The million-strong crowds were impressive, as were the variety of people who made it out to the event. Unfortunately, our televisions, newspapers and websites were more interested in plastering the eerily contrived image of our 50 ‘world leaders’, with arms locked “in an act solidarity”, in support of “the fallen” at French political cartoon magazine Charlie Hebdo.
What was designed as a globally syndicated #kumbaya moment, instead gave off the distinct odeur of shameless political opportunism, in what can only be described as the world’s biggest-ever photo-junket for what can only be described as some of the world’s most unpopular leaders decked-out in $5,000 suits, camel hair overcoats and hipster glasses.
The only real consolation was that Tony Blair didn’t invite himself to this one…
There they marched. The leaders of the free, and not so free worlds. Normally, all these artful dodgers coming together might be impressive, if not for the fact that most of the dynastic executives in attendance are each running their own unique pogroms back at home.
Indeed, much has been made recently of ‘the values we hold dear’ as fully paid-up members of the International Community, but the hypocrisy is overwhelming once you survey Sunday’s motlëy crew of the oil monarchs, theocrats, neofascists, dictators, along with various and sundry CIA-backed henchman (listed below). One glance at Daniel Wickham’s Twitter feed over the last 24 hours is like a who’s who of the international enemies of free speech, and equally as guilty are their western accomplices: members of NATO’s nuclear cartel and shakedown gang led by the US, Germany, France, Netherlands and Britain – all who share guilt on this issue.
The fact that neither the US President or Secretary of State was present for Sunday’s parade is strangely fitting, considering how the US is certainly one of the worst offenders, especially in high-profile cases. Aside from the obvious case of NSA whistleblower Ed Snowden (journalist Glenn Greenwald’s comments here are certainly worth reading) who has been forced into exile under threat imprisonment (or worse), and Bradley-Chelsea Manning (currently wasting away in a US federal prison for acting in the wider public interest), the federal government is unashamedly hell-bent on stamping out any reports that expose its run-away corruption. There are a number of other good examples which show just how hypocritical the whole Parisian political orgy really is. President Obama’s war on whistleblowing has seen him use the Espionage Act 1917 more any other leader in US history.
CIA whistleblower John Kiriakou described the situation as a complete meltdown of long-held freedoms in the US. He explains, “Shame on this president for persecuting whistleblowers with a legal relic, while administration officials leak with impunity”.
“It was my punishment for blowing the whistle on the CIA’s torture program and for confirming to the press, despite government protestations to the contrary, that the US government was, indeed, in the business of torture.”
Even bigger is the case of General James Cartwright, who blew the whistle on the Pentagon’s illegal deployment of the STUXNET virus – an incredibly risky, covert operation designed to destabilize civilian nuclear power facilities in Iran, and, targeting facilities in Russia, too. Theoretically, this reckless hack placed millions of innocent lives at risk, but that aspect of this scandal was simply avoided by an overwhelmingly pro-Washington media. It so happens to have been a joint-venture of sorts between the United States and Israel. Cartwright’s crime: he leaked additional details of the story to New York Times after it was already out in public domain, and was then indicted for espionage. Ironically, this government racketeering operation was organized by the Department of Justice and Obama’s legal pit-bull, Attorney General Eric Holder, who was actually in Paris this weekend, but thankfully didn’t show up for the ‘Unity March’.
Not satisfied with intimidating and ruining the career of one the countries most decorated servicemen, secrecy-obsessed Washington (we’re also told that, ‘if you’ve done nothing wrong, then you have nothing to worry about’, right?) went after the other journalists, placing a ‘chilling effect’ on America’s free press. In addition to this, Holder, who seized on events in Paris as an opportunity to win cheap political points, saw fit to raid offices of the Associated Press (AP) news agency, in search of the names and contact details of sources that AP was using in its investigation of an Islamic suicide terror squad out of Yemen which, it turns out, was being led by a CIA ‘double agent’ – and managed covertly by CIA boss John Brennan. In the end, as a result of Holder’s brazen assault on the press, longtime sources have since ‘stopped talking to the AP’, said head Gary Pruitt at the National Press Club.
It doesn’t end there. There’s also James Risen, the journalist who wrote the book, “State of War.” Only last week, the New York Times reporter has been subpoenaed to testify in the trial of a former CIA officer who is accused of leaking classified information. Again, it’s a case of the government attempting to crack down on reporters’ right to keep confidential sources, but it’s really a case of the government abusing its power to conceal its own crimes.
It seemed like only yesterday when France denied access to the Bolivian Presidential Jet over French airspace, all because of the child-like rumor that Snowden was smuggled on board. So if Evo Morales did dot comply with French orders, what would they have done – shoot down a head of state? When Washington called, Francois Hollande danced to Yankee Doodle Dandy. N’est-ce pas?
In Britain, David Cameron has his own basement of horrors which Westminster is working full-time to sweep under the rug. In addition to the shadowy deeds of its GCHQ spy agency which works in concert with the NSA digital dragnet in America, successive British governments, police and members of the judiciary appear to have all colluded to suppress a vile institutional VIP paedophile epidemic.
By all indications, countries like the US and Britain are tightening their vice, not loosening it. Western security states are currently engaged in a war on whistleblowing, and its ultimate goal is the prevent the press from being able to expose high level crimes carried out by those in positions of power. So it’s incumbant on morally-inclined citizens to also stand up in the face of state tyranny, and to support the efforts of whistleblowers, and what is left of the free press.
Freedom of the press in the west? Oh, la vache! The Fourth Estate has already been transformed into a Fifth Column. The last time we saw millions people on the streets in London, Paris, New York and dozens of other cities, was on the eve of the Iraq War in 2003, and media moguls like the BCC were nowhere to be found – and even went to erroneous lengths to obscure the true number of protesters. Why? Because what was happening on the streets did not fit the crass narrative of their drive to war – a war which media majors like CNN and the BBC actively promoted. But for some reason, yesterday in Paris, they spared no expense, throwing their entire staff out to cover the event (in exhausting detail). It’s a tale of two marches, and it speaks volumes as to who our corporate media really work for.
Hollywood also got into the act. Apparently, his flippant comments and wild conspiracy theories (‘Sh*t, North Korea did it!’) on the Sony Hack Hoax weren’t enough. Hollywood’s promising political hopeful (yes, you read that right), George Clooney, didn’t miss the opportunity to use the zeitgeist de jour, ‘Je Suis Charlie’, to reinsert himself into international affairs last night at the Golden Globe Award. While receiving the Cecile B. DeLux award for lifetime achievement, Clooney gave a short sermon at the alter of power politics and sycophanty, stating, “They were leaders of countries all over the world and they didn’t march in protest,” he said. “They marched in support of the idea that we will not walk in fear. We won’t do it. So, ‘Je Suis Charlie.’ Thank you.” With the amount of despotic regimes represented at the Paris photo-op, and the fact that his wife Amal is considered by some as a leading human rights barrister, makes Clooney’s comments all the more shallow and uninformed (sadly, perfect for politics).
The problem here is that you’ll never hear Clooney, or any other Hollywood political contender, dare to challenge the state power apparatus. Why is that? Answer: sucking up to money and power. George Clooney has a lifetime membership to Bilderberg’s working group in New York City, the CFR (Council on Foreign Relations), where he proudly rubs elbows and takes selfies with various CEO’s, banksters, as well as torture advocates and war-hawks like Dick Cheney, Zbigiew Brzezinski, Hillary Clinton and many others.
So suffice to say, when it comes to ‘freedom of the press’ in the US, quislings in Washington, London and elsewhere in Europe, do not have a leg to stand on. In some countries, the only difference between assorted governments stasi units, and the paramilitary GLADIO-style gunman who stormed into Charlie Hebdon, would be that one group wears badges, while the others don’t. Had the latter had the proper credentials, then would’ve simply invited themselves in, and closed down the office. If you think that statement is an exaggeration, you might consider some of the gross indiscretions on liberty of a few of these ‘world leaders’ festooning down the Champs–Élysées on Sunday. Hey, we’ve all got room for improvement, but some have more than others.
Here are a few interesting examples of what one might consider to be ‘hypocritical’ politicians strong-arming the press worldwide and who have hijacked this event, compiled by writer Simone Wilson from the Jewish Journal…
PHOTO-OP: Cynically staged photo-op, designed to look as if our brave leaders have millions behind them.
The attack against French satirical cartoon Charlie Hebdo in Paris last Wednesday, in which 12 were murdered by Islamic extremists, was one of the ugliest and symbolic assaults on free press in modern history.
However, it’s far from the worst terrorist attack. In fact, as many in 2,000 people — including women and children — were massacred in Nigeria by the terrorist group Boko Haram on the very same day. And in terms of free press, authoritarian and oppressive regimes around the world have done far more to censor the world’s journalists, overall, than religious extremists.
But that’s not stopping some of the very perpetrators of this state censorship from joining the millions-strong unity march in support of Charlie Hebdo in Paris today.
More than 50 world leaders showed up for the march, linking elbows for a flagrantly exploitative PR charade that scoffs at the paper’s true allies. Here is a compilation of 12 of the worst.
Jordanian King Abdullah II and Queen Rania
Insecure about waves of the Arab Spring and ISIS fandom reaching Jordan, its king has tightened his grip on journalists. There’s now a law in Jordan allowing the government to shut down any website it wants — and it’s been put to use on hundreds of sites, including many news outlets.
This summer, Jordanian security raided the Al-Abasiya TV station in Amman and arrested more than a dozen staffers. The year before, journalists covering Jordanian elections reportedly “faced many difficulties to report because of interference by security forces” and a Palestinian-Jordanian reporter for the Jerusalem Post was sentenced to 15 years of jail with hard labor. (Luckily, he sought asylum first.)
Jordan is now ranked 153rd out of 180 countries on the World Press Freedom Index, below Libya and Chad.
(Quick anecdote: When I traveled to Jordan to cover the Syrian refugee crisis for the Jewish Journal, the country’s press officials said I couldn’t enter the Zaatari refugee camp because my newspaper was Jewish. After I essentially threw a tantrum in the lobby, they finally let me into Zaatari. However, Jordanian police followed me everywhere, called me “Mossad,” curbed my questioning and interrupted whenever a Syrian said something that might make them look bad.)
As for Queen Rania, well, she’s never been one to miss a photo op…
Kidslding aside, why is abbASS hiding behind queen rania of jordan? pic.twitter.com/SRm1SckRQL
— Gaza Writes Back (@ThisIsGaZa) January 11, 2015
1) King Abdullah of Jordan, which last year sentenced a Palestinian journalist to 15 years in prison with hard labour http://t.co/giZg7JounI
— Daniel Wickham (@DanielWickham93) January 11, 2015
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko Five journalists and two media workers died in Ukraine this year. That wasn’t entirely President Poroshenko’s fault; warring Ukrainian factions and an invading foreign army made for violent chaos in which journalist attacks and kidnappings could thrive. (Aka, blame Putin.) But the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) reports that since Ukraine’s former president was ousted in May, Poroshenko has done little to improve the situation. Although the new administration was “elected after pledging allegiance to democratic ideals,” says the CPJ, they’ve offered no new protection for journalists and have imposed new “military escort” rules for battle zones. They’ve also detained and expelled some journalists themselves, when coverage wasn’t going their way. “We urge the authorities to support journalists,” says CPJ. “They could start with bringing to justice those who ordered and executed assaults against the press corps in Ukraine a year ago.” Instead, they’re supporting Charlie Hebdo.
Good timing: Today we all uphold the values of freedom of speech, said Poroshenko in Paris. Same moment fascists bombed newspaper at home — Tore (@potifar66) January 11, 2015
— Varyagi (@varyagi) January 11, 2015
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Press freedoms inside Israel proper are generally alive and well, save a phone tap or two. But poke one toe outside the green line with Palestine (or, um, live there), and your rights instantly evaporate. Journalists covering protests in the West Bank are constantly injured or detained, and seven Palestinian reporters were killed in the recent war on Gaza while wearing press vests. From this year’s World Press Freedom Index blurb on Israel: “Security needs continue to be used as an excuse to limit freedom of information. The Israeli media are able to be outspoken but media located in ‘Israeli territory’ must comply with prior military censorship and gag orders.”
Is this stare down between Netanyahu and Abbas at the Paris march earlier real or is this pic photoshopped? pic.twitter.com/2tH9w6rp92
— Dalia Hatuqa (@DaliaHatuqa) January 11, 2015
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas Abbas once threw a Palestinian journalist in prison for comparing his face to that of a French detective on a Syrian TV show (No joke). But more than a hypocrite, Abbas is a man with his own increasingly dire humanitarian crisis to worry about. Babies in Gaza are literally freezing to death right now. And seeing as Israel and Hamas aren’t doing anything about it, the de facto leader of the Palestinian people needs to step in. Abbas’ cameo at the Charlie Hebdo march sends a message to the world that Palestinian leadership opposes these Islamist terror tactics and wants to be seen as more moderate. But in the eyes of his people, Abbas is just hopping on one more plane. Thus reenforcing the now very public opinion that Abbas loves the UN podium more than historic Palestine.
This has been burning me: Is it possible Abbas joins March in Paris, yet refuses to go to Gaza after massacre of over 2300 Palestinians? — Palestine Video (@PalestineVideo) January 11, 2015
Tunisian Prime Minister Mehdi Jomaa Tunisian government officials are known for puppeteering state media — appointing the heads of all broadcast media while making sure the independents are rubbed out. “Authoritarian methods continue to short-circuit reform attempts and block state media independence,” reads last year’s World Press Freedom Index. As we speak — and as Tunisian Prime Minister Jomaa marches in Paris — Tunisian blogger Yassine Ayari is behind bars for “defaming the army” in a series of Facebook posts. “Tunisia’s new parliament, elected two months ago, should make it a priority to repeal laws that make defaming state officials and institutions a criminal offense,” says Amnesty International in a statement.
Je suis Yassine Ayari — Sofien BEN SALAH (@bssofien) January 10, 2015
Saudi Arabian Ambassador to France Mohammed Ismail Al-Sheikh
That a Saudi Arabian official would even show his face outside the embassy today is offensive. As we all know, women aren’t allowed to drive in Saudi Arabia, and journalists are constantly tracked and jailed for writing about this law. So you can imagine the kind of punishment a writer gets for insulting Islam.
On the same day Saudi Arabian officials condemned the terrorist attack on Charlie Hebdo, they dragged Saudi blogger Raif Badawi from his jail cell, where he is serving a seven-year sentence, and flogged him in the public square. It was the first of 12 floggings he will receive for criticizing the country’s harsh Muslim laws. In one of his last blog posts, Badawi wrote: “Whether we like it or not, we, being a part of humanity, have the same duties that others have as well as the same rights. … Let us all live under the roof of the human civilization.”
— The New Yorker (@NewYorker) January 11, 2015
Gabonese President Ali Bongo Ondimba
Although he’s not famous for violence against journalists, Gabonese President Ali Bongo Ondimba keeps his country’s media in check by swiftly suspending any outlets who aren’t nice to him. Over the past few years, at least five different newspapers have been suspended for criticism of his regime. One of them, Le Gri-Gri de la Griffe, is — get this — a satirical newspaper accused of “indulging in indecency and vulgarity in most of its publications.” The irony is deafening.
— Jeffrey Smith (@Smith_RFKennedy) January 11, 2015
Bahraini Foreign Minister Shaikh Khalid bin Ahmed Al Khalifa Bahrain is the second largest jailer of journalists, per capita, in the world. (One freelance Bahraini journalist who documented police brutality is now serving a 10-year prison sentence.) There are also widespread reports of torture during jailtime. Among some of Bahrain’s crimes, according to the CPJ: “Journalists covering opposition protests were harassed, detained, and deported, while some were attacked by opposition protesters who considered them biased. The government arrested at least three bloggers and photographers in the lead-up to a major opposition protest on [August 14, 2013]. A court upheld the acquittal of a policewoman accused of torturing a journalist in 2011. Authorities continued to clamp down on online expression by blocking websites, infiltrating social media accounts, prosecuting citizens who insulted officials, and considering restrictions on Internet-based telecommunications services. Bahraini blogger Ali Abdel Imam, convicted on anti-state charges, was forced to flee into exile after hiding for two years from Bahraini authorities.”
In Bahrain, bloggers and poets are jailed/beaten. Nice to see Bahrain’s foreign minister marching Paris. Gonna open up those prisons then? — Murtaza Abidi (@murtz_abidi) January 11, 2015
Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu
This has got to be a sick joke. In 2012 and 2013, Turkey imprisoned more journalists than any other country. And although China took that title in 2014, Turkish officials are quickly catching up with what seems like another TV, radio or newspaper raid and mass arrest every few months.
It’s all very public, too. The Turkish prime minister’s predecessor, now-President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, has waged one of the most egomaniacal, borderline psychotic wars on free speech in the democratic world. He once sued a journalist for insulting him on Twitter. Another time, he shut down Twitter entirely. He also shut down YouTube when scandalous videos of him leaked online.
And perhaps most of absurdly of all, given Prime Minister Davutoglu’s spot in the Charlie Hebdo march today: Turkish cartoonist Mehmet Düzenli served three months in prison this year for crticizing Muslim leader Adnan Oktar. He reportedly called Oktar’s preachings “overzealous.”
— MFS – The Other News (@MFS001) January 11, 2015
See the full article and see the full list of violators at the Jewish Journal
READ MORE PARIS SHOOTING NEWS AT: 21st Century Wire Paris Shooting