Dramatic Arrest of Journalist by Belarus Highlights US Targeting of Snowden in 2013

While the dramatic arrest of dissident journalist Roman Protasevich by the Belarusian government over the weekend was fiercely condemned worldwide, press freedom advocates on Monday not only called for the reporter’s release but also highlighted how the actions taken by Belarus were eerily similar to an effort in 2013 by the U.S. and other Western governments to capture NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden.

Protasevich, a well-known critic of Belarus’ authoritarian President Alexander Lukashenko, was taken into custody after the plane that he and 122 other passengers were traveling on—en route from Athens, Greece to Vilnius, Lithuania, where Protasevich lives in exile—was forced to land.

Although they readily admitted that Lukashenko’s government had violated international treaties governing airspace and was deserving of condemnation, critics of the corporate media and U.S. foreign policy were eager to point out that Belarus’ behavior was not unprecedented; in fact, they said, some of the same Western

— source commondreams.org | Kenny Stancil | May 24, 2021

Nullius in verba

Journalism is rotting away

On 8 April, newspapers around the world carried a despatch from a Reuters correspondent, “embedded” with the US army, about the murder of a ten-year-old Iraqi boy. An American private had “unloaded machine-gun fire and the boy . . . fell dead on a garbage-strewn stretch of wasteland”. The tone of the report was highly sympathetic to the soldier, “a softly spoken 21-year-old” who, “although he has no regrets about opening fire, it is clear he would rather it was not a child he killed”.

According to Reuters, children were “apparently” being used as “fighters or more often as scouts and weapons collectors. US officers and soldiers say that turns them into legitimate targets.” The child-killing soldier was allowed uncritically to describe those like his victim as “cowards”. There was no suggestion that the Americans were invading the victim’s homeland. Reuters then allowed the soldier’s platoon leader to defend the killer: “Does it haunt him? Absolutely. It haunts me and I didn’t even pull the trigger. It blows my mind that they can put their children in that kind of situation.” Perhaps guessing that readers might

— source johnpilger.com | john pilger | 28 Apr 2003

Nullius in verba

The saving of one little boy must not be a cover for the crime of this war

The unthinkable is becoming normal. The saving of one little boy must not be a cover for the crime of this war and we should not forget its true horror.

Last Sunday, seated in the audience at the Bafta television awards ceremony, I was struck by the silence. Here were many of the most influential members of the liberal elite, the writers, producers, dramatists, journalists and managers of our main source of information, television; and not one broke the silence. It was as though we were disconnected from the world outside: a world of rampant, rapacious power and great crimes committed in our name by our government and its foreign master. Iraq is the “test case”, says the Bush regime, which every day sails closer to Mussolini’s definition of fascism: the merger of a militarist state with corporate power. Iraq is a test case for western liberals, too. As the suffering mounts in that stricken country, with Red Cross doctors describing “incredible” levels of civilian casualties, the choice of the next conquest, Syria or Iran, is “debated” on the BBC, as if it were a World Cup venue.

The unthinkable is being normalised. The American essayist Edward Herman wrote: “There is usually a division of labour in doing and rationalising the unthinkable, with the direct brutalising and killing done by one set of individuals … others working on improving technology (a better crematory gas, a longer

— source johnpilger.com | john pilger | 22 Apr 2003

Nullius in verba

How America Betrayed Reality Winner

In March of last year, Andrea Circle Bear was transferred from a South Dakota jail to FMC Carswell, an all-female prison for those with special medical needs in Fort Worth, Texas. Circle Bear, a member of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe, was serving out a 26-month sentence for conducting a pair of drug deals totaling $850. She was also heavily pregnant. On March 31, Circle Bear began experiencing symptoms of COVID-19—dry fever, heavy cough—and was placed on a ventilator. The following day, she delivered her baby via C-section. Three days after that, she tested positive for COVID-19. She was dead three weeks later, the first federal prisoner to die of the coronavirus.

Around this time, another inmate at FMC Carswell, Reality Winner, requested compassionate release due to the rapid spread of COVID-19 among the prison population. Due to her history of respiratory illness and bulimia, the virus posed a heavy risk for the 28-year-old. But federal prosecutors blocked Winner’s request to commute the remaining 19 months of her sentence. Three months later, she contracted COVID-19. Of the 1,625 incarcerated women at FMC Carswell, over 500 came down with the coronavirus, the second most cases of any federal prison. Six of the women died.

“She has been under tremendous pressure,” says Sonia Kennebeck. “She has also been sexually harassed, and a bunch of other things. It’s completely inhumane and

— source thedailybeast.com | Marlow Stern | Mar. 20, 2021

Nullius in verba

Another fake

Piers Morgan was sacked as editor of the Daily Mirror because he ran the only popular newspaper in Britain to expose the “war on terror” as a fraud and the invasion of Iraq as a crime. He was marked long before the Mirror published the apparently faked pictures of British troops torturing Iraqi prisoners.

On 4 July 2002, American Independence Day, the Mirror published a report of mine, displayed on the front page under the headline “Mourn on the Fourth of July” and showing Bush flanked by the Stars and Stripes. Above him were the words: “George W Bush’s policy of bomb first and find out later has killed double the number of civilians who died on 11 September. The USA is now the world’s leading rogue state”.

It was the Mirror at its most potent; not since it distinguished itself as the first mass-circulation paper in the western world to oppose the US invasion of Vietnam and, before that, the British invasion of Suez, had it confronted the rapacious policies of a British government and its principal ally. Most of the media were then consumed and manipulated by the fake issue of Iraq’s non-existent weapons of mass destruction: “45 minutes from attack”, said the London Evening Standard front page; “He’s got ’em . . .

— source johnpilger.com | john pilger | 31 May 2004

Nullius in verba

Modi Government Cracks Down on Independent Media Amid Farmer Protests

Indian farmworkers are continuing to take to the streets to demand Prime Minister Narendra Modi repeal three highly contested agricultural laws. Farmworkers say the laws, which seek to deregulate markets and allow large corporations to set prices, threaten their livelihoods. Dozens have died since the start of the protests, with many deaths caused by the harsh winter as tens of thousands of farmers have camped out in the cold on the outskirts of New Delhi and other parts of the country. The Modi government has come under harsh criticism for its response to the uprising as it raided the offices of the progressive news site NewsClick and demanded that Twitter remove hundreds of accounts as part of a crackdown on information about the protests. “The main idea of doing this is to send a warning and a message to the rest of us, the independent media, to say that you guys are not immune,” says P. Sainath, award-winning Indian journalist and founder of the People’s Archive of Rural India. “Independent media is having it as hard as it gets just now.”

it’s been on, interrogations, detaining people — I think it’s been on for more than 50 hours. The raids conducted on NewsClick, which, as you described, is a progressive media organization, an independent media organization, noncorporate, they — I mean, this is now being done by the Enforcement Directorate, which is not police, strictly, but bringing in economic offenses, charges which they haven’t made public but plant in the journals of the ruling fraternity, and no one has explicitly said what the charge is. But laptops, servers — I mean, laptops, hard disks, phones have been confiscated. And at least five people are without their phones or their laptops, which have been taken over.

But the main idea of doing this is to send a warning and a message to the rest of us, the independent media, and to say that “You guys are not immune, and that we are going to crack in this way, because, yeah, it might amount to nothing in the courts, it may be thrown out, but it’s going to malign your reputation in public.” So, I call you a money launderer or something like that; none of that is going to stand up in court, but remember that they are backed the greatest proll army in the world — payroll trolls — of the ruling government. So, like, last night, there was a video, which, after a great delay, YouTube and Twitter took down, which named 10 independent media groups, including the People’s Archive, as having been extremely dangerous people who should be jailed immediately, failing which the maker of the video feared for his life. OK? So you’ve got the pressure from the government, and you’ve got the silence and connivance of the corporate media. Independent media is having it as hard as it gets just now.

— source democracynow.org | Feb 11, 2021

Nullius in verba

Sarkari Smear Campaign on Independent Media

The Enforcement Directorate (ED)’s raid on NewsClick.in began on the morning of February 9 and four days later is still continuing – with its editor-in-chief Prabir Prakayastha and his partner Githa Hariharan, aged 73 and 67 years old respectively, still confined to their home and held virtually incommunicado for over 96 hours

Prabir Purakayastha, is a renowned scientist, well-known for his integrity and courage. Anyone who knows him would have heard him speaking proudly: ‘I was once a guest of the former Prime Minister – Indira Gandhi’. Gyan Prakash’s Emergency Chronicles has a detailed account from the time when Purakayastha was mistaken as the president of the Jawaharlal Nehru University Students’ Union and ‘abducted’ by Indira Gandhi’s police.

Githa Hariharan is a winner of the Commonwealth Writers Prize for Best First Book in 1993 for her critically acclaimed short story collection, The Thousand Faces of Night.

Both Prabir and Githa have been spending their days and nights under round-the-clock surveillance, intimidation and strict confinement since February 9.

While I am writing this piece, two senior citizens are being hostage at their residence without them

— source thewire.in | Satarupa Chakraborty | 13/Feb/2021

Nullius in verba

The Journalistic Censorship Industry Suffers Well-Deserved Blows

A new and rapidly growing journalistic “beat” has arisen over the last several years that can best be described as an unholy mix of junior high hall-monitor tattling and Stasi-like citizen surveillance. It is half adolescent and half malevolent. Its primary objectives are control, censorship, and the destruction of reputations for fun and power. Though its epicenter is the largest corporate media outlets, it is the very antithesis of journalism.

I’ve written before about one particularly toxic strain of this authoritarian “reporting.” Teams of journalists at three of the most influential corporate media outlets — CNN’s “media reporters” (Brian Stelter and Oliver Darcy), NBC’s “disinformation space unit” (Ben Collins and Brandy Zadrozny), and the tech reporters of The New York Times (Mike Isaac, Kevin Roose, Sheera Frenkel) — devote the bulk of their “journalism” to searching for online spaces where they believe speech and conduct rules are being violated, flagging them, and then pleading that punitive action be taken (banning, censorship, content regulation, after-school detention). These hall-monitor reporters are a major factor explaining why tech monopolies, which (for reasons of self-interest and ideology) never wanted the responsibility to censor, now do so with abandon and seemingly arbitrary blunt force: they are shamed by the world’s loudest media companies when they do not.

Just as the NSA is obsessed with ensuring there be no place on earth where humans can communicate free of their spying eyes and ears, these journalistic hall monitors cannot abide the idea that there can be any place on the internet where people are free to speak in ways they do not approve. Like some creepy informant for a state security apparatus, they spend their days trolling the depths of chat

— source greenwald.substack.com | Glenn Greenwald | Feb 9, 2021

Nullius in verba