Netflix helps Saudi autocracy’s censorship


This 9 November 2019 video from the USA says about itself:

Netflix BOWS To Saudi Arabia Pressure

Netflix bows to Saudi Arabia pressure canceling an episode of ‘Patriot Act’. John Iadarola and Ryan Grim break it down on The Damage Report.

Saudi Arabia’s Children Are Learning From Anti-Semitic Textbooks … According to a State Department-funded study, assorted religious schools have adopted Saudi state textbooks in a variety of countries around the world. These texts were even adopted at one point in territory controlled by ISIS. … we found that the kingdom’s 2018-2019 curriculum still encouraged hatred or violence against Jews, Christians, Shi’ite Muslims, women, gay men: here.

Trump government arrests journalist for Venezuela reports


After lack of press freedom in Australia and in the Netherlands, now the USA.

This 3 November 2019 video says about itself:

Journalist Max Blumenthal arrested on false charge in DC

Pushback with Aaron Maté

The Grayzone editor Max Blumenthal speaks out on his arrest months after reporting on Venezuelan opposition violence at the DC embassy. Blumenthal was seized from his home by a group of officers and held for two days in cells and cages. His arrest warrant labels him as “armed and dangerous”. Blumenthal says the charges are false and a retaliation against The Grayzone’s journalism on the US-backed coup in Venezuela and corrupt members of the right-wing Venezuelan opposition carrying it out.

Guest: Max Blumenthal, Editor of The Grayzone and author of “The Management of Savagery.”

ACLU SUES TRUMP FOR DETAINING JOURNALISTS The American Civil Liberties Union announced Wednesday that it is suing Trump’s administration for tracking, detaining and interrogating journalists while they were reporting on U.S.-Mexico border conditions. [HuffPost]

Walking With Dinosaurs BBC TV, how accurate?


This 3 November 2019 video on the Triassic says about itself:

The Scientific Accuracy of Walking With Dinosaurs – Episode 1: New Blood

20 years after it originally aired, how scientifically accurate is Walking With Dinosaurs?

This video is that episode of that BBC series.

Grenfell survivors condemn leaking of report to Conservative daily


This 21 May 2018 video from London, England says about itself:

Grenfell Tower inquiry: final phone call of victim Mohamed Neda played by family

The family of one of the people who died in the Grenfell Tower fire played the harrowing audio of his last recorded words on the first day of the long-awaited public inquiry into the disaster.

By Lamiat Sabin in Britain:

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Activists and firefighters condemn leak of Grenfell inquiry report to the [Conservative daily] Telegraph

GRENFELL justice campaigners and the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) today condemned the leaking of the inquiry’s first phase report to the Telegraph.

On Monday, the inquiry’s core participants were made to sign non-disclosure agreements before being given 48 hours to read and digest the report ahead of its wider publication and debate in Parliament today.

But the embargo was broken and the report was splashed on the front of today’s Telegraph.

Campaign group Grenfell United said: “A number of bereaved and survivors have not yet had the opportunity to read the inquiry report and it is unacceptable that they should be drip fed the inquiry’s findings through the national media.”

Joe Delaney, who was evacuated from a block of flats adjacent to Grenfell Tower, called for the embargo to be dropped because it “silenced” those affected while media outlets were free to report.

FBU general secretary Matt Wrack condemned the “deeply upsetting” leaking of the report to the media.

He also criticised the inquiry for focusing on actions of firefighters and “utterly failing” to scrutinise the aluminium composite material (ACM) cladding that was put on the tower a year before the June 2017 fire broke out and killed 72 people.

Mr Wrack described the inquiry as being “completely back to front.”

He added: “The truth is that the fire spread the way it did because it was wrapped in flammable cladding.

“The firefighters turned up after that had happened, after the building had already been turned, in reality, into a death trap.”

In the report, inquiry chairman Sir Martin Moore-Bick acknowledges that the “principal reason” the flames spread at speed was the ACM cladding with polyethylene cores which acted as a “source of fuel”.

But he says “serious shortcomings” plagued the London Fire Brigade’s (LFB) response and fewer people would have died if firefighters and 999 operators rescinded the “stay-put” strategy sooner.

He praises the bravery of firefighters, but accuses LFB commissioner Dany Cotton of “remarkable insensitivity” after she said she would not have done anything differently.

Mr Wrack said: “The issues behind the Grenfell Tower fire go back 30 years or more and they lie at the heart of central government.

“My frustration with this is that individual firefighters, including senior officers like Dany Cotton, are being subject to a degree of scrutiny which government ministers are avoiding.”

The inquiry’s second phase is due to start in the new year.

Dutch government attacks press freedom, journalists protest


The Rotterdam, the Netherlands courthouse, ANP photo

Translated from Dutch NOS radio today:

Journalists demonstrate for release of NOS reporter

At 10:00 a demonstration for the release from jail of NOS [Dutch national TV and radio] journalist Robert Bas starts at the court in Rotterdam. Bas was jailed by a judge yesterday, because he doesn’t want to say anything about a conversation with one of his sources. As a result, he might endanger his source and himself, he says. Bas relies on his journalistic rights.

The demonstration is an initiative of NRC daily journalist Marcel Haenen. The journalists’ union NVJ and journalists from many other media support it.

Turkish situation

Haenen said in the NOS Radio 1 Journal that the government on the one hand says that freedom of news gathering and protection of resources is important, but at the same time they are spying on whistleblowers or suspending them.

As a result, sources are taking more and more precautionary measures to avoid difficulties. “That makes the work of the journalists increasingly difficult, certainly for investigative journalists,” says Haenen. “Then you would expect the judiciary to protect journalists and see that it is a democratic achievement that you have a free press. These are Turkish conditions, you should not want that.”

In addition, some journalists have to be protected 24 hours a day because criminal gangs are threatening them. “Then it is completely outrageous that a judge now decides that a journalist should be locked up because he does not want to give up his source. It is an ever-increasing violation of the freedom to gather news.”

Haenen also considers jailing a stupid measure for practical reasons. “It is an illusion to think that a journalist is inclined to talk if you put him behind bars. That will have no effect whatsoever.”

New York Times ‘Yellow Peril’ anti-Asian xenophobia


This 2011 video says about itself:

Professor Scott Kurashige provides an overview of the yellow peril and model minority stereotypes of Asians in the U.S. Produced for the Arab American National Museum’s online exhibit, Reclaiming Identity: Dismantling Arab Stereotypes.

By Andre Damon in the USA:

The New York Times, China, and the specter of the “Yellow Peril

22 October 2019

In a full-page editorial in its Sunday edition, the New York Times engaged in a vicious anti-Chinese rant, warning of a “dangerous and growing threat” by the “aggressive … Communist state.”

The editorial presented the United States in a twilight struggle against Chinese “cultural imperialism”, which was aiming to “stifle this nation’s core values.”

This hysterical language—calling China “dangerous”, “aggressive” and a “threat”—has all the hallmarks of the racist myth of the “yellow peril” used to justify the colonial subjugation of Asia by the European and American imperialist powers.

“China”, the Times wrote, “is seeking to control not just what is said in China but what is said about China, too.” It asserted that “America’s commitment to human rights, including the freedom of expression” faces “an especially stern test.”

The Times did not seek to explain what “commitment to human rights” is shown by US imperialism. Is it the “commitment to human rights” that led the US to rape, torture, or murder hundreds of thousands of people across Iraq, from the dungeons of Abu Ghraib, to Fallujah and Sadr City? Or to commit massacres all over the world, from My Lai in Vietnam to the Kunduz hospital attack in Afghanistan?

The Obama administration murdered American citizens with drone missiles. The Trump administration, expanding on the policies of the DemocratsUnited States anti-immigrant outrage, separates thousands of immigrant families and presides over what the UN characterizes as child torture. The American government imprisons whistleblower Chelsea Manning and is seeking to inflict a life sentence, or worse, on WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange for exposing war crimes.

US imperialism claims the prerogative not just to “meddle” in the affairs of other countries, but to overthrow any elected government that it views as an obstacle to its interests. According to one study reported in the Washington Post, the US tried to change other nations’ governments 72 times between 1947 and 1989. Of those, “26 of the United States’ covert operations successfully brought a US-backed government to power.”

No country comes close to the United States in the vast resources it devotes to propaganda and placing politicians, academics, and journalists on the payroll of its intelligence agencies.

In his history of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), The Mighty Wurlitzer, Hugh Wilford noted:

High-ranking officials in the American labor movement, it emerged, had worked clandestinely with the [CIA] to spread the principles of “free trade unionism” around the world. Anticommunist intellectuals, writers, and artists were the recipients of secret government largesse… University professors, journalists, aid workers, missionaries, civil rights activists… all had belonged to the CIA’s covert network of front operations.

And then there were the hundreds of journalists revealed to be on the CIA payroll. Wilford wrote:

Arthur Hays Sulzberger, publisher of the New York Times, was a good friend of [Central Intelligence Agency Director] Allen Dulles and signed a secrecy agreement with the Agency… Under the terms of this arrangement, the Times provided at least ten CIA officers with cover as reporters or clerical staff in its foreign bureaus, while genuine employees of the paper were encouraged to pass on information to the Agency.

The New York Times epitomizes the eradication of any distinction between news and state propaganda. In his recent memoir, whistleblower Edward Snowden recalls seeing stories that appeared in the CIA’s internal news service show up, several days later, in the pages of the American newspapers, almost unchanged with additional references to “unnamed intelligence sources”.

The threat to American democracy comes not from without, but from within. The New York Times, in its endless demands for censorship and conformity with the “values” of the state, is one of the principal instigators of that threat.

American companies, the Times declared on Sunday, must affirm the “American…consensus” against the “Chinese Communist Party’s position”. It accused Disney and Comcast of “appeasement”, and of advocating “for the Chinese Communist Party’s position, and against the American…consensus.”

In particular, the Times took issue with a scene in the DreamWorks children’s film, Abominable, that, it claimed, inaccurately portrays the borders of China. The Times asserted that this was a betrayal of “American values” and all but treasonous. The logic of this argument is that the United States should follow the lead of government censors in Vietnam, the Philippines and Malaysia, who have banned the film.

“Corporations”, the Times declared, “are the creatures of a particular state, however much their executives prefer to think of their operations as multinational. American companies choose to operate under the laws of the United States and to reap the benefits of life in the United States—and they ought to be held accountable for upholding the values of the United States.”

Such statements reveal the hostility of the Times to the democratic conceptions that are embodied in the American Constitution. The First Amendment states: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

That is, the government has no power to impose a set of religious, moral or political views on the people. There is not a universal set of “American values” that citizens, or companies, are obligated to uphold, or can be “held accountable” for opposing.

The Times is making a fascistic argument. It was the Nazi regime in Germany that asserted that the “people” must conform to the ethnic and religious “values” dictated by the state, and brutally repressed all those who did not or could not because of their background.

The editorial’s rhetoric about “human rights” and the “freedom of expression” is a smokescreen for the real agenda of the New York Times and the dominant sections of the American ruling class. US imperialism is preparing for a catastrophic war against China to prevent it challenging American global strategic and economic dominance.

“For the first time since the end of the Cold War, the United States finds itself in a contest…with a country in its own weight class,” the Times stated. “China has taken a hard line, and it’s time for the United States to respond in kind.”

Ideologically, the conditions for war are being prepared with hysteria about foreign interference and infiltration, and accusations of treason against all those who oppose militarism. Last month, the Washington Post promoted a report by the Hoover Institution that declared that “it should no longer be acceptable that scholars, journalists, diplomats, and public officials from the People’s Republic of China be afforded unfettered access to American society.”

The New York Times, the unofficial mouthpiece of the Democrats, attacked Trump in its editorial for not being aggressive enough. The president, it declared, had “weakened the ability of American companies to stand up for American values” by “failing to firmly oppose China’s demands.”

However bitter the factional conflict in Washington, both the Democratic and Republican parties are committed to reversing the inexorable decline in American capitalism’s global hegemony by means of confrontation and war against China.

On October 23, Victoria University of Wellington’s (VUW) Stout Research Centre hosted a public talk by Professor Anne-Marie Brady, a leading figure in New Zealand’s intensifying anti-China campaign: here.