Australian media protest against government censorship


Australian newspapers' blackened front pages, in protest against government censorship, EPA photo

Translated from Dutch NOS TV today:

Australian newspapers black out their front pages against censorship

The biggest Australian newspapers today have their front pages painted black, as a joint statement against government censorship and interference. “When government keeps the truth from you, what are they covering up?” was written under the black lines.

The campaign was prompted by raids earlier this year against a journalist of the media company News Corp. and at the headquarters of the public broadcaster Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC). A search was made for leaked government documents.

The journalist had written a story about Australia’s intention to give secret services more powers. The raid on ABC came after a scoop about misconduct by Australian soldiers in Afghanistan.

A former lawyer who worked for the army has been charged in the latter case. He is said to have leaked the information to ABC. Several journalists may also be prosecuted.

Decrease in press freedom

According to Australian media, the freedom of the press has decreased after the attacks on September 11, 2001. Since then, more than 70 anti-terror laws and measures have been adopted in the country, which politicians abuse according to media.

Eg, the government refuses to share in which care homes abuse is taking place, where the elderly are neglected and how much agricultural land has been sold to foreign corporations.

Prime Minister Morrison said today in response to the campaign that he could give no guarantees that the journalists will go free.

This 20 October 2019 video from Australia says about itself:

Media unites to rally for press freedom: Taking the campaign to front pages and airwaves | ABC News

The nation’s media companies have redacted their front pages to highlight the constraints on media organisations under strict national security legislation.

National mastheads, including The Australian and the Financial Review, ran special covers on Monday morning arguing the media is subject to a regime of intense government secrecy and the threat of criminal charges for journalists doing their job.

The nation’s broadcasters began running campaigns on air during their Sunday prime time line-ups, depicting redacted Freedom of Information requests and arguing the media cannot fulfil its duty in keeping the public informed if its work is being hampered.

The Right To Know coalition, of which the ABC is a member, is behind the campaign, calling for the decriminalisation of public interest journalism, and greater protection for the media and whistleblowers.

It follows the Australian Federal Police (AFP) raiding the Canberra home of News Corp political journalist Annika Smethurst and the ABC’s Sydney headquarters earlier this year.

Read more here.

The threat is a clear application by the government of the “Assange precedent.” The arrest of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange in London last April, and the unveiling in May of 17 US Espionage Act charges against him over lawful publishing activities, has opened the floodgates for an assault on journalists and media freedom around the world: here.

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Trump, Syria, Al-Qaeda, United States Democrats


This 16 October 2019 video from United States Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard is about her contribution to the Democratic party presidential candidates‘ debate in Ohio; focusing on the war in Syria.

By Patrick Martin in the USA:

A rare moment of truth on the US support for Al Qaeda

17 October 2019

There was a rare moment of truth during Tuesday night’s Democratic presidential debate. Representative Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii, an Iraq war veteran, said that while Trump had Kurdish blood on his hands, “so do many of the politicians in our country from both parties who have supported this ongoing regime-change war in Syria that started in 2011, along with many in the mainstream media, who have been championing and cheerleading this regime-change war.”

This was directed not only against the Obama-Biden administration, which began the US covert intervention in Syria, but against the New York Times and CNN, the co-sponsors of the debate, who have been among the most strident in denouncing Trump’s order to withdraw from Syria. (See The Democrats support the “Forever War” )

Gabbard continued, “As president, I will end these regime-change wars by doing two things, ending the draconian sanctions that are really a modern-day siege, the likes of which we are seeing Saudi Arabia wage against Yemen, that have caused tens of thousands of Syrian civilians to die and to starve, and I would make sure that we stop supporting terrorists like Al Qaeda in Syria who have been the ground force in this ongoing regime-change war.”

This remarkable admission that American imperialism was allied in Syria with Al Qaeda—the supposed main enemy in the “war on terror” now nearly 20 years old—was passed over in silence by the three media “moderators”, two from CNN and one from the Times, and by the other eleven candidates.

South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg, a military intelligence veteran of the Afghanistan war, tried to rebut Gabbard’s claim that Syria was a US-backed “regime-change” war. He reiterated the conventional presentation of the war as a struggle to defend civilians from the brutality of the government of President Bashar al-Assad, while not acknowledging that Washington and its allies among the Gulf sheikdoms had funneled money, weapons and Islamist gunmen for years in an effort to put a stooge regime into power in Damascus.

Gabbard responded, “So, really, what you’re saying, Mayor Pete, is that you would continue to support having U.S. troops in Syria for an indefinite period of time to continue this regime-change war that has caused so many refugees to flee Syria, that you would continue to have our country involved in a war that has undermined our national security, you would continue this policy of the U.S. actually providing arms in support to terrorist groups in Syria, like Al Qaeda, HTS, al-Nusra and others, because they are the ones who have been the ground force in this regime change war? That’s really what you’re saying?”

Buttigieg had no answer on the facts, merely declaring that Gabbard was advocating the same policy in Syria as Donald Trump. As for the corporate media, there was virtually no mention of Gabbard’s charge of a US-Al Qaeda alliance in Syria, and no attempt to refute it. Even to discuss that connection would call into question the entire foreign policy of American imperialism in the Middle East.

Gabbard is neither a pacifist nor an opponent of imperialism, but a serving military officer in the Army Reserve who did two tours of duty in Iraq, including in 2005 at the height of the war, and took several weeks off from the campaign in August for a unit training exercise in Indonesia—part of the US preparations for a future war with China.

‘Journalist Khashoggi murdered, stop Saudi regime’s impunity’


Demonstration outside the Saudi embassy in London, England last October demanding justice after Jamal Khashoggi was killed in the Saudi embassy in Turkey on October 2nd 2018

From daily News Line in Britain:

NUJ demand perpetrators of Khashoggi killing are ‘put behind bars’

9th October 2019

ONE year on from the gruesome murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who entered the Saudi embassy in Istanbul, Turkey but never came out again, the National Union of Journalists (NUJ) has called for justice.

On Tuesday 2nd October 2018 at 13:14, dissident Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi entered the Saudi consulate in Istanbul but that was the last that was seen of him.

It is held that he was brutally murdered by a Saudi hit squad and his body dismembered.

The union said: ‘The National Union of Journalists (NUJ) in the UK and Ireland, and the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) were quick to condemn the crime and today, one year on, we renew calls on the international community to launch an independent investigation to ensure all the intellectual and material perpetrators are put behind bars.

‘Twelve months after Khashoggi’s killing, there are plenty of unanswered questions. Where is his body? Who ordered his killing? Who sent up to 15 Saudi men – a hit squad including a forensic expert – to Istanbul? Why did the Saudi authorities, including the Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, consistently deny any knowledge of Khashoggi’s fate and only acknowledged his murder a few weeks after?

‘No light has been shed on any of these questions. On the contrary, the obscurantism and secrecy of the Saudi inquiry highlights even more the need for a transparent and independent international investigation into the case. There must be no impunity.

‘Since the beginning, the Saudi authorities have given contradictory explanations of what happened. First, they claimed that Khashoggi left the consulate one hour after his arrival. Then they admitted his death saying he was killed by “rogue individuals” who exceeded their responsibilities.

‘So far, the Saudi justice system has arrested 18 people

as fall guys for the crown prince

and five senior officials were fired as part of the investigation. On 3rd January, 11 individuals were sent to trial accused of being connected with the killing. However, the trial took place behind closed doors and details of the defendants’ identities have not been made public.

‘In addition to the secrecy and lack of transparency of the Saudi judicial proceedings, authorities are trying to buy the Khashoggi family’s silence and cover up the truth, The Washington Post has reported.

‘Considering the evident efforts of the Saudi authorities to prevent justice from being done, the IFJ has repeatedly called for an independent international investigation to shed light on this gruesome murder.’

Anthony Bellanger, IFJ general secretary, said: ‘It’s been a year since Khashoggi’s murder and there’s still no justice for those who ordered and executed his murder. We will continue demanding an international and independent investigation on this crime and rejecting any kind of political cover-up of it.

‘If the perpetrators are not held to account, oppressive governments of the world will see it as a green light to commit crimes against journalists with impunity. We won’t allow it.’

According to the IFJ, 95 journalists were killed in 2018 but only one out of 10 killings of journalists is ever resolved.

Bernie Sanders recovering, Fox News not


As United States senator and presidential candidate Bernie Sanders is recovering from an earlier medical problem, this 4 October 2019 video says about itself:

Bernie’s Medicare For All Push SPOOKS Fox News

The Young Turks’ Emma Vigeland reports on how Fox News FRANTICALLY cut off Dr. Oz when he started talking about how popular Bernie Sanders‘ Medicare For All plan is among doctors.

Must be a coincidence…

Journalism, hardly possible in NATO’s ‘new’ Libya


AFP news agency says about this 15 September 2019 video:

Practicing journalism has almost become impossible in Libya. Hostility towards the media and journalists continues to increase. At least that is what this group of Libyan journalists claims. The journalists attended an programme known as the “Kon Chahed” application or “Be a witness”.

It was developed by the Libyan Centre for Press Freedom, which aims to enable journalists to report attacks without fear. Political and security crisis has plunged the country into chaos since 2011.

“At the moment, the situation in Libya is that of clashes, conflict areas and war. There are many cases of violations against journalists working in conflict areas’‘, said We’am al-Alem, Coordinator of activities at the Libyan center for freedom of press.

Mohamed al-Najem is the Executive Director of the centre.

“Unfortunately, many journalists are leaving the country and others have stopped practicing the profession inside Libya. At the same time, there is an increase in self-censorship by journalists about the content of their work”, he said.

Libya is ranked 162 out of 180 countries in the latest Reporters Without Borders press freedom index.

At least 19 journalists have been killed in the country since 2011 and many have gone missing.

‘Russiagate conspiracy’ campaign based on double agent?


This video says about itself:

The Secrets Of The CIA‘s Iraq Media War

Media War (2003): How the CIA rewrote their intelligence to build support for the Iraq War.

Disturbing evidence suggests the CIA fed faulty intelligence to handpicked journalists to win support for the war against Iraq.

The defection of Iraqi engineer Adnan al Haideri in 2001 was a massive coup for the White House. “He was probably the single most significant defector who came out of Iraq”, states an INC spokesman. Al Haideri claimed to have been hired by Saddam Hussein to build facilities for testing WMD. His story was widely circulated and used to justify the war. Unfortunately, it now appears that his remarkable testimony was a lie. Not one of the hundreds of bunkers detailed by him has been found. “Al Haideri’s evidence is a perfect example of the kind of garbage that was disseminated by Ahmed Chalabi,”

a CIA-Iranian double agent

states former weapons inspector Scott Ritter. New information has also emerged about the way Al Haideri’s story was leaked to the media. “They misled us”, states Ritter “Thousands of innocent Iraqis perished in a war that didn’t need to be fought.”

One of the conspiracy theories used by the United States George W Bush administration to start their war on Iraq was that Iraq supposedly had ‘weapons of mass destruction’.

Another conspiracy theory of the George W Bush administration to start their war on Iraq was supposed Iraqi involvement in the 9/11 terrorist attacks in the USA.

That lying theory was based on torture.

The Bush administration’s other conspiracy theory, on ‘Iraqi weapons of mass destruction‘, was based on a taxi driver’s gossip; and on Iranian-CIA double agent Ahmed Chalabi.

Now, more double agent news, this time about the ‘Russiagate’ conspiracy theory.

By Andre Damon in the USA:

New York Times: Main source for anti-Russia campaign may have been a “double agent”

11 September 2019

In a further exposure of the concocted claims of the New York Times and the Democrats of Russian “subversion” of the US political system, the Times acknowledged Tuesday that the key source used by the intelligence agencies to claim Vladimir Putin’s direct involvement “could be a double agent”.

On October 7, 2016, the Department of Homeland Security and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence said they were “confident that the Russian Government directed the recent compromises of e-mails from US persons and institutions.”

According to this narrative, amplified by the Democratic Party and the New York Times itself, Putin personally intervened to try to get Donald Trump elected by directing the Russian state to steal incriminating emails from the Clinton campaign and release them to WikiLeaks for publication.

But this sweeping conspiracy theory, alleging a plot spanning continents involving Russia, a sovereign state, the Republican presidential nominee, and WikiLeaks, the world’s most famous dissident news organization, has fallen apart.

In August, a federal court dismissed a Democratic National Committee (DNC) civil suit against Trump, the Russian government and WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.

Now, the main editorial outlet driving the Democrats’ anti-Russia campaign has admitted that serious concerns were raised within the US intelligence establishment about the primary source behind its hyperventilating denunciations of Russian “meddling”. The Times reported that the source, later identified by the Russian press as Oleg Smolenkov, gained an “influential position that came with access to the highest level of the Kremlin.”

Smolenkov “became one of the CIA’s most important—and highly protected—assets”, according to the Times. CNN reported that he was able to photograph documents on Putin’s desk and send them to Washington.

The Times wrote: “The Moscow informant was instrumental to the CIA’s most explosive conclusion about Russia’s interference campaign: that President Vladimir V. Putin ordered and orchestrated it himself. As the American government’s best insight into the thinking of and orders from Mr. Putin, the source was also key to the CIA’s assessment that he affirmatively favored Donald J. Trump’s election and personally ordered the hacking of the Democratic National Committee.”

There was just one problem. When the United States, concerned that media reports of Russian “meddling” might compromise their asset in the Kremlin, offered to exfiltrate their spy from Russia, where he risked a life sentence or execution if caught, he at first refused, leading to the conclusion that he might be a double agent, feeding false information to the Americans on behalf of elements within the Russian state.

The Times wrote that in 2016 “the source’s rejection of the CIA’s initial offer of exfiltration prompted doubts among some counterintelligence officials. They wondered whether the informant had been turned and had become a double agent, secretly betraying his American handlers. That would almost certainly mean that some of the information the informant provided about the Russian interference campaign or Mr. Putin’s intentions would have been inaccurate.”

The Times continued, “Some operatives had other reasons to suspect the source could be a double agent, according to two former officials, but they declined to explain further.” …

In the name of combating “Russian meddling”, politicians pressured American technology firms to undertake the most onerous program of political censorship in the history of the internet in the US. Accounts with millions of followers were deleted overnight, while Google manipulated search results to bury left-wing viewpoints.

There was a massive effort to poison public opinion against Julian Assange, the courageous publisher and exposer of war crimes. He was slandered by the Democrats and the Times as a Russian agent who colluded with Trump, setting the stage for his imprisonment.

More information will no doubt emerge about the background and possible motivations of Smolenkov. But regardless, the fact that the source behind allegations the newspaper breathlessly proclaimed as fact had serious credibility problems makes clear that the Times made no serious efforts to question, much less validate, its chosen political narrative.

This newspaper functions as a clearinghouse for unquestioned, unexamined dispatches from within the American intelligence apparatus. Its role in promoting the Bush administration’s lies about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq was not an aberration, but its modus operandi.