Inside the Middle East
February 12, 2010
Posted: 549 GMT

By Joe Sterling, CNN

(CNN) – Despite the rise of the Web and its freewheeling second-by-second ferment, government efforts at control and censorship remain rife across the Middle East and North Africa, a new report said Thursday.

"In the Middle East and North Africa, the Internet has offered many people access to information and the outside world that would have been unimaginable a few years ago," according to the International Press Institute's latest report: the IPI Press Review 2009 Focus on the Middle East and North Africa.

Protests in Iran led to censorship and arrests of journalists, the report says.
Protests in Iran led to censorship and arrests of journalists, the report says.

"However, government control of the media remains tight in almost all [Middle East and North Africa] countries, and censorship and self-censorship are prevalent throughout the region."

The Internet has emerged as a challenge to officialdom and its pronouncements and reaction from activists. Journalists say government efforts to stem the flow of information are futile.

Communication on the popular social media sites, where people are attempting to elude the strictures of their governments, is playing a cat-and-mouse game with widespread independent reporting in places like Iran and Egypt.

But, said Anthony Mills, managing editor of the World Press Freedom Review based in Vienna, Austria, "Overall, things are getting worse."

In Iran, authorities cracked down on journalists after protests surfaced when President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was declared the winner in the June 12 presidential election, a victory that many in Iran say was fixed.

"Dozens of journalists have been detained without trial, and several sentenced to long prison sentences," the report said. "As demonstrators took to the streets, a news blackout was imposed on the foreign media. And yet, through social media networks like Facebook, YouTube and Twitter, news of a violent government crackdown seeped out."

With the rise of the Internet, censorship efforts have emerged in Iran and other places across the region.

Iran "also cracked down on online media following the disputed June elections, and arrested online activists in an effort to stop the spread of dissenting information and opinions," according to the report.

Egypt, for example, uses a law designed to combat terror for arresting and detaining bloggers.

But Abdul Rahman al-Rashed, general manager of the TV network Al-Arabiya, said the resistance to the flood of Internet information from government and other sectors of society is like trying to stop the Nile River from flowing. They can't halt it.

"A lot of information is getting through to the average person, in Cairo, in Jeddah and Dubai. Censorship will not stop the free flow of information, in my opinion," he said.

Al-Rashed said the business needs of the telecommunications companies, the integral role the Internet plays in business, and the demand from citizens can't be thwarted. He said there might be remote regions where censorship can work because there isn't access to the Internet in such places.

Octavia Nasr, CNN senior editor for the Middle East who monitors social media sites, said young people are boldly circumventing the official media censorship across the Middle East with Twitter, Facebook and alternatives.

"People are taking matters into their own hands," Nasr said. "Traditional media is not necessarily a driving force."

Azza Matar, translator at the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information in Cairo, Egypt, said governments want the Arab world to use the Internet for fun and not interfere with government and serious issues, but people are circumventing the officials with new media.

"We're trying to express ourselves and expose the lies," she said.

People from different countries prefer different kinds of new media, she said. As for Iranians, who are gearing up for a day of protests Thursday against the regime on the Islamic Revolution's anniversary, she said Iranians prefer Twitter because it can't be blocked and "is faster than blogs in conveying messages for masses."

Neziha Rejiba, vice president of the Tunis-based Observatory for the Freedom of Press, Publishing and Creation and editor at Kalima Radio, said that theoretically, the whole world is getting its information online, but in the Middle East, censorship remains a reality, with cyberpolice blocking sites or even, as in the case of Syria, the Internet itself.

There is a dynamic in the Middle East between censorship and self-censorship.

"When journalists sit down to write a piece, they have to keep in mind the reaction to what they're writing. They're either scared of sanctions or revenge."

Bahrain's Foreign Minister Khalid Al Khalifa said the Internet "has revolutionized the world" and "has helped foster creativity, innovation and freedom."

There have been complaints there about the recent blocking of Web sites in Bahrain.

While Al Khalifa said regulating different kinds of censorship internationally is impractical, he said in the Middle East, censorship takes forms he has mixed feelings about.

"Censorship can be taken too far to silence dissent and opposing views, but it can also be used as a tool to prevent potentially destructive and damaging ideas and behavior. There is increasing concern about harmful content on the Internet from violence, inciting racial hatred and terrorist activity, to sexual content and pornography, which justifies censorship on moral grounds," Al Khalifa said.

As for other aspects of the Middle East and its media, the report reveals several relative silver linings when it comes to press freedom: the environment in Lebanon, Israel and the United Arab Emirates.

Lebanon has a "far and more diverse and vibrant media than any other Arab country," but the institute found that "most of Lebanon's media outlets are unduly influenced in their journalism content by powerful political figures to whom they are financially and politically beholden."

Mills said the media in Lebanon can be characterized as "partly free" because there's a lot they don't talk about, such as criticism of military intelligence and the head of state, for example.

According to the report, "Israel has one of the most open media environments in the Middle East" for Israeli journalists with a wide range of opinions and commentary.

At the same time, Israeli security policy prevents Israeli journalists from traveling into the Palestinian territories without special permission, and Palestinian journalists are prevented from entering Israel.

The report said both Israeli soldiers and Palestinian security forces interfere with the work of Palestinian journalists, and that journalists in Gaza have to resort to self-censorship.

Freedom of speech and press in the United Arab Emirates gets "some of the highest marks in the Arab world," but it "still has a long way to go."

The report cited a "number of taboo topics that journalists in the United Arab Emirates are not supposed to touch and indeed, most of the media do not," such as criticism of the ruling family. Across the Middle East, criticism of royal families and words perceived as insults to Islam have been criminalized.

In Iraq, violence there has dropped and so has the number of journalists' deaths, but "the U.S. military continues to imprison journalists without charge" and local security forces have been responsible for beating journalists. There is concern about the rise of proposed legislation stifling media freedom.

In Syria, which has "one of the world's worst records on media freedom," the media outlets are owned or controlled by the government. Political unrest elsewhere, the report said, is accompanied by media crackdowns, such as in Yemen, where there has been an insurgency in the north and civil unrest in the south. Elections in Algeria and Tunisia have also led to press freedom violations.

Governments have controlled "moral content" as well, the report said.

"In Saudi Arabia, several people involved in the production of a television show about sexual attitudes were sentenced to flogging and jail terms. In Sudan, journalist Lubna Hussein was sentenced to a flogging for wearing trousers. Following international uproar, the punishment was reduced to a fine, which was then paid by a pro-government journalists' association."

Filed under: Bahrain •Egypt •Iran •Iraq •Israel •Lebanon •Media •Palestinians •Saudi Arabia •Tunisia •UAE

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Bill   February 12th, 2010 8:29 am ET

Internet Censorship Protest Shuts Down Australian Government Websites

Hacker group in demonstration against web filter that blocks sites deemed offensive by authorities

Hackers protesting government censorship of the Internet have shut down several Australian government websites in a demonstration against the announcement that filters would be imposed to block access to websites deemed offensive by the authorities.

The campaign was launched by the anti-Scientology group Anonymous in response to plans to implement a mandatory and wide-ranging internet filter modeled on that of the Communist Chinese government.

This is not the first time the group has attacked government websites, having launched a similar stunt last September.

“The main government website,, and parliament’s were both affected along with the sites for Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and Communications Minister Stephen Conroy,” reports AFP.

“No one messes with our access to perfectly legal (or illegal) content for any reason,” said a statement released by the group.

The Australian government attacked the campaign as “not a legitimate form of political statement.”

Despite the Australian government promising that the Internet filter would only be used to block access to child pornography and other illegal websites, the watchdog group Electronic Frontiers Australia warned that the law will also allow the government to block any website it desires under vague definitions.

In March 2009, the Wikileaks website published a leaked secret list of sites slated to be blocked by Australia’s state-sponsored parental filter.

The list revealed that blacklisted sites included “online poker sites, YouTube links, regular gay and straight porn sites, Wikipedia entries, euthanasia sites, websites of fringe religions such as satanic sites, fetish sites, Christian sites, the website of a tour operator and even a Queensland dentist.”

The filter will even block web-based games deemed unsuitable for anyone over the age of fifteen, according to the Australian government.

Calls to mandate Internet users to obtain licenses, in other words government permission, before they can post to the web have grown in recent weeks, with top Microsoft executive Craig Mundie insisting at the recent Davos Economic Forum that the Internet should be policed.

Within days, Time Magazine enthusiastically jumped on the bandwagon to back Mundie’s proposal, as authorities push for a system even more stifling than in Communist China, where only people who have been approved by the authorities would be allowed to express free speech.

ISPs across the world, including in supposed democratic countries like the UK, the US and New Zealand, have periodically blocked access to Alex Jones’ websites without justification and only restored access after a barrage of complaints.

As we have highlighted before, although the merits of hacking as a form of protest can be debated, what seems certain to happen is that governments will launch a false flag cyber attack which will cause a major catastrophe that can then be blamed on the free Internet, acting as a pretext to tighten the screws on plans for centralized regulation and censorship which are already in place.

Watch the video below in which Alex Jones exposes the incremental deployment of Chinese style Internet censorship across the world.

A. Smith, Oregon   February 14th, 2010 8:45 am ET

For years, America has been pointing the finger at China in regards to crass propaganda, media filtering and flat out censorship. Recently, America is also pointing the finger at Iran for doing much the same.

As the previous blogger noted, Australia is strongly considering much the same. However, it is only the merest of illusions that the same is not happening here in America. Websites are routinely blocked, media is certainly filtered and daily threats by the Federal Govt. often results in a censored program, book, website, or blog entry from ever being published.

One of the worst forms of privacy intrusions here in America come from the unwarranted collection of all personal data on law abiding citizens including facial recognition, DNA, fingerprints, hotel records, power records, travel records, websites visited, library books read, emails sent and received, phone calls to and from, cell calls to and from, etc. etc.

The nice thing about technology is how fragile it is. With the FBI and other American agency's pushing to force webmasters to collect and save ALL IP address's to and where visitors go from their websites for at least 2 full years, all of the mass storage is much more apt to be damaged or utterly destroyed than the paper records stored on all American citizens in huge underground vaults.

Don't think for a minute that USA doesn't use Hackers and Server Crackers under various threats of extortion and blackmail to perform a full range of dirty deeds on various federal agency's requests.

If your company get's hit by one of these USA contracted Hackers, who are you going to complain to? Who are you going to take to court? There is NOTHING you can accomplish thru the American Justice System if that happens to you, you'd need to take your case to the World Court or a European Court System to have any justice applied.

miriam   February 14th, 2010 12:13 pm ET

Fahmi Shabaneh is the recently sacked head of the anti-corruption unit of the Palestinian General Intelligence Service. He was sacked for doing his job.

You won't find his revelations reported in any media, local or foreign, whose correspondents are based in the PA. Their refusals to publish his findings are based on fear of violent reprisals.

This is a typical example of the intimidation that reporters in the ME are subjected to and which results in the masking of crimes within those societies.

Societies with free media and where reporters are able to criticize without such fears, are placed, disproportionately, in the spot-light and find themselves subjected to excessive judgement. Ironically, the majority of that criticism derives from the supporters of the suppressive regimes who prefer to abuse the freedoms of others while denying the freedoms of their own societies.

Yusil   February 14th, 2010 5:57 pm ET


I am not sure why you are singling out the Palestinians ad nauseam. The state of Israel is one of the worst offenders. The killing and brutalization by Israely troops of news reporters is well documented. You certainly have no Free Press in this so called Democracy! Who are you to give lectures on the subject?

Liliana   February 14th, 2010 6:42 pm ET
The twin fascisms that causes most massacres, wars, "conflicts" today:

Arabism is racism (Arab racism)
Millions upon Millions are/became victims of Arabism which is the worst current form of racism in its gigantic proportions, like: Kurds Jews (not just in Israel) Berbers (the real natives of North Africa), Africans (not just in the genocide in the Sudan or in Egypt on native Nubians by Arab invaders – till today), Persians, etc.

Islamism is bigotry (Islamofascism)!
The Islamic supremacy that “works” towards its vision of “final Islamic domination on the entire planet”, from Middle east to Africa from Asia to Eurabia, from terrorism & massacres in multiple countries (like: Thailand, Phillipines, China, Indonesia, Tunisia, Morocco, Kenya, Tanzania, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Lebanon India, USA, France, Israel, Russia, UK, etc.) to propaganda,

Let’s face it! that entire war on Israel & the Jews since the 1920’s by their facsist Mufti Haj Amin Al-Husseini who started the “genocide campaign” [and continues by the children/grand children of Arab immigrants into Israel - Palestine - now convenienently called "palestinians"] in a clear outlined declaration to 'kill all Jews', is nothing but out of pure Arab Muslim bigotry.


[Unlike in the controlling Islamo Arab dictatorship...
Israeli Arabs won't mention FAVORITISM by democratic pluralistic multi-racial Israel in: land, courts & universities.

miriam   February 15th, 2010 6:55 am ET


The Palestinians are fortunate that some stories of corruption can reach the outside world however much their leaders try to hide them. They know that there is an open media on their door-step that is deeply critical of its own society and not shy or intimidated into what it can or cannot report.

It is not the zionists who single out the Palestinians ad nauseum.
It is the anti-Israel movement who have made the Palestinians an issue due to their obsessive hate of Israel.

My comment here was related to the blog and included a story that is currently in the news where honest reporting is involved. Perhaps you can find an alternative story related to the issue from a different Arab territory.

university rector   February 15th, 2010 8:03 pm ET

"The killing and brutalization by Israely troops of news reporters is well documented"

Oh yeah, Yusil

like the lynching of the two Israeli soldiers who made a wrong turn in Ramallah? I still remember the animal showing his hands bloody with the blood of the lynched to the press.

Like the animals who murdered the pregnant Isareli women and her five daughters by headshots and later Hamas issued a statement calling these vultures "heroes"

Yusil, Yusil, who are the brutal murderers? Those who murder 34 in Natanya at the Passover meal? Those who murder 26 teenagers waiting in line to enter a discoteque in tel aviv?

answer Yusil, answer.

This is all well documented, your lies are not

Yusil   February 16th, 2010 3:12 pm ET

university rector

I will confirm that there are animals on both sides. There is no logic to that type of criminal behaviour. But if you you want to be relevant you must denounce all types of war crimes. Unfortunately this not what you do. It is also unfortunate that War turn the moral order upside down and abolishes all discussions of human rights. War banishes the just and the decent to the margins of society. What will Israels legacy be? You tell me!

miriam   February 16th, 2010 5:16 pm ET


There is only reason to denounce war crimes when they have been committed.

Inventing new definitions for war crimes and falsely accusing internationally recognized, legal operations carried out by one nation as such, is a crime in itself.

War is unfortunate, especially when it has to be fought to protect one's citizens from unprovoked attack.( Unless being Jewish is a provocation?).

Israel's contribution to the world will include, amongst many, how to fight battles against conventional and non-conventional enemies in the most moral way as possible. The future will show that all those who falsely and blindly accuse Israel of every crime they can think of were once again on the wrong side of history.

Becket   February 17th, 2010 6:23 pm ET

The Goldstone report has accused Israel of war crimes! There is factual evidence to support this. The hardcore Zionists will deny everything for the sake of denial.

miriam   February 18th, 2010 7:51 am ET


The only factual evidence from the Goldstone report is that:

the mandate, given by the UNHRC whose establishment was not supported by any western nation, was biased and one-sided,

the members of the committee all had previously decided and publicized agendas,

the evidence is unproven and in many cases disproven.

Goldstone himself has stated that the findings of the report would not stand up in a court of law, quote, " if this was a court of law there would have been nothing proven".

University rector   February 18th, 2010 1:30 pm ET


there is no factual evidence for the Goldstone report

grow up and face facts

earle,florida   February 19th, 2010 3:09 pm ET

Re: @ Bill (1) & A. Smith (2) ,.....well done ;^)

A. Smith, Oregon   February 19th, 2010 9:37 pm ET

Parents in the US have accused a school of spying on children by remotely activating webcams on laptops. Which the school gladly handed out to all of its students. They of course didn't tell them their keystrokes, webcam, websites were all recorded, checked and being monitored!!!

A couple from Pennsylvania have filed a lawsuit against a school district which gave laptops to its high school pupils.

They say their son was told off by teachers for "engaging in improper behavior in his home" and that the evidence was an image from his webcam.

Lower Merion School District says it has now deactivated a tracking device installed on the laptops. As if that explains this horrific and clearly illegal warrant-less form of eavesdropping which could have very well included child pornographic webcam photos being sent and received by the adults overseeing this intrusive program.

Becket   February 20th, 2010 6:42 am ET

Bring the Zionist ring leaders to the Hague.

Mario   February 21st, 2010 8:23 am ET

For your information.
Honest Reporting is a media organization that mobilizes 140,000 subscribers worldwide. Its Web site once touted "major editorial changes at CNN which greatly shifted public perception of the Arab-Israel conflict." The impetus, according to The Jerusalem Post, was "up to 6,000 e-mails per day to CNN executives, effectively paralyzing their internal e-mail system."

The Israeli government also applied pressure to CNN, according to verbatim notes of a conference call in 2000 obtained by advocate/researcher Phyllis Bennis. In the call, Israeli government spokesman Nachman Shai outlined Israel's media strategy with 30 to 60 U.S. Jewish leaders, focusing concern on CNN, and especially two Palestinian reporters. "We are putting real pressure on the heads of CNN to have them replaced with more objective pro-Israel reporters that are willing to tell our side of the story."

miriam   February 21st, 2010 11:52 am ET


It's too bad that reporting by many media organizations is not honest.

Is there a reason that you singled out Honest Reporting here without a mention of AMW and its influence over the BBC, CNN and every other UK based media and others?

It's too bad that the AMW doesn't spend more time watching Arab media and enabling their honest reporting.

Filipe   February 21st, 2010 3:12 pm ET


You should feel free to single out any specific examples of censorship you would like.

But why is it a problem when someone else does??

Do you simply prefer to whine and complain?

Bill   February 22nd, 2010 1:48 pm ET

Miriam the only honest truth is you are an occupier of other people land. Or did Moses leave you the deeds to his house.

Go on kick out the Palestinians who have rightfully lived in the region for thousands of years after they converted from Judaism to Islam. Bring in some fresh European Jewish converts from Europe and pretend they are related to the biblical Jews. By the way the relation with biblical Jews is neither here nor there, as this link was broken 2000 years ago.

Too bad Zionists never tell the truth while they grab other peoples land.

miriam   February 22nd, 2010 9:23 pm ET


Most Palestinians migrated to the region after the Jews increased the labour opportunities in the 19th century.
Previous residents, never referd to as Palestinians, may or may not have converted from Judaism, but if they claim to be Arabs, they only arrived with the Muslim INVASION.

You can claim to be an expert in Jewish history but your facts are false.
There has been a continuous presence of Jews in the Holy Land for over 3000 years despite massacres, expulsions and exile.
Similarly there is a constant recorded Jewish history in the diaspora, including Europe, Asia, Africa and the Americas where the Holy Land has always been at the centre of religious practice.

The revisionist history you have been indoctrinated with is an attempt to justify the anti-Jewish sentiments of the arabs/Muslims who want an Islamic caliphate across the region with no place for the Jews.

Becket   February 22nd, 2010 11:35 pm ET

You are such a nasty Goyim for telling the truth! The resident Zionists will find that absolutely hair-raising. Didn’t you realize that they have a special Real Estate deal with God unlike you mere mortals?
Don’t you know that they can kill people outside of International Law because they are the chosen people? They are all knowing.
When occupied people fire homemade rockets in defence of their land, they are called terrorists? In Europe during WWII they were called freedom fighters, partisans, guerrillas and Guerra’s de la Resistance.
The Occupiers are the Victims and the Occupied are the TERRORISTS. Bill has the planet been struck by a meteorite with a virus that has changed perception of right and wrong?
These are the same people who have been so dreadfully treaded 65 years ago and who are now applying similar methods against their neighbours as their previous Masters have against them.
What am I missing in this equation? I believe I got it; we Goyims are not smart enough to understand evil when we see it.

Mario   February 23rd, 2010 3:20 pm ET

You are right that unfortunately the International news media does not report honestly. I am not certain if anti Israeli organizations such as AMW have more power than than anti Arab organizations such as MWI for example. I doubt it, especially in the Western news media. This article appeared in the JC.COM "Israel can’t take US support for granted"March 12, 2009. I believe this article is pointing in the direction that there is a slow changing trend in the US. The silent majority is waking up and when it does, there will be profound changes in US policy. News media usually play along to the directions the current wind is blowing. That also can change very quickly.

Yusil   February 23rd, 2010 3:35 pm ET

The point is that Israel is part of a gang of nations who exercise censorship over many aspects of their citizen’s lives. They also try to project these nefarious methods to other nations to make sure they present information as pro Israel only. You don’t seem to understand what FREE SPEECH is and you don’t want to know! To subjugate other people to your style of Democracy is coming to an end!

Maria   February 24th, 2010 10:53 am ET

What on earth is this Yusil talking ablout "killing of reporters" is this another 'relaible" Pallywood lie?
Not only is beautiful Israel free for all & its self criticism is probably the HIGHEST IN THE WORLD (just read Israeli press...) but Israeli Jews are humane to their enemies that want to annialate them (wiping off)... are very active FOR Arab 'Palestinian" rights and many are given free treatment in Hadassa hospitals even though the Arabs initiate/initiated the violence (like in all M.E. wars)
Show me one organization on the Arab side an equivalant of 'B'tzelem'!
I also like the lie of "land grabbing", was there ever a "Palerstine" state in history? do (grandchildren of immigrant) Arabs still lie that they are "natives" in Israel?

Ricky   February 26th, 2010 8:33 am ET

Maira, sorry to tell you girl, but your full of BS. To educate yourself on the "wipe of the map" story made up by Israel, please read and learn:

Did Ahmadinejad really threaten to "wipe Israel off the map" or is this phrase just another jingoistic brand slogan for selling the next war in the Middle East?

The devil is in the detail, wiping Israel off the map suggests a physical genocidal assault, a literal population relocation or elimination akin to what the Nazis did. According to numerous different translations, Ahmadinejad never used the word "map," instead his statement was in the context of time and applied to the Zionist regime occupying Jerusalem. Ahmadinejad was expressing his future hope that the Zionist regime in Israel would fall, not that Iran was going to physically annex the country and its population.

To claim Ahmadinejad has issued a rallying cry to ethnically cleanse Israel is akin to saying that Churchill wanted to murder all Germans when he stated his desire to crush the Nazis. This is about the demise of a corrupt occupying power, not the deaths of millions of innocent people.

The Guardian's Jonathan Steele cites four different translations, from professors to the BBC to the New York Times and even pro-Israel news outlets, in none of those translations is the word "map" used. The closest translation to what the Iranian President actually said is, "The regime occupying Jerusalem must vanish from the page of time," or a narrow relative thereof. In no version is the word "map" used or a context of mass genocide or hostile military action even hinted at.

The acceptance of the word "map" seemingly originated with the New York Times, who later had to back away from this false translation. The BBC also wrongly used the word and, in comments to Steele, later accepted their mistake but refused to issue a retraction.

"The fact that he compared his desired option – the elimination of "the regime occupying Jerusalem" – with the fall of the Shah's regime in Iran makes it crystal clear that he is talking about regime change, not the end of Israel. As a schoolboy opponent of the Shah in the 1970's he surely did not favor Iran's removal from the page of time. He just wanted the Shah out," writes Steele.

"It's important to note that the "quote" in question was itself a quote, writes Arash Norouzi, "they are the words of the late Ayatollah Khomeini, the father of the Islamic Revolution. Although he quoted Khomeini to affirm his own position on Zionism, the actual words belong to Khomeini and not Ahmadinejad. Thus, Ahmadinejad has essentially been credited (or blamed) for a quote that is not only unoriginal, but represents a viewpoint already in place well before he ever took office."

Professor Juan Cole concurs, arguing, "Now, some might say, "So he didn't say, 'wipe off the map,' he said 'erase from the page.' What's the difference? Anyway he's saying he wants to get rid of Israel. Ahmadinejad was not making a threat, he was quoting a saying of Khomeini and urging that pro-Palestinian activists in Iran not give up hope – that the occupation of Jerusalem was no more a continued inevitability than had been the hegemony of the Shah's government. Whatever this quotation from a decades-old speech of Khomeini may have meant, Ahmadinejad did not say that 'Israel must be wiped off the map' with the implication that phrase has of Nazi-style extermination of a people. He said that the occupation regime over Jerusalem must be erased from the page of time."

Let's consider for a moment that Ahmadinejad really does wish to initiate a nuclear war on Israel, is this feasible? It would be like Paris Hilton picking a fight with Mike Tyson. The CIA's own estimates put Iran five to ten years away from being able to produce one nuclear bomb even if they were in the planning stages now, which is highly unlikely given that international inspectors have found no evidence of such a program and CIA satellite imagery also shows no proof of nuclear arms. Contrast this to an Israeli arsenal of anything up to 200 launch ready nukes allied to the might of the U.S. which has nearly 6,000 active warheads not to mention so-called "mini-nukes."

While it can be reasonably argued that Iran is seeking a nuclear weapon at some point in the future, to then claim that this means Ahmadinejad wishes to enact a second holocaust is an unfathomable leap of logic. The real reason for any nation in that region trying to acquire a nuclear weapon is for self defense, because they are surrounded by other hostile powers that already have the bomb.

Returning to the "wipe Israel off the map hoax," loathe are we to forget another of the commercial jingles concocted for hoodwinking Americans into attacking a certain other Middle Eastern country – "he used weapons of mass destruction against his own people," referring of course to Saddam Hussein's alleged role in the Halabja massacre where Iraqi Kurds were gassed. In reality, as former CIA analyst Stephen Pelletiere has revealed, Halabja came as a result of a battlefield exchange between the Iranians and the Iraqis after the Kurds had sided with the Iranians and allowed them to enter the city. According to the DIA's own report at the time, the type of gas that killed the Kurds was not used by the Iraqis but was used by the Iranians. The incident was a tragedy of war, not a directed program of genocide at the behest of Saddam Hussein.

Whenever Bush administration officials and others used Halabja as a pretext for war, the mass media routinely failed to mention the DIA report, just as they have failed to provide any balance on the real meaning of Ahmadinejad's statement, despite the fact that it is completely distorted almost every day and used as a call to arms as well as a propagandistic ploy to convince western populations that dark skinned invaders are hell-bent on their wholesale destruction.

miriam   February 26th, 2010 10:31 am ET


What is the problem with Israel being realistic?
Unlike authorities who only know how to live by financial and political support, Israel does not want to have to be dependent on other states and has been working on reducing her dependency for many years.

I wouldn't get too excited and believe the words of Iran's leader.

I pity you if his is the world you prefer to live in, a world of submission and subordination.

miriam   February 28th, 2010 6:15 am ET


The mere ability to cut and paste from reknowned conspiracy theorists and regurgitate their warped ideology is indicative of the mindless indoctrination that a foolish few gullible trouble makers subject themselves to.

The "wipe Israel off the map" phrase was no Zionist invention but the official state-run IRIB translation of Ahmadinejad's speech. There may not be such an expression in Persian, however that was the official translation.

The focus on the precise translation is irrelevent to the fact that language coming from the mouths of Iranian leaders is undisputablely immoral and unacceptable. The attacks on Jews and Israel may grab the headlines as everything concerning Israel does, however it is irresponsible to ignore the comments that follow which explain that destruction of Israel is the first stage in their confrontation with the west in order to create a Shiite controlled caliphate.

Delegitimization of Israel through Holocaust denial and the determination to remove Israel and relocate/transfer Jews to areas of the world where they have no religious and historical roots is nothing less than state-sponsored hate, backed up by the illegal supply of weapons to terrorist groups whose charters explicitly call for the destruction of Israel and killing of all Jews.

The supply of hateful ideology is just as dangerous and immoral as the weapons that are supplied.

A. Smith, Oregon   February 28th, 2010 7:33 am ET

Out of the media spotlight, the US Senate quietly renewed the horrific freedom stifling series of laws known as 'The Patriot Act' which was due to expire this weekend. Americans from coast to coast can continue to look forward to their domestic phone calls being recorded and their cell phones virtually tapped, your text messages and emails stored and scanned for anything that could possibly lead to your arrest for crimes imagined or trumped up.

In a trickle down torrent of loss of American freedoms, public schools, librarys and employers are deploying a wide array of NSA inspired technology to test, observe and listen to public and private interactions between law abiding American citizens. Digital records are being routinely demanded and stored in thousands of previously unrelated databases under the most lame of excuses.

I feel sorry for the youngest of American's whose lifespans will be entirely recorded, carefully monitored and who knows what abuse will be heaped upon them over all of that collected information. East Berlin security staffers would be envious and jealous over the crass restrictions being heaped upon law abiding American citizens.

Latest outrage and small example, after a single irate pilot rammed his private plane into a IRS office, ALL private pilots names are now placed into a terrorist watch list database. ALL private pilot applicants now must put up with a large psych panel in addition to the flight physical which is second to none already.

The way it works NOW. If and of course WHEN .001% of all American citizens acts up and goes postal, 99.999% are all punished thru severe restrictions, laws and legislation which directly effects them.

miriam   February 28th, 2010 10:47 am ET

A. Smith,

It's sad that the civil liberties of innocent civilians are comprimised due to the abuse of modern, democratic, free societies by a small number of terrorist deceivers.
Blame the terrorists, not the authorities who try their best to protect the rest of the population in the most immediate way they believe possible..

Pete   March 1st, 2010 8:53 am ET

Miriam, you could get a job on Fox news. Do you know Sarah Palin is looking for a new PR manager. Go on, send in your CV. You have all the knowledge and ability to lead the opinions of clowns. And you never fail to repeat word for word, all you have been told on lame stream TV media.

Miriam are the words of your blog first written on the palm of your hand so you can remeber what you beleive in?

miriam   March 1st, 2010 7:26 pm ET


Why would anyone want to believe what they see on TV news or any other news media?

Fred Brun   March 1st, 2010 9:30 pm ET


Don't you ever get tired about the repeating the same propaganda lines you are being fed?
The world does not believe that the Palestinians are capable of driving the Jews into the sea. It only serves your propaganda purpose to repeat the same story as in your religious schools.
The world had real sympathy for Israel's history and the Holocaust but now it has become a money making industry and the sympathy has gone.
The world is fed up of hearing about WMD and the fear of Iran; we know that Israel has WMD in the ME for real, nobody else.
The world knows that Israel believes it is beyond International Law, dream on.
The world knows that Mossad murders, it will be held accountable. Murder has no time limitation, as you like everyone to know when it comes to people that you designate as war criminals or so called terrorists.
The charade has been over for quite a while!

miriam   March 2nd, 2010 7:33 am ET


What world?

There are only a few of you out there who think they "know" what you think you "know".

Knowledge is based on facts, not on rumours, lies and disinformation spread perniciously among the uneducated and gullible.

Pete   March 3rd, 2010 4:57 pm ET

Miriam sorry girl, but you cant get anything right. Look on the Internet and see how many people are protesting around the world about Israel and its policy of murder.

And if you think knowledge is based on fact, you must know that you have no knowledge and no facts. All you are is an Israeli propaganda wind bag, without a single original thought or a single moral fiber in your body.

As Fred said the enormous sympathy for the Jews after WII has been spent. Today Israels murder and manipulation has become the new threat to peace in the world. Israel should repent before it gets punished for its crimes against humanity.

university rector   March 4th, 2010 4:03 pm ET


the world knows that Iran is the only country threatening to wipe Israel of the map

the world knows that you are completely clueless

Fred Brun   March 5th, 2010 12:30 pm ET


The real world not your world of racist fanatics!
What are the rumours, lies and distortions that you refer to?

The facts are as you see them very simple!


Yusil   March 9th, 2010 12:03 am ET

university rector

I thought that it was the Palestinians who were trying to drive the Jews into the sea. Now it’s the Iranian. Who is next? The Pigmy’s.

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