ISIS territory". Unmentioned is that Russia was legally "invited" by the legitimate government of Syria, while the US and its coalition are committing a war crime of aggression against a fellow member country of the United Nations.
Now we are going to be hearing that one year of Trump did what 8 years of Obama could not do. We are going to be hearing more of how in just one year "ISIS went from attracting thousands of foreign fighters to its anti-Western cause and plotting devastating terror attacks all over the world, to surrendering en masse". It was the "US-led bombing campaign and US-backed and trained forces" that defeated ISIS, supposedly.
Yes, after six plus years of the most powerful military force in the history of the world, with the most technologically advanced weapons ever invented, and an annual military budget of $1 Trillion the US finally defeated a rag-tag mercenary paramilitary of about 30,000 fighters.
The whole story of the US war on terrorism is an incredible and unbelievable tale of pabulum that Washington and its mainstream repeaters have been feeding to the US public since 9-11. It stinks.

What’s wrong with colonialism?

What’s wrong with colonialism?

Middle East 
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I remember many years ago sitting through a seminar at Macquarie University in Sydney during my Honours studies in Politics. That particular seminar focused on Western colonialism in the South Pacific, and modern Western imperialism in general. I remember one thing vividly from that class that remained etched into my mind. It was a question that the lecturer asked us repeatedly and insistently. ‘Why is it so important for indigenous people to maintain their identity? What is so bad with a particular way of life or culture disappearing?’
At the time I could not think of an answer. In fact none of us was able to answer it. I remember feeling like a rabbit in the headlights. Every bit of me told me this was very wrong, but I couldn’t explain why. It was the mid-nineties, and only four years after I had moved to Australia from Israel. I was ignorant about what colonialism or settler-colonialism are, and their legacy. I was still blind to the Zionist settler-colonialism in which I grew up, and did not register the fact that by virtue of being white, I automatically embraced the settler-colonial power structure in Australia too.
The entire topic was taught in a sanitised way, and in what I now recognise as an apologist Western attitude with a strong white Western bias. That lecturer did not ask his question to get us to think critically about colonialism. He really meant for us to consider that there is nothing wrong with cultures disappearing and being replaced with other cultures, not by a natural, organic process of social and cultural evolution, but by force and coercion employed by someone coming in from elsewhere.
I didn’t understand at the time that the disappearance of a culture by force is always in the context of psychopathic control, that it is in effect a rape, an exercise of pure power; that it is always in the service of, and for the benefit of the coloniser’s ruling classes. Colonialism is never for the benefit of the colonised, and it is always carried out in the context of a system of violence, control, and domination.
Colonisers do not knock on the door of the colonised, and ask politely if it is OK to borrow a cup of sugar and a couple of eggs. There is no equality of power, and the colonised cannot respond politely that they have nothing to give, or alternatively choose to offer the cup of sugar and two eggs. The key factor here is choice. The colonisers step in with superior weaponry, efficient bureaucracy and organisation, all supported by an ideology of superiority and entitlement, and they take. It’s theft of land, resources, culture. It is rape on every level. It is taking what isn’t theirs without asking permission, and without concern for the impact that this has on the ones from whom they are taking.
Colonisation is an exercise in objectification. Others exist only as a resource for the coloniser, not in their own right. In psychotherapy, we recognise this easily as a psychopathic power structure that is harmful and extremely dangerous to the victim. It can lead to psychological annihilation, and often to death, either directly, or as a longer-term consequence of the psychological destruction.
Colonisation ultimately has to be accompanied by a ‘policy of elimination’, as Patrick Wolfe calls it. Without a policy of elimination the exercise cannot succeed. There will be resistance. Colonialism is ultimately about the bottom line, material gain. Or in the case of Israel’s settler-colonialist project in Palestine, in the service of the goal of establishing and securing an exclusively Jewish state in the whole of historic Palestine. As many colonisers throughout history have learned the hard way, colonialism can backfire. When too many resources have to be diverted to quashing resistance, it can end up in a loss rather than gain for the coloniser. The dynamic of resistance is at the heart of the success or failure of colonial projects. An effective policy of elimination is therefore crucial for colonial success because it tackles the problem of resistance directly.
Elimination does not just mean killing a lot of people, or eliminating an entire people. A policy of elimination means also, the annihilation of the indigenous people’s identity, or ‘spirit’. The spirit of a people (or of an individual for that matter) isn’t something that can be quantified or measured. But it is nonetheless as real and as tangible as the art, craft, customs and traditions, cuisine, history, relationships, and stories that a culture contains. It’s about how a culture expresses its own unique experience of life.
Cultures are never monoliths. They are diverse and multifaceted, but are still identifiable as different and unique from other cultures. A culture to a group, is what an identity is to an individual. Take that away, and only a shell is left. Humans do not live well as shells, either as groups or as individuals. It’s like being a zombie, an animated physical form devoid of a soul. Culture and identity are both driven by, and are an expression of the essence of existence, the ‘life force’ if you will of a group or an individual. They are intertwined. Damage one, and you compromise the other.
In the lives of individuals, the equivalent of colonialism is the experience of being affected by someone with a personality disorder. So many clients with such a history describe being left feeling ‘like a zombie’, an empty shell. In psychotherapy, we have to help these clients reconstruct their sense of identity and self by helping them rediscover what is important to them, what their interests are, their values, feelings, thoughts and beliefs, and how they like to express them. It’s a huge job.
Kamel Hawwash’s excellent article, ‘Israel implements a deliberate policy to terrorise Palestinian children’ (Middle East Eye, 4th January 2018) made me think of how cunning Israel is in its attempt to destroy the essence of the Palestinian people, their very ‘life force’, their spirit. Attacking children is an aspect of the policy of elimination that isn’t focused on numbers, but on breaking the spirit of resistance.
One of the biggest injuries you can inflict on adults is to render them powerless to protect their own children. As Hawwash says, “The knock on the door, the shouting of a name, the forced entry into a bedroom, can happen to any Palestinian child and without warning. No regard for age or circumstance is given.” If the Israeli forces can rape their way into a family’s home and do whatever they wish to the children, what power does the parent have left to protect the children?
The trauma this produces, the way it breaks the spirit of people, is beyond what anyone can imagine. Only when you work closely with clients who were put in that situation do you catch a glimpse of the devastation this causes. The guilt and the trauma are beyond what even excellent psychotherapy can help repair. Most parents would not be able to even conceive the idea of not being allowed to protect their own children. But this is both the threat and reality that every single Palestinian parent both in the colonised West Bank and in Gaza are living with.
Leaving parents powerless to protect their children destroys families and chips away at the social ties and links that are such an important aspect of what makes a culture what it is. This is calculated and intentional, and I believe it falls under the UN definition of genocide along many other Israeli practices. But then again when is settler-colonialism not a type of genocide?
To answer that nasty question of that lecturer whose name I do not remember, What’s wrong with the disappearance of a culture (due to colonialism)? What is wrong with it is precisely the same thing that is wrong with a rape.

Ahed Tamimi and Zionist Terror

Bassem Tamimi on court decision to hold family members indefinitely: ‘we can’t expect anything else from the court, this is life under occupation’

Israel/Palestine 
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An Israeli military court ruled today to keep 16-year-old Ahed Tamimi and her mother Nariman in prison until the end of their trial.  Ahed, a well-known Palestinian activist was detained a month ago after a video was published online of Ahed slapping and hitting two Israeli soldiers, yelling at them to leave her family’s property. 
The Tamimi family from Nabi Saleh are well known activists who have led non-violent protests against the illegal Israeli military occupation for nearly a decade. Ahed’s father Bassem was previously arrested nine times and spent four years in prison where he was tortured. He spent 14 months in jail simply waiting for a trial, which was repeatedly postponed. Bassem told Mondoweiss that he won’t be surprised if the same happens to Ahed and Nariman with the goal of detaining them for as long as possible.
“I expect the worst from the occupation,” Bassem told Mondoweiss.
“Honestly, we can’t expect anything else from the court; the court is a component of this occupation. It’s used by the legal system to punish the Palestinians.”
“They target all Palestinians… they want to show the world that, ‘We just punish those who resist.’ That’s not true. They punish all Palestinians because they’re Palestinians and they exist. This is a genocide since 1948,” Bassem said. 
Ahed Tamimi with her father, Bassem, and mother Nariman
Nariman was previously arrested five times before this most recent arrest. Over the years Tamimi family members have been killed by Israeli forces and many have been arrested including Bassem and Nariman’s son who was arrested twice. 
“This is life under occupation. I think we represent and show the real suffering of Palestinians under occupation,” Bassem said. “This is the real image.”
Ahed could be remanded for up to a year with possible extensions and Nariman could face up to a year and a half.
Before the decision was announced in the court room, former head of military prosecution Maurice Hirsch reportedly handed out printed NGO Monitor leaflets praising the decision to the press.
In Israeli military courts, there is a 99.7 per cent conviction rate of Palestinians brought before them. Judges and prosecutors are always military personnel and defendants are always Palestinian. 
According to Israeli human rights organization B’Tselem, a remand should be the exception to the rule, since during the time of legal proceedings, the detainee is not serving a prison sentence and is supposed to be presumed innocent until proven guilty.
However, with military courts in the West Bank, remand is almost always approved. The practice serves as an incentive for defendants to plead guilty and to sign plea bargains even if they’re innocent. If they go to trial while in custody, they may spend more time in prison than they would be sentenced to in a plea bargain. 
“Consequently, the judges’ decision to approve remand is tantamount to a conviction – as the case is decided once the person is remanded, rather than based on the evidence,” B’Tselem stated in a press release. “Pretrial approval of remand in custody of people who have not yet been convicted, as standard practice, effectively empties the judicial process of meaning.
“This so-called justice system is one of the most offensive mechanisms employed under Israel’s occupation regime. Its goal is not to serve truth and justice, but to preserve Israel’s control over the Palestinian people. This is true of the Tamimi family – and of thousands of others.”
Ahed’s next hearing is scheduled for January 31 while Nariman and Nour will have their hearing in February.


Aquatic life is at risk as carbon levels rise

Aquatic life is at risk as carbon levels 
rise

Marine and freshwater fish could one day be in trouble as ever-rising levels of carbon dioxide affect aquatic life.
By Tim Radford

LONDON, 18 January, 2018
 – New studies warn that global warming is not good news for aquatic life, putting at risk the creatures both of the seas and of inland waterways.
Experiments in Australia confirm that increased temperatures driven by ever-rising atmospheric levels of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide reduce the flow of energy up the marine food web, which would be bad news for the ocean’s top predators – and some prized fish catches.
Another study finds that ever-greater levels of dissolved carbon dioxide in rivers and lakes could disrupt the dietary supply for creatures higher in the food chain.
Scientists have been warning for years that global warming and ever-increasing levels of acidification could harm ocean productivity. Researchers from the University of Adelaide report in the Public Library of Science journal PLOS Biology that they put the proposition directly to the test.

“Healthy food webs are important for the maintenance of species diversity and provide a source of income and food for millions of people worldwide”

They built 12 huge laboratory aquaria with water temperatures and acidity levels that matched predictions of climate change, and then introduced a range of sea creatures: algae, shrimp, sponges, snails, fishes and so on.
They found that the plants flourished, largely in the form of cyanobacteria, or blue-green algae. “This increased primary productivity does not support food webs, however, because these cyanobacteria are largely unpalatable, and they are not consumed by herbivores,” said Hadayet Ullah, who led the study.
“Healthy food webs are important for the maintenance of species diversity and provide a source of income and food for millions of people worldwide. Therefore, it is important to understand how climate change is altering marine food webs in the near future.”
Alarm, too, about the impact on freshwater species is not new. German biologists had access to data collected every month at four river dams from 1981 to 2015. They report in the journal Current Biology that acidification levels in the reservoirs had steadily increased in that time.

Fleas vulnerable

So they tested the response of species of daphnia, the water flea – and a source of food for other freshwater creatures – to changing water chemistry. The higher the acidity, the weaker the response of the water fleas to the scent of nearby predators.
“Many freshwater organisms rely on their sense of smell. If that sense is compromised in other species due to rising CO2 levels this development might have far-reaching consequences for the entire ecosystem,” said Linda Weiss of the Ruhr University of Bochum, who led the study.
“Follow-up studies must now be carried out, in order to determine if the acidification of freshwater systems is a global phenomenon and in what way other species react to rising CO2 levels.” – Climate News Network
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18 January 2018

A Liberal Pillar Of The Establishment – ‘New Look’ Guardian, Old-Style Orthodoxy

As Noam Chomsky has often remarked: 'liberal bias is extremely important in a sophisticated system of propaganda.' One major news outlet that Chomsky had in mind was the New York Times, but the same applies in the UK. As a senior British intelligence official noted of the 2001 US-led invasion of Afghanistan:
'It is always helpful for governments who want to get the Guardian readers of the world on board to have a humanitarian logic.'
This suggests that respected liberal media like the New York Times and Guardian are key battlegrounds in the relentless elite efforts to control public opinion.
On January 15, the Guardian was relaunched as a tabloid with a 'new look'. Katharine Viner, the paper's editor, proclaimed in all seriousness:
'we have a special relationship with our readers. This relationship is not just about the news; it's about a shared sense of purpose and a commitment to understand and illuminate our times. We feel a deep sense of duty and responsibility to our readers to honour the trust you place in us.'
Those words - 'shared sense of purpose and commitment', 'duty', 'responsibility', 'honour', 'trust' - imply an openness to readers' comments, even to criticism; an important point to which we return below.
Viner continued:
'We have grounded our new editions in the qualities readers value most in Guardian journalism: clarity, in a world where facts should be sacred but are too often overlooked; imagination, in an age in which people yearn for new ideas and fresh alternatives to the way things are.'
The grand declaration to honour the yearning of its readers 'for new ideas and fresh alternatives to the way things are' rings hollow. This, after all, is a paper that fought tooth-and-nail against Jeremy Corbyn. As Rob Newton pointed out via Twitter, linking to a lengthy series of screenshots featuring negative Guardian coverage:
'The "left liberal" Guardian's campaign against @JeremyCorbyn was as relentless as the right-wing Daily Mail & The SunHere's the proof'
Vacuous phrases continued to pour forth from the editor on the 'new look' paper:
'Guardian journalism itself will remain what it has always been: thoughtful, progressive, fiercely independent and challenging; and also witty, stylish and fun.'
'Fiercely independent and challenging'? When the Guardian Media Group is owned by The Scott Trust Limited, a 'profit-seeking enterprise'? (In other words, it is not a non-profit trust, with many readers still mistakenly holding a romantic vision of benign ownership.) When the paper is thus owned and run by an elite group of individuals with links to banking, insurance, advertising, multinational consumer goods, telecommunications, information technology, venture investment, corporate media, marketing services and other sectors of the establishment? When the paper remains dependent on advertising revenue from corporate interests, despite the boast that 'we now receive more income from our readers than we do from advertisers'. When the paper has actually ditched journalists who have been 'fiercely independent and challenging'?
However, it is certainly true that the Guardian 'will remain what it has always been': a liberal pillar of the establishment; a gatekeeper of 'acceptable' news and comment. 'Thus far, and no further', to use Chomsky's phrase. But, as mentioned, the Guardian will not go even as far in the political spectrum as Corbyn: a traditional left Labour figure, rather than a radical socialist proclaiming 'Revolution!' or an anarchist itching to bring down global capitalism.
Meanwhile, readers can expect the 'new look' Guardian to continue its attacks on Julian Assange and WikiLeaks, such as the recent smear piece by ex-Guardian journalist James Ball that began scurrilously:
'According to Debrett's, the arbiters of etiquette since 1769: "Visitors, like fish, stink in three days." Given this, it's difficult to imagine what Ecuador's London embassy smells like, more than five-and-a-half years after Julian Assange moved himself into the confines of the small flat in Knightsbridge, just across the road from Harrods.'
Ball went on, dripping more poison:
'Today, most of those who still support Assange are hard-right nationalists – with many seeing him as a supporter of the style of politics of both Trump and Vladimir Putin.'
When we challenged Ball via Twitter for evidence of these foolish claims, he was unable to provide any. His facile response was:
'The WikiLeaks twitter feed is a pretty good start tbh [to be honest]'
That Katharine Viner's Guardian would happily publish such crude propaganda in an ostensibly 'serious' column speaks volumes about the paper's tumbling credibility as well as conformity to power.
No doubt, too, this liberal 'newspaper' will continue to boost Tony Blair, the war criminal whose hands are indelibly stained with the blood of over one million people in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and elsewhere. But, for the Guardian, he will forever be a flawed hero, someone they have worked hard to rehabilitate in recent years, constantly seeking out his views and pushing him as a respectable elder statesman whose voice the public still needs to hear.
The essence of the Guardian was summed up by satirical comedian reporter Jonathan Pie on the day of the relaunch:
'New design. Same old virtue signalling, identity politics obsessed, champagne socialism (minus the socialism), barely concealed contempt for the working classes bullshit I presume though.'


The Empty Rhetoric Of Seeking 'Uncomfortable' Views

One of the Guardian stalwarts helping to project an illusion of consistent challenge to authority is long-time columnist George Monbiot. We were once admirers of Monbiot, and we still respect his environmentalist writing, particularly on the imminent dangers of climate disruption...up to a point (for instance, he never properly addresses the key issue of the corporate media, including the role of his own paper).
But well over a decade ago, we first started challenging Monbiot on his serious blind spots and establishment-friendly ignorance when it came to foreign policy. In more recent years, we have even been smeared by him, in a pitiful mannerakin to that of Oliver Kamm of Murdoch's Times, an inveterate supporter of Western 'interventions', on whom Monbiot often seems to rely for his slurs.
A recent piece by Jonathan Cook, once a Middle East Guardian reporter, is a skillful skewering of Monbiot's stance. Monbiot has repeatedly attacked those who dare question Washington-approved narratives on Syria, Rwanda and the Balkan Wars. Anyone who challenges Western government propaganda claims about Syria, for example, is condemned as an Assadist or conspiracy theorist. His targets have included Noam Chomsky, Edward Herman, John Pilger, university professors Tim Hayward and Piers Robinson, and Media Lens.
On Twitter last month, Monbiot alleged that Hayward and Robinson 'have disgraced themselves over Syria'. But when has Monbiot ever excoriated Guardian columnists Jonathan Freedland and Natalie Nougayrède, Nick Cohen of the Observer, David Aaronovitch of The Times and John Rentoul of the Independent, all of whom have 'disgraced themselves' over US-UK wars of aggression?
And why is Monbiot's focus so skewed to 'their' war crimes rather than 'our' war crimes? The editor of the Interventions Watch blog searched Monbiot's Twitter timeline in December 2017 and found he had mentioned 'Syria' in 91 tweets and 'Yemen' in just three tweets. With rare exceptions, virtually the entire UK political and media system has disgraced itself over Yemen – currently the world's greatest humanitarian catastrophe. This should be a key central concern for any honest dissident commentator today.
Cook writes of Monbiot:
'Turning a blind eye to his behaviour, or worse excusing it, as too often happens, has only encouraged him to intensify his attacks on dissident writers, those who – whether right or wrong on any specific issue – are slowly helping us all to develop more critical perspectives on western foreign policy goals than has been possible ever before.'
He adds that the many leftists:
'who defend Monbiot, or turn a blind eye to his hypocrisy, largely do so because of his record on the environment. But in practice they are enabling not only his increasingly overt incitement against critical thinkers, but also undermining the very cause his supporters believe he champions.'
Cook sums up:
'All indications are that Monbiot lacks the experience, knowledge and skills to unravel the deceptions being perpetrated in the west's proxy and not-so-proxy wars overseas. That is fair enough. What is not reasonable is that he should use his platforms to smear precisely those who can speak with a degree of authority and independence – and then conspire in denying them a platform to respond. That is the behaviour not only of a hypocrite, but of a bully too.'
We will return later to that point of dissidents being denied a platform to reply. Meanwhile, Monbiot has not responded to Cook, as far as we are aware.
Ironically, of course, the Guardian sells itself as a fearless supporter of 'open' journalism, delivering 'the independent journalism the world needs'. But, once again, there are always safe limits. Tim Hayward, mentioned above, is Professor of Environmental Political Theory at Edinburgh University. He recently recounted what happened after the Guardianpublished a long piece by Olivia Solon, a senior technology reporter for Guardian US in San Francisco. Solon argued that critical discussion of the White Helmets in Syria had been 'propagated online by a network of anti-imperialist activists, conspiracy theorists and trolls with the support of the Russian government'.
After publishing this hit piece, the Guardian essentially shut down all discussion, refusing even to grant a right of reply to those who had been maligned, including independent journalists. Hayward described what happened after publication:
'What the Guardian did next:
• quickly closed its comments section;
• did not allow a right of reply to those journalists singled out for denigration in the piece;
• did not allow publication of the considered response from a group of concerned academics;
• did not respond to the group's subsequent letter, or a follow up email to it;
• prevaricated in response to telephone inquiries as to whether a decision against publishing either communication from the group had or had not been taken;
• failed to respond to a message to its Readers' Editor from Vanessa Beeley, one of the journalists criticised in the article.'
George Monbiot played his part too, says Hayward:
'tweeting smears against critics and suggesting they read up about "the Russian-backed disinformation campaign against Syria's heroic rescue workers".'
This was disreputable behaviour from a 'progressive' journalist who claims that:
'I believe that a healthy media organisation, like a healthy university, should admit a diversity of opinion.'
The Guardian journalist added that newspapers, including his own, 'should also seek opposing views and publish them too, however uncomfortable this might be.' Monbiot's own behaviour exposes these words as empty rhetoric.

Guardian Looks Beyond Corbyn To The Next 'Centrist' Candidate

Meanwhile, the Guardian is looking beyond the time when Corbyn is Labour leader. A recent article by Ian Sinclair in the Morning Star argues that the Guardian is putting its weight behind Emily Thornberry, Corbyn's shadow foreign secretary. A Guardian interview with her was, unusually, advertised well over a week in advance of publication. It was a major feature in which she was described as 'a key architect of Labour's comeback, and widely tipped to be the party's next leader'. But there was very little in the piece about the policies she espouses, not least foreign policy issues.
One such issue is the Middle East, which was wholly absent from the Guardian interview. Last November, Sinclair observes, Thornberry proclaimed that Israel 'stands out as a beacon of freedom, equality and democracy'. And, in a December speech to Labour Friends of Israel, she described former Israeli prime minister Shimon Peres as 'a hero of the left, of the state of Israel and of the cause of peace.'
Sinclair points out:
'In contrast, in 2005, US dissident Noam Chomsky called Peres "an iconic mass murderer," presumably for his role in the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians that led to the creation of Israel and for being head of government when Israel shelled a United Nations compound in Lebanon in 1996, killing over 100 civilians.'
Thornberry's comments on Israel, says Sinclair, 'are a cause for concern for those who want to see an anti-imperialist, humane attitude towards international affairs'. He continues:
'Thornberry is the perfect candidate for Guardian "centrist" types who would like to neuter Corbynism — someone who can gain the backing of significant numbers of Corbyn supporters while at the same time diluting the movement's relative radicalism by returning the Labour Party to safer, Establishment-friendly ground.'
The indications are that the 'new look' Guardian will be happy to promote a potential Labour leader who soft-pedals Israel's crimes. This is part of a bigger picture of the paper offering little more than token criticism of elite Western power. We should not be surprised. No amount of redesign can gloss over the structural issues that ensure the Guardianremains very firmly a liberal pillar of the establishment and essentially a guardian of the power-friendly status quo.
DC & DE

Two Requests

1. Access to newspaper databases to conduct searches is crucial to the work of Media Lens. We are looking for an academic who is able to provide us with an account to use LexisNexis or ProQuest, please.
2. We are looking for someone with good web skills, in particular Joomla, to work alongside our current webmaster to maintain/update our website.
If you are able to help, please email us: editor@medialens.org
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The first Media Lens book, 'Guardians of Power: The Myth of the Liberal Media', was published in 2005 by Pluto Press.
The second Media Lens book, 'NEWSPEAK in the 21st Century', was published in 2009, also by Pluto Press.
In 2012, Zero Books published 'Why Are We The Good Guys?' by David Cromwell.

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In July 2017, we reached our 16th anniversary. We would like to thank all those who have supported and encouraged us along the way. Media Lens relies on donations for its funding. If you currently support the corporate media by paying for their newspapers, why not support Media Lens instead?