100 Days of Trump

Zahra Shahtahmasebi

1 May, 2017

(THE TV’s LEAKING)

Saturday 29th of April marked President Trump’s 100th day of holding office in the White House. For many, this has been a period of immense terror, fear and essentially pure horror as to what will be unleashed by him and his administration. This feeling has been reflected in the presidential popularity ratings which are by all accounts, historically low compared to his most recent predecessors, sitting around (and frequently below) 40 percent.

Trump blames the United States Constitution for this unpopularity, claiming that the Constitution is a ‘rough’ and ‘archaic’ system that is a ‘bad thing for the country’. Since being in office he has failed to get any of his priorities into legislations, and has attempted to rule by executive order, which so far has either been meaningless (tax reform), or his travel ban on seven mostly Muslim countries and refugees, blocked by the courts. However he still maintains a core of supporters that remain faithful to him and believe that the first 100 days have been ‘so far, so good’ and that the president is bringing ‘God back’.

How about instead, we forget about the apparent interference of the Constitution and Trump’s apparent ‘promises made, promises kept’, and look at what the first 100 days has really been like.

He began with a battle with media over the crowd size at his inauguration, labelling the media as perpetrators of alternative facts. Then there was the aforementioned travel ban, and [?] the executive order that reinstated the global gag rule which prevents international health groups from receiving federal funding for informing on or performing abortions. All of this occurred within the first few days of his presidency, and since then things seem to be ever on a continual downward spiral. Most of all, his actions seem to be pushing the world down the road to World War Three. And you’d think that by now, more than 72 years since the ending of World War Two, we might’ve learnt a thing or two.

In early April, the Trump administration launched missiles on an airbase belonging to the Syrian government, following a deadly chemical weapons attack. This directly contradicted a tweet published by him in 2013 that said ‘we should stay the hell out of Syria’. In fact, it contradicts 18 tweets made by him from 2013-2014 which condemned Obama’s handling of the Syrian conflict and that we should not be involved. The strike was directed to harm Assad’s government for the heinous act of using chemical weapons – before there was confirmation of who had issued the attack, and this fact is still being investigated.

Recent information has revealed that the strike didn’t damage anything valuable to the Syrian government and that Russia (Syria’s staunchest backer) was warned prior to the attack. In fact not just Russia, but peaceful nations such as New Zealand were also warned in advance. Interesting development, considering  Trump has claimed he doesn’t want people to know what he is thinking and that if he did go into Syria “it would be by surprise, not blurted all over the media”.

So it seems that there is an intention to increase the world’s fears of a global conflict, as Trump’s decision to strike Syria was that of a ‘weakened politician needing to flex his muscles’ according to the Chinese News state agency, Xin Hua. However it seemed to have a desired effect, with Trump receiving a surge in popularity by mainstream media outlets that so frequently denounced him.

The focus is now turned to North Korea. Trump has claimed that the North is  looking for trouble, with calls that the US naval force was being sent to the Korean peninsula. Just two days ago, Trump warned that the US could end up having a ‘major, major conflict with North Korea’, with North Korea providing the biggest global challenge. There has been calls to implement sanctions, and suspend or downgrade diplomatic relations to ‘denuclearise the nation’. Yet it is the opinion of China that this grave tension can only be diffused by diplomacy, something Trump appears to be refuting. Earlier today, amid these escalating tensions with the North Korean nuclear programme, he said he had no idea if North Korean leader Kim Jong Un was sane, but later referred to him as being a ‘pretty smart cookie’.

Not only is there the threat of North Korea on the horizon, but the seriousness of Trump’s attack of Syria, a foreign government, which is an unconstitutional act of aggression that has led to the Syrian’s government allies announcing that they will respond with force the next time such an act occurs, a fact which is frankly terrifying, and keeps driving home the imminent threat of a global war.

It seems we are treading on eggshells, with everyone just waiting in trepidation for Trump to make his next mistake.

Only 1360 days to go.

This article (100 Days of Trump) was written exclusively for The TV’s Leaking and may not be reproduced in any way, shape or form without permission from the author.

English: “I don’t believe it’s a racist policy”

Zahra Shahtahmasebi

31 January, 2017

(THE TV’s LEAKING) Yesterday prime minister Bill English finally publicly stated his disagreement against the controversial travel ban put in place by US president-elect Donald Trump on Friday but only after repeated urging from other political figures; Dame Susan Devoy, and Green party co-leader Metiria Turei. Despite his expressed concerns, it seems he will not make these known to Trump, as he believes ‘it is not our job to tell others how to run their country’. [Emphasis added].

English was interviewed on Radio NZ this morning. When asked by Guyon Espiner about his thoughts on the policy, English seemed again reserved and somewhat defensive. He once again reiterated his opposition to the ban but it was clear that he had taken no steps to find out how New Zealand citizens may be affected despite the ban already being operational for four days. The ban prevents citizens of seven Muslim-majority nations from traveling to the US, as well as affecting people who have dual nationality. Since the order has been signed, chaos has erupted in the States, with travellers and refugees who were looking to make a new life in the supposed ‘land of the free’ being detained in US airports. It is tearing apart many lives and families, with the order extending to cover permanent residents, as well as those who have valid visas. People who have worked and contributed to American society for a number of years, but say, have travelled to their homeland to visit family are being prevented from returning; they are being pulled off flights and prevented from boarding, whilst being questioned about their business in America and then even deported. Yet it’s clear these people mean no harm – these people are not terrorists, they are just people who have made or plan to make America their home.

England and Canada, (other members of the Five Eyes Alliance, the secretive surveillance group) have already been granted exemptions for their citizens following governmental inquiries, with Australia seeking the same. Australia’s foreign minister Julie Bishop has expressed Australia’s support for Trump’s strong immigration and border policies, saying he is merely fulfilling a campaign promise. Australia’s Treasurer Scott Morrison declined to criticise Trump’s latest move, instead deciding to empathise, stating that Australia’s harsh border deterrence policies are the envy of the world and that finally ‘the rest of the world is catching up’ to them. The prime minister, Malcolm Turnbull is yet to speak to address the subject of the travel ban.

 

In light of all this English’s attitude appears very relaxed. While he says New Zealand too is seeking exemptions, he has as of yet received no assurance from the US. He is asserted that New Zealand would never implement such a policy. But that is not the issue here – while it’s good to hear that a ban will never exist here, the fact is, such a ban already exists elsewhere, and is having a severe global impact.

And to cap it all off, when asked if he thought the policy was racist, English replied that no, he didn’t believe so, instead that it is a policy that discriminates among refugees, based on the country they come from. Well, as Guyon Espiner then pointed out, is that not the definition of racism? And his perspective seems a little mis-informed, as it is well known that this ban does not just apply to refugees, but to all citizens of those seven listed countries. Green card holders were initially banned too, however the Trump administration later revoked this, stating they could return to the US only after passing additional security checks. This travel ban is a bigoted and fascist policy that is not only acting as a source of widespread terror and anxiety but is actually unconstitutional. Yet English suggests that it’s up to Muslim New Zealanders to make their minds up on the policy, basically saying in not so many words that he wasn’t going to do anything to contend Trump’s executive order.

I don’t know about you, or what we come to expect in a leader nowadays, but I would expect some strong moral leadership in light of a policy that clearly violates human rights and judges people based on both race and religion. Meanwhile, those countries that export the most terrorism in the world (such as Saudi Arabia) get a free pass into Donald Trump’s America.

This article (English: “I don’t believe it’s a racist policy”) was written exclusively for The TV’s Leaking and may not be reproduced in any way, shape or form without permission from the author.

Trump Strikes Again

Zahra Shahtahmasebi

27 January, 2017

(THE TV’s LEAKINGSix days since the worldwide women’s march, a backlash against Trump’s inauguration, made history. Despite the 5 million people that publicly protested and voiced their anger and disagreement worldwide, three days later, Trump signed an anti-abortion executive order with far reaching effects for all women, surrounded by a room full of white men. And now he’s angering millions yet again with his latest executive orders and confusing policies.

On Tuesday, he signed executive orders that cleared the way for two major oil pipelines, Dakota Access and Keystone XL. The Dakota pipeline after significant protests, was eventually blocked by the Obama administration who called for construction on the project to halt late last year. Both pipelines are a subject of controversy, but the Dakota Access became the focus of protests by climate change activists and Native American tribes alike. The construction would take place less than a mile away from the Standing Rock Sioux tribe reservation and will contaminate water and threaten Native American land, not to mention the threat of oil spills. This order looks set to derail all of the victories previously won by protesters who rallied for several months to block the project. Apparently though, the impact on the climate and environment is irrelevant and climate change is a hoax invented by the Chinese. Trump expects that by allowing these pipelines to go ahead, it would help the economy by providing more jobs. However, studies have shown that they will not, in fact, have a massive impact on employment rates; while they will provide 42,000 jobs for two years, these are only temporary, with a mere 35 jobs being permanent positions. Protests still look set to continue fighting this decision, activists claiming that “you can’t drink oil” and that all “lives matter”, with respect to the Native American lives that will be affected by the pipeline.

On Wednesday, Trump began fulfilling some of his most controversial campaign policies. In order to reshape immigration enforcement he has ordered for an “impassable physical barrier” to be constructed at the border between the United States and Mexico. Not only is this wall estimated to cost billions of US taxpayer money – as signing away these executive orders does not actually cover the cost of the wall, strangely enough – Trump is confident that Mexico will reimburse the U.S. 100% for the construction costs. That’s interestingly considerate of Mexico, paying for a wall that they never commissioned, and that restricts their entry into the U.S.

And now he’s expected to issue an order that will temporarily ban people from seven different nations in the Middle East and North Africa from entering the US. In fact you can read the draft here. The order looks set to ban people from Iran, Iraq, Syria, Somalia, Sudan, Libya and Yemen from entering the country, including blocking all refugees from war-torn Syria indefinitely. This is reflecting the increasing “anti-refugee” attitude that is evident across the globe, and undermining the Obama administration’s plan to increase refugee admissions into the country by 30% in 2017.

One of Trump’s campaign promises was to ban all Muslims from the US. While this isn’t outrightly stated in the executive order, it is evident the focus is still Islamic based. Despite blocking all Syrian refugees, the order states that it will give priority to refugees of a minor religion that are facing religious persecution. Thus, Christians in most Middle East countries will be favoured over Muslims, despite the fact that Shi’a Muslims are persecuted in several Middle Eastern nations by the Sunni Muslims who consider them ‘apostates’. Thus it seems that Muslims are under fire, simply for the fact that they are Muslim.

There is no way that this can be construed as a mere country ban, when religions are being separated and prioritised over each other within the same country. It also doesn’t seem likely that this immigration ban is going to make the U.S. any safer from terrorism. And if this was Trump’s aim it seems he has picked the wrong countries – as none of the ones on the list have been responsible for any terrorist attacks on the U.S. in the last 15 years – in fact most of the terrorists have been American-born Middle Easterns, suggesting that the biggest threat to the US is themselves. The only commonality between the countries is that they are the countries that the US is actively bombing.

Trump’s chaotic lurching from policy to policy is confusing and frankly terrifying. It seems to me like a game: how many things can he ruin in one go?

Well, I can scarcely wait to see.

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The End of the World as We Know It

Zahra Shahtahmasebi

26 January, 2017

(THE TV’s LEAKING) 2016 was frequently bemoaned as an all round terrible year, kick starting with the loss of a number of great and beloved stars. David Bowie and Alan Rickman were lost within the first few weeks of 2016, seeking to provide a sense of foreboding that promised only more and more devastating things. We lost Prince, Mohammed Ali, Carrier Fisher, 49 people at a gay nightclub in Orlando in a hate crime attack, Harambe the gorilla from a Cincinnati zoo and Britain from the European Union. So understandably, people turned to 2017 to be their saviour; the year of redemption, to make up for all the horrors that we longed to leave behind in the murky depths of 2016.

 

So far, the prospects of that aren’t looking too great and in fact, in my opinion, 2017 is shaping up to be on par with 2016, as highlighted by the inauguration of the 45th president of the United States, Donald Trump on the 20th of this month. This is something that still terrifies me – the fact that this arrogant, misogynistic, racist and I-could-keep-going-ist billionaire is running one of the world’s superpowers. I still find it a little bit bewildering that there are people out there saying that because he’s the president now we should give him the benefit of the doubt. This is still the same man that campaigned in the US election, the same man that plans to make America great again by building a wall along the US-Mexico border and to ban Muslims from entering the United States until we figure out ‘what is happening’.

 

The day after he was sworn in, his press secretary’s briefing accused the media of deliberate false reporting, insisting that photos of the inauguration were framed in a way to purposely minimise the size of the crowd that had turned out to support the new president. Apparently this also applied to any attempt to try and count the amount that attended the historic women’s march on Washington, reported as being three times the size of Trump’s crowd.

 

He has been in office a mere 3 days and he is already being sued for violating the constitution. On his second day in office he signed an anti-abortion executive order whilst surrounded by a room full of white men. The order is also known as the ‘global gag rule’, that has not been in place since Reagan’s government in 1984. Not only did he sign an order that will have far-reaching global consequences for women, he did it without a woman in sight. Interesting, to say the least, as you’d think that signing a policy which prohibits US funding to any international non-governmental organisations responsible for giving sexual health advice and family planning would require some input from women, as they are usually the ones who are pregnant.

 

The effects that this order will have is massive on women all over the world. It won’t stop abortion happening, but it will make it less safe. Thousands more women will die, and it will prevent those international organisations from promoting or even discussing abortion as a family planning option. Because if they do, they’ll lose the large amount of US funding they receive for all of their other health care services.

 

Not to mention his bipolar disorder approach to his policies. One minute he is planning to shake up the American intelligence agency, with a major reform in store. The next he’s visiting them, telling them he supports them 1000%, reportedly saying he loves them. Then there’s the rising tensions with China, over the ‘One-China policy’ and Taiwan, and the accusations over Twitter that China is not doing enough to contain its ally, North Korea, over their threat of an extremely powerful nuclear ballistic capabilities. Then there was the continuation of the suspected drone strike programme that killed three alleged Al-Qaeda operatives in Yemen, a program that doesn’t seem to be coming to an end with the entry of the new president, despite

the controversies and the fact that it could lead to war crime investigations.

 

I could go on. The truth is, if you think think that not being an American means that this will not affect you, you are seriously misguided. On his second day in power Trump signed a single executive that has the power to affect women on all 7 continents. As Meryl Streep said in her Golden Globes speech, “when the powerful use their position to bully others, we all lose.”

Who only knows what else he can do.

 

This article (The End of the World as We Know It) was written exclusively for The TV’s Leaking and may not be reproduced in any way, shape or form without permission from the author.

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Dear NZ Herald: Please Stop Giving Brian Tamaki Free Airtime

 

Zahra Shahtahmasebi

8 December, 2016

(THE TV’s LEAKING) Brian Tamaki – everyone’s favourite bishop and leader of the Destiny Church – has made quite a name for himself in the headlines lately, ever since his infamous sermon on November 13th that apparently heralded the Kaikoura earthquake. In this Sunday session he finally revealed to us the unrivalled wisdom that homosexual activity, along with murderers, child abusers and other such sinners are the trigger that causes earthquakes and other natural disasters. Supposedly, the weight of all this sin is what causes the tectonic plates in the earth’s crust to move.

In lieu of this bout of genius, his latest insights turn away from earthquakes, and he has instead lashed out at the much beloved book series Harry Potter. The warning describes that the boy-wizard turned hero which is renowned for getting thousands of children and adults alike into reading, is actually a tool that lures people (particularly young adults) towards the occult and the demonic people.

If I remember correctly, there was a noticeable uprising of demonic activity since the Philosopher’s Stone was published in 1997. In the same statement, Tamaki continues to make further inspired comments about sexually transmitted infections (STIs), claiming that they would no longer be a problem in our society if people merely did not have sex until marriage and remained faithful to their spouse. This is despite the fact that STIs are not just transmitted via sexual intercourse but also via blood, mucous and contact with infected skin.

The backlash that has amounted against Tamaki and the Destiny Church since the “degradation of sexual sin being the cause for earthquakes” comments made the national news on the NZ Herald has been massive and profound. Tamaki has received several death threats, as well as threats to burn down the Church. He claims that he himself has homosexual friends yet fails to see how his comments could have offended people, particularly the LGBTQ community, and has emphatically refused to apologise. He is in fact, not spreading ‘Brian Tamaki’s word’ but instead, ‘God’s message’.

Protesters have since gathered at the Destiny Church to voice their anger; at least 54,000 people have called for the Church to be stripped of their tax-free status and several Kiwis have donated money to Rainbow Youth in Tamaki’s name. It seems that we’re all in agreement that these ideas of Tamaki’s are beyond absurd. So this begs the question, why is this controversial preacher and his ludicrous notions still getting air time? Why does the NZ Herald see fit to publish and give this man relevance that he in no way deserves?

A simple search of Tamaki’s name on the NZ Herald Facebook page yields at least sixteen separate articles relating to Tamaki that have been published in the last 2 weeks alone. Essentially, the NZ Herald is giving Tamaki a free platform to broadcast his “wisdom”.

Despite the fact that his comments and opinions have angered and enraged the New Zealand community, he is revelling in the publicity that it is bringing him and his church. An hour long radio interview with RadioLive allowed him to defend his views and promote his church. He welcomed many to attend, stating that one week’s attendance at the church is enough for to succumb and follow his ‘messages from God’. While a generous offer, interestingly enough I might be busy that day, doing anything else.

Would it not be a better idea to just ignore the bishop and his fantastical delusions, to not give him any credence, to let his ideas and his church to fade into nothingness – where they can no longer hurt and damage people with their spite? This is not to mention that what he is preaching can hardly be differentiated between the various religious advocates across the globe, also raising the question of why the media decides to single him out as if to be a somewhat lone wolf of religious extremism. How many churches do you know that strongly praise gay relationships?

Yes, what he is preaching is shocking and ridiculous, but we are allowing him to gather strength, power and the satisfaction of having a public medium publish his views for free.

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Why Did John Key Resign?

8 December, 2016

(THE TV’s LEAKING) Prime Minister John Key’s decision to resign on 5 November 2016 has shocked both sides of the political spectrum. The New Zealand dollar dropped instantly, the national party began regrouping itself for its next leader, and Labour leader Andrew Little could not stop smiling.

According to Key himself, the decision to resign was based mostly on concerns for his family and being away from home too often, as well as the fact that he will be able to leave his post on a “high” as the National party is still doing well in the polls.

A so-called “body language expert” told the NZ Herald that Key appeared to be honest when speaking about wanting to spend time with his family. However, the “expert” stated that Key seemed less genuine when he talked about the National Party being in great shape and able to win the 2017 election.

If Key ends up taking job opportunities overseas away from his family following his resignation, one would naturally question his honesty regarding his decision to resign in order to spend more time with his family. This will remain to be seen but as it stands, he has already been tipped to head the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

So what are the real reasons for Key’s departure?

Kim Dotcom was bold enough to claim that the real reason for John Key’s departure is that “he can’t win the next election with tons of hacked Govt emails waiting to be leaked”. An extensive internet search has found no current evidence for this claim, but we will keep our eyes open. Given the fact that Key was able to comfortably win the election in 2014 after the email scandal that resulted from Nicky Hager’s book “Dirty Politics”, any potential leak would have to be extremely damaging indeed for him to feel the need to resign.

Conversely, the Economist magazine heralded John Key’s legacy, stating that under John Key’s stewardship, New Zealand “can claim to be one of the most successful countries in the world.” The Economist even stated that under Key, national debt had been brought down, which let’s face it, is a complete lie.

The real legacy of John Key is actually a much more sinister story than that painted by the Economist and other local pundits.

In 2014, I wrote an article entitled “The Blunt Truth About the Recent Election in New Zealand” which deals with the same sorts of claims that are still being made today. For example, proponents of John Key’s successful legacy continue to highlight how Key was able to prop up the economy despite the global recession and the damaging earthquakes in Christchurch. Omitted from this assessment is the fact that the post-quake rebuild is one of the factors propping up the New Zealand economy in the first place, along with the reported China bubble boom.

What part of New Zealand’s economic growth can be solely attributed to the policies of John Key? Framing this question differently, how would another leader have treated the economy substantially differently to Key?

It is this fact that has prompted former National party leader, Don Brash, to state that John Key has achieved “almost nothing of significance.”

“I asked my National Party friends, what has he done in eight years that Helen Clark would not have done, and they struggled,” Brash stated.

In 2014, economist and Forbes columnist Jesse Colombo wrote an article entitled “12 Reasons Why New Zealand’s Economic Bubble Will End in Disaster.” Colombo has been warning the world about financial bubbles for years, and he accurately predicted the 2008 financial crisis. In the brief report, he acknowledges that New Zealand is showing the exact same symptoms that the world was showing during the 2008 financial crisis, namely:

  1. Interest rates are at an all time low;
  2. Property prices have doubled since 2004; 
  3. New Zealand has the world’s third most overvalued property market;
  4. New Zealand’s mortgage bubble grew by 165% since 2002;
  5. Nearly half of mortgages have floating interest rates;
  6. Mortgages account for 60% of bank’s loan portfolios;
  7. Finance, not agriculture, is New Zealand’s largest industry;
  8. New Zealand banks are exposed to Australia’s bubble;
  9. Australian and Chinese buyers are inflating the property bubble;
  10. New Zealand has a household debt problem (fourth worst household debt-to-GDP ratio among advanced economies, surpassing even the United States);
  11. Government overseas debt has nearly tripled since 2008; and lastly,
  12. the New Zealand dollar is overvalued.

Sooner or later, the bubble will pop. If John Key understands one thing, surely it’s the financial markets. Economic experts have been warning about the dangers of Auckland’s housing crisis all year.

This is a man who knows when to cash it in when the time is right. This is a man who turned down a CEO position at Merrill Lynch, and was nicknamed the “smiling assassin” whilst employed as Merrill Lynch’s global head of foreign exchange because he was able to fire dozens of employees whilst maintaining his cheerful exterior.

The assassin may indeed have something to smile about.

Meanwhile, in October of this year the United Nations warned that child poverty in New Zealand is a source of “deep concern”. Important institutions like Rape Crisis centres continue to go unfunded. Surveillance laws continue to expand the powers of the GCSB, an entity which has been complicit in the highly controversial United States drone assassination program, which led to the termination of a New Zealand citizen without trial. (Bear in mind Donald Trump is to inherit this program in a few weeks.)

Some would argue that the election of President elect Donald Trump may have something to do with Key’s decision, given Key’s support for the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement which Trump looks likely to have killed (for now).

Not to mention that little media attention has been given to the fact that John Key pledged $7.7 million NZD of taxpayer money to Hillary Clinton’s failed election campaign and promised to donate a further $6 million. In order to understand the implications of this, click here.

Are there more scandals to come?

We won’t hold our breath.

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When Fake News Gets People Killed, It Must Be Stopped

(This article first appeared on the ANTIMEDIA)

(Darius Shahtahmasebi Op-ed)

Most of the time, the president says things we more or less agree with. When he says things along the lines of attacks on civilians must be stopped, of course, we all approve. How can we not?

The only problem is that usually, he is only applying those standards to uncooperative governments and never to himself or his allies.

The war on alternative media is a prime example of this. Obama’s spiel at a recent press conference in Germany is hard to argue with on its face, as he stated that fake news undermines the American political process:

“If we are not serious about facts and what’s true and what’s not, if we can’t discriminate between serious arguments and propaganda, then we have problems.”

I agree. I think everyone agrees. Fake news must be stopped.

During the late nineties, the NATO war machine decided to spread its democratic principles to Yugoslavia. The country’s president at the time, Slobodan Milosevic, was widely branded as a war criminal by the mainstream media. There was some consensus that intervention was necessary to bring an end to his actions.

Years later, that perspective persisted. A 2011 Telegraph article explains that under Milosevic’s rule, “ethnic cleansing became a reality as whole populations were forced from their homes and hundreds of thousands were killed.

However, the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) in the Hague exonerated him earlier this year. Despite all the media’s claims, the ICTY determined he was not responsible for war crimes committed during the 1992-95 Bosnian war.

I’m sure Milosevic did some truly heinous things while in office, but that’s beside the point. The point is that we were lied to, and NATO was able to launch a war based on those promulgated lies.

In 2011, we were told that the Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi was about to commit a mass genocide against his own people. The mainstream media advanced these claims without question. However, on the off chance we were not getting the full picture, Amnesty International decided to do an investigation of its own. As noted by the Independent:

“NATO leaders, opposition groups and the media have produced a stream of stories since the start of the insurrection on 15 February, claiming the Gaddafi regime has ordered mass rapes, used foreign mercenaries and employed helicopters against civilian protesters.

“An investigation by Amnesty International has failed to find evidence for these human rights violations and in many cases has discredited or cast doubt on them. It also found indications that on several occasions the rebels in Benghazi appeared to have knowingly made false claims or manufactured evidence.” (emphasis added)

The mainstream media also failed to tell us a number of things about Libyan society. Although the country was ruled by Gaddafi, decision-making was conducted at the local level through a very participative democratic system. As explained by Counter Punch:

“Far from control being in the hands of one man, Libya was highly decentralized and divided into several small communities that were essentially “mini-autonomous States” within a State. These autonomous States had control over their districts and could make a range of decisions including how to allocate oil revenue and budgetary funds. Within these mini autonomous States, the three main bodies of Libya’s democracy were Local Committees, Basic People’s Congresses and Executive Revolutionary Councils.”

Under Gaddafi, Libya transformed itself into the most developed country in Africa with the highest standard of living on the continent. Libyans enjoyed state-sponsored health care and a number of other public services. The country was also debt-free.

Once again, the result of the media’s deceitful dissemination of half-truths was a NATO-led war.

Gaddafi was clearly no saint. There are numerous allegations about Gaddafi’s use of torture against political dissidents. But the idea that these allegations exonerate the media for peddling lies that ultimately led to the destruction of Libya’s future as a healthy state is so ludicrously untenable that it begs the question: Why do social media giants like Facebook not consider this disinformation to be worthy of the title “fake news?”

Syria is no different. In fact, the current Syrian conflict exists only because of a concoction of media lies so extensive that this topic alone would require an entire book dedicated to it.

Since the start of the conflict in 2011, Syrian president Bashar al-Assad has maintained the majority support of his people. The most recent poll I am aware of (a French poll, believe it or not) gives him an approval rating of over 70 per cent — much higher than Barack Obama’s personal rating. Yet we have been told time and time again by the mainstream media that Assad has no legitimacy and the people of Syria want to overthrow him.

Wrong. The governments of TurkeySaudi ArabiaQatarJordanIsraelFrance, the United Kingdom, and the United States want to overthrow the current Syrian president over a pipeline that could potentially strengthen Russia and Iran’s position in the Middle East.

The idea that any of those players care about human rights in Syria when every single one of them is responsible for all kinds of human rights abuses, both domestically and abroad, should be questioned by every mainstream media outlet in the world. But it’s not.

Has Assad committed some horrible crimes, including widespread torture and indiscriminate attacks on civilians? Most probably. But so have many of Washington’s allies, and many of the so-called opposition groups in Syria are dominated by violent extremists, including the Free Syrian Army.

The war in Syria was instigated by external powers, but the media continues to push the agenda of the military industrial complex.

Further, Iraq has been the victim of years and years of mainstream media lies, which have led to what can only be aptly described as the biggest crime(s) of our generation.

Obama is right. Facebook is right. Google and Twitter are right.

Fake news is all around us, and it must be stopped.

But there is no war on fake news. There is only a war on alternative and independent media — media who question the official lines advanced by the corporate media.

There is a reason the Guardian newspaper is begging for donations and other corporate outlets are promoting half-baked theories about Russian propaganda. The media has lost all credibility when it comes to important topics – and we have become the scapegoat.

What we are witnessing is utter desperation from the corporate elites in their attempts to control what we read and what we choose to believe.

In the words of Secretary of State John Kerry:

“It [the internet] makes it much harder to govern, it makes it much harder to organize people, much harder to find the common interest and that is complicated by a rise of sectarianism and religious extremism that is prepared to employ violent means to impose on other people a way of thinking and a way of living that is completely contrary to everything the United States of America has ever stood for. So we need to keep in mind what our goals are and how complicated this world is that we’re operating in.” (emphasis added)

Or maybe, we could simply be taught to think and analyze critically at the school level rather than being told what to believe by corporate giants like Facebook and Google.


This article (When Fake News Gets People Killed, It Must Be Stopped) first appeared on the theAntiMedia.org and was written by Darius Shahtahmasebi. This article is free and open source. You have permission to republish this article under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Darius Shahtahmasebi and theAntiMedia.org.

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