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Racism and Religious Desecration as US Policy
Islamophobia, a Retrospective
by Trish Schuh    May 6-8, 2006             Muslims Weekly
 
It was the potshot heard round the world that touched off a counter-crusade. Packaged in western free speech cliches, and marketed as innocent satire, the newspaper Jylland-Posten's depiction of the Prophet Muhammad as a terrorist/suicide bomber with a ticking bomb for a turban was "provocation-entrapment" propaganda. Dual-use entertainment, in this case frivolous caricature, is an unexamined aspect of "full spectrum information dominance." The US Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld's "Information Operations Roadmap" mandates that 'information warfare' utilize all cultural venues to further its agenda- news, posters, books, movies, art, internet, and music etc.
 
Can comedy be far behind? At recent CIA training sessions in Dubai, Iranian opposition agent provocateurs were taught the importance of mockery and ridicule when used to discredit and 'demythologize' an enemy or incite against it. Even populist actions like grafitti "could embolden the student movement and provoke a general government crackdown, which could then be used as a pretext to 'spark' a mass uprising that appeared to be spontaneous." (Asia Times, Mar 14, 06). Such provocation tactics operated in the cartoon intifada, as well as in US Embassy-coordinated "color revolutions".
 
As a free speech crusader, Flemming Rose, Jyllands-Posten's editor behind the Muhammad cartoons (and ally/author of a Daniel Pipes profile "The Threat from Islam"), had earlier refused to publish denigrating cartoons of Jesus, fearing it would "offend readers." Jylland-Posten also rescinded sponsorship of a Holocaust cartoon contest for the same reason. Kurt Westergaard, Jylland-Posten's 'Muhammad bomb' illustrator even transcribed a Quranic verse onto Muhammad's turban to reinforce his message. Westergaard later admitted to The Herald of Glasgow, Scotland that "terrorism" which he said got "spiritual ammunition" from Islam was the inspiration for that message.

Poster displayed at NYU student union.
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If propaganda is a weapon of war, Islam is under carpet bombing. Nazi propagandist Joseph Goebbels described the methods, which define those used today: "Concentrating the fire of all the media on one particular point- a single theme, a single enemy, a single idea- the campaign uses this concentration of all media, but progressively..."

Theme: "War on Terror" Enemy: Muslims. Addressing the 2006 AIPAC "Now is the Time to Stop Iran" Conference, Israeli Ambassador to the UN, Daniel Gillerman summarized the Idea: "While it may be true- and probably is- that not all Muslims are terrorists, it also happens to be true that nearly all terrorists are Muslim." Former Iranian President Mohammad Khatami put it another way: "the West needs an enemy, and this time it is Islam. And Islamophobia becomes part of all policies of the great powers, of hegemonic powers."
 
Is Islamophobia de facto state policy? Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi declared in 2001 that Western civilization is superior to the Islamic World: "We should be confident of the superiority of our civilization, which consists of a value system that has given people widespread prosperity in those countries that embrace it, and guarantees respect for human rights." He added that this superiority entitled the West to "occidentalize and conquer new people." Another Italian official MP Roberto Calderoni flaunted his Muhammad cartoon T-shirt on TV, warning of a an "Islamic attack on the West." French Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy pronounced Muslim immigrants "gangrene" and "scum," and one Danish MP labeled Muslims "a cancer in Denmark."

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In America, Illinois Congressman Mark Kirk commented: "I’m okay with discrimination against young Arab males from terrorist-producing states." Texas Congressman Sam Johnson bragged to a crowd of veterans that he had advised Bush to nuke Syria, and Colorado Congressman Tom Tancredo advocated wiping out Mecca to get even with Muslims for terrorist attacks. Recently the Bush administration itself revealed its plans to "nuke Iran" with bunker buster bombs.


Zionist Daniel Pipes, a representative at the Congress-sponsored think tank US Institute for Peace, (who was appointed by Bush despite heavy public protest against Pipe’s racism) recently diagnosed Muslims as carriers of a sinister, latent psychopathic contagion: "Individuals may appear law-abiding and reasonable, but they are part of a totalitarian movement, and as such, all must be considered potential killers… This is what I have dubbed the Sudden Jihad Syndrome, whereby normal-appearing Muslims abruptly become violent. It has the awful but legitimate consequence of casting suspicion on all Muslims. Who knows whence the next jihadi? How can one be confident a law-abiding Muslim will not suddenly erupt in a homocidal rage?"

Muslims’ angry reactions to the cartoon provocation unwittingly served a goal of Pipe’s Anti-Islamist Institute: "the delegitimation of the Islamists. We seek to have them shunned by the government, the media, the churches, the academy and the corporate world." For once, Israel, America and Europe were united to protect civilization’s free speech virtues against "crazed, rampaging", "dirty arabs" or, as Pipes himself once remarked, "brown-skinned peoples cooking strange foods and not exactly maintaining Germanic standards of hygiene."

I asked Pipes about the systemic racism and Muslim/Arab ‘terrorist’ stereotypes in the US media. Pipes said: "I would strongly, strongly disagree. There is an enormous amount of media that is very, very positive about Muslims, an enormous amount. I see it everyday. There is a steady stream of media that is very positive about Muslims- steady, steady, steady. I see it everyday- all the time…"

When persistently pressed to name five positive stories or Muslim role models among this plethora of good news- authors, academics, lawyers, celebrities etc. Pipes could not give a single example. But he easily supplied numerous names of prominent Arab Americans allegedly ‘linked’ to terrorism.
Despite disclaimers, bigoted, hideous and contemptuous anti-Muslim content continues unabated: hooded corpses in Abu Ghraib displayed by jovial "thumbs up" troops, force-fed hunger strikers at Guantanamo (who Donald Rumsfeld wisecracked were "on a diet"), refugee camps flattened, Palestinians starving, taunts of "Taliban lady boys" after US troops had set fire to Afghan bodies, ubiquitous car bombings, wedding parties crushed, mosques massacred, civilians attacked with cluster bombs and daisy cutters.
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US Army snuff porn for kicks?
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Caption reads: "New meaning to giving head"
Depleted uranium mutating future generations, and a thousand Iraqi pilgrims stampeded to death in an hour... In the midst of which President Bush pantomimed & joked about missing WMD's to an applauding, jeering Radio & Television
Correspondents Association that call themselves a press corp. Antics befitting a noncombatant President who greeted the initial bombing of Iraq with pumped fists: "I feel good!" (BBC)  "See in my line of work you got to keep repeating things over and over and over again for the truth to sink in, to kind of catapult the propaganda." (George W Bush, 5/24/05)
 
This state-sponsored smirking has trickled down to spawn a climate of recreational cruelty in the US military. Reflecting anti-Muslim propaganda while perpetuating it, is the "Rumsfeld Contingent" of the armed forces. Deputy Undersecretary of Defense, Lt. Gen. William Jerry Boykin propagated hate at the grassroots level in dozens of speeches to church groups, saying that the war on terror was actually spiritual warfare, with the enemy 'Satan' being embodied by Islam. Speaking of God versus Allah he said: "Well, you know what I knew, that my God was bigger than his. I knew that my God was a real God, and his was an idol." Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld defended Boykin, so it was unsurprising that after Abu Ghraib crimes erupted Boykin found "no pattern of misconduct."
 
Dropping down the chain of command, Marine Corp Lt. Gen. James Mattis's comments were caught by AP. "Actually, it's a lot of fun to fight. You know it's a hell of a hoot. It's fun to shoot some people. I'll be right upfront with you, I like brawling." Drawing on the 'Muslim misogynist' stereotype, Mattis added that Muslim men were wife-beaters and continued: "You know, guys like that ain't got no manhood left anyway. So it's a hell of alot of fun to shoot them." Some troops on the ground echoed this "raghead" ethos as they shot Iraqis.
 
Or shot down their sacred symbols. In May, 2005, worldwide Muslim reaction compelled Newsweek to retract a story about US interrogators flushing the Quran down a toilet at Guantanamo Bay. Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld maintained that the revelation was not true, and demanded that Newsweek explain to the Muslim world "the care that the US military takes" to respect Islamic beliefs.
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Novena for Peace?

Depleted uranium mutating future generations, and a thousand Iraqi pilgrims stampeded to death in an hour… In the midst of which President Bush pantomimed & joked about missing WMD’s to an applauding, jeering Radio & Television Correspondents Association that call themselves a press corp. Antics befitting a noncombatant President who greeted the initial bombing of Iraq with pumped fists: "I feel good!" (BBC) "See in my line of work you got to keep repeating things over and over and over again for the truth to sink in, to kind of catapult the propaganda." (George W Bush, 5/24/05)

This state-sponsored smirking has trickled down to spawn a climate of recreational cruelty in the US military. Reflecting anti-Muslim propaganda while perpetuating it, is the "Rumsfeld Contingent" of the armed forces. Deputy Undersecretary of Defense, Lt. Gen. William Jerry Boykin propagated hate at the grassroots level in dozens of speeches to church groups, saying that the war on terror was actually spiritual warfare, with the enemy ‘Satan’ being embodied by Islam. Speaking of God versus Allah he said: "Well, you know what I knew, that my God was bigger than his. I knew that my God was a real God, and his was an idol." Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld defended Boykin, so it was unsurprising that after Abu Ghraib crimes erupted Boykin found "no pattern of misconduct."

Dropping down the chain of command, Marine Corp Lt. Gen. James Mattis’s comments were caught by AP. "Actually, it’s a lot of fun to fight. You know it’s a hell of a hoot. It’s fun to shoot some people. I’ll be right upfront with you, I like brawling." Drawing on the ‘Muslim misogynist’ stereotype, Mattis added that Muslim men were wife-beaters and continued: "You know, guys like that ain’t got no manhood left anyway. So it’s a hell of alot of fun to shoot them." Some troops on the ground echoed this "raghead" ethos as they shot Iraqis.

Or shot down their sacred symbols. In May, 2005, worldwide Muslim reaction compelled Newsweek to retract a story about US interrogators flushing the Quran down a toilet at Guantanamo Bay. Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld maintained that the revelation was not true, and demanded that Newsweek explain to the Muslim world "the care that the US military takes" to respect Islamic beliefs.

But such behavior had been documented independently elsewhere. The Denver Post: prisoners were "forced to watch copies of the Quran being flushed down toilets" (January, 2005), Financial Times: "they were beaten and had their Qurans thrown into toilets" (Oct 28, 2004), NY Daily News: "They would kick the Quran, throw it into the toilet and generally disrespect it." (Aug. 5, 2004), The Independent UK: "Guards allegedly threw prisoners’ Qurans into toilets" (Aug 5, 2004), The Observer UK: "copies of the Quran would be trampled on by soldiers and, on one occasion, thrown into a toilet bucket." (March 14, 2004), Washington Post: "American soldiers insulted Islam by sitting on the Quran or dumping their sacred text into a toilet to taunt them" (March 26, 2003). These were but a few of similar media reports over a period of years.

Other instances of Islamic desecration were also recorded. One online fundraiser sold printed toilet paper with the words "Quran, the Holy Quran" which was then distributed to mosques and the media with a letter claiming the Quran was a "cookbook for terrorists" and incited violence. The Mercury News revealed that flyers posted on a Sacramento National Guard military base extolled World War 1 General John Pershing as a hero for executing "Muslim terrorists" with bullets dipped in pigs blood, thus excluding them from Paradise. WorldNetDaily reported on a US Army Reserve recruit’s contest that used pages from the Quran to make porcine figures. His website pabaah.com showed a paper mache’ pig with a US flag on its back, and included paper mache instructions and links to get free Qurans.

Drama Therapy for the insane
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Gladiator full dress rehearsal for attack on Fallujah, 2004

Some troop contests were flippant in a physical way. At Camp Nama adjacent to Baghdad Airport, The New York Times reported that detainees were bruised after being used for target practice by soldiers playing in the High Five Paintball Club. Human Rights Watch later assessed that prisoners were sometimes tortured as a form of stress relief for soldiers to help while away the hours. "Some days we would just get bored so we would have everyone sit in a corner and then make them get in a pyramid. We did that for amusement." One soldier added "…it was like a game …for sport.." This R & R earned the 82nd Airborne at FOB Mercury a prized nickname from terrified Iraqis: "Murderous Maniacs". Departing military personnel who did a ‘good job’ were later awarded by commanders with trophies- a detainee’s black hood, and a piece of tile from the medical office that had once held Saddam Hussein. (After the 1990 Iraq War, one soldier tried to smuggle an Iraqi’s limb home in his duffel bag as a trophy under the first Bush/Cheney administration.)

At Abu Ghraib, Sgt Michael J. Smith laughed and partied with rival dog handlers as they competed to see who could outscare and humiliate Iraqi prisoners (dogs are considered unclean and human contact is forbidden by Islam) by siccing ferocious, violent killer dogs on them. Smith said: "My buddy and I are having a contest to see if we can get them to defecate on themselves because we’ve already had some urinate on themselves." Then in a show of good canine conscience (or just good sportsmanship), one trainer’s Belgian shepherd turned its back on the detainee and instead attacked the interrogator.

Michael Blake, an Iraq veteran explained that the military indoctinated troops with the idea "Islam is Evil" and "they hate us." This attitude facilitated the abuse and killing of civilians, and was not just ‘a few bad apples’. (There are around 2000 unreleased torture images). "Most of the guys I was with believed it", he added. Maj. Gen. Charles Swannack, a former 82nd Airborne commander insisted that responsibility for such abuses ultimately lead "directly back to Secretary Rumsfeld," as an architect of the torture policy.

Lower level troops prosecuted to deflect responsibility from Rumsfeld have also testified that they were following orders from above. An official report in 2005 by the Army Inspector General confirms that authorities at the highest level sanctioned the crimes. The report documented Rumsfeld’s direct, personal briefings by Army Major interrogator Geoffrey Miller.

British Brigadier Alan Sharp (American Bronze Star winner for writing the "coalition campaign plan") disapproved of the gung ho, swaggering "streak of Hollywood" displayed by US troops. Acknowledging that such "heroics" made for good television back in the States, he warned that heavily armed Americans boasting "how many Iraqis have been killed by US forces today" was no ‘hearts and minds’ winning tool.

OBL as Geronimo

But the example had been set after 911 by the "gunslingin’, nuke-totin’" swagger of Cowboy-in-Chief Dubya Bush. His blustering wisecrack "Osama- Wanted: Dead or Alive" mimicked posters of old Hollywood westerns. The New York Times reported that major Tinsel Town executives were working with top Bush advisor Karl Rove to revive the former propaganda partnership between the entertainment industry and the Department of Defense. "Hollywood Now Plays Cowboys and Arabs", ran one headline. (Ironically, Bush’s grandfather Prescott claimed to have stolen the skull of legendary American Indian warrior Geronimo for his college secret society. It was proudly kept on display as a trophy).

In 2004, the Pentagon previewed its own "coming attractions." Marines staged a desert "gladiators’ Ben Hur" drill in full historic costume- togas, trojan helmuts, and shields while swinging spiked truncheons to "psych up for a planned invasion" against Fallujah. "Friends, Romans, countryman, fend off their spears. When in Fallujah, do as the Romans do" the New York Post quipped. White phosphorus ‘burning at the stake’ was strictly offscreen. As Lt. Col. Gary Brandl said in the film Fallujah: "The enemy has got a face. He’s called Satan. He’s in Fallujah. And we’re going to destroy him."

Internet audiences could catch candids of Iraqi dead "just for fun". At undermars.com, troops posted photos of bloody faces ground to a pulp. Others showed a birthday candle stuffed into a smashed skull, and various decapitated heads. Evoking Bush’s cowboy spirit, one caption read: "i’m an indian outlaw… look my first scalp."

NowThatsFuckedUp.com accepted photos of Iraqi war crimes and atrocities as currency to buy pornography when credit card companies refused to ok payment in dollars.

After a brief outcry from Iraqi expatriates, the site was closed and diverted to an address called barbecuestoppers.com. There troops laughed and gloated over ‘baked’, charred and hideously disfigured Iraqi cadavers, with captions like "Die, Haji die." One picture showed a ‘barbecued’ corpse steeped in its own blood and entrails labeled "what every Iraqi should look like." The US Department of Defense is aware of the site, but it is still accessible to voyeurs despite being in violation of Geneva Conventions.

Unfortunately, this avalanche of damaging associations have increased Americans’ prejudice against Islam. A March 2006 ABC News poll found 46 percent view Islam negatively, up from 39 percent in the months after September 11, 2001. Americans who believe that Islam promotes violence has risen from 14 percent in 2002 to 33 percent today. Former US president Bill Clinton warned: "So now what are we going to do? Replace anti-Semitic prejudice with anti-Islamic prejudice?"

It seems so. In 2005, for the first time since the atomic devastation of Japan, an Associated Press poll found that half of all Americans would approve the use of atomic bombs, especially against terrorist targets. A mushroom cloud of anti-Muslim hate, with a sickly "humorous" spin, has been winning American ‘hearts and minds’ into acceptance of the Bush administration’s nuclear attack against the "axis of evil" terror sponsor- Islamic Republic of Iran.

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Meanwhile, another cheap shot has recently been fired at Islam. A provocative ‘Muhammad cartoon’ depicts the Prophet Muhammad cut in half, and burning in Hell, next to a woman among burning coals. Its editor says the cartoon represents policy towards Islam and that any angry reaction to it could serve to further alienate Muslims: "if the cartoon provoked an attack, it would only ‘confirm the idiotic positions’ of Muslim extremists." Don’t forget to laugh.

UPDATE:
OPERATION GERONIMO: May 1, 2011  US military launches psychological operation feigning capture of Osama Bin Laden in Pakistan. CIA code name for OBL was 'Geronimo'. Possession of a skull or head denotes the Illuminati's mythos around the beheading of their patron figure, St John the Baptist. 

Geronimo: A century after his death, mysteriously tied to Bin Laden, the CIA and Skull and Bones
May 3, 2011   LA Times

1997: Hollywood movie "Conspiracy Theory" features a rogue terrorist named GERONIMO who is hospitalized in Room 322, the Skull & Bones' code number referencing Genesis 3:22.

March 24, 2014  Fox News: Ex-Secretary of Defence Donald Rumsfeld compared President Obama unfavorably to a "trained monkey" in his handling of the Bush-Rumsfeld era Afghan War.

 

World press freedom in the eyes and ears of the beholder
By Trish Schuh    May 30, 2007    Mehr News   Tehran Times

UNITED NATIONS - On the 14th anniversary of World Press Freedom Day, which was celebrated in May, UNESCO hosted an event for journalists called “Press Freedom, Safety of Journalists and Impunity” at the United Nations headquarters in New York.

Under Article 1 of its Constitution, UNESCO is the only United Nations agency with a mandate to defend freedom of speech and press freedom.

United Nations Correspondent Association President Tuyet J. Nguyen spoke about the life-threatening danger faced by journalists covering such war zones as Rwanda and Iraq where the media is controlled by special interests or armed political parties.

Georges Malbrunot of France's neocon Le Figaro spoke of newsgathering under various “vicious surveillance” states. In contrast, Malbrunot's embedding with American forces in Iraq was “not a bad solution”, but opened embeddees to paranoid Arab charges of being “a spy… It’s one of the major blames addressed to the foreign press today… Of course, this blame is 99.9% wrong, but in the minds of these people who suffer from ‘conspiracy theory’, this accusation is serious and can cost a journalist his life. “There is a lot of work to do to convince these groups that the journalist is not a spy.”

Malbrunot added that it is the work of Muslim imams, scholars, leaders, etc., to persuade their Muslim flock of this fact    “Only then will the fate of the global war against terror be dramatically changed.”

This writer asked the panel if journalists themselves could ever be partly responsible for such suspicions. Citing CNN’s Anderson Cooper, who admitted spending his earlier summers working for the CIA: “Doesn’t this kind of moonlighting put other journalists at risk?”

No response from the panel.

Representing half a million media professionals around the world on behalf of the International Federation of Journalists was Judith Matloff, a professor at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism and a member of the International News Safety Institute. Professor Matloff implored the international community to uphold UN Security Council Resolution 1738, which prohibits the killing and targeting of media personnel and protects free speech and freedom of the press globally.

In a follow-up conversation by telephone on May 25, I asked Prof. Matloff for her opinion on how UN Security Council Resolution 1738 applies to Lebanon’s Al Manar TV and the LMG communications network -- Lebanese media outlets bombed by Israel during the 2006 war, and officially censored as a “terrorist organization” by the U.S. Congress?

Regarding this unprecedented, landmark free speech/censorship law, Ivy League academic Matloff said she was “unfamiliar with these situations” and refused to comment on Middle East issues. “I am an Africa specialist.”

But wasn’t free speech protected equally around the world under Resolution 1738? In the Middle East, as well as in Africa?

Being a media expert, could she comment on what a law equating the media with “terrorism” could mean for freedom of the press? Concurrent with Bush’s admitted deliberate bombing of Al Jazeera in Afghanistan and Iraq?
 
“I never heard of that,” Matloff said.  With her credentials, shouldn’t such Katrina-scale censorship have caught her eye?

Then perhaps she could assess how the mainstream media’s advocacy of falsehoods promoted an illegal war in Iraq? “The New York Times has apologized,” she said, referring to a full page ‘mea culpa ad’.  "But isn't the NYT repeating the same misleading tactics to promote the next war with Iran?" I asked.

With this and similar questions, Matloff responded like a true press “pro”: avoiding ethical implications, defending her product -- the status quo, and referring most answers to other supervisors or experts. Her refrain of “I don't know, don't remember”, “can’t comment” captured the essence of a White House press briefing. As a trainer of America’s next generation of government “privatized propaganda contractors”, (tomorrow’s ‘mercenary press’) Matloff diverted the subject, passed the buck, and expertly earned her tenure.

On Press Freedom Day, I also spoke briefly to the New York Times UN bureau chief Warren Hogue about the media, Iraq, and World Press Freedom Day.

Q:  It’s World Press Freedom Day and I just wanted to ask if you have any comments about The New York Times and their reporting in the runup to the Iraq War, and if you feel any kind of responsibility?

A:  I can't talk about that -– we’ve already said everything about that to be said in the paper, and I really don’t want to add to it. I mean, The New York Times -- more than most newspapers -- has absolutely admitted what we thought was faulty and what was not. There’s just nothing I can add to that at all. And I certainly don’t want to talk about that on
Press Freedom Day when our thoughts are with Alan Johnston and other journalists that are being killed.

Q:  Well my thoughts are also with the Iraqis. There are half a million dead -- thanks in part to your newspaper-

A:  Oh come on.

Q: Your newspaper was one of the primary advocates for the war.

A: Oh come on, I can’t talk to you.

Q:  Your newspaper was primary -- yes it was -- Judith Miller got personal security clearance directly from Donald Rumsfeld, sir.                                   

A:  The New York Times is not responsible for any dead Iraqis. I won't listen to that.

Q:  None of the other American journalists but Judith Miller from your paper got a security clearance from the U.S. defense secretary himself. How is this different from working for the government?

A:  You are defiling Press Freedom Day -- Shut up! This is about press freedom, this is not about defiling the press. We’ve just come back from a demonstration for Alan Johnston for journalists being killed and that’s what this day is about -- press freedom.

Perhaps BBC World News Editor Jon Williams best summarized the outcome of shutting up journalists: “We must not stand by and allow the intimidation of journalists -- wherever it happens. If we do, we will pay a heavy price… There will be no eyes or ears telling us what's going on. We won’t have the insight from those able to make sense of it.”

But then, that may be just how some Powers That Be really want it.

UPDATE: In April 2008, New York Times correspondent Warren Hoge was named Vice President of (IPI) International Peace Institute and Director of External Relations.  Queries to the Institute regarding Mr. Hoge's propaganda role in promoting the Iraq War were not answered.

Media in America and the Internet Spat
Chat with Robert Fisk
by Trish Schuh          August 4, 2007

BEIRUT, Lebanon - Middle East bureau chief for the UK Independent Robert Fisk recently caused a stir on the web for disparaging comments regarding internet journalism. His opinions, analysis and feedback follow.

Schuh:  In terms of media, do you actually "hate the internet"?  You have dismissed it?

Fisk:   Look- you misquoted me.  I did not say I hated the internet.  I said the internet was a system of hate.

Q:  That is a very broad statement.

A:   It is used for hate, its true-

Q:   But it is also used for-

A:   Love??

Q:   Expose'.  I have read much information there we don't get otherwise. We have no press in America.

A:   I can answer your question very simply.  When I go to the States, I get up to 2000 people every lecture  give.  The reason I get that is they've read me on the internet of course.  All over the world my articles are syndicated except in the United States where no one will touch them.  And that is rather as I would like it to be.  If the New York Times wanted to use Robert Fisk I'd feel I'd done something wrong.  I'd better find a new job, right? I go to America every 3 1/2 weeks so I know the problem. 

Q:   So what to do?  We're moving into a fascistic  state-

A:   You are not in a fascist state.  You don't know what fascism is if you think that.  You're in a very young state in which powerful groups cling to power very ruthlessly and destroy other groups.  There are several problems.  First I think your people are much brighter than you make them out to be.  I invite to my lectures Amtrak rail crews, bell hops from my hotel, airline crews...  They come.

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Robert Fisk at home on the Corniche of Beirut

Q:   You are a famous celebrity, and we live in a celebrity-mad culture--

A:   I don't necessarily acknowledge that.  Secondly, how can I be world famous if I'm not published in a  single American newspaper?  But let  me finish.  I have a personal dislike for the internet.  I think it wastes my time.  I have friends at the Boston Globe who say:  "Bob you should use the internet.  By 12:00 I've read the Boston Globe, the Herald Tribune, the Daily Star, the Jerusalem Post and the New  York Times."

By 12:00 I've done 3 interviews and am working on a story for my newspaper.  As far as email for  example, most of the emails I see are ungrammatical. They're mispelled. People just sit and zap this stuff out around the world, right? I have between 250-350 emails from last week.  I couldn't take anymore mail.  Couldn't take it.  What I read are the people who its important enough for them to write, and put it in an envelope and stamp.  If they want they can ring me up on my mobile or home phone.  It'll cost them money, but they'll have to do it. Its the only way. That way I thin down the people... Some people get up in the middle of the night and write six pages of complete
trash, press a button and it goes to Robert.
    
I can see when you're cut off from information how the internet and googling information becomes so much more important. I wrote a piece a couple of weeks ago about the LA Times censoring a story by an Armenian, and about the Toronto Globe and Mail. My point is that one reason ciriculation is falling in newspapers is that they're too gutless. By and large, Americans don't want to read their press. And they're right.  Not only does it present a totally false view of the world- when I read the NYT on the middle east it is incomprehensible to me. Because I live here and I know what they want to say, but they can't say it. 

I always talk to the passengers on domestic flights.  I had a guy, he was Homeland Security in one of the immigration offices in another country.  He said to me:  "If I was a Palestinian, I'd get a Kalashnikov and fight like they do. What the Israelis do to them..."  Coverage of Israel is lamentable. The French have a very good word: "enfantilism". Which doesn't mean infantile, it means "babyishness." "That's red.  That's green."  "What's that color?"  "Yellow!"  Its alright for babies but not for university readers.  
  
One of the big problems you have in the States is the leftist activist community. We all know who we're talking about: some have rings in their noses, some do not.  They center around universities.  I don't think they want to win. They call the NYT 'mainstream'. Why not call the NYT 'alternative' and say we're the 'mainstream'? 
I went to a seminar at George Mason [University]. At the seminar were activists- all of whom wanted to know how they could get their letter into the NYT. "How can we better communicate with other activists?"

I said, "forget the NYT. You're not going to get your letter into the NYT. Or maybe just to show they're being legitimately for both sides and balanced." They said: "How can we get on Fox and CNN?" I said "you don't want to be on Fox and CNN. All they're going to do is give you 20 seconds to legitmate their bias." I refuse to go on CNN for any reason. I turned down the NYT a few years ago on the grounds it would ruin my journalistic career.  But they'll have endless emails to each other, all complaining about little token dramas like Norm    Finkelstein and his inevitable failure to get tenure in Chicago. The world is not actually about Norm Finkelstein. I know Norm very well. Norm is a friend of mine.

Q:  The  Left-

A:  I don't think the left in America want to win. I think they want to be constantly abused, shouted at- to prove- its the martyrology of American politics. If you actually gave power to the genuinely moral people in America- who would want to do it? They're not planning on power. They're not planning on winning for God's sake! You've got to start thinking in terms of the political system.  You've got to start doing something about the democrats and the republicans. 

Q:   So- the left in the country has lack of critical thinking? Or the left is not much better than the right or the mainstream media? What?

A:   The problem is- is it doesn't involve money. What you need is a group of serious philanthropists with money to try starting a serious newspaper. Whether you start it online or not, I don't know. I think actually most people want real newspapers in their hands. The desire to possess paper is not gone- thank God. The internet is not making a lot of money...  I can't name you a single source in America I'd go to for daily news. What you need is a newspaper online that can't be fucked around with. The trouble online is the constant drip of error, as well as malicious error.  I know of cases where people have had their wikipedia fucked around with...  A newspaper is responsible for what it writes.  I've got stuff on the internet, some of them are urging people to murder me.  What am I supposed to do?  I can't go to the police. 

So the internet already has a bad reputation. Its not a reliable source.  

What you've got to have is responsible journalism. What you need is a good newspaper with philanthropic backing.  It needs to be seen as a commerical venture... Not a paper for leftists to whine in. A paper that has been set up to get the fucking truth of the middle east out...Get after those institutions. The job of journalism is to challenge authority, monitor the centers of power... Make them hate you!  In America, people don't just not challenge authority- they dont challenge newspapers who've become part of the power nexus.   This must not be a leftist newspaper. This has got to be a free paper, that talks about freedom using the same language of 'freedom'. Bush has appropriated all the language of 'freedom'. A paper that believes in freedom of information. So many Americans know they're being lied to.  

To start a newspaper is very serious shit. Its not the place where you come to grind your leftist ax. A lot of people drift up out of universities and they don't understand they're not going to change the world, but they can contribute to it. They can give something to it as opposed to taking, and putting the crown jewels on their head. You need a newspaper.  You [Americans] need a proper, decent good paper that is well run. You need to have financial integrity, and its got to have alot of money. And stop trying to lose. Stop secretly praying that your paper will be a tragic collapse- because it will if you do that. 

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