Posted tagged ‘Faked news’

U.S., Israel Reject Claims Relationship Strained, Deny Closed Door Shouting Match

September 15, 2017

U.S., Israel Reject Claims Relationship Strained, Deny Closed Door Shouting Match, Washington Free Beacon, September 14, 2017

(Please see also, Fake News About H.R. McMaster? and EXCLUSIVE: Gen. McMaster Sparked a Row With the Israeli Delegation at a White House Meeting on Hezbollah. — DM)

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks with President Donald Trump in Tel Aviv on May 23 / Getty Images (Photo by Kobi Gideon/GPO via Getty Images)

The issue of Hezbollah’s rise in the region—and the direct threat this poses to Israel as Iranian-backed forces gather closer to its borders—has been a mainstay of ongoing dialogue between the United States and Israel, with multiple senior Trump administration sources telling the Free Beacon that McMaster’s NSC fully agrees with Israel’s concerns and supports Hezbollah’s designation as a global terrorist organization.

*********************************

Senior U.S. and Israeli officials deny the relationship between the two countries has been strained over differences in how to deal with the threat of Hezbollah, according to multiple senior government officials from both countries who told the Washington Free Beacon that recent reports of a yelling match between senior Trump administration and Israeli government officials are false.

Recent media reports allege the Trump administration and Israel have been in conflict over the best way to deal with the threat posed by Hezbollah, an Iranian-backed terror organization that has played a major role in bolstering embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Tensions are said to have come to a head during a high-level August meeting between the countries in which White House National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster is alleged to have yelled at his Israeli counterparts and dismissed concerns about Hezbollah being a terror organization—a charge that multiple senior U.S. and Israeli officials denied in conversations with the Free Beacon.

Further allegations that the Israeli delegation asked White House National Security Council staffer Mustafa Javed Ali to leave the room over concerns that he does not view Hezbollah as a terror organization also are being called untrue, according to both U.S. and Israeli officials who were present in the Aug. 17 meeting.

A copy of the official list of U.S. and Israeli officials participating in the high-level meeting shows that Ali was never scheduled to attend, according to a copy of that list viewed by the Free Beacon.

The situation is being portrayed in the U.S. and Israeli media as further proof of tension between McMaster’s NSC and their Israeli counterparts.

The issue of Hezbollah’s rise in the region—and the direct threat this poses to Israel as Iranian-backed forces gather closer to its borders—has been a mainstay of ongoing dialogue between the United States and Israel, with multiple senior Trump administration sources telling the Free Beaconthat McMaster’s NSC fully agrees with Israel’s concerns and supports Hezbollah’s designation as a global terrorist organization.

Michael Anton, spokesman for the White House NSC, denied that McMaster ever yelled at his Israeli counterparts and described multiple media reports claiming otherwise as flatly untrue.

Anton further disclosed to the Free Beacon that, as part of a renewed push to counter Hezbollah’s influence in the region, McMaster “has directed the NSC staff to look at ways the U.S. can be more aggressive in its posture towards Hezbollah.”

The effort to counter Hezbollah, which is supported by the Israelis, is “a major element of our Iran strategy,” according to Anton, who described this policy as directed at ensuring that Iran and it’s terror proxies do not retain a permanent foothold in Syria, where they would “endanger Israel’s borders.”

Anton further knocked down allegations that NSC aide Ali was asked to leave the meeting by the Israelis, telling the Free Beacon that he was never scheduled to participate in the discussions and was not present at any point.

Senior Israeli officials independently confirmed to the Free Beacon that recent media reports about the tension are false.

“Israel never asked for Mustafa Ali to not attend a meeting on Hezbollah, Syria, or any other matter,” Itai Bardov, spokesperson for the Israeli Embassy in Washington, told the Free Beacon. “Israel is not aware of any Trump administration official that does not consider Hezbollah a terror organization, and Gen. McMaster never yelled at Israeli officials.”

“The allegations in the article relating to Israel are totally false,” Bardov said, adding, “Israel appreciates Gen. McMaster efforts to strengthen the U.S.-Israel relationship and looks forward to continuing to work closely with the Trump administration to counter the threats posed by Iran and its terror proxy Hezbollah.”

A copy of the internal White House list of those participating in the meeting confirms comments from the senior U.S. and Israeli officials.

The meeting included McMaster, Homeland Security Adviser Tom Bossert, senior NSC official Dina Powell, senior White House Israel adviser Jason Greenblatt, senior NSC official Victoria Coates, CIA Director Mike Pompeo, and Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats, among several others.

Ali is not included on the list, as initial reports claimed.

On the Israeli side, participants included Israeli Ambassador to the United States Ron Dermer, Mossad Director Yosef Cohen, Israeli Defense Intelligence Chief Maj. Gen. Herzi Halevi, Acting Israeli National Security Adviser Eytan Ben-David, Israeli Defense and Armed Forces Attaché to the United States Maj. Gen. Michael Edelstein, and other Israeli embassy personnel, according to the list viewed by the Free Beacon.

In a high-level meeting such as this, it would be atypical for an official such as Ali to participate.

One senior Trump administration official who participated in the meeting further disclosed to the Free Beacon that the United States added one more official at the last moment: Sigal Mandelker, the undersecretary of treasury for terrorism and financial intelligence.

The addition was meant to let the Israeli delegation know the Trump administration is serious about tackling Hezbollah, and the inclusion of Mandelker signaled the Trump administration is using all avenues to target the terror group, including sanctions, according to senior administration sources.

“Kind of a funny person to add if you’re going to argue Hezbollah isn’t a terrorist group,” said one senior NSC official. “The Israelis were delighted to see her because her presence demonstrated Gen. McMaster’s key point—Hezbollah is of course a terrorist organization but the problem is compounded because they have grown into so much more—so straight [counter-terrorism] isn’t going to work against them.”

Bossert’s inclusion in the meeting was meant to signal that counter-terrorism remains a priority, but McMaster and other NSC officials believe “we also need all the other tools we have at our disposal,” according to the senior administration official.

“So it’s not that he [McMaster] disputes they are terrorists, and it’s not that he disputes the fact that they are a terrible threat—both to Israel and to us. He was simply pointing out the full scope of that threat,” the official explained, noting that given the nature of the subject matter, the discussions were “certainly intense,” but it was “a meeting of close friends and allies.”

Senior Trump administration sources further took exception to portrayals in the media that NSC official Ali is an enemy of Israel and that he remains sympathetic to Hezbollah.

Ali has been accused in the past of attempting to block human rights advocate Ayaan Hirsi Ali from attending a meeting at the White House—a charge U.S. officials familiar with the matter flatly denied.

Hirsi Ali, in fact, did meet with NSC staff at the White House.

Other rumors claiming that NSC official Ali once worked for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, or CAIR, a Muslim advocacy group hostile to Israel, also are untrue, according to senior NSC sources, who told the Free Beacon that Ali has flatly denied the charges in conversations with U.S. officials.

Reporting on the Rohingya: “The Tip of a Huge Iceberg of Misinformation”

September 9, 2017

Reporting on the Rohingya: “The Tip of a Huge Iceberg of Misinformation” Jihad Watch

Aung San Suu Kyi, the leader of Myanmar, is now all over the news, being taken to task for “not speaking out” against the mistreatment of the Rohingya, the Muslim minority in Myanmar, almost all of whom live in the western Rakhine State of Myanmar. 365,000 people have signed a petition demanding she be stripped of her Nobel Prize for not speaking out and denouncing the Buddhists of Myanmar; in Pakistan, a country renowned for its humane treatment of minorities, her photograph has been publicly burned; Al Jazeera has denounced her, and so has that champion of justice Tariq Ramadan.

In the last month, the world media reports, 250,000 Rohingya have now fled the latest cycle of violence, that began with Rohingya attacks on the military in mid-August, for Bangladesh. In fact, Aung San Suu Kyi has spoken out, but not in the way that many expected. They wanted her to categorically denounce the Burmese military and to depict the Rohingya as entirely innocent victims of Buddhist attacks; this she has refused to do. She believes the story of the Rohingyas in Myanmar is more complicated than the outside world believes. She has noted that “fake news” about atrocities in Myanmar have been relied on by much of the world’s media. More than a few of the stories about the Rohingya have indeed been accompanied by photos purportedly showing the violence against them, but which, in fact, have turned out to be photos of other atrocities experienced by other peoples, having nothing to do with Myanmar. Even the BBC’s south-east Asia correspondent, Jonathan Head, concedes that “much of it [the photos, and the coverage]  is wrong.” A closer look reveals that many of the pictures supposedly from Myanmar have come from other crises around the world, with one of those tweeted by Turkey’s Deputy Prime Minister Mehmet Simsek even dating back to the Rwandan genocide in 1994.

Jonathan Head discusses at the BBC website four of the most widely-circulated photographs, ostensibly showing Rohingya victims of current Buddhist violence, that are examples of “fake news.” The first photograph, showing a number of bloated corpses, “does appear on several websites dated last year. This suggests the image is not from the recent violence in Rakhine state.’’ “Suggests” is British understatement for “clearly shows.”

The BBC has ascertained that the second photograph, of a woman mourning a dead man tied to a tree, was taken in Aceh, Indonesia, in June 2003, by a photographer working for Reuters.

The third photograph, of two infants crying over the body of their mother, is from Rwanda in July 1994. It was taken by Albert Facelly for Sipa, and was one of series of photos that won a World Press Award.

It has also been difficult to track down the fourth image, of people immersed in a canal, but it can be found on a website appealing for funds to help victims of recent flooding in Nepal.

In other words, not one of the four photographs widely distributed as examples of Rohingya suffering has anything to do with the Rohingyas. This is what the BBC’s south-east Asia correspondent has confirmed. Surely that ought to be made widely known, and just as surely, it won’t.

This “fake news” is, according to Aung San Suu Kyi, “simply the tip of a huge iceberg of misinformation calculated to create a lot of problems between different communities and with the aim of promoting the interest of the terrorists.”

Let’s refresh our memories of what has been going on in Myanmar this last month. All the news reports coming from Myanmar (Burma) tell the same story: tens of thousands of the Rohingya, a Muslim minority, have been fleeing into Bangladesh, to avoid the sudden upsurge in violence from both Burmese military and civilians. The Rohingya are presented as the innocent and long-suffering victims of “racist” Burmese Buddhists (Islam being, for propaganda purposes, a “race”). Only a handful of the reports mention, and only briefly, as if in passing, that the current violence began when, in mid-August, Rohingya fighters attacked 30 different police stations and an army base, as part of their campaign to stake their claim to Rakhine State, in western Myanmar, and showing themselves able “to strike terror in the hearts” of the Infidels to get it. The attacks left more than 70 dead, Muslims and Buddhists.

The Rohingyas unleashed still other attacks, and the Burmese army then retaliated, and the Rohingya continued to strike back during the last two weeks in August, and then there was more retaliation from the Buddhists. Many Rohingya have fled the retaliatory violence — a violence which they began — for Bangladesh, but it is their flight, and that retaliation by the Buddhists, which is getting almost all of the attention in the Western press, complete with photographs of victims of other conflicts who are presented as Rohingya (the “fake news” of which Aung San Suu Kyi complained), rather than what prompted it.

Seldom mentioned is that the August attack by the Rohingyas was preceded by a similar attack, last October, by the Rohingyas on the Burmese (Buddhist) police, and again, it was not their initial attack, but almost exclusively the retaliation by the Buddhist army, that was the focus of reports in the foreign press last fall. Reports of Rohingya villages being burnt down are reported uncritically. The Myanmar authorities have claimed that Islamic militants, having infiltrated Rohingya communities, have themselves been setting fire to houses in Muslim villages in order to get the world even more on their side. Instead of assuming these claims must be false, why not investigate them?

According to most of the world’s media, an unfathomable tragedy has been unfolding in Myanmar. The Buddhist majority, inflamed by rabble-rousing anti-Muslim monks, has been persecuting, killing, even massacring, members of the entirely inoffensive Muslim Rohingya minority in the western state of Rakhine (formerly, and in some places still, known as “Arakan”). An example of this hysterical coverage can be found in a report from, unsurprisingly, the pro-Muslim Guardian. It describes a sinister senior monk, Shin Parathu, who is repeatedly accused by the Guardian of “stoking religious hatred across Burma. His paranoia and fear, muddled with racist stereotypes and unfounded rumors, have helped to incite violence and spread disinformation.” One might note that no examples of these “racist stereotypes” are ever given. Could it be that the “stereotype” that this monk is accused of spreading has to do with depicting Muslims as intent on Jihad in the path of Allah, unwilling and even unable to integrate into a Buddhist society, and with a history, going back to 1942, of violence against Buddhists, that is the Rakhine people of Arakan State, and even attempting to join part of  East Pakistan, and through the late 1950s, and in the 1970s, and again in the 1990s, conducting a low-level insurrection against the Burmese state — all of which is true?

And while the Guardian insists that the Rohingya are never the instigators of violence, the policemen they attacked without warning and nine of whom they murdered last October, and the people they killed in 31 coordinated attacks in mid-August, and those Buddhists they have killed since, might beg to differ. The Western press remains resolutely unsympathetic to the Buddhists of Myanmar, unwilling to find out why those Buddhists might have reason to be alarmed.

The Western media have uncritically repeated the Rohingya claim that they have inhabited Arakan for many centuries or “since time immemorial.” Others beg to differ, among them a well-known historian, and author of many works on Burma, Professor Andrew Selth of Griffith University in Australia. He has stated categorically that the name “Rohingya” was taken by “Bengali Muslims who live in Arakan State…most Rohingyas arrived with the British colonialists in the 19th and 20th centuries.” It is true that a handful of Bengali Muslims drifted down to Burma over the centuries, but Professor Selth makes the important point — unknown to Western reporters — that the vast majority of Rohingyas are recent arrivals, their great migration made possible by the fact that Burma was administratively part of British India until 1937, which meant there was no formal border to cross.

Particularly disappointing for many in the West (not to speak of the reactions of Pakistan, Al Jazeera, and Tariq Ramadan) has been what they regard as the unforgivable silence of Aung San Suu Kyi, currently the head of the Myanmar government. For Aung San Suu Kyi was formerly the leader of the nonviolent opposition to the Burmese military, placed under house arrest by the generals, then freed, and awarded a Nobel Peace Prize in 1991. For more than two decades she was, for her continued defiance of the generals, and willingness to endure that house arrest, a darling of the international media. Since the end of military rule, which she helped to bring about, she has held a number of important government posts, and is now the State Counsellor (equivalent to Prime Minister) in Myanmar.

But in her continuing refusal to condemn outright the attacks on the Rohingya, and in her insistence that in Myanmar there has been “violence on both sides” — for which there is ample evidence — Aung San Suu Kyi is now seen by many outside Myanmar in quite another light. Many have criticized Aung San Suu Kyi for her silence on the 2012 Rakhine State riots, when, after the rape and killing of a Buddhist woman by three Rohingyas, Buddhists retaliated, and then the violence escalated when hundreds of Rohingyas went on a rampage following Friday prayers at a mosque, throwing rocks and setting fire to houses and buildings. Four Buddhists, among them a doctor and an elderly man, died of multiple knife wounds. Recent accounts in the foreign media ignore all that. For the Western media, the narrative remains the same; the Rohingya are always the victims, and the Buddhist violence against them is always unwarranted.

The outside world deplores Aung San Suu Kyi’s refusal to condemn the Buddhists  and what they see as her general indifference to the ongoing mistreatment of the Rohingya by Burmese Buddhists. Twenty-three Nobel laureates and other “peace activists” signed a letter in November 2016 asking Aung San Suu Kyi to speak out about the Rohingya: “Despite repeated appeals to Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, we are frustrated that she has not taken any initiative to ensure full and equal citizenship rights of the Rohingyas,” their Open Letter states. “Daw Suu Kyi is the leader and is the one with the primary responsibility to lead, and lead with courage, humanity and compassion.” But perhaps she has an understanding of the situation, based on an intimate knowledge of her country’s history, that the outside world does not possess.

Aung San Suu Kyi has refused to address accusations that the Muslim Rohingya may be victims of crimes against humanity, and in an interview with the BBC’s Misha Husain in March 2016, she refused to condemn violence against the Rohingya and denied that Muslims in Myanmar have been subject to ethnic cleansing. She insisted that the tensions in her country were due to a “climate of fear” (among the Buddhists) caused by a “worldwide perception that global Muslim power is very great.” And apparently, according to some reports, she was angry that the BBC had chosen a Muslim to interview her. Given the BBC’s history of pro-Rohingya advocacy, can you blame her?

What shall we make of this attitude from someone who had previously been put on a Nobel Peace Prize pedestal? Has she metamorphosed from being a moral exemplar to becoming a moral monster who needs correction, someone who, as researchers on state crime at St. Mary’s University in London claim, is “legitimising genocide”? It is genocide if you attempt to kill all the members of another racial or religious group; it is not genocide if you seek to expel them from your country because of the threat you believe they pose. When Eduard Benes in Czechoslovakia attempted to remove several million ethnic Germans from his country after World War II, based on what they had done before and during the war, in taking Germany’s side, and what he feared they might someday do again should Germany again become a threat, it was not “genocide,” and the Benes Decree, as it was known, was accepted by the West.

It’s not surprising that for the giddy globe’s Great and Good, as the Economist put it, her “halo has even slipped among foreign human-rights lobbyists, disappointed at her failure to make a clear stand on behalf of the Rohingya minority” and to “give details on how her government intends to resolve the violence faced by the long-persecuted Muslim minority.” Or might it just be conceivable that the well-educated Burmese liberal Aung San Suu Kyi knows more about the Rohingyas, and the past history of Muslims in her own country, Myanmar, than do her critics, and that that knowledge makes her more studied and nuanced in her judgments, less credulous about the Rohingya claims of innocent victimhood, and more sympathetic to the fears of the Buddhists of Myanmar?

If we examine the last 150 years of Burmese history, we may find that Madame Suu Kyi has more of a point than her foreign critics think. It is that history that is in the minds of, and explains the behavior today of, the Buddhists of Myanmar. In 1826, after the Anglo-Burmese War, the British annexed Arakan (Rakhine State), where almost all of the 1.1 million Rohingyas now in Myanmar still live, to British India. And they began to encourage Indians, mainly Muslims, to move into Arakan from Bengal as cheap farm labor. They continued to encourage this migration throughout the nineteenth-century. The numbers of Bengali Muslim migrants is impressive. In Akyab District, the capital of Arakan, according to the British censuses of 1872 and 1911, there was an increase in the Muslim population from 58,255 to 178,647, a tripling within forty years. At the beginning of the 20th century, migrants from Bengal were still arriving in Burma at the rate of a quarter million per year. In the peak year of 1927, 480,000 people arrived in Burma, with Rangoon in that year surpassing New York City as the greatest migration port in the world.  And many of these migrants were Bengali Muslims who joined the Muslims already in Rakhine State, renaming themselves the Rohingyas. The Buddhists continued to call them, as they still do today, “Bengalis.” And the immigration of Bengali Muslims continued for decades. In a 1955 study published by Stanford University, the authors Virginia Thompson and Richard Adloff concluded that “’the post-war (World War II) illegal immigration of Chittagonians [i.e., Bengali Muslims from Chittagong in East Pakistan] into that area [Arakan state] was on a vast scale, and in the Maungdaw and Buthidaung areas they replaced the [Buddhist] Arakanese.”

The Buddhist Burmese looked on helplessly at the arrival of these hundreds of thousands of Muslims, but there was nothing they could do against the policy of their British colonial masters. During World War II, the British retreat in the face of the Japanese led to a power vacuum, and simmering inter-communal tensions erupted, with the Arakanese Massacres of 1942, when 50,000 Buddhist Rakhines were killed by the Rohingyas in Rakhine (Arakan) state. In retaliation, the Buddhists then killed as many as 40,000 Rohingyas. (In another account, with much lower figures, the Rohingyas killed 20,000 of the Buddhists, who then killed 5,000 of the Rohingyas.) The origins of the mass killing instigated by the Rohingya Muslims in 1942 have a simple explanation: they had been left weapons by the retreating British, who had been assured that the Rohingyas would use the weapons against the Japanese. Instead, as soon as they acquired these arms, the Rohingyas attacked the Buddhists, mainly Arakanese, in Rakhine State, And after World War II, illegal immigration by Bengali Muslims “was on a vast scale.” For the Western media, none of this matters. History doesn’t count. For the Buddhists of Burma, this history matters a great deal.

And what the Rohingya did next also matters. In May, 1946 Rohingya leaders met with Mohammed Ali Jinnah, the Muslim leader who founded modern Pakistan, and asked that the northern part of Rakhine state be annexed by East Pakistan. Then, when Jinnah refused to interfere in Burmese affairs, they founded the Mujahid Party in northern Arakan in 1947. The aim of the Mujahid Party was initially to create an autonomous Muslim state in Arakan. The local mujahideen – that’s what the Rohingya warriors proudly called themselves — fought government forces in an attempt to have the mostly Rohingya-populated Mayu peninsula in northern Rakhine State secede from Myanmar (then Burma), and after that secession, the Rohingyas hoped that territory would be annexed by East Pakistan (present-day Bangladesh). Fighting between the Rohingya and the Burmese state, then, is not a new thing; it has been going on intermittently since 1947, and it was started by the Rohingya. The Rohingya revolt eventually lost momentum in the late 1950s and early 1960s, and many of the Rohingyas surrendered to government forces.

The Muslim insurrection by the Rohingya did not end, but was revived in the 1970s, which in turn led to the Burmese government mounting, in 1978, a huge military operation (Operation King Dragon) that inflicted great damage on the mujahideen, and bought a decade of relative calm. But again the Rohingya rose up against the Burmese state, and in the 1990s the “Rohingya Solidarity Organisation” attacked Burmese authorities near the border with Bangladesh. In other words, this war on the Buddhist Burmese conducted by the Muslim Rohingya has been going on – waxing and waning – ever since that massacre of Buddhist Rakhins in 1942. It  is by keeping in mind that  history,, and the memory, too, of how the Rohingya tried on several occasions to secede from Burma and become part of East Pakistan, that Buddhist fears of a Muslim takeover of northern Myanmar should be taken seriously, and viewed sympathetically. The Burmese monks who have recently been whipping up anti-Rohingya sentiment are not behaving out of motiveless malignity; they are keenly aware of all this history. The current reports by journalists are singularly one-sided, and lacking in any historical context. Not a single Western reporter has mentioned that 1942 massacre of the Buddhists by the Rohingya; not a single Western reporter has mentioned the attempts by the Rohingya to join Arakan state to East Pakistan. Not a single Western reporter has noted the Rohingya insurrections of the 1970s and 1990s. Not a single Western reporter has provided the data that shows just how many Bengali Muslims poured into Burma in the late 19th and early 20th century, that certainly calls into question their claim that “Rohingya have been living in Arakan from time immemorial.”  Not a single Western reporter has noted, either, that the Hui Panthays — a Muslim Chinese people — live in perfect security, free to practice Islam, in Myanmar, perhaps because that doesn’t fit the narrative of anti-Muslim mad monks that has been so successfully peddled in the West. Unlike the Rohingya, the Hui Panthay have not attacked and displaced Buddhists, as the Rohingya, Bengali Muslims, attacked and displaced the Buddhist Rakhine people in parts of Rakhine state.

Do the Buddhists in Myanmar have any legitimate reason to fear the Rohingyas?  We’ve already  noted the 1942 massacre of 50,000 Buddhists, and the large-scale Rohingya uprising in the early 1950s, and again in the 1970s, and then again in the 1990s, all of it underreported, or not reported at all, in the outside world. If you are a Buddhist in Myanmar today, you look around the globe and it appears that Muslims are everywhere on the march. In Europe there are now 44 million Muslims (including those in European Russia), with thousands more arriving every day, and the Muslims already in Europe have become a source of both steadily increasing terrorism and of ever-rising anxiety. Western leaders, from Pope Francis to Angela Merkel to Theresa May, appear to be falling all over themselves to make excuses for Muslim behavior and for Islam. The Buddhists of Myanmar feel they are alone, with the Rohingya supported not only by the worldwide umma, or Community of Muslim Believers, but also by Westerners who have completely accepted the Rohingya version of Myanmar’s history.

Ever since the Partition of India and Pakistan in 1947, Buddhists have been systematically mistreated in Bangladesh (East Pakistan), and have been pushed out, with a few still remaining in the Chittagong Hills Tract in Bangladesh. Some have fled to Myanmar, which has resettled them. And unsurprisingly, just as Muslims moved into the houses that the fleeing Buddhists left behind in Bangladesh, the Buddhists in Myanmar have given to some of those Buddhists who arrived from Bangladesh land taken from the Rohingyas, as a tit-for-tat exchange. The Buddhists of Myanmar assume that if the Rohingyas leave for Bangladesh, from whence they originally came, they can be given in recompense the villages that the Buddhists left behind in Bangladesh when they fled to Myanmar or to India proper.

For the Burmese — and not just a handful of monks — the Rohingyas are not a true indigenous people of Myanmar, but the descendants of the Muslims who began arriving from East Bengal in the 19th century.  Today’s Rohingyas, for the Buddhists in present-day Myanmar who are leading the anti-Rohingya campaign, are the same people who attacked Buddhists in Rakhine State in 1942, who tried to secede and join Pakistan in 1946, who, as self-described Jihadist warriors (“mujahideen”) conducted a violent insurrection against Burmese authorities that began in 1948 and lasted to the 1950s, in order to make Rakhine an autonomous state under Muslim control, and then, in a second attempt,  to possibly have it annexed by Pakistan. These are the same Jihad warriors who conducted an insurrection against the Buddhist government in the 1970s and again in the 1990s. For the Buddhist monks of Myanmar, the Rohingyas are  Bengali Muslims– the Buddhists have never called them “Rohingyas” but, rather, “Bengalis” — who migrated south to Burma, and are the local branch of the world-wide Muslim umma that has been in continuous warfare against Buddhists and Buddhism for centuries, and is again becoming more aggressive and violent all over the world.

When those Burmese monks look next door to India, they remember that in the 12th century, Muslim invaders pillaged Buddhist monuments and monasteries, leading to Buddhism’s final decline in that country. The monks know too that the last large group of Buddhists still remaining in the subcontinent, those in the Chittagong Hills tract in Bangladesh, are in danger of being completely driven out, or even disappearing,  because of repeated attacks by Muslims.

The monks remember the recent destruction of the Bamiyan Buddhas in Afghanistan by the Taliban, and that gigantic act of cultural vandalism reminds them of the thousands of Buddhist temples and statues and stupas and monasteries that were destroyed over the centuries by the Muslim invaders of India and its neighbors.

And then they think, too, of what Muslims have done to Hindus, in Pakistan, and Bangladesh, and especially in Kashmir, where 50,000 families of Kashmiri pandits, Hindus indigenous to Kashmir, have been forced out – to escape death — by Muslims. The mass killings of the Pandits, which almost no one in the West seemed to notice or care about, were taken to heart  by the Buddhists in Myanmar. It made them realize what could happen to them and how, like the Kashmiri Pandits, they were on their own in facing Muslim aggression. They read about such things as this (which I have previously posted, but it deserves re-posting):

“The days that followed the night of January 19, 1990 saw Kashmiri Pandits being killed in scores every day. Atrocities against KPs had become the order of the day. From Budgam to Brijbehara, from Kupwara to Kanikadal there was hardly a day when Kashmiri Pandits haven’t been killed. Most brutal forms of torture from gouging out of eyes, to cutting genitals, to burning bodies with cigarette butts and even chopping off body parts were used to kill Pandits. Sarwanand Kaul Premi, a noted scholar had nails hammered in place of his tilak. BK Ganjoo was killed in his home and his wife was asked to eat the rice soaked in his blood. Sarla Bhat a nurse was gang-raped before being killed and her naked body was thrown on the street. The killers of Ravinder Pandita of Mattan danced over his body. The bodies of Brijlal and Choti were tied to a jeep in Shopian and dragged for 10 km.”

“Girja Tikoo, a school teacher in Bandipora, was gang-raped before being killed. There are hundreds of such stories. One can almost write a book on the people who suffered at the hands of the terrorists while the meek and feeble Indian state looked the other way. A notorious terrorist named Bitta Karate alone killed more than 20 Pandits and had no shame accepting the same. …More than a thousand Pandits were killed, tortured and raped.”

The exodus, meanwhile, carried on.

The Buddhists of Myanmar have also noticed the long-running terrorism of two Muslim groups, Abu Sayyaf and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, in their attempt to gain independence for Muslim-majority islands in the Philippines; the two groups have been responsible for more than 100,000 dead. And they know about the more than 30,000 attacks by Muslim terrorists since 9/11/2001, against many different indigenous non-Muslims – Christians, Jews, Hindus, Buddhists, atheists — in such non-Muslim lands China, India, Australia, the Philippines, Russia, Israel, Great Britain, France, Spain, the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, Sweden, Denmark, the United States, as well as the persecution and killings of Christians by Muslims in Syria, Iraq, Egypt, Pakistan, Nigeria, Algeria, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Tunisia, Somalia, Yemen, and Indonesia.

And every day brings fresh news, from somewhere in the world, of atrocities committed by Muslims, whether members of the Islamic State, or of Al-Qaeda, or of other groups under other names, or by lone-wolf mujahideen determined to fulfill their duty to engage in violent Jihad, to sow terror, and to kill Infidels. And the Buddhists in Myanmar  begin to think, given that so many powerful countries in the West seem unable to handle their domestic Muslim problems, and given, too, the unwillingness of the non-Muslim peoples to band together in a counter-Jihad, that they can rely only on themselves, and that history teaches them that they must retaliate with ferocity. They believe that the Rohingya, or almost all of them, arrived in Myanmar from the late 19th century on, and were not, as the Rohingyas claim, in Myanmar “from time immemorial.” Of course, they wish to encourage the Rohingyas, whom they regard as a distinctly foreign group (“Bengalis”), with a history of violence and insurrection, to leave Myanmar for the Bengal region from which, the Burmese know, the Rohingyas originally came.

Is it so difficult to imagine that those Buddhist monks feel that it is they, their religion, their Buddhist culture, that are now imperiled, by Muslims following the same texts as those who put a virtual end to Buddhism in India, and who have carried out attacks on the last remnant of Buddhists in present-day Bangladesh, and have destroyed so much of the art and artifacts of Buddhist culture in India, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Xinjiang in western China, Indonesia? For these monks, who are aware of how destructive a triumphant and triumphalist Islam has been for Buddhism, it is they, the Buddhists in Myanmar, who are on the permanent defensive. From the outside, looking in, with the Buddhists constituting 95% of Myanmar’s population, their worries seem unwarranted. But they see what happened in India, to both Buddhists and Hindus, when ruled by a very small group of Muslims, and history teaches them to worry. They see themselves not as the assured masters of their own country, but as needing to protect  themselves, and some of them believe they should preemptively strike against, and attempt to drive out, the local representatives of Islam, an aggressive and fanatical faith, as Myanmar Buddhists see it, that has driven Buddhism out of so much of Asia.

This recapitulated history is not meant as approval of any unprovoked attacks on the Rohingya civilians. There is no doubt that tens of thousands of Rohingya have fled into Bangladesh in recent weeks, harried by both the Myanmar military and by Burmese civilians. It is meant, however, to remind people that before condemning the Buddhists of Myanmar with such ferocious one-sidedness, and denouncing Aung San Suu Kyi for daring to have a more nuanced view of the situation (and after all, it would have been easy for her to satisfy her foreign critics, and retain her status as a human-rights paladin, by denouncing the Buddhists and declaring the Rohingyas completely innocent, but she refused, and refuses still), one ought to consider the history of the Muslims in that country, when and from where they arrived, and how they have behaved toward the indigenous Buddhists over the past century.

History tells a tale far more complicated than is acknowledged by those issuing these blanket denunciations of the Burmese Buddhists. If those who keep demanding of Aung San Suu Kyi, with such self-righteous indignation, that she “must” speak out about the Rohingya, were to learn a bit more about the history of Myanmar, they might not be quite so ready to denounce her. They have been ferocious in their responses because they are fearful; history has taught them to be so. Because of Islam, Buddhism has disappeared from so many places, including its birthplace, India. The local Buddhists think of Myanmar, despite how it may look to the outside world, as being one of the last redoubts of Buddhism, and under Muslim attack, both diplomatic and military; they want to end the Rohingya (“Bengali Muslim”) problem once and for all.

Should the history of Muslim-Buddhist relations in Myanmar be better known, with journalists taking it upon themselves to learn about, and then to transmit, this history, it is possible that the “international community” would address the current violence differently. Imagine the effect on Myanmar’s anxious Buddhists if those now lecturing them so unsympathetically instead demonstrated by their statements that they were well aware of the flood into Myanmar of Muslim migrants over a half-century, recognized that the inter-communal violence in 1942 had started with massacres by the Muslim side against unsuspecting Buddhists, conceded that the Rohingyas had tried for many years, as self-described mujahideen, to seize part of Myanmar, and to make it an autonomous Muslim state, and that it is this past, as well as the actions over many centuries of Muslims against  Buddhists (and Hindus) in south Asia, that has deeply affected how the Burmese Buddhists view their own situation.

That might help calm the Burmese Buddhists, make them feel less anxious, now that their fears were not being cavalierly dismissed, but given a sympathetic hearing. And they, in turn, might ratchet down their own violence if they no longer feel quite so alone. It should be possible for the West to come to its senses about the Rohingyas and the Buddhists of Myanmar. What is needed is for the Western media to study the history of the Rohingyas in Myanmar, when they arrived, and from where, and what has been the nature of their interactions with the Buddhists. And the Western journalists on whom we rely will learn that beginning in the 1940s it was the Rohingyas who struck first against the Buddhists, militarily with the massacre of 50,000 in 1942, and diplomatically with the appeal to Pakistan’s president in 1947 to make Arakan (Rakhine State) part of Pakistan, and continued to strike against the Buddhist authorities in Myanmar intermittently, over several decades of conflict. That history can’t be restated often enough.

Aung San Suu Kyi has steadfastly refused to one-sidedly condemn Myanmar’s Buddhists, a denunciation ardently desired by those who know so little of that country’s history, and she has suffered for it. Among the  Nobel Prize Winners who denounced her, Malala Yousafzai, as “a fellow Nobel Prize winner,” has from Pakistan cast Aung San Suu Kyi into the outer darkness. The Taliban, of course, have denounced the Buddhists of Myanmar for their unspeakable behavior (they are shocked, shocked). Even Ramzan Kadyrov, the murderous Muslim despot who rules Chechnya, with ludicrous exaggeration, has compared what is happening in Myanmar to the Holocaust. Everyone is outraged by Aung San Suu Kyi — Al Jazeera, Tariq Ramadan, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Mohammmad Javad Zarif, Desmond Tutu, Nicholas Kristof. No one will speak up for Aung San Suu Kyi, because no one wants to go to the trouble of study the last century of Burmese history.

Instead of continuing to malign Aung San Suu Kyi, why not give her a chance to explain publicly why she thinks so many Buddhists are anxious about the Rohingyas? In her BBC interview mentioned earlier, she referred to a “climate of fear” (among Myanmar’s Buddhists) caused by a “worldwide perception that global Muslim power is very great.” Isn’t that “worldwide perception” correct? Isn’t that “climate of fear” one that many people, not just in Myanmar but in the most advanced states of Western Europe, now experience? Let her not be dismissed, but taken seriously when she maintains that all this history ought to be taken into account by those so quick to pronounce one-sided judgements on the conflict today between the Buddhists and the Muslim Rohingya.

Giving her that chance of a hearing should create sympathy for the Buddhists who now feel besieged and alone in Myanmar, as the Western media paints them as oppressors who have no legitimate fears. It would also be salutary for Unbelievers elsewhere to be reminded that Muslim aggression is directed not just against the West, but against all the rest. Give Aung San Suu Kyi the chance to tell the story of her own country. If Myanmar’s Buddhists feel that their side of the story is getting out, they will feel less alone and, as a consequence, less reliant on violence. But the more the West ignores the history of which they are keenly aware, the more they will feel the need to resort to violence.

Right now things have heated up again in Myanmar. But note exactly what happened: after a period of calm, 400 Rohingya attacked and killed nine policeman in coordinated attacks on three border posts last October. The attackers call themselves the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army. The Burmese military then went after those Rohingyas they believed were responsible for those attacks. After a few months of low-level fighting, quiet on both sides prevailed. But this past August, the conflict began again with 31 coordinated attacks by the Rohingya in a single night. The Myanmar military responded ferociously. It was that response by the Buddhists that was covered by the Western media, while they gave short shrift to the attack by the Rohingyas that instigated the violence. For reasons that deserve to be pondered, the Western media accept only the Rohingya version of history, in which their killing of 50,000 Buddhists in 1942 is never mentioned, nor their attempt to split off Rakhine State from what was then Burma, and to make it part of East Pakistan, nor their decades of intermittent insurrection. And today, even on those occasions when it has clearly been the Rohingyas who’ve attacked first, they are always depicted in the foreign press as  despairingly responding to non-stop Buddhist oppression. We’re all supposed to forget who started the fighting both last October, and this August, and too many, unfortunately, do.

If someone as clear-headed as Aung San Suu Kyi is reluctant to accept the world media’s version of events in her country, that is, presenting it as a simple-minded morality tale, with the Rohingyas always the victims, and the Buddhists always the victimizers, haven’t her decades of fighting for human rights earned her the right to a hearing? Don’t we have enough examples of Muslims conducting Jihad who have managed successfully, as masters of propaganda, to present themselves as more sinned against than sinning? See, for example, the “Palestinians” who, over the past half-century, despite committing every conceivable atrocity, are in much of the world depicted as being “oppressed” by the very people, the Israelis, who are the constant victims of those atrocities.

There may be reasons why Aung San Suu Kyi deems it unwise to discuss publicly the mass murder of Buddhists in 1942 by the Rohingya, or their history of insurrection against the Burmese (Myanmar) state in the 1950s,1970s, and 1990s, or to speak more generally of how the spread of Islam led, centuries ago, the virtual disappearance of Buddhism in India. Such remarks could make the Buddhists even more anxious about the Rohingya, because they know they are true, and make the Rohingya and other Muslims even more enraged, because they know they are true. Perhaps she’s afraid that such a discussion would simply stir up more violence, when she is trying to tamp things down. But let’s at least find out what, if anything, Aung San Suu Kyi wishes to say on the matter. It might prove salutary and bracing to hear, from a genuine heroine, her views on the Rohingya matter, in the past and present, since the world chooses to ignore that history. It might be useful to remind the world of what is on the minds of people in Myanmar, whose mental timeline is longer than the latest tweet, and to hear her explanation, too, of why Buddhists in Myanmar feel so anxious not just about that history, but about the Muslims now seemingly on the march elsewhere in the world. Let’s give her a chance to be hear, instead of denouncing her so ferociously for thinking it is not irrational for the Buddhists of Myanmar to be alarmed, and for them to want to avoid the fate of too many others who, despite their numbers, in the end succumbed, as did the Buddhists in Afghanistan and India and Indonesia, to those who brought Jihad.

CNN throws in the towel on fake Russian news

September 6, 2017

CNN throws in the towel on fake Russian news, American ThinkerMonica Showalter, September 6, 2017

CNN has dismantled its vaunted Trump-colluded-with-the-Russians investigative unit in a wretched concession to reality.  The only thing the unit found was an empty well for stories, surrounded by a crust of fake news.  The whole caper damaged the network’s credibility, and the public just wasn’t buying it anymore.  So the whole unit had to go.

What a shabby end to what the network had put so much stock in in the heady days of trying to oust President Trump just as he had taken office.

The New York Times attributes the unit’s sorry end to confusion in the fact-checking process – which is baloney for anyone who has ever worked in a newsroom – claiming that on one bad story, a lawyer’s concerns were ignored.  That’s not the way it works in most newsrooms – normally, the lawyer has the loudest voice about what goes to press, given the potential for lawsuits, much to the resentment of the reporters.  Well, the CNN editors ignored it and paid for it with their jobs when it came back to bite them.

Another problem the Times mentions but doesn’t dwell on is the issue of single-source reporting – from political partisans.  Of course a single-source report from a political partisan is going to yield a bad result.  This is why reporters are supposed to add value and put out something different from press releases.  Well, CNN opted to go for single sources, which is testimony in the Times’ mind to the pressure the network was under to produce something.

The only reason the people at CNN were unable to produce is that there was no there there.  And that’s the real reason for the unit’s ignominious end.  The news project was not premised on finding the truth, as real journalism is supposed to, but on confirming the left’s deepest rage, resentment, and fear – that the election was stolen from them by the hated Russians.  That was the root of all the fake news that came of the unit, such as claims that certain Trump administration officials were under investigation when they were not and errant reporting about James Comey.

Setting up a unit to confirm an ideological bias from an embittered losing party is no way to get bang for the news buck, which is the cash and resources that go into investigative reporting.  There has to be a there there, and there wasn’t any there there on the Russia story.  There wasn’t even an audience.

Maybe if CNN can learn to curb its ideological biases and refocus on reporting the news without fear or favor, it might just return to what it used to be.  As it is now, its reputation lies in ruins.

 

UN Chief Guterres, the Media and Palestinian Fake News

September 1, 2017

UN Chief Guterres, the Media and Palestinian Fake News, Gatestone InstituteBassam Tawil, September 1, 2107

(Please see also, INTO THE FRAY: The Taylor Force Act – Putting “Palestine” in perspective. — DM)

One of the mothers who attended the meeting with the UN chief was Latifa Abu Hmaid. Four of her sons, Nasser, Sharif, Nasr and Mohammed are serving multiple life sentences for their role in terrorism. The Palestinian Authority (PA) chose the mother of these terrorists because they are all members of President Mahmoud Abbas’s ruling Fatah faction, which is regularly described by Western media outlets as a moderate and pragmatic Palestinian party that believes in the two-state solution and peace with Israel.

The minimum the UN chief and his aides could have done is to call out the PA leadership and condemn it for the ambush and the fabricated report from the official Palestinian news agency. Had Israel been involved in a similar incident, we would have witnessed a diplomatic crisis, prompted by the UN secretary general and his spokesmen as well as the international media. Palestinians, as usual, are given a pass.

The lie about “Jewish extremists” setting fire to the Al-Aqsa Mosque has become so widespread and accepted that even senior Muslim scholars such as Abbas’s Grand Mufti, Sheikh Mohamed Hussein, has also been spreading the blood libel. He and most Palestinians continue to describe the Australian Christian arsonist as a “Jewish extremist.”

According to the Palestinian propaganda machine, nearly without exception, the terrorists were on their way to buy bread for their mothers or visit their grandmothers. These were innocent victims, the story goes, arrested or shot by Israel for no reason. Then there are the lies about Israelis “planting” knives near the bodies of terrorists who stab or try to murder Jews. Western journalists and others accept these lies as facts.

Fake news is an old story in the Palestinian world. Yet recently, fake news has been taken to new heights by Palestinian spin-doctors, who have been working overtime to mislead the international community and media. A number of stories published in the past few days in the Palestinian media demonstrate the extent to which Palestinians are prepared to go to deceive the world and impact international public opinion.

Excellence is often a virtue — except when one excels at lying. And if there is one thing at which the Palestinians have excelled in the past few decades, it is spreading lies about its conflict with Israel. The mainstream media in the West usually takes the fake-news bait — it sells papers! — and demonstrates tolerance, if not sympathy, toward Palestinian-produced fake news fabrications.

The most recent case of Palestinian fake news emerged during United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres’s visit to Ramallah, the de facto capital of the Palestinians. The UN chief, who does not seem to be familiar with the Palestinian culture of lies, fell victim to a typical PR stunt organized by his Palestinian hosts.

According to the Wafa news agency, the official organ of the Palestinian Authority (PA), Guterres “held a meeting on Tuesday evening (August 29) with families of Palestinian martyrs and prisoners held in Israeli occupation prisons.” The report said that the families called on the UN secretary-general to take rapid and serious action to save the lives of more than 6500 male and female prisoners held in Israeli prisons. Wafa then quoted Guterres as saying: “We understand the suffering of the Palestinian prisoners and we will work with the relevant parties to end their suffering.”

First, it ought to be of interest that the “prisoners” and “martyrs” are Palestinians who were involved, directly and indirectly, in terror attacks. Many of the prisoners have Jewish blood on their hands and were convicted of often unspeakable crimes.

Second, it quickly became clear that the meeting between the UN chief and the Palestinian families was part of an ambush set up by his Palestinian hosts in Ramallah. According to a UN spokesman, Guterres was surprised by the sudden request of the Palestinian Authority to meet with the “mothers of detained children” but that he agreed to meet with them. To his great credit, Guterres also issued a clarification that the report in Wafa that he had expressed sympathy for the prisoners’ plight was “fabricated.”

Third, it is worth noting that one of the mothers who attended the meeting with the UN chief was Latifa Abu Hmaid, from the Al-Ama’ri refugee camp near Ramallah. Four of her sons, Nasser, Sharif, Nasr and Mohammed are serving multiple life sentences for their role in terrorism. The Palestinian Authority chose the mother of these terrorists because they are all members of President Mahmoud Abbas’s ruling Fatah faction, which is regularly described by Western media outlets as a moderate and pragmatic Palestinian party that believes in the two-state solution and peace with Israel.

The response of the UN chief’s spokesman to the “fabricated” report by Abbas’s Wafa news agency and the unscheduled meeting with the families of the “prisoners” and “martyrs” is a fine example of how the Palestinian Authority manipulates the world’s top diplomat. The PA and other Palestinians, however, have been getting away with this for decades.

The minimum the UN chief and his aides could have done is to call out the PA leadership and condemn it for the ambush and the fabricated report on the official Palestinian news agency. Had Israel been involved in a similar incident, we would have witnessed a diplomatic crisis, prompted by the UN secretary general and his spokesmen as well as the international media. Palestinians, as usual, are given a pass.

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres during his to Ramallah, August 29, 2017. (Image source: UN Photo/Ahed Izhiman)

In another example of Palestinian fake news designed to slander Israel and win international sympathy, several Palestinian media outlets have been reporting during the past week that an Israeli female undercover agent masquerading as a nurse has been uncovered in a Palestinian hospital in Hebron.

According to the fake reports, the “nurse” was an Israeli settler who had helped the Israel Defense Forces infiltrate the hospital to arrest and shoot Palestinian fugitives. A quick check of the facts revealed that the Palestinians were apparently referring to a Western volunteer who had worked in the hospital to treat Palestinian patients. The hospital administration has strongly denied the reports, which continue to spread like fire on social media and Palestinian news websites. The purpose of the fake reports is to implicate Israel and present it as a state that shows disregard for hospitals and patients. This case shows that rumors and fake news are regularly accepted as facts in the world of the Palestinians and Arabs.

Or consider another example of how the Palestinian propaganda machine operates. On August 23, the same Palestinian news agency, Wafa, reported on the anniversary of the 1969 fire at the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem.

First, the historical facts: On August 21, 1969, an Australian citizen named Denis Michael Rohan set fire to the pulpit of the Al-Aqsa Mosque. Rohan was arrested for the arson attack, tried and found to be insane. He was hospitalized in a mental institution before finally being deported from Israel in 1974.

Since 1969, however, the Palestinians have repeated the lie that Israel and Jews were behind the arson attack. The fact that Rohan was a Christian is apparently inconsequential to them.

So this year, marking the anniversary of the arson, this is what Abbas’s official mouthpiece, Wafa, had this priceless piece of perjury to say: “The Al-Aqsa Mosque was torched by Jewish extremists in 1969.”

The lie about “Jewish extremists” setting fire to the Al-Aqsa Mosque has become so widespread and accepted that even senior Muslim scholars such as Abbas’s Grand Mufti, Sheikh Mohamed Hussein, has also been spreading the blood libel. He and most Palestinians continue to describe the Australian Christian arsonist as a “Jewish extremist.”

These lies are simply a few recent examples that extend a long list of Palestinian fake news and blood libels aimed at framing Israel and inciting the world against it. Take for example, the famous Palestinian lies about terrorists: according to the Palestinian propaganda machine, nearly without exception, the terrorists were on their way to buy bread for their mothers or visit their grandmothers. These were innocent victims, the story goes, arrested or shot by Israel for no reason. Then there are the lies about Israelis “planting” knives near the bodies of terrorists who stab or try to murder Jews. Western journalists and others accept these lies as facts.

The manipulation of the UN chief in Ramallah comes as no surprise to those familiar with Palestinian tactics of deception. The question, however, remains: For how long will the international community receive with equanimity the lies that Palestinians spit in its face, lies that hour after hour, day after day, only endanger the lives of both Palestinians and Jews, promote an all-too-welcomed anti-Semitism, and worst – contrary to the claims of those who purport to want to help them — prolong the suffering of Palestinians who dream of one day living in freedom –like their neighbors, the Israelis — with institutions of democracy like free speech, an independent judiciary and educational system, and most of all, with accountable leadership?

Bassam Tawil is a Muslim based in the Middle East.

The Fake News Media of Sweden

August 30, 2017

The Fake News Media of Sweden, Gatestone Institute, Nima Gholam Ali Pour, August 30, 2017

In most democratic countries, the media should be critical of those who hold power. In Sweden, however, the media criticize those who criticize the authorities. Criticism is not aimed at the people who hold power, but against private citizens who, according to the journalists, have the “wrong” ideas.

TV4 and all other media refused to report that it was Muslims who interrupted the prime minister because they wanted to force Islamic values on Swedish workplaces. When the Swedish media reported on the event, the public were not told that these “hijab activists” had links with Islamist organizations. Rather, it was reported as if they were completely unknown Muslim girls who only wanted to wear their veils.

The Swedish media are politicized to the extent that they act as a propaganda machine. Through their lies, they have created possibilities for “post-truth politics”. Instead of being neutral, the mainstream Swedish media have lied to uphold certain “politically correct” values. One wonders what lifestyle and political stability Sweden will have when no one can know the truth about what is really going on.

In February 2017, after U.S. President Donald Trump’s statements about events in Sweden, the journalist Tim Pool traveled to Sweden to report on their accuracy. What Tim Pool concluded is now available for everyone to watch on YouTube, but what is really interesting is how the Swedish public broadcasting media described him.

On Radio Sweden’s website, one of the station’s employees, Ann Törnkvist, wrote an op-ed in which Pool and the style of journalism he represents are described as “a threat to democracy”.

Why is Pool “a threat to democracy” in Sweden? He reported negatively about an urban area in Stockholm, Rinkeby, where more than 90% of the population has a foreign background. When Pool visited Rinkeby, he had to be escorted out by police. Journalists are often threatened in Rinkeby. Before this incident, in an interview with Radio Sweden, Pool had described Rosengård, an area in the Swedish city of Malmö heavily populated by immigrants, as “nice, beautiful, safe”. After Pool’s negative but accurate report about Rinkeby, however, he began to be described as an unserious journalist by many in the Swedish media, and finally was labeled the “threat to democracy.”

One might think that this was a one-time event in a country whose journalists were defensive. But the fact is that Swedish journalists are deeply politicized.

In most democratic countries, media are, or should be, critical of those who hold power. In Sweden, the media criticize those who criticizes those who hold power.

In March 2017, the public broadcasting company Sveriges Television revealed the name of a person who runs the Facebook page Rädda vården (“Save Healthcare”). The person turned out to be an assistant nurse, and was posting anonymously only because he had been critical of the hospital where he worked. Swedish hospitals are run by the local county councils, and thus when someone criticizes the healthcare system in Sweden, it is primarily politicians who are criticized. Sveriges Television explained on its website why it revealed the identity of the private individuals behind Facebook:

“These hidden powers of influence abandon and break the open public debate and free conversation. Who are they? What do they want and why? As their impact increases, the need to examine them also grows.”

It is strange that Sveriges Television believes that an assistant nurse who wants to tell how politicians neglect public hospitals, is breaking “the open public debate and free conversation”. This was not the only time that the mainstream Swedish media exposed private citizens who were criticizing those who hold power. In December 2013, one of Sweden’s largest and most established newspapers, Expressenannounced that it intended to disclose the names of people who commented on various Swedish blogs:

Expressen has partnered with Researchgruppen. The group has found a way, according to their own description, without any kind of unlawful intrusion, to associate the usernames that the anonymous commentators on the hate websites are using to the email addresses from which comments were sent. After that, the email addresses have been cross-checked with registries and authorities to identify the persons behind them.”

The term “hate websites” (hatsajterna) is what that the mainstream media uses to describe some of the blogs that are critical of Islam or migration.

It is one thing to be critical of bloggers who you may consider have racist opinions. But exposing the people who have written in comments sections of various blogs in one of Sweden’s biggest newspapers is strange and terrifying.

Researchgruppen has clear links to Antifascistisk Aktion (Antifascist Action), a group which, according to the Swedish government, consists of violent left-wing extremists. For their efforts to expose private individuals in the comments section, Researchgruppen received the Guldspaden, a prestigious journalistic award in Sweden.

Jim Olsson was one individual exposed in Expressen simply because he wrote something in a blog’s comments section. A 67-year-old docent in physical chemistry, Olsson received a home-visit from Expressen with a camera and microphone present. A private citizen with no connection to any political party or organization, he exposed by Sweden’s media because he had written the following in the comments section:

“The Swedish asylum system rewards swindlers with a permanent residence permit. There are, of course, swindlers flooding Sweden.”

The Swedish newspaper Expressen accessed databases of website commenters, targeted critics of immigration, and confronted them at home. The above screenshot is taken from a video on the Expressen website, published under the headline “Jim Olsson writes on hate sites.”

Another private individual, Patrik Gillsvik, with no political links, was exposed and fired from his job because, in a blog’s comments section, he wrote:

“I would like to join the structural prejudices of the majority in society and state that gypsies are inventive and witty entrepreneurs who can enrich our culture — yes, and then they steal like ravens, of course!”

Although the statement can be criticized for being unacceptably racist, what is unique is that the mainstream media in a Western democracy can expose private individuals because they wrote something in a blog’s comments section. Criticism is not aimed at the people who hold power, but against private citizens who according to the journalists have the “wrong” ideas.

Moreover, each of these private citizens, who have had their lives ruined because they wrote something distasteful in a comments section, serves as a warning, so that others will not dare to make the mistake of posting something politically incorrect on a blog.

It is shocking that in a democracy, the media acts this way, but that is how Swedish — and, increasingly, other Western media — operate these days.

In addition to punishing private individuals who, according to them, communicate “wrong” ideas, the media celebrate and support people who have the “right” ideas. On May 1, 2017, Sweden’s Prime Minister Stefan Löfven was interrupted by a number of hijab-wearing activists who were protesting a verdict of the Court of Justice of the European Union that employers are entitled to prohibit staff from wearing a hijab. Given that Sweden’s prime minister cannot directly influence the Court, and that one should not interrupt the country’s prime minister when he speaks, one would think that these “hijab activists” might be criticized in the media.

TV4, a national TV-channel and one of the first media outlets to report this incident, refused to say that those who interrupted the prime minister were wearing the Islamic veil. The title of TV4’s clip was “Demonstrators Interrupted Löfven speech”. The sub-headline read as follows: “Female protesters screamed out their anger against the prime minister and wondered where the feminist government was.”

From the text, it is not clear that these activists demonstrated against the verdict of the Court of Justice of the European Union; that all activists wore a hijab, or that they screamed, “Stand up for Muslim women’s rights!” However, information that these activists were wearing hijabs and protesting the verdict of the Court of Justice of the European Union was on their Facebook page and YouTube. Nevertheless, TV4 and all other media refused to report that those who interrupted the prime minister were Muslims who were interrupting the prime minister because they seemingly wanted to force Islamic values on the Swedish workplace.

The day after their protest, in an interview with Radio Sweden, these activists had the opportunity to explain why they protested — but were not asked any critical questions. The next day, an Expressen columnist, Maria Rydhagen, compared one of the hijab-activists glowingly with one of the founders of the Swedish Social Democratic Party, Axel Danielsson. Rydhagen wrote the following about Jasmin Nur Ismail:

“Then, on Monday, the protest of the girls was perceived as only an incident. But imagine if it was the start of something big? Perhaps history was being written, there and then? Imagine if Jasmin Nur is the Axel Danielsson of 2017. Hero and rebel. In that case: Was it not a pity to remove her with the help of the police?”

As the media refused to write anything negative about the protest against the prime minister, this author began to investigate the matter. It took half an hour to find out several important things which were never mentioned by the Swedish mainstream media. Jasmin Nur Ismail had written about the incident on her Facebook page shortly after the protest. Who was behind the protest was not a secret.

The demonstration had been organized by the Hayat Women’s Movement and a network called, “The Right to Our Bodies”. The Hayat Women’s Movement was founded by Aftab Soltani, who in March 2017 was one of the speakers at a much-criticized annual Islamic event in Sweden, Muslimska Familjedagarna (Muslim Family Days). The event was blamed by both the left and the right for inviting hate preachers, anti-Semites and Muslim radicals as speakers. Another speaker at this Islamic event in March 2017 was Jasmin Nur Ismail, a heroine of the Swedish media. Muslimska Familjedagarna was organized by the Islamist Ibn Rushd Educational Association, the Islamic Association of Sweden (Islamiska Förbundet i Sverige) and Sweden’s Young Muslims (Sveriges Unga Muslimer).

Jasmin Nur Ismail, hailed as a heroine in Expressen, is a public figure. Southern Sweden’s largest newspaper, Sydsvenskandescribed her in an October 2016 article as an “activist, anti-racist and writer”. According to Sydsvenskan, Jasmin Nur Ismail’s political role-model is Malcolm X. During the Swedish Forum for Human Rights in 2016, Jasmin Nur Ismail was, in a panel discussion, the representative for Malmö’s Young Muslims — in turn, a subdivision of an Islamist organization, Sweden’s Young Muslims.

Swedish newspapers did not write a single word that the person and organizations behind the protest against Sweden’s prime minister had links with Islamist organizations. When the Swedish media reported about the event, the public were told that these hijab-activists were completely unknown Muslim girls who only wanted to wear their veils.

Mainstream Swedish media outlets simply do not report some things. When the largest mosque in Scandinavia was opened in Sweden’s third largest city, Malmö, the news about this was first published in the Qatar News Agency and The Peninsula on May 3, 2017. The reason that Qatar’s media wrote about it was because Qatar financed a large part of the mosque. On May 5, an article about this mosque was published in Breitbart. On May 6, one day after Breitbart reported the news and three days after the Qatari media reported the news, the Swedish terrorist expert Magnus Ranstorp sent a tweet about this mosque, but he linked it to the Qatari media. At this time, there are still no Swedish media outlets that have reported anything about the largest mosque in Scandinavia.

On May 8, the Swedish blog Jihad i Malmö wrote about the mosque and its Qatari financing. On May 9, the Swedish blog Pettersson gör skillnad wrote about the mosque. At the same time, the Norwegian author and activist Hege Storhaug, who is critical of Islam, wrote about the mosque and noted that the Swedish media had not yet written about it:

“I had expected that the Swedish media at the very least would mention the opening of Scandinavia’s largest mosque with positive words. But no, not a word in Swedish mainstream media, as far as I have noticed. You have to go to the English version of Arabic media to get some limited information, like Qatar News Agency.”

By the time I tweeted about it on May 10, the mainstream Swedish media still had not widely reported it. On May 15, I wrote an article on it for the news website Situation Malmö, run by the Sweden Democrats party branch in Malmö. With one hour’s research, I managed, through what the mosque had published on Facebook, to discover that one of the leading Social Democrat politicians in Malmö, Frida Trollmyr, a municipal commissioner with responsibility for culture, recreation and health, had been at the mosque’s opening. Representatives of the Qatari government also attended, but the mainstream Swedish media still had not reported anything about it.

On May 17, two weeks after the Qatari media had written about the opening of Scandinavia’s largest mosque in Malmö, 12 days after Breitbart had written about the event, and two days after my article, the Sydsvenskan newspaper wrote about the mosque opening. You could not read the article, however, if you had not paid for “premium membership” to this newspaper.

One can see this omission as an unfortunate coincidence, but it is strange when Breitbart succeeds in communicating more information about Malmö than southern Sweden’s largest newspaper, which is headquartered in Malmö. Why would the Swedish media not write about the mosque? It was certainly not a secret. There was no explanation from the Swedish media or anyone else. Yet, these same media outlets did not hesitate to expose the names of private citizens who wrote inappropriate opinions on a public comments page.

There are journalists in Sweden who change their views as soon as the government changes its opinion. Göran Greider, a journalist and editor, active in the public debate in Sweden for more than 30 years, wrote the following in August 2015, about migration policy:

“The European governments who say no to increasing the number of refugees received not only show a shameful lack of solidarity. They are also silent when they decline to rejuvenate their populations.”

In November 2015, only three months later, when the Swedish government was forced to change its migration policy because of the migration crisis, Göran Greider wrote:

“But even the left, including many Social Democrats and members of the Green Party, have sometimes been characterized by an unwillingness to discuss the great challenges that receiving refugees, in the quantity we have seen lately, implies for a society. No one wants to be a nationalist. No one wants to be accused of running the errands of Sweden Democrats, or racism. But in this way, people on the left, who are so broadly for bringing in refugees, have often locked themselves out of a realistic discussion.”

There is nothing wrong in reconsidering one’s opinion. But it has become common for Swedish journalists frequently to have opinions that favor certain political parties — often the Social Democrats, the Left Party and the Green Party. The issue is not even about values. People who work for the mainstream Swedish media are ready to reconsider their values so long as it helps certain parties to stay in power. This is far from what is presumably the media’s main task in a democracy.

How is it that no newspaper is rebelling against this order? It would be a good business proposition; such a media outlet could gain financial benefits. Sweden’s political establishment is, after all, not popular. Well, we can look at the example of someone who tried. In February 2017, a financier, Mats Qviberg, bought a free daily newspaper, Metro, usually distributed in subways and buses in Sweden. In May, he gave an interview to the newspaper Nyheter Idag, considered by the Swedish establishment to be “right-wing” or “populist”. In his interview, Qviberg gave a slight playful hint that Metro might in some way cooperate with Nyheter Idag.

The consequence of the playful statement was that the Green Party in Stockholm County Council threatened that Stockholm County would stop handing out Metro in Stockholm’s subways. A columnist stopped writing for the paper. Other media outlets started to wonder out loud if Metrowere becoming a racist platform. Before the month of May was over, Qviberg had sold his shares in Metro. That politicians would punish a newspaper owner who had “wrong” views did not surprise anyone in Sweden; the situation was not worth mentioning. In Sweden, even owners of newspapers are supposed to follow the political order.

In June 2017, the leader of the Sweden Democrats (SD), Jimmie Åkesson, spoke in Järva, a district in Stockholm dominated by immigrants. The Sweden Democrats is a social-conservative party in the Swedish parliament; it supports, among other matters, a restrictive migration policy. While Åkesson was speaking, there were protests against him; and among the protesters were various placards. A photograph of Radio Sweden’s van showed an anti-SD placard inside it. On it, one could read “Jimmie = Racist”. The explanation from Radio Sweden was:

“Someone put a sign on Ekot’s (a Radio Sweden news program) car in Järva on Sunday evening. It was taken down and put into the car and then thrown away on the way from there.”

You can have a discussion about why Radio Sweden spends its time discarding placards that left-wing protesters use. Is that what journalist are supposed to do when they are covering a story? In the end, however, it does not matter. The people’s confidence in the mainstream media in Sweden is being eroded as we write.

A new study from Institutet för Mediestudier shows that 54% agree, or partly agree, that the Swedish media are not telling the whole truth about problems in society linked to migration. Instead of the media accepting that they are biased and starting to change their ways, the media continue to attack citizens who appear critical.

In June 2017, the editorial writer of the daily Aftonbladet, Anders Lindberg, wrote an editorialtitled, “Hitler Did Not Trust the Media Either,” in which he equated the critics of the Swedish media with Nazis. Anders Lindberg, after working 10 years for the Social Democrats, resigned as the Communications Ombudsman for the Social Democrats in 2010, to start working as an editorial writer for Aftonbladet. He is so well-known for what his critics view as unusual versions of the truth that he has the privilege of writing for Sweden’s largest newspaper. In 2015, he described the issue of organized begging, a visible problem in northern Europe, as “legends and folklore”. Today there is no party that denies that organized begging is a real problem.

I often have difficulty explaining to many of my American friends and colleagues how the Swedish media work. Often, there may be clear examples of anti-Semitism and other unsavory behavior. The first question I always get is: Why is the media not writing about this? The answer is simple. The Swedish media are politicized to the extent that they act as a propaganda machine. It is not a propaganda machine in the traditional sense of the word, with an official Ministry of Propaganda. But in Sweden, many journalists and editors are either old established political party employees, as Anders Lindberg, or simply ideologically indoctrinated and therefore extremely biased. The Swedish propaganda machine punishes those who have the “wrong” opinions and celebrates those who have the “right” opinions.

What happened to Tim Pool was a part of how media works in Sweden. As long as he said the “right” things, the Swedish media gave a positive picture of him. When he started to have the “wrong” opinion, the propaganda machine started doing its work and Pool became “a threat to democracy”.

There are, of course, more examples that show how sick the Swedish debate- and media-climate has become. In such a negative environment, there are many casualties. The first casualty is, obviously, the truth. When people start to understand that the mainstream media are lying, they turn to alternative media. Alternative media outlets, however, also usually have political agendas. A democracy cannot survive well only on biased media. A democracy desperately needs mainstream media outlets that inform its citizens and criticize people who hold power. That is something Sweden does not have today.

A large portion of the Swedish population are apparently aware of this and do not trust the media. Through its lies, the Swedish media have created possibilities for “post-truth politics” in Sweden. Instead of being a neutral party, the mainstream Swedish media have lied to uphold certain “politically correct” values. The result is an atmosphere where many people believe that everything that the media says has a political agenda. When the mainstream media in Sweden lie shamelessly, where can one go to find the truth? One wonders what lifestyle and political stability Sweden will have when no one can know the truth about what is really going on.

Nima Gholam Ali Pour is a member of the board of education in the Swedish city of Malmö and is engaged in several Swedish think tanks concerned with the Middle East. He is also editor for the social conservative website Situation Malmö, and is the author of the Swedish book “Därför är mångkultur förtryck“(“Why Multiculturalism is Oppression”).

The Washington Post Swings and Misses at Jeff Sessions

July 22, 2017

The Washington Post Swings and Misses at Jeff Sessions, Power LinePaul Mirengoff, July 21, 2017

The Post’s sources clearly are out to get Sessions. It’s anyone’s guess whether they are accurately characterizing what the ambassador told his government and the reliability of what he told it.

In any event, the Post and its sources have failed to identify any contradiction between Sessions’s statements about his interaction with the ambassador and what the ambassador supposedly told the Russians about the interaction.

*************************************

The Washington Post claims that Attorney General Sessions’ statements about what he discussed with the Russian ambassador are at odds with reports by the ambassador to his government about what he and Sessions discussed. The Post relies on, you guessed it, “current and former U.S. officials.”

But the Post fails to describe a contradiction between what Sessions has said and what the Russian ambassador supposedly reported. Here are the only statements by Sessions cited by the Post and its sources as problematic:

I never had meetings with Russian operatives or Russian intermediaries about the Trump campaign.

I don’t recall any discussion of the campaign in any significant way.

I never met with or had any conversation with any Russians or foreign officials concerning any type of interference with any campaign or election in the United States.

Here is the Post’s description of what the Russian ambassador told the government:

A former official said that the intelligence indicates that Sessions and Kislyak had “substantive” discussions on matters including Trump’s positions on Russia-related issues and prospects for U.S.-Russia relations in a Trump administration.

Maybe. But even someone with average skill in reading and logic would understand that this description is not inconsistent with Sessions’ denial that he did not discuss the campaign with the ambassador.

It stands to reason that Sessions might discuss Russia-related issues with the Russian ambassador. And Russia-related issues are also campaign-related issues in the sense that Russia was an issue in the campaign.

But what Sessions denied was that he discussed the campaign and any interference by Russia with it. The denial was important because, at the time Sessions made it, the issue Washington fixated on was whether Team Trump sought or knew about Russian help for the candidate, or coordinated with Russia regarding the campaign.

The Post’s piece, by Adam Entous, Ellen Nakashima, and Greg Miller, is dishonest. It finds a contradiction where none exists by glossing over the distinction between discussing a “campaign-related issue” — which is any substantive issue raised by any candidate during the campaign season — and discussing the campaign.

Discussing hacking or “opposition research” research with the Russian ambassador would constitute discussing the campaign. Telling the ambassador how the campaign is going or what its strategy is would constituted discussing the campaign. Telling the ambassador — as President Obama told the Russian president — that the candidate would be more flexible with Russia after the campaign would probably be a borderline case.

Simply discussing Russia policy — past, present, or future — is not discussing the campaign.

There is also the question of whether the Russian ambassador was telling his government the truth. The Post admits that “the Russian ambassador could have mischaracterized or exaggerated the nature of his interactions” with Sessions. It notes: “Russian and other foreign diplomats in Washington and elsewhere have been known, at times, to report false or misleading information to bolster their standing with their superiors or to confuse U.S. intelligence agencies.”

The Post adds, however, that the Russian ambassador “has a reputation for accurately relaying details about his interactions with officials in Washington.” Maybe. But I’m not inclined to take the word of the “deep state” on this. I suspect there are “current and former officials” who would grant the Russian ambassador sainthood if it meant embarrassing the Trump administration.

The Post’s sources clearly are out to get Sessions. It’s anyone’s guess whether they are accurately characterizing what the ambassador told his government and the reliability of what he told it.

In any event, the Post and its sources have failed to identify any contradiction between Sessions’s statements about his interaction with the ambassador and what the ambassador supposedly told the Russians about the interaction.

The Truth Versus CNN

July 18, 2017

The Truth Versus CNN, Bill Whittle.com via YouTube, July 17, 2017

 

According to the blurb beneath the video,

For decades, conservatives have been complaining about bias in the media, but that wasn’t quantified until now. CNN’s fake news does more than get them ratings — its libel undermines the very nature of our democratic republic. In this Firewall, Bill Whittle lambasts the mainstream media for its toxic politicizing of the news and exposes the influence of media bias on elections.