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link http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article29703.htm

Libya: Media Blackout, Why?

By Timothy Bancroft-Hinchey

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November 13, 2011 "PRAVDA" --Has anyone noticed the virtual silence on Libya among western news agencies? If Libya was today quiet, and without any conflict, we could believe the Lies on Sky and friends incorporated that a dictator had been toppled and his enraptured people freed, living now in peace, preparing for democracy. But this is not the case...

What I am about to say comes as no surprise at all for those of us who know Libya, know Colonel Gaddafi and who warned NATO about the monumental mistake being made before the invasion began, as indeed was the case before Iraq in this column back in 2003. NATO, however, in its greed, just does not learn.

As the IAEA invents lies about Iran, and includes in its team elements who are wholly unqualified for the task to monitor the Islamic Republic's nuclear programme (*), we see the same old story being repeated. It begins with the lies about a bloodthirsty dictator or a dangerous regime posing a threat to the USA or its allies, the UNO is bullied into naming NATO as the world policeman, skulduggery and blackmail then replace diplomacy, after which NATO bombs the crap out of a country, murdering men, women and children alike, using DU, using cluster munitions, and breaching every rule in the book. Then in swing the kangaroo courts to clear up the mess and lo and behold, a country's sovereign funds have been literally stolen, its infra-structures destroyed with NATO military hardware, rebuilding contracts are handed out to bolster the economies of the invading forces and a nice puppet regime is installed.

However, in the case of Libya, the story is far from over.

For a start the terrorist forces NATO launched, the RATS, are continuing their horrendous human rights abuses, torching buildings, raping women and girls, destroying public and private property, murdering, torturing, stealing and looting and sowing chaos among the beleaguered citizens who were perfectly happy with the Jamahiriya (government through people's councils, the country's assets deposited in the citizens' bank accounts). Witness of this is the 70 per cent approval rating from unofficial polls in favour of the Jamahiriya, were Saif al-Islam al-Qathafi to stand in the next election. What do Obama, Cameron and Sarkozy have to say to that? Nothing.

NATO's democratic deficit

Would NATO allow the Libyans to include the Jamahiriya in a future election? No, because in a NATO-ruled Libya, no Government which protected the interests of the country would be allowed to participate, only a political force constituted by traitors willing to hand the resources over to foreigners. NATO's democratic deficit was shown most clearly by the refusal to allow the Jamahiriya to hold an election for people to choose between the old system and the RATS - bands of terrorists who sow havoc wherever they go. What do Obama, Cameron and Sarkozy have to say to that? Nothing.

NATO's terrorist darlings

Graffiti has now appeared in Benghazi telling Negroes to leave or be executed - proof once more, as if any were needed, that the RATS are racists and murderers. These are precisely the "people" who Obama, Cameron and Sarkozy supported. In plain English, Barack Obama, David Cameron and Nicolas Sarkozy supported terrorists, murderers and racists. The RATS call it "slave cleansing". The Misrata Brigade already committed ethnic cleansing in Tawergha, murdering all people with black skin. What do Obama, Cameron and Sarkozy have to say to that? Nothing.

The fight is not over, that is why NATO is still there

Exactly, yet again breaching international law, with its remit expired, NATO continues present in Libya with troops on the ground and with bombing raids. The bill for the British public must be somewhere in the region of two billion pounds by now. Wonderful, isn't it? Where is your hospital, your school, your medical centre, your supplementary benefit? It is in Libya. "Sorry Mr. Johnson, the NHS simply does not have the financing for your son's leukaemia treatment, I am afraid he will just have to die. You see, the money we waste on his treatment has to be invested in murdering Down's Syndrome children in Libya, to make us popular and so that the UK can get the rebuilding contracts". What do Obama, Cameron and Sarkozy have to say to that? Nothing.

NATO and its mercenaries' aircraft are operating from Sudan and Chad, while there are reports of direct flights from Tel Aviv. Tuareg camps have been strafed, military centers in the south have been attacked, more civilians have been massacred. These crimes will be added to the indictment drawn up and delivered to the ICC and the ECHR (**). Sources inside Libya linked to the Green Resistance have indicated that in the last two weeks, these NATO forces have lost 37 aircraft - 8 Israeli fighter planes, 13 Qatar Apaches, 11 French Mirage, 5 French Rafael fighters, shot down trying to evade and invade the Libyan Southern Airspace, with all their pilots and crew killed and enter into green Libyan Jamahiriyah territory.

Introducing the Libyan Green Resistance: The Libyan Liberation Front

The Libyan Liberation Front (LLF) is composed of elements of the Libyan Armed Forces loyal to the legitimate anti-terrorist Government of Libya (the Jamahiriya), the armed tribal forces and the volunteers who have taken up arms to protect their villages, towns and cities against the terrorists unleashed by NATO. Despite 9,000 murderous terrorist bombing raids by NATO's missile diplomacy approach, these heroic forces have stood firm and have inflicted massive casualties on the terrorists, racists, murderers, looters, torturers, sexists, arsonists, rapists and thieves that NATO calls the "rebels".

The Green Resistance recently liquidated the terrorist leader in Zlitan, Al-Berss Abuajaila; fighting was ongoing in Tripoli on Friday after prayers, in Green Square and Bab Al-Aziziya; Southern Misrata patriots are fighting against the terrorist traitors, North Misrata Brigades; LLF is active in Thawergah; LLF active in Tobruk, Zlitan, Gharyan and Sabha. Indeed, the LLF is active in all regions of Libya. The RATS know very well that without NATO's skirts to hide behind, they would not win a single battle. A traitor is basically a coward, the RATS are both.

(*) link http://english.pravda.ru/hotspots/crimes/10-11-2011/119583-IAEA_report_on_Iran_BIG_fraud-0/

(**) link http://english.pravda.ru/opinion/columnists/06-11-2011/119534-indictment_nato-0/

Another NATO disaster. This time, supporting terrorists and racists, murderers and rapists. How low can NATO get? This time it will have consequences. NATO's reputation, along with thousands upon thousands of RATS, are buried beneath the sands of Libya, in tatters, while from the desert emerges a pride of lions, chasing the RATS back to the sewers of Qatar, Misratah and Benghazi, from which they emerged.

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See Also - 13 killed as Libyan NATO supported rebels Clash : Fighters attacked each other with rockets, mortars and machine guns, witnesses said. The fighting, which has killed at least 13 people since late last week, raised new concerns about the ability of Libyas transitional government to disarm thousands of gunmen and restore order after an eight-month civil war. see link http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/middle-east/libyan-militias-clash-near-military-base-most-sustained-violence-since-fall-of-gadhafi/2011/11/13/gIQAycfkHN_story.html

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Fighters clash again near Tripoli, several dead: Heavy fighting between local armed groups killed several people on the outskirts of Tripoli Saturday, as interim government officials struggled to calm tensions amid talk of tribal feuds and diehard support for Muammar Gaddafi.

see link http://old.news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20111112/wl_nm/us_libya_clashes

Edited by Steven Gaal
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Reflections of Fidel

Genocidal cynicism (Part I)

(Taken from CubaDebate)

NO sane person, especially anyone who has had access to the basic knowledge acquired in elementary schools, would agree that our species, particularly children, adolescents or young adults, should be deprived today, tomorrow and for ever of the right to live. Throughout all of their hazardous history, human beings, as persons endowed with intelligence, have never experienced anything similar to this.

I feel bound to convey to those who take the trouble to read these reflections, the belief that all of us, without exception, have the obligation to create an awareness of the risks which humanity is inexorably running, and which are leading to definitive and total disaster as a consequence of the irresponsible decisions of politicians in whose hands chance, rather than talent or merit, has placed the destiny of humanity.

Whether or not the citizens of their country are the bearers of religious or skeptical beliefs in relation to the issue, no human beings in their right mind would agree that their children or closest family members should perish in an abrupt form or as victims of atrocious and torturous suffering.

In the wake of the repugnant crimes which the North Atlantic Treaty Organization is committing with growing frequency under the aegis of the United States and the richest European countries, world attention focused on the G-20 meeting, at which the profound economic crisis currently affecting all nations had to be analyzed. International opinion, and particularly that of Europe, was awaiting a response to the profound economic crisis which, with its profound social and even climatic implications, is threatening all the inhabitants of the planet. That meeting was to decide whether the euro could be maintained as the common currency of the largest part of Europe, and even whether certain countries could remain within the community.

There was no answer or solution whatsoever to the most serious problems of the world economy, despite the efforts of China, Russia, Indonesia, South Africa, Brazil, Argentina and others in the emerging economy, desirous of cooperating with the rest of the world in the search for solutions to the grave economic problems affecting it.

The unprecedented event is that, barely had NATO announced as concluded the operation in Libya – after the air attack which wounded the constitutional head of that country, destroyed the vehicle transporting him and left him at the mercy of the mercenaries of imperialism, who killed him and exhibited him as a war trophy, thus offending Muslim customs and traditions – than the IAEA, a United Nations body, an institution which should be at the service of world peace, launched its political and paid for sectarian report, which is placing the world on the brink of a war, with the deployment of nuclear weapons, which the yankee empire, in alliance with Britain and Israel, is meticulously preparing against Iran.

After the "Veni, vidi, vici" of the famous Roman emperor more than 2,000 years ago, translated into "I came, I saw and he died," transmitted to public opinion via an important television network as soon as the death of Gaddafi was known, words are surplus to describe the politics of the United States.

What is important now is the need to create among the peoples a clear awareness of the abyss towards which humanity is being led. On two occasions our Revolution experienced dramatic risks: in October of 1962, the most critical of all, in which humanity was on the brink of a nuclear holocaust; and in mid-1987, when our forces were confronting racist South African troops equipped with nuclear weapons which Israel had helped to create.

The Shah of Iran also collaborated alongside Israel with the racist and fascist South African regime.

What is the UN? An organization promoted by the United States before the end of World War II. That nation, whose territory was at a considerable distance from the scenes of war, had enormously enriched itself; it accumulated 80% of the world’s gold and under the leadership of Roosevelt, a sincere anti-fascist, promoted the development of the nuclear weapon which Truman, his successor, an oligarch and mediocre president, did not hesitate to use against the defenseless cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945.

The monopoly of world gold in the power of the United States and Roosevelt’s prestige gave him the Bretton Woods agreement, assigning him the role of issuing the dollar as the sole currency, which was used for years in world trade, with no limiting factor other than its backing in metallic gold.

At the end of World War II, the United States was also the only country to possess nuclear weapons, a privilege which he lost no time in conveying to his allies and members of the Security Council: Great Britain and France, the two most important colonial powers in that period.

Truman did not say a word about the atomic bomb to the USSR before using it. China, then governed buy the nationalist, oligarchical and pro-yankee Chiang Kai-shek, could not be excluded from that Security Council.

The USSR, hard hit by war, destruction and the loss of more than 20 million of its sons in the wake of the Nazi invasion, dedicated huge economic, scientific and human resources to bring its nuclear capacity up to par with the United States. Four years later, in 1949, it tested its first nuclear weapon; the hydrogen bomb in 1953; and, in 1955, its first megaton bomb. France acquired its first nuclear weapon in 1960.

Only three countries possessed nuclear weapons in 1957, when the UN, under yankee aegis, created the International Atomic Energy Agency. Can anyone imagine that this U.S. instrument did anything to warn the world of the terrible risks to which human society would be exposed when Israel, an unconditional ally of the United States and NATO, located right at the heart of the most important oil and gas reserves in the world, constituted itself as a dangerous and aggressive nuclear power?

Its forces, in cooperation with British and French troops, attacked Port Said when Abdel Nasser nationalized the Suez Canal, property of France, which obliged the Soviet Prime Minister to convey an ultimatum demanding an end to that aggression, which the European allies of the United States had no alternative other than to obey.

I will continue tomorrow.

firma_13nov.jpg

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Reflections of Fidel

Genocidal cynicism (Part II and last)

(Taken from CubaDebate)

TO give some idea of the potential of the USSR in its efforts to maintain parity with the United States in this sphere, suffice it to note that when its disintegration came about in 1991, there were 81 nuclear warheads in Byelorussia, 1,400 in Kazakhstan, and approximately 5,000 in Ukraine, which were passed on to the Russian Federation, the only state capable of sustaining their immense cost in order to maintain its independence.

By virtue of the START and SORT treaties related to the reduction of offensive weapons between the two major nuclear powers, the number of those warheads was reduced to several thousand.

In 2010 a new treaty of this type was signed between the two powers.

Since then the greatest efforts have been dedicated to improving the direction, reach, precision of nuclear missiles and their deception of the enemy defense. Vast sums are invested in the military sphere.

Very few people in the world, except for a handful of thinkers and scientists, have realized and are warning that the explosion of 100 strategic nuclear weapons would be enough to end human existence on the planet. The vast majority would have an end as inexorable as it would be horrific, as a consequence of the nuclear winter which would be generated.

The number of countries which possess nuclear weapons at this moment has risen to eight. Five of them are members of the Security Council: the United States, Russia, the United Kingdom, France and China. India and Pakistan acquired the nature of countries possessing nuclear weapons in 1974 and 1998, respectively. The seven countries mentioned acknowledge that nature.

On the other hand, Israel has never acknowledged its nature as a nuclear country. Nevertheless, it is calculated that it possesses 200 to 500 weapons of this type, without that being acknowledged at a time when the world is concerned about the extremely grave problems that would be provoked by the outbreak of a war in the region where a large part of the energy which moves the planet’s industry and agriculture is produced.

It is thanks to the possession of weapons of mass destruction that Israel has been able to fulfill its role as the instrument of imperialism and colonialism in that region of the Middle East.

It is not about the legitimate right of the Israeli people to live and work in peace and freedom; it is precisely about the right of the other peoples in the region to freedom and peace.

While Israel was rapidly creating a nuclear arsenal, it attacked and destroyed, in 1981, the Iraqi nuclear reactor in Osirak. It did exactly the same to the Syrian reactor in Dayr az-Zawr in 2007, an action of which world opinion was strangely not informed. The United Nations and the IAEA were fully aware of what had occurred. Such actions had the support of the United States and the Atlantic Alliance.

There is nothing at all strange about Israel’s highest authorities now announcing their intention to do the same to Iran. This country, immensely rich in oil and gas, had been the victim of the conspiracies of Britain and the United States, whose oil companies were plundering its resources. Its armed forces were equipped with the most modern armaments from the United States’ military industry.

Shah Reza Pahlevi also aspired to acquiring nuclear weapons. Nobody attacked his research centers. The Israeli war was against the Muslim Arabs. It was not against those of Iran, because they had become a NATO bulwark pointing at the heart of the USSR.

Under the leadership of Ayatollah Khomeini, the masses of that nation, profoundly religious and defying the power of those weapons, removed the Shah from the throne and disarmed one of the best equipped armies in the world without firing a shot.

Given its fighting capacity, number of inhabitants and the country’s extension, an aggression against Iran would bear no resemblance to Israel’s military adventures in Iraq and Syria. A bloody war would invariably be unleashed. There should be absolutely no doubt about that.

Israel has a large number of nuclear weapons with the capacity to reach any point in Europe, Asia, Africa and Oceania. I ask myself: Does the IAEA have the moral right to sanction and asphyxiate a country if it attempts to do in its own defense what Israel did in the heart of the Middle East?

What I really think is that no country in the world should possess nuclear weapons, and that this energy should be placed at the service of the human species. Without that spirit of cooperation, humanity is inexorably advancing toward its own destruction. Among Israeli citizens themselves, doubtless a hardworking and intelligent people, many will not be in agreement with this crazy and absurd politics which is also taking them to total disaster.

What is being said today in the world about the economic situation?

The international news agencies report that U.S. President Barack Obama and his Chinese counterpart, Hu Jintao, presented divergent commercial agendas [...] highlighting the growing tensions between the two largest economies in the world.

"Obama used an address – Reuters affirms – to threaten punitive economic steps against China unless it started ‘playing by the rules…’"

These rules are evidently the interests of the United States.

"Obama faces a tough 2012 re-election battle, in which Republican opponents accuse him of not being tough enough on China," the agency states.

News published on Thursday and Friday reflected the realities which we are experiencing much better.

AP, the best informed U.S. news agency communicated, "Iran’s supreme leader warned Israel and the U.S. that Tehran’s response will be tough should its arch-enemies choose a military strike against Iran…"

The German news agency reported that China had stated that, as always, it believed that dialogue and cooperation were the only form of active rapprochement to solve the problem.

Russia was equally opposed to the punitive measures against Iran.

Germany rejected the military option but was in favor of strong sanctions against Iran.

The United Kingdom and France advocated strong and energetic sanctions.

The Russian Federation assured that it would do everything possible to avert a military operation against Iran and criticized the IAEA report.

"’A military operation against Iran could lead to very grave consequences and Russia will have to invest all its efforts in appeasing spirits,’" stated Konstantin Kosachov, head of the Duma’s Foreign Committee," and, according to EFE, "He criticized ‘affirmations by the United States, France and Israel as to the possible use of force and the fact that the launch of a military operation against Iran is constantly closer.’"

Edward Spannaus, editor of the U.S. EIR magazine, stated that an attack on Iran would end in World War III.

After traveling to Israel a few days ago, the United States Defense Secretary himself acknowledged that he could not obtain a commitment from the Israeli government to consult with the United States prior to an attack on Iran. Things have reached this extreme.

The U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Political-Military Affairs crudely revealed the empire’s dark intentions:

"Israel and the U.S. will embark on ‘the largest and most significant joint exercise in the allies’ history,’ said Andrew Shapiro, U.S. assistant secretary for political-military affairs, on Saturday."

"…in the [...] Washington Institute for Near East Policy, Shapiro spoke about the 5,000 US and Israeli forces who will participate in the exercise to simulate Israel's ballistic missile defense system."

"’Israeli technology is proving critical to improving our Homeland Security and protecting our troops,’ he added…"

"Shapiro emphasized the Obama administration’s support for Israel, despite comments by a senior U.S. official on Friday, who expressed concern that Israel would not warn the U.S. before taking military action against Iran’s nuclear facilities."

"‘Our security relationship with Israel is broader, deeper and more intense than ever before.’"

"‘We support Israel because it is in our national interests to do so [...] It is the very strength of Israel’s military which deters potential aggressors and helps foster peace and stability.’"

Today, November 13, Susan Rice, U.S. ambassador to the UN, told the BBC network that the possibility of a military intervention in Iran was not only not off the table, but is a real option which is growing on account of Iran’s behavior.

She insisted that the U.S. administration is reaching the conclusion that it will become necessary to end the current Iranian regime in order to avoid it creating a nuclear arsenal. "I am convinced that regime change is going to be our only option here," Rice acknowledged.

Not one more word is necessary.

firma_12nov.jpg

Fidel Castro Ruz

November 13, 2011

8:17 p.m.

Translated by Granma International

http://www.granma.cu/ingles/index.html

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While Israel was rapidly creating a nuclear arsenal, it attacked and destroyed, in 1981, the Iraqi nuclear reactor in Osirak. It did exactly the same to the Syrian reactor in Dayr az-Zawr in 2007, an action of which world opinion was strangely not informed.

????

It is supremely ironic (and hypocritical) that Fidel Castro who always tightly controlled the press in Cuba would complain that the public in other countries “was…not informed” about an important event. His claim was also completely inaccurate look at the footnotes to the Wikipedia article about the incident; it was reported by the NYT, ABC, AP, AFP etc. etc.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Orchard#cite_note-0

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Sure. It was reported but it didn't become an issue.You complain about media control in Cuba? Wake up.

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Sorry but it DID become an issue and stories continued months afterward the US even voted to sanction Israel at the UN. But that wasn’t Castro’s claim; he said “world opinion was strangely not informed” of the incident which is completely false.

In 2008 the “Socialist paradise” was ranked as the 7th most censored country in the world by the Committee to Protect Journalists and 5th least free by Reporters Without Borders, but the US did poorly as well being ranked below 35 other countries including Hungary, Namibia, Surinam, Ghana and Mali. In 2008 there were 21 journalist in Cuban prisons 2nd only to China which held 22 but whose population is 120x greater. It was 2nd only to Eritrea per capita among the top five nations. Things have gotten a little better under Raul, all the imprisoned journalists were released but only on the condition they leave the country

http://www.cpj.org/censored/censored_06.html

http://www.rsf.org/IMG/pdf/cl_en_2008.pdf

http://en.rsf.org/cuba-no-more-journalists-left-in-cuban-08-04-2011,39987.html

http://cpj.org/reports/2008/12/cpjs-2008-prison-census-online-and-in-jail.php

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PART 1 (part 2 in following post)

=====================V=================o

The "Evil Guys List"? "Free Journalism" in the Service of US Foreign Policy

The Role of Reporters without Borders

by F. William Engdahl

An organization calling itself Reporters Without Borders (RWB; French: Reporters sans frontières, or RSF) has just named Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, Chinas President Hu Jintao, Irans Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Kazakhstans Nursultan Nazarbayev and Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko to their list of Forty Worst Predators of Press Freedom for 2010. Most significant about their list of bad guys is the geopolitical relation of those leaders and those countries to the current enemies list of the US State Department. That is no accident, as becomes clear when we look more closely at who funds RWB.

In their declaration RWB states, Since these predators have faces, we must know them to better denounce them. Reporters without Borders has decided to draw their portraits. Their colourful language is no accident. The term predator conjures up images of horror in most people.

In their latest Evil Guys list just released they remark about Russias Putin: "As well as manipulating groups and institutions, Putin has promoted a climate of pumped-up national pride that encourages the persecution of dissidents and freethinkers and fosters a level of impunity that is steadily undermining the rule of law. RWB said that Putin, "the former KGB officer," has exerted so much control over all aspects of life in Russia that "the national TV stations now speak with a single voice." Interestingly enough, the citation and a report of the naming of Putin appeared in an article in the Russian state-owned media, RIA Novosti.[1]

With respect to China, RWB states: In honour of the Shanghai World Expo, the biggest display of Chinese might (sic) since the 2008 Olympic Games, Reporters Without Borders has for the past week been inviting Internet users to visit a specially created page on its website dedicated to the freedoms that are flouted in China.[2]

Perhaps just as important as the list of bad guys from RWB are the names that are not on it. One might ask why names of such world-class enemies of free speech and press freedom as Georgias dictator, President Mikhail Saakashvili, or the former Ukraine President Viktor Yushchenko, or the recently deposed dictator of Kyrgyzstan, Bakiyev are absent. All three came to power in Washington-backed coups, also termed Color Revolutions. Notably, all the persons just named by RWB as predators have been targets of Washington-financed destabilization attempts in recent years.

Who stands behind RWB?

The slick media image that RWB presents to the world, such as using the term predators, is no accident. It is the product of RWBs ad agency. Announcing the list of forty on May 3 on their website, RWB states, The list of Predators of Press Freedom is released today, backed by a campaign ad produced by the Saatchi & Saatchi agency... There are 40 names on this years list of predators... that cannot stand the press, treat it as an enemy and directly attack journalists. They are powerful, dangerous, violent and above the law.[3]

Saatchi & Saatchi is one of the worlds most influential hidden persuaders or PR firms. They are credited with the campaign that brought Margaret Thatcher to power and are the ad firm for Gordon Browns Labour Party. Clients have included Citigroup, Hewlett-Packard, DuPont, Proctor & Gamble. One might ask where RWB gets the finances to hire such elite advisors?

NED hiding behind RWB

The most interesting question is not the deeds of Hu Jintao or Putin or Ahmadinejad in the last year in relation to their national press, but rather who is judging these leaders. We might well ask, Who judges the judges? The answer is, Washington.

Reporters Without Borders is an international Non-Governmental Organization (NGO). According to its website it is headquartered in Paris, France. Paris is a curious home base for an organization that, as it turns out, is financed by the US Congress and by agencies tied to the US government.

If we go to the RWB website to find who stands behind these self-anointed judges of world press freedom, we find nothing. Not even their board of directors are named, let alone their financial backers. Their annual published Income and Expenditure statements give no clue who stands behind them financially.

Millions of dollars of their annual income are disclosed as being from sale of publications. It does not name the publications or to whom they were sold. As one researcher noted, Even taking into account that the books are published for free, it would have had to sell 170 200 books in 2004 and 188 400 books in 2005 to earn the more than $2 million the organization claims to make each year ­ 516 books per day in 2005. The money clearly had to come from other sources, as it turns out it did.[4] An attempt to go on the RWB website to order any of their publications found no link to any purchasing information nor any price listings or book summary. Very curious indeed.

In their official financial statements and income accounts published in September 2009, they state: The organisations finances in 2008 were marked by the end of the campaign (begun in 2001) over the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games which significantly affected income and expenditure. [5] That means RWB spent eight years and undisclosed amounts of money campaigning against the Government of China in the run-up to the Beijing 2008 Olympics. For what purpose? Notably, the RWB names Chinas President Hu Jintao as this years predator for his actions in cracking down on unrest in Tibet in March 2010 and Xinjiang in July 2009, both of which were the covert work of a US-financed NGO called National Endowment for Democracy (NED). Hmmm.

After years of trying to hide it, Robert Menard, Paris-based Secretary-General of Reporters Sans Frontieres or RWB, confessed that the RWB budget was primarily funded by US organizations strictly linked to US foreign policy.[6] Those US based organizations which support RWB include the US Agency for International Development (USAID) and the US Congress National Endowment for Democracy (NED). Also included is the Center for Free Cuba, whose trustee, Otto Reich, was forced to resign from the George W. Bush Administration after exposure of his role in a CIA-backed coup attempt against Venezuelas democratically elected President Hugo Chavez.[7]

As one researcher found after months of trying to get a reply from NED about their funding of Reporters Without Borders, which included a flat denial from RSF executive director Lucie Morillon, the NED revealed, according to Diana Barahona writing in Znet that Reporters Without Borders received grants over at least three years from the International Republican Institute. The IRI is one of four subsidiaries of NED.[8]. An IRI spokesperson has denied IRI funding the RWB.

The NED, as I detail in my book, Full Spectrum Dominance:Totalitarian Democracy in the New World Order, was created by the US Congress during the Reagan administration on the initiative of then-CIA Director Bill Casey to replace the CIA's civil society covert action programs, which had been exposed by the Church committee in the mid-1970s. As Allen Weinstein, the man who drafted the legislation creating the NED admitted years later, A lot of what we do today was done covertly 25 years ago by the CIA. [9]

Perhaps an organization sitting as judge of world press freedom ought itself to practice a little more openness and transparency about where its backing originates. Otherwise we might think they have something to hide.

F. William Engdahl is also author of the book, Gods of Money: Wall Street and the Death of the American Century, available at end of May 2010. He may be reached via his website at www.engdahl.oilgeopolitics.net

Notes

[1] RIA Novosti, RSF names Putin, Kadyrov freedom "predators," RIA Novisti, Moscow, May 4, 2010, accessed in http://en.rian.ru/world/20100504/158862330.html

[2] Reporters Without Borders website, Reporters without Borders works on all fronts, May 3, 2010, accessed in http://en.rsf.org/reporters-sans-frontieres-sur-tous-03-05-2010,37337.html

[3] Ibid.

[4] Diana Barahona, Reporters Without Borders and Washington's Coups, ZNet, August 2, 2006, accessed in http://www.zcommunications.org/reporters-without-borders-and-washingtons-coups-by-diana-barahona

[5] Reporters Without Borders, Income and Expenditures to end December 2008, published September 7, 2009, accessed in http://en.rsf.org/income-and-expenditure-07-09-2009,34401

[6] Source Watch, Reporters Without Borders, accessed in http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Reporters_Without_Borders

[7] Ibid.

[8] Diana Barahona, op.cit. An IRI spokesperson has denied IRI funding the RWB.

[9] Allen Weinstein, quoted in David Ignatius, Openness is the Secret to Democracy, Washington Post National Weekly Edition, 30 September 1991, pp. 24-25.

F. William Engdahl is a frequent contributor to Global Research. Global Research Articles by F. William Engdahl

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Reporters Without Borders Lies about Cuba

by Salim Lamrani

On May 20, 2009, Reporters Without Borders (RWB) published a statement on Cuba declaring that anyone can browse the internet…unless they are Cuban. To support its claim, RWB offered a videotaped scene filmed in a hotel with a hidden camera in which a Cuban is denied internet access. The organization goes on to assert that in Cuba an internet user can be sentenced to 20 years in jail if s/he publishes a counterrevolutionary article on a website (article 91), and 5 years if s/he connects to the web illegally. Lastly, RWB points out that Cuba is the second largest prison in the world for journalists, after China, reminding readers that there are 19 detained … under the false pretext that they are mercenaries paid by the United States. 1

Confronting RWB with its own contradictions is easy. In reality, at the same time the organization asserts that no Cuban can connect to the web, it provides a link to the blog of Yoani Sanchez, who lives in Cuba and who openly uses the internet to oppose the government in Havana. How is it that Sanchez manages to express herself if not via access to the internet? Her last blog post is dated May 27, 2009. In addition, she posted on May 25, 23, 22, 19, 18, 16, 15, 13, 10, 9, 7, 6, 4, and 2 as well as on April 29, 28, 27, 26, 25, 23, and 21. Thus, during the month preceding the publication of RWBs statement about internet access in Cuba, Yoani Sanchez was able to connect to the web from Cuba at least 18 times. 2

In publication after publication, RWB continually contradicts itself. Thus, in a March 2008 report about independent journalists in Cuba, the Paris-based organization emphasized that Yoani Sanchezs blog is on the website DesdeCuba.com, which includes five bloggers and has a six-person editorial committee. Its objective is simply to comment on the countrys political situation. In February 2009 after its first anniversary, the site claims to have exceeded 1.5 million hits, 800,000 of which were on the Generation Y blog. Even more impressive, 26% of the sites visitors live in Cuba, in third position behind the United States and Spain. 3 How can the 26% of readers who are Cuban visit Sanchezs blog if their access to the internet is prohibited? 4

At the same time, RWB used the isolated case of a hidden camera in a Cuban hotel to generalize about a prohibition on internet access on the entire island as well as to denigrate the Cuban authorities. Ironically, in her post on May 23, 2009, Yoani Sanchez wrote that with a dozen bloggers we did a study of more than 40 hotels in Havana. With the exception of the Miramar West, all said that they were unaware of a regulation prohibiting Cubans from accessing the internet. Thus, the western medias preferred Cuban blogger dramatically contradicted RWBs allegations. 5

RWB claims that any person who publishes an article critical of the Cuban government risks 20 years of imprisonment, citing as evidence article 91, without further elaboration on the matter. So what does article 91 of the Cuban Penal Code say? Here it is in its entirety: Anyone who, in the interest of a foreign State, carries out an act with the intention of damaging the independence of the Cuban State or its territorial integrity will incur a penalty of imprisonment for ten to twenty years or by death. As is evident, RWB does not hesitate in the least to blatantly lie. The section of Cuban law in question does not prohibit in any way internet publication of heterodox analysis. Nor does it limit in any way freedom of expression. It does penalize acts of treason against the state. 6

This would be equivalent to accusing the government of Nicolas Sarkozy of repression of web surfers in France by applying article 411-2 of the French Penal Code (handing over troops belonging to the French armed forces, or all or part of the national territory, to a foreign power, to a foreign organization or to an organization under foreign control, or to their agents is punishable by life imprisonment and a fine of 750,000 Euros.) or article 411-4 (The act of sharing intelligence with a foreign power, an enterprise or organization that is foreign or under foreign control or with its agents, with the aim of provoking hostilities or acts of aggression against France, shall be punished with thirty years of criminal detention and a fine of 450,000 Euros. The same penalties shall apply to the act of providing to a foreign power, an enterprise or organization that is foreign or under foreign control or its agents, the means to undertake hostilities or realize acts of aggression against France.) 7

That said, it is evident upon viewing Yoani Sanchezs blog, which is extremely critical of the Cuban authorities, or reading the writings of other government opponents, that the Paris-based organizations accusation is unsupported. RWB also states that Cubans risk up to five years if they illegally connect to the web. Here the French organization limits itself to making a flat statement without even bothering to refer to a section of the law which, as it turns out, does not exist. Once again, RWB resorts to a lie.

Lastly, RWB continues in the same vein, assuring us that the 19 detained journalists are jailed under the false pretext of being mercenaries paid by the United States. The organization is incapable of coherence and rigor in its own publications. In reality, the French language version of the same article refers to 24 media professionals.8 But the numbers matter little. Once again, there is a double deception. On the one hand, one of the 19 detainees that RWB referred to, actually has a journalistic background: Oscar Elías Biscet. The 18 others had never practiced the profession before joining the world of the dissidents. On the other hand, these individuals were never penalized for distributing subversive intellectual material, but rather for accepting the financial inducements offered by Washington, and, as a result, went from being opponents of the government to being paid agents of a foreign power, thereby committing a serious crime punished not only by Cuban law but also by the Penal Code of every country in the world. The evidence is abundant. The United States admits that it finances Cubas internal opposition and its own official documents prove it. The dissidents admit to receiving monetary aid from Washington and even Amnesty International admits that the jailed individuals were sentenced for having received funds or materials from the U.S. government to carry out activities that the authorities consider subversive and detrimental to Cuba. 9

RWB lacks credibility given that its agenda is first and foremost political and ideological. The contradictions and manipulations of the Paris-based organization are readily uncovered and proven. Moreover, RWB can make no claim to legitimacy given that it acknowledges receiving funds from the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), which, according to a 1997 New York Times report, is a CIA front created 15 years ago to carry out publicly what the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) did clandestinely for decades. 10

Article in french, Les mensonges de Reporters sans frontières sur le Venezuela, 21 of June, 2009.

Translated by David Brookbank.

Notes

1 Reporters Without Borders, «Cualquiera puede navegar por Internet...salvo los cubanos», May 20, 2009. http://www.rsf.org/article.php3?id_article=31383 (website consulted on May 20, 2009).

2 Yoani Sánchez, Generación Y. http://www.desdecuba.com/generaciony/ (website consulted on May 24, 2009).

3 Claire Vux, Cuba. Cuba. Cinco años después de la Primavera negra, los periodistas independientes resisten, Reporteros Sin Fronteras, March 2008. http://www.rsf.org/IMG/pdf/Informe_Cuba.pdf (website consulted on May 20, 2009).

4 Reporters Without Borders, «Cuba: informe 2008», http://www.rsf.org/article.php3?id_article=26080 (website consulted on May 20, 2009).

5 Yoani Sánchez, «Sentada blogger», Generación Y, May 23, 2009. http://www.desdecuba.com/generaciony/ (website consulted on May 27, 2009).

6 Ley n° 62, Código Penal de Cuba, Libro II, Artículo 91, December 29, 1987. http://www.acnur.org/biblioteca/pdf/4417.pdf (website consulted on May 24, 2009).

7 Code Pénal Français, Partie législative, Livre IV, Titre 1er, Chapitre 1er, Sections 1 & 2.

8 Reporters Without Borders, «Nimporte qui peut naviguer sur Internet… sauf sil est cubain», May 20, 2009. http://www.rsf.org/article.php3?id_article=31379 (website consulted on May 26, 2009).

9 Amnesty International, «Cuba. Cinq années de trop, le nouveau gouvernement doit libérer les dissidents emprisonnés», March 18, 2008. http://www.amnesty.org/fr/for-media/press-releases/cuba-cinq-ann%C3%A9es-de-trop-le-nouveau-gouvernement-doit-lib%C3%A9rer-les-dissid(website consulted on April 23, 2008).

10 Salim Lamrani, Cuba. Ce que les médias ne vous diront jamais (Paris: Editions Estrella, 2009).

Salim Lamrani is a professor at Paris Descartes University and Paris-Est Marne-la-Vallée University and French journalist, specializing in relations between Cuba and the United States. He has published, among other works, Double Standard: Cuba, the European Union, and Human Rights (Hondarriaba: Editorial Hiru, 2008). His new book is entitled Cuba. Ce que les médias ne vous diront jamais (París: Editions Estrella, 2009) with a prologue by Nelson Mandela.

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The deceit of Reporters Without Borders

by Salim Lamrani

On October 16, 2007, the Paris based organization Reporters Without Borders (RSF) published its Worldwide Press Freedoms Index 2007. RSF claims to be neutral, objective and solely interested in press freedoms. But this claim does not hold up to scrutiny. In reality the 2007 index, laden with contradictions, is nothing more than a fraud and demonstrates, to the contrary, that the association directed by Robert Ménard since 1985 defends a very specific interest and political agenda. (1)

To establish their 2007 index, which covers the period between September 1, 2006 and September 1, 2007, RSF uses 50 criterion divided into 7 categories, listed in order of importance. Under the first category PHYSICAL ATTACKS, IMPRISONMENT AND DIRECT THREATS, the number of journalists and media assistants murdered, imprisoned, tortured or ill-treated, kidnapped or disappeared, attacked or injured, and threatened is given the highest priority. The presence of Armed militias or secret organizations targeting journalists, as well as whether or not journalists had to be accompanied by bodyguards or use security measures (bullet-proof jackets, armoured vehicles etc) while doing their work is also deemed of utmost concern.(2)

The next category RSF considered was INDIRECT THREATS AND ACCESS TO INFORMATION and defines this as attacks on or threats against press freedom activists, surveillance of journalists, problems of access to public or official information, restricted physical or reporting access to any regions of the country and problems getting journalist visas for foreign media. (3)

The French organization then listed LEGAL SITUATION AND UNJUSTIFIED PROSECUTION, which was outlined as unjustified legal actions against journalists, cases of violating the privacy of journalistic sources, as well as failure to prosecute those responsible for seriously violating press freedom. Censorship and self censorship, state monopoly of media, free access to Internet, and economic and administrative pressure are also included in the classifications. (4)

Using these standards, RSF establishes their annual index that includes 169 countries. According to the organizations figures, 105 journalists were murdered over the year. Iraq were at least 62 were killed was the most dangerous place, followed by Mexico (8), Somalia (7), Pakistan (4), Afghanistan (4), Sri Lanka (2) y Eritrea (2). It would be no surprise if these countries ended up with the lowest scores. However, with the exception of Eritrea ranking 169th, this is not the case. In the end, Robert Ménards political and ideological criterion overshadowed the rest. (5)

How is it that Eritrea, where only two journalists were murdered, ended up ranked below Iraq (157), Mexico (136), Somalia (159), Pakistan (152), Afghanistan (142) and Sri Lanka (156)? Perhaps because that nation is on Washingtons black list and RSF receives funding from the CIA front National Endowment for Democracy, NED? (7)

Likewise what is the explanation for Cuba ranking 165 when not one journalist has been killed there since 1959? Why is this nation ranked below Iraq, Mexico, Somalia, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, Brazil (84), China (163), United States (48), Haiti (75), Nepal (137), Paraguay (90), Peru (117), Democratic Republic of the Congo (133), Turkey (101) and Zimbabwe (149), where at least one journalist has been killed? RSF explains that Cubas poor ranking is due to journalists being imprisoned. Just supposing the organization is correct on this point which is actually far from being the case-, wouldnt killing journalists still be more serious than imprisoning them? (8)

RSF is so obsessed with Cuba that it does not hesitate in blatantly contradicting itself. For example RSF considers China where one journalist was killed - to be largest journalist prison in the world with 33 media professionals in detention and 50 cyber dissidents imprisoned, all figures according to the organization, is ranked above Cuba. How can RSF expect to be taken seriously? Perhaps this malice could be explained by the fact that RSF receives financial support from the extreme right Cuban organization Center for a Free Cuba (which itself is abundantly financed by Washington) whose president, Frank Calzón, is a former leader of the terrorist organization Cuban American National Foundation. (9)

In addition, how can Venezuelas rank of 114 be explained? Even though not one journalist was killed there, Venezuela ranks below Brazil, United States, Haiti, Paraguay and Turkey where at least one journalist did lose their life. How can this rank be justified when in Venezuela the press enjoys a freedom that would not be tolerated in even the largest western democracy (some private media have openly called for the assassination of President Chávez on various occasions)? Perhaps it is just part of RSFs propaganda war against President Hugo Chávez, the U.S.s central target in Latin America. (10)

What has happened in Bolivia to cause this nation to fall from 16th in 2006 to 68 a year later? Where journalist killed? Where private media sources closed? Nothing of the sort. But President Evo Morales, who has launched spectacular economic and social reforms, is now in Washingtons sites. RSF, faithful to its principals, follows the lead of its sponsors and vilifies all the progressive and popular governments of Latin America. (11)

Likewise, how can the classification of Iran (166), where not one journalist was killed, be explained except by the fact that this country is part of the axis of evil designated by Bush? Why is the U.S. (48 and 111) separated into two categories (national territory and extra-territorial)? What other reason could RSF have to make this distinction other than the obvious objective of exonerating the U.S. for violations committed in territories it occupies? (12).

As one can easily see, Reporters Without Borders is not a reliable source. Its hidden political agenda has become all too evident and its malice toward certain nations that are on the U.S. blacklist is hardly a matter of coincidence. The generous contributions received from the NED explain RSFs alignment with the White House. Robert Menard does not direct an organization that defends press freedoms, but instead a propaganda office financed by economic and financial conglomerates at the service of the worlds powerful.

Article in french,¨La supercherie Reporters sans frontières¨, October 30th 2007.

Translated by Dawn Gable.

Notes

(1) Reporters sans frontières, «Classement mondial de la liberté de la presse 2007. LErythrée en dernière position pour la première fois; les membres du G8 regagnent du terrain, sauf la Russie», 16 de October, 2007. http://www.rsf.org/article.php3?id_article=24011 (site consulted 17 de October, 2007).

(2) Reporters sans frontières, «Classement mondial de la liberté de la presse 2007. Critères pour létablissement du classement mondial 2007 de la liberté de la presse», 16 October, 2007. http://www.rsf.org/article.php3?id_article=24018 (site consulted 17 October, 2007), criterion 1 to 12.

(3) Ibid., criterion 13 to 19.

(4) Ibid., criterion 20 to 50.

(5) Reporters sans frontières, «Baromètre de la liberté de la presse 2006», 2006. http://www.rsf.org/tues_2006.php3 (site consulted 17 October, 2007); Reporters sans frontières, «Baromètre de la liberté de la presse 2007», 2007. http://www.rsf.org/rubrique.php3?id_rubrique=73 (site consulted 17 October, 2007).

(6) Reporters sans frontières, «Classement mondial de la liberté de la presse 2007. LErythrée en dernière position pour la première fois; les membres du G8 regagnent du terrain, sauf la Russie», op. cit.

(7) Robert Ménard, «Forum de discussion avec Robert Ménard», Le Nouvel Observateur, 18 April, 2005. www.nouvelobs.com/forum/archives/forum_284.html (site consulted 22 April, 2005).

(8) Reporters sans frontières, «Classement mondial de la liberté de la presse 2007. LErythrée en dernière position pour la première fois; les membres du G8 regagnent du terrain, sauf la Russie», op. cit.

(9) Reporters sans frontières, «Baromètre de la liberté de la presse 2007. Journalistes emprisonnés», 2007. http://www.rsf.org/rubrique.php3?id_rubrique=76 (site consulted 17 October, 2007); Reporters sans frontières, «Baromètre de la liberté de la presse 2007. Cyberdissidents emprisonnés», 2007. http://www.rsf.org/rubrique.php3?id_rubrique=79 (site consulted 17 October, 2007); Reporters sans frontières, «Lettre ouverte à ses détracteurs», Réseau Voltaire, 12 September, 2006. http://www.voltairenet.org/article143413.html?var_recherche=Reporters+sans+fronti%C3%A8res?var_recherche=Reporters%20sans%20frontières (site consulted 12 de septiembre de 2006); Salim Lamrani, «La Fondation nationale cubano-américaine est une organisation terroriste», Mondialisation, 27 July, 2006.

(10) Reporters sans frontières, «Classement mondial de la liberté de la presse 2007. LErythrée en dernière position pour la première fois; les membres du G8 regagnent du terrain, sauf la Russie», op. cit.

(11) Reporters sans frontières, «Classement mondial de la liberté de la presse 2006. Corée du Nord, Turkménistan, Erythrée: le trio infernal», October, 2006. http://www.rsf.org/article.php3?id_article=19318 (site consulted 17 October, 2007).

(12) Reporters sans frontières, «Classement mondial de la liberté de la presse 2007. LErythrée en dernière position pour la première fois; les membres du G8 regagnent du terrain, sauf la Russie», op. cit.

Edited by Steven Gaal
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Part 2 (of 2 see above post)

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Media Manipulation and the United Nations

UNESCO Severs Ties to Democracy Manipulators?

by Michael Barker

On March 12, 2008, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) decided to withdraw their patronage of Reporters Without Borders second annual Online Free Expression Day. UNESCO’s press release, said that they had granted Reporters Without Borders (RSF) their patronage for the international day on February 28, 2008, on the condition that UNESCO “could not ‘be associated with the activities envisaged for this occasion’ by RSF.” However, they add that:

“In its communications on the day, RSF published material concerning a number of UNESCO’s Member States, which UNESCO, had not been informed of and could not endorse. Furthermore, UNESCO’s logo was placed in such a way as to indicate the Organization’s support of the information presented.”

Reporters Without Borders hit back at UNESCO by saying that “UNESCO’s grovelling” was a result of “direct pressure” from several of the governments on their list of 15 `Internet Enemies', observing that UNESCO had “behaved with great cowardice”. Controversially, Reporters Without Borders concluded by pointing out that “it seems we have gone back 20 years, to the time when authoritarian regimes called the shots at UNESCO headquarters in Paris.”

Which ‘authoritarian’ regime Reporters Without Borders are referring to is not entirely clear, because just over 20 years ago (in January 1985) it was the US government that “called the shots at UNESCO”. Indeed they successfully undermined UNESCO’s proposal for a progressive New World Information and Communication Order, by withdrawing from the agency at a time when they were providing a quarter of UNESCO’s funding. Of course needless to say, this progressive proposal was strongly opposed by the world’s dominant Western media corporations, because UNESCO’s proposals if met “even partially, would constitute a serious diminution in the influence of the existing transnational corporate information system.” Consequently the UK also withdrew from UNESCO, and as a result UNESCO suffered severe funding problems, which combined with the ongoing attacks on their legitimacy, in the US, British and French media, served to undermine the implementation of the New World Information and Communication Order. [1]

Returning to the present controversy, according to another article from a Cuban newspaper: “Diplomatic sources from UNESCO told Prensa Latina that the agency made the decision due to the repeated demonstration of a lack of ethics on the part of Reporters Without Borders in its goal of disqualifying a certain number of countries.” [2] This report then adds that “because of this and previous actions, UNESCO decided to completely end its relationship with RSF and rule out any type of future collaboration.” To date, this information has not been reported on the website of either RSF or UNESCO. Yet even if this report is true, it is wishful thinking to believe (as this article does) that UNESCO withdrew their support of RSF because of the latter’s intimate involvement with imperial democracy manipulators like the National Endowment for Democracy.

The truth of this observation becomes apparent upon examination of the list of press freedom groups “maintaining official relations with UNESCO”, as many of the organizations are linked in some way to the work of the global democracy manipulating establishment. These media ‘freedom’ groups include Internews International, the Committee to Protect Journalists, the International Federation of Journalists, the World Press Freedom Committee (a group that “[o]riginally created to oppose proposals” for UNESCO’s New World Information and Communication Order), and the International Press Institute.

In recent years a number of authors have criticized the activities of Reporters Without Borders, and much attention has been paid to the fact that they have received funding from the National Endowment for Democracy. However, to date, next to no attention has been paid to the work of similarly ‘democratic’ UNESCO-linked organizations, like the International Press Institute. Therefore, the rest of this article will provide the first critical enquiry into the work of the International Press Institute by primarily examining the ‘democratic’ backgrounds of the recipients of their annual Free Media Pioneer Award.

The International Press Institute as Annual Democracy Manipulator

The International Press Institute (IPI) was founded in 1950 at Columbia University, and they describe themselves as a “global network of editors, media executives and leading journalists, is dedicated to the furtherance and safeguarding of press freedom, the protection of freedom of opinion and expression, the promotion of the free flow of news and information, and the improvement of the practices of journalism”. Most notably, the current president and chair of the IPI, Piotr Niemczycki, serves as the deputy president of the management board of Agora, and as the publisher of the Gazeta Wyborcza (Election Gazette). The IPI’s president was also involved in founding both Gazeta Wyborcza and Agora. Niemczycki’s links to these two organizations are important because Agora is a media company with tight connections to the democracy manipulating establishment.

Formed “on the eve of the [Polish] parliamentary elections in 1989”, Agora’s website notes that Gazeta Wyborcza was the “first independent newspaper in Poland, while Agora grew into one of the largest and most renowned media companies in Central and Eastern Europe.” Gazeta Wyborcza “was established… as a daily representing the Solidarity opposition”, but their website neglects to mention that this political party, Solidarity, obtained vital support from the CIA, the National Endowment for Democracy, and the notorious democracy manipulator George Soros. Moreover, according to the Polish American Library, the National Endowment for Democracy “was the original funding source for Gazeta Wyborcza”.

George Soros was highly active in supporting the work of Solidarity, and in 1988 he created the Stefan Batory Foundation (an ostensibly “independent private Polish foundation”) to help direct his democracy manipulating efforts. Currently the Batory Foundation’s largest funder, aside from the Open Society Institute, is the Ford Foundation, but the Batory Foundation has also received funding from other ‘democratic’ groups like the National Endowment for Democracy, Freedom House, and the Institute of International Education. Writing in 2004, Srdja Trifkovic notes that the:

“Hoi polloi are force-fed the daily fare of OSI [Open Society Institute] agitprop by ‘the Soros media’... from the Gazeta Wyborcza in Warsaw to Danas (Today) in Serbia, the Monitor in Montenegro, the Markiza TV channel in Bratislava, and Vreme weekly and the B-92 electronic media conglomerate in Belgrade. They invariably parrot Soros’ views and ambitions, reflected by the agenda of the local Soros foundation at home and, in world affairs, by the International Crisis Group (ICG), largely financed by Soros and run by his appointees.” (For more information on some of these media groups see later)

Given the intimate relations that exist between George Soros and the National Endowment for Democracy it is little surprise that in 2000, Gazeta Wyborcza, “awarded him the title of the Man of Year for his “support of the development of democracy, education and civil society in the countries of the CEE [Central and Eastern Europe] region.”

Another of the IPI’s executive board members, Kavi Chongkittavorn, also has excellent democracy manipulating credentials, because in September 2007 she received the National Endowment for Democracy’s coveted Democracy Award. In addition to her IPI affiliation Chongkittavorn presently serves as the assistant group editor of Nation Media Group, is a member of the steering committee of the NED-created World Movement for Democracy, and serves as the chair of the Southeast Asian Press Alliance – a group that has received annual support from the NED for its work in Malaysia (since 1999).

Finally it is worth mentioning that the IPI’s ‘democratic’ roots can be traced to its founding in 1950, as from 1951 until 1954 their founding chair was Lester Markel. At the time of the founding of the IPI Markel was the Sunday editor of The New York Times, but it is most interesting to note that in 1947 he “initiated” the creation of the Council on Foreign Relations’ “Propaganda and Foreign Policy” group, which was soon renamed as the “Public Opinion and Foreign Policy” group. Given this knowledge, it is entirely consistent that Anthony Giffard (1989) should have classified the IPI as an organization that “played an active role in opposing” UNESCO’s proposal for a New World Information and Communication Order in the late 1970s and early 1980s. [3] Thus, having provided a little background on the ‘democratic’ orientation of the IPI, this article now introduces the ‘democratic’ recipients of their annual press freedom award.

Awarding ‘Democracy’

Established in 1996, the IPI’s annual Free Media Pioneer Award is awarded to “recognize individuals and organizations that have fought against great odds to ensure freer and more independent media in their countries.” This annual award is co-sponsored by Freedom Forum, a group that was founded in 1991 and describes itself as a “nonpartisan foundation dedicated to free press, free speech and free spirit for all people”. [4] Yet despite Freedom Forum’s benign sounding self-description, they, like the IPI, have solid democracy manipulating credentials. For example, Freedom Forum’s founder Allen H. Neuharth serves on the advisory committee of the aforementioned World Press Freedom Committee; another of their trustees, Wilma P. Mankiller, recently served as a trustee of the Ford Foundation; while a further Freedom Forum trustee, Bette Bao Lord, is chair emeritus of Freedom House. Thus both sponsors of the Free Media Pioneer Award are well connected to the democracy manipulating credentials establishment. Following is a demonstration of how this press ‘freedom’ award is used to legitimate the work of ‘democratic’ media groups all over the world.

In 1996, the first Free Media Pioneer Award was given to the Russian commercial TV station, NTV – which is owned by media oligarch Vladimir Gusinsky – for its objective reporting on the Chechnya conflict. Yet while NTV’s coverage may have been a thorn in the side of President Boris Yeltsin, this didn’t stop the president of NTV, Igor Malashenko, from working as Yeltsin’s chief media advisor for his re-election campaign in April 1996. Indeed, as in other “electoral interventions”, the global democracy manipulators had selected their favored candidate (Yeltsin in this case) and, despite NTV’s critical reporting on Chechnya, it appears that they could be relied upon not to rock the boat too much. Thus NTV won the IPI’s first Free Media Pioneer Award just as the struggling independent media in Russia “were falling into the hands of two rival oligarchs, Boris Berezovsky (TV-6) and Vladimir Gusinsky (NTV)”. As Edward Herman observed a few years later: “Boris Yeltsin is a ‘reformer,’ in the contemporary post-Orwellian usage of the word: that is, one who is carrying out policies approved by dominant Western interests.” [5]

The second Pioneer Award was distributed to the Indonesian-based Alliance of Independent Journalists, a group that was critical of the Western-backed Suharto dictatorship. The timing of this award may have to do with a change of heart of western governments’ ‘democratic’ plans for Indonesia, as, at around this time, they were beginning to start thinking about withdrawing their support for Suharto (the PR disaster), and sure enough in 1998 he was eventually removed from power. In addition, the Alliance of Independent Journalists is one of five members of the aforementioned NED-funded Southeast Asian Press Alliance, and in 1998 their founder, Goenawan Mohamad, was awarded the International Press Freedom Award by the Committee to Protect Journalists.

In 1998, Serbian-based Radio B-92 was honored with the Pioneer Award for its unrelenting commitment to democracy, of which one important part was the role it played in the creation (in 1993) of the Association of Independent Electronic Media (ANEM). There can be no question that ANEM successfully protected media broadcasters from state repression in Serbia, but there is also no doubt that this would have been impossible without the financial and diplomatic support that they received from Western governments. [6] In fact, the democracy manipulating establishment had been extremely busy in the former Yugoslavia throughout the early 1990s, providing between US$7-10 million for media development during this time; while after 1995 the US gave a further US$23 million and the European Union augmented this with another 17 million Euros for supporting ‘independent’ media groups.

More specifically, Radio B-92 received a grant from the NED the year before they obtained the IPI’s Pioneer Award, which was used – in the NED’s words – to help “break the stranglehold of government-dominated media in Serbia by strengthening an independent source of news and opinion and will ensure the free flow of unbiased information throughout the country”. In 1998, Radio B-92 then received a grant from the Westminster Foundation for Democracy (the British version of the NED to enable them “to conduct a systematic and critical analysis of the coverage of the war in Kosovo presented by Serbian state television.” (NED grants were also given to Radio Television B-92 in 2001 and 2005.) Finally ANEM themselves received their first NED grant in 1998, and subsequently went on to obtain indirect NED support in 2004 and 2005, when NED grants were channeled to them via the intermediary media group Medienhilfe. As in other ‘democratic’ interventions, it seems that the main reason the democracy manipulating community supported the development of ‘independent’ media outlets like Radio B-92 and ANEM was to ensure a ‘favorable’ change of government, that is, to facilitate the ouster of President Milosevic.

In 1992 and again in 1993, the NED gave grants to support independent journalism in Ethiopia. The 1992 grant is most notable here as the NED noted that it was to be used to “lay the foundation for an indigenous and self-sustainable training center for journalists and publishers in Ethiopia.” In 1999, the Ethiopian Free Press Journalists’ Association received the fourth Pioneer Award. Although it seems that this association has no direct links to democracy manipulating bodies it is worth noting that this Association was formed in 1993 shortly after the aforementioned NED grants.

The next recipient of the Pioneer Award was the Instituto De Prensa Y Sociedad (or the Peruvian Press and Society Institute) – a group that was founded in 1993, and has exemplary ‘democratic’ credentials that I have outlined in full elsewhere. Two years before receiving the 2000 Pioneer Award, the Peruvian Press and Society Institute received their first NED grant to help “develop a national network to protect journalists”; they then received renewed NED support in both 2000 and 2001. Like the IPI’s Kavi Chongkittavorn, the Peruvian Press and Society Institute were rewarded with the NED’s annual Democracy Award in 2007.

The 2001 winner of the IPI’s Press Award was the Malaysian website Malaysiakini.com, a site that was launched in 1999 by the Southeast Asian Press Alliance (SEAPA). With the assistance of the World Press Freedom Committee, Freedom Forum, and the Committee to Protect Journalists, SEAPA were formed by IPI executive board member Kavi Chongittavorn (n 1989) to campaign for press freedom in Southeast Asia. Since 1999, SEAPA have received annual grants from the NED to support their work in Malaysia, which focuses on the “development and protection of journalistic independence and professionalism”. Here it is important to note that out of all of SEAPA’s annual NED grants the only grant that specifies “support for online media” was given to them in 1999.

In 2002, the Serbian newspaper, Danas, received the Pioneer Award, and like previous award winners, they too received prior aid from the NED. Thus, the year after Danas was launched (in 1997), they received a NED grant to “open a news bureau in… Prishtina” to help “improve the paper’s ability to gather up-to-date information on developments in Kosovo.” In 2000, they received another NED grant channelled to them via the regular NED aid recipient the BETA News Agency. [7]

The Media Council of Tanzania won the Pioneer Award in 2003, and - although they have not obtained any funding from the NED - they have received aid from other prominent international democracy manipulators. For example, the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency gave the Media Council a three year grant of SEK 4,000,000 in 2001, while the Netherlands-based Communication Assistance Foundation awarded them NLG 364, 522 for the same period.

In 2004, the Baku-based Central Asian and Southern Caucasian Freedom of Expression Network (CASCFEN) received the Pioneer Award. This group most likely played a significant role in two NED-backed revolutions in both Georgia (2003) and in Kyrgyzstan (2005). In both cases the ‘independent’ media played a crucial role in the success of the revolutions.

The founder of CASCFEN, Azer Hasret, formerly served as the president of the Journalists' Trade Union – the group that helped launch CASCFEN in August 2001 along with five other groups which included the Azerbaijan National Committee of International Press Institute, the Independent Association of Georgian Journalists, Public Association “Journalists”, the Union of Independent Journalists of Uzbekistan, and the National Association of Independent Mass Media of Tajikistan. [8] Interestingly while only the latter group went on to receive NED aid (in both 2003 and 2005), in 2003, Zviad Pochkhua, the president of the Independent Association of Georgian Journalists critiqued another Georgian-based NGO – the Liberty Institute – for receiving funding from US Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Soros Foundation. [9] So it is ironic that even CASCFEN’s work has received support from George Soros’ Open Society Institute-Assistance Foundation Azerbaijan. Finally, between 2004 and 2005, the Azerbaijan-based Journalists' Trade Union worked on the Election Monitoring Center’s media programme, which is significant because in 2005 this Center received a grant from the NED to “inform the public about the electoral process and the political platforms of different parties and candidates by producing newspaper inserts, radio programs, and televised debates.”

Zimbabwe’s SW Radio Africa won the Pioneer Award in 2005, making it the first externally broadcast media group to receive the award – due to government repression they are based in London (UK). SW Radio Africa first started operating in December 2001, and according to diplomatic sources they are funded by the USAID’s Office of Transition Initiatives. [10] Furthermore, from 2005 to 2006 Violet Gonda a “producer and presenter for the news section of SW Radio Africa” served as a fellow at the Center on Democracy, Development and the Rule of Law (CDDRL) at Stanford University. This is particularly noteworthy because the Director of the CDDRL is Michael McFaul, an individual who happens to be a director of the National Endowment for Democracy’s International Forum for Democratic Studies, and is a trustee of both Freedom House and the Eurasia Foundation.

The 2006 recipient of the Pioneer Award was the Yemen Times, a newspaper that only exhibits tenuous links to the NED, as from 2006 to 2007, one of their reporters, Hafez Al-Bukari, served as a Reagan Fascell Democracy Fellow at the NED. [11] In addition, it is more than coincidental that another former Yemen Times reporter, Hatem Bamehriz, previously served as the Deputy Country Director of the Yemen field office of the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs (which is one of the NED’s core grantees). [12]

The winner of the 2007 Free Media Pioneer Award was the Mizzima News Agency, an Agency that was formed in 1998 by a group of exiled Burmese journalists based in both India and Thailand. According to Reuters, “Mizzima is one of several outlets, like the Oslo-based Democratic Voice of Burma (DVB), that have become major source of information on the country.” Consequently it is highly significant that since 1999 the Agency has received support from George Soros’ Open Society Institute, and in 2006 (at least) they obtained financial support from the NED (and two other NED-supported groups: Internews and the Southeast Asian Press Alliance). Given that the impetus for this article was UNESCO’s controversial relationship with Reporters Without Borders it is appropriate that Mizzima is also linked to this notorious press ‘freedom’ watchdog. This connection comes through the presence of Maung Maung Myint on Mizzima’s advisory board, as he is also currently the president of NED-sponsored Burma Media Association, and serves on international jury for Reporters Without Borders Fondation de France Prize.

Democratizing the United Nations?

This article has demonstrated that the ostensibly progressive International Press Institute is a key member of the global democracy manipulating establishment. This information is problematic on a number of levels, not least of which is that UNESCO maintains cordial relations with the International Press Institute and many other NED-linked media groups. Moreover, this is not the first time that the United Nations has compromised its integrity through ties with the NED. Indeed, as I illustrated in a recent article, the recently formed UN Democracy Fund works extremely closely with the NED and their global cadres; furthermore, my limited critiques of the United Nations are amplified by many other authors whose work can be found on the Center for Research on Globalization’s website.

In January 2007, Ban Ki-Moon succeeded Kofi Annan as the new Secretary-General of the United Nations, but it is highly questionable as to whether he is he going to be able (or willing) to reform the United Nations. Indeed, as Professor Rodrigue Tremblay writes, so far the “only reforms the new Secretary-General has espoused have been minor administrative arrangements—and even those were contested”. He adds:

“What the United Nations needs is more than simply shuffling the chairs on the deck of the Titanic. It needs a fundamental structural reorganization if it is to play the role it was assigned originally in 1945, that is to say to promote international cooperation and to maintain international peace and security.”

Yet, perhaps the United Nations cannot be reformed after all, as the job that it was initially set up to fulfill – as intended by the Council on Foreign Relations War and Peace Studies Group – was to legitimate America’s imperial ventures. [13]

As Edward Herman observes, we are already in the “midst of a crisis within the post-war international system, as a serial aggressor [the United States] is now able to mobilize the [united Nations] Security Council… to declare the state that it threatens with war a menace to the peace and to help the aggressor disarm its target.” The United Nations has gone far beyond simply legitimating US domination; it now acts as a critical armament of imperialism, both in its soft form - as exemplified by its work with the NED - and in justifying harder militaristic forms of imperialism. So the question remains, ‘is the United Nations the type of institution that should be reformed in the first place?’ If not, then we need to think hard about the type of institution that should replace it, because what is urgently need is an international organization that can help reign in aggressor states not encourage them, and promote popular democracy not elite ‘democracy’.

Michael Barker is a doctoral candidate at Griffith University, Australia. He can be reached at Michael. J. Barker [at] griffith.edu.au. Most of his other articles can be found here.

Endnotes

[1] William Preston, Jr., Edward S. Herman, and Herbert I. Schiller, Hope and Folly: the United States and UNESCO, 1945-1985 (New York: Institute for Media Analysis, 1989) , p. 297, pp. 203-81.

[2] Incidentally Cuba was on Reporters Without Borders ‘Internet Enemy’ list.

[3] Anthony C. Giffard, UNESCO and the Media (New York: Longman, 1989), p.28.

[4] Freedom Forum is “supported by income from an endowment now worth more than $1 billion in diversified assets” and in 1997 they distributed over $48 million in grants. See JoEllen Gorg, U.S. Foundations: A Review of International Funding Priorities 2002, Prepared for the USAID/ANE Bureau, May 2002.

[5] Edward Herman notes: “The Russian election was badly compromised by Western intervention, some of it contrary to Russian law, all of it in violation of nominal Western principles of fairness. Western leaders gathered in Moscow during the campaign to proclaim their opposition to ‘terrorism’ (in the midst of Yeltsin's terrorist attacks on Chechnya) and to give a boost to the ‘reformer.’ German president Helmut Kohl traveled to Moscow, as did U.S. Secretary of State Warren Christopher, for photo appearances with our man. The IMF made a $10.2 billion loan to Russia in the midst of the campaign, despite the fact that Russia was in violation of IMF loan conditions and was dispensing large sums of public money for election purposes. A trio of Republican advisers joined the Yeltsin election campaign, although such foreign participation in an election violates Russian law. U.S. ambassador Thomas Pickering urged candidate Grigory Yavlinsky to drop out of the election in order to help Yeltsin.”

[6] Spasa Bosnjak, Fight the Power: The Role of the Serbian Independent Electronic Media in the Democratization of Serbia (Simon Fraser University: Unpublished MA thesis, 2005), p.71.

[7] The BETA News Agency received NED grants annually from 1997 to 2005.

[8] In 2003 Azer Hasret was also the Secretary General of the Azerbaijan Journalists Confederation.

[9] Although not noted in Zviad Pochkhua’s article, the Georgian-based Liberty Institute received NED funding in 1999, 2001, and 2004. It is also interesting that the vice president of the Independent Association of Georgian Journalists, Geno Jokhidze, has also been the editor-in-chief of Echo newspaper since 2002. This is because from 2003 to 2004 the deputy editor-in-chief of the daily Echo served as a NED Reagan-Fascell Democracy Fellow.

[10] A Radio Netherland Media Network report notes that SW Radio Africa “receive millions of dollars from a department of the US International Development Agency, known as the Office of Transition Initiatives (OTI), although according to the station its funding comes from unspecified ‘human rights and media freedom groups’”.

[11] Hafez Al-Bukari was also “a member of the informal advisory board of the [neoconservative] American Enterprise Institute’s Arab Reform program and coordinator of the International Federation of Journalists’ Project in Yemen.”

[12] Hatem Bamehriz is now currently working for the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs in Somalia. Although I have demonstrated that the Yemen Times can be linked to the NED, they appear to utilize reporters from a variety of political persuasions, as according to the US Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor (2002): “In May the PSO [Political Security Organization] detained journalist Hassan al-Zaidi and held him incommunicado for 16 days, at times in solitary confinement, in the detention center under the PSO headquarters in Sana'a. Authorities never formally charged al-Zaidi with any crime, but told him that he had ‘exceeded the red lines.’ In addition to being a reporter for the Yemen Times, al-Zaidi is a member of the Islamist opposition party Union of Popular Forces (UPF) and belongs to the al-Zaidi tribe, which has been responsible for kidnappings of foreigners and other destabilizing activity.”

[13] Laurence Shoup and William Minter (1980) noted that Council on Foreign Relations member, Isaiah Bowman, observed in a Council meeting in May 1942 that: “[T]he United States had to exercise the strength need to assure ‘security,’ and at the same time ‘avoid conventional forms of imperialism.’ The way to do this, he argued, was to make the exercise of that power international in character through a United Nations body.”

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Human Rights and Media Manipulation

From Pinochet to ‘Human Rights’ in China

by Michael Barker

When the twentieth century becomes history it will be seen as distinctive, I believe, for three developments in liberal Western societies: the growth of democracy; the rise of huge concentrations of economic power, known as corporations; and the professionalizing and institutionalizing of propaganda, especially as a means for safe-guarding the power of free-enterprise corporations against democracy.” (Alex Carey, 1987) [1]

Most regular readers of alternative media will be acutely aware of the US government’s antidemocratic history. Indeed, according to William Blum and Dr Danielle Ganser, since 1945 this much neglected history has seen the US government attempt to “overthrow more than 40 foreign governments”, “crush more than 30 populist-nationalist movements” and provide support to right-wing terrorist (stay behind) armies in every European country. Unfortunately as most members of the public rely upon the corporate media – for the most part unaware that a useful and democratic alternative media exists – they are for the most part unaware of the extent of this antidemocratic foreign policy (and perhaps more importantly still they are unaware that they can do something to change it).

This is not to say that the journalists within the corporate media suffer from amnesia: indeed, with regard to the coverage of the death of Chile’s former dictator, Augusto Pinochet (in 2006), an exchange between British-based media watchdog, Media Lens, and The Guardian’s (UK) Isabel Hilton, illustrates that, in spite of their reporting, many journalists are well aware of the US’s antidemocratic history. Responding to Hilton’s article recalling Pinochet’s life and death, Media Lens wrote to her, suggesting that the “real shock value” of Pinochet’s rise to power “lies in the fact that the United States organised the coup”. Media Lens challenged Hilton about this, asserting that “not a word in your article even hinted at it. Why not?” Hilton’s full response was:

“There is never room to say everything in a rather short article and I have written about the US role many times. Is it surprising or shocking that the US played a central role? Hardly. The US had played that role in coups all over the sub continent for some time, (for me the worst was the one against Arbenz -- worse for its long term effect) their role in Chile was not surprising for anyone who followed Latin American events, and the shock factor had long since worn off.”

Given her evident knowledge of American history it is strange that regular consumers of British corporate media are still shocked when they first learn of the US’s antidemocratic role in Chile; a subject that recently gained widespread attention in John Pilger’s excellent documentary The War on Democracy. Thus Media Lens replied to Hilton:

“Yes, you know that, but do your readers? In fact journalists generally refer to the US role in Pinochet's coup in vague terms (as in current reporting) – the details and motives are rarely discussed. As for the wider US pattern of forcibly subordinating people to profit, this is essentially a taboo subject for the media.”

Media Lens received no further response from Hilton.

While Hilton may not be shocked by the antidemocratic nature of the US’s involvement in Chile, I remain shocked by the CIA’s brutal intervention. Moreover, I am equally shocked by the ongoing antidemocratic work of the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) – an Orwellian ‘nongovernmental organization’ that was formed in the early 1980s to wage the cultural cold war that was formerly fought by the CIA. William Colby, who directed the CIA from 1973 until 1976, noted that the beauty of the NED’s PR-friendly approach to imperialism is that: “It is not necessary to turn to the covert approach. Many of the programs which… were conducted as covert operations [can now be] conducted quite openly, and consequentially, without controversy.”

Professor William I. Robinson has described this rhetorical shift in US foreign policy – from CIA to NED (and CIA) – in much detail; most notably in his seminal book Promoting Polyarchy (1996). With regard to Chile, Robinson highlights how with NED aid Patricio Aylwin rose to the Chilean presidency in 1990 a fitting reward for an individual who worked with the CIA to play a critical role in facilitating the 1973 military coup. As Robinson observes:

“The Chilean coup was part of a pattern in Latin America of military takeovers in the 1960s and 1970s with U.S. approval and often active assistance, in the face of mass struggles that broke out everywhere against the prevailing social and economic inequalities and highly restricted political systems. But Washington abruptly switched tracks in the mid-1980s and began to ‘promote democracy’ in Latin America and around the world. In Chile, Aylwin and his party once again received U.S. assistance, this time as part of a ‘democracy promotion’ program channelled through the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) and the U.S. Agency for International Development (AID), which would help Aylwin become president. Ironically, the return to power in 1990 of Aylwin and the party that openly participated in the 1973 military coup was projected around the world as the culmination of a ‘democratic revolution’ sweeping Latin America.”

Understanding this shift of ‘democratic’ aid from the CIA to the NED is critical to understanding the nature of contemporary imperialism, but unfortunately it is a shift that for the most part has remained unchallenged (in both the corporate media and alternative media alike) – for a discussion of The New York Times’ coverage of the NED see here. Consequently it is not surprising that critical attention has not turned to the activities of the NED in China – either in the mainstream or alternative press – despite the fact that in 2006 the NED distributed $5.7 million of grants to China-related groups. This sum is more significant because the NED is active in “over 90 countries” and in 2006 they distributed a total of $94 million to groups all over the world, which means that in 2006 Chinese groups received a massive six percent of their total grants. [2]

In order to begin to remedy this information deficit surrounding the work of the NED in China, this article examines the ‘democratic’ background of one group that obtained excellent access to both the alternative and corporate media, this group is Human Rights in China.

‘Human Rights’ in China

Human Rights in China (HRIC) was founded in 1989, and according to their website they are an “international, Chinese, non-governmental organisation with a mission to promote universally recognised human rights and advance the institutional protection of these rights in the People’s Republic of China (China).” According to the NED’s senior program officer for Asia, Louisa Coan Greve, “Human Rights in China is considered as reliable as Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International as a source of accurate human rights information.” Moreover, despite the fact Human Rights in China have received ongoing support from the NED, one of their reports (from 1997) disingenuously notes that their work is “independent of any political groups or governments.” [3]

According to the NED’s project database, Human Rights in China received their first NED grant in 1992 (which was worth $74,000) to “support a Legal Education and Assistance Project that provides legal advice and support for prisoners of conscience and victims of political persecution in China”. [4] This legal project then received a further $120,000 in 1993, and another $155,000 the ensuing year. On top of this $155,000 grant, they obtained an additional $20,000 in 1994 to help them prepare for the UN World Conference on Women which was held in Beijing in September 1995.

In 1995, as a result of Human Rights in China’s “emergency response to the ‘May crackdown’ in Beijing” they received a supplement NED grant worth $10,000 for its Human Rights Education and Assistance Project. They also obtained $25,000 for its Women's Rights Assessment Project, and a further $140,000 to produce their twice-monthly radio program, and to help them engage “with international NGOs, the media, governments and intergovernmental bodies to maintain pressure on the Chinese government to improve its human rights record.”

Human Rights in China obtained continued NED support in 1996 and 1997, and in 2001 they received a grant to allow them to publish their quarterly journal China Rights Forum and maintain a web site. Since 2000, Human Rights in China have been given a further five NED grants worth a total of $1.8 million – which have increased in size each year (the largest being their most recent $0.5 million grant). [5]

‘Democratic’ Directors

Human Rights in China (HRIC) work appears to be closely related to that undertaken by it’s better known counterpart, Human Rights Watch, as Robert L. Bernstein, the founder and former chair of Human Rights Watch is currently the chair of HRIC’s board of directors (he is also a member of the national council of the ‘democratic’ Human Rights First). Not surprisingly Human Rights Watch and HRIC regularly work together to publish human rights reports, which is fitting as extremely close ties exist between Human Rights Watch and the global democracy manipulators (like the NED).(For further details see, Hijacking Human Rights: A Critical Examination of Human Rights Watch’s Americas Branch and their Links to the ‘Democracy’ Establishment.)

The founder of Human Rights in China, Fu Xinyuan, is Associate Professor of Pathology at Yale University School of Medicine; he also sits on the advisory board of the Israel Science Foundation (which is “Israel’s predominant source of competitive grants funding for basic research”). [6] Ironically, in 2005, The Guardian (UK) reported that foreign grant reviewers were boycotting the Israel Science Foundation due to the Israeli government’s human rights violations.

Since 2002, Human Rights in China’s executive director has been Sharon Hom – an individual who also serves as a member of Human Rights Watch’s Asia Advisory Committee, and is an emerita professor of law at the City University of New York School of Law. Prior to Hom’s appointment to Human Rights in China, the organization’s longstanding executive director – from 1991 to 2002 – was Qiang Xiao, who was formerly the vice-chair of the steering committee of the NED-initiated World Movement for Democracy, and presently acts as the director of the China Internet Project (at the University of California at Berkeley), sits on the board of advisors for the NED-funded International Campaign for Tibet, and is the chief editor of China Digital Times.

The China Digital Times (formerly the China Digital News) at which Qiang Xiao is chief editor, describes itself as a “collaborative news website covering China’s social and political transition and its emerging role in the world.” The project receives funding from the MacArthur Foundation amongst others, and their executive editor, Sophie Beach, was formerly a senior research associate for Asia at the ‘democratic’ Committee to Protect Journalists. In addition, the chair of the China Digital Times advisory board is Orville Schell who is an emeritus board member of Human Rights Watch and a vice chair of their Asia Advisory Committee, is a director of the ‘democratic’ National Committee on United States-China Relations, a member of the core founding group of the Dalai Lama Foundation (a group whose president, Tenzin Tethong, is also the founder of the NED-funded Tibet Fund), and has worked for the Ford Foundation in Indonesia. In 2004 (at least) Schell was a director of Human Rights in China, and he also acts a member of the elite planning group, the Council on Foreign Relations, is the founder of the Pacific News Service, and ironically serves on the advisory board of the Center for Investigative Reporting. Finally, John Gage, another member of China Digital Times’ advisory board with strong ‘democratic’ ties, currently serves on the advisory board of the deceptively named US Institute of Peace (the NED’s sister organization), and is a director of Relief International.

Returning to Human Rights in China, although their website provides no current list of their staff or directors (one is available for 2004, see here), a basic internet search has shown that the following people act as their directors:

· Andrew J. Nathan – who is a trustee of Freedom House, a director of the NED-funded Center for Modern China, a member of the editorial board of the NED’s Journal of Democracy, the former Director of the Weatherhead East Asian Institute where he is presently a faculty member, is a member of Human Right Watch’s Asia Advisory Committee – where he was chair from 1995 to 2000, and is a member of the both the Council on Foreign Relations and the National Committee on United States-China Relations

· R. Scott Greathead – who is also a founder and director of Human Rights First , and is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations

· Harold Hongju Koh Koh – who was the assistant secretary of state for democracy, human rights and labor during the Clinton administration, and is a director of both the National Democratic Institute (a core NED grantee) and Human Rights First

· Perry Link – who serves on the advisory board of the NED-funded Beijing Spring (see later), is the former chair of the Princeton China Initiative, and is a member of Human Rights Watch’s Asia Advisory Committee

· Hu Ping – who is a former president of the NED-linked Chinese Alliance for Democracy, a “regular commentator for Radio Free Asia”, and has been chief editor of Beijing Spring since 1993

· Nina Rosenwald – who is a trustee of Freedom House, serves on the advisory board of the American Center for Democracy, is a director of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations

In addition, former Human Rights in China director Fiona Druckenmiller is a trustee of the Carnegie Corporation of New York, and is a former director of Human Rights Watch. Other people involved with Human Rights Watch with ‘democratic’ ties include the chair of their executive committee Liu Qing, who serves on the advisory board of Beijing Spring, is a former editor of the April Fifth Forum, and is “a close ally of Wei Jingsheng” – a Chinese activist who won the NED’s 1998 Democracy Award. As a number of HRIC’s team are linked to Beijing Spring, the following section will introduce their ‘democratic’ work.

Beijing Spring: ‘Democratic’ Media

Beijing Spring is a monthly Chinese-language magazine (sold in and outside of China) that was founded during the Democracy Wall Movement by Wang Dan (who in 1998 received the NED’s 1998 Democracy Award, and since 2002 has been the president of Beijing Spring), Zhou Weimin, and Chen Ziming (who founded the Beijing Social and Economic Sciences Research Institute in 1986, and in 1991 won the Committee to Protect Journalists’ International Press Freedom Award along with his colleague Wang Juntao). [7] According to the NED, the magazine “carries analysis and commentary by authors inside and outside China regarding political developments, social issues, and the prospects for democratization in China”, and since 2001, Beijing Spring has received annual NED aid (in 2006 they received $195,000). [8]

Beijing Spring’s editorial board is home to the following ‘democratically’ linked individuals Wang Dan, Hu Ping, Kuide Chen (who has worked for both the NED-funded Princeton China Initiative, and the NED-funded Center for Modern China), Yu Dahai (who was the founding president of the NED-funded Chinese Economists Society), Zheng Yi, and Beijing Spring manager Xue Wei (who between 1982 and 1993 worked for the Chinese Alliance for Democracy – a group that received a single NED grant in 1992).

Likewise, the members of Beijing Spring’s advisory board exhibit many ‘democratic’ ties and include Perry Link, Andrew J. Nathan, Liu Qing, Fang Lizhi (who, in 1995, was a board member of HRIC, in 2000 was a member of Human Rights Watch’s Academic Freedom Committee, and is a member of the international council of advisors for the International Campaign for Tibet), Su Shaozhi (who is the former chair of the Princeton China Initiative), and Yu Ying-shi (who helped set up the Princeton China Initiative). As a number of people affiliated with Beijing Spring have also been linked to the Princeton China Initiative, this organization will now be briefly examined.

The Princeton China Initiative (the Initiative) was founded in 1989 and closed operations in 2004, and between 1992 and 2005 they received seven grants from the NED to allow exiled Chinese dissidents to publish two monthly newsletters, China Focus (English-language), and The Road (Chinese-language). [9] In 1989 Liu Binyan (deceased December 5, 2006) a key person at the Initiative was “China’s most prominent journalist” and a Neiman fellow at Harvard University, but when he was banned from returning to China that year he helped found and head the Initiative. One important ‘democratically’ linked person who was involved with the Initiative during it’s early years was their managing director Lorraine Spiess. Prior to joining the Initiative, Spiess had been the executive director of the Canada China Business Council, and had “worked on Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) programs to support China’s ongoing economic reforms.” Spiess’ ‘democratic’ links were strengthened when she left the Initiative, as from 1993 to 1995 she was the regional program director for the International Republican Institute (a core NED grantee) during which time she also worked closely with Phyllis Chang, the Ford Foundation’s program officer for Democracy and Rights in Beijing.

What Next?

As noted at the start of this article, the corporate media do not provide an accurate reflection of society, thus it is not surprising that the democracy manipulating nature of Human Rights in China (and Human Rights Watch) remain unmentioned in their coverage. This is because as Edward S. Herman and Noam Chomsky suggested in their seminal work Manufacturing Consent, the mass media’s primary (usually unstated) goal is to manufacture public consent for elite interests. Bearing this in mind, it is logical – in spite of contrary evidence – that the mass media portrays a NED-funded group as a progressive organization, and that this critique of Human Rights in China will be rendered invisible in the mainstream media. (It probably doesn’t help that even the BBC World Service Trust received a grant from the NED in 2006.) Thus the anti-democratic nature of mainstream media is an obvious impediment to progressive social change: indeed concerned citizens:

“…need to consider whether the same media system that serves to naturalise and legitimise elite decision-making, can really encourage its antithesis, collective grassroots decision-making. It seems an anathema to even consider that by working on the terms set by the mass media, social movements are actually legitimising and tightening its hegemonic power over society, even while it simultaneously acts to de-legitimise or ignore the global justice movement.”

Short of working with others (like Media Lens) to challenge the (il)legitimacy of the mainstream media, another immediate solution to some of the problems identified in this article involves supporting independent investigative journalism by giving money to the alternative media instead of the corporate media. To pay for their valuable services simply click on one of the following links, Centre for Research on Globalization, CounterPunch, Medialens, Monthly Review, Spinwatch, Znet, or alternatively support a local outlet of your choice.

Furthermore, to prevent elite manipulation of human rights and democracy, first and foremost progressive citizens will also have to educate themselves about the work of democracy manipulators (like the NED) a process that has been made easier by the launch of two groups, the International Endowment for Democracy and In the Name of Democracy. However, although it is certainly important to develop a comprehensive understanding of the role of the democracy manipulating establishment in circumscribing progressive social change, people can begin to rectify the democratic dilemma posed by the NED and its supporters by publicly denouncing their activities, and by refusing to work with them in the future. It seems that only then can progressive groups begin considering adopting more participatory funding arrangements that will help to allow them to promote a popular form of democracy that serves people not imperialism. [10]

Michael Barker is a British citizen based in Australia. Most of his other articles can be found here.

Endnotes

[1] To Alex Carey’s prescient analyses of corporate power one might now add how ironically, even democracy itself is now being used as an instrument of propaganda against democracy.

[2] In 1997, Representative Christopher H. Smith, Chairman of the Subcommittee on international Operations and Human Rights observed that: “Of the billions of dollars we spend every year trying to protect and defend freedom around the world, the $30 million we spend on NED is probably the most cost-effective item in the budget. Because NED is small and because it is not a U.S. government agency, it can directly intervene to empower the victims of oppression even as our official foreign relations apparatus is doing its best to get along with the governments that are perpetrating this oppression.”

Of the $5.7 million that the NED gave to China-related groups in 2006, $4.6 million was earmarked for just working in China. The rest of the money was given for work in China (Hong Kong) $0.4 million, China (Tibet) $0.3 million, and China (Xinjiang) $0.4 million.

[3] China: Whose Security? “State Security” in China’s New Criminal Code, April 1997, Vol. 9 (4).

[4] The NED project database lists their grants under three names, “Human Rights in China, Inc.”, “Human Rights in China, Inc. (HRIC)”, and “Human Rights in China”. All forthcoming quotes relating to the NED’s China grants can be found on the NED’s database.

[5] It is also interesting to note that in 1996, the Westminster Foundation for Democracy (the British version of the NED) also provided Human Rights in China with a £13,000 grant to “produce 500 copies of a human rights manual in Chinese to provide basic teaching material on human rights issues.” While in 1994 Human Rights in China received a $20,000 grant from the Canadian version of the NED, Rights and Democracy, to help them publish China Rights Forum.

[6] The Israel Science Foundation has an annual budget of “roughly $60 million” and it funds around “1,300 grants a year, providing 2/3 of all such funds.”

[7] On February 12, 1991, Wang Juntao and Chen Ziming were imprisoned in China: in 1994, both were then released from prison on medical parole, and while Wang moved to America, Chen was rearrested in the following year and only released from house arrest in 2002.

[8] In 2004, their NED grant was used to allow Beijing Spring to “engage in a new initiative to work together with Uyghur democracy activists to increase awareness among Chinese communities, in China and abroad, of the dire restrictions on freedoms in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region of China.”

[9] In 1996, the NED noted: the Princeton China Initiative’s “English-language monthly, ‘China Focus,’ with an international circulation of 1,500, provides in-depth analysis and insight into underlying trends often not reported in conventional media. It has drawn praise from professional China-watchers for consistently providing essential information about the current, on-the-ground situation within China. The Chinese-language monthly, ‘The Road,’ with a circulation of 3,000, allows readers inside China access to ideas and information otherwise blocked by state censorship.”

[10] To date, the issue of developing sustainable funding (in ways compatible with participatory principles) for progressive social change has not been seriously addressed by progressive activists – a recent exception being INCITE!’s (2007) The Revolution Will Not Be Funded (published by South End Press). For further examples of articles and books that have examined the antidemocratic nature of many ostensibly progressive funding bodies, see my recent article Do Capitalists Fund Revolutions? (Part 1, Part 2).

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Interesting Steve.

Thank you for highlighting that matter Len.

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PART 1 (part 2 in following post)

=====================V=================o

The "Evil Guys List"? "Free Journalism" in the Service of US Foreign Policy

The Role of Reporters without Borders

by F. William Engdahl

The principal claims are un or inadequately sourced:

“Perhaps just as important as the list of bad guys from RWB are the names that are not on it. One might ask why names of such world-class enemies of free speech and press freedom as Georgia’s dictator, President Mikhail Saakashvili, or the former Ukraine President Viktor Yushchenko, or the recently deposed dictator of Kyrgyzstan, Bakiyev are absent. All three came to power in Washington-backed coups, also termed Color Revolutions.”

No evidence that the three were “world-class enemies of free speech and press freedom” or “came to power in Washington-backed coups” was provided.

“Notably, all the persons just named by RWB as “predators” have been targets of Washington-financed destabilization attempts in recent years”

No citation

“Notably, the RWB names China’s President Hu Jintao as this year’s ‘predator’ for his actions in cracking down on unrest in Tibet in March 2010 and Xinjiang in July 2009, both of which were the covert work of a US-financed NGO called National Endowment for Democracy (NED)”

No citation

“After years of trying to hide it, Robert Menard, Paris-based Secretary-General of Reporters Sans Frontieres or RWB, confessed that the RWB budget was primarily funded by “US organizations strictly linked to US foreign policy.” [6]”

The cited source is the SourceWatch page on RWB. SW is a Wikipedia like open source website, except that editors have to be OKed by the administrators. SW’s cited source is “Marc Thibodeau, Disquieting Questions for RSF, La Presse (Montreal), 30 April 2005” but no link is provided and the only Google hits for the article title lead back to the SW entry.

“Those US based organizations which support RWB include the US Agency for International Development (USAID) and the US Congress’ National Endowment for Democracy (NED). Also included is the Center for Free Cuba, whose trustee, Otto Reich, was forced to resign from the George W. Bush Administration after exposure of his role in a CIA-backed coup attempt against Venezuela’s democratically elected President Hugo Chavez. [7]”

SW, the cited source, did not link Reich to failed coup nor did it provide a citation for the claims USAID, the NED or the CFC funded RSF.

“As one researcher found after months of trying to get a reply from NED about their funding of Reporters Without Borders, which included a flat denial from RSF executive director Lucie Morillon, the NED revealed, according to Diana Barahona writing in Znet that Reporters Without Borders received grants over at least three years from the International Republican Institute. The IRI is one of four subsidiaries of NED. [8]. An IRI spokesperson has denied IRI funding the RWB.”

Diana Barahona is a Castro supporter living in Cuba, here’s the relevant passage or her article:

“Investigative reporter Jeremy Bigwood asked [‘RSF executive director Lucie’] Morillon on April 25 if her group was getting any money from the I.R.I., and she denied it, but the existence of the grants was confirmed by NED assistant to the president, Patrick Thomas.”

No source was cited, who did Mr. Thomas supposedly say this to? Was it to Bigwood? And what were his supposed exact words? If it was to Bigwood did he tell anyone besides the author?

But let’s assume it’s all true and RSF is funded by US government fronts, does that mean that my declaration that “Fidel Castro…always tightly controlled the press in Cuba” was incorrect? If Steve, John or anyone believes that to be the case they can easily prove me wrong by pointing to a book, newspaper or magazine article critical of the government, Communist Party, Castro brothers or other important party/government officials openly published on the island when Fidel was in power.

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REVLEFT BLOG SITE *========* topic TIBET

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This would not be a topic of any thread if the CIA funded TPUM (Tibetan Peoples Uprising Movement)had not organised setting fire in 300 locations including 214 shops, the destruction of 56 vehicles, one civilian doused in petrol and burned to death. (very progressive) 61 police injured, 6 critically.

Why then has "Affirmative action" become the focus of this tread. Why is no one looking for the provocateurs and their paymasters Check this:

(NED is 'National Endowment for Democracy' organisation)

"Conclusion

This article has demonstrated the close ties that exist between the Dalai Lama's

non-violent campaign for Tibetan independence and U.S. foreign policy elites who

are actively supporting Tibetan causes through the NED. This finding is

particularly worrying given the high international media profile of many of the

groups exposed in this article, especially when it is remembered that the NED's

activities are intimately linked with those of the CIA. This funding issue is clearly

problematic for Tibetan (or foreign) activists campaigning for Tibetan freedom, as

the overwhelmingly anti-democratic nature of the NED can only weaken the

legitimacy of the claims of any group associated with the NED.

In this regard

it seems only fitting that progressive activists truly concerned with promoting

freedom and democracy in Tibet should first and foremost cast a critical eye over

the antidemocratic funders of many of the Tibetan groups identified in this study.

Only then will they be able to reappraise the sustainability of their work in the light

of the NED's controversial background. Once this step has been taken, perhaps

progressive solutions for restoring democratic governance to Tibet can be

generated by concerned activists, so that Tibetan people wanting to reclaim their

homeland will able to be more sure that they are bringing democracy home to

Tibet, not polyarchy.

Michael Barker is a doctoral candidate at Griffith

University, Australia. He can be reached at

Michael.J.Barker@griffith.edu.au

References in this article are available @

link http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=6530

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HUGO CHAVEZ

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link http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2002/apr/21/usa.venezuela

link http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.php?az=view_all&address=102x644127 ( the article at its bottom has a dead link ,but see link http://www.docstoc.com/docs/6469256/CIA_sponsored_regime_change )

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RWB

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Lookie here. Reporters without borders is getting money from The International Republican Institute and the National Endowment for Democracy. This little tibit of info clears up a lot. I found this on Narco News. If you read that site you know they are always fighting with "news" organizations who don't tell the truth. Keep your eyes on MEXICO today.

link http://counterpunch.org/barahona08012006.html

August 1, 2006

International Republican Institute Grants Uncovered

Reporters Without Borders and Washington's Coups

By DIANA BARAHONA and JEB SPRAGUE

British press baron Lord Northcliff said, "News is something that someone, somewhere wants to keep secret, everything else is advertising." If this is true, then U.S. government funding of Reporters Without Borders must be news, because the organization and its friends in Washington have gone to extraordinary lengths to cover it up. In spite of 14 months of stonewalling by the National Endowment for Democracy over a Freedom of Information Act request and a flat denial from RSF executive director Lucie Morillon, the NED has revealed that Reporters Without Borders received grants over at least three years from the International Republican Institute.

The NED still refuses to provide the requested documents or even reveal the grant amounts, but they are identified by these numbers: IRI 2002-022/7270, IRI 2003-027/7470 and IRI 2004-035/7473. Investigative reporter Jeremy Bigwood asked Morillon on April 25 if her group was getting any money from the I.R.I., and she denied it, but the existence of the grants was confirmed by NED assistant to the president, Patrick Thomas.

The discovery of the grants reveals a major deception by the group, which for years denied it was getting any Washington dollars until some relatively small grants from the NED and the Center for a Free Cuba were revealed (see Counterpunch: "Reporters Without Borders Unmasked"). When asked to account for its large income RSF has claimed the money came from the sale of books of photographs. But researcher Salim Lamrani has pointed out the improbability of this claim. Even taking into account that the books are published for free, it would have had to sell 170 200 books in 2004 and 188 400 books in 2005 to earn the more than $2 million the organization claims to make each year ­ 516 books per day in 2005. The money clearly had to come from other sources, as it turns out it did.

The I.R.I., an arm of the Republican Party, specializes in meddling in elections in foreign countries, as a look at NED annual reports and the I.R.I. website shows. It is one of the four core grantees of the NED, the organization founded by Congress under the Reagan administration in 1983 to replace the CIA's civil society covert action programs, which had been devastated by exposure by the Church committee in the mid-1970s (Ignatius, 1991). The other three pillars of the NED are the National Democratic Institute (the Democratic Party), the Solidarity Center (AFL-CIO) and the Center for International Private Enterprise (U.S. Chamber of Commerce). But of all the groups the I.R.I. is closest to the Bush administration, according to a recent piece in The New York Times exposing its role in the overthrow of Haitian president Jean-Bertrand Aristide:

"President Bush picked its president, Lorne W. Craner, to run his administration's democracy-building efforts. The institute, which works in more than 60 countries, has seen its federal financing nearly triple in three years, from $26 million in 2003 to $75 million in 2005. Last spring, at an I.R.I. fund-raiser, Mr. Bush called democracy-building 'a growth industry.'" (Bogdanich and Nordberg, 2006)

Funding from the I.R.I. presents a major problem for RSF's credibility as a "press freedom" organization because the group manufactured propaganda against the popular democratic governments of Venezuela and Haiti at the same time that its patron, the I.R.I., was deeply involved in efforts to overthrow them. The I.R.I. funded the Venezuelan opposition to President Hugo Chavez (Barry, 2005) and actively organized Haitian opposition to Aristide in conjunction with the CIA (Bogdanich and Nordberg, 2006

link http://counterpunch.org/barahona08012006.html

link http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Endowment_for_Democracy = PLEASE see ref 20

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CUBA change in the Wind

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link http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=27355

Edited by Steven Gaal
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''But let's assume it's all true and RSF is funded by US government fronts, does that mean that my declaration that "Fidel Castro…always tightly controlled the press in Cuba" was incorrect? If Steve, John or anyone believes that to be the case they can easily prove me wrong by pointing to a book, newspaper or magazine article critical of the government, Communist Party, Castro brothers or other important party/government officials openly published on the island when Fidel was in power.''

Ok, let's assume that. No. It is incorrect for other reasons.

They are many and varied.. Ranging from the primary aim of increasing the dismal illiteracy pre-revolution to such matters as the election process in Cuba. Of course there is also the flourishing foreign broadcasts into Cuba and the flourishing Tourist trade and other matters to consider. Can you provide a list of all available Cuban publications, please, Len? Oh, and then there is the annual book fair as well. It'd be interesting to know just how much an average Cuban is informed compared to say a Brazilian?

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''But let's assume it's all true and RSF is funded by US government fronts, does that mean that my declaration that "Fidel Castro…always tightly controlled the press in Cuba" was incorrect? If Steve, John or anyone believes that to be the case they can easily prove me wrong by pointing to a book, newspaper or magazine article critical of the government, Communist Party, Castro brothers or other important party/government officials openly published on the island when Fidel was in power.''

Ok, let's assume that. No. It is incorrect for other reasons.

They are many and varied.. Ranging from the primary aim of increasing the dismal illiteracy pre-revolution to such matters as the election process in Cuba. Of course there is also the flourishing foreign broadcasts into Cuba and the flourishing Tourist trade and other matters to consider. Can you provide a list of all available Cuban publications, please, Len? Oh, and then there is the annual book fair as well. It'd be interesting to know just how much an average Cuban is informed compared to say a Brazilian?

++++++++++++++++++++++==========================+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

John, Freedom seems to be a rare item. So many people focus on Cuba in talking about lack of freedom.....but there are many places were true free expression is lacking.....

-----------------------------ooooOOOOoooo---------------------------

link http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/israel-shuts-liberal-radio-station-in-attempt-to-silence-criticism-of-right-6265422.html

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“Netanyahu is a hard-line “Likudnik” determined to expand Israel to the Jordan River (if not the Potomac). That makes him an ally and supporter of the settler fanatics who represent today’s version of Zionist fascists.”

by Dr. Lawrence Davidson

Part I – Bad Movies

Have you seen those old time movies notable for their endings? The cowboy is seen riding into the sunset or the lovers are reunited, etc. And then comes the end – the screen dramatically fades to black. Most of these movies are pretty bad. The stories are predictable, the acting melodramatic and directing inept. Well, this genre seems to be making a comeback, but off the screen rather than on it. In this revival, the Israelis are leading the way.

Israel’s bad movie starts out as an historical drama with moral overtones. It’s the story of Israeli democracy but, unfortunately, it has an illogical and misguided script. It begins with the premise that you can have a religiously exclusive democracy amidst a multi-religious population. Under these circumstances happy endings are impossible and the drama quickly turns to tragedy.

Part II – Final Act

The final act of this tragedy appears to be playing itself out before our eyes. It opened in 2009 with the second term of Prime Minister Netanyahu. Netanyahu is a hard-line “Likudnik” determined to expand Israel to the Jordan River (if not the Potomac). That makes him an ally and supporter of the settler fanatics who represent today’s version of Zionist fascists.

There is a correlation between the condition of Israeli democracy and the ambitions of Netanyahu’s allies. As the settlements expand, Israeli democracy shrinks. This in turn is tied into the fact that the prime minister is determined to keep greater Israel demographically Jewish, and this means expansion must be coupled with ethnic cleansing. One can see this clearly in present Israeli policies in East Jerusalem as well as the violent harassment of Palestinians by settler thugs throughout the West Bank. Following logically from the flawed premise in the original script, this is a perfectly predictable ending for the story of modern Israel.

The drama now turning into tragedy has its peculiarly Jewish subplots. There have always been multiple expressions of Judaism. One has been the East European insular version born of acute persecution. This version expressed an inward tribal orientation that assigned the role of real or potential anti-Semites to all those who are non-Jews. Then there was the pre-1967 American version. This one was outward looking and held in high esteem the general principles of tolerance. Here the reasoning was that, as a minority, Jews were safest in a world where tolerance was a universal virtue. In Israel/Palestine it was the East Europeans who shaped the outlook of most Jewish citizens.

That paranoid outlook is certainly the one held by Netanyahu, but he inherited it from others of East European origin. He, and his supporters, are the heirs of Vladimir Jabotinsky and Menachem Begin. This is not to say that Israel’s Labor Party heritage was not also insular and expansionist. After all David Ben Gurion was from Russian controlled Poland. The differences between the two groups are a matter of quantitative and not qualitative. However, it is Netanyahu and his coalition who control the Israeli government. They rule in the Knesset. And they are using their power to destroy not only the Palestinians but also those Israeli Jews who would defend the bygone American version of tolerant Judaism. One can only imagine that Netanyahu and his fanatics look upon these other Jews, who would make their peace with the Palestinians, as the Bolshevik fanatics once looked upon the Kronstadt sailors. They ultimately see them as dangerous traitors.

Just in the past few weeks the Knesset has spat out a number of bills aimed at restricting the voices of Jewish opponents and to make it more difficult for them to secure appointed offices. Part of a continuing line of similar legislation, these new potential laws represent scenes in the final act of this tragedy. Here are some highlights:

1. A bill to “ban political organizations in Israel from receiving donations of more than $5000 from foreign governments and other international groups.” Peace groups such as Peace Now and human rights organizations such as B’Tselem, as well as others which are normally critical of the Israeli government would lose much of their funding under the new law.

2. Another bill in the pipeline would then tax at 45% all remaining income from foreign governments. Put together the two bills will have a “staggering” impact.

Yet, it will come as no surprise that individual donors, such as wealthy right-wing Zionists who give millions of tax free dollars to sustain the settler movement, are exempt from the new laws.

As noted, there are other laws as well that are causing concern. It is now a criminal offense in Israel to advocate a boycott of the country and its illegal settlements, or to mark the occurrence of the Nakba. There are bills pending that would make it easier to pack the Israeli supreme court with rightists and even to punish media outlets who dare to investigate the prime minister or his wife. Thus does Israeli democracy fade to black.

Part III – The Reviews

The argument on the part of the Netanyahu forces is that the money coming from foreign governments and organizations represents “meddling” in the internal affairs of Israel. Well the Israeli establishment should certainly know meddling when they see it. Their politicians and agents are no doubt the world’s experts at meddling in the affairs of other countries, particularly the United States. Here, through the manipulation of large cash donations, they meddle away to their heart’s content, to the predicable detriment of U.S. national interests in the Middle East. Simultaneously, these same Israeli politicians see no problem in receiving a minimum of $3 billion a year from the foreign government in Washington.

These new laws have a lot of Israelis upset, and not just those who are going to be directly impacted. The official opposition in Israel, the Kadima Party (ambitiously translated as the “forward” party) has suddenly taken it upon itself to warn the nation that democracy is in danger. Tzipi Livni, former foreign minister and now leader of the opposition (also rather infamous for her part in the “Cast Lead” invasion of Gaza), said that “this is an attempt to turn Israel into a dark…dictatorship.” The ceremonial president of Israel, Shimon Peres, has declared that “these proposals deviate from the basis of democracy.” Of course there is a good bit of hypocrisy in these protests. These dissenters never exercised their consciences over the suppression of the democratic rights of non-Jews. Nevertheless, the targeting of the rights of Jews, even tolerant ones, is “beyond the Pale.” But that is what you get when you deny the rights of others. Sooner or later the process comes full circle and those in the in-crowd lose their rights too.

When the screen fades to black all that will be left of Israeli democracy is a facade, a democracy in name only. For many, however, that will be sufficient. It will certainly be sufficient for the Israeli politicians who, living wholly within their Zionist ideology, prize its commandments above all else. And it will suffice for the lobbyists and propagandists who must manage the image of the Zionist state so that those Americans who give money and make the policies can maintain the fantasy that Israel is “just like us.” And finally, it will no doubt suffice for American Jewish congregants who do not want to be ostracized from synagogues run by businessmen whose only connection to “their people” comes from blindly supporting Israel.

Will it suffice for the rest of us? Hopefully not. Perhaps as the last act of this bad movie plays out many other reviews will come forth criticizing the media image of Israel as fraudulent, the product of half-truths running on to lies. That might take a bit of lobbying on the part of those who see this movie as a real disservice not only to Palestinians, but also to Jews. But take heart and remember what Will Rogers once said, “there is only one thing that can kill [bad] movies and that’s education.”

ldavidson@wcupa.edu

www.tothepointanalyses.com

www.twitter.com/pointanalyses

*********

DR. LAWRENCE DAVIDSON is professor of Middle East history at West Chester University in West Chester, PA, and the author of America’s Palestine: Popular and Official Perceptions from Balfour to Israeli Statehood (University of Florida Press, 2001), Islamic Fundamentalism (Greenwood Press, 2003), and Foreign Policy, Inc.: Privatizing American National Interest (University of Kentuck Press, 2009).

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Israel Steps Up Police State Crackdowns

By Stephen Lendman

11-19-11

Israel never embraced democratic values. More than ever today that's true. Many Jews understand. As a result, they're voting with their feet and leaving.

Gideon Levy remarked that "(i)t's really an irony of history, because Israel was established to become a shelter to the Jewish people. Now Europe becomes a shelter for the Jews living in Israel."

So does America. New millennium exodus has a whole new meaning. Last year, Haaretz writer Bradley Burston headlined, "I envy the people who hate Israel," saying:

"....this is not the same country I moved to, so long ago. I learned when I first came that Israel was not the country I'd thought I was moving to."

Now it's worse than ever because "Israel at its highest level has taken an executive decision. Unable to beat the forces who want to see Israel as one of the world's primary pariah states, it has resolved to join them" and succeeded.

With its paymaster/partner America, it's out in front leading. Growing numbers know it, Jews and non-Jews alike. A 2008 Menachem Begin Heritage Center survey showed 59% of Israelis consider leaving by inquiring about foreign citizenship and second passports. Growing numbers hold them.

In 2005, the Israel Central Bureau of Statistics said 650,000 Israelis away for over a year haven't returned. Most were Jews.

Moreover, as greater numbers leave, most remaining are ideologically committed. Many of them are fanatics. Others are indifferent, aging, unable to leave, or aren't sure where to go. Emigrating abroad isn't simple. Cost is a factor. Uprooting takes a toll. So does adjusting.

Nonetheless, growing numbers leave because social injustice is official policy. So is state terror. Israel's a regional menace, a belligerent modern-day Sparta, a rogue pariah endangering its own people like others. As a result, many Israelis fear living in the eye of the storm. Daily examples show why.

Targeting Free Expression and Silencing Dissent

On November 20, the International Middle East Media Center (IMEMC) headlined, "Joint Palestinian-Israeli 'peace radio' station shut down by Israeli authorities," saying:

On November 19, Israel shut Palestinian-Israeli broadcaster Kol Hashalom (Whole Peace), claiming it operated without proper licensing - "despite the fact that the station broadcasts from the West Bank and is not under Israeli jurisdiction."

Founded in 2004 by Israeli and Palestinian peace groups, it's now closed unless efforts to resume operations succeed.

Israel's Communications Ministry said:

"The Ministry carried out wireless supervisory activities in cooperation with the Israel Police against a pirate radio station, just as it carries them out against all other illegal stations."

MK Deputy Speaker Danny Danon demanded the station's shutdown. He's one of growing numbers of Knesset hard-liners. He also advocates annexing the West Bank to punish PA officials for pursuing full UN membership.

Last summer, he invited Glenn Beck to appear before his Knesset committee and was involved in his "Restoring Courage" Jerusalem tour that spread the same kind of demagogic hate-mongering he does in America.

Shutting down Kol Hashalom is lawless. Palestine's Communication Ministry licensed it. At issue is silencing peace advocacy. Israel won't tolerate it. It never embraced peace and doesn't now.

The entire process was stillborn from inception. Israel thrives on conflict. Enemies are needed to pursue it. None exist so Israel invents them. Palestinians and regional neighbors are targeted.

Kol Hashalom station manager Mossi Raz (a former MK) will appeal what he calls Israel's lawless shutdown.

On November 19, the Palestine News & Information Agency headlined, "Reporters Without Borders (RSF) Concerned About Arrests of Journalists," saying:

Concern was raised about more Palestinian journalist arrests in Jerusalem and the West Bank. RSF said Israel is taking "a tougher line....toward the Palestinian media."

On November 16, Al-Quds TV presenter Isra Salhab was arrested. No explanation was given. A "closed-door" military court proceeding followed. It's ruling was postponed several days.

On November 14, Israeli soldiers arrested Radio Marah presenter Raed Sharif in Hebron. No further information is available.

In the past week alone, Israel arrested and detained five Palestinian journalists in prison for doing their job.

On May 8, journalist Walid Khaled, editor of the Gaza-based Filisteen newspaper, was arrested and detained six months. In early November, a Salfit Israeli military court ordered a six-month extension. Earlier, he spent four years imprisoned.

The latest arrests came less than two weeks after Israeli commandos abducted five Freedom Waves to Gaza journalists, covering its mission to breach Israel's siege and deliver humanitarian aid.

Last summer, RSF condemned Israel's policy of arbitrarily arresting Palestinian journalists. They follow a troublesome pattern to silence dissent. It's now more virulent than ever.

Punishing Palestinians for Being Arabs

On November 19, IMEMC headlined, "Report: 'Palestinian Village Condemned To Live in Darkness," saying:

After Amenzil village had solar panels installed, its residents had electricity for the first time. Nonetheless, "Israel issued a military injunction" to remove them.

Cooperatively with Nablus-based An-Najah University, the Spanish NGO Seeba installed them. Villagers finally enjoyed what most people take for granted. Israel claims construction permits weren't issued.

Located in Area C, construction in all forms is subject to Civil Administration Authority approval. Israeli military commanders have final say. Several Israeli NGOs and the UN want the ruling voided. Spain's using diplomatic channels to help.

Village council head Ali Hreizat said:

"(T)hese solar panels were the ray of hope to residents. We have been living here since 1948, and have nowhere to go."

Amenzil is one of many so-called unrecognized villages. Israel denies them basic services, including electricity, water, roads, transport, sanitation, education, healthcare, postal and telephone service, refuse removal and more because under its Planning and Construction Law their illegal even though Bedouin Arabs are Israeli citizens.

They're internal refugees, forced from their homes during Israel's "War of Independence" and prevented from returning. They're also repressively mistreated, including by dubious zoning restrictions, prohibiting construction, agriculture, and other legal rights.

Moreover, many villages are destroyed, their residents displaced to make way for Jewish only development.

A Spanish official in charge of the solar panel installation said permission was requested to proceed. Israeli authorities never responded. The Israeli Civil Administration said Seeba may appeal, but "refused to present its case in front of the Appeals Committee."

However, Israel's military authority may reconsider the ruling, saying approvals "must be directed through legal channels."

Given Israeli repression and protracted bureaucratic process, most likely months or years of trying will end up fruitless.

Hints of Possible War

Ahead expect Israel's appetite for conflict perhaps to be satisfied. Attacking Iran repeatedly is suggested. In mid-November, Israeli Chief of Staff General Benny Gantz told a Knesset committee about possible "offensive action" if Gaza rocket fire continues.

In fact, Gazans respond defensively to repeated Israeli attacks and provocations. Inverting truth, Israel calls it terrorism. Israeli media suggested a possible major offensive. Perhaps Cast Lead II is planned. Israel's been itching for more war. It could happen anytime.

Targeting Human Rights Groups

In response to Israel's Knesset attempts to silence dissent, limit free expression, and wage war on civil society organizations, B'Tselem published a joint statement issued by 19 of them affected.

B'Tselem, the Association for Civil Rights in Israel, Physicians for Human Rights/Israel, Adalah, Yesh Din, Rabbis for Human Rights, and others expressed solidarity with activists and organizations "subjected to threats and acts of violence" by a state claiming to be democratic. "These acts are intended to intimidate us all and silence our voices."

Authorities committing daily repression won't "refrain from inflicting bodily, even life-threatening harm on Palestinians and Israelis whose views and actions they consider objectionable."

In fact, doing so is longstanding official policy. Today, it's more ruthless and unrestrained than ever.

Democrats, anti-war activists, social justice advocates, and civil libertarians have no place in Israeli society.

No wonder so many Jews vote with their feet and leave.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net.

Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.

http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour/.

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World » Americas

Just baton them! Recipes of democracy from USA

17.11.2011 45891.jpegAmerican police harshly disperse protesters of "Occupy Wall Street" that have been ongoing for nearly two months. Despite the fact that the protesters are supported by almost a half of the U.S. population, the authorities do not enter into a dialogue with them, preferring the language of batons, water cannons and tear gas. So much for the "true democracy".

The campaign began on September 17 in New York. Its participants speak against social inequality and the "greed of financiers." The police repeatedly applied force against its members. By September 25, 80 people were detained. Leading media outlets of the country tried to ignore the campaign for a long time, preferring to talk about the "march of democracy" in Libya and Syria, or "bad policy" of Russia, China or Venezuela.

However, on October 1 it was impossible to ignore the protesters any longer. Thousands of people took to the streets of New York and tried to block traffic on the Brooklyn Bridge. Police used batons, 700 people were detained. Extremely harsh actions of law enforcement agents caused outrage on the Internet, and then in the streets. The campaign spread across other cities in the U.S. first, and then dozens of other nations. In Italy there were also clashes with police.

All this time, U.S. leaders did not seek to negotiate with the protesters. Leading U.S. media chose to speak not about the "protesters" and "revolutionaries" (as in Libya and Syria), but the "rebels", although the protests spread as far as Boston, Philadelphia, Chicago, San Francisco and Oakland. The local authorities applied force of varying degrees. The demands of the demonstrators were rejected from the very beginninng, and police acted against them to the fullest.

Today, the police began the demolition of the camp of protesters in downtown New York. Some of the invaders left voluntarily, but some have decided to stand up to the last minute, erecting barricades. "Whose park is it? It is our park!" "Do not retreat, do not surrender" - these were the slogans of the protesters. The police threatened to arrest anyone who refused to obey. As a result, over 70 people were detained, and the camp was demolished by force.

The police of Oakland in California was particularly brutal. On October 25th Special Forces entered the city and broke the skull of one of the protesters, incidentally, a veteran of the war in Iraq. As a result the number of protesters who gathered in the streets has increased significantly. The city authorities have released four warnings calling the protesters to clear the territory of the central square. But people kept coming. The "cleaning" had to be repeated.

On November 14 the police Special Forces came to Oakland again and used tear gas against the inhabitants of the camp. 33 people were arrested and threatened with big troubles for participating in unsanctioned protests. Specially invited cleaners began dismantling the campground, and the process was controlled by a police helicopter. So much for freedom of speech and assembly.

A similar pattern was observed in the capital of Oregon, Portland. On Saturday police started dispersing the protesters, but they held out for another day until the Special Forces have arrived. They quickly swept away all the barricades of trash baskets. One person was seriously injured by a police baton and hospitalized. More than 50 people were detained.

Earlier the authorities of the capital of Texas, Austin, showed all their might. Demonstrators staged in front of city hall were banned from cooking and serving tables at night time. Organizers of the protest put the legality of the decision in question: it was not approved by the deputies of the city council, though it should have been. The authorities did not seem to think about the legality. On the night of October 30, police violently broke up a rally, and some of its members were charged with trespassing.

The chronicle continued. On October 28, over 50 people were detained in the largest city in Tennessee, Nashville. The same pattern was observed in San Diego, California, the state capital of Colorado Denver and Burlington in the north-east of the country, in Vermont. In Philadelphia and Minneapolis the law enforcement officers have not yet applied force. Canadian newspaper The Globe and Mail wrote that the police did not have enough people to keep order, which led to tough measures.

It is remarkable that no one from the administration of President Barack Obama or the Congress talked to the protesters. Meanwhile, the movement "Occupy Wall Street" is not the campaign of the marginal elements. Recently, The New York Times and CBS television station conducted a poll which showed that 43 percent of the Americans support the protesters, and only 27 percent do not support them. Among the youth the level of sympathy for the demonstrators is even higher.

It turns out that nearly half of all Americans want the change and are against the omnipotence of the corporations and tycoons. But the White House, the Capitol and city halls of the American cities prefer to ignore this. Preservation of the foundations of American capitalism is more important than democracy, and no one is allowed to undermine it. Those who try will be treated with batons in their face or tear gas.

This is the lesson in democracy from "the most democratic country in the world".

Vadim Trukhachev

Pravda.Ru

Read the original in Russian

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''But let's assume it's all true and RSF is funded by US government fronts, does that mean that my declaration that "Fidel Castro…always tightly controlled the press in Cuba" was incorrect? If Steve, John or anyone believes that to be the case they can easily prove me wrong by pointing to a book, newspaper or magazine article critical of the government, Communist Party, Castro brothers or other important party/government officials openly published on the island when Fidel was in power.''

Ok, let's assume that. No. It is incorrect for other reasons.

They are many and varied.. Ranging from the primary aim of increasing the dismal illiteracy pre-revolution to such matters as the election process in Cuba. Of course there is also the flourishing foreign broadcasts into Cuba and the flourishing Tourist trade and other matters to consider. Can you provide a list of all available Cuban publications, please, Len? Oh, and then there is the annual book fair as well. It'd be interesting to know just how much an average Cuban is informed compared to say a Brazilian?

John,

I’m not really sure what you are trying to say. Do you believe that “book, newspaper or magazine article critical of the government, Communist Party, Castro brothers or other important party/government officials openly published on the island when Fidel was in power” were “many and varied”?

If so they please point out the titles

“Ranging from the primary aim of increasing the dismal illiteracy pre-revolution”

I’m not a Castro hater, he improved the lives of the vast majority of his countrymen but that doesn’t justify continuing restrictions on the personal freedoms of his people. He also should have allowed at least limited private enterprise.

“…to such matters as the election process in Cuba”

An election process which only allows candidates from the governing party

“Of course there is also the flourishing foreign broadcasts into Cuba”

Broadcasts which the Cuban government does its best to block, are you really citing Radio Marti as an example of free speech permitted by Fidel?

“and the flourishing Tourist trade and other matters to consider.”

Though they frequently travel elsewhere foreign tourists are (or were) encouraged to stay a fancy tourist resorts which most Cubans are not (or were not) allowed to visit. Cubans reffered to this as “tourism apartheid.”

http://web.archive.org/web/20040629194018/http://lanic.utexas.edu/la/cb/cuba/asce/cuba10/espino.pdf

http://www.salon.com/2002/02/06/cuba_apart/

http://www.worldhum.com/travel-blog/item/the-end-of-cubas-tourism-apartheid-20090811/

“Can you provide a list of all available Cuban publications, please, Len?”

What a silly question, ‘can you provide a list of all available Cuban Australian publications, please, John?’ Don’t you think it is safe to assume at the latter is many, many times longer even though the population is only double?

“Oh, and then there is the annual book fair as well.”

A book fair to which both entrance and available titles are restricted.

http://www.nytimes.com/1995/03/26/opinion/l-what-us-publishers-found-good-and-bad-at-cuba-book-fair-237595.html?scp=4&sq=Havana%20book%20fair&st=cse

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/cuba/100223/international-book-fair

“It'd be interesting to know just how much an average Cuban is informed compared to say a Brazilian?”

That’s an interesting question, on one hand the average Cuban is better educated than the average Brazilian but on the other hand the latter’s access to information is not tightly restricted.

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